..:: 1 ::..
It started out innocent enough – just a casual brush of their hands.
For some odd reason, although it shouldn’t have been, they had actually bumped into each other while doing groceries. They exchanged pleasantries for a short while before Jason pulled out his phone to show Dick some photographic evidence he had obtained that could put that despicable up-and-coming drug lord, Marco Murelli, behind bars for the rest of his stinking life. Dick held the upper part of Jason’s phone to steady it so that he could get a better look at the photos.
That was when he accidentally brushed his pinky against Jason’s index finger.
The sensation that sparked and rippled through his body from the brief touch was like fireworks on the 4th of July and Dick had not felt that alive in a very long time.
“Hey, can I look at those photos again?” asked Dick when they were at the aisle with cereals.
Jason looked up from his grocery list and leaned in as he held out his phone. “Sure. Here.”
Dick took a step forward and edged a little closer; Jason did not need to know that he could actually see just fine from where he was. And Jason certainly did not need to know how he enjoyed the way their shoulders brushed against each other.
..:: 2 ::..
The next time it happened, Dick was not sure if it was all that innocent.
Bruce had discovered that Jason was gathering intel on a particularly devious child trafficking ring that he was also working on. After much cajoling, Jason agreed to join forces with his estranged family members to take it down. In a show of trust, Bruce had appointed Jason to lead the mission. He was not one to delegate- that damned control freak, but Bruce had League matters to attend to – the world-threatening kind.
That was how the Bat Squad (Dick wanted to call themselves the Bat Brats but it was met with strong resistance from the rest, much to Dick’s dismay) found themselves in the Batcave, sipping delicious hot chocolate topped with tiny pastel-colored marshmallows that Alfred had thoughtfully prepared for everyone. They were all seated at the long, oval-shaped table with Jason at the head. Photos and notes related to the mission were neatly stuck on the whiteboard behind him.
Dick had his full attention on the mission briefing. Until he started to find that the way Jason set his very chiseled jaw whenever he was deep in thought, to be rather distracting. And his eyes started to wander lower and lower – to Jason’s thick neck, his exposed collarbone and the way his dark grey t-shirt stretched tight across the broad plane of his chest.
And Dick's eyes shot back up and lingered on Jason’s plump lips. God, he wanted to bite them.
That’s not exactly weird, right?
Snap! Snap! Snap!
“Earth to Nightwing?!”
Dick blinked a few times and when he came back to it, he realized everyone's eyes were on him. In front of him, Damian was practically crouched on the table, snapping his bony little fingers a scant few inches from Dick’s face.
“You with us, Big Bird?” Jason asked with a bemused smile on his face. “You’re looking a little dazed there.”
“Yeah, sorry,” Dick apologized lamely, one hand rubbing the back of his head. He could feel his cheeks heating up. “Continue, please, Little Wing.”
Jason grumbled at the nickname and turned around to continue scribbling something on the whiteboard in his neat, almost cursive handwriting. It should be a crime how the action made his back muscles flexed enticingly and Dick’s mouth involuntarily hung open.
Tim, who was seated across from Dick, flicked a tiny, balled up paper that hit Dick precisely on his right cheek’s dimple. When Dick looked at his way, the boy waggled his eyebrows suggestively. If the goddamn table wasn’t so wide, Dick would have kicked his sorry shin under the table. Instead, Dick settled for a glare and Tim snorted in response.
Once they were done, Dick immediately got up and jogged to the head of the table where Jason was packing his intel files. Tim and Damian had immediately retreated, arguing about some vegan cheese on their way up.
“Awesome plan you got there, Jay!” Dick complimented as he leaned against the table, a foot away from Jason. He flashed the younger man his 10,000-megawatt smile.
Jason looked stunned for a few seconds before he hastily went back to packing up his things. “I hope we don’t fuck this up.”
There was a moment of silence. Dick knew how Jason always had a soft spot for helpless children. He wanted this mission to go well too. There was no room for error here.
“We got this,” Dick said as he playfully punched Jason’s shoulder. “Have faith in us, will you?”
Jason laughed but Dick could hear the underlying nervousness. He placed his hand on Jason’s shoulder blade as a comforting gesture.
Dick swore to God that he honestly had no lecherous intention but fuck, Jason was all hard muscles and again, fuck, he was so warm. Dick felt like his hand had been scalded.
..:: 3 ::..
The third time, Dick would rather die than to admit that it was kind of premeditated on his end.
Boys Night Out had been happening almost every fortnight lately, an initiative by Dick to get the boys to bond and also to help Duke ease himself into the Bat Squad and learn about each other’s quirks.
It wasn’t like he was trying to ostracise the girls but the last time he invited them along, Barbara and Damian ended up arguing over some board game's rules, Stephanie and Cass complained about their movie choices and Kate grumbled about the lack of snacks (and booze). The girls would have much preferred to have a slumber party where they could paint each other’s nails and gossip. Or something like that, according to them. Dick found it, quite frankly, rude because what made them think that he was not interested in getting his nails manicured and returning the favor? He definitely had his fair share of gossips to tell too!
Anyhow, tonight it was movie night at Dick’s apartment. Alfred had told him that the Manor’s theatre room, with its state-of-the-art facilities, was big enough to accommodate all of them, if not some more. But Dick had politely declined the old butler’s offer saying that it would feel a lot more casual when they were not under Bruce’s roof.
They decided to watch Hellboy because there was something very cathartic in watching fictional superheroes trying to save the world. Not that any of them would admit that they wished they were half as cool as Hellboy. Jason seemed to relate to him a lot, despite all of his vehement denials.
As Dick only had one tiny couch in his living room, by virtue of seniority, Dick had dictated that the seats belonged to the two oldest in the group i.e. Jason and himself. The coffee table was pushed to the side to make more room on the floor for the younger boys and the boxes of pizza that Dick had ordered. Various throw blankets and cushions were thrown on the sofa and on the floor for everyone to get comfortable with.
Dick was in the midst of preparing some popcorns (that’s as far as his culinary skill would allow) when he heard Damian bellowing after him from the living room. “Grayson, if you don’t get yourself seated in 10 seconds, we’ll start without you!”
“Coming, coming!” Dick yelled back from the kitchen as he finished dumping all of the popcorns in two large bowls. The last batch seemed to be a little burned so he mixed the bowls well and prayed that he won’t be one of the suckers who would end up eating the burned kernels.
“Need a hand?”
Dick turned around to find Jason leaning on the kitchen’s doorframe.
“Uh, if you could help me get the beers from the fridge?” Dick asked as he had his hands full with the popcorn bowls. He titled his head in the direction of the refrigerator. “And also some juice and soda for Dami.”
When they walked past each other, Dick bumped their hips together. “Thanks, Jay!”
It made Jason fluster for a moment and he immediately made a beeline for the refrigerator.
“Make way for your elders, please,” Dick said as he nudged Tim, who had his back rested on the sofa, with his foot. Tim made a show of rolling his eyes but inched forward anyway. Jason joined him on the sofa a few seconds later, drinks in hand and started distributing it to everyone.
“Ready?” Damian asked the room and after everyone agreed to, he started playing the movie.
Dick was enjoying the way his thigh was pressed flush against Jason’s when they were sitting on the sofa. Somewhere halfway through the movie, when Hellboy was spying on his girlfriend and the CIA agent, Dick was feeling a little bold so he decided to hook his leg on top of Jason’s thigh.
Jason didn’t punch him in the face so he counted that night’s Boys Night Out as a Big Win.
..:: 4 ::..
This time around, they had bumped into each other while patrolling.
Jason was in Blüdhaven working on some leads for the weapons smuggling ring he was pursuing. When it proved to be an uneventful night, he appeared in Dick’s patrolling route with a couple cans of beer. It did not take much for Jason to persuade Dick to take a short break – it had been a rather boring night after all – so he agreed and went to get some gyros from that little hole-in-the-wall shop around the corner. He’d been meaning to try them out anyway.
They sat in companionable silence on one of the rooftops which had a clear view of the ‘haven’s foggy skyline.
“Uh, hold up! You've got something on your chin,” Dick said suddenly and waggled his finger in the direction of Jason’s chin. Of course he’d noticed, he had been surreptitiously staring at the way Jason was chowing down on his gyro.
Jason’s brows scrunched and he swiped his thumb over his chin but it missed the target by a little. “Gone?”
Dick chuckled and reached out to wipe the offending stain from Jason’s chin. He looked at the ketchup smeared on his thumb and against his better judgement, he licked it clean. More out of sheer bad habit, to be honest, because the napkins would always mysteriously disappear when you needed them the most. It took him a good 3 seconds before he realized what he had done and he mentally kicked himself. Repeatedly. This stupid crush was getting out of hand and it was beginning to mess with his brain’s motor function.
As Dick was too busy berating himself, he totally missed the way Jason’s eyes went wide and how he scoffed, trying to fight the blush that started to creep up on his cheeks.
..:: 5 ::..
Dick felt like the whole world was spinning. Trying to get himself to remain standing while gunshots and batarangs were flying around him took way too much effort and he proceeded to drop unceremoniously on his knees. Was that Barbara yelling in his ears? Or was that Tim? He couldn’t tell anymore and faceplanted right on the hard concrete of the warehouse’s floor.
“N?!” Dick heard someone shouting his name from a distance, but he couldn’t tell which direction the voice was coming from.
“Nightwing!” Dick heard the familiar voice again. A few gunshots. And then he felt a strong arm pulling his body back. “Shit. You’re bleeding out.”
And oh, that was Jason to his rescue. How sweet.
Jason’s signature red helmet was horribly damaged, exposing half of his face now. Dick wished he would just take the goddamned helmet off so that he could see Jason’s face properly. And maybe kissed him because Dick would very much like to do that at least once; he’d been wanting to kiss Jason for quite some time now.
“Shut up!” Jason snapped at him but there was no fire behind it, certainly not in the way Dick could see his eyebrows furrowed and there was something akin to worry on his partially exposed face. Which was kind of funny because why did Jason ask him to shut up? Dick didn’t say anything, did he? “I’ve called for help. Hang in there. Don’t you dare die on me, you got that? You fucking dumb bird!”
Dick laughed because he was feeling way too disoriented, drifting in and out of consciousness. The pain on his torso was so excruciating that he started to feel numb all over. With the last of his strength, Dick reached up and absentmindedly stroked Jason’s cheek with the back of his forefinger.
“Jay,” Dick said, voice so soft it might as well be a whisper. “I really li-“
And then everything went dark.
..:: + 1 ::..
Dick peered one eye open and decided that the afterlife was way too bright for his liking so he groaned and tried to bring his hand up to cover his eyes. He immediately regretted it because the moment he moved his shoulder, something was tugging at his stomach and it hurt like a motherfucker.
A vague flashback of gunshots and dirty warehouse floor resurfaced. That must be his injury then. At least he’s not dead so, yay?
“Dick?” came a raspy voice from his left. Dick turned his head in the direction of that voice and was shocked to see Jason sitting on the infirmary’s plastic chair which was way too small for his bulky frame. It was almost comical, really.
“How long have I been out?” Dick managed to croak, throat feeling rather scratchy from disuse.
Jason shifted in his seat and Dick thought he looked worse for wear- five o’clock shadow already forming on his chiseled jaw, dark purple bags under his eyes and he was wearing the same sinfully tight t-shirt that he was wearing the evening of the mission before he changed into his gears. He must have been here since then.
From the corner of his eyes, Dick could see Jason shrugging before he mumbled, “I don’t know, 30? 31 hours? About that I guess.”
Dick pondered for a while. “And you’ve been here the entire time?”
Jason flinched and didn’t meet Dick’s gaze.
“C’mere,” Dick said as he gestured for Jason to come closer with his hand. When he sensed Jason’s hesitation, Dick sighed and patted the empty space next to his quilt-covered thigh. “Come on, Jay. Don’t make me get up. If I tear open these stitches, that’ll be on you!”
Dick was not above playing dirty sometimes if it meant he could get what he wanted. The younger man sighed as he got up from his chair and carefully sat on the edge of Dick’s bed. Jason propped one thigh up on the bed, his knee digging slightly into Dick’s own.
“Thank you, you didn’t have to do this,” said Dick. “You should have gone back and-“
“I wouldn’t be able to deal with myself, you know-“ Jason cut Dick off; his voice wavering. He sounded so much like the boy from before; before the whole incident with Joker that Dick couldn’t help but feel a little guilty, a little... sad. Jason cleared his throat and continued with a little more conviction this time. “If I- If I didn’t get to you in time.”
“Hey, hey,” Dick said in a soft voice, trying to placate Jason. If something were to happen to him during the warehouse ambush, it was due to his own carelessness and not anyone else’s. His blood won’t be on any of his family’s hands. “I’m here, aren’t I? Stop sulking, Jay. Before you know it, I’ll be back on my feet soon enough to annoy the shit out of you!”
Jason gave him a tiny smile, and then it suddenly turned into devilish smirk. “You mean back to randomly groping me, Dickie?”
Dick blinked a few times before Jason’s jab sank in.
“Oh my god,” Dick managed to squeak, thoroughly scandalized. He tried to nudge Jason’s thigh with his knee but Jason was fast enough to evade him. “I've never groped you, Jay!”
“But you would like to,” Jason countered as he slipped off the bed, laughing. He was now standing at the side, towering over the bed. “Don’t think I didn’t know what you’re up to, Dickie! Also what’s that confession about wanting to kiss me right before you passed out?”
Fucking hell. He did say that part out loud then.
Painful stitches be damned, Dick reached down for the quilt that was covering his body, bunched it up and tossed it at Jason’s face. The younger man laughed louder, albeit a little bit muffled by the quilt that was covering his face now. He looked every bit like the ghost emoji and Dick would have found it cute if he was not dying from embarrassment right now.
“Shut up, Jay!” Dick tried to warn but it came out weak. He was not being petulant, he told himself.
“For what it’s worth, Dick,” Jason said as he pulled the quilt off his head. His hair got mussed up in the process and fuck him, Dick thought, because it was totally unfair how that made him look totally endearing. “The feeling’s mutual. Maybe it was me who’s been wanting to grope you, after all.”
“I said,” Jason started as he leaned down, elbow resting on the side of Dick’s pillow. He ran his fingers teasingly in Dick’s hair, pushing his long bangs aside. “The feeling’s mutual.”
“Yes! I mean, no!” Dick rambled, he was clearly losing his shit. “Tell me about the groping part again!”
“Get some rest, pretty bird,” Jason leaned in closer and planted a soft kiss on Dick’s forehead. His other hand roamed further down, careful to avoid Dick’s injury. And when he reached Dick’s naked thigh underneath the hem of his infirmary gown, he gave it a hard squeeze. “We’ll talk about the groping thing later, hmm?”
And just like that, Jason was gone, but not before he carefully laid the quilt back on Dick again. And Dick was left alone in the Manor’s infirmary with his mind reeling and his heart thumping so loud that he might just pass out.
He was determined to get as much rest as possible so that he could recover and continue this conversation with Jason soonest.
He hoped that there would be some hands on too. Literally.