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Title: Settle Back to Earth
Series: After the Dust Settles
Author: Aravis Tarkheena
Pairing: Jaime Reyes (Blue Beetle III)/Tim Drake (Robin III)
Rating: R
Warnings: overall- sex, violence, angst, the gay,
Disclaimer: Not mine, everyone's legal
Word Count: ~2,000 this part; ~40,000 for the series
Summary: 5th part in the Dust series. Tim finds his way home and there are people waiting just for him...
Author's Notes: Written for dcu_freeforall table prompt # 10; innocence. Absolutely NONE of this will make sense if you haven't followed the series.

Index post for After the Dust Settles

Settle Back to Earth

It was Ace that greeted Tim when he pushed open the door to his townhouse, not Jaime. That wasn't terribly surprising given it was nearly four in the morning, and Jaime wasn't exactly expecting him.

Tim smiled at Ace, and shushed him as he pushed into the foyer. The house was dark and quiet, aside from Ace's little puppy whimpers for attention and affection. Tim dropped his duffle to the floor, and knelt down beside his dog to say hello.

Ace didn't like it when Tim went away on business trips for Wayne Enterprises. Jaime liked it even less. Tim was convinced that the two of them just encouraged each other to spiral into misery while he was gone.

Usually when Tim came home from a trip, the two of them competed to see who would be first to knock Tim to the floor and lick his face.

Or the suitable human equivalent, in Jaime case.

Well, the suitable human equivalent most of the time. Sometimes Jaime got carried away...

Ace had an excuse for the way he acted, though, Tim thought as he rubbed at Ace's ears. He whispered encouragement and platitudes to the happy dog.

Ace's entire rear end wagged in pleasure. He whimpered happily, and shut his eyes in bliss. Ace rolled over onto the floor and practically pleaded with Tim to rub his belly. So Tim did.

Tim smiled. Ace was absolutely still a puppy. He wasn't quite a year old, and Ace had never been one to tone down his greetings.

A few weeks after Jaime brought Ace home, with some judicious help from Ives, they had signed Ace up for obedience school. Ace was a rescue from a Puppy Mill down near the Philadelphia area, so he hadn't really taken to the classes very well.

Ace had been very skittish, and way too skinny the day he had stepped cautiously out of Ive's car, and onto the sidewalk outside the town house Tim had just bought.

The whole mad scheme had started at a dinner party one night. Jaime mentioned to Ives that Tim was depressed after the hamsters died. The two of them had then drunkenly decided, now that Tim and Jaime no longer rented, to get Tim a dog to distract him from missing Leg and Gim.

They had thought it was a brilliant idea, and two days later they came home with Ace in tow.

Tim hadn't thought the idea was so spectacular when he found out at the last minute, over the phone, that Jaime was bringing a dog home. He was furious for a full twenty minutes, waiting by the window for them to pull up so he could order them back to the rescue mission.

All the fury had melted away the minute Tim saw Ace get out of the car. There was a very familiar sort of hopelessness in Ace's eyes that Tim immediately identified with.

Ive's and Jaime had chosen well.

Tim and Ace had become fast friends, and, as it turned out, taking care of a puppy was a big job. It had absolutely distracted Tim from losing Leg and Gim. Not so much that he never thought of them any more, but it hurt less than it used to.

Legolas and Gimili had give him emotional support when Tim hadn't had anywhere else to get it.

There was still a picture of the two hamsters set up on the mantle piece in Tim's living room, but looking at it no longer made him quite as sad as it had.

Additionally, anytime these days that Tim found himself brooding Ace seemed to sense it and come to him. Ace hated it when Tim was unhappy. He acted like it was his sacred mission to keep Tim's unhappiness at a minimum.

Ace had a sort of puppish innocence that could always lift Tim's spirit, and make him smile.

Of course Tim knew that had been Jaime's intention all along. Ives' too.

It wasn't just Tim either. Ace had been drawn to Bruce the same way he was drawn to Tim. Maybe there was a particular quality that all three of them had, and could see in each other. It made it easier for all of them to empathize with one another.

Ace missed Tim so badly when he was gone that not even Jaime's presence could placate him. Ace loved Jaime a great deal. He was very loyal and protective of him, but they didn't share the same bond that Ace shared with Tim.

Ace had that bond with Bruce through. Bruce's presence seemed to go pretty far in making up for Tim's absence. Ace loved visiting Bruce. Tim took him along almost every time he went to Wayne Manor these days. Ace had his own cushion and feeding station there as well. Bruce and Alfred always spoiled him.

So Ace usually ended up staying with Bruce and Alfred when Tim was away on business.

Jaime had picked up Ace from the Manor that evening in anticipation of Tim coming home the following morning. Tim had caught an early flight, however, and made it home several hours sooner than Jaime had expected.

Tim gave Ace a kiss on the top of the head, and one last pat to the belly.

“Now you be a good boy, and go to sleep,” he said to Ace.

Ace made a soft noise of contentment, before walking over to his cushion bed and settling into it. Tim smiled at him.

“Good boy,” Tim said, and picked up his duffel bag.

He dropped his travel bags in the laundry room, before he hurried upstairs. He shut the baby gate behind him, it was supposed to keep Ace downstairs at night. Though, Ace was getting so big that it probably wouldn't keep him out for long, but Tim still tried.

Tim and Jaime shared the master bedroom on the top floor of the townhouse. The bedroom was part of the reason Tim had ended up buying the place in the first place.

Jaime had gone with him to check out prospective living spaces, and had fallen in love with the master bedroom the minute he saw it.

The two of them had gone through several off and on stages of their relationship while they were in college. When Jaime graduated they were back on again, and he had applied to several schools of dentistry in Gotham City. When he was accepted, he and Tim had decided it would be more practical for Jaime to move in with Tim so they could share the rent.

They had rented a series of shabby apartments as Jaime worked his way through school and Tim had worked his way up the ladder at Wayne Enterprises.

Tim had finally decided he wanted something a little more their own, and decided to buy a place.

Jaime had initially been reluctant. He apparently liked playing Russian Roulette with their living arrangements. He had made it something of a game to see what would be wrong with each one they stayed in.

Jaime had, however, come around to Tim's point of view when he saw this place for the first time.

The master bedroom had a dormer wide enough to fit their large bed. The dormer was sloped at the top, and there were two sky lights. Tim and Jaime could lay in bed, and look up at the night sky together.

Jaime had been thrilled with them. Tim, who was always more pragmatic than romantic, had opted not to point out to Jaime that the sky lights made it very easy for members of Tim's family, and their rather rarefied circle of friends, to peek in on the two of them while they were doing a hell of a lot more than sky gazing.

They had been in the house almost three weeks before Kon decided he was just never going to fly over their particular section of Gotham City ever again.

Tim pushed open the door to the bedroom, and toed off his shoes.

Jaime was asleep on his side of the bed, exactly under the sky light. The moon was peaking through the clouds of smog that hung over the city and cast a warm, soft light on Jaime's sleeping form. It made his dark hair look like it had streaks of silver shot through it.

Tim smiled and pulled off his clothes before slipping into the bed next to Jaime.

Jaime didn't come awake when Tim spooned in behind him. He made a soft, sleepy noise, and turned over in Tim's arms.

“You're back early,” Jaime mumbled softly in Spanish, and Tim kissed him on the forehead.

“I am. I missed you two too much. I decided to skip the sleeping thing and come straight home,” Tim told him in a quiet voice.

Jaime smiled smugly, and opened one dark eye.

“It was Ace and I. We called you home telepathically,” Jaime teased.

“Did you really?” Tim asked with a lifted eyebrow. “So it's your fault I got stuck on a plane between a smelly priest, and a teenaged girl with a chewing gum fixation?”

Jaime breathed out a laugh, and snuggled in close to Tim.

“It was too quiet here without you,” Jaime confessed. “We missed you.”

Tim kissed Jaime then, for the first time in almost a week. It was soft and sweet and more than a little sleepy on Jaime's part. It was perfect.

Tim lead an insane life. He was trying hard to work his way to the top of Wayne Enterprises in an effort to prove to the share holders that he would run the company one day for reasons aside from nepotism. His night life, which had always been interesting, seemed to get even more outrageous with Jaime's propensity to get into the craziest adventures. Add to that Bruce, Dick and Damian to that along with Ace's puppy training.

Tim was always on the run. Either from or for something. It was hectic and chaotic and more than a little stressful.

However, Tim did have a house full of people that he loved. He had a dog that always knew when he needed a friend. He had Jaime waiting for him, warm and caring, and more supportive than Tim could ever hope for.

At the end of the day, when all was said and done and the stirred up dust settled back down to earth, Tim had this to come back to. It was absolutely worth it.

If only for moments like this.

“I'm glad to be home, Jaime,” Tim said, and kissed him again.

The End.

A/N: Doooooooooooooooooone! Not only with my Jaime/Tim table at dcu_freeforall, but with Dust in general. I posted the first part of this fic almost a year ago and now it's over.

I think this fic has done amazing things for me as a writer. It's helped me grow and learn and make so many new friends. Thanks guys for sticking with me and helping me grow along the way. <3


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 31st, 2010 12:04 pm (UTC)
Can I.. can I just make flaily hands at you forever? Because I don't know how to find words to express my love for this accurately. Just.. everything about it. The whole series and this final piece and Jaime and Tim and omg this is why I love them so much as a pairing. They just mesh so well, and compliment each other and challenge each other in different ways and you've shown that so well in the entire series. I love this, and you, so much <3

I'm afraid I don't have the time right now to re-read the whole series, but as soon as my exams finish I definitely plan to.
Oct. 31st, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC)
They're just so CUTE together. Like, even when they FIGHT, Jaime cannot maintain any sort of malice for more than ten seconds. :D

I'm glad that you liked the ending. <3

I was thinking about you while I wrote it. :D I think this series is how we met.

Oct. 31st, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC)
This is because Jaime is the nicest person ever, and I bet Tim pouts and is adorable when they fight and Jaime can't be mad at him when he does that!

It is how we met! What a great series, I should buy it a present for introducing you and I.

Thanks! I'll need it!
Oct. 31st, 2010 04:02 pm (UTC)
Aw, so sweet! Somehow I'm sure that every animal loves Tim :D
Oct. 31st, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
Oh they totally do. I'm sure it's why Kon always comes to GOtham to see Tim and not the other way around. If Tim goes to the Kent Farm all the animals follow him around and he's like 'There's a duck staring rather pointedly at my butt. D:'
Oct. 31st, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)
Oh my, and all those cows and other farm's animals. It'll be awful!
Oct. 31st, 2010 08:50 pm (UTC)
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!! This was an adorable (and perfect) finish to this wonderful series!! This whole thing has been tremendous, and watching the ins and outs, and ultimately the growth, of Tim and Jaime's relationship has been really amazing.

I loved this last (and sadly, final) installment here. All the elements to it feel very natural to the progression of this fix. From the adoption of Ace (and his special relationship with Tim--and Bruce) to the simplicity of coming home to his lover and them snuggling. It was a great snapshot view of where they ultimately ended up.

Terrific job, on this chapter and on the whole thing! You really made me feel for all the characters in this fic. That is truly the ability of a great writer.
Sep. 4th, 2011 02:44 am (UTC)
Man, I'm always finding feedback I missed when I get comments to old fic. I suck at feed back. D:

I'm glad that you liked it. I was glad to finish this up. There was a lot I wanted to get across in this series, hence all the different parts and side stories. I wish I had the understanding of story structure I have now when I started this. D:

I'm so glad you liked it. Thanks so much. <333
Sep. 3rd, 2011 08:28 am (UTC)
I absolutely adored your series and could not stop reading until I reached the end. :) I got tears in my eyes for Tim a few times too.
Sep. 4th, 2011 02:44 am (UTC)
Awww, I keep making you cry. I'm glad that you enjoyed the story though. :DDD
Jan. 29th, 2012 07:28 pm (UTC)
*wibble* O_O

This was such a sweet epilogue! So sad that the hamsters passed away, but of course their life spans are so short. But aw, Ace! ^____^

I just love the adorable, cozy future you created for Jaime and Tim. So much love.

*applauds wildly* :)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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