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Bed of roses

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"Ya know what he said to me last night?" The blonde exclaimed in her thick Brooklyn accent while applying another layer of bright red lipstick onto her plump lips. "He said I wasn't good enough! Didn't get enough money! Pathetic! Why don't he swing around that pole all night, see how his feet are holdin' up! I swear if he says something like that again I'll-"

"Harley" John said, cutting her off as he looked at her over his shoulder. He shook his head with a sigh and turned his head back to the brightly lit mirror, wiping away some excessive lipstick. "Keep your voice down, he could be right outside." He continued, tilting his head to the left, the right, then glancing down at the blonde wig lying on the table. He ran his pale fingers through the soft, but fake hair, and picked it up, placing it over the wig cap on his head, adjusting it a bit so the cap wasn't visible anymore.

Harley only turned to look at John for a few seconds, frowning while she did before continuing in the same loud voice. "I don't care if he hears me! He's an asshole, I'm fine with him hearing that!"

"Until he beats you." John snapped, turning his head to the side, causing a strand of the wig's hair to get caught in his lipstick. He carefully peeled it away and tucked the strand behind his ear.

Harley was now looking at him with big eyes, surprise easily read on her face. She looked down.

 

"We should get going, don't want to keep the boss waiting." John then said solemnly to interrupt the silence as he stood up and took a last look at himself in the mirror. The white faux-fur fell just off his shoulders and the purple bodystocking underneath didn't leave much to the imagination. The matching purple heels added another few centimeters to his height and his green nail polish had a stark contrast with his pale skin. He was all ready.

 

“There’s my girls! Took you long enough!” A deep voice said as John and Harley left the dressing room. The chuckle added to the words was the only indication of humour, and it allowed them both to breathe out in relief. It was always a surprise what Dent would say. He could act all lovey-dovey and not even a minute later he would scream at his employees, pointing out every little thing that they did wrong. And of course it was never him, it was always someone else, anyone else. But not this time, luckily.

“Come on, give me a kiss and get up there.” The tall man said, adjusting the button on the black sleeve of his expensive suit as he approached the two. Like routine, they both pecked his cheek and immediately left, walking up the stairs to the stage.


John could feel Harvey’s eyes burning in his back as he walked away, but didn’t bother or even dare to turn around and check. Harley went to her side on the left, John took the right. With a few more stairs they’d reached the stage and the shiny metal poles were just there waiting for them along with the crowd. Men and women- but especially men- had their money in hands, ready to drunkenly spend it on a single dance and regret it in the morning as their music qued and they gave each other one last look before swinging around the poles, bodies bending and moving suggestively with cheers of the audience just beneath them. Bills were already flying around, and that was John’s sign. He took off the fur boa and seductively ran it along his body before throwing it into the crowd of ready-to-grab hands.

 

Their performance was filled with cheers and occasional shouts of “Harley” and “Violet” to get their attention, and sometimes they did get what they wanted, a look, a wink, and a kiss blown their direction. Both the stage and what was left of their outfits were filled with money bills and even a few napkins with phone numbers written on them by the end of their performance. Keeping what was in their outfits, they left the stage and a few men came up to collect the rest of the money as the stage went dark.

 

By the time they were back down, Harvey was already waiting for them with open arms and a big grin.

“Fantastic job! That’s a whole lotta cash if I say so myself.” He said, shamelessly eyeing Harley and John up and down, not /just/ to look at the cash.

“Go put that away and attend some clients, they were very interested tonight.” Harvey said, but just as they were about to return to their dressing room, Harvey stopped John by placing his hand on John’s chest, slowly running it down to his waist.

“Not you.”

 

Harley had stopped in her tracks as well and turned back to John and Harvey, looking between the both of them quizzically.

“You can go, Harley.” Harvey ordered, giving her some nasty side-eye.

“But-”

“I said go!” Harvey cut her off, looking at her with fire in his eyes. John could feel his anger by the hand on his waist tightening a bit, nodding for Harley to go so she wouldn’t get herself in trouble. She was sweet, really. But she had a habit of getting herself into things she wouldn’t be able to get out.

With that, Harley turned around with a soft sigh and returned to the dressing room, leaving John behind with Harvey much to her disliking.

 

“Come with me.” Harvey said as soon as the door to the dressing room closed, and he walked down the hallway toward his ‘office’ as he so ironically called it. He unlocked the door with the key from his pocket and held the door open for John. He looked at Harvey for a good few seconds before hesitantly stepping inside, he didn’t like where this was going. It never meant any good if Harvey wanted to speak to any of his dancers in private. But considering he had done exactly as he was ordered, he had no idea what could be going on.

 

The ‘office’ looked the same as always, red walls on the left, black walls on the right. No one ever knew why he chose to split the walls in the middle, but no one ever cared or dared to ask. The furniture was pretty much all red; sofa, chairs, table, bed… one thing he would never understand. Why he had a bed in his office, it wasn’t like he slept here. The guy owned a fortune off of his clubs, and if not that, he did somehow. He probably owned a big ass mansion with maids to do all his dirty work, just like anywhere he went he had someone to do his dirty work for him. Whether that be literally or figuratively.

 

“Sit down.” He said with a gesture towards the couch as he closed and /locked/ the door behind him. Something about that made John’s stomach drop as he sat down on the couch, nervously beginning to peel the money from under the edges of his body stocking.

Harvey turned back around to John, slipping the key into the pocket of his fancy trousers, slowly making his way over to the couch, dropping himself down next to John. A bit too close for comfort.

“You know, I was watching you today, you did really good.” He said with a voice just above a whisper, creepily close to John’s ear as he suddenly felt a warm hand on his thigh, almost making him gasp with surprise. The hand softly squeezed and began rubbing up and down a bit, and if John hadn’t waxed it all off, the hair on his thighs would be standing upright.

 

“Thank you, sir.” John said, deciding to take the obedient road for as far as his hammering heart could take it. Not wanting to cause any trouble with this man in a locked room.

Harvey chuckled, and it made John flinch just a little, but enough for Harvey to notice. His expression turned into a frown, and he brought his other hand up to John’s chin, tilting his head to make him look at Harvey. He tucked a strand of the wig’s hair behind John’s ear and let his fingers slide down over his pale, makeup-covered cheek.

“Relax a little, you’re not in trouble baby girl .”

A cringe ran down John’s spine at the nickname coming from his mouth and he could feel his heart pick up the speed even more.

“I was just thinking you could give me a bit of a private session, just you and me.” Harvey said as he licked his lower lip, eyes going all over John’s body before stopping at his lips.

“Show daddy a good time.” Harvey continued, the hand on John’s thigh going up… up… inward… and.

Gasp.

 

John held his breath as he looked at Harvey who was looking right back with a smirk, hand where a boss really shouldn’t put it.

“You like that?”

John waited, he waited, he waited.

Squeeze.

“N-No…” He then uttered nervously, feeling as if he were about to faint. His heart was hammering and if he hadn’t preoccupied his hands with fiddling with the money, they would be shaking like crazy.

Harvey’s expression changed. His smirk turned into a frown, and the once gentle hand now harshly grabbed John’s face, causing the pale man to grow even paler, staring at his boss with wide eyes.
“No?” Harvey asked. “N-No?” He repeated, mocking John’s tone. “You ungrateful little-”

Knock knock.

 

He was interrupted. He was interrupted.

Harvey turned his head to the door, and John let out a shaky breath, squeezing his eyes shut for a few seconds before also looking at the door.

“What?!” Harvey practically shouted, waiting for reply from the other end of the door.

“Bruce Wayne is here sir.” A male voice said, clearly /trying/ but failing to sound confident.

“That billionaire twat? What the hell is he doing here?” Harvey asked, letting go of John’s face as he stood up from the couch.

“I don’t know sir. He just walked in and sat down sir.” The man said, clearly nervous by his overusing of the word ‘sir’. But John couldn’t blame him for that.

Harvey let out a growl and shot John an angry look before walking over to the door, taking the key back out of his pocket and unlocking the door.

“I’ll go ask what he wants.” He mumbled, turning his head to John. “You get the hell outta here, clients are waiting. Time is money.” He ordered, and John more than gladly obliged. Anything to get out of that room with him.

He stood up from the couch and quickly slipped past Harvey and the other man, immediately heading toward the dressing room with a few bills in his hand.

 

What a two-faced son of a bitch.

Chapter Text

John rushed to the dressing room as quick as he could. His heart was still hammering and the bills in his hands were shaking with fear. He was beyond disgusted at the mere idea of sleeping with his boss. And now he didn’t just suggest the idea, no, he actually acted on it. And he got pissed when John didn’t want to. What that meant for the future, he didn’t know, and he wasn’t sure if he really wanted to know.

He opened the door to the dressing room and barged in, closing and immediately locking the door behind him as he leaned his back and his head against the door breathing heavily with his eyes shut, the bills in his hands dropping to the floor.

 

“Puddin’? What’s goin’ on?”

He heard a concerned voice ask, only that making him realise that Harley had gone to the dressing room as well.

He opened his eyes and looked at the girl as she had stopped brushing her hair, staring at John with a questioning look of concern.

Harvey hadn’t even gone that far. John was used to clients doing these kind of things, insinuating these situations and giving him those little winks whenever he walked by. But that was different. Those clients didn’t have the power that Harvey had over him. Those clients didn’t hold his entire career and income in the palm of their hand, and could throw it away whenever damn well pleased. Harvey could easily put pressure on him and there’d be nothing he could do.

 

John tried regulating his breaths but they only grew quicker and sharper. He brought his hands up to his face as they shook intensely all the way up and he was sure he was only worrying Harley more by not answering her question.

“Hey, hey.” Harley started as she put down the pink hairbrush and walked over to John, taking his wrists in her hands to bring his arms down and look him in the eye.
“Ya calm your breaths okay? In through your nose, out through your mouth. Four seconds in…” she explained and breathed in through her nose to set an example, counting along with John as he did what she said.

“...hold it for two seconds…” she continued, nodding her head to indicate the seconds and then breathing out, hinting John to do the same, and he followed her lead. She counted to five as she breathed out and repeated these steps a couple more times until John had gotten the hang of it and his breathing was back to a steady pace.

 

“Now tell me what’s going on.” Harley said, not so much demanding as curious. Letting go of John’s wrists and taking a single step back.

John looked at Harley, but didn’t look her in the eyes. “He brought me into his office, but he locked the door… he- he just started by saying he liked my performance. He got really close and personal, touched my thigh and… up. He told me to “show daddy a good time.”” John quoted, cringing as he did all while keeping his voice down. “He asked me if I liked it… I said no and he, well, he became mildly aggressive.” He said with a hint of sarcasm on ‘mildly’. “Wayne’s presence distracted him, I don’t think he’s done with me yet…” He explained, shaking his head as he rubbed his forehead.

Harley was quiet for a bit, but soon began shaking her head with a frown.

“I’m so sorry puddin’” She said, sounding genuine despite the frequent jokes and humour in her remarks. Even in serious situations.

 

John could still feel his heart hammering as he walked over to the mirror. But beside the hammering of his heart, he felt another sensation too. The heat in his veins was stoked up. And his blood soon reached a boiling point. He was afraid, but he was furious that Harvey made him feel that way. He wasn’t used to fear. He’d always felt intimidated by his boss, even after working for him for six years. But he’d never been so genuinely afraid of him. And that fear drove his anger.

 

“The fucker should keep his hands to himself, who the fuck does he think he is. Little bitch hiding behind his money. Strip that down and what remains? Some pervert with a massive ego. Pathetic.” John mumbled to himself as he stared into his own eyes in the mirror. But Harley had clearly heard every word he said as she was soon standing next to him, looking at John through the mirror.

“Where are ya going with this? Ya know we can’t do nothin’ about it. Sure we can arrange drinks and talk about what an ass he is but we got nothin’ without him.” Harley said cautiously. Clearly not in for John’s mood. It was a dangerous threat to make.

“Who do you think makes all the money for him? It’s us, we are his source of income. He can’t treat us like his toys. It’s not fair.” John retorted, snapping his head to the side to look at Harley.

“It ain’t fair, bus this business never is. I ain’t gonna work for Cobblepot either. He ain’t such a pervert but he’s worse-”

“A coward, I know.” John interrupted, finishing what Harley was going to say. He sighed and turned away from the mirror. He began angrily taking the cash from out of his body stocking and slamming it down on the makeup-table.

“Let’s go.” He grumbled, walking back to the door with Harley once more following behind him as they headed back to the club.

 

It’d been an hour since they returned to the club. They were serving drinks and making small talk with the guests, not ever stopping for more than a minute to talk. They were gonna have to pay if they wanted more. Those were the rules as Harvey had made them. And unfortunately they were obliged to follow them.

It seemed as if neither of the two had dared to go over to Bruce Wayne yet. They’d seen Harvey walking away from him just minutes after they re-entered the club. And John had received a nasty look from him as he did. But neither Harley nor John had made the step yet. They were eyeing each other from time to time, see if the other was ready yet. But they gave each other the same ‘nah-uh’ look every time.

Bruce Wayne was one of, if not the richest man in Gotham. He had massive influence and shit loads of money. Yet somehow he was sitting in a strip club in Gotham, sipping on some cognac all while looking. Sad, if he may. Very unlike his reputation.

 

“Excuse me.” John heard just behind him, and he turned around to see the source of the voice, which was the very billionaire himself. Speaking to John.

“Are you alright?” He asked.

What?

John frowned slightly. What did he mean by that? Was he trying to mock him. Did Harvey say anything?

“What?” John blurted out before he could control his tongue.

“I’ve seen you sharing looks with that lady ever since you got here, your hands are shaking and you keep biting the inside of your lip.” Bruce said making it sound almost casual. What now, was he some sort of detective?

“I uh-” John started, but was cut off by the sight of a very specific person approaching in the corner of his eye.

Harvey.

 

“Violet.” Harvey said in a low voice. Anyone could tell the man was pissed, and it caught Bruce’s attention too.

John cleared his throat as he looked at Harvey, then letting his eyes fall to the ground.

“Yes sir?” He mumbled in response.

“We have some business to discuss, best leave Mr Wayne to his drinks. You don’t have to bother him.” He said, not even trying to hide the condescending tone. He was patronising John beyond measure.

The billionaire boy shifted in his seat, he looked almost uncomfortable.

 

“Actually, Mr Dent. They weren’t bothering me.”

“She.” Harvey snapped.

“He.” John retorted in a mumble, feeling as if he shouldn’t have done that judging by Harvey’s deadly glance.

 

“I addressed him. He was just responding.” Bruce continued, taking John’s correction instead of Harvey’s.

“Whatever you say Mr Wayne…” Harvey said, clearly sarcastic. “...but we still have business to discuss.” He said to John, crossing his arms impatiently.

A silence fell between them, the music now drumming into John’s ears louder than before as he was eerily aware of it. But then the billionaire made a sharp intake of breath and looked at Harvey.

“Is it urgent? I was just about to pay him for… a lap dance.” Bruce said making John’s eyes widen with surprise.

“Choose someone else.” Harvey grumbled.

“I really like him.”

“It’s urgent.”

“Even for 2000 dollars?”

Silence

John’s lap dances usually cost 60 per song. He was a fan-favourite at the club and some would pay more. But 2000, not ever.

 

Harvey looked at Bruce for a few seconds, remaining silent with a frown before turning his head back to John.

“Business can wait.” He concluded, leaning toward John, whispering “I still get 40%.” Before taking a step back.

“Well go on then, outta here. Show Mr Wayne to the VIP rooms.”

John quickly nodded and looked at Bruce who seemed like he was suppressing a smile as he stood up from his chair, glaring at Harvey before walking after John towards the VIP rooms.

The billionaire boy really just saved his ass.

Chapter Text

John entered one of the VIP rooms with Bruce following close behind. The moment the billionaire had stepped inside, John closed the door behind the two, pressing the button just next to it making the light on the outside of the room above the door turn red indicating the room was taken. Harvey didn’t allow for locks on the doors. He told them it was for the safety of his dancers, so no one could use them behind closed doors without a way of getting in. But John poked right through his lies, knowing all too well it was just so he could eavesdrop whenever he damn well pleased, coming up with some excuse of “I thought I heard trouble.”

John’s hand slid down the wall as he found himself staring at the door handle, turning around to find Bruce Wayne taking a seat on the purple leather couch, eyeing the place before resting his gaze on John.

“What’s your boss’ deal?” He asked, clear annoyance in his tone. Which, in John’s opinion, was quite justifiable. Harvey acted like a show-horse prick around anyone and anything.

“He’s just an ass…” John said, simple as it was. And it really was. He’d asked Harley what was wrong with him before. She was a psychiatry dropout and had quite the sum of people-reading skills. And despite the fact that she’d said, quote “He’s gotta be bipolar or something, think a rat crawled up his ass ‘n died.” He couldn’t feel sympathy for the man.

“So…” John then said, clearing his throat and shifting his mood as he realized this wasn’t the place to have a petty-chat. “Any song requests, handsome? Britney is my go-to, I’ll tell you that, I can-”

“What’s your name?” Bruce cut him off with the slightest hint of a smile playing in the corners of his mouth. He didn’t quite know why that was, but it wasn’t his position to question it.

John frowned and shrugged his shoulders. “Violet.” He said as if it were obvious. Harvey had referred to him as Violet just minutes ago. He forgot that already? Much of an impression that was.

“No, I mean…” Bruce started, crossing one leg over another as if to say he wasn’t quite ready to invite John onto his lap yet.  “Violet is your stage-name, right? Because of the purple.” He said, gesturing towards John’s choice of clothing.

There he was playing mr detective again. He wasn’t really living up to his reputation as ‘billionaire playboy’ at all. John should have been all over him by now and Bruce should have been pressing his nails into the palms of his hands to keep himself from touching John with some cocky smirk plastered on his face. That was his routine right? That was Bruce Wayne.

“What makes you think I didn’t wear purple just tonight?” John challenged, narrowing his eyes a bit.

“It was just a guess.” Bruce said with a casual shrug of his shoulders. “So what is your name?” He asked again, not letting John tiptoe around the question into ‘business’.

“It’s John. John Doe.” He then said with a smirk on his face, letting Bruce get nowhere further. He already was a ‘John Doe’ in Bruce’s eyes.

“That’s your name?”

“It is out there. In here it’s Violet.” John replied, keeping up his attitude.

“Hm…” Bruce hummed as if considering his answer before unfolding his legs, resting his arms on the backrest of the couch. Which John took as an invitation to walk over, and straddle him. Locking his hands together at the back of Bruce’s neck, seemingly taking the billionaire by surprise a bit, but the obvious smirk showed that he didn’t mind.

“What, you play all Sherlock Holmes with me and now you’re gonna tell me you don’t like a little mystery?” John challenged with a playful raise of his brow.

“Nothing of a sort.” Bruce replied, licking his lower lip. Hands sliding down the backrest, undoubtedly fighting the urge to rest on John’s hips as they were practically ghosting over them. John saw it as a perfect opportunity to continue his teasing behaviour by getting up and strolling over to the stereo.

“So, Britney or what?” He asked as he turned his head only to find a look of ‘well-played’ on Bruce’s face, receiving a nod and a smirk.

“Work your magic.” Bruce said, and John was already on it. Turning on the stereo, scrolling through the music as he pressed play on ‘Gimme more’ and the room filled with music almost instantly.

With a smirk. John made his way back to Bruce all while staying loyal to the beat he knew much too well. Mouthing along with the words while swaying his hips in full view of Bruce, watching the smirk on his face grow wider with each and every one of his dance moves. His hands graciously explored his own figure like it had so many times earlier, before he got back onto the billionaire’s lap, hands resting on his firm shoulders while grinding down on his lap, receiving a reaction in the form of slightly parted lips and narrowed eyes. Enough confirmation that ‘working his magic’ was working at all.

Part of John wanted to break the club’s rule and just allow Bruce to take hold of his hips, the fake hair of his wig, or even letting his hands roam around to wherever they wanted to go. But John knew that would firstly be a mistake, and secondly, he was having way too much fun seeing him try to hide the struggle not to do just that.

By the end of the song, the room fell silent again, except for the faint sounds of music coming from the club. John wasn’t exactly panting with exhaustion, but he took in a few more breaths than usually.

His knees were up on the couch and he was in the same position as before. On Bruce’s lap, but this time with his hands on his shoulders, green and blue eyes boring into each other with so much tension John’s heart was drumming in his chest. He’d felt the slight grow in Bruce’s expensive trousers, but didn’t acknowledge it beyond that. It wasn’t the first time something like that happened. However, it was one of the first times the same thing was happening to John himself. He was unsure if Bruce had noticed. But instead of giving him more time to possibly figure out. He leaned in, placing a butterfly kiss on his cheek so soft it didn’t even leave a stain of lipstick, and got back onto his feet, expensive heels clicking onto the marble floor. No words had been exchanged yet. But with a single look Bruce seemed to be telling John this wouldn’t be the only time he’d come around.

He then took his checkbook out of his back pocket, lifting his rear up off the couch to take it, his bulge only showing more because of it. He took the little pen that was attached to it in hand, and wrote a check, signing it before handing it to John. 2000, holy crap. Despite it being said already, it was still hard to wrap his head around the fact that he was actually being paid 2000 dollars for one dance.

But Bruce started to write another check, bringing a frown to John’s face, but before he could ask, Bruce spoke up.

“800 dollars. The 40 percent your boss would’ve gotten. Hide it somewhere, so he doesn’t see.” He spoke while signing the check, standing up, and holding it out for John once more.

What…

He was giving John the full 100 percent. Deliberately spending 800 more just to- to- to what actually? Flip off Harvey without him knowing it. John could live with that. Very much, actually.

But instead of accepting the check, he put his left foot in front of the other, turning his hip toward Bruce, smirking as he did. “You hide it…” He said, making the dying-down tension spurt back to life.

And Bruce accepted his challenge. He folded the check once, taking a single step closer to John while keeping his blue eyes fixated on John’s piercing green ones, sliding a finger under the fabric of John’s purple bodystocking, making their skin touch. He tugged at it slightly and slipped the check under with his other hand. Lingering on John’s warm, pale skin for a few seconds before pulling back, deliberately sliding his hand down his hip just to touch him a little bit longer, making the band snap back onto John’s skin, which extracted a single gasp of built-up lust from his lips while they stared at each other all the while.

To keep himself from pushing Bruce right back on the couch, he walked over to the door and pulled the handle down, opening it as Bruce approached and slowed his pace by John only to hear John whisper “See you around, handsome.” Replying with;

That you will.