While we raise our hearts in love
by Te
September 30, 2004

Disclaimers: All is DC's.

Spoilers: Several old storylines.

Summary: The bed is his. And Jason's, when he wants
it to be.

Ratings Note: NC-17.

Author's Note: The 90210 title challenge on
dc_flashfiction wound up inspiring me. (Title in
question: "Angels We Have Heard On High") This
is sort of a missing scene in The Angels You Need
series. Time-wise, it takes place somewhere in
the middle of "Hold on to me," and it won't make
any sense without the rest.

Acknowledgments: To Jack, Livia, and LC for
audiencing and encouragement. To Malthus for
asking interesting questions.


The trick is not to apply patterns. To make an honest,
sincere effort to just let all the noise flow past him,
*around* him. He'd gotten a good start at it before
the quake, on those evenings when his schedule had
meshed enough with the others' that he could, if he
wished, spend a great deal of time in the Cave
(broken, all broken) with...

With his family. Clark calls them a family, and that
could be filed away as an irrelevancy (no, it really
couldn't), but so do Jason, Alfred, and Steph.

So does *Helena*, when she's in a good enough
mood, or when she forgets there are people around
who could be -- and are -- listening.

Some things become fact solely by their repetition.

That isn't why they're a family.

Tim knows that -- he does -- it's just...

There have always been levels to knowing, and now
there are even more. The Clocktower isn't as full as
it could be, tonight -- as it was, and as it will be
again, before this is all settled.

It's Christmas Eve, and that means something to all
sorts of people.

His mother is in detox, again.

His father is in Jamaica with Dana. Dana had invited
him along with the sort of thoughtless friendliness,
*willingness* that he could very easily come to
enjoy, but Tim hadn't had to see his father's face (or
hear that one sharp, telling inhale) to know that he
wouldn't, actually, be welcome.

Tim Drake, for the people who have asked, is
spending the holidays with his good friend Jason
Todd. No one knows *quite* where they are, but
the fact that Jason has been listed as a survivor --
*finally* -- makes a lot of things easier.

Tim Drake is an excellent -- and expensive -- math

Jason Todd is a terrible student -- terrible enough
that he might just wind up being only a *year*
ahead of Tim Drake if he doesn't shape up.

Tim won't let that happen for... well, for a lot of
reasons. Not least of which is the fact that the
sooner Jason gets out of high school, the *better*
they'll all be. Batman needs to write decent
reports, not essays about people who've never
actually existed.

Somewhere, Tim thinks, Helena is probably irritated
at him for reasons she can't entirely define.

The thought makes him want to smile.

There's no one in his actual *bedroom* here, so...
he does. And it isn't that he wants to look blank all
the time. His... his *family* thinks he does that too
much, as it is.

But he hadn't really needed Jason's speech to all of
them about how they were and were *not*
supposed to behave around the visiting metahumans.
They have an image to maintain, as a whole.

And while both he and Steph are allowed to be --
and perhaps *supposed* to be -- somewhat less
serious about things than Jason or Helena are...

It would be one thing if it were only the Titans.

The *Titans* are just the ones who actually tend to
sleep here, with them, as opposed to in the other
officially unofficial shelters.

Helena's apartment complex has always been
quake-proof, but it remains as empty as ever. He
knows exactly how much she's fought about that
with Jason, and with Steph. And he knows she'd

His suggestion about pointing out how they
needed at least *one* residence which remained as
secret as possible from the invading metahumans --
and he'd put it *just* that way, for her -- had done
the job.

They have the same inability to value sentiment
over practicality as they've always had, and it's as...
useful as it has always been.

Especially now that Helena has taken the girl in.

If Tim wants the girl to be street-ready *any* more
than Jason does... well, it would be a surprise. By
rights, Helena should be out there as much as any
of them, right now -- her arm is entirely healed --
but Tim is reasonably sure that none of them want
her to devote much time to anything *but* training
the new girl.

It will be interesting to see how well she compensates
for *his* fighting style once he gets just a few more
things replaced.

On cue, his left hand screams angrily, uselessly,
absently, and falsely. The fact that it doesn't always
do so simultaneously with the fingertip he'd had
removed months before has been... just a little too
interesting for words.

Victor says the same thing had happened with his
left thigh in regards to his left leg as a whole.

Tim frowns.

*Victor* hasn't been in Gotham since the initial
rescue effort, when Jason wouldn't have turned
away Killer *Croc* if he'd shown any willingness
to help.

(And they'd all had their hands full rebuilding
Arkham *again*. The fact that no one has asked
about why the Joker hadn't been in on the
post-quake break is something he isn't willing to
count on as more than just the temporary
reprieve it is. Not until they're finally alone
again, anyway.)

Victor hasn't, precisely, been sent away at all.

It's just that Jason had used Tim's own suggestion
that they break up the visiting teams as much as
possible -- and send the metas home as soon as
they were no longer strictly necessary...

He'd used it.

And when Tim had uploaded the first list of
dismissals along with the other information for
that day, Jason had only looked at him.

Dared him, really.

But there had been nothing Tim could say, really --
especially with S.T.A.R. sending their best (and fully
accredited) surgeons to take over for the ones
Gotham had lost. Nothing at *all* to say, and so...

He hadn't said anything at all.

Few of the roads are in much better condition than
they were in the first days after the quake. They
were good enough for him to make it back to
Gotham in the first place, and they're good enough
now for him to get out...

If and when he needs to do so.

Beyond the minimal 'soundproofing' -- he's pretty
sure nailing old carpeting to the door shouldn't
count -- of his room, he can hear movement.

The soft moan most people assume indicates that
Steph is waking up -- as opposed to already *being*
awake, and unhappy about it.

The soft thuds of Donna's feet hitting the floor --
she must've won rights to the couch last night.

Roy's low, smiling -- he can hear it with Roy,
always -- apologies and curiously unsteady pace.

And... and Jason. Steady footfalls and the *whisper*
of his heartbeat. Tim bites his lip, but there's no
point in pretending he doesn't want to --

"Where were *you* two?" Donna's voice is full of
sleepy amusement.

He's already done it, with just one conflicted
thought. The carpeting on the door is even more
useless than usual with the gain on his
comm turned up. Calling it a 'communicator' at
this point is really woefully inadequate.

"Ah-ah-ah, chica. What happens on Boy's Night
Out *stays* on Boy's Night Out." Roy chuckles
low in his throat. "Man, that totally made sense
in my head."

Jason is... moving. He doesn't say anything, and
neither does Steph, but he knows they're checking
in with each other, just the same. It's what they

"Did you -- oh gods, are you *drunk*?" Donna is
less sleepy than scandalized now, and --

A thump. Roy throwing himself at the couch --

"*Watch* those hands, Speedy --"

"I'm helpless to your beauty, as usual," Roy says,
and Tim is willing to bet that the slur in his voice
is exaggerated. "And yours, of course. Mm,
*nice* jammies, Steph."

Steph snorts. "Yeah, whatever, Roy. Like *you*
weren't sick of sleeping in more clothes than you
*worked* in."

She's probably wearing a t-shirt and shorts. It's
wasteful to keep the heat on all night, but...

There's something addictive about it, just the
same. None of them had been in any danger of
freezing to death, but the luxury of central
heating has come to feel rather more like a
necessity, and --

"Headed to bed, amigo?" Roy's voice is casual.
Deceptively so.

He can hear Jason shifting on his feet -- was he
drinking, too? -- and stretching. He can hear
Jason's heartbeat speeding up, and he knows --
he *knows* Jason is looking at the closed door.

At him, if the door wasn't there.

"Yeah," he says, at last.

"Heh," and Tim can hear Roy shifting on the
couch. "Tell Tim I said hey."

"But can't he hear us, anyway?" Donna's voice is curious
and low. "All of us."

Tim's reasonably sure *all* of them are looking at the
closed door, now, and he can't keep himself from

He should say something, do something. Robin is
*supposed* to be close to the Titans, supposed to...

And if *Victor* was still here, he could maybe...

"Eh, who knows?" Jason's voice is a mockery of
lightness. A *careful* one, but a mockery just the
same. "Maybe he's *actually* asleep this time."


Steph snorts, quietly.

Tim breathes, and slips back beyond where the light
from the doorway will fall, and waits.

"Night, guys."

They wish Jason good-night in an uneven chorus,
and the door opens soundlessly. And closes again.

"Come on, it's just me, Tim --"

"I know."

"-- you can stop lurking."

True. He steps out of the shadows and Jason
immediately cups his face.

"Lenses up, hunh? Merry Christmas to me," he says,
and the kiss is soft and slow and tastes like wine.
Feels like...

He doesn't know. It's Jason, and it's so easy to get
lost in the pound of his heart, and the soft
humming sounds he makes as his fingers slide up
and down Tim's tunic.

"Did you sleep at all?"

"Did you have a good time with Roy?"

Jason frowns and tightens his hands on Tim's waist.
It's one of Jason's newer instincts, and... Tim knows
why. He'd answered a question with a question. He
didn't actually mean to do it, this time.

"I slept earlier," he says. Why were you drinking
with Roy?

Jason pulls him in close and Tim tilts his head up
and to the side, but Jason doesn't kiss his jaw or
bite his ear or any of the usual things. He just...

Tim doesn't think he'll ever get used to it. The skin
of Jason's cheek sliding against his own, the sound
which would only be a whisper to people without
enhancements. And Jason slides his hands under
Tim's cape and... hugs him.

And rests his lips against Tim's temple and *still*
doesn't say anything.

"What is it, Jason?"

And Jason laughs, softly, but he also... tenses.

He doesn't need enhancements to know Jason is
about to pull away. And... he doesn't want that.
Not right now. He curls the fingers of his -- right --
hand around Jason's sweater and holds on.

It doesn't make Jason tense *less*.

Maybe it's not about what Jason thinks he wants.
Maybe *Jason* wants --

"No one saw Roy and me come in other than
Donna and Steph, Tim." And Jason pulls away.

Tim frowns. "I *know* that --"

"So why..." Jason looks down at where Tim is
holding on to his sweater.

Tim snatches his hand back and folds it with the
other beneath his cape.

"Shit. Wait --" Jason growls, low in his throat.

Tim *is* used to that. Enough that he doesn't

"Fuck. Let's start the hell over, okay?"

"All right."

Jason pinches the bridge of his nose. "I think you
were seriously easier to approach when you were
still *lurking*."

"I could go stand in the corner."

The thing about Jason is that he doesn't always
laugh because he's happy, or because he thinks
something is funny.

Tim doesn't, either, of course, but it hadn't really
occurred to him that someone like Jason could be
the same way. A lot of the time, he can tell
himself that it's just the nature of the lives they

A lot of the time, he wonders how often Jason
laughs quite like *that* when he isn't...

When it isn't because of him.

"Tim --"

"I just. You don't hug me, often. When you aren't
also..." Tim shrugs.

Jason just looks at him, and his breathing is too
even for Tim to make any guesses at all.

When he gets the optics done, he'll be able to use
the few streetlights to see just about everything.
As it is... his night vision just *isn't* good enough
to make out whatever expression is on Jason's

After a moment, Jason exhales, long and low,
and says, "I wanted to. Tonight."

"I didn't mind."

Jason nods, but he doesn't move closer. "I think
we should... I think this should be easier."

You're the one with the experience. "I'm open
to suggestions."

Jason snorts, and this time there *is* humor in
it. "The bed," he says.

Tim raises his eyebrow and nods, reaching up
to undo his cape. Jason is much better at just...
lounging with a cape on than he is.

The bed is just a mattress on the floor and a
handful of blankets. It's still much better than
what the others, outside, are using, but... well.
*He* didn't tell them to sleep here.

And he wouldn't actually have minded if Steph had
ever joined him, but...

Whenever he's tried to imagine suggesting it,
he's wondered if he actually *is* capable, at this
point, of shorting himself out without the direct
application of high amounts of current.

She didn't ask, he didn't suggest, and so the bed
is his.

And Jason's. When he wants it to be.

Jason slides in beside him and strokes a line
down the center of his face and the tunic.

Tim knows, intellectually, that anyone's fingers
would make that sound on the armor (well, except
for people like Victor), but it doesn't really matter.
They're Jason's fingers. On him.

Splayed out and sliding as Jason turns on his side
and... hugs him again.

All right.

Tim shifts until Jason's body is pressed to his own
as much as possible, and closes his eyes. It's
easier with his eyes closed. When people *do*
hug him, and when they do it and *not* expect
anything else to happen, or even want it...

Well, it can be hard. He's never sure what to do
with his hands, or how tight he's supposed to
hold on.

With his eyes closed, he can focus, mostly, on
the way Jason is and isn't moving his body, and
respond accordingly.

"You could not be more tense if people were
shooting at you."


"Though, actually, you're pretty *relaxed* when
people are shooting at you..."

"I'm relaxed."

Jason laughs and kisses his shoulder through the
tunic. "And I'd *believe* that if I wasn't right
*here*. And if I wasn't *brain-live*."

And there's humor in Jason's voice. A lot of it,
which means he doesn't mind, which means he
probably won't *leave*, but... "I'm not... I like
this. Jason."

Jason's breath catches and he squeezes Tim
with the arm he has around Tim's waist. But he still
doesn't do anything else.

Tim opens his eyes and turns, but he really can't
see much. Jason's hair was never very short, and
he hasn't taken the time to get it cut since the
quake. Right now, it falls over his forehead in curls
that feel as ridiculously soft as they look.

Tim likes the sound it makes, when he runs his
hand through it. But Jason isn't sleeping. He's

"Was there something we needed to discuss?"

Jason sighs and squeezes him again. "Isn't there

And Tim *meant* personally, but he doesn't
think Jason did. And he can't say he minds. "Shoot."

"Roy wants me in the Titans."

"I. Hm."

"Yeah, 'hm.' They *aren't* the Teen Titans
anymore, and they could *use* one of us, and I
*do* know all of them, but... I'm Batman now."

Tim nods. "And Batman isn't a Titan."

"Exactly. And Steph would be a good match for
them, but Steph isn't..."

"She's quitting, isn't she?"

Jason sighs. "You probably knew before I did, didn't

"It didn't seem... she's not the same."

Jason sits up, but he isn't leaving. He throws a leg
over Tim's own and straddles him, catching Tim's
wrists when he reaches.

Holding them.

"You know, Tim, for someone who's half-convinced
he's a different species from the rest of us, you're
pretty fucking good at reading people."

"Sometimes," he says. Jason isn't touching his left
hand, per se, and the gauntlets are still on, but the
way he's holding on *does* mean that he's gripping
the cap over Tim's stump. That's... rare.

"Oh Jesus, am I hurting you?"

Tim blinks. "What? No. It's fine."

Jason looks suspicious. And really, it's entirely
irrational. Tim certainly doesn't mind the fact that
Jason automatically lowers his voice when they're
alone, but if he was that *fragile*, none of this
would be efficient at all.

At least he doesn't let go. He even squeezes, a

"And I'm not ready to let you go."

Or to let me spend more time around Victor's lab?

Jason shifts his grip until he's rubbing Tim's palms
with his thumbs, pressing.


"Christ. You don't feel that at all, do you?"

"No, but --"

Jason releases his left arm.

I still like the sound. I still want you to --

"Anyway. That wasn't, actually, the discussion that
required alcohol."

Tim raises an eyebrow. "Do tell."

Jason pulls off Tim's gauntlet and brings Tim's right
hand to his mouth, exhaling hot and slow on his
palm. "I don't, actually, want to."

"Oh..." For a while, he'd thought that the sounds,
the *feel* of the sounds would distract him from
everything else. And it's still... Jason's heartbeat
and the slide of his jeans against Tim's tights, and
his *breath* --

It's still wonderful.

But it's nothing against the feel of Jason's tongue
on his skin, the slick, slow slide. Up and down,
between his fingers.... "I'm willing to be...

Jason laughs quietly and turns his head to bite
Tim's fingers. "No, it's..." And pulls back.

Tim takes a breath for control, but can't quite stop
himself from raising his hips.

"Yeah... mm." Jason shakes his head, curls flying,
and smirks at Tim.

And, probably, himself.

"You know Roy's been pretty fucked-up."

Tim blinks and does his best to focus. "I don't actually
know him... and I never had very detailed files on

Jason nods and moves Tim's hand, dragging his
stubble over it. The catch of it, the scars --

"You're not making it easy to... concentrate, Jason."

Jason's smirk gets a little wider. "Maybe I don't want

"I don't get off on suspicion."

"Heh." Jason bites the tips of his fingers one more
time and pushes Tim's hand away. And... covers his
face with his *own* hands.


"For those not-very-detailed files of yours: One,
he's a recovering addict. Heroin."

"I... should he really be --"

"I'm going to have Steph watching him, casually,
but... shit. He's been off the junk for a while now,
and the work seems to *help*, so..."

Tim nods, and makes a mental note to broaden his
*own* casual surveillance. "What else?"

"Two, he's nowhere near as together as..." Jason
sighs, scrubs his face with his hands, and rests them
on his thighs. "No, shit. Even before, he had serious
issues. I could see it. *I* was a mess, and fucked-up
about Bruce... you can see it, sometimes. When
someone is just as needy and confused as you are."

Tim thinks about the new girl, and the way she
frowns, sometimes, when Helena and Steph are
getting along well enough to joke with each other.
When neither of them are looking at her.

The way she looks at him when he *doesn't* ask,
and how it's a gratitude he doesn't need words to

He nods, and doesn't say anything.

"He doesn't want me in the Titans because he thinks
I could add all *that* much. He wants me there
because he got sort of unofficially elected leader
when Dick died, and he's scared as hell of fucking

And... Batman *leading* the Titans is somewhat
better than Batman *being* a Titan, but... but. "The
Titans aren't the Outsiders. And... and you weren't
exactly confident about leading us, in the

"Heh. You think I'm confident *now*?"

"You should be."

Jason turns away. No -- Jason turns and looks at
his hand. The left one, still hidden under the

It's an effort not to clench his fist, but eventually
Jason meets his eyes again. Tim wonders if Jason
will still do that after he gets the optics.

"Anyway," Jason says, and his voice is so false that
it's *also* an effort not to wince, "I told him that,
basically. It gets easier, we all do what we have to
do, lean on his teammates as much as possible,
you don't have to be *alone* just because you're
the leader..."

Tim nods.

"And..." This time, Jason does turn away. "If I'm
not spending every waking minute trying to figure
out what Bruce would do *when*, he doesn't have
to do the same thing for Dick."

Much of Dick's bedroom is in the Cave now. What's
left of the Cave. And there are other priorities and
it's *good* that they're using their resources the
way they are. It is.

"He misses..." Jason sighs and balls his hands into
fists. "You know why I made you the Titans liaison."

"The official reason or the unofficial one?"

Jason snorts and taps his fist lightly on Tim's tunic.
"Yeah. You know. And I was right to do it -- I
couldn't deal with all of these people who
remembered Dick and the others, and how
everything had been *before*, and how I just
wasn't -- Christ, most of these people knew *Bruce*,
too, you know?"

"It would've been... difficult."

"It would've been fucking *hell*. And it wasn't much
better tonight. The Titans were Dick's family. Maybe
more than Bruce and Babs and Alfred were. And if
they couldn't stop trying to make me *be* Dick
when he was still alive..."

Jason, on him in Dick's room (gone, gone now),
pressing him to the mattress until Tim could almost,
*almost* believe he could smell him, that it was the
same hint of something indefinable from the dreams
of rewritten memory. Pressing him down and --

"Once upon a time, I would've called up *Vic*. He's
steady, he's experienced, and, with Dick gone,
there's no one on earth more invested in keeping
the Titans *working*."

"You think he should be co-leader?"

"I *think* he should shove that pulse-rifle that used
to be his hand up his ass and pull the fucking

"Don't --"

"*Don't* tell me --" Jason bites his lip and breathes
through his nose, nostrils flaring slightly in the light
from the street.

Victor likes me. Victor listens to me, and -- "He's
still the same man you knew."

"And how the *fuck* would you know that?"

Tim narrows his eyes before he remembers that
he'd put the lenses up. By the time he does, he
knows Jason has seen it. And he swallows a sigh.
"Perhaps we shouldn't discuss this now."

"I -- Christ. *Christ*, Tim. I *know* you like him.
I *know* he's good." Jason reaches down and
grabs his left hand, yanking the gauntlet off and
holding Tim's hand between them. "But *tell* me
how the fuck I'm supposed to ever trust him

It's not uncomfortable. There's nothing wrong, or
damaging about Jason's grip. There *couldn't* be,
unless Jason woke up one day with superhuman
strength, or perhaps the ability to generate
metal-forging temperatures with his hands.

It's just...

It's his left *hand*. His, now, because the other
is gone, forever. And Jason is holding it like... like
it's the proof of something awful, and monstrous.

Like he is, because... Tim swallows, hard, and
twists his hand out of Jason's grasp -- carefully.
A wrong impulse will make the spikes extend, and
that would be, at best, inconvenient for everyone.

"Tim --"

"You don't have to like him, Jason. You don't even
have to *work* with him -- as you've proven."

"Oh, are we gonna talk about *that* now?"

Tim plants his hands and sits up, shifting until his
back is to the wall and Jason isn't *on* him,
anymore. "No. We're not."

"Then --"

"You asked me a question, Jason, and I'm answering
you -- you can trust him to do his *job*."

The look on Jason's face could *only* be described
as stubborn, but... "The *practical* choice, right,


"Fine. I'll talk to Roy about it tomorrow, and you...
can talk to Vic."

Tim raises an eyebrow. "I appreciate the

"It isn't --" Jason makes a sound that would
probably wake the others, if the room wasn't
'soundproofed.' And if it wasn't so carefully quiet.

And then he crawls across the bed, closing the
distance between them and cupping Tim's jaw.
His breath is hot, sweet and loud against Tim's

"You *can't* expect me to be *okay* with this,

"Everything I've done has *helped* us."

"Yeah. It has. But that was never the most
important --"

"It's saved our lives. All of our lives, more than
once --" Tim bites his lip against the pain of Jason
gripping his jaw. "That hurts."

"More than a fucking scalpel in your brain?"

There are no nerve endings in the brain.

"God fucking *dammit*, Tim --" Jason lets go
and shoves his hand into Tim's hair instead,
searching his eyes and *holding* his head still.


"If you could... if you could just tell me that you're
finished, that I'll have time to get *used* to the
hand, and that fucking *battery* in your arm,
and..." Jason pulls his head forward and drags the
fingers of his other hand over Tim's jack. "*This*
thing. Just... can you give me that much?"

He hasn't had the optics installed yet. And...
"There's still so much more I can --"

"*Damn* you, I --" And whatever else Jason was
going to say is muffled into the kiss. It's hard, and
their teeth click together hard enough that the
sound makes his skull feel *jarred*. And it doesn't
soften so much as shift, Jason pulling back enough
to bite his lip, to shove Tim's head up and back.

Warm, strong fingers scrabbling at the neck of his
tunic, pulling it hard against one side of his throat
and --

He can't hold back a hiss when Jason bites him.

Or a moan when Jason licks at the skin between his
teeth. The sound --

"Jason --"

Jason growls and bites *harder*, and it's good, it's
so good. It's *Jason*, and it's.

The right side of his neck, and Jason's hand on
his *right* shoulder, and...  Of course. "Stop."

Jason tenses, freezes. And pulls back, panting.
"Tim --"

"We shouldn't." He aches. "We shouldn't do this.
We... you don't --" You think I'm disgusting. Tim
forces something like a smile onto his face. "I
don't really think this is healthy, do you?"

Jason looks at him like he isn't sure Tim's
speaking English. No -- like he's *absolutely*
sure Tim is speaking some other, alien language.
Or maybe just binary.

He drags his hands up between them -- most of
the time, he *would* just use the right -- and
pushes. "Really --"

If they were sparring, he would've seen it coming.
But they haven't sparred in a very long time, and
he never would've... they don't *do* this, except
now they do, and Jason is pinning him to the bed
and *glaring*.

"Jason, what --"

"Tell me you don't want this, Tim."

"I -- oh God." Jason's thigh between his own,
*shoving* between, and his hands...

One day, Tim is going to have to get the cap for
his stump resized, but for now... Jason's hands
are still so much *bigger*, surrounding his wrists

And Jason is stronger.

On him.

"Jason, we need to --" Talk? Was he seriously
about to say *that*?

"Tell me you don't want me, and I'll leave you

I don't want to be alone. "We shouldn't *do* this,
Jason --"

"But you *want* this." Jason squeezes his wrists
hard, for a moment. "Don't you?"

And Tim wonders, for a moment, if it would be
easier to lie. For either of them. Because...

He could make Jason believe him. He knows he
could. Or he could just... say something about
needing to calibrate his hand, or something
ridiculous about needing to oil his port.

He could say it, and maybe -- *probably* -- make
Jason disgusted enough that they could just...
skip right past this. Until the next time.

If there is a next time.

There's nothing in this room but the bed, and a
few of his spare uniforms. He'd *planned* on
making it -- the whole *tower* -- more than what
it is, but there wasn't time, and there are
*people* out there who would all have questions
in their eyes if Jason left *now*, and...

And none of that matters, because it's Jason, and
because Jason does, still, need him.

Even if he doesn't *want* him.

Not really.

"*Tim* --"

"You know I want this."

"You just don't think it's *healthy*." Another one
of those laughs that have nothing to do with
happiness or humor.

Tim thinks about how Jason was with Steph, when
the only real problem any of them had was *him*,
and how he was falling in love with Jason.

And now Steph's quitting and Jason feels the need
to turn his back on the *Titans*, but, in the end...

He's still the only real problem they have. Tim
swallows, and twists his wrists in Jason's hands
until he lets go. And reaches up to cup Jason's

"Aw, Jesus, Tim, you're *right*. You don't have
to --"

"I need you."

"You *have* me, Tim, I just --"

And it's Jason, and he hasn't changed. Not really.
When Tim pushes his thigh up and pulls Jason
*down* into a kiss, he moans, soft and low and
*hurting*, but still...


And Tim doesn't know anything that feels better
than this, doesn't know anything that *could* feel
better than wrapping his arm around the back of
Jason's neck and his leg around his waist and
holding on.

It's the answer to all of the questions, all of the
*confusion*. He doesn't have to know how to
do this, because, from the beginning, his *body*
has known. And it doesn't matter that it's familiar,

Because it's Jason, and he can't imagine a world
where he doesn't flex and *jerk* when Jason
whispers 'Robin,' in his ear.

Because he can *hear* the growl underneath it,
and *feel* all the rightness, the *sex* -- "Jason,
please --"

"I've got you. I -- *Christ*, get this *off* --"

He works on his tunic while Jason drags off his
shorts. They're good at this the way they're good
at fighting back to back, the way they're good at
being Batman and Robin when there's no one
important around to see, or when there's
*everyone* around to see.

Good the way it is that he hasn't gotten the t-shirt
all the way up and off before Jason's stroking his
chest, finding every scar and new bruise and
making Tim moan much too loud.

Louder when Jason bites his ear and thumbs his
nipple hard and says, "Turn over."

He's already moving before he can think about it,
about the fact that they *haven't* that way since
Tim had gotten the jack.

But Jason growls and pushes him over the rest of
the way, pushes him *down* and Tim thinks -- my
hair has grown, maybe enough.

But Jason pushes it out of the way.

And Tim tenses hard.

"It used to... when I kissed you there, you'd shake."

I still would. For different reasons.

"And all I can think --"


The breath Jason takes is shuddery, and there's a
moan beneath it that's only for him.

Or maybe not for anyone, at all. It's getting hard to
remember what he could and couldn't hear before
the enhancements, and --

"I know. Buzzkill."

Buzzkill. *Buzz*kill. Tim laughs helplessly, and can't
really stop. Even when Jason shoves his hand into
Tim's hair, petting and pulling and covering the jack

He can't until he has to moan, until Jason's licking
and biting between his shoulderblades, pushing
his arms underneath Tim until he can grab Tim's
shoulders from the front.

"*Jason* --"

"You taste like sweat, you little liar. You didn't
sleep earlier at *all*."

"I didn't -- I didn't say *how* much earlier --
*ah* --"

The bite is followed by another, and another. All
the way down his spine. Tim spreads his legs

And Jason bites his way back *up*, uneven and rough.
Some of the bites will bruise, all of them are making
him burn, making him *writhe*, and Jason is holding
on to him just hard enough that writhing doesn't *do*

"You want this --"

"*Yes* --"

"Need it --"

"Jason, *please* --"

"God, Tim..."

Breath on the back of his neck, and for a moment Tim
thinks --

But he can't even tense before Jason is biting his
shoulder, instead, growling (anger there, frustration)
into the skin and *grinding* against Tim's ass.

He's still wearing his jeans. He's still *dressed*, and
Tim bucks up hard and grabs for his belt --

"*One* benefit to you deciding you're on duty
fucking twenty-four-seven --"

"Emphasis -- on fucking --"

Jason rears up behind him, leaving his back cold,
sticky with drying spit, ticklish in the air --

"Jason --"

"Does this mean I get to fuck you every time I
see you walking around in that uniform?"

"Oh *God* -- "

"Does this mean you *want* it?"

And he wants to answer, it should be so *easy*
just to say "yes, *always*." It's just three syllables
and it's nothing but true, but Jason -- His

"You *need* it from me, Tim. Every -- every
fucking *time* --"

Hotter, better than Jason's slick fingers in his ass,
shoving in and making him cry out louder,
needier --

"Come on, give it up --"

It shouldn't be better, but it *is*, because he can
hear it, and he can *feel* it. Jason isn't just
teasing him. Jason wants to *know* --

"Show me -- ah, God --"

On his knees and elbows, and Jason isn't
preparing so much as just *fucking* him. And he
*wants* to get on his hands, but he can't. Every
time he tries, he just shakes too much, or Jason
shoves in *hard* --

"Need this -- fuck, *Tim* --"

And he's moaning constantly now, maybe
begging. He can't tell and he can't *care*, and
the sound of Jason's zipper going down, of his
jeans falling around his thighs, the scrape of his
shorts over the hair on his thighs --

"Tim --"

"*Yes* -- *oh* --"

Pulling out and shoving *in*, hands on his hips
and --

"Jason --"

Deep, so -- and he's clawing at the blankets --

*Literally* now, and because the spikes are out
and he can't concentrate --

"*Tim* --"

Shaking hand sliding up over his back and --  And
it's still good, even though Jason shoves on his
shoulder rather than the back of his neck, even
though it isn't perfect. Tim works his hips back,
works them *faster* and --

"Ah -- ah fuck, come *on*, ride it --"

"Jay -- *Jay* --"

"Ride *me* --"

Tim chokes on the scream and comes all over the
blankets, shaking and spasming --

"Don't you fucking stop --"

He doesn't. He *won't*. He can't stop shaking and
every thrust feels like the one which will kill him,
but Jason --

Jason --

Grunting and growling and *fucking* him, and
they're moving the mattress across the floor, and
every sense in him is screaming about how much
Jason *wants* this, how much he *needs* it.

"Oh God -- oh Tim oh *God* --"

He won't get this wrong. Maybe... maybe he
*can't* get this wrong, and Tim flexes around
Jason on every back-thrust and *works*.


It's less than a whisper. It's a *breath*, crushed
silent under the weight of everything in it. All of
the need, all of the *lust*, and all of...

Of everything else Jason wants from him.

Spilling out and spilling *in* him, and for a moment
Tim thinks he's got it, that he can maybe
*understand* this, but even when Jason collapses
on him, he makes sure that his head lands on Tim's

It feels like cheating, somehow, that Jason's
panting breath tickles the skin around the ring.

That he's taking something he isn't supposed to

Tim scrubs his face against the blanket to get the
worst of the sweat off and waits.

After a moment, Jason reaches up and plucks at
the claw-marks. "Dude."

"It was. An accident."

"Uh, huh. I'm just saying, I'd be a little worried if I
didn't know for a fact that that didn't happen
*every* time."

"I'd never --"

"I know," Jason says, and strokes his upper arms
before bracing himself above Tim again and
pulling out.

"You didn't --" Have to do that. Tim bites his lip
and turns his face against the blanket.

Jason rests one hand against the small of Tim's
back and presses lightly. "You want me to stay
here tonight?"

"You always can."

"Not what I asked."

Tim frowns and sits up on his knees, stretching
and only tensing a little when Jason reaches
around to stroke his chest and stomach.


Tim looks down at Jason's hand, at the broad, strong
splay of it. It's almost *dark* against his skin, and...

Jason still manages to get more sun than he does,
somehow. "I'm not sure."

Jason sighs and digs his own short nails in, a little.

"I'm --"

"Tim, don't apologize. Please."

Tim frowns at Jason's hand, and covers it with his

"God, sometimes..." Jason sighs again and moves
his hand away.

"You *can* stay, if you want to. You... I don't

"Look at me."

Tim does, and he isn't sure what expression is on
Jason's face. After a moment, Jason reaches up
and traces Tim's mask with his fingers.

"Sometimes I think you could go out, just like

Tim raises an eyebrow.

"You only *think* you need armor."

"That... really doesn't make any sense, Jason."

"Yeah, I guess not." He gets up, and reaches for
his jeans.

"You still have a spare suit here."

Jason raises his own eyebrow. "I was, actually, just
planning to kick Roy until he shared his blankets."

"I... oh."

"But... you have a point." Jason sighs and heads for
the closet, and the hidden closet *behind* it. "I do
that, and within about ten hours I'll be fielding
heartfelt sympathetic *crap* about how we broke

"Or I will."

A snort. "Christ. You could just tell 'em I fucked you
too hard."

"I was thinking I could bring up the history of
abuse, and your freakishly large left testicle."

"Good deal. Lemme know how that goes," Jason
says, and starts suiting up.



I'm having my right eye removed soon. The vision
in that eye is only 20/25, anyway, and it'll probably
get worse over the years. I'll be able to replace
Steph in terms of crime scene photography, my
night-vision will improve dramatically, and there'll
be additional weaponry. I'm doing it for us.

Jason closes the armor over his chest and starts
pulling on his gauntlets.

You're going to hate it, anyway.

Jason steps into his boots and crouches to
straighten them. He always saves the cowl for last,
and Tim thinks, maybe, if he puts it on *first*...
"What is it?" But he doesn't. It's just his eyes,
clear and blue and curious.

Tim swallows and shakes his head. "Nothing. I'll
see you tomorrow."

Jason frowns, and looks at him again with that
expression which always makes Tim *feel* like
an alien, because Jason doesn't *understand*.

"Really nothing," Tim says, and, after a moment,
Jason nods slowly, and turns toward the window.

And then he pauses, and walks back to the bed,
boots thudding on the floor like some loud,
unnatural heartbeat.

Tim hates that story.

But he loves the way Jason kisses him goodbye.
Now, like always, it feels more like a first kiss than
a last one. Like maybe he'll decide to stay anyway,
just to take advantage of the way he's making Tim
sweat, again.

When he smiles against Tim's mouth, the drag of
his lips feels like a promise -- one day, he's going
to get this right.

One day.

He watches Jason leave, and then he just listens.


.The finest thing.