And beautiful the bare boughs
by Te
April 5, 2007

Disclaimers: Not mine in the least.

Spoilers/Timeline: Nothing to be concerned about.

Summary: Tim's a *criminal*.

Ratings Note/Warnings: Mostly harmless.

Author's Note: For Red, because I <3. And because she
drew this.


There's always something almost suspicious about a Gotham
surrounded by clouds, even though, of course, it's only that
it's winter. Clark can see through them, of course, and it's
not *only* Gotham -- Gotham has far fewer criminals who
can and will manipulate the weather -- it's only...

There remains a sense, at times like these, as though the
space the city occupies has chosen, once and for all, to side
with Bruce on the question of secrecy. There remains a
sense that Gotham is hiding (something) from him and so,
of course -- Clark is not unaware of his motivations,
however questionable -- these are the times when Clark is
most likely to... invade.

He doesn't have to strain to hear the alarms specific to him
which are currently blaring in the Cave and wherever else
Bruce has taken himself. (A moment -- he is somewhere in
the northeast of the city, and not moving.) Clark doesn't
*always* want to stick his tongue out at the sound -- and
not just because Bruce would undoubtedly have come up
with some device ingenious enough to *catch* the sight of
such a thing despite Clark's speed.

Bruce has his own needs, his own beliefs and ways of doing
things, and, really, his mother had *always* said that was
better to let people be about those. Some people are now --
and have always been -- set in their ways.

Still, once within (above) the city proper, human visibility
must be even worse. He can see and hear people attempting
to *drive* in this snowy sort of *soup*, and --

It's an idiocy not *unique* to Gotham, of course, though it's
one of the things which makes Clark wish that there was a
regular metahuman presence working within the city, Bruce
or no Bruce, Batman or no Batman.

Clark feels no compunction whatsoever about taking a
moment to stop a car's skid before it becomes tragic. At the
very least, he'd saved someone property damage -- and the
passengers never see him at all. This is something --

He can imagine it, of course. Bruce or one of the others
would have had to break the car's windows to rescue the
people from it, or *work* themselves to open the thing
before it became a deathtrap... Clark shudders, internally.
There would've been injuries for all concerned.

And so, it's not a surprise to see those particular colors as
he continues his flight. It may technically be day, but it's a
grey and *thick* day, and a cold one... and Clark isn't at
all sure what Robin is doing on that rooftop. Hm.

He doesn't land -- it's a particularly Gotham sort of 'polite'
not to -- but he allows himself to hover, and clears his

Robin -- Tim -- looks up briefly from his palm-top and
sketches a 'hi' with the stylus he's holding. And --

Clark hadn't been looking until the muscles of Tim's face
moved in a strange configuration -- he catches the end of a
*wink*. "Robin...?"

"I'm doing something rather more illegal than usual,
Superman. You might want to... look elsewhere."

Elsewhere...? This is a heavily-industrial area, but the
building they're on (and near) is empty. Whatever Tim's
doing -- the stylus is moving quickly and decisively -- is a
mystery. "If you'd prefer," Clark says, and folds his hands
behind his back. If he focuses his vision just enough, he
can see stars many people in Gotham could hardly

"I -- I'd prefer *not* to have to do this, but -- well."


Tim's silent again, save for the stylus pecking at the palm-
top precisely like -- some similes are dangerously

Still, he can keep himself from clearing his throat again. He
may be curious, but Tim is not *Bruce*. If he wants to tell
Clark something, he will say it. "If you'd prefer, I... well, I've
gained some familiarity with the art of secrecy." Tim doesn't
seem to need to be *coaxed*, after all --

"Hmm. You don't say," and Tim continues working.

Clark clears his throat.

Tim's smile is small, tight, and rather fascinatingly pleased
with itself. "There's going to be a hard freeze here in a few
hours. It is, of course, the law that no one can have their
heat turned off at times like these, but that doesn't do much
for the people squatting in buildings where the heat hasn't
been turned on, yet."

Clark frowns.

"Yes," Tim says, and his last tap with the stylus ends with a
flourish. "Lots of new construction since the quake. Lots of
'vacant' buildings waiting for people who can afford kind of
ridiculous rents. What I just did..." Tim shrugs and tucks
away both palm-top and stylus.

"You saved lives," Clark says, and doesn't bother to keep --
anything -- from his voice.

"Hopefully. Now I just have to make sure that people
*make* it to those buildings as subtly as I can --"

Tim's face is terribly cold against Clark's palms, and... it's
not quite reflexive to crowd closer, to crowd *Tim*, but it's
still necessary.

"Ah -- Superman. Thank you, but --"

"You had to do this from here?"

"The potential risk of exposure was much too great to do it
from the Cave. I'm going to have to mask this computer --

Tim's *shiver* is instinctive, the reaction of his body to
much more warmth than he's had in... it's difficult for Clark
to be sure. The snow dusting his hair and the tops of his
ears isn't melting quite fast enough for Clark's tastes. (It
never does, on humans.) If Clark shifts, slightly -- there. His
cape is inadequate protection against the wind, but it's still
more than Tim has had.

"You --" Tim's laugh is brief, and quiet. "You're going to
make it harder to go back out there, Clark."

Yes -- Clark. There's no reason whatsoever not to let the
happiness he feels -- he *always* feels -- show. "No one
should be cold, Tim."

"Well, I -- *mm* --"

It's cheating, of course, to respond far more to the flush
coming back to Tim's cheeks, the stutter of his heartbeat at
the sound of Clark's voice, the rush of blood all through
him --

It's definitely a variety of 'rude' to have paid more attention
to that than he did to Tim's own words, but kissing Robin is
something for which he's always given himself some --
room. Loving Robin is a necessary thing, an incontrovertible
fact, even though *this* Robin gives him nothing in return
but the way his eyes slip closed behind the mask, and the
way he moves closer, into the kiss, into the warmth Clark
can give.

And take.

When Clark pulls back, Tim's smile is larger, but far more
private. Amused. "I -- shall I take that under advisement,
Superman? Your point about cold, I mean."

"I hope that you will," Clark says, and cups Tim's cheeks
once more. Briefly. "All of it."

"Noted," Tim says, and steps away.

Robin. Clark smiles, lifts himself back into the hover,
pauses --

Tim nods, and smiles at the roof as Clark flies away.

A different alarm entirely sounds as he leaves Gotham
airspace, but -- he has trespassed enough.

For now.