Summer, with garment cast aside
by Te
March 14, 2011

Disclaimers: No one and nothing here is mine.

Spoilers/Timeline: Old, old storylines only. Takes place about a year after a decidedly AU-ized version of "The Killing Joke."

Summary: "We're being followed."

Ratings Note/Warnings: Sexual content which mostly dovetails with the content some readers may find disturbing. Trigger warning, too.

Author's Note: I was chatting with ShadowValkyrie a few weeks ago about how the chat with Petra which *became* the Everything Spring series was approximately nine trillion times darker and more fucked-up than what actually got posted, and she mentioned that I'd never actually written a story quite like this one. So, in some ways, this is less an AU of canon than an AU of Everything Spring -- because being self-referential is more fun than should technically be legal.

Uh... though I should say that this isn't all that dark, either. I'm a tender soul.

Acknowledgments: With much love to ShadowValkyrie, Mildred, Jack, KingNorth, and Pixie for audiencing, suggestions, and making me deal with certain fundamental truths.


"Twenty-three," Bruce grits, and that means it's time for Jason to leap --

Kick out with *both* legs --

And the two Canto lieutenants who were coming up to flank him from the back go flying just the way they should, giving Jason enough time to really firm *up* the punch for the idiot muscle in *front* of him who had just been *staring*. And that means --

Oh, yeah, *that's* the crunch of mouth ivory for the steel in Jason's gauntlets, and a right cross makes a mess of the guy's nose.

He doesn't go *down* -- the Canto family does a damned good job of breeding huge, dumb, and *hard*-headed guys -- but he does go stumbling away, giving Jason time to:

A) Kick the first lieutenant over onto his back for a good, old-fashioned rib-stomping --

B) *Punt* the second lieutenant in the nads, and --

C) Bolo the muscle so that he trips and falls face-first against the big, pretty Greek-looking column that has no place in this dingy little 'social club.'

The blood and snot he leaves smeared on the thing when he falls over helps, though.

Helps a *lot* --

Just like *he* does once he can grab the nightstick *someone* had dropped and wade in to use it on the *knees* of three of the eight guys who are attempting to beat the crap out of Bruce. Just --

Thok --

Crunch --

*Pik* -- wait, is that plastic? Jason hits the *other* knee extra hard --

And then rolls out of the way of falling bodies, because Bruce has clearly finished figuring out these guys' strengths and weaknesses, and is now destroying them *systematically*.

Jason steps back and claps.

And whistles.

And does some -- heh -- ivory harvesting on the guys dumb enough to try to get up again.

There's always a moment, though. A *point* where Bruce decides that Jason's done enough damage -- that they *both* have -- and it's time to move on. Sometimes -- a *lot* of the time -- that gets fucking *irritating*, but Jason has to admit that Bruce still knows better than *he* does how much damage a given asshole can take before the felonies they're all committing night after night become serious. And --

Jason's been doing his homework.

Vito the lieutenant gets rough with the pros the family runs, so he's damned well going to *need* some reconstructive surgery on his face. And his hands. And his *feet*.

Carmine the *muscle* likes to torture the guys who can't pay their gambling debts quick enough by going after their *families*, so *he's* never gonna walk without a cane anymore. And he's gonna maybe lose one of those balls of his. Maybe.

The rest are just standard criminal assholes, so the worst they have to deal with are a few missing teeth. It's a compromise he'd first worked out with Bruce after that Garzonas bullshit -- and no, Jason *isn't* sorry that the fucker's gonna spend his life in a wheelchair, and never *will* be -- and fine-tuned after Babs had taken out the Joker with one sweet little bullet to the brain. That --

Well, that's still a sticking point. It just -- really is.

*Jason* doesn't give a flying fuck about it -- the Joker had been in her *house* torturing her damned *father* after he'd left *her* for dead with a bullet in her *gut* -- but.


Bruce and Babs don't talk much anymore.

Bruce sometimes can't even *look* at her, and yeah, he and Bruce have *damned* well argued about that, and they *will* argue about it more, no matter *how* much easier it got between them once Bruce woke *up* enough that they *could* fine-tune the Batman-and-Robin compromise --

But not tonight. It's been a *good* night, and he's got *eight* new teeth for his jar, and --

And Bruce has a hand on his shoulder.

"Almost done, B."

Bruce -- not even a *little* bit Batman -- hums.

"Okay, strike that, I'm *totally* done," Jason says, closing his pocket and standing before shaking off some of the excess blood from his gauntlets. Because *Bruce* --

Has got *that* look on his face.

Not the one that means Jason's been wonderful and needs to be fucked now, and not the one that means Jason's been *awesome* and needs to be fucked now, but the one that means Jason's been hurting the right people the right *way* -- and needs to be fucked *now*.

So Jason gives Bruce the *wet* smile that *used* to make him a fair amount of money --

And Bruce... shudders. All over. *Once*.

"*Where*, B."

"Follow," Bruce grits, but it's a *different* grit. It's the grit that means he's choking on cock in his mind or --

Fuck the metaphor. Jason *jogs* after Bruce, shoves him when he just *stalks* --

Bruce hums *again* --

Pauses to look to the right once they're out of the club --

Jason shoves him *hard* --

And then they're shooting their grapples and flying -- but only to the other damned side of the street.

The roof has more sightlines than a damned *football* field -- well, okay, not quite that. There *is* a rusted old water tower, and a funky balustrade on the east side that looks like broken teeth --

And Jason doesn't give a fuck, because Bruce just *threw* him down -- "*B* --"

"We're being followed," Bruce says, and drops to his *knees* --

"Yeah, *right* now -- wait, what?"

Bruce hums *again*, and pulls off his gauntlets with his teeth, and *God*, Jason *loves* seeing that, but --

"Seriously, B --"

"For the last three nights. Perhaps for longer," and Bruce pushes his hands up under Jason's damned tunic --

God, they're so hot and *soft* from being in the gauntlets, but not that soft, at *all*, and Jason's fucking twitching for it -- "C'mon, c'mon, tell me who it *is* --"

"I... am not entirely sure --"

"Wait --"

"Please, Jay --"

"B, we've been *fucking* out here for the last three nights!"


"Are you seriously about to scold me about my *language* --"

"No. I'm about to do this," Bruce says, and *yanks* down the panties *and* the jock --

"*B* --"

"I need you," Bruce says, and it's that *deceptively* calm voice, that hot and *hard* voice that Batman uses for *command* sometimes, but that Bruce uses for --

Command. "Uh." They're pretty much staring at Jason's twitching cock.


Like partners. But -- "Okay, wait --"

"*Jay* --"

"Fuck it, *suck* me -- *nnh* -- oh, Jesus, your *mouth* --"

Humming *growl* -- and the cowl's on. He can't *see* Bruce's eyes --

It's just that he can *absolutely* see Bruce's eyes, and they're doing the burning thing at him, the hungry-fucking-*cannibal* thing --

"B -- *B* --"

And then Bruce tilts his head just a little, just enough that Jason knows he's closing his eyes and really --

Really fucking giving it *up* for this, *just* this --

"Fuck, I need -- you know what I need --"

Bruce stiffens and tilts his head *back* -- eyes open again. Bruce *needing* again --

"You want me to say it? When we're being *followed*?"

Bruce swallows him. Just --

Jason shouts and beats at the roof --

God, is this roof even up to code? They don't *do* this just anywhere and this building is *vacant* --

Vacant in Gotham means *condemned* --

And he's not, actually, going to beat a hole in the roof with his fists. He's not. He can -- he can think about that, and be rational, and all that other good shit, because Bruce is just *holding him in his mouth*.

"Fucking *bastard* -- ngh --"

That lick. Right up. Right up the fucking underside until Bruce is just *breathing* on the head.

"Please. *Please* --"

"Jay --"

"What if the guy has a goddamned *directional* mic, B?"

Bruce licks his lips. "Then we'd be in some amount of... trouble."

Jason stares at him.

Bruce stares at Jason's cock.

Jason's cock *twitches* again -- "Why are you being insane instead of *doing* me?"

"Hm. An excellent question."

"Yeah, that, because -- oh *fuck* --"

Swallowed again, in so tight and hot and *tight* --

And there's that sweat-damp finger pushing in and *in*, right to the second fucking knuckle, and bucking for it is a great way to get held by Bruce's other hand on his hip --

To get Bruce to bare his teeth a little to *make* Jason be careful, and that's just --

Just fucking --

Jason smacks the side of the cowl because none of the words are good enough --

Bruce pulls back just to fucking *grunt* for him --

"*Do* me!"

And there's that burn, that *sweet* burn, because Bruce *always* does him with the lube except for times like this, and that means Jason never has time to get *used* to how it feels without it. Bruce is fucking --

"Fucking *perfect* --"

And Bruce nods *slowly* -- and then starts fucking his *face* on Jason's cock, on and *on* --

"B -- *B*, I need it, you know I *need* it --"

And that makes Bruce growl the way it always does, makes him --

God, fuck, Jason *knows* Bruce is getting harder for it, twitching inside that *mean* jock of his --

The one that's still *padded*, because sometimes just doing *this* is enough to get Bruce *off* --

"God, you butch fucking *asshole*," and Jason doesn't know what he's talking about --

And Bruce is tilting his head in *just* the right way to let Jason know that he's raising one of his stupid fucking *eyebrows* --

Jason hits him again -- "Suck *harder*!"

And that's a growl --

That's a *scrape* -- "Hnh -- *B* --"

And there's the suck that makes Jason think that maybe one of the Waynes was secretly a vacuum cleaner, because fuck --

"*Fuck* -- *fuck* me --"

Thrust --

Hard thrust and harder than *that*, and Jesus, he never hates the pixie boots more than when Bruce is making him drum his fucking *heels*. They both know Bruce would rather Jay do that on his *back* --

But Jason's a little too big for that now. A little --

The last time they *had* done it -- eight fucking months ago -- Jason had *hurt* Bruce's back. Bad enough that he'd had to take a night *off* --

Not done. Not fucking --

*Crook* --

And the only way not to call Bruce's name -- "*Batman*!"

And Jason *knows* Bruce hates that like fire on his *sac*, but fuck, he's gotta yell something, gotta --

"Sorry, sorry, just --"

*Scrape* --

"Jesus, don't be so fucking *mean* --"

Questioning noise --

"No, no, I didn't mean that, I totally didn't -- aw, yeah, *harder* --"

And Jason's laughing and fucking twisting for it, losing it for no lube and that suck, that perfect --

Awesome --

And yeah, now he's *shouting* for it, because Bruce is *teasing* him with a second finger --

The finger that doesn't even have *sweat* on it anymore --

And if he says one word --

Just one --


*In* --

And that was way more of a scream than anything else, way more loud and fucking *undeniable* --

Like Batman --

Bruce --

And Jason knows he's still making noise, knows he's bucking and twitching and jerking like a fucking *epileptic* --

But none of that's important. It's just *Bruce*, and Gotham, and the way the night is wrapping itself around him and choking off everything but what's important. What's doing him --

Changing him into someone who could *only* have this, or --

He doesn't know. He doesn't know *anything* when Bruce is fucking him, fingers *or* cock, and right about now that's the best thing in the *world* --

Which is absolutely why he's yelling through a smile for that thrust --

And that one --

And the one that shoves him right up and *over* --

And all the ones that come after, during, *whatever*, because Bruce never fucking stops until Jason is slumped over and panting *and* begging a little --

Not yet.

Not --

"*B* --"

And *this* suck is taking the top of his head right off, this --

God, this *hurts*, and Jason *knows* he's hitting Bruce too hard, but *Jesus* --

Jason collapses.

And pants.

Bruce shudders and *licks* him --

"B, please --"

"Yes. Yes. Jay."

"Uh, huh. Just -- uh." Jason waves the hand he doesn't have wrapped around the Bat-ear.

"Noted," Bruce says, and *doesn't* sound like he's smirking somewhere Jason can't see it -- and that means he needs a little.

Maybe -- "Flip me *over* --"

"Not -- here."

"B --"

"Seventy," *Batman* says, and that means that he's supposed to break east, then north, then wait for further instructions. And that he's supposed to do it fucking *soon*.

Jason glares at Bruce --

And Bruce smiles gently and *ruefully*. And *whispers*, "I'll make it up to you."

"You fucking well *better*," Jason whispers, and then does his best to yank up his panties and jock while still laying down while also hopefully *not* getting too much roof grit in them, because *whispers* --

Codes --

Fucking *Batman* -- means that once he *is* dressed, it's time to pull his grapple and *roll* off the roof, keeping his profile nice and small --

And it's *weird* to miss being the little punk Bruce picked up in Crime Alley, but it totally does happen *sometimes* --



Down and *running* --

He's getting *way* too far away from his goddamned bike -- "B, c'mon --"

"You have him."

"I have *who* --"

"Shh. The target is small and will be keeping to the alleys."

"Okay, okay, *how* -- small." Kid, *scrambling*. Really booking through these twisted fucking streets --

Good boots, judging by the treads he's leaving behind in the alley muck --

Better than *his* -- and fuck this. "*Why* am I chasing --"

"Acquire. Detain. Interrogate -- gently."

*Gently*? "I don't know *how* to --"


"Fucking -- wait, *this* is the guy who was following -- shit," and yeah, now *he's* scrambling, because the kid picked up a burst of *serious* speed from fuck only knows *where* --

And that's when Jason sees the small, dark *something* in the kid's hand --

Camera. That --

That's a fucking *camera* --

Jason *growls* much too fucking loud --

The kid turns to look at him with *terror* written all over his face --

And sometimes -- well, sometimes Jason just has to *smile* for things like that. Just -- he's no Batman, but he *is* big and bad --

Even if he's just big and bad to little kids --

Who he's totally gonna be gentle with --

Even though the fucker's got a *camera* -- here we go. The kid just broke *west*, and there's nothing in that direction but, like, fucking *horse*-tracks.

There *are* people who still live back there, but there are homeless guys who get more attention from the city government than *they* do. Everyone in this part of the city is just a little too pale around the eyes -- no matter how dark their skin actually is -- and a little too... off.

In other ways.

*Weird* ways that leave 'metahuman' way behind and wind up somewhere in the land of -- other.

He doesn't know. It's not his *job* to know -- even though he and Bruce damned well *do* patrol down here sometimes.

Enough to get some good *will* --

And that's a better reason to smile, because really, good will is hard to fucking *come* by in Gotham --

And *that* high-pitched shriek means that some little fucking *spy* is coming up hard against what it means to piss off Robin... in this part of town. So.

Jason slows down to a *brisk* jog --

And takes a good, long look at the pale, twisting tower of grey smoke with the terrified kid in the middle of it --

"Robin, come in --"

"It's okay, B. Gennaro has the kid."

"Hm. I didn't especially want the boy terrorized, Robin."

Jason stops around three paces away from Gennaro and takes a good look at the kid -- currently being held about fifteen feet off the ground by something Jason knows, from experience, feels a lot like cold, wet spiderwebs. Still -- "Doesn't look like he's pissed himself, yet, B."


"Okay, *okay*." Jason jerks his chin at the spot -- *thirty* feet up -- which most looks like it could be a face. "I'll take it from here, man. Thanks, though."

Something damp and sticky tugs on his hair in all fucking *directions* --

And then there's a tiny -- seriously tiny -- shivering boy kneeling at his feet and looking up at him with eyes like -- like fucking -- saucers.

Gennaro's gone, and --

Okay, fine, he doesn't *have* to be big and bad right now. Much. He drops into a crouch and gets a *grip* on one of those bony shoulders. There *is* some obvious muscle there, but Jason has to feel around for it --


Jason blows out a breath and holds up a finger to the kid. "B, we gotta talk about protocol when you're, you know, thinking with the big head again."


"Heh. You started it. Now leave this to *me*, okay?"

"As you say. I will... watch."

And that's a little -- much. Even considering everything. Seriously, it's just a kid that Jay has to figure out a little before sending him home, not --


"Kid, look up."

The kid shivers again --

Clenches his fist around his -- expensive, now that Jason can see it well-- camera --

Shivers *again* --

"C'mon, I'm not gonna hurt --"

"All right. Robin. I." And the kid looks up and immediately starts trying to search Jason's eyes to read him. Which --

There's a *reason* they wear the white-out lenses, but --

Jason flips his lenses up and raises his eyebrows --

And the kid gasps and blushes like Jason had just shaken his cock at him. Which just makes Jason wonder what he'd done when Bruce was *sucking* Jason's cock --

And wonder some more *about* Bruce, because -- yeah.

Blue eyes -- not like Jason's *or* Dick's, because there's way too much grey in them, but still.

Black hair -- thinner than Jason's *and* Dick's, but still.

Soft little mouth.

Hard little *body*.

Jesus fucking -- "Okay, kid, can you do me a favor and stay *right* there for a minute? I need to talk to Batman about something --"

"His name, Jay. I need --"


"I -- I'll stay. Robin. I just -- I won't -- I didn't take any pictures tonight." Small voice. *Light* voice --

Jason frowns at the rooftop he *knows* Bruce is crouching on --

"Please," Bruce says, soft and low and *hurting* --

Fucking fine. Jason blows out a breath and turns back to the kid --

Who jumps like Jason had done something a lot fucking *scarier* --

"What's your name?"

"I -- Tim. Drake."

That's *familiar* --

But apparently not as familiar to him as it is to *Bruce*, who *sighs* in his ear before saying: "Drake Industries."

Jason blinks. "You -- your parents are Janet and -- what's his name? James? John?"

"Ah -- Jackson. Jack. I -- yes."

"All right, fine, where are they now?"

"Um. They're on vacation. In -- Haiti."

Jason frowns. "Who's home to take care of you?"

And that makes the kid draw himself up to his feet and look *offended* in the seconds before he opens his mouth to say *some* damned thing --

Jason stands, too. "Back it up, Drake. You and I *both* know you're not a day over eleven --"

"I'm *thirteen*!"

Jason raises both eyebrows. "Oh, yeah? When'd you start jerking off?"

Drake makes a *choked* noise --

"See, that's exactly what I mean --"

"Some -- some of us aren't exactly comfortable airing our sex lives *out*."

Jason -- blinks again. "Was that bitchy?"

"Ah. Um."

"Was that bitchy *innuendo*?"

Blush. And there shouldn't *be* enough moonlight in *this* damned metaphysical sinkhole for him to pick that out, but there is.

Just like there's enough to see those blue, blue eyes. "Okay, Drake, seriously, answer the question --"

"I -- two years."


"I started. Um. Masturbating --"

"Wha -- oh. I. Fuck. I didn't mean that question!" And Jason makes a pushing motion with his hands.

"Oh. I -- were you talking to Batman about me? Before?"

"Uh. Yeah. He knew you were following us. Uh -- that someone was."

Drake blinks. "He -- *really*?"

And Jason's all set to smack the kid -- lightly -- and point out that Batman is *Batman* -- but.

They really have been fucking a *lot* out here lately. Like -- enough that Jason's been okay with just a handy and a *nap* when they get home. And -- yeah.

Jason holds up a hand to Drake and glares up at the roof again --

"I'm on the other one now."

"Are you?"

"Hm. No."

"See, I didn't think you *were*, B, because *that* one doesn't have a sightline to our stalkery little friend here."

"You have always been wise," Bruce says, and it sounds like he's laughing under his voice, but it also sounds like he's fucking *jerking off*. Or --

He probably wouldn't do that --

Jason looks at the kid again --

Probably. Just -- certain things get *obvious* when you're the *second* in a series, is all, and it doesn't matter that Bruce says he never fucked Dick, and it doesn't even matter that Jason *believes* him about that -- and believes Dick, too --

It just doesn't matter.

Fucking Christ. "Okay, seriously, kid --"

"Please call me Tim? Or -- Drake. Drake works --"

"Drake then, fine --"

"Robin, I -- um. There's -- we have a live-in. A housekeeper, I mean --"

"Oh, yeah? Where is he -- she? -- now?"

"She -- ah. Mrs. Mac. MacIlvenne, I mean -- but you don't care. You -- she's asleep. At the moment --"

"And *you* really don't want us to wake her ass up, I'm thinking."

Drake gets a stubborn look on his face -- and then looks up to Bruce's rooftop. "I presume you're listening. I understand that the miniature microphones inside your masks have a great deal of pick-up --"

"Hey, hey, you're talking to *me* now --"

"I don't mean to be rude, Robin, but you seemed to be about to threaten me with some sort of exposure if I didn't... run along home and promise not to come out again. Yes?"

Jason licks his teeth. Well. "Yeah, actually. It's *dangerous* out here for --"

"People my age? Is that really what you were about to say?"

Bruce hums in his fucking *ear* --

And Jason crosses his arms over his chest. "It's *dangerous* for anyone not *trained*. And since you weren't running the way Batman taught *me* to run, or the way Black Canary taught *Batgirl* to run --"

"Oh! She *was* trained by the JSA? That explains so many things," and Drake pulls out a sweet-looking little palm-top like the one Bruce tries and *fails* to get Jason to use --

Like the one Babs modified for her *own* use back when she was still recovering from that fucking gut-shot -- yeah.

Drake comes from money, all right, but -- fucking A.

"Look -- you. Really can't write that shit down," Jason says, and taps on the Drake's screen.

"Oh, I -- it's all coded," Drake says, and offers it to him.

Jason frowns and takes it -- and the screen is full of numbers and symbols. Just -- what?

"That -- well, that's Bar -- Batgirl's file --"

"What did you say?"


Bruce hums again. "Narrow your eyes."

Jason narrows his eyes at Drake --

And Drake shivers once and blushes like imminent death. And bites his lip. *At* Jason. Just --

"Jay --"

Jason holds up a hand to Bruce and *really* looks at Drake, and that little palm-top, and those *nice*, *sturdy* boots, and --

His stance. His fucking --

"You know karate, don't you."

"I -- a little --"

"Don't lie."

"Um. I'm. A black belt --"

"What else?"

Drake looks *down* --

"*Look* at me, kid --"

"Don't --"

"*Drake*, then --"

"I -- I'm a brown belt in tae kwon do --"

"And you know *exactly* who Batgirl is."

This time, Drake looks down *and* away, and that --

That fucking --

Okay, Jason can *admit* that he's scared like he's only ever been scared of fucking *Batman* that night he'd dragged Jason back to the Cave for the first time, but -- no. He can breathe. He can think.

And he can grab Drake by the jaw and *make* him meet his eyes. "*Talk* --"

"I would never -- I've never told anyone!"

Shit, shit --

Wait, no, the protocol is not to confirm. The protocol is to figure out as much about what the *target* knows as possible. So --

Nice and easy. Get the kid talking again. And how had he done it in the first place?

Jason smirks, lets go, and steps back. "You don't know shit."

Drake narrows his own eyes.

"A kid like you..." Jason shakes his head and makes as if he's going to walk away --

"Oh -- please --"

"Please *what*," Jason says, and doesn't turn around.

"Look, I -- no. No, you're right. You should... I'll never tell anyone. I promise," Drake says, and his voice gets small and old and fucking *alone* --

And Jason thinks he can hear Bruce's leather and armor creaking with the need for him to *move* from right here. Just --

You don't do a kid like that.

You just don't, and Jason isn't --

"Do you... ah. I don't... seem to know where I am. At the moment --"

-- an asshole. Oh, yeah. That. "Uh. Things are a little... different. Here, I mean," Jason says, and turns back around.

And looks at the skinny, blushing, Bruce-attracting little rich boy who seems to have gotten *smaller* --

"Jay --"

"B. Forty-one."

Silence. *Lots* of silence, because it's not like Jason ever *uses* the coded orders --

Especially not the ones that are all about sending your partner right the fuck *away* -- but. "I'm serious, B. Drake and I need to have a *long* talk."

"I'd like --"

"I *know* what you'd like, and we're fucking well gonna talk about that --"

"Is it. Do you think I'd replace you?"

Jason squeezes his eyes shut --

Jason doesn't *think* about the way Dick had looked the first time he'd seen Jason in the Robin suit --

He doesn't and he fucking *doesn't* --

"Jay... never. I. I could never --"

"Do I *need* to bring up Nightwing here?"

Bruce -- swallows. Audibly enough that the comm picks it up. "You've never asked... not in nearly four years."

"Yeah, well, I'm asking *now* --"

"I'll tell you. Everything, anything --"

"When we get back -- to HQ," Jason says, and looks at Drake again --

Drake has managed to work up the balls to slip back into a shadowed alley, despite having *just* experienced what kinds of things *lurk* in the alleys in this part of town.

Just -- Jason frowns. "Kid -- Drake. Are you being polite?"

Drake blinks at him. "I... shouldn't be?"

"You *were* the one trying to go over my head not five fucking minutes ago."

Another blush, but this one comes with a determined little frown... that doesn't look all that different from the training footage Bruce had shown him of Dick when *he* was -- just that small.

Fucking fuck. "Drake --"

"I -- I *promise* I won't do *anything* to endanger your secrets, and I --"

"Wait, *my* secrets?"

And Drake -- stills. All over. Not one single jerk. No bitten lip. No *anything* -- but a blush that gets darker and *darker* --

And Bruce isn't even fucking *breathing* in his ear.

"B, *forty-one*."

"Robin --"

"Do you trust me?"

Bruce sucks in a breath -- "With all of myself --"

"Then do it. I -- I'm not gonna." Chase him off? Warn him about you? "He'll be fine."

"Yes, Jay. Batman out," and Bruce lets Jason see him taking off, cool black against the *hot* black of the summer sky -- hunh.

Jason turns back to Drake. "Your parents are on vacation in Haiti in *summer*?"

Drake blinks and jumps -- he'd been watching Bruce fly. And that -- heh.

"Get any good pictures of *that*?"

Drake doesn't lick his soft-looking lips so much as he kinda touches the upper one with his teeth. "I'm -- a few. Mostly during snow storms."

Jason nods. That makes sense. That -- wait one fucking --

"Um. Robin?"

"How *long* have you been following us?"

"Do you think I could. I mean. I get the distinct impression that you won't like the answer to that question, and so maybe we could speak about something -- else?"

Jason stares at Drake.

Drake... smiles. Ruefully. Only it never reaches his *terrified* fucking eyes --

"Jesus, don't*do* that!"

"Not... smile?"

"Not unless you *mean* it, kid -- Drake. *Drake*. I can get it, I swear," and Jason shows him how a *real* rueful smile is done --

And Drake studies it like it's something he'll be tested on *and* like it's something he's maybe been waiting to see for... some scary length of time.

But Jay needs to know how scary --

And he needs some other things, too.

"Come with me."

Drake blinks. "Um. All right? Would you tell me where?"

"Yeah. An old bath house in the area. It's really -- well, you'll see," Jason says, and cups Drake's shoulder --

Where there's muscle because he's been studying the *martial fucking arts* --

And no fucking way Bruce *hadn't* seen that three nights ago, or whenever he'd actually caught a glimpse. Even if it *had* only been a glimpse.

Jason walks them further into the nameless neighborhood, looking around for strays who don't belong, general changes...

The old post office building is nearly concave now, but it's crumbling more slowly now that rubble has mostly blocked off the little pocket universe in the sub-basement.

The streetlights on the *right* side of Hummingbird Street are still gas, but the ones on the left are now a weird and kind of twitchy-feeling silver-blue, so Jason decides to take Drake the long way.

Everything else is quiet and as normal as this part of town *gets* --

"Did... ah. Is that street really called Fthagn Ia --"

"Don't say it out loud."

"Oh. Ah. What? *Where are we*?"

Heh. "You've been following us around for fuck only knows how long --"

"Four years --"

"Jesus fucking -- four years and you've never been *here*?"

"This -- it's not on any street-map I've ever *seen*, Robin."

"Well, no, but you can't get to know Gotham from freaking *maps*. Not the real Gotham, anyway," and Jason stops them in front of *that* brownstone, reaching for a batarang just in case --

And Drake actually slips into a *ready* stance, and no, Jason can't actually smack him for that, but --

"Morrigan! What's the deal?"

And the brownstone *yawns* open a little bit, door turning into a long, wooden tongue that still looks flexible *enough* --

Drake makes a strangled noise --

"Seriously, Morrigan, I've *got* the explosive ones," Jason says, and turns the batarang so she can see the blinking red light --

And the tongue rolls itself back in. "Not. Hungryyyy."

"Well. That's good. Still, when you are? There's a pimp named Vito --"


Jason wags his head back and forth. Morrigan always did have a good ear for what was going on in this area. And -- technically, he's not supposed to encourage her.

*Definitely* Bruce would hate it if he knew Jason *was* --

But. "Just be subtle, k?"

Brownstones aren't supposed to laugh. They just -- aren't.

Still, Morrigan laughing is better than Morrigan *eating*, so Jason tips her a wave and pulls Drake along.

They make it to the bath house without seeing anyone else, which is good, because Drake isn't watching their backs so much as he's sneaking little looks at Jason like there's something he wants to ask and just doesn't --

Oh, yeah. "This part of town doesn't exactly *have* a name," Jason says, and jimmies the door -- gently -- to let them in.

"I -- no?"

"Nah. Some people call it Demontown, but the guy the named it *for* hardly ever spends time around here anymore. He's gotten upscale."

"Are you referring to... ah. Jason Blood?"

Jason stops with his hand on the light switch. He -- okay, no. He turns *on* the light, and then he fucking well *looks* at Drake.

Who frowns *and* blushes. "He runs a magic shop! An *actual* magic shop, because people have *seen* Zatanna and Dr. Fate go *in* there!"

"That doesn't mean -- fuck it. Just *tell* me you haven't been following him, too?"

The blush gets a little deeper. "He -- once."

Jason winces. "What'd he do?"

Tim shakes his head. "I -- he looked at me. That -- ah. I'm not very... brave."

"Okay, wait, do you mean that he looked at you, or do you mean that he *looked* at you and showed you, like, the eternal hellfire in his eyes?"

Tim shudders.

"Yeah, that's an answer. Look, Drake, there's no kind of brave that can handle that. Even fucking Batman has to stop himself from throwing an explosive batarang at the guy and then running in the other direction sometimes. And he *likes* the guy."

"Yes, I -- well. I'd seen him. In there."

"Four years."

"Yes. Yes, Robin."

Jason takes a deep breath and shakes his head. "Okay, lemme show you something."

"Something... frightening?"

"Well, no. Not -- c'mon, okay?" And Jason tries a reassuring smile.

Drake gives him that intense-studying look again --

And the way his forehead wrinkles up makes him look older than his actual age for a moment. A long one. Just --

Jason ruffles his hair --

"Oh! I -- um. What?"

"Uh. Good question," and Jason gives another rueful smile. "You looked like you needed it? I dunno. Come on," and Jason leads them down into the bath house proper, letting the humidity and mineral-y scents open him up, a little.

No chlorine in here, and weird salts, and something a *little* like sulfur --

Which Jason has long since made a command decision to forget is another name for *brimstone* --

And they're down.

The lights are all set *deep* into the walls, making the mosaics flicker and glow in shades of blue and gold.

"Oh. It's beautiful..." And Drake is looking around with a *different* studying look on his face.

Jason grins. "I know, right? I love it here." And all the tile is gonna make it real damned hard for anyone to sneak *up* on us while we're talking. "Go check out the mosaic on that wall," and he points. "Get close."

Drake nods slowly and does it, walking carefully on the strip of dark, sturdy carpeting that leads into the locker areas and beyond into the *serious* pools, where Jason doesn't like to go unless the sun is shining *somewhere* in Gotham.

Not tonight.

Even though he can *tell* the place is empty --

Not tonight.

He keeps an eye on Drake just the same, watching him frown and study the abstract tile images --

And then he jerks back, just a little. Heh.

"Figure it out, yet?"

"It's -- it's an aerial view of Gotham..."

"Uh, huh."

"And -- it's very old," Drake says, reaching out to not quite touch. "These -- it's the same sort of tile used in the subways."


Drake frowns. "The company that made that tile went out of business in the nineteenth century, didn't it?"

"Pretty much, yeah. Now why do *you* know that?"

"Because it was Bruce Wayne's great-great-great-grandfather who *put* them out of -- oh."

Jason crosses his arms over his chest and raises his eyebrows behind the mask --

And yeah, he can see *that* blush from here.

"Gonna tell me?"

"Um. Um. You know who my parents are."

"Uh, huh. Make it good, now."

"Robin, I -- I'm supposed to know *everything* about the major businesses in the tri-state area --"

"Sure you are."

"I -- I go to *school* with Lucius Fox, Jr. --"

"Is he a friend of yours?"

"No, he. He's very popular -- um. Um. *When* was this mosaic done?"

Jason *looks* at him from under his lashes. Drake probably can't tell that that's exactly what he's doing -- but he damned well knows that *Jason* knows he's throwing out bullshit.

"I'm. I really am... curious? That wasn't a question --"

"It was done in eighteen-eighty-three, according to... Batman."

When Drake swallows, his Adam's apple bobs like *crazy*. "I -- I -- I don't see how they could have... I mean, some of those buildings weren't even --"

"Don't think too much about it. It's pretty standard to Otherwhere. Talk to me."

"Is -- that what you call this area?"

"Yeah. I stopped calling it Freaktown when I realized that Freaktown was where *I* lived," and Jason jerks his chin at Drake and drops his hands to his sides, stalking up close.

For a little while, it looks like Drake will stand his ground. He's shivering every few seconds and his eyes are darting *around*, but he sticks --

And he sticks --

Until he steps back. Once.

"Don't do that, man."

"Don't -- you. You're being threatening --"

"Am I?"

"Well. Well, you know a great deal about -- inflicting pain --"

"So do you."

"Not as much --" Drake swallows again --

Blushes again --

Squeezes his *eyes* shut --

And Jason cups Drake's shoulders and bumps his forehead a little with his own. "Never close your eyes in this part of town."

Drake gasps and pulls *back* -- and opens his eyes. "I -- what do you want me to say?"

"My name."

"Robin --"

"My *name* --"

"I don't *know* any other --"

"Drake -- Tim. You've been following us around for four years. Do you really wanna lie to *me*?"

Drake winces -- almost *flinches* -- and shakes his head slowly.

And bites his lip like he wants to chew the damned thing *off*. Jason reaches up to make him stop -- and *then* sees all the blood on his gauntlet. Damn. He takes it off and cups Drake's jaw with his bare hand. "Are you listening to me?"

"Yes. Yes."

"Do you --" Jason shakes his head again. "Say what you know. What we both *know* you know, okay? Because we can't figure out anything until we figure out that."

Another swallow -- and Drake searches Jason's eyes with just fucking *everything* in his own. Fear and hope and need and the kind of hunger --

The kind of hunger Jason isn't at *all* used to seeing on kids as rich as Drake. Not that there are all that many of *those* -- but sometimes Jason's pretty sure he goes to school with all of them. "Drake..."

"You. You could call me Tim anytime you -- um. Jason," he breathes, soft and *soft* --

Jason shivers. "What else?"

"You -- Batman adopted you the day you turned thirteen. Bruce did. He didn't. He didn't adopt Dick. And -- and Batgirl is James Gordon's adopted daughter Barbara --" 


"I won't -- I've never told anyone --"

"How long have you *known*?"

Tim looks down again --

"C'mon, no --"

"I -- please."

Jason lets go and steps back --

"Oh, don't -- I mean. I'm sorry --"

Jason reaches out with his bare hand and grips Tim's *reaching* hand --

And Tim grips back with some decent strength. Not enough --

Enough for *what*?

And his brain -- his stupid, awful, *terrible* brain -- gives him the image of Bruce staring at Tim from that rooftop. Staring with his *mouth* open just a little and his hands clutching at the balustrade hard enough that there's a gritting sound every time he *breathes* --

Jason hadn't even been *able* to see him, but --

Enough for *that*, that's what.

Jason pinches the bridge of his nose with his free hand -- no.

He drags Tim into the prettiest locker room in Gotham --

"Oh -- oh, they tiled the --"

"Little cubbies, yeah. This used to be a pretty exclusive place. It still *is*, but, you know, for different reasons," and Jason leads them to the *wide* bench and points at one end of it. Tim sits.

Jason takes the other end, spinning enough to sit tailor-style. They're right between two walls of tiled cubbies, and that means every sound echoes strangely -- and loudly. It'll be a little distracting to *speak* here... but yeah. Absolutely *no* one sneaking up. Especially because the tile in the pool areas to either side is... heh. *Different*.

There's no real way to close off the locker room from the serious pools, so Jason settles for pulling a batarang and making sure he can see everything that could come from that direction --

"Are. Are we in danger?"

*You* are -- Jason frowns and shakes his head. "Probably not. I've never been attacked here or anything like that, but the pools back there are a little too... other. For me, I mean."

Tim nods like that actually made *sense* -- and when he looks at Jason again, his eyes are wide and shining and full and -- Jesus.

Fucking. "Tim... you don't want this life."

Tim blushes again --

That's gotta annoy the *piss* outta him in school --

And then he frowns. "I'm not -- I just want to... watch."

Jason raises his eyebrows again. "You know how weak that was, right?"

"It's the --"

"Truth? *Really*?"

For a moment, there's a seriously *dark* frown in Tim's eyes -- but then it's gone under a layer of *bland* thick enough to just fucking --

"Okay, seriously, Tim, that was *impressively* fucked-up. The little bland machine thing, I mean."

"Bland... machine. Ah. Robin --"

"Yeah, *do* keep calling me that while we're not close enough to whisper -- but remember that I *know* what you know."

"I -- couldn't forget --"

"Uh, huh. And don't forget that I know what that *means*, either. You've been following us since before I even *was* Robin -- and you followed when it was... the other guy. Right?"

Tim nods. "I. He was the one who -- well. I figured it out when I saw him on the news... doing something I knew only a few people in the world could do."

Jason frowns. "What -- oh. An acrobat thing."

Tim nods again. "I really won't -- I've known since I was *nine*, Robin. That's *why* I started following --"

"Christ, where were your fucking *parents*?"

Another *dark* look --

Another *blank* look -- "C'mon, Tim, is there something we should know about them? You're not a traumatized four-year-old -- you *know* you can tell someone if there's --"

"They don't -- I've never been *abused*, Robin!"

Jason gives him a *steady* look, just to see --

Another blush. "I -- that wasn't a lie. It's just -- they have their own lives."

"And you have yours?"

"I -- yes," Tim says, and nods toward Jason's belt for some reason -- his palm-top.

*Right*. Jason takes it out and *starts* to hand it over -- "All coded?"

"Yes, Robin --"

"And no one else *knows* your codes?"

"I use *different* coding systems with my -- my friends --"

"And what do you *talk* to your friends about?"

Another blush. "Um. Fae Voyage."

"Uh. Seriously?"

"I -- um. I'm really --"

"A geek?"

"Yes. A -- a very big one. Very. Big."

Jason bites his lip for a sec -- okay. "Astro Wars and shit?"

"Um. More of a -- Galaxy Travels. Focus. Science fiction and fantasy in general --"

"And you're good with computers?"

"I've -- found a lot of information about your... family. That way."

And Jason *knows* he looks fucking horrified, but -- wait. "How *much* information?"

"Well, your school and -- official -- medical records. Your... ah. Information about your... parents."

And *that* -- is interesting. "*Which* parents?"

Wide, *wide* eyes -- and that's an answer.

"Uh, huh. When did *you* realize that I'd been adopted twice?"

Tim licks his lips. "I'm not -- I know you think I'm a stalker --"

"Because you are. Answer the question."

"I -- I -- I never intended to even -- look, my parents were going to *send* me to your school next year, but I knew that would make me -- that that would be too much of a temptation --"

"So you campaigned for some other rich fuck school? Seriously?"

"Ah -- public school. Actually. There's a lot more -- ah. Freedom. Generally."

Jason narrows his eyes for that -- but then he thinks about it. No amount of geekery would stop this kid from wanting to be able to take off night and day whenever he wanted. So -- it makes sense. "All right. Answer the question."

"I -- looked into you as deeply as I could when... Batman took you in. There were... certain irregularities... um. I was eleven before I worked out what they could be. I thought... did... Batman not tell you?"

"No, he told me, all right. But *he* didn't know until last fucking year, when an attempt to get me a learner's permit led to us figuring out that my birth certificate was forged. He wanted me to be a part of his life as quickly and *seriously* as possible, and so he took a bunch of shortcuts." Jason snorts. "That's -- heh. So you looked into my birth mother, too?"

"Ah... yes? It's... um. Interesting. I'm really not -- I'd never try to -- to *force* myself into your life --"

Jason holds up a hand. "What'd you find out about her?"

Aaand here comes another blush. "Perhaps. Perhaps we could speak about something... else?"

And that's -- fucking adorable, actually. Jason snorts again. "Okay, did you think I somehow *didn't* know about her skimming charity profits and selling drugs to warlords all over Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia?"

"And -- and other... places. Yes, ah. It's not that I -- I mean. I wouldn't want to. Um. Help?"

Yeah, definitely adorable, so maybe it's a kind of necessary to reach across the little space between them and ruffle Tim's hair again, and this time he's not even getting blood in the kid's hair --

"Oh, goodness. I'm not -- I'm not *eight* --"

"Yeah, when you were *eight*, you *didn't* know who Batman and Robin -- wait."

"Um. Yes?"

Jason pulls back and thinks --

And watches Tim straighten his hair in some seriously quick and *practiced* motions --

And -- "Why the hell did you know what -- the other guy could do?"

Another bitten lip -- "Um. I saw him... before."

"Before -- holy -- how the fuck *old* were you?"

Tim smiles ruefully again -- but this time it's real. "He was very. My parents took me to meet him and *his* parents. He gave me -- I'd never had cotton candy before. Or roasted peanuts. Or funnel cake. Or -- well, he gave me a lot of food. And held me on his lap. And -- smiled at me. Just. He never stopped smiling, Robin. I'd never -- no one ever really -- um. Anyway. He promised to do his special trick just -- just for me. He... didn't get to. Not that night."

"That -- fuck. Uh."

Tim shrugs a little. "I saw it all. My parents -- we decided to stay in our seats, since we knew the exits would be mobbed with panicked people. So... I saw Batman... swoop in. And pull... him away from... the bodies."

Jesus. "Yeah, he. He's got a smile like no one else, all right. And he." Jason blows out a breath. "He always said that Batman gave it back to him, you know?"

"Oh. Oh. Really?"

Jason smiles and knows it's crooked and fucking *shaky* on his face, but -- deal. "Yeah. They -- uh." Don't get along as well as they should.

It might have something to do with how often Bruce *fucks* me --

And, by the way, how attached are you to the size of *your* asshole?

Jason chokes on his own fucking *self* a little --

"Robin...? Are you all right?"

No. No. And no. *But*. He jerks his chin at Tim. "How long have you known about me and Bruce?"

Blush like a *fire* truck -- "I -- I -- ah. I --"

"*C'mon*, Tim. We both know what was going on *right* before we went after you --"

"*Why* did you -- I mean, if you knew you were being followed --"

"*Batman* only knew for sure for the past three nights --"

"But he still -- I mean. He let you. Or -- obviously, I don't know what your -- your relationship --"

"He started it -- the last three nights, anyway. If *I* had known -- or if he'd told me tonight *before* he got me going -- I would've said no. Or possibly *fuck* no." Right?

Fuck, no, ask that question *later*, brain --

Except that it's just *sitting* there in his head, looking at him with big fucking -- eyes. Heh. Jason scrubs a hand over his face --

Scratches at his stubble --

And that is, actually, enough to get Tim to stop giving him the know-you're-lying hairy eyeball --

But he's not gonna use that against him. Much. "All right, I'll own it -- there is no one on this *planet* hotter to me than Batman is, and there isn't one whole fuck of a lot I wouldn't do for him. Or him for me."

Tim swallows and nods kind of *jerkily* --

"It gets you off."

"I -- Robin, I --"

"It gets. You. Off."

Tim squeezes his eyes shut --

"Don't *do* that around here. Hell, don't do it outside of your parents' fucking *mansion* until you're way the fuck *out* of Gotham --"

Tim opens his eyes. "I'm sorry."

"For closing your eyes or for being a peeping -- heh -- Tim?"

*Saucer* eyes right back --

"Yeah, that is, actually, what you are. But, you know, it's not like I can throw fucking stones. There are exactly *four* rooms back home where we *can't* fuck, and that leaves a whole lot of rooms -- and a whole lot of time."

And now Tim's blinking like -- like some kind of *owl* --

But his eyes are, actually, kind of nice. Not *pretty* -- he'd need a warmer blue for that, and more curl to his lashes -- but nice. Deep eyes. *Thinking* eyes. That's *why* they look so fucking wrong when Tim blanks -- his eyes *need* to have shit going on in them all the time to keep him looking human.


*Something*. And --

Did you see those eyes at a party, Bruce?

Did they turn you on so much you forgot that the kid had *parents*?

*When* did you lose it? Could I have stopped it?

Can I stop it *now*? What happens --

"I don't. I don't understand, Robin."

"Don't you?"

"Um. No? I mean... no."

Jason laughs derisively before he can stop himself --

And Tim winces.

And Jason *thinks* about it like he has a fucking *brain* in his *head* -- "Shit. You're a virgin."


"Yeah, okay, don't actually *need* you to confirm that. Uh. Do you have... a girlfriend?"

This time, the blush spreads *slowly*, and that's fascinating enough --

"You have about ninety different blushes, don't you."

"I've counted fourteen, but -- um. I'm -- I think I might be. Gay." And then Tim searches him like he thinks Jason might try to fucking *hit* him, which --

Jason smacks the side of his head.

"Ah --"

"That's for *thinking* I'd get on your case for that. Jesus, man."

"I -- all right. Fine. It's just that you're very -- ah."

"Butch? Straight-acting? *Manly*?"

"All right, I -- get your point. You don't have to keep sounding like a personal ad in the Clarion."

"Heh. What are *you* doing going through those?"

"Ah. Learning the language?" Tim rubs his palms on his -- sturdy, not fashionable -- jeans. "I don't. I mean. I think one of my friends might also be -- gay, but I don't really. I don't talk about it."


"I'm." Blush, blush, *blush* --


"I'm usually on the superhero forums," Tim says, and that's almost a *mutter* --

"Uh. So? Am I supposed to think that's weird? Compared to everything *else*?"

Tim gives him a look which manages to be both pinched *and* scandalized, which is kinda seriously impressive -- "I -- Robin -- most of the people on those forums don't know *anything* about what superheroes' lives are like --"

"And you -- totally do." Jason snorts. "Yeah, okay, I hear you. Just -- uh. You don't correct people *too* much, do you?"

"I -- ah. Got over that urge. Quickly. Both because I understood the importance of secrets and because it never really... um. Took."

Jason smiles ruefully. "Yeah, sometimes Batgirl tells me about some of the really *choice* things she finds on those forums. And -- heh. Some of the *super*-choice things she puts there *herself*."

"Oh. Oh! But -- of course, misinformation would be -- that's brilliant!"

Jason *grins*. "That's Batgirl to the bone, man. She's fucking *sneaky*. Heh. Maybe you've gotten into a flame-war or two with *her*."

Tim's jaw drops a little --

And this blush looks fucking terminal. Jason reaches up and pats his cheek a little. "Stay with me now."

"I am! I will! I -- wait, we never finished talking about -- um." And Tim clutches his own knees like maybe they were gonna try to run away.

Or his hands were, maybe?

Jason takes a long look at Tim's hands, noting the white knuckles -- and the pale little scars on the knuckles and fingers. Whatever kind of dojo he went to, he took his lessons... home?

Somewhere else?

Jason strokes over the knuckles on Tim's left hand --

"*Oh* -- I."


"Ah -- maybe?" Tim laughs softly. "I'm sorry I've been so -- myself. I'm usually --"

"Someone else?"

Tim searches him a little -- and then looks down. "I really. If you just let me keep... keep following you sometimes --"

"But you want -- *think* you want -- more than that. Yeah?"

A frown, and Jason can see those eyes tracking back and forth even though he can't see what's *in* them -- "C'mon, look up --"

"You -- you work in the *dark* all the time, Robin! How much information are you used to *getting* from people's eyes?"

"Not enough. So when I *can* get it --"

"You. You want it. I --" Tim licks his lips and *then* looks up with a little smile. "I suppose that makes sense. And I... would be lying if I said I hadn't thought about becoming a vigilante. But -- I don't have the training for it. And I *know* I don't have the training for it. And -- I'm supposed to do a lot of different things with my life --"

"For your parents' company?"

"Yes. Yes, precisely. And -- well, obviously it's possible to be a businessman and... ah... well, you *know* --"

"He doesn't do all that well at it. There's not enough *time* for him to be good at it. But, you know, he is who he *is*... so he's still a lot better at it than most."

And Tim gives him a look *exactly* like he's drinking that all in --

Soaking it up like a *sponge* -- Jason covers Tim's hand and squeezes it. "There's always room for another *trained* vigi out there, man. I'm not even gonna try to say there isn't. But -- you don't want *this* family."

"I -- why?"

"You're still not getting it?"

"I -- I can definitely be... slow about some things -- I mean, it's something I'm working on --"

"And I bet when you put your mind to something, it never takes all that long for you to *get* it, yeah?"

Tim frowns. "Are... are you saying I should put my mind to... to the question of why Batman would've... done what he did tonight?"

*Jason* swallows and just --

He tries to keep them both looking *good* for the kids. Not just because it's important that they not *terrorize fucking children*, but because he fucking well *remembers* what it was like to need a hero --

To need to *believe* in a hero --

"Jason, I -- I mean Robin -- it's. He loves you. He's. I've always. I've thought that... if you love someone enough... ah."

Fuck. "That anything goes?"

Tim searches him a little and licks his lips. "It seems. It seems like something that lovers could... have." And every little thing about him says he's *begging* Jason not to ruin that for him, ruin his ideas of fucking vigilante *romance* --

Fuck, fuck, *fuck* -- "Look, I -- yeah. He loves me. He's made that clear in a lot of damned ways over the years."

Tim nods, but -- yeah, now he's looking seriously fucking *troubled*.

"You -- fuck, *ask*."

"Because you can't... just say it? Whatever it is. Um. Why... why doesn't he get along with Nightwing anymore?"

"Heh, I -- don't know. I do know they never fucked. I *don't* know why."

Tim swallows and grips his knees even harder. "He didn't -- they wouldn't tell you?"

"I never asked Batman. I never wanted to know... until now."

A slow nod. "When. When he... exposed you. Deliberately."

"To you."

The blush comes back in full force. "He didn't -- I mean. Did he?"

"He meant it. He meant for *you* to see."

Tim takes a deep breath and exhales it *shakily* --

"Over and over, Tim."

"I -- I *have* --"

"He doesn't know how many times."

"No, I. I imagine he would have... stopped... me..."

"Or sent me to talk to you. To *detain* you."

Tim blinks rapidly and starts stroking his thighs -- which are pretty decently long and lean.

Well-muscled for a little guy.

Just the kind that Bruce would want wrapped around his face?

His hips?

And Tim is looking around now, obviously on little geeky-freakboy high alert --

And none of this is his fault. Just --


"You. You. Are you saying -- I'm just a kid --"

"Yeah. A hero-worshipping kid who hangs out on rooftops and manages to stay close enough to *Batman and Robin* to take some pictures."

"Never -- only the ones -- I'd never take pictures of you -- making love."


And Tim looks *miserable* for a second, hurt and just -- "I destroyed them. I -- I never did it again -- it was years ago --"

"When you started spanking it."

Tim covers his face with his hands --

Jumps in his skin like something's *goosed* him --

And then he uncovers his face again. "He doesn't *want* me!"

"He does."

"He doesn't even --"

"Know you? Heh. He dragged me home by the scruff of the fucking neck about forty minutes after seeing me for the first time."

"What -- what?"

"He needed a good ten minutes just to stare at me -- this is what he told me -- and another thirty to catch me when I ran away from him using every trick I knew to get away from big, strong, fast perverts --"

"Batman isn't a *pervert*!"

Jason looks at Tim.

"He's not -- he doesn't -- he *loves* you! And -- he gave Dick his smiles back --"

"Until it was all over... right about when Dick had ninety-nine percent of his full growth."

Tim *flinches* --

And Jason smiles wryly. "Sometimes I think about it, you know? What I'm going to do when I'm too big for him."

Tim shakes his head and *stares* at him --

His eyes are so --

"God, Tim, I -- he's *not* a bad guy. He's sweet, he's smart as fuck, he's funny -- and he's fucking *fantastic* in the sack. But he's a perv, right down to the bone. There's something *missing* in him, and it's the thing that lets him have successful relationships with adults who don't *throw* themselves at him --"

"But there *are* adults! You -- aren't there?"

"And you really are clinging to that and fucking *hoping*, yeah?"

"Jason --"

"Well, I am, too. Because I've been in love with him since right about when he stopped even trying to keep his hands off me -- I had *just* turned thirteen --"

"Oh --"

"And you *knew* that, because you knew everything about me. But you didn't let yourself think about it, because you need Batman to be a hero through and through."

"He *is*. And -- you're just -- I'm sure if you just *spoke* to him -- I." Tim stares down at his hands --

Stands up and starts to pace --

Fucking *hugs* himself --

"He'd make you love him, too, you know --"

"I *already* --" Tim *growls* and stops pacing. "Look, I -- just tell me how to get back to the Gotham that exists on maps made on my native plane of existence? Please?"

Jason snorts --

"*Please* --"

"Sorry, that was -- that was a good line. You're gonna stay home from now on?"

Tim crosses his arms over his chest and looks away --

"Fuck. *Tim* -- okay. Okay, how about this -- you *don't* stay home... but you check out a certain gym run by a certain guy who you probably know more about than *I* do."

Tim stiffens -- and turns back to face him. "You're speaking of -- Wildcat?"

Jason nods. "Sometimes -- sometimes Black Canary --"

"Spends time there. And -- she trained Batgirl. And." Tim frowns at him. "You were serious about there... being a need."

"Uh, yeah? I don't lie about shit like that. Not to a kid like you --"

"I'm not --" Tim raises a hand. "You really can't talk to me about how *Batman* wants to have *sex* with me and then call me a *kid*."

"Really? 'cause I think I really fucking can. You're a virgin who still seizes up a little just for admitting you're queer *to another queer*. And Batman... he's not for the beginner's course, Tim."

"*You* were my age --"

"And *you're* looking fucking *muley* -- heh. Did I mention that Superman has a hard-on for kid vigis, too? He's the one who put that word in my fucking *vocabulary* --"

"Your vocabulary is -- wait, what?"

Jason snorts again. "You were totally about to bitch me out about my language, weren't you?"

And the muley look is back, like maybe if Jason puts one more thing on Tim that he doesn't want -- he's gonna kick.

"C'mon, fucking *own* it, Tim --"

"You don't -- you're *Robin*, and that's more important than anything  --"

"Else? Like maybe that's more important than the street kid I used to be? 'cause that's what I *was* for a good long while, Tim. That's where Batman *found* me. And that's how I knew what Batman *was* -- no matter *what* he said about just wanting me to be his partner. I was selling it for a *year*... kid."

Horrified look --

Head-shake --

"I'm -- I didn't mean to -- I -- fuck."

Jason grins *just* a little obnoxiously. "Kind of a useful little word, isn't it?"

"I'm sorry --"

"No, go with the cursing."

"*Jason* --"

"*He* only calls me that when he's pissed-off or when he's trying to Instill An Important Life Lesson," Jason says, smirking and rolling to his feet before closing the distance between them --

"Oh -- I was supposed to keep calling you --"

"You're in love with him."

Blush -- "It's not. *I* don't know *him* --"

"You're maybe in love with the Batman?"

Tim turns away --

Jason turns him *back* -- and then has to stop, because Tim is looking at him like --

Looking at *him* like --

Jason steps *back* --

And for about *half* a heartbeat, Tim looks like -- like every fucking thing he cared about in the world had died. And then he looks *blank* --

*Fuck* -- "Tim, man --"

"No, I -- it's not. Anything."

"Don't --" Lie to me. Except that he really can't fucking *say* that --

Not for *this* --

Jason steps forward again --

And Tim *quick*-steps back, just like whatever dojo he'd gone to was worth something --

"Tim --"

"Maybe. You were going to tell me how to get back --"

"I'm taking you back."

Tim frowns. "That's not necessary --"

"You're thirteen years old, and you have no idea what to do when someone points a gun at you --"

"Um. I would probably dislocate his knee --"

"See, that's good, but you're not quick enough to get in before he pulls the trigger if the guy has a long reach."

Tim frowns and seems to consider -- "There's almost always a large amount of -- of debris in the average Gotham alley. Perhaps a toss of some sort?"

"Yeah, I -- how's your aim?"

"I -- it's good. I don't -- I don't miss what I intend to -- Jason -- Robin --"

"You don't know me."

Another fucking *flinch* --

"That's not -- I'm not doing or saying *any* of this to fucking hurt you --"

"No. I know. I know you wouldn't," Tim says, and smiles ruefully, reaching out -- and dropping his hand again. "Robin, I've been taking care of myself for... a rather long time --"

"How -- c'mon, let me --"

"Let you make my... crush on you even more pathetic and painful than it already is? No, thank you."

Jason winces. "Uh. So that was right out there."

Tim smiles *sharply*. "So it was. You didn't much care for me 'seizing up' before. I learn from *all* of my mistakes, Robin. And I can take care of myself, so...?"

Jason squeezes his eyes shut -- and then remembers that a) his lenses are up, b) he's Robin, and c) some other goddamned thing. He opens his eyes --

In time to see Tim searching him *subtly*. Right. Just --

Right. "Out the door, around the right side into the alley that looks completely black and full of things that can and will enjoy hurting you until you die."

"Ah. All... right..."

"It's the quickest, safest way in or out of this neighborhood, because *absolutely no one sane* would ever use it without knowing what *we* know. Okay?"

Tim nods once, tucks his palm-top further into his pocket, and -- pauses, all over.

"Yeah?" And maybe he sounds a little fucking hopeful to his own ears, a little -- something. "Tell me. Please."

Tim bites his lip... and then very deliberately stops that and looks Jason in the eye. "I'm... going to go to the gym. My strengths and weaknesses..." Tim shakes his head. "I don't suppose he takes *messages* for Black Canary?"

"Sometimes, yeah. Just -- go big. Be honest, be brave. Look him in the eye -- he *hates* it when people don't -- and don't -- heh, no, never mind."

"No, what --"

"I was *gonna* say that you needed to make sure that you didn't let him scare you off, but I'm thinking that you're not actually all that easy to scare when it's something you care about, yeah?"

Tim narrows his eyes thoughtfully -- "I'm frightened all the time. There's nothing particularly --" Tim shakes his head. "I -- what else didn't you say? I mean, obviously you don't have to --"

"Uh -- yeah. So you can read me?"

"You -- you haven't been making it difficult. Not since -- you've always seemed like a very honest person --"

"Wildcat's been fucking Canary since before she *was* Canary. Uh. Long before, going by the stories she tells."

Blink. And lots of little blink friends.

"It's not -- not *all* the heroes are --"

"Okay, just -- wait a moment. Please?" And Tim makes a pushing motion with both hands.

Jason sighs and lets himself lean against the lockers -- carefully. He doesn't wanna mess up the tile. "I'm waiting, man. And I'm -- no, lemme -- I just -- fuck. You're obviously a good kid. A good *guy*. You have some seriously *dangerous* kinks, but I can't actually blame you for *any* of them -- and you do what you need to do in order to *live* with those kinks, as opposed to letting them kill you. I guess -- I just want you to know that you're all right with me. More than. Okay?"

"I -- ah. Thank you. Very much. You... you've been exceedingly surprising in any number of ways, but -- you've also been very. Very warm. And -- kind."

"Like I was in your head, maybe?"

"No, I -- nothing like that, actually --"

"You thought I was an *asshole* and you *still* had a crush?"

"No! Not -- not *cruel*. Just... perhaps more... I'm not sure I know how to describe it?"

And Jason knows that he's pretty much guaranteeing that Tim won't get home until it's almost time for him to start getting ready for *school* --

Until it's time for *him* to start doing that shit --

But. "Try?"

"I... all right?" And Tim gives him a look like he's trying to figure Jason *out* --

Jason kinda wants to ask him what he comes up with for *conclusions* --

"I -- actually, this is -- this is it. Or some of it. You -- I honestly expected you to stop asking questions once you figured out... what you needed to know. And, obviously, you felt you had to -- to warn me --"

"Did you get anything like a decent sex talk from *anyone*? Your Dad, maybe?"

"Ah -- no. However, I've had access to the internet for a very, very long time --"

"Porn's one thing, but --"

"*Educational* sites are something else entirely. I assure you that I've perused all of them I could find --"

Jason holds up a hand. "Okay, I believe you. Go back to feeding my -- fuck, I don't even know if that counts as my *ego* or not. Tell me how I come off out there?"

"I... strong. Always -- strong, and confident, and *sure*. I've *seen* you arguing with Batman about some things, and that's always seemed so -- ah. Anyway. You never seem as though there's anything that *fazes* you, or causes you difficulty. You never seem as though you even need *help* -- much less information about the people who stalk you."

"Not even the really likable stalkers?"

"Um. You. Is there anything else you'd like for me to tell you?"

Your phone number -- no. What. No. *Christ* -- "There's nothing else," Jason says, and smiles ruefully. "Just -- be careful --"

"I will --"

"And I'm not -- I'm just a guy, okay? I argue with B because he's *there*, sometimes, and all *kinds* of shit fazes me, and sometimes I have nightmares so bad that I wake up crying. Just --"

"Oh -- oh, I'm so sorry -- I didn't mean to --"

"I know, I know," and Jason pushes a little at the air, too. "Just -- something else for you to think about in terms of this life, okay? None of us get out without the nightmares."

"Even. Even *Batman*?"

"*Especially* Batman. I -- uh. We don't always actually sleep together. He gets -- he gets violent in his sleep sometimes. We can usually predict when it's gonna happen, but let's just say I've gotten *real* damned good at waking up *fast*, 'k?"

And Tim's thinking about it. *Hard*. Maybe -- maybe too hard.

"This *isn't* me trying to convince you not to do this with your life. I think -- fuck, man, *I* wanna teach you some moves. You've already got the *sneaky* part down."

"You -- oh. Any -- any time you'd like -- or if. I don't know." And Tim looks *confused* again --

And Jason's not fucking helping, at all. Just -- not even a little. "Let me take you home."

"Robin --"

"You can show me your pictures, I can show *you* how to kick someone in the sac so hard they never have kids... yeah?"

"I -- I don't want --"

"To hang out with me?"

"I -- of *course* I'd like to spend more time with you, but I'm not sure. I'm not sure how much --" And this time when Tim looks away, he looks honestly fucking *pissed* with himself, and that --

Jason walks over and cups Tim's shoulders, forcing himself to just deal with the fact that Tim *is* thirteen, and *is* small -- he can't be more than five feet even --

Am I too big for you, Bruce?

"Ah -- ow?"

He's squeezing too hard -- "Fuck, I'm sorry," Jason says, and lets go, putting his hands up --

"You can touch me -- fuck. I -- no. That's the problem," Tim says, and reaches up to rub his shoulder --

Jason moves his hand and does it *better* --

"Ohn -- *Robin*, please -- please don't make me -- embarrass myself." And Tim doesn't look away, at all, this time. He just -- looks right into Jason's eyes and begs with his own.

Begs *hard* -- and Jason would have to be fucking brain-dead not to realize that he's begging for a better touch *and* for Jason -- to stop fucking with him.

Stop making him *need* a better touch --

*Fuck* -- "I'm just a *guy*, Tim --"

"You're *not*. Not -- not to me, anyway, and -- I. Maybe that's not fair. Maybe. I've always thought -- the people who talk about heroes as if they're not *allowed* to have hopes and dreams and *feelings* like other people --"

"They're assholes, and I already know you're not like that. I -- hell, Tim, I don't have one single friend my age, okay?"

"Oh! You --"

And then there's five feet of bone and skin and muscle pressed against him, and he's being hugged to within an inch of his life. It does, in fact, feel *exactly* -- "Uh. This is how Dick hugged you."

"I -- yes?"

"Ten years ago."

"And two months, yes -- I don't have to --"

"And you remembered *exactly* --"

"Oh, God, I'm doing this wrong," and Tim starts to pull back --

Jason *yanks* him back in and cups Tim's waist and the back of his head, pulling him in so he can feel his breath through the collar of the cape --

"Or -- not? I just -- you should have *friends*. Even *I* have friends --"

"But you don't talk to them about what you want to do with your life. Or do you?"

"I -- um." Tim wraps his arms around Jason's chest again, shivering and hugging hard --

"I like that. Would you -- please tell me?"

"I -- I like this, too. Ah. I've always thought that it would be a bad idea to share those sorts of thoughts with people you don't know if you can completely trust --"

"You don't trust your *friends*?"

"I don't trust *anyone* -- ah. All right, that sounds horrible --"

"You don't trust me?"

"I trust you. Ah. I trust you with everything. Already. I meant -- I don't trust anyone who I actually see on a day-to-day basis -- *why* don't you have friends?" And Tim pulls back --

Jason *lets* him pull back enough to meet his eyes, but not any further than that. Not -- "You... have a great mouth. Actually."

"Ah. Ah?"

Jason shakes himself like a dog. "Uh. I don't have friends because there *are* no other heroes in my age group."

"But -- you're a Titan --"

"*Auxiliary* only. Nightwing doesn't need me on his turf all the time -- those are his friends. Hell, they're his *family*. And they're all older, anyway."

"Oh. Oh. I had... I have pictures of you working with Nightwing."

Jason grins and jerks his chin at Tim. "Good ones?"

"Yes. I -- one of them -- he's hugging you and smiling. Do you not... get along?"

"Well... heh. It's complicated. I mean -- okay, look, let me take you home? It's getting late enough that people are gonna start showing *up* here, and you're not ready to get more freaked-out, yeah?"

"People -- from this neighborhood... ah. Yes. All right. I'll -- you can take me home."

"*Thank* you," Jason says, and pulls back before ruffling Tim's hair again --

"You -- my hair is too neat?"

"It totally is. C'mon. Take point until you get back out by the aerial mosaic, then wait for me to get in front again."

"All right."

And that's just what they do, because paranoia is a *good* thing in Gotham, and because Jason's pretty sure the *mostly* transparent guy who likes to bathe here around dawn is another damned perv. Just something about the way he *shines* at Jason sometimes.

Up and out -- and Jason's bike is right there.

Right --

Fucking *Bruce* -- who is more than capable of *walking* the bike up to the bath house entrance and then *lurking* for fuck only knew how long --

But Jason knows he would've heard him if he'd actually come in. Bruce *can't* hide from him anymore. Not really. And --

"Oh. I. Did Batman... ah?"

"Remember how I said he wants you?"

"I'm -- not likely to forget that --"

Jason snorts and hands over his extra -- red -- helmet after toggling on the half-embedded radio switch. "He really, *really* wants you. And wants me to get home so I can tell him all *about* you. C'mon, hop on."

"Okay? I mean -- sure," and Tim climbs on behind him and -- gingerly -- wraps his arms around Jason's waist.

"Tighter than that -- yeah. With your legs, too -- that's good. And kinda rest your cheek against my back."

"This. Somehow I'd never -- thought about the logistics of riding pillion before."

"Heh. Get used to it. You're already good at sneaking around rooftops, hacking, and a couple of schools of martial arts. You're *gonna* be ready for the streets before you grow enough for a bike of your own."

"I -- no. That's not -- ah? Also, there's hardly any tinny-ness at all in these radios -- yeep --"

"Just relax, Tim. This bike is my other pair of *legs*," Jason says, and takes it up to sixty nice and easy. "Also, B *made* these radios. The guy can seriously do anything."

"That... always seemed to be the case? I mean, that wasn't supposed to be a -- oh my goodness that was a tight curve."

Jason snickers. "Will you start cursing again if I go up to eighty?"

"Probably -- gah --"

"We're totally taking the scenic route, just so you know."

"I'm -- is it okay if I imagine the scenery? With my eyes tightly -- one may even say firmly -- closed?"

"Heh. No."

Tim makes a *huffing* noise --

"Jesus, that's cute. Here, check this out," and Jason hits the alleys. *Not* the safest way to do things --

"Oh -- oh --"

But definitely the most fun --

"GAH -- *FUCK* --"

Especially since he's pretty sure one of those crates he just blew through went flying by *over* their heads --

"Oh my God oh my God oh my FUUUUUCK --"

And up and over that handy ramp --

And into the air --

And *down* on one wheel --

And Jason *wills* the bike to remember who's boss, remember who's gonna treat it *right* just as soon as he gets it home --

And they're down and balanced and fucking *burning* through the alleys --

And Tim is digging his *nails* in against Jason's abs --


And Tim is giggling and shrieking a little like a *much* younger kid, but for some reason that thought is more guilt-inducing than *happy* --

Except that Jason knows *exactly* why he's feeling guilty once a pothole that takes up too much of the street to avoid makes them bounce enough that Tim's hands wind up --


Just for a second. Just for long enough for Jason to *lose* the feel of them, because the panties are way more armored than the tunic --

Long enough for Jason to fucking *miss* the feel of them --

But they're back where they belong --

Or maybe -- fucking -- 'belong' --

"I'm sorry!"

"No big," Jason lies, and decides not to think about it while he's driving, not to do anything but make this *fun* for Tim, for the guy who's close *enough* to his age, and smart enough, and *good* enough to be a friend --

And you're not fucking *supposed* to jump down the pants of --

Well, you can do that with *some* friends, but God, not the ones you just spent two fucking hours warning about pervy vigilantes --

And that sinkhole wasn't *there* the last time he burned through these side streets, and there isn't *enough* of a ramp, so he jinks up onto the sidewalk --

Weaves through the ugly little iron cafe tables, making them ring and scream and clank against the sidewalk --

"Oh! Oh! OH!"

Back out onto the road proper, onto the *real* streets, and it's *just* clear enough for Jason to pop a wheelie --


"Just keep holding on *tight*, baby --"

"I -- what?"

"Uh." Jason shakes his head and takes them down again, hauling them bodily onto the straightaway of Broad --

Taking them up to *ninety* --

And now it's time for truck tag, because all the delivery guys use this road, all the truckers running on no sleep and *less* care for smartass punks on sweet, sweet bikes --

"EEE! Oh, *Jay* --!"

Because they can *damned* well roll through an intersection close enough to a couple of Hack trucks that it feels like getting breathed on by fucking dragons or something --

And Tim squeezes him even tighter, somehow presses even closer --

"Just like that, Tim --"

"Yes, yes --"

"Wait, where *do* you live?"

"Four-thirty-three West Garden --"

"One of those big, funky townhouses?"

"Yes, Jay -- oh, *faster* --"

"Anything you say, baby --"

"I'm going to -- to object -- at some point -- *EEE*!"

And Jason can't make himself feel guilty *enough* anymore, can't make himself do anything but think about the first time Dick had done *him* like this.

The top of a damned train --

The top of a speeding *truck* --

And then Dick had *thrown* Jay into a double mid-air somersault that had landed him on some *seriously* disgusting old mattresses, and Jason had barely been *upright* again before Dick was dragging him into the *fragrant* alley between a butcher shop and a hair salon --

And onto the back of *his* bike.

Just -- Jason had spent the first two minutes of the ride too fucking *shocked* to do anything but cling and gasp --

But then Dick had taken one hand off the bar and reached back to fucking tickle his *thigh*, and Jason had cursed and fought and bitched and screamed and laughed --

And Dick had talked so much fucking *shit* --

And then there had been mob assholes to beat the shit out of --

And then --

Then Dick had flown them up to the rooftop overlooking all the half-broken bodies, grinned at him like Jason was exactly who he wanted to see, like Jason had done every *possible* fucking thing right, like Jason could be a fucking *friend* -- 

Or maybe more.

Because Dick had fucking *kissed* him, one hot close-mouthed thing that was nothing like a peck and everything like a *promise* --

And Tim makes a noise a little like the one Jason had made, like someone is squeezing his cock *meanly* --

And Jason's right back in *this* moment, on *this* bike, because that promise had died the first time Dick had seen Jason and Bruce together. Dick had figured *everything* out in one fucking look --

And Bruce has been between him and Dick ever since. Just --

Dick is still Dick, still crazy and friendly and fucking *loving* --

But the freedom is gone, and -- something else, too. Maybe the thing which would let them be more than Big Bird and little wing and Nightwing and Robin. Less?


He doesn't know. He just knows that Dick isn't even a little bit his, and probably never *will* be --

"Oh, *please*, Jay!"

And that Tim maybe... maybe could be. Jason swallows and deliberately swerves into Grant park instead of taking the direct route to Garden --

"*Yes*! Oh -- it's so -- everything's so *close* --"

"Uh, huh. We're ripping up the fucking *air* in here."

"Yes -- oh, it's so *dark* --"

"You've been here at night before --"

"Not like -- *YEE* --"

Because sometimes Gothamites do shit like organize pre-dawn *bicycle* races in the park, and maybe this is just a *little* bit hairy.

There's no actual *shoulder*, and the cyclists keep *moving*, just like they *can't* hear Jason doing his best to weave through them without killing anyone --

Or even knocking anyone flying --


"I see it," Jason says, and a part of him is only trying to figure out how the *hell* he's managing to sound so calm, because his heart is in his throat, and there's a street-wide *cluster* of cyclists around a spreading pile of *chaos*.

Jason doesn't know how it *started*, but there are a lot of lean-muscled guys in spandex *beating* on each other, and there are bikes and bodies scattered everywhere, and even if it was *safe* to try to ride *his* bike over the others --

Yeah, no. "Fuck this," and Jason takes to the wooded slope *next* to the road -- "Lean *right* --"

"Yes --"

"*Left* --"

"Got it --"


And it's not gonna work, it's not gonna work, it's --

Tim's too small and the bike's too heavy --

And that was a cyclist with a bloody head flying *over* them --

Clear road again, but the only way to get back up --

The only way not to wind up with the bike on *top* of them -- "You trust me, baby?"


"Tuck and *roll*," and Jason reaches back and tosses Tim off the bike --

Tim doesn't make a *sound* --

And the change in balance lets Jason get back onto the road *enough* that he can ditch *safely*, flipping up into a tumble *away* from the bike's trajectory --

And then he's running down the slope --

And Tim isn't *moving* --

And Jason feels something in him lurch, something tear and fucking *lurch* --

But Tim sits up and scrambles back and *back* on his ass --

And Jason sees *that* shade of green --

Leaves --

*Tits* --

"Mother*fuck*," but the protocol is *burned* into his brain and *he's* tucking and rolling just before the *clutch* of vines powers through the space where his head would've been. Fucking *Ivy* --

At least he knows why the cyclists went nuts --


"Stay *down*, kid," Jason says and tosses two batarangs as he does his impression of water on a fucking *griddle*, because Ivy in a damned greenhouse is bad enough, but Ivy in a fucking *park* is --

Trees uprooting themselves way too fucking fast --

Leaves whipping up and trying to blind him --

And, oh yeah, the strangling-tripping-smacking-punching *vines*. But. *One* of his batarangs took her just above the right eye. She's bleeding some kind of fucking sap, and she *damned* well has a blind spot.

Jason does his best to get in that spot and *stay* there --

*While* tracking Tim to make sure he stays safe and *away* from all the murderous fucking *plants* --

And that whistling sound means that there are vines coming from --

Jason bends himself back like Dick is kicking for his head --

Overbalances and has to flip --

Gets his ankle *raked* by a vine that feels like it's made of fucking *razors* --

Fuck this shit with a *chainsaw*.

"T-- *kid*. *Road*."

And he can see -- almost *feel* -- Tim scrambling out of his peripheral vision -- good enough.

Jason lays down *just* a few firebombs and doesn't wait for the eerie fucking plant-screams before he whips out his belt-knife and starts attacking the things which Ivy may or may *not* have managed to make fucking sentient.

Bruce doesn't know and Jason doesn't *wanna* know and -- yeah, *now* she's angry, making that growl that always makes her sound like more of a cat than a damned plant --

Sending out more and more and *more* vines --

But the thing is -- Gordon damned well *notified* them when Ivy got out of Arkham, and that means that Jason's belt has had even more of the tiny and *effective* little firebombs than normal. It's a shame that this part of the park won't really be pretty for a while, but, in the end --

Jason doesn't give a fuck.

Which is why he hasn't been fighting for ten minutes before there's an honest-to-God *burn*-wall --

Before Ivy's spending more time trying to save the plants than she's spending fighting *him* --

Before Jason can get *nice* and close and --

Not her knees or her arms, because she's too fucking *springy* there now --

Not her tits, because she keeps poisoned fucking *thorns* there --

Broken nose --

Cracked cheekbone --

Razor-vines slicing up *his* arm, but he's bled before, and he can fucking well still knock her upside her fucking head --

And tell himself, again, that she's way more psychotic plant than woman. It won't do much for his nightmares tonight -- he's gonna see his mother's *eyes* again -- but it gets the job done for long enough that Jason can zip-strip Ivy's ankles and wrists, blindfold and gag her, and drag her to a burned-out place where she won't be *able* to call up any more plants in case she *does* wake up.

*Then* he can send the oh-so-fucking-*late* cops for one of the Ivy-special containment suits while the firemen hose shit down --

And *then* he can check on all the cyclists -- and find Tim helping the paramedics with the injured ones.

Because Tim is... because he's just that right.

Jason licks his lips and watches him from the shadows for a moment as he helps an EMT get a small, unconscious man up onto a gurney. He just --

He's got a bruise on his cheek and some scrapes, but he looks good. He looks --

Jason shakes his head and goes to join him, and Tim gives him a look that fucking *shines* --

A look that says Jason is the fucking best thing since *ice* cream --

They work.

And they work some more.

And then Gordon shows up and actually makes a paramedic *stop* working on one of the cyclists just to patch *Jason* up, and then gives Jason a *look* when he tries to protest. That's the kind of thing that tends to bring out Jason's finely fucking honed sense of fuck-you-cop, but Tim's still looking all impressed with him -- so.

He behaves.

And he tells Gordon what he knows.

And he follows procedure enough to stay right on top of the cops until Ivy's tranqed to the tits on the one sedative that still actually works on her (and what happens when she gets used to it, exactly? Don't think about it.) --

Finally -- fucking *finally* -- he can retrieve his poor, scarred bike from the pile of crunched-up, twisted, *fucked*-up, and just plain *broken* bicycles -- it still runs. And Tim fucking *melts* out of the shadows where Jason sent him to keep him away from Gordon's eyes and slips up behind him --

They ride. They --

"You okay, Tim?"

"Yes, Robin --"

"Don't -- don't sound like I'm ordering you around, or -- please."

"Um. All right? That was really -- you were amazing," Tim says, and squeezes him a little.

That -- feels warmer than he fucking knows what to *do* with -- he ignores it. "You get those scrapes and bruises from me tossing you?"

"Oh, no, the toss was perfect, and I took gymnastics for a while when I was younger, so --"


"It seemed -- well. You know."

Dick. "I -- yeah, I guess I do. So -- you're an acrobat, too?"

"Um. I -- no. Really -- no. I was only allowed to stay in the class for two months. Just long enough to get tumbling down, and a few basic stretches."

Jason licks his lips and pulls into the -- painfully *clean*, but still dark *enough* -- alley at the end of Garden. He thinks about it as they get off the bike and stash the helmets -- no, he's got nothing. "Why did you have to stop? And here, get your arms around my neck and kinda get your leg -- yeah, exactly --" And then he shoots his grapple and flies them around --

"Oh -- OOH --"

"Just hang on --"

"I won't -- I won't let *go* --"

And maybe Jason's grinning his fucking *head* off again, but --

But the first time Bruce had flown him around had made him feel like some old-time-y movie heroine except *cooler* --

Yeah. He's not getting *too* fancy -- he's learned *enough* of a lesson about that tonight -- but he can still make them stitch the sky a little until they get to Tim's roof. Jason lands them neatly and gently --

And the thing is, he *meant* to just check Tim over a little, ask him about the gymnastics class and the bruises, *check* him --

But what he's really doing is cupping Tim's face with his stained and torn-up gauntlets.

And also he's staring into Tim's eyes, which look bluer in the pre-dawn light than they had in all the gaslight --

And also he's making a noise and *kissing* Tim, just --

Just taking that pretty little pink mouth, that pouty *upper* lip, that hot and *wet* mouth --

Taking and taking and *tasting*, and swallowing Tim's *cry*, the cry that makes it sound like Jason's fucking sucking him *off* instead of just kissing, or at least *jerking* him off --

And that's an option. That is --

That is absolutely --

Except that it's *not*, because he wasn't gonna fucking *do* this --

And pulling back only feels a little like stabbing himself. A little.

Tim's arms weren't around his neck or --

They weren't. They --

"Uh --" Fuck. "Sorry?" *Fuck* --

"Um. You. Didn't mean to kiss me?"

"Uh. No, I totally -- I mean, I wasn't really thinking, but --"

"I didn't -- I liked -- you can -- anytime, I mean," Tim says, and swallows without looking *away* from Jason's eyes, without even blinking --

*Bruce* doesn't blink -- "You liked --" Jason closes his eyes and licks his lips --

And so he misses the move that ends with Tim *that* much closer to him, ends with Tim's hard little body pressed to his own --

Jason shudders -- and he *knows* Tim's about to step back, but that's still no reason to just fucking *grab* him like this, hip and head -- 

"*Jason* --"

"Call me Jay," and Jason rocks up against Tim's belly a little, grinds and goes in for a kiss --

Just in time to catch Tim's *grunt* --

And then Tim's *clutching* Jason's shoulders and pressing close, *rubbing* close, moaning into Jason's mouth and pushing his hands into Jason's *hair* --

*Fuck*, yeah --

And if he were Bruce he'd be picking Tim up or throwing them both *down*, but there's a roof access door *right* here --

And Tim pushes up onto his toes so *right* when Jason presses him against it --

And then Tim is licking *cautiously* at Jason's tongue -- just the underside, like maybe he's trying to coax, trying to *beg* --

Jason shoves his tongue into Tim's mouth --

Tim *shouts* into *his* mouth -- and then he starts making these hot little *mm* sounds, like Jason tastes good, feels good, *is* good --

And Jason has to fuck that pretty mouth a little bit, has to really fucking *give* it to him, stroke his hip and let go of the back of his head so he can get to that other hip --

Squeeze and just *ghost* a little over Tim's ass --

"*Ahn* --" And then Tim's bucking against him like Jason had done something sixteen kinds of fucking *perfect* -- he's coming.

He's coming in his fucking *pants* --

And yeah, *definitely* that's something to panic about, something to --

He wasn't going to *do* this --

It's just that it's also something to fucking *give* for, something --

Jason lifts Tim enough that he can *drive* against Tim's cock, really make him *feel* it --

Kiss him harder to *catch* that scream --

And ease off a little -- a *little* -- once Tim slumps. Just --

Jason's always *hated* when all the touch stops just because he's come. Gotta get a little more than that, gotta -- just *feel* it a little once your brain's coming back online, give it something to come back *to* --

"Oh -- oh, *Jason* --"

"Shh," and maybe Jason is definitely kissing Tim a little. His mouth and his cheeks and his mouth again, nice and *soft* -- "Wanna feel your heartbeat, Tim..."

"I -- I --" And Tim drags Jason's hand up between them, presses even *closer* -- it really is pounding just that much.

Pounding like this doesn't have to end. Like --

Dawn comes *early* this time of year, and public schools just aren't that serious about keeping the attendance perfect now --

"Quick question."

"Y-yes, Jason?"


*Strangled* noise -- and Tim's panting, staring, *leaning* just a little --

Jason dives in for a *sharp* kiss, making it good *and* brief --

"Oh -- please --"

"Call me Jay?"

"Jay. Jay. Ohn --" And Tim is stroking Jason's shoulders again, looking Jason over in quick, *hot* little glances like maybe he wants to be touching everywhere at *once* --

Jesus, *yes* --"Are you all done with your homework?"

"What -- ah -- yes?"

"Is that a question?"

"No, I -- that was just something of a non sequitur --"

"Does your maid poke in on you in the mornings?"

"No, never. She sleeps late when my parents aren't home. She knows -- *mm* --"

Because it's necessary to make this a better kiss, to take a little *time* --

To get those *lean* arms wrapped around his neck --

And now Tim's trying a few things, licking Jason's tongue and rubbing up against him consciously, *deliberately*, and that's great, that's fucking *fantastic*, that's more than worth feeling him *up* --

And yeah, there's muscle all over that body, nothing even a little bit extra, nothing like *enough* --

Except that Jason really fucking wants Tim naked right now. Right --

Jason licks Tim's cheek to his ear --

"*Hnh* --"

"Can we?"

"Um. Um. Jay --"

"Are you -- you don't have to be scared," Jason says, and tries to kiss Tim's ear the way Bruce kisses him when Jason's freaked about something. "We don't have to do anything you don't want --"

"You. You. I want to know what *you* want, Jay," and Tim steps back a little, really *searches* him --

And Jason smiles ruefully. "I -- really want to get you off at least one more time. Okay?"

Tim nods and stares and *stares* -- "Wait, I don't think I actually heard a word you just -- said. Ah."

Jason raises his eyebrows --

"It's just that you're looking at me like -- like *that*. And. Ah."

And *virgin*, so Jason needs to really just -- something. Definitely -- "Can we go inside? And talk."

"We can talk! We can -- I really need to -- change."

Jason nods and leans in just enough to nuzzle Tim's mouth a little. Not enough to give him a stubble-burn --

And Tim moans and kisses Jason about twelve *times* --

"Fuck, that's sweet," and Jason has to kiss him again, but he can make it soft, and careful --

"Jay -- *Jay* --"

"Yeah, tell me --"

"Inside. I -- I mean, anywhere, but -- you want to go inside?"

"What do *you* --"

Tim kisses him, and his eyes are closed, and his soft little mouth can feel *damned* hard when he puts his mind to it. Just not as hard as the hands feeling Jason up through the tunic, the *shaking* hands sliding down to Jason's hips --

Yeah, inside, because maybe the kid on the *next* rooftop over *is* actually eleven and --

Something. Definitely --

All right, he's walking Tim to the east edge of the roof --

Tim's steering him to the *west* edge, and Jason can open his eyes a little -- heh. Rope in a little curl *right* there. Now he knows how Tim gets out *subtly*. Jason kisses him *harder* for a moment --

"*Mm* --"

And pulls back --

And uses the rope to rappel them down to the window that's open about exactly one millimeter. Tim hands him a jimmy --

"Where the hell were you keeping this?"

"Ah. My boot --"

"I like you," Jason says, and works the window open carefully -- not even one little creak. "And I like the fact you keep this oiled."

"WD-40 is really -- ah. Your friend and mine?"

Jason grins at Tim and kisses his nose --

"Um --"

And *flips* them into Tim's -- incredibly huge bedroom. Wow. The townhouse isn't *that* big -- nothing's that big compared to the damned *manor* -- but this --

"Ah. It's -- the original owners opened up this space to use as a storeroom. An attic." And Tim walks around the perfectly neat room straightening things and pushing things behind other things -- "They were hoarders and -- ah -- suddenly you're very close again."

"Is it okay?"

"I. I really didn't expect -- anything. Tonight. Of any kind. Robin --"

"Not here. Please?"

And Tim leans close -- and doesn't kiss.

Jason raises his eyebrows and cups Tim's hips --

"I love. I love the way that feels. I want -- I should. Change."

Jason *squeezes* Tim's hips --

"Or you could keep doing that. Indefinitely. I could definitely -- that would definitely be intensely pleasurable. Jay."

Jason grins. "Not too frustrating?"

"I'm -- going to be spending a lot of time thinking about things you could do while gripping my hips. I. In case you were interested --"

"I am. Interested, I mean."

Tim nods and stares into his eyes --

*Gazes* into his eyes --

Licks his lips --

Fuck, yeah. Jason leans in and --

"Why. Why? I mean -- why me --"

Jason licks Tim's mouth. "'cause now that I can see that you *aren't* eleven, you're pretty hot --"

"I -- what --"

"And also you're gonna be part of my tribe someday soon --"

"Jay -- I'm not -- there's so much I don't know --"

"And also you -- heh." Jason smiles and nuzzles Tim again, really lets himself *go* for it, because Tim moans for the feel of Jason's stubble on his mouth --

Shivers for the feel of it on his cheeks --

"You're fucking hot and you *want* me --"

"Are. Are you going to call me 'baby' again?"

Jason grins and kisses Tim's sharp little cheekbone --

And the one on the other side --

"How *much* does it bother you?"

"I -- can't help but feel it should bother me *more* --"

"But it doesn't, yeah?" And Jason presses his thumbs into the hollows of Tim's hips through the jeans -- "You gotta be uncomfortable under there."

"Yes. I mean -- I mean yes. Do you really -- I believe this is where I admit that I'm afraid to take my clothes off."

And that -- "Heh, it's fine. I mean, *most* people are at least a little freaked at moments like this, but not all that many of them admit it."

"Oh. No?"

Jason grins and shakes his head.

Tim narrows his eyes thoughtfully -- his eyes go *distant* -- and then he nods.

"Filing that away for later?"

Tim *blinks* -- "Ah. Yes, actually. There are. There are folders."

"In your brain?"

"They're very useful for visualization -- that's weird, too. Isn't it."

Jason bites his lip to hold back *some* of the grin and nods again.

Tim sighs and covers Jason's hands on his hips with his own. "That -- I've been assured that I'm weird in -- a lot of ways."

"I wear green, scaly panties and pixie boots every night just so I can go out and beat the shit out of strangers."

"That's not -- all right, it would be more rational for there to be... ah... more? Clothes."

Jason tugs Tim closer by the hips -- gently.

"Oh -- or less. Less clothes?"

"Unless you don't want --"

"I want. Of *course* I want -- I'm still very confused."

Jason thinks about that and leans in -- wait.

Jason thinks about that with his *big* brain and leans in just enough to kiss Tim's forehead --

Tim shivers for it and squeezes Jason's hands --

"I like you, Tim. I -- you want reasons, right? Something... concrete and logical?" And Jason leans back again, enough to catch Tim's gaze again --

And in *this* light -- warm and bright at once -- Tim's eyes are a lot more *pale* than they seemed out in the night, almost washed-out. It makes him look a lot older and a lot more *serious* than he maybe wants to be right now --

Or... maybe? Jason squeezes Tim's hips. "Tell me?"

"I -- I'm thinking."

"About what you want?" *Blush* -- and it's been a while since the last one of those, so Jason *rubs* Tim's hips a little -- and keeps himself from leaning in. He's *going* to let Tim think --

"I'm thinking -- I. It's also weird for me to not just... go with this? The -- making out, I mean."

"Nah. This is the first time you're hooking up with anyone, right?"

"Yes. I -- yes. And it's wonderful. It's -- more. More than I thought it could be."

Jason smiles ruefully and jerks his chin at Tim. "Just tell me you'll let me show you what I can *really* do sometime."

Tim's jaw drops --

His gaze goes distant --

His eyes track *fast* --

"Gonna tell me what you're picturing in your head?"

"Nnh -- I. No? I mean --"

"Wait," Jason says, and squeezes Tim's hips again for emphasis --

"Oh, Jay -- it's just that it's embarrassing --"

"You don't ever have to be --" Jason shakes his head. "I was a *whore*, Tim. There's no fantasy you can tell me --"

"I want. I want to perform fellatio on you --"

"See, that's totally fine -- but not right now, because -- okay, you're really putting *effort* into kneeling, and the *lizard* in me fucking approves --"

"Let me -- let me --"

"Tell me about the parts of you which *don't* want this. *Please*."

Tim moans and leans in again --


Tim *grunts*. "I don't want to embarrass myself again. I don't want to freak you out. I don't want to be too weird. I don't want to -- to have a *taste* of you and then never have you again. I don't want you to go. I don't want you to stay because of all of the other reasons. I don't -- oh... Jay..."

Because, yeah, kissing Tim again has to happen, and it has to be just like this: Slow and hard and serious enough to make them both moan, to make them both *shake* a little --

Are you watching my mask-feed, Bruce?

What is it making you *feel*?

What is it making you -- want -- except that Jason can't let himself think about that, can't let himself focus on anything other than the sound of Tim's zipper, the *warm* feel of Tim behind his underwear --

Not warm enough. Too much *come* in there for that, too much --

No, it's just right when Tim starts feeling up Jason's arms, when he starts squeezing and stroking and *loving* on Jason's arms --

Jason bites Tim's upper lip --

"Ah -- *Jay* --"

"The first time Bruce kissed me, he grabbed me, lifted me up into the air, and wrapped my legs around his waist. I came on his chest before five minutes had passed --"

Tim's *knees* buckle -- but this floor is carpeted *nicely*. Thickly. Jason lays them down and works on Tim's boots --

"You don't have to be embarrassed about anything. You don't have to be scared of chasing me off --"

"You don't *know* me -- oh."

Jason grins and slips Tim's right boot off --

Winks and gets rid of the left, Tim's socks, Tim's *jeans* --

"I knew you had to have nice legs under here, but --" Jason shakes his head and ghosts his hands over the bruises on Tim's thighs and shins. They're *fresh*, so he's not freaking out too much, but --

"Ah -- I got pulled into the fighting on the road while you were still fighting Poison Ivy. I mean -- there were three men attacking a fourth --"

"And you had to make sure that didn't get bad. Worse than bad."

"Yes. I. Well..." Tim blushes again and reaches to press on the huge bruise on his quad.

Jason frowns. "This one's bad?"

"No, I -- it's just. That was the first place I was hit. That -- I mean. I suppose it's silly --"

"It means more."

Tim searches Jason's eyes with his lips parted a little --

And Jason unhooks his cape and peels out of his tunic.

"Oh -- oh, Jay, you're so *beautiful* --"

"And *you* sound like *Bruce*."

"Um? I'm... sorry?"

Jason snickers and spreads Tim's legs a little --

Tim spreads them *more* --

"Nice extension. I just wanted... heh. A lot, actually," and Jason shuffles forward on his knees a little. Enough that Tim can reach out and touch the scar over the right side of Jason's ribcage. "This one. It's small, and it barely shows up at all in the middle of winter, but -- it's my first scar from being *Robin*."

"*Oh* -- you must -- now I wish I'd gotten more hurt -- er. Hm. All right, that *is* silly. And perhaps problematic."

Jason grins. "Maybe a little. Don't worry -- you'll be *covered* in scars by the time you're my age. Enough so you won't remember all the little ones. Enough that you may not even notice *getting* the little ones."

Tim nods thoughtfully -- and then sits up enough to kiss Jason's scar lightly, *softly* --

Jason shivers --

"Was that. I mean --"

"It's good. It's really --"

"Then. Maybe you could lie down?"

"Uh. Yeah, I *could* -- you gotta get out of those wet briefs."

Tim makes a face -- "I -- yes, now that you mention -- Jay --"

"Sometimes -- sometimes it can feel *incredibly* good to just push someone down a little. Uh. Do you mind?"

Tim stares up at him with a *dazed* look -- and shakes his head slowly.

Jason *nods* slowly. "Just to let you know? My jock is making me hate *life* right now."

"Oh! You're hard?"

"Are you really -- surprised. Heh. No, I can see it. Sorry, Tim. These panties --"

"You really call them *panties*? Not -- not just for effect?"

Jason looks at Tim.

"But -- they --"

Jason kneels up and *points* to his crotch --

"All right, I can see certain... certain similarities --"

"Shorts? Aren't this tight."

"I --"

"*Trunks*? Would mean that I'd still have a few *fully*-functional nerve endings in my upper thighs."

Tim bites his lip.

Jason switches his hips and waggles his eyebrows --

And Tim coughs and glares at him. "They're very *important* panties!"

"And maybe you'd be honored to wear them, yourself...?"

Blush that takes his whole *face* --

"Uh, huh. Well, that's what Bruce wants, too --"

"Oh, no, he wouldn't *replace* you!"

And Jason *thinks* about giving Tim another look --

But Bruce had said it. And meant --

Bruce always says what he means to Jason, right from the night early in Jason's training when Bruce had paused with fucking Two-Face's mug shots and yellows up on the monitor and told him what he *knew* -- but could never prove -- about what the fucker had done to his father.

And about what Harvey Dent had meant to Bruce Wayne -- back in the day, but not by all that much.

Just -- Jason had barely been living in the manor for two weeks then, but he'd made Bruce *swear* there'd be no *more* waiting for things like that -- and there wasn't. And there weren't any lies, or half-truths, or omissions, or weaseling, or *anything* like that. Just Bruce, straight to the fucking *vein*--

And maybe Jason got to be something of an addict. Maybe --


And Jason really is just kneeling here *pressing* Tim down to the floor with one hand on his sternum. "I'm -- kinda fucked-up about Bruce."

"Oh. Oh. Is there -- what can I do?"

Jason smiles ruefully. "I gotta talk to him about it. This. All of it, I mean."

Tim squeezes Jason's forearm with both hands. "Then -- I mean. It *is* late, and maybe he's worried --"

"I'm not done with you."

"*Hnh* -- oh. Jay, you really need to stop *saying* things like -- all right, yes, I can bend like this -- *YEEP* --"

"Taking off your briefs gets a yeep?"

"Taking them off like you're pulling a *diaper* off a *baby* --"

"Be my baby?"

"That's -- that's *insipid* --"

Jason snickers and uses Tim's briefs to swipe off most of the cooling come --

"Oh, *God*, that's embarrassing --"

"What happens if I tickle you?"


Jason grins and goes right for Tim's inner thighs --

"EEGAH --"

And Tim *does* hesitate for a second --

A second that lets Jason get a nice *light* feel for that fuzzy little sac --

And then come the *mule* kicks --

And the *heel* kicks --

And the *toe* kicks Jason has to dodge, because Tim's form isn't good enough in this position to avoid a *break* --

And then Tim is scrambling to his feet and slipping into a karate ready stance that looks vicious --

Or that could just be his eyes. It could -- mm.

Jason grins wider and uses his speed to pounce, knocking Tim down onto his big, rich-boy bed and wrestling him onto his back while doing his best to do more that just *enjoy* Tim's wriggles and giggles and breathless little --

Bruce would love this so *much* --

*Fuck* --

"Oh -- oh -- Jay...?"

Jason shakes himself all over and smiles ruefully. "Can I promise to tell you that thought later?"

Tim frowns and reaches up to touch Jason's forehead ---

And Jason pins him good and fucking *proper*. He can't quite pin both of Tim's wrists with one hand, but it's close *enough* --

Because Tim isn't fighting this even a little.

"I promise I'll tell you everything, Tim."

Tim pants and stares --

Pushes *lightly* against Jason's grip --

And shudders all over. "I don't. I don't know if I'm more attracted to the idea of you continuing to tell me mind-breaking things or to the idea of you..."

"'Of me...?'"

Tim licks his lips -- and pulls his knees up enough to wrap them around Jason's waist.

"Uh. Tim --"

"I've been. I've used -- I've stretched myself. I've *been* stretching myself, I mean."

"So -- *not* attached to the current size of your asshole. Good to know, good to know --"

"Um. Um?"

"Could you -- squeeze me a little with your -- thighs. Fuck, yeah, that *does* feel exactly as good as I thought it would." Jason laughs quietly and shakes his head. "I just wanna get you off again --"

"You will. I mean -- I always come. That way."

Jason winces for the twitch of his cock --

Fucking --


Tim licks his lips and nods. "That's not -- weird. Is it?"

"No, it's -- it's fucking great. Uh. One sec," Jason says, letting go of Tim's wrists --

Tim whimpers *mournfully* --

"Yeah -- just --" Jason shakes his head and flips Tim over onto his belly --

Tim grunts and thrusts against the bed -- once. Just once. He's *waiting* --

"Jay, should I --"

"Stay *right* there," and Jason gets rid of the pixie boots and the panties --

*Eases* off the jock with a fucking *hiss* --

"Are you okay?"

"The jock is designed to be *forgiving*, but it's still made for my *soft* cock. And right now... heh. Feel," and Jason covers Tim, pinning his wrists again and sliding his cock against Tim's ass --

And the noise Tim makes is strangled and loud, *gurgled* and --

"Yeah, I like this, too. I like it -- nn. I like it a lot, baby --"

"I didn't say --"

"*Let* me."

"Oh, *Jay*, you're going to make me --"

"Get off again. Like I said."

"Yes -- oh, slip *between* --"

"So soon, baby?"

Tim moans and tries to push up on his knees, whimpers when he *can't* --

"Nuh-uh, I've got at *least* forty pounds on you --"

"So -- always so *big* --"

"Was -- fucking *scrawny* when Bruce took me in. Bigger than you, but not by much --" Jason bites his lip and shakes his head. "Little and pretty. Just like you," and Jason squeezes Tim's wrists --

"*Please* --"

"Yeah, I -- fuck --" And Jason shakes his head and fucking hot-dogs Tim a little, just --

Okay, maybe more than a little, because Tim's ass isn't even a *little* generous, but it's round and tight and hard --

Maybe not *that* tight --

And Tim's flushed all the way down his back, Tim is moaning and *trying* to work his hips --

"You like this --"

"*Yes*, Jay, *please*, Jay --"

"Right -- nnh. You want me to tease your hole a little more?"

"I want you *in* me --"

"No -- no can do, baby. I need better slick for --"

And Tim wrestles one wrist out of Jason's pin and pulls a bottle of STARslide out of his bedside table just -- just like *that* --

Jason snorts and gasps and *thrusts* -- "Seriously, slick isn't the only --"

"*Please* --"

"Give us -- give *me* a little time, okay? Not -- I don't want this only *once*, I promise," Jason says, and grabs Tim's wrist again, puts some of his *weight* on him --

"Oh, *fuck* --"

"Yeah. Yeah. Now, do you want the *tease* --"

"Please, anything, I don't -- I don't know --"

"I think you do --"

"You feel so *good*, Jay," and Tim rubs his face against the sheets, bucks up and squeezes his cheeks together --

"Oh -- Jesus, yeah. Don't move," and Jason starts thrusting faster, *harder* --

"*Ahn* --"

"Yeah, fuck -- fuck, you feel so good --"

"Want to -- want to feel good for *you* --"

Jason groans and squeezes his eyes shut, shakes his head and promises himself --

God, something, more of this, better --

He's gotta make Tim understand that there's nothing *special* about him --

And then Bruce is in his mind, filling him up and making him *hot*, making him *sweat* because of the things he does and the things he *wants* to do, the things Jason doesn't always *allow* --


"Tim. Baby -- *Tim* --"

"*Yes* --"

"Still -- still trust me?"

"*Anything* -- *oh* --"

"Just wait, baby," Jason says, and backs up *fast*, squeezing Tim's hips and lifting them -- "God, you're so *small* --"

"I'm sorry --"

"*No*, it's -- it's fucking hot, and I'm gonna examine that thought another fucking time --"

Tim giggles -- and switches his hips.

Jason snorts and smacks Tim's *ass* --

"*Ohn* -- *Jay*!"

"Uh. Sorry?"

"*No* --"

"Okay, *not* sorry, but don't pick up my bad fucking habits!"

Another giggle --

Such a *sweet* giggle, rusty like maybe Tim hasn't had anything good since --


*Bruce* --

And Tim is back to humping at the bed a little, sneaky little grinds and pushes, hungry little --

"You -- uh. I'm loving your ass back here, baby."

"Ah -- it loves you, too? That wasn't actually a question," Tim says, giggling again, *blushing* --

"You... let me love it a little more?"

"Oh -- *please* --"

"I just -- fuck," and Jason shakes his head and spreads Tim, take a good, *long* look at that pink little hole --

Flexing and clenching --

Not as little as it *could* be --

Are you watching *this*, B? This --

Will you let me keep him the way you didn't let Dick keep me?

I *want* him more than Dick ever wanted --

"Jay...? Ah. Um --"

"Fuck, sorry, I know this can be fucking *stressful* --"

"No, I -- do you -- oh, God, I can't actually ask that question," and this laugh is a little more troubled than the others --

And Jason's cock is the only part of him that's actually *retarded* right now, so -- "You look good, baby. You look -- well, you look *real* fucking young, but not in a bad way. You're only two years younger than me."

Tim blushes and closes his eyes -- and spreads his legs wider. "I always. I thought -- I've fantasized."

Fuck, yes -- "Tell me?"

"About. About being your friend. And -- working with you. Doing. Doing homework -- it's silly --"

"I don't have anyone like that. I don't --" Jason swallows and squeezes Tim *hard*. "Sometimes. Sometimes I get fucking *lonely*."

Tim whimpers -- "You don't have to -- not ever. I -- I'll always --" Tim shivers and turns his face into the sheets --

"No, c'mon --"

"You never have to be lonely. You never have to be alone -- there's nothing I won't do --"

"Including getting to know me?"

"Yes. Yes, please --"

"I want -- uh. I'm gonna stick my tongue up your ass."


"Is that a 'yes, I've read about that and you're fucking insane,' or a 'please tell me you're kidding,' or --"

"It's more -- I've seen it. Videos, I mean. Ah." And Tim starts to turn onto his side --

"Stay right there. Please?"

Tim groans -- and spreads his legs *wide* again. "Jay -- Jay --"

"It feels -- really good to most people."

"To you?"

Jason swallows and *massages* Tim's ass --

"Ohn -- oh, that feels --"

"Bruce taught me everything --" Jason blows out a breath and shakes his head. "Bruce did it the first night we hooked up. I -- I wasn't fucking ready for it. Not even a little. I still wanna do it to you. For you."

*Tim* swallows -- "There's nothing I wouldn't try. I'm -- are you sure I can't *shower*?"

"Heh. You sweated a little out there. I didn't get to *see* you kicking ass --"

"I -- I tried not to hurt anyone --"

"And, see, that's the tough one. *Lots* of the baddies like to sic innocents on us so that we have to make the choice between protecting people and protecting ourselves. I *know* you didn't go too far."

Tim shivers, blushes -- "No -- I just... slowed people down. It's easy to do that by spraining people's wrists and ankles."


"Too -- too permanent --"

"Sometimes you have to, though. Sometimes --" Jason shakes his head. "If it comes down to you being hurt or you blowing some guy's kneecap? Always go for the kneecap."

Tim *pants* -- "Yes, Jay --"

"And I -- I didn't get to *see* you, Tim. But I can taste you."

*Strangled* noise --

"Yeah. And I'll get you wet enough that I can just shove in a finger --"

"*Hngh* -- Jay, I'll *come* --"

"Just from me talkin' dirty?"

"*Please* --"

"Just promise me I can call you up some --"

"*Yes* --"

"*Fuck*, I like you," Jason says, and knows he sounds like a dumbass, but he can fucking well make it up by spreading Tim even wider --

"Please *please* --"

By leaning in and breathing *hot* --

"Oh, *Jay* --"

"Love the way you say my *name*," and the last of that is right into that little hole, little spasming --

Right around his *tongue* --

Tim is kicking the *bed* --

"Ahn -- *ahn* -- *ahn* --" And then all his sounds are muffled, shouted into those nice down pillows as he drums his feet *faster* --

As Jason pulls out and takes a good, long *lick* --

And another --

Another --

*In* again, and this time Jason can't keep from growling when Tim clenches --

Can't keep from gripping Tim *hard* --

And now Tim's drumming his feet *and* beating at the bed -- and very obviously trying to keep his ass still. That --

Jason pulls back. "Are you being polite or do you just not want to miss --"

"*Please*! I mean -- *Jay* -- I mean --"

"You can *move*, okay? I've got you," and Jason bites both of Tim's cheeks --

Tim whimpers and *shudders* --

And stills all over when Jason shoves back in --

And shudders *more* when Jason starts to tongue-fuck him --

And Jesus, it's been too long since he's done anyone even *remotely* like this. The last one was a girl named Britt -- *just* Britt -- who spent so much time in the school library that she smelled a little like it.

Enough to make Jason's nostrils flare for the scent of *books* on her fingers --

The ink stain on her cheek --

Her pussy hadn't tasted like anything *but* pussy, and when he'd buried his face in her hair while he was fucking her --

When he'd bitten *down* on a lock of it because she was tight, so fucking *tight* --

Wildflowers. Just --

Sure, they were under the goddamned bleachers, but Jason had nearly *come* too fast for that. It wasn't *fair*.

Just like this isn't fair. Just --

Tim tastes like sweat and dirty fucking *fucking*. Tim *smells* like what Bruce would call 'musk' and what Jason's calling 'something to stick my cock in.'

He's little.

He's young.

He's getting off on this like fucking *crazy* --

And this isn't anything *like* fair, because all it's gonna do is get Tim *ready* for a fuck that they both want Jason to *give* --

And Jason won't. God. Just -- he needs to see Tim in daylight first. Needs to give him another ride on the bike. Needs to teach him how to make his kicks perfect -- at least a couple of them --

And maybe definitely no-fucking-way --

Get him ready for Bruce? Is this --

Is he that fucking *crazy*? Is he really --

Being the beginner's course. That --

Jason winces and tries to make it good, make it better, make Tim *need* this, because Jason fucking well needs it, too --

Like the air he's not getting when he starts *nuzzling* and kissing and fucking --

Like the cramps in his hands because he *can't* let go. And Tim --

Tim is whimpering and humping the bed and kicking and beating and whimpering *more* --

*Louder* --

And Jason's just about to think seriously about stopping for long enough to put the stereo on, but --

"Jay -- Jay -- oh, *Jay* --" And Tim growls like a small and *pissy* animal --

*Slams* his ass against Jason's face -- fuck, *yeah*. Jason pulls back and flips Tim over again just soon enough to take a come shot to the cheek --

"Oh, *God* --"

But then Jason's got his mouth where it belongs, got a *mouthful* of underaged cock spurting off and off --

Jason sucks *hard* and *yanks* on Tim's hips --

And not even *those* pillows are enough to muffle that scream. Nice. Just --

More than --

Fuck, does he ever want *more* of this --

But for now he settles for sucking little kisses to the head before pulling off and licking nice and gentle and *appreciative* --

And Tim unlocks his arms from around the pillow he's been breathing into. "J-Jay. I. Um."

Jason nods and holds up a finger, then uses the fingers of his other hand to swipe the come off his cheek and smear it all over Tim's cock --

And that gets him another strangled noise --

And that's worth a smile and a wink as Jason goes down *carefully* --

Tim whimpers and *pants* for him, eyes wide and *blown* -- "You -- you were going to -- ah -- oh, *Jay* --"

Oh, yeah... but he *did* make a little promise, so he doesn't spend too much time licking Tim clean before he kneels up -- and pulls Tim up so they're facing each other.

"Yes -- you're so *strong* --"

"Always have been. And Bruce... well, let's just say he *enjoys* watching me lift weights and leave it at that."

"You don't -- *mm* --" And Tim starts off just *sucking* Jason's finger, but it doesn't take long before he's going down on it, eyes narrow and *focused*. He bobs his head, licks Jason's finger all *around* --

"That's -- heh. Nice. I like it slower than that sometimes, though --"

And Tim hums and slows it *right* down --

"And a little bit of teeth can be -- do you know?"

Tim shakes his head -- and bares his teeth. *And* opens his eyes a little wider -- hunh.

"There's more in your eyes -- what were you gonna say?"

Tim squeezes his eyes shut --

"Hey, no, not that," and Jason pulls out and pulls Tim close. "You okay, baby? You know that was fantastic, right? The way you were moving for me, those sounds you were making..."

"I -- I couldn't help it --"

"You were just that hot for me. That -- mm. Touch me. Feel how hard I am for -- *nnh*, or, yeah, squeeze me *just* like that --"

"You can -- have you ever had someone you could speak with about... about Bruce?"

Jason smiles ruefully -- and turns it against Tim's cheek so he can feel it. "Roy, sometimes --"

"Arsenal --"

"Okay, seriously --"

"Um. The Titans are more security conscious than they were before Victor Stone -- before Cyborg joined them --"

"But still not security-conscious enough for *you*?"

"Oh, no, I'd need far better computers in order to hack their databases now, and I can't just *ask* for that --"

Jason pulls back --

"Oh, don't --"

"Just wanna see you, baby."

"Oh. Oh. I think I'm -- ah. Dangerously close to -- ah." Tim shakes his head and offers his own rueful smile. This one makes it to his eyes --

And the blown-out pupils combine with the pale irises to make him look a little diabolical and *hungry* --

Maybe everything makes Tim look hungry. Maybe --

Jason leans in and licks Tim's right cheek, and his left one --

"Jay. Jay."

"If I talked to Roy any more than I have..." Jason shakes his head and smiles again. "He's got enough to do talking Dickie off the ledge. Dick gets -- rough sometimes. Emotionally rough, I mean. He's pretty fucking multi-polar all the time these days, and Roy says that wasn't always the case. I guess -- I should've asked what happened with him and Bruce before now. "I *could've* asked Roy. I know he would've told me."

Tim frowns and nods. "I -- you think -- you're reasonably sure that it was... something terrible."

"Yeah. Even... even if it *doesn't* have anything to do with Dick growing up. Just -- everyone knows that Bruce and Dick used to be fucking inseparable. And, you know, Bruce can be *asstarded* socially --"


"Fuck, yes. He's only smooth if it doesn't fucking *matter*. Well, matter for anything *but* the Mission. Anyway. Bruce is *dumb* at times, but Dick -- God, he never gives up on *anybody*. Dickie will damned well hug a *supervillain* if they look like they need it bad enough. Even if they *don't* stand still for it, because Dick isn't above a flying *tackle* to get his hugs in."

Tim laughs a little -- stops. "Oh, I -- shouldn't."

"Nah, you should. I'm being *entertaining*, here."

"Jason -- Jay." Tim shakes his head and squeezes him again --

"Fuck, I love that --"

"Can I? I mean -- I meant -- please talk to me. About anything at all --"

"Including my sad little sidekick angst?"

Tim frowns again --

"Okay, no, you're right, I won't put it that way. Not with you."

"Not ever --"

Jason kisses Tim, quick and hard --

Breathes on Tim's mouth --

"I like you. I want you in my life. I wanna *keep* you. I'm still the *subordinate* partner, and that's the way it's gonna stay."

"You're so much more --"

Jason kisses him again --

Tim backs *away*. "All right, I never believed I was capable of *doing* that, but --" Tim *glares* at him. "You're *amazing*, Jason. You're kind and brave and intelligent and strong and skilled and -- so many other things. I was -- I was *angry* when Dick stopped being Robin, and even angrier when you started, but I still -- even just seeing you from a distance --" Tim cuts himself off and glares down at the *bed*, instead.

Jason can't -- he cups Tim's chin and lifts his head. "Look at me?"

"Oh -- Jay, I don't *want* to sound like Bruce unless it turns you on or -- or makes you *happy*, but you're *beautiful*, and I love --"

Jason kisses him *hard* --

And Tim doesn't closes his eyes.

Or give an *inch* in *any* other way --

And Jason has to laugh for that, shaking his head and pulling back -- "Okay, okay -- and now you're looking *scared*. Wait, baby, what is it --"

"Nothing --"

"*Please* don't lie to me."

"Oh -- oh. It's just -- it's not *important* --"

"What did I *say* -- oh. I laughed. Fuck, okay, *I'm* the asstard. Jesus." Jason shakes his head and cups Tim's face. "I laughed because I could see *exactly* how badly I'd lose if I tried to keep up the argument. Okay?"

"I -- oh. I'm sorry --"

"You don't. You're not *close* to your friends, at all, are you?"

Tim shakes his head slowly.

"Sometimes. Sometimes they don't seem like friends, at all?"

Tim squeezes his eyes shut -- but only for a moment.

Jason nods. "Yeah, I. I couldn't stand having people like that in my life. Because if they didn't deserve my secrets, I felt dirty being around them, and if they *did* deserve my secrets, I felt worse. Does that make sense?"

"Yes, I -- they're all... very wonderful people. Very kind and intelligent. But -- Ives refuses to believe Batman exists, and Hudson never wants to talk about *serious* things, and Callie -- ah. Frightens me."

"Uh... how?"

"The way she... looks at me sometimes."

"Like she wants to hurt you or something?"

Tim laughs quietly. "Perhaps with her genitals? I'm -- really bad at being around... people. But I still need it."

"Yeah, well, you're human. It *happens*. Sometimes I *have* to roll up to New York for a while, no matter *how* the rest of me feels about it. Sometimes I miss being curled up in Kory's hair so much -- wait, did you just use the word 'genitals?'"

"Ah... yes?"

"*With* your hand wrapped around my cock."

Tim jumps a little --

Blushes --

"Do you -- I find that particular slang term intensely pornographic."

Jason grins and waggles his eyebrows. "So does B."

"You call him --"

"Pretty much all the time. Especially on the street. 'Batman' takes up too much of him as it is -- I don't *like* encouraging the bastard."

"The -- but. I think -- what? Are you saying that Batman is a separate *personality*?"

Jason smiles ruefully and waves a hand before twining his fingers with Tim's own --

"Oh --"

"Not the beginner's course. Stroke me?"

"I'd like -- I'd like to --"

"Suck me off. Yeah, I know. Not right now, okay? I need to keep -- keep -- uh. Talking? Yeah. That -- God, I love the fact that you already have *calluses*."

"Oh -- oh, should I," and Tim adjusts his grip a little --

Jason moans and pushes up into Tim's fist. "That's good, baby --"

"I really -- do you *like* me being -- younger and inexperienced?"

Jason grins and laughs a little, *grinds* a little --

"Oh, that's very -- ah."


"It makes me. It makes me think about you -- fucking me."

"Your mouth or your ass?"

Tim moans, jaw dropping a little --

"Is that a 'yes?'"

"Please. Please don't -- tease."

Jason frowns and *stops* Tim's hand --

"Oh --"

"Easy. You know I'm just trying to get you hot, right?"

Tim smiles ruefully. "You continuing to *breathe* would do that -- I. Sorry. Sorry. I'm used to being *too* weird and geeky and -- all of those other things. For people."

"Even your *Fae Voyage* people?"

Tim bites his lip -- stops. "Even them."

Jason winces a little -- "You're not too weird for me."

"You don't -- oh. Oh." And Tim *licks* his lips and stares at him, into him --

Jason smiles and jerks his chin at him. "*My* tribe, man."

Tim *swallows* -- and nods. "I like. I like that. Will you tell me --"

"Yeah, I will."

"God, I -- I can't. Yet. Just --"

And Tim *scrambles* back -- just far enough that he can drop and take Jason's cock *in* --

"*Mmm* --"

"Okay. Okay, I get that --" Jason groans and grips the sheets -- not good enough. Not --

Tim *sucks* and Jason pushes his hands into Tim's hair. Just --

"You gotta -- pull *back* if you need --"

Tim shakes his head *violently* and starts humming and sucking and licking --

Humming more --

Humming *louder* --

And Jason needs a moment to just fucking *be* here -- a masked teenager on a rich boy's *lonely* fucking bed --

A masked *vigilante* with his cock getting loved on --

"Jesus fucking -- just tell me this isn't *gratitude*."

Tim raises a hand -- and pinches two fingers together a little.

Jason snorts. "*Fuck*. Just say *thank* you --"

Tim pulls off --

"Oh, *fuck* --"

"Thank you. For everything. For -- " Tim stares up at him and licks his lips. "Teach me how to -- how to be able to take it. How to take you fucking my mouth." Wide eyes, *parted* lips --

"Nnh. Uh. What?"

Tim giggles again, and that --

Okay, maybe it's not the best reflex to haul Tim back *down*, but it's *his* reflex, and, more to the point, it makes Tim *moan* around him --

And turn it into another fucking *hum* --

And then a goddamned *interrogative* hum --

"This was -- the first thing Bruce did to me. *To* me, 'cause I was too shocked to really be -- be part of it -- ah, *fuck*, you've got a great tongue --"

"*Mm* --"

"Right, right, that was a *different* question -- Jesus, don't *hurt* yourself with my *cock* --"

But that's a gag --

And a *cough* --

A nice fluttery little -- and Jason thrusts, just a little, just enough --

"Aw, *fuck* --"

Just enough to get *in*, apparently, because Tim's eyes are doing that saucer thing again and also Jason's spine is fucking *burning* with the --

Fuck, he's so -- "You got me close, you got me --"

Tim groans in his *chest* --

*Narrows* those eyes --

"Christ on a goddamned *stick*, you're hot -- uh. For future. Future fucking reference --"

Nod nod nod --

"You *gulped*. And swallowed -- fuck, pull *off* when you need air, *please*," and Jason cups the back of Tim's neck *gently* --

And Tim drools right down into Jason's *pubes* --

And Jason whimpers and pushes just. A little.

Deeper --

Where it's hot. Where it's fucking new and tight and *hot* --

"Ah, fuck, you're not a *virgin* any -- oh, teeth, Jesus, Jesus, that's --"

And maybe Jason can palm this off on being fifteen and in the bedroom of the world's *only* Fae-Voyage-playing vigilante-to-be --

In the *throat* of the world's best --

Only --

"God, baby, I can't -- I'm sorry --"

Jason's thrusting and pushing and just --

He can't be like *Bruce*, he can't --

Except that Tim's got a grip on his *sac* --

And Tim's using his goddamned *teeth* --

And so Jason uses his own on his wrist and just -- gives it up. All of it. One hand spasming because Jason's biting the fuck out of the wrist it's attached to, one hand *clenching* --

On a thirteen-year-old's *neck* --

His friend, please -- oh --

"*Please* --!"

And a part of Jason really, *really* hopes that *wasn't* too muffled, because Tim should know what he does to him, Tim should fucking *feel* it more than he feels Jason's come in his throat --

Tim pulls back and coughs --

Tim pulls back *more* --

Jason tries to just keep *petting*, tries to --

And then Tim's got both hands on him and *working*, now --

"Oh, fuck, yeah, *yeah* --"

Tim's pointing Jason's cock at -- at his fucking --

And there it is. Jason's come on Tim's *downy* fucking cheek, his squinched-shut *eye* -- "*Jesus*, baby -- uh. Okay. I'm done. *Please* let me --"

But Tim kneels up and kisses him hard, *takes* a kiss --

And then another five *hard* ones --

And then one that migrates all over Jason's face, and just --

"God, so good, so fucking --" Jason *grips* Tim's face and holds it still enough that Jason can lick him clean, fuck his mouth a little more, suck his earlobe --

"Nnh -- ah --"

"Yes? No?"

"Um -- can we go -- it's not no. It's never going to be no."

"You're so *hoarse* -- like I should be surprised by that. Fucking *right*." Jason shakes himself like a dog and grins at Tim. "You liked that."

"God, I -- when you started *thrusting* --"

"It was fucking *hard* to do it gently --"

"It was *perfect*. It was -- ah. Are you *upset* about me not being a virgin anymore?"

Jason smiles ruefully and licks Tim's mouth a little before pulling back and stretching his shoulders --

"Oh, you're so --" And Tim reaches out -- and stops.

"Touch me. Touch me *all the time*."

Tim smiles at him *brightly* -- and kinda cups Jason's pecs from the front.


"I like -- you're amazing. Your body and -- everything. Um. *Are* you --"

"I wanted to wait. Get to know you better. Make you *comfortable* around me."

"I *am* --"

Jason raises his eyebrows.

Tim curls his fingers in and kind of *scratches* at Jason's chest -- "I am. I really -- I don't get much more... relaxed."

"Not even after you do yourself?"

Tim *grunts*. "I -- um."

Jason checks out Tim's cock -- half a chub. And it looks sleepy, which -- it is completely and totally seven o'clock in the morning. And -- "Did you sleep? Before you went out, I mean?"

"Ah? Yes. I -- go to bed early. I believe Mrs. Mac assumes I masturbate... even more frequently than I do."

Jason snorts and cups Tim's hands on his chest. And then he flexes his pecs --

"*Oh*! Um. Am I objectifying you? Too much, I mean."

"I like being pretty for pretty people I like, so -- no."

"I've never..." Tim frowns. "I mean, I look a fair amount like my mother, and she was considered to be quite beautiful in her youth --"


"I -- hm. All right, I believe I was hoping for some degree of *handsomeness*."

Jason bites his lip -- no. "Uh. I mean. You probably look pretty damned *severe* in a suit, yeah?"

Tim snorts. "When I allow my mother's tailors to work unfettered by my... ah... desires, yes."

"Well, that's a *kind* of handsome right there. Look, it's not just you, Tim. You're *thirteen* and you *look* it. Younger, even. Guys your age don't really manage to look handsome unless they also look older. Uh -- in my opinion, anyway."

A thoughtful nod. "I -- what's your usual type for men?"

"Uh... heh." Jason grins.

"Oh, I mean -- it's *all right* if it's not *me*. I mean. You've already made me feel exceedingly good about myself --"

"Nah, nah, it's not that. It's just... I dunno. Every guy I've fucked since I *stopped* selling it? Has been an exception to the rule."

"Oh. Oh. What... what *is* the rule?"

"'No more fucking guys.'"

And Tim blinks for that -- a lot. And also there's some fish-face.

Jason snickers and pulls Tim's thighs over his own before gripping Tim's hips. "I'll make it easy on you, baby -- I already knew the rule didn't work."

"Well -- all right?"

"Though that could just be because this whole community is full of -- heh -- *exceptional* people."

Tim *hums* a little laugh. A *prim* little laugh. Hunh.

"You know, when Bruce laughs like that it sounds like he's thinking of either hugging you 'til you squeak or *fucking* you until your *ass* squeaks."

"Ah. Does that -- that doesn't happen, does it?"

"Not with humans. Anyway, when *you* laugh like that, you sound like you're thinking about what a *bad* boy I am."

"I -- ah. I don't want to... scold you? Unless -- is that a kink?"

Jason snickers -- and then thinks about it.

Specifically about *Babs* in her *librarian* gear, and the way she can firm her mouth into a *mean*-looking kiss *without* getting all prune-faced --

And then, of course, Babs always had a lot to say back in the days when Jason still *smoked* --

And a lot to say with her fists and *feet* when Jason gets grabby --

"Yeah, okay, it's a kink."

And Tim is searching him. "Is it... Bruce?"

"Heh, no. Bruce almost never scolds me for *anything* these days. Not for real. Some of that's because I *get* why he has so many rules about things now -- and so I *follow* those rules -- and some of that's just him getting off on me being a punk with a dirty fucking mouth. Nah, I was thinking about Babs."

Open-*mouthed* search. "That's... what you call her?"

"Uh, huh. So does Dick. Bruce calls her Barbara. Her *father* calls her --"

"Barb. Ah -- yes. I -- overheard him at one of the galas."

Jason blinks. "Uh -- shit. That's right, you *totally* would've been there at those things. Damn, I'm sorry."


"Not knowing you so that we could have a little *fun* at those damned things."

And Tim blushes and smiles like it's a new day and --

No. He smiles like Jason's just said something *fantastic*, and that --

He's gonna have to remember that. Jason strokes Tim's hips with his thumbs. "You were watching us there, too."

"Ah -- yes. You. Sometimes I would... worry. About the way you and Bruce would... slip away together."

Jason grins *wetly*. "He knows the rules. If he doesn't fucking well put out? I get drunk on champagne and piss on the mayor's shoes."

Tim hums again and wraps his arms around Jason's neck -- "Is this okay?"

"Uh, hunh. Though I'm gonna have to climb out of your bedroom soon --"

"Oh -- yes, of course --"

"Quick question."

"Anything --"

"If I tell you that you *have* to come up with some way for me to get you to relax and think of me as just a guy... would it work?"

And Tim's expression quirks. "I don't suppose you could just ask me to figure out a way to divide by zero?"

Jason coughs. "That bad?"

"You're -- well, you're *you*. You accepted that *Bruce* couldn't see you as 'just a guy' and... well..."

"You wanna be like Bruce to me, baby?"

Tim covers Jason's hands with his own, and looks down --

And keeps looking down --

And *keeps* looking *down* --

"Tim --"

And then those eyes are *blazing* at him, more full and *hot* than eyes that color should be able to *manage* --


"I want -- I want to be your friend. One of your *best* friends. I want -- I'd like to be your family, too, and to -- I mean. You're obviously involved with -- Bruce, and other people -- I've *seen* you --"

Jason presses his thumb to Tim's mouth. "Boyfriend?"

*Wide* eyes and a swallow --

And then Tim looks determined again --

And then he nods -- and sucks the tip of Jason's thumb.

"Nnh -- yeah. I was supposed to stick one of these --"

"Tim? Oh, Tim, are you awake yet?"

And that's why Jason's in the bathroom with a stack of what he hopes is *all* of his uniform --

"What is it, Mrs. Mac?" Hell, Tim even *sounds* sleepy --

And the door opens. Jason can see from the crack that Mrs. Mac is a short, round woman with that cloud-hairstyle that makes old women look like O-tips even though she's clearly not out of her fifties --

"Oh, Tim, it's *terrible*!"

Tim rubs his eyes and sits up. "What -- what is it?"

"Your parents! They've decided to take off for *Monaco* of all places!"

"That's... bad?"

"Oh, Tim! Your parents haven't been home for *weeks*!"


"Oh -- it's all right, Mrs. Mac. You know how hard they work."

Mrs. Mac makes a fretting noise and seems to be *fluttering* a little --

"Really! I -- did they send a postcard?"

"Oh, no, Timmy, they didn't. They said they would when they reached Monte Carlo --"

"Oh, that's wonderful! I haven't gotten one from there, yet."

"But --"

"You know, Mrs. Mac, you haven't had a day off since last *month*."

"Oh, well, no, but --"

Tim hums and sits up in bed -- he's actually wearing a t-shirt.

*Somehow* --

"Don't think I've forgotten that you're *not* the nanny."

"Of course not, but --"

Tim smiles, and Jason doesn't *have* to have the door open more than a crack to know that it's a fake one. It's sly, bright, and *conspiratorial*. "I also haven't forgotten how long it's been since my last movie night with my friends."

"Oh-ho-ho! I know your game, Timmy!"

Tim laughs like a damned *anchorman* -- "You caught me. Still... there's a folk festival at the arena this weekend."

"No! *Really*?"

"Mm-hmm. They... dad told me about it because he wanted to surprise you with tickets. Since he won't be here to tell you himself... they're in his desk in the top right drawer. Maybe you can bring a friend...?"

Mrs. Mac flaps a hand. "Oh, go on with you! Still, you and your friends *are* always very neat and careful... you won't be watching any of those *blue* movies, will you?"

"Mrs. *Mac*!"

"Oh, now, don't Mrs. Mac me! I was a teenager once, too, you know!"

And Tim *isn't* blushing -- but he looks down and *acts* like he is. And *mutters*: "Callie won't let us."

"I should think not! Hmph. A nice, sensible girl like that would be *good* for you, you know!"

Tim looks up 'shyly.' "I've been thinking of... um. Well."

Holy fucking --

And Mrs. Mac is fluttering again, flapping her hands and giggling --

Tim puts on a *panicked* expression -- "Don't tell her!"

"I won't say a *word*. Oh, Timmy, I was starting to *worry* about you! Maybe you should just invite *her*, hmm?"

Uh. What the --

"Mrs. *Mac*! That would be -- I couldn't --"

She hoots at him.

Tim does a damned good job of continuing to look horrified *and* scandalized --

Maybe too much of that, considering how straight he's apparently supposed to be --

But eventually the woman pats Tim on the shoulder, urges him not to sleep too late, and leaves.

Tim holds up a finger once the door is closed, and Jason tries to listen, too, but --

No, the traffic sounds outside the bathroom window are getting a little too serious. He waits.

He watches all that normal-boy-whateveriness melt off Tim like frost in an oven --

And, when Tim is back to something Jason just kind of *has* to call 'normal', he turns to smile ruefully at the bathroom door and nod.

Jason leaves his uniform in there just in case and comes back out, kneeling on the bed again and pulling Tim up onto his lap.

"You -- really like this position."

"You don't?"

Tim smiles *sharply* and grinds his hips a little. "I wouldn't say that."

"Heh. What *would* you say?"

And Tim's smile gets wider and honestly, totally *happy* -- which is fantastic, but it makes Jason remember that little performance. So.

Jason leans in and gives Tim a quick, hard kiss. "How long have you been lying to her about... uh. Everything?"

Tim smiles ruefully. "She started working for us when I was ten. So..."


"Since I was ten."

"Damn. I was kinda afraid you'd say that. And -- what about your parents? How long have they been gone?"

"Um. They -- well, they're looking at opening up some factories in Haiti. They've been there since May twelfth --"

"Uh. That's, like. More than a month."


"And they just -- uh. Mrs. Mac *isn't* your nanny. I mean, you said that."

Tim makes a face. "I don't *need* a nanny, Jay."

"No, no, I'm not saying you do, but --" Fuck. Fuck. And fuck some more -- "I guess I see how you've been getting away with the shit you pull for so long."

"It *has* been exceedingly convenient."

And that's... troubling. On a lot of damned levels. "Tim... I gotta go --"

"I know --"

"Can we talk about this? Sometime?"

Tim frowns. "We can talk about anything, Jay. I -- whenever you'd like --"

"Yeah, but *this*," and Jason squeezes Tim's hips for emphasis. "The thing where you're apparently used to your parents just... not being around."

"Jay, it's not like they *always* leave for over a month at a time --"

"No? How often do they leave? For at least a week, I mean."

The frown gets deeper. "They have their own lives. And -- it's not like I need or want the extra supervision, Jay."

"See, but -- it's not really 'extra,' Tim. And -- there's more to it than just supervision --"

"Jay --"

"No, wait, gimme a sec, okay?"

Tim gives *him* a troubled look --  but then he nods.

Jason bites his lip and nods back -- stops. "Okay, uh. Bruce and I don't just train and fuck and fight crime, okay? He's not *really* my father, but... well. There's -- there's talking, and hanging out, and -- good stuff like that. And -- it was the same thing with my mom -- the woman who adopted me, I mean. The other woman's just fucking useless. There was no fucking, thank fucking Christ, but -- she spent time with me. She -- all the time she could, you know? Please tell me you know."

Tim looks -- confused.

"Okay, lemme try again --"

"I -- I do *know* that some people are close to their... parental figures --"

"Yeah, that --"

"But Jay --" Tim shakes his head. "I *am* a teenager. I mean, it's normal for there to be greater distance now."

"You -- you're kind of only *barely* a teenager --"

"Jay --"

"Were you ever... close? You know what I mean. I *know* you know what I mean, because you spend your whole life *watching* other people."

And Tim gets that muley look back. Just --

"Seriously, Tim, I'm *not* trying to get on your case, and -- fuck. I'm gonna be taking *advantage* of how much your family just completely fails to know you, okay? I'm not -- I'm not even gonna try to tie you down."

Confusion again -- "Then... what?"

Shit. That --

Says it all.

In every possible fucking *way* --

Jason hugs Tim. Just -- holds him and tries to think of what Dick would do other than freak right the fuck out and *shake* Tim to make the sense get in faster. It -- well, it would be hugs, just like this, and -- "Baby... I'm worried about you."

Tim tries to pull back --

Jason holds him *tighter* --

"Jay, I'm *fine*. I -- I know you must see *horrible* parents all the time --"

"You were lonely every day, weren't you."

"I. You already know. My secrets are *your* secrets!" And this time Tim puts *effort* into pulling back --

Jason lets him. A little --

And Tim searches him hard. "I'm not -- all right, I *am* needy --"

"You're not."

"But -- you just -- I *was* lonely --"

"Anyone would be. *Anyone*, okay?"

Another frown --

And Jason's not sure if Tim *knows* that he's pretty much trying to rub the tan on Jason's arms right off, but fuck, Jason is *not gonna tell him*.

How often does he get touched?

What *about* those friends of his?

"Jay... my parents are *good* people."

Fuck. "So -- you know what I'm thinking."

"Of course I do! I mean -- you're being *obvious*."

Jason smiles ruefully and gives Tim a nose-kiss.

"Oh --"

"That's a pretty big crime for you, hunh?"

"Oh, I -- I know -- you don't have to *hide* from Bruce or -- anyone else but *strangers* --"

"It's okay. It's -- you've made *sure* that I know you like me pretty good."

Tim searches him. "Please -- please don't think the worst of my parents."

Jason bites his lip.

"I mean -- they're *good* to me."

"Yeah? They... uh. Give you what you need?"

"They always make sure -- I mean, I've never wanted *anything* for long before they've gotten someone to get it for me."

Don't frown. Don't wince. Just *nod* --

"Oh -- *Jay*! They're good people! I mean -- they employ thousands of people, and while Drake Industries gives less paid vacation time than Wayne Enterprises does, the health insurance is entirely comparable, and the other benefits make the company one of the most popular to work for --"

Jason kisses him. Just --

He kisses Tim, and cups his face, and wishes --

Right now, what he really wants to do is brush aside every damned thing he needs to talk to Bruce about so they can talk about *this*. It's not that he thinks Bruce would *really* get where Jason's coming from -- the guy would worship at his parents' *altar* if he wasn't one of the world's most fucking *determined* atheists -- but --

He'd still know that Jason was hurting.

He'd know a good chunk of *why* Jason was hurting.

And -- even if he *hadn't* already been planning this -- he would fucking well do his best to give Tim something he needed.

Maybe --

Maybe everything he needed, because, yeah, Tim is fighting this a little --

*Just* a little --

Fuck, no, he's not gonna push like this. Just -- Bruce wouldn't. Bruce would never --


Jason pulls back but doesn't let go of Tim's face. And then he rests his forehead against Tim's own and just breathes, listening to Tim pant --

Feeling him *shake* a little --

"I'm not -- they're your parents, and you love them, and -- that's good enough for me." For now --

But Tim looks at him like he'd heard *all* of that --

And Jason smiles ruefully. "Hey, my mom hooked, too, and it killed her eventually. I'm not -- I can't talk shit --"

"You can. You -- you think you can, anyway," Tim says, and he sounds hard and unhappy --

"Aw, Tim... fuck. It's just -- will you believe me when I say that I've seen... a lot of bad shit from kids whose parents weren't around?"

"I'm not -- I'm not even a *delinquent* --"

"Yeah. You've just spent the past four years running around rooftops in the middle of the night --"

"*Jay*! Other parents don't creep into their well-behaved children's bedrooms at night, *either*."

Well, there's *Bruce* -- yeah, no. Jason blows out a breath. "Okay."

Tim searches him again --

And Jason puts up his hands. "Agree to disagree?"

"I want. I want you to like my parents."

Yeah, sure, maybe if they come back to the *country* anytime soon -- no, no, no. "I promise to give them the benefit of the doubt."

And Tim looks troubled and -- fuck --

"God, baby -- I just. I know you've been lonely. Like me. I know how that *feels* --"

"You -- you were lonely even *with* Bruce -- "

"Exactly. Sometimes -- sometimes, even when *most* things are good, one bad thing can still throw you right off, yeah?"

"Yes. And -- I know that if I ever needed my parents, they'd be there for me."

"Do you?"

"*Jay* --"

"*Fuck*, no, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, okay? Lemme -- I have to *leave*, but let me -- let me just say sorry?"

Tim closes his eyes for a long moment, balling his hands into competent little fists at his sides --

"Baby --"

"You -- you're forgiven," Tim says, and looks at him with *solemn* eyes. "I know -- you've seen the worst of people. It's only natural for you to... to assume. Things."

Jason frowns and just -- he hugs Tim, and cups the back of his head, and strokes his back -- "Yeah. I. That's probably it."

"But you don't believe that."

Sometimes, just sometimes, Jason wishes he were a better liar. Maybe not as good as *Tim* is --

"It's okay, Jay. When... um. Well, maybe you'll meet them someday. At a party, or..."

Jason squeezes Tim. "'Or?'"

"Well. Well." Tim pulls back and bites his lip -- stops. "I was thinking. I was thinking that... maybe I *could* go to your school."

Jason grins helplessly. "Yeah? That place *needs* some quality."

Tim grins right back. "Then -- I. I mean. It would make sense -- a little sense -- if you came over. Sometime."

"Or you could come see *me* -- heh. You know... nobody has to know that we didn't *already* meet at one of those parties, yeah?"

Tim blinks rapidly -- "You're right. You -- my parents don't really pay -- um. Never mind. We could already be friends."

Jason kisses Tim's forehead. "Like we already are."

"Oh -- Jay --"

"I'll come see you anytime --"

"All... all the time? Um."

"Well, I have to train -- yeah, I'm comin' over a lot."

"And -- maybe I could --"

Jason kisses Tim again. "Let me -- let me get Bruce's head on straight first, Tim. And, like, make sure it *stays* straight."

More blinks -- and a look that could be captioned 'poleaxed.'

"What is it?"

"Um. I -- just. It didn't really... sink in before. The -- are you *sure* Bruce... ah?"

Jason smiles ruefully and kisses Tim one more time before getting up and going for his clothes. "I know what he looks like when he wants a taste, Tim."

"It's just -- if he really -- I mean. Your relationship with him is... open? Is that how you phrase it?"

God -- so fucking cute. Jason pulls on the jock and the panties. "It's pretty fucking open, yeah. I mean, I think B would get even crazier if he couldn't hook up with Clark and Diana at least sometimes. And if he couldn't watch *me* hook up with Clark."

"I -- Clark? Is that... Superman?"

Jason pauses with the tunic half-on -- he pulls it on the rest of the way. "Okay, is that you saying that you *didn't* know, or is that you saying you didn't know so that I can stop panicking about what a spook you are?"

"Ah... spook?"

"You are one, just go with it."

"Um --"

"It's *good* panicking, really," Jason says, and grins at Tim. "Answer the question?"

"I didn't know. I mean -- I've never *once* managed to follow him anywhere."

"Yeah, he does travel *fast* when he's not just hanging out. Okay. Superman is a guy named Clark Kent... when he's not a guy named Kal-El... or a guy who's mostly just Clark. I'll break that down for you another time," Jason says, and fastens his cape. "Anyway... anyway, to answer your *real* question? If I start getting jealous, then I have to start thinking about the fact that I might not have a home --"

"Oh, *Jay* --"

"Easy, *easy*. I *mostly* know it won't go down like that, and I completely and *totally* know that Bruce is sitting up waiting for me instead of doing something sane like sleeping. And I *also* totally know that I'm gonna tell you all about it as soon as I can... so?"

Tim bites his lip and nods. "Oh -- I should give you --"

"Bruce has your phone number. And, like, your great-grandmother's step-sister's maiden name. I *really* should've thought of that before. When you want *me*..." Jason pulls out his mini-notepad and pen and scrawls his personal number on it, then his cell. "These'll get me anytime I'm not patrolling, pretty much. Which means -- call all the time. Okay?"

"All right --"

"And -- are you gonna check out Ted's gym today?"

"I was thinking -- um. I was thinking I'd wait until I'd gotten a full night's sleep --"

"Then I'll come see you before I patrol," Jason says, and waggles his eyebrows a little. "Yeah?"

"Oh -- please. I -- please," Tim says, and manages to leer *while* blushing his head off.

Jason decides to count that as improvement. And -- there's a lot of damned things he wants to say, and do, and fucking *have* -- "Boyfriend?"

"*Always* -- I mean. Ah. Yes."

Jason grins and flips down his lenses. "Say a little prayer some daylight fucker doesn't see me climbing out of here, yeah?"

"Oh -- are you religious -- I'll ask that later."

Jason snickers and salutes -- and then does his best to break his rope-climbing record --

And flies --

And *rides* --

And fucking *cringes* for all the shouts and pointing and motherfucking *rush-hour traffic* --

"Robin --"

"I'm on my way, B --"

"It's only -- the roads are more clear on the east side of the park."

And that was... really not Batman. But -- "You're on my tracers."


"You -- you've been on me all night."

Bruce takes a breath and lets it out shakily. "I wouldn't. I would never have you doubt me, Robin."

Jason -- doesn't squeeze his eyes shut.

And *does* start weaving through traffic until he can get back into the park --

He doesn't take it over sixty, though. Not all of the trashed bikes have been taken away, and --

"Robin --"

"Save it 'til we're face to face, B."

"As you say. Batman out."

What is he going to say about this? What is he going to make Jay *believe*?

And how different will those two things be?

Jason shakes it off as best as he can and rides.

Once he hits the Bristol back roads, there's the usual feeling of the ground opening up below him and just getting ready to fucking *swallow* --

And Jason realizes that it was never really *Bruce* who gave him that feeling. That -- that *sense* that, this time, he was never getting out again. It *might* have been Batman, but that doesn't feel right.

It's more like how he's known for most of a year, now, that he was going to die doing just this. A lucky gunshot or knife-toss. A defective de-cel line. A blown tire on the Sprang -- something. The *truth* is that he'd known before then, but he hadn't been able to own it until the day he walked into Mercy General with a stupid fucking bouquet for Babs.

That bullet had missed her spine by less than a fucking *inch* --

And she'd snorted at him for the flowers --

("Oh, Jaybird. *No*.")

And she'd given him her *arm* to hug --

("Let's not even talk about how ready I am to get the *hell* out of here.")

And they hadn't talked about the Joker.

Or her father -- twenty years older overnight.

Or -- Bruce.

They hadn't talked much, at all, but --

("It was bound to happen to one of us, Jaybird."

"I know. I -- fuck. Are you going to --"

"No, I'm not. And neither will you. We *don't* let the bastards win. Not ever."

"Not ever.")

And she'd glared at him with those sea-green eyes until Jason felt about nine hundred degrees hotter under the skin, until Jason felt fucking *naked* without his panties --

("Heh. I saw your tits when they were carrying you out of there, you know."

"Oh, you *have* reached puberty? I'm sure that growth will kick in soon enough.")

And then they'd punched fists --

And Jason had rolled out to fight some more fucking crime. Just --

Every night. Every night, and *no* one can take that away from him, because he couldn't fucking take it from *himself*. Hell, even if he *tried*.

It's just that *somehow* it'd never occurred to him that *Bruce* might try to take it away.

Somehow --

Somehow he'd let himself get that fucking complacent. And it's not that he really thinks Bruce *would* try to take it away --

And it's not that he's -- no. He'd gone just over three years without being even a little bit scared of Bruce, and the truth is that he's still not. Not of what Bruce would *consciously* do, anyway.

Just -- fuck.

Jason opens up his speed when he's half a mile out --

He *breathes* --

And he copes, and keeps coping until he's in the Cave and parking his baby in the repair space. Bruce is right there next to it -- dressed in pajamas.

Jason hasn't seen him in pajamas since --

His last time coming home from the Tower. Right. Jason gets laid by someone *important*, Bruce sleeps with clothes on. That is, in fact, the *rule* --

And he really is just standing here straddling the bike and staring. He goes back to coping by lowering the kickstand, taking off his helmet and stashing it, draining the bike's fluids to make checking it over easier --

And Bruce is still standing there. Still --

Fuck it. Jason stands up, meets Bruce's eyes --

Bruce's fucking *haunted* eyes --

"Like maybe you're waiting for me to break up with *you*?"

Bruce fucking *spasms* --

"Jesus, B --"

"Never. Please don't -- " Bruce swallows and shakes his head. "Please. I'll answer... any question. Any *thought* -- or. Perhaps you could... talk to me? Yell at me --"

"Oh, yeah, *that* works. I'll just tell you to stop being a motherfucking *perv*. Except, you know, for the parts of that which *work* for me."

And Bruce --

"God, Jesus, why the fuck are *you* looking wounded, hunh? Just -- tell me what I was supposed to fucking *think*!"

"I don't -- I won't -- play for your sympathy, Jason --"

"You call me *Jay*!"

And Bruce *grips* him, just like that. Big hands on Jason's biceps and big body in this *tortured* position like maybe Bruce doesn't know if he wants to lean in or run *away* --


"Jay. Jay... I love you. I have loved you... for so long now. I told you, once, of the dreams I had as a boy. Do you. Do you remember --"

"Brothers. You wanted -- let *go* of me!"

And Bruce's hands are gone instantly, fisted at Bruce's sides as he leans in just a little more --

"Keep. Fucking. *Talking*."

"Yes. Yes, of course --" Bruce swallows again and searches him --

"*Bruce* --"

"I dreamed of *you*, Jay. Of -- someone brave, and sure. Someone bold and charming and *mature*. Someone -- someone anyone would find. Beautiful..." And Bruce reaches up with a shaking hand --

Jason catches him by the wrist before he can touch. "What are you *saying*, Bruce? You want me to be your *brother* now?"

"No -- I mean. You've been. You've been a wonderful son in every way --"

"I've been your *lover*, Bruce. And your fucking *partner*." And --

"And have you never..." Bruce shakes his head. "The time we've spent together. The things you've allowed me to... to teach..."

Jason growls and crosses his arms over his chest, staring down at the fucking --

No. *Not* at the fucking floor. He glares at Bruce, instead --

And Bruce is searching him fucking *desperately* -- he shakes his head. "I'm sorry. You're right, of course. It's only -- it's only a fantasy, a desire within me to have all of you *possible* --"

"Bruce --"

"Please. Please, Jay. I... it's only... I must find a way to make you *understand* how much I love you, how much I need you -- *all* of you --"

"And Tim, too?"

"I --"

"No -- fuck. Not that. Not -- B, I think I'm always gonna hate you for making me *need* to ask this question, but --"

"I could never *replace* you, Jay! You -- you're my dream made *real*. You've been -- you chase the darkness away and fill me with so much *hope*. Please. Please tell me you *believe* me."

Jason -- can't look at him. He can't --

Just --

Not fucking *yet* --

Except that Bruce drops to his *knees* --

"*Bruce* --"

"Please look at me. Please *see* me --"

"Come the fuck *on*, Bruce, you can't --"

And Bruce grabs Jason's hands and brings them to his face, and --

You can't call that a nuzzle. You can't call those *kisses*. It's just -- it's too hard for that, and too hungry, and too --

"Jesus fucking --" Jason yanks his hands back --

Bruce *groans* -- and stares up at Jason with everything in his eyes. Everything Jason doesn't wanna think about right now --

Everything Jason's afraid -- afraid to fucking *lose* --

Jason growls and paces away a few steps. Just -- a little air. Some *space*.

And it wasn't that long ago when Jason knew in his bones that Bruce would never *give* him that space, that he'd be wrapped up tight until the day he fucking *died* --

It was six fucking *hours* ago --

Jason closes his eyes. And takes a deep fucking breath. And turns to look at Bruce -- who's still kneeling on the floor and staring at Jason like --

Jason shakes his head and hears himself make -- a noise. It was *supposed* to be a laugh, but it's not. Nothing that sounds like that --


"What the fuck am I --" Supposed to do. Without you. With -- "Am I too big for you, B?"

Bruce gasps and *rears* back and -- yeah.

That. "Too old?"

"*Jay* --"

"You talk about it a lot, you know. How much *older* I am than any other fifteen-year-old. How much my growth beats your records and your -- your fucking *predictions* --"

"You're wonderful, *beautiful* --"

"Is it enough, B?"

"*Please*, Jay --"

"Answer the fucking *question*!"

And Bruce looks --

God, Jason can smell his fucking *fear*, like this -- *this* -- is worse than anything he's faced while they've been partners. Like -- "God. Fuck. You can't, can you?"

"I *can* --"

"*Prove* it!"

"I need -- I need time --"

And Jason hears himself make another fucked-up noise, something like a *whining* growl --

"*No*! Not like that, Jay! I only meant -- it may seem as if I'm *digressing* --" And Bruce shuffles closer on his --

On his fucking *knees* --

"*Please*, Jay, I -- if I'd known --"

"That it would *hurt* to watch you losing it for another kid? How the fuck did that *miss* you? I -- *fuck* -- " And now *he's* on his knees and straddling Bruce's thighs --

Now he's fucking shoving his own *face* in the pile of -- of --

Of everything he couldn't be afraid of before he saw Tim for himself, because Bruce covered everything in his life --

And everything he couldn't be afraid of *after* that, because Tim was -- is -- no. Tim is *far* away from this right now, and that's --

God, how is he supposed to straighten *this* shit out for him?

How is any of it supposed to *work*?

And Bruce is holding him still and *searching* him, *bruising* him --

"Come *on*, Bruce --"

"It seemed. I thought you believed me when. When I told you I loved you."

"I *did* --"

"But not anymore? Oh, Jay, he made you so *happy* tonight --"

"Don't -- don't *talk* about him --"

"Because you fear my hunger for him? Or because you fear my hunger will *sully* him?"

Jason squeezes his eyes shut --

"Both. Yes, I see. I will tell you everything, Jay. And I believe -- I *must* believe that you will see, and trust me again," and Bruce leans in and breathes hot against Jason's forehead --

No, it's a kiss, open-mouthed and so fucking *gentle* --

Jason growls and pushes away --

*Tries* to push away, and Jesus, Bruce isn't supposed to be able to *hold* him this easily anymore --

"*Jay* --"

"Let me *go* --"

"Let me *speak* --"

"No one -- no one's fucking stopping you and I *need* you to stop touching me!"

Bruce grunts like Jason's fucking *stabbed* him -- and lets go.

And Jason feels himself --

It feels like something small and light and *important* in him is flying away too fast for him to *catch* it --

He scrambles back and just -- crouches. A few feet away. He can still *smell* Bruce from here, but he can't --

He can just feel the air.

He takes a deep breath. "Okay. *Now* talk."

"I fell in love with Dick -- so quickly. He took my breath away as he laughed, and smiled, and stole small candies and treats for the children who watched him with wide, fascinated eyes. I listened..." Bruce licks his lips. "I don't believe I saw him with Tim that day, even though I followed him as discreetly as I was able until I saw him return to his parents' trailer. I... didn't know my feelings then," and Bruce pauses again. Breathes. "Jay... please. Will you look into my eyes as I speak?"

"You can *lie* with your eyes, B. You keep trying to teach me *how*."

Bruce *shudders*. "I will never lie to you. About *anything* --"

"Yeah, that's what you fucking -- said." And Jason sucks in a breath and -- deals.

No lies.

No half-truths.

No *omissions* -- except for the ones Jason explicitly asked for, and sometimes not even *those*.

Not since *that* night, and, fuck, up until then he'd just thought his father had run off with some other woman, or pissed off the wrong drunk, or --

Not --

Jason looks up -- and knows exactly how fucked-up he looks by the *pain* in Bruce's eyes -- "Keep *going*, Bruce."

Bruce nods. "Yes. Yes, all right. I... the worst happened, and I took him into my home. Alfred... Alfred tried to warn me about my predilections. My psychological *damage* --" Bruce growls and shakes his head. "I told him I didn't know what he was talking about. I told him that I would never -- could never -- hurt a child. And I believed that with all of myself."


"It was... no one moment. Or rather, it was several moments building to a whole, to a *shining* moment of absolute and awful truth as I watched Dick bend and twist himself into impossible positions solely to wash his back without any help from me. I -- at the time, he was still new in his training, and I believe that his many small disappointments had led him to cleave to the few areas where his expertise was phenomenal."

"Flexibility and acrobatics."

Bruce swallows and nods. "I remember thinking... many things at once. And many things which could not properly be termed thoughts, at all. I all but ran from the shower -- I still had shampoo in my hair, and, to this day, I'm unsure what I actually *told* Dick about why I needed to be away from him -- and I masturbated myself viciously. Twice.

"I couldn't... I couldn't stint on his training. By then, it was hard to even recall believing it would be a bad idea to train him. He was so skilled..." Bruce frowns. "Even in his failures, there was a raw, transcendent brilliance. Different from your own in many ways, but still..." Bruce studies him for a long moment. And that --

Jason can't *take* -- "Just *say* it!"

"It's only..." Bruce smiles ruefully. "I don't know how I managed to find two such wonderful partners. I don't know if it even *was* my own doing. You've been... you're so much to me, Jay. I can't --"

"Fuck, B, just -- talk about *Dick*!"

Bruce sucks in another breath and nods. "All right. I had no ability to lie to myself after that point. No... capacity for denial. I thought of how Alfred had steered me away from hands-on work with the children's charities. I thought of how I had always... always noticed *beauty*. I vowed to rise above my... perversions... and you have always used that term. With Dick, I wouldn't have disagreed. Not then --"

"But with me it's *different*?"

"Everything about you... you would've found Dick to be painfully young. Immature. I am not blind to your youth and I never have been. At the same time, however, I cannot call desiring you -- *loving* you -- a perversion of anything, at all. You've given me light, and life, and *hope* --"

"*Dick* gave you -- all of those things -- "

"Yes, he did. And I was maddened. I was... *inflamed* the way I'd never truly been before. I feared myself. I -- dosed myself with every remotely *safe* drug I could find which was known to dampen arousal in males. And so, on the night when Dick came home in Clark's arms with a blush on his cheeks and new *knowledge* in his eyes..." Bruce smiles ruefully. "Can you guess?"

Jason frowns. "You lost it."

"Not... not in the way you're thinking. I was relieved. I was... you see, I had come to a very simple conclusion. I knew that if Dick were to ever be *direct* about his burgeoning attraction to me, or if he were to even come to feel it especially deeply at a time when I *couldn't* immediately find some aspect of the work to distract me... well. I feared and longed for that moment in equal measure. But that night... that night, Dick's attraction, Dick's *focus* was all on Clark. And I felt... such joy. Such --"

"Uh. What?"

Bruce laughs softly. "I'm not sure how I feel about the fact that I can still surprise you, and in this way --"

"Just -- fucking tell me about the *joy*!"

"Of course. I trusted Clark long before I was ready to admit that fact to either of us, and it had always been clear to me that Dick felt the same. He'd told me more than once about how 'cool' he found Superman to be, and, for a while, he collected the best articles written about him. When Clark introduced himself to Dick... well. We became... we became, the three of us, more than we had been. Both as friends and as heroes. And, when Clark surrendered to his attraction for Dick, we became even more than that."

"Because you were getting off on *Clark* doing the boy you wanted?" Just like *him* and Clark, just --

"You know far better than most the pleasure I take in such things, it's true, but that wasn't it. No, I..." Bruce shakes his head and smiles again. "I felt free around Dick after that. I felt... I felt as though I could be his partner, and his friend, and even his father -- when both of us could consent to such a thing, however silently -- without being constantly dragged toward my baser urges. Dick... Dick got what he *needed* of that from Clark... or so I thought.

"I -- it took me a very long time to come to trust the other teenaged heroes. Some of them I'm still not entirely sure of. Dick, however, gave them all of himself nearly from the first moment. He made them into... into a family in which I had no place --"

"You got jealous of the Titans but not of *Clark* -- wait, no, I *do* get it. You could hang *out* with Clark, but not with, like, *Roy*. Right?"

Bruce closes his eyes for a long moment. "He's grown into a strong, fascinating man... who, quite rightly, could never trust me with his true friendship." And Bruce opens his eyes again. "I believe... I believe my first true sin with Dick was complacency. I came to take his companionship and love for me for granted, all without ever working to make myself whole enough for it, ready and *open* enough for it. I came to expect his love to be there without ever *trusting* that it would."

And that --

Bruce is *searching* him, and Jason knows that he wants to know that Jason's *understanding* him, but there's also --

What is he supposed to -- fuck. "Do you not trust me to love you, B?"

"Should I?"

Jason -- doesn't flinch --

"Oh, *no*, I -- Jay, it's only. It would make perfect sense to me if you were to have lost your care for me. I've been... I treated Tim's entrance into our lives as a game, all without giving any thought to how you would feel. I -- I *assumed* that you would understand, and come to desire as I had. I thought I had learned not to make that sort of assumption. I -- please."

Jason closes his own eyes -- and lets himself half-fall into a half-assed lotus.

And covers his face with his hands.

A game.


A *game* -- because there's never been *anyone* in Jason's life who's enjoyed playing with him as much as Bruce has. Just --

He'd been able to see it in Bruce's eyes the *second* he took the cowl off for the first time. Happiness. *Cheeriness*. *Fun*.

So much that it'd been a shock to see him after one of his damned *nightmares*. Just --

Bruce has always wanted to play with him, and Bruce has always wanted to do it *with* sex and --

He can see it. He can smell it like Bruce's fucking *fear* -- "Tell me -- tell me about the jealousy."

"Jay --"

"*Do* it, B."

Bruce takes another shaky breath and nods. "As you say. Sometimes I believe I would have reacted better to Dick entering into romantic and sexual relationships with his team had Clark not --seemingly systematically -- removed Dick's *blushes*. He had no shame about his love for the other Titans, and no care. He spoke as easily -- as *breezily* -- about them as he spoke about Clark, only barely just catching himself before sharing the most intimate details." Bruce frowns. "I tried to reach out to them. To... be more than the small, puling child who lived within me. I opened the manor to them for slumber parties and the like, and the Cave for missions.

"I... made Dick believe that I approved of his relationships with them, but, at the same time, Dick's instincts wouldn't let him be entirely blind of the darkness growing within me. And so, when he would try to get me to speak with him, to be open as we had once been, I would... wound him."

God, fuck -- "How."

Bruce nods. "I would... focus on small -- often nearly nonexistent -- mistakes he had made either in his training or on the street. At the time, I told myself that it was important that he learn how to fix those problems for his own safety, and that was even true... but only to a certain extent."

Jason growls. "Glad you figured *that* shit out."

Bruce frowns and stares down at his hands. "Would you. Would you tell me something?"

Yes. *Always* -- "What is it?"

"Would it help if I promised to never touch Tim? Never to... offer myself in that way?"

Jason rears back and shakes his head --

But does he mean 'no?' Fuck. *Fuck* --

"*Could* you do that?"

"If it was what you needed of me. If it was what you *desired*."

Jason frowns. "You don't -- we're *open*."

"We have been, yes. But we need not be."

"I'm *not* giving up --"

Bruce raises a hand. "I would never ask you to."

Jason feels himself frowning harder. "Then I can't ask *you* --"

"You can."

"*B* --"

"I would. I wish, very much, that I could say I would give you anything, but there are some things I can't give, at all. This is not one of those things."

Because Bruce would never kill. Anything else --

"You need not answer right away --"

"B... I. You'd do it. Just -- just to make me happy?"

And Bruce looks wounded again, hurt and just -- *bleeding* --

"I'm not -- I'm not asking that to *hurt* you --"

"I know. I know that, Jay." Bruce smiles ruefully again. "I wish... I long to have the words to express how very happy you've made me these past three years. It would be... a part of me would be relieved to offer this to you."

*Why* -- but. He knows. It's the same thing that had made Jason train as hard as he could as *fast* he could, made him *learn* faster, work at everything Bruce gave him and everything else he could think of. Because the chance to be Robin was *one* thing... but the chance to give something *back* to Bruce was something else entirely.

It was a *relief* to start fucking --

To start *making love* with Bruce. On so many levels. Just --

One thing he could do right and well. One *perfect* thing --

And that hadn't felt like giving, at all, after a while. Not that long of a while, either.

Jason looks down at the stone. "You can't give that to me --"

"I *can* --"

"I mean --" No, look *up* -- and he does. And Bruce looks fucking *frantic*, almost *angry* -- "I don't want you to. I mean."


"He already -- you listened. You watched. You *know*."

"I know... I know he believes that he desires the Batman --"

"It's more than that."

"Jay --"

"It's *more* than that, B! I --" Jason shakes his head and stands up, pacing a little --

Stroking the bike's fucked-up finish a little --

"You know he's -- he's not like other kids."

Bruce takes a slow, soft breath.

"I *know* you know it --"

"Yes. He is. Exceptional."

Jason crosses his arms over his chest and just -- deals. He deals, and he thinks, and he --

He owns the fact that this is what a part of him wants, too. This -- God, this fucking *honesty*, and this second -- this one *right* here -- where Jason's this close to *bonding* with Bruce over how great Tim is.

Just like they've bonded over other people.

Including Dick.

Jason takes a deep breath and tilts his head back to take in the stalactites. "He's not -- he knows what he wants, B." And Jason knows by *that* exhale --

That Bruce has gotten close again. Close enough to touch without actually *doing* it. "You must not -- be fair."

"I'm not."

"Jay --"

"I'm *not*. I can't --" Jason shakes his head. "Just because I'm fucking terrified of *outgrowing* you --"

"It can't happen."

Jason closes his eyes -- and feels the *ghost* of Bruce's touch on his cheek.

Right where his stubble gets thickest. "Jay..."

"Tell me why it can't happen."

"I don't..." Bruce laughs softly. "I'm afraid of how you'll react."

Jason opens his eyes and turns to stare at Bruce. "You're saying you've got something that'll convince me I can't get too big for you... but that it'll make me feel worse in other ways?"

Bruce nods once.

"Okay, just -- you still want Dick. Love him."

"Yes. Always."

And there goes his heart, but --

But it makes sense. More than that. It's *right*, because Batman and Robin are *supposed* to be like that, supposed to *have* that --

*Partners* --

And it doesn't matter that Dick isn't Robin, anymore, because he always *will* be. A part of him, anyway. That red, gold, and green little fucker never lets go of *anyone* -- he'll certainly always have *Jason* by the balls. And Dick --

Dick *loves* Bruce. Bruce gave Dick his fucking *smiles* back, and taught him, and helped him, and gave him this life and all of these people --

It's always going to *be* like that for Dick, no matter *how* upset he gets with Bruce. So -- yeah.

Bruce should feel the same. Just like he should be searching Jason *just* like he is, because there's damned well *something* in what he'd said about always loving --


Fuck --

"You don't -- you don't fall out of love."

"No," Bruce says, and his voice is rough and low and *mournful* --

Because *Dick* wasn't his first love, even though he was the first to 'inflame' Bruce that way --

Jesus fucking *Christ*, but --

"You don't --" Jason looks Bruce in the fucking *eye*. "You're still in love with -- Dent."

Another *wounded* look -- "Call him. Call him what you will."

"*Tell* me --"

"Yes, Jay. I'm. I'm so sorry."

And -- there's no getting around feeling bad for this, feeling --

Feeling fucking *sick*, because there's that image *right* there: Bruce planting one on Two-Face the way he does with him, or with Clark. Bruce giving it *up* for Two-Face, feeling him and touching him and *loving* him, even though --


"Dick. Dick knows that."

Bruce shudders. "Yes. I. I allowed him to believe that... more of me was forever lost to love of... Two-Face."

"*Jesus*, that's fucked-up!"

"Yes --"

"Even for *you*!"

"You're right --"

"Fuck, B, one of the first things Dick *told* me about you was that I shouldn't fucking *ever* try to talk to you about Dent --"

"Please, Jay, don't -- don't ever *censor* yourself --"

"Since fucking -- oh, don't *kneel* anymore --"

But Bruce is already down, already -- he's got his face pressed against Jason's abs through the tunic --

He's gripping Jason's *hips* -- "Fucking -- *B* --"

"I tried. I wanted to be a better man --"

"Then don't fucking *lie* --"

"I'd never *choose* anyone over you --"

"You're in love with -- a whole fucking *bunch* of people --"

"*Yes*, Jay. I am -- needy, and hungry, and *greedy*," and Bruce drags his face over Jason's uniform before looking up. "I am all of those things and more, and *worse*, but I am *capable* of devoting my life to you. And a part of me would have you demand just that."

Jason -- can't keep the frown off his face. Just --

"*Please* --"

"*No*. I -- how do you not get that *you don't work that way*?"

Bruce laughs again, and it's fucking *hurting*. "Should I never believe myself capable of giving? Of loving without greed?"

"It's not fucking greed if you *need* the other person. And --" Jason frowns and tries not to --


No. He fucking owns this. "I need more than you, B. I never -- I wish I fucking *didn't*, okay? I wish it *was* just the two of us sometimes, that we'd never hooked up with Clark, that I'd never once visited the Tower --"

"*No*, Jay --"

"You need *all* of me, B, and -- fuck, I've known that for-fucking-*ever* --"

"I know what I cannot *have* --"

"*Listen* to me! Fucking --" Jason growls and kneels again, letting himself straddle Bruce's thighs again --

"Jay -- Jay, you must --"

"*No*, B! You have to listen to me, and fucking -- deal with *me*. Not the Jason-shaped *whatever* who lives in your head and who always knows you love him except also somehow needs you to be a different *person*. I need *you*, and you needed us to have Clark, and you needed *me* to have Dick at least a little -- "

"Yes, *that*. The two of you -- I've longed for you to be *brothers* --"

"Yeah, *your* brothers, and -- we can't do that. Or the other thing, either. Because you *hurt* Dick too badly."

Bruce winces and turns away --


"Yes. Yes. I -- I am not blind. Though I have pretended to be so," Bruce says, and turns back to him. "Do you think... would speaking to Dick help, do you think?"

Jason smacks the side of Bruce's head.

"Hm. Noted. I -- I meant... I want it to help the two of *you*."

"Uh -- oh." Jason frowns and thinks about non-fucking-standard train rides --

And kisses --

And the kind of warmth that always makes Jason wonder how people who *don't* have Bruce-shaped wedges between themselves and Dick feel around him. If it's even -- livable.


*Good* -- and Jason bangs his head against Bruce's shoulder.



"I..." Bruce sighs and cups the back of Jason's neck. Just -- just like how he was touching Tim tonight.

Jason swallows and shivers --

"Do you believe that I want your happiness?"


"Then that is well, if not well enough."

Jason sighs and presses a little closer. Just -- he needs Bruce's heat. Bruce's touch. *Bruce* --

"My love. Tell me how I may ease you."

"I don't know yet."

"Will you tell me when you do?"

"Yeah," Jason says, and lets the thing which wants to break and *spill* inside him do just that -- enough that he's shuddering and pressing even closer. Taking this.

"I love you. I... will you come to bed with me?"

And that... heh. "How much beating the crap outta me will your nightmares make you do?"

Somehow, the pain in this laugh is better than all the rest. Less bleak and more rueful. "You assumed I was planning to sleep?"

Jason snorts and pulls back enough to smack Bruce again --

"Noted --"

"We can cuddle up some. But you *have to* kick me out after an hour or two so you can get your own sleep."

Bruce searches him --

Frowns and searches him *more* --

"C'mon, B, what is it?"

"I wasn't expecting --" Bruce smiles *softly*. "My love, I do not deserve -- hm. I believe that will bruise."

Jason sucks the knuckles of his smacking hand a little. "Fuck, yeah, it will. Look, B -- the way I see it?"


"You spend so much time thinking about how much you suck at all the emotional shit that there's not enough time left to *fix* it."

"And if there is no way *to* fix the problems?"

"Jesus fucking -- you *know* Dick will make up with you if you're just honest with him. I *know* you know that, because you may *want* to be Bruce all the time, but sometimes? You're the motherfucking *Batman*."

Bruce closes his eyes, mouth tightening a little -- he nods and opens his eyes again. "I believe. I have wondered if it would not be an obscenity to put Dick in a position where he would *need* to consider forgiving me."

"*B* --"

"Just the same... that isn't what I was speaking of."

"What --" *Dent* -- "Fuck. Just -- what the hell *was* he to you?"

Bruce smiles again, and it's weak and sad -- "Would you truly have me speak --"

"*Yes*! I -- look, I know you guys went to school together and everything, but *Jesus*. Babs killed one -- *one* -- murdering, torturing psychopath and you lost your shit --"

"Jay --"

"Dent *is* a murdering, torturing psychopath and you can't even --" Jason cuts himself off and *shoves* Bruce a little. "*Talk*."

He closes his eyes again --

He shakes his head once *violently* --

"B --"

"I'm not." Opened eyes again -- "I'm only denying myself permission to keep these thoughts to myself. Only that."

Jason frowns and nods. "Then..."

"Yes. I -- you spoke of your loneliness with Tim tonight."

"Yeah, I -- I've needed more than you."

*Bruce* nods. "That -- I hope you understand that that seems perfectly sensible and *correct* to me?"

"I don't want it to. But yeah."

Another nod. "Jay... once you spoke to *me* about your loneliness, and how, because of your mother's profession, you spent much of your childhood under a stigma."

"Yeah, I. No one wanted to play with the local whore's kid. Except for Maria, and she --" Jason blows out a breath. "Okay. I get it. He was your friend."

"My only friend, Jay. There had been a boy who lived next door, and we spent time together when we were young, but they moved months before my parents were murdered. After that..." Bruce strokes Jason's cheek. "I had long since accepted that I would spend my life alone and -- eventually -- in service to the Bat by the time I entered high school, and that didn't change when I saw Harvey for the first time, for all that I was struck by his beauty."

Don't fucking *retch* --

"I don't -- we need never speak of this, Jay --"

"Yeah, we *really* do. Just -- I know he used to be pretty and everything. I read those articles about him from when he was a DA. Go on."

Bruce nods. "Even though I knew I would be alone, I was... struck by him. He was the only freshman who didn't already know at least a few of the other students. He was the only scholarship student. And, it quickly became clear that he was vastly more intelligent than most of the other students. More than that, though... he introduced himself to the other freshmen systematically, and almost professionally. For all that his words were casual, there was much of the natural politician to him. I thought...

"I spent a great deal of time rehearsing what I would say to him when it was my turn. I knew that even if he could never be a friend, he would be exceptional in some way. I knew that he already *was* exceptional. Of course, when he *did* introduce myself to me, I said practically nothing beyond insipid and pedestrian greetings and platitudes about how glad I was to meet him. I think...

"He told me, years later, that he couldn't remember a thing I'd said. He told me that he knew it was all... filler. He told me that what I really saying was in my eyes. He." Bruce swallows and squeezes his eyes shut.

Shit. Shit. *Shit* -- "B, no, you're right, we *don't* have to --"

"We were lovers, Jay. From that moment on. Before we ever touched as more than... more than close friends. Because he told me that he'd been having conversations with the boy *trapped* behind my eyes. And that... and that I had, perhaps, been having conversations with the boy trapped behind his own. And he laughed and asked me if I had any idea what he was speaking about. He claimed that he, himself, had no clue whatsoever. I called him a liar and kissed him.

"He kissed me back... and we began." Bruce opens his eyes again, but he's not seeing anything --

No, he's seeing a *lot*. Just -- it's all over twenty years old and fucking --

"I won't -- I believe I don't have to tell you how profound it was to find myself making love for the first time... and to feel as if I had been doing just that all along without taking the time to *notice*. I promised him everything. I promised him all of myself. He worried about being caught and losing his chance to 'make something of himself.' Already, then, he dreamed of becoming Gotham's District Attorney.

"He made me remember my own dreams. My own *path*. I felt... terrible fear and guilt over having forgotten it for even a moment, but it didn't last." Bruce breathes deep and looks at *him* --

Fuck. "You knew -- you were thinking of him as a partner."

Bruce nods once. "It... you must understand that I didn't *welcome* my path. I desired becoming Batman in the way rabies-infected children desire the many painful injections it takes to become cured."

"Uh. So..." Jason shakes himself like a dog. "All right, no, I did know that. Other people who grow up wanting to be heroes... really aren't you."

Another nod. "Additionally, I grew up wanting to become a *vigilante*, not a hero."

"Heh -- and the two *aren't* interchangeable for you. I hear you," Jason says, pulling off his gauntlets and shoving his fingers up the loose sleeves of Bruce's pajamas as far as they'll go. Which --

Is a lot less far than they used to go.

And he *could* think about that --

About what it means to have grown *up* with Bruce --

Jason shakes his head and looks Bruce in the eye. "I'm not too old for you."

"You never could be. I..." Bruce smiles again. "You don't usually care for hearing me speak about how often I think of *myself* as the subordinate partner --"

"Yeah, no --"

"Jay. When I dream especially sweetly, you are my *older* brother."

Jason shivers. "Like Dent was."

"There are... I believe you would have found much to admire, and even enjoy, in the young man he used to be."

Because Bruce doesn't fall in love with -- anyone who isn't worth it in *some* way. Even if he has to *make* them worth it, like with him --

Or --

Fuck. "He totally thinks -- he thought *you* made him a good person."

"He... expressed that thought more than once. It was patently untrue."

"Aw, B -- no, okay, I'm not gonna fight you on that one tonight," Jason says, pulling his hands back and then cupping Bruce's shoulders. Less broad than Clark's, but that's like saying that blue is more blue than fucking *cerulean*. Sky. Powder. *Dickie*.


Jason rubs some of the tension out. "Thinking about working with Dent one day -- it got you through all your training, yeah?"

"Along with his letters and telephone calls, yes. We stayed in close contact right up until I returned to Gotham for good and began preparing the final stages of becoming the Batman -- and we remained lovers during our brief visits. The month he spent with me in Thailand..." Bruce shivers and reaches up to take Jason's hands in his own before kissing them, once and once. "My love. It wasn't until he graduated from law school and -- immediately -- entered the District Attorney's office that we ended the physical aspects --"

"*He* ended it."

Bruce sighs and kisses Jason's hands again. "He holds me in his arms still, sometimes. Though not while you're with me."

And Jason's not sure how feels about --

No, he knows. A part of him -- a *big* part, and it's one that belongs to Dick even though he'll never have a piece of him in return --

That part wants to curse Bruce right the fuck out, and punch him, and *keep* punching him until he fucking stops being in *love* with the guy who had beaten his *first* partner into seasonal arthritis and had --

Christ, he hadn't even left Jason's father where he could be easily *found*, hadn't even --

Hell, Bruce would've been able to *afford* a good enough mortician to make the two bullet-holes in his father's head look like something other than what they were. Bruce could've --

It's not like his *mother* had gotten more than a slab and then a pine fucking *box* -- until he'd let Bruce make it better. She still wasn't anything to look at by then --

But Willis Todd had been killed and left to rot in high-fucking-summer.

His mother's bones and hair are a lot easier to remember than what had been left of his father.

Easy doesn't count for much when it comes to nightmares --

And Bruce bites Jason's notched knuckle gently and then kisses it. "My love. Please allow me to stop speaking of this."

Jason frowns and tugs his hands back, shoving them back through his hair. It clears up three tangles and gives him four *new* ones, and he doesn't fucking care and he doesn't fucking care and he doesn't. Fucking. *Care*.

And when he can make himself believe that *enough*, he looks Bruce in the eye again. "He's not the same man, B."

"No, he is not."

"Then --"

"If I come to believe that he can never be that man again, or anything like him, then... then I must also come to believe in things which would unmake me," Bruce says, low and firm and fucking matter-of-fact.

And that -- "It *is* almost time for us to argue about what an *ass* you've been with Babs --"

"She took a life. She *vowed* she never would --"

"And then shit *happened*, B!" Jason shoves him lightly. "Look, I *know* you don't believe in killing. And I know *why* you don't believe in killing. And I -- fuck, it's not something I'd *ever fucking ask you to do*. Even if *my* life was on the line."

"Don't --"

"No, don't you even fucking *think* of putting me off! You know *exactly* how fucked this city would be if we'd lost *either* Babs or Jim, and you know *exactly* how many options Babs *didn't* have --"

"Jay. *I trained her to shoot*. And *one* of the things I taught her --"

"Was how to *wound*. Yeah. I fucking well *know* that. But Babs didn't even know if she'd stay *conscious*!"

Bruce takes a breath, slow and cleansing and really --

Jason growls and stands --

"*Please* --"

"Fucking *no*, B! I'm *sick* of this shit. It's not like you don't still work with that *Queen* fucker --"

"Only," Bruce says, and stands himself. "Only when I must."

"Yeah, *well*?"

"I've proven, I believe, that I will work with Barbara when --"

"When there's some fucking emergency, yeah, but you fucking well know how much better it is when we *coordinate*! Christ, B, what do *you* think's gonna happen when she stops trying to put up with your *bullshit* and *moves* to Star City?"

And Bruce's hands -- flex.

"Yeah. *Think* about that shit. It's been almost a damned *year* --"

"She. She needed time to recover --"

"She's one hundred percent *now* and you know it. And you *also* know --"

Bruce holds up a hand.


"Is this. Is this truly what you wish to discuss now?"

"*You* took us here!"

"Only because --" Bruce firms his mouth up again. "Do you believe she'll go?"

And Jason catches himself flaring his nostrils like -- like he can read the fucking *air* currents or something --


"What do *you* care?"

"Jay. Jay, I've loved her --"

"Oh, *that's* rich. You didn't even go see her in the *hospital*! Not as *yourself*."

"The Batman can't --"

"The *Batman* can't hold on to anyone because when it comes to shit that matters? He's a bitch-ass punk *kid*."

Bruce reaches out -- and smiles ruefully. "And I'm not?"

"You are. Sometimes. Not *all* the goddamned time, though. *Most* of the time you're good. You're -- fuck, you *are* my fucking father. More of one than I've ever *had* --"

"*Jay* --"

"You know something, B? You wanna know something -- something *real*?"

And Bruce looks scared. *Shit*-scared. But -- "I want everything of you, Jay. You -- please say you *know* that --"

"Fine," Jason says, and throws up a hand. "Here it is. Most of the time? You're so good, and so right, and so *real*, and so *everything* to me that I can't even fight the *idea* of you being my father-for-real. And on days like that -- fuck, during *weeks* like that? I'm glad Willis Todd is dead --"

"*No* --"

"*Yes*, Bruce! I'm so glad that *I* think of -- heh. Not kissing fucking Two-Face. Not *quite* -- that's all on you. But I think *real* hard about thanking him for taking care of the problem of my biological so-called father and giving me *you*. Because I *am* grateful -- and I'm also just petty enough to get off on making him *squirm*. Everybody in Gotham knows he wants to get next to you more than he wants to kill you -- heh -- half the time. *Everybody* --"

"Jay --"

"He knows, doesn't he? He knows the fucking *secret*."

And Bruce stares into him like -- God, like he doesn't *know* Jason --

And that hurts so fucking -- "Come *on*, Bruce --"

"I don't. I don't believe he knows *consciously*. Jay, you mustn't... I know your life with your parents was a difficult one --"

"Difficult? I -- heh. Did you ever dream of it, B? Digging *Emory* Dent up and putting a fist through his skull?"

Bruce shakes his head -- but he's shaking.

"Yeah. Yeah. Maybe when he was alive you thought about it, too. All those times he beat the crap out of *Harvey*. Your *friend*. Your *lover* --"

"I thought -- I thought of hurting him. Badly, at times --"

"What do you think good ol' *Harv* thought about when he watched the guy sleep off a drunk? What do you think he would've said to you if you -- or *someone* -- *had* taken care of the problem?"

"Don't talk in *euphemisms*! It's -- it's *obscene*, Jay!"

"Any more obscene than punching an innocent kid in the face? Repeatedly? Hard enough to knock out a couple teeth? Don't think I missed the date on *that* injury, B. That must've cost a fortune without health insurance. Did he let you pay for it?"

"Yes, I -- I convinced him it would be better --"

"For his *career*. Yeah, I'm hearing you," Jason says, blowing out a breath and staring up at the stalactites again. Just --

He needs --

"Babs is gonna leave us, B."

"Jay --"

"She's gonna go somewhere she can be *respected* for everything she does --"

"It's not -- the Mission isn't about *respect* --"

"Humans, B. Humans make *up* the Mission in case you haven't fucking noticed. Get the Bat out of your ass and fucking *cope*. We *need* her."

"She's been -- I know she's been a friend to you --"

"And *I've* been a friend to *her*," Jason says, and closes the distance between them to jab at Bruce's chest. "Just like you used to be."

"It -- Jay, I don't *choose* the way I feel!"

Jason opens his mouth -- closes it again.

"Don't you think I would do anything to be able to look into Barbara's beautiful green eyes again? Don't you think I miss her hands my shoulders and my hands on her own? Don't you know how badly I miss her *smile*?"

And Jason can feel the ground opening up beneath his feet again, but -- "*Prove* it!"

"Tell me *how*."

"*Talk* to her. *Look* at her. Fucking *be* with her --"

"Her scent has become the scent of blood and half-charred *brain* matter to me --"

"He deserved to *die*!"

"Then do I?"

"*No*, goddamnit!"

Bruce's smile shows teeth and just -- nothing else. "Many would disagree --"

"*Supervillains* --"

"And average, everyday citizens who remember how many times I chose to let the Joker live out of -- of --"

"Everyone with a brain knew you *wouldn't* kill him, B! Everyone who *matters* *understands* that!"

"And should I make one rule for myself and another for others, Jay...?"

"Fuck, B, I *know* that's the *dangerous* voice, the fucking *testing* voice, but -- *yes*."

"*Jay* --"

"There *are* no -- no fucking *hard and fast* rules for living, B! I..." Jason frowns and reaches up to cup Bruce's face, to hold him and make Bruce look, make *himself* look -- "Everybody's fucking *different*. The rules have to adapt or they become *useless*."

"If there's too much fluidity --"

"Too much of *anything* is bad! That's what 'too much' *means*!"

Bruce searches him, and --

God, he looks so *desperate*, so hungry and fucking *young*. "B..."

"Jay. I. I had to draw a... a *line*. You *know* that."

"I *do*, B, and I *understand*. I *swear* I understand, because I've *been* there for your nightmares, okay? I've *seen* them. I feel like *I* know what your parents' blood smelled like --"

"Yes. Yes, you *do* know, you've always *known* --"

"But B... I *also* know that sometimes we don't... " Jason swallows and feels --

Too much. So fucking *much* --

"B, sometimes we don't get to do *anything* for the kids who live inside us except keep giving them somewhere *mostly* safe to live."


"Aw, *fuck*, B, I don't -- I can *feel* this breaking you up --"

And Bruce laughs, quiet and *hurt*. "I -- I will be well. I will... not break. Oh, Jay, I've known nearly from the beginning that you couldn't --" Bruce swallows and reaches out again --

And this time Jason takes his hand. Squeezes it, twines their fingers together --

"I had to -- draw a line."

"I *know* --"

"I had to make a rule, a space beyond which the Bat could not follow."

Jason -- frowns. "What does that mean?"

Bruce smiles at him. "It's so strange to me that you don't know this about me. You've known everything which makes me who I am since our eyes first *met*."

"That's not --"

"Entirely true. Yes, I know. I do know that," Bruce says, and tugs Jason closer. "Your scent. Your breath. Your heat --"

"You can *have* me --"

"I've had -- before you, or Dick, or even Harvey. Before there was *anyone* else, there was a voice in the darkness. A guide to every -- every *purposeful* nightmare. Before -- oh, before nearly everything, the Bat was *real*, Jay, and it pushed for everything, to have every part of me --"

"What does that *mean*, B?" But he knows. He --

Fuck --

And Bruce nods slowly. "Always... you have always been so intuitive, Jay. Even without having watched me rail at the empty air or shake an empty cowl while snarling --"

"Wait, what --"

"You know."

And Jason wants to fucking *protest* that, wants to --

God, just to have another minute *without* this --

"You've got -- a fucking voice in your head."

"A ghost, perhaps. A minor demon. A most persistent delusion..." And Bruce tugs Jason closer. "You chase it away."

Jason winces and -- "And when I'm not here?"

"It returns... in force. It taught me the meaning of vengeance. It taught me... much. And guided me when I faltered --"

"B --"

"I don't -- it's only..." Bruce squeezes Jason's hand *hard*. "Sometimes I feel it... breathing."

Jason shudders --

"Yes. Yes, that --"

"Call fucking *Zatanna*!"

"And when she finds nothing?"

"Call *Zatara*. Fuck, call *Dr. Fate*. Call Jason Blood. Fuck, call up that fucker *Klarion*!"

"Jay --"

"And then? If *nobody* can find anything?"

"Call a psychiatrist?"

"*Fuck*, no, B! If nobody can find anything --" Jason growls and *yanks* Bruce close, wrapping his arms around him and biting at his chest through the pajama top --

Bruce gasps --

"I know, B, I *know*. Just -- if it can't ever be fixed? If the only thing that can happen is that it gets chased away for a little while? Then you damned well keep people around who can do the *chasing*."

Bruce shudders again -- "You have -- your own life --"

"Don't sound like *Tim*!"

"Do you believe his parents are as neglectful as they seem?"

"*Yes*. I -- fuck. Okay, it could all just be because Tim made them *believe* he didn't need real parents, but I don't buy that. He's no sociopath."

Bruce nods and strokes Jason's hair. "I will defer to your judgment --"

"B --"

"I will also..." Bruce exhales on a shuddery sigh. "I'll speak to Dick. I'll tell him -- I'm sorry I've taken so long. I'm so. You taught me *quickly* the value of honesty, and yet I still -- oh, Jay, I don't think this is cause for you to hold me more tightly --"

"But does it *feel* good?"

"*Yes*. *Always* --"

"B, I *love* you, and I need you, and -- c'mon, gimme more --"

"I will. I will apologize to Barbara --"


"Jay. I am... so frightened. The Bat can take so much of --"


"The *world*. My -- my *perceptions* --"

"And it's the part of you which likes to think about beating Emory Dent to death."

"Over and --" Bruce shudders and clutches Jason, burying his face in Jason's hair and nuzzling in several more tangles --

And they both know that Bruce will *love* gently and thoroughly tugging them out again once Jason lets him, but -- now. Right now. Jason reaches up to *claw* at Bruce's arms a little --


"Yeah, I'm here. I'm always -- I'm right *here*, okay?" And Jason pulls back enough to look Bruce in the eye. "I love you, B. I've been *in* love with you for a long damned time, and -- fuck. Part of what made me so angry and scared tonight was the thought of *losing* you."

"Never, Jay. *Never* --"

"I believe you. I really -- well, *now* I know myself well enough to know that I'm *gonna* need you to convince me a few more times in a few more ways --" Jason shakes his head. "I know you *will*, though. Okay?"

Bruce cups Jason's face with one hand. "Please. Please always give me a *chance*."

"I will. I *promise*. And -- I also promise to be here for *this*, B. This -- this thing in you which is just as human, just as fucked-up, just as *hungry* as the rest of us."

"I can't -- my control must be --"

"The *best*. And it *will* be, because you're you -- even when you're thinking about doing things the Batman *can't* do."

Bruce frowns and searches him. "I'm not. I'm not sure I understand, Jay."

"No?" Jason smiles ruefully. "Just this, B: Part of me being your partner is me being there to back you up *every* night, every -- every fucking moment. Because even if I'm all the way across the city when you need me? I will find a way to *get* to you. Just like you'd find a way to get to *me*. And -- when you need me to be the one to punch a fucking stain and *keep* punching him? When you need *someone* to do it who isn't *you* --"

"I can't -- I can't *ask* that of you --"

"You *can*. That's what partners *means* -- one of the things, anyway."

Bruce frowns and searches him again. "Is it. Is it *right*?"

"Fuck, B, *no* one can figure that shit out. I mean, I used to think maybe *gods* could, but we've *seen* those, you know? They aren't any smarter or *wiser* than *we* are."

Another shaky breath. "No. No, they... Jay, if I ask Barbara back into... into my life --"

"She's *going* to smack you around a little first. But you'll fucking *love* it."

Bruce coughs a laugh. "I will. I've missed -- so much." Bruce shakes his head and leans in to kiss Jason's forehead, to wrap his arms around Jason and hold on --

And Jason can feel the shudders *rolling* through him, just -- one after another after *another*. It's scary -- it's fucking *terrifying* -- but Jason isn't a fucking idiot. This --

It's how it has to be.

It's how it has to be for *Bruce*, who's been fighting something fucking horrible for thirty goddamn years -- maybe more. Something that's been making him be more than human just so he can still have fucking *control*.

Something that's been making him try to make *other* people more than human -- and then taking those people *away* from him when they couldn't.

And now --

Now Bruce is letting go. One full-body shudder at a time.

Jason holds him *harder*. "I promise to always be careful, B. I promise to fucking *watch* myself, and to never do *anything* that isn't measured and -- fucking *controlled* --"

"Could. Could control be *worse* than the alternative?"

"Aw, B... I don't know that, either. I know what *feels* right, though. And -- you were *right* to teach me to keep myself on a leash, okay? It's not *safe* to lose it out there -- gah --"

And yeah, he really is *up* in Bruce's arms --

"B --"

"I need -- I must --"

"You got me, B , it's okay --"

"Let me --"

"We were gonna lie down together, yeah?"

"Yes. Yes. If you -- it's not... mandatory --"

Jason snorts and smacks the back of Bruce's head. "It's *okay*. Just, you know, fucking *warn* me."

"As you say." And Bruce starts walking them to the stairs --

Alfred is gonna *hate* Jason's uniform being upstairs --

It's totally also partners to take the brunt of that one. Special fucking circumstances. Jason wraps his arms around Bruce's neck and kisses him hard for a second -- wait.

"B, you said I was too big for you to do this to me anymore."



Bruce hums fucking *quietly* and starts jogging up the stairs. "That... may not have been entirely true."

Jason snorts. "You totally said it to make me feel better."

"It did seem to work."

"Uh, huh. Asshole," and Jason turns enough to open the clock --

And Bruce turns them sideways to get them through --

Jason *closes* the clock --

And then Bruce is jogging again, and it's fucking *weird* for him to be doing it through the damned manor --

Dangerous and *wrong*, somehow --

Fuck it. Jason closes his eyes and takes it until they're in -- his bedroom. Hunh. "B?"

"I want..." And there goes another shudder.

Jason squeezes Bruce's neck. "It's okay, B, just tell me."

"I want... the nightmares will be... difficult tonight."

"I know. You wanna stay here?"

"No, I..." Bruce smiles ruefully. "I can't risk hurting you again. Not -- not tonight."

Jason bites his lip and -- fuck, he *wants* to protest that, but --


"It's okay, B. We're cool here --"

"I... it would be easier for me to leave you here than it would be for me to watch you leave my bedroom."

And Jason *could've* gotten that with a little thought -- Jason smacks himself *lightly*, because Bruce won't take anything more. "It's fine. More than." And Bruce sets Jason down and lets him strip --

And then picks him up again and lays Jason out gently and fucking *tenderly* on the bed --

And then wraps himself around Jason from the back, burying his face in Jason's hair and holding so tight -- yeah. It's right. It's *perfect*, is what it is --

So Jason yanks up the covers and starts putting himself out. "Stay as long as you can, B."

"I love you."

"I love you, too."

"Will you... Jason."

"Yeah, B?"

"No. It isn't. It isn't time for us to speak of that."

Jason elbows Bruce --

"Hm. You've gotten to be quite wonderful at directing your strikes to already-bruised areas --"

"Because I'm *awesome*. Seriously, B --"

"I was thinking... I thought of Tim."

"Oh. Uh... heh. We *do* need to talk about him, yeah --"

"It need not be now --"

Jason pushes himself back against Bruce a little more. "I want him. I like him. I think I -- no. I *know* I need him some. I want him... right here."

"I... yes?"

"Yeah, B. I..." Jason sighs and reaches down to grab Bruce's hip. "I need to know he can get what *he* needs here."

"Tell me --"

"Fuck, B, he needs *parents*. I -- how much did you know about him before tonight?"

"The darkness took his eyes from me both times I saw him three nights ago. His features... nagged."

"But didn't trip any triggers before you heard his name."

"I... so much of him is in his eyes. So much..." Bruce sighs. "I thought, perhaps, it could be the watchful and lovely boy from those parties, but I couldn't let myself hope," Bruce says, and kisses the top of Jason's head. "You care about him."

"I want him... I want him."

"If he were mine to give --"

"No, B, not that. Not --" Jason shakes his head and turns onto his back so he can meet Bruce's eyes. The sunlight through Jason's windows isn't even that washed-out, anymore -- hunh. "You called me out of school --"

"Before you left Tim's home."

Jason nods. "Cool. I... it would be wrong for you to give him to me -- or anyone -- like that. He needs --" Jason smiles ruefully. "I can't help thinking he's been passed off before."

"I meant -- I only meant that I would find some way for the two of you to spend more time together --"

"I know, B, I know. Still. He -- it's not like he doesn't care about *you*."

"I... hm."

"What is it?"

"I believe it would be more accurate to say that he cares for... the individual the Batman has shown himself to be." And Bruce kisses Jason's forehead, and cheeks, and mouth --

Jason pushes a hand into Bruce's hair and makes it a good one, one with a lot of tongue and wet and *promise* --

Bruce *moans* --

Jason bites his lower lip and pulls back. "Yeah, B?"

"You should rest --"

"I *should* get *laid*. Heh. Again."

"Partnership *also* includes allowing one's partner to *rest* when he requires it, Jay."

"Yeah, yeah, but I'm not gonna rest all that much with your rock-hard cock pressed up against me --"

"Shall I mention the number of times you've done just that?"

Jason -- feels kinda stricken, actually. "B! That's fucking *wrong*."

Bruce coughs a laugh and kisses Jason hard. "I love you. You've given me a world in which there can always be *warmth* --"

"Let me suck you off while you tell me what you were thinking about when Tim and I were screwing around."

Bruce *grunts* --

"Heh, thought so," and Jason wriggles enough that he can get a hand down and into Bruce's pajamas. "And you should be naked --"

"Jay, your hand..."

"I know you like it --"

"I thought -- the thought of going without it --"

"Never, B, just --"

And Bruce kisses him again, making it hard and fucking *hot* --

Which means that it's time to start *jerking* Bruce a little, loving on that fat, perfect cock until Bruce is fucking his mouth --

Nuzzling and dragging his mouth against Jason's stubble --

Bruce *always* shaves before patrol -- or, in a pinch, after, and, on especially good days, *both* -- since the day Jason had to skip school *just* because of the obvious, *obvious* stubble-burn, but Bruce sometimes gets off on Jason's too much *not* to go for it --

Jason squeezes Bruce *hard* --


"Tell me, B, c'mon..."

"I thought -- I have sketches --"

"You liked his body, yeah?"

Bruce shudders and kisses him again, licks Jason's mouth like there's something delicious inside it, like he can taste Jason's fucking *words*.

Jason turns his head --

"*Please* --"

"C'mon, tell me --"

"I thought... I couldn't stop myself from imagining how he would *develop*," Bruce says, and leans in --

Jason pauses and uses his free hand to block the kiss --

Bruce *seizes* --

"Fuck -- no, it's okay, we're okay," and Jason presses on Bruce's lips a little. "I just -- you weren't getting off on how small he is?"

Bruce shakes his head -- and pulls back after kissing Jason's fingers. "I... he looks much like his mother."

"Yeah? She's small, too?"

"Very. She..." Bruce shakes his head and kisses Jason's cheek. "I don't want to dislike her -- or her husband -- as much as I do."

Jason gives Bruce another squeeze --

"*Please* --"

"It's okay, B. I mean -- I know it's gotta seem fucked-up to hate 'em when you *already* want to steal their son --"

"Yes. Yes --"

"I'm *with* you on that, okay? I -- he's *gotta* be one of us."

Bruce frowns and searches him --

"What is it?"

"You explicitly sent him to Wildcat --"

"Yeah, uh. I've changed my mind about that," Jason says, and smiles ruefully.

"Oh... Jay..."

"C'mon, you *heard* me, B. You know I couldn't keep myself from training him up a little --"

"Yes. He seems. He seems as though he learns well --"

"Fucking *genius* IQ there," and Jason pushes Bruce over onto his back and gets a better grip on his cock. "You think he's gonna grow up like his mom?"

"I can't -- I can't be sure. Jay --"

"Gotta measure him, yeah? Get some tape to his thighs?"

"Long -- so..." Bruce groans and starts thrusting into Jason's fist, closes his eyes and tosses his head a little -- "Jay. Jay..."

"I got you, B. You know I won't let go --"

Bruce groans *again* and arches up --

"Yeah, fuck -- wanna do Tim like this sometime. Wanna just -- I could hold him down."

"You. You liked that  --"

"Uh, huh. And also *fuck*, yeah," Jason says, and gives it to Bruce faster, harder -- "He spread so *wide* for me, B --"

"*Hnh* -- Jay --"

"Wanted me... wanted me to *fuck* him --"

"You -- you must not *tease* --"

"Which of you shouldn't I tease, B? C'mon, tell me --"

Bruce *pants*, and when he opens his eyes Jason knows he's not really seeing *anything* outside his own mind. Just --

"It's that good for you, B?"

"Always -- *always* --"

"Tell me who I should tease --"

"*Hah* -- you -- you madden the *senses* --"

"You know I'm gonna suck you. You know I'm gonna swallow you *down* --"

"*Jay* --"

"You wanna do Tim that way? You wanna know what he tastes like?"

"Could -- I could taste him on your *breath* --"

"*Hnh* -- uh. Heh. You make me wish I'd fucking gargled with him, B --"

Bruce laughs then, jerks and gasps and *moans* --

"Come on --"

"Don't -- don't *tease* him --"

"No? Don't make him crazy? Don't make him beg?"

Bruce *growls* -- and grabs the bars of the headboard. Just --

"You look fucking *huge* when you do that, B --"

"Small -- *weak* --"

"Not for me." And Jason leans in and licks Bruce's throat, pants for the *sweat* --

"*Please* --"

"Tell me what you wanna do to Tim --"

"*Taste* him --"

"You already said that --"

And there goes the *creak* of the headboard as Bruce flexes, *arches* -- "You -- *you* --"

"You want his ass?"

Bruce grunts and flexes in Jason's *hand* --

"Too tight for you, B --"

*Another* grunt --

"Heh. *Dirty*. That's okay, though. I'll stretch him for you --"

"*HNH* --"

And Bruce is coming and shuddering and coming *more* -- but Jason *knows* how Bruce comes, and he can damned well time it enough to get his mouth on Bruce --

"*Jay* --"

For the last two little spurts. Just -- mm. Right in his mouth, right where Jason fucking *needs* it --

And Jason knows *exactly* what it means when Bruce shoves shaking fingers into his hair, so he stays on, sucking and mouthing and licking --

Humming and kissing and *sucking* --

"Jay -- oh, *Jay* --"

Got you, B, got you right *here* --

"My *love* --"

Jason sucks *hard* --

"*Ah* -- so *cruel*..."

You *love* it --

And Bruce starts massaging Jason's shoulders and scalp, moving his hands back and forth and all around --

Shuddering and moaning --

And then pressing hard *next* to a pressure point on Jason's jaw. Heh.

Jason pulls off and licks his lips. "So how come you went off so fast? It's not like we didn't give you *time* to get off earlier."

Bruce hums and closes his eyes -- but only for a second before *Jason* is on his back and Bruce is kissing him and tasting him and fucking *making* him.

Just -- his hands still feel so *big* on Jason, even though Jason's growing fast enough that he can *almost* imagine a day when their hands will be close to the same size. Kisses like this blow it all away, though, because that hand is on his cheek *and* his jaw *and* his ear *and* is in his fucking hair --

And that other hand is stroking down his side and holding and squeezing --

And Bruce is kissing him like he *doesn't* want to lick the taste out of Jason's mouth, like he wants to stay right there *somehow* -- at least until he figures out a way to sleep with his cock in there.

Which --

Okay, that would actually probably be pretty damned soothing --

Which is why he's snickering instead of kissing.

Bruce hums and nips Jason's lip. "Yes?"

"Just -- uh. Heh. Your cock would make one *fuck* of a pacifier."

Bruce blinks at him.

Jason snickers *more* -- and then thinks about what they *had* been talking about --

*Who* they'd been talking about --

*How* they'd been talking about him --

And yeah, now he's fucking *wheezing*, because --

"I... don't believe he's quite that young, Jay..."

That was closer to a fucking *cackle* than anything else -- "Oh -- man. I was talkin' about for *me*," and Jason shoves Bruce a little.

Bruce hums again and rolls onto his side *next* to Jason. "Are you feeling particularly... anxious?"

"Oh, yeah, B. The world is big and fucking scary."

Bruce looks *pointedly* down at his cock.

Jason snorts and flicks it with his fingers --

Bruce *grunts* -- "Jay."

"It's just not all that comforting-looking anymore, B. I'm not feelin' it."

"Jason. I *would* like for you to sleep --"

"Yeah, yeah, *answer the question*."

"The -- ah." Bruce smiles ruefully. "While I was deeply, deeply tempted to masturbate myself while the two of you were making love, I'm afraid I was even more tempted to... sketch."

"Uh. You *had* video."

"Not of your face, or of your body," Bruce says, and kisses Jason's cheek --

And throat --

And shoulder --

"Wait, wait -- *nnh* --"

Bruce pulls back from Jason's nipple with a wet fucking *slurp* -- "Yes, Jay?"

Jason smacks him.

"Hm. You were saying?"

"Asshole. *You're* gonna talk dirty to *me*."

"Are you sure I can't convince you --"

"I'm *sure*," Jason says, grabbing Bruce's hand and bringing it to his cock -- which totally jumps for joy a little once that hard, hard hand is wrapped around it. "God, I fucking love feeling your hand when you haven't been working out or fucking *patrolling* --"

"Or, presumably, moisturizing?"

Jason bites his lip and grinds *up* a little --


"Uh, huh. *Talk*," and Jason tilts his head back and closes his eyes --

And Bruce starts kissing and sucking on his *throat* --

"*B* --"

"I'm sorry. You are... no one else has made me fear losing you --"

"Wait, *what*?"

Bruce sighs and *squeezes* him --

"*Ohn* --"

"You were -- your care for him. Your... the way you touched. The need you felt was an *ache* in me..."

"Oh, fuck, he's so -- he's fucking *perfect*, B --"

"A brother of your own, perhaps?" And Bruce starts stroking him slow and *hard* --

"Nn -- *fuck*, I want him, fucking --"

"He wants *you*. He's always... his innocent fantasies..."

"So -- he's so *lonely* --"

"Like you. Like... my love, it seems a terrible crime, but I have been lonely even with you here --"

Jason groans and reaches up to grip Bruce's shoulder, opens his eyes and tries to focus --

"It's all right --"

"Can't -- *together*, B --"

"*Always*," Bruce says, and squeezes him *hard* --

"*Bruce* --"

"Beautiful love. Perfect boy, I am not *worthy* --"

"Fucking -- *B* --"

And Bruce kisses him before Jason can figure out what else to say to him, so Jason just punches his shoulder and kisses back --

Rubs at Bruce's shoulder and kisses *back* --

Sucks Bruce's *tongue* --

But Bruce pulls back enough to pant against his mouth. "I want to watch you taking him, Jay. I want -- every *moment* of that --"

"Nnh -- fuck, I -- he's so *young* --"

"Older than you were --"

"Not -- not the *same*," and Jason scratches at Bruce's flexing forearm --

"Shh, of course. I'm sorry," and Bruce strokes the head of Jason's cock with his thumb --

His hard fucking thumb -- "Oh -- oh, yeah, B --"

"I believe... the sounds he made..."

"So hot. So --"

"He -- you made him scream into his pillow --"

"Wanna do him, wanna just *give* it to him, give him everything he *wants* --"

"His heat. His... you tasted his *heat* --"

Jason groans and arches, tosses his head -- "Wanna do it *again* --"

"*Yes* --"

"Watch *you* do it --"

"Oh. *Jay*..."

"Hold him -- you could hold him down so *easily*, B --"

Bruce grunts and starts just -- fucking tossing him *off*, one jerk after another until Jason is *panting* for it --

"Please -- *please*, B --"

"Jay, *tell* me --"

"*Nnh* -- fuck -- watch you pulling him down on your cock -- *ohn*, that squeeze --"

"Sorry, I --"

"No, you know, you know what I *like* --"

"Want -- I must show you my care, my love for you --"

Jason whimpers and arches --

Bruce pushes him *down* --

"Aw, *fuck*, yeah --"

"You always -- always *enjoy* --"

"Your *strength*, B, you're so fucking *big*, *kiss* me --"

Bruce grunts and does it, licks his way in, *fucks* his way in --

Jason sucks Bruce's tongue and moans, groans and pumps his *hips* --

Bruce bites Jason's lip and *growls* -- "I *need* you!"

"You got me, you -- fuck, B, you *know* I'm yours --"

"No one so bright, so beautiful and *bright* --" Bruce growls and *moves* --

"B -- *fuck* --"

Because Bruce couldn't wait anymore, because Bruce *needed* Jason in his mouth --

He's groaning and sucking so *hard* --

He --

"You're -- you're fucking *forgiven*, B -- *hnh* -- "

And then he's getting flipped *over* --

He's straddling Bruce's *face* -- "Yeah, yeah, I got you, I --" Jason groans again and braces himself on the headboard for a second, long enough to get his knees down and his head *right* --

Before he starts fucking the *hell* out of Bruce's face. Just -- one thrust after another after *another*, and Bruce's hands are *locked* around Jason's hips, Bruce's mouth is --

"So hot -- so fucking -- do *this* to Tim --"

And then Jason's cock is chopping the fuck out of Bruce's moan --

And another --

So hot -- so --

"Love you, B, *love* you -- *ahn* --"

Finger. Fucking --

*Deep* --

"Oh God oh *fuck* --"

Because *Bruce* isn't so horny he can't *work* that finger just right, *Bruce* is swallowing and swallowing, *Bruce* is driving him up a fucking wall --

"Let you watch -- fucking everything --" And the rest of that is just shouting, because Bruce is fucking him in the opposite rhythm to what Jason is using --

Bruce is making him think vacuum thoughts about Thomas-fucking-Wayne again --

Jason's beating on the *wall* --

And then Bruce pulls Jason out of his throat like it's *nothing*, sucks *harder* --

And hums.

Just --

So --

And Jason's *aware* of throwing his head back, but the rest is all heat and light and that great fucking feeling, that perfect fucking feeling that's all about being wrung out, sucked out, *fucked* out --

"*Bruce* --!"

And the headboard can fucking hold him up a little.

It's sturdy enough. Wood and... shit. Yeah.

Jason works on panting for a while.

Then he works on breathing.

Then he punches Bruce's temple -- lightly -- because the fucker is *licking* him, and that's not allowed except for how it totally is.

And the grin on Jason's face is just as stupid as it should be, and his balls are as fucking *loose* as they should be, and --


Jason pulls out and rolls-falls-slumps until he's on his belly half on top of Bruce -- who hums. "Bastard."


"God, you always sound so *smug* after I do you like that," and Jason gives him a shove.

"You are, perhaps, less aware of the sounds you make when we make love that way than I am."

"Uh. So I pretty much sound like I'm coming to death is what you're saying."

Bruce hums again.

Jason snorts. "Fucking fine. I'll do *you* that way sometime and we'll see which of us makes the most embarrassing noises."

Bruce actually *chuckles* for that. "Jay. You have, more than once, expressed the opinion that, while in the throes of passion, I sound like a wildebeest in the process of giving birth."

"*Breech* birth. Heh. Maybe you'll sound like it's getting a *Caesarian* next time."

"Hm. Presumably without anesthesia?"

"Yeah. Yeah, we'll.... uh. What?"

Bruce strokes his hair. "You're sleeping."

"Oh. Hunh. Were we talking about --"


"Yeah, got it. Love --"

And then it's *really* morning, because there's the little *tink* of silver hitting ceramic that means --

"Hey, Al."

"Ah, Master Jason, how good of you to rejoin the land of the living."

Heh. Jason rolls over and sits up, letting the covers bunch up around his waist. The light from the window says it's actually *afternoon*...

But that's Alfred's morning blend of tea, judging by the scent.

"I was *totally* living in my dreams, Al. Uh. Excitingly, even."

"Indeed, young sir?" And Alfred hands him a hot, wet cloth --

Hunh. Jason wipes his face and behind his ears with it. "Why am I getting the five-star treatment today?"

Alfred smiles the little *secret* smile -- and whips off the cover of the tray Jason hadn't noticed before to reveal a *huge* bowl of berries and cream *and* sugar.

"Aw, *man*, Al, *thanks*!"

"You're quite welcome, young sir. As for my reasons... well. Master Bruce mentioned that he had placed an undue amount of strain on you last night."

"Hunh? Oh. Heh. Did he *also* tell you that there's gonna be a new boy around here soon?" And Jason picks up the bowl --

Jason *starts* to pick up the bowl, but Alfred's pointing all discreetly at the tea.

He drinks off half the tea --

And Alfred nods and folds the towel over the *other* towel on his arm. "Master Bruce can be quite uncommunicative about such things... but, yes, I was aware that he was considering increasing the size of our family."

"Heh. You totally have one of those... what are they? Key-loggers? Key-jackers?"

"I am quite sure that I do not know what you are speaking of, Master Jason. What I *am* aware of is that Master Bruce started *his* day with a trip to New York City... and I *believe* I know whom to thank for that."

Jason -- blushes. "Uh. Well... it was *time*. *Past* time, I mean."

Alfred hums and narrows his eyes in the *warm* smile.

"Anyway... uh. You should probably get the med area set up for when Dickie kicks the -- crap out of him."

"We shall see. For now, do enjoy your berries. Your true breakfast --"

Jason's stomach growls like a *Rottweiler* --

"Indeed. Half an hour, young sir."

"Thanks, Al!"

Alfred inclines his head and goes.

Jason drinks the rest of his tea, then forces himself to spend five minutes eating the berries like he has class, then *inhales* the rest. God, Alfred usually doesn't *give* him this much sugar to start the day. It's not like the berries really *need* it --

It's good. It's *damned* good.

After that, Jason takes a quick, thorough shower -- and isn't in the least surprised to find most of the tangles gone from his hair when he washes it.

How much sleep did *Bruce* get -- no. That's a question Jason's *learned* to never think about too deeply.

His 'true' breakfast turns out to be bacon, sausage, ham, cheddar eggs, poached eggs with that creamy lemony stuff whose name he can never remember, and a whole fucking *stack* of the poppy seed bagels from the tony little shop downtown which *closes* at eleven in the damned morning.

Jason eats for a good, solid thirty-five minutes, belches loud enough to rattle the damned *windows*, looks around for Alfred --

He's clear.

After *that* --

He does the homework he'd planned to do this morning.

And then the homework for the stuff he'd missed learning *today* -- and the fact that he's always fucking *light* years ahead of everyone else for the math and the science stuff never stops being a little scary --

And then he damned well puts *nice* clothes on, because Alfred is standing there in the chauffeur outfit with the *grey* gloves, and that means Jason's supposed to go somewhere.

Except that they pass Wayne Tower. Hunh. "Al...? We're not going into the office today?"

"Master Dick called to inform us that Master Bruce will be returning when *he* believes it is time for him to do so."

Jason coughs. "Uh. Seriously?"

Alfred hums. "Master Bruce then picked up the other line and suggested that there will be a certain amount of company for dinner this evening."

"Heh, okay. And then?"

"And *then*... Master Dick began to say things which strongly suggest that he has been keeping terribly rough company since leaving the bosom of home. It seemed the better part of valor to leave them to it."

Jason snickers. "I hear you. Where *are* we going?"

Another hum. And that --

"Oh -- heh. Tim, yeah?"

"Indeed, young sir. I thought it would be... prudent for you to give the young sir a certain degree of... orientation."

"While Bruce and Dick aren't around to freak 'im the hell out?"

"I am sure --"

"That you don't know what I'm talking about. Got it," Jason says, grinning and leaning back. "Man, we should've brought the Bentley or something."

"Indeed, young sir? Does Master Timothy have a preference?"

"Nah, I -- or. Heh. I dunno, actually. But his family's pretty rich, and Bentleys just aren't all that common around here."

"Neither are Rolls *Royces*, Master Jason."

"Yeah, no, I know. The Bentley's more modern, though."

"Hmph. *Modern* is not always -- or even often -- something to aspire to, young sir."

Jason snickers. "Okay, okay, you win, I'll shut up."

Alfred hums *again* -- and doesn't do the nod-of-dismissal thing. Hunh.

"Or... I won't shut up?"

"Master Bruce believes you and Master Timothy will get along quite well."

"Uh... yeah? I mean, he's already a friend. A good friend."

"And he is... mature for his age?"

"Oh, yeah, Al. Plus -- really obviously *smart*. No catch-up classes for him."

"Master *Jason*."

"Yeah, yeah, I know, it wasn't a sign of me being dumb or anything," Jason says, and kicks the back of Alfred's seat *lightly*. "Still."

A *noncommittal* hum.

"I *swear* I'm not getting down on myself, Al --"

"Of course not, young sir. If you were doing such a thing, I would have no choice but to speak with Miss Barbara."

Jason chokes. "Aw, man, Al -- "

"No. Quarter. Given," Alfred says, and turns onto Garden.

Jason snorts. "*Okay*. I'll be good, I swear. Uh... does Tim *know* we're coming?"

"I took the liberty of calling on Mrs. MacIlvenne earlier today --"

"When did you even have *time*?"

Alfred sniffs.

"All right, okay, stupid question. Uh. So what's the story?"

"The truth, of course," Alfred says, and smiles into the rearview. "You met Master Timothy in your travels through the city and the two of you became fast friends."

"Heh. Did she flutter at you? She's totally a flutterer."

"She does indeed seem to be of that persuasion, but I do not feel qualified to judge such things as of yet."

Which -- "You think I shouldn't underestimate her?"

"Master Jason, I am of the opinion that people with your chosen hobbies should not underestimate *anyone*."

Jason snickers and kicks Alfred's seat again. "Got it."

And *that* gets him the dismissal nod, because it's the part of the party where Alfred wills people to get the fuck out of his way so he can park the giant freaking *boat* that is the Rolls.

Jason sits back --

Maybe contorts himself enough that he can see Tim's windows --

And just a pale little *flash* that's either sun-glare or Tim being subtle. Heh.

Eventually, Alfred gets them wedged between a Mercedes and a sleek little Ducati that -- guaranteed -- no one on this block *other* than Tim deserves --

And Jason is being *good*, so he damned well waits for Alfred to open his door before he walks -- *decorously* -- up to the front door of four-thirty-three and rings the bell while Alfred goes all gentleman's-gentleman behind him and to the *left*. And --

Mrs. MacIlvenne, when *not* viewed through a crack, is short, round, rosy-cheeked and apparently deliriously happy. She giggles, she squeezes Jason's hands, she giggles more, she wags a finger at Alfred, she giggles *more*, she *pats Jason's hair* --

And then Tim clears his throat from somewhere behind her, and they actually get inside.

And then there's more patting and giggling, and Alfred not actually saying much of *anything* --

Because it's Jason's turn. Specifically, his turn to be Jason Todd, perfectly respectable son of Bruce Wayne, richest man in Gotham. So -- he plays the role. He doesn't shove his hands too deep in his pockets, and he doesn't curse -- much -- and he only leers at Tim when Mrs. MacIlvenne is focused on Alfred.

Tim, for his part, is playing the role of semi-worshipful younger... frienother. Or something, which is making Jason wonder if Alfred had taken the time to coach him or something, but it does the job good enough to -- eventually -- get him and Tim upstairs with the door closed --

"Sorry --"


"But --"

"Still no," Jason says, and loosens his tie before he has to set fire to it --

"Jay --"

"Hey," Jason says, grinning and walking Tim back up against the door --

"Oh! Oh, Jay --"

"Yeah," and Jason licks the soft-but-not-suspicious-*yet* skin beneath Tim's eyes --

"I -- what --"

And kisses him hard, backing him up more, lifting him up on his *toes* --

"*Mm* --"

And there is no reason whatsoever not to push his thigh between Tim's, so he does --

Tim wraps his arms around Jason's neck --

Jason grips Tim's hips and *hauls* him up Jason's thigh --

"*Unh* -- oh, Jay, don't -- don't make me *loud* --"

"Want you loud, baby, want you -- heh. Use my *mouth*," and Jason opens Tim's mouth with his own, coaxes that little pink tongue *in* --

And Tim hums and licks him, licks him and licks him *more* -- until Jason sucks it hard and starts playing with it, going down on it --

Backing up to nuzzle Tim, and -- hey.

It just *is* a good idea to push his hands up under Tim's shirt, look for those few little bruises he'd picked up, thumb his nipples --

"*Jay* --"

"Uh, huh." And Jason pulls back and grins at Tim, waggling his eyebrows a little --

"You have such beautiful *eyes* -- um."

"Uh. Sounding like Bruce again."

"Sorry! Or -- I'm not sorry?"

Jason licks his teeth. "Bruce and me had a *long* talk, followed by a short jerk-and-suck session. There were some cuddles in there, too... anyway, take off your shirt?"

Tim nods and stares at him -- and then jerks like Jason had pinched his nipples, instead of just holding them between his fingers like he's actually doing.

"You didn't catch all of that, did you."

"Um. Um?"

"Heh." Jason leans in and kisses Tim's forehead. "Take your shirt off, lemme get you off, talk to me, and come home with me."

"Come -- you -- oh. Do you mean it?"

And it's *not* the time to -- wait, no, it totally is. Jason drops to his knees and makes out with Tim's belly button a little, tasting that *funky* salt that gets there, feeling smooth, *soft* skin against his freshly-shaven cheeks --

Tim *gurgles* -- and takes off his shirt.

And scratches at the *door* -- until Jason brings his hands to his hair --

"Jay -- oh -- your *mouth* --"

Jason sucks a kiss *right* there. "You like it, baby?"

"I -- I love -- you want me to go home with you?"

"Uh, huh. Bruce totally can't control himself around you, but Bruce is *Bruce*. When he loses control? He's just gonna stare at you across the dinner table while looking like he's about three seconds from eating you until you jump him in self-defense --"

"Eating -- ah. Ah. Figuratively?"

Jason snickers and *bites* at Tim's happy trail --

"*Jay* --"

"You have to *ask* him to hurt you -- and be convincing about it, too -- but, you know, he'll *look* like he's gonna *destroy* you."

"Ah. Ass first?"

"Uh, huh," and Jason just looks Tim over a little. Nice definition for his abs, *small* pecs, but present --

Teeny little wingspan, but *there* --

"Arms over your head for me?"

"Oh -- all right -- what do *you* want?"

"This, baby," and Jason jerks his chin at Tim --

And Tim lifts his arms and clenches his hands together like --

Jason licks his lips. "Sometimes Bruce holds my arms up like that."

"Do you. You like that?"

"Uh, huh. Mostly 'cause it means he *needs* me to be a little still."

"Oh. And that..." Tim swallows and licks his lips. He --

"Your eyes are so *wide*, baby. I like it," Jason says, and starts working on Tim's chinos.

"I -- I think it's fair to say I'm somewhat shocked? Ah."

Jason snickers. "I *won't* say I've been thinking about this all day -- I thought we'd talk on the *phone* first --"

"I'm sorry --"

"Nuh-uh. *Alfred* set this up," and Jason lets Tim's chinos fall, breathes hot on Tim's cock through his briefs --

"*Jay* --"

"Right here, baby. You wanna hear more about Bruce?"

"I want. I want. I don't know!"

And that actually sounded a little *panicked*, so Jason squeezes Tim's hips as comfortingly as he can manage --

"Oh --"

"Talk to me. What's wrong?"

Tim searches him --

Pushes up on his toes again --

Jason pulls him *down* --

"Oh, *God*, Jay -- ah. Um. I don't -- I don't ever want to come *between* you and Bruce!"

Jason grins. "Not even for the chance to *come* between -- ooh, *that* was a nice twitch. Lemme --"


"Okay, okay -- uh. Heh. This is where I say that we *never* have to do *anything* you don't wanna do, and the same goes for Bruce."

"You -- can't speak for --"

"I totally can. Plus --" Jason shakes his head. "He really *reassured* me last night, Tim. He..." Jason leans in and kisses the top of Tim's happy trail *lightly*. "I'd spent three years knowing he was a good guy with some scary, sad kinks who would pretty much *never* hurt *anyone* with them. And then I spent a night freaking out -- with you there to make it *better* --"

"Oh -- oh, go on?"

"You made it better, baby. You really --yeah." Jason grins. "Anyway, when I got back home, I yelled at him a lot, and asked a lot of questions I'd been too scared to ask before -- not scared because of *him*, but because I get fucking *superstitious* about things like keeping good things *good* -- and he gave me a whole lot of answers. *All* the answers, with the promise that he wouldn't hold back anything. That he'd only held back before because it was what I wanted."

"Oh... that seems..." Tim frowns and gets a serious little *line* on his forehead.

"Yeah? Seems like what?"

"You... you're really *not* his subordinate partner, Jay. At least -- nothing you've said about your relationship makes it sound that way."

"Hey, he totally makes all the decisions -- uh. On the street -- uh. Hunh."

Tim *looks* at him. Just --

That's a serious -- "Okay, *which* of your parents looks at you like that? Seriously."

Tim blinks *rapidly* -- "Um -- that would be my mother. Actually." He winces -- "Sorry."

"Heh. You looked all bitchy and *mean* for a second, baby. I liked it."

More blinks -- "I'll... keep that in mind?"

"You do that," Jason says, and licks Tim's happy trail the wrong way --

"*Ohn* --"

"Ask questions. Ask *lots* of questions."

"When -- when are we going to your -- *nnh* --"

Jason *stops* biting Tim's slim little hip bone. "Soon as I get you off."

"You -- I want --"

"You're gonna get *me* off back home."

"Oh, *God* --"

Jason pulls Tim's briefs down --


"Uh, huh," and Jason lifts Tim's little sac on his fingers and leans in to take a nice, long sniff --

Tim *growls* --

"Yeah, baby?"

"Ah -- ah -- what does Bruce like?"

"*You*. And me. And *Dick* -- 'cause that's who he's been doing all *day* --"

"I thought -- I mean -- *ohn* --"

Jason sucks on Tim's sac harder --

"Jay -- oh, that feels --"

*Harder* --

Tim whimpers and *bucks* --

Jason *nibbles* --

And that was a shout bitten off and muffled *suddenly*. Hunh.

Jason looks up --

And Tim has most of his fist in his mouth.

Jason does a little bit of on-the-fly spatial reasoning -- "You are gonna *love* having Bruce's cock in your mouth --"

And then Tim's gripping his own cock and squeezing *meanly*.

"That close? That's cool," and Jason knocks Tim's hand away and swallows him whole --

"Nnh -- nnh -- *NNH*!"


Tim shudders and bucks again, twists and jerks --

Shoves his free hand back into Jason's hair where it *belongs*, and -- yeah. This --

This is necessary. Jason pushes a finger in next to Tim's cock and works up a little more drool --

Tim *whines* --

Jason winks at him, pulls out, and pushes into that sweet little ass --

Pushes in *rudely* --

And then he just tries to stay still and *ride* it, because Tim is fucking *spasming*, shuddering and writhing and fucking the *fuck* out of Jason's mouth -- just like he should.

Just like --

Jason does his best to suck harder *while* crooking his finger --

And Tim shoots off just like that, grunting around the fist in his mouth and staring at whatever's behind his own eyes.

Jason wants to know. Really --

Really fucking --

Jason focuses on swallowing nice and *neatly* --

Giving that cock a little more love --

But it doesn't take long before Tim is whimpering like an *animal* and trying to push Jason away. Sensitive.

Jason pulls back and licks his lips --

Waits for Tim to *look* at him again --

And then crooks his finger *viciously*.

*That* sound is his name being *yelled* around a fist -- Jason would lay money on it -- and... yeah. All is definitely right with his world. "Just tell me when you're ready for me to pull out, baby."

Tim stares at him with a look of fear and *awe*.

"Uh. You're okay, right?"

Tim nods. Slowly.

"Gonna take your fist out of your mouth?" 

Tim stares at him a little more. Which --

Jason opens his mouth, sticks out his tongue, and leans in *slowly* --

And Tim yanks his fist out of his mouth. "Please don't. Um. Um. I won't be able to keep from screaming. Unless. Did you want? The screaming?"

Jason grins. "I *really* want the screaming. When we're home."

Tim nods and reaches out to touch Jason's mouth with his fingers. "Did you. I mean. When you did that last night --"

"Totally different."

"*Yes*! I -- and your finger --"

"I like to keep my promises."

Tim makes a soft little *high* noise.


"Promise to fuck me? Please --"

"I promise to fuck you so hard and deep you have to *swallow* around me --"

Tim's knees buckle --

Jason *catches* him with his free hand. "But, you know. Bruce wants a taste, too --"

"Oh, God, oh, God, pull *out* --"

"Slow or --"


So Jason *squeezes* Tim's hip and *yanks* --

And Tim makes a sharp little *hah* sound before twisting free and dropping down to straddle Jason's thighs.

"Heh. Remember this position, did you?"

"Um. Um." Tim wraps his arms around Jason's neck and kisses him *slowly*.

And *wetly* --

And -- yeah. The technique's a little shaky -- a little too much attention for the roof of his mouth -- but Jason can't really complain. This is --

He can *feel* Tim having *fun*, and just -- getting right the fuck *into* it --

Oh, now he's getting his tongue sucked --

His neck *rubbed* --

And his cock isn't gonna just be *half*-hard for all that long. And that -- no way Alfred is gonna put up with Mrs. MacIlvenne for much longer. Jason pulls back --

"Oh, is it not --"

"Next time, don't lick the roof of my mouth so much. Other than that? Do *exactly* that --"

"Sorry -- *yeep* --"

Jason growls and *holds* Tim's lower lip between his teeth for a long moment. "Stop apologizing until you, like, elbow me in the junk by mistake or something."

"Oh -- okay --"

"And *then*? Totally laugh at my ass," Jason says, and kisses Tim hard and brief. "I only actually stopped because we gotta get out of here. Pack up your homework?"

"You. You want me in your *home*. I -- um. Yes, all right --"

Jason *grips* Tim's hips. "I want you in my life. And in my mouth. And in my *ass*. The home part's *small*."

Tim searches him -- "Is it?"

Well... heh. Jason smiles ruefully. "No. Home is everything. I think... I think *our* home is gonna pretty fucking sweet from now on."

"Because... because he and Dick are getting along now?"

"Heh. They were a few hours or so ago, anyway. And he might even come over tonight."

"Oh! I mean. Ah. You... probably don't think it's important for me to choose just the right thing to wear."

"Uh. No?" Jason ruffles Tim's hair. "Seriously, wear something you don't mind getting ripped up a little, because if Dick *does* show up, there'll be at least one tackle-hug."

"Tackle -- all right?"

"And maybe bring some workout clothes? We gotta get you *started*."

"Is it all right if my -- my heart -- ah. Anyway --"

"Yeah, I know, it's crazy as *fuck*. And -- you're allowed to tell me to back off --"

"That won't happen."

"Tim --"

Tim scratches the back of Jason's neck and smiles wryly. "It really, really won't happen. And -- tell me more about Bruce and Dick? Or -- no. Tell me more about your home being a better place?"

Jason smiles and kisses Tim's forehead. "It's gonna have you in it. That's already pretty great."

"You -- you're making me feel as if I should be planning to move *in*!"

"You really should --"

"Jay! My parents aren't bad people!"

"Easy, easy, I totally didn't mean it that way," Jason says, and gives Tim the serious-and-honest look, because that *was* honest.

He's not sure it *should've* been, but --

There you go. "Seriously, I promise."

Another search, and this one is long enough -- yeah. No way Tim isn't thinking hard about his parents now that someone has finally brought their issues up in a way he couldn't blow *off* -- but.

Jason was being honest.

Tim nods with a troubled look on his face and rubs a hot little apology to the back of Jason's neck. At least, that's what it feels like. "Will you tell me what you did mean?"

Jason smiles ruefully. "Sure. I just meant that both Dick and I were living with Bruce for our training," and Jason shrugs. "It's easier when you can just roll right out of bed and go down some stairs to get to the pommel horse, or the rings, or the heavy bag, or the obstacle course -- you know what I'm saying."

"I -- certainly, I should have," Tim says, and rubs another circle -- wait.

"Didn't I tell you to stop apologizing?"

*Wide* eyes back --

"Heh, okay, no, you're touching me, so it's allowed. Your other apologies happened with you too far *away*."

"I want. I want. Um."

"Tell me?"

Tim shivers and kisses him *hard*, making it hot and kind of dark with the way he keeps breaking off to bite Jason's lips --

"Yeah, fuck, like that --"

"Oh, I --" And Tim moans *right* into Jason's mouth and pushes his hands back into Jason's hair and *grinds* his hips against Jason's *crotch* --

Jason growls and rolls them down to the floor, gripping Tim's wrists and squeezing --

"Oh, Jay, *yes* --"

"Tim! Alfred says there's room for you to join Jason for dinner at the manor tonight!"

Right, guardian who *cares* about this kinda shit. And also 'blue movies.' Jason raises his eyebrows at Tim, who's looking more *shocky* than anything else --


"Tim? Is everything all right?"

Jason shakes Tim *gently* --

"Gah, Jay, stop *tickling*!"


And then Tim starts *giggling*. *Breathlessly*.

Which is impressive, considering the fact that Jason is -- technically -- still shoving his cock against Tim's own. He stops that --

"Eek! Jay! That's my *hair*!"

Jason ruffles Tim's hair and gets up, trying to come up with a way to get his cock to shut *up* -- wait.

"Oh -- oh, I think Mrs. Mac is calling me!"

Maybe he'll just look into Tim's *eyes* while he --

Giggles more.

While smiling like *Batman*.

Jason's cock shuts right the hell up. He's gonna have to be really, *really* nice to it to get it to start talking again, but then, maybe Alfred won't mind if Jason puts Tim on his lap for the drive home --

Twitch -- damn. He looks at Tim --

"Oh! Oh! Not my *feet*!" And Tim *winks* at him.

Jason thinks he's probably -- yeah, he's done. He pulls Tim's briefs and pants up again so his cock doesn't get *completely* confused --

"Jay, that's so *silly*!"

"You. Are. Fucking. *Creepy*," Jason whispers, and does up Tim's pants --

Tim giggles one more time -- "Mrs. Mac? What's going on?" And then he gestures Jason back --

And, yeah, Jason *had* heard a little creak --

And Mrs. MacIlvenne knocks twice. "Tim? Are you boys rough-housing?"

His turn. "I would *never* do anything like that, Mrs. MacIlvenne," Jason says as obnoxiously fake as possible --

And that was something like a *coo* as Mrs. MacIlvenne opens the door and looks them over --

Pretty damned efficiently, actually. Pretty --

She frowns slightly... and then she blinks and folds her hands together. "Now, boys, Alfred says that he accidentally bought too much food for dinner!"

Right. "Oh, man," Jason says. "Alfred *never* does that."

"He does seem *very* careful," Mrs. MacIlvenne says, and looks *thoughtful* --

But Tim gestures sharply *toward* himself --

So Jason tackles him to the nearest wall and starts... tickling.

Tim giggles and starts punching at him --

"Oh, you two! Don't make me call Alfred up here! I *know* he doesn't tolerate this sort of behavior at Wayne *manor*."

The things Alfred tolerates would make a twenty-year veteran of the *Gotham* police force lose his shit a little -- but. Jason lets Tim tag him with a light but well-set-up punch to the cheek. "Oof! Heh, yeah, you're right. The little guy's sneaky, though. He totally needs it."

Tim huffs and straightens his clothes. "I do *not*!" And he turns to Mrs. MacIlvenne. "You'd planned a later dinner, right, Mrs. Mac? You'd only have to cook for yourself if I went over to Jason's."

"It *would* be easier, yes, but I know your parents didn't hire me to send you gallivanting off all over creation, Tim," she says, wagging a finger and twinkling like a small, middle-aged star.

Or something. Fuck if Jason knows -- he was pretty sure women like Mrs. MacIlvenne only happened on television.

*Crappy* television, at that.

Still, Tim's playing it to the hilt, all wide-eyed excitement and --

"Oh, they won't mind, Mrs. Mac! They --" He *peeks* at Jason. "They've met Jason before. At the parties."

Mrs. MacIlvenne rocks on her heels. "Well..."

"Please? Please? Ah... please?"

And she giggles and flaps a hand at Tim. "Oh, you! Of course you can go! But..." She frowns. "Are you *dressed* well enough? I know you *like* your jeans, Tim, but..."

Tim looks at Jason expectantly.

"Uh. Well, we were mostly going to run around outside," and Jason grins. "Bruce always says I spend too much time cooped up."

"Oh, Tim is just the same! Well, jeans are fine --"

"And I'll bring my study guides with me just... just in case Alfred can't bring us back until later."

Another *thoughtful* little frown -- and those can be dangerous.

Jason clears his throat. "Yeah, uh. Tim's actually right at my level for a couple of things, Mrs. MacIlvenne. He can help."

She blinks -- and then blushes a little. And that is *absolutely* the blush of someone who'd received the edited version of Jason Todd's Life Of Privation And Pain.

It used to be easier to look waifish. Now, Jason focuses on looking rueful until Mrs. MacIlvenne shudders herself into pure, unadulterated sympathy.

"Well, of course! Tim is a *very* helpful boy," she says, and smiles at both of them. "Well? Chop chop! Alfred is waiting!"

"Ah -- I'll just get my books and things, Mrs. Mac."

She beams at him. "Such a good boy. All right, I'll meet you downstairs!" And she goes.

And Jason watches Tim --

For that *moment* of relaxation that means she's definitely out of earshot. And then Tim looks at him with his own rueful smile. "At a certain point you might have to 'introduce me to a girl.' I'm afraid I've been... obvious, in some ways."

Jason blinks. "You're... not planning to come out?"

"Are you?"

"I'm thinking about it. Bruce said I was allowed, anyway."

"Allowed -- oh. Yes, that's... right."

That didn't sound good. Jason looks back over his shoulder --

And Tim is frowning at his backpack like it's failed him in some deep, important way.


"I've -- thought about coming out. When I'm older, I mean."

"And that's... bad?"

Tim looks up with another painful-looking smile. "If we're both out, then doesn't it start looking odd that we're spending time with Bruce? I mean, considering the fact that *Dick's* out. Or -- the next thing to it."

Yeah, Dickie and Roy never quite manage *subtle*... how *much* money is going into keeping it quiet? *Is* it just that Dick's *also* unsubtle with 'Kory Anders?' "Uh. Wow. So I just figured out that I need to ask more questions," Jason says, and shakes his head. "Seriously, it usually just doesn't come *up*. Bruce -- obviously -- knows, and so does Alfred --"

"How... how does that *work*?"

"Heh. Alfred..." Jason crouches and snags a nice-looking pair of trainers for Tim to shove in his pack. "Alfred keeps to himself, except when thinks that he needs to be keeping to *us*. It's... he's pretty aloof, you know? Not *cold*, but... apart."

Tim nods thoughtfully and tucks -- not shoves -- sweatpants and a t-shirt into his bag.

"Hey, *are* you bringing anything to study?"

"Um. Should I?"

Heh *heh*. Jason stands up and crosses his arms over his chest. "No straight As? No spankies."

Tim *snorts* -- "Jay."

Jason grins and waggles his eyebrows.

"That -- is an incredibly obnoxious expression without your mask on."

"Isn't it? Dickie hates that I look more annoying when I do it than he does."

"Is he really -- how powerful *is* Bruce's... ah... 'gaydar'? I mean... how did he manage to pick *three* of -- us?"

"You almost didn't hesitate. Good job," Jason says, and moves to Tim's big, neat desk --

"Oh, just my laptop. It has everything I need to look over for my exams."

"Cool." Jason picks it up and moves close, sliding it into the bag between the t-shirt and sweats. No way Tim's parents didn't drop an *insane* amount of cash for the thing -- it looks *just* like the one Jason mostly uses for a paperweight. "Anyway... you can't really give Bruce too many points for me and Dick. I was running around in tight red jeans and a tighter shirt, and Dickie... you *know* what Dickie was wearing. By *choice*, even."

Tim coughs a laugh --"Oh, God, I'm --"

Jason looks at him.

"All right, fine, I'm not sorry! Still. Ah. Red?"

Jason grins again. "Just as cheap as I was, baby."

*Stricken* look --

Jason snorts and ruffles Tim's hair again. "Okay, *I'm* sorry. That wasn't really second-date humor."

"Oh -- don't. Don't treat me with *kid* gloves, Jay!"

Jason cocks his head to the side. "Kid gloves just means that you try to be a little gentle with someone you care about --"

"You -- oh. Date?"

Jason kisses Tim's hot little mouth. "Fuck, yeah. Let's hit it."

And that's why Tim's a little stare-y and quiet as they leave the townhouse, only managing to smile weakly at Mrs. MacIlvenne and nod at Alfred as he holds the door to the Rolls.

Jason pushes in beside him and throws an arm over his shoulders --

And Tim edges *just* a little bit closer. Nice.

Alfred hums. "Master Timothy, what *are* your favorite foods?"

"Oh! Ah. I don't really... have that many preferences."

Alfred raises an eyebrow in the rearview.

"I mean! Um. I don't care for most fast food --"

"Execrable pap. Do go on."

"Ah... yes. Yes. I enjoy most Japanese cuisine. And... the less fatty aspects of Brazilian and French cuisine."

"A curious blend. Does your Mrs. MacIlvenne prepare such dishes?"

"Ah... no. She tends to prepare standard American fare for my parents, with certain dishes from the British Isles especially for me. Er... especially for me to gain weight, I believe."

Alfred hums. "I believe such things are possible without excess -- or the sensation of being both bloated and logy."

"That would be... ah. I do want to put on rather more muscle."

"I will keep that duly in mind, young sir. Please do consider attempting to educate young Master Jason's palate."

Jason snorts. "Give it up, Al. You'll get my super-stacked chili-onion-cheese dog when you pry it out of my cold, dead fingers."

"*Really*, Master Jason --"

"Can't talk, thinkin' about nitrites."

Alfred sniffs *and* does that little offended shoulder-shift thing, which means Jason's doomed to eating Alfred's homemade sausage with the thick, grainy mustard and homemade chili made with, like, fucking *tenderloin* --

And it always has the nerve to taste *good* --

Yeah, his life is terrible. Jason pokes at the back of Alfred's seat with his foot. "What *are* you gonna feed Tim tonight?"

"I have not yet decided, young sir. I will graciously allow you, on the other hand, to peruse the scraps I leave behind in the kitchen."

Jason snickers. "Can I get the coffee grounds, too, this time --"


Jason -- that's not really a giggle.

No matter *how* stunned Tim is looking.

"You be quiet," Jason says, and palms the top of Tim's head a little.

Tim hums.

Alfred drives.

They get home -- and Bruce is still gone. Just -- you can't be in *any* building with him and not know he's there, no matter how big it is. Well, Jason can't, anyway --

And Tim is looking around the kitchen like he'll be graded on where they keep the flour. Which, considering some of the crazy-ass shit Bruce threw at him to improve his memory... heh.

Not a bad idea.

Still, Alfred shoos them out soon enough, and Jason starts the tour officially. A *part* of him is a little disappointed by the way Tim's mind *isn't* completely blown by the ridiculous amount of money that had to be thrown around to make the manor look like it does, but that's the part that honestly wishes Dick had been the one to give *him* the tour --

As if that was even remotely *possible* --

But Bruce is *fixing* that now, and he can be a dumbass -- a *crazy* dumbass -- but you really only have to tell him something *once* --

And the rest of Jason's brain is taken up with thinking up all the porny little -- heh -- anecdotes to give Tim about *that* chaise in the West library --

And *that* bench by the pool --

And *that* awful fucking chair in the sun-room, and, really, the *only* reason that happened was because Jason was close to fucking *rickets* with the whole lack of Vitamin D thing --

And then there's the completely different awful fucking chair in the study, and also the couch, and also the slightly less awful fucking chair, and also that rug, and also that other rug --


"Heh. Well, sometimes? We don't wanna hook up in the Cave."

"I can't believe I didn't realize you would be *underground* -- ah. Yes. I said that already."

"Uh, huh."

"But..." Tim looks around, and prods at one of the few awful fucking chairs they *hadn't* fucked in -- "Why *this* room?"

"It's kinda ugly, yeah?"

Tim blushes.

"Seriously, baby, it's ugly. Just say it."

"I... it is... exceedingly brown."

"Uh, huh. And most of it's not even a nice brown," Jason says, and points to the huge bookcase. "That? Is an *especially* shitful brown right there."

Tim snorts. "It -- it does seem like a waste of good oak."

"Is that what it is? Fuck it, it's just dead tree to me. Only that's not *true*, because all the dead-tree in the libraries is *pretty*."

"Yes, I -- yes. So... why?"

Jason grins. "Wanna try to guess?"

"I... ah... is it the first room you made love in?"

"Really not. I wasn't all that *much* for atmosphere when I was thirteen, but I still didn't fuck in *bathrooms*. Uh. Much. C'mon, guess again."

Tim frowns and looks around -- and then starts walking around, really *examining* the place.

He speed-reads the titles of the books -- the most boring ones in the whole manor -- and he actually sniffs the air a little. Surprisingly, he never *once* looks at the clock, which had --

Well, no, it's not surprising. There's at least one grandfather clock in *his* townhouse, after all. Though the thing's tick is about a million times less fucking *horrible* than the one in here --

And no one is touching Jason's dick enough to make it less annoying.

Tim looks at him *narrowly*.

"Yeah, baby?"

"I... no, I can't think of anything. Unless this doubles as some sort of changing area? I don't see how, though. It's much too public."

"God, you're good. And pretty damned close."

Tim blinks. "But -- where do you keep the uniforms? And -- all of the other things?"

"Oh, all that stuff stays in the Cave -- Alfred would straight *murder* us otherwise -- but, you know. Sometimes you need a little space to remember who you are when you're *not* on the street," Jason says, and pushes the hands on the clock to nine and two, stepping back quickly enough --

"Oh! Oh! But what's the *mechanism*?"

"Eh, springs, wires, all that good stuff. I'm ass with anything that doesn't have an engine, though -- Bruce'll teach you the rest," and Jason gestures down the stairs.

"Oh. I. Jay..." Tim bites his lip, shakes his head, clenches his *fists* --

"It's okay, baby. C'mon."

"I -- I think I'm too terrified."

"To come downstairs?"

"No! I mean --" And Tim starts *jogging* down the stairs right then, so Jason closes the clock behind them and catches up to him.

"You mean...?"

"I mean. I mean -- wait, is that a *dinosaur*?"

"It's animatronic. Bruce got it for Dick, because Bruce *and* Dick are fucking psychos sometimes. It can roar pretty good, though. C'mon, what's up?"

"I -- I -- oh, a *Croy*!"

"Babs has one of her own --"


"But you gotta tell me what you mean," Jason says, and grips Tim's shoulders before he can take off for the cars.

"But --"

Jason spins him around and *looks* at him.

"Ah. Yes. Um."

Jason raises his eyebrows as pointedly as he can. It's nowhere near what Alfred *or* Bruce can manage, but he's getting as good at it as Dick is, so he's satisfied --

And Tim blushes.

"You are so fucking cute --"

"Oh -- God. Can we go back to 'pretty'? Pretty was better."

"Can I put you in lipstick sometime?"

Tim's jaw drops a little -- but only for a moment. "Ah. Jay."

"It's totally for the Mission. Littlest one crossdresses. It's a rule."

"I think. I think I'd feel better if it was for one of Bruce's *kinks*, Jay."

Jason makes a face. "Do *not* say that ever again. Seriously, do you have any *idea* how close I had to shave for that shit?"

Tim looks at him.

Jason looks *back*.

Tim hums and smiles kind of *secretively* --

"*And* you still have to give it up --"

"You don't think I've done that adequately already?"

"Heh. You still haven't bent over for me --"

"Let's fix that?"

Jason licks his teeth.

And checks out the pommel horse, which is definitely a little too high for that, but there are tons of stepstools down here for all the things Robin's just too *short* for --

"Jay? Why are you looking -- oh. *Oh*. Oh, can we?"

Jesus, fucking, Jesus -- "Yeah. Yeah, we totally can. And not just because it was the first place Bruce fucked *me* --"

Tim moans -- and pushes close.

"Fuck, yeah," and Jason kisses Tim -- he pulls back. "Wait, *talk*."

"Nnh -- I'm frightened all the time. I'm frightened right now, even though you're holding me in my arms and you keep all your promises and you're going to fuck me --"

"Yes, yes, and yes, but --"

"I think -- I think everything will be fine if you can just promise me one thing. Please?"

Jason pulls Tim close. "You tell me, baby. Anything."

"Oh -- Jay," and Tim wraps his arms around Jason's waist and kisses Jason's shoulder about eight times. "Just don't *let* me be afraid. Don't ever let me back away, or freak out so much I can't enjoy myself, or -- or anything like that." And Tim pulls back enough to look him in the eye. "Please?"

"Sometimes fear is a *good* thing --"

"I know. I know. And -- I'll always have... more than enough."

Jason frowns and nods. "I promise to have your back, baby --"

"Thank you --"

"But I need something from you --"

"*Anything*. I -- I mean it, Jay. There's nothing I wouldn't give you."

And that --

It makes Jason feel kinda fucking *bad* for what he's about to ask, but if he can save them both even *one* bad fucking day down the road by doing all this now... Jason nods. "You gotta talk to me, baby. About everything. Your parents, your loneliness --"

"Every -- everyone gets *lonely* --"

"But you have to tell me about *yours*, okay? Please?"

Tim looks away -- but only for a second before he's nodding and pressing close again, closer than fucking *close* --

And Jason gets it. If he'd had someone to hug when Bruce had started showing him around the Cave, he probably would've been all over them. And if he'd had someone to hug when he first realized how incredibly fucking *problematic* every last one of his parents had been --

Yeah. Both at once has gotta be fucking huge, which means --

Part of *this* is gonna be distraction. Something for Tim to bury himself in so that he doesn't have to think about the *rest* right away. Jason frowns. "Tim..."

"Yes. I -- yes?"

"Are you sure you wanna do this now?"

"Um. Do you not --"

"I do. I really fucking do --"

"Then --"

"Two sides to this, baby. That's the way it should *always* be -- unless there are three or *more* sides to it."

Tim laughs softly. "I wish. I wish you'd been my big brother."

Jason seizes a little for that --

Kisses Tim's temple --

And *doesn't* suggest that Tim let Bruce adopt him. Not even a little. "I can be your big brother now."

Tim shivers and turns his face against Jason's throat, breathing hot enough to make Jason shiver, too.

"You like that, baby?"

"I like. I like everything about you. A great deal. Ah --"

"Baby brother sounds good to me," Jason says, cupping and massaging Tim's hips.

Tim moans and kisses Jason's throat --

"Yeah. Bite."

"Ah -- hard?"

"Start soft. I'll tell you when -- mm. Mm, yeah, that..." Jason sighs and moves his hands to Tim's ass, cupping and lifting --

Tim moans and bites harder, and harder -- but Jason's wincing as much for his rising cock as he is for the bite.

"You're good, bro. I like you. Wanna *keep* you -- *nnh* --"

And Tim's whining against Jason's throat, biting hard enough to *really* hurt --

"That's good. That's -- keep it right there..."

"Nn -- *nn* --"

"And *suck*. Really -- really give me a *mark* --"

And Jason's pretty sure Tim wouldn't be sucking harder if Jason's *dick* was in his mouth, and that's --

So fucking *sweet* --

Jason groans and shoves Tim's hips back --

"*Mm* --"

"Just need to get to your fly, baby..."

"Mm-hm, mm-hm, *mmm* --"

"Yeah, that's it, that's -- gonna have a piece of you for *days* -- *unh*. Heh. Okay, yeah, do *that*," Jason says, and grinds against the hand Tim's cupping him with --

Tim nods --

And Jason opens Tim's fly and *shoves* his hand in --

"Oh, *God* --"

"Too much, baby bro?"

Tim pants and *squeezes* Jason through his pants -- "I -- I mean --"

"I love touching you," Jason says, leaning in to lick Tim's forehead, the little bit of sweat at his hairline --

"I -- I never thought I could love being touched this much. I mean. I don't know what I mean," and Tim shakes his head and uses his free hand to stroke Jason's wrist and working forearm --

Yeah, *necessary* to start jerking Tim a little --

"Oh -- *ohn*, oh, please, I'll come too fast --"

"Just gimme a little, baby, I know how to stop you."

"Um. Ah?"

Jason pulls back enough that Tim can see his grin --

"Oh. Jay --"

And then he pinches the head of Tim's cock *just* a little --

Enough for a *squawk* --

"Like that. Slowed you right down, yeah?"

"You're still -- I mean *yes*, but you're still touching my *penis* --"

"You want me to wait until I'm pounding you?"

"Pounding -- oh. Oh, *please*, Jay --"

"Jesus, yeah," Jason says, tugging his hand away, brushing *Tim's* hands away, and turning Tim toward the pommel horse. "Get over there and wait for me -- I need to snag a stepstool for you."

And Tim stares at him for a long moment, eyes wide and cheeks *flushed*. "You mean it. You -- you really want me."

Jason grins and strokes down the bridge of his nose. "I promise I'll be fucking obnoxious at least a few times a day so you can remember why that's a *mixed* thing."

Tim smiles and *then* giggles. And then lunges in to *bite* a kiss to Jason's lower lip.

And then fucking *jogs* to the pommel horse -- and damn if his form isn't better, even with his fly open, than it had been on the street. He'd studied.

He's gonna be *ready* for this, and --

Does Bruce already have a uniform planned for him? Will there be two Robins on the street? Will Tim get to be a different bird altogether? A baby Bat? But all of those questions are really just different ways to ask:

Who is Jason *going* to be fucking down here and on the street?

Whose pretty pink mouth will he be yelling into?

Whose mask is he gonna crawl behind and *live* in a little?

And none of that gets him any closer to the actual stepstool, so he fucking well *moves* --

And the closest one is over by the disguises -- where Jason had left it after the last time he'd hid all the dresses and skirts in his size in a natural hollow among the stalagmites near the *northwest* chasm. Periodically, parts of the ground there just kinda *do* slide down into the bottomless pit. Jason lives in hope --

Except that he really lives *right* here, where he can move up behind the prettiest proto-vigi in the world, the geekiest, freakiest, *hottest* -- "Up."

Tim jerks -- "I didn't hear -- you --"

"Were you thinking about me fucking you?"

Tim blushes. "I was. I was thinking about Bruce."

Jason licks his lips, sets the stepstool down, and *lifts* Tim up onto it --

"*Jay* --"

And then he bends over Tim's shoulder and licks *Tim's* lips. "What was he doing?"

Tim moans and tries to push back against him --

"Nuh-uh, baby," and Jason bends Tim over the horse --

"*Ohn* --"

"You are so fucking pretty -- c'mon, tell me. Tell me *everything*," Jason says, and yanks down Tim's pants and briefs --

"I can't -- you -- it's going to be difficult to *speak* soon --"

"It sure as fuck will, baby. Hurry up," and Jason smacks Tim's ass once on each cheek --

"*God* -- I mean -- I mean he was. Fingering --"

"Your ass?"

"My." Tim swallows with a hot little click and *scratches* at the horse. "My mouth first. He. His hands are very."

"They're hard as hell first thing in the morning, and/or two, three hours after he strips out of the suit and showers."

"Oh. I've only felt them once --"

"At a party?" And Jason starts massaging Tim with rough speed --

"Oh -- oh, that feels so *good* --"

Jason grins. "When I'm done with you? You're gonna be a *puddle*."

"Perhaps -- perhaps I'll *make* -- wait, no, that's horrible -- "

Jason snickers. "Pretty much, yeah. Answer me?"

'"Yes. Yes, he called me 'Tommy.' More than once. And I think he called me 'Tammy' once, too."

"Heh, I'm pretty sure 'Brucie Wayne' thinks my real name is 'sport.' Or maybe 'tough guy.'"

"I --"

"You seemed to respond better to that than you did to 'tiger,'" *Bruce* says, from *behind* him --

"Jesus fucking *Christ*, B, how did I not *feel* you?"

"I'm sorry. I'm afraid I'm... out of sorts," and Bruce moves up beside him and fucking *rakes* Tim with a look. He doesn't *touch*, but -- he wants to.

And Tim is panting -- no, hyperventilating.

"It's okay, baby --"

"I -- I -- I don't --" 

"Truly, Tim, it *is* all right," Bruce says, and turns to Jason with an eyebrow raised. "You usually sense me much faster."

Jason sighs and goes back to massaging Tim, really *punishing* the new knots --

Tim *moans* --

Cuts himself off with a squeak and a *jerk* --

And Jason works on him a little harder than that --

"Good technique."

"*Thank* you, B. What's up?"

Bruce *hums* -- and looks down.

Jason snorts. "Fucking *stop* that. You have an *impressionable boy* to... uh. Make an impression on."

Bruce hums *again* -- and looks at the handprints on Tim's ass.

Jason snickers. "Hey, he's also an *awesome* boy who can take *multiple* impressions at once. Aren't you, baby?"

"Um. Ah. I'm bent over."


"In -- front of Batman."

"Yeah, but --"

"I rarely ever think of myself as Batman when I'm in Jason's presence, Tim," and Bruce shifts to the left -- just enough that Tim can see that warm, narrow-eyed smile.

"Oh. Oh. I'm -- not sorry?"

Jason shoves down his chinos and boxer briefs. "Better, better. Here," and Jason spreads Tim's ass and *nestles* himself between --

Tim moans so *sweet* --

And Jason rocks just a *few* times before going back to the massage. But. "So, *is* Dickie here, too?"

Tim *grunts* --

Bruce narrows his eyes in an extremely *different* smile --

And Jason *strokes* Tim a little. "Bruce totally gets hot for his boys getting hot with each other."

Bruce *coughs*. "Jay."

"What? Am I *wrong*?"

"Hm. I have always hoped you and Dick would become... closer."

"Heh heh. Did he send a message for me?"

Bruce smiles *secretively* --

"Nuh-uh, B. Share with the *class*."

"Ah -- ah -- it's okay! I mean -- I imagine you have a great deal -- oh, *God*, Jay, that *thrust* --"

"Just for you, baby. Now, spill it, B."

"I was thinking, as I exited the Mercedes, moved through the manor, and walked down the stairs, about the specifics of the message Dick wanted me to share with you."

Hunh. "And *that* was enough to make you a freakin' *ghost*?"

"It was a very... fascinating message."

And that's a *warning*. That's definitely --

"Shall I give it to you now, Jay?"

"Uh. Hunh. Is it gonna freak Tim out? You *know* Dickie's nucking futs. Wait, no, never mind --"


Jason bends over and bites the back of Tim's neck --

"Oh, *Jay* --"

And then pulls back. "Not letting you freak, remember?"

"Oh. Oh. Suddenly I'm faced with the implications -- ah."

Jason strokes between Tim's shoulder blades. "Wanna go back on --"

"No! *Never*! I just -- I'd forgotten."

"That's allowed, baby. Now one sec," Jason says, and turns back to Bruce. "Hit --"

*Me*, he was going to say, but that's fucking challenging with a tongue in his mouth --

Especially when it's *Bruce's* tongue --

And Jason's just about to really open wide for it, to give Bruce *room*, but then there's a hand on his ass and Bruce is kissing him harder, squeezing and scratching --

Holding Jason's mouth half-closed with his own --

Pushing between Jason's cheeks and *rubbing* at Jason's hole with two fingers --

And *moaning* into Jason's mouth, moaning and rubbing and -- not humming.

Not -- really -- feeling him up.

Not gazing into his eyes --

Dick's message. Dick --

Holy. Fucking --

Jason groans into Bruce's mouth and clutches Tim's hips --

"*Oh* --"

*Rubs* Tim's hips and tries to think, tries to fucking *exist* in a world where Dick -- *Dick* -- wants to do this with him --

Jason turns his head and *pants* --

"There was more to the message --"

Jason holds a hand up and just -- stays on his feet.


Thinks -- gives up on thinking. "Uh. I think got the gist, B. Jesus, what was that *for*?" And Jason bends over and kisses the back of Tim's neck once, twice, six or seven times --

Tim moans -- cuts himself off.

"Hey --"

"Jay, I -- I'm okay. I don't want you to --"

"Fuck you so hard you scream?"

"And. And swallow around you --"

"Uh, huh. I'm right here, baby. Just getting caught up on family news."

"I -- ah."

"Additionally," Bruce says, and covers Tim's left hand on the horse *lightly*. "I need not remain here."

"Oh -- but -- it's your *headquarters* --"

"And Jason's, and, I hope, yours."

Tim moans again --

Cuts himself *off* again --

"Oh -- God. I think. I think I need to stand up."

"Sure about that, baby?"

"Oh -- Jay. Ah. Can we take it as read that I'm never going to be sure of *anything* which doesn't lead to more sexual activity with you?"

Jason laughs and pinches *both* of Tim's cheeks at once --

"Yee --"

Bruce *hums* --

And Jason pulls back, turns Tim, and lifts him onto the pommel horse.

"Oh, God --!"

Bruce narrows his eyes *thoughtfully* this time -- "Hm. You weigh... one hundred and five pounds?"

"Ah. Ah. One hundred and four. And a half. As of my physical last week. I'm -- trying to grow faster. Also, please stop *moving* me, Jay!"

"Aw, please?" And Jason looks *hopeful* --

Tim's jaw drops a little and he leans *in* --

So Jason kisses him softly, *wetly*, and just a little nastily. Lots of tongue and a *mean* hand in Tim's hair --

Tim cries out into his *mouth* -- and pulls back. "Um. I need. A minute."

Jason licks his lips. And points to the watch he's not wearing.


"Nuh-uh, B, you missed that part of the conversation," Jason says, and jerks his chin at Tim. "We're not *supposed* to let Tim freak out."

Bruce blinks and turns to Tim. "Does that... work?"

"A certain. A certain degree of externally-applied discipline can be... ah. Exceedingly helpful."

Bruce nods slowly and *decisively*. "Jay, please don't allow me to... backslide."

"Aw, B --"

"Please," and Bruce rests his hand on Jason's shoulder and -- it was time -- gazes deeply into his eyes.

Jason sighs. "Okay, okay, fine. It's not like Tim *didn't* point out how often I call the fucking shots. But if you try to make me put you on a goddamned leash? I'm spiking your cock."

Bruce touches his tongue to his upper lip --

"And not in the *fun* way! Jesus, you're the biggest perv in the *world*!"

"Hm. As you say," and Bruce turns back to Tim. "Did you need to speak to me or Jay about something in particular?"

Tim *stares* at Bruce for a long moment --

"It's all right, I promise you."

"I'm. I really am just sitting here with my... pants and underwear around my ankles. Aren't I."

"Uh, huh. But the look works on you, baby. You totally started a fashion," Jason says, and points to his own extremely naked junk.

"*Jay*. You're -- well, you're perfect --"

"B, step in here."

Bruce raises an eyebrow. "You usually don't allow me to be as complimentary as I wish to be, Jay."

"Yeah, I know, but you totally made up with Dick, and that means you get a reward. Tell him what you've been thinking about."

Bruce's freaking *nostrils* flare --

And Tim's *exactly* smart enough to rear back just a little -- though not smart enough to get away.

If he and Bruce do this right? He never will be.


"Ah. Yes? Bruce? Am I really supposed to -- refer to you that way?"

"Please. You may call me 'Brucie' if we're in public among civilians -- that sort of thing is always helpful. You should call me Batman -- or something of the sort -- when we're on the street, or when you wish to call me to myself. You --"

"Ah. What?"

Bruce smiles... and holds up a hand.

"Oh. All right --"

And Bruce steps closer, resting his hands on the pommels of the horse to either side of Tim's hips.

"You. You're warm --"

"Your scent includes hints of vanilla hand cream. An interesting choice for a young man -- and a fascinating one whenever I came close enough to you at one of those parties."

"It's -- it's really just the best --"

"You don't care to smell... sweet?"

Tim searches Bruce with his mouth open -- closes it and licks his lips --

And Bruce leans in closer and takes a slow, *deep* breath --

"Oh -- oh, I haven't showered --"

"Since this morning." Bruce smiles and leans back *slightly* -- not as far back as he was before. "I had your parents introduce me to you four times... because I could not come up with a rationale for there to be a fifth... or an eighth."

Tim looks like he just found out that the Easter Bunny *was* real. "What -- Bruce?"

"A beautiful, intelligent young man with *watchful* eyes. I did not know you, Tim... but I wanted to."

Damn. "Just so you know, B? *That's* dirty."

Bruce smiles more broadly -- and never looks away from Tim. "Noted. I did not see your eyes four nights ago when I noticed you following Jason and me. I saw your body, the way you moved... and I couldn't be sure my memories weren't fooling me. Teasing me."

Tim is -- panting a little. "Teasing?"

Bruce nods *slowly*. "A watchful boy... who had chosen to watch me. To, perhaps, watch me as I made love with my partner and son and lover."

Tim's cock twitches, but he doesn't make a sound.

"How many times, Tim? How much have you seen of my... passions?"

*That* gets a moan. "I'm not -- I mean --ah. Twenty-nine times."

Bruce sucks in a breath. "So many... and the last three in rapid succession..." Bruce licks his lips and sighs. "Shall I tell you what I imagined as I struggled not to hope too deeply that the body I saw was yours?"

"Please -- I mean. You must be busy --"

"May I touch you, Tim?"

Tim *whimpers* -- and covers Bruce's hands on the pommels.

"Thank you."

"You. You. If you had ever... asked --"

Jason clears his throat and smiles ruefully --

Tim's eyes do the saucer thing. "Oh, Jay, I didn't mean --"

"Easy, baby. I'm just saying -- I might've put the brakes on *for* Bruce, considering how old you probably *weren't* when he started checking you out."

Tim blinks *rapidly* -- "I've only been wearing the vanilla cream --"

"For a year," Bruce says, flipping his hands and cupping Tim's in his palms. "Or...?"

"No, I -- that's. That's about right." And Tim eyes Bruce like he just noticed he's crazy.

Bruce laughs quietly again. "As I said, an interesting choice for a young man. Let me tell you what I've imagined with you."

"That. That was. An order."

"Not on purpose. Would you like me to be more... sure?"

Tim moans -- and, when Jason looks, he's leaking pretty steadily.

"Oh. Tim. If and when you allow it, I will pleasure you until you lose consciousness."

And there goes *his*cock -- and Tim's, too --


"Bruce. Bruce. I --" Tim shakes his head and gives Jason a *pleading* look.

"Yeah, baby? What do you need?"

"I. I believe I was hoping you could tell *me* that," Tim says, and laughs a little hysterically.

"Please --"

Jason holds up a hand to Bruce. "Wait a sec, B," and Jason moves close, cupping Tim's cheek and turning him to face *only* him. "I mostly just wanted him to give you some idea of how fucking *hot* you are --"

"It -- I think it's working? This is definitely a different flavor of panic than my usual."

Jason grins and licks his cheeks. "Just remember that it's *all* okay, baby. Anything and everything you want -- and nothing you don't."

Tim frowns. "I don't -- want to be boring."

"Uh. Can you be? Seriously, I'm thinking you could even make your freakin' Fae Voyage games interesting to me."

"Yes, well, I try to... to work in aspects of medieval warfare and medicine -- um. Anyway. It's just that I don't really know *what* I do and don't want sexually."

"That's cool, too. I mean, I was anything *but* a virgin when Bruce and I started hooking up, but it's not like I *really* knew what I liked and what I didn't."

Tim blinks for that -- then takes a quick breath and nods. And blushes.

Jason leans in and *bites* Tim's cheek --

"*Oh* --"

-- lightly, before leaning back again. "Ask me some questions?"

"What -- what *don't* you like?"

"Gags -- I need to talk. Canes -- too many of the wrong fucking kind of bruises. Heavy bondage -- I *need* to be able to move a little, even if I probably won't. Coming from being rimmed -- too fucking *pushy*. Calling Bruce anything *like* 'Dad' while we're fucking -- uh. I think you can guess?" Jason shrugs. "Things like that."

Tim nods slowly -- and then turns to Bruce. "Do... is it very disappointing not to be able to do those things with Jay?"

Bruce smiles and unknots his tie. "The pleasure of everything he allows -- and welcomes -- far outweighs the disappointment of losing the few things he does not. And I have never cared for gagging lovers."

Jason snorts. "Didn't stop you from gagging *me* the first night we met."

Bruce hums and looks Jason over like a meal. "The way you cursed was... a terrible, wonderful goad. I had to give myself time to lose the urge to quiet you with my tongue, my fingers, my penis..." He shakes his head. "Dick curses more now, as well."

"Yeah, well, he *was* late for his teenaged rebellion, B."

"Indeed. And Roy Harper has been a powerful influence."

Jason opens his mouth --

Bruce raises his hand. "My jealousy is itself, and I will not allow it to dictate my actions anymore. It gave me nothing but pain and an empty home, and I will remember that," he says, and turns back to Tim. "I am open to experimenting with nearly any sexual act you wish, Tim -- and to ending those experiments the moment you wish them to end."

Tim sucks in a quick breath -- "Ah. 'Nearly'?"

Bruce smiles again. "It would be, at the very least, wildly irresponsible -- in terms of the Mission -- to cause you physical harm more serious than minor cuts and bruises."

Whoa. "Wait, *cuts*?"

Bruce hums and moves close to Tim once more, offering his wrist.

"Oh. I. Should I --"

"Please. Tell me how you feel --"

"About *cutting*?!" Jason gets ready to punch him --

"-- about this cologne."

"B, I will *kneecap* you."

Bruce *chuckles* and grins at him. "Not all of my scars are from the Mission, Jay."

Jason's jaw drops. Just -- "You didn't tell me --"

"You responded to my -- carefully ingenuous -- statements about sexualized scarification with what can only be termed extreme distaste, Jay."

And that's... true. But -- "B, did you *want* me to --"

"There is nothing I don't want with you, Jay. Not one thing."

Jason shivers -- and thinks about all that time they've spent patching up each other's wounds, *stitching* up each other's wounds --

"Jay... there is also nothing I would ever force you to *endure*. Not when we have so much."

But --

But maybe he gets Tim a little better now, because -- fuck if he doesn't want to *immediately* at least fucking *try* --


Jason shakes himself like a dog and strips off the rest of the way, then shakes out his legs a little more, the shakes out his *self* a little more, then walks up to Bruce and jabs a finger at his chest. "Who."

"Jay --"

"*Who*, damn it!"


"*Augh* --"

"And... Kal."

And he didn't really *mean* to punch Bruce in the gut that time, but --

"Hm. Noted."

"Seriously, B, that's not -- you shouldn't -- wait, Kal did it in the Fortress, yeah? With, like, the motherfucking *nanites* around?"

Bruce tilts his head to the side and starts to tug his hand away from Tim --

Tim catches it in *both* of his hands. "Ah. If I could. I want -- *oh* --"

And *that* was absolutely for Bruce pulling a damned *Batman*, flipping the hold, and *gripping* both of Tim's wrists in one hand. "Is this all right, Tim?"

Tim *pants* -- "Yes. Please keep talking to Jay. Please."

Bruce lifts his chin -- and then nods and turns back to *him*. "The possibility of immediate healing... makes a difference?"

"*Yes*, you asshole!"

"And if I tell you that I always ask Kal to leave *one* wound to scar normally -- or as close to normally as the Fortress allows?"

Jason frowns. "B, you told me that you thought it was the scar tissue which would make you have to *quit* one day! Like, more than anything *else*."

Bruce sighs and smiles ruefully. "Yes. And I would never speak of the habit -- the kink -- wholly positively. Still... I've come to be quite confident in both my knowledge of anatomy and my knowledge of my own body's elasticity. Kal -- Clark -- is even more of an expert in such things."

And -- that's true. It's *true*. Jason still can't keep from frowning, though. "It's -- what you need?"

"Sometimes. Very rarely, as these things go. Mostly when my body feels... particularly abused. Or like a canvas which had been left bare to the depredations of the worst of humanity."

Jason shivers and turns to Tim. "What do you think about it?"

"Ah! Um. Well. I suppose. I suppose it is appropriate for me to... add. Ah. I think... I think, for me, it falls under 'meaningful scars.' Or... or *proof* that I've had something good? Done something good. Been... with?" Tim blushes and smiles ruefully. "I would. I think I would enjoy you scarring me a great deal, Jay. And -- that's a little terrifying, actually."

Jason laughs. "Yes, it *is*. Can't I just pierce your nipples?"

Tim's eyes cross *nicely*. "That... isn't that dangerous if you're still growing?"

"*So are other scars*."

"Oh." Tim blinks and licks his lips. "I suppose you have a point. And -- are you fond of that sort of body art?"

"Heh. One day? I'm taking you up to New York City and making Roy strip for you."

"He's *pierced*?"

"*All* over, baby."

"But --"

"Well, not anywhere that gets *exposed* to people who might want to hurt him -- except his ears, and he doesn't *usually* wear earrings when he's working -- but... yeah. It's pretty hot."

"I concur," Bruce says, and tightens his *grip* on Tim's wrists --

Tim moans -- "You -- you want to make love with *Arsenal*?"

Bruce smiles. "No. But I long to *taste* Roy Harper -- and his... accessories."

Jason snickers. "Of course you do. Did you want him before or *after* he started puttin' it to Dickie?"

"In truth, my desire for him was quite mild -- even forgettable -- until I realized that you found him to be worth your affections. Dick's tastes can be rather more catholic --"

"Meaning you *still* want to tranq-dart Wally more often than you want to *talk* to him."

Bruce hums. "You know me so well. No, I... took him for granted." Bruce shakes his head. "I will not make that mistake again," and Bruce raises his eyebrow at Tim --

Who is staring at *both* of them like he doesn't know what's going on. Which is *fair*, because --

"When do we get to pay attention to that sweet little cock, baby?"

*That* -- was the dirty, dirty love-child of a growl and a squeak --

And Bruce lifts Tim's arms over his head --

"*Oh* -- I never -- I find the cologne slightly too... flowery. For you. I imagine it would be quite pleasant on a less... ah. Manly? Man."

"'Manly'. Hm. Shall I grow a mustache --"

"*No*," Jason says, and makes a fist. "The answer is *no*. Because there is *nothing* good about you and mustaches, B."

Bruce smiles like a fucking shark -- and doesn't look away from Tim. "I believe it would be only proper to allow Tim to make certain decisions, as well."

Tim leans *in* again --

"Baby? Four words: Thomas Wayne. Matches Malone."

Tim's eyes cross *just* the way they should -- "Wait, who is Matches Malone?"

Bruce opens his *mouth* --

Jason tags him over that one rib he keeps bruising. With a whole lot of knuckle.

"Hm. Jay, that really isn't the proper configuration --"

"Don't worry, B. The *next* punch will be *perfect*."

Bruce chuckles again and squeezes Tim's *wrists* --

Tim *gasps* --

"Perhaps the two of us will discuss the man at another time...?"

Tim nods like Bruce is *hypnotizing* him -- which he absolutely is. Jason sighs and decides to go with it, crossing his arms over his chest and jerking his chin at Bruce. "Tell him what you were thinking the *first* time you called him Tommy."

"Yes, Jay," Bruce says, and breathes deep again. And *smiles* again. "I'd felt the scars on your knuckles when we shook hands. I thought of teaching you how to throw a punch without taping your hands first. I thought of licking the blood away."

"Okay, B? We're *going* to have a talk about the blood-play. Not that that kind isn't hot, but still."

"As you say. Next...?"

"Heh. The *next* time you called him Tommy."

Bruce nods. "Each of the times I let myself look at you that night, Tim, you wore an expression of subtly pained disgust. It was the thirty-third birthday party for Elspeth Hanshaw, and she had only invited your parents in an attempt to seduce your father, who became quite inebriated on champagne. Your mother took you home early... but not before I fantasized about giving you a light craniofacial massage, and then tasting the stress-sweat at your temples."

Tim moans *impressively* loudly --

And Bruce raises an eyebrow.

"I -- it's just that I *remember* that party and -- you. You made love with Jay."

Bruce nods and smiles.

Heh. "Told ya, baby -- me getting laid at those things is the *rule*." Jason bumps Bruce with his shoulder. "Were you thinking about him when you were doing me?"

Bruce gives him a *hot* look from over his shoulder.

"Uh. Yeah? No, wait, *talk* --"

"Yes, Jay. I wondered, as I licked the sweat from your scrotum, how your flavors would compare to Tim's --"

Tim makes a *strangled* noise --

"Hmm. After that," Bruce says, and turns back to Tim. "After that, I could only drown myself in Jay, as I had done so many times before, and as I have done so many times since."

"That's adorable, B."

"Thank you --"


"Hmm. Vanilla hand-cream... and my fantasies called for far more of it than could ever be practical."

Tim sighs out a breath. "How. How much?"

"Enough -- previously-warmed, of course -- to make your rectum seem as soft and wet as a woman's vagina."

Tim's eyes are crossing again.

Jason... is pretty much going to have to start drugging himself ahead of time for these conversations. Just -- he'd *asked*.

He should *know* better than to do that by now --

But. "You wanted him in drag, B?"

"Yes," Bruce says, and uses his free hand to stroke Tim's cheekbones. "Blush." His eyelids. "Eyeliner and shadow." His *mouth*. "Lip-liner and lipstick."

Tim swallows. "And... a dress?"

"Burgundy. Your coloring is much the same as your mother's... though I'd want you in more sheer stockings than what she usually chooses for herself."

"Oh -- oh. I see --"

"Do you?" Bruce strokes Tim's bare thighs. "Here, and here would be garters."

"I -- *really*?"

Bruce smiles. "I believe I would snap them -- gently -- as I prepared you to take me inside yourself."

Tim groans -- and that cock is twitching *seriously* now.

"You close, baby?"

"Yes -- yes --"

"Do you *want* B to get the makeup? He can be pretty fast --"

"No, I -- I'm not supposed to -- I shouldn't -- I mean. No. I mean no."

And Bruce doesn't look any more curious than Jason *feels* -- "Perhaps... another time?"

Tim *pants*. "Please. Please. I need -- to be touched --"

"By whom?"

Tim stares at Bruce like he's speaking another *language* --

So Jason gives his cock a *little* pinch --

"*Ahn* --"

"Come back to us, baby. This is important."

"Yes. Ah." Tim looks at Bruce for a long moment that's making Jason want to push between, want to push Bruce's head down on Tim's cock, want to come on *both* their faces --

And Jason takes the deepest breath he can. "Tim..."

"I. One -- moment," Tim says, and looks Bruce in the *eye*. "I'm not. I'm not ready."

"You need never be --"

"No! I -- I really. Want you. Desire you."

Bruce sighs. "Lovely boy. You may have me."

Tim groans --

Shakes his head --

"I. Please let go?"

Bruce nods and releases him immediately --

And Tim jumps down onto the stepstool and turns around again, bending over and -- "*Please*, Jay. I need to -- I need to feel *you*."

"*Brother* -- uh -- yeah. You got me, too. You know that, right?"

"*Please* -- I mean. I mean, yes --"

"And maybe you need me to... get you ready?"

"I need you for -- for so *much*, Jay --"

"Shh, it's okay. Better than," and Jason moves close and kisses a line from the top of Tim's spine down to the base, where he gives Tim a little tongue, some teeth --

"Oh -- oh, *please*!"

"You are... sensitive there, Tim?"

"*Bruce*! I mean -- I don't know -- it feels --"

Jason *scrapes* his teeth there --

"*Jay*! I'll come, I think I'll *come* --"

"Whoa, got it," and Jason kisses him there lightly and stands up again. "Does Bruce stay?"

"Please -- don't make me make that decision?"

Jason frowns and rubs Tim's shoulders. "Baby, it's all about what makes *you* --"

But Bruce grips Jason's shoulder and shakes his *head* --

And... yeah. That does get filed under not letting Tim freak out, actually. "All right, never mind. Bruce stays *right* here -- and gets to see you, and hear you, and *smell* you."

Tim moans and claws at the horse -- "Yes, Jay."

And that... "You wanna play it like that, baby? I should make you *all* mine?"

Tim shudders all over, pants --

Jason gestures Bruce to go around --

And Bruce is right there in a heartbeat, cupping Tim's jaw and lifting it enough that Bruce can see Tim's eyes. "He seems almost... anguished."

Jason licks his lips and crouches to grab the slick out of his pocket. It's still warm *enough* from having been close to his body -- warmer than it would've been if he'd taken it out before stripping --

And Jason's not doing his best thinking right now. He's just -- not.

*Clark* is the only person he's ever *shared* with Bruce -- mutual perving on Diana doesn't *count* when no one is *getting* any -- and Clark isn't --

Family? Jason doesn't know. He just knows that Tim *belongs* here, while Clark is always a guest. A *welcome* guest, but --

Jason shakes his head and makes a little love to the back of Tim's neck --

"He is... tensing and relaxing, at once."

Jason licks the salty spot behind Tim's ear. "How 'bout it, baby? Wanna be on my leash, a little?"

Tim shudders and whimpers --

"I," Bruce says, and strokes Tim's jaw with his thumb, "highly recommend it."

Tim whimpers again -- and spreads his legs as far as they can go on the stepstool.

"That -- heh. Yeah, that *is* an answer, baby. I'm gonna let B keep touching you. It won't be *much*... but you can only say no with *words*. Understood?"

"He is... attempting to nod."

"Good enough," and Jason slicks his fingers. "Reach back with your right hand and spread... yeah, like that. Mm. You really do have a *fantastic*-looking hole. Any guy would wanna stick their cock there... and I know at least two different women who would go out and *buy* cocks for it. Heh. If they didn't already own a few, that is."

Tim shudders all over --

"Still too straight for you?"

Tim nods and pushes up on his toes --

Jason smacks his ass with his dry hand. "*Down*."

"*Jay* --"


"Yes -- oh, yes, Jay --" And Tim drops, holding his head awkwardly --

Bruce still has his chin.

"You're watching every reaction, B?"

Bruce nods once. "I must learn... everything."

"I know the feeling," Jason says, and grips Tim's hip with his dry hand before pushing *right* in with two --

"*Hnh* --"

"Jay..." And Bruce is breathing through his mouth, but --

"*Tell* me, B."

"Yes. His eyes are wide and already quite dazed. He is... biting his lip. I believe you gave him... pleasurable pain."

"Yes -- oh, yes, *please* --"

"What's it gonna take to make you yell for me, baby bro?" And Jason starts thrusting slow and *hard* --

"Ohn -- ohn -- I don't --" Tim shakes his head and pushes up on his toes again --

"Pinch one of his nipples, B. *Hard*."

Tim *drops* -- and then cries out and tosses his head a little, because, yes, that *was* too late.

"Do it again."

"As you say," and Bruce is studying Tim *hard* --

"And keep *talking* --"

"I'm not sure if you can tell, Jay, but he is opening his mouth for cries nearly twice as often as he's making audible sounds."

Jason grunts for the twitch of his cock -- "Okay, that's a surprising kink. Still -- be *loud*, baby."

"Jay -- it's so -- the *echoes* --"

"Loud. Hot. *Heavy*," Jason says, and crooks his fingers --

And Tim *shouts* --

"Perfect. That's *just* what I want."

"Oh -- *please* --"

"You're gonna give me what I want, aren't you, baby?"

"Let me -- always *let* me --"

"I will, I will. Start with sucking Bruce's fingers for me. *Just* like you wanted to do before."

Bruce raises an eyebrow.

"Heh. Baby was having a *fantasy* before you came down, B. After you used his mouth a little? You fingered his *ass*."

Bruce hums and *smiles* at Tim. "I promise to give that to both of us as soon as you allow --"

And Tim *lunges* to get Bruce's first three fingers in his mouth.

Bruce sighs and shivers. "Your eagerness... moves," and Bruce looks up at *him*. "Shall I take his mouth for a time?"

Tim groans and shudders all *over* --

"One sec, B." And Jason stops prepping Tim and starts *fucking* him, giving it to him the way *he* likes it, all short, sharp thrusts --

And Tim shouts *rhythmically* around Bruce's fingers --

"*Now* do him. You know the --" Rhythm, but he doesn't have to say it, because Bruce is in perfect fucking *counterpoint* --

And Tim is yelling and beating his fists on the horse --

And Jason -- wants some. Wants what he's getting, wants *more*, wants it for his *cock*... and wants more, too.

He licks his lips and moves his free hand from Tim's hip to the back of his neck. "Changed my mind, baby."

"Mm -- *mm*?"

"Heh. Pull out, B."

Bruce does it *slow* --

"I'm *going* to fuck Tim -- and I'm even gonna do it hard -- but while I'm getting him used to my cock? You're shoving into *me*."

Tim grunts and *bucks* --

And Jason uses the hand on Tim's neck to push him down, down, *down* --

"Oh, *Jay*, please don't *stop* --"

"Gonna have to, baby. Gonna -- mm. More slick," and Jason pulls out quickly and *carefully* --

"*Nnh* --"

And Jason pours more slick onto his hand before tossing the bottle into his blind spot -- where Bruce is absolutely standing, because. "You're a fucking bastard, and you're gonna *break* me a little with this. Got it?"

Bruce growls like an *animal* -- and then Jason's shirt just *is* in shreds on the damned floor --

"Fucking *A* -- oh, *yeah* --"

And Bruce is working *Jason's* nipples from the back, pulling and twisting so *hard* --

Making Jason feel like his cock is attached to *every* part of his body, like he's gonna get *used*. And the only way to deal with that feeling is to *not*, is to *ride* it --

And maybe share it with his baby brother, too. So --

Jason doesn't bother trying to be quiet or *subtle* about feeling Tim up as he shoves back in. He scratches Tim's nipple and spanks his ass, and slaps his *cock* --

"Please, Jay, *please* --"

"We'll -- nn -- we'll fucking well *revisit* that," Jason says, and then starts pumping Tim's tight little sac --


"*Fuck* -- *tell* me, Tim --"

"Too -- I'm going to *come*--"

"Fuck no, you won't," and Jason gives that sac a *yank* --

And immediately regrets it, a little, because Tim's scream makes the bats start shrieking -- and Jason's cock start *begging*.

"Gotta make just that sound when you're -- *unh* -- fuck, *B* --"

"I must make us *both* ready, Jay," Bruce says, and his voice is soft and clear, but his fingers are hard and *dark*, or --

Jason doesn't *know* anything, because that's enough slick, but Bruce is in so deep, he always goes so *deep* --

Jason pants and gets his free hand back on Tim's hip. Just -- he's gotta hang on, make this right, make this *good*. He twists the two fingers he has inside Tim around, he crooks and thrusts and *opens* Tim --

He *doesn't* drop to his knees and rim him again, fuck him that way --

"*Want* you, baby --"

"You -- you --"

"C'mon, *say* it --"

"Don't make me *wait*!"

Jason grunts and tries to convince his knees to keep fucking *talking* to him --


"Are you *sure* --"

"Jay, I've taken -- I've taken *more* --"

Jason moans --

Bruce *growls* again, *rakes* Jason's hip with his short nails --

Tim whimpers and flushes all the way down his slim, unscarred *back* --

And for a minute the boy Jason is *inside* has a knife in his hand. It's big, it's pretty, and it's *exactly* what his adoptive mother -- his *real* mother -- would've given him to keep him safe if she'd had the money for it.

It's *sharp* --

He knows how to use those things *better* than he did when he was on the street --

And Tim would let him. Tim would --

"Think -- think I want..." Jason moans again and shakes it *off*, pushing past everything until he's nothing but Bruce's big fingers and his own smaller ones. They're both making *room* --

Thrusting and *pushing*, stretching and *pushing* --

Tim is sobbing and *whimpering* --

"Jay..." And Bruce's voice is low and breathy and *hot*, promising and *warning* --

"Yeah. Yeah." Jason pulls out as carefully as he *can*, promising himself that he'll make time to give Tim a *good* apology later, something --

Something with *teeth* --

And Jason hears *himself* growling and shakes that off, too. "Here I come, baby -- *fuck* --" And he guides --

He *pushes* --

He fucking -- he fucking well *gives* --

"Yes -- oh, yes -- *nnh* -- oh, *Jay* --"

"*Talk* --"

"About *what* -- oh. Ah. Jay, you're so *big* -- *gih* --"

Okay, he *wasn't* going to slap Tim's ass *while* he was pushing in, but -- "You don't -- don't feed my *ego* --"

"I'm *not*. You --" Tim shakes his head. Tim *tosses* his head --

"You feel me -- stretchin' you out?"

"*Opening*, you -- I won't be *closed* again --"

"Not to *me*, you won't --"

"*Ohn* --" Tim claws at the pommel horse and lets his head *hang*. "Never to you, Jay, *never* --"

"Do you *like* it?"

"Nnh -- it feels -- it *burns*, Jay --"

"*Tim* --"

"Don't *stop*, don't --"

"S'not -- not fucking *training*," Jason says, and forces himself to *stop* pushing in --

And if anyone were to ask later, Jason would have no fucking clue whether Bruce pushed him first or Tim *slammed* back *against* him first --

And that stops mattering once he hears himself yelling --

And Tim screaming --

And under it all is Bruce's *steady* growl, the one that means that just *breathing* is turning him on, fucking working him *over* --

And Jason can't do anything *about* it, because all of him is stuck on -- *in* -- Tim, all of him is bending over, looming enough to twine his fingers with Tim's --

Tim whimpers so *loud* --

"Got you, baby, baby brother..."

"Yes -- *Jay* --"

"Gonna -- even if this doesn't get you off? I *will*. I -- promise me you fucking *know* that --"

"I do, I -- *please*, don't just stay still --"

"Does it *hurt*."

Another whimper --

"*Talk* --"

"It hurts! It -- it *aches* -- I'm so full, Jay, I'm so -- I don't think I *can* take Bruce --"

"*Yet*," Jason says, and grinds his hips --

"*Ahn* --"

"Make you -- make you fucking bigger -- get *in* me, B --"

Bruce pants like some kind of fucking *steam* engine --

"*Bruce*, it's been *days* --"

"And I've *needed* you so badly, needed..." Bruce strokes down Jason's spine with his free hand. "You almost never wish to be taken on rooftops --"

"I can't be -- can't be *loud*, then --"

"No. But now..." And Bruce crooks his fingers and starts *working* them in that position like Jason's muscles are nothing, air, *water* --

And Jason can't stop groaning in Tim's ear, can't stop *rocking* for it --

"Jay -- *Jay*, please, *more* --"

*Jason* whimpers -- "Baby..."

"I can't -- oh, I *need* it, Jay, and I can't *move* --"

"*Hurting* you --"

"The best way, oh, it's the best way, wanted -- wanted to show you my *toys* --"

Bruce grunts and shoves in *hard* --

Jason yells and *rocks* in --

And in and in and *in* --

"*Yes*, Jay, oh, *yes* -- "

"Can't -- baby, it feels -- wanna *watch* you --"

And Tim is nodding frantically, squeezing Jason's fingers like he wants to take them with him, like --

"Wanna suck your *cock* again, baby --"

Tim makes a *sharp* noise, bird and *boy* --

And there's no time to comment on it before Bruce is pulling out --

"B, B, you have to hold me still, 'cause --"

"I *won't*," and Bruce damned well holds Jason open with one hand --

Jason can feel Bruce counting --

Jason is sweating and starting to thrust for --

And he doesn't know if that was supposed to be a word or *not*, because Bruce pushes in so *fast* --

Faster than Jason is thrusting --

*Harder*, and now he's *holding* Jason in Tim, shoving them against the *horse*. Jason opens his mouth to say *something*, but he winds up moaning out all his air --

They're crushing *Tim* --

Tim is shaking and *whining*, and Jason can't untwine their fingers enough to pet or --

And then Jason is fucking *blank*, because Bruce hauls them both upright --

"Hold. *On*."

Jason cries out and nods, tries to see past his squeezed-shut eyes, past the feeling of being stuffed *and* fucking held, held so tight --

Jason cries out again, yells and curses and *begs* --

Tim is clenching. Over --

Over and over --

"*Tim* --"

"Can't -- I *can't* --"

"*Please*, baby --"

"*Take* him, Jay," and Bruce grabs Jason by the hips and -- moves him.

Back and forth. Back and --

Jason throws his head back and tries to -- no, there's no thinking, no *anything* but the fact that Tim's clenching on Jason's *thrusts*, making himself tighter for every --

Making Jason *force* -- even while Bruce is just *standing* there, working Jason on his cock like it's nothing, like --


"*Speak*, beautiful love --"

"You can't -- you can't *do* me like -- *fuck* --" And Jason can't figure out how he's *managing* to move like this, but he has to *hold* Tim, keep him from falling just because his poor knees are buckling -- "Got you, baby --"

"Nnh -- nuh -- *Jay* --"

"Shh, shh, just -- please -- please hold *on* --"

And Tim's nodding frantically and pushing up on his toes --

No, Jason is *forcing* him up onto his toes, making him --

Jason is working *himself* now, and he doesn't know when that started and he doesn't know how to *stop*. Tim is tight heat and Bruce is *hard* heat. There's pain and there's fucking *need*, and Jason doesn't know who belongs to which, or if there's any --

Any fucking way --

But he can kiss Tim's neck, mouth it and *bite* when Bruce starts working his nipples --

Shout and fuck *harder* when Bruce starts giving it to him for real --

When Tim starts crying out for every thrust like it's good, like it's *perfect* --

"*Tell* me, baby, come on --"

"Ohn -- *own* -- you *own* me --!"

And Jason's just about to chalk that up to fuck-dumb fucking gibberish -- but Bruce gasps --

Bruce is *stopping* --

"B, what --"

"Tim. Tim, what do you mean?"

And *then* what Tim said sinks in, and Jason hears himself groaning --

Feels himself shudder --

And he can't keep from tightening his hands, he can't -- "Say it again, baby..."

He's moving faster, he's --

He can't keep himself from fucking *harder*, even though Bruce's grip on Jason's hips is getting fucking *dangerous* --

"So -- please --" Tim tosses his head and *yanks* their right hands down to his twitching cock, sticky cock, *hot* --

"God, *yeah*, come *on*, B --"

"He must -- Tim must --"

Oh, yeah, *right*, and Jason doesn't know how to fucking *express* that, but -- he can bite Tim's shoulder and throat, right against where he'd feel it *in* his throat, right on that throbbing *pulse* --

"Don't let *go*!"

And Jason *has* to pull back -- "Won't, baby --"

"Don't -- don't *ever* --" And Tim *sobs* --

Tim bucks and *jerks* --

"*Brother*," Jason says, right into Tim's *ear* --

And Tim comes all over their fists, spurt after spurt until Jason wants to get down and lick the fucking mats, taste them and rub himself all over them --

But it's better to just *give* it to Tim, to keep him, yeah, hold him -- "*My* brother --"

And Tim cries out and shoots off again, brings their hands to his mouth and licks and sucks --

And then Bruce just *is* driving them against the pommel horse and *yanking* their arms up --

Bruce's tongue on Jason's thumb is hot and sweet and --

Not even close to being as important as that cock inside him, because Bruce always goes a little crazy when a hot boy gets hotter, when a hot boy has to slump over and pant for more, deeper, *release* --

And Jason's not letting go of Tim, not --

God, just give him more, give him everything, because Bruce is heating him up and Tim is *filling* him up, giving Jason his body, his weight, his sweat-slick skin and his *little* moans and his panting, breathless *cries*.

It doesn't matter that it doesn't work that way -- Tim sounds like he's *still* coming, and that's --

Jason's sweating for it, *thrusting* for it --

In and *in*, so tight and fucking --

"*Need* you, baby --"

And Tim whines and nods frantically, *desperately* --

And Jason bites his ear --

And Bruce tightens his grip on their wrists and groans for it, works in a little fucking -- fucking *hip*-swivel --

Wait --

"B, is that --"

"The rest. The *rest* of Dick's message --"

Jason hears himself fucking *squawk* -- and Bruce is laughing and doing him harder, working in a rhythm that gives him Dick's body, Dick's hair, Dick's fucking *smile* --

"*Bruce* --"

"Shh, little wing," and Bruce even pitches his voice *higher* --

Jason clenches and fucking *barks* -- "No goddamned *Super* tricks!"

*Breathy* laugh --

Tim makes a *confused* noise --

"Tell -- oh, *fuck* -- I'll tell you *later*," Jason says, kissing on Tim and feeling him up more now that he can stand up on his own, licking him and touching, *tasting* --

Pushing and fucking *shoving*, because there's no way not to, no --

It's Dick's hands on his hips now, because he *would* make Jason move just like this, he --

The way Roy had fucking *talked* --

("He can turn *anyone* into a dancer, Jaybird. And you won't regret a *second* of it.")

Yeah, *yeah*, and maybe Jason's just hanging his head and *clutching* Tim now, maybe he's --

Fucking begging somewhere he still has *words* --

And Tim twists his other hand free of Jason's and reaches up to stroke Jason's face so *softly* --

And Bruce starts *grunting* --

"I think -- I think I love -- " And Tim shivers and starts *clenching* again, rhythmic and *deliberate* --

And Jason's vision goes, leaving him with the look he *hopes* is own Tim's face, happy and blown and still *hungry* --

And the feel of that hand on his face --

Tight tight so fucking --

Bruce squeezes his hips hard enough to make them *want* to creak, and that's it, that's everything but the screams and --

"*Please* --"

"Anything --"

"*Yes*, Jay --"

"Fucking -- fucking *please* --"

And Jason has just enough left to feel Bruce lose his rhythm, lose *Dick's* rhythm for the one that involves being worked the fuck *over* --

And then he's gone, burnt up and probably fucking howling, hurting and needing and *moving* --

Air --

No fucking *air* --

But that's because Bruce is crushing them against the horse again as he loses it, uses them --

Jason kisses Tim's sweaty little hand and reaches up to throw an arm around Bruce's neck the way that always --

Bruce *growls* --

-- gets him. Heh. Jason plants his feet and just *goes* with being fucked through Bruce's orgasm -- and possibly the horse.

One nice little clench to make it special --


"That's -- heh. Me."

After a while, Tim squeaks enough that Bruce remembers that they need to breathe and backs off -- slightly. He's still buried *deep*.

Jason pushes a hand between Tim's chest and the horse and rubs Tim a little before kissing his forehead. "How you doing, baby?"

"Um. Ah. Ow?"

"Heh. Thank you?"

"You're welcome! I mean -- ow in a good way -- I mean. You already knew what I meant."

Jason *licks* Tim's forehead. "Uh, huh. I just --"

"Tim," Bruce says, and it's actually his *serious* voice --

"Hey, B, *afterglow*."

"I'm sorry, Jay, but --"

"And also, you're still *in* me. And I'm still in -- *gyah* --" Okay, he's still in Tim, but now he's *leaking*.

*Ridiculously* -- well, not ridiculously, but --

"B, *seriously* --"

"I'm sorry. I am..." Bruce walks around the horse so that they can face him, and then cups Tim's face. "Tim. You must tell us what you feel."

"Ah. Other than the endorphin-buzz and the soreness in my rectum?"

Jason tags Bruce's forearm. "Let him come down *nicely*."

Bruce frowns. "What you said before, Tim. While we were making love..."

Oh. Hunh. Jason tilts Tim's head back. "*Were* you serious about that?" Yes. Yes, he *was*, and it was *hot* --

It still *is* hot --

"Um -- I don't have to be?"

"Do you *want* to be?"

Bruce shifts on his *feet*. "Jay --"

"Hold up, B. We gotta let baby call the shots here."

"But -- he must be an *equal* partner, Jay. Like you and, hopefully, Dick again one day."

Jason blinks. "You want Dickie back in -- wait, no, of course you do. And there are even non-cock-related reasons... yeah, okay. Titans need him, though."

Bruce smiles ruefully. "You could, perhaps, understand, why I wish to make him believe that we need him more."

"Yeah, passing *messages* and shit like that --" Jason shakes his head and turns back to Tim. "What you missed? Was Bruce starting to *fuck* me like Dick would. Like Dick *has* fucked people, according to Roy."

"And me," Bruce says, and smiles like a *happy* shark.

Tim blinks --

Obviously considers it *deeply* --

"And... the nickname 'little wing'?"

The light behind Bruce's eyes *flares* a little -- "Dick gave Jay that nickname within hours of meeting him."

And Tim is staring up at Bruce like he has all the answers *and* also the best candy. It's Tim, though, so it's possible that the two are the same thing --

But Bruce is starting to frown again --

"Oh -- it's all right, Bruce! I know you don't mean to... ah... claim? Are there better words?"

"Lovely boy... I want you to understand that you will always have a place here. That this will be -- *can* be, if you wish it -- your other home."

More blinking -- "Oh. Oh. I... see."

"Of course," Jason says, and strokes Tim's hips a little. "I like the idea of you being *my* friend and *my* lover and -- heh -- *my* little brother."

Tim *moans* for that --

"Yeah. *Take* what you want, baby," and Jason leans in for a kiss --

But Bruce stops him with a hand on his arm.

"B --"

"Is it -- are you quite sure it can be that simple, Jay?"

Jason frowns and stands up mostly straight again --

Tim clenches *hard* --

Jason *braces* himself -- but still winds up bumping Tim against the horse again. "Jesus, baby, sorry --"

"No, I -- I just -- I needed. Um."

"To feel me?"

"I... was suddenly in significantly less pain? That seemed like a good reason at the time."

Jason snorts. "It totally was. I'm hardly ever too sore after Bruce does me these days -- I miss it."

Bruce hums and strokes *Jason's* face. "Perhaps you can understand why I'm far less conflicted by that loss than some others."

"B. You let people *cut* you. You don't get to get queasy about my -- dearly beloved -- ass pain."

Bruce breathes a laugh. "As you say," and he backs off a step to take in both of them -- and then just Tim again. "Will you lie with us for a time?"

"Oh -- I. I'm sure you have --"

Bruce raises a finger. "Would you *enjoy* lying with us for a time?"

"Of course, but -- oh, God, that's the worst feeling -- Jay, don't pass me *to* Bruce -- oh. Oh, this is a very interesting hold --"

"It's my favorite for carrying Jay -- when he allows it," Bruce says, and starts walking them to the -- thicker -- mats by the uneven bars.

"Also, you know, if you *are* mine --"

"I am -- I mean. If you --"

"If you're *mine*? I get to pass you off to Bruce for cuddles sometimes."

"But -- what if I don't *want* to be -- cuddled?"

"Then you walk away, baby. Or tell us what you *do* want. Simple as that," Jason says, and grabs a few blankets from beneath their secondary gurney.

"Oh, I -- why don't you have a bed down here? I mean -- if you do... cuddle. Regularly --"

"We do, baby," Jason says, and jerks his chin toward the stairs. "But Alfred would skin us if we brought one down."

"Indeed. He's of the opinion that we spend far too much time down here as it is."

Tim frowns thoughtfully -- and probably doesn't realize that he's rubbing Bruce's chest restlessly.

Jason decides not to mention it and lays out the blankets for them. "How much time, B?"

"Alfred will have dinner ready for us in approximately two to two-and-one-half hours. I'd like to get some stretching and other work done before then, as, for some strange reason, the flesh over my ribs is tender."

"Heh. Call it forty-five, then," Jason says, and lays *himself* out, pushing up onto his elbows.

Bruce lays Tim next to him, and then settles into a crouch and looks them over -- pausing on Tim. "What is it?"

"Nothing -- only you're not actually going to accept that. Hm. That could get oppressive, actually -- gah --"

Jason arranges Tim half over himself and kisses his forehead. "We needed you."

"But -- you --"

"We needed you," Bruce says, and strokes down Tim's upper arm. "You have brought great happiness."

"And *arguments* --"

"That totally needed to happen. As for us oppressing you -- tell yourself that you're helping us out with your thoughts and opinions and shit."

Tim gives him a look that's kinda *half* a glare.

Jason grins. "And now I know how obnoxious I have to get to get that look."

"You --"

"Seriously, though, baby. We *like* you. And -- you're mine. I gotta take care of you, which means I gotta *know* you, which means -- you gotta talk."

"You wouldn't find *less* stammering more appealing?"

Bruce hums and sits lotus. "Please. Share your thoughts."

Tim looks back and forth between them --

Frowns hard enough that the line on his forehead gets pretty fucking *serious* --

And then sighs. "It's only -- I wasn't expecting quite this much... down-time. Nothing important --"

"I disagree," Bruce says, and reaches for Tim's hand, squeezing gently when Tim gives it. "Both Dick and Jason have taught me lessons about the importance of leisure and recreation. Physically, emotionally -- even intellectually -- we must renew ourselves by any means possible. With Dick, this often took the form of small, simple games like hide-and-seek and tag --"

"I -- but -- *really*?"

"Heh. Dickie believes that growing up is for *suckers*."

"Yes. And he made me consider that line of thought very deeply, indeed."

Tim frowns and nods, very obviously tucking that *away* -- "And... you and Jay make love."

"Oh... whenever possible," and Bruce smiles. "Additionally, Jay allows me to spend time simply touching him, which is something I also enjoyed --"

"And tortured yourself with --"

"-- with Dick." Bruce hums. "Some tortures can be dearly appreciated."

And *that* makes Tim scratch Jason's belly a little bit for sitting up into lotus himself.

Jason reaches --

"No! Ah... not right now. Please."

Jason waggles his eyebrows. "Anything you say, baby."

"I..." Tim bites his lip and strokes the skin over *Jason's* ribs. "I suppose I'm not allowed to apologize."

"Maybe if I was, like, crying or some shit and really *needed* the cuddle --"

"Oh -- I wouldn't -- I mean I would -- wait."

"I'm waitin', baby."

"That -- well, *that*. Do I get veto power about the... pet names?"

Oh, damn. Jason pulls on his best hangdog look --

And Tim goes saucer-eyed and starts petting Jason *faster* --

"Jay." And that was Bruce's *scolding* voice --

Jason licks his teeth and squeezes Tim's petting hand. "If you *need* me to stop calling you 'baby'? I will."

Tim nods thoughtfully again -- "What if it's only *want*?"

Jason brings the hangdog look back. "It just flows right off the *tongue*, baby. Besides, I like the idea of you *being* my baby until you're fucking *old*."

"I -- but --" And Tim blushes to the roots of his *hair*.

Jason squeezes his hand again. "I already know you don't do *short*-term, yeah?"

Tim blushes *harder* -- "I -- suppose you do. At that." And Tim turns back to Bruce --

Who has absolutely been studying him, and doesn't even blink or smile ruefully for it before narrowing his eyes at Tim in that *special* smile.

"Ah... Bruce."


"Do you... I mean. Brucie tried to *eat* a chess set in my presence once --"

"Haaa. It looked like one of those *cunning* little marcy-pan sculptures!"

"Tim, fucking *hit* him."

"Now, sport, don't be such a *drain* --"

Tim nerve-strikes Bruce -- or tries to. Bruce blocks it easily and raises an eyebrow.

"I do need to patrol tonight, Tim."

"Oh -- ah. I have to admit that I'm not altogether clear on what constitutes acceptable violence?"

"Nothing that makes it impossible to patrol on a reasonable schedule, bro," Jason says, turning on his side and scratching his sweaty scalp a little. "That strike would've taken away Bruce's ability to use that shoulder *efficiently* for a good four hours."

"Oh! *Really*? I picked it up in a *self-defense* class!"

"Most self-defense courses focus on teaching students ways to quickly and *efficiently* disable an attacker. Still, your course must have been quite good, considering your form," Bruce says, and lifts Tim's hand to his mouth for a *soft* kiss -- before directing him to a biceps strike, which, Jason knows, pretty much only hurts like a bitch for a little while. "This would be entirely acceptable."

"Yes. Yes, Bruce."

Bruce narrows his eyes. "Who taught the course?"

"Ah -- Bill Chen. Ex-Special Forces, and first lieutenant of my parents' security chief."

Bruce nods. "And the other students?"

"Mostly... mostly DI executives. They weren't especially willing to learn. I believe Mr. Chen ended the course rather disgusted."

"Heh. With everyone but you, baby?"

Another blush -- and Tim turns it on him, just in case Jason had *missed* the fact... that he was missing those eyes. "He... complimented me. Several times."

"Later this afternoon, I would like you to begin showing me what you've learned. Did you bring workout clothes in your size? I have some of Jason's older things if you don't --"

Tim moans quietly --

Blushes *harder* --

"I -- brought sweatpants and a t-shirt with me. But I believe..." Another hot little look -- "I believe I'd rather wear one of Jay's shirts."

"Then one will be found for you," Bruce says, and rests his fingertips on Tim's left knee. "But you were saying something about chess?"

"Oh -- I taught myself -- I mean. I know I'm not especially good -- it seemed like something you would play."

Bruce smiles. "As a matter of fact, yes. My only regular partner is Alfred. I feel confident saying that both of us would enjoy playing with you, as well."

Tim's smile lights up the fucking *Cave * --

Enough that Jason wonders who he's had to play with, considering the fact that he taught himself. Jason winces internally --

And Tim has fucking *Jay*-dar, because he's studying Jason *hard*.

Jason raises a hand and makes a pushing motion. "Brain-trash, baby."

"I -- what? I mean. You want me to share all of mine..."

And that's -- true.

And Bruce is looking too curious, *too* --

And -- shit. "I was... wondering about how lonely a person has to be to teach themselves chess."

Tim gets that *stubborn* look back -- "I played against opponents *online*, Jay."

"Okay, my bad, I didn't mean to --"

"It's not -- not everything is about my *parents*!"

Jason makes another pushing motion --

But Bruce sighs. "Some things *are* about them, Tim. I think it would be a mistake not to acknowledge that."

"It would be -- just as much of a mistake to blame everything on them like -- like some second-rate *psychiatrist*."

Bruce blinks once. "Do you have ill-feeling toward the field of psychiatry?"

"Bruce, it's only *logical* to have those feelings in *this* city!"

"Just the same... I believe there's more to it than that."

Tim frowns and stares down at the mats --

And, yeah, *that's* got parents written all over it. Not now. *Soon*... but not now. Jason shares a look with Bruce and shakes his head *minutely*.

Bruce's nostrils flare -- and he nods with just as small a motion.

Jason clears his throat. "And that -- being the *universal* sign of a subject-change -- is where I change the subject."

Tim hunches in on himself a little -- no.

Just no. Jason sits up and wraps himself around Tim from the back. "It's okay, baby. Remember what I said about kid gloves?"

"Maybe. Maybe if I saw you enjoying being gentle in *other* ways -- no. I don't, actually, know what I'm talking about, and I just -- I want..."

"Tell me."

"Oh -- Jay." Tim shakes his head and wraps Jason's arms more tightly around himself.

"That's good --"

"Thank. Thank you -- *oh* --"

"Is this all right, Tim?" And, when Jason looks, Bruce absolutely has one hand wrapped *most* of the way around Tim's lower thigh. Jason isn't sure how *soothing* that grip is... but it's definitely a grip.

"It's... well, it's *intimidating*..."

"Hm. Both Dick and Jason enjoy being intimidated by me at times. Is it something --"

"Yes. Ah -- yes. Though probably not unless we're about to make love. Not that we *have* --"

"You totally have," Jason says, and squeezes.

"But -- we barely *touched* each other --"

"We shared ourselves, Tim," and Bruce smiles sharply. "I hope you don't take that sort of thing for granted."

And, the thing is, Jason doesn't *need* to see the saucer-eyes to know that they're *there*. He kicks out enough to catch Bruce's knee. "Fucking stop that."

"Hmm. If you're sure --"

"He's *sure*," Tim says, and Jason can hear some pretty serious snippiness.

Heh. Good deal.

Especially since Tim pushes back against him a little -- "I -- would like to start getting used to both of you as soon as possible. It's just that I also wouldn't like that, at all."

Bruce nods. "That seems perfectly sensible to me --"


Bruce smiles softly. "Every time Jason and I touch, I feel a profound and deep sense of wonder --"

"Aw, *B* --"

"I would never lose that."

"Oh -- oh. *Yes*. That's -- yes, that's precisely it."

Jason squeezes Tim and bites his ear lightly. "Baby --"

"Just -- just *appreciate* my being utterly besotted, Jay --"

"Okay, next time elbow me -- *oof* -- yeah, like that. Nice. But also don't spend so much time *wondering* that you don't *touch* me --"

"Have you seen *any* sign of that happening?"

"Well, no, but --"

"But *nothing*," Tim says, and, after a beat, grinds his elbow against the bruising spot.

"*Nice* --"

"You're so -- ah. Incorrigible? Irrepressible --"

"Nah, baby, that's *Dickie*."

"But --"

"It truly is," Bruce says, and hums for some pretty obviously happy memory.

"You know you gotta spill *everything* about today, B."

Bruce inclines his head. "But... for now..." And Bruce reaches out with both hands, one for him and one for Tim --

"Get ready, baby."

"For -- oh, *God* --"

Jason grunts and wriggles as much as he can in Bruce's grip -- which, not much --  until he can pat Tim's ass. "Dickie taught Bruce to hug, too."

"He's really quite wonderful at it," Bruce says, and squeezes them.

Tim wheezes --

Coughs --

*Whoops* in a breath --

Yeah, he's fine. Jason ducks his head enough to bite Bruce's shoulder a good one --

Bruce hums --

And they stay right there for a while. Long enough that Tim actually relaxes into it -- Jay would've been able to tell by *Bruce's* sigh even if he couldn't by *Tim's* sigh -- and starts making soft, contented noises that make Jason's heart feel a little --

A lot --

Warmer. More full. Some damned thing.

Eventually, Bruce loosens his grip and sits back and smiles at both of them.

Tim is blushing, but it doesn't look terminal, so Jason just leans over and kisses his temple. "Let's hit the showers."

"There are *communal* showers?"

"Uh, huh. Now the funny thing?" Jason stands and offers Tim his hand --

Tim takes it and gets up --

Bruce watches them for just a *little* bit longer before getting up himself --

"Ah... the funny thing?"

"Heh, yeah. C'mon," and Jason leads them toward the showers. He picks his favorite one -- there's a little notch in the head from Dickie doing non-standard things with a batarang, according to Dickie himself -- and then presses himself to the wall so that he'll miss the first blast of cold. "First of all? Always do it this way, unless you *want* your junk to try to fucking re-enter your body."

Bruce hums and stands right in *his* blast of cold.

And that -- Jason shrugs. "Or unless you're Bruce, and want your junk to look less intimidating to small, pretty boys."

Bruce *coughs* --

And Tim covers his mouth to hold in a giggle that's just --


Tim gets situated, though, and Jason's water is perfect, so he steps in. "Anyway, the funny thing? Bruce made these showers --"

"He -- you *built* this?"

"With a great deal of assistance from Alfred," Bruce says, and starts to soap himself. "I've often wondered if the initial cold was one of his... innovations."

Jason snickers. "You totally deserved it."

"As you say."

"So yeah, Bruce -- and Al -- built these showers *way* back in the fucking day. Like, before Bruce started going out as Batman. Back then, he didn't think he'd *ever* have a partner."

Tim frowns and washes his hair. "Then why...? Did Alfred suggest it?"

"No, he did not. He did, however, spend a considerable amount of time muttering rather disparaging things just loud enough to be heard," and Bruce is smiling nostalgically. "In truth, I was young enough to believe I would never *need* a partner."

Jason snorts. "Yeah. Fucking *that*," and Jason starts soaping his own hair. "The way I see it, baby? Some part of Bruce abso-fucking-lutely knew better. Which is why there's a shower for *six*."

Tim hums. "Perhaps... perhaps there should be even more of -- us?"

"That would be immensely -- and perhaps somewhat intimidatingly -- pleasurable, Tim."

Jason flicks soap at Bruce. "You don't have to fuck *all* of them, B."

"Haaa. What kind of party would *that* be, sport?"

Tim chokes --

"Okay, just for that? You're *not* washing Tim's pretty back."

"I -- what -- what's pretty about my *back*?"

"Well, it's all pale, baby."

"And there are as yet no scars."

"And it's fucking *sleek*."

"Graceful and slim."

"And --"

"Okay! Okay. Ah. All right," Tim says, and *scowls* at both of them.

"Baby, make that expression *all the time*."

That gets an *eyebrow* raise --


"What about when... ah... I'm performing fellatio on you?"

And Jason can *feel* Bruce smiling for the use of freaking *Latin* --

But mostly he's thinking about getting an *angry* blowjob, and --


"Yes, Jay?" And the snippy voice is back.

"Would it get you *off* to, like, torture my sac while you were going down on me?"

Saucer-eyes. Heh.

"You just keep those thoughts in mind, baby. I mean -- you gotta know I'm invested."

"Invest-- ah." Tim looks at him like he's crazy.

Jason musses his hair with his soapy hand.

After that, they watch Tim show off some great katas and some shaky attacks which Jason knows Bruce will be improving mainly by teaching Tim to be an even more paranoid little bastard.

It worked *wonders* for him and Dick.

After *that*, Jason goes to do some curls before dinner and show Tim the right form for it --

And maybe encourage Tim to feel up his arms a little --

And maybe grin his head off for the sound of *that* engine, because *nobody* has more power between her legs than Batgirl. Heh *heh*. Jason jerks his chin at Tim. "You're in for a treat."

"Oh! Is that -- is that Dick?"

"Nah, baby, it's the woman who's gonna make you *significantly* less queer," Jason says, and wraps an arm around Tim's shoulders as he splutters.

"I don't think it *works* that way --"

"It totally does."

"It does *not* -- and I can walk on my *own* --"

Jason picks Tim up and throws him over his shoulder --

"You -- I -- *Jay* --"

Jason pats Tim's ass. "You gonna admit that Batgirl can de-queer you?"

"I'm *going* to *kick* you!"

"Baby, baby, not in front of company," Jason says, and jerks his chin at Babs, who knows *exactly* how good she looks in all that black and gold. Still -- "Lookin' good, Babsy."

Babs cocks her hip and gives him *that* grin. The one that's all about what a little boy Jason *still* is. "You'd look a lot better without that *terrible* growth on your shoulder, Jaybird."


"Ah-ah-ah, Babsy. This growth is my baby brother."

"Could we -- discuss --"

Jason pats Tim's ass again --

"*Jay* --"

And Babs snorts and shakes her head, tucking the helmet under her arm. "Dick told me that Bruce told *him*... a lot," and she takes a short, hip-swaying walk around Jason to --

"Gah! All right, I suppose lifting my head by the hair *was* an option. Ah. Hello?"

"Hello, yourself, lost-boy-in-training. How new *are* you?"

"Lost -- ah. A Peter Pan reference. Interesting --"

"And that answers my question," Babs says, and Jason can *hear* that smile get wider. "Wanna guess how?"

"I... would feel significantly more thoughtful were I allowed to stand on my own two feet."

Babs hums. "You're *exactly* new enough to not have figured out that Bruce is the *Peterest* of Pans... and also not to have figured out that Jaybird here only *really* responds to pain."

"Hm. Would you... release my hair for a moment?"


And then Tim is biting the *fuck* out of Jason's *back*.

"*Jesus*, baby --"

And that was absolutely a growl --

And a *kick* --

And another --

"Okay, *okay*," Jason says, and flips Tim -- gently -- down to the mats. "Satisfied?"

"Bleh," Tim says, and picks a little lint from Jason's shirt out of his mouth. "Ah. Yes?" And he stands up and offers Babs his hand. "My name is --"

"Tim Drake, thirteen-year-old son of Janet and Jackson Drake, sole heir to the Drake Industries fortune, owner of at least three online Fae Voyage accounts and four Capefan accounts... and very, very clever stalker. Yes?"

Tim smiles ruefully. "I suppose you did have time to learn all of that information today. I would still like to shake your hand."

Babs hums and looks Tim over just like she *hadn't* already learned everything about his body she wanted to.

Jason crosses his arms over his chest. "Be *nice*, Babsy."

Babs shows her *teeth* -- "Maybe. *Why* do you want to shake my hand, Timmy? Because you're such a fan?"

Tim raises an eyebrow. "My name is Tim, Ms. Gordon, or, alternately, Timothy --"

"Not Mr. Drake?"

"Not until you have reason to be both that cold *and* that respectful."

And *that* -- was one of Babs' real smiles. Specifically, the one that means she wants to *play*. "Noted. Answer the question."

Tim studies Babs for a long moment, then nods and smiles. "I am, in fact, a fan. Learning that Dick was Robin led -- indirectly -- to my learning your secret... though I admit I followed you less."

"Mm-hm. And why was that?"

*Tim* smiles. "You tended to look behind you more."

Babs blinks, and that --

Uh. "Wait, are you saying we were *easier* to follow?"

Tim *hums* -- and rocks on his heels, never looking away from Barbara. "I often wondered, when I was younger, if it had anything to do with your gender."

"Oh, really."

"'Female paranoia' and all of that. Hn. I came to the conclusion that it likely had more to do with your -- relative -- lack of sanction."

Babs narrows her eyes and cocks her head to the side. "You mean the rumors about Batman trying to get me to stay home at night...?"

"They were more than rumors. Weren't they?"

"Oh... yes. Which makes *every* time Peter calls me for help... very, very special. Tim."

"I -- imagine so. And thank you --"

"Shh," Babs says, and takes Tim's hand with her gauntleted one. "I have a Croy, too, you know."

"Jay -- Jason told me --"

"I do... let's just say I do a lot more with it than Bruce does with his."

Tim blinks and leans *in* -- "Oh. I. I would love to hear about that --"

"Would you?"

"Well." Tim blushes. "There are also rumors that one of the reasons why you're seen on the street less often than you were in the past is that you're doing a certain amount of... coordination. Online, I mean. It always seemed both incredibly likely and incredibly likely to be wishful thinking on the part of a certain class of... ah... fanperson."

Babs laughs and squeezes Tim's hand. "You can do a lot to a supervillain if you start by raiding his or her offshore accounts, Tim."

"Oh. Oh, that sounds. Ah. Yes, I imagine so," Tim says, and blushes *harder*. And that --

"Hey, wait a minute --"

"Hush, Jaybird. Mama's talking now."

"Mama's *poaching* now --"

"Jay, I'm *wounded*," Babs says, and bats her fucking *lashes* at him. "Haven't you always said that we should be closer?"

"I -- you -- *yes*, but --"

"But your brother can't come out to play with me? Even though he's already a hacker?"

"I -- that's not what I *meant*!"

Babs is giving him the *shark* look --

And Tim is *frowning* at him --

"Jesus fucking -- aren't you here to let Bruce apologize to you finally?"

Babs raises an eyebrow. "Dick *said* that, yes, but --"

"I'm sorry," Bruce says -- from about twenty feet away.

And Babs blinks -- and squeezes Tim's hand hard enough to make him wince. Tim doesn't make a sound until she lets go, and then it's only to blow out a breath.

Jason pulls Tim close because he fucking well *can* now -- and because Babs has got that look on her face that tends to mean she's about two seconds from kicking the shit out of somebody.

*Probably* a male somebody.

Probably a male somebody who's been a fucking *chauvinist* -- and, yeah, Jason has wondered about that, because it's not like *anyone* has heard *anything* about Batman maybe trying to get Green Arrow kicked off the damned League --

"I'm sorry," Bruce says again, and takes *one* step closer --

And then Babs turns on him and crosses her arms over her chest. "For *what*, exactly."

Babs had told him once -- after Jason had convinced her to share some of her father's amaretto with him because neither of them had ever actually *tasted* it -- that *most* of the time she crossed her arms like that what she was *really* doing was gripping her own biceps to keep from *punching* the shit out of people.

And Bruce *clearly* knows that -- because he stops right where he is and raises his hands. "I allowed my own doubts and fears -- terrors -- to dictate my behavior toward you, when you have always deserved only the best of me."

Babs narrows her eyes.

Jason checks -- Tim's looking confused. Like -- oh. "Just to catch you up, baby? Things were strained between Bruce and Babs when she first started out because she didn't have enough training -- according to *him* --"

"Additionally, I was terrified of losing her father's good -- if shaky -- opinion should Barbara have become injured while acting as Batgirl."

Babs snorts. "You think that *little* of him? After all this time?"

"No," Bruce says, and smiles ruefully. "I have become -- with the help of others -- significantly more wise."

Babs tightens her grip on her arms -- "Really."

"I believe so, yes. I... Jason -- and, indirectly, Tim -- have forced me to face the fact that I have spent much of the past few years doing more fearing than thinking."

"*What* did you fear?"

"Loss. Pain. And death."

Babs tilts her chin up and -- Jesus, it looks like she wants to tear her own arms *off*.

And Tim is looking at *him*. "Uh. This wasn't publicized -- you're *gonna* be able to guess why -- but, after Joker broke out of Arkham the last time, he broke into Jim Gordon's house, shot Babs in the gut, and tortured Jim for a good, long while... before Babs woke up and put a bullet in his brain."

And there go the saucer-eyes. Tim turns *slowly* back to Babs --

And Babs smiles at him ruefully. "My father offered to teach me how to shoot as something of an apology for not using his influence to help me onto the police force despite the height requirements. I told him I'd think about it. When *Bruce* said he'd teach me... hn. When Bruce *demanded* I learn how to shoot -- or always have to watch my back on the street because of the lack of his *sanction* -- it seemed like one *more* way to get back at my father. He taught me -- and Dick and Jay, of course -- how to shoot to *wound*... but you don't learn how to do that without also learning how to kill."

Bruce closes his hands into fists -- and then relaxes them almost immediately.

Not fast enough to keep Babs from *seeing* it -- but she only nods. "A part of you still hoped that I hadn't done it on purpose, or entirely on purpose."

Bruce nods. "I still --"

"Save it, Bruce. It's never going to be something you can deal with, and I accepted that a long time ago. Just like I accepted killing that creature in the first place."

"Barbara --"

She holds up a hand. "I was bleeding out and so was my father, Bruce. That night, you were on the other side of town dealing with an entirely different hostage situation. *With* Jay. Dick was two and a half hours away by car. The police... well, they never *are* there when you need them, are they? But all of that is just -- pointless *verbiage* when faced with the simple fact that, long before that night, I had started thinking *seriously* about ending the Joker's fucked-up career."

Bruce frowns and looks down --

"Yeah. Oh, Bruce... don't think I don't appreciate the thought, because I do."

Come *on*, Bruce --

And sometimes Jason thinks there's really something *to* that whole partner-wavelength *thing* --

And sometimes he *knows* there is, because Jason is moving to block Babs' path *before* Bruce starts closing the distance between them --

Babs laughs and puts her hands up to *both* of them --

But Bruce takes her hand in his own and kisses her fucking fingertips. Which --

It's definitely *a* way to get her to stop moving and look him in the eye again. Jason stays put just in case she tries to bolt, anyway --

And Jason is never fucking letting go of Tim -- at least not while he does things like creeping up to flank Babs like a pro.

And Babs' laugh this time is a little breathless. "All right. You have my attention. What --"

"Give me a chance. Please."

"A chance to *what*, Bruce?"

Another rueful smile. "A chance to prove myself worthy of your companionship."

"I --" Babs takes her hand back and uses it to pinch the bridge of her nose. She uses her free hand to plant a fist on her hip, though, and that means *Batgirl* is thinking at least as much as Babs is --

And they *all* know Batgirl wouldn't exist -- and wouldn't exist quite that *way* -- without Batman having been there to fucking inspire and *measure* against. And that --

"All right," Babs says, and puts *both* hands on her hips. "What *exactly* do you want?"

"To work with you --"

"We do that."

"More often. More -- I want you to make this place another home."

Babs blows out another breath and nods. "We'll see. What else."

"I'd like. I'd like for us to be... friends."

Babs raises her eyebrow. "How many of your friends do you *kiss*, Bruce?"

Bruce smiles ruefully. "Not as many as I'd like to."

That makes Babs laugh again, shake her head. "Bruce... you know I had a crush on you once upon a time."

Bruce nods once.

"You know -- you know *exactly* how serious it was."

"You were... you were much younger then."

Babs stares at him.

Bruce frowns slightly. "You... were not?"

"Bruce. I was *twenty-seven* when I shot the Joker."

"Yes, you... oh. Barbara...?"

Babs pinches the bridge of her nose again and laughs.

"I... have been reliably informed that I have less than adequate observational skills when it comes to people I care about."

Babs takes a *deep* breath and looks up again. "And you care about me."

"Very... very much, Barbara."

"You hurt me, Bruce."

"I --"

Babs holds up a hand. "You *hurt* me, and I don't think you can ever know how much. We had started getting *closer*. Your fuck-up with Dick was still between us, but -- God, I *understood* that, Bruce! He was so *young* when he was Robin."

"Yes --"

"And -- you did a better job than I did keeping your hands off him," she says, and smiles ruefully again. "He was so beautiful."

"He still is."

Babs hums and tosses her hair a little. "Yes, I *did* read between the lines there. Oh, Bruce... I *wanted* to be closer to you. The only thing that stopped me?"

"Please. Please tell me."

A nod. "The Croy. Waking up one day to find *that* in my headquarters... I couldn't help wondering if that meant you *wanted* me to stay apart --"

"*No* --"

"I know. I know that *now*. But then... combined with how you reacted when I killed the Joker... well. You can guess."

Bruce squeezes his eyes shut for a moment -- and then nods. "I... may we begin again?"

"No, Bruce," Babs says, and reaches out to take Bruce's hand and squeezes it. "But we can try something new."

Bruce parts his lips and searches her with so much *hope* --

Babs squeezes *harder* --

"Barbara. Tell me what I must do."

"Mmm. Well. We can start with me going over some of the gang bosses in this town with you so we can pool our information."

"Of course --"

"And you can loan me the trainee so I can teach him some things he'll be able to use when he's your partner."

Jason squeezes Tim helplessly --

"Jay! I'll come *back*," Tim says, and glares at him.

"Uh. I know that! I totally know that." He doesn't actually let up on the squeezing, though --

And Babs smirks at him. "Oh, Jaybird... you're adorable."

"Fucking A, Babs! We just *got* him."

She narrows her eyes. "Whose fault is that...?"

Jason opens his mouth --

"Mine," Bruce says, and smiles. "As are many, many other things."

"Hmph," and Babs tosses her hair again -- and then gives Bruce a serious look. "What happens the next time I make *that* choice, Bruce?"

Bruce's smile turns rueful. "I will struggle with myself. I will know fear -- for all of us. I will... ache."

"And then?"

"And then I will ask you to speak to me about your choice, to help me so that I may come -- eventually -- to understand."

Another eyebrow raise. "You're saying you understand about the Joker now?"

"I always did -- intellectually. Emotionally... emotionally, there are still doubts built entirely on my fear. Fear of becoming what I fight, fear of irrevocability, fear of *loss* -- specifically of losing you to the law to which I already have far too *tenuous* a relationship. My..." Bruce shakes his head. "Much of me still kneels in the spreading, cooling pool of my parents' blood, Barbara. And I believe you already knew that."

Barbara closes her eyes for a moment -- and then she nods. "Less of you is there now."

Bruce looks to *him* - and Tim. "I have been shown -- and offered -- new places in which to live."

And yeah, that makes Tim make the saucer-eyes of *happy* shock --

But Jason's not doing much better. And -- "Always, B."

Bruce smiles like Jason is *everything* -- and Jason knows he *is* right then, just like Dick was earlier, and *Tim* was when he was in Bruce's arms. And it has nothing to do with being fickle or fucking *Brucie*-like, and everything with being in love --

With *having* so *much* love -- "Fucking -- never be *alone*, B."

"I --"

"What Jaybird said," Babs says, and squeezes Bruce's hand again before letting go. "And -- think about giving yourself a few *more*... places to live."

Bruce takes a breath. "Like you, Barbara?"

Babs plants her fists on her hips --

Fucking *switches* them --

Bruce *hums* --

"You're still not invited into the holiest of holies, Peter... but we can renegotiate that in the future."

And for a *moment* Jason's thinking she *just* means her own base of operations --

But Babs is smiling *that* smile.

And *Bruce* is smiling *that* smile --

And Tim is looking significantly more heterosexual. Heh. *Nice*.

Bruce hums and offers Babs his arm, gesturing with the other toward the console. "Shall we?"

"Oh... *let's*."

Jason watches them go --

Then he watches *Tim* watch them go.

"You *never* spanked it to Batgirl?"

"I -- not in the way you mean? There was... a particularly stimulating dream of being interrogated by her... um. Anyway," Tim says, smiling *and* blushing a little.

"Bondage? 'cause I could totally go for some of that with you."

"She seems... disinclined toward sexuality with young people, Jay."

Jason sighs. "All the more reason to get older, baby. Seriously, it helps keep me from being too reckless out there."

"The *hope* of one day making love with her."

"Uh, huh."

"Not anything else."

"Well... there are all those *other* superheroes I wanna bone one day."

"Jay... what are you going to *do* when you hit your actual sexual peak?"

Jason grins and gives Tim a squeeze. "Never fucking sleep, baby. Not unless I've got my cock stuck in something... or I've got one stuck in me."

Tim breathes a laugh --

And Jason kisses his temple. "Let's start getting you ripped."

Tim *beams* at him. "All -- hmm. As you say?"

They watch Jason's cock twitch in his shorts --

Tim hums --

Fuck, yeah.


Title from Phaëton, by Thomas Bulfinch:

... Clymene’s son advanced up the steep ascent, and entered the halls of his disputed father. He approached the paternal presence, but stopped at a distance, for the light was more than he could bear. Phœbus, arrayed in a purple vesture, sat on a throne, which glittered as with diamonds. On his right hand and his left stood the Day, the Month, and the Year, and, at regular intervals, the Hours. Spring stood with her head crowned with flowers, and Summer, with garment cast aside, and a garland formed of spears of ripened grain, and Autumn, with his feet stained with grape-juice, and icy Winter, with his hair stiffened with hoar frost. Surrounded by these attendants, the Sun, with the eye that sees everything, beheld the youth dazzled with the novelty and splendor of the scene, and inquired the purpose of his errand...