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Mors Est ex Sanitatem

Chapter Text

Batman was dead.

Or rather. Bruce Wayne was.

Batman could never die, his mission would never end, but the man who wore the cowl could be broken, beaten to the point that his organs just stopped. 

As far as the world would know, Bruce Wayne died in a bad car crash. As far as the world would know, he was driving home after a late night trip home after seeing his son in Bludhaven. He was driving around a sharp curve, when his car slipped on the wet road and rolled. As far as the world would know, his son, Damian Wayne, was the first on the scene after receiving an alert from a security system in the car, the paramedics were just a few minutes behind him, and declared Bruce dead upon arrival. 

The only truth of this lie was that Damian had been the first one there. Dick hadn't been in Bludhaven, instead he was the one who crashed the car. Bruce hadn't been visiting Dick, he had been battling the Joker and Scarecrow, he had been tossed off a roof and broke his leg as well as ribs. Joker had, at that point, taken great pleasure in slowly killing Bruce. Damian had arrived just in time to keep them from revealing the billionaires secret, and he didn't hesitate to shoot them both with the handgun he had found on the floor. He wasn't his father, he'd use guns if he needed to.

Damian had cradled Bruce as he whispered his final words. "I love you". Damian hadn't cried however. He didn't cry until an hour later when he had reporters pushing at him, and that wasn't even real. He didn't cry when he, when Batman, gave the coroner a visit and blackmailed him into lying about Bruce Wayne's cause of death. He didn't cry the next three days during the several funerals. He didn't even cry when he had to give a speech to say goodbye.

He didn't cry until, four days after Bruce's death, they were finally burying him. He was just standing there, watching them slowly lower the coffin into the dirt next to Martha and Thomas, next to Jason's empty grave. Next to the empty grave of every family member who had "died". And then he heard the quiet rustle of fabric and looked over, seeing Superboy lightly touch down beside him.

"Dames," Jon breathed out, his face a mix of emotions.

Damian scowled at him, but Jon held his arms out, offering himself as comfort. Damian felt his breath hitch and then he couldn't stop himself. He threw himself into Jon's arms, pathetically clinging to him as finally his mental dam broke and the sorrows and trauma of the week came rushing out. Jon held him tightly, his strong arms holding Damian up by the waist. Tears poured down his face and sobs made his body shake. Jon just held him as he cried and cried until tears wouldn't come anymore and he was just trying to breathe.

A gentle hand on his shoulder pulled his attention, and Damian raised his head, seeing Clark standing next to them, offering a handkerchief. Jon took it from him and passed it to Damian, who leaned away slightly to blow his nose and then pressed his face back into Jon's shoulder.

"It's time," a tense voice said beside him.

Damian pulled away from Jon again and found Jason standing beside him. Damian took a breath and nodded. He looked up at Jon who offered him a small sad smile.

"Come with me?" He asked softly, finding Jon's hand.

"If you want me."

Damian nodded and pulled Jon along with him, joining his siblings beside the grave. Together, they all grabbed a handful of dirt, each taking a moment to silently say their goodbyes. How do you say goodbye to a man like Bruce? There was no way to let go of someone who impacted as many people as intensely as he did. Damian stood there the longest, tightly gripping his handful of dirt, eyes squeezed closed.

Bruce had done so much for him. He had been a father, a mentor, he had helped teach Damian how to be human. He had done more raising of Damian in just a few years then Talia had done in ten years. In adulthood, Bruce had become a source of comfort and a safe space, he'd been everything a parent should be. And now he was gone. Damian was crying again, hiccuping lightly as he tried to force the emotions away.

The soft pattering of dirt on wood next to him caused him to open his eyes, allowing tears to fall freely. Jon was gently rubbing dirt off his palm with his thumb, he glanced over but didn't say anything, leaving Damian alone other their hands tightly clasped. Damian took a shaky breath and then slowly released the dirt from his iron grip.

"Thank you, father," Damian whispered, watching the last clump fall from between his fingers.

He turned and stepped away, pulling Jon along with him to make room for other people. The burial was a more private ceremony, more for family and Bruce's closest friends, those who knew who he truly was. How he truly died. That's why Jon was able to come in his uniform.

"I'm sorry I wasn't here earlier," he whispered, reaching over to put his arm around Damian's shoulders and tug him close. "The Legion was having trouble letting me go."

Damian didn't comment, leaning into Jon. Jonathan Kent, Superboy, member of the Legion of Superheroes. Jon had, when they were kids, gotten stuck on his grandfathers time traveling ship and aged significantly, making him two years older then Damian. He had, not long after returning, joined the Legion and spent the past six years on and off there. He still spent a significant amount of time on Earth in present time, with his parents, and also with Damian when he could, as they couldn't just go and breakup the Supersons. Jon was still the closest thing that Damian would call a best friend, and he had been gone for nearly six months.

Jon stood by Damian for the next hour as people slowly said their goodbyes, coming by Damian on their way out to offer condolences and make promises that he could always ask if he needed anything. Empty promises that they knew Damian would never act on. Jon stood by Damian even as they finished covering the grave, securing the fact that Bruce was gone. They stood there in silence for nearly thirty minutes as everyone except Dick slowly trickled away. Dick, the one who had been closest to Bruce other then Damian. The one who had the most regrets involving his relationship with Bruce.

"I don't want to go home," Damian said softly, looking up at Jon.

"Mom and dad won't mind if you come by," Jon responded, looking over. 

Damian was just barely an inch shorter than him and he hated it.

"Please."

Jon bent slightly, scooping Damian up and then taking off. Damian hid his face in Jon's shoulder as they flew back to metropolis. He felt foggy, like someone had drugged him. It was almost as if he was someone else, watching Jon and Damian, as if he was watching from the outside. He watched as they landed outside Jon's home and walked inside. As Lois pulled him into a big hug and Clark wrapped his arms around the both. As Jon led him upstairs and gave him sweatpants and a hoodie to change out into, out of the stiff black suit he had been wearing. He watched as he curled up in Jon's bed and just stared at the wall numbly. For hours he laid there until Jon came up for bed. He let his friend pull him close and comfort him, even though it did nothing.

He didn't sleep much that night. Neither did Jon. They just stayed awake, Damian curled up in Jon's arms, talking occasionally. Every once and a while, Jon would gently stroke his hair, fingers running through the soft strands, tucking them behind Damian's ear. Damian knew, faintly, somewhere, that this was easing a portion of his sorrow, having someone here to take care of him and watching over him. Someone who actually worried about him, someone who could step back from their own grief and just be there for him.

When the sun finally peaked up over the clouds the next morning, Damian got up. Jon was softly snoring, but the second Damian pulled away from him, he woke up with a grunt, turning his head to watch Damian get out of bed. He just got up and started changing back slowly, pulling on all the pieces of his suit. After a cup of coffee and a piece of toast and jam, Damian was finally able to convince Jon to take him home. He needed to go sort out affairs. He needed to be alone.

 



Day Seven

 

The aching in Damian's bones was so intense. He didn't quite know what it was. He just knew, as he stared over his city, his cape flapping behind him, that he was in pain. It had been one week since they had buried Bruce. Eleven days since he had died. Damian had taken up Batman's mantle on day two. It wasn't much different then what he had been doing as Robin, but he had no help. No one in the cave, no one out on the streets with him. The ache in his bones extended to into his organs, it hurt to breathe, his stomach refused food, and his heart ached.

Gotham had, in the short days, descended into chaos. Joker let the word spread that he had killed the bats, and despite Duke and Jason's best efforts, crime rates had shot through the roof. The public had been quite surprised when the Batman reappeared. Damian was close enough to Bruce's height and build that in the armor they looked like the same person. When he confronted Joker, four days after the burial, the man had nearly burst a vein. Damian had taken pleasure in beating him senseless, break as many bones as he could, leaving the man within inches of life and then dropping him in Arkham, in the most secure cell, promising the guards that if he got out, Batman would not be forgiving.

Scarecrow had all but disappeared, Damian had been searching, but even torture wouldn't get the mans goons to rat him out. So Damian returned to reigning in crime, he had already busted a beginning drug ring, and captured several sex traffickers, saving their victims and returning them to their families. He was tired and just wanted to stop, but working, fighting, being Batman was all that was keeping him going.

Damian didn't get home until four AM that day, he drove back into the batcave, ribs sore from where they'd met a crowbar last evening. He planned to get undressed, go upstairs, take a cold shower and fall asleep for three hours until he had to get up, make himself presentable, and go into Wayne Industries, he had a meeting with some of the board members and Luke Fox. Dinner would be non existent, breakfast would be his usual cup of coffee.

Plans changed when he stiffly hopped out of the batcar and found Superboy sitting in the chair in front of the batcomputer.

"Jon?" He asked, wincing at how rough his voice sounded, not because of the voice modulator.

"Damian, we need to talk."

Damian sighed, and reached up, hooking his thumbs under the cowl and pulled it off. He slowly walked up the steps to Jon, who stood, arms crossed as they looked at each other.

"I thought you were back with the Legion?"

Jon sighed lightly, reaching out to touch Damian's face, thumb grazing over the gash in his cheek.

"Dames, I'm not supposed to talk about this . . . But. Since the Legion is in the . . . The future, I have a certain knowledge of events that happen. . . . After I got back, something had changed. It took me a while to figure it out, but I finally did."

"Let me guess, I'm going to die?" Damian asked, his emotions so numb that this didn't even phase him.

He started walking away, undoing the clasps on his armor as he headed towards the stand for the bat armor.

"You're killing yourself."

"Highly unlik-"

"Damian when was the last time you ate? The last time you got more then four hours of sleep? None of your brothers have heard from you in a week, the only reason they know you're still alive is because of you appearing in the media."

Damian remained silent, carefully tugging off his armor piece by piece until he was shirtless. A gasp came from Jon.

"Damian. Your ribs."

Damian glanced down and hissed in pain. His ribs had turned purple and yellow. He quickly pulled off the rest of the uniform and instead pulled on a pair of sweatpants, turning to walk away towards the medical wing. Jon floated along beside him, looking worried.

"Damian, I'm taking personal time from the Legion. I need to be here."

"I don't need your help, Kent. I've been managing just fine."

"No you haven't! Look at you! You look like you've lost ten pounds, your eyes are glossed over, you reek of alcohol, you're pale and injured."

"Leave it alone, Jon!"

"Damian, I can't just walk away! You're my best friend and you're just letting yourself die!"

Damian whirled on Jon, but he was closer then anticipated and Damian tripped over his feet, falling. Jon immediately caught him, scooping him up, careful of his ribs. Jon carried him over to one of the medical beds, setting him down and beginning to tend to his injuries without a word. Damian sighed and let him, letting him bandage his bloody knuckles and rub a calming salve on his ribs. 

"I'm not leaving."

"Okay." Damian was tired. He wouldn't admit it but he was lonely. He missed his father so much it actually physically hurt.

Jon gently squeezed Damian's thigh and then gently pulled him off the bed. Damian let Jon carry him up the stairs, too tired to resist. Jon finally set him down in the kitchen, flicking on the lights and walking straight to the fridge. Damian quietly walked to the pantry, getting a scoop of cat food and dog food and walking back. He put the dog food in Ace's bowl on the floor, though it really didn't need it, and the cat food in Alfred Cat's bowl on the counter. He put the scoops back and then snagged the water bowl, cleaning it out and getting them fresh water.

Jon was pulling things out, throwing a considerable amount of things into the trash after scowling at them. He tossed a nearly full jug of milk in the trash and then walked to the pantry.

"I'm not really hungry. . . " Damian commented, eyeing the open bottle of whiskey on the counter.

"Of course not, your diet has probably been alcohol and revenge. I'm going to save you from the "you're underage" lecture and instead just focus on getting you to eat."

Jon returned from the pantry with bread, peanut butter, and an unopened jar of strawberry jam. He began making peanut butter sandwiches. Damian glanced over as he heard the quiet chime of Alfred's collar and watched as the cat walked over, bumping into his ankles and mewling softly. Damian crouched and picked him up, gently scratching behind his ears. Then he stepped away, grabbing a whiskey glass from the cabinet and pouring himself a small drink, all while cradling the cat with one arm. A quiet sigh came from Jon but he didn't fight it, just finished the sandwiches.

"Here. Eat as much of that as you can."

Damian gently set down the cat and moved over to the counter, hoping up to sit on it with a wince. He picked up the sandwich and bit into it, chewing quietly and then swallowing. It didn't taste great, but then again nothing did these days. He slowly ate more of it before setting it down and reaching for his whiskey, taking a drink of it and feeling the familiar burn, the only pain that brought him relief. Jon was leaning against the counter beside him, eating his own sandwich, watching Alfred Cat eat.

"What are you doing tomorrow?"

"I have a meeting with Wayne industries at ten."

"Okay. What time do you need to be up?"

"Latest of eight."

Jon grunted to show he understood and finished off his sandwich. Damian ate a few more bites before his stomach started rebelling. He set it down and pushed it away.

"Full?"

"Yeah."

Jon just nodded, grabbing the plate and throwing the rest of the sandwich away. Damian quickly finished the rest of his alcohol and then Jon snatched the glass, putting all the dishes in the sink. He helped Damian off the counter and then walked him upstairs, a hand hovering near his back.

"If you're staying the night, I think the room next to mine is available."

Jon just nodded, turning with Damian down the hall, he pushed open the door and turned on the light, letting go and looking around, frowning lightly. Damian immediately walked away, towards the closet. His room was a mess, clothes strewn places, laundry piling up in the basket. He had enough clothes in his closet for now, so there was no point in bothering with cleaning. 

"I'm going to take a shower."

"Okay."

Damian grabbed some clean clothes and walked away. His head felt groggy, but he ignored it, taking his cold shower, scrubbing his scalp clean and shaving. Once he was clean, feeling slightly better, but even more tired, he dressed and exited the bathroom, finding his room significantly cleaner. Jon was sat on the bed, wearing different clothes, looking at something that resembled a phone, but was clearly not any design from this century. Damian just walked over, getting in the other side of the bed.

"Hey, Dames?"

"What?"

"Is it okay if I stay here instead?"

"Fine."

Silence, the lights turned off, and then the sheets moved, the end of the bed dipping slightly. Jon didn't try to come closer, just settled and then shortly fell asleep. Damian, however, laid awake, staring into the darkness for nearly a half an hour until his sleep medicine kicked in and he dozed into fitful dreams plagued by nightmares of his father's death.

 

Damian woke up to his phone buzzing, telling him it was time to get up. He groaned and rolled over, out of bed, grabbing the infernal device and silencing it. He padded, barefoot, over to his bathroom, brushing his teeth, taming his hair, using some make-up to hide the gash in his cheek and the bags under his eyes. He walked to his closet and picked out a suit, gray with a simple white button down, no tie. He carefully pulled it on, along with some black dress shoes. It took him less then two seconds to pick a watch and put it on. He always went for the silver one Bruce had given him anyways.

He never forgot that Bruce was gone. Not in his sleep, not when he was drunk. He knew and it felt like a pile of bricks was on top of him.

He, looking much more put together then he felt, opened his door and found Ace laying at the top of the stairs. He whistled softly and the dog picked up his head, whining.

"Hey, boy. You ready to go downstairs?"

Ace, Bruce's German Shepherd who was far along in his years, pushed himself up and then turned, slowly trotting down the steps, Damian just a few steps behind him.

He walked to the back door and let the dog out before turning and heading to the kitchen. He had plenty of time to get his morning coffee and catch up on some emails before going into town. That's when he noticed the lights were already on, and he could smell food. And it smelled amazing. Cautiously he crept forwards, not making a single noise as he walked. He peaked around the corner, and immediately felt the air rush out of him.

Standing in front of the stove was Jonathan Kent. Damian had forgot he was here. Jon was wearing jeans and a white shirt, a hoodie laying on one of the breakfast bar stools, replaced by a black apron. His black hair, recently cut a little shorter then usual, looked a little wet, like he had taken a shower. He was humming as he cooked, pancakes, Damian realized. Unnoticed so far, Damian took this moment to examine his friend. They had both matured with age, but Jon's was more significant. His face had slimmed down, jawline more angular, lacking the baby pudge of his youth. His cheekbones didn't exactly stick out, but in the right light they were prominent. He was attractive, undeniably beautiful.

"Morning," Damian called finally, walking around the corner.

"Oh, good, I was about to come wake you up."

Damian didn't respond, going straight to the coffee maker. He noted faintly that the whiskey was no longer set out, and sighed, realizing that Jon probably hid it away. He got himself a cup of coffee and then put more food in Alfred Cat's bowl. The cat was the only one of the three of them that seemed to be eating like normal.

"You hungry?"

"Not particularly, but I have a feeling that won't matter."

"Not really."

Jon poured batter in the pan and then turned to Damian, frowning slightly.

"How do you do it? Hide the injuries on your face?"

"Special effects makeup. A little bit of latex over the injury looks enough like skin that people won't question it."

"Oh, that makes sense."

Jon went silent, flipping his pancake after a minute.

"Jon. . . You don't have to do this-"

"I'm gonna stop you right there. I'm going to do this whether you like it or not, so I suggest accepting it and pretending to be happy."

Damian sighed.

Five minutes later he was sat at a small dining table in the next room, cautiously eating a pancake while Jon ate a stack of three. He actually managed to get the whole thing down before he felt full.

"I'm going to go ahead and leave . . . "

"Okay. Eat something for lunch."

"I'll try to."

He wouldn't.

"Drive safe."

He wouldn't.

"Bye Kent."

"Bye, Damian!"

Damian stood and walked out, grabbing the keys to a random car which turned out to be the Camaro. 

He sat through the meeting and had absolutely no idea what had happened. He subconsciously had been writing notes about it, so luckily he wouldn't be too confused later, but it was still almost completely missing from his memory. After the board meeting, Luke Fox talked with him for a while about stocks and shareholders and what role Damian could take at the company and all of it was making his head hurt. He never wanted this life. But here he was.

He didn't get home until six pm. Usually he would get home, eat a protein bar, and then hit the streets for the rest of the night, repeating the pattern from the previous evening. Only now he had Jon.

When he got home, he noticed two things immediately. One was the smell of food. Two was that the house felt different. He couldn't tell why, but it just did. He made his way into the kitchen, Ace finding him halfway there. The dog looked, happy? He hadn't looked happy since before Bruce died. Damian rounded the corner and found his bowl empty.

"What did you do?"

"What?"

"How did you make this dog eat?"

Jon was stood at the stove again, stirring something. Bags of groceries were sat on the counter but that wasn't important.

"I dunno? I gave him a bath though."

Damian ran his hands through Ace's fur and found that it was indeed clean. He shook his head lightly and filled the bowl. Ace immediately started attacking the food.

"He hasn't eaten since . . . "

Jon hummed lightly to show he understood. 

Damian made his way over, looking inside the pot to see Jon stirring a sauce of some kind, a pot of noodles set to the side.

"What is this?"

"Shrimp Alfredo. You're not going out for the evening until you eat."

Damian felt his pride flaring. He growled lightly.

"I'm not hungry."

"I know. You still need to eat."

"I don't need you nannying me, Kent."

Jon closed his eyes, his stirring stopping.

"Either you eat or I knock you out and keep you from leaving at all. We can do this the easy way, Damian, or the hard way."

"I was doing just fine-"

"No you weren't!" Jon snapped, turning. "Look, Damian. I know you're in a horrible place. I know you feel like there is a house sitting on you, like even the thought of food is going to make you vomit. I know you can't sleep at night, and I know the only reason you're even standing right now is because you believe you have to keep fighting. You don't, Damian. You can let your guard down, you can let yourself grieve, the world won't stop turning, its not going to end. Gotham will still be here in the morning."

"Enough!"

Jon's jaw clenched. "God you're obstinate!"

"Kent."

"Look, Dames. You don't have to like me being here, but you sure as hell aren't getting rid of me, so get used to it."

Damian spun on his heel and stormed out. Jon's words had cut so deep because they were true. Entirely true. And he was avoiding it. He headed directly upstairs, got all of two steps in his room when he noticed things were different. His room smelled clean, there wasn't dust covering things, the floor had been swept, and the bedding had been changed. There was also a laundry basket full of clean folded clothes. Damian opened his closet and found a bunch of his suits and shirts replaced. He scoffed and shook his head.

"Dammit, Kent, let me be mad at you."

Damian silently changed, hanging his current suit up and then heading downstairs, dressed in just sweatpants and a hoodie, as well as the thick socks he'd need later for patrol. His anger had simmered a bit, so he walked back into the kitchen, finding Jon making two bowls of food, one significantly smaller then the other.

"Do you drink?" Damian asked as he grabbed a bottle of wine off the rack, checking the label quickly before finding the opener.

"Not really, it can't affect me so I don't really see the point."

"The flavor, tasting it, that's the point, Kent, not getting drunk."

"Then why do you do it."

Damian didn't answer. They both knew the answer. Instead he just opened the bottle of wine and grabbed two wine glasses, heading into the room where they had eaten breakfast. After a minute, Jon walked in, setting a bowl in front of Damian, who was pouring them both a glass. He handed Jon one and then tasted it. A little sweeter than he usually went for, but not quite a desert wine. Admittedly, the food smelled amazing, and despite not being hungry, Damian ate the majority of what Jon had given him.

"Do you have to go back to WE tomorrow?" Jon asked softly as he finished his wine.

"I don't believe so."

Jon nodded and then went silent. Damian sat there with him for a few minutes before standing.

"I'm going to go down."

"Okay, I promised Gar and Raven I'd help them with a case tonight, but I'll be back like, two AM?'"

"No rush."

"Yeah, well, when I get back, we're gonna start heading back here, you need to get some more sleep."

Damian rolled his eyes, but walked away.

 

Sure enough, at 2:14AM, Superboy appeared beside him as he was finishing tying up an attempted jewel thief.

"You done?" Superboy asked, easily hefting the guy over his shoulder and marching him out to the cops waiting outside.

He got a few surprised exclamations.

"No," Batman grumbled, crossing his arms.

"Okay, better question. Is anyone going to die if you go home?"

The cops were silent, watching the two have a mini Mexican stand off. Batman sighed heavily.

"No, I suppose not."

"Great, let's get your car."

Damian didn't miss the shocked looks of the cops as he just gave in, letting Superboy lead him back towards the car. He drove back, Jon chatting lightly about how things with Garfield and Raven went. When they got back, Jon saw him straight to bed after asking four times if he needed to eat. Damian, tired from a long evening, let him, changing into sleep clothes and getting in bed. Jon would only leave after Damian swore he would go to sleep.

It took him an hour, but finally he did, dozing into a horrible nightmare in which he was the one hurting Bruce, not the Joker.

He woke up screaming, and thirty seconds later, someone was wrapping their arms around him, pulling him into their lap. He numbly registered, as he started sobbing, that it was Jon, shirtless, clearly having just woken up. The man cradled him, pulling him tight against his chest as he cried, body shaking both from the dream and from crying.

"Shh, it's okay, you're okay, I'm here, I got you," Jon's voice murmured next to him, his hand rubbing gently along his back.

Damian just hiccuped and cried and practically wailed, for the first time since the funeral. For thirty minutes, he let out broken sobs and heart wrenching wails as he cried for his father. He hated it, hated the weakness that came with crying, but couldn't stop himself now, he just had to let it happen.

"It's not fair," Damian hiccuped out as his tears slowed, his hands curled into fists, pressed against Jon's chest.

"No, its not. This shouldn't have happened to you."

Damian hiccuped again and tried to breath in properly, but couldn't. Jon gently stroked his hair, giving a soothing hum.

"I miss him. I miss him so much I hurt."

"I know. And it's okay to miss him. It's completely okay to not be okay, Damian."

Damian took a shuddering breath and leaned his weight into Jon, his body shutting down.

"Don't leave me."

"I won't. I'm right here. I won't go anywhere."

After a few minutes of silent crying, Jon carefully laid them down, keeping Damian pressed close to his chest. Damian curled into him, taking a comfort in the sounds of life coming from him, his steady breaths, his calm heartbeat. His eyes drooped shut, and with a shaky breath, a sense of calm started settling over him. Then he started feeling tired. And then he was asleep again, safe in Jon's arms.

Chapter Text

They had settled into a sort of rhythm. 

If Damian had to go to Wayne Enterprises, Jon would make sure he was awake by eight, and while he was gone at meetings or whatever, Jon would do whatever it was Jon did, whether it's cleaning or Superboying or whatever. He'd be back and have supper ready by 6:30, they'd eat together and then both go about their ways, playing vigilante and hero. Jon would come back at about two AM, and force Damian back to the Manor to go to bed. Jon had given up sleeping in another room, as whenever he was away, not using hypnokinesis on him, Damian had horrible nightmares and woke up screaming and crying.

The rhythm was nice, it felt good to have a pattern, a sense of normalcy to his day. It felt good to have Jon there beside him. No matter how many times he yelled or they fought, Jon would always be back for supper or at 2AM to bring him home. Jon just simply refused to give up on him. And Damian hated how that made him feel happy. Like one time he was just sitting at the counter, watching Jon cook while he told a story about the Legion, and there was this warm feeling spreading through him. The second he recognized it was there, hot guilt burned through his body and he shoved the feeling down deep into himself.

The other residents of the house, Ace and Alfred Cat, seemed to be happy to have Jon there. Ace had finally been pulled out of his depression after his master's death, and he had instead glued himself to Jon, rarely letting the man go someplace without him. Alfred liked Jon because the man would give him pieces of food like eggs and bacon.

It had been three weeks now. Two since Jon move in. Jon was almost always around, the longest he had disappeared for was a day when Clark needed his help in France with an issue. That had been a very bad day and Damian had gotten drunk for the first time in a week.

Tonight, however, Damian had been invited to a charity gala. He could, technically, back out, since his father had just passed, but Luke Fox had heavily recommended going, even just for a short while. So social obligations had Damian dressed to the nines and leaving the Manor at seven PM, making Jon promise to keep an eye on Gotham. The gala was absolutely hell. It was the first time Damian had made a public appearance since the funeral, and while he looked significantly healthier due to Jon's constant fretting over him, there was still the huge void of emptiness in his stomach.

The bartenders didn't ask how old he was, when you're in a party full of Billionaire's, you just don't ask. So by his third glass of champagne and third shot of tequila, his head was foggy and he done knew he'd fucked up. But people kept saying "I'm sorry for your lose" and "our condolences" and acting as if they had known Bruce. As if they knew more then the silly fantasy and front he put up. They acted like he was nothing more then Brucie Wayne, and like they had been best friends. Damian didn't particularly want his public image to be that of a drunken Playboy, but if the girls hanging off his arms gave him an excuse to leave this wretched place . . . 

"Damian."

His gaze snapped up with the soft, familiar voice. It took him a moment to find the speaker and then recognize them, but it wasn't that hard as the throngs of rich people had parted for the kid in jeans and a t-shirt. Jon. He was frowning at Damian, looking disappointed. And Damian had never been more glad to see someone in his whole life. He shook off the person touching his arm and lurched forwards, tripping and falling straight into Jon's strong arms.

"Come on, I'm taking you home."

Damian didn't try to argue, he leaned into Jon heavily as the man slipped an arm around him and led him through the crowds. Everyone was watching them, murmuring to themselves. Jon, thankfully, allowed Damian to walk out the front doors on his own before scooping him up and carrying him to the car, which Damian managed to find the keys for somewhere inside his coat. His head was spinning and Jon was warm and smelled really good, and he was like a breath of fresh air compared to the stuffy people inside.

Jon carefully slid him into the passenger seat and then got in the driver's side, starting the car with the touch of a button. He didn't speak as he started driving, heading back towards the manner.

"Why'd you come for me?" Damian grumbled, the car clock telling him it was only 9:30PM.

"Luke called. That and there's a police blockade up here."

Damian turned to look over at him. Jon didn't look pleased. 

"Why did he call?" Damian asked. His reaction time was so impaired that when Jon braked to avoid running a light he nearly slammed into the dashboard.

"Because you were drunk. And he was worried about what you would do."

"Tt."

"Dames, he cares about you, he used to work with your dad, remember? He was worried that if someone didn't come get you, you'd try to drive home or go out tonight while drunk."

"I would've been fine."

Jon scoffed as he slowed. The blinding light of police cars were surrounding them, forming a blockade slowly funneling cars through.

"Put your seat back and pretend to be asleep," Jon ordered as he reached into his pocket.

Damian, too drunk and tired to argue, obeyed, tilting his head away and closing his eyes, evening his breathing out. After a few minutes, he heard the window go down.

"Good evening sir."

"Good evening!"

"Just a quick check, anything to drink tonight?"

"No sir, but my friend here has. I'm driving him home."

"Can I see your license please?"

A momentary rustle of clothing and then Damian could tell the officer was looking at it. Damian felt a surge of anger that these officers were wasting their time pulling over people on the off chance one is drinking and driving instead of solving the many criminal cases he knew were piling up.

"Hey, isn't your dad that reporter from Metropolis?"

"Yeah."

"Who's your friend?" 

"A guy I know from Gotham University."

"Oh, you go there?"

"Nope."

"Oh."

"Go knights, though."

"You prefer them over Metropolis?"

"I don't really care, but the Knight have a better win streak so . . . "

The officer laughed. "Well, have a nice night, Mr. Kent, drive safe."

"Thanks, stay safe."

Jon started driving again. Damian waited until the lights were fading before sitting up and looking back over.

"I can't believe he didn't question why I was driving a freaking Lamborghini," Jon said with a headshake.

"Probably the football distracted him."

Jon chuckled.

"You didn't have to come after me."

"Yes I did. I'm not letting you drink and drive. Besides, you would've gotten double hit by those officers, DUI, and drinking underage? Is that what you want to go to jail for?"

Damian didn't comment, going silent for the rest of the drive. Jon seemed fine with this, pulling into the garage when they got there. He came around and made sure Damian didn't fall as he got out, and then walked beside him, hand brushing the top of his back as they walked. They walked upstairs, to Damian's room. Jon helped him wash his face and gathered the pieces of his suit while he changed. Then he made sure Damian took his meds, his sleeping one and Zoloft for his PTSD. 

Damian was groggy. He was definitely edging towards fully drunk, but he was still pretty lucid. He still hung onto Jon though, like he was going to fall over. He didn't really know why, he just wanted to be close to Jon, wanted to have physical contact with someone. He wanted to have intimate contact. He pressed a little closer, tilting his head up just slightly.

"Okay, well, I'm gonna go patrol for you for a bit," Jon said softly, managing to pull the sheets down on Damian's bed, even with the man pressed to his side.

"Don't go," Damian whined, his lips so dangerously close to Jon's.

"Damian, I gotta-"

Jon had looked down at him and that's all Damian needed, pressing his lips to the Kryptonian's. Jon gave a surprised noise, but didn't pull away. Damian shifted to wrap his arms around Jon's neck, pressing himself against Jon. His lips were slightly chapped, but not so much that it was unpleasant to kiss him. Jon actually pressed back into him, gently licking at Damian's lips until he parted them, letting Jon rub their tongues together.

Jon let himself be pushed down onto the bed, he let Damian climb into his lap and kiss him desperately. He needed the physical contact, needed Jon to touch him, needed it like he needed air. Jon's hands were on his thighs, squeezing, then running up to his sides, feeling Damian's solid muscles. Damian, in turn, had his hair shoved into Jon's hair, his head tilted down as they kissed, almost aggressively, short breaths stolen during. Jon nipped and pulled at Damian's lips, teased with his tongue, licking over the swollen skin, and then kissing Damian again and stealing his breath away.

Damian went to grind down into Jon, and suddenly found himself on his ass on the bed, Jon across the room.

"What?" Damian asked groggily, frowning, breathless from the kissing.

"No. Nonono. No. I've done this dance, followed this path, and it never ends well," Jon exclaimed, suddenly looking like he was about to bolt.

"What?!"

"Damian, you're drunk, I'm not fucking. . . I will not sleep with you while you're drunk! I refuse to do that to both of us."

Damian felt anger flaring. And he had no idea why. Jon was right, it was a bad idea. Bad timing. But for some reason, it didn't feel like Jon was refusing the timing, but he was refusing him. He scowled at Jon.

"Look, just. . . You should just go to bed, okay? We can talk about this in the morning."

"What. The. Fuck."

Regret flashed across Jon's face.

"Damian, I'm not . . . Ugh fuck how do I say this. I'm saying no because you're drunk, I'm not saying no because you're you."

"What does that even mean?!"

"It means that usually, I'd be totally down for sex! But you are literally A: Drunk and B: in a mental headspace that starting any other form of a relationship would not be good for either of us, okay? Don't think I'm turning you down-"

"What am I supposed to think then?!" 

Damian felt his head clearing as the anger still burned through him, combatting heavily with the dopamine flooding his body. He stood up off the bed, hands on his hips, not bother to try to hide the tight spot in his sweatpants from where his cock was getting hard.

"Dammit! Listen to me! I don't want to have sex with you while you're inebriated! I've done it before and it's not fucking worth it!" Jon exclaimed, sounding frustrated. "If we make that choice, to make a big change in our relationship, then it's going to be when you're clear-headed. And I don't entirely feel like you're clear-headed even when you're not drunk!"

"Leave."

"Damian!"

"Go protect my city, Kent, before I go out there and do it myself."

Jon clenched his jaw and spun on his heel, storming out and slamming the door. Damian glared after him and then shut off the lights and getting into bed, moodily staring at the wall.

Jon didn't come back that evening. And Damian had horrible nightmares all night.

 

The next morning, he adventured downstairs to find, like usual, Jon standing in the kitchen. Today he looked tired, but still smiled and said good morning, in the process of making what appeared to be oatmeal. Damian fed the animals and fetched his normal morning coffee. Jon produced ibuprofen and some water and ordered Damian to drink it, going silent as he finished their breakfast.

Damian was having flashes of memories. Of Jon's mouth on his, of their bodies pressed together. Of arguing. He leaned against the counter and tried to recall the rest of the memories, of exactly what happened, but it was all foggy.

"I'm sorry about last night," he said softly.

"You remember?" Jon asked, sound shocked.

Damian nodded slightly.

"Well . . . You'll remember why I stopped it then?"

Another nod.

"And? Do you approve?"

"Yes."

Jon was silent for a few moments. "Damian, I think it might be good for you to go see a psychiatrist."

Damian felt something akin to fear spike up in him, but Jon was still talking.

"There's one that Kon and I go to occasionally, she works with a lot of supers and vigilantes and has sworn to the Justice League that she will one hundred percent keep her clients privacy. Or, the Legion has a resident psych, they won't mind if you'd rather talk to someone from another dimension."

Damian blinked at him. "Why do I need a therapist?"

"Because you've gone through some terrible things, things that need to be talked about and dealt with and handled properly. Dames, you won't even tell me what really happened. You can't just let things bottle up like this, okay? I tried it once and I nearly killed someone because I was just so angry and scared," Jon explained. "Please. Just think about it. Try it out maybe, you don't have to keep doing it forever, just . . . Think about it."

Jon moved away to get bowls and Damian assumed that signaled the end of that conversation. He never had thought about a psychiatrist before, because he always had Bruce to talk to things about when he wanted to. But . . . Maybe it wouldn't be that bad of an idea. He didn't speak, letting Jon get breakfast like he always did and then heading to their little dining room.

They ate in silence, Damian doing his best not to stare at Jon's mouth the whole time. He hadn't thought about it before, truly, but Jon was very attractive. Damian didn't really have a type, but he suspected that Jon would be in that range.

"I'm going to go work on a case. . . " He said, standing and grabbing his coffee.

"Okay."

Damian hesitated. For the first time he was unsure if this was the right decision. But he started to step away, eyes narrowed at Jon.

"What is it?" He asked finally.

"What?"

"There's something wrong."

Jon frowned at him.

"You're not telling me something. Kent I've known you for nearly half your life, and despite the various time travel incidents, I'm fairly certain I know your tells."

Jon sighed and crumpled slightly, looking down at his unfinished oatmeal.

"Stargirl called me in. There's a pretty big meeting happening and they need me to be there. They need a kryptonian for this, and seeing how I am the only one . . . "

Damian scowled, crossing his arms. "And you don't know how long you'll be gone."

"No."

"Damn."

"Sorry."

Jon pushed to his feet and walked over, gently grabbing Damian's shoulders.

"Look, I can tell them no, I've done it before-"

"No, its fine Jon, that'd be like your father saying no to the Justice League."

"Okay . . . Promise me you'll take care of yourself? I don't think I'll be gone long, but we both have learned that the Legion sucks with time consistency. So if I'm gone longer then anticipated, please just eat."

Damian nodded. "I'll try."

Jon smiled and pulled him into a hug. Damian loosely put his arms around Jon's middle, leaning into him. Jon didn't pull away for a long time, just breathed in Damian.

"Try to stay safe."

"You too."

Jon finally pulled away, gathering their dishes and walking away. Damian headed to the stairs, going down to the batcave to work on his case, as promised. Ten minutes later he got an alert of a temporal shift, and he knew Jon was gone.

Chapter Text

Damian reaaaalllyyy wanted to pass out, in fact, he think he had already blacked out once or twice, but he wasn't really sure. He hadn't moved in the past two hours, monitoring a high risk target. His eyes drooped shut and he let his head rest on the heel of his palm. He yawned and shook his head to clear it, reaching into his belt to grab something to fiddle with to keep awake. Bruce had always kept small fidget toys for the boys and Damian hadn't bothered to take them out.

He barely glanced at the confusing twists of metal as he stared down into the street, watching the entrance of the party his target was at. He needed to keep a close eye on her as the sex trafficking ring in Gotham was about to move out, and he wanted to take them down. He knew there were police officers inside, but when did they ever do their job?

"Hey, Babybat."

Damian jolted, grabbing tightly onto the edge of the roof and then twisting to see Nightwing balancing on the very edge of the roof. He raised an eyebrow and walked over.

"Nightwing."

"Watcha doing?"

Nightwing easily slid to be sitting next to him, and Damian immediately felt himself shutting down. His relationship with Richard hadn't ever quite been the same since the court of owls incident, but recently it had been bad. Especially since the funeral.

"Watching a target. Trying to bust sex traffickers before they leave town."

Dick hummed, holding his hand out. Damian passed over the toy, pulling a knee up and hooking his arm around it.

"Why are you in Gotham?"

"Jay wanted my help with a case."

Silence hung over them, the area filled with the pulsing music from the nightclub. Damian didn't look over, he didn't need to see the hole in his brothers hair from when he'd nearly died.

"Timmy said Jon was living with you."

Nightwing scowled and looked over when Damian didn't respond.

"Dude."

"What? Oh. Yes, he is. He's gone right now. Shush."

Damian carefully shifted into a crouch, staring down at the building as the door opened, a man and a woman exiting, the woman leaning heavily into the man. He quickly glanced down at the small computer in his gauntlet and found that yes, this was his target. He slowly rose, the cape falling around him and hiding his body. He turned and walked away from Nightwing, following the two. They walked behind another building, into an alley where a large black van was waiting. He watched as the man put the girl in the van, shutting the doors and then getting in the front. Damian hooked his grappel and dropped off the building, stopping just a foot from the van and then leaning down to put a tracker on the top. He quickly pulled himself back up to the roof, grunting slightly at the strain on his shoulder. Nightwing helped him up, slinging an arm around his shoulder.

"You want some help?"

"Doesn't Hood need you?"

"Naw, we solved that. Come on, it'll be like the . . . "

Dick trailed off with Damian's intense glare.

"Where have you been the past month, Nightwing?"

"In Bludhaven. . . Trying to survive."

"For a month, no one has heard from you, you didn't even call."

"Yeah, well I could say the same about you!"

"I haven't gone anywhere. I have been right here, night after night. Wearing this damned mask and trying to pick up the pieces of what was left to me! I have been here, trying to balance losing my father, gaining his business, and taking over this job. As well as losing my brothers. I needed you, and yet not a single one of you even came by the manor! I needed you, and instead Kent had to step down from the Legion because no one else was supporting me! So do not even start with me!"

"He was my dad too!" Nightwing screamed, looking pissed. "You always seem to forget that! You may be the only one who has his genes, but he was still our father too! He still raised me, dammit! He saved Jason and he cared for Tim! He was there for Babs after her accident, he loved Cass and always helped Stephanie! Get your head out of your ass and realize that we're all in shattered pieces too, D!

"Jason started drinking again, Tim barely talks to anyone but Kon, Babs and Cass have both pulled away. I haven't talked to Steph in ages, not since the funeral. I nearly died!"

Damian was starting to feel light headed, his stomach turning.

"Yeah, we all fucked up and pulled away. But stop acting like an entitled piece of shit! Its fucking stupid and it fucking sucks that you had to do this. I know you never wanted the cowl, and I'm sorry I wasn't here for you, but you can't blame any of us for this! You already dealt with the fuck who did! So jus- Are you okay?"

Damian swayed, teetering back towards the edge. He was not okay. He was getting tunnel vision, losing control of his body. And then he was falling.

"Dami!"

And he was gone.

 

"Damian. Wake up. Dude. Wake up!"

Damian groaned as someone shook him. He reached out and swatted at their chest, expecting it to be Jon. And he knew right where Jon's chest was. Instead he met a shoulder. He grumbled in confusion and opened an eye.

"There you are."

"Grayson?"

"Yeah, hey. It's me."

Damian opened his eyes fully, looking around to see they were in the batcave, his cowl pulled completely off. He slid off the medical cot.

"Whoa, wait, you did that earlier and passed out again, you sure you're okay?"

"I'm fine."

"What happened?"

"I do not know."

He did know.

He pushed Dick off and walked out, grabbing his cowl and heading towards the computer.

"What are you doing?"

"Working."

The light steps running after him signaled Dick following.

"You should rest, passing out twice like that isn't healthy."

Damian just pulled the cape around him and sat down, pulling up the commands for his tracker, quickly finding where the traffickers were keeping the girls and logging the information, he considered it for a moment before sending the location and information to Jason, no context, no request. Just the information.

"Damian! Just rest!"

"I am fine, Grayson! I know how to monitor my own health!"

"He doesn't."

Damian jolted at the voice, turning to see Jon floating over.

"Hey, I couldn't find you upstairs or in town so I figured you'd be down here. Hey, Dick."

"Hi, Jon," Dick sighed, sounding relieved.

"Dami, how are you?" Jon asked, landing softly and walking the few feet over, bending down to look at Damian's face. He scowled.

"Fine."

"You're clearly not."

"He's passed out, twice."

Jon's eyebrows shot up, glancing behind Damian at Dick.

"Yeah? Have you been eating?"

Damian didn't respond, the computer chimed with background checks on the suspects for the traffickers. He knew where they were. He could get there in twenty minutes. He stood and went to walk towards the batcar, and immediately started blacking out, falling forwards.

"I'm guessing that's a no."

Jon's arm was around his waist, holding him up.

"Drinking?" He asked softly. Damian just nodded.

Jon sighed and gently scooped Damian up, walking towards the stairs.

"Wait, what's going on?!" Dick yelled, running after them.

"He's just got some low blood sugar, Dick, he'll be fine."

Jon walked up the stairs and into the kitchen, Ace barking happily upon seeing him. Jon set Damian down on one of the counters and looked around the kitchen, scowling.

"Damian, have you eaten anything this whole week!?"

"Yes! I had some Chinese yesterday!"

Jon scowled and looked in the fridge.

"Damian, what the hell!" Dick exclaimed. 

Damian groaned and put his head in his hands. He hated when Dick found out things were wrong. Dick was currently holding up a mostly empty bottle of rum. A quiet sigh came from Jon. Dick was openly gaping at him, waiting for a response that wouldn't come.

"It's okay, Dick," Jon said softly, taking the bottle and putting it on top of the fridge.

"No it's not okay! Are you drinking!"

"Dick."

"Damian, answer me!"

"Yes, I'm drinking, I'm also anorexic, since we're dumping our shit," Damian snapped, dropping off the counter and tugging off the armored top of the uniform to show his upper body, his ribs sticking out, hips prominent.

"Fuck," Jon whispered, staring at him.

Dick looked like his mind had literally just blown up. His mouth was hanging open and his eyes were wide.

"Dami . . . " He breathed out.

Damian immediately regretted his life choices as he saw tears welling up in Dick's eyes. He carefully pulled the shirt back on, looking away, at Jon, who looked concerned, but not surprised. He looked down at Ace to distract himself.

"Why. How. When did this. . . I don't understand."

"It started four years ago," Damian said with a quiet sigh. "Father found out after nearly six months, and with his help I started to overcome it, but occasionally I would relapse. After his death, I stopped eating, and then quickly spiraled into a relapse. . . Jon has been helping me, making sure I eat, but I wasn't sure if he knew exactly what was going on."

Jon nodded softly. "I suspected. I knew you used to struggle with it, and suspected this was a relapse but. . ."

Dick was actually crying now, he rushed over and hugged Damian tightly.

"I'm sorry, Dami. I'm so so sorry," he whispered.

"It is not your fault."

"But I should have been here to help take care of you from the beginning."

"Don't. Just. . . You were a mess too, I . . . Do not blame you for not being here."

Dick stayed silent, crying as he hugged Damian. Damian gently hugged him back, watching as Jon started preparing a very light meal. After a minute, Dick pulled away, wiping his eyes.

"I'm sorry, Dami."

"Enough of that. We've all made mistakes recently, Dick."

Dick sighed heavily and looked away, glancing up at the bottle of rum almost longingly. Damian stepped away and got food for the animals, refilling their water bowl as always. Ace barked at him and then started shoving his food around, while Alfred Cat was nowhere to be seen.

"Jonathan, how did things go with the Legion?"

"Oh, fine, I guess. I spent half the week in meetings and then the rest of it actually solving the problems we were facing."

Jon was silently making what appeared to be pasta, not looking back up.

"All went well?"

"Yeah, I suppose, I don't know, it was fairly normal shit for the Legion. What have you been doing?"

Damian fetched himself and Dick a glass of water, the man had stopped crying but still looked emotionally distraught. Dick accepted the glass with a quiet thanks.

"Trying to catch sex traffickers, stopped a shooting, stopped a robbery at the bank," Damian explained.

"Sounds like fun."

"Yeah. Justice league wants me to join back up with them as Batman."

"Oh? You gonna take them up on that?"

"Maybe, I don't know, not yet though."

"How are you two so relaxed?!" Dick snapped, spinning on them, Damian was now standing by Jon.

They looked at each other.

"What?" Jon asked.

"You're acting like everything is fine, when you literally just told me about a potentially life threatening disorder!"

"We're calm because this is my life," Damian responded. "I have dealt with this for four years, and will continue to deal with it. It is manageable as long as I put in the effort."

"But you're not!"

"And that's why I'm here," Jon reminded, gently putting an arm around Damian.

"But you're not always here, Jon!"

"No, but I'm not trying to control his life, Dick, he's still an adult."

Dick looked seriously distraught, waving his hands.

"I just. This isn't good, Damian!"

"I am aware."

Damian leaned into Jon's side, remembering the last time they were this close was when Damian had been drunk. They looked at each other for a moment before Jon pulled away to tend to his noodles. Five minutes later, they were all sat at a table, eating. Damian forcing himself to choke down the noodles. He barely ate half his bowl before pushing it away. Jon just glanced at it and then nodded towards the door.

"Wait, he barely ate anything," Dick protested as he stood.

"Dick, it's not about quantities, right now, its just that he eats something. If he completely stopped eating this last week, then even that will seem like a lot of food to his stomach, tomorrow he'll probably eat more, and the next day even more," Jon explained gently.

". . . That makes sense."

"I'm going to take a shower."

"Okay, I'll be up in a bit, take your meds."

"I will, let Ace out please."

"Yeah."

"Wait, Damian, I wanted to talk to you . . . "

Damian hesitated in the doorway. He was so tired. Jon frowned lightly, glancing between the two.

"I'm. . . I don't have to go into the office tomorrow. Spend the night and we can talk in the morning," Damian said after a moment, offering Dick a wane smile.

"Okay. . . Get some rest, baby bat."

Damian nodded and continued out, going upstairs and taking a long shower, noting faintly that his hair hadn't grown much, usually it would badly need trimmed by now. He took his medicine once he got out and pulled on some boxers and a pair of flannel sleep pants. When he came out, Jon was laying on the bed, looking up at his space phone. Damian shuffled over, pulling back the covers and getting in. He shifted over to press against Jon, who gave a surprised grunt.

"I haven't slept properly in a week. I'm so tired I feel like a fucking skeleton. Please just knock me out," Damian mumbled.

Jon chuckled, setting down his phone and then adjusting them, pressing his bare chest to Damian's back. He was so much warmer then Damian and it felt amazing. He slipped an arm under the pillow and the other under Damian's top arm.

"You sure?"

"Please, Jon. I need to sleep."

Jon shifted and pressed his fingers to Damian's forehead.

"Okay. Sleep well, Damian."

Right as he was drifting off, Jon's hypnokinesis taking over his brain, he felt something, maybe a soft kiss, pressed to the area of his neck, just under his ear. And then he was out like a light bulb.

 

Dick was, unsurprisingly, still there in the morning. When Damian finally got up, making his way downstairs at 10:30, he and Jon were in the living room, a place Damian rarely went. Jon was on the couch, Ace's head in his lap as the dog lounged beside him. Dick was on the other side of the sofa, tapping away at a Wayne Tablet. Alfred Cat was curled up on the arm of the loveseat, so Damian went and sat there, pulling the cat into his lap. He chirped and then curled up again. 

"Ace isn't allowed on the sofa."

"Well good morning to you to, Dami," Jon commented dryly. "And leave the poor old man alone. Even Krypto is allowed on furniture."

"I think that's because you can't move Krypto if he doesn't want to be moved," Dick added.

"You really can't," Jon said with a laugh.

"He gets hair all over the cushions."

"Dames, it's a dark couch, he's a dark dog, he'll be fine."

Damian grumbled but looked down at his phone and the horrendous amount of texts and emails he had. Some of the Teen Titans had sent him texts, but he ignored all except the one from Raven. He answered a text from Tim because it was relating to Wayne Enterprises, and one from Jason saying he dealt with the traffickers. Well that problem was solved.

"You hungry?"

"No."

"Okey dokey."

Jon didn't move, he was gently scratching behind Ace's ear. Damian marked the rest of his texts as read and then looked up at his friend. Jon glanced up at him and smiled.

"How'd you sleep?" He asked, resting his chin on his free hand. 

"Much better, thank you," Damian responded softly, feeling a corner of his mouth twitch up into a smile.

Dick was staring at them weird, an eyebrow raised.

"Yeah, of course."

"What's happening?" Dick asked, cautiously watching Damian.

"Hmm?"

"Why'd you thank him?"

"Oh. . . Well."

"I have the power to use hypnokinesis, don't ask me how I developed it, I just did. I use it sometimes to help Damian sleep," Jon explained. "Especially on nights when he has bad nightmares."

"Oh. . . Can you sleep while you do that?"

"Um. . . Not really? But I don't need quite as much sleep as a normal human anyway, so it's fine, once he hits REM I generally can stop."

Dick looked like he wanted to say something else but stayed silent, looking back at his tablet. Damian looked back at his phone, returning to the exhausting task of managing a social media presence. He took the easy route out and posted a picture of Alfred Cat with no caption and then a picture of Ace, Jon and Dick on his Instagram story. He answered a few DM's and then muted notifications from the app, knowing it'd be going crazy. 

"Okay, can we talk now?" Dick asked, setting his tablet on the coffee table.

"I suppose."

Dick shifted to face Damian, Jon just glanced between them and then looked down at his phone like nothing was happening.

"I guess I just . . . How did the anorexia start?"

"After Alfred was killed, I began neglecting to eat, much as I do now. Frankly, I didn't have the care to make myself food and Father and I were often not home at the same time. I'd eat here and there, enough to sustain myself and my life style, but not enough to actually be healthy and maintain a healthy weight. I started getting used to seeing myself without any additional fat, only muscle, that when I did start eating properly and returned to what would be a normal weight. . . Bluntly, I thought I was overweight," Damian explained cautiously, his fingers tapping on his knee. He quickly busied his hands petting Alfred.

"So you starved yourself?"

"More or less. My OCD branched into my eating habits and I became fixated on eating only very specific foods, high protein, low fat. Which is very difficult to manage on a vegan diet."

Dick nodded in understanding. 

"When Father found out, he handled it much like Jon has, slowly reintroducing a decent diet to my system, and at the time, we talked a lot about my mental image of myself and he helped me regain a better one. Not long after this I started on the Zoloft for my PTSD and that helped manage the OCD and the anorexia for a short time."

"Did the others know?"

"Jason found out first, he walked in on me weighing myself and I screamed at him. Tim apparently found out next, just by watching me and knowing my flaws and tells. Jon next-"

"I noticed how light he was and cried until he told me," Jon interrupted.

"-And then Bruce found out because I passed out and fell off a building and broke a rib."

Dick had a look that said he was offended he hadn't been told in four years. Damian shrugged lightly, looking away.

"You started taking Zoloft?" Dick's next question was soft.

Damian nodded. "At first I hated the idea, I didn't want my brain to be meddled with by some drug. But my PTSD was getting so bad that I had to try something. It greatly reduces the panic attacks, nightmares, and depression that I experience."

Dick nodded in understanding, glancing around the room. Jon suddenly frowned and tilted his head, looking at the tv, but his eyes were unfocused.

"What's wrong?" Damian asked, frowning.

"I gotta . . ."

Jon pushed Ace's head out of his lap and stood, stepping towards the door. 

"Jon."

"Dad needs. . . Shit that's not good."

Jon spun and ran away. Thirty seconds later, he came back, dressed as Superboy.

"I gotta go help Dad with a . . . Something? I don't quite know what it is?"

"Do you want help?" Damian asked, already standing and walking over.

"No. No. I want you to stay here, rest, hang out with your brother. Hell, go out for lunch or something, lord knows it would do you good to get out of this house," Jon said, putting his hands on Damian's shoulders.

"Kent."

"Nope. Don't make me take away your access to the cave."

"Why the fuck did I ever give you the security codes?"

Jon laughed, kissing Damian's forehead and then he hugged him.

"I'll try to be back for supper okay?"

"Okay."

Jon pulled away, looking over at Dick.

"Get him to eat something, but don't force him to eat more than he can," he instructed. "We don't need him getting sick."

"Kent, I'm not a child."

"I will, Jon. Go help your dad," Dick said, they both ignored Damian.

Jon smiled and nodded, and then was gone, a rush of air ruffling Damian's hair. Damian sighed, watching him leave.

"Ace, go potty?" He called, glancing over.

The dog jumped up and started running towards the door. Alfred Cat stretched and followed. Damian let both pets outside and then got himself coffee. He found his laptop in the office and then came back to the living room, sitting back down in the loveseat. Dick was back on his tablet, scowling at it. Damian just started working, replying to emails. He felt better than he had in days, finally able to answer all the emails Luke had piling up for approval in his inbox.

"You think I could get Tim to take over as CEO again? I hate this," Damian grumbled, his fingers flying over the keys.

"I doubt it," Dick said with a laugh. "I can barely get him to text me back."

"How the times have changed. I thought you were the favorite brother."

"Yeah well. . . I used to be yours too."

Damian winced, glancing up and meeting Dick's eyes. They held eye contact for a moment before Damian looked back down, signing his email quickly. Damian Wayne, CEO. Such an odd title.

"Damian, seriously. Can we just . . . Not do this whole stoic broody thing?" Dick asked with a sigh. "I don't want to lose my little brother as well."

Damian sighed, clicking to a new email.

"Grayson . . ."

"No, look. I know I've been distant since the whole . . . Ric thing. It's really hard to survive an injury like that, have your brain fucked up, and then be given your memories back, but have the fake ones they gave you as well. It just seriously fucked me up okay? And returning to life as a cop and Nightwing was already difficult, that I let my relationships with you guys get pushed to the back burner, and then off the stove all together. And I'm sorry . I want to fix that."

Damian looked up, bracing his elbow against the armrest and then his chin on his hand.

"Okay."

"Okay?"

"But don't think this is me giving you permission to mother hen me at all times. I do not need two of you doing that."

Dick smiled softly. "I understand, and that's fine, I still will have to be in Bludhaven a lot, I'm about to get promoted to detective."

"Congratulations."

"Thanks, it'll be easier than working a beat. . .  Anyway. What is with you and Jon? Are you like . . . ?"

"No."

"Really? Because like . . . You don't act like you're not, sharing a bed, touching like you do, the forehead kiss?"

"No, Grayson. He's . . . We're. . . " Damian sighed, shaking his head. "No."

Dick's carefully trimmed eyebrow arched gracefully, and he crossed his arms. 

"Stop that."

"You're not convincing me."

"Well, you are a fool then. There's nothing between us."

"But you want there to be?"

"Do not assume things."

"Little D, your tells haven't changed any in nine years. It's okay to admit it."

"Enough," Damian grumbled, clicking at his laptop, focusing down at it.

"Okay, okay!" 

They sat in silence for a while before Damian stood and let the pets in. He was starting to get that warm bubbly feeling of being hungry.

"Do you wish to get lunch?" He asked, poking his head into the living room.

"If you're feeling up to it!"

"Allow me to change, and then sure."

Dick gave him a thumbs up. Damian sighed and walked upstairs, hands in the pockets of his hoodie. He changed into jeans and a button down, pulling on a decent pair of shoes and grabbing his wallet from where it had last been thrown onto the dresser, he put on a watch and then headed back down, finding Dick pulling on his shoes.

"Where we going?" Dick asked, watching as Damian stared at the selection of keys.

"Sushi sounds good."

"Whatever you think you'll eat."

Damian grunted and grabbed the keys to the Tesla Roadster. He led the way out to the garage, hitting the button to the open the door and grabbing the gate key before walking over to the chosen car, the sleek red paint standing out among the various black vehicles it was parked in.

"Are you sure you're good to be driving?" Dick asked cautiously.

"Would you like to perform a sobriety test on me, Grayson? I've not had alcohol in over twelve hours."

"I'm talking about your blood sugar."

Damian didn't respond, just rolled his eyes and got in the car, starting it up. After a moment of hesitation, Dick got in, and Damian pulled out of the garage. The early June afternoon was warm and actually mildly sunny, so Damian put down the top of the Tesla, allowing the wind to rush around them. Despite Dick's worries, the drive was fine, and Damian quite enjoyed it, putting on a pair of sunglasses and just relaxing as he drove. He headed to his favorite sushi place and parked nearby on the street, locking the Tesla and then walking inside.

Lunch was rather quiet. They talked occasionally, asking about what the other one had been up to before the funeral. After, they swung through Wayne Enterprises so Damian could talk to Luke quickly and then they headed back home. Jon still wasn't back by two PM. Dick ended up heading home, leaving Damian to work by himself, once again alone. At eight, he ate a very light dinner of a protein bar, despite not being hungry, and then went and suited up, hitting the streets, trying to find Jason, to no avail. Instead he went and talked to the police chief, finding out what happened with the sex traffickers.

With no case to work, he went and sat on the courthouse building and monitored the city through surveillance cameras. He sat there for two hours, and nothing happened. Two more passed and still nothing. Then a camera beeped and he flicked over to it, watching as a flash of red and blue zipped past it. He smirked lightly and closed out of the camera's, standing and stretching. A few seconds later, Superboy was floating in front of him, arms crossed as he smiled.

"Hey."

"Hello."

"Sorry I wasn't back sooner."

"It's no matter."

"How are you feeling?"

"Better. But still tired."

"Did you eat?" Jon asked, floating closer.

"Yeah. We got sushi."

"Cool. How'd that go?"

Jon landed on the roof, walking over. He reached out and adjusted Damian's cape, fixing a part that had curled under and gotten caught on his armor.

"It was interesting. He wants to make an effort to be brothers again."

"Oh ho. And what do you think about that."

". . . I am willing to try, but I do not expect much."

Jon chuckled, slinging an arm around Damian's shoulders and looking out across town.

"Well, sometimes trying is all it takes."

They settled into a comfortable silence until two am, when they headed home, falling into their normal routine like it had never been broken. Like it hadn't been a month since Bruce's death.

Chapter Text

This was going to suck.

Damian regretted his choices the day he said yes to this meeting. But here he was, a week later, standing just inside the doors of the Watchtower, his cowl pulled tightly around his face, cape wrapped around him like it would protect him from everything he'd been avoiding.

After two months of harassment, Diana had finally broken him, and he'd agreed to come to at least one Justice League meeting. He had, up until this point, avoided a larger majority of them, and he preferred it that way. He had for two months, practically avoided Clark and Lois, despite the fact that their son lives with him. He knew how those two were and he just didn't want to touch it. Except his PR director (something he had gained in the last few weeks) informed him that he had an interview scheduled with one Lois Lane-Kent from Metropolis at the end of the week. So he gave in and decided to deal with Clark.

After a few moments, Damian took a deep breath, calming himself and forcefully bringing his heart rate back down. He started forwards, feet already knowing the paths to walk to bring him to the large conference room. He looked around as he walked, but nothing had changed in the past six months since Bruce had brought him here. No one was out in the halls, so no one stopped him. Of course that was intentional, as he had arrived late on purpose.

Maybe he should've let Jon come with him.

The man had gone off world for the day, saying since Damian refused to let him come to the Justice League, he'd go hang out with the Legion for the afternoon. So they had parted ways and Damian had taken off.

He stopped at the conference room door and took another breath. This was his last chance to pull away. To run back to his ship and never deal with these people again. He pushed through the huge doors, and stepped through. Clark's voice hit him first, powerful and commanding. He stood in front of his chair as he spoke, pointing up at a screen which appeared to be a map of North America. Beside him, an empty chair, and on the left of that was Wonder Woman. Other familiar faces were scattered around the table. The Flash, Green Arrow, Cyborg, Aquaman, so on. People Damian had practically been raised around.

"Batman!" Diana's surprised voice interrupted Clark.

The room went quiet. Dead air floating around and crackling with energy. Damian took careful control of his breathing, knowing emotional spikes caused him to pass out occasionally, and he did not need that right now. A subtle press of a button and his voice modulator activated.

"Wonder Woman," he greeted, his voice coming out deep and gravelly.

Nobody moved, they just looked at him for a moment and then looked at each other.

"Um. Come, come have a seat," Clark said, waving him over.

Damian held up a single hand as denial.

"Go on with your meeting."

He felt out of place here, and he certainly wasn't about to sit in Bruce's seat. He needed a moment. Diana and Clark exchanged a look and she nodded to him, standing. He returned to talking, and Diana walked over to Damian, leading him to a far corner of the room. She hugged him tightly, and Damian allowed himself to lean into her.

"I'm glad to see you, Damian," she said in that light accent of hers.

Damian grunted. "I'd prefer not to make that information common knowledge."

"Of course. Clark and I haven't told anyone who took over after Bruce, that will be up to you to confirm or deny any suspicions."

Damian nodded. "I'm sure some people know, but any new members id rather them not know who wore the cowl before me."

Diana nodded in return, smiling lightly.

"Diana, I. . . If I, if Batman, returns to active duty on the League, I can not take up the role my father did."

"I understand. It's not an easy role, Clark has been going insane trying to do it. We would appreciate Gotham's protector to be back on our team."

"What is he talking about?" Damian asked, waving at Clark.

"Increasing watch on high risk areas of the US. I will be meeting with the European and Asian divisions tomorrow about the same issue. . . Clark was going to be increasing his watch over New Jersey too, but now that you're aware of it. . ."

"Yeah I'll talk to Nightwing and Hood, and with Superboy staying with me we'll have it well handled."

She nodded, Damian looked up and made eye contact with Clark.

"Would you like to go sit down? I can push Clark over so you don't feel obligated to lead."

Damian nodded so Diana smiled and led the way, she leaned in and whispered to Clark who nodded and grabbed a few things at his seat and shifted over to the head of the table. Damian took Clarks now unoccupied seat, staying uncomfortably at the edge of the chair, arms crossed. Clark talked for a few more minutes and then sat, letting Green Arrow, further down the table, talk about something.

Damian wanted to shrink in on himself and disappear. But he kept his chest puffed out and kept a false bravado about him, pretending he felt comfortable and confident with where he was. He listened in silence for nearly two hours until Clark turned to him.

"Batman, do you think you can keep a watch over New Jersey and New York?" He asked, face concerned.

"Yeah, it won't be an issue."

"Great. . . It's good to have you back."

Damian grunted in response, leaning back into his chair. Clark continued speaking and the moment he said "meeting adjourned", Damian was out of his chair and across the room, heading towards the hangar he had landed in. He had fulfilled his promise, he had attended the meeting. He hadn't said he'd stay and socialize with anyone, he'd suffered that torture at the monthly charity gala he'd last attended. He didn't need to stay and hear all the "I'm sorry" and "How have you been?" And the "Well if you need anything at all, just call". He didn't want that. So he was going to just leave.

"Batman! Can we talk to you really quick?" The voice of Green Lantern called.

Damian growled in his throat, hands on the door handle. He could open them. He could keep walking, ignore Jordan and all the other Superheroes who would no doubt give him the same shitty end of the stick for not having powers that they had given Bruce. But then that flare of stupid loyalty to his father kicked in. He sighed and let go of the door, stepping away and letting someone who's name he didn't know push past. He turned back to them, back to his father's friends, letting his arms drop to his sides and the cape fall around him.

Standing together in a clump was Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Green Arrow and Aquaman.

He didn't move as the rest of the Justice League made their way out. Soon it was just him and the six standing there. He remained by the door.

"We just wanted to say, Diana wouldn't tell us who had taken over for Bruce, and we won't force you to tell us. . ." Hal started saying.

"It took Bruce a long time to trust us, and we understand if you only want Clark and Diana to know," Barry added.

Damian sighed and looked over at Clark, who shrugged.

"And we also wanted to say, 100% serious, if you ever need our help, please just ask."

He sighed again and walked closer.

"I will only tell you six because Bruce trusted you as much as he trusted us, if not more some days," he said, stopping a few feet away. "But only you six."

He reached up and tugged off the cowl, knowing the voice modulator would deactivate with it's removal. And with that one action, he had removed the blanket of security he had surrounding himself. They didn't seem terribly surprised, now looking at Damian Wayne. Barry reached up and pulled off his own cowl, Hal's mask disappeared, and Oliver gently peeled his off. Damian stared back at all of them, arms crossed.

"Damian, I-" Clark started, but Damian just shook his head.

"I'm fine, Clark. I have the support I need, I do not need anything else. . . I do not wish to lead the Justice League, however. Not at this time, I've taken too much onto myself as is, without the task of running this."

Clark glanced at Diana.

"Okay. I understand. I will plan on continuing to do so."

Damian nodded, reaching up to pull the cowl back on. 

"Now, I have personal matters to attend to."

He spun and walked out before anyone could stop him. He breezed past everyone who tried to talk to him, ignoring even Cyborg as he stepped forwards with a polite greeting. Damian was in no mood to get friendly. In his opinion, Bruce had gotten far to relaxed around the Justice League. It was only a matter of time until they were infiltrated and someone leaked everyone's identities. He walked back to the hangar and got into the plane, flying back home.

When he got home, Jon had yet to return, of course he knew this due to the lack of temporal alerts since the man had left earlier. He didn't bother changing out of the suit since he'd just be going out again later. He made his way up to the Manor, letting Ace out to potty and then finding the leftover Tofu bratwurst and eating one of those and an orange, writing it down on the whiteboard stuck on the front of the fridge so Jon would know he had eaten. He let Ace back in, topped off their food and then headed to his office, flopping in the desk chair and quickly tapping in his password.

He got to work on business emails, approving various things, and asking questions about things he didn't understand. He spent so long in the office that Ace came and laid beside him, and Alfred Cat went and laid down on the armchair in the corner of the room. He had finished the glass of water he had brought in, and was just considering getting up to get another when his phone started going off with security alerts. He pulled it out and frowned, blinking twice.

"Wayne Manor security feed, Go."

The contact lenses that were directly connected to batcomputer activated, projecting in front of his eyes, showing him the live feeds of all the security cameras in the manor, he flicked through them easily, finding the back door where Jon was landing on the patio. He smiled, quickly finishing his email. The contact lenses were technology Bruce used to use regularly, and Damian had recently begun using them when he had to keep track of the names of a million rich people. It also became very helpful for keeping track of the happenings of Gotham.

A few minutes later, there was a tap at the door and Superboy walked in, his red cape flowing along behind him.

"Hey there."

"Hello."

Damian glanced up, his fingers still flying over the keys of his keyboard.

"Did you just get home?"

"No."

"Didn't change?"

"Nope."

Jon walked around the desk, leaning against it.

"How'd the meeting go?"

"It was fine, they're worried about security in North America and have asked me to extend watch over New York."

"Which really means you want me to watch New York."

"When you are here, yes."

Jon chuckled, turning to look down at Damian's computer.

"And how'd it go being around them."

"It was fine. Diana and Clark obviously knew it was me, but I ended up telling Hal, Barry, Oliver and Arthur as well."

"Wow. Color me surprised."

Damian rolled his eyes, shutting down the laptop and standing.

"You know, Mom and Dad really want to have dinner with us."

"Invite them out next week," Damain said with a shrug.

"Whoa. What? Are you feeling okay?"

"I'm fine," Damian said, chuckling lightly as he walked out of the office and towards the kitchen.

Jon and Ace followed behind him.

"So you're serious."

"Sure. Especially if you schedule it for Tuesday evening and get me out of an incredibly boring board meeting. I'll even help you cook."

Jon laughed, already pulling out his phone as he walked over to the fridge and read the whiteboard.

"Sure, I'll ask them."

"Your mom is interviewing me the end of this week."

"Oh? Cool."

Damian grunted as he got another glass of water, leaning against the counter.

"Well, you wanna help me patrol?"

"Of course."

 

Day Sixty-Six

 

Damian tapped his fingers against the table, waiting patiently. Mrs. Lane-Kent was supposed to be shown in any second. He wasn't ready for this. His first interview since Bruce's death, and he was glad it happened to be a family friend. He suspected his PR director knew that and had done it on purpose. He reached out and grabbed his mug, sipping the steaming hot green tea. He had no sooner gotten a mouthful of the steaming hot beverage then his intercom went off.

"Mr. Wayne? Mrs. Lane-Kent is here."

He choked down the tea, feeling it scald his throat. He reached out and hit the button.

"Show her in."

He stood, tugging on his charcoal suit jacket to straighten it and then quickly fixing the cuffs. The door opened and Lois walked in, smiling cheerfully as she thanked the receptionist.

"Lois," Damian greeted, stepping around the desk.

In an attempt to maintain some formality, he extended his hand for her to shake, but she just dropped her bag and ignored his hand, pulling him into a hug. Damian grunted in surprise, but bent slightly to hug her back. Even in heels, she was a few inches shorter than him, two maybe. Lois squeezed him tightly, like she would one of her own children, and then pulled away, holding Damian at arms length to examine him. Damian scanned her over briefly, his contacts reading her faster then he could. She was wearing a gray pencil skirt and a light pink flowery blouse, no jacket necessary in the July heat. Her black hair had long since become streaked with gray, and she made no effort to hide them, nor the age wrinkles starting to show on her face.

"Damian, it's good to see you," she said, smiling fondly.

"And you, Lois."

"You could've fooled me, with how you've been avoiding Clark and I."

Damian gave a small, polite laugh, and Lois would surely know how fake it was. He motioned at the two chairs sat beside a coffee table.

"Shall we sit? Would you like any tea or coffee?"

"No thank you, I have my water."

Damian nodded. Lois went to sit and he grabbed his tea before coming and sitting in the armchair next to hers, they were angled slightly to face each other.

"You will have to forgive me for that, but I'm sure you understand why."

"Yeah, Jon told us bits and pieces, it's okay, Damian."

Damian gave her a slight smile, sipped his tea and then set it down.

"So, shall we begin?"

"Yes! Yes of course," Lois pulled out her phone, messing on it for a moment. "You're okay with voice recorder? Right?"

"Yes, that's fine."

Lois set the phone on the coffee table, then pulled out her notebook.

"So, firstly, on the record, I wanted to say I'm sorry for your loss. I know you'll get that a lot for a long time."

"Thank you," Damian whispered, feeling that familiar choking feeling he felt whenever he thought about the "accident" for too long.

"How has your experience been, taking over Wayne Enterprises?"

Damian gave a small laugh, sipping his tea.

"Truthfully, Lois? Horrible. I was just beginning to learn how this company worked before the accident. Without Luke Fox's amazing assistance, things wouldn't have transferred as smoothly as they did."

Lois nodded, scribbling something down. "Do you feel more comfortable now?"

"Yes, having learned a little better how the company works and how tiny my role actually is in the big machine called Wayne Enterprises, I feel much more confident in what I'm doing daily."

Lois asked some more basic questions like that, easy things that Damian knew he would get used to asking. This is where he would create the false persona that the media would either love or hate. He intended to try to veer away from the air-headed, playboy personality his father had adopted, and instead adopt a more professional personality, but still get on the media's good side.

"Now, I know it's only been two months, but do you have any big plans and projects in the works at the moment?"

"Oh um. Not currently, I'm just still trying to get used to my company, but I fully intend to continue all of my father's charities and funds."

Lois smiled and nodded, writing for a few minutes. Across the room Damian's phone started ringing.

"Ah, let me check that."

"Of course, go ahead, I'll just be here."

Lois turned off her recording device and Damian stood, crossing the room. Jon's dumb contact picture was displayed on his screen. The man had stolen his phone at some point and changed the contact name to "My Bestest Friend in the Universe" and made the picture a selfie of Jon with one of those dog Snapchat filters. He smiled lightly, picking the phone up and answering it.

"Hello?"

"Hey, did you not get the alerts?"

"What alerts?"

"For New York? Shooter threat in a highschool?"

Damian walked over to the huge floor to ceiling window, staring at it and blinking to activate the computer. Sure enough, news alerts popped up on little holographic screens surrounding him.

"Shit, no."

"Do you want me to swing by and pick you up?"

"No. . . I can't really go, I have interviews all afternoon."

"Ah fuck right. Okay. . . I got it, don't worry about it."

Damian blinked twice again and the screens disappeared.

"I'm actually with your mom right now."

"Oh really?! Cool! Hi Mom!"

Damian chuckled and turned back to Lois.

"Jon says hello."

"Hi honey!" Lois called back.

"She said hi."

"Ask her if we're still good for dinner Tuesday."

"I will, later. You need to go."

"Right. Okay. I'll shoot you a text when things get cleared up."

"Okay, stay safe."

"Byeeeee."

The phone beeped as Jon hung up. Damian pocketed the phone and walked back to sit across from Lois, pulling one leg up and resting his ankle on his knee.

"What was that about?"

"Just a minor issue."

Seeing that Lois was still working, Damian reactivated the camera and started searching through the security feeds, long blinks switching cameras so he didn't have to speak.

"Okay, I got a few more questions, but I don't want to push my time block, so I'll be quick," Lois said, setting down her pen and starting her recorder again.

"Trust me, Lois, you will always be more welcome in this office than any other reporter."

Lois smiled brightly. She breezed through a few more easy business questions, which Damian answered to the best of his ability. They wrapped up the interview and Damian walked to the door with her.

"Jon wanted to know if you and Clark are still coming out to the Manor Tuesday?"

"Yes! We will be there, six-thirty, right?"

"I do believe so."

Lois smiled, patting her pockets and bag quickly to make sure she had everything.

"Well. Have a good day, Damian."

"Thank you, Lois, you too."

They hugged again, and Damian promptly decided that he quite enjoyed hugs from Lois Lane-Kent. He held the door for her, and as soon as she was out, the receptionist was waving a reporter from the Gotham Gazette in. It was going to be a long day.

Chapter Text

Damian groaned as he stepped out of the Tesla, limping around to plug it in before walking inside, hobbling along with his injured ankle. He struggled with the door handle for a few minutes before finally getting it open and slamming it closed behind him. A dog barking came from the kitchen and then Ace came running around, slamming into Damian and whining happily.

"Careful!" He exclaimed, but scratched his ears with his good hand. "Sit!"

The dog fell back on his haunches, tongue lolling out and drool dribbling off it.

"Shake."

Damian bent and held his hand out. Ace reached his paw up and smacked it into Damian's, letting him shake it.

"Good boy."

Damian rubbed the dogs head before turning and walking towards the kitchen, where wonderful smells and the sounds of cooking was coming from. He found Jon Kent, standing in the kitchen, wearing his own merch, and chopping lettuce.

"Oh, hey! You're here!"

Jon grinned brightly at him. There was 50's crooner music playing from a bluetooth speaker. Damian smiled back.

"Yes, sorry, I tried to get away sooner, but Luke would not be silenced."

Jon laughed.

"It's fine, with your wrist splinted like that you wouldn't have been much help anyway."

"You know it's not actually splinted."

"Whaaat?" Jon asked, feigning innocence.

Damian rolled his eyes, but left the fake cast on, as it did offer a significant amount of support to his sprained wrist. He had, sunday night, sprained his left wrist, and twisted his right ankle in a fight. As far as the public would know, he was running and tripped, twisting his ankle when it fell in a hole on the manor lawn, and then injured his wrist when he fell. He had gotten both properly checked out, and the doctor had put a cast on his wrist to keep him from injuring it further. He had immediately cut the cast off the moment he got home, but kept it for public appearance. 

"Can you go set the table please?"

"Yeah sure, where do you want to eat?" Damian asked, reaching into a cabinet to grab plates and salad bowls, carefully stacking them and then picking up the stack.

"Just the casual dining room works."

Damian nodded and headed that way, balancing the stack in his good hand, using the black cast to help hold it. He easily set up the plates and bowls and then made two more trips for silverware and napkins, and wine glasses.

"Wait, you're serving wine?" Jon asked, watching Damian go up on tip toes to grab the key to the wine cellar.

"Yes? Is this not a formal occasion?"

"Yeah, but . . . You're still only twenty."

Damian scoffed, turning to face him.

"Kent, my birthday is in less than two weeks, and for the record, I have been drinking red wine since I was a child."

He turned and walked away, quickly finding the stairs that led him down to the wine cellar. It took him a few minutes to find a bottle he knew was good, and then hold a light up to it. He carefully and slowly shifted it from its horizontal position, watching as the thin layer of sediment slid down towards the bottom. He then locked the cellar and carefully headed upstairs, cautious not to shake the bottle. He took it to the dining room and was about to ask Jon if he need any help when in his pocket, his phone vibrated three times, the security alert for the manor.

"Mom and dad are here."

Damian activated his cameras and found that they were indeed, at the gate, so he quickly opened them, turning to Jon.

"Jonathan, please do not wear your own superhero merch to dinner."

"Okay. Okay. I won't. Here, check the potatoes while I go change."

Jon dropped a spoon in Damian's hand and then zoomed off. Damian walked over to the stove, stabbing one of the potato chunks in the pot of boiling water and finding it perfectly softened. Not knowing what to do with it, he turned off the stove and set the pan to the side. The barking followed by the doorbell ringing, followed by another security alert told him the Kent's had made it to the front door, so he walked over, silencing Ace with a snap of the fingers. He quickly checked his shirt before unlocking and opening the front door.

"Hello!" He called, smiling at the couple standing outside.

"Hello, Damian!"

He stepped aside to let them in, gently closing the door. Lois hugged him and Clark shook his hands.

"Aww, hi, Ace!" Lois called, patting her leg.

The German Shepherd looked immediately at Damian, his tail thumping on the floor once.

"Go ahead," Damian said with a chuckle.

Ace shot up and over to Lois, slamming into her and panting happily as she petted him.

"Should have stolen Krypto from Kon, these two need another play date!" Lois said, laughing as Ace whined in agreement.

"I'm sure Ace would enjoy that," Damian said with a soft smile, making a mental note to schedule yearly checkups for both pets. "I believe Jon is in the kitchen."

They made their way in there and found Jon seasoning the potatoes, now wearing jeans and a blue button down.

"Hey, guys!" He called, glancing over his shoulder and grinning.

He set down his spoon and hugged both parents tightly.

"This smells amazing, Jon! Did you make all this?" Lois asked, looking around at the prepared dishes.

"Yeah, with the cripple over here at work all day, I was left to fend for myself."

"I would've helped!!" Damian protested.

Jon stuck his tongue out at Damian and then pulled out the main course from the oven. Some form of vegan pasta dish that had Damian's mouth watering the second he smelt it.

"Dami can you grab some hot pads and a serving spoon for this, please?"

Damian quickly obeyed, grabbing the requested items and limping to push the door to the dining room open for Jon. He set the casserole in the middle of the table on top of the hot pads and then they headed back into the kitchen, grabbing other dishes.

"Jon, what do you need from us?" Clark asked.

"To go sit down, you are our guests, and we've got this handled."

After a little fussing, Jon finally got Lois and Clark to sit down, they only had a few things to grab, Jon grabbed the potatoes and salad and Damian found serving utensils as well as the cork opener. Once everyone was settled he went to open the wine and found that his wrist wouldn't allow it.

"Kent. Jon. Can you. . . "

He held out the bottle. Jon chuckled and took it, quickly opening it and then passing it back. Damian skillfully poured everyone an appropriate serving, leaving a small amount with some sediment at the bottom. He set the bottle aside and then took his seat.

Dinner was lovely. The food was amazing. Jon and his parents were clearly glad to have a nice sit down and talk, Lois and Clark would frequently try to get Damian involved, but Damian? Damian was shutting down. His mind had quite cruelly reminded him "You'll never get this opportunity again" and he wanted nothing more than to chug his wine, a bottle of rum, and go wallow in his self pity. Everyone could tell something was wrong, but luckily they left it alone. Jon kept throwing him concerned glances, so to soothe him, Damian forced himself to eat a decent portion of the food.

"Hey, Damian, can you help me get desert?" Jon asked, standing after about an hour.

"Yeah."

Damian pushed to his feet, wobbling on his bad ankle for a moment before following Jon into the kitchen. The moment the door shut behind them, Jon spun, concerned eyes scanning Damian's face.

"Are you okay?"

"No."

Damian stumbled forwards, into Jon, wrapping his arms around him and hugging him incredibly tightly. Jon immediately hugged him back, and the hold alone helped ease some of Damian's pain. He just stood there, barely breathing for a few minutes.

"Is it mom and dad?"

Damian nodded lightly.

"Wha-"

"I realized I'll never get to sit down and have dinner with him again and just. . . " Damian started crying, silently. He tilted his face down, pressing it into Jon's shoulder.

Jon lightly rubbed a hand along Damian's spine, humming softly, not trying to move. He was just there, and that's all Damian needed. Another few minutes passed, and Damian went to pull away, reaching up to wipe his tears, but Jon got there first, the soft pad of his thumb gently swiping across Damian's cheek. He looked away, up at the ceiling, blinking rapidly a few times to get the contact lenses back in place, and then he leaned back into Jon.

"Thank you, Jon."

"Yeah, I'm here for you, Dami," Jon murmured back.

After a few minutes they pulled away, going to get the cobbler Jon had made for desert. Damian was pulling desert plates out when he turned to Jon.

"I. . . I want to go visit him."

Jon, who was shoving a spoon in his pocket, froze, looking up. And then a soft smile spread across his lips.

"Okay, Dami."

They walked back out to Jon's parents, and thankfully neither said anything. Damian was able to enjoy this portion of the meal a little more, though he was still reigning in his emotions.

Then his phone buzzed multiple times. Jon looked over, eyebrow raised. Damian shrugged and pulled it out, seeing security alerts for Gotham Central. He set the phone down, going into the security feeds via his lenses.

"What's going on?" Jon asked, his spoon hovering mid air with food on it.

"Knight dome. . ." Damian said cautiously. "Ah, shit."

"What?" Lois asked clearly confused.

Damian was tossing his napkin down and hurriedly pushing out of his chair.

"Damian," Jon pressed, even as Clark got that far away look, meaning he was listening for the situation.

"Active shooter," Damian explained briefly. "Computer, police feed, go."

He ripped off the fake cast and spun, running out of the room, the computer patching him into the frequency of the police radios. Jon was right behind him and they ran down to the batcave together. Damian rushed to change, jumping on his motorcycle and speeding out, out towards town, Jon right beside him. They reached the Knights dome in record time and Damian screeched to a stop beside a line of police cruisers.

"Batman!" Someone cried, and a cheer came from GCPD.

"Someone brief me," Damian growled, the voice modulator flicking on.

Immediately a police Captain rushed over, explaining quickly that the man had locked down the building and was holding at least ten civilians hostage, as well as several political figures including the mayor and District attorney.

"What were you lot doing then?" Damian asked, already finding the hostages through the security feeds.

"Waiting for SWAT and approval on his list of demands."

Damian grumbled under his breath.

"Superboy."

Instantly the man was beside him. The police Captain nearly screamed. Damian just held out his good arm and Jon took the hint, tightly grabbing his gloved hand and shooting into the sky. They easily flew over the huge stadium walls, dropping down into the highest level of bleachers.

"Alright, the hostages are in that private box," Damian explained, pointing. "We're going to breach, your first priority is to protect the civilians, get them out of danger, let me focus on the shooter."

"He has an AR."

"I am aware, I have it handled."

Jon narrowed his eyes but stayed silent. Damian began running along the bleachers to the private box, glad his boots gave his ankle plenty of support. He found the door locked and dropped to his knees in front of it, producing a lock set. It took him less than a minute to get the lock undone. He quickly packed the picks back and then stepped up, motioning Jon closer so he'd be the first one through the door. The next few minutes happened in both a slow motion and a blur. Damian remembers opening the door, he remembers the rush inside, grappling with the shooter. He remembers feeling bullets hit into the Kevlar protecting his chest, and he remembers the stinging flash of pain as one ripped through his arm. He remembers shooting the man in the knee with his own gun, and he remembers knocking him out. But he can't remember telling his body to do any of those things.

It just did.

Later, with police officers streaming around him and helping the hostages out, a young EMT stepped in front of him as he walked back to his bike.

"'scuse me sir, can I bandage your arm?" She asked, her hands already covered by gloves.

Damian opened his mouth to say no, but the throbbing pain in his left arm, plus Jon shooting him a look caused him to sigh.

"Sure," he grumbled, walking back to the ambulance with her.

He stood patiently, having refused to sit, and held his cape out of the way as she quickly bandaged his arm with a thick gauze pad and some gauze bandaging.

"There you go," She said, smiling brightly at him.

He grunted in response, dropping his cape and letting it fall around him properly. He still had bullets in his kevlar.

"Thank you for your help!" She called as he walked away. 

He didn't look back, just jumped on the motorcycle and headed back to the Manor, he still had dinner guests after all. Jon met him at the cave, and unsurprisingly, Lois and Clark were down there.

"Are you two okay?!" Lois exclaimed as Damian shut off the bike.

"I'm okay, mom," Jon said, landing beside him.

"Damian?"

"I'll live," he grumbled, his ankle complaining the second he put weight on it.

Jon reached an arm out, gently grabbing Damian's good arm and leading him towards the medical wing, Clark and Lois right behind them. Jon rushed to prep medical supplies while Damian carefully peeled off the top of the uniform, pressing his hand over the injury as soon as his shirt was off.

"I should've gone," Clark said, sounding upset.

"We had it handled," Damian responded evenly.

Across the room, Jon grumbled something. Damian cocked an eyebrow but didn't ask. Soon Jon was beside him, beginning to stitch up his arm.

"When did you learn to do that?" Lois asked, she looked pale.

"Legion. Part of the mandatory training," Jon responded softly, tongue sticking out as he focused on his work.

Damian suddenly felt very uncomfortable with Lois and Clark both watching him. He had gained his normal weight back, with Jon's help, but that didn't completely negate the insecurities he felt about his own body. He avoided mirrors a lot these days, because he was afraid of seeing himself causing another spiral. He took a deep breath to calm himself.

"You doing okay?" Jon asked softly.

"Fine."

The needle and thread sliding through his skin didn't even bother him anymore. It was so normal that he didn't even flinch. Jon quickly finished stitching the entry wound, grabbed a second needle and started on the exit wound.

"It's pretty impressive how quickly you were able to get to that situation," Clark commented, leaning against another medical bed. "I hadn't even heard it. How did you do it?"

"I'm Batman."

"Oh my God, you ass, tell him," Jon said with a laugh.

Damian scoffed to hide his chuckle. "Optical Technological Lenses, I put them on like contact lenses and it allows me remote access to the batcomputer, along with an invisible earpiece. I also have wired into security cameras all across the city. It gives me the ability to know about crime before even the police do. Well, the cameras, plus the algorithm Tim Drake created that allows the computer to recognize crime and known criminals or other targets I ask it to find."

"So you must be always getting alerts then," Clark commented

Damian glanced down as Jon started spraying his arm with disinfectant.

"No, I have certain parameters set, and a good portion of the alerts for Gotham South go to Red Hood."

"Ah."

Jon tightly bandaged his arm to protect the stitching and then walked away, cleaning up.

"Sorry to have to run out on dinner like that," Damian commented, testing his wrist, it was sore, he'd probably have to ice it later.

He slid off the bed, grabbing his armor and beginning to walk through the halls of the batcave, the Kent's trailing along behind him. He took the armor over to the workbench, setting it down and then heading over to the computer. 

"It's okay, we're pretty used to it," Lois said with a soft smile. "I'm just glad you weren't hurt too bad."

Damian grunted in response, quickly logging the incident into the computer system.

"I shall go change, and then we can continue our evening upstairs?" Damian suggested, putting the computer on standby.

"Sounds good."

Damian nodded and walked away. The cave was kept colder than the Manor was, since heating an actual cave was not easy, so he was starting to get chilled, standing around shirtless. He quickly found where he had deposited his clothing and changed easily, cradling his injured arm to his chest. He came back to find Jon already changed and the three standing by the door upstairs. They headed back up in silence. They moved their sitting to the main living room, Ace hopping up onto the couch next to Jon to curl up against him.

"You are a horrible influence," Damian said with a scoff.

"Look at this adorable face, how do you tell him no?!"

"Quite easily, he's a trained police dog, Kent."

"Yeah, anddd? He's also the goodest boy and deserves all the love he can get," Jon said, scratching Ace's back.

Damian rolled his eyes and sat next to Jon, wondering faintly where Alfred Cat was. The Kents settled on the loveseat, and they chatted lightly for a while about various things, the incident, the League, so on and so forth. They didn't leave until nine-thirty, and then Damian and Jon immediately suited up again and went back out on patrol. 

 

The next morning, Damian woke earlier then usual, finding Jon still sleeping beside him. At this stage, sleeping with the Kryptonian in his bed was so normal that anytime he wasn't there, it felt wrong. Damian was painfully aware how intimate of a situation that was. He showered and dressed, and when he came out, Jon was still asleep. Damian quietly walked over and bent down, pressing a kiss to Jon's forehead.

"Sleep in today, Jon, you deserve it," he murmured.

Jon, still asleep, mumbled and rolled onto his side, an arm reaching out towards Damian's side of the bed. Damian smiled lightly and stepped away, quietly slipping out of the room. He walked downstairs, to the kitchen where he started a pot of coffee. He didn't remember exactly when he had started drinking the bitter black liquid, but he drank it just as regularly as his tea now. He waited for enough of the pot to brew, and then poured some into a travel mug, sweetening it lightly. Liquid was falling from the sky in a steady drizzle, so Damian snagged an umbrella from the coat closet and then walked out the backdoor, Ace on his heels. 

He walked across the grounds, the lawn and bushes trimmed only due to the weekly lawn service that Bruce had hired, and Damian allowed to continue. The gardens were a little over run, and it occurred to him that he should hire a gardener, since he didn't have time for it, and it had been one of Alfred's favorite parts of the property. On the farthest corner of the grounds was the section of property fenced off as the family cemetery. Ace ran ahead of Damian, the brilliant dog ran straight to Bruce's grave and laid down at it, whining softly.

Damian walked over, stopping next to Ace and staring down at the marble headstone. They just sat there together, Ace getting soaked by the light drizzle, Damian with his umbrella tilted away from the dog, his coffee in one hand.

At the base of the headstone lay a half dead bouquet of flowers, tulips of all types of colors. Damian had absolutely no idea how they got there. He hadn't been to the grave since it was made. It could have been Jon, but the tulips were too specific of a choice for Kent. Only the boys knew that Bruce had loved tulips. So it was likely one of his three brothers. Grayson hadn't been here in a month, despite their consistent communication. Todd hadn't stepped foot anywhere near the Manor or the cave since the funeral. Drake hadn't been heard from except for work related issues or because of Conner Kent. 

Damian shrugged it off, it didn't really matter how they got there, just that they were there. He made a mental note to plant some hardy flowers, something resilient like Bruce had been. 

"Father . . . I'm sorry for not coming before. . . I just."

Ace whined at Damian's distraught tone, sitting up and bumping his nose into Damian's leg. Damian shifted his umbrella and coffee to rub the dogs ear.

"I've taken over the Batman, and the company. . . It's not easy, and I admire your ability to have balanced both for so long."

Damian was crying again. He hated this.

"Fuck."

He reached up and wiped at his eyes with the sleeve of his shirt, lapsing into silence as he cried, his shoulders shaking with sobs. He didn't know how long he stood there, but he did know that by the time he whispered a goodbye and turned to walk back to the house, his coffee had gone cold, and his pant hems were soaked. Ace once again walked beside him, a faithful companion in Damian's storm of emotions.

The smell of food hit him as soon as he walked in.

He left his umbrella by the door and headed to the kitchen, finding Jon cleaning a pan, a stack of crepes on the counter. He set his mug down, pulling Jon's attention.

"Hey," Jon said softly, rinsing his hands and then drying them quickly.

He stepped over, and Damian immediately slipped into his open arms, accepting the comforting hug. 

"Ew," Jon remarked.

"What?"

Damian pulled away to see Jon wrinkling his nose.

"You're wet."

And for some reason, Damian just started laughing. Whether it was Jon's ridiculous expression, or the dumbness of his comment, or just how off his emotional control was recently, he just started laughing. A few laughs turned into hysterical giggling, which rapidly broke into sobbing.

"Oh shit, shit, shit, I'm sorry," Jon said hurriedly, grabbing Damian.

Soon they were sat on the floor, Jon cradling Damian as he cried, raw emotion spilling out as he sobbed and wailed into Jon's shoulder, hands balled in his shirt. It was pitiful, but it felt also felt so ridiculously good to just cry until his throat hurt and air couldn't reach his lungs properly, until he was hiccuping and gasping for air. His tears stained Jon's shirt, and he was sure his cries must be painful to his ears, but Jon gave no signs of discomfort, gently stroking his hair and humming softly.

Damian cried until he was exhausted, his body going limp in Jon's arms. He cried until all that came out were small sniffles and tears no longer flowed down his face. And amazingly, this numb calm washed over him, quieting his sniffles and causing him to relax. Still Jon didn't move, pressing a kiss to Damian's head and then lightly rubbing along his spine.

"Fuck, I miss him," Damian whispered into Jon's shirt.

"I know, its okay, Damian. Let yourself miss him," Jon murmured back.

Damian took a breath, his body shaking as he inhaled. But still he didn't move, just gripped tightly to Jon's shirt. After another five minutes, he pulled away, wiping his face.

"You're okay," Jon said softly, brushing a hand through his hair.

"Thank you, Jon."

Jon hummed and squeezed Damian lightly. They slowly got up, Damian numbly ate a crepe and then went to change into dry clothes, feeling more stable by the time he came back. He said goodbye to Jon and then drove to work, a little more subdued the whole day.

 

Chapter Text

"Superboy, this is not play time."

"Aww come on bats, I haven't seen Aunt Diana in ages."

"Then you can make a social call to the tower later, right now I need you to get to this bomb."

Damian heard Jon mutter something to Diana. He sipped his tea patiently and waited, breathing hot air out into the cold air of the batcave. It was raining outside, had been for days now, and that always brought down the temperature of the batcave to an almost chilly degree. Damian was currently wrapped in two blankets as well as a hoodie over his work shirt from earlier.

He had come down with a bad sickness after running into burning apartment building full of carbon monoxide. He hadn't been in there long enough to get anything life threatening, but now he was just very weak and sick, coughing every few minutes, and sometimes getting caught in a coughing fit that that had him coughing until his throat was raw. It was 3pm, and he had already drank four cups of tea. 

He had gotten alerts from all across New York City about a bomb threat. Specifically inside Broadway. Jon had gone in his place, since he was literally dying and the rest of the Justice League hadn't been far behind. There was no known reason for the threat, it just happened.

"Okay, I see it."

Damian could see everything around Jon, like he was in a VR game. Jon was also wearing a set of the OT contacts, allowing Damian to be able to see things as if he was right there.

"Okay, good, get me a better look at it."

Jon moved closer, and Damian reached out, grabbing a holographic version of the bomb and looked at it.

"Don't move it."

"Okay, that's exactly what I was about to do, why not?"

"It's weighted. Shift those weights and boom."

"Got it."

Jon went silent, waiting for Damian's next command.

"Superboy, do you need any help?" Someone's voice asked.

Out of his perphrial, Damian saw Barry skid to a stop beside Jon. 

"Uh, no, Bats is working on it."

Barry chuckled. "What, did you send him a picture?"

He started to bend down to touch the bomb.

"Don't."

Jon snapped a hand out and grabbed his wrist, stopping him. Barry gave an offended look.

Damian easily tuned out the conversation that followed, dismantling the holographic bomb and getting a good look at its wirings and insides.

"Superboy?"

"I'm here, Batman."

"Okay, open the top panel carefully."

Damian watched as Jon hesitantly opened the panel, tossing the useless piece of metal aside.

"Okay, now what?"

"The . . . Third wire, it's white, I believe."

"This one?"

Jon pointed at wire cautiously.

"Yes. Cut it."

Jon took a pair of wire cutters from someone and did so.

"Okay, now you're going to have to cut the first one, and the fifth one within seconds of each other."

"These?"

Jon pointed to them, and at Damian's confirmation, he cut both quickly. They worked slowly like this, disarming the bomb. Then Damian talked Jon through removing the explosive to further disarm it. Damian didn't release his tense breath he had been holding until the bomb was in pieces, and safely in the hands of the NYPD bomb disposal.

"I need a nap after that," Jon said, stretching and popping his back.

"Me too," Damian sighed.

There was a pause. "Wanna take one when I get back?"

"Sure."

Jon laughed and then went to talk to Diana and Clark. Damian listened as he explained why Batman wasn't there, but he walked back upstairs, letting Ace out and then heating his tea up. Jon stayed and talked with various members of the League for a while before everyone split off and headed back home. Damian busied himself washing dishes from breakfast and then cleaned out the animal's food bowls, filling them and putting them back down.

By the time Jon got back home, Damian had already made his way upstairs, changing into comfortable clothes and getting in bed. The benefits of being a CEO of a self sustainable company were that if he didn't have meetings he could just not come in or leave early. He had left early to deal with this issue, and had no intentions of going back in. Damian was in bed, half propped up by pillows, reading a mystery novel when Jon walked in, already in sweats and a t-shirt. He looked tired.

"Hey," Jon called.

"Hello."

Damian watched as Jon walked around the room, collecting clean clothes.

"I'm gonna go take a shower."

Damian nodded and watched Jon disappear through the closet into the bathroom. He returned to reading, and five minutes later, when the water shut off, he closed his book, finished his tea and shifted to lay down on his side, Alfred Cat curling up against his stomach. He let his eyes close as he just laid there, waiting patiently.

"Dang, getting started without me?"

Footsteps crossed the room and then the end of the bed dipped. The sheets were pulled up off Damian and then Jon was slipping an arm around him. Damian gently rested a hand on Jon's bicep, feeling the muscle flex as Jon squeezed him. And holy shit that should not have been as hot as it was. Damian quickly shoved that thought deep down inside him for later reflection. It wasn't something he could afford to think about right now, not with Jon, shirtless and incredibly warm, pressed along his back. 

He just shifted back into Jon, allowing the Kryptonian to take more of his weight as he slowed his breathing. Jon hummed softly, shifted once to get more comfortable and then settled, his other arm under the pillow. Damian sleepily considered how intimate this was, and how a year or two ago he would've hated even the suggestion of letting someone hold him like this. But he didn't care, for some reason it didn't matter with Jon. He was happy to have Kent curled around him. Jon's knee nudged against his legs and he lifted one, putting it over Jon's, trapping him in place. And that was the last thing he remembered doing before falling into sleep.

 

He woke up to Jon pulling him close, not a reflex habit in his sleep, Damian could instantly tell he was fully awake and this was a protective reflex. Damian groaned and shifted back, his body waking up slowly, first his arms, then his legs, and as he regained muscle control, he became aware of Jon's knee between his, of his arm under Damian's head.

"What's going on?" Damian grumbled, his body going tense as he recognized there could be danger.

"Someone's in the house," Jon responded, his voice deep, a dangerous edge in it, a tone that said he would protect Damian.

"Where?" Damian asked, reaching for his phone.

He had just grabbed it and was beginning to unlock it when there was a knock at the door. The knocker didn't bother to wait, just pushed the door open.

"Hey, Brat, are you here?"

Jon was in the process of pulling away to jump to defend when they both registered the intruders identity.

"Todd," Damian groaned, dropping his phone and letting his face fall back on the pillow.

Jason Todd was stood in the doorway, mouth hanging open as he stared at them. Jon also groaned in frustration, falling back down beside Damian and flopping onto his back, his left arm still trapped by Damian's head.

"Holy shit," Jason whispered out.

"I didn't recognize him. It's been years since I've been around him," Jon defended himself, rubbing his eyes.

"It's fine, Jon."

Damian sat up finally, blinking the sleep from his eyes and then glaring at Jason.

"Todd. What do you want."

"Dick was upset that you weren't answering his calls and so he paid me to make sure you're okay."

Damian looked at his phone to find that he did indeed have four missed calls from Dick.

"So you broke in?" Jon asked.

"No, I came through the cave. Not breaking in if you know the access code."

Jason was still staring at them like he had seen pigs fly, and Damian knew why. It was because of how he had walked in on them, and he knew exactly what Jason would be thinking.

"Well, I'm fine, and I'll call Dick as soon as you leave."

"Yeah . . . Right."

Jason didn't move.

"Oh my God, just ask!" Damian snapped, throwing the covers off and standing, only to start coughing.

"Hey, sit down," Jon commanded, reaching out to grab the hem of Damian's pants and pull him back down onto the bed.

It turned out to be a good thing, as Damian coughed so hard he almost blacked out. When he finally stopped, he took a drink of the water Jon was offering him and then looked at Jason.

"Dude are you sure you're okay?"

"He got sick from running in a burning building after Crane."

Jason's eyes flashed dangerously.

"You still haven't caught that psycho?" He growled.

"No." Damian croaked out. "He keeps going off grid before I get anywhere near him."

Jason scoffed, shaking his head. "You're as bad as Bruce with Joker."

No one spoke for a moment. Then Damian remembered something.

"Jason. Have you been here since the funeral?"

"What? Hell no. I didn't like being here before, sure as hell don't now. Why?"

Jon answered for Damian. "Someone keeps leaving tulips on Bruce's grave and we're trying to figure out who."

"Ask goldie."

"We did."

"So it's Tim."

"You haven't heard?" Jon asked, frowning, he was standing beside Damian, a hand on his shoulder.

"Heard what?"

"Kon and Tim moved to South Carolina."

Jason's eyebrows shot up. "Who the hell moves to South Carolina?"

Jon shrugged. "We only know because Kon called and told mom and dad and they told me."

Jason scoffed, shaking his head and leaning a shoulder against the doorframe. His eyes scanning them both, reading their posture. The look he was giving Damian was making him uncomfortable.

"You're insufferable."

"What? What did I do?" Jason asked.

Damian lightly shrugged Jon's arm off, grabbing his phone and walking over, pushing past Jason. Jason spun to follow him, Jon didn't.

"Dick said you relapsed."

"God this family is surprisingly horrible with secrets."

"What did you expect Dick to do?"

"Leave me alone? I'm an adult, I told him I didn't need him mothering me."

"Right, because you've got your buff Kryptonian boyfriend for that."

"He's not my boyfriend."

"Fiance? Damn you two moved fast. Was Bruce the only thing keeping you from the alter then?"

Damian didn't even register what he was doing, just suddenly he had Jason pinned to a wall, his hand wrapped around his throat. Jason rightfully looked startled, but didn't try to beat Damian off.

"Do not speak of Father like that," he snarled, pressing hard enough that Jason could only grunt in response.

Damian glared him down for a few seconds before releasing, knowing even Jason would pass out from the pressure if you waited long enough. He stepped away and continued towards the kitchen. He and Jon had slept nearly three hours, so it was almost supper time. He went to look in the fridge and found Jason nearby when he closed it.

"We're not in a relationship," Damian said after a few minutes of awkward silence.

"Really? Because it sure doesn't look like it."

"Don't assume you know our status when you walked out of my life three months ago."

"Hey, you did plenty of walking there too, batsy. But that's fair. I don't really care. I'm happy living my life, and I guess you're happy with yours."

Damian shot him a look but didn't say anything.

"Or, are you?" Jason asked softly. "Holy shit, do you not want-"

"Jason, enough."

Jon's commanding voice cut through the room. He had gotten that tone from his father, the one that could strike fear into even an army drill sergeant. Jason stopped talking, turning to watch Jon walk into the room, now fully clothed. He turned to face Jason, and Damian noted faintly that Jon was taller. He and Jason were roughly the same height, and since Jon was taller than him, it would make sense that he was taller than Jason. He wasn't quite as muscular, his shoulders and chest not as broad, but Jon was still an intimidating size.

"I think you should leave."

Jason stared up at Jon, and then over at Damian. When the man didn't object, Jason scoffed and turned.

"Whatever, punk. Don't die, Damian."

"Jason. Thank you for checking on me. Stay safe."

Jason nodded and then turned and walked away. They both watched him leave.

"Can you make those veggie burgers?" Damian asked softly, once again feeling incredibly tired.

"Yeah, sure." 

Jon walked over and slipped an arm around Damian, pulling him close and pressing a kiss to his forehead. 

"Are you okay?" He asked, pulling away enough to look down at Damian.

"I'm fine," Damian grumbled, not making eye contact. "Todd just grated on my nerves."

"I know. I heard. I'm sorry."

Damian tensed slightly, and then leaned into him, tucking his face into Jon's neck and just breathed him in. It wasn't something he did often, or something he'd ever admit, but Jon smelled good, and he associated that smell with good things. With being safe. Jon smelled like shampoo and body wash, and underneath that he smelled like something Damian could only describe as the sun. Like warmth and sunshine and all the good things that were associated with the sun. 

Jon hugged him tightly. And Damian knew things would be okay.

Other than that his dad was still dead.

Chapter Text

Damian was really bad at this. At this staying sober and healthy thing. He was horrible. Any time Jon left for more than a few days, he spiraled. No matter how well he had been doing before he just lost all appetite within a few days.

This time, Jon had left with barely any warning, just woke Damian up one Sunday afternoon, explained that he was leaving, and then he was gone. By the fifth day, Damian had eaten all the leftovers, which should have only lasted two days. And he barely cooked. He would cook occasionally for Jon and him, but never frequently enough to do it on habit. So by day seven, he stopped eating except for small meals here and there. Day ten he had begun drinking again. Day fifteen he was starting to feel weak.

By day twenty, he had started passing out again. The same deal as last time, he would just be minding his own business, working along and would faint. He was well aware that it was due to starving himself, as well as the mixture of the alcohol and the drugs he took. He was well aware how to fix this problem. He just didn't.

Jon had been gone almost a month, and Damian was not okay. Jon had, quite literally, been the only thing he could count on, he had been his emotional support, he had been his world. And Damian wasn't quite sure how to function without him. And he hated it. He wasn't a child, he was an adult, he was a CEO of a major company. And yet he couldn't manage his own health, or his mental health without Jonathan Kent next to him.

That wasn't even considering his sleeping habits.

He had gone from getting at least five to six hours of sleep every night to barely getting two. His nightmares had gotten so much worse, now involving Jon being dead or worse. In one particular one that caused him to stay awake for days, he had found himself trapped in his grandfather's labyrinth, a maze he had conquered as a child, but in this nightmare, he couldn't find the out, all the hallways just kept looping. And then suddenly he found the center. In the center of the maze, there was a black fountain, the water flowing through it pure and clean. Sitting on the edge of the fountain, was Jonathan Kent, wearing a gray rendition of Superman's uniform. 

"Jon!" Damian had cried, rushing forwards towards Jon.

He must've come home and begun manipulating Damian's dream.

"Damian," Jon responded, but his voice was different, deeper, gravely.

Damian rushed towards, crashing into Jon's chest as he stood up off the fountain. Jon wrapped an arm around his shoulders, tilting his head down, nuzzling Damian's hair.

"You're here."

"Damian Al Guhl-"

That's not right.

"-You are a disgrace to your grandfather," Jon's voice growled out.

And then suddenly a hand was on his throat, squeezing and preventing air from reaching his lungs. Damian screeched, scratching at Jon's arm, but the Kryptonian didn't even blink, his eyes burning with a cold fury.

"Jon," Damian croaked, suddenly his feet were no longer on the ground and he kicked in the air, smacking on Jon's arm. "Let. Go."

"You are a disgrace to you grandfather, to your mother, and to me. I am ashamed to call you my lover."

"Jon, you're killing me," Damian barely managed to force out.

His vision was starting to go black, and he couldn't breathe, but despite this, he wasn't passing out. He was just losing his control over his body. Jon wasn't budging. 

"You have been sentenced to death as punishment for your crimes."

Damian's mouth formed words but no sound came out. Jon pulled him forwards, his grip on Damian's throat shifting but not releasing. And then he gently pulled Damian into a kiss, soft and tender.

"Goodbye, love."

There was a sickening crunch and then the world went black.

Damian had woken up screaming, his body shaking, he had been so scared after that nightmare that he didn't sleep for several days.

But now it had been a month and he was beginning to crash and had called Jason, asking him to keep a better eye on the town, and had begged Jason not to tell Dick. He had, at that point, put the keys to all the alcohol cabinets in a safe in the batcave that he had removed his own access to. The same day, he had gotten vitamin and liquid infusions from Leslie, and picked up some protein shakes, since liquid was the only sustenance his stomach would hold. He also gotten some heavier duty sleeping medication from Leslie, for short term use, something that would hopefully help him stay asleep and get less nightmares.

The medication didn't work, he threw up the protein shakes, and he picked the locks on the alcohol cabinet.

Damian was feeling hopeless and he hated it.

So when Jon finally returned, Damian was so weak and sick he had stopped going out as Batman, he had stopped going to Wayne Enterprises. He was just piddling around the Manor, trying to stay alive. He had tried cooking so many things, but his stomach refused most of them, and never accepted the same thing twice. He couldn't eat because he drank, he drank because he couldn't sleep, and he couldn't sleep because he had run out of Zoloft and the nightmares that plagued him were worse than any fear gas Crane could cook up.

So he was just curled up on the sofa, trying to get through some work emails when he heard the door open and then close. Ace jumped off the sofa and ran away, barking loudly. Damian couldn't care less, if someone was coming to murder him, that'd be better then what he was currently suffering through.

"Hey, Ace. Hey buddy."

Damian sat up quickly, dropping his laptop onto the floor and rushing to disentangle himself from all the blankets he had been wrapped up in.

"Hey, where's Damian? Can you take me to him?"

Ace barked in return to the voice.

Damian jumped over the back of the sofa, stumbling lightly, but he didn't let it bother him, running towards the hallway. He slid on the hardwood floors and crashed into the wall, already running down towards the entryway when he registered Jon standing there, a bag over one shoulder.

"Damian!" Jon exclaimed.

Damian didn't speak, just ran and crashed into Jon, wrapping his arms around his neck and throwing his weight on Jon. Jon wrapped his arms around Damian tightly, squeezing him, and then immediately recoiling.

"Damian-"

"Jon, I'm not okay," Damian said softly, hating how broken his own voice sounded, clinging to Jon.

"Oh my God." Jon immediately looked distraught, putting a hand under Damian's shirt and feeling his prominent ribs.

"I need help."

"Damian, oh god, Dames."

Damian was crying before he realized it, before he noticed the tears welling up in Jon's eyes. He all but collapsed into Jon, who scooped him up and turned, walking towards the garage.

"Do you have your phone?"

Damian nodded lightly.

"We're going to see Leslie."

Damian couldn't find it in him to protest, so he just clung onto Jon and let him deposit him in a car. They called Leslie on the way to the clinic, and despite it being a Sunday, she was there waiting when they arrived. Jon didn't even let Damian walk, just picked him up again and carried him through the door, straight back into an examination room. Leslie immediately declared him malnourished and hooked him up to IV's.

"Damian, holy shit, when did things get this bad?!" Leslie questioned as she did another brief check of his vitals.

"I don't remember," Damian mumbled.

"Damian, you can't keep doing this!" Jon said, he sounded scared, and was holding onto Damian's hand like he was the only thing keeping him breathing.

"I tried to get better," Damian mumbled.

"He did," Leslie said softly. "He came in a week ago, I gave him an infusion and some sleeping medicine and we talked about a diet plan. What happened to that?"

"I couldn't keep food down, I couldn't stop drinking, and I ran out of Zoloft."

They both stared at him. His head felt funny, like it was spinning, like he might pass out. He just squeezed Jon's hand back, nightmares flooding back to him.

"Fuck," Jon hissed, looking away.

"I'm sorry," Damian whispered, looking over at him, desperate for a sign that Jon didn't hate him, that he wasn't mad.

"Why didn't you call someone?! Dick, Jason, hell even my parents?!" Jon exclaimed, sounding upset. When he looked back over, Damian could see tears in his eyes.

"I just wanted you to come home," Damian breathed out.

"Oh, Damian." Jon moved closer, pressing their foreheads together. "Then why didn't you call?"

Damian didn't have a response, just tears that slipped down his face.

"You could have died, Damian, do you realize how serious this is?"

Damian nodded once.

"God, will you just . . . Will you please see a psychiatrist? Please? Do something?"

Damian nodded again. He couldn't fix this on his own. He couldn't even survive on his own.

"Thank you," Jon breathed out, pressing a kiss to Damian's forehead.

They stayed at the clinic for a while, putting as much fluid inside Damian's system as they could. Leslie ordered them to come back in three days, tomorrow if he couldn't keep anything down. Jon took Damian back home, stopping to get his Zoloft along the way. Jon didn't speak once to Damian between when they left Leslie's and when they got home. He just helped Damian inside and upstairs, helping him into bed.

"Jon."

"What?" Jon asked, he was grabbing extra blankets.

"Are you mad at me?"

Damian was too sick and tired to care how pathetic he was at the moment.

"No. . . Damian. I'm just . . . I'm scared, okay? I am so scared for you."

"I'm sorry."

"Stop that."

Jon abandoned the blankets and walked over, sitting down on the bed and reaching down to cup Damian's face.

"Stop apologizing. I'm not mad at you, okay? I just want you to get better, but you're very sick and its fucking terrifying to think about what might have happened if I hadn't come home today."

Damian closed his eyes, leaning into Jon's hand.

"I can't sleep."

"Leslie gave us some medicine, let's try that."

"It's the nightmares."

Jon pulled away, kicking off his shoes and jeans and crawling under the blankets next to Damian.

"I'll stay with you, Damian. Just rest, I'll keep you safe."

Damian shifted over, pressing into Jon and closing his eyes.

"Please don't leave."

"Oh god. I won't. I'll be right here when you wake up, I promise." Jon sounded distraught, on the verge of crying again. He pressed his nose into Damian's hair and took a shaky breath.

Damian nodded lightly, allowing Jon to wrap him up in a tight hold and press his fingers to Damian's temple. He slowly slid into sleep, peacefully black and silent.

 

When he woke up, ten hours later, Jon was still holding him, pressed all along his back. He had both his arms around Damian, grip tight as he held him close, leaning some of his weight into Damian. Hell he was practically laying on Damian. Their legs were tangled together, and Jon's one arm was around his middle protectively, hand splayed on his chest. Damian was really hot, so hot that it felt like his skin was burning, but he didn't move.

Alfred Cat was curled up by his hips, his side rising and falling as he slept, and he discovered a lump at the end of the bed that turned out to be Ace, his eyes trained on the door as he kept watch over the sleeping men.

Jon's breath, light and warm was ghosting along Damian's neck with every exhale, and it made him shiver.

"Jon."

He squeezed Jon's bicep, no response.

"Kent."

Shaking the arm did nothing.

"Jon!"

Damian rocked back into Jon, smacking harder into his sleeping body. That got him. He gave a confused noise and then tightened his grip, a noise similar to a growl exiting his throat.

If Damian had been healthy, that would have had a more concerning reaction.

"Get off me you big lump," Damian mumbled, elbowing at him.

Instead, Jon just leaned more of his weight on Damian, nuzzling at his hair behind his ear. Damian tilted his head away, letting out a squeak, but Jon didn't let up, moving with Damian and effectively crushing him more.

"Kent!" Damian squeaked out, yet he wasn't mad.

In fact he was so incredibly glad Jon was here. He would dare to say he was happy to have Jon against him, nuzzling against his neck and being dumb. Jon laughed lightly, his breath hot on Damian's ear. He pulled away slightly, pushing up on one arm to tower over Damian's shoulder, smiling down at him.

"How are you feeling?"

"Better. Weak, but better."

"Good. I'm glad. God, Damian, you scared me."

Jon's smile had disappeared, now replaced by a concerned frown.

"I'm okay, Jon. I'll be okay. I'll get better."

I promise.

"I know, Damian."

Damian surged up, not really thinking as he pressed his lips to Jon's. Jon didn't push him away, just lightly kissed him back. It felt like flying. He pulled away after a brief minute, blinking up at Jon.

"I need a shower," he blurted out.

Jon laughed. "I didn't want to be rude, but yeah, you do."

Damian gave an offended noise and pushed at Jon's shoulder. Jon pulled away with a laugh, falling onto his back and releasing Damian. Damian sat there for a moment before rolling out of bed and shakily standing. He could sense Jon watching him warily. After a moment he steadied, and then walked confidently towards the bathroom, grabbing clean clothes from the closet as he walked. He avoided the mirror as he undressed, and then in the shower, tried his best not to look at his body for too long, because he knew he'd begin comparing all his "faults".

When he got out of the shower, Jon was no longer in bed, the door was open, and Ace was gone too. Alfred Cat blinked up at him from the bed and mewled in an almost concerned manner. Damian walked over and picked him up, cradling the cat in his arms as he walked downstairs, heading towards the kitchen where he assumed Jon would be. Sure enough, the light was on, and Jon was smearing peanut butter on a piece of bread.

"Hey there," Jon said with a smile as Damian set Alfred down and found the food bowls full.

"Hey."

Damian turned back to Jon and smiled at him, feeling something warm spread in him when Jon smiled back.

"You think you can try to eat this?"

Damian nodded and walked over, accepting the plate and a glass of almond milk. Jon grabbed a sandwich he had made for himself and led the way into the living room, where he put on a movie and they sat next to each other, eating, Damian much more cautiously then Jon. But he ate all of the slice of bread and sipped the milk. Then they just sat there, watching the movie.

"In the morning, can you call your psychiatrist for me?" Damian asked softly.

"Sure, if you want to do that then I'll get an appointment set up."

"Please."

Jon smiled at him, leaning to put an arm around Damian's shoulders. Damian immediately leaned into him, still feeling lethargic and sick.

"I'm cold."

"Okay, hold on."

Jon stretched to grab a blanket, jostling Damian as he moved. Damian just grunted and let him, falling onto Jon's chest in the process. Jon finally snagged a blanket and wrapped it around Damian tightly, shifting so he could still lay on his chest. Damian limply did so, feeling useless but having no motivation to do anything about it. Jon hugged him tightly, seemingly content to hold him.

Damian drifted back to sleep, the noises of an old sci-fi movie fading into white noise. He woke up again, hours later to find Jon once again asleep, having sunk to a position that Damian's forehead was against his neck. Damian smiled and closed his eyes again, just breathing Jon in, relaxing in his presence. Jon was here, he would keep him safe. He would help him. He could trust Jon. Jon had always been there for him.

He woke up again later to a dog barking. Ace, specifically. Damian groaned and pushed up off Jon's chest, whistling softly for the German Shepherd, who ran over, and then away again, barking at the front door.

"Jason's here," Jon murmured softly.

Damian grunted in understanding, falling back down on Jon, who grunted as air rushed out of him.

"You're not gonna let him in?"

"We both know he doesn't need it."

Sure enough, a minute later the front door slammed closed. Heavy steps started coming from the front entry. Ace was still barking.

"Hey, Ace, shush, it's me dude."

The dog barked once more and then went silent. Damian didn't move, he still felt weak and dizzy. Jason came to the living room, started to walk past, and then came back, walking over and leaning against the back of the sofa.

"Not dating, huh?"

Damian didn't react, so Jon answered.

"Hello, Jason."

"Hey, SB. Didn't know you were back. Batbrat was supposed to let me know."

"He's been sick."

"I noticed. I tried to help but he tried to punch me."

"I did not," Damian protested, mumbling into Jon's skin.

"Ah-ha. He is awake. Hey, Dick got wind that you're sick and he's going batshit crazy, you should call him."

"He should be a part of my life at times other then when I'm relapsing if he wants updates," Damian shot back.

"Damian, that's not fair," Jon scolded.

"No, he's right, dude's a total asshole. But he cares about you, in his own way."

"What time is it?"

"Seven O'two. I'm gonna scoot, I gotta crash, but Damian, next time something like this happens, for fucks sake, just call someone."

"Goodbye, Jason."

Jason turned and walked out, whistling to himself. They waited until the door slammed shut.

"Remind me why I socialize with my siblings?"

"Because Bruce wouldn't have wanted you guys to split up."

Damian groaned and sat up, intentionally ignoring that he was now straddling Jon.

"You ready to eat again?"

"I can try."

Jon smiled at him, reaching out to gently run a hand through Damian's soft hair. Damian felt a smile pulling at his own lips.

"Thank you, Jon."

"What for?"

"Everything. Staying by my side, taking care of me, being here when I had no one else. Dealing with my bullshit."

Jon smiled, his hand dropping down to stroke Damian's cheek.

"Damian, I'll always be by your side."

"I know."

They stared at each other for a minute, and Damian swore Jon was going to kiss him. He would have bet money on it. Jon's hand stilled on his cheek, and he begun to open his mouth to speak, but then shut it again. He sat up and Damian tilted his head to prepare for the kiss he was expecting. But it didn't come. Instead Jon hugged him tightly. Damian frowned slightly, but didn't pull away, closing his eyes and resting his chin on Jon's shoulder.

Slowly, not in any rush, Jon pulled away. Damian shifted back, off of his lap, and Jon stood, stretching. His hoodie pulled up as he stretched backwards, revealing a line of pale smooth skin. Damian quickly pulled his eyes away.

"So, waffles or pancakes?" Jon asked, rolling his shoulders.

"Waffles."

"Waffles it is."

"Can you let Ace out? And Alfred if he's around."

"Of course."

Jon bent, kissed the top of Damian's head, and then walked away. Damian stretched out, his feet hitting the coffee table. He was going to get better. He was going to overcome this.

Chapter Text

Damian may be regretting his life choices. Just slightly.

He was currently sitting in the office of a middle-aged psychiatrist. Doctor Rachel Williams. She was blonde, the blonde so light he'd almost consider it graying. Brown eyes scanned him with no emotion, just openness. He estimated she'd be about 5'6", taller than Drake, plus the additional two inches from her heels. She seemed physically fit, healthy, like she would live to an old age, given the planet didn't end or a psychopath killed her before then. Judging from the hair on her skirt, she had at least one dog, and the diamond ring on her finger told him she was married. The necklace with multiple colored jewels, all colors of birth stones, hinted that she had kids, if he was right, at least two, possibly three.

She was, apparently, the Kent's psychiatrist, a woman trusted by the Justice League.

Damian had agreed, had asked, to have this appointment, but as he was sitting there, profiling this woman, he was also considering all his routes of escape. The door, the window to his left that looked out over a roof, and the window behind him that looked over the road.

"Mr. Wayne," she said finally, having been silent since they sat down.

He cocked one eyebrow in response.

"I can't help you if you won't even talk to me."

Damian sighed, sinking into his seat, tugging at his shirt cuffs. Then he brought one leg up, resting the ankle on his knee, and dropped his hands into the hole between his legs.

"Where should I even start?" He asked softly.

"Well. How about you answer some questions for me, and we'll go from there?"

He nodded, so she clicked the pen in her hand, and opened her notebook.

"Have you ever seen a psychiatrist or therapist before?" 

"No."

"Are you taking any prescription medication?"

"Zoloft and Ramelteon."

"Who prescribed them?"

"Dr. Leslie Thompkins."

"Is she your primary physician?"

"More or less."

Dr. Williams nodded, writing for a moment.

"Why were you prescribed the Zoloft?"

"To treat PTSD specifically, but also to manage my OCD and panic disorder."

Another nod, more writing. Then she clicked her pen again, folded her hands on top of her notebook and looked up at him. Damian blinked back.

"What made you decide to come see me?" She asked. A simple enough question designed to spur him to start talking.

Unfortunately, she didn't know her client was Batman.

"Many things."

"Well, what's one then?" She asked, not seeming frustrated by his avoidance.

Damian sighed, looking down at his lap. Ordering his body to work, his mind to tell her. This is why he was here, to get help, so he wouldn't be a burden on Jon.

"My father died," he finally said. That was the start of this whole spiral, might as well start there.

She nodded, clearly she already knew this, the whole world did. But it was time to tell her what less than 1% of the population knew.

"The public believes he was killed in a car crash, but that is . . . It was a lie we constructed to hide the truth."

"Who is 'we'?"

"My brothers and I."

She nodded. "And why did you lie?"

Damian gave her a sad look. "Because he was killed by the Joker. Bruce Wayne was the Batman. And now I am."

She almost looked shocked, blinking a few times. Then her emotions disappeared.

"You're Batman?"

"Yes. I took over when my father was killed."

She was silent, waiting for Damian to continue. So he took a breath and forged ahead, the worst of it was done, might as well get on with the actual issue. 

"After his death . . . I did not handle it well. I turned to drinking, stopped eating, stopped sleeping, threw myself into avenging Bruce's death," Damian explained. "I ended up relapsing into the Anorexia Nervosa I dealt with as a teen."

Dr. Williams looked at him silently for a moment, and now things were just rambling out, everything finally building up and spilling out and making a mess.

"In four months I have relapsed multiple times, Jon has always helped me regain health, kept me alive, but despite his best efforts, I haven't fully recovered from the anorexia. This last month, he was gone for four weeks, and I nearly died. I let myself get so weak and sick, my stomach wouldn't accept food, it wouldn't accept anything. I couldn't sleep. All I could do was drink and suffer."

She started writing quietly.

"And I'm so tired of living like this, I can't move on from my father's death, I can't be alone without relapsing, I can't get better on my own. I feel useless. And I can't protect my city. And I'm so damn tired of it."

Damian felt like crying, but nothing came out. He just went silent, staring at the floor.

"Okay." Dr. Williams was silent for a few minutes, seemingly trying to decide how to unpack that.

Damian felt cold and empty now. Not sure what to do next. He needed Jon.

"You said you relapsed into your anorexia from your youth, were you able to overcome it in the past?"

"Yes."

"How?"

"Talking with my father, having him help monitor my eating. After a while, it no longer became something I struggled with."

"So we'll try a similar course of action, how has your physical health been?"

"It's been a week and a half since Jon returned, I've finally begun eating again, even having an appetite again. He's been helping me stop drinking, again."

"That's good. What causes you to relapse?"

"Normally, neglect. I just forget to eat, or I don't have time to eat. Then I begin getting into the mindset of disliking how my body looks, so I don't eat intentionally, and then by the time I've realized what has happened, I can't keep food down."

Dr. Williams hummed, writing this down.

"I just . . . I feel like I'm nothing more than a burden to Jon and I hate it."

"You're not, Damian. You're not a burden, and you're not useless," she said softly. "Jon is taking care of you because he cares, because he worries about you, because he loves you."

Damian blinked at her. Logically, he knew that. He knew it because Jon had told him he wasn't a burden, that he was doing this because he cared. It was logical that Jon loved him, they had been friends since childhood, and were incredibly close. But while logically he knew this, while the frontal lobe of his brain told him this information, the temporal lobe had a different reaction. Something like relief swept through him at being told these words, it happened every time Jon told him it, but this time it was quickly followed by another emotions. It felt like anxiety. 

Jon loved him, she said. She meant it platonically, obviously, in a familial sense. They were best friends, it was natural to love your best friend. But she didn't know that they slept together every night. She didn't know how Jon always held him close, protecting him from his nightmares. She didn't know that they hugged and touched each other all the time. And she didn't know that they had kissed. She didn't know that her words meant something else to Damian.

For the next hour, they talked, dissecting Damian's mental health piece by piece until he felt like he was laid out on an autopsy table, naked and exposed. By the time he left her office with an appointment scheduled for next week, he was exhausted. Jon was waiting for him, because Jon always would. Ace, in the back of the car, barked happily at him as he opened the door.

"Hey," Jon greeted as Damian got in.

"Hello," he responded tiredly, slouching in his seat, glad Jon was driving.

"Yikes. Didn't go well then?"

"I'm exhausted. But I wouldn't say it was bad."

"That's good."

Jon didn't press further, just started driving. They were spending the evening with Jon's parents, and Damian was unsure if he was glad they didn't have to go back to Gotham tonight, or dreading being around the Kent's when he felt as emotionally raw as he was. That's why Ace was with them. Alfred Cat could stay by himself over night, but Ace needed a little more attention. Damian leaned back his seat, letting Ace lick his face once, and closed his eyes, trying to piece together his scrambled emotional state.

Jon was driving one handed, his left wrist on top the steering wheel, his right elbow braced on the center console, his wrist resting on top of his metal water bottle. He looked completely relaxed, his black glasses balancing on his nose. Damian was watching him, staring much longer then he probably should have, contemplating things that he had discussed with Dr. Williams. Things he had filed away and shoved down because he couldn't risk dealing with them at the time. He couldn't risk them messing something up.

But maybe it wasn't a risk.

"What?" Jon asked with a breathy laugh, glancing down at him.

Damian gave a questioning hum.

"You're staring. You have been for the past like, five minutes."

Damian just hummed again, reaching out and slipping his hand in Jon's.

He felt jittery when he wasn't around Jon. Like something bad was going to happen. Like something was crawling along his skin. There was always this gnawing feeling inside him, something in his gut telling something wasn't right. And then they'd find each other and hug or touch or even just smile, and things were okay. A warm feeling replaced the gnawing.

Jon squeezed his hand, shifting so their clasped hands were resting on Damian's leg as he intertwined their fingers. Damian just let his eyes close as he considered everything, letting his mind roam.

It could be worth it.

When they got to the Kent's house in Hamilton county, Lois wasn't home, but Clark was outside doing chores. Jon led Damian inside and up to his room to drop off their bags, and then they walked out to the barn together, Ace trotting along beside Damian, tongue lolling out as he eyed the chickens roaming the yard. Damian gave a sharp click of the tongue and the dog looked up at him, big brown eyes innocent. He chuckled and looked back ahead as they stepped into the barn.

"Hey, Dad!"

"Jon! Hey kiddo!"

Clark's voice came from above them and then suddenly his head popped out over the edge of the hay loft.

"Come up here, you two will wanna see this."

Jon stepped over, wrapping an arm around Damian's waist.

"Ace, stay."

The dog flopped to his belly on the cement floor and then Jon shot into the air, landing on the loft next to Clark. He didn't release Damian right away, making sure he was steady before stepping away and hugging Clark.

"Hey, Damian, how are you feeling?"

Concerned eyes scanned over Damian, who shrugged.

"I'm okay."

A frown formed on Clark's lips, but then a quiet mewl came across the loft and he grinned.

"Come here, quiet."

He walked away, over to where a light was shining on a pile of loose hay. Damian followed, keeping his steps light. His eyes landed on a small pile of kittens and he immediately let out a small coo.

"Aww, they're adorable," he murmured, crouching near the pile.

"Whoa. How old are they?"

"Two weeks, I think."

"Can I hold them?" Damian asked, hand hovering near the pile.

"Sure," Clark said with a shrug. "The mom is downstairs eating, and she let me pick them up just days after they were born."

Damian reached out and picked up a solid black kitten, gently bringing it to his chest and holding it in just one hand. It mewled in distress, but immediately snuggled into the warmth of his body.

"That's a boy," Clark told him, reaching out to stroke a little gray one.

There were four total, a gray one, a tabby, a tuxedo, and the black one. Damian had always loved animals, and kittens were certainly no exception.

"Hey, Jon, since you're here, can you help me with the chores real fast? I just have to take some hay out to the feeders and check everyone."

"Sure dad. Dami, you gonna stay here?"

Damian nodded, barely glancing up. Jon chuckled and the two disappeared. Damian just sat there, cradling the tiny kitten and wondering in amazement at just how fragile it was. After a while, the mother returned, a beautiful tabby, and laid down to nurse her kittens, blinking up at him without concern. He gently set the black one down and gently stroked her for a moment before straightening and walking away, finding the ladder out of the hay loft.

"Ace," he called, whistling. The dog ran over from wherever he had been watching Jon and Clark.

Damian walked out and stood by the fence, watching them stand next to a cow, talking, most likely about it. He watched as they walked from cow to cow and then finally back over, Jon floating so he didn't get his shoes dirty. They all walked up to the house together, Jon and Clark chatting lightly. By the time they had washed up, Lois had gotten home, and her and Clark started cooking, talking to the boys, the scene familiar to one from their childhood.

Then Damian got security alerts for the manor. He was just going to look at the video feed when his phone started ringing. Jon looked over, eyebrow raised.

"Grayson," Damian greeted after answering the call, walking out of the kitchen.

"Hey, D. What's uh. . . Where are you guys?"

"Metropolis. Why?"

"I was in town and was gonna stop by for a visit but you're not here so. . . "

"Ah, yes. My apologies."

"No, it's cool, I should've called ahead. You with the Kent's?"

"Yes."

"Cool." Dick sounded bothered.

"What's wrong?" Damian asked with a sigh.

"There's nothing- why would something be wrong?"

"You're acting weird."

Dick sighed heavily. "I'm just worried, okay? Alright? I'm worried, and I feel like I've been a shit brother, because I have been and I want nothing more than to fix it and I just don't understand how to."

Damian was silent, glancing back at the kitchen where Jon and his parents had fallen silent. He walked out the front door, closing it tightly behind him, hoping that would make it clear that he didn't want them to listen. Dang super hearing.

"Damian, I'm sorry."

"Dick. Stop. Just stop, okay. You keep apologizing and saying you want to fix things and then you don't make any effort. You don't even try. And I don't . ." Damian sighed through his nose. "I have tried. I have. I have communicated with you, I have let you know when things are happening in my life, when I am sick, when interesting things happen. And yet you won't tell me much other than that you got promoted. You have to make an effort here, Dick. That's all I want. Be my brother."

It was Dick's turn to go silent. Damian waited.

"Fuck," Dick breathed out. "You're right. Shit."

"Look. . . Come by the manor the weekend, we can talk more then."

"Yeah. Yes. I will."

"Okay. I have to go. Please make sure the door locks."

"Okay. Bye."

"Bye."

Damian ended the call and then leaned back against the porch wall, sighing to himself. He sat there for a moment before turning and walking back inside, back into the kitchen.

"Hey, everything okay?" Jon asked when he noticed him.

"I don't . . . " Damian sighed, looking down at his phone. "I can't do my family right now."

He held it out. Jon gave him a concerned look but nodded, taking the phone, and then gently snagging Damian's hand, leading him out of the room.

"What happened?" He asked softly, holding Damian's elbows.

"Dick called, he was back on his wanting to make things right streak. And I just don't have the mental energy for it right now."

Jon nodded, reaching a hand up to stroke Damian's cheek.

"I told him to come by this weekend."

"Okay."

Now he was cupping Damian's face, looking down at him with this sort expression that had him melting. He almost said it then. The words almost slipped out of him. But then Jon was kissing him softly, lips sliding over his in a slow, sweet movement. Damian leaned into him, arms slipping around his neck. They just stood there and kissed for a moment before Jon pulled away, smiling down at him.

"I'm so proud of you," Jon murmured.

"What?"

"Today, going to see Rachel. I know how hard that was for you."

"I didn't . . . Nothing got done."

"Maybe not, but you started that process, you're taking those steps. And that's so incredibly important. So I'm proud of you."

Damian felt his face flush, and he leaned forwards, hiding his face in Jon's neck. Jon chuckled and hugged him tightly, a hand rubbing up and down his spine.

They went and ate after a few minutes, and after supper they sat in the living room and talked about life and politics and incredibly normal, boring things. They watched a movie and stayed up until midnight before finally heading to bed. They were silent as they got ready, not talking about the day, or about the kiss. Which they probably should address here soon.

They finally got into bed, and Jon passed Damian back his phone to make sure he didn't have any important notifications. It had been surprisingly peaceful not have it constantly going off in his pocket. Once they both caught up and plugged in their phones, Jon flicked off the light. Damian shifted back, as Jon moved closer, pressing into Damian's back. They shifted to their normal position, Jon's arm wrapped around Damian's waist, his nose pressed against the top of Damian's spine, breath fanning out across his skin.

It felt so right and normal to be held like this. To be able to feel Jon's heartbeat on his back. He just let his eyes close and his body relax, melding back into the curve of Jon's body. Jon made a noise, something stuck between a purr and a growl and squeezed Damian tighter, pressing a kiss to his neck. Damian felt himself drifting, but he wanted to turn and kiss Jon and keep kissing him until he couldn't breath. But he had already slipped into sleep.

 

"Batman! Dad!"

Damian heard the scream rip out of him before he had even fully registered what he was seeing. He jumped off the building, barely catching himself before he landed. Joker was choking Batman, and there was blood everywhere. Maniacal laughter was filling his ears, making it the only thing he could hear past the drumming of his own heart.

The gun just appeared in his hands and he was shooting, hitting Joker, hitting Crane, watching as they both screamed curses at him, but he didn't care. He just kept shooting, watched as a bullet flew through Jokers head and he collapsed, as Crane got hit in the stomach and went down. Then he chucked the gun, sliding to Batman's side.

"Batman. Father. Nonono."

Damian watched as his hands flitted over Batman's destroyed armor, trying to decide where to apply pressure.

"Damian," Bruce croaked out, reaching up and putting a blood covered hand on his cheek.

"Father please, get up. We have to go. We have to get home."

"You . . ."

"Don't! Don't you dare die on me! Don't you fucking dare."

"You killed them," Bruce's voice suddenly morphed, gravely and accented. "You are becoming like your grandfather. You are a disgrace to the Wayne name."

"Father?" Damian gasped out, and suddenly something sharp stabbed through his back.

He screamed in pain, spinning to see the Joker behind him, blood streaming down his face from the gaping hole in his forehead, out his nose, spewing from his mouth as he breathed through it heavily. His eyes were completely white, and he lurched like he was possessed. His voice was the same as Bruce's had changed to.

"You couldn't avenge your father, you can't protect your city. It's mine now. I will rule Gotham," he growled out, blood spewing from his mouth with every word, some landing on Damian's face.

And then a hand yanked him around, Bruce grabbed him by the throat, choking him so tight he instantly started blacking out.

"You should have never come to Gotham. You should have stayed in Nanda Parbat. You are a worthless disappointment and I am ashamed of you."

Another sharp stab to his gut. A slap across his face. Laughter and harsh words filling his ears.

"No!" Damian screamed. "This is a dream! It's just a dream!"

"It's not a dream, Damian. You are a failure. You can't avenge your father, why do you think you could ever get better," Jon's voice came from behind him.

Damian had enough. He reached out, grabbing the knife from Joker and plunged it straight into his own heart. He always woke up from nightmares when he died. Only this time, he collapsed to the floor, burning pain spreading through his body, and soon Jon was standing over him, laughing, his eyes red and blood dripping from his fingers, from his hair, staining his mouth.

Damian screamed in horror, trying to thrash to get away.

 

And then he was awake. No warning, no sign he would wake up, he just was awake.

And he couldn't move his body. He could barely breathe. Jon was still curled around him, breathing softly. Damian could see the moon through the shades, bright and full. He tried to speak, to cry out to Jon, but no sound came out. He tried to move, to kick him, to push on him, nothing.

And then a whining hit his ears. A little black nose appeared over the bed, and attached to it was a dog face. Ace whined, ears pinned back. He put his front feet on the bed and whined, nosing Damian. Damian still couldn't move, he felt like he was suffocating. Ace whined again and started barking, jumping all the way on the bed and violently nosing Damian's chest. Jon inhaled as he woke, arm tightening around him and then swatting at Ace.

"Go away, Ace."

No. Don't go away. Ace, wake me up.

Ace barked louder and started pawing at Damian.

"Ace, quit it, you're gonna wake him up!"

Ace got both his feet on Damian's chest and shoved hard, practically jumping on him.

"Ace! Holy shit."

Jon seemed to realize what was going on, he shook Damian.

"Damian? Damian! Wake up!"

He shook him again, harder, and that snapped him out of it. Damian inhaled deeply, shooting up in bed and gasping for air. Jon was immediately beside him, gently grabbing his face, looking at his eyes.

"Damian? Are you okay? What the hell happened."

Damian immediately threw himself into Jon's arms, shaking as he remembered the dream. Jon hugged him tightly, not understanding what was going on, but recognizing that Damian had been scared by something.

"Jon. Jon, talk to me, tell me something," he whispered, desperate to hear Jon's normal voice.

"Uh. Okay, um," Jon hesitated a moment, thinking. "I was thinking about quitting the Legion. I didn't know how to bring it up because I know you don't want me to, but I'd much rather be here with you, and yeah I loved the legion, but I . . . Love . . . You."

Damian's breath caught again, and his arms around Jon's waist tightened. He was still shaking, but hearing Jon's voice, feeling him breathing, and hearing his heart was helping.

"Yeah. . . That's another thing I wasn't sure how to tell you," Jon said softly, his nose in Damian's hair.

Damian focused on his own breathing, in, out. Deep. Hold it. It was just a nightmare. He is fine. He took a deep slow breath, and finally stopped shaking. And then he pulled away, grabbing his phone.

"Damian?" Jon questioned, voice sounding tight.

Damian just scrolled through his contacts quickly, finding the one he wanted and hitting call. It almost went to the last ring before he picked up and gave a questioning grunt.

"Jason. I need a favor."

"It's like, four am, what do you want?"

"I need you to go make sure Joker is still in Arkham. Please. And call me back once you find out."

There was a long pause, then muffled talking.

"Yeah, okay, we'll do that next."

The line went dead. Damian sighed and set down the phone. He took two more deep breaths before moving on to the next important thing he had to deal with. Jon.

Jon, who was barely breathing, whom he could tell was tensely waiting for a response. Jon, who had just declared his love, even though Damian had already known, without knowing he knew.

Damian turned and crawled across the bed, into Jon's lap. He gently grabbed his face and then kissed him, hard. A desperate act, needing reassurance in so many things. Jon just as desperately kissed him back, tilting his head and sucking in his bottom lip. Damian's hands slid up into his hair, tugging, teasing. And then he pulled away, getting a little distance so he could talk and look at Jon.

"I know. I do too."

Jon let out a breath, a sigh of relief, his hands squeezing Damian's hips.

"I had a nightmare."

"I figured."

"It was so bad. I killed myself to get out of it and I think I entered sleep paralysis because of that."

Jon nodded to show he understood. Ace whined and walked over, nudging their legs.

"I don't know how Ace knew, but he did. He's a good boy," Damian praised. 

Ace whined again but started wagging as Damian stroked his head.

"God you had me freaked out," Jon said, pulling Damian into a hug and falling back so they were laying down, Damian on top of his chest.

"I was pretty freaked out myself," Damian said with a chuckle.

He was still rather jarred by the nightmare, but he knew it was just that, and things would be fine. He rested his chin on Jon's chest, staring down at him for a moment before tilting his head and pressing his ear over Jon's heart.

Neither spoke. Once again they didn't discuss the kissing or the "I love you", or even the nightmare. They just existed together, and that was enough.

There was a light knock at the door, and Damian slid off, letting Jon get up and go answer it. Clark was standing outside, Lois behind him, both looking concerned.

"Is everything okay?" Lois asked, eyes flicking past Jon to land on Damian.

"Yeah, we're okay."

"We heard Ace barking . . ."

"Yeah, sorry. Everyone's okay."

"I had a nightmare," Damian offered, sitting up, pulling the sheets with him. "Ace was waking us up to get me out of it."

Both parents looked down at Ace, who was standing beside Jon, waggling happily.

"He could tell?"

"He always has," Damian said with a shrug.

"Well. . . We're all awake, why don't we all come down for a late night snack and then hopefully we'll be able to go back to sleep," Lois suggested.

"Sounds good mom."

Lois smiled and nodded and then her and Clark walked away. Jon turned back to Damian who slid out of bed, grabbing the first hoodie he saw and pulling it on. Comically, it was Jon's Superboy merch hoodie. Jon chuckled when he realized this, and then grabbed a t-shirt. Damian tried to ignore how it hung off his painfully thin frame, tried to ignore how big it was on him, but it wasn't really working. They walked downstairs together, Ace barreling along down the steps in front of Jon. The Kent's didn't ask what the nightmare was about, they just accepted it, they sat around the breakfast bar, eating their snacks.

Then Jason called. Damian looked at the phone and then pushed away from the counter, walking across the room.

"Jason?"

"He's here."

"Good."

"I checked their security and the psycho has been conditioning his guards, so we're getting them switched."

"Great. Thank you."

"Yeah . . . Wanna share why you suddenly decided this needed done and couldn't just do it yourself?"

"I'm out of town."

"Ah. . . "

"I had a nightmare and needed reassuring, everything's okay."

"Okaay. When are you getting back on the streets? Managing the whole town has been a bitch."

"Soon. I'm hoping, anyway."

"Cool. Bye bats."

"Bye."

Damian ended the call and turned back to the Kent's, who were all watching him. He sighed and walked over, sitting next to Jon again.

"My nightmare was about the Joker," he explained briefly. "I asked Jason to make sure he was still in Arkham."

Clark made an oh noise and Jon reached over, grabbing his hand and squeezing it. Damian squeezed back, sighing lightly. They went back upstairs after another ten minutes, but both Jon and Damian knew they weren't going back to sleep.

"So. Are we going to talk?" Jon asked randomly after nearly a half an hour of silence.

Damian frowned lightly, twisting to look at him. He was currently upside down, doing a handstand, feet barely brushing the wall to keep him balanced.

"What about?" Damian asked with a grunt as he slowly bent his elbows and lowered himself, and then pushed back upright.

"Damian. Are you serious."

"I just want to make sure we're talking about the same thing," Damian responded steadily.

He kicked off the wall and let himself fall back and landed easily on his feet, he stretched backwards and then turned to Jon, slightly dizzy as blood rushed out of his head. Jon was staring at him, mouth slightly open. Damian chuckled and walked over, sitting next to him.

"Jon."

Damian gently placed a hand on his leg, and Jon sighed.

"You know what I am meaning," he grumbled. 

"I do."

"Then why are you being difficult."

"Any more than usual?"

Jon grumbled out a no. Damian chuckled again. He shifted again, sitting on his feet and reaching out to put his hand on Jon's neck.

"Does it really need discussed?"

Jon didn't answer right away, and Damian leaned in, kissing him softly. Jon's hand landed on his side as he pressed back for a few seconds, and then pulled away completely.

"Yes, it does, because I think it should be."

"Alright."

Damian shifted back, not away, but just to a more comfortable position. Jon looked at him for a moment, and Damian didn't speak, waiting for Jon to start. Admittedly, he did want to know what this all meant, but he would have also been fine with assuming that their relationship would continue as it had. He was fine with whatever, as long as Jon stayed with him.

"I love you, okay? I've kinda always known that, but it took me a while to realize that I didn't just love you as my friend."

Damian nodded in understanding. This didn't surprise him.

"But I'm just . . . I want this, I just don't want to start this and then everything go to shit. So I just. If you aren't sure that you're ready, mentally, to start something, I'd rather just wait."

Damian hummed, feeling his heart pick up slightly. Jon's eyes shot down to his chest which told him he had noticed. When Damian didn't speak, Jon frowned at him.

"Damian. You kinda gotta, say words, for us to have a talk."

Damian chuckled, smiling at Jon.

"How about, let me get back to you on the starting something more bit. Let me think about it, decide if I'm in a good place for that or not, okay?"

"Okay."

"But Jon?"

"Yeah?" Jon gave him a confused look.

"No matter what I decide, I'm not going to pull away, okay? You were my best friend first, and that's going to be the most important thing."

Jon smiled at him and then leaned forwards, hugging him. Damian closed his eyes and leaned into the hug.

Things would be okay.

Chapter Text

Damian yawned as he walked into the house. Most the lights were off, but a tap of a button on his phone and all the main hall ones flicked on, bringing light inside the dark building. He had just gotten home, not from patrol, but from a late dinner meeting with the economics board. He wanted to put a knife through his skull. 

"Ace! Alfred! Come here!" He called as he slipped off his jacket, it had been raining hard enough earlier in the day that he had needed it.

He headed into the kitchen, filling up their bowls and then washing his hands. They still hadn't come. Which was odd. Ace was always there. Maybe Jon was home and had let them out. He had been gone for a few days, helping his friend Kathy with some things, but should be back tonight or tomorrow. He walked to the back door, opening it and whistling.

"Ace! Come here!"

And then he heard it. The slightest bark, coming from across the house. Damian frowned and closed the door, walking to the stairs and up it, whistling again. Another muffled bark. 

"Ace, you silly mutt, did you get yourself locked in my room?" Damian asked with a chuckle, heading down the hallway.

The rug was moved. He froze.

Most people would pass it off, say they must've moved it in their hurry, or the pets had. But not Damian. Damian wasn't most people. The rug at the top of the stairs had been moved to the left slightly, and one corner was flipped up. He stared at it for a moment and then looked up. His door was open. Ace's bark had come from further down the hall, from one of the boy's old rooms that he kept shut.

His heart picked up, but he forced his breathing to even out and started walking to his room. He quickly stepped in, checking no one was inside and then grabbing one of the katana's off the wall. He easily unsheathed it and then slipped back out, heading down the hall.

"Ace!" He called again.

A low whine came from Dick's old room. Damian walked over, stepping up and grabbing the handle, he quickly pushed it open and then slid back so he could see the whole room, and so he'd have room to move if there was an ambush waiting him. Instead, Ace shot out of the room and down the hall, snarling fiercely.

"Ace, halt!" Damian ordered.

The dog froze, looking back at him, stock still as he waited for a command.

"Ace, Search."

The dog waited until Damian was behind him and then started stalking ahead, nose to the floor. His tail wagged once as he caught something and he ran to the stairs, barking once. They walked down together, and Ace resumed his search, leading Damian towards the study, the door was open.

"Ace, Find."

The dog shot from his side like a bullet, tearing into the study. Damian grabbed his phone, hitting a few buttons, calling the police to the house, opening the gate and front door for them. He wouldn't pretend he couldn't defend himself like Bruce had. He had, after all, received several martial arts awards as well as competed in fencing. Plus he had a trained police dog as his pet, he would take down this intruder if necessary, but he would not risk giving away his secret.

There was vicious snarling and barking and then someone yelled in pain. Damian dashed into the room and barely smacked a sword away from Ace's head, the dog was attached to a man by the arm.

"Ace, Release!" Damian ordered and the dog dropped off, dropping to his stomach and snarling, muscles tense.

The intruder had been hiding behind a bookshelf. He was dressed in dark clothes, tight in some places and loose in others. Damian instantly knew who sent them. He slid into a defensive stance, sword coming up. The intruder said nothing, watching warily, Damian just waited. Their only options were attack or flee, and Ace was positioned between them and the windows, Damian in front of the door.

"You are fool for thinking you could attack me in my own home," Damian snarled.

"You are sentenced to death," a monotone voice responded.

"Unsurprising. But after all the bullshit I have been through, you are not going to be the reason I die."

The assassin started to reach into his belt, but Damian dashed forwards before he could pull whatever it was out, fear gas most likely. He swatted the man's arm with the flat of his blade and then swung hard, violently crashing their blades together. And the battle begun. They ranged all over the house, crashing into objects and breaking the occasional vase or glass. Damian sustained an injury to his thigh, but nothing major. By the time police sirens were filling the air, they were on the second floor. Ace had been stalking them the whole time, ready for any commands he was given.

"Ace, bring them here! Retrieve!" Damian ordered as he heard the door bang open, followed by a yell of GCPD.

The dog shot away, barking loudly. The assassin lunged for the nearest window, but Damian tackled him by the legs and pinned him down, twisting his arm around and pushing on his back. And then he was being flipped off, the attacker nailing him in the gut and fleeing towards the window across from the stairs. But the police had seen him and fired several shots after him, even as he broke through the window and disappeared.

"Mr. Wayne?!" An officer called out. He recognized that voice. Well, Batman did.

Ace bounded over and laid on top of him, licking his face until Damian pushed him off.

"Good boy, Ace," Damian praised, sitting up and letting his hands run along Ace's fur, checking for injuries.

"Mr. Wayne!" An officer came running around the corner, gun aimed at the ground, his partner right behind him.

"I'm okay," Damian grumbled, looking down at his bleeding thigh.

"Call an ambulance!" The first officer snapped, holstering his gun and dropping down beside Damian and pressing on his leg.

"I'm okay!" Damian insisted, keeping a hand on Ace's collar.

He could hear more officers running around the house, checking for any other intruders. This officer, Officer Sloan, was asking him questions, making sure he really was okay. Once the ambulance arrived, Officer Sloan helped Damian outside, Ace sticking by his side, refusing to leave. The medical team took his vitals and bandaged his leg, and after they were done and he was sat, an ugly orange blanket wrapped around his shoulders, and his hands buried in Ace's hair, a couple officers came over to talk to him.

"Are you okay, son?" A familiar voice asked, and Damian looked up to see Jim Gordan.

"Commissioner. I'm okay. A little shaken, but fine."

"Mr. Wayne, we'd like to ask some questions, if that's okay," Officer Sloan asked.

Damian nodded.

"When did you realize there was an intruder?"

"I found Ace locked in a room I no longer use, that and some things had been misplaced."

"Did they attack you?"

"Not at first. Ace led me to them, and I called you before confronting them."

"Why didn't you wait for the police to arrive?" A third officer asked.

"Because I am not helpless," Damian shot back. "I am capable of defending myself and my home, and I did so."

The officers exchanged looks.

"Damian, do you know why they broke in? Was it to steal something? Were they trying to access a safe by any chance?"

Damian locked eyes with Jim.

"I don't know," he lied.

Shouting drew everyone's attention, and Damian looked up to see a black truck in the drive, blocked by police officers, standing outside it was a familiar figure. He stood.

"Let them pass," he asked, looking down at Officer Sloan.

"Sir, this area is being blocked-"

"He's my boyfriend, let him through! He's not going to try to kill me!" Damian snapped.

Officer Sloan sighed and stepped away, talking into his radio. After a moment, the black truck was allowed to pass and, it got as close as it could. Jon jumped out of the passenger seat, followed by a blonde female.

"Damian?!" Jon yelled, sounding panicked.

"Ace, go get him," Damian said softly, the dog shot away, running to Jon.

Damian tossed off the orange blanket and started limping towards Jon, despite the officers around him protesting.

"Oh fuck, Damian!"

Jon ran forwards, catching Damian right as he, intentionally, stumbled. Jon hugged him tightly, then pulled away, scanning him.

"What the hell happened?!"

"Grandfather sent someone after me, I'm okay, just a slight injury to the leg and some bruises."

Jon hugged him again. "God, we pulled up and I saw the lights and I just-"

Damian could feel his heart pounding. He hugged Jon back just as tightly. He wasn't scared, but he needed to pretend he was.

"Shit," Jon hissed, taking a shaky breath.

"I'm okay, I'm fine, Jon. I had it handled."

"I know. I know. But still."

"Excuse me, what in the fresh hell is going on here?!" A female voice asked, country accent heavy in her voice.

"Oh. Oh! Damian, do you remember Kathy?" Jon pulled away and pointed at the blonde, who had to be younger than him.

"Branden, right?"

"Yeah. She wanted to come meet you, but this wasn't really how I intended it all to happen."

"Sorry," Damian said, offering a pained smile and a hand. "Good to meet you."

Jon looked near panic attack so Damian slipped his arm over Jon's shoulder and used him as support to hobble back to the ambulance. 

"Mr. Wayne, we're gonna have to take you to the hospital okay? Just to get some stitches put in that leg."

Damian nodded in understanding.

"I'm coming with," Jon immediately decided.

"No. Jon. I need you to find Alfred."

"Damian, your cat is not more important then your health!"

"Jon! It didn't even hit any major veins. I am okay. Look at me."

When Jon made eye contact, Damian gave him the most pointed look. Stay here and make sure they don't find the cave.

"I'm okay."

Jon sighed heavily, nodding.

"Okay? I'll give you a call when I'm going to be released and you can come pick me up."

Jon nodded again. Damian looked up at the paramedics.

"My dog is a licensed service dog and a retired police dog. I want him to accompany me."

They looked like they wanted to protest, but just nodded.

"He'll have to have a leash. . . "

"I'll go get it," Jon said and darted away. 

The police had left, other then Commissioner Gordon. They had shut off the sirens, but the lights were still going, flashing around the driveway like crazy. The hustle and bustle of the police starting an active investigation was giving him a headache.

"Gordon."

"Yes son?"

"Your officers can go on with their investigation as long as Jon is allowed to stay on premises. He knows as much about the property as I do, and can access security feeds for them."

"Sure, Damian. Seems reasonable."

Jon was soon returning with Ace's leash, clipping it onto his collar and giving Damian the bag that had his treats and papers and other various dog items.

"You got your phone?" Jon asked, stepping into Damian's personal space.

"Yes."

"Okay. Keep me updated, please."

"I will, Jon, okay? Stop worrying. I'm okay."

"I won't ever stop worrying about you."

Damian chuckled, reaching up and looping his arms around Jon's neck.

"I know. It's what you do," he hummed, and then kissed Jon lightly.

"Keep an eye on them," Damian whispered when he pulled away. He quickly kissed Jon again before stepping away and hopping up into the ambulance. He got to just sit on the partially elevated gurney, and once he was settled, he called Ace in, and the dog hopped up, laying on the gurney by his feet.

The ambulance ride was short, and Damian was wheelchaired in, Ace trotting along beside him like this was a normal day. He was immediately taken back into an examination room at Gotham General, and a doctor came within minutes. She stopped when she saw the dog sitting next to Damian.

"Um."

"It's okay," he said with a chuckle. "He's a service dog. Ace, go."

The dog followed his finger and walked away, sitting in front of the two chairs against one wall. Damian pushed his palm down towards the floor and Ace dropped to his belly.

"Good boy. Stay."

He looked up at the doctor. He was already dressed in a medical gown, and was waiting to be treated and get out of here, get to the cave and begin working on this case. His leg hurt badly and his face was stinging from where he had been hit and it busted his cheek open. 

The doctor easily went about numbing his leg and cleaning it, asking him a few questions as she worked, stitching together the skin. If she noticed the countless other scars, she didn't say anything about them. Damian of course, barely noticed the stitches happening, he wouldn't of cared even if his leg hadn't been numbed. But he pretended that it made him nervous and refused to look down at it. After his leg got stitched up, she cleaned up his face and then wrote him a prescription for some pain meds and ordered him to see his primary physician in a week. 

He was released from the hospital only to be swept up by the police and taken to a private waiting room to be asked questions, drilled for every minuet detail of what had happened. By the time he had gotten done with that, it was 8pm. He called Jon, and moved out to the waiting room to wait, Ace laying at his feet, chewing on a tennis ball obsessively.

A little girl was sitting near him, staring down at Ace with big eyes. She had ice pressed to her wrist and a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. 

"Hello," Damian said softly, turning to smile at her. 

The girl squeaked and buried herself into the woman sitting next to her. Damian chuckled lightly.

"Do you want to pet him?" He asked her, motioning down at Ace.

"Lilly," the mother encouraged, lightly nudging her.

The little girl nodded and sat up slightly.

"Ace, give. Up."

Ace dropped the slobbery ball into his hand and then sat up, tilting his head in confusion.

"Come here," Damian lightly patted the couch beside the girl. "Go say hi."

Ace glanced between Damian and the girl, and wagged slightly. When he was given a nod, he wagged more, putting his head on the edge of the sofa. Soon the girl was sat on the floor, Ace's head in her lap as she rubbed his ears.

"Thank you, for doing that, she was really scared," the mother said, smiling.

"Yeah, I know how scary it can be, being in hospitals. I'm Damian Wayne."

He offered his hand to shake, and the woman looked rightfully shocked.

"Fiona . . . Wells . . . "

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Fiona."

They struck up a conversation, talking about how the girl, Lilly, got hurt falling off a balance beam. Damian told her about how his adoptive brother used to be an acrobat, and in the circus, and the girl stared at him with wide eyes, disbelieving, even as he talked about his elephant best friend. And then the doors opened, Jon and Kathy walking through.

"Damian!" Jon called, waving and walking over.

Damian waved back, standing to accept a hug.

"Well, Lilly, Fiona, it was nice to meet you."

"Thanks for letting me pet your dog," Lilly whispered.

"You're quite welcome! I hope your hand is okay."

"Thanks."

Damian called Ace, and then turned and walked out with Kathy and Jon.

"Making friends?" Jon asked with a chuckle.

"She was staring at me like a cornered animal, I figured Ace might help relax her."

"Yeah, a big black German Shepherd is relaxin," Kathy said from behind Jon.

Damian ignored her, they got Ace into the car, Kathy slid into the back next to him, and the boys got in the front.

"How's your leg?"

"It's literally the tiniest cut, it didn't really need stitches," Damian grumbled, slipping out of public eye Damian Wayne and into Batman as he brought up his computer screens.

"There it is," Jon muttered, most likely rolling his eyes.

"What's he doing?" Kathy asked, watching as Damian reviewed the video footage. 

He could just barely see the assassin sneaking in through the library window, but that window is locked, so he must have had help to bypass the security. He'd need to talk to the company about that.

"Uh . . . Dames can I tell her?"

"I thought she already knew?" Damian responded, scowling as he analyzed the fighting, the body posture, the favorite moves.

"Well, she knew your last gig."

Damian shrugged. "Whatever."

Jon shook his head. "Damian's batman."

There was silence in the car. Damian was putting together a profile, his fingers flying over an invisible keyboard.

"That checks out," Kathy finally said. "Still don't explain what he's doing."

"It's like VR but in real life. He's probably working to figure out who broke in and how."

Damian tuned them out, busting through footage and evidence and everything that could get him a good lead. He had a suspicion on who this assassin had trained under, he recognized their moves, and one of the captains had always taught the up cut weird. Of course he knew who was behind the attack, but he wanted to know who carried it out.

But they had arrived back at the manor and there were police cars everywhere still, so he had to close down his work and pretend to be a startled billionaire again. When they got around, Jon slipped an arm around him and helped him hobble around the house, into the kitchen. Ace ran straight to his food bowl.

"Did you find Alfred?"

"Yeah, he was under your desk. I put him up in your room until all this got sorted out."

"Thank you," Damian hummed.

He looked over at Kathy, who looked terribly out of place.

"I'm sorry, if I had known you were going to be coming to visit-" a glare was shot at Jon. "I would have tried to not be almost murdered."

Kathy laughed, as Officer Sloan walked into the room.

"So this was a homicide attempt?" He asked, glancing between the three.

"You're the officer, you tell me," Damian said with a shrug.

"Nothing seems to be missing, but it could be possible he was after something else, information, possibly, its it possible he could have hacked your laptop?" Officer Sloan asked, sticking his thumbs into his belt.

"I doubt it. It's a highly secure device, routed into the Wayne servers which have the highest firewall security possible."

The officer hummed.

"Well, Mr. Wayne, I'd like to keep a police detail posted here, or if you have private security you'd rather use that's fine, but if it is a murder attempt, he may try again."

Damian sighed lightly to himself. "The police detail will be fine for now."

"Do you have someplace you can go stay for a few days until we see if he will try again?"

"My parents live in Metropolis, he could go stay with them," Jon offered.

Damian shook his head. "My brother, adopted brother, lives just over in Bludhaven, he's a police detective."

"Oh. Detective Grayson, right?"

Damian nodded. 

"Okay, either one would be great, just make sure no one knows who you don't trust completely."

Sloan shot a look at Kathy as he said that, but immediately kept talking.

"The detail will be me and my partner for tonight, in the morning we'll switch out until you can leave for either location."

"Ah shit."

"What?" 

"I have another board meeting in the morning I have to attend. . . I'll get some private security for that," he told Sloan, who nodded.

"Okay, I need to go talk to Commissioner Gordon for a bit, but we'll let you know where we're setting up shop."

"Feel free to use the house, lord knows we don't use most of it."

"Yeah, we're kinda only ever in five rooms."

Sloan nodded again and then walked away, leaving the three alone again. Jon was at the stove, cooking something that appeared to be stir-fry. Damian sighed and limped away to a cabinet, grabbing a glass and then filling it up with water before hobbling away and sitting up on the counter.

"So how was your trip?" Damian asked, letting his feet dangle.

"It was fun! I missed being on the farm, and hanging out with Kathy."

"You're welcome back any time, farm boy."

Jon chuckled, glancing over at her.

"I know, Kath."

Damian wasn't going to lie, the smile they shared just then sent a hot flame of jealousy running through him. He finished off his water like it was a shot and then set it aside, looking anywhere but at Kathy, wishing he had an actual shot.

"How was the econ meeting?" Jon asked, pulling his attention.

"Horrible. I have never talked to as many entitled snobs as the people on the board. But they approved the construction, so that's all that really matters."

"Construction?" Kathy asked.

Damian nodded. "Wayne Enterprises is funding a new energy park down in the narrows. There's a bunch of the old abandoned houses that have to be torn down so instead we proposed turning that area into a park, since the nearest one is across town. The amount of kids living in the narrows is startling and they deserve to have someplace to play. The park will create additional jobs, and hopefully help the community down there."

"Wow, that's pretty cool."

Damian shrugged. "I have a good idea of what goes on in the narrows."

Kathy laughed. "Yeah, I guess you probably do."

Jon stepped away from the stove to get bowls. Damian watched him, finally letting himself relax. The past three hours had been so chaotic, he'd barely gotten to fully process what had happened. His grandfather trying to kill him was fairly normal, but in his own home, as Damian Wayne was a new one. 

"Are we going out tonight?" Jon asked, handing Damian a bowl, chopsticks set on top.

"Hmm? Oh, we'll have to see. You can. It'll be a little riskier for me to do so."

"Yeah, you're right."

The three just stood in the kitchen, eating their stir-fry, now in silence. Jon was leaning beside Damian, and once he finished his food, Damian couldn't help but reach up and run his hand through the tangled, almost curly black locks. Jon chuckled and looked up at him.

"Your hair is getting long."

"Yeah. Hadn't decided if I wanted to trim it or not."

"I like it long. It reminds me of when you were a naive child."

"You would," Jon said with an exaggerated eyeroll.

Damian smiled lightly at him, tugging lightly as he pulled his hand out.

"I'm going to go get Alfred," he said, slipping off the counter.

Jon grunted in response, and Damian hobbled out, shooting Kathy a look on his way. 

The rest of the evening they just hung out with Kathy. No alerts came in, so he and Jon went to bed at midnight. 

"Man, I'll never understand how these things don't bother you."

Damian winced as Jon's fingers lightly brushed near his stitches. He was currently sat on the bed, pantless, and Jon was crouching in front of him, looking at the line of stitches running down his thigh with wide eyes.

"It does, sometimes, but at this stage I'm so used to being injured that not being injured is abnormal."

Jon gave him a look that made it clear he didn't like that statement. He straightened, walking around the bed to get into it. Damian flicked off the lamp beside him and then laid down, facing Jon.

"So. Boyfriend, huh?" Jon asked. Damian could see that smug smirk even without his eyes having adjusted.

"It just . . . Came out."

Jon hummed, Damian felt him shifting positions. They were silent for a few minutes.

"I don't mind. I think it sounds nice."

Damian sighed lightly, sitting up and then moving, finding Jon in the dark and crawling on top of him, straddling his stomach, hands on his chest.

"That noise and this position feel like a contradiction," Jon commented, putting a sarcastic tone in his voice.

His hands slid up Damian's thighs as he pushed up on one elbow to be able to look at him better. Damian, eyes adjusted, could see the questioning look on Jon's face.

"You're an idiot sometimes, you know that?"

"Yeah, I do."

"But you're my idiot."

Jon smiled, leaning up to kiss Damian, only to be pushed back down. He gave a confused grunt as his head hit the pillow.

"Okay, what is happening here?" He asked, hand dropping to the sides of Damian's legs.

"You were going to break my train of thought."

"Oh."

Damian let out another soft sigh, letting his hands run along Jon's chest and abdomen, pressing against the muscles slightly, until he hit his own legs. Then he slid his hands up and found Jon's hands, intertwining their fingers.

"Jon, back at your parents. You said you loved me."

"Yeah. I still do."

"I never . . . " Damian grumbled lightly. He wasn't good at this. "I never said it back."

"I know, and it's okay, Damian. You do emotions different then me, I've always known that and it's okay."

Damian took a breath and squeezed Jon's hand.

"But I do. I do and I want you to know that," Damian breathed out. "I love you, Jon."

"I know," Jon responded. 

This time when he tried to kiss Damian, he wasn't stopped. A light press of the lips, soft skin sliding together. Damian pressed into him, trying to take it further, but Jon pulled away, pulling a hand out of Damian's to reach up and gently caress his cheek.

"You never had to say it, Damian. I knew. I knew in the little things you do, the soft looks, the small touches. I knew."

Damian gave a slight laugh. Jon pushed back on his hips, so he shifted off Jon's stomach, letting him sit up. 

"I think you know me better than I know myself sometimes," Damian said, pressing his forehead into Jon's.

"No, but I think there's just somethings I know how to read better, not being inside that big genius brain of yours."

Damian kissed him again, tilting his head to do so. Jon gently licked over his lips, and Damian let his tongue slip through, let Jon run his tongue over his lips, past his teeth, against his own tongue. His hands ran up, tangling into the long locks he adored, using it to pull on Jon, tilt his head for a better angle, and Jon just let him. Jon pulled away, lightly kissing him and then kissing his jaw, pulling against his hands to duck his head and kiss Damian's neck. Damian made an approving noise, tilting his head back and relieving the pressure on his scalp. Jon mouthed along his skin, sucking over his throat.

"Fuck," Damian hissed, tugging a little on his hair.

Jon made a growling noise deep in his throat, nipping the skin lightly before pulling away and kissing Damian again. Damian just let him, whatever it was Jon wanted to do, Damian let him. He could kiss Jon for hours and not be tired of it, it was a rush of energy and pleasure. On a chemical level, dopamine was flooding his body, making him aroused as Jon's hands slid to places he hadn't been allowed to touch in the past.

Soon he was underneath Jon, the other man was sucking on his neck. Damian was caught between submitting to the Ramelteon trying to make him sleep, or to Jon's hands, ghosting along his skin, never really settling in one place as he pushed up his shirt, bunching it around his armpits. At the moment, Jon was winning. He let himself be pulled up enough that Jon could pull his shirt off, and then begin kissing down his chest and stomach, over hard muscles, earned from years of work and discipline. His mouth was so hot over Damian's skin, almost burning, matching the hot flame burning in the pit of Damian's stomach.

"Dames?" Jon asked softly, suddenly stopping, looking up at him.

"Yes?"

"Are you okay?"

Damian gave a reassuring hum. Jon frowned lightly, moving up and gently kissing him.

"You went quiet on me. What are you thinking?"

Jon slid off and laid beside him, Damian rolled to face him.

"I wasn't really thinking anything. . . My medicine is kicking in."

Jon scowled, looking like he didn't believe him, but he stayed quiet for a moment.

"Okay. You wanna go to bed then?"

"I'm not really sure. I'd like to stay up and keep doing this, but," Damian gave a half shrug. "We do have to remember we have company and this is an old building."

Jon laughed. "Yeah, I guess you're right."

They kissed for a little longer and then settled, Damian's head on Jon's chest.

"Sleep well, Damian."

"You too, Jonathan.

They laid there for a while, Damian just breathing softly, trying to work down the dopamine rush. It wasn't working. He still wanted Jon's body on his. His cock was still hard in his boxers.

"Okay, this isn't working," he said, sitting up.

Jon laughed, clearly still very awake. He leaned over and flicked on a light, looking at Damian.

"What do you mean?" He asked, looking innocent as he smiled.

"You little shit."

Damian reached out, smacking Jon's chest hard enough to cause an echoing slap. Jon laughed loudly, reaching out to pinch Damian's sides and then pull him in for sloppy kiss, his hand sliding down to Damian's ass and squeezing. Soon Jon's hand was down his boxers, palming his cock. Damian moaned into mouth, thrusting his hips forwards and grinding himself into Jon's hand.

"Careful now, we have guests, remember?" Jon said with a chuckle, pulling away to smirk at Damian.

"I'll be quiet," Damian promised, sucking Jon's bottom lip in and biting it.

A half an hour later, he was laying on his back next to Jon, both of them naked. Damian was covered in a thin sheen of sweat, but he didn't mind, the air of the room was helping it to dry and cool him down.

"I'm going to go take a shower," Jon said finally, yawning.

"I'm going to get something to eat."

"Whoa, you're hungry?"

"Yeah, I guess, I kinda just need something to drink."

There was a thick salty taste still in Damian's mouth.

"Okay," Jon said, suddenly sounding wary.

"No, not like that, I promise."

Damian got up, finding some clean clothes and pulling them on, snagging Jon's Superboy hoodie as well. He walked over and knelt on the bed, leaning over and kissing Jon softly.

"I'm okay," Damian promised.

"Hmm, okay."

"Quit! I'm not gonna drink," Damian said with a light laugh.

"Okay! Okay! I'll probably go to sleep after I shower."

"Alright."

They kissed again. Damian gently pressed Jon's hair back and then kissed his forehead.

"I love you," Jon murmured.

"I love you too," Damian whispered back.

They separated, Damian jogging downstairs and heading to the kitchen, slicing an apple quickly and eating it with some peanut butter, as well as a glass of water. He was just sitting on the counter when he heard.

"Freeze!"

And an officer whipped around the corner, gun raised. Damian held his hands up, blinking at Officer Sloan. He had forgotten they were keeping watch.

"Oh! Mr. Wayne! My apologies!"

"It's okay, I forgot you guys were here or I would have told you I was awake. Just came for a late night snack."

Officer Sloan holstered his gun, rubbing the back of his neck.

"Yeah. . . Sorry, I heard movement and just wanted to check."

"Understandable. Thank you."

The officer nodded and started walking away.

"Oh! By the way, please feel free to anything in the kitchen. It's the least I can do."

"Oh. Thanks!"

Officer Sloan gave him a smile and then walked away. Damian sat there on the counter, trying not to think about how he had just sucked off his kind-of-maybe-boyfriend and then five minutes later had a very awkward conversation with the police officer unknowingly guarding Batman, Superboy, and a girl who used to go by the Beacon. Not awkward at all. After his snack, he quickly cleaned his dishes and then headed back upstairs, finding Alfred Cat along the way. He carried the cat up with him, and found Ace sat at the door, staring out into the hall.

"Hey bud, you wanna come spend the night?"

Ace whined once, so Damian pushed the door open, letting the dog in. He immediately ran and jumped on the end of the bed.

"What the- oh. Ace," Jon's startled voice said.

Damian chuckled, firmly shutting the door and locking it before walking over. He set Alfred down on the bed and quickly pulled off his hoodie and shirt, climbing into bed next to Jon. The man shuffled over, wrapping an arm around Damian's waist, tugging him close, his hips pressed into Damian's butt. Alfred curled up on top of the blankets by Damian's chest, and Ace settled into the large empty space behind Jon. Damian smiled at his little family before closing his eyes.

"Night."

Jon mumbled something in return, lightly kissing Damian's neck before promptly falling asleep.

Chapter Text

Damian sighed as he stepped up to Dick's apartment door and knocked. 

He had called Dick first thing in the morning, and once he assured the man he was fine, he was given permission to come stay for a few nights, though of course, they both knew he'd just be leaving to work as Batman. He had then gotten his private security detail for the day, gone to the meeting, paid for the Wells' medical bill, and then packed his bags.

Jon was going to stay at the manor to help the police keep an eye on things, and to keep an eye on the police. Damian thought it was silly how much effort they were putting into his dumb case when there were far more important things to worry about, like an active drug ring he knew about.

"Its open!"

Damian tested the door handle and found the door was indeed unlocked, so he pushed it open and stepped into the small apartment. This was going to be the first time he had seen or really talked to Dick in a week, and he wasn't particularly eager about it. They had talked on the phone a few times, and Dick had been trying to be more present, but Damian was still wary.

His security guards followed him inside, looking around the apartment and it's floor plan.

"Hey!" Dick rounded the corner, dressed in black slacks and a button down, sleeves rolled up past his elbows.

"Hello."

Damian set down his bag and stepped forwards, hugging Dick who eagerly hugged him back. Dick pulled away and glanced past at the security guards.

"Jon didn't come?"

"No, he's staying to watch the pets and the house."

Dick nodded, he walked away, into the kitchen, grabbing his wallet. 

"Well, guys, thanks for keeping my brother safe, but I can handle it from here."

He quickly flashed his badge to them. They exchanged a look.

"I'll be okay," Damian promised, giving them his business smile.

They nodded and after a brief look around the apartment, finally left, leaving in their black SUV. Damian watched them go through the window before turning to Dick.

"So it's been a long few days for you then."

"Oh you have no idea."

Damian flopped down on the sofa, dark blue, which definitely didn't match the rest of the decor, but Damian reminded himself that Dick had probably gotten this apartment back when he was estranged from the family, and thus, poor as shit.

"Did you get hurt?"

"Yeah, got a little beat up, cut down my leg, but nothing serious."

Dick nodded, bending to grab Damian's bag. He disappeared with it and then came back, sitting in an armchair that didn't look terribly comfortable, but he just pulled his legs up and tucked his feet under them.

"Solved the case yet?"

"Not quite. Obviously it was Ra's deciding that if I died, there would be no one left to play Batman and foil all his evil schemes. I just haven't figured out who he sent yet, and if they're coming back."

Dick hummed, glancing at his phone.

"So Wally's helping me out tonight-"

"You mentioned that."

"But I'll give you pick of dinner, what sounds good?" Dick said, standing.

"It's only 4pm."

"Yeah, I eat at odd hours. Like I had lunch at like, 10am, but breakfast at 9am."

"What the hell?"

"I work weird hours dude." Dick shrugged. "I haven't even been in Nightwing uniform in like, a week, I've been working this narcotics case from sunrise to midnight every day. It sucks."

"You don't use Nightwing to find information?"

"No. It gets messy if I show up with weird information and no sources."

Damian hummed, pulling out his phone to answer an email that had just come in.

"So other than almost getting murdered, anything interesting happen with you recently?" Dick asked, getting a water bottle from his fridge.

Damian glanced up. "Oh. Um."

He set down his phone, considering what he wanted to tell and what he wanted to keep secret.

"I started therapy," Damian said cautiously.

"What?" Dick looked over, surprised.

Damian had been doing therapy weekly now, and was going to keep doing that until he was improving even more. The therapy helped his Anorexia Nervosa, and alcoholism, but they hadn't started going through anything else yet, like his PTSD or panic disorder.

"Yeah."

"How . . . With the Batman . . ."

"She's a therapist that works with the Justice League, she's promised to keep our secrets, even more than most therapists would."

"Huh. . . Well how's that been?"

"I think it's good. It's been helping my anorexia."

"Good!" Dick smiled brightly at him, flopping on his chair and looking at his phone.

Damian waited a minute before speaking again.

"Jon and I are . . . Kind of dating."

That got Dick's attention. He stared at Damian for a few seconds.

"Really?"

Damian nodded.

"Well, congrats dude."

Damian hummed again and they fell silent.

After a while, he went and fetched his laptop, settling into the couch to work, at about five, Dick went and started cooking, something pasta, with vegan options for Dami. At five thirty, Wally showed up, like, literally just appeared in the house and promptly took over the cooking. Damian paid him no attention, he never had with the West-Allen clan. He just continued working, emailing back and forth with Fox about the energy park. Dick flopped beside him, looking at his phone.

"Watcha doing?"

"Working."

"Case?"

"No. I am a CEO, Dick."

"Whoa, really?" Wally asked, looking over from the kitchen. "You're like, super young."

"Drake was CEO at seventeen. Twenty-one isn't that impressive, and trust me, I wish I wasn't."

"Valid."

"What's that?" Dick pointed at a file clip of the blueprints.

"Newest WE project."

"Looks like a park."

"Because it is a park."

Dick didn't move so Damian sighed, clicking on the blueprint and letting him look at it.

"In South? Jay was okay with this?"

"You assume I have to clear everything I do with Todd?"

"When it has to do with his end of town? Yes."

Damian rolled his eyes. "He suggested it, actually."

"Wow."

Dick hummed, standing up. He walked away, throwing an arm around Wally's shoulders and leaning in to talk to him. Damian watched them, thinking quietly that he should text Jon. As if cued, his smartwatch vibrated and he looked at it to see a text from Jon. He smiled to himself, responding quickly before finishing up his work. About the time he was done, Wally finished cooking and they sat around Dick's small dining table to eat.

Damian wasted no time after, just left and headed back to Gotham, going to the batcave, making sure he wasn't followed. Jon was already down there, chilling in his uniform, playing something on his phone.

"What are you doing here?" Damian asked, walking up the steps to where Jon was levitating mid air. 

"Oh, cops think I'm going to see a movie with some friends out of town. Instead I just came down here. I've only been here like, two minutes, but I could tell you were close so I figured I'd wait."

Damian hummed, walking over. Jon dropped down, tilting his head to kiss him lightly.

"How's Dick?"

"Good."

"Great, you working your case, or gonna patrol?"

"Case. Can you patrol for me?"

Jon grunted in response, setting his phone on the desk the batcomputer was on, he fished around in his pocket and produced an earpiece comm.

"Keep me updated, okay?" Jon said, stepping up behind Damian, who was sitting in front of the computer.

"Yeah, of course I will."

Damian didn't look up, which apparently was unsatisfactory.

"Dameesss."

He hummed, logging in and hitting run on his profiling program, flipping over to the Manor feed, watching it again, following the car that had dropped the assassin off, following it into town. Jon grumbled something and put his arms around Damian's neck, leaning into the back of the chair.

"What, Jon?" Damian asked, barely glancing at him.

He was flicking through video feeds, following the black SUV through town.

"I'm not gonna get to cuddle you tonight, can I at least get a goodbye kiss?"

"Hmm, sure." Damian tilted his head, hitting pause on the video feed before pulling his eyes away.

Jon kissed him softly, gently sucking in his bottom lip. Damian gave a pleased noise, but just tilted his head up into Jon even more.

"I'll see you later. Don't leave for Dick's without saying bye."

Damian gave a grunt, watching Jon start to walk away before looking back at his computer and returning to work. 

He didn't move for the next three hours. Then he suited up, heading out to track the assassin's last known location, where he had tracked the car too. He ended up in the sewers that night, and he remembered why he hated this part of the job. But he got another lead, followed that until he ended up in a fist fight with the assassin's driver. He headed back to the batcave after that, cleaning up and changing before sitting back at the computer and returning to work.

"Have you like, moved at all?"

Jon was standing beside him, dressed in jeans and a hoodie.

"Yes. I went out."

Damian glanced over, Jon looked tired, but other than that, no worse for wear. He frowned, but just reached over, turning Damian's chair.

"What?" Damian asked, frowning in return.

"You should go, you have like, an hour to drive."

"I'll be fine."

"Damian. Look at me. Are you actually going to be able to find this guy? Or is he going to find you?"

They stared at each other for a minute before Damian sighed.

"Admittedly, no."

"That's what I thought." Jon reached down, grabbing Damian's arms and pulling him up. "So leave, go to Dick's, and try to get some rest."

Damian sighed, stepping into Jon and wrapping his arms around Jon's stomach. Sometimes, especially when they were in the cave, he tended to turn off his emotions. Jon was incredibly patient with him, logically reasoning out why he needed to go to bed, or carefully extracting him from his shell. He'd be useless without Jon.

"Okay. Okay. Fine."

"Thank you."

Jon hugged him tightly, then pulled away slightly, pressing his lips, slightly chapped due to flying, to Damian's. They kissed for a while, Damian squeezing Jon tightly.

"Text me when you get there, okay?"

"I will."

Jon hummed happily, kissing Damian lightly again.

"Drive safe."

"I plan to."

With one last kiss, he turned and walked away, getting in his car and driving back to Bludhaven. He got to Dick's apartment, texted Jon he had arrived, and then walked up, punching in the code to the door and walking in. The apartment was dark other than a lamp on beside the couch. He made sure the door was locked before silently walking across the house, Dick's door was open, but as he walked past it to the guest room, he noted it was not empty. He paused, looking closer, and then smiled slightly when he realized Dick and Wally had both collapsed in his bed.

He walked back to the living room, turned off the light, deadbolted the door, and then went to bed, taking his medicines and getting ready. He then laid in bed, texting Jon for the next half an hour until he finally dozed off.

 

The next morning, he woke to low voices, and the smell of bacon, under that, was coffee. He was much more interested in the coffee. He dragged himself out of bed, pulling on sweats and a hoodie, and then stumbling out of the guest room, checking his texts and telling Jon he actually managed to sleep.

"Hey! He's up!" 

Damian winced at Wally's energetic voice. So the speedster was still here. He rubbed his eyes, looking around the small kitchen, noting faintly that West was making waffles. He was soon being handed a mug and he headed straight for the coffee.

"Oh! Little D! Morning!"

"You know I don't think you can call him that anymore," Wally said to Dick.

"Why?"

"Because he's like, nearly the size of Jason."

"Eh, Dami, what do you bench?"

Damian sighed, sipping his coffee. He already missed Gotham. Jon was considerate of his nocturnal habits. Jon spoke softly in the morning.

"250 or something, I don't remember. More than Jon weighs."

"You can bench your boyfriend?" 

Damian's eyes flicked from Wally to Dick.

"You told him?" He asked, clearly not amused.

"No, but you're wearing his merch and texting him, and the last member of your gang to do that was Tim. I just kinda assumed."

Damian eyed Wally. "Well, it's fairly standard, I would assume Dick could lift you if he wanted to. I know Jason can lift Roy."

"Naw, Dick's got that whole skinny athletic thing going, I doubt it."

Damian kept his scathing comment to himself as a text from Jon chimed. He just walked away and sat in the living room, sipping his coffee and trying to tune out Dick and Wally. 

"Hey, Damian did you get any leads on the assassin?" Dick asked, coming over and grabbing his own coffee off the coffee table.

"Yes and No. But as Jon reminded me, it's highly unlikely that I'll find him, and much more likely that he'll find me."

"So it was a bad night?"

"Well, I ended up in the sewers, Grayson, so what do you think?"

"Gross."

A few minutes later he sat down to eat with them, just having a single waffle so Dick wouldn't get mad at him, and then he promptly fled to go sit in bed and work, mostly to avoid West's annoying over energetic personality.

The rest of the day was spent avoiding them, and then once Wally left, he spent it sitting on the sofa, lightly chatting with Dick about their lives as they both worked. Things he learned about Dick as they worked. He's nearly died three times because of his police job. He had a girlfriend for nearly three years. He had a child with said girlfriend. Child is now two. Child is named Alfred Bruce and already looks like a fucking carbon copy of Dick. Dick and ex-girlfriend broke up due to falling out of love, they're still, apparently, very close and she lives in town.

He promised to bring Alfred to come meet Damian and Jon.

Damian couldn't help but wonder if Bruce knew, and if he didn't, it made him incredibly sad to think that the man had never known he had a grandchild. Bruce would have loved to have grandkids.

The next day was a repeat of the previous one, nothing interesting happened other than that Dick got called in for a case.

The second day was significantly more interesting, and ended with Dick and Damian standing over a bleeding out assassin. 

"Well," Dick said, looking down at his glock, then at Damian. "I guess you can head back home now."

Damian laughed and then turned, spitting blood out into Dick's kitchen sink, wiping it off his lip after.

"I suppose so."

"I'm gonna call this in. Don't uh. . . There's gloves under the sink."

Damian watched Dick step away, pulling out his phone. He turned and reached into the cabinet under the sink, pulling out a pair of disposal gloves. 

He had been just coming back with some takeout for him and Dick for dinner when he was attacked the second he walked inside the apartment. He had battled with the assassin for five minutes before Dick arrived, yelling his normal "Police! Stand down!" And when the assassin tried to stab Damian, Dick had shot him. And now here they were.

Damian carefully removed the assassin's mask, using his phone to snap pictures, doing his own little investigation before carefully replacing anything he touched. He then disposed of the gloves and prepared himself to once again seem like a spooked billionaire.

The police arrived two minutes later, and by that point, the assassin was dead. They both got interrogated on what happened, and then as the medical examiner and forensic teams set to work, Damian packed his bag and prepared to head home as soon as the two police departments communicated.

"You should probably call Jon," Dick commented as they stood beside each other, watching his partner call Officer Sloan.

Damian tilted his wrist, showing Dick the worried text from Jon.

"He knows."

"Damn, that must be annoying. Does he always listen in on you?"

"No," Damian responded with a shrug. "Mostly he just listens for my heartbeat and if he notices changes in the rate, he'll pay more attention to my surroundings. It's come in handy a few times."

Dick hummed, not responding as his partner, a short blonde woman, walked back over.

"Sloan gave us the all clear," she said, sticking her hands in her back pockets. "Feel free to head home, Mr. Wayne. Dick, you crashing at mine tonight?"

"If they won't let me back in, yeah, I will," Dick responded, shrugging lightly. "Might see if Carly will let me crash over there."

His partner gave a hum and then walked away. Dick turned to Damian.

"Well, it was good to have you here, get to hang out a bit."

"Yes. It was, thank you for letting me come."

"Yeah, if you ever need anything, just give me a call," Dick said with a smile.

"I will. Feel free to come down for a visit."

"Yeah, of course I will."

They hugged tightly, and then Damian got in his car, heading home, texting Jon on his way to tell him he'd be there soon. When he got to the Manor, the police were gone, and Ace mugged him the moment he stepped inside.

"Hello, Ace," Damian said with a smile, bending to pet the dog and let him lick his face. "Where's Jon?"

Ace barked.

"Yeah? Ace, find. Find Jon."

Ace barked once more and turned, running away, pausing to make sure Damian was following. He followed the dog through the house and to the living room, where Ace ran over to a sofa and dropped onto his stomach by it. Damian smiled and set down his bag, tugging off his jacket, before walking over. Jon was asleep, laying on his side, one leg hanging off the sofa, the other one bent in what couldn't be a comfortable position. A blanket was tangled around all his appendages, and he was breathing through his mouth, eyes closed gently as he breathed peacefully. Damian kept his steps light until he reached Jon, bending down over him.

He waited a moment before speaking. "You can't tell me you're still asleep."

Jon smiled, cracking his eyes open.

"I wanted to see if you figured it out," Jon said with a small laugh. 

"Of course I figured it out, I'm Batman."

Damian yelped when suddenly he was tugged out of place and then found himself under Jon, who was grinning wolfishly.

"I missed you."

"You saw me last night."

"And? I didn't get my cuddles the past few nights."

Jon pouted at him. Damian laughed and reached a hand up, tweaking Jon's nose.

"Dork."

Jon stuck out his tongue, then leaned down and gently kissed Damian. He hummed slightly, pressing back.

"We should go out for dinner," Damian suggested, pulling away.

"Oh?"

"Yeah. Consider it our first date."

"Okay," Jon laughed out.

Damian smiled up at him, realizing just how much Jon had influenced his life. How much of a beacon of hope and safety Jon had become. How good Jon was.

"Jon."

"Yeah?"Jon tilted his head.

"I love you."

"I love you too? Are you okay?"

Damian chuckled. "I'm fine, Kent."

"Oh, phew, you had me worried you had horrible news or something."

Jon pulled away, standing. Damian sat up, watching him take a drink, watching his adams apple move as he swallowed.

"I'm an uncle."

Jon nearly choked, yanking his drink away and covering his mouth as he started coughing. Two minutes passed of him coughing before he could finally speak.

"What?!"

"Dick has a son, he's two. And he never told us. Or me, at least."

Jon wiped his mouth, staring at Damian in shock.

"Well. Damn."

Damian shrugged and stood, grabbing his bag and starting to head upstairs. Jon followed closely.

"Did Bruce know?"

"He didn't say," Damian said with another shrug. "But I think not."

They chatted lightly as they changed, catching up on the little things that had happened in the past few days. Damian changed into black jeans and a nice gray sweater, standing in front of the mirror and scowling at how the sweater hung on his abdomen.

"Hey, what are you doing?" Jon's voice came from the closet.

"Getting dressed."

"No. Right now. What are you doing? Stop that."

Jon came over, grabbing Damian's hands from behind and pulling them down from where they were fussing with the sweater which was sitting weird on his still prominent ribs.

"Jon," Damian sighed in minor annoyance.

"No. Quit. You're doing it again."

Jon slid his arms around Damian's stomach, resting his head against Damian's. They made eye contact in the mirror.

"You are gorgeous the way you are, okay? You don't need to fuss or worry or compare."

Damian offered his mouth to offer a rebuttal but Jon quickly cut him off.

"I love you, Damian."

Damian sighed, relaxing into Jon, reminding himself of what the psychologist had told him. Forcefully pulling himself out of the bad headspace. The sweater sat weird because he was still recovering, that was all. Jon smiled at him, and Damian's lips twitched up into one.

"I love you too, Jonathan."

Chapter Text

"Damian. My son."

"Father?"

"Damian, come to me. Wake up, Damian, come to me."

 

Damian took a shuddering breath as he jolted awake. For a moment he felt panicked as he felt a weight pressing against his back and side, and then the next second he immediately relaxed, the soft breathing on his neck reminding him that his boyfriend was the solid weight. He took several breaths, calming himself, chasing the memories of his dream. The only thing he could remember was Bruce telling him to come to him. He twisted his arm, bringing his wrist up to look at his smart watch. Five twenty AM. He scowled and closed his eyes again, trying to fall back asleep. 

He had a bad feeling.

A crawling, gnawing feeling in his gut, telling him something wasn't right.

When he started pulling away, Jon woke up, mumbling something in a groggy voice even Damian couldn't understand. 

"Let me up Jon," Damian said softly, shoving at his arm.

"Where going?" Jon grumbled.

He released Damian and rolled into his empty space when he got up.

"Something doesn't feel right."

"What? Whaddya mean?"

"I don't know, some things just off, okay? Go back to sleep, I'm gonna check it out."

Jon mumbled something and settled onto his stomach.

Damian grabbed a pair of sweats and a hoodie, as well as his phone. He walked through the house quickly, and then checked the security feeds in the batcave when he discovered nothing wrong or even slightly out of place. He stood in the middle of the open area surrounding the stairs, just standing with his eyes closed, listening, feeling.

"Come to me."

"Okay. Okay, Father, I'm coming."

Damian walked to a coat closet, pulling on a pair of boots and a coat. He grabbed a hat, pulling it down around his ears, and then walked outside. It was December, and while it hadn't snowed, it was cold enough that it could. He walked across the lawn, the gray smog of Gotham blacked out the moon, and since they were so far from town, it was nearly black out. His eyes were used to seeing in the dark, and he easily crossed the lawn, heading towards the cemetery. He was at the gate when he acknowledged a dark form crouched over Bruce's grave, a bundle of tulips in their hands. He pulled out his phone and carefully turned on the flashlight, shining it at them.

"Halt!" He yelled. 

The person jumped up, spinning to him as the light hit them. Instantly he recognized the black bodysuit, their figure.

"Selina?" He asked, dropping his light slightly.

"Damian?" Her voice called back.

Damian pushed open the gate and walked over, pointing his flashlight down at the ground. She took a step back.

"What are you doing here?"

Selina was silent, she gestured with the tulips at Bruce's grave.

"It's. . . I. . . " She took a breath. "It's been nine months."

"I am aware." Damian looked her over. She looked sad. "You were the one leaving the tulips?"

"Yeah. Eight months and neither of you figured it out. Why are you out here? I thought you were upstairs cuddling with your boyfriend?"

Damian grunted. "I was, and he'll be down here the moment I call, so I'd suggest sticking around for a chat."

Selina rolled her eyes, growling slightly.

"Selina."

"Fine! Fine, kiddo. Give me a minute."

Damian nodded and walked out, letting the gate creak closed behind him. He kept his back to Selina, knowing where she was at mentally. He waited, patiently. And a minute later, the gate creaked open again. A hand landed on his arm.

"Let's go."

Damian and Selina walked back up to the house together in silence. Everything was still dark, and despite Damian's knowledge that Jon was awake, he appreciated that Jon had stayed away, he wanted to talk to Selina alone. He led her into the kitchen, shedding his coat and setting it on the counter. He started tea and then turned back to Selina, who had pulled off her Catwoman cowl, her short black hair sticking up in tufts.

"Still going around as Catwoman?" He asked, leaning against a counter.

"You're Batman and you haven't noticed?"

"Oh no, I noticed. Frankly, I don't have time to bother with cat burglary, I have much more pressing matters to deal with."

Selina cracked a smile. "Well that's good for me, I suppose."

Damian shrugged. "We stopped fighting you a while ago anyway."

Selina chuckled, she hopped up to sit on a counter.

"So. Eight months?" He asked.

"Yeah. . . "

"Why? I thought you and Father were over."

"That doesn't mean I didn't still love him," Selina said with a shrug. "This felt fitting for what our relationship was."

Damian nodded in understanding. "Well I'm glad I know now, who is leaving the flowers, we were quite confused."

He turned to grab the tea, pouring it and then handing Selina a cup.

"I won't stop you, by the way, if you wish to keep doing this."

"Thank you."

They went silent, looking at each other. Damian and Selina had always had an odd sort of a relationship, a mutual displacement in Bruce Wayne's life. They were both criminals, and yet he had loved them both. During the engagement, Damian had even come to value Selina's company, and though he would have never admitted at the time, actually had been looking forward to having her as part of the family. But then it ended, and they had all moved on, mostly.

"So, how have you been, Kid?"

Selina stayed and talked for a few hours, just talking about their lives, about what had been happening with Damian since the funeral, how Selina had been doing. She congratulated Damian for his relationship with Jon, wishing them well. She left around seven, and Damian made his way back upstairs after putting his coat and boots up. He gently pushed the door open and let it close softly behind him. Jon seemed to be asleep, but Damian could never truly tell with him. He shed his sweatpants and hoodie and walked over, climbing into bed. Jon was still laying on his stomach, so Damian just laid next to him, gently picking up his arm and sliding under it, letting the weight settle on his chest. 

He dozed for a while before Jon nuzzling at his neck woke him up. He grumbled and shoved lightly at his shoulder, not really that interested in pushing the larger man off. Jon pulled Damian over, laughing as the man went limp, becoming dead weight in his arms.

"Hey, wake up. Don't you have that meeting today?"

Damian grumbled in complaint.

"Why can't I be a lazy billionaire?"

"You already are," Jon said with another laugh, tugging Damian on top of his chest.

Damian cracked an eye open to look up at him and then let his head drop, resting his ear over Jon's heart.

"So, Selina?"

"Yeah."

"How'd that talk go?"

"Really well, actually."

"Good."

Jon was gently stroking his hair and it was going to put Damian to sleep.

"What time is Dick getting here again?"

"He hoped around six, Habibi," Damian murmured.

"Okay, I'll make sure to have things ready then."

Damian hummed. A long pause of comfortable silence.

"What do you want for breakfast?"

"Sleep."

"I can't cook that."

"Yes you can."

Damian squeaked as his sides got pinched, he pulled away and scowled at Jon.

"Fine. Uhm . . . Avocado toast?"

"Sounds good."

"I need to take a shower."

"Then go."

Neither moved.

"Dames. Come on, get up. We're gonna fall asleep if we stay here much longer."

Damian's scowl turned into a smirk, he tilted his head slightly.

"Make me."

Jon gave a noise of annoyance.

"Don't go brat on me," he said with an eye roll.

"Hmm, and why not?"

"Because we really don't have time for me to deal with that properly."

Damian chuckled, reaching up to gently caress Jon's cheek.

"If you want me off you're going to have to get me off yourself."

A growl came from Jon's throat, and with a blur, Damian found himself naked, pressed to the bathroom wall.

"Fine. You wanna go brat, I'll just have to remind you who's in charge here."

Jon went to kiss Damian, but he reached out, turning on the shower and dumping cold water onto Jon's back. The man hissed, pulling away to glare at his smirking boyfriend. 

"You're going to regret that," Jon growled.

"Oh, I really, truly doubt that, Habibi."

"Oh, I don't," Jon said, his annoyance (because he could never truly be mad at Damian) disappearing into a smirk.

He ducked his head, kissing Damian's neck and then putting his lips up by Damian's ear.

"Because, Damian," he said, voice low, exuding confidence. "I know your weaknesses."

Damian ended up not exactly regretting it, because the result of having Jon fuck him into submission had been quite pleasurable, but more of regretted the timing of it. He did have to go to a meeting only an hour after Jon finally decided they were done, and he was in no state to be around people. Okay so maybe he did regret it later that afternoon when he had to sit on his sore ass for three hours straight and try to not pass out.

He got home at 5:30, and barely got to help cook dinner before Dick got there. Dick was finally bringing his kid to visit ("No I know I promised you like, three months ago, but listen, I was sick!"), and they were going to spend the weekend with Jon and Damian. They had just finished cooking when there was a knock at the door.

"I'll get it."

Jon walked away, and Damian yawned, leaning against the counter, wondering what this weekend with the kid would be like. He hadn't particularly been good with kids with the past, and wasn't exactly thinking about ever adopting younger ones. If he did they would probably be older, like Bruce had done. He was partial to animals, but he also wanted to get to know Dick's kid, be a part of his life, a cool uncle or something. He could hear talking in the hallway, and then Jon and Dick walked in, a small black haired toddler balanced on Dick's hip. The boy was staring down at Ace with wide eyes while the dog stared back up at him, tail wagging happily.

"Hi Dami!" Dick said cheerfully, bouncing the kid on his hip.

It was odd to see him with a child, and yet seemed so right. Dick had always loved kids.

"Hello, Grayson," Damian greeted back with a smile.

"Ace, look out," Dick said softly, pushing the dogs nose away as he set down the toddler and pulled off his coat, promptly scooping him up again.

The toddler seemed to notice Damian finally and immediately shoved his face in Dick's neck. The man chuckled, walking closer.

"Hey, Alfie, why are you hiding? This is Uncle Damian, you remember me telling you about Uncle Dami?"

Alfie mumbled something.

"Can you say hi?" Dick said, gently poking the kids' side.

He pulled away from Dick slightly and waved to Damian, mumbling something that sounded like a hi.

"Hello, Alfred, it's a pleasure to meet you."

The kid hid his face again. Damian chuckled, taking their coats.

"I do believe dinner is ready," he said as he walked out into the hall, going to hang up their coats.

"Okay, we're gonna take a potty stop really quick," Dick said and started walking away.

Damian watched him leave, disappearing around the corner, and soon Jon was replacing him.

"Watcha doing?" Jon asked, coming over and putting an arm around Damian.

"I was watching Dick."

Jon hummed, bumping his nose into Damian's hair.

"You ever think about it?"

"I couldn't do babies."

"I'm not surprised."

"But yes, I have thought about kids."

"Yeah?"

"Maybe one day, Kent."

Jon chuckled in his ear. They went and set the table, and then waited in the kitchen until Dick returned, Alfie stomping along in front of him, and Ace still trailing after him.

"I think Ace likes him," Jon said with a laugh.

"Ace has always liked kids."

"I seem to recall him not liking you," Dick commented, grinning.

"Yes, a terrible stain upon my reputation with animals."

They got their food and made their way into the dining room. Dinner with a toddler was interesting. Damian had never seen so many breaches of basic table manners that were all explained away with "He's a toddler, Dami!" like that was a good excuse. After supper, Aflie seemed to warm up to them, chatting animatedly, and rather well, for a two year old. Jon clearly took a liking to him, and soon was running around playing with him.

"Hey, where's your cat?" Dick asked, looking around.

"My office, probably, and I have two now."

"You do?" Dick asked with a raised eyebrow.

Damian nodded and stood. He walked away, into the office to find the two cats grooming each other. He picked up Alfred and let him stand atop his shoulders and then scooped up the second cat, a lanky black kitten. When he got back to the living room, Alfred jumped off onto a sofa, but Damian walked over to Dick with the black one.

"His name is Calixto," he explained, letting the cat jump down onto Dick.

"Kitty!"

The toddler came stomping over, and Dick reached out a hand, stopping him before he grabbed the cat.

"Hey, easy, Alfie. You gotta be gentle, remember?"

The toddler nodded, carefully petting the black kitten.

"Alfie, you see that cat up there?" Damian gently turned the toddler and pointed out Alfred. When the boy nodded, Damian continued. "His name is Alfred too."

A loud gasp. "Daddy! His name Alfie!"

"Yeah, yeah it is, kiddo!"

They hung out and talked and played with Alfie until his bedtime at 8:30. Dick carried the toddler upstairs, was gone for nearly ten minutes before coming back down and flopping on the sofa.

"Well Jon. I think you now outrank Roy as favorite Uncle."

"Nice!" Jon exclaimed, grinning.

Damian was silent, he was sitting with his feet under Jon, looking down at a Wayne Tablet. 

"Hey. Damian. I'm sorry I didn't tell you guys sooner, okay? You deserved to know, Bruce especially, but I just . . . Didn't."

Damian took a breath, looking over.

"Bruce knew, Dick," he said finally, revealing the secret he'd been keeping. "I found a file with some research. He knew."

Dick's face was a mix of emotions.

"Fuck," He said finally, looking down.

At nine, Damian stood, and stretched, grabbing his phone 

"I'm going out for the evening, I've got a case to work."

Jon hummed his acknowledgment.

"Have fun, I gotta stay here in case Alfie wakes up."

"You go, Dick." Jon looked up. "I'll stay here, you guys go hang out."

They exchanged a look.

"You still have a spare suit down in the cave, though it is an older design," Damian offered.

Finally Dick gave in, grinning. He looked over at Jon. 

"Thank you! If he wakes up, wait and see if he'll go to sleep by himself, if not you may have to go read to him to get him to go back to sleep. If he really won't go down, just give me a call," he explained.

"I got it handled Dick, I know a thing or two about kids."

"Okay. . . "

A small moment of hesitancy and then he walked to the door. Damian chuckled and kissed Jon quickly before following. They went out and patrolled together, and admittedly it was nice to have Richard beside him, swinging along, cracking jokes, and just being dumb. They fought Killer Croc down on the docks, stopped some gang violence, breached a warehouse with Jason, and then headed home for the night, having invited Jason to come by in the afternoon and hangout with Dick and Alfie.

Damian found Jon already asleep and just curled up against his side without waking him up.

 

The next morning, Damian was woken up by a high pitched voice yelling loudly, followed by a deeper voice shushing it. He groaned and rolled to find Jon, only to discover his bed empty. Which was odd and unfortunate. He had gotten used to Jon waiting for him to wake up, and when Jon waited for him to wake up, he got morning cuddles from his space heater boyfriend. He sighed and rolled out of bed, remembering why he usually showered before bed when he felt his own sticky skin. He grumbled and stumbled into his shower, turning the rain head on and letting the water heat up as he found a clean towel. 

After he showered, he shaved, put in his contact lenses, washed his face and so on. Made himself presentable. He had to think about what his day held, which was, nothing. So he tugged on a loose pair of sweatpants and a workout tee as well as Jon's hoodie. Because that was his privilege as his boyfriend. With a pair of socks pulled on, he grabbed his phone and staggered out of their bedroom, assuming he would find Jon in the kitchen like always. But instead he found Dick trying to juggle a pan of eggs, a toddler and Ace. He felt his stomach drop.

"Where's Jon?" He asked, throat tightening up.

"Had to run to help Cla- Alfred do not touch that!"

Dick reached out and lightly smacked the back of Alfred's hand, the toddler had been reaching up to touch the hot stove. The kid let out a sharp cry but just sulked after.

"Ugh! Damian take this!" 

Dick shoved his spatula into Damian's hand and turned, scooping up Alfred and speaking softly with him. Damian sighed, assuming the end of the sentence had been "Clark" which made him feel much better. Helping Clark meant he'd be back by dinner or Damian would end up going to help. Helping the Legion could mean weeks away. He watched Dick out of the corner of his eye as he sat the toddler on the counter and bent to look him in the eyes to talk. After a moment they hugged and Dick pulled the kid off the counter.

"Sorry about that," Dick said, returning to Damian and taking the spoon back.

"It's fine."

"Anyway, like I was saying, Jon had to rush off to help Clark with something in like Asia or something. I don't know, he wasn't very specific but he said he wanted to make sure that someone knew where he was to tell you."

"Thank you," Damian said, going to get coffee. "I just . . . Jon disappearing freaks me out."

"Yeah, I understand," Dick nodded with a smile.

They ate breakfast together, chatting and having a good time. After, Damian went to get some work done, so Dick and Alfred went out and played with Ace, it still hadn't snowed. They came and found Damian in his office around lunch time.

"Damian, I have a question."

Damian looked up as Dick walked in, holding his toddler in a fireman carry, the little boy giggling wildly.

"Yes, Grayson?"

"Are you and Jonno gonna get a Christmas tree?"

The question, as jarring as it was, was asked softly, Dick's face concerned. Damian looked up at him again, fingers freezing over the keys. The question cut like a double edge sword, plunged into his gut.

"Sorry, I know . . . I just."

Damian swallowed, looking down at his email and deleting all the extra letters he had accidentally typed. This would be his first Christmas in years without Bruce, the first since he had come to Gotham, really.

"We haven't talked about it. . . I think we're going to go to his parents for Christmas . . . " Damian said softly. "But I don't know."

Dick nodded, looking away. "Well. . . If you want, Christmas Eve, it'll just be me and this guy and his mom, you guys could come down for dinner or something?"

Damian nodded, considering this. "I'll talk to Jon about it."

Dick offered a small smile. Damian's phone chimed several times and he picked it up, seeing an alert for the security gate.

"Jason's here."

"Oh, cool!"

Damian quickly sent his email and then they headed to the front door together. Jason's first words to them?

"I'm here for the kid."

"Untle Jay!" Alfie yelled and launched out of Dick's arms to jump on Jay.

Damian chuckled and shut the door behind Jason, but not before throwing one last glance out, just in case Jon showed up. They went to the living room and Jason played with Alfie on the floor while talking to Dick.

"I talked to Selina the other day," Damian said after a moment of silence.

"Yeah?"

"It was nice to see her."

"She's been having fun, having her run of the city," Jason commented.

Damian shrugged. "I've been busy, and besides, she's not causing any real harm."

"You always had a soft spot for her."

Damian chuckled. "Genetic, I suppose. I do wish she and father had married, she was always nice to me."

"Yeah, Selina is an amazing person when she's not running around in leather."

Alfred squealed as Ace licked him before running and jumping onto the sofa next to Damian.

"Since when was he allowed on furniture?" Jason asked with an eyebrow raise.

"Since I moved in."

Damian's head snapped around to see Jon standing in the doorway, wearing sweats and a sweater. He grinned at Damian, and relief swept over him. Then he scowled.

"I know I know. I should've woken you up," Jon said with an eyeroll, walking over. "I'm sorry okay, but I was in a rush."

"Next time, Habibi, I will not be as forgiving," Damian responded, tilting his head up.

Jon leaned down, kissing him lightly, Damian reached up to dig a hand into his hair.

"You know, you always say that, and yet you always seem to forgive me," Jon said with a smirk, pulling away enough that Damian could see it.

Damian rolled his eyes and shoved at Jon's chest.

"Not dating, huh?" Jason huffed from where he was laid on the floor, Alfie sat on his stomach.

"Oh, that's old news, Jay," Dick said with a laugh.

"Wild."

Damian rolled his eyes, watching as Alfie saw Jon and let out a sequel, clambering off Jason to run over and jump at Jon, who easily caught him and spun him in the air.

"Damn, how am I supposed to compete with the kid who can literally fly."

"You don't." Jon grinned at Jason, tossing Alfie up and causing him to giggle loudly.

"Jon, be careful!" Dick exclaimed, watching with wide eyes.

"Oh, he's fine, Dick, I'm not gonna drop your kid."

Jon spun with Alfie once before setting him down and crouching to whisper in his ear. The toddler giggled and then ran away and flopped on Jason who groaned dramatically and fell over, faking death. Jon laughed and sat next to Damian slipping an arm around him and smiling brightly at him. Damian just leaned into him and looked down at his phone.

 

Chapter Text

"So! When's the wedding?"

"Oh we haven't decided yet, trying to plan things around my family and his, and my work."

"We were very surprised to hear about your engagement! You weren't dating very long!"

"Well, we've known each other much longer."

"Yes, but what about your family, are they okay with this?"

Damian and Jon exchanged a look, Damian sighing heavily. Jon tightened his arm around Damian's waist despite his early complaint about him wrinkling the suit.

"Of course they are, they trust my judgement, and besides, it's not really any of your business is it, Mrs. Elliot?"

The old rich woman in front of them visibly balked. Damian chuckled to himself, ducking his head to look down at his watch.

"Well I-"

"No, of course, you were just curious. But maybe curb your curiosity next time before digging into someone's personal life and their family relationships."

Jon offered a polite smile and then started pulling Damian away.

"Have a nice evening, Mrs. Elliot."

Jon herded Damian away towards the table of hors d'oeuvres. 

"Thank you for that," Damian said with a smile, looking up at his fiance.

"Of course," Jon hummed, tilting his head and kissing Damian.

"And thank you for coming with me, this is much easier with you here to fend off annoying questions."

Jon laughed and brushed a hair off of Damian's jacket.

"Oh! Damian! There you are!"

Damian turned to see a couple walking towards them. He didn't even need the OTL to tell him their names, he knew these people well. He smiled, stepping away from Jon to reach out and shake their hands.

"Jon, this is Marty and Lisa Bond," he introduced. "Marty, Lisa, this is my fiancee, Jonathan Kent."

"Pleasure to meet you!" Lisa said when she shook Jon's hand.

"And you!" Jon returned it with a smile.

"How have you been, Damian dear?" Lisa asked, turning to him.

"I've been doing rather well, recently, thank you for asking. How have you been? How is your daughter?"

"Oh we've been doing swell! She's great, loving her college, still going for her doctorate."

"Oh, good!"

Lisa smiled, gently touching Damian's arm.

"Can I just say, we were so happy for you when you announced the engagement. You two seem so right for each other."

"Thank you, Lisa, that's very kind of you."

She looked at Jon, smiling. "I'm glad Damian's found someone like you, you keep a good eye on him, yeah?"

"I will," Jon said with a chuckle.

"Can I just ask one question?"

"Well the answer will depend on what the question is," Damian responded evenly, preparing for a cold answer.

"Who proposed to who? You didn't mention it in the announcement."

Jon laughed slightly, and Damian felt his face heat up.

"There wasn't really a traditional proposal, I suppose. We just came to an agreement and then the next day went and got rings."

"Oh, well." Lisa smiled and gave a small laugh. "Not everyone has to have a stereotypical proposal I suppose."

Damian smiled back. The Bond's excused themselves after a little more chit chat and Jon immediately whirled to Damian.

"Bond. James, Bond."

"I knew it. I knew you were waiting to do that."

Jon laughed, tugging Damian towards him and trying to kiss him, only for Damian to dodge.

"Stop it, Habibi."

"Make me~"

Damian rolled his eyes, turning to look over the charity gala they were attending. It was his regular social requirement to go to one of these, but this time he was just glad to have Jon with him. His fiancee. He smiled at the thought, looking up at him as he recalled the proposal. It really hadn't been anything special, they had been lying in bed after a long night patrolling and Damian couldn't sleep. Even after sex he couldn't sleep, he was just laying there, wide awake, staring at the wall as Jon dozed off beside him.

 

"Jon. Jon wake up."

"Wha? Ufgh, I'm up," Jon had muttered, hand sneaking down onto Damian's thigh, he didn't stop it.

"Do you want to get married?"

Jon had been silent, his fingers lightly dragging along Damian's thigh. After nearly two minutes he spoke.

"Someday, yeah."

"Why wait?"

"What?"

"We don't know what's going to happen, not with the lives we lead. Let's get married."

". . . To be clear this is you proposing, right?"

"Well, I don't have a ring, but yes."

"Well, I will still accept your proposal."

"Good. Then we're engaged now."

"Cool. How does it feel to be marrying your best friend."

"Amazing, Habibi, amazing."

 

Jon smiled back down at him.

"What? What is that look for?"

"I was just thinking about how dumbly cute you are."

"Hey!"

Damian laughed, reaching out to fix Jon's tie. Jon just captured his hand and pulled it up, kissing the knuckle the gold and silver engagement ring was sat under. Damian smiled at the tender gesture. And then Jon froze, eyes shooting up.

"What?" Damian asked moments before his phone started going insane.

"Oh no."

Damian pulled out his phone and looked at the alerts and immediately fear shot through his body.

"Nonono, fuck."

He turned and ran out of the venue without saying goodbye to anyone, Jon on his heels. They drove straight to the batcave and didn't even speak as they rushed to change into their uniforms.

The reason for their panic?

The Joker had escaped Arkham.

Damian jumped on a motorcycle and followed Jon across town as he had located the maniac. Damian's heart was racing. He couldn't do this, the Joker was the closest it came to scaring him. He hated that man more than anything, he had taken his father. He called Jason along the way and the man had muttered curses and said he'd meet them there.

The explosions and trail of destruction told him they were close before Jon even signaled him. 

They met just before entering the bank Joker had set up shop in. Police sirens were surrounding them as they approached. Jon grabbed Damian's arm to keep him from barging in, pulling him around, eyes wide with worry.

"Let me handle this, D."

Damian shook his head, pulling against him, but Jon didn't budge.

"Please, I can't lose you," Jon breathed out, holding tightly to Damian's arm.

"Habibi, I have to do this."

Jon swallowed, glancing around. He ducked his head and kissed Damian desperately, his fingers curled into his arm tight enough to almost be painful.

"Please be careful," Jon whispered.

"I have you to watch my back, I'll be fine," Damian responded, forcing false confidence into his voice.

He was terrified, practically shaking as they walked towards the bank, Jon explaining what was inside, what they would see when they entered. Damian tried to pay attention, but it was hard with his heart pounding in his ears and his stomach churning. This maniac had taken so much from him. He had caused him so much suffering. Slowly, cold anger started spilling into the fear, taking over and causing his blood to boil. He was going to hurt Joker, beat him senseless and put him back in Arkham.

They walked in, barely made it two steps before Jon yelped and jolted back against the door, face pale. A quick scan told Damian of the green glowing rock in the middle of the room. He immediately started towards it, hastily, not taking enough time to check for traps. It was stupid but he was in a rush and he was allowing his emotions to cloud his judgement. So he wasn't really that surprised when pain broke out in his foot. He looked down to see something sharp sticking out of the top of his boot. He grunted in pain, tugging lightly to see if he could free his foot.

The cackling filled the room, freezing Damian in place.

"The little bat has been caught! Oh so easily too!" The voice made Damian's skin crawled, and he whipped his head around to find the Joker walking in from the vault.

"Joker," he growled.

"That's me!" He cackled, looking down at something in his hand.

Damian grunted and started pulling his foot up, the spike he had stepped on, though wickedly sharp, was smooth and thus didn't catch on his foot as he pulled it off.

"Batman!" Jon protested, already turning pale.

"Ooh, Batman! Go ahead, try and save him, little super, do it. I'd love to see you try!"

Jon surged forwards, but with one step towards Damian, he collapsed, coughing.

"You see, I found out about this little partnership and I just knew! I knew that when I broke out, I'd have to deal with you just to get rid of the bat once and for all. So I made a little deal with an old pal of your dad's."

Joker stalked closer to Jon, giggling insanely. Damian hissed in pain as he yanked his foot off.

"After I finally kill the Batman, watch the life drain out of him, again. I will hand deliver you to Lex Luthor and let him do as he pleases. A delicious idea! I'm so clever for having thought of it!"

Joker laughed and kicked Jon hard in the ribs. Jon groaned and curled in on himself. Damian grabbed the chunk of Kryptonite and was preparing to throw it when the explosion hit him. He dropped the green rock and was flung backwards into a wall, hitting it hard and feeling something crack.

"You really think I didn't put a tripwire on it?!" The Joker cackled joyfully, clapping his hands and doing a little dance.

Damian groaned as his head spun, he pushed to his hands and knees. Something had definitely broken just then.

"You see, little Bat. I had some time to think inside that 10 by 9 cell you put me in. And I just knew I choked the life out of the Batman. I heard his little whelp crying out for him to 'wake up! Please Daddy! Wake up'. So if I killed Batman, who is running around dressed as him?"

Damian yelped in pain as a metal bat hit his side, he rolled away, pushing up to his feet and shaking his head to clear it. He focused on the green hair psycho in front of him, bringing up his fists to a defense position. The Joker laughed at him and rested the bat on his shoulder.

"In the end, I decided that it must be that little bird, Robin. Especially since after I killed the bat, he disappeared entirely," The Joker reasoned.

Jon wasn't moving, his breathing clearly labored.

"Superboy?" Damian called, coughing as breathing hurt him.

"And then it occured to me! I killed the bats, so the man who was under the mask must've died too! And imagine my surprise when I remembered Bruce Wayne dying in a 'car crash' that same night!"

Panic shot through Damian and he lunged forwards, swinging at the Joker, who smacked him with the bat before he even got close. Another harsh blow to his face sent him to the ground. He was so out of it today, he took a breath to clear his head, pushing to his feet again and ignoring the stinging pain and the blood gushing from his foot.

"You wanna know what I think?" Joker said with a cackle, turning and walking back to Jon.

"You're insane."

"Of course!" 

He started to rain blows down on Jon's crumpled form and Damian dashed across the room, slamming into the man to get him off, gut punching him and then smashing his knee into the man's nose before falling back, standing protectively over Superboy. The Joker laughed, putting a hand up to his broken nose.

"As I was saying ," he continued, undisturbed by the blood flowing out of his nose and into his mouth.

Damian shuddered, remembering nightmares he had that were similar to this.

"I believe that Batman and Bruce Wayne were one and the same!" He said with a cackle. "And that makes you little Damian Wayne."

Damian didn't move, didn't even let his breathing catch, just rolled his eyes.

"Am I right?" Joker asked, suddenly sobering.

When Damian didn't answer, he lunged across the room, a knife appearing in his hands. They staggered across the room as Damian tried to avoid the knife. And then suddenly the Joker sprung away, scooping up Jon's limp body, his knife replaced by a long green blade. Jon whimpered in pain, weakly jerking away as The Joker pressed it to his throat.

"Tell me or I slit his throat!" 

Damian jolted forwards, but he pressed harder, laughing.

Damian was so tired. He hurt and felt weak and blood was trailing all across the room from his foot, his mouth was bleeding and it tasted horrible. He was so scared for Jon, knowing that being exposed to green Kryptonite that closely was making him seriously ill, let alone being cut with it.

"You're wrong."

"Liar!" The Joker screamed, pressing hard enough on the knife that blood trickled down Jon's throat. "Tell me the truth! Now!"

Damian let out a small sob, taking another step forward.

"Fine! Fine! Let go of him and I will."

"Un-fucking-likely! Tell me or I bleed him like a pig."

"Bats, don't," Jon whimpered out, opening his blue eyes to look at Damian.

"No! Fuck! Stop! I'll-"

Damian nearly screamed as he watched the knife tip slide into Jon's skin. He reached up and ripped off his cowl, holding up his hands.

"You're right!" He yelled, feeling his eyes water.

He couldn't lose Jon. He was nothing without Jon. He'd rather die than lose Jon. Jon would be able to move on, he had his parents, he had the legion. He would be able to live after, Damian wouldn't be able to. He couldn't go through that again.

The Joker laughed maniacally, tossing Jon aside like a limp doll. He laughed for far longer than should be normal, and then was still giggling as he approached Damian, who stepped back, hands coming up. The Joker grinned and leaned in.

"I'm going to have so much fun letting everyone know your precious secret after I've watched you bleed out. But first. I think I'll make you watch this pretty boy's death."

That was the last straw.

Damian lunged, ignoring the blinding pain as the dagger slid through his armor and between his ribs. He grabbed Joker and smashed their heads together. The man yelled in pain and staggered, but Damian didn't stop, yanking the dagger out of his armor and stabbing it through his stomach. He pulled it out again, easily flipped it in his hand and with a single swipe, he slashed the Joker's throat. Pure shock filled the man's pale, scarred face, and a hand came up to grip at the bleeding cut, his mouth opened as he gasped for air but none came. Damian had known exactly what he was doing. He knew the exact amount of force and pressure. Where to hit to sever both arteries and his windpipe. He knew how to execute the killing blow and he did it without hesitation.

"Bats!" A yell came from the doorway, but Damian ignored it, stepping forwards and plunging the knife into Joker's heart.

"You will never, ever, hurt someone I love ever again," he snarled, holding the man close enough. "And you'll die knowing that you lost."

He yanked the knife out again and threw the almost dead man to the floor, watching him convulse. And then someone was grabbing him, pulling his cowl on, holding his face.

"Bats. Batman, look at me, come on, stay with me."

Damian pulled his eyes away from the bleeding body and then up to the person, faintly he registered Red Hood. And then he saw Jon. He let out a horrified sob and lunged forwards, yanking out of Jason's hold to run to his lover. He chucked the knife as he limped over, pain shooting through his foot with every step. He dropped to his knees and grabbed Jon, pulling him into his lap.

"No. Nono, Jon, Habibi. Come on, wake up," he whispered, cradling Jon.

When he didn't get so much as a groan in response, he ripped off his glove and pressed his fingers to his throat, feeling for a pulse. It was there but terribly weak. He dropped his head down, putting his ear over Jon's mouth, he was barely breathing, and it was raspy and wet. He looked up at Jason, who was standing over Joker. Sirens were blaring all around them.

"He's dying," Damian whispered, eyes wide with horror.

"Hey, don't say that, the Supes have never gone down that easy, and I doubt they're going to start now."

Jason walked over, crouching and tilting Damian's head up.

"We need to get you two to Leslie, okay? Can you call the car?"

Damian nodded, following the order and hitting the button that would bring the batmobile racing across town.

"Okay, now D, you need to stay calm, he isn't going to die. But we have to get all the kryptonite. Do you remember where all you saw pieces?"

Damian nodded, tightening his hold on Jon.

"The dagger, and there was a larger chunk . . . There." 

He pointed at it. Jason nodded and stood, collecting them and then disappearing outside. Damian forced himself to breathe, to step away from the moment. To shut down. Jon didn't need him freaking out. Jon needed him to go through this logically. Jon needed Batman.

"Hood, Joker's body, we have to cremate it."

"What?"

"It's the only way to assure he isn't revived. Even the Lazarus Pit can't bring back ashes."

Jason looked between Damian and the dead body, causing a pool of blood on the floor.

"Okay. I'll get on it, after we get you to Leslie's."

"No. Hood. It has to be done now."

"Dude, you're literally about to bleed out. Then both of you will be dead and it won't matter whether the Joker gets revived or not."

"Hood."

"I'm not losing another family member!" Jason yelled.

Damian went to respond but instead coughed. Blinding pain shot through him as he coughed, blood coming up into his mouth. He spit it out and then looked up at Jason. He nodded.

"Make sure that it gets put someplace secure," he ordered.

Jason nodded in response, and then disappeared outside. A minute passed and he returned with two EMTs and a gurney. Damian pulled his glove back on and cautiously stood, crouching to pull Jon into his arms and then turned. He carefully picked his way through the rubble from the explosion and headed outside, feeling his body complain loudly. It hurt to walk, and it especially hurt to carry Jon, but he wasn't leaving him behind. He headed towards the batmobile as he heard it pull up. He had just slid Jon inside when Jason walked up and jumped in the driver's seat. 

"Let's go."

Damian, too tired to argue, got in the passenger seat and leaned back, dully watching the blood leaking from his ribs. Jason tore off across town, calling Leslie on the way. She was apparently already there, having heard about the escape and wisely expected them to show up. Damian was going to pass out, but first he needed to do something.

"Todd. You must make sure Jon gets medical attention first."

"Damian-"

"No. If he dies and I survive, you will end up losing me anyway."

Jason sighed through his nose, his emotions hidden by his helmet.

"Okay. Okay, Damian. Just, stay alive, okay. No one is gonna die tonight."

Damian nodded and closed his eyes, letting himself slip into the blackness of unconsciousness, hoping, praying that when he woke up, Jon would be alive.