On Jason's list of worst ways to go, this was only maybe number 24, but on his list of most embarrassing ways to die? This was looking like top spot right now.

Hanging upside-down from a tree in the wilderness wearing nothing but a pair of ripped dress pants and waiting for some asshat on a horse to come slaughter him like a spring chicken? Yep, a pretty embarrassing way to kick it.

This was all Dick's fault.

A week ago, he'd had a rare visit from the Bat – a very angry Bat, who was barely concealing his worry with rage.

"Have you seen Nightwing?" Batman had all but snarled at him as Jason had picked himself up off the floor where Bruce had shoved him.

"No," he had replied curtly. It was 8am and he had only gotten to bed an hour earlier. "What shit has golden boy gotten himself into?"

"He's missing."

"I read that Dick Grayson was kidnapped from a party with a bunch of other socialites, but I figured that was a set up, part of a plan."

The hard, angry lines of Bruce's jaw said different. "It wasn't. It was the first time that this gang has hit Gotham. I was aware of their operation, but was expecting New York to be the next target."

Jason couldn't hold back a smirk. "Ah, the old Bat Guilt." He casually reached for his carton of cigarettes. "I don't know why you think I would give a shit, or know where he is."

"I was hoping to appeal to any sense of decency you might still have."

"What could I do that the world's greatest detective and grumpy badass couldn't?"

Even though Jason couldn't see his eyes beneath the cowl, he felt the long look Batman sent him. "I don't know what game you're playing, Jason, but I know you've been stalking him."

"Hey!" Jason couldn't hold back his indignation. "The stalking was mutual!"

"Stay away from him."

"Does he get a say in this? Seems to me he's a big birdie now, got his big-boy pants and everything."

Bruce winced and scowled from under the cowl.

Jason smiled with a cruel twist of his lips. "Anyway, you gotta find him first, huh?"

For a moment, he thought Batman was going to strike him, but instead he spun on his heel and headed back out the window without another word.

"Well, fuck," Jason said.

Of course, he couldn't just leave it there. He told himself it was just because the bizarre game of cat and mouse he and Dick had been playing had been an amusing distraction, not because he was worried or anything.

Nope, not worried.

Bruce was one of the smartest men he knew, and he had turned up no leads. Jason felt it was kind of hopeless to go over the same ground, but he did it anyway – locations, victimology, witnesses. There wasn't much to go on – different cities, different times, always rich, pampered types, always from big social gatherings, male and female, always young and fairly fit. No one knew a damn thing.

Jason figured his only option was to get himself on the party scene as quickly as possible, and the next morning saw him on route to Miami. It was as good a guess as any, as they never struck the same place twice, and seemed to be heading more or less down the west coast. He just had to chance it.

Dressed in his tux, decked out with a Rolex and a pretty girl or two, he was quite the life and soul of the party. He hit the top spots one after another in a swirl of expensive perfume, martinis, and money. On his second night, he got lucky.

Or unlucky, depending which way you looked at it.

He woke alone in a dark room, stripped to the waist and barefoot. Not an auspicious start.

Without warning, the lights flicked on. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust, wasting precious seconds. He glanced around the bare room. It was hard to miss the fact that one of the walls had a window of thick glass, and a bunch of weirdo's were looking at him with interest.

A small, innocuous man pointed a stick at him, although he seemed more interested in their audience. "Strong, in good health, very good shape," the man said, gesturing at Jason's body with his stick.

"The hell?" Jason said. He was still a little groggy from whatever they had dosed him with, but even as he spoke, his eyes were already searching the room for an exit point.

"This buck looks like it might have done service," The man continued. It was a reasonable way to explain his scars, Jason guessed, but seriously, buck? He wasn't a fucking deer, for god's sake.

"I think it will run well, so I say we start at 105 points, and double that each day it eludes you."

This was not sounding good, but before he had the chance to voice his displeasure, and hopefully break through the glass and shove the guy's stick where the sun didn't shine, he was shot with a tiny dart. He went down in a heap.

The next time he woke, he was in a clearing in a forest. It was fucking cold, and he shivered in his stupid silk slacks. The man with the stick was looking down at him. Jason wanted to hit him, but he was still sluggish from the drug and his limbs weren't cooperating,

"You will have 15 minutes of recovery," the man said in a bored tone. "Then you will have two hours before the hunt starts. I suggest you run, as far and as fast as you can."

"Awesome," Jason managed to grate out around his uncooperative tongue. "Dangerous Game, classic."

The man gave his a thin smile. "You're worth a lot of points. Don't let me down."

The man disappeared from view. Jason had no idea when he'd gone, what with not having full control over his neck muscles. This sucked.

Stick guy's estimate seemed to be about right. Jason found his body was almost back under his control after ten minutes of desperately trying to move. He couldn't see the sun for the trees, and had no other way to orientate himself; it was just a lot of forest in every direction. He chose the route that looked the least painful, but even so, after a mile, his bare feet were scratched and bruised. He wondered how many people had run this course, and if Dick had been one of them. He was sure that if he had, that he was still going. Jason would be all right, too. It was the civilians he was worried about.

He revised his opinion slightly when the distant sounds of dogs baying sent a shot of primal fear up his spine.

He quickened his pace, just a bit.

24 hours later, and he was bloodied and desperate. He doubted Dick was still alive. No one could survive a week of this constant hounding (pun very much intended). He needed time to orientate himself, to figure out a plan. Instead, he just ran and ran on torn and dirty feet.

Jason hated forests. He hated trees, grassland, dogs, and people.

He had burst out from the thick foliage, and was running through a rough scrubland when they caught up to him. The trees were much more widely spaced – something he was planning to avoid in future, because the hunt had a nice, easy run at you. He was saved from the dogs by accidentally outrunning a young man in tattered rags. The hounds took him down, and Jason didn't even spare a thought for the horror of his death. There was nothing he could do but keep moving. The hunt flushed out another exhausted person, male or female he couldn't tell. A hooting man on horseback cut them down as they fled, and there was a cheer as he waved his bloody sword about like a fool. People were paying for the pleasure of chasing down and skewering America's young, wealthy socialites. Just when Jason thought he had seen the most fucked up shit people could do to each other, they had to go and surprise him.

48 hours. Jason had discovered that there were actually multiple hunts. They all seemed to stop at night so the huntsmen could pitch tents and get drunk, make merry and discuss the slaughter of innocents. So although Jason was exhausted and freezing, he was safe for the time being, curled in an overhanging tree, trying to catch a few hours' sleep. The trees offered some shelter, but if it dropped below freezing – and it would very soon - he was dead no mater how hard he ran. Nature was the big boss out here, but he was going to give it a run for its money. He was going to survive, and then he was going to come back, and kill every one of these motherfuckers.

Jason really wished he had learnt winter bushcraft. Put him in a city and he was golden, but in the wide wilderness? He was a fish out of water. Not that he couldn't figure shit out - he was a smart boy after all - but it was frustratingly difficult. He found that he had to discard potential food, because he couldn't be sure if it was good to eat, if it would kill him or give him a terrible case of the shits. Which, in this situation, would pretty much amount to a death sentence. He stuck to the few things he recognized; it was safer that way.

On the third day, he reached what must have been the outskirts of the hunt's central radius. They obviously didn't want any of their prey escaping, and just in case, they had set traps. Unfortunately, Jason discovered this when he inadvertently put his foot in one, and was yanked into the air by his ankle. Which sucked, but what sucked even harder was the fact that the force of the upward motion had pulled his ankle out of joint. All his subsequent (unsuccessful) attempts to free himself had resulted in agonizing pain.

This led him to suspect that he was A. cursed and B. dog food.

He could hear the distant sound of dogs getting closer, and was not relishing his impending mauling. He felt kind of embarrassed, too, which was a stupid thing to be feeling in these circumstances. Abject fear was a more reasonable emotion.

He swung in the breeze for a few minutes, and wasted precious time thinking of all the ways he would like to make Dick pay for getting him into this.

"Jason?"

Then he took it all back. He had never in his life been so grateful to hear Dick's voice.

He breathed a huge sigh of relief. He was glad his brother was alive and all, but really he was more overjoyed at the prospect of getting out of the fucking tree.

"Think you could see to getting me down, Grayson?"

"What are you doing here?" Dick said

"What does it look like I'm doing?" Jason groused at him as he tried to swing his body to see his brother without his foot coming off.

"Practicing being a chew toy?" He could hear the smile in Dick's voice, but it didn't do much to placate him.

"We're both going to be chew toys if you don't lend me a hand pretty sharpish!"

Dick clambered into the tree. After some muttering, he cut the rope, dropping Jason more or less on his head. He was able to roll with the fall, and landed in an untidy pile.

"Goddamn it, Dick!"

"Come on, Jaybird. No time for dawdling!"

Then Jason got his first look at his brother. He had twigs snarled in his hair, and dirt on his face. Jason couldn't hold back a snort of pained laughter, although it wasn't really that funny. Dick had on a thin t-shirt and a pair of grubby Batman boxers. There were strips of fabric tied around his feet, and he was carrying a sword.

"You look like an extra from the Lord Of The Rings, or maybe a pornographic version of it, 'Lord of the Cockrings'."

"Very original."

Jason was sure he could actually hear Dick's eyes rolling, but he didn't check because he was too busy examining his ankle. The joint was protruding sideways, but it hadn't broken the skin. Even so, there was no way he was walking on it in this state.

"Here, help me fix this," Jason said, and pointed at the offending foot.

Dick poked at the swelling before grasping Jason's heel, and sliding the bone sideways without even a word of warning. Jason let out a strangled grunt, but the pain eased slightly.

"Lets move. I'll splint it once we're safer. In case there was a fracture or sprain, don't want it to get any worse."

Dick seemed torn between being overjoyed to see him (possibly a symptom of loneliness), and anger that Jason had brought the hounds to him. He had amassed a strange assortment of things ranging from the sword to a few buttons from a dress coat. After splinting Jason's ankle, he scooped up his stuff and hid as much of the camp as possible. Then they hit the road. The pace was slow, and Jason couldn't help feeling guilty. Dick had almost been free.

He learned that Dick had been running for days, had been attempting to distract the dogs where he could, and helping the few people he had seen. He had taken down a huntsman and stolen his sword and horse. Unfortunately, he had been forced to abandon his ride as the rest of the hunt were shooting at him with crossbows.

While they ran, Jason couldn't help but think of the past few weeks before Dick's disappearance. They had been playing a strange game of tag, chasing each other across the roofs of Gotham. It had been fun, and Dick's smiles had been wide and enticing. Despite the fact that they had never exchanged more than a few words during those encounters, Jason had become addicted to the thrill of the chase and the reward of Dick's laughter if he outsmarted him. Running like this wasn't quite as fun.

They ran for miles, until even two of the fittest vigilantes in the world were gasping for breath and struggling forward. They were exhausted, and it was only a matter of time before the dogs caught up to them. Their howling cries were getting frighteningly close.

They could hear the river before they could see it, a crashing thunder that echoed strangely through the thick trees. As they burst through the foliage, Jason realized that they only had one option, and it wasn't a good one. If they didn't drown, the cold would probably kill them.

The river was about 60 feet below them, fast running and angry, its banks almost swollen. Behind them, the dogs were baying, crashing through the undergrowth, with the more distant cries of the huntsmen behind.

Dick gave him a resigned look, and Jason impulsively yanked him closer for a quick but fierce kiss. When he released him, Dick looked absolutely flummoxed.

It seemed that Jason had completely misread the game of friendly stalking they had been playing.

Whoops.

He couldn't make himself care though, so he gave Dick a lascivious grin. "After you, Goldie."

Dick was touching his own lips, still in apparent shock. Then he shook himself and slipped off his sword. It was a shame to lose it, but it would be rather dangerous to jump into a raging torrent with it. He sorted through his pile of crap, putting on an extra pair of shorts and tying a shirt tight around his hips. Jason wasn't sure if that was smart or not, but he guessed that if they survived, they might be grateful for the extra layers.

"Swim with the current, edging towards the bank if it lets you. Corkscrew if you can," Dick said as the noise from the forest rose to a crescendo.

"The what now?" Jason just had time to ask. "The fuck does that even mean, Dick?" he yelled, as the first dog flew out of the bushes at them. It hit Dick right in the chest and they both went over, leaving Jason to blink stupidly at the spot where his brother had just been standing.

Then he dove after them. It wasn't like flying at all. When he leapt across rooftops, he knew where he was landing, knew he had a line. Here, it was definitely falling, his legs kicked wildly for a moment before he was plunged into the darkest cold he had ever experienced. It sucked the warmth from his bones, and he struggled to orientate himself as the current took hold of him, ruthlessly dashing him against debris and stone.

It seemed like an age before his head broke the surface. Jason sucked in a gasp of air that froze his lungs. His limbs were heavy with the cold, but he was not keen on the idea of drowning, so he struggled with all his might. His mind was sluggish, but he recalled Dick's advice, and didn't fight the direction he was being pulled. 'Corkscrewing' was a bit obscure, but he figured Dick meant to turn his body in a twist towards the bank.

He was surprised to find he was making some progress. This corkscrew shit was working. He loved corkscrews. He was going to call his first child Corkscrew. Not that he was going to have any children, due to the fact that his balls had frozen solid and fallen off.

He suspected he had been in the river a little too long.

The world was still rushing around him in an endless stream of cold, desperation and water, but with the next frantic twist of his body, Jason's face hit dirt.

Cool.

Now that he was home, he was just going to lie here on the couch for a moment whilst Alfred warmed the cocoa.

His dreams were dark, sometimes warm, sometimes colder than he could cope with; it hurt and tore his skin. There was fire on his face, lapping at his skin.

"Jay! Jason." Dick's voice, rough fingers on his skin.

He forced open his eyes. Consciousness stung like a whip. He tried to focus on Dick, but he was blur of stuff. He wasn't feeling very articulate, and stuff would do. He shut his eyes again.

"Jason! Wake the hell up!" Dick, he was angry. Dick was hot when he was angry, so Jason struggled to open his eyes. He even made an attempt to sit up. This caused him to become aware of the fact that his whole body hurt like he had been run over by a monster truck. Maybe several.

"Monster tuck derby," he said.

"Thank fuck!" Dick pulled him into a hug. He looked like he hadn't fared much better, blood and dirt streaking his face and chest.

"Wha' happened to your shirt, wonder boy?' Jason slurred as he attempted a smirk.

"The river. What happened to your shorts, Little Wing?"

Jason glanced down at himself. Naked, great. Shit couldn't get any worse, really.

He should have known better than to challenge the universe in such an obvious way. No sooner than he had registered the thought, there was a loud and distinct growling noise from behind his left ear. Instead of panicking at the sound of the dog, Dick crouched down and held out a hand. The big gray mutt that had charged him off the cliff slunk towards him, still keeping a wary eye on Jason. Goldie was consorting with the enemy. Awesome.

He was suddenly struck with intense shivers, and Dick abandoned the dog to heave him to his feet.

"We have to get to shelter. You were in the water for a long time. If we don't get you warmed up, it's not going to be good."

"You?" Jason managed from between his chattering teeth.

"I've been following the river for the last half an hour, not drowning in it!"

"Pants?" Jason whined. He gestured hopefully at the scraps of clothing Dick had rescued from the torrent.

Dick made a face. "No, not till they're dry."

Jason grunted and let Dick lead him away. Apart from his huge preoccupation with how cold he was, he was very aware of the dog, more than he was of his surroundings. He was sure it was giving him the evil eye.

Things became a hazy mess for a while, and it was dark the next time he really took stock of his surroundings. They were huddled under an overhang on a low cliff face - almost but not quite a cave. The trees were less dense here, and Dick had a small fire going. It was remarkably smokeless, and Jason made a mental note to ask about that some time when he didn't feel like he was dying. Or naked. It sucked that the first time Dick saw him naked, he was so cold his balls had climbed back into his body. He tried to laugh, but all that came out was a grunt.

Damn, he was in a seriously bad way.

Dick was fussing, shoving pine branches and forest debris all around him. He was already lying on a bunch of the prickly stuff. The dog was pressed up against his legs, and he couldn't even hate it because it was so warm.

He had nearly been killed (or actually killed) a lot of different ways, but hypothermia seemed to be taking his brain for a walk.

Dick was wrapped around him. He was still freezing. Although he vaguely knew that they were in a forest somewhere, he kept getting confused and thinking they were home and safe. Then he would have a moment of clarity, and the fact that he had been confused would frighten him, and make him angry.

"You still with me, Jay?"

"Mmmgg," Jason managed.

"You need to get warm!" Dick seemed to be attempting to tuck him in closer, and trying to rub warmth back into his limbs. There was a clear note of worry in his voice despite his feeble attempts at a smile.

"Ya know," Dick babbled, "the best way to gently restore core temperature is warm water enemas. " He gave a nervous huff of a laugh and patted at Jason's arms. "Not very practical out here!"

Jason contemplated the logistics for a moment. "Could always pee in me," he said, then boggled at himself for a moment. No mouth-to-brain filter, awesome.

"Err…" Dick said.

Jason shifted to face him, and held up one shaking finger. "That was a j-joke! Pee in me, on me, or even n-near me, and I will kill you, slowly."

"Noted." Dick grinned at him, and pressed a burning kiss to his shoulder. Jason kind of liked that, but had a feeling it was a bit too sappy to admit. Instead, he turned back towards the fire and shut his eyes.

When he woke, he was blissfully warm, although his body ached from head to toe. Dick was spooning him from behind, and he allowed himself a few hazy moments to enjoy the contact. He was less pleased by the big dog glaring at him from the other side of the fire, but he had a vague memory of Dick going all Disney on him and befriending the thing. He gave it a fuzzy glare back.

He wondered if their river journey had thrown the hunters off the scent. He couldn't imagine that they had managed to follow so far. Then all thoughts of pursuit were driven out of his mind as his tummy grumbled loud enough that Dick stirred beside him.

"Jay?"

"Hey, Dickie."

"Feeling any better?" One of Dick's hands had snuck into his space and lay against his forehead.

"Do you think we're clear?" Jason asked, shaking off the warm fingers.

Dick sighed and withdrew his hand. "Yeah, for now at least. Maybe we should stay here a bit longer, get our strength back?"

"No, we need to keep moving. Being ahead will do fuck all if they get that close to us again." Jason winced as he moved into a sitting position. "We should clear camp and hit the road."

"Okay," Dick said.

The next few hours were arduous. Jason's limp was worse. They had splinted his ankle again as best they could, but it was obvious that there was a fracture at the very least, and it hindered their efficiency in getting through the thick undergrowth.

Thankfully, Dick had provided him with the remains of a shirt. It just about maintained his decency, and gave him a tiny bit of extra warmth. The temperature was dropping further, and if they didn't hit civilization soon, they were going to succumb to the elements.

The dog crashed ahead, making enough noise to wake the dead. Jason felt a little bit like the living dead as it was. Dick's warm arm around him was the only thing that stopped him screaming in pain and frustration. His feet hurt, his body ached, and his back was twinging from his efforts at limping. Dick, meanwhile, was being stoic, but his own exhaustion and discomfort were clear.

Jason really wanted a nap, in a big bed, and a pizza.

And some whisky - maybe a whole bottle of the good scotch.

He couldn't have that, though. All he could do was distract himself from his discomfort. "So what ya going to call the mutt?" he asked, his voice slow and gravelly.

"I was thinking Lady, like Lady and the Tramp."

Jason snorted and rolled his eyes. "Firstly, she looks more like a giant, steroid version of the Tramp than Lady, and secondly, that's a stupid name. I vote Cujo."

"She is so not a Cujo."

"How do you know it's a girl?"

"I checked, dumbass."

"Oh."

They made camp at dusk, and ate a sorry dinner of rosehips and pine tips. Then they curled together by the small fire, Cujo sprawled by Dick's hip.

"Jay?" Dick asked, his voice hesitant. "Why'd you kiss me back there? Before the river?"

Jason had been dreading this question; it was going to be a bit awkward to say the least. "We were about to plunge to our deaths. It seemed the thing to do."

"Really? The thing to do?" Dick didn't sound convinced.

"I just did, ok? My brain isn't always completely trustworthy. I thought you would know that!"

"It's just that you've been seeking me out a lot lately," Dick said, and Jason avoided looking at him.

There was a long, uncomfortable pause.

"You started it," Jason said sullenly. "I figured all that chasing each other around was your…you know..."

"My what?" Dick had that confused expression on his face, but then it cleared, as he appeared to have a revelation. "What? Foreplay?"

Jason shrugged uncomfortably and Dick's mouth fell open. "Oh my god! That was it, wasn't it? Holy crap, Jay! I was just hoping to get to know you a bit better, open a line of communication." He started giggling in a very undignified manner, and Jason could feel himself flushing.

"Fuck off," he said, but it sounded petulant.

"Oh my god!" Dick said between snorts of laughter. "Usually, when I want to become more intimate with someone, I invite them to dinner or a movie, get to know them a bit better."

"Just fuck off, will you," Jason snapped. To his great relief, Dick got up and left him to his embarrassed thoughts, although he could still hear him laughing as he headed away from the camp, Cujo at his heels.

Jason wasn't really sure what he felt about this development. He felt like a fool, sure, but he also felt a surprising amount of disappointment. Dick was hot, but he was someone that might be able to understand Jason's issues, if he ever got to a place where he was willing to share them. It felt like a real loss of something he hadn't been fully aware he wanted.

He was still dwelling on it when Dick came back to the camp. Cujo's jaws were smeared with blood and her tail was wagging happily. Dick sunk down next to him, jostling his shoulder with his own. "Dinner?" he asked, holding up a slightly mangled squirrel and a few wizened pinecones.

Jason glanced at him, unsure of his meaning.

Dick waggled his eyebrows. "I didn't say I wasn't interested, Jay, just that it hadn't been my original intention."

"Be clear," Jason snapped at him. He was done with second-guessing.

"You came all this way for me; that's pretty amazing. Also, I'm not blind." He gave Jason an approving once over.

iOh/i

Well, he wasn't going to object. He shifted into Dick's space, staring him down, but letting him call the next move.

Without breaking eye contact, Dick's lips slid into a smirk. "Do you think it is, though? The Most Dangerous Game?"

"What, this?" Jason asked, gesturing at the forest, but never taking his eyes off Dick's

"Yeah. It's fun, isn't it? When we chase down the bad guys, it's not much different to this – more urban, less dogs and murder, but it's the same sort of thrill, isn't it?"

"You have definitely spent too much time alone in the woods."

Dick's grin was sharp. "Yeah, probably. I was just thinking I wouldn't consider it to be the most dangerous game."

"Got a more dangerous one?" He was leaning in and their lips were almost brushing.

"Yeah. I think this is a lot more frightening." Dick had an expression on his face that was sex, promise, want, and a little bit of fun. "There might be quite a payoff though. Don't you think?"

"I'm not sure if you're propositioning me, or planning to kill me and bury the body," Jason breathed against his skin.

Dick smiled with a generous curl of lip, and the sharp edge of teeth in the moonlight. "Which would you rather?"

Jason leant forward to bring there lips together. The kiss was strangely soft, right up until Dick opened his mouth and licked at Jason's lips. When Jason reciprocated, Dick all but devoured him. Whoa.

Jason slid his hand into Dick's tangled hair. It was too long, as usual. He twisted his fingers into it and pulled him close. In his imagination, there had been a lot less dirt and stubble, but it was as perfect as it could get. He pulled Dick on top of him, loving the solid weight of Dick's naked thigh as it fell between his own, and he rubbed against him. The friction was awesome, even through Dick's boxers.

They were rutting against each other like animals, and it was fucking amazing. Jason was setting the rhythm, but Dick was dominating the kissing, thrusting his tongue into Jason's mouth and sucking on his lips. Jason was very OK with that, and happy to be swept away with it.

Somewhere along the line, Dick had lost his shorts and Jason had wrapped one big hand around their cocks. Dick was still moving on top of him, his body shifting with an unbelievable grace and a powerful intent. The whole time he was looking at Jason, it was both uncomfortable and the hottest thing ever. Dick wasn't afraid to see him, and he stared right back. He couldn't help feeling that Dick had been right about what was actually the most dangerous game. This could tear him apart as surely as any dog could rip his skin.

Dick moaned, never breaking eye contact. It was one of the moments Jason really felt an emotional connection. They came seconds apart, and Dick gasped out his name.

Perhaps it was because he had spent the last few days running for his life, or maybe because his blood sugar was low, but it was one hell of an intense moment watching Dick cum, and flying over that edge with him.

They lay together for a long while. It was strangely, eerily perfect, but then the dog stuck her cold, wet nose on Jason's hip, and he may have screamed and accidentally elbowed Dick in the face.

Dick's nose wasn't broken, but he complained as though it was. Jason was in the process of trying to staunch the bleeding when they heard it: the Bat Plane.

Jason had never been so pleased in his life. Well, except for one or two times.

"Can I have your shorts?" Yes, it was petty, but he really wanted to be wearing underwear when he met with Bruce (and there was no way he was turning down a lift). Dick just wiped the last of the blood from his face and chucked Jason his Batman shorts, tying the pathetic excuse for a shirt around his own waist.

They followed the noise for half an hour, but eventually they hit pay dirt.

Dick sauntered onto the road. The shirt just covered his front, but Jason had a very good view of the behind. He figured that was part of the plan as Dick was swinging his hips.

Jason had never been so happy to see the Bat Brats. The lack of Batman was an added bonus. Dick waved at Red Robin, who gave a halfhearted wave back, no doubt horrified at the fact that Dick looked like he was auditioning for a part in Conan the Barbarian. Dick's shirt-skirt rode up slightly, and Tim covered his own face with a gauntleted palm. Then Cujo flew out of the bushes and launched herself at Damian with extreme prejudice, knocking him to the floor in a flurry of fur and Kevlar.

Suddenly, Jason didn't hate the dog quite so much. He grinned as he followed Dick along the path, Robin's angry squeals a lovely background noise.

He was overwhelmed by the sudden image of a pizza and a cold beer, maybe followed by sex. Proper sex, where they were both clean, and didn't smell like their only bath in the past week had been a dip in a river of death. He hobbled to catch up with Dick, slinging an arm around his shoulder and knocking him with his hip. He was pleased when Dick knocked him right back and grinned at him.

"So was this the worst Christmas ever?" Dick asked.

"It's Christmas?" He had lost a few days then, huh.

"Yup!" Dick grinned at him. He looked a little drunk with relief at their rescue. Jason grinned right back.

"Nah, I've had worse."

This was going to work out all right - he just knew it.

Well, at least until Bruce got back.