As if you are absent
by Te
November 19, 2005

Disclaimers: Not mine.

Spoilers: None.

Summary: A matter of consideration.

Ratings Note: Sexual content.

Acknowledgments: To Petra, for giving me one hell of
an inspirational quote and then audiencing.


You please me when you are quiet because it is as if you are absent,
and you hear me from a distance, and my voice does not touch you.
It seems that your eyes have flown away from you
and that a kiss might close your mouth.

-- from "Me gustas cuando callas" by Pablo Neruda,
translated in full by Petra here.


You say:


And it isn't immediate -- it never is.

It's less the natural shift of one moment to the next then
the natural shift of one choice of behavior to another:

The half-raised eyebrow is lowered to something which
would be neutral -- were it not for the way the smile --
smirk -- which had only been lifting one side of Tim's
mouth has spread, with all the illusion of inexorability,
to the other.

Ah. Like this, you think, and consider saying. You reject
the consideration for the expediency of your hands in
Tim's close-cropped hair, for your thumbs pressing against
his temples, for the chance to have it *just* like this --

As opposed to the way in which you would have it if you
were to speak the words aloud.

He growls, soft and low, until you allow him near enough
to bite.

And you bite back.

Later that same evening, he finds you -- momentarily --
free of other entanglements (beyond, of course, the ones
involving armor and the cowl). You watch him.

You watch him judging the precise degree of quiet within
the warehouse you aren't, quite, surveilling. You watch
him know this.

You watch him take in the relative lack of lines of sight.

You watch him, and you wonder if. You wonder what. You
wonder *when*.

After a moment, another, he turns, and the smile on his
face is breathtakingly broad and open, daring you to
ignore the whites of his lenses, daring you...

*Daring* you.

You pause, allowing yourself a rueful internal smile. Like
*this*, you don't say, and you focus your touches on the
backs of his knees, *that* point below and behind his left
ear, the insides of his elbows.

All of the places where he is ticklish enough.

All of the places which drag laughter out of his throat,
opening him wide enough for you to slip in.

You don't see him, after that, for nearly a week, and
you're grateful for reasons both easy to define and not.

The Cave is not, actually, quieter without him.

You are not colder in your bed.

You consider --

There are times in which he becomes more difficult, in
which the lines he draws are -- deliberately? -- rough,
deliberately, perhaps, unclear.

And you know those are the times in which the unspoken
'like this?' should -- would -- be in Tim's voice.

If he ever felt the need to say it.

When he returns, there are new injuries, of course. You
have your own. You note Tim's new injuries while watching
him move through the Cave, somewhere between restless
and efficient.

He changes the oil in two of the cars and one of the bikes,
and you know he is here for -- some degree of --

You can't even begin to imagine not letting that make you

He pulls a cloth -- chamois -- from a pocket on his belt he
usually reserves for evidence collection, and you...

You say:

"Like this?"

And you watch him pause, and know -- think you know --
that with his back turned to you, he is, perhaps, allowing
some greater degree of consideration to make it into his

There are times during which you consider calling him a
tease, but you are not at all sure you're willing to pay the
price for it he would -- undoubtedly -- exact.

And after another beat, he turns to look at you from over
your shoulder, and says, just as if he's actually sharing

"I'm considering."

He is -- and he is.

You wait, and then watch him sit on the hood of the car --
careful of both the fall of his cape and the car's finish. He
crosses his ankles. "It's been... a while. Bruce."

You nod, because this... because you aren't a tease, really.

You watch him studying the amusement you're fully aware
is on your own face.

You watch him consider.

You watch him uncross his ankles, once more.

And then...

And then, you watch.