A shape come
by Te
March 13, 2007

Disclaimers: No one and nothing here is mine.

Spoilers: Very vague references to ancient storylines.

Summary: You have to know him, and watch him.

Ratings Note/Warnings: Sexual content which may not
dovetail neatly with the content some readers may find
to be disturbing.

Author's Note: Part of the Human Things That Fly
series. Will not make a lick of sense without the

Acknowledgments: The usual suspects, with much


Jason won't ever admit it -- Dick knows this the way he
knows his own body -- but he actually really likes winter, at
least sometimes.

Like right now --

It was Jason's turn to take point, and so Dick's just coming
in from behind the little knot of gang members when Jason
crosses his arms over his chest *just* right to show off the
biceps and extensors and flexors and everything else that
seem to get bigger and harder and more perfect every day.
There's no reason for him to blow out a breath -- they'd
have to have been out on the street for way longer than
three hours doing the regular stuff for Jason to *actually*
be winded -- but he *always* does on nights like this, when
it's cold enough to turn it into this fantastic and almost
sparkling -- on those nights when they manage to get
everything choreographed under two or three arc-
sodiums -- *mass* of directed smoke.

And of course it's just condensation and cold, but still --

You use what you can, when you can.

After that, it doesn't take long for the taunting to start, and
the insults, and by the time the 'bangers realize that no
one's getting out without a fight, he and Jay have them
pretty well boxed between them, and then it's just like it
always is, perfect like it always is --

Jason coming in low, Dick going in high, and everybody
down before his brain can even catch up with all the moves
he'd used, much less the ones Jason had.

It's like breathing, he thinks.

Jason says it's just living right, and laughs when Dick rolls
his eyes.

That's perfect, too, kind of -- because it used to be easy to
do it, it used to come natural, but now it doesn't. Now Dick
has to *work* for it, play for it like Jason, because rolling
his eyes means he has to stop looking, and Jay --

You have to look at Jay. You just --

Anyway, Batman calls them in for a hostage situation, and
for a while it's the other kind of breathing. Not fun, not
exciting, not exactly *right* -- but routine and natural, just
the same. Their bikes get them there well within the fifteen
minutes Batman gave them, even with every other alley
being slush-and-iced up and dangerous, and Batman nods
once and sends them in. Jason gets the more dangerous
entrance like -- almost -- always, but these days it's just as
often because his uniform blends better than because he's
more experienced.

It's weird to think of himself as the stealthy one, to think
he's *supposed* to be the stealthy one, but, well. Jay is
*Jay*. It would be different if he weren't, but Jason never
even hesitates to just... explode into a room or a hall or
whatever. It's not that Dick doesn't know how to make an
entrance, but he has to think about *how* at least

Because it's his job to go slow and quiet, he actually misses
this entrance, but Batman is *Batman*, and that means
there'll be hacked footage later, and he can see, and maybe
learn something, but mostly *see*.

As it is, he gets in just in time for Jason and Batman to have
distracted all but one of the hostage-takers, leaving it to him
to take *out* the last one -- one kick and down, nothing too
showy -- and start herding out the hostages to the cops.

Jason pretty much thinks all cops are either stupid and
useless or too smart to be trusted, but Dick knows there are
some in-between, and that some of the smartest ones are
also the best. Unfortunately, most of them don't really trust
him, or think he should be around, or some stupid thing,
but that's the way it works -- us and them, always.

Jay says the Commissioner seems to actually like Batman,
or maybe it's Bruce, but there's a difference between liking
him and liking how he works. Dick...

Well, it's not that he doesn't get that -- he does. It's just
that he doesn't really think he's ever going to get used to
being thought of as a 'how' instead of a 'who.' And he
knows -- Jason *swears* -- that Batman doesn't think of
it that way, and he believes Jason, but Dick thinks maybe
if Batman *really* didn't think of it like that, then he

He doesn't know, really. And it doesn't actually matter
because, once it's all sewn up, all three of them do a fade
and meet up at the nearest r-point, and then Batman says
"two hours," and both he and Jay nod -- Jay grins, too --
and they take off.

The bikes get them down to the docks, the lines get them
back into the right kind of breathing. They do a little
serpentine, helixing -- he likes that word -- around and
through the warehouse district until they find more good
things to do, and more fun things, too.

The working girls all treat him like a pet -- Jay says it used
to be almost the same with him, but Jay can exaggerate
kind of a lot, sometimes -- and treat Jay like something
between the entertainment, the really rich john, and the
confessor. They get a lot of new leads on things, and even
though most of them have to go straight back to Batman
(and sometimes Dick thinks of him as 'the boss' and he
can't tell *what* Jay thinks about that, so he tries not to),
*some* of them don't.

The lines get them back to the bikes, the bikes get them
East Side. He would've thought Batman would prefer that
they bring *all* the costumed-criminal stuff back to him,
but, for some reason, he always leaves them Catwoman.
Which is fine, because she's so *good* that both of them
always learn a few things in between taking their beatings,
getting their exercise, and getting the job done.

Jay compliments her on her lipstick, once she's all tied up
and waiting patiently for the cops she'll figure out how to
escape from sooner or later, and Dick rolls his eyes on

"Aw, don't worry, baby," she says to him, all slow and not
really soft at all, so Dick knows to brace himself, "I'm sure
he'll keep it all-natural *sometimes*... if you ask nice."

And Jay ruffles his hair like it's nothing, and Dick knows that
Selina Kyle doesn't really *know* anything about who they
are, and how they live, and how he *feels*, but still -- it
takes a little work to just smile like a rueful little kid.

Once the cops get there, it's too late to find anything else
even a *little* serious to do, so Jay just leads him to one
of his favorite rooftops -- it gets so many different kinds of
light from so many directions that it's hard to see
*anything* clearly from the ground, while on the roof
everything's just as clear as --

Well, not day. That's not right at all.

Jay does a few stretches before just letting himself fall back
in a lean against the water tower. His head's tilted up to the
sky they can't really see, and Dick knows his eyes are

His eyes are closed, and his chin is up, and his ankles are
crossed and his knees are just a *little* bent, and he's so

He's so --

Jay hums a little, some little fraction of a song Dick thinks
he might know, that they maybe heard together once, or
something. Sometimes Jay doesn't *let* Dick go straight
home after school. They take the other bikes, or just
Jason's other bike, and downtown is always a little strange
when it's sunny. It's a reminder that they're in a city --
maybe not enemy territory, but not home, either.

They get pizza slices or pretzels or pierogies, they watch
movies or street performers or matinees of musicals, and
Jason is always right there, showing Dick what it's like to
be perfect.

It feels like self-defense to flip up onto the balustrade on his
hands and pace a little, hum the next bit of the song he
thinks Jason might've been thinking of --

"No, no, wait, I think it was like --" And Jason hums again,
and it sounds like musical questions, and Jason laughs and
shakes his head, curly hair flying a little. In all the unnatural
light, it's hard to tell if the dye looks wrong for his skin or
the skin for the dye.

It's not a bad wrong.

"Man, I can't -- it's right *there*, but I can't -- wait," he
says, and Dick's pacing with his eyes closed, now, more
self-defense, and just as useless as all the rest, because
Jason's right there, tugging on one of Dick's ankles *just*
right to get Dick to tumble off the balustrade into a safe
little cartwheel and to his feet again.

"Green...?" It's hard not to just say 'Jason.' Like it's hard not
to say 'Batman' when they're all back at the manor.

"Yeah, I -- here, I can *see* it, better than I can hear it, so
just --" And Jay has one arm around Dick's waist, and the
other hand twined with Dick's own.

He can't help it, he laughs too loud for the street, and Jason
hushes him with a little knock -- forehead-to-forehead.
"Can't hear if you're making too much *noise*, kid --"

"I'm not a *kid*," he says -- whispers -- emphasizing it with
a harder knock.

"I know, I know, reflex. Wait, just -- follow my lead, k?"

Always, and it's easier not to say it out loud this time,
because Jay's trying to hear what he can see, what they can
both feel once they start really dancing.

He's probably supposed to laugh, or pull away, or --
something. But 'supposed to' has more to do with the other
kids at school -- the *kids* at school, and they're never
going to be *them*, and so those kids can't ever be

You can't lie to a friend, Dick thinks, not really -- and Jason
has a lot of strong opinions about the opinions of people
who *aren't* their friends. Or, well, them. Dick's still not
sure how Batman fits into that, and -- and anyway, Jason is
right *here*.

It's starting to snow -- if they don't get on their bikes soon,
they'll be *late* -- but Jay is so close, Jay's *holding* him,
and wants this just a little, and Dick just -- can't.

"Ohh, I've got it," Jay says, and starts to hum again, sure
and note-perfect, and Dick can see it, too. Their seats were
close enough that when the lead actor turned just right,
you could see the sweat beading at his hairline, and they
wouldn't have had to be that close to know that the lead
actress' shoes were just killing her by act three.

Jay never really pays attention to the plots of most of the
shows they go to, but he loves the staging and all the little
tricks, and Dick loves --

Dick loves, and it's just flurries, now, but it'll be worse soon.
Even all the light won't help the visibility much, they'll
*have* to be almost this close just to see each other --

And when Jay gets to the end of the song, he grins, and
spins Dick for his little flourish, and there's just --

Dick can't -- he has to --

Jay's kissed his cheek, and his forehead, and his nose --
when he's gotten his hands on some champagne and is
feeling too wild to be cooped up in the manor, really --

Jay's kissed him in all those places, but now maybe it's
Dick's *turn*, and Jay's mouth is soft where his lips aren't
chapped with cold and a little too warm where a bruise is
going to pop up, and Dick knows Jay's eyes are open
because he can *feel* it. He can't open his own, and he
can't stop, and it's kind of a full-body *shock* to take that
last half-step *in*, to be close, armor to armor, suit to

*Green*, he thinks, and he *knows* Jay is just opening his
mouth to say something, to tell him to stop, but the feel of
it makes Dick moan, anyway. Too many *dreams* --

"Dick --"

"*Yes*," and it's so much of a surprise that he made a word
that he makes another sound and isn't fast enough to bury
all of it in Jason's mouth, as opposed to some. And for just
a minute --

No, it has to be shorter than that, or maybe forever --

Jay kisses him back, soft and warm and *Jay* --

And then he pulls and pushes and the snowflakes are so
cold on Dick's face they burn.

Dick feels himself balling up his hands and tensing up so
hard that Batman would make him stretch for an extra
hour just to be *sure* Dick got the point, and he can't say
a word.

Less than that, even, because Jay's touching his own mouth
like he's not sure what it is, or maybe like Dick had kissed
too hard -- he doesn't know.

He doesn't --

"D -- Gold, I -- you --" Jason's laugh isn't really like most of
his others, at all. It's the one that only happens when
Batman is there, or Dick is almost asleep. It's not really
about anything funny.

"I -- sorry. I'm sorry. I --"

"Are you? Sorry?"

Just like how that *look* on Jay's face isn't really anything
that can be lied to, or even exaggerated to. It's the one that
tells Dick that Jason *needs* something, and maybe it's
Dick's honesty or maybe it's something bigger than that, but
either way -- "No. No, I'm -- I've wanted to. For a really
long time. I."

"You..." For a second Jason almost looks *sad*, or so
confused it's making him sad, and Dick can't make himself
stay back.

"Jay --"

The head-shake stops him, maybe more than the hand
Jason has on his chest.

"Okay. I -- okay. I just --"

"Kid -- no, I'm sorry. You're not a kid, and I -- you..." Jason
gives the dark (and that's maybe the only right word for it)
little laugh again. "So... you've been kinda falling for me
over there for a while, hunh?"

It makes him blush -- sometimes it seems like Jason can
make him blush just by *thinking* about it, or breathing or
existing. But it's also true. Dick nods, and, when he can, he
says, "I -- yeah. I'm. I know you --"

"Stop. Just --"

"Jay --"

"*What* -- what do you know?"

"I know..." It's a knot. It's not *like* a knot, it doesn't *feel*
like a knot. It's a knot, inside him, and he's never been able
to figure out what to do with it. "I know you're... you and
Bruce, and I tried really hard to just... but. Yeah. I really -- I
love you, Jay."

Sometimes Dick thinks that it's because he lives where he
does, with the *people* he does -- a lot of the dreams he's
had about Jason have included just that wince, too. So he
was kind of prepared for it, even though he can't even really
*feel* all the places he's connected to himself, anymore.

"Yeah, I -- we. We should get back, Green."

"You weren't -- I thought about telling you about it, some of
the times you just -- you used to *ask* me how it was B
and I got *along* --"

"Jay, don't, it's okay, I really --"

"B and I aren't -- it's not what you think it is. That's all."

And the thing was, he could've sworn he was *moving*, but
Jay doesn't seem to have any problem catching him by the
arm and pulling him back, so he couldn't have been. "Look,
Jay, I just had to tell you --"

"Sometimes I think I was just waiting for you. Before you
got here, I mean. Like maybe B knew before -- shit, I never
wanted to -- you don't how fucking *guilty* I feel -- I don't
know what I'd do without --"

"Jay --"

And it's okay that Dick has no idea what he was going to
say after that, because Jay is kissing him, and it's almost
like the way Dick saw him kiss -- only it wasn't really
kissing --

It was Bruce's fingers, maybe right where Dick's tongue is
right now, and he knows he must look more like a fire truck
than Robin, more Red than Gold, maybe, but it doesn't
matter, because Jay's making him feel every part that had
disappeared a second ago, and his fingers want him to
know that they've always wanted to be in Jay's hair, just like
this, and everything --

Everything --

"*Fuck*, have you *ever* been saving that up --"

"Jay --" The rest he has -- *all* he has -- is panting, and he
can't even stop the whimper that crawls up from behind
something dark (the good kind) and warm and *full* inside
him, and --

"And that's fine, I swear, I promise, I promise you, Dick --"

In the end, he doesn't really know how long it lasts. After a
while, Jay yanks off his cape and covers their heads and
*pushes* them under the water tower, and he never really
stops telling Dick that it'll be okay, convincing and low and

Sometimes Dick can even make out the individual words
under the pounding in his ears and everything else, because
Jay doesn't really stop kissing him, either --

"I knew. I knew you were going to be so beautiful -- the
*first* time I saw you -- Jesus, Dick, it's messed up, it is,
but it's going to be okay --"

After a while, the wind starts blowing all the fresh snow
under the tower, too, and Jason kisses him one more time,
and manages to make it feel like it'll be the last one for a
while, *and* that that was okay. Maybe it's the smile.

He's not sure, and it feels like a dream he just doesn't
remember very clearly to rappel down from the roof, and
it feels like he's maybe just watching himself help Jay dig
their bikes out and warm them up enough to make riding
not suicidal, if not really safe, either.

It's actually a pretty good way to prepare for the ride home,
because the thing about riding at *speed* with Jason when
it's late enough that almost no one else is on the road is that
it's hard to really think about anything else, or at least about
anything real. You have to know him, and watch him, and
feel the way he's going to want to take *that* curve, as
opposed to that one, and know when *he* thinks it's time
to take it off-road to keep from getting bogged or worse.
It's good, though, because Jason didn't *have* to tell him
he'd been riding from the second Batman surrendered the
keys for Dick to know he has.

The bike is alive when Jay's on it, or it's a part of him, or
something else Dick could never find a way to say unless
he was talking *to* Jay. He gets them home without either
of them having to ditch, and it's just as exhilarating as it
ever is right up until they park and start to work the ice and
salt off everything on the bikes that could get really

Right up until Dick *notices* that Batman is there, and Dick
actually has a moment to wince for how *late* they are
until he's really wincing, until he's *remembering*, and --
it's hard enough to look at Batman when he's got the cowl
up and he hasn't *done* anything.

It's even worse when he doesn't, like now, when he's
looking into both of them, learning --

It doesn't matter that it's irrational -- Dick *knows* he
knows, and he knew Jason first, really and -- and he's not
a kid, so he gets ready for -- for whatever.

"Lost track of time...?"

"Something like," Jay says, before Dick can even think of
saying -- anything, and without looking up from his bike.
When he does, he gives Dick a look that means 'my turn'
and even a little 'go away now,' and Dick doesn't really
*want* to, but Jay isn't looking at him at all, anymore, when
he says, "Needed to talk to you."

And Batman nods *and* says "all right," and it's like Dick's
not even there at all.

So he goes.

Most of the time he at least changes out of the uniform
when he's in the Cave, even if he doesn't shower, but
Batman is Batman, and so there's a little thing which
*could* be a dumbwaiter (he hates that word a lot) in his
bedroom where he can shove his dirty uniform away from
any spying eyes, and of course he has his own bathroom.

Which is...

Well, it's one of the things which made him start *needing*
to try to reach out again after Zucco had had his parents
killed. (And Jason had gotten him back for that, gotten
Dick's own back, because he could and Dick *couldn't*.)

It's -- it's one of those *things*, because Jason had been
so nice to him right from the beginning, and so
understanding, and Jason thought things like having your
own bathroom -- and having a bathroom like the ones in
the manor -- were pretty cool.

Dick doesn't think it'll ever stop seeming overrated to *him*
(especially since Jay never minds when Dick interrupts him
getting ready for school), but it had felt important to at least
be a little excited about things that made Jay happy back

It still does.

And Jay -- well, Dick's not sure if he's supposed to try to go
to sleep after his shower, or not. Or -- well, he knows he's
not going to *get* to sleep, but maybe Jay wants him to.
He doesn't know.

There've been so many nights -- not every night, but still --
when Jason has come in just to check on him. After his own
patrols when he was the only Robin, or sometimes before
those patrols. And he'd kept doing it, even after Dick had
finally figured out that Jason and Batman were --

Well, now Dick knows that Jason *hadn't* realized he knew,
or had known for this long -- Dick knew before he was even
*street*-ready -- but back then it had always felt --

It had always felt like everything Dick knew would keep
Jason away, and it was always one more thing to be so, so
grateful for when it didn't, when Jason came to him
anyway, and whispered funny or kind of dirty things about
the people they knew, or the uniform he wore, or --
anything. Everything. But -- still.

Jay always calls him Bruce, except when they're out on the
street. He could be all wrapped up in the Batsuit and
working with his back to them all, to everything but the huge
console that won't ever stop feeling like something bigger
and scarier than just a supercomputer, he could be giving
one of his training lectures, he could be so closed off from
everything Dick's not even sure there's a person *under*
there, and he'll still be Bruce to Jay.

That has to --

It has to mean something, something bigger and more
important than anything (everything) *he* wants, and so
maybe he *is* just supposed to sleep, even after

It doesn't help him do it, though.

He's sitting up in bed when Jay (finally) comes through the
door Dick couldn't make himself close even a little, and it's
everything Dick can manage to just stay there and wait,
even though it's not like Jay ever takes a long time to cross
to the bed, unless he feels like making an entrance while
*in* the manor.

And he's right there, and he's got the quiet smile on his face,
the one that isn't really small so much as, well, quiet. And
he doesn't just sit on the side of the bed like usual, but
actually lies down next to Dick, so Dick has to lie down,
too, and Dick can breathe again, a little.

But Jason doesn't actually say anything.


"Right here, kiddo -- who is totally and completely not a kid,
and I cross my heart, I'll stop eventually."

Dick laughs even though he doesn't really want to. "Just --
that. It didn't seem to take very... long."

"What...? No, it -- look. He -- he knows. More than that --
he *knew*."

"But we didn't -- I didn't --"

"He's Batman," Jay says, and the laugh is one of the ones
that make Dick confused about whether he wants to kiss
Jay or just wrestle with them until both of their laughs feel

"Jay --"

"Look, just..." And Jay stops, and turns on his side, and his
hand is on Dick's chest approximately a year before Dick
can even think about slowing his heartbeat down.

It turns the smile on Jay's face into something rueful and
familiar *and* something different and kind of sweat-

"I don't know when I'm going to get used to being able to
pay attention to things like this," he says, and taps Dick's
chest with his fingers. "When I'm going to get used to
being able to let myself know what it means..."

"God, Jay --"

"I kinda hope it takes a while..."

And maybe he says something after that, and maybe he
doesn't. Maybe he just writes it into Dick's mouth with his
tongue. A part of him had thought it *would* take Jason
time to get used to things, to *all* of it, but that's the part
which keeps forgetting that Jay is Jay --

Just because he acts like he cares more about how he looks
than about anything else doesn't mean that there aren't all
kinds of bad guys running around Gotham -- or *not*
running around Gotham -- healing from broken bones and
snapped tendons and all the other things Dick's not exactly
supposed to be thrilled about --

("Man, when you smile like that, you look *just* like your

-- but is.

Jay can kiss him like this because at least a little part of Jay
already knew (like Batman?), and had already thought about
it, and maybe --

Maybe nothing or everything, because Jay is on top of him,
feeling huge *and* just right at once, and he's cupping
Dick's face in his hands, and the smile is the quiet one, and
the head-shake makes his hair fall a little in his face. He's
so --

"You are so -- you don't know what it was like to watch you
fly -- what it *is* like. I get so jealous, you know? You can
do things I never would've been able to, even if I hadn't --"

"No, Jay, you --"

And the hand on his mouth is big, and probably almost as
strong as one of Batman's by now, and even though it
makes him think *more* about Batman, Dick has to kiss it.

Just like, maybe, Jay has to laugh again. The not-so-good

"Listen, when Bruce brought you back here, I was *pissed*.
All I could think was that he'd had the chance to really
*help* a kid who'd gotten fucked over like I did -- like *he*
did, back in the day -- and had fucked it up again. That you
were going to wind up with the same life..."

It's good to have the hand there, because Dick doesn't think
he can -- he doesn't know what he *would* say.

"And *then* all I could think that even a few pieces of this
life were too fucked-up for you, but by then I couldn't even
imagine letting you go," he says, and moves his hand, and
Jay's timing is always perfect.

"I wouldn't -- I *don't* want to go unless you're with me."

"God, baby -- baby brother -- kid -- *shit*," Jay says, and
the laugh is right again, but Jay's hands are on his face.
"I'm gonna start over," he says, and it's muffled and sounds
rough, and the only thing Dick knows to do is to sit up and
hug him.

He smells like sweat and the inside of the Robin armor and
maybe a little like Batman, and maybe not. It doesn't
matter -- Jay's right here.

"Yeah, you're just as perfect as you've ever been, and don't
try to argue with me about it. I'm bigger, older, and
occasionally prettier."

Dick snorts, just like he's supposed to, just like he wants to.

"See, the thing is, and I know you're probably not gonna
get this all the way down to where it counts, and that's
okay, because there's no reason *for* you to get it, but it
means something that you *would* still go, okay? It -- it
means something that all you would need to make it okay
for you to split was to have me go with you, because --"

"Would you?"

And Jay gets quiet -- and it's not a long time, but it's still
long enough that it makes Dick bite the inside of his cheek

"I mean, I'm not -- I wouldn't ask, and we're Robin, and --"

"Hey, it's -- I promise it's okay," he says, "and yeah, I think
I -- I know I would, if you ever needed me to."

And it's the best and the worst thing, because it's exactly
what he wanted Jason to say and because he knows that
he'll probably never really know how much it cost beyond
'a lot.' So he doesn't say anything to that, and he holds on,
and he waits it out.

"It's just that -- heh. Okay, maybe you do get it, at least the
part I was trying to find a way to say. We live good, it's a
lot of fun, and we see things -- we see things that I never
would've wanted you to see."

"And Batman is... Batman."

"Heh. *Bruce* is... he's got a lot of problems, and I know
he's been weird with you, and to you, and if you ever let
yourself really think about a lot of this stuff, about a lot of
the stuff that happens every *day*... yeah." Jason presses
his nose against Dick's scalp, just for a moment, and it feels
like he's setting Dick on fire, or dumping him in ice, or
maybe just being so close that Dick can't smell or feel
anything that *isn't* him. "It's not like I disagree with you,
k -- Dick. It's just that I figured something out when you got

"What -- what was it?"

"That *Bruce*... didn't have anything or anyone like you, or
me, or even like the guy he is now back when *his* whole
world went to shit."

"You want to..." He doesn't know. He can't really finish,
because he doesn't... it feels like it's too big for his head, or
maybe the wrong shape.

"Yeah, I do. I want to. I need to. I -- I *love* to, and don't
think *that* doesn't make me feel like the stupidest mark
in the world. And I could probably do it at a distance, too, if
I put my mind to it..."

"But you don't want to. Jay, I mean -- I --"

"I *also* want to have just as much of this as I can --"

"Everything," he says, and he's thinking 'always' again, but
he still has enough of his own mind that he doesn't have to
say it -- until Jay squeezes him hard, and there's not enough
air, and his t-shirt is thin enough that he can feel the
muscles of Jay's arms and all his *heat*, and he isn't sure
what he's saying and what he isn't.

"So -- we've got us, and so does Bruce, in his own... way,
and I don't mean it that way, so don't worry, God, you
don't even --"

"Jay, it's just that he --"

"It's *just* that the likelihood of him so much as touching
me if I don't have an obvious *wound* is lower than the
Cave right now --"

"He was mad?"

"No. He's just -- well." Jay takes a breath, and then he
pushes Dick away -- holding him by the shoulders -- and
takes a deeper one. "Okay. So what if I came in here and
said, 'no, it was all a mistake, Bruce and I are... in love, I
guess, and I love you exactly like a brother in a way that
would make sense to normal human sane people, as
opposed to just Bruce.' It'd never happen -- it couldn't --
but... yeah. Would you really keep trying? Maybe climb
into bed and mack on me while I was sleeping?"

It was only *one* dream, and he'd never, he'd just -- he'd
just *never* -- "No!"

"No, you wouldn't, and I know you wouldn't. Just like I
know that even though I didn't say half of that with your
name switched out for Bruce's, *Bruce* wouldn't, and you
know..." Jay laughs, and squeezes his shoulders, and --

And it makes Dick drift a little, but not for the usual reasons.
Before Dick had started *really* training, Jay's touches
were always light. They didn't *feel* light, but you could
tell they were. Just like how everyone could always tell that
Ivor, Haly's strongman, barely used a fraction of his strength
for anything but his act. As Dick's gotten bigger, and
stronger, so have Jay's touches gotten to be...

Well, they feel the same as always, but Dick knows that
he's using a lot more of his full strength with him than he
ever used to. It makes him feel weirdly smaller at the same
time it makes him feel closer to *right*.

And Jay's just looking at him and making him feel like they
belong together, like maybe next time they look in the
mirror they *will* really look like brothers, even without the
uniforms. It's just that he's also not finishing what he was
going to say. "What is it?"

"It's nothing. It's just -- sometimes I think the *biggest*
reason Bruce has always been so weird with you is that the
two of you have so much in common."

Which is. Well -- he knows Jay doesn't *mean* it that way --
Jay probably *likes* Bruce about as much as anyone can,
even beyond all the other things he feels. It's just that he'd
never wanted -- he can see himself in the *cowl*, as clear
as anything all of a sudden, and, worse, he can *feel* it
suffocating him and keeping him away from everything that
means *anything* --

"Hey, not that much, I swear, I was exaggerating, and also

Jay hugs him close again, and it's a different kind of
keeping-away, or maybe it's the best kind that could
possibly exist, especially when Jay pushes them both back
down and starts to roll them, and Dick has to shoot his leg
out fast *and* use most of his strength to keep them from
hitting the floor --

"Aw, no fair!"

"I *like* being in bed with you," Dick says, and Jay just
stares at him, right into his eyes, and then Dick realizes
what he said, and thinks he probably deserves points from
at least the parts of the wider, wilder universe that his
*Dad* had believed in --

("And your mother, oh she *liked* the way I danced, Dickie.
This is how I tricked her -- I danced her right out of that city
and into my home!")

-- for blurting out "I mean it," instead of the hundred other
stupid and young things he might've said.

It makes Jason kiss him again, and again, and maybe Jason
had danced them here, and maybe Dick had tricked *him*
here, and maybe someday they can argue about it the way
his parents had, smiling and teasing and tossing things --
carefully -- around the trailer.

Either way, it's just perfect.


.The dusk of day-shapes.