Dick was startled awake by a loud scream. It rang in his ears, and at first he was a little annoyed at whatever it was that was disturbing him until he realized that it was coming from Jason. Dick was aware that Jason had nightmares and other sleep disorders. Like insomnia, but that was not the problem at the moment.
The nightmares seemed to be coming more frequently, and Dick had been trying to figure out why. A few days ago, Dick had woken up in the middle in the of the night because he thought he heard something and he was right. Jason was sitting up in their bed, his legs were up against his chest, his arms were wrapped tightly around them, and his head rested on his knees. He was trembling.
"Jason...?" Dick half yawned, he tapped his boyfriend's shoulder, "You okay?"
The sudden touch startled Jason, and he gasped.
"I'm sorry, Little Wing." Dick apologized, "I didn't mean to scare you."
"F-fine...I'm – I'm fine." Jason lied, his voice trembling. "Just cold..."
Dick rolled his eyes, "Nice try," he sat up and put an arm around Jason's shoulders.
Jason growled, but Dick's touch did relax him, "Ow..."
"Did you hurt yourself, Jay let me see."
Jason straightened his back so he could look at Dick, and admitted, "I think I bit myself."
"Let's go see." Dick helped Jason stand, and pulled him into the bathroom. He switched on the light, and yeah, Jason had bit his lip so hard that it stared bleeding. Dick sighed, and kissed him on the forehead, "Let's get you cleaned."
Blood had dripped down his chin and stained his shirt, a few drops had made it all the way down to his boxers.
"I can clean myself!" Jason snapped, he was a little ashamed of his state. He did not mean to raise his voice, but he did not know how to express himself in any other way.
"But..." Dick pouted, he understood Jason's moods and that he probably did not mean to be rude but that did not make it hurt any less. He scratched the back of his neck, unsure of what to do. The right thing to do was stay and make sure Jason was alright – or was that the wrong thing to do? Maybe Jason needed some space, some time to think.
"Dick please...?" the tone in Jason's voice dropped, and he tried to calm himself down. "I need to be alone...give me thirty minutes and if you feel like you need too then come back in here."
Dick nodded, "Um, yeah okay." he did not want to comply, but he felt like he had too. He also decided, at that moment, that he was not going to go back and check on him in thirty minutes. He was going to wait outside the door until his Little Wing was feeling good enough to leave the bathroom.
After thirty minutes, using the light from his cell, Dick found a sheet of paper and wrote the words I love you. He slid the sheet under the door and waited for Jason. About five minutes Jason opened the door, clutching the paper to his chest.
Blood was no longer dripping from his lip, but he did not look any better than from when he first locked himself in there. With a soft moan, he set his head on Dick's shoulder.
"You're not going back to sleep are you?" Dick figured, running a hand down his boyfriend's back.
Jason did not sleep for three days, and Dick was not sure if it was because of the nightmares or the insomnia. What if Jason had nightmare induced insomnia? Was that even possible?
"Jason's not sleeping and I don't know what to do." Dick confessed to John one day while they were taking a break from rehearsal.
"I know." John admitted. "Your mother and I both know. You are not the only one with ears. We hear him flipping through books throughout the night and leaving the trailer at a ridiculous hour."
"So you know...you know about the nightmares?"
Before Dick could talk more about the situation, his phone vibrated and he read a text, Jason fell asleep during the security meeting, is it okay to wake him up? Every so often people who worked at the circus, including performers, did not always know the appropriate way to interact with him because of his background. That annoyed Dick, because he knew Jason was like everyone else and he did not like other people treating him differently because of the rough way he grew up. This time, however, he was grateful for their caution. "He fell asleep," Dick told John. "I'm going to go get him and then come back here to finish rehearsal."
As Dick walked away, he replied No.
"Jay?" Dick called, his voice heavy with worry, he extended his arm out to see if Jason was okay but he paused when he heard a whine.
"...stop..." Jason whimpered.
Jason was breathing hard, "...s-stop – STOP!" he panted and let out another cry.
Not wanting to hear his partner scream again, Dick swiftly turned over and switched on the lamp, hoping the sudden light would snap Jason out of whatever was haunting him. However, this did not happen, Jason was too stuck where he was.
Jason's hands were clawed, gripping the bedsheets on both sides. His muscles were tense and his jaw was clenched. Dick did not know what Jason had nightmares about, but he wished he was there to see and help. Dick sat up, and stroked Jason's arm, "Shhhh...Little Wing." he slowly began to unhook Jason's hand.
"No! NO!" Jason shouted, his voice was trembling.
To not scare Jason even farther, Dick laced his fingers against Jason's sweaty palm, "Little Wing, it's me. You're safe, as long as I'm with you, I've got you." he promised, and repeated, "You're safe, you are safe."
Jason's breathing slowly began to calm down, Dick watched as his boyfriend slowly began to relax his muscles. "Dick..."
Dick kissed Jason on his cheek, "I'm right here."
Jason fluttered his eyes open, but the dream was still heavy in his mind. He felt sick, and not wanting to make a mess on the bed or on Dick, he rushed into the bathroom.
Dick chased after him, but hesitated for only a few seconds. He was unsure if Jason even wanted anyone there with him but in the end he decided that he was going to go into the bathroom. He lingered in the doorway, waiting watching as Jason gagged into the toilet. Dick was waiting for a sign, he needed to know if it was okay to comfort him.
Knowing that Dick was standing right behind him, made him want to stop throwing up, but harshness of the nightmare had yet to fade away. He still felt the agony of the heat of the of the bullet grazing against his shoulder, and the panic of letting go.
Tired of waiting, Dick approached Jason and rubbed his back until the episode passed, "It's okay, Little Wing. Everything is okay."
"I'm sorry." Jason choked, his throat burned. "I w—w woke you."
"No don't apologize." Dick ran his hand through Jason's sweat damp hair.
Jason turned around and set his head on Dick's shoulder, "This is fucking stupid...fucking nightmares..."
"You scared me." Dick wrapped his arms around Jason, embracing him. In Dick's arms, Jason felt safe. It was like his past could not hurt him, and the nightmares were so far away. "You screamed so loud, and I...I don't ever want to hear that sound ever again."
Jason loved Dick more than anything, he loved how protective he was, and how he took him away from his old life. If Dick was not in his life, then he would be back in Gotham, adding more nightmares to the list. He felt bad for keeping his boyfriend in the dark, he wanted him to know. Maybe telling him would check that nightmare off the list, and one less might mean it might be easier to sleep.
"...I'm going to tell you what happened..." Jason decided, and wheezed, "I fell..."
"You fell?" Dick inquired, that thought was almost unbelievable. Dick had seen Jason climb buildings with nothing but his hands, and leap with such powerful control that Dick could never imagine him falling.
"Yeah." Jason sighed, and pulled away from Dick. He took off his shirt, to show his scars. Dick was already aware of how cut up Jason's body was, it was not something that hid or was ashamed of. "It's from when I got these." he pointed at some faint scars on the outside of his left arm, and a few more on his left side. Then down to his left leg where there was a scar going along the outside of it. "It was a six months after my mother died, and I was on top of a building. It was late and I told this guy that I had some drugs and to bring the money and meet me up there. I did not have any drugs, my plan was to rob him. I needed the money.
"I was not expecting him to come with a group, when they realized I had nothing," he pointed at a long scar across his chest, "one of them cut me here, it stunned me and I dropped my weapon. I stepped back, forgetting about the edge. I was able to grab onto the edge, and one shot at my shoulder. He was trying to get me to fall.
"His aim was not the greatest, so my arm and shoulder are okay. But it still hurt, and there was a lot of blood and I let go. I tried to grab back onto the building but everything happened so fast and I just ended up scraping myself.
"I don't even remember hitting ground, all I remember is waking up in a hospital."
Dick did not know what to say. He understood the fear of falling, and had nightmares about it every so often but nothing this extreme. "You're safe here, okay." Dick reminded him. "No one here is going to hurt you like that...you need to understand." Dick waited for Jason to respond, but he did not. Unsure what to do, Dick glanced at the doorway wondering if Jason wanted to be alone. "Do you want me too -"
Suddenly Jason lunged, he wrapped his arms around Dick's waist and buried his head in his boyfriend's chest. That was the last thing Dick was expecting. He was in shock for a few moments, but when he realized what was happening, was actually happening, he put his arms around Jason's shoulders. One hand stroked the back of his head, gently tangling through short curls.
Dick wanted to say something, but he was unsure of what to say, the only thing he could think of was, "I love you."
Hearing that, Jason hugged Dick tighter. That was a sentence that he never thought he would hear until Dick told him it. Every time he said it, it made his heart melt and his body heat up. He wanted to kiss Dick, but because he had recently vomited he was worried that his breath smelled and that it was unsanitary.
"I love you too." Jason said back, in a quiet voice.
Dick kissed the top of Jason's head, "Go brush your teeth, and meet me back in bed."