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They were to die together. He would rather have seen her live but he could deny her nothing, not even her own end, as much as it pained him. He would endure her wish to see them both concluded together in a spectacular victory against the horrors of the world. This, though, was the true horror come back to avenge itself for their grandiose ideal, one last twist of the knife from whatever entity chose to cast its voyeur eye on Gotham.

He found her body, so broken, its cold fire gone and in its place the winter’s chill. He could not bring himself to touch her. He was no longer worthy of such an honor. Her protector, yet there she lay dead while he felt so horrifically full of life.

He stood there and watched over her. There was so much chaos in the aftermath that few paid attention to a single crumpled truck, buried deep in the city’s tunnels. He watched the slow decomposition of her face, the way it became more and more pallid, how her skin flaked over with ice and liquid organs spilled, green and vile, from her once red lips.
He watched from a distance, a lurking shadow on the wall of a gray, cracked tunnel, not moving for days from his silent vigil until the animals started to claim her as their feast. Only when they had picked her clean could he stand to be in her presence. Bare bones and bits of cloth were all that was left when he lifted her slowly, gently, from the remains.
He walked with her one last time, spoke to her softly as he would when she was a child, when he was still permitted to indulge in his wish to treat her with tenderness. He didn’t think she would slight him for this, given the circumstances, only perhaps shake her head that he would still treat her like an innocent. There was not much for him to say to her. He could not apologize for living, because that implied that he thought he might one day earn her forgiveness.

Instead, he knelt down on the nearby docks with her, rocked her to him twice before he lowered her slowly into the saltwater with a final promise.
“I will find another, one as pure and strong as you were, and I will not fail them as I did you.”

*************

The armor was sound. With careful work that involved combing through the cave’s strange computer setup, John had been able to learn and make adjustments in the suit until it fit his body like a second skin. The first night he left the cave, he felt completely absurd. How did Bruce take himself seriously when he went out dressed like a giant bat? He didn’t have Bruce’s confidence, he supposed, perhaps it came only with living life as a billionaire, whereas John had always considered himself lucky if he had more than five dollars in his threadbare wallet.

The air was cold against his face as he walked down countless shadowy streets, not really knowing what he was looking for. He felt aimless, and was sure he stuck out as just another strange Batman impersonator to anyone who might see him, and really, that’s all he was. He had the armory, a reduced version of it, what had been in the cave and secured away when Bane had made his raid of Wayne Enterprise’s applied science division, but he wasn’t Batman. Bruce Wayne was dead, and in a moment of what had to be insanity, decided to bequeath his true legacy to one Robin J. Blake, a gift from one angry orphan to another.

Some gift. He realized late into his walk that Bruce had always smeared black grease over his eyes to better conceal his face, that he probably should have kept to the ‘batpod’ instead of walking the streets on foot like he was still a cop doing his beat, and, finally, that he should have at least kept his piece tucked away somewhere on him in case of emergency. He hadn’t even brought his cell phone. He didn’t really think it could be appropriate to have it go off in the middle of attempting to thwart a mugging.
Like the one that was happening right then.

Every doubt he had fell away. It was exhilarating. Where riot armor made him feel hindered and claustrophobic in a fight, the suit moved with him. Each punch he threw met its mark, a nose crunched beneath his fist and he felt the splatter of blood hit his lips. With a pained yell, the attacker fell before him and cupped his hands over the deluge of blood streaming from his face. The cop still inside of John wanted to haul him off to the nearest station and drop him on the doorstep, but the free man inside knew better.
To establish that Batman had returned, there needed to be observers to see it. Witnesses on both sides, the virtuous and the malevolent. One would run away and hold their loved ones as they told how they escaped death. The other would whisper tales in the dark, or share news of the return over a crack pipe as his shattered nose festered. Slowly, the rumor would spread, and then Gotham would know that it had not been abandoned once again.

So instead he leaned down to pick up the backpack that had fallen down into the filthy corner of the ally and handed it to the man whose shocked eyes flickered back and forth between John and the squatting would-be mugger. Slack fingers finally gripped at the dirty straps and the man cradled it to himself protectively.

“Go.”

He kept his voice deep and gruff even though it tickled at the back of his throat. Bruce had done the same, and he wanted people to think the original was back. The man stared for another long moment before he took off running, his worn sneakers making wet slapping noises against the pavement. John spared the crouching mugger one last glance, sure that he wouldn’t be trying anything again anytime soon, then left without another word.

Not bad for the first night on the job.

He wasn’t alone in his mission, that night. There was another wandering the streets, also looking for someone to protect, but their respective intentions were far estranged. One sought to protect many, to inspire an entire city. The other needed but one soul to set their own into balance. Neither would rest until they found what they were pursuing.
Two men found dead— Bodies discovered in dumpster in the theater district.

Barely a blip in the newspaper, sparse details. Necks snapped, one beaten, the other found with a dingy backpack. John crushed the opened newspaper in his hands as he read the report. There was little evidence that it was the same pair he’d encountered the night before, but his gut clenched and he just knew. He should have walked the man home, seen to it he was safe, and sent the mugger to the station. If he had, there would be two less bodies on stone slabs, he just knew it. Now he felt the weight of two people’s lives on his shoulders, and he knew that now there was no one to spread the word that Batman had returned.

He had to go out again, but this time he would do it right. He would make sure the innocent were safe before he turned his back on them. He would do something to alert the police to the crime scene, and then he would vanish and let Batman’s myth take over. Once that happened, he would only have to go out on occasion, to reassert the image. The idea of a shadowy creature haunting Gotham’s villains was as good a sedative to the beast that was the city’s nightlife as the actual bat.

*************

Two more unworthy souls, both cowards, neither innocent as they stared up at him with terrified eyes. Worse yet, they were weak. He could see it when they refused to meet his stare, when they wavered beneath him, one pissing onto the dirty alleyway like a dog fearful of its master’s kick. They were not worthy of his protection, and Talia would never have approved of them nor their continued existence when she, so worthy, was now dead. He disposed of them and continued his search until the light was too blinding to continue. He would continue again tomorrow, and would not rest until he found what he needed.

*************

He remembered the black grease this time. It was oily and uncomfortable as it caked into the corners of his mask. After some deliberation, he’d tucked his silenced cell phone into a small pocket on the utility belt. It was small and prepaid, but he knew that with some effort it was traceable. It didn’t matter, though; in Gotham no one was going to bother to do it, not for a called-in tip. If something terrible happened, he could put in a call to Gordon and count on him for rescue and secrecy even though he was avoiding dragging the commissioner into another game where he was surrounded by secrecy and masked men. The man had seen enough, felt enough bullets tear through his body, his family, his life. He deserved a break.

Somehow he ended up walking again, though. He couldn’t kick the need to have his feet planted on something solid, the desire to still feel like a part of the city despite all of its faults and dirty crevices. The batpod was too fast and streamlined. It made him feel distant from it all, better than it, above it. He wasn’t. Besides, if he was looking for trouble, it made more sense to keep to the tight corners of the streets where vehicles never went, to transverse fire escapes and scrabble carefully from rooftops where he had a bird’s eye view. It was exhilarating and terrifying the way his cape would catch the drafts of wind and let him glide down to drop with no more than a light crunch of gravel beneath his feet.
The streets, for the most part, were silent. Most citizens still held to the mentality of Bane’s militant regime. They hid inside the false safety of their dilapidated homes when night fell. There was activity, though. He looked down from the rooftops at barrels which burned hot and smoky while the homeless warmed their hands in the flames. Some of them were once socialites, their wealth demolished and their status destroyed. Now they gathered with the rest, if one part of Talia’s plan had worked, it was that social order in Gotham had been toppled.

Blake couldn’t say he cared much. They were alive, warm at least. He’d pulled enough bodies out of the sewers, ones of boys who never had a chance, who could never have even fathomed the type of privilege the wealthy had indulged in. His gloved fist clenched at the thought; the fire that burned bright in his bones, the fire that never really left, was at a low simmer. He would keep these people safe just like anyone else he might see, because Batman was an idea, an idea of justice, and he still believed in the Batman, even when people didn’t deserve him.

When the area appeared secure, he moved on. He checked on the boys’ home. All was quiet; it was a relief. He went street by street after that, but crime in its unreasonable peculiarity had seemed to take a holiday. The one scream he heard in the night had turned out to be nothing more than a catfight between two women over who got to take the first hailed cab home. He briefly considered using a batarang dipped in sedative to knock out the one screeching and yanking on the other’s bright red hair, but decided that this would be a gross misuse of his power.

With a tired sigh he decided to rein it in for the night. He still wasn’t used to wearing the armor, and the cowl was making him feel slightly claustrophobic the way it pressed tight against his face. There was also his day job to consider, or lack thereof. He’d had a little savings tucked away, not much, and barely enough to bother stuffing under his mattress when the takeover had happened. Collecting unemployment was out of the question. The entire banking system was a mess, and it would take a long time before people could even consider such a thing. If his landlord hadn’t owed him for defending the apartment when Gotham fell, he’d be sleeping in the cave Bruce had left for him, right between the weapons case and the supercomputer. Job hunting was the name of the game tomorrow, and it would most likely prove to be just as tiring as being a masked vigilante.

He traveled soundlessly back towards his vehicle. It was safely tucked away beside a dumpster, the black tarp that concealed it making it seem as though it was nothing more than a lump of garbage bags piled up and left to decompose. With a quick jerk of his wrists, the tarp fell away and pooled by his feet.

There was a scream, then. This one was not in indignation or anger, but in terror.

“Shit,” he cursed and let the plastic sheet fall forgotten to the concrete. He ran towards the source, his footfalls heavy as he stomped the street in his haste.

*************

He watched her in silence as she pressed back against the wall of a building. Painted nails were chipped off and scraped into mossy brick as she dragged herself against the wall, trying to slink away even under his gaze. It was impossible to know what he was truly looking for, precisely. When he saw it, he would know. He remembered when he knew before. When he had looked up from his bowl of scraps into the eyes of a child who looked back at him with no fear, with no request for pity though she had been sacrificed to hell, whose beautiful, pure innocence and cold fury had made him ache inside with feelings he had thought long lost to? the pit, he had known. This woman before him was nothing more than an animal by comparison, a wretched thing.

He stepped forward, deciding to permit her the small mercy of a quick end to her existence. Her lips tightened in fear, he could hear the soft terrified whine in the back of her throat, bothersome.

There was a gasp, deeper, that of a man, coming from behind him. It gave him pause. It was enough for the woman to turn and flee. He did not pursue; the mercy he offered was wasted on her. He turned his attention instead on the newcomer.

The bat? No. Something new. Something different.

He was lunged at. Armored knuckles punched at his face. To another, it would have seemed as though the fist flew. His own reflexes were unrivaled, though, and it was easy to slap away the punch with the back of his hand. He watched with mild curiosity as the man pulled back, regrouped. Smeared with paint and covered as he was it was still so easy to read in his body language how his mind raced for a plan of some sort.

He ground the thinking to a halt with his fist. One brutal blow to his kidney, then another given to its brother. A stomped boot to a now-exposed chest as the man laid out on the ground. The armor that had protected must now pain as it slammed into his ribs and sternum, grunts and desperate gasps for the air that had been stolen from his lungs. Bane raised his foot again, lining it up with the man’s head, one stomp and this cowl shattered in an echo of the last that had fallen before him. A kick sent the pieces skittering across the damp ground.

Another rise of his leg to crush the skull and end such nonsense.

There was no sound, save for that of heavy breathing.

He looked down at the broken figure before him. Smeared black eyes closed tightly. The lips twisted.

But not in fear. In silent fury.

He studied the face further. Could it be this broken boy? For he did look to be a boy, still, foolish in ideal if he believed dressing up like the Batman would protect him, would save Gotham.

An innocent, childish belief, his brain whispered to him.

There could be no risk. He would not shy away from his promise even in this strange circumstance. His foot lowered, slower, onto the now exposed neck.

“You will show me your eyes,” he ordered softly, the command filtered through his mask with a low hiss.

Fingers scratched and clawed into his booted ankle as the boy struggled to breathe, to speak, perhaps to curse him in a dying breath. Then finally, near exhaustion, his eyes fluttered open.

Her eyes. Not in color, but in spirit, they stared back up at him.

He lifted his foot and dropped down to kneel beside him. He grasped a fistful of hair and placed a careful but firm hand to his shoulder, unable to resist the desire to touch and claim once more. To have finally found his peace, his redemption.

The boy did not understand. He jerked wildly and kicked his legs out uselessly against the air, in his daze missing any target. It was not to be unexpected. The slight did not offend him. Talia had been the same; she had threatened to slit his throat in his sleep with her tiny knife before he gained her trust. It was one of his fondest memories, when she would finally take food from his offered bowl, would sit beside him with her knife tucked away. It would be harder with this one, he could tell, older, different ideals, but worth any endeavor. He leaned closer, let their eyes meet again as the boy still struggled against his hold.

“Do not fear. You have been found worthy.”

Chapter Text

Bane held his boy down against the ground with patience, waiting until the kicks and thrashing stopped and he slumped more onto the ground, his store of adrenaline clearly having reached its limit. It was easier, then, to rummage through the utility belt. His lips curled slightly behind the mask when he saw that his boy had been gracious enough to bring his own tools to aid their new found joining. A flat gray phone was crushed to uselessness between his palms and tossed aside, a small black box, a button depressed on it and he could hear an engine rev into life close by. Zip ties, one was fastened around his wrists to keep him still. It was easy to lift the smaller form into his arms.
The vehicle was easily found. He adjusted his boy onto his back, looped arms over his head and draped them across his shoulders as he straddled the admirable craft. When he gathered the young man’s legs around his waist he felt some struggle, but by this time his quarry was worn through and could not keep Bane from fastening his ankles together with another zip tie.

“What are you doing?” came the quiet, confused rasp just behind his ear, just barely heard over the loud purr of the engine beneath them. The first words Bane had heard him speak.

“I’m afraid now is not the time, little one. Soon,” he promised, patting the armor-covered calf that ran the length of his side.

Navigation, GPS, an entry simply labeled by coordinates. Bane’s quick fingers flicked through the onscreen display with ease. The coordinates seemed promising. A nook perhaps where this little bat rested in the dark, somewhere that no one knew of, shelter for them until Bane could convince, could help him understand how they were slotted together now by fate, that he must let himself be protected, cared for. There was already a niggling worry that ran up his spine as he eased the bike forward. His boy had struggled strongly before, but the fight had fled his muscles so quickly, now there was only a twitch and squirm every so often as they road through the streets. Even over the fumes of gasoline he could scent sweat and grime, days old on his boy. These were sure signs of constant fatigue, of neglect and deficiency of nutrients. All things that would need to be seen to.

It was not a difficult task to maneuver the bike. He only had to take care not to crush his boy’s arms and legs beneath him from their angling as he pressed his chest to the vehicle’s thick leather rest. It was a task that he was not unfamiliar with. From Talia, he had long ago learned to reign in his muscles, to control them that he might use them as a fierce weapon, but also that he would never harm her with them.

**************

They were moving. Through the streets, faster and faster until the streets got wider and trees started to dot the landscape. Blake’s throat was swollen, almost shut. Ground in dirt caked there from where Bane’s boot had pressed in, choked the life from him. His head felt fogged and aching. He could feel the slippery stickiness at his temple and taste coppery blood and salt on his tongue.

Bane. Bane was back to destroy them all.

He was supposed to be dead.

Evil like that never truly dies, his addled brain argued. It waits, until you think you have beaten it, and then it strikes out. He was going to die, and without ever having given Gotham something to put their faith in. The vibrations of the bike rattled through him and he tried to move, but the weight pressing his tied limbs down to the frame was unmovable. His eyes rolled listlessly, the black grease had mixed with sweat and blood and had dripped down into them. It was a stinging blur that shaped his view, but still the path of their journey was terrifyingly familiar. The GPS, the coordinates he’d been stupid enough to type in, in case he needed to engage the AI and get home. He’d doomed Batman’s legacy, his remaining arsenal, over to Bane’s hands in one foolish moment of ineptitude.

His fingers clutched and clawed into the thick skin in front of him, the rage over his error giving him a new spark of life. He could feel his nails catch and dig into flesh, but if Bane even noticed his scratching he gave no indication. At the waterfall now, he felt the vehicle slow as Bane considered the rush of water with a curious tilt of the head.

“Fascinating.”

John’s heart sank when he saw that Bane was too clever to be deterred. With a careful rev of the engine they went plummeting through the falls. The cold shock of water that sluiced into his damaged suit gave him back a measure of alertness. The thick wheels of the Batpod kicked up water until Bane drove it onto the slowly rising platform.

“A cave, where the bat first learned of darkness, I imagine,” Bane spoke as he stood, John still wrapped around his back, ignoring how he yanked and pulled at his bindings. “How fitting that our own journey should commence here.”

John gritted his teeth. Bane was going to torture him, it shouldn’t have shocked him. There were no limits to what this monster he was strapped to could do to him. None.
Bane continued to explore, not seeming at all perturbed to be carrying John around in some sort of morbid version of a piggyback. With each weapon Bane’s calloused fingers brushed over John winced inwardly, his mind flashing to the type of damage Bane could do with any of them. He didn’t speak, he schooled his body into stilling, not wanting to give away any sort of information in its language that would indicate how dangerous any one weapon was. He bit his tongue sharply when Bane looked over the super computer, so much information that not even the average citizen should ever have, and here it was laid out before Bane’s fingertips like a gift.

By the time Bane was done his brief inspection of the computer, John’s shoulders burned from the weight of his body pulling them. He shifted subtly to try to bring them some sort of relief, but there was none to be found short of truly wrapping himself around Bane’s body instead of hanging there by the ties, something John would not bring himself to do.

**************

Bane felt the slight squirm against his back as his boy tried to gain some control over his body. Without pause from his searching, he reached back to grasp the boy’s thigh, easily supporting and lifting his weight with one hand so that his little one could find some relief from the ache in his shoulders. The stiffening of the body attached to him could be felt even through the layer of body armor. Bane was careful not to lift him too high, lest he try and free his arms. Leaving the computer, he made his way to the last unsearched section of the cave, a small table holding only a neatly folded pile of clothing and a tattered wallet.

He felt a cool brush of air against his neck as his boy sucked in a breath. So unable to control his body’s emotions, this one, it was endearing. He dug through the wallet with one hand. Tucked behind a crumpled up five dollar bill he found what he was looking for, a driver’s license.

Robin John Blake.

He had taken in a little bird. It seemed appropriate. Talia, too, had once learned to fly in his care. He could still see it; he had felt nothing but joy even as the crowd ripped at his flesh in recompense for taking away their prize, the way she had leapt, soared to freedom.

He felt a stinging bite at the nape of his neck. His little bird had finally given in to his anger and fear and was trying to sink his teeth into him. He tucked the wallet away and reached to snap the ties binding the little Robin’s legs with a sharp flick of his wrist. The unexpected sharp movement made the boy’s jaw release with a gasp of pain as his whole body jolted. Bane wished that there was an easier way to release him, but accepted with a heavy heart that many of his early acts of protection to his little bird would bring him pain.

He would understand later. He would understand that every action that Bane would perform was to protect him, keep him safe, teach him. Bane would accept the hate that would be heaped onto his shoulders initially. It would only strengthen their bond later.

He easily lifted the little bird by his hands, drawing his arms over his head so that he was finally removed from Bane’s back. More pained grunts came, and when Bane righted John onto his feet, he held his shoulders firmly between his hands, sensing John’s desire to lunge at him.

“My little Robin.” Bane studied him as he growled, pain and anger making the boy lose himself, making him practically feral.

“Let me go!” he spat.

“That is the one thing I will never do,” He vowed firmly.

His little bird glared up at him with weary anger. It made Bane wish to soothe the fatigue from him, to hold him in safety until he found his rest. Such an action could not occur now. He did need rest, though; his body looked about to collapse. There was little to offer in way of a bed here, not even a pallet like the one he had rocked Talia to sleep on many a night. With a broad sweep of his hands, he knocked the pile of clothes to the floor. It would have to do.

Sleep was the last thing his little bird wanted, that much was clear in the way he spat and cursed when Bane forced his head down onto the rumpled pile of clothing. Still, the body made demands that must be met. Bane held him still there, waited for the cursing to die down, the eyes to fall heavy, so in need of regenerative sleep. With one last hate-filled look, the lids fluttered shut and sleep claimed John.

Bane watched him, the way his bloodied face smoothed out into laxness. He needed to get this broken armor off of his Robin, and he needed a more suitable place for him to rest. There had been a corridor blocked off that had roused his interest. He secured his boy to the bolted down computer table with another zip line around his legs, just as a precaution, and renewed his search.

Wayne Manor, of course. Its extravagance was cloying to his senses. He noted that there were bare patches on the walls where painting and other valuables must have once hung. Such things did not interest him however. Still, it was for the most part intact, aside from sheets that covered the furniture. He gathered bedding and filled it with supplies as he found them. It was an easy feat to carry them back down to their new nest, along with a thick mattress, stolen from what he suspected was Bruce Wayne’s old bed.
He had been wise to secure John. Though he had not taken long, his little Robin was awake again and struggling anew. His persistence was something Bane found himself already admiring, but he knew the short rest was not enough.

“You should not have risen so quickly, my little bird. Your body grows weaker the longer you deny it its needs.”

A baleful look was all he received in return. No matter. Talia had not even spoken the same language as he when they’d first united. He could communicate without words. Better yet, his new little one could simply listen to what he had to say.

He let the mattress drop down to the ground beside his little one, who eyed it with a flicker of fear.

“For your rest, my little Robin,” he assured. It was not difficult to realize what his boy assumed would happen on the bed. “You are weary.”

Confusion etched over his boy’s features. “Why didn’t you kill me?”

Bane laughed lightly; it escaped his mask like a pneumatic hiss. The irony didn’t escape him that he was being asked a question he had heard before, asked by another man dressed in the same costume, but his intentions towards them both could not be any more different. One damned by him, the other saved.

“You are here under my protection, now.”

“Your protection,” He spoke flatly, rubbing at the mottled bruising around his throat with his fingers as well as he could with bound wrists.

“Yes,” Bane answered simply.

“Well I don’t feel very protected.”

“Because you have not yet accepted such a destiny. In time, you will understand. For now you must be content in the knowledge that I mean you no ill will. Everything I do now is done for you.”

He knelt down and began working off the armored boots his little bird wore. “You will rest better without such trappings.”

“Stop!” His little bird kicked his legs against the table leg and tried to clasp his fists together. He swung them down to pummel Bane’s back. Bane let him wear his arms into a state of collapse as he removed each boot. The rest of his armor was just as easily handled. After all, he had removed the same suit once before, right before lowering Mr. Wayne down into darkness. The last bits of cowl that remained were tossed aside, and now his little Robin was truly unmasked before him, clad only in a tight layer of cloth under-armor that clung to his frame with sweat’s dampness.

His little one’s arms fell back to land against the hard concrete while a wet grunt of defeat fell from his lips. Bane’s eyes narrowed in displeasure at the sight and sound. With Bane's strength, it was easy to pull the bulk of the mattress under his slender body. One quick tug, and his boy was lifted and lowered again, this time onto the soft cushion.

“You must find your rest.”

“Leave me alone,” came the hissed out response.

“I will not.”

Instead, he watched. His bird was fueled by pure stubbornness now. His fingers clawed desperately at the plastic lace keeping him safe from himself. His dirty nails gouged into his own wrists in his fever, drawing blood. Bane realized he would not be convinced to stop. His little bird wanted so frantically to fly that he would beat his wings against the cage which kept him safe. It was too soon for him to fly, to rise; he would fall instead, now, if he were to try. Bane realized he may be forced to clip the little Robin’s wings to preserve him from dashing himself to pieces on the rocks in his earnest effort, so sure his little wings could carry his weight.

One last opportunity given.

“You must cease your struggles, little one. You will only injure yourself. Rest, instead. Regain your lost strength.”

Only a snarl was his reply. Bane tilted his head slightly in acknowledgement of his little one’s choice.

“Know that what I do now is not in punishment, only what needs to be done. I gain no satisfaction from my actions.”

He bunched up a corner of blanket and carefully wedged it into his boy's mouth, giving his little bird something to help contain the humiliation he was sure to feel over the weakness he was about to display. His boy grunted in surprise and tried to snap his teeth down onto Bane’s fingers, biting down only on cloth instead. Bane crouched to kneel behind him, pulling his little Robin’s lithe arms backwards so they lay out over his lap.

Bane’s hands wrapped around the circumference of his little Robin’s left arm. Held out across his lap and braced as one would when they wished to snap a branch over their knee. He felt his little one’s body stilled in horror and it was clear the connection had been made.

One swift shove of his hands made the bone creak and snap, a clean break across his forearm. A scream was ripped from his little one’s lips, a heart-wrenchingly pure and wounded song. A careful pull made the broken pieces grate against each other before they set back into the proper place, and the first was completed. He felt his little Robin’s body shudder with an escaped sob.

Chapter Text

***
Agony raced down his shattered limb, hot as a poker as it jabbed into his gut. His vision blurred and bile caught in his throat as his body struggled to cope with the pain it was given, to not go into shock.

“You handled the first well, my little one,” came the repulsive, mechanical voice over his head. To John’s overcome mind, the words almost sounded like praise. He felt rough, deadly fingers brush over his cheek lightly, push the sogged blanket that had worked out back into his mouth, and then came to rest on his other arm. He choked around the cloth, around the saliva and bile that clogged into his throat.

Not again, not again, he prayed over and over as he felt the same tight grip on his right arm as he had on his left. Even knowing that he’d put aside his rosary long ago, he repeated it in his mind again and again in a desperate chant. He’d been told he was ‘lucky’ on the force. Never had he taken a stray bullet like so many of his fellow officers had. He’d never wound up in the hospital after a fight, nor had he had the ever experienced what some considered almost a rite of passage in children, the breaking of a bone. All of the pain in his life had chosen to manifest as spirit, not body, breaking. In this moment, when Bane’s grip tightened, when he felt the shove of his arm against the impossible muscle on Bane’s thigh, the splintering snap of his bones, when he screamed again and bowed his back off the ground in torment, John knew how much more damning that made this for him.

He wheezed and cursed. The blanket garbled everything and kept his vomit down, but he was asphyxiating. He fleetingly thought he should welcome it. Torture was clearly Bane’s plan, and this was a quicker end. Then that, too, was taken from him. The blanket yanked out of his clenched teeth so roughly it left a stinging wheal at the corner of his lips. He was turned off the mattress, his head hung over the side of the platform and his stomach finally fully let go. Vile, thin liquid rushed from his throat and into the water below. There was little else; John hadn’t eaten since breakfast that day, too worked up at the idea of going out again as the Batman to eat.

His shoulders were held and he was turned over onto his back with a mercifully limited jolt, still the movement made him grunt in pain. His lips felt cold. He couldn’t control how his breathing was quick and panted out. He wondered vaguely if he was going into shock, if Bane knew enough about shock to keep him alive to torture more. Most likely.

“You haven’t been eating,” Bane stated quietly above him. It almost sounded… disappointed? Blake let out a sharp bark of laughter at his own delirium, but it only made him ache more.

“Yeah, well, I’ve been a little busy,” He replied glibly, even as he berated himself inwardly for even answering. Speaking, though, was a welcome distraction from the rawness of his body.

There was a small noise that emanated from behind Bane’s mask, almost as though the man had clicked his tongue in disapproval.
“You have held up well, my little Robin. I must splint your arms and then it is time for rest.”

John watched as Bane reached over to a bundle of supplies, things he had most likely taken from the attached manor while John was busy being unconscious. He spotted two thick wooden boards and narrowed his eyes.

“You bastard! You planned this!” John accused, ignoring all of the warning bells going off in his head. He was too angry to bottle it up.

“One must always be prepared to do what they must, my little bird. You were given fair warning and could not heed it. Now your wings have been clipped.”

John wished he had to energy to spit in Bane’s face.

“Stop calling me a fucking bird. I hate that name. It’s not who I am.”

“It is your given name, is it not? Such things are important. They shape us.”

John stared as Bane snapped the ties around his arms and slid the board up the length of one. It was long, reaching from his fingertips and running all the way down to just barely avoid wedging into his armpit. It was too long; a short board would do to split his arm, this one would completely render the limb immobile. He realized that that was exactly the point. The sound of ripping cloth echoed in the cave as Bane tore long sturdy strips from the end of the blanket that Blake had not soiled with spit. Then his arm was being wrapped up, cocooned. From the curve of his armpit Bane started, slowly winding the deep blue strips around his arm and the plank of wood. John stared, didn’t move. He knew that Bane had set the bones and movement now could make them mend wrong. If he was going to be alive later for them to mend, he didn’t want to go through the pain of having to break them all over again to heal.

It was suffocating, though, the way each wind of material over his arm cut off his view of skin completely. By the time Bane reached his wrist, John couldn’t even see his arm anymore beneath the wrappings. He twisted his fingers this way and that when Bane began to wrap them up, too.
“Hey, those aren’t broken!”
“You would attempt to use them, in spite of the pain and risk it would cause you,” was the simple response, as soon his fingers were swallowed up, too. Now his arm was an unrecognizable length of blue cloth, not even his own anymore, something Bane had shaped as he wished. It made him feel sick again, more so when another board was slid under the second arm and the process was repeated. He felt so helpless then, he was truly at the mercy of this monster. He shuddered, feeling his immobility and a claustrophobia he didn’t know he possessed kick in when Bane’s hand rested lightly on his shoulder. Even through the splinting he could feel the heat pouring from that rough palm, sinking down into his own skin, fouling up his own being with an evil presence.

“They have been set and braced. They will heal with time.”

John scoffed slightly, shifting away from the touch as much as he could. “Am I gonna be alive to see it?”

“Of course; alive and well, little Robin. I will keep you safe. When your wings are healed and the time is right, we will leave this place together.”

“Then what are you going to break next?”

The masked face above him tilted slightly in questioning.

“Because there’s no fucking way I’m going to be anywhere near you without you having to break something on me,” John finished bitterly. He shouldn’t provoke. He should get out of here as intact as possible. It was so infuriating, though, the way Bane was playing this game with him, as though he was doing this for JOHN.

Bane’s eyebrow’s furrowed slightly in obvious displeasure. It was unsettling to see.
“You still think of this as a punishment.”

“Torture, I’d call it.”

“You have no information I desire,” Bane answered, sounding almost amused.

“Then you probably get off on it,” he shot back.

“I take no pleasure in wounding something I wish to protect. It is a necessary evil. Were this something I desired, I would not have merely clipped you, little bird. You will fly again one day. True torment would be to pinion you.” Bane trailed a hand lightly down John’s bindings. “That is the practice done of birds who will never again taste the sky.” He touched lightly at the bindings over John’s wrist. “Their first joint is removed entirely, amputated really, if one is to go by human terms.” His voice was so very genial as he spoke casually about removing John’s hands. “But you will fly. You will soar. You will rise.” His voice was firm. “But for now you will simply sleep.”

John shook his head blearily. He needed to pass out beyond any measure, there was so much pain still thrumming in his body, but there was no way he could let that happen here. There’s no sleeping when the boogey man who has broken your body is sitting right beside you on the mattress.

Bane reached into his supplies again and deftly plucked up a small familiar bottle, the kind that could be found in almost every medicine cabinet in Gotham. Beautiful blue pills of Ibuprofen. He knew it would probably do almost nothing for the extent of his injuries, but maybe the edge could be taken off, maybe he could think just a little better when it didn’t feel like there was fire racing down his arms, like his throat was closing off.

“What do you want for them?” he hazarded cautiously.

“They are freely given if you will close your eyes and rest.”

He needed them. Blake tipped his head slightly, feeling ridiculously defeated yet elated when he heard the pop of the bottle opening. Without thinking, he tried to reach up for them, hissing at the refresher of shooting pain in his arms, reminding him just how badly this was needed.

“Ok. I’ll close my eyes, I’ll rest,” he lied. He would close his eyes, but he would never fall asleep like Bane wanted.

The bottle was tipped into Bane’s hand, and Blake felt the unsettling urge to cry with relief when the man poured out an entire handful of the gel caps. It was the most beautiful thing he’d seen in a long while.

“Please,” he whispered softly, unable to keep it in.

Bane slid a hand behind his head, propping it up carefully and tilting the palmful of painkillers into Blake’s mouth. They were hard to swallow down with his dry throat but he managed, and when he almost choked he chewed instead, piercing the thin shells with his teeth and sucking down the pain relief to be found inside. The taste was awful, but no less so than the taste of vomit that was already scrubbed over his tongue. His head dropped back onto the mattress with a cushioned bounce.

Bane was chuckling above him, probably in triumph over having reduced John to such a state. He couldn’t care, though. He closed his eyes and let it kick in, it was all the faster from the chewing. It was not total relief, but it was like placing a balm over burning lips; the chap remains, but it is bearable. He started drifting quickly, without even meaning to. He mustn’t sleep. He worked his mouth open a bit to try and say something, to tell himself to wake up, but his mouth was sticky, and it pulled at the corners of his lips to try and open it to speak. It was easier to remain still.

As he floated into unconsciousness, the last sensation he felt wasn’t the pain of his broken body, but of powerful fingers working into his hair, rubbing soothingly over his scalp, so warm and firm.

***

Bane watched as his little bird’s features smoothed out in sleep. He did not shy away from Bane’s touch as he did when he was awake and full of rancor. Instead, the touch seemed to soothe him as Bane petted through his hair, each passing stroke seemed to brush away the tightly wound up tension in his little one's body. He worked his hands down along his neck, brushing away the crumbled mixture of sweat and dirt that had caked there. He did not stir. Bane suspected that a twitchy little bird like this would have woken up ruffled and skittish under other circumstances, but his body had entered a deep healing sleep, one that would take much to rouse from.

Bane was not quite selfless enough not to use that to his advantage. He crouched down, pressing himself close to the crook of his boy’s neck, inhaling deeply. Many had assumed that his mask dulled such things as smell. Perhaps they did, but in the pit, before the mask, his senses had always been intense, so even now with layers of leather, steel, blood and grime between them Bane could take in the complex musk that made his boy. He found it to be deeply soothing, to smell someone so young and alive with him again.

His hands drifted down, pressing into the sweat-slick nylon like material that covered his little bird’s chest. He could feel the heat of fresh nicks and bruises under the thin layer, and set about cataloguing each and every one in his brain so that he could take full stock of the extent of his injuries. A careful touch circled each one, working from his chest to his stomach. Bane carefully skirted over the inflammation he felt along his boy’s kidneys, injuries he did feel a slight twinge of guilt over having delivered with no reason, but he had not known then, had he?

His boy was a wonder, gorgeous and lithe. His hands came down to wrap around the top of his thighs, pressing his thumbs lightly against the femoral points along his little Robin's pelvis, spoiling himself by feeling out his and memorizing it’s steady beat against the pads of this thumbs. The gentle pressure there coupled with the steady caresses he had been receiving meant Bane was hardly surprised when he looked down and saw his little Robin’s member stirring in his tight cloth pants.

The skin around Bane’s eyes crinkled, the only indication of his amused, fond smile at the sight. Young ones were always so needful of the body. When Talia had reached that age, thankfully long after the pit, Bane had never expected anything of her, had not looked at her with any sort of longing beyond the need to protect. He’d known of urge perfectly well, though, and had taken her aside to speak with her about him being allowed to find her someone who would treat the situation with the properness it required. She’d laughed and said she would refuse any as her first but him, startling him for the first time in many years. She could have any, but she chose him.

Right there and then, because she desired it, he had felt his heart being pulled open and rearranged into what she needed, always a protector and then a lover. He cherished those memories of her spread out under him, how her perfect nails would dig and scratch at his arms as he stroked her to fulfillment whenever need struck her. Her breathy sighs and whispers as he took her, the first time with shyness he thought had long been taken from both of them, then, as they learned their new roles with each other, then with fierce needful passion.

He grazed the back of his scarred knuckles up his boy’s stiffening erection with one indulgent stroke, enjoying how he could feel it twitch and fill slightly further under the attention. Just one more area in which it was clear he did not take care of himself. When his little bird was feeling rested, it would require Bane’s assistance. Like with Talia, he allowed his viewpoint to shift and reform, becoming whatever His little Robin would need. Protector, lover, nurturer, trainer perhaps even, if his little one insisted on gallivanting out into the night again. He would need so much care. It was clear Bane was needed here, and Bane was grateful to him for that.

He made a careful list of ideas and items that would be needed as he finished stroking down his little Robin's legs, all the way to the tips of his toes and down the hard-skinned heels of his feet. He would explore his little Robin’s body again, many times, so it was not so hard to pull away now and rise up off the mattress. He needed his sleep, but Bane felt invigorated for the first time in a long time. He gathered himself and made sure his boy was secure once more before he strode out into the night.

Chapter Text

Half of him felt chilled, the other cozy hot, but all of him ached and throbbed in pain. There was popping and crackling and dripping all around him, a strange symphony that filled his stinging head. First instinct made him reach up to rub his eyes, and the pained gasp that left his dry lips from the action caused everything to come back. He felt weight pressing on his shoulder and he knew it must be Bane, stilling him with a hand. His eyes felt gummy and his eyelashes, sticky with moisture, sweat and possibly blood, clung to his skin as he forced himself to take in his surroundings.

He was still in the cave, once Bruce Wayne’s, briefly his own, and now apparently Bane’s. He purposefully avoided turning his head towards Bane’s presence by his shoulder; instead he glanced over towards a new light source in the cave, a fire. The harsh florescent lighting in the cave had been turned off and now the only source of light came from the fire’s soft, natural glow. It was easier on his hurting eyes, but it left the room much darker than before, more shadows closed in on him. It was well tended. John had never actually seen a campfire in person, city orphans didn’t spend much time camping, but it was like what he’d seen in moves: a row of carefully lined up stones rimmed the flames, preventing them from spreading out. The side of him closest to it felt downright toasty.

“Good evening my little bird.” Bane’s strange voice grated on his ears.

Blake tried to clear his throat for a rebuttal but he didn’t get far when it turned into a dry cough that shook his frame and made pain shoot up his arms. Between the screaming, the vomit, and the boot against his neck, his throat and lungs were a scratchy, useless wreck. He felt a gargantuan hand slide behind his head, cradling it with a deceptively light tough. The rim of a small cup touched his lips and he couldn’t even muster the energy to pretend he was going to consider not drinking it. He just gulped instead, the crystal cool water burning beautifully in his throat and washing away the foul tastes that had filled his mouth. Too soon the cup was empty.

“Is that better?” Bane questioned without readable inflection.

John made a noncommittal noise in the back of his throat. He wouldn’t thank him, even though he felt like he might actually be able to form the words to do it now, with his recovered voice. Instead, he lolled his head to the side, trying to roll it out of the huge hand that tilted it up. He was set back down to stare at the ceiling in quiet contemplation for a few moments.

“You will need to eat. I am sure your body hungers.”

Blake shook his head. The idea of the hand-feeding that would be required at the moment made the idea of food nauseating. His head was a little clearer, now, he begrudgingly accepted that the sleep Bane had forced him into had made him more coherent and he would use it to his advantage, make a plan. His legs had been freed while he slept, getting up would still be an effort with his splinted arms, though. If he could manage, he’d be able to run, but to where? The Wayne grounds were secluded, it would take hours of walking to get to aid and Bane would surely catch him before he got far.

He went through his police training in his mind, what he should be doing in the situation, but it was failing him. Most of it extended to getting someone ELSE out of a kidnapping situation. Bits and pieces from seminars he had attended about terrorism and hostage situations ran through his mind, but this wasn’t a hostage situation, Bane had nothing he was trying to gain from others by keeping him. If he was to be believed, which everything Blake knew about the man would point out he wasn’t, Bane thought it would make an amusingly sick joke to keep him, like some sort of degraded human pet. The idea made his stomach twist in anxiety. It was a trick, obviously, something to keep him off balance, to make him not fight back as much, just like the time bomb. Let him think he could survive this and then destroy him.

For now, he would have to watch Bane and hope he had some sort of previously unknown weakness. He knew just how slim the hope of that was. The man who stood close to him, stoking the fire, was the embodiment of power and cunning. Still, John refused to let himself give up. If Bane was back, then he could and would terrorize Gotham again. His thoughts froze in realization, unless he was here with him. The more he was here, the less he was out there, hurting others. It was a haphazard, fragile little plot, but it was all he had right now and he grasped onto it.

His voice sounded scratchy even to his own ears as he spoke, “You know. I guess I am kinda hungry. Did you catch me a rabbit?”

Bane turned his head to glance at him over his shoulder. It was hard to tell, but Blake guessed what he was looking at right now was amusement, hopefully. His smart mouth had gotten him into trouble plenty of times on the force before and there, disciplinary action didn’t involve breaking one’s arms.

He watched the muscles under Bane’s arm’s shift as he reached out to pick up a jar close by. “I am not much of a hunter of wild game. I hope that peanut butter will suffice.”

John nodded dumbly, too surprised that he had just made a quip at Gotham’s greatest nightmare only to receive a sarcasm laced rebuttal. Bane dropped down onto the bedding beside him, making it dip under his weight. John felt his body shift closer towards the huge man. A spoonful of peanut butter was scooped into his mouth, and he worked it down with a hard swallow, thankful at least that he wasn’t being made to lick it from the other man’s fingers.

He was fed large spoonfuls alternated by gulps of water to wash away the stickiness in his mouth. Sadly, it was far from the worst meal he’d ever had. When he’d turned his head away at the thought of another bite, the jar was put away without a word, and he felt Bane’s thumb brush against his forehead. The strange intimacy in the action made him squirm.

“You are humoring me while you attempt to find your escape.”

John’s eyes snapped up to Bane’s and he stared as those sharp eyes watched him.

“I prefer your cooperation, but not when it is attached to a false, misguided hope.”

John grit his teeth as Bane continued. “You have, I would assume, deduced by now that running in your condition would prove futile. I would not let myself be so distracted from you that you could leave this cave, even if that were not true I would bring you back here to safety with ease. Perhaps you wonder if you can kill me. If such a thing were possible, I would not need to protect you. Finally, there is the matter of the weapons and lovely computer that the late Mr. Wayne gifted you. I have changed the locking codes on everything, perhaps it would be wise not to leave yourself logged in next time.”

“I wasn’t exactly expecting company,” John spat out bitterly as he felt his hope slink away. The most dangerous thing about Bane was that he looked like a dumb monster, but with his words and cunning could defeat you without ever having to lift a finger against your body. The bastard had thought of everything. He kicked his leg out at the computer table leg with a frustrated growl. It was done in childish anger and the aftershock of the kick hurt his body, making him regret it instantly.

Bane’s warm palm was resting on his forehead again, subduing him. “Oh, but there is hope, my little bird, just not in the false forms that you are seeing it. I will only let you cling to what is real. I am your hope, now, and you are mine. I will be your protector and, when you accept that, truly, you will find your place in this world, with me.”

“Don’t fucking touch me,” Blake growled out in contempt and turned his head away as much as he could.

“There is such a fire in you.” Bane’s voice was soft, almost unable to be heard behind the mask. With a shiver, John finally grasped that its tone was true admiration. His head spun when he realized that the sickest part of this joke on him was that it wasn’t a joke at all. Bane really did want to protect him in some perverse way. That made this worse, meant he would never let him go. A soft sound escaped the back of his throat and he hated how weak he felt. Should have stayed a cop, stayed and followed the rules. He was never going to be a symbol for Gotham.

There was a soft shushing noise from Bane; warped by the mask it sounded like almost like a tea kettle’s whistle.

“You are worthy of this, my little Robin.”

“I’m not, I’m really not,” He swore softly.

There was a harsh chuckle and Bane was leaning closer. It made Blake try to shrink down into the cushion beneath him. “Tell me about yourself, my little bird.”

He shook his head, gasping when Bane brought his head down and pressed it to his belly. He felt cold terror there when the mask pushed against him. He could feel a hot breath being pushed out of it, seeping through his clothes and into his skin.

“Tell me. I will know you.”

“What’s going to happen if I don’t?” he whispered fearfully, his breath caught in his throat. He was still in so much pain, the thought of adding more to it was unbearable.

Another hot huff against his belly and he can barely hear the words, muffled by the mask and his own body.
“Then I must burn you.”

It was spoken with a casualness that was so much more terrifying than any menace he could have put into it. Blake stared into the fire for a long moment; it no longer seemed cozy. He swallowed and felt himself nod in defeat. It shouldn’t be this easy, he felt pathetic, but Bane had killed the Batman, now that his hooks were truly in him, what could he do?

“What do you want to know?” he asked angrily. “My hopes and dreams? My favorite fucking color?”

“Your first memory of pain.”

John stared down at him, dubious. “How am I supposed to remember that?”

“Because we all do. We all remember that first moment, when we learn the world is not safe.”

“Well, I don’t.”

“Think carefully, little bird. It would be hard for us to come to know one another if I must put a hot coal between your lips.”

Bane’s hand reached backwards towards the fire.

“The crash! A car crash,” he rambled out quickly.

“Tell me of it.”

“I don’t… I don’t remember much. I don’t even remember her, not really.”

“Your mother,” Bane guessed easily, unless he had simply used the computer to research John. Both were plausible. “Tell me everything you remember of it.”

“I just remember it hurt. It was cold, and loud, and it hurt,” he winced. While he spoke, he could feel the memories being dragged out of him. “It hurt everywhere. I could… I could hear her breathing.” God, had he really heard her breathing? He had never remembered that before, hadn’t remembered anything about her before, he thought it all was lost.

“She… she—” Memories flooded back and his breath caught in his throat. The smell of gasoline and alcohol had been so strong in the thick air of the collapsed car. Thin red lips were moving, weakly, and a delicate hand was smoothing over his own small hand. He closed his eyes tightly and felt the dampness gather there.

“She sang to me. So I wouldn’t be scared,” he whispered out the last of the memory, feeling his chest tighten.

“Very good, little Robin.” He felt a thumb carefully brush the moisture from his eyes.

“Is that enough?” he asked rawly.

It wasn’t.

Bane asked question after question as he sat watch over John, each intimate, cutting. The words hurt to be plucked out of his body. Bane always asked about his firsts. The first time he remembered crying, the first time he thought he would die, the first time he considered truly killing another person, the first person he loved, the first person he hated. That one had hurt. That one almost made the coal touch John’s lips.

“My father!” he shouted out finally, kicking his legs up at Bane in a mad fury.

“Why?” came Bane’s simple response. He’d never reacted to any of the answers Blake gave, not with amusement or indifference; he would simply watch and listen, occasionally rubbing wetness from Blake’s eyes.

“Because if he hadn’t died, I wouldn’t be alone!”

That large hand splayed out onto his chest and held firm. “You are not alone, my little bird. You are never alone again.” The words were fierce, firm, an unyielding promise.

Something broke inside him at that, at the trauma and terror and stress of having his entire life ripped open, poured out into the darkness of the cave like messy carnage. He felt a wet sob leave him. His bones felt hollow. The anger that protected him wasn’t enough right now.

Then Bane was there. His hands were rubbing his shoulders, his chest, and they were warm, more soothing than a monster’s had any right to be. He shivered from the coldness as they left his chest and rested lightly on his stomach. Bane was right. He would never be alone again, and that should never be a comfort, it should never feel like a balm over his heart to hear those words.

*****
His little bird shivered under him, so shaken apart by his confessions. They were nothing he had not heard before, in fact they might as well have been the admissions of an angel when compared with almost any other man or woman in this world, but to his little Robin they were far from trivial. They were the greatest of sins that he sung out for Bane. It warmed Bane’s heart to know that he was learning what made his little bird’s wings beat. He petted him more, knowing that the action was only now welcome when his little one needed the feeling of contact, to know that he was not empty and alone, so much more than just a shell. His ragged breathing smoothed out and Bane was not surprised when his little one was soon asleep.

A victory won.

He allowed himself to touch for a few moments longer before he busied himself with a few simple chores. After, he went into the more private corridor and took care of his own need for nutrients. The pain always came upon him when he needed to eat, but if it was done quickly it could be kept to a minimum.

Finally, then, he allowed himself rest. He spread himself out onto the mattress and positioned a possessive hand with a firm grip over his little bird’s thigh, one of his least injured areas. He looked forward to the day when his Robin was healed and understanding enough that he might be granted the privilege of gathering him into his arms for rest; a foolish whim, Bane knew, but even he had his weaknesses.

He allowed his body to settle into sleep, hazy dreams filling his mind. Inside them, Talia teased him for being so sentimental, and his new little one joined in the play of it, both young and nothing like carefree, but still with a sense of whimsy. They made his rest easy and light.

Light enough that he was awake only moments after his hand no longer registered the feeling of his little one’s thigh under its palm.

With swift silence, he rose and scanned the room. His little one was not far. He’d managed to sit up, his arms stuck out awkwardly at his sides as he sat on the ledge of their platform, staring into the dark water below as his legs dangled down.

Bane walked over to stand over him, purposefully letting his boots fall heavy enough to be heard. He was proud when his little Robin did not startle. He simply continued to stare.

“It would be an unpleasant fall.”

“I know. I thought about it, but you’d hear it.”

“I would.”

“How would you punish me?”

“I do not punish.”

“What would happen?”

Bane paused to give the question the consideration it deserved. “Breaking your legs is something I would try to avoid. They would not heal as easily as your arms, and I would have you strong. Likely, I would whip your feet, so that the pain would prevent their use for a time.”

His little bird’s nod was barely discernible.

“I have to piss,” he blurted out, clearly unsettled by what Bane had told him and desperately desiring a change in subject. He was so very readable, especially now that Bane held his secrets close to his own heart.

It was quick business, and though he flinched his little bird did not protest when Bane helped work his pants down a little so that he could let loose into the water below.

He laughed lightly as relief flooded his little bird’s face. “Better?”
A quick nod, then Bane righted his pants for him, amused at the startled yelp when he slid his hands under his little bird’s underarms and pulled him to stand.

“If you are awake you should walk, stretch yourself. Your legs are not broken.”

He scooted away quickly, wobbling slightly at the unexpected weight from his splints, and then stared. ”Walk?”

“Yes.”

“Where?”

Bane chuckled. “It is a cave, not a cage cell. There is plenty of room to romp. Go.”

There was disbelief in his boy’s eyes, but he wandered down the staircase of the platform warily, his bare feet splashing into the water. He let his boy explore with a watchful eye. He had done the same while his little bird had slept, and now knew the cave well. There were no easy exits beyond the waterfall, so there was no harm in letting his boy get his exercise even if Bane knew he was using the time to try to look for a way out. It was subtle as he splashed around, but still Bane could see it in his eyes as he would casually test how far he could walk towards the falls before he got a look from Bane or how deep each pocket of the cave led, if it would lead to an exit.

His damp feet finally padded up the stairs again, leaving wet drips everywhere. “That water is fucking freezing.”

His little Robin carefully worked himself down to sit in front of the fire, warming his toes near it. He was clearly in higher spirits from the excursion and let himself be fed without more than a token complaint about it being peanut butter again. Bane didn’t particularly care about what form his nutrients came in, his tongue had long ago forgotten the taste of food, but decided he would go out for more supplies soon, raiding a dead man’s pantry, even a rich dead man, had not gotten him very far in the way of food to feed his bird.

“Can I have some more aspirin?” his little bird ventured. A test to see what would be acceptable behavior. He was learning, and that was to be rewarded. Bane helped him swallow down a few more pills, not the same as the initial amount, but enough to wear down the aches of bones knitting together.

The rest of the day was spent in relative quiet. His little bird still plotted and Bane was not offended by it. It would have been an insult for him not to try. If he could not keep his little bird safe and protected then he did not deserve to have him. Any attempt would simply be proof of the need for their bonding. Still, healing bodies need more rest and it was not long before he caught his little one’s eyes drooping a bit as he stared into the fire. Wordlessly he guided him to lie back onto the bed.

Chapter Text

A dreamless, restful sleep tickled at the edge of John’s brain; it left him still muzzy, but without the throbbing pain that accompanied the past few wakings. He felt something warm and wet drag against his forehead, working away the days of built up grime and blood there. The mattress felt different, hot, more firm under his head and shoulders. When he shook off the haze of rest he realized his head was pillowed in Bane’s lap while the man sat beside his bedding and wiped his face with careful, precise strokes of a soft cloth. John caught himself this time before he tried to bring a hand up. He didn’t ask ‘what are you doing?’ as it was a fairly obvious thing. He could see a pan of water close by, warmed from the fire and a bar of soap to lather the rag.

“Stop,” he said instead, tilting his head. “It’s fine.”

“When you are clean, little Robin.” came the mechanized response. The fingers dd not even pause. It was not a gentle touch, nor could it be called harsh. The eyes that watched him sealed into John’s brain what to call that touch.

Possessive.

Cupped palms scooped the water into his hair, dampening it, making dirty copper toned water pool down Bane’s legs and soak into his pants. If the man noticed he did not care. Soap was worked into his locks, scrubbed to lathering. He could feel thick, blunt nails scratching his scalp. No one had ever washed his hair before, not that he could remember. Not his father, not any of his foster families, not even a hairdresser; growing up alone had taught John how to keep his own hair neatly groomed.

He wondered how anyone could stand to feel what he was feeling then, that pressure and squeak of suds. How could it feel so different from his own fingers’ work? How could anyone take being touched like that? Like right then he was the only important thing in the world, like he was the world.

He’d touched women, beautiful women, treated them right and they were more than happy to return the favor to him. One or two he’d even thought he’d loved. This, though, was too intimate, more intimate than he ever got with anyone. Intimacy was dangerous, daunting. He wasn’t an emotional enough person; he wasn’t really there for them was what most of them said when they’d break up, and he let them believe it because it was an easy lie. They were wrong. He couldn’t show them his emotions because they weren’t the ones people wanted to see. His mask was always in place with them.

Now, he felt them. Anger at being denied something so intimate his entire life only to have it given to him by Bane in a twisted parody of tenderness. It was bubbling in his bones, threatening to spill out of his marrow. Other feelings twisted up with it, digging into sinew and boiling through his veins. Fear of his future, of the dark shadows he could see surrounding him in the flickering light of the fire, the deep loneliness he always felt when he was surrounded by people who only saw his mask.

The emotions made him thrash and shout in Bane’s arms. Slippery fingers gripped his shoulders, squeezing hard enough to remind him that they could crush the rest of his bones to powder, if Bane wished it.

“Will you ever put such anger to use? Or will it always merely be a child’s tantrum?”

“Fuck you, I’m not a child!” he gasped out as he could feel the bruises blooming under Bane’s grip already, reaching muscle deep.

“You struggle as the little boy who has lost his way, yet will bite any hands of those who would reach out to guide him.”

“I don’t NEED any help. I don’t need your protection.”

“Perhaps. Show this to me by escaping and I might believe you.”

“You know there isn’t a way out of here that doesn’t involve you breaking my legs next.”
“But I will not kill you, my little Robin, and if you cannot escape from a man who will not take your life, how can you expect to live when you fight those who will do so without hesitation?”

“I’ll have my damn arms, for one.”

“Easily taken again by any hand strong enough to crack bone. You lack strategy. Your paltry trainings with the police have taught you to work as a group, a system. This dooms you. Little songbirds like you are not meant for the flock. They gather only in pairs or fly solo.”

“What are you saying?”

“That I will teach you these things. You stand to gain more knowledge about battle laid out here on this bed and heeding my words then from the mouths of the police flock.”

He stilled and the hands crushing him went from his shoulders to pouring a trail of water into his hair, washing away the soap and grime.

“You… You’re saying you’re going to teach me how to fight?”

“Of course. If that is what my little bird needs.”

Blake snorted slightly in realization. “You’re not even a little worried I’ll learn enough to kill you, are you.”

The hands paused and Blake forced himself to look up into Bane’s face, to study his eyes and brows. Amusement again, he finally decided. Bane seemed to be most often amused at him.

“Let me finish my work, little Robin.”

He startled when it was so easy for Bane to tear his shirt to pieces on him and discard the scraps. “What the hell?”

“Your arms were in the way,” was the only reply as the soapy cloth was trailed down his torso. He twitched more at the contact, but the cleaning of the cuts that were now tender with the threat of infection heating through them and the purging of days-old terror-tinged sweat felt undeniably good. His body and mind worked overtime to reconcile the idea of Bane’s touch and the feeling of being touched with care, cleaned like he was something precious, not delicate, but of great value. It was temptation, then, temptation and a desire that had been with him since he first realized he was alone in the world that led him to close his eyes, let him drift and pretend for just a moment that he lived in a world where he was wanted, where he wasn’t just another cop, or statistic, or orphan.

The cloth and soap softened scabs, worked them away with infected bits of crust, made them ooze blood onto his now clean skin. This, too, was washed. Rivulets of clean water ran down his chest, sucked up greedily by the bedding under him.

Wanted.

He squirmed when the band of his pants was rolled down, baring him, sucked in a breath of anxiousness as he was almost shaken from his self-indulgent reverie. He waited for the touch to change, to turn into something he’d been taught to fear and expect from every man out there who wanted to “help” an orphan. Something he’d by some miracle managed to escape by getting good grades and into the academy. Why not, he thought blearily, why not just let it? He’d never traded his body for the comfort of being held like this, told himself he didn’t need it. He was the one who did the holding, the caring. He’d wrap his arms around a girl and hold her close, make her feel safe falling asleep in the arms of a police officer. That’s what he liked. He'd at least always known that about himself.

It really fucking hurt to realize that he’d never known himself at all.

But Bane didn’t take, didn’t try to stroke John to hardness, didn’t force his legs apart and rut him like a beast. He cleaned and rinsed and moved on to his legs and feet. When he finished, he set the water aside and carefully pulled John’s body to the dry section of bedding. John watched as he stood and walked over to the fire, stripped off his heavy, sodden military pants without a trace of shame and laid them by the fire to dry. Blake could see the mass of scars that ran lines down every inch of Bane’s skin. Gashes, gouges, burns, nicks, even a chunk of flesh that simply seemed gone, leaving a hollow on the back of his right calf. Some were old and silvered, others fresh, the ones that licked up his chest could barely even be considered healed yet. Bane was a survivor, he was power, he lived through everything, he was protection. Those parts of him were everything that Blake had ever wanted in his life.

“Teach me,” he said softly, voice sounding strange even to himself. No mask, he realized. There was no reason for it. Bane saw his anger through the façade as if it were glass.

Bane turned towards him, both of them bare as the fire’s glow licked at their skin.

“Very well.”

************

Bane hovered over his Robin for a moment before he dropped down on one knee beside him. “You fight like the street urchin you once were, wildly unskilled and full of desperation. I will train you in the way of the shadows. You were not born into the darkness as I was, but it will soon adopt you, as its own blood.”

His little bird’s eyes were so sharp, watching him. “The darkness? Do you mean you are going to train me how you were, by the League of Shadows?”

Bane nodded in approval. His little one had clearly put to use the computer Mr. Wayne had gifted him if he knew of the league.

“Yes. You are as wet clay now, my little bird, fresh, malleable. I will guide you, mold you, but I must keep you from the sun while you are being shaped lest you crumble from its harsh, baking heat.”

He watched as his Robin’s eyes flicked towards the cave entrance, searching for the light there. This was a temporary truce, but it was groundwork. With this, Bane would coax his little bird until he learned not to try to fly from his cage before it was time.

He did not wait for answer. He simply began to teach. Anatomy, pressure points, his boy jumped as each one was touched on his body while Bane explained their uses in vivid detail, some for pain, some to stun, some to make an opponent’s gag reflex rob them of their surrounding senses. When Bane explained that the latter points were much more useful than the former, his little bird looked at him skeptically. A quick shove of his palm to one such point had his boy gagging and jerking about wildly on the bed while Bane calmly made several cutting motions with his finger over his body and listed each artery he would be severing while his little one struggled to breathe again. Lesson learned. Bane made him repeat every point he listed then explain back to him their purpose. When he was satisfied, he sent him off to run and romp in the icy water of the cave.

“Do not come back until you are as cold as death. Then you will recite them again. One can never allow the elements to control their body or mind.”

His little bird had come back, naked and shivering, blue in the lips. His teeth clicked together in a painful chatter as Bane forced him to draw the names of the points from his chilled mind. When he forgot one or its purpose, Bane sent him back into the water, to where it reached his neck, to where it made his broken bones ache and every part of him freeze until he was called up for another chance at recital.

Finally, each was known to his boy, etched into his mind by the chill of ice and would never be forgotten. In reward, he drew his boy close, feeling the bone-deep chill in him as he wrapped around him.

“Very good, my little Robin.”

His little one was too grateful for the heat to be shy, his paled lips and cheek burrowed into Bane’s neck, greedily rooting out the warmth there, earning a rich chuckle from Bane. He sat with him in front of the fire and rubbed warmth back into his lithe body, changed the soaked bandages and checked on the healing bones’ progress, still aligned, knitting together properly. He granted his little one the small freedom of keeping his fingers unbound, this time. He watched as those fingers wiggled and stretched out in relief. Bane put him to bed under a thick pile of blankets and thought of tomorrow’s lesson as he looked into the fire.

“Cold, still,” the soft words could barely be heard drifting up from under bedding. Bane was unsure if they were meant to be. He simply moved to the bed, slid under the blankets, and wrapped an arm over his little Robin, lending him his warmth.

Chapter Text

*********

Several days passed. It was amazing what Bane could teach him about fighting without John ever having to rely on his broken arms. A fight, he was quickly starting to realize, had only a small part to do with the physical.

“Batman was trained, wasn’t he?” John had asked one day while he was being made to recite intimidation techniques and forms of trickery.

“Yes, by the League of Shadows.”

He stopped and looked over at Bane who was watching him closely.

“How the hell did he expect me to be able to do this?” It was an angering realization. “I’ve had no training, nothing like this, and he just expected me to be able to go out into the night and do what he did? When he’d been trained by an entire group of master assassins?”

Bane had thrown his head back with laughter at that, true mirth showed in his eyes. “Mr. Wayne was always painfully optimistic.”

“I would have died,” was the quiet realization. “Not against some street thugs, I can take them. It’s never just street thugs in Gotham, though, is it? First time something even a little bigger came sniffing around, I would have bit it. Fuck, I wasn’t even carrying my piece with me.”

Bane’s fists clenched, the steel muscles in his arms clearly tense.

Anger.

Blake realized he hadn’t seen Bane angry before, angry over the thought of John dead, looking ready to tear apart the world with his bare hands.

“Yes.”

The hands did not loosen. Blake hesitated. He was learning here, a lot, but he wasn’t going to let himself be brainwashed. He’d use this as a terrifying learning experience, gain enough to escape then run like hell, out of Gotham. He’d realized with some heartache that it would have to be away from Gotham. Bane would find him wherever he might hide here.

John wondered if the same might be true for wherever he might go.

Those firm, rough fists, tight with tension. He shouldn’t care about Bane’s anger.

He knew what it was like to be angry.

“Guess it was a good thing you got to me first, huh?” John spoke glibly, not quite serious, but it still couldn’t be called a joke.

Palms and fingers loosened. “Yes.”

The arms that wrapped around him that night were especially tight, almost bruising. Blake said nothing. He slept soundly.

**************

 

The first attempt at flight. It had not come unexpected. The splints had been shortened just the day before, to a more practical length. They ran only from wrist to elbow, now, and allowed for a much greater freedom than his little bird had felt for weeks. They even allowed for careful exercise, so that his little bird could be taught to assume different posing and stretches, working his body to a new limberness. So much freedom was bound to ruffle any bird’s feathers.

It was coupled with the idea that they had begun to discuss death strikes that day; snapping necks, bashing in brains, slitting a throat without the opponent ever recognizing one’s presence. He had watched the tension hitching up into his little bird’s shoulders. The topic was important, though. He would not shy away from subject matter that his little bird would need to know.
One might say he had baited his little Robin into a controlled flight, to get it out of the way now. Cruel, perhaps, but necessary.

So fleet of foot was his little bird as he slid under the cascade, soaking himself before he disappeared into the night.

Poor form struck his little one after, though, and fear ruled him once he was free of the cave, his racing footfalls heavy, echoing into Bane’s ears. He counted them, letting them reach the higher digits before he took off for the hunt.

Wet footprints, broken blades of grass, pitiably simple. He would have to teach his little bird stealth in the woods. It was not a common battle ground in Gotham, but one must always be prepared. Still, his little bird was thrillingly quick even with his injury. He remembered when he had taught Talia her deception and stealth, made into a game in their ghastly prison. The longer she could hide from him, from everyone, the more points she had earned, points that were worthless except that Talia had held them close to her heart and treasured each one earned despite their lack of extrinsic value.

She had grown able to hide from him for days before he could ferret her out. The tricks he had used to discover her hidden away served Bane well, here. He did not bother to hide himself in the darkness, he let himself be seen and heard. He listened and observed, as well, until he heard the shallow hitching of breath. He almost shook his head in amusement at that, such a child’s mistake. His little bird had so much to learn.

***************

 

Running. He was running, not for his life but for his freedom, the sanctity of his soul.

Killer. He wasn’t being taught just to fight, he was being trained to be a killer, a murderer. Bane made it sound so reasonable, so logically simple to crush the life out of his opponents.

He wasn’t going to make it. He could hear him moving, like a nightmare in the dark, confident footsteps that never ran, never hastened, ever closer. He’d wanted to flee during the light hours, but inside the cave he could no longer tell what was night and what was day. Light gave him advantage, Bane held every card here in the dark.
When he felt him, over his shoulder, he crouched down onto the grassy forest floor and dropped his head down in defeat.

Please, God, just not the legs. Jesus Christ.

“Not the legs,” Bane’s voice agreed softly to the words Blake wasn’t even aware he’d pleaded out loud.

He let himself be guided back to the cave without a struggle, lain out on his belly, and let his feet be tied together. It wasn’t the legs.

He wasn’t so sure it was much better, afterwards.

Bastinado, foot whipping, Bane had called it as he watched him squirm, his belly clenching at the cold platform that pressed into it. Foot torture.

“You will keep the flats of your feet elevated. It will go poorly for you, otherwise.”

He’d nodded tersely. He could take this.

It didn’t take long for him to scream, to cry. He’d had no idea how many nerve endings were on the bottom of his feet, it hadn’t been part of Bane’s lessons. Each one was lit up in burning torment when Bane brought the birch switch down onto the balls of his feet, the heels, the arches, the delicate skin between his toes. Again and again, each lash built onto the other until he it felt like surely his feet had to be bleeding, like every tiny delicate bone in his toes had to be disintegrating, each tendon snapping under the sharp, relentless strikes.

He tried to open his mouth to speak, another lash between his toes made him bite down into his tongue instead, and blood clung to his teeth. “I’m sorry!” he tried, he didn’t know if it would help. He had to try, though, he had to make this end.

“You were sloppy, little bird. You must learn stealth.”

The blows didn’t stop. They rained down like fire as Bane proceeded to explain every flaw in Blake’s escape, every detail that could be improved on, the things he must do next time he is trying to flee.

“You were deplorably simple to capture, my little bird. Show me you can do better next time.”

Blake couldn’t understand the ache in his chest when he heard the disappointment in those words.

“You’ll just capture me again. You’ll just do this again!” he cried out, his legs jerking as he struggled to keep his feet still, exposed, too terrified of what might happen if he put them down in spite of the pain.

“Yes, and next time I will tell you your mistakes, again, while offering correction. You will learn from them.”

“I won’t be a killer!” he sobbed out. His feet dipped lower and the consequence was a harder lash, one that surely must have broken his skin. He swore he could feel the blood pooling down his ankles, running down his unbroken legs. This was hell. He raised his feet again, a silent plead for mercy.

“Then you will always have your enemies at your back, my little Robin. You will always need me.”

He nodded, feeling the words that were like gospel in that moment, a sermon that he had to heed lest his body burn to ash.

“I’ll always need you!” he choked out in agreement, letting his fevered brow drop down onto the cold stone.

The lashes stopped.

Icy cold metal pressed into the soft flesh of his arch. The shock of contact made his legs jerk wildly. That initial touch cut into his over-sensitized nerves like a knife, then brought blessed relief to his feet, ice on a burn, a healing balm. He let his body collapse, loose with weariness; that chill point of sensation became the only focus of his mind.

“Well done, my little Robin.”

The words of praise were as soothing as the cold against his feet. He could feel cool air then, rushing over them. He could hear a strange sound, like Bane was blowing air out of the mask slowly.

His mask.

Bane’s mask was pressed to his feet, the cool metal there ebbing away the pain from his soles, pressed against them in an intimate parody of a kiss. It was unthinkably tender, overwhelming as the cool air rushed between his toes, blown out by Bane as a mercy.

Blake sobbed wetly, undone by torture and mercy, mercy from a monster. He hid his face in his hands and knew that he was losing himself, losing everything.

***********

His little one took his instruction beautifully, broken down carefully by the caning so he could be shown what he needed to see with unbiased eyes. He was not the only one overwhelmed. He knew his little bird, now, and it was harder to make him taste pain even knowing it would make him stronger. Bane indulged, soothed, let himself be soft for a moment. Talia would have teased, she would have kicked his face playfully for being so silly as to put his one vulnerable spot right in the perfect range to be destroyed by a true blow by her feet.

His battered little bird only cried. He was so soft.

Perhaps they both were, in some ways.

He rubbed his little bird’s calves soothingly, blowing cool air still until the sobs shuddered to a stop.

“It will take several days for these to heal enough for you to try again, my little Robin.”

There was no response beyond a shiver at the feeling of Bane’s breath over the pads of his feet.

He cleaned his little one’s swollen, marred skin with cool water then gathered him back onto the bedding to recover.

Chapter Text

The next few days were marked with quiet. His feet hurt too much to stand. Bane had told him nothing was truly broken there, but the deep, ugly purpling on the soles of his feet left him skeptical. The constant quiet was getting to him, but he wasn’t sure how to fill it. He didn’t figure Bane was much for small talk. So he hummed, whistled a bit, sung a little tune or two to himself softly when Bane wasn’t focusing his attention directly on him. It helped.

Sometimes he caught Bane watching him while he did it, ever amused. There wasn’t a drop of ill will towards John for the escape attempt, no animosity whatsoever. He’d simply taken away his power to walk then moved on. In fact, he seemed to only be waiting for the next escape with a kind of infuriating acceptance of an inevitable fate.
A couple days in, he’d staggered to his feet, clinging to Bane’s strong arm, cursing up a blue streak as his bruised skin protested his weight.

“Go walk.”

“Screw you,” he’d grouched, letting go and hobbling the first few steps forward.

Bane had just chuckled. “I prefer when my little bird sings.”

He’d rolled his eyes and shambled off into the water, humming.

He got farther on the next attempt.

Then screamed all the louder at the next caning, then the third, and now the fourth. This one went to his ankles, snapping sharply against the thick bone there, making his legs spasm in pain. Bane listed his improvements as he worked the switch, then his failures and how to make improvements, followed by a bit of praise. Blake had let out a semi-hysterical laugh on the third caning when he realized he was equating foot torture to the compliment sandwich he used to get for performance reviews at the precinct.
At the end, he was sobbing into the cement platform again. He’d let his legs drop down, and the failure on his part to present his feet properly had resulted in blows to the tender backs of his knees until he’d bit down into his lip, fought for control, raised them back up.

“Say it, my little Robin,” came the soft command above him.

He didn’t have to ask. He’d said it each and every time, an ending to the torment.

“I’ll always need you!” he choked out, carrying on what had become their ritual. The lashing stopped. There was an expectant pause between them as Blake tried to settle himself, willed his body to realize that while the pain was not over, more was not on its way.

A deep breath, his hands clenched and relaxed on the exhale.

“Please?” it was asked softly, hesitantly. This part of the ritual is the hardest, harder than any whipping, admitting the need he felt writhing around in his gut, brought up into his person by Bane. It had become a necessity he gasped for like air.

Prove to me I’m not alone, his brain whispered. Show me I matter.

He felt Bane drop down onto his knees behind him. The mask pressed, then, against his feet, cool and calming. He’d come to realize it is a silent apology for the pain, a steady assurance that the suffering he had experienced was not his alone, that Bane hurt with him and would be steady for him when Blake himself could not be.

He was open and raw in these moments, able to admit his needs to himself, stripped of barriers and living high off the rush of endorphins. In these moments, when he could feel Bane’s breath against his abused feet, he felt strangely at peace. It wouldn’t last. He’d rile as soon as he healed and try again, but for now…

His hand slid backwards against the floor, towards the man kneeling behind him, palm upturned in a quiet request.

He felt Bane grip his hand tightly, warm and anchoring, let out another sob, and allowed himself to just have the moment, and the moment after when Bane washed him clean. First the sweat and mud from his body, he’d tried crawling against the river rocks to evade detection this time, but it hadn’t been worth the scrapes he’d gotten on his thighs and belly, then his feet. The initial wet touch there always felt like the cut of a knife on the first swipe. No matter how light the stroke, it always made tears leak out fresh. He was on his back now, though, and when Bane could see them, he always wiped any tears away with the back of his thumb without a word.

His hair was always last and it was unfair, not right, that what should be the least intimate of the cleaning was what seemed to be leading to his final undoing. He tried to ignore it each time, when those nails rubbed into his scalp, scraped up the dirt that adhered there and rinsed it away, but he could feel himself stirring. Weeks, months, perhaps, untouched, for he had no idea how long he had really been in this new life, and his body was adjusted now to this lifestyle. Certain needs were starting to make themselves known again after a long period of lacking. Needs that with two broken arms and a constant supervisor he was in no position to take care of. His body, like most male bodies, had never been one to care much about the circumstances it was in, it wanted what it wanted and right now it craved touch and attention. When blunt fingers smoothed down his scalp, he felt his bare cock twitch against his thigh. He closed his eyes tight and willed Bane to just for once not be so fucking observant.

When he was carried to the bed, he felt Bane’s hand slide up his thigh, thumb tucking into the cut of muscle there, stroking far too close for his member not to swell a little at the attention. He squirmed with unease, but the hand left to travel down and stroke the safer skin at his calf.

“Not yet, my little one.”

The “yet” scared him, but what terrified him was that when “yet” came, he was not so sure that he would be unwillingly. Perhaps that was what Bane was waiting for. He was not like this, never looked at a guy in his life. Bane was more than a “guy,” his mind tells him. Bane was his world right then, his protector, and his body wanted his protector’s touch, warmed to it, to the point where when he slept, it was no longer dreamless, it was filled with the warmth of Bane’s hands.
_______________

He trailed his hands down his little one’s arms thoughtfully, prodding lightly, watching his face for signs of pain with each push.

“They are ready to come off,” he decided.

His little Robin’s face lit up in pure joy, his own shone through his eyes in response to it.

“Well, come on, what are you waiting for?” He shoved playfully at Bane’s arm then held his own out expectantly, hopefully.

“Patience. You have had them there for months, I suspect you can wait a few moments longer.”

His little one stilled at that and let out a long breath. “Jesus Christ. Has it really been that long?”

“Roughly two, by my calculations.” He slowly unwound the strips of cloth, his little one’s forearms looking even paler than the rest of his body had grown in the darkness of the cave.

His little Robin watched with eager eyes, stretching his arms out the moment the wood and cloth was fully removed. He popped up off the floor and swung his arms vigorously around in the air in experimentation, then let out a whoop of exhilaration. It was another taste of freedom, exactly what had been part of the trigger behind the beginning of his attempted escapes. When his little bird seemed to realize what he had been granted, his movements slowed and he looked down at Bane where he still sat, feeding the wooden splints and scraps of cloth into the ever-glowing fire.

“Do I have to worry about these getting broken again?”

“I think we are beyond such things, little one.”

Bane watched him hesitate. Uncertainly crossed his little Robin’s features often these days, a complex riddling of emotions would play over his face, shifting as quickly as windblown sand. Uncertainty, anger, relaxation, pain, joy, contentment, they cycled through him and left his little bird feeling emotionally unstable throughout the day. The reasoning at this moment was easy to guess, though.

“Come. We will go outside and train, expend your energy there. I would prefer you to learn more before you try to escape again.”

“I could just… not try.” His little bird’s words came with great hesitation.

Bane chuckled. “No, you couldn’t, little one. It’s not in your nature. You will try until you accept, and you are not ready to accept, yet.”

There was a pause, then a nod. “I can go outside? You’re really going to kick my ass aren’t you?”

“Most likely.”

_______________

There was no ‘most likely’ about it. Bane handed his ass back to him very politely after he wiped the forest floor with it. The most embarrassing part was just how clear it was that Bane was withholding his strength, softening each blow that would shove John onto the ground, against a tree, and in one inspired moment had wedged him so tightly between two boulders by the cave that Bane had been forced to crack one of the boulders to tug him out while John laughed uproariously and wriggled between the rocks, completely not of use.

“You’ve already broken my bones. I think I can take a harder hit.”

“I would rather you learn to avoid them. You will never outmatch me in pure power, that is not where your strength lies. You will need to learn to use my size and power against me, with your own skills, speed, determination, and a lithe, controlled body. If you would rather I not hold back, however…”

A solid punch to his stomach doubled him over, made him wheeze out and see stars.

He blew out a pained breath. “Maybe just keep pulling those punches.” His belly was probably going to look like shit once the bruise there showed.

“Very well.”

Bane showed him maneuvers, holds, how to break them, how to wear his opponent down without ever having to land a blow on them. He made Blake practice them on his person, would move John’s hands over his mutilated skin to correct a position or showing him how he’d managed to complete miss a pressure point.

It had been dark when they started, the air was cool. Blake’s body’s was soon dripping with sweat from the exertion and couldn’t seem to decide if it should feel overheated or chilled. He was a bit disgruntled to notice that Bane’s breathing from the mask didn’t even change. Soon, the dark began to creep away and the sky took on an orange-pink hue. When there was pause, he gave his attention to it, dipped his head backwards and just looked up into the rising light.

Why didn’t he miss it?

He continued to look up and felt the gentle warmth washing over his skin, but it didn’t feel like it was bidding him to come back to it. There wasn’t a magical moment where he felt the sun on his face and suddenly he was back to his old self again. It just felt like dawn. No spark there. The thought made his heart ache.
He didn’t startle when he felt Bane’s arm wrap around his waist. Bane always knew when he needed to be touched, now.

“You were never meant for it, little one. You are a night bird. The sun is a pretty bauble to our eyes, nothing more.”

“Just an ideal,” he agreed softly. But Batman was an ideal, too, not something he felt he could ever truly achieve now, but he would not stop trying. “Can we just stay a bit, watch it?”

He could sense the hesitation in Bane, months of seeing almost nothing of a man’s face had taught him to read body language well. John leaned back against his chest, letting his head tilt back slightly to look at him.

“Please?”

He was learning some battles could be won without ever having to raise a fist at all.

“Clever, Robin.” The voice was indulgent, affectionate, even. John found he no longer even noticed the mechanized tone to it, just the underlying expression.
They stayed like that and watched the sun rise together.

Before they returned back into the cave, Blake heard something off in the distance. A barely-there rumble of machinery? A construction crew, perhaps? If two months had passed, surely they had to be working on the renovations to Wayne Manor. He had slyly glanced towards Bane, but his eyes gave no sign that he had heard the sound that Blake had. Sounds meant people, crowds of people, cars, phones; a real way out.

He had to keep reaching for the sun even if it didn't shine the same way in his eyes.

He made another plan that night then did a mental checklist. He was learning. He couldn’t slip away from Bane while they slept. He’d long ago figured out that the man gave him an exact 2 minute head start out of some idea of good sportsmanship before he took off after him.

When Bane ate, though, was a different story.

The whole process didn’t take long, and was always done without comment. Bane would simply walk off , holding some sort of food, into a more distant corridor twice daily and disappear for approximately 10 minutes, enough time, Blake suspected, to take off the mask and shove as much nutrients into his mouth as he could before the pain of its absence set in. It almost seemed like cheating, but Blake shook off the idea. This wasn’t a game, not for him, anyway. He was getting into this too deeply. He was starting to feel too much of a need being met here.

Now that he’d seen the sun recently, he was a little more able to guess the time and tried to wait until it he was more likely to meet daylight before he made his move. Ten minutes, one minute to get exit the cave, about two miles to get back to the manor. He could run that. With his arms free now, he could make that with enough time to get attention, grab a phone, a car, something. He could tear out of there and disappear.

He waited, three feedings went by, some indoor training, and some hours of being asleep curled beside Bane, before he was almost sure it was daylight outside when Bane picked up a few cans of food and walked off. He kept his eyes on the fire, bid himself not to even glance up as he listened to Bane’s light footsteps fade even further. He then lowered himself down carefully into the water, forgoing the steps for sake of the silence he gained by dipping into the water with one smooth motion, a tip Bane had given him on his third caning.

One minute to slide through the water, to take a breath and close his eyes, to dip down and submerge his head under the water and crawl under the falls so the sheet of water wouldn’t be broken by his body. It let him slip out of the cave soundlessly, something that he’d realized on his fifth time fleeing had often tipped Bane into wakefulness. He opened his eyes and was relieved to be met by sunlight. He could do this. He allowed a precious few seconds to drag his bare feet against a dry patch, a lesson learned after he’d slipped and crashed into some rocks on his second attempt.

Then he took off, full tilt. He’d tried to run with stealth before, in the dark, to try and avoid unseen obstacles and to keep himself hidden as long as possible. Now, though, he ran with every ounce of his being, with nothing held back. His lungs burned in minutes, he could feel his calves cramp almost immediately from the sudden start. Rocks cut at his feet, but the pain was nothing, barely felt compared to the torture they had been through before. Stronger, he was so much stronger than before. He had Bane’s lessons to thank for that, but that wasn’t something he could think about right now. Now, he could only run. Bane had to have discovered he was gone by now.

In the distance, he could see the dark blue patch of a canvas canopy. A pavilion set up with tables and equipment. He was almost there. He could make it.

Where were the people?

He needed to see workers, milling about, drinking coffee, to hear the rumble of heavy machinery. There was only this tented roof. His pace slowed with uncertainty. What if it was too early, or a lunch break, what if he had made it this far for nothing?

Finally, movement behind a stack of wooden crates, his crashing noisily into the pavilion area had drawn someone’s attention.

“Please, please,” he heaved for oxygen. “There’s no time to explain. This is an emergency. I need your phone and we need to leave the area right away!” Spent from explanation, he doubled over and grasped his thighs to steady himself.

A man quickly walked over from behind the crates, clearly confused by Blake’s sudden appearance. He bought a hand up to steady his shoulder.

“It’s alright—” his soft voice tried to comfort.

“Oh it’s not, it’s really not.” He batted at the man’s hand and tried to keep the traces of hysteria out of his voice. “There’s no time, we have to get out of here.”

Time was going to run out. Blake knew that if Bane caught up with him, caught him talking to this man, the construction worker was as good as dead. He forced his body upright and grabbed the man’s muscled arm.

“Let’s—” the man tried again.

“I’m a cop!” he lied desperately. “This is a crime scene, now. We’re leaving.” He looked up steadily into the man’s cloudy blue eyes, willing him to listen, to just help him get the fuck out.

The man tilted his head curiously. Blake shook his head and looked around for someone else, anyone else.

Something wasn’t right here. There was no one else, why would this man be the only one here?

He looked around at what he assumed was construction equipment, but there were no work tools there. Instead, the sturdy metal tables were lined with beakers, tubs of strange powders, books. Something was very wrong.

He began to back away from the stranger, the warning bells going off in his head far too late. The man, strangely familiar now, with what Blake had first mistaken for a construction worker’s body, and a well kempt beard, simply smiled invitingly at him.

“Bane will be proud of you. You made it so far this time, little Robin.”

“No,” Blake denied the truth desperately. “No!”

The man ignored the enraged shout, ducking away quickly at the sudden fist Blake swung at him, not fast enough, though. The punch landed square in the man’s right cheek, the connection of flesh, bone cracking into bone, made the man stagger back with a grunt.

Blake barely had a moment to be surprised he’d made the blow. He recognized the man now, from the constant stream of newsfeed that had been fed to the masses during Bane’s reign. He shouldn’t have been able to deck what was clearly Bane’s right hand man, his training was working. That, however, was the last thought he was able to get out. The man used the backwards momentum of the punch to grab a small aerosol canister from the nearby table, covering his own mouth and nose with it as he depressed the plunger and filled Blake’s face with a thick cloud of noxious fumes.

He coughed out the vapors, tried to speak, but his tongue felt thick and nothing but slurring noises spilled from his mouth. He crashed down, collapsing half on the ground, half against the metal table, his head slamming down into a microscope. The man waved away the fumes carefully while Blake’s body seized up, locking down into paralysis. He guided him down to the ground to sprawl out, crouched over him.

“Remarkably strong effect,” he observed quietly and placed a hand lightly over the rapidly swelling bump on John’s head, inspecting it.

“Who…” was all he managed to get out. There was the sound of boot steps crunching over grass now, coming closer. The man looked up into the distance and nodded in greeting. He glanced back down.

“Barsad, little one. It is an honor.”

Blake nodded dumbly in acknowledgement.

He should have known he was never getting out of here.

Chapter Text

_______________

Bane looked down at his little Robin, pride swelling in his chest that he had finally figured out the best time to try to flee. He had felt something was wrong while he was eating, the discontent feeling was enough that he had cut the meal short and hastily reattached the mask, finding his little bird to be gone. He had hesitated slightly then, between giving him a head start and the slight worry that perhaps his little one had grown skilled enough now to truly break away, but not knowledgeable enough in his place in this world to return. A one minute lead was decided on; he did want to encourage learning, after all, and he was not without backup plans.

He had studied the trail proudly. His little Robin was learning so much. He could make it to the checkpoint this time, no stumble marks, no listing from side to side as he often did when the casts were there to hinder him. Bane had even increased his pace and felt himself thrill inside at the need for such an action.

Ah, faithful Barsad. He saw him stand vigil over his little bird from a distance, and knew all was well. He slowed his pace, at ease, now, and entered the canopy, looking down at his little Robin, eyebrow raised.

“What did you give him?”

“A toxin, mild paralytic and heavy sedative effects, I will need to work it out of his system carefully.” Barsad’s head inclined in slight apology. “I did not expect him so soon.”

“Nor did I.”

Barsad gave him a light smile. Bane always found that what pleased him also pleased his disciple, as well. It was why he had been chosen, first by himself then accepted by Talia. A brother who would never fail him.

“It must be sweated from him, high heat.”

“Very well. Pack what is needed here. You will work it out of him in the cave, and I will make the supply run today.” He nudged his little bird slightly with his boot. Flecks of white spittle were starting to form at his discolored lips. Barsad’s movements were sure and calm, though, so Bane knew there was no need to overly concern himself.

Instead, he scooped up his little Robin, tossing him over his shoulder with ease. He could feel drug-weak arms give a pathetically feeble push at his back.

“Cheater,” he could hear the word slurred out behind him and a warm line of drool trail down his spine.

He laughed deeply. His ornery little bird would indeed be just fine.

“I never said I would be the only obstacle you would face. You simply assumed. There is no room here for such assumptions, they are a weakness.”

There was no response beyond a low, sick groan.

_______________

Hot. It was way too fucking hot. He could feel the rivers of sweat slicking around his skin, pooling into the creases of his pits, his thighs, puddling everywhere, so much he felt like he was drowning in wet, salty heat. He was covered in sheets, in blankets, in pillows, and a wet steamy towel around his head. He was being smothered.
He couldn’t tell if this was punishment or not, but the nausea he felt was stabbing at his throat and stomach in sick waves. If this was Bane’s new way of correcting him…

“I’ll always need you,” he tried weakly, forcing the words out in a feverish wave of ill.

The heat didn’t stop, but there was a hand at his cheek, then, flesh warm yet still cooler than the rest of his surroundings, smaller, but still firm. Not Bane’s.

“Flattering, little Robin, but I am doing all I can already.” The voice was softer, with an accent Blake couldn’t quite place, maybe Irish, he’d never been good with that kind of thing.

He cracked an eye open, blinking out the sting of sweat. The ‘construction worker’ Barsad knelt on his knees, so close the cloth on his dark cargo pants dug into the blankets Blake found himself swathed in. On his other side was the fire of the cave, blaring brighter than he had ever seen it. He had been set up so tightly against the stones circling it that if he had the strength and freedom of movement he could have reached out and grabbed a fiery log. No wonder he was burning up.

“Where’s Bane?” he tried, but the words were almost inaudible. He opened his mouth greedily when he saw Barsad draw a wet cloth towards his mouth. The water that dripped down onto his dry, sticky tongue was hot and bitterly medicinal, but its wetness satisfied his baser need of thirst, so he swallowed it down and was able to wet his chapped lips.

“Where’s Bane?” he tried again. It was deliriously hypocritical, but if Bane had abandoned him… He had promised he wouldn’t, that couldn’t change even if Blake was trying to leave him. Even in his sick, he felt anger bubble up at the idea of someone else leaving him alone. He needed him here, now. His cool mask would feel so good pressed up against his sweltering skin.

“Gone to obtain supplies. You are very ill.”

He managed a glare. “From that shit that—”

“I sprayed in your face? Yes. You slept through the worst of it. The rest will sweat out in time.”

“What are you? A doctor?” The way Barsad spoke, acted, this was more than a hired gun.

Barsad quirked an eyebrow and shook his head. “My brother would rightfully never trust a doctor.”

“What, then?” That equipment under the tent, the knowledge this man seemed to have about treatment. They’d never managed to get a single piece of intel on this man the entire time he’d stood by Bane’s side. Shit, they hadn’t even known his name.

“A chemist by trade, a medic at the moment, I am whatever I am needed to be.”

“A chemist? You mean you made that shit?”

“Aye, I developed it, among other compounds. Does our speaking help or hinder?”

“Hurts, but it helps, to focus on something.” He was learning a lot here. The cop in Blake couldn’t let this conversation go.

Barsad nodded in understanding. “Then we will have ourselves a little chat until Bane returns, and then you can speak with him, instead.”

Blake started to shake his head and quickly aborted the idea when he felt the muscles in his neck cramp. “He’s not much of a conversationalist.”

Barsad’s eyebrow rose at him again. Apparently Blake amused him, too. “He is whatever you need him to be. If you desire conversation, you must let the need be known. He will deny you nothing.”

“Except my freedom.”

“Ah, not even that, little Robin. But he must help you find true freedom first, and your place in it.”

Blake scoffed, bringing up a dry cough. He didn’t need to hear any more of this from a second person now, that wasn’t going to get him information. “Why are you working on chems out there?”

“Something to pass the time, I suppose. Everyone needs a hobby.”

Blake snorted out a genuine laugh at that. “Pretty sure Bane’s is bird-watching.”

Barsad blinked then tilted his head back, his laughter joining Blake’s in appreciation of the joke. “Perhaps. The conversation is helping.” He reached to mercifully tug the towel off of Blake’s head. He sighed gratefully. It let a rush of slightly cooler air hit his damp scalp and refreshed his brain. Now he could focus more on his questioning.

“Do you make a lot of different chemicals?”

“Not lately, the league does not require such skills as much as they did at one time.”

“The League of Shadows? Did you join it with him?”

“Oh no, they came much later.” Barsad seemed to easily guess he was getting interrogated, but didn’t seem to care, or mind. He continued on before Blake even had to ask. “I chose to leave with them, during the excommunication. Bane and I had grown as brothers then, sworn to protect our sister. We three were bound in a sacred triad for many years.”

“Why go with them? That had to have been a risk, leaving the league.”

“My brother chose it for me. Who am I to deny such an honor?”

“But what made him choose you?” Blake wondered out loud, the unspoken thought being ‘what made him choose me?’ It was a question that had been plaguing his mind since his abduction.

“I was the one who discovered how to take away my brother’s pain.”

Blake gasped. “You? You made the mask?”

Barsad shook his head. “I am no engineer; I did not build it myself. Rather, I created the analgesic compounds that run through it. It is my greatest scientific development,” Barsad spoke, not without a touch of pride, “much greater than any theatrical, fear inducing, compounds I designed for Ra's al Ghul during his reign over the league.”

Blake didn’t have time to gape at the implications of that, that the biochemical scare they had experienced nearly a decade ago in Gotham was from the hands of this man who was kneeling beside him now, carefully fanning the heat of the fire over his body.

“It is unwise to speak ill of the fallen, my brother,” Bane’s voice made him work to stretch his neck towards it. “Is he well?”

“He can speak for himself,” Blake mumbled out, wiggling a little under the blankets.

“He’s doing well.” Barsad reached up for a small canvas sack Bane held onto. Bane let it fall into his hands and Barsad tipped it so the contents spilled out onto the bedding: plastic powder containers, bottles of liquid chemicals, some dried plants. “Well enough to come out of the blankets now, he’ll just need to stay by the fire, but the heat doesn’t need to be so severe.”

Blake was surprised to feel Barsad’s hand pat his cheek lightly before he scooted back, carefully inspecting the supplies Bane had brought before walking them over to a corner of the room where Blake could see that some of the equipment from under the canopy had been set up.

“Bane…” when he spoke the name softly, Bane turned his full attention to him. In one smooth motion he was sitting beside him. “Please.”

Bane nodded after a moment. “Alright, my little one.” He touched the back of his hand to Blake’s forehead before he began to peel off the drenched blankets and other bits of bedding. Each layer gone was a blessed relief. When the last layer left his skin, he closed his eyes and let out a soft sigh. The fire was still hot against him, but now it was made bearable.

Still, Blake knew what would make it better. He feebly brought his fingers up, trailing one over the thick leather strap running along the side of Bane’s face, imploring soundlessly. The hand Bane had kept on Blake’s arm stiffened at first in misapprehension; Blake had never touched the mask. Blake stroked again, his finger dipping into the hollow of the band where it touched bared flesh, where it curled slightly and gave a weak pull downward. Slowly, understanding showed in Bane’s eyes.

He lowered himself carefully, a hand planted firmly on both sides of Blake’s damp body as he leaned in, slowly pressing the cool metal of the mask to Blake’s cheek.
Blake sighed in bliss at the contact, so cold, a beautiful respite to the nauseating heat. He kept his fingers hooked lightly against the edge of leather, taking a deep breath. He could smell steel and leather, laced with an underlying heavily pharmaceutical scent as Bane breathed out and the vapors from the mask left him and wafted against Blake’s cheek. The mask anchored him to reality, to where he didn’t feel like he was going to burn up and he was so very not alone.

“Just stay like this,” he mumbled softly, not sure if the words could even be heard over the noise of Bane’s metallic breathing. ‘Don’t leave’ was the rest of the thought, unspoken.

He felt the mask shift against his cheek slightly, a nod.

He fell asleep with his fingers still gripping onto the leather of the mask.

Chapter Text

_______________

 

Bane stayed pressed to his little bird long after he fell asleep. He ignored a light laugh from Barsad over in the corner, stroking his own fingers over the ones that clung onto him.

“He is as you described him, my brother. Worthy.”

Bane gave the fingers a final squeeze before he guided them down to rest on the mattress.

“Yes. No one could ever truly replace our sister, but he is not merely a replacement. He has her spirit, yes, it is what led me to him, but he will give us a different purpose from what she chose for us. Not better, but different.”

Barsad nodded in agreement, blue eyes clouding over slightly, a passing look of grief over Talia. Bane knew she was mourned strongly by them both, and Barsad had not had the comfort of his little bird to lance open the infected wound in his heart. It had been made to fester, an unfortunate necessity. Barsad had been needed to take care of things outside of the cave, as more than just a watchful pair of eyes. Arrangements had needed to be made for supplies among other details, as well as the synthesis of chemicals to keep Bane whole. Before, it would have been folly to keep such important elements inside the cave where his little one would have smashed them out of spite and caused true damage if they could not be replaced in time before Bane’s medication ran out.

Now, though, Bane knew his little bird was becoming attached as he should, and would not be able to bring himself to do something so cruel, even in hopes of escape. There was no reason to keep Barsad away from their home any longer. He had done his part well. Had tracked Bane down like no other could, mourned with him, gave him the encouragement needed to carry through, synthesized the medication even while his own stomach still ached from the wound of a gunshot. Now it was his turn. His heart must be allowed to heal, as well.

“Come, brother, the medication will keep,” he bade him. “We must work to ease your own pain, now.”

Barsad looked grateful as he quickly put aside his tools and made his way back to the bedding to sit. Bane waved his hands over his sleeping little one in a slow, magnanimous gesture.

“Know him as I do.”

He watched as Barsad’s hands quaked ever so slightly at the generosity Bane was now displaying. Many years had gone by before he had been invited to know Talia on an intimate level. Bane recognized now, though, that those years had been a foolish waste. The same mistake would not be made again, and they would both be in this together as true brothers. Those skilled hands rested on their little bird’s arms, rubbing over them lightly, studying them with great interest. Bane knew his brother’s hands were working to memorize skin with reverence as he had done before. They blazed a steady trail over their little Robin’s sweat-sheened form, studying the veins of the arms, the calluses of the feet. His eyes stared with fierce devotion that Bane felt reflected in himself. When he had taken in all of their little one’s form, Barsad cupped his chin, gently tilting his head to the side and, finally taking his eyes from the little one, looking to Bane for permission.

When it was granted with a simple hand wave, Barsad pressed his lips lightly to their little Robin’s cheek, opposite where Bane’s mask had pressed earlier in a similar manner, lovingly chaste for the time being, given with a joy that came from new found devotion.

“Thank you,” Barsad whispered softly. The words were not for Bane’s ears, however. They were spoken to the sleeping form.

Bane watched with understanding then tossed soaked bedding aside and put his hand to Barsad’s boot, working off the laces. “We will rest with him, between us, as he is meant to be.”

Barsad looked thrilled at the notion, nodding gratefully as his boots were pulled off, then touched his own hand to Bane’s offering the same. Bane had scarcely taken off his shoes to sleep, it was better to keep himself ready for flight from his bird, or possible intruders, but between the two of them, their little bird had a better watch. He gave a permissive nod and let Barsad undress him, boots, followed by his pants and undergarments. He stripped Barsad in a similar fashion, running a hand lightly down his brother’s flank, almost teasing before he patted it and lay out on the bedding, carefully pulling his little one to a less damp area, pressed up tightly to his body. Barsad laid out, clearly not minding that he had ended up on the damper part of bedding. He looked as though his soul had been unburdened, and Bane was pleased that his brother now knew some measure of peace again, as he did. Together, they found their rest with their little one nested safely in their arms.

_______________

Waking up naked in the arms of an equally naked mass murderer was, sadly, no longer a startling moment for Blake.

Pressed between two, though… now that was enough to give him pause. He peeled back from them carefully to sit up, making a slight face at the way his now dried skin clung to theirs. Both of them made no move to follow him. How had he missed them curling up around him? He stared down at both of their naked forms as their skin glowed slightly in the dying embers of the fire. That caught his attention. In all of their time here, Bane had never allowed the fire to get so low. He must be sleeping very deeply. Blake wondered about that as he stood and stretched his muscles, still sore from cramping and dehydration.

He fed some wood into the fire, not something he’d done before, but he had seen Bane do it enough that it wasn’t hard to get it burning well again. He then sat in front of it, across from the sleeping forms, taking long careful sips from a flask of clean water. He felt better, but nowhere near well enough to try leaving now, and where would he go? He felt tension and despair mingling in his chest. Were there other men out there waiting? Maybe patrolling the entire grounds, the manor itself, even. Bane really was a fucking con artist, to give him that hope of escape, that he could actually make it if he got away from him, and then to take it away. But then Blake had been foolish enough to fall for it from a man who had made such a concept his M.O.

He drained the last of the flask and threw it angrily at Bane’s chest, where it rebounded off the tight muscles and clattered onto the stone floor.

Bane didn’t startle awake, he simply sat up with a fluid motion, the ever constant grace of a predator even when he was leaving sleep. It made Blake regret his snappish impulse instantly. He should probably apologize immediately.

“I fucking hate you, you bastard,” was what came out instead, in a snarl.

No emotions were shown at that. Not anger or amusement, just a blank mask, which in itself was telling. He’d been able to see all of the emotions behind Bane’s eyes for a while, now.

“I think your anger is more well spent bettering yourself, my little Robin. If you are well enough now to sit, then you are well enough to present your feet.”

John froze. A caning long after the deed was done was something different. Whenever Bane caught him before, he had guided him back and the treatment always began the moment they were back on the platform. He didn’t know why he hadn’t expected it, had thought maybe getting doused in the face with toxins and being pushed into a spectacular delirium of heat and sick had been enough. The delay made it harder to face what he knew was inevitability.

“That wasn’t enough? Sure as hell felt worse than that cane.”

“Then it should be easily accepted.”

It wasn’t.

In the end, he argued more and when Bane finally approached him, he had not lain down and presented his feet. Bane’s patience with him only ran as long as it was clear there was actually a chance of changing John’s mind. In the end, when it was clear there was none, he’d finally pinned John down to the ground with a knee pressed heavily into his shoulders. John had sputtered and cursed, trying to buck up out of the hold even knowing the action held no merit.

When it became equally clear John would not present his feet, Bane made due with his back.

When the first lash came, John gasped out in pain and was torn between swinging his legs up to present his feet, where the pain at least was familiar, and holding onto his last bit of stubbornness. Bane did not seem troubled either way, and calmly switched lashes down across his back, leaving sharp red stripes that slowly began to form a raised lattice along his body, each layer sharper than the last.

It wasn’t as bad, it wasn’t as bad as his feet. He kept telling himself that, and it wasn’t, but it was different and the new hurt made it harder to control himself. He squirmed with each sting and yelped out in surprise a few times, much to his embarrassment. With so much new space for Bane to work with, each lash was a shock and John couldn’t brace for it the same way.

“You did very well this time, my little one. You made it as far as our brother, it was an unexpected treat. I did not expect such an accomplishment quite so soon.”

His belly warmed with unwelcome heat as Bane continued to praise his exploits, picking apart each and every detail, calling attention to the skills Blake had learned under his watch. There were very few criticisms, if any, this time. Instead, Bane heaped only praise onto his shoulders along with each smack of the cane he layered onto his blazing back. He twisted in discomfort under Bane’s knee. His body was torn; both the praise and pride in Bane’s voice warmed him, and the juxtaposition between the warmth there and the fire in his back was a confusing medley, one which he couldn’t decide if he wanted to end.

Either way, the words he needed to speak to stop it were dying out before they reached his lips each time he opened his mouth.

A soft whimper, one that had nothing to do with pain, left his mouth when the cane became stationary and the length of it rested lightly over his back.

“You do not wish for this to stop,” Bane spoke quietly overhead, trailing the tip of the cane down his spine.

He shook his head, an angry denial at the accusation, then stilled when he heard the cane clatter down beside him. A warm hand threaded into the hair at the back of his neck, breaking up the stiff, sweat-dried locks and curling around the hairs in a tight grip.

“I do not need to feed you the lash to praise you, little one.” A thumb pressed tight against his scalp, rubbing circles there. “You are exquisite.”

“Stop,” Blake whispered out hoarsely. Without the pain to balance him, this was agonizing.

“My precious little Robin.” The other hand was at his side now, rubbing at the unmarked skin there. “How strong you are, how brightly your anger blazes in the darkness. You are a gift to the world.”

How could this man above him, ruthless criminal that he was, care for him so unconditionally when no one else ever had? He shivered into Bane’s touch. The warmth that started in his belly was spreading, down his thighs, up to his face. His head was tugged back, his body arched, and Bane was there, mask pressed intimately against Blake’s ear.

“Let me worship you as you deserve, my little Robin.”

Chapter Text

“God. Yes. Just do it,” Blake hissed out quietly, a resolution to something that had been building all of these months finally coming to a head. He didn’t want to think about it anymore, he just needed it to happen. He just wanted something to happen, something that connected him to someone else.

He gasped as he was gathered up quickly into Bane’s lap, guided into straddling those powerful thighs. He was confused by the positioning, not sure what to expect at all in the situation beyond pain from being entered by what he knew was something rather sizable. He didn’t care, though, he knew he could take the pain, if those words continued and Bane didn’t leave him.

Bane’s actions were careful but fast, his eagerness to have Blake’s body was clear. Blake’s legs splayed out on either side of Bane. He was crooked, one knee just touching the concrete due to the thickness of Bane’s body, the other dangled uselessly against his outer thigh. It felt so strange, nothing like sex he had felt before, as he pressed into Bane’s chest. Instead of soft breasts, he felt thick muscles there meet his own, covered in sweat.

Bane took his wrists, brought his hands up to grip his fingers tightly into broad shoulders. The position made Blake feel vulnerable; he hated and loved it. He dug his nails into the flesh beneath him, earning what from the mask almost sounded like a rumble of a purr.

One secured, Bane’s hands wandered all along his body, his thighs, his sides, his neck, even his back, the endorphins from pain and his own rapidly blooming sexual excitement made touch there only a pleasure even when Bane’s blunt fingers skipped over a lash mark. John shivered at each sensual touch. He was in wonder at how Bane seemed to know his body better than he knew it himself, like he had touched John a thousand times before, had memorized every bit of his skin, every cut of muscle, every scar, like a map that he now traced his fingers over.

John felt himself growing hot everywhere, flushing with arousal from his toes to his scalp. He shuddered against Bane, face pressed tightly to his throat as he let out quick pants. His cock was up quickly, thick with desire, pressed tightly to the firm ripple of muscle on Bane’s stomach and leaking warm stickiness against it. He could feel Bane’s in return, swelled against his thigh. Desperate for attention on the one place he wasn’t getting it, John rocked against Bane’s stomach, moaning softly at the slide of skin and slick.

“Good, my little Robin. Find your pleasure,” Bane encouraged him tenderly.

Blake murmured softly in agreement. This wasn’t at all what he had expected from this. Bane’s hands matched his words from earlier. They were worshiping his body with each tender caress. This wasn’t something that was going to end with him being fucked open and possibly bleeding like he had thought. This was incredibly intimate, something more powerful. Its closeness scared him, but those hands were there, holding him, petting him. He was wanted, not alone; cherished.

Bane’s breathing was quicker, soft huffs through the mask as he stared down at John, squeezed his hips in his large palms, and began to encourage his rocking movements as he touched along his body in reverence. Even in his own breathy excitement, he praised John without ceasing. Through the mask, his voice took on a more distinctive, husky tone as he spoke about John’s body, his actions, told him how prized he was and how he deserved to be treated with devotion.

“You are so beautiful, my little bird. It is my honor to touch you. Those who do not understand your worth as I do will never touch you again.”

The praise and claim in Bane’s voice made John’s cock spasm, made his stomach flutter with desire. When he felt himself getting near, Bane’s hands crept down to cup the swell of his ass and his large hands gripped there, encouraged John to rut faster against his stomach. John bucked sharply and was sent tipping over the edge with the words Bane chose then to speak out in raw honesty.

“I will always need you, as well, my little Robin,” he whispered the promise close to John’s ear.

John cried out sharply and came in wet spurts, coating Bane’s skin. He clung to him like a lifeline as he felt like he was shuddering apart in Bane’s possessive grip. Not once had Bane even needed to touch his cock, the pure desire in those hands pouring out over his body had done more for John than any hand job could. He sagged; the elation of orgasm after months of celibacy left him feeling limp.

He kept his flushed face pressed to Bane’s throat, slowly breathing in his scent of musk and metal. Dimly, he was aware of the half hard press of Bane, scorching against his thigh. He understood now that what Bane had offered really had been all about himself, not Bane finding his pleasure inside of him. The hazy hum of post orgasm that fizzed through him reminded him about the idea of reciprocity. It wasn’t an action that he was really interested in, but he already felt mismatched to Bane in so many ways, there was no need to add him being inconsiderate to that. Besides, even without experience, any guy knew how to give a hand job.

-----------------

Bane lightly circled his hand around Blake’s wrist as it slid down his shoulder to try and gather fingers around Bane’s member.
“Leave it, my little one,” his voice rumbled softly in contentment. “It is not wanted out of a misguided sense of obligation.”

His little Robin pulled back at that, looking at him with eyes that were so lovely in their cloudy, post climax confusion.

“I don’t mind, I can do it,” he argued lightly, but his hand was already retracting, moving back up to its place on Bane’s shoulder.

“Yes, but you do not wish to.”

A small shrug was the response as his little bird pressed back against his chest and sighed. “I’m never going to fucking understand you.”

Bane simply chuckled and petted at his thigh, feeling already loose muscles grow further lax against him. His little one had been raised in a world where nothing was freely given. He would one day understand that everything Bane gave to him was a gift of devotion. Nothing was required in return, and anything his little bird might try to give, his touch, his lust, his anger, would only be taken in and cherished by Bane if they were actions given freely.

It was a difficult lesson for them both, to be sure. Still, Bane received much from bringing his little Robin pleasure. The sights and sounds of his eagerness and need were a beautiful living portrait, art that Bane drank in with his eyes. The so-called ‘achievement’ of ejaculation was a pinpoint of pleasure, yes, but Bane was more interested in guiding his little one through it, feeling him wind up tight like a spring then spill for him, than he was in reaching it himself. Another notion Bane found that many did not understand was the sexual contact he was giving as more than just means to an end, sweat and semen. The journey itself was Bane’s prize.

He held his little one’s hips, rubbed them under his palms until his little bird began to squirm slightly against the touch. He stilled his motion and gave an inquisitive sound at his little one being ready for more so soon.

He felt the cheek against his throat grow warmer, part in embarrassment, part new arousal.

“Look. It’s… it’s been a while. ok?” was the mumbled response.

He gave his little one’s hair an affectionate ruffle of understanding and gently took him apart again with his hands.
_______________

Barsad could hear the sounds of pleasure, not far from where he lay. He briefly considered pleasuring himself by them, but refrained, not wishing to presume too much even with Bane’s words from earlier.

Oh, his brother’s generosity. He felt a shiver tremble through his body at the memory of it. His heart, which had been in shreds, was now gathered up in pieces and tenderly reassembled. His brother’s little bird, possibly their little bird together, though Barsad would never let himself think such a blasphemy unless he heard such a thing come from Bane himself, he was to be their new path.

Barsad had not had a single doubt when his brother had made this fact known to him, the fact that he had found their other. To have been able to see it himself, though, with his unexpected arrival at Barsad’s makeshift lab, and then later to feel him with his hands, Barsad now felt renewed, a broken man given new enlightenment.

Oh, and he had been broken, trampled, when he had awoken in the gutters of city hall, pain from a bullet still swimming around in his belly. That he was still alive told him all he needed to know of their lost mission. He’d crawled off, treated himself, just barely enough so that he could track down his sister and brother.

Only Bane.

He had wept openly in his grief. Bane had not begrudged him his weakness, only stopping him when Barsad’s own fingers clawed at his own face, when he reached for the gun tucked into his belt.

He had failed them.

Bane had stilled his hands, had told him that it was not his failure to bear.

He was still needed.

He would never disobey his brother. He would be with him always.

He worked to heal them both for their new purpose. Bane’s wounds to his chest had been grave, even with his usual body armor, and had gone long without treatment. It had been bleak, but their salvation was here, now.

It was this little Robin, who was currently singing out his pleasure under Bane’s fingers for both of their ears. Barsad savored each gasp and moan, easily able to pinpoint when the first climax, then the second, was reached. He waited for the soft sigh of content to signal a true end to the play before he sat up and reached for his pants to dress.

His silent movement still attracted attention; a surprised mumble and then an awkward curse brought a smile to Barsad’s lips. Clearly his brother’s little Robin had forgotten his presence in his quest for satisfaction. Such a thing was far from offensive, Bane’s hands had that effect on people.

He nodded towards him in greeting, their eyes meeting over Bane’s shoulder.

“Good rising, little one, my brother.”

Bane tilted his head in return, though Barsad knew that his brother had of course been aware of the exact moment of his waking.

“What’s he doing here, still?” his brother’s little bird asked when it was clear Barsad was not leaving and was instead making his way to the table to work.

“He is our brother. This is his home, as well. The time has come for him to join it.”

Barsad smiled quietly at that, letting the familial setting wash over him.

“He sprayed me with nerve gas,” the little Robin argued.

“You hit me,” Barsad pointed out calmly.

Yes, just like a family.

Chapter Text

Barsad ate with him. It was the first distinct difference Blake noticed in his moving into the cave with them. After his greeting, he’d worked without speaking for hours, occasional strange sounds and chemical smells coming from his work area. Later, after Blake had been put through vigorous exercises by Bane, Barsad had walked over to Blake, holding a box of dried pasta and a can of sauce.

“Shall I make us a meal, little one?”

He’d nodded, too surprised to turn down the offer. He’d been eating cold food out of packages and cans for months. When he voiced that, Barsad had laughed and Bane, who had been looking through the super computer, something that always made Blake worry, had let out a disgruntled noise.

“I am many things. A cook is not among that repertoire.”

It was the bare basics of spaghetti, just tinned sauce and noodles, cooked in a pot over the fire. Blake had to work not to slurp down the entire pot by himself. It was good and hot, the sort of filling, easy and cheap food that he’d lived on for years in foster homes and the orphanage. The familiarity was the very definition of comfort food. He’d wolfed down his share, and Barsad sat down beside him, eating from the pot with slightly more decorum.

“Thanks, it’s good.”

Barsad nodded. “You are welcome, little one.”

Blake cleaned up the pot, Barsad carried off the still damp bedding to wash in the river, something he found out he had been doing for all of the laundry they had accumulated. It was unsettling to know that the man had been so close to him the entire time, just the waterfall separating them when he washed, and that Bane had been lazily pawning off all the laundry onto him. Bane carried fresh wood inside and tended the fire. The entire thing was bizarrely domestic.

“Thank you, my little bird.”

Blake dumped clean water from the pot and looked over warily. “What?”

“For tending to the fire while we slept.”

Blake shrugged, it hadn’t been something he’d really put much thought into. The fire needed it, so he took care of it. Maybe it should have been something to give him pause, but it seemed like such a little act in the grand scheme of things. This was different here, though, unless he was reprimanding or training Bane he rarely spoke without Blake speaking to him first. Now Bane almost seemed like he was making casual conversation with him, giving him an opening. Blake thought back to Barsad’s words earlier, that if he wanted more conversation with Bane then he had to make it known. Did he want that? He did get tired of the long quiet stretches in the cave where Bane only held vigil over him, when the silence was a tangible tension between them.

“You’re welcome. I didn’t really know what I was doing.” He hesitated. “If you taught me how, I could help keep an eye on it.”

Bane seemed to pause to consider it, then raised his hand and gestured him over. He taught, but not with the cold formalness he reserved for training. His words were milder, his hands brushed over Blake’s casually as he showed him which pieces were best to feed into the fire at different points, about kindling and how to clean out the coals. Blake asked questions, leaned against Bane, and sometimes just talked. It opened the air between them.

“Did it help, little one?” Bane asked when they had finished and the fire roared brightly in front of them. Blake knew he didn’t just mean the lesson.

“Yeah, thanks,” he whispered softly, head still pillowed against Bane’s shoulder.

“You have only to speak your needs, my little Robin.”

“You heard us talking?” Blake asked, though he wasn’t really that surprised.

“I did. Was what you expressed with him a need? You don’t like the quiet?” Bane asked. Blake considered denying it. He should be used to the quiet.

Instead he felt himself confess. “It… I fucking hate it. I fucking hate the quiet. It makes me feel like I’m being ignored even when people are right there in the room with me.”
_______________

Bane felt himself tense in displeasure at the thought. “Never, my little Robin,” he promised. “Conversation is simply a thing that does not come naturally to me. I am accustomed to directing, giving speeches, or my people simply knowing what is required without instruction.”

His little bird shifted subtly against him, shrinking down on himself in disappointment. Bane held back a smile that he was still so naive that he thought Bane could deny him anything he wished.

“You may need to remind me, if I do not hold up to my end of the conversation.”

It took his little bird a moment to comprehend his meaning. After the pause, he looked up at Bane and gave him a minute smile, fragile, barely there, but utterly genuine. One that, from the way it looked, so foreign on his little Robin’s face, Bane knew could not have been worn by his little one for many years. Bane treasured such a priceless gift. He could not resist the enticement to bring his thumb up and press its calloused pad against the corner of his little Robin’s lip, feeling the soft curve there.

His little one did not startle at the touch, the only surprise he seemed to show was when he realized the smile was there to begin with. He pulled back from Bane’s hand and rubbed his own hand against his jaw as though the act of genuineness on his part had made his face ache.

“Was what Barsad said true? The mask, the chemicals, that he was chosen by you?”

Bane shook his head slightly at how easy his little one was to read, always an abrupt change of conversation whenever something was a touch too intimate for his comfort. He brought his arm up around his little one, drawling him closer again, indulging himself by letting his fingers run along the soft shell of his little bird’s ear, who sighed softly and settled more.

Bane nodded. “Yes, but not chosen only by me; by us.”

“You mean… her?” he questioned hesitantly.

His little Robin was wise to tread with caution. He did not know the truth behind all that had happened during Talia’s reign, their beloved history. All his little one could know was what he must have cobbled together on his own, a conglomeration of notes left behind by Mr. Wayne and stories told by Gotham’s corrupt commissioner.

“Yes, by our dear fallen sister, yours, as well.”

Bane ignored the negative emotion that flickered over his little one’s face at that. Understanding would come one day, and he would be there when his little one came to mourn the elder sister that he could never truly come to know, now.

“He was chosen by us as a disciple.”

“Your disciple,” his little bird’s tone was flatter at that, touched with disapproval.

“Only by proxy. He was her disciple, now he is yours.”

His little one looked up at him with startled eyes. Bane patted his shoulder fondly. “A final inheritance from the sister you never knew.”

His little bird’s eyes were wider now, staring at him. ‘Mad’ his eyes spoke for him. He clearly thought Bane was mad. Bane shook his head, as if there were a saner man than him.

“I am yours, as well. Your protector. Have I not stated this fact?”

His little bird scooted away at that, stood, rubbed his hands against the back of his arms uncomfortably. “Yeah, I’m like your pet.”

It was Bane’s turn to startle and stare sharply. How could his little one have misinterpreted him so strongly to have not understood the very basis of their relationship? It would have to be corrected and explained in more detail, clearly.

He stood with him, closed the distance between them. “Oh, my little Robin.” He brought his hands up to his shoulders and gripped them firmly, willing his little bird to see the honesty in his eyes. “If anyone were to be the ‘pet’ in this situation, it would be me.”

His little bird’s eyes narrowed in confusion. He continued, “You do not understand. I am your protector, not your keeper. Our time here is spent in such a way only until you understand your place. I protect you from yourself.”

Oh, how his little one struggled in his grasp at that. “Stop saying that! I can take care of myself. I always have.”

“That you have always had to is a fact that grieves me,” Bane replied. “But the past cannot be changed. You have me, now, your protector, and Barsad as your faithful disciple. You will lead us, our little Robin.”

“Why?” his little one cried out, clearly overwhelmed and confused. “Why ME?”

Bane pulled him into his arms, felt how his little one was torn between pulling away from the touch and searching out for more contact, so confused by himself his fingers twitched in needful confusion. Bane helped him make his choice and gathered up his little bird’s fingers at the wrist, pulling them to his own chest where they fluttered nervously against bare skin before they clutched at him.

“Because, together, we form a most holy trinity. And you, my little Robin, are our brother, our leader; we need you as you need us. What good is a protector with nothing to protect?”

He cupped his little one’s chin, made him tilt his head up to face his eyes. “And what good is a disciple without a god?”

His little bird spooked at that, ripped away from his grasp and ran off the platform, splashing through the water before he ducked under the falls. Bane let him go. He knew this was not an escape attempt, at least not from Bane. It was running away from a truth he had finally fed his little Robin. Heavy and sacred was his purpose in their trinity, but Bane had no doubt he would one day take up his mantle and guide them.
_______________

Chapter Text

_______________

Barsad looked up from the washing, curious as he saw the little one exit the falls, sputtering from more than just the wet.

“You look troubled, little bird.”

His head snapped over and his gaze landed on Barsad, “You are both out of your fucking minds.”

Barsad turned his head inquisitively and he laughed, then shrugged, not insulted. “Sane men do not last long in such a mad world.” Barsad prepared to detain the little bird if he chose to run off further, but instead of running, he slumped down onto a large, squat boulder that poked out of the stream.

“Please don’t tell me you’re going to call me a god, too.”

“Ah, my brother told you of your importance.” Barsad could understand how such a title would be frightening to the uninitiated.

“Oh, Christ.” Barsad laughed again as the little bird brought his hands up to his face and buried it between his palms.

“May I tell you a story, little one? It is my brother’s, the very tale he once told me, but I think he would approve of its sharing with you.”

“Fine.”

Barsad chuckled as he was peered at between spread fingers and left the clean washing to plop onto the rock beside the little Robin.

He began, “There once was a man who, at the time, was still thought of as only a man.”

“Bane,” the little bird easily guessed.

“Yes, it is his story, after all, the story of his beginning.” Barsad merely smiled at the surprised look and continued. “He was a simple man, a man of the cloth, as one would say.”

“A priest?” the little bird asked doubtfully.

“A holy man at the least, I do not know all of the details. I do know he was very devout, not fraudulent in nature as the priests of the world so often are. He wanted to change the world, so he traveled it, preached the book he followed to the masses, but the more he traveled, the more the world changed him.”

Barsad spun the tale to the best of his memory. The tales of each corrupt government official his brother had seen, who lapped up the sweat of those beneath them like the sweetest of creams, and those just beneath them who turned a blind eye towards it so they could cling to their coattails and suck up the drips left behind. The slaves that Bane had worked and traded for to earn their freedom, only to find later that they had been marked unclean, turned away from any work and forced to sell their bodies again to eat. The children who stole and had their hands cut off, the young girls who were stoned or set on fire for the crime of being raped, or worse, for resisting it. Each horror Bane had shared with him was worse than the last. Barsad had been troubled by them when he had first heard them, even when he was himself a seasoned killer at that time. To this still virtuous little Robin, he found himself muting some of the details out of kindness.

He continued on, “Then one day he saw something that broke him, little one, something that made him realize the real truth of this world.”

“What?” whispered Bane’s little bird, his voice troubled as he listened to the details of the horrors his protector had witnessed firsthand.

“That we are alone in it, that there is no benevolence from above, that the only living gods in this world are the ones we create.”

The little bird stared at him; perhaps in horror for the perceived blasphemy, perhaps in dismayed recognition of truth, it was hard to say.

“It was for this presumed heresy that his so-called brethren cast him down into the pit.”

“Jesus. That’s why? He got sent down into a hell like that because he didn’t agree with them?”

Barsad looked at the little bird skeptically. “Clearly you do not understand how religious wars work, little one.”

“I was raised in a boy’s home, there was a priest there. He was a good guy. It’s not all like you say.”

“No, not always, just often,” he agreed. “It makes it more difficult to do what needs to be done. When there is gray, people cling to the gray and ignore the black that is poisoning them.”

The little bird’s eyes darkened and Barsad savored the fiery anger there that his brother had spoken of. It was clear he was thinking of the cleansing their sister had mapped out for Gotham.

“You can’t justify it like that. You can’t kill innocent people just because they’re in the line of fire for the wicked ones.”

Barsad raised his shoulders nonchalantly. “Then we will not. It is your will that guides us, now.”

“You really expect me to just… lead you? Like I’m some sort of god?”

“Not yet. You are not ready, yet. My brother will know when you are. Until then, we care for your needs here.”

Was that the ever so slight reddening of a little bird’s ears? Barsad tossed his head back and laughed. How sweet his savior was in nature, to be truly self-conscious of Bane’s care for his body’s needs. A god, bashful of being worshiped. He was stunned a moment later when hands shoved him off the rock, tipping him over into the river to land with a splash.

He grinned and looked up, heart only lightened that he had been comfortable enough to let his guard down. He wiped the water from his eyes and like lightening snatched his hand around the little bird’s slender ankle, pulling him down into the chilly water with him, laughing harder at the undignified yelp that met his ears.

The playful war on, they tussled together in the water. Barsad could feel his brother’s training in the little Robin’s motions. He met them with his own skill, blocking shoves, rolling with him, their movements never truly turning to something that could injure, more a playful, wet, brotherly scuffle, but still something that let them learn of the other’s body. By the time Barsad had pinned the little one’s shoulders against the very rock they had fallen from, the pair were both sopping with river water.

Barsad barely felt the chill on his skin, so exhilarated was he by the attention he was getting, but he could see the blue coming onto the little Robin’s lips. Instinct and desire took him. He let his hands rub up the little Robin’s smooth neck, cupping his cheeks and leaning, closing the distance between them until their damp foreheads pressed. He could feel the sharp intake of breath and looked into the suddenly uncertain eyes that met his own.

“Shall I warm you, little one?” he asked softly, his own words breathless in his longing to offer the little Robin a kiss to take the chill from him.

Barsad drew back his hands when he felt the head shake. Never would he give his passion when it was not wanted, even when it was offered in humble devotion. He only smiled and stood out of the water, still dripping, then offered his hand which was taken after a long moment of hesitation.

“Let us go warm by the fire, then.” He wrapped a companionable arm around the little one, this, too, hesitantly accepted before they made their way back inside to their brother’s warm presence.
_______________

Chapter Text

He wasn’t cut out to be a God. Also, Barsad was possibly madder than Bane and trying to get them both slaughtered. He had been offering Blake a whole hell of a lot more than to ‘warm’ him just then, he was sure of it. Surely Barsad didn’t think getting a quick one in with him was worth the risk of Bane’s wrath, and Bane’s wrath was exactly what Blake knew would occur. How could it not? No matter what the pair said about his status in their so called “trinity,” Bane had clearly put a claim on Blake, he’d said as much himself. Blake could think of a few unflattering prison terms that could be used on him in this situation, even if Bane hadn’t actually fucked him like Blake had assumed he would when he said yes the first time.

Part of him still couldn’t believe that he’d said yes, or that he was thinking about saying it again next time, even if surely the same restraint wouldn’t be shown during a second round. No one could be that patient, could they? It had just felt so good. It wasn’t even half the touch, it was the intention behind it. Hell, Bane hadn’t even touched anything that was particularly sensitive, and he’d gotten Blake to come all over himself like he was still in grade school. It was disconcerting that he couldn’t even deny to himself that he’d bend over in a heartbeat to feel that kind of care again.

They ducked under the falls together, at the edge, where the water was merely a trickle. Bane looked over at their entrance and raised an eyebrow at their completely soaked, bedraggled appearance.

“And what have you been doing with our little Robin, my brother?”

Blake felt Barsad’s entire body freeze into complete motionlessness beside him. Fear? He pulled back to see his face and was confused by what he saw there. No, not fear, joy, damn near ecstasy, like the man had just received divine providence. Blake didn’t understand it at all. Nothing that had been said should have caused such a reaction, at least not something he was aware of. Barsad smiled at him with such a passionate grin that Blake felt it pull at his own heart to see Barsad’s so clearly on his face.

“We were sparring in the water, my brother.” He paused, almost as if testing out new words in his mouth. “Our little Robin shows the skills you have been teaching him.”

Bane nodded, “He learns quickly and shows his knowledge well.” Blake felt himself warm under the praise from them both, then splashed up the stairs towards Bane, putting himself in front of him.

“You’re both still fucking crazy… I’m not a god and I don’t know how to lead anything.”

“Untrue, my little one. Did you not lead an exodus of people during doomsday?”

“That isn’t that same as—” He stopped. “How did you even know about that?”

Bane just chuckled lightly. Blake could hear Barsad on the steps, walking up to join them. “Our brother, Barsad, has been our eyes and ears of the city for some time, now. He found information about your deeds for me. You were born to be a visionary, a leader.”

He shook his head in denial. “I’m just a man.”

“We all start as just men, little one.” Barsad smiled at him again and reached a hand up to touch Bane’s shoulder lightly. Blake suddenly felt new respect for a man who could touch Bane so casually. “Brother, the new batch will be completed. Shall I change it out now?”

Bane brought his hand up to lightly touch the back of Barsad’s fingers, seeming to consider it. “Yes. We will return shortly, my little Robin.”

“You… Wait, you’re both just going to let me be by myself in here?” Blake gaped at them in disbelief. Really? He knew it was foolish to point out an error on their part, but this was so unbelievable that he knew there had to be some sort of catch.

“We will only be gone a short while, and will be just outside if you need us, our little bird.” Barsad spoke… placatingly? As though to assure Blake that they would be right back. Not at all what Blake was “worried” about, but it did answer his question in a way. They would be right outside so it wasn’t as though he was being left alone to run off. The passage to Wayne Manor had long ago been locked off by Bane, and Blake knew the only exit to the cave was the falls.

“Why just you two?” he finally asked.

“It is not something I think you will wish to see, my little Bird,” Bane answered mildly. Barsad was busy gathering some things up from his table, pausing to toss Blake a towel so he could finally dry himself.

They left him alone and bewildered, holding onto a towel and dripping onto the platform. He scrubbed his face dry and watched the falls for a few long moments. He wasn’t really alone, they were just outside and he never seemed to feel truly alone anymore, but this was peculiar to say the least. Aside from his brief stints working towards freedom, Blake had not been awake without the presence of at least one of the two men since he had been brought here. Now that he thought about it, Bane must have often left the cave while he was fast asleep and too worn from lashings or training to notice his absence.

Did this action now speak of trust on their part, or simply that neither of them saw him as a particular threat anymore? Probably the latter. Patting himself dry, he considered his options. He spent a few moments looking over the instruments and chemicals laid out on Barsad’s table. He recognized nothing, and didn’t want to risk touching something caustic. That would be embarrassing to explain. The supplies corner was dull, toiletries, first aid supplies, food, a change of bedding. He’d never inspected it up close before, and clearly he was not missing much. The pile of wood was neatly stacked and the fire was crackling away, merry and well fed. He tested the super computer and was not at all surprised to find himself locked out, the same with the weapons cabinets.

Well, now he was bored. It wasn’t hard to guess that they were changing out Bane’s medication. Blake’s curiosity tugged at him. Did they have to take off the mask for it? He’d be lying to himself if he said that he wasn’t terribly curious about what was underneath. Months spent with someone who hid away part of their face and anyone would wonder at least a little. He hadn’t been exactly forbidden to watch, just told he might not like to see it.

And since when was he ever squeamish, anyway?

As he walked, an old myth he remembered from childhood crept into his mind. It was of a woman who was never allowed to look at her lover’s face, but the curiosity burned at her. When she finally could not contain herself and disobeyed the command and had peeked at her lover by way of a hidden candle in the night, the wax dripped onto his face and she was punished by having the thing she desired the most taken from her. He shook his head and slid back down into the water. He rarely stayed dry for long anymore, it seemed. Nothing but an old legend. He pushed the thought away and slipped out from behind the falls as soundlessly as he could.

He needn’t have bothered. Bane and Barsad were making so much noise that his own could have gone completely unheard. He covered his mouth still, to hold back the sharp intake of breath.

They were pressed against the very rock Barsad had sat with him at only a short time before. Now Barsad’s back was shoved to it, Bane’s massive weight pinning him down as he towered over him, the push so rough that it left visible red abrasions on the back of Barsad’s shoulders that Blake could see even from the distance. There were grunts and savage snarls coming from them both.

Bane’s hands were gripping Barsad’s thighs, holding them down, shoving them apart, so far that Blake could see the muscles straining in them. Bane was thrusting between them, into Barsad, savage drives that made his hips snap forward, shoving Barsad back onto the rock with each push. From the cave, Blake was at the wrong angle, he couldn’t see their literal joining, but it wasn’t hard to figure it from the rest of the view and when the wet noises of bodies smacking together reached Blake’s ears. He tore himself away from the view there. His gaze moved upward, landing on Barsad’s face, the way it was twisted now, eyes clenched tightly. The breaths being forced from his lungs with each thrust were sharp, ragged things.

“Please, my brother,” Blake could head Barsad begging loudly, without shame. His hands were holding onto the rocks beneath them in an iron grip. His knuckles had turned a sharp white from the pressure.

Blake saw how Bane’s movements increased at Barsad’s pleading, how his blunt fingers dug into the meat of Barsad’s thighs; there would be bruises there later, from that grip. Then he let out a near roar, slamming himself into Barsad with a sort of finality that could only signal completion. His eyes closed and Blake could hear a satisfied groan of pleasure coming out, warped into something more animalistic from the mask, or perhaps the mask had nothing to do with that.

Barsad’s hand smacked down onto the stone, a dull slap, the rest of his body stilled for only a moment as he accepted Bane’s release inside. Then he was crying out words in a language Blake did not know, he could see how his hips twitched towards Bane and his entire body shuddered, convulsed.

“Thank you, brother, thank you.” The words were in English again, but more broken now, awed, his accent thick, as they fell from Barsad’s lips in a fevered prayer.

Bane’s hand left one of his thighs, the leg collapsing down against the rock, its endurance spent. The hand fisted into Barsad’s damp hair.

“Eyes open, brother,” Bane commanded, his voice fond, almost languid sounding from finding his own orgasm.

Barsad’s eyes snapped open in obedience. Bane nodded in approval at the compliance and brought his hand down, grasping around the red, trickling cock between Barsad’s legs, wrapping around it and working it with the slick there, twisting his fist with a flick of his wrist and giving a few rough pumps.

“Go on, then.” It was a teasing tone. Barsad cursed and bucked up into Bane’s grip. Blake could see white splashing across Bane’s hand, dripping down onto Barsad’s quivering stomach. There were a few moments of nothing but pants and heavy breaths.

“Language,” Bane spoke mildly, clearly not truly bothered. Barsad panted out a laugh, sagging against the rock.

“Our little Robin curses up a blue streak,” he pointed out, not really in argument, just in amused rebuttal.

“The young ones always do. You know better.”

“Of course, my brother,” Barsad responded tranquilly, eyes closing again.
_______________

Blake ducked back under the falls, face glowing red, uncomfortable at the mixed emotions stirring up in him, each one admittedly more ridiculous than the last.
Fear over seeing Bane so feral, every move he’d seen Bane make up to this point, even when he was running his hands over Blake’s body had been thought out, calm. What he had seen instead between those two was like watching wild animals.

Arousal, he was human after all, he was slowly coming to accept that at least when it came to Bane he couldn’t exactly call himself completely straight anymore. Now, to his mortification, he could feel himself tenting his pants, his mind only too happy to supply him with the sights and sounds he had just witnessed.

Jealousy, certainly the most absurd, he was actually feeling fucking angry and jealous over what he just saw. He wasn’t even sure over which one, that was the rub of it, and he knew it should be neither. He should be happy Barsad was in their camp now for Bane to turn any of that kind of attention to. Who knew, maybe he could slip off sometime they decided to fuck; they clearly weren’t going to be thinking about him while they did it.
That thought shouldn’t have hurt as bad as it did.

Chapter Text

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Bane worked his pants back up from where they had gathered around his boots in his haste to be free of them. He picked up Barsad’s own discarded trousers and tossed them lightly onto his still lounging brother. There he let his hand linger a moment, squeezing his fingers over Barsad’s boney knee, felt his brother’s contentment at the simple contact. It had been many months since their last joining.

Before, coupling between them was rather common after a medication change. It had become a pleasant habit, a reward for himself that made the required turning off of the mask something more tolerable. It was always rough, carnal after. He would slam into Barsad’s willing body under him with little finesse or care, each thrust pushing back the pain that never quite left, and with the mask even momentarily off felt like it was ripping him apart. He had never dared touch Talia in those moments, though she had often offered. He knew she was strong in body, but never would he risk hurting his goddess in such a way. Their disciple was another matter, created to serve them. Still, she would stay with them during those moments; she had liked to watch, to encourage and touch herself to the sight of them.

Now, though, Bane hadn’t wanted to risk leaving his sleeping bird alone for any time longer than required so he had forgone the recompense, even though several times he had hiked back to the cave still in pain, half hard as his body, which at times was a thing possessed by habit, protested the fact that he had left behind a very willing hole to sink into. He had almost gone without again, had gasped and dug his fists into the gravelly dirt of the forest floor he knelt on as his vision cleared and new drugs began to soothe through his system.

Barsad had tucked away the newly empty vials for future reuse, giving him a moment to compose himself as always before he dropped down to his knees beside him, tucked his head against his shoulder submissively.

“Thank you, my brother.” The words were filled with almost unfathomable gratitude. Bane would have brought his hand up to steady his brother through such emotion, but the pain had not left him alone enough yet and he did not quite trust his hands. Still, he did not need to question the cause of his brother’s gratitude. He had deduced that Barsad had not realized just how strongly he had meant his words before. The little Robin was truly both of theirs, and when Bane had addressed him as such earlier he was making sure Barsad knew it, as well.

Barsad had brought a hand up, bold as it rested over the bulge of Bane’s pants. “Please, my brother, to see you suffer so is torture. Use me as you need.”

Bane had not bothered with token restraint. He’d lifted Barsad and shoved him to the rock, a prize too long unclaimed. He had rucked his pants down as Barsad deftly worked off his own, barely present of mind enough to realize that they would need something to ease the way or he would tear his brother beyond repair in his frenzy. But Barsad had seen his slight pause and shook his head, spreading his legs apart and planting the flats of his feet against the boulder, the sheen between his thighs catching Bane’s eye.
He had brought his fingers down to the cleft of his brother’s opening and chuckled when he found it wet, prepared for him in advance. The gesture from anyone else would be so full of presumption, but Barsad was his brother and knew his needs well.

“Hopeful, brother?” he’d still teased, calmed slightly and taking advantage of the fleeting feeling to dip his finger into the relaxed muscles of his brother, feeling the clench and listening to the heady sigh Barsad released.

“Very.” had come the soft, cheeky reply.

Bane had rumbled out his laughter and set upon him, using his brother, his disciple, reacquainting himself with his body until they had both found their pleasure from it. It had been good for both of them to be able to bond again in such a way.

Bane let go of Barsad’s knee with a final touch. “We shouldn’t keep our little brother alone for so long. He grows restless easily.”
_______________

Barsad nodded in agreement and pulled himself up to sit. The way his body ached was rapture. He relished the burning in his legs, his back, his ass. He had hoped, when he’d taken a private moment before the clothes washing to prepare himself with oil, that Bane would grant him the honor of using Barsad’s body to ease himself. It was a joyous occasion for their flesh to meet once again.

He cleaned himself in the chilly water before donning his pants once more. “I offered myself to our Robin, earlier,” he remarked casually. “Perhaps too soon, I fear I scared him.”

Bane glanced over and laughed lightly. Barsad was pleased to note that the traces of pain that lined his brother’s eyes heavily earlier had retreated back. “I would imagine so. I doubt he had lain with a man beyond my ministrations to his body. He is not used to male camaraderie as we are. Do remember this world of his treats it as a strange thing to seek comfort in a fellow male warrior.”

Barsad snorted and gathered up the clean bedding that had long ago been forgotten to dry on the rocks, tucking it into a bag so that it would not get soaked through again by the falls. As a member of the League of shadows, sharing a bed with another combatant was naturally commonplace for men and women. Before he had been taken in exclusively by his sister and brother, Barsad had coupled with both frequently. Who better to lie with than those who you did not have to hide yourself from?

“Should I not offer my body?” he questioned seriously. He wanted to please, and be allowed to show his devotion, but not at the cost of frightening their little Robin away from the connection they had just started.

“I would not make such a hasty choice, brother. You can offer him things I cannot.” There was the slightest sound of wistfulness in his brother’s tone and Barsad wished, not for the first time, for the power to be able to heal him completely, or to be able to take his place behind his mask so that his brother could know the pleasure of a kiss once more. Such was beyond his knowledge as a chemist, however.

He instead swung the bag of linens over his shoulder and did not waste a look of sympathy where it was not welcome. “I will continue, then. I like to think it is not an unpleasant offer,” he jested.

“It is not without merit,” was the unexpected reply and a firm caress down his shoulder before Bane pushed past him and back into the cave.

Barsad paused at the rare compliment hidden in Bane’s playful tone. Their little Robin was not the only one being molded. Bane’s demeanor was shifting subtly, so that he could better form into the type of protector that their little one needed. One who did not know him as well as Barsad would never notice such a shift, but he had seen it himself. When Talia grew and her needs changed, needs for him to be stronger, colder, warmer, whatever the situation, he would easily transmute to the next requirement, perhaps without he himself even realizing how much he altered. His brother always kept the base of his being, but around that stone base he was like sand, sliding and shifting as the wind desired.
Now his brother was becoming something… softer; perhaps softer was a poor choice, indulgent, easy-going. Not by anyone else’s standard for the terms, but they still fit. Barsad accepted and longed for his brother no matter his form. This one, though, he admitted privately, was particularly pleasant.

He remembered before, with a bittersweet smile, when Bane had been excommunicated and his sister and himself had fled with him. It was the only time he had ever seen his sister near tears, not for herself, but in her fury over Bane’s rejection by her father. She had needed something else that night as they hid away from the cold sands outside their tent, something she rarely allowed them to express. True affection, love, even his own cold heart could not deny the true word for it. She had let them be tender with her, soft, in ways that she always rejected before and after that night would never agree to again. That night, though, they had made love in that tent, and his world had never felt more whole.

He sent a personal, slightly selfish, prayer to his own private god that perhaps he might feel the need for love one day, too.
_______________

Chapter Text

_______________

Blake watched them enter and wished he could somehow make himself scarce. He’d had time to settle down, but what he’d seen was still quite fresh in his mind and he found he couldn’t quite meet either of them in the eyes.

“Will you train with me?” he asked quickly, wanting the distraction.

Bane nodded, not seeming to notice anything amiss. “Yes, in an hour or so when the sun is down. Barsad is going to teach you how to disappear.”

He glanced over at Barsad who looked eager. “I will prepare.”

That evening, he found himself pushed out into the woods with a simple instruction.

“Find your brother,” Bane ordered.

“You’re not coming with me? I could just run.”

“You won’t. You cannot know if your brother is right behind you, and if he is and witnesses you running, you will have your feet whipped. I would like us to be past such a stage.”

“He could be anywhere out there!” Blake protested.

“That is the point. Track him. You have two hours.”

He spent those hours wandering in the dark of the woods. Several times he considered turning tail and running off, but whenever the thought crossed his mind he swore he could hear the snapping of a branch or the soft rustle of leaves and he was deterred. At the end, when he was so turned around in the woods he had lost all sense of direction, he’d let out a growl of aggravation.

Moments later, he tasted leaves and dirt as he was propelled to the floor in a rough tackle. He shouted and struggled, then stilled when he head Barsad’s laugh emitted from just behind his shoulder.

“I was never more than three yards from you this entire time, my little one.”

Blake spat out a mouthful of forest floor, begrudgingly impressed. “Teach me?”

“Anything you wish, my little Robin.” He could feel the weight of Barsad’s words as strongly as his body on his back.

It wasn’t easy. The next few nights he failed to find Barsad just as spectacularly as before, and whenever he was put in Barsad’s place and told to go hide, he was pounced in minutes by Barsad or would, from nowhere, feel Bane’s hand on his back. It just didn’t come naturally to him not to be seen. Blake had spent his entire life trying to be noticed, by foster parents, by teachers, by his superiors in the precinct. He wouldn’t have gotten anywhere in life if he hadn’t. He’d put himself out there to be seen, it was how he made detective. The commissioner never would have given him a second look if he hadn’t pushed himself into his line of sight. Even during occupation, he’d made himself known. While all the other cops were hiding, he still kept to the streets, more covertly, yes, but never truly hidden, out there knocking on doors, running supplies and information, making himself known, a target.

“It’s kind of amazing your guys didn’t kill me, actually,” he pointed out as they sat around the fire discussing it, a plate of warm food prepared by Barsad settled between the two of them to share.

He hadn’t expected two faces to stare at him quite so sharply at that.

“You were foolishly brave during occupation,” Bane spoke firmly, in admonishment. “If you had not been so fortunate…”

Blake watched as Barsad brought his hand over to lightly touch Bane’s boot. Blake felt a little coil of jealousy wrap around his heart, one of several little threads that he couldn’t seem to keep away since he’d seen them together. It was absolutely ridiculous, he was well aware of that, but now he saw all of the casual touches between them, the way that Barsad would sense Bane’s presence and turn his head before Blake even heard a noise, how Bane didn’t have to speak and Barsad would go to him and do whatever was required. He didn’t even know what to call what the two of them had, and Blake hated that he felt jealous of this unnamable thing.

“Our little bird was still clever enough to avoid your men, brother,” Barsad reassured. “He was able to avoid any major patrols working to round up officers.”
Though Barsad was trying to act as comfort to Bane, Blake looked at them and was surprised to see they both looked remorseful.

“Wait, do you both actually feel guilty? You didn’t even know me, then.” He looked at them with an eyebrow raised at the sentiment there that he personally felt was wasted.

“And to think, we may not have, my little bird,” Bane said as he shifted from his place at the fire, posture changing and holding an arm up. Blake considered it a moment before he slid over to rest against his side, feeling his arm drape over him securely. “We would be lost, now.”

Barsad stretched out his legs, lowering himself to lie just beside them, his hand sliding over to rest on Blake’s bare foot. He hadn’t had a pair of shoes since Bane had removed the ones from his costume. Barsad brushed his thumb in a delicate, repeating circle over his ankle, like a wordless apology. Blake could feel the guilt still between the two, strong enough in the air that it left a sinking feeling in his stomach.

“It’s not like it was just me,” he added finally, if for nothing else than to make this feeling stop. “I had other people looking for me, too. I might not have been close to any of them, really, but they were looking out. The commissioner, Ms. T—…” He stopped.

Bane’s hand pressed against his arm tightly. “Ms. Tate?” he asked in a firm tone that implied that this was not a question at all, and that Blake was expected to continue.

“It… it wasn’t anything.” It wasn’t, really, was it? He hadn’t even thought about it until this moment. When he’d found out about Ms. Tate’s true identity, it had been hard to reconcile the thought, so he’d simply made himself stop thinking about her entirely, no matter which persona.

“Then nothing keeps you from telling me.”

Blake shuddered slightly at the dark tone there. It had been a long time since he’d really been hurt by him, but the memories of it were quick to come back from the threat he heard in that tone.

“I found her, her and Mr. Fox. We stuck together a lot, after that.” The press of Bane’s hand became lighter with his confession, rubbing against his skin now, encouraging him to continue. “I don’t know why, but she stuck by me more than anyone else.” He shrugged a little. “I had thought maybe because neither of us really fit in…”

-----

“You are very quiet, Mr. Blake,” she had said softly as they both warmed their fingers over the fire. No one else in the room paid them any mind.

“Detective,” he had corrected, not that it had really mattered at that point, but he’d earned it.

“Detective Blake. You have spirit.” She had smiled and seemed to study his eyes, judging and weighing what she found there. He’d thought it was because of her status, before. “I hear you are helping with the resistance. I would like to offer my own hands, as well.”
-----

Blake shook his head at the memory. “It was probably because I spent a lot of time with the commissioner.”

He narrowed his eyes at that. He’d admired her, the way she was an upper class woman who hadn’t hesitated for an instant to step into the fray with them. The last time he’d seen her, they had been marking the truck together. Well, they had been trying to; she’d tricked them there, as well. He remembered, now, how he’d been keeping an eye out from above. Ms. Tate had insisted…

-----

“You have young eyes,” she’d said softly when Blake had tried to send another officer up to act as lookout, instead. “Better for you to be watching from above.”

Watching from the fire escape was the only way he hadn’t been rounded up with the rest of them. She could have known the paths the mercenaries would take better than anyone…

-----

The courthouse. He’d been angry about the special agents leaving him behind, had been about to follow, anyway, right into the path of gunfire they’d walked into. She’d touched his arm lightly.

-----

“They’re right. You are needed here.” He’d stayed.

-----

He shook his head in disbelief. It wasn’t possible was it?

“I think… I think she may have been trying to save me,” he said hesitantly, trying to disbelieve the words the moment they left his lips. “Why would she do that?”

Barsad’s grip on his ankle was tight now as the man looked at him in wonder. He tilted his head up to look at Bane and saw the same look there as the man brought a hand to brush over the back of Blake’s cheek.

“Your sister discovered you long before we even laid eyes on you, my little bird.” Bane was smiling behind the mask, it reflected in his eyes clearly.

“That’s not possible,” he argued.

“She always saw better than either of us,” Barsad said, voice awed.

“It doesn’t matter; I would have died from the bomb. It’s just a coincidence.”

He wasn’t allowed to believe in coincidence anymore.

“Not so, little bird. Gotham was to be in ashes, but there would always be survivors. Your sister knew your spirit. It was her own. She knew that, given the chance, you would survive. She wanted to make sure you had your chance to rise.”

Barsad made a pleased sound and shifted so that his head was pillowed against Blake’s leg, looking content. “It is a blessing, to know that we have our sister’s approval,” he murmured quietly and toed off his boots. The guilt in the air seemed to have been replaced for them with something else entirely, leaving him relaxed and sleepy eyed. Blake felt his hand come up, seemingly of its own volition, and thread into the thickness of Barsad’s hair. It was soft, and Blake found that he liked rubbing his fingers through it.

Barsad clearly liked it, too. He stilled at the touch and his eyelids lowered. It was only a moment or two later that Blake found that he was basically petting a very asleep mercenary, one still using his leg as a pillow.

“You’ll spoil him,” Bane pointed out, almost absently. It was clear he was still thinking over what he had just learned.

“Is that not allowed?” Blake couldn’t help asking sarcastically.

“He is yours to do with as you please, of course. I am merely pointing out that what you are doing now is pure indulgence.”

“Not like you don’t use him how you want,” he bit out, and then regretted it immediately.

Bane snapped out of his reverie at that and looked down at him questioningly.

“What do you imply, my little Robin?”

“Nothing, just forget it.”

“Ah.” Bane nodded. “You saw our coupling. I was wondering why your behavior had changed. You’ve been more skittish.”

Blake willed himself not to redden. He was a seasoned ex-police officer, seasoned ex-police officers did not blush. “You could have just told me. I wouldn’t have gone out to look, then. You just said I might not like to see it, I didn’t think…”

Bane’s hand squeezed his arm lightly to quiet him. “That was not what I was referring to when I spoke, little one. Talia often enjoyed the sight. It was unplanned, in this instance, though. I was referring to the actual process of changing the medication.”

“Watched…” his eyes widened then he shook his head. “I didn’t see that, just the after show. Trust me, that was enough.”

Bane paused and seemed to study him. Blake shifted uncomfortably under his gaze. “Little one, are you… jealous?” There was mirth in Bane’s eyes and Blake made a face.

He began to deny it. “Fuck, no. Don’t be—”

He glared as he was cut off by Bane’s laughter.

“Barsad is our brother, my little bird. It is right and natural that we share our bodies, just as he has offered to you.”

“He didn’t—” Blake protested, not wanting to get either of them in trouble.

“Oh, he did.” Bane’s eyes still shone with laughter. “You must stop thinking in the way of your old life, my little Robin. You are beyond it. Why lie? Did you think I would be angry?”

“Well, yeah,” he admitted. “You said no one else was going to touch me.”

“I said no one else would touch you who did not understand your worth. Clearly, Barsad understands such a thing, as your disciple.”

“I don’t want to sleep with him.” He didn’t, did he? It was enough of a blow to his body’s sexuality that Bane was able to turn him on.

“Then don’t. He is yours to do with as you will.”

His felt his stomach flip flop as he finally came to understand how much power that was giving him.

Chapter Text

_______________

Bane shook his head in amusement. He had been quick to inform Barsad that their little Bird would not be used to sexual encounters with men, but had never even stopped to consider that the same thought could be applied to the idea of multiple partners. The two of them were so far removed from the society their little one had been raised in that many aspects of their interactions were far beyond what they even considered as something that needed to be discussed. No wonder his little bird had not come to him seeking pleasure again. As if it mattered what Bane wanted if his little one wanted it. Though he would be a liar to say that his little bird was not extremely attractive.

His little bird looked ruffled from Bane’s laughter. It wasn’t at his expense, though, not really; it was simply because even after months together Blake was still so new to him and it was dear the way he worried. He brought his hand down to graze over the bulge of his little one’s pants, feeling the warmth there faintly even through the thick cargo pants he was dressed in. He smiled as his little one sucked in a quiet breath of surprise.

“Shall I pleasure you with my hand, little one?” he asked nonchalantly. His little one was fun to tease at times. In response, he turned his head more towards Bane, pressing his face into the thin black fabric of his shirt. Bane could feel hot breaths rushing against his skin through the cloth.

“Barsad’s right there…”

“He is,” Bane acknowledged as he sought out the shape of his little one’s cock through his pants, finding it and dragging his fingers firmly up the outline of it. “But that does not change my offer.”

His little Robin swore softly and his hips bucked up, eagerly seeking to maintain the firm contact there. His hand came up to scrunch a handful of Bane’s shirt into his fist and he was nodding against his chest.

The angle was a bit problematic, the way his little bird’s torso was twisted and pushed into his while his lower half still sat on the floor, Barsad curled up on his leg. Still, Bane was not without options. He steadied his little bird with an arm wrapped around his waist, working his pants open with his other hand, wrapping his hands around the rapidly hardening cock and drawing it out into the open air.

His little bird let out a choked moan at the exposure, then pressed his face more tightly to him as Bane let his hand explore the length of him. He had touched here before, to bathe and familiarize; it was a new delight to touch it now, swollen with need. The head purpled and Bane brought his thumb up to draw it across the slit, gathering the wetness there and rubbing in a slow circle against the tip.

“Fuuuck,” came the muffled, drawn out word.

Young ones, so little control, Bane thought fondly as he wrapped his hand around him, enjoying the thick weight in his hand. He grazed his nail along the prominent vein on the underside of his little one’s cock, chuckling lightly at the awkward buck of hips he got in response.

“I have you, little one. Let me take care of it,” Bane murmured softly and pressed his mask against the crook of his little one’s neck, the closest he could come to doing what he really desired to it. It affected his little bird, though, who stilled his hips and pressed his neck up higher, an invitation. He rubbed against his little one’s neck as he worked his member in smooth strokes.

The vibrations caused by the rub of skin against the tubes of his mask ran through his body and touched to the scarred lips he kept hidden away. He closed his eyes at the electrifying sensation. He opened them a moment later, lest he selfishly let himself get lost in such a feeling and disregard his little one’s needs.

“Look at you, my little one. You thrill to my touch,” he praised gently, knowing well his little bird’s need for it. “You are perfect, so perfect.”

His little one whined, mouthing against the cloth of Bane’s shirt until it was damp. Bane privately delighted in being able to rob his little bird of his ability to speak, how he could coax him to drip out more precome with a careful twist of his fingers against the base of him. Bane studied each reaction carefully, filing away which action made his little one moan the loudest, which made him lose control of his hips, which caused his teeth to press against Bane’s chest in a desperate hiss.

It wasn’t hard to work out when his little one was close, but he still had more to learn, so each time his orgasm was approaching Bane slowed his explorations down, earning a butt of his little one’s forehead against his chest and a grunt of displeasure.

“Bane… Come on,” he finally growled out in aggravation, it broke down into a soft cry when Bane squeezed the head of his cock tightly between the tip of his thumb and forefinger. “Please, come on!”

Bane wanted to be able to learn more about how best to please, but finally relented. “Alright, little one, alright.”

He covered his shaft again, giving a few slow pulls. It was all his little Robin needed; he was too worked up for more. His fingers dug into Bane’s chest as his hips jerked up, jostling Barsad completely off of his leg, bumping him down lightly onto the stone platform. Not that is mattered; Bane knew fake sleep when he saw it.

His little one spent into his hand with a few loud gasps of pleasure then sunk back down onto the floor. Bane rubbed the thick spending between his fingers, enjoying the satisfaction that came with the knowledge that he had seen to his little Robin’s need.

Barsad rubbed his head, making a slight face. “You are very bad at keeping still, little one.”

“…Shut up,” came the sleepy, slightly embarrassed sounding reply, still muffled against Bane’s chest.

Barsad just smiled and took the liberty of scooting back up, and laying his head down again. Bane felt his little one startle slightly at that then reach back down to shove lightly at Barsad’s head, who made a noise of protest.

“Not if you’re going to COMPLAIN about it.”

“Who could complain when they are treated to such lovely sounds?”

His little one groaned at that and let go. “You were awake the whole time, weren’t you?”

“It seemed rude to interrupt.”
_______________

Chapter Text

_______________

Barsad laughed at the second groan to leave their little one’s lips. He was pleased to note, however, that he hadn’t been pushed off again. He had, in all honesty, fallen asleep from the hypnotic feeling of their little Robin’s fingers carding through his hair. He had not rested for long, though; who could when such sweet noises were drifting down to him. He hadn’t wanted to startle and take away their little one’s pleasure, so he had contented himself to simply listen, inwardly amused whenever he felt the muscles beneath his head tighten and shift as their little Robin’s pleasure was wrung from him.

He shifted slightly. His own cock had swelled to the symphony it had just heard; he knew his brother’s would likely have faired the same. Their little bird sounded tired now, though, a long day filled with combat training, stealth lessons and now this, he was worn through. He glanced up at Bane, a clear unspoken offer of his body then looked back down at the silent “no.” Perhaps his brother had other plans on his mind.

He was mildly surprised when Bane tucked their little one back into his pants and shifted him onto the clean bedding.

“Come lay with him. I will return shortly.”

“Of course, my brother.” Barsad crawled onto bed obediently. It was unusual for them to bed alone but his brother always knew best. Their little bird’s surprise in the situation was clear, too, though in his spent sleepiness he did not shy back when Barsad gathered him into his arms to face him, only sighing when Barsad ran his hand down his warm back.

“Where’s he going?” their little Robin asked finally when Bane left the cave.

Barsad shrugged, smiling at the face their little one made when he played with the hair at the nape of his neck. “He has not told me. You do not know, either? Curious. What did you speak of while I slept?”

There was a long pause before he was answered. “About you guys fucking.”

Barsad laughed, ruffling his hair. “What a delightful topic.”

“I was jealous.”

This had him bewildered. “Of what?”

“I didn’t know, how it was with you both.” Barsad felt him shrug in his arms. “You’re different than anyone I know.”

“The same could be said of you, to us,” he pointed out with a smile.

“He said I have power over you.” Barsad smiled privately at the curiosity he heard there.

“You do, my little Robin. All of the power in the world,” he vowed. “I would bring you the last drop of water in a desert, I would drop to my knees on broken glass, I would spill the blood of any for you. You possess every drop of me.”

Barsad watched as his little Robin stared up into his eyes at that. Barsad could shiver at the look there, it so strongly reminded him of his goddess. His little Robin was finally tasting and testing his power.

“What if I took you like he did?”

“You cannot take what I give freely,” Barsad replied playfully.

“Why would you just give someone power over you? I don’t understand. You’re strong. I’ve wrestled with you, fought with you. You could beat me.”

“I cannot beat Bane, and you command him, too, little one. Even so, I would submit to you. There is no shame in it, in admitting someone’s power over you. There will always be someone who holds more power than you, no matter how strong you are."

“Except Bane.”

Barsad stared at him, surely he was joking. “There is one who holds power over him.”

“Who?” their little Robin looked confused.

“…Idiot.”

“Hey!” He pushed lightly at Barsad’s chest. Barsad shook his head in disbelief.

“I worship at the feet of a blind deity.”

His little Robin stilled at that, looking back up, their previous conversation remembered.

“What if I told you to kill someone?”

“Easily done,” he promised.

“What if I told you never to kill again?”

He quirked his head at that. “Ah, a true challenge, I would work hard to please you.”

His little Robin seemed to be considering him, pressing against his body more. Barsad savored the contact.

“What if I told you I was cold?” came the soft whisper.

Barsad’s heart leapt joyfully. He pressed his forehead to his little Robin’s, breathing out in yearning at the contact.

“Then I would offer to warm you,” he vowed in response.

“Barsad… I’m cold.”

There was hesitation in the tone, but underneath it Barsad could sense their little bird stretching his wings out in the darkness, testing them along with the reigns of control. He was thrilled to be the first to submit under that yoke.

“Shall I warm you then, little one?” He pressed closer still, his lips a breath’s span away from their little one’s in humble offering.

His response was the press of warm, slightly chapped lips to his own. Barsad sighed in bliss, kissing along those sweet lips, committing them to memory. When he felt them part he swept his tongue between them, licking wetly into his little one’s mouth, tasting him. His little Robin moaned and Barsad teased his tongue with his own, coaxing the shyness out of it, luring it into his own mouth so that their Robin might take what he wished from him.

The taste of power must have been intoxicating to their little bird. Barsad felt him exploring it, licking against his lips as he took his first tentative sips of it. Then he began to drink of it deeply, in earnest. His mouth became a hungry, insistent thing, roving over Barsad’s lips, biting at them in eagerness. Barsad trembled in his desire, shifted them so that their little Robin’s weight was on top of him, grounding him.

The only response was a little surprised noise in the back of their little one’s throat. Then he was readjusting his legs so they straddled Barsad’s own securely, his hands pressing into his chest to steady himself. Barsad brought his hands up to run along their little one’s stomach, tickling playfully over the dip of his navel.

When his lips were finally released, raw and tingling from bites and licks, his little Robin stared down at him, eyes lidded, face flushed. Barsad reveled at the power he felt above him, that he was helping him embrace. Their little one shifted slightly and Barsad groaned at the brush of pressure against his cock which was straining the seams of his pants, so excited from first hearing their little Robin and now having him on top of his person.

Their little one licked his own lips slowly, thoughtfully.

“Your beard scratches.”

Barsad tipped his head back in breathless laughter. “Shall I shave it for you?”

He shook his head. “No, it wouldn’t seem right,” he admitted. “It suits you.”

His little bird lowered himself down again, this time to rest his head on Barsad’s chest, ignoring his erection, as was his right. Barsad brought a hand up to tousle his hair.

“M’tired,” his little bird spoke against his skin.

“Then rest with me,” he invited, warmed at the idea of sleeping under the reassuring weight of their little one’s body. There was no acknowledgement of his words, but shortly after he could hear how their little Robin’s breathing changed as he found his sleep.

He tilted his head towards where Bane had re-entered, his presence was never missed by Barsad.

“He is beginning to understand.”

Bane nodded in agreement at the assessment and walked over to the bedding. “He was confused by our joining. I knew once it was explained he would seek you out if I left you in private.”

Barsad smiled at his brother’s cunning, lifting his hand from their little one’s back to allow him to gather him. Bane shook his head. “You have done well, hold him through the night as your prize.”

Barsad was touched at the gesture, letting himself settle into their rest as Bane laid out beside them, stretching a heavy arm across them both.
_______________

Chapter Text

_______________

Blake was warm and surrounded when he woke up; the comfort of it left him feeling slothful and with no real drive to move. He popped an eye open instead, and watched them. Barsad moved slightly under him with each heavy breath he took. Blake studied him for a long while. Was he really asleep? Clearly neither of them was above faking it.

Curious, he carefully shifted out of their hold to sit, guiding Bane’s large arm to rest over Barsad’s chest, instead. As he crept back he watched them for subtle indicators that might give away a ruse, a shift in breathing, the twitch of an eyelid. When he was satisfied they were truly at rest, he moved away quietly and fed the dwindling fire.
He lips still felt slightly swollen from the kisses Barsad had guided him into last night, and when he brought his hand up to his neck it skimmed over a slight abrasion in the crook of it, where Bane had rubbed his mask against him over and over while he stroked him to completion. Blake groaned inwardly and let his hand drop down when he realized he was getting turned on just thinking about it.

They were making him as crazy as they were.

From his seat, he looked over at the falls, watching the water rush down in quiet repose.

He could run, now.

He didn’t want to leave.

It was a painful revelation, like a forceful punch to his gut. He had the opportunity right here laid out before him and he couldn’t bring himself to take it, even knowing it was the right choice, hell, the sane choice. He was still the same person, wasn’t he? Robin John Blake, angry orphan, ex-cop, potential symbol to Gotham. But no one had called him John Blake in a long time; even in his head he was starting to think of himself as Robin, a name he’d dropped when he was in the orphanage to avoid teasing.

Maybe he was still the same person, but every single thing around him was changing. He wasn’t alone anymore; he was the center of the universe for two utterly mad, dangerous men. Oh, and they were dangerous. Dangerous and violent, and his. He felt guilty at the shiver that crept through him at that dark thought, his to command.
Maybe he could use that power for a greater good, use them for a greater good. If he was careful, maybe he could let himself have them and still be a symbol, or more than that, maybe he could cause actual change. Ideas ran through his head, nothing solid, just the beginnings of thoughts, philosophies that could change him, shape him, change everything.

Part of him was wary that the taste of power Barsad had given him the night before was poisoning his mind, but he pushed the notion aside. He wouldn’t hurt innocent people with it, and no matter what people may say, Blake still believed there were innocent people in Gotham City even if he couldn’t count himself among them.
Before anything, though, he still needed them to teach him. He was getting better. He was stronger now than he’d ever been before, he could feel it in his movements, could even see it in his arms, how the muscles there had grown under the exercises and drills Bane had put him through. His skills were growing by the day, but he knew there was still more to learn. Speaking of…

He looked over their still sleeping forms, a mischievous plan forming in his mind. He still had to learn to disappear, and what better time than now, when he knew they wouldn’t have a chance to cheat? Of course, that didn’t mean he couldn’t.

He stood and stealthily padded over to a pile of clothing, tugging a black shirt over his head as he hoped that the three of them had slept through the day together and that night would be there to greet him, cloak him. It would make things easier. He had grown more comfortable in it than the daylight that he saw less and less of now.
He was barely able to hold back a snicker as he slipped away under the waterfall, clutching tightly to two pairs of boots, leaving behind three words traced out in ash by the fire so they would not mistake his game for fleeing.

Come find me.

He tucked Bane’s boots away between a crop of rocks to hide them then tugged Barsad’s onto his own feet. They were a good fit, though it felt weird to wear shoes again after so long without. He used the protection on his feet to his advantage and walked on rocky areas where he hadn’t before, doubling back, pulling out every trick he could think of.
_______________

Bane tugged his boots out carefully from between the wedge of two rocks, bemused.

“I don’t suppose mine are there, as well?” Barsad asked, with no real hope to his tone as he looked into the crack and shook his head. “You’re only supposed to steal the boots from dead men.”

“Clearly our little one has become naught more than a fiend,” Bane agreed amicably.

Such a clever little bird, their Robin. When they had awoken together Bane had sighed, heart heavy as he prepared to gather up their little Robin, having felt that they were perhaps beyond this. He had then spotted the note in ash, though, and he smiled at the playfulness when they both found their boots to be mysteriously gone.

Clever, yes, but he was still terrible at hiding. The trail was a haphazard thing. While their little one had worked hard to throw them off of it, he had traded the now added mobility Barsad’s boots gave him for a measure of stealth lost by his unfamiliarity with them. Their soles kicked up edges of mud, showing each direction he had taken and clearing away any ruse he had attempted in throwing them in the wrong direction.

He signaled soundlessly to Barsad who tilted his head in understanding as they continued their pursuit.

_______________

What he lacked in stealth, their little Robin was making up in speed. They spent over an hour pursuing him. To be fair they were not running, but working to keep themselves unseen as well as they tracked him. In this, Bane deferred to Barsad, whose skill was much greater than his, hence the reason he had been giving the lessons to begin with.
Barsad came to a stop suddenly, looking uncertain, and then took off at a faster pace. Bane narrowed his eyes and followed his lead. When he came to a clearing, he understood. There was Barsad’s motorbike, which was used to make runs for supplies, the keys stored with it so that their little one could not find them in the cave. It was leaning carefully against a tree, hidden away on a small dirt path that eventually met up with the roads leading back to the busy streets of Gotham.

There was their little Robin, running his fingers lightly over the chipped away camouflaged paint that covered its body. He looked up at their approach, the haste having taken away their stealth, and snatched his hand back like the bike had burned him.

“I-I wasn’t going to,” he began quickly.

“No one said you were, little one,” Bane assured him quietly. “You could not have even realized it was here when you took this path.”

He walked over and placed a hand on his shoulder, pleased when his little bird opened his palm and held the keys out to him in offering.

“I really wasn’t… I just… seeing it…” Their little one looked down at the bike again. “I thought about it this morning. I decided I wasn’t going to try anymore. Just… I didn’t expect this.”

“Everyone has temptations,” Barsad spoke calmly, walking over to take the keys and tuck them away. “Resisting them makes us stronger.”

Their little one nodded in agreement at that. Bane rubbed over his shoulder firmly, working out the tension there until he was leaning against his chest.

“Would you like to go for a ride then, little one?” he found himself asking, the question unexpected even to himself. Their little bird stiffened against him in equal astonishment and turned to look at him.

“Really? I’ve never actually ridden on one,” he admitted, his tone wistful. “I mean, I figured out the Bat-pod, but that thing is so smooth it practically drives itself, and you steer it completely differently from what I know about bikes.”

Barsad laughed and reached to push playfully at their little one’s arm. “It is good you didn’t try. You are clumsy enough to break both of your legs in the attempt.”

Their little Robin grumbled lightly and pushed away Barsad’s arm. “Come on, how hard can it be?”

“Perhaps I could show you. We could ride to the supply cache and replenish.” Barsad looked up to him, clearly seeking his permission before ever granting such a thing. It was a simple trip, Barsad was more than capable and it made more sense for it to be the lighter of them to ride with their little Robin, considering the weight supplies would add, as well.

“Very well.” He glanced down at Barsad’s bare feet and shook his head. Their little Robin followed his look and laughed.

“Sorry. I forgot.” He reached down to unlace them, but Bane stopped him with a touch to his arm.

“You will need them for protection.” He leaned down and unlaced his own, stepping from them and holding them out to Barsad.

Barsad stared out at the proffered boots for a moment in surprise before nodding his thanks and donning them. Bane watched as Barsad tossed a leg with practiced ease over the seat of the bike, reaching for the helmet and offering it to their little Robin. It was a pleasant sight to see him fit it over his head and slide up behind Barsad on the seat, pressing tightly against him.

Bane noted with amusement that their little Robin was currently wearing not only Barsad’s boots, but the black shirt he had put on was actually one that was Bane’s. Bane found that he liked the idea of him wrapped in their clothing, of Barsad also wearing his boots. It reminded him of when he would drape his thick coat over Talia’s shoulders when she grew chilled. He waved them off with a final pat to their little one’s back.

_______________

Barsad breathed deeply as they raced down the road. Wind in his face always made him feel exhilarated. He enjoyed that he was able to share the experience with their little Robin, whose fingers dug into his arms tightly at first, but had now loosened to a more casual hold as he relaxed and was able to enjoy his first ride. Truth be told, it was not a long one, just far enough that their supplier would not try to go digging around for information on just who and where he was supplying to out of curiosity.

He drove up to a beat-up looking dumpster by the side of the road. An abandoned looking thing, overflowing with refuse, old broken wood, wires, wreckage, it was just one more thing left behind in the wake of occupation, left to rot. He climbed off the bike, leaving it idling with their little Robin on it. A bold move, perhaps, but their little one had earned his trust. He knelt down to flip the hidden paneling on the side of the dumpster, making the false siding slide back and give way to a tucked away compartment filled with fresh supplies for them.

As he brought his hand up to begin unloading them, he heard their little bird shouting, the words muffled by the helmet and purring engine. Movement caught his eye and his training took over. He grabbed for the knife in his boot, thankful that he knew Bane kept the same in his own. Grasping its handle, he swung his arm back in an efficient swing, satisfied when he felt the blade part skin and flesh, blood splashing hot across his knuckles.

He quickly took in his surroundings. He had let his guard down too much, grown too complacent to let something as simple as an engine running have made him miss the group of attackers surrounding him now, clearly having hidden themselves behind the wreckage in wait. In truth, it was due to the ease their little Robin put him in. He spared a glance over at him, giving a firm flick of his hand. Their little one was not ready for this, not with the guns and knives the attackers wielded.

He recognized these men. They had fought on their side during occupation. They had sought him out after the fall, wishing for him to join their new militant group. He had taken advantage of their tenuous relationship to heal himself by their medical supplies, then turned down their offer in favor of tracking down Bane. Clearly they had not appreciated such a choice.

The one he had knifed had gone wild, cupping his throat where Barsad had landed his killing strike. He would not last long.

“You bastard!” one shouted, drawing his gun. “You should have joined us when you had the chance.”

Barsad shrugged, truly not paying much attention to the words, letting them buy him time, instead. “I belong to another already.”

Another who was not fleeing as he should have with the distraction that he had just created for him. Barsad tensed at that, not daring to take his eyes off the group to glare at their too brave little Robin. He did not wish him in harm’s way.

“Yeah, well Bane isn’t here to protect you, now,” the clear leader snarled at him.

Barsad smiled at such foolishness and regarded him coldly. “Two mistakes on your part. One that it is Bane who rules me, and two, that I need protection.”

Chapter Text

Another among them was shouting, angry over how the one Barsad had as good as slain was turning pale now. “Kill him!”

Barsad brought his hand into the hidden pocket of his pants. It was not a preferred option, but he could not risk true combat with these men if their little Robin refused to leave. He would make too tempting of a target for them, or a stray bullet might nick him. He brought out two vials, snapping them together between his fingers, feeling the fine glass crush into his fingers and the chemical burn that followed. The reaction was immediate; a thick, yellow cloud of fumes wafted up and surrounded them. Barsad sucked in a breath carefully before the cloud reached his face. He would be affected still, but to a lesser degree.

Not like the men around him now screaming. He might have laughed, but he dared not waste the air. It took only moments then, to kick a gun from a now wildly waving hand and grab it securely in his own. Quick execution, never waste bullets, just as he had been taught, one through each skull, brain matter and bone spraying as the fallen men failed to even notice they were being killed as the terrors that haunted their very souls overtook them.

He could feel it, himself. When his enemies were felled he could hold back the sensations no longer. The cloud had dispersed, but now the edges of reality were fading and warping, twisting and becoming a horror that plagued him. He could only inoculate himself so well against the chemicals he had developed for Ra's al Ghul. In their purest form, that which he had just dispensed, inoculation only meant that he would not be killed by his fears.

He could hear their little bird now, approaching him hesitantly. Barsad closed his eyes, not wishing to taint his deity’s perfect visage with whatever the drugs chose to distort it into.

“Barsad, oh my God, are you ok?” He could feel hands pawing at him in worry. His brain told him it was a monster, huge and fierce, clawing at his chest, that it was Talia’s decomposing hands raking over him and cursing him for failing her, that it was everything wrong in the world right there against his skin. He shook and hugged his arms tightly around himself, not willing to risk hurting their Robin in his state.

“Go, go back to camp,” he whispered harshly, grimacing at how his voice sounded otherworldly to himself, like he was a ghost. “I will be well. It needs to work through my system.”

He cursed and barely kept himself from swinging his arms out in fear and attack when he felt himself being guided to stand.

“Now who’s the idiot?”

They left behind the bike, it was too risky for Barsad to drive and their little Robin didn’t know how. It was balanced against the dumpster, surrounded by fresh corpses. Barsad made a note somewhere in the back of his overworking mind that eventually those would have to be dealt with.

They walked, instead. The chemicals were a thick cloud in Barsad’s mind. He knew he would mumble, and occasionally shrunk back at something that he knew wasn’t on this realm of existence, but their little Robin did not mention it. His arm was tight around him, as a guide for he refused still to open his eyes, knowing that what he would see would neither be real nor a welcome sight. His body bucked and twisted nervously at the tight grip, even when his moments of clarity made him lean closer, seeking out his little Robin’s presence to soothe himself.

The walk was a long one, to Barsad it felt like it would never end. He knew he’d several times shouted at their little bird to leave him, he knew on some level he would feel guilt over that, later, but their little one wasn’t dissuaded. Finally, finally he could hear the rushing of water, though to his ears it was a crashing tide, full of things that if he stepped close would scuttle over his body and pick his flesh from his bones. He reared back in their Robin’s hold.

“BANE!” He could hear the shout beside his ear and flinched back. He hated being seen like this. He knew that his reactions were trivial compared to many who were exposed to the drug, but they still made him feel weak.

Much weaker than the sudden, tight grip around his shoulders. Bane’s hands, his voice, were like a cool drip of water onto his overheated mind.

“What has happened?”

Barsad felt himself almost swoon into that steady grip. He opened his eyes finally and could have smiled when Bane’s unspoiled visage was right in front of him, watching at him with concern.

Bane was already more exquisitely terrifying than any chemical could make him. His brother was the essence of fear, and so he could not be warped.

He could hear their little one explaining in a rushed, panicked tone; it did not matter. He only needed time and all would be well.
_______________

Blake watched as Bane dragged Barsad, whose feet had finally failed him, into the cave. His body was still twitching, his fingers convulsing and grasping at the air one moment, swatting away invisible creatures at the next. Bane laid him out onto the bedding.

“Would heat help, like it did me?” he asked anxiously. Seeing weakness in either of these two fierce men was deeply unsettling.

Bane shook his head. “It is a different agent. Only time will work it from his system.” He tugged his boots from Barsad’s feet and laid a blanket over his jerking form. “Do not move from this spot, my brother.”

Barsad nodded his head weakly in acknowledgement, eyes closed again now as Bane stood to face Blake. “Show me their bodies.”

“We shouldn’t leave him,” Blake protested, not taking his eyes from Barsad.

“He would prefer it.”

“He’d prefer what I would want, wouldn’t he?” he found himself snapping out in worry.

Bane paused, clearly mulling this over. “Yes… but he would still dread you seeing him in this state.”

That made Blake hesitate. He could understand that. No one liked being seen at their weakest. “He’ll really be ok?”

“He will recover no differently than if you were here vexing over him,” Bane assured him as he slipped on his boots.

Blake relented with a final look over at Barsad before he led Bane back to the spot. The hours of walking were starting to make his legs burn, but he would rather focus on that than on what he had just experienced. He had felt so light as he held onto Barsad’s waist and zipped down the narrow stretch of road. When he’d seen the first person step out from behind the large garbage container, he’d stilled in shock. It was the first person he’d seen beyond Bane and Barsad in months. Instinct took over a moment later and he was shouting his warning, feeling his body run cold in horror when he caught sight of the guns and other weapons that were being brought out and aimed towards Barsad and himself.

Barsad was an animal, a graceful killer. He’d barely even seen him draw out the weapon before it was sliding effortlessly into the throat of an attacker. Blake couldn’t hear the gurgle of shock the man must have made, but he could see it on his lips. He gripped tightly onto the handlebars of the bike, feeling pinned to it by the muzzle of a gun aimed directly at him.

Then Barsad was taunting, and working his craft, then killing.

He probably should have at least tried to stop the execution in front of him, but it felt right. It was clear the group was going to kill them both, and Barsad wasn’t going to be deterred from dispatching them, unless perhaps his god ordered otherwise.

But he didn’t. He didn’t want to.

They approached those corpses now. In the heat of the moment he couldn’t think about them, but here they were scattered on the ground in front of him, blood and other questionable fluids leaking down onto the ground sluggishly. They didn’t smell like rot yet, it was too soon, but Blake could still smell the fear hanging in the air, mingling with the reeking scent caused by a body’s waste system being loosened by death.

Bane looked down on them without any outward expression then knelt to exam each one carefully. Blake was uncomfortably reminded that this was a man who was quite used to handling dead bodies. Finally he stood, brushing his soiled hands onto the grass. “They were alone in their endeavors. No communication devices, no instructions on their person. This was a desperate act. No one will come seeking them.”

“How did they even figure out this was here?”

“I would presume that the supplier Barsad had has been killed to gain such information.”

“Maybe he was paid off.”

“Barsad would never be fool enough to trust his safety or yours with someone who could be bought.” Bane disappeared behind the length of the container and came back holding two shovels. “How fitting that they should bring their own burial tools.”

Blake held back a shudder. There was no doubt at all that those shovels had been meant to bury Barsad. He looked down at the bodies again, feeling his stomach roil in revulsion. He wasn’t supposed to be glad when people were dead. He thought back to the final moments before occupation, when he’d killed the construction workers under Bane’s leadership. It had been a desperate move. He’d never killed anymore before, he knew people took bullets and lived. Except they hadn’t.

He held his hand out for a shovel and began to dig. It was long work to dig a pit deep enough for five bodies. Even Bane broke a sweat from the labor.

“I am surprised you did not try to stop him from killing them, my little Robin.” Bane’s voice was casual, but it was clear he was carefully testing the waters with Blake.

“They were going to kill him, and me.”

“They would have, yes, but I seem to recall that your previous mentor was quite the idealist in such matters, still.”

Blake hesitated at that. It was true; Batman didn’t believe in killing, no guns, no killing, not intentionally anyway. The more he thought about that, though, the more ludicrous it seemed, and he wondered if it had to do with ideals at all.

“I don’t think that’s why he didn’t kill people,” he said quietly, tossing another scoop of dirt onto the steadily growing pile beside the trench.

“No?” Bane asked casually as he rolled a body into the grave with his foot.

Blake shook his head, thinking about the men he had killed, about how his first escape attempt from Bane had been when he’d tried to teach him to kill. He looked down at the bodies that just a few hours ago had been breathing and thinking and living.

“It’s because it’s so easy,” he whispered quietly. “It’s so fucking easy to kill someone.”

Chapter Text

Bane was listening, watching him closely, so he continued. “I didn’t even mean to kill them and they were dead. If it’s that easy when I’m not even trying, how much easier is it if you’re trying to do it?”

“Very easy,” Bane agreed without shame.

“I don’t want to be a killer. That’s something I never wanted to be, even if sometimes people deserve it. I think if I started, I wouldn’t know when to stop. How can you know when it’s ok to just end someone’s life?” he asked desperately, knowing he was asking a killer this, but needing to hear it all the same.

“I kill those who stand in my way, little one, those who would do you ill, and anyone you would wish of me. I am a killer; I will never be an innocent being. I never deliberate if such a thing is ‘ok.’ However, if you do not wish to kill that is your choice, not mine.”

Blake nodded quietly at that. “Barsad said he would kill anyone I asked him to, but he also said he would not kill if I told him not to…” his voice trailed off.

“And you wish to know if I can pledge you the same?” Bane guessed easily, and Blake nodded. “It is not so simple a task. If the option comes down to your harm and another’s life, I will always choose your safety, my little Robin. Beyond that, though, yes, I could pledge myself to such a life if it is your will.”

“I can’t—” he paused because the words were so hard to say. “I can’t be Batman. I’ll never be able to live up to that.” He had lived through the occupation, seen so many evils. He knew that sometimes people had to die so that the innocents might actually be safer. Ideas that had been but seeds in his mind before began to sprout and grow.

“But maybe… Maybe I can be something else.”

Bane paused in his work of covering the bodies with loose soil. “You already have surpassed him, my little Robin. You are a god.”

Blake shivered at the fierce devotion in those words. The power was getting to him. He could still use it for good like he wanted. “I still want to be a symbol, to give people hope. I want to actually stop them, though, all of those monsters out there who are getting their kicks off of hurting people. I want them to be scared. I want them to know that someone is out there who can and will actually stop them. I can’t do it alone, though.”

He thought of Commissioner Gordon’s words. Of how angry they had made him at the time.

-----
“There's a point, far out there when the structures fail you, and the rules aren't weapons anymore, they're... shackles letting the bad guy get ahead. One day... you may face such a moment of crisis. And in that moment, I hope you have a friend like I did, to plunge their hands into the filth so that you can keep yours clean!”
-----

He had that friend, two of them, and suddenly the Commissioner’s hands didn’t seem so filthy anymore.

“Ah, my little Robin, I believe I understand. You wish to be judge, and we your executioners.”

Blake was glad Bane understood. He wasn’t sure he had the courage yet to admit the words out loud.

Bane patted down the soft earth. The bodies were gone, covered as though they had never existed to taint the world.

So easy.

Bane stood in front of him then, drew him into an embrace. Blake relaxed into it, felt the cool push of metal against his hair.

“If this is your purpose, then it is now ours, as well. We will help you cleanse Gotham of those you find unworthy.”

Blake felt almost faint at the rush of power those words brought him. He brought his hand up, trailing his fingers over the strange curled tubes of Bane’s mask. He looked into Bane’s eyes and saw the devotion and pleasure in them from the intimate touch. He could make him do anything. He could keep himself clean and still save the city from itself
.
“Yes.”

He felt a soft rumble of affirmation against his fingertips, and shuddered as it vibrated through them to his soul. He watched Bane’s eyes as they closed, as though he could feel Blake’s fingers even through the mask. Experimentally, he traced the side straps up Bane’s face, brushing against sweat dampened skin. Bane tilted his head downwards to grant him better access, and he took it, running his fingers against his hairless scalp, feeling out the tiny scars that flecked the skin there. This time the shudder came from Bane, and Blake felt himself pulled closer, their chests ground tightly together in the embrace.

He groaned as the press of their bodies ground him against Bane’s thigh, his own body feeling the desire that was washing over him from Bane and responding to it in kind. He wanted. It was his to take. He shouldn’t do it here, where the blood of enemies was still stained into the grass, but the thought of waiting and walking again back to the cave seemed unfathomable.

The exhaustion and tension of the day was giving way to something else. He could have died, he could have lost Barsad. He needed to feel one of them. He needed reassurance that they were ok and would stay with him.

“Bane…” he was choking on his own words, feeling need build up, the light scrape of cloth against his cock as he rolled his hips forward. He needed, and Bane would give.

“Please…” He grasped at his thick hand, pulling it down towards himself in earnest, grunting when Bane cupped him through his pants, squeezed, rubbed. His hand was hot and he knew just how to touch him already, had studied him perfectly with only one lesson.

“What do you need, my little Robin?”

“I want you,” Blake murmured, pressing up higher so he could press his lips against the smooth grate of the mask. When he flicked the tip of his tongue out to wet his lips, he could feel the sharp intake of air Bane sucked in as well as the edges of his own mouth going tingly and numb from the slight inhalation of chemicals shared between them.
‘I’m yours.’ It was the classic thing to say there, wasn’t it? Yet while it was true on some level, it wasn’t all of it; it wasn’t the most important thing.

“You’re mine,” he breathed out instead, hearing the half demand, half wonder in his own voice.

He could feel quick wafts of air and chemicals brushing over him now from Bane’s excitement, so strong it made his head spin slightly and he had to pull back.

“Here, little Robin?”

Blake glanced down at the blood smeared in the grass.

Fuck propriety.

Chapter Text

He nodded eagerly and watched as Bane shrugged off his thick coat, laying it on the ground. Blake laughed slightly at the chivalry behind the move and saw the twinkle in Bane’s eye that said he found it amusing, as well. He dropped down to sit on the soft inner wool, yanking his boots of with quick jerks. His shirt was next and he looked over at Bane so he could watch him undress, as well.

Bane… was looking through the hidden supply cabinet. It was enough to give a guy a complex when he was half naked, hard as a rock and his, what, lover? protector? killer? had forsaken him to rummage through a dumpster.

“Uh… No offense, but I’m over here.”

He glared at Bane’s back when he received only a light chortle in response. Finally, Bane pulled back, holding a small bottle in his hand.

“Barsad must be congratulated for his wisdom in ordering supplies.” Bane looked pleased as he moved back towards Blake. A bottle of oil or some other type of lubricant was set beside him. Blake was both happy and nervous to see it. He knew the logistics, and hell, Barsad had sure appeared pretty into it from what he had seen, but Bane was, frankly, huge, and not exactly what one would generally pick for a first experience.

He didn’t have to go through with it, he understood that now. This was all on his terms. He could tell Bane he only wanted his hands, tell him that for the rest of his life even and Bane would never push for more. He remembered how they looked together, though, carnal and perfectly connected, intimate in a way he now found he wanted with them, only them. He watched Bane draw his own shirt up and over his head, and leaned towards him, brought his hands up to feel over his chest.

He listened to the soft rumble of contentment that Bane released and couldn’t help but smile a little, though it felt strange to do so and mean it. He tried to ignore his own self-consciousness when Bane’s hand came up immediately to trace his smile with the pad of his thumb.

The muscles beneath his hands were not the kind one got from bodybuilding in a gym to show off. They were thick and broad from labor, from battle, from being a fearsome beast. He rubbed and scratched with his nails, listening to the changes in Bane’s breathing and trying to discern what he might like. His brain was still working to reconcile the idea of what he knew about touching a woman into what would work here; it was different in a lot of ways, but the same in others, and it was all he had to go on, really.

In return, Bane was circling his finger against his lips, parting them with the slow slide of his thumb into Blake’s mouth. Blake sucked on the digit, letting his tongue play at it. Then he felt Bane’s other hand on his back and he was being guided to lie down on the warm coat. He let himself be lowered, feeling anticipation and anxiousness war in his belly. Bane’s hand moved to rest there, splayed out before it ran down to rub through his pants again. He gave the thumb still in his mouth a nip with his teeth before he let it go.

“Don’t even think about drawing it out like you did last time.”

Bane chuckled, “It was to your benefit, was it not? I see no issue disobeying even a god’s order if it will bring him greater pleasure in the end, even if he whines about it.”

Blake made an exasperated noise and let his head fall back onto the coat while Bane opened his pants, tugging them down and off with a few efficient pulls. He sighed and relaxed, then, against the soft wool as his thighs were stroked up, then squirmed when Bane’s large hands cupped his ass, squeezing into the firm flesh there. Blake groaned lightly at the strong touch, making a small noise of disappointment when he was let go.

He watched as Bane rose slightly to strip off his own pants, his cock hung heavy with arousal. Anxiousness was quickly beginning to win over arousal for Blake at the sight of him.

Bane paused and patted his thigh. “Are you ready little one?”

Blake nodded with a quick jerk of his head. First time was supposed to hurt, right? Or was that just with girls? He didn’t know anymore, but he’d wanted this and he wasn’t backing down now.

Bane took the bottle up in his hands, pouring the liquid there onto his fingers. Blake got ready to spread his thighs further.

Bane crawled over his body and straddled his waist.

Blake jolted up, stopped only by Bane’s dry hand on his shoulder. “Holy shit, what are you doing?” he gasped, because this was the last thing in the world he’d expected.

Bane tilted his head curiously, bringing his slick warm hand back to circle around Blake’s cock, which surged with newfound interest at the touch, making his hips rock up into it even as he stammered in confusion.

“Preparing, little one, is something wrong?”

“You—” his words died off and he stared as Bane rewet his hand, reaching behind himself. He couldn’t see what he was doing with his fingers but he watched as Bane’s eyelid’s lowered, as his head tilted forward slightly in the effort. “H-holy shit,” he choked out again. Words were apparently a craft he had lost at the sight of Bane fingering himself open for him.

“You… I mean… YOU?” he finally managed.

One of Bane’s eyes opened further, to focus on him. “Did you think yourself? Oh, little one, you would need so much more time and preparation than one can give here on a roadside. You are untouched there, are you not?” Blake nodded dumbly at that.

“Then let us enjoy this and save that for perhaps even a bed.”

He couldn’t think of how to respond to that. There were no words. Bane was giving his body to him. Sacrificing himself to his god, Blake thought a bit deliriously as he felt himself guided to the warm ring of muscle that Bane had oiled for him.

“You’re su—” his words were cut off by a strangled cry as Bane snapped his hips down, taking most of him in in one fluid motion. “Shit!” Words were really failing him today. His hands came up and he didn’t even know where he should have been putting them, so they dropped back down. Instead, he grabbed fistfuls of wool lining as he felt his cock being taken in, swallowed up by how tight Bane felt around him.

He could hear Bane letting out a low groan, but it was barely discernible past the sound of blood rushing in his ears, of the noises that were falling from his own lips as he writhed under him, pinned down by strong thighs. He couldn’t take this, it was too much, too hot, too good.

Then Bane was rising up on his hips, dropping down, taking him in deeper. He could feel his thighs pressed tight against him, his ass lowered so it touched down onto him. Not his full weight, even in this moment Bane was careful and Blake was grateful he wasn’t getting crushed, but that was about as coherent a thought as he could manage. He felt like his body was no longer his own. He understood, then, how Bane drove into Barsad so savagely. His hips ached to do the same, to fuck and claim, but he was pinned there and he couldn’t move, he couldn’t think, he could barely breathe.

_______________


The noises falling from his little Robin's lips were obscene.

Bane watched as his little Robin slowly lost his mind. How he couldn’t seem to decide what to do with his hands, his hips. He delighted in bringing him so much pleasure. This was not an action Bane practiced often, but he understood the appeal in it. There was pleasure to be had here. He felt the slow burn as he rocked over his little Robin, the stretch of muscles inside. He changed his angle to allow for a better rub over his prostate, his own groans falling louder as ripples of pleasure ran through him.

His little one was letting out a soft keening noise, his throat bared back. “Please, please, Bane, let me,” he babbled. His hips jerked up off the ground when Bane rose his hips up. It took him a moment to understand, but it was a simple enough request. He rolled them with ease, taking his Robin with him and righting him so that he was kneeling between Bane’s spread thighs.

The relief in his little one’s face was a tangible thing as he was now able to grip the tops of Bane’s knees and drive himself forward. He looked like he could almost cry from it. Bane could not resist bringing his hand up and running it across his cheek, his lips. His little bird licked desperately at his fingers, kissed over them.

“Oh God, it’s—” his little bird tried, then lost himself in a groan, thrusting faster, jolting, rocky pushes that had little finesse but a sweet earnestness.

“Good,” Bane finished for him, and it was. His little one was possessing him, rutting into him on top of the spilled blood of their enemies. What could be better? He brought his hips up to aid him, feeling himself growing ready to spill. It was a surprise to him to be ready so soon, brought on by his little one’s own eagerness.

Then he heard his little bird gasp out, thrust forward and freeze, eyes clenched shut. He felt wetness splash into him and smiled as his little one trembled through his orgasm soundlessly, overwrought by it. He felt his own close and reached down to take hold of himself.

Blake’s eye’s opened at that movement and his hand came down to stop Bane’s. “Hey… let me.”

“You wish to?” Bane inquired seriously.

Blake nodded, and when Bane was satisfied it was the truth he drew his hand back. His little Robin’s replaced it, drawing up the length, exploring over it with graceful fingertips. It was not what Bane needed for release, but he would take his little Robin touching him over climax without question. Fortunate was he that it seemed he would receive both. His little Robin, when satisfied with his exploration, began to pump his shaft with sure strokes.

He watched Bane with desire in his eyes; desire to bring his protector release, as well. Bane was touched by the generosity. He allowed himself to let go and find his own pleasure. He rolled his hips up into first the one hand and then the two that were wrapped around him, forming a tight channel for him to fuck. He felt himself quickening towards it and practically roared out at his climax, letting it shake through his body as he spilled into his little one’s stroking hands. He felt them touch him a little while longer, oversensitive as he was now he was reluctant to see them go, though he hissed lightly when one of the fingers curiously traced over his far too sensitive crown.

The fingers were drawn back and Blake gave him a slightly sheepish look as his breathing still came heavy from their exertions. “Sorry.”

Bane ran his finger’s lightly down his little Robin’s arm in return. “It is yours to touch.”

“I still can’t believe you…”

He laughed lightly, “Why would I not?”

His little one shrugged, withdrawing from him and wiping the sweat from his brow with the back of his hand then looking around. “We don’t have to walk back, do we? I don’t think my legs work anymore.”

Bane snorted and sat up, making do with cleaning himself with his discarded shirt. “Laziness does not befit you.”

“I had to walk this twice!” his little one practically squawked in protest.

In the end, they ended up riding the motorbike back together, Bane having to rouse his little one several times from a light sleep so he did not fall from behind him.

When they entered the cave, however, his little Robin was wide awake as he made his way over to the bedding to check his disciple’s rest. It was uneasy, Bane had seen the effects of Barsad’s toxins before, felt them, even, as part of a training exercise given by the League of Shadows; they were an unpleasant marvel.

Bane watched as his little one knelt down on the bedding, looking almost nervous as he rested his fingers lightly on Barsad’s forehead. Barsad would be touched to know how fretful their little Robin looked over his wellbeing.

As if reading his thoughts, his little one looked over to him. “He saved my life.”

“Of course. He would never let harm befall you.”

“I know.” He nodded seriously. “We really can’t do anything to help him?”

“Rest with him,” Bane suggested. “If nothing else, it will make you feel better. You need sleep, as well.”

“You do, too. Come on, we’ll sleep together.” His little bird held his hand up in offering.  Bane regarded it with some amusement before taking it and letting himself be pulled down with them onto the bedding. He ran a hand down his brother’s lightly shaking skin. He had done well at a high price to his own personal wellbeing. Such things were to be rewarded.

Bane gathered him up easily, pulling him so that he was rested against Bane’s own chest. He could feel his brother curl into his heat, how his body’s tension eased out at the contact. Their little bird came to press up tightly against them, reaching to take his brother’s hand into his own.

He looked up into Bane’s eyes, “Now who’s spoiling him.”

“Both of us, I would presume,” he replied with a light pat to his brother’s back. Just before he let himself find his sleep, he felt the brief feather light touch of fingers tracing over his mask.

Chapter Text

_______________


Weakness was an unpleasant thing, but a necessary part of life. Barsad had been grateful when he had heard them leave. His brother would take care of the remains and distract their little one away from the cave long enough for him to be able to give into the worst of the chemicals.  He had waited, counting out the strange creatures creeping over and burrowing into his skin until he was sure they were out of hearing range. Then he had let himself scream.

He was hoarse when he woke, blanketed in warmth, pressed in on, but the chemicals were gone and he did not feel suffocated by it. He would have brought his hand up to rub the sleep and sweat from his face but it was caught up. Their little bird was holding his hand while he slept; the tenderness there was more overwhelming than any chemical he could concoct.

He squeezed it gently, rubbing his thumb along the palm. Bane was under him, and it was not the first time they had lain as such, but the moments were few and far between, worn fuzzy in his memory by his repeated drawing on them when he had had trouble sleeping at his post. This feeling here, of being held by those he worshipped, as a precious thing, he would have bathed in his own chemicals to feel such bliss. The horrors of the day were pressed back as nothing but fleeting memory, taken over and washed clean by this sacred moment.

Their little bird was stirring at the touch to his hands, and Barsad smiled at the sleepy confusion muddling his face as he drifted from the world of dreams to their own. His eyes finally fixed onto Barsad’s and he sat up quickly.

“Are you—”

Barsad gripped his hand lightly in affirmation. “I am well. How could I not be, with such guardians watching my sleep?”

Their little Robin let go of his hand and felt over his face, as though to check for fever. Barsad gladly submitted to the gentle touch.

“See? As whole and fetching as before.” He chuckled dryly when their little Robin snorted and let him go.

“Can I get you anything?” Their little one sounded serious again, he could feel his hand press lightly against the back of his neck.

“Should I not be serving you, instead?” he protested mildly, still the open affection was very nice and his body still felt weak. “Some water, perhaps, if it is no trouble.”

He began to sit up to drink the water their little one brought when Bane’s hand came up to pin his shoulder down, a wordless order to remain lying down.

Mother hens, both of them. Perhaps he should dance with death more often.

Their little one brought the cup to his lips and he drank carefully from the awkward angle. It was relief to his throat and he relaxed back again, grateful. He was held a moment longer before being lowered onto the bedding. Now that he was awake, he knew Bane was not often one for such things. Their little bird sat beside him still as Bane walked over to the computer to sit.

Were it anyone else watching but Barsad, they would never have noticed the ever so slight hitch in his brother’s step.

Barsad brought a hand to his face, stifling his laughter. Their little bird looked down at him, confused. He beckoned him closer, tilting up to whisper into his ear.

“Tell me, little Robin, did you feel as though you were a mouse who conquered a lion?”

When their little one grasped his meaning, he reddened and shoved at Barsad’s shoulder which shook with laughter.

“You’re such an asshole,” his little Robin hissed out close to his ear, glancing over at Bane, as if the act between the two of them had been some great secret. Charming.

“How my god favors me so,” he returned cheerfully, now in even higher spirits. A joining between a little god and his protector, how blessed.

Their little Robin rolled his eyes and lay back down beside him. Barsad noted that Bane did not scold either of them for their idleness as they spent a few hours simply resting on the bed together. Barsad, not used to such slothfulness in bed, became bored, though he enjoyed the closeness and attention. Playfully, he slid closer to their little one, able to coax some kisses away from his lips, sweet, precious things that made him feel weak but this time in a favorable way.

In the middle of a particularly deep kiss between them, Barsad slid his palm up their little one’s warm thigh, squeezing his hip. When the contact broke he took a chance and kissed a trail across the light stubble of their little one’s jaw, smiling into it as he felt his breathing quicken.

“Perhaps you are cold, little one?” he asked teasingly, letting his hand slide down, rubbing through the thick cloth of his pants, just at the crux of thigh and hip.

He pulled back his hand when their little bird shook his head, then sucked in a surprised breath of air when his own hip was touched in return. 

“You need rest. Let me be the one to warm you.”

He was stunned further when their little Robin slid to his knees, looking over him, nervous but firm in his desire. Barsad could only nod his head weakly in awe, never expecting such generosity. He was drawn from his pants, kisses and simply the close proximity to their little Robin having already made blood swell to his cock. He could hear Bane rising from the chair, joining them on the bedding, but it was a far off thing when their little bird was touching over him, rubbing up his shaft in ways that he has no obligation to do.

But he was, and his fingers were warm and dry. They snagged lightly over Barsad’s sensitive skin but the bits of added pain were only pleasure when he was being touched in such a way. He moaned out lowly, biting into his own lip at the display. This was for his little Robin’s curiosity, not his own selfish wants, and he berated himself lightly for forgetting himself in the newness of the situation.

But then their little Robin lowered his head down, placed his tongue to the crown of him, tasting him and all semblance of reserve was forgotten. He let another moan fall from his lips, his stomach clenched in a nervous flutter. He could not keep still or silent like this though he knew he should, wet licks with a graceful pink tongue were to be his undoing.

His brother’s hand was at his hip, stilling it from such a blasphemous action as thrusting his cock up into the mouth of a god. He whimpered, legs kicking out uselessly, his hands wanted to grip onto their little Robin’s arms, his hair. If he could just perhaps touch him, maybe he could speak, tell him that this selflessness was beneath him, that Barsad was not worthy of this.

His brother sensed his clear distress and spoke on his behalf, “I believe your disciple wishes to touch you as well, little one.” His voice was low, in the pleasant way it often was when they indulged; its tone made Barsad want to squirm.

Barsad’s hand was taken up, guided to their little Robin’s thick locks by his own hand, and he grasped, not tightly, but enough to try to ground himself. “Please, little one—” he choked out.

Then he was hopelessly lost when wet lips sucked him into a hot, welcoming mouth.  The sound he made as his back arched from the bedding was akin to a wail; only Bane’s steady hand on his hip kept them still. There were soft whimpers, and he knew they were his own, pulled from him in a way torture had never been able to do. He did not think that he, a man of this cold harsh world, could be reduced to those sorts of feelings anymore. His eyes felt wet from the enormity of his gratitude.

He could feel his brother’s eyes on him, and knew he was making a pure fool of himself and could not care. Bane understood such things.

“Thank you, thank you,” he chanted softly in reverence because there were no other words to be said as their little one suckled on his cock. He felt slickness running down himself, precome and spit wetting the way so that their little Robin’s head could sink lower, not far, this must have been the first time he’d performed such an act, and Barsad felt his eyes grow still wetter at the idea that it was him that it was given to. The thought alone was too much and he whimpered again, spilling out his seed, dirtying the lips and tongue of his deity.

_______________

 

Chapter Text

Blake wiped the bitter taste from his lips as he looked down at Barsad. He looked so wrecked under him. Blake had done that to him, and it had been easy, had kind of felt good, in all honesty. He looked at Bane who was lightly wiping the pad of his thumb over Barsad’s eyes, cleaning away sweat, Blake assumed.

“Spoiled?”

“To the core,” Bane agreed.

Barsad chuckled and wiped his own hands over his face. “I should work.”

“You should rest. That’s an order,” Blake argued firmly.

“Well, who am I to disobey the orders of a god?” Barsad relented, staying where he lay.

“A god with a purpose,” Bane spoke, sounding proud. “A true purpose.”

Barsad’s head snapped over to face Bane, his eyes lit up with excitement. “Truly? He has found his path?”

“I’m right here…” Blake felt the need to point out.

“Then tell me, please?” Barsad requested. “Tell me how I might help.”

Blake hesitated, but under some encouragement shared his thoughts. “A new… I don’t know, not a new hero, a new vigilante I guess. I want to help people without the Batman rules.”

Barsad listened, giving him such serious attention that before them he would have squirmed under such scrutiny. “Such an undertaking, quite a monumental task. Our sister thought Gotham best razed to the ground, as a warning to others.”

Blake shook his head quickly. “There’s good there, there’s just also a lot of scared people, the people who shouldn’t have to be scared.”

“He wishes to keep his hands clean and be a symbol for the people, while we do what is needed beneath.”

“Ah.” Barsad nodded in understanding. “Our hands are already dirty, let us keep yours unsoiled. Will you still wear his armor?”

“It’s good armor. I had to kind of mangle it to make it fit, but it’s still strong. Until Bane beats the crap out of you in it.”

“I did what was necessary.”

He snorted and continued. “Maybe I could modify it more, make it look different, too.”

“And the mask, little one?” Bane asked. “It is not as strong as Mr. Wayne liked to think it was. I broke it easily, twice.”

Blake thought about that. Bruce had told him the mask was to protect the ones he cares about. The ones he cared about now, though, they protect him, and one has his own mask.

“Not the cowl, I felt like I couldn’t breathe with it on. I’ll think of something else.”

“Something that perhaps hides your face, but does not restrict your movements, little one,” Barsad suggested. “You armor should reflect this, as well. You are a bird, you must be able to stretch your wings.”

“You both take my name way too fucking seriously,” Blake complained.

The next week or so was filled with training; with new purpose, it seemed like Bane was determined to make him ready. He went to bed each night feeling battered, and purple bruising was starting to mottle over every inch of him. Neither had any sympathy for him while they trained, Barsad especially seemed to delight in provoking him into attack only to easily strike him down the moment he lost focus, pinning him onto the ground on his belly and taunting him lightly. It really didn’t seem like any way to treat a god, honestly.

Bane didn’t bother to taunt. He praised and criticized like he always did as he took him to pieces. Sometimes he wondered why he even bothered if they could beat him so seriously. When he voiced his opinion, they were quick to reassure him, though. They’d been doing this for years, Blake months.

“There is so much you must learn still, one day you will be as formidable as we are,” Bane promised.

Blake wasn’t sure he believed that.

Between them, he learned different skills. How to disarm enemies of their guns from Barsad, and how to use the powders and chemicals he promised to make for him to fight with. Bane no longer tried to teach him how to kill, but how to disable, how to take someone down so that they would no longer be a threat. They went back and forth with between them, and sometimes, terrifyingly, both would attack him at once. Ow. Blake never felt like he got a break, each time he fell flat Barsad would tease him until he got up, or Bane would simply prod him with his boot as if he was inspecting a particularly gross piece of road kill, which is what Blake felt like half the time.

At night, when they had to practically carry him over to the bedding, he usually fell asleep the instant he felt the cool cloth under his sore muscles. When he was able to stay awake, he honestly hurt too much for them to touch him, and even then he was frankly too fucking tired to get it up, a phenomenon that he’d thought was just a joke before.

Two weeks in, he pinned Barsad. They both whooped with excitement and Barsad wormed around to embrace him, grinning proudly. Bane shook his head in amusement at them both and proceeded to kindly wipe the floor with them.

Later that night, at dawn though Blake was getting used to thinking of it as nighttime, he was still awake upon returning to the cave. His body was finally adjusting to the constant pummeling, apparently. He sat by the fire shoveling down a third bowlful of hot oats. Barsad had been shoving food into his hands constantly, insisting that it was needed to build muscle, which he so helpfully pointed out that Blake lacked.  He scraped his bowl clean then made a face as Bane scooped another ladleful into it.

“Finish, then I have something for you.”

This piqued Blake’s interest. Bane had been going off more, leaving him in Barsad’s capable hands for training, but he had not told Blake where and if Barsad knew he wasn’t telling. He managed the last bit of food and waited patiently while Bane pulled something from a bag, a plastic grocery bag. Who would just let Bane into a store, to buy something, no less? That was something he’d pay to see, and he was about to comment when he saw the jar in Bane’s hands.

He’d never been so glad to see a jar of muscle ointment in his life.

“Oh, holy fuck, yes.” He tugged off his shirt and reached for it, only for Bane to pull it back.

“Allow us, little one.”

They knelt on opposite sides of him as they rubbed it into his arms and legs. Blake had vague notions that this was supposed to be sexy in porn, but oh god did it hurt when they dug into his already sore muscles. He swore and gritted his teeth as they both kneaded palmfuls of the balm onto him. They started with his stomach and chest before they had him flip over and lie down to reach his back, his ass, which was actually quite bruised, too, from falling on it if nothing else. It was better after, though, when the ointment began to react against his skin, and he could feel his muscles actually relaxing for the first time in weeks. When they were finished, he felt Barsad hover over him, leaning to press his lips to the shell of his ear.

“If you are not too tired, little Robin, I still have not been able to return your deed to me,” Barsad whispered tantalizingly against it.

His cock gave a valiant twitch against the mattress, the first interest it had been able to muster in some time. He could feel the breath from Barsad’s chuckle brush over his ear.

“Roll over, little one.”

Blake grunted and rolled then felt his pants being opened and worked off completely. Then, oh holy shit, where had Barsad learned to suck cock like that? Did they train that in the League of Shadows, too, because he was clearly an expert the way he dragged his tongue over him in wet broad strokes, swirling around the head and pressing a firm kiss to it. Then he was slurping around him, working him into his mouth with just the right amount of suction and tongue that had Blake groaning and fisting a hand into his hair. Barsad’s only response was to bob his head downwards, taking Blake in more.

It made him forget every ache in his body; he was now wide awake and staring down at Barsad, watching his lips stretched around him with avid interest. He watched the way his throat bobbed when he swallowed around him, the soft sounds of muffled contentment that came from him, like it was getting him excited to be able to do this, like it was a privilege. Blake looked down and beside him to where Barsad knelt over him and realized from the bulge growing in the man’s pants that he wasn’t far off with the thought.

He reached to his side with his free hand, brushing the back of his slightly scabbed knuckles over the seam of Barsad’s pants, feeling the heat behind it.

“Is that for me?” he couldn’t help but ask smugly. Having two powerful men worship you did things to your ego.

He watched as Barsad’s eyelids fluttered shut at the touch, and he nodded as well as he could around Blake’s cock. Blake felt himself smile, it was amazing how genuine it felt these days, then looked over at Bane, knowing he would be watching with rapt attention. He wasn’t disappointed. He felt his lips stroked over, Bane could never resist his mouth when it was smiling.

Blake pressed his lips against the tips of his fingers; they were still slippery with ointment. When Bane pushed them into his mouth he was happy they didn’t taste bitter, just warmer than usual and slightly like herbs. He licked over them, listening to Bane’s breathing grow heavier, the power in that was intoxicating. Blake might not be able to reduce Bane down to panting or sweating in a fight, but here, here he could do it with ease, he suspected.

He let out a slight yip of surprise when the fingers left his mouth and tweaked wetly over one of his nipples.

“Nmph, hey, jerk.” He stopped, breath catching as Bane rolled his thumb firmly across his nipple in apology, though to be honest, he didn’t look all too sorry.

Both of them touching him was enthralling. As Bane rubbed his way down his chest, his stomach, down to cup his balls, then down lower to run a spit-wet finger across the sensitive skin there, Barsad’s mouth never left its task, his hand resting on Blake’s inner thigh, squeezing it lightly. Oh, and Blake hadn’t ever realized just how sensitive the skin Bane now stroked was. He sucked in a breath and felt his thighs jerk apart involuntarily, craving more of it.

Those fingers ran down further still, circling just around his entrance. Bane watched his reactions, how Blake’s eyes widened slightly, then he nodded, curious and ready. He drew his knees up, to grant Bane better access. Bane took it happily; his fingers stroked over his hole, slow and firm. Even ready, Blake’s hips jerked at the strange new sensation. It was sensitive there, more than he thought it would be, and he felt himself clench then loosen at Bane’s insistent circling and stroking.

He let out an unsure groan as one pressed in slowly, rubbing around the tight ring of muscles. It burned, but there was something about it, the idea that Bane was entering him, even with just a finger, that made the burn into something else, something nice. He felt himself tighten around the finger as it slid in further and the burn increased. It hurt more, he felt like a complete baby about it. Barsad could take Bane’s whole dick and he couldn’t take even a single finger without it hurting.

Then that finger was curling and rubbing and Blake felt his entire body try to curl in on itself futilely at the shock of hot pleasure that jolted from the place Bane rubbed, through his body, and right to his cock. So that was the prostate, was about as coherent a thought as he was able to get out in the moment as he whimpered out, biting his lip against it because whimpering was not going to make him feel any manlier in this situation.

“Don’t hold back, little one, we would like to hear you,” Bane spoke softly, with an insistent press of his fingers that had Blake’s back arching. He wanted to tell Bane that he’d hold back whatever noises he damn well pleased.

“F-fuck!” was about all he got out, instead.

He shuddered at the vibrations through his cock when Barsad chuckled slightly around it, then gave up any pretenses when Bane’s finger rubbed faster, when Barsad hummed out contently. Blake yanked at his hair, pulling him down more, something he’d never dared do to someone on his dick before because it seemed really rude and he tried to be a gentleman. Barsad only seemed encouraged by it.

The give and take became a noisy game. Bane would press his fingers, rub over his prostate and he would yell, curse, and arch up into Barsad’s mouth who would press down in return. How was he not choking? How had he taken him down to his very base? One final rub inside of him and he was barely able to roughly pull Barsad’s head back as he came, not wanting to choke him, watching as instead white shot out across his cheeks and lips.

Blake panted, unable to keep his eyes off Barsad’s face, streaked with his come. If they tried to do this every night after training now, it would probably kill him. Honestly, though, what a way to go.

Chapter Text

Bane withdrew his finger from the tight heat of their little Robin, watched as he stretched languidly and rolled onto his side to curl up slightly.

“M’sorry, I’d help you guys out, but you kicked my ass too hard today. Let this be a lesson to you,” he mumbled sleepily, rubbing his face into the bedding.

Barsad laughed and patted his hip. “I should think that we are perfectly capable of providing each other with entertainment.”

Their little bird’s sleepy eyes shot back open with renewed interest at that.

Bane ruffled his hair lightly. “We could take it outside, little one; we would not wish to disturb your rest.”

“Oh, no, hey, I’ll manage,” Blake was quick to insist, then realizing Bane was teasing squinted his eyes in annoyed sleepiness. “You’ll probably put me to sleep anyway,” he challenged.

“Doubtful,” Barsad boasted and crawled over their little one with ease, placing his hand on Bane’s chest lightly. “How would you have me, my brother?” he asked, looking like quite the sight, lowered eyelids, his pants tented and their little one’s seed still painted over his cheeks.

Bane rubbed his fingers into the wetness, gathering it onto them. This was a show they were putting on now, not just for their own pleasure but their little one’s. It was one they often did for their Talia’s amusement, as well, and though she liked it when he would place their disciple onto his knees and rip into him until he bled and begged for more, he suspected that their sentimental little one would prefer something different.

He considered the options before speaking. “Undress us.”

It was done quickly, devoted hands pulled off his boots, his pants; in the cave he rarely bothered with little else. Then Barsad stripped himself with the same precision.  Bane guided him into his lap, to straddle it, and Barsad pressed their chests quickly together. Bane could hear his brother’s heartbeat thumping against his own chest caused by the surprise in his choosing of such an intimate position.

He knew, though his brother would never speak his desires, that Barsad loved any tenderness he received from them, but it was also an unspoken truth between them that Barsad would always take what was given by those he worshipped with fervent gladness. Bane had always enjoyed whatever joining had been chosen for them by Talia previously, but he could privately admit to himself that their little bird’s clear desire for them now to be kinder with one another, for their devoted brother to be spoiled in a way Talia did not prefer, was not at all unpleasant or unwanted.

He let his hands run down the blades of his brother’s shoulders, feeling them loosen in supplication, leaving behind a wet trail of their little Robin’s seed. He traced out old symbols onto his back, long forgotten by all but the League, oaths of protection and promises of brotherhood. The symbolism was lost on their little one as he watched, but he knows Barsad can feel them and knows them for what they are.

Bane could feel how he trembled against him when each was stained onto his back with their little one’s come, gathering more from Barsad’s lips as needed until he had finished his work and Barsad’s back had been painted with his promises. He could feel his brother’s fingers dig into his chest and the wetness from his eyes there. Bane had never given him this, and the gravity of the shift from more than disciple to something Bane also considered worth protection and care, something that had long been felt before by Bane but never shown openly, was so heavy on his brother’s heart.

Spoiled, indeed.

Both of them were hard now against one another. Bane could feel the dripping that trailed from his brother’s cock and onto his. His own was returning it to Barsad’s in kind as his brother began to rock against him, his hand reaching down to hold them together, to stroke his thumb across the tip of Bane’s, neglecting his own.

“My brother…” The words were whispered across his chest in awe.

There was movement behind Barsad; their little bird pushed himself up to sit, staring. He looked flushed again with arousal from watching.

“Fuck, you two are something else,” their little bird swore.

“The oil, if it isn’t too much trouble, little one,” Bane requested. He would send Barsad, but it seemed cruel, even by his standards, to make him move from his lap at that point. “From Barsad’s pants’ pocket, I suspect.” He had little doubt his brother was prepared; the sudden grin he felt against his chest confirmed it.

“The right pocket.”

There was rustling as the bottle was fetched, and then he began to prepare his brother with care and patience that had him squirming against him, their cocks sliding against one another as his brother still stroked them.

“I am ready, my brother, please,” Barsad pleaded, lifting himself up, guiding Bane to press against him, beseeching him to claim him. Bane wasted no further time, pushing into him, feeling the tight welcome pull of his brother who groaned openly at the penetration. Then there were grunts from them both as Bane gripped his brother’s hips and guided him into a steady rise and fall as he panted.

His brother rode him dutifully, gasping out when their little bird, who had risen to his knees behind them, pressed against his back. The still-drying seed and symbols there were pressed between them now, Bane’s protection shared by both.

“What does he feel like, when he’s inside?” their little Robin asked softly, cheek flush to Barsad’s neck, looking as though he burned with curiosity to know.

“Oh, little Robin,” Barsad moaned his name out, pressing back against him even as he strained to continue his steady rise and fall; sweat was slicking Bane’s hold. “There are no true words for it. It is not simply the joining of flesh between us… You will perhaps understand one day.”

“Maybe I will,” he answered in return and brought his hand around Barsad’s body to take hold of his neglected cock. A few firm strokes and their disciple was grunting out, greedily shoving his hips down to feel the fullness his brother gave as he came into their little one’s hand.

Barsad’s body rippled around him in a crushing tight wave as he trembled through his orgasm. He then loosened, became lax from his spending. Bane took the opportunity to lean him back against their little Robin’s body more, to take hold of the back of his knees, bending him back to thrust himself deeper into his pliant form.

Barsad smiled serenely under him, his hips twitching slightly, trying to aid Bane in finding his pleasure even after his own. Bane looked down at their joining, knowing their little one was doing the same, how Barsad stretched open around him and took him in so smoothly, how he gasped and let out a soft sigh of pleasure when Bane found his release in him.

_______________


Barsad’s head was pillowed on their little one’s arm as they lay. He was not sure how such an event came to be after their coupling, but he did not take it for granted, smiling as he felt fingers against his scalp. Lately he felt as though he had become a prized pet for his little bird, not at all something he objected to, especially if it came with such lovely treatment from both him and his brother. His brother, who had just shared with him his fondness for him in one of the most private and intimate of ways that he knew how. The patterns he had traced onto his back would wash away quickly, but Barsad would never forget the promise behind them, nor how Bane’s hand felt as he drew them against his skin.

Sensing the move would not be rebuffed, he quietly reached up to request his little Robin’s hand, smiling when the request was granted and he could thread their fingers together.  Bane had their little Robin’s head cradled on his thigh, always willing to do what was needed for their little Robin even if he was not one for coddling, or at least he was not, before. Barsad was sure they looked quite entertaining, his feet resting by Bane’s head, forming a human triangle, unintentional symbolism between them.

He studied the whorls of his little one’s fingerprints, memorizing them. His own were removed many years ago by the league. It felt strange but lovely when he rubbed his own smooth thumb pad against their little bird’s. He remembered being amused to find that Mr. Wayne had never gone through the same process, but perhaps Ra's al Ghul had felt it important for him to keep them to prove his identity when he came back from his chosen exile. He was unsure what Bane would recommend be done to their little bird’s, so he decided he would memorize them by his eyes and touch so he could keep them in his heart even if they should be erased.

He was becoming a sentimental fool under his little bird’s reign. He chuckled lightly at the thought and brought his little one’s hands up to kiss the battered knuckles. He was growing so much with each session.

“They will be as scarred as my own in no time,” he complimented, placing another kiss to them.

Their little bird snorted softly at that. “That supposed to be a good thing?”

“Very good. It is a sign of your prowess, your power.”

He felt their little Robin shift lightly, craning his neck so he could look back towards Bane for confirmation, unconsciously rooting out for the praise he so richly deserved.

“You are becoming quite formidable, my little Robin,” Bane agreed. “Soon it will be time to leave this place.”

Their little one sat up abruptly at that, and Barsad felt his head plunk lightly down onto the bedding. He was still very bad at keeping still.

“We’re leaving?” he asked in shock.

“Did you think we would live here forever, my little bird? It will be time soon for this to simply become a base of operations. I doubt you wish for us to live here still when your precious orphans finally move in.”

“They’re coming? It’s about damn time. What took so long?”

“Red tape, little one, and lack of renovators; your city is still rebuilding. It took some careful donations to get the project taken on again.”

“Donations? Who’s actually giving money to where it needs to go, for once?”

“Why, you are.”

Barsad laughed as their little bird’s mouth dropped open in confusion. “Me?”

“You have the wealth of the League behind you now, little one. Many give us tribute for our deeds or protection. You are well financed.” Barsad smiled as their little one’s eyes grew wider.

“You still do not understand some things, do you, my little bird?” Bane sat up as he spoke, chuckling as their little Robin shook his head in bewilderment. “You lead more than just Barsad and myself. You are now the leader of the League of Shadows. You ARE the League of Shadows, now.”

Their little bird looked absolutely floored, staring at them both now. “I can’t—”

“You do, little one,” Bane interjected firmly. “There is no sudden taking on of power. You already possess it. I simply have been carrying on your will as I felt you would desire. If you wish this to continue then it shall, but know that you are the true leader.”

“Jesus Christ.” Their little one breathed out slowly to collect himself. “Wait, so, the kids?”

“Anonymous donations; untraceable, but with very specific instructions to assure the work would begin.”

Barsad reached to stroke their Robin’s thigh as his eyes closed in quiet relief. “Thank you.”

Bane shook his head, “It is your desire, little one, it is nothing on my part.”

“No.” He opened his eyes at that and looked at Bane seriously. “Thank you. You didn’t have to do that. Thank you.” He stressed the last words firmly and gratefulness was so sharply felt in the air that Barsad could not have been the only one slightly uncomfortable with it. It was they who should be grateful to him. Still, perhaps sensing that it would not be let go, Bane finally tilted his head in acknowledgement.

“You are welcome, little one.”

“They’ll start building soon, then? Wait, where are we going to go?”

“Generally, most people rent apartments in Gotham,” Barsad helpfully supplied.

“Most people aren’t a vigilante, and two mercenaries, one of which is the most infamous man in Gotham and can’t exactly take off the one thing that makes him completely recognizable,” Blake replied dryly.

Barsad laughed. “We did not spend every waking moment in the sewers before, little one. Our brother had little trouble remaining unnoticed on the streets with something as simple as a helmet. There are many places in Gotham where the inhabitants choose to keep to themselves. You were an officer, were you not? I am sure you can think of a few places where we would never be drawn out from.”

Blake thought about it a moment, then nodded. “Yeah, definitely. Shit, if we got a place in Chinatown no one would ever let out a peep. It’s a community that keeps to itself. The force has always had trouble there getting any sort of information if something went down.”

“Then that is where we shall make a home for you, little one.” Bane gave their little Robin’s leg a casual pat as he spoke, but he could not deceive Barsad. He knew that he was quietly worried about what a transition to the city would mean; they both were. Their little Robin understood his place now, but they were isolated here, it was easier to accept such things. It might be trouble when they took him back to that poisonous city that he wished so desperately to save. That was their little Robin’s vision, though, and they would serve him in all things, even if it required guiding him back onto his path should he stumble from it.

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Chapter Text

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They started working on his costume and with the weaponry Bruce had left him on days when Blake needed time to recover. He’d been given the codes to unlock everything over a month ago, but had not bothered to use them, there had been little point. The costume was hard to rework, none of them were engineers or designers, Barsad perhaps came the closest with his work on manufacturing chemicals and Blake had worked with the costume before at length. Bane was of little help beyond testing.

They slowly figured it out, though, what worked, like the overall armor once they were able to better fit it to him through careful manipulation. It didn’t hurt that he was bulking up considerably with their sparring. Still, he was shorter than Bruce had been and what Blake had thought had worked before untested turned out to be dangerous in many ways. He had not understood some of the basic designs, and through testing they discovered that some of the modifications he had made early on had put padding and armor in places where if a blow were to land on him would cause more damage than if he had been wearing nothing.

The cape, the weaponry… Blake mostly hated. He ditched the cape the first time Bane grabbed it and used it to dangle him in the air while Barsad punched at his sides to ‘test the new fit of the armor.’ The spikes on his gauntlets made his movements and blows feel awkward until he finally took them off, as well. The bat emblem he sanded off; it took forever for it to finally wear down into an unrecognizable blank space on the chest.

“Should I put a symbol there?” he asked as he traced his fingers over the space. “It seems empty without it, and people will probably only recognize it as ‘The Batman costume’ otherwise…”

“Put whatever you wish,” Bane suggested. “Symbol or otherwise.”

 “I can’t draw for shit, though.” He thought about it, all of the markings he’d left during occupation. Well, he’d always been good at drawing one thing.

He picked up a piece of chalk Barsad had been using to sketch out measurements for more modification onto the costume. Carefully, he marked out the lines of the symbol, spanning from shoulder to shoulder, down the arms. He left out the two downward strokes so that to his eyes it looked more like a bird, wings stretched out across the chest piece. “What do you think?”

Bane looked over and nodded in approval. “It seems fitting. To take something of his and make it your own, my little Bird.”

“A splash of color couldn’t hurt.” Barsad added.

Blake had always liked blue.

Through all of the training and modifications, Blake found he savored the time he was spending with them. All of them could sense this chapter of their life was drawing to a close. Blake could hear the sounds of actual construction being carried out in the distance, and was glad the children would finally be getting a better sanctuary than the city could offer. It was hard, though, to imagine life back in the city, where it was so noisy and there were so many people.

Blake hadn’t even spoken to anyone else in longer than he could remember. He didn’t miss it, but he knew he would miss this. They all would, and he felt it with each passing day; the way Bane would hold them to him a bit tighter in sleep, how Barsad’s kisses would become slightly more anxious, and how the sex between them all was becoming more intimate and frequent… much more frequent.

Sometimes he would shove them both away sleepily when they made advances at him after training, but now he found himself returning them just as often as they were initiated, and was starting to do some initiating of his own. It was slightly tentative at first, propositioning a guy was still something really new for Blake, and usually directed towards Barsad who would always accept him. He could be relied on to draw Bane in to join him in touching Blake in ways that made his brain feel like it was melting out of his ears and every ache of the day’s training fade away into nonexistence.

He watched them often now, too; how Bane would spear into Barsad and sometimes fuck him with a brutal power, other times with slow care, and how Barsad would passionately accept either, always working for Bane’s pleasure before his own. Blake started to join them more often, stroking Barsad as he writhed, split open by Bane, or sucking on him if Bane wasn’t thrusting so sharply that it would risk pushing Barsad’s cock into his throat. Even when Blake had already been stroked by Bane or sucked off by Barsad, the sight in front of him always managed to get him hard again. He hadn’t been inside of Bane again. He knew Bane would let him, but for some reason he hadn’t brought himself to ask, yet, so he found himself missing the feeling of sliding into hot welcoming flesh. He wondered what Barsad would feel like.

One night, he decided finally he would like to find out for himself. Barsad was on his knees, cheek pressed down against the bedding as he rolled his hips smoothly towards Bane’s thrusts, moaning out wantonly as Bane growled and dug his fingers into thighs.

“Barsad?” Blake leaned down close to his ear, knowing at this point it would be hard for the other man to focus on anything but the feeling of Bane leaving and entering him.

“Y-yes, my little bird?” The words were panted out in a breathless determination to always be at Blake’s beck and call.

“Don’t come,” he ordered firmly, grinning just slightly at the low moan he received in reply. He had never given any sort of order like it, but he knew Barsad would do everything he could to obey it. He glanced up at Bane to see that he was looking down at him, laughter twinkling in his eyes.

Bane didn’t slow his pace at all, didn’t make it any easier for Barsad to try and control himself. If anything, his thrusts grew sharper, and soon Barsad was biting down into the bedding to try to find some modicum of control, his muffled cries still spilled out. Bane grunted out, yanking Barsad’s thighs back to bury himself better as he came inside Barsad. Barsad in return dug his nails into the fabric under him, shuddering tensely, holding back just for him. Blake had come to learn how much his disciple loved the feeling of come being poured into him.

Bane pulled away without preamble, making Barsad groan again at the sudden loss. Blake saw how his thighs trembled with anticipation. Bane moved to the side to sit, running his fingers in a quick stroke down the nape of Barsad’s neck, a quiet encouragement. Blake moved behind him and looked at his opening, how it looked stretched and wet, Bane’s seed dripping out slowly down along Barsad’s inner thigh.

His own cock twitched with interest at the sight, and at how Barsad’s legs were spread so invitingly, his cock dangling down, just barely grazing the mattress, a slow line of fluid trailing down onto it from the swollen red tip. He curiously rubbed his thumb against the little ring of muscle that made up Barsad’s entrance, smiling at the choked moan Barsad gave as he did so.

“Oh God, please, little Robin, please, use me,” Barsad begged openly, his ass arched up higher in offering.

Blake shivered; Barsad’s tone was so needy. He needed him, not just in this, but in his life. He belonged to him. It would be cruel to not give him what he needed. He took hold of his own member, guiding it to Barsad’s waiting hole. He groaned at the heat there when he pressed inside, feeling himself being drawn into the wet, stretched opening, welcomed.

He looked down at Barsad, the way every muscled in his back and shoulders tensed at the initial intrusion, not in dislike, but in shock that he could actually be receiving what he considered a gift. Blake found himself smiling again, then the muscles relaxed further and further as he slid himself in deeper, fully pressed into his disciple.

He leaned down over him, letting his weight rest against him, knowing Barsad could take even most of Bane’s weight from this position and would have no trouble with his own. The sweat on Barsad’s back made his own chest slide easily across it as he kissed the back of his neck, the skin there fever hot against his lips.

“You feel so good, Barsad,” he spoke softly, chuckling at the soft sob the man under him let out at the praise. “I’m not going to just use you, Barsad.” He felt him twist a little in confusion under him so he brought his hand up to cup his hips.

“You’re more than that,” he whispered against his neck softly. “You are my friend; I care about you too much to just use you.”

He rocked into him slowly, taking his time with it, coming already earlier that night had helped with his patience. Barsad was rocking so sweetly under him, little twitches of his hips that nudged him deeper whenever he thrust forward. He was a mess under him; Blake could tell that he was resisting the temptation to lower his hips so that he could rub himself against the mattress. Blake wondered why he would bother, then laughed suddenly in realization.

“It’s ok, Barsad, you don’t have to hold back anymore. I just wanted to be inside of you first.” Blake wondered at how long Barsad could have held out if he hadn’t realized the situation.  He felt him change his positioning under him, with a vaguely grateful sounding noise, so that he could grind out shamelessly against the bedding.

He’d meant to keep the whole thing slow, more gentle than he knew Bane usually gave, but now he could understand why Bane plowed into the man under him the way he did. He was perfect in his devotion to whomever he was serving. He couldn’t resist the urge to thrust faster, to really push into that welcoming heat and feel it clutch onto him. He could feel Bane's finger's stroking over his spine as he moved and groped backwards for his hand, pulling it to his mouth and kissing over it. His fingers circled against his lips intimately, Bane made a soft sigh of contentment when Blake licked at them and sucked at their tips.

Barsad spilled long before him, crying out something in his native tongue, something Blake had only seen him do with Bane. The knowledge that he was able to bring him to that too almost made him lose it then, but he wanted to feel it just a little longer, feel just a few more moments of that perfect, welcoming pull. He must have muttered something of the like without his knowledge, because Barsad nodded under him in acknowledgement, his face flushed red and his hair licked up in every direction from their movements.

“Whatever you need, little Robin, please.” His voice was hoarse, and the thought that he was partly of cause of that was what sent him over, driving his hips deeply and feeling himself pouring out into Barsad, his own coming joining what had been left inside by Bane.

He rarely let Bane be the only one to spend inside of Barsad after that night.

_______________


They were being bizarrely domestic again. It happened on occasion, when Blake would clean dishes, Barsad would cook, or Bane would quietly sweep away dirt accumulating on the platform. This one, though, really took the cake. They were sprawled out on the floor looking at the rental section of the newspaper, debating the merits of each location.

Granted, they were currently discussing which would be the easiest place to sneak back into while covered in blood and wearing a suit of specially made armor. So maybe it was a kind of domesticity that suited them. Their earlier discussion on Chinatown had proven to be useful as the area seemed to suit their needs best. They’d narrowed it down to a couple of possibilities. One got crossed off because they decided it would be too hard to access from the roof, another had terrible wallpaper; honestly, Blake wasn’t going to be forced to look at that if he could afford not to. Finally, they were down to two, and the only thing they could seem to argue was carpeting versus hardwood.

“Carpeting will be trouble for bloodstains,” Bane pointed out.

“But it’s quieter, it muffles noises in the entire place,” Blake argued. “And god knows the last thing we want is nosey neighbors.”

Barsad listened to them is amusement. “Might I add that, as the one who is most likely to spend the most time on their knees on that floor… I put my vote in for carpet.”

Carpet it was.

Chapter Text

_______________


Bane walked the streets in relative silence; Barsad followed him in perfect stride. It was so easy to blend into crowds when no one wanted to see anyone else around them. He had not even bothered to forgo his well-known coat, a simple helmet and he was as invisible as the next.  They were setting up things in their new housing, their little bird had been left home to practice, and perhaps pout slightly, Bane thought with amusement. He wanted to wait, though, to prepare things. He had never truly been able to set up a home before, and something irrationally sentimental inside of him wished for it to be pleasant before their little Robin set foot in it.

From the smile on Barsad’s face as he walked with him, Bane guessed that he knew what he was up to and was entertained by it. Together they took care of basic tasks; purchases, setting up electricity, heating, things Bane didn’t personally care about but knew would certainly be appreciated.

“We are finished now, brother,” Barsad said softly after he exited a store, having placed an order for furniture. Bane nodded in acknowledgement and they made their way to the new home for a final inspection. Bane removed his helmet when they entered; it was difficult to communicate otherwise.

“When will we bring him?” Barsad asked, and Bane could hear the slight tension in his voice.

“Soon. Tomorrow, perhaps. It will be ready then.”

Barsad looked up at him and finally spoke out the question on both of their minds. “Will he run?”

“We cannot be sure.”

“Even our sister almost ran,” Barsad said softly, tracing his fingers down a wall in contemplation.

Bane thought of that night, when they had been forced to listen to the sounds of their sister copulating with Mr. Wayne through the bugs Ms. Kyle had planted throughout the house during her time there playing maid.

They never spoke of it after, nor of the quiet offer she had given to Mr. Wayne, to run away. It might have seemed scripted had Bane not known his sister, kept track of her plane, refueled that morning. Even the strongest have moments of weakness, the temporary thought of a life lived without the pain her past brought her; Bane could have never denied her such a thing. Secretly, even at the time, he had almost wished she had gone, had let him cleanse Gotham and die without her.

“Our sister did not, and had she, it would have been to a place she was happy, knowing her work would be completed by us.” He let his hand rest on Barsad’s shoulder, feeling the tension there loosen slightly. “Our little bird cannot be happy without us, and his work would remain undone. If he runs, we will bring him home.”

“It would undo things.”

“Then we would put them back together,” Bane promised.

His brother nodded, finally calmed from his quiet anxiety, he turned towards him and gave a sly smile. “I made sure the bed was very large.”

Bane chuckled in approval and took his brother against the wall, proving that, between them, they had very little need for a bed at all.

_______________


Barsad stole a quick kiss from their little Robin the moment they entered the cave. He noted with pride that the dummy they had left in the corner was now riddled with throwing spikes, spikes that would soon be dipped in the various chemical concoctions that had been created for their little Robin’s use.

Their little Robin pushed him away grumpily, clearly still sore over having been left behind.

“What a grudge you hold, little Robin; perhaps you do not wish the donuts you made me promise to obtain?” he teased while he held up the slightly grease-slicked wax paper bag, laughing when it was snatched out of his hand.

“Oh, fuck yes,” their Robin groaned as he tore into the first bite of fried dough. Barsad chuckled at the bits of sugar that clung to his chin and lips. “Mmph, I’m still mad,” was the slightly garbled response.

Bane shrugged off his coat slowly, hanging it over the chair. “You are training, those cannot be healthy for your body.” he scolded mildly, casting his gaze on Barsad as well when he plucked one from the bag and sunk his teeth into it. “For either of you.”

Their little Robin merely rolled his eyes and licked along his lips to chase the remnants of his sweet. “I haven’t had junk food since I’ve been here; one donut isn’t going to kill me.”

When he finished, their little Robin walked over to Bane and traced his fingers lightly over the grill of his mask, an intimate greeting that Barsad smiled at whenever he saw. “I promise to be a good little bird and still eat my fruits and vegetables, and worms, too.”

Bane snorted softly at that, but ran his own fingers over their Robin’s thoughtfully. “We can leave tonight.”

Their little bird started at that, but kept his hand on the mask. “Tonight, tonight? You mean right now?”

“Yes, everything is arranged.”

“We bribed the delivery men into bringing the furniture today,” Barsad boasted proudly. “You could sleep tonight on a true bed—”

His voice trailed off at their Robin’s reaction. Barsad knew this transition would be hard for both he and his brother, but he was not prepared for the sudden droop in their Robin’s shoulders.

“That’s great,” he finally spoke softly, trying to sound enthusiastic and failing.

Barsad watched as their little bird was enfolded in his brother’s strong arm, drawn flush to his body. While Bane’s hand rubbed lightly down his back. They did not speak. They were willing to wait until their little one was ready to do so on his own.

“I just… I thought we had more time, you know?” he finally mumbled out as Bane’s hand rubbed a steady trail along his spine.

“You must not think of this as an end; it is a beginning, my little bird,” Bane assured calmly, pressing his mask lightly into the crook of their Robin’s neck who leaned into it for reassurance.

“What if I fuck it up?” he blurted out. “I’m not stupid. I know what could happen. I know you guys are both worried, too.”

Barsad cast his eyes downward, ashamed that his own nerves had been getting to their little one’s. Bane’s grip tightened visibly around their Robin’s shoulders. “What do you think will happen?”

“I might get back there and everything will feel different, and I’ll doubt every fucking thing in my life, and I’ll try to get away from this, from both of you, from everything.”

His heart ached from their little one’s rambling confession. Clearly, they had not been the only ones worried about this for some time.

Bane’s breathing became heavier behind the mask as he reached to cup their little one’s chin, forcing his head up so he could look into the worried eyes there with his own which gleamed with such fierce determination.

 “And what happens, my little bird, when you run?” Bane asked, voice sounding so calm it was soothing.

Their little one’s mouth dropped open and he wavered slightly under that fierce gaze until finally he could endure no more and buried his face against Bane’s chest, a slight cry shaking through his frame.

“You always bring me home,” he choked out in relief.

Barsad felt himself pulled into Bane’s embrace and wrapped his arm around their little Robin, pressing his lips to his cheek.

“That is right, and we always will,” Barsad promised, lightly brushing some moisture from their Robin’s cheek with his thumb.

They were both held in silence until their Robin nodded and slowly collected himself, drawing in a deep breath before releasing it slowly.

“Can we just spend the night here, and go in the morning?”

Barsad felt selfishly a bit relieved by their little one’s choice, but he could tell from Bane’s eyes that he wasn’t the only one.

_______________

Chapter Text

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When Bane nodded his ascent, Blake grabbed his shoulders and leaned to kiss desperately all along the mask, against the lines of the straps where flesh met leather, his cheek, across his eyebrow. He wasn’t going to let himself hesitate to initiate things with Bane this time. It always seemed to happen when he’d go to Bane, he’d chicken out and slide over to Barsad instead who would engage them both. It was the easy choice and he wasn’t going to make it. He wanted his protector and he would have him.

He memorized his face with each kiss. He felt silly; they were going to be ok, but he needed this. He needed this night with them here in what had become his refuge. “C’mon, if it’s our last night here, together, I want you with me,” he whispered out against the mask, licking his tongue lightly over Bane’s throat, tasting the salty sweat gathered there.

Bane rumbled softly under the attention, his breath came out in forced puffs through the grate of the mask, and Blake could feel it waft lightly through his hair. Barsad was leaning against the back of his neck, nuzzling into it and inhaling deeply. Blake laughed lightly when he realized he was sniffing him. He grabbed onto the hem of Bane’s pants and tugged insistently. “Come on, I want to suck you.”

He yanked more when Bane only looked at him in surprise. “I’ve wanted to for a while, now, but you guys leave me so fucking tired at the end of the day, who has the energy?” It was only a half-lie. He’d been a little intimidated at the size of Bane, but no one needed to say that out loud.

He dropped down to his knees easily, a little smug that he knew he looked graceful now doing it from all of their training. From the look in Bane’s eyes when he glanced up, it was noticed. He finally got impatient and worked open Bane’s frankly ridiculously big belt buckle and then pants himself, peeling them down slowly. He ran his hand up the already half-hard length, listening to the hissed out sigh above him from the contact.

Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Barsad crouching down to watch. He tried not to let it distract him as he leaned in, let his lips press against the bottom of Bane’s cock, and placed a wet, sucking kiss there. He smiled as he caught how Bane’s hands suddenly clenched into fists at his side. This was still a fairly new thing for him, but he was determined to make it good, memorable. He licked from root to tip, letting his saliva gather and drip down slightly when he pressed his lips to the crown; it was not entirely attractive, but it wet the way when he sucked the tip of him into his mouth with a soft moan.

His lips felt stretched wide around Bane as he sucked and tried his best to press and swirl his tongue against his slit. He felt precome dribbling onto his tongue, bitter and slippery, and swallowed it down carefully. Combined with the strong smell of Bane, it was making his head swim.

When Blake swallowed, he heard Bane grunt and knew that he had liked the sudden feeling of Blake’s mouth closing in around him more, drawing him in a little deeper. Blake pushed down more, slurping steadily. It was easy all the way until he felt Bane pressing slightly at the back of his throat, then he was tugging back and coughing, feeling stupid as his eyes watered.

Bane’s hand came to stroke his cheek. He looked apologetic even though the cause for Blake’s gagging had been his own over-eagerness. “Are you hurt, little one?”

“Just my pride, maybe my throat,” he coughed out.

“You took it too fast,” Barsad said gently. “Just like everything else, it takes practice.”

“Well you’d know,” Blake shot back grumpily before he went back to just licking around Bane’s cock, sucking and slurping up him, rubbing his cheek and lips against him everywhere, making them sticky and wet from it. Bane was slick all over now from Blake’s spit and his own precome; it made the task easier when Blake braved sliding him back into his mouth to suck wetly.

Barsad took his hand and guided it to wrap around the base of Bane. “Just stroke here, little one, believe me it is just as pleasant.”

Blake refrained from rolling his eyes, but begrudgingly followed the advice, proud when he could see the slight tremors in Bane’s strong thighs, the way his hips twitched slightly whenever Blake bobbed down and gave a particularly noisy slurp. Barsad leaned in and whispered a suggestion lightly in his ear that made his lips curl into a wicked smile around the tip of Bane’s now swollen red member. He pressed a kiss there, letting his words brush hot air against him as he spoke.

“Barsad said I should let you come on me.”

He looked up at Bane through his lashes, licking at the now sticky fluids that were glazed over his lips. Bane’s eyes were flared wide, his breathing sounding like a caged animal’s now as it was forced out from the mask. “Where ever you want, Bane,” he murmured softly against him then yelped as he was tugged up and practically tossed over the brute’s shoulder like some sort of prize. He could see Barsad practically doubled over with laughter. Humiliating.

“I can walk!” he protested as he was dropped onto the bedding, it was cut off when Bane slid a hand under his shirt, rubbing firmly against the muscles there, raking his nails up until he pulled at a nipple which made Blake twist and wriggle. “Alright, alright, I can take a hint.” He pulled his shirt up and off. He leaned over, craning his neck sharply to get one last lick at him before he laid back and took hold of him again, squeezing and pumping the slick shaft. Bane growled, low and throaty, as he rubbed his palms over Blake’s nipples, the occasional tweak there making Blake’s breath catch. A sharp twist and his head dropped back so he could cry out softly. He felt Bane pulse in his hand at the sound, and felt hot come shoot against his chest, splattering across the nipples Bane had so cruelly abused.

“J-jerk,” he grunted out, rubbing a nipple, smearing come over it in the process.

Bane chuckled slightly and ran his thumb over his now tender lips.  “My apologies; I’m certain amends can be made, however.”

Barsad was already working off his pants without a word. Blake lifted his hips up to help him then shivered when he heard the soft snick of Bane opening the cap to the bottle of slick they kept by the bedding. He spread his thighs apart before either of them had a chance to guide him to it. Blake had learned to be eager for it by now. Bane had showed him on more than one occasion how good he could make him feel with a little lube and some steady work from his fingers. Now when they were together, he more often than not ended up coming with Bane rubbing coaxingly over his prostate. Blake sighed at the soft touch of a slicked finger at his entrance, then moaned as it was worked in with care.

He knew that whenever he’d let Bane play there that he had been working him open further each time, preparing him for what he knew would come eventually. At first, Blake hadn’t known how he'd ever be ready for that when just Bane’s fingers were enough to drive him crazy. To make him writhe and sometimes let out choked sobs when Bane refused to give the final push to send him over, instead twisting and pressing endlessly into him working him up over and over again while Barsad would lick and tease and whisper filthy things into his ear.

Like they were doing right now.

Bane’s knuckles were bumping against the rim of his hole, sending shivers through him at the sensation. He gripped Barsad’s shoulders tightly. He’d long ago given up trying to kiss the other man, instead his lips were parted as he let out soft pants that sounded needy even to his own ears. He was so close, he clenched down around Bane’s fingers, feeling the wiggle of response and getting ready to finally be allowed to come.

Bane withdrew the three fingers he had worked in and Blake wanted to scream in frustration. “Bane, PLEASE.”

Bane's voice sounded heavy with desire as he spoke. "Will you take Barsad into you, little Robin?"

Blake could have cried with relief at the words. He nodded frantically. He was so ready for this. He knew having Bane there first would be torture but Barsad was smaller than Bane, and he would fit so perfectly inside of the wet worked-open hole Bane had fingered his channel into, he wanted them both and was determined to have them both inside that night, but Barsad would pave the way.

Barsad looked bewildered, ready to protest. Blake yanked him close and kissed him fiercely, biting down into his bottom lip. “Don’t argue. I need you . You’re smaller. I’m taking you then Bane” he voiced his decision out loud then and there.

Barsad breathed in sharply at the bite. “My brother—”

Blake nipped again sharply to cut him off, then licked over the tender spot he’d made. There was no way he was going to let Barsad keep him from getting what he wanted right now. “Lie down.”

Barsad obediently lowered himself down slowly, eyes still wide. Blake just went for his pants, stripping them off efficiently. Barsad groaned lightly when he ran his fingers up his cock. Blake could feel it twitch under his touch, hard and ready from him watching them. He looked back at Bane and was grateful when he felt his hands on his hips, helping him move, carefully guiding him into straddling Barsad. He was glad for the manhandling for once, more so when he was arranged until he could feel Barsad pressing against him, blunt and hot at his hole.

Bane’s hands held fast to his hips still, he felt them squeeze him and heard Bane make a soft questioning noise. He took a breath and nodded, trying to relax himself for what was to come.

They both cried out softly as Bane began to lower Blake down onto Barsad’s cock. He jerked his hips as his body was unsure of which way it wanted to go, to slide up away from the deep burn or to sink down onto Barsad and revel in the way he was making him feel, slowly stretching him wider. How his tip worked into him with only a slight hitch then the rest of him was sliding in smoothly now as he shook slightly.

 He planted his hands flat onto Barsad’s chest, cursing as Bane continued to guide him down without pause, without giving him just one fucking second to adjust to the fact that he was not exactly used to the feeling of a dick suddenly bottoming out inside of him.

“Christ!” he grunted out, mouth dropping open. He was sitting on Barsad now; he was inside of him, thick and hot. Barsad was momentarily soundless under him, his head tipped back in bliss, mouth open. Blake couldn’t resist leaning down to lick into it, covering up his own soft whimpers with wet kissing. It was returned with a soft whine and the desperate feeling lips mashed against his own, teeth clicking.

Bane was still holding him in an iron grip. Blake knew there would be bruises there in the morning and that Bane would trace over each one in apology even though Blake never minded; he had plenty of bruises to go around from training. The stroking was nice, though, so he wasn’t going to complain.

Now, though, what Bane was doing was completely unacceptable, forcing his hips to rock, to swivel on Barsad so that Blake could feel him churned up against his inner walls. A whimper broke free from their mouths. He couldn’t do this if Bane was going to make it feel like he was going to explode.

Bane finally stopped, but it was only so he could slowly draw him up, make him whine at the feeling of Barsad slowly leaving his body, until only the tip of him was wedged inside still.

“S-stop,” he gasped out. “I can fucking do it!”

Bane’s hands finally left his hips, cupping the cheeks of his ass. Blake jolted forward at the sudden smack there.

“Fucker!” he swore in indignation then whimpered when the slap made him clench down around Barsad. Bane just chuckled softly.

“You look unspeakably beautiful, my little bird.” He trailed his fingers up his back.

He hummed softly in appreciation of the fingers and slowly slid himself back down; he could do that on his own, thank you very much, and relished how it felt like Barsad was opening him back up again, rubbing against his sweet spot. Barsad had finally gotten a hold of himself under him, getting a hold of Blake in the process, affectionately petting his straining thighs as he started to ride him.

“Little Robin,” he moaned out lightly. His eyes looked dazed as he rolled his hips up to meet his movements.

Blake bent forward onto his elbows. The slow rocking felt amazing, sending shudders of pleasure through him, but it wasn’t enough. He reached to take hold of himself only to have his hands pulled behind his back in a grip that might as well have been a steel trap for how well he could move.

“Please, Bane, I need to come,” he pleaded softly, rocking roughly down in a futile attempt to reach his peak. He couldn’t take any more teasing tonight, his dick was so swollen hard it ached at this point, and he just wanted to be able to let go.

“Then come, little bird.” His voice was infuriatingly pleasant and encouraging.

He growled in frustration and thrashed around. “I fucking can’t like this!”

He felt the cool shock of Bane’s mask pressed into the back of his neck as he spoke softly. “Then Barsad will find his release in you and you will have another opportunity when I take you next. I believe between the two of us we might be able to wring an orgasm from you.”

Blake shook his head frantically. “Fuck n-no, Bane, I can’t. I mean yes, fuck me, but I can’t do it if you do it like this and oh God—” he babbled on uselessly, begging Bane to just fucking touch his cock so he could come, but they were relentless. Barsad at least seemed to be trying to be merciful, angling his thrusts up into his hole so that they might rub against his prostate, but Bane was constantly moving him with his wrists, altering his position ever so slightly each time so his spot was evaded, ruthless bastard. He was dripping with sweat and let out a desperate whimper when he felt Barsad finally come inside of him with a pleasured moan, loosing himself in it. Fuck, he wanted that.

“Why did you not come with Barsad, little one?” Bane teased, still pressed to his neck.

Sadistic bastard.

“Come on, come on,” Blake chanted out softly, feeling himself lifted off of Barsad enough so that his spent member slipped from him, leaving him empty. “Come on, do it, please, Bane.”

His breath hitched when he felt Bane press against his worked open hole, just fingers at first that made him writhe. Then he was pushed down flat against Barsad’s chest, who wrapped his arms around him gently, kissing his cheek, whispering encouragements to him, soft thank-yous and praises as Bane angled his ass up, put himself in line with it and wasted no time in firmly working himself into Blake with short, rough thrusts. Blake could hear the low growl and shivered as he was pushed opened even further, his body stretched wider to accommodate Bane’s girth.

“It should be fucking illegal to put that into somebody’s ass,” he spat out then cursed when the first thrust came, rough, sharp, and absolutely perfect.

He was being fucked, ravaged, any other word he couldn’t think of at the moment that involved Bane rutting hard into his ass. He felt like every thrust was pushing the breath from him, every pull left him feeling empty. It was a vicious cycle that left him feeling elated and dizzy and just so hot everywhere. He was filthy right now, he knew it, he could feel the sweat all over his body. Barsad’s come was being pushed out of him and leaking down his legs. He didn’t care, all he wanted to do was come. Bane was pushing every right spot and he could feel it, if he’d just touch his cock, he’d lose it right there.

“Come on, little Robin,” Bane encouraged softly. Blake could feel his eyes getting wet in frustration. He couldn’t do this again, if Bane came and he didn’t he just knew he would break apart.

“Touch me, just fucking TOUCH me,” he groaned out desperately.

“You can come from this, little Robin, I know it.”

Blake whimpered, “Then fucking do it HARDER.”

He could barely hear the laugh above him as his order was obeyed and Bane’s thrusts began to hammer into him, and finally he felt those rough thrusts battering against his prostate and he was there. He was shouting out hoarsely, held tight by Barsad as he practically convulsed and pulsed out rope after rope of come between their bellies. He was just barely aware of feeling Bane losing himself with him, the rough snap of hips and the feeling of hot seed pouring into him.

He let them clean the mess they’d made of him as he gave Bane a bleary half-hearted glare, limbs still shaky from the intensity of the experience. “You are such a bastard sometimes.”

He got his head patted for his trouble before he felt himself slip off to sleep in exhaustion, wrapping his arms tightly around Bane, wiggling around until he could feel the comforting press of metal against his shoulder.

When he woke the next day, he still felt sore inside, but it wasn’t unpleasant. It was a nice reminder of what they’d consummated the night before. He awoke before them both, the thought of what the day was to bring working him into alertness quickly. He stretched, flipping Bane’s back the bird for good measure for his abhorrent treatment the night before, then walked over to his costume, ridiculously proud that he only limped a little.

On top of it was something new; a thick leather domino mask, its sides cut so that it had been reworked into sharp angles that matched the thick blue emblem he had painted onto the costume. He wasn’t sure when they’d been able to put it there without his noticing. Blake picked it up and studied it with his hands. Could this really be enough to keep him from being recognized?

He dressed slowly, working on each piece of armor carefully, making sure it fight snug and perfect like they’d tailored it, then carefully tied on the mask. He made his way over to the computer; its dark screen reflected him like a mirror.

He looked strong, vicious. His muscles, grown from hard work, were defined now by the cut of the costume. His hair was no longer the careful slicked back style he had kept on the force, he’d let it grow out a little longer now so it fell to his ears in soft waves. His face… He looked at himself for a long while before he slowly drew his lips up into a true smile, wicked and sure. Everything he had ever wanted was reflected back to him. He was complete, now, and the mask they had chosen for him was perfect.

No one was going to recognize him when he couldn’t even recognize himself.