Slaying the Dragon
by Te
January 12, 2012

Disclaimers: No one and nothing here is mine.

Spoilers/Timeline: Vague and *faintly* AU-ized spoilers for very, very old storylines. Takes place not long into Year Two.

Summary: "I'm gonna try to have this. *Us*."

Ratings Note/Warnings: Sexual content.

Author's Note: The more I write Harvey, the deeper I fall in love with him. At this point I just want to stare at him from across the room while sipping my malted and kicking my saddle shoes. I think that's a warning, too.

Acknowledgments: With much love to Mildred, Pixie, Melissa, Britt, and, of course, my Jack for audiencing, encouragement, and helpful suggestions.

Length: 23,000 words.


So -- Bruce Wayne is Batman.

Spelled out like that, it almost seems kinda harmless. Bruce *Wayne* is Batman, and everyone -- *everyone* -- knows that *that* guy is richer than God and more than a little crazy.

Crazy enough to do -- oh, all kinds of things.

Parasail on the *Hudson*.

Ball socialites with black books that look like *phone* books.

Dress up like a flying rat and beat the living shit outta --

So many people. So -- many people.

Bruce Wayne could do something like that. Could do it -- Jesus, every damned night. It's okay. It's fine. It's *crazy*, but everything *about* Gotham is crazy. It only gets *hinky*... when Harvey breaks it down to how *Bruce* is Batman.



The biggest, sweetest, smartest --

Well, okay, he's crazy, too --

Harvey's known that since they were *fourteen* --

But not that kind of crazy. Not -- not *ever* that kind of crazy. Right?

It's just not --

"You okay over there, kid?"

'Kid.' Christ. He's twenty-seven years old. He's the *District Attorney*. He wears a suit and tie every day and he's damned well old enough to drink this perfectly respectable single-malt that only seems like it's peeling down his insides a *little* --

But he's still 'kid' to Captain Jim Gordon. He --

Harvey's pretty damned sure that'll be true until the day one of them dies, so -- he's coping. He looks up and gives Jim a smile. "I'm good."

The look on Jim's face could peel more paint than the whiskey --

"Jim --"

"Are you gonna be able to handle this?"

Meaning: Stop looking squirrelly or I'll --

Well, he probably won't *hit* Harvey or anything *like* that. Maybe -- maybe just a little loss of respect. That's worse. So Harvey sits up straight, takes a *deep* breath, tosses back the rest of Jim's whiskey --

Rum is so much *friendlier* --

And pulls on a better smile. "I'm freaked right the hell out, Jim --"


"And -- I'm dealing with it --"

"*How* are you dealing with it?"

Harvey frowns. "With... difficulty? You don't know what he's *like* --"

"Neither do you," Jim says, and sometimes his voice is harder than anything, harder than the *world* --

But Harvey doesn't have to wince again. "I'll take that. I'll -- yeah. But he's still my best friend in the world, Jim --"

"Is he?"

"*Yes*," Harvey says, and catches himself jabbing at Jim's desk just like he's in court or something --

He stops that.

"Yes," he says, a lot more quietly. Jim's office is empty except for the two of them, but cop-shops never shut down in Gotham. Not really. "I'm gonna talk to him."

Jim just stares into him for a moment. A *long* moment that stretches and pulls and makes Harvey really *feel* the fact that his best friend in the world --

Is kind of a psycho. Still. "Jesus, Jim, he's not gonna hurt *me*."

Jim pulls out a cigar, clips the end, lights it *meditatively* --

"He *isn't*."

Jim tucks the cigar into his mouth, *looks* at him, *then* takes a drag.

"Look, Jim, we're talking about a guy who raises *flowers* as a hobby --"

"When he's not breaking heads. And arms. And legs --"

"And everything else, yeah, I *hear* you. But --" Harvey shakes his head. "You don't know him."

Jim looks *into* him for a while --

But Harvey holds his ground. Just -- "It explains a few things, actually."

Jim raises those bushy eyebrows of his. "Do tell."

"He was never angry enough about his parents. Never -- he was always *real* damned *correct* about it. Like maybe his valet-slash-guardian caned him if he said a mean word --"

"What's the story there."

And what Jim's *really* asking -- "Nah, nothing like that, Jim. I wouldn't call Alfred Pennyworth a good father or anything like that, but there was no abuse."

Jim opens his mouth --

"I'm sure," Harvey says, and smiles wryly. "We both know *I* know how to look for things like that."

Jim inclines his head. "Okay. Tell me more. Tell me why we're not sending a precinct after him."

"Well -- he's good. He's --" Harvey shakes his head. "He's the best man I've ever known, Jim. He's -- so brilliant, and *so* kind, and so -- okay, so I *used* to think he'd never hurt a fly, and I know better than that now, but... he's helped us. You can't say he hasn't."

Another long look -- but Jim nods. "He's helped us."

"And -- he's not reckless or -- he's not one of those showboaters --"

"You don't think that makes him scarier, kid?" And Jim takes a drag, holds it, *looks* at him --

Harvey blows out a breath. "I gotta admit -- part of me does think that's scarier. The fact that he's -- obviously -- *serious* about this. The fact that every time he shatters some skel's kneecap he was *thinking* about it. But..."


Harvey smiles ruefully. "He's serious about everything, Jim. He's -- the *real* guy, I mean. The one who always made sure *you* couldn't see him at those galas, whether or not *I* could -- and no, I'm *not* fooling myself, because --" He loves me. "-- I could see him," Harvey finishes lamely.

Jim takes a drag --

Another --

*Another* --

Harvey buttons himself up inside and reminds himself that he's not under *arrest* or being *interrogated*, *Jesus* --

"You're planning on sticking by him."

"You're *not*? Christ, Jim, we *need* the big freak."

Jim winces like maybe his ulcer is paining him, but --

"You said it first," Harvey says, and *taps* the desk. *Gently*.

"So I did," Jim says, blowing out a breath and staring up at the ceiling -- or, more probably, at the God who's real fucking late to the party. "Bring him in."


"Not that way, kid. Not..." Jim sighs. "Christ, he's *your* age, isn't he?"

Harvey smiles ruefully again. "Almost exactly, yeah." And *you're* not *that* much *older* --

"Kids. God help us. All right, Harvey, here's the deal: You're gonna settle him. You're gonna -- calm him *down*. As much as it's *possible* to do that."

"I --"


Harvey winces and raises his hands. "I'm waiting, I'm waiting."

Jim harrumphs. "Figure out his weak points. Figure out what *really* makes him tick -- don't assume you already know. And... remind him that there's a right way and a wrong way to treat an ally."

"Bring him in."

Jim nods once and takes another drag.

Harvey takes another deep breath -- and coughs. "You know those things'll kill you."

"Hopefully *before* your best buddy slips his traces -- *more* -- and drops me off a roof."

"*Jim* --"

"Shoo, kid. You got a job to do."

So he does.

Harvey stands, swings his suit jacket back on, and makes his exit.


The thing is --

The thing is, it's always a little scary riding out to Bristol. Sure, his car is new enough, but it's strictly middle-of-the-road in terms of class, and Harvey will never be much more than that himself.

Harvey had to struggle and *work* just to *get* to the middle --

Bruce never thought that way.

Bruce never --

("So... uh. Big guy."

"Yes, Harv?"

"You think you could maybe...")

And Harvey had gestured to the incredibly complicated-looking table --

He hadn't even known, back then, that they were called 'place settings,' and he sure as *hell* hadn't known what to do with all the *stuff* --

("Do... you not want to sit there?")

And a part of Harvey had just -- fallen over laughing inside. Of course Bruce hadn't known what Harvey was talking about.

Of course he'd just *assume* --

But the rest of Harvey had been panicking a little, because Alfred would be there *imminently*, and then he'd *know* what kind of peasant Bruce had dragged home --

("I -- we could switch places --"

"That's not it."

"Oh. No? Then what? You seem very troubled, Harv.")

And Bruce had been so *earnest*, so *eager* to make things better for him --

And the only way to respond to that was with honesty, as much as he could stand to give and *more*, *always* more --

*Bruce* --

And Bruce had explained it all slowly and carefully while Harvey *beat* his brain into memorizing it. And then --

("But... it's really not *important*, Harv."

"Big guy."

"It *isn't*. It. It's only important that you enjoy being here.")

And Bruce had been *blushing*. Just -- right to the roots of his *hair*.

And back then...

Back then, Harvey hadn't had much more control over those particular reflexes. They'd *known* each other. They'd known what they *wanted* from each other, even if Bruce really didn't have clue one about specifics and Harvey hadn't had clue one about how to make it *work* in the world they lived in.

And he'd never figured it out, either.

Had Bruce?

Had there been some man on the other side of the world who'd touched Bruce the way Harvey had always wanted to? Some --

Someone brave enough --

God, no, he's not thinking about that *now*. He's just -- he's not. Because whatever *else* Bruce had been doing over there (and over there, and over there, and over *there*), he'd *also* been training himself up into a weapon on *legs* --

Into the Batman.

Harvey licks his lips and checks the rearview -- no one. It's not that he'd expected anyone -- it's *never* too busy way the hell out here -- it's just that it would pretty much be impossible not to be a little paranoid right now. A little --

God, so *many* people are gunning for the Batman. So many people would give up *massive* stacks of cash -- and other people's *lives* -- just to know what Harvey and Jim know right now.

Who else *does* know?

Alfred, of course. Maybe some of the people who'd trained Bruce up?

It's not like you could walk into karate class with a mask on every day --

Is Bruce crazy enough to *try* something like that?

The image makes him laugh, but it's not the best laugh in the world. It's the kind of nervous, growling laugh that creeps up on him when he's a little too tired these days, a little too angry at the fact that Gotham is *just* that fucked-up and dirty --

A little too everything.

He's never wanted to bring *that* to Bruce -- whether or not Bruce was playing his little --

Or --

It's not really a *little* game, at all, is it? That kinda thing --

That kinda *role* -- and Alfred *had* to be a part of *making* it -- is pretty much *designed* to make absolutely everyone absolutely *sure* that the huge, muscled-up guy with all the bruises and bandages couldn't ever be the Batman.

Harvey frowns and squeezes the steering wheel -- too hard. He taps on it, instead.

Turns the radio on to the jazz station --

Turns it off again.

Checks the rearview --

There still isn't anyone *there*, but --

Bruce was always there, wasn't he? Looking over Harvey's shoulder with that little smile, so tentative, so *cautious* -- like maybe if anyone caught him being happy it would all go away again.

Bruce was always *there*, and yeah, that had gotten him through some lonely fucking years, some --

All that time *without* him when Harvey still remembered -- will *always* remember -- coming to *life* with Bruce in the bunk under his.


"Nuh -- uh. Whoa, guess I passed out there. You okay, big guy?"

"You. You should go back to sleep.")

And Harvey had snorted the way he always had when Bruce did things like that --

("I'm awake *now* --"

"I'm sorry --"

"Don't apologize. Just tell me what's up?"


And then, of course, Harvey had known.

Known it, felt it, *smelled* it -- except not, because Bruce was always too clean to ever stink up a room. The number of times he'd had to *stop* himself from asking Bruce not to shower too good --

And yeah, he's smiling now, remembering *every* night they'd taken care of a little -- or not so little -- business together --

Remembering Bruce trying to be quiet for Harvey's little stories and *mostly* succeeding --

Remembering all the times he'd thought about *changing* the stories, making --

God, making it about *them*, and all the things he was *really* thinking about. Big body. *Hard* body. *Hairy* body -- even back *then* -- and he must look like a *bear* now --

And he remembers Bruce walking into the D.A.'s office back when Harvey was still just an ADA, remembers Bruce's smile -- *great* fucking smile -- as soon as Harvey had looked up at him --

And Bruce had reached out to shake his hand --

There'd been a *lot* of hair peeking out from under his cuff --

And Harvey couldn't do a damned thing other than get up and *haul* Bruce into his arms, hug him close, kiss his *bizarrely* tanned cheek, welcome him *home* --

And Bruce had shuddered in his arms like it was the first time.

Bruce had squeezed him hard enough to *hurt* -- also just like the first time.

And that's what he wants to tell Jim. Some things don't change.

Some *good* things don't change -- even if maybe it would be better if they did.

Some --

God, it's always in Bruce's *eyes*. How proud he is to know *him*. How *happy* he is to *see* him -- *always*.

And somehow he never dumps punch on *Harvey's* suits.

And somehow he -- *still* -- never hits on the women he knows are Harvey's type.

And somehow --

Somehow everything, and that's what Harvey's gonna hold on to when he walks into the huge, old mausoleum Bruce calls a house. He's just --

He'll *remind* Bruce who he is, who *they* are, and -- they'll talk.

Harvey nods to himself and parks off to the side on that big, circular drive -- you never know if Bruce is expecting someone these days -- gets out, locks the car --

Remembers that that's about as necessary out here as a glider on a *jet* --

Laughs at himself a little --

And by the time he gets to the front door, Alfred's standing there with a warm -- and tiny, natch -- little smile on his face. Just like *he* hasn't been lying -- no, no, not that.

"Hey, Al. The big man in?"

Alfred raises an eyebrow --

Harvey remembers that Alfred can *always* tell when someone's not being completely honest -- right. Harvey smiles ruefully. "I wouldn't pull this card for just anything -- but it's important."

A *shrewd* look --

Harvey gives it right back --

"As you say, sir. Please, follow me."

"You got it."

And the thing is -- it's still early enough that the sun hadn't gone completely down, so Harvey has to deal with how *dark* it can seem in the manor, how old and cold and --

No, not that, either. But --

Is that why? Part of why? Could it be? And all those questions just mean that he's *distracted* enough to start heading for the study where Bruce mostly meets up with him these days --

And Alfred clears his throat.

Harvey blinks, realizes Alfred's not *ahead* of him anymore -- "Uh. Not the study?"

Alfred's tiny little smile turns warm and *wry* for some reason -- "No, sir. I'm quite sure Master Bruce would rather you see him in the library today."

*Why*? What kind of secret --

*More* secrets --

God, and sometimes there's like a little -- no.

Sometimes there's a *big* damned drum in Harvey's head, beating the times and the changes and everything else, and it's hard to hear, hard to *think* --

"Are you feeling quite well, sir?"

No. Yes. No -- Harvey shakes it off and grins ruefully. "I -- really need to speak to Bruce as soon as possible. For... kind of a while, actually."

Another *shrewd* look -- and then Alfred nods. "Then I shall retrieve him post-haste. I'm sure you remember the way...?"

"Absolutely, Al. Thanks," Harvey says, and heads down the hall and into the broad expanse of pure gorgeous that is the library. It's the kind of place anyone with a soul would want to hang out in for a while, and Harvey's no different.

Blond wood, sturdy ladders, sky-high ceiling, beautifully shaped windows -- *with* window seats -- thousands upon thousands of *books*...

Some Wayne ancestor who actually knew what to *do* with his or her huge stacks of cash had built this place *just* right way back when, and --


Harvey takes a deep breath and stretches a little, tries a little of that meditation stuff Gilda is always talking about --

God, and *one* day he'll talk her into moving *down* here --

This long-distance crap is for the *birds* -- no, no, meditation. Breathe in, breathe out --

Think about that long, slim throat --

That pale skin because she spends all her time in her *studio* --

Those rough hands right where he *needs* them, God, right *now*, and --

And maybe it's this?

Maybe the fact that he's more relaxed in *this* place -- when he knows Bruce is going to be right there with him sooner rather than *later*, anyway -- than he is pretty much anywhere else other than her *loft* is one of the reasons why she *isn't* with him right now. Sure, the New Haven art scene has been good to her, but Gotham can be *just* as good -- *better*.

Maybe --

("Are you thinking about him again, Harvey?")

Harvey, not honey or Harv. That had been a wake-up call *right* there, but --

("Uh. Yeah, actually. Sorry about that." )

It's not like he could *lie* to her --

("When's the last time he wrote to you?"

"Well -- the date on the letter says he started only about a week after the last one, but it took a while to get --"

"He writes you every week?"

"He -- yeah. Baby --"

"And you write him back."

"He's -- he's my best friend.")

And Gilda had nodded for that, folded her napkin up tight, and --


She'd gone right back to calling him honey after that, and it had been a *good* night -- Ethiopian food and a jazz club where they danced all *night* --  but...

("Sometimes... sometimes I think you haven't told me everything you *could* tell me, honey. About your past, about Bruce, about... God, everything."

"I --")

She'd smiled at him then, and raised her tough little hand. The smile was so bright and soft and *adult* --

("Sometimes I'm absolutely *sure* you haven't. I know you will eventually. I'm willing to be patient for you.")

Just like he has to be patient for her. He --

He's made her wait a long damned time.

But how the hell is he supposed to tell her everything about Bruce when it would *also* mean telling her everything about his *childhood*?

God, everything Bruce had helped *save* him from --

As much as *anyone* could have saved him --

And *Bruce* doesn't know --

But Jim does. Kind of -- no.

He knows, because he's *exactly* mean enough to get a guy drunk and *then* interrogate him about his life. *That* was just...

("Hey, hey, what's the third degree about?")

And Jim had smiled and tilted his chair back, took a long drag off his cigar and *looked* at him --

The smile was and *wasn't* in his eyes --

("Everyone says you're the man with the plan, kid. I need to know what that plan *is*."

"I told you --"

"*And* what you have to back it up.")

That. That --

Well, everyone with a *brain* knew that Jim was on the up and up --

That he was *making* the GCPD just a little cleaner -- a *lot* cleaner in places where he could get a direct hand in --

And maybe --

Maybe Harvey had needed to tell someone. Just --

A little. Right?

*He'd* certainly felt cleaner --


"*Jesus*, you move like a ghost when you want to -- heh." Harvey shakes his head and *then* turns to look --

And Bruce is standing right there, a *polite* three him-sized steps away --

Cautious little smile --

*Questions* in his eyes --

And Harvey realizes, with something like a punch to the brain, that he's made Bruce invite him here --

Always. Always.

He's *never* just dropped by --

And right now he's just standing here staring instead of -- no. Harvey closes the distance between them and pulls Bruce into his arms because he can --

Because he *has* to --

Nothing else *matters* -- but.

Is that really true? Can it be?

"Harv...? Please tell me what's wrong," Bruce says, pulling just his *head* back -- and keeping his body pressed to Harvey's. Just --

Harvey swallows and stares and -- "I -- we gotta talk. About -- Batman."

And maybe -- maybe Harvey needed to see *this*:

Slow blink.

Slower *frown*.

Perfect -- perfect *confusion* --

And the growl is out of his mouth before he can stop it, before --

"Harv --"

"There's no one here but *us*, Bruce! You don't have to freaking *lie* to me!"

This time, Bruce's blink is *really* confused, *worried* -- "You. Harv, why are you yelling --"

And that drum is beating, beating --

Ah, God, not *now*, not --

There's a right way --

Beat. Beat --

And somewhere outside of this --

Smoke and heat and *red*, so much red, the kind blood would wash right the fuck away --

The right blood, not the wrong blood --

Outside, *outside* is Bruce, and his hands, big hands --

Big hands wrapped around Harvey's wrists, makin' him feel --

"I'm not *small*!"

"Harv --"

"I'm not fucking -- let *go* of me!"

And Bruce steps back immediately, lifting his hands in a gesture of calm, peace --

He looks so *frightened*, and that --

Batman is never frightened, never scared of *any* damned thing at *all* --

Bruce *can't* be --

Bruce would never *lie* --

Except that there's that cut on his face.

That -- that *slice*, right through the spot on his jaw where the stubble gets thickest, just like someone was aiming there --

"Did you cut yourself shaving, big guy?"

Bruce frowns. "I -- yes, I did --"

"In the middle of the night, maybe?"

"Harv --"

"Right where Jim could *see* you?"

"I don't know --"

The punch -- lands. Too hard. Too fucking --

Oh, Jesus, no, *no* --

The drum is gone. The red is gone. Everything is gone except Bruce on the *floor*, too far away because Harvey had *punched* him --

His best friend --

His only --

And Harvey doesn't *want* to know what sound just came out of his mouth, but that's not important, either, that's --

He just has to get down, down on his knees, right down on the floor with his best, his only --

And the healing cut on Bruce's jaw is bleeding again, bleeding the way it must've when --

"Harv --"

"Don't -- please don't say anything else right now, Bruce. Please -- God --" And there's that sound again, that -- that tickle-prickle behind his eyes --

You can't ever *show* that --

But Bruce is nodding and staring up at him --

Resting on his elbows --

Staying so *still* --

Just like they both can't see -- can't *feel* -- the violence running through Bruce like a *river* right now --

Everything that will keep Harvey from hurting him too badly for --

For the job he needs to do.

Harvey's hands are shaking. They're just --

He touches Bruce with them anyway. One over his heart -- beating *steadily* -- and one just over that goddamned *cut* --

"I was never -- never ever --" Harvey groans and shudders. "Big guy, you could've *told* me. You -- I'd tell you *anything* --"

Except that Bruce is narrowing his *eyes* --

Shaking his *head* --

And Harvey has to groan again, because -- "That's why? Because -- I kept secrets from you?"

Bruce turns away --

"Please don't *do* that --"

And Bruce is looking back at him, *burning* at him, just --

And there were times when meeting Bruce's eyes had been too much for him, had *hurt* too much --

Nothing could hurt more than his knuckles right now. Nothing --

Bruce has *everything* in his eyes, hurt and need and anger and fear and --

"It's still. It's still better being able to see you, big guy," Harvey says, and smiles ruefully. The blood had smeared on his fingers when Bruce turned away --

And Harvey stares at it for a long moment. For --

He licks his lips and -- "It seems. It seems like I should be able to taste that. Like -- it should be mine --"

"Harv, *no* --"

"That's -- it's always mine. Always. A punch, a backhand, the belt -- you know. That's why I never wear belts. Did you guess that?" And Harvey looks up again --

And Bruce looks horrified *and* hungry --

"Did you -- they all say you're one hell of a detective. I say it, too. *Jim* says it -- and then asks me why I didn't turn you into a cop when I had the chance..." Harvey shakes his head. "It was the little things, big guy. That cut -- right through the stubble of yours that never goes anywhere. Your voice -- when you and Jim found those kids that freak Hammond was keeping in his basement. You staring at the backs of your hands -- your *gauntleted* hands -- where I could see you --"

"You." Bruce swallows. "You had mentioned... your past. I stare at my hands when I'm not sure who I'm supposed to be, and --" *He* shakes his head.

And that's a little confusing, but -- it also isn't. "You wanted to touch me."


Harvey does his own swallowing -- "Was there ever anyone --" He growls again and shakes his head. "Strike that question --"

"No. Please," Bruce says, and sits up all the way.

Harvey *starts* to move his hand away from Bruce's chest --

Bruce covers it with his own. Gently, but -- still. "Harv... ask. Please."

*Hell* -- "It's not -- it's not important --"

"It is to me," Bruce says, and never looks away from Harvey's *eyes* --

Harvey blushes. "Like maybe you already know what the question was going to be?"

Bruce shakes his head *slowly*. "I want to know. And I want. I want you to know. Me."

"I -- I thought I did, big guy," and *Jesus*, but saying that shouldn't make him prickle up *more* --

And Bruce's hand on his is a lot less gentle, a lot more --

"Gonna keep it for yourself?"

"For. You've always known the heart of me, Harv. I. You taught me so much, *gave* me so much --"

"That's not -- you did the same damned things for me --"

"My friend --"

"*Best* friend. Only --"

"*Only* --"

And then they're laughing together, just like that. Just like they're *not* on the damned floor *bleeding* --

Only Bruce is bleeding. Only --

"Ah, big guy --"

"Harv. I wanted. I've always wanted."

"Bruce, don't --"

"*Please*," Bruce says, and his eyes are burning again, *heavy* --

And yeah, Harvey's groaning for that, *needing* -- "Tell me."

"I dreamed of telling you countless times. Of... of bringing you down to the Cave and showing you what I'd done with my body and mind, showing you my -- my *achievements*."

That -- Harvey snorts *helplessly* --

Bruce frowns. "Harv...?"

"Ah -- don't mind me, big guy, I thought you were about to say something about *loving* me --"

"I *do* --"

"Bruce --"

"I'm *in* love with you. I have been for almost half my *life*. I --"

"*Bruce* --"

"And." Bruce swallows again and moves until he's on his knees, too. He's still holding Harvey's hand over his heart, and he is --

He's *Bruce*, and he's --

"I *am* a detective, Harv. I've been... trained and taught. And then I trained and taught myself even more. You've been in love with me for nearly as long --"

"*Jesus*, Bruce --"

"You could never hold yourself wholly apart from me, never keep yourself to the otherwise *ironclad* rules of heteronormative behavior --"

"You -- you sound like a *textbook* --"

"*Harvey*. Don't -- don't deny us this. I will never *pressure* you."

And then they're just staring at each other, staring into each other and -- "You just -- need to hear it?"

"Everything of you, Harv. Everything I can *have*."

Harvey groans and squeezes his eyes shut -- "I always took the top bunk. I had to make it harder on myself. Harder to *see* you."

"Oh... Harv..."

"I always -- I sniffed your damned sheets *anyway* --"

Bruce sucks in a *sharp* breath --

And Harvey opens his eyes again, even though he knows it *must* look like he's begging -- "I wanted you."

"More. It's *more* --"

"God, I -- of course it's more --"

"*Say* it, Harv --"

"You need it? That bad?" His *hands* are shaking again --

And Bruce is nodding and -- fuck, not *blinking* --

"I loved that --"

"*Harv* --"

"I love you. You -- I felt you falling for me like a ton of bricks and it -- it just dragged me right along. Okay? Is that -- "

The kiss is harder than the punch, deeper, *bloodier* --

No, that's just how he is *inside*, because the kiss is gentle, soft and warm --

God, Bruce isn't even opening his *mouth* --

Bruce's *eyes* are closed --

Is this what he thinks he can have?

What has he even *done* with all those damned socialites? What --


Harvey shivers and twists his hand free when Bruce starts to pull back. Just --

"I'm sorry --"

"*No*," and Harvey shoves his hand into Bruce's short hair and pulls him back in --

And he doesn't have to fight for this kiss --

He doesn't have to work --

He doesn't have to do a damned *thing*, only that's not even a little bit true, because he has to do everything, *take* everything, shove his tongue into Bruce's hot mouth --

And they're shuddering together --

And Bruce is shuffling closer --

And they're pressed together, kissing and touching --

God, finally, *finally*, and maybe he shouldn't be biting Bruce's lip like this --

Shouldn't --

Fuck --

And yeah, this is him licking his *bloody* hand --

He can't even come *close* to getting his other hand out of Bruce's hair --

"Oh. Harv..."

Yeah, yeah, and maybe he's shoving his fingers in his mouth --

Bruce *grunts* --

*Fuck*, he'd make that sound every time --

Every time *Harvey* couldn't help making a sound --

And that's when he realizes that he's moaning for it, moaning for the taste of his friend, metal and dark and red, so *red* --


Groaning now, needing --

Fuck, twitching in his *pants*, because his eyes are closed again, but he can still feel Bruce staring at him, *seeing* him --

"Oh... Harv, don't. Don't *stop*..."

His voice --

His voice is so deep and *dark*, and somehow he's not thinking of the Batman, somehow he's not thinking of anyone or anything but his friend --

And those big hands on his shoulders -- no. One hand on his shoulder and the other stroking down and down --

*Stopping* over his heart --

Harvey's fucking his own *mouth* with his fingers --

"I want. I want that..."

Don't ask. Ask. Don't ask. Don't -- always -- Harvey groans and pulls his slick fingers out of his mouth --

Bruce *pants* -- and reaches for Harvey's wrist again. "Please."

Harvey squeezes his eyes shut -- no. No. It never makes the bad things go away. It never makes anything stop, or change --

"Please, Harv."

He opens his eyes and gives Bruce his wrist --

Feels him squeeze so -- firmly. Not hard.

Feels him just -- just *make* things the way they need to be. Two friends on the floor. Two friends seeing each other, needing each other, *knowing* each other -- "I love you," Harvey blurts --

And Bruce smiles at him like he had for that pencil box Harvey had carved --

Like he had for the *fourth* hug -- the first three were a little too much for both of them --

"Harv... if we can have this..."

"What's -- ah. This?"

Bruce licks his lips --

Narrows his eyes --

"More, Harv. More touch. More kisses. I... if you would let me give you an orgasm -- "

"And we couldn't just do that right here? Two guys jerking off together, just like. Just like old times --"

"Is that -- no. That isn't what you want," Bruce says, licking his lips and then bringing Harvey's slick hand close to his face --

"Bruce --" But the rest of that is a grunt, because Bruce had just licked his *palm*, one long stripe from the heel to the bottom of his middle finger --

He looks so *thoughtful* --

He does it again --

Again --

"God, big guy, *please* --"

And then three of Harvey's fingers are in Bruce's *mouth*, and he can't, he fucking *can't* --

He yanks them away --

Bruce *lets* him yank them away --

"You always -- drew my hands."

Bruce swallows and nods and he's not *blinking* again --

"I can't -- I can't *do* this --"

"We can. You *want* to --"

"That's not -- it was *never* enough --"

"You've already been elected, Harv. You..." Bruce blinks *once* and licks his lips before shuffling *closer* --

*Straddling* Harvey's thighs --

"We are alone here, brother --"

Harvey grunts again -- "*Fuck* --"

But Bruce nods. "Yes. Yes, I knew you felt that, too --"

"Bruce -- Bruce, it's another reason why we *shouldn't*," Harvey says, and stares at his hand like he *doesn't* want to lick Bruce's spit away, like --

"Look at me."

"Bruce --"


And that -- Harvey coughs a laugh and turns to face him. "So... about that pressure thing?"

Bruce winces and *shudders*, and he looks so *hurt* --

"Ah, God, big guy, it's okay, I swear it's okay --"

"Swear to *this*, Harv. *Give* us this. I promise... I promise to *please* you --"



Harvey groans and covers his face with his hands --

Bruce's saliva is on his *face* now --

God, he has to --

He *needs* this, and shouldn't he have what he needs with Bruce? Shouldn't --

Doesn't he freaking *deserve* --

And Bruce is tugging on his wrists so gently, so carefully --

Would never hurt a *fly* --

Harvey growls again and lets Bruce move his hands, lets himself see that beautiful face, those *worried* blue eyes -- "God, I -- *always*, Bruce --"

"Yes. Always," Bruce says, and Bruce's voice -- isn't flat. There's too much heat in it for that. Bruce's voice is *heavy*, though. *Implacable* --


"I don't --"

"Who *was* it, Bruce? Who *touched* you? I mean -- other than all those freaking --"

"I made love to none of the women I've been linked to, other than Silver St. Cloud."

Harvey opens his mouth  -- and closes it again. "I guess -- I guess once you have the best --"

"I think. I think she knew something of what I was planning... eventually," Bruce says, swallowing and shaking his head. "She was the first person I made love with. And -- the last."

And that was -- she'd flown off to Europe three years ago and just never come back. *Bruce* had flown off to the damned *Middle East* -- wait. "You have a *reputation*, Bruce --"

"All. All part of the deception," and Bruce smiles ruefully. "Mild doses of sedatives, heavy hypnosis... I make them all believe we made love, and that I was somewhat clumsy and selfish, but pleasant overall."

Harvey stares at Bruce. Just -- what. What?

How is that even --

*Why* does that make so much *sense* to him?

Bruce *blushes* --

And Harvey has to touch that, has to -- "You haven't done that --"

"I blush -- every time you leave my presence. My mind fills with everything I haven't said. Everything we haven't done."

"I -- oh. Heh. Like that, hunh?"

Bruce nods and swallows and *stares* --

"So maybe -- maybe I should tell you about all the times I've jerked off thinkin' about... about your body on me? Your *weight* --"

"Let me --"

"About... your dick in my throat, big guy --"

*Bruce* growls --

"Ah, hell, don't sound like the damned *Batman* --"

"I'm sorry --"

"No, no, it's you, he's you, I gotta -- gotta accept that. Right?"

"Not -- only --" Bruce shakes his head and cups Harvey's face. "I will. I'll be anyone you need me to be --"

"No! Don't -- you can't do that, big guy. I promise -- that's *bad* --"

"I need you --"

"You got me --"

"I need your *comfort* --"


"With *me*," and that was another growl, another --

Bruce is stroking Harvey's cheekbones and *panting* --

Harvey wants to do the same --

The same damned -- but.

Harvey pulls back and stands --

"*Harv* --"

And offers Bruce his hand. "I want. I want a bed with you. Okay?"

Bruce moans like -- like he's losing his *mind* --

And maybe Harvey knows how that feels, knows how that *breathes* inside you when Bruce takes his hand --

When they haul each other into another kiss --

Another and *another*, and those really are his hands feeling Bruce up, loving all over him through his perfectly-tailored shirt and pants --

He's gripping Bruce's *ass* --

Bruce is moaning and almost *feeding* from Harvey's mouth, licking and licking like everything's okay, like everything's *great* --

It is. It is, because he can damned well walk them toward the door while they're kissing like this --

While Bruce is sucking Harvey's lower *lip* --

They're staring into each other's *eyes* --

But suddenly Bruce pulls back and shudders, squeezes his *eyes* shut --

"Big guy --"

"Harv. Harv, that *touch*..."

What -- oh. Fuck. He's got two fingers rubbing between Bruce's *cheeks* --

*Jesus* --

"I'm sorry --"

"*No*. I. I've wanted..." And Bruce pants and licks his lips -- and opens his eyes again. They're hot now, *dark* --

"Your -- your pupils are blown --"

"I don't... know how graceful I can be..."

Because Harvey really was making him walk backwards while making *out*, but -- "You're *Batman*."

Bruce laughs softly and just -- beautifully. And raises an eyebrow. "I can't help but wonder what you think the Batman does with his time when not meeting with you or Jim."

That -- Harvey snorts and kisses Bruce again, just a little harder --

He still hasn't moved his damned *hand* --

But -- they can stand still in the hallway a little, right? They can just --

Alfred *always* makes himself scarce --

Alfred probably knew this would *happen* -- or, fuck, he doesn't know. He doesn't know.

What he knows is that spinning Bruce back against a wall makes Bruce grunt into his mouth --

And yanking Bruce's hips forward makes him *shout* --

"God, *Bruce* --"

"Harv. Harv. We -- *anything* -- "

And he's gotta kiss Bruce again, bite him and love him and really *rub* on that hole through his pants --

Bruce closes his eyes and tilts his head back --

"Is. Your throat --"

"*Anything* --"

"Is it *sensitive*, Bruce --"

"Not -- not very --"

"Damn --"

"Please -- please touch me there, anyway --"

"God, anywhere, I'll do --" Harvey swallows and shakes his head, uses his free hand to open a couple of buttons --

And Gilda likes to do this *slowly* --

And Gilda probably suspects *this* --

And who wouldn't?

Hell, *Jim* probably --

And he doesn't have to think about it right now, doesn't have to do anything but nuzzle up to that thick, *strong* throat --

Nuzzle up and kiss, sniff -- leather. That's -- Harvey pulls back --

"*Please*, Harv -- *hnh* --"

God, he'd really just *shoved* at that -- "You want me to -- do you that way --"

"Yes, *please* --"

"You want --"

"*Everything* --"

And Harvey's moaning for that, for -- "I want it, too, big guy. Want your big, thick --"

"I -- I am very close to throwing you down to the floor," Bruce says *apologetically*.

"I -- oh. Don't?"

And Bruce nods at him solemnly --

And Harvey laughs, just -- he can't *not* --

But he can do that *while* he's walking to the stairs with his hands up --

Bruce nods and *follows* --

Harvey can *feel* that even though he's turned around -- and -- "You were -- dressed. Suited up?"

"Yes. I was... I'd planned to go out early tonight," Bruce says, and that's his hand so gentle, so *tentative* at the small of Harvey's back --

"I don't -- I don't want to apologize --"


"I -- God, what were you going to be *doing*?"

"Visiting the strolls near the docks. I'm -- the Batman --"

"Is *you* --"

"Sometimes," Bruce says, and the smile in his voice is *darkly* happy --

And Harvey's dick isn't even close to letting him turn around to *see* it. Just -- up the stairs.

Down the hall.

*Past* the bedroom Harvey knows, because he *also* knows that Bruce had moved into the master suite --

("I never realized how *dark* it was when I was a child. I wonder, sometimes, how Mother felt about it."

"How do *you* feel about it, big guy?"

"Haunted. But not always in a bad way.")

Good enough, especially because they're gonna make new memories here, *good* memories, and yeah, it *is* dark in this bedroom --

Even with the curtains pulled all the way *back* --

What were the Waynes really *like*? Just -- he's asked that question, and he's even *gotten* answers, but he'd still had to ask again --

Again --

And maybe that kind of thing just happens when you had parents like *his* --

And Bruce's hands are on his shoulders. Just --

Harvey shudders --


"Gimme -- just one sec, big guy."

"Of course," Bruce says, and steps back --

And he even sounds *sincere* --

Sounds --

"Wait, you *drug* them?"

"In my defense, many of them drug *themselves* before I have the opportunity to introduce anything I might have selected for them. The sedatives I use have been chosen, in part, for their tendency not to interact poorly with any other pharmaceutical compounds -- recreational or otherwise."

Harvey snorts, coughs, and shrugs off his jacket --

Bruce catches his breath just like Harvey had done something *serious* -- but Harvey knows that he had.

For *Bruce* --

God, *anything* for Bruce, anything at *all* -- but this one thing.

He'd *promised* himself --

And he still can't help stripping off. He gets rid of the tie and turns to throw it over the big, overstuffed-looking chair with the jacket --

He starts to unbutton his shirt --

And Bruce's hands are on his shoulders again, from the back this time. He -- he *sighs* --


"May. I'd like to help."

Harvey's *dick* -- "I -- part of me says you already are. Heh. I -- *fuck* --"

Big hand, *hot* hand cupping Harvey through his pants --

"Bruce --"

Bruce takes a *shuddering* breath and *squeezes* --

Harvey stumbles *back* --

And Bruce is right there to pull him close, *hold* him, shoulder and *dick* --

"Jesus. Jesus, big guy --"

"I'm sorry --"

"Don't -- oh."

Bruce is *stroking* him through his pants, slow and expert --

Of *course* expert --

The angle's gotta -- gotta be --

Harvey groans and lets his head fall back --

"I want. I want to kiss your throat..."

And Gilda had smiled *meanly* --

("Aw, you know I get *intimidated* when you look at me like that --"

"What *I* want to know...")

Gilda had *licked* his throat --

Harvey had *grunted* --

("Did this make you neck with all those private school girls less...? Or more?")

Yes, the answer is *yes*, and that's why Harvey is reaching up and back --

Pulling Bruce *in* --

"Oh, *Harv*..."

And those are teeth scraping him lightly --

A big, *hot* tongue --

He's grunting for it, pushing into Bruce's hand --

Bruce *moans* -- and the kisses are wet and quick, soft and *teasing* --

But much harder than that and the D.A. will have to explain away hickeys. Just -- no *fair* --

Harvey laughs and *bangs* his head against Bruce's shoulder --


"Lower. Lower on my throat, big guy --"

"Where. Where your collars --"

"Yeah," Harvey says, and his lips are dry -- but licking them gets Bruce's other hand on his mouth, makes Bruce stroke and *shake* --

"You'll let me mark you."

Harvey *groans* --

"Please --"

"*Do* it -- *nnh* -- oh, *Jesus* --"

But it's still not *that* hard, still --

Of *course* Bruce doesn't want to hurt him -- no. It's *Bruce*. He remembers *everything* Harvey had said -- *stammered* -- about how sensitive his throat was --

("It takes. It takes so little to make me *loud*, big guy --")

And Bruce had *gasped* --

And Harvey had wanted to see, wanted to touch, wanted to *have* --

("How. How loud.")

Harvey had laughed *nervously* --

Just like he's doing right now -- except not, because he's moaning for it, moaning for every *wet* suck and wetter *lick* --

"Please --"

And Bruce nods and works on the rest of Harvey's buttons one-handed --

*Perfectly* --

And more perfect than perfect when he yanks up Harvey's undershirt and starts petting Harvey's abs, clawing and massaging --

He's still *sucking* --

And Harvey's still moaning, still just -- giving it up --

He's always *wanted* --

Kids weren't *supposed* to look like Bruce -- and they sure as hell weren't supposed to act like him. So smart, so gentle, so big and sweet and *young* --

Harvey groans and pushes Bruce's hand away from his crotch --

And laughs for the fact that it's the hardest thing he's ever freaking *done* -- but yeah, pants have to go --

And he can step out of his shoes --

Really shouldn't treat 'em like this, but -- just this once --

(And maybe every other time he *comes* here --)

Comes all *over* himself, because God, just the feel of his pants falling down around his ankles --

No, the feel of Bruce *working* him through his boxer shorts --

He's still kissing, mouthing --

And this is gonna be *real* damned fast if Harvey doesn't -- step away --

"Harv --"

"Just -- let me," Harvey says, and breathes, thinks --

No, none of that. He steps out of his pants, *eases* down his shorts --

Doesn't *listen* to Bruce groan --

Or to the sound of *him* stripping --

Socks, get rid of the socks --

The undershirt --

And *then* turn around, and just -- watch --

No, no, he can help, he can shove that shirt back off Bruce's shoulders --

Get lost in Bruce's eyes, Bruce's *heat* --

And Bruce's *hot* kiss, taste his own salt on Bruce's lips --

Moan and push and get Bruce on the bed --

Bruce cups Harvey's face so -- so *tenderly* --

It almost feels wrong to be *straddling* Bruce like this, but -- no, get his hand over Bruce's heart, his other hand under *his* undershirt --

"Love your *hair* --"

"Your skin -- *mm* --"

Kiss him again, kiss him and lick, shove, *touch* --

Bruce's *eyes* are open, just like --

Just like he wants to miss as little of this as Harvey does, and *that* --

Harvey smiles into the kiss and pulls back, stares and touches, *strokes* Bruce's hairy belly --

And Bruce strokes the curve of Harvey's smile with his thumb. His *own* smile is wide and wondering --

So *beautiful* --

And shouldn't they have this? Shouldn't it be *just* like this? Two friends, two brothers, two lovers *happy* with each other the way it always should've been --

Bruce's dick is so huge and *hard* behind those pants -- "Heh. Got you on the bed too fast --"

"I disagree." And Bruce raises an eyebrow.

Harvey snorts. "Too many *clothes*, big guy -- *oof* -- okay, I'm okay with being on my back -- especially with you stripping that *fast* -- oh, Jesus, all your *hair* --"

"You were fascinated with it when we were boys," Bruce says, and rolls on his own back to get rid of his own pants and -- briefs. Hunh.

"It's funny that you think I stopped at *any* point -- what's with these," Harvey says, and snaps the waistband.

"They're more practical with my uniform than boxer shorts," and then they're gone and Bruce is naked, huge, *next* to him -- under him, and it's not what he wants, but he still has to line them up --

*Thrust* --

"*Harv* --"

Oh, *yeah* -- "You like it, big guy?"

Bruce groans and squeezes his eyes shut, arches up like Harvey weighs *nothing* --

"God, so *strong* -- *nnh* -- oh, yeah, yeah, grab my hips --"

Bruce *squeezes* --

And Harvey is thrusting hard all of a sudden, thrusting *fast* -- "C'mon, c'mon, open --"

Bruce opens his eyes and stares up at him, and he's flushed, sweating --

Harvey's sweating, *too*, and he can't look away from those eyes, so blue and deep, so black with *lust* --

Harvey groans and twists his hips a little, *works* his hips --

"*Harv* --"

"Yeah, oh -- oh, God, you're so *hard* --"

"*You* --"

"Wanted -- wanted this, *too* --"

"*Everything* --"

And Harvey has to kiss him, has to pull back and lick that freaking cut, has to kiss him again --

And moan into Bruce's mouth when those hands move *cautiously* to Harvey's ass --

Shout and *buck* when Bruce *squeezes* --

Bruce *narrows* his eyes, and Harvey doesn't want to stop kissing, but he still wants to tell Bruce that he wants it, needs it --

Needs it as much as *Bruce* does -- but --

Harvey pulls back. "Never -- never jerked off to you and Silver. It was too --"

"I masturbate to thoughts of you with Gilda."

Harvey *grunts*. "Bruce --"

"She's beautiful. So. So petite..."

"I --"

"She's not your usual *type*, Harv, and so I was forced to the theory -- you love her more than you loved any of the others --"

"Want -- yeah. Yeah, I do," Harvey says, and doesn't know if he wants to smile or *beg*. Just --

Those *images* --

"She -- I think she knows I want you -- need you --"

Bruce shivers beneath him and *stares* --

And Harvey doesn't have to lie *here*, never -- he stops thrusting. "I know she knows. I don't. I'm not sure what she thinks about it."

"I... no?"

Harvey smiles ruefully. "I know she gets jealous. I know -- I can't help it. I've read her parts of some of your letters. To make her laugh. To make --  you never play that *game* in front of her --"

"She..." Bruce swallows and lets go of Harvey's ass with one hand, cups Harvey's *face* again. "It isn't just her appearance. Or... I've known you were in love with her for a long time."

"Yeah. I -- I wanna marry --"

"I'm jealous."

"Oh -- Bruce --"

"I've thought. I have a favorite fantasy."

That -- Harvey licks his lips. "More. More than your other fantasies?"

And Bruce's smile is just -- devastating. Rueful and lazy and *hot*, all at *once* --

Harvey kisses that smile, licks it, *bites* it --

And Bruce's hand is in *his* hair --

Bruce is *gripping* his hair --

Harvey groans and kisses him harder, *harder* --

But Bruce pulls him back *easily* --

"Big guy --"

"Let me tell you, Harv. Let me *share*, the way you always shared with *me*."

Harvey makes a noise like an *animal* --

"Oh. Harv..."

"Never -- never shared *enough* --"

"But you will now?"

Harvey winces, but it's all lust, all *need* -- "Yeah. Yeah. And tell me --"

"We're all together."

And that -- it's not that he *couldn't* see that coming, but he's still grunting for it --

"We -- I can smell the stone and dust from her studio --"

"Such -- I love that smell --"

"Her bed is... the two of you have made love in it recently enough that your scents have mingled, and every time I press my face to the sheets I moan..."

Thrusting again, just a little -- "You. You like her scent, big guy?"

"She has..." Bruce licks his lips. "She never wears perfume when we meet, Harv."

"No, not -- she never does, period --"

And Bruce nods *solemnly* again, like that was a *gift* --

And Harvey knows it was, knows that Bruce will *use* that information the next time he jerks off -- "Fuck, tell me more --"

"You watch the two of us kissing. You..." Bruce licks his lips and strokes Harvey's back --

Grips Harvey's *hips* again -- and doesn't let Harvey move. "I -- big guy?"

"Just this. Just -- closeness. For a moment?"

Harvey pants and tries to will his dick to *behave* -- "We can do that --"

And Bruce nods solemnly *again* --

"I love you --"

Bruce moans. "You say that. You say it over and over, Harv, and neither I nor Gilda can tell which of us you mean at any given time --"

"Both -- always -- nnh -- God, your *hands* --"

"I've wanted to touch you so --" Bruce shakes his head. "In the fantasy, you groan when Gilda bites my lower lip --"

"You -- she loves doing that sometimes --"

"I've watched her do that to you."

"I -- *when*?"

Bruce's smile is *dark*. "I watched from the study when you left here with her after our last dinner together. She wouldn't let you get into the car without... claiming you."

"Oh -- fuck. Yeah. Yeah. She can be -- but not all the time --"

"Only after we're all together?"

Harvey groans and nods, but -- "She told me she *likes* you, that you're -- sometimes she talks about how handsome you are, how many. How many women you're linked up with in the papers --"

Bruce licks his lips. "She... teases you?"

("Oh... ooh. This one has your eyes, honey...")

And Gilda had *smirked* when she held up the society pages while they ate breakfast during their last visit --

Harvey had covered the *need* to blush by studying the sports page a little harder --

But hadn't they both *known* he was blushing inside anyway? Hadn't -- "She's been waiting for me to *admit* it, Bruce --"

"Like me?"

Harvey squeezes his eyes shut again -- no, he's gotta see, gotta *show* -- "Tell me more."

Bruce nods and stares into him. "When she begins licking my mouth --"

"Love -- don't listen to me --"

"I lift her until I can easily reach her small breasts with my mouth --"

"Oh, Jesus --"

"What color are her nipples and areolae, Harv?"

Another *animal* noise, but -- "Dark. They're." Harvey braces himself on one hand and thumbs Bruce's dark burgundy nipple with his other. "Not so different from yours --"

Bruce sighs. "More. Tell me more."

"She -- the areolas almost seem too big for her breasts --"

"Do you like that."

"Love it, I love it, always gotta suck --"

"I do that, too, Harv. I suckle and nibble, suck hard and *pull* her breast into my mouth --"

"God. God. And I'm still just *watching*?"

Bruce nods *slowly*. "Though you've begun to shake. You -- sometimes you would *grip* the side of your bunk with your free hand --"

"Stop it -- to stop it from shaking --"

"Yes. And you do the same with. Her rumpled sheets... what color --"

"Blue, all shades of blue --"

"Thank you. We're teasing ourselves with you, Harv. With your need and *proximity*."

"Jesus ---"

"We can smell you. *Hear* you as you moan and *curse* --

"That. That's suddenly a kink?"

Bruce smiles. "It always was. But especially in this fantasy, where your curses drive Gilda *on*. She claws at my scalp with her short nails. She locks her legs around my waist and grinds her pubis... does she shave? Like the women you've made love with in the past?"

Harvey *moans*. "You -- of course you remember --"

"Everything, Harv. Tell --"

"No. No, she's. She's got... a bushy little... bush," and Harvey hears himself laughing crazily, wanting -- "Did she shave in your fantasy before?"

"I went back and forth on the matter. Most often she shaved her pubic hair into a thin strip down the midline of her pubis, the way Silver had to for her work --"

"Was. Was that white, too?"

"Mostly. There were some few reddish-blonde hairs scattered -- do you want to know --"

"No, no, tell me more of the *fantasy* --"

"Yes, Harv," Bruce says, and squeezes Harvey's hips *tighter* --

"Jesus, your hands --"

"*Yours*, Harv. She reaches for you as I move back and forth between her breasts. You try to take her hand, but she twists it free. You beg... and she pinches your nipple just as I suck hers... very hard --"

"*Jesus*, big guy --"

"You buck your hips. I can see your penis twitching out of the corner of my eye and I wrap my hand around it --"

"Oh -- oh, yeah --"

"I never stop making love to Gilda's breasts, and she continues to claw at my scalp even as she toys with your nipples. You beg more, and more. By this point, I am achingly erect -- within and without the fantasy --"

"Fuck -- uh. Hard like this?"


"Do you. Do you *hurt*, big guy?"

Bruce licks his lips and stares up at him. "The only times I have not ached for you in the past thirteen years have been in the moments after bringing myself to orgasm to the sound -- or the memory -- of your voice."

"Oh, God, let me --"


Harvey *grunts* again -- "I -- I can wait. You -- you need to tell me more?"

Bruce nods and *massages* Harvey's hips --

"You. You're gonna bruise me there -- *don't* ease up --"

Bruce *growls* --

"God -- fuck -- c'mon, tell me, tell me what happens *next*."

"She stops playing with your nipples and twines her small, strong hand with my own. She shows me the stroke she most often uses for you. I show her the stroke you used to use --"

"Still -- still the *same* --"

Bruce pants --

And suddenly Harvey's on his back again and getting kissed right into the pillow, getting stroked and *pinned* -- "Bruce, Bruce --"

"Is it. Is it too much --"

"*No*," Harvey says, and *then* thinks about what he's really saying -- but it's still true, still right, still *perfect* --

"You. You said you wanted --" And Bruce growls *again* -- and starts fucking Harvey's mouth with his tongue, just as big as the rest of him, just as slick as their *dicks* --

And now Bruce is thrusting --

Driving Harvey into the *bed* --

Moaning and *fucking*, and Harvey's shaking for it, needing it, *needing* it --

It's just as good as he *thought* it would be --

It's *better*, because Bruce's scent is all around him, because Bruce is *sweating* for this, because Bruce has thought about this just as much as *he* has --

Harvey turns out of the kiss and opens his mouth -- but all he can do is groan when Bruce licks a path to Harvey's *ear* --

"You thrust into our fists..."

Harvey *bucks* --

"Yes. Yes, like that," Bruce says, and starts to *grind* --

"Bruce -- gonna -- oh, Jesus, slow *down* --"


"Oh -- nnh. *Can* you slow down?"

Bruce *smiles* against Harvey's ear. "Yes. But I don't want to."

"Well, I don't want my *eyes* to roll back in my head, but I don't have a *choice*, big guy --"

Bruce laughs and pulls back -- and stops.

Which is when Harvey notices that *he's* not stopping, that he -- "Oh -- fuck, I can't -- I need --"

"Oh, Harv..."

"Tell me more, touch me, God, I *need* -- *hnh* --"

Big hand around him, strong and warm and almost as hard as Gilda's, almost --

Like *he'd* decided to take up sculpting, or like maybe Bruce turned into one of those metahumans sometime when Harvey wasn't paying enough attention --

*Can* the Batman be entirely human? Does biology even *matter* for something like that? How -- "*Unh* --"

"I need -- Harv." And Bruce loosens his grip *slightly*. "May I give you an orgasm this way --"

"Yeah, yeah, I'll be up for another -- probably another after *that* -- oh, *God*, big guy, so *perfect* --"

"I remember *everything*," Bruce says, and it's a promise and a *threat*, so hot and *dark*, and yeah, Harvey's eyes are rolling back --

Bruce is stroking him so *right* -- "More, tell --"

"You cry out for... for even the simple manipulation --"

"Wanted -- I *will* -- don't *stop* --"

"Never. Never any--" Bruce growls again. "I have to stop mouthing her breasts. We both turn to stare at you, to watch you writhe and beg. You throw your head back. I see. I see where you've let her mark your throat..."

"Oh -- *more* --"

"She forces me to squeeze you, harder and harder --"

"Yeah -- oh, *yeah* --"

"She. She asks you if you want to see me take her. That. That isn't the word she uses --"

"Oh -- *Bruce* --"

Bruce squeezes *hard* --

Harvey hears himself *whine* --

"*Tell* me, Harv!"

And for a moment Harvey can't focus, can't think, can't -- but it's what Bruce wants, Bruce has to *know*, and just --

It's wrong that he doesn't already know, wrong that he even has to *ask* --

Bruce should never have to -- "*Yes*, Bruce, yeah, I want it, wanna see everything, see you with the right girl, the *best* girl --" And then Harvey *is* yelling, louder and louder for this stroke --

The *best* --

Bruce covers his *mouth* --

"Mm --"

"*Don't* stop making noise," Bruce *orders* --

Harvey twitches in his hand -- and shouts against his other hand, tries to *beg* more --

"You want to see it in the fantasy, as well. You want *everything*, just as I always have --"

Harvey *sobs* against Bruce's hand and *nods* --

"She kneels up immediately, and I take hold of my penis with my free hand. She -- she *drives* herself down on me. She is wet, and hot, and *soft*... oh, Harv..."

Bucking for it, tossing his head and *bucking* for it, God, he can see it, he can *see* --

Her little tits *bouncing* --

He can hear her *screaming* -- has she ever felt a dick that big? Would she *want* to? Could he -- could he *make* her want --

"Harv... do it. Show me. I'll tell you everything. I'll show you... she beats at my shoulder with her free hand. She is... tight..."

She would be, she *would* be --

"I think. I think I..." Bruce shudders and starts squeezing for every --

Every *stroke* --

"You stare so *hungrily*. You take in our bodies, every inch of us that you can see. You *grip* our hands with both of yours and demand faster. Like *this*."

And Harvey is whining again, *licking* and whining, because Bruce's hand tastes like Harvey's sweat *and* his own, because Bruce is staring down at him and doing him, just doing --

He *does* want everything --

And he can have it.

"She *rides* me, Harv, crying out -- I want to know her *sounds*!"

Harvey nods *frantically* --

"Oh, Harv. She. She reaches an orgasm very quickly. Her clenches are *convulsive* around me -- and only become more so when you ejaculate on both of us together --"

*Fuck* --

Oh, *fuck* --

And vision is gone again -

And everything is so *hot* --

And Bruce wants him, needs him, loves him so much Harvey can smell it, taste it --

Please --

The two of them, the two -

Big and little. Male and female. Brutality and *art* --

And he's shooting off just like that, bucking and *twisting* just like that --

"*Yes*, Harv!"

God, giving it up for Bruce --

For *Bruce*, and it's so good, so *right* --

So hot all *through* him -- "No --" But he can't get another word out, because Bruce had only moved his hand so he could take Harvey into his *mouth* --

He's humming and grunting and humming *more* --


Bruce is *nodding*, and -- God, Harvey is shooting off *again* --

He's not gonna *get* soft --

And sensitivity doesn't *matter*, because he knows what *he* would want if he had Bruce's dick in his mouth --

What he would *need*. So he pushes both hands into Bruce's hair and holds on *tight* --

Bruce *groans* --

And Harvey gives it to him, one *careful* thrust after another after *another* --

Careful for *both* of them --

But he's still gotta scream a little when Bruce sucks *hard* --

God, it hurts so *right*, and Bruce is still nodding, still --

"*Look* at me!"

Bruce does, and he's burning at Harvey again, freaking -- freaking flaying Harvey *alive* with that look, burning him down to *nothing* --

But he could never be nothing in Bruce's eyes, never be anything but something like *everything* -- "I love you so *much*!"

And Bruce's eyes flare *hard*, flare *deep* somehow -- in the seconds before Bruce *swallows* him --

"What the -- oh, *Jesus*, big guy --"

And those hands are on his hips again, one slick and one *not* --

Bruce is holding Harvey in his *throat* --

Bruce can't *breathe*, and -- God, it's just like when Gilda does this for him --

*To* him --

That same -- that same sense of being too much, too greedy --

That same sense of being just *right*, because Bruce doesn't look any hungrier than Gilda does at times like these, because Gilda narrows her eyes just like that --

Because Gilda makes noises in her chest that *feel* as deep as Bruce's sound --

God, so *good*, and he can never give this up --

He'd promised himself he *wouldn't* because he *knew* he'd never be able to give it up --

"Bruce -- Bruce, *please* --"

Bruce is nodding again --

Harvey is still *thrusting*, still --

Jesus, he's heating up again so *fast*, but Bruce is barely blinking, Bruce --

Bruce hasn't even *done* this before, unless Silver had more secrets than anyone reading those fashion magazines could *guess* --

And the images for that make him snort *and* twitch --

Bruce raises an *eyebrow* at him while getting his *mouth* fucked, and --

"Christ, big guy, don't *do* that --"

Bruce hums a *question* --

Harvey slams in hard, too *hard*, he can't hurt Bruce like this, can't ever --

He pulls out and pants, grips his own dick and scoots *back* a little --

"Harv --"

"Wait -- God, just wait --"

Bruce licks his *lips* -- "How long."

"Uh. Jesus -- oh, you gotta come --"

Bruce nods *slowly*.

"Tell me *how*, big guy, tell me what you want --"

"Everything --"

"No, c'mon, be specific," Harvey says, and squeezes himself hard, tries to get his dick to shut *up* a little --

But he can't really blame it for yelling at him, considering how hard Bruce is *staring* at it --

"Big guy --"

"I have had... countless fantasies of masturbating myself while fellating you."

And that --

The sound that comes out of Harvey's *mouth* --


"Harv," Bruce says, and looks up. "I would prefer to be touched right now, I think."

Harvey nods --

Bruce nods --

And they're rolling around the bed like kids, kissing and biting and *tasting* --

Bruce's tongue is so salty now, so --

Bruce's dick is so *hard* --

Harvey licks the cut on Bruce's cheek again --

Bruce grunts and comes this close to bucking Harvey *off* --

"No waiting. No -- where's your *slick*, big guy?"

Bruce grunts *again* -- and uses one of those long, powerful arms to reach into the bedside table and pull out K-Y.

Harvey can *work* with K-Y. *Gilda* hates the texture, but Harvey has no problem with it and God, God, he's already slicking his fingers just like --


"I'm here, big guy, just --"

"Yes. You're *here*," Bruce says, and his smile is so bright, so happy and *bright* --

And Harvey has to kiss him again, has to grind them together, bite Bruce's lips --

"Harv -- Harv --"

"Yeah," and Harvey sucks Bruce's tongue *hard* for a moment --

Bruce *grunts* --

Harvey pulls back -- and *immediately* groans, because Bruce can spread his legs *wide* --

There's no *mistaking* what he wants.

What -- "Do you need it, Bruce? Need --"

"*You*," and Bruce's eyes are so *hot*, so --

"I'll give it to you, I'll -- oh, God, this is gonna drive me *crazy* --" Harvey cuts himself off with a growl and gets Bruce slick around his hole, just --

He can go *completely* crazy *later* --

Or right now, right --

One finger, just one, take it slow --

But Bruce isn't that tight. Isn't -- Harvey hears himself make another *terrible* noise, and he can *feel* that the look on his face is confused and hungry and *needy* --

"Oh, Harv..."

"Tell me -- you -- you do yourself, big guy?"

Bruce's smile is rueful and *devastating*. "I had many, many silent arguments with myself about what I could possibly get away with in our room... after you explained anal sex to me."

Harvey winces again and --


God, he hadn't *meant* to crook like that, but now he's gotta do it again, again --

Bruce is groaning and --

He's already glassy-eyed, sweating again, big dick twitching and *hungry* for --

No, that's him, that's *him*, and he *can*, he --

Harvey drops and says a quiet thank you to imagination and *desperation*, because it's not *impossible* to get most of Bruce's dick in his mouth --

Bruce growls like something big and *angry* --

Harvey blushes and sucks --

"Oh -- *Harv* --"

Silver had to love this, had to do it all the time, every chance she got --

Bruce tastes so good, so perfect and male and -- okay, he doesn't *taste* huge, but he feels that way. He's filling Harvey *up*, and he can damned well return the favor. Two fingers in and he's not thinking about Bruce doing himself --

Except that he is, because he knows for a *fact* that Bruce has had a tube of K-Y since they were *teenagers*. Harvey spent a lot of damned time *not* thinking about it --

And thinking about it with every *inch* of himself --

And wanting to be here, *right* here, because Bruce is just as hot inside as Harvey always knew he would be, Bruce is just as big, as beautiful, as *perfect* as he arches and groans --

As he starts to *thrust* --

And it was *him* who got Bruce to start stretching a little, even though he couldn't get him to go out for a sport. He'd teased Bruce, pushed him around a little, jerked off for those *growing* muscles, that fantastic *body* --

Harvey's groaning too loudly to *hear* Bruce --

He's gotta *stop* that --

Or just start doing him, start *thrusting* --


Yeah, yeah, and he can hear Bruce yanking at the sheets, growling and *yelling* --


Anything, everything, and Harvey can't help thinking about himself in this position, maybe with Bruce's *other* big hand holding him down so *easily* --

So *strong* --

And right now Harvey thinks he could be mad just for Bruce not letting him *see* him getting this incredible, this --

God, so *big*, and Harvey's thrusting harder, *working* himself on Bruce's dick --

"Harv -- oh, *Harv* --"

And that's a shaking hand in his hair, big hand, hot hand, *gripping* hand --

Yeah, *yeah* --

But Bruce is pulling him *off* --

"Bruce --"

"In -- I *need*," he says, and his eyes are so wide, so *blown* --

"I know what you need," Harvey blurts, and he can't keep himself from thrusting faster, crooking *more* --

Bruce groans and looks -- looks so *desperate* --

"I -- I've *got* what you need --"

"*Always* --"

"Yeah -- oh, God, big guy, tell me it's okay --"

"I *love* you!"

"That's all --" But it's *not* all he needs, and Harvey has enough of his brain left to know that that's the kind of lie that causes fucking *wounds*. He shakes his head and pulls out --

Bruce *grunts*, and for a moment, all Harvey can do is watch him clench on nothing, watch and think about --

*Feel* about --


And it's a damned good thing Gilda had taught him to appreciate those times when he can only *whimper* --

Only moan as he slicks himself up, gets himself --

("Come *on*, Harv --"

"Baby --"

"I *want* it!")

All he ever --

*Not* all he ever --

He's not supposed to --

You shouldn't *hurt* --

And sometimes the world is red and hot and *close*, like a rough little vise around his head and heart. It tightens his hands into fists and makes him bare his *teeth* --

"Harv, *please*!"

But sometimes the world is huge and wild and strange and perfect, and gasping just fills him up, and blue eyes are the wildest things in the world, and Bruce lets Harvey push his leg up and *back* --

"*Yes* -- *oh*..."

And he was wrong, because Bruce *is* tight, tight enough that he's gonna lose his mind --

Red red the world is red --

"More, give me *more*!"

Hot enough, *willing* enough, and Bruce has his other leg wrapped around Harvey's *waist* --

Bruce is pulling him *in* --

"Big -- big guy --"

Bruce is groaning and *staring*, and even Gilda closes her eyes for this part, breathes herself open and loose and *open* --

But Bruce doesn't want to miss a second, and the part of Harvey which can still *think* knew it would be just like that, knew he'd *need* this, need *him* --

And it's almost *frightening* how easy it is to shove the red away -- easy like it is with *Gilda* --

The only heat is Bruce, the only crazy is *this*, because he's not even *in* all the way and he's already pumping, already giving, doing, giving it *up* --

"Bruce --"

"*Yes* --"

"*Bruce*, you -- is this --"

"Don't -- *Harv* --"

"Oh, God, I -- God, I just had to get all the way *in* you --"

"*All* of you --"

"I *need* you," Harvey says, and *that* was more of a growl than anything else, but it makes *Bruce* show his teeth, makes him smile like the *Batman* -- "God -- God, I -- don't *smile* like that at Jim -- anymore --"

Bruce *blinks* at him --

And Harvey snorts and hooks his arm around Bruce's bent leg, gasps for the *tiny* shift --

*Huge* shift --

Huge body, perfect body under him --

"All -- all your *hair* --"

"Please *touch* --"

"Yeah, I have to, I -- God, big guy, you're so *sweet* inside and I don't even know what that *means* --"

"You *do*," Bruce says, and *clenches* --

Harvey shouts --

Does it again --

Shifts *angle*, but that doesn't make Bruce any looser, any -- "So *perfect* --"

"*Yes*, Harv, don't *stop* -- *nnh* --"

"Gotta, gotta feel you, big guy, gotta have you in my hand," and Harvey grips Bruce the way Bruce is gripping *him* --

*Bruce* shouts --

Flexes open --

And Harvey is thrusting faster, thrusting *harder* before he can think about it, before --

He needs to *feel* Bruce, to *have* him, and this is right, this was always right --

It feels like something in his mind is *cracking*, spilling open scary and -- and *wet* --

But not as slick as Bruce's dick, not as hot as *this*: Staring into each other's eyes and *moving*, always *moving* --

And Harvey whimpers when Bruce squeezes his eyes shut --

Bruce *opens* his eyes and Harvey nods, tries to say something, tries to --

God, they're *rank* with sweat, and Harvey wants to tell Bruce that this is what he was thinking about every time they worked out together, every time they ran themselves just a little *high* --

"I want them *back*!"

"Harv --"

"The -- the *years* --"

Bruce groans and *yanks* Harvey in --

Harvey lets go of Bruce's leg, falls over and braces himself on Bruce's *shoulders*, perfect, so --  "God, *Bruce* --"

But Bruce is groaning louder, *shaking*, shuddering all over and stroking Harvey's face, his cheeks, his eyelids, his *mouth* --

Harvey sucks Bruce's fingers *in* --

Bruce clenches hard and holds him, *holds* him --

Harvey sucks and licks, sucks and *grinds* --

Bruce gasps and arches, gasps and groans and fucks Harvey's *mouth* --

Harvey *nods* --

And Bruce gives it to him faster, harder, making Harvey's lips feel numb and electric at once, making Harvey grind in *that* rhythm --

Bruce groans again --

Again --

Feels Harvey up with his other hand --

Slides in the *sweat* --

And that's a great fucking idea, the *best*, because Harvey can damned well hold himself up on one hand; *grip* Bruce's shoulder and pet that chest, love all over it --

Twist away from the hand in his mouth --

"Wanna *taste* you more --"

"*Anything* --"

"Wanna -- God, *everything*, Bruce --"

"*Yes* --"

"*This*," Harvey says, and pinches and *twists* Bruce's nipple --

Bruce *growls* again, and he's burning up at Harvey, burning like Harvey is *teasing* again --

"Tell me, c'mon, tell me --"

"*Harder* --"

Harvey moans and *moves*, *gives* it to Bruce until they're both grunting for every thrust, scratching and *pulling* on that ridiculous chest hair, fantastic chest hair -- "Gotta -- wanna rub myself all *over* --"

"Don't *stop*!"

And yeah, he's yelling again, digging his fingers into Bruce's shoulder, thrusting harder, harder and harder --

Bruce is shuddering again, dick twitching over and --

No, Harvey needs it in his hand, needs it in his *fist*, so big and pretty and right -- "You -- you gotta do this to *me* --"

"I *will* --"

"Just *like* this --"

"*Yes*, Harv --"

And Harvey sobs for it, for the *phantom* ache of it and the way he's clenching on nothing even while he thrusts, takes, fucks the *hell* out of his best friend in the *world* --

"Oh --" And then Bruce growls again and grips Harvey's hips, *moves* Harvey until the rhythm is brutal with *short* thrusts --

"Got it, I got it --"

"*Please* --"

And if he ever tried to fuck Gilda like this, she'd brain him with the little Ishtar statue she keeps by the bed, but Bruce is shouting for it, stroking and clutching at him, bucking so --

So *hard* --

And harder than that when Harvey starts stripping his cock in the same rhythm --

So good --

So *sweet*, and he can't breathe, can't --

He has to hold *on* --

But Bruce shouts like the Batman never would, never *could*, and comes all over Harvey's chest, his *mouth* when Harvey bends for it --

Again and --

Oh, God, Bruce's come is in his *mouth* --

He can't even *swallow*. All he can do is lick and moan and keep stroking, keep squeezing --

"*Harv* --"

"Need you, *need* you --"

And Bruce swipes his come off Harvey's chest and *feeds* it to him --

Oh, *Jesus* --

*Now* he can swallow, now he can't do anything *but* swallow and fuck, fuck so *hard*, and he's not in Bruce's rhythm, anymore. He's going long and *fast* more than hard, in-in-in just the way he needs it, the way that makes Gilda *croon* for him, smile up at him sweaty and flushed and beautiful --

And she touches his face --

And Bruce is still feeding him *come* --

And she --

Bruce tugs his fingers away from Harvey's *bite* --

"Oh, God --"

"It's all *right*, Harv --"

"I need -- I *need*!"

"*Tell* me --"

"Both -- oh, God, both of you --"

And Bruce gasps and shoves his fingers deep again --

And they're staring into each other's eyes --

And Bruce is *nodding* --

And Harvey can feel Gilda, feel her hard little hands all over him, feel her marking him out in space like something --

Like *art* --

Like *Bruce*, and how happy he looks right now, like the ache inside him is just right --

Like the ache in *both* of them --

Oh --

And Harvey whines around Bruce's fingers, bites *down* again --

"*Always*, Harv --"

"*Hnh* --"

And there's a moment when it seems like there isn't one single part of his body that he can control, when it feels like everything he is belongs to Bruce the way he belongs to *Gilda* at times like this, when everything is just that *perfect* --

And then it blows apart into something even more perfect, bright white and hot and screaming through him --

Shaking him to *pieces* as he comes and *comes* --

Ah, God --

"Oh -- thank you."

"*Fuck* -- *Bruce* --"

And Bruce is *laughing* at him as he somehow loses it even more --

As he falls *over* again --

Shudders and licks Bruce's huge, sweaty neck --

Bruce hums. "You always did respond... powerfully to my gratitude."

Harvey whimpers and shudders more --

And Bruce starts petting him. He --

He can go with being petted, especially since Bruce doesn't seem to need him to do anything more than take it and moan.

God, where is his *mind*? Is he going to get it back anytime soon?

He just had sex --

He just made love with Bruce, and the part of him that's terrified and in denial is -- slow. Too slow.

Harvey kisses Bruce's neck --

And Bruce sighs. "Brother."

-- oh. Harvey snorts.


"I can *hear* the smile in your voice, big guy. It's *creepy*."

"Should I apologize?"

Heh. "Depends."


"How often you make me think of *incest*, you big freak," and Harvey can't quite *smack* Bruce, but the half-spastic flap of his hand probably gets *some* kind of point across.

"It's one of the things I've wanted to share with you," Bruce says, and he's still *smiling* --


Bruce *rumbles* a hum. "Perversity in general. With the understanding that the boundary between that which is perverse and that which is merely 'kinky' is... fluid."

"Uh. How fluid are we talking here?"

Bruce wraps his arms around Harvey and squeezes *hard* --

"Oh, *yeah* --"

Bruce *clenches* --

"Jesus --"

"I love you."

"Oh -- hey," and Harvey shifts enough that he can smile down into Bruce's eyes. "I love you, too. But answer the question."

Bruce narrows his eyes in a smile that --

"Hunh. That's the Batman. I'm not sure *why* I know that, but I do."

Bruce *blinks* -- and then smiles ruefully. "That particular degree of mean-spirited relish... yes. Alfred tends to dust into my eyes when I use that expression around him."

Harvey snorts --

Coughs --

"See, now I'm gonna have to tell Jim that I was *wrong* about the level of abuse in this house," Harvey says, and grins.

Bruce takes a quick breath and *searches* him --

Which is only strange for about a second. "I'll tell you, Bruce. I'll tell you everything."


"I will --"

"*Please*. You -- there was a moment when your rage went beyond anything I could ever imagine --"

"You lied to me for *years* --"

"Yes. But it was not *your* anger I was seeing, Harv," Bruce says, and kind of *wills* at him --

Which... Harvey squeezes his eyes shut.

And Bruce starts petting him again, slow and easy and -- not careful. Maybe he can't be careful.

Or maybe he just knows that Harvey wouldn't be able to *take* careful right now. Harvey opens his eyes. "I told -- I told Jim, after he'd gotten me *good* and drunk, that there were times when I felt like my father. When the anger felt like --" He shakes his head. "You know all this psych stuff. You know what I mean."

Bruce gives him another one of those solemn nods.

"There are other times -- uh. Can we not talk about this while I'm *inside* you?"

Bruce's smile is rueful again. "You've given me any number of reasons to clench over the past two hours. Restraining you isn't one of the *best* of those reasons... but."

"Ah, big guy... okay. Okay. *One* thing, and then we go back to you telling me about being a pervert."

"Yes, Harv," Bruce says, and cups Harvey's ass with one hand and his cheek with the other. "Brother."

"God -- you -- and maybe you're everything I *know* about family. *Good* family."

Bruce nods slowly and never even *blinks* --

"Okay. Sometimes... everything goes away *except* for the anger. The *rage*. Everything... there are no choices. There are no choices, at *all*, and that feels so good I can't *see*. Except for how I can, because everything is *easy* without choices. I don't have to *think*, or question myself, or *anything*. And that... that and the *drumbeat* pounding through my head so I couldn't hear a damned thing *else*... yeah. That was kinda where I was when I hit you."

Bruce frowns at him and nods. "Does Jim know about that?"

"I -- didn't tell him. It hasn't happened around him. Not like... like the other kinds of anger."


"It's -- dangerous. I know that. I've mostly got it under control --"

"Do you?"

"Ah, big guy -- I. I don't even have to *see* Jim's eyes to be able to see them in my head. He wants me to see one of the counselors on the force, and she's a real nice woman -- smart, too -- but it makes me *queasy* to think about *that* kind of file walking its way out of the department and into the papers. I mean, can't you *see* the headlines?"

Bruce nods slowly. "We see each other almost once a week, Harv. Sometimes more than that."

"Yeah, and you better believe that I'm thinkin' about the *possibilities* there -- oh. You -- I can't see a shrink in your *house*, big guy!"

"Not even to protect your career?"

Harvey winces. "And this -- you're saying you'd foot the bill for it, too, aren't you."

"The Batman... I see so much pain and difficulty, Harv. And I see, for the cases which take up the lion's share of my time, the mistakes and missed chances that led to horror, madness, *tragedy* --"

"I'm not -- I'm *not* --"

"I didn't *know* you for a moment, Harv. I thought I would have to *injure* you -- oh."

And Harvey's gripping Bruce's face, and, yeah, his hands are shaking like *crazy*, but this is too good, too right. He can push the red *away*. He can *have* this -- "Let me. Let me see about finding someone on my own, okay?"

Bruce searches him again --

"Hey, I'm not fourteen *anymore*, big guy. I've *got* a sweet little insurance package --"

"With expenses which get *reported* --"

"Ah -- fuck. Now I'm queasy. But *still* -- I've got *cash*, too. I save a third outta my paycheck just about every time. And -- and that'll be harder once I convince Gilda to move down here, but it won't be *impossible*," Harvey says, and taps his temple. "I've been thinking about this for a *while* now, all right?"

Bruce gives him a *troubled* look --

Yeah. "Maybe I've been doing a little too much thinking and not enough doing, big guy?"

"I. I don't want to pressure you. I know that isn't helpful," Bruce says, and he's just as careful and correct and *quiet* as he hasn't been since they were *kids*. *Young* kids --

"Don't -- not that, Bruce."

"Harv --"

"I. You know something?"

"I'm listening, Harv."

Harvey smiles and presses his thumb to Bruce's swollen lower lip. "I'm not saying it'll be easy to talk to a head-shrinker... but it'll be easier to do than it will be to tell *you* and *Gilda* all the nasty little truths."

"Because you won't care what she or he thinks of you."

"Got it in one, big guy --"

"There is nothing you could tell me which would make me love you less."

And -- God, right to the *chest*. Harvey actually grunts for it, but --

Wouldn't anyone?

Wouldn't anyone *have* to?

And Bruce is smiling ruefully again. "That was too much."

"*No* -- I..." Harvey laughs a little helplessly. "Okay, yeah, it was --"

"I'm sorry --"

"But *only* -- only in that way where thinking about saying the same thing to you makes me blush all the way down to the bone. Because it's true."

Bruce searches him --

Smiles like sunshine, mocha-java with plenty of cream and sugar, come and cuddling --

Harvey smiles right back. "I'll do it first thing tomorrow, big guy. I'll start looking. And maybe I'll let you intimidate whoever I find into never opening his or her mouth *ever*. Okay?"

"Thank you," Bruce says again, and this time his voice is low and hoarse and heavy --

"You. You thought you were losing me, big guy?"

Bruce nods slowly -- and his smile turns painful. "I feared I was chasing you away. That I would *have* to chase you away in order to perform my Mission."

"Well, it's not like -- oh, damn," Harvey says, and shifts a little for the feel of himself slipping out *all* the way.

Bruce doesn't even *wince* a little -- of course he doesn't.

"Am I moving?"

"Not yet. Please."

"Anything you say. God, I still can't believe you managed to make yourself even *bigger* than you were at my law school graduation. People are supposed to *stop* growing around then, you know," Harvey says, shifting to get a little more comfortable and wagging a finger at Bruce.

Bruce raises an eyebrow at him. "I've had reason to be glad I didn't."

"I -- heh. And this is me, not *thinking* about those reasons. How am I supposed to *not* worry about you out there? You don't even carry a *gun*. Not that I want you to --"

"I never will. It's too easy to kill someone that way."

Damn. "You... know all about that."

Bruce nods once.

Harvey bites his lip. "They say you're the best there is. They say -- and I'm right along with the crowd -- that it's damned hard to believe you're human. And I could *feel* how much you weren't lying when the Batman laid it all out for me and Jim all those months ago. You -- you trained all over the world."

"Yes, Harv."

"You made yourself -- but all these *scars* --"

"They... bother you?"

Harvey coughs another laugh. "Big guy."

"I... a part of me only wishes to know how much of your discomfort is... aesthetic."

"What -- oh." Harvey glares at Bruce a little --

And Bruce massages up Harvey's back with one hand and folds the other behind his head.

It is *exactly* impossible not to stare at that arm, forearm and biceps and triceps -- heh. "There's your answer."

Bruce raises an eyebrow again.

"Maybe if you were some little gym-bunny, all hairless and oiled up, the scars would make you uglier. As it is... maybe I used to think about your body getting marked-up a little for good reasons. Sports and that kind of thing."

"Oh... Harv."

Harvey smiles ruefully again. "It suits you. Like everything else you do."

"I -- everything?"

And Harvey remembers the boy who always understood *exactly* what Harvey meant by 'justice,' the boy who always stuck up for the little guy, the boy who never beat the crap out of any of the bullies --

But who apparently really, really wanted to. Just -- Harvey can own that, now. Harvey can *take* that, because it means he can take Bruce. He needs that. He --

"I need you, Bruce."

"You have me. Always."

Harvey closes his eyes, but only for a moment before nodding. "No more lies?"

Bruce nods -- stops.


"If -- I may need to deceive you for a case, or you may need to do the same --"

"You get the truth as soon as it's safe. It's not like you won't figure it out *anyway*," Harvey says, and grins.

"Safety... I've wondered, at times, whether anything was truly safe."

Well... "Nah, not really. But there's such a thing as safe *enough*, big guy. And that's when you'll tell me everything you *can* -- and I can feel your heart pounding for that --"

"For you, Harv."

Harvey blushes and just -- "Hey, how about another one of those rib-crushing -- hugs --" And Harvey laughs out the rest of his air and just goes limp until Bruce eases up.

It takes a while --

And not long enough. "Okay. *That's* settled. I was gonna say before -- if you'd told me, way back when, I would've tried to talk you out of it."


"And... that's why? Part of why?"

Bruce nods and smiles ruefully. "You could... there was a time when you could talk me into -- or out of -- anything at all, Harv. Effortlessly."

Harvey winces, but -- "It's right that I can't anymore, big guy. You know that, right?"

Bruce's smile turns *wry* -- "Intellectually. Emotionally... I will always want to belong to you."

"Belong -- God, Bruce, I --" And Harvey kisses him, presses him down with his relatively *pathetic* strength --

Bruce moans into his *mouth* --

And Harvey pulls back. "You *are* mine. You'll *always* be mine, okay?"

"Harv --"

"You're just not -- you're your own man, too. And that's what I want more than anything else, no matter *how* terrified I'm gonna be when you go out in all that leather -- hey. How armored *is* that suit?"

"Exceedingly. I've been considering adding still more --"

"*Do* it --"

"-- but, so far, my designs have limited my range of motion in ways that seem... dangerous."

Harvey winces. "I -- oh."

Bruce smiles and reaches up to stroke Harvey's mouth. "I've been shot in the chest multiple times, Harv --"

"*Jesus* --"

"You can see the scars -- and lack thereof -- for yourself."

And that -- he can. He *did*. But he still has to push up and look, touch, look *harder* --

No bullet scars. No --

*He* has a bullet scar right where his spleen used to be, thanks to the mother of a couple of three-time losers that he'd put away with a song in his *heart* --

"Here," Bruce says, and strokes a weirdly *straight* scar on his right biceps --

"That's a bullet graze, isn't it?"

Bruce nods, and points to another one on his right *forearm* --

"Jesus -- hell -- how *many*?"

"Just those two, Harv. I am... skilled."

"Don't get *cocky* --"

Bruce raises an eyebrow at him.

"Fine, fine, you're the *best*, but --"

"It's not that, Harv."

"Then *what*?"

Bruce closes his *eyes* and smiles, and he looks --

"You look a million miles *away*, big guy --"

And Bruce opens his eyes again *immediately*. "Perhaps... merely on the other side of the world. I was remembering my first lessons in how very profoundly skill could best power."

Harvey frowns -- "You got your ass kicked by a twelve-year-old or something? What?"

Bruce hums. "She may have been as much as thirteen."

Harvey coughs -- "I -- uh --"

"She was less than half my size."


"She was, additionally, blind in one eye."

Harvey bites his lip and *shakes* with the need to snort --

Bruce smiles *lazily*. "I learned very important lessons about... bravura that day, Harv."

Harvey gives up and snickers, and then lays back down on top of Bruce. Just --

For as long as he *can* --

"Thank you, again," Bruce says, and cups the back of Harvey's head.

"You're *welcome*. *Where* do you keep your freaky sex toys, big guy?"

"In Father's armoire."

Harvey feels his jaw drop. He *starts* to turn to look at the armoire in question --

He's known since he was a kid that it's the one on the *right* --

Bruce had Alfred drag the damned things into his bedroom so that he'd always *have* something of them while he was growing up --

And he'd probably dragged them right back into the master suite when he was ready. Just --

Is it *better* that it's not his mother's armoire? *Why*?

Harvey bites his lip again --

And Bruce laughs softly and strokes Harvey's mouth. "I tell everyone allowed into this part of the manor about the importance of my parents' armoires, and how I kept their things in them for quite some time after their death. It tends to make people exceedingly reluctant to open them."

"I -- never did."

Bruce inclines his head.

"You're kind of a sneaky bastard."

"Does it suit me...?"

"When a part of you is purring but I can *feel* another part of you seizing up a little for not being perfect and *correct* all the time? Yeah, it suits you," and Harvey kisses Bruce's thumb and grins. "Keep it up."

"You enjoy the dichotomy?"

"I -- yeah, actually, I do. A little mean, a little nice. A little dark, a little light. It's all you. You *had* to know how badly I wanted to pull you out of your shell when we were kids."

Bruce sighs and keeps stroking Harvey's mouth. "It... I couldn't understand it, at first. And not for a very long time after that."

That -- "All right, that makes sense. Too much sense. You make me wanna go back and smack myself around for not being *clear* --"

"You were always clear."

"Big guy --"

"You were always clear," Bruce says, and *presses* on Harvey's mouth. "I was simply... lost in my own bleakness of spirit. And general dimness."

Harvey pulls back. "You were *never* --"


"I -- heh. Okay," Harvey says, and grins down at Bruce again. "I really did want to write you a book on how the *rest* of the species worked more than once."

"I would've made it into my bible."

"I *know*. That's why I *didn't*."

Bruce laughs again. "Noted."

And they stare at each other for a little while. Just -- being in each other's eyes. Feeling each other. *Loving* each other until Harvey's chest feels tight and his dick feels --

Well, it isn't just his dick that feels hungry. But --

"Big guy... I'm gonna try to have this. *Us*."

Bruce takes a *sharp* breath -- "Please."

And then they're just *nodding* at each other --

And Bruce's eyes start getting heavy-lidded --

"I -- hell."


"I gotta -- we gotta talk about --"

"Jim wants the Batman to be more helpful, less mysterious, and, generally, more respectful."

Harvey opens his mouth -- closes it and nods. "Yeah, actually."

"The Batman has an image to maintain... but, perhaps, not with people who know the man behind the mask." Bruce smiles ruefully and shakes his head. "I honestly thought I was doing better than that."

"Well, to be fair, *I* wouldn't have necessarily twigged without all those nights brainstorming with Jim --"

"I'm -- I'm jealous of those nights."

Harvey blinks. "So maybe... stay a while sometime."

Bruce frowns. "I wouldn't want to interfere --"

"*Stay* a while. Lemme -- lemme show Jim why I love you so much."

"Does he... do you..." Bruce frowns more deeply, but it looks less like him beating himself up than like him *thinking*, so --

"What is it, big guy?"

"He's... too young." And the frown is still right *there*. But --

"Uh. For *what*? I mean, yeah, he's young to be a captain, but he's still got almost ten years on *us* --"

"Sometimes. Sometimes I imagine him in a... paternal role."

Harvey blinks *more* -- "Like... Alfred?"

"No, I... there have been times when I've wondered if Alfred wasn't more... motherly."

"I -- I gotta be honest, big guy... I have no *idea* what to do with that."

Bruce hums. "Noted. But... have you ever felt anything like that with Jim?"

Harvey coughs. "Well -- you know he calls me 'kid' all the time."

"You accept that."

"Yes, I *do*, because this city needs interdepartmental cooperation like *oxygen* --"

Bruce raises an eyebrow at him.

"Okay, fine, for other reasons, too. He's -- too young for that," Harvey says, and catches himself scowling a little --


Harvey sighs and smiles ruefully. "I think we're fine right up until one of us slips and *calls* him 'Dad.'"

"I was planning to hypnotize him into forgetting --"

"No, Bruce."

"Hm. As you say," Bruce says, and strokes Harvey's mouth again. "I would appreciate another kiss."

They *both* feel Harvey's dick twitching for that -- "What kind of appreciation are we talking about, big guy?"

And Bruce's eyes just -- flare. Which is all the warning Harvey gets before he's on his back again and getting kissed like it's the first time, the last time --

Every time, *please* --

It's all the warning he needs.


Gilda's favorite wine is chilling in the funky little ceramic bucket she'd made for herself and then painted up like those Greek amphorae --

And Harvey's just paranoid enough to wonder if she'd pulled that out tonight *because* he'd said he wanted to talk to her about Bruce --

Or maybe because he'd said that *and* asked her if she minded him taking a day off so he could come *see* her --

Right now, she's showering off the dust of a hard day's work on something she'd sheeted over *before* opening the door, which means she's either at the stage where she hates the sight of it or at the stage where she needs to whip the sheet off *for* him.

He knows what he hopes. What he wants, what he needs --

And times like these, it'd be nice if she'd actually *accept* a bouquet of flowers from him. He needs something to *fidget* with, and there isn't even any *clutter*.

He *hates* when she cleans up for him --

Except when he loves it, when he thinks about the day six months or so from now when they're living together and he can do her laundry the *right* way --

As opposed to the way she does it. Harvey grins a little and thinks about how *helpless* a good artist can be --

Thank *Christ* she sends the good stuff *out* to be done by people who know how washing machines *work* --

And maybe he's up on his feet and walking around the studio. He can tell exactly *nothing* about the sheeted statue beyond the fact that it's big, and smells like rock.

The crouching woman holding a big lotus flower has been sitting in the corner for the better part of a year now. It looks done to *him*, but he's not the artist.

The Amazon holding the gory head of the monster he'd described to her from one of his more *original* nightmares is perfect right down to her waist, but from there down she's just a marble block. Gilda says she might *paint* that one, and even knowing -- thanks to her -- that that's traditionally *correct*, it still seems weird.

Ah, he knows he'll love it anyway.

There's a stone bowling ball and ten pins.

There's a *gnome* she'd carved in, as she put it, 'the most stoned month of her life.' She says it keeps her company.

The wall of windows is dark and a little ominous --

But this is the bohemian *epicenter* of New Haven, and, while there's enough crime to make it part of *a* city, it's freaking Podunk, Kansas compared to Gotham.

He still wishes she had some curtains he could pull. *Blinds*, even --

"Are you breaking up with me?"

Jesus, he didn't even notice the water shutting off --

Because it's still on. It --

And *then* he realizes what she just said. "Jesus, baby --"

"Answer the question," she says, and she's just standing there naked and dripping on the floor --

She's got *goosebumps* -- "No. Never. I -- never."

She frowns and searches him for a minute -- and then walks back into the bathroom and closes the door. The water runs for another five minutes, and then she shuts it off.

Two minutes after that, she walks out with a towel wrapped around her hair and another one around her body. She looks tiny and sweet and gorgeous and *worried*, and Harvey -- can't.

He closes the distance between them, cups her beautiful face, and bends down and down to kiss her forehead --

And her cheeks --

And her soft little mouth. She lets him do it without responding for a good twenty seconds, but then she makes it a real kiss, throwing her *strong* arms around his neck and licking and sucking, licking and *biting*, licking and *licking*, and he's gotta pick her up, hold her, get her someplace flat and *soft* --


"Baby --"

She laughs, but there's not *enough* humor in it --

He gets it. "I fucked up with that phone call, didn't I? Made you all worried --"

She covers his mouth with her rough fingers. "It's not a bad thing that you like to have serious conversations in person."

"But --"

"And I would've been worried pretty much no matter what you said," she says, and raises her eyebrows, giving them a more serious curve than they usually have. "You didn't take off work when you had the *stomach* flu."

"Hey, the bathroom's not that far from my office --"


Harvey smiles ruefully. "There was an important case...? Does that work?"

"You're saying there *isn't* an important case *now*?"

"I -- I'm saying you come first."

She closes her big, brown eyes for a moment, smiles, nods -- and then opens her eyes again. "And Bruce?"

"I -- he's the Batman."

She blinks at him. "That... wasn't what I expected you to say? I don't think that's supposed to be a question? *What*?"

Harvey laughs a little. "He's the Batman. As in, the reason *why* he didn't take his brilliant ass to college with me -- they would've taken him *anywhere* -- is because he was traveling all over the world learning how to be a living *weapon* so he could come back to Gotham and fight crime with me. *Violently*. And yeah, he told me I could tell you. He knows I love you --"

"Wait, wait, you *work* with Batman!"

"Yeah, sometimes. He changes his voice, the way he moves, the way he *breathes*, the *language* he uses -- but there were some things he couldn't change, and Jim and I figured it out." Harvey shakes his head. "He didn't want to admit it, at first, and I got so *mad*..."

She reaches up to touch his cheek and frowns, and a *hard* line forms up between her eyebrows. "He lied to you."

Harvey cups her hand in both of his own. "He told me... he told me that when he started making plans for this, he was afraid that I'd talk him out of it. Because --"

"You could talk him out of anything?"

Harvey blinks. "Well -- yeah --"

She snorts. "Lawyer. What was his excuse for *continuing* to lie to you?"

"I -- how much do I love it that you're protective?"

"Enough that you'll pose for a nude statue...?"

"That... ah. Not exactly politically *expedient* -- and you're lookin' at me. You're givin' me the big eyes for this. You --"

She blinks at him. Slowly. *Wetly* --

"*Okay*, Jesus, but it stays sheeted *whenever* you have visitors --"

"And *that* tells me -- you slept with him," she says, and so flat, so *even* -- 

Her voice has barely any *huskiness* to it, at all --

"You slept with him, because you've *always* wanted to, because you've always been in *love* with him --"

"Baby --"

"Are you going to deny that, Harvey?"

Harvey winces. "No. I'm not. I'll never lie to you. Ever."

She bites her lip and nods, and now her eyes are wet for the wrong damned reason --

"You know I'm in love with you, too, right?"

Her laugh is sharp and harsh -- "Just as much?"


"And that -- no hesitation for that? No time to think?"

Harvey shakes his head and squeezes her hand. "I don't need it. I don't -- we were talking about you. We -- you were with me even when we were making love --"

"*Jesus*, Harvey --"

"And he -- well, he wants you, too --"


"Okay. Okay. I've got a suggestion here, baby --"

She yanks her hand away from him. "What *is* it?"

Harvey smiles ruefully and points to the bottle of wine on the table. "I haven't eaten since my bagel and lox this morning. *You* -- hell, I know you, baby. You had a Toaster Tart for breakfast and a beer for lunch. We'll be drunk in ten minutes and then we can talk *all* of this out --"

"You want to be *drunk*?"

"For this conversation? Kinda, yeah," Harvey says, and pushes a hand back through his hair. "But we can skip it. Either way, I'm telling you *everything* you wanna know."

She frowns again and searches him, balling her tough little hands into fists --

"Everything. *Anything*."

"Then tell me about your mother."

Harvey blinks -- and nods. "She disappeared when I was six. Sometimes I'm pretty damned sure my father killed her. I hope... I hope she just left."

Gilda gasps like he'd *hit* her -- but.

"No hiding anymore. I promise."

"You -- you told Bruce all of this?"

Harvey shakes his head. "Not yet. We mostly talked about *his* secrets. And then he had to go out and beat the crap out of people and I had to go talk to Jim and then pass *out*... and call you. I -- Jim knows a little about my childhood --"

"Are you in love with *him*?"

"Gah -- no! Though. Uh. He's kind of a father figure --"

"Okay, I knew that. I -- I did," she says, and breathes slowly and evenly and *deliberately*, crossing her arms over her chest and looking away. "I knew -- wait, you were talking about me while you were *fucking* him?" And she looks at him again.

"He -- uh. He's got some pretty detailed fantasies about the three of us making love."

And that's a look of *consternation*.

"He always did flirt with you --"

"*You* said he flirted with *everyone* --"

"Not like that. Not --" Harvey shakes his head. "He didn't have sex with *any* of the women who've gotten their pictures taken with him, baby. He hadn't had sex with anyone since *Silver* broke up with him --"

"The supermodel. The --" She hugs herself tighter and laughs kind of *crazily*. "The supermodel, Apollo, and *me*?"

Harvey frowns. "Hey, don't --"

"Talk about myself like that? Do you know when I learned to do my makeup, Harvey?"

"I -- no --"

"The day after you walked into the bursar's office and started flirting with me. It was a Saturday, and I'd *planned* to spend the whole morning working on the Venus that was due in a *week*. Instead? I stood in front of the mirror in my bathroom until my feet were *numb* -- there was no *heat* in that place --"

"I remember --"

"I had a stack of *fashion* magazines and they were all -- they were all *Greek*, but I did it, and I washed it off, and I did it again, and I washed it all off again -- until I knew how to do it. Because you were the most beautiful man I'd ever seen in my life *and* you had the nerve to have an actual *personality* and -- God, I wasn't even planning to ask you *out*. I just wanted it to *feel* right to *talk* to you if you ever came in again while I was *there*!"

Harvey swallows and just -- "It. It did seem *weird* that you would do your face up --"

"And nothing else?" Gilda laughs again and shakes her head. "You never asked."

"Hey, all kinds of women *taught* me to never ask questions like that. I *wondered*, but I filed it under *you*. And I wanted you from the jump. I just -- all of you, baby, okay? You never have to put your face on *again* --"

"I *like* it now!"

"Okay! Okay," and Harvey pushes at the air a little. "Every day, then, anything you *want*."

She glares at him for a long moment -- and then she closes her eyes and shakes a little, covering her face with her hands.

"I -- do I get to hold you?"

She shakes *harder* -- but she nods.

Harvey breathes out a sigh of relief and tugs her hands away from her face. And then he lifts her into his arms --


"You didn't say *how* I should hold you, babydoll," and Harvey spins her around the way that always makes her choke a little --

She chokes and *smacks* him --

"Hey, now, mean girls get spun *and* tickled --"

"You need both hands to *hold* me!"

Harvey grins. "Was that a dare, chickadee...?"

And for a moment her eyes are only wide, thrilled and shocked at once --

Harvey grins and gets a *good* grip with his right arm --

"Oh -- wait."

That was... too serious to ignore. Harvey nods and starts carrying her toward the table instead of doing anything *impressive* --

And she wraps her arms around his neck again and rests her head against his chest. "I love you so much," she says, quiet and *sad*.

"I -- sometimes I think you don't believe me when I tell you how I feel about you, baby," and Harvey sits on the table next to the wine bucket.

"Sometimes I don't."

Harvey squeezes his eyes shut --

"It's nothing -- it's nothing about you, Harvey. You do everything right. God, I -- I worked it out in my head back when you would read me your favorite parts of his letters to you, and then turn around and *ask* me if I thought your letters sounded as good, and if there was anything I wanted to *say* to one of the richest men on the *planet* -- and shut up, because I *know* he isn't like that."

Harvey swallows and waits. "Okay. I'm waiting."

She nods and shifts, close enough to press her face against Harvey's throat.

"I love that --"

"I know that, too. And -- God, honey, he's the one, okay? The *one* person it's okay for you to sleep with, because it's actual true love for you *and* he's worth it. God, of course he's a superhero, *too*," she says, laughing quietly. "You probably *inspired* him."

"He -- yeah. He said that -- "

"But you don't see it?" And she pulls back enough to look at him.

Harvey smiles ruefully. "I do and I don't. It scared the *hell* out of me when I realized how *much* he was letting me influence him. And it made me proud. Like... like he could be my *little* brother."

"Even though he's the approximate size of my entire *bed*, yes."

Harvey snorts and coughs. "Uh -- yeah. I knew -- I knew by the way you teased me about him, baby. I knew... you were pushing me a little."

"You didn't have to *go*."

Harvey winces, but -- "I did. I... there were too many lies. Maybe if we'd been honest with each other from the jump it wouldn't have been so -- I wouldn't have needed it so bad --"

"You would have," Gilda says, and her smile is tired and just a little older than it should be. "You would have, because if it *was* just that, you wouldn't *still* need him."

Harvey takes a breath -- and nods. "But I need you, too."

"Just as much."

"I wish -- I want you in Gotham --"

"I know --"

"I have --" Harvey laughs a little, lifts Gilda, and moves her until she's straddling his lap and looking him in the eye. "I have this fantasy, okay? We're living together in a nice, big space, and your art is all over the place, but, most importantly, *you're* all over the place. Just like you are when I've been staying with you for long enough that you *relax* and live the way you wanna live."

Gilda blushes.

"Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. Panties in the fridge because you drank enough rum with me to forget what a hamper looks like. Jelly in my toaster --"

"I only did that *once*!"

"Plaster dust in the microwave. Cat hair on my ties because you can't help letting in the strays to eat your leftover takeout -- and you sure as *hell* won't listen to me about actually *getting* a pet of our own, because it's --"

"Too much commitment!"

"*Exactly*. I wanna wake up with a crick in my neck because you left a damned chisel under my pillow. I want my sandwiches to have grit in them. I want *you*, okay?"

She glares at him a little more -- and then she giggles, and snorts, and giggles more.

"Yeah, like *that*, baby -"

"I'm not your type."

"You made me get a *new* type *overnight*."

"I'm not -- you look like a *model*, Harvey!"

"Yeah, and it probably got me a couple-few votes from some seriously *stupid* people. *You* look like half of everything I want. Except when you look like *all* of it."

She raises her eyebrows and purses her lips --

But her eyes are shining and wide and that deep, dark *reddish* brown they get when he's done something just right, *said* something just right --

"I love you."

She blushes *deep* -- "This -- is one of the times when I believe you."

Harvey grins. He can't *help* it -- "*Good*. Let's make it last this time, hunh?"

"I -- would you live with Bruce if it wouldn't take your career --"

"I --"

"-- *And* -- and if you could take me with you."

"I -- okay, I can't even *imagine* a world where that could work *politically*, but, okay, I'll play the game. Dinner in the 'small' dining room -- where a whole troop of Girl Scouts could get *lost*. Watching TV in the *sitting room* because we'd damned well *buy* one for the big freak I've been in love with since I was fourteen -- and with *Alfred* sniffing disapprovingly every five minutes. Panties in the Chess Room --"

"Oh -- oh, God --"

"Plaster dust in the *pool* --"

"I know how to *behave*!"

"Ah, ah, ah. We'd be *living* together -- all three of us -- so we'd all be *relaxed*."

Gilda looks a little queasy. "I -- I really kind of hate that house."

"Yeah? I'm *afraid* of that house -- except for the library and Bruce's bedroom -- and I always will be. It's the most haunted place I've ever been, and I've been in my own damned head after a nightmare about my *father*."

"Oh, *honey*!" And she cups his face and kisses him hard, kisses him *deep* --

Harvey kisses her right back, because she's Gilda, she's *Gilda*, and a year ago she spent a month away from him so she could sculpt a life-sized statue of Harvey's useless old man from a copy of one of his later *mug shots* --

She'd walked into the precinct and pretended to be Harvey's *wife*, grieving for her dead *father-in-law* --

She'd sculpted it, and it was rough compared to her other work, but that just made it more perfect, more awful and *right*.

And then she'd handed him a sledgehammer.

When he was done, sweating and shaking and covered in dust, all he could do was cry in her strong and perfect arms.

He didn't talk to her then. He'd *thought* he didn't have to.

He was wrong.

Harvey swallows and groans, shakes like he's exhausted --

Pulls her *close* --

"It's okay, honey. I promise it will be okay."

"I -- I'll tell you everything --"

She pushes back against his grip until she can look at him again. Her eyes are wet again, but she's smiling --

"You're the only woman I'll ever *want* --"

"One woman... one man?"

Harvey nods. "Yeah. If -- if I can have both of you."

"And when he finds a supermodel he wants to *marry*?"

"And when your mother finally convinces you to date a guy who knows how to make actual money?"

Gilda makes a face.

"Yeah. I got faith in you, babydoll. More to the point? I got faith in *us*."

"And... Bruce is in that us?"

"We -- the three of us could make a pretty damned good us, I'm thinking."

Gilda takes a deep breath --

And another --

And a *shaky* breath --

And she blushes again.

"Tell me about it?"

"You -- you came when he was talking about -- all three of us."

Harvey licks his lips. "Yeah. Hard, too."

"What... oh, God. I -- what *was* the fantasy?"

Harvey grins and waggles his eyebrows. "Sure I should tell you, babydoll...?"

"*Yes* --"

"I wouldn't wanna get you hot under the towel, now. That kinda thing's *unseemly* --"

She swats his shoulder, right over a bruise Bruce left on him, and -- yeah. He'll *understand* if she doesn't want to make love tonight, but his sac'll *hurt* for it.

He licks his lips again. "We're all together here -- in your bed --"

"It's not *big* enough --"

"I'm pretty sure he doesn't care, because he's sniffing on your sheets. Looking for your scent."

"I -- oh. What else?"

"You and him are kissing some. He's got you straddling those huge thighs of his. You guys are making me just *watch*, and I'm getting harder and *harder* --"

"He -- wants to tease you? He's like that?"

"I think -- no, I *know* he remembers *everything* I told him when I was a teenager about *liking* to be teased. *Wanting* to be teased."

"You would *talk* about sex with him?"

"Yeah. While we were jerking off together --"

"Oh -- *Harv*!"

Harvey shrugs and smiles, knowing it looks a little goofy and pathetic. "It felt like a compromise back then. Like we weren't *really* doing anything wrong --"

"It's not *wrong* --"

"It was at Exeter, babe. Conduct unbecoming."

Gilda winces and nods. "All right, I -- tell me more about his fantasy?"

Harvey hitches her up on his lap a little more. "He picks you up. Sucks... sucks the *hell* out of your breasts."

"Oh -- God. I... um. Yes?"

"He -- uh. His nipples. They aren't too different in color from yours. He wanted to know --"

"You told --" Gilda cuts herself off with a shiver. "He liked that?"

"He treated it -- it was like I was giving him a gift. An *important* gift."

Gilda licks her lips. "How many fantasies does he *have* involving me?"

"I asked him that. He said he has fourteen with all three of us, and another nine where it's just you and him --"

"*Oh* --"

"And another *eleven* where it's just you and *me*. Did I mention that he likes you? 'cause he really, *really* likes you."

Gilda bites her lip, but her eyes are sparkling a little and she looks happy. That kind of happy she gets when she puts on a teddy, or the kind of negligee that most people would probably think was too old-fashioned. The happy that has nothing to do with the clothes and everything to do with the look on Harvey's *face*. And --

"You maybe have a fantasy or two about him...?"

And that blush makes her look about ten years younger than him -- as opposed to four years *older*. "It's just that..."


"Oh -- God. He's *huge*."

Harvey snickers. "God, yeah --"

"You *like* that."

"I *really* do --"

"The *women* you used to date --"

"No," Harvey says, and presses two fingers to Gilda's mouth. "I never made love until *you*, babydoll. They don't count for *anything*."

If anything, the blush gets even *deeper* -- and she closes her eyes and shivers again, pulling back from his fingers. "You have to... you wouldn't have looked at me *twice* --"

"If I hadn't seen your eyes. If I hadn't seen you thinking about a million different things --"

"Like your *shoulders* --"

"Are we pretending that your brain *doesn't* go a million miles per hour now?" And Harvey tucks a finger under her chin and lifts her face a little.

She smiles wryly. "Your smile set up a few speed-bumps, honey."

Harvey snorts. "Baby --"

"And -- maybe Bruce's did, too."

Well, all *right*, then. Harvey grins again. "He's kinda gorgeous, isn't he."

"He's *ridiculous*, is what he is. Men that big aren't *supposed* to be pretty, *too*."

"I *disagree* --"

She swats him again. "I *know*. You... people get into *trouble* with threesomes, honey."

"Yeah, I know. They think it's just gonna be some wild and crazy fun, and they don't count on things like *feelings*," and Harvey strokes her chin with his thumb. "We're not gonna do that."


"No. We're gonna *talk*, like *adults*. And -- all that good stuff."

Gilda looks down at Harvey's crotch and gets another wry smile on her face. "Talk, hunh."

"Oh, yeah. Because we're gonna tie me to a *chair* and *gag* me if I get too crazy. *He* has scary self-control. He's *always* had it."

Gilda *chokes*. "Is *that* what he likes? Whips and chains?"

"He's got an armoire full of sex toys... most of which have never been used. He likes to experiment. He *wants* to experiment. He -- I know for a fact that he'd love to try *anything* we said turned us on, babydoll. And that he'd be thrilled to keep it -- heh -- au naturel."

"Is that what *you* did?"

Harvey nods. "Some kissing, some rubbing off, a handjob -- his hands are stronger than yours, but not as *hard*. We sucked each other a little, and I -- well, I fucked him."

"Oh... oh."

"'I like that 'oh.' I like it a *lot*, baby. Why don't you tell me --"

"I've -- watched guys hook up before. I -- porn and stuff like that."

Harvey blinks. "'Stuff'?"

Gilda laughs. "I told you I did some partying back in college. I just... didn't really tell you what *kind* of partying I was doing," she says, and smiles ruefully.

"You mentioned the weed, the drinking --"

"You never really *wanted* those stories."

Harvey smiles ruefully. "Heh. Admit it. I was too straightedge for you."

"For my nineteen-year-old self? Absolutely. But -- I haven't been nineteen since the seventies, and..."

"A lot of things were different back then," Harvey says, and nods. "Did you *like* those kinds of parties?"

"They were a good way to feel... attractive. Desirable. A way to get touched without having to think too much about who was doing the touching. When I tried to date people in that crowd, though..." Gilda shakes her head and cups Harvey's shoulders. "*That* was an excellent way to grow out of that kind of thing."

"I hear that. And -- you know I'd never try to keep you from doing your own thing --"

She looks at him.

"I *mean* it --"

She looks at him *harder*.

And maybe he's sweating a little, because yeah, he knows exactly what's behind that look, and it sounds a lot like his whole damned career. Harvey winces. "Okay, I'm hearing you. I -- does it help anything that I feel guilty about that? *I* don't give a damn about weed and orgies, so long as you take care of yourself and come back *home*."

She *blinks* at him -- "I -- okay, *how* did I not know that about you?"

Harvey frowns. "Hey, I never preached at you --"

"No, I -- do you seriously -- you're saying that if your career wasn't in the way, you'd be okay with me sleeping *around*?"

"Hey, *I* might need only two people --"

"But it's okay for me to need *more*? Are you *serious*?"

"I..." Harvey cups her face again and kisses her forehead. "I know why I didn't just say it. I know -- I was thinking about my career, about how much I wanted you in Gotham with me, about everything but being the right kind of honest. The *complete* kind of honest. I'm sorry about that. Uh. *Is* there anyone --"


"Not even that one gallery director? The freaky chick who always wears a ribbon around her neck like maybe I'm supposed to think she used to be a he?"

"Oh -- Christ, Harv! Jean isn't even *gay*!"

"Yeah? You don't think you could change her mind, chickadee...?"

Gilda snorts and swats him. "I know this must seem *deeply* strange to you, but *humans don't work that way*."

Harvey waggles his eyebrows. "The good ones do."

"Oh, *really*? Are you *sure* about that?"

"Oh, yeah. It's in the rulebooks and everything: AC/DC perverts are the *superior* class of human."

"AC-- it's not the *fifties*!"

"So you're saying I *can't* get you into a torpedo bra and a cute little sweater?"

She looks at him like he just suggested she use battery acid as salad dressing.

For that matter, she's looking at him like he'd just told her that she had to eat salad, period. Harvey bites his lip to hold in a snicker --

Gilda gives him a *mean* look --

Harvey bounces her on his lap a little --

And the mean look blows away under a giggle as she wraps her arms around his neck again and rubs her nose against his. "Love you."

"Love you right back, baby. *Always*."

"I promise not to screw anyone who would screw with your career --"

"I --"

"And I know you don't want to put even *that* limit on me. Now. I -- you're really going to tell me everything?"


"And -- you won't make me figure out all the questions to ask?"

Harvey blinks. "I -- I might forget to say something, but -- yeah. I'll give it to you straight. I promise."

"Then -- start looking for a place for us."

The grins *yanks* itself onto his face. "Yeah? Really? Gas or electric stove -- wait, sorry, you don't care."

"*Exactly*. I need light, space, and a freight elevator. Beyond that... go crazy."

"King-sized bed...?"

"I'm not sure he'd fit even *then*."

"He's not a *giant* --"

She squeezes his neck with her arms. "How big is it," she says, and raises her eyebrows.

"Uh... can I get away with just saying 'enough to make me feel inadequate for the middle part of my adolescence?'"

She snorts. "Then *you* got bigger?"

"*Then* I just started *appreciating* it."

Wide eyes --

*Thoughtful* eyes --

"I... how *much* bigger...?"

"Heh. A couple of very wonderful inches. And... a *good* amount of *thickness*."

"Oh... my." She licks her lips, then reaches down to feel herself up under the towel.

"Jesus, can we make the towel go away?"

She frowns thoughtfully. "Give me a minute, Harv."

"Sure, but --"

"A *minute*," she says, and kind of *shimmies* --

Squeaks --

Narrows her *eyes* --

"Jesus, baby --"

"Mm. I think. I think we'd have to work me *up* to that..."

"We can *do* that --"

"Does he *have* dildos?"

"A *lot* of them. Big ones, little ones, yellow ones, ridged ones --"


"I think he might have *made* some of them -- towel --"

"In a *minute*. He *sculpts*?"

Harvey blows out a breath. "He... he can kinda do anything he sets his mind to. It's -- it's his thing."

She snorts. "His thing is *everything*?"

"You don't even wanna know how many *languages* he speaks, but -- yeah. He's just as useless at cooking and cleaning and taking care of himself as you are, though."

"I'm not *useless* --"

"Baby, did you even *finish* your lunch-beer?"



"*Yes*, damn it!"

"So if I go over there by the new piece and pick up that little brown bottle you forgot to pick up --"

"Fine, I didn't finish it. It got *flat*," she says, and shimmies again --

Her eyes go *distant* --

She *narrows* them --

"I -- just to let you know -- am willing to let the lunch thing *slide* --"

"I -- mm," she says, and tugs her *fragrant* hand out from between her legs and shoves her fingers into his mouth.


She smiles at him lazily. "You're taking me out to eat tonight."

Harvey nods and *sucks* --

But she takes her hand back. "*Before* we fuck," she says, and smiles ruefully. "I'm kinda starving."

Harvey licks his lips -- but. "Starving like you maybe forgot to order in last night?"


"Starving like maybe I shouldn't notice how much lighter you are than you were the last time I visited?"

"I get --"

"Distracted, I know," Harvey says, and grins. "I'm gonna cook for you every chance I get, baby. The rest of the time? I'll treat you to the best food in the city, whether or not *I* can pay for it."

"Oh -- you *hate* taking money from Bruce!"

"I *really* do. But? It's different when it's to keep meat on *your* bones."

She blushes. "I'm sorry I keep losing weight. I know you don't like --"

Harvey covers her mouth. "I love you. I love being able to pick you up and move you around. You'd still be you if you looked like you were walking out of a liberated concentration camp, and you'd still be you if you looked like you sweat butter --"

She snorts against his hand --

"And you're still you right now. And? We're gonna eat like *pigs* tonight."

She pulls back. "And then fuck like minks?"

"We can maybe fuck *on* a mink...?"

She snorts again. "You'd buy me a mink just so we could fuck on it."

"It's an *investment*, babydoll. Like a new mattress, or a case of STARslide," and Harvey waggles his eyebrows. "Really, it's for *both* of us."

She shakes her head and smiles. "*All* of us...?"

"I'll be honest -- I'm pretty sure Bruce would say something about wastefulness. If he *didn't*? He'd probably offer us one of his *mother's* minks, and I'm pretty sure that'd be even worse."


"Yeah. So let's leave that alone, k?"

Gilda laughs, licks the girl-come off his mouth, and jumps down off his lap before whipping off the towels and letting them fall to the floor. "Anything you say. Pick a restaurant while I dress?"

Harvey salutes -- and watches her walk to her closet. It takes about three steps, but then she remembers that he *is* watching -- and gives him a hot and *dirty* look over her shoulder before walking just a little bit slower.


Harvey picks up the phone book and flips through the menu section. Something spicy tonight. Something *classy* and spicy, because he's damned well gonna prepare her for *Alfred*, too --

And, for a moment, his heart is beating faster than anything as a million different images of all of this going *wrong* flash through his head --

And then he rubs the pervy Greek guy on Gilda's ice bucket -- forever thrusting his dick at what can only be a *young* teenager -- for luck, takes a deep breath, and scans the menu for Anya Palace. Thai food. Upscale. Walking distance.

They can *absolutely* do that --

And *all* of them can absolutely do everything else.

If his best friend in the world can help him make the anger, the *drum* go away --

If the woman of his dreams can resurrect his father for long enough to let him *destroy* the bastard --

If he can love both of them, love them with everything he *is* --


They got this.


Feedback is the only way I can ever know how readers feel about changes in style, new pairings, and new ideas. Feedback? Is how I've met the people who have become my closest friends and dearest lovers. *Feedback* is often the only thing that keeps me from black pits of bitterness and depression. I know you're reading -- my site stats say you're reading all the time. Talk to me about it, please.
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