Disclaimers: If they were mine, I'm honestly not sure
*what* I'd do.
Spoilers: Nothing much, really.
Summary: Everything begins, nothing ever ends.
Ratings Note: NC-17.
Author's Note: Last in the Black Sky series, though I
reserve the right to fill in a few blanks. Time-wise,
starts the morning after part five: "A bright blinding
Acknowledgments: Much, *much* love to Livia, the
Jack, and Weirdness Magnet for audiencing and
many helpful suggestions. And to everyone who
followed me on this ride. Thanks, guys. :D
Kon wakes up early, and it takes a second for him
to figure out why that's a weird thought. His room
gets a *lot* of light, and he thinks a person would
pretty much have to be brain-dead not to be able to
figure out what time it was, even with their eyes
closed and their face turned away from the
It's clearly late afternoon, the sunlight with the
dim-and-fading quality that has as much to do with
it being fall than anything else. Or maybe just fall in
It's a weird thought because even with the patrols,
it had only taken a few days in that *other* universe
to feel a little... off.
Like maybe he was still supposed to be a daylight
kind of superhero instead of... no. It wasn't being
there that did it, it was being there with *Tim*. Who'd
never stopped looking at him like a particularly scary
alien, instead of like *himself*. He knows himself,
maybe better than he ever had.
He'd spent his life (and he knows *just* how short
that seems to other people, *but*) shifting around
between other people's needs and expectations, and
the fact that he was never any good at it didn't make
a difference. It would've been too easy to try to go
back to being the Kon who Tim was in love with, just
to get that look off his face.
And... it didn't have anything to do with how he felt,
how some part of him would *always* feel. It was
about the way he'd gotten used to trying to be what
Tim wanted, long before Tim was ever anyone but...
Which makes it easier, *better* to be back here
where he belongs, but it also makes him wonder, a
little, if he hadn't just traded one kind of fucked up
effort to please for another. Or... did it have to be
fucked up if pleasing that person was almost always
a good thing? Christ, how was he even supposed to
*know* if he was doing something because he
wanted to, or because it just seemed like the right
("Trust your instincts. If you can't; trust mine.")
Yeah, Bruce, *sure*. It's not a funny thought so
much as just... a really kind of warm-and-dirty one.
An *old* one, too, because it's just another way to
blow off thinking and *do*. If he *does* think
about it, really focuses, he can still feel Bruce's
mouth on his own. It's not that the mild swelling
wasn't gone by the time he got back up and into
the manor, it's just he's had a long time to get
used to the ghosts of feelings. Everything the aura
takes away, everything he's pretty sure other
people never think about.
Stuff he'd been paying attention to since the
*newsboys*, and how long has it been since he'd
thought about them?
He'd woken up knowing what he was, and it hadn't
taken long to figure out that what he was... was
*different.* His whole life.
Sometimes he wonders when 'four years' will seem
as brief to him as it does to everyone else, and
that's just another good reason to call Bart, like
he'd promised. Maybe after he's done touching his
own mouth like an idiot.
He grins to himself, because, really, he's had years
to just *accept* that a Bat-person can pretty much
do anything and everything really fucking well, and
it shouldn't be a surprise that kissing is just another
part of that. Which... makes the smile fade. Tim
had been good in pretty much every wrong way he
And only some of that was on purpose.
Kon knows him, too, now.
He hears Alfred coming down the hall and, early or
not, it's still a good reason to get himself out of bed
and slide on some boxers.
He opens the door before Alfred can knock and
gets an eyebrow and... mm. Coffee.
"Morning, Alfred," and that's about all he can manage
before he has to start drinking. He *does* remember
to move aside so Alfred can come in, though.
"I trust you slept well, Master Kon?"
"Mm." He swallows. "I did, actually. It's..." Suddenly
a lot more than he can necessarily deal with. "Um."
A milder eyebrow.
Kon sits back down on the bed. "You... the *other*
you put me in this same room."
Alfred nods slowly. "Am I correct in assuming that
you are, perhaps, experiencing a bit of... dimension
Kon grins ruefully. "Yeah, that's about right."
Alfred makes a non-committal noise and slips on a
white glove, apparently solely to test the cleanliness
of Kon's bureau. "I must admit that I would be
more surprised if you weren't feeling a trifle out of
"It's just as weird as it feels, hunh."
"You..." Alfred pauses. "You were missed, Master
"I get that. I..." Bruce's hands, tight around his
Alfred's nod is sharper this time. "I believe it would
be an error to pretend a jaunt across the fabric of
space-time is something as minor and forgettable
as, perhaps, a bullet wound."
"Should I just pass that on to Bruce?"
A twitch of a smile. "If you would."
"I'm not sure I can get my eyebrow that high."
Alfred slips off the glove and opens the bureau,
pulling out jeans and a light sweater. Kon has
pretty much given up entirely on convincing the
man he can pick out his own clothes. Getting him
to stop ironing his jeans had been hard enough.
You have to choose your battles carefully.
"As in everything else," Alfred says, handing him
a pair of socks, "practice makes perfect."
Kon grins at the floor. "Got it."
There's the lightest touch on his hair, something
that would probably be Alfred putting it order if
he kept it any longer than he did. "As for the
rest... perhaps you would find it helpful to think
of it this way: We are only ever who we are, no
matter what occurs."
"That feels like we should be talking about religion,
Alfred pauses. "Does it?" The hand is off Kon's
head. "I'm afraid *that* is rather beyond my
purview. Master Kon."
He looks up, and Alfred's smile is the smallest,
gentlest thing he's ever seen. "Yeah?"
"It's good to have you home."
"Hello? Hello? He --"
"I'm... It's me, Bart."
It's only about four-thirty here, which... means Bart
has probably been home from school and done
with his homework for at least an hour. Or, you
know, several years of subjective time. Kon grins
against the receiver and puts his feet up on the
desk. He hasn't, of course, put his boots on, yet.
"Yeah, sorry. I slept in."
"Were you tired? Does it hurt to cross between
universes? Nothing I've read is very conclusive."
"Honestly? I barely felt anything. Just a kind of...
"Hunh." Kon can hear a rapid tapping sound that's
probably Bart hitting himself in the face six or
seven thousand times with a pencil. "With your
aura, you mean? Because I've been thinking about
that, too, and you know, it's really kind of weird."
Kon blinks. "My aura is weird?"
"Well, yeah, I mean think about it. You can't see
it, or smell it, or feel it. It doesn't show up on
any monitors, or anything -- it doesn't, right?"
"Uh... not that I know of?"
"Right. So, as far as anyone knows, it's not really
*there*, except that it is, and people with weird
powers can feel it, and sometimes it's *really*
there, like when you're using it to hold stuff and --
I mean, how does it work?"
"I... haven't really thought about it?"
"Bart, I kind of wanted --"
"But you *do* think about it, right? I mean, you
have to, or you wouldn't be able to do anything
Kon backtracks. "Well... I mean, that's not really
thinking. I mean, you don't have to *think* to go
really fast, right?"
"No, but that's the Speed Force. You don't really
question the Speed Force so much as just go with
"But I guess it's the same thing. Hmm."
"I just..." The tapping sound is back. "Maybe you
*should* question it. Maybe we both should."
"I mean, it could be dangerous. It *is* dangerous.
You got zapped out of the *universe*, Kon! And
everyone was so scared and it wasn't like when
Tim died, because then it was all sudden *and*
we all knew what happened, but this time we
didn't know anything and what if you hadn't come
That, at least, has *something* relatively easy
to answer. "I would've come back."
"I would've *found* a way back."
There's a pause, and Kon can hear things rattling
around. Probably Bart's doing his version of
"I'm here. I'm just... I don't think it works that
way. I don't think there's always a choice. I don't
think... I don't think there's *ever* a choice, Kon.
And... it's hard. Less because of anything Bart's
saying than because of *himself*. Because Bart's
different now. Only... he thinks that would be
easier, actually. If there wasn't a part of him
absolutely convinced that Bart wasn't different
at *all*, all those books or no.
That maybe he'd *always* been like this, and it
was their own fault -- *his* own fault for not
seeing it. So... take him seriously. He can do
"Are you talking about fate, Bart?"
"Maybe? I'm not sure. I think... I don't think I
believe that everything's fated, that there's
some... some kind of 'grand design' or anything.
But then maybe I do. Maybe it's just that I don't
think the design is very *grand*, at all."
Kon swallows. "That's kind of horrifying thought."
"Is it? I have a lot of thoughts these days."
"I noticed." Kon tries to put a smile in his voice.
"Yeah. Yeah, you did, didn't you? I'm glad."
("How you choose to communicate with another
person is far, far more important than just a
matter of what would or would not be convenient.
It's a choice that determines the breadth and
scope of the communication itself.")
And... yeah. Kon knows exactly why he's doing
this over the phone. But... still.
"Yeah, I'm just thinking."
"About your aura? Because I think some of the
books I have on antimatter --"
"No, not my aura. I was thinking about the
Tower. I haven't been out there --"
"In *forever*! Are you going to visit?"
"I was thinking I could. Not right away, but, you
"Or I could visit. I want to meet Oracle. Is she
single? Is she a she?"
"He seems really interesting. Or she does. I
want to talk to her. Him. Does she/he have a
non-secret phone number?"
"You... want to date Oracle? You want to
Bart... huffs at him. "I'm not a kid! Okay, I am. But
still. I mean, it's not like I'm going to get anywhere
with *you*, but maybe --"
"You... like me?"
"I liked you for a really long time, Kon. Maybe... I
think maybe it would be a long time
Kon winces. "I... didn't know that."
"Like it would've made a difference if you had."
"I'm over it. So when do I get to meet her? Him.
Bruce is in the Cave when he gets down there, and
it's not a surprise so much as... something kind of
awkward. The ghost of that kiss is more *tangible*
now. Or... well, it's the Cave.
Kon isn't sure how he'd cope if there were ever
more living people than ghosts down here.
He smiles a little at the cases, just saying hello, and
when he turns around... Bruce is looking at him.
The cowl's off, and it's... it's a hard look to quantify.
Not blank so much as clear. Not *quite*
And the question makes Kon breathe faster. There's
so much superficial similarity. The Batfamily is
made up of beautiful, dark-haired (except for
Barbara) people with too many scars. Eyes that see
too much. But it's *only* a surface thing. Bruce
isn't... there's no one like Bruce.
"I... I'm just thinking. Mostly about kissing you."
He thinks he could maybe spend a lot of time just
trying to figure out every way possible to make
Bruce look like that. Every way to make his face
*change* like that, from zero to 'I'm thinking
about fucking you and I want you to know it' in
"God, Bruce. I just..."
"Not yet. I understand." And the smile doesn't
turn down the heat at all. It just... spreads it out
Makes Kon *feel* it. And *why* is he waiting
again? "I... hear you, sometimes."
Bruce blinks, and the smile is a little different.
"I've been told I can be... somewhat inescapable."
It's easy to close the distance between them, to
just... rest his hand on Bruce's shoulder and try
really hard not to think about Bruce sitting down
and him standing up, or how quickly he could
reverse that position, or... he crouches in front
of Bruce until it's closer to eye-to-eye. "I like it."
The look in Bruce's eyes is narrow, but it isn't
cold. Not even remotely. "Kon."
"And *again* with you saying my name like that.
Like you're --"
"Touching you. I'm not sure I know how to say it
another way -- no. I'm not sure I *want* to."
"I don't want you to stop. Fuck. I just... can I
*talk* to you about this? About why I'm
Bruce touches his face, and Kon is expecting him
to say something quiet, something fierce and
accepting, but then that hand slips to the back of
his head and --
It doesn't matter that the kiss is soft, or even that
Bruce's tongue never gets *into* his mouth. It's hot
and shocking and *hot*, and Kon whimpers and
clenches his fists at his sides to keep from reaching
out, to keep from dragging Bruce down on top of
him and rolling them all over the *floor*, because
every time Bruce licks Kon's lips, Kon can feel his
heart beating faster, his *mind* throbbing to the
rhythm of it, or just to the kiss.
Kon whimpers again, and isn't remotely surprised
to be kissing back, or that he's the one that makes
it deeper. Bruce's hand is a rough caress on the
back of his head, sliding down to his neck, and
Bruce never once closes his eyes for more than
Not even when he stops.
"I probably should've just said 'yes.'"
Kon laughs. It *also* isn't a surprise that Bruce is
a *freak*. Bruce's hands slips back to his cheek
and... no. It doesn't feel remotely neutral
anymore There's a lesson there.
("When your moves are individual, when every
punch and kick is singular within your own mind,
as opposed to a function of instinct, rhythm, and
*Literally* a lesson there. He laughs again. He
really, really should've known.
"What?" A slight increase in the pressure of his
thumb over Kon's cheekbone.
"This just puts... every training session in an
entirely new light."
There's a sharp, *sharp* amusement in Bruce's
eyes. "If I was thinking about this every time I
tried to train someone, we wouldn't be especially
"As opposed to some of the time? No, that's not a
real question." He really *doesn't* want to know how
often Bruce lusted for his *other* Robins, and the
fact that Dick is, at least, alive wouldn't make the
thought any easier.
"You know, I've never..." Another slow stroke over
his cheekbone. "Not with the others."
"I figured that, actually." Dick would've told him.
Tim would've been... different. "I just... that isn't.
I don't know how to say this without *whining*."
"I'll tell you if I think you're whining."
"Or maybe just kiss me so hard I come in my
An even narrower look. "The idea has some
"I'm not helping, am I?"
"You *always* help. One way or another." And
Bruce is pressing so hard that it would hurt if his
aura was down.
Kon kind of wants it to hurt. He shakes it off.
Literally, pushing Bruce's hand away from his
face. Standing up would be a bad idea, but...
he holds on to Bruce's hand. "Okay, here's the
deal: I don't just want to throw myself into
something that I haven't thought about it, or
haven't thought about *enough*. I don't... I
don't trust my own instincts, here, because my
instincts haven't been any *good* with this.
"And I don't think yours have been, either."
"You're not wrong."
"So why..." He catches himself staring at the floor
again and forces himself to look up. Bruce is
serious and calm, but Kon knows -- he *knows*
now that Bruce could be on him again, all *over*
him again, faster than Bart could say something
disturbing, silly, and/or profound. "Why are you so
willing? Why are *you* ready to do this?"
Bruce rubs his thumb against the center of Kon's
palm. "Good question. There are a few answers."
"It isn't optimism. Nothing lasts forever, and, in
my experience, nothing lasts long *enough*.
Everything ends. Everyone dies, and it's always
much too soon. People change, people leave..."
Bruce shakes his head, and the focus is finally
Kon thinks he knows *everything* Bruce is
"I want you. You make me *happy*," and Bruce
is only smiling with his eyes, and even then... it's
more of a Batman good-work-with-that-beating
smile. "And I've learned to take that -- all of that
-- while I can. No matter what."
"I want everything I can have -- while I can have
it. I know you understand that."
Tim underneath him, and it would've been easier
if Tim *hadn't* been looking at him, hadn't been
so obviously seeing someone he could never
want. Kon looks down at the floor again and
laughs. "Only you would seduce a guy with
*death*, surrounded by... by..."
Kon shivers and twists his hand free, and standing
*still* makes him want to sway on his feet, get
closer, get to Bruce's *mouth*, but he manages
to step back.
"Too soon," Bruce says, and he doesn't sound like
he's convincing even himself.
"I need to... I need to call up Oracle."
Bruce looks him up and down, not slow, but not
even trying not to be obvious, either. And then
he nods, and turns back to his own work, and
Kon doesn't bite the back of his neck, and
doesn't do it strenuously enough that he manages
to make it to his workstation without more
incident than adjusting himself in his pants.
Even with Bruce turned away from him,
*deliberately* turned away, Kon can feel him
seeing it. *Feeling* it.
He shudders and breathes and pops in the
He laughs. "Man, one day you're going to have
to ask who it is. Maybe I'll catch you in the
bathroom or something."
"How do you know you didn't?"
It's funny how much *amusement* Barbara can
get into a computer-generated voice. "I'm going
to pretend I don't have those images, thanks."
"Mm. What can I do for you?"
"Nothing important. I just thought you'd like a
heads-up over the fact that Kid Flash has a
crush on you. On *Oracle*."
"... I knew I should've made that mask scarier."
Kon smirks. "You would've looked like you were
"Possibly. You know the kid; I don't. How
seriously should I take this?"
Kon shifts -- and winces because, yeah, his dick
has *not* caught up with his brain, yet. "Um."
"Nothing. A few weeks ago I would've said not at
*all*, but... I've had reason to think I should
change my mind."
"Hmm. Giving him something productive to do
seemed to help with... other matters. He could
make for a decent courier."
Which is... true. But. "You'd never get rid of
"You're assuming he'll ever deliver anything
Kon snorts. "You're a cruel, computer-
"You love it."
And then he just laughs. "Do you have any *idea*
how disturbing that is with *that* voice?"
"Got it." Kon grins at the screen. "Anything
interesting for tonight?"
"The DEA has set up surveillance on Andel and his
boys. Nice technical work on their part, but you
might want to check to see if they have enough
manpower. Both of you should have the
There's no reason to check. "Uh huh. Anything
"Welcome home. Oracle out."
And... wow. He'd forgotten, just that fast. Or... not
forgotten. He's not *going* to forget that other
Kon drums his fingers beside the mouse. Everything
here is easy, even when it isn't. And even knowing
how *much* he belongs here doesn't change what
it feels like to *really* know it. Like maybe he
hadn't before, and is just kind of figuring out what
home actually means.
He shakes it off and scans the information Oracle
sent, piecing it together with the few names he
*does* recognize -- Andel's 'boys' are new on
the trafficking scene, but a lot of them have
sheets full of other things. Dick calls the sheets
Bruce doesn't call them anything but what they
Kon stands and stretches, and Bruce is still at
*his* workstation, but he's also fully suited up
and ready to go -- of course. Kon grins at the
back of the cowl.
"Be ready in five."
He gets a non-committal grunt, and it's time to
There are only three agents, and it's pretty
obvious they're doing the surveillance in shifts.
Batman checks their equipment and backs it up
with some of his own while Kon introduces himself.
Two of the guys seem profoundly unhappy to
see him. He's gotten used to that, a little. There
are always GCPD types who either don't know
how the *other* side of the city works or don't
want to. He pretty much has open permission
from both Batman *and* the cops to piss on
invading Feds as he sees fit, too, but he decides
to go with Helpful Harmless Sidekick Act Two, which
is all about hiding his size in the shadows without
really looking like he's lurking.
And it's working, for the most part. Agent Cigarette
is making noises about maybe, possibly, getting a
little more backup before going after a Gotham-style
crime family -- maybe even *actually* liaising with
the locals, and Agent Ugly Suit isn't scowling at him
anymore, but then there's Agent Silence, who
really just isn't anymore.
"Excuse me?" Kon asks, as politely as he can
"I said, 'what's an alien clone -- cloned alien? --
doing in a traditionally human city?'"
And really, there are a lot of ways to answer that.
Have you *been* to Arkham. What's it to you.
Even HHS Act One, which would involve more
blushing and stammering than he could manage
on his best day.
("Make Dick show you one day. It's..." "Horrifying?"
"I got a better offer," is what he decides on, and
grins in a way that stops being real at the edge of
Cigarette and Ugly Suit watch the exchange exactly
like people trained well (if obviously) in the art of
letting someone else set a mark up for knocking
Internally, Kon grins a little ruefully. Externally, he
says good night and makes his exit.
He feels Batman behind him when he gets to the
roof. "They'll be fine," he says, and Batman doesn't
say anything, but he doesn't move, either.
After a moment, there's a hand resting between
his shoulder blades, at a place where the cape is
-- was -- so armored that it was hard to feel anything
at all. Without it, Bruce's hand is solid and the
memory of warmth.
Kon grins to himself and presses back a little.
It's barely four when he drops Batman back at the
Cave, overheating everywhere the man's body is
pressed to his own, even though the armor can be
pretty damned uncomfortable for *him*.
It's the kind of uncomfortable that works for him
really, really well, right now, and makes him wonder
about other kinds of discomfort.
Batman pauses at the edge of the hologram.
"You're not coming in."
And... he isn't, actually, though he wasn't sure of
that until a second ago. "I'm a little restless."
"I could help." Bruce's words, Batman's smile.
He's walking forward before he can stop himself,
and the cowl is hard and cold against his face and
Bruce's mouth is hard and hot. Wet. He groans,
and Bruce slides the gauntlet over his hair, back
and forth. Petting him until his *scalp* is just as
horny as the rest of him.
And not even body armor can make Bruce's ass
feel less than perfect under his palm. He's
*showered* with the man, he knows exactly how
muscled and round it is, and Bruce walks him back
against the hidden wall of the Cave's entrance
and... *presses*. One thigh between his own, one
hand crushed between their abdomens and the
other hand on his throat, thumb pressing down
over his pulse, and the kiss is harder and hotter
The thumb presses harder, and it's not a choke hold.
It's nothing *like* a choke hold, because choke
holds don't make him spread his legs and tilt his
Bruce's mouth is open. Just a little. Just enough that
Kon can see the tip of Bruce's tongue sweeping over
the edges of his teeth. He can feel it. How sharp it
would be, how --
"I don't want to do this... like this."
Kon feels himself wince at the complete lack of pain
and groans. "Yeah. Yet."
"Come home soon."
And Bruce steps back and *away*, cape sweeping
with the kind of drama he'd never managed with
his. Of course, it *wasn't* his.
Kon snorts and shakes his head at himself, taking
off into the sky, higher and higher until there's
nothing but the black, and the cold he won't feel
unless he drops the aura and free-falls for a while.
He's high enough that it's as safe as it can be, and
he has *more* than enough control, even though
he's hard enough that the suit is uncomfortable,
It's something he hasn't done for a long time. A
week ago, he would've just stuck it under the
category of "before *he* died," and whether or
not he would've been able to think Tim's name
without losing it... well, it depended. And it's true
enough, on a shallow level. It *was* before Tim
had died, but the fact is...
He had a life before Tim, and a life *during* Tim,
and not everything he is was defined by all the
love -- he can think it now -- they did and didn't
have. There were other people, and there was
just *himself*, and... he's still here. Mostly. Or
Kon slips back down beneath the clouds and scans,
not *really* surprised that he's closer to Bludhaven
than Gotham. He shrugs internally and does an
over-flight. It *is* early for a dark-but-not-too-cold
fall night, and he finds Nightwing making a mess of
what was probably an ugly and depressing bar
*before* the fight started, too.
He really wouldn't mind a few of those moves, but
then he's also fairly attached to his balls, so...
yeah. Leave it to the *actual* acrobat.
He uses his heat vision on the first two guns he
sees, and catches the next two when Nightwing
kicks them his way. Kon bends them into more
interesting shapes while the fight goes on, and
picks up a miraculously unbroken shot glass to
work on his juggling until it's all over but the
bleeding. He only has to catch the glass with his
TK four times, which is improvement.
"Damn," Nightwing says.
"Cheap beer on the suit. I'm gonna reek all night."
"Imported beer stains are better?"
"K, we have *got* to teach you about class."
Kon flips the glass and the gun sculptures at Dick
and watches him juggle them aimlessly and perfectly
for a moment. "You done here?"
"Hmm, yeah. I *was* just looking for some
information, but..." Dick kicks idly at the nearest
body. "I'm gonna have to wait until Billy is
conscious again. Let's go."
They head for the rooftops, and it's just another
kind of patrol for a few blocks, Kon working to
adjust for Dick's moves. It's more complicated
heeling him than it is to heel Batman, and Kon
thinks if Dick ever *did* get an actual sidekick,
he'd probably drive them insane in about an hour.
No *way* were those mid-air somersaults remotely
necessary to anyone whose brain wasn't Dick's.
They wind up on the roof of the church Kon
always winds up noticing whenever he's here. The
stone is just as grimy as everything else, and the
'neighbors' are a brownstone that's been burnt
out so long it doesn't even smell anymore and a
liquor store, but it's still...
Weirdly pretty. Neatly maintained graveyard, spire
that's probably gold-plated. "I always feel like this
place got dropped here by mistake."
Dick plays with some dead leaves that have blown
onto the roof. "I don't know. If you stay here long
enough..." He points vaguely east. "Look that way.
Not at street level, but a story or so higher."
Scraggly trees, streetlights. A few slow-moving
cars. "What am I looking for?"
"Honestly?" Dick grins at him. "I have no idea. But
sometimes, just before dawn, if you're up here
and you just kind of *squint* the right way, you
can sort of see what Bludhaven would've been like
before all the old riots and everything else." He
blows the leaf off his palm. "Or maybe it's just the
church. What's up?"
I'm thinking about having sex with Batman, and
wondering how much that's going to fuck up *our*
friendship. "It's complicated."
"Somehow, I could guess that, what with you
being *here* on your first full night back from
the random alternate universe, instead of clinging
desperately to your bed saying 'thank God' over and
Kon snorts. "It... wasn't that kind of alternate
"There are *good* alternate universes? I didn't think
it worked that way."
"Yeah, well... Tim was alive."
Dick stops. And it wasn't like he was doing anything
in particular, and it's not like he *freezes*, but...
there's something very obvious about a Dick who
*isn't* in motion. And then he is, again, standing
up and staring at him and moving his hands in
ways that never quite settle into actual
communication. "Wait... Tim was... and you came
Kon gestures at the city in general and shrugs.
"Don't take this the wrong way, man, but... uh.
It was really *extremely* obvious that you were
in love with him. I mean, was he... not himself in
"No, he was himself. *Absolutely* himself. And
yeah, I *was* in love with him. I'm just..."
"Not anymore. Hunh. Okay, I can see where the
complicated comes in."
And also there's Batman. "Dick..."
"You know, I think about Tim a lot. We all do.
But..." And Dick isn't quite pacing so much as
not-exactly dancing along the edge of the roof.
Kon follows him with his eyes and waits.
"I used to tell that kid so *much*. I mean, we all
*did*, but..." Dick flips up onto his hands and
Kon supposes he can call *that* pacing. It's
slower, in any event. "Every once in a while, when
we were on patrol together or something, I would
just... look at him, and realize he knew *exactly*
how fucked up I was." Back onto his feet, and Dick
pushes his hair out of his face and laughs. "We all
know *that*, too, right?"
"Sort of...?" He tries a smile.
Dick grins at him. "Right. But... yeah. You guys all
know what I'm like -- what I'm *really* like --
because you're good at what you do. Because it's
what you're trained for. *Tim* knew because I
never bothered to even pretend anything else. I
told myself it was a Robin thing, but..."
"I think Tim was... I think he was like that for a
lot of people." I think it's one of the things that
really fucked him up. "I know he was for me."
Dick nods slowly and stares up at the spire, clearly
considering the best way to climb it. Or maybe
the hardest way. "Is it easier? Knowing that he's
still alive in that other universe?"
Kon has to think about that for a minute. "Kind
of, yeah. Like nothing ever really dies completely."
Whether or not it should.
"Even when you want it to?" Dick's grin is old
"Mm." And Dick *leaps* at the spire, feet slipping
and hands... not. Kon isn't sure when he got the
suction cups on, but he did.
Kon watches him climb, and then watches him
balance at the tip, a one-handed stand that makes
Kon want to reach out with his aura, just in case.
"So, now that you're maybe in love with Batman,
you're wondering what's wrong with you, whether
or not I'm going to kill you, and possibly if you're
Another one of those old smiles. "One, I've *been*
there, two, you're talking to *me* about *Tim*,
when the only one of us you'd say *anything* to
for the last six months is the one of us who almost
certainly wouldn't talk back, three, I'm the one
who got you drunk the first time you figured out
you wanted Bruce, four --"
"Okay! *Jesus*, Dick."
Dick stretches, or... it *would* be a stretch for
just about anyone else. On him, it's more like
he'd just dropped his legs into that position
because it seemed like it would be more
comfortable to geld himself. "Mm. Yeah, don't
ask questions you don't want the answers to, kid.
I thought we'd *taught* you that."
"And..." Kon scrubs a hand over his face and
sighs. "And if I do want the answers?"
Dick gives him another look, impossible to read,
and then flips his way off the spire, landing in
front of Kon and pulling off the cups before
tucking them into his boots. "Then I'd say...
there's nothing wrong with you that isn't wrong
with the rest of us; no, but try to avoid sharing
the gory details; and, why the hell are you asking
That last comes out open, honest, and honestly
plaintive. It's the sort of thing that makes Kon
think about hugging Dick, but hugs always mean
too much with these people. He winces to
"Dick... I just don't want to fuck things up."
"With Bruce? Or with the rest of us?"
"I can't help you with the former -- *God* can't help
you with the former -- but..." Dick rests his hands
on Kon's shoulders and looks at him.
It shouldn't be so easy to feel the man's eyes with
a mask on, but Kon knows Dick can feel *his*. "I'm
"Look. Between you and those... *fucking* letters
of Tim's, we've had the best run we've *ever* had.
But nothing lasts forever, you know? Every last
one of us has been in love with Bruce, no matter
what we actually *wanted*. We get it, okay?
Huntress might kneecap you, but then again, she
might just find a way to be happy." Dick shrugs
and grins at him. "Either way, we were due for
a shakeup. As Robin, you're doing a fine job of
Kon snorts. "Thanks?"
"You're welcome." Dick claps his shoulders and
heads for the edge of the roof, grinning at him
over his shoulder. "Now get out of my city, kid."
And then he's gone, free fall to swing. Kon *could*
watch until his vision gave out , but Dick is weaving
around *every* building. He gets it.
He takes off and heads for Gotham.
Bruce isn't in the Cave when he gets back, which
is both a little odd and a relief. Kon strips and
showers, grabbing a robe instead of the street
clothes that... actually aren't there. Alfred has
gone *right* back to 'the boys need more sleep'
routine, and it's just another reminder that he's
*Really* home, except for the fact that *his*
room doesn't have a light on under the door,
and it's down the other hall besides. Kon takes a
breath and knocks, and Bruce doesn't say anything.
He has just enough time to think 'what now?' before
Bruce opens the door, stripped down to boxers with
his thumb tucked into an issue of Science.
"Not like before."
Bruce leans in, slow and steady, and presses his
mouth to Kon's ear in something too light to be a
kiss. "Come in."
And Kon makes it about three feet of the way inside
before it's just too much. Bruce's skin, and Bruce's
scars, and the faint hint of plastic and armor that
never really goes away, that means Bruce will be
putting on cologne before leaving the house *as*
Bruce, but right now there's just the salt of his skin,
the muffled thud of Bruce's body hitting the door
when Kon pushes, and the papery flap of the
magazine hitting the floor.
Kon holds Bruce there with his hands on his chest
and licks Bruce's neck until all he can taste is his
own spit, and when he looks up... Bruce eyes are
*focused* on him, glittering hot -- or maybe just
so cold it *feels* hot, and Kon pushes harder and
kisses him, not letting his hands move until he
feels the kiss move from 'starting' to 'not-stopping,'
that moment when you know that all you want to
do is keep licking the other person's tongue, when
the other person --
When *Bruce* moans low and pleased into Kon's
mouth and tilts his head for a better, dirtier angle.
And Bruce's hands aren't on him, he's keeping them
*still*, and Kon can't decide if that's sexy or
brain-killing or *both*. For now, it's enough to just
touch him, to just -- fuck, feel Bruce *up* like it's
the third date and the girl is friendly, or something.
The thought makes him laugh, and *that* makes
Bruce move, breaking the kiss for real and letting his
head fall back against the door.
It feels like the first time Kon's looking at the man,
or... maybe the second time, because the first time
was all about 'hey, aren't you that guy?' and this is
"Fuck, you're hot."
Bruce raises one of those too-thick-but-absolutely-
*not* eyebrows and smiles, thin lips red from
kissing and teeth flashing white. Everything on him
is sharp, cheekbones and jaw-line and everything
else, and it's not a thought so much as a *need*.
Push closer, lean up and in and rub his cheek against
Bruce's own, stubble on stubble and the press of
bone against his own face.
And Bruce finally touches him, one hand cupping
the back of his head and the other pushing between
them, hard knuckles digging into Kon's stomach
through the robe and... stroking.
"I always wonder... how much you feel when the
aura is up."
"Enough. Sometimes. *I* always wonder how all
of you know when it's down."
Kon feels Bruce smile against his face. "I suppose
I could let you in on the secret."
"Now that I'm one of you, or now that I'm *letting*
Bruce's knuckles slip down a little further, and Kon
feels the tie on the robe let go. He tries to pull back,
at least enough to let the robe fall *off*, but Bruce
tightens his hold on the back of Kon's head and
pushes his knuckles in again.
The world's slowest punch, and that was a *bad*
thought to have, because the next time he's sparring
with Bruce, he's going to be *just* as hard as he is
right now. "Bruce, touch me..."
"I thought you wanted to know the secret."
"You're *teasing* me now?"
Kon feels that grin again, hard and faintly damp
against his skin. And Bruce... licks him. Twice. Short
strokes with just the tip of his tongue. "Yes."
"Drop the aura."
Kon stills and does it.
"Mm. Even when I can't see your face..."
"You open up. All over. You..." A low hum, and Bruce
starts sliding his knuckles, up and down, and a little
further down each time.
Kon gasps and shudders. "I don't --"
"The aura protects you, among other things. It also
keeps you *back*. Holds you separate. You can feel
me more, now."
"Every time you drop the aura, I can feel *you*
more. A presence in the room. More of your
"You've surrounded yourself with people who hide
as a matter of course, Kon." And Bruce's knuckles
dig in *hard*.
"Oh *fuck*, yes..."
Bruce loosens his hold on the back of Kon's head,
and Kon leans back far enough to look in his eyes.
"How could we *not* know when you expose
yourself so freely?"
And Bruce leans in to kiss him again, but all Kon
can do is groan into his mouth and shake, and
Bruce moves to hold him tighter, but Kon pushes
back and drops to his knees, yanking Bruce's
boxers down with shaking hands and pressing his
mouth against the hollow of Bruce's hip until he
can *stop* shaking.
Kon groans against Bruce's skin and cups his hips,
licking his way toward the scent, the heat, the
*taste*, sharper and sharper on his tongue until
Kon's almost *numb* with it by the time he gets
his lips around the head of Bruce's dick.
"Kon," Bruce says again, and both hands are on
his head, not holding him so much as stroking
with and against the grain of his hair.
I like being naked for you, Kon thinks. I wish I'd
known, and I would've -- the thought doesn't
finish. The thought *dies* at the first thrust of
Bruce's dick into his mouth, the first gentle *push*
of those hips against his hold, and Kon whimpers
and forces himself to look *up*.
And Bruce is too beautiful for this, too beautiful to
be *real*, perfect from his movie-star face to the
Batman-scars that start on his throat and loop
and cut their way down, all the way down to the
knife wound Kon's stroking with his right thumb
and every other random, scary *thing* that he
finds with his *left* hand.
And Bruce smiles down at him, only lazy until
you look in his half-wild eyes, and pushes *in*.
Hot, slick *slide* of him, weight on Kon's lip and
tongue, and Kon starts sucking more to keep
himself from drooling too much than for anything
else. Bruce makes a long, low humming sound, and
strokes the back of Kon's neck and just keeps
*looking* at him. It feels like being burned alive.
It feels like being *eaten*, and Kon wraps one
hand around the base of Bruce's dick and drives
himself down and down, over and over, until he
can't decide if he wants Bruce to come in his
mouth or just wants to keep fucking himself like
this until he loses consciousness.
He's hard and getting harder, and his belly
remembers the push of Bruce's knuckles and his
mouth feels used and *alive*, and his dick --
He squeezes Bruce's hip harder to keep himself
from reaching for himself, and Bruce's eyes
*flare*, widening and narrowing again, and
Bruce isn't smiling anymore. It's a quiet little
snarl, more subtle than anything he's seen on
Batman's face. It's a *Bruce* snarl, and Kon's
hips jerk helplessly.
Bruce traces one hand down over his cheek,
pressure soft and calluses rough and *hard*
on his stretched lips before he pets the hand
Kon has around the base of his dick.
"Swallow," he says, and Kon whimpers again
and lets go, swallowing around the short, steady
thrust of Bruce's dick, and he can't keep his eyes
Has to close them and just *feel* this, every
thrust, every sharp, tiny gulp of air he can get
between them and --
And the sound he makes would probably be
Bruce's name if he wasn't fucking *choking*
on Bruce's dick, but --
"Yes," Bruce says, and "do it," and it's nothing like
the voice he uses when they're training or
patrolling, but it might as well be. He'll hear it,
anyway. He'll hear it and want it, and he squeezes
Bruce's hip one more time before reaching down
and stroking himself, *squeezing* himself because
he has to, because it makes him moan louder and
it makes Bruce go *faster*.
Harder, and he's holding it in a little with every
stroke, and Kon tries to catch Bruce's rhythm,
but it's impossible. He's too hard for this, he
*hurts* too much for this, and Bruce is panting,
and the heavy heat of himself in his own fist is
suddenly huge. *Profound* in a way that's all
about sucking Bruce off against Bruce's bedroom
About being on his knees exactly because he
wants to be, *and* because it's getting Bruce off.
"Kon," Bruce says, and it's somewhere between
a purr and possessive little growl. It's being
touched again, all over, and Kon groans and
comes all over his own fist.
And Bruce just keeps fucking Kon's face, holding
his head still now and *moving*, thrust after
thrust, only ragged because Kon knows exactly
what kind of grace the man is capable of.
Raw, he thinks, and he's still *hard*, and all he
can do is hold on to himself and take it.
And then Bruce pushes him off, and pushes
him *back*, until he's flat on the floor and Bruce
is straddling his waist, and Kon opens his eyes
and Bruce is... he's not looking at Kon so much
as taking him *in*, hungry like nothing Kon has
ever seen before, one hand around his spit-slick
dick and the other splayed flat on Kon's chest.
*That* makes Bruce look at him, look *into* him,
and on anyone else's face that smile would be
playful. On Bruce's face, it's just the sense-memory
of Bruce's dick in Kon's throat and the first time he'd
thrown a punch without pulling it.
And then Bruce starts to stroke himself and *pet*
Kon, half-random patterns of callus and *heat* all
over his chest, spiraling in and in on one nipple --
"*Please*, Bruce --"
Bruce hums again, low in his throat, and twists,
hard and then *harder*, again and again, and Kon
realizes that it's the same rhythm Bruce is using
on his own dick and feels himself *flex*, hears
himself whine, and then whine again because it
He's stiff all over, hot and prickling and sensitive,
and Bruce is jerking *off* on him, pinning him
down and staring at him and -- "Hurts..."
And Bruce hisses between his teeth and
And cups Kon's head and leans in and kisses him
hard, tongue stroking in and knuckles -- it's too
hard against his stomach to be a stroke. It's one
hit after another, only it's Bruce working his dick
between them and groaning into Kon's mouth.
More when he comes all over Kon's chest and
Kon grunts into the kiss and grabs Bruce's biceps
to *keep* him there until his body can deal with
slowing down, until he can stop his hips from
working up and up, and he hadn't even realized
he was *doing* that. Bruce kisses him and... Kon
can feel him waiting.
"Just... want to feel you," he says, and Bruce
kisses him again.
"You taste better with the aura down, too."
"Let go. I want to suck you," Bruce says, and
licks Kon's lips.
Kon strokes his way up to Bruce's shoulders and
squeezes once before he lets go. He can't figure
out how to say any of the things he can barely
figure out how to think. Too good. Too much.
Don't *stop*, and Bruce bites Kon's mouth and
crawls down his body, licking a hot stripe through
his own come. Kon digs his fingers into the thick
carpeting and tries not to buck.
And completely fails when Bruce wraps his fist
around him and *looks* at him, and then swallows
him down in one hot, not-fast-enough move,
moving his fist just in time.
"Bruce. *Bruce* --"
And the vibration of the sound Bruce makes
around him makes Kon jerk and *thrust*, and
Bruce sets one hand on Kon's hip, but doesn't
hold him so much as *ride* him.
"Oh God, Bruce --"
More. *More*, and he can feel it, feel Bruce
*thinking* it, or maybe it's just the need inside
him he barely had a name for before he'd kissed
Tim and barely *understood* until he'd kissed
Bruce. He spreads his legs and pulls his knees
up, planting his feet for better leverage, and
Bruce makes another one of those *sounds*.
And slides his hand off Kon's hip to push up
behind his balls, to make him whimper and cry
out much too *loud*, and Kon shoves his fist in
his mouth and *bites*. The pain just makes it
better, hotter, *realer*, and he fucks Bruce's
mouth and *wants*.
He can have this. He *will* have this, because
Bruce is going to give it to him and make him
*take* it, and not even letting people call him
'Robin,' feels as *final* as this. Like he'd spent
his whole life wandering around waiting to be
held down. Waiting to be swallowed and *had*, and
it's worth it.
Everything is worth it, just for this, when he
works himself up awkwardly on his free elbow
and *sees* this. The look in Bruce's eyes, just
He doesn't ever want to get away.
Kon cries out around his own fist and comes, and
Bruce swallows him down, finally closing his eyes.
Eventually, Kon realizes that the distant thud is his
head hitting the floor again, but by that time Bruce
is kissing him, slick and slow and hard.
Kon moans, and, when he can, wraps his arms
around Bruce and holds on. Tighter when Bruce
rests most of his weight on him, and everything
is heat and pressure and the smell of sex.
"I'm... I..." He still doesn't have words.
"Yes," Bruce says, and kisses his forehead.
It's not religion, it's about sixteen thousand miles
from mental health, and he isn't sure if love is
the right word to use anymore, in a world where
sunlight is a reminder to sleep.
"I'm home," Kon says, and Bruce hums against
his forehead and holds on.