As far as she desires
by Te
July 12, 2007

Disclaimers: Nothing here belongs to me.

Spoilers/Timeline: Many references to older storylines.
Takes place maybe a month or two after ROBIN #120,
does not reference any issues after that point.

Summary: It's more real now.

Ratings Note/Warnings: Sexual content which does and
doesn't dovetail with the content some readers may
find to be disturbing.

Author's Note: Sequel to "Neither stars nor gods,"
kicking off a bit more than a month after the end of
that story. You should probably read that one first.

Acknowledgments: Much love to Pixie, Petra, and Mildred
who held my hand through this and helped to make it
a much better story. Jack also helped a lot.


The showers are as huge they always are -- and 'always' is
kind of a weird thought, but, well, she *does* get to use
them these days.

There's something about being *naked* here -- and not
even injured while bravely doing her heroic duties, and
maybe those fantasies were a little ridiculous and stupid but
they were *hers* --

She's here, and there's a weird-scary feeling of permanence
to that which has everything to do with the fact that she's
alone, now, and nothing to do with anything that makes
*easy* sense.

Right now, Tim and Cass are out on patrol, doing their bit
for Gotham. And so are those other --

Nightwing's name is Dick Grayson and Batman is Bruce
fucking *Wayne* of all people --

She's one of *them*, now. Part of the family, except totally
not, because she's a bruised-up slab of not-good-enough
meat who barely managed to keep herself from crying from
the pain after that spar with Tim. He'd taken her down
*hard* in less than two minutes, and it wouldn't have taken
that long if he hadn't *paused* in the middle to show her
exactly what she was doing wrong with her blocks.

She'd asked for the spar. She'd fucking --

She's been training here, now, for over a month. She's
memorized more of the Gotham penal code than she ever
would've thought possible, she's run a thousand laps of the
Cave if she's run one, and her muscles are getting *scary*-
defined from all the weight-training.

She'd thought...

Steph shakes it off a little and doesn't fucking whimper when
she reaches for the soap. She can, at least, get herself

And it's not like she thought she was *really* ready or
anything, it's just that the last time she'd looked at herself
in the mirror, she'd seen someone as strong and tough as
Spoiler had been on her *best* day. She'd always been
able to muscle up fast -- her mom has biceps like *stone* --
and she --

She'd thought she was ready *enough* for a spar, that's all.

And she hadn't cried when Tim walked away from her to
suit up for the night, and she's sure as shit not going to cry
*now*, even if the water would probably hide everything.

She kinda thinks that this shower doesn't hide anything, at

And -- whatever. The fact that she's way too sore to give
her own back anything like a *good* scrubbing tonight isn't
going to make her smell like the Amazing Homeless Gal.
Back in the 'burbs, there's a nice, soft bed that doesn't
smell anything like the Cave. (It still smells, a little, like the
last time Tim had come to her as -- almost -- nothing *but*

Steph shuts off the water.

She's going to get out of here, towel off, stretch as much as
she can without fucking *whimpering*, and then she's going
to go *home*. Tim had said that he wouldn't have time to
train her more tomorrow.

She'll have a whole day to recover to the point where she
can look in a mirror again, and --

She needs that. Kind of a lot.

It's a good plan -- it's an *awesome* plan, if she does say
so herself. Her skin wants her to know, once again, that the
towels here are the best freaking *possible* quality. Alfred --
formerly known as Tim Drake's incredibly creepy and kind of
mean valet -- warms them up for all of them.

For her, too, now.

Yeah, she's feeling better about her plan by the *second* --
until she actually pays a little *attention* to her surroundings
and notices the big, huge --

Until she sees Bruce -- *Batman* -- sitting by the console
with a sketchpad and a mug of what's probably coffee.

She's naked except for a towel and Batman's right there.

She's naked with Bruce Wayne.

She --

She can fucking *cope*, is what she can do. "Um... hi?"

"Hello," he says, looking up and -- smiling at her.

Wow. He's really kind of *impressively* hot, actually -- Steph
shakes it off --

Steph *starts* to shake it off and decides that she doesn't,
really, want to look like a big, beat-up dog. Tim had told
her -- everything. It's just that everything doesn't feel like
really *everything*. Bruce's eyes *do* look like Batman's
eyes, but they also look like a lot more. "So... uh. Night off?"

"Something like," he says, and somehow it feels really big
that he doesn't look back to his sketchpad.

She can't do a thing to stop herself from blushing. Maybe
he'll blame it on all the shower-heat she's losing by the
second. "Look, I didn't mean to -- interrupt you. Or

When one of those eyebrows goes up, he looks just like Tim.
"I'll let you know if you do, Stephanie."

O-kay. "Okay." Is she supposed to just strip like he's not
there? Cass doesn't really train *here*, as opposed to in the
Clocktower and her own capital-c Cave. What would *she*

"Or... do you prefer 'Steph?'"

And it -- *it* -- kind of hits like a big, fat, crumbly, tooth-
breaking brick. "Uh... I. So, it kinda just occurred to me that
we haven't been... um. Formally introduced," she says,
starting to cock one hip --

"No, we haven't --"

-- and stopping when she can feel the not-all-that-long towel
riding up her thigh.

"Hm." Bruce stands up. And up and up. Damn, he's big.
"Would you like a robe?"

She's been out of the shower way too long for this blush to
have plausible deniability. "It's okay. I mean, it's not like I
live here --"

The thing is, he's *Batman*. Of course he moves fast. It's
just that he's not *wearing* Batman -- as opposed to
something which she guesses is Bruce-Wayne-casual
gear -- and he's still right there.

Right here. "I don't really want --"

"It's no trouble," he says, and moves to the other warmer-
thing and pulls out a robe which looks kinda small for her,
frowns --

"Really, uh, Bruce --" She's blushing even harder.

And possibly she's going to have a stroke, because the robe
he pulls out next is too huge to belong to anyone *but* him.
"We'll have to find you some in your size," he says, coming
close. "But I think this will do, for now...?"

Steph bites her lip. She is not going to lose her shit just
because Batman is putting his own robe over her shoulders.
She's *fine*. "It's... it's really perfect. Um. Thanks. Bruce."

"You're welcome," he says, and stands right there holding
the robe until she stops holding the towel and pushes her
arms through the holes, and -- okay.

She can do this. She hadn't meant to stick around (or even
look at the place on the mats where she'd gone down to
*stay*) or anything, but if she's *gonna* hang out, a robe
is way better than the towel.

She shimmies to step out of the thing, ties the robe, bends
to pick up the towel --

Bruce already has it. Damn. "I can't wait until Tim starts
teaching me how to be *faster*," she says, and -- doesn't
bite her stupid damned *lip*. "Um. Not that I'm saying
anything bad about the way he's training me, and I'm
really grateful and you should probably just ignore me --"

"Not likely."

"-- and let me just babble myself out. What?"

Bruce smiles at her again. And tosses the towel neatly over
his shoulder to land in the hamper.

Steph... it's not that Bruce's smile is infectious or anything --
that's the kind of thing Tim always (used to) bitches about
in terms of him not being a good enough Robin. Like a
damned *grin* would make it for him -- anyway, Steph's
smiling back a little helplessly. "You are... really not like
what I expected, Spooky."

"We haven't exactly had the chance to get to know each

Which -- okay. That's not *her* fault. Steph crosses her arms
over her chest. "But now that Tim says I'm good enough to
train that's all changed?"

Another one of those Tim-looks. Had he learned them *from*
Bruce? Right, don't get distracted, girl.

"Seriously. You -- kinda pushed me all out to prove I wasn't
good enough and get me to stay my ass home, *Bruce*."

"I gave you -- something like -- the same test I gave Tim.

She -- really can't decide whether 'Steph' or 'Stephanie'
sounds weirder in that voice which isn't really Batman's, at
all. Something to think about later -- she opens her stance
and glares. A little. "Minus a few *years* of training."

"There were adjustments," Bruce says, and that *is* the
Bat-voice, but the eyes are kind of... Okay, sure, Bruce is
*watching* her, but she kind of thinks this is another test.

"Adjustments," she says, and raises her own eyebrows.

"Hm," he says, eyes saying that he's laughing, and steps
back, eyeing her up and down fast and *thoroughly*.

She is *not* going to blush again. "What?"

"You've pulled a muscle in your back."

"I -- okay, I *also* can't wait until Tim tells me how to do
*that*. How --"

"The 'tell,' at the moment, is the fact that you're dropping
your right shoulder. Additionally, the tension at the corners
of your mouth suggest a degree of discomfort I am,
somehow, loath to apply to my own presence."

"You --" Steph starts trying to *fix* that thing with her
shoulder, but -- ow. Seriously ow, right just now. "Okay,
that's -- actually pretty useful information. Thank you."

"You're welcome. Stretch," he says, and his voice...

"That -- that wasn't really an order."

"Tim is your... trainer."

Among other things. "He's the only one who gets to give me

"He can be quite... adamant. About his wishes," Bruce says,
and Steph's starting to be sure that the *thing* in his eyes
is a kind of invitation, something between how-do-you-*do*
and --

Something. She can't really be sure, especially since she *is*
sure that part of it is a specific invitation to talk a little smack
about her best batty boyfriend. Steph bites the inside of her
lip and thinks about it for a minute --

She *tries* to think about it, but -- it's actually kind of hard
to do with Bruce right there. She can *feel* him looking at

"Okay, so you're absolutely *not* the boss of *me* --"

"I enjoy my relationship with Tim rather too much to even
try... at least until he relaxes the boundaries of the

"Which means you totally *want* to be the boss of me."
And a bunch of other things, too, because that 'enjoy' is right
up there on the list of things she hasn't really *let* Tim talk
about with her, but -- "Right? You'd train me in other ways?"

Bruce... it's kind of a loom, even without the cape and cowl
blacking out everything simple and easy and not at least a
*little* terrifying. He reaches out, slowly and kind of
ridiculously cautiously --


And then one hand is big and warm and *hard* right over
the part of her back which still thinks she should be a heap
on the floor and the other is on her shoulder.

"Hey --"

"Breathe," Bruce says -- *Batman* says and kind of
*adjusts* her posture right there.

It hurts, but suddenly she can see the light at the end of the
tunnel -- at some point, her back is *going* to feel normal
again. The stretch isn't half as hardcore as some of the
things Tim has her doing (every day, twice a day), but it
eases some muscle group Tim absolutely thinks she ought
to know the name of, by now. "Oh -- wow."


"Yeah, just --" She shifts a little, deepening the stretch and
putting a little more of her weight on Bruce -- he can handle
it. "Mm, that's really pretty damned heavenly."

"Good," he says, pleased and just -- *showing* it.

"Now if you could just hold me in this position for the next
ten hours or so, we should be good."

"Hm. I was thinking of something more along the lines of
encouraging you to do the stretching you need to do on
your own, but..."

But? And -- oh. Yeah. She's kind of...

Well, they're not *quite* doing an impression of the covers
of the romance novels which Steph totally blames her
mother's entire marriage on, but it is kind of...

"Or I could just let you stop cradling my poor, fragile body.
And I will! Anytime now," she says, stretching just a *little*
more, and not using too much of her brain to think about
the way the big, huge robe is sliding and gapping -- okay,
no, she really needs to deal. She forces herself up again,
ignoring the complaint in her back --

"You also tighten your mouth when you're in pain," Bruce
says, brushing Steph's chin with his thumb and pushing --
gently -- beneath until she looks up again. "In this, your
features are working against you."

"What, my mouth is too pretty to look all pinched and Tim-

For a moment -- one tiny and really kind of important
(according to certain parts of Steph which will remain
nameless and also *stupid*) moment -- Bruce *looks* at
her mouth.

Like -- really -- "I don't think that came out right."

"No?" His hand is still on her face.

That seems -- really pretty huge, actually, and also -- Steph
takes a step back and yanks the robe back onto her
shoulders. She could totally get used to not feeling like the
linebacker in the room. "So... are you gonna tell me about
what you get up to with Tim when you're not just being all
grim and silent and *professional* together?"

"Tim keeps secrets from you."

It is and it *isn't* a question. Like maybe she wouldn't have
to answer in order to *get* answers, but... Steph's known
for *years* that the last thing Tim's freaky little family
needs is to have more weird and wrong ideas about each
other. She heads for the mats, looking back over her
shoulder to make sure Bruce is seeing her be a good little
Robin-in-training, and maybe also just to make sure he's

"Yes, Stephanie?"

She still hasn't told him it's okay for him to call her Steph.
She isn't really sure if it *is* okay, and also she's pretty sure
the rules that she usually uses for that sort of thing are
completely useless here. She shakes her head a little,
dropping to her knees, stretching her arms out straight, and
laying her torso as flat as she can. "Um. Tim doesn't..."

Her hair's blocking her peripheral vision, which is as good a
reason as any for the fact that she absolutely hadn't seen
Bruce coming, or any of the moves which lead to him
crouching beside her and kind of *pushing* her into a better

"God, that's good --"

"Mm. You were saying?"

Well. "Does Tim keep secrets from *you*?"

"Habitually," he says, and the hand cupped around her
elbow lets her know that she's shaking -- almost shuddering.

"I -- think I might be more fatigued than I thought."

"He's ruthless with you," Bruce says, and his voice is back to
being both Batman and not. Like she's some kind of --

Steph growls and *makes* herself stop shaking. "I don't
need your pity --"

"I wasn't offering pity," and the hand on her elbow tightens
almost painfully before he lets go --

"Then what?"


Bruce isn't touching her anymore, and he's shifted enough
that Steph can't see him through the fall of her own hair.
He's quiet and *fast* enough to be just about anywhere,
now, but every single one of the other senses Tim is
building in her, *making* in her, wants her to know that
Bruce is still right there.


Steph shifts on her knees, forces the stretch a little farther,
and -- "Where'd you go?"

"I'm still here," he says, and then both of his hands are on
her back, spread and splayed --

His hands are really just -- big. "Oh. Anyway -- um. Where
were we?"

"Discussing secrets," Bruce says, and strokes down to
Steph's hips -- no, he's just straightening them.

She was just enough off-center to not get *all* of the
stretch, and that is absolutely the only reason why she

"Also discussing... Tim," he says, squeezing her hips before
letting them go.

"Um. In this position, that's kind of --"

"There are other stretches you could be doing. You should
be doing."

"Still not the boss of me," she says, kneeling up before kind
of rolling onto her own ass and... well, it's not like she's
*aimed* at him or anything. Steph spreads her legs as wide
as she can and flattens her torso again. That spot in her
back wants her to know that this isn't *nearly* as good as
the other stretch.

But Bruce is right there to soothe that place again, pressing
and warming and rubbing, now, just a little. "About Tim."

"You -- you're actually really pushy, you know that?"

"Others have mentioned something of the sort."

"Heh. *Right*. What --" Steph stops and makes herself
breathe *correctly*. "What do you want to know?"

"I believe you were the one who asked about my relationship
with him."

Oh. Yeah. Hm. But -- "Then shouldn't you be giving up the
goods right about now, Bats?"

"Perhaps," he says, and now it feels almost like he's working
his fingers *under* the hurt place, lifting and loosening
and --

Steph doesn't have quite enough air in this position to groan
again, but she really wants to. "No -- no *perhaps* about it,"
she says, and feels her body wanting to shake with fatigue
again. She won't let it. This -- this is *just* like the one time
when he actually started to *talk* to her, a little, or...

"Perhaps this is merely when you tell me what you want to
know, Stephanie."

Her thighs are threatening to *really* shake, so she breaks
the stretch, sitting up and pulling one knee in enough that
she can curl around it a little, get her back to help Bruce do
all those good *things* with his fingers --

"Or we could change the subject," he says, pressing his palm
flat against the not-hurting-all-that-much-anymore place
before pulling back.

This time, the shiver has nothing to do with fatigue, or at
least not *much* to do with it. The robe is slipping down off
her shoulders, again, and Steph kind of has to admit that
she's okay with that.

It's like... relaxing with Cass, or maybe a little like the times
when she's lifted her cowl just enough for Tim to kiss her --

"Have you ever kissed him when you were wearing the
cowl?" Pulling her other knee in and stretching is better --
easier -- than dealing with the fact that she's totally and
completely blushing again.

"Is that really what you want to know?"

He's not touching her anywhere right now, but there's no
part of her body which doesn't know that he *could* be,
and that he maybe wants to the way Tim wants to, now, all
possessive and hungry and --

Standing up doesn't make things any better, and she doesn't
know if she really means *worse*, and Steph rolls her
shoulders in their sockets more easily than she'd expected to
be able to for at least another month, and she starts to
stretch her arms, and --

And, when she looks, Bruce is sitting on the mats, one knee
up and one arm casually wrapped around it. He's bracing
himself on his other hand, and his eyes are -- too much to
look away from. "I -- sometimes, the way Tim talked about
you made me wonder if the two of you were screwing,
even when I knew you weren't. I figured -- were you his

"No," Bruce says, and somehow the way he's looking at her
makes her aware both of the fact that she isn't doing the
stretch *quite* right and of every newly-defined muscle and
every aging bruise on her body.

Which makes it harder to make the word he'd just said make
*sense*, because --

She already knows *she* wasn't his first, and who the hell
could it be? Wait. He'd said she could guess at *part* of the
answer. Had he maybe meant one of the Titans?

She looks at Bruce again and he's just -- he's just waiting,
calm and easy and watching her. He hadn't nodded when
she fixed the stretch, but she's gotten pretty fucking used
to the dead silence method of offering praise, just lately.
It's always in Tim's eyes. And he --


There's something about Bruce's expression which really --
*really* -- wants her to know that he'd probably answer her
if she asked, but she doesn't think she really can. It's not
really that it's Tim's secret to tell -- it's not even about
secrets, now that she gets to hang out with *Bruce Wayne*
in the Cave while all the other kids are out making Gotham
less of a shit hole.

It's just that it's Tim, somewhere under all that silence
(ruthlessness), and it would be taking something away from
him not to let him tell her. But --

Could it have been some *female* superhero? It would
*kind* of explain things -- possibly she'd have to send a
thank you note -- but. Would she have been able to tell if it
was Cass?

"You're not trying to hide your emotions from me."

Another almost question. "Yeah, I..." Steph reaches behind
herself -- carefully -- and grips her own fingers for yet
another stretch. "I have a confession -- I get a little sick of
that with Tim. If you tell him I'll pee on your big, fluffy
robes. All of 'em."

"Noted," Bruce says, standing again and moving around
behind her.

Steph turns to face him.

Bruce narrows his eyes and covers Steph's shoulders with
his hands. "On one occasion, Tim and I kissed while I was
wearing the cowl."

Steph grins. "Nice to know one of us can be trained."

"Hmm," Bruce says, taking his hands off her shoulders and
reaching behind Steph to deepen the stretch --

"Ow --"

"Breathe --"

"Fuck you, that *hurts* right now --"

"He doesn't give you any boundaries flexible enough to be
pushed," Bruce says, and he doesn't really seem to be
talking *to* her, as opposed to taking notes in his head.

Which probably isn't the best reason in the world to unwrap
herself from the stretch and kiss him, but it is one of the
better excuses she can come up with before Bruce slips his
tongue in her mouth and pulls her close.

It's not a hard kiss, but it's still not even a little like being
kissed by Tim. There's too much --

She hadn't really meant to moan into the kiss, but Bruce's
fingers on the back of her neck aren't gentle at all. She
knows the bundle of nerves there well enough to know that
you don't aim there unless the opponent is *much* stronger
and faster and you don't have a choice --

It's a pressure point, just like all the ones which really
*aren't* being hit by Bruce's tongue --

He'd wanted this kiss, or wanted her to take it, and that's a
piece of information she'd needed. Something to hold onto
now that Bruce's robe has slipped far enough that her right
nipple is brushing against Bruce's shirt and her thighs are
rubbing against his pants.

She opens her eyes to catch the look Tim's giving her this
time -- she shivers, because it's not Tim, and because
Bruce's eyes are telling her that he knows who she was
looking for. She pulls back and -- stops. Her mouth has that
same weird and wonderful tickle -- no. "Um. It's been kind
of a while since I kissed someone with stubble. Well, real

Bruce's fingers are on her mouth, brushing her cheek,
cupping her face -- "How sensitive is the skin around your

"I -- I don't think we kissed enough that the stubble burn
will be *incredibly* obvious. To most people." Not that Tim
is most people and -- holy crap.

She'd just kissed her boyfriend's... manfriend. She reaches
up to at least cover the snickers -- Bruce catches her wrists
lightly and brings them back down to her sides. "I was just
trying to avoid spitting on you, you know."

"A terrible fate I needed to be saved from, to be sure," Bruce
says, and brings one hand back to her mouth. Her lip. "Is
this all right?"

"Uh... yes and no? It's not something Tim and I have ever
really talked about," she says, and tries to arbitrate between
the parts of her which are really kind of insistent about
opening her mouth for that thumb -- that *tongue* again --
and the parts of her which are really kind of insistent about
her going *home* now, and leaving a message for Tim to
come see her --

"And yet he doesn't keep secrets from you."

Right, no. She takes a step *back* and watches Bruce curl
his fingers into loose fists, watches him drop his hands to
his sides and visibly -- incredibly so -- relax. "We kind of
have an agreement that he keeps his big gay adventures to

Bruce nods, slowly and kind of carefully. "You'd rather not
share that part of his life."

"It's a little... it's *used* to be a little..." Steph starts to
shrug and decides to catch the robe before it falls *all* the
way off. Her nipples are hard enough that it feels like the
kind of torture which is going to get her into trouble. More
trouble. "I didn't want to think of what he was giving -- or
wanted to give -- people who weren't me."

"Because you always wanted to give him everything."

"Even when I -- couldn't. Um. So... you're pretty attracted."

"I could... endeavor to be more clear," Bruce says, and he
doesn't move any closer, but everything about his body
language is saying that he could be. At any moment.

"What do *you* think Tim would say if you were? More
clear, that is," and there's no real way to cross her arms like
she wants to without *feeling* like she's... calling attention
to herself. Teasing.

Bruce tilts his head and -- it only *looks* like he's about to
kiss her again. He's not any closer than he was a second
ago. He's not -- "I must admit I'm deeply curious about the
issue. Considering."

Considering whoever came first -- so to speak? And
considering her, too. "I want -- I think I want..."

She wants to know how she was going to finish that sentence
in the half-second before she caught a little bit of tension in
Bruce's shoulders and *knew* he was --

His hands are on her hips, urging them *forward* -- that
place on her back still wants her to know that Bruce is the
best thing ever -- and -- he doesn't kiss her again. "So --
what was that 'tell,' exactly?"

"I believe it was more of a 'hunch,' Bruce says, leaning in to
breathe -- not quite whisper -- against Steph's temple. "Has
Tim taught you to trust your instincts?"

The last time he'd come to see her, he'd been hiding in his
civvies more than he'd been wearing them. The *second*
she'd started pushing, making fun and *pushing*, he'd...
slipped his own leash. Pinned her against a wall, kissed her
like she'd been teasing him for months, or maybe like he'd
been teasing himself. She'd known that was there. She'd
known it was waiting for her, *begging* for her -- "In --
in his own way," she says, and covers Bruce's hands with
her own.

Bruce squeezes with his fingers and *pets* her with his
thumbs, stroking and -- not really testing the muscle so
much as -- enjoying it.

"You could probably give me a rub-down and still call it
behaving," she says, and the part of her which is seriously
*just* thinking 'mm, massage' is making the rest of her feel
a little crazy --

"No. I couldn't," Bruce says, leaning in. "I'd like to kiss you

Which -- there's a little voice inside, way down deep, which
is wondering if maybe this could've happened sometime
before. Maybe that time with the creepy roach-man, or that
one time when Bruce -- when Batman had let her see Bruce,
just for a second on a rooftop.

Bruce had been tired, then and -- she's pretty sure about
this right about now -- probably a little lonely. Missing Tim.
Missing *her* boyfriend, and the fact that Steph knows full
well that it won't make anything better doesn't stop her
from needing to kiss Bruce again.

She gets -- she gets lonely, too. More just now than she'd
ever thought would be possible with a boyfriend like Tim.

He's a million times more attentive than he used to be -- and
he'd never *ignored* her -- but also a million times more
absent, or maybe she means more dangerous. Wrapping
her arms around Bruce's neck isn't going to make Tim be
any less *scary* around her, or any easier on her.

It might not make him more scary or any harder, but it's
not --

This isn't going to *change* anything, she thinks, and tries
to pour of much of it into the kiss as possible, tries not to
get too lost at the feel of Bruce *stroking* the inside of her
mouth with his tongue --

Bruce *likes* her mouth. Batman likes --

She doesn't think she's sure, yet, of what Batman likes and
doesn't like. She isn't sure Bruce could tell her. But --

Does he kiss Tim this way?

And it flips something in her, some switch or trigger -- she
can *see* Tim like this with Bruce, taking this for himself,
getting off on how big Bruce is, how *male* he is.

Her face is going to be a little *scorched*-seeming from
Bruce's stubble, and -- now she can't see Tim, anymore.

He's too careful to kiss Bruce this way. He has too much to
hide from too many people, and she hasn't exactly let him
have an out with *her*. The robe is slipping again, piling
up on itself where Bruce is holding her. If he moves his
hands the robe will be *gone*, and she'll be able to --

She could --

Bruce almost makes it feel like she's shivering and shaking
on *purpose*, as opposed to because she's tired and
just -- revved *up*. It's like she's giving him a reason to
hold her tighter, push against her -- some part of her wants
the rest to know that Bruce is being a little *rude*, but the
rest is too busy thinking about how hard he feels, how
*good* he feels --

Tim in her hand, Tim in her *mouth* --

It takes some wriggling -- and a lot more focus than she can
find easily -- but Steph gets her hands between them, and.
And then stays there, because she is and *isn't* holding
Bruce away from her. He's big and warm and *big*, and the
only way she could push Bruce away is if he *let* her, and
that's kind of but not really the same thing it always is.

Good in all the bad ways. Bad in all the *good* ways. Better
and worse and incredible when Bruce opens his eyes and
makes her realize that she's just been staring at him, sees
her and makes her *know* how much she's loving this, how
much she's been waiting for *just* this:

For all the ways it's too much, it's still *Batman*, and the
part of Steph which has been waiting her whole life to be
honestly, completely safe is loving this.

Probably Tim does, too -- Steph pushes, not bothering to
break the kiss until the distance does it for her. Bruce's
mouth looks slick and red and really kinda *promising*, but
it's kind of nothing compared to how her own mouth *feels*.

"So, I'm kinda thinking this could be -- a thing."

"If you'd like," Bruce says, and, see --

The thing is, at this point, most guys would use the hands-
in-pockets thing as a way to either call a little more attention
to their dicks or a *lot* less. Bruce just... does it.

It's all on *her* if she looks -- she looks. Damn.

"Definitely a -- thing," she says, and wants to kick herself for
the fact that she can't quite swallow back *all* of the
snickering, but Bruce is looking at her like he likes it just
fine. "How is it that *both* me and Tim are your type?"

He tilts his head -- a little. "You find us to be that similar."

And that totally didn't answer *her* question, but -- "Well --
*yeah*. That's probably why you used to drive him so

"He would -- probably -- question your usage of the past
tense, Stephanie."

She *still* can't decide whether or not she wants him to call
her 'Steph.' This probably wouldn't seem half so frustrating
if she wasn't so horny the idea of putting on her jeans again
seems like really dirty porn -- clothes. Steph shakes her head
to herself and goes for her clothes. It feels like it's been
about two solid years since she's gotten to wear something
other than sweats or Bruce Wayne's *robe* --

But it feels like way longer than that since the last time she'd
been around a guy when she was getting dressed. Tim --
really doesn't count. Even when he's giving her that 'my
hunger is *eternal*' look he's been sporting just lately, he's
still *Tim*.

Bodies are there for covering, when they're not there for

It helps a little -- maybe more than a little -- to be laughing
at the comedy gold of her boyfriend when she slips the robe
off her shoulders. Bruce is still right *there*. And watching.

She pauses in the middle of doing up her bra and *looks* at
Bruce. It's not that his expression isn't tracking over (and
over) her, it's just that...

"I *know* Tim learned that look from you."

"Perhaps to some extent. It was his observational abilities --
among other things -- which made it necessary to take him

'Necessary.' What does it feel like to be *necessary*? She
thinks she'll start getting the hang of 'good enough' again
eventually, but -- necessary is a whole extra level. And...
"What were you drawing?"

"Uniform designs."

Thinking about that... it's not that she'd never thought of
being Robin before Tim had started throwing it at her. It's.
The idea makes her a little scared, now. Robin has come to
mean 'pain,' and not just a little of it.

"Would you like to --"

"No," she says, and buries herself in her shirt for as long as
she can stretch the moment out before pulling the thing on
and having to deal with things like eye-contact, again.
"Thanks, though," she says, and pulls a smile onto her face
which probably makes her look a lot like her mother during
the days when nothing about her was anything but fake or
hopped-up *and* fake.

"Don't do that," Bruce says, and there's more than a little
*command* in his voice, but. "Please."

There's way more than just a little command in the 'please.'
Which she doesn't want to deal with. "Hey, *I'm* off-duty."

"Do you really think so?" Still watching, still -- *still*.

("Because I respect you, I'm only going to say this once:
You're in training from now until I say you aren't. No excuses,
no exceptions.") Which -- not what he'd really asked, and
not what Tim had really meant, but... she puts her fists on
her hips. "Yeah, I do, not-bossman."

"Hm. You might find things... easier, if you trained yourself
to think of every waking moment as training."

"I think," she says, and swings her backpack onto her
shoulders, "you're thinking of someone else."

"I try not to limit myself any more than necessary...
Stephanie." And she thinks, maybe, that the *thing*
about Bruce's stillness is the way it almost seems to
take up more space than any kind of movement
could. He's making the Cave kinda *small*, and then
there's the thing with her name...

It's a question she still can't answer, but it's also kind of a
great *big* statement. Her bike is really not in this direction,
but she's got her clothes on, now. Therefore -- because she
says so -- it's completely safe to close the distance between
her and Bruce.

Batman in that Tim-wants-some-*bad* look behind his eyes,
and maybe everywhere around them.

"I --"

She'd absolutely had something to say, but that was before
Bruce's hand had gone from being safely in his pocket to
being less-safely in her hair. She'd given herself a deep
conditioning recently enough that she doesn't have too many
tangles, but he's finding every one of them. Fixing them.

"You know the helmet's just going to mess it all up again,
right? I mean, my day's *over*."

"And so is your night?"

The fact that his fingers on the back of her neck are making
her shiver is just -- cold air, wet hair. Warm, strong,
*Batman* -- "I take it you've got better ideas about what I
could be doing which somehow don't involve talking to Tim

"Dick taught me that Robins were all but made of possibility."

"You -- okay, the part where you're seducing me kinda has
to stop. I need -- it's one thing for me to have fun with
somebody, but it's another thing to have that fun with
someone Tim's screwing. And if you don't get that --"

The kiss is soft and warm. Hotter than she wants to admit
right this second when Bruce pushes his hand into her hair --
and probably doesn't make even *one* new tangle. "You've
been perfectly -- faithful."

*Before*. "I -- still don't get a free pass," she says, and bites
Bruce's lip when he comes in for another kiss, and thinks
really hard about biting his tongue -- she's not getting *any*
points for this. "I *don't*," she says, and pushes Bruce off,
and maybe keeps her hands on his shirt -- it's thin enough
that she can feel *his* heat, and the hair under there, and
she thinks, maybe, a couple of the scars which *have* to be
there --

"I know -- Tim won't be coming back here after patrol,"
Bruce says, and it's totally another offer, but --

"Because he'll be coming to see *me*," and there's no
reason to keep feeling Bruce up, so she totally stops. There.

"I -- hm."

She can feel the edge of one of Bruce's calluses on her
cheek, brushing back to her ear. "You should --" Stop. "Tell
me what you were just thinking."

"A question of limits, I think," Bruce says, and stops touching
her again. "Tim has never been averse to the surveillance I
keep on him."

Surveillance. He -- "You've bugged *my* place? I'm not
even --"

"Before, your residence was simply one of the very few which
Robin visited more than once or twice a month. Now..."

She thinks, maybe, the lazily broad motion of one of those
huge hands is meant to scare her off. Or at least the part of
her which Tim is doing his best to break *off* her with the
fucking cold-ass chisel of the training. But it's also meant to
be just another part of this. Flirting.

Macking on each other like a couple of *useless* teenagers.

"Tim might've invited you, but I didn't."

"No, you haven't."

Yet. Steph shifts the pack on her back -- and then just waits,
because Bruce is working on the straps, and chances are --
Yes, it does feel better now. "You could at least be more of
an asshole when you do things like that."

Eyebrow goes up, panties want to come down. Fuck, she
needs to work on those reflexes.

"And -- anyway, if you *have* been poking your Bat-muzzle
into things..."


Steph jabs his chest with two fingers. Not too hard. "You
should know that when he comes to see me after training
nights it's just the two of us. Tim and Steph. No Bats


Which -- okay, that's kinda funny when you think about it.
Steph scrubs the smile off her mouth with her finger. "No
Bats who are old enough to vote allowed."

"It's... you enjoy making your own boundaries," he says, and
she's not sure if it's the voice or the look or both, but it's
suddenly really obvious that he hasn't touched her breasts.
Tim -- almost never.

Steph swallows a little. "No one is better at it than I am," she
says, putting her fists on her hips again, and -- well. "When
it comes to the not-training stuff."

"You already trust his judgment that far."

"I wouldn't be here if I trusted *yours*."

"Very true," he says, stepping back with almost military
precision and kinda leaving her hanging with her hands on
her hips and her jaw out.

Probably the biggest problem she has with the girl she used
to be is that, when it came right down to it, there was never
anything stopping her from... putting her foot down.
Stopping the things she really wanted to stop. Okay. She's
already had her goodbye kiss and then some. She
straightens up and nods.

"Good night, then."

"Good night," he says, and even if he isn't watching her walk
away, it feels like it.

Right up until she's on her bike --

Right up until she's on the damned road.

Steph decides to take it as her recommended nightly
allowance of *spooky* -- if not, necessarily, Bat -- and leave
it at that.

The ride isn't long enough to let her figure out how she's
going to bring it *up* with Tim, though she has to admit
that it's kind of nice to suddenly have something better to
talk about than "so how do you feel about that Robin thing
now that you spanked me up and down the Cave?"

Not that...

Well, she still kind of wants to talk about that -- talk about it
at least enough to be sure of where she *stands* -- but that
part is honestly less important now. She's willing to bet that
Bruce wouldn't have been so... *that* if her performance
had been bad enough to change the plan.

If anything... well, no, she can't quite make it make sense in
her head. If she'd *let* herself think about Bruce just
showing up to introduce himself to *her*, she would've
pegged it for sometime when she'd made a *good*

A new record on the weights, maybe, or getting some tricky
series of nerve-strikes perfect enough that they have to
retire another Bat-tenderized dummy to the corpse-pile of
glory back behind the shooting range.

Tim had showed it to her in one of those moments of "and
now I can finally give you everything" which make it hard
for her to decide whether she wants to kiss him blind or just
hug him a little.

It was the dead one who started that tradition. The one...
she's not going to say his name out loud until whatever
happens which will make the name sound (the way Tim
says it) right has happened, and...

Well, she guesses she'll be Robin, then. One way or another.

Her mother isn't home yet from her union meeting, which is
almost perfect -- there's a plate in the fridge with what
seems like a ton of food until she starts eating, which means
that her mom had *been* home for long enough this
evening to notice that she was gone.

Tim had suggested that she leave her Spoiler uniform
somewhere obvious to throw off suspicion, but that's pretty
much *beyond* being not her style. Tim can dangle his
parents on his pretty little lies all he wants -- it suits him.
When she's really Robin, she's going to *tell* her mother.

They'll fight about it like crazy, but that's not so bad -- Steph
already knows she'll win. If her mom has to be scared
shitless about how Steph is every night, the least she can do
is give her mom a clue about *what* she's doing. She --

Even if *she* doesn't owe it to her mom, someone does.
The universe, maybe.

Steph cleans the kitchen when she's done eating and thinks
seriously about taking another shower. The Cave is sporting
some nice soap and shampoo, these days, but she doesn't
really smell like *her* to herself, anymore.

(And she knows it's not really anything to do with smell, and
that it isn't the point, but still.)

There's more stretching she could be doing -- certainly, her
back will thank her for every little moment of pretzeling now
that it doesn't have Bruce's hands to make it *seem* all
better -- but she's a little too wound up for that. If she tries
any more push-ups tonight she'll either shake herself to
pieces or spend way too much time thinking about doing
push-ups *on* Bruce. And --

It occurs to her, in the most awful and annoying way
imaginable, that the only reason she isn't already changed
into running clothes is that some part of her is *already*
sitting up waiting for confession-time with Tim. Like maybe
he'd *ordered* her to come straight home and wait for
fucking daddy or something --

She's not mad at Tim. She's just throwing up a bunch of
bullshit in front of herself to keep from doing what she needs
to do -- especially since the only thing which would *stop*
Tim from just waiting in here for her is if his *other*
boyfriend (girlfriend?) is on fire.

She strips, changes, leaves a quick note for her mother, and

The neighborhood is quiet this time of night -- late enough
for everyone to be nice and sleepy after their big, unhealthy
dinners but still early enough that the fireworks from the
neighborhood drunks and druggies haven't started, yet.

Of course, if she runs just a little slower, she *will* see
something she can do, something Spoiler can do --

("If you're going to do this, that part of your life is over.")

Running faster makes her want to swallow, stop, *fight*.

Running *harder* makes her focus. She's no one, right now.
She's just a runner, and a good one. Her breathing is perfect
and her stride is as long and comfortable as her legs can
manage. The fact that there's probably no one on these
streets just now who she *couldn't* take one-on-one, or
maybe even two-on-one --

It's meaningless, even if it's only meaningless to the growing,
stretching, scary little part of her which if Tim doesn't love
*best*, he certainly loves *easiest*.

When she's running --

When she's pushing every part of herself which has the balls
to sit up and complain to *her* about the work, she can be
that Steph. Every mile -- every *step* -- is one more toward
the goal. She's going to be the person who can fight when
everyone else is dropping around her.

She's going to help the people who'd think she was crazy if
they had half a clue.

She's going to be *better*, dammit, and one day she's going
to find that one thing she can be *best* for, and then --

And then, and then.

Laughing cuts into the air she's parceling out for herself like
crazy, but she doesn't stumble and she doesn't slow down --
she knows, now, how to bring herself back to optimal one
stride at a time, and she does it.

Like this, there's only one small and completely non-strategic
part of the night which belongs to her, but it's kind of
beautiful, and it feels good on the sweat on her face and
neck, and it's all hers.

She feels more okay when she gets back -- Mom's still not
home -- even though she isn't sure if she really feels like

She'd made out with *Bruce Wayne* who is also *Batman*,
and --

And possibly, she's standing in her tiny, normal (bugged?)
bathroom staring at herself in the mirror like an idiot.

She's sweaty, flushed, and, while she isn't bruised *all* over,
it's suddenly pretty impressive that Bruce hadn't managed to
hit any of the places where she is.

Except for how he hadn't exactly felt her *up*, and --
shower. Another shower. Right now.

And possibly she shouldn't be surprised that the light on her
room is off and the darkness is a lot more full than it should
be. Steph smirks -- *she* can't see a damned thing, but she
knows Tim can -- closes the door behind herself, and turns
on the little bedside lamp.


"Hello yourself, honey," and there's a part of her which
wonders if it should be this easy to just crawl into bed with
the boyfriend she's entered into a bizarre and perverse-in-
whole-new-ways BDSM relationship with, but --

"Mm," he says, and wraps an arm around her shoulders. "I
was wondering if I could expect a greeting this pleasant

There's nothing like having a Tim when there are a whole
bunch of fucked-up things you *could* be worrying about.
Steph kisses the corner of his mouth --

And gets kissed very slowly and pretty extremely seriously.
It's actually a little disappointing that her mouth's not sore
anymore. It's absolutely possible that Tim will decide to

The hand that isn't cupping her shoulder from the back is
holding her face in position, and Tim's doing that thing he'd
kinda snuck into their make-out protocols -- not *quite*
putting pressure on a whole lot of points which could hurt
her pretty badly. 

Showing her exactly how careful he's being, just as if the
last two years hadn't smacked her around with a clue-<i>bo</i>.
Although -- well. The last several weeks have been pretty
different. She should just admit it to herself -- what he's
*really* showing her is how careful he'll be with her even
though he doesn't want to do anything of the kind.

It's just different now that she knows what some of 'not
careful' means.

She uses her tongue to push Tim's out of her mouth --
slowly -- pulls back, and settles in on her side, letting her
towel do whatever it wants.

If he didn't want to see her wet, naked tits, he could've
lurked outside her bedroom window for another five minutes.
Also, the outside of his new uniform is a lot more
comfortable against bare skin than the old one. "You're really
pretty nicely *touchable* in this get-up, boyfriend."

"I'm reasonably sure that that wasn't what Bruce was
thinking when he decided on the materials, but I certainly
appreciate the benefits," Tim says, and --

Yeah, she's blushing. It's not like she hadn't planned to bring
it up, but... yeah.

"Too much," he says, and the fingers on her jaw make it not
a question. "I'm sorry. I'm really rather invested in your
being as comfortable as possible, right now --"

Or possibly no. "That's not -- ah. That isn't it. Exactly," she
says, and kisses Tim's fingers, quick and light. Where had he
ditched -- oh, the gauntlets are tucked in his belt. The spikes
on those things... If she was lying on his other side, she'd
be stabbing herself. Which is, of course, *why* Tim is on
that side of the bed.

"What is it?"

"Um --" Just say it, girl. *Jesus*. "I kinda made out with
Bruce earlier."


She feels like an idiot for not keeping her *eyes* on Tim
when she was talking, because the only thing she can see
on his face *now* is *blank*. It's not even the blank of
'Tim's about to bring the pain.' It's just -- nothing. "Tim..."

"Excuse me," he says, taking her arm from around her
shoulders and slipping off the bed, putting the damned
*gauntlets* back on --

"Tim --"


"'No?' What the hell do you mean *no*? This is the part
where we *talk* --"

"Later," he says, and he's not even looking at her. Just
moving for the window --

Okay, it feels *ridiculous* to dive for Tim after today -- and
never mind the fact that she's jiggling in the wind without
a sports bra, but -- this isn't training.

Tim *lets* her catch him, and *lets* her shove him back
against a wall, and all the *letting* is going to make her
scream -- no.

Control. "Look, I figured you'd be upset, but --"

"I'm not -- I'm not upset with you," he says, and even
without that little tic, there's the kind of tightness at the
corners of his mouth which apparently mean 'pain' on her,
but have always meant lying-to-*Steph* on Tim, which --

"Bullshit. You want me all to yourself --"

"Of course, but --"

"No *buts*," she says, and if she tried to head-butt him now,
he'd stop her and maybe slip away and right out the damned
open window, but mainly he'd stop listening. "You also want
*Bruce* all to yourself, right? Or -- at the very least he's not
supposed to be with *me*."

"Steph," he says, and it's not quite the command voice which
doesn't belong anywhere near her bedroom --

But it still makes something *stop* in her, makes something
need to pay attention. And that makes her kind of seriously
need to growl. "I'm listening."

"Unless there's something you're not telling me," he says,
and shifts against her hold until -- he looks more
comfortable. Physically.

"I *don't* lie to you."

"You don't lie to anyone unless you have to, no. I'm sorry.
It's just that that means this is the first time he's *deigned*
to spend time with you. The fact that he used the
opportunity to... try to *seduce* you is something which I
find more than a little *upsetting*."

"And see, I could give you that -- I *do* give you that."
Steph steps back and crosses her arms under her boobs. 
"Which is why we didn't do any more than kiss --"

"You wanted to. You --"

"Jesus, he -- he's *Batman*, Tim --"

"For now," he says, shifting into a *lean* against the wall,
casual and confident and really extremely punchable.

"I am *not* the fucking party favor. He's hot, and he was
really pretty *comforting* to be around after that spar --"

"I never would've done that to you --"

"If I hadn't pushed," Steph says, and gives Tim her back.
*Trusts* Tim not to just bolt because she needs not to look
at him right now. "I get that. I *got* that. I still felt like shit."

"If you -- look at me, please."

Sometimes, now, when Tim's looking at her there's
something like an itch under her skin. It's more like real
pain between her shoulder blades, but everywhere else it's
like her skin is jumping, pricking itself *up* until no part of
her has any doubt that she's being *watched*. Everything.
Every muscle, all the places where apparently *nothing*
will do anything about the fat, every bruise, every scar.
Every scar she doesn't have yet. "No."

"All right. Is it enough to say that I find Bruce's timing and
motivations a little problematic? He didn't have to pick

"I'm glad he did."

"Steph --"

"You know, boyfriend," she says, fixing her expression just a
little before turning around again. "You've done a real good
job at staying *just* far enough away from the whole 'and
this is where we protect poor, fragile Steph from her
hormones' thing, but that doesn't mean that I can't *smell*
it from here."

This time, Tim looks away, and -- it's hard, sometimes, to
see the boy she'd craved so badly she'd chased him over
what felt like every rooftop in Gotham. The line of his jaw
is harder than it used to be. Everything about him is harder.

Sometimes he's so beautiful her skin hurts. But. "*Well*?"

"I suspected he was attracted to you -- a long time ago."

"Uh -- *what*?"

"I -- have a schedule. For you," Tim says, and when he looks
at her, the boy is right back. Even if he hadn't raised the
lenses on his domino --

It's written all over him. It makes her want to -- she isn't
sure. "Yeah, I kinda figured that much." She doesn't ask if
she's *on* schedule. She isn't sure which answer would
fuck her up more, right now.

"I've already talked to you about Jason, but I didn't include
the fact that I have no reason to believe that Bruce wasn't
his lover. And I didn't include the fact that Bruce's
relationship with Jason absolutely colored the way he's...
treated you."

"That --" That doesn't mean anything, she doesn't say. She
wants to say it really, really badly, but. "I remind him of a
dead boy."

"I never knew him from anything but reports, old footage,
and the occasional anecdote from Dick." Tim reaches out --
stops. "You remind *me* of him."

Steph wonders, a little, if now is a good time to ask about
the feeling she's always gotten about how Robin died is
maybe another way of saying Robin failed. And there are
other ways to ask the question. "You think Bruce was --
blinded when he was training... him."


"You don't think you'll make the same mistakes," she says,
and moves her hands to her sides so she won't hug herself.

"I know I won't. Even if I -- I'm never going to give you
anything but my A-game, Steph. Even if you hate me for it."

"I won't *hate* you --"

And there's a gauntlet on her mouth. "Don't say that.
Don't --" Tim's smile is probably the softest one he can
manage. "I've found there to be benefits to keeping my
options open, Steph."

Steph grabs him -- carefully -- by the gauntlet and moves
his hand. "I think you've just kinda seriously mistaken me
for a chick with a lot more options, *boss*."

The wince is there, but only barely. "I -- all right. Sometimes
I think I've loved Bruce in self-defense."

"We're better than that."

Tim is nodding before he smiles. Remembers to smile? "Yes,
I -- I have hope. And honestly, I just don't want Bruce to
*devour* you --"

"You make him sound like the creature from the fucking
Gotham *lagoon* --"

"I have my reasons. I -- keep him at a distance for a reason."

It's safe to cross her arms now. "Because he's incredibly
pushy and also a little creepy on top of being ridiculously hot
for your suddenly-bisexual ass?"

"He's. Manipulative. Dangerous."

Oh -- *please*. "And you're not? And while we're at it,
bossfriend, *he* says he wasn't your first. Who *else* are
you stepping out on me with?"

Tim blinks at her. It's a *little* satisfying. "I thought you
already knew that he wasn't -- and I also thought you didn't
*want* to know."

"That was before you started acting like a possessive little
*asshole*. Fucking *tell* me. Is it Superboy? Or -- that Kid
Flash guy? You talk about him a lot --"

"I wouldn't call it 'a lot,' Steph, and he's really not --"

Steph shoves Tim, gritting her teeth at the fact that he's
tough and quick enough to stop himself from bouncing off
the wall. "I don't care who's not. I care who *is* --"



Tim pushes his hand back through his hair, ducking his head
and smiling a little. "You should specify how much detail you
want. I never want to hide anything from you."

So long as it's on-*schedule* for her to know it, and -- no.
That's not it, at all. Not for this. Everything about Tim right
now is telling her that he's being honest, and wants to be
even more honest -- from that slightly-kinda-weirdly
*submissive* posture to the easy flatness of his tone. "I
think... *Superman*?"

"He... kind of did the equivalent of asking me to 'come back
to his place' some months back. I spent a while... thinking
about it." He doesn't lick his lips, but his tongue sticks out
for just a *second*. "Deeply."

"So... he was your first."

"Something told me that I probably couldn't do much
better -- ah. Am I allowed to joke about this, Steph?"

Okay, so most of her is really stuck on *Superman*, and is
probably going to stay *right* there --

"He'd like to meet you, by the way."

The *last* thing she'd needed for this conversation were
blushes. "I -- *crap*, I'm naked."

"Excitingly so, even."

"*Jesus*, Tim."

Tim's smile is rueful, and kind of like a shrug. "If it -- helps,
at all, if you'd told me tonight that you'd made out with
Superman, I probably would've reacted better. I -- trust him
rather a lot more, with this sort of thing."

"Well, of *course* you do. Otherwise you wouldn't have
picked him to pop your freakin' *cherry*. I --" She has a
*vibrator* named Superman.

"Steph --"

"He used it, you know. The fact that I didn't know who else
you were fucking."

Tim takes a really fucking *deliberate* step closer. "I'm less
than surprised. He wants you. You..."

Steph puts up a hand -- and pushes a *little* at Tim's
armored chest. "*You* don't get to start, because some part
of your freak-ass little brain was totally *just* thinking about
how you think *I* belong to *you*."

"I -- don't mean to be possessive."

"And I wouldn't love you so much if you couldn't own stuff
like that right away, you know." Tim spreads his hands. It's
an offer. It's --

"You know me."

It's always an offer. Steph closes her eyes and lets herself
*feel* that open window. And -- "I'm cold. Can we be okay
now, please?"

"I never want anything else --"

"*Not* what I asked, Tim."

"I can't stop thinking about you in his arms. About all the
ways he can find to make you want to stay there. About --
you'll never lose me to him, Steph."

"And so how come I'm suddenly so *weak* that you have to
worry about Bruce fucking Wayne sweeping me off my poor,
delicate feet? I mean, seriously, do you think he's gonna
stop macking on *you*, now?"

"I think he's far more likely to try to keep us... separate."

"The way you keep *your* lovers separate? Or try to?"

"We're *not* the same -- I. I'm sorry," Tim says, putting up
his hands and doing pretty much everything he can to make
his body try to distract her from that little bit of heat.

Steph raises one of her own damned eyebrows. "You
certainly don't kiss the same."

And... it's a test, even though she couldn't really say what
kind of test she'd meant it to be when she'd said it. The
results are Tim looking at the floor, clenching his fists, and
not really breathing.

Well, fuck. And --

And also *fuck*, because she has just enough time to
*register* that the look in Tim's eyes is the same one he
gets when she's pushed and teased enough that he stops
hiding, that he stops --

And then there's only motion, and the fact that she's good
enough to get her arms up for blocks, but that she's really
just *not* good enough to keep him from moving her, from
using her own damned footwork to move her, back her,
push --

She knows her own room well enough that the bed hitting
her knees isn't a shock, but she still doesn't fall all that well,
and Tim on top of her like this...

This is something else he's been training her in, whether or
not he knows that's what he's been doing. (He'd admit it,
though. If she threw it in his face --)

"Steph -- show me," he says, and he sounds strained, but,
more than that he sounds like he's giving an order, and
that's as good a reason as any for her hands to be moving,
for her to push her fingers through his short hair as much
as she can until she's cupping the back of his head --

"Neither of us have enough stubble, but..."

It looks like there's a laugh behind his eyes, but it's buried in
so much other *stuff* that it looks trapped. Steph bites her
lip and pulls Tim in --

And the kiss hits as fast as a *strike*, pushing her back
against her own mattress and holding her there. Tim's
*pinning* her there with his tongue, or it feels that way, or
the new Robin suit is caressing and scratching and teasing
her --

Or maybe she's just fucking *groaning* into Tim's mouth
because he's got a knee between her legs, and he's *not*
pinning her wrists, but he's stroking them so fast and hard
that it burns, a little. Not as much as the sudden, arcing,
*ridiculous* heat between her legs, because --

It's *blunt*, and of course it is, but he also can't really
*miss*. She curses --

She *tries* to curse into his mouth, but he's teasing her
tongue too much --

He's *fucking* her with his tongue, hard and fast --

He pulls back, gasping, pinning her wrists for just a
*second* --

"Tim, Jesus, you --"

"Part of me," he says, and it's less a smile than a *snarl*. "I
can't stop thinking about you with him. He's so --"


More of a snarl, but it does and *doesn't* match all that
hectic *everything* in his eyes. "Yes, that. Male. Scarred --
did he show you his body?"

"I -- no."

"He drives me -- crazy. Steph. He likes it when I fuck him. I
like it when he chokes me with his dick. What -- I want to
know what *you* like."

"I -- Tim, we really just --"

"Kissed. I know," he says, and kisses her again, squeezing
her wrists for just long enough to make Steph *clench*,
shudder and *need*, and then going back to bracing
himself on one hand and touching her with the other, feeling
her and just -- marking her out with his hands, like the only
thing here is her *shape* or something --

And Steph can't keep herself from rocking her hips, and her
hands feel *good* on his shoulders, and she is absolutely
going to make this suit *reek* of pussy. And -- "oh, fuck, I
just got this image of Bruce sniffing your *suit*."

"He would. He probably will. He might do it while -- one of
us -- is watching. Would you like that?"

But he kisses her again before she can answer, before she
can even *think*, and Tim's knee is great but she already
knows his hand is better. She pushes, harder when Tim
just *licks* her mouth more -- "C'mon, let me --"

"I don't want to. I... Steph."

And a part of her really wants to hit him for that -- he's
*better* than that -- but the rest of her kinda definitely
understands. It's barely been a *month* of this, and she's
not getting enough -- anytime soon. "I just want to get
further onto the *bed*, you jackass," she says, as gently
and slowly as she can.

He stares at her.

"Remember, you speak *English*."

"Yes. Yes --" He eases back, and Steph starts to move. His
*hands* twitch, but he behaves right up until she's actually
got more of herself on the bed.

"Come back --"

Here, she doesn't get to say before Tim's kissing her again,
*on* her again, but this time he's just using that knee to pin
her leg down. His hand is down in her hair, feeling her,
feeling how *wet* she is, slipping between her lips --

Steph hums a moan into Tim's mouth and does her own
feeling. His arms have always made hers look *huge*, but
they're lean and hard, strong all over just like he is.

The new suit isn't *horribly* thin, but she can still feel him
through it easily, even though she's not getting all of his
heat. Even though she can't keep herself from clawing at it
a little -- she needs to breathe. This time, he does break the
kiss when she pushes --

"Oh *fuck* --"

It's just that he also pushes right *in* with two fingers and
immediately starts fucking her with them. "His fingers are --
he's *good* with his hands, Steph."

"I -- when they were on my face --"

"You thought of them other places. You wanted them other
places, even if you weren't thinking of it..."

Steph nods, struggling to keep her eyes open against the
fucking *electric* feel of what Tim's doing to her, trying not
to just *keen* -- is her *mother* home, yet?

"When he does this to me, it's hard not to beg. It's exactly
what I want and the only way I can stand it is by *taking*
more. He holds me so close -- he won't *let* me take it on
my knees --"

"Tim --"

"If you ever want to be on your knees, I'll give that to you. I
love you, and I love the way you look right now --"

Steph gives up and starts pumping her hips. Arching her
back doesn't give her half the leverage she could've sworn it
would a second ago, but Tim --


He's calling her and he's -- it feels like he's *making* her,
thumb on her clit and fingers *inside* -- no, he's holding
her against the wall of *feeling*, shoving her back against
it --

"I --"

The rest of what he says is gone, completely untranslatable --
his tongue is light and almost *sharp* against her nipple,
and then his lips *have* her, pressing and pulling, sucking --
licking more --

It actually knocks her *back* a little, or maybe just off the
track. Tim almost never touches her boobs, much less plays
with them, plays with her --

She doesn't have words left, and she's pretty sure that's
*okay*. It's enough to dig her fingernails in against the
sheets and move, push, *writhe* for it --

"Beautiful. I always knew -- I know what he wants with you,"
Tim says, and rubs his cheek against her breast. There's a
little scratch that speaks of stubble which won't be worth
shaving for another day or two --

"I -- I'm gonna want --"

"*Him*, yes, I -- I know," Tim says, slipping mostly out and
coming back with three fingers. "You'd let him have this --"

"I don't -- I really -- Tim --"

"I can't -- it's all right there in my *head*, Steph --"

It feels like a different kind of self-defense to clench around
Tim deliberately, to just -- *hold* him, even though she
doesn't have *that* kind of muscle control. The flex and
twist of his fingers is impossible to stop, and clenching just
means more friction when he thrusts --

The headboard can't really take her grabbing on and
*pulling* -- they've put so many cracks in the thing that one
day it's just going to --

Okay, so now she has a chunk of the cheap-ass thing in her
hand and no leverage at all, and she's just not getting
*enough* from what Tim's doing. It's too -- it's not slow
and it's not soft, but her body knows that's a damned lie.

"*More*," she says, and watches Tim's eyes widen and
*feels* him just -- using himself to give her what she needs,
using her to give himself what *he* needs. She sends the
stupid particle board flying and holds onto Tim again,
instead. His shoulder is working under her palm and
everything about Tim feels a little scarily too hard, too
*tense* -- "I want you --"

"You have me. You --" Tim shakes his head, blinks sweat out
of his eyes. "I won't let you go," he says, and it was always
a threat and it hasn't stopped being one.

"When are you gonna *fuck* me?"

She hadn't really thought she *could* get that out -- ever --
but apparently all she really needed was her body to be so
wound up with sex, anger, and fear that it can't handle
anything else. She can't handle *that* right now, but she
isn't going to say that.

It --

It's okay *enough*, because there's a quietly harsh growl
under all of the not-even-close-to-words that Tim's saying
now, and Steph already knows that she'll have two
minutes -- *tops* -- to play once they get Tim out of the
jock that's probably murdering him right --

Right *now*, because this twist changed something in her,
or tripped something, or just stretched her wide enough to
make her feel like she could swallow anything. Swallow
*Tim*, eat him *alive* -- "Don't you fucking *stop* --"

Tim's answer is a breathy grunt and -- he doesn't even seem
like he's blinking anymore. This is something else her body
knows, even if it doesn't *remember* it until moments like
this. Never mind all the bugs both Tim and Bruce (and who
*else*?) have in her place -- Tim has streaming video of it
in his brain whenever he wants.

"Oh -- fuck, I love you --"

And Tim goes faster, *dirtier* somehow, or maybe it just
seems that way because she's so wet the friction almost
seems too *small* for the rest of the feeling. It's pressure
in her hands and the tension in her abdomen and the
prickling heat rising and rolling all over her, and biting her
lip is too *much* after all of the kissing, but --

"Batman --"

"Oh, *please*, Steph --"

"B -- *Batman*," she says, and gives up and gives in. Her
bed might as well be the size of a small state, her body
might as well be liquid or some other state which doesn't
make any sense at all --

Superman is in the drawer and *Superman* wants to meet
her --

She's screaming, but it's okay because Tim is kissing her,
holding her down with his lean, perfect body --

And the only thing wrong with coming like this is that she
can't make her eyes focus, can't make herself *see* --

And Tim holds his fingers still inside her, perfect and a little
too deep. Tim never has to be told anything more than
once. Steph spends a little time shifting and catching her
breath, remembering how to focus, and when she's just
herself again and the bed is just a bed, she reaches down
between her legs and squeezes Tim's wrist.

"I like the way you feel inside," Tim says, and it's the
quietest, most adorable possible protest.

Steph grins. "Yeah, but if you hang out any longer I'll start
trying to cut off circulation to your fingers with my hoo-ha."

"Hm. I take your point."

As usual, Tim pulls out so slowly and gently that Steph kinda
*has* to give him a little push, which she's ninety-nine
percent sure means that he enjoys that, too. And -- "Is it
the muscle control?"

"Mm, I --" Tim kneels up, frowns, and cleans his fingers on a
wipe from his belt. "Yes, I think so. You're very casual --
sure of yourself."

"You're usually pretty invested in beating that out of me,
honey," she says, and sits up on her elbows. The position
isn't the most flattering one for her boobs, but it's Tim --
either he doesn't notice them at all, or he can tell in a
glance how they'd be laying on her chest if she wasn't doing
anything special for them.

And Tim is playing with his gauntlets idly, frowning, not
quite looking at her, *frowning* --

Steph lifts one leg enough to get her heel positioned in a
manner which could be termed crotchtastic.

"I'm not brooding."

"Convince me," she says, and wiggles her toes against the
front of his suit.

Tim's smile is a little tight even for him, but it's there. "I'm
considering developing new kinks, at the moment."

And among probably a zillion other things, *but* -- "Oh,

And Tim's smile gets a little darker, or --

It's possible she means 'twisted,' because he's cradling her
foot in both hands, spreading his legs, *pushing* against
her heel. "Oh, you're not serious."

Tim bucks his hips once, twice.

Steph snorts and *grinds* her heel --

"Oh fuck that actually feels a little too good. Bad. Ow -- okay,
stop," he says, and pushes her foot back, making it
necessary for Steph to bend her knee and kind of be all
obvious --

Steph covers her pussy as much as she can with one hand.

"Was that -- Steph, correct me if I'm wrong, but is that

"It's one thing to be all naked while we're having sex, but --"

"I have to admit, Steph," Tim says, and just kind of *brush*-
pushes against that spot on her foot that makes her sweat.
"I kind of hoped we were *still* having sex."

"Um -- yeah. You -- damn, I wish it was easier to *hit*
people there. Just -- wow."

"That's not very nice, at all," he says, and the smile is still
small, but it's not tight at all. And his thumb is going to
make -- her toes are curling.

"Not -- not a nice girl. And you look like Bruce when you
smile like that."

"Hm," Tim says, and pulls her foot close to his mouth. And
*breathes* on it.

"Jesus, I don't *want* this kink --"

"You've already... expressed a liking for this particular smile.
Therefore, when Bruce looked at you this way..."

"I wasn't -- um. *Quite* thinking about him fucking me

Tim kind of bites *around* her Achilles tendon. Or -- scrapes
his teeth. "I have another confession to make."

"Still don't want this *kink*, dammit," she says, and tugs
until Tim lets go of her foot.

Tim raises his hands and looks so far from innocent that he's
kind of going to *beat* innocent from the back.

Steph frowns. "What confession? If it's about Superman, my
pussy totally can't take it. Yet."

"Noted," Tim says, and the look on his face isn't *that*
different from the looks he gives her when she finishes up a
few sets on the weights and he's trying to decide what
comes *next*. "It's not about Superman."

"Whose name I don't get to know -- yet. Assuming he has

"Mm," Tim says, and covers the hand she has on her bush
with one of his own. And curls his fingers around it. "Let me
see you."

"Gimme the goods."

"I'd understand completely if you wanted Bruce to have
vaginal intercourse with you before I did."


Tim moves Steph's hand and curls his fingers in her bush.
And kind of -- scrapes. Straightening out the tangles. Jesus.

"Uh," she says again, helpfully. "But I want *you* to fuck me,
boyfriend." There, that's clear.

"I know. But my experience with that particular act... I'm not
very good at holding on to my control."

Don't think about Tim bending Bruce over. Don't think about
Tim bending Bruce over. Don't -- "That's kind of the

"But only 'kind of,' Steph. There's a difference between
'harder' and 'as hard as I can without hurting my pelvis,'
and I'm still working on... illuminating that difference with

"You've totally done it on the car, haven't you."

"Twice," Tim says, and brings his hand back to his face.
When he takes a deep breath, his eyes narrow. "It's
fascinating. You don't smell anything like Bruce, and yet
there's a certain *undertone*..."

"Sex-funk." And... okay, she kinda has to know. "What about

"As you say," Tim says, and licks his fingers kind of delicately.
"I completely lack the words to describe the way Superman
smells when he's aroused. Ozone is a part of it, something
like the smell of a heat-shimmer... anyway. I think... I'd
really like to get at least somewhat more naked than I am
now --"

"*Do* it."

Tim's smile manages to be soft and sweet and as impossibly
*loving* as ever, even with two fingers in his mouth. And
then he straightens up and off the bed in one smooth move
and starts to work on his belt.

"Look, if I wanted somebody with perfect control --"

"Not perfect -- *reasonable*. You don't need any more
bruises than the ones I'm giving you in the Cave. Not to
mention scrapes, bleeding bite-marks --"

"You know," Steph says, and deliberately spreads her legs
wider, "you're kind of failing miserably to discourage me."

"If you're willing to trust me that much, then trust me to
know myself. If I don't start... improving my performance
soon, then I'd be going to you for help, anyway."

"I *hate* it when you're reasonable about stuff I don't want
you to be reasonable about."

Tim sets his boots aside and winks at her. "You'll have to
punish me for that, of course."

"Well, *duh* -- and also *faster*."

Most of the time -- when Tim isn't *completely* gone, he
takes his tights and shorts off separately. Neatly enough to
make Batman -- *Bruce* happy. Or, well.

Now that she thinks about it, it's probably more like 'neatly
enough to give Bruce the ability to club people with his dick.'
This time, at least, he pushes everything down at once,
stepping out and -- mm.

Tim's just so *lean*. Sometimes Steph feels like she's
holding all the body-fat for both of them, but she's pretty
much completely okay with that when that boils down to
'Steph gets to play with bone-and-muscle boy.' She opens
her arms for him and completely fails to give him room to
lay beside her --

"Steph --"

"*Now*," she says, and when Tim doesn't follow orders well
enough -- he's braced enough above her that she can barely
feel the hair on his damned legs -- Steph puts her legs up
and holds him *that* way.

And pulls.

"Steph, I --"

"You're hard as a *rock*, and you really need to be between
my legs right now --"

"I'm not going to --"

"No, you're *not*," she says, and tries to bounce more
pressure and weight onto him. When Tim finally eases
himself down -- "Ooh," she says, because Tim wasn't even
trying, and his dick just... "Ooh, but... do you need me to
explain the *protocol*?"

"You feel. You're so soft -- I need a condom."

Damn. Probably. Maybe -- he won't be *in* her -- No,
definitely. Damn. "I swear to God if you try to escape I will
bite it *off* the next time I get you in my mouth --"

"I -- soft. Wet. Steph," and Tim does kneel up, but he grabs
himself and aims and -- *strokes*.

"Oh, you... I think you're gonna get me off again."

"I -- there's a condom in my belt, but --"

"But you're not allowed to friggin' *move*, just -- wait,"
Steph says, and if she were Tim she'd probably be thinking
of how *interesting* it is to try to move only the upper
half of your body to get to important, bedside drawer kinds
of things --

"Steph -- please."

Or maybe she wouldn't. Heh. The condom skitters away from
her fingers once, twice -- she nabs it between her middle
and ring fingers and *yanks* it within Tim's range --

And gets it snatched away. Okay, then. But.

"You usually don't bother with condoms, right?"

"Well, Superman's microorganisms aren't compatible, and
Bruce is -- Bruce," Tim says, and he's not quite *glaring* at
the packet while he works to get it open, but it's close. 

"But Bruce is kind of a *ho*, isn't he? I mean, isn't he with --
hey, how many of you guys *is* he hooking up with? Do
you ever watch when he's getting it on with Nightwing?"

The condom goes flying kind of impressively, but there's
never been anything wrong with Steph's reflexes. "Was that
a no?"

"I -- Steph. He doesn't. Hm. Please put it on for me," he says,
and "I need -- I know what you *feel* like --"

"I've got you, batfriend," she says, and it's been -- a really
seriously long *while*, and back then she hadn't been doing
*this* enough, but, well -- *her* hands aren't shaking.

And the way Tim looks at her when she rolls it on makes her
feel like something between a sex goddess and a child,
which -- she can't really deal with that, and she doesn't --

Tim is *exactly* strong enough to grab her by the wrists
and *lift* her upright -- "Hey, that's not the right way --"

"Knees. On your -- please," he says, and then kisses her
before she can move. There's just a little hint of her own
scent on his face, a tease of it on his lips, but the inside of
Tim's mouth is just spit and nothing, or the 'nothing' that's
telling every part of her body that Tim wants her, Tim
needs her, Tim's right *here*.

She gets up on her knees as fast as she can, wondering a
little at the fact that a part of her is honestly pissed at her
for not doing it *gracefully*, and then their hands get
tangled between them --

And then Tim's got her by the wrists again, so tight that it
hurts, so painful and good that it makes her hips *jerk* --

"Jesus, c'mon, *hurry* --"

Tim yanks her hands to the side, lets go, grabs himself --
Tim kisses her again and guides his dick between her legs,
pushes, swivels his hips, slides against her clit --

"Oh, *fuck*, Tim --"

Grabs her *ass* -- "Stay -- stay right *there* --"

"Okay, I -- come on, come *on* --"

It's fast, and the lube on the condom is making her too slick,
but Tim feels just --

He's so *hard*, and when she puts her hands on his hips,
the sound he makes is choked and kind of loud, so hungry
she has to bite him, and then he does -- something. Maybe
slips one hand *under* his dick?

She doesn't know, but there's more pressure now, and the
slide of him -- she doesn't even usually *like* the up-and-
down motion, but he's pushing at her lips with every thrust,
he's holding himself *hard* against her --

And he's fucking her mouth with his tongue, fast and sloppy
and hard, teeth against teeth, and maybe she's starting to
*get* what he means about the lack of control, but there's
a spot deep inside her that's fucking begging to be fucking
*pounded* -- "I want you, I want you so much --"

"You're mine, you -- you *are* --"

Steph flushes and *shakes*, digs her short nails against his
hips -- no, grabbing his ass is *better*. It's hard and flexing
and just -- everything *sex*, even if he's not inside her
where he belongs. "You're *mine*."

"Yes," he says, hisses and -- his free hand is in her hair,
tugging *hard* until she tilts her head to the side, and then
he's licking her neck fast and -- she's never had anyone lick
her *hard* before, but it feels just right for Tim to do it
that way, for Tim to take her this way -- her sweat, her
heat --

All *his*, and she's getting swollen enough in her pussy that
the pressure's a little much, but when she tries to kneel up
a little more, he *bites*, right at the join of neck to
shoulder --

"Show me, oh -- *show* me --"

But he already is, and his fingers are *rigid* in her hair and
his dick is just -- working and *working*, and Steph hears
herself crying out, yelling, and something about the feel of
her teeth sinking in against the skin of her own palm just
shakes her all over, *makes* her all over, and she can't stop
her hips from jerking.

It makes it better, it makes it *less*, it makes her fucking
*scream* into her own skin --

No, that's Tim, or it's both of them, or --

The last halfway *coherent* feeling is that of her eyes
rolling back in her head, and then she's just coming, jerking
like a rag-doll, and hot everywhere she isn't ice cold, or
maybe the other way around, or maybe she was always
waiting for Tim to be *like* this.

Not normal, because Tim's always been more than that, but
like *this*:

Groaning and thrusting and thrusting until the only thing
*not* rigid is the tongue slipping and slapping against the
hunk of her flesh between his teeth as he comes his brains
out, *too*.

She --

Okay, possibly laughing isn't the best possible thing she can
do right now, but the unbelievable *relief* of Tim easing
off the bite and pulling back a little bit -- bruises and *bites*.
Right. She can't say Tim hadn't *warned* her.

Steph shivers all over and laughs harder, shaking her head
when Tim touches her face like it's made of -- of a
*whisper* of glass.

"Steph --"

"I'm okay."

"You -- I'm reasonably sure I should apologize --"

"Shut up," she says, and now it's more of a snicker.

"I wouldn't let you *move* --"

"No, seriously, shut the fuck up," and kissing him is the
absolute best way to make that happen, especially since Tim
knows enough, now, not to try to break the kiss when Steph
starts shifting around until she can comfortably fall back to
the bed. "I love how portable you are," she says, and bites
Tim's lower lip.

"I love you."

"Mm-hmm." It feels like a tragedy to push Tim back enough
that she can get to the condom that really needs to go now,
but it's much better when what's rubbing against her is just
slick, hot *skin*.

"Was that -- you liked that," he says, thoughtful and low as
he starts rubbing some life -- and a lot of *pain* -- back into
that bite-mark.

"Um -- ow, but also yes," and settling in for some cuddle is
both necessary and morally correct.

"You're everything I need."

Which would probably be more wonderful to hear if Tim
wasn't doing such a good job of *extricating* himself.
"Where the hell are you going?"

"Lie on your stomach, please," Tim says, kneeling beside her
and generally looking so damned *Bat*...

Dammit, she's already moving. If Tim ever used his powers
for evil, Steph would have to take him out with a
goddamned bazooka. "Okay. *Now* what -- mmm."

Now *massage*, apparently, though how Tim had been able
to tell that Steph's back was hurting her again when she's
just noticing it *now* is a mystery for the ages. Whatever.
Her tiny scary batfriend wants to turn her *completely* into

"You didn't stretch enough."

"*You* don't belong here --"

"The fact remains. Your instincts were good with regard to
the run you took earlier, but if you don't take care of
yourself --"

"Then you can't *use* me, I get it, but Tim, if you're
seriously hiding inside your freaky black pearl because the
sex was too good -- ah --"

"Trust me," he says, and it feels like every muscle of her
back is just floating above the rest of her, stretching itself
out to a comfortable nothing --

"I *love* you --"

"And I," Tim says, digging into her glutes, "love you."

And nothing is going to save her from the Bat, right now. If
she wasn't still *high* on that orgasm, she would...

She'd do something useless, or say something useless, or
maybe just want to --

"I still -- all of you, Tim," she says, and it feels like
surrendering and it feels like blowing free of everything
even resembling gravity --


Or maybe it feels like a breathy little kiss between her
shoulder blades -- a reward for every part of her which
can't stop watching around Tim now, can't stop -- being.

When he's done with her, she feels more like pudding than
jell-o, but it's kind of a pointless distinction -- either way,
she's not up for anything that doesn't start with 'sl' and end
with 'eep.'

Steph smiles to herself and closes her eyes. The last thing
she's really aware of is the feel of Tim's fingers slipping away
from her own.

The sound of the engine might just be the dream.

The next day is school, which is... pretty much exactly

She honestly would've thought that it would take at least a
*little* longer for her to reach the point where school
seemed as boring and pointless as it always seemed to for
Tim, but not even the Birds had made her extemporize
reports on the law as it related to 'assault' vs. 'battery' while
jumping rope *on* the damned balance beam.

Her grades are exactly as good as they've always been, and
they'll be just that good on the homework she's done in
advance -- thanks to Tim hacking her teachers' lesson plans.

Her mother thinks she's pushing for college.

She --

It's not that she *doesn't* plan to go to college. It's just that
she's not going to be bending over backwards to get to go
someplace nice, quiet, and full of the kinds of trees and
people which don't grow in Gotham. She hadn't realized she
*had* been thinking about doing that until... well.

Tim's nowhere to be seen at lunch, but that's not even
remotely new. She slips off-campus for a decent burger and
a salad (and fries, and some chicken nuggets), and tries not
to feel like an alien invading when she comes back. She's
never really been close to anyone her own age who wasn't
named Tim Drake, but now...

After school, they're all going to go home, or to some place
to hang out, or maybe just to get high and fuck around
beyond the athletic fields. *She's* going to the Cave,
because even though Tim won't be training her today, the
idea of taking even one day off from all of the things he has
her doing is a little scary.

She can't backslide. She --

She can't.

There were always times when she hung with Cass when
that hanging boiled down to counting the new injuries, but
back then it just hadn't been as *real* as it is now.

Sure, she'd done her damnedest to have Cass' back as
Spoiler whenever Cass let Steph hunt her down, but they'd
never really been *partners*. Now...

Everything she's doing now is getting her to a place where
she'll have to be out there with Cass, or Tim, or Bruce, or
maybe even -- she's really going to have to *work* not to
snicker every time she calls Dick *Dick*. She should at least
have it together before he has time to introduce himself by
more than just a wave when she's just getting to the Cave
and he's just leaving.

Will they want her to join him in Bludhaven? It seems like
someone should, and --

Well, that's just it. She's going to be *one* of them, and it'll
be up to her to be *someone's* partner, someone's
protection as opposed to just the junior vigilante-lette they
let hang around.

Robin, she says, in her head, and thinks of the bite mark
which is bruising up spectacularly, of the ghost of pain in
her back, of the fact that she has, totally and completely,
given her life to someone four months younger, a floating
fifteen pounds lighter, and a bazillion times freakier than
she is.

Than she'll ever be.

It's always more *true* when she's surrounded by half-
anonymous *kids*, even if it isn't more real. She's left
something behind, and she isn't sure if she wants to know
what it is.

She calls her mother at work for a little bit of the hello-I'm-
fine, and only has to grit her teeth a *little* through the part
of the conversation where her mother starts poking and
jabbing -- gently and with pretty terrible aim -- at Steph for
spending so much time with Tim.

She's pretty sure her mother has 'known' that she was
sexually active with Tim for at least a year, and that's the
kind of thing which just takes a lot of the *sting* out of the
rest. This, at least, can't be too freaky and abnormal. As
near as she can tell, none of the girls her age think their
mothers have a clue about their lives.

The ride from school to the Cave ranges between thirty-
seven minutes and a little more than a hour, depending on
how well she can pick her route between random accidents
and everything else Gotham tends to throw at people.

Today, she makes it in forty-five, and parks her bike in the
sad little empty space which is just for her, now, as opposed
to for whichever car or bike is too busted-up to use.

The day she gets to use a *real* bike is probably the day
she confesses to her mother that Bruce Wayne wants her
ass -- there's no *way* they'll make her give it up just
because she has to pretend to be a civilian sometimes.

Okay, maybe she won't say that he wants her *ass*, but --

"I was hoping you'd come today," Bruce says, and just kind
of *appears* out of the shadows, despite the fact that he's
not wearing anything stealthier than a mechanic's
jumpsuit-thing and a pair of work boots.

It should be a crime to make that look good. Damn. "Okay,
so tell me how you do it, Bats. That *spooky* here-I-am!


"I get *that* --"

"Combined with a -- relative -- lack of tension," he says, and
calmly takes her jacket like they're -- at a *ball* or
something. "Shadows tend to neither jitter nor hold
themselves ready to strike."

"Um. Okay, that actually makes a scary amount of sense,"
she says, and heads toward the lockers where she keeps
her Cave-clothes.

Bruce doesn't seem to be following her, but it would feel like
admitting to something to look back over her shoulder to
check. Just like it would feel like admitting to something to
drag her t-shirt, shorts, and sports-bra into another set of
shadows to change. She strips right there, and does her
best to ignore the blush on her face to death.

"Anyway, what about the times when you *are* about to

"The same 'trick' as the speed you're searching for. One of
my teachers referred to it as the 'embrace of fluidity,' though
exact translation is... difficult. Do you plan to train in those

Yeep. He's looking -- no, of course he's looking. "I -- didn't
bring any extras." And what's wrong with her panties? "And
what's wrong with my panties," she says, putting the foot she
was holding up to go into the shorts back down on the chilly
stone floor.

Bruce is hanging her jacket -- on a hanger -- in the incredibly
well-stocked and gigantic armoire of the Bat. The last time
she'd checked, all kinds of street-clothes are in there,
including some girl-clothes which probably looked pretty
damned good on Tim.

She doesn't have access to the reports for -- whatever that
mission was, and a part of her is going to make the rest of
her train her *heart* out until she *does* get access. *She*
usually just hangs her jacket in the locker, but she kind of
completely loves the fact that her clothes are *mingling* --
wait. "Seriously, what's wrong?"

Bruce's response apparently involves him coming not just
close enough to touch, but close enough to touch pretty
much all over. He smells like motor oil and something
expensive and male-flowery.

Maybe she means that he smells like Bruce *and* Bruce
Wayne. She's not seriously already kinking out on how he
smells. She's just *not*.

Even when Bruce runs one finger along the seam at her hip.
"They're quite attractive, of course," he says, and *taps* her
hip with that finger. "But they aren't designed to move with
your body --"

"Okay, true, but --"

"And, once you begin to sweat, I imagine the lace will
become something of an... irritant."

"I... well, Tim isn't going to... I usually just tolerate it." And
all of her plain cotton panties are in the wash. And -- she
already knew they were the wrong panties. And --

Why, exactly, is she wearing these? Jesus.

"So I think I'll just be -- going commando, today," she says,
working really *hard* on the hopefully fatal ignoring-of-the-
blush, stepping back and stepping *out*.

Bruce -- breathes. Audibly.

She's not going to look at him until she has her shorts on,
and maybe she won't even look at him then -- she looks,
half into her shorts, and --

Okay, it's not like Bruce is *sniffing* her panties or anything,
but he's definitely holding them on one finger. Like that,
they look like the most useless scrap of fabric ever made,
and also like her ass is huge. And he's looking right into her

You watched, last night, she doesn't -- have to say. It's
written all over both of them.

Steph finishes getting dressed, takes her panties *back*,
and shoves them in the locker. She's not fast enough to
avoid catching a faint little whiff of herself on the things, and
she's not in enough control of her big stupid hormone of a
brain not to think about the fact that Bruce had had them
close enough for long enough to get a *good* whiff.

"You know, you," Steph bites her lip and steps back into her
trainers. "You didn't have to come this close to remind me
about the panties thing."

"It's true."

"And I think -- I kinda think that no matter what *else* you
were doing --"

"I was waiting for you," he says, and brushes his fingers over
her cheek, down her throat -- *right* to the bite mark.

Steph swallows. "I don't have to tell you to be careful there."

"Not if that's what you want," and Bruce turns his hand just
enough to brush the side of his hand right down the middle
of the hickey from hell before moving it closer to her throat
and -- cupping her there.

"With the implication that the second I don't want you to be
careful --"

"Just -- tell me," Bruce says, and he's close again, looming
and -- being.

"I need to train," she says, and doesn't feel especially

The thing is, if Bruce's thumb were on her cheek*bone*, it
would still feel a little bit -- not innocent. Really not that.
But -- definitely a lot less sex-now. His thumb is on her
cheek, tugging just enough to pull her mouth open, make
her show her teeth -- make it feel more obvious than
*obvious* when she wets her lips a little.

Bruce's expression isn't just searching, it's making her feel
*searched*. Stripped-down and spread and maybe -- if she's
lucky -- braced on something sturdy. "Bruce --"

"Tim and I... spoke, earlier."

Tim would *absolutely* cut school to come back here and --
"Did you fuck?"

Bruce narrows his eyes, like maybe he's thinking about
calling her on her language or something. His face looks
stuck, for a second, somewhere between a wince and a
smile. "He can be very attractive when he's feeling...

Heh. And -- yeah. "Did he slap you around with --" She still
doesn't feel like she gets to say that name.


Steph rubs her face against that thumb, that hand, until her
mouth feels almost normal again. "Um. Your... ex. The one I
remind you of, at least sometimes."

"And, of course, you... take Tim's word for it."

"He's only wrong about that kind of thing when he's thinking
about himself," and it's just too *true* to make Steph feel
like she's defending him. Tim doesn't need it.

"Mm," Bruce says, leaning in and -- not kissing her. He's
kind of nuzzling her ear and these shorts are going to be
*fragrant*. And damp.

"You need to answer some -- some of my questions."

"I took him in my mouth and watched his anger and hunger
change, deepen, harden --"

"Oh -- *Jesus*."

Bruce's other hand slides to her hip, cups her there -- "He
did, indeed, bring up my relationship with Jason," and the
touch of his lips to her ear is too light to be a kiss. "I told
him, as I'm telling you, that the two of you are not so alike
that I don't believe you'd find pleasure in each other."

That's a good word. That -- pleasure. "Like you and Tim?"
And she pushes against the hand on her hip until it starts to
slide, pet, *move* --

"He doesn't want me to love him, but he refuses to allow me
not to know him, every -- every part --"

"He's so -- God, where *is* he?"

"Almost certainly," Bruce says, pulling back and then almost
*diving* in to kiss her --

Too *quick* --

"He feels he owes Superman some of his time."

"Oh, God, he totally *would*," she says, and absolutely
nothing has happened which count as a reason to throw her
arms around Bruce's neck, stand on her toes, and kiss him,
but then again it also *has*.

Bruce's hands move over her back like Tim's, checking and
testing and *feeling* her before they settle at her waist --

And then they're not settled. One's going up and one's going
down, one's squeezing her cheek and one's cupping the side
of her breast, and Bruce *teases* her with his tongue until
she pushes hers into his mouth. He likes it when she's the
one doing the teasing, and the part of her which is actually
thinking -- and taking fucking *notes* -- isn't all that

She can't really compare this to Tim's kisses -- it's too deep
*and* too light -- but it all feels a lot more familiar than it
maybe should.

She's supposed to push and take and demand until her male
of the species gives it *up*.

And Bruce's version of giving it up apparently involves
picking her up like she weighs half of nothing and carrying
her -- he doesn't stop kissing for a *minute* -- over to the --

Her ass wants her to know that it's the freaking pommel
horse, and that that's *silly*, but her thighs are singing the
praises of Bruce's hands on them, of the splay of his fingers
and the pressure that's just a little bit too hard -- her thighs
are too big for Bruce's hands to be able to just *encompass*
the things --

Steph hums her way out of the kiss. "Did you -- have you
ever done this with Tim?"

"No," Bruce says, and slides his hands down to her knees
and -- pushes.

She gets a little breeze up the leg of her shorts, cold and
*Cave*, and she doesn't shiver so much as -- clench.

"Mm," and the kisses are slow and soft, but they're all over
her face and somehow too much to count. Too many. Or --

"I -- yeah..."

"I should state, for the record, that Tim and I didn't quite
come to an agreement."

Yeah, she thinks again. Definitely fingers -- wait. Steph
covers Bruce's hands and pushes them a little *away* --
Bruce had already reached hair, if not pie.

"Yes, Stephanie?"

"You're saying you don't have *permission*."

"Does it matter when you do?"

The thing is, Bruce looks very responsible and adult when he
says that. Very *reasonable*, like maybe great big hands
on her very naked thighs is perfectly normal, and her sitting
on a pommel horse after having been carried there is just
one of those everyday Cave *things*.

Later, there'll be tea and she can talk about her *lessons*.

"You -- are totally a perv," Steph says, emphasizing her
point with a little jab to the chest. And maybe taking the
opportunity to twist her fingers around and find the spot --

"To the right, and extend your fingers more -- yes."

"Thanks. Perv. Um..." Steph moves her hands back to Bruce's
hands which have absolutely found hair again. "You know I
only got permission for *one* thing."

"I'm reasonably certain," Bruce says, and moves his hands
out from under hers and places them at her waist, strokes
up --

Her breasts feel *good* in his hands. "Oh, that's -- yeah.
Just -- man, I need a better sports bra if it feels *that*
good to have you lift them."

"I've been working on some designs," Bruce says, and kisses
that spot under her ear, licks it --

"Bruce --"

"And I think Tim would be... deeply disappointed in me if I
chose to approach the act as something wholly singular."

Translation, *please* -- oh. "Yeah, um. Bad form to just
whip it out and shove it in," she says, and wriggles just
enough that he can take all the weight of her boobs. "You
just stay right there --"

"Not here?" Somehow, those thumbs on her nipples -- no,
not somehow. *Bruce*.

"Uh -- maybe -- there's good," Steph says, bracing herself
on her hands and lifting herself a little. Just enough to feel
her own weight again and back down, back up --

"Your strength..."

"Is this where you try to convince me you just wanna

"There are oils, here, which wouldn't be inappropriate," and
she does actually want to giggle for that, it's just that Bruce
has her nipples between his thumbs and forefingers, and
apparently what she really wants to do is let her mouth drop
open a little and stare.

"I -- kinda need to be honest --"

"I'm listening," Bruce says, and *twists*, just a little.

The horse, at least, won't fall apart if Steph -- just as an
example -- digs her nails in and starts pulling and scraping.
"It's not going to be bad form for much... longer --"

"Stephanie," and it sounds like an answer, or maybe a
warning -- she's not sure. At all.

And she's not sure of *anything* when Bruce lets go of her
breasts and moves his hands down to her ass, pulling her
forward -- spreading her legs doesn't even feel like a decision,
as opposed to a *really* kind of problematic instinct -- and
stepping close.

Only -- *close*. If Bruce were naked -- no, she's still wearing
shorts. He wouldn't be inside her already. It's just one of
those horny-*now* illusions that have everything to do with
how hard Bruce is, and how wet she is --

"Did he -- he didn't get you off?"

"He rather enjoys watching me masturbate myself. The
orgasm was... adequate."

Oh. That's... "So you two are just kind of *always* stepping
on each other's balls, hunh?"

Bruce... *rolls* his hips, moving against her -- Tim holding
her up on her knees with hands and *teeth* --

And Bruce pushes *harder* when she can't keep that noise
in, that moaning whimper -- "Answer me --"

"Your lover enjoys --"

"*Your* lover, too," she says, and it's possible that, in
*some* universe, squeezing Bruce with her thighs would
count as emphasis as opposed to continued pervination.
But --

"When he chooses to be," and Bruce kisses her forehead,
her cheeks, licks below her eye and then stands straight

Tall and big and -- "What were you saying? Before I --

"There is a sort of... play Tim enjoys, with me. I enjoy it, as
well. But it does not bring us closer."

Does she feel closer to Bruce now in any *emotional* way?
Her pussy really shouldn't get a vote in the matter, especially
since it seems pretty well focused in mapping out the shape
and *heft* of Bruce's dick against itself. Every now and
again, it pipes up to tell her about certain twists and wriggles
she could be doing to make it better, make it *more* --

But Bruce can *move*, and he's totally -- very -- Steph
doesn't even get any *warning* before that sound comes
out, helpless and *loud*, and grabbing Bruce by the
jumpsuit-thing he's wearing and burying her face against
his chest is definitely a reaction. Not a response.

She doesn't have a response *in* her, and her feet are
dangling, and her ass is teetering on the edge of the stupid
damned horse, and Bruce --

Bruce feels --

"Tell me -- keep talking to me about Tim," she says, and
drags her face against the rough material, thinks about
broken capillaries, wants to fuck-suck-do *this* --

"Will it make this easier for you?"

There's something wrong with the fact that Bruce *only*
sounds honestly, openly curious when everything he's
doing with the lower half of his body is reminding her of
the *fantasies* she used to have about being fucked, as
opposed to reminding her of the realities -- "I want -- I
really don't know. I just want him *here*," she says, and
thinks about slipping down from the horse entirely --

But Bruce is right there, holding her and keeping her,
thrusting against her, and she's reached the point where it's
not *enough* anymore. It's not getting any better so much
as getting harder to deal with --

"Wait, no, that's not --" Steph shakes her head and
pushes --

"He told you he couldn't stop thinking about the two of us,"
Bruce says, tugging her down off the horse and slipping his
fingers inside her shorts from the *top*. They're really --
okay, so possibly she should shop for some newer, longer
shorts, because somehow -- *now* it seems like they're
too small.

They'd still fit so nicely at the waist and -- "You, keep going,"
she says, and lets Bruce push the shorts down.

"He told me he needed you. He repeated himself -- twice.
He turned away and, when he turned back, he was wearing
one of your smiles. He stood on his toes and wrapped his
arms around my neck," and Bruce is urging her to do the
same, coaxing and stroking her into position --

"He doesn't have the -- I'm better at this."

"Tim knows you very well," Bruce says, and everything
*about* that is non-committal except for the smile in his
eyes. "He'd do anything for you, and anything to have you.
Spread your legs for me?"

Have her for himself. Which isn't the worst idea in the world,
but Tim doesn't get to make that choice. He just -- doesn't.
"I don't know you," she says, making room for his hand
and shifting until she can hold on to his shoulders --

And hold *on*. She'd never really *let* Tim just feel around
until he got it right -- she doesn't think she can ever be that
*patient* with Tim -- but Bruce's version of mapping the
territory is -- blunt, hard fingers and all the slick she's
putting out --

Now *there's* a term --

"I've been watching you --"

"I -- I *know*, Bruce --"

"And I plan on giving you ample opportunity to return the
favor," and he puts pressure just *behind* her clit --

Steph's shuddering on her toes, flexing and bracing herself,
digging her fingers *into* these shoulders -- "I want --
oh --"

Bruce's other hand is on her hip again, holding her still and
in *position* as he -- 'wiggles' isn't a solid enough *or* a
good enough term for what he's doing with his finger. It's
close to what she does for herself, but she can't control the
pressure or the speed here. She --

"Different. You -- when Tim does this, it's too *much*, or --
I can't --" Steph shakes her head and lets herself growl. She
wants to just feel this, just be in this one really kind of
beautiful moment, but she can't stop thinking about Tim's

Bruce's gauntlets --

Both of them, or neither, and if Bruce wasn't steadying her,
she'd absolutely be on the floor. Even though -- "I don't
think I can come this way. Um."

"I could simply be teasing," and everything in his voice tells
her that she should be looking at him, watching him, taking
this opportunity to get to know him a little better --

"Don't -- don't tease me," she says, and the laugh doesn't
come out right or even human, but Bruce is whispering
something fervent and *hot* and incomprehensible in her
ear -- something about necessary and other weirdly
romantic -- "And you don't know *me*."

"I'm closer to doing so. Every moment," he says and --

"Oh. I -- please?"


That -- it's not that she doesn't know her own name, but her
*feet* are trembling, and it doesn't have a damned thing to
do with how long she's been on her toes. Bruce's fingers are
*inside* her, and maybe --

Okay, maybe the position is a part of it. Maybe she's just --
something --

"I feel like I should be -- against a wall --"

"It could be arranged," Bruce says. "You're -- lovely. Flushed.
The smell of your sweat is -- mm. Almost sweet. But not the
taste --"

"Oh -- shut up shut *up* --"

"If you'd like," and then Bruce is tugging her hips forward a
little and -- in *deep*, flexing, twisting --

"Just like. God, did you take fucking -- *close-up* screen
captures? That's -- it's too *much* like --"

She doesn't think she *meant* 'pull out and come back
*hard*,' but she also doesn't care. She -- no, wait, she

"Pull out."

Bruce squeezes her hip -- too hard.

"Pull out, because I want a better -- I want a better position.
And also I shouldn't have to *explain* -- damn ow fuck shit
I'm *empty* -- no, wait. Wait."

Steph takes a breath, comes down off her toes and looks
around. It's the Cave, so it's not like anywhere really
*screams* 'stop trying to get better at what you do and
start fucking,' but there are a few places which definitely
suggest it, and --

("He won't let me take it on my knees.")

And hell. And damn. And -- she's really going to do this.
She's already turning around, giving Bruce her back, planting
her hands on the horse --

"This is... better."

It would be more of a question without Bruce pulling her
hips back until spinal alignment is as good as it can be -- or
possibly just until -- "I'm. I hate blushing this much. Bruce,
you should --"

"Is it because you wish to pretend? Shall I give you what
Tim won't?"

"No. And also yes. You. I really don't want to be distracted
by my goddamned *calves*, and I want you back in me."

The hand on her back isn't soothing or helpful or anything
but *there*. And the hand between her legs is just slow
enough to make her hairs start tickling her and just fast
enough that she can't bite back the seriously kind of
squeaky noise she makes this time.

It's tighter this way, or it feels that way -- Steph starts to
shift, but Bruce holds her right there. "I wasn't -- planning
on moving. Nn -- ah, Jesus, you should... keep doing that
little thing."

"This little thing?"

If she clenches up, he won't get any deeper, but then she'd
be able to feel that fast little wriggle *more*. "You -- too
many choices."

"You think so?"

Steph lets her head hang -- she's already sweating enough
that her hair is sticking to her face in places, and she pushes
*back* before she remembers that Bruce wants her still --

Okay, not that still. Fucking herself this way makes Bruce
start to *pet* her. It's a little too 'good girl' for comfort, but
the part of her which wants to be comfortable is shrinking

"I -- you should be --"

"Aroused? Enchanted? Fascinated, perhaps?"

There's -- *more* there than she really knows what to do
with, or how to do *anything* with, like maybe Bruce is
talking to the place she's learning how to fill more than he's
talking to *her*. Or -- she doesn't know.

Working her hips faster makes Bruce tighten his grip with his
free hand, makes him touch her everywhere he can reach.
It's a little like being defined, or being less naked than she
is --

"You, this feels... okay," she says, and feels like an *idiot* --

"You're safe."

It's a really small word that's perfectly *right* for -- some of
this. Not everything. If Tim were to walk in right now...

Would he say anything? Would he push Bruce aside?

"Please don't make me wait, anymore, I -- the things in my
head --"

"Beautiful," Bruce says, low and kind of purring, kind of soft
and *full*. "And I have no desire to legislate your...

Fantasies. Lots of them. Dirty -- oh, if Tim still had the
Redbird --

It's just --

The pressure at the base of her spine is almost soothing
enough that it's okay for Bruce to be pulling out, but almost
isn't really a small word for moments like this, or --

Or --

Oh. Just -- she hasn't -- vibrators aren't enough, dildos are a
joke, this is everything she hasn't had --

Maybe ever. She doesn't remember it ever feeling *this*
good, and she doesn't know if it's all the teasing-that-really-
*wasn't* which came before, or if it's just how much she
loves -- Tim. Not Bruce.

Right. She can -- well, okay, she has an excuse to not be --
not be completely focused --

She --

She gasps at the feel of Bruce's *hair* against her, scratchy
and immediately slick with *her*, and how far gone *was*
she that she didn't even notice him gloving up? Wait --

Reaching back between her legs feels like the bad porn
variety of completely unsexy with her in this position, but
she has to *check*, and -- okay, yes, he *did* manage to
get a condom on while she wasn't paying attention. "Just --
had to be sure, Spooky. Don't mind -- mm. Don't mind

"We could discuss other methods of birth control, if you

Bareback with Batman. Other Batman. Bigger, longer -- not
harder. Tim does this all the *time*, apparently, or some
variety of it. And then there's Superman, and... she isn't
sure if she wants to be a part of *all* of this or not. When
she grinds back against Bruce, there's really no way not to
think of Tim this way -- wouldn't he be just as slick at this

Just as *easy* to take -- "Or we could simply..." Both hands
on her now, and one of them's sticky-slick, painting her with
her own juices -- *dirty*.

"I -- you really need to *do* me," she says, and braces
herself on her hands --

And immediately gets *driven* to her elbows, because Tim
has broken her of locking them, and the fact that her body
had gone for the healthier, bendier reflex does not change
the fact that she'd nearly bonked herself a good one on the

The fact that she's in danger of looking like a bad Lifetime
movie doesn't change the fact -- "Do that *again* --"

Bruce is slipping out, taking everything good and sweet and
warm with him and --

In and she coughs, groans -- "Oh, *fuck* --"

"Perhaps," Bruce says, cupping her throat and just staying
there, deep and --

And her thighs are already getting much too wet. "Perhaps --
oh, that's a little ticklish, actually --" The touch firms up,
shifts until Bruce is holding her head steady -- "Better, um --"


It almost feels like panic, or like some part of her she can't
quite touch *is* panicked. She's panting a little, and she's
clawing at the pommel horse. "I'm not ready, but -- I don't
think I will be, oh fuck *again* --"

Again means she's pushing against Bruce's hand with her
throat, that her eyes are rolling up, that her toes are trying
to curl into the mats. Her clit feels like a wet *brick*, huge
and so stiff even the *air* is making her harder, or dryer,
or --

"*Please*, don't let me -- oh God, oh -- *Bruce* --"

"What," he says, and his thumb is pressed just below her
ear, pushing and making her *groan* --

"Oh, that's -- that, too --"

"What am I not allowing you to do. Stephanie."

His hands. His body -- she still hasn't really *seen* it, but he
feels -- he could cover her, surround her, fill her up and
swallow her *whole* --

He could stop moving and make her *yell*.

"Tell me," he says, and uses his free hand to grab her hip
and stop her from pushing back for more. "You should... hm.
Be clear."

"Don't -- don't you fucking treat me like *Tim*, dammit, I'm
not --" For a second, the hand on her hip tightens enough to
be painful. The hand at her throat *shakes*. "Bruce, come
*on* --"

"Hn. The concept of apology becomes difficult in situations
like --"

"*Fuck* me, just -- get me out of my own head, get yourself
out -- oh, you... oh..."

The rhythm is easy, quick thrusts which feel almost... Maybe
this is the fluidity Bruce was talking about, one motion
flowing right into the next and flowing right into *her*. It
makes what she was doing with Tim seem jagged and
crazy and *wild*, everything Tim never wants to be around

This -- she can see (*feel*, so *deep*) Tim wanting to be
this way with her, wanting it to be easy on her, simple and
pleasurable and *good*, but.

If she twists her head just right in Bruce's grip, she can make
him rub against that bite mark again and again and *again*.

She can make it hurt, a little, make it --

She doesn't think she means 'real.' She doesn't think that's
anything like what her brain should be *up* to when the
rest of her is rocking and grinding and moving, panting for
it -- "More," she says, and it's almost embarrassing how
clear and *flat* that comes out, but --

The way Bruce grunts and squeezes her makes her think
that maybe -- just maybe definitely -- he's used to that kind
of thing.

"Show me what you won't give *him*," she says, and the
smile on her face is nothing like anything Tim could ever
*manage*, but it's the thought --

That --

Oh. It's -- it's just longer strokes, and a little faster. It's *not*
harder, but it -- turns up the volume in her. On her --
everywhere. She has to work a little harder to catch the
rhythm. And.

There can't be anything wrong with the noises she's making.
She won't *let* there be anything wrong. She'll -- throw
things and fight and *fight* to make it -- have this --


Her knees buckle, but that's not as important as how *fast*
Bruce is, and how much of him there *is* when he lets her
throat go to hold her by the waist, lifting her and changing
the angle --

Lips against her forehead and she can smell him, feel him,
and -- it makes her feel strange to lunge *away*, makes
something twist and *pull* inside her -- she's too tense, not
breathing -- she needs to apologize to Tim so badly she can
taste it, feel the words in her mouth --

Feel the horse again with her hands -- one hand, because
she wants Bruce -- It feels like a hundred perfect push-her-
*up* thrusts and a million different incoherent *noises*
before she can get Bruce's hand back to her face, but once
it's there --

Oh, Tim doesn't taste anything *like* this, but the feel isn't
so strange. Especially not once Bruce gives her *three* of
those big fingers, held tight and pushing in, lifting her --
*yes* -- on her toes -- no --

"I would never... dream. Of taking you away --"

And that feels like a lie, but it's just another part of this that
Bruce *would* tell that kind of lie when he's fucking her,
fucking her mouth in those short and *ruthlessly* controlled
thrusts Tim likes, the thrusts he dreams of giving her, wants
to --

Wants to crawl right in, have her, maybe even *be* her a
little, but the laugh she's all set to give up comes out more
like a sob, choked-off and loud, and she bites Bruce's
fingers by accident and laughs again, sobs again, falls to
her elbows *again* --

She can't keep the rhythm, anymore, and she doesn't want
to. It's better to just let Bruce do everything. Anything,
*more*, and maybe that even made sense because it's
faster now, forcing out more of those horrible little noises --

"Robin --"

The horse can't keep her from falling down from how hard
she's coming, but Bruce can. Right now, every part of her
wants the universe to know that Bruce can do anything,
that he should do *everything*.

Especially if it involves fucking her in sharp little strokes
which make her breasts bounce and make her feel like a
pretty doll, the best toy, something maybe necessary --

It's not another orgasm, but it rolls through her like one,
heating her up and pushing thought down again, away again.
She --

She thinks she calls his name, but she has no idea which
one it is, and the day she figures out which one it *should*
be is probably the same one where she'll get to have
something big and perfect and hard between her legs that
is -- technically -- inanimate --

"Bike," she says, and this time the laugh comes out like a
laugh, soft and easy and happy -- right up until Bruce
shoves in and growls, holding himself there and --

That pretty much has to be an orgasm. *Good* deal, she
thinks, and eases a little bit more of her weight onto the
horse -- okay, no, Bruce isn't letting her go even a little bit.
That's fine, too.

She waits, clenching experimentally... and then doing it
again when she can't decide if the feeling was pain or
something else. And then doing it again when --


And maybe one more time, too.

"Hm. I'm afraid I'm not one hundred percent fluent in... that
variety of communication," he says, covering her hands on
the horse with his own, making shadows and kissing her in
them. Every place he can reach, and one lingering one at
the top of her spine which makes her shiver and --

Yeah, she's clenching again. "Um. It's pussy for 'yay.'"

"Hmm. Is it."

"It's also pussy for 'get out get out get out.' But we're still in
the 'yay' zone."

Bruce *licks* her neck and then nuzzles the back of her head.
"Good to know."

"It -- it won't last." He really is... seriously huge. Wow. Kinda
ow, too. "Really, you should probably --"

"A moment, please," Bruce says, and pushes his nose
against her skull and *breathes*.

"Bow wow?"

Bruce's laugh is low and rumbly and completely not just a
grunt or a hum, and thus *completely* terrifying. Enough
so that the growl behind her ear is almost... comforting.

In a way. Steph elbows Bruce. Gently. "Out you go."

"All right," and there's one more kiss, and then he's shifting,
pulling back, pulling out -- and it feels like he has *miles*
to go before he's completely out, and Steph can't quite keep
herself from going up on her toes again, just like she can't
keep herself from whimpering.

Which may or may not be the reason why, once Bruce *is*
out, he spins Steph around, pins her back against the horse
by main force, and all but *glares* at her.

"What's wrong."

"Uh... you're freaking my shit out?"

"You -- did I hurt you."

Steph rolls her eyes --

"Answer me."

And it's not like she expects it to be remotely helpful, but
she really kind of *has* to pull her arms up and give Bruce
a good *shove*. "One, not the boss of me. Two, if you'd
done anything I didn't want you to, I would've let you
*know*. Three, that is *so* an answer," she says, and
crosses her arms. If Bruce wants to stand so close she has
to elbow him twice to do it, that's his fault.

"I --"

"Seriously, do you and Tim constantly take breaks to check
on each other in the middle of all the nut-stomping? Because
I'm seriously getting ass-fucking tired of the bullshit --"

"Sometimes, you remind me of... my 'ex' quite a lot."

"Yeah, well, here's a hint -- I'm the one not bleeding after a

"And you're here," Bruce says, finally taking a step back. "I

When did he find the time to tuck himself away all neatly?
Yet another Bat-mystery. Steph shrugs. "If you manage to
keep the batarang out of your ass until I'm finished with my
afterglow, you'll still be ahead of Tim. A little."

"You know why he... chooses to relate to you in that way."

"Are *you* defending him?"

"I believe it would be more apt to say that I'm defending a
future self," Bruce says, smiling *really* invitingly and --

And then she gets the joke. Oh, that's really. Really. "That's
really fucked-up, you know."

"I had my suspicions," Bruce says, and hands her the shorts
which really should still be on the floor, but aren't.

Steph takes them, starts to put them on -- makes a face.
"Shower first."

"Perhaps wise," and there's a bead of ticklish sweat trickling
down from her throat to between her breasts -- she doesn't
really know *how* she feels about Alfred doing her laundry,
but he's going to have to -- and the way Bruce is looking at
her lets her feels the tongue that isn't on her.

The fingers... Mm. "You're thinking about doing this again."

"Among other things," and there's that *eyebrow*, and
Steph wonders if sometimes the eyebrows don't just count
as *foreplay* for Bruce and Tim -- gah.

"I swear I think I'd probably be *terrified* if I ever saw you
having sex with Tim," she says, stripping off her bra and
carrying it and her shorts with her toward the showers.

"I have no objection to your testing that theory."

His voice says he's staying put, and so does the twitchy
place between her shoulder blades. Steph pauses just
outside the showers and -- okay, she's not really thinking.
She's not really *letting* herself think about... that. What
Bruce just said --

"Tim is beautiful, with you," he says, and it's almost soft,
almost kind of --

"I think. I think once, before, I saw this side of you," Steph
says, and forces herself to look.

Bruce is a massive chunk of *male*, and he's all the way
over *there*, but his expression is a soft as his voice was.
"I wasn't always able -- or willing -- to hide."

"From me."

"Yes," and there's so *much* in his voice --

Steph catches herself digging her fingers in against the place
where tile meets stone and stops. He wants exactly as much
from her as Tim said he did.

She wants...

"We could just talk sometime," she says, shifting on her feet
and feeling her own juices start to get kind of sticky and
tacky between her thighs. "I mean --"

"I'd like that very much, Stephanie."

And that's -- that. Or enough of that. Or enough of that to
make her feel way too young for her entire life. Steph claps
her hand against the wall, drops off her clothes on the little
stool which seems to be there for just that reason -- she
can't, actually, picture any of them *not* just going ahead
and jumping in the shower with any of the others -- and
heads inside.

This shower feels a lot better than the last one here, but it
also feels like a cheat. A part of her honestly feels like she'd
wasted *time*, even though it doesn't seem to have an
answer to 'but *Batman*,' much less to 'but *Bruce*.'

Well, it feels like play, like she'd spent her time playing, and
won't have anything to show for it when the boss returns
from... doing whatever he's doing.

If she's honest with herself, part of the reason why this is so
necessary -- why it always *was* so necessary -- is that she
wants to catch up. She wants to follow Tim everywhere he
goes, even if it turns out she doesn't want to stay there. He
has the life she'd always wanted, and it doesn't matter if it
looks different from the inside -- from how far inside she's
managed to *get* -- she still wants it, and having Tim just
*give* it to her like this...

It makes her feel dark and strange and way too powerful for
her own good. It makes her wonder how far she can go,
how much she can *do* with these powerful, powerful

It makes her want to *push* as much as take, and, if she
already has this much at her disposal...

In the end, it's not the quickest shower of her life, but it's
pretty close.

She's still damp once she's up on the beam, too excited and
hungry to have bothered with anything more than the same
shorts and sports bra. She can *hear* Bruce on the weights,
but this is balance, flexibility, and *grace*-work -- he'll have
moved on to something else by the time she's ready for the
*relaxation* of strength training.

Or maybe he'll hang around to spot her.

Maybe they'll *talk* -- it would be *seriously* bad form to
tell him to fuck off and let her train, at this point -- or maybe

She's smiling when she kicks one leg up and holds it against
herself before going up on the other toes and holding herself
steady --

No, stillness. She's not rigid and she's not about to strike.
She's the air, the breeze in the Cave -- some damned thing.
And she still is when she moves into a handstand and back
again, around again --

She'll never be an acrobat, but there's something to be said
for this whole fluidity thing. She feels faster than she *is*,
and balance is a lot easier when you just assume it'll be

Nothing wrong with her reflexes, nothing wrong with her
strength, nothing wrong with her bearing. She has all the
tools, right?

Maybe. The beam is a crumbling ledge, or maybe the head
of a gargoyle. The beam isn't her enemy, so much as it's
just another part of the world she lives in, the world she's
connected to with every part of her --

Leg out straight, weight on *heel* this time -- Tim swears
the ability to handle this has saved his life more than once,
hold it, be it --

Switch legs and think about trying something harder,
something... she doesn't know, yet, which motions are
going to make her better and which would just be the most
incredibly pointless showing-off ever --

"Switch to your toe without moving," and Tim's voice seems
weird, and he shouldn't really be here, but that's all trivia
to the parts of her which control motion.

She does it, not wobbling, and --

"Pivot -- one hundred and eighty degrees."

She does *that*, and it's not Tim, at all. It's Nightwing --
Dick -- looking at her like a problem needing to be solved.

"Um -- hi?"

"You can get that leg a little higher than that and still keep
your balance."

It's not an order, but it's not a question, either --

"Bend your up knee," he says, chewing on his thumb. "Hold
onto your ankle -- weight back on your heel --"

"I --"

"Don't think, you can do this."

Not thinking, not thinking -- it's just her body, but it's *hers*,
and it can do anything she can tell it to do, so long as it's
within the range of human possibility. She tries to be water
or air, but she's wobbling a bit, fatigue and strangeness --

"Breathe," Dick says, and the order is so casually *present*
in his voice that it almost doesn't matter that it's not Tim.

And breathing makes her feel closer to -- whatever it is he
wants from her.

"Back up on your toes, pivot -- wow. I *did* have calves like
that when I was your age, but I'd spent years building them.
Nice," he says, and his hands are on her, sliding down to her
ankle --

The moment's support makes her almost want to gasp --
Dick's just as strong as Nightwing should be -- but she lets
it be a breath, instead, and waits for further instructions.

And waits.

And -- no, she's water. She can do this.

"Mm. Other leg, straight up -- more."

Dick's hand is on her other calf, and it's the best time for it,
honestly. She feels like she weighs about twice as much as
she actually does --

"Primary ready position. Yours, that is."

"That's not --"

"Adjust," he says, smiling kind of *meanly*, "as necessary."

Which either means let her back leg dangle in *space* or
just -- okay. She's got exactly zero inches between her being
her and her being a messy splotch on the street, and she
*needs* her lower body to hold her there, but her upper
body --

"Let me see the punches."

Just the jabs, because she doesn't have the *freedom* to
get crazy, so -- lots of them. Speed is just a question of the
water she is, the energy which is easy, contained. Block to
punch to block to punch --


The enemy is blocking like crazy now, but there's going to
be armor in her gauntlets, or maybe something meaner
than that. It doesn't matter if she fucks her knuckles --
she's on the edge.

"He's going for your legs. What do you do?"

"They can take it."

"I'll just bet," Dick says, and the laugh in his voice is just
like being touched there, examined -- she's got *that*. If
she could ever *hit* Tim with one of her kicks, she'd send
his hot little bony body flying.

But --

"He's got escrima sticks. Possibly... oh, I don't know.

She's got rubber in the soles of her boots, but the suit
itself -- no, it *has* to protect her. She 'narrows' her blocks
a little, protecting more of herself -- legs, too. If she loses
feeling --

"No, trust yourself. You know you have the best possible

Yeah, she does, and her jabs are fucking destroying the
bad guy's blocks. There's nothing she can't take, there's
nothing that will move her from this position --

"Oh, he's making a break for it."

Speed or security? No, this ledge is way too narrow, but he
can't possible be moving much faster. Her run is kind of
crabbed, and there's no way to build up speed for a jump.
She reaches for her grapple --

"You don't have one of those."

She really doesn't. Maybe even double-doesn't. "I --"

"You lost him. But, chances are, you'll find him in a hospital
if you give him an hour to admit to himself he needs
medical attention -- ooh, now *that's* a bloodthirsty grin."

Er. Whoops. Steph unclenches her fists and shakes out some
of the built-up tension in her arms and legs. And *then*
remembers that she's still on the beam. She doesn't wobble,
but... shit. She was just --

"Don't do that."

She -- doesn't flip *Nightwing* off. It's not like they know
each other. She drops into one of the crouches she'd picked
up from Tim, instead, enjoying the stretch in her thighs and
the way it makes her feel like she *should* be more

Maybe the rest of her will catch a clue.

"So," she says, and gives Dick a careful smile. "Hi?"

"Hi yourself, Steph -- do I get to call you Steph?"

There are so many ways that makes her want to blush like
crazy -- Dick's smile makes her wonder if the torture of a
minute and a *half* ago actually happened. And also
there's Bruce. Somewhere. "Sure," she says, and feels like
she's lying to something important. "Um -- well, you're
Tim's brother."

"He really talks about me that way?"

"When he *talks*," she says, and -- yeah, that's better.

She wouldn't have thought there was anything wrong with
Dick's other smiles, but *this* one feels like it has the
volume cranked way up. It's real. "Little brother's not
always so good at that, no," he says, and offers his hand.

Steph takes it, staying as *loose* as she can -- which is why
she can use the momentum of Dick's toss to spring off her
hands and into a decently-tucked roll. She needs her hand
to help her balance back to her feet, though, and that's time
she could've been using --

Dick's foot comes *flying* at her, and she has the flexibility
to bend back and *under* it, and even to do it without
fucking her back again, but really what the *hell* --

No, not yet. She gets up and -- not far enough back, or --

The hit's only a touch, light and fast. The Bat equivalent of
taking it easy on her, maybe, except that the touches might
hurt worse than hits -- no, not now. She can move, and she

The trick is to just -- do it. She's not going to land a hit
against an opponent as good as Dick, so she just has to keep
her blocks as perfect as possible and *avoid* until she gets
backup or a chance to escape.

Of course, those strategies aren't really any different --
Dick's not going to *let* her escape --

She jumps over a kick and resists the urge to strike down
toward his head -- and congratulates herself for the
restraint when Dick double-punches *up* right where her
arm would've gotten *broken*.

Touched. Just -- no, she can't afford to think of this as
something which isn't real. And, maybe, possibly, she
should be looking for the points on Dick which *aren't*
screaming for a touch of her own. The way Dick moves
makes him look vulnerable in a dozen different kind of
spectacular ways, but he really just -- isn't.

There is no really *good* place where she could hit --
touch -- Dick, no way she can do any damage --

And he just keeps *getting* her --

"C'mon, move, show me --"

And she spins out of the way, lets her feet carry her --

"Attack," he says, flat and cool --

It's not Tim, but she has to. Trying for a high kick right
now -- no, she goes for his feet and shins, watches his
eyes -- they're laughing, but that's just because she's
probably telegraphing her *need* to obey -- she gets
close and takes advantage, short strikes that are probably
much too hard for this, but Dick's blocks are steady,
saving her --

"Good, that's -- c'mon, *faster*," he says, spinning away --
but her legs are long enough for a cut that would *be* a
sweep for someone slower, weaker, less *careful*.

Staying close -- trying to -- means that she's chasing Dick
all over the Cave, blocking and moving, blocking and
jabbing, getting her elbows and forearms into it until she's
close enough to try a knee. This time, she's close enough
to feel the denim of Dick's jeans against her skin, and it's
so much of a shock that she catches herself jerking back --


-- and *rolling* forward, a little. Not barreling, just letting
her feet do what they want, hunt those impossibly quick
little *targets* at the ends of Dick's legs, and she knows
she's growling under her breath, but she can't really --


-- stop. Steph drops the foot that was really *hoping* for
connection and settles back into a ready-stance. They're
still on mats, but they aren't the same ones -- they're over
by the gymnastics equipment which always makes her feel
kind of... Steph fights back the frown and waits.

"You have training for at least some of this stuff. I can *see*
that," Dick says, moving around her in a circle and trailing
two fingers along the line of her shoulders.

"Not really all that much," and possibly -- probably? -- she
should stop waiting to get attacked, but --

"So why don't I ever see you *using* it?" There's nothing in
his tone which is anything like Tim giving orders, or even like
an order, at all. It's just...

Steph resists the urge to bite her lip and stands up straight.
"My gymnastics coach was... Spoiler kind of had to take him

"Spoiler, hunh."

She -- doesn't cross her arms. "Coke. Using and dealing."


"It -- kind of put a damper on things." And the fact that she
has way more of her mother's body-type than her dead idiot
father's didn't help, either. "I was never really --"

"No," Dick says, and the hand on Steph's chin is hard and
serious, so -- fine.

She looks at Dick, and doesn't bother to do anything about
all the stuff she can feel just waiting behind the look.

Dick raises both eyebrows at her. "The fact that you don't
want it is pretty irrelevant. You know that, right?"

"Did Tim -- are you here to make sure I get back on the
damned pommel horse?" Except she's really not going to
blush now. Really, really --

Dick looks kind of suspicious. How much *does* everyone
know about everyone else's sex lives?

"Um -- usually I'm wittier," she says, and twists her face out
of Dick's grip. "Anyway, you're not training me."

"Yet," he says, crossing his arms and managing a pretty
impressive loom. Tim's big brother. Bruce's... something or
other. But --

"Tim plans to hand me off at some point?" She doesn't --
she feels *cold*, but also. Also she doesn't know.

"When I was in training, all I had was Bruce. *You* -- have
a lot more options."

They're totally not options. And -- "That wasn't an answer,"
she says, and realizes that she's not... comfortable.
Physically, that is. "Also, I really need to be doing
*something* right now, so..."

The expression on Dick's face is really obnoxiously pointing
out that she's... probably 'cute' would be the word for it.
Steph doesn't scowl -- much.

"Seriously --"

"Tim," Dick says, half-leaning and half-falling against one of
the struts for the uneven bars, "knew exactly what he was
doing when he chose to have you training *here* -- as
opposed to one of the perfectly well-stocked satellite Caves,

Dick, a part of her brain points out seriously belatedly, was
the *first* Robin. "I'm in your territory."

"In a lot of ways. I'm pretty sure I wasn't on Tim's agenda
for you *yet*, but..."

"But what?"

"Now I'll know exactly what you need from me, Steph. When
the time comes."

For a moment, it doesn't seem real that she has a life outside
the Cave. It seems like all of that stuff -- mother, school,
bacon cheeseburgers, sunshine -- belongs to someone else,
entirely: She's *never* getting out of this place. Gotham
will just have to fall apart every damned night without her,
and also --

Also, that's bullshit.

"I think I feel even more like a party favor. Just -- so you
know," she says, and starts moving toward the weights. If
Dick has something else for her to do, he'll say so.

"Even more..." Dick shakes his head. "I was thinking you'd
ask me *what* I have planned for you."

"Something painful and maybe a little emotionally scarring?"
Yesterday, she'd worked her upper body hard. Today's for
her legs, and she wonders if she should've maybe done this
*before* all of the balance stuff, just to make things a little
more challenging.

She'll ask Tim about it -- and Dick's right there, probably
memorizing how much weight she's using and how she's
taking it. It makes her knuckles itch -- she wants more
*space* -- but she knows, now, that it's just something
Tim has to do.

Something all of them have to do. "Did you want my
numbers for the other stuff?"

"Did you want me to back the hell off?"

Steph gives up and snorts. "Maybe a little."

"And maybe a little more than that," Dick says, running a
hand under her knees either to make sure she's not locking
up, or to make sure she's not shaking, or some other thing
which will make perfect, annoying sense when Tim explains

"Suggestions, Dick?"

Dick looks at her *exactly* like he can hear all that emphasis
she's not putting on any words in particular. Nope, not at

"Look, I'm -- you're not training me *yet*, and you won't be
until I finish up Tim's schedule, and --"

"And I'm making you seriously uncomfortable. Why is that,
do you think?" And then he's sitting on the floor, right
*there*. Waiting patiently like maybe he'll just *stay* there
until she says -- it.

Steph checks her breathing to make sure it's good, and the
pleasant surprise that it *is*... isn't really enough. "You
aren't going to let me just be the incredible surly girl."

"Tim *has* to have talked about me a little," he says, and
it's possible --

("He actually remembers to go outside during the day when
he has nothing in particular to do. It's rather... impressive.

It's possible that smile should be classified as a weapon.

"You know, I'm pretty good at *being* surly. Like, I've had
practice --"

"Quote -- 'I'm absolutely sure that there's nothing so terrible
Steph won't be able to laugh at it.'"

Steph *really* glares at him this time. "You made me lose
my count."

"Six," Dick says, falling back on his elbows and jabbing her
thigh lightly with one toe. "I've got a bet on with Babs that
it won't take more than another three months or so before
you're hitting some of Jay's numbers."

"Jay -- oh. Crap." Steph *wipes* the glare off her face as
fast as she can. "I didn't mean to say that."

"No, hunh?" And Dick doesn't change position, really, but his
face is different. He's not really looking at *her*, anymore.
"Sometimes it seems like he's hardly ever Jay anymore.
Even to those of us who knew him. If you called him 'Jason'
too much, he started acting like a complete brat, which
means, to me, that -- someone, maybe his mother or his
dad, used to go all 'Jason Peter Todd, you stop that this
instant!' on him."

"I... don't. Um."

"I never got to ask him, though. I never got to spend
*much* time around him, at all, but of course all of my
reasons sound like excuses now."

Shit. Just -- "You know, I don't really know how to talk about
this, at all, right? I'm pretty sure the things you'd say to
normal people are kind of right out. I feel like I'm supposed
to know him, even though --"

"You are. At least as well as Tim does," and Dick sits up and
wraps his arms loosely around his knees. "Though you can
probably skip the part where you spend hours meditating
next to the Case. I'm pretty sure that wasn't any good for
him." Dick's smile is pretty obviously fake, but it's also an

She doesn't bother to try for one of her own, but -- "Okay,
I'm supposed to know him. I can go with that. But am I
allowed to talk about him? Ask questions? Anything?"

"With me? Yes. Except for how sometimes I'll bite your head
off for it."

"Okay...?" Maybe she *should* just focus on these leg
presses. Maybe this is where she lets the elderly Robin talk
himself out, or -- something.

"Just as a hint -- when I do bite your head off, it's because
I'm busy feeling guilty about everything I never said or did
while he was alive."

"Got it."

Dick's laugh is soft and... not really 'easy.' Just like none of
the moves he was using were 'easy.'

Some things take work.

"Also, in case you missed it -- there was a veiled hint about
how you should take this opportunity to spit out whatever it
is that's bugging you about me, just in case one of us dies
horribly before we can talk again."

Steph decides to try for an innocent look. "I thought we
could talk more about -- Jay."

Dick's expression is kind of the cranio-fucking-facial
equivalent of a skewer.

"Or not. I --"

"You could've *almost* pulled that off if you hadn't hesitated,
kiddo. The blonde and blue-eyed thing is working for you."

She'd been thinking of dyeing it, actually. She can't decide
if Dick just gave her a reason for or against. And she still
doesn't want to talk. "If I promise to run an extra two
miles tonight, can we skip this?"

"You're uncomfortable about me, you're -- understandably,
but only in part -- uncomfortable thinking about Jay, and
you hardly ever think about Tim as 'just' Robin anymore.

"He's *training* me --" 

"So it *is* the Robin thing. The *legacy*, and everything
you're trying to step into. Everything you're not really sure
if you're good enough for, and sometimes Tim's pep talks
feel a little bit like getting stabbed. The Birds dumped you,
Bruce humiliated you, and when Tim isn't beating you
down or talking you up, he's still the kid you've been
dating since you were both fourteen."

Steph balls her hands into fists. "I'm not -- I'm not ready."

"For the Mission? No. For me..."

It's not really a surprise when Dick is up again, forcing her
chin up, forcing her to *look* at him --

"I let Jason convince me to back off, you know. I let him piss
me off and drive me crazy with his stupid fucking *stunts*.
I let him scare me and convince me Bruce had lost every
trace of his judgment."

"Maybe he had."

"Maybe. But *I* hadn't," Dick says, and the smile is back,
real and more than a little fierce. And -- he's making Steph
shake her head.

His fingers aren't in biting range.

"You know, I can always tell when you're thinking of doing
something really mean to me. It's not that you have the
*same* expression every time, but --"

Steph twists out of Dick's grip *again* and starts her second

"It's kind of a feeling in the air."

"Feel *this*," and she's blushing again.

Dick claps her on the shoulder, fingers ghosting over the
muscle there for half a second.

"And stop -- *planning* at me." And grinning. He can stop
that, too.

"I bet it's cute when Tim does it. In fact -- I'm going to
have to say I *know* it's cute when Tim does it."

Mm. Well. "Actually, it's less 'cute' than really fucking hot."

"Oh, *really*?"

Heh. There's a little color in *his* cheeks now. So -- "Well,
*yeah*. I mean, he's all serious, right? So he's holding his
mouth so tightly that you wouldn't even guess what he can
*do* with it --"

Dick coughs.

Steph works on her set, and she's keeping her breathing
even, but there's nothing to say she can't *hum* a little on
her exhales. "And his eyes are telling you that they can
see -- oh, *everything* about you. Me. I might as well be
naked when he's looking at me like that --"

"Stephanie -- Steph."

Steph looks up at him from under her lashes. "I don't have
a middle name, but you can use 'Peter' if you think three
names will flow better than two."

"Oh, that's..." Dick scrubs a hand over his face. "That's
really sweet of you, kiddo, but I think I'll stick with 'Steph'
for now."

Until he can call her Robin? Shivering like this is probably
ruining the capital-m Moment, but she's pretty sure Dick
just went out of his way to tell her that he gets it. "Okay,"
she says, and reaches for his hand.

Dick gives it to her -- and braces himself with his other
hand quickly enough that Steph only thinks a little bit about
trying to yank him in to bonk his head against all the
handy, solid metal. Dick winks.

Steph lets go, nods at Dick's wave, and watches him head
toward the cars and bikes.

"Come see me in the 'haven sometime," he calls over his
shoulder. "Little sister."

He can't see her nod, but, well, he's Nightwing.

He knows she's doing it. And he knows she's blushing, too.

Steph finishes her sets and heads for the next machine, and
the next, and the next -- there's a tremble threatening in
her quads, but not really *much* of one, considering.

Bruce is nowhere to be seen, but there a certain... area
inside her which wants her to know that that'll be just fine
for at least another -- several hours. Few hours.

Certainly, *hours*, and possibly she should've remembered
how quickly all the other sex stuff had gotten addictive once
Tim started putting out before she added a new thing to the

Old thing -- no. That was *nothing* like all the backseat
fumbling and grunting that got her pregnant. For one thing,
it was on a pommel horse.

It's actually kind of seriously weird to laugh out loud in the
Cave when there's no one around, but that's more because
of all the echoes and lingering *grim* than for any other
reason. They leave her *alone* here --

Well, Tim doesn't, but she kind of has a nicely-formed little
Tim shadow these days. Doesn't really count when he's
inputting Everything That Is Steph into his freaky little
brain wherever they are. But -- yeah. She's all alone, and
she's training, and they all *trust* her not to do anything
stupid, on top of trusting her to do what she's supposed to
be doing.

All of it.

So, she takes her run around the Cave, taking in the sights
and trying to imagine them with her name on them. The
trophies are a bit hard to picture, but she can imagine
leaving scuff-marks, new blood-stains, more clothes in
her size, maybe a little redecorating -- it wouldn't kill anyone
for there to be some kind of rug or something in front of the
showers for all of those wet feet to dry on before they get
to freeze on all the stone.

It would probably be a bad idea to suggest fumigating or
whatever for all of the bats, but maybe they could get a
couple of cats or something. Do cats eat bats?

Would bringing it up make Bruce raise his eyebrows and
hand her a whip?

And -- bad idea. She's fighting back snickers for most of the
rest of her run -- the images won't *stop* coming -- and so
she's more out of breath than she wants to be when she
starts her stretches, which always makes her abs complain.
It --

It's *not* a waste of time to get her breathing straight again,
meditate a little on the sweat at the base of her spine, the
sweat that's going to roll down there from the place where
Tim had kissed her so *lightly* -- okay, maybe not that.

There are stretches she really doesn't do now, and part of
her... well, part of her had been kind of surprised when Tim
hadn't thrown them at her with everything else, but...

Moving her body *this* way is the laughter of other girls,
some of whose houses she'd been over to for cookies and
talking about boys. It's tinny pop music through the gym
speakers and feeling a little alien for already having her
period. She wasn't the only girl who had it, back then,
but she'd been the only one who was this tall, this *big*.

Everyone had known she wouldn't go any farther than --
maybe -- college. Partial gymnastics scholarship to some
state school, but it's not like any of the other girls were
heading to the Olympics.

Moving her body this way...

It makes her feel like a girl in ways that haven't quite been
there even with all the sex, or -- no. This is nothing that
has anything to do with sex. This is a part of being a girl --
a woman -- which Tim *wouldn't* know anything about.
There's no music, and the stretches are painfully,
surprisingly difficult, but... but.

One day, she'll be doing them for Nightwing, or something
very like them.

There's... well, it's not really a routine so much as something
all the girls did to cool down. Just a little bit of *using* the
floor to move, and come down from the adrenaline high.
Something sappy and slow playing through the speakers and
playing *better* in their heads, all of them picking ways to
pretend they're rhythmic gymnasts, even though none of
them knew any of the real moves for that.

It's just -- dancing, a little, stretching and reaching for the
attention of everyone else, sure, but mostly for themselves.
She remembers feeling beautiful five days a week, starting
at around five-forty-five. If she needs an excuse for this (she
*doesn't*), she's all alone and it will help her cool down
enough to make all the stretches which come after -- better.

So she does it, closing her eyes to feel it, opening herself up
until she can't keep the smile off her face --



Moving, into a split and a showy little stretch her thighs are
telling her is *wonderful*, and --


The best part of wearing herself out training is that it's hard
to jump when her boyfriend scares the hell out of her. Steph
smirks a little and *slowly* sits up, raising her arms in the
air and stiffening her hands with a little flourish --

And then she feels her jaw drop completely without her
permission, because Superman is *right* behind Tim, smiling
and -- smiling.

At her. With the smile. Oh Jesus.

Steph drops her hands to the floor --

"Oh, you don't have to get up. I was only -- hm. Dropping
Tim off, Miss Brown."

Miss Brown. Um no. Really. "You can -- um," she says
pushing up with her hands until she can roll -- maybe a
*little* shakily -- to her feet. Then it's just a matter of
ignoring the part of her that's running around screaming
and trying to hide her little towel 'cape' until she can walk
over, smile big, and offer her hand. "I know I can't know
your name yet, but you should probably call me Steph."

"That's wonderful. Thank you, Steph," he says, and his voice
is all solemn but his eyes really *aren't*, and --

Okay, maybe she's being all slutty with her nickname, but
this is a) Superman, and b) the guy who turned her
boyfriend into the sex demon of her dreams. "You're
welcome." And... why not? "So... did you and Tim have fun

Out of the corner of her eye, Tim's smile is the small and
sleek and kind of dirty thing which means Steph is being
vicious and he *likes* it.

Right in front of her, Superman is kind of... blinking and
staring and -- yes, smiling. He looks surprised, but mostly he
looks pretty damned happy. Steph grins a little wider.

"Well, I wouldn't dream of answering *for* Tim, of course,
but... yes. I always enjoy myself in Tim's company."

"He can be *lots* of fun," and okay maybe she's pushing it.
A little. But --

Tim's cough isn't one of those "maybe stop now" coughs. It's
one of the "I love you" coughs, so -- yes.

Steph tugs her hand out of Superman's gentle and incredibly
*warm* grip and puts her hands on her hips. And keeps
smiling. "He told me you've been a lot of help with that."

"Really? That's -- that's very flattering," and -- Tim's
eyebrow is *way* up.

"Well. Mostly he *implied*, Superman. You know Tim."

"Mm. Better each time I can -- be with him, I hope, yes."

"He *can* be a tough nut to crack," she says, rocking a little
on her heels and grinning her *head* off, because --
because it's *Superman*, and if Tim brings up her vibrator,
she'll have to kill him, of course. But -- she really *has* to.

Especially because that was the tip of Superman's tongue
showing for just a little tiny piece of a second between his
lips, and Tim is -- closer. Still not looking at Superman, still
giving Superman his *back* --

And, abruptly, it's really kind of distracting that Tim's right
there, looking like a kiss which is *late* happening, silent
and happy and so sexy-sharp in that new uniform. Steph
bites the inside of her lower lip. Just a little, and -- "I
mean, he can be so *hard*, Superman," she says, and
focuses *just* on Tim. "So -- tightly -- wound."

"I'm sure you help with that as much as possible, Steph."

With Superman in the edges of her vision, she feels warm
and safe and crazy. Beautiful, Tim said. And -- "Oh, I do my
*best* to help. But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate
some assistance, every now and again."

"I'm very glad to hear that. In fact, if you think it would help,
I would love to spend some time with both of you --"

And Steph is pretty much choking, even with that slick,
*cold* gauntlet of Tim's on her face steadying her, cooling
her down -- no. Tim's holding her, making her focus --

He's got the lenses up in the domino, and his eyes are that
burning kind of cold which means he loves her, wants her,
and most of all needs her right *now*. Mm.

"Yeah, boyfriend...?"

"Yes," he says, and kisses her -- not softly. It's slow and
hard and dead-serious, even with Superman *right* there.
Maybe especially because he's there. He's making a
statement and using her to do it, loving her out loud and --

And there are times, now, when she can't get *away* from
the pride he feels in her, everything about her that feels
too natural, too *her* to be something worth being proud
of. Tim's love isn't ever *easy*, even when he's showing her
that *that's* natural for him...

Steph closes her eyes, and hears Superman say,


And she does the only thing she knows how to do -- the
only thing she *can*. She loves Tim right back, humming
and sucking the tip of his busy little tongue, digging her
nails into the material of his uniform and yanking him closer.
All mine, she thinks.

Even the bits she can't figure out how she got to hold.

Like this -- and, she has to admit, in more little ways every
day -- Tim makes it all fit, if not all *right*. Like this, the day
when it'll just be the two of them and Gotham -- the
*world* -- feels so close she can taste it better than the
strange (alien?) little something on Tim's tongue.

She can *see* it better than she can see the backs of her
eyelids, and it's just as beautiful as he promises when he's
whispering her out of sleep. More than lovers. *Better* than

Bigger or -- something. Definitely maybe probably something,
she thinks, tugging out of the kiss but not letting go of Tim's
uniform even a little. Tim, for his part, has a gauntlet on her
hip. Now that he's not kissing her mindless, she can feel the
*cold* of it, but she's willing to bet that Tim likes her shiver
just fine.

Especially once she looks to Superman again, and... wow.
She never would've guessed 'fond' could look so *dirty*.

"About that offer for all of us to... spend time together,
Superman," Tim says, and moves just a tiny bit closer
to her.

That isn't a very *Superman* look on his face, at all. It
reminds her more than a little of Bruce, actually. Hunh.

"Yes, Tim?"

And the hand on her hip tightens, briefly -- Superman has to
be able to see it, but it doesn't stop being a signal for *her*.
"Sounds like a good idea to me," she says, and *doesn't*
take a step back from all that *everything* in Superman's
eyes. "But maybe later." Like when names are allowed.
And --

She doesn't see Superman blink or -- anything else, but his
eyes are kind of mild again. Blue like the sky Somewhere
Else. Maybe where the girl she would've grown into if Tim
wasn't Tim would've gone to college. The change is a little
scary -- a little hard to *credit* -- but there's nothing which
seems off about his smile for both of them, nothing which
seems fake or -- anything but *good*.

"You're a pretty interesting guy, Superman."

"A high compliment, considering your... taste. But I should --"

And then Superman's right there, lifting the hand she isn't
holding Tim with and squeezing it gently *while* he kisses
Tim. On the cheek.

"-- go," Superman says, once again a few paces away. "Give
Bruce my regards, of course," and he nods at her.

And there's a *flash* of a smile, or maybe the afterimage of
it. He's gone, and -- Tim's smiling too. Pretty much a lot,
but... not at her and not at the space where Superman had
been. He's smiling up at the stairs --

The *shadows* at the top of the stairs --

"Superman sends his regards, Bruce," Tim says, and his
expression is flat and blank, but she can *just* see the light
in his eyes which means he's laughing somewhere private
and a little cold.

"Noted," Bruce says, and --

Is this where she says hi or is it where she goes for a really
*long* shower? Tim's hand is still on her hip, but that's only
half an answer. Bruce has moved out of the shadows, but
his head is down, a little, and there's nothing she can really
read into the way he's coming down the stairs other than
things she already knows:

He's hot, he doesn't move a thing like Batman, he has really
*long* legs, he's hot -- right. All he's wearing are a pair of
suit pants and whatever's under them. And when she looks,
Tim's smile is rueful but still pretty amused.

"Is this where I apologize?" And she's not really whispering,
but it doesn't feel right to use her whole voice, either.

"Not even remotely," Tim says, and gives her hip a squeeze
before -- getting even closer. Possibly it's time for another

She isn't sure, but if Tim's plan is for them to watch Bruce
coming closer while engaging in upright cuddles, she has to
admit she's okay with that. Though -- "I didn't finish my

"Perhaps," Bruce says, and finishes kind of *strolling* to
where they are, "I could help."

"Perhaps not," Tim says, and for a second Bruce's attention
is *all* on her, or feels that way, and Steph has an extreme-
guy moment because Bruce's chest is covered with dark hair
and scars, and it's *hard* not to stare.

It's just that Tim's attention is all on Bruce, and -- God. She
can almost *feel* him demanding that Bruce look at him --
so much that it's hard not to look at him herself, even with
all that unspoken permission to take Bruce -- in. She won't
blush this much when she's Robin. That has to be
*somewhere* in the rules to the universe.

When Bruce *does* look at Tim, everything's lighter. It's
just that everything's kind of *deeper*, too. They're just
standing there staring at each other, and there's a little
smile showing on Bruce's face, but --

("But it does not bring us closer.")

It's not like she feels like Bruce's best bosom *pal* or
anything, but there really is something wrong about the way
Bruce and Tim relate to each other. It seemed to work well
enough when she was outside of everything and watching
Tim do his own thing and go his own *way* and loving him
for it, but --

They really have to need each other. Right now, under (on
top of?) everything else, they're Batman and Robin, and
even though everything's a lot weirder and dirtier and
*stranger* than she every would've guessed, that has to
mean something more than cold stares and what seems
like the kind of sex which would kill her if she ever tried to
have it. The fact that they know they love each other isn't
really good enough, if they're just going to keep trying to,
well, hurt each other.

Or whatever it is they're doing.

Still, the fact that the only way she can think of to express it
is to elbow Tim and glare a little probably doesn't speak as
well for her as it could. The look in his eyes is a little bleak,
and maybe even a little hurt, but. "Boyfriend," she says,
and puts everything into it that she can.

She wants -- she wants more, for all of them, and that's all
there is to it. Of course, Tim is still only half the problem, so
she turns to Bruce. "The fact that you seriously think that
telling *me* you want to be closer to Tim is the best way to
make that happen --"

"Tim has never been averse to studying footage, Stephanie."

Steph makes a face. "Yeah, but the fact that he's a stalker
doesn't make your methods any less *weak*, Spooky."

"I'm fond of that pet name, I think," Tim says, but the hand
that was on her hip is on her wrist, now, and that never
means anything other than stop. "Stephanie."

Ugh. "You know, I *get* that both of you get *off* on
fucking with each other, but it's seriously not that attractive."
And --

She hadn't known for *sure* that that would get them to
look at each other again, and she can't *see* if this look is
any better, but she still kind of has to fold her arms under
her boobs and look smug.

"Surely," Bruce says, "you can admit that there is room for
different... tastes, Stephanie."

Or not --

Tim folds his arms under the cape --

Really not. *Dammit*. "Seriously, shouldn't the two of you
at least be a little less fucked-up with each other for the
sake of the sex?"

"No," Tim says, at the same time Bruce says,

"It's a thought."

Which probably isn't as much progress as it feels like,
especially since Tim actually wrinkles his nose a little. Steph
shoves him a little. "He really *loves* you."

"In his own -- deeply -- special way. Steph, it's all right. You
don't have to try to... run interference."

"No," Bruce says, and when he got close enough to smell is
another mystery. All of the cologne and sex is gone, and
what's left is just a scent which is always going to be filed
under 'mm' for her. "We also have a deeply... special variety
of -- fun."

Tim's laugh is sharp and honest. "Yes, that's... entirely true,"
he says, in the same way other people would call *bullshit*,
but also *not*. Just -- *argh*.

"You guys could seriously drive me up a damned *wall* if I
let you," she says, backing away --

And stopping, because Tim has one of her hands and Bruce
has the other. "Don't," Tim says, and --

"Your resistance is quite appealing," Bruce says, and --

"Hey," she says, because it's something to fill that little
space. And because... because.

And also because she's squeezing both of their hands, and it
has absolutely been *hours* since her last orgasm. Neither
of them *deserve* the smile she's got on her face, but it's
not really for them so much as what they can do for her.
Tugging on Bruce's hand makes him move closer so
smoothly he might as well *be* water, but only warm and...
sexy water. Um.

Tugging on Tim makes him squeeze her hand tight, *look*
at her, and then kind of --

Well, she wouldn't have thought it was possible to *stalk*
for only a step, but he does it, and --

"Are you sure?"

At least as sure as she is of her brave new life. And she
knows he sees that on her face by the way he's suddenly
looking at her like she's the *only* one here, so she
squeezes his hand again. "Enough. I'm sure enough."

And Tim turns her arm out to the side, quick and sharp,
presses himself against her, kisses her --

And keeps *pushing* until she moves back. Until she's
pressed against *Bruce*.

And it's one of his new kisses, sharp and hard and so hungry
he might as well *not* have been having sex with Superman
like, half an hour ago. She thinks she should be able to
smell it, taste it or feel it, but the only thing there is *him*. --

Until Bruce kisses the top of her ear. "Thank you," he says,
and licks her there.

"Mm, I --" Tim bites her lower lip kind of *hard*, licks her
there, and then moves to her throat so she can talk. Good
boyfriend. "I haven't -- done anything *yet* --"

"I beg to differ," Bruce says, lifting her hair and nuzzling --

Not quite the other side of her neck. He's *close* to Tim in
terms of geography, and Steph makes a vow to herself not
to start making vampire jokes unless they really --

Tim's sharp little teeth --

They really --

Bruce is... it's a *sucking* kiss, only it's more soft and wet
than anything else, and she's not making the jokes, but she
has to admit that has a lot to do with the fact that she can't
really joke at all, right now.

Definitely -- definitely *not* when Bruce's hands slide up
between her and Tim, lifting her boobs just the way she
likes and -- Tim shivers, groans against her throat. That's --

"Oh, boyfriend. Did he -- Did he -- how did Bruce make you
do that --"

"Steph --"

"Do tell," Bruce says, squeezing her boobs and licking a long,
*hot* stripe up to her ear. "He'll tell you anything, Stephanie.
Don't be gentle."

And she feels -- something fast and hard against her side,
and Bruce grunts -- the hold on her changes, weakens --

"Boyfriend, did you seriously just nerve-strike my other

"Oh, don't fret, marigold --"

"What -- the hell is with your *voice*, Bruce?" Steph is
*blinking* --

Tim has stiffened up all *over* --

And Bruce is nuzzling her ear when he says, in that awful
*voice*, "He only beats me when I'm *bad*..."

Steph hears herself making a *choked* noise, but it's not
her fault. She's heard that voice in *interviews*, and it's so
wrong she's going to have to -- okay, twisting away from
both of them is maybe mean to Tim, but she kinda has to.

She crosses her arms, *glares* at Bruce -- who's grinning
like he's had a lobotomy --

"You --"

"I'm afraid I've yet to find any permanent way to make him
stop that, Steph," and Tim is kind of... it's a different,
sneakier, softer kind of stalking, and the fact that his dick
is making him do it is pretty damned cute, actually, but --


That fucking *voice* -- And there's something kind of
terrifying about how *easily* Bruce blocks Tim's *next*
vicious little strike, but that's mainly because Bruce's
expression doesn't change. "You guys --"

"Mmm. Yes, dandelion...?"

Steph makes a *face*. "I think my gag reflex just grew
eighteen sizes. Seriously, you need to -- um."

Apparently, what Bruce needs to do right now is have a
*nasty* looking spar with Tim where the only things
moving are their arms. They're seriously just standing
there *punishing* each other's forearms with *dozens*
of blocks and strikes, and Bruce is still smiling, but his
eyes have *changed*, gotten deeper and hotter,
somehow --

And then there's a thin, red stripe on one of Bruce's arms
from Tim's gauntlet and they -- break.

And Bruce turns his arm back and forth in the light --

And then he *licks* the blood away. Damn. Just --

"Okay, um. I have to admit that's kinda hot, and also Tim's
rocking that deadly look right now --"

"Yes," Bruce says. "He is."

Steph folds her arms. "It's the kind of hot that makes me
want to go home. *Alone*."

And the way she's clenching when Tim turns that deadly look
on *her* is calling her an inferno-pants *liar* -- and also
the way Bruce is now looking at her isn't helping. Still, she
has to stand -- firm. Or something.

Steph narrows her eyes.

"I apologize," Tim says --

"Profusely," Bruce says, and there's a little of that fake voice
of ultimate *pain* still in his voice, but. But.

"There's something to be said for the... rhythms of long-time
acquaintance, Steph," and Tim smiles ruefully. "But we
didn't mean to leave you out."

And Bruce nods slowly, and he's doing that thing where he
doesn't seem to be blinking, and --

They are seriously standing there apologizing for falling into
an inside *joke*, just as if Bruce *isn't* going to need a
damned bandage like Tim's going to need to wear long
sleeves for *days*. It says something about her that she
kinda likes that she's wondering what the hell she's *doing*
with her life, but...

"Okay. You guys are forgiven. *Provisionally*."

Too little, too late, too easy to imagine a day in the future
when she decides to try playing their way.

When she -- maybe -- licks some of Tim's blood from her
knuckles in the seconds before she pushes him down to
his knees -- "Come here," she says, and her voice is low
and husky and *obvious*, and she can't blame herself for
that. Not before they get to her and not once they're

This time, Bruce is the one kissing her mouth, pressed to her
front --

And Tim makes her *yelp* into Bruce's mouth when he cups
her boobs. He -- has to know what it *means* whenever he
touches her there, he has to know every light brush of his
fingertips just under the elastic of her sports bra is going to
make her shudder, need, *want* --

And the fact that Bruce is kissing her too deeply for her to
get any of it out... is he doing this *for* Bruce? The nuzzling
kisses to the back of her neck are all hers and all *about*
her, but --

But -- something. There was absolutely something she was
going to say, or maybe think, but Bruce's hands are in her
hair, tugging like he'd fucking *memorized* whatever
footage he has from the last time Tim was in her bed,
and Tim's hands are sliding down her ribs to her belly --

To her *thighs* and between --

"I love you," Tim says. "I love you, I --"

And Bruce is spinning her, licking the last place on her neck
Tim kissed, *dropping* them --

Steph's gasping on her *knees* -- "Fuck --"

Steph's half-sitting on Bruce's lap, spread over his thighs,
and the hand still in her hair is making her tilt her head
back, look up --

And Tim's pulling his gauntlets off with his teeth and staring
down at her like she's the best thing, the nicest toy, the
most *interesting* project. It's -- it's too *much* of a look,
especially because she has no idea when Bruce had
unhooked her bra.

The thing is, there's just not *that* much more skin-to-skin
contact with the bra gone, but it still feels like there is. Her
back against Bruce's chest, Bruce's fingers on her nipples --
she's too naked and not naked *enough*, and Tim gets in
range with his belt, she might use the knife to cut her shorts
off *herself*. But --

"Mm, you. You're planning on taking *everything* off, right,

It's answer enough when he lets the gauntlets just *drop*
instead of tucking them in his belt, but --

"Yes," he says, quiet and sure, and -- And.

"Oh -- fuck."

She doesn't know which of them started moving his hand
*first*, but Bruce has let one of her nipples go and is sliding
his hand down, and Tim's sliding his hand down his own
chest and belly, and Bruce's hand is cupping her mound
*right* when Tim squeezes himself through the jock.

There's something almost scary about how quickly the top
of Tim's suit comes off now -- he can do it with one hand,
which is good, because that means she can still see his
knuckles starting to go a little white at his crotch --

And Bruce can see it, too, and that's -- really important. She
covers Bruce's hand with her own to make sure he doesn't
get any *ideas* and twists around enough to see him, to
*watch* him watch Tim stripping -- *being*. "You never
could've kept me away from him, Bruce."

"No," he says, kissing her cheek and putting a nice little hot
pressure on her mound. "But I'm not very good at
acknowledging futility."

Tim's laugh is a harsh breath, and, when she looks back,
he's doing that little stork thing to take off his boots. She's
almost sure she should be finding it funny, or at least a
*little* silly-looking, but Bruce is working his thumb back
and forth over her nipple, and Bruce's pants are smooth
against her thighs, and Tim lets her know that Bruce is still
staring at *him* by the way his eyes get a little wider
behind the domino when he looks back over her shoulder.
Just -- mm.

"You have to be used to the way he looks at you, boyfriend."

"You'd think so," he says, ditching his socks, too, and
shoving his thumbs in his waistband.

"I've been told," Bruce says, and *pinches* her nipple --

"Ah -- oh, that --"

"I've been told it's not the sort of thing one becomes
accustomed to. Stephanie," and his fingers are spreading
her lips *through* the shorts. The material isn't smooth
enough for that to be completely comfortable, but the part
of her which cares about that can't do a thing about the
fact that she's pumping her hips for it.

"Anything but," Tim says, dropping to his knees and -- Jesus.
Pushing one thumb between Bruce's spread fingers.
Pressure, a little scratch -- not enough heat, and now she's
shifting *and* pumping, but it's not her fault that they're
giving her pussy *challenging* problems. Even Tim's eyes
are naked, now, and maybe a part of her is always going
to remember the *first* time they were, remember how
angry he was at her -- and Bruce.

"Um -- you guys --"

"Ask him about Dick," Tim says, kissing her lightly, quickly --
repeatedly --

"I could -- um -- do *that*," she says, and kind of wishes
she could've been more clear, because Tim's thumb isn't on
that spot anymore. She reaches down --

And Tim catches her wrists and spreads them out to the
sides. And holds them there -- which means that that's
*Bruce's* finger not quite hitting her in the right spot
anymore, but mostly it means that Tim's -- knowing her
again. Having her again.

"One day -- one day I won't find this hot," she says, and
twists her wrists in Tim's grip.

"One day," Tim agrees, and squeezes them. "Until then..."

And that is absolutely her cue. "About Nightwing -- *fuck* --"
Teeth on the skin of her throat, and Tim's still holding her
wrists, and Bruce found the right spot -- *teeth* --

"Superman told me Dick was training Steph earlier.
Touching, moving..." Tim squeezes her wrists again, and it
absolutely means 'look at me.'

She's not focusing all that well, but something about the look
on her face makes Tim's eyes narrow --

Bruce's *tongue*, wet and hard --

"Did you like it, Bruce?"

Only, she's the one who winds up answering that question,
because she's wet enough that her shorts might as well
not even *be* there, and she doesn't think either of them
could miss *any* of her clit's good spots if they tried. It's
all coming out in vowel sounds, low and hungry and
*desperate*, and -- "Fuck, boyfriend, do you actually want
to hold me down?"

"Only with my body," he says, lifting her hands above her
head and -- letting go.

Just in time for Bruce to stop playing with her pussy and
hold them there, himself.

"Hey --"

"Thank you," Tim says, and pushes against her with the
backs of his fingers until her clit is between two of them --

"*Fuck* --"

And Bruce uses his free hand to start tapping her clit --

"What the shit, did you guys *practice*?"

"It's really more a question of -- ease," Tim says, and his
free hand is on her face -- his thumb is in her mouth.

And he crawls a little closer on his knees, and somehow
that makes it easier to jerk her hips and -- absolutely grind
back against Bruce. She'd *like* to be jerking Tim off, too,
but there's something about the intermittent *slap* of his
dick against her belly, and the way it's not quite on the
same rhythm as Bruce's finger on her clit.

"It's... the number of things which are some variety of
painful -- even the pleasurable sorts of pain -- for Bruce
and I to discuss..."

"As an example," Bruce says, and breathes hot and
*threatening* against the bite mark *Tim* left on her. "My
relationship with Dick..."

"The complications inherent to the choice to let our
relationship with *you* go this way are, by contrast,
something of a relief."

Steph hums around Tim's thumb and... well, it's not thinking.
She can't call this thinking. It's more like a decision made
someplace dark, slick, and absolutely *ready* to just -- go
with it. Tim's getting pre-come all over her, Bruce's hand
is warm and *hard* around her wrists, Bruce's other hand
is yanking her shorts out of the *way* --

It's possible this would be better in a nice big bed, but here,
in the Cave, she can feel herself. She has *memories*,
body and mind. She's kind of almost -- home.

She has two of Bruce's fingers inside her and she's *biting*
Tim's thumb, wriggling and grinding for more, and even
though she doesn't exactly *want* to ignore Bruce's dick --
or let it get too far away from her ass -- it's really, really
*important* for those fingers to go as deep as they can --

"The scent of you was on my skin as I exercised, Stephanie --"

"Did you feel *teased*, Bruce?"

"If you kiss me while she watches, what will you show me?"
Bruce's voice is curious and a little soft, and --

There's definitely an -- an *aspect* of 'shut up and give me
*more*' to what she's feeling, but most of why she's ruining
their nice little rhythm to fight her way out of Bruce's grip
and spit out Tim's thumb is just *need*. And the feel of
Bruce's fingers slipping out of her *is* something of a
deterrent, but once she's free she can pounce on Tim a
little, drive him down to the mats and kiss him hard,
wriggle the rest of the way out of her shorts, tell him
*yes* with her tongue and the weight of herself which
always seems a little scary when she's throwing it at Tim --

And maybe a little bit of that yes should go to Bruce, because
being on her elbows and knees means that the angle is
fucking *incredible* when he slips those fingers back inside.

Too incredible -- she can't stop Tim from sliding *out* from
under her when she's too busy shaking and *shoving*
herself back, but Tim loves her -- and his own *skin* --
enough to stop before he's too far away, sitting up braced
on one hand and squeezing his balls with the other --

Okay, *dirty*, and no one can blame her for licking her lips.
She's only gotten to suck Tim *twice*, and both times he'd
pushed her off before coming. She -- she'd *let* him push
her off --

"I'd appreciate it very much if you could... hm. *Convince*
Tim to touch himself. Stephanie."

God, the way Bruce says her damned *name* makes her
want -- want. Tim's got one eyebrow up and now he's just
*cupping* his balls, and the fact that she can tell that it's a
question for her *and* just another tease for Bruce... "Um --
fuck, Bruce..."


*Fingers* -- but. "I think you're hot and -- mm -- *scary*,
boyfriend --"

"Noted," Tim says, squeezing himself *again*, and Bruce's
other hand is splayed at the base of her spine, and he's
fucking her in a rhythm which wouldn't feel weird if she
were shadowboxing, and --

"Bruce, you -- do your own dirty work, kay? Because -- oh,
yeah, *harder* --"

"Touch yourself, Tim. Please."

"For you...?"

Tim's smile is that *mean* one she likes so much she kinda
catches herself salivating sometimes, but then she can't
really *see* it, because Bruce is sliding his free hand up
over her back and pushing down as he goes.

And holding her there once her cheek is pressed to the mats,
which --

"Perhaps I could find some way to encourage you," Bruce
says, and Steph can *see* herself in her mind, what this
looks like, what *she* looks like with her ass in the air and
her fingers starting to scratch and scrape at the mats,
because Bruce has *three* fingers inside her, twisting and
thrusting --

She's meeting him thrust for thrust, and she can't *see*
Tim, anymore --

"Steph, do you." She can hear Tim swallowing, dry and kind
of *thick* -- "Steph, you look incredible like this. I..."

And the fact that she can't see Tim was already starting to
get a little tragic, but then there's that sound, and it's
almost the same sound as *her* hand on Tim's dick --

It's *easy* to do push-ups from this position -- so easy they
just don't count, even with the pressure Bruce is putting on
her upper back. If he wanted her to stay down, he *could*
keep her down, but it's kind of mean to make her work for
it since all she really wants to work for is the way he's
fucking her with his fingers --

Except that *no*, because once she can see Tim...

He's still braced on one hand, but his other is wrapped
around himself and stroking. Pumping. And there *is* a
part of her which is wondering why that's so hot, but she
thinks that part is maybe blind and also kinda painfully

And then he *looks* at her --


"Uh." Crap, she's -- and Bruce isn't *helping* --

And then she catches herself changing the rhythm of her
hips to match *Tim's* rhythm, and that helps a *lot*.

"Let me," she says, pushing up onto one hand and reaching
out -- and falling back *down*, because Bruce doesn't
change the rhythm, but he's fucking her hard enough now
that she can't -- she can't really -- "*Please*," she says --

And Tim gasps and strokes himself faster --

And Bruce's short nails *scrape* down her back --

And it doesn't matter that she had *warning*. When Bruce
starts fucking her faster it feels like the part of her which
just wants to watch is in a damned war with the part of her
which wants to feel, grunt like an animal, work herself
harder, better, *closer* --

"Don't -- Steph, please don't close your eyes --"

Open again, fast enough to hurt a little, and Tim's dick is
slick and *dark* in his hand, and Steph wants to be able to
focus on what *exactly* he's doing, wants to remember it
for later, or another time. Every time -- *something*, but --

"Bruce," she says. Whispers. *Begs* -- "I -- oh God, Tim,
he's -- he's gonna make me come --"

And Tim holds her -- no, that's Bruce's hand slipping under
her belly, pushing up, holding her in position --

Tim's showing his teeth and pumping his hips in short little
thrusts, actually pushing himself up off the mats a little with
his hand --

"Steph --"

"*In* me," she says, and she doesn't know if she's
demanding or just explaining -- she wants to *marry*
Bruce's hand --

But Tim's rolling onto his knees, close enough to touch if
she could just make her hands work, or even *one* hand,
and Tim's hand on her face goes *right* to that position
which is all about the pain he isn't causing --

And Steph opens her mouth --

And Bruce says Tim's name --

And she's barely got Tim settled on her tongue before she
has to try fucking her mouth on him a little, try -- just
anything to make it as good for him as it was when it was
just his hand and the show she was putting on, because
Tim is hers, and she never wants him to forget that, and she
never wants him to *try* --

"Oh -- God, Steph, I need you --"

He does, just like she needs to feel him *in* her throat,
needs to crane her neck a little and swallow a *lot*, and the
noises Tim makes are just the sweetest thing ever -- right
up until they're the hottest, best, dirtiest --

She *thinks* she can keep this up even after she finally
*comes*, but she doesn't want to *test* that theory, so she
gets herself as steady as she *can* on her elbow and
reaches for Tim's balls, which feel so tight and soft-hard-
velvety she kind of wants to cuddle them, but she knows
she's losing her mind a little --


-- a lot. A lot, and it feels like a *tease* that Bruce isn't just
fucking her with his dick, but even *thinking* about it,
about how it felt to bend over --

About Tim knowing it, wanting it, loving it like he must love
those short little *grinding* thrusts, because now he's
using them on her mouth, and trying to swallow on *time*
is making her clench up and shake, come -- no, that was
just a warning shot from her pussy. Just --

Oh, she's so *warm*, and some of that has to be blushing,
has to be the fact that she's acting like a *porn star*, but
all of it's just too *good*, right down to the way that Bruce
*and* Tim are making a mess of her hair with their hands,
stroking her and petting her and teasing the *hell* out of
each other --

Oh --

Bruce is doing -- *something* with his fingers, something
twisty and hard and painful *enough* --

She can't *moan* the right way with Tim's dick in her
throat --

She can't buck without changing what Bruce is *doing* -- 

She can't --

She hears her nails on the mats and the pound of her own
heartbeat, and then there's nothing, everything, *heat*. Her
cheeks are wet and she's clenching, really coming this time,
this --


Bruce's fingers are so *big*, and Tim --

"Steph --"

She doesn't need to breathe, think, or *live* for anything
more than this, and maybe that's the reason why she isn't
just falling apart from all the shaking. Her body has its
*priorities* straight, which is why her pussy isn't even close
to *letting* Bruce pull out, and why her hand has *finally*
managed to get to Tim's hip and stay there. The noises
Tim's making now are more like screams he won't let all the
way out than anything else, and she --

Okay, maybe she needs to breathe a little, but she can feel
Bruce and Tim holding *hands* right next to her face --

She can feel Bruce *flexing* his fingers, and now it's waves
running over her, pushing and moving her in every way but
the physical, and she can't really manage anything exciting
with her tongue anymore, she --

It's weakness and more of that *heat*, the waves, the.

She can't really focus, anymore, and she can't keep her eyes
open --

"Oh -- God --"

And somehow Tim's even deeper now, or maybe it just feels
that way. His hair is tickling her face, scratching her raw,
and -- coming right down her throat.

She wants to be able to *feel* it better than this, know it as
more than the feel of Tim's hand shaking in Bruce's grip at
her cheek and the way all the sex-funk is kind of drowning
her, or --

Or the feel of Tim almost *yanking* himself out of her,
scrabbling back -- and then hauling her up, stroking her and
kissing and mm.

She's almost too blown to cough. She's definitely too
*something* to register the cough as something which
makes it okay that all the moving had shifted Bruce within
her -- Bruce.

She kind of -- pushes, a little, and Bruce hums and slides
out, and shaking like this is totally okay if it makes Tim
squeeze her tighter.

"I won't ask if you're okay."

Steph gives him a thumbs-up and nuzzles his collarbone.
Mm, bony. *Everything* is okay as far as she's concerned --

"I think it would be all right if you didn't work that hard to
regulate your breathing right now, Steph."

Was she? Oh, hmm. That would probably be why her lungs
are kind of exclamation pointing at her. The rest of her feels
too *good* for her to waste it by gasping --

"Breathe," Tim says, in *that* voice, and she was totally
right -- gasping takes a *lot* out of the damned afterglow.

And the little whooping noises are just *silly*. "Jerkface,"
she says, when she can.

"I -- back me up on this, Bruce."

"Mm. While the blue on your lips was a very attractive shade,
it didn't quite complement your eyes, Stephanie."

Steph flaps a hand vaguely toward where she thinks Bruce
is -- and then it's just damned weird that he's not in reach.
She sits up and back, ass on her heels, and blinks a little
until she can see.

Bruce is kneeling there, still in his pants, and... that's really
one hell of a tent he's pitching. It just doesn't seem to
*touch* his expression, or -- well, the heat in his eyes is
*different*. Calmer. Something. Steph frowns.

"Yes, Stephanie?"

"Well..." She waits, and then Tim is close again. Close
enough that she can grab his dick and kind of hold onto it
until the hand around her forearm eases back on the
pressure and she can hear Tim breathe normally. Good
batfriend. "Anyway, I was kind of wondering if *Superman*
has that much control when my boyfriend is sexing him."

"You'd have to ask him that question," Bruce says, and
settles his palms on his thighs. "They've been quite...

Really. *Really*. That's kind of --

"Not -- always -- intentionally," Tim says, and strokes Steph's

She glares at him, a little. "*I* don't get private."

"Superman could probably arrange that for you," and Tim's
expression *is* rueful, but not the part of it which is

"For a fee, of course," Bruce says, and she doesn't have to
see him. She already knows *that* smile. Still --

"It's not like you guys *haven't* been making privacy pretty
damned valuable," she says, and strokes Tim with one
finger. Strokes him maybe kind of *hard*. "The *concept*,
that is."

Tim's breath comes out on a hiss she does and doesn't want
to soothe.

Bruce -- the only sound he makes is the one which is all
about the skin of his palms on his pants, but it *feels* a lot
larger than that.

Bigger than all that privacy Tim's apparently just been
*flaunting* in front of Bruce -- "Wow. I think I just
sympathized with Spooky for a minute, there," she says,
and kind of *rubs* with her finger.

"I -- Steph --"

"I'm touched," Bruce says, and stands up. And up and up --
still mm.

"You *will* be if you strip," she says, and Tim's mouth is
hanging open, a little, so she kind of has to leave Bruce to
it. Kissing Tim is always good, better than good -- the way
to *go*, but when he's like *this*, a little scrambled from
just coming and right on the edge of being turned-on

It's a little like kissing her very own bat-doll, and a *lot* like
kissing the boy he used to be, only she's still the age she is
*now*, and -- she doesn't know.

He feels soft and she feels *pushy*, dirty and a little
perverted. She can do anything to him, and he'd just want
*more*, or -- something. She's almost sure there was a
reason why she wasn't just going to push him down and
stroke and tease and maybe suck him until he was all hard
and crazy again, but she can't quite find it --

And then Bruce covers the hand she has on Tim's cheek.
Oh, yeah. And oh -- what the fuck? Tim has turned away a
little, and his breathing is too harsh for how hard he *isn't*
in her hand. Steph frowns, giving the hairy *expanse* of
Bruce's thigh an in-a-minute pat and tugs at Tim's head
until he's facing forward again.

His eyes aren't closed, but everything else about him is,
which, if it wasn't so irritating, would be kind of impressive,
considering the fact that Bruce's hand is right there, still,
and his thumb is on Tim's lower lip.

"What the hell, boyfriend? It's not like you guys *haven't*
been hooking up."

"I -- Steph," Tim says, and that's not anything like an
answer. Nor is the little tremor in the hand he still has on
her forearm.

"Seriously, what --"

"We haven't," Bruce says, dropping into a crouch which
seems as *big* as the rest of him, as -- damn.

Had she really had that inside her earlier? Steph grabs
Bruce's dick and only squeezes a little bit. And only squeezes
Tim a little bit more. And --

And Bruce's hand on Steph's forearm is kind of telling her to
pay attention. Right. Steph licks her lips and looks at Bruce.

"You were saying?"

"I was saying that Tim and I haven't made love. Not like
this," and the invitation in his voice is all *about* Tim, so
she can definitely do more than just squeeze his dick and
hope for *faster*, and it's --

Oh. The way his head is leaning means that he's *pressing*
his face against Bruce's hand, but his expression is *all*
fucked-up, tight and pained, and maybe if she wasn't so
dick-happy, she'd have noticed that Tim's hand is *still*
shaking on her forearm.

Maybe -- probably loving people in self-defense isn't as fun
as doing it the other way.

Probably if she wasn't here, Tim wouldn't look a damned
thing like this. She -- she makes Tim lose it, a little, and
she knows this, she *knew* this. It's just that she hadn't
really thought about what it could mean with someone
else right *here*.

Would it be different if it was Superman? Wouldn't it kind of
have to be?

She shakes it off -- "Boyfriend," she says, wincing at how
sharp it comes out, but maybe that's just the right way to
do it. Tim's eyes kind of *snap* open, focus on her, and --
wow. That's a whole lot of *everything* in them. "You know
you scare the hell out of me."

"Yes," he says, and while she can go with the idea that it's
not that *difficult* to suddenly reach up and grab the wrist
of the guy who's touching your face, the speed and
harshness of the move still makes her shiver.

"Tim --"

"I do know," he says, and Steph can *see* how much
pressure he's putting into dragging Bruce's hand closer,
or --

No. Bruce isn't resisting even a little. All that force is for...
maybe letting himself do it?

It's impossible not to *stare*, even though it's taking a
ridiculously long amount of time for Tim to get Bruce's hand
where some seriously kind of *besieged*-looking part of him
wants it to be.


"Let me -- I just --" It looks like Tim is giving up when he
leans forward against Bruce's hand, when he drags his lips
over Bruce's fingers -- oh.

"Is that -- am I kind of all over that hand, Tim?"

"It helps," he says, and that's kind of -- it.

Completely, because both of Tim's hands are still shaking,
still *straining*, but he's -- the word 'licking' isn't *enough*
for what Tim's doing to Bruce's hand. He's all over it,
mouthing and kissing and dragging his mouth against it,
nuzzling like a cat and then licking more, sucking more.
And when he closes his eyes, Bruce's dick twitches *hard*
in her hand, dribbling a little pre-come onto her hand --

It's still another kind of self-defense to start jerking Bruce
off, or maybe it's some kind of consolation prize from the
part of her central nervous system which is still functioning.

She can't look *away* from Tim, and all of that hunger. And
she can't *not* know that the hunger is only part of it. It's
desperation and lust and -- it's what love means when it's
not her, maybe.

"It's okay," she says, because she has to, and there's no
real time to feel stupid between the words coming out and
Tim opening his eyes again and looking at her --

No, that's not *enough*. He's giving all of it to her, showing
her and demanding that she just take it. Know it, and him,
and --

"It's okay even *though* you scare the hell out of me," she
tries, raising her eyebrows and waiting --

Maybe doing her own demanding --

The smile kind of looks like it's *clawing* its way out from
behind Tim's face, but eventually it makes it, and --

Bruce's dick twitches in her hand again. Honestly, she wishes
she were *up* to blowing Bruce, too, because then she'd get
to do her thing while just letting them *be* at each other
until... something.

She honestly doesn't have a clue --

"I'd like to kiss you," Bruce says, heavy and low and -- yeah,
there's definitely *something* she could do to get Bruce his
and still -- well, okay, she's a little *sore* but that --

It wasn't anything like the way he talked to *her*, not really.
She thinks she can hear *fear*, there, and it's not like they
haven't established that Tim is scary, but -- "You should do
it," she says, because it makes the babble in her head make
sense, and because if she has to keep looking at Tim making
love to just Bruce's hand she's going to go insane. "Just --

"Steph," Tim says, in that voice which means yes, and of
course, and I love you, and everything else, and then he
kisses Bruce's fingers again, tugs Bruce's hand away from
his mouth, and waits for the half-second it takes for Bruce
to shift out of the crouch and onto his knees, and Steph
keeps her grip, but --

Her grip seems kind of irrelevant, even if her *stroke*
doesn't. She doesn't know and she hasn't *seen*, but the
kiss seems new and just -- deep. Heavy. It looks like the
kisses Bruce has given her have felt, and that makes her
feel almost stupid -- how had she missed... all of *that*?

But maybe it's just that it's Tim, and maybe Batman and
Robin have to be in there, somewhere --

Tim is moaning, loud even muffled by Bruce's mouth,
constant and a little jerky. Bruce's kiss is *neater* than what
Tim was doing with his hand, but it looks just as thorough.
It makes Steph bite her lip, and there's a part of her, inside,
which is flinching every time Tim moans like this, and what
she's doing with Bruce's dick can't possibly be as good as
what he's getting from kissing Tim.

She *knows* what it's like to have all of that *unleashed*
after waiting and needing and being -- not teased.


So, even though it doesn't seem like a *good* idea to let go
of Bruce and move, it's absolutely the *best* idea to get
behind Tim and urge him to crawl closer to Bruce, close
enough that they're all pressed together as much as they
can be without standing up or lying down --

Not so close that she can't get her hands between them,
which is -- okay, she'd had a definite plan, but Tim has a
lot of scars on his back which feel *one* way against her
boobs, and a lot of scars on his chest which feel a
completely different way to her hands. Also, they haven't
done all that much in the way of nipple play, but that thing
Bruce was doing with her nipples and his thumb...

It takes a second to get her hands to stop just *feeling*
Tim and pay attention to something other than all the --

God, there's so *much*. The wet sounds of those kisses
and the way Tim is shivering every minute or so and how
*good* it feels to play her nails over his ribs, to rub the
backs of her hands over *Bruce's* chest --

She was *doing* something, and the fact that her mind can
toss her a decent enough diagram of it isn't anything at all
against all the... maybe it's freedom? The Cave and
everything in it, just because she'd said yes to something
a part of her has wanted bad enough to make the rest of
her cry for -- years.

Just --

"*Years*," she says, and feels Tim jump, hears the moan
*skip*, and she's fumbling between him and Bruce, seeking
and *finding*, and she's never been happier to have big
hands. She can *do* this with one, and bring the other up
to Tim's throat, feel him swallow, feel all of those *noises*.

Bruce seems to have the same idea, and it feels like a very
specific kind of courtesy to move back a little, give Bruce
some space -- Tim's helping by tilting his head back --

But Bruce just *pushes* Steph's hand against Tim's throat,
makes her kind of *choke* him --

And Tim *jerks* in her hand, pumps into her fist, drives
himself against Bruce's dick --

Bruce hums, long and low and still right *into* Tim's mouth,
and Steph doesn't really get it, but she *gets* it. One more
thing Tim had been *hiding* from her, the kinky little prick,
and there are probably good and safe and Bat ways to do
this, but Tim seems to like the way she's just kinda *doing*
it just fine. The way he's moving his hips --

She has an image, bright and *gorgeous*, of Tim sliding
into her slow and sweet and considerate and making love
to her just that way until she reaches up and *squeezes*
and he has to fuck her unconscious. And then it's less an
image than a *plan* -- like maybe she can use this to *get*
him to do that --

"*No*," Tim says, sharp and loud, and that's the best
warning she could ever get for the kiss Bruce lays on *her*,
hard and wet and hungry, pulling her in until they're kind
of crushing Tim between them -- not to mention her *hand* --
but Tim doesn't get to have *all* the kisses. And the way
they're *both* pumping now...

She can take it at least twice as much as she *wants* it,
and that's a fucking lot. Bruce's tongue is thick and sweet in
her mouth and Tim is hard all over, tense and strange, a
little scary, and she knows she's hardly saying *any* of
that when she bites Bruce's lip, but it's still something she
has to do.

Just like how she has to pull back and shift until she can
line her hips up just right, and --

Maybe sometime after she comes *down* from all this sex,
it will seem silly that she'd started thrusting against Tim's
ass like this, but he's crying out into the *air* now, and
Bruce is staring at her like he wants still more streaming
video for his brain-porn collection.

She thinks it would probably be even better if she had a
hand free to grab Tim by the hip -- no, Bruce has him,
holding him still and perfect for her driving hips and
making her wonder if, maybe, it's time for a trip to the toy
store -- "I *so* wanna fuck you up the ass, boyfriend. I
mean --"

And Bruce grunts --

And Tim *yells* --

And suddenly her hand is wet and hot and slick-sticky. It
takes a second to figure out which of them just came, but
Tim still feels like every single muscle in his *body* is
flexed, and Bruce shudders hard, all over, when she
squeezes. It feels like a seriously *unfair* kind of tragedy
to stop squeezing -- and more of one to let go -- but it
leads to Bruce shifting back and staring at both of them
like -- like --

She's *slamming* her hips against Tim's ass now, and her
clit's yelling at her to do more, *get* more, and also not to
*stop*, and probably Tim has come more times today than
is strictly *healthy* -- what *does* he do with Superman? --
but she's gotta get him *off*, just like this.

When she shifts her hand a little, Tim's moan cuts off into
this high little whine for air, and Steph doesn't know if he
usually likes more warning for that kind of thing or not, but
now Tim's grabbing at her arm with one of his hands and
twining his fingers between the fingers of the hand Steph's
got on his dick. And Bruce --

"So ruthless. He'll never let you go." Bruce is kind of
*lounging* now, naked and huge, leaning back on one
elbow and tapping at his own scarred, hairy thigh --

"You -- seriously, I can't -- I can't *stop* this."

"He's glad," he says. "And so am I."

Steph shakes her head and shifts her fingers on Tim's
throat, clenching inside at the way Tim gasps -- "God, I --
you do this to him."

"When it's allowed."

Tease, tease, *tease*, and Steph's hand gets even messier
when she cuts off his air. "Have you fucked him?"


"Don't," she says, and she doesn't know if putting a little
grind in her thrusts does anything for Tim, but it's making
her clit happier. "Me *first*, or -- I don't --"

"As you say," and then Bruce *focuses* on Tim, hard and
obvious and just -- hard.

Hard to look at, hard to be *near*, even though *she's*
free of that look. Free to do just... anything, including
releasing Tim's dick --

He *spasms* --

-- and pushing him down until *he's* the one with his ass
in the air. It was just barely a *thought* in her head, but
now every time she thrusts against his ass, his balls slap
at her a little. It sounds incredible and *wrong*, but she
can't blush any more than she already is --

"Jerk yourself off if you can make your hands work, pretty
boy-friend. I've got you."

And she does, even though the angle means that her grip
on Tim's throat just isn't as *good*, anymore. At a certain
point, the thought just *has* to count, and she's not really
looking for *confirmation* when she looks up --

But Bruce is looking at *her* again, like she's a meal and a
mystery and a damned *vocation*, and Tim's moans are
just as *strangled*-sounding as they should be, and it's
possible that her pubic bone is gonna hate her a little
tomorrow, but it's all *worth* it when Tim fights his way
up onto *one* hand -- and falls right back down again,
shaking and jerking and *coming*. For her.

A part of her wants to stand up and run around a little -- she
feels so *full* she can hardly stand it -- but she hates it
when Tim moves so much as a *foot* away right after she's
done coming. The fact that Tim is different and special is
kind of irrelevant -- he has to be *trained*.

She rolls him over onto his back, and he's just -- a really hot
looking *mess*, flushed red in places, panting and
whimpering a little at the back of his throat. She isn't really
sure what to *do* with him, now. She looks at Bruce --

But Bruce is asking her the same question. Kind of. Probably.

It feels a little weird to lie down and cuddle him here -- so
*not* a bed, and also there's *company* -- but Tim hugs
her back right away, pants a little more, and then pulls her
into a serious kiss, wet and soft and long. She feels herself
relaxing everywhere she didn't even realize was tensed, and
maybe a bed is kind of irrelevant.


When Tim breaks the kiss, he presses -- sticky -- fingers to
her lips to keep her from going for more, and that is an
*excellent* distraction. She hadn't really gotten to taste him
before, and --

"Bruce," Tim says, hoarse and quiet.

Oh, yeah. *Bruce*. She sucks two of Tim's fingers into her
mouth and looks up to see Bruce focused just on her again.

"Yes, Tim?"

"I won't ask -- come here," he says, and it feels like a kind
of celebration to go down on Tim's fingers, and maybe it's
the same when Bruce lies down beside them and kisses

Certainly, it's nice to have something to do while that's going
on, and the awkward petting Tim's managing with the
fingers Steph isn't sucking is even nicer.

Nicest -- *best* -- is when Tim pulls his fingers out, pushes
his fingers into her hair, and pulls her into the kiss.

It's messy and a little awkward, but after a while she can't
tell which tongue is in whose mouth, and that feels *almost*
like what she was trying for, here -- in as much as she was
trying for anything but getting *off*.

Still, even *she's* noticing the reek, so it's not really a
surprise when Tim pushes off, pulls back, and raises an
eyebrow in that smile which means he'd really like to be
scrubbing something.

She kisses it because she can and pulls off, too, standing up
and stretching. Tim follows her.

Bruce's hand is big and obvious on her calf, and she can't
help but remember that it's the same calf Nightwing --
Dick -- had touched. Heh. "So is it safe for all of us to
shower together, or is it gonna make you guys late for

"Nothing is safe," Tim says, and it's so Bat she sticks her
tongue out at him.

Bruce's hand slides a little further up her leg before he
stands up, too, and -- "Tim has a point."

She's considering being a little pissy, but then the part of her
brain which isn't *completely* stupid on sex reminds the
rest that what they're *actually* saying is that the shower
means *more* sex.

And that's just fine.

The nice thing about the Cave showers is that they heat up
*quickly* once the water's on, so there's actually a little
sweat under all the wet once Tim pushes her face-first
against the tile and starts just -- feeling her. His hands are
rough-under-slippery, and he doesn't say a word.

He doesn't have to, and it's... it's just *good* to let him
wash her, use his hands to soap her, squeeze out the
tension wherever he finds it. When he taps her hip to make
her turn around, she can see that Bruce is doing almost the
same thing to Tim, only Bruce is using his sponge since
they're not quite within range of the spray.

Tim's hand is gentle and careful with her pussy, but he
doesn't hit it with any soap. The reason for this is perfectly,
wonderfully clear after Tim rinses his fingers and pushes
them up inside her where she's still more slippery than wet.
Still, Steph winces a little --

"Too sore?"

"No -- maybe."


"Mm... maybe, I -- let me," she says, leaning back against
the wall until she can scoot down, change the angle -- "Mm,
yeah. I mean no, not too sore."

"Good," Tim says, and drops down to his knees, keeping his
fingers inside her and --


It's too much to deal with that it's the first time he's ever
done this, that she was *sure* he never would. His tongue
*changes* the wetness of her pussy, and there's more
sweat, and it's Tim, so she has to put a hand on his head,
even though it makes it more awkward for Bruce to step
close and join her under the spray.

Bruce's hair is kind of plastered to his skull, and his skin is
warm under all that water, and his kisses taste like 'thank
you' and 'you're beautiful,' and maybe a little like the kind
of love that he's been trying to throw at Tim all night, but --
she can't really think about that, either.

Tim is sucking her clit and licking at it between his lips, and
it's slow and warm and wonderful, even though the
thrusting he's doing is driving her higher *and* hurting her
a little, at this point.

It takes less time than she would've thought for her to start
to shake, but Bruce is right there to hold her steady,
breaking the kiss to let her rest her head against his
shoulder and breathe out moans that bounce around the
showers, echoing against them and just being more of that

Coming is a quick, kind of mellow thing that makes her feel
even looser than she did before, and maybe a little *too*
tired, but there's another one of those three-way kisses
once Bruce gives Tim room to stand up, and then she and
Tim wash Bruce all over -- so many *scars* --

After which Bruce and Tim move to the far end of the
showers and douse themselves in water so cold it makes
her shiver even at a distance.

They leave her to wash her hair, and, by the time she's
done and out, they've left for patrol.

She's probably a bit less than optimal for taking her bike
home, but it's not like she's going to try to break any speed
limits right now. At this point, the bike's engine would
probably make her feel *raw* if she tried to go much over

Once she's home, she pulls her hair into a ponytail to
hopefully hide just how wet her hair is -- it's *possible* that
it just looks like she got sweaty under her helmet, and, really,
she's pretty damned sure her mother won't ask.

She has, after all, been fucking her boyfriend for *years*.

They eat a mostly silent dinner, and then she gets a few
hours of complete privacy while she 'does her homework.'
What that actually translates to is her doing her best not to
pass the hell *out* while it's early enough to be suspicious.

She starts and deletes half a dozen soppy e-mails to Tim.
She spends about half an hour idly trying to figure out
where the bugs are. She stares at the night outside her
window and tries to imagine being in it, living in it...

It's not easy, but it's much harder to imagine herself just
going to *school* tomorrow and surrounding herself with
the sort of people Bruce and Tim (and Cass, and Dick, and
Barbara, in her way) will be *saving* tonight. They'll have
to be able to see it on her, the parts which aren't normal
even if they can't see the parts which are better than

No, thinking about the Cave is best and easiest. She's the
girl who'll be working there tomorrow, changing and
growing and shifting until she's one day closer to the night.

She's too tired to shiver for that, but --

That's just another way she's getting closer.


The gods will carry her as far as Egypt, or Venus,
as far as she desires.
She will rule with red and orange and autumn,
with amber tinctures and honey elixirs.
She will spread her legs and stroke her
lovers with a smile.
She will collect coconut shells and leaves
                                             and marble.
She will hold dandelions against her
                                             crimson hair.

-- Anonymous