John Blake sat perched on a bench, watching the cars drive down the streets of Gotham. The cold weather was burrowing beneath his skin and into his bones, freezing him to the spot. His limbs ached from sitting so long, but he found that he didn’t mind. His breath formed small white clouds on every exhale, for a moment distorting his vision, before fading into the air.
There was something about this winter that had him on edge; that had everyone treading carefully. It was as if something was coming, but no one was sure what. It was more than the crime rate increasing; it was more than the new criminal leader.
He shook the thoughts off, because he didn’t have time to wonder. He scrubbed a hand down his face, his leather gloves rough against his chilled skin. He couldn’t remember how long he had been sitting here, trying not to think. He was watching the cars go by, silent against the snow covered streets.
“Winter’s finally come,” a low voice came from behind him. Blake jerked around, looking at the man standing behind the bench, his hands resting on the top edge. The man’s green, fur lined, jacket was done up tight against the wind and snow. His fingers had begun to turn pink from where they were exposed in his fingerless gloves. “It won’t be long now, John.”
“It won’t be long until when?” Blake asked as he leaned backwards, tilting his head back to look up at Bane. He wasn’t looking down at Blake though, his gaze on the cars passing. His eyes were glittering in the dim light, reflecting the headlights, before leaving his eyes dark and endless. It was dark enough that his face was shadowed enough to hide him from passing traffic and people in Gotham were willing to ignore a few people on the side of the road.
Bane seemed focused, yet Blake knew that he held at least a small portion of his attention. He had a mind that was always whirling through thoughts, always paying attention to every little detail in his surroundings. It was one of the few things that Blake had figured out after four and a half months.
“I can’t tell you that John, you know that.” Bane answered, finally looking down at Blake. His expression was blank, or at least his eyes revealed nothing, his mask hiding his expression. His fingers moved from the edge, sliding over his shoulder and to his chin. He tilted Blake’s head back, keeping their eyes locked. His fingers trailed from his chin, under his scarf and down his neck, pulling at the neck of his jacket and shirt.
“A secret then,” Blake allowed Bane to tilt his head more and expose the skin of his neck to the wind. He didn’t fight when he moved his clothing back to show his shoulder. He was already cold enough that he didn’t notice the added chill.
Bane pressed his finger into a bruise on his shoulder, tracing the scratch across the skin. Old marks that he had left days ago that still hadn’t healed. The pressure made him want to jerk away, but he took it, feeling the ache sink into his muscles.
“Exactly right,” Bane spoke lowly and Blake could practically hear the smile in his voice. He knew that it wouldn’t be a nice smile; all sharp angles and jagged teeth. His lips wouldn’t soften it either; Blake thought vaguely. His attention was torn between characterizing Bane and just feeling the pressure of his fingers working at all of his bruises.
“What do you want?” Blake managed to ask as Bane pressed his fingers into another bruise. Bane’s hand slid away and with a shrug of his shoulder, Blake’s clothing slid back into place. Bane’s eyes crinkled at the side, all raw amusement and something sinister.
“Nothing that cannot wait,” Bane answered as he took a step back. He turned around and started down the closest alley, disappearing in a flurry of shadows and snow. Blake likened him to the Cheshire cat, a creature who gave nothing away and could vanish in a split second. He was unpredictable, his next move the questioning figure in the equation.
Blake was at a loss, not knowing why Bane had found him here or why he had left after only speaking a few words. None of their meetings up to this point had been so calm, lacking the fire that made Blake burn from the inside out.
He pushed himself up from the bench, watching traffic having suddenly lost its appeal. His muscles protested, but he ignored the slight quivering and straightened. He brushed at his nose with his hand and turned to start down the street to his apartment. He knew that whatever was coming, it couldn’t be good. There was no sense in trying to figure out Bane’s plan though; he would only hit dead ends.
Whatever Bane was planning would be a secret until he no longer wanted it to be. He held all of his cards close to the chest and trusted no one. Blake cringed at that thought, something dark and awful twisting inside of him. He pushed it away, because when it came to Bane, he didn’t want to feel at all. He had crossed that line though, his emotions slipping into what could only be called their fucked up relationship that revolved around fucking and bruises.
Blake shoved his hands into the pockets of his jacket and buried his face into his scarf. What he was feeling, he would ignore. He had to ignore it, because he knew everything that he had started to feel would never be returned. It was a waste to put emotions and effort into Bane, when in a second he would be willing to kill him.
He closed his eyes against the bright lights of oncoming traffic and let the bite of the wind creep into his lungs. The stinging chill wiped away the bitter feelings growing and numbed him from the inside. It was his only defence against what he knew was inevitable.