So quite new
by Te
March 4, 2007

Disclaimers: No one and nothing here is mine.

Spoilers: Really very tiny and vague ones for the B:TAS
episode "Robin's Reckoning." Yep, it's toonverse.

Summary: They have no one to set the rules.

Ratings Note/Warnings: Sexual content which dovetails
neatly with the content some readers may find disturbing.

Author's Note: One more remnant from Mumbledycon '06.
For Petra, with much sublaffection.

Acknowledgments: To Petra and Jack for audiencing and
encouragement. Jack also helped with that whole
English grammar thing.


"Ohh. It's a double-feature tonight! We," Dick says, lifting his
feet from the floor and lifting himself -- leaping, light and
nimble -- before tucking them beneath himself. "We need
popcorn." He smiles, kneeling, and Bruce smiles back and
waits for the words to make as much sense -- he can hope
for that -- as the motion, the not-as-wordless-as-a-part-of-
him-would-believe *fact* of him.

This -- has become something of a habit. It's well after two
in the morning, and whether or not *he* should be asleep,
Dick should. Alfred will be taking him to school in a matter
of hours.

"I mean. It's a *movie*," Dick says, and certainly there
are --

Certainly it would be simple enough to allow himself to
acknowledge what the slight hesitation in Dick's tone has
*already* acknowledged -- they both know this should be
against rules. Against --

("Well, *sure*, but my bedtime was always later if there was
a show, or if the crowds were good enough that it was worth
going late.")

He isn't Dick's father, and it seems as though he has not yet
grown accustomed to the impossible freedom inherent to
that hopelessly obvious fact, and it doesn't matter that he'd
never imagined otherwise.

"Two movies," he says, and changes his expression to one --
hopefully -- comically confused. "But I'm not sure if I know
how to make popcorn."

For a moment, it seems he had -- undershot. Dick is blinking
at him -- nearly gaping -- "You -- *really*?"

Then again, there are any number of things of which Bruce
had been ignorant before Dick had allowed him to bring him
back, to bring him *home*. It's entirely possible -- plausible --
that, among everything else, he has taught Dick to believe
the absolute worst about his own ability to take care of

"I mean -- well, I'll teach you," Dick says, and Bruce wonders,
not for the first time, what it will feel like when Dick realizes
how quickly he moves, how much effort Bruce has to put in --
now and always -- to *stop* him.

He already knows he won't be the one to tell him. Bruce lets
his hand rest on Dick's shoulder and doesn't -- quite -- push.


It would almost certainly help if he remembers why he'd
wanted to stop Dick in the first place -- and it speaks very
highly indeed of his renewed capacity for hope that he
believes, honestly, that there may very well have *been* a
reason other than not wishing Dick to move away from this
place where Bruce can, with only a moment, be beside him
and at rest. "I -- it's nothing," he says, and steps back to
leave room for the usual magic:

Released, Dick is the purest motion. It is an illusion that he
was ever still. "We just have to be quiet," he says.

"Yes, Alfred is asleep --"

"Uh, huh, and you know --" It's a pause, more than a stop.
A space to allow Dick to make a face before continuing on.
"He never likes to *let* me do anything for myself. Or -- well. I
guess he's used to it with *you*."

Is a smile hidden if its focus is moving too quickly to see it?
"Almost certainly," Bruce says, and follows.

The only light is the flicker of the television, and there's
less than that in the hall. It's something of an exercise in
thought and control to mark Dick's progress just the same, to
move slowly enough that Dick is far enough *ahead* to make it
even more of a challenge --

He is not training, and so he removes his shoes before
continuing. There are twin indentations in the thick pile
of the carpeting that repeat every near-yard -- he curls his
socked toes into the marks of Dick's palms. He brushes, with
the sleeve of his sweater, the absent scuff Dick had left
on the wall when -- yes.

The manor has settled and resettled over the past century,
and the flooring he has never actually seen beneath this
carpeting was just uneven enough to make Dick lose his --

When he gets to the kitchen, Dick is standing on the countertop --
he has removed his own shoes at last -- and is rummaging on the
highest shelf to the left of the sink. He rises silently on his toes while
Bruce watches, and reaches further with a grunt.

"We don't have popcorn very often," Bruce says, in an apology
which almost certainly sounds more sincere than it is.

"Well --" And Dick grunts again, turning his head to the side to
increase his extension. His tongue is caught -- almost certainly
lightly -- between his teeth. "Of *course* not. You have to --
well, you can't eat popcorn *alone*," Dick says. "I know I
*saw* some, anyway."

The last is directed more at the room then at Bruce himself,
and it's more than enough of a cue to make himself --
relatively -- useful. Alfred tends to keep the appliances he
uses least often in the closet -- it's more of an incongruously
primitive room -- which had almost certainly been Bruce's
paternal grandmother's -- or great-grandmother's -- pantry.

He finds the popcorn maker in the box the manufacturer had
originally packed it in. The cardboard has long since begun
to yellow, but there is no hint of dust. Perhaps Alfred had
simply been -- as ever -- more intelligent than himself
about those things which would gain utility with Dick's

He --

He is not alone, in any way, and even though it's been
nearly a year --

There is a wonder to it, just the same. To having the image --
memorized, helplessly -- of Dick doing a very passable chin-up
on the edge of the highest shelf, toes several steady inches
above the countertop.

And to having the right (duty? pleasure?) of cupping Dick's
hips and lifting him --

"Oh -- I had it, Bruce --"

"Yes, but we don't want to miss the movie, Dick."

Dick's laugh is absently breathless. "I -- yeah, that," he
says, and the angle is wrong, but Bruce doesn't need to see
the blush of misbehavior -- Dick's conception of it -- to
feel it.

The sound of his voice, the tension in lean and perfect
muscle --

"Bruce, I..." Dick has turned enough to look down into
his eyes, and there's a regret there --

He had not meant to tighten his hands. "I know that the
movies weren't your -- primary concern, Dick," he says,
and regrets it.

Dick's eyes are not wide with *relief*. "I *know* I
should go to bed, Bruce, and I'm sorry --"

"Dick, it's -- it's all right," and -- perhaps there is
enough of the honest plea in his tone to satisfy the need.

Dick's expression is both skeptical and surprised, but
it's far better than the alternative. And, after a moment,
he pulls the carefully sealed and unlabeled bottle of
popcorn out of the cabinet. And smiles.


There are any number of times in the past several months
when Bruce has begun, within his mind, the sentence, "I
knew when I saw you -- truly saw you -- that there was
nothing I could protect you from which would truly make
a difference." He isn't sure of the words which would
follow those, however, and the idea of saying anything of
the kind becomes -- easily, frighteningly -- obscure in
Dick's presence.

His *wakeful* presence -- and though it seems it should
be easier to express nearly any of it if he could simply
begin by narrowing his focus to the topic of his -- their --
nightmares, there is, as ever, a difference between
'seems' and 'is.'

Dick is -- *is* -- perfectly wakeful now, despite the occasional
light tremor in the muscles of his thighs and upper arms which
speaks of fatigue -- he always works very hard -- and, of
course, despite the hour.

What this means -- beyond motion, fact, scent, *being* -- is
that the idea of nightmares is, if not ridiculous, then at least
somewhat nebulous.

The movie has far more of his attention than Bruce would've
predicted. It's not as though it's a surprise -- at this point --
that Dick is capable of doing any number of things while
stretching his body into positions the vast majority of
humanity would find torturous. There is nothing surprising
about the way he gathers handfuls of popcorn with his left
hand -- at the moment, the bowl is between them -- while
his right is locked with casual perfection around his right
ankle, which is, in turn, far closer to his ear than to the left
ankle. The fact that his gaze never leaves the screen is,
nonetheless, more than a little remarkable.

The couch is more than long enough to make this comfortable
for both of them, of course --

If Dick were to ask him now what he thought about the film --
how he *liked* it -- Bruce would have nothing to say. The
truth of a wakeful Dick is *demand*, though not by any of
the definitions Bruce would've expected.

He doesn't resent the pull he feels, the need he has to do
just this:

To watch, and learn, and -- it's another variety of possession.


Of course, Dick *is* tired. While he's perfected the art of
yawning as silently as possible, he has not yet developed
the ability to yawn without opening his mouth. For the past
twenty minutes, Dick has spent a great deal of time turning
away -- from Bruce -- in an attempt to disguise his exhaustion
which he almost certainly knows won't work.

It's a sign of --

It is, in its way, clear and undeniable proof of something
uncomfortable in its truth -- even outside of their uniforms,
Dick clearly expects him to assume at least a few of the
trappings of the role he had promised Dick he'd never --

Dick would be -- Dick must have been a wonderful, perfect,
heart-wrenchingly unbelievable son to his late parents. He
must've been -- anyone would offer much to have a son like
this, with all of his brilliance, with the transcendence of his
physicality, the sense that he is always, at all times,

There *is* freedom in being nothing of the kind, but Dick,
more than anything else -- more *desirably* than anything
else -- makes Bruce hopelessly aware of his own youth, and
the limitations therein.

He thinks -- he suspects that, were he older than he is, he
would lunge greedily toward every hint Dick gives that Dick
*would* have -- *want* -- some degree of fatherhood from

Wouldn't he?

Another yawn, and he can -- he doesn't want Dick to go to
sleep. Not really, not -- not yet.


The quality of the light from the television screen adds
something almost mauve to the flush on Dick's cheeks. Most
probably -- embarrassment at continued misbehavior.
Though, of course, it could be embarrassment at failing to
be able to misbehave to the fullest extent. It --

He doesn't have to hide this smile, and there's nothing to
say -- that he can think of -- he should. "Would you -- if you
could, perhaps, talk to me about why you don't want to go
to sleep --"

"It's not that! It --" Dick's movements belie the very concept
that he might have been tired -- sleepy --

Or rather -- they would for someone not as well-versed in
the range and scope of Dick's talents and abilities. The
tremor of fatigue is visible, off-resonance to the flickering
greys, in Dick's left calf muscle in the moment before sits
on his heels and looks at -- to -- Bruce.

"It's really -- it's not the nightmares," Dick says, and then
bites his lip. "I mean, I don't *like* them, obviously, but --
it's not the nightmares."

Sometimes Bruce is quite sure that he'll never be able to --
Alfred might not ever be able to -- even list the number of
'tells' Dick has which will never allow him to be more than a
moderately effective liar, much less to teach him to hide
them. None of them are present at this moment, and so,
even though there's something about Dick which simply
*feels* guilty, Bruce can only nod, slowly, and say, "then

Dick clasps his hands together and squeezes them, stops,
and for a moment they fly apart like birds, or like those of
a showman's, before Dick lets his palms clap against his
thighs and dips his head. "It's embarrassing."

It -- it is endlessly, wonderfully captivating. Which doesn't,
precisely, help with figuring out how to urge Dick to tell
him. Bruce has proof -- and a fair amount of chagrin -- that
even a great stack of books on a subject -- for example,
the nature of puberty -- will not, necessarily, keep him from
resorting to lecture to get his points across.

He had -- barely -- avoided breaking out the films and
cheerfully-colored posters which had left *him* feeling
doubtful about the state of his body. Still --

This isn't that -- difficult. It can't be. "It -- it can be our
secret, Dick," Bruce says, and is more than wise enough
(at last) not to try to make his smile reassuring. He has
learned he needs time for that. And -- practice.

What he has -- and what he has offered -- eases the
impending frown on Dick's face back to something close to

"I promise," Bruce says, and --

And Dick flushes again, and the frown begins to return.

"I… don't promise?"

"I --" And if there's something of a mixed message to the
image of Dick staring almost fixedly at the couch while also
laughing, it is, still, a laugh.

Bruce isn't entirely sure which of them he's trying to comfort
by reaching for one of Dick's hands when he begins to curl it
into a fist, but --

"Oh," Dick says, and twists his hand -- limber and quick --
until he can twine his fingers in Bruce's own and squeeze.
This, at least, finally makes Dick look up at him, and smile,
and the flush feels closer to one of his -- many -- blushes.

Bruce smiles back, and raises his eyebrows, and -- has to
work, very hard, to make the stop he feels inside not
*show*. He should've known -- Dick almost always seems to
find contact soothing, and welcome. Even at times and in
situations where Bruce would have anything *but*.

"That's -- that's it, really. Um," and Dick squeezes Bruce's
hand again, and *looks* -- at and into -- and his smile
becomes something either expectant, tentative, or both at

And Bruce -- has no idea, whatsoever. He --

He can manage, he thinks, not to look as abruptly,
hopelessly, *pained* as he feels -- certainly if he couldn't
it's likely that Dick wouldn't still be smiling at him -- but
beyond that…

Dick clearly feels as though he's at least communicated the
gist of something both deeply important, and deeply
important to their current status…

Of breaking those rules (which neither of them have anyone
to set) that explain precisely why they shouldn't be watching
Merle Oberon create a compelling blend of the ethereal and
the unyielding at this time of night.


He has -- if not nothing, then at least very little. "I'm afraid I
still don't understand, Dick?"

"You -- you don't?"

"I -- no, I don't think. I don't think I do," Bruce says, and
isn't at all sure what to do about the fact that it makes Dick
tug at their joined hands until Bruce lets go. Until Dick can
pull *away*. "Dick? Am I -- are you uncomfortable?"

"N-no. I mean I just. I thought we could…"

It's -- it's really a somewhat terrible moment, given the
simultaneous urge to lean in, to find a way to loom in a
friendly manner, to provide a sort of gentle intimidation (if
at all possible) because it's clear that an answer is *close* --

Really, that's bad enough. Much worse is the fact that Bruce
is nearly positive that many in Dick's position would simply
have given up on him by now. In this case, of course, giving
up would almost certainly involve Dick finally going to bed.

How long *will* it take before Alfred's silent sense of
rightness pulls him from his bed?

All of this -- all -- and he doesn't know. He doesn't *know*,
and really, to hell with all of the books and studies. Bruce
takes -- it feels like the re-capture of disputed territory,
which is all, all wrong -- Dick's hands in his own and
squeezes, and leans in close enough that he can see -- feel --
his breath moving Dick's hair, and --

"Please, Dick. Tell me. I -- you know how hopeless -- please."

It's -- entirely possible that there would've been a less
intimidated (mortifying) look on Dick's face if he had simply
gone for an attempt at interrogation. Still.

"I -- I really would like to know. It's -- it's important," Bruce
tries, and squeezes Dick's hands again.

"Well, I -- Bruce." For a moment, Dick only blinks at him. The
music swells and dips -- it's longer than a moment -- and
then fades again, and Dick finally says, "it's just that we only
seem to spend time together when we're training or
patrolling. And I -- it's nice to just do nothing. Or nothing
important. I think. Don't you think?"

Surely, it's his turn to blink, because -- "It's that simple?"

Dick nods.

"*That's* why you don't want to sleep? You just want to --
spend time with me?"

"I -- *yes*," Dick says, and tugs at his hands, and -- it
probably isn't right to hold on, this way.

It probably --

"I mean, I know it's -- immature, Bruce, but --"

"I don't think -- I wanted to spend time with you, too. I was
only -- worried."

Dick stops tugging. "You do? And -- worried about what?"

I knew when I saw you -- truly -- Bruce shakes his head.
"It's really not important, Dick," he says, and loosens his
grip on Dick's hands. Somewhat.

It's enough to make Dick grin at him, tighten *his* grip for
a moment, and --

Every hug is a surprise and something of a wonder, still, in
its own right. He's reasonably sure he *should* have seen
this one coming, but he also believes some degree of
sympathy could be allowed for the fact that there is a
ticklish drop of a sweat rolling down his spine, and his scalp
is prickling a bit with the sweat which didn't -- quite -- come
to the surface.

It's possible that if he *tried* to be a parent to someone like
Dick, to someone so much *more* than everything Bruce
has known --

Younger men have died of coronaries.


It isn't that Bruce is incapable of pinpointing the precise
moment when Dick had decided to climb into his lap, it's that
he doesn't want to.

This is -- this is more than the sum of itself, he thinks. More
than closeness -- intimacy. More than the film, and even
Dick's reactions to same:

He may not have been sweating with the strain of their
somewhat difficult beginning -- Dick, like Alfred, has the
aplomb of a showman, or perhaps a veteran of a bomb
squad -- but he is clearly more relaxed than he had been,
just the same.

Bruce had been letting the fatigue tinge his impressions of
Dick's state of mind far too much, as Dick has become
vocally -- though quietly -- disdainful of the many moments
which make this movie one decidedly of its time. It's entirely
possible he would prefer films from the early thirties, and --

It's more than that, too, and it's more than the fact that
Bruce can't remember, really, the last time he had felt
himself to be truly sharing this sort of moment with another,
this --

Intimacy is the only word. His admission has left Dick in a
state where he feels -- seems to feel --

They have never done this -- Bruce can remember precisely
one time other than tonight when they have even hugged
while sitting -- and yet, Dick seems entirely comfortable
where he is -- no.

It's more than that, as well, and also less -- or perhaps
different. Bruce is reasonably sure that his body has not
been ergonomically designed for the lumbar support of
young men, and even Dick's always impressive flexibility
and skill has not been enough to keep him from moving,
shifting, sighing and pressing the curve of his skull back
against Bruce's pectorals -- one, and then later the
other --

"Was anyone ever even *comfortable* in a dress like that?"

"I believe my mother owned one similar," Bruce says --

"Oh, I -- I didn't mean --"

"She never said a word in my hearing about it being
comfortable, however."

"*Oh*," Dick says, the note lengthened and shivered with
laughter, broader somehow than it had any right to be --

Bruce hasn't been sure what to do with his hands for well
over half an hour.

This is -- he's reasonably sure this isn't his fault. There have
been -- he's seen people hold their children this way, but
Dick isn't -- he isn't. He's --

("But weren't there other kids you, you know, grew up with?
Everybody has friends, don't they?")

Dick is his friend, his closest friend, and while it seems
disloyal to even think it -- Alfred and Leslie are colleagues,
now, and they had been mentors and caretakers and, while
neither of them were inclined to usurp the position of his
parents, nor were they inclined to be something so --

Such things were not unique, in Dick's world, until Bruce had
entered it. He owes Dick so very *much*, and this -- it's
more than that, *too*, but it's closer to giving him a sense
of what to do, or rather what he wishes --

Beyond, of course, the increasingly -- ironically -- aging
desire to *be* older, and wiser, and, of course, in more
control of his body, if not himself.

Dick shifts, and pauses, and seems -- about to say
something, of some sort --

And then he sighs, and yawns -- oddly (wonderfully) *less*
tired than he had seemed before -- and lets himself fall back
against Bruce's chest with a half-sincere 'oof.'

"Dick --"

"Should I -- should I stop? My father used to say that he
started teaching me so I'd have something to *do* with the
moving. And my mom, she --" The motion of his hand is a
deceptively simplistic impression of a tumble. Closer
examination would show the perfection of the physical
analogy, of course. "She'd find something -- my teddy bear,
or a sack of flour, or anything small and a little loose, and
she'd make it tumble over my bed or the floor --"

"Like the way your father would teach you…?"

"When I was a baby, yeah. I don't -- I wish I remembered."

This, at least -- it feels curiously *physically* fitting to wrap
his arm around Dick's waist, to rest it there, and --

It feels more like he's *pulling* Dick to him than holding
him, certainly more than he's hugging, but it makes Dick
sigh, and almost --

When Dick stops, this time, his hair is tickling Bruce's throat,
and his hands are on the hand Bruce has against him. It's
not enough.

"You don't speak about your parents very often…"

"No, I -- you don't either."

"And if I dressed up like a Bat every night and went out to
fight crime, would --"

There's no need to finish, of course. It's the sort of
nonsense -- if Dick were less physically tired than he clearly
still is, the laugh would come with the sort of movement
which would make the laugh as large as the room, as far as
Dick could tumble, and fly, and *move*. Bruce holds Dick
tighter, and just --

His hair smells like the shampoo Alfred had chosen for him,
and little else. It seems.

There would be other scents, in other places, and when Dick
shifts, again, Bruce can't stop himself from tightening his
grip once more.

"Oh -- *that's* what was poking -- oh. I -- why do you have
an erection, Bruce?"

It's very easy to imagine himself in any number of ways,
positioned in any number -- perhaps he could sit on his
heels, and ball his hands into fists, and stare at anything,
anything at all other than what -- who -- he wishes only to
always *see*. "Dick…"

"I mean, I read the books you gave me, and I get that it's
natural and -- everything. It's just that they also all said that
as I got older, it would happen *randomly* less often --"

"Ah, I -- yes. " The books all came highly recommended, of
course. "So do you -- have you often found them -- your
erections -- to be… random?"

Dick's shrug is merely physical, despite everything his body
wants to believe about spirit and thought, and how nothing
so profound could be merely due to --

"I -- if you want to tell me. That is. Dick."

"No, it's -- I mean, I always get really -- when we're training,
and sometimes also when we're patrolling…"

Perhaps the drag of his palm over Dick's chest and abdomen
could be soothing for -- one of them. "Yes?"

"And sometimes when you -- when you look at me,
sometimes, and I *guess* those are random, but they don't
really feel that way. Is *yours* random?"

They don't -- feel. "Dick, I --"

"Is it Merle Oberon? I mean, I guess she *is* pretty, but her
eyebrows look way too small for her face."

Bruce remembers when he'd first learned how to predict the
expressions which would be on Alfred's face, or on Leslie's
without looking. He remembers how *long* it had seemed
to take, and it seems as though something so minor as
realizing that Dick's face would be almost pinched now, his
mouth a not-entirely-disapproving moue --

It seems so momentous -- it has to be -- that he has known
Dick for such a short time, that he knows him so well --
better, when he gives up control over his other arm for long
enough to reach up to his face and touch --briefly -- the
purse of his lips.

"Bruce? I mean -- I won't make fun of you if it's Merle," Dick
says, lips moving against Bruce's fingertips --

He moves them away --

"Okay, I -- maybe a little teasing."

"Dick, it's --"

"I mean, you don't have to. I --" And Dick squeezes the hand
Bruce still has on his chest with his left hand and reaches --
searches -- for Bruce's other hand with his right. "You
could --"

It feels -- they're fumbling, and Dick's palm is sweaty, and
Bruce's fingers feel huge and blunt and -- dull, foolish and
stupid --

Better and worse when *pressed* to Dick's lips -- "Mm, I --
you -- do you like --"

"Yes," Bruce says, hears himself say -- it's not conscious, and
it would feel wrong to claim it as such. The --

Dick is moving so *much*, now, and it doesn't matter that
it's ridiculous -- he feels impossible to contain, like this. No
one --

If anyone could stop him -- the kisses, the flex of his thighs
against Bruce's own, the spasm and stroke of his hand on
Bruce's wrist --

It's not him. It's not --

What he is capable of is only what he wishes -- suspicious,
convenient, wonderful to just lift Dick and *turn* him. He
kisses Dick's fingers, he kisses them again and he kisses
Dick's mouth, and he does it again, and it's --

They aren't the kisses he wants, now, which feels like an odd
and weak sort of victory -- irrelevant against the opportunity
to kiss, and kiss, to taste Dick's mouth even shallowly --

It seems strange -- more than that, worse -- that they
haven't done this before, that they haven't *had* this. The
sounds Dick makes are high, sharp and shocked, pleased
and cut off with every press of Bruce's mouth. It seems so
*basic* --

And then Dick *presses* against him, grinding down in
sharp and *shocking* little -- ah. "It's what you do --"

"Some -- sometimes. Just -- for -- I like the feel of the
sheets --"

He hadn't dared, when he was that age. Dick -- "Just the

"I don't -- oh, Bruce, you -- you're so *hard* --"

He's blushing again, fumbling -- and Dick grabs his ears --
gently -- and tugs, and the kiss, this time, is perfect,
perfectly *right* if not correct. If it was harder, or deeper,
Dick wouldn't be able to make those *sounds* into his
mouth, and the curve of his skull against Bruce's palm
wouldn't be quite so full of potential, or -- he isn't sure.

And he's even less so when Dick lets go of his ears to pluck
at his sweater, tear and tug at it -

"I -- please, I don't *know*, Bruce, I just --"

They have taught each other, just as partners should, and so
it seems more and deeper than simply fitting to take Dick by
the hips, to do so with little thought and less intent, to hold
him *still* for the motion of his own hips. The fact that he
already seems ragged and desperate to himself doesn't --
cannot -- change the fact that this -- that *he* is pleasing
Dick, pleasuring --

"Oh, you like -- you l-like this --"

"Yes," and it's not enough, and it's not an answer so much
as a plea. For this, yes, for the frown of absent physical
concentration on Dick's face as he -- instinctively, beautifully --
struggles to find a rhythm within the constraints of Bruce's
hold that will complement, that will --

For *this*, yes, and more of it, but also for the flood of
images the concept of *pleasuring* Dick brings. There are so
many ways he can make Dick pant, whimper and struggle
only for more, *sweat*.

Thought becomes imperative and, from there, the action and
the taste are too entwined to parse, to separate into anything
but a sense of more and *yes*. The salt of him -- clean and
bright, mild and almost sweet as Bruce licks the small portion
of Dick's throat he has focused on again, and again --

"*Bruce*, I'm gonna -- I can't --"

He's holding on too tightly to let go, he could be *hurting* --
and the friction of Dick's simple jeans against his palms is
wonderful, sharp and whispering as the panting has
become --

"Can't -- I -- oh, *please* --"

"Yes, *please*, Dick --"

"Oh -- !"

The realization that Dick's cry is loud, louder than anything
they've said tonight is too hard to separate from the sense,
implacable and deep within, that it's not loud *enough*,
nothing --

Everything is wonderful -- the scent of him so much stronger
now, the feel of him almost *soft* in Bruce's arms, loose
with relaxed tension, moaning quietly and staring at him.

"Is this --" Bruce pauses, and forces himself to release his
grip with *one* hand. There is reward in the dampness of
Dick's face, in the quick, wet kiss to his fingertips.

And Dick's smile.

"Are you -- are you sure you're all right?"

"Oh -- yes," Dick says, nodding emphatically and blinking --
breathing quickly, but not panting. "I -- did you ejaculate?"

"Not -- not yet," Bruce says, and carefully doesn't tighten his
grip, and -- this could be left, here. Not -- not finished. He
knows Dick well enough, already, to know *that*, and
more than that he knows himself. *Left*. "It's very late,"
he says, and strokes Dick's hair.

"Well -- oh, are you too tired to ejaculate?"

He thinks he knows Dick that well, and -- perhaps the
wrong books. "No, Dick, it's -- it's not that."

Dick frowns, pushes his head back against Bruce's hand --
the *feel* of him -- and, "then -- do you not… want to?"

It's an apt question, and one he could've perhaps predicted
were he not feeling quite so -- *hungry*. At the very least,
he would be better equipped to come up with an answer as
deceptively simple as the question. "It's not that, either. I
just -- I do think you should try to get some rest soon."

"A lot of the books *said* it could take significantly longer
for men to -- achieve orgasm once they're over twenty-five
or so… do you really think it would take that long?"

It's more -- much more -- that he doubts his ability to settle
for *once*, were he given -- were he to give *himself* the
opportunity. "I -- you're very attractive, Dick. Attractive to
me, and I -- I believe I want… more from you than would be
appropriate now."

When Dick is older -- not much, and almost certainly before
he turns twenty-five -- he will have a vertical line nearly
perfectly centered between his eyebrows to speak of
frustration and confusion, stubbornness -- Bruce doesn't
know how much of that he will be the direct cause of, and
he isn't sure he wants to know.

For now, it's enough to stroke at the line, smooth it with his
thumb, lean in and -- no.

"Appropriate… appropriate how, Bruce?"

"You've never made love before, Dick. There is --"

"Oh, I -- oh. Bruce, that's…"

That -- is the moment, of course, when Dick realizes that
making love is precisely what they were doing. The
realization -- it's as obvious as his own erection, and even
more difficult to deny. And --

And the realization can be cut off -- temporarily, of course --
with a kiss that, with effort, Bruce makes into something slow
and almost lazy.

He could -- he could hope for 'soothing,' as well, but he
doesn't want to. Not when Dick wraps his arms around
Bruce's neck so smoothly, as easily as if --

There is nothing at which Dick's body isn't genius, polymath,
perfection. This is -- another temptation, and the words
another inadequacy. There is both relief and disappointment
when, once Bruce stops actively seeking the kiss, Dick pulls
back, but he *is* -- there are things he can -- the first time
he *saw* Dick --

"Bruce, do you -- I mean, you know what I -- some of the
things I do when I want to -- masturbate."

Not enough.

"Do you -- will you… tell me what you do?"

It's not what Dick *wants* -- "Is that what you want me to

Dick's laugh is almost a snort. "Well, *no*. I want -- I've
thought about you doing it. When I -- when I masturbate.
It's -- I don't have many… I don't think I'm really sure what
a really random erection *is*, yet, Bruce. I mean…" Dick
bites his lip. "You know what I mean. Don't you?"

There is, as it happens, benefit in being precisely as dim as
one is perceived to be. And yet -- "I do. I -- would you like
me to masturbate for you?"

And despite what seems, abruptly, to be mountains of
evidence pointing to another sort of reaction entirely, Dick
doesn't answer him. He just -- no. A stare -- *this* stare --

It's an answer. It -- "Dick, you…" He doesn't think he has
words to finish the thought, and he doesn't trust the words
which might come out without his volition. He closes his
mouth, and Dick opens his, leans *in* --

"Can I --"


And Dick's mouth is on his own, Dick's tongue -- slick and
still buttery, somehow -- is teasing -- tasting -- his own.
Dick's hands -- Dick is reaching between them, and his hands
are small and hard and torture -- sweetness. He --

Bruce thinks it should seem strange that *he's* not the one
struggling to open Dick's pants, but he also thinks he should
be able to *taste* Dick's logic along with the inside of his

Dick had ejaculated; Bruce had not.

Dick's sense of fairness must surely --

Bruce gasps into Dick's mouth at the jagged-seeming brush
of Dick's knuckles at Bruce's fly --

Again, and he can feel Dick's hands start to shake --

"Bruce, I --"

He doesn't -- he didn't mean to *bite* Dick's lip, but Dick's
gasp is a breath he doesn't need to pause to -- *take*, and
the next kiss feels easier, liquid, necessary or *fated*, it
has to happen, it is, and he wants to bite Dick again. He
wants to scrape his teeth down Dick's spine in paths which
would match the tracks of sweat on his own. He --

He breaks off to bite the line of Dick's jaw, and hears a
sound which tastes like *more*, which feels like -- like --

Dick's hands are shaking even more now, his knuckles sharp
and hard and *teasing* --

"Dick, *please*," he says, and has to stop himself *again*,
his voice sounds so rough, low -- much too close to
something which doesn't -- which shouldn't *belong* --

And it makes Dick groan, a noise which becomes something
close to a *growl* when he still can't -- "I can't -- I can't
make my fingers *work*," he says, and he sounds angry,
frustrated -- the line on his forehead --

It's too much for Bruce to not take Dick's face in his hands
and lick him there, too --

"Oh, Bruce, please come on I wanna *see* --"

And too much not to catch Dick's wrists in one of his hands
and open himself, *free* himself with the other -- the part
of him which wants to insist that Dick has seen him in the
shower any number of times is slow and useless and
*irrelevant* -- "Ah --"

Just that -- *quickly*, and he can't even be sure *how* Dick
had freed his hands, or of the memory -- fleeting, vague --
of him *moving* -- just. Dick's *hands* on him, hard and
shaking and still somehow so *sure* --

"*Dick* --"

"Oh -- oh, please, tell me how -- or --"

The loss of even one of Dick's hands is enough to make
*him* growl --

"Oh, *God*, Batman --"

Too much, too *much*, and Dick has his hand wrapped
around Bruce's fingers, tugging down, urgent and slick
with sweat, with *himself* --

"Please please --"

It's an *order*, not a plea. It's -- "Oh, Dick -- I --" He has
to -- he has no *choice*, save for the brief and impossible
one -- crush Dick's fingers against himself or brush him
aside --?

It's not a choice, not when Dick *grips* him -- "I -- Bruce is
it -- is it too hard?"

"*No* --"

The sound of Dick's teeth shutting with a click, a swallowed
sound -- something too large, too much not to let out --

"Let me -- let me hear you --"

"I don't know what to say! You feel -- you feel really good,
and you're so -- oh God I want to know what you *taste*
like -- *oh* --"

Pumping, yes, into Dick's fist and his own, it's awkward, it's
too much -- too soon -- flickering greys and the wet 'o' of
Dick's mouth -- the way it would feel to push in, push --

He hears himself grunt and tries for faster, more -- there's
too much friction, and it's impossible not to dream of the
way it would feel were Dick's hands taped, were the tape to
be ragged, scratchy and dry, stinging him with Dick's good,
salty sweat --

"You're so very -- so *beautiful* --"

"Bruce, no, oh no you feel -- I just want you -- *don't stop*,
I couldn't -- I couldn't take it, you have to -- to ejaculate for
me --"

Yes. Yes, for Dick. For -- the first moment, the first -- oh,
his -- he should be damned for wanting so much, for
needing this -- this wonderful *boy* --

"Please, oh -- pl -- *oh*, Bruce -- I -- I should've gotten
my *handkerchief*."

Yes -- no. He's not -- he's already thinking more clearly,
more -- there's no excuse for the way he *drags* Dick's
hand to his own mouth, swallows two of his fingers, licks
until the calluses are another beautiful friction against his
tongue, and --

Dick is surely saying *something*, but he can taste himself
and he can taste Dick. He -- he's no better than an animal
with a scent in his nose, no better and *hungrier* --

More, so much *more* when Dick lunges in and -- *bites*
his own fist, licks it and shakes, licks again and shakes
*again* --

"B-Bruce -- oh God, I --"

There is a moment -- there are *moments*, discernible if
not clear -- taking him and turning him, holding him and
pressing him *down* -- looming and covering him with his
own shadow, his own -- his need is a living thing, for all
that his penis is softening:

Dick's hand is nearly clean; his own is not.

Dick's hand -- his wrists are pressed to the couch above his
head, and his mouth is wide and welcoming, and Bruce is,
for just a moment -- much too long, not long enough --
narrowed to nothing but the sight of his own slick, sticky
hand moving toward that sweet *wetness* --

"*Bruce* -- I -- do you want me to lick your -- your fingers?"

"Everything, I -- suck them, for me?"

And Dick lunges once more, against Bruce's hold, *with*
everything Bruce could wish, and --

"Ah," he says, and "oh, beautiful, so --"

And Dick closes -- squeezes -- his eyes shut, and sucks --
licks and sucks and *shakes*, shakes his head and sucks
harder, *only* sucks, and this --

This, is enough. For now. For him.

He isn't sure --

He isn't sure until Dick opens his eyes again, and Bruce can
see them solemn and calm and wide with knowing -- learning.
Bruce allows himself to thrust -- once, twice just to see Dick's
eyes widen further, and slips out again.

"You -- to bed, I think."

Dick nods once. "I -- yes. I."

Bruce nods back and stands -- and Dick leaps up and into
his arms, from supine to spring so quickly -- "Perfection,"
Bruce says, and takes and gives the kiss, and wonders if he
has leave to carry --

No, Dick slips -- shimmies down again, and jogs for the hall.
And stops. "Bruce -- you should sleep, *too*."

"I will."


He doesn't.

There are -- there are reasons for this, both rationales and
rank excuses. There are too many sensations his mind
wishes him to understand that he didn't fully appreciate at
the time. There are the complexities of Dick's *flavors*, the
simplicities of his scents.

The raw -- no. He's the one who's raw. Or -- he's nerveless
save where he can be touched. He's -- *raw*, and Dick is so
very close.

There's a part of him which wants to bury his face in his
hands, bury himself in blankets and sheets (Dick likes --) The
work downstairs never ends. There, too, he could be buried.

And every time he looked up, his eyes would try to find the
sightline -- pointless -- through rock and stone and wood and
endless *furniture* to where Dick is sleeping.

It isn't that he's still desperately aroused, as opposed to
merely powerfully --

And it isn't the first time he has found himself moving
through the dark *towards* --

The first time he'd seen Dick, Bruce had known that he had
always been moving through the dark, always -- *seeking*.
It was too much of a gift to simply have Dick here, to simply
be able to reach out and -- touch.

This --

He is so very greedy, and Dick's door is never, ever closed.

He *is* asleep, however, and that --

It's a quiet within himself, a comfort he had neither expected
nor thought to ask for. (Who could he ask?) In sleep, Dick's
brow is smooth, his breath warm and faintly sour under the
smell of himself -- both of them.

Bruce tastes him lightly, and Dick doesn't wake -- it doesn't
seem wrong to live in a fairy tale, only to be in one so --

When Dick sleeps, his body temperature often rises before it
falls again, and so Bruce strips off everything but his -- new,
clean -- shorts before crawling in beside him. *That* --
perhaps his body seems too cold -- wakes Dick. It's a bleary
sort of thing, and Dick's features are loose and soft-seeming.

"Dick, I want --"

There's only one thing to say.

"I want to spend more time with you," Bruce says, and
drinks in -- breathes in -- the slow, sleepy smile on Dick's

And closes his eyes.