Fic Rec: Love is a Warm Tentacle
I was going to talk about Summer, With Garment Cast Aside next, as it’s an AU of Everything Spring and that kind of symmetry/grouping appeals to me on some base level, but–
Sometimes, you just need tentacles.
Tentacles with DCUAnimated!Tim.
That’s right. It’s Love is a Warm Tentacle. “Tim makes a new friend.”
So, I haven’t talked about the animated series here, yet, so there are a few things I want to talk about before diving into tentacle porn-I-mean-the-story. And that’s Tim. More importantly, the way Animated Tim came to be.
So, the BTAS stared after Tim was Robin in the comics and, like they always do when starting a new Batman franchise where there will be a Robin, Robin was Dick. (Even though he wore Tim’s costume. No justice!panties on Saturday morning, apparently. Which is funny. Robin, not being kid friendly because he runs around rooftops in a short cape, panties, and pixie booties with a man dressed as a giant leather bat and–Oh come on! We know that’s kinky, but for kids? That’s just the way it is! Though, I guess Dick appreciated the pants in winter…)
Anyway, BATS merged with Superman in it’s fourth season, and the animated series and became the New Batman Superman Adventures. It also saw Dick leave and become Nightwing and, well, we all know Batman Needs A Robin.
But which Robin? Jason, who was next chronologically, or Tim, who was the current Robin? Jason was, while an awesome character, not loved as much as he should have been. His death was voted in, after all. (Fucked. Up.) Tim, on the other hand, is apparently not liked by some of the upper-ups of DC. (I just–I don’t even–) The answer was obvious. Make a new Robin from their component parts. (And I don’t need to say The Drowners here, except for all the ways I already have.)
The new Robin was called Tim Drake, but was given Jason’s (post-crisis) origin story. (Kinda). Animated Tim was from the same socio-economic background as Jason,and brought into the Batclan after getting tangled up in a plot by Two-Face.
And yet, Tim isn’t just Jason-with-a-new-name. He looks like Tim, for one, with the same small statue. I mean, teenagers are hard to portray in cartoons, but Timmy is TINY (he looks 12 at 16) and fights with the staff and is more of an acrobat (because Nightwing stuck around in the Animated series) than a brawler. Animated Tim is less brash than Jason, but not softer–just–sharp where Jay would be blunt instrument and–
It’s not that they “Jasoned” Tim up, or that they “Timed” Jason down. Jason’s history, Tim’s looks. Jason’s love of life, and Tim’s precision.
The fact that I see Animated Tim as a “Jasoned-up” Tim has more to do with Te’s Another Place To Be than anything the animators did. I’ll get to that story, too. Promise.
Anyway, the point is, the Tim in Love is a Warm Tantacle is not the same Tim that I’ve discussed in previous posts. He’s the animated version, and therefore has different stresses and triggers and abilities.
It’s also a different Bruce. It’s a Bruce that never lost Jason, never went through that broken period of grief, never had to face the reality that, not only could they die, but that one of them did. It’s a world where Barbra is still Batgirl because the Joker never paralyzed her. It’s a world where Batman can smile without scaring little children. Where the Bat can joke with Robin. Where the Batsuit is more cloth than armor, and in a lighter color.
A lot of this gets addressed in Another Place to Be, so I’m going to leave it for now.
So–the point is–this story wouldn’t work with comics Tim. The plot is–well–Tim goes wandering in Superman’s menagerie, and stumbles across Sgutha–a tentacle creature that, really, is just lonely. And horny. And, when Tim finds himself wrapped up with amorous alien–well–comics Tim would leave that thing a charred cinder and, if he didn’t (it is the last of it’s kind after all) he wouldn’t let himself enjoy it, and would then have serious trauma and the story, overall, would be a lot more twisted and dark.
Instead, we have animated Tim. And, well–Let’s take it from the top.
Possibly — *just* possibly — it would’ve been worth it to
listen (for once) to the whole “don’t wander, it’s dangerous”
Comics Tim wouldn’t need that warning. Comics Tim relies heavily on his own surveillance and danger protocols and Bruce is just distant enough that he wouldn’t give that warning–he would know Tim wouldn’t wander. And when Tim did go to explore, it would be entirely on his own terms. Jason, on the other hand, would totally need that warning.
Neither would ever admit that the warning was justified.
After all, the warning had come from *Bruce*, who didn’t
actually *provide* warnings even when they were, just
for the sake of example, about to go to the apartment of
a demon. From *hell*.
On the other hand — and he’s thinking this is a phrase
which is about to get horrifying, being as how the…
*thing* is holding his gauntlets, boots, belt, and tunic
and still has enough limbs to *reach* for him —
On the *other* hand, it was *Bruce*. Who *did* tend to
give warnings about *Superman* all the time.
And Kon. “The Clone.” Bruce, stop being jealous of Tim’s Superboyfriend. Your best friend is an Alien. Your Robin’s boyfriend can be his son. (I just re-read that sentence and realized what it could mean. And i’m gonna leave it, because it’s a review of Te, and goodness knows Te has never gone there When He Saw His Own Eyes.) But it’s true. Bruce’s paranoia is never more obvious when he can’t really trust his best friend.
Like Tim had somehow missed the whole “giant alien with
god-like powers” memo, or… or.
Possibly he could maybe save the crafting of the “this was
*your* fault” speech until sometime after he’s figured out
how to get out of here.
Or sometime after he’s figured out how to keep his shorts —
Nope, they’re gone.
The first time I read this, I think my eyes did one of these: o.O
Then I looked around to make sure my roommate wasn’t about to read over my shoulder and continued on. Because by this time, as (relatively) new as I was to Te’s work, I was already sold, and would follow Te anywhere I was lead.
That, right there, is the mark of consistent high quality. The ability to draw the reader in and lead them to new waters time and time again. New characters. New pairings. New species–
Granted, right about now he isn’t looking forward to having
Bruce and Clark and — oh *Jesus* — Diana show up to see
him in all of his mostly naked glory, stuck to a
not-window-at-all and trying to dodge —
I keep forgetting that this Tim is, if not fully heterosexual, firmly bisexual (omnisexual?) and comfortable with that sexuality. Every time he reacts to Diana or Babs in a typical teenage-boy-in-love/lust-with-older-woman kind of way, it jolts. Maybe it’s because my head-canon-Tim is such a gayboy–no, it’s entirely for that reason.
No. He’s… he’s not supposed to *sweat* the death-traps.
They happen all the time, and he’s Robin. Deathtraps are
lame, and crazy, and eminently escapable. So sayeth the
Bat, and — he kinda sorta definitely needs air here, or
he’ll get to find out how much sweating people do
from beyond the grave.
Maybe Etrigan will visit and *rhyme* at him, and — air. He
Okay, now that was *freaky*. The tentacles uncoil from
around his face so quickly they whip his *head* back and
forth, and — doesn’t matter. *Air*.
Tim is so incredibly blase about all of this. There’s a twisted humor that runs through the piece and–this story is hilarious. Tim was always in possession of gallows humor, and it’s out in this fic in spades.
He totally *was* thinking that, and Bruce would be proud,
but right now all he’s thinking is — he’s thinking the word
At least, that’s the sound he *would’ve* made, if he
could’ve, because that — that thing is in his *mouth* now.
Probably the freakiest thing is — is.
There are a lot of freaky things, like how it’s slick and
warm and stroking — *examining* — his teeth, *shoving*
at them —
The thing is, he is never going to forgive Bruce for
glaring at him in the sushi restaurant until he ate the
damned squid, because the tentacle in his mouth
doesn’t *just* taste good, he has a *context* for it.
That was *absolutely* a thrust, and he probably can’t
blame Bruce for all the time he’s spent web-surfing on
the Bat-computers — you have the world’s best spam
and spyware blockers, you *take* advantage — but he
wants to, anyway. He really, really didn’t need the
context for *this*.
Comics Tim would never trust the security on the Batcomputer for this. Becuase he knows he’s being watched 24/7 by the Bat and by Oracle, and really, Tim’s best porn is *homemade*. Fanboy, remember? Busty Asian Beauties aren’t going to cut it for a boy who spends that much time around Nightwing’s ass.
His palms are flat to the globe, and his ankles are, too,
and he’s —
It’s making him *rub* it. And pet it. And —
The tentacle beast wants to be groped.
Of course it does.
From here, the story is pure–well–tentacle porn. *psychic* tentacle porn. *well-written* psychic tentacle porn that I’m not going to post here because I’m still paying lip-service to staying below an NC-17 rating. But–damnit–it’s believable HOT tentacle porn.
(There is a part of me that’s cringing for the amount of times that I’ve written the phrase tentacle porn in this post, but I’m a firm believer that if you can read it, you can talk about it, and I’m gonna stick to my guns, damnit.)
And I would say that it’s just some achingly-hot-wrong-makes-it-so-right kink, but, then there’s this:
N — no — no god —
bat bat bat tangle
Every image — every fantasy and wet dream and
*nightmare*. Bruce on him, over him —
Batman *in* him, forcing him, making him —
Need it — need —
Because, it doesn’t matter what Tim, what Robin it is, sex will forever be tied up in Bruce/Batman/The Bat, and all the ways that they need/fear/love him.
After the scene break, where we assume that Batman/Superman saved the unconscious Tim from Sgutha, we get this:
“I know you’re awake.”
Definitely Bruce. “Shows what you know. I’m *actually*
still fucking stoned.”
Tim uses the standard few seconds of non-committal-grunt
time to work on opening his eyes. They’re… kinda sticky,
actually, and his lashes feel as clumped and heavy as that
time with Babs’ mascara and the custard.
Possibly that was just a hallucination.
Tim is–surprisingly not traumatized. Or, he copes with trauma with humor and, therefore, is so traumatized he makes me laugh out loud.
“The creature — she — is resting.”
Gooood tangle. Heh. “What –“
“Clark used his heat-vision.”
Tim winces. “Is she –“
“According to Clark, she’s fine.”
Hmm. Well, that’s… hm. Tim rubs at the bed. The sheets
feel pretty familiar, actually.
OMNISEXUAL. Tim isn’t freaking out because he had a good time. Once the initial weirdness passed (or maybe because of it) Tim–well–like he said. Gooood tangle. And Tim is just twisted enough that, really? It’s all good.
Bruce doesn’t say anything, but Tim can *feel* him
watching, so he only groans enough for extra Alfred-cocoa
when they get home. It’s a complicated equation, but
focusing on it is just a bit better than focusing on the whole
tentacle porn thing.
For the most part.
“Hm,” Bruce says, and crosses his arms over his chest.
“Do I have to say ‘I told you so?'”
Tim slides — carefully — off the gurney and onto his feet,
and strips off the Bat-hospital-johnny. “Only if you *want*
me to elope with Sgutha.”
The look on Bruce’s face is really, really *similar* to “I
just bit into a sourball filled with acid.”
Tim smiles. “Shower?”
“Out of the plane, up the stairs, and to your right. The
*opposite* direction from Clark’s little… menagerie.”
Tim grabs a robe from the fully-stocked closest of ‘Alfred
is here in *spirit*’ and nods. “I don’t know, Bruce…”
He grins back over his shoulder. “I kinda think it’s more
of a *petting* zoo.”
“You’re not allowed to visit Dick anymore.”
Tim snickers, and heads for the showers.
Ultimately, this is porn. Straight up, feel good, tentacle porn. And it makes no allusions to being otherwise. But it’s porn written by Te, which means that it goes beyond fun and kink into characterization. It’s never enough just to have to characters fuck, they have to do it *in character* Which Te is very good at (I’m looking at you, Matches Malone/anybody). It’s lighthearted, but just dark enough to have weight. It’s fluff with an agenda, however mild.
Goddamnit, Te got me to read TENTACLE PORN and LIKE IT.