Jason was only six years old, but he could never remember calling the orphanage anything but a shit hole.
He was a born and raised street rat right from the start. The orphanage was a shit infested stink hole, but it was still better than the streets of Gotham City. Some days life there improved, because a kid would go out into the night and never make it back again. It was dibs on whatever stuff they left behind: any pee stained mattress or holey pair of gloves. One less mouth to feed meant a little bit more for the rest. But for every one they lost, they gained two more yellow snotted kids in their place. Survival was slim. Getting adopted was even slimmer.
Didn't matter to him though. He was determined to survive.
Jason doesn't remember much about his life in the orphanage before Dick Grayson showed up.
He was smaller than he was, even though he was older, which made Jason sneer. Intimidation and survival go hand in hand. Being a sweet delicate flower wasn't gonna get you shit, it was gonna get you stepped on.
Except later, Jason found out that he had actually been an acrobat in the circus, which explained his body type. It didn't matter though.
The kid got hell from the second he arrived. He was this tiny little thing that talked weird. It didn't matter what he'd been through, every one there had a sob story.
Though when he heard that the kid had actually watched his parents fall to their deaths, he sorta felt some sympathy. Jason never even met his parents; they left him and never looked back, but he hadn't watched them bleed out.
The other kids in the orphanage pushed him around, and Jason tried not to care, because in that place you had to stick up for yourself and only yourself. You weren't gonna get anywhere by playing the hero, and sticking your neck out for someone else just meant that you were mixing in their fate with yours. Suffering was inevitable; you didn't want to take anyone elses on top of yours.
At least that's what Jason told himself. Because, God, did he really have to go by Dick? Didn't most people just go by Rick or something? The kid was practically asking for it.
And he never even stood up for himself.
Which just infuriated Jason to no end. Why the hell wasn't he fighting back? He never so much as threw a punch back when they shoved him or told them to go suck a cock whenever they taunted him.
Jason recognized the lifeless blank look in his eyes as he got pushed around more and more. He wasn't gonna last much longer.
At least, that's what Jason thought.
The older kids were giving one of the other kids shit for a change. Dick should have been relieved to have the attention focused on someone other than himself for once. Some scrawny little boy who was actually smaller than Dick. They had taken his lunch away, but hell if the poor kid wasn't fighting back for it. But really, he didn't have a chance…
That is, until Dick stepped in and decked the kid in the face.
And because really, what the hell! He could throw a punch like that and hadn't done shit before?
He got the kid back his sandwich and handed it to him. The kid, who was staring back at Dick all doey eyed. And in a way they sorta looked like brothers, both with their dark black hair and bright blue eyes.
But Dick had opened a can of worms with punching the kid in the face, because it resulted in an all out scrap with him and the kid versus several of the older kids. It was a different kind of hunger that was pushing them to fight.
Jason doesn't remember jumping in. He just remembers the feel of nails ripping skin and the eerie silence of the whole thing except for the hushed grunts and sounds of fist on flesh. He doesn't remember if it lasted minutes, or seconds.
It's funny though, how easy it is to make friends as kids. Throw a few punches together and suddenly you're no longer strangers. Dick gained himself somewhat of a shadow out of the whole thing—a little scrawny kid named Tim, who never quite seemed to lose the look that he had on his face from the moment he met him.
And Jason, well; he just didn't want to see that blank look on Dick's face ever again.
Tim followed Dick everywhere, and in a way, Jason did too. .
Just when Jason was starting to get used to it, the three of them, they woke up one morning,
And Tim was gone.
Dick was distraught. But as it turned out, he had gotten adopted or something. Which on its own was a fishy ideal, but they both hoped it was true. Dick was upset about it for a long time, but there wasn't much he could do. They were kids; Tim slowly faded from their memories and they had to move on.
Dick, Jason found, thrived on being around people. He was very touchy, but not really in a bad way. Dick was a born and raised performer who could change to please a crowd on the drop of a penny. He smiled a lot, even if he didn't have anything to smile about. He cracked really lame jokes that made Jason groan. He was very different from the boy that Jason had watched so closely when he first arrived at the orphanage, because Dick was first and foremost, an older brother.
Dick genuinely enjoyed having Jason around.
And for Jason, that was a first.
He always tore off pieces of his bologna sandwiches and gave them to Jason, saying that he was full. Which was of course a lie. None of them were ever full.
He hugged Jason, even when he sneered and pretended he didn't like it.
He always told Jason to watch his mouth, which he didn't. But no one else had ever cared before.
For Dick, Jason would do anything.
The couple was young and smiled a lot, but Jason knew a charity case when he saw one. A couple that was capable of having a kid of their own, but they wanted to adopt. The wife didn't want the stretch marks and the husband wanted the publicity. They would come in and pluck up a kid in a shower of rainbows and trust funds. Most of the orphans were drooling at the opportunity. If they didn't get adopted, they at least wanted a shot at getting his watch.
Jason of course, saw it coming.
They wanted Dick.
Dick was witty, and charming. He knew how to hold himself around adults, which automatically separated him from the rest of the pack. How to be quiet when not being spoken to and how to be interesting when asked. He may have been small and scrawny, but he was naturally handsome. He was like a diamond embedded in a mountain of dirty pebbles.
The couple had bent down, still smiling. Like there were already cameras around waiting to capture the moment. They told Dick they wanted to adopt him and—
Dick smiled sadly, and said no thank you.
The couple was shocked. Jason wished he had a camera then.
Dick looked over Jason, and then looked back at the couple.
I won't be adopted unless he is too.
The couple looked over at him, and he felt his skin crawl. They looked at Jason, and they might as well have been looking at a beady eyed rat. Two was not in their plans.
And really, they didn't have to listen to Dick. They could have adopted him anyways. But they didn't want a trouble child. They wanted a good little kid that didn't make any requests. They ended up adopting the boy Dick had decked in the face.
Jason wanted to feel joy, but he didn't. Dick had given up being adopted by a very rich family, for him. He wouldn't stand a chance holding on to the notion of getting both him and Jason adopted together. Jason was dragging him down with him.
Jason wanted to run. He wanted to run away and let Dick find a nice family. To give him a fighting chance.
Instead, he crawled onto Dick's cot that night and curled up beside him under the blanket, lying by saying he was cold.
It was the middle of the summer, and the air conditioning was broken. But Dick didn't call him out on it. He simply wrapped his arms around him and held him tightly.
It was a light beginning to the sacrifices Dick would make for Jason.
The orphanage itself was owned by a business man by the name of Oswald Cobblepot.
The kids called him Penguin though. He reeked of fish and dirty water, and looked like a penguin too. The Penguin owned a majority of Gotham City, and ran the orphanage on the side in the same way that kids ran around doing side jobs for pocket change.
Things were so bad in the orphanage that Cobblepot was making money from running it.
The kids simply paid the price.
Too many mouths to feed; too many beds filled. Even at the rate that they were disappearing on their own, whether running away or simply not waking up the next morning, there was another factor that influenced the downsizing.
And it wasn't adoption.
Jason heard his name mentioned around a door frame, like it was some curse where if you said his name, you'd get taken too.
His real name was Harvey Dent, the district attorney.
It was actually The Penguin who started the nickname.
A man who was Gotham's hero, it's White Knight.
He notoriously funded the orphanage with significant funds out of his own pocket.
For a small enough price.
It was usually the girls; the older ones. Sometimes they were younger. Every now and then, it would be a boy. Some of them came back. Most of them didn't. The funds went right out of Two Face's pocket, and into The Penguin's. Jason didn't believe in superstitious crap, but he never said the name just to be sure.
It wasn't long before Dick disappeared one night.
Jason didn't sleep. He curled up in Dick's bed, and prayed to a God that he didn't believe in.
Prayed that Dick would be one of the ones who came back.
He never felt more like a worthless piece of shit until that night. With no one to turn to, no one who cared. He couldn't do anything to help the one person in all of Jason's life that had ever given a damn about him.
But Dick had come back the next day, and Jason didn't think he could bear to ever let go of him ever again.
Jason quickly discovered though, that a part of Dick was never coming back.
He forced smiles for Jason and told him he was fine.
He stopped running around, stopped doing somersaults around Jason or climbing things of ridiculous heights. In fact, he seemed to try very hard not to move at all.
He flinched when Jason unexpectedly touched him, and then apologized, over and over.
The blank look in his eyes was returning.
Jason panicked. He tried to get Dick to leave. Hell, Jason would go with him, Jason would go without him, whatever he wanted, Jason would do anything, anything to just get Dick away—
But Dick shot him down, hard. That's when Jason knew.
Knew that the psychopath had a thing for Dick,
And was threatening Jason.
Dick wouldn't run away because he was protecting Jason.
That night, Jason found the blood in the sheets.
He spent the next hour in the bathroom, throwing up.
And for the first time in years, he cried.
Weeks went by, and Dick would disappear for days on end, only to reappear with strange bruises and a limp that he hid with small winces. He refused yet again to be adopted.
That's when one of the older kids didn't make it back, and Jason found a gun underneath his mattress.
Jason had never used a gun before. For a handgun, it was much too large for him. But as he carefully played around with it, he found that it was in fact, loaded.
He thought of Dick, and the blood that was in the sheets.
Jason decided he was going to kill Harvey Dent.
The problem was though, that he had no what idea what he looked like, or how to find him. He couldn't ask Dick without him asking questions in return, and part of Jason didn't want to bring up the man around Dick anyways. None of the kids around the orphanage knew either. He never showed face around locally, only magically chose children and had them taken God knows where. He wondered if he picked them himself based off some kind of sick preference or if he just picked them at random. Anybody who knew anything didn't seem to want to talk about it; they were all too busy pretending it wasn't happening.
Jason didn't have to wait long though before he showed up himself.
The kids of the orphanage were piled almost on top of each other, pushing and shoving to listen through the wood door of The Penguin's office, which was shut. Jason hovered back, calculating. A well dressed man had entered the orphanage, and he was asking about Dick by name.
Dick was upstairs, along with the gun. Jason ran, his footsteps pounding on the old wood stairs, and his adrenaline beginning to pump.
Could he really do it? Could he kill someone?
He swung open the door, and went to the closet, where the gun was tucked away in a red hoodie. Dick was asleep on the mattress. Normally he was a light sleeper, but he had only gotten back late that morning.
Because he had been with Harvey Dent.
Jason removed the safety. Jason doesn't believe in God, and doesn't know if he believes in a heaven or a hell. He's not sure if he has the right to make this judgement, not sure if what he's about to do is the right thing. If he should call it justice, or revenge.
But Harvey Dent deserves a bullet in the chest, and Jason is going to be the one to pull the trigger.
The Penguin's voice carries up the stairs, and Jason's skin crawls. It's loud, it sounds like he's yelling at someone. Why is he yelling?
And then there's footsteps, thumping up the stairs.
Jason shut the door to their room, and whipped around right as someone came up the stairs.
Jason pointed the gun at him.
The man raised his arms up in neutral defense, and though there is initial alarm, he remained calm. He stared hard at the gun in Jason's hands.
"Who are you?" Jason manages to grit out through his teeth. It takes everything he has to will the gun in his hand not to shake.
Jason can tell he's rich, but something seems off. Something about the brand of his watch or the creases in his jacket that tell Jason this man has never been in an office his entire life. He should just pull the trigger, but he can't. Something's not right.
"My name is Bruce Wayne. I'm looking for Richard Grayson."
Jason's stomach drops. Bruce Wayne. He's heard that name before. Hell, everyone has heard that name before. If Penguin owns part of Gotham, and Harvey Dent owns part, then the rest belonged to Bruce Wayne.
The man in front of him wasn't Harvey Dent. But then—
"What do you want with Dick?"
He should have lowered the gun, but he didn't. Something changed in Bruce Wayne's face, and he slowly kneeled down in front of Jason, still eyeing the gun, but not with as much caution as before. Annoyance almost made Jason pull the trigger, but he stiffened his arm.
"I want to adopt him. Do you know where he is….?"
"Jason." He said quietly, lowering the gun. He had almost killed the wrong man.
The gun felt heavy in his hands. "Sorry, I….I thought you were someone else."
"Who did you think I was, Jason?" It was a question, but there was concern behind it. Maybe he would be wrong, maybe he'd be risking it all on the wrong person…but something told Jason that he could trust him.
"Just please listen to me. You have to adopt Dick. You have to get him out of this place, just get him away. He's gonna say that he won't be adopted without me, but don't listen to him. Get him out of here—"
"Jason, what's going on out is that a gun? Jason!"
Dick stood in the doorway, face clenched in slight horror. His glances switched between Jason holding the gun and Bruce who was kneeling in front of him.
Jason looked away. He knew Dick wouldn't approve of him killing Harvey Dent. Maybe even that Dick would never forgive him for it. So why did it hurt so bad when he looked at him like that?
Dick had to get away. He…
If Jason didn't put a bullet in Harvey Dent, then he would put a bullet in his own head.
He won't be used as leverage; he won't let Dick go through it anymore.
"Who are you?" Dick was looking at Bruce now, stiffly standing in the doorway. He appeared caught in between wanting to get to Jason and having Bruce in the way.
Bruce's expression though, had changed completely. Jason wanted to press his back against the wall, and disappear into the scenery. This is it, this is happening, this has to happen…
"It's nice to finally meet you Dick, I've been searching for you for a long time. My name is Bruce Wayne."
Dick stiffened even more. "And why's that?"
"I was there that night. Dick, I want to adopt you."
And then he looked over at Jason.
"Both of you."
There are days when Jason wakes up, and he has to remind himself that he isn't the little kid in the orphanage anymore.
He's grown up, filled in (heh, in all the right areas, he would add), gone places, met people.
But he came back. He came back to the city that he hated. The city that smelled of death, poverty, sex, and drugs. That shit hole of a city.
But if Gotham City was where Dick Grayson was, then that was where Jason Todd would be.
Because Jason realized a long time ago that he was in love with Dick.
He tried to push it off as being a horny teenager, he really did. Thought that maybe he was just pushing feelings around where he felt they fit and Dick was just the person they happened to land on. Like feelings were something that he could tackle, ball up, and project onto someone else…someone obtainable.
He whored himself out and had a hell of a time with it. Women, men. Sex was easy. Sex was great. He didn't care much for relationships though. There was one girl though that he kept an on again off again thing for years. She was definitely his favorite.
She had blue eyes, black hair, and a killer ass.
Jason tried his best to ignore the obvious in that.
But Jason's life was just full of fucking irony, because he was surrounded by nothing but people who had slept with his brother. Multiple times.
Roy and Kory are the two biggest annoyances in his life, but also, his closest friends. They're nosey, rude, horny, and downright loyal. They're also the only ones that know about how Jason feels about Dick.
So of course they give him hell about it every chance they get. But sometimes, Jason is just grateful that someone knows. Of all the damn people though, shit.
Jason isn't dumb. Dick, as he had grown older, had found ways to cope with what had happened to him, in more ways than one. Dick was already a very physical person before, but as the years went by, he moved through multiple partners. Dick's relationships never seemed to last, no matter how much they loved him.
Jason knew the feeling though. None of them were going to fill the hole that Dick had inside of him.
Jason had filled his with anger, and it almost ate him alive.
Jason had learned to deal with it. To deal with the constant mood swings that sometimes felt like plunging into a frozen lake, like crashing through the solid ice and drowning in the icy water. To be able to resist the temptation to snap the neck of every rapist, or corrupt businessman that stepped into his path.
Funny thing is, counting to ten was the actually the best thing. Smoking a close second.
Because he wasn't going to get over it with therapy. He wasn't going to be fixed with some magic pills or cured with love and happiness. He was always going to be a little fucked up, but he was trying to make the most of it with what he could. He was trying to move past his 'angry years', to stop being the angry teenager that was mad at the world.
All that anger though crawled back to him the second he stepped back into Gotham, like a dark rat nesting in his brain.
Jason hated Gotham.
And Bruce Wayne was Gotham City.
Between Jason and Bruce…
Bruce had been the one that saved Dick, and Jason would be forever thankful.
But he was the most infuriating man on the planet and sometimes Jason contemplated aiming a gun at him again.
He's brooding, reserved, and a lot of the times cold hearted. Sometimes the shit he says makes you prefer the grunts and silence.
Truth be told, Bruce Wayne was still the ten year old that lost his parents in the alley that night.
It was like living with two different people sometimes. The carefree and playboy Bruce Wayne and the serious and brooding Bruce Wayne. It was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, except there wasn't a transformation that took place, there was just a shift of one mask to another and they both looked the same on the outside. It was almost impossible at times to believe that the two could possibly co-exist in the same human being. Bruce's personality could give you whiplash.
But there were other times…when he made up for it. Bruce taught Jason how to drive a stick. He taught him how to tie a tie, how to throw a punch. Hell, he'd even tried to have the sex talk with Jason, which had been awkward as fuck, and they both had failed miserably.
But Bruce had later left him a book about it instead, which was still, really embarrassing, but Jason had read it anyways.
Jason could admit it to himself that he loved Bruce. But as much as he loved him, he also hated him. Jason himself didn't even really remember the reason why, it's just there, a part of him. Like letting go of the anger would mean having to understand things that he didn't want to admit.
Admiration. Loyalty. Love.
Bruce made Jason feel a lot of things; so instead of feeling them, he squashed them with hate.
Hating Bruce was easy enough, because as much as he's a genius, he's also an idiot.
And he needed to get a hobby that wasn't adopting orphans.
And there were a hell of a lot of them these days. Dick, Jason, Barbara, Tim, Cassandra, Stephanie, Damian.
Somewhere along the line, Jason wondered when Bruce was going to realize that he was just adopting himself.
Jason could admit that his anger was stupid. He honestly just didn't know how to act differently. He didn't know how to fix things, and he didn't have a reason too. Most people have those moments when they're close to death, or someone else is. And last he checked, Bruce wasn't dying. But he didn't know that for sure, and that fact alone left a bitter taste in his mouth.
Dick managed to find his way back. Why couldn't he?
Bruce didn't handle Dick moving out well, years ago. For Bruce a simple: "I miss you, please come home." Would be too, goddamn simple. He has to ridicule the shit out of everything you do in hopes that you'll feel inadequate enough to come crawling back and never leave again. Bruce cares, he does. He just has an annoying ass way of showing it, if at all.
Which made things all the more worse for Jason after Dick was gone. At first, he had been relieved. Dick was the last person in the world he wanted to screw things up with, and he thought the distance would help. It's bad enough being a horny teenager without having to hide your boner when your big brother tackled you. Distance was welcomed.
Except distant really didn't do a fucking thing except make Jason's life more miserable.
With Dick gone, all of Bruce's attention was on him. And he wasn't anything like Dick.
Being compared to him made him crazy. So he lashed out. Instead of trying to be better than Dick, he became worse.
He drank, he partied, he dropped out of school. Got in some fights, put some thugs in the hospital. Put himself in the hospital most of the time.
He basically had your run of the mill teenage rebel years.
Oh, and at one point he had dyed his jet black hair red.
He thought it was snarky in a metaphorical kinda way, like where he was the red-headed step child in the family that didn't fit in.
Except he wasn't actually a natural red-head. And Old-Babsy was, and she fit in just fucking fine.
All in all, it had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he knew Dick preferred red heads.
Except it had almost everything to do with it.
Because that's the way it was for him. Things always had a way of doing that to him. Everything he did, every choice he made, circled around Dick Grayson.
When Dick had found out he dyed his hair, he didn't say much about it. Made one joke about how Jason could join his "sexy league of red heads", and then brushed it off. Jason wasn't sure what he had been expecting. If maybe he was hoping that his self proclaimed older brother would suddenly have the hots turned on for him just because he fell in with his red head kink. Or if it actually made him happy that Dick just accepted it, no questions asked. Sorta in a brother like way of giving him a little hell for it, but backing off just enough to let him know that he would accept anything that his little brother did, no touchy feely questions asked.
Which in a way wasn't Dick's style at all. Dick was all rainbows and tears of joy and hugs all around. He pesters the shit out of you if he thinks something is wrong like you're Humpty Dumpty and he's hell bent on putting you back together again so you can go back to sitting your ass back on that wall, which made it just all the more infuriating to think about the way he just ignored Jason's sudden transformation into the goddamn Little Mermaid.
It made Jason's teeth grind. He would have much rather have had sex.
It just made him feel all the more like the red-headed step child. Except, there were all sorta step children, except for Bruce's actual demon spawn. Even then, the rest of them all just seemed to…click. All except for Jason, who was kinda screwing up the whole family atmosphere with the whole 'wanting to fuck big brother' thing.
So Jason had kept his distance. He made calls home every now and then. Let them know he was still alive. Showed up every once and while for a fun filled family meal, but only if it was Alfred asking.
'Had' being the key word though, isn't it?
Because here he fucking was, standing on the doorstep of Wayne Manor, for a birthday party.
His birthday party.
Jason thought he was going to be sick.
He should just be able to turn around, and leave.
Dick was taking this party life or death serious. Instead of a phone call, he had arrived on Jason's doorstep and wouldn't leave until Jason had agreed to come. And not just once, but twice. He had even pulled that ridiculous puppy eyed look that by way, should look hideous on a grown man, but on Dick, freaking doesn't.
Jason had finally relented and said yes, because he hated to think of what Dick would do if he didn't show up. (Yup, that's the reason; it has nothing to do whatsoever with Jason wanting to make Dick happy, nope.)
Jason sighed, and finally decided to push open the door instead of standing on the front porch, looking stupid. He could knock, but there was no point in making Alfred come open an unlocked door for him.
The freakishly huge dog that belonged to the brat was announcing his arrival within seconds, running through the house, nails padding on the wood floor. He could hear noise in the kitchen down the hall, where obviously everyone seemed to be.
Dick was the first to show up, and god he threw his arms around Jason and hugged him like he literally had not seen him a week ago when he was threatening him about coming to his own birthday party.
Jason was so embarrassingly wrapped around his finger. He wanted to punch a wall for being such a pansy.
"I'm glad you came, Jaybird." Jaybird, Dick's nickname for him. Jason called Dick Dickie-bird. Stupid little nicknames from back when they were still in the orphanage. Birds had wings that could fly away whenever they wanted to.
Jason held back a snarky like I had a choice. "Yeah." He gave Dick a reassuring squeeze back though; a small me too.
Jason could practically feel Dick's excitement about something humming through his body as he pulled away, and Jason would be lying if he wasn't slightly wary. "C'mon, I want to give you your birthday present."
Dick is theatrical, so of course he fucking insists on Jason going blindfolded.
He let Dick lead him to go knows where in the manor, letting him blindly guide him through turns and whispering in his ear to watch his step. Jason was half annoyed and half excited because Dick knows him probably better than anyone else. The thing with Dick and gift giving though is that you never knew what you're going to get. Sometimes, the gifts he gives you are so touching and thoughtful like he's some kind of all knowing soccer mom or something. Other times, his gifts are tainted with his own bad taste, because Dick.
Dick is always equally excited either way, so it was really hard to tell.
They stopped, and Jason heard the sound of a door being opened as he guessed Dick was prancing around him. Dick held onto his arm telling him to take a step down, and Jesus fuck, just great, stairs.
"Look, I know how you don't really like it when I just buy you things, so I promise that I did all the work by myself. But Tim and Damian did help sometimes, so no I didn't actually do it all by myself. And I mean, I had to buy the parts of course too I couldn't just make them from scratch but really it shouldn't—"
"Dick. It's fine, can I just take the stupid blindfold off already?"
Dick inhaled, and exhaled. "Yeah, you can."
And oh fuck.
Right there in front of him was the most beautiful goddamn motorcycle Jason thinks he's ever seen. It was classic, sleek, and a beautiful shade of cherry red that just sang next to the chrome in the reflection of the lights in the garage. Dick had obviously spent weeks, maybe even months, collecting and assembling the parts, because knowing Dick, he really did try to spend as little money as possible, even though they were loaded (well, Bruce was loaded) all to appease Jason. All because he knew that Jason didn't care for bought gifts. Didn't like being given what he couldn't return.
"So, do you like it?"
Dick's still standing behind him, and made nervous by the fact that he can't see Jason's expression from behind. That, and Jason hasn't said anything for quite a while. Shit, Dick, who was nervous that Jason wouldn't actually like it.
Jason was never one for thinking. He was never one for planning shit out or for being able to tell if a mood was right or not. Didn't know when to stop, he only knew how to start.
So he turned around and kissed Dick.
Wrapped his arms around him and pulled him into what was the hottest kiss of his life. There was a small sound from Dick, and Jason's grip slackened, giving him a way out.
But Dick leaned in, and kissed him back.
Jason all but moaned into Dick's mouth as he felt him taking control, moving his lips back against his again and again. He pulled Dick closer to him, feeling Dick's arms wrap around his neck. And fuck, Jason had to finally pull away because he was pretty sure he forgot what it was like to breath. He buried his face into the crook of Dick's neck, pressing a kiss into the warm skin.
"Jay." Dick's voice reminded him that God, this was real. And feeling him breath his name out into his ear went right to the seat of his pants. He pressed closer, knowing that Dick could feel every bit of it, because he laughed softly.
"Come on Jay-bird, you haven't even had cake yet."
Jason closed his eyes, lashes fluttering across Dick's skin. If Dick kept whispering in his ear he was seriously going to come in his jeans.
Dick was quiet against him, and if he let him Jason thought he'd be happy with staying with him like that forever. He breathed in. Dick smelled like peaches.
"Jason, I never apologized to you."
Jason stilled. He could pretend that he didn't know what he was getting at. Like it wasn't the thing that had been eating away at him for months.
"Don't know what you're talking about Dick." He could pretend.
"Yeah you do. Jason back then I….just wanted to forget. And I wrapped you up in all that when I shouldn't have. I should have been there for you, and I'm sorry."
Jason knew. Jason had always known. Those years ago, when Dick had finally left and gone to college in New York. He was finally getting his chance to run away. He had let Dick slip away, let the months go on without contact, let the past finally be the past. He wanted him to be able to forget what had happened. Dick should be allowed that, should be allowed happiness.
His voice was only a whisper; he didn't think he could bear to say it any louder. "I couldn't protect you."
Dick ran his fingers through his hair, massaging his fingers at the base of his neck. "We were just kids, Jay. It wasn't your fault."
Jason had always blamed himself. If Jason hadn't been there, Dick could have just run away. Could have been adopted before it ever happened, he could have fought back hard and had nothing to lose.
Jason could almost laugh. It had been years,
But they were still just the two fucked up little kids in that orphanage.
But Jason finally felt lighter, like he didn't have the weight of the fucking whole world on his shoulders.
With Dick right there in his arms,
He felt like that hole was filled.
"Damn, I feel like I'm on Oprah."
Dick laughed. "I'm offended, Jason. I'm way better than Oprah."
Jason snorted. Yeah, he wasn't shoving his tongue down Oprah's throat anytime soon. That was thankfully the boner killer that he was looking for.
But Jason didn't let go of Dick, even though it should have started becoming weird some time ago. Standing together in a garage hugging while your own birthday party is going on upstairs.
But it felt nice, feeling Dick's fingers run through his hair, giving small squeezes around his waist back to him. His mouth pressed up against his ear. "I see you dyed your hair back." And Oh, Dick had noticed.
"Hey, uhm, guys?"
Tim. His voice carried down the stairs, but there weren't any footsteps. "We're ready for cake whenever you're uh, done." And damn if that didn't sound like a smirk at the end of that.
Tim, who had found their way back to them. Turns out, he actually hadn't been an orphan at the time, just a runaway that got thrown into the orphanage. His parents had come and scooped him up, but he had found his way back to Jason and Dick after their deaths only a few years ago.
There were the sounds of footsteps retreating, and Jason was reminded of how smart Timmy really is. And how much Jason actually likes him.
"C'mon Jay, cake." Dick was untangling himself from Jason, pulling him up the stairs.
The whole gang was upstairs, and Jason felt ridiculous being dragged along by Dick and forced to sit at the end of the table.
Alfred was already lighting the candles on the cake, and the demon brat made a comment about setting the house on fire. He shut up quickly enough with a quick chide from Dick, and that's when Jason saw it.
Saw the way the demon brat listened to Dick, saw the smirk on Stephanie's face as she whispered something to Cass. The way Cass smiled in response, the quick glance that Tim gave both him and Dick as they'd come into kitchen. The way the candles flickered in the darkness against Bab's hair as she had a shit eating grin on her face on the side, and the way that Bruce sat in the middle of it all, yet definitely unaware.
This whole time, he wasn't the only one messing up the family atmosphere with wanting to fuck big brother.
"Go ahead Jason, make a wish." Dick's next to him, nudging him in the side.
Well fuck them, Dick is his.
He blew out his candles, and turned to the side and pulled Dick in for a hot kiss in front of the whole family.
It felt like home.
A/Ns: The beginning of this was inspired by The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. If you've read it, you know which part. The second part was written mainly because I wanted to write Jay/Dick without the traditional "you kill people but we have hot sex". Classic Jay/Dick, but I wanted something a little different. I'm worried this comes off as too choppy and switches between tenses, but I enjoyed writing in Jason's perspective. I've picked up some head cannons from hawkstout along the way.