Your life of asking
by Te
October 4, 2006

Disclaimers: Not even close to mine.

Spoilers: Very vague ones for Under the Hood, various
older storylines.

Summary: There's a little boy in a big, lonely Cave, and
the big, bad wolves are feeding on him.

Ratings Note: Sexual/disturbing content.

Author's Note: For Kat, because she asked for 'Bruce,
Jason, night,' and then gave me some extra poetry
to play with when *I* asked.


You're young in his hands, soft and small and desperate.

Your shoulders forget how to twist, and your joints are
solid, useless things. You're a statue of a man.

You're *in* the statue of a man, and your hands ball into
fists which, if you tried to use them, you'd cause at least as
much damage to yourself.

There is nothing between you and the moment -- then and
now -- of a gauntlet wrapped around your wrist, lifting, and
everything important about yourself reduced to that which
can be so contained.

You tell him to fuck off.


You're a child in his regard -- a laughable term -- and you
flail as one. It is no victory to fight him down, and back.

You were always very large, and very strong.

You are as unwieldy as the clothes you wear, and the part
of you which insists on the term 'uniform' has a cracking
voice that fades under the laughter --

It's always laughter --

You are begging with all of yourself for it to stop, for him
to look, for him to *see*.

He has always unmade you, and surely someone so
powerful could do the opposite, as well?

You beg.


The thing is, this is all taking too long for you. Hit and run,
strike and move. The Bat is an army in the shape of a man,
and there are ways to get around that.

It's not enough to just meet his eyes, you need to *do*
something with that, something new, something harsh,
something fucking anything --

Any *goddamned* thing --

Your hand spasms against brick, your wrist in his hold.

When he kisses you --


When you kiss him, you are still begging. It is the moment
only --

This chance, once more, against all hope and nightmare,
that when the awful clothes let *go* of you, when you may
finally fall again to your knees, he won't push you away.

But first, you ply your troth, your suit, your self. You are as
clumsy as you've ever been.

You are so very hungry.


You bite when he groans into your mouth. His tongue, his
lip, a glancing scrape of your teeth along his own.

You know he'll push harder, take more, and you do it

A beautiful woman told you of insanity, and expected you
to believe what she said, even despite crowbars and
deserts and bombs and mothers.

The funny thing is that it all starts to make a lot more sense,
now, even though she'd be more than a little disappointed
in you.

There's a reason she isn't here.


You taste your blood in his mouth and it's the first time --

He is apologetic, foul-mouthed, sweaty beneath you,
pushing --

You are enchanted. This is the spell.

This is --

Even if it is only the physical reality of your mutual passion,
even if you are only both clumsy and unsure, it is the taste
of *your* blood in *his* mouth.

You are telling him you know this with the thrust of your

He is admitting his own knowledge with the swipe of his
own tongue over your lip. You are so very close.

You are so very close.


He loves you, and he always has. He loved you before he
knew who you were, and he loved you when he did, and
you're no closer than you've ever been to explaining that
it doesn't fucking *work* that way.

You're fucking Robin, you both are, and you both always
have been.

There's a little boy in a big, lonely Cave, and the big, bad
wolves are feeding on him. You can't help it --

You want to tell him that it's okay, that you're not
*supposed* to be able to help it.

It tastes so *sweet*.

You want to shove him off you for just long *enough* to eat
your own goddamned gun.


His hands push and claw at you, his teeth scrape uselessly
over the cowl.

You pull the cowl off and the sound he makes freezes you.
It's sadness, it's rage, it's all the things you've never been
able to touch.

It's all the things you've reached for with everything in
yourself --

Can't he see you have to do this?

You snatch and grab at his hands, greedy and clumsy and,
worse, desperately. It isn't instinct to bring his hands to
your face, to scrape at his knuckles with your cheek, with
the cut he'd opened himself.

Your blood on his hands is the most perfect thing. It's the
hollow in Dick's eyes, the flat shine of knowing in Tim's, the
sadness in Alfred's.

It's all of the things which are not yours, yours and his own,
and he has to *know* this.

When he begins to ask you a question, you breathe.

When it stutters to a stop, so do you.


You kiss him, because you're fourteen, because it's that or
listen to him *talk*, because Robin needs to so bad that no
one else gets to have a say.

You kiss him and grind everything you *aren't* into it, you
spit lies with your tongue, you build it all up again right
until it's sweetness, until it's nothing but the silence and
the night all around you and some starving little boy crushed
*between* you.

You're making something, because you have to, because
you can't fucking stand --


He is the most truly gentle person you have ever known,
and you have never tried to explain anything of the kind to


He's nothing without the damned armor. He's not enough
*with* it, but -- shit.

You push him into the darkness of an alley, you pull him
and he follows.

You breathe in the stink and you breathe.


You touch his face.


You -- you just fucking *breathe* for a second --


You are only yourself.


He tells you he missed you, and he means too many
damned different things to count. He says your name and
he's praying.

He says your name and he promises and he pleads.

You're in his bedroom, you're in a cloak room, you're on
your back, and he is, too. You cut your tongue on his
teeth and there is nothing but the two of you --


You are only yourself.


He's too busy tracing the bones of your face and the mask
that used to be a lot funnier to stop you from pushing him
away again.

The streetlight catches the gleam of his teeth -- he's so
*proud* of Robin -- and you are young without his hands.

You'd forgotten it's worse this way.

It's an old trick, and one he'd taught you besides, but
without the cowl he's as vulnerable to smoke bombs as


You're in the Cave which is too obscene to be real. You
hear the sound of breaking and you feel your face pulling
into a scream.

You're in the nightmare, and you are as helpless and
reaching --

You are a child without his regard, and you had forgotten
this was worse.

When you fly, the wind is harsh and shaming on the skin of
your face, but you can see him in motion.

He is not so far away that you can't catch.


You move.


You are only yourself.


... And oh, my love, as I rock for you to-night,
And have not any longer any hope
To heal the suffering, or make requite
For all your life of asking and despair,
I own that some of me is dead to-night.