All but freedom
by Te
December 14, 2007

Disclaimers: No one and nothing here is mine.

Spoilers/Timeline: Sometime after Tim's sixteenth birthday,
no real spoilers.

Summary: "Spare a little Zen for your big brother?"

Ratings Note/Warnings: Sexual content.

Author's Note: I wanted to write something for Pixie. :D

Acknowledgments: To Pixie and Mildred for audiencing and


"Oh," Dick says, and, for a single syllable --

To be fair, it isn't just the syllable which is being rather
expressive at the moment. It's Dick. His shoulders aren't
slumped -- but they're certainly suggesting a posture
which would be less than optimal. The swing and twist
through Tim's bedroom window had ended with Dick
merely standing, as opposed to being *present*. His
expression --

"Hm. I -- damn."

Tim is -- technically -- meditating. Dick is very clearly trying
to decide whether or not he should leave, and how he
should negotiate the next several seconds of his presence
here -- Dick has never been the sort to simply fade into the
shadows. Not by choice.

"I mean -- hey."

Tim finishes shifting into a slightly more comfortable
position -- a fold of his pajama pants had been irritating
him -- and lets his eyes slip mostly closed --

"Oh -- okay, that wasn't you coming back to the land of
the -- well, that's not right, either. You know, I never really
got the hang of doing that -- though probably you're not
going to talk to me. That part of meditation I get. The --
not talking."

The question, at this point --

"It's just that it's been -- days and weeks. Two and *four*,
to be precise -- and I know how much you like that."

It's true. Tim flexes his toes against his thighs a little --

"And, see, there. That," Dick says, pointing. "There's really
no way to be sure that you aren't coming out of your
meditation. I mean, it's not like you mark it on your
calendar -- and I checked."

It has always been a difficult thing to deal with, given
everything he *is*, but Tim has long since learned that
leaving carefully planned schedules where anyone could
find them is an excellent way to have those schedules
completely obliterated by both circumstance and design.
Whether or not Dick knows that the schedules Tim leaves
on their servers are full of both misdirection and carefully
applied whimsy -- tomorrow, for school, he has penciled
in 'conform, conform, conform' --

"You're *supposed* to be napping. That -- I mean, I guess
that counts as relaxation, but *I* know exactly how hard
you had to work before you could bend that way, and
anyway, I thought we could hang out. A little."

No, they haven't spent enough time together -- period, in
some respects -- for Dick to know that. Really, it speaks
well for Dick that he'd checked Tim's schedule first. The
last time he'd popped in like this -- thirty days ago minus
three point five hours -- Tim had been busily acquainting
and re-acquainting himself with Steph's singular variety of
physical affection.

"Okay, what does Stephanie do when she catches you like
this? Seriously, what's the protocol?"

It had only happened once. She'd told him that he was
creepy, pulled a book off the shelf, and tossed herself on
the bed behind Tim to read for the twenty minutes Tim
had needed to... 'renew himself' isn't quite the right term
for this. He isn't exactly sure what the right term *is*,
beyond a general sense that he would be in trouble if he
didn't do this, from time to time.

"And how's she doing, by the way? You never said if I
embarrassed her too much when I, well... you know, it
looked like she was a *really* good kisser. Not too much
tongue, a lot of enthusiasm -- but not the kind that just
means 'more, more, more,' I kind of hate that. Sometimes
you really just want to spend time kissing, really getting
into it, learning each other, you know?"

Within himself, Dick is tugging him gently aside and
explaining his philosophy *to* Steph, who seems eager to
both listen and experiment. Steph hands Tim her book --

"Is she a biter? That can get out of hand really fast with
some people -- I just don't have all that many *good*
associations with tasting my own blood -- but in
moderation... and she has that crooked front tooth, too,
which could probably be pretty nice."

-- no, he's back. Not quite enough that he's aware of all of
last night's scrapes and bruises and sore spots, but enough
that he's aware that he *could* be aware of all of them.
Tim takes a slow, even breath --

"You know that was always the sign that Bruce used to tell
me that he was back again. I'm guessing it's not for you."

Tim exhales, and the edges of the room start to fade and
spread away from him. He's lighter than himself, and Dick
is even, perfect motion. He, too, is lighter than himself, if
not anything which could fade and leave Tim entirely pure
of distraction. Instead, he is something on which Tim can
focus, something which can lead and instruct, tug Tim out
of himself --

"And you're tracking me now, or -- are you meditating *on*
me? It's probably no good that that thought makes me want
to start doing backflips or something, is it?"

A part of himself is curious about that, but not very. It's
Dick -- he was born to move, and to move in time with
himself and probably the universe, as well. Lessons Tim
had to learn in pain and blood Dick was born knowing. This
will not be the first time Tim has *used* Dick this way,
though there are levels of meditative awareness, and
varieties of selflessness which can be sought through the
body. Blood and heat.

"No, no, I can control myself," Dick says, and it's clear that
he has brought some degree of consciousness to his
movements. They're almost too even, as if they've lost
some basic degree of fluidity...

"Don't," Tim says, curling his toes and unfolding himself --

"Oh, hey, I really didn't mean to --"

"Bruce told me once that we define our own distractions,
Dick... but you're too tense right now." Tim swings his legs
over the foot of the bed, plants his feet on the floor, and
curls his fingers over the edge of the bed. "What's up?"

"Define our own... does that mean he used to meditate on
me, too?"

There's a stillness in Dick which goes beyond 'Dick is no
longer moving' to something filled with a lot more raw
potential. Bruce. Tim nods within himself and doesn't flex
his hands. "He didn't feel the need to specify and I didn't
ask... but I can see it."

"He --" Dick brings a hand to his mouth and -- doesn't bite
his thumb before bringing it back down to his side and
beginning to pace. "He used to meditate in the Cave. I'd
find him when I woke up in the mornings and kind of
completely fail to shut up." Dick blows out a laugh. "I know
you're shocked."

Tim raises both eyebrows. "It's okay. For future reference --
Steph just picked out a book and started reading."

"Yeah? On the bed?"

Tim nods, and watches Dick frown thoughtfully and waggle
his head back and forth. After a moment, he pulls a book
from the shelf without looking and crosses to the bed. Once
he's on...

Dick has many talents, including the ability to make the
standard rectangle of Tim's bed look like something far
more rounded and sybaritic. He's lounged *among* the
pillows as opposed to against them, and, once his shoes
are off, he lets his legs fall into a sprawl that seems to
scream of relaxation -- "Okay, Timbo?"

He's not touching Tim anywhere. "Well, yes, but I wasn't
going to --"

"No, no, I don't even wanna think of what Bruce would be
like if he didn't meditate from time to time. You get back to
it. I'll take care of myself."

Tim doesn't actually want to meditate, anymore, which is
not to say that what he *does* want has any right to be
remotely near the forefront of his mind. And it's not dim
enough in this room for the blush to be deniable, but Dick
has already opened the book -- The Mote In God's Eye by
Larry Niven.

It's not really performance anxiety. There aren't any real
right or wrong ways *to* meditate, as near as Tim can tell.
If it leads to feeling more right, more correct within oneself,
and doesn't hurt anyone else, it has to be all right. Also,
calling it self-consciousness would be ridiculous, considering
all the ways Dick has seen him, all the different ways that,
at this point, Dick *knows* him.

Tim turns his back... no. He doesn't have to do that. Tim
turns to face Dick, knowing that the feel of empty space
against his back will, ultimately, be far more relaxing than
leaving his back to a highly-trained vigilante. It isn't about
fear so much as it's about never allowing his sense of self-
preservation to become stale.

Perhaps he means 'dull.'

Perfect trust is, after all, a luxury --

Though when Dick smiles at him it's another sort of luxury
entirely. Tim folds himself back into a lotus position and lets
his eyes slip half-closed. Surprisingly, his body is still primed
for what he wants from it, still inclined to letting the edges
of the world slip and speed away, to focusing only on a
single point. By rights, he should be trying to focus on
nothing at all, but...

The sound of a page turning, the sound of Dick's breathing --
even and soft. The scent of Dick, familiar and some variety
of 'homey.' He hadn't worked up a sweat getting here, and
he doesn't wear cologne unless there's some need for Dick

What's left is something purely and perfectly human, faintly
rich, clean and male --

The turn of another page, but Tim can remove that from his
focus. Within Tim's model of meditation, there is room for
something akin to wholesale destruction. Paper degrades
into dust, dust blows away, the wind itself degrades to
breath. Dick is more solid than that. He cuts shapes of
himself out of the air with every motion, leaves traces of
himself behind which renew themselves with something
beyond mere will.

Here, like this, Tim is narrowed, pared down and left with
the fundamental basis of his self. He is focused, and he is
watchful, and he is some variety of peaceful.

Dick --

Within himself there is a vast plain, still and empty of
everything, even of anything which could be considered
color. Empty of everything save Dick, of course, and this is
enough. This has always been enough.

Above himself -- or perhaps on the edges of the space Tim
occupies -- there is information and understanding. What
he knows, what he feels, what he is -- everything can be
traced to Dick. This has always been true, and Tim
understands himself well enough to know that it's the
concept of losing this which frightens him the most. Being
lost from this, being separated from it -- even for the sake
of a birthday manifesto --

No. None of that is here, and the creeping black shadows
can be banished as easily as everything else -- if only for
this particular occasion. Every breath brings him more of
Dick, the only presence which can't be denied, the focus of
everything, the fact supporting every structure Tim has
built within himself.

Here, solid -- perfect.

Perfection --

Tim feels himself drift until there's nothing to feel, nothing to
know beyond what he has been given, what he has been
shown. It's not something he can manage very often, and
he knows from experience that it won't last very long, but it
belongs to him, and he belongs to it.


After a time, he becomes aware of his own breathing again.
The bed follows, and the screen saver on his monitor, and
the street sounds from outside --

"Welcome back," Dick says, setting the book down, sitting
up, and leaning closer and closer until their foreheads are
touching. "Spare a little Zen for your big brother?"

"Always," Tim says, and leans into the pressure. It's as good
an excuse as any.

"You were really... you know, I'm not sure if I can come up
with a good way to describe it. It's not like you weren't
there -- that's more like how you were when I showed up. It
was more like you were *extra* here."

Not -- surprising. "I... chose a somewhat different... method."

"Mm, okay. I think I can get that," Dick says, knocking their
foreheads together gently and leaning back -- and cupping
the back of Tim's neck. The smile on his face is a crooked,
easy-looking thing --

It's one of the many smiles Dick has in his repertoire which
have always left Tim looking for ways to respond in the
times he should have used *to* respond. Tim leans back
against Dick's grip, just to see...

Dick cups him tighter for a moment. "You look like you could
just float away -- for you, I mean. On anybody else that look
would mean severe tension."

"I -- Steph compares it unfavorably to constipation."

"Heh. Now *she* has always looked like someone who
knows how to relax. I bet she hasn't needed a backrub in

How long has her father been out of her life...? Years, yes.
"Mm. She can be very educational to be around," Tim says,
and wonders if Dick is reading him as relaxed *enough* to
still be inhabiting this space of contact, connection --
warmth --

Dick's smile widens by visible increments, and -- it's difficult
to be sure.

"Dick --"

"You should let me take you both out sometime. We could
go to a game, watch some godawful movies... something."

How does Steph feel about having her hair ruffled? The data
could be interesting. "That would be --"

"Wait," Dick says, and frowns a little. "*I* know that she
knows who you are, but that doesn't mean... or does it? I
mean, Tim Drake gets to hang out with Dick Grayson from
time to time, and Tim Drake gets to date Stephanie Brown,
but..." Dick pulls back and uses his hands to draw two
unconnected circles in the air. "Does it work? *Can* it?"

"Well --"

"Does Bruce have anything to say about it?"

Tim can feel his expression shifting to something tight and
disapproving and tries hard to put a stop to it. The peace
Tim has with Dick around Tim's relationship with Bruce isn't
exactly fragile, but neither is it an entirely solid thing --

"Oh, what did I say? You -- you two aren't fighting again,
are you? You know --"

"Dick," Tim says, and lets a little of the tone he wants into
his voice. It's not that he's angry with Bruce -- anymore.
Exactly. It's just -- it's a lot of things, and he doesn't want
any of it here with them now. "Bruce was the one who
decided Steph *could* know my name, my face, my
*school*. Sooner or later she's going to figure out that I
only have one 'big brother' in my life. Assuming she hasn't

The eyebrow raise Dick gives him has -- a lot behind it,
including the very clear and obvious desire to *push* Tim
about Bruce. The thing is, he hasn't told Dick about his
birthday. He could -- he absolutely could. It's not like Dick
hadn't told *him* about the 'gauntlets' he was made to
run -- for himself and *with* Jason, too.

He thinks -- Tim thinks Dick would understand. He's almost
sure of it, and it's not like he has reason to doubt how well
he knows Dick. Not anymore. One day he *will* tell Dick
about it. It's a promise he'd made to himself -- one of many.
It's just that one of the other promises is all about the
ability -- the *right* -- to keep things to himself, at least for
a little while.

The definition of necessary hasn't so much shifted as
broadened itself and -- Dick is still looking at him.

"Look at it this way, Dick -- you've already walked in on
Steph's and my alone-time --"

"Nightwing did --"

"You've broken the massive embarrassment tamper-shield,"
Tim says, and spreads his hands. "You might as well take

"Which is... a really very *you* way to say that you actually
want all of us to hang out together...? No, that wasn't really
a question. I think. Tim," and Dick catches Tim's hands in
his own and brings them down to the bed between them.
Squeezes. "I know there's something you're not telling me."

"I figured you would. It's not -- let me keep it to myself for

Dick nods slowly, and doesn't drop his eyes, which Tim
figures will buy him at least two casual moments of contact
with Dick without *severe* interrogation. It's enough. Tim
smiles and squeezes back, and then tugs his hands free.

There are stretches he could be doing before tonight, and
having Dick here for them is exactly as exciting and terrifying
as it should be. It simply isn't often when he gets to look
forward to this sort of maintenance, and --

Dick crosses his arms and lets himself fall back -- lightly --
against the headboard. "Are you gonna tell me more about
the meditation?"

Tim doesn't pause before spreading his legs and bending
over one of them until he can reach beyond his foot. "What's
to tell?"

Dick snorts a laugh. "*Too* casual, little brother. You
should've just thrown out some technical babble for me to
chew on," he says, bending his knee up and back enough
to --

Ruffle Tim's hair with his foot. Tim blows his bangs off his
forehead as much as possible. "Seriously, Dick --"

"See, if there was nothing about that meditation that would
be interesting for me to know, you'd be giving me that blush
which is *all* about the fact that part of you is convinced
you're a hopeless geek, and that your geekery had expanded
to include a certain degree of -- oh, let's say spiritualism --"

"I *am* a hopeless geek --"

"But you're not *blushing* about it, kiddo, and that --" Dick
pats Tim on the head with his foot another three times,
unfolds, twists --

Dick moves off the bed and takes the space behind Tim,
bending over Tim and pushing him down into a better stretch
while also pressing his face against Tim's ear.

"You really should just tell me. Were you zoning out on
Steph-kisses? That one little crooked tooth, maybe?"

They both enjoy it quite a bit when she rubs that tooth
against Tim's lower lip --

"See, because I know you were zoning out on *something*,"
Dick says, and his breath is warm and damp and the stretch
he's pushing Tim into --

Tim has far too many positive associations for this sort of
thing, and for the feel of Dick calmly pulling Tim out of the
stretch and against his own body before bending Tim over
his *other* leg --

"Something really *good*. You had that little smile tucked
behind your eyes... I could just barely see it, really, but I
could see it *enough*. And..." Dick strokes his way down
Tim's back and sides. It's not a tickle so much as a promise
of one.

"Oh -- don't. The last time you did that --"

"You pulled a muscle, I know, I know. You're more flexible
than that now," Dick says, and demonstrates his point by
pushing Tim further down. "See?"

Really -- *really* too many positive associations. "Mm. I --"

"Look at you. You don't even need my help to do this," and
Dick strokes down Tim's arms until he can twine his fingers
in with Tim's own and *pull* them further.

"God --"

"Keep that breathing nice and steady. Pretend... oh, pretend
Steph's smiling at you while she... oh, I don't know. Does
she like pretty bras or sports bras?"

Tim blinks and -- the hell of it is, it probably doesn't count
that he's blushing *now* --

"Because they both have their... perquisites, if you will," Dick
says, tugging Tim back up, pulling his arms up, and then
pushing him down between his legs. "Lace is nice and
interestingly scratchy, but a good sturdy sports bra is like
a *challenge*."

"A challenge. A -- Dick, really, you --"

"No, no, go with me on this, little brother," he says, and
he's close enough that the motion of his jaw is causing Dick
to stroke Tim's ear -- a little -- with his stubble.

"Um. I'm... trying?"

"Heh. Don't think I haven't noticed that Steph is quite
*endowed*," Dick says, pulling back enough to...

Check Tim's form? Plan his attack? There's really no way to
tell --

"I mean, she probably had to put out some serious cash to
get the support she needs -- or did you pick some out for

"Maybe -- well, she really didn't have --"

Dick's laugh is perfectly happy and only just a little too loud.
It's not that Dick has no right to be in Tim's bedroom, it's
just that he hadn't used the *door*, and --

"Dick, you should -- ah -- the parents are downstairs."

"Got it, got it. You have totally picked out your girlfriend's
underwear. Kory used to do it for *me*, but I think..." Dick
taps Tim's back with his fingertips. "We were just a little
*closer* than you are with Steph...?"

"Um --"

"Unless there's something -- else -- you're not telling me,"
Dick says, leaning over Tim again and lifting him into a
sitting position before pulling Tim back further -- and
back --

Tim plants his feet and goes with it until he's in something
like an arch. His palms are down, and this position, at least,
offers a reason for his face to be flushed --

"You're not holding *out* on me, are you?"

Wait, no, he has *more* than enough reason to be blushing
*and* flushing. "Um. Steph and I -- we haven't --"

"But you'd tell me, right? I mean, when I was your age I
*did* have people I could talk to, and you've got the Titans,
but..." Dick drops into a crouch, casually straightens Tim's
form, and presses his thumbs against the insides of Tim's
elbows for a moment. "I'd hate it if you ever stopped
talking to me about this stuff, little brother. I mean, I know
you find it embarrassing, and I get that, but it makes me

This time, Dick's laugh is soft, rueful, and not entirely
different from a weapon aimed at himself. Tim doesn't
want -- "Dick --"

"It makes me feel closer to you. I need that. I *like* that,"
Dick says, standing up and tapping Tim on the left hip,
which is all the signal Tim needs --

"I --" Up on his hands, legs straight, elbows braced -- not
locked -- he is, as ever, deeply aware of the floor and all the
ways it can hurt him if he doesn't do this right, but -- it's not
important. "I like it, too, Dick."

"Yeah? You always make me feel like I'm interrogating you."

He is. He does. They both -- "It's the way we -- do things,"
Tim says, and hand-walks a little away from the bed. It's an
illusion that the thing has gravitational pull, but he still feels
steadier this way.

"Well, yeah, but -- it's not like we *have* to, Tim," Dick
says, grabbing Tim's ankles and pulling him into a split
which is...

How loose are these pajamas? How obvious is he, right
now? "Um -- okay, we don't have to --"

"God, you're better every time I see you. It would be
enough with just that mind of yours, but *look* at you.
Have you used this on the street, yet?"

"Not -- from this direction," Tim says, giving himself a
moment to be absolutely sure where Dick is before lifting
his legs again and *dropping* them into the split. It's --
Dick is right. He hadn't really expected to be able to do
this move this well considering his... state --

"It'll happen," Dick says, and strokes Tim's inner thighs. He's
testing the degree of tension in Tim's muscles. He's --

He's *testing*, that's all, and the danger of allowing himself
to focus on Dick this much -- it's always the same danger,
and the fact that he wants to shiver, to *shake* is no reason
to allow that to happen. "Almost certainly," Tim says, and
has just enough time to congratulate himself for keeping his
voice even before Dick *cups* his inner thigh and squeezes.

"You... you have got to know how good you are by this point,
little brother," Dick says, and there's something in his voice
Tim can't quite place. It's too... soft? Heavy?


"*I* would've had a little problem with this when I was your
age if I was -- heh -- packing heat."

Jesus. He -- no. "You can't tell me you weren't... accustomed
to this sort of thing."

Dick's laugh is too -- something. Brief, maybe, and -- "With
Bruce? Sure. I used to really *throw* myself into these
stretches in the hopes of convincing my little friend
downstairs to ease up on me a little bit... how's it working
for you?"

The shadows shift enough to broadcast Dick's silent
movement, but it's impossible to tell what Dick is doing from
this position unless he really puts a strain on his neck. Tim
doesn't trust his control over his expressions enough to risk
that, and -- he knows. Dick has moved to some position
which would allow him to *see* Tim better. There's no
deniability here.

"I mean, I didn't actually come here to *physically* break
your balls --"

Tim coughs out a laugh, wavers, lifts his legs back up and
drops them down together until they're resting on the bed
and Tim can... ease himself down onto his back. Which is
good, except for how it didn't do very much to make his
erection less obvious. Damn --

"She's really beautiful," Dick says, gentle and warm. "You
know, that was the first time I ever saw her face outside of
the files. None of the pictures do her justice."

"I -- no. They don't," Tim says, curling up on himself before
pulling the rest of his body up onto the bed -- Dick catches
his shoulder, and then the other one, and  -- pulls Tim back
against his legs. Dick is warm, solid -- always so *real*. So
much more real than anything else in Tim's *life* -- he
should be questioning this contact now. *This* contact,
*this* time --

"Sometimes..." And Dick laughs again, and it's still off, still...
Tim sets his face and looks up, but Dick isn't actually looking
down at him at all.

"Dick, what... is there something --"

"I don't want to let you go."

Oh. That's -- that's something. Tim watches his toes curl
until they stop. "I'm not planning to go anywhere --"

"No, I mean -- right now. I don't want to stop touching you,
little brother. I -- I don't want to stop," Dick says, and
squeezes Tim's shoulders, and all of it is making Tim really a
ware that he's only wearing pajama bottoms, that he's --
*bare*, and hard, and --

And he isn't sure if he wants to concentrate on what Dick's
saying or not. On the one hand, it's so close to what he
wants to hear he can feel himself tensing up into a living
band of *need*. On the other hand, if it's *not* --

"Sometimes I think about -- just the two of us, being with
you. I *wonder* about it, about what it would be like with
you --"

"What -- Dick --"

"Sometimes I just think about the two of us talking," Dick
says, and slides one hand up over Tim's throat to cup his
chin, tug, make Tim look up again. There's more than a
little Nightwing in his eyes, but it's possible that Tim's just
not reading for the right cues. His eyes are dark and focused,
steady with the sort of calm Tim's not sure he can touch, or
trust, or -- something.

It's not a look he's *used* to from Dick, and they're just so
*close* right now, so --

"And sometimes I think about kissing you. We work together,
we -- you're my *brother*, Tim, and sometimes I'm not sure
if I should let that stop me from thinking or not."

Tim swallows, and -- this time he can't hold back a shiver at
the feel of the side of Dick's palm, and he doesn't think he
has to.


"I -- yes. Dick. I'm --"

"Can we talk about this? Is this... is talking about it okay
with you?"

Yes. Yes. Yes -- "We -- we can talk."

"Do I have to let you go first?"

Tim bites the inside of his lower lip and tries really hard to
think about it, to catch hold of something like *sanity*, as
opposed to the arousal which is making him heat up all
over -- can Dick feel it?

Does he -- is that what he wants?

"I -- face to face would probably be. Better. For this," Tim
says, and he absolutely wasn't prepared for the feel of Dick
letting go. His head feels poorly attached and his shoulder
feels cold, and -- Dick's on his bed again, and he's not
touching Tim anywhere, again, and --

And he looks -- sad. Guilty?

Tim reaches out --

And Dick throws up a block. Not a hard one, just enough to
knock Tim's hand aside, and -- "You're right, touching isn't a
good idea right now --"

"That's not. What I said. I mean." Tim flexes his hand. "It's
not what I said."

Dick narrows his eyes. "And it's not what you meant?"

And suddenly Dick's entire visit falls into focus. Dick has
done practically nothing all night but tell Tim true things,
serious things. While Dick tends to do this as a matter of
course, it's never been this *personal*, and -- "How long --
would you tell me how long you've been thinking about
this? Us."

Dick tilts his head to the side and smiles... it's a strange
smile for Dick. It's too private, and -- "Are you trying to
rewrite your mental files on me, little brother?"

"'Trying' implies choice," Tim says, too fast and probably too
*hard* -- "Sorry --"

"No," Dick says, shaking his head. "It's not your fault. It's --
a lot to put on you, and none of it's your fault. I've really
just been -- racking my brain a little over this. I mean,
you've done everything short of tattooing 'stay back, please'
on your forehead, and I turn around and start hitting on
you --"

"It's okay. It's really --"

"God." Dick covers his face with one hand for a moment
before dragging it down over his features. "Tell Steph she
gets a free punch, okay? You do, too."

"I don't want --"

Dick's motion is just fast enough to make Tim seize and lift
his hands in automatic defense -- and the expression on
Dick's face is terrible.

"*Reflex*," Tim says, and "wait," and -- he doesn't really
know what comes after that. Which is to say that his mind
is giving him far too many choices. Dick finishes moving
and all he was doing was sitting up. He's clasping his hands
between his knees and he's looking and he's not... seeing.

Not enough.

Tim swallows and reaches out again, and this time Dick lets
him touch. It's not really any of the invitations he can
imagine -- and he's imagined many -- but Tim can ignore
that enough to roll up onto his knees and closer --

"What -- what are you doing?"

"Stalking the wild Dick Grayson...?" The tone, the look Tim
knows is on his face, the fact that he mimes taking a picture,
and probably the entire atmosphere pushes Dick to ruffle
Tim's hair, but the hesitation in the touch is nothing Tim's
ever wanted. "You... it's like the first time you did that. You...
you weren't sure if it was... appropriate?"

"Appropriate...?" Dick tightens his grip in Tim's hair. "I don't
think I was thinking about 'appropriate,'" he says, and the
grip becomes a stroke, light and not very *sure*.

Tim catches Dick's hand and holds it against his face. He can
feel easily a dozen small scars on Dick's knuckles which have
more to do with the fact that Tim's gauntlets are a lot more
armored than Dick's have ever been, then or now, than with
anything else.

"Tim --"

"Maybe you shouldn't --"

"I don't --"

"Dick," Tim says, and squeezes Dick's hand. "Maybe you
shouldn't be thinking about what's appropriate right now."

And it's quiet enough for Tim to hear both Dick's breathing
and his own, and the sound of his stepmother moving
around... it would be the dining room. Under everything
else is the slight no-sound that means at least one television
is on downstairs -- and then Dick growls.

It's not warning -- Dick stopped giving Tim warnings halfway
through their first spar -- but it's something to hold on to
and think about while he feels himself moving, feels Dick
moving him. A stretch in his thighs and the feel of his back
hitting the bed -- and Dick's mouth.

Steph used to kiss him like this, hard and intense enough
that she actually had nicked Tim's lip once or twice (four
times), and what she'd said about it, when Tim asked...

She said she was never sure in those days, that all she *did*
know for sure was that Tim was standing or sitting still for
the kiss right *then*, that everything else was need,
different from necessity and stronger than anything else --
the solution, then, was to always reach for Steph when she
moved in for a kiss, even if it was only to cup her shoulders
(muscle, flex --)

He can't move right now. Dick has him pinned effectively
enough that all he can move is one foot, and, as far as Tim
knows, there's nothing he can do with that foot to
communicate with Dick. It has to be enough that he's not
fighting it, that, when Dick lets him, he opens his mouth --

Dick holds him tighter, pushes him down against the bed,
and Tim waits -- waits.


"You -- should say something."

It wasn't especially bright in here when he sat down to
meditate, and now Dick's face is almost entirely shadowed
by his hair. Tim can't see anything about his expression, and
his voice... that same heaviness as before, that weirdly soft
*harshness* -- but. Say something. "Yes? I mean -- yes,"
Tim says and shifts as much as he can in Dick's grip. It
makes Dick hold on harder again for a moment before
easing up.

"Yes -- yes *what*?"

Yes, *sir*, some unhelpful portion of his mind offers, but --
his arms are free enough to move, so long as he does it
slowly and carefully. It feels like falling somewhere deep
and a little cold to do this, to wrap his arms around Dick's
neck like this. The tension there is everything Tim has
imagined in countless nightmares and moments of
particularly *difficult* fantasy, but once his arms are there...
well, *he* can relax.


"Yes, Dick. Just -- yes. I want --"

"*Why*." And the hand on Tim's face is hard -- warm and
hard and there's a little too much pressure --

"I'm attracted to you," Tim says, and tightens his own grip.
"I'm --"

"For how long?"

He shouldn't feel like he's been saved. He just -- he *really*
shouldn't. It's just that it's all too easy to guess what he
would've said, before, and -- "It's... difficult to answer that
question, Dick, I --"

"*Don't*. Just -- you have to see me -- feel me going
*crazy* here, Tim, just -- tell me. *Tell* me --"

"Always. It's. It's always, Dick --"

And Dick is still too fast, too much, pulling out of the light
hold Tim's using and moving *away*. Tim sits up on his
elbows and reaches and -- stops. Dick is kneeling there
staring at him, and he looks confused and shocked and --
"You didn't tell me."

"I didn't --" Tim shuts his teeth hard and exhales through his
nose. "I think you mentioned something about
*appropriate*, Dick --"

The slap of Dick's hands against his own thighs is too loud,
too much -- "You didn't hint, or ask, or even --"

"You wanted -- I thought you wanted to be my *brother* --"

Dick's laugh is sudden and sharp and more than a little wild,
and Tim's caught between the urge to understand and
*know* it and the need to listen to make sure it's not too
still downstairs, or -- maybe they just think he's watching
something on his computer --

"Dick, I -- we really need to --"

"I think --" Dick covers his face again, for longer this time
before he drops his hands again, balls them into fists,
relaxes -- "I think I need you to tell me what we need to
do, Tim."

"I -- okay --"

"Because. I do want to be your brother. I *am* -- you are
my brother, and I love you, and I can't figure out if I want
to hold you, hit you, or just *touch* you."

"And if I told you that any of the above would be okay with

"You --" Dick shakes his head. "You're serious."

"I love you. I -- I can't tell you what you want, but I know
what I want. What I've always -- wanted. Dick..." It's easier,
somehow, to be like this to say these things, bent back and
still almost naked, aroused and sweating a little -- are his
lips swollen?

But it doesn't seem to be doing it for *Dick*, who is still
looking at Tim like he's betrayed him, somehow, and... has
he? He still doesn't know how long Dick has wanted him,
and Dick very clearly hasn't...

Tim pushes back up onto his knees and sits on his heels. "I
love you," he says, again, and maybe all he needed was to
wait until the words couldn't change anything, or... no. He
shakes his head and *looks* at Dick. "I've had a lot of time
to... come to terms. With that." After a moment, Dick nods,
but it doesn't seem to be connected to anything Tim had
just said, or --

"You're in love with me." Dick's voice is flat and even, and --

Not cold. Not that. But -- "Dick --"

"Kiss me. I -- *show* me."

It shouldn't seem like so much, right now, but it does, like
the distance between them is far more than just a foot, or
like... Tim doesn't know. Closing the distance seems to
happen too quickly, and the slide of Tim's hands over Dick's
shoulders makes him shiver. He leans in --

"Tim, wait..."

He can't. He -- he really can't, and it's a little like brushing
the world away to press his lips against Dick's own, and it's
a little like hovering over a massive drop to *open* them,
and he can't make his hands stay still on Dick's shoulders
once they flex beneath his palms, and Dick's hair is soft
and thick, cool on his fingers --

"Jesus, Tim --"

And then the only choice available is to kiss Dick the way
he's wanted to, a fantasy edited and added to with Ariana's
unwitting help, with Steph's, of course. With the knowledge
that Dick likes kissing as an end in itself, something
enthusiastic and just a little slow, something...

The taste of Dick's mouth is warm and warming, the faint
bitterness of lingering coffee making Tim feel like he's
coming home, like this is just another part of his life,
something he knows, something he's been made and
remade for, if not, necessarily, trained.

It's better when Dick touches him again, when Tim can feel
the spread of those hands against his back, the stroking
heat of them. Maybe this always needed to be said with his
body, or maybe this is just the only way Dick would believe
it. And that --

It's more than that. It's the feel of Dick's civilian clothes
against his skin, and the image of Dick walking casually
down Tim's street until he could duck into an alley and
climb. Maybe --

Maybe he'd come here *intending* to use the door, to talk
to Tim's parents idly and easily while telling Tim a thousand
different secrets with his eyes and the motion of his body --
it's different that it's *here*, that neither of them are
wearing masks and that -- maybe -- neither of them should
be. It *matters*, even though Tim isn't sure that it should.

It's enough that it matters to Dick, and matters enough that
he's changing the kiss to something different, clutching Tim's
sides and pushing, moving them closer still, licking Tim's
tongue over and over, daring Tim to bite -- or maybe just

I *want* you, Tim thinks, and maybe he's saying that, too,
maybe that's what makes Dick shudder and hold him closer,
pull back and drag his teeth so *lightly* over Tim's lip --

"Goodnight, Tim!"

Dick doesn't push him back, or even let go -- Tim takes a
breath. "Oh, goodnight, Dana! Goodnight, Dad!"

The footsteps -- he really hadn't heard the footsteps at *all*,
but they keep moving, down the hall --

And when Tim can *breathe* again, Dick is there, waiting --
watching him. Had *he* heard Tim's parents coming up the
stairs? How much does he really want to know? "Dick...?"

"Right here," he says, eyes dark and half-closed, and strokes
down to Tim's thighs. The pajama bottoms are thin and light
and entirely in the way, as far as Tim's concerned, but Dick
pauses, raises an eyebrow --

"I -- yes," Tim says, kneeling up -- but Dick just holds Tim's
thighs tighter and -- pulls. He wants Tim to spread his legs,
and Tim can absolutely --

Wind up half-sprawled and half straddling Dick's thighs.
*Close*. Every point of contact is thrumming in Tim, through
him, like he's just a particularly thick and awkward wire, or --
he doesn't know. He wants to know. He --

"Dick, we can -- would you tell me what you want?"

"What I..." Dick's laugh is soft and easy, but a little *dark*.

"Or I could --"

"How about a month, little brother?"

Tim blinks, pauses with his hands in Dick's hair. "A month...?"

"Four weeks and two days of thinking about you, wondering
if you were making love to your -- your *girlfriend* --"

"Oh. I -- that long?" And it shouldn't be a question, but it's
there. A month of not hearing from Dick directly, or even
indirectly through Oracle's little comments and jokes --
"Dick --"

"What would you have done? If you'd known?"

Another question that *shouldn't* be -- "Gone to you. Tried
to --" He catches himself *gripping* Dick's hair and stops.
"This. I want..." Dick's hands are still on his thighs, and Tim
covers them with his own, shakes his head --

"Whatever you can get?"

And -- he gets it. The anger there, the sense Dick must have
that Tim's been lying to him, holding back -- he's never
supposed to hold back from Dick, in any way, and he's
*known* that, but -- "Dick, the past three years --"

"More...? When you were only... watching?" Dick's stroking
the insides of Tim's thighs with his thumbs, holding on
*tight* --

"*More*, yes, Dick, but I didn't always know what *I*
wanted, and it's not like you would've wanted -- you didn't
*want* that from me, and I got used to it, I *made* myself
get used to it. I *liked* what we had --"

"You --" Dick closes his eyes and stops stroking, and when
he opens his eyes again...

It's nearly the same look he's caught, more than once, on
Bruce's face when he looks at the Case. "Jesus, Dick --"

"Did you? *Did* you like it, Tim?"

"Yes --"

"I need to know that, because you've been *lying* to me --
and don't just say something about not telling the whole
truth --"

"You said it, Dick -- *whatever* I can get. I -- I don't know
what else you want me to say, I don't know what you
*want* from me, just -- just -- draw me a fucking map,
here --"

"Anger," Dick says, and moves one of his hands up to Tim's
face. "I -- I have no idea why that helps --"

"Because you were raised by *Bruce* -- I -- Jesus. I didn't
mean to say that, I didn't --"

"But you meant what you *did* say, little brother," Dick says,
and moves his other hand to Tim's ass. "C'mon. Keep being
honest with me. Give me everything --"

"I don't *want* to, and you don't --"

"I'm not some *ideal*, Tim. You can't just meditate on my
presence and pretend I won't feel it, won't want more from
you, won't *need* more. Christ, you have to *talk* to me if
we're going to make any of this *work* --"

Incredibly, Tim can feel himself wanting to push *away*
from Dick, to rebuild the space between them into something
too solid to breach, and he can't decide if it's good or not
that Dick isn't letting him go. It's probably their worst ever
hug, since Tim has grown accustomed to knowing what to
do with them, and now he just feels -- trapped.

"Tim, please --"

God. "We -- we keep secrets. We *all* do. It's how we
work --"

"It's killing me, little brother. You -- please don't keep any
more secrets from me. Whatever Bruce says, whatever you
think I don't need to hear, whatever it is that's keeping me
*away* from you --"

"*You're* keeping you away from me, Dick. There's nothing
I wouldn't do for you, there's nothing I wouldn't *become*,"
Tim says, and there's a moment where the words are just
words, just another part of everything Tim's trying to make
things okay between them -- and then he realizes what he'd
just said.

And the fact of it gets heavier and harder with every second
that passes, with the feel of Dick slowly letting him go. True
things, personal things, and -- maybe now they're even.

If that even counts for anything at this point.

"Look at me."

Not right now. Just -- not right this *second* --

"Please, Tim."

He looks, and Dick is watching him, reading him for the lie
that just isn't there -- maybe hoping that it is? Tim thinks
about all the different ways he's been watched, studied,
*investigated* over the years, and -- no. Dick has never
looked at him the way Bruce does. It's just one of the
things which makes Dick comfortable, safe and precious
and needful. Tim -- doesn't bite his lip. "If it helps, I had
other reasons, too, soon enough."

Dick blows out a breath. "What if it doesn't help?"

"It's still true. It couldn't -- *I* couldn't work as well as I
have if it wasn't true. The way I feel about you made me
take the first few steps. I made the rest without you," Tim
says, and thinks about the year he'd spent with only Bruce
and Alfred, with his fantasies about Robin swinging back
between thoughts of Dick and Jason... Dick hadn't been
there. It's the first time he's ever thought that was a good

"If I had known, Tim --"

"If you had known, you would've done everything in your
power to push the crazy, infatuated, *soft* teenager back
into a normal life. And a lot of things would be different
right now."

Dick sits back on his heels and drums his fists on his own
thighs, once, twice. "Different. Not better."

Tim nods, and waits.

"I don't like... I don't like you having had a good reason to
lie to me? I think that's what I mean. Jesus, this is... a
mess, little brother."

It is. But. "It doesn't have to be."

"Are you suggesting we just go with it? Forget everything
and let the hormones rule the day? Who are you, and what
have you done... heh. Possibly not the best joke right this

Tim doesn't try to keep the smile off his face. "Humor,
especially when *inappropriate*, can be deeply therapeutic."

Dick smiles down at the bed for a moment before looking
back up at Tim. It's a tired kind of smile, but Tim will take
it. Happily.

"Dick, this can be whatever you want, even if you just want
to go back to teasing each other and watching bad movies.
Everything is -- I'm okay. I've grown out of pining for you,
and --"

"And you can just walk away from tonight without even a

"Hardly. But I can walk, yes, Dick. You -- I think you already
know that about me."

Dick raises an eyebrow. "Yeah. I do, actually. Which makes
me wonder how much you know about *me*."

"Ah -- a fair amount. I think --"

"Then you know I can't let that stand. I can't... we can't walk
away from this, Tim."

It's only apparent that Tim was calm for some unknowable
stretch of time by the fact that he isn't, anymore. He'd really
thought -- "You don't want to... take some time to think
about things?"

"That would probably be rational," Dick says, and grips Tim
by the hips. "Probably even appropriate."

"I'd think so. Not that I'd try to push you, either way --

Dick's hand is firm and *sure* around Tim's penis, making
the pajama pants bulge out even more, stroking fast and --
not as hard as it could be. Not -- he can't quite hold onto
that thought, and he'd like to. It's something to analyze,
some way to get his bearings or --

"*Fuck* --"

It's not that his nipples are all that sensitive, it's just that
Dick's fingers are rough and callused and -- again, not as
hard as they could be.

"Dick, we -- oh -- God."

"I just want you as hard as you were *before* I knew you
were thinking about me. I want that *back*."

Tim nods, because that's completely reasonable, to the
extent that he has the ability to determine things like
reasonability --

"Tell me what you were thinking about."

"Nothing -- ah. God, Dick --" A pinch just below the head of
Tim's penis, not hard enough to feel anything but wonderful,
despite the warning in it --


Dick's voice is too hard again. Just -- "Nothing *specific*, I
mean. I wouldn't have been able to really -- Dick, your
hand --" Tim shakes his head --

"I *want* specifics, though," Dick says, and squeezes
tighter. "Any idea how I can get them?"

That -- hm. "Is that why you aren't kissing me, anymore?"

Dick takes a sharp breath, eyes widening for a moment
before they narrow again. "You think I'm being too hard on
you, little brother?"

And *that* -- had a lot of potential. "I think you're still
holding back -- ah --" And the hand that was on his chest is
on his face, holding his jaw steady, his mouth open -- Tim
tilts his head back to ease the strain --

"Are you gonna push me?"

Anger there, yes, but it's Dick, and Dick's still stroking him,
still squeezing and just -- *driving* him. There's a safety
here which is *implied* -- and driven home by the light
dancing in Dick's eyes. "You've... mm. Never wanted me to
just *take* it, Dick --"

"Very true. Very... heh." Dick slows the stroke down to
something which could possibly seem soothing if it wasn't
so much of a tease, but doesn't ease the grip on Tim's
face. "Tell me what I want to hear."

Heh. "Bruce and I are getting along *wonderfully* -- ah
*fuck* --" That squeeze was just -- vicious. Tim's heart is
pounding now, and breath is getting harder to catch --

"*Tell* me."

"I think about -- sucking you off --"

Another blown-out breath. Perhaps he was expecting Tim to
use the word "fellatio." Well.

"Sometimes I'm -- I'm on my knees for you, Dick --"

Faster strokes again -- "Other times?"

Tim bites back -- half of the moan. He has to make his
*case*. "Other times I'm on my back and you're pinning
me, slipping in..."

Dick shudders once, all over, and breathes in. "What else. I
want -- give me *everything* --"

"You could consider... quid pro quo."

"Not if you're still speaking Latin," Dick says, and strokes the
head of Tim's penis with his thumb, hard little circles that are
making Tim's hips jerk, buck --

"We could try French --"

"More." And Dick lets go of Tim's jaw and starts tracing
patterns on his chest and abdomen, tugging at the hair
below Tim's navel and back up again. Compared to the
stroking it's nothing, except when it's a ticklish tease
making his skin prickle as it tries to decide whether Tim's
too hot or too cold -- "*More*."

Tim closes his eyes -- no. Tim opens his eyes, and waits the
second it takes for Dick to meet them, to make sure he
won't look away -- "You could fuck me --" *Squeeze*, and
Tim has to close his eyes for that, but he doesn't have to
keep them that way.

Somehow, Dick has found a way to look honestly shocked,
and the rhythm of the strokes has changed, lost --
something --

"I want it. I've wanted it for years, Dick --"

"I need to be kissing you. I -- God," and Dick cups Tim's
side and squeezes hard. "Tim --"

"Dick..." He can't -- he can't stop working his hips. "Any way
you want to play this. We can --"

"Who's *playing*?"

Tim would like to answer that question, or at least ask any
of the follow-up questions that one demands, but the heat --
he knows it's heat now, he knows it with *all* of himself --
is killing him, slowing him down and speeding him up, and
the only thing that comes out is "Dick," and trying again
only gives him "*please* --"

"I've got you. I -- God, just give it up for me, let me *see*."

And it's a shock to discover that he's still just holding on to
the duvet, and it's more than that to realize that he can't
make himself let go, even to make Dick stroke him faster.
He opens his mouth and the sound that comes out is much
too loud, but maybe exactly as honest as he needs it to
be --

"Oh, Tim, come on, come for me --"

Tim lets himself close his eyes and lets himself -- move. He's
*twisting* his hips with every stroke now, and the sounds
won't stop coming out of his mouth. The mattress is shifting
beneath his knees, but he can't really make that make sense,
not with this touch, not with the feel of that hand, Dick's
hand --

Dick's *mouth*, pressed against the side of Tim's throat,
Dick's tongue and teeth, and every time Tim thrusts, now,
the head slides against Dick's abdomen, the material of his
shirt clinging, shifting --

Tim bites his lip on the cry that wants to come out, because
he knows it would be much too loud, because he can't stop
himself, this time --

And Dick kisses him, hard and wet, forcing Tim's mouth
open and licking his way inside --

Inside --

"*Please*, little brother --"

And it feels like the orgasm rolls down his spine, taking
everything with it on the way until it almost hurts to shoot.
He's gasping and moaning into Dick's mouth, shaking all
over --

Dick takes his hand away too soon, but it's only to wrap his
arms around Tim and squeeze, rocking them both. The
kisses get softer, and then they're all over Tim's face, his
neck, his face again --

"Dick," Tim says, but he still can't quite breathe correctly.
He shakes his head --

"Let me. Just -- let me hold you --"

"I wasn't -- objecting," and Tim manages, with an effort, to
make himself let go of the duvet and hold on to Dick,
instead. His palms are damp with sweat, and he winces,
internally, at letting Dick feel that -- And then he remembers
that it's okay, that he is, perhaps, *supposed* to let Dick
feel it, that everything has changed --

"Uh-oh. You're tense as hell all of a sudden, I -- Jesus, are
you okay?"

Tim strokes up to Dick's obliques and squeezes. "Ah -- call
it reality lag."

"Hmm," Dick says, pulling back enough to nuzzle Tim's
cheek and push his sideburns up against the grain. "And
that means?"

"That means -- I've had too many fantasies to be really sure,
right now, that this is happening," Tim says, then squeezes
again before pushing back.

Dick tilts his head to the side and raises his eyebrows.
"Thought you weren't objecting to the cuddle?"

"Ah -- hm." He's blushing again. He wouldn't think he'd be
able to feel it, considering how flushed he *knows* he is.

Dick spreads his arms and raises his eyebrows a little higher.
He's expecting a hug, or --

Tim's not sure what, exactly, Dick is *expecting* from him,
right now. He'd like to know... and maybe he can ask, some
other time. Right now... he kneels up enough to take the
pressure off his quads, and then crawls a little further up
the bed before lying down.


"The positioning choices available, this way, are... rather
more efficient," Tim says, and thinks about raising his own
eyebrows. He pulls his knees up, arches, and skins all the
way out of the pajama bottoms, instead.

Dick watches him do it -- avidly. His eyes are bright enough,
*sharp* enough, that it almost seems like Tim *hadn't* been
naked in front of Dick before.

Which -- Tim can understand where the feeling comes from,
but that doesn't mean he's happy about the fact that he'd

"It's okay. It's..." Dick shakes his head and rests his hand on
Tim's shin. "I think I'm having a little reality lag, too."

Tim nods and reaches out. Dick takes his hand -- and doesn't
come all the way up the bed. He straddles Tim's thighs,
shakes his head again --

"Sorry, I..."


"I should be... a lot better than I am, right now. I should be...
God, the last time you actually *offered* to just let me hold
you was *never*," he says, and strokes a hand down his
own chest, and down, and -- squeezes.

The shadows are falling *just* the wrong way to let Tim see
how hard Dick is, but -- he can guess. He can wish, and
want -- he can *have*. "Dick, I didn't get into this position
*just* to... cuddle."

Dick takes a long, deep breath, shifts -- and now his face is
in shadow, but -- "No...?" His voice tells Tim all -- almost
all -- he needs to know. Tim can't spread his legs with Dick
there, but -- well.

He pulls his legs out from between Dick's own, folding
himself in half for a moment before spreading his legs
*outside* of Dick's own. "Anything, Dick."

The laugh is a small thing, and sounds almost *strangled* --
"That looks more like everything, little brother."


"You are..." Dick shakes his head again, but this time he
leans in, bracing one hand next to Tim's head on the pillow.
The tension in the forearm is more than it should be for
Dick, for the move --

Tim reaches to stroke Dick's arm, and Dick touches Tim's
face lightly with his other hand. His fingers are shaking, and
that... Tim's not hard again, but his body wants him to know
that he could be, that, while it's not a matter of *choice*,
the imperative of it is something which has nothing to do
with *his* mind. "Dick, I'm -- I'm here."

"You're beautiful. I remember... I'm thinking about the first
time we sparred, and the first time we sparred on a
rooftop -- the way you *smiled* at me --"

"I was happy. You -- you're very good at making me happy,
Dick --"

Dick's breath comes out on a hiss that turns into a sharp
little moan that makes Tim want -- no, there are no words
needed after that. He *wants*. He squeezes Dick's arm and
then slides his hand up to Dick's shoulder, feeling for the
points of tension and learning them, as best he can. It's
worst in Dick's neck, the back of it fuzzed with soft hair and
a little damp with sweat that has nothing to do with
exertion -- "Kiss me," Tim says, and doesn't have time to
get out the 'please' before Dick is right there, over him,
pressed against him --

"Where?" Dick's voice is low and sharp, maybe hungry --
and he doesn't give Tim time to answer before he starts
moving against him, slow and really very *thorough*. Tim
pulls his knees up and presses his legs against Dick's own --

"Anywhere," Tim says. "Dick, what do you want --"

"I --" And the kiss, when it comes, barely glances off the
corner of Tim's mouth. It's more of a wet nuzzle over his
cheek, messier when Dick shoves his arms under Tim's
back and turns them onto their sides -- "Tim," he says,
whispered into Tim's ear --

Tongue, and Tim's body can't decide if he's ticklish there or
not, but the way his body jerks just makes Dick hold him
tighter -- roll them again, and now Tim's straddling Dick.
His jeans are a little scratchy against Tim's inner thighs
and his hands are intensely mobile, stroking, pushing,
holding -- finding scars. Tim's not sure what to do with his
own hands, other than covering Dick's whenever *his*
hands slow and stop. But -- hm. "Are you wondering how
many scars you're -- indirectly -- responsible for?"

"I am *now*, Jesus, I never --"

"I -- pretend I didn't just say that," Tim says, squeezing
Dick's hands and urging them on gently.

"Do -- do you really think that way? Am I..." Dick frowns, the
light from the lamp highlighting the shifting shadows. His
hair is mussed, falling over his face, and Tim wonders if the
want will ever seem manageable, as opposed to immediate.

"I think about you, Dick. Just -- let me make you come?"

"God -- if I ever thought you'd *talk* like this..."

"If I'd ever realized it would... help," Tim says, shrugging
lightly and reaching for the buttons of Dick's shirt. His hands
are steadier than he would've thought. A small moment of
blessing, perhaps, and a part of him is wondering what he'll
have to pay for this, for every one of these moments of
grace, under Dick's eyes.

Dick is watching his face, perhaps checking for hesitation or
anything that isn't quite honest. Tim raises his eyebrows and
keeps going -- and gives himself leave to flatten his hands
against Dick's chest and push under the fabric of the shirt
once it's halfway unbuttoned. Dick responds by sort of
*rolling* his hips up, just enough to drag the fly of his jeans
lightly against Tim's scrotum. He's *hard* under there, and
it's abruptly difficult to remember why he'd gone for the
shirt *first*.

Tim hesitates on the second to last button --

"Hey, we don't have to -- ohh. Jesus, yes --"

Tim is absolutely capable of cupping Dick through the jeans
while he finishes opening the shirt with his other hand.
Touching Dick like this -- is he going to get used to this?

Does he want to? Something to think about *later*, and Tim
shifts and squeezes until he can mark out the shape of
Dick's erection through the pants. There's a satisfaction to
it that Tim doesn't have words for -- more when Dick sits
up on his elbows and the shirt falls open to either side of

Beautiful, and it feels like less a thought than the thing
which pushes him, curls his fingers tighter and makes him
lean in. Dick cups the back of his head and pulls them
closer and into a kiss which is slow and hard and almost
frighteningly *easy*, as if this is just something else
they've practiced, something else Dick has taught him
with his body --

Dick shifts, but doesn't pull away from the kiss -- he's taken
the shirt off completely. He cups Tim's shoulder with his
free hand, squeezes and strokes and scratches at Tim's
scalp with blunt nails. Tim feels himself shivering, and
presses closer. He's not sure if he wants more of Dick's
heat or if he just wants Dick to *feel* him --

"Hard little body -- mm," and Dick kisses him again, bites
Tim's lower lip, kisses -- "I could imagine you. I knew your
body, I *know* your body, but --"

"It's different. It's..." Tim shakes his head and focuses on
working Dick's fly with the hand pressed between their

"Very different. Very -- very, very good," Dick says, twisting
his body -- and the button is open. Of course Dick would
find a way to make it easier.

Of course -- the smile on Tim's face feels tight and a little
painful, but only because a part of Tim is still convinced that
he's showing too much. There's no such animal here,
especially when Dick kisses the corners of the smile. It's an
illusion that it soothes the muscles, but --

"You've never made love."

"You mean outside my... imagination?" Tim lets the smile
get a little wider and -- yes, it still feels good on his face.
Not as good as the *heat* behind Dick's -- they would be
boxer-briefs. Tim twists his hand enough that he can tease
at the edge of a leg hole and press his wrist against Dick's
erection --

"I think I want -- mm. A front row *seat* to those fantasies
of yours, Tim --"

Tim works his wrist a little more -- and Dick pushes him
away just enough to get his own hand between them and
hold Tim's arm still. Hm. "Too much?"

"Yes and no -- God, I can't decide what I want to *do*."

That sounds -- entirely wonderful, except for the possibility
that Dick will take *time* to decide. Tim backs off a little,
tugging until Dick lets him go --

"What --"

And bends down, in -- the *scent* --

"Hey, you --" Dick's laugh makes Tim tense, relax, *need* --
"God, I think if you just *breathed* on me like that for a little
while --"

Tim exhales --

Dick moans and cups Tim's head. "I won't -- I can't say no,
oh Jesus, Tim --"

"The feeling -- the feeling is entirely mutual," Tim says, and
he barely has to *nuzzle* before Dick's penis slips out of the
slit, bobs against his face, slicks his *cheek* --

"Oh, just -- *look* at you --"

Looking at Dick is much, much better, especially given the
opportunity to watch Dick's expressions shift and change
when Tim licks him, and again, and -- slower this time,
better for the taste, the *feel*. Tim turns his head and
closes his lips around the shaft, presses --

"*Fuck*, Timmy --"

-- loses his place when Dick's hips jerk, or possibly for the
nickname. Does Dick *want* him to be a Timmy? Does he
(still?) see Tim that way? What would it be like to live in
that sort of place?

"Please. Oh -- God, just -- just the head, little brother, I need
to -- need you --"

He can't keep himself from licking up from the base one
more time, but it leads as naturally as he'd ever imagined
into letting the head slip between his lips, brush over the tip
of his tongue -- settle there, a solid weight once Tim shifts
the angle of his head.

He can't see Dick as well, this way, but he can't really care
about that once Dick starts putting a little pressure on his
head, pulling him in --

Pulling him *down* --

"Ah -- fuck, you -- your mouth is so warm, so tight around
me -- I can't wait to show you how this *feels* --"

And it's not an image within his mind. It doesn't even seem
to have anything to *do* with his mind. It's a feeling, all
over him, his body telling him what that heat would be like,
suggesting and making Tim dream with all of himself --

"You feel so good, so -- oh, suck me, take -- take as much
as you can --"

Always, Tim thinks, and everything, and -- more. He
would've thought it would be better if he sort of bobbed his
way down, but the urgency in Dick's voice doesn't exactly
invite finesse. Tim wraps his hand around the base of Dick's
penis and goes down until he feels the flutter of his gag
reflex, and promises himself time and practice to obliterate
the thing as much as possible. Safety is one thing -- Dick is

"Oh, I -- I think I understand 'everything,' little brother. I
think I -- I want to take you home with me, want to make
you scream down the walls, I -- oh, your *tongue* --"

Tim uses it more and imagines it -- again. Clutching at the
sheets on Dick's bed and moaning as much as he wants to,
as much as his throat can handle -- Tim swallows back
saliva and tightens his lips around Dick's penis. Dick's grunt
is low and almost anonymous -- There've been other
fantasies, other thoughts too wild and strange, too
implausible for anything but the moments of supreme
tension, masturbation *before* patrol, and the image of
himself on his knees in some men's room at the back of a
club --

"Tim, Tim -- don't stop, don't -- oh, please don't --"

And nothing is anonymous, anymore, and that's so much
better, so much -- there's a tightness inside Tim, now, that
familiar sense of being tested on something he has learned
well enough *to* be tested on --

"I love you so much, little brother, Timmy -- God, don't let
me *hurt* you --"

It's ridiculous and it isn't -- *Dick* isn't testing him, but Tim
knows himself well enough to know that he's testing himself
in this. How much can he take? How much can he *cope*
when Dick's hands are shaking with the effort of *not*
pulling Tim further down, not taking what he wants, what
he needs --

Tim hears himself moaning, and the sound is obscenely
muffled, suggestive of everything they're doing right now --
everything they could *be* doing. Would Dick let Tim moan
into a pillow? And just the thought of that --

He's sweating enough, now, that he's going to need to
shower before he sleeps if he doesn't plan to wake up
absolutely *reeking* of everything -- oh, but he wants to.
This is what sex is, what it must have always been: the
realization that there's no *end* to desire, to hunger and
all the different ways a body can need. The shaking hand
on the back of his head, the weight on his tongue, the
scent of himself mingling with Dick's own --

Tim tries pushing himself farther and makes himself gag
once, again --

"No, oh no that feels too good, Tim, Timmy don't --"

Perhaps 'Timmy' is the boy who has been haunting Dick for
the past month. He certainly *sounds* like someone who'd
make Dick feel the need to offer protection -- even from
himself. Tim hums around Dick, moans when the sound
seems to vibrate up into his *skull* -- and moves his
hand. The basics are there, within his mind, and the *act*
shouldn't be too difficult. Tim starts swallowing before he's
as far down as he could be and keeps doing it until --

"Oh -- oh *God*, little brother --"

Dick's voice, the shock -- and the shock of the *feeling*.
He can't breathe, it's too much -- and Tim's pulling back
before he can think of doing anything of the kind --

"*Fuck*, that's -- no, it's okay, you don't -- oh, Tim --"

He can't swallow back all the saliva anymore. It's on his
chin, spilling down to the bed -- Tim takes a deep breath
and tries again --

"I'm close. I'm -- oh, let me come in your mouth --"

Tim's hard. He's -- he's *been* hard, and he doesn't know
for how long, and he needs to *concentrate* on this, he has
to get Dick *inside*, hold him tight, take him *in* -- he
coughs, this time, more saliva running down his chin, and
Dick has a *grip* on the back of Tim's head now --

"Let me -- everything, I'll give you everything, show you --
I won't *stop* --"

Moaning doesn't make it any easier to swallow, but Tim
can't stop himself, can't -- at some point, he'd cupped Dick's
hips with his hands. He doesn't remember doing that, but
the feel of them, the *tremor* -- and what if Dick fucked
his *mouth*?

Would he be able to take it? He wants to, he *needs* to --

Tim swallows, *gets* it -- and then Dick *shoves* in,
gasping and shaking -- coming. Tim keeps swallowing,
fights back the urge to cough, the panic at the fact that he
*can't* pull back against the hold Dick has on him --

The feel --

The perfection of the moment, even as his heart pounds so
loudly in his ears that he almost can't hear the soft sounds
at the end of every one of Dick's gasps.

Tim -- holds on.

And holds on tighter when Dick starts trying to push him off.
He -- he has *enough* air. Probably more than Dick does,
considering that laugh --

"Are you gonna nerve-strike me if I don't let you stay right

Probably not. Tim swallows one more time and pulls off --

"Oh, I'm too sensitive for -- no, that didn't mean stop --"
Another laugh, and that's more than enough reason for Tim
to smile once he *is* off.

And wipe his mouth. And stretch a little, because... because
he'd absolutely curled in on himself to suck Dick off instead
of getting into a better position. It hadn't seemed important
at the time.

Dick grins at him and -- helps him stretch, easily finding
every point of tension and rubbing it out almost before Tim
is aware of discomfort. Somehow this leads to Tim lying on
his stomach with Dick half on top of him. Dick's penis is a
soft, damp weight on the back of Tim's thigh and Tim feels...
really very good.

Better when Dick kisses the back of his neck and strokes his
shoulder and down Tim's arm until he can twine their fingers

"So. Tim."


"Do I get to apologize for that complete lack of control?"

No. You had more than enough control. Any more control
than that -- "No," Tim says, and uses the pillow to scratch
a spot on his nose.

Dick laughs softly, breath tickling Tim's ear -- another kiss.
"I still get to tell myself that I didn't waste three years. I
kinda have to, or else..."

"Think of it this way, Dick -- you were giving me time to
refine my desires."

"Mm. I want the rough drafts, too, though," Dick says, and
rubs his stubble against Tim's shoulder.

Tim closes his eyes. "I -- noted."

"Also, I happened to notice -- thank my training in methods
of detection -- that you're packing heat again."

"I'm... pretty relaxed, Dick. As these things go."

"That better be a 'no, I'm done making love to you for now,
Dick,' because if you're seriously trying to be *polite*..." The
tone is enough of a warning, but Dick also squeezes Tim's
hand -- right.

"Hmm... reflex?"

"Uh, huh. What do we do with dangerous reflexes around
here, little brother?"

"Beat them out of each other with prejudice and malice

Dick bites Tim's shoulder and hums. "It's for your own good.
Trust me," he says, squeezing Tim's hand one more time
before moving off and tugging Tim's shoulder until he rolls
onto his back.

Tim braces himself on his elbows and tilts his head up for a
kiss which makes him want to be on his stomach again, or
perhaps his knees. There's a fierceness to it which doesn't
seem to fit the tone of their last bit of conversation, and
while it makes Tim want to question, it mostly just makes
him want more. He'll ask the question later, or find the time
to study until he can answer it for himself, just --

More, and every sign that this won't end here, every
*possibility*. He can brace himself on one elbow and he
does, cupping Dick's face and trying to will him to
understand that he can do anything, have everything --
including and perhaps especially the need Tim has, right
now, to touch himself.

It's better to wait, to let the feeling burn through him until
he's shaking for Dick again, giving him everything he
*can* --

And when Dick pulls back from the kiss, it's only to wrap an
arm around Tim again and pull him close, bite Tim's ear,
push him back and scrape his teeth over the tendon in
Tim's throat, *bite* --

"*Yes*," Tim says, and doesn't bother trying to keep his
hips from working. It's better to be a little wild for this --

"Lick my palm," Dick says, close enough to the Nightwing
voice to make Tim tense, *need*. His eyelids feel heavy
and Dick's palm tastes like salt and smells, still, a little like
Tim. Tim licks it as slowly as he can justify to himself and
arches up enough to catch Dick's fingers, too --

And Dick slips two fingers into Tim's mouth and thrusts,
slow and steadier than either of them are breathing, right
now. Tim lets his eyes slip all the way closed and goes with
it, curling his fingers in against the duvet, in against Dick's
shoulder. In, like the fingers in his mouth, pressing down
on his tongue and tickling at his palate.

He wants to swallow them, too, and everything Dick will
give him, and Tim thinks he might love the sound that
comes out of his mouth when Dick takes his fingers *away*.
It's the perfect expression of everything he's feeling and
every coherency of thought he currently *lacks* --

And Dick's hand around his penis is, if anything, better than
it was before. Warmer, more serious, yes, *better*, and
Tim opens his eyes to try to meet Dick's own, but -- he's
looking down, away -- concentrating on something else?

Tim settles for hanging on tight to Dick's shoulders and
pushing his penis into the slick warmth of Dick's fist,
watching that fist work and slide and squeeze around him,
change him and shape him --

"No, I need more," Dick says, pushing Tim down and
kissing -- biting his way down Tim's chest, abdomen --

And Tim's tensed up so hard that the flicker of Dick's
tongue against the head of his penis almost makes him
yell. He bites his fist and starts to curl in on himself --
Dick's tongue, Dick's breath --

And Dick pushes him down again, looks at him --

The fierceness, the *wildness* is there, and something
which almost looks like anger -- Tim *really* wants to ask,
now, but there's no time before Dick bends down and
takes him -- oh, all the way down, all the way *in* -- and
out again, almost out --

Down and Tim bites down *hard* on his fist, but the sound
still comes out, whining and high, and now Dick is working
himself on Tim's penis, fast and hard and Tim's shaking too
much to work his hips to the rhythm. He doesn't think it
would be possible for him to *find* the rhythm. He's shaking
now, and there's no real relief when Dick catches hold to his
hips and pins them down. It's too good, and a part of him
wants him to think it's too much -- no.

Not too much, never too much, even if it's killing him, even if
it's making his eyes roll back in his head -- heat, *slick* --

Tim squeezes his eyes shut and shudders and moans through
it. It's nothing he'd imagined, nothing he *could* have
imagined. The intensity -- no, he has to see it. Curling in on
himself feels as good as it did before, as necessary, and
now Dick's hands are too busy to push him down.

Dick -- the motion looks vicious, still almost angry, and it's
impossible to look away from. It's all part of this, and Tim
knows he'll spend hours and days thinking about just this,
and holding it to himself -- "Oh --"

Dick pulls off and pants, breath heating and cooling the
saliva on Tim's penis -- "Tim, I..." And then he shakes his
head and goes down again, and Tim can't --

He can't breathe --

Can't think can't breathe --

And he has just enough of himself left to grab a pillow and
hold it in front of his face before he comes with a yell.
Almost too loud not to hear Dick's moan, almost --

Something. Definitely... some sort of thing, which may or
may not apply to the feel of himself falling back against the
bed. It is, he thinks, a good thing that the walls here are

It takes a while to realize that his eyes are actually open,
and then some other stretch of time to close them, open
them again... there is absolutely nothing of interest on his
ceiling. He'd known that before. Perhaps he could put up a
model of the universe as viewed from... hm. The
Watchtower, maybe...

Maybe. Tim starts to sit up again -- and Dick pushes him
back down and sits back against the headboard. "I'm
starting to get the sense that you want me in this position
for some reason," Tim says, and then goes back to
focusing on his breathing.

"I -- Tim."

And then *not*, because Dick's voice is -- all wrong.

"I want more -- I want to do this again, and keep doing it --"

"In case it wasn't clear, I really am okay with that. You
might even say the prospect *enthuses* --"


That *voice* -- it's worth risking sitting up again, and this
time Dick lets him do it. He's not looking at Tim, and it
feels... less daring than it would've been an hour ago to
catch his jaw. "Dick, there's something... what aren't you

Dick sighs and twists out of Tim's grip, and the look on his
face -- "What are you going to tell Steph?"

Well. That. There's a part of him which wants to immediately
counter with a question of how well all of this would've
worked if Dick's relationship with Barbara hadn't ended so
*badly*, but -- really no. At best, that's a conversation for
another time. "It's -- a good question."

Dick's laugh is derisive, but not especially *aimed*. "You
don't say. Tim, we just -- God, I wasn't thinking about it,
and then I was, and I still couldn't *stop* --"

"Steph and I... have talked about my sexuality," Tim says,
pulling his knees up and sitting back against the headboard,
too. "She --"

"She knows you're... bisexual? *I* didn't know that until --"

"We weren't *dating*, Dick."

Dick blows out a breath. "Point. But..." He knocks his head
against the wall twice. "There's a difference between your
girlfriend knowing you play for both teams and your
girlfriend knowing that you're sleeping with someone else,

Tim nods, and he's thinking about it --

"You -- you have to tell her, Tim --"

"When Bruce... outed me, I made a decision that I would
never lie to her again, Dick. I -- of course I'm going tell her.
There's no question. There *can't* be any question --"

"You love her. You --" Dick scrubs a hand back through his
hair, and then covers his face for a moment before turning
to face Tim. "How is this working in your head, exactly...?"

Other than the images of Dick and Steph together...? Tim
smiles to himself --

"Seriously, Tim, you've got to tell me why I'm the only one
freaking out here."

"It's possible that endorphins have something to do with
that, Dick. I mean, you *did* just --"

"*Tim*, you --" Dick turns, moves, pulls Tim's legs out
straight and straddles them. "Be serious. Be -- be *here*
with me, right now."

"I never thought you'd ever tell me to stop -- okay, Dick,
okay," Tim says, and raises his hands. "To be honest, I
haven't gotten past the part where I tell her as much about
this as she wants to hear, and wait until she tells me to
either get out or... I don't know."

Dick stares up at the ceiling for a moment and then looks
back at him. "And if she wants to break up with you?"

"It would feel like... losing a part of myself. I'd never try
to..." Tim frowns at his hands. "I'd give her all the space
she wanted, and I'd try to change her mind," he says, and
looks at Dick again.

"Even though you want *us* to be together. I --" Another
one of those sharp laughs which make Tim almost kind of
*itch* inside -- "Greedy, much?"

"I told you, Dick -- I want everything. I -- no, I don't mean
to be that glib --"

"But you meant exactly what you said," and Dick touches
Tim's cheek with two fingers. "I -- I really can't help liking
all this honesty you're giving me, little brother. Just like I
really can't help wondering how this is all going to *work*."

Tim leans into the touch and lets his eyes close for a
moment. "I'm guessing -- awkwardly."

Dick cups Tim's face. "Not to do a complete one-eighty on
you, but -- I've got another question, and I'm not sure if I
want you to be honest or not."

Meaning, he suspects he won't like the honest answer.
"Are you sure you should ask?"

Dick's smile is rueful. "No. But..."

Tim reaches up to cover the hand on his cheek and nods.

"You weren't... overcome with emotion. Not so much that
you weren't entirely aware that you were cheating on your
girlfriend, were you?"

Tim squeezes Dick's hand. "I knew. I -- I don't have it in
me to say no to you, or even to... pass up a chance, with

"You keep finding new ways to tell me that, and it keeps
meaning different things when you do, little brother."

Tim... can't really deny that, at all. "Worse things?"

"Stranger things than I'd ever have imagined," Dick says,
moving his hand and shifting until he's sitting next to Tim
again. He puts his hand on Tim's thigh and squeezes. "I'm
not letting you go, Tim."

"Good --"

"I don't have that in *me*. I wish you could know what
everything you've told me tonight *feels* like. Like... a gift
I didn't know was there, or didn't know was for me... heh,"
Dick says, and throws a leg over Tim's own. "Like my first
Christmas in the manor, when it turned out that Bruce had
bought me one of every possible category of toy, including
a SimpleBake oven."

Tim laughs. "Did you like the oven?"

"I made *pie*. And... set fire to my bedroom."

"Mm. I probably would've taken one of those apart."

"*You* probably would've found a way to upgrade and
weaponize it, little brother, which is one of the reasons why
I love you," Dick says, and throws an arm around Tim's
 shoulders. "And I bet it's one of the reasons why Steph
loves you, too."

"She's... mentioned something of the sort."

"Do... I still want to take the two of you out, sometime."

Dick wouldn't be himself if he didn't. "Does that surprise

Dick bangs his head against the headboard again. "Probably
about as much as it *doesn't* surprise you, and -- okay, no,
I'm fine. You're going to say something about taking this
one step at a time, right? Because you've still got all that
extra Zen?"

Tim presses back against Dick's arm. "Maybe I'm just happy,

Dick sighs and squeezes Tim's shoulder. "I think I can live
with making you happy."

Tim smiles and closes his eyes.