Echoes hanging in the air
by Te
March 3, 2004

Disclaimer: DC doesn't do it this way. That's for the
best, I think.

Spoilers: None, really.

Summary: Bruce and Tim, after patrol.

Ratings Note/Warnings: NC-17. Content some readers
may find disturbing. No, seriously.

Author's Note: This is one part of a series I don't
actually plan on writing. Could be read as a
standalone, I think, which is good, because this is
all there is, at the moment.

Acknowledgments: To Jack and Livia for audiencing
and encouragement. Jack also gave me a title.
Good Jack.


It's sick. It's never been anything *but* sick, but this
is the world he lives in. There's always a dark side,
to everything, and being in Gotham just means that
you're lucky if there's a *light* side.

And there is.

Batman and Robin, justice, protecting the innocent.
That hasn't changed. That *won't* change, and Tim's
going to make sure of it. It's what he's here for.

One of the things.

Tim feels his face twist into something like a smile as
he strips out of the suit. He should be home by now,
really, but they'd fought their way through one of the
dumps tonight, and, teenaged boy or no, there are
only so many three a.m. showers he can take before
his father starts getting suspicious.

His *actual* father, and that's...

He'd thought he wasn't that naive. He frankly
thought he was *over*... that kind of thing. When
Bruce had put on his kindly-Bruce-Wayne-is-
worried-about-your-welfare face and taken him in
while his father was recovering, Tim hadn't,
actually, gotten issues over it.

He'd had years to deal with his father -- *both* of
his parents -- being pretty much anywhere-but-here,
and to come to terms with the fact that the families
*other* people had just weren't his own.

He's never called Bruce 'Dad.' Not even before. He's
never *wanted* to. Except... well, he doesn't look
into himself too much, or too often. Tim understands
how that's actually pretty dangerous in this line of
work -- he can't *look* at his 'family' without
knowing that -- but there's just too much *there*.

There's a difference between being self-aware and
diving into the abyss. The thought's only pretentious
until he starts listing the things he's done and seen
since he's been Robin.

There are so many ways to break a person.

But the thing is, this shouldn't be so hard for *him*.
This shouldn't be something he has to obsess over,
and lose sleep over, and all the other pointless,
*useless* things he really just doesn't have time for.
It's just sex. With his *partner*.

Who, yeah, happens to be older, bigger, smarter,
stronger, and everything *else*, sure, but he *isn't*
Tim's father figure. That's for people like Dick to fuck
themselves up with -- *not* him.

Except that it might not feel this... whatever it does if
he didn't have something small and needy lurking in
him. Something that wanted Bruce to be *more* than
this. Or... he isn't sure.

He takes the mask off last, and bundles everything
into the hamper outside the showers. Stretches and
yawns, even though he doesn't really feel either sore
or tired. A *good* night, as these things go, except for
the smell.

He isn't sure when he'd stopped being aware of
physical exhaustion unless it was severe, but it tends
to be filed under "No Man's Land" in his own head. A
lot of things are. Tim pauses outside the shower, and
tries to keep himself from squeezing the jamb too
tightly as he looks back over his shoulder.

Bruce is at the console, which isn't a surprise. The
cowl and gloves are off, and he's standing -- and
that's not a surprise, either. He's just as filthy as Tim,
but there is work to be done.

Tim thinks about all the conversations he doesn't --
ever -- plan to have with the man and schools his
expression to blankness. He didn't have to look back.
He never does, anymore. Batman had taught him
how to *feel* people, how to focus plain, human
senses so that you were pretty much never surprised
by anyone -- or anything -- at your back.

Batman had also taught him how to surprise *other*
people, but... you don't spend as much time around
the man as *he* has without being able to feel him.
Whether he's there or not.

He steps into the showers and turns the water on,
and... *this*, at least, is amusing. The water is perfect
down here, so that there's never really a blast of cold
unless that's what you're *going* for. Which has led
to trouble in the other, lesser showers of his

Tim grins to himself and soaps up. Everything in this
shower is just right. Bruce had quizzed him extensively
on the brands they used at his house, so that Tim will
never smell anything but right when he *does* get
home. Success is always in the details, even though,
at first, it tended to put disturbing images in his head
of Mrs. Mac sniffing him suspiciously.

Which... no.

He tilts his head back into the spray and lets himself
stop breathing and just feel it. He can't smell his own
reek anymore, but he's going to need at least two or
three scrubbings before he's fit to go home. Which
means he really *should* speed this up -- it's after
two -- but... it's a good shower.

He's come to appreciate things like good water
pressure, whether or not he's actually conscious of
the amount of punishment he puts his body through
at any given time. Someday, someone is going to ask
him about the scars. And the plausibility of --

No warning. Or... no. When he thinks about it, there
was a faint splash. He makes a note to himself to pay
more attention to that kind of noise, to separate it
from the background meaninglessness that he tends
to file under 'weather.' Another time. Right now, he
focuses on shifting enough that his neck doesn't
complain too much about the angle. He doesn't have
much room to do it.

There's a spot on the human back where, if the right
amount of pressure is applied with just the flat of
your hand, and there's a handy solid surface in front
of the other person, you can effectively immobilize

Bruce has, of course, found that spot on him. Tim
narrows his eyes and tries to keep the shower tile
from digging too obviously into his cheek. He doesn't
narrow them *too* much, though. He wants to keep
Bruce in sight -- though he can't see much more than
the man's broad, naked chest.

There are things Tim could say here, but the only
one that wouldn't be painfully obvious ("oh?"), or
too obvious and too *weak* to be borne ("I didn't
hear you coming") is "not tonight." Which is just a
bit too much of a lie.

The tile is uncomfortable against his growing erection
in just the right way.

Tim exhales, and gets pushed a little harder against
the wall. Waits.

And waits.

This is irritating, but not especially unfamiliar. He
knows he's attractive. More than that, he knows he's
attractive to *Bruce*, which means his body is
absolutely something to be considered. To be
*stared* at with that sort of blank appreciation that
tends to make Tim wonder if the man had ever been
tempted to, say, jerk off at an art exhibit.

He doesn't feel like smiling.

He's out of the stream of water, and, while the
showers are insulated quite well, he'll be uncomfortably
cold soon. Maybe he should --

Having warning doesn't help for some things. Bruce's
thumb pressed to the base of his spine is more than
familiar enough for Tim to know what was coming,
but the fast, brutal *slide* of it down his cleft and
*in* still makes him jerk and shout. He always forgets
to bite his lip.

And it's pointless to do it *after* Bruce starts fucking
him. Just his thumb -- for now -- but there's no lube,
and his body is well-trained for this. For *enjoying*
this, and he's very far away from being cold. In and
*in*, and the first few thrusts are always the best.
The friction and the body-shock and the helpless,
bewildered voice in his own head that always wants
to know what triggered it *this* time.

A pointless, meaningless question that always makes
something *flex* low in Tim's stomach, that always
makes him burn a little at the memory of every act
of violence he's committed in Bruce's company.

He likes knowing he makes Bruce hard. Almost

Bruce's other hand slides from the center of his back
up to his shoulder, and its a cue: he can and should
move now.

He braces himself on his hands and spreads his legs,
and Bruce squeezes his shoulder with open approval.
Tim is sympathetic to the others, in terms of their
relationships (and lack thereof) with Bruce, but he
always has to wonder why anyone would ever really
need -- or even *want* -- more than the physical

It just seems like asking for trouble, on top of just
asking for too *much*.

Tim knows a lot about 'too much.'

He rests his forehead against the wall and breathes
through it, and Bruce is always so *steady*. It
shouldn't be as surprising as it is, but his body is
insisting on reminding him of how it feels with every
thrust. The burn, the stretch he could stop feeling if
he'd let himself relax. The feel of Bruce just...
*looming* behind him. Physical presence is a weapon,
whether or not it's used that way.

And Bruce starts *twisting* his thumb, little
corkscrewing motions that almost -- almost -- mean
as much as the fact that he's pushing harder.

'Relax,' Bruce is saying. Or maybe 'don't.'

It doesn't really matter. He has to. The *thought*
makes him have to, because it makes him want more.

Bruce squeezes his shoulder again, and then cups his
throat, fingers curling around and *not* squeezing.
Tim gasps anyway, and Bruce strokes the back of his
neck with his thumb.

Slips out with his other hand.

And Tim is expecting another squeeze, or at least a
pause, but --

"Oh *God* --"

He can't even wince about how loud that was, how
*obvious* that was, because Bruce is pushing *in*.
He'd. Fuck. He'd slicked his own dick *before*
coming into the shower, and the image is as destructive
as the feeling. It hurts. It... he's *used* to this. He
*likes* it, and he hates having to remind himself. He
hates needing --

Bruce isn't pushing anymore. He's rocking, *thrusting*
his way in, and his hand doesn't tighten around Tim's
throat, but it still feels like a threat. He bites his lip to
hold back the worst of the whimpers and tries not to
claw at the tile, tries to stay *still*, but he can't.

He can't.

Bruce is big, and so hard, so *hard*. Blood hot and
fucking him just to get *inside*, and now that other
hand is on his hip and -- "*Bruce* --"

Yanking him *back*, opening him, spearing him, and
when Bruce squeezes his throat Tim realizes he's
shaking his head.

"It's not -- I'm not --"

Another squeeze, and Tim gives up trying to explain
that he's not fighting, or not *trying* to. He doesn't
think that's the point. He doesn't --

He can't stop moaning and Bruce won't stop *taking*
him. He has to get control, and he moves one of his
hands to his mouth and bites down. That's better. It's
always better when he can't hear himself, when it's
just his body and everything Bruce is doing to it.

Sometimes the position won't let him. Sometimes all
he can do is hide his face in the pillow and scream,
but he has balance here. A little leverage, and the
whimper when Bruce is balls-deep is muffled and

Bruce pauses and strokes Tim from his hip to his
chest, then down. Up again, and over his front, and
it's almost too light. Tim shakes and bites down harder,
and whimpers again when Bruce starts playing with
his nipples. Sometimes he does that for much too long,
as if he's not really convinced he can't make Tim come
that way. Or maybe he's just waiting for Tim's body to
give up and come *anyway*, in self-defense.

It'll happen, one of these days.

The other hand is still on his throat. Waiting. Or maybe
just... he doesn't know. He's only ever had sex with
Bruce, and the occasional desire to choke him doesn't
have anything to do with sex, and he doesn't think it
*would* turn him on with anyone else, but maybe it's
different for Bruce. Maybe it's just another part of
what makes Bruce want this enough to... be like this.


He jerks, gasps at the slight change in angle. Stills.

Bruce twists his nipple, and the pressure isn't very
intense. It's more of a tease than anything else, and
it goes on for long enough that he has to try to arch
into it, even though every time he moves he can
*feel* Bruce more. Or maybe because of it.

One day he's going to bite down hard enough that
the marks won't fade before he has to show his hand
to someone.

"Tim," Bruce says again, and he wants something.
Something *more* than this, and Tim can feel himself
tensing against the need to move. And then the hand
is off his chest and curling around Tim's wrist and the
tension doesn't help.

"No --"

"Let me hear you. Please," Bruce says, and then he
starts to *move*.

Maybe it's the 'please.' Maybe it's the *irritation*.
And Tim can't decide which is more fucked-up, and
he doesn't have the brain power to focus on it,
anyway, because they're in the *showers*, and every
sound he makes echoes and rebounds back at him.
It's like being hit. It's like he's drowning in his own
noise, even more than he is in *Bruce*.

Bruce, who's holding Tim's bitten hand against the
wall with one hand and squeezing his throat
rhythmically with the other. And it's *not* hard enough
to leave a mark, but it's disturbingly like -- *exactly*
like Bruce is trying to control and direct the sounds
Tim's making.

He is. He totally *is*, and it's so *Bruce* that one of
those sounds is laughter. And Tim isn't sure how he
feels about the fact that it makes Bruce fuck him

Because *that's* Bruce, too.

Riding him and driving him and squeezing him and
*fucking* him, hard and relentless and maybe endless,
too. He always loses his time-sense when Bruce is in
him. He thinks he loses too many important things to

He needs...

That's the worst part. How much he needs this, and
the fact that one day he's going to have to say no
just to prove that he *can*. And then... he doesn't
know what will happen then. He never starts this,
and because it's Bruce, that means it's always his to
*finish* it.

Maybe if he says no Bruce never will again. Or maybe
they'll have to *talk* about it, and not even the
crushing implausibility of that prospect can make it
anything less than terrifying.

"Bruce," he says, because he's hard for this, because
no one makes him feel like this. He doesn't *want*
anyone else to make him --


"*Bruce*," and he doesn't want a response. He's just.
He can't --

"Beautiful," Bruce says, and takes his hand off Tim's
and moves it back to Tim's hip, squeezing and pulling
him *in* to every stroke, and Tim could bring his
hand back to his mouth, he could make that 'accidental'
misunderstanding so *easily*.

But he doesn't. He leaves it against the wall, and tells
himself it's because he needs the leverage (Bruce will
hold him), that he follows orders (Bruce will
*understand*, damn him), he always does. And then
he can't tell himself anything at all, because Bruce's
other hand is *on* him, squeezing and stroking him
and --

"Bruce don't -- don't stop --"

Tim bites his lip and shakes his head and curls his
fingers against the tile and *fights*, and Bruce doesn't

Bruce *has* him, and he won't let go, he won't -- he
won't *leave*, and Tim hears himself cough out
something too much like "no," and comes, knees
buckling. It doesn't matter. Bruce *does* have him,
both hands on his hips now, lifting and holding and
pulling him in, and there's no time to catch his breath
or anything like control, even though he's already

All he can do is hold on and try not to shake, not to do
anything but take it. Sometimes, when it takes too
long for his mind to come back online, he's absolutely
sure Bruce won't *ever* stop. That this will just go on
and on until it's time for Timothy Drake to have his
own case, and maybe his very own plaque.

'Adequate Soldier, Agreeable Fuck.'

He laughs again, and Bruce digs his fingers in too hard
and Tim laughs harder. It's okay for Bruce to bruise
him *there*, after all. Clothes will hide it.

"Tim," Bruce says, Bruce *groans*, and Tim closes his
eyes and feels for it, as much as he can. Bruce coming
in him, one more time. And then he waits.

After a moment, Bruce loosens his grip on his hips,
and strokes part of the way down his thighs. Up again,
and Tim braces himself, and gasps at the feel of Bruce
pulling out. Bruce strokes his thighs again, and then up
over his back to his shoulders.

Another squeeze.


Bruce leaves his hands on Tim's shoulders, and it's as
much a question as anything else. He shakes his head
against it and focuses on getting his breath back, and
his feet back under himself.

And then lets himself be tugged back under the water
and turned.

Bruce's kisses are never perfunctory. Tim doesn't
think *any* touch from Bruce could ever truly be
perfunctory. It still feels like an afterthought, though
Tim is willing to go with the idea that this is more his
fault than Bruce's. The kisses don't last long. The
trouble isn't in making Bruce understand his silent
communication so much as it's in trying to make it
clear that Tim doesn't actually mean everything his
body says.

Or doesn't say.

Bruce reaches for the soap -- Tim's brand -- and

Tim nods and spreads his arms.

It's not like Bruce won't be *just* as thorough as
he would, himself.

Though it bothers him that he can't figure out why
*this* feels sicker than all the fucking.