The air was cool and distinctly subterranean as Tim woke up, and Tim immediately reconfigured his thought processes to account for the fact that he was no longer on a beach in the South Eastern United Stated or a in a plane somewhere over the interim distance, but rather in the Bat Cave underneath of the Manor. It was hard to describe what exactly it was that confirmed Tim suspicions—there wasn't a single clue that gave it all away—but he knew as soon as his thoughts stopped chasing circles around one another that he was right.
The wetness in the air and the water lapping in the distance help to reassure Tim that he had received the best possible care while he was unconscious, but the knowledge that he was in the Cave was also calming in and of itself, because the Cave meant family, and family meant that Tim wasn't alone, no matter what had happened.
Tim supposed it was probably a screwed up thought process that led to him associating the Cave with family instead of the Manor, but the Cave was where all of the different Bats came together and were safe, and it wasn't always happy—in fact, some of their worst arguments had taken place in the main room of the Cave—but the true bonds of the family and the pack prospered in the stone and soiled walls, and the Cave was where they looked each other and went 'yeah, we've got a cluster-cuss of issues between the bunch of us, but we're family and we're going to sit down and work it out'. That was a feeling Tim had never known until he'd started training with Dick and Bruce over on the mats, and it was something he'd never found anywhere else—except for in his friendships with Bart and Kon—and he damn sure wasn't going to let it go without a fight (not that he really had that much of a choice anymore because he was pretty sure Dick would follow him to the ends of the earth with that sad, little, kicked puppy dog face of his, and where Dick went all of the bats went—barring Cass, but she would follow Steph and Dami, if she wasn't one step ahead of Tim waiting to punch him in the face and forcibly drag him back to the manor when he got wherever it was he decided to go—and Tim knew there was no getting away from it, no matter what his decisions were).
A shift of a weight on the mattress at Tim's left side quickly pulled his thoughts away from reflections of the Cave and calculations he wasn't even entirely aware he was making, and it only took a second of observation for Tim realize that the weight was vibrating softly and therefor was probably Bart. Contrary to popular belief, Bart vibrated in his sleep—at least when he was dreaming—and Tim somehow always found himself unable to say no to the younger man's request to have "sleepovers", no matter how many times he'd woken up to being kicked in the face (especially since Bart had come back from the dead three months before). Another shallow inhale only confirmed Tim's theory—Bart had a very unique scent, even if it wasn't as strong as some of the other metas or Jason or Bruce or Dick—and it also confirmed that Tim hadn't just had the worst nightmare of his life, and that Connor Kent was, in fact, sitting next to him, in the supposed flesh.
"I know you're awake," said Kent's voice cut through Tim's chest like a knife from somewhere off to his right, but Tim refused to look sheepish as he opened his eyes to look over at him (even if Kon had already heard the jerk of his heart rate at the voice).
Kon sat off to Tim's right, just like Tim had thought. He wasn't half naked like he had been earlier—instead, he was wearing an old sweatshirt of his that Tim had stolen years previous, but Tim squirmed uncomfortably when he realized Kon had left it unzipped over his chest. On the one hand, a naked Kon was always something that Tim wanted to look at—even if it was only in parts—but on the other, the untouchable sight hurt just as much as it had the first time Tim had seen him in the clearing, and Tim didn't want anything to distract him from the conversation that he knew was going to come.
Kon had lounged back in his chair, fingers intertwined over his lap as he feigned nonchalance with one of his boots up on the edge of Tim's hospital bed, but that hadn't fooled Tim for a second. Kon's go-to defense mechanism anytime he felt threatened or worried about someone he cared about was arrogance, and his body was tighter than a violin's strings underneath of the façade.
Tim wasn't in the Med-Bay like he would have expected, but rather out in the main part of the Cave, and the only explanation Tim had for that was Bruce's fear of Tim being exposed to too many of Kon's hormones at one time. There was also a suspicious lack of TTK buzzing around his body or in Kon's general vicinity, but he'd yet to come up with a good explanation for that.
As was to be expected, Tim was hooked up to all kinds of machines: an IV pump fed into a central line docked between his shoulder and chest with a bag saline and what Tim assumed was a medication of some kind attached to it; a three-point heart monitor was attached to his chest and a pulse-ox monitor was wrapped around his finger; another EKG-type monitor was hooked up to electrodes around his lower abdomen and pelvis—and Tim knew that each one of them had feedback sensors that were sending information to a tablet that Bruce refused to let go (but was ignoring in favor of hounding Clark for information instead), and Tim was only mildly annoyed with the invasion of privacy. Vital signs weren't nearly as indicative of all of the various things that people thought vital signs were indicative of, and if Bruce actually wanted to know what the reunion between Tim and Kon was going to be like, he would have just camped himself out in a chair on the other side of the bed from Kon and waited until Tim woke up so he could watch and listen to it himself.
Bruce was predictable and brash like that.
The thing that Tim hadn't counted on, though, was the collection of nightstands and file cabinets and tables that had been stacked around him—piled high with large stacks of his clothes and blankets and belongings—surrounding him in a faint, but omnipotent, layer of his family and his pack's scents, and it only took Tim a quick scan of the stuff to know that it had been collected from his room (and his apartment at the Tower), and that Bart was probably the one responsible for it. There were a handful of things that Tim couldn't identify as his own: a couple of shirts that looked to be about Jason's size, a pair of Dick's favorite jeans, one of the three sweatshirts that Jaime owned; and Tim smiled as he recognized each of them and came to the conclusion that they'd either brought them down here themselves or stopped Bart on his one man mission and asked him to pass them along.
"So," Kon's drawl broke threw Tim's thoughts, and Tim turned to look at him. "Are you going to tell me what the hell just happened, or am I going to have to ask?"
"…You don't know?" Tim raised one of his eyebrows in question.
"How the fuck am I supposed to?" Kon snapped, but he couldn't see Tim wince because his eyes were closed and he was apparently too pissed off to notice Tim's heart rate jump in response. "In case you hadn't noticed, I've been dead for the last I don't even know how long—"
"What?" Kon demanded, irritation flowing out of every single one of his pores, as his eyes snapped back open and he moved like he was ready to stand up and storm away.
"Thirteen months," Tim repeated himself, voice a quiet steel as he refused to meet Kon's angered gaze, not offering any kind of further explanation because Kon was Superboy and he should have been able to figure it the hell out. "And I'm sorry, but I assumed somebody already told you."
The, Or you'd figured it out yourself, went unsaid because Tim was mad, but he wasn't cruel.
"Are you kidding me?" Kon's eyebrows shot up in incredulity and his tone changed so much it had Tim's eyes flicking back up to his and the corners of his lips twitching as if they had the energy to smile. "They wouldn't have told me you were still alive if Bruce and Jason didn't think there was some merit to me being here to help keep whatever just happened from happening again."
"That's probably true," Tim conceded after a breath or so of thought. "But, I don't know for sure what's going on—I've been asleep for the last 16 hours in case you hadn't noticed."
"Yeah, I had," Kon's tone darkened again, but it seemed more introspective to Tim than accusatory, even though the annoyance with Tim was still clearly there. "And the only thing I know for sure is that something went wrong with your hormone levels, and you didn't have any suppressants on you to help you take care of it. Nobody in this damned house is willing to tell me anything more than that, because apparently it's my fault."
"It wasn't your fault," Tim shook his head, suddenly biting back tears as they stung at the corners of his eyes.
"That's what I kept trying to tell them, but the brat kept pulling Kryptonite on me, and the only way he would agree to stop was for me to leave and go up into the Manor and you know how Bruce is with his security, nothing gets in or out without his fucking approval, and apparently I'm not approved, and—"
"Kon," Tim cut him off pointedly, but he wasn't mad necessarily, he just wanted Kon to stop ranting. Tim already knew everything that he was saying, and the anger was making his headache worse.
"Sorry," Kon responded about as sheepishly as he could get in his concerned state (which wasn't very—his arms were still crossed over his chest, and every inch of his body was thrumming with an agitated type of tension that would have understandably had anybody but Tim terrified for their life—but he did look like he at least regretted the pain he'd caused Tim).
"It's fine," Tim brushed him off, reaching up to rub at his temples as he refused to meet Kon's eyes and tried not to get the pulse ox monitor stuck in his hair. "You didn't mean to."
"Still," Kon's shoulders relaxed just the slightest bit, and for as frustrated as he was (and despite what a certain little Demon Snot thought), Tim knew that Kon didn't want to hurt him or make things worse—he just didn't understand what was going on.
Tim and Kon fell silent following the brief outburst and Tim used the reprieve to go over his mental catalog of everything that had happened to him in the last twenty-four hours and double checked his math and his thought processes to make sure he hadn't made any inaccurate assumptions about his own situation. He very clearly remembered the fight with the robot and fighting his way through the water, back towards shore, but things kind of went a little fuzzy after that, and the only thing Tim knew for sure was that he probably owed Jason and Dick a steak dinner (and maybe a new kris for Jason, if he'd actually tried to choke Dick out like he vaguely remembered doing).
Kon didn't push Tim for answers as he thought, perhaps knowing Tim well enough to realize what he was doing or simply not caring about the lapse in conversation as Tim tried to get his brain in order, and Tim was thankful for it. Regardless of all of the conclusions that Tim had been able to draw based on the few flashes from the last day he remembered, Tim had no idea how Kon had come back to life or what he had been doing before he got to the beach with the robot (other than the fact that he was fairly certain it was Kon, because there was no way Alfred would have allowed Tim to be alone with him (Bart didn't count) if he wasn't one-hundred percent certain that Kon was who he looked like), and Kon might be working on even less relative rest than Tim was.
Tim doubted it, Kon had been in fine form when he'd showed up at the battle scene earlier—yesterday, Tim corrected himself mentally—and Tim was pretty sure he would have gotten an earful from Kon if he'd been tired, but he wasn't certain of everything that had happened and what Bruce had done while he was out of it (and his brothers—dear Batman, they'd probably tried to tear him apart), and Tim didn't have enough evidence on hand to prove whether his assumptions were correct or not.
(And Tim hadn't seen bags under Kon's eyes like that since the last time that Lex had put him under a red sun.)
"Tim," Kon said his name again—his quiet tone a very weird contrast to his still tense body language—and Tim heard the unspoken demand behind it (Please, tell me what happened, because if you don't, I'll make you, and neither one of us are going to like me after I do that,), and he sighed as he looked around the Cave and forced himself to speak again.
"There was a reason I didn't have anything on me, Kon—I wasn't just being unprepared for the hell of it."
"…And that reason was…?" Kon prompted with a raised eyebrow and an impatient bounce or two of his foot as Tim bit his lip and refused to go on.
"Because I haven't needed suppressants for a while now," Tim mumbled as he played with his own fingers to distract himself from the storm of emotions raging inside of his own body.
"Why not?" Kon pushed, his gaze burning against the top of Tim's head.
"Because…" Tim trialed off, scooting back into the pillows behind his back and underneath of his head in spite of the pain the motions shot through his body.
"Timothy," Kon nearly snapped, patience worn thin as Tim beat around the bush.
"Because, my best friend died 13 months ago and my body shut down," Tim finally broke down and gave him a straight answer, and winced when he saw Kon's eyes widen and his jaw drop out of the corner of his eye.
"You…your body…what?" Kon struggled to speak as he tried to make sense of what Tim had just told him.
"It…it shut down, Kon," Tim answered him nervously—self-consciously—as he picked at the blanket underneath of his fingers. "My ovaries, my uterine cavity, my lymph-nodes…everything, Kon. It all just…stopped. At first, I thought it was stress and the emotional toll of losing everybody all at once… Dad died, and then you, and then Bart, and Bruce followed not too long after…not to mention Cassie and Steph… I thought it was just…temporary…but then I started to move on from everybody else, and got back to…functioning…and it just…the pain from you was still there, and it…my cycle wasn't. Somewhere along the line, with being an omega and everything, my body came to rely on you for your hormones. Yeah, I had Dick around and stuff, and I'm definitely a part of Bruce's pack, but you…you were the one that I fell in love with… And even though my heart and my head knew they couldn't have you, and had come to terms with that…my body didn't seem to get the memo…and when you died…well…a part of me died, too."
"I…How long?" Kon choked as he swallowed thickly, but on what, Tim didn't know.
"I'm not sure," he shook his head, keeping his voice quiet for fear of it shaking or giving away just how badly he wanted to cry. "Being around so many metas kind of throws everything into flux, but…I think there was a reason I stopped spending time around you when you were with Cassie."
"Ah," Kon made a noncommittal noise before he fell silent as he let that little piece of information sink in. Just as Tim had told him, he honestly wasn't sure when his body has synched up to respond to Kon's hormones so completely, but he'd subconsciously stopped spending extended amounts of time with Kon somewhere around the fall before he'd died, because it had hurt too much to see Kon so happy around Cassie. At the time, Tim had just thought it was an emotional thing, but after his heats had gone away, he'd started to realize that it hadn't just been in his head. "And Damian?"
"Damian?" Tim's head snapped up so he could look at Kon in confusion, and to Tim's surprise, he was looking back calmly, but his arms were flexed across his chest and there was something hidden in the depths of his eyes that Tim couldn't decipher. Tim just stared back at him for a moment, eyebrows furrowed as he searched over familiar features and waded through inhuman blue until finally—was it—could it have been…jealousy? "What about Damian? Oh, you mean—in the field yesterday? No—that's not—that's wasn't—"
Tim stumbled over his own words for a moment before he finally composed himself enough to speak.
"Nothing's going on between Damian and I—never has, never will," he looked Kon firmly in the eye, his voice more confident as he tipped the playing field back on to ground he was familiar with. "He just—a lot of things happened after you died, Kon. I don't know how much anybody has told you, or what you already know, but nothing romantic or physical has ever happened between Damian and I, and nothing ever will. Also, don't think you're getting out of telling me where you've been or how you came back to life, because you're not, I just don't have the mental capacity to deal with that right now—"
"Understood," Kon acquiesced easily with a blink of his eyes and a shrug of his shoulders, and it was such a normal thing for Kon to do that Tim's heart fluttered in his chest. "And to answer your question about how much I know, before you actually ask it again—not much. I've gathered that Bruce went away for awhile and that Jason and Dick are an official thing now—or they're going to be an official thing once Dick gets his head out of his ass and just goes for it—"
"Don't even get me started on those two," Tim rolled his eyes, temporarily distracted from his own plight by the mention of his brothers.
"It's been obnoxious, hasn't it?" Kon asked, sympathetic and knowingly.
"The worst," Tim huffed a sigh. "I don't think Bruce has figured it out yet, either."
"Clark knows," Kon hummed.
"He does?" Tim's eyebrows furrowed.
"Well, I assume so," Kon backtracked just a bit, obviously not wanting to put words into Clark's mouth when he didn't know if they were actually true or not. "You can smell them on each other for miles—"
"Dick and Jason always have scented really strong—"
"Really?" Kon's head tilted to the side inquisitively as he cut Tim off. "Jason does it, too?"
"Yeah," Tim nodded his head, settling back down a little bit as his stomach protested to all of the excitement with a fresh wave of pain. "You've never been around him when he doesn't have suppressants in his system, but he's almost worse than Dick in certain instances."
"Huh—I didn't think anybody could get worse than Dick at anything," Kon pursed his lips contemplatively. "Interesting. But anyway, yeah—there's definitely something going on there. I don't think they've slept together or bonded, though. Their scents haven't changed, even if they're both covered in the other's."
"That's probably why most of us can't smell it, yet," Tim hypothesized as he thought back over what he'd seen of his brothers the previous couple of months. It was obvious that the two had been spending more time together, Jason had moved into the Manor eventually to help Dick handle the stress of Bruce being gone, but they'd always been very physical and flirty with each other (at least as long as Tim had been around) so it was hard to judge their relationship on stuff like that. "Or that we don't realize that we are."
"Probably," Kon agreed with a nod of his head, and neither he nor Tim had really realized it, but he'd scooted closer to Tim in his seat during their tangent, and he was leaning the weight of his upper body on to his knees as he looked up at Tim with a relaxed and easy going expression on his face before he remembered what they'd been talking about and his expression schooled itself back into the one he'd been wearing before. "But we can talk about that later. I know that Cassie and Bart died for a little while, too, and I'm guessing there's a reason I haven't seen or heard Steph around anywhere, but aside from that and what you just told me about your body, I know nothing."
"Ah, okay, well—all of that's true, kind of, but—Bruce didn't just go away…he died, too, Kon."
"No—" Kon gasped as his mouth fell open in pure shock.
"He did," Tim nodded somberly, looking back down at his hands in his lap as Kon reached forward to grasp one tightly between both of his own.
"No, it's okay," Tim squeezed the hand back, thankful for the anchor, but not nearly as distraught over the subject as he once was. "It was…it was a long time ago, and he's back now, and that's all that mattes, but…back then…back then, it was hard. He died—and well actually he didn't, he was lost in time, but that's a story for another day—and things around here, especially in Gotham, things were rough for a while, and everything…everything changed. Dick did his best to try to keep an eye out for all of us, but he had to take up the Cowl and Damian…well, Damian was being Damian, and there were a couple of weeks where he and I literally couldn't be in the same room together without one of us nearly killing the other, and it…it was just, too much. Too many things fell through the cracks and I happened to be one of them. Dick knew something was off—everybody knew something was off—but nobody really had the time or energy to look into it all that much. I was still alive and as far as everybody knew I was still functioning somewhat healthily considering everything that I had been through, so they just…kind of…well, they didn't ignore it, because that makes it sound like they didn't care, and they did, it was just…"
"Too much?" Kon offered gruffly, and Tim found himself looking up at him and studying the cobalt blue of his eyes for a couple of seconds before he nodded his head.
"Yeah," he finally managed to choke out, and forced himself to look away, again. "Once things had calmed down a little bit, and I'd figured out that Bruce wasn't dead and Jason got Dick to actually listen to me, things eased up and they started looking into it, but in the mean time…Damian was the only person who noticed just how bad it was. He—it didn't…start out as anywhere near concern, but the less and less I fought him on things and the more and more I just started avoiding him altogether, the more and more…confused he got. Eventually, he started doing research to try to figure out what was going on, and he…he put two and two together—or well, more like he knew the answer was four, but couldn't figure out the equation to get there—and he confronted me about it, trying to fill in the pieces."
Tim didn't realize it, but as he said those last couple of words, his eyes moved to a particularly deep and jagged scar on the underneath side of his left arm, and Kon's hand tightened around his, as his gaze followed Tim's.
"Tim," his voice was low and in that even tone that Tim knew was forced and Tim squeezed his hand back in reassurance.
"It was an accident," Tim explained quietly. "We were up in one of the hallways in the Manor and we knocked over a vase and I…I fell. Damian thought I was going to get mad or blame him once I got done patching myself up, and rat him out to Dick, but he hesitated when he saw that I wasn't getting up. My body was pretty strung out at that point from the bond breaking and the loss of my cycle, and the glass lacerated both the radial and the ulnar recurrent, and Damian started panicking when he realized I couldn't do anything to help myself, and practically drug me down here so he could patch me up and interrogate me about what was going on. Alfred and Dick weren't home—Dick was out in Blüdhaven checking up on a lead, and Alfred was running errands, so it was just the two of us."
"Dames would have called Dick, but Dick was so far off his rocker trying to keep everything in one piece, that he was worried about what would have happened if he did—what Dick would have done to me, and what it would have done to Dick himself if he realized how bad I was, and that he'd failed me in trying to help everybody else…so Damian didn't call. He and Dick had gotten close while Bruce was away because Dick finally gave him a chance to just…be Damian and not the perfect Robin candidate Bruce wanted him to be, or the perfect heir to the Demon's throne that Talia wanted him to be, and Damian flourished. Took it in his stride, and the kid's not perfect, but he's good, and he made the right call in not telling Dick. He probably should have called somebody else—J'onn or Diana or even Ollie—but he didn't know anybody else enough to trust them, still doesn't really, and eventually he and I made it through on our own."
"He started asking questions, once he'd gotten enough blood back in me that I could see straight again, and I think he was just doing it because he was genuinely confused and trying to understand, but…it helped me to talk about it. To finally open up and admit to somebody what I was feeling and what I could only guess at the time had happened. It was still too early to know for sure—I had skipped a heat right after my dad passed, so missing another one wasn't that big of a deal, and three wasn't really that concerning due to the timing of it, and you were…you were buried, so I couldn't just call you up and be like, 'hey, Kon, mind coming over so I can test this little theory I have about accidentally bonding with you when you were off falling in love with your girlfriend?'—but by the time of the…the incident I should have already started into the mid-part of my fourth, and I wasn't showing any symptoms or signs, and I knew, and there was just so much I'd kept bottled up, that it was nice to unwind."
"Tim," Kon said his name again, and Tim looked up at him before he looked away again, running delicate fingers over the side of Kon's hand to have something to do to center himself as the conversation circled back to where it began.
"I don't want you to worry about me, though, or feel obligated to—I don't know…look after me or whatever it is you have in your head that alphas are supposed to do for their omegas, because you don't have to. I've been living with this for years now, even though I didn't realize just how much it affected my body until you weren't here anymore, and I've got a pretty good handle on myself and I shouldn't really attack you again like I did yesterday, now that I know you're back. You didn't choose this, and you had no idea it was happening, so you couldn't stop it, and I'm not going to hold that against you, Kon. You're still my best friend, and this doesn't have to change anything, but I also understand if you don't want to be around me anymore—"
"Tim?" Kon tried to interrupt him, but Tim forged on in spite of Kon's efforts.
"No, Kon, I mean it," he shook his head, and ignored the mildly annoyed look on Kon's face. "This doesn't have to change anything for you. Everything can go back to normal once my hormone levels even out, and you can completely forget that this whole thing happened or that we ever had this conversation. I don't expect anything from you. I can deal—I can cope on my own. You can go back to Cassie and live out your happily ever after or whatever it is that you want with her, and I'll completely understand if you never want to see me again because of what I've done, but I can completely ignore it and stay on hormone suppressants for the rest of my life if you want me to, so you don't have to deal with it. I'm fine with that. The only reason I came off of them in the first place was because they were too dangerous for me to be on without you around to counteract them. If I'd known you were coming back, I would have had some on me during the battle. But you didn't let anyone know that you were coming back—at least not that I know of—so I wasn't prepared. I won't make that mistake again."
"…Are you done?" Kon wasn't harsh when he finally spoke up a couple of breaths after Tim had fallen silent, but there was a way that he was looking down towards their still intertwined hands that Tim didn't like.
"Yeah," Tim nodded his head, clamming back up after his many revelations and reluctantly spilled confessions, and he kept his gaze on Kon to really look at him and reveled in the fact that he was alive for the first time since he gotten back, because Tim was terrified he was never going to get another chance to and despite everything he'd just said he was so far head over heels in love with the man that he didn't think his body could handle him leaving again, let alone what it would do when Kon flat out rejected him in a couple of seconds and—
"You're right," Kon nodded his head determinedly after a moment or two of silence, and Tim was torn between relief that Kon was even still talking to him and fear of whatever was about to come out of Kon's mouth next because Tim knew it wasn't going to be good. "You won't make that mistake, again. Neither of us will."
Tim's heart shattered with a white-hot pain as Kon said that because he knew what Kon meant, but then, Tim looked up, and suddenly Kon was just there, in Tim's face and pressing their lips together, and Tim's brain short circuited as he made a confused noise of protest, and Kon used Tim's lapse in judgment to slip his tongue into Tim's mouth, and promptly acquainted himself with one of the few places of Tim's that he'd never had the chance to explore before.
For a moment—just for a moment—Tim was overwhelmed by the smell and taste of Kon, and he sank into the kiss and fisted his hands up into the zippers of Kon's sweatshirt without realizing what he was doing, before he came back to reality and pushed Kon away.
"What are you doing?" he furrowed his eyebrows as he looked up at the Kryptonian hunched over top of him—his knees digging into Tim's right thigh from where he'd crawled up onto the bed beside him.
"You're not the only one who bonded before I died," Kon ran his thumbs over the soft skin of Tim's cheekbones and Tim's eyebrows drew closer together in confusion for a second because he had no idea why Kon was mentioning his bond with Cassie and using it as an explanation as to why he'd kissed Tim until his eyes widened and his pupils dilated in understanding.
Kon had—Tim wasn't—he hadn't—
"Oh," he whispered aloud, unable to tear his eyes away from the ethereal glow Kon's as he did so.
"Yeah," Kon looked down, smiling and blushing as he nodded his head. "I didn't say anything, because I didn't think you were interested, but…yeah."
"Oh," Tim repeated himself, looking away too as he tried to process the full extent of his new knowledge, but before he had a chance to work all of the way through it, Kon's lips were back on his, and Tim couldn't find the strength to push him away.
The kisses were slow, hesitant almost, as Tim and Kon went back to tasting each other and sharing breaths as they barely parted more than a couple of centimeters to look up into each other's eyes, but for all of his nineteen years, Tim couldn't remember anything else ever feeling so undeniably right.
"Kon?" he whispered against Kon's lips, pulling back farther than he had since Kon had initiated their second first kiss, and tightened the hold he had on Kon's hair so that the larger boy knew not to dive right back in for another kiss.
"Yeah?" Kon's eyes shifted up to his from where Tim wasn't even sure what he'd been looking at, and Tim could feel his stomach knot and his heart plunge down his toes as he did so.
"I love this, and I love you, I really do," Tim unknowingly ran his thumb over Kon's scalp as he spoke. "And if it's a relationship with me you want, we can talk about that, but I'm not interested in getting marked anytime soon, or running around acting like your 'omega' or—"
"You think I don't know that?" Kon raised an eyebrow down at Tim, with a gleam in his eyes and a smirk on his lips, and Tim had to resist the urge to buck his weight up and spill Kon over on to the floor because doing such a thing would probably tear some of the stitches he would bet that Alfred had sewn into his uterine cavity.
"Well, of the two of us, you are the one of us who's already in a relationship," Tim pointed out instead, because as wonderful as fairytales were, Kon's current relationship status was a huge part of their relationship that they needed to figure out because Tim wasn't willing to share.
He'd rather go back to having no Kon, than not having Kon all of the time.
"No, I'm not," Kon's expression softened into one bordering on the edges of concern, and he shook his head as he reached up to brush some of Tim's dirty hair back out of his face. "Cassie and I broke up back before I died, and while she seemed to think that it was only a temporary thing—I didn't. I love Cassie, and she's great as a friend and all, but romantically speaking, it was just never going to work out for us—not when I had you around to compare all of my feelings with her against—and I didn't feel right continuing the relationship with her when I knew I would never be able to love her as much as I love you. At least, not when I couldn't be honest with her about what I was feeling. And I didn't feel comfortable talking to her about it, because I didn't know how you felt about the subject, so…"
"So, she doesn't…?" Tim bit his lip, not sure how to word what he was trying to ask.
"No," Kon shook his head again, and tugged Tim's hand up to his lips so he could kiss at the scarred and calloused skin of Tim's knuckles. "I'm sure she's had her suspicions—she is one of our best friends, after all—but, no. I've never told her."
"But what about in the clearing, earlier—yesterday?" Tim's eyebrows furrowed just the tiniest bit, and Tim closed his eyes and leaned up into Kon's touch as Kon reached up with his free hand to run two of his finger tips over the wrinkles to smooth them back out again. "When she was kissing you and stuff?"
"That, I'm afraid, was Cassie being Cassie," Kon sighed, and let his hand fall back to the outside of Tim's thigh between them. "And I promise you that I will be having a conversation with her about it, and that it meant nothing to me, but I didn't think it was a conversation to have there in front of everyone when she started, and I wasn't leaving your side after your body decided to pitch itself a fit—or as close to your side as I could get without one of your brothers sending me back to that hell hole I crawled out of—until I knew what was wrong with you and that you were going to be okay. I know the last thirteen months or however long it's been have been hard for you, and I'm sure if you want to make a Venn-Diagram of all of the things we went through, your side would probably have twice the stuff on it as mine would, but Timothy Jackson Drake, I was away from you for thirteen months, too, and it damn near killed me not being able to talk to you all of that time."
"I'm sorry," Tim gave a small little giggle at Kon's exaggerated tones, and Kon positively beamed for a moment before he swooped down to press their lips together in a couple of kisses that were slightly more demanding than the ones they'd shared previously (not that Tim was complaining).
"As for all of that other stuff," Kon flapped his free hand through the air when he pulled away again, his lips taking on a mischievous tilt as he did so. "I've known you for five years now, Tim—five! Did you really think I was going to walk in here and find out about all of this and expect you to roll over and just give yourself to me regardless of what you wanted?"
Tim didn't answer him, because he knew it was a rhetorical question, but he did reach out to nip at Kon's lower lip when Kon leant down for another kiss with a small chuckle, and Kon seemed to take that as an invitation for more as he started pressing kisses all over Tim's face and head as he went back to talking.
"I know I'm not one of the Bat-Clan, but give me some credit, dude! I've been putting up with Cassie for three years! I know you're not going to be one to play the distressed omega, waiting for me to come home with dinner on the table and our kids in their pajamas ready for bed, and I'm perfectly well aware that if I ever try to so much as look at you the wrong way or control what you do, you'll have my ass on a platter faster than any of your brothers or Bruce can get to me, and that's scarier than anything else I think I've ever faced."
Tim had to admit that Kon had a good point—Kon had known him for quite a long time, and as much as everything had been tipped out of balance in the last year or so, not much had changed at all. Tim was no more willing to submit to an alpha than he had been before Kon died, but then again, maybe he trusted Kon enough to be able to look at him as something more than 'just an alpha' one day.
"I don't expect you to lay down and take whatever I give you, and I don't expect you to throw everything you've ever worked for out the door just so you can be around to please me," Kon's voice took on a more composed and serious edge as he went on. "Relationships for superheroes are hard—especially for those of us who don't have entirely human backgrounds—and that's a reality I accepted a long time ago. You've been through a shit ton of stuff over the years, and I know it's going to take you a long time to get comfortable with this, but I'm not going to force anything on you that you don't want."
"You know, you're not doing a very good job of proving that to me?" Tim huffed out an annoyed little sigh, but his legs fell open as Kon nudged his way down in between them, and he tilted his head to the side so Kon could have better access to the non-scent-gland-ed side of his throat when Kon starting licking and nuzzling at the skin there, not even thinking about what he was doing once as he handed what was effectively his future over to Kon completely.
"I know," Kon ran his hands soothingly over every part of Tim that he could find. "But I also know that you want this right now, and if you didn't, you'd be stopping me."
"That's true," Tim conceded with a nod of his head after a moment or so of contemplation, and slipped his hand up under the open space of Kon's sweatshirt to run it over the skin of Kon's chest absently as Kon's nips turned into things more akin to bites.
The two laid like that, Kon hunched over top of Tim as they shared lazy touches back and forth until Tim winced as a hand strayed too close to his pelvis.
"Careful there, Superboy," Tim chastised him half-teasingly as he squirmed in discomfort. "Part of me is enjoying this and all, and I wish we could take it farther, but my hormone levels are still all over the place, and it still feels like my uterine cavity is trying to eat itself alive."
"Oh—sorry," Kon was quick to apologize as he pulled back enough to be able to look down at Tim and quickly removed his hands from Tim's lower abdomen and legs.
"No—it's okay—I—" Tim was in the process of reassuring him that it was okay and readjusting the blankets around his lap just to have something to do, when he looked up at Kon and faltered.
His eyes caught on Kon's—the iridescent blue that didn't quite hold the celestial quality that Clark's did, but still far exceeded that of any earthly blue that Tim had ever seen—and Tim exhaled a silent gasp when he realized that Kon was just as captivated by Tim's eyes as he was with Kon's and he finally let it sink in that Kon was back.
Kon was back, and he was Tim's, and Tim didn't care about anything else in the world. He just wanted to be Kon's.
"C'mere," he found himself whispering (begging—pleading…it didn't matter—none of that mattered anymore) as soon as he could do more than just stare, and when Kon blinked in confusion Tim clarified what he meant by tangling both of his hands up into Kon's hair and pulling him back down to his lips in a kiss that was much deeper and much more desperate than either one of them had shared before.
Kon froze for just a fraction of a second, and Tim was thankful for it as Kon repositioned himself overtop of Tim so that his belt buckle wasn't digging into Tim's crotch painfully, and propped his weight up on his left arm off to the right side of Tim's head, so that Tim wasn't holding him up by his hair, but then he sank into the slow and wet slide of the kiss with a patient eagerness and demand that had Tim's toes curling, and one of his hands moving from the back of Kon's neck down to his side to massage and feel at the hard muscle there.
The kiss was everything that Tim had ever wanted, and exactly the thing that he had never been able to read about on the Internet or in books. People everywhere were always so caught up in the fire and flurry of things—the bite and the burning desperation—that they forgot that slow things could be just as tantalizing, and Tim made a vow to himself right then and there in his hospital bed that he would never go more than twenty-fours hours without slowing down enough to actually appreciate Kon and his beautiful body and mind for a couple of minutes (barring Kon being hours away). Tim would have been content to lie there for another couple of hours just kissing Kon slowly and reacquainting himself with all of his favorite of Kon's being as his body slowly started to heal itself, but then, something shifted beside them and—
"…Does this mean you guys are together now?"
Both Tim and Kon froze as Bart half-stage-whispered beside them, tongues still pressed together as they opened their eyes, before they quickly retracted all of their own body parts back to themselves and wiped at their faces as they turned to look at him.
Tim, at the very least, had forgotten that Bart was there and never in a million years would have started making out with Kon right beside him if he had, but speedster sexuality was a little different than most other humans' (especially Bart's, with him being from the future and all—and that was probably why Bruce had allowed him to stay down in the Cave with Tim and Kon in the first place), and Bart seemed mostly unaffected by the intimacy of the situation, and appeared to have no problem lying there beside the two of them as they more or less necked (even if he had curled himself into a tiny little ball and was looking back and forth between Tim and Kon with an expression on his face and a minute vibration in his entire being that barely concealed his excitement at the new possibility and the trepidation at having read the scene wrong).
"Um, well, we haven't put a label on it," Kon's eyes flashed back to Tim's before he looked away and continued to wipe at his mouth as he blushed. "But—"
"Yeah," Tim cut him off, turning back to Bart, not wanting the uncertainty to go on any longer than it already had. Bart had just woken up to the two of them making out, after all, and the way Bart's face lit up and Kon's blush spread to his neck and his chest made it even better. "We're together, Bart."
The lack of TTK is a side affect of the shot, but it is not permanent! If memory serves me right, I didn't play around with TTK in Part One, and it might not make an appearance in Part Two because of the course of events, but it is most definitely a thing in the Parts after that!