March 19, 2004
Disclaimers: Not mine. Not even close.
Spoilers: Takes place some vague, nebulous time after the Murderer/Fugitive arc. Slightly less vague spoilers for Robin #100-101.
Summary: Negotiation is an art form, and a game.
Ratings Note/Warnings: NC-17. Content some readers may find disturbing.
Author's Note: Weirdness Magnet again. She got me thinking about Bruce's occasional bouts of... seductiveness.
Acknowledgments: To the Magnet, Reilael, and Jack for audiencing and helpful suggestions. Jack, lovely thing, also provided a title.
Tim isn't sure when Bruce decided to do it.
Knowing Bruce, it was probably months ago -- or even longer. It also probably doesn't matter. It's just something for his mind to hold on to -- to try to hold on to. A defense mechanism, and a reasonable one, at that. When all else fails, when you're under some form of attack and there is no immediate defense or escape, bury yourself in distraction.
"I want you," Bruce says again, even and low, and presses two fingers beneath Tim's chin.
He isn't holding Tim's head up -- not really. There's no stretch to excuse or explain the tension in Tim's shoulders.
Tim wonders if the moment of decision would have been recognizable -- no. It would have been. He's a detective, and while he isn't -- yet -- as good as Bruce, he's good enough.
It was, perhaps, some moment when his back was turned for one reason or another.
Bruce cocks his head at Tim, just a bit. He's waiting for a response.
'What' would be a placeholder, and make him sound foolish, besides. A stammer would be beneath him. 'I know' would be honest, but perhaps not honest enough. He hadn't, after all, been sure until just this moment.
Tim raises an eyebrow.
Bruce... smiles. And strokes the underside of Tim's chin until his fingers are just below the very tip.
The gauntlets are off. The suit is off. Bruce is wearing slacks and a sweater. This, perhaps, should have been another clue. He hasn't seen Bruce without the suit very much at all since he'd moved back in with his father.
There is a message in this, though Tim isn't -- entirely -- sure what it might be.
He doesn't allow himself to swallow, even though he wants to. That would be a message, too. Instead,
"This is a problem."
Bruce raises his own eyebrow, a mocking impression of surprise. Another message, really. That isn't 'Bruce Wayne's' surprised face, at all. "Is it?"
Tim blinks. Once. "Yes."
Bruce strokes his chin again, following the line of Tim's jaw. His fingers are large, and blunt. Suggestive. "Why?"
"It's my responsibility to delineate the reasons why this is a bad idea?"
"Why are you answering a question with another?"
His heart was pounding before Bruce kissed him, but there's no way Bruce could have known that, as the suit is almost entirely on. This is comforting. Bruce's tongue is slickly insistent. Teasing. Tim stills himself, as far inside as he can reach. To still himself on the outside would be another message. Perhaps even a goad.
Bruce's tongue is very wet.
The thought is imbecilic.
Bruce pulls away and Tim blinks, again. And resolves to put on his mask first from now on. "Will that be your response every time I answer a question with a question?"
Bruce smiles, again. Behind his eyes. "No."
"Good to know."
Tim presses his tongue against the back of his teeth, and then does it again. It's faintly comforting. "The fact that this is a bad idea hasn't changed."
"Nor has the fact that you haven't told me why." Bruce presses his index finger against the top edge of the seam on Tim's collar, and slides it down.
Slowly. He pauses where the cape splits to expose Tim's tunic.
"I'm greatly curious as to your reasons."
Tim has never quite known what to do with a Bruce who teases, as opposed to lecturing or merely glaring. Or staring.
He should've taken the staring more seriously.
Bruce slides the finger up again, and doesn't pause until he's touching Tim's throat. Pressing against it, really.
Tim swallows, and Bruce narrows his eyes and --
"We're partners. Adding a sexual aspect to our relationship would make things... unnecessarily complicated. I'm underage. I'm seeing someone --"
Bruce laughs. A low, rolling chuckle that makes Tim want to take a step back. It isn't a Bruce laugh or a Batman laugh. Not one that he knows. "Tim," he says. "I want your reasons."
Tim shifts his stance. "Those are my reasons. Some of them. I --"
"Affronted," Bruce says, and strokes Tim's cheek with the backs of his fingers. "An interesting choice."
"It isn't --"
Bruce leans in and licks him, from the corner of his mouth to his ear. And then slides his thumb through the thin trail of spit. Tim stiffens, and strains to keep his eyes from widening.
"Will that be your response every time I lie?"
"No," Bruce says, and his eyes... glitter.
"I don't want to do this."
"I'm not attracted to -- oh."
His cape is on the floor. Tim blinks down at it stupidly for much too long. Until Bruce presses his fingers beneath his chin again.
And forces his head back up. His expression is... avid. A sort of happiness that doesn't quite touch amusement, and is somewhere far to the left of anything peaceful. Tim stares.
"Lie to me again, Tim."
It's a suggestion. "No."
"Then tell me the truth."
Tim sets the tip of his tongue between his teeth and bites down. And breathes.
Bruce stares at him. Considers him.
And then slides his hands into Tim's hair and tilts his head back and to the side.
The collar will hide the mark Bruce is probably leaving. Most of his shirts won't. Tim doesn't moan, even when Bruce scrapes at him with his teeth. But he gasps. And the air of the Cave is cool on the spit Bruce leaves behind when he pulls back.
That isn't why he shivers.
Bruce tilts his head forward again, and Tim waits for him to let go of his hair.
"Will that be your response every time I'm silent?"
Bruce's smile is sharp and predatory. His teeth are white and shiny with spit. "No. Tell me the truth."
"Because you don't want to." It isn't a question. Bruce slides his hand through Tim's hair, mussing it.
Tim frowns and Bruce presses harder, and it's... an interesting feeling. He's never had his scalp massaged. It feels...
He isn't sure how it feels, other than... pleasant. Relaxing. Tim considers twisting away, but isn't entirely sure what message that would be. Not to Bruce, anyway.
Tim locks his knees instead.
"It's an interesting question. Why you don't want to tell me the truth, that is."
"Perhaps I simply don't feel as though the situation requires that degree of honesty."
Bruce tightens his hand in Tim's hair, just on the edge of pain. "Perhaps I should offer my own theories."
"No." Tim breathes. "Please."
The kiss is bruising, hard enough for Tim to be able to focus on the pain of Bruce's teeth, as opposed to... everything else. But then 'everything else' is a much larger concern, because Bruce's other hand is inside his shorts, and his tights, and is tracing the edges of his jock.
Hiding his arousal was never truly an option, but Tim had hoped... the degree of it --
Tim moans into the kiss and Bruce cups him, rides him with the heel of his hand, and it isn't uncomfortable enough, even through the jock. Harder, Tim thinks, and feels what would probably be distinctly hysterical laughter try to bubble its way out of his throat.
He clenches his hands into fists, wishing his own gauntlets were off. His fingernails are short and not at all ragged, but the press of them to his palms would be a useful distraction.
And when Bruce pulls out of the kiss, he catches himself trying to follow. Barely catches himself.
Bruce breathes against his ear. Hot and damp and maddeningly steady. "You shouldn't beg."
"I was asking. Politely."
Another of those low laughs. And... it isn't sweet.
They remind Tim of things like syrup because of their thick, liquid quality.
"Then you shouldn't be quite that polite."
Bruce slips his hand out of Tim's hair at last, but Tim doesn't have time to regroup before Bruce is yanking his tights and shorts down. Cool air on his thighs and Bruce's hand off his jock for just long enough to pull that down, too. Tim bites his lips hard and looks away. The floor, the dinosaur.
He bites his lip harder when Bruce begins to stroke. When he tastes blood, he stops wanting to gasp. And opens his mouth to try again.
"Is there anything I could say to make you stop?" He doesn't -- quite -- stutter.
"Yes," Bruce says. "And you know exactly what that is."
And he drops to his knees, gracefully as ever, as ever despite his size.
And swallows him.
Tim hears himself groan and feels himself shake and the worst part -- or perhaps the funniest -- is that Bruce is absolutely correct. He does know what it would take. What breed of honesty the man wants for this.
Of course he would --
"Oh God --"
- want blood. No. Blood would be easy. Tim gives him blood every -- every fucking --
So tight. So --
He knows the truth, as useless as it is. As sad and --
His hair is soft, thick. His moans make Tim's dick spasm and twitch. His eyes are blue and sharp and focused and Tim's are, too. He'll keep them that way as long -- as long --
He wants to hear Tim say it. He wants to hear how bad Tim wants this, even though it's fucked up and stupid and needy and predictable. How fucking scared Tim is of starting something he won't want to stop. He wants --
His tongue laid flat against the underside of Tim's dick. His hands big and hard and hot on Tim's hips. His --
His fucking mouth.
Tim closes his eyes and bites his lip and comes in Bruce's throat. And then Bruce pulls back and catches the rest on his tongue and Tim's knees shake and shake and he does not let them buckle.
He shoves Bruce's face away and fixes his clothes.
Tries to. His hands are shaking. Tim glares at them until they stop, but before he can reach for his jock again, Bruce catches his wrists.
"Look at me."
Tim breathes. Waits.
Bruce's mouth quirks. Once. "I want you."
"It's fair to say we've established that."
Control is, often, a thin skim of ice over a stagnant, stinking pond. Tim hears himself panting and can't decide if it's better or worse that the pound of his own heart almost -- almost -- covers the sound.
To his own ears, anyway.
Bruce hears it, sees it. Of course he does.
And presses his thumbs against the insides of Tim's wrists. "Words can be... difficult," he says.
Tim narrows his eyes.
"Why don't you show me what you want?"
Make it an order.
Tim twists his wrists out of Bruce's grasp and grabs his shoulders, big and hard and warm and obvious through the stupid, soft sweater. He pushes and Bruce lets him, lets him lay him out on the stone floor. Bruce reaches for him, but stops when Tim looks him in the eye.
And folds them behind his head.
What he wants. Fine.
Tim shoves the sweater up to bunch under Bruce's arms, and the t-shirt, too. And touches.
The flats of his palms first, to get himself used to the feel. Muscle and sparse, dark hair that tickles a bit. Scars interrupting every sweep. There's no pattern to them, and this is frustrating despite the fact that it would be disturbing, otherwise.
He knows the story behind each of them. Those he was there for, those that have been used obliquely as teaching stories, those that were never mentioned at all, and so tell their own stories.
Every little secret.
Bruce is better with them. Safer.
He focuses his touches on the ones he has specific reason to know and understand, so not to tempt Bruce to explain -- now that he's in this novel little sharing mood.
"You're perfect," Bruce says, the tone of his voice idly pleased, as though this were a comment on the weather, or the engine of one of the vehicles.
Tim considers and rejects several responses before settling on, "I'm just fucked-up in a way that works for you."
Bruce smiles at him with his eyes. "Possibly."
Tim moves back until he's straddling Bruce's hips, and pauses. He knows what position would feel best physically right now. He knows what position he wants to be in. He isn't sure which would be better. He settles for teasing himself, lowering himself just enough that Bruce is pushing his tights up against his balls.
And then a little more.
He uses his fingertips on the hair low on Bruce's stomach, the thick line of it leading under the waistband of Bruce's pants. He strokes it until his fingertips tingle, until he catches himself making a futile effort to smooth the path of hair over a looping scar he shouldn't be aware of.
He narrows his eyes and shifts his hands to the cut of Bruce's hips, dipping his fingers beneath the waistband to follow it on both sides, and then out again.
Bruce's breathing is steady, but deep. Tim thinks about it.
"You like my voice."
"When I... say something sexual."
"There's a certain attraction."
Tim licks the edges of his teeth. "Because I sound young."
Bruce doesn't so much as flinch. "Because you never say anything -- at all -- without a very specific reason."
"You..." He thinks about it, scratching halfconsciously at Bruce's abdomen. It should be obvious. It isn't. "You want me to lose control."
"Among other things."
Tim breathes in and out. It's not as effective as it could be. He can smell his own drying sweat. He can smell Bruce, and he knows enough about the mechanism of sensation to know that he's tasting Bruce, too.
Both of them.
He licks his teeth again, and decides. Looks Bruce in the eye. "I've thought about you fucking me."
The light in Bruce's eyes is no more dangerous than it ever is in Batman's. It's different, just the same.
"I wondered if you would be gentle."
Bruce shifts beneath him. Slightly.
"I wondered where you'd do it. And if you'd want me on my back, or on my knees. Up against a wall. Bent over."
"What do you want?"
"I haven't entirely decided."
Bruce slips one hand out from under his head and rests it on his own chest. An invitation.
"I've thought about... other things."
Tim lowers himself a little more. "Yes." It would be most comfortable if he just rested his weight on Bruce. And then it wouldn't be 'comfortable' at all.
Bruce doesn't move, even when Tim starts to rock. It makes sense. He knows he's being very obvious about... acclimating himself. He wants.
"There needs to be rules. Of behavior." Bruce is obviously, pornographically hard beneath the trousers. If he were to tug just slightly on the fabric, the outline of his erection would be...
Only slightly more obvious than it is now.
This isn't fear. Tim has been afraid almost more often than he hasn't been, for many years. He knows the feeling, understands it and even welcomes it, because when he's afraid he is... part of something. Part of it.
Moving through the world as he should.
This is something else entirely, which is, of course, terrifying. And thus comforting. Tim smiles at himself, and reaches down between his own legs, between Bruce's body and his half-lowered tights. He cups Bruce through his trousers, and strokes him with his fingertips, and then his palm.
Something like a warning, though far more ambiguous than it could -- obviously -- be. "Boundaries, Bruce," he says, and squeezes. Heat. Size. "We need them."
"I've had... ideas."
The slightest hesitation. Tim adjusts his grip and squeezes harder. "Your ideas are often disturbing."
"So I've been told."
It would be easier -- and more effective -- if Tim were to open Bruce's trousers. There are, as ever, other concerns.
"I won't do anything you don't want," Bruce says.
I want you to lose control. Far more than this. Tim bites the inside of his lip. There's too much wiggle room in Bruce's statement, but Tim isn't sure how to object without saying too much. He frowns to himself and stops stroking.
Listens to Bruce breathe. It's like listening to want, to the breathy, toneless exhalation of hunger. Tim wraps his fist around his own dick and squeezes, and watches Bruce's eyes narrow.
Bruce's hand is moving on his own chest, sliding down, sliding up. Tim wants to suck those fingers. He wants Bruce to --
"Full veto," Tim says. "Of anything, at any time, for any reason."
Bruce doesn't blink. "Done."
"And no... hesitation."
Bruce slides his hand lower again, following the center line of his torso. Getting... closer. "And when you want to be convinced?"
"I'll let you know." It's a victory, of a sort, to keep his voice steady. Almost entirely meaningless, though -- he can feel precisely how flushed he is, and the tunic won't hide the rhythm of his breathing. Not from Bruce's eyes.
He's far too confident. Tim forces himself to stand, moving slowly in an attempt to mask his reluctance to actually fix his clothes. He can't even take his hand off his dick. Not with Bruce just lying there, and entirely too naked.
No one who'd ever seen Bruce's eyes look like this could ever trust him. But then...
Tim stopped trusting Batman a long time ago. Their partnership isn't about that, and won't ever be again. And Bruce had probably understood that far, far sooner than he had. ("Of course you'd think that...")
Bruce isn't even trying to make Tim trust him now. It makes things more difficult in precisely the right way. It's... yes.
He balances on one foot to take his boot and sock off, and then the other. He pushes his shorts and tights down, and deliberately doesn't look at Bruce with more than just the edges of his vision.
Tim can't, actually, ignore the input, but there's a certain degree of plausible deniability that works for this. When he's naked from the waist down, he looks up again. Bruce is still at a distance, and still on the floor, but he's sitting up now.
His belt is a coil of leather beside him, and his trousers are undone. He's braced on one hand, while the other...
Tim watches long, blunt fingers slip along the bulge in Bruce's boxers, not quite slipping within the gap. Teasing.
Bruce's gaze is on Tim's face, and his smile is a sharp and faintly sardonic afterthought. Tim squeezes his own dick hard and shifts his stance until he feels balanced again. Bruce pauses, eyes narrowed, before resuming the slow, even strokes. Tim gives up -- a little -- and strokes his own dick.
And has to close his eyes, because while he had expected his body to be more... reactive than usual, he had still underestimated Bruce's effect on him.
Bruce hums, low and appreciative.
Of course he'd like to watch.
"I always... suspected." Tim's voice cracks on the last word and he swallows and breathes.
"The seductiveness -- it was either supposed to be a lie or an accident. Or an accidental lie of Batman d-deciding -- oh."
Bruce is there, of course or at last. Some closing sentence fragment that would fit, that would be in character or --
Bruce's hand is on his balls, cupping them. Sliding the loose skin back and forth and back and -- this close Tim can smell him, and feel the heat of him, and he can't decide which is more intense.
He rests his free hand on Bruce's bicep and leans forward, just -- the sweater is still rucked up. Bruce is keeping it rucked up, and Tim's forehead doesn't feel any more feverish than the skin of Bruce's chest. He strokes himself faster and drags his face over Bruce's chest.
Bruce's other hand is in his hair again. Petting him. "You were saying?"
Tim pants and hears himself make a garbled, strangled sound, and Bruce... purrs. And slides his fingers back behind Tim's balls.
"Theory I'm... w-working on."
Bruce presses up hard with his fingers, and Tim rises up on his toes and drags his lips across Bruce's skin in a panting scream.
"You... Bruce --"
"How real you are. How much of you is... is... oh. Yes -- "
Bruce's fingers move rhythmically, ruthlessly, unevenly hard circles that make Tim shoot precome until he's almost too slick for himself. "Keep going," Bruce says, and his tone is somewhere between encouraging and hungry.
"You. Create each other. Constantly. Bruce and Batman and Bruce. You -- ohhh." He pants against Bruce's chest and spreads his legs wider for Bruce, who's slipping one finger in.
Just a finger, but Tim's never -- it was entirely theoretical. He's.
Bruce's other hand tightens in his hair and Tim can feel him panting, feel the faster, ragged motion of Bruce's chest against his face and taste new sweat and feel -- opened. Invaded. He strokes himself faster, harder.
"You play, Bruce. It's a... it's a fucking game. And you stopped playing for -- oh God -- oh God --"
"Shh," Bruce says, and starts to pet him again, but it's nothing compared to the thick, hard finger moving in him.
"No. N-no --"
"Yes," and Bruce shoves in hard and Tim's on his toes again, moaning again, and coming all over his own hand.
And Tim pants and grunts when Bruce pulls out and lets himself be moved. Lowered to the floor and turned over on his stomach and pushed until his knees are bent beneath him. He braces himself on his elbows and breathes.
When Bruce slips in again, his finger is slick and openly, obviously testing. "You stopped playing."
No pause, but this isn't about Bruce showing him anything, or teasing. Bruce can't stop now. "Yes. You decided you'd be nothing but Batman -- ah --"
Two fingers, and Tim feels himself sweating, feels his body want to shake. He flexes hard around Bruce's fingers and groans. Louder when Bruce spreads him open with his other hand.
"And you... you were so fucking pissed that we didn't understand, right? That we didn't get with the new program."
Bruce doesn't respond -- with words. His fingers twist and scissor inside Tim, opening him up and stretching him out. Making him useable.
He's going to be hard again soon. "You punished us for it. Right up until you decided we were more useful with you than not."
Pause. "It wasn't."
Tim hides a smile against the floor, but doesn't elide it entirely from his own voice. "A working theory. Keep going. Keep -- nn."
"You want this."
"Yes. And you don't really know how much -- yes -- much of it is a game anymore. But you know you can play it with me."
Bruce digs the fingers of one hand into Tim's cheek and fucks him harder with the other. "I can do a lot of things with you."
A charmingly obvious statement, and an obvious gift. Tim works himself back on Bruce's hand and... breathes. Lets himself feel it. Those fingers, those weapons in him that are reduced to blunt trauma instead of surgical precision.
Bruce crooks them and Tim opens his mouth and lets the scream fall out, lets himself be right here, even though there's nothing to be afraid of but his own need. The floor is cold on his knees and Bruce's heat is too close and this was never what he wanted from Bruce.
This was an idle fantasy and a slightly less idle question and a game to be played within the safety of his own mind, scenarios spooled out and rejected, one by one, until he was over it.
Bruce didn't give him enough time, but then Bruce has always demanded their schedules be his own.
It's no one's fault but his own.
Another crook, another little scream, and Tim wonders if he's old enough for this.
Laughing just makes him seize and spasm, makes him flex around Bruce's fingers and groan, and Tim shifts to rest more of his weight on his left arm and reaches down and back to grab his own dick. "Please," he says, at the feel of his thumb sliding so perfect and hard over the slick head.
"Don't... be so polite," Bruce says and pulls out.
And Tim laughs again and chokes on it, because Bruce is pushing in, slow and steady and --
It feels impossible. Breathing is about rhythm and sense, not this loud, panting whine.
Bruce's stroke over his back is both meaningful and perfunctory -- a fundamental truth: this is all the comfort he can allow.
"Please," Tim says again, because he can't not say it, because it makes Bruce slam in to the hilt, because Bruce has to know it's too much, too fast and so can't think anything disturbing about Tim's scream.
"Please. Please, Bruce..."
"Oh," Bruce says, and seizes his hips and pulls out and slams in harder, and he'd laugh again if he could.
He can't. It's too... it's too...
It's too much like being on his knees in the Batcave getting fucked by a Bruce who just doesn't care anymore.
Or who doesn't care about the right things. Tim pants and lets Bruce hold him still, because struggling is just a way to get fucked harder, and not --
Not yet. Not.
"Please," he gasps, and Bruce pulls him into the next thrust, and the next, and Tim's clawing at the floor and jerking himself just this side of spastically, because he can't take his hand off his dick and he can't find a rhythm. He's graceless, helpless, nothing but a mind in a body too fuck-stupid to be remotely useful.
And he's still better than Bruce.
The advantage of being the object. Of being -- desired --
"Ah -- Bruce --"
He's up, pulled back against Bruce's chest, and he twists and shifts and Bruce growls against the back of his neck and thrusts up.
Tim throws his head back and screams and pushes against Bruce's hold on him and gets pulled down. He can't scream again, because he can't get air. Bruce's arm is an iron bar around his chest and Bruce's other hand is all over him. Petting and squeezing and stroking and he never stops.
"Oh God please, Bruce --"
"No." Gritted into Tim's ear and Bruce knocks Tim's hand away from himself and strokes him too slow and too hard.
"Bruce -- oh --"
"It's too much for you."
"I won't stop."
Tim comes so hard it hurts, and Bruce squeezes him. "Oh God --"
"Not even now."
And he doesn't.
He sucks on the back of Tim's neck and shifts his hand away from Tim's dick to brace Tim's hip again, and -- in.
Tim feels his eyes roll back in his head, watches his vision darken more than it should, and sucks in a hitching breath. Another.
Grabs at the arm Bruce has locked around his chest and writhes --
It's not a word that comes out of Tim's mouth. It's barely a whimper, pathetic and high.
"You're beautiful," Bruce says against his neck and bites him, digging in with his teeth a little harder on every down-stroke.
"I could have... taken you. On the ground. You know when."
Tim whimpers again. "Wasn't... awake --"
"Yes." And Tim can feel Bruce smile against him. "This is better."
"Wow. I -- nnn -- really --"
"Yes," he says, and forces himself to flex around Bruce's dick.
"Yes." And he does it again, again, and it's a little easier every time.
And even easier when Bruce starts to shake.
"I hate you, Bruce," he says, and finds a rhythm that makes Bruce moan, makes his rhythm brutal and ragged and helpless.
Bruce squeezes him harder, squeezes the breath out of him, but Tim can still move his hips.
And he does. "You like it. You want -- fuck --"
The bite on his shoulder has to be hard enough to break the skin, and it hurts, and Bruce doesn't let go.
Sucks him and licks him and of course it had to be this fucked up. Of course it had to be this sick, because it's Bruce, and it's him, and he's halfout of the Robin suit -- out of everything but what was all but identical to the old Robin suits, and he's everything Batman needs.
Tim laughs again, and Bruce shifts and pushes him down again, holds him down against the floor and settles himself above him and pushes his legs wider apart and fucks him.
Just like that.
Tim waits, and takes it, and breathes as deeply as he can.
Bruce jerks and whimpers.
And slams in one more time.
And comes in him.
Bruce's body is heavy and hot and sweaty on him. Uncomfortable, inescapable. Tim shifts enough to get his arm under his face, and feels Bruce shudder above him.
And shudders himself when Bruce kisses the back of his neck. Softly.
"Don't do that."
Bruce laughs against him, and pulls out slowly, moving -- not enough. He's kneeling above Tim, straddling his hips and stroking him. Or... it's more of a massage.
Tim relaxes into it. "Patrol soon."
It feels like an incomplete thought, but Tim really doesn't want to encourage introspection right now. They've both spent too much time thinking too deeply. And look where that had gotten them. He rolls onto his back and -- winces.
"You're going to want to take it easy on yourself."
Tim snorts. "Noted," he says and arches his head back so Bruce can rub blood back into the bruises on his neck.
Bruce strokes his throat with his thumb. It makes Tim want to try to purr. And then that thumb slides up over his chin and presses down.
Tim looks at Bruce obediently.
"Perfect." And Bruce says it like he'd rather be burning it into the skin of Tim's forehead.
Or his ass. Tim raises an eyebrow. "Right up until I actually start wanting... that from you."
"Perhaps." Bruce's smile manages to be both sharp and fond.
"What am I to you? Really." The question is out before he can stop it, but... he does want to know somewhat more than he doesn't.
Bruce rubs circles onto Tim's chin with his thumb. His hand smells like come. His eyes are... thoughtful.
Tim stretches experimentally beneath him and waits.
"In some cultures, an interesting emphasis is put on the nature of a gift. A status awarded to the person whose gift to another expresses both affection and knowledge of the other's self. The sort of knowledge that precludes mercy, or gentleness."
Tim blinks. "I'm a back-handed birthday present from the universe."
"It's a working theory."
Tim bites the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing.
Bruce smiles at him again.
"Patrol," Tim says.
And Bruce stands, and offers his hand to help Tim up.
Tim takes it, and focuses on the night ahead.
He spoke as though the dropping of the cloak and the donning of the hide had been the most unconscious and happenstance of acts. "It was a gift. From a friend. I like it. Cloaks are supposed to blow and ride out behind you on the wind -- but ours are too heavy. It takes the glory out of soldiering." With a black glove, he caressed the face beside his own, with its sealed lids, its bared fangs. "And it will remind you, no matter how pleasant I seem, really, I have teeth."
- Samuel Delany, They Fly At Ciron
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Author: Te [email] [website]
Details: Standalone | NC-17 | *slash* | 30k | 03/19/04
Characters: Bruce, Tim
Summary: Negotiation is an art form, and a game.
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