Maybe there are secret places
February 13, 2004
Disclaimers: They still aren't mine.
Spoilers: None, really.
Summary: The capacity to watch is something of a prerequisite for membership in the Batfamily.
Ratings Note/Warnings: NC-17. Contains content some readers may find disturbing.
Author's Note: The bunny is a direct result of a conversation with the Jack, the resulting story is something else entirely.
Title from "Tease" by D.H. Lawrence.
Acknowledgments: Much love to the Jack for helping me hammer out the physical issues, and to Weirdness Magnet and Branwyn for
audiencing and much-needed moral support.
Feedback: Appreciated at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's six-thirty in the morning and Barbara isn't sleeping.
This isn't new -- she's rarely asleep before seven -- but both Gotham and Bludhaven had been reasonably quiet last night, and even Plastic-Man had stopped calling in to flirt randomly by four.
It's always... interesting when he's on watch.
The irritation has more to do with the undeniable fact that she's far, far less flexible with her sleep patterns now than she used to be than with anything else.
It wasn't that long ago when she could and did sleep whenever she got the chance or whenever the mood struck her. And it's not as though she doesn't exercise -- there are millions of non-paralyzed Americans in far worse shape than she is right now -- it's just...
And amusing, too, if she's honest. If anyone had pointed out ten years ago that the reason why she rarely had insomnia was because she regularly and repeatedly pushed her body far beyond the limits of exhaustion, she would have been bemused.
Back then, it was only at the very worst of times that the fatigue registered.
They're all getting older.
Barbara gives up on attempting to read in bed -- her father has made a habit of quietly and pointedly giving her gifts of actual books -- and lifts herself into her chair. She does manage to force herself to brew some tea before moving to the computers, but it's a near thing.
And it's exactly as pointless as she knew it would be. She has so many different and specified alarms set up that a truly busy night leaves her apartment lit up like an especially dangerous Christmas tree. There's nothing remotely interesting in the police reports, and there are only so many ways she can nitpick the grammar in Spoiler's reports before she starts to actively loathe herself.
She switches to visual. Robin is on stand-by, which means he's either home and down for the evening or cutting her off. Not many people would be capable of the latter, but Tim is, which would be far more disturbing if he actually used his abilities that way. At a quarter to seven on a Thursday, Tim is almost certainly getting ready for school.
Nightwing's capture is on, and giving her an excellent static view of his garage. Dick forgets to turn the thing off more than any of the others.
Batgirl's view is static, as well. A surprisingly beautiful image of sunrise over the Kane Sound, and Barbara adjusts the color on her monitor and shares it with Cassandra in silence for a while.
Batman's view is... odd. The Cave, and obviously so, but the angle is... upside down? She has a moment of panic before her mind gives her the image of Bruce with the cowl pushed back over his head and hanging. She grins to herself and cancels the countdown for her personal version of an APB.
She needs more sleep.
Barbara flips the view of the Cave, just to reorient herself and... there. Unless Bruce has decided to redecorate, the fact that she can just make out the edges of the parallel bars means that Bruce is sitting at his own computers, presumably working on his own reports for the night.
It's weirdly tempting to open the line, to wish Bruce good morning or good night, whichever the case may be. The fact that she wants to do so despite years of painful experience in just how pointless attempts to establish intimacy truly are... well. She chooses to look at it as proof of her own basic humanity, as opposed to simple masochism.
She saves the latter for Dick.
It's comforting to share this moment with Bruce, to know that they're doing essentially the same thing at the same time, in the same way it is to run down a lead while Tim does the same at his own computer. Less and more intimate than an actual conversation, even one held in person, and she knows exactly what that says about her.
She always does read the books her father gives her, eventually.
The view of the Cave shifts, and then shifts again, and then starts to move constantly. Rhythmically. There's something familiar about that, and it's tempting to try to figure it out without 'cheating,' but her left hand is already scrolling through the list of cameras in the Cave to see which ones are available.
Fourteen apparently needs maintenance, and she makes a mental note to remind Bruce about that before flipping five to 'active' and opening a spy program to see which files Bruce is working on.
She spares a brief glance for the monitor catching the view from five and... pauses.
He's not. He isn't --
The laugh is shocked out of her before she can get her hand to her mouth, and echoes over the hum of the CPUs.
And the truth is, if anyone had asked her, she would've said she didn't think he did. After she got over the fit of hysteria.
Well. No one actually pays her to think, and she supposes this is why. She shakes her head and moves to shut off the feed and Bruce... moans.
It isn't loud, or even especially lengthy. On anyone else, from anyone else it wouldn't register at all.
But Barbara's been in the Cave when Alfred was removing shards of glass and other things from Bruce's back, and that... was a moan.
She swallows and lets herself really look. The angle isn't the best to see Bruce's face. Whatever he's looking at has the entirety of his attention, and this camera is catching him from the side and a handful of feet away. His eyes seem to be as wide as she's ever seen them when he wasn't playing Bruce Wayne: Socialite and Amiable Nimrod, and his mouth is open.
No, firmly closed, now, a pale, colorless line despite the excellence of both camera and monitor.
The flex of muscle in his shoulder isn't as obvious as it would be on almost anyone else, but no one wears as much as body armor as Bruce. No one needs as much body armor as Bruce.
She feels another, different smile jitter across her face, and absently covers her mouth. And looks down.
Even partially hidden by his own hand and the arm of his chair, he's impressive. Exactly as much as he should be, and Barbara can't decide if it's easier or harder to focus here. Because this could just be pornography with particularly poor direction -- if rather good production values.
It's an erect penis, and neither anything she hasn't seen before, nor anything particularly individual. It could be anyone's, if she squints enough to ignore the suit.
Except that it isn't.
Except that very, very soon she's going to have to try to have a conversation with this man -- with Bruce -- and now she knows exactly what he looks like when he's... aroused.
Which is more than enough reason to turn it off.
She shifts the mouse over to close the window, feeling her skin tighten all over at the irrationally powerful sense that she's touching him, his thigh, his chest, his shoulder, and stops again when she sees his forearm flex out of the corner of her eye.
She looks before she can think, and Bruce is squeezing himself.
She narrows her eyes against it, hopeless not to imagine the feeling, to remember all the times she's seen Dick do just that, and that's even worse. And worse still because Dick had never held the pressure on that long.
The audio picks up a brief, breathy exhale that the Batgirl part of her mind immediately translates as a sigh, and Barbara swallows.
She shifts her attention back to his face, but it's much harder to read than his voice. Which doesn't surprise her as much as the sudden, visceral frustration.
There's a mild sort of distress in the furrow of what she can see of his brow, and his lips are parted again. Barbara swallows again, this time against the pound of her heart, and can't decide if she wants him to say anything or not. A name, a clue.
The suspicions she has are bad enough.
Confirmation of most of them would hurt her mind.
She hears herself breathe when he closes his mouth again, and hears herself stop when his shoulder starts flexing. Stroking himself. He's...
He's a handsome man, and always has been. But it's always been far more of a matter of aesthetics than attraction. When she was a young enough to have a crush, it wasn't for anyone whose face she could see. But, if she could've seen him like this...
He's stroking himself so slowly, and the look on his face is as mild as the motion of his hand and arm, but she can see him, and he is desperately hard. She knows herself, and her types, and her issues. If she could've seen him like this some time when she'd been younger and more careless, less likely to think before she acted... well, whatever else happened, it would've been embarrassing.
Her younger self is grateful to be spared. Or should be.
She wishes the suit were off. Just the top of it. And it isn't as though she hasn't seen his chest countless times, enough to be able to put a name and date to more of his scars than not, but this is different.
She wants to see how he breathes when he's this aroused. She wants --
Barbara blinks herself back to herself when she realizes exactly what she's doing: wishing for a clearer picture so that she can manipulate it for future... use. The part of her that's Oracle wants her to focus on that, on what it means, because an active fantasy life is one thing -- a useful thing, even -- but one that includes Bruce?
"The definition of unhealthy," she mutters to herself, and pulls her robe around herself a little tighter, because it's cold.
No, because, she's cold. Specifically... her thighs.
She closes her eyes, and manages to keep them that way even when the audio starts picking up the slick (he's leaking, he's hard and) slide of flesh on flesh. It would be easier if she wasn't used to this. If part of her mind wasn't cataloguing the wetness of her thighs in terms of the simple, rough equation of wetness to probable time aroused, with an eye toward the time of the month as well as toward the last time she had... indulged.
Though the last factor is laughable. Nothing in that drawer has ever had time to gather dust.
Bruce gasps and her eyes snap open again without her permission. She'd like to tell herself it's just because she's been trained to react to a sound like that with vigilance, if not active alarm, but the only thing she's alarmed by is herself.
Bruce is... attractive. Bruce is attractive, and denial doesn't get anyone anywhere. And right now, like this, with the comforting distance of a monitor and the miles between her tower and the Cave... she can admit that he's sexy, too.
A big, densely muscled man, rock hard with need (for what? Whom?) and exquisitely -- if not perfectly -- controlled. There's something...
She hears herself breathing shallowly, even more than she can feel it. There isn't something. She knows exactly what she sees in this, what she wants in this, in him, and it's exactly... this. The tightness of his jaw, familiar in every way except for vision, because she's never really gotten to see it that way with the whole of his face. The flex and release of muscle, and the way she knows that the tension is never quite leaving him.
Barbara remembers this from before, a mixture of intellect and sense -- and frustration. In the old days, being this wet meant there wasn't enough friction to give her what she needed. That isn't an issue anymore, and she can't decide whether the smile on her face is appropriate or not. It doesn't really matter.
She can smell herself, that first hot rush of musk and sweat that makes her feel obvious and exposed, as well as just... hot. Her sleep-shirt is too soft and smooth on her nipples, and she wants to know what Bruce is doing with his other hand. It's easy -- too easy -- to imagine it on her skin, to take the sense memory of hard calluses and strength and transfer it from her hands and shoulders to her breasts and --
She can see it, just like that. What her hands would look like surrounding one of Bruce's own as she dragged it to her breast and --
It's easy to say, easier than it would ever be for anyone likely to wind up here, anyone she'd let see her when she's this raw.
Easy for Bruce, and not just because he never would be.
Because if he was... there aren't any words for it. There are barely images, and certainly none more compelling than the one on-screen. Bruce, stroking faster, finally, finally, and she feels herself flushing harder at the realization that she was waiting for it.
She's not bothering to match his rhythm, or even try -- she knows what she needs right now -- but there's a tightness in her jaw keyed to Bruce's ruthlessness with himself, painful and sweet. Torturous when his other hand does come into view, reaching for whatever's (whoever's) on his own monitor. Straining forward makes her slip, makes her lose her own, rolling rhythm of pressure and heat and gain a familiar, throat-tightening desperation that comes out as a growl.
The first time Dick held her shoulders down as he rocked inside her, and how she'd wound up focusing on the helpless snarl of his mouth because the needful, half-awed fear in his eyes was just too much, too deep for her to do anything but push him away.
She hadn't wanted to do that again.
Whatever's in Bruce's eyes is lost to the camera, or maybe to the brightening sunlight on her own monitor.
It can be anything she wants it to be, from a hypothetically blank anger that makes her stomach clench to the simple, thoughtless hunger that won't let her wait anymore. She takes her other hand off the desk and slides it up and under her sleep-shirt, hissing between her teeth at the feel of her fingernail on her nipple.
It's long past time for a manicure, or at least to dig her nail file out from under whatever stack of computer equipment it is this time, but right now she's glad for it. It's nothing like what she'd expect to feel from Bruce's hands, which is both unfortunate and much, much better.
Every scratch is sudden, jarring, and her thighs are even wetter now. She watches Bruce drag his own blunt thumbnail up the shaft of his penis -- his dick -- and bites her lip to hold back a moan. She isn't giving her nipple a fraction as much of the pressure Bruce is using, and it's still too much.
This, at least, is exactly like she'd imagined in the days she'd driven herself quietly and rapidly insane in her narrow, teenaged-girl bed at the thought of hard hands pressing her against a wall, or into the grit of a rooftop. Too hard, too fast, and too much, because wouldn't it have to be?
With Batman, in any event.
And the real taboo, the real obscenity of this moment isn't her slick fingers or her sweat-damp breasts.
It's the fact that it's Bruce, naked and exposed as he's ever been or is ever likely to be. Clear and accessible and vulnerably open for whoever's on that screen. No supervillain with their hand on the cowl has ever, could ever feel anything like this.
Bruce tenses, flexes all over, and Barbara bites back a groan, feeling something like a spiraling throb from her nipples to the teasing fade below her waist. At times like these, it gets lost not so much in the numbness as in the prickle of not-feeling -- which is something she's learned to use.
Bruce doesn't come, but she wants to. God, she wants to, and she slips her fingers out of her hopeless panties and into her mouth, eyes rolling back a little at the powerfully familiar taste of herself and snapping back into focus because Bruce is thrusting into his own fist, fucking his fist, and it's too much not to catch that rhythm.
She slides her fingers deeper, just far enough for her throat to warn about her gag reflex, and out again.
Bruce sets a hard pace, and Barbara tightens her lips around her fingers and groans, loving the entirely different numbness of her lips and the pressure on her tongue. She wants this, and the viciously contained snap of Bruce's hips is just right.
She switches to her other nipple and twists hard, once for every back-thrust, and her fingers don't taste like anything but spit anymore, but the smell is almost right. That underlying scent of sex that doesn't have anything to do with male or female, that could be anything, everything --
She groans around her fingers and comes, stomach clenching hard and sex humming somewhere beneath the numbness and the prickle.
Barbara whimpers around her fingers and bites down, just because she can.
When she focuses again, Bruce is still pumping into his own fist, other hand just visible as fingers clenched hard on the desktop. And it's... embarrassing in another way. Not a different way, per se, or even a new way.
It's pornography, and while she has a healthy appreciation for the genre in general and quite a few of its sub-genres...
The best of it is always, always the worst of it when she's actually satisfied, and re-settled within her own faintly sweaty skin.
And it's Bruce.
She smiles ruefully to herself and shuts off the feed, wheeling toward the bathroom to wash her hands. She loses herself a little in the running water and the bland, clean brightness of the room itself.
There's a choice she doesn't think other people -- normal people -- have. Or... if they do, it probably isn't one they have to make, or even think about making, as often as she does. Essentially, how much is she really going to think about this?
On the one hand, it would probably be healthier to give it a large amount of ruthlessly thorough analysis. Short of violent, sudden death -- always a possibility -- she's going to be working with Bruce for the foreseeable future and beyond.
On the other hand, there's a comfortable slot in her mind where this... incident is already half-at rest, just waiting for her to give it one last shove and shut the door. Every last one of them has their own vault for things like these, and she can even guess what most of them look like.
Bruce's, after all, is almost certainly a vast and reaching graveyard, headstones labeled neatly with the names and concepts that just won't fit within his splintered little life.
Barbara believes most people have a middle ground, but it's entirely possible that she's being optimistic.
She shuts the water off and heads into the kitchen, fixing herself a bowl of cereal before wheeling back to the computer.
The first monitor she looks at has a dialog box asking her if she wants to download the list of recently-viewed files for system two-A.
She'd forgotten about that.
And... 'no.' In the end, she doesn't really want to know.
Which is a clear enough answer about which option she'll be choosing about the rest, as well.
She slips on the headset and tunes to the GCPD band, and starts planning her day.
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Title: Maybe there are secret places
Author: Te [email] [website]
Details: Standalone | NC-17 | het | 19k | 02/13/04
Characters: Barbara, Bruce
Summary: The capacity to watch is something of a prerequisite for membership in the Batfamily.
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