Where the light won't find you
by Te
January 25, 2005

Disclaimers: No one and nothing here is mine.

Spoilers: Up through War Games, Identity Crisis, Fresh
Blood, and TT 20.

Summary: He doesn't know what he'll do when they stop
trying to help.

Ratings Note: NC-17.

Author's Note: Sequel to Mag's Speed Me Through,
because I really, really had to. Won't make much
sense without the other.

Acknowledgments: To LC and Mag for audiencing and
helpful suggestions.


There are a number of things which come to mind,
usually, when Tim looks at his hands. Even here, in the
Tower, where most of the problematic dreams and
memories have too little context to linger.

Other things, like whether or not it's time to retire the
gauntlets of the moment, or if there are any
improvements which could be made. The nearly
reflexive, at this point, question about the gross design.

The gauntlets were perfect for him when he was
younger, the size, weight, and thickness perfect -- and
necessary -- protection for hands which had neither
grown all that much nor thrown very many punches.

He's considered, more than once, the idea that something
more like Dick's -- or even Bruce's -- would be better for
him now. His style is more formed, and his weaknesses
aren't quite the same as they were when he was fourteen.

A lot of things aren't quite the same as they were then,
which is probably why the sight of his own hands *isn't*
leading him down the same old, familiar thought
patterns, as opposed to...

He closes his hands into fists, shifting until he can feel the
extra armoring over his knuckles, the places where he's
worn it down from the inside -- no.

He's still thinking about *touch*, of all things.

Which isn't.

It's hard, not to consider. Even with all of the things which
he doesn't let himself think about, which he *can't* let
himself think about. Because...

The last time someone had touched him when they weren't
actively trying to kill him -- or at least hurt him -- was
Batgirl, and that had involved being bandaged, again.
Which he's actually come to enjoy on a number of levels,
some of which aren't even especially disturbing.

It hadn't taken very long, after all, for the two of them to
learn their bodies and their needs well enough to take
care of each other with maximum efficiency and comfort.
Enough that it has become, sometimes, more practical to
swing past her apartment -- or for her to come to *his* --
than it would be for either of them to just go straight

She knows not to bandage his shoulders too tightly, even
when it's technically necessary. He knows she prefers to
be stitched quickly, even if neatness has to be sacrificed for
speed. The knowledge makes them better, and...

He likes it. He likes that she's in Bludhaven, even if the
reasons for her presence -- the *reason* -- makes him --

He lives alone, now, and while it's something he'd always
considered with a certain degree of desire, and even
*wist*, and while an argument could be made about how
much time he'd spent with the people he had technically
lived with when they were --
He lives alone, now, and there are too many reasons why
he looks forward to the weekends. Too many reasons
why he *craves* being here, in the Tower.

And too many of the reasons are asleep now.

The quiet feels the same as it does in the 'haven, even
though it shouldn't. The quality of darkness is entirely
different, and, anyway, it's --
It feels the same.

Crowded and cold, empty and --
He isn't alone. He isn't... there have been times, over the
past few weekends, when he's honestly believed that all he
has to do is think the words 'I'm alone' fervently enough in
order to find himself...
'Smothered' probably isn't the right word for it. It's not
that. Still, the others -- his *team* -- have seemed
remarkably invested in... in helping him. That *is* the right
word for it, even though it makes him want to shake, or
possibly vomit.

However, the fact that he *hasn't* experimented especially
strenuously with thinking 'I am alone' has nothing to do
with discomfort, or even with the fact that it would be
frivolous and irrational to the extreme. It's been weeks
since... since he *told* them, and all of them have lives,
and all of them are... are *busy*, and he doesn't know
what he'll do when...
When they stop. Trying to help.

If he isn't... better yet. If he isn't right. There's only so
much clenching his hands into fists can help, in terms of
shaking. Enough, right now, but...
There's a small, ugly part of himself waiting for one of
the others to break down, a little. To *need* something,
if only so he can be there, so *he* can do the helping.
Like... like with Bart.
And he knows the matter is quickly outstripping weak and
irrational and heading directly for selfish and *insane*,
but... but.
There's another part of him which doesn't want to open
the shades, because that part knows -- *knows* -- that
the sky will be the poisoned brown-orange of the
'haven, and that the only company he could reasonably
expect, the only *contact* he can expect will be black
and armored and cold.

When he dreams of Batgirl, she never takes the cowl off.
She doesn't have a name, or a voice. There's only the
leather, and the armor, and the same blackness which
has been eating his dreams for... too long, now. He's
being unfair, and inaccurate, besides. It doesn't matter.

It doesn't...
There's another voice, in another part of him, of course.
There's always another voice, always another way. It's
the foundation of his life, and of his existence as the
only Robin who was ever entirely unextraordinary,
("... patient had undergone extensive, systematic torture...
she achieved consciousness, again, is a mystery...")
He isn't thinking of Steph when he leaves his room. There's
nothing... there's no one.
Not like that.

There is... this.
Bart's door is open a little, already, and swings open the
rest of the way silently for him. He's the only one who has
added grime to the hinges to make his door squeak. He's
also the only one with locks, and alarms.
Tim isn't sure how many of the others are aware that
none of them have been activated in weeks. He isn't sure
how to tell them, and...
Bart is asleep. One day, Tim would like to ask him how he'd
managed to give himself something like a diurnal schedule,
since Dick's old reports had included a great deal of
information about Wally's difficulties in that area as a
Perhaps it's simply a matter of time, and practice. Bart has
always been a speedster, after all.

He wonders where Dick is, right now.

He wonders if Bart dreams.
Or rather, if he dreams in a way non-metahumans could
easily comprehend, considering the impossible speed of his
synaptic transfers. There are, quite honestly, any number
of things he could ask himself -- or, at least, *consider* --
here in the dark.
Things which have nothing whatsoever to do with the sound
of Bart's breathing, and the question of when *he* had
grown accustomed to translating the sound away from
'hyperventilation, administer tranquilizers.' He knows, from
experience, that Bart is sleeping entirely peacefully right
now, even though when he touches the edge of the
mattress -- there.
Faint vibration, and warmth, even inches away from (his
calf) the nearest skin.

He wonders if speedsters ever cause things to burn, in their
sleep. It would've been a question worth asking Max
Mercury, since he had lived in a world where flame-retardant
materials *weren't* a matter of course.
With Bart so close, there's a precise sort of pain in thinking
about Mercury. The same as considering Tana Moon around
Kon, or Donna around Cassie, or...
He wonders how Kon feels, around him, when he
remembers Steph.

There's a feeling he's grown accustomed to recently, which
he'd only previously experienced after being exposed to
certain poisons. It's a kind of *awareness* of his own face,
of the muscles beneath the skin, and of the many ways in
which they can move without permission. He has no
intention of crying, right now, and yet...
He peels the mask free and scrubs his face with his
gauntlets until he's slightly raw and distracted. Dry again.
And then he removes his cape, and his tunic, and his boots,
and his belt. He sets them aside, forcing himself to make
noise, and, by the time he turns back to the bed, Bart's
breathing has quickened to a toneless and faint hum. He's
nearly awake.
Entirely when Tim crawls in beside him, and lies down.

"Are you... hey, you still have your gauntlets on."
Tim blinks. He does. "Sorry, I --"
Bart shifts, turning towards him and grabbing his wrists.
Only the last of that was slow enough to see.
"Is it --"
Bart pulls off his gauntlets and tosses them off the bed.
Tim blinks again. "Is it all right. For me to be here?"

Bart snorts, and -- stops. He squeezes Tim's hands, and
twines them with his own and --
Tim's hands are against the pillow and Bart is over him,
straddling his waist and looking at him.
Just... just looking.
Tim considers offering suggestions on Bart's form -- the
pin isn't entirely effective -- and then...
Bart is still looking at him. Tim closes his eyes.

Another squeeze, and this one is slightly too hard. If Bart
keeps it up, Tim's hands will be injured. He doesn't,
"I was wondering if you'd... if you would."
So was he.
"I'm glad you did, Tim."
They all want to *help* him. They all --
The kiss is surprising, and brief, and soft. The next one is
longer, but only because Tim's body has no idea what to
do with the knowledge that Bart is, in fact, kissing him
over and over again. His own senses are not equipped to
differentiate, and he knows now that they won't be. It's
just too --
And the first touch of Bart's tongue is too fast and electric.
"Bart --"
"Do you know how long it's been? For me?"

Twelve nights ago, an elderly woman had held his hand
after shaking it, thanking him for saving her from a mugger.
She'd held on for nearly a full minute, and Tim had stopped
breathing. Because if he'd kept breathing, he would've
asked to hug her, and then he would've had to check himself
into the padded room next to his stepmother's.

He wouldn't have thought Bart would feel himself to be in
anything remotely resembling a similar position, but there
are a number of horrifying things about the concept of
subjective time.

"I think so," he says. "I... I think so, Bart." He can't do
anything about the sound of his voice.
Bart kisses him again, hard and -- again, it has to be
several kisses at once, and Tim moans into it -- *them* --
and licks Bart's tongue whenever it stills long enough.
Sucks it for -- "Bart, please --"
"Don't. Don't make us wait again, Tim. Please."

Tim squeezes Bart's hands again, and tries to make himself
want to think about it with any degree of clarity and depth.
There are implications here far beyond simple (it's never,
not ever) touch, something closer to how he'd felt with his
fingers on Bart's nipple than to what it had been like, for
*him*, to --
Bart is kissing him again. His mouth, his jaw, his cheek --
and the flicker of Bart's tongue tells Tim he hadn't scrubbed
well enough. He should've washed his face.
He should've --
"Tim, I..."
"What is it?"
It feels like Bart is nuzzling him, which means he's being
kissed even faster, even more. If Bart were actually
nuzzling him for this long, Tim would be raw. As it is, it's
a gentle, slick drag of Bart's soft mouth over his cheeks
and eyes, and back down to his mouth for --
Not *long* enough, before Bart moves to Tim's ear.
"Don't make *me* wait."
"You want this." It is, perhaps, the stupidest thing he's
said in his life. Still --
Tim gasps and pushes against Bart's grip. The grind of
Bart's hips against his abdomen is ruthlessly hard. Close
enough to where Tim needs it -- abruptly and frankly
unbidden -- to make him arch, far enough away to make
him *hungry*.
"Bart --"

"I thought about it. After you... after. And I decided that
I wanted you. And then I decided *again*. And -- Tim,
I didn't think you *would*."
There's an angrily pleading undertone in Bart's voice,
and there's enough light from across the bay for Tim to
see how wide Bart's eyes are, how *full*. There's too
much light, and too much. He hadn't *meant* --
"Tim --"
"Kiss me again."

Bart's tongue is a slick, strong -- flicker can't possibly be
the word for it. Not for something this powerful, not for
the feel of his mouth being fucked, *filled* --
He's whimpering now, pushing against Bart's hands and
pushing up, helplessly, with his hips. He needs Bart
*lower*. He needs his hands, and when Bart pulls back,
Tim gasps for air and flips them, twisting free --
"Tim --"
-- and pushing Bart's thighs apart.
"Oh -- *yes* --"
It's -- it's *good*, even in his jock, and -- no. Bart's only
in *shorts*, and he has to --
Bart locks his thighs around Tim's hips and *holds* him,
and Tim thrusts once, again --
*Again* -- no -- "Wait, Bart, let me --"
"*No*. Don't *stop*."
Tim groans and braces his hands on either side of Bart's
head and -- *lets* himself.

He can't lose the image of himself, and how this would
look -- how *he* would look to anyone watching. Driving
against Bart roughly, obscene and fast and *hard* --
He can't *stop*, even with the jock binding him, *hurting*
him, and Bart is making sharp, growling sounds. His eyes
are closed and his arms are wrapped around Tim's neck --
No, his hands are moving on him, over his face in patterns
too random and quick for Tim to catch.

And then he shoves his thumb into Tim's mouth and --
and *holds* it there. No. No he's --
It's too fast. It's not the same rhythm he's using, but Tim
*knows* that's only because Bart can't move that slowly
right now, and Tim hears himself whimpering and sucks
so he can stop.
So he can... so he can *suck*.
"Tim -- oh *God*, Tim --"
Bart's thighs tighten around his hips hard enough to
*hurt* and he arches, tilting his head back and exposing
his throat. And even when Bart loosens his grip, Tim
can't stop *thrusting*. Just like then. Just --
He can't stop --
His orgasm stops his breath, makes him bite Bart's thumb
and moan, and it's... it's not *enough*.

Tim pulls back, ignoring Bart's quiet whimper, and strips
the rest of the way --
Tries to.
Bart is on him again before he can get his t-shirt over his
head, cupping Tim's hips and licking his chest. His *scars*.
"Bart --"
"I watched you in the shower. After. After we -- I
wanted... wanted to see if I remembered where all the
scars were. Wanted to -- I wanted you, and you couldn't
see me because I was moving too fast, and I wanted
you to touch yourself and you *didn't* --"
"*Bart* --"
Bart whines, high and sharp against Tim's skin and curls
his fingers under the waist of his tights. "Say it's okay.
I'll -- I don't even *know* what you want --"
"-- but I'll do it. Just. Tim..."
Bart's fingers are vibrating, and he's kissing Tim's chest
again, dragging his mouth and -- nuzzling now, too,
rubbing Tim with his *face* and it feels bruising and
rough and Tim shoves his hands into Bart's hair and
holds on.
"Let me. *Let* me --"
"Yes. Yes, Bart --"

Bart *yanks* Tim's tights down, hands shaking, *vibrating*
against his ass and pulling him back down -- both of them,
and he's too sensitive for the way Bart is driving up against
him, but he can't --
He can't stop feeling the *lack* which will be there when
Bart stops, when he's back across the country and -- "I
need you," he blurts, and squeezes his eyes shut when
Bart *stops*.
But... he rolls Tim over on his back again, and the hesitation
was nearly to brief to register, to brief to consider, but. He
*has* to, because he knows it wasn't brief for *Bart*, at all.
"Wait. Wait, Bart, are you --"
Bart stops again, freezing all over except for his hands,
which spasm and flex on Tim's shoulders. His forehead is
pressed to Tim's chest and, this time, the too-fast
breathing is anxious.
He can tell by the low note every breath catches on, the
soft moan which only *sounds* continuous. He. He
doesn't know. "Bart...?"

"I'm -- I'm using you. Am I...? I'm *using* --"
"No, Bart, it's --"
"Don't tell me it's *okay*, Tim!" His grip is too hard, now.
Tim stills, deliberately, and waits.
"You came in -- you didn't want to do *this*. You weren't --
even though you kissed *me*, and we -- you weren't
thinking about sex. Even a little."
He isn't sure if there's a good way to say that he just
hadn't had *room* for the thoughts, and he can't lie. Not
now. Not here. "No."
Bart's hands flex again, and it's all the warning he gives
before *moving*. However, Tim is used to working with
inadequate preparation, and he manages to catch Bart's
ankle before he's out of range.
"Bart --"
"Let me go --"
The trick is. "Please don't." The trick is to open your
mouth, and let the words fall out. "Please don't stop
touching me."

A shiver under his hands, and then more *vibration*,
and Tim tightens his grip and holds on.
"Bart --"
"I -- I'll come *back*. Please, Tim, just let me --"
He wants to leave, presumably to jerk off. He wants.
He wants to *leave*. Tim squeezes Bart's ankle again.
"There's room for the idea... that I want you *now*.
Isn't there?"
Bart's moan is pained.
But he doesn't resist when Tim tugs on him, and -- yes.
Turning and moving and *on* him, pressing Tim down
and -- fucking his *mouth* again, wilder this time but
still so hard to --
So *easy* to imagine that Bart's tongue is much bigger
than it can be, that Tim's mouth is full again and --
"Let me -- let me *suck* you, Bart."
"Oh -- God --"
"You want it." He needs to breathe. He doesn't -- "You
want me to --"
Tim's hands close on *nothing*, but Bart comes back,
stripped this time, and Tim's own tights are... elsewhere.
He kicks his jock the rest of the way off and arches up
against Bart deliberately. "Did you want it in the shower?"
"Tim, *please* --"
Hot breath against his neck, and Tim strokes Bart's back,
cups his ass and *makes* him drive against him. "When
else did you watch -- *ah* --"
Bart's teeth are sharp and the bite lasts for so long that
Tim knows Bart is *attacking* him.

"Bart --"
More bites. More --
"*Bart* --"
The note of Bart's groan trembles, shifting impossibly
and perfectly, *possibly* fast, and it takes too long for
Tim to realize that Bart is too out of it to dodge him,
but not so long that he *can't* roll them again --
Too far. Bart makes a shocked sound when he hits the
floor, and Tim barely manages not to drive his knees
into Bart's quads, as opposed to the floor. It hurts and
he doesn't *care*, because Bart is naked, and staring,
and Tim can --
He *can*. He scrambles down Bart's body, feeling
awkward and greedy, feeling -- *feeling*.
Bart's dick is heavy on his tongue, slick with... with
both of them, and Tim isn't sure which of them is
groaning. Maybe both. Maybe --
Hands in his hair and Tim goes *down*, swallowing just
in time and only *then* realizing that Bart had *pulled*
him down, that Bart's holding him there and thrusting,
pushing --
He can't speak and he can't *breathe*, and the skin of
Bart's hip is smooth, sleek with sweat, and Bart is
making sobbing sounds and *fucking* him.

Tim strokes him, as far up Bart's sides as he can reach,
as slow and *hard* as he can make himself do it.
There's a terrible, *irrational* ache in his palms, and
he has to --
He *has* to. Because the oxygen deprivation is going
to make him lose focus, and he has to use it while he
has it, has to swallow and whine like an animal, press
his tongue *up* --
"*Tim*, Tim I'm -- oh you're gonna make me *come* --"
*Don't*, he says around Bart's dick. Don't come yet. Don't
But he has to suck harder, and he *has* to slide his hands
through the come on Bart's stomach and he --
Heart pounding --
Fading out now, just --
"*Fuck*, Tim, *please* --"
Just a little *more* --
Bart screams and *bucks*, coming down Tim's throat and
on his *tongue* when he pulls back.
He forces himself not to breathe until after he swallows,
but he still chokes, a little.
Bart's hand is on his mouth before he can push up onto
his knees all the way, and his other hand is *tight* in
Tim's hair.
"Bart --"
"Why -- *why*?"
"I..." Wanted to. Needed to. Needed -- "Bart." Tim closes
his eyes. "Please."

"Are you using me?"
*Is* that the word for it? This... *this*. "I don't know,"
Tim says, and shivers at the feel of his lips moving
against Bart's fingers. "I --" Gone again. "Bart --"
The kiss shoves him backward, *bends* him back, but
he's flexible enough for this, and it's -- it's *better* to
hurt, a little, because otherwise the way Bart's kissing
him would make Tim need to suck him again much
too soon.
And the kiss doesn't stop so much as shift to the
corner -- *corners* of Tim's mouth, and his chin, and
Tim shoves his hands back into Bart's hair and takes
it -- until it stops.
"Is it okay if we... if we're using each *other*?"

"I don't --" It doesn't matter that he doesn't know. It
*doesn't*. "I don't want to use you."
"But you want me. And you -- you want *this*."
This, too. This... Tim squeezes his eyes shut.
Bart growls and bites Tim's lip -- too many times to count.
It's going to swell. "Are we not supposed to talk? Are
we -- am I -- Tim, I don't *understand* --"
Bart makes a surprised sound when Tim bucks enough
to unfold himself, but he doesn't move, and when Tim
wraps his arms around Bart's chest and leg-locks him,
Bart presses *down*.
"Yes. Yes... please, Bart."
The shudder rocks him, and the moan makes him squeeze
his eyes shut even tighter, but.
"Like... this?" And Bart pushes his face against Tim's neck,
and nuzzles him for a bruising heartbeat, and... cuddles
Tim opens his eyes, and forces himself to catch his breath.
"Tim --"

The thing about Bart is that it's always shocking to *feel*
him relax, to be close enough to feel the vibrations shift
from one sort to the other, to the kind which only
happens, usually, when Bart is asleep.
The loss of actual tension is breathtaking, and a little
terrifying in its implications. Which just makes it a perfect
match for everything else, tonight. Tim strokes Bart's
back, and decides to think about it in depth. It is, by far,
the easiest question in his mind right now.
"We could've done this, you know, *first*. And in my bed."
Bart makes a pained sound and -- the tension is gone,
again, almost too quickly to be noticed.
Almost. "I meant... I meant --"
"I know," Bart says, and kisses his throat. The way Tim
had done. *Exactly* the way --
"Bart --"
"I *know*."
Tim nods, and squeezes Bart. A little.
Not enough.