To take up all my time
by Te
July 27, 2005

Disclaimers: No one and nothing here is mine.

Spoilers/Timeline: Various ones up through Identity
Crisis and War Games. Exists in a nebulous period
sometime after TEEN TITANS #20 and the "Fresh
Blood" storyline and before... well, everything I still
haven't read, yet.

Summary: There is comfort, but no simplicity.

Ratings Note/Warnings: Adults only. Content some readers
may find disturbing.

Author's Notes: Yeah, I... I don't know. *eyes this askance*
The closest thing I have to a theory is that a very, very
old post-IC bunny had a wild and ill-advised affair with
my porn brain, thus creating something very off indeed.

Acknowledgments: Much appreciation to Jam, Betty, Jack
and Livia for audiencing, encouragement, countless helpful
suggestions, and patience with my jumping around the
story's internal timeline.

Dedication: For Zee, with much affection.


Tim wouldn't call Clark a *friend*, per se.

(If only because that sort of thing encouraged those parts
of his mind which feel haunted to laugh, and remind him
of everyone he's lost, everything he can't have -- there's
no room for that. No.)

He's something both more and less than that. Friends are...
deeply vital in ways Tim has no words for, but their
needfulness makes them dangerous. Tim has too many
scars from friends.

Clark has something Tim can refer to as 'maturity' without
making too many parts of himself incredulous. It's the
adulthood of the life they live, and something like freedom
from the layers of insecurity and willful deceit that have
separated Tim from... quite a lot. It's undeniably attractive
in its absolute steadiness...

Though Clark himself can be somewhat... disconcerting.

There's a logic to this, of course -- he'd considered it from
every angle he could manage. He'd lost the ability to
connect with anyone in his family (his family is dead now,
all --) save for Batgirl, and he... he doesn't, necessarily,
like himself very much when he's with her.

He couldn't get what he --

There were things that he needed now, needed to say or
not have to say. A year ago -- several *months* ago -- he
would've just called Dick ("C'mon, pick up the phone, little
brother. I know you're there --"). But Dick is... there's too
much there. He'd prided himself, for years now, on his
ability to provide something like the friendship
(brotherhood) Dick needed. He can't -- he couldn't.

Which was problematic in itself, of course, a *lack* in
himself which went beyond and below every other thing
he lacks, now. It was *necessary* to do -- to have
*something*. And Clark...

Clark has always been intensely, confusingly *available*.
He'd barely been Robin for a month before Dick had found
a way to introduce them. ("He's like the Robin's official
escape hatch, and... don't tell Bruce I said that. Ever.")
And since then...

Clark is, actually, one of the few people Tim has never made
an effort to avoid. The fact that Clark has always been able
to make Tim *feel* as though he'd been avoiding him with
determination is...

("There you are! I haven't gotten to see you in a while,

It's a factor of his personality, Tim thinks. Of the
assumptions he makes about the motivations and
personalities of the people around him. Considered with
any degree of analysis, Clark's long-standing -- and
deeply influential -- friendship with Dick makes absolute
sense. Both of them, as a matter of course, assume the
best about the people around them to a degree which is
nearly pathological.

However, while Dick's pathology has caused him more
difficulty than anyone should ever have to deal with,
Clark's has... not.

For the most part.

Clark really does seem to be what would happen --
personality-wise -- if someone with that precise pathology
has always been validated.

And so, for Clark, it must've seemed entirely unsurprising
for Tim to seek him out. He's Superman -- friend to Robins
everywhere -- and he's also Clark, the man (in a way...)
who has been, apparently, one of Tim's friends for years.
Whether Tim himself had been aware of this particular
'fact' or not.

("I was hoping we could talk, Tim. How are you? Really.")

Tim has, in the last several months, grown somewhat
accustomed to Clark's failure to be shocked by his
presence, by his *appearances*. Whether he shows up
on a Metropolis rooftop or dresses up like a pizza delivery
boy in order to gain access to Clark's apartment
complex --

("I don't know why I was expecting you to use the

-- the only surprise in Clark's expressions (Clark has
inhuman control over such things, of course, but his life
and his style of battle has never allowed him any degree
of *practice* at it.) is mild, and pleasant, and...

It seems wrong -- and it's definitely troubling -- on a
number of levels to have had better success at escaping
unannounced visits without injury with Clark than he's had
with Dick, but then...

That's all the more reason for this... this *acquaintance*.
He *needs* to be someone Dick can count on again,
someone he can *talk* to again --

He needs to be able to look at Dick, again, without wanting
to blame him for. For too much.

And, of course...

("Dick sends his regards, as I'm sure you know, Tim," Clark
says, smiling with a rueful humor the man has no difficulty
assuming is shared. "It's good to see you again.")

Of course, there's a certain compromise to this, to choosing
Clark as opposed to (Helena, Connor. Kon.) anyone else to
be the recipient of his failures and emotional instability.
Clark, after all, is the best possible firewall against contact
with everyone (still alive) in his own family. (His family --
his *family* --)

Clark will provide all of them with just enough information
to be... adequate. Just as Clark provides just enough
companionship, and just enough...

Just enough of *everything*, if he's being honest with
himself. The perfection is both addictive and disturbing --
as it should be.

And it would almost certainly be more disturbing if Clark
hasn't made (carefully, gently) sure that Tim knows their
arrangement isn't... one-sided.

Clark, for better or worse, has had more than enough
*experience* with the people who had been Tim's
default (family. *Family*) social circle for the last few
years to know full well that being glad to see him, glad
to welcome him, glad to *provide* is inadequate, if not

There are times when Tim doesn't mind being compared
to Batman (*Bruce*), and while he hadn't considered Clark
when making that decision about himself, he clearly should
have done.

("I think, Tim, that many of us -- too many of us -- forget
that friendship doesn't need to be limited to family. But
perhaps that's an understandable belief, for someone like
me," he says, and this time the ruefulness is designedly
private. "Family can be hard to find, sometimes...")

The fact that Clark isn't Tim's friend has no bearing
whatsoever on his being *Clark's* friend. And Clark...

The files in Bruce's systems have gone on, at length, at
the disturbing intensity of Clark's emotional needs. The
connections he requires, and how badly he does without

Lois has been on assignment for quite some time, now.

Which, of course, leads to the other... factors, in this.

("Well..." The fact that Dick is laughing isn't noteworthy so
much as gratifying. The fact that Dick is *blushing*... "You
know, he's never *said* anything, you know..." And
coughing. "Let's just say, little brother, that there can't
possibly be anyone with more appreciation for primary
colors than Clark." Dick smiles -- softly -- at Tim's blink.
"You know, Jason had the *exact* same look on his face,"
he says. And, of course, he's no longer laughing.)

He's never touched Tim inappropriately -- he rarely touches
Tim at all. Certainly, he's never done anything which would
qualify as a *pass*. All of it is in the way Clark looks at him
at the beginning and end of every one of Tim's... visits.
The way he'll shape the tone of his voice to turn certain
phrases -- and the lack of phrases, the pauses -- into...

It's not invitation.

It's more like... a friendly reminder of possibility.

And Tim has... he's given it thought. Not so much taking
Clark *up* on those -- he has *Kon* -- as on considering
what would happen if he did.

What it would be like (not the physical, really. He suspects
it would be enough like it is with Kon to be both deeply
disturbing and satisfying.) to be with someone... to be
*touched* by someone he's never had to lie to, because
the nature of both Clark's powers and his relationship to
Bruce had long since made the entire point moot.

And, of course, because he's Superman.

Tim hasn't ever had the opportunity to be with someone...
almost entirely safe.

It's an interesting idea -- even, to some extent, an
intriguing one. Something to push back with a small -- but
undeniable -- *thrill* of guilt when Kon is touching him.

It's not that he ever would, but he knows it's... wrong to
consider it. Because he loves Kon, because the idea of
hurting Kon is sickening, and because Kon is...

Because it's Clark.

Sometimes, he and Clark don't say more than each other's
names. They're silent together for minutes, hours. Clark
gives him coffee, or cold water, or cookies Tim is
absolutely sure are homemade.

("You know, my parents are starting to get a little annoyed
with you, I think. Smallville *does* have its charms, Tim.
I promise," Clark says, managing to refer to Tim's
relationship with Kon with nothing more than the
amusement in his tone.)

They never discuss Kon, other than silently. Ambiguously.
The limits of Clark's politesse, he thinks, and the more
stringent limits of their... intimacy. Kon had mentioned
Clark's approval of their relationship. Clark, himself, has
only mentioned that to Kon.

Which is, of course, precisely what's necessary.

On the quieter nights, when Tim leaves Clark again, he'll
press the fingers of one hand against Clark's elbow and
slide them down to his wrist. It's probably more
suggestive than it should be, but then he's not sure what
sort of contact *wouldn't* be. Even a hand-shake leads to
the image -- undeniable -- of his hand buried --
*swallowed* within Clark's own. The grip, the offering of
oneself to be *held* --

All of it is entirely too suggestive, in all honesty. Because
of the attraction, and the absolute confidence Clark has in
Tim's ability to understand the attraction. To acknowledge
and live with it.

It's really only when he's been with Kon within twenty-four
hours of seeing Clark that it becomes *difficult*, as opposed
to merely (soothingly) complex. Clark's senses are keen,
and Kon isn't ever precisely subtle with Tim's body.

Tim can't imagine letting Kon be subtle.

On nights like those, the awareness between him and Clark
shifts to something a little sharper, a little stranger. He
suspects -- he *knows* -- Clark wants... to *know*. What
he and Kon have done. Perhaps even more detail than
that. He's Clark -- *emotion* could very well be a part of
that detail. Or the meat of things, as it were.

Of course he never asks, and of course Tim would never
answer if he did -- not in *that* way.

But it's there, just the same. A flare of Clark's nostrils, and
the way Kon does the same thing whenever Tim can be
with him after a patrol. A sharpness around the eyes -- of
both of them -- which suggests being learned and known.

That same inhumanity which isn't -- precisely -- alien.

Just inhuman.

("Fuck, Tim, how many bones have you *broken*? Your...
you're so... fuck, just let me --")

At times like those, it's always very *noticeable* that Clark
doesn't touch him. Because, of course, those are the
times when Kon can't seem to stop.

Kon's obliviousness -- however willful -- to Tim's discomfort
and shock... Kon always touches him until Tim has oriented
himself to the feeling, the closeness, to all of the *smells*
and the way it makes his emotions fire and soften and
change. And after, of course.

He wonders if Clark touches -- would touch -- the same

They always wind up *talking* a lot more on nights like
those. Inconsequential things -- anecdotes from the Tower,
anecdotes from the Watchtower -- never about Batman,
of course, and never about Kon, either... though, perhaps,
for different reasons.

It's a distraction from the deeper awareness, of course. Or
a mutual attempt at one.

An agreement between equals to... behave?

He isn't, at this point, what misbehavior on his part would
be -- for Clark. For himself, of course, he knows. But

Clark can utter the most clichéd and banal statements
about how much he enjoys Tim's company, how much he
appreciates Tim's visits, and, because he's Clark, the
words have the ring of absolute truth. The resonance of
acknowledged simplicity -- as if simplicity had always
been attainable, as if it had always made sense to *him* --
when, of course, it hadn't at all.

It's the same, every time Kon uses the phrase "best friend"
or "because I love you."


The Tower is -- selfishly, improbably, necessarily -- the
place most their own. His and Kon's. Especially at times
like this, after...


He's lying against Kon's side, and the rhythm of Kon's
breathing is almost entirely steady and comfortable,

"Man, I just... he's *Clark*. I can't even..."

Everything. It's dark, and so he can't just use his
expression to encourage Kon to continue. Tim tries a touch,
instead, increasing the pressure on Kon's chest for a

"Yeah, I... yeah, you're right, not really the thing to get
into *now*, I guess."

It was the wrong touch. "No, that's not... you can tell me."


"I want you to," Tim says. He's grown accustomed to lying
even while being entirely honest. Perhaps especially with

"Well... okay. If there's *anyone* I could tell..." Kon sighs
and pulls Tim closer, tighter against his own side.

Tim shifts until the position is comfortable and waits.

"First off, I know it's... fucked-up. I know he's my... well,

Tim considers, and rejects, quoting the old joke about
incest and masturbation.

"It's just that he's... he's Superman, and that means he's
everything I've ever wanted to be, everything I was ever
*supposed* to be."

This is where, normally, Tim would point out that Kon is
only supposed to be himself, and perhaps it's wrong not
to do it, but... it seems as though it might stop whatever
Kon wants to say.

"And... he's also *Clark*," and Kon isn't so much stroking
Tim's arm as using the motion to work out tension.

It's paradoxically soothing, relaxing --

"He's this *guy*. Who... Jesus, before we hooked up,
*nobody* touched me more than Clark did."

"He's very tactile," Tim says before he can think. The
touch was *too* soothing. "I mean --"

"Hunh? Why do you..."


"Oh, yeah. He's really... well, he *really* likes all of you
guys. He's always talking about you, and Nightwing. I
guess you probably saw him more than I did before, you
know, Smallville."

Tim bites his lip. Stops. "We talk now. Sometimes, actually."

Kon starts stroking him again, turning enough that
they're -- almost -- facing each other in the dark. "Yeah?
I mean -- about what?"

Tim shrugs. This close, the motion is as good as an answer.
"The Titans. The League. Mutual acquaintances."

"Hunh... yeah, okay, I guess I can see that. You probably
make him think of, like, a less freaky Batman."

Tim snorts.

"*Slightly* less," Kon says, and turns his stroke into a
deliberate tickle.

Kon seems to enjoy Tim's inevitable sensitivity in the places
where he's nearly always armored a great deal. It's
possible -- even probable -- that this is something else
Clark has considered doing to him.

"Anyway... yeah. God, sometimes I get really *jealous* of
how easily you -- all of you guys -- get along with

He considers saying something about how he's not sure
that Cass would get along with the man. He considers the
question of jealousy. Aloud, he says, "I know. The two of
you... well. You tell me."

"God, Tim... you don't know how much it means that I
*can* talk to you... I mean, I haven't even really *said*
it --"

Tim thinks he has.

"-- but it's like I know it's okay. I... I love you so much."

He has to swallow. "No one... Kon..."

Kon laughs, and rolls Tim on top of him, kissing him
slow and hard, then fast and deliberately messy. "Yeah,
I know."

Tim rests his forehead against Kon's own for a moment
before shifting into a more comfortable straddle of Kon's

"Tim..." Kon laughs a little more. A different laugh. "Yeah,
so, I was *saying*..."


"He... when *Superman* touches you, it's all about getting
patted on your back, or your shoulder or something.
Maybe getting your arm squeezed. When *Clark*

It's purposeful. Harder. Lasts longer. *Implies*. "Yes?"

"I don't know. All I can think of is that it really is
*different*. Almost like he's trying to be friendly, or... no,
of course he's *friendly*. But like he's trying to *be* my
friend. Or... like he already is, and I just haven't noticed it

"Interesting." Especially considering Kon's concept of

"Yeah, I... and just when I think I can at least *pretend* to
get it, to be that way with him, he's giving me the
Superman-schools-Superboy treatment, or flying off to
save the universe, or whatever."

Tim thinks of Bruce, and how long he'd waited for the man
to relate to him as more than a teacher, and the
increasingly incomprehensible stories Dick told about the
old days. And then he regroups, a little, and thinks about
the gauntleted hand on his shoulder whenever Bruce
watched him work at the console. The... hugs, after his
mother had died. His father. He swallows.

"Hey, you... are you okay?"

"Yes," Tim says.

"Are you sure?"

"I'll... tell you later."

Kon slides his hands up over Tim's ribs, and it makes Tim --
a little ridiculously -- aware of his own nudity. His skin. "It's
totally about Batman, right?"

Tim covers Kon's hands with his own and squeezes them in

"Yeah, okay," Kon says. "Anyway, Clark... I just still don't
know what I'm supposed to *do* with him, and sometimes
I have these... really freaking obvious dreams where, like,
he burns the 'S' onto my chest or I'm wearing his uniform
and it's way too big and the tights fall off when I'm in
front of my English class, and anyway."

Tim drags one of Kon's hands to his face before nodding.
It's a factor of their lifestyle.

"And I... sometimes I have these... uh. Fantasies."

It's an effort not to tense. "Of?"

"It's... really stupid and fucked-up, man, but yeah. Little
things where I get a *good* grade on an essay and Clark
finds out about it without me telling him, or, you know,
beating the crap out of a really *hardcore* supervillain."

Tim frowns. "That's not --"

"Or... or. Uh. Going down on him."

" -- fucked-up. Or. Ah." The images are abruptly
overpowering. Kon on his knees in the Kents' barn. The
Fortress. Kon's hands on Clark's hips, pulling Clark --

"Yeah," Kon says, laughing nervously. "'Ah' about covers
it. Or maybe freaking 'eek.'"


"God... I. Tell me you're not about to run away screaming,

Tim forces Kon to tighten his hold on his jaw. "I'm not.
Just... you can tell me anything, Kon," and it probably
says... something about him that it's never been easier to
say something like that than it is right now. Because... "I
want to know."

Kon squeezes his jaw again, and then slides his hand up
into Tim's hair and through it. "I don't know what I'd do...
yeah. I. I mean, there's not much more. I. He always... he
always holds my head when I do it, touches me. And...
and it starts out Superman-touches, but... uh."

"At the... end, it's Clark?"

"Yeah, I... yeah. Jesus, I just... it's so fucked *up*."

"Kon --"

"No, it *is*. Because... what if he's trying to be my *Dad*
or something? I mean... he kinda *is* my Dad, only --"

"You'd know it if he was your father, Kon." Blood. So much.
So... he'd never smelled his father's blood before, and --
Tim bites his lip and breathes. "You'd... I think you'd

"Tim --"

"Keep going. Please."

"I --" And Kon stops, and pushes and pulls Tim until Tim
is on top of him again. Against him.

Tim has had enough... experience of this to drop his arms
to either side of Kon's chest and squeeze. The tension in
him begins to fade almost immediately.

"Okay. Okay. I also... I just. I jerk off. Sometimes. About

Tim blinks. "Even... now?"

"God... fuck. Am I an asshole?"


"Tim --"

"*No*. You're not. It's... it makes sense." It makes his skin
prickle from the inside, it makes him *wonder*, it makes
him... "It makes sense."

"I... *why*? It doesn't even make sense to *me*, dude."

Tim lies still for a moment --

"I mean, is this where you say something really disturbing
about Batman?"

"I'm attracted to him. I hate that I am, but... it seems

"I... guess that's a yes. Uh."

"But..." Tim forces himself to sit up and straddle Kon again,
and reaches for the lamp. "Close your eyes."


He turns it on, watching Kon squint for a moment before
he opens his eyes again. "That -- Batman -- isn't... isn't
the point."

Kon frowns at him, and casually -- idly, perhaps. Or
reflexively -- strokes over Tim's sternum to his abdomen.
"I... okay?"

"You're... *that* attracted to Clark." It should've come out
as a question. He tries again. "You... want him... badly
enough that you *let* yourself masturbate...?"

"Uh. Um. Define 'let,' dude."

Tim frowns.

"I mean... uh. It's just... it's not even *thinking*. It's just
the image, or the memory of how he *smells*, or
sometime he just shows up at the Kents and spends an
hour being... friendly, and as soon as he leaves and I can
get out of the damned farmhouse... uh."

He thinks... "That seems... to answer my question."

"Fuck, Tim, are you *sure* I'm not being an asshole? I
mean... you know I *tried* to talk to Cassie about... about
us, and why I needed... why *now*, and -- uh. I mean, I
didn't even mention the jerking off, and --"


"She -- she *cried*, man."

Tim winces. "There are... you've asked me, repeatedly,
why I never... why it took so long to tell you how I felt."

Kon takes his hand and squeezes it. "Yeah. I just... yeah."

And... he should let it lie, here. It's almost obscene to... to

"Hey... what is it?" And Kon strokes Tim's palm with his

For a moment, it's impossible not to... almost *feel* it.
Clark's thumbs are significantly larger than even Kon's.
And this... it isn't just that he can easily imagine Clark
using the same gesture, touching him the same *way*.
It's that he can't actually --


Stop. God. "I was considering," Tim says, smiling ruefully,
"the definition of 'let.'"


"I'm not. You're not an asshole, Kon. Because..." I'm also
attracted to your clone.

Kon snorts. "Because you're really fucking *easygoing*?"

Tim blinks, again. "I... believe that's the first time someone
has used that adjective with regards to me."

And this time Kon laughs, pulling Tim closer again.

Tim lets it happen -- he can't *not* -- even though he's
reasonably sure that's a bad idea.

"Seriously, man..." Kon strokes his back. Long strokes, with
slightly more pressure than would be there if they were
absent, or unconscious.

They're really a lot more possessive... but then, Kon's
instincts have always been good.

"I think -- I *know* -- I'd be kind of a fucked-up mess if,
you know, you told me how you jerked off over fantasies
of blowing Batman. So..."

"I'm not you." That's not honest enough.

Kon frowns, pauses with his hand over the base of Tim's
spine. "Well, *obviously*, but --"

"I... understand," Tim tries. It's better.


"Kon, I."

"You realize your muscles have pretty much the same
texture as your *armor* right now, right? I mean, you
can *feel* that, right?"

"I've thought about it." It comes out overly fast, more spat
than spoken. But. It's out.

He considers, and rejects, mentioning that Kon's hand
feels a lot like his armor right now.

And waits.

"You... I mean... about me and *Clark*?"

Tim closes his eyes, grateful and guilty at the same time
for the way his expression is lost against Kon's throat.

"I'm... just going to get rid of the image of you jerking
off while watching me... uh. I'm going to do that now,
and --"

"About *me*... and Clark."

The sudden pressure on his coccyx is painful, and edges
close to the possibility of danger.

Tim grits his teeth and takes it.

"You... you're... fuck, you've been -- I mean, Clark *did*
say something about you coming *over*, to his

"We haven't -- I haven't done. I wouldn't."

Kon presses hard enough that Tim grunts. "You said *we*.
Does that mean... oh, holy fuck, he totally *wants* you

"I --"

"Christ, you're even better at the fucked-*up* stuff with
Clark than I am. I can't *believe* you --"

"Kon, I'm --"

"How long have you... I mean, do you --"

"*Kon* --"

"Does he -- does he touch you?"

"I love. I love you."

And Kon's hand tightens hard enough that Tim wonders
about the stability of his coccyx before he lets go, letting
his hand just *fall* back to the bed. "I. I wish you could
say that without stammering, man."

Tim winces -- in pain -- and moves. He wants to be beside
Kon again, but it doesn't seem like --

"Just. You know. *Now*."

-- a good idea. He settles for straddling Kon again and
staring until Kon meets his eyes. "If I could... it wouldn't
be true."

Kon frowns -- deeply -- but he does nod at that. Eventually.

"I just. I understand the attraction. And... it's perhaps more
fucked-up than yours." He tries a smile. "After all, you're
not sleeping with... you."

"The hand-jobs don't count?"

He didn't expect to laugh during this conversation.

"Because... I give really good hand-jobs." Kon's voice is --
*almost* right.

Tim feels his hands balling into fists and relaxes them,
deliberately. And touches Kon's face.

"I..." Kon turns his face against Tim's palm and breathes
hot and loud through his fingers. "Tim."

He wonders if it would help, in any way, to mention an
attraction to the idea of Kon with Clark. It seems as
though sharing this, somehow, should make it...

It seems as though there should be some sort of validation,
or perhaps even intimacy. Certainly, he thinks, it had
started that way. Or... had it?

Tim curls his fingers against Kon's mouth and -- gets kissed.
It's very soft, and dry, and it's not really *like* Kon, but --

"I think." Kon laughs, quietly.

It's not one of the laughs Tim is especially fond of. "Yes?"

"I think the worst thing about this is that I'd totally get
*off* on you and Clark."

Tim sucks in a breath. "Kon --"

"Yeah. Uh..." Kon pulls Tim back down, once more, and
rolls them onto their sides, pulling again until they're
pressed together tightly.


"Yeah," Kon says again, and kisses him.

It... makes things fall into place.

A lot of things.


He avoids Clark for the next several days. It's not especially
difficult, given their lives, given the fact that they never,
precisely, plan to meet, and given that Clark always --
always -- waits for him.

However, every time he so much as *talks* to Kon, it's...
there. The awareness between them of this... other, who
just happens to be Superman. To the point that the
*question* in Kon's voice (or eyes, or both) negates the

Kon *wants* to know if he's seeing -- and suddenly, the
language has become fraught -- Clark, it's painfully obvious.
But he doesn't actually ask the question, and Tim knows --
he thinks he knows -- that if he's the one to bring the
question up...

He had... underestimated the level of insecurity Kon has
around Superman. In retrospect (and considering his own
life and history), it seems irredeemably foolish.

In his own defense, however... it shouldn't ever be easy to
map comparisons between his relationship with Bruce and
anyone else's relationship with... anyone else.

Except perhaps supervillains.

In the end, he knows he would find it deeply... awful if Kon
were attracted to Bruce for any number of reasons.
(Perhaps starting with the fact that it would be an attraction
to *Batman*.) It doesn't matter that none of those reasons
would be much like *Kon's*. The basic emotion is the

Being with Kon has... often suggested the importance of
emotion over reason.

Still, in the end, there isn't much point in continuing to
avoid Clark, and Kon's hearing is not -- yet -- as super as
Clark's own. And so, after he's sure Batgirl has left him for
the night, he strips off his cape -- just the cape -- and

"Clark. If you're not busy..."

And waits. He knows it won't be long, and so he doesn't
bother to do more than pull glasses from the shelf for the
lemonade Alfred had left behind.

He adds more sugar to Clark's, feels his hair ruffle, and
hands the glass back and to the left.

"Thank you."

Tim nods, and drinks his own. He doesn't -- can't, quite --
turn around yet.

"I've... never been here before," Clark says.

He's almost close enough for Tim to be able to feel his
natural -- unnatural -- warmth.

Clark laughs. "Obviously. Tim..."

Tim... he. He isn't sure how much he needs to say. Or
rather, how much needs to be spoken aloud. He reaches
back with his right hand, this time, and there isn't even a
hesitation before Clark takes it in his own. At least... not
one that he can feel.

And Clark breathes deeply and -- sucks in a breath that's
far more sudden. Pointed. "You had a long patrol."

"I was with Batgirl," Tim says, knowing that, at this point,
it answers everything. Almost everything.

Clark tugs -- very, very lightly -- on Tim's hand. A
suggestion, rather than a demand or even a request, for
Tim to turn around.

He does, and Clark frowns at him, perhaps into him. And --

The knowledge is sudden, irrational, and brilliantly vivid:
this is one of the expressions which makes Kon need to
masturbate. And.

It doesn't matter whether it was scent, or some minuscule
shift in his body temperature or the width of his pupils
which gave him away -- Clark knows.

"Tim." His voice --

Just that quickly, they've moved beyond the carefully
unspoken bounds of their relationship. There's a feeling
of undertow here, if not inevitability -- he can't excuse
himself that much.

And when Clark presses his (broader, harder) thumb
against Tim's palm, he sucks in a breath of his own, and --

The kiss is too fast to see -- or to see *coming*. Once it...
lands, it's just a normal kiss, Clark's tongue sweeping
into his mouth, teasing him, then sweeping out again.
Clark's upper lip between Tim's own --

And Clark's groan is terrible, breathed against Tim's mouth,
demanding with *attraction*. Need.

Tim releases Clark's lip and takes a step back -- *tries* to
take a step back. He hadn't been aware of Clark's arm
around his waist. Kon often manages the same thing, and
it's always a little horrifying. A little dangerous.

"Tim, did you need me to let you go?"

The phrasing is precise, as is the neutrality of tone. An
invitation to ignore -- or forget -- that Clark had crossed
the line. Or he had, by allowing so much of his own
attraction this close to his surface. It doesn't matter.
"Yes," he says. "At least --" For now, he was going to
say, but... that seems optimistic. Or like tempting fate.
Six of one. "I need to... talk to you, about something."

Clark moves -- half a pace -- back and smiles with a mix
of gentleness and amusement. "What... changed your
mind? Or... ground rules?"

Tim lets himself smile, a little. "Yes," he says, with
deliberate firmness.

Something -- probably not physically dangerous -- flares
behind Clark's eyes. "Go ahead."

"I talked..." Tim pauses, and thinks. Clark... he would
have expected, perhaps, a bit more confusion. A bit
*less* confidence, even considering their acquaintance.
But. Hm. "How much, precisely, of my conversation with
Kon did you listen to?"

Clark's smile is rueful, but not especially so. Considering.
"You said my name repeatedly. And the background noise
was... suggestive."

"And you're only a-reasonable-simulacrum-of-human?"

The laugh is soft, and Clark's gaze never wavers. "Is there
more you... need to say?"

Before you touch me again? More? Tim fights the urge to
swallow until he knows he'll be able to do it with some
measure of control. "When you touch him --"


Tim... breathes.

"Though... I've avoided a lot of the suggested introspection."

It's... what he needs to know. Most of it. Enough that when
Clark cups his face and strokes Tim's mouth with his
thumb it doesn't feel -- quite -- like he's being... lazy.


It is, unsurprisingly, almost precisely the way Kon touches
his mouth. Only a bit slower... and Kon usually waits until
after Tim has sucked him. And. Tim's eyelids feel heavy.
His body is...

His body is *conditioned* to this, and to the way Kon --
Clark -- gathers him impractically and somewhat awkwardly
close instead of just pushing him back against the cabinets,
or a wall.

And the kiss, this time, is almost surprisingly *human*.
Almost, because he has, of course, considered Clark's
greater degree of experience and control.

His primary lovers have all been human.

It's tempting to... try to goad him into relaxing the control
enough for Tim to feel the hardness he should, the
hardness Kon always gives him -- unquestioningly, after
the first time he'd refused Kon's apology. It's --

Clark is warmer than Kon. Bigger. It's.

"Tim... I'd like to make you come."

It won't be especially difficult. But --

It takes Clark somewhat longer than Kon to respond to his
push. But then, he'd never actually tried to push Kon away.

"I need."

"Tell me."

"I need Kon."

And Clark tenses, eyes narrow and sharp with something
which doesn't look like anger.

Anger would be less intimidating. However, as much as
he's been "Tim" for Clark -- with Clark -- he's also Robin,
and --

The kiss is precisely as hard as it should be, and an
excellent distraction from the feeling of being of being
bundled inside Clark's cape and flown out through the
window into the night --

At a speed he expects would flay him alive if he hadn't
been turned into red-wrapped cocoon.

"Where are we going, exactly?" He knows Clark will
hear him.

"My apartment," Clark says -- through the comm Tim's still
wearing, on a channel he has no right to know.

Even Kon doesn't. "Clark --"

"I already called," and there's a hard smile in his voice.

And, abruptly, this is very... real, in a way which makes Tim
feel reckless and young.

He swallows.

Clark squeezes him through the cape. It's not -- quite -- a


Clark stops, pulling the cape back from Tim's face, and --

There had been a simplicity to it in his mind. Or, if not
simplicity, then *something* which had allowed Tim the
ability to not think through the implications, possibilities
and consequences of... this. He *couldn't* be with Clark
without Kon's... without Kon, after all.

Kon, who, at the moment, is wild-eyed and hovering over
the roof of Clark's apartment building, shirt inside out, one
boot only loosely tied, and ready to fly.

The message Clark had sent must've been... urgent.
Which, of course, makes this... moment before the
denouement, he supposes, even more surreal and

And as soon as they're inside...

Tim rolls the rest of the way out of Clark's cape and
lands on his toes and the fingers of one hand on
Clark's practical carpeting. He can feel Clark behind him,
and Kon...

Kon is still closer to the window than anything else, and
he looks -- surprised. Confused. Still too full of adrenaline.

And Clark --

"He told me he needed you, Conner."

There is a disturbingly Bruce-like voice in his head which
wants, very strenuously, to remind him that nothing about
aliens is ever *simple*.

Perhaps especially not this -- watching the confusion fade
into something rather more like horror than anything else.

"Kon --"

"You... you talked to him about --"

"He didn't have to," Clark says, and there's something
shockingly parental about his tone, an implication of
rebuke. For... what, exactly?

Tim looks at Clark, making it as much of a question as
possible, as *pointed* a question as possible, but Clark
is still focused on Kon, arms crossed and feet-planted in
a stance Bruce hasn't tried on him since the Bane fiasco.
"Clark --"

"You could've told me, Conner. You *should* have told

Tim *blinks*. "Clark --"

"Jesus -- Jesus *Christ*, Clark, I'm supposed to talk about --
how am I supposed to --"

And the ruffle of Tim's hair is the only physical sign he gets
of Clark crossing the room before Clark is *there*, blocking
Kon utterly from view, *looming*, and --

"I -- Clark --"

"You're supposed to *trust* me, Conner."

"I *do*, I swear, Clark, please --"

Another rush of wind, and Tim only barely manages to
keep his footing. And Clark is already kissing Kon *hard*
before Tim realizes that he'd been knocked off balance by
Clark slamming Kon's body against Tim's own, pressing
them together and --

Clark had picked Kon up and *moved* him, and --

Clark is *watching* him, eyes narrow and bright, and --

Kon groans, and the sound isn't muffled *enough* by
Clark's mouth, and Kon -- *bucks* -- and the only way Tim
keeps his balance this time is by grabbing Kon's hips,
and --

It's not the reason. At all.

And Clark doesn't close his eyes until Tim exhales on a
moan, and his jaw is working, and the kiss looks like
something which would break a human's *teeth*, and

Tim *knows* those moans. He knows they're words,
coherence lost against Clark's working tongue -- he
hadn't gotten to kiss Clark like that. Not yet. He wants --

The buck of Kon's hips is *constant* now, ragged and
sharp, shoving Tim's jock against his skin and. Is

Tim licks his lips in the freedom from Clark's gaze and
shifts one of his hands between Kon's legs... and finds
Clark there before him.

He can't stifle a groan, and it feels... it feels like something
*wrong*, on more than just the obvious levels, or even
the emotional ones.

He doesn't think he's ever made Kon lose quite this much
control, and he knows he hasn't in quite this *way*, and
Clark is -- *looking* at him again, staring into him as he
pulls out of the kiss, as Kon slumps, a little, between
them and gasps --

"Clark, I... please..."

Tim feels Clark's hand flexing *hard* on Kon's groin --

"Oh fuck, *fuck* --"

And Clark -- "Is this what you wanted, Tim? What you

He can't mask this swallow, and Kon reaches back with
one shaking hand to *clutch* Tim's thigh, and Tim can't.

He covers Kon's hand with his own, wincing at the way it
spasms on his quad, and Clark is watching *nothing* but
his face, and his reactions, and --

"Tell me, Tim. Please."

"Y-yes," he says, and it isn't a lie so much as a *guess*,
and he doesn't know what he was thinking, and that...
*that* gives this its own terrible sort of sense. He's spent
a lot of time not thinking, not letting himself...

Letting *Kon* keep everything away, and letting Clark allow
him to pretend that he was being *healthy*, seeking
companionship and comfort, seeking something to fill
every absence Kon didn't, or couldn't, or --

The sound Kon makes is familiar and almost painful. It's
the same gasping, breathless cry he'd made the first time
Tim had jerked him off.

And when Kon falls to his knees it just means he can *see*
Clark, and the strangely fitting obscenity that's the outline
of his erection in his trunks.

"Tim," Clark says, in a voice which doesn't pretend to be
anything but hungry, and reaches for him, and --

His knees bump against Kon's shoulderblades, and Tim
reaches down to -- just to touch Kon's *hair*, but Clark
grabs both of his wrists and holds Tim's arms between
them. And kisses him, slow and hard and...

It doesn't start to feel relentless until Tim realizes he
can't -- quite -- get enough air in this position.

And Clark's eyes are open, staring, and. There's a message
here -- there are too *many*, and it's not a surprise when
pieces of his uniform start coming off at speed, that he
can't tell when Clark stops kissing him to do it.

It *is* a surprise to find himself naked except for the mask,
dragged so close that he actually has to rest one knee on
Kon's shoulder, Kon's broad, *shaking* -- *moving*
shoulder, and Clark's moan into his mouth seems almost

His eyes are closing again, and Kon is... Kon is *moving*.

And Tim has to struggle for several seconds before Clark
lets him twist free, move *back* far enough to watch...

Clark's tights and trunks are around his thighs, and Kon's
hands are... *fisted* in the waistbands of both, and Kon
is... is...

It's nothing like the way Kon sucks Tim, because that's
more like being taken in, *held* in than anything else,
and this is... different. Stranger. There's an unfamiliar
viciousness in the way Kon is *fucking* his mouth on
Clark's dick, and his eyes aren't closed so much as
squeezed *shut*, and Clark --

"Tim -- oh. Oh, Conner," Clark says and folds his hands
around the back of Kon's head and just...

For a moment -- a visible one -- Clark is only cupping
Kon's skull. But his hands *tighten* as Tim watches,
and Kon jerks like he's been hit with an energy weapon,
shakes and *moans*, a wet and strangled sound of.

Of precisely the sort of need Tim hasn't allowed himself
to recognize *within* himself since the first time Bruce
had betrayed him.

There's a part of his mind wanting -- *demanding* -- to
know how he'd ever thought it could be any different, but
there's no *answer* for that. And no room to try to create
one when Kon lets go of Clark's waistbands with one hand
and reaches for him again.

Needs him. Needs...

And there's something perhaps worse than anything else
about the hesitation he feels, even though it *does* have
more to do with the pointless anxiety about getting back
in *range* of Clark than with wanting to *see* this, and
*know* it.

There can't... he can't let there be anything about Kon he
doesn't know. Not. Not now.

Still, when Kon moans again Tim has to *move*, and the
only thing Clark does when he kneels beside Kon is sigh
and --

Too *fast*. There's motion, and the shocky -- and loud --
sound of Kon's grunt, and then Clark is with them on the
floor, pushing Kon's head back down into his *lap* with
one hand while the other --

On him.

Wrapped around him and squeezing, rhythmic in a way
Tim knows, intellectually, is entirely safe, but still makes
him cry out every time. It's too intense to be pain. It's
too easy to watch Clark watching *him* and reconsider
the nature of their flirtation.

And cry out.

Because every time he does, Kon *shakes* -- even though
he doesn't stop...

Is this anything like the fantasies?

Would it be better or worse if it *wasn't*?

And Clark presses his (hard, big) thumb against the head of
Tim's dick --

"Please come for me, Tim. I -- *Conner* --"

When Tim can make himself look down again, he can see
the flash of Kon's teeth on every -- every *upstroke*.

Until Clark's hand *shudders* around Tim's dick and he
starts using the other to work Kon's head up and down in
a rhythm that's terrifyingly fast -- but *not* too fast for
Tim to see every thrust, every flutter of Kon's lashes, every
*tremor* going through him.

Just too fast to be anything but a little sickening and
impossible... even when Kon makes that same strangled
cry that means he's coming again, *losing* it again, to
Clark --

To *Clark*, and it shouldn't make this much sense -- Kon
had almost been *joking* when he talked about the
intensity of this... this *thing* for Clark, but this is. It's
too much to see, and Tim doesn't even know what he
*wants* anymore --

Until Clark's hand shudders *purposefully* around him,
*vibrates* around him and he wants -- he needs --

Tim bites his lip to hold the scream in. It doesn't work.

And he half-sits, half-falls back onto his heels, bracing
himself on his hands because he *needs* to, and then
just holds on to the carpet, because Clark is pushing Kon
off and rolling Kon away from him, from -- them.

Because Clark's dick is hard and dark and *wet* and --


"Oh fuck," Kon says, struggling to sit up.

"Tim," Clark says again, and he doesn't reach to stop Kon,
but. It's possible that he doesn't have to.

For a lot of reasons.

And Tim can't quite read what's in Kon's eyes, and Clark

It *is* easy to fall into his own head, a little, in
reconsidering the nature of his relationship with Clark.
(Easier, maybe, than feeling himself straddling Clark's
thighs, feeling the head of Clark's dick drag over his
abdomen, impossibly hard and hot, feeling Clark *want*
him --) The *meaning* of it.

The assumptions he'd made about how easy it was (Clark's
mouth on his, and on his chin, and forehead, and throat,
and the way he moans Tim's name, and the way Kon is
watching this, *knowing* this --), how... soothing it had
been to have someone like Clark he *could* flirt with,
and touch, and *go* to...

But he hadn't thought of what it had meant for Clark
(stroking down to Tim's hips, pulling Tim against him,
*rocking* Tim against him until his abdomen is stained with
Clark's pre-come and Kon's saliva, moaning his *name*),
beyond the certain knowledge that this was all... positive,

Adult, and safe -- almost safe -- almost --


And it takes a moment -- too long -- to unravel the mystery
of Clark saying his name with his mouth locked around
Tim's nipple, to realize that it's *Kon*, moving -- not
quite crawling -- closer again --

"Tim, I... *fuck* --"

And the slide of Tim's hand around the back of Kon's head
is too *familiar* now, with too many --

With *Clark*, and his arm is *rigid* with wanting Kon
closer, with wanting to do anything but pull him, because --
because --

But it happens anyway, almost innocently, when Clark
bends Tim backwards and pushes him down to the floor,
and there's something -- it's just too much *detail*,
somehow, that there's a *sound* when Kon's rumpled --
wrecked -- t-shirt slides against Clark's naked hip, but
then it's over, then it's just Clark driving against him in a
rhythm which is slow but still noticeably, jaggedly

Then it's Kon, kneeling beside and staring, eyes wide,
and --

Tim's hard again. He's *been* hard, and rubbing off against
Clark feels dangerous on too many levels to count, more
when he can't stop his hips from jerking at the sight --
*feel* -- of one of Clark's hands sliding over the one Tim
still has cupped over the sweaty fuzz of Kon's hair.

But Clark doesn't pull so much as squeeze, gently, and
stroke Tim's fingers. It's the potential, perhaps, that makes
this --

Makes Tim --

He hears himself gasping with every thrust, feels himself --

He's *bucking* now, needing to brace himself for more --
leverage or just *more*, because Clark looks desperate
and almost angry, because Kon looks like he can't look
*away* (had he looked the same? Would Kon have noticed,
at that point?), and he twists -- *wrenches* -- his hand
out from under Clark's --

Clark grunts -- growls, slightly --

And Kon has Tim's hand in one of his own, has Tim's
fingers in his mouth. He's not sucking, or biting, or --

He's *holding* them there, panting hard and hot around
them (cool where Kon's tongue has left his fingers slick
and wet), panting and *staring*, and Clark makes a low,
loud *sound* and comes all over Tim's chest.

And Kon's breath stops like it's been cut off in the last
half-second before he sucks Tim's fingers hard enough
to hurt.

Harder when Clark moves to Tim's side... and pulls Kon
closer still. Kon closes his eyes, and lets go of Tim's
fingers and --

It seems like something (else) he should've seen coming,
that it shouldn't be such a shock to see Kon bending over
him and licking him clean, Kon crawling over him, bracing
himself above him, bracketing him --

Covering him and licking Clark's *come* away, and.

Tim's making too *much* noise, and his body feels stupid,
half-broken and incapable of anything but the suddenly
useless buck of his hips -- Kon is too far *away* -- and
the equally useless spasm of his fingers on Kon's shoulders.
He doesn't know what he wants to *do* with them, and --

Everything smells like sex, like sweat and come, and he's
going to have an actual *rugburn* and --


And Kon *pants* against his chest, tongue frozen just next
to Tim's nipple, and there's too much here that he has no
context for beyond theory and fear, and the way the
expression on Kon's face when he looks up at him reminds
him of the nightmares he used to have all the time, before
his subconscious had given up on trying to convince him
not to *do* this with his life.

That same *helplessness*, even when Kon kisses him, and
Tim has to buck, *again*, at the way he can't taste anything
but Clark.

"Tim, I..." Slurred and unfinished against his mouth, and
then Kon is finally *on* him, warm and familiar and -- too

Kon rolls them over until Tim is sprawled on top of him,
and it makes Tim feel graceless and a little like a
pornographic punchline.

Moreso when the straight, firm line Clark traces down the
center of his spine makes him jerk and twitch with nothing
that seems like it could be defined as 'ticklish.'

And then there's nothing else for just long enough for Tim
to unclench his fists and *start* to brace himself before
Clark's hands are on his ass, warming it with his heat and
making sympathetic sweat prickle everywhere he isn't
being touched, and --

"Oh," Tim hears himself say, and then everything else is
indescribable, loud and sharp -- *graceless* -- because
Clark is licking between his cheeks, and the *feel* of it --

The only reasons Tim is sure it's Clark's *tongue* as
opposed to some other hard, mobile thing is that
both of the man's hands are still occupied, and because
it's *wet*.

And Kon is cursing in a way that sounds more like begging
than anything else, beneath him with his hands on Tim's
hips, his hands twining with Clark's and *holding* Tim
there, holding him *still* --

And Tim wants to scream someone's name, or maybe just
*God's*. They haven't --

He hasn't *done* this with Kon, and having thought about
it doesn't *count*, and now it's Clark -- it's *Clark*, and
Kon's wide eyes seeing --


And Tim can't -- there's no way to block this, even a little.
It's not that he wouldn't be able to move if he tried, and
it's not the feel of Kon's dick hardening beneath him.

It's that *this* has become just another part of what he
shares with Clark and no one else. The noise and the
sweat and the fact that he *is* trying to move, trying to
flex enough to spread his legs, trying to have room to

Clark's tongue strokes in, *fucks* in again and again, and
he's close, he's so close to losing it, and he's terrified
that he won't, that the strangeness of this will just make
him shake more and more, make him claw at the carpet
and --

"*Please* -- *oh* --"

Kon thrusting *up*, shoving him back against Clark's face,
spearing him deeper with Clark's *tongue*, and the small
part of him which insists that it's unintentional has no
power over the rest of him, over the realization that every
time Clark says 'Conner,' it's an order Kon will follow.

No matter what.

Kon moans and squeezes his hips harder -- Tim *thinks* it's
Kon squeezing him harder -- and -- "Oh -- Jesus, Tim, I'm
so -- I'm... you're so *sexy* like this --"

And it's *Kon*, and he can't not close his eyes and moan,
even though it comes out sounding high and out of control,
because Clark's pulling *out* --

For all the time it takes for him to come back with a finger,
pushing in long, so hard, so --

They've done this. They've *done* this. On beds and
against walls and with Tim folded up in Kon's lap with Kon's
eyes wide and wondering *almost* like this, with Tim --

"Please... *please* --"

-- begging, and it feels like he's trying to convince himself
of something, and it feels like he's doing a godawful *job*
of it, because Clark isn't gentle, or shaky. Clark isn't *Kon*,
and there's no way to pretend otherwise.

Tim closes his eyes against the sound of his own whimper.

"Clark, man... just... he's not... we haven't really --"

"He wants this," Clark says, calm and sure like a parody of
everything Tim had thought he'd understood about the

The *alien*, who emphasizes his point by curling his finger

And then doing it again, and again --

It's calculated. It's. He's supposed to come again.

He's --

"Conner... you have no idea how many times I've listened
to you make Tim make that same, beautiful sound."

"Oh -- *Jesus*, Clark --"

Watched. He was being --

Monitored and *learned*, *again*, and it's too *familiar*
not to --

He feels himself screaming more than he feels himself
coming on Kon, but it's a relative thing.

And when Clark pulls out, he... *kisses* Tim's hole, deep
and wet.

Tim screams again, but it's brief, and quiet, because Clark
lowers just enough of his weight on top of him -- *them* --
to force the breath out of Tim's lungs.

And Clark says, "Conner," and Tim can't --

He can't breathe and he can't see with his face pressed
against Kon's collarbone, but he can feel Kon curling up
beneath him, and the sound of the kiss is unmistakable.

As is Kon's long, shuddery moan.


Tim has spent the last two minutes staring at the clock on
his kitchen wall, trying desperately to remember the
impulse that had made him buy something that *ticked*,
trying to remember how it worked when he could just...
ignore it.

It's the loudest thing in this part of the apartment, away
from the deliberately un-soundproofed windows. It's.

Kon hasn't said a word since Tim asked him not to leave.

Then again, neither has he.

Before that, they hadn't really said anything since...

He's not sure he's supposed to count the things they'd said
and done in Metropolis. And that --

He has a sick-making urge to laugh at that, the way the
sound of the word 'Metropolis' in his mind shows every
sign of becoming something totemic. Something designed
to call to mind... Tim swallows, and out of the corner of his
eye, he can see Kon shifting to look at him. To frown...
not quite at him. But.

"I... I'm sorry."

The sound Kon makes is too breathily worn to be a laugh.
"I just. You... you *told* him... what *did* you tell him?"

Tim closes his eyes. Tick, tick, tick, tick. The fourth 'tick' is
just slightly off-time in the way analogs have. Everything
in his old... everything back in Gotham had been digital.

"Tim --"

"I told him I needed you."

"For... that?"

"I..." Tim reaches to scratch his back, unthinkingly, and
scrapes painfully at the rugburn. And winces. "I don't think
I can adequately explain how... very much I wasn't
expecting it to be like that."

This sound is definitely a laugh, albeit a shocked one.
"Man, I... what the hell *did* you expect? It's *Clark*."

He hadn't *known*. He. "I'd never seen the two of you
alone before. I'd never been alone with the two of you."

Kon looks down, hands tightening on the edge of Tim's
countertop just enough that there's a creak to go with
all the ticking. "You could've believed me. When I said...

There's a temptation to point out that Kon had never
mentioned sexualized dominance behavior per *se*, but
it's buried under the fact that Kon's right. Everything he's
said about Clark, about the feeling of being *remade*,
everything Clark's done... the terror under Kon's anger
that Tim might share his secrets with Bruce, and how
they would then get *back* to Clark, and.

"I just. I thought you understood."

"I should've," Tim says. "I. There's no excuse --"

"*Fuck*, Tim. Just. Don't apologize again."

Tim stares at his hands. "All right."

The counter creaks ominously, again, and Kon sighs.

Tim stares at his hands.

"Did you seriously..." But Kon trails off, and remains

When Tim chances a look from the corner of his eye, he
can see Kon biting his lip and staring at the floor. Tim
bites his lip, too. It's sore from Clark's kisses, but not
bleeding. Yet. "Did I seriously what, Kon?"

He doesn't look up. "You're the one who knows things
about people. You're the one who *calls* things."

"I'm not --"

"You're -- did you seriously not *see* it? Not even a little?"

Tim bites his lip harder and doesn't try to avoid a wince,
and Kon is...

Kon is the only flyer in Tim's acquaintance who can still
pace normally. At any other time, Tim would want to --
need to -- spend a great deal of time considering that
against Kon's background and experiences.

For now...

"See, Tim, this is what I don't fucking *get*. You'd been --
you'd been *hanging out* with Clark. He's your
*friend* --"

"He isn't."

It stops Kon, enough. "Fine. He *had* been your friend."

Not enough. "No," Tim says, and shifts his hands between
his knees before balling them into fists. "You're my friend.
Clark is... something else."

Kon frowns at him. "What... what does that *mean*?"

It's... a reasonable question. "He's someone I could... be
around. He never needs me to talk... about things I
couldn't -- about things I couldn't. And my company never
seemed... stressful, for him."

But Kon's just frowning more.

"I needed..." Tim forces himself to *meet* Kon's eyes. "I
needed someone like that. I." I think I still do.

"But... Tim, man, what the hell? That's what... that's what
I wanted to be for you. That's what I thought I *was*."

"Kon --"

"Are you telling me... what are you *saying*?"

It's honestly confusing. Can't Kon *see*...?

(And why didn't he, about Clark?) But.

"I make you... I don't make anything *easier* for you,
Kon --"

"What the *fuck*, man, haven't you been paying
*attention* for the last few --"

"I *don't*, Kon. You know I don't. Just -- *look* at us."

Tick, tick, tick, and Kon is staring at him like something...
alien. Tim wishes it were funnier.

"I... Kon..."

"You seriously think you're *bad* for me, don't you? That
this -- *us* -- that you're *giving* me something by not...
not..." Kon's fist shoots out and back, and Tim's kitchen
has a hole in it. As does his bedroom. "How fucked up
*are* you?"

"Very, apparently. Kon, I just. I never -- I didn't *think*."

"Jesus, man, just..." Kon shakes his head and moves --
flies -- to him, pulling Tim out of his chair and against him,
holding his arms, and --

He still smells like Clark. Both of them do. "Kon --"

"I *get* it now, okay? You had this... freaky little *image*
in your head and it all made sense, because you actually
love me, even though you can't say it without sounding
like someone is *strangling* you --"

"Kon --"

"Shut *up*, Tim." Kon gives him a relatively light shake.
And pulls him into a hug. "You can't say it, but it's *true*,
and you and... fucking *Clark* are totally all mellow and
fucked-up together, and he wants you, and you -- you

The hold Kon has on him is tight enough to hurt, but only
for a little while.

Kon sucks in a breath. "You thought it would work, because
you honestly thought the Clark *you* know was actually
the whole guy."

("It's kind of like being around another Bruce, little brother.
I mean... that's gotta sound bizarre, but... I don't know
how to say it.")

The laugh isn't much of one. "It's okay, you know.
Everybody does."

It's just that *Tim* wasn't supposed to. He was supposed
to be better than that. He was --

"And anyway, if he's good for you..." Kon shrugs.

This close, it's more about the way it shifts the feel of his
body against Tim's own than anything else. They're too
close for Tim to be able to see Kon's face.

"It was totally fucked-up, right?" Kon's voice is almost a
whisper. "I mean... it wasn't just... just me, this time?"

Tim feels himself tense, all over.

"Right... yeah. Uh. Never mind."

"No. No, Kon --"

"I... what."

"I was just surprised," Tim says, careful and deliberate and
slow, "that you had to ask."

Kon strokes Tim's back and -- squeezes. This time, it's not

Tim hugs back.

"It's just... I don't know. I mean. You have this whole
*relationship* with Clark, and you... when he..." Kon trails
off, and sighs against Tim's ear.

It's ticklish, but Tim knows that flinching, right now, would
be a terrible idea. He shifts, instead, pushing closer and
attempting to make the turn of his head seem as accidental
as possible.

"Tim..." This sigh is better.

"I just wanted this to be... something else. For us." It
can't be.

"I know, man. I know."


It's nearly dawn -- bedtime -- and Kon has gone back to
Smallville, and Tim... is trying not to consider it. There's
no point in considering it until he can come up with a
viable solution.

Kon doesn't *belong* in Smallville, and there's... there's no
reason for him to live --  he could be in Hawaii again, or
New York, or anywhere, *anywhere* but --

The knock on his door would be entirely innocuous, were
it actually possible for a human to get close enough to
the door *to* knock without tripping several alarms.

He opens the panel in his kitchen wall and toggles the door
to unlock. "Come in, Clark." When he closes the door again,
Tim locks it behind him.

Clark joins him in the kitchen -- decidedly Clark, right down
to the unfortunate suit. "An invention of Oracle's?"

Barbara had never given the man permission to use her
name. Interesting. "Yes," Tim says, and gestures toward
his coffee pot.

"No, thank you," Clark says, and sits down at the table with
him. And...

Doesn't touch. Also interesting, in the sense that it's
tempting to presume a lack of significant change in their
relationship, but... Clark has initiated this contact. And
knows him well enough to know that he would notice that,
and *take* note of it.

"You're uncomfortable," he says.

Tim raises an eyebrow.

Clark smiles and removes the glasses, setting them on the
table between them.

A gesture.

"Are you uncomfortable with me? Or with the fact that we
had sex?"

"'Had sex' doesn't quite seem to cover it, Clark."

"No?" And Clark touches Tim's face, stroking it with the
backs of his knuckles. "I suppose not."

His hand is very warm. "You might have... I didn't expect
that from you, Clark."

"I didn't expect your... surprise," Clark says, and lets his
hand drift to Tim's mouth before letting it fall on the
table between them.

And Tim is speaking about Kon, but... he can no longer be
sure that they both are. Or that they're saying the same
things. Kon... should never have left Cassie. Not for him.

"When you frown like that, you remind me of Lois when
she hasn't managed to make an informant provide quite
enough detail."

Tim blinks. "All right..."

Clark's smile is rueful and open. "It's been suggested that I
have a type. Or perhaps a couple of distinct ones."

Suggested by... ah. There's really no question. "Has Dick
also told you that you remind him of Bruce?"

A nod. "He was never able to clarify, however."

Tim nods back. "Would you like me to try?"

"Yes," Clark says, and the look on his face makes it clear
that he's agreeing to any number of things, really.

"It's because you don't just have... multiple identities, but
also fail to make them as distinct as they could be. And
when those... personae relate to people, they do so in
ways which manage to both be sensible -- when considered
deeply enough against your own core self and
experiences -- and conflicting. In several damaging

Clark blinks this time, and even sits back a little. "I..."

Tim waits.

And Clark recovers with an eyebrow raise. "Are you quite
sure that was what *Dick* was referring to, Tim?"

Tim lets the smile make it onto his face. "Yes. Whether he
knew it or not."

"Tim --"

"Stay away from Kon, Clark. Please."

Clark pauses again, and his expression is openly shrewd
(intentionally?) before he shifts it to something more
neutral. "And you?"

It's an excellent question. Or rather, considering everything
(*Kon*), it *should* be an excellent question. But... He
covers Clark's hand with his own, allowing himself a
moment to really *see* its paleness and scars against the
backdrop of Clark's nearly perpetual golden perfection.


His hand seems very small, like this. Like something which
could, perhaps, belong to someone younger. Someone
who could bring himself to go home. "No, Clark. Not me."


.When we all lived in the forest.