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Bite Your Tongue

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CHAPTER TEN

 

“Fuck,” Jason moaned low and long. Tim grinned and pressed a kiss behind his ear.

“Keep quiet or they'll hear you,” he whispered before licking a stripe up the side of Jason's neck.

After the game, they'd gone out with the team for a few celebratory drinks, but they hadn't stayed long. Jason had seen Clark and his dad walking down to the car, Clark looking small tucked up under his dad's arm, and had decided to let them have the manor. What they hadn't known was that half of their team was at Tim's. When they'd stumbled in Tim's shirt half unbuttoned and Jason's hair standing on end, they'd been greeted by a wave of cheers and hollers. All of the women were in their living room in various levels of inebriation. Stephanie was pouring drinks and Harley was braiding Ivy’s hair. Cassandra and Barbara were flipping through Babs’ phone with interchanging looks of glee and disgust. He had plastered on a smile and waved. Jason had grabbed his lifted arm and dragged him off into his room without a word. He could still hear them talking and laughing through the door.

“Or do you want them to hear you?” he asked. Jason was quiet, rocked back against him, and bit his lip. He took that as his answer and thrust harder. Jason folded and he let him go. He watched Jason's fingers twisting in his sheets for a few seconds. He gripped Jason's hips, holding him still and thrust hard and deep.

He was tired, sweaty, and wanted to soak in a tub for days, but he needed this. They needed this. The pressure was gone. Jason was staying. They didn't have to worry about each goal, about pushing harder and winning because they had to. They could relax and enjoy the game. They could let go. Jason moaned again. The laughter paused. He shifted his angle and wrapped his hand around Jason. The moans mixed with cries of his name fell from Jason as he slammed in and out, the bed clattering against the wall. He pulled out, shocking a displeased whine from the man below him. He pulled on Jason's hips until he rolled on his back. He leaned down and kissed him. Jason's eyes were glossy as he looked at him, he knew he'd been close. He parted his legs, his fingers careful on his newly healed knee. He slid in with one quick thrust. Earning a shout of praise.

He rocked against Jason. Hoped that his hand was working him in time with his moves, but he was losing focus. He wanted to swallow up all noises falling from Jason's mouth. Jason's eyes closed and his head fell to the side as he writhed under him. Tim wasn't sure exactly what he was saying, but he made sure Jason knew how he looked, how he felt, how perfect he was. He felt Jason coming. He wasn't far behind him and slammed home with a curse as he came. Jason's legs dropped after a few moments and he slid out. Jason tugged and he fell onto his chest. He heard cheers and clapping and laughed against Jason's shoulder.

“Did I take care of you?” he asked, picking up their conversation from that morning. Jason huffed out a laugh.

“Yeah, Nug. You did good. I taught you well.” Jason turned and he kissed him softly.

“I fucking love you,” he whispered. Jason smiled, his entire face lighting up. “No one else. I'm just going to love you, forever.”

“You're a sap,” Jason told him, but wrapped his arms around him and pulled him closer. They were sweaty and needed a shower, but Jason looked close to sleep so he let him be.

He drifted for a while, but couldn't get to sleep. He rolled up and pulled on boxers and a shirt. He slipped out of the room, making sure that he blocked the view through the door.

“Tim-my!” Harley cheered. He was surprised when the rest of the group joined the chant. He mock bowed and headed for the kitchen. He was starving, and he knew Jason would wake up in a little bit complaining. He loaded the plate with a few sandwiches and stuffed a bag of chips under his arm.

“Those are mine,” Stephanie complained, reaching for the chips when he passed back through the kitchen.

“You ate my entire box of Lucky Charms,” he pointed out, twisting to protect his bounty.

“You aren't supposed to eat either of those,” Cass pointed out. They both looked at her and she went back to stacking the discarded shot cups. She grumbled under her breath. Stephanie let him go with a displeased look. Harley was watching him closely as he reached the door. She smiled and stared at the door behind him. He shot her a glare. She kept looking like if she looked hard enough she would be able to see through the door. He rolled his eyes before slipping in quickly.

“You suck Timothy Drake!” she called through the door. “I just wanted a peek.”

Jason was awake. He'd cleaned off in the attached bathroom and was sitting in his underwear in the middle of the bed.

“You are the best,” Jason exclaimed when he saw the food. They ate and spent the rest of the night curled together critiquing infomercials.

-

“Jay,” he urged. Jason pulled the blankets tighter around his neck. He chuckled and leaned closer. “Babe. I'm heading out.” Jason cracked open one eye and looked up at him.

“No,” Jay whined and reached for him. He was enjoying this clingy version of his boyfriend. He let Jason pull him back in for a few kisses, but backed out of them when Jason started tugging him further onto the bed.

“I'm going to be late. You going to be here when I get back?” They hadn't left the apartment since they'd finished the series. He knew that Jason was avoiding going back to the manor and seeing Clark, but he didn't want to push him. Jason curled back into the bed as he nodded.

Stephanie was half asleep on the couch, her phone resting on her chest like she'd been on it. He poked her forehead and she jerked up. “You ready?” she asked as if he hadn't caught her dozing.

Ivy and Bane were already waiting at a table when they got there. Stephanie spotted them first and dragged him over. He settled across from Ivy as the waiter walked up to take their drink orders.

When Bane had first called him to set up the outing he had been a little shocked. He had been playing with them all year and yet this was what made him realize that he was actually a part of this team. Bane wasn't just a begrudging road roommate, Ivy wasn't just his childhood hero. They were his teammates. Maybe even friends.

Most of breakfast was them talking about the drunken shenanigans they'd all gotten up to after the game. Bane told the story of Dick's night. He'd heard bits and pieces of the story from Jason as he read Dick's texts, but to hear Bane talk about it made the event even more surreal. Ivy practically purred when she talked about her night. He blushed when she replayed the show they'd heard. Then he'd blushed even harder when she continued with how much Harley had appreciated it. Bane paid for all of their meals, after a few half-hearted protests. They all stayed seated.

“Don't tell anyone I said this, but we will win,” Ivy looked to Bane for a moment then back to them. “This,” she waved her hands between the four of them, “feels different. It feels like something special. The Stars might have us beat on paper, but the four of us? We'll show them what we can do.”

They got back from breakfast to Jason flipping through channels. He had remnants of his breakfast on the coffee table. Stephanie plopped next to him.

“What are we watching?”

-

As they drove from the hotel to the arena he watched the  Star City streets pass by. The closer they go to the arena the more jerseys he saw. By the time they pulled up the parking garage the sidewalks were lined with green. He watched a group of Queens and Harpers chanting as they crossed the street in front of the bus.

Star City was loud, even before warm up started he could hear the sound of the crowd as it echoed down the hall. They stood in the hall waiting. The manager by the door motioned that it was time for them to go. He looked back to Basil. The man nodded and he started forward. Warm ups were a blur. It hit him halfway through when he looked up and saw the Stanley Cup Final banner above the clock. He spent the rest of warm ups and Gordon's speech in a daze. He didn't snap out of it until they were sitting on the bench watching Dick and Queen do the ceremonial face off. Dick shook the opposing captain's hand and he realized that this was it. They were about to fight for what he'd been working toward his entire life.

Cassandra scored off the opening face off. The crowd deflated at the quick goal. He didn't blame them. Cassandra skated to the bench smiling, but he could see how surprised she was by the fact that she'd scored that easily. He felt uneasy as he took the ice. When the captain and his partner skated out they look determined. Harper whispered to Queen and they both looked at him before taking their positions. He made eye contact with Stephanie. She grinned and raised an eyebrow. The Stars had a few forwards that they knew to look out for, but their strength definitely rested in their defense. Oliver Queen had sat in the top three in scoring for defensemen since he joined the league. Only Prince more consistent than him. Harper himself had ups and downs. But he had been on fire since the playoffs started. But they were ready. Bullock had made sure of that.

The Stars pressed back hard. They barely had time for a change. He got off, Stephanie was looking for the chance, but the Stars kept driving the puck deep. He felt the goal coming before it happened. The forwards that were out had been hammered. A bad rebound left the puck sitting in the blue paint. Stephanie swung to knock it away, but Hawke’s stick got there first and it was in the back of the net, Basil's stick barely missing it.

That was just the beginning. They scored two more times. It was as if the Stars were just lining up and taking their shots. Nothing they did seemed to make a difference. He could hear the veterans urging the team to focus, but by the end of the first they were down 3-1 and had barely touched the puck.

The second period flew by. The Stars found the back of the net two more times.

The third was where the penalties started. Harper had been chirping him the entire game. Stupid little things that he was used to ignoring. He had to focus a little more to ignore them, but he did. After the second intermission it seemed like he'd decided that he was going to change tactics. He started complimenting Jason. The chirps were pleasant. They were said with a smile. They reminded him too much of Clark and Tim hated it. Hated it because Harper knew that Jason got a kick out of his soon to be Step-father's jibes. It had become one of their things. Tim hissed at him to shut up and Harper knew he had him.

He got called for hooking a few minutes into the period. It was a sloppy play. He slammed into the penalty box and stewed in his anger as the clock counted down his time. The high-sticking a few minutes later he deserved. Getting the major penalty was worth the glare he earned from Harper as the ref checked for blood. He felt like an idiot shouting, “ I know his hair looks better long, ” but he did it anyway. The players on the ice looked at him like he'd lost his mind. Barbara looked between the two of them and her eyes narrowed.

Barbara scored short-handed, but the Stars won 6-2.

He was irritated. He angrily flipped through the hotel channels and ignored texts. Jason was humoring him, letting him work out his frustration, but Tim could tell that the longer it lasted the more it grated on his nerves. By the morning of Game 2 he had worked himself back into the simmering rage he'd had when he stepped off the ice after Game 1. Ivy had stopped him as they'd walked out to the ice. She'd tried to calm him down, but he knew what was coming.

They lost. Again.

Harper had shifted his chirps. They weren't nice. They weren't mean. They were just facts. Tiny little tidbits about Jason. Things that Harper had liked about him. Memories they had together. He didn't even think that it was the words that bothered him. It was that he was sharing them. Jason had trusted him, had even loved him and this man was flaunting knowledge that no one else should know.

The first time he snapped it wasn't even anything bad. The man commented on how much he missed watching Jason wake up. Tim had watched Jason blink awake a few hours before and he couldn't take it. He'd gotten called for slashing seconds later.

As soon as he'd shown that weakness his game was ruined. The crowd had roared their distaste as he finished his fourth trip to the box. The Stars had scored on two of his penalties.

The Knights were doing everything they could to stay in the game. Barbara had scored short handed again. He was pretty sure that she was going for a record. Dick and Jason had combined for a highlight reel goal in the second. There were only five minutes left in the third. He was skating to the face off circle when, “I miss him letting me fuck him after a good game,” was purred into his ear. The refs saw how close they were and whistled. He set in his spot and stared at Harper. The man was staring right back with a smirk. The puck dropped and he launched himself across the ice. Roy's gloves had barely left his hands when he tackled him. They tumbled to the ice. Harper got in a wild punch, but it just left him open. He straddled him and hammered punches. His knuckles split against his visor and it knocked the helmet off. Harper was trying to hold him off with his hand on his face. Tim knocked it away and got one more hit in. He grinned as his nose broke under his fist. The refs finally dragged them apart. He tasted blood and rubbed his teeth as he skated to the bench. There wasn't even enough time to serve the penalty. His finger came away bloody. He'd gotten called for inciting and the last few minutes went without a goal.

He had a bloody smile and his hand was wrapped, a few stitches where they'd been cut deep. He looked like a mess. Jillian was disappointed in him. He knew that the fight would be on all of the recaps. He could tell that she wanted to keep him away from the media, but didn't have a choice. All of them wondered what had changed about the game. He knew the team was wondering too. When one of the reporters pointed out that he'd gotten more penalty minutes in this game than he had for the entire season he'd been a little thrown. He gave nondescript answers and avoided answering any questions about the words Harper had said leading into the fight.

Jason was the only one left in the locker room when he was finished with his shower. He had spent longer than normal trying to wash the memory of the game away. He let Jason pull him in for a tight hug, but grabbed his bag instead of the hand he offered.

He was tired.

He was sore.

The bruises from Biz and the Mammoths series hadn't even healed yet. Part of him wished that he could blame this frustration on pain, on a physical reaction. Instead he was hurting because of words. He'd always been the target on the ice. Small, quiet, different. He was used to being targeted because of who he was. He didn't know how to react to this. It wasn't about him. It was about Jason. He'd grown up his entire life with people underestimating him, not seeing him. He was tired of it.

It made sense that he'd finally hit his breaking point.

Jason was in a bad mood. He had been all day. He'd been grumpy when Tim hadn't joined him for breakfast. It had only gotten worse when an awkward play in practice that morning had jarred his knee. The only time he'd looked happy had been waking up from his nap. But even then it had been short lived. He probably should have sent Jason to his room, neither of them were in the mood for company, but he didn't. He'd wanted to fall into bed with Jason and never leave, to forget all of this.

He spent the ride up to his hotel room complaining about the game. About the calls and he missed chances. He didn't talk about Harper. He knew Jason was curious, but he didn't ask. Jason listened. He could feel the judgement coming from him as he tore off his suit and threw the remnants at his bag. They'd be wrinkled in the morning but he didn't care. Jason touched one of the new bruises on his shoulder. He looked down at his hand. Jason turned his hand and held his jaw like it was made of glass. The kiss was soft, questioning.

“I'm not really in the mood tonight.” His voice was sharper than he'd meant it to be as he stepped back.

“You have to let these losses go,” Jason said. He knew he was trying to help. He did, but he didn't want help. He wanted to complain, be heard, and go to bed.

“Oh yeah. Just give up?”

“Not give up. But a bad game decimates your mood. You can't keep obsessing over every little mistake.”

His head whipped around. He scoffed. Jason's eyes narrowed. “Mistake? Is that what you think tonight was?” He shook his head in disbelief. “Tonight was two hours of hearing all about your past from that asshole. Game one? More of that. Last week? Getting beat up because you love me.” And he couldn't stop what came out next even though he desperately wanted to. “Maybe if you didn't fuck everyone in the League, I wouldn't have made so many mistakes .”

Jason's eyes went cold in a second. He watched as Jason opened his mouth but nothing came out. He tried again, taking a step backwards. His shoulders went stiff as he cleared his throat, “Okay then, I'll leave you to it.” Jason swallowed gruffly as he turned and walked out the door. It slammed behind him.

Tim stared at the empty space where Jason had been. His stomach dropped out when he realized what he'd just said, what had just happened.

Bane came in some time after Jason left. It could have been minutes or hours, he wasn't sure. “Tim?” The soft concerned voice was all it took and he broke.

He knew he was checked out the next morning. He followed Bane through the hotel and onto the plane. Basil sat next to him. He glanced up when Jason followed Dick down the aisle, but he didn't look at him. He turned the volume of his music up and looked out the window. He slept for most of the flight. He hadn't gotten much sleep the night before. He'd stared at his phone trying to figure out a way to apologize. In the end he'd decided that he deserved Jason's ire and let it be. Stephanie hooked her arm in his as they walked to baggage claim. She didn't try talking to him until they'd gotten back to their apartment. Even then she just made him eat then let him hide out in his room. His pillow still smelled like Jason's body wash. He shoved his face in it and forced himself to go to sleep.

They were down 3-0 in the series by the hallway mark of the third period. Whatever that special something Ivy had talked about, it had disappeared. He was second guessing himself. Every little move he thought about. He had an open shooting lane, but passed it instead. Stephanie had noticed, she was angry. They all were. They'd fought their way through the season. They'd beat their rivals. They had known that the cup was theirs, but instead they were watching it slip away. The 5-0 loss was simply another nail in their coffin.

-

After game three Tim stopped answering texts. He'd hear his phone vibe and would jump to answer it, but it was never Jason. He spent most of his nights looking at apartments. Too many reminded him of conversations he'd had with Jason. One had a doorman. Jason said he'd bow and thank jeeves every time they walked in. Jason had opened the door for him the next day and Tim had bowed and offered his thanks. They'd laughed for most of the elevator ride up. Another had a fireplace. Jason had spent that night telling him how good he'd look next to the fireplace, with the flames flickering on his skin. He found one that was small, wouldn't feel like he was coming home to an empty house. He sent it to the group chat with Bart and Conner. As soon as the screenshot had sent his phone started ringing.

“Hello?” he ground out. His voice was rough. He hadn't been sleeping well. Or at all.

“Why are you sending me random apartments at three in the morning?” Conner asked. He sounded more awake than he'd expected.

“It's above a Chinese restaurant.”

“And? You hate Chinese food.”

“I hate American Chinese food,” he corrected by rote.

“Yes. And that is an American Chinese restaurant. Why are you looking at places so small. That didn't even have a bedroom.”

“I don't need a big space. Just somewhere to sleep.”

“Pretty sure Jason sleeps too.”

“Yeah. He will be. In his own room. At the manor,” he replied past the thickness in his throat.

“Did you guys change your mind about moving in together?”

“I think we changed our minds about being together.”

“What?” Conner sounded a little surprised, but mostly angry. He didn't want him fighting so he continued.

“I was angry. I don't know if you've noticed but I've been playing like shit.”

“You said something?”

“I was an asshole.”

“Have you apologized?”

“He left. I…”

“Tim. Just apologize.”

“Jason likes Chinese food,” he said ignoring the advice. He wasn't sure he should be forgiven. Not sure enough to ask for Jason's forgiveness. As he scrolled through the pictures of the Murphy bed and the sinkless bathroom, Conner cursed under his breath.

-

Jason was pissed. He could see it in the jerky way he got dressed. He watched him from his stall. It took all he had not to go over and try to calm him down. He didn't want Jason playing angry, they didn't need anything more against them. Dick stopped in front of Jason. He strained to listen without looking like he was. “won't be here. I don't get it. Clark knows how important tonight is-” Jason was cut off by Jim coming in.

He stood at the front of the line like he had for every game this season. He could hear the crowd, their crowd. If this was going to be the end, it felt right ending it surrounded by their fans, the ones that had stuck it out with them. He looked back at Basil.

“Let's do this,” he said.

Harley was behind the goalie and said it back to him. A wave of chants rushed down the hall. He looked back out to the ice.

“Let's do this,” he said once again to himself as the door opened.

The Stars were still hitting them hard like they had been the last three games. The Knights had tightened up. They focused on keeping the puck out of their goal. Kate scored at the end of the second. It was the first time they'd lead since the first game. He could feel the energy building in the team as they focused on keeping the lead. They held the Stars back for most of the third. Harper's words didn't matter. More of the team was hearing the things he was saying. The best moment of the game came at two minutes left in the third. Harper had the puck. He had a shooting lane. Tim moved to block it, but he didn't think he'd get there in time. As he was moving Barbara slammed into Harper sending him to the ground. She stood over him, said something before skating after Cassandra who had stolen the puck. He looked at Harper shakily getting to his feet and grinned. The Stars pulled their goalie. Chaos erupted as they made their final drive for a goal. Queen slapped the puck toward the goal as the buzzer went off. He turned and the ref was signaling a goal. The crowd roared their boos. He leaned over the bench as the refs reviewed the goal.

Jim was yelling at the refs when they called it a good goal. The clock only had one second left as they set up for the final face off. Dick won and the buzzer sounded.

There was a determined anger in the locker room as they waited for overtime. Dick stepped up and looked around the room at them.

“One more goal. Just one more and we keep this thing going.” Dick looked around the room again. He stopped and looked at him. “Let's do this!”

Dick won the face off again. Stephanie slid back into their zone as the Stars pressed forward. She slid out over to him. He looked up the ice and tossed it to Harley. She swung it in along the boards. Jason picked it up on the other side and whipped in an attempt. It was caught easily. They set up for another face off. Hawke won this one and the Stars pushed into their zone. He checked where Steph was as they fell back to protect the goal. Lance knocked an ugly rebound toward the goal, but Basil got there. He pulled the puck behind the net and watched as the forwards moved toward the goal. Jason was waiting at the blue line. Lance was on Tim as soon as he moved from behind the net. He could feel her closing in on him. He hit the puck and hoped for the best as Lance slammed into his side. The goal horn went off. He pushed himself up to look. The ref was signaling a good goal. Everyone was crowded around Jason. The bench emptied as they poured onto the ice. Bane skated to him dragging him to his feet. They both pulled Basil into a crushing hug. His hip was sore where Lance had hit it. She hadn't held anything back.

He let the others congratulate their goalie and skated to the bench. At least he knew that he could still play with Jason. They still made beautiful hockey together.

-

“I'm running late. I'll be right there,” he told his mother. His phone had rung at the exact time he was meant to meet her. He'd been dreading the lunch. Their flight back out to Star City was later that evening and he had just wanted to nap. He was tired, and he knew that she would comment on how he looked. He didn't want to talk about why. She'd invited Jason and he hadn't been able to tell her that he wouldn't be coming. He rounded the corner and froze at the sight in the window of the restaurant he was standing in front of. “I have to go, Mother.” He slid his phone back in his pocket and stepped closer to the window.

Inside the diner Clark was hugging a kid while Bruce watched with a smile. Another kid was sitting across from them looking shocked even with the small smile on his face. Bruce much have felt his attention because he turned and looked out the window. His eyes widened and he said something to Clark who looked up even as the kid clung to his neck.

“What's-” he asked when Bruce stepped out. “Who are those kids?"

“They are… Our sons.” Bruce smiled and didn't look like he'd be stopping any time soon. He looked back and nodded like that sentence had made any actual sense. “They are why we've been trying to get you and Jay to stay in the manor.” He looked back at Bruce.

“You won't have that problem anymore.” Tim offered him an awkward smile.

“What? Did you two decide to stay?” The hope on Bruce's face hurt.

He shook his head. “Wait. Does Jason not know?”

Bruce looked a little wary at that question. “We weren't expecting things to happen so fast. With the trade and playoffs…” Bruce knew they were weak excuses, but he had seen how much Jason had had on his mind so he understood why Bruce would want to wait. “You're telling him right?”

“Of course.”

---

It felt wrong sleeping in his own bed. Alone. It felt too soft and too large, and even though Jason used to wake up sprawled across the surface, it was like his body had forgotten how to use all of it. One side of the bed was always too cold.

But he was still mad. Jason knew that he wasn't exactly angry, but he was too proud to admit that what Tim had said hurt him. He wasn't ashamed of his past. He knew what he had done and who he had done and how many times they had done it. He was young and had lived the life that was expected from him for a long time. Until Tim. Until he knew what it was like to have more. A person who loved him despite his flaws, who made him laugh and knew exactly what his body needed before he did. Jason had only wanted more once before Tim. With Roy, when they were young and stupid and he thought the world ended and began with him. Jason knew that it had to be hard for Tim to have to deal with that, it was hard enough for Jason- and all he had to deal with was Kon who was practically straight. But that didn't take the sting away. It didn't keep him from staring at his phone hoping for an apology that still hadn't come.

It was almost noon when Dick finally rolled out of bed, walking into the kitchen hardly dressed with a smug look on his face as he went to the fridge. Jason had been up since six, unpacking all of the random crap Dick claimed that he needed in his life and trying to find where it would fit in the new apartment. He'd been hiding out there for a few days, too mad at Tim and too mad at Clark to be anywhere else. Dick didn't seem to mind though. In fact, he was practically delighted to not be the one curled up on his friend's couch wishing to die for once. And Jason cooked. That didn't hurt either.

He was cooking then. Making the most complicated thing that he could think of so that he didn't have to think about anything else. He was in an obnoxious apron, covered in flour as he rolled out the puff pastry as flat as he could but it kept breaking in the middle. He cursed and wadded it up again before he started the process over.

“Still nothing from Tim?” Dick guessed as he pulled out a full gallon of milk. He popped the top off and started chugging it like it was water.

He brushed it off. “You know, if you keep drinking milk like that you might actually turn into a cow.”

The doorbell rang and Dick flipped him off, still drinking as he pulled it open absolutely unabashed by his lack of clothing. He put down the jug and blinked in surprise. “Oh, hey Con. What are you doing here?”

Jason looked up from the dough, confused when his soon to be uncle pushed his way into the apartment. A range of emotions washed over his face before he settled on anger and clenched his fists. “Are you fucking kidding me?” he demanded marching over to the kitchen. “You broke up with Tim for this tool?” he asked seething.

“What?” Jason asked as Dick said, “ Dude .”

Conner bit his lip, fist shaking with the urge to punch him. “I didn't believe him. I thought, ‘Sure Jason is an ass, but no way he would dump Tim.’ I'm such an idiot. You know he has been sending me all of these depressing apartment listings? Like shitty apartments that are all one room with no kitchen or bathroom because all he needs is a place to sleep. It's so depressing. And I told him there was no fucking way you would-"

“I didn't.”

“What?” Con blinked, not understanding.

“I didn't break up with Tim,” he groundout slowly at the moron who was now pacing in front of him.

That broke something in Connor. He jumped over the counter, but Dick was managed to get his arms around his waist and holding down. “You are fucking someone else and you haven't even broken up with him yet!?” he seethed.

“What the hell is going on here?” Barbara demanded, stepping out of Dick’s room in nothing but one of Dick's shirts and a pair of his boxers.

Connor stopped trying to climb the counter, looking from Barbara to Jason to Dick. “Who is that?” he asked after the confusion had passed.

“Dick’s girlfriend .” Jason deadpanned, clenching the rolling pin he'd been using so hard that his knuckles were white. His entire body was jittering in adrenaline and he needed Con to rewind. “What did Tim say to you?”

Conner shook his head, red faced as he climbed back down to the floor, “He said you had a fight and you broke up with him?” he asked, all the fight leaving his body and just leaving him embarrassed. “I thought he was full of it but when I went by your dad's he said you have been here for a couple days and I just…”

“Got it,” Jason huffed ripping the apron off and throwing it on the floor. He dropped the rolling pin in the sink and shoved his boots on before he pushed back through the jumble of confused people into the hallway. He let his annoyance boil over, he didn't even thank the doorman when he shoved his way out of the building and stormed to the train station. He was too mad to drive. His mood must have been palpable because not even the little boy in his number shirt came up to him as the subway took him closer and closer to his final stop.

He came up a block away from Tim's apartment, taking a moment outside to collect as much of himself as he could. Then he was in the elevator, punching the button so hard that he jammed his thumb. He focused in the low throb when the doors open and he stood on the stupid H-E- double hockey sticks doormat and pounded on the door.

He had been so ready to yell at him and call him an idiot. But when the door opened and Jason saw how horrible Tim looked, he couldn't stop himself from grabbing him by the collar and crushing their mouths together. Tim gasped in surprise but let Jason walk him backwards into the apartment, guiding him by his hand on the small of his back as he kicked the front door shut. They hit a wall at some point. Tim flat against it, breathless and beautiful when he relented his attack and pulled back just enough to glare down at him.

“I didn't break up with you, you idiot,” he told him and then he kissed him again. Hard and furious, with all of the tension he'd felt the last few days. “I'm not breaking up with you. And I am never going to fucking break up with you. Ever. Okay?”

Tim sucked in a hard breath, his eyes were watery and his voice was thick when he stammered, “B-but I said-"

Jason kissed him again to shut him up. It was softer this time. Needier, his body having craved the feeling of Tim against it for so long that it didn't want to stop. “You said something shitty, yeah. And you didn't apologize, which sucked. But I say shitty things all the time.” He pulled him in again, letting his tongue trace the flat of his teeth. “And it doesn't fucking matter. Roy, Biz, everyone between them. They don’t matter to me. What I had with them is nothing compared to this.” He kissed him again and Tim let out a small sound that was almost a sob as he kissed him back, hands fisting in Jason's hair. “And I love you so damn much, Nug,” he breathed against his lips.

He couldn't breathe and he didn't care, the heady way that Tim’s tongue caressed him awakening primal instincts that needed to be filled. He lifted him, not breaking the kiss and carried him down the hall to his bedroom, fumbling with the doorknob just long enough the he had to look away.

Tim was gasping. Apparently he hadn't caught his breath either. “I'm sorry,” he told him.

“I know,” Jason said into his neck as the door finally gave in and let him through.

He dropped Tim onto the bed, perfect blue eyes that were still vibrant from tears glazing over as he pulled his shirt over his head. “It was the game. I was mad,” he continued as Jason pulled Tim’s shirt over his head, catching his still bandaged hand with a kiss before he pushed him down into the mattress.

“I know,” he grumbled into his hair, taking a deep whiff of him before he pressed his hips down into Tim’s and swallowed his groan before it hit the open air.

“Roy was-" Tim gasped and Jason sealed a hand over his mouth as he bit at his sternum, undoing Tim's jeans to let his hand snake in.

“I don't want you to talk about Roy,” he told him, palming his balls as he prodded a finger around his sex. “Barbara told me what he said,” he muttered into Tim’s stomach as he slid down his body, taking his jeans with him before he slid back up to him. “He never took care of me the way you do,” he breathed. “He never made me feel like this.” He took Tim’s hand and placed it on the strain of his jeans,

“So easily. I thought I loved him but that was only because I hadn't loved you yet.” Tim groaned both in pleasure and heart ache when Jason kissed him again, grinding his hips into him as he undid his fly and let himself fall out. He fumbled for the drawer on the bedside table for the stolen lube without pulling back, slicking himself and prepping Tim before he pushed into him.

They both let out a noise of pained relief, foreheads pushed together as they got used to the feeling. Jason edged his hips forward in question, biting his lip to keep from begging him. Tim pulling him in and he moaned going as deep as he could. He thrust hard and deep in a slow rhythm, hand pumping Tim as he went as he whispered obscenities into his ear. “You are so fucking perfect,” he told him over and over, willing him to believe it. To believe that Jason could never leave him and would never stop trying to stay. “Coming apart for me like you were made to be mine,” he growled and thrust harder.

Tim clawed at his ass, trying to hold him deep inside, neck stretched out as he arched into him. “J-Jay-" he gasped as he rocketed forward. “Jay p-please!”

“Tell me what you need.” He bit into his shoulder Tim's hips jerked in response.

“Harder, Jason. Please just-"

He slammed into him, the entire bed surging forward as Tim let out a surprised yelp and his hands jumped back towards the wall. Jason grinned and moved, harder and faster until Tim's pants became breathy gasps and his legs were clamped around Jason so tight they could have cut him in half. Jason was so close, biting his lip to keep from going over as he pulled at Tim and pushed him back further and further towards the wall- and they were finally falling over. Tim came into his fist, shouting his name and a thousand horrible things as Jason fell into him, his entire body convulsing so hard that he wasn't sure it would ever stop. He felt high. He felt exhausted. He felt relieved when he found the energy to push his head up and see Tim looking down his chest at him like he was the entire world. It was the only time in his life that Jason felt like he could be.

“So you're not breaking up with me?” Tim asked, a little smirk pulling at the side of his mouth.

Jason huffed out a laugh, too spent to pull himself up far enough to kiss him. “I think you've convinced me to stick it out,” he told him letting his eyes shut, comfortable to the first time in five days. “Besides Con would beat me up. He came looking for me at Dick’s place cause you sent him sad apartments.”

Tim was red faced when he opened his eyes, grinning. “Oh no.”

“Dick was half naked, cause he's Dick. So he thought we were fucking and tried to kill me with a rolling pin."

“Why were you at Dick's?” he asked looking distracted and like he would like to throw himself off a cliff.

Jason frowned, butting his face in Tim's stomach. “I didn't want to be home.” He shrugged. He didn't want to get into the details of his to big bed and ruin the moment. “Clark didn't come to game four. And I know it's stupid, but it feels like he just kind of gave up on us winning. Or that he's bitter. I don't know.” He shrugged not knowing how to not sound like a child.

“You haven't been home at all?” Tim asked, his throat sounding tight. “Have you talked to your dad?”

“Not since our fight.” He admitted, pushing up onto his elbows so he could look at him better. “Why?”

Tim shook his head. “No reason,” he said quickly and pushed him up. “C’mon, if we don't take a shower now then we are going to have to sleep in this.” He motioned to the state of the mess on his stomach in Jason’s hand before he dragged him towards the bathroom.

He got distracted in the first shower and they had to take another one. But they were both too exhausted to do anything after that. His hips rocked weakly into the curve of Tim that he had wrapped himself around as soon as they got into bed in a valiant effort but there was no umph to it. Tim chuckled and pushed his butt against him until he rolled over so that he was laying on his back and Tim was tucked under his arm, legs wound together like vines. “Watching you beat the shit out of Roy may have been the hottest thing I have ever seen,” Jason grumbled sleepily up at the ceiling.

Tim grinned, “Better than when I flipped Clark?”

He groaned. “Okay, maybe a close second.” Jason amended, rubbing circles into Tim’s shoulder as comfortable silence stretched between them. They were both so tired having spent too long stewing in their own heads, but neither of them wanted to let go of the moment.

“What are you thinking?” Tim asked finally. Jason swallowed, a lump in his throat that he couldn't really explain. Tim pushed himself back so he could look at him. “Jay?” He frowned.

He bit at his tongue, struggling to find the right words as he replayed the night again. He didn't want to bring it up, “It's nothing.” He shook his head feeling stupid.

“No, tell me,” Tim prodded.

Jason chewed on his tongue again before he finally sighed. “I've been thinking a lot. About what you said, and I don't want to rehash but you are right. I have dated a lot of people. I've done a lot of stupid shit. And I never thought about how they treated me until recently.” He cleared his throat, still looking at the ceiling. The weight of Tim's eyes on him was crushing. “I accepted a lot of bad things from people. And it's not because I thought I wasn’t worth more, or that I deserved It- but I wasn't anything great, you know. I was just another guy, or screw or trophy to put on the shelf to say it had been done.

“I’ve just never had someone defend my honor before.” He shrugged knowing how lame he sounded. “I guess… you just make me feel weirdly special you know? Like I'm more than just that.” He muttered, his face hot.

“Jay, you…” Tim stopped like he didn't know what to say.

He let his head roll to the side and made a face. “I swear if you tell me how special I am I will barf,” he threatened. Tim rolled his eyes and kissed him instead. And they just laid there watching the world in each other’s faces between kisses until they feel asleep.

-

He was still exhausted when Tim shook him awake the next morning, laughing at him when he rolled over and pulled the pillow over his head. He didn't want to get up yet. They didn't have practice until two and he planned on spending every second of it in bed.

“C’mon,” Tim urged, pulling the pillow off of his head and planting a string of warm kisses behind his ear to ease the tension out of him. “You have to get up.”

Jason looked at the clock on the bedside table and frowned at Tim who was already fully dressed. “It's eight thirty,” he complained.

Tim nodded. “We have breakfast plans.”

“I hate breakfast.” He pouted as his stomach growled and gave him away. Tim ripped the blankets off of him and made him get up.

He got Jason coffee while they waited for their uber, the warmth pulling him out of the haze last night had put him in. He was actually starting to fall into a decent mood when Tim gave the man his father's address and it soured in an instant.

“Don't,” Tim told him before he could tell him he didn't want to go and Jason fumed out the window for the rest of the ride.

Jason walked ahead as Tim tipped the uber and gave him a five star rating, hesitating with his key in door. “I think it only works if you turn it.” Tim poked at him when he’d been there for almost a minute and Jason elbowed him, rolling his eyes as he opened the door.

“Dad?” he called when he stepped inside.

“In here!” He heard Clark call from the kitchen and tensed as he followed the amazing aroma of southern food. Clark was standing at the counter, pouring batter into a waffle iron as he added another perfect pastry to the large stack. Conner was at the table, looking awkwardly into his coffee, the events of yesterday hardly hidden on his face- but he seemed relieved to see the two of them together. His dad wasn’t there.

“Where's Dad?” he asked Clark, more terse than he meant to. His feelings were still on the mend and last night had left him raw.

Clark glanced up at him, pursing his lips as he flipped the iron. “He had to step out for a minute. Should be back soon.” He nodded to the spread on the count. “Help me with this, will ya?” he asked pulling a fresh one off.

Jason carried the bowls of fruit and different syrups to the table where Tim and Conner were talking under their breath. They stopped though when Jason brought over the coffee pot and Con caught his arm. Everything in Jason tensed and he shot a warning look at Con who immediately let go and let him top off his cup. “Jason, about yesterday-" he started.

“Stop,” Jason told him and shot a look at Tim who seemed genuinely surprised. “It's fine. Just ask me next time before you barge in and call my best friend a tool.” Conner ducked his head and nodded meekly. Clark came up behind him with the waffles looking confused.

“You called Dick a tool?” he asked his little brother who was now red-faced. “Why?”

“It's a long story,” Jason deadpanned and sank into the chair next to Tim. “So why the family breakfast?”

Now it was Clark's turn to look awkward. Okay… Clark was never awkward. Not when Jason had caught him and his dad fooling around in the den when he was sixteen. Not when the press asked him about who wore the pants in their relationship. Not the first time he came to their house to ask his dad out and ended up having a stare down with his mom and being met by Jason who needed half of his room signed.  Not when he walked in on Jason giving Roy a blowjob… mostly. But here he was genuinely flustered for the first time since Jason had known him and it was unsettling. “Kiddo, I know you are upset that I missed your game.” Shit. They were going to do this now. “But I need you to know that it was for a good reason.”

He looked pained and about a million horrible things pooped into Jason's head at once. “Clark, are you okay?” he asked as he quelled the panic in him. “Did something happen? Are you-”

“I'm fine,” Clark promised quickly, holding a hand up. “Your dad is fine too. We are great actually- but we have to tell you something.”  

Conner was staring at his cup again looking like he wanted to be anywhere but there at the moment and Tim squeezed his knee. “What?” he asked.

Guilt covered Clark’s face and he looked down at his hands, a new ring glinting off his left ring finger. “Well, kid. We already got married.”

“You are kidding,” he said completely shocked and relieved at the same time. So no one was dying and that was great. But they had just spent months going over colors and decorations and invitations. He had looked at so many fonts that he could write a text book in prose about how bold lettering made more of a statement. The venue had been paid for. The caterer had been booked. They had suits… “What the fuck?” he asked, pushing out from the table. “When did this happen?”

“A few weeks ago,” Clark admitted. Jason could tell that he felt horrible. “We went to the courthouse the day before our series began and signed the papers.

“Why didn't you tell me?” he demanded. “I could have gone with you. You need witness right? So who…” he locked eyes with Conner who could not have looked more like he wanted to disappear. “What the hell, Clark?” he roared standing up. “When I told you that you could marry my dad, I kind of thought that me being there was implied!” he huffed and tried to walk out.

Clark was on his feet and blocked the doorway, his arms extended out. “I know, and I'm sorry. I wanted to tell you, but your dad didn't want you give you anything else to be distracted about going into the series with that injury. You have every right to be mad at us- but at least listen to why we did it, okay?” Jason closed his eyes, he was still tired and his entire body felt heavy in hurt and annoyance. “Please?” he asked softer.

Jason looked back at Tim who nodded at him and pulled his chair out. He walked stiffly back and sank down, letting Tim’s hand on his back soothe him. Clark looked relieved when he sat back down. He pushed Jason's mug back towards him and added another lump of sugar to it. “You know I love you,” Clark started.

He frowned. “I do.”

“You know that I think of you as my son.”

His chest tightened. He didn't know where this was going. “And you're my dad.”

A heartbreaking smile ripped out of Clark and he continued. “It was so fun spending time with you when you were a kid. And it's so great now. Everything you do makes me proud that I have gotten to be one of your parents.” Jason swallowed, this wasn't a conversation he really wanted to have at a family breakfast and he was about to suggest they talk privately when Clark dropped the bomb on him. “And I just can't wait to see how great of a big brother you are.”

“What are you-”

The door opened and the next thing he knew his dad was standing in the doorway of the kitchen with two boys standing slightly behind him looking into the room warily. They were almost the same height, though one was clearly older than the other. His eyes more speculating while the slightly shorter one was all hope and wonder, especially when he saw Clark who grinned at him. He ran over as Clark stood up and hit him hard enough to knock him breathless. Jason knew that he was holding Tim's hand too hard but he couldn't help it. This was surreal.

He had just always thought his Dad was getting to that age where he didn't want to have a baby… but these weren't babies. The other boy walked in after the little one let go of Clark and gave him an one armed hug before quickly letting him go and Jason looked back at his dad. Bruce was watching him. He looked just as helpless as he had when him and Jason talked about the trade on the first night- but there was something else there too that he had to look away from. “Jon,” Clark said to the little one, “Damian,” he called the other. “This is Jason.”

Jon waved shyly eyes huge and bright like he was seeing a rockstar. Damian nodded. “Bruce talks about you a lot,” he said and Bruce grinned as he finally stepped into the group.

Jason didn't know what to say and he didn't know how he was supposed to feel. He would have liked to know about this beforehand, he would have liked to see his dad get married. He would have liked to be the only one that wasn't blindsided by this- but by the looks of Tim and Conner, they weren't surprised at all. He was about to say something when Jon's eyes shifted over to Tim and he let out a wild gasp, jumping forward to hold onto the chair in front of him. “Oh my gosh!” he clenched at his chest. “Holy moley!” he said with a little jump. “Are you Tim Drake? Why is Tim Drake here?” he demanded from his father before he ran around the table, pushing past Con so that he could freak out in front of him. “Are you my brother too?” he asked hopefully.

Tim was so flabbergasted that Jason couldn't help the laugh that ripped out of him as he put an arm over his shocked shoulders. “Maybe someday,” he grinned and nudged Tim. “He's my boyfriend.” If he wasn't Jon’s hero before, he was now.

“You’re dating…” he shook his head and turned back to Tim. “You are my favorite player. Like ever. I've played hockey before in a charity league and I've always wanted to be a defenseman!”

“L-looks like you are in the right family for that,” Tim told him in an awkward attempt to be cool.

“Right?!” Jon beamed and gripped his hand tightly. “Will you show me how to do that flip thing that you did to Clark?” he begged.

Tim looked at Jason who shrugged and then to Bruce who was enjoying how dazed he was as much as Jason. “You have time. Jason probably has some old skates that would fit him down stairs.”

“Downstairs?” Jon and Clark grinned as he waved for them to follow. Jon pulled Tim out of his chair and grabbed Damian with his other hand and ran after Clark. Tim gave them a pleading look over his shoulder and Conner relented leaving Jason and his father alone in the kitchen.

They were quiet until they heard Jon shout from down the hall. “You have an ice rink in the basement!?” and they both started laughing hard and long until it was all they could hear. And then they were quiet again.

His dad sat in Tim’s vacated chair, offering a guilty smile and more coffee. “Are you mad?” he asked.

Jason stared at his refilled mug and shrugged. “Are you happy?” and when he dad frowned he started again. “I know you were happy before, I'm not implying anything. I just want to know of you are happy now.”

Bruce blinked,  pressing his lips tight together as he nodded, “It's hard to explain. But it's like I feel... full now.”

“Does mom know?” he asked unable to help the accusation in his voice.

His dad winced. “She does. She gave us a recommendation for the social worker, character voucher and stuff like that. They always like hearing from mom's about what men are allowed to raise children.”

Jason snorted, “Like you ever needed mom's permission to raise me.” He pulled his coffee closer but he didn't drink it, he just looked at it. “I know this is stupid,” he started. “And I'm an adult now and you had no reason to have to run this by me- but I feel left out. Even Con knew before me. You have to stop keeping things from me because you think I'm going to freak out. I'm not a kid anymore. Of course I'm not mad that you are happy,” he told his father who looked more and more relieved as he spoke. “I just… would have liked to be there.”

“I wanted you to he there,” Bruce told him. “And I want you to be here, now. With us. I want you to be in this new family and be here for Jon and Damian growing up.” He took Jason's hand and fixed him with his ultimate dad eyes, the eyes that had convinced him not to play defense and to be the best man in his, now fake, wedding. “I know you and Tim want your own space. But we have the entire east wing of the manor that your grandparents converted for me and your mother when you were born. It has its own rooms and kitchen, walls and doors- everything you need to start your life together. Here.” He squeezed his hand and laughed at himself. “I know you don't need me anymore. But I really need you.”

He looked so fucking hopeful that Jason groaned, “Dad…”

But he had him and he knew it. “We wouldn't bother you,” he continued. “There is a side entrance and I already changed all of the locks.” He pulled the keys out of his pocket and pushed them towards Jason. “You can do whatever you want with it.”

He stared at the keys and knew deep down that he wanted to take them. But he also knew that it wasn't just his decision. This wasn't what Tim wanted. And Jason wanted Tim, he wasn't going to force his family on him too. But he took the keys anyway. “It's Tim’s choice,” he warned his dad when he smiled too wide. “I'm not promising anything.” But Bruce was hugging him anyway and Jason was hugging him back.

-

Clark helped Jon into skates and pads and a helmet. They all looked new. Conner was already in his and grabbed sticks and a bucket of pucks. Tim stopped next to the older boy, Damian, who was leaning against the boards looking out at the ice.

“Are you not going to skate with us?”

Clark hadn't stopped smiling since the boys had walked into the kitchen. He was laughing now as Jon shot a puck at Conner who moved in reflex, forgetting that he didn't have padding. His best friend winced, but gave Jon a high five.

“The ice is Jon's,” Damian muttered.

“The ice is pretty big. I know if I had a brother I'd want to skate with him.” Damian frowned and looked over to the boy in question.

“I don't know how,” Damian whispered, a faint blush tinting his ears as he ducked his head deeper into the cradle of his arms.

“We can teach you.” Damian looked wary. He looked out at Clark and Conner, then his brother before turning back to him. “Promise no one will make fun of you.” Damian nodded, not meeting his eyes. “Cool. What size shoes are you?” They got into their skates, took some time getting Damian's tied right. Jon skated over to the entrance as soon as they'd stood up.

“Are you really coming?” he asked loudly. Damian glowered, but he looked happy that his brother was beaming brighter than the sun.

“Yes. If you'll move.” Jon skated over to Clark. Tim helped Damian onto the ice, but once he was out there Clark took over. He skated over to Conner who was skating lazy circles in the middle of the rink. They watched as the others skated slowly around the edge. Damian's hand hovered over the edge of the board and gripped Clark's tight. Jon skated backwards a few feet ahead of Clark and Damian. He was chatting non-stop. It didn't look like Damian was listening with how hard he was glaring at the ice.

“Clark taught me how to skate,” Conner said when Damian tripped, but Clark caught him before he fell.

“You never told me that.”

Conner was watching his brother with a somber expression. “I never told anyone. It was… It felt special cause it's one of the only memories I have of him from when I was younger. He spent the whole summer teaching me how to skate. Just him and me. At the local rink.” Conner smiled and dragged his eyes away from his brother. “I'm going to miss him. I'd just gotten used to him being around all the time.” He looked over to the entrance when he heard Bruce and Jason's voices echoing down the stairs.

“I hated Jason,” Conner told him. “It felt like he was taking my brother.” He knew that, he'd lived through those years with Conner, but Tim had thought that he'd gotten over that. “It was easy to hate him when it felt like he was taking you too.” He wanted to dispute that, but Conner continued, “But he makes you happy, and I guess I can't hate that.”

“That sounded painful,” he said trying to lighten the mood.

“It was,” Conner said drily. “I was ready to break his stupid face for hurting you.”

“It was my fault,” he reminded him.

“I know that. You were still hurting, though. I don't like that.” Jason and Bruce were on the ice. Bruce skating over to the others as Jason turned to them.

“You okay?” He asked when Jason reached them.

Jason shrugged.

“Same,” Conner said. “I'm only nineteen. I own an apartment now and I'm an uncle to three kids.”

“Hey!” Jason griped. He hated when Con called him a kid.

“You own an apartment?” Tim asked stopping Jason from whatever he was going to say.

“Yeah. Clark walked into my hotel room after our last game against you guys and shoved a pen in my hand. Didn't even tell me what I was signing.”

“You're such a good adult,” Tim chirped.

“Clark's been an adult longer than I've been alive. And he's my brother. I trusted that I wasn't selling my soul to him.” Jason turned to look at his dads and their sons. They all watched as Damian skated mostly on his own. He was pretty sure he'd glared the ice into submission. Both of them blindsided by the huge changes in their life's. He grabbed them both by the neck and pulled them into a chaotic hug.

“I bet you guys can't score on me,” he taunted as he released them. He skated backwards toward the goal watching as they looked at each other. They both skated after him, that competitive spark in their eyes. He poke-checked Conner before he got a shot off. On the next pass Jason got a shot off, but he got his stick down and it deflected up into the glass. He grinned as they started whispering to themselves. He skated out watching them as they closed in on him. Con faked a shot. He dove and blocked the pass. He laughed as he climbed back to his feet. “You gonna start trying soon?”

“Shut up,” Jason and Conner grumbled at the same time and skated back out to the blue line.

They passed back and forth. Jason's eyes flicked to the goal. He waited for the pass to go to him before moving. The puck stung as it glanced off his skate. He looked back, the puck was sitting against the wall. Jason was frowning hard and Conner was gesturing to the puck like he couldn't believe it.

“Oh don't feel so bad.” Tim taunted. “I know how you two play better than anyone else.” Jason grumbled to himself only slightly looking like he wanted to kill him.

“Do you want some help?” He nearly dropped his stick when Bruce skated up next to Jason.

“All three of you?” he squeaked. Jason grinned. He narrowed his eyes at him, daring him to say anything. He'd been trying to work up the nerve to ask Bruce to play for the last few months.

“I brought you some help too,” Bruce offered. Jon was standing slightly behind him, staring at him. He wondered if he'd had that same starry-eyed expression when he'd looked up at Bruce from the locker room floor that first day.

“Awesome. Let's talk,” he motioned Jon over. The boy stutter started before glancing back at Bruce for a moment then rushing over to him. They talked strategy for a few minutes. Jon nodding along. He tapped his helmet and skated into position. “We're ready when you are.” He smiled at Jon who had his game face on.

They kept it simple. Jon tutted at Con when he faked a shot and the boy was able to knock the puck free. He couldn't help but laugh as his friend was schooled by an 11 year old. Jason drew Tim out to the boards. He kept an eye on Bruce and Con, but it looked like Jon had them. He moved for the puck. Before he reached it Jason grabbed him around the waist. He scrambled to get his stick on the puck but Jason got it out to his dad. “Cheater,” he grumbled. Bruce shot a puck in the direction of the goal. The puck bounced off Jon's pads. He was impressed the boy had gotten in the way in time.

“Don't feel so bad,” Jason mocked. He pouted and Jason kissed him before skating back out to center ice.

The next two passes were for Jon. He watched as the boy refused to give up. When he poke checked Bruce as the man attempted a breakaway. He dropped his stick. As soon as the puck bounced away he was running at Jason. He leapt into his arms and they collapsed to the ground. “Did you see that?” Jason was laughing. “I blocked your dad!”

“If you react like this to that how are you going to be when we win the Cup?” He froze. Jason did the same. When.

“He's going to be a sobbing mess,” Conner cut in. “He cried when we won the camp cup. It was plastic.”

“I wasn't crying,” Tim grumbled. “The light was just really bright.”

He spent the rest of the afternoon listening to Jon tell him about the skates that he'd found at a Goodwill. They'd been the same brand he'd worn during high school. Jon had clearly loved them. “They were too big, but Damian made them fit and fixed the tear.” Damian brushed off the comment with a mumbled, “it wasn't hard.” Clark asked what they wanted to eat. It wasn't hard to tell him they were going to dinner then drag Jason and Conner out with him. Clark looked like he wanted to say thank you when he looked back at him as he pushed Conner out the door.

-

It was raining in Star City when they landed. It had been almost a too hot sunny day in Gotham, landing in the chill wet weather had been a shock. Jason shoved Dick out into the rain when he complained for the nth time about the humidity. The whole team laughed as their captain sputtered and panicked to cover his hair. Barbara plopped a hat on his head when he walked over to her whining about Jason being mean.

They were down three games to one in the Cup Final, but it didn't feel that way. He'd been in championships before where every goal felt like another weight on your back dragging you down. Maybe it was the fact that if they lost, this would be it. Their last game of the season. But he felt like he had during his first win. The excitement to do more, to play more. So yeah, they could lose this game and be done, or they'd win it. They'd win and go back to Gotham. Back to the city that loved and supported them. Back to win one more for them. It was just one game. One game let them have a chance at the next and a chance at the cup. He could feel that hope sparking in the team.

Bane and Ivy teamed up for a beautiful goal halfway through the first. He had come off the bench when the puck hit the back of the net. They were leading again. Gordon warned them not to get cocky. He grinned at Steph before the next face-off. She grinned right back. They fought for their goal. Stephanie's shot rebounding off of the Stars goalie and getting kicked back out to him. He had a shot, but he could see the team shifting toward him and slapped it across to Stephanie. She had a wide open net. The goal horn went off and he leapt on her. “Don't get cocky,” he repeated against her shoulder before the others joined them.

“I'm always cocky,” she replied and skated off for her high fives.

The Stars scored in the second, sniped in my their captain.

Bane scored 43 seconds into the third. They kept the momentum going. Harley scored two minutes later, a backhander that no one could believe she'd managed. He watched the replay on the jumbotron and joined in on the hollers for her. The Stars pushed back- hits coming harder, more often. A few slashes slipped in when the refs weren't looking. He ignored the jabs Harper made. The refs were watching them closely, waiting for one of them to snap again. Their last fight had been on every replay for the week. Stephanie kept nudging him and telling him it was his turn to score, to complete the set, but his goal didn't come until the last few minutes of the game. They kept the Stars in their zone and they couldn't pull their goalie. Tim got the puck, Dick and Harley were fighting for position. Queen was on Jason. He looked to Steph. He took his shot. The puck disappeared. When the Ref raised his hands signaling a goal he couldn't believe it. The puck had snuck through under the goaltender’s arm. Harper bumped into him on his way to the bench. He just smiled at him and skated into Jason's chest, his outstretched arm folding around him.

They won 5-1. They were going back to Gotham.

Dick was conveniently not in the hotel room when they got back. He was pretty sure he knew where he was, but he was grateful. Jason flipped the latch, so he wouldn't walk in on them again.

He soaped Jason's hair and pressed it into a Mohawk with a proud smile. It flopped down against his brow and he wilted. He did it again. Jason was watching him with a soft smile. It fell again and he gave up. Jason tugged him closer. He hadn't been this happy for a bath in a while. He wiped Jason's hair back and carefully dunked his hair under the water.

“Don't want you getting soap in your eyes,” he said pecking Jason on the shoulder. Jason manhandled him until he was sitting between his legs, back pressed against Jason's chest. He sighed and relaxed into the warm water. “My room didn't have a bath,” he grumbled as Jason half heartedly rubbed soap on his chest. “Just a tiny shower.”

“The bath at the manor is bigger than this,” Jason commented. He knew that he was trying to be flippant about the observation, but he'd known it was coming since he ran into Bruce.

“Is it?” he asked grinning, though he knew Jason couldn't see it. “That loft had a hot tub.”

“That's true. The kitchen is bigger at the manor.”

“Are you going to cook for me?” he asked, wiggling enough to hear Jason suck in a sharp breath.

“I'll cook for you every day.”

“The loft overlooked the river.”

“We can go swimming in the pond.” Jason kissed down his neck. He knew he'd caught on to the game. “And not have to worry about anybody seeing.” He tilted his head to give Jason better access.

“I was imagining watching sunsets on the balcony,” he whispered, breath catching. Jason's hand rippled under the water.

“I'm pretty sure we get sunsets out at the manor.”

“We'd have to be quiet,” he said, biting back a moan.

“The manor is the size of a football field. I don't think we have to be that quiet.” Jason's dick slid between his cheeks. The water easing the slide, but not enough. It was a tease. He gripped the edge of the tub as Jason moved, his hips and hand moving in sync.

“There is an ice rink,” he admitted, stopping and starting through the sentence.

“There is.” Jason bit his neck. He gasped and came, surprised by it.

He turned and pressed his face into Jason's neck as he jerked him off. He licked some of the water from his neck. “We'll have to have sex in every room,” he sighed as if it would be a hardship. “You really want to do that?” He felt Jason come. He unplugged the drain with his toe and settled in Jason's arms. They'd have to take another bath. “It would be nice to be close to my parents, and yours.” he said as the tub filled again.

“I'll be around to see my new brothers. Your biggest fan.”

“Maybe I'll get to play hockey with your dad again. So let's weigh these. I'd get to play hockey with your dad. You'd cook for me. We'd get to have sex, like everywhere.”

“That's not the order is it?”

Tim leaned back to look at Jason. “Of course it is. I already have sex with you. Moving in with you doesn't make it special.” Jason pressed on his ribs and he curled back laughing and pushing his hand away. “I'll move in to the manor. It doesn't matter where we live. As long as you're there. And shut up. I know that was cheesy.” He kissed Jason as the man tried holding back a laugh. “Manor is probably better than that Chinese restaurant. It smelled like cabbages.”

“You actually went there?” Jason asked.

“Yeah. The pictures actually made it look better.”

They washed each other off. Jason flipped the latch as they walked back into the room. He curled up on Jason's bed and listened to him roaming the room. In two months they'd get to do this all the time. Jason finished repacking his bag and turned to the bed.

“What?” he asked.

“Nothing.” Jason didn't look like he believed him, but crawled across the bed, smacking a kiss on his cheek and curling up behind him.

---

There was a different air in the home stadium as the fans started to pile in. It was crisp and bright, the excitement palpable on his tongue as he pulled on his gear. Jason didn't say much as he got dressed, his hair still waved into submission from his interview after practice. They were all asking the same things. What his relationship with Tim Drake was. If he was relieved to stay with the Knights. If this year felt different than the last time they were in the finals.

And it did. It did feel different. Jason wasn't sure what it was, but he could feel it in the team, that this was the team. The Gotham Knights at their very best and no team that came after them would have this same kind of magic. He watched Dick and Tim laughing at Stephanie who had somehow managed to get her head caught on her shoulder straps. He remembered his first time here right after his rookie season. It was Dick's first years as captain and he looked like he wanted to throw up. Jason had joked at him that he needed to save it and melt the ice to slow the others down. They hadn't won it that time, but they were going to win it now. Tim caught him watching and cocked his head in a silent question. Jason just shook his head. He didn't know how to explain it, but he wasn't nervous about this game. He was ready.

He probably should have been more nervous.

The Stars were playing hard, using every chance they had to try and get past them, but the Knights’ defense was on fire. Bane took a puck straight to the gut and still managed to knock it back to Ivy who kept it until the changeover happened. Tim took another hard hit from Harper, but he brushed it off and let him take the puck so Jason could knock him straight into the boards behind the goal post. He smirked as him where he lay in a crumpled pile, the pass he'd gotten to Dick ending up in a glorious goal. He lifted Dick off the ice in the fury of his hug and Roy skated past them muttering to Queen as they made it back to the bench. They didn't face off again until the end of the first, only a few minutes left to go and the Knights were up, 1-0. Dick grinned across the dot. Dick won the faceoff, but before anyone had time to react, Roy knocked Dick hard on the right and he was down.

He wasn't getting back up.

Jason dropped his stick and threw Roy off of him, kneeling next to Dick as the whistle blew and the fans went crazy. He was grabbing at his right shoulder that was jutting out at a disturbing angle and his eyes were squeezed shut. The ref pulled Jason back and the medic pushed through, looking Dick over as Tim skated to a stop next to him, holding Jason's stick. His hand itched to hold onto him, but it stayed limp at his side with all the eyes that were glaring down at them. “I'm going to kill him,” he grumbled shooting a look at Roy who was watching Dick with a frown. He knew he'd gone too far.

“Do it after we win,” Tim muttered back handing Jason his stick as the medic got Dick to sit up and the crowd cheered. Jason looked at him, feeling hot and heady when he saw the fierce concentration that was glaring back at him. “Make it hurt,” Tim egged him on.

And he was pretty sure he fell in love with Tim all over again when he grabbed the back of his neck and knocked his helmets with his and they set up again. He waited for Kate, but it was Cass that skated up next to him, knocking Jason into center. Jim nodded at him from the bench. It was a warning. But Jason wasn't going to play around. He sank into the face off, daring Hawke to pull that shit with him with his eyes. He didn't even look down when the puck fell, he just swept it back and to Harley and let the clock run down.

Cass stayed on his line for the rest of the game, always moving exactly to where she needed to be in almost silence. Jason always knew that she was great, but he'd been on the same line almost since he started playing and had never really had the chance to center before. But they made it easy. They left no holes. Tim and Stephanie were solid walls of brute force and they spent almost the entire second period on the Stars side of the line. They didn't score, but they could tell that the Stars were starting to sweat, and that was all that they needed.

The last period went fast, the plays were long and the Stars stopped trying to make stupid hits with their time running down. Basil held out a five minute barrage of shots after Ivy took a puck to the side and wasn't able to to change out. But that was the only time they got on their end. Tim and Jason hit a beautiful combination with only a few minutes left and in their panic, the Stars called to pull the goalie- which lead to an open netter from Barbara to end the game.

They didn't celebrate long, filing off the ice fast to get to the dressing room. They waited all of them still in their gear as they watched his dad and Jim mutter quietly to each other, soft enough that no one knew what was coming next. Jim’s frown was deeper than normal when they finally turned back to the team, “Kate, Jason, a word,” he told them nodding to his open office.

They exchanged a silent look before stepping forward in socked feet, the door shutting quietly behind them and the team immediately erupted into conversation. Jason clenched his fisted, looking between the two men. “How bad is it?” he asked.

“He’ll live,” his dad said calmly. “He dislocated his shoulder. It could have been worse but there was a minor fracture from the hit. They can fix it, but but he needs surgery fast and won't be playing the next game.”

“So we need a captain," Jim grunted unhappily as he sank into his desk chair.

“Why?” Jason asked. They had played without Dick before. He had Kate had just split the duty, nothing to it.

“Because we need to stay focused and you two are about as opposite as they come,” Jim snapped at him. He hated being questioned, especially by Jason. “I don't need the team torn on who to follow. We are choosing a temporary. And before you get all noble, it was Dick’s idea.”

“Jason should do it.” Kate shrugged like it wasn’t the stupidest thing she had ever said.

“Kate has been playing for longer,” he shot back. “She should do it.”

She glared at him. “Jason has been making solid calls the entire series. The team rallied behind him. He should do it.”

“I agree,” Jim nodded before Jason had a chance to complain.

“I do too,” his dad muttered softly from where he was leaning in the corner. Jason didn't look at him, his face was burning red as he stared at the ground.

“Then it's settled,” Jim said finally standing. He walked around the desk and clapped Jason on the shoulder, “It's your time, kid. Embrace this opportunity,” he told him before he pulled him back into the dressing room. Jim kept a hand on his shoulder and Kate stood next to him, smirking at his extreme discomfort. He knew that this was why they had alternates but he still felt like a phony as the room quieted again. No one had bothered to change or shower yet.

“Just so you know, Dick is going to be just fine,” Jim told them all but held his daughter’s gaze a little longer than the others. She smiled shakily and nodded at him. “But I'm sure no one is surprised to hear he won't be playing in the next game.” A murmur rolled through the room but quieted when Jim held his hand up. “Until he's back, we asked Jason to fill in as captain. It's only temporary. But I’m sure you will give him the same support you would give Dick.” He pat Jason's shoulder before he went back to his office, leaving the two of them standing in front of their friends who were still watching them quietly.

Kate nudged him and leaned in, “I think you are supposed to say something,” she whispered before completely abandoning him in the front of the room with the entire team focused on him. He could have hit her if he wasn’t completely frozen. Public speaking wasn’t usually an issue for him, he had been media trained and had an actress for a mother. But this was different. He couldn’t bullshit these guys, they were his family. Shit.

“So this sucks…” he started and god bless Harley, she laughed involuntarily, covering her mouth when the room turned to her. But it was exactly what Jason needed to snap out of it. “Look I’m not Dick, I can’t give you rainbows and sunshine. I’m not going to tell you that this is okay and we can get through it because that is bullshit and we all know it.” Barbara pursed her lips and clenched her stick while Ivy and Bane nodded off to the side. “The Stars took our captain, and I don’t know about you guys, but all this shit is starting to feel extremely personal.” They all muttered, Stephanie nudged Tim who smirked at her. “I say we make it personal. Show them that our captain is more than just a pretty boy.”

“Make it hurt,” Tim muttered nodding.

“Kick some ass!” Cass shouted making them all jump in surprise and then they were laughing and finally patting each other on the back for the shut out they just played.

They showered, trickling out of the dressing room one by one. No one talked about going out but the spirits were still pretty high with all things considered. Tim was waiting for Jason when he got back to his stall, offering him a half smile and the bag he had packed for him. Jason kissed him and pulled it over his shoulder, tucking Tim under his free arm as he pulled him out of the room, nodding at the well wishes from the rest of the team as he passed. “How are you feeling?” Tim asked when they got into the mostly empty hallway.

“Like I might throw up,” he told him honestly. His stomach had been turning since he entered the office, talking to the team hadn’t done anything to relieve that. Yeah, he knew that this was part of the job. They had talked about it when they made him an Alternate, but Kate was an Alternate too and she was his senior. He’d always assumed that she would step up when it needed to happen- but here she had thrown him into the thick of it instead.

Tim stopped walking and pulled on his arm till he turned to him. He looked like he wanted to say something, to touch his face and have a moment but his eyes flicked over his shoulder to a group of girls standing near the player entrance and he pulled him into a dark unlocked office room. The only light was what came from the door, enough for Jason to see most of Tim’s face and the shadow of the rest of him. Tim palmed Jason’s cheek just like he had wanted and made Jason look at him. “Hey,” he told him sternly. “You are a great hockey player,” he told him slowly and paused, forcing him to hear it. “But more than that, you are one of the leaders of this team. I know you don’t want to do this, but we need you to step up now. So stop whining and win us the Stanley Cup.”

He felt a smirk despite himself and dropped his bag, lifting Tim off the floor and onto the desk behind him. “I like it when you are bossy,” he told him, voice thick with want as he let his fingers tease at the top of his jeans. “Maybe you should be Captain.”

“Next year,” Tim poked at him breath hitching when Jason’s lips found his neck. “When you are too old to play.”

Jason barked out a laugh, “Clark is going to be on our team and I’m too old?” he challenged daring Tim to tell him that Clark was old. He hesitated and Jason kissed him, pulling Tim off the desk. “Let’s go home,” he sighed grabbing both their bags. “I don’t want to move until we have to fly out tomorrow.”

-

He would have loved having his own room a few months ago, but now he hated it. Bane didn’t even bat an eye when Tim followed Jason down the hallway instead of going to the other end with him, probably deciding it was better for all of them if they stayed in a good mood. Not that Jason could really say he was feeling very positive. He’d talked to Dick for two hours that morning before they had to leave. He had his surgery scheduled for the next afternoon so he probably wouldn’t even been conscious for the game. That above everything else made him mad.

When Jason was a rookie and dreamed about winning his first Cup, he had always imagined it with Dick there. He had been on a line with Dick and his dad, and Dick was always just the coolest guy in the room- the one that everyone wanted to be. And even though they had been friends for years, he still felt this unreasonable urge to please him. More so than even with his dad, he just wanted Dick to be proud. And he didn’t want to let him down when he felt like it was his fault he got injured in the first place. He went to the hospital to tell him that, to tell Dick that he wouldn’t let him down. But all that ended up coming out was that he was sorry and he would make this up to him if it took the rest of his career to do that.

He wanted to curl into a ball and die there but Stephanie and Barbara burst in as soon as he dropped his bag. “We are going out,”  Stephanie told them and poked his chest. “All of us as a team,” she said. “No buts.”

“We already have a reservation.” Barbara grabbed his arm. “And you have to eat anyway right?”

Jason rolled his eyes but he knew that he couldn’t argue. If he threw a fit then she would tell Dick and that was the last thing he wanted to worry about. “Where are we going?”

-

There was a nice restaurant attached to the hotel lobby that was pretty packed when Tim and Jason got washed up and headed down to meet the team. Most of them were gathered around a large table in a private back room, others still trickling in from the bar. Jason held Tim's hand, not bothering to hide it seeing as this time tomorrow they would officially be in the clear to have an open and public relationship. Just the thought of that took a weight off of his chest that he hadn’t realised was there and when they sat down, his mood was all but eased. They had been hiding their relationship for so long he hadn’t really stopped to think about what it would be like when they didn’t have to. Tim made a face when he grinned at him. “What?” He asked.

“Ew, what’s wrong with your face?” Harley asked Jason as she sat down across from Tim.

“I think he’s happy,” Ivy said when she slid in next to her, smirking across at him.

“Well it’s gross.” She shifted her gaze to Tim. “Stop making him do that it’s freaking me out.”

“Let’s show the Jr. Captain some respect.” Kate smirked from the other end of the table. And just like that Jason felt completely naked again and he wasn’t smiling anymore. “He can’t help how stupid he looks. Besides, he’s never been more bearable.”

They were all laughing at him now. Tim squeezed his hand, biting down on his own grin the best that he could but he was just barely keeping it together when Barbara chimed in. She stood up and cleared the throat making everyone stop to look at her but she spoke directly to the boy at Jason’s side. “I think it’s safe to say that we all agree, you are the best thing to happen to Jason in a long time.” Tim’s cheeks pinkened and he swallowed hard. “You not only set him up for killer goal after goal-” the defense crew whistles and Tim’s entired body went red, “But you make Jason suck so much less as a person.”

“Ouch,” Jason grumped teasingly.

They all threw napkins and lemon wedges at him and Barbara raised her glass. “This one is to Tim, the best rookie we’ve ever had. All hail the king!”

“All hail the king!” They all shouted and wolf whistled when Jason pulled Tim in to kiss him.

-

Practice was hard, his knee hurt and he was exhausted from running countless drills. The team was feeling the pressure of the finals trying hard not to get snappy after having such a great night together. But they were tired and scared and they were at the away team's stadium where everyone was rooting for them to fail. His stomach turned over when they pulled up to the entrance, the Stanley Cup final banners streaming from the roof almost down to the doors reminding him that this was the biggest game of his career so far. He stood there for longer than he meant to letting everyone go by in twos and threes until it was just him and his Dad who stopped next to him. Jason had felt Bruce watching him all day. He hadn’t said anything or offered his advice, he just watched him and waited so that he knew he was there. Clark was going to be there too, he was coming later with his mom and the boys and Con. Tim’s parents promised that they would be watching with a few of their work colleges back home. Everyone he loved was going to be watching him. Dick was going to wake up and this was going to be the first thing that he saw. It was almost too much.

But his dad was here. “Remember your first game?” He asked. Jason looked at him but Bruce was staring at the building, “How old were you? Nine?”

Jason swallowed. “Seven,” he barely managed to get out.

His dad grinned, dragging his eyes away from the building to look at him in a beam of pride, “I knew at the end of that game that you would end up here. Right now. Even after you broke Billy Batson's stick.”

He let out a nervous laugh. “He kept poking me and shouting shazam and got mad when I didn’t magically stop.” His dad laughed at that and Jason was suddenly struck with an overwhelming appreciation for him. A lot of kids didn’t get the chance to do what he had done. They didn’t have parents who told them they could be whatever they wanted and had the money to get him the gear and the classes that he needed to succeed.  He swallowed again as a lump grew hard in his throat and hugged him, surprising them both. He let go quickly and kept his eyes on the ground as he hitched his bag up a little higher. “Thanks Dad,” he told him, hoping the thickness in his voice could be pushed off on the nap he had taken on the bus, “For… everything.”

Bruce nodded and they walked in. If he saw the tear that Jason brushed away, he never mentioned it.

-

The dressing room was shaking when they came back in from the warm up, the stadium almost completely full when they still had fifteen minutes until the game started. There was an electric air running between them, pulling them closer together as Jim went over the plays one more time. Make connections. Stay tight. No fuck ups. Repeat.

The fear he had felt earlier had disintegrated into his pored making Jason a nervous ball of energy, his feet and hand tapping as the clock started counting down the final minutes. Jim waved him up to talk to the team, to give some sappy speech that would get them going. But Jason wasn’t good at that. Luckily though, he had Dick’s memorised. He beamed and straightened his back, running his hand through his hair to push it back into a more Dick-like position that Stephanie barked a laugh at. It was so strange doing this again for real after the millions of times he had mocked it before, the memory of the qualifying game against the same team popping into his head.

“Okay team,” Jason clapped his hands together and stood with his feet squared with his shoulders. “This is it. The big one. The only game that counts,” he said the last sentence slowly, letting the weight of it hit them. This was the first time that part of the speech ever actually felt real. Because this was actually it. This was the Stanley Cup finals. “This is the game we have worked our entire careers to get to. This is the game that we were brought together to play!” They cheered and whooped and Jason dropped out of his Dick composure. “We made it through a rough couple of rounds. We came back from odds that were impossible. But it was possible because of everyone in this room.” They cheered again. “Because of our fallen Captain watching us back home.” They cheered louder, “Because we are more than a team.” His eyes drifted over to Tim, smiling at him in that way that made him want to be more than the man that he was. “Because we are a family. And win or lose, we are the best fucking Knights that have ever been put together!” And then it was them who were shaking the stands, shouting and jumping to their feet at they crowded into a circle. “Let’s bring the cup back to Gotham,” he said throwing his hand in the center.

Their hands all piled one by one on top of eachother until they were all in. “To Gotham!” they shouted before they were diving through the tunnel and back out onto the ice.

The stands were a mixed group with almost as much black as there was green. It was a relief to see and hear as they skated into their starting line up and the game set into motion. They sang the Anthem and brought out the old pro and Tim had to nudge Jason to push him forward for Dick’s usual spot in the puck drop. They took their picture and handed off the puck before they straightened back up and Oliver Queen held out his hand for him. “Grayson going to be okay?” he asked when Jason gripped his hand. He was frowning and he looked tired making Jason wonder if he could actually care.

“He’ll live.” Jason nodded and smirked at him. “I would be more worried about the Knights you still have to get through.

Oliver grinned and they let go. “See you in the face off.”

Jason’s heart was pounding as he dropped into position, the noise of the crowd all but erased as the ref looked between him and Hawke. He glanced towards the bench and saw his family, all pressed against the boards. Clark and Damian in his jersey, Con, Jon and his mother in Tim’s. He looked back at the ref, sound easing back to him as the puck fell from his hand and the game really started.

The first period went by on autopilot, his joints stiff and fighting against him in the fear of doing anything wrong. Cass took a hard hit to the jaw from a bad high stick that put them on a power play towards the end of it, but neither team managed to score when the clock ran out.

Everyone was tense going into the second period. Kate started out strong with a combination with Barbara, earning them a fast goal right off the bat. But that just made the Stars angry. John Diggle checked Kate hard about five minutes in. She managed to skate it off, but had a hard time coming back into it. She missed a connection and Bertinelli swept it up managing to make a slap shot into the right pocket over Basil’s shoulder. They changed off and Jason’s line dove back onto the ice. He took the puck from Ivy and took it back around their goal long enough to Tim and Steph to make it over. Then he ran with it. Roy charged him, but he dropped the puck on the way up, letting Tim take it over to the left side and send it off to Harley. She couldn’t make a clear shot with Lance tailing her so she shot it to Cass. Queen deflected the pass but it had been hard and he couldn’t control the trajectory. It went wide and they went racing, no one noticing that Tim caught it until they were too far away and Jason was left almost alone on at the Stars goal with the puck flying towards him. He had one good shot. He bit his tongue and slapped the puck as hard as he could into the goal just barely making it past Smoak’s glove.

They didn’t need a goal horn the crowd went crazy as the second period ended with the team crashing into him. They were up and there were only twenty minutes left.

No one dared to talk as they waited for the next period, not wanting to jinx what just happened. They listed to Jim and tried to untense, but there wasn’t enough time until they were back out again. The third period was slower. The Stars were getting desperate and getting more violent. Lyla Diggle was called on a hooking penalty that sent Barbara sliding halfway down the rink, but even on the power play the Stars defense wasn’t letting up. The next goal happened in the change off. Jason’s skate got stuck as he went over and he tripped, taking Harley down with him. He cursed and they shoved back up and into the game but it was too late. Lance had forced Stephanie into a corner and knocked the puck out to Queen. He tucked it into the goal with a a flick of his wrist and the stadium was filled with screaming Stars. There were no other goals made. They were going into overtime.

Shit.

Jason’s pride stung as he limped back into the dressing room, Jim tapping him to go let the trainer check his knee. They stretched him out but he knew that the real pain he was feeling wasn’t physical and they let him go back to the rest of the team. “Score fast,” Jim was saying when he dropped into the empty seat beside Tim. “They have been wearing us down, the longer we are out there the more chances they had to get us. They are going to try and draw this out. Get in there and get it done.”

They got back into their lines. “How is your knee?” Tim asked. He was tense but he didn’t seem mad about what happened. Just wanting him to be okay.

He pursed his lip. “Embarrassed,” he admitted, “But fine.”

“Get over it.” Barbara said, she was standing in front of them and looked over her shoulder, determination radiating out of her. “We all do stupid things. But just think about the prize. What you are going to do when we have the cup!”

“I’m going to fill it with Spaghettios,” Bane grumbled warmly from behind them. He laughed in a low grumbled that pulled the entire team’s attention. “Pounds and pounds of spaghettios.”

“Remind me to get it before you,” Ivy groaned but shoved him fondly. “I’m going to make the most glorious flower arrangement the world has ever seen.”

“I just wanna sleep with it.” Harley squealed from up front, the line starting to move forward, “How many people can say they have slept with the Stanley cup?” They went on and on as they moved forward again, all of them saying the things they wanted to do but Jason kept quiet. There was only one thing that he wanted to do with the Stanley cup. And if they won, he could do it today.

He stepped out onto the ice, falling back into his place on the left wing as Kate fell into the center with Barbara on the right. Tim and Bane were standing at their backs as the crowd sat on the edge of their seats trying to figure out what was going on. They needed to win. They needed to do it fast. So they were going to hit hard. Kate squared off with Crock glaring so hard they could have lit a fire if it wasn’t so cold. The ref centered himself and the puck clattered to the ice, Crock sweeping it back to King-Jones who swung back. Bane fell back towards their side as Tim threw himself forward, jumping in the way of Roy so that Barbara could fly forwards and force King-Jones to retreat. Kate stayed on Crock and Jason followed as closely behind Dearden as he could. The last thing they needed was a penalty when they were this close.

They chased around each other for a minute. Two minutes. Jason could tell the Jim was about to pull the line when Dearden missed the pass and it flew straight to him. He only had a second to see who was open. Bane was holding off Queen and Harper was still on Kate who had dove to block the pass. Barbara was with Crock and-- Tim was open. His eyes were hard and Jason didn’t even have time to think, he knocked the puck to him and with a the curve of his stick it flew onto the net.

Tim stared at the net, his eyes wide but clearly unable to process what had just happened when Jason hit him, hugging him so hard that he knocked the air out of his own body. “Did we just win?” Tim asked, a bubble of hysteria in his voice as the team flew over the bench to crowd them.

“We won, Nug!” he shouted over them, laughed as they all crushed themself together. “We won the fucking Stanley Cup!”

It took almost ten minutes for the team to settle down enough to shake hands with the Stars. Jason was unable to quell his shit eating grin when Roy knocked his glove. The team tried to settle but they couldn’t, every muscle in their bodies used and sore and wanting more than anything to lift the embodiment of their dreams up so the world could see that all of that pain was worth it. It was surreal watching them bring the Cup out onto the ice. The cup that had his Dad’s name on it. Clark’s name. And now it would have his too. His throat was tight as they announced the Knights as the winners and before he knew what was going on the team was pushing him towards it again, eager bright eyes cheering him on as he lifted it high above his head.

The crowd went crazy and Jason bit hard on his bottom lip wishing more than anything that Dick was there to see this. To be the one to pass this to him instead of having to lift it up first. But he couldn’t dwell on that. He had the cup. He had to pass it. But before he could make himself take a lap he looked back to the boards. His Dad was with Clark and his mom, Clark’s arm wrapped around his shoulders as his dad brushed away at his watering eyes shouting something that he couldn’t hear. He looked at his family and then he looked back at Tim who was clapping and cheering with the rest of them. There was something that he had to do. He tucked the cup under his arm and pulled off his helmet, skating back towards the team until he was right in front of Tim. “What are you doing?” Tim asked trying to push him back but Jason pulled him out with him.

“Help me with this,” he told him with a grin and Tim helped him lift the cup again. Jason watched him, his eyes still disbelieving as he stared at the trophy above his head, gold flakes shining in the blue of his eyes. He waited until Tim looked at him, until his smile wasn’t out of disbelief. Then he pulled him in, kissing him hard enough to hold that gold in his eyes forever.

They were a few months shy of the anniversary of their first kiss. On the ice playing the Lanterns. The kiss that Jason had been pretty sure would make Tim hate him forever. The ill fated moment that Jason could have no idea would the beginning to the rest of his life. When he thought back on it now, it wasn’t a bad memory. It was a stupid one sure--but it opened a door he hadn't known he needed. He would tell people later that it had been the best kiss he had ever had, but that wasn’t true. It was this one, the kiss under the cup, in front of the world that was his favorite. Because this time, Tim kissed him back.