Interlude: Under the ocean floor
by Te
November 27, 2005

Disclaimers: Not even close to mine.

Spoilers: None, really.

Summary: Because this is *them*.

Ratings Note: Some sexual content, as well as content
some readers may find disturbing.

Author's Note: Part of the Intimates series. Takes place
the day after "Acquainted with shifting change" and
some days *before* "All our fervent longing." Will not
make the slightest bit of sense without the others.

Acknowledgments: To Audrey and Jam for audiencing
and helpful suggestions.


Jason hasn't really made it to her door before Cass yanks it
open and pulls him inside, which means that it takes a
minute for him to stop scrabbling for the knife taped to his
back and whirling his backpack like a really badly-made
bolo and register that she's just really, really happy
to see him.

It sounds like a bad joke in his head -- a really bad one,
because damn -- but it's pretty much the only way to put it
without whipping out the fifty cent words. Her eyebrows
are up and her shoulders are kind of bouncing and her feet
aren't *moving*, but she's totally doing that thing where
she's convincing some wordless part of *Jason's* brain
that she's dancing.

Jason grins back helplessly, drops his pack, and tapes the
knife back down. "What's up?"

"You had sex with it!"

And... well. Yeah. "Uh."

"That's good!"


And he's being tugged back into her bedroom, because
that's the way this always kind of works, because -- he
knows this -- the *first* time he ever talked to Cass about
something other than training or the importance of
speaking out loud to people who spoke to her when she
was in civvies, he'd gone into her bedroom and closed the

It's not like they can't be brother and sister anywhere, it's
not like they *aren't*, but Jason-and-Cass means bedroom,
even when, apparently, it's a whole different bedroom

It makes him twinge up a little on the inside, because he
also knows what it means that she's doing this now, here
in her new place. It means that they both know he's dealt
*enough* with the fact that it's her new place, and it's kind
of like dancing with your ex or something --

"Ow." Jason frowns at the shoulder Cass just jabbed.
"Gimme a *minute*, okay? I just got here."

She kind of... huffs at him -- it's all in the jerky drop of her
arms -- and glares. "*Talk*."

Jason snorts, shakes his head, and lets Cass pull them
down to the bed, taking the opportunity to give her a
one-armed hug, just because.

That turns the huff to a smiling kind of sigh -- Cass' leg
curled around his own. "Talk," she says again.

Which is... there's a really big part of Jason's brain which
kind of wishes he could build a time machine *solely* to be
able to go back to the person he was back when he
thought "well, *someone* has to give Cass the talk" and
kind of beat the crap out of him. Because --

"Want to... to..." Cass frowns and nods toward the wall
closest to -- Tim's -- apartment. "It's *different*."

"Well... yeah." She wants to get it -- and maybe get *It* --
and that means dragging her brother to bed and demanding

Somehow, this stuff is way easier when he can just talk
about Steph and -- hey. "I also had sex with Steph
yesterday," he says, making sure she can see the way he's
raising his eyebrows in, like, desperate freaking *plea*.

That gets him a glare. "You penetrated her and also used
your mouth on her and she liked the penetrating better
and --"

"Okay, *okay*." Jason rolls over onto his back and beats
his head against the pillow a little.

"Brother," Cass says, and *says*, digging her fingertips into
his ribs through his t-shirt.

"I just -- I keep thinking --"

"*Yes*," she says. "That -- *problem*."

Jason sighs and scrubs at his face with the hand Cass isn't
pinning -- laying on. "Why... I mean... have you thought
about what we talked about before? With *you* getting
someone to have sex with?"

That would have to help. Have to.

Right? "I mean --"

"Don't... I don't understand. I don't understand it all yet."

And now she's doing that thing where she's apologizing
with her eyelids and making it feel like she weighs about
three pounds, despite the fact that Jason's still half-pinned.

"I'm not mad at you --"

"You don't want to tell me," she says, and it feels like 'that's
the same thing only worse.'

"No, I -- okay, yes, you're right, but..."

But she's giving him the *eyes*, and the eyes are totally
why he hasn't just fixed her *up* with somebody, because
those are the eyes which make her his baby sister, even
though she's only about six months younger than he is,
and if anyone touched her Jason would have to beat them
to death. So.

"Aww, okay, fine. You know I..." Jason gives up and rolls
back onto his side, and puffs out a breath to tickle her
nose. "I'll talk, okay?"

She smiles so hard she makes the mattress squeak a little,
butting Jason's knees with her own.

"You know that Avatar would totally freak about this, right?"

And he's thinking she'll say, 'like Nightwing?' but she just
nods impatiently. "Not -- this is --" She stops, and smacks
Jason's chest lightly with the back of one hand before
turning it around to smack her own. "Not -- *doesn't* --

Because this is *them*, right. Okay. Jason nods and thinks
about how to put it -- all of it, because anything less is not
good enough -- into words which won't make him want to
scrub out his mouth with soap, because it's *Cass*,
dammit, and -- "Ow, I said *okay* --"

"Does it use its mouth?"

And there's a part of him which really totally wants to figure
out why that's the first question, because it would probably
explain something really important that might keep him
from losing his mind the next time he does the guy, but
mostly --

("May I suck you off? Please. No, strike that. *Please*.")

Mostly... "Uh."

"It *did*," she says, and Jason has no problem whatsoever
figuring out why it was obvious to her.

"Yeah, he... he really wanted that. Liked it. Uh." A lot. A lot,
a lot. A lot. "He... it was..."

"Better than Nightwing and Spoiler," she says, and it's so
completely not a question that Jason catches himself about
three seconds away from defending Dick's freaking
*technique*, but...

"Different," he settles on. "I mean -- okay, don't hit me
again, I have to figure out how to say this and it's totally
not because I'm trying to keep something from you, okay?"

She gives him the 'I'm examining you very closely' look
which, since it's Cass, is really 'I'm making fun of you a lot.'

Jason blows on her nose again. "Okay. It's..."

("Fuck my *mouth*, Jason, and then --")

He's also about three seconds from having to start figure
out how to keep his damned erection from touching any
part of his sister's body --

"*Stop*." And she's glaring at him.

"I'm -- I'm *uncomfortable*, Cass --"

"*Stop* -- you have to --" And Cass growls at him, and --

And for the first time in his life, Jason is really, really hating
the fact that she's still -- and will always be -- so much
*better* than he is, because if she wasn't, Jason wouldn't
have a hand pinned between her *legs*. "Cass, *no* --"

"Not *sex*. Not -- just --" She's growling again, and this
time it's at herself, and he has to pay attention to
something other than the fact that a) Cass pretty much
never wears underwear when she's in civvies, which means
that b) Jason can tell exactly how hot -- wet -- she is under
her sweats.

"Cass. Cass. Chill, okay? I'm -- I'm listening. I'm..." She
looks at him, frustrated and open. "I'm listening, I promise.
I love you."

After a minute, she loosens the death grip with her thighs
and Jason forces himself to move his hand *slowly*, even
though they both know he *wants* to jerk it away.
Sometimes it really is the thought that counts.


She stares at something which isn't really there except for
the tangle inside her own head for another few seconds
and then freezes all over -- and smacks him in the chest.

"You got something, sis?"

"It's -- pornography," she says, sounding out the word as
much as saying it, and...

And, okay, he *had* explained porn to her -- tried to, and
also he keeps all of his tapes and magazines at *Dick's*
place, now -- and she's comparing... she's... "This is porn
for you?"

"Yes!" and she butts him with her knees. "It's not-sex. It's
warm. It's *good*. It's --" The double chest-smack this time
is almost kind of perfunctory, but it's also really not.

Jason's her brother, and his porn is the best.

Sometimes, he thinks he'd also like to go back to the days
when he used to put the moves on Dick just to be an
asshole and punch *that* Jason in the face. But... okay. He
can... he can get that. He does get that.

Cass is a healthy teenaged girl, and she... God, she's older
than *Steph*, and Jason can *feel* her watching him get
this, and sometimes -- sometimes -- Jason feels like a book
Cass is in the process of editing.

Which is probably the funniest thing ever, considering the
fact that back in the Manor Jason has a drawer full of
pencils and pens -- and keyboards -- that Cass has smashed
to splinters over the years. But it's also not funny at all.

Jason takes a breath and shifts and moves until he's
wrapped around Cass, until he's pressed to her, and if she
moves her hips even a *little* Jason is going to have to
tranq himself for about a *year*, but she doesn't. She
squeezes him back and hums against his chest, and says,

"Brother." And then she pushes off and nods at him. "Talk."

Right. "Okay, so what I was saying before -- it's different
with T -- Avatar. Because it's... I can't really tell -- you
probably know better than I do -- but..." Jason frowns to
himself, ticking off the seconds before he gets another
thump. "All right, I think -- *think* -- it was different
because I could feel him needing it. Like... he made me
feel like it would *hurt* him if I didn't let him... suck me."

Cass nods.

"So... yeah. Different. Um. Does that make sense?"

"Likes you," she says, and looks patient.

"Well, yeah, but -- I mean, Dick and Steph --" Jason sighs.
"The words aren't good."

"Never are," Cass says, and gives him a little 'I keep
*telling* you' push.

"Yeah, but... yeah. It was really different. Serious. Or..."

Cass rubs his chest, and Jason knows that he must be
pretty much screaming 'I'm frustrated' at her now.

He covers her hand with his own and squeezes, then just
kind of rides the petting. It works the way it always does,
making him not-sleepy and just... good. He likes being in
Cass' bed, and it was never going to matter where that bed

It never could.

"You -- *you'll* do it again?"

And the part of him which wants to say 'I'm not sure,' is
the part which is too slow to live. "Yeah."

"Good," Cass says, nodding, and that's...

"Okay, see, that's *my* question. Why are you... why do
you like me having sex with him?"

Her eyebrows are doing that 'why are you pretending to be
brain-dead?' thing at him.

Jason blows out a breath. "I'm *serious*. I mean, you
always want to *know*, but you usually don't, you know...
*care*." And the thing about Cass is that he knows he put
that incoherent and also half-wrong, but he also knows she
heard what he *really* wanted to say, because:

"I knew it is good. Will be? *Would* be. *Good* sex."

Right. Okay. That... that kind of makes sense. "Because of
the way we move?"

"Yes, but. Other -- things." And Cass jabs herself in the
throat before Jason can stop her from doing it.

"I hate that --"

"I know," she says, and apologizes in that 'I'll do it again
anyway' way she has with the rub of her shin against his

Jason sighs and squeezes her hand again, bringing it back
to his throat. "What things? Things about Avatar?"

"Maybe. No." She cocks her head and bites her lip. "No."

"Okay. Things about *me*."

Cass nods, and pulls on their hands until she's on her side
with Jason's arm around her. It's -- almost -- her standard
'and now you're going to explain things to me' pose,
except for how she's deliberately not pressing back against
him with her ass.

So really, it's the let's-hope-that-doesn't-get-standard 'and
now you're going to explain things to me even though
you have an erection' pose.

Jason laughs a little and knocks his forehead against the
top of her head. "Okay. It's something about me, and about
sex? Or something other than sex?"

"Sex *and* other things."

Jason nods. "So... the *way* I have sex. Or... why I have
sex? No, wait." Because it's Cass, and it's about him, and
it's porn. "Why I *want* sex. Need it. Right?"

She nods, squeezing his hand and pulling it tight against
her flat, hard stomach. It's...

There's something there that's different, or maybe *more*
than just 'you got it, keep going,' but Jason doesn't really
have a clue. "What is it?"

The head-shake is violent and sudden and -- "Cass --"

"Later," she says. "Keep going -- other things."

Jason frowns, grinding his chin against the top of her head
to make sure she knows it.

"Later. I promise."

Good enough. "Okay. So it's why I like to have sex how I do,
and why I need it the way I do, and... I'm thinking."

Cass nods again, patient and whatever other emotion she's
not sharing, yet.

It's making him *itch* not to know it, but, well, that's kind
of also why he can deal. Because Cass can feel him itching,
hear it and smell it and know it, and it's probably driving
her crazier than the itching's driving *him*. He squeezes her
hand to make sure they're both on board with the 'it's okay'
thing, and breathes and thinks. "So... okay. Steph is hot,
and when she fights it's like having a different kind of sister,
and she's totally open, and that makes me feel calm, and
that's why I need sex with her."

Another nod.

"And Dick is hot, and he's not really open so much as cool,
and he totally gets what it's like out there, he was Robin,
and he's... well, he's *Dick*, so you kind of have to,
because it's totally impossible not to tell when *he* has to,
even if you're not --"

"That -- it's... I think it's that?"

Jason frowns a little. "That I can always tell when he wants


Which is different, of course, from 'yes, no' and even 'yes
and no.' He's right, but he's only right because the words
are -- whatever he was *thinking* wasn't. "Gimme a sec."

He *was* thinking that for Cass it maybe boiled down to
how he'd want sex because he was *seeing* sex, reading it,
and that's gotta be part of it -- it's *Cass* -- but...

Damn. Just -- *damn*. "It's because you think --" Jason
winces. *Think* is kind of a fucking understatement. "It's
because you know it's better for me when they need it so
bad I can... I can fucking taste it. It's because you know
I'm --"

"Know you," she says, cutting him off.

Cutting him off because... because she knows him, and
knows everything he doesn't ever want to know about
himself. "So I feel like a complete asshole."

She lets go of his hand long enough to elbow him in the rib
he bruised a few weeks ago.

"Yeah, I know, it's just -- for *you* it's just who I am, and
you're not shocked or disappointed in me, but... still."

She does that 'I don't like it' shift with her shoulders and
hips, and Jason nods.

"Yeah. So you knew... you knew Avatar wanted me like that,
needed me like that -- even though he's fucking -- *new* --
and that as soon as I could see it..."

"Good sex."

Right. Because he's Cass' brother, and he should have lots
of good sex. It used to be weird to be around Cass,
somebody who could make you want to laugh and cry and
blush and kind of throw up at the same time, but it's not
weird at all, really, because she can always tell.


"Okay. You could've *told* me before. I mean, not the
reasons, but that he really wanted me *that* bad. Then I
wouldn't have been confused."

"It asked me not to."

"But --" *I'm* your brother. He manages to bite it back,
but --

She turns in his arms, and the look on her face is this
fucking awful mix of fear and *fear*, and sometimes the
thought doesn't count at all.

"Easy --"

"You're mad. You -- you -- I did wrong?"

And he wants to say 'no,' of course she didn't, but it's not
going to be long before Dick knows he'd screwed Tim --
screwed *Avatar* -- before he ever let Dick talk to the
guy, and he knows exactly what Dick's going to think,
and he's going to *get* it. He lets all of the wince make it
onto his face, instead, and breathes when the fear on
Cass' face becomes 'I'm thinking.'

"You're mad, but I *didn't* do wrong."

"Pretty much."

"Jason -- *brother*!"

"I know --"

"*Brother*," she says again, only this time she does it with
the thigh pressing down onto his hip, with the fingers
digging into his shoulder, with the grinding -- painful --
press of her forehead against his own.

"I *know*, Cass, it's just --"

"And you -- you won't with *me*, even though you know
I --"

"Cass, don't, *please* --"

"You know -- you *know*, and you *ask* what -- the
wrong thing -- but you won't, and you *do* --"

And squeezing Cass against him is about as half-assed as
he can get without needing to jump head-first out the
fucking window without a *line*, but it's something, and
not just because it'll stop her from head-butting him again.
"Cass --"

"Stop not making *sense*!"

Jason closes his eyes.

"You could, you *could*, if you -- you could do it if you

He squeezes her harder and rubs her back and kisses the
top of her head and just --

"I wish -- you don't. Sorry isn't --"

"Good enough. I know. I know, Cass, I just -- I --"

"You *can*," she says. "But you won't."

"I'm --"

It's not quite a nerve-strike to his trap, but he shuts up,
anyway. Sorry isn't good enough and sorry isn't the point.
And maybe -- probably -- Steph had a point when she was
fucking with him about how he goes about being Dick's
brother as opposed to Cass', but...

He can't. He *won't*, and that has to be okay, because... it
has to.

And yeah, he's known all along why Cass makes him talk
about everyone he fucks, and he's known all along why
he *lets* her. He has to fucking *admit* that. And
that's -- all of it -- probably just as bad for the sibling thing
as... as everything he *won't* do, with her, and that means
he *doesn't* make sense, but...

("Please tell me you realize how creepy it is that you're
wearing an 'O,' man." "Am I? Mostly, I tend to think of it as
an empty circle.")

"I'm not... I'm not an empty circle, Cass."

She stiffens a little, but it's *just* a little, so she's... she's
only a little confused.

"I'm not... I can't be like Avatar, and just... you know, *fix*
myself." If that's even fixing. If --

No. For him -- for *it* -- it's totally fixing. And for Cass, too.
Jason sighs into her hair.

"That's why you like him, right? Why you liked him right

"Yes," she says, just a quiet breath against his throat. "If
you watch, you can -- he changes, all the time. Because --
he *learns*."

Jason nods and squeezes her a little harder. "Like you."

"Like me," she says, and squeezes back for not long enough
before pushing him off again. "Go."

And because he's a dumbass, it actually takes him half a
minute to figure out that she's not kicking him out because
she's pissed or wants to be alone, which means that he
doesn't really figure it out until she's on him again, pushing
him down to the bed and letting her hair fall around their
faces like a sleek black curtain.

"Go," she says, "and come *back*."

And talk. Jason nods and pushes her away again, slipping
out of bed and stretching a little.

"He's there now. Home from school."

Stalling a little. "Listening?"

Cass shrugs, and Jason shakes his head and smiles. "When
I come back, I kind of have to do at least a *little*

She crosses her arms impatiently, but she doesn't duck the
kiss to her forehead, and Jason can't stall anymore.

He doesn't want to stall, because...

He knows exactly how good it's going to be, how *hot* it's
going to be. Because Cass is his sister, and she's always
right, and she knows...

They both know how good it would be if it was her.

Jason closes her door behind him, and tries to figure out
whether or not he wants to pretend he can't feel her
watching him anyway.

He'll ask Cass about it.

After he gets back.


BROTHER, I am fire
Surging under the ocean floor.
I shall never meet you, brother—
Not for years, anyhow;
Maybe thousands of years, brother.
Then I will warm you,
Hold you close, wrap you in circles,
Use you and change you—
Maybe thousands of years, brother.

-- "Kin," by Carl Sandburg

.Interlude: The start of you.