Fic Rec: When He Saw His Own Eyes…part 1

In my head, I’ve been referring to this story as “the one where Timmy’s ass saves the DCU.”

Up until recently, this is *also* the only story that I had commented on, on Te’s insanejournal.

Why? Because, believe it or not, I’m really very *shy* when it comes to these things. Part of the reason why I’m writing this blog is to help me get over that.

The other being textual analysis of fan-porn, be it sexytimes or not.

Anyway, the jist of my comment at the time was:

…I figured I should probably comment. This is amazing. All of it. I absolutely love the first meeting between Lex and Tim, and I keep telling myself that I’m just going to read that part. Then the part where Tim tells Lex that he knows about Bruce. Then when Tim tells Dick that he knows about Bruce. Then I say, Oh well, i’d better just read it all again.

I have told my friends about this story. I have told my friends who dont read FANFIC or COMICS about this story. I’ve been calling it the one where Tim meets Lex and FIXES THE DCU WITH SEX. Cause he does. And it’s awesome.

Since then, I’ve read and re-read this story, and it has quickly moved to my top ten Te fics. Then I found out her livejournal had been updating, but not her insanejournal, so I had new stuff to distract myself with. But still, rereading this has the feeling of coming home to a well-thumbed paperback.

Ladies, Gentlemen, and everything inbetween, When He Saw His Own Eyes. “In which families are put together except when they’re not, villains are reformed except when they’re not, and, because this is Teland, people get laid a lot.”

not *quite* like this...

So, the background to this story is that Dick and Bruce never split, which meant Jason was never Robin, which meant Jason never died, which meant Tim never became Robin. Also, Tim’s parents didn’t die in Haiti. Following this, Batman and Robin means Bruce and Dick, and Janet Drake is the Dragonlady of Drake industries–and summarily disliked by Lucius Fox, and thus WE. It is decided, then, that Tim will intern with the *other* business powerhouse, Lex Luthor. That’s right. Tim, who is still a creepy little stalker and knows pretty much everything about the Batclan, will be spending the summer in the belly of the beast.

I love this premise for many reasons. One, because Tim is 15, and that was just a great overall age for him. Two, because it’s Tim and LEX, and that has been a favorite rare pairing of mine since I found an old DC/Smallville/4400 crossover YEARS ago that paired Tim and Smallville!Lex, both of whom had been in the 4400. Three, because I had seen what Te could do with Lex and Tim in A Way So Familiar and Infinite, Undying. Four, because you don’t send someone whose character is based around finding and keeping secrets to someone whose character is based around finding and using secrets without secrets getting found out.

I love revelations. Coming out might be my biggest kink in terms of what I want out of a story. You’re secretly gay? I want to see those most important to you who don’t know find out. Secret relationship? I want the world to know. Secret identity? Revealed in a way that makes you look like the bad ass you are. Know something you shouldn’t have access to? The world will know. Add in Timmy’s wrestling with his own instinctual lies and his hatred of secrecy and it’s like foreplay. This? promised to be EPIC.

And it delivers.

There’s a lot to talk about in this story: this is gonna be a long review. Possibly a multi-parter. So lets begin.

The Tim we see is not all that different from his Robin counterpart. He has less access to tech, and less martial training, but he’s just as big a fanboy, as introverted, ruthless, and fucking needy as only Timmy can be.

First:

It’s a reasonable arrangement. 

Tim’s parents can’t just leave him with a nanny for three months — or more, depending on *how* well the fact-finding mission for the proposed DI expansion in England goes — and really — 

Metropolis won’t be so bad. He *has* always wanted to see the city — 

*Superman’s* city — no. He’s putting all of that aside. He was *going* to put all of that aside, because really, wasn’t it all kind of ridiculous? Of course the world’s heroes are exciting, wonderful, *diverting* — but. 

Ridiculous. There’s really no need for him to spend his time running around rooftops and ducking into alleys and generally acting like some — some *fanboy*. Even though he hadn’t even gotten the chance to check out those rumors of a ‘ghost’ in Crime Alley — 

No. Just — no. 

It’s a work-study program as much as anything else — nearly unheard-of for teenagers his age — and the fact of the matter is that LexCorp is working on amazing things, *incredible* things. He’s not *supposed* to know this — no one is, but his mother’s spies are some of the best — but *one* of the things LexCorp has been working on (again) is *cloning*.

The story opens and we see Tim wrestling with his fate. Tim doesn’t want to go to Metropolis and spend the summer with Lex, but his mother has decreed it, so he’s going. Right there we see the different power dynamic in the Drake family. Robin!Tim would be much less resigned to his fate. He would either spin the visit into something he can use (Seduction of the Timocent), or subtly manipulate circumstances so he wouldn’t, actually, go.

A lot of this has to do with the terrifying force that is Janet Drake. So let’s pause for a minute and talk about her. We see very little of her in the comics; she’s dead before she’s much more than a postcard sent every few weeks from other location. What we do see are Tim (who remembers little – she wasn’t there for most of his childhood) and Jack, his father. Now, Jack and Janet Drake run Drake Industries, a company that falters when it’s leading team disappear (one to death and the other to coma). After Jack wakes up, there is little to no mention of Drake Industries in the comics. Yes, Tim remains a kid with money, but it’s much more upper middle class than upper class. The inference: Drake Industries isn’t doing as well, mostly because of the hiatus–but this story assumes something different. It assumes that Janet is the powerhouse behind DI, and this makes a lot of sense for many reasons.

1) Jack seems little interested in the running of DI after his coma. One could say that’s because he’s more focused on the son he ignored, but that seems to be there more to give Robin drama than because of a shift in character. Jack is easily mislead for years by his son–because he never knew his son at all? or because he’s easily led? I’m gonna say it’s a mixture of both.

2) Tim, himself. Children, while their own beings, do pick up aspects of their parent’s personalities. Tim inherited his father’s good nature (he at least seems to care), and his mother’s sharpness, (and size and coloring). I’m going to posit the theory that much of Tim’s ruthlessness when it comes to decision-making comes from watching his mother in action. I can totally believe that Janet was the dominant partner in her relationship to Jack, and Tim would have picked up on her ability to manipulate and cold rationalization.

Granted, a lot of the reason I think this way comes from this story, but that’s because the extrapolation of her character has a solid basis in the canon of her surviving son and husband.

So, how would said surviving son react to having that powerhouse of a presence in his life?

(“You *know* what I expect from you, Tim.”) 

He does, he *really* does, because the fact of the matter is that LexCorp has *also* been trying to make inroads in Gotham for the past several years — 

Just as DI has been trying to make inroads in Metropolis. 

On the evening his mother had called him into the office to explain the course of his life for the next several months, she had been… pleased. 

It’s the sort of thing Tim had learned to read on her many, many years before. That particular sharpness to the gleam in her eyes, that softly amused hum as she sipped her single glass of white wine — her usual routine for those times when she planned to stay in the office just for *pleasure* — 

(“Of course, it would, perhaps, be even *more* delicious if Luthor had a teenager he could send to *us*…”) 

Tim had pulled on his best impression *of* his mother — legs crossed, fingers steepled —

(“So I *should* be considering myself a hostage to fortune, Mother?”) 

For *that* she had laughed — openly *laughed* — and it had been so long since he’d heard that — 

So *long* — 

He’d been distracted enough to *miss* whatever she’d said before — 

(” — *assassination* attempts, but I, of course, would never dream of limiting you, Tim.”) 

But. He’d caught the gist. 

His mother is *happy* with this arrangement, and that — 

That’s enough to make it more than merely reasonable. So. 

Remember, it’s not as if Robin Tim doens’t have strong and manipulative people in his life (Bruce, Alfred), but they aren’t ultimately, his

 parents. A lot of weight is put on parental bonds in Batcanon, and Tim has been starved of his parent’s for so long, that he would be willing to do anything to please them. But you can see *right here* the kind of situation Tim now lives with. He wants his mother to love him, (it’s been so long since he heard her *laugh*) so he will do whatever she says, he will become whatever she wants, but she doesn’t want a *son* at all. She wants an heir, who will continue her empire.

Hence his trip to Metropolis, and his effort to convince himself that it’s a good idea.

Because, Tim has a moral center and, even when his practices shift to grey, he still believes in right and wrong. That’s what makes himsuch a wonderful vigi. That’s why he idolizes his heroes, and why he knows he has to destroy the evidence. Because he also knows that Luthor is a villain, and can’t find out about Batman.

But Tim is also obsessive, and hurt, and his only real comfort is this life that he’s built around stalking Batman and Robin. This first scene is him practically destroying his *Teddy Bear* before going away to sleep away camp. Remember, he slept with a batarang under his pillow *before* he was Robin. Instead of in canon, when he destroys the pictures at Batman’s behest, this is Tim cutting ties with * possibility*. It’s a loss of innocence, and as such, makes me wibble when I read it.

But, since Tim is crazy good at changing himself though sheer force of will, he is able to distract himself with the thought of *cloning*.

This story is pre-superboy. The canon is post-death-of-superboy. Tim has strong ties to cloning tech in the canon, and the use of it here is particularly choice. I mean, it makes sense because it’s Lex, and Lex and cloning go together like Giant Robots and death rays (aslo under design at several of his more secret labs). But, when Tim is involved with cloning is also s when his is most morally grey. (Lazarus Pit!) Even before Tim meets Lex, he is turning himself into someone whom Lex would find useful.

Speaking of Lex…

Superfriends Lex makes me laugh. Gene Hackman Lex made me shake my head because, really, as megalomanical as Lex is, he’s also *smarter* and *savvier* than that. Michael Rosenbaum Lex made me very, very happy because he was a) pretty and b) human. Kevin Spacey made me happy because he was megalomanical but *business savvy* and that was closer than the “real” Lex as any that I’ve seen. Because, for me, the “real” Lex was voiced by Clancy Brown in the DC Animated series from the late 90s. That’s right, THIS guy:

Even if, in my head, he looks more like this:

Come on. You’d have voted for him. Right? Just look at that face. And listen to this voice:

I think is says something about me (and my generation) that the Batvoices in my head are all from the animated series. I mean, I loved Michael Keaton as Batman (*I’m Batman*), I believed Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne (his Batman lisped, sorry), but ONLY Kevin Conroy was able to convince me of *both*.

But really, Clancy Brown practically purrs as Lex. And if you were a man whose power comes from being a smoother talker and a seducer, you want a big purring voice.

Anyway, this Lex is one I believe that can do Te’s Lex justice (pun *fully* intended). So, let’s look at Te’s Lex.

It is, of course, *wildly* suspicious. While the world’s rank and file know him as only a brilliant, relatively young businessman with bents both philanthropic and scientific, the Drakes are anything *but* stupid. 

DI has been showing marked and *steady* growth since Janet had officially taken over the reins — Jack had always been just a *little* useless for anything but the creative side of the business — and, more to the point, they’d been doing that in *Gotham*, where if your last name isn’t Wayne, you are — as they say — shit out of luck. 

In the end, the Drakes *should* know exactly what Lex would do with any impressionable child they sent his way — subornation and espionage to *start* — and so there’s really only one possibility worth considering: 

The child — the teenager — is a ringer. 

He *doesn’t* know Janet particularly well, but, he thinks, he knows her well *enough*. She may have had help conceiving the boy, but for the rest… 

The boy’s actual *training*… 

Yes. 

The boy will almost certainly be charming, respectful, and as watchful as a boy-shaped camera. The boy will be intelligent and positively *determined* to be as useful as he can be. 

The boy may very well do his level best to *attach* himself to Lex, and that — 

Lex narrows his eyes at the tumbler of scotch in his hand. What the *hell* is he supposed to do with *that*? 

The simple fact of the matter is that the Drakes will take it as purest *disrespect* if Lex *doesn’t* let their adorable little leech sink its teeth in to at least some extent, so… 

Yes. Parties. Dinner parties. Galas… 

Hm…

A *lot* of work in the actual labs. It can’t just be fetch-and-carry stuff, either. No, he has to *engage* that mind — and the thank-you letter the boy had sent had positively *dripped* with hope (manufactured?) that he would be allowed on the proverbial front lines. 

Lex nods to himself and sips his scotch. He will keep the boy distracted as much as humanly possible. He will challenge him, and when he inevitably fucks up, he will smile and urge the boy back onto the horse. 

So, this Lex is more akin to old-school mafiosa or, as he is now, the Emperor of a Business Empire, than his early comic conterpart. Gone are the destructo-rays, at least, whenever the *press* is nearby. This is Buiness Mogul Lex, the Lex who will conquer the world in the *modern* way, through commerce. Everything with Lex is plans within plans, and here we see him planning to meet young Tim Drake.

Lex is *smart* enough to know that Tim is a *ringer*, to know some of Tim’s *issues* (the camera metaphor is particularly telling) but he’s nowhere near prepared for what Tim *actually* is. Boys like him just don’t happen very often. And so, Lex is prepared to write Tim off as much as possible, preparing to play power games with Tim’s *mother*, and finally get into Gotham.

But…

He knows it practically by heart at this point, and Hope is never anything *but* thorough, *but*. Couldn’t there be something he’d missed? Some hint of unsavory… something or other? 

The boy’s only friends are, to all appearances, hopeless geeks from good, solid families — none of whom are as *financially* solid as the Drakes. That in itself is rather telling. 

He’d had Hope look into the popular teenagers at the boy’s high school as a side assignment and had found the usual petty corruptions of alcohol and assorted other drugs — and no connections with the boy whatsoever. One of the boy’s friends *tutors* a few of those popular types, but that’s as close as it comes. 

The boy has been known to host Elfquest parties, and there’s a photograph of one of the other friends — a boy named Ives, of all things — wearing what certainly appears to be a homemade jerkin. The party had ended at ten-thirty. 

Bribing the nanny had gotten Hope the information that the boy was unfailingly neat and punctilious about retiring to his room to do his homework, play music quietly, and sleep by midnight *every* night. 

Hope had checked — undoubtedly rappelling down from the roof — and found the boy asleep in his bed night after night. There were *some* signs that the tree outside his bedroom window had been used the way such things are *always* used, but there was no way to tell how long ago it had been. And — 

The fact that Lex is sitting here this close to *berating* himself for not having Hope watch him for *several* weeks — 

Lex laughs at himself, but not especially lightly. The world has proven — time and again — that paranoia is the better part of valor, and the *fact* is that the boy puts his back up. 

Lex flips to a candid taken of the boy outside of his school. It’s a public school — a mystery he’d answered for himself by taking Jack aside at the last party: the boy hadn’t wanted to be separated from the few friends he had made, and Jack is something of an aging liberal. 

Public school as sacrifice on the altar of wilting sensibilities. 

In the photo, the boy is hitching his backpack and scanning the street. His eyes are narrowed and there is a sense — illusory but present — that the boy knows full well that he’s being watched. And — 

Wouldn’t he?

Those who watch are always aware of eyes. And Lex is intrigued, despite himself.

Janet Drake is his mother, and she would’ve had to at least *try* to prepare — no. The boy will be here in no more than two hours, assuming that the flight is on-schedule and the traffic isn’t any more snarled than usual. Mercy has many, many ways to deal with that sort of thing, and Lex *will* discover what it is about the boy that offends before she arrives with the boy in tow. 

On the surface, no one could ever doubt that he was Janet Drake’s son. If it weren’t for the boy’s hair, Janet could’ve *budded* him out. He has her eyes, her facial features, and — unfortunately for him — her size. 

I see a lot in fandom of people exaggerating a character’s size because of various reasons, usually a size *difference*, and, particularly with Watson in the new Sherlock BBC fandom, reminding people that he isn’t that small, it’s just that Sherlock is really tall. Or in Supernatural, people forgetting that Dean is 6’2″, he just looks average because Sam is 6’5″. Tim? is *really that tiny*. People do the opposite with him, and make him *taller* than he should be. Don’t do that. He works so well *small* because of all the ways he really *isn’t*.

There *are* other fifteen-year-old boys who are only five feet four inches tall, but not all that many. He is lean, and the karate and judo classes have made him fit enough. He is a black belt in both disciplines, and Lex can’t help but approve of that sort of self-improvement. 

The boy plays no sports. 

In the photo, there is tension visible in his shoulders and, somehow, in the *way* he’s hitching his pack, and his expression — 

Lex frowns and flips through the other candids. 

And then opens the file with the photographs Hope hadn’t felt were good enough in one way or another — 

Where are the *smiles*? 

Where — ah. There. A photo taken — at a distance — of Ives, Hudson, and the one girl in their group — Callie. It was Hope’s conclusion that Ives and Callie were either a couple or wanted to be, and here — vaguely — there is a sign that Tim *had* been smiling. 

Lex narrows his eyes and flips through the photographs again, looking for — 

A hint of tension at the left side of his mouth here and there. Was that supposed to be a smile? 

Tim is *very* good at the image he portrays to the world, helped along by the fact that, because he was never Robin, this really *is* his life. But again, Lex isn’t dumb, and Tim isn’t perfect, and there is *something* wrong with this picture, even if Lex doesn’t know what it is. Lex is *sensing* the lack of telling secrets, because the image Tim portrays is *too* perfect.

That is, until Lex notices the lack of *smiles*. Or rather, the tiny Tim!Smiles that really don’t count.

“He doesn’t smile.” 

“Not… the way you do.” 

Lex blinks. “Are you saying that he smiles the way *you* do?” 

She smiles, and whether it’s demonstration or honest pleasure… 

Lex can accept the fact that he’ll almost certainly never know for sure. None of Hope’s smiles ever do much in the way of pulling her features out of true. Her frowns don’t either, and Hope will look approximately thirty-three until she’s at least in her sixties. Still, he makes a point of noting the tension at the *right* corner of her mouth and he nods. “Noted. Do you think he’s devoid?” 

The smile fades to blankness, focus — “I can’t be sure, Lex. Mercy will be… better.” 

If Mercy thinks the boy is a threat — 

Well, no, she won’t kill him or even injure him — Lex had been clear *enough* about the fact that the boy would be a member of his household for the next few months. If he puts *her* back up, she’ll just make a point of shadowing him when he’s in Lex’s presence. Still, there are the forms to be considered. “Bedwetting? Fires?” 

“No, Lex.” 

“Small graves in the — neighborhood?” 

“The target never visited any of the local parks.” 

He’s back to wanting to have had the boy under surveillance for months. Wonderful.

Oh, Hope. So no, Timmy doesn’t smile, and he’s not a sociopath, and that just makes him all the more appealing to Lex, who never can resist the urge to figure out the puzzle, to *know*.

But there’s no time, becuase Tim is almost *there*.

He moves deeper into the penthouse, and changes into a ‘suit’ which is actually designed to be worn without a jacket. It lends a certain traditional — and comforting to most — virility to Lex’s form, as well as a sense of casual yet practical ease: the tycoon is at rest, but could very well spring into action at a moment’s notice. 

It all makes him feel somewhat indebted to the nineteenth century, as though he ought to be pulling sleeve garters out of the armoire and fiddling with some poorly-functioning yet perfectly grand confection of a pocket watch.

It makes him feel as though he’s playing himself on a stage that fits *just* poorly enough in this penthouse to rattle as he steps his way across it — 

Lex has spent a lot of time feeling that way. He — 

This will not be the night he solves that particular equation, and so he sets it aside. The boy will arrive soon — 

And Lex has a tableau to set. 

Lex, the master manipultor, not at home in his own manipulations. Why is that, I wonder… 🙂 Maybe because, somewhere along the way, he stopped playing himself and started playing his father. That’ll change later, once Timmy’s ass starts to work it’s magic.

Speaking of smiles, The next bit has Tim meeting Mercy, and that never fails to make me smile.

It’s just that all of the conversational gambits he’s attempted (asking her about the dojos she’s used, asking her about the defensive driving course she’d obviously taken, asking her about the *weather* –) 

They’d fizzled. 

And died. 

And left — 

Well, the part of him which isn’t screaming in testicle-shriveling *alarm* is pointing out — rather unnecessarily — that Tim has only succeeded in making Mercy *tense*. 

This — 

This is less than optimal. 

Tim is not used to adults who don’t fall for his act, who don’t accept the surface, who don’t let him *manipulate* them. Mercy thinks all teenaged boys are human *larve* (and yes, that is a reference to something Lex says later, but it words very well, so I’m going to use it, too). They–fail to get along. Especially since Mercy reveals that Tim reminds her of *Robin* which is surprisingly apt, but also, for Tim, terrifying because of the secrets that he’s been trying to wipe from his past lest they get discovered. Mercy is able to keep Tim terrified and on the defensive, wrestling with what he knows and what he’s *allowed* to know about the caped community and about Lex’s status as a super-villain until:

Tim nods. Mercy simply continues to stand… in range of any number of perfectly horrible things. Well. 

Tim fixes his expression to bland patience — 

Mercy stiffens — 

Tim unfixes his expression and gives himself a moment to show his terror before he can think of something reasonable to feel *other* than terror. Curiosity, perhaps? 

Yes, that works. He’s curious. He’s — 

Well, Luthor isn’t actually saying anything, and that’s something to be curious *about* — 

Yes. Very curious. Possibly — possibly *irritatingly* curious. He is a teenager, after all, and — 

Wait, no, that would call for apathy. He won’t be able to manage apathy until he can convince his testicles to drop again — which will probably happen three months from now in Gotham. The fog will hide whatever expressions he’ll be moved to make — 

Mercy shifts beside him — 

Tim fixes his expression — 

Tim *unfixes* his expression — wait. 

He turns to look at her. 

She’s giving him her profile and, thus, *half* of a disgustingly sunny expression. Which — 

“I don’t believe my parents sent me here to become your trained emotion-monkey, Mercy,” Tim says, quietly. 

Mercy *blinks* — yes. Addressing her in front of the master is a rather good way to get his own back — 

Wait, he’s supposed to be *innocuous* — 

Curious — 

Patient — 

Something. He turns back to face Luthor — 

And Luthor is staring into him with a smile on his face which speaks — volumes. 

He. Hehehe. Hehehhehahahaha. Get your bitch on, Tim! It lasts until Tim powns Mercy *in front* of Lex, which serves both to make her heel, thus establishing his own power, and thus peaking Lex’s interest.

Exactly what Tim *didn’t* want to do. Whoops.

What follows, after Mercy leaves, may be one of my favorite conversations *ever*. It’s too long to quote, so I’m just going to bring in the highlights.

What this conversation does is set the stage for the rest of their interactions, and the ways in which Tim in particular will change over the course of the story. At this point, Lex is very much in control of himself, and of the situation, so his focus is on feeling Tim out in order to set up Tim’s summer. Tim’s focus is rather more on staying afloat, right up until he starts having fun.

The conversation is, while not fast paced, a definite back and forth volleying between two intellectual powerhouses. That Tim is, somewhat, at a disadvantage because of his youth and, relative, inexperience, he doesn’t let it get him down. And when Lex scores a point, Tim adapts and moves on. Because that is what Tim does.

“Mr. Luthor –” 

“Lex, please.” 

Tim nods once. “Then please call me Tim.” 

“Not Timothy?” 

When the question has been asked in the past, it’s been about the name ‘Timmy.’ Hm. “No, thank you. Only my grandparents referred to me that way.” 

Luthor — no. Start as you mean to go on. *Lex* nods. “They passed away when you were six.” 

“Yes. We weren’t especially close, but I must admit that I miss them from time to time,” Tim says, crossing his legs and folding his hands on his lap — 

“Do you?” 

That — Tim blinks — 

Lex smiles, sharply and privately. “I withdraw the question. It was far too personal.” 

At times it’s reminiscent of a Legal battle; the prosecution, Lex questioning the defendant, Tim. It’s all about observation, acting on observations made, making necessary changes, and feeling out the, well, the opponent. 

“Do you consider yourself a… nerd?” 

Tim raises a hand and waves it back and forth. “Rather more of a geek whose obsessiveness spreads across the proverbial board…. though I must admit that the lion’s share of that obsessiveness at the moment takes the form of curiosity about that obviously custom computer system.” 

Lex closes his eyes for a moment and smiles wider. “That particular verbal tic — the question of what you must admit — is rather telling,” he says, and opens his eyes once more. “Do you have a confessional bent of some sort? Or is it that Mercy rattled you enough that you’ve forgotten how to lie effectively?” 

I think it’s fair to say that *Lex* has rattled Tim enough–and that Tim *does* have a confessional bent. Even though he reflexively lies and keeps secrets, he hates to do so and wishes, more than anything, to be *honest* with people. Because, for him, honesty is a *privilege* and a *novelty*.

So point to Lex, though Tim recovers nicely:

Tim — blushes. Helplessly and hopelessly. “Will you threaten to shoot me in the eye if I ask *how* you’d developed such a bad opinion of me so quickly?” 

“No, I won’t. I…” Lex shakes his head. “Effective — and charming — mendacity is the grease in the world’s primitive and ill-built machine, Tim. You know that as well as I. While I don’t anticipate needing you to lie for *me*… well. Your mother explicitly asked me to do what I could to shape you into the sort of businessman she could be proud of.” 

Tim doesn’t rear back, and he doesn’t blink. “No.” 

“‘No?'” 

“No, she did not.” 

Lex shows his teeth. “Very true. Still, that answered another question.” 

“My self-esteem? Or my paranoia?” 

“You *are* Janet Drake’s son, Tim. You were either going to be a cringing hound or… something else entirely.” 

I’m going to go with *something else entirely*. And good call, Tim, calling Lex on his bullshit.

“Was that an order?” Wait, wait, *innocuous* — 

“You *are* my employee now, Tim.” 

“I’m not your slave. Is Mercy?” 

Lex’s eyes flare with pleasure. With — 

On someone else Tim would call that *delight* — 

“Yes,” and Lex touches his tongue to his upper lip. “Answer my question. Please.” 

AND LET THE FLIRTING COMMENCE! Even though it takes a while for *both* of them to get to the point of *outright* flirting, it actually starts within minutes of them meeting, because Lex wont accept anything less than honesty, Tim, when he’s being honest, is far too intriging for Lex to let lie, and Lex is, ultimately, Tim’s type. Brilliant and strong, with a similar sense of play, and a desire to see Tim healthy, happy, and whole.

“I…” He’s not going to be able to appear innocuous in this man’s eyes until such time as he *is* terrified again. That much is abundantly, painfully clear. There’s a certain comfortable lethargy to this sort of fatalism… and Tim offers one of his real smiles. 

Lex studies that, too — and nods. “Please, go on.” 

“I’ve often felt that there was a certain… hm… a certain sort of self-serving weakness to the concept of the confessional. If a sin can truly be expiated merely by talking about it and performing some sort of obsessive and obsessively private ritual… then it probably isn’t much of a sin in the first place. That said, I’ve spent very little time studying religion.” 

“Make a point of doing so, Tim. You’re an American, and Americans are exceedingly superstitious and inclined toward willful cowardice when it comes to the question of the death that’s waiting for all of us. If you would know your countrymen, you had damned well better peruse a holy book or two.” 

And that… is sound advice. Tim nods. “All right, I will. Thank you.” 

“You’re welcome. Tell me how you rattled Mercy.” 

“I’m not entirely sure –” 

“Please, give me your opinions.” 

Tim thinks for a moment — stops. “Is this how you talk to her? And to Hope Terrell, as well, I suppose.” 

Lex — blinks. “Yes.” 

Tim nods again. “Noted. I’m a terrible shot and grow queasy at the sight of blood — especially my own.” 

Lex snorts —

Tim — smiles helplessly — 

And Lex narrows his eyes for that. 

Tim, I’m going to say it, *submits*. He yields to Lex, and once he does so, is able to score a point. Just as Lex is learning how much he is interested in Tim, Tim is learning how to manipulate Lex–through submission. By giving in to Lex, Tim gains control. It’s no surprise that, by the end of this story, Tim has Lex wrapped around his little finger. What we see in these few lines, is the power dynamic of the perfect * marriage* that Lex and Tim settle into. (Also, Tim as Mrs. Luthor? *Priceless*)

That’s — irritating. “I wasn’t aware that you were auditioning for the role of auxiliary parent, Lex.” 

And so much more, Tim. If there’s one thing Te’s Batclan taught me, it’s that *family* has a very loose (and often sexy) definition. So, we have a relaxed Tim who lets his inner bitch out to play, and because it’s Te and because it’s Lex–

Tim smiles rather more helplessly than he wants to — 

“Yes, do *that*. And drink.” 

Tim sips, noting the hints of both apricot and flowers, the tart briskness — he takes a second sip and nods his approval. 

“Excellent, I won’t have to fire the man who recommended it as — you’ll pardon the phrase — pussy bait.” 

Tim chokes — 

Lex reaches across the bar and claps Tim’s back — briskly. “And that answers a few more questions. The Hansen girl — your only female friend?” 

“Ah — yes.” 

Lex’s casual use of profanity is one of my favorite of his verbal habits. Because profanity has a place is our language, and the ability to use it well is just as important as knowing whether its *who* or *whom*.

But, also, this Timmy? Is a gay, gay, gayboy. And his reaction to Lex’s moment of *calculated* crass is *priceless*.

Lex rocks on his heels. “Yes. That’s why — one of the reasons why — there are *two* LexCorp jets.” 

Well — “I’d thought it was because the first wasn’t lavender enough.” 

Lex shows his teeth. “Speaking of lavender… you’re not even remotely heterosexual, are you.” 

Heh. *snicker*.

Lex smiles more widely. “You already knew you were on borrowed time with that particular technique, and yet you were still using it despite the fact that it was putting your secrets on decidedly thin ice. *Therefore* — I know now that you were *not* planning to keep those secrets for much longer.” 

Hmm. How *would* this particular Timmy come out *without* Lex’s assistance. Through some, ultimately unsatisfying, tryst with Ives? really, Tim’s scope is much *wider* than that….

Tim sighs and finishes his wine. “You’re going to say something… oh, maybe along the lines of how I should make sure my power base is solidified before I do anything revolutionary?” 

Lex inclines his head and sips his own wine — he stares at the glass as if it had insulted his mother. 

“You’d prefer Laphroaig, I imagine…?” 

“Macallan, actually, but Laphroaig sounds better to a certain subsection of the media — and, thus, to the shareholders,” he says, and his tone is somewhat distracted. Disgusted? 

“Ah — I assure you that I have no designs on your virtue –” 

Lex coughs and smiles brilliantly, amusement and good cheer back *instantly*. “Not even if I make you finish this bottle of ever-so-*fruity* goodness?” 

I like my men like I like my licorice: bendy and dark — no. Or maybe — 

No. 

“Not even then, Lex. In all seriousness –” 

“In all *seriousness*, I vastly look forward to the day when you open a joint board meeting between our two companies while wearing something leathery enough to moo and tight enough to tell me which side you dress on. Until then, however, I recommend discretion. If you’d like, I’ll find you an agreeable young woman to escort to the handful of events I’ll be throwing to keep the sharks full of sugary chum –“

“Ah — ew?” 

“For the image or the prospect?” 

“Perhaps if the young woman would *also* prefer dancing with someone of her own gender?” 

Okay, a) I love that Lex’s own tastes are rather more pedestrian than his image would imply, and that, even though I know nothing about scotch, I have an understanding of the way different brands are viewed, and how that fits into identifying your social status, simply from this snippet. b) The fact that Tim coming out *would* be revolutionary makes me angry in my angry places, because it just shouldn’t *matter* who you sleep with, or what culture you identify with, as long as you can do your damned job, and the fact that it does makes me grrr, and the fact that Lex goes about changing that makes me so very happy. And c) “leathery enough to moo”.

And the licorice line? Oh, *Tim*. This is what happens when Dick exists in your life *only* in photographs. You miss all the bad puns.

But, Tim isn’t the only one with issues, and:

“As you say,” and Tim drinks slowly and deeply — “There are any number of rumors about you. About… certain connections to organized crime. Mostly about why you feel such a *powerful* amount of negativity toward the world’s superheroes.” 

A shadowed look — 

“Or we could leave that topic alone –” 

“I — no. I don’t like them and I don’t like the name they’ve taken for themselves. They operate outside of — and often above — the law. They have ridiculous powers, and that power is unchecked by anything save their own *whims*.” Lex shakes his head. “Calling them superheroes really just seems to *encourage* them — as if the parti-colored battles they fight in and around our cities are nothing more dangerous than children’s games. Calling criminals *villains* — no, it’s all a bit too dramatic and *false* for my tastes. Sooner or later, one or more of those people will make a bid to take over, and the rank and file are so starry-eyed about them that it might just happen before more thoughtful people can blink.” 

Tim inclines his head and doesn’t — he doesn’t. “Vigilantes, then.” 

“Soothing tone, willing compromise…” Lex smiles ruefully and gestures for Tim to follow him to the couch. “Yes, I’m aware I’ve spoken words like that many times in many places to many people. Call it a passion.” 

“Everyone needs a few,” Tim says, sitting down at one end and crossing his legs again. He sets his glass down on the coaster — as sleekly purple as the *second* LexCorp jet — and works on putting away a few more of his childhood dreams. For this moment — 

It’s all right. 

Ahh, yes. Lex is just as obsessed with the caped set as Tim, just for different reasons. And they are logical reasons. And for a man as logical as Lex to has his reasoning dismissed in favor of popular opinion, a populace that is lead by things as * irrational* as religion, is *deeply* frustrating.

And it is something that, ultimately, Tim will help him with.

So, let’s see. We have the establishing of the Lex/Tin dynamic, we have (headroads into) Tim’s sexuality, we have Lex’s feelings towards the world’s vigis, we have the (crap) parenting of Janet Drake…what else are we missing? Hmm….

Oh, yes! Tim’s seduction of Lex. Lex notices Tim’s..lets call it *proto*interest, after all, *Lex* is the first to address Tim on his actual *level*, and tries to warn Tim of the dangers of  *predatory older men*. We’re going to leave aside the fact that, predatory older men are Tim’s type, for the moment, anyway, and:


“I *have* seen that particular filmstrip, Lex.” 

“They still use *filmstrips* at your school?” 

Tim smiles. “Well, no, but — ah… exaggeration for effect? An attempt to lighten the mood? Something?” 

Lex smiles wryly. “Fine, then. *Disdain* my excellent advice –” 

“Ah — never that –” 

“Who *did* give you the gay facts of life?” 

Tim raises an eyebrow. “Well, I *do* name all my computers Ganymede, but I haven’t actually believed they were sentient for quite some time.”

“Ganymede.” 

“It is,” Tim says, and sips his wine as primly as possible, “my favorite moon.” 

Lex raises *both* of his eyebrows — 

And laughs, softly and warmly, for a long moment. “All right. I… well, no, I *don’t* surrender, but I offer you the point freely and without reservation. Let me tell you what your schedule is going to look like until such time as I decide it needs to look entirely different.” 

Tim smiles and listens.

Point to Tim. The best part is that Tim wears Lex down *before* Lex realizes it. And when he does, well, there’s no way he’s going to let someone who can do that *go*.

So, within the first, 3 scenes, we’ve established most, if not all, of the themes of the piece. 1) the dynamics of submission and dominance in a relationship, 2) Tim’s self-esteem and self-worth, and 3) Lex’s issues with the superhero community. All issues are, eventually, solved by Tim’s ass, either by direct application or by association.

We’re going to talk about all of these as they come up.

Ooh, I almost forgot:

“Bruce Wayne has done an excellent job of making the public face of WE as innocuous and dim as possible — and the world lost a *great* mind when that man discovered champagne, but that’s neither here nor there –” Lex pauses for the shadow flitting behind Tim’s eyes. 

It’s gone in an instant, but it *was* there — 

“You’ve met Brucie.” 

“I — yes, of course. I’ve been attending the assorted parties with my parents since I was a child. He’s… well. He’s himself.” 

Lex nods in response, but the shadow — hm. “He hasn’t slobbered a kiss all over your mother at any of those parties, has he?” 

Lex’s issues with Brucie Wayne. Lex’s disappointment and *hurt* at the fate of Bruce, or what he believes is Bruce’s fate, it palpable. It’s so strong, in fact, that it–well–we’ll get to that.

Lex and Tim retire for the night, and in the morning, comes one of my favorite things: Lets Fatten Tim Up!

Along with Lex’s usual yogurt, fruit, tea, and juice, there is a large amount of sausage, three different sorts of eggs, some sort of hot cereal which probably has an unpronounceable name which translates literally to ‘warm calories,’ a mound of toast — 

“Please tell me I won’t be expected to — ah.” 

“What *do* you eat for breakfast?” 

“Cereal. Usually. Ah.” Tim looks positively stricken. “Is that *cheese*?” 

“You don’t like cheese?” 

“I — that — not that *much* of it.” 

It is a rather large bowl of what looks to be a simple farmer’s cheese. Hm. Lex prods the bowl — 

The cheese jiggles somewhat alarmingly — or so Tim’s expression seems to suggest. 

Food is love, people. And Lex is determined to fill Tim out. Fill him up? Fill him up in *many* ways.

Also, Tim’s reactions to food throughout the story are *hilarious*. But the meal is more than just watching Tim flinch at the calories on his plate.

“Is that what the kids are calling it these days?” And Lex wants to kick something very hard, indeed, because the lazy drawl is what he calls on when he *wants* to shut someone up. 

He doesn’t want to shut Tim up — 

Though he’s not sure he wants anything to do with that blush. “Never mind –” 

“No, I — I was thinking that I didn’t want to take very much of your time. I was hoping to spend the time I had with you observing. Mostly observing –” 

“You will,” Lex says, and *that* came out too sharply — 

What *is* this? 

More importantly, we learn that Lex is shaken. Tim has started to rattle his foundations. Lex didn’t *plan* for Tim because he *couldn’t* plan for him, and it’s making Lex react in ways he didn’t *expect*–mostly because, for all the lies, Lex still insists on at least *partial* honestly. This will lead to introspection and sex, and *love* and, ultimately, the reformation of DC’s most insidious villain.

And why is Tim perfect for Lex?

“Tell me more about why you’re sure he’ll be a threat.” 

“He pretends to be less moralistic than he is. He pretends to be… many different things. And he’s good at it.” 

“Yes, he is. But not as good as he could be.” 

“He’ll learn from you,” Mercy says, and meets his eyes with nothing but warning in her own. 

Lex sighs and nods. “He’s already begun, of course.” 

Mercy nods. Once. 

“And the ways in which he reminds you of Robin?” 

“The moralism. And… the violence.” 

Lex blinks for that and makes a point of looking Tim over. Tim, for his part, is looking at him *entirely* blankly — “Don’t do that, please.” 

“I’d rather not expose myself any more than I’ve already done, Lex.” 

“Just the same. Consider it a favor,” Lex says, and means it… with more of himself than he can *credit* — 

But Tim is breathing deeply — and showing him fear, worry, anxiety — *all* very different things — as well as curiosity… and something very like hunger. 

It’s curious to note that the same things attract Lex to Tim as Bruce to Tim. Hmmm…

It’s not the first moment of honesty, but it’s one of the more significant moments, because it reveals Lex’s awareness of Tim’s adaptability, and the specter of *Robin* that will always shadow Tim. Or, at least, this *kind* of Tim.

“I want to see your morality,” Lex says — hell, that was practically a *blurt* — 

And Tim raises an eyebrow. “Would you like to co-opt it, as well?” 

Would he? 

He’d like to be — a mentor. He’d like — 

“I’d like to be responsible — in part — for who you become, Tim.” 

Because you see something (someone, lets be honest) that you *want*, Lex. Lex has trained himself to trust his instincts, and he does so here because they’ve never led him astray so far. He’ll have to do some serious soul searching when he realizes just *where* his instincts are leading him, but they, ultimately, do not fail him. But–the fact that Tim can *provoke* such intense reactions from Lex is simply wonderful.

“I…” Tim *starts* to lick his lips — his mouth is quite small with only moderately generous lips — 

He could *use* a little makeup for that — something subtle enough to only seem to be lip balm — 

What?

haha, yes! Go with that instinct, Lex!

Still — “What do you *want* to do with your life, Tim?” 

Tim opens his mouth — 

“No. Stop and think. Consider how pleasant it’s been to be honest with me. *Then* answer.” 

And that — 

Tim closes his eyes and *smiles*. It’s the broadest one Lex has seen which has actually been honest, and it’s soft and worn and somehow *old*. It’s the sort of smile which tends to require physical contact of some sort, and this isn’t the first time Lex has thought that that requirement had more to do with the other person’s need to *ease* that expression, need to *change* it to something less — raw. 

It would be awkward to offer that kind of contact right now, no matter how grateful — 

But Lex is already moving, already crouched beside Tim, already reaching — 

And Tim gasps and opens his eyes when Lex rests his hand on his thigh. “I –” 

Thigh touching is *never not sexual* Lex. You’re body is betraying what your subconscious craves.

“Consider how much it would hurt you to answer that question right now — against the fact that I would accept an answer later.” 

“Oh. I.” This time, Tim finishes the act of licking his lips. His eyes are wide, his pulse is beating strong and fast in his throat — “I want. I want a useful life. A life where I can… make changes. I want to be the best I possibly can be. I want to be strong, smart, and wise. I want to be interesting. I want to be… admirable.” 

Oh… “You want to be great.” 

But Tim frowns. “No, I. I don’t need to be… remembered. It’s always seemed to me that desiring greatness means desiring that, as well.” 

“But you want to leave your mark.” 

“I want to leave a *good* mark. It doesn’t have to be my own.” 

And that… it isn’t truly as strange as it seems. All sorts of people are more than willing to follow. 

There is nothing wrong with a supporting role, with being part of the cogworks of the great machines that change lives. Equally, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be power behind a throne. While Lex, here, is assuming the former, Timmy wouldn’t be happy with anything *but* the latter.

After all, Tim is *Robin*, whether or not he ever wears the tights. And, as Batman Needs a Robin, Robin is the power behind the Batman’s throne. Robin the the reason why Batman works. (Or, at least, why Batman was able to become what he is today).

Lex is the great man, the Alexander of Metropolis, and Tim wouldn’t be satisfied with anything less than a *partnership* with the man–a silent partnership, true, the *behind the scenes* Mrs. Luthor, but still–Tim affects Lex’s *policy* and that, alone, is telling.

And the moment Lex realizes this? Is *awesome*.

As are the characterizations of the minions-I-mean-scientists at Cadmus. Mad scientists. Love it.

Lex hates his suits. That’s — well, Tim had been very proud of his choices for business-wear. Nothing too flashy *or* too conservative — the sort of thing which has worked wonders for young businessmen for generations — with only small adjustments in terms of the collars and ties. 

Lex, however, had described the suits — all save for the one he’s wearing now — as pedestrian, dull, and steeped in Republican values. When Tim had pointed out that that was the goal he was going for, Lex had — 

Well, he had certainly *seemed* to be very close to shaking him.

Fashion is very important. Fashion tells the world at large in grand sweeping strokes what to think of you. The ability to manipulate what you wear in order to garner a certain image is very important when you’re to be a public figure. Tim, thrust into a spotlight that he doesn’t want, *would* hide behind young Republican suits. Lex, who insists on *honesty*, would want him to have a more personal, and therefore flamboyant, style.

Bruce would also have something to say about the way Tim dressed, but Bruce is more into *costumes* that *hide*, so–

Bruce, also, wouldn’t be nearly as transparent as Lex as to what he was thinking about Tim being a shy little creeper. I think it’s very good that Tim see what Lex thinks, rather than interpret Bruce’s mask.

This all leads to Tim and Mercy and, really, I love the hate/hate relationship they develop.

“Mm, yes, I imagine you would be,” Tim says, twisting his wrist — mild pain that does, indeed, feel like a burn. An internal *sunburn*, to be precise — and rolling his head on his neck. “I’ll let you know when I’ve decided where the rest of the tracers will go –” 

“You really ought to leave that to the professionals –” 

“I *said*… that I would let you know when I’ve decided. Am I understood?” 

Mercy narrows her eyes — and, this time, her smile belongs to a rather more bloodthirsty — though not necessarily more sociopathic — Cheshire Cat. “All right, Tim. Whatever you say. Will you still need an hour?” 

“Yes –” 

“Are you enjoying giving orders?” 

“About as much as I would enjoy taking a half-starved pit bull with a sore tooth for a walk, since you asked.” 

You’ll learn, Tim. Someday. But every aspect of Tim’s personality seems geared towards being a sub in the sense that he finds comfort in and love the submissive role in BDSM sexplay. Does this mean he would be comfortable with that being his whole life? Like Mercy? No. Tim is too bitchy and too independent to be happy there *all the time* and not monogamous enough to be happy with *one* dominant partner.

He would be happy with his *main* partner being the dominant partner, in fact he kinds needs it. And Lex? Has the power to be that man.

You know, once Tim gets past that whole *supervillian* thing.

Had Lex shown him all of this thinking that Tim *wouldn’t* put two and two together? Just — that would be *asinine* —

And Lex is anything but that. So. Tim was supposed to figure all of this out, supposed to understand that Bizarro wasn’t a mistake so much as a failure, supposed to understand that Lex is a *villain* —

He hates that word. That — that naming *culture*.

He keeps kryptonite *close* — hell, maybe in one of his desk drawers.

He’s making another clone of Superman, and this one will undoubtedly be stronger, smarter, and more frightening than the last.

He — wants Tim’s morality and, yes, he wants to co-opt it for himself.

(He’s already begun.)

What is he supposed to do with information, exactly? It’s not like he could run back to Gotham without being ridiculously obvious —

(And a disappointment to his mother.)

And Tim starts to talk to himself, a surefire sign that *change is happening*, that Tim is taking a *hard* look at his life and evaluating, re-evauating, and adjusting accordingly. Now that Tim’s aware of his own motivations, he can accept or refuse them as he wishes.

He — well, he *could* just call Superman, couldn’t he? And direct him *to* Cadmus —

A building with a great deal of lead shielding — ostensibly to protect the neighboring area from radiation, but, of course, that’s not the *real* reason why. God, he’d *complimented* Lex on finding light bulbs which simulated natural light so well — 

He is… he is somewhat compromised, already, because it’s not like he’s just now coming to these conclusions. He’s attracted to Lex Luthor. He’s attracted to a supervillain. The two thoughts don’t seem to belong together. Or — it’s just that they can’t possibly be the same *thing*, can they? 

He’s attracted to the witty, sly, charming, urbane, open, and openly *friendly* man who stocks wine because he knows Tim likes it and — touches him. 

Good things like *Lex* and *the project*. *Superboy*. And *touch*. Oh, Tim. It didn’t take long for you to reason past supervillainy. The thing about picking and choosing your motivations, is that there’s no guide to how you choose. And Tim is totally within his rights to choose a path that will give him the most–*touch*. The kicker here, is that while Tim chooses what’s best for him personally, and it sets him on a road that makes him even more *grey* than he begins, his morality isn’t co-opted by Lex so much as *adopted* by Lex, and due to the *global* impact of Lex’s influence, Tim is able to change the world. All because Lex looked at Tim and liked what he saw.

The Lex currently colonizing a large part of his mind would say no, but Tim doesn’t have to — and *won’t* — agree with him about everything. No, this — 

This is just — 

All sorts of people are interested in BDSM. Perhaps just the trappings of it, perhaps just the barest *hints* of it. He’s not *abnormal* or anything like that just because he’s curious about things like spankings and orgasm denial and — 

Perhaps a few other things. 

If he can continue to separate Lex from the supervillain — not that he should, but if he *could* — it would even be reasonable to want that sort of thing from him.

Oh, yes. And this. Oh Tim, you’re going to get everything you’ve ever wanted, and *more*. It says how *much* this kink is a part of Tim’s basic sexuality that it’s one of the first things that he thinks of. He’s not just looking for sex, or a partner. He’s looking for a Dom, someone who will treat him as an equal-yet-different. The power dynamic in this type of D/s is *never* one over the other, it’s a yin-yang balance of power, where the power one gives up grants you a different type of power, and the power you take loses you a different kind of power.

And Tim’s right. All sorts of people *are* interested in BDSM. If they weren’t, it wouldn’t feature so much in fanfiction. I say fanfic, not porn, because while porn gives scenes, only fanfic (and erotica. I’ll grant you that) really goes into the *psychology* behind the act. The *why* this is interesting/sexy/as necessary as breathing (you know, given your own preferences). This is one of many stories that Te has written that discusses, not only the mental/emotional component of this particular kind of kink, but the importance of the availability of information–but I’ll get to that.

First, Tim has to talk to Lex. And talk to Lex about big things like morality and what’s going on in Lex’s secret labs.

“And am I only good because I want to look that way…?” Another nothing of a laugh, and Tim shakes his head. “I don’t want you to kill Superman. I – I would find a way to stop you.” 

 Superman is often the symbol for moral certainty. That he is the focus of Tim’s moral center is not surprising. That Superman, and Superboy, have managed–for the most part–to escape Tim’s BatParanoia is telling. And I don’t care what canon you’re pulling from, Tim *always* had Supersheets.

Lex is fully aware that his eyes are glittering, but Tim… likes that sort of thing. 

Enough to blush for him. 

“Is that your only objection the project?” 

“My — it’s something of a *deal*-breaker, Lex –” 

“Answer the question –” 

“Of *course*, it’s my only objection. The world could *use* what you’re building, what you’re *creating* — my God, the implications are –” 

Immense. Whatever you say about Tim, his view is not small. While that has gotten him in trouble with the capes (like when Batman’s files are leaked, and YJ finds out about *Tim’s* files) it makes perfect sense to people like Bruce and Lex, who have always operated on a larger scale.

“I’d prefer you not call on God in my home.” 

“I — what? Ah — all right? I mean — I won’t do it, anymore,” Tim says, raising his hands and backing off a step. 

Lex nods. “Thank you. Any other epithets or curses are welcome at *any* time.” 

“Well… then fuck you very much, Lex, don’t — *weaponize* the — project.” 

The line in the sand.

And are you speaking that way to protect my *security*, Tim…? Lex smiles. “The project is weaponized solely because of its progenitor.” 

“Yes, yes, you — you know what I *mean*. With two of those… with *two*, the world’s suffering could *dramatically* decrease. With more than two –” 

“An army, perhaps?” 

“The last army the world would ever need. The army that would *end* the tyranny of other armies –” 

“An end to warlords?” 

“An end to — to *superpowers*,” Tim says, and the passion in his eyes is bright, real, *true* — 

*Fuck* yes! I love passionate Tim.

“There’s only *one* superpower –” 

“Lie. *Lie*, and you –” Tim notices that he’s jabbing a finger at Lex and stares at his hand bemusedly — 

“Don’t stop.” 

“I –” 

“Don’t *stop*,” Lex says, grabbing Tim’s wrist and yanking him close enough to jab at Lex’s chest. 

Tim grunts — and blushes. 

Really… Lex tightens his grip on Tim’s wrist — 

Sing with me now, *Shalalalala my oh my!*

“Lex –” 

“You were saying?” 

The blush becomes deeper — but Tim looks up to meet his eyes despite everything showing in his own. “We both know that nuclear proliferation throughout the developing world has changed the game entirely. The world needs — needs *safeguards*, and you’re doing this — ” Tim growls and turns away — 

*Boy you’re way too shy*

“*Don’t* –” 

“You’re doing this for stupid, *petty* reasons, Lex,” Tim says, and turns back to him with *hurt* in his eyes. “You — you ought to be better than that.” 

“Greater?” 

“*Yes*. You — you’ve done so *much* good for the world — so much that the fact that there are superheroes actively trying to bring you *down* is a *secret*. That just doesn’t *happen* all that often –” 

“Are you sure?” 

“*No*, I’m not sure, and that’s horrifying — ” Tim growls again, stops, *snarls* — “Lex. You could do so much with this. You could help turn the world *around* –” 

And *THAT* right there, is what makes Lex such a wonderful villain. The fact that he could be such a force for good and *isn’t*. The best villains usually mirror their heroes (at least, that’s the way it works with Nemeses) and Lex, if turned to good, is a force to rival Superman. In fact, in Red Son, once Lex stops going after Superman, he usher Earth into a golden age. And Tim, here *recognizes* that. And, by his very presence, manages to *accomplish* that.

“Superman doesn’t involve himself with politics.” 

Tim shows his teeth. “Yet. Right? He’d almost have to at some point — I *don’t* see him allowing a nuclear missile to land. Do you?” 

“It would be the perfect way to convince the little people that power should be ceded to him and his… associates.” 

Tim wags his head back and forth — then shakes it once. “No, too obviously manipulative. Everyone would want to know why he didn’t stop the missile in the first place –” 

“He could say he was off-planet — and who would be the wiser?”

Tim frowns — 

Lex tightens his grip on Tim’s wrist still more and grips his face with the other hand. “Stay with me.” 

*You don’t know why, but you’re dying to try!*

“I — I just don’t believe –” 

“No. You don’t *want* to believe that the so-called superheroes of this world can be ruthless. Trust me when I say that I know they can be.” 

“B-Batman.” 

“By far the most dangerous man on the planet — and not only because *Superman* habitually takes his orders.” 

Heh. Truth.

Tim sucks in a breath through his teeth — “I — I knew that. I always — I mean. I suspected. Some of the things the League has done… the talents and abilities that we know they have –” 

“Not that they were under any obligation to tell humanity everything –” 

Tim raises his free hand to stop Lex — “Wait. Just… wait.” 

He doesn’t *want* to wait. He wants more and he wants it *now*, and he’d grown *out* of certain varieties of patience — 

Why on earth is he cupping Tim’s *face*? 

*YOU WANNA KISS DA BOY!* Ahem. Really, Lex. You don’t need Disney crustaceans to tell you your own mind.

And how insulted should he be that Tim is obviously *thinking* when they both know he’s attracted to Lex, that *he* — wants. There’s a thought there, a thought with a great *deal* of laughter behind it that he doesn’t want to *hear* tonight — 

Denial’s not just a river in Egypt, Lex.

And Tim narrows his eyes… beautifully. “How can we be sure that they haven’t already infiltrated various governments?” 

“We can’t be. We won’t always be able to count on the League continuing to push forward a woman who was trained to be a *warrior* as their political face.” 

Another snarl — 

There’s something almost *adorable* about them — “I have no problem whatsoever with Diana of Themyscira’s *gender*, Tim.” 

Tim blinks rapidly — “No, I – of course not. I’m not sure what I was thinking –” 

“You were thinking that… I have a point.” 

“I already knew *that*, but — the answer isn’t wholesale slaughter. Just — that’s *never* the answer. Even *Nazis* have been redeemed and successfully reprogrammed, and these people are hardly *that* –” 

“These *people* are hardly *people* –” 

Tim attempts to pull back — 

“I’m sorry,” Lex says, for the first time — 

It’s been a rather long time for the words — and the sincerity behind them — to have been right there, but… he’s grateful. 

Because Tim is *GOOD* for you, Lex.

“I’m sorry,” he says again — “I’ve let my reasonable fears make me unreasonable. Bigoted.” 

Tim narrows his eyes, lifts his chin — “You read me too well.” 

“You’re a child. Get used to it.” 

“If I do, then I’m forced to doubt my beliefs about how sincere that apology was.” 

“Do you have any metahuman friends?” 

“No.” 

“Superhero friends?” 

Tim laughs, and this time it lasts for several notes and nearly two full breaths. It’s — infectious. 

Oh, Tim. Those pictures were truer friends to you than any flesh and blood you ever met. It’s no wonder you’re perfect.

Or it would be if it wasn’t so fascinatingly *rare*. Lex strokes Tim’s sharp cheekbone and misses — terribly — the feel of rouge. Foundation — 

Tim’s skin is lovely without it — 

Te does a great job at showing Lex’s confusion over his attraction to Tim. He has, admittedly for the last few decades, been attracted to only women. It makes so much sense that his first impulse is to wrap Tim in the trappings of femininity–its what his libido *recognizes*.

Also, as a young man playing with gender and sexuality, make-up played a large roll. It seems to be a trigger for Lex. And again, it all comes back to image, which is a theme that runs through this story (from fattening Tim up to the tailored suits, to the make-up *Lex* wears…and so on.)

But Lex is distracted by the trappings enough that he assigns his growing attraction to the nearest female who *reminds him of Tim*. That is, Janet Drake.

“Interstellar diplomacy –” 

“The velvet glove should always hide an iron fist, Lex.” 

That — Lex sighs and lets go of Tim’s face, leaning back and fixing his own napkin. “I expect you to inform me as soon as your mother decides to divorce your father, Tim. She *will* be my next conquest.” And Lex is expecting that to hit Tim like a bucket of ice-water — 

But Tim laughs softly and shakes his head. “You do realize that I’m duty-bound to attempt to do terrible things to my half-siblings.” 

This line stuck with me. It not only *accurately* paints Hope and Mercy as Lex’s children (almost the same way Robin is Batman’s son) but it shows the dynamic that would exist, as well as Tim’s epic bitchery.

The conversation moves on to *how* Tim has certain knowledge of the Wayne family, and:

He’s made so — so very *well*. He’s so strong, so sure in himself — for all that he almost certainly thinks of himself as being otherwise — “You’re impressive,” Lex says, and pins Tim with another look — 

Tim’s eyes widen as he *gapes* — “Ah — I –” 

“I could say something about rumors…” Tim’s expression twists sourly. “We both would know that was bullshit. I — all right, Lex, here it is: I’m something of a stalker. I have personally observed Dick behaving in a decidedly romantic fashion with two different women and — one man. Who definitely wasn’t Bruce.” 

“Oliver Queen’s former ward…?” 

Another blush — “I — yes. Actually.” 

Lex nods slowly and gives the matter some thought, some… time. Which is exactly — “When did you do your stalking?” 

“At night, while my parents were away or otherwise involved. I — Dick spent a lot of time in Gotham proper. The subway stop was only five miles away. He liked to spend time in… in certain clubs –” 

“Which let *you* in?” 

“He’s never been much of a drinker, Lex. He likes to *dance*.” 

I will always love when people learn about *this* aspect of Tim. Because it was what made Batman turn him into Robin. But, in any other context:

There’s something there. There’s something very *strange* there — “What aren’t you telling me?” 

“That I’ve masturbated myself raw to the thought of him dancing with me? That I’ve come up with any number of fantasies about harm befalling his lovers that he would need to be comforted about? That I’m fully aware of how obsessive, pathetic, and *ugly* I’ve been –“

It can become something quite different. If Lex were a lesser man, or any less infatuated, this might have ended differently. As it is:

“Stop,” Lex says, holding up a hand. “This is going to ruin our digestion,” he tries, keeping his tone as light as possible — 

Tim stares at his plate and breathes roughly, obviously — no.

No. 

Just — 

Lex reaches over and cups Tim’s shoulder, squeezes it and thinks — 

He’s been living on the memory of a hug given *thoughtlessly*. 

He’s Janet Drake’s son. 

He’s lonely.

He’s lonely. 

He’s — in love with Dick Grayson? The man being plowed senseless by *Bruce*? God, the man has to have a size eleven asshole by now, and — Tim is sitting here *idolizing* him. Well, it’s not that Grayson himself had done anything wrong — other than lead on his other lovers — 

What to do to prove to Tim that Grayson isn’t worth his time? How to make that *work*? 

How — 

How to deal with the fact that everything tonight has been better, so much *better*, with these moments of contact and touch. What — “I’d like to hug you.” There, he’s said it. And it was honest. 

“I — you want to comfort me, Lex?” 

Lex turns it into yet another moment of giving Tim back the self esteem that was brutally beaten out of him by life at an early age. Lex is *determined* to fix Tim, which shouldn’t be confused with making him *normal*. Normal is overrated and boring. Remember, Tim is also fixing Lex, and the way to do so isn’t to make him normal, but to make him the best he can be. Lex is giving Tim the emotional wherewithal to be *himself*–and Tim as himself is epic. We would, of course, expect nothing less from Mrs. Luthor.

“I’m not — very hungry.” 

“That’s because you told a great deal of truth all at once — which is a terrible feeling for liars like us,” Lex says, and squeezes Tim’s shoulder firmly. “Get back on that horse. You’ll be fine.” 

“The — ah.” Tim raises *both* eyebrows at him. “The lying horse?” 

The *pommel* horse. Shut up. It’s a perfectly acceptable kink. There’s a *reason* it keeps coming up in fanfic.

Lex, however, has yet to be swayed to the ways of the pommel horse, and decides to let Tim down gently.

There’s nothing wrong with attraction between friends. I… why on earth do you think I *know* that Bruce swings that way?” 

Tim rears back — 

“Yes, *think* about it.” 

“But he hasn’t — he never — ah.” 

Lex can do nothing about the smile which wants to be on his face, and so he doesn’t try to do anything. Tim looks positively… poleaxed. 

Perhaps gobsmacked. 

Possibly even bushwhacked. Lex pulls him close by the shoulder. “Boarding school seem more attractive, yet?” 

Heh. *Boywood* I mean, Brentwood. (Boywood).

Tim… puckers. It’s a different sort of impressive, as the last time Lex had seen an expression like that, he’d been watching a terribly politically incorrect cartoon from the thirties which, amidst all the sexism and racism, had included the use of *alum*. 

Lex shakes Tim lightly. “Breathe.”

“I’m breathing! Really. Ah. You — and *Bruce*?” 

“Into every life a little experimentation must fall. Well, into every well-lived life, anyway. Look, I know he seems almost entirely useless now, but back then…” Lex sighs, and thinks of eyes too dark to be the blue they were, hands too *deft* to be so virginal… “There was a time when I only wanted to ingratiate myself to him, because I knew that having someone that wonderful in my life would be worth — nearly — any price.” 

Tim is looking at him as if he’s speaking another language. 

Lex laughs quietly. “He got straight As, argued for the plight of the poor and disenfranchised, and befriended and protected — to the best of his abilities — the downtrodden and meek. And he did it because it seemed like the right thing to do — no, not even that. He did it because that was the person he was. I’m not surprised at the success of the Wayne Foundation — or of WE. *Everyone* with half a brain who attended that school while Bruce was there is shocked by who he’s become.” 

Of course, in trying to turn Tim down, Lex just revealed, in much more detail, his *issues* regarding Bruce Wayne. Tim, of course, understands why Bruce did what he did, he did it himself in canon when he left Robin behind, but here, Bruce broke the love of Tim’s life’s *heart*. Tim will not let this stand.

There is more epic flirting between Tim and Lex that, while wonderful and reinforces points I’ve already made, well, I’ve already made them and we’re barely a quarter of the way through the story. And we have such *good* things ahead.

Like when all that sexual tension comes to a head:

Yes, he’s using *his* speed, and he’s up on his feet soon enough — 

And this time the attack comes with a flurry of perfectly adequate strikes. There’s power but no real *passion* — “*More*, Tim –” 

“Lex, I –” 

“Your *fingers*.” 

Tim growls and starts coming for him with… yes. It’s the violence that Mercy could see in him from the beginning, the *ruthlessness* which makes Lex need, makes him *want* — 

And so Lex keeps his own blocks checked. He will *not* injure this boy, this wonderful — 

Fuck *everything* holy, he’s going for Lex’s *throat*, and that’s — 

Lex feels himself smiling wildly, and he knows that that sort of look *discourages* people, makes them think him *dangerously* manic — 

It makes Tim pant for him, stare and *need* — 

And oh, Lex *knows* what he needs, knows that one good pin — 

Like, for example, the one which comes after *this* sweep — 

One good *pin* — 

And Tim grunts *and* cries out — 

Tim arches because he needs more contact — 

“I hear you,” Lex says, and firms his pin into something implacable, impossible — 

Tim is small enough to make such things *easy*, make them feel good, feel *wonderful* — 

“I know what you need,” Lex says, and wonders why those words had come out of his mouth, wonders — 

But Tim is staring up at him with his gently swollen lips still parted. Tim is *waiting* — 

And of course Lex knows what he’s waiting for. Of course — 

It would be so easy to bring Tim’s wrists together over his head, to grip with one hand and stroke with the other. That clear forehead, those cheekbones, that *mouth* — 

Tim *wants* it, but Lex is no altruist, no — 

Lex wants it, too, and it could be — it could be mentor and protégé. Affection. They both like *affection* — 

And he could use his mouth on that long throat, he could discover if Tim’s nipples are sensitive, he could spread Tim’s legs and — 

And — 

Oh… fuck. 

And *someone* was just run over by by *clue bus*. Finally, through passion and physicality and *violence* Lex realizes what his body has been telling him. That he wants Tim but BAD. And the fact that it happened during a spar, a spar that was so like sex because it was *honest* and *passionate* and their blood was up and–really, there’s a reason why sparring usually leads to fucking.

And that the moment of realization was when Lex held Tim down and Tim *submitted* speaks so much to what’s *going* to happen at this point. I mean, Lex is going to fight it. He has some–issues:

“Lex…? Ah… was that enough to save my ability to type?”

Fuck, he — no, it’s not possible. It’s just — it’s not *possible*. 

He’s not some fucking *pervert* — 

And, unlike most of Te’s stories where revelation is followed pretty immediately by *consummation*, Lex decides that they need space. He needs space.

Lex cups Tim’s face — 

Lex tightens his grip when he realizes what he’s *doing* — 

Lex *feels* himself snarling more, and Tim’s eyes shouldn’t be this wide, Tim’s mouth shouldn’t be this — “I believe,” Lex says, “that I need you to go up to the apartment for now.” 

Tim winces — 

“We — I promise we’ll work on the aikido. You made a good start today — and don’t say a word about that, because we both know how much work your sensei put into making you loosen *up* enough to do what you did here.”

“To be fair, she never threatened to maim me.” 

“Maiming is permanent. Broken fingers? Heal.” 

Tim hums a laugh and — doesn’t press his cheek against Lex’s hand. He could do it easily, in a moment — 

They both know he *wants* to — 

They both know Lex wants him to. “You should — don’t ever try drag.” 

Tim blinks. “I — it wasn’t — ah?” 

Lex laughs and feels something loosen with him, *ease* — “One of the thoughts you’ve given — one of the thoughts I’ve had has revolved around you and makeup.”

“I… see.” 

Lex shouldn’t have allowed himself to relax, at all. “Go upstairs, Tim.” 

Because Tim is dangerous for his self control. And there is that theme of make-up again. But now Lex realizes *why* he wanted Tim in make-up–becuase that’s a familiar detail of the majority of his sexual encounters–and warns Tim off. Tim, of course, now knows that this is a weapon to use, that if he wears make-up Lex would be at a disadvantage–and Lex knows Tim knows.

I love it when relationships happen like The Art of War.

But Tim doesn’t leave right away. Because Te is good to us, and, even though Lex’s *fear* says no:

“This is *not* sexual!” 

“No? You’re sure?…”

This kind of power play *is* sexual for them, and the party’s not over until Tim’s come all over himself.

Tim tilts his chin up — exposes his unmarked throat. *Again*. 

“Tim. You know what you need to. Now go jerk off while thinking about me fucking *reaming* you.” 

Tim grunts, knees buckling — 

He groans, loud and long — 

He pants — “God fucking *damn* it, Lex –” 

Lex claps a hand over his own mouth — 

“Are you laughing? Are you seriously *laughing*?” 

Lex waves a hand, drags the other down from over his mouth. “No.” 

Except yes. Because Lex just talked Tim to orgasm by *accident* and, while they *technically* (enough for Lex’s state of mind, anyway) didn’t have sex, they totally had sex. And Lex is happy because he’s found that perfect someone. And while he’s still fighting it, after all Tim is *fifteen* and if the information got out it could *ruin* Lex, it’s a loosing battle.

Tim grunts again, but manages to continue to stand. “I’ve decided to swear vengeance on you.” 

“You’d look ridiculous in a cape.” 

“You think *everyone* looks ridiculous in a cape.” 

“I’m *right*,” Lex says, and gives himself permission to stroke Tim’s cheekbone with his thumb — 

All I can think of is Edna Mole from The Incredibles. “No capes!”

That, and now that *Tim* knows that Lex is attracted to him, Operation Seduce Lex has offically begun, with such wonderful moments as:

“But are you listening to anything but your own *cock*?” 

“Yes? Mostly — do you always use that word?” 

“You don’t like it…?” 

“My penis likes it immensely. Let me suck your cock.” 

I can just *see * the expression on *both* of their faces. Just give *in* Lex.

Of course, the decision to accept the fact that the love of your life is a fifteen-year-old emotionally damaged *boy* is one you need to make *yourself*. All Lex needs is the right motivation. Like the conversation with Janet, where Lex makes some important discoveries. Such as:

One day, I’m going to bend you over one of our desks… and wind up thinking about your son, instead. Eventually. Hopefully? Perhaps he’ll leave that question aside. “A woman after my own heart,” Lex says, and thinks about eating razor blades. 

*snert* At least Lex recognizes that he *does* want Tim more. But the kicker comes later:

“Oh, they’re all *quite* mad, Janet.” But focus, you beautiful lizard of a woman — 

Lizard — 

Oh, for the love of — Janet is his *father’s* type. Or possibly just the body in which his father reincarnated himself, kicking out whatever actual soul had been there before — 

That’s riiight. Lionel Luthor (who will always be John Glover, and it will always be perfect that the first time I saw him, I went “That’s the Devil from Brimstone! because Lionel was *evil*) would want Janet. But Lex isn’t his father. (Or is he?)

Have you ever considered that he might just want to talk to you as his mother? No? Well, here’s a newsflash, you glorious bitch — he’s mine now. And he will always, always — 

What? 

Oh Lex, you were doing so well. *GO* with that first thought.

The silence lasts for nearly ten seconds — long enough for Lex to *feel* Janet calculating. Perhaps calculating Tim’s *bride* price — 

Lex knows he’ll pay it. 

BECAUSE HE’S YOUR ONE AND ONLY DON’T MAKE ME GET THE CLUE-BY-FOUR– *deep breaths*

Birthright. You — sound like my father on a *particularly* pompous day, and the fact that I’m still attracted to you is proof that I need to hang myself with one of your son’s ludicrously conservative neckties — no, not that.

Yes, that. You’re not attracted to her. You’re attracted to Tim, and, like it or not, he was *spawned* from her, so you can recognize him in her–it’s transference, Lex.

“*When* are you coming to Gotham again, hm…?” 

Every time I can take. Your. Boy. 

Hard.

She snorts again. “Me or my son, Lexie…?” 

Both of you, in a Jacuzzi, but only if I can shoot myself full of heroin first — no. First, I’ll drug Tim. He’s earned it. 

HA!

Lex doesn’t crush the blacktooth beneath his heel. 

He does, however, shower at length. 

Because you have been *mind-raping* yourself when you should have been having loving kinky sex with Timmy. You know it will be good. Because, look at you:

Lex smiles at himself and knows that nearly everyone in his life would find it horrible. Shark-like. Cold-eyed. Awful. 

And your family:

Mercy hums for this smile. 

Hope relaxes. 

What more proof do you need, when:

And Tim spreads his legs. 

Perhaps he’ll do it tonight. 

In a heartbeat.

But we’ll leave Lex to stew in his own juices for a while. Because Tim is bonding with Hope.

Now, about Hope.

The fact that Lex has bodyguards named Hope and Mercy (and Prudence. His *Virtues* dear lord) simply so that he can say things like “I have Mercy” (and damn youtube for *not* having that video) and be *menacing* is wonderful on several levels. (Because it’s a pun, get it! A pun with *guns*).

I know next to nothing about Hope in the comic books. Everything I know about Hope, I have learned from Te. So, what I know is *Te’s* Hope, and I have faith that the Hope I know is more true to the essential character than anything *ever* in the comics. (Fanfic, particularly *Good* fanfic, exists by taking existing characters and playing with them. To do that, you have to *get* the characters. And comic book fandoms are notorious for having more consistent characters than the canon because, more often than not, fandom writers *care* more, and have read more of the history.) Hope is a made sociopath, in that trauma has caused her to bury her emotions so deep she cannot access them.

Timmy becomes her BFF.

In discussing Timmy with others, I have described his as “vaguely sociopathic” because of the way he sublimates his own emotions. Make no mistake, Tim is not a sociopath, but this same *uber-rational* approach to emotion gives him the right perspective to befriend the *actual* sociopath–

And *reconnect her to her own emotions*.

Let me rephrase.

Timmy *fixes* the *sociopath*.

Lex better tap that soon. That kind of power doesn’t *deserve* to be in anybody else’s hands.

But, in terms of *writing* and *storycraft* Hope provides an interesting effect. She is a character who will always be *honest* about her thoughts and motivations. Brutally so. And she brings that same honesty out in Tim, so you get conversations like this, which bring issues that need to be resolved to light:

“I would never do anything which could make Mercy unfit to serve Lex. I… did I make you unfit to serve Lex?”

Tim *wants* to shake his head, but — but. “In some ways, yes. I’m going to be thinking about him replacing me tonight. Maybe… maybe for many nights. It’s a thought which troubles me, and it will thus probably make me act differently around him.”

Hope clutches her own knees hard. “No.”

“Hope –“

“No. That. That is unacceptable –“

“It’s all right! I don’t want to — ah. Burn your motherboard? I think I was probably *due* to feel… inadequate around Lex. I mean, he’s very good at building confidence –“

“Listen to him, Tim. You.” Hope shakes her head once *slowly*. “Lex will never lie to you. Lex will never exaggerate your attractive qualities solely to build up your self-esteem. Esteem is respect. Respect must be earned. You have already earned respect, and now you must keep it.”

Yes, Tim. *Listen* to Hope when she tells you things. Her complete rationality will *help* with your issues. And she wont lie to you. Ever. When she tries to, later, she *has a mental breakdown.* Hope and Tim bond in the car, with Hope telling Tim *why* she has no emotions, and that she plans suicide when she can no longer serve Lex. Tim is, naturally, horrified, and his mental list of *things to fix* gets that much longer. Because he just made a *friend* and he really doesn’t have so many that he can afford to lose any.

Of course, his friendship does raise a few, nearly colorless, eyebrows:

Especially since Lex is blinking. He’d done it twice — and that was a third. “Tim.”

“Yes, Lex?”

“You… had an extensive conversation with Hope.”

“Yes.” Oh… he’s shocked. The man who surrounds himself with living *weapons* is just a bit stunned, really, and that —

Another *blink* —

Heh. “I believe we bonded to a certain extent, Lex.”

Bitch, work it! At every turn, Tim is working himself deeper into Lex’s world. And the fact that it’s nearly effortless just goes to show how well he fits.

Now that Lex has had a chance to–hmm–simmer, he’s come to a few decisions. Namely, that he’s no longer going to deny that he wants Tim most of all. His encounter with Janet spooked Lex, and started his realization that, in an effort to avoid his father he was *becoming* his father. And that just will not do.

So, Tim’s bonding with Hope is rewarded with frottage against an elevator.

You know. Like ya do. Like ya do *in Teland* (How does that phrase go? When In Teland, do Timmy against every available surface?)

Anyway, because Tim is made of *awesome* we get this while Lex is humping Tim’s brains out.

“…Lex. I — hnn. You don’t want my mother.”

“And how — how did you come to *that* conclusion?”

Tim laughs —

Tim *croons* —

Lex kisses him hard, bouncing the back of Tim’s head on the door and *fucking* Tim’s mouth, one thrust after another in the opposite rhythm to his hips’ —

Those lean, *hard* hips and that penis —

So *hard*, and why the *fuck* is Tim still wearing his jeans?

Lex bites Tim’s lower lip hard —

And then his *upper* lip — “*Answer* me.”

“You can’t teach her, corrupt her, dominate her, scandalize her, joke with her, or own her. She’s too — hnn. She’s too *old* for you –“

“*Tim* –“

“Daddy,” Tim says, hitching himself up a little higher, changing the angle to something that makes him cough out a grunt every time Lex *thrusts* —

Too old for..wait a minute…

“Ah. Yes?” Tim tries to stop his eyes from crossing —

“Did you just call me a pedophile?”

Tim blinks a few times — no, his eyes are still crossing a little. “I wouldn’t say I *just* called you a pedophile, Lex. I mean — you’re not *just* anything. Really.”

Words are too impersonal for the feelings I’m feeling now.

Yeah, that’s about right.

I’m not even sure *why* I love this so much, other than that it’s Tim calling Lex a pedophile and not only getting away with it, but using it to*flirt*. Tim has settled well and truly down into his confident, slightly *bitchy* self, and it shows. And it works for Tim to be the confident one now, because it’s Lex’s turn to have his world shattered and–

One of the best things about this story is that way that *both* characters are remade, but they shake at different moments. One is confident and changing the other *and then they switch*.

So, Lex talked to Janet and freaks himself out, then Tim talks to Hope and has a crisis of confidence, now Lex gave in to what both he and Tim want, and:

Lex’s smile is sharp and humorless. “Oh, I don’t know. He always *did* treat his fucks well enough — up to a point,” and Lex *taps* Tim’s cheekbones with his fingers —

“I — that feels like you’re playing my *skull*, Lex.”

Lex blinks, expression turning horrified for a moment —

Shuttered for another —

And then, in the first few moments after the shutters crack, he looks —

He looks like the boy who had — perhaps — lived behind the faux queen. Which…

“That was your father’s mannerism, wasn’t it?”

Lex’s laugh is a cough. “Yes, it *really* was, darling, and if you forgive me, I promise to let you keep wearing the same sort of underwear you seem to like.”

“You — what’s wrong with my underwear?”

“Forgive me?”

“*Yes* –“

“I wouldn’t change a thing about your underwear. You have excellent taste when you don’t plan to show it to anyone,” Lex says, and brushes his thumb over Tim’s cheekbones firmly. “Better?”

And it’s really that simple that, this moment between them, is when Lex truly banishes his father from his life. They’re healing each other’s childhood traumas. Speaking of which:

Tim smiles ruefully. “I had a nanny when I was four who would hold me when my mother wasn’t around –“

“Which was often.”

“She taught me how to do somersaults. She read to me even after I told her I could read for myself. She used her own money to buy me the children’s books she’d liked the best –“

“Let me guess — your mother profoundly disliked the influence she had on you.”

“Milagro… my mother never specified why she was fired,” Tim says, and catches himself stroking the tablecloth a little like the way Milagro would stroke his hair sometimes. “It probably would’ve been the books.”

Lex sighs quietly. “Yes, I imagine so. I’d be tempted to fire her myself if I caught her reading poorly-written tripe to my one and only heir.”

Tim lets his mouth twist —

“Ah, I see. She found *good* children’s books.”

Tim sets his hands on his thighs and faces Lex again. “In multiple languages.”

Lex nods slowly. “*She* was the last.”

“Yes.”

“Grayson was the first.”

“Yes.”

I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. Oh, Tim. At least it’s comforting to know that *someone* else saw what was happening to Tim, even though they weren’t someone like Lex or Jason and couldn’t keep it up for the long term.

Lex tells Tim of his plan to hire a male prostitute to blackmail Bruce with (which is almost-but-not-quite evil-masterminf Lex enough to make Tim balk) and he and Tim have hot almost-but-not-quite-because-I’ve-decided-to-wait-until-you’re-16-for-plausable-deniablility sex. Yay!

So, Mercy has been missing for a while (save a rather hot sex scene with Lex where they affirm *their* relationship as master and slave) because she has been out gathering intel on Grayson by sleeping with Roy. But she has to pull out (snert) because Nightwing showed up and *recognized* her, and–

It wasn’t, and that’s that. Lex waves Tim in. “Mercy… could he be Robin?”

“I — the way he fights…”

“Yes, think about that. I’ll wait,” Lex says, and turns to look Tim over. He’s wearing a perfectly boring little suit that tells Lex that they need to spend at least part of the morning with Lex’s tailor. There’s just no time to waste.

Still, the thing *is* perfectly tailored for a certain sort of fashion. It makes Tim’s shoulders seem broader than they are, while also accentuating the narrowness of his hips.

Lex cups the left hip once Tim is close, seeking out the different texture of bruises — no, that won’t work.

He uses his wrist implant to buzz Hope —

And Mercy grunts. “He could be, Lex. It would explain the timing, the flexibility, the mother*fucking* smiles –“

“All right. That’s something we’re going to have to spend time considering, especially if it leads to the thought of Roy Harper being… Arsenal,” and Lex feels himself blinking far too *much* —

Tim is *coughing* —

Of course he’s caughing. It’s all of his fears from the beginning of the story *coming true*! The question, now, is whether or not Lex and Tim have both changed enough to deal with with.

Lex stands and pats Tim’s back firmly. “Of course, it’s only a theory…?”

“I couldn’t tell if they were just pretending not to know each other. I’m sorry, Lex.”

Lex pinches the bridge of his nose. “It’s a theory I don’t *like* very much, because it certainly implies certain things about Nightwing’s identity that I don’t want to –” Lex cuts himself off —

Lex paces briefly —

Tim is giving a look which mixes pleading with terror, and that’s —

He should be too shocked or *amused* —

Tim shutters himself and looks down.

Not good Timmy, you just gave yourself away there. He’s reverting.

Lex narrows his eyes again. “Mercy, you’re in Gotham for the protocol we discussed last night. However, there’s a slight change: I want you to look for someone who can put up a *good* fight, should it become necessary.”

Becuase, obviously, Bruce doesn’t want to bone *children* he wants to bone *Robins*.

“Armed or unarmed?”

“Both, if possible. The preference…” Oh, Bruce. Oh, Bruce, you — no. No, focus. “The preference is for *unarmed* combat. Report in when you’ve found three possibles.”

“Yes, Lex.”

“Dismissed.” And Lex looks up —

Tim is moving for the *door* —

“Stop *right* there.”

Tim freezes. “Ah… Lex? I promise I didn’t steal your favorite pillow,” he says, and smiles expectantly back over his shoulder.

And that —

After that pleading look.

After all of those *shadowed* looks — “You knew.”

Oh, snap!

Tim blinks. “Knew? What did I know?”

“That’s not even your *speech* pattern, you — *how* did you know about Bruce and Grayson? *When* did you know?”

*Nine*!

“I don’t think — I don’t know what you’re talking about –“

“You *stalked* them. You –” Lex moves into Tim’s space —

Tim steps back —

Lex *grips* Tim’s shoulders carefully. *Carefully*. He doesn’t want to hurt him. He just wants to shake him until all of the information falls out in neat little *piles* —

But Tim looks frightened. He —

“I’m not going to *hurt* you –“

“It’s not me I’m worried about,” Tim says, and his voice is low, tired, *old* —

The secret *must* be kept, above all else. Oh man, every time Tim wanted to tell someone his *name* and he couldn’t because it *wasn’t his secret*…

“You. You did know.”

Tim closes his eyes —

“*Look* at me, damn you –“

Another pleading look, and this time Lex *does* shake him. *Lightly*. *Carefully* —

“You’re a ringer. He’s looking into me and my projects and I put you on the most important one –” Lex hears the *hysteria* in his laugh and cuts it off. “But he won’t fuck you, either. *He*… has the aforementioned prettiest man in Gotham, right? You… what do you get from him? Contact with an idol? A promise that you’ll be allowed to dress up in colorful tights and save the world from people like me?”

No, Lex, Te hasn’t written that story yet.

“I don’t know –“

“*Don’t* lie to me anymore –“

“I’m not! I’m — I’m not,” Tim says, swallowing and frowning and looking like —

Like something Lex wants and *can’t* have. Lex takes his hands off Tim’s shoulders —

WIBBLE!

“Oh — don’t –“

“*Talk*.”

“I don’t — he doesn’t know I know. At least, I don’t think he does. He’s never… singled me out for any degree of attention or anything like that. I used to wish I was female so that I’d have an excuse to throw myself at him at those parties –“

“Stop,” Lex says, because Hope is in the doorway. “Wait right there, and feel free to listen. This impacts you, as well.”

Hope nods —

Tim winces —

“Oh… really,” and Lex shakes his head and cups Tim’s face. “They didn’t know about you.”

“No, Lex.”

“Don’t — don’t sound like that,” and Lex tries to find and *grip* his rage, his need to shake and —

And keep.

*Somehow* keep — “Tim.”

I think, at this point, my reacting was something along the lines of “Othankjeebus.” Because, no matter how much Batman, and the secret, shaped Tim, Lex gave Tim something Bruce never could. Emotional honesty and openness. When Lex things “I want to keep him”, he will dam well *keep* him, unlike Bruce, who is like a child holding a frog, and so scared to let it slip free and just as scared to crush it to death and just not knowing how *tight* to hold, so he tries to hold in *secret*–

But, most importantly, Tim and Lex have now *weathered* the storm. There are *no* secrets left. And from here? It’s only up. Lex and Tim now *can* hash out their issues. With words, even.

Let’s count.

“I’m listening, Lex.”

“What you are — you’re *hovering* your face just beyond my hand’s *aura*. *Relax*.”

Tim raises an eyebrow at him. Just —

“*Do* it, you lying bitch.”

Tim winces *again* —

“Oh, come *on*,” and it’s necessary to grip Tim’s face with both hands, to hold — *not* shake — and lean in until they’re eye to eye, breath to breath. “You *need* me.”

Tim’s expression crumbles — “I do. I do, Lex.”

“*Act* like it and do what I *say*.”

Tim shudders and breathes deep, clenching his hands into fists when Lex pulls back —

He relaxes them again. “*Yes*, Tim, like *that*.”

“I’m *listening*.”

“You — you were keeping the secret out of some misplaced and juvenile sense of *justice*, weren’t you?”

“You *could* sound a little less contemptuous –“

“No, I *can’t*. Because you were all too eager to hear about Bruce, my feelings *for* that fucking — fucking pituitary *freak* –“

“You *loved* him, Lex! You still *do*!”

Issue 1

“I *don’t* fall for motherfucking *vigilantes*, Tim. I — God. And he took in that *child* just to –” Lex growls and wishes he had hair to yank out by the *roots* — “I have *watched* Grayson dive off rooftops, catwalks… out of fucking *windows* –“

“He was *born* for it!”

“You. *You* –” Lex laughs again, relieved that *most* of the hysteria is gone. “You followed him *onto* rooftops. You… what was it? Photographs? Where are they?”

Tim starts to fucking *hug* himself —

“Don’t *do* that!”

Issue 2.

“I deleted them all. I formatted the hard drive they were on three times when I found out my mother was sending me to you this summer. They weren’t safe.”

“Of course they weren’t — you haven’t told me when you figured it out. Or *how* you figured it out –“

“I was nine. I saw Robin on the news, doing the same trick Dick Grayson promised to do for me. The one no one else his age *could* do. And I… I’d already been obsessed with Dick. And with the man who took Dick in. Lex –“

“Stop. Whatever you were going to ask me for, just — stop.”

“Fine, then I won’t ask. No reprisals. No — no horrifically dramatic revenge scenarios. The number of times Batman and Robin have saved Gotham… the number of times Batman has helped the League save the *world* –“

“From people like me, Tim…?”

“I don’t even know what you did to get their *attention*, Lex! I — I just know that you can be good — no. I know you can be *great*, and that’s what I want.”

Issue 3.

“Are you trying to tell me that you’re *not* going to take everything I’ve taught you back to your fucking *heroes*?”

“There’s nothing –” Tim firms his lips shut and shakes his head. “Nothing. The project is too important.”

Issue 4.

“And my other projects, Tim?”

“I don’t know anything about them,” Tim says, and raises an eyebrow. “Yet.”

Oh, the hysteria is back. *Mainly* because Tim is —

Christ, he’s still thinking about changing Tim’s fucking *suits*. Making him —

Making him his in every possible way, really, and — Lex smiles —

Issue 5.

Tim rears back from it — “Lex…”

“Maybe I should pimp *you* out, darling. Ol’ Brucie would surely *love* a boy with a mind like yours, don’t you think? Smart. *Deductively* smart. And just a tad conniving…?”

“I — I’m sorry that you feel I’ve deceived you. In retrospect, it’s a perfectly reasonable conclusion to come to. I never. I never wanted to use your secrets to hurt you.”

Lex sucks in a breath —

He thinks he can feel a vein throbbing in his forehead —

That sort of thing looks ridiculous with no hair — Lex growls and forces himself to think about Tim turning around and walking out the door past Hope.

Tim packing.

Tim flying off — *in* a LexCorp jet, because Lex isn’t — he’s not —

Lex growls again. “You’re forgiven.”

Tim blinks. “Ah. What?”

“You. Are. Forgiven.”

“Not to steal a line, but — I’m not sure you should. Well, no, I’m also not sure that you *do*,” Tim says, and he’s not hugging himself, but he is crossing his arms over his chest —

Cupping his own elbows — “That’s a tell.”

“I’ve never *done* this in front of you –“

“Exactly. Don’t do it again. Make — make *them* work for it.”

“Them *who*?”

“Your mother. Your *lack* of a father. The *world*. You — everyone but me.”

Tim blinks *more* — “You still want me.”

“*Yes*, I still want you, you prick. You’ve had a secret worth millions — possibly *billions* — for six *fucking* years and you never told anyone. Or — Ives, was it?”

“He doesn’t believe in Batman.”

Lex knows his laugh is choked *and* hysterical, but — he can cope. “I still want you. I don’t *trust* you, but I still want you.”

*SO* romantic.

Tim winces. “That doesn’t sound especially healthy –“

“What *other* secret identities, do you know? The mostly inaccurately-named Teen Titans, of course, but who *else*?”

“No one.”

Lex looks at Tim, takes in those wide eyes — so fucking *solemn* — that *relaxed* mouth, just as if that wasn’t a lie —

Was it?

Lex pinches the bridge of his nose again with the fingers of his right hand. He points to Hope with his left —

“He is not lying, Lex.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, Lex. Do you wish him to be injured?”

Tim looks… just as horrified as Lex feels. Which proves… something or other.

“No, thank you, Hope.”

“Thank you, Lex. I don’t want to hurt him.”

Issue 7… Ok. At this point, they’re not *issues* per say, rather than *things* that they have to deal with, have been dealing with, and will be dealt with by the end of the story. And Hope? Is one of my favorites.

Lex blinks and turns to look at Hope, who is dressed and ready for the day — simple, elegant cotton today — and is staring at the nothing located mathematically centered between Lex’s body and Tim’s own. There are no lines showing on her face. There is no tension in either her hips or her shoulders. She looks well-rested. Just the same…

Just the *same* —

“You broke her.”

“I did *not*!”

Snert.

“You –” Lex growls at Tim and turns back to Hope. “*Why* don’t you want to hurt him?”

“I find the idea of him remaining healthy and happy… pleasant.”

Lex turns back to Tim and raises his eyebrows.

“I didn’t — all right, look, maybe she was just a little *lonely*, Lex. Like me. Like *you*.”

“Hope… where do your loyalties stand, at present?”

“With you, Lex. Though it is easier to say that with the directive that Tim’s security is your own.”

It’s like telling an Asimov robot brain that to save someone they might have to kill someone–as long as they *don’t* have to cause harm, there’s no problem. But if the first law is challenged, the brain *siezes*.

Yes, I just made that reference. Yes, it totally fits. No, I am not ashamed. I have no reason to be. Hope, and Tim, have been called *robotic* before, it’s *apt*.

“And if the day comes that it isn’t?”

Hope’s frown would only seem mild to someone who didn’t know her. *Tim* knows her well enough that he looks *alarmed* — all right.

“It won’t happen today –“

“I would. I request that you formally declare Tim a member of the family.”

Issue 8. Yes. Declare him family. He’s already interacting with Lex like a lover, like a *partner*. Tell the kids that they’ve got a new Mommy.

Family — all right, she counts Mercy as family, and Lex himself… all right. The most important relationships in her life *were* familial — and terrible about it. It makes sense that she would couch the matter this way —

Really, all of Batman and Superman is, ultimately, about family. The families you choose, and who choose you, over blood and birth. It’s not surprising at all. Lex has fashioned himself as the pater familias, and he takes that role *very* seriously. He *cares* for his people in the way that is *best* for them, which is why he’s such a good *master* for Mercy, and a good *father* for Hope, and the perfect *husband* for Tim. If Lex declares you worthy, well–

“If you emancipated yourself from your mother, Tim, there would never be anything you’d need,” and Lex meant for that to come out casually, but — it didn’t.

“Marry me”, said Lex, surprised to mean he meant it–wait–no. Except yes. Be mine, and want for nothing.

*happy sigh*

And, while Tim doesn’t say yes–they’re still considering bowing to the wills and whims of the general populace–as if, between the two of them they *couldn’t* bend the world to their will–they do have as-long-as-I-don’t-cross-this-line-no-wait-this-line-I-mean-this-one-for-reals-it-doesn’t-count sex.

Tim, by this point, has Lex wrapped around his little finger and, except for a few minor details, his relationship with Lex has settled, and the change in Tim that Lex will cause is pretty much complete, and will remain that way until a new variable is introduced.

Lex, however, had his epiphany later, and is still reeling. Now that he’s dealt with his love/lust for Tim, and his lingering issues with his father, Lex’s main issue is Bruce.

You never really *do* get over your first love.

Except that Lex remembers every *moment* of Bruce doing this to him, and not even the moments of terror that Bruce would lose control enough to just shove it in were enough to keep him from crying *out* for every brush of that big, thick cock against his sac — and his own cock when he’d finally given up on shame and shoved it back —

(“*Lex* –!”)

“*Lex* –“

And they sound the same even though they don’t, they feel the same —

Lex cries out for himself *and* for this moment, bites the side of Tim’s throat and *ruts* —

“Oh, *Lex* –“

(“Your passion is the most beautiful thing about you, though it frightens me sometimes. I haven’t been able to discern whether it’s the fear which informs the attraction or something else entirely — will you let me sketch you again?”)

“*Yes*, Lex –“

(“If you would… I think I want to touch you. Sexually, I mean. I think. Is that strange? Are you even the right person to ask?”)

“Don’t stop, don’t — oh, *please* let me make you come  –“

(“Is frustration part of the pleasure for you? Or do you think I’ll balk at some inopportune moment? I… hm. I wonder if *I* think I’ll balk…”)

You know you’re in trouble when the love you’re with starts to blend with the love you lost.

Yes, Tim and Bruce are very similar. It’s part of the attraction–Lex has a *type*–But Tim is not a substitute for Bruce in Lex’s affections, he’s an improvement on a previous model. It’s safe to say that Lex and Bruce worked *then* because *Bruce* was so like *Tim*. But, particularly in this incarnation, Lex and Bruce wouldn’t work like Lex and Tim, they’re both too dynamic in ways that would clash as oppose to compliment. Bruce lives in absolutes, for all that he dresses in shadow. Lex needs someone in shades of grey who, none the less, has that white center. Tim. Does that mean that Bruce and Lex could never get along? No. It just means that they will never be the other’s *primary* lover.

Anyway, one of the last parts of Tim’s transformation is his acceptance and submergence into kink.

Hope narrows her eyes in something which looks like… an emotion of some sort. “I’m writing a guide to sadomasochism for young people.”

“But.” Tim licks his teeth. “You don’t — ah?”

“Mercy says there are still hardly any truly informative texts which target that particular market. She is… passionate about it.”

That’s… true and terrifying. Still — “There *are* good websites. I studied many of them, myself.”

“How easy were they to find. How centralized was the data. How complete were the instructions.”

“I… did have to do a lot of searching and even more intuiting, yes, you’re right. I look forward to reading your book.”

Hope nods once. “Perhaps I will interview you for it.”

In my head, at least one of the sites Tim visited had “teland” in the url. It’s such a *good* site to learn from. I should know. But, well…

That book so needs to get written. Seriously. It’s hard enough to get good information on being *gay* as a teenager, (or any non-monogomous-heterosexual orientation) and that’s a lot more wide spread as a topic than kink. Not that kink isn’t widespread, but there’s so many different *flavors* and *degrees* that is *acts* like a smaller category and if the big one is barely represented, then–whoo.

I have never wished Hope was real *more* that now.

But, that variable I mentioned earlier? Has just arrived.

Tim slows down just a little bit more, moving as silently as he can reflexively —

Well, no, that’s stupid. Lex *knows* he’s coming, and he must be all right, because Mercy isn’t covered in the blood of the hapless. So, he’ll just calm right down and stare at the large man currently sprawling in the big chair in front of Lex’s desk. Just —

His hair is black and *thick*, curly like something off the cover of a romance novel. His shoulders are broad, his lashes are at least as long as Tim’s own, but, again, have more of a curl. He’s broad all over, and his jeans are tight enough to show precisely how long and muscled his thighs are —

His *forearms* are thick —

His hands are large and square and folded together with a casualness which Tim is absolutely and *irrationally* sure is feigned —

And then he just *is* up and staring at Tim warily. He doesn’t move into anything resembling a ready position, but that doesn’t change the fact that he *looks* like he could beat Tim into a bloody smear on the carpets. Split lip and all.

His lips are broad and soft —

There’s a bruise which can’t be any more than a day old radiating out from the split lip —

And Mercy has a black eye. Hm —

“What’s with the karate kid,” the man says, and his voice isn’t especially deep, but it’s the most overtly *masculine* thing Tim has been exposed to in the past two weeks. It’s also… young. Somehow.

Tim frowns and raises his hands —

And Lex stands up from behind the bar with a bottle of scotch in one hand and two tumblers in the other. “Tim Drake, meet Jason Todd. Jason Todd, meet Tim Drake. Tim is something like my intern this summer, though he’ll be much more than that once his mother — the CEO of Drake Industries of Gotham — agrees to let it happen. Tim, Jason is the — slightly — underaged prostitute of my dreams.”

Of everyone’s dreams, Lex. Particularly Tim’s. I knew, earlier, who the prostitute was going to be. It made me happy then, but, like Tim:

When Jason cocks his head to the side, he looks nothing like Hope. “You’re freakin’ out. Does that mean I’m a surprise?”

“You — ah.” Don’t look at Lex for help. Don’t look at Lex for help. Be — something like the young man who belongs in these clothes. All right. Tim smiles ruefully and pushes a hand back through his hair. “The fact that I expected Lex to bring home a boy in your profession… well. It’s meaningless when held against the fact of you.”

Timmy and Jason. It’s been seconds and already there is *something* there. I’m not going to call it tension–yet–because most of it comes from what I know of each character, and what I know Te knows, and likes to play with, of each character, but–

I love the fact that every time Jason lives, he and Timmy meet and *bond*.

Jason turns to look at him — and to look him over again. “*Am* I supposed to be your toy for the next little while, kid? I *don’t* charge that much for kids your age.”

Tim keeps his eyes from crossing — badly.

Heh. Flirty McFlirt-Flirt.

But there’s my point once again. It hasn’t been *minutes* and there’s Jason, bringing the sex on Tim.

There is something inherent sexual *about* Jason–add the physical nature of his character, the attitude, the *panties* and his *thighs*, stir, and pour? His confidence, and his location *within* his body–Jason is very *basic*. *Primal.* *Sexual.* It colors every aspect of him. And, since he’s not Robin (and thus boning Batman) (yet) it makes *sense* that his *job* is sex. It’s part of *who he is*. He’s more than the “hooker with a heart of gold”. Yes, he’s had to deal with shit by being a prostitute, and a male one at that, but that’s because society is fucked up about sex, not because the profession is wrong. If there wasn’t a need for it, it wouldn’t exist.

That Tim trips over it is perfectly natural for Tim. If Tim hadn’t been wallowing in the sex that is *Lex*, Tim wouldn’t know how to deal with the *fact* of Jason at all. Instead, Tim stutters for a while, then deals.

Deals enough to flirt:

“Tim indulges me from time to time, Jason,” and Lex smiles *fondly* at Tim. “Truly, I think of him as a son.”

Tim coughs and restrains himself from tossing his wine in Lex’s face. “Indulge *this*, Daddy.”

Lex looks *delighted* —

Jason snorts again —

And *now* Tim is blushing. He hadn’t actually grabbed his crotch, but the implication was clear, and really —

Really, really —

Tim squeezes his eyes shut for a moment.

Oh, Timmy has new instincts. Go with it.

“I think it’s maybe time you hit that wine again, kid –“

“Please — ah. Would you call me Tim?” And Tim opens his eyes to find Jason studying him thoughtfully —

“How old are you.”

“Fifteen. Sixteen as of one-twenty-two tomorrow afternoon.”

Jason smiles at him, crooked and warm. “That’s better than you looked, Tim.”

“Enough for the… ah… adult rate?”

A snicker, and Jason kicks Tim’s chair. “Child prodigies pay by how annoying they are. Smart-ass kids like *you*… get to negotiate.”

Jason is —

That’s —

Flirting.

Hardcore. It’s a natural reaction to Jason’s presence, and symptomatic of the dynamic that forms between Jason and Tim whenever they’re close. It’s like magnets, really.

Tim licks the backs of his teeth. “I see. Ah. Well. I’m already seeing –“

“Daddy over there. Yeah, I know. Word to the wise? It was pretty fucking obvious by the way you lit up as soon as you saw him.”

“Oh… damn. Really?”

“Yeah, I’m thinking I would’ve twigged pretty soon even if this *wasn’t* my — heh — career. It was *especially* loud given how you still came in ready to do a little damage on Daddy’s behalf.”

FUCKING MARRIED.

Tim smiles ruefully. “Noted. I’ll work a little harder at repressing that.”

“You can start on that a week before you go home, darling. For now… *do* continue to let it all hang out, as it were,” Lex says, and, yes, he’s steepling his fingers. And *winking* at Tim.

Whoo boy, *dynamic*. The best part about characters like Jason, that just very *are*, is that they call it like they see it. Hope is like this, but it’s a cooler shade of insight. Jason, has the situation pegged.

Jason is also Jason, which means he was a hero *before* he put on the tights for the first time. And, like any rational human before they *adjust* to the presence of greatness, he sees Tim’s situation as potentially fucked, and can’t help himself but caution Tim, and want to save him from his own life.

“*No*,” Jason says, stepping away from the closet and advancing on Tim. “I don’t know what your problem is, kid, but you don’t fucking *buy* a buddy. You –” Jason rears back. “Wait a minute. Did you have *any* friends before Lex traded with your mother for you?”

“I… have friendly acquaintances –“

“Jesus fucking Christ –“

“Lex really doesn’t appreciate calling on religious figures in his home –“

“Fuck him,” Jason says, and jabs Tim in the chest with one finger. “Wake up and smell the fucking dysfunction, kid. You’re better than this.”

Jason, if you had gotten to Tim a week earlier, you might have made a dent. As it is–

“Better than *what*? I’m in love with Lex, and the way he treats me — the things he says and does — all right, yes, I was *ripe* for some sort of abuse and manipulation. You don’t have to tell me that. But I… I think I’m reasonably capable of taking care of myself and making my own choices. Right now, I’m choosing to try to befriend someone I — so far — like. Maybe it will turn out that you’re actually a horrible person. Maybe it will turn out that you think *I’m* a horrible person. But until then… I’d like for us to cut the bullshit. You can’t tell me that you’ve never met someone *through* your work that you haven’t wanted to spend more time with — I won’t believe you –“

But, Jason wouldn’t be Jason unless he tried:

“Just who do you think picks *up* underaged boys, kid?”

“Kid again. I — look, Jason, *educate* me. Or just tell me to change the subject if you don’t feel like being bothered with it. I want — I want to know you. More than I did before, actually.”

Oh, Tim, you’ll get your chance. It hasn’t been mentioned yet, but this is Te, and recently Te has been playing with polyamorous Tim, and we are primed and ready to venture into multiple-partner land.

But how is Jason going to fit into all of this? He’s too much to *simply* be Tim’s *other* lover, because as much as I love Tim/Jason, this story *really* sets up Lex/Tim as the OTP. Hmm…where or where shall he be…

Jason grins. “Well, that depends on how much I wind up *liking* Bruce.”

I think the answer to that question will be ‘a lot.’ I think —

I think if he lets himself really see you —

If you’re like *this* he won’t be able to *not* see you —

Oh that’s right. You’re being set up for Bruce, or, rather Bruce is being set up for you. But as Bruce/Jason is kinda the Batman/Robin of choice, it’s more like fate.

And I’ve already made the point about Tim’s food, but–

And Jason has his eyebrows up again.

Jason waggles his head back and forth. “I can do butter. Butter’s a friend of mine. Still, you can’t really *make* someone gain weight if they’ve got the kind of metabolism Tim pretty much has to have.”

“Do *not* underestimate a determined Eva. She’s already made a difference with Tim’s chest and ass.”

“I — what — you didn’t say anything about my ass being bigger –“

“It’s wonderful, darling. Relax.”

Jason toasts Tim with ice water. “It’s a pretty sweet little ass, Tim. Go with it.”

“You — I –“

Lex pets Tim’s *hair* —

“Lex, I’m not about to have a nervous *breakdown* –“

“I’m sure you’re not. And really, it’s only a *little* bigger.”

Enough to be noticeable. Enough — are his pants too tight in the back? Would he feel that? Do his jackets fall right?

Jason snickers and kicks Tim’s chair again. “You’re totally worried about growing a fat ass.”

“No! Maybe. Yes. But –“

Jason makes squeeze motions with his hands and smiles.

“It’s just that my frame is too small to *support* a truly — ah –“

“Callipygian?”

Damn it. “Lex, please stop enjoying yourself.”

Jason snorts —

Lex smiles that *sunny* smile again. “How could I with you near?” And Lex lifts Tim’s hand to his mouth and *kisses* it —

Tim suspects his face looks like he’d bitten into the world’s most concentrated lemon — no. He can cope. “Vanity is entirely reasonable when one has someone one wants to *impress*.” Or a couple of someones.

“Oh, no doubt, no doubt. You *have* to look pretty when you’re on the market, and it’s just — heh — enlightened self-interest to look pretty when you’re *not*.”

“Yes, precisely –“

“And,” Jason says, and smiles *meanly* — “part of looking pretty is letting that ass speak for itself.”

“No one wants my ass to speak, and if I’m wrong about that? I don’t want to know,” Tim says, and crosses his legs.

*Ahem* Once again, sing it with me now:

I like big *BUTTS* and I can not lie...

Sorry Tim. It had to be done.

Remember, this is Tim saving the world with the power of his *ass*. It’s gotta be…hmm…vital.

But look at the Tim have here. Remember what he was like in the beginning? All repressed and scared and lonely? Well, not anymore. This Tim has had those layers stripped away and his hollows have been filled. It’s new enough that he’s not quite steady, but he’s smiling. And playing. And allowing himself to be bitchy. And he found love.(s).

So now, all the players are in place. Part one, the set up, is over. Part two, the consequences, is about to begin.

But, like the story itself, this review is *too big* for one post. So I’m gonna post the first half now, and the second half as soon as it gets written.

Stay tunes, folk, for the next installment of Why Timmy’s Ass Saved the World.

Same Bat Time (ish). Same Bat Channel!

A (so…tired) Fan

Posted on September 30, 2011, in Batman, Comics, Fic Author Recs, Fic Recs, The Te. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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