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Just Say When

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They have all been banished to the manor library to do research, of all things.

Dick watches Damian knock over a pile books from the shelf above Tim’s head. “What’s the point of this?” Damian says, frustrated. “We should be out there instead of in here reading.”

“Hey, watch it,” Jason calls from across the room where he’s seated on one of the leather couches. “Those are first editions.”

“Thanks, I’m fine,” Tim mumbles, rubbing the back of his head where one of the heavier books had landed.

Yes, you are,” Jason says, smiling agreeably for the first time since he walked in. Tim goes completely still, and Dick thinks he might be very, very angry.

“Maybe it’s time for a break,” Dick suggests, trying to diffuse the situation. Old fashioned research isn’t exactly in their skillset. Jason and Damian, especially, are more likely to think with their fists.

Damian jerks his head in Jason’s direction. “Some of us haven’t even started.”

“I already know we aren’t going to find anything here,” Jason shrugs. “If there were a book about werewolves in this library, I would have found it by now.”

Dick grabs the back of Damian’s neck before he can leap over the couch and attack Jason. “Definitely time for a break. Let’s go see what Alfred’s got in the fridge.”

He practically frog marches Damian downstairs into the kitchen. Thankfully, they find Alfred there, who seems to be the only person that Damian will listen to lately. Ugh, teenagers.

He remembers the look on Tim’s face and doesn’t want to come back to a murder scene, so he leaves them in charge of snacks and hurries back upstairs. He’s standing just outside the closed doors when he hears Tim say in a dry tone that Dick is very familiar with, “Enjoying yourself?”

Something makes him lean forward to look through the crack in door instead of entering the room. He can see that Jason is sprawled out on the leather couch, watching Tim. There aren’t any books piled next to him or on the floor, so he’s still not even pretending to help.

“Immensely,” Jason admits, in a tone of voice that Dick is not familiar with. Rather, he is familiar with it, but it's usually only reserved for good-looking women at Jason’s favorite dive bar. He watches, confused, as Jason smirks and raises his arms behind his head. “The view’s not bad.”

Tim turns around to glare at him. “Do you think you could go through some of these texts instead of undressing me with your eyes? We might actually get out of here before midnight.”

Something in Dick’s brain short circuits, just a little bit. Tim isn’t actually angry, he’s… are they…. flirting? Is that a thing?

Suddenly, Jason slides upright on the couch, planting his feet on the floor in one smooth motion. “Oh, big plans tonight, Birdboy?”

By the tone of his voice, anyone would think he didn’t care, but the sharp tendons of his neck and the slight tick of his jaw give him away.

Tim slinks closer to the couch in way that Dick wouldn’t have thought him capable of and stops when he’s standing directly in front of Jason. He’s close enough to slip between the vee of his legs. “I have big plans for you tonight.”

The room is quiet and Dick can clearly hear the sharp, surprised inhale of Jason’s breath. It makes something uncomfortable twist in his chest, makes him shift his gaze down to the hardwood floor. He knows that he’s watching something that isn’t meant for him, but he can’t quite make himself leave. He doesn’t really understand why, but he needs confirmation that this isn’t some elaborate trick. That what he thinks -- that impossible, strange, unlikely thing -- is actually happening.

The couches in the library are high-backed and low with little cushion, so Jason has to tilt his face up to meet Tim’s gaze as he stands above him.

Jason is all sharp angles and burning eyes, like he’s going to eat Tim alive. “Is that so?” 


Dick watches in astonishment as Tim’s hands slides up the tops of Jason’s thighs. It’s a familiar, possessive touch, the movement smooth and sure. It isn’t the first time Tim's touched him like this, and it doesn’t look like it will be the last time, either.

If anyone had asked Dick half an hour ago what would happen if a guy touched Jason Todd like that, he would have said a trip to the emergency room with a broken face and at least a few dozen stitches.

But that’s not what happens.

Instead, Jason’s hand moves to circle the back of Tim’s leg, pulling him closer until there’s almost no space between them. Dick is afraid to breath, afraid to make any noise in the wake of all the tension between them. 

“We could get out of here now,” Jason suggests, his voice sounding like every bad idea Dick’s ever had. 

“Hmm,” Tim pretends to think. Dick doesn’t know how Tim isn't instantly agreeing with the way he has the other man under him like that. He’s never seen Jason look so vulnerable before, the raw wanting on his face almost too hard to look at.

“Tempting,” Tim says, running a slim finger under Jason’s chin. “But I think I’d rather make you wait.”

To Dick’s surprise, Jason leans into Tim’s touch and follows the movement of his hands to plant a quick kiss into Tim’s open palm. “Tease.”

Tim runs the fingertips of his free hand over Jason’s neck, the firm line of his jaw, thumbs across the fullness of Jason’s bottom lip. “What are you going to do about it?”

It’s difficult to see with the way their bodies are bowed so close together. But Jason does do something about it, something that makes Tim’s lips part in an exhale of startled pleasure. He tips his head back at the same time that his hands drop to clutch at Jason’s broad shoulders, his fingers digging into the black fabric of Jason’s shirt.

Jason watches him, his eyes hooded and hungry, but he’s smiling too.

That surprises Dick the most. He’s never seen Jason look so present, so happy, truly happy, not just making a joke or smirking underneath thinly veiled anger. It’s like Tim found the fuse inside Jason that’s always burning in rage and doused it. He’s never seen them interact outside of meetings like this, when Bruce needs them all. But that can’t be true, because they look so close and familiar, and Dick clearly hasn’t been paying enough attention.

But he’s paying attention now, to Tim’s answering smile and the fond look on his face, the brightness of his eyes. “Do you want to get caught?”

Jason’s face shifts, his smiling fading just around the edges. He places his a hand over Tim’s on his shoulder and pulls gently, until he can bring it down to kiss the tops of Tim’s bony knuckles. “Would that be so bad?”

“No,” Tim answers gently and then gestures between them. “But I’d rather not be so turned on when we tell them.”

In response, Jason bites down onto Tim’s knuckles.

“Not helping,” Tim teases, looking at Jason’s mouth with heat rising on his cheeks. Tim, who can be so robotic and cold. Has this been underneath Tim’s quiet, stoic face the entire time?

“No more hiding?” Jason asks. “You’re sure?”

“Are you sure?” Tim counters, moving to cup Jason’s face again. “You’re the one who had a problem with it in the beginning. Remember last Christmas?”

Dick nearly loses his balance. Over a year ago? This has been going on for .. that long?

“I remember mistoe and red silk ribbon, and not a lot else,” Jason murmurs, stretching his face up, inviting.

Tim meets him halfway. If Dick thought their touches were possessive before, it’s nothing compared to the claiming slide of their open mouths.

It’s enough to shake Dick out of his haze, to answer all his lingering questions. There's such a thing as too much information, he realizes. He makes his way back down to the kitchen, thinking of all the times Jason had canceled plans or smiled down at his phone or seemed to know something about Tim before Dick did.

When Dick gets to the kitchen, Alfred and Damian are finishing up a plate of sandwiches.

“How’s the research?” Alfred asks casually, but something must show on Dick’s face because he smiles slyly. “Oh, found out, did you?”

“What?” he asks, dumbly.

“Todd and Drake have relations,” Damian answers matter-of-factly, taking a bite out of one of the sandwiches and shrugging his shoulders.

“Quite,” Alfred agrees, brushing crumbs into the palm of his hand.

It’s definitely not the worst thing Dick’s ever found out. Everyone has their secrets, their surprises. He thinks about their happy faces and knows that whatever is between them, it's good. 

And if he's learned anything, it's that they all need something good in their lives.