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Echoes hanging in the air

by Te

[Story Headers]

Echoes hanging in the air
by Te
March 3, 2004

Disclaimer: DC doesn't do it this way. That's for the best, I think.

Spoilers: None, really.

Summary: Bruce and Tim, after patrol.

Ratings Note/Warnings: NC-17. Content some readers may find disturbing. No, seriously.

Author's Note: This is one part of a series I don't actually plan on writing. Could be read as a standalone, I think, which is good, because this is all there is, at the moment.

Acknowledgments: To Jack and Livia for audiencing and encouragement. Jack also gave me a title. Good Jack.


It's sick. It's never been anything but sick, but this is the world he lives in. There's always a dark side, to everything, and being in Gotham just means that you're lucky if there's a light side.

And there is.

Batman and Robin, justice, protecting the innocent. That hasn't changed. That won't change, and Tim's going to make sure of it. It's what he's here for.

One of the things.

Tim feels his face twist into something like a smile as he strips out of the suit. He should be home by now, really, but they'd fought their way through one of the dumps tonight, and, teenaged boy or no, there are only so many three a.m. showers he can take before his father starts getting suspicious.

His actual father, and that's...

He'd thought he wasn't that naive. He frankly thought he was over... that kind of thing. When Bruce had put on his kindly-Bruce-Wayne-isworried -about-your-welfare face and taken him in while his father was recovering, Tim hadn't, actually, gotten issues over it.

He'd had years to deal with his father -- both of his parents -- being pretty much anywhere-but-here, and to come to terms with the fact that the families other people had just weren't his own.

He's never called Bruce 'Dad.' Not even before. He's never wanted to. Except... well, he doesn't look into himself too much, or too often. Tim understands how that's actually pretty dangerous in this line of work -- he can't look at his 'family' without knowing that -- but there's just too much there.

There's a difference between being self-aware and diving into the abyss. The thought's only pretentious until he starts listing the things he's done and seen since he's been Robin.

There are so many ways to break a person.

But the thing is, this shouldn't be so hard for him. This shouldn't be something he has to obsess over, and lose sleep over, and all the other pointless, useless things he really just doesn't have time for. It's just sex. With his partner.

Who, yeah, happens to be older, bigger, smarter, stronger, and everything else, sure, but he isn't Tim's father figure. That's for people like Dick to fuck themselves up with -- not him.

Except that it might not feel this... whatever it does if he didn't have something small and needy lurking in him. Something that wanted Bruce to be more than this. Or... he isn't sure.

He takes the mask off last, and bundles everything into the hamper outside the showers. Stretches and yawns, even though he doesn't really feel either sore or tired. A good night, as these things go, except for the smell.

He isn't sure when he'd stopped being aware of physical exhaustion unless it was severe, but it tends to be filed under "No Man's Land" in his own head. A lot of things are. Tim pauses outside the shower, and tries to keep himself from squeezing the jamb too tightly as he looks back over his shoulder.

Bruce is at the console, which isn't a surprise. The cowl and gloves are off, and he's standing -- and that's not a surprise, either. He's just as filthy as Tim, but there is work to be done.

Tim thinks about all the conversations he doesn't -- ever -- plan to have with the man and schools his expression to blankness. He didn't have to look back. He never does, anymore. Batman had taught him how to feel people, how to focus plain, human senses so that you were pretty much never surprised by anyone -- or anything -- at your back.

Batman had also taught him how to surprise other people, but... you don't spend as much time around the man as he has without being able to feel him. Whether he's there or not.

He steps into the showers and turns the water on, and... this, at least, is amusing. The water is perfect down here, so that there's never really a blast of cold unless that's what you're going for. Which has led to trouble in the other, lesser showers of his acquaintance.

Tim grins to himself and soaps up. Everything in this shower is just right. Bruce had quizzed him extensively on the brands they used at his house, so that Tim will never smell anything but right when he does get home. Success is always in the details, even though, at first, it tended to put disturbing images in his head of Mrs. Mac sniffing him suspiciously.

Which... no.

He tilts his head back into the spray and lets himself stop breathing and just feel it. He can't smell his own reek anymore, but he's going to need at least two or three scrubbings before he's fit to go home. Which means he really should speed this up -- it's after two -- but... it's a good shower.

He's come to appreciate things like good water pressure, whether or not he's actually conscious of the amount of punishment he puts his body through at any given time. Someday, someone is going to ask him about the scars. And the plausibility of --

No warning. Or... no. When he thinks about it, there was a faint splash. He makes a note to himself to pay more attention to that kind of noise, to separate it from the background meaninglessness that he tends to file under 'weather.' Another time. Right now, he focuses on shifting enough that his neck doesn't complain too much about the angle. He doesn't have much room to do it.

There's a spot on the human back where, if the right amount of pressure is applied with just the flat of your hand, and there's a handy solid surface in front of the other person, you can effectively immobilize them.

Bruce has, of course, found that spot on him. Tim narrows his eyes and tries to keep the shower tile from digging too obviously into his cheek. He doesn't narrow them too much, though. He wants to keep Bruce in sight -- though he can't see much more than the man's broad, naked chest.

There are things Tim could say here, but the only one that wouldn't be painfully obvious ("oh?"), or too obvious and too weak to be borne ("I didn't hear you coming") is "not tonight." Which is just a bit too much of a lie.

The tile is uncomfortable against his growing erection in just the right way.

Tim exhales, and gets pushed a little harder against the wall. Waits.

And waits.

This is irritating, but not especially unfamiliar. He knows he's attractive. More than that, he knows he's attractive to Bruce, which means his body is absolutely something to be considered. To be stared at with that sort of blank appreciation that tends to make Tim wonder if the man had ever been tempted to, say, jerk off at an art exhibit.

He doesn't feel like smiling.

He's out of the stream of water, and, while the showers are insulated quite well, he'll be uncomfortably cold soon. Maybe he should --

Having warning doesn't help for some things. Bruce's thumb pressed to the base of his spine is more than familiar enough for Tim to know what was coming, but the fast, brutal slide of it down his cleft and in still makes him jerk and shout. He always forgets to bite his lip.

And it's pointless to do it after Bruce starts fucking him. Just his thumb -- for now -- but there's no lube, and his body is well-trained for this. For enjoying this, and he's very far away from being cold. In and in, and the first few thrusts are always the best. The friction and the body-shock and the helpless, bewildered voice in his own head that always wants to know what triggered it this time.

A pointless, meaningless question that always makes something flex low in Tim's stomach, that always makes him burn a little at the memory of every act of violence he's committed in Bruce's company.

He likes knowing he makes Bruce hard. Almost entirely.

Bruce's other hand slides from the center of his back up to his shoulder, and its a cue: he can and should move now.

He braces himself on his hands and spreads his legs, and Bruce squeezes his shoulder with open approval. Tim is sympathetic to the others, in terms of their relationships (and lack thereof) with Bruce, but he always has to wonder why anyone would ever really need -- or even want -- more than the physical communication.

It just seems like asking for trouble, on top of just asking for too much.

Tim knows a lot about 'too much.'

He rests his forehead against the wall and breathes through it, and Bruce is always so steady. It shouldn't be as surprising as it is, but his body is insisting on reminding him of how it feels with every thrust. The burn, the stretch he could stop feeling if he'd let himself relax. The feel of Bruce just... looming behind him. Physical presence is a weapon, whether or not it's used that way.

And Bruce starts twisting his thumb, little corkscrewing motions that almost -- almost -- mean as much as the fact that he's pushing harder.

'Relax,' Bruce is saying. Or maybe 'don't.'

It doesn't really matter. He has to. The thought makes him have to, because it makes him want more.

Bruce squeezes his shoulder again, and then cups his throat, fingers curling around and not squeezing. Tim gasps anyway, and Bruce strokes the back of his neck with his thumb.

Slips out with his other hand.

And Tim is expecting another squeeze, or at least a pause, but --

"Oh God --"

He can't even wince about how loud that was, how obvious that was, because Bruce is pushing in. He'd. Fuck. He'd slicked his own dick before coming into the shower, and the image is as destructive as the feeling. It hurts. It... he's used to this. He likes it, and he hates having to remind himself. He hates needing --

Bruce isn't pushing anymore. He's rocking, thrusting his way in, and his hand doesn't tighten around Tim's throat, but it still feels like a threat. He bites his lip to hold back the worst of the whimpers and tries not to claw at the tile, tries to stay still, but he can't.

He can't.

Bruce is big, and so hard, so hard. Blood hot and fucking him just to get inside, and now that other hand is on his hip and -- "Bruce --"

Yanking him back, opening him, spearing him, and when Bruce squeezes his throat Tim realizes he's shaking his head.

"It's not -- I'm not --"

Another squeeze, and Tim gives up trying to explain that he's not fighting, or not trying to. He doesn't think that's the point. He doesn't --

He can't stop moaning and Bruce won't stop taking him. He has to get control, and he moves one of his hands to his mouth and bites down. That's better. It's always better when he can't hear himself, when it's just his body and everything Bruce is doing to it.

Sometimes the position won't let him. Sometimes all he can do is hide his face in the pillow and scream, but he has balance here. A little leverage, and the whimper when Bruce is balls-deep is muffled and quiet.

Bruce pauses and strokes Tim from his hip to his chest, then down. Up again, and over his front, and it's almost too light. Tim shakes and bites down harder, and whimpers again when Bruce starts playing with his nipples. Sometimes he does that for much too long, as if he's not really convinced he can't make Tim come that way. Or maybe he's just waiting for Tim's body to give up and come anyway, in self-defense.

It'll happen, one of these days.

The other hand is still on his throat. Waiting. Or maybe just... he doesn't know. He's only ever had sex with Bruce, and the occasional desire to choke him doesn't have anything to do with sex, and he doesn't think it would turn him on with anyone else, but maybe it's different for Bruce. Maybe it's just another part of what makes Bruce want this enough to... be like this.


He jerks, gasps at the slight change in angle. Stills.

Bruce twists his nipple, and the pressure isn't very intense. It's more of a tease than anything else, and it goes on for long enough that he has to try to arch into it, even though every time he moves he can feel Bruce more. Or maybe because of it.

One day he's going to bite down hard enough that the marks won't fade before he has to show his hand to someone.

"Tim," Bruce says again, and he wants something. Something more than this, and Tim can feel himself tensing against the need to move. And then the hand is off his chest and curling around Tim's wrist and the tension doesn't help.

"No --"

"Let me hear you. Please," Bruce says, and then he starts to move.

Maybe it's the 'please.' Maybe it's the irritation. And Tim can't decide which is more fucked-up, and he doesn't have the brain power to focus on it, anyway, because they're in the showers, and every sound he makes echoes and rebounds back at him. It's like being hit. It's like he's drowning in his own noise, even more than he is in Bruce.

Bruce, who's holding Tim's bitten hand against the wall with one hand and squeezing his throat rhythmically with the other. And it's not hard enough to leave a mark, but it's disturbingly like -- exactly like Bruce is trying to control and direct the sounds Tim's making.

He is. He totally is, and it's so Bruce that one of those sounds is laughter. And Tim isn't sure how he feels about the fact that it makes Bruce fuck him harder.

Because that's Bruce, too.

Riding him and driving him and squeezing him and fucking him, hard and relentless and maybe endless, too. He always loses his time-sense when Bruce is in him. He thinks he loses too many important things to count.

He needs...

That's the worst part. How much he needs this, and the fact that one day he's going to have to say no just to prove that he can. And then... he doesn't know what will happen then. He never starts this, and because it's Bruce, that means it's always his to finish it.

Maybe if he says no Bruce never will again. Or maybe they'll have to talk about it, and not even the crushing implausibility of that prospect can make it anything less than terrifying.

"Bruce," he says, because he's hard for this, because no one makes him feel like this. He doesn't want anyone else to make him --


"Bruce," and he doesn't want a response. He's just. He can't --

"Beautiful," Bruce says, and takes his hand off Tim's and moves it back to Tim's hip, squeezing and pulling him in to every stroke, and Tim could bring his hand back to his mouth, he could make that 'accidental' misunderstanding so easily.

But he doesn't. He leaves it against the wall, and tells himself it's because he needs the leverage (Bruce will hold him), that he follows orders (Bruce will understand, damn him), he always does. And then he can't tell himself anything at all, because Bruce's other hand is on him, squeezing and stroking him and --

"Bruce don't -- don't stop --"

Tim bites his lip and shakes his head and curls his fingers against the tile and fights, and Bruce doesn't stop.

Bruce has him, and he won't let go, he won't -- he won't leave, and Tim hears himself cough out something too much like "no," and comes, knees buckling. It doesn't matter. Bruce does have him, both hands on his hips now, lifting and holding and pulling him in, and there's no time to catch his breath or anything like control, even though he's already come.

All he can do is hold on and try not to shake, not to do anything but take it. Sometimes, when it takes too long for his mind to come back online, he's absolutely sure Bruce won't ever stop. That this will just go on and on until it's time for Timothy Drake to have his own case, and maybe his very own plaque.

'Adequate Soldier, Agreeable Fuck.'

He laughs again, and Bruce digs his fingers in too hard and Tim laughs harder. It's okay for Bruce to bruise him there, after all. Clothes will hide it.

"Tim," Bruce says, Bruce groans, and Tim closes his eyes and feels for it, as much as he can. Bruce coming in him, one more time. And then he waits.

After a moment, Bruce loosens his grip on his hips, and strokes part of the way down his thighs. Up again, and Tim braces himself, and gasps at the feel of Bruce pulling out. Bruce strokes his thighs again, and then up over his back to his shoulders.

Another squeeze.


Bruce leaves his hands on Tim's shoulders, and it's as much a question as anything else. He shakes his head against it and focuses on getting his breath back, and his feet back under himself.

And then lets himself be tugged back under the water and turned.

Bruce's kisses are never perfunctory. Tim doesn't think any touch from Bruce could ever truly be perfunctory. It still feels like an afterthought, though Tim is willing to go with the idea that this is more his fault than Bruce's. The kisses don't last long. The trouble isn't in making Bruce understand his silent communication so much as it's in trying to make it clear that Tim doesn't actually mean everything his body says.

Or doesn't say.

Bruce reaches for the soap -- Tim's brand -- and pauses.

Tim nods and spreads his arms.

It's not like Bruce won't be just as thorough as he would, himself.

Though it bothers him that he can't figure out why this feels sicker than all the fucking.


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Fandom:  Batman
Title:  Echoes hanging in the air
Series Name:  Shadows and Empty Air
Author:  Te   [email]   [website]
Details:  Series  |  NC-17  |  *slash*  |  17k  |  03/03/04
Characters:  Bruce, Tim
Pairings:  Bruce/Tim
Summary:  Bruce and Tim, after patrol.

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