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by Te

by Te
November 8, 2003

Disclaimers: Not even remotely mine. It's better that way.

Spoilers: Major ones for "A Better World." Vague, AU-ish references to "Return of the Joker" from Batman Beyond.

Summary: Nothing ends neatly. Not in Batman's world.

Ratings Note/Warnings: NC-17. Contains content some readers may find disturbing.

Author's Note: Written for the Spike, who's about to have a birthday.

Acknowledgments: To the Spike for wanting this. Or... something like this. Heh. To her, Deb, Livia, Jack, and Bas for audiencing. Jack also gave me the title.

Feedback makes it stop.


Batman spends a lot of time in the Cave.

It's nothing new, but it feels new, in ways he doesn't have words for. And that... is just one of the many things he's worried about.

Or... not so much worried, but he's thinking about it.

He has a lot of time to think, now.

One of the monitors is tuned to CNN, and will stay there for at least a while longer.

It hadn't taken long for the people to realize that the Lords were gone, and probably for good. The first few rumors out of Arkham, a few mad (and didn't they have to be? They'd made the world distinctly unsafe for sane criminals...) thieves robbing a bank in Chicago and succeeding.

A flood in Bangladesh, unchecked.

Not all of the demonstrations had ended in rioting.

Not all.

And that was... something to be proud about?


He can feel himself smiling.

He wonders if he's laughing.

Another of the monitors is tuned to the prison where the League has left. The Lords? His friends?

His team.

A click and he's looking at Wonder Woman. She's weeping again. The art supplies they've allowed her have been used for the same thing, over and over: She's trying to remake her uniform. The old one that she'd thrown away.

Batman has it beside him, folded neatly.

Sometimes he wants to touch her face.

Another click and there's Superman. Clark.

He frowns, and shakes his head. Superman hadn't been Clark for a very long time.

He usually paces the cell like a caged animal, and this time is no different.

His is the only cell that has no windows, and sometimes Batman tries to decide which of them had made that brilliant decision.

He would've done it as a matter of course.

But then... so might their Clark.

In the carefully artificial light, there are the subtlest cracks in his skin-mask:

A hint of grey in his hair. The way the veins show when he makes a fist.

The other cracks are, of course, easier to see.

Batman wonders if the man is remembering Lex, yet.

He will.

Another monitor is tuned to the other Cave, and he doesn't like to look at it, he hates to look at it, but this is a kind of...

It's something between penance and rank schadenfreude.

The view is turned to the wall. The blank wall where Batman will build his glassed-in display cases. The space for Tim.

The space for Barbara.

He hungers.

The last monitor...

He closes his eyes.

He feels himself shake inside, inside where he can't stop it and isn't sure he wants to anymore and he looks at the first monitor again.

Sirens, broken glass. Broken bodies carefully kept within a range some soulless producer has deemed tasteful.

He could help.

He could...

He could walk out of his Cave and brush the glass out of that one's hair, and rush that one to the hospital, and... most of the rioters are drunk.

And they'd fall on him like wolves.

He doesn't want to die.

That's the funniest thing of all, really.

And if he could, oh, if he could he would go back.

He would tell Tim to remember that the mission always came first.

He would push Dick out of his arms and --

Alfred. Oh, God, he would tell Alfred to kill him, kill him fast before he changed his mind.

He would.

There's so much.

But out of all the things he could do -- the League has been incautious with the plans for Lex's clever little power disruptor. It would be so easy, so very easy to. Reverse it.

There are worlds beyond worlds.

There is.

The last monitor.

He'd never been in Flash's apartment before he'd died. After, of course.

They'd all gone. Separately and not.

The rumpled sheets, the refrigerator stocked just that morning -- and it had to have been, because Flash never stopped eating, and the fact that the fridge had been full...

It looks different now.

Every detail the same, physically -- the posters on the wall, the utterly unprotected drawer full of cash from his -- God help them all -- lottery annuities.

Empty, because Flash is somewhere right now. Flash is... saving someone's life, or cracking jokes, or eating, or dancing, or just...

How that man lived --!

But it's different, because this apartment is just... waiting.

Even the sun through the unblocked windows is cheerful, utterly lacking in ominous portent.

Flash will come home.

And part of him, the part of him that still plans and plots and knows, wonders what their Batman is thinking.

Because how could he have just... turned his back on him?

How could he have walked away?

Why are there no signs of heightened security on that apartment? It would've been easy, nearly mindless.

Motion alarms hidden from everyone's sight (but his own).

Other things. Things he would've seen, and known about it, and still wouldn't have been able to do anything to get past them.

But there's nothing.

The third monitor shows the wall, the empty, blameless wall.

And that, more than anything else....

It's rage and it's triumph and it's every victory he's ever tasted when he still worked in the shadows. When everything about him was dark, and every battle won was another battle lost and he wouldn't have had it any other way.

It's nostalgia, and that's... he understands now. Why the Joker laughed. Why the Joker couldn't stop laughing, and how he loved Batman, loved him every time he beat him.

Every time bone cracked with that satisfying finality.

Because Batman -- their Batman -- doesn't understand anything at all.

He's as clueless as a child and twice as smug.

He's dangerously ignorant.

And maybe, just maybe, it's his responsibility.

His duty.

To make their Batman understand.

He turns off CNN, screams cutting off with a calm little hum.

He turns off Superman, wondering idly when the man will start cursing him for not coming to get him.

He never will.

He turns off the Cave -- it'll still be there when he wants it again. If he does.

He focuses on Flash's apartment.

And waits.

Not long, no, not long at all, really. Not long, and not difficult. Flash is asleep when Batman shoots him with the drug.

And now... Flash is here.

It's an effort to stop arranging and rearranging Flash's limbs. The bed is as comfortable as he can make it, and the drug he's given the man won't last forever.

It's just.

Now that he's here...

And how easy, how incredibly easy it had been. He can't stop thinking about it, remembering it and moving Flash, touching him.

He'd had the drugs in his belt already, and it had taken mere seconds to holster on the injector.

Maybe his arms should be bent...?

And then it had only been a matter of waiting, and that had been hard, but.

Life has given him nothing but opportunities to learn patience.

And soon enough, Flash had come back, and he'd eaten more than Batman could remember, and he'd spent several hours simultaneously watching television, reading magazines, and listening to the stereo and that was.

His legs, so long. Lean with fundamental strength. Alive --

God, it had been impossible to look away, even to blink, relieve himself, eat whatever he could get his hands on just to be able to do it with him.

They ate together.

He was glad he'd decided to wait and watch from the Cave.

He knew himself -- still knows himself well enough to know that it wouldn't have done to do the waiting in Flash's apartment.

Wally's apartment.

Wally here, sleeping so easily that his forehead is smooth beneath the mask.


He doesn't want to put on the restraints.

He knows he has to -- the strength, the speed are too much to risk, even considering the drugs.

He can't force himself to increase the dose. The risk, however small...

He'd watched the fight. Lords against League, losing themselves in rage and the need to destroy.

And oh, he could've predicted how his team would've reacted. So close to "fixing" things, and so angry at the perceived ingratitude. And so very, very far gone that it wouldn't have taken any thought at all to go from trying to stop the League to actively trying to kill them. But the others...

The League. He'd watched them fight themselves and knew it would only be a matter of time before they lost control.

Perhaps if Diana had managed to kill their Batman. And that would have been so very, very sweet.

Clever Clark to call on Lex.

Idiot Flash to push Superman.

He shakes his head, and straightens Wally's legs. Ties them down.

Straighten his arms.

So much heat in the man's body. So long and lean and burning with that mutated metabolism.

Was he too warm?

He closes his eyes and searches out the hidden catches, fingers trembling with.


He stares at his hands until they stop shaking, splayed out on Wally's broad (he'd forgotten, oh he'd forgotten) chest, pale against all the simple red.

He wants.

So badly.

But he knows it, has lived with it in the years after his own Flash's death, in the weeks and months since he'd found this Flash's universe. He is patient, and Wally is asleep.

And he is not a monster.

He slips the top of the uniform off, all but the mask, unsurprised by the lack of armor and padding.

Confidence was always Flash's armor.

And he is lovely.

He works the restraints onto Wally's wrists, testing the flex and stretch of muscle. Making sure.

Allows himself a long, slow stroke from the hollow of his throat, over the expanse of his chest, close, so close to a nipple. Not even hard yet.

Sits down.


"... fuck what?"

Wakes immediately, tense beneath his skin and. Remembering.

And Wally is struggling.

Weakly, achingly slowly for him, but still struggling.

"Don't hurt yourself."

"I... what?"

He checks his watch, and it's at least an hour before the dose should be wearing off. Mustn't forget his metabolism.

He moves out of the shadows and even from behind the mask he can see Wally fighting off the drugs, fighting to focus.

It's an effort not to smooth his forehead.

"... Batman?"

An effort to wait.

"I. Oh my God it's you --"

Fear in the voice, confusion. Rage. He closes his eyes behind his mask and nods.

"But... I thought... Batman convinced you!"

And the outrage. It's so sweet. So pure he has to smile, just a little. "I changed my mind."

But it makes Wally struggle harder, vibrating his legs and bare arms, fighting against the restraints, and even though he knows how strong the man is, how much he can take --

"Don't do that. Please."

A snarl and sweat breaks out on Wally's chest, flushed and bare. So bare.

He reaches out, and the first touch of his palm to skin makes Wally vibrate and he's fighting so hard.

"Let me go!"

"The restraints are designed with you in mind. And you won't trick me again --"

"Let me GO, dammit!"

"I. I can't do that."

And he's using every bit of strength to hold the man, hold him still, hold him down, but Wally won't stop fighting.

A small voice in his head, amused and just familiar enough to cut: Did you really think he would?

He forces himself to move back, and loads another dose into the injector.

Aims carefully, because the chest is the best target, but it wouldn't do to let this get to close to the heart.


Watches Wally snarl and fight and slow, slow, stop.

Sits down.



When he has something like control over himself back (and oh, it's painful, bitter to admit the loss. And strange to wonder whether he should be happy about the bitterness), he leaves the small room.

Strips himself down to Bruce and goes up the stairs, into the closed off and forbidden part of the mansion. Beyond.

The mindlessly efficient butler -- but never a replacement for Alfred, no such thing -- is polishing silver and humming to himself when Bruce finds him.

He nods smartly when Bruce hands him the list of supplies, not so much as raising an eyebrow at its contents.

"You'll be wanting these immediately then, Master Wayne?"

"As soon as you can, Evan," he says, pasting a gentle smile on his face with effort. "I know the streets aren't as safe as they could be these days."

A snort, and the young man flips hair out of his eyes. "It's hard to say whether I regret the Justice Lords' absence or not."

Bruce can feel the smile change on his face, but the fool, of course, notices nothing. "Don't bother to regret it, Evan."

"As you say, Master Wayne."

And then the boy is off, and Bruce is alone. He forces himself to stay in the 'public' parts of the mansion, wondering if Evan ever wonders what he does in the other parts. If he cares.

Wondering how soon Wally will wake up.

Eventually, he can't keep himself from pacing, back and forth and back by the servants' entrance, the kitchen, the entry to the forbidden areas.

He wants to be able to see Wally, he could wake up anytime.

And he knows he's being illogical, and that cuts, but. But.

He's here.


He should've ordered the supplies sooner. He should've thought to install some subtle mechanism for monitoring the Cave from the mansion proper.


Evan returns, somewhat rumpled, but none the worse for wear.

He startles when Bruce yanks the bags and packages from his arms, but recovers quickly.

"I could put those away --"

"I'll take care of it, Evan. Take the night off. In fact, why don't you take the next few days? Paid, of course." He holds on to the steadiness in his voice with raw effort, but can't make himself manage a smile.

The boy nods slowly, watching him from beneath his lashes before pulling on his own carefully professional face. "Of course, Master Wayne.... good night."

He bore watching.

Maybe more than that.

He waits until he hears the man's car pull out, watching from a window to make sure he was in it, alone, and then barely manages to keep himself from running to the Cave.

To keep himself from calling out and --

He pauses. Stares down at himself.

Bags and packages and impeccably-tailored suit. Bare skin.

Bare face.

In the Cave, with someone there, for the first time since.


He shakes and bites his lip against the cry bubbling up in his throat like so much bile.

And can't make himself pull the suit back on.

He finds Wally suspiciously still and has to smile, just a little.

Sets the bags down beside him and waits.

The first twitch is... endearing to the point of pain.

The next...

"Oh, man, those are Doritos, aren't they?"

No mere plastic can defeat superhero senses.

"And... God, do I smell Yodels?"

He crouches beside the bed. Wally still hasn't turned to face him, but it's close. So close. "I... I remembered. What you liked."

And it makes Wally's mouth twist into something that looks painful, but before he can reach out, "it wasn't me."


"I said. It wasn't me."

Utterly vehement. Utterly wrong, but... But. "All right."

Silence, and he doesn't -- precisely -- want to make Wally ask for the food, but.

But nothing. He pulls out the first thing he can get his hand on, cup cakes so packed with sugar and preservatives they would survive a nuclear apocalypse. A good thing, considering what was going on just outside.

He sits on the bed, and tears it open, and finally, finally Wally turns to look at him. And he's about to say something, it's written all over his face, but. He sees him.

"You. You...?"

Another smile he can't help, and doesn't bother to try. He nods, and Wally's shoulders flex like (he wants to reach out?) he wants to move, and he shakes his head.


And that's... an excellent question. One he doesn't have an answer for, or at least not a complete one. "I had to," he says.

And something... flares on Wally's face, something like understanding, and it makes Batman's heart flex in his chest. Makes his hands shake again.


But before he can humiliate himself, Wally's stomach growls. He could pet it. Kiss the skin pulled so taut, so perfectly --

He shakes it off internally and pulls out the first cupcake, offers it on the ends of his fingers and Wally.

This could kill him, because Wally doesn't hesitate, doesn't snark, doesn't do anything but take it. Eating the first in two bites, licking his lips, tongue so close to Batman's fingers.

He takes another out.


Watches, and feels more naked than he ever has, and Wally makes. Little sounds.

Hunger sounds, pleasure sounds that his mind won't let him apply to food.

He reaches for another and freezes at the realization that the box is empty.


A little laugh, slightly cracked. Still beautiful. "I'd ask for the Doritos next, but you'd kill me with the one at a time shtick."

"You... don't. Mind?"

And Wally looks at him like he's cracked. "Of course, I mind. Jesus, you... you freaking kidnapped me and took me to another dimension. That's bad. But I haven't figured out a way to get out of these stupid cuffs and you have the food."

"I. I'll never hurt you."

"Funny how that was more believable before you kidnapped me. Twice."

He wants that warmth back, those sounds back... "Do..." He shakes his head and pulls out the Doritos, grabbing a greasy, dusty handful.


And Wally is still glaring at him, but he arches up just the same. Eats around Batman's fingers, lips touching his palm with heart-stopping speed. Accidentally.

He grabs another handful.

Wally finishes the Doritos, and the disturbingly tempting cinnamon rolls, and the 'chocolate' cakes.

Settles back against the pillow.


"Are you uncomfortable?"

There's something faraway on his face. Batman wants to pull the mask off.

"Can I..." He shakes his head and grabs a small towel from the bathroom, dampens it with warm water and wipes Wally's face as gently as he can.


It makes Wally shake, all over.

"Flash. Are you... what can I do?"

Small, twisted smile. "You can let me go."

"No, I can't."

Silence, stillness. He doesn't look uncomfortable. He looks.

So lean.

Wally swallows and Batman reaches out before he can think, stopped only by another one of those laughs. "I don't. I really don't want to know what you plan to do about the fact that I have. Bodily functions."

Drug you. Hold you. Mine. "I won't hurt you."

"God. God, this is so fucked up. What the hell do you want? It's not like I have the secret to... to taking over the world or whatever the hell you psychotic evil types want to do."

"That was Superman."

"You're not -- Christ, you're not helping. You --" And then Wally stops, bangs his head back against the pillow again and again.

Laughs. Long and loud and just a little helpless.

"I just get the feeling that... somebody needs to be watching Batman. Our Batman. Because I don't think anyone really knows just how screwed up you really are."

He chances a smile. "Superman does."

Head-shake. "This is so... why are you doing this?"

Because I'm lonely. Because you were there. Because you're you. "Because you're the only one left who knows who I am."

"But that... that doesn't make any sense!"

"I know. But it's the truth."

And the expressions cross Wally's face almost too fast to see, but it's Wally, so they're obvious and open and true. And for a moment, just a moment, there's something like sympathy that makes Batman want to hang himself.

And makes him warm, deep inside.

Wally blinks. Settles with an excess of stretch and move.

"Do you have to relieve yourself?"

A blanch. "Jesus, fuck, no. Not now. Christ, how long are you going to keep me here?"

"I don't know."


"You can call me Bruce. If you want to."

A shiver, and Wally shakes his head mutely, lips pressed together.

"And I... there's other food. That I can get for you. Do you like roast beef?"

"God, stop, just stop. Just..."

Batman nods, and stays silent.

Watches and wants and gives up.

Brushes his hand over the curve of Wally's scalp, mask so thin he can feel the clump of hair.

It had been blond in the casket. Too long. Silky.

He almost, almost can't feel Wally shake.

And it doesn't last.

He doesn't push up against his touch, or even against it, but he accepts it. Still. Quiet.


And the mask is smooth, so smooth, but eventually his palm starts to tingle. There are silkier places to touch. More of himself to touch with.

He bites back a groan and doesn't get all of it.

Wally stiffens. "Are. Are you..."

Say it, God, say it, but Wally doesn't finish. Doesn't -- quite -- look at him.

Batman gets up and shoots him again.

"Jesus fucking Christ, I'm tied to the bed, I'm not fighting you -- why?"

"I have to."


And it freezes him, makes him ache, but Wally doesn't say anything else. Or...

His lips are moving, but there's no sound.

Batman waits a minute, another, and unhooks the restraints.

Lifts Wally into his arms.

And carries him into the bathroom.

Wally laughs against his neck, quiet and breathy. "I could've. Heh. Held it... oh fuck what are you..."

First touch of velvet skin, soft and fragile and he can hold on. He can.

Wally turns away as much as he can.


And he's half-asleep before they get back to the bed, and it's so easy just to lay him down.

On his stomach.

Because it's not healthy for him to stay in one position.

Because his back is broad and muscled and tan.

Batman turns Wally's head to the side carefully and reaches for the restraints. Leaves them.

Wally's breath is even, the tension on his forehead easily smoothed away. His legs are tense, but Batman can take care of that, too.

Stretches them, one at a time.

Bends them at the knees.

Kisses the hollow at the base of Wally's spine and mouths it and licks and pulls back, pulls back.

Methodically, if not calmly, massages Wally's thighs. Re-locks the restraints.

And part of him wants to get up, get off the man, go sit down, have some pride, something, but.

He doesn't have so much as a cramp.

He can stay like this... for as long as he wants to. Straddling Wally's thighs and stroking his soft skin.


It doesn't take long at all.

A muzzy groan, a shift that pushes Batman up on his knees. Wally's metabolism would be terrifying if it wasn't so. Wonderful.

A smile he can feel more as a series of muscle movements: lips pulling back, teeth exposed.

He strokes his way up Wally's back, thumbs to the man's spine. Does it slow and waits for the tension to leave him.

Does it again.

"Bruce..." Slurred and muzzy and wrong, even now, even here, but so good. So. He's hard behind his weak and useless suit pants.

He's been hard for a very long time. "Wally..." And he has no idea what he wants to say, or if there are even words at all, but it doesn't matter.

He leans in and presses his lips to the back of Wally's neck, mouth straddling the border between mask and hot, bare skin.

"Let me take off your mask."

"Oh God..."

"It never meant that much to you. Not as much as it did to me. Let me take it off."

"Bruce. Bruce, don't do this --"

Bites down hard and Wally is rigid beneath him, vibrating with tension that holds, holds. Fades. "Let me touch you."

And Wally shakes, shakes his head. The pillow is visibly damp beneath his mouth and it kicks something over inside him.

Some kind of engine, implacable and inhuman. He leans up, leans in, presses his body to the length of Wally's own.

Licks the pillow, tasting acid spit and the memory of chocolate and Wally's mouth, Wally's mouth.

Right there and impossible to resist.

He licks his way past Wally's teeth, some part of him still with the wherewithal to be surprised at the lack of a bite. Tastes the man's tongue and ignores the awkward angle until his neck is screaming at him, until his lungs are screaming for air.

They're both gasping now, Wally so strong. Strong enough to move him with every breath.

"Let me."

And Wally's moan sounds like pain, and he struggles against the restraints, bites his lip so hard blood ribbons down his chin. Batman licks that off, too, and Wally stills, gasping.

"Let me."

Small, ancient smile. "What happens if I say no?"


Another shiver, full-body, and Wally... laughs. "Bruce. One day you're going to learn how to make people trust you when you say you won't. Hurt them."

He smiles, and knows Wally can feel it by the way his own smile falls off his face. "Teach me. Later."

And then he can't wait anymore, can't even understand the concept, because Wally's skin is salty with sweat and the muscles bunch and flex beneath his tongue.

Because Wally can't move, and can't fight.

And Wally won't say no.

Batman licks a stripe down the center of his spine, blood hot beneath his skin at Wally's choked-off gasp and it's easy, so easy to tear off the ridiculous suit. Toss the tie and the jacket away and rip the silk shirt and he presses himself down, presses himself close.

He wants to know what his scars feel like against Wally's skin.

He's not going to ask. Yet.

Kisses Wally's throat, makes love to it with his mouth, and it's been so long. So long.

Barbara never let anyone touch her throat and Barbara was.

Wally is here, and he likes it, he can feel it.

Hear it in the moans Wally doesn't know how to block, and Batman wants... he wants to make Wally feel good, so good.

And he will.

Mouths wet kisses all over his back and bites the sharp angles of the shoulder blades when Wally shifts and moves and writhes and he can't stop until all he can taste is his own spit, until he's left red, angry welts with his teeth, and he can't.

God, he almost can't hear Wally over the pound of his own heart, and he wants to force himself to slow down, wants to have every minute, every second of this burned onto his brain -- so much more than the tapes will allow him -- but he can't.

Forces himself up and crawls backwards toward the foot of the bed and tugs down Wally's tights as gently as he can. Not slow, he can't manage slow, but.


The sweet, perfect round of it. Only slightly paler than his back, and oh, he wants to see that. Wants to see Wally's perfect and innocent smile as he realizes he's alone under his own sun.

But Wally flexes, tenses again. He knows -- or thinks he knows -- what's going to happen next.

And Batman doesn't know what look is on his face, and a part of him is happy Wally can't see it, and that's all the thought he can manage before he takes hold.

Spreads him wide.

And kisses him.

"Oh GOD --"

And it makes Wally fight, but that's the way it always happens. No one ever thinks of this, no one ever knows or wants to know they can want this.

But Batman knows, and he won't let go.

Tongues his way in, too far gone to think to tease, and shows him. And Wally is bucking and shaking and the sounds, oh God, the sounds.

Open-mouthed and desperate, and Batman thinks: this, just. This.

And he listens, he thinks his skin must be drinking it. Every moan, every yell, and the taste here is just as dark and perfect as anything he could want. So human and so vulnerable.

"I love you," he says, and means it, more than anything, but he doesn't think Wally can hear him.

So he writes it with his tongue and squeezes it into the meat of Wally's ass with his fingers and doesn't stop.

Not until Wally is hoarse.



And when he pulls away Wally tries to follow, as far up on his knees as he can manage with the restraints, and Batman hates himself for ever wanting to wear clothes, wants to kill the world for making them necessary. Strips off his shoes and shocks and pants and shorts, and for a moment it's almost good enough to be naked.

Naked and staring down at Wally, and the angle isn't the best, but Wally's hard.

For him.

And he crawls back onto the bed and strokes, petting away welts and rubbing the blood back into incipient bruises.

"I will give you anything," he says, and Wally jerks, shakes, and when Batman slides his hand between his legs Wally's cock is slick with pre-come. Hard and tight and beautiful in his fist.

He can't wait for this, either.

Settles on his knees and jerks him slow --

"God -- oh God, I. Bruce --"

No, fast. Have to do it fast, give him that, anything he wants, anything. "I want you to come, Wally..."

Wordless cry and Wally tosses his head like a horse, thrusts into the tight circle of his fist and cries out again.

"You're so beautiful..." And every stroke feels like it's for his own cock, like some brutally kind circuit has finally, finally been completed and all Batman has to do is what he wants.

What he feels.

And everything fades to image and sensation:

Wally, coughing out wordless pleas.

Wally, bucking into his fist faster, harder.

Wally's bruised hips and Wally's long spine and the wet, pink pucker of Wally's ass, bared and mindlessly, senselessly lush as any delicacy and.

Wally, howling with the force of his orgasm and yanking Batman's own right out of his body, yanking his mind and his hurt away and leaving nothing but the spill of semen.

Bright and shining all over Wally's back and hip.

He has to tell his fingers to uncurl, to let go. And when he does...

Wally collapses, panting and. Vibrating.

It doesn't stop when Batman strokes him. It.


The sound is... inhuman. Hurt.

"Wally..." And he has nothing to say, because. Wally's mask is dark with moisture, and Wally won't stop shaking.

Batman crawls off the bed and loads the injector. Shoots Wally in the shoulder.

Loads a half-dose and does it again. He doesn't even jerk this time.

Sits down.

Stares at his hands and waits for thought, ideas, something. Something but the curling, roiling mass of emotion in his belly and the way the hunger just... leaks out of the center of it. Like it's the only thing he can handle anymore.

Or just the only thing he has left.

Wally's breaths aren't as even as they could be.

Batman licks his fingers clean.



Batman works quickly and as calmly as he can at the computers, using the secure-as-he-could-make-it connection to the Cave to upload everything he can possibly think of that might bear relevance. Articles, essays. The thesis Dick had never bothered to hand in, because he hadn't, technically, majored in theoretical physics.

Intellectually, he knows there wasn't time to learn all that he could have, but a part of him had spent quality time cursing him for it anyway.

For trusting him.

Because the fact of the matter was that there were firmly defined limits beyond which he didn't trust himself, and no amount of stress, violence, and Superman-related sturm and drang should've allowed him to forget it.

But he had, and Flash.

Hadn't showed up at the Tower.

He doesn't think the others have really thought about it yet.

Even Green Lantern had shrugged off the man's absence from their usual rendezvous point, making some comment about smacking him.

They're all doing very, very well at repressing the events of the past few weeks.

He'd be proud of them if it wasn't so phenomenally stupid.

But, no, the Lords were all powered down and locked away, and their Batman had seemed so nice, once you got to know him.

He could cheerfully wring all of their necks.

One at a time, all at once...

He sighs to himself and keeps running through the files. It's not like any of them could be any help with this.

He'd built the dimensional transporter.

And there was no one to blame for it but his own clever little mind.

His own... desires. Clever or not.

Because he knows exactly where Flash is now, and even though he doesn't think he would actually do any permanent damage...

Buzz in his ear.


"Batman, I'm at Flash's apartment."

And for a moment, just a moment, he can hope. But Superman's voice is cold and blank. He feels his jaw clench. "He took him."

"How did you -- don't answer that. You're right. I can... smell. Traces of the portal he must have used."

"I'm on it. Don't touch anything -- I might need the evidence."

A pause, and Batman has enough time to think "for once, he'll shut up when he's supposed to," but.

The connection is still open.

"Bruce... what will he --"

"I'm on it. Batman out."

He rips the communicator out of his ear and tries to focus on the monitors.


Of course Superman -- Clark -- would double-check.

He worries like a woman.

And he is, perhaps, the only person in this universe who knew something about what he was capable of.

All of him.

He shakes it off.

Gets back to work.


It's long past time for the dose, even the larger dose, to have warn off, but Wally is still sleeping.

It's... worrying. It's not a drugged sleep so much as a willful one, and every time Wally's breathing starts to speed up and go ragged with waking, he makes a sound.

Small and frustrated and desperate, face twisting up.

He pushes himself against the bed like he's fighting it.

He forces himself back to sleep.

It doesn't matter.

He's there, and if he wants to sleep... Batman can let him.

It's not quite control -- he's quite sure that he doesn't have enough of that left to make any meaningful difference.



By the time he'd made love to Dick, the boy had been too old and too angry to give up anything.

Barbara had always had too much invested in the world beyond the Cave.


He doesn't want to think about Tim. It's enough to know that he's out there, that he's alive and going to his doctor. The reports are clear and detailed.

Wally is perfect, so perfect.

Everything he could ever want, and so open, so giving, so present.

It almost doesn't matter that he doesn't want to be.

Batman knows he can convince him. Given time.

He dips the sponge in the basin, testing to be sure the water is still warm enough. Not as warm as he would like it -- Wally's skin is a furnace that makes Batman long for winter -- but as warm as he thinks might be comfortable.

He strokes it over Wally's hips, getting everything he left behind.

It had been an effort not to use his tongue.

He hadn't entirely succeeded.

But he's still... no.

He's not in control.

He's not himself.

It's the most terrifying thing he's ever had to admit to himself, outstripping that first hot, deadly rush of desire when Dick smiled up at him and promised forever, barreling through everything and leaving behind...


A new person.

Batman thinks he could be happy with Wally.

For Wally.

He thinks he could be Bruce, whoever that will turn out to be.

It's not control.

It's love.

And it changes everything.

He moves off the bed and dumps the water in the toilet. Flushes it away.

Scratches idly at his belly and considers a shower. But...

He can smell Wally on his skin.

Taste him on his tongue.

He closes his eyes and hums to himself, and part of him wonders what song it is, and if he's even in tune, but that doesn't matter, either.

He can hear nothing but the squeak of bats in the heights of the Cave, and his own heartbeat, and softly, softly, Wally's breathing.

He returns to the bed, and stretches out beside the man. Smoothes away the tension and tugs, half-idly, at the edges of the mask. Wants, but.

Not yet. Not yet.

Wally's eyes are a surprisingly chilly grey-blue -- he knows that from the old school pictures he's collected. The family photos.

He knows, deep inside, that they have to soften in some way when the man's in motion. Alive and moving and living...

He wants to see it. He wants to know what it looks like. If it's all about the crinkles at the edges of his eyes, or something in the color itself.

He kisses the blanked-out eye-holes, the bridge of the nose. Even Superman's nose was more aggressively sharp. There's a curve here, one of the few on Wally's body. He presses his lips there and learns it with his skin. Tastes Wally's mouth with slow, slow care and.


Wally kisses him back, slowly and sleepily and sweetly, so sweetly. He's found a better dream, and Batman almost wants to leave him there.

Deepens the kiss instead, cupping Wally's head and letting him feel his teeth. Letting him feel his want.

"... what..."

And Wally stiffens and jerks back out of the kiss, blinking warily.

Wincing with new awareness. "Bruce..."

"Wally. I want to be inside you."

And Wally pulls back as far as he can manage, straining and shaking and. Stopping. He slumps.

Bruce strokes Wally's cheek with his thumb. "I want to see your face."

"You. Know what I look like."

"I haven't seen your face since you died."

Tense, release.

"And I want you to. I want you to say I can do it. That I can take off your mask."

"Yeah, well, I want..." And Wally's voice is strong, sure, but it trails off into nothing. There's... he's strangely blank.

"Do you still dance?"

"I... what?"

"You used to go dancing. All the time. You would try to make Lantern -- John -- go with you, and when you came back to the Tower you'd just... so much energy. I wanted to go with you. Or just... watch you."

The blankness is gone, replaced with something that looks like pain. He wants to smooth it away, but it's so real.

"I did once. I followed you. I... the club was full of people, so young. And you were dancing with three different women. I thought you'd pick one, and take her home. Or maybe all of them. But you just danced. All night."

"I. That was. I remember that night. It was at."

"The Ride."

And Wally's shaking his head and frowning, but he's also remembering. "I. I didn't know..."

"I didn't want you to."

And Wally's face crumples. Confusion and the hot, acid scent of sadness. "You. You're making everything... Why are you doing this?"

He kisses Wally's frown, shivering at the feel of it against his mouth, moaning when Wally's mouth goes slack and. Opens.

He can feel the mask get damp again under his thumb, and he kisses harder, and deeper, and Wally shakes and groans and kisses back.

Hard and angry and desperate, and it's all Batman can do to remember that he's tied. He wants Wally in his arms, he wants to hold him and kiss him and roll them all over the bed, until they're too tangled to separate.

He settles for kissing him until his head starts to pound from the lack of oxygen. "I love you."

"You don't. Oh God you don't --"

"Let me show you."

And Wally moans and shifts and gasps --

"You're hard."


"So beautiful..."

And he kisses him again, quick and hard.

Again, with a swipe of tongue to make sure he understands.

Reaches down beside the bed and digs past packages of junk food until he finds what he needs.

Moves down the bed and kisses each cheek.

Licks his way down and in, just because he can, and the cry falls out of Wally's mouth like something inevitable.

He could do this...

God, he could do this forever, and he almost hates his own body for wanting more, for having the idiotic ingratitude to need more. Because he could make Wally come from this.

Just like this, wailing into the pillow and vibrating with nothing but pleasure.

He wants to.

He promises himself that he will.

But for now...

He pulls back, slicks his fingers with thorough care.

Slips one in, slow as he can manage, and --

"Oh God. Oh God --"

In to the second knuckle and the heat is immense, incredible, and he hates every callus on his finger for taking away sensation, even as he's grateful for them. For what they must be making Wally feel.

He pulls out until just the tip of his finger is inside, feeling something tumble and break inside at the clench of Wally's muscle. So strong. So...

Inside again, and the circuit is back, maddening and beautiful and powerful, he can feel this, he can remember his first time, he can remember the way it blinded him, the way he cried out.

The way Wally's crying out, again and again, with every thrust. He likes this. Oh, he...

Two fingers, and the first twist makes Wally rise off the bed, pushing back into it and yelling even more, jerking away and -- more.

He hadn't known Wally was a virgin to this. Not for sure. Now... "Oh, Wally, I need you."

And Wally's shaking his head and moving, moving...

Into his touch.

Pumping and asking -- demanding more. Even with his face in the pillow. Something so tender it could kill him.

Break him into a thousand pieces and leave him...

He pulls out as soon he can believe Wally's ready, hands shaking so badly that he breaks the first condom and oh, to come inside him --

No. Not yet. Not...

He manages to get one on, and then he can't wait anymore.

Holds Wally still, trying not to squeeze against the bruises, trying to be gentle, but when the head of his cock slips in, he has nothing left.

All he can do is hold on hard and do this.

Thrust his way inside, fuck his way in, and the tightness, the unbearable heat -- "I love you. Oh, I love you so much..."

Raw animal wail from Wally, and the feel of his balls slapping against Wally's ass makes his eyes roll back in his head.

Makes him just...

He half-falls on top of Wally, driving him down against the bed and sliding his hands up over the flexing arms, holding them, holding them down, loving the way it forces him to stretch, loving Wally's height and beauty.

And his hips might as well be oiled for this, he could've been made for this, for just this moment of sweetness and heat.

Wally makes an 'hunh' sound every time he thrusts.

Wally shakes and pushes and begs and they're rocking the bed, sturdy as it is.

And Batman mouths the back of Wally's neck, bites it and licks it and loses himself, loses everything.


Batman stares at the monitor into something that isn't alien enough.

The ground is black and sandy. The sky is alive with roiling clouds. Nothing else is.

And the remains of the Daily Planet globe glares like a sign.

He hasn't found it yet.

"Christ..." Superman. Again.

"Go away."

"You couldn't focus on Gotham?"

"There was nothing recognizable left. I needed to be sure this was Earth."


"Go away."

"You need to sleep, Bruce." Hand on his shoulder, casually possessive.

"I need you to leave, Clark."

"You don't have to be the one to run through all of these alternate earths. It's grunt work. We're better rested than you are."

"I don't --"

"Bruce. We need you in peak condition when we do find the right one. You're the only one who can beat... him."

He feels his jaw work. Almost believes the man and takes that as proof of how tired he actually is. Manipulative bastard. "Any one of you can crush his skull with a blow."

"Yeah, but we don't do that. Remember?"

And. Fuck. "You don't. You don't know." Hates and hates.

Clark spins his chair around with sickening ease. Smiles at him with a cynical edge that fits too well for anyone's comfort. "Don't I?"

If he bites his cheek hard enough to make it bleed, then. He can bleed. Batman swallows. "We can't afford to waste any time."

"Leave the communicator in. We'll wake you the second we find anything."

"Please, Batman."

He whirls, and Diana is in the doorway, looking at him with centuries of pleading in her eyes. Compassion.

How long had she been there?

Too tired. Too tired, too weak, pathetic and useless...

He stands, steady as he can force himself to be, and slides the communicator into place.



Wally is on his back again, awake and still.

The picture of loose-limbed pliancy.

Batman brushes a few stray crumbs off the pillow and hums to himself, hums down deep. Wally likes roast beef, with horseradish.

Enough for five sandwiches.

He wonders if he likes ham. Pastrami, rye bread... Such simple tastes. Pleasure in every swallow Wally takes.

He strokes the edges of the mask and frowns. It's starting to stiffen with salt. He wonders if it's uncomfortable.

Wally takes a deep hitching breath and blinks, obviously coming back to himself from somewhere.


"You didn't eat. Don't you. Eat."

"I..." And no, no one could ever predict Wally. No one. "I wasn't hungry."

"You should eat. You might... heh. Start to feel a little weird." Sharp little smile that Batman can't help but return.

"I will. Eventually."

Wally nods. Takes another hitching breath. "Did you. You said you watched me. Were there... any other times?"

"When I followed you...? Not often. The first time, I just followed you home. It wasn't long after the team formed. After I finally decided to be a part of it."

Ghostly smile. "Yeah. You were never exactly enthusiastic about the idea. I always wondered..." The smile falls off his face.

Batman brushes his thumb over Wally's mouth. "What?"

"I. Oh." Hot breath on his thumb, the tiniest brush of tongue. Batman holds on to himself hard. "I wondered why you stayed. Why you didn't just tell us all to... to fuck off and go back to wherever you came from." Blurted out fast, an invitation -- a plea -- to ignore that lick.

He manages to do so, but doesn't take his thumb away. "I stayed, at first, because it was a good idea. And I couldn't come up with anything better, you... all of you needed me, and we did good work. Important work of the kind I couldn't manage on my own."

Slow, careful nod that doesn't quite dislodge his thumb, and doesn't quite rub it against Wally's mouth. Much.

"There were other reasons, later."

"Like what?"

He wants to see Wally's face. He's willing to pay for the privilege, if that's what Wally wants. "You."

Shiver that doesn't so much end as get cut off, with a vicious efficiency that's... very new. He doesn't know how he feels about it.

"And... despite my best efforts to the contrary, I formed... relationships within the team. Even friendships."

"With... with me?"

He presses hard, just for a moment, just to feel Wally's teeth under his lip. "No. I never... even when I knew what I wanted, or when I thought I knew... it was easier to watch. You let me watch. Diana and Superman -- Clark -- didn't."

"His name is... wait. Wait. I don't want to know that." And he pulls away, fast as ever, but.

He can't get far.

Batman pulls him into a kiss that's only hard and awkward for a second until Wally surrenders, and then it's just hot.

Wet and soft and good.

"I wanted you, Wally. I wanted you so much I ached."

He throws his leg over Wally's own and presses, and God, he can see Wally register it. Batman's nudity and his own.

Soft moan and Batman waits, waits.

And Wally leans in and kisses him with sloppy, mindless lust, turning into him against the restraints and Batman takes him in hand.

Strokes him slow and hard.

"I wanted you," he says again. "But I was too much of a coward to do anything about it."

"Oh God --"

"I thought it would pass. And then I thought it could wait."


"I was an arrogant fool. Because you died, Wally --" Squeezes hard and strokes faster, running a thumb over the leaking head. So wet, already so wet --

"Please --"

"Let me take your mask off."

"Please God please --"

"I'll never let you go."

And Wally arches and wails and comes, all over Batman's fist, all over his own belly.

Batman shivers and slides his messy hand over his chest, up to his throat and the edges of the mask. "Wally..."

"Sh-shoot me."


"Drug me, Bruce. You. You love me, so drug me again. I don't want... oh God I can't --"

And Batman bites his own lip hard enough to make it bleed. Pulls the injector from under the pillow.

And shoots him.




"What -- what the hell do you mean, wait?"

Batman watches the monitor. The angle is bad -- the little touches his opposite number had added, the real-time view, is just a little beyond them.

He could make it better. Someday he will. Not now.

"We can't see him, Clark," he says, as gently as he can. His eyes are burning. He forces himself to blink.

"We can see Wally. We can see -- Christ. Christ, what did he do?"

He doesn't bother to answer that question. Flash is naked, stripped bare of everything but the mask. Bruised. Asleep, in a sodden way that suggests drugs.

Or maybe it's just that he knows that he would. Drug him.

He swallows bile. "He could be anywhere, Clark. He could have set up some sort of monitor that lets him know we're watching."

"I. Bruce. We can't just leave him there. Let me get the others, let them know..."

A vein throbs in his temple, behind the mask. "Think for a minute. Do you really think Wally wants the others to see this? Wants Hawkgirl to see this?"

"God. Oh God."

And then he's there, walking into frame with a loose casualness that Batman can't even imagine.

"That son of a bitch."

Naked, he's naked, and he. Sits on the bed. Strokes Flash's face with a tenderness that. That.

He takes his hand off Superman's arm.


And Superman has him before Batman's even through the portal, has him by the throat and so far in the air that his feet don't touch the ground.

He doesn't spare a look for Superman, though.

He stares at him, eyes narrow with rage and black hatred.

"Get him free, Batman. Get him out of this."

"Superman --"

"I won't kill him."

And then they're back through the portal.

Flash hasn't moved. Perhaps a blessing.

Batman undoes the restraints after a moment to figure them out. Not very different from the ones used before.

Better designed.

He finds Flash's uniform folded neatly beside the bed, and manhandles Flash into the top and doesn't think. Doesn't think.

The pants are.

Sliced neatly, perfectly into uselessness. Something that could be easily repaired, given time and patience.

He shudders.

Walks back into the Cave proper and breaks the case with Robin's -- Dick's -- last uniform before he'd left to be Nightwing and away from him.

The size is almost right.

When he gets back to the nook where Batman's placed the bed -- and he'll never not be able to see it there, not even in his own Cave, not ever -- Wally is stirring. Sluggishly.


And it hits him hard and awful, just awful. Just like the first hot, deadly rush of desire for Dick, but.

But Flash doesn't know it's him.

The portal shows nothing but an empty room. He knows how to close it from this end.

And Flash is shifting, moving... naked from the waist down and half-hard.

"Bruce, what..." A slow, lazy giggle. Not quite drugged enough not to sound utterly, horribly lost. "You let me go. Does this mean --"

"I'm not him."

And Flash freezes. Winces hard and obviously behind the mask. And then, only then moves to cover himself. "Oh God. Oh. Oh fuck..."

He tosses Dick's tights over as gently as he can.

Turns to face the portal.


Flash walks through without a word.

Stares at the Tower like it's just another alien world. Paces.



Stares hard at Batman like there's something on his face, like there's any answer or reason.

And Batman can't breathe.


And then Lantern and Hawkgirl and Diana are there, surrounding Flash with smiles, hugging him.

He watches Flash pull a smile onto his face like. Like.

He leaves.

It's not hard to find Superman and the other.

Superman has, brilliantly or instinctively, picked the one place in the Tower no one else will go: his own rooms.

The other is on the floor in a position Batman knows will remind his body of every old scar, every old wound. He doesn't have to wonder if Superman knows, too.

The other is unconscious.

They stare at him for long moments.

"I told you I wouldn't kill him."

"I didn't think you would."

Humorless snort. "Liar."

"What are you planning on doing with him?"

It shakes Superman out of himself and back into Clark. That intimacy that won't be denied, won't die. "What? What do you mean --"

"We can have him arrested. Pile a stack of crimes on his head. Have him tried, imprisoned."

He watches realization dawn on Clark's face, and can't make himself stop.

"You take off his mask, Clark, and you take off mine."

Clark flinches like Batman's slapped him. He supposes he has. But then Clark settles. Straightens. "Is that really so bad?"

He doesn't bother to stop his smirk. "You tell me, Clark. Are you ready to put Arkham in permanent lockdown, yet?"

"What --"

"The Joker. Maybe you're ready to do that little trick with your heat vision and his frontal lobe?"

"Christ, Bruce --"

"Ivy, Harley. Harvey."

"That's --"

"They get out all the time, Clark. They want me dead. I can't really blame them."

"Christ. Christ." Cracked little laugh. "And those are just the humans."

Batman nods. Stares at the other. He's not faking unconsciousness. Yet.

"Bruce. I can't. We can't just kill him."

He doesn't say anything.


He watches the other breathe. There's a truly impressive bruise rising on his cheekbone.

"Fucking hell, Bruce, would you just quit with the Grim Avenger routine for a second? My God, if we kill him... if we. Then what the hell have we learned?"

Trust Clark to look for the moral. And it's tempting to shut the man down, shut him up, if only for just this once. But. He shakes his head. Pastes an easy, gentle smile on his face. "I'm the smart one, right, Clark? I'll figure something out."

And Clark relaxes visibly. Trusting.

"Help me get him out of here."


"The Cave." His smile this time isn't gentle at all, but it's real. "Where else?"

They put him in one of Batman's older uniforms, without the cape and the belt. Or the boots.

Clark doesn't say a word when he pulls out his own injector and shoots the man up. The dosage is worrying -- there's no telling what tolerances he's built up -- but, they've done what they can.

J'onn watches them go, standing ever so casually in the doorway between the hangar and the rest of the Tower, between them and the others, who still surround Flash.

They take the Javelin down, silent for most of the way, the other tied down and strapped in tight.

It's not an awkward silence, but. "Flash."


"He's. He's going to. Need."

And Clark looks at him with an expression trapped between sympathy and sickness. "We'll take care of him, Bruce."

He nods.

And then it's just a matter of landing and getting the other inside.

Alfred raises an eyebrow at what they're carrying, and gives Batman a long, searching look before nodding to himself. "The new additions to the Cave are in working order, Master Bruce."

"Thank you, Alfred."

He nods at Clark. "Master Superman." Leaves.

He wishes he can believe that Alfred would really be able to tell...

He shakes it off, internally, and leads Clark deeper into the Cave. The cells aren't in the most convenient place he could've chosen, but.

The wall is there. The blank one he knows he'll need some day soon.

For the others.

"Do I even want to know why you built these, Bruce?"

"It seemed like a good idea at the time."

"Riiight." And Clark shakes his head and holds the other still while Batman locks him into the carefully copied restraints.

He closes the clear, bulletproof-glass of the cell door and moves to set the combination lock. Pauses. "Give me a five digit number."

"Why... Oh. Five-two-nine-three-three."

Batman nods and sets the lock, and the last beep shakes something loose inside him. He's more exhausted than he's ever been.

Hand on his shoulder. "I'd tell you to just go upstairs and get some rest if I didn't have to get back to the Tower."

Batman breathes, holding onto the rage for long moments against the fear, the sickness and the crawling, terrible envy. Gives up and nods again, slowly. "Let's go."

"Will Alfred know...?"

"I trust him more than I do myself." And that wasn't what he'd meant to say at all, but Clark doesn't question it.

And the flight back to the Tower is silent, and uneventful.

Clark squeezes his shoulder one more time, and leaves him to retire to his rooms.

He showers for a long, near-thoughtless time.

Lays down.

Stares at the ceiling for twelve minutes.

Gets up and scrubs the space where the other had lain, scrubs it until it shines.

Lays back down and lasts for nearly seven minutes before he has to clean the entire space. And it's more than a little disturbing -- it's not one of the obsessions he's had time to become accustomed to -- but, it's also exhausting.

Blessedly so.

He sleeps with the smell of disinfectant and doesn't dream.

Wakes and has a moment to wish he was dreaming, another to wish he didn't know why he was awake.

Another to hate himself for the weakness, and then Flash clears his throat.

Batman opens his eyes.

"You sleep in the uniform."

It isn't a question. "Sometimes."

"You. You."

He forces himself to sit up and turn.

Flash is standing in the doorway, backlit into a silhouette.

A shaking, unsteady silhouette. God. "Flash --"

"I'm sorry to wake you up. I'm." A laugh that can't seem to decide what octave to stay in.

If it was anyone else, he'd get up and pull him into a hug, grumbling to himself about the necessity.

He feels like he's been nailed to the bed, like he could be bleeding, even now, and his mind just hasn't gotten it together enough to feel the pain.

"It's okay, Flash," he says in the gentlest voice he can manage, but it makes Flash go rigid.

And Batman remembers the tenderness in the other's touch.

"Flash." And it's impossible, utterly impossible to force his voice into its usual register. He tries anyway. "You shouldn't be here." The result makes him sound like a madman.

And Flash is rocking on his heels and hugging himself. "Oh, I know, I know, but..."

Batman waits, helpless.

"But see, here's the thing. You're the smart one. You know things. You." Rush of air and Flash is right there, inches away and tracing the air over and around Batman's mask. His face.

Another rush and he's in the opposite corner, hands braced against the walls and slumping, tensing, slumping again.

"There's something I need help with, Bruce. I. Oh fuck, I'm not supposed to call you that I'm not supposed to know that I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm so so --"


"I --" And Flash drops into a crouch, still with his back to him. Swallows, dry and loud enough that Batman can hear the click.

He can't look away from the long line of his back, the suit-top red, and Dick's tights still. Still.

"There's something I can't decide."

"Tell me," he says before he can bite his own tongue.

"See. Here's the thing," he says to the wall. "On the one hand -- let's call it the sane hand, k? -- one the one hand, there's Wonder Woman. Diana. And she's just so h-h-h-happy to see me. So happy. She was so worried, and now I'm back and I'm s-s-safe and everything's okay."

And Batman thinks, maybe he can feel the nails, after all. Maybe that would make it better.

"She has no idea, Batman. She should never. I don't ever want her to. Know. You understand."

It isn't a question. "Yes."

"And on the other hand, there's Superman, who. Who looks at me. And he's. His name is Clark, and I'm not supposed to know that, either, but the thing is, he looks at me, Batman."

His turn to dry swallow.

"He looks at me and he knows. He can." Flash plucks at his uniform once, twice. Zips back to the bed and breathes hot and damp against Batman's face. "He can smell it."

"Oh God, Flash, I'm --" And Flash's bright, sudden, broad smile makes his teeth click shut.

"And I. Can't. Decide. Which is worse."

And there's nothing he can say, not one word.

And before he can force himself to breathe again, Flash is shoving him back against the bed. Hard enough that he bounces, and there are a dozen, a hundred different moves he could use and he can't think of one.

And Flash is over him, on him, hips socketed tight to his own and it's wrong to be hard, but he is.

He has been.

He bites back a groan and Flash is... stretching like a cat. Restless and moving and moving until his palms hit the mattress on either side of Batman's head and he leans down.

Leans in.

"You want me, Batman. You love me. Or... maybe that comes later, right? That's the big nasty secret, isn't it? That that other universe is just a future one? A nice, long look at who we get to be."

He shakes his head and means nothing like no.

And Flash is still grinning, still leaning closer, until his mouth is a breath, a shift away from Batman's own. Until he's so close Batman can taste him. "Batman... you want me so, so badly."

Not a question. "Yes. I wouldn't --"

Flash kisses him, fast and relentless. Licks his way out of Batman's mouth. "I know all that already. I know so much now, Batman. Or am I supposed to call you Bruce?"

He flinches. He can't help it.

"I think... I think I prefer Batman. Let's just go with Batman for now. And you can call me Flash, because Wally is..." Groan like nothing but pain, and Wally shakes his head and rocks against him.

Drives a gasp out of his mouth.

"You didn't have to do that to me. I would've..." And Flash sits up on his knees and rips the mask off, glaring down at him like it means more than just the usual baring of soul and identity and vulnerability. Like he knows it does.

He can't look away.

And Flash nods, closing his lips against the snarl on his face with a visible effort. Runs his hands through sweaty, matted blond hair until it falls in lank strips over his eyes.

And Batman reaches up, reaches out, and Flash just watches his hands get closer.

And then grabs his wrists and slams them down against the bed in a move faster than a blink.

"I can hurt you."


"I can make you pay."

"Yes. Flash --"

Another kiss and Batman thinks he might be crying behind the mask. Wants to be crying, and wants Flash to see it, but even though Flash releases his wrists...

As soon as he reaches for his own mask, that iron-hard grip is back. Hard enough that he can feel bones creak.

"Don't do it. Don't you --"

"I won't. I won't."

And Flash stares at him and breathes.


Laughs loud and hoarse and doesn't stop until he's crying, hands tight around Batman's wrists and head hanging just low enough for a few strands of hair to brush Batman's lips.

He has enough to keep from reaching out with his tongue, to keep from tasting it.


He holds on to it with everything he is.

"I don't know how." Sobbed out with desperate pain.


Flash looks at him, looks into his eyes, face twisted into a rictus. "I don't know how to hurt you."

"You. I..."

And Flash shakes his head, his face trying to force itself into a smile. "Shhh," he says, shaky and not quite laughing. "Shhh."

And the kiss this time is slower, gentler, Wally sliding back and stroking his wrists with absent apology, stroking his way down his arms and kissing the line of Batman's jaw, kissing the suit.

Nothing he can feel through the thickness of the cowl, and only slightly better on his chest.

He curls his hands into fists, digging his fingernails into his palms to keep from touching.

And Flash keeps stroking, keeps kissing, all the way down until he's nuzzling Batman's cock through the tights, and he thinks this could kill him, this muted, wonderful touch, but finally Wally snarls, mostly to himself.

And tugs the tights down, laughing a little at the protective cup before tearing it away, and it hurts, and he can't stop himself from arching up, but Flash barely seems to register the bump of Batman's pubic bone before he's pushing his hips down again.

Holding them down and licking him, breathing him in and biting the hollows of his hips.

And Flash looks up at him for one endless moment.

And sucks him down, sucks him in to impossible heat and slickness, tightness --

"Flash --"

Hums around him and presses his thumbs into Batman's hips hard enough to leave bruises, hard enough, and swallows.

Chokes and pulls back and swallows again.

And again, until he learns how, until Batman is shaking with it, groaning on every gasp he chokes out, and trying to remember why he isn't begging.

And Flash is strong enough to keep him from thrusting, but it's still perfect, still wonderful, because Flash is bobbing his head, fucking his throat on Batman's cock, fucking himself brutally fast and Batman has enough time to think: Wally.

Before he comes hard, crying out loud as he shoots.

Biting his lip and collapsing back to the bed.

And he wants, but Flash is up and off of him, licking his lips and staring with a kind of blank hunger.

Straddling his thighs and tugging himself out of the tights, the wrong tights, Dick's tights and Batman's cock twitches too soon, twitches painfully, and Flash's eyelids flutter and his mouth falls slack and he jerks himself once, twice.

Blindingly fast for a dizzying heartbeat, and cries out with what has to be pain.

And comes all over the suit.

Batman breathes.

Uncurls his fists.


And Flash opens his eyes and looks at him, lost and angry and scared and young.

And slowly, cautiously, slides down beside him.

Tucks his head against Batman's arm.

Curls in on himself like a child.

"Flash..." He doesn't know what to say. He doesn't know anything.

"I know, I know I'm not supposed to be here I just..."

Batman swallows against the pain in his chest.

"I'm so..." Loud, aching yawn. "I'm so tired, Bruce..."

He doesn't flinch.

And Flash is asleep in seconds, snoring softly. Vibrating gently.

Batman closes his eyes and waits exactly twenty minutes.

Slips out of bed. Tugs the covers carefully, gently over Flash's body.

Changes into the spare uniform.

Walks out.

He finds Clark in the computer room. The portal room. He's staring into the blanked rectangle.

"I wonder what would happen if you stepped through." His voice is dreamy and low.

"Into that? I think I've read that story. It doesn't have a happy ending. Clark, we need to talk about Flash --"

And just like that, Clark is there, staring down at him. Glaring down at him. "Do we, Batman?"

And Batman's far, far too raw not to flinch. But he recovers. "He's in my room right now, Superman."

Lip curl. "I know."

"Then you know I'm not the one he needs to see right now."

And Clark -- Superman? -- smiles. Shakes his head slowly. "Oh, I think you're exactly the one he needs to see."

"Christ, get a fucking grip, Clark. He needs help. He's... broken."

"You broke him." Finger to his chest, hard. "You did. So now you get to fix it."

"Listen to me --"

"No, you listen, Bruce. I've had some time to think about this, and you know what I came up with? We need him. We will always need him, and yeah, he needs help from someone who hasn't fucking raped and drugged him, someone who knows what they're doing.

"But, the thing is -- and pay attention, because this is really. Fucking. Amusing -- if we send Wally to a therapist, the masks come right off.

"And someone pointed out how that is, actually, a bad idea. So it's up to us. And, since you're the smart one, it's up to you."

"I know a doctor, Clark." And it's weak, pathetically weak to his own ears, and Superman laughs.

"Of course you do. Other superheroes have sidekicks or hideouts. You have both, and a therapist. Christ, I don't know why I ever..."

"Clark --"

"Go back to him."

"You --"

"Go back to him."

"God dammit, Clark, Flash needs --"

"His name is Wally, you son of a bitch, and I swear to God, I will throw you back there if I have to."

I didn't do it, he doesn't say.

I wasn't the one.

I don't know what I'm doing, and what the fuck happened to that oh-so-friendly hand on my shoulder, Clark?

He takes a breath, smelling Clark's sweat and all that rage. Nods once, sharply.

And goes back to his rooms.

Flash hasn't.

Wally hasn't moved, though he's muttering in his sleep.

Frowning furiously at.

Batman knows exactly what he's frowning at.

He crawls in beside him and stares at the ceiling for two and a half minutes.

Turns onto his side, and buries his face in Wally's sweaty hair. Rests his arm gently, loosely over him.

Breathes in, deep and slow.

And closes his eyes.


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