Fandom: DC Comics/Red Hood and the Outlaws

Characters/Pairing: Jason Todd/Roy Harper

Genre: Romance / Angst

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Jason knows he's not perfect. Far from it. That still didn't prepare him for this new, emerging side to him . . .

Word count: 1, 149

Disclaimer: I own none (and make no profit off) of the characters and the Universe/stories they're from, they belong solely to their creator/s and the publishing company.

Notes: I'm sort of speculating through fic? I've just been wondering what sort of issues would eventually crop up if Jason were in a long-term relationship with someone. Ergo, this train wreck of a fic. (Ah, the angsty things my brain comes up with while looking at random, fluffy Joy pics. Totally makes sense.)

For context, this takes place if/when Simon has already joined the group and they're on some generic mission, gathering information and what not at a floor-level bar in some fancy-schmancy hotel.

It takes Jason everything he has to not storm across the crowded bar, to storm right through gaggles of drunk men and women and grab Roy. To just yank him away from the man he's currently talking to – the person he's supposed to be getting information from, not chatting up like they're old buddies or something – and demand to know just what the hell it is he thinks he's doing. (And just what does that man think he's doing, looking at Roy too long, smiling at him like that, practically screaming his intentions for all to hear, Jason thought with a clenching jaw).

But he doesn't move. It could compromise everything, completely blow their cover. Like the last time he got like this. The last thing he wants to do is lose is a pricey hotel bar like this: it's a prime source of information. It's full of people who are inebriated and eager for a quick connection, the former of which they need for their mission and the latter of which is easily manipulated, if you know just what to say.

No, he has to stay put. Has to nurse his third beer for the evening and try to keep his attention from jumping back to Roy too much. Has to remind himself to time his smiles and responses just right to the women on his left as he inquires about the area, as well as keep her from driving the conversation to the empty and welcoming bed in her hotel room.

But it's not working. He's looking at the gorgeous woman beside him but all he sees is Roy out of the corner of his eye. He's listening to the woman talk softly around the thin edge of her glass as she takes a dainty sip, but all he hears is Roy's too-loud, too-obnoxious laughter when he's supposed to be subtly pulling answers out of the guy he's talking to.

He feels the light brush of the woman's hand against his arm when she moves to brush back her hair, but wishes the hand belonged to someone else.

He takes a long, deep chug of his beer. It's bitter and strong all the way down, and it numbs nothing.

It doesn't seem to tame his emotions either, because the next thing he knows he's doing exactly what he's spent the last ten minutes telling himself he wouldn't do. Before he knows it, it's already too late to reign himself in and salvage the situation, because he's right beside Roy, his hand already gripping the archers shoulder.

Immediately, Roy shuts up mid-sentence and looks at the hand grasping his shoulder before following the arm its attached to until he's looking Jason in the eyes, brows furrowing together. "What?" he mouths.

The man beside them noisily clears his throat. "Can I help you?"

Jason goes to answer, but Roy's already cutting in, loudly as always. "My friend! He's my friend," he says with an airy chuckle, "and I think he's a little drunk. He always gets like this, y'know. Few too many and the next thing you know he's this big, lovable teddy bear, aren't ya, Jay?"

It's a load of shit and Roy damn well knows it, but Jason's not about to argue, not when the other man is clearly burning holes into him at the realization that no, he's not about to walk away (not without Roy, anyway), and no, he wasn't about to get lucky that night. Not with this one.

Except the urge to smirk at the loser recedes at once the second he feels himself being shoved back, then yanked by his left bicep towards the door, all the way to hotel's front lobby. Roy's grip is strong, nails digging deep. Jason's lucky he has his leather jacket that night to dull the feeling of sharp nails stabbing into him. The cool night air nips at him the moment they're outside, where their only company is a moonless sky and a pigeon hobbling around a nearby over-filled garbage can.

He glances at Roy when he hand leaves his arm and nearly sobers at the look Roy sends him.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?"

Jason swallows, at a sudden loss for words.

Roy stares at him long and hard, arms crossed over his chest. When it becomes apparent that he's not getting an answer anytime soon, he shakes his head.

"You can't keep doing this."

"Doing what?"

"This," Roy gestures vaguely at the space between them, "getting all green-eyed anytime someone so much as looks at me."

"He was doing more than looking."

"No, he wasn't. I'm pretty much the biggest flirt ever, and I didn't sense anything. We were just talking. I was actually getting somewhere until you decided to show up and be Mr. Bodyguard all of a sudden. Again."

"I . . . " Jason stopped, eyes narrowing as he glared at the ground, muttering under his breath, "Fuck."

When he pried his eyes away from the ground, Roy had uncrossed his arms.

"Why can't you trust me?"

"I trus—"

"No, no, you really don't." Roy stopped, inhaling deeply as if to calm himself. He removed his hat – a white and black trucker hat with a stop sign across the front – and ran his fingers through his hair, scratching his scalp roughly before slipping his hat back on.

"Look, Jason, I get it. I might not be the best at this whole thing, but you know it's bad when it's obvious to me what's going on." A weak laugh slips out of him, so weak it might as well of not even happened. "Trust me, Jay. You're not the only one who's scared."

Jason bites his tongue from replying, 'What is there to be scared of?'

Because, well, fuck. Everything, for one.

How can he even think of saying something like that aloud when the next thing Roy does is aim that miserable expression of his at his feet, while he idly toes at a cigarette butt someone had left behind, and mumbles, "You're not the only one who thinks you're randomly gonna get left behind. Or that you're not good enough. You're really not. Okay?"

Except no, it's not okay.

And he still doesn't know what to say.

He's so disgusted with himself he almost wants to throw up.

"Look," Roy sighs faintly, "Stay out here a bit, get some fresh air, calm down, do whatever you need to. I get it, I really do. But you need to sort your shit out."

Roy starts heading for the front door, but pauses, just long enough to see if Jason was going to say or do anything after all. When he doesn't, shakes his head again and continues on his way.

"When you're ready to treat me like your partner, come find me. I'll be waiting inside."