Bright enough to burn
by Te
August 2, 2004

Disclaimers: So far from mine it's almost sad.

Spoilers: None for the books -- see author's notes.

Summary: The weather's crappy and people are
shooting at him. Life is good.

Ratings Note: NC-17.

Author's Note: Bas wrote The Robin's Red Glare for
*my* birthday. So I decided to write a sequel for
hers. :D (Read Bas' first, yo.)

Acknowledgments: To Jack, Livia, LC, and Weirdness
Magnet for audiencing, and, more importantly,
putting up with me.


He likes reading people -- everything about it.

Starting from the fact that he *can*, winging
through the fact that it's easy with everyone who
doesn't matter, and landing -- *hard* -- on the fact
that it absolutely isn't with the people who do.

It's like a part of his mind is always spinning,
moving, playing -- even when the rest of him is
just crouched on a rooftop, reminding himself not
to shift no matter how much the drip of rainwater
down his legs tickles.

And it does.

A lot.

"I still don't see why you don't just wear tights."

And that's the other part of it. Because it *is* a
game, and you can tell by the fact that he isn't
playing alone. Did he move? No, he did not. Did
he scowl? Not a fucking chance. "Chicks dig the
thighs," he says, and listens to Tim's quiet snort.

But he must've done *something*, because Tim
knows exactly how uncomfortable he is, and Tim
wasn't psychic the *last* time he'd checked.

Which, of course, means that Tim's reading Jason
just as closely as Jason's reading him.

He turns slowly enough that the motion won't
register to any of their targets who might just be
paranoid enough to think a couple of birds will
squat around getting rained on in the hopes of
seeing something punch-worthy. Tim's folded up
tight in his cape. *Not* just doing his

Jason smirks. "Winter soon."

Nothing. Not so much as a tightness around the

"You know what I can't wait for? That *sound*.
You know the one -- the alleys in the older parts
of the city are so narrow that the wind just
*screams*, and --"

"I'm not cold," Tim says, in *exactly* his fuck-you

"Man, and then there's the snowstorms. The really
kind of light ones, so you can see the individual
flakes landing on your skin --"

"*I'm* covered."

Jason smirks a little more. "And they just take
longer and longer to melt..."

A beat, another, and the muscle in Tim's jaw
tenses, flexes.

He's shivering under the cape. Score.

"You suck."

Heh. "You *wish*."

Tim does his own slow turn and makes it count
with one of his Tim-special *looks*. The ones that
aren't about menace or anything else. Just a
blank wall of 'draw your own horrible conclusions.'
It's pretty impressive.

And then he does another slow turn to face
forward again.

"You shouldn't worry. You'll put on a few extra
pounds *one* day."


"You know, when you *grow*... hm." Jason watches
the too-expensive-for-this-neighborhood car pull up.
The door opens on a wall of sound, the kind of bass
you feel before you hear. The fact that they hadn't
*before* the door opened --

"Bulletproof," Tim says, and pulls his grapple.

"Enough evidence for *me*," Jason says, and
they're flying.

Tim hooks right, and the meaty thud of his boots
not *quite* caving in the driver's ribs shivers
through Jason like the universe's vibrator, like
blood, like it always does. He makes his own
landing on the trunk, which usually wouldn't be
satisfying, but --

"My hands oh motherfucker my *hands* --"

He shuts the guy up with a boot to the jaw and has
just enough time to see Tim give him the all-clear
about the *inside* of the car before the first floor
windows of the crumbling warehouse blow out at
them in a hail of bullets.

He dives on the guy whose fingers and jaw he's
broken and sends him to the pavement, punching
him one more time to make sure he stays down
where he *probably* won't get killed by his own
business partners, and then it's *really* on.

One beat to stay down, one beat to crouch like
the target he's just really *not*, and then there's
the faint whistle of one of Tim's tear-gas grenades
flying through the air, not getting shot yet, *not*
getting shot until it's inside -- *yes*.

The barking puff of the grenade doing what it's
supposed to do is as good as a cue -- for

The door explodes open and tonight's small,
badly-trained, and incredibly well-armed army is
on the move, heading straight for the swing of
yellow capes.

Just like they're supposed to.

Because, really, they *could've* used the car for
a shield until enough of the gunmen had run out
of bullets to make a frontal attack effective --

"Little bastard got *knives* --"

-- but this is a *lot* more fun.

He sends out a double-handful of his own
shuriken and five of the six hands he was aiming
for drop five of the six guns. The last guy is
bleeding around the grip of his Glock, and then
he's bleeding around Jason's fist and the spray
of a few teeth.

Behind him there's the unmistakable
*click-click-thok* of Tim's staff extending long
and hitting the ground hard and --

"Aim up! *Up*! Fucker's coming in --"

He doesn't need to see the vault to know it's
perfect, and *sometimes* he's a little jealous that
Tim got to be trained by an actual acrobat, but
mostly he just loves the routine.

*Lives* for it. Because it's always high-low and
it's never exactly the same, because he can't
quite tell if that crunch is the nose he's just
broken with his elbow or the *whatever* Tim's
just broken with his staff.

And they get about a minute or maybe an hour
to be back to back, to shift and move and *fight*,
and then all the bad guys are down and there's
nothing but the quick, steady pant of Tim's breath
and the pound of blood in Jason's veins.


Pant, pant, stop. "Might be more... inside."

*Fuck* yeah.

And a) really just not, because these guys are
*never* smart enough to leave a second wave,
but b) the only ones conscious are the ones
safely --

Tim kicks out and *down* and the stupid bastard
who moved is now the poor, sad bastard with the
broken face.

Jason takes a half-step back and Tim presses up
hard for half a second, cape tickling the backs of
Jason's knees.

"Inside," he says, and listens to Tim growl, a little.
It *isn't* the good growl, quite, so he's really not
surprised by,


And then it's another two minutes -- and about
nine hundred long, aching *years* -- before
everyone's trussed up neat and safe and they're
done clogging the sewers with another few pounds
of lethal hardware.

Tim takes point up the stairs and Jason follows
protocol just enough to wait the full two beats
before diving in through the window.

Cordite and the remnants of the quick-dissipate
tear-gas cover the stink of almost -- *almost* --
everything else. All the crackheads who'd been
using this place before it became this week's
urban pharmacy had obviously been cleared out,
and had just as obviously not been cleared out
for *long*.

Tim's still doing the perimeter, and Jason looks
up, and... the mystery of why there were never
any signs of activity on the upper floors of the
place is no longer a mystery. He can see straight
up to the *roof*.


"Nightwing says he thinks this place was a meth-lab
a couple of years ago."

"Hunh." He shoots his grapple at one of the
second-floor walls -- yanking to check the stability
*before* going up, and... yeah. Up here, there's
not enough gun-and-crackhead-stink to cover the
smell of the fire -- chemical fire -- that had clearly
gutted this place clean.

"Anything?" Tim's whisper comes through the
communicator loud and clear and... breathy.

"Surprisingly moving spray paint mural of Jesus
getting a beat-down."

"I find myself touched from all the way down here."

Faint, *deliberate* scuff, and Jason looks down to
find Tim looking up. "Touched?"

The streetlight hits Tim *just* enough that the
tiny smile at the corner of his mouth is visible.

Jason grins and lets go of the jumpline, tucking
into a somersault and landing with a small thud.

And a crack.

Tim raises an eyebrow and looks down pointedly
at the floor.

"Like you didn't want to examine the basement,

"I didn't know there *was* a -- mm."

Soft in his mouth, swallowed right down. Soft and
slow and *soft*, right up until he shoves his
tongue in Tim's mouth and gets it bitten. And
held. Jason growls into Tim's mouth and waits for
Tim to tense -- there.

He twists back and away and tastes his own
blood. He thinks about swallowing, he thinks
about spitting, he thinks about sucking Tim off in
the rain, and then he shoves his hand into the
stiff, gelled spikes of Tim's hair and leans in to
lick his bloody tongue all over Tim's mouth.

Tim grins. "I'm pretty sure this makes us

"Batgirl will be psyched," he says, and when he
kisses Tim *this* time his tongue gets sucked.

Hard, hard enough to sting, and Tim's hands are
on Jason's hips and his mask is cool and
slick-smooth on Jason's cheek.

He sinks into the kiss about half as much as he
wants to, just enough to lose everything but the
patter of rain outside and the faint moans of the
 people they really need to --

"We don't have much time," and Tim's hands
tighten on his hips. They're nowhere near as strong
as his own, but are still *way* stronger than anyone
else Jason's ever hooked up with.

It feels *almost* as dirty-right as making his next
kiss nice and slow and hard. Only almost, because
these are the kisses that make Tim lose enough
focus to start making sharp little noises into Jason's
mouth, and because they actually *don't* have the
time for this.

He pulls back and breathes and takes a moment just
to feel his sore tongue and the wet, swollen center
of his lips and the sticky-drying edges. Tim's face is
streaked and flushed, blood outside and in, and his
hands flex on Jason's hips, just this side of a

"Redbird --"

"We should get Oracle to check the records on this
place," he says and tugs Tim's tunic up. "See who
owns it."

"Should've been condemned years ago," Tim says,
and digs his thumbs in *hard* before yanking on
Jason's own tunic.

"Probably a bunch of --" He yanks on Tim's hair as
the gauntlet snakes into his shorts, rough and cold.
"Shell corporations --"

"Mobbed up... someone. Someone with pull, Redbird,
do it fast, do it --"

"Yeah." He has to stop fucking with Tim's hair so he
can hold on to the waistbands of his shorts, tights,
and jock. So he can get *just* the right grip, and --

"*Redbird* --"

"Yeah. Fuck, Robin, you --"

Tim's moan cracks in the middle and he thrusts into
Jason's fist, he rakes the rough tip of his gauntleted
thumb over the head of Jason's dick, he squeezes
and bucks and Jason breaks the rules enough to
yank Tim's pants out of the way entirely, just so he
can get his other hand around Tim's balls and

The grunt sounds like a protest *and* a plea, like
maybe even if Tim *could* make words right now
he wouldn't be sure which.

It's the best thing, the *other* best thing, because
he's barely steady enough on his own feet to
stand, much less lean in and get another kiss,
another *bite*.

"Robin --"

Another rough, low growl that's all about the fact
that they *aren't* fucking in this nasty little squat,
they're just getting enough, getting *more*.

He bites Tim's jaw hard enough to get another
one of those grunts, a you-fucker-don't-mark-me
grunt, complete with a rough squeeze they both
know won't actually *discourage* him.

As opposed to making him fuck himself raw into
Tim's tight, perfect fist. Too fast and too hard
and even the fact that he knows he's going to be
hating life every time he jerks off for the next few
days won't let him *stop*.

And they both know that, too.

"Evil -- f-fucker --"

Tim's mouth is sweet and red and swollen and
*smirking*, and Jason has just enough control to
shift his grip so he can flick at Tim's circumcision
scar with his thumb, with his just-as-bad-for-you
gauntlet. Tim's gasp chases the smirk off his face,
makes Jason heat up all over, makes him
fucking --

"*Robin* --"

And the only thing keeping him on his feet is the
twisted *hurt* on Tim's face, the way his mouth
falls open and his head falls back. Giving it up and
hating it and loving it, and Jason feels Tim's thighs
trembling on either side of his fist and grunts and

Locks his knees and *watches*, because Tim's
biting his lip and tensing up hard, harder --

"Do it."

Twisting closer, jerking like it hurts --

"Tick-tock, Robin," and he's got enough of his
equilibrium back to shove his tongue in Tim's ear
the way that always makes him flinch and
shudder. And be distracted enough that Jason
can get Tim's hand *out* of his shorts.

"R-red -- *oh* --"

His dick's hanging out and he's breathing hard
enough that all the stink of this place is just
burning him from the inside out when it isn't
being *nothing* against Tim's sounds and
Tim's *heat* and Tim's come in his gauntlet.


"Still upstairs."

"Getting a beat-down, yes," Tim says, knocking
Jason's hands away and straightening his

"He died for our sins, man," and Jason bites back a
wince as he drags up his own jock and shorts.

"Speaking of..."

Tim doesn't bother to finish the thought, just
heads back outside. Thankfully, it's still raining.
Well, thankfully for *them*. Their
no-longer-heavily-armed friends are looking a little
fucked-up. One of the conscious ones sneezes and
glares at Tim. He flinches nicely when Jason fakes a
kick, though.

"Don't be petty, Redbird. It's beneath you."

Jason snorts. "Dude, just go call the cops."

"It's *your* turn," Tim says, but doesn't actually
stop heading toward the payphone.

Jason turns his head up into the rain and opens his
mouth. Nasty as always -- it's *Gotham* -- but
enough to wash the last of the blood out of his
mouth. And hopefully off his face. He spits in the
gutter and shakes out his hair... just in time to
spatter Tim in the face.

"You're like a *dog*."

"Your fault for trying -- and failing, I might add --
to sneak up on me."

Tim gives him the blank look and Jason gives him
a great, big smile and shoots his grapple. He hears
Tim helpfully popping the trunk-full-of-evidence for
the cops, and then they fly for a few blocks, just
enough that the sirens from behind them start to
blend in with all the others.

Tim lands on the roof of a check-cashing place and
pauses, so Jason lands, too. Tim checks the watch
he wears under his gauntlet. "We should --"

"You're late," Oracle says in his ear. *Both* their
ears, considering the wince on Tim's face, and
really --

"Sorry, O. We got a little tied up."

-- the fact Oracle's calling *now*, when they're only
five minutes late to check in, is the best possible
proof that she already knew Tim was working with
him tonight.

She always gives *him* a ten minute window.

"Uh, huh," she says, and Tim winces a little more.
The rain's done an impressive job of turning the
gelled-up spikes of his hair into something that
looks more than a half-melted pincushion than
anything else.

Jason fucks with it a little more. "We clearly need
a *lot* more discipline, O," he says, and dodges
Tim's smack. "I was thinking you, me..."

"And a cattle prod." It's always weird to listen to
her sigh in the scrambled voice. Familiar, though.
"I don't actually have anything specific for you.
*Either* of you..."

Jason thinks about flipping on his mask-cam just
so Babs can share the view of all the beautiful
knife-twisting she's putting Tim through. Tim
catches his wrists and glares.

"*However*," she says, over the sound of Jason's
snicker, "N wants to know if *his* little bird is
flying out tonight."

It's a pretty good question. They hadn't actually
*planned* anything, but Tim *does* stay over
some of the weekends he *tells* his parents he
will, since even though the Drakes find that Jason
boy worrying, they entirely approve of that nice
Cassandra Wayne. Heh.


And that 'um' is even better, because Tim's
distracted enough for Jason twist their hands
around until they're twined together. Lets him
*squeeze* and catch Tim's eye long enough to
raise his own eyebrows.

Tim frowns. "Should I?"

Tim's momma-bird tendencies toward Dick are
really pretty damned cute.

Judging by the creepy, emotionless scrambler-
laugh, Babs thinks so, too. "He's fine. Just wanted
a better idea of your movements before making
his plans."


"I --"

Jason twists free again and covers Tim's mouth.
"Tell N we're keeping him tonight, O. Oh, and we
need the title info on that warehouse."

Tim bites his fingers really impressively hard,
considering the fact that Jason's still wearing his
gauntlets. But he doesn't smack his hand away.

"Done," Babs says. "And put him back the way you
found him. Oracle out."

Tim bites him a little harder before yanking his
head back. "Asshole."

"Am I gonna have to get Alfred to wash your
mouth out?"

Blank look number three. The only way they're
*not* sparring when they get back to the Cave is
if Tim gets shot or something.

Jason grins and dives off the edge of the roof.

They've got at least an hour, maybe two, before
Oracle calls to mention 'B' wondering about the
location of *his* bird.

Jason has every intention of making the most of