Dick wakes up into a room right out of a pottery barn catalog. There’s large windows looking out on tall buildings, and a blue gray sky for backdrop. The floor looks like polished wood and he’s lying beneath a bright blue comforter. It’s his color - electric Nightwing blue - he notices with surprise. Dick runs his fingers over the stitching. It’s the sort of thing he would buy, but has never dared to. Too many nights struggling into bed after a hard mission, pressing fingers to bloody noses, knuckles, and tender stitches had taught him to make his choices with bloodstains in mind. Still, he feels a yearning for it, wants it now more than ever.
There are bookshelves by the window, memoirs and history books, mostly, but Dick can make out well-worn fantasy paperbacks. One whole Robin Hood series he’s loved since his teens. There is a dresser facing the bed with picture frames, but Dick can’t see what’s in them. The early morning light is catching them and causing a glare. As much as he wants to stand up and take a look, he’s all too aware that beneath the blanket he’s naked. There are none of the clothes he remembers wearing scattered near the bed, however. Naked and ready, or staying put are his only two options, Dick thinks when he hears footsteps outside the door.
When it opens, he can’t explain how but the person standing in the doorway is Jason, but all at once not the Jason he knows.
“You’re up,” this strange Jason says. He has Jason’s wry smile, and the same color eyes. But where Jason had a splash of white at his forehead, salt and pepper spreads from this man’s temples and through long, wet shoulder length hair making it look like there are streaks of white throughout.
Almost hysterically, Dick notes that the man’s hair is starting to curl as it dries.
“Time to get out of bed, sleepy-bird,” Jason says. He eyes Dick, then starts to grin flirtatiously, and asks, “Or should I get back in? Won’t be the first time we’ve left Drake waiting.”
Jason is wearing an apron over a too tight henley, buttons undone so Dick can see chest hair and scars. Jason is stripping off the apron, as he approaches the bed. There’s a confidence to him that is startling, and a sparkle in his eye. He’s so sure that he’s going to get a kiss - Dick’s heart skips a beat for a second. Then Jason’s hand covers his on the bed. And Dick jolts. His body moves, and he’s letting loose a shriek as he falls backwards out of the bed, and onto the beautiful, very hard, wood floors.
When Dick opens his eyes, Jason is leaning over the side of the bed, staring down at him with his brow creased in concern.
“You okay?” he asks. And when Dick nods, a smile breaks out over Jason’s face, and the laughter he was trying to hide bursts out. It’s a warm sound, without a hint of malice. Dick feels unbalanced.
Dick knows Jason is back as Red Hood but it's been a handful of bad encounters. This is closer to the kid he remembers than the crime boss who has shot at him. Hysterically, Dick recognizes that this Jason has the same smile as Jason did when he was Robin. Or maybe, it’s just that he looks happy, and Dick had forgotten there was a time that Jason was happy.
Dick feels out of his element. The last person to look at him like Jason is now was Kori. That was before Jason died, and before Dick broke her heart.
Watching Jason laugh, panic sets in. It’s been hard enough for Dick to compartmentalize that the Red Hood - the terror on Gotham - was his … was Jason. But this older man, this beautiful aged, and warm and most of all alive version of Jason exists?
Everything in Dick tells him to run.
He rushes for the door he hopes is the bathroom, scrambling for pieces of clothing ditched on the floor. He prays he doesn’t end up in a tiny closet with a shirt and nothing else to speak of, but it’s a risk he’s willing to make.
He’s lucky. It’s a bathroom and he has sweatpants in hand. They’re heavy on one side and when he reaches into the pocket he finds a phone. Or at least it looks like one, it’s lightweight and the Wayne Tech symbol looks like it’s gone through rebranding. Running his thumb over it, the lines of the letters aren’t as sharp. Dick thinks he would have heard if there had been a marketing change - he certainly would have heard Tim complain about having to be the face of it because Bruce refused. But Dick’s just grateful that luck wins out again, and it opens to his thumb print.
Dick finds Tim in his contacts, still there Dick thinks with relief. The phone only gives him a video call option. It’s a surprise, but he’s also glad because that’s what he needs right now - to see a familiar face. He can’t get much more friendly than Tim, a person who hasn’t ever harbored plans to kill Dick as far as he knows.
Dick watches and waits as the line rings. He needs Tim to be the same as he was last Thursday in the cave. Dick remembers ruffling his hair after Tim fell asleep on his geometry textbook. Dick can so clearly remember last week, breathless and exhausted from a night of protecting Gotham - a night that Red Hood had only complicated. He can’t imagine such a peace between him and Jason. As much as he’s wished for one. He needs this to be a horrible but explainable prank. Maybe it's Clayface again. As awful as that would be - as potentially heartbreaking - with a hand pressed to his heart, Dick would be able to deal with that.
Tim answers and for a second Dick is staring up at a ceiling fan. Then Tim comes into view. His confused, scrunched up eyebrows and bedhead appear first. The air leaves Dick’s lungs. It's clear by the look on Tim's face that Dick has surprised him. He's lounging on a couch, and in the background Dick can see a kitchen. He can hear the sounds of someone in there, cooking, but it's not the manor or the penthouse. Tim's hair is still a mess of bedhead, and longer than when Dick saw him last. But it's not that that's a sucker punch for Dick. It's the soft wrinkles starting at the corner of his eyes, and the little bit of gray in his hair. It's Kon coming out of the kitchen and slipping into frame, arms coming around Tim so casually that it must be practiced. Tim doesn't even flinch.
But he's frowning at Dick through the screen, clearly waiting for an answer to something that Dick wasn't paying attention to. He's too wound up in how obviously comfortable and domestic Tim is with Kon, and the panic is getting worse.
"Dick?" Tim calls, not for the first time Dick would guess. "I thought we were coming to yours for brunch? Is everything alright?"
"You didn't try and help Jason, and blow up the kitchen, right?" Kon asks, the edge of his face in the screen until Tim turns it so they can both peer at Dick.
And Dick can't even laugh at the pointed, but fair joke.
“Maybe he forgot to remind us to bring something?” Kon stage whispers.
Tim rolls his eyes, exasperation clear. Not quietly enough he says, “He better not, we’re already bringing raspberry orange scones. You’ve been up all night working on them instead of just letting me bring store bought like I wanted to.”
Dick watches dumb-struck as Kon leans in to press a kiss against Tim’s ear, whispering something that Dick can’t hear in response.
There's a rap at the door, a very gentle one. But it still makes Dick jump. Jason is asking what's wrong from the other side of the door. And his brain just can't handle that it's Jason, it's Jason.
"Dick?" Tim asks again, mild concern giving way to something more alert. This is the junior detective Dick knows. Not the cosy, domestic boyfriend his younger brother has become.
Dick would be happy for him, but he is suddenly so tired.Carefully he sets the phone face up on the lid of the toilet. He doesn't want to look at Tim and Kon cuddling, and he doesn't want to see Tim's face when he asks.
"What year is it?" he asks Tim.
Instead of answering, Tim asks him what's wrong, voice rising in pitch with his own panic setting in. Dick wraps his arms around himself and thinks through meditation techniques that Bruce taught him over the years. He tries counting his breaths, tries to center himself by feeling every part of his body and where it is and how heavy.
Tim is asking him if he hit his head. If something happened. If Jason is there and he can talk to him.
Outside the door, Jason sounds increasingly worried too.
"Dick, do you want me to come over now?" Tim finally says.
Kon slips out of frame, and Dick can see the back of him heading into the kitchen. A small part of Dick feels bad that Kon is probably taking the scones out of the oven, half done and forever ruined because they have to rush over early.
To Tim’s question: Dick wants to say no. Even though the man he is looking at is easily in his thirties, so much older than when Dick taught him to train-surf, Dick feels that gut urge to protect him. Dick wants to shoulder this himself. He doesn’t want to be causing that crease of worry down Tim’s forehead.
Dick takes a steadying breath, making the decision to smile and face Jason alone. He can do this, he thinks. But when he stands up, he gets a look at himself in the mirror.
The world tilts sideways. Dick's not seeing himself as he looked this morning. Or whenever it was that he last looked, he thinks hysterically. Jason isn't the only with salt and pepper in his hair.
Looking back at him from his reflection are the bright blue of his eyes. But there are lines, from laughter and from stress, he’s sure. He looks so little like Bruce now - he always knew that would happen. The eerie similarity between them as lost children had spawned rumors from the Gazette for years. But looking now, at the stubble of facial hair on his jaw, and the gray of his hair. Dick sees John Grayson.
He looks like his father. Before this morning his dad’s face had been a half-memory, growing more and more fuzzy as time had passed.But he remembers him with a clarity, seeing his dad’s warm eyes looking back. The warm smile Dick remembers is absent, replaced by Dick’s own feeling of horror. It’s too much.
He can’t think about his dad being younger than Dick must be now when he died.
Dick looks determinedly away from his own face. Across his chest are new scars. They’re all older, no sign of pinks, healing tissue. He’s careful as he runs his fingers over unfamiliar ones. He’s following a line along his ribs, and feeling as though the ground has sunken out from under his feet. He feels dissociated from his body. His skin tingles and his fingers feel foreign against his skin.
Out of reach, Tim and Jason are calling his name.
Dick hears himself say, "You should get here as soon as you can. Thanks, Tim."
“Dick? Can you give the phone to Jason.” It’s not a question. Dick can’t express the gratitude he feels as being given a clear instruction right now.
He pulls himself away from the mirror, still feeling outside of himself as he unlocks the door, and opens it. It's continues to be a surprise to see Jason standing on the other side. But it's more than that. The Jason he has caught in glimpses and back-alley fights was so angry, Dick doesn't think he's seen anything but anger on his face since -
Dick leaves that thought hanging. Jason looks at him with relief. Hands that were pressed on either side of the bathroom doorway uncurl from fists and lower gently to his side. It's a clear telegraph of intent; Dick is safe and Jason wants him to know that there is no threat from Jason or the other side of this door. A small, questioning smile starts at the corner of Jason's lips, and his tongue slips out to wet them before they part. And Dick knows that Jason is going to ask him how he is, or if there's something he can do. And the last time those words were said between the two of them that Dick remembers, he was the one screaming them at Jason's back. It had been a last ditch effort to keep Red Hood from jumping off into the night, disappearing into Gotham's underbelly, again. Where Dick found it impossible to find him unless Jason wanted to be found.
Dick can't stand to hear them said here, in this shiny, clean bathroom with His & His embroidered towels on the rack. Or matching tooth brushes in blue and red in a cup on the counter top. Everywhere Dick looks he can see little pieces of himself, little things that he would have agreed to if this were truly his.
But the person who said yes to this, whatever it is Dick Grayson is doing with Jason Todd, isn't him.
So Dick cuts Jason off before he can ask Dick how he is. "Tim wants to speak to you," he says. He thrusts the phone between them, and looks away from the way Jason's eyebrows turn downward in concern. He sits down on the toilet and covers his face with his hands so he can imagine he can't hear the soft tones Jason and Tim are using to speak about him.
He waits. Until he hears Jason say goodbye. Waits until he hears the soft sounds of Jason sitting down on the bed before he looks up. Dick had pressed his hands so hard to his eyes that he's seeing colorful dots in his vision when he does. But it's still an older Jason sitting on the bed. Still a look of concern on Jason's face.
"It's been a long time since we've scared each other like this," Jason admits into the silence between them.
He's looking at his hands. Dick doesn't know what Tim said, or how he explained what might be happening, or if it was just Dick freaking out and locking himself in the bathroom. But Jason is tripping over his words as he says, "For a second there - I thought I was going to have to pick the lock."
A self deprecating laugh breaks his lips, and it's a little wet. And Dick is moving of his own accord. Jason says, "Remember ... " then stops abruptly.
Dick freezes in the bathroom doorway. Whatever Jason was going to say, he doesn't. But he can see that admitting it would just hurt this Jason more.
Jason must realize it. He nods to himself and before Dick's eyes, adapts to it. He runs those same big hands across his face. "It's been years since either of us have had to do that."
Dick leans his hip in the doorway, and takes a second to soak more of this Jason in. He’s rolled up the sleeves of his shirt, revealing defined, hairy forearms. The texture of Jason’s skin under his palms intrigues Dick. He can almost imagine the warmth of being in their embrace.
Jason is sitting on the same bed that Dick woke up naked in. For some version of Dick Grayson, it’s not an idle daydream. For some version of him, Jason has crawled over him in bed and Dick had been welcoming. Maybe had parted his lips and legs to invite Jason back to bed.
Dick can’t ignore that this is clearly their bedroom. That they live together.
Even if his last memory of being that close to Jason, they’d both been bloodied from an explosion. Jason’s hands had only been on him to subdue him, to try and force Dick to stop following him. The mask had fallen off and there had been blood on Jason’s lips, between his teeth, and Dick had been so lost staring into the churning storm of Jason’s angry eyes.
To imagine kissing that Jason would have been liking inviting Jason to eat him alive.
In this bedroom, Jason is quiet, and patient. His curls have grown tighter as they've dried, and one of the pure white strands is falling over Jason's forehead. It reminds Dick of Clark in his early days. This Jason, with his broad shoulders, and strong arms. Under the leather jackets and the unrestrained anger, maybe Red Hood has these shoulders too. Or maybe he's still growing into them. Neither Red Hood nor this Jason are the same boy who would slouch his shoulders under the canary yellow of the Robin cape, blushing from his cheekbones to his shoulders at the slightest compliment from anyone. But Dick can almost see him in this Jason, where he can't in Red Hood.
There are laughter lines next to sea green eyes. And laughter lines around his lips. Jason licks his lower lip again, watching Dick in return. Dick wonders what he thinks. He knows now that this body is nearly as new to him as the house, and bed, but he must look like the same man Jason went to bed with last night. Dick can't ignore that he was naked when he woke up, and this is clearly their home. Jason came to wake him, and there's been no sign that he or Jason or Tim and Kon have anywhere they're duty bound to be.
They were having an easy morning off with brunch and their friends.
Dick moves toward the bed, unable to ignore that Jason woke up this morning thinking he was in bed with his - what do they call each other, Dick wonders. Maybe lovers?
And instead, there was a stranger in his lover's head.
The wood is cold under Dick's feet as he crosses the room. Jason's face is cool in Dick’s hands as he cups Jason’s cheek. Jason’s breath is warm as he turns into the touch, lips brushing the palm of Dick's hand. At his scalp, Jason's hair is still damp. Jason's legs part easily to let Dick step between him. Jason doesn't hesitate to let Dick not only touch him, but lift his other hand to hold Jason between his two hands. Dick's heart pounds. They fit together so easily, and Jason lets him close with no reluctance. Jason lifts a hand to hold Dick's wrist loosely between his fingers, and Dick's heart skips. And he knows why he would want this.
After all, his stomach had filled with bile and self-hatred when he’d laid awake at night with thoughts of letting Jason eat him alive.
They're startled by a knock at the door. Dick can't tell if they've lost time or Tim and Kon broke the speed barrier to get here. But the sound of the knocking freezes him up. He's too aware of how close he is, how little he is wearing, chest heaving with sudden want for air as he looks down into Jason's now open eyes. Jason probably kissed that same bare skin only hours ago, but Dick feels vulnerable. He's never been shy or overly modest. But he feels stripped bare in an unfamiliar way.
He's relieved when Jason offers to answer the door.
“I’ll keep them busy,” Jason says. His fingers climb up Dick’s arm from his wrist, curling warmly around Dick’s elbow. He’s looking into Dick’s eyes, and Dick doesn’t know what Jason is trying to find.
He wants to be able to exude some of what he’s feeling. Or at least fake some of the warmth he thinks Jason needs from him.
There’s another knock, and it startles them both. Jason laughs, gently squeezes Dick’s elbows, a reassuring grip.
“Better go get that before Tim has Kon break the door down,” Dick reminds him.
“Good idea,” Jason says. And he lets Dick go.
"You can wear whatever," Jason says. He waves a hand toward the dresser and another door. And leaves Dick there to take a moment to center himself.
He drags even breaths into his lungs, and clenches his fists as he feels the heat of Jason’s skin fade from his fingertips. Then he clumsily looks for something to wear, trying not to linger on anything in the room. The pictures on the dresser call to him like a siren song - come to look at what isn’t is, and what he and Jason would find important enough to frame.
Dick lingers only once, when he chooses a shirt, a worn gray one that he picks it for its softness. And if he pressed it to his nose before he put it on, no one but him knows. It smelled different, a nicer detergent than he uses. And the smell of him and Jason living together underneath that.
When he comes downstairs, stumbling uncharacteristically into another magazine set dressing of a room, Dick finds all eyes on him. Tim and Jason are standing toe to toe, but they stop to look at him. Dick realizes, by the look in Jason's eyes, that the shirt is Jason's.
“See, he’s fine,” Kon says. He waves at Dick, smiling broadly like there’s nothing out of the ordinary happening. “I mean, look at that hickey. I thought you just turned 45, Jason. Not 17.”
Dick barely has time to feel for a bruise he hadn’t spotted in the mirror. Tim rolls his eyes and says, “That’s not a funny joke, Kon.”
“Yes it is.”
“It’s not funny right now.”
When Kon rolls his eyes it’s with clear affection. Dick watches him as Tim approaches with a look of concern.
Kon looks different too. Dick didn’t have time to absorb it before. He’s taller - the Kryptonian genes making it so every one of Clark’s relatives peaked well above six feet. He’s almost a foot taller than Tim, and inches above Jason beside him. But it’s the easy smile on his face when he turns to Jason, engaging him into conversation, and pulling him toward the kitchen in what looks like a familiar gesture that Dick understands least.
Gone are the hunched shoulders of the angry kid Dick remembers. He’s growing stubble, and knows where the hook for his leather jacket is, opening a door Dick would have thought wasn’t a closet, to hang it up before asking Jason for a cup of coffee.
“Do you want to talk on the balcony?” Tim asks, dragging Dick’s analyzing gaze away from the two men moving further into an open plan kitchen. It’s massive, and modern. And most unusual for a place where Dick lives, it’s clean.
It’s all Dick has to agree, and let Tim hold his hand as he’s pulled out to the balcony.
The easy affection. The way Tim holds his hand is so intimate for the kid Dick knows. Gone is the touch-starved, hungry kid that Dick had to persuade to be hugged.
Guile, though, is still there. When they’re seated on the balcony, the hand in Dick’s turns to checking his pulse at his wrist.
“What do you remember from your last mission?”
From this view of the city, Dick knows he’s not in Gotham. It’s not just the blue skies or the space where the Wayne Tech building should be towering over the rest of the skyscape.
Dick looks for the Daily Planet building, curiously until Tim’s other hand takes a gentle grip on his chin.
“Dick seriously, look at me.”
From the pocket of a - and how did he take so long to notice this, Dick thinks - of a soft linen shirt, Tim produces a pen light. He flashes it in Dick’s eyes, instructing him through a concussion exam.
“Stop,” Dick says.
He has to hold Tim’s hand in his own to get the light out of his eyes. But, again, Tim takes the hand holding easily. Except for the concern on his face, and oh, Dick hopes he’s not the reason for all the lines there, Tim doesn’t look uncomfortable at the touch.
“What’s going on?” Tim asks. “I called Cass and Duke, but they said there wasn’t anything unusual about your visit home. And you weren’t supposed to be in the field. You were supposed to be on vacation while Damian gets the hang of league work.”
Dick’s head swims. He closes his eyes against the leaps that his brain is making with so many names that he doesn’t know.
In person, Tim is clearly older. And for all that he is waving a pen light in Dick's face and asking about injuries, he seems more relaxed that Dick has ever known him. Gone is the youthful anxiety and panic. The only thing that seems to rile him is when Dick ignores his questions because he's looking around inside the apartment at the different things that are clearly Jason, the things like the glass framed Flying Graysons poster that's his. Jason and this Dick Grayson have a surprising number of pictures around the place, Dick thinks. Maybe he idly wonders if the one of him and Jason when they went skiing is there amongst them.
This is more than he suspected. He’s afraid to ask. It’s clear this isn’t a prank, not by the way Tim easily laces their fingers together and gives him a reassuring squeeze, and calls his name with such emotion.
“Dick, please. Talk to me.”
This could be time travel, Dick thinks. Or worse. Universe hopping. What could he be wrecking if it is?
What could he be wrecking if it’s not?
Where he was before feels so real, and so clear. He went to bed bruised and bandaged in Bludhaven after a harrowing few months back on his feet from his knee injury. He had done what he could to help Bruce with Gotham until always being a step behind Jason had become too much.
But if he’s wrong.
Dick doesn’t know what he should do. So he does what he always does. What he’s best at.
“I’m fine, Tim. I just had a bad nightmare,” admitting that, even if it’s a lie, makes Dick grimace. “It made me disoriented. I’m sorry I ruined brunch with it.”
It’s a gamble to lie to Tim. He’s always been the one best at knowing when Dick has spread himself too thin, or is covering up with a performance. But unlike Bruce, or maybe because of Bruce and how wrecked he’s been, the shelter of their relationship has been too great and too fragile. Neither Tim or Dick have been ready to test that fragility for fear of something else breaking. The mansion is already a quiet tomb to Bruce’s failure. And before, Kon was gone.
Dick remembers that suddenly. He squeezes Tim’s hand with an emotion.
“Are you sure?” Tim asks. “If there’s something wrong, you can tell me.”
This Tim is so earnest. And it breaks Dick’s heart to perform for him. But if he tells Tim, then he’ll have to tell Jason.
Dick doesn't want to tell Jason how far back his memory goes. He doesn't want to hurt Jason by saying he doesn't remember them. That he is not Jason's.
He's rescued by Jason interrupting them. He knocks his knuckles on the glass door.
“I’m thinking, since you’re here, Tim. We might as well have that breakfast I was working on.” His eyes catch on Dick’s. There’s a question there that Dick doesn’t know how to answer. “Can’t hurt to eat right?”
Tim looks like he’s going to say something, remind them all about what could, in fact, happen if Dick has a concussion and eats. But his gaze drifts, and when Dick follows it he sees Kon through the door, leaning casually in the kitchen and smiling. Kon waves when he catches them looking.
“Kon worked really hard on those scones,” Tim says with a sigh.
“I’m sorry,” Dick says. But Tim just shakes his head.
“I’m sure they would have been awful anyway. He still mixes up the salt and sugar half the time.”
“He doesn’t seem upset to me,” Jason says. He’s shrugging, and it’s clearly only Dick who is holding onto the side of his chair in fear of the tone of this changing into something more tense and dangerous.
“Of course not. Your cooking didn’t get interrupted. ” But Tim smiles at Jason, rolling his eyes as some sort of inside joke seems to pass between them both.
Then, “Are you okay?” Tim asks Jason softly.
Jason looks at Dick with another questioning look.
Dick can feel his cheeks heat. He hadn’t expected to be lying to Jason too, so soon. “I told Tim it was a bad dream. That’s all. A lot of drama for something so - “ Dick swallows hard. The words catch in his throat. He doesn’t know what he’s playing at. If he doesn’t wake up from this, and if this isn’t the bitter sweet dream then he’s digging himself deeper into hell. “It was just a nightmare. I’m sorry.”
Jason doesn’t scream. Jason doesn’t contradict him.
That’s all he’s done since he’s come back from the dead. And Dick has felt it like knives. He’s felt flayed by Jason’s accusations, and his own responsibility has been just as palpable. He’s turned the manor into a manifestation of his failure just as much as Bruce. But somehow he’s sitting on patio furniture under the sun.
Tim looks happier than Dick has seen him in years. And Jason.
Jason smiles, and nods. His crossed arm pose in the doorway becomes more relaxed. And like that, he seems to take Dick at his word.
“Then I’m okay too,” Jason says.
That seems to be enough for Tim. Though he keeps watching Jason for a breath, and something passes between them, again, that Dick can’t read. It’s not animosity or homicidal intent – that’s all that Jason has had for Tim. And Tim.
There’s none of the kid who hero-worshipped Dick and Jason in him.
Dick feels the loss of it when Tim lets go of his hand.
He watches Tim go inside, closing the door behind him as Jason takes his place. He’s wearing shorts, and a button up, short-sleeved shirt and any of the anxiety and weight of becoming a Wayne seems to have been long out grown. Dick wonders if this Tim is the face of the company. He can’t still be Robin. Who is he now, Dick wonders. And he wants to know so badly.
When he’s within arm’s reach of Kon, Tim gets swept up in a hug. Even through the closed sliding glass door, Dick can hear him laugh suddenly and loudly. His arms wrap around Kon’s neck to hold on as he’s spun around.
“I know it wasn’t a nightmare,” Jason says. He’s gentle. But it shocks Dick.
He leaning forward toward Dick, but his hands dangle loosely, safely between his knees. Dick eyes them for a moment, but they don’t move. There are no clenched fists. And so Dick turns toward him too.
“I get that you don’t like to scare Tim,” Jason says. “But I need you to talk to me.”
He’s looking at Dick with earnestness, and something else. Something Dick is afraid to name because he thinks it must be love.
“It wasn’t just a dream,” Dick admits.
“Is it your memory?” Jason asks. “Could it be a concussion?”
“I don’t know what this is.”
Jason eyes Tim and Kon inside. He holds himself still and Dick watches too. Tim and Kon have moved further from them. They’re talking with their heads bent close, but they aren’t watching them. That must be what Jason is watching for. He lets out an exhale, and covers his face with his hands.
It’s warm on the patio. The sun is beating down, and it must be summer or spring Dick thinks. But he watches Jason’s shoulders shake and feels frozen.
There’s the honking of a car horn, and the sound of traffic far below them. There’s a breezes that shakes the shirt against Dick’s back and brings that scent to him again.
Then Dick says, “I’m sorry.”
His voice is too soft. But Jason catches it anyway.
Abruptly he sits up, and looks at Dick with wet eyes. He looks bewildered.
“Sorry for what?” Jason asks. And he’s moving, his hands are catching Dick’s between them. And it must be a practiced move. Must be instinct.
That’s when Dick finally notices the wedding ring on Jason’s finger. That's when he realizes that they're married.
"You lost yours," Jason offers easily when he notices Dick looking. Surprising Dick with his observation and empathy. "You lost it. Not on purpose. You were helping Damian on a mission, and you usually wear it around your neck on a chain on missions," Jason gestures toward his own throat, demonstrating. "But hyperspace is unpredictable.”
Dick turns Jason’s hands in his own, and Jason lets him. He holds Jason’s hand palm up, and brushes his finger against the gold band, expecting it to shock him.
"You looked as sad then as you do now," Jason teases, even though his voice is still wet. "You were like a kicked puppy when you came home. As if I wouldn't just be glad to get you home."
“How did we get together?” Dick asks.
And for the first time there’s an edge of self-deprecation in the sound of Jason’s laugh.
Dick absorbs that. Like he has everything today. Maybe they're more newly wedded than he would have guessed. But this house, the way Jason so easily slipped into his orbit, and helped Dick was with an ease of years of experience. It hurts Dick to realize how much he wants to have seen all of this. He wants more than anything to understand how this Dick Grayson feels. But he can't imagine. He's had two failed engagements, and Red Hood being Jason, Jason being back had been enough to toss ideas of relationships clear from his head.
“We're waiting for a jeweler to send us a new one," Jason adds. Filling the silence, unaware of what Dick is thinking.
The pain of chasing Jason for weeks. For yearning and hurting for Jason to come home, and all the mourning that had resurged and the mourning for what was stolen from Jason is so fresh for him.
“I’m sorry, I don’t remember any of this.”
Dick is crying too. And Jason moves with care, testing the water as he lifts his hands up to Dick’s face, holding him like Dick held Jason earlier. He’s brushing tears from Dick’s cheeks. It steals Dick’s breath away when Jason carefully leans forward kisses his temple, before tucking Dick’s face against his throat. Dick can smell aftershave, and the detergent. He can feel the heat of Jason’s skin and the hesitant way Jason rubs his back.Jason knows how to care for him. He’s just not the one Jason knows.
“What if don’t - “ Dick asks. He feels Jason shiver against him as he speaks, reacting to Dick’s lips against his skin. “What if whatever is happening is permanent?”
Dick seeks Jason’s hand out and holds it firmly. Since he woke up this morning, Jason has been offering to be a lifeline. Dick is finally ready to take it.
Inside is a home that Jason has built with a different version of him. They’ve built a solid relationship. They spend mornings eating brunch with Tim and Kon, and they’re friends. They all seem so happy – and Dick feels like he’s ruining it.
“What if - “
“We’ll deal with it,” Jason interrupts. He’s urging Dick up. Jason tries to look Dick in the eye. They’re both crying, and it’s funny and heartbreaking, Dick thinks, to see Jason this way.
Carefully, Dick wipes the tears running down Jason’s cheek now. A soft, wet laugh escapes Jason, and Dick can only imagine what he’s feels.
“We’ll handle it together,” Jason promises.
He moves closer, and kisses Dick's cheek and Dick's forehead. A promise and a benediction. And that yearning is so strong that Dick moves with it. They're kissing, and Dick is shaking with it because he doesn't want to leave but he wants Jason to have his husband back.
He hopes if he's gone, if he wakes up tomorrow and this fades like a dream, that maybe he can still have it someday.