Passion and love really aren't two sides of the same coin.
He was barely sixteen the first time it happened, and he often wonders if Dick waited until that magical number before finally giving into his own desires, but he never asks him.
It was only weeks before his dad found out his secret, a few more before Dick's world went to hell, but he'll never forget that night.
It wasn't that it was magical or romantic or anything like that. Love was never mentioned--not that Dick didn't love him, he knew he did--and it was quick and rough and nothing like he expected. If he'd given it much thought--which he hadn't, certainly not with another guy--he'd have thought a bed at least, but Dick caught him on a rooftop, shared a sandwich with him, listened to him bitch about Batman, shared his own bitching, and then kissed him out of nowhere.
There was no swelling of trumpets, no crisp cotton sheets, just a hard roof at his back and his pants around his ankles and his brother's mouth driving him crazy. To this day he hopes he turned off his comm unit because at the time Dick was still technically with Babs and he's always wondered if he had anything to do with their breakup. And he's never had the courage to ask her.
But keeping quiet under that mouth was impossible, even with his gauntlet-clad fist between his teeth.
That first time was all about him. He hesitantly offered to return the favor only to bask in Dick's brilliant smile, get an affectionate pet and a kiss, and a slightly flippant 'you can owe me' before the older man swung off the roof into the pre-dawn light, and he lay there stunned for several minutes before getting himself together, pulling up his pants, and finding his way home.
He repaid the favor the next time, and while their meetings were sporadic during his forced retirement and all of Dick's problems, they still managed to find each other.
He lost his actual virginity in his own bed while his parents were out.
He learned how to top in the back of Dick's car, one of the rare times they were out together as civilians.
Even during War Games, while he worried about Stephanie and Dick was torn up about something he only found out about later, they managed a few breathless kisses, keeping each other alive in the dark hours and the heat of a rioting Gotham.
After Stephanie's death, Dick came to him to comfort him, as his brother, not his lover, what he needed at that moment.
Then Dick disappeared and the next time they met, the older man was so bitter, so angry, he didn't know how to deal with him, and he was left with an ache he didn't understand.
He finally did understand it when he saw Dick fall to Luthor's weapon. Already destroyed by his best friend's death, the thought of his brother, his lover dying, sent him to his knees in shock.
And Tim finally figured it out, finally realized the truth.
He loved him.
There will always be others, love affairs, passions, possibly even marriages, but they are for each other as no others could ever be.
Tim knows this. Dick knows this. Even if they never speak about it.
Tim smiles down on his sleeping partner, then brushes his lips over his forehead in a gesture too romantic for him, but he can get away with it this once. Dick stirs, smiles in his sleep, mumbles Tim's name, and everything is right with the world.
Passion inevitably ran into love.
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