Two figures tore through the Gotham night. Running now together, now apart; paths crossing and separating, entwining and repelling. The few who glimpsed them in the flickering shadows shivered and hunched down, hurrying to their destinations. It was never good to be out, when the Bats were about.
They need not have worried; this was a quiet night, by Gotham standards. The two figures, both of whom had once worn the red, yellow, and green of the Robin, were simply out for their version of a normal afternoon stroll in the park. If normal afternoon strolls included the occasional beating of a criminal, scaling high-rises and diving off rooftops with convicted criminal not-brothers.
Jason eyed the way Dick was moving next to him. Seeing Dick in motion was nothing unusual. The man was personified by motion. Action, reaction; movement and the pulse-pounding rush of free-fall.
Jason thought, sometimes, that Dick was made for this life. Or maybe this life was made for Dick? One and the same, two sides of a coin, chicken and egg. Was Dick the way he was because of the demands of the job, or was the job the way it was because Dick had been first, would always be first?
The younger man doesn't know what Dick would be doing, if he had never found this life. Had never dove into this life with the abandon of one used to trusting those around him to catch him. Was he still falling? Is that why he threw himself so blindly, joyously, into every situation. Was he still waiting to meet and cleave to outstretched hands?
Would he have been content with the comparatively tame rush of the circus, if he had never felt this? Would he have been happy with a life swinging bar to bar under the big top for an adoring crowd, catching and caught, if he had never tasted this; diving from skyscrapers, tumbling into an 'audience' that was violently hostile and lit only by the flash of muzzle-flare?
It wasn't something they could ever know. Just as they would never know what would have become of Jason, had his mother never given him away, or Bruce had never found him that night in Crime Alley.
Still, something about the way Dick was moving sent alarm bells ringing in Jason's head. There was an edge to his movement tonight; a sort of frantic, frenetic edge not normally present in the incurably graceful form.
Something was wrong. He'd known that from the moment Dick had shown up at his apartment, jittery and oddly quiet. Dick was rarely quiet. He was, in fact, the absolute epitome of 'chatterbox'. Silence was only slightly more common than stillness. The latter of which was often a sign of impending doom. It was downright unnatural for him not to be invading the space in Jason's head with his chatter and his warmth and stories of life in the Manor as efficiently as he invaded Jason's personal space with his long limbs and clingy hugs and desperately sensual nuzzles.
That was the reason he had agreed to this excursion. He'd really had better plans for the night, but faced with a self-hugging, reticent Dick sitting motionless on his couch and asking him to go run the rooftops with him? He could change his plans for that. Even if those plans had included a well-deserved beer or two, and some equally deserved couch time after the insane week Gotham had been having. His original plans *had* also included getting sweaty and dirty with the warm body running beside him. Just, in an entirely different way then they were currently managing it. Jason had been planning on significantly less clothing, more moaning, and quite a bit more privacy. Though really, in a pinch he'd settle for just the first two, and make sure to put on a good show.
He may not know exactly what they were to each other (that was a lie, he knew exactly what Dick was to him) but he made sure to take full advantage of it whenever he could. Dick was the proverbial ray of light in Jason's life, and he basked in it at every opportunity. Never knowing when Dick's madness would cease and he would stop coming by; when the sun would set on his life again, throwing it back into darkness and uncertainty. And that was entirely separate from the fact that Dick was damn hot, and fucked like a dream. He'd been looking forward to some of that tonight. It looked like that plan was falling through.
Truth be told, he'd expected to still get on with that original plan eventually, maybe even sans the beer. He'd been okay with that change in plans since he was sure he'd be amply paid back for the delay, once Dick got himself worked up with a good run. Normally the joy of motion and the rush of flight was enough to help Dick fight off any problem that was dragging him down. Any lingering depression was easily worked out with an entirely different brand of motion; grinding hips and sweaty limbs, biting kisses and sharp teeth.
Tonight there was no joy in Dick's movements. He was moving… Well, he was moving like Bruce. Seeing Nightwing moving more like Batman than Dick had ever managed when actually wearing the cowl was deeply disturbing. He was all efficient strength, but no grace, no laughter, no crazy flips just for the hell of it. He looked stiff and wound tight after almost an hour beating the rooftops. Normally by ten minutes in he allowed himself to forget his problems momentarily, drowning them in the rush of flight; whooping and laughing, moving fluidly and seeming to defy the laws of gravity themselves.
Today it looked like gravity was winning.
That would never do. Bad things happened when Graysons succumbed to gravity.
Jason wasn't sure if what he was going to do would help, though. Wasn't sure what good he could do for whatever was troubling Dick that even an evening of the kind of movement he usually lived for couldn't help. A problem so bad it drove Dick out of the grace and unconscious flair Jason had just always assumed was genetic; programmed into his very cells.
Still, he was going to try.
He'd already waved off a concerned-looking Replacement, when the boy had come up on their right. The boy had left reluctantly, still wary about trusting Jason. Which he supposed was fair, considering he wasn't at all sure any given meeting whether he wanted to pound the boy's face in or not. He knew intellectually that he wasn't being fair to the boy, but he could only rarely bring himself to care beyond not activly targeting him. It made Dick sad, which got him more pouting, and less sex (and he hated to see that look on Dick's face, the one that asked what he had done wrong, why his family wasn't happy). Dick was rather attached to the kid, so Jason mostly left him along these days. Tonight, he wasn't sure Dick had even noticed the other's presence, which was almost more worrying than anything else this night.
Rather than smoothing out as they ran, Dick's motions were getting rougher. He was more and more reckless as he flung himself out into space, catching lines by finger-lengths and shooting his grapple at the last viable moment. Jason was going to have to do something drastic, and fast, or Dick was going to hurt himself.
When he first began training, Jason had lived too much in his head, tried too hard to get everything just right and instead had only managed to get stiffer and stiffer as he worried about his form and what Bruce thought. If he didn't get this perfect, would Bruce throw him back out on the streets?
The situation hadn't been helped any by Dick showing up occasionally to check on the new Robin and going through his routines smooth as butter. Not only had that been a blow to his confidence, the massive hard-on he'd gotten even as a kid for the fluid body hadn't helped his concentration any. Jason had only gotten past that thinking-too-much problem (he was still working on the too-hard-to-think-when-faced-with-that-glorious-ass problem) after Bruce and Dick had taken turns pounding him into the ground until he was so tired he *couldn't* think, and the moves had just come.
The younger man had never seen Dick have that problem before. Dick lived in his body more fully than anyone Jason had ever met. But right now, Dick was thinking over something; hard. He was too much inside his head, which could be disastrous for someone who was so intensely physical. Especially while diving from rooftops. It was dangerous, and could be deadly. It couldn't continue.
Jason was going to have to drive Dick straight out of his head, back into his body, and try to get him back on even keel. He wasn't sure how he was going to accomplish that, but he had to try.
For whatever reason, Dick had chosen to come to him. Not Bruce, not Drake, *him.*
No one chose him when they had other options. No one but Dick.
Jason could give no less than his best to repay that.