When He Saw His Own Eyes…Part 2!

Ok, it’s time, once again, to delve deep into the delightful depravity of our dearly demented (and de-lovely) deconstruction of When He Saw His Own Eyes. When we last left our handsome (and horny) heroes, they had just settled down to dinner, Lex and Tim spiraling ever closer to becoming the powerhouse we know they will be, with Jason adding a voice of reality and holding on for the ride.

Let’s see what happens next…

So welcome back to part 2. Since this half is mostly the set up of part 1 playing out, it’s going to be a bit less in depth analysis and more proof that I’ve watched too much Mystery Science Theatre as a kid.

So let’s begin.

Well, the first big event is during dinner, when Lex comes to a realization about the nature of his relationship with Tim. 

And it hits like a blow, like something weightless and invisible and powerful just the same: he will always have to fight for this particular boy. He will always have to be his best, his bravest, his surest — 

One of the earmarks of a healthy relationship is the ability to grow with another person, that the desire to be with that person will lead you to self-improvement. In this case, Lex realizes that Tim brings out the best in him, and that *for* Tim, he will continue to be his best. And that us will always be *work* and a *challenge* And we all know how Lex feels about challenges/being challenged.

It’s funny though–where have we heard that reasoning before in the Batverse? Or right–Batman needs a Robin because Robin brings out the best in Batman.

So…Lex needs a Robin?

Well, everyone, needs a Robin, but the fact that Lex needs *this* Robin, leads back to the idea that Tim, Bruce, and Lex live in this complicated triangle of similarity and attraction and need. The way they remind each other *of* each other, and that Tim needs to be needed, and both Bruce and Lex need Tim in ways that make Tim feel wanted, and that the need allows Tim to be *more* himself in ways that Lex and Bruce, respectively, need–

Why, oh why, don’t Lex and Tim play more in canon? Even without the sex, their characters are too much fun together.

And Tim is searching him cautiously, starting to *backslide* — no, no, and no. 

Lex takes Tim’s left hand in his own, removes the knife, strokes a path from his palm to his fingertips — 

Tim shivers and touches his tongue to his upper lip — 

“Is this suffering?” 

Tim squeezes his eyes shut and gains the particular expression which tends to mean that he’s willing his cock to behave. “Yes. In a way.” 

Delicious suffering. All teasing is a kind of suffering, it’s just a matter of what suffering we’re *intolerant* of, *willing to put up with*, and *enjoy*. Tim has pretty well established that he enjoys *most* kinds of suffering, and has *put up with* far too much in his life. It’s clear in the ways Tim plays, or knows how to play, or *doens’t* know how to play. 

Tim narrows his eyes and *starts* to growl — 

Yes. 

“Oh, *God*. *Lex*. Stop trying to make me *hate* you!” 

Jason snorts and spears a turnip from the platter. “I think he’s just trying to make you play with him. The *question* is why he wants you to do it *now*.” 

“Because — because –” Tim narrows his eyes again — 

*Growls* again — 

“You’ve been working all night to keep me from feeling — feeling *small*,” Tim says, and that was absolutely an accusation. 

Lex dabs his mouth with his napkin. “I also *have* been enjoying myself. Darling.” 

Tim stares at the knife — 

Jason pushes the roast aside and leans across the table. “I’ve got a better one strapped to my back, kid, but I’m thinking Lex still wouldn’t let you get a shot in.” 

“I — *damn* it, Lex, stop fixing my self-esteem!” 

“Unlikely, darling. You’re far too entertaining when you stop thinking there’s something wrong with you.” 

Everyone whose seen what a little bitch Tim can be will stop at nothing to improve his self-esteem, because that’s when he gets bitchy, and Bitchy!Tim is *so much fun*! Violence! Flirting! Violent flirting! Lex is completely absorbed in Tim’s reactions, and Jason is laughing at them both.

“Uh — fuck, I’m usually better at pretending I don’t notice bullshit. Look, I could *see* you with Mercy. It’s not that she’s fucking psycho, it’s that *she’s* good for you. Some of that good *is* the psycho — obviously — but it’s not like you’re going around breaking into hospitals for the criminally insane looking to get some tail. Uh. Are you?” 

Not in *this* continuity–no–

“Lex has people to do his breaking in for him,” Tim says, cool and serene and — blushing again. 

For Jason? 

For him? 

Lex strokes a line over Tim’s left cheekbone. “I have a handful of lovers who each have a few other lovers of their own. None of them approach Mercy… or Tim, for that matter.” 

Because people are happiest when their needs are met. I was talking to Te the other day, (and boy do I love being able to say that) and she mentioned the difficulty of the line between what people *need* and what’s *good* and how they aren’t, necessarily, the same thing. This passage, I believe, exemplifies that. Mercy *is* psycho, that’s part of her charm. And Lex recognizes that, needs that, even when someone *less* would try to get her *help* (And she would break that person into so many pieces *so fast*…) Just, also, like the way Tim is, essentially, broken. He’s emotionally starved and needy and it leads him into situations where *predatory older men* (the same that Lex warned him about, remember, before Lex realized he *was* one) can exploit and take advantage of his desire to please. The fact is, that “exploitation” is what he *needs*, is actually *the best thing for him*, and is seen, then not as exploitation but as therapy.

Sex therapy.

*Kinky* sex therapy.

But, that initial *this is wrong!* is what Jason picked up on, before he realized that, while it looks bad from an outside point of view, it’s actually best for *both* of them. Once Jason realized that there was more to the situation, mitigating factors if you will, he *goes along with it* and ends up, once more, straddling the line between *reality* and, lets call it *bat-reality*. Bat-reality differs from reality as it presupposes certain givens that reality does not. (For example–jumping off buildings dressed in a leather Bat-suit is *perfectly* acceptable behavior. Or, a relationship between a 15 year old and a 40 something is *perfectly acceptable* as long as the teenager is Robin…) Think of Jason in Summer, With Garment Cast Aside. He recognizes the inherent fucked-up-ness of *being Robin* enough to warn Tim away, but is take up with it enough to ultimately *bring Tim into the Life.* It’s a similar dynamic here. Jason is world-weary enough to recognize that this situation is–unusual–but willing enough to not only go along with it, but help it along, because he sees how *good* it is for them. Later on, Dick will go through the same process. Bruce wont, but then again he’s the one jumping of buildings. And, well, the way he and Lex existed in the past gives him not only an inoculation against seeing anything *other* than the crazy, he helped form it.

It doesn’t stop Tim from leaning ever closer towards Jason.

Tim closes his eyes again. “No, I don’t. I –” He opens them. “Jason, I realize that you’re not a guest here by choice, but I still would like to be a better host –“

Jason grins *playfully*. “’cause maybe you’re the Mommy to Lex’s Daddy?” 

Tim pales *impressively* considering how pale he was to start — 

And Jason raises his hands. “Hey, relax. I didn’t say anything about how you might choose to entertain my ass *after* Lex has entertained yours for a while.” 

“Oh — fuck,” Tim says, and checks his watch — 

Lex already knows they’re down to sixteen hours. He cups the back of Tim’s head. “Come with me.” 

“Right, I. I’m just going to get stupider, and… yes. Right.” 

Jason cuts himself another hunk of meat. “It doesn’t actually get better anytime soon, near as I can tell,” he says, grinning good-naturedly, companionably — 

And the smile Tim has for Jason as he stands is a sweet one, embarrassed but still game, hopeful — 

It’s all Lex can do not to *hustle* Tim out of the room, but… 

He’s going to make his case in other ways. He rests a hand at the small of Tim’s back and guides him out, slowly and steadily. 

See? If Jason can tell they’re married….

I love the way Tim can be lead around by his libido-the way this Tim *lets* himself be led around by his libido.

Anyway, the upshot of all this revelation, is that Lex tires of waiting, and grows increasingly jealous of Jason. Therefore, the only *logical* thing to do is take Tim into the hallway and fuck him hard enough (so that he’s loud enough) that there is no mistaking *who* he *belongs* to.

The answer is *not* 100% Lex. But it’s *mostly* Lex; it’s as much Lex as Tim is capable of.

“He doesn’t — there’s a part of me which responds to him. It was never going to respond to you.” 

Lex sniffs back a snort. “Darling, when did you start giving reassurances like *me*?” 

Tim *trips* — but steadies himself well enough before Lex can do more than help him upright. “Ah. I didn’t mean — it’s just that so much of me *is* yours –” 

“How much?” 

When Tim cocks his head to the side, he looks much like Hope. He’s not going to say that out loud. 

“While I would appreciate a numerical answer, it’s not something I’ll hold you to –” 

“Seventy to seventy-five percent, I think. There would be more, but there are parts of me which are holding back and will continue *to* hold back so long as I feel there are things you aren’t sharing with me.”

Like I said. Partnership. And Tim, there are parts of you Lex will never be *able* to touch. You said it on the first day, you aren’t a *slave* and you don’t want to be. Those parts do need to be touched, however. Now who, I wonder, will be the one to touch them?

The boy-hooker with a heart of gold, perhaps?

But first, let’s break down a bit of scene, shall we? This *is* the moment we’ve all been waiting for.

“I don’t want to *lie* to myself –“

“Then don’t. You’re in love with a bad man. Adjust.” 

Tim spins around to face him, jabbing a finger at Lex’s sternum. “You’re a *great* man, Lex!” 

And becoming better with continued exposure to Tim(‘s ass).

“Great men have always been bad, Tim. They destroy their loyal followers in wars of conquest, they steal from the poor and manipulate the rich, they scrabble for power by any means necessary –” 

*Other* great men, Lex.

“You’re better than *all* of that. You don’t need some sort of modern-day manifest destiny in order to conquer. You’ve *already* conquered. All of your expansions in the past eight years have been utterly unnecessary — the gains in your profit margins hardly pay for the *crap* you’ve had to deal with to get the expansions made –” 

There’s a little bit of, you won’t let me have my low self-esteem, so I won’t let you think you’re worse than you really are, going on here. I love it. They keep each other so afloat, they’re *flying*.

“You’ve been studying.” 

“*Yes*, I’ve been studying. I — I want to know everything about you. I want to be in your life forever. I want to be *useful* to you –” 

Ok, *here* I think I can say “Lex needs a Robin”. But we have the quintesential aspect of Tim’s character–his desire to be useful and his ability to *make* himself useful. And Lex–

The kiss — happens. Perhaps it’s a function of a bare wall being right there, perhaps it’s a need to shut Tim up before he spirals back down to self-loathing, perhaps it’s just that he’s beautiful, and young — 

Lex makes sure that this desire comes from only *positive* places.

Honest, smart, and *willing*, willing in every way, because Tim is exercising his control in fits and starts *now*, but that won’t last. That *can’t* last, and so Lex cups his lovely face and tilts his head back. 

I love how self-aware Lex his, how he recognizes that he’s been giving up control to Tim, or that Tim has been taking control, for a while, and that soon Tim will be *in* control. And Lex, while he’s relishing the control he has left, is okay with this. He’s willing to let Tim take over, because that’s what keeping Tim requires. Does this mean Tim will become Lex’s Dom? No. Pay attention. I explained that already. Tim’s power is *as* a sub.

I’m going to explain this with an example from Dune. He who controls the Spice controls the universe. He who has power to destroy a thing, controls a thing. So, he who can destroy the Spice, controls the universe.

He who controls Timmy’s ass controls the universe–wait, no–

He who control the relationship, controls the effects that relationship will have on the way those involve act. He who can say *no* can control the situation. Therefore, he who can say *no* can control the impact, the *consequences* of the union. (Remember that *global* reach…?)

Lex will never say no to Tim, it’s not in him to say no to Tim. Tim still has the power to say no to Lex. That’s why Lex will always have to fight for Tim, and Tim has the ability to reform Superman’s greatest arch-nemesis. Tim, by being able to deny Lex his ass(though he never, really will, not in any way that *matters*) is able to effect *global change*.

Boo-ya.

So, yeah, jealous!first-time!sex against a wall.

Good boy. Such — 

Such a good boy who’s beginning to learn exactly *how* jealous Lex can be — 

Jason’s experienced enough with men to make him *better* —

No. No, he’s not thinking about that. Not when he can still make Tim sound like this, shake like this — 

“Oh, *please*, Lex, please, please, don’t let me *go* –” 

And the only possible answer to that is to grip Tim’s hips and hold on tight, grip hard and suck *harder* — 

yeah…Just enough insecurity to make Lex work, to give it that edge. And Tim reaps the benefits.

“Open your eyes,” Lex says, and stands. 

I'm gonna say *not* what Lex means...

What would Bruce do? 

Does he even remember the night when talking had led only to more talking, and to more than that until Lex was raw and aching for nothing but *contact*, touch, warmth in the dark — 

Does he remember how graceful and sure he’d been, moving in moments from lying at Lex’s side to holding Lex close — 

(“I think. I think this must be the way…”) 

Yes, *probably*, Bruce — 

(“There are times when I think I would have only this, Lex. But I think you knew that already.”) 

I did — 

And Tim is looking at him with an *understanding* curiosity — 

Lex snorts and pinches the bridge of his nose. “It’s disgusting that you already know how I look when I’m thinking about him.” 

“I choose to view it as proof that I’m capable of being emotionally intelligent *sometimes*. Considering my track record the rest of the time… well. I take what I can get.” 

*Creepy old school radio play voice, a la The Shadow* The specter of Bruce looms in the darkness, like a bat(man) lurking in shadow…

*Ahem*

Once again Bruce appears. He’s so wrapped up in Lex and Tim–he was Lex’s first (real) love, and only previous male lover. He’s Tim’s *Batman*. And, remember, *tirad*. But the kicker is the amusement, or rather *bemusement* Lex feels when he, not only realizes what he was thinking, but that Tim *knows him well enough to tell*. It’s like a couple having a celebrity that they agree would be acceptable for a threesome. (Or, since it’s them, a friend who would be acceptable for a threesome. Maybe in a sequel… 🙂 ).

And Tim. So *lost* sometimes in the world of social interaction. But of *course* he understands Lex, here. It’s about *Bruce*. (Or, maybe, of course he understands when it’s about Bruce, it’s *Lex*. At this point, they might be interchangeable.)

Tim is a *lucky* boy...

Lex pauses at the foot of the bed, setting the clothes down neatly on a chair. 

Tim pauses with his shirt pushed back over his shoulders. “Yes?” 

“Were you getting aroused at the thought of the *clones*?” 

“I… well.” 

Lex raises an eyebrow and crosses his arms over his chest. 

“You — all right, you probably hate the Yul Brynner comparisons –” 

“Intensely, but I appreciate your thinking I appear kingly.” 

“I, for one, would like to be the first to welcome my new LexCorp overlord,” Tim says, and finishes stripping. “And — one clone.” 

Tim and clones. Tim and Superboy. It’s one of my favorite pairing. It would be my OTP for DC if I didn’t love Tim/anybody so much. They’ve been marketed as Worlds Finest 2.0, but for me, it’s more than that. They’re very sweet together, in an innocent way that you don’t see with some of the other pairings. It’s like, high school sweethearts, but you know it’s going to last because they’re not typical teens. And you can address teen issues with them that you can’t with Bats and Supes because they’re too old. But, that’s another post.

Also, heh. Yul Brynner.

the first image that popped up when I typed "Lex Superman lovechild"...

“I combined DNA in *Petri* dishes, Tim. I had *other people* do it for me –” 

“Yes, but it’s the most intimate and enduring act known to the *species*, Lex –” 

“It has nothing to do with me having sex with an *alien*!” 

Tim sighs. “Mixed-race children do better with attention paid to all sides of their ancestry, Lex.” 

“It’s not a *child*.” 

Tim licks *his* teeth. 

Lex narrows his eyes. 

Tim lowers his eyelids *demurely* — 

“*Fuck*, but you’re…” Lex laughs and shows his teeth. “Get on the bed and kneel facing me.”

HE IS YOUR SON, AND THE ONE TRUE KING! *ahemcoughhack* I mean, This is so *true*. It wasn’t until recently that I found fault with the way Lex delt with Superboy. I mean, why on earth would Lex *not* chose to socialize the boy, himself. It would make so much more sense to be *sure* that “the clone” was loyal to you. Because, for a while, we had crazy, old school death-ray Lex and not the modern Super-duper-villain that we all know and love.

Also, Lex totally knows Tim owns his ass, and Tim knows Lex knows. Look at them play/flirt!

Then, look at Lex push Tim at Jason, because he *knows* it’s going to happen:

“It’s easier this way, Tim. It was almost inevitable that a boy who’d attract Bruce would *also* attract you. This way, I’ve all but picked him myself. He’s in my home. He’ll use *my* beds.” 

Meaning, Lex will still remain in control. Or, at least, feel like he’s in control. He’ll play a *minor* role.

Why? Because Tim is *family*

“I’m sure. You’re a part of my life now. A member of my… family,” Lex says, and offers a smile to share — 

“It *is* a family. You — I’m not sure you know that,” and Tim’s frown is back — 

Lex cups Tim’s face, tilts his head back — 

The kisses are necessary distraction, though the question of which of them the distraction is for is a pertinent one. It’s a kind of enough to have Tim seeking to return the kisses with his eyes closed, to be able to stun the boy a little with a touch this simple — 

Lex bites Tim’s lower lip and pulls back. “I will never give Hope or Mercy up. If that’s the definition of family, then… yes.” That he’d ever *glanced* over the thought that he would is *ridiculous* —

“The definition –” Tim bites back whatever was to come next and shakes his head. “I never doubt that I’m a part of a family. Just… not a traditional one. If there’s any such thing –” 

“Then you have two families,” Lex says, and lets his fingers meet at the back of Tim’s head, lets them mingle in the fine, black hair — 

Lex nuzzles Tim’s mouth and breathes in wine — 

He’s going to *like* wine if this keeps up — “You have two families, and, in one of them, you’re wildly important.” 

Oh, Lex, everyone knows that wine tastes best from the mouths of Tims.

And, oh, the definition of family. Permanence. Forever wanted/needed. Timmy *crack*.

So yes, the sex. It’s not the first time Tim submits to Lex, but it’s certainly the most formal.

“Submit.” 

Tim pants, eyes wild for a moment — 

Another — 

Another, and Lex is beginning to wonder and *worry* about the struggle visible in Tim’s eyes — 

But then he locks his arms behind his back with his wrists crossed. 

“You were looking for a way to show your submission?” 

“Yes, Lex.” 

“Is that the only reason why you were… distressed?” 

Tim’s expression *is* the equivalent of being leaned against, enjoyed, needed, *needed* — 

And Lex’s cock isn’t going to be quiet for very much longer. It’s a miracle that it hasn’t made its demands plain *already* — “Tell me.” 

“I wanted — I’m afraid. Of how much I need you.” 

“Your conscience?” 

The need in Tim’s eyes becomes desperate, dire — 

“It’s all right. I promise I’ll protect you from myself… all right, that’s ridiculous on a number of levels, but… still. It’s true.” 

Settling into their roles, and so well. I need you to know how much you have me. You need to know how I’ll take care of you. Fear and protection. *sigh* so sweet.

Tim cries out and throws his head back, bares his throat — 

And it takes another cry for Lex to realize that he’d just thrust much too hard, much — 

Lex forces himself to visualize and populate the periodic table, to imagine having to spend a full two hours with Westlake, to imagine reading yet another fawning puff piece about motherfucking *Superman* — 

But anger is just another edge to this, another —

Tim is *attracted* to Superman — 

Tim is crying out for what must be every throb in his ass, every moment of being just a little too full, needing just a little too much — 

Oh Lex. Your issues are all your own.

If given the opportunity, you’d make Tim come all over his supersheets, just to mess up Superman’s *picture* with the evidence of kinky underaged boysex. And it would feel like victory.

What follows is hot, needy, hot, and satisfying. Finally. Consummation.

That doesn’t stop Lex from having a crisis of conscience.

He’s too *young*, laughably small, contemptibly — 

No, he’s the one who should be held in contempt, and hadn’t he seen that in Jason’s eyes? He lives and works in a hothouse of amorality and perversion, but there still is the *real* world to be considered, isn’t there? 

What has he done? 

Is telling himself that he can’t take it back now the truth, or merely an excuse to keep *wallowing* in… the worst thing he’s ever done? Could that be true? 

Tim’s sounds are breaking high now, giving the lie to all of those times when he tries to speak at the lowest registers he can manage, proving once and for all — 

“*Please*, Lex –” 

Too *easy*, and Tim would never understand. He won’t turn eighteen and magically come to the conclusion that Lex was right to stop. Even if he did, there’d still be those two years to consider. Two years without *this* taste, *this* touch, *this* eardrum-destroying and ego-massaging scream as Lex uses as many of his teeth as possible to drag his way off Tim’s sac — 

“Inside me, please, please, I’ll do anything, say anything –” 

“Say please again,” Lex says, because this may or may not be the worst thing he’s done — 

This *abuse* of a child — 

This — 

He won’t stop. He *can’t* stop, and it doesn’t matter whether or not that’s a lie, it should be — 

“Say it.” 

“Please.” 

I love that. What would Jason think. I want that on a bracelet. WWJT. Lex recognizes that Jason is, as much as is possible, a moral arbiter in this story. Jason has the power, if he finds it too fucked up, he has the power over Tim to put an end to this. However, Jason is on board.  Which is good, because Lex is too far gone.

And finally, *afterglow*

He slips back in himself, considers, and then braces himself half over Tim. “Warmer?”

“Ah — eminently. Are you sure you want me –” 

“You’ll stay until you feel the need to leave. Think of it as our relationship in microcosm.” 

Tim’s eyes cross, but only briefly. 

One of these days, Tim is going to *nerve strike* you for those moments of doubt. And since you insist on the best training, it’s going to *hurt*, Lex. The afterglow doesn’t last too long, however. After a nap:

That — “Are you kicking me out of bed?” 

“Never. But you’re polyamorous.”

“I — no, I –” 

Lex raises an eyebrow at him. 

“How — I mean –” 

Lex raises the eyebrow *higher*. 

“I don’t even know what that means! Exactly.” 

Which is an interesting point. Poly!Tim is pretty common in recent Te-fanon. In fact, most of the caped community can be considered poly – each having several lovers that fulfill different needs. But, this is one of the few stories that actually *explains* what polyamory is. And it’s a good thing, too.

In this story, we’re made aware of the *lack* of information about sex and sexuality (not just gay/straight, but everthing *else*) that exists for teenagers–you know, those almost grown people who need the information, but for whom society has decidedly *mixed* feelings about. Teenagers are gonna fuck, but they shouldn’t be exposed to anything sexual, therefore they’re left trying to figure out everything *on their own*, which is where you get fucked up ideas and repressed people.

Thank god for the internet. I would be such an f*ing mess without it. And also, thank Te for *writing*. Her stories, and her site, act like a primer for exploring sexuality, gender, and kink. I was Tim’s age when I first read her stories, and because of reading about Tim’s sexscapades, I learned a lot that I wouldn’t have exposure to, elsewhere.

Like polyamory.

Now, I’m not poly, but I have a friend who is. (Sounds like a joke. Isn’t.) He decided to come out to his friends here (including me) last year. Because of Te’s stories (this one was published literally weeks before he told everyone) knew what he was talking about. I was one of the very few who went, “Oh, okay” and not “what’s that?” when he told us. (Now, he also told us by writing a story for workshop whose main character was poly, and very obviously and author-insert. Gotta love Creative Writing students). Because of Te’s stories, we were able to *talk* about what it meant to be poly, as opposed to him having to explain (and the listener not *really* get it).

Thank you, Te.

“Would you like a list of the better books to read about polyamory, Tim?” 

“Did Hope write them?” 

Lex coughs a laugh. “Oh, that would be… well. I’ll have to float the idea past her one of these days.” 

*sigh* I want this book, too. I want a shelf of Hope’s writings on sex, sexuality, and gender. Also, the Lexcorp employee handbook.

Tim closes his eyes for a moment and turns toward Lex, breathes him in — “I’m also not considering spending the rest of my life with Jason, you know.” 

“Mm-hm. Give it time. He’ll validate your *conscience*.” 

“He’s just as mercenary and — and *liberal* –” Tim cuts himself off. 

Lex gives him a wry look. 

Tim sighs. “Yes, all right, it’s telling that I couldn’t finish that thought. I want… Lex, I want you to be able to count on me. I want you to know that if you ever reach, I’ll be right there. I want you to be as confident about me as you are about everything else.” 

“I want *you* to be a woman I can marry and father children on. We all must learn to live with disappointment.” 

“You — *marry*?” 

“You’re perfect for me, darling. Or did you think I used the words I used at dinner often?” 

HE PROPOSED!!

Tim’s heart — 

It feels like it’s *thundering*. It — it’s *painful* — 

“Lex –“

“The answer is yes,” and Lex leans in and nuzzles Tim’s cheek, licks the corner of Tim’s mouth — 

“Are you going to let me get *any* declarations out first?” 

“Probably not, no. I’m… precipitous?” 

“You’re *incredible*, beautiful, sexy, brilliant, wise, caring –” 

“Loving,” Lex says, tracing a line between Tim’s pectorals, “of remarkable teenaged boys.” 

And we all know how much *that* fucked with your head.

But still, it’s the *official* proposal. Stay with me and be my love–

Lex has come full circle, from “I *can’t* want him,” to “I want him *forever*.” He set out to make a protege, and ended up with a *partner*.  It fills me with so much glee, I can’t even–

EVERYBODY DANCE!

Yeah, pretty much the whole second half makes me feel this way.

Tim grunts, blushes, *twitches* — and breathes more easily than he has any right to. “Yes, Lex.” 

“I may *have* to put you in a wedding dress at some point for kink purposes alone.” 

yaaaaay!


“I’ve always thought Sera Changs had very classic lines.” 

“Far too frilly for you — though your taste isn’t entirely awful. No, your beauty isn’t ethereal enough for that sort of thing to work. Trust me.” 

“In matters of fashion? Always.” 

You know, it took me *weeks* to realize “Sera Changs” was a DCization of Vera Wang. But still, Tim in a wedding dress. Flirting about fashion. I don’t get so girly-jumpy-happy for weddings of people I *know*.

Of course there’s still the matter of Lex’s jealousy–

“I already — and I admit that I’ve seen something like the *beginnings* of attraction in his eyes –” 

“Oh, really.” 

Tim winces. “Lex, this is what I’m talking about –” 

Lex kisses him. “I’m allowed to be jealous. You’re allowed — and encouraged — to smack me down when it happens.” 

“I’m *trying* –” 

“No, Tim. You’re trying to deny that there’s a reason for the jealousy. And that… is incorrect.”

Oh silly me, of *course* Lex has already thought of that. Lex, once he got his feet under him and came to a place of acceptance, is once again *miles* ahead.

Ok, so let’s see, what’s left.

-Jason (and Tim)

-Bruce (and Jason) (and Lex)

Okay. Lex and Tim finally have you-will-always-belong-to-me sex:

And Lex looks at Tim’s penis with a *hard* light in his eyes and a harder smile on his face. His nostrils flare — “Yes, you needed to belong to someone. You needed it so badly…” The smile gets wider. “You’re mine.” 

“Yes, Lex –” 

“You will always *be* mine.” 

“*Yes*, Lex –” 

“Even when the day comes when you don’t come when I call, a part of you will always *feel* that call.” 

“Lex, I’ll always –” 

“Quiet.” 

Tim growls and sits up — 

Sidenote: I love how Tim growls in this. It’s very representative of what Lex is doing–he’s getting at the animal urges.

Lex shoves him down. “It’s not jealousy speaking, Tim. I’m not going to be *able* to give you everything you need one day. I’m going to fail you — in one way or another — and there will be other men by then who *can* give you what you need… though I doubt any one of them will be able to give you everything.” 

“You — you should never *doubt*, Lex –” 

“I don’t doubt, darling. I’m *sure* that I won’t measure up one day… and I’m equally sure that, given a little time, I’ll find a way to measure up *again*. And on that day? I’ll make you sorry you ever dreamed of leaving me.” 

“I — *fuck* –” 

“Exactly,” Lex says, shifting until he’s up on his knees. “On my lap,” and he pats his thighs once.

And *more epic sex* which ends with the last issue that I had *almost* forgotten about

“I. I actually *am* afraid of how I’ll feel without this. Without having this *available*.” 

“I told you –“

“Think about how I can *keep* having it, yes. I just don’t know… I mean, what kind of message would it send the stockholders if I divorced my parents and just suddenly moved in with *you*?” 

“Which stockholders are you worried about?” 

“*Both* sets. I mean, that kind of thing would shake the confidence of the DI shareholders in my parents, while the rumors about you would give you no end of grief — and dog your future political career.” 

“When you’re eighteen –” 

“Will you be able to wait that long, Lex? And even then, as the liaison between the companies I’d be expected to spend at least as much time in Gotham as I did in Metropolis… unless DI opened a subsidiary here. Or LexCorp opened — no, you wouldn’t spend that much time in Gotham.” 

“Wouldn’t I?” And Lex pulls back to meet Tim’s gaze with an amused one of his own. 

“No, you *wouldn’t*. The crime would drive you insane, and the general air of grey, mid-February spiritual malaise would make you set fire to the entire city.” 

Ha! It totally would. It takes a *special* kind of person to live in Gotham in the winter.

Lex coughs a laugh. “But you love it there.” 

“Yes. Yes, I do. It — it’s not just that it’s where Batman and Robin are. It’s that it *is* a wild and depressing and frightening place. You have to work *harder* to live there, and that –” 

“Makes you feel alive?” 

Tim smiles ruefully. “I… have other things which do that now. But yes.” 

They still haven’t resolved Tim’s emancipation-or-not, and what to do about Lex’s public figure. Well, the basis is solid (they’re married in spirit if not in fact) the rest will follow. For right now, they’re willing to live behind curtains.

And, ahh…afterglow. As only they can.

Lex smiles at him *brightly*. 

“My — fuck. It’s too late for that smile, Lex.” 

Tim hasn’t backslid with his language. Not at all.

“There, there, darling, you can take it,” and Lex pulls Tim into a straddle of his lap and begins rocking Tim like a child. 

“And still ‘Daddy’ doesn’t work for you sexually.” 

“Maybe if you were able to *say* it sexually… hm… no. It just makes me want to take you to therapy.” 

Tim coughs. “Lex –” 

“Shh, darling, take my hypocrisy like a man.”

HA!

“Admitting that something is hypocritical doesn’t make it *less* hypocritical, Lex.” 

“No? Are you *quite* sure?” And Lex flutters his *lashes* at him — 

“How are you so *happy* now?” 

“How do *you* feel about having the love of your life –” 

“That’s *Bruce* –” 

“That was *first* love, darling, now where was I?” 

“Beating me to yet another declaration.” 

“I’m afraid you’ll need at least another quarter century before you’re allowed to declare *anyone* the love of your life.” 

Tim flips Lex off. 

Because sometimes Lex is wrong. He assumes, here, that older and wiser means that Tim can’t know what he’s feeling. But Tim can. Once he’s willing to look, his analysis is always accurate. Still, they’re talking of love, which makes me happy.

There’s a bit more awesome flirting, then Lex kicks Tim out of bed and sends him to Jason, who’s waiting in the lounge. After teasing Tim about hearing him and Lex,

“Happy birthday, by the way. I don’t go by that whole exact time shit. *Ideally*? Birthdays should last a week or more.” 

“That — well, that would be a bit inefficient, don’t you think?” 

“Oh, absolutely. Sometimes inefficient is the way to *be*, bro.” 

Bro. Bro. Tim licks his lips. “I like that.” 

Jason, both rationalizing away the fact that Tim was still 15 when Lex finally broke down and fucked him (the man has more restraint…), and giving name to the relationship between them–brothers. Even here, several steps *left* of anything resembling canon, they are *brothers*

*TE* brothers, which means sex is immanent.

Jason’s smile for him is rueful and wry, and he throws himself back against the far arm of the couch, putting one socked foot up over the back of the couch and leaving the other on the floor. The view is… 

The view is wonderful, but Tim has just *had* an orgasm and he can damned well meet Jason’s eyes — 

And Jason nods like Tim had just answered a question. “Part of it was me checking up on you. Making *sure* you didn’t sound like you were being abused.” 

“I –” Tim blushes far too much. That’s just a fact. “I imagine some of my sounds were… ambiguous.” 

Jason shrugs. “Maybe for someone who didn’t know what to listen for. He does you right.” 

Giving proof to what I said before–a rational voice that, none the less, goes along with the crazy, because *for them* it’s not in the least bit crazy.

The blush gets *worse* — “Yes. Ah… yes. I never really thought… well.” 

“That it could be *that* good?” 

“It was a reasonable assumption to believe that I knew precisely how pleasurable sexuality could be for *me* –” 

“Nah, it’s always better with more than one person. Well, assuming that you got people you care about at least a little. And that you’re either sober or the *right* kind of not sober. And that you feel safe and secure — all right, there are a lot of fucking exceptions, but they do kinda prove the rule, so… go with it.” 

I love how Jason, whenever he’s around, is the voice of sexual *knowledge*. He’s not just experience, he’s *wisdom*. And Tim, is learning at his knee, and learning lessons that Lex cannot teach him. Usually, because they’re about Lex himself.

Hm. “That would, perhaps, be why Lex is jealous.” 

Jason raises his eyebrows. “Already? No, wait, I get it. You can’t really trust a virgin.” 

Tim makes a face —

“Aw, no, don’t take it wrong, bro. It’s just that *everything* is new and special to a virgin, so you always have to worry a little about the *next* person to come along. Maybe it’ll be even more special with them. Lots of people I know never do virgins if they can help it.” 

Tim winces. “I… can understand that. Damn. A lot of things make more sense now.” 

Jason shifts enough to rest his head on his hands. “Yeah? He’s been *that* jealous? That’s — heh. Not exactly the best *sign*.” 

Except it means that Timmy is wanted *obsessively* and that can never be a bad thing for Tim.

“No, I know. And it’s more that…” He wants me to have sex with you. “Well, I’ve been explicitly ordered to smack him down whenever his jealousy gets to be too irritating. And less explicitly ordered to talk to Mercy *about* what his jealousy is like. I… it’s more that he wants expedience.” 

“Expedience? Like… efficiency?” 

“Basically? I mean…” And, yes, he’s blushing again — “He wants me to start having sex with other people as soon as possible.” 

Jason licks his teeth and nods, focus distant for a long moment — “I can see it. The sooner you go, the sooner he figures out what it takes to get you to come back — and the sooner he figures out just how much he should count on you.” 

That — is worth another wince. “I’m not — faithless.” 

“No, I bet you aren’t. But this is all new for him, too. You — it doesn’t matter how many people he’s screwed over the years, Tim, because he’s never had *you*.” 

There’s no one *like* you, except Bruce, and he’s far too fixed for Lex’s tastes.

“He said… he said I wasn’t like anyone else he’d ever been with.” 

Jason smiles and looks Tim over. “Yeah, he plays it like it’s not serious — like he could quit anytime, really — but that’s not how it’s working in his head *or* his heart. How *many* times has he said those three little words?” 

“I — dinner tonight was the first time.” 

“Yeah, yeah…” Jason’s focus turns distant again and he waggles his head back and forth. 

His hair would be incredible to touch — 

“A guy like that… he’s probably *not* gonna say it all that often, but he might just get pissy if you don’t act like you *know* it all the time.”

“That… does seem to be the case.” 

Never doubt Lex, Tim. But Jason has him pegged–Lex is not effusive with words. He demonstrates his affections wordlessly, and constantly, in ways that are distinct to Lex. And you better be *sure* of his affections, because if you doubt when there’s nothing to doubt, Lex would get, well, pissy.

So, all that talk of sex, leads to sex.

Which gets interrupted for this *gem*

“And how the hell is that supposed to be explained to Bruce? Hey, buddy, meet this hooker I kidnapped!” 

Tim snorts. “I — honestly have no idea. None. Just –” Tim stops, considers — “He’ll probably say you’re a friend of mine. Perhaps I’m tutoring you for your GED.” 

“I *have* my GED — uh. Anyway.” 

“Civil service exam?” 

“Felony record.” 

Tim blinks, considers — 

“God, you’re cute.” 

“I — right now?” 

“When you’re trying to figure out your Daddy’s dastardly plans? Fuck, yeah. That guy probably had something planned the second Mercy dumped me in his office.” 

Of course he did. But Lex isn’t the only planning powerhouse anymore.

Tim smiles ruefully. “Or sooner than that. I mean — I did know that he planned this. He’d planned this before he knew that Bruce — anyway.” 

Jason raises his eyebrows. “‘Anyway?'”

“It’s — well, Lex used to think that Bruce was mostly useless. He figured out… otherwise.” 

And *that* hit him like a brick to the back of the head.

“Yeah, I got that, and you and Lex have been hinting around things…” Jason sighs. “Whatever. Just tell me it won’t get my ass killed or something.”

*snert*

Abruptly, Tim can’t see *anything* but Jason in the Robin uniform. The *first* Robin uniform, which would’ve been laughable at *best* on Tim, but was beautiful on Dick, and would be *pornographic* on Jason. Just — 

*All* the best porn…Oh Tim, it’s a shame you gave up your camera. And that you can’t photograph your imagination. There’s another version of you that *has* that photo.

“Uh… you’re not saying anything.” 

“Oh! No, I — I don’t think it will get you killed.” 

“You don’t *think*?” 

You’re already *older* than you were when you were killed. You’re different because of it. Less reckless.

Hell. Tim rubs his sweaty palms on his robe. “It’s… a secret which actually is life and death for *some* people. It’s within the realm of *possibility* for you to *become* one of those people, but you’d have to make one hell of an informed choice.” 

“What does *that* mean?” 

Tim smiles ruefully. “That if it’s ever life and death for you… Bruce will tell you.” 

I didn’t realize it when I read it the first time, but this is the beginning of a Timmy!plan. I mean, I knew that it was referencing Jason as Robin, and that once Bruce met Jason it would be inevitable, but–Tim know *better* than Lex what, exactly, that means.

Jason cocks his head to the side. “How do *you* feel about him spending this much time and money fucking around with his ex?” 

“I… think that Bruce was probably worth it. I think that anything that gets Lex closer to giving Bruce a piece of his mind is *definitely* worth it. I think I’ll be hideously jealous if Bruce and Lex ever make love again –” 

“Because you think Bruce was worth it?” 

He’s *Batman* — Tim smiles ruefully again. “Well… yes. I think that if Bruce and Lex could be partners — if they could be anything *like* partners — the world would turn in entirely new ways. All I can give Lex is my ideas — which are backed with neither significant education nor experience. Bruce has both in *spades* –” 

On the one hand, oh *hell* yes.

On the other, *TRIAD*. Both Tim and Lex are afraid of losing the other to *Bruce.* Because he’s *Batman*.

The beauty of this story is that the world *does* turn in entirely new ways, and it’s EPIC.

Jason frowns. “What the hell were *you* doing around Crime Alley?” 

Oh… fuck it. Tim smiles as ruefully as he wants to. “Following Batman and Robin.” 

“*What*?”

“I… used to have a large number of pictures of the two of them flying on de-cel lines, kicking criminals in the face… that sort of thing.” 

“Holy — and they didn’t catch your ass?” 

“I *am* capable of being subtle, Jason –” 

And since *you* were the one to catch him–no, no, we already talked about that story.

“Show me. Wait, no, on second thought don’t. I like you obvious. But — fucking shit, they run around on *rooftops*.” 

“You’d be surprised how easy it is to access most rooftops in Gotham. I mean, the buildings *are* generally quite close together –” 

“And you were doing that shit in — what? Sneakers?” 

“Ah — an incident with a patch of black ice convinced me to switch to boots, even though I had to learn how to move quietly all over again –” 

“How *long* were you doing this for?” 

“Um… six years. I mostly stopped after Robin left.” 

“Mostly. After — and you were fucking –” And Jason smacks the back of Tim’s head — 

“Ah — ow?” 

“You *deserve* that, you little freak! You could’ve gotten yourself killed about a million times over!” 

Voice of *reason*!

“But I *didn’t*. And, well, sometimes I was close enough that I *could’ve* called for help.” 

Jason stares at him in *consternation* — 

“Jason –” 

“Call me Jay.” 

“Oh. Really?” 

“Yes. But also –” And Jason smacks him again. 

It’s like hitting a dog with a rolled up newspaper.

“*Jay* –” 

“See, you already sound like you’ve been using that name forever. But seriously, Tim, that’s fucking — what if a *criminal* had caught you and, like, taken you hostage or some shit?” 

“Well — there are reasons *why* I’ve studied the martial arts, Jay –“

“Karate ain’t *shit* against a gun pressed up under your *jaw*, Tim.” 

Or a crowbar wielded by a clown–no. Why did I just go there? *Happy* thoughts…

Tim suspects he’s making a terrible face — 

“That — are you pouting? Is that a fucking *pout*?” 

*YES*

Oh — damn. Tim wipes his expression — 

Jason looks *horrified* — 

Tim tries something a little less Hope-like — 

And Jason looks wary but relieved. “Okay, first? Don’t do *that*. That’s fucking creepy.” 

“Well… *I’m* kind of creepy, Jay –” 

“*Kind* of, yeah, but not *that* creepy. Your eyes were fucking dead for a second there.” 

“I… ’emotions are liabilities.'” 

I want to *smack* your mother. And not like Jay hits you. Or Lex.

“Who the fuck said *that*? Wait, was that your *mother*?” 

Tim rubs his palms on his robe again and smiles ruefully again. “That’s — it was a useful thing to learn to do.” 

Jason shakes himself like a dog. “Okay. Okay. Here’s the deal. Don’t do that with me unless I’ve *really* pissed you off, okay? You’re totally allowed to pout when someone points out that your favoritest hobby in the world is fucking nuts.” 

“It — it was nice to be close to them. To heroes.” 

Surrogate *family*. It’s ok, Tim. You have a *different* one now. And now, you know it, too.

Jason smiles wryly. “I can see that. I’ve never been up close, though I know a lot of pros who’ve met Robin once or twice. He always visited the busiest strolls. And once? I saw the car. *One* of the cars.” 

“Oh — ooh. Which one?” 

“The one that looks like a Bugatti made sweet love to a tank before leaving it to raise its beautiful baby all alone.” 

“I… all right, this isn’t the first time I’ve wanted to hug a car, but –” 

“But you totally know which car I’m talking about.” 

Tim bites his lip to hold in a snort — 

“You — fucking fuck,” and Jason leans in and kisses him hard, bending Tim back and stroking Tim’s hips through the robe — 

BATMOBILE = SEX. There is a reason why Robin gets bent over the hood so damn much. And I love that it’s part of how they *bond*. And you know that once Bruce gets Jay *home* Jay’s getting bent over that hood. (And then Tim will visit, and Jay will bend *him* over–it’s a vicious cycle :P)

So, *now* Tim and Jay fuck like bunnies, and it’s awesome. Go read it again.

Over half the second half is sex. Wonderfully hot sex that plays out the character development that I’ve been talking about. I’m not going to talk about the sex in depth because I’ve talked about the set up. My feeling *about* the sex can be summed up in one picture:

Can you tell I found a source of happy gifs? I had to. This makes my happy of a kind of happy that can only be expressed by flailing.

Tim goes back to Lex, because he *is* his one-if-not-only, and well:

“This is a dangerous time for us, darling,” and Lex strokes Tim’s cheeks with the back of his hand. “What do you suppose I’ll do if you leave me?” 

“I won’t –” 

“But if you did.” 

“Lex –” 

“Humor me,” he says, and the pained look is back. 

“I… would hope that you wouldn’t wreak terrible vengeance on me and all that I love.” 

“You sound like a comic book, Tim.” 

“*Well*?” 

Lex scowls, and it’s so much of a relief that Tim has to rear up and kiss him.

META HUMOR! Also, that they can both a) laugh about Lex’s supervillainy and b) he can’t really deny it, is *awesome*.

“Is it the word ‘steal?’ How will he *win* you from me?” 

“Insane jealousy will help, I think.” 

Lex scowls again — 

Tim sighs in relief — 

“Really? My *pissy* look gets you?” 

*snert* That’s right Tim, take him to task. You’re the *only one who can*.

“You’re *thinking* when you’re pissy.” 

“I’m *always* thinking. That’s why my dreams are fascinatingly odd — to me — and I’m able to do things like pick the perfect man for Bruce *and* you.” 

“Technically, Mercy picked –” 

“Mercy is, among many other things, the extension of my *will*, darling. You know precisely how detailed the instructions I gave her were.” 

It’s the *quality* of Mercy…no. I’m not Dick. I can’t *do* the puns like he can. But I love that–that Mercy is Lex’s strongarm.

“Have you ever wondered why the extensions of your will are female?” 

Because women kick ass? No, that’s too reductive. It’s about balance, for one thing. Lex is very *male*, but at the same time, the kind of manipulation he employs is, traditionally, feminine. (Scheming women, because that’s the only way to obtain power). Mercy is very *female* but her attitude and force are more masculine. They compliment and balance each other.

“I don’t think Hope *has* a gender, Tim –” 

Hope *is* wonderfully neutral.

“I think she does. I — all right, I don’t actually have a reason for that –” 

Yes you do. Think. Part of what makes Hope so neutral is her lack of emotions. You are *giving* her back her emotions. A gender, albeit probably not a traditional one, will follow.

Of course, this also raises questions of what gender is, and what it means that it’s absent, but I don’t have any answers to that, here. It’s one of the (few) issues not really explored.

“Yes, you do: It’s called being besotted by the prospect of making yet another friend with whom you can be entirely honest.” 

“I’m not –” 

“You are.” 

“Fine. I’m besotted with Hope and the potentials therein. Jason wants to save me. I really like him. But I don’t think he wants to save me from *you* so much as he wants to save me from the man you could be if you ever decided to be *weak*.” 

And though Lex plays devil’s advocate and says weakness has it’s attractions, Lex would never be *happy* weak, and he knows it.

“*You* can’t do it. You just neutralized your own threats. And, if I told you to, you’d neutralize still more of them. You can’t help yourself, because you’re *allergic* to weakness.” 

“You’re a liability to me.” 

Tim doesn’t flinch. He *does* narrow his eyes and show his own teeth — 

Lex strokes Tim’s cheekbones with his fingertips. “Very good. I didn’t see your first reaction, at all.” 

“Elaborate, Lex. *Now*.” 

“You’re a liability because, sometimes, emotional weakness is the *only* thing which will allow me to do the things which must be done to advance a given project. With you, I can’t stomach the idea of being weak, and so certain projects will fail. *Wither* on the *vine*, as it were –” 

“I’m not going to feel guilty about causing you to tank things you’d have to give up on your principles to advance.” 

“*Principles*, I –” Lex growls and rolls over onto his back — 

Tim doesn’t *quite* pounce, but he still moves as quickly as he can to straddle Lex, hold him with his knees, hold his *gaze* — 

“Tim. You’ll never dominate me.” 

“No, I won’t. But I’ll damned well *control* you if I have to!” 

*VICTORY*

In the wake of this, Lex and Tim work discuss the details of their sex life–hashing out what actions Tim likes and the (need) reasoning behind them.

Tim reaches out to trace it, to feel the *profound* lack of roughness, stubble — 

He could nuzzle Lex with impunity, at any time, and — 

It’s possible that he’s rubbing Lex’s chest now. Taking the opportunity to just feel, take — “You don’t often let me touch you.” 

“You enjoy being restrained,” Lex says, and there *isn’t* a question in his voice, but there’s definitely a hint of one in the general atmosphere. 

“Yes, very much. When you do it…” Tim shakes his head and licks his lips, meeting Lex’s eyes — and not pausing his strokes — “When you do it, Lex, I know that I’m… utterly in your power. That everything I do — and don’t do — at least has the potential of meeting with your approval.” 

Lex inclines his head. “It is, in that way, freeing.” 

Tim smiles. “Yes, Lex.” 

Lex hums. “And this?” 

Tim lets his hands splay on Lex’s pectorals, which are hard and… not really lean so much as *efficient*. There’s almost no ‘extra’ flesh, at all. “I feel… daring. And also like I’m asking for some variety of ‘it.'”

“Part of the pleasure?” 

“Ah… yes and no. Yes, because it adds thrill to the simple animal pleasure of touching you. No, because sometimes I only want the simple animal pleasure.” 

“And when we’re cuddling?” 

“Simple and animal. When not tension-inducing and generally worrying.” 

Freedom in restraint. Comfort in touch. All designed to make him feel wanted.

Really, who *wouldn’t* want that.

Moving on:

In truth, Lex spends much of the two hours musing on the way Tim had reached up to wrap his arms around Lex’s neck after sitting on Lex’s lap so easily, so *happily* — 

The way Tim had turned to nuzzle him, to whimper shamelessly, to *give* — 

The way Tim had cried out and *ground* against him, begging despite what *had* to be *deep* soreness in his ass — 

And all that for a handjob. 

That *boy* — 

Young man? He has the *passions* of a boy — and somehow the passions of a boy with loving, caring, thoughtful parents — 

Lex pauses the elevator on its way up to the penthouse. How on earth had that happened? 

Tim *should* have had the romance and sweetness and general love for all things bright and beautiful scoured out of his soul *years* ago. 

The simple answer *there* is that Tim has the willpower to keep what he wants to keep about his own personality, but *why* would he use that willpower that way? 

Even going with the idea that far too much exposure to so-called superheroes can do unpredictable things… 

He was already *nine* when he discovered that the object of his pre-pubescent fantasies was Robin, and that’s more than old enough for Tim to have been a dry little *stick* of *repressed* passion. 

Instead, learning the truth about Bruce and Grayson had simply added to what was already there… 

Hm. 

Is it possible that Janet and Jack Drake had somehow produced a *normal* child before warping it all out of proportion? 

Heh. Tim as a normal child. Whoo.

Lex ruminates again on what a spectacular creature Tim is, and it leads to the realization that Lex has left far too much to chance. He *must* keep Tim with him–meaning Tim must emancipate himself. Tim, however, still holds onto the (hope) idea that he needs to stay with his parents. Lex summarily sicks Hope and Mercy on Tim’s resolve. He must realize his parents are terrible people, because the opposite:

“He has too much of an effect on the day-to-day business of the household for him to continue to be… free.” 

Ah, all right. He’ll use the largest plug *and* the ingeniously subtle nipple clamps that fit so well under some of Mercy’s brassieres. That should make her happy. For now — “I agree wholeheartedly.”

Hope and Mercy both take deep breaths and smile at him.

An average man would quail at this point, but Lex has the strength of his convictions and oh, fuck, they think he just gave the order to murder Tim’s parents. Lex pinches the bridge of his nose. 

Hope and Mercy frown. Mildly. 

“No, I’m afraid not.” 

“It’s the only logical –” 

“No, Mercy.” 

“We would make it look like an accident. A gentle accident.” 

“He would know, Hope.” 

Mercy’s frown gets deeper; Hope’s stays the same. 

Lex recrosses his arms. “We’re only going to kill *bad* people now.” 

“By whose definition.” 

Oh, Hope, you — yes, well. “My own, as filtered through what Tim can be made to accept should he ever find out — and we must always assume that he will.” 

Mercy taps her Banolo’ed foot. Once. “His parents are probably awful people. Just to throw that out there.” 

“Oh, the mother is a harpy — no, harpies are too passionate. She’s *some* sort of mythological beast, though.” 

“Grendel’s mother,” Hope says, and raises a perfectly-shaped eyebrow. 

“Yes, I think that does work. Thank you, Hope.”

“You’re welcome, Lex.”

I just. We only kill *bad* people. Grendel’s *mother*. HOPE!

The alternative is murder, and that is no longer acceptable. So, Hope and Mercy given orders to work subtly on Tim to make him think it was his own idea. They leave, and we’re left with Jason and Lex.

Who–talk about their issues.

Lex smiles and shakes his head. “You were a miscalculation, Jason. I chose you to be the kind of man Bruce Wayne would find irresistible, and neglected to think deeply enough about the fact that the Bruce I knew a generation ago has a great deal in common with the Tim I know now. I recognized quickly that he would find you desperately attractive, but not quickly enough for my tastes.” 

Jason blows out a breath. “Okay, I’m thinking we should maybe be sitting down for this conversation? Unless you’re booting me out the door, I mean.” 

“No, I still need you, and Tim wants you. I am always going to try to give Tim what he wants.” 

“And what he needs?” 

“Even better. There are comfortable chairs by the pool.” 

Jason gestures. “Lead the way, Daddy.” 

A miscalculation. Lex seems to be doing that a lot in this story. He miscalculates with Tim. With Jason. With Hope (we’ll see that fallout in a minute). Bruce. It makes sense, his entire world has just shifted from chaotic neutral to chaotic good (Lex will *never* really be *lawful*) and that takes some adjustment. Also, because he’s trying to make plans with the Batclan (and various people who would fit in *quite* well) and you just can’t plan for that. Unless your Batman. In which case you have thousands of plans because you know nothing *really* goes to plan.

Anyway,

Lex admits more to Jason that one would expect. He’s going to be a mole in the enemy camp, why would Lex willingly give up information? Because Lex has a policy of honesty thats *surprising* for a (reformed) supervillain, and it’s easier, sometimes, to admit things to people you barely know. And Jason is an outsider. He’s going along with the sexy crazy, so he can be trusted (enough) but he’s not *like* them, so much as something that *compliments*–like he is with Bruce.

What follows is *almost* like monologue-ing. Just, Lex’s dastardly plans are based around Tim’s ass-I-mean-relationship, his own issues, and no one is going to come sweeping in to save Jason from a giant death laser.

“Can you really — no, fuck that, of course you can,” and Jason laughs and shakes his head. “Look, you obviously know you can’t put him in a fucking box.” 

“I do know that, and…” Lex sighs and laughs again. “Forgive me. I’ve been talking to my bodyguards. They’re waiting impatiently for me to order Tim’s parents messily killed so I can hurry up and adopt him.” 

Jason looks appropriately horrified. 

“I’m not actually going to do it. The only thing the Drakes have done to me is wound the boy I love, and who’s to say how much I would love him if they hadn’t?” 

“Uh… that’s fucked. Just to let you know.” 

“Noted. You’re welcome in my homes for as long as you make Tim happy. The day you stop –” 

“I get a bullet in the head?” 

“As satisfying as that would be — assuming you made him *that* unhappy — I sincerely doubt that that sort of solution would ever appeal to Tim.” 

“And that’s your primary focus right about now, yeah?” 

Lex inclines his head. 

Best Daddy ever. Oh, also? Jason calls Lex Daddy, and not because he has a Daddy kink, but because it’s Jason and he’s a beautifully obnoxious little shit. Love.

Lex and Jason debate the necessity of being morally grey when it comes to killing (not that some people *coughJokercough* don’t need to die, but that the killing should never be easy), and Lex tells Jay about his father.

“The very last thing he did was seduce the woman he thought I was in love with out from under me, and then, after allowing me to walk in on him making her ride him, he whisked her off for a romantic weekend.” 

“Uh. Is it okay if I fucking *puke*? Had he done that shit before? Like — actually fucking the people you cared about, I mean.” 

“When he saw that I had become Bruce’s lover, he teased him in highly sexual ways and then, after sending me off to run an errand, proceeded to act like a hypereducated frat boy. That’s where I got the idea.” 

“The idea — oh. Oh, shit. The woman was Mercy.” 

Les has…Mercy. Yes Clancy Brown does a wonderful job of making that sound like a threat. No, youtube doesn’t have a clip of it (that I could find). This makes me angry. However, this is now my “How Lex got Mercy” head-canon.

“That wasn’t her name at the time, of course — I’ve erased that woman’s identity as much as humanly possible — but yes. I pretended I felt about her the same way I felt about Bruce. I had her hide — to the best of her abilities — her vicious streak. We learned together.” 

Jason covers his face with his hands and rubs at his eyes. “That’s cold, Lex. That’s — I don’t think I could ever be that cold.” 

“Probably not, no. It isn’t meant for everyone.” 

Jason drops his hands. “Are you sure it was meant for you?” 

Lex smiles ruefully. “I’ve enjoyed living a softer life with Tim.” 

For specific definitions of *soft*, yes.

“Because that’s what you call softer. Right.” Jason shakes his head. “Don’t fuck with him, Lex.” 

“No Daddy for that –” 

“Don’t. Fuck with him. Just — never even mind how much I like him. He’s good for your fucking *soul*.” 

When Jay talks of soul, you *listen*. That’s his whole thing–he’s heart *and* soul.

Lex sighs and plucks at the crease in his pants. “Yes, he is. I’m always going to try to give him what he needs.” 

“Are you sure you’re gonna be able to separate that from what *you* need?” 

“No. But I’m going to try — and I’ll have people like you to help me by reminding me how easily I can lose him.” 

“It *won’t* be easy, though. Not for either of you. He’s your second — and probably fucking *last* chance. *You’re* the first human who ever let him *be* human. He’s not gonna fuck with you, so return the favor.” 

Don’t make Jay cut a bitch. At this point, your virtues might just *let* him. It’d be for your own good.

They discuss various other Lex issues as well, all things that I’ve already covered/alluded to, because this is Lex catching up on what he’s gone through during the story. Also, Lex offers Jay a job as his mechanic as an *after* (or maybe an *also*?) to Bruce. (Silly Lex, there is no *after* for Jason in regards to Bruce. Your wife made sure of that). It leads to this little gem of an exchange:

Jason winks at him. “Yeah, so, anyway. How many cars *do* you own?” 

“Eight, and, before you ask anything, much of what I know about them boils down to ‘they’re very, very pretty.'” 

“Aw, man, that’s *weak*!” 

“Jason. I wear lavender linen suits by choice. I’m *allergic* to motor oil.” 

TEEHEE!!

This leads to a discussion on the Kinsey Scale, and flamboyancy, and Glam Rock, and the upcoming Operation Seduce Bruce. Jason demonstrates his mad skillz, and Lex does a *KILLER* impersonation of Brucie:

Lex smiles. “I imagine you do. May I offer you a drink?”

“Just something non-alcoholic. I don’t like gettin’ drunk.”

(“Yes, but I still don’t see the *appeal* of intoxication, Lex. There’s so much to be seen, so much to *learn* –“)

“Did you come to this party alone?”

Jason… glitters at him. “Yes and no. Lex paid me a whole bunch of money to get close to you, Tim — the little guy over there dressed like something out of a cabaret –”

“Ooh. *Good* thought. Go on.”

“Yeah, be gentle on the kid, Daddy. He’s young. Where was I?” Jason narrows his eyes, parts his lips — and glitters again. “The little guy over there? We’re fucking like crazy pretty much whenever we get a chance. But no, I don’t have a date.”

Lex frowns drunkenly. “I… don’t think I understand, tiger.”

“Don’t you? Look, if you want honesty outta me –”

“I do.”

Jason frowns thoughtfully. “You think it’ll be that easy?”

“Yes, but, no, I can’t actually be sure. Go with it.”

Jason nods and blows out a breath. “Okay, then. Act like ya know.”

Lex narrows his eyes. “What kind of intelligence would you like me to fake, Jason?”

…that ends with Lex flirting with Jason, and then coming full circle to Tim, and their plans to double team him for his birthday. Tim is a *lucky, lucky* boy.

Cut to the labs. Plan *Make Tim Emancipate Himself* is put into effect. This…does not go well for Hope.

“What. What do — what are you saying?” 

“He wishes you to emancipate yourself as quickly as possible.” 

Tim pulls back — 

Tim *tries* to pull back, but Hope’s grip is implacable. “All right, I’m not moving. All of this — all of this was just because Lex ordered you to make me face horrible memories?” 

Hope’s mouth tightens again and her eyes are wide — and hurt. 

Actually, deeply, *emotionally* — “Oh. Hope. I — I’m not mad at you –” 

“I wanted to know. As well. I realized this after I began questioning. You.” 

“Hope, wait, are you all right?” 

Hope blinks once at her usual speed, twice much faster, and then makes a low sound like — like a keening *growl* — 

“*Hope* –” 

She lets go and stumbles back, tapping her wrist where the implanted paging device is — 

And Mercy bursts into the room immediately, door swinging wide enough to show the shocked face of one of Lex’s horrifically well-armed mercenaries — 

Mercy shoves Tim aside — 

“*Don’t*,” Hope says, and she doesn’t *sound* like herself — 

“I’m fine!”

Hope reaches for him — 

Mercy hugs Hope hard enough to yank their suit-jackets out of true and bang their holsters together. It’s a relief to see it, but it’s also — 

Hope is still *reaching* — 

The term Tim uses is *fry her motherboard*. This is the crack happening, the shattering of the self Hope had built up and the emergence of her emotions. It’s suitably traumatic, and because it’s Hope, violent. The rest of the story is her *slowly* learning what it’s like to have emotions. It leads to her having a very logical and analytical view of emotions, and makes her quite wise to her ways. (I want *That* book, too). It also leads to the final barrier being broken. Tim realizes how much he’s needed in Metropolis…

Let’s break it down a bit.

“He is going to be disappointed in me. And then he will blame Tim for doing this to me, even though he didn’t.” 

Mercy sighs again. “Tim and I will discuss it with him. He’ll still be emotional in *some* way, but I can’t predict it.” 

“That is… frightening.” 

“Yes, it *really* is,” Mercy says, and Tim can hear her shifting in the driver’s seat — “You know what the worst part is, Hope?” 

“Tell me.” 

“The little shit –“

“Do not call him that around me.” 

Mercy grunts — “Right, I’m sorry. The *kid* doesn’t get it. He doesn’t understand how *much* change is going on right now, and he probably never will.” 

“Because the changes began happening too soon after he joined us.” 

“Yeah. And because he doesn’t *want* to know.” 

Passive aggressive and *effective* girls. Because it *does* make Tim realize, and take his place by Lex’s side…

Tim blinks — 

Focuses — 

“All right, I’ll just live with that, since I already told him I *would* cross-dress for him and — yes. You’re right, Mercy, I *don’t* get it. I *can’t* get it, because I’m never going to be like the two of you. Lex doesn’t *want* me to be like the two of you, because? He already *has* the two of you. And you both know that already,” Tim says, and does his level best to stare them both down. 

It doesn’t work, but he thinks he’s made his point. 

“Also, if I’m going to convince Lex not to marry me, then I *can’t* emancipate myself. I have to keep *something* like a wall between Lex and myself, no matter how — how artificial it all is. Mercy, you have to *see* that.” 

Mercy turns away to face front, keeping her gaze away from the rearview. It’s an answer. 

“It would thus be worse than pointless for me to cut my parents out of my heart. Lex would *see* it happen, know it for what it was, and then *demand* to know why I wasn’t emancipating myself so I could… could be with him.” 

Nights in Lex’s bed. 

“We *have* to, Hope — if Lex tries to marry Tim, his entire future is in jeopardy.” 

“Because of both bigotry and partially reasonable fears of child abuse, yes, I understand. However, if we present a united front and explain to Lex that he has to… restrain himself, then I believe he will listen to reason.” 

Mercy turns to look at them again. “How can you be sure?” 

Hope blinks once. “The same way you can be sure that he will forgive me.” 

Mercy laughs softly and rubs — gently — at her bruised temple. “Ow. All right, yeah, we’ll try it your way. We’ll put it to him as ‘necessary compromise,’ but Tim has to step up on his end.” 

He — “This was. Fast?” 

Mercy and Hope look at him with a kind of *expectant* blankness — 

And Tim realizes that they look at Lex like that all the time. He swallows, grateful for the relatively high collar — 

He knows they both saw him do it. He — 

“I do want to stay.” 

Hope and Mercy nod together. 

“I — there’s so much — Lex will have to be even more publicly heterosexual than ever.”

…on Tim’s own terms. There is, after all, the issue of public opinion. It starts off with Hope and Mercy manipulating Tim, but ends with Hope and Mercy reacting to Tim as they would to Lex, or *as they would to Mrs. Luthor.* Their priority is Lex, and Tim is best for Lex, and therefore they will keep him in place, but he is also exalted in position, so they will defer to him.

There are no books in his hand and he smells faintly of an older woman’s perfume. He’s the kind of warm he always is now, because there’s always *touch*. He — “I’ll begin. The process of emancipation. But I don’t have a job waiting for me –” 

“You will,” Mercy says, and *smiles*. 

“Yes. Lex will not ever let you down,” Hope says, and the corners of her mouth twitch oddly three times. 

“I — was that a smile?” 

“I tried to feel while doing it.” 

Tim covers Hope’s hand with his own and smiles back — 

“Welcome to the family,” Mercy says, and steps out of the car. “Hurry and grow the fuck up.”

FAMILY HUG!!

“Yeah, laugh it up, Daddy. One day she’s gonna menace *you* with that fucking hatchet.” 

“Oh, probably. Possibly when I try to grope Tim while he’s wearing his wedding dress.” 

“Wedding –” Jason stares at Tim. “Seriously, bro?” 

Yes and no — no. Tim rests a hand on Lex’s chest — 

Lex takes Tim’s hand in his own and bites Tim’s fingertips. “Before you say anything, darling — one day I’m going to *own* this country. Remember that.” 

Fuck — yes. But. “It will happen a lot faster if we never even try to go public *until* then.” 

“Are you going to deny me, Tim?” And Lex’s voice is low and the wrong kind of promise —

Specifically, the wrong kind of promise to excuse the twitch of Tim’s *penis* — “I discussed the matter with Hope and Mercy. I… I’m *going* to emancipate myself from my parents. I’m *going* to be your protégé — and you’ll give me an apartment in this oversized phallic symbol of a building –” 

“Of course –” 

“But we aren’t coming out, Lex. Not yet. If it was just a question of sexuality, I’d do it with *almost* no reservations, but I’m sixteen, which means I’m *just* legal enough to make the world attempt *subtlety* as it destroys everything you’ve built. And you already know this. You — we *discussed* it –” 

“And you knew I’d changed my mind.” 

“Ah… Mercy brought it home for me.” 

Ahh, yes. They must hide *for now* because this is Lex. If it’s illegal for him to be public with his love, he will *change the fucking law*, and if the people don’t like it, he’ll *change the minds of the people*. He’s Lex fucking Luthor.

Next is porn. It’s the BDSM threesome where Tim gets whipped. I’m not going to get into it, because the *character development* has already happened, for the most part, and that’s what I’m really focusing on here. This scene is consumation in the literary sense–things that were set up earlier are coming to fruition—and coming hard.

By all means, take this moment to go re-read the porn. It’s worth it. I’ll wait.

Welcome back.

Only one thread left. Operation Ruin Bruce. And it happens at a *party*.

I *ADORE* this ending. Tim has come into his own, Tim and Lex and happily married, and there’s nothing left but play. Epic play. And reveals. And it happens behind *society* masks as opposed to dominos. It plays on *my* fankinks.

Like, fashion and witty banter:

The LexCorp Summer Gala is not, traditionally, a black tie event.

While there will be any number of men wearing tuxedos tonight, the vast majority of them will be doing so out of a profound failure of imagination, and none of them — Tim is willing to wager a sexual encounter on this — will be wearing purple. 

Specifically, a purple so dark that it *appears* to be black save for in bright light or next to things which are *actually* black. 

The jacket has tails. 

The waistcoat has a pocket for a watch — titanium, anodized a pale lavender. 

WEDDING RING!!!

The shirt is blued enough to *hint* at a purple which only barely doesn’t clash with the jacket, waistcoat, tie, and pants. 

Tim’s hair is spiked to within an inch of its life — though that’s Jason’s fault. 

There’s a *mask* on a *stick* —

“No, Lex.” 

“Try it out.” 

“Lex.” 

“Darling.” 

“It’s — it’s not *Carnivàle*. It’s not even the right time of *year* for that!” 

Lex twirls the mask between his fingers. 

Jason cocks his head to the side. “Hunh. Are those sequins?” 

“‘Spangles,’ more properly,” Lex says, and hands Tim the mask. 

“Lex –” 

“It’s an integral part of the *look*, darling.” 

“Why are you doing this to me? I — did I not agree to shaving my scrotum fast enough?” 

AHAHAHAHAHAH. Timmy the dress up doll. Tim is *so* regretting the decision to have Lex control his sartorial choices, until he realizes, later, that dressing like this ensures that he has *fun*, something that Lex would insist on, and Bruce only would after Alfred reminded him…with a tea tray to the head. No, that’s not entirely true. But Bruce’s version of fun, and Lex’s version of fun are two different things.

So Tim, dressed like he’s going to the gay opera, has fun at a party. (GASP!)

But the real fun happens when he meets Jason on a balcony.

He finds Jason on the windiest of all the balconies, behind a potted plant which almost certainly hadn’t been positioned there originally. Tim clears his throat —

And Jason grins back at him from over his shoulder. “You’re just the queerest little boy in all the land, aren’t you.”

Yes. *But* — “I would like to remind you that this outfit is *your* fault, Jay.”

I am completely in love with the way Tim owns it. In the span of this story, a few weeks, Tim has gone from spluttering wine and hanging onto the closet door with both hands, to being just as publicly flamboyant as he could ever want to be. And, while Lex may have gone a bit overboard with the look, it *does* appeal to something deep within Timmerz–just the same way the Robin suit does. It’s a costume that hides him, while at the same time is *more* him.

“Yeah, yeah, hurry up and get over here before one of those vultures starts to wonder why you’re talking to a plant.”

Tim smiles and slips around to join Jason near the edge of wind-swept peril — hm. It’s possible that the suit is getting to him.

*snert*

“Penny,” Jason says, and pokes Tim’s temple lightly.

Tim smiles ruefully. “I like being out. Of the closet, I mean.”

Jason raises his eyebrows. “Yeah? That’s what you’ve been doing for the last hour?”

Had it been that long? “I… well, I haven’t exactly explicitly said to anyone ‘my name is Tim Drake and I vastly enjoy performing fellatio on attractive men’ –“

Jason snorts —

“But… yes. I mean… there’s a difference. Between this party and all the others, I mean — it’s hard to explain.”

“Nah, I get it, I think. You’re bein’ real for the first time, yeah?”

Honesty is fulfilling, and coming out can be an immense relief. Tim is relieved of pressures he has felt from his mother for years, and while being Mrs. Luthor brings it’s own set of issues, they’re different, and will weigh and wear differently (and in ways Tim will actually enjoy). Also, Timmy’s tendency towards proper speech? So adorable.

Tim lets his smile get a little bit wider. “Mostly real. I’ve also been working on my assignment to make a name for myself before the emancipation rumors hit the gossip circuit.”

“Still, a lot more you than usual.”

“Infinitely more,” Tim says, and curls his fingers around the railing, enjoying the chill. “You’re loathing this.”

“With a *fiery* passion. I’m glad *you’re* having fun, though.”

“I’d like. I’d like for you to stay. Or just… come visit. Often.”

Or just come often. In my presence.

Because you’ve found *your* family.”

Tim smiles. “It’s a good family.”

It *is* a good family, and it’s a good family *for* you. And Jay will always be there for you. Tim is getting everything he ever wanted. Including playing with Jay, and proving that he’s a (Jersey) Gotham boy at heart.

Jason puts an arm around Tim’s shoulders and breathes deep — “No city should smell this clean. I’m betting even the *rich* parts of Gotham don’t smell like this.”

“They really don’t. And this — when you consider the fact that there’s a *port* here, full of undoubtedly polluted water –“

“That there are eight million damned *people* –“

“That there’s a part of the city called ‘Suicide Slum’ –“

Jason snorts. “See, I always thought that was trying too hard.”

“Ah… ah?”

“Yeah, you need something simple and direct. ‘Crime Alley,’ tells you exactly what you’re gonna get, and doesn’t ever need to brag about it.”

“You think ‘Suicide Slum’ is *bragging*?”

Jason grins, bright and wide. “Hell, yeah. ‘Oh, you think *you* suck?'” And Jason makes his voice deeper and whinier — “‘*I* cause people to *kill* themselves because I’m *so* hardcore.'”

Tim gives up and snickers.

Jason has a *point* You can’t beat Gotham for the downtrodden and *bad neighborhoods*. You just can’t. It’s a city filled with crazies and low-level crooks. It’s supposed to be the kind of crime-ridden corrupt down you see in Mob movies from the Roaring Twenties–that’s why the nightclubs have big bangs, and the cars all look like they came from a classic car show. It’s a very *noir* city. Metropolis, however, is supposed to be a modern utopia–New York from black and white science fiction pictures, where we have entered an age of enlightenment. It’s the *wave of the future*.

Crime Alley could totally beat Suicide Slum in a fight. It would be dead on the pavement, with it’s valuables pawned before it even realized it was dead. And Crime Alley would have the perfect alibi, and never go to court. Then Batman would beat it up and send it to jail, because that’s what Batman does.

Anyway,

“Heh, I win.”

“Win *what*?”

“Gotham City bragging *rights*, maybe? Fuck, I don’t know. Something. I totally win *something*.”

“The opportunity to cuddle with the only boy at this party dressed for a gay opera?”

Winning Tim cuddles is like winning the giant stuffed Panda at the fair. Really Freakin Hard but So Worth It.

“I *knew* I heard Gotham accents,” and the voice is familiar —

Ok, speaking of accents–

Gotham and Metropolis were both originally stand-ins for New York. Then, over time, they developed a geography all their own. Metropolis is now in Kansas (which *totally* explains the docks…) and Gotham is in New Jersey. That’s right. New Jersey. It’s 20 minutes away from New York, so that puts it anywhere from Elizabeth to the Palisades. But that also means that a Gotham accent is a North Jersey accent, not to be confused with a New York accent. It’s softer, for one thing, and yes, a bit more nasal. And no, it doesn’t sound like those idiots on Jersey Shore. So there.

And that’s the last thought Tim gets to have before *Dick* is edging around the plant and making the balcony decidedly cramped and —

We all know how many times Tim had this fantasy. Or at least fantasies that started this way. But remember, he’s a married man now. And Dick? Never knew what hit him.

“Whoa. Uh. Hey?”

Dick smiles brilliantly at Jason and offers his hand. “Hey, yourself. I’m Dick Grayson.”

Jason blinks, shutters, blinks again and smiles professionally, taking Dick’s hand. “Jason Todd. Nice to meet you.”

Dick stiffens *slightly* — he knows a professional smile when he sees one, but shakes Jason’s hand firmly enough before turning to face Tim. “*You* I already know from somewhere, don’t I? I do. I have to. But maybe I don’t? No, I absolutely do,” Dick says, and actually bats his lashes a little. It’s a winning performance, but it’s absolutely a performance. Dick knows exactly who he is and has decided to portray himself as stupider than he is, almost certainly to gather information.

It’s enough to allow Tim to start breathing again. “You do, yes,” Tim says, and offers his own hand. “I’m Tim Drake –“

“Only son of *the* Drakes, right. Are your parents here tonight? I didn’t know they had a connection to LexCorp.”

*fishing*, Dickie. And stop underestimating Tim. He’s just going to pull the carpet out from under you.

Tim — doesn’t raise his eyebrow. That was a question designed to ever-so-innocently open the floodgates of information, but Dick has no reason whatsoever to know — or even assume — that Tim would be just a bit *above* that kind of interrogation. Or…

Is he supposed to out himself in some way other than the one he’s enjoying more and more?

Bruce and Dick are one thing, but if Batman and *Robin* have suspicions about him… Tim looks down as shyly as he can. “My parents are in Europe for the summer,” he says, and edges closer to Jason.

And the Tony goes to…

Jason rests a hand on Tim’s shoulder. “Yeah, Tim is staying with Lex this summer. Him and Tim’s parents are doin’ some wheeling and dealing.”

Dick nods with a very, very good impression of thoughtfulness —

Jason squeezes Tim’s shoulder before dropping his hand again, undoubtedly to make *sure* Tim had spotted the fake —

“What about you, Jason? Are you and Tim close?”

And how. But that’s not the question you should be asking, Dick. That’s not the *relationship* thats going to break your brain.

How long were you listening, Dick? Do you have a directional mic stashed in your jacket somewhere?

Duh.

And Jason is smiling sharply. “I’m down here visiting Tim for a little while, yeah. He’s a good friend.”

Dick tilts his chin up, seemingly to consider Jason’s words more deeply, and then smiles slyly. “Friend…?”

“Heh.”

Tim twines his fingers with Jason’s own and looks up. “Friend,” and he lets his tone be cool and a *little* hard just to see —

Yes, Dick is reevaluating him at speed, which isn’t the *best* state of affairs, but —

Tim *does* have an assignment. “Are you here with Bruce?”

Yeah, Tim is *still* all about the mission.

“And Bruce’s date for the night, yeah –“

“No date for you, Dick…?” Jason’s tension is visible now, something held in his arms and legs — “I’d think you’d have someone along with you.”

Dick raises an eyebrow. “I’m between girlfriends at the moment, but I’m flattered that you think –“

“So why, I’m wondering, are you trying to play us?”

BAM.

Dick blinks. “Play you?”

“You know what I’m talking about. Is this what Bruce’ll give me, too?”

“You… want to meet Bruce?” Dick seems more surprised than anything else, which is a *kind* of reasonable —

And is also off-balance, and you *know* how *bad* Dick is about being off balance.

“I’ve told Jason a fair amount about him,” Tim says, and turns to smile wryly at Jason. “He was curious about the sort of people I deal with on a semi-regular basis.”

Jason winks at him. “Somehow, I’m feelin’ *less* curious now.”

“You still have to meet Bruce, though. It’s an experience.”

That’s certainly one way of putting it. The way Jay and Tim talk circles around Dick, and do so *quickly* will never get old to me. Dick is great at the physical, and the affectionate, but he’ll never be their equal in verbal sparring. He’s too honest/corny. (Though, being bat-trained, he’s still a sight better than most).

“Do you spend a lot of time in New York, Dick?”

Dick’s smile is brief and mostly false. “Why do I get the feeling you already know the answer to that question, Tim?”

Because Tim is a creepy-yet-excellent stalker who now has access to Lex’s resources?

Tim grips the railing —

And Jason laughs quietly. “*I* don’t know it, but I’m beginning to think I *won’t* know much of anything until it’s some kind of too late, so — whatever.”

Tim fights back a wince and rests a hand on Jason’s chest again. “I’ll tell you everything.”

Here it comes…

Dick’s smile is a glitter in Tim’s peripheral vision. “What do *I* have to do to get that kind of promise…?”

You’ve already done all you need to, Dick. That’s what Tim’s about to tell you.

Stay away from Lex — no, that would be the equivalent of an engraved invitation brought by a singing messenger dressed like… Robin. Right now, Dick is incredibly suspicious and Jason is feeling —

Well, ‘left out’ trivializes the matter a great deal, but there is the gist.

And there is an option. Tim smiles and curls his fingers in against Jason’s chest. “There is one thing you can do, Dick.”

“I’m all ears.”

Tim closes his eyes for a moment to center himself — and then he turns to look Dick in the eye. “The first time we met I was three years old, and you, among other things, promised to do the quadruple aerial somersault just for me. It was the last time you performed with Haly’s Circus.”

Rip off that band-aid Tim. Look how this is *still* painful for him. But he’s able to deal and cope, and do it well, because of Lex.

It doesn’t take long for Dick to do the math, such as it is, and his smile is appropriately pained. “It was the last time I performed period, Tim.”

“No, it really wasn’t. Because six years later you did the same trick in front of a camera… and, in the end, the clothes you were wearing that night weren’t very different from the ones you wore when you were *only* a circus performer. Nightwing.”

BUM BUM BUUUUUM!!!!!! What a bomb to drop into a conversation. And not a little bit Bond villain, Timmy. “You see, Mr. Bond. I know everything about you.” I love that Tim is one of the few good guys who do their best work while acting like an evil mastermind.

Jason *starts* to step back, visibly remembers that he’s inviting a forty-story drop — “What. The. Fuck.”

“I could say the same thing, Tim –“

“I used to have a picture of you peeling off your mask — it was torn to a few shreds and you were replacing with it the spare you carry — on the roof of the Reinhardt building,” Tim says, and smiles ruefully. “It was one of my favorites.”

*sigh* You’ll always have the Reinhardt Building, Tim.

Jason stares at him and blinks —

And Dick laughs. “Tim, if you’re talking about vigilantes –“

“I’ve always wondered what people would find if they did a survey of the space under the grounds of Wayne Manor. I mean, there have been so *many* full tours of the manor itself — I even took one while you and Bruce were ‘out of town’ — but nothing of the caverns geologists *know* are there. And, well, bats live in caves.”

Saying so much without really saying *anything.*

*Dick* stares at him — and when he laughs this time it’s a little more real, but not much. “How much champagne have you had tonight, kid –“

“Don’t ever call me that, Dick. Please. I understand that secrecy is paramount for lifestyles like yours, but… well. I’ve known your secret for six years now. Jason is the first person I’ve told… who hadn’t figured it out for himself.”

*That* makes Dick rear back —

SIX YEARS!!! Still makes me happy. And Dick is smart enough to know what that means about Tim, but also hot headed enough to not know, quite, how to deal with it right away.

“You’re saying Mr. Man is Mr. *Bat*man.”

“Yes,” Tim says, and looks back over Dick’s shoulder —

“No one’s coming,” Dick says, half-absently. “Bruce is running interference while I — theoretically — figure out what your parents are plotting with Luthor.”

“LexCorp expansion into the greater Gotham area. Nothing diabolical or dastardly — just business.”

Wedding negotiations. A Bride Price.

“Kid –“

“I said –“

“Tim,” Dick says, and he just *is* gripping Tim’s shoulders, squeezing firmly and gently. “I’m sorry. But for everything you know about *us*, you don’t know *anything* about Luthor.”

Jason clears his throat. “He totally does.”

Biblically, even.

“Luthor has been the next thing to a *cancer*,” and Dick is talking to both of them. “The compounds he’s had his scientists create. The supervillains he’s bankrolled — or flat-out *created* when you think about freaking *Bizarro* –“

“I know all of that,” Tim says, as firmly as he can. “We’ve discussed the matter, and there are going to be changes. The changes have already begun.”

Not only did Tim figure out Batman when no one else could, and younger than anyone would believe, he also accomplished what Superman and the Justice League could never do–he stopped Lex Luthor’s career of crime.

Dick frowns. “Hope Terrell and Mercy Graves — and those aren’t even their real names — are *assassins* –“

“Those are their real names *now*, and they’re both far more than that.”

Nobody in Lex’s family is *just* anything.

Dick blinks at him.

Jason snorts. “Hope’s kind of his *personal* bodyguard. And bff.”

Dick blinks at Jason.

“Yeah, I know, man, it’s fucked, but that’s how things work out here. And I’m pretty damned sure that Tim has Lex wrapped around his pinky.”

Dick blinks at Tim again — and then there’s a dawning look of horror.

AHAHAHA. Yes, Dick. Welcome to the crazy. It’s a different kind of crazy than yours, but it works just as well.

“Before you say a word, Dick, I also know about you and Bruce.”

Dick doesn’t blink, wince, or anything like that. Instead, his expression hardens impressively. “You *really* don’t know a damned thing if you’re making comparisons like *that*.”

Actually, Dick, your families are closer than you realize.

“So how old were you when he started puttin’ it to you, Dick? Because that kind of thing makes a difference.”

“And how the hell would *you* know?”

Jason raises his hands and smiles that *crooked* smile. “Teen whore, five years and counting.”

And won’t that make *his* nickname as Robin interesting…

“I — it’s not like that –“

“Because you’re in love with each other?” Tim strokes Jason’s chest just a *little* restlessly. “I agree that there’s a difference. Wholeheartedly.”

BESOTTED.

Jason looks at him with his eyebrows up in question.

“I’ll go. You should –“

“Talk to Bruce, yeah, I hear you.”

“Why does he — why do you need to talk to Bruce?”

Jason grins. “Maybe for some reason, maybe for no reason. *Definitely* it’s for me to know and you to obsess about while you’re trying to deprogram Tim.”

Jay, you’re the best kind of obnoxious jackass.

“Is there a *reason* why you’re fucking with me?”

Tim raises his own eyebrow again. “It could have something to do with how much you were lying when you walked out here. How long *were* you listening?”

“Enough to catch the affection and make an on-the-fly decision to mostly mind my business until an opportunity popped up to do otherwise,” Dick says, and smiles wryly. “Look — both of you have to admit that I have *reasons* to be a secretive ass, sometimes.”

Tim sighs and nods once, but Jason is frowning —

“Too many secrets are fucking poison, Dick.”

I think it’s safe to say that Jason just *nailed* the central theme of this story–how honesty *heals* the wounds created by secrets.

Dick holds up his hands. “No argument. But we’re in the belly of the beast here –“

“You’re a guest in my lover’s home, Dick, and I’ll thank you to remember that,” and Tim shoots his cuffs. “Let’s go wherever we’re going and have done with it.”

Me-ow, Timmy.

Dick’s expression could illustrate the Wikipedia article for ‘consternation,’ but that’s not Tim’s problem. That —

All right, he’s being somewhat unfair —

There’s so much he *hasn’t* asked Lex about his history with the superheroes because he frankly doesn’t care to know —

He’ll ask. He’ll know everything, because Lex will still be Lex at the end of the recitation. There would’ve been reasons for everything he did, and that’s —

Well, he’ll disagree with most — if not all — of the reasons — wait.

Does he not want to know because he’s worried about tarnishing Lex in his eyes or because he’s worried about tarnishing *himself* more than he’s already done? The former can’t actually *happen*, so…

Damn. No wonder Mercy continues to think he’s too young for Lex. He’ll do better, starting now. He gestures Dick toward the doors.

There’s an almost *cult-ish* faith that Lex’s family has in him. It would be creepy if Lex didn’t provide, if he *wasn’t* that capable. Also? I think Tim is his happiest when he can mold himself to another person–and it’s the best for him when what that person needs is for Tim to be well-adjusted, confident, and *himself*.

“Good evening, all of you,” Tim says, pitching his voice lower and louder than it actually is.

*Now* he sounds like Toon!Tim to me, if a bit more refined.

“Why, if it isn’t Tommy Drake! Della, Della, and Della! Meet Tommy!”

“It’s Tim, actually,” Tim says, “and you are… the Nyman sisters?”

Only two of them look at him, but they both nod.

“Lex mentioned to me that he was hoping to spend time with you tonight. Something about looking for ‘real’ people for an ad campaign. Something family-oriented.”

That gets *all* of their attention — Lex had, in fact, mentioned the sisters’ modeling ambitions and the amount of ‘work’ they’d had done to facilitate careers which had, thus far, gone nowhere — and then it’s just a matter of pointing them in the right direction.

What I love *best* about the party scenes is how *transparent* the manipulation can be. Because these socialites are *idiots*. Also, Timmy’s planning something–something Lex doesn’t know about. Yet.

It’s Lex’s party, so that’s easy enough — the *largest* crush.

And, when he turns back to Bruce, the frown on his face wouldn’t look out of place on a velvet painting of a clown.

In fact, Bruce practiced staring at such a painting as it hung in Matches’ apartment…

“Tommy, it’s *mean* to chase away pretty ladies. Well, unless you don’t like that sort of thing, and I would certainly *never* judge. Would I, flyboy?” Bruce turns to smile at Jason —

Pulls on a look of utter — and interestingly *imperfect* — confusion —

And then turns back to Dick —

Who sighs deeply. “They know.”

Bruce blinks in a manner not dissimilar to that of a man who’s just been beaten with a railroad tie. “Know what, Dickie?”

HAHA! Railroad tie. I love that Tim can rattle Bruce, and that Jason can completely throw him–and if you *don’t* know that this is Bruce completely thrown, you need to go read more Batman. Srsly.

Dick rolls his eyes and pulls up his shirt to reveal the waist of the Nightwing uniform. “Know *this*. More to the point, ‘Tommy’ here says Luthor figured it out not long ago.”

Yeah, Dick, way to be careful about *secret identities*, flashing your special long johns at a party.

“Specifically, when you ‘saved’ Roy Harper from Mercy,” Tim says, and gives himself leave to study Bruce as loudly and thoroughly as he’s never done before. “Though he was already beginning to have suspicions about Roy when Mercy discussed his numerous scars and the blowback on his hands. A case could be made against casual sex, but I imagine that case has been made to people in your line of work many, many times before.”

Usually, however, the Bat-Sex-Lecture happens with slides of STDs so graphic, it’s a surprise any Robin has sex *ever*.

And Bruce’s expression is blank save for the *hard* light in his eyes. It makes them look positively *icy* —

And Tim realizes that, as intimidating glances go, this one isn’t *much* more testicle-shriveling than Lex’s own. Less, in some ways. He raises his eyebrow again, but doesn’t go so far as to cross his arms over his chest. He’s not —

He can’t be upset with Bruce and Dick for hating Lex. It’s — it’s practically in their *job* description.

Because he’s in love with a supervillain.

A *recovering* supervillain, but still —

BRASS BALLS. Timmy’s the only Robin who lies to Batman (and manipulates him to any degree) on a regular basis. He’s the only one who can. And as much as he loves Bruce, he knows the man’s not perfect and that distance gives him strength when he’s facing down the Bat. Here, Tim’s strength comes from loving Lex, and surviving Lex’s gauntlet, but the result is the same. BAMF.

Tim takes his own deep breath and smiles ruefully at Bruce. “I mostly wanted to make sure you’d have time to speak with Jason — it’s important to me that you at least give some thought to getting to know him for the wonderful person he is and the hero he could be –“

“Wait, *what*?”

Tim turns his smile on Jason for a moment and shrugs. “I make my own plans sometimes.”

HEHEHEHE! Tim will always be his own person. This plan is the Yang to the Original Plan’s Yin. Like Tim to Lex.

“Baby –“

Tim holds up a hand. “He protects people, Bruce. He’s one of the reasons why people talk about Crime Alley getting better. He’s… well. He’s already a hero, really, and has been since he was just a child hoping for a better life. I think you understand that sort of thing.”

Bruce’s nostrils flare and he *starts* to look at Jason again —

The tension visible in him is startling — and far more intimidating than his glare had been —

That tension is sex, Tim, and love. In Bruce’s particular fashion. Also, that’s the way he looks when he’s measuring teens up for the green panties. You’ve just never seen it from this angle.

Dick rests a hand on Bruce’s shoulder. “Boss –“

“A moment, Dick,” and Bruce relaxes himself all over in the space of an exhale. “What else did you want to speak to me about, Tim?” His voice —

His voice is low and dark but still soft, somehow, welcoming the way he would, perhaps, welcome any well-meaning young person —

And Tim knows — and will always know — that that is at least close to how he’d spoken to Dick on *that* night, and maybe on other nights, as well. It’s enough to make him lose the *thread* —

He’s *Batman* —

And a little part of him that Lex will never be able to touch will always be on a rooftop, taking pictures. But it’s a small piece, now.

“I’ve got something you can talk to *him* about, boss, and it starts with ‘Luthor’ and it ends with ‘Sex.'”

Right. That —

Bruce narrows his eyes.

Tim narrows his own. “I — and he — think of it as making love. Just like you do when you’re doing what you do when you’re not fighting crime, training, or pretending to be a brain-dead waste of *skin*.”

PISSY TIM FOR THE WIN!

“See how pissy he is, boss? Right there is what I was dealing with,” Dick says, and there’s a laugh in his voice that Tim doesn’t really want to *deal* with —

“Tim,” Bruce says, and rests one — huge — hand on Tim’s shoulder. “I can never judge anyone else when it comes to consensual sexuality –“

“Oh, you can judge, all right. You can judge right here and now. In fact, I’ll help — *judge*!”

*snert*

“Dick.”

Dick throws up his hands and walks away — but not far enough to be out of earshot.

Jason is staring at Tim like he’s crazy.

Bruce…

Bruce is studying him. Or, rather, Bruce is studying him *again*, and making it seem much more gentle this time around, and that —

“You know precisely how disarming that is.”

“Yes, I do. What did you want to tell me?”

He… probably should’ve expected that kind of answer. Focus. “It’s time for you to talk to Lex, Bruce. It — it was time more than twenty years ago, and it really… ah. It hasn’t stopped being time.”

And since we’re all, actually, adults here, it’s something than can be worked out with words and sex. Here Tim’s plan is revealed–and it’s the last thread–Help Lex Get Over Issues With Bruce. It will a) make Lex happier and b) the *potential*

Bruce nods once. “He told you about us.”

“The way he speaks about you is… distinctive. As is the way he thinks about you.”

Bruce closes his eyes and turns away —

And Dick moves back to his side immediately, frowning at Tim before turning the lion’s share of his attention to… the man he loves.

There is jealousy for that, and Tim isn’t sure if he’ll ever know conclusively whether it’s the old, reflexively needy desire to be a part of the lives of heroes, real *heroes*, or if it’s simply the fact that he hasn’t yet had the opportunity to comfort Lex, and to learn if he actually *could* do something so… huge.

You can. And will. In the sequel that exists-even-of-it-doesn’t-get-written. Same as any Tim-Clark interaction, and the antics of baby!Kon once thrown into this family.

Bruce covers the hand Dick has on his shoulder for only a brief moment, but Tim catches the squeeze —

“I’m thinking — uh. I’m thinking I need to go do something else *somewhere* else –“

“Please stay, Mr. Todd. If for no other reason than the fact that we need to discuss your… methodology.”

That’s totally code for *fuck in in the cloak room* but whatevs.

Jason blushes and narrows his eyes at the same time —

And, when Bruce pats Dick’s hand, Dick moves it and steps back again. There’s a rhythm there, and Tim can’t help but wonder if Hope would hate it reflexively —

“Tim… I’ll speak honestly to Lex. I promise.”

“Don’t —” Take him from me.

Tim really *does* know better, but he is also aware of the power of first loves, and newly aware of the power of *Bruce*.

Bruce raises an eyebrow in such perfectly *gentle* question that Tim feels like he’s been using the equivalent of one of those tenderizing mallets — blunt and not especially deft.

It’s more than worth a blush, in any event, and Tim shakes his head mutely — no, he can do better than that. “Thank you. For that.”

I really want to see more Tim and Bruce interactions in this world, mostly because Bruce was such a specter throughout the piece, and now the Triad is complete. But what we *are* given? I simply wonderful.

Anyway, Tim and Dick collect Hope and go of to have a Serious Discussion.

“You watched my parents die.”

“Yes.”

“You started stalking me.”

“Yes.”

“You –” Dick shakes his head. “What *is* your life?”

“Before Lex, it was essentially empty save for Elfquest parties where I pretended that the only thing I cared about was pretending to be someone else and the nights I spent on rooftops and in alleys working to get the best possible pictures of you and your family. I had some excellent ones of Barbara Gordon and Roy Harper before I destroyed them all. In any event, I’m aware that that was pathetic and more than a little creepy. I’m getting better.”

HA! I love not only his creepy, but how he is able to admit he was creepy but still be so understated. Because Tim is understated, right up until you get his hackles up:

“Lex is going to change the *world*, Dick –“

“He already *has*. This is what I’m *saying*. He’s the worst man in the *world* –“

“No, he isn’t. He’s someone who has made questionable choices over the years and has misused his money and influence. He recognizes these things –“

“And the power of your love compels him? Tim, it doesn’t *work* that way. For *anyone*.”

Except for Tim. Because his love is backed by the awesome power of his *ass*. And Dick is wrong–people *can* change for love–it just needs to be their own idea.

And Tim’s assertions don’t stop Dick from trying to pull him away–much like Jason did. Except Dick has more knowledge about the situation, which, i feel, actually hurts his case, and Dick is Dick and Tim is Tim–it rattles Tim more than Jason was able to.

But Dick grabs Tim, heedless of Hope’s tension, spins him to face him — “You dreamed of this. Of *us*.”

“Of course I did –“

“Why did you — no. *Don’t* give up on us. I — fucking *hell*, Tim! What do you think we would’ve done if you’d come to the manor one day and *told* us what you knew?”

“Mindwiped me for the good of the world.”

“Heroes don’t — all right, *some* heroes do that, but it’s really, *really* frowned upon in the community.”

Though it does explain a few things…

Tim raises an eyebrow.

“That was a joke. It was — it was mostly a joke. You would’ve found that *really* funny if you had a pair of kevlar-nomex jockeys of your own.”

Aww, fuck you, Infinite Crisis. You killed Blue Beetle. You left Booser *without his soulmate*. We’re not speaking anymore.

That’s not to say I don’t love Jamie. Because I do. And his family is excellent. But Ted was *awesome* and friends with Babs, and Timmy’s favorite, and was a *man* with *body issues* and you don’t see that very often, and he was super-smart and *funny* and–

I digress.

Because for all that Dick and Bruce can rattle Tim, Tim is Lex’s and there to stay.

Hope nods once. “Lex was worried about losing you to Bruce Wayne.”

“I — what?”

“In truth, we were all worried about that. About how you could go to him if we were ever… morally unacceptable.”

Tim nods and turns back to Hope. “What do you believe? About me, I mean.”

“That you will keep your promises. We have fulfilled your needs the way no one ever has. We have given you all of ourselves — even Mercy will never lie to you again — and you have… fed on us. You are one of us, and you will always be so, though I cannot say for sure whether or not you will need to test your bonds to us in some way, someday.”

Tim nods slowly. “Is there anything else?”

“If Lex were to do something morally unacceptable, you would be in severe emotional pain. Lex is not capable of causing that.”

He really, really isn’t.

But Hope is right–Tim will always push his boundaries–that’s part of what Lex loves about him.

And Dick? Is starting to come to terms.

Dick snorts and shakes his head. “So I’m getting that you’re a piece of work… but I’m also getting that it’s working *for* you, so… who am I to judge?”

“You’re wearing the product he always wished he could wear?”

“No, that was Jason’s idea. I frankly think I look like I’ve been electrocuted, but the comments thus far have been mostly positive.”

Dick waggles his head back and forth. “It definitely makes you *look* sharp. And like a New Jersey native.”

HA! It really, really does. I wish I could say no, but big hair *is* still big in Jersey, and spiking makes it big. I’d have more of a moral high ground if my hair wasn’t currently standing straight up out of my head (and a particularly Jersey shade of bleach blond) but..anyway…

Dick finally puts his foot *entirely* into his mouth, and:

And Hope makes an odd noise. It’s loud, raucous, and *lasting*, and, when it ends, Hope cocks her head to the side and blinks. “I… hm.”

*Oh*. “Hope! I think you just laughed!”

“Was it… I… hm.”

“Well, when you think about it, what Dick said was very funny.”

Hope nods thoughtfully. “The idea of Lex being… indifferent.”

“To *anything*.”

“*Ever* –” And Hope makes the sound again.

It’s a bit like the sound one could expect if one were to place a large, deaf, and overweight cat inside an accordion, and it makes Tim smile widely enough that his face hurts. He gets up and moves into hug position —

And Hope wraps her arms around him and *spins him around*.

It’s a bit alarming, but she stops while Tim still has some of his equilibrium —

And Dick is back to looking at them like they’re crazy.

I love that Hope’s laugh, one that comes from genuine amusement, still threatening.

This scene also drives a point home. Tim tests himself:

“It’s not about how much I trust him,” Tim says, and looks *deep* within himself to make sure he means it —

And breathes a little easier when he’s sure that he does. Just —

“Look, you can give me the skeptical look all you want, Dick, but it’s not *about* that.”

It’s about *secrets*.

Dick squeezes Tim’s shoulders. “Then tell me what it *is* about.”

“Simple — whether or not he had a right to the secret. And, eventually, after listening to him *hurt* about who he believed Bruce had become one too many times — “

Dick snorts —

“*No*,” Tim says, and tears himself free. “I’ve put up with you saying a lot of insulting things about my loved ones for the past hour, but I will *not* let you laugh about my lover’s *pain*.”

Dick rears back — “You’re saying this is serious. That *Lex fucking Luthor* was serious about *Bruce*?”

“Why the *fuck* do you find that difficult to *believe*, Dick? I –” Tim shakes his head and considers doing his own pacing — no.

Control.

Control. “Bruce was the first person to treat Lex *like* a person after his mother died, and Bruce all but *demanded* Lex have a sexual relationship with him, and then, all of a sudden, Bruce became a drunken, stupid *asshole* and never so much as had a *conversation* with Lex again. No breakup. No letters. No *closure*, and so, by the time *I* came along –” Tim cuts himself off with a hiss.

Bruce had fucked him up and make Lex perfect for you, just like your parents did to you for him.

He doesn’t hug himself.

He *still* doesn’t fucking pace —

“Bruce fucked Lex over, Dick. Plain and simple. Now, we both know at least some of *why* he did it, and, in the end, I wouldn’t have been able to keep it from Lex anymore. It was already hurting me to do it every time Lex got that *look* in his eyes. And maybe a part of me can’t help but wonder what the world would look like if Bruce had trusted Lex a little more.”

Dick coughs and then looks somewhat stricken — “Tim, you.” There’s no more somewhat — Dick’s frown would be as cartoonish as Bruce’s had been if it weren’t so real. “Do you *realize* what you just did to me?”

“Ah… made you think about sex?”

“Made me think about sex with a *supervillain*. Jesus, kiddo, you may as well have been talking about Gorilla *Grodd*.”

“Oh, come on. There are any number of perfectly aesthetically pleasing supervillains, ridiculous costumes and all. And *speaking* of ridiculous costumes –“

Harley’s *corset*–oh, wait, you mean the *Panties of Justice*.

Or maybe *THIS*

YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!

There are *so many* things wrong with this picture. I mean–I just–nipples–ow…

Dick jabs a finger at him. “You are *not* about to slag on the Robin suit. You *used* to dream about wearing one yourself.”

“The fact that I like certain things does not automatically make them non-ridiculous. Case in point, this tuxedo.”

HA!

Dick scowls — then sighs again. “It *is* a good color on you. Your lover has always had excellent taste in *clothes*, anyway.”

And that… was an offer of the only kind of truce Tim is likely to get. He uses his free hand to cover the one Dick has on his thigh —

And when Dick smiles crookedly he looks nothing like Jason and like everything Tim’s childhood could’ve been.

And now that Jay’s fucking Bruce, Dick will always be in your life, a physical reminder, but also a tangible *presence*–something *real*.

And, because human wire cage monkeys make the best superheroes, they discuss cuddle therapy.

“Hope has become a great believer in the ability of properly applied affectionate touch to defuse problematic situations,” Tim says, and splays his thighs slightly.

“Thank you,” Dick says, and puts his hand down. “I have to say I agree with Hope. You don’t know how many horrible fights the Titans wiped off the map with just some serious, hardcore Advanced Cuddle.”

Tim hums thoughtfully. “I could hear the capital letters in your voice.”

“Oh, it’s not like Basic or Moderate Cuddle. Advanced Cuddle involves at least a little pointed nudity, *large* soft surfaces, and at least three people.”

Hope pauses and turns to look at Dick. “And this is a successful venture.”

Dick blows out a breath. “It’s tough. It’s really tough. Some people — they get really embarrassed about needing physical comfort. Other people wait so long without getting it that they’re — prickly. Stabby. Pokey. You know. Er… do you?”

Mercy. Lex (before Tim). Tim (before Lex)…

Hope nods once.

“Well, all right. Anyway, there are a lot of challenges, so you wanna start with your Basic or your Moderate Cuddle. Start with two cuddlers and most of your clothes on, add people and subtract clothing as things calm down.”

Hope looks at Tim. “We will try this.”

“I’m absolutely willing, Hope. Though… ah. Mercy should probably… ah?”

“I will drug her if necessary,” and Hope turns back to Tim’s hand.

Well. That’s —

Necessary.

But once the ice is broken with cuddle therapy, they move on to teasing, playing, and becoming friends.

“Things, hunh? You do know this is not even *remotely* the way to act with a childhood hero, right?”

“Well, if you’d *rather* I threw myself at you and begged for the chance — oh, if only! — to fellate you –“

Dick coughs — “Okay! All right! You just… you never considered asking for an *autograph*?”

“You, a tattoo needle, and my –“

“Jesus! Don’t — uh. Don’t.”

Tim knows his smile is rather obnoxious, but he’s okay with that.

Dick blinks and raises his hands. “Okay! There’s nothing wrong with being a geek. Barbara is one of the biggest computer geeks I *know*, and she’s… well,” Dick says, and shrugs.

“I know you *were* romantically involved with her –“

“And never tell me what you caught on camera. *Both* Bruce and I were involved with her, and she just… well, she got a little tired of us, I think. She didn’t *say* she was bored, but I think she was. I just… she’s always been so far *ahead*, you know?”

Tim nods and lets himself thrill for what can only be described as premium dish —

The tuxedo may be dangerous to wear for extended periods of time.

*snert* SO GAY. Also, makes me want *this* Tim to meet Babs. I wonder, if like other Tims, she could make him question is homosexuality.

“I… well. It suited my inner fanboy for Batgirl and Robin to be together, but I’m capable of understanding that fantasies aren’t always well-suited to the real world.”

You’re inner fanboy was your outer fanboy he was so large, don’t lie.

Dick sighs. “Yeah, she… she described us in fairy-tale terms. And not in a flattering way, either.”

He. The *Peterest* of Pans…still one of my favorite lines.

What would it really be *like* to be the third to Batman and Robin? Maybe even the *fourth* to Batman, Robin, and Superman… hm. “What… is it difficult for female superheroes?”

“Heh, I… Troia’s given me an earful about it more than once. Mostly it’s the older heroes that say and do fucked-up things, but they also have to put up with a lot more shit from the media. Stuff about whether or not they’ve gained weight, countless questions about who they’re dating, snide little comments about whether their uniforms are slutty or prudish — heh. There’s more, but those are the ones Troia and Babs taught me to see.”

Tim makes a face reflexively —

“It is, in some ways, far better to be… a villain,” Hope says, and brushes a microscopic bit of dust from her lapel.

You know, Hope’s right. At least, when you’re a villain, people are looking at what you’re *doing* and not what you’re *wearing*. It pisses me off that women are *still* regulated to the realm of looks and sex, but that less people seem to realize it now. Look at songs. Yes, there are more female singers out there now, but look at what they’re singing–love songs. Broken heart songs. I’m more than my gender songs. But it all comes back to that theme. (I realize that I’m making generalizations, but think about it. It’s *hard* to think of songs sung by women that aren’t about these topics.) And we see it with the female superheroes–their stories focus on their relationships, their looks, their fighting to be seen as more than their looks–everything with them is sex (The Great Starfire Debate, case in point)–and it doesn’t help that it’s because of the way the books are written. Yes, it reflects attitudes in society, but these are creations, people, and can be used to buck the system–to be subversive. And they aren’t. Even when they should.

Grrr.

Then Jason comes back:

“Man, I can fucking *feel* the violence about to happen on my ass,” Jason says from the hall. “It’s just me, I swear.”

Tim smiles rather helplessly —

Dick eyes him *curiously* —

And Hope straightens Tim’s tie. Hm.

“For Jason?”

“Mercy told me that he performed admirably well.”

Because Hope *is* in constant communication — right —

“Nah, nah, *Tim* is the show-pony in this family,” and Jason walks in with his hands in his pockets. *Four* buttons of his shirt are open, exposing the magnificently tight undershirt, and the rumpling makes him look —

“Jesus, Jason, were you *screwing* Bruce?” And Dick is laughing while he says it —

But Jason blushes.

BRUCE CAN MAKE JASON BLUSH; THE MAN IS A FORCE OF NATURE!

Dick’s jaw drops — “You –“

“Whoa, no! No! I just, you know, thought about it. A little. Fuck, man, he was your fucking guardian and *you* still do him!”

“That’s — okay, he’s hot –“

“He’s — that fucking *voice* –“

“Oh, the voice. Yeah, the voice is… yeah,” Dick says, resettling with his legs straight out in front of him while he leans back onto his hands. “Good talk? You’re coming home with us tomorrow?”

“What? No — I mean, I’m still. Uh. He said something about not wanting to rush — uh. Why are you fucking *coping*?”

Because Dick is *known* for his mood swings? And really, what else is he going to do at this point? He’s spent time with Tim, he’s drunk the fucking Kool Aide. Yet another to be drawn into the crazy-but-it-works world that Lex’s family creates.

Dick raises his eyebrows. “Like maybe you’re the *first* ridiculously pretty and competent teenager Bruce has gone a little nuts for? You should see the girl we’re training up now. She’s Tim’s age, but she looks — well, she’s formed — uh. Anyway.”

Jason raises his *own* eyebrows. “Girls, too? That… I don’t know *why* that makes me relax a little, but it totally does. She’s cool?”

“She’s great, Jason –“

And *boy* do I want to see her play with Lex’s Tim. They would click just as hard as Tim and Jason, and–oh–Lex and STEPH. Mercy would like her better because she’s a girl, but still be tense *all the time* because Steph may just try to crush Lex’s nuts *first* and ask questions *later*–

And really, the Bats and the Luthors work well as cousin families.

Especially since Dick and Jay *BOND*

Just as there *aren’t* words for the series of *incredibly* fast and graceful motions that lead to Dick being wrapped most of the way around Jason. “You have no *idea* how much of a fight Tim’s been giving me, and you got Bruce to get that *look* he gets when he’s making a life-altering decision for someone else, and you just proved that this city isn’t insane. Go you.”

“Hey, man, I *take* Gotham with me wherever I fucking go.”

“Ooh, tough guy –“

“You know Mercy calls me that, right?”

Dick makes a face. “Look, Tim already made me think of Lex fucking Luthor’s sex life tonight. Be *gentle*.”

Never. Nope. Nuh-uh, no *way*. That’s just no *fun*. Besides, rough can be *good*, just ask Tim 😉

Because, after all:

And Dick turns to look at him. “You — what the hell did you *do* to Luthor, Tim?”

Tim puts on his best bitch-face. “I saved him with the power of my –“

“Cute, cute, *cute* little ass, baby? Yes, you totally did.”

I admit, this is the main reason why I call this “the one where Tim’s ass saves the DCU”, but still. It’s about love and family, and need and trust, and the way they can all be expressed and solidified through sex–meaningful sex. Sex based on truth–Lex’s type of sex. Tim’s kind of sex, after all:

That — “I *am* capable of having sex without submitting, Jay.”

“Yeah, but are you capable of making *love* without it?”

Tim opens his mouth — and closes it again.

It all goes back to need. BDSM, subbing in particular, lets Tim feel wanted and needed, it lets him *let go* and allows him to get the emotional connection that’s essential to a love connection.

Speaking of Love Connections, while this is happening, Lex removes himself from the party, and is confronted approached by Bruce.

He’s here. A place to be comfortable. 

A place to be humble. 

A place to be reminded of how far he’s come. 

A place — 

To listen to Bruce Wayne exhale loudly enough to make himself heard from… hn. Four paces away. 

Lex turns to face him — yes, four. “Bruce.” 

I love that this is a skill that they *both* have, I really do. It makes one wonder who learned it first, who taught it to *whom*, and brings home all of their similarities.

“Lex,” he says, and his voice is deeper than it had once been and harder by far — but it’s still the closest thing Lex has heard *to* that voice in too *fucking* long — 

No. Control. “I frankly wasn’t sure you’d come.” 

Bruce narrows his eyes in a smile which *used* to reach his mouth. “I frankly wasn’t sure Mercy hadn’t rigged this room with death traps.” 

And, yes, they *are* going to be that kind of honest with each other. Lex smiles for himself. “Let a boy come out just a *little* and he *will* be honest about absolutely everything he can, I suppose,” and Lex pulls on a little of the arch *he’d* used to give Bruce nearly to the exclusion of all else — 

“Do you love him?” 

Well. “And what, pray tell, would an answer to that question mean to *you*?” 

Bruce winces and nods. “He has… bloomed with you.” 

“You remember him from the parties in Gotham.” 

Bruce meets his eyes with a stare that’s just — “I remember everything.” 

Ouch, Bruce. True, though. Bruce doesn’t *stop*, it’s part of what makes him *BATMAN*–he remembers, the thinks, he loves forever, grieves forever–and would continue to brood eternally if his family let him.

These opening moves–when Lex met Tim I compared it to a courtroom, the beginning of negotiations. This is more like the opening moves of a chess game, all strategy and poking at weaknesses.

*Control*. “How old was he when you began fucking him?” 

And yes, that’s enough to make Bruce look at him again, into him — 

“I really, really, really would like to know, darling.”

“Is Tim your darling, now?” 

Lex — doesn’t clench his hands into fists. “Yes. And far more than that.” 

Bruce nods slowly, not looking away — “Fourteen. He had already taken… other lovers.” 

“And that was enough to excuse –” 

“No,” Bruce says, and his smile is a wintry *lack*. “But it did wear down certain emotional obstacles.” 

And if all your friends jumped off a bridge–no.

The main difference here is that Bruce still thinks of it as a weakness. A necessary weakness, but a weakness none the less. He shouldn’t have done it. Lex, remember, doesn’t believe in “should” and for someone morally grey, can be surprisingly black and white at times.

What he wouldn’t *give* to not have taken up residence in a glass house — no. There are some things he wouldn’t give, at all. Humility may not be a pleasant thing, but it’s useful. He’ll remember that — 

“He reminds me of you. Tim, I mean,” Bruce says, *precisely* out of nowhere. 

*TRI-AD* I really need these three in a room at some point. Possibly one with a *big* bed and several interesting leather pieces…

“He’s nothing — he reminds me of you. Constantly.” 

Bruce narrows his eyes and breathes deep — “I never stopped desiring you, Lex. You were… you were my first. And I will not allow you to hit me with a fireplace poker.” 

AHAHAHAHAH! Fireplace poker! Also, Bruce doesn’t stop loving. Ever. It’s something Te has played up, but it’s canon, people.

What — Lex stares down at his hand, and at the poker in it. He laughs because he *has* to — “You have to admit that you deserve it.” 

“Yes, I do. Still.” 

“Oh, yes, because you have *so* many things to do which would be far too inconvenient with a broken collarbone.” 

Bruce raises his eyebrows in a better smile. “Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.” 

But you would do them *anyway* because you’re the mother-fucking BATMAN, and Alfred despairs of you.

Lex snorts and shoves the poker back into its sconce on the rack. “You could’ve told me.” 

“What would you have done?” 

“Talked you *out* of it, you *ass*,” Lex says, and closes the distance between them. “It’s beyond idiotic.” 

Lex, you could only talk him out of it if he could talk you out of the death rays. Well…He might have been the only one of Bruce’s contemporaries who *could* talk him out of it.

“It’s my life, and my Mission.” 

This time, the sneer can’t actually be restrained. “You *capitalized* that.” 

“I often do.” 

Lex steps back and pinches the bridge of his nose. He — can think. He’s an adult, and all of those hormones, all of those moments of raw *need* — 

“Lex –” 

“Shut up.” 

“If I’d known –” 

“Do not. Even think. About finishing that sentence.”

Poor Lex. All the Bruce!crazy is giving him a headache. But the poking has agitated the wound, and *something* is bound to break.

“Will you look at me again?” 

(“Give me a *moment* to see your eyes when you’re actually *feeling* something –“) Lex looks up and raises an eyebrow — 

And Bruce is studying him like it’s the first time, like maybe Lex is moments away from ducking into his carefully overstuffed closet and walking out wearing gold lame and four-inch platform heels — 

Or perhaps just like Lex is hiding from him again. Lex closes his eyes — 

“Don’t — please.” 

Lex opens his eyes again. “Bruce…” 

“You have to realize — it’s a *relief*. It — I’ll *never* be able to tell Harvey who I really am, but you –” 

Secrets aren’t just *poison*, they’re an *infection*–and this is like lancing a boil–messy and painful but the wound will *finally* heal. Especially when the ramifications of what *happened* all those years ago gets discussed.

Bruce narrows his own eyes… and smiles. He doesn’t show his teeth, but, then, for this smile — 

“I taught you how to look like that.” 

“You taught me much,” Bruce says, and the challenge is unmistakable, a warning in and of itself — 

But there’s no time to *take* the warning before the realization hits. “You’re telling me that I taught you to fake your entire fucking *existence*?” 

Bruce’s laugh — his *real* laugh — is, ultimately, the same as it was then — a breath and a note which hardly seems worth the effort until one thinks about how long it’s been since one has last *heard* the accursed thing — 

“You can’t *possibly* be blaming me –” 

“I’m thanking you, Lex. You taught me… hn. People will accept the easiest possible answer all the time, no matter how much evidence to the contrary is laid at their *feet* –” 

“You *never* gave me any evidence –” 

“I had to work harder with you. I trained myself to drink to excess while still retaining some measure of my faculties in part so that I could firm your sense of me as a drunk. I called on Alfred to teach me every trick he’d learned as an actor –” 

“And *spy* –” 

“And spy, yes. He taught me the lessons you kept to yourself, such as how to build a persona into a person in its own right — or the simulacrum of one. He taught me how to go hours and days without ever showing a sign of how I truly felt about anything, how to move through the world within a fraction of myself…” Bruce smiles ruefully. “Everything you learned as a child.”

Which, really, oh *LEX*. Lionel was a monster. But he taught you how to be you, and you taught Bruce, and it let you *fix* Tim–

And, with it all out in the open, Bruce and Lex are able to *play* for the first time in *twenty-five years*:

Bruce nods and reaches out — he doesn’t *quite* touch Lex’s face, but Lex can feel the warmth of his hand. “You own more lavender items than many seven-year-old girls, Lex.” 

Well… “Purple *is* for royalty, darling.” 

*YES* Yes, it is. The banter in this scene is just wonderful, because Lex is just a little bit camp, and Bruce is a little bit bitch, and it’s just wonderfully cutting and witty and they’re *happy* while they’re doing it.

And they’re led to where they stand now–former lovers who are rekindling that spark, but as friends for whom sex is part of their lives, but not the other’s one-and-only. Lex has Tim, and Bruce–well, it’s either Dick or Jason.

It’s almost bittersweet, but Bruce:

“I think I don’t want to be your darling anymore.” 

Ouch — damn it — “No…?” 

“I want to be your friend. I want to speak to you about my life. I want to talk you out of doing terrible things. I want your admiration for the good of my life and your approbation for the rest. I want your help in making Gotham into the kind of city people like Tim won’t run from –” 

“You shot yourself in the *cock* for that. Nobody listens to urban renewal plans from drunken pussyhounds –” 

Lex proving, once again, to be the master of the turn of phrase.

“No, they don’t. Lucius has successfully been my front for the few projects I’ve gotten through the bureaucracy, and the Foundation is in good shape…” Bruce shakes his head and offers his eyes again, the eyes that had *broken* Lex, time and fucking time *again* — “Tell me it’s true, Lex. Tell me I can believe in what Jason has told me about you. Tell me –” 

“That I’m still the boy you supposedly loved? Please –” 

“*Lex*.” 

“You *will* not bring me to heel, Bruce, so get that pathetic fucking idea out of your head –” 

“Tim wants us –” 

“Don’t *use* him. Don’t ever –” 

The kiss is — unexpected. 

Only because Bruce can throw you off your footing, Lex. You’re regain it soon enough.

“There was always a way, back then,” Bruce says, and he doesn’t seem to be *blinking*. “There was always some small thing I could say or do which would convince you to take down your armor, to give me something like what I *needed*.”

“It was never fucking *small*, you –” Lex growls and gives himself leave to pace, to move, to taste air which doesn’t smell like a cologne even more ridiculous than the one he’s taught Tim to love on him — 

Tim is worried about this. Tim doesn’t believe in him *enough*, yet — 

He has a wonderful idea for a ring — 

No, earrings first. Something which absolutely screams about how ridiculously queer he is. It’s not like he’ll ever make Tim go back to *school* — 

“This is how you look when you think about him.” 

like *this*, maybe?

Lex closes his eyes — 

“Please don’t. Please — you have to — you’ve only ever let me see how *hard* you could be, how cold, how *cruel* –” 

“I *am* cruel –” 

“You’re in love, and you’ve promised him the world. Will you give it to him?” 

“We –” Lex laughs again and turns to Bruce. “We could’ve owned this country.”

“Probably. I never wanted it.” 

And that’s the reason why they would never *really* work. Lex *is* a megalomaniac. Tim’s just put it to good use.

“He does. Granted, he only wants to make the kind of sweeping changes which benefit humanity as a whole, but really, that sort of optimism blended with just the right — or wrong — kind of will to power… he already sees the world in shades of grey, Bruce.” 

Bruce pulls back, shutters himself — 

No. 

He can’t — 

“Oh, *fuck* you, Bruce, the only corruption I plan to introduce is that which allows him to spend more time sitting on my *cock*. I *like* how good he is. I *like* the way he challenges me, and, yes, I *like* the idea of being the man I’ve always wanted to be rather than the man my father wanted me to be.” 

I love this. Lex needs Tim to be his, and needs to make it public (hiding is bad form. Secrets are dangerous) and in order to do so, he must change the world. *AND DO IT FOR TIM’S ASS*.

As they’re working out their issues, they’re moving closer to hot library!sex. They’re peeling back layers, admitting truths that should have been aired when they were in their teens:

“You made me feel terrified. Obvious about my own curiosity. And, yes, shameful.” 

Bruce *flexes* his fists — 

“You’re telling me you *didn’t* figure that out? Are you *serious*?” 

“I… couldn’t be sure of the conclusions I made,” and Bruce’s voice is even darker — 

More *familiar* — “Oh, no –” 

“Emotions are a liability to the Mission,” *Batman* says — 

“I will have Mercy shoot you full of tranquilizers and then I will *beat* you until your *brain* is a *stain* on my *floor* –“

LOVE! Lex is so–LEX. Violence = Love.

A chuckle. A — 

“Are you *laughing* at me?” 

“I’m laughing,” *Bruce* says, *thankfully*, “at both of us. And at the hash we’ve made… hm.” Bruce turns to look at him again. “You honestly believed I never loved you.” 

“I *believed* that you had wasted one of the finest minds I ever had the privilege of enjoying. Figuring out that you were the motherfucking *Batman* convinced me that you’d never loved me.”

Bruce narrows his eyes. “I’d forgotten how much you cursed.” 

“Fucking *cope* –” 

I just love everything about this. The passion, Lex’s language, Bruce’s rueful acceptance of their ignorance and idiocy…The familiarity here is almost painful.

“Fuck, Bruce, I’m not — I’m never going to be *you* –” 

“Yes, and you’re going to do things I find terrible in the future. I have no doubt of this. You are neither my ally nor my partner.”

Lex swallows. “Bruce –” 

“Superman told me about Tim. I’m not at all sure why he didn’t tell Dick.” 

It’s always so fascinating whenever there’s an *actual* red wash over his vision. “The alien spied on me. I see.” 

“He found it curious that an obviously underaged male with a Gotham accent was calling your name in that way.” 

“His voice — will always make him sound younger than he is. I.” This time, Bruce doesn’t smile when Lex laughs. Well enough. “You’ve had me on your leash, too.” 

“I will not use this weapon against you, Lex.”

Lex crosses his arms over his chest. “Unless I fuck up badly enough?” 

“Not even then. I can’t — I can’t.” 

“But Superman can?” 

Bruce smiles wryly. “He wants to. Badly. Even after I pointed out how young Dick was when they began making love. For some reason, he feels a great deal of antagonism toward you.” 

All right, that’s funny — 

Yes, yes it really is.

But it begs the question: *Why* can’t Bruce use it? Because he’s not that much of a hypocrite? Because he still cares for Lex and can’t bring himself to hurt him? Probably a mixture of both.

Bruce smiles *again* — 

“Did he know about the two of us?” 

“Yes. However, I now know that he’d never allowed himself to think very deeply about the implications of the two of us having been lovers.” 

*stops to think about it* Hmm. Visions of prep-school-boy porn is probably *not* what Clark was avoiding.

Lex raises an eyebrow — 

“I never make love to people I wouldn’t happily spend my life with.” 

Lex *seizes* inside — “Fucking *hell*, Bruce!” 

BRUCES ARE FOREVER. *That* is something that Clark would try to avoid thinking about. Oh Bruce, you turned your life into a fucking *Opera*, you know that? One with bombast, but still…

Conversation winds its way back to Tim:

“Did Tim understand your need for dominance?” 

“From the very beginning. He was… well-informed.” 

“And inclined in that direction. Like me.”

“I thought –” Lex doesn’t lick his lips *again* — “I believed you were more desperate than anything else.” 

You were young, Lex. It’s ok.

“If you’d like, I’ll give you the psychological profiles I’ve done on myself. I’ve been assured they’re just as creepy as they should be.” 

Lex snorts — 

So did I.

“Lex. I love you –” 

“Shut *up*. *Who* told you that you were creepy?” 

“Superman. Dick. Wonder Woman –” 

“They –” Lex narrows his eyes. “They’re all your lovers.” 

“With varying degrees of regularity.” 

I know it’s popular, but I have a hard time seeing Wonder Woman and Batman together. I mean, it makes sense. She’s a powerful woman and dominant, and he’s a powerful man and–not. But I dunno. I like them best as friend. It’s probably my underused femslash brain screaming at me, “No! Not this one! This one is *ours*!” And while I’m happy to make straights gay in fic, I *really* don’t like going in the other direction. And I make all women I like lesbians. So, reguardless of where she falls in canon, my Wonder Woman is for the ladies.

Though, I might accept Bruce in drag.

“You — with an *alien* who can lie to a human without so much as breaking a *metaphorical* sweat –” 

And Bruce smiles at him. “I’ve learned to trust him.” 

*With my penis* (Try it! It’s like that game you play with fortune cookies.)

“And submit to him?” 

*With your penis*

Bruce smiles more widely. 

*With his penis* ;D

“I — get *out* –” 

“He was never a replacement for you, Lex –” 

“No one *could* be,” Lex says, and no, he can’t actually keep himself from advancing on Bruce, forcing him to step back and back — 

No, no one could be. That’s why you’re cloning yourself. That, and so that Tim will always have you around.

Anyway, sex happens, and:

He can’t feel a damned thing. What — 

Lex *shoves* back — 

“*Lex* –” 

“What are you *wearing* under –” Lex stops and *fights* the red wash — “You’re wearing the motherfucking *Batsuit* in my *home*?” 

“It never leaves me… but it does come off.” 

“Stop making that sound like a fucking *metaphor*!” 

Ha! If he only could, Lex.

Of course Bruce is wearing the Batsuit. He knew something was happening, but didn’t expect *TIM*–he thought he might have to fight your Kryptonite Powered Mech Suit–you know, that green and purple Superfriends throwback? Yeah. That.

Bruce cups Lex’s face with one hand this time. “Don’t you think it’s time for you to surrender your feud with English literature, Lex?” 

Lex blinks. 

Bruce raises a *pointed* eyebrow. 

For the love of *science*, that’s infuriating — Lex blows out a breath. “You’re always going to be holding a piece of yourself in abeyance.” 

“Lex –” 

“*That* is what you’re really saying. Isn’t it.” 

Bruce was never your one and only. And it hurts, it really hurts, but you *do* have him back, and you have Tim, who is better for you.

Bruce — looks at him. *Feels* at him, really, because the longing in those eyes, the hunger and *regret* — 

He can’t — Lex laughs again and rubs his temple. “Oh, Bruce. It won’t stop me.” 

“It should.” 

Oh — Lex knows his smile is savagely *insane* by the way Bruce’s eyes widen — “Tim believes in ‘should,’ too, you know. For now. I *will* break him of that.” 

Yes, Lex. Focus on Tim, on making Tim even more perfect. Let Bruce be Bruce. Really, he’s more *useful* to you that way.

Especially when the sex finally happens uninterrupted by major issues. Once again, we get great banter:

“Where the fuck is your *staying* power?” 

Bruce gasps a laugh and shudders his way through it, spattering Lex’s abdomen and cock —

It feels too *good* — 

Bruce pants and stares down at him. 

“*What*?” 

Bruce *smiles* — “I tend to leave my staying power in my… other clothes.” 

Oh — no. “You have *sex* as Batman? Are you *nine*?” 

“I did already offer you the psychological profiles, Lex,” and Bruce licks his lips. “I’ve missed this scent.” 

Lex sits up on his elbows and breathes deep… “I think it could use a bit more adolescent drama –“

“You have Tim for that.” 

“Did you just say something disparaging about the love of my life?” 

Bruce parts his lips, searches him — “No. But the fact that even a part of you jumped to that conclusion — you miss him right now.” 

Lex closes his eyes and gives himself the memory of Tim calling his name over and over and — 

That, of course, is what the *alien* had heard — 

That should’ve only been for *him* — and for Hope and Mercy, of course — 

“Lex. Please let me see you.” 

Lex opens his eyes again and smiles wryly. “I’m annoyed at the ubermensch for listening in. Deeply annoyed.” 

*UBERMENSH*

“You believe he stole something from you… something precious. Needed. Adored,” and Bruce smiles as he expertly massages Lex’s shoulders, biceps, and chest — 

“You’re disgustingly happy.” 

“You’re in love. I’ve always wanted to see that.” 

“I loved *you* –” 

“And showed me nothing.” 

“I *still* –” Lex narrows his eyes. 

Bruce raises an eyebrow. 

“Suck. My. Cock.” 

They were first loves. They were *almost* perfect. They’ve both moved on to better, though their shared past shaped them, and keeps them bound together today.

Also, I love that last line there, partially because it’s Lex saying *fuck you* and partially because Bruce *does*.

Also–Cock, Penis, Dick. Word choice means a lot, when it comes to describing the phallus (there’s another one) and a lot can be said about the person, depending on which word is chosen. Bruce and Tim are more distant and clinical–penis. Lex is passionate and calculatingly crude–Cock. Dick is in love with his own puns.

But the important thing is that they’re playing again.

“If you. If you’re about to be a fucking cocktease out of jealousy? I will damned well go ahead with my plans to build a Kryptonite-powered mech suit and wreak bloody fucking *havoc*.”

Bruce licks his lips.

“*What*?” 

“Will it be purple?” 

Lex narrows his eyes. 

Bruce raises his eyebrow *again* — 

Silly question, Bruce.

And their scene ends with the realization that time has passed, that they’re *old* now, and that the past is gone–and can stay that way.

That — Lex laughs. “Time, Bruce. It’s hitting me.” 

Bruce twines his fingers with Lex’s own. “I think… hm.” 

“Yes?” 

“This is an abominably painful position.” 

Lex snorts and kicks the couch back a foot. “Straighten *out*.” 

“Yes, I –” Bruce sighs and stretches his legs, kicking the couch even further away. “I think I may be getting old.” 

“No. If *you* get old, then *I* have to.” 

I have *heard* my parents say similar things to me when I complain about stiffness. FYI.

“Perish the thought.” 

And Lex remembers the *cold* look in Alfred Pennyworth’s eyes the one and only time he had been in Wayne Manor, the way it hadn’t faded no matter *how* charming Lex tried to be — 

The way it hadn’t faded *because* Lex was trying to be charming. Right. 

“Lex… are you regretting this?” 

“No. I’m having difficult memories. More specifically, difficult memories I failed to deal with at the time are bubbling *relentlessly* to the surface.” 

Bruce squeezes Lex’s hand. “Curiously enough, I know the feeling.” 

“Tim is immensely helpful in moments like these.” 

“As is Dick.” 

Dick is the one and only. And where does Jason fit in? Will Bruce get two or will there be Bat drama? Hmm…

Lex sighs. “You do realize what that says about us, don’t you?” 

You’re a couple of old Chickenhawks?

Bruce’s laugh this time is another one of those *rumbles* — 

“The first time I heard you make that sound I was struck dumb and breathless by the need to shove my cock down your throat.” 

Bruce rumbles again. 

Lex snorts. “Bruce.” 

“A little sympathy, please. That’s the first explicit clue you’ve ever given me about how to get you to make love with me. Therefore,” and Bruce rumbles again. 

Like a purring *tiger*

“If you do that too much, I’ll put you in a *cage*.” 

“Hm.” 

“No, I don’t have that kink, Bruce.” 

“All right,” and Bruce’s tone is mild, soothing, maddening — 

Lex narrows his eyes. 

Oh, I don’t think he *believes* you, Bruce…

Bruce — hums. 

“And what’s *that* for?” 

“Tim hasn’t had as much time to train you in the ways of ‘afterglow’ as Dick has had with me.” 

Lex scowls. “I’m *good* at it with him.” 

“You… hold him?” 

“He — he needs it.” 

Bruce turns to look at him. “I need you to hold me, Lex.”

Lex — doesn’t make a face. That would be juvenile — 

And Bruce is laughing at him. It’s quiet — nearly silent — but it’s shaking his entire ludicrously huge body — 

“I hate you.” 

“Lex, I…” 

“*What*?” 

“I’ve missed you like a limb –” 

I LOVE THAT LINE. It implies the *depth* of emotion, not just of the missing, but of the *initial strength of their relationship*. Lex and Bruce are essential to each other.

“The feeling is mutual. Let’s stop talking about it before I remember how much pain, suffering, and crippling uncertainty –” 

“That we owe each other?” 

Lex snorts and pinches the bridge of his nose. He can *see* Bruce smiling at him in his peripheral vision — 

And, he must admit, it’s an entirely pleasant sort of thing. 

I mean, Bruce and Lex can both be *Shakespearean* at the best of times, and in different ways, but this is practically Antony and Cleopatra–two old lovers who can poke and tease each other. There’s a sense of bond, and also a finality. It’s *besties*.

But my *FAVORITE* part about this scene, is that I’m now imagining Bruce/Lex team ups.

Not *quite* like this. Lex still can’t stand the Batman. But–I have a wonderful daydream about Bruce calling Lex in for a consult on *something* with the League, and because they’re them they’re all flirty and bickery, and the League is all o.O–especially Clark and Ollie. And Tim is frowning in a corner, because Bruce is flirting with his *husband*, but Jay and Kon are there to distract him and keep his jealousy from becoming *too* obvious, because it’s not a good idea to rub that relationship in the League’s face right up until it *is* and–

Lex is going to change the *world*

Starting with Superboy.

The ending, I see it almost as an epilogue, is between Tim, Hope, and at the end Kon, in Cadmus.

Tim strokes the tube. “You’ll get along very well with Jason once you’re decanted, two-three-two. He’s quite easygoing and friendly.” 

“Mercy says he reminds her of Roy.” 

Lex’s eyes tend to *start* to cross whenever Roy’s name comes up, but, in the end, he’d had to agree that it was important for Mercy to get the proper amount of sexual attention from *some* source. “Will she be visiting him again soon?” 

“Next week,” Hope says, and plucks a bit of lint off Tim’s glove. “She says he has interesting ideas about improving one’s aim.” 

“That’s… ah. Hm.” 

Hope raises her eyebrows. 

“Technically, that’s… hm. I’m not… I don’t think I was expecting that degree of… ah… cross-pollination.” 

This is why I see it as an epilogue–Time has passed and it’s almost like the last chapter of Harry Potter, “This is what our Heroes have been up to” There are a lot of little tidbits of joy, here–such as Mercy/Roy.

Hope blinks at him. 

“Well, yes, you’re right, it *is* only reasonable, but… hm.” 

“You’re worried about what will happen if there is… a resurgence of hostilities.” 

Tim sighs. “Yes, I am. I mean, I believe in Lex, of course. And Mercy will never go against Lex’s wishes, and I know that Dick has been very helpful to you for your outline on the Child’s Garden of Polyamory book –” 

And this book–that I still want.

“I have also found myself… drawn toward Koriand’r.” 

“Ah… drawn?” 

Hope nods slowly. “She is… exciting.” 

And sweet baby jeebus, Hope/Kory!! (kinda)

“Hope, are you –” Wait, he doesn’t want to ask that question. Ever. 

“Tim.” 

Not ever. “Nothing, just a stray thought.” 

Poor Timmy. It’ll be ok. Tough it makes me wonder if he’s met Babs or Steph. I mean, if anybody can “get him over his aversion to girl parts” it’s gonna be one of them.

But there’s no more time, because Kon is *waking up*

He can’t wait until all the amnion is gone. He lowers the tube — 

And two-three-two cracks the top of it in his rush to get out. “Oops — damn. That wasn’t, like, expensive, was it?” 

He’s talking. He’s *floating*. He’s — 

“Aw, man, it totally was, wasn’t it?” 

He… has kind of an interesting speech pattern. Hm. 

HAHAHAHAHAHHA! I miss the old 90s surfer Superboy–even with the random garters. The boy had an earring and a leather jacket. That look was still cool when I hit puberty. It’s always going to have a place in my heart.

Two-three-two flies around the broken tube, dripping amnion from every single part of his incredibly well-formed — if distinctly adolescent — body — 

And his *hair* — 

beautiful, glorious– *ahem*

And then he lands in front of Tim. Like this, their estimates of him being four inches taller and twenty-five pounds heavier than Tim are — fact. He waves a large, square hand in front of Tim’s face and looks hopeful. 

Tim shivers — 

“Dude, Mom, are you *okay*?”

What. “Ah… ah?” 

*MOM* All I could think of when I read this was *squeee* followed by:

Except for how he totally was.

This was another thing that came up in a chat with Te. Tim as Mom. He’s *gloriously* fucked up emotionally (but it *works* so it’s okay) and might not be the best mom *material*, but he sure has hell will *try* and *gives a crap* and therefore that makes him better than most DC moms out there.

Also, random thought, you ever wonder why they give the vigi with some of the biggest parent issues a parental role? Sometimes, DC creates literary parallelism and interesting character development *by accident*

*sigh*

Two-three-two pats Tim down as if he isn’t quite sure whether he wants to check Tim for weapons or broken bones — and then he stops and frowns at his hands. “Jeez, I *know* that suit’s expensive and I just got it all –” 

“It’s okay,” Tim says, and it feels like he’s *forcing* his throat open — 

And two-three-two looks at him from under his lashes. His eyes are Lex’s own, and — “Yeah?” 

Tim takes a shaky breath. “Yes,” he says, and smiles. “Ah… welcome to consciousness.” 

A beam — “Thanks, Mom! I’ve been freaking *dying* to talk to you!” 

“… ah. Why. You just called me ‘Mom.’ Twice.” 

Two-three-two frowns at him. “Well, *yeah*. All the books and stuff were like, *totally* clear about how important it is for a mother to build a strong, communicative relationship with her child as early as possible, and, like, you were there every *day* almost.” 

Like I said. *Dedicated*

“What… what books?” 

“Uh. I could give you a list? They’re all kinda mashed together in my head, but I totally got ’em down, Mom, no worries.” 

“No… worries. Your — language. Is unexpected.” 

Another beam. “I know, right? I *totally* had to *study* to figure out how not to sound like some tool in a book,” and he punches Tim’s shoulder. “Aw, wait, no, it’s hugging with chicks, right?” 

BEST. MISUNDERSTANDING. EVER.

“Chick — you. Ah. I think. I think you’ve picked up some misconceptions. For one… I’m not a woman.” 

Only because Lex came to terms with you being male.

Kon frowns and looks him over. “Well… you’re kinda skinny, yeah, but — you’re the *mom*.” 

Tim bites his lip and holds up a finger before turning around. “Hope…” 

“Yes, Tim.” 

“How… how long before Lex is here?” 

“Mercy says ten minutes.” 

Tim blows out a breath. Okay. Just — he’s dealing, and — yes. 

“Tim.” 

“Yes, Hope?” 

“I believe you will be an excellent mother,” she says, and clicks her teeth together in the ‘laugh’ they’ve been using since two-three-two flinched so impressively from her other one. 

I love that Hope’s happy fills others with primal fear.

Tim narrows his eyes at her. 

She clicks her teeth *more*. 

Tim sighs and turns back to two-three-two — who looks up rapidly with a *guilty* expression on his face. “What is it…?” 

Two-three-two’s expression is a fascinating blend of apparent soul-deep happiness and rueful humor. “Uh. Just, you know. You’re not all skinny *everywhere*, Mom.” 

Tim blinks. “You… what.” 

Hope clicks her teeth *sharply*. “I believe he was examining your posterior, Tim.” 

Two-three-two sighs. “Yeah, I totally was. S’nice. Are you sure you’re not a chick? Wait, are you really serious and stuff? Should I say ‘woman?'” 

Teland. Keeping it in the family. And it is *so Kon*! Just decantered, and he’s checking out booty.

Also, what kind of lit was he getting/missing that he’s not programed to think that sleeping with your mother *isn’t* okay? Cadmus is full of weirdos.

Ten minutes from now, Lex is going to be plotting the intricately twisted deaths of several brilliant men and women. For now — 

For now, Tim smiles ruefully and sits on the floor. “Let’s clear some things up… son.” 

“Rock!” 

HELLS YES.

I both love and hate that this is where it ends. I love it, because it’s just so wonderful–you have every thread tied up and Kon is a spash of new color when just when you think things have settled down, and that last line just *works* for this fic. I hate it, because I didn’t want it to *end*.

But if it didn’t, you *still* wouldn’t be reading this post, so…

There you have it. Tim’s ass saved the DCU though love and submission.

I have proof that DC *tired* to use this tactic…but still failed, horribly.

That's not even---

No, Timmy, not like that...

Oh, I give up!

And they all lived happily ever after.

Next up–One from the “vaults”!

A fan

Posted on October 8, 2011, in Batman, Fic Author Recs, Fic Recs, The Te. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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