Go down knowing
by Te
June 1, 2004

Disclaimers: Not mine.
Spoilers: Current Robin issues.
Summary: Tim doesn't make it easy. Neither does Bernard.
Ratings Note: PG-13

Author's Note: Another quote+generator fic, due to Miss Livia:

i'm gonna come to your town, i'm gonna call you up.
then i don't know what i'm gonna do,
you feel like you're out on a long limb;
like you've risked it all. but i'll go out there with you,
and when the bough breaks, the cradle will just fall.
i'd rather go down knowing what it was like-
than to keep myself company one more night-
one more night.

- one more night, ani difranco


Bernard has been playing games with people his whole life, so it wasn't really
a surprise to *get* played. Some hypothetical and terribly unoriginal person
would probably call it poetic justice.

He's not sure what to call it. It.


Tim's giving him the kind of deep, soulful look that would -- he can admit this
to himself -- probably work horrifically well on him if it wasn't being used to
illustrate *this*. Bernard takes a breath, and tries to force his voice to be a
little more even.

"You're breaking up with me?" There. Far more curiosity and incredulity in
his tone than anything else.

The deep, soulful look gets just a little deeper. Tim looks like a little like a
blue-eyed dog, and while he isn't really *fidgeting* -- he never does -- he's
definitely moving. Shifting in his seat like there are a thousand places he'd
rather be.

Which would be in character. Bernard smiles to himself, and knows it probably
looks mean. Even better. He sets his hands palm down on Tim's bed and
leans forward a bit. "Darling, we're not even going *out*." Thomas Grieve
wasn't Harvey Milk, and 'out' is something for the future.

Tim's smile is small and just a little twitchy, and the deep soulful look has been
replaced with... nothing, really. Tim is staring at his own shoes when he says,
"my life... is about to get a lot more complicated. Again. I..."

"You won't have *time* for me? Is that what you're trying to say?"

Bernard watches Tim's hand tighten on the edge of the desk.

"You're really going to have to do better than that, Tim." Because I think I
want to hurt you, and something tells me that the fact that I've never been a
jock has nothing to do with the fact that I most probably couldn't. Bernard
crosses his arms over his chest to keep from tightening his *own* hands into

"There are a lot of things I can't tell you, Bernard --"

"You certainly can't if you keep talking to your fucking --" He takes another
deep breath. "To your shoes." He stares at the top of Tim's head for a few
more seconds, and then Tim looks up again.

Looks... his expression is somewhere between deadly serious and bleak, and
Bernard can't keep from laughing.

"I just want a little explanation, and..." Possibly to *strangle* you. "You
don't have to look like a refugee from some tedious war movie."

Tim blinks. "Refugee."


"From a... war movie."

Bernard raises an eyebrow. And keeps it raised when Tim starts laughing,
because it really isn't the sort of laughter one could comfortably *share*. It's
not a comfortable laugh at all.

Tim drags the back of the hand he's not clutching the desk with over his
mouth, and his eyes glint with something unfamiliar. "Maybe I am."

And *this* is a game he can play. It's the one they've *been* playing from
day one. Bernard says something clever, Tim says as close to nothing as
possible. Later, the game evolved to include Tim saying as close to nothing
as possible while kissing him, and while Bernard said what in hindsight seems
to be far too much.

He could play that game all *fucking* day. The problem is that he really
doesn't want to.

"You could've just said, 'I'm afraid of getting caught, Bernard,' or 'Fun's
over, I'm straight again.'"

And Tim's back to looking at his shoes, and Bernard can't keep his hands
out of fists anymore.

"But you *didn't*. Instead, all I get out of you is 'I can't do this anymore,'
and what looked like a bout of hysteria *lite*. If you want to lie to me,
*do* it. Don't just --"

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

"-- act like..." Bernard bites the inside of his cheek viciously and stares at
the top of Tim's head. "Tim."

"That was the best part of this... of this. Not having to lie. But now I have
a choice, Bernard." Tim looks at him again, steady and even. "Either I kick
you out of my life, or I start lying to you."

He doesn't want to be pathetic. Not ever. He doesn't have to say
anything. He -- "There's a third choice."

"There isn't."

"There -- do you think you can't *trust* me?"

Tim doesn't even hesitate. "It's not about you. It's not even about *me*."

He needs to be anywhere but here. Absolutely anywhere. Possibly a Young
Republicans meeting. "This *is* about us."

"You're the one who said we weren't even going out, Bernard."

"And we *both* know that isn't the *point*." His face feels hot. His palms
hurt from the pressure of his own fingernails and he needs to stop looking
at Tim looking like *that*. Serious and bleak and sad and --

"I don't. I don't get to have this."

Bernard's not going anywhere and he's not looking away. "You do. If you
want it."

"I can't *tell* you anything --"

Bernard moves, and he *knows* Tim sees it. Everything he's going to do
before he does it, because Tim is just that scarily *good* at things like
that. But he lets Bernard touch his face, lets him get close, because...
because he always does.

"Bernard --"

"Do you think this will get rid of me? You *want* to tell me whatever the
fuck this is. You keep putting questions in front of me and -- and fucking
*daring* me to ask them."

"I can't --"

"I want to know. Whatever it is. And the only reason it's important is
because..." Then I get to have this. Bernard chokes on a little hysterical
laughter of his own, and swallows when Tim touches his face.

"There are secrets that can get people killed, Bernard."

"You're a *high* school student." And he knows he sounds like he's
pleading, but he can't really do anything about it.

Especially when Tim smiles at him, rueful and sad and something else
Bernard can't quite touch. Something almost predatory. "I'm a lot of

"This is where I point out that you're doing an awful job of this again,


"Maybe. *Maybe*. That's --"

Not an answer, and neither is the kiss. Bruising and hard like the way
Tim does when Bernard teases him by not touching him as roughly as
he likes. It's not an answer at *all*, not even when Tim moans into it
and pulls Bernard closer, until he's bent over Tim and they're putting
too much pressure on the stupid computer chair.

He pulls back and breathes and tries not to stare at Tim's swollen
mouth. "Tell me."

"Find out," Tim says, leaning back in his chair with his legs spread and
a lazy, sharp-toothed smile on his face. It's a dare. It's...

A game. And, apparently, a very dangerous one indeed. Bernard feels
his heart beat a little faster, and wonders, idly, what sort of job he'll
have to get in the future to afford the sort of intensive therapy he's
absolutely going to need.

And the way Tim looks at him says he sees every last one of those
thoughts on Bernard's face. And likes them.

Bernard raises a judicious eyebrow, and pulls back a little further,
straightening his clothes. "And what do I get if -- *when* -- I do?" When
I *win*.

"A lifetime of secrets, angst, and danger." Dead serious voice and
dancing eyes.

His mind isn't sure which to believe, like the wagging tail of a snarling
dog. His mind wants to point out that the lack of certainty is a *bad* thing.
His mind isn't doing a very good job today, either. "Well," he says. "So
long as it isn't *dull*."

Tim smiles at his own secrets, and doesn't say anything else.

It's all right. One day, they'll be *his* secrets, too.