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Bruce had grown used to John living with him. He’d grown used to him running up to him after coming home from Wayne Tower, wrapping his arms around him and squeezing him tightly. He’d almost grown used to not being quite so lonely any more.
So when he entered the manor he wasn’t surprised to hear his name being called from the kitchen. “Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce!”
Bruce chuckled to himself as he walked down the hall. That man never ran out of air.
“Joooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooohn.” He half called, half-monotoned in reply as he entered.
John grinned at him, standing in the kitchen with an overly large chef hat on his head. Bruce almost laughed.
John was by his side in a flash, munching on something.
“How was work? Was it good? Did anything bad happen? Did-”
Bruce place a finger over John’s lips, silencing him. He replaced his finger with his lips, and when he pulled away John was silent.
“It was fine. Uneventful.” He pulled John into a hug, kissing his hair. “I spent a few hours in pointless meetings. I much rather would’ve stayed home with you and looked for a case.”
John breathed him in, smiling. “I made cookies. Chocolate chip.”
“Oh, really?” Bruce looked over at the direction of the oven, seeing them sitting on a rack, cooling on the counter. “What’s the occasion?”
“The occasion is I like cookies!” John replied, and he slipped out of Bruce’s arms to grab him one.
Bruce took it when it was offered to him, and happily took a bite, because what monster didn’t like chocolate chip cookies? John stared at him as he ate, waiting for his verdict. Bruce ate the rest of it, and stroked his chin thoughtfully, as if he was actually thinking.
“Salty and sweet, the right combination of sugar and vanilla.” He shrugged. “Eh, I give it an eleven out of ten.”
John raised his eyebrows. “Really?”
Bruce raised his in response. “Really. As long as they’re not compensation for you doing something bad.”
“They're not, I swear!”

***

Bruce has also gotten used to falling asleep faster, even feeling safe in his own bed, now that John slept with him.
John usually fell asleep first, cuddled against Bruce and mumbling very softly in his sleep. He had nightmares on occasion, or even night terrors of sorts, where he would wake up crying but not even remember why.
Bruce was always there. After the first few times, he'd learned that hugging John and trying to maximize physical contact helped first, and helped bring John back down to earth.
John always curled up against him, shaking and full of guilt. Bruce insisted that it was ok, because in his eyes it really was. He still had nightmares of his own, though he was able to just hide them better than John.
John would fall asleep, sniffling and mumbling apologies to Bruce before trailing off, and Bruce would not be far behind him.
This night, however, was different.
Bruce woke with a start. His parents. The alley. There was so much blood-
Then he was on the bridge. He never reached John in time. Hadn't even been able to block the shot.
He slipped out of bed, going to the bathroom. He turned on the lowest light, closing the door as he wiped his eyes.
Bruce Wayne wasn't a crier. He was an emotional rock.
Well, that was the mask of Bruce Wayne. Bruce didn't even really know what he was.
He felt like a wreck, crying over a stupid dream, crying over an incident that happened months ago. John hadn't even gotten hurt. They'd made it out ok.
It all just felt so real, so unbearably real. He felt so weak. He felt vulnerable. He hated it.
He heard the door being pushed open, but luckily by then he'd stopped crying. John stood in the doorway, squinting in the small amount of light.
“Bruce?”
“Hey.” Bruce replied.
“I heard you crying.” John closed the distance between them, cupping his cheek. “Are you hurt?”
Bruce cursed himself. Had he really been crying that loudly?
“Uh.. no, I’m fine.”
“Then why were you standing in the bathroom crying?”
It took Bruce a moment to respond, and he pulled John into a hug.
“I just… had a shitty dream.”
John rubbed his back. “Wanna talk about it?”
“It was about the bridge.”
John nuzzled him, kissing his neck gently. “And I assume..”
“I woke up right before. And.. I also dreamt about the night my parents died.”
“What happened?”
Bruce hesitated. He’d never really talked to it about anyone. He was sheltered by Alfred from the media, and never bothered to even really talk to him about it aloud.
“I was nine, and we… we saw a movie, about a hero. It was great in the eyes of a nine-year-old. I loved it. We were exiting the theater. It was dark. We were going to meet our limo, I think. I don’t really remember, I was still too excited from the movie. Or maybe I blocked it out.
“Then, there he was. Gun in his hand, threatening my parents. My father stepped in front of me and my mother. He.. three shots. Three shots and he was.. Gone. Then, my mother...two, I think. I.. for years I thought it was a mugging. I shut the truth out. And last year… it all came crashing down. Everything. And then.. The bridge.. Everything with Waller.”
He had been speaking softly the entire time, a faraway look in his eyes. His voice turned cold suddenly, and he looked right into John’s eyes.
“I wasn’t going to let some paid-off psycho kill my family again. Not this time. Not ever.”
John had been silently listening to him, taking in everything. At the last comment he blinked, his mind sleepily processing what Bruce said. He cupped Bruce’s cheek.
“Not ever. Your family is untouchable.”
Bruce leaned into the touch. “Can we.. get back to bed?”
John nodded and led him back. They snuggled down into bed together, wrapped in each other’s embrace.
Bruce slept soundly for the first time in a while.

***

John wasn't an experienced person, but he wasn't innocent. He was far from innocent.
He was, however, a nervous guy. Putting himself out there was always tough for him.
He'd thought he'd gotten over that with Bruce. Bruce always felt like a safe space, where he could talk and not be judged. John quickly realized that it only went so far.
He wanted Bruce. He wanted him in every way possible, any way possible.
But Bruce hadn't even mentioned sex. And that worried John.
He knew it shouldn't have worried him. Bruce just needed time. He was a busy guy, being a CEO by day and solving cases with John by night. Bruce just wasn't focused on any sexual aspects of their relationship because he was too busy… right?
John constantly went through this thought process. He over thought it, and before he knew it, he was seriously wondering if Bruce even loved him at all.
Bruce had sex with a lot of women. Maybe he only liked sex with women, especially pretty women. John already felt like he was ugly. Bruce was entirely out of his league. John wasn't pretty enough for Bruce. He was TOO masculine.
So when John started wearing a bit more makeup, Bruce of course, noticed. Because he noticed those little quirks John had. John was good with makeup, and passionate about it. Bruce gradually had even gotten better at telling lipstick shades apart, just from John wearing them.
“Looks good.”
That was the first thing Bruce said when John came out of the bathroom, and John’s heart soared. Yes!! Now Bruce would be able to get over John’s lack of feminine features. Perfect plan!!
So John eagerly waited all day. And he waited. And waited. He was sitting cross-legged on their bed, coloring, as per usual when they got back from rounds. It was late.
Usually he and Bruce got ready for bed together, so when Bruce asked him if he was ready, he was a bit surprised.
“Uhhhh, in a minute. I need to finish this section!”
“Ok, whenever you're ready.”
Bruce returned a few minutes later, and he slid into bed.
“John.”
“Hm?” He looked over at him expectantly. Finally, they could tie the knot, seal the deal… whatever it was called!
“I'm gonna turn in. Can I turn off the lights?”
John's heart sank. “Oh, I just finished my page. Turn ‘em off, I'll be in bed in a bit.”
He swiftly made his way to the bathroom, and after brushing his teeth he began to wipe off the lipstick and mascara. Hell, he'd even added blush to his own cheeks.
Maybe Bruce was just.. tired. That was it! Tired, from a long day. It was pretty damn late.
John made his way back to bed, snuggling against Bruce, who was, surprisingly, already sleeping.

***

John tried again. And again. And again. As he applied some lipstick one morning, he paused, looking at himself in the mirror. God, he was still so… him.
Despair fell over John. He couldn't make himself look any prettier with makeup, couldn't make himself look any better. His sadness turned to anger.
What kind of cruel hand had he been dealt? He was horribly ugly. His hair was ridiculously green. Unnatural. His eyes were, too, blinding spheres that surprised people and caught them off guard.
He didn't even bother going on to his skin. Or his form.
Or his brain.
He quickly wiped it all off. Stupid. Fucking stupid. He was an idiot.
John’s bad mood carried throughout the day. He tried coloring to calm himself down, but after seeing how many times he went over the lines he tore up the book entirely, then proceeded to cry silently. Bruce gave him that book. And the crayons.
And everything.
Right before going out on patrol, He clumsily put on makeup. His eye makeup wasn't straight by any means, and his lipstick was smeared on. That was the first sign Bruce saw.
The second sign came from the silence. John usually liked to talk during patrol, hours of silently sitting on rooftops drove him insane. Bruce knew this. When John didn't make any conversation, he tried.
“Good day?”
“Fine. You?”
“It was… slow..” Bruce blinked beneath his cowl. ‘Fine’? A one word answer from John was unheard of. “Uh.. I'm thinking of taking a few days off. From work. So I can be home with you.”
John mentally cursed himself. No more temper tantrums if Bruce was gonna be home. “Sure. Sounds good.”
Bruce watched John carefully. No knee bouncing, no grin. Nothing.
“Are-”
Before he could ask, Alfred was contacting him. “Gordon’s on the line, sir.”
“I'm listening.”
John turned to Bruce, knowing that tone.
“Batman! A place down on the corner of 12th and Broad, club that's been hit. Got a few cruisers headed now, and we’d like your help on this one.”
“12th and Broad. On the way.”
Bruce stood, and realized that John was already gone. He spun around, seeing him already a few rooftops away. He followed, mind racing. Something for sure was wrong. John always let him take the lead, was always behind him until battle.
He reached the club seconds after John, and they planted themselves on the rooftop across from it. Bruce heard sirens approaching.
“This place has the whole nine yards. I'm sure there's some trafficking going on.” John said flatly. Bruce was taken aback. John wasn't normally so emotionless about this stuff. Quite the opposite, in fact.
“You know this place?” He asked, and John nodded.
“Been in once or twice. If we can drop down and take out some of the bastards, then GCPD can ambush and throw them all off. I can sneak around back. That window right there? Break it and you'll be on the second floor, overlooking the main dance floor. Take ‘em out in the ways you know how.”
“Good plan.” Bruce gave him a smile, and John was off.
The taller man was a bit caught off guard. John wasn't usually this active, not this forward.
He grappled to the window, not breaking it just yet.
“Multiple gunmen, too many hostages to count.” He said into his comms.
There was a soft grunt from John. “Back was barely guarded. Easy.”
“You think amateurs?”
“Maybe? His gun is nothing spectacular.”
Bruce looked up, hearing the screech of tires and loud sirens down on the street below.
“Batman! Any visuals on hostages?” Gordon spoke gruffly, and Bruce glanced down, trying to see his figure among the other cops.
“Yes. Too many to count, clearly a full club. At least six men with guns.” Bruce looked back down into the club, seeing a few of the gunmen scramble. “They know you're here. No bloodshed, yet. Could change at any moment.”
“I'll move in when I can. You should bring a frontal assault.”
“Copy. We’ll give you some time to take ‘em out.”
Bruce switched off the comms, and after a moment he took a breath.
“J? Ready?”
There was a silence, and then the reply came.
“On three. These guys have barely any armor.”
“1. 2. 3.”
Bruce broke the window, Batarang in his hand. He let it fly, hitting one guy towards the back nicely in the shoulder.
Bruce landed, and he heard a few surprised gasps from the hostages and the gunmen. He stood and turned, another Batarang in his hand. It flew silently, and he focused his attention on the original guy.
He easily swiped the gun from his hands, and a decent kick sent the guy down.
He heard “pew, pew, pew!” from the other side of the room, signifying John had made an appearance.
“Don't worry, citizens! Just your friendly neighborhood-” John cut off, and a crunch came from his general direction. “-Joker! Here to save the day!”
Bruce almost cracked a smile. The gunmen were all extremely easy to take out, especially considering John had been able to shoot all of them, finding the exposed patch of skin on the neck and landing his little tranquilizer bullets.
John gave a sharp kick to one guy’s stomach, and he grabbed his shirt, then threw him off to the side away from a group of hostages. He motioned for them to move against the wall, away from the fight.
Bruce secured another group just as the doors to the club opened, the GCPD coming through. Hell officially broke loose, the gunmen beginning to open fire. John was across the room in a second, taking down two. Bruce stood in front of the hostages with his cape out, blocking any stray bullets. He grappled the gun of another, and he heard the classic maniacal laughter from his partner.
“Take that!”
He heard another crunch and more laughter. Geez, John really wanted to make sure that these guys wouldn’t hold a gun or walk for a while.
Batman gave the hostages cover as they escaped through the door. A few of them were clearly strippers, who ran out into the cool night wearing skimpy outfits.
Bruce straightened, looking over at his partner. He stepped away from the last guy as an officer cuffed them, and returned the look. He’d gotten punched in the fight, and his lip was bleeding. It made the bright color of his lipstick pop even more.
Clearly the GCPD had the situation under control, so the pair quickly departed. Once they got into the Batmobile, John grinned.
“Good fight! That was fun!”
Bruce offered him a smile. “Nice calls. Your lip ok?”
“Yeah, I’m good. Nothing too bad.”
Bruce responded by turning to him and leaning over, catching John’s bottom lip between his own. John hummed, pressing his lips against Bruce’s in reply, before Bruce pulled away, tasting traces of John’s blood on his lips.
“That kiss says otherwise.”
John crossed his arms, pouting. “I am perfectly fine, thank you.”
Bruce chuckled. “I’m just looking out for you. Guess we can’t have any nice makeout sessions until it heals up.”
He’d said it extremely sarcastically, but it went over John’s head. He was silent, looking out the window as he messed with his hair. Bruce spoke after a moment.
“John. What’s going on?”
John was silent for a moment. “Can.. can I talk to you as a friend?”
Bruce recognized the situation. They would be almost roleplaying in a way.
This was a moment where Bruce was very glad that the Batmobile could go on autopilot. He turned it on, and turned to John, giving him his full attention. He even slipped off his cowl. “Yeah. Of course.”
After a moment, John grinned over at him. “Bruce! It’s really good to see you!”
Bruce gave him a small smile. “Always nice to see you, John. What can I do for you?”
“I… ok. I’m in love. Like, seriously in love!”
Bruce couldn’t help but blush just a bit. “Oh? That’s great! Tell me about them.”
John clasped his hands together. “He’s… he’s beautiful, Bruce! The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen! He’s so warm, so patient with me. And he buys me a lot of stuff! And… he’s really nice to me.”
“Oh, good. You need someone positive in your life.” Bruce replied. “So… what’s the issue?”
“Uh… we’ve reached a certain point in our relationship.” John continued, now fidgeting with his hands nervously. “And I don’t know how to talk to him about it.”
Bruce’s eyebrows raised. “‘A certain point’? Can you be more specific?”
“He’s… very experienced in the area. And I’m not.”
Bruce got it, having a total lightbulb moment. Oh. OH.
“And you.. Haven’t talked to him about it at all?”
“No, I figured he would’ve made a move or something by now…” John replied. “But he hasn’t. And maybe I’m being selfish, but… I’m worried. If he’s not making any moves… does that mean he doesn’t want to.. Be intimate with me?” He trailed off, no longer looking at Bruce.
Bruce sat back, trying to play off what John said. “No, no, of course not. That’s not it at all. Maybe he just..” Bruce hesitated. What HAD he been waiting for? “Maybe he just needs a sign that you’re ready. Maybe he’s more worried than you.”
“But I HAVE been giving him signs!” John cried out. His tone changed completely, turning dark and sinister. He looked up at Bruce angrily, which startled him. He dropped hints all the time! How could Bruce not pick up on them??? “I’ve even worn more makeup just for him, hoping that maybe if I looked a bit more feminine he would get over how- how bad I look! I’ve tried wearing different clothes! I tried to gain a few pounds- I tried to LOSE a few pounds! Nothing’s working, Bruce! He doesn’t… he doesn’t notice all that. He doesn’t even notice ME any more. If I knew what he wanted I would do it, no matter what. I don’t care how much I need to change. As long as he still.. As long as he still loves me. What should I do?”
Bruce swallowed the lump in his throat. John was right, he HADN’T noticed anything. Yes, the recent makeup increase, and even that short span of a few days where John changed up his usual attire, but nothing else.
“You should-” He stopped, his voice breaking. He’d been proud of what he’d built with John. Proud that he’d made John happy, gave him a place to live, let him express himself freely. But John wasn’t happy. John was doubting he even loved him anymore, something that Bruce always tried to make very clear.
“Talk to him, John. You have to tell him what you’re thinking. He needs to know.”
John scoffed. “He’s terrible about talking about stuff like this. He doesn’t like being told that was he’s doing is wrong. That he’s not Mr. Perfect.”
That one hurt Bruce. Was he really like that? He gazed down at the cowl in his lap.
“I’m sorry that you’re upset. But if you can talk to him at all about it, that’s the only way you’ll solve anything.”
John nodded. “Fair points. I just need to suck it up and lay down the truth to him. Thanks, Bruce! I can always count on you for good tips!”
Good tips. Sure.
Bruce gave him another friendly smile. “Of course. Always happy to help you out, John.”
The rest of the drive was silent. The guilt gnawed at Bruce, and he felt sick. He felt the way he’d felt after the Children of Arkham. He’d lost Harvey and almost lost Alfred, and his reputation was essentially gone. Now, it was because of John. Because John wasn’t happy, and he was hiding it from Bruce.
When they reached the cave, Bruce got out, almost in a trance. The guilt was almost too much to bear. Almost.
John raced over to him and pecked his lips. “I’m gonna shower. You coming with?”
Bruce blinked at him. How could he ever speak to John again? How could John kiss him? How could he kiss a monster?
“No. I’ll be up in a bit, though.” He replied softly. John grinned and skipped away, giving a wave to Alfred.
Alfred tilted his head as he approached, clearly able to see the younger man’s distress.
“Bruce? Is everything alright? Did something happen at the club?” He asked. Bruce looked at him, thinking for a moment.
“I.. I’m lost, Al.” He began to walk, shedding some armor slowly. “John… John isn't happy.”
Alfred followed him. “How so?”
“He's not happy with me. With our relationship. He's really upset.” Bruce felt dumb as he said it. He was explaining it lamely, but he didn't know what to say. “He thinks I don't love him anymore because we haven't… been intimate.”
Alfred nodded slowly. “You feel stuck?”
“I just wish I could make all his sadness disappear.” Bruce said, looking over at him. “Show how much I love him. I'm terrible at it.”
“Tell him that. Let him know. If he's told you his truth then you should tell him yours.”
Bruce nodded. Alfred was right. No being worried about getting an emotional reaction from John. No more fear. Their entire relationship was built on trust, and John had just trusted Bruce with the truth.
He went up with Alfred, giving him the rest of the night off and parting ways once they entered the manor. When Bruce entered his room, John was sitting on their bed, doing nothing. He looked up and smiled when Bruce entered.
“Hey, I was gonna jump in the shower.” John said.
“I'll join you.” Bruce replied, probably a little too quickly.
John’s heart skipped a beat. “Y-you will?”
Bruce nodded, walking towards the bed. “If you're ok with it.”
“Yeah! Sure!” John grinned, he stood, beginning to pull Bruce to the bathroom. The older man chuckled, glad that he was able to get John to smile.
After turning on the shower, John began to strip in the bathroom, and as Bruce pulled off his shirt he couldn’t help but look over John’s pale figure. His skin looked so smooth, no scars or anything. He healed extremely fast.
“Bruce?”
He blinked, and realized he’d actually reached out, tracing John’s shoulder with his fingers. He pulled his hand away, looking over at John.
“I.. sorry.”
“No, no!” John replied. “It’s fine. Don’t worry about it. I’m just not… not used to people seeing me like this.”
“I shouldn’t have been staring.” Bruce mumbled, more to himself, but John picked it up. Bruce’s own shirt came off, and now it was John’s turn to stare. He grinned.
“Wow, Bruce! You..” He scratched the back of his head. “You, uh… lift?”
Bruce couldn’t help but let out a small chuckle. “Sure. On occasion.”
John’s stepped towards Bruce, tilting his head for a moment before placing his hand right on Bruce’s abdomen, smoothing his fingers over the muscles there. He traced a few scars with his fingers, all wondering how Bruce had gotten them. If any were from him.
“These.” He said softly, seeing a scar on his abdomen that trailed up his chest.
“Bane.” Bruce replied. “Right after Riddler’s death. Before the bar.”
John nodded slightly. “The GCPD arsenal.”
“I almost died. Broke a lot of ribs.”
“And you still took down Willy like a pro!” John exclaimed. “I still have it on my phone!”
Bruce blinked, then it came back. “Oh. Right. You recorded it.”
“And you throwing Catwoman! That was awesome!”
“John… shower?”
The skinnier man gave him a small smile, the stepped away to pull off the rest of his clothes. “Right, right!”
Bruce began to pull off his briefs, and he couldn’t help but smile as he looked at John’s boxers, which had hearts on them. He wasn’t surprised, John loved that kind of stuff. Bruce did, however, look away when John slipped them off. Privacy and all that.
He pulled off his own, looking at the neat pile of clothes that John had made on the counter. He knew John only did it because the suit was expensive.
John tugged on his hand, bringing him back to the situation. John led him into the shower, and Bruce hummed at the feeling of hot water on his skin. John wrapped his arms around him and kissed his shoulder, snuggling into him.
Bruce wrapped his arms around John’s waist and held him tightly.
“I don’t want what we have to end.”
John looked up at him, pulling back just enough to see him. “What?”
“That’s.. That’s why I haven’t made any moves to be intimate with you.” Bruce continued. “Every… ‘relationship’ I’ve ever had has just ended with sex. And then I never see them again. And I think that’s what I’m worried about.”
John was silent for a moment, his confused expression turning to one of concern. “But you… you know I’d never do that, right?”
“I think I do, but… part of me just always has doubt.” He sighed. “I know, it’s dumb. And I should just get over it.”
“No, no! You’re worried!” John replied, eyes widening slightly. “Everything you’ve known for the past, what, ten or so years? You’ve never been steady with someone. It’s new!”
“It’s because I do love you that I haven’t made any moves towards it. I don’t want to ruin what we have. I don’t want to do anything to upset you.” Bruce said, frowning slightly. “Thank you, for opening up to me earlier. And, John..” He cupped John’s cheek making sure to look him right in his eyes. “..don’t change for me. Ever. I love you so much. I love you more than I can put into words. You’re funny, caring, predictably unpredictable. You’re my partner. My other half. The last thing I want you to do is change.”
John pressed a kiss to his lips, wrapping his arms around Bruce’s neck. He pulled away after a moment. “I love you.”
“I love you.” Bruce kissed him again, sliding his hands up John’s back to pull him closer. They broke again, but just stood there, holding each other. Bruce would’ve stayed like that for the rest of his life.
John gave him a small smile. “You have lipstick on your face.”
“You have more.”
The shower was extremely uneventful, which was fine with Bruce. He felt drained, and the last thing that both of them needed was sex.
They washed each other, John seemingly unphased as he washed Bruce. He stayed close to Bruce, making sure they were constantly touching in at least some way.
When they were finished, Bruce got out first, and after John got a towel he went right back to Bruce, nuzzling his neck lovingly. Bruce didn't mind at all. He pulled John close, the steam from the shower keeping the bathroom somewhat warm.
John eventually pulled back, beginning to dry himself off, and Bruce did the same. John seemed to have no issue with his own privacy, drying off his hair while still completely naked. Maybe he was used to it.
Bruce slipped out of the bathroom to get some clothes on. He pulled on a pair of black briefs, then his black night clothes followed.
He heard the bathroom door open the rest of the way, and a very naked John Doe was walking over to where his clothes were. He pulled on purple briefs, and before he slipped on his purple bottoms, Bruce got a very nice view. For a second, he wondered if John had gotten them on purpose.
“Like what you see?”
Bruce looked up, seeing John pull on his shirt with a grin.
“Honestly? Yeah.”
John’s smile faltered, and he would have blushed had he been able.
Bruce kissed his cheek. “I love you.”
They both finished getting ready for bed, then snuggled down into bed together. John fit right against Bruce, his skinnier frame melting against Bruce’s larger one.
“I love you… a lot. Like a lot.” John mumbled, blinking at him sleepily.
“I love you a lot, too.” Bruce replied, kissing his forehead. He pressed his face against John’s hair, breathing in the sweet, fruity scent. He’d bought the pink shampoo just for John, and during their shower John insisted that Bruce use it for the first time. So, they both had fruity hair.
John giggled into Bruce’s neck, sliding a hand up and down Bruce’s chest. “Hehe… you’re really hot, Bruce.”
“John, babe, you’re tired.” Bruce said. “And as much as I appreciate the compliment.. It’s late.”
John grumbled something against Bruce’s skin, but he closed his eyes and relaxed. “Fine. Later, then.”
“Goodnight, John.”
“Nighty-night, Bruce.”

***

John sipped on his shake, looking around the store. He was surrounded by suits and other various formal attire, and it all looked really expensive. He walked over to one of the jackets, carefully reading the price tag, and almost dropped his shake. This stuff was crazy expensive!
“John.”
He looked over and Bruce was approaching him with some guy, who clearly worked at the store.
“John, this is Arthur. He’ll be taking some measurements of you.” Bruce said, tugging on his hand. John blinked, then looked at Bruce with wide eyes. What?? Was Bruce going to buy him a suit? One of these crazy expensive things?
“Oh, uh, ok.” He sipped his shake and followed Bruce and this Arthur guy.
Turns out, Bruce WAS going to buy him a suit. A real one. The measuring took some time, because John was antsy with Arthur holding long measuring tapes up to his body. He felt oddly exposed, considering the only person who got those close to him was Bruce, and Bruce was the only person he trusted. And it was hard for John to be still.
When Arthur was done, John hopped off the little platform he’d been on, and made his way over to where Bruce was. He grabbed his hand and held it tightly, and even kissed Bruce’s cheek, as if he wanted to make it very clear to Arthur that neither of them were on the market. Bruce chuckled at the actions, and held John’s shake up to his own lips, taking a sip of the chocolatey goodness. John smirked over at Arthur, but he wasn’t even paying attention to them. Dammit.
They walked out to the front again, and Arthur told Bruce that the suit would be ready in a few days, or something along those lines. Bruce thanked him and wrapped his arm around John’s waist, leaving the store with him.
“What’s it for?” John asked after settling into the passenger’s seat of Bruce’s car.
“The suit?” Bruce looked over at him. “Special occasion.”
“Oh, noooo. Not another crowded fundraiser! Those things suck!”
Bruce chuckled. “Yeah, they really do. Being crammed into a building with about a hundred other people. Not fun. But, the suit isn’t for that. It’s for something much better.”
John sipped his shake again, which was running low. “Hmm.. we’ll see.”

***

John wasn’t used to eating meals. When he started living with Bruce, he had to get used to the idea of good food. In Arkham he got fed bland mush a few times a day, and when he got out he ate mostly just snacks throughout the day.
So, when he sat down in the chair that the waiter pulled out for him and was handed a menu with tons of different food on it, he was a bit overwhelmed. An entire page of wines and beers in the back, then at the front a section for salads and soups, which were all under the title of ‘appetizers’. Then there were two pages of ‘entrees’.
He swallowed, suddenly feeling very overwhelmed. He looked over at Bruce over his menu.
“Uhhh… Bruce?” He cringed at the horrible voice crack he’d just had.
Bruce looked up at him, concern across his face. “Yeah? Are you ok?”
“Uhh…” John sunk into his chair a few inches. “I don’t… I don’t really know what this all means..”
Bruce blinked, then realized he meant the menu. “Oh, well, appetizers are what you get first. Smaller dishes that you eat while you wait for your main dish. Entrees are the main dishes.”
John sunk lower. God, that should’ve been obvious! “I… I see.”
“Hey, hey, don’t beat yourself up about it.” Bruce insisted. “This is your first time at a real restaurant. It’s normal.”
John nodded, sitting up again, because it probably wasn’t polite to slouch. “It’s… there’s a lot of options to choose from.”
“Get whatever you want.”
Their waiter came in and placed a basket of something on the table, and Bruce thanked him. John looked from the basket to Bruce, waiting for him to do something with it.
“It’s bread.”
John blinked. “I.. what?”
“Bread. He gave us bread.” Bruce replied, smiling softly at him. “Take some. It’s really good.”
John lifted the cloth of the basket, revealing warm rolls. He took one and bit into it. His eyes lit up.
“Is this.. Free?”
Bruce nodded. “Yeah, they give it to everyone.”
“So.. if we take some home it’s… not stealing?”
Bruce chuckled, taking one for himself. “Not… not really? Do you want to take some home?”
“It’s really good! This is great!”
“I’m sure we can ask them.” Bruce replied.
Dinner went relatively smoothly, aside from John’s reactions to the food he’d ordered. He got french onion soup for his starter, and seemed fascinated by the fact that cheese was layered on top of it. He got a nice cut of steak for his main course, and the entire time he kept looking over at Bruce. Now THERE was a five-course meal.
John giggled to himself at the thought, and Bruce tilted his head.
“Everything alright over there?”
John grinned. “Mhm! Just thinking about you!”
Bruce blinked. “Thinking about me?”
“Yeah! I could eat you up!”
Bruce cleared his throat and sipped his wine. “Uh… thanks?”
“You’re a whole meal!” John replied, because Bruce was. He probably tasted better than the steak.
Bruce gave him a small smile, his cheeks flushed. “Thanks. Again.” John couldn’t stop smiling. No wonder Bruce complimented him all the time, it felt great!
John shoved another roll into his mouth, and they were on their third basket. “I have some pockets in this suit. I can sneak some of this bread out easily!”
Bruce chuckled at that, covering up his mouth. “You really have your heart set on that bread, don’t you?”
“Of course! It’s delicious!”
“Not as delicious as you.”
A silence fell over the two men. John’s eyes were blown, and Bruce was blushing and looking down at his empty plate. God, did he really just say that?
“Oh, Bruce… wow.” John swallowed hard. Now Bruce was just getting him all hot and bothered. “You… dang.”
“Too much?” Bruce asked, looking over at him. John quickly shook his head.
“No, no! I… it just caught me off guard. In a good way, I think.”
Bruce gave him another smile.
After paying and a few failed attempts at getting enough rolls into John’s pockets, Bruce led him out of the restaurant, and John decided that his first real dining experience had been a good one. He held the styrofoam leftovers container tightly in one hand, holding Bruce’s hand with his other even tighter.
“So, patrol tonight.” John stated as they got into the car. Bruce didn’t say anything as he started to drive, as if John hadn’t said anything. Just when John was beginning to get uncomfortable with the silence, Bruce spoke.
“I actually thought we should stay in.” He said. “Just because we’re going home doesn’t mean the date is over.”
John smiled. He loved their work, but it would be nice to spend a night in with Bruce, even if it was just cuddling. What did people even do on dates?
When they reached the manor, John put the rolls in the fridge, and he overheard Bruce give Alfred the night off.
“We’re just staying in, tonight.” He heard Bruce say.
“Staying in? Really?”
“Yes, really.”
“You haven’t stayed in in a long time. Pressing matters to attend to?”
“As a matter of fact, yes. Very pressing matters.”
“Ah, I see. Well, don’t let me stop you two. Just, try not to be too loud, will you?”
John practically heard Bruce’s eyebrows shoot up, and he had to cover his own mouth to silence his gasp. Was Alfred really implying..?
“Al! Oh, my god- I…”
The Brit laughed, clearly pleased with himself. “Oh, Bruce. Have a good night.”
John slipped out of the kitchen, and his cheeks were on fire. Bruce watched Alfred go down the hall, rubbing a hand over his face, clearly embarrassed. John settled his chin on Bruce’s shoulder.
“No promises.” He purred, his arms wrapping around Bruce.
Bruce blinked. “W-what?”
“No promises that I’ll be quiet.” Bruce’s eyes widened. “I’ve never done this before… and certainly not with someone as perfect as you.” Bruce gave him smirk, and he trailed his hand up and down John’s back.
“Room?”
“Oh, god, yes.”
They both realized they were being a bit ridiculous, and the two men couldn’t help but chuckle to each other as they walked.
They kissed before they even got to their room, and John giggled into Bruce’s mouth softly. Now the nerves were coming out.
Bruce cupped John’s cheek, shutting the door with his hip blindly. John shed his jacket, and wrapped his arms around Bruce’s neck. He wanted him as close as possible.
Bruce slid one hand down John’s back, pulling his lower half closer. They were kissing harder, and when Bruce asked for entrance John gave it instantly. Bruce pressed his tongue against John’s gently, and John tentatively pressed his back, humming against his lips.
John tugged on Bruce’s jacket, and Bruce dropped his arms for moment to slip it off, before returning them to where they belonged. He pulled off of John’s lips to kiss at his neck instead, and John let out a soft whine of pleasure. Bruce unbuttoned the top button of John’s shirt so he could kiss and nip where no marks would be seen, but he felt John shake his head.
“No, no, Bruce… want everyone to see…”
Bruce almost moaned as he marked an obvious spot on John’s neck. He did seriously enjoy the idea of people seeing the marks he gave John, enjoyed the idea of people knowing who John belonged to.
He nipped at John’s pulse point and sucked to make a mark appear, and from John’s soft noises he knew he was enjoying it.
“Bruce.. we should..” John felt weak, like his knees would give out.
Bruce wasted no time in returning his lips to John’s and he guided them over to their bed. He sat down and John promptly followed, getting comfortable in Bruce’s lap. John began to undo Bruce’s tie blindly, his long fingers working at the fabric. He smiled into their kiss, and moaned when Bruce began to nip at his bottom lip. He began to unbutton Bruce’s shirt, and Bruce hummed against his lips.
He moved his hands to John’s hips, squeezing firmly, and John giggled as he began to push off Bruce’s shirt. Bruce was seriously stunning, and John wanted to memorize his entire torso.
John kissed him gently, needing to ground himself. His mind was running wild with ideas and thoughts. They made him feel fuzzy. He rocked his hips ever so slightly, unable to help himself, and his breath hitched in his chest. That tiny amount of contact was breathtaking.
Bruce smiled to himself, seeing John's eyes light up when he slipped his shirt off. He nibbled on John’s bottom lip, then sucked gently. John gave a soft moan.
Bruce began to slip off John’s tie, and after it was off, John grabbed one of Bruce’s hands and placed it right beneath his hip, just where his ass started.
Bruce slid it lower, until his hand was covering John’s cheek. The younger man giggled, nodding encouragingly. Bruce squeezed, and John let out a gasp, then a whimper.
The contact was so good. John couldn't imagine what it would be like skin to skin. Surely, that would kill him.
He got lost in the feeling of Bruce’s hand on his ass, not even noticing what his other hand was doing until his felt cold air rush over his shoulder. He shivered, and Bruce pressed a kiss to his shoulder.
He found himself staring at John's chest, once again entranced by the pale skin. Bruce found it perfect in every way. He pressed a kiss to John’s chest, lips touching warm skin. John gave a soft whimper as Bruce’s lips touched one of his nipples. It went directly between his legs, and he tightened his grip on Bruce’s hair.
Bruce slipped his hand from John’s ass, much to his dismay, but instead moved it to John’s thigh. He rubbed the inside of John’s thigh, and the younger man’s eyes widened.
“B-Bruce, ah..”
Bruce stilled his hand. “Too much?”
“No, it's perfect. Please..”
Bruce didn't need to be told twice. John looked like he was in pure bliss, and he began to rub his thigh again. John let out a soft whimper, closing his eyes.
He felt Bruce’s hand slide up a few inches, and John opened his eyes, staring at Bruce. Bruce’s eyes met his just as he placed his hand against John’s clothed length. John kissed Bruce roughly. He needed to calm his nerves. He needed Bruce.
Bruce kissed him back, waiting for a sign to continue. John nodded against his lips after a moment, and Bruce began to undo his belt.
He went slowly, pressing his palm against John occasionally. Bruce’s hands were perfect on his body, like they were always meant to be there.
John was definitely hard now, and he made a soft noise after Bruce popped the button on his pants. He lifted his hips up, kissing Bruce roughly as they were pulled down his hips. Bruce managed to slip them off entirely, and he pulled John back down into his lap.
“Gorgeous..” Bruce murmured against his lips. John pulled away to giggle to himself, unable to stop it. His nerves were rising, and they rose higher as he began to think of everything that could go wrong in their situation.
“Hey..” He heard Bruce say to him softly, and he looked back to him. Bruce had noticed the quickening of his breath and the way his pupils had shrunk. He took one of John’s hands and kissed it carefully.
“I'm here..”
John couldn't help but lightly giggle again. He pressed his forehead against Bruce’s, and it was just nice to be with him. To be with the man he loved.
Bruce ran his hand over John’s hip, and John kissed him softly. The younger man moved his free hand to Bruce’s chest, rubbing at a fading scar. He moved his hand downward, and it stopped at his pants. John tugged at Bruce’s belt.
Bruce kissed him and John took it as a good sign. He pulled off the belt with ease and before he could continue, Bruce wrapped his arms around him and pulled him down on to the bed, so they were laying down with John on top.
John gazed down at the man below him. God, he was so in love. Almost stupidly so. How could he have lived for so long without Bruce’s touch? How did he manage to live without feeling his love?
Bruce cupped John’s cheek, staring into those bright green eyes. They should've done this weeks ago. He kissed him gently, and John was brought back to reality. He straightened up slightly, just to get Bruce’s pants off.
He was about to join him again, but he stopped his movement suddenly, a gasp escaping his lips. Their lengths had pressed together, and it caught John off guard.
Bruce gave a soft hum at the contact, and he leaned up, pressing a kiss to John’s jaw. “Switch?”
John nodded silently, and allowed Bruce to switch their positions. He looked up at Bruce, watching him reach over and grab something from the stand next to the bed. It was a small bottle of lube, and knowing Bruce it was probably ridiculously expensive. Bruce leaned down and kissed John gently. He held the bottle in one hand while he laced the fingers of his free one with John’s.
Bruce pressed their hips together and John shuddered, his hips rolling at the contact. He squeezed his hand as he did it again.
“Oh..”
Sure, John had taken himself into his own hand multiple times, but this was far different. It was so different with someone else.
Bruce let go of John’s hand to run his fingers down John’s torso, and he stopped his hand at John’s boxers. John raised his hips for him without a word, and Bruce pulled them off.
John shivered as cool air hit his skin, and he settled back down on the bed as Bruce slipped off his own boxers. He slowly pressed their hips together, and John let out a content sigh.
Bruce began to feel him again, rubbing the inside of his thigh, and even ran his hand over his length slowly.
John pressed his head back against the pillow, moaning softly.
“Bruce, oh..”
Bruce squeezed his hip and pushed John’s leg back gently. John hummed as he spread his legs, and he slid his hands up to Bruce’s shoulders.
Bruce opened the lube and began to coat two of his fingers. He closed it again, then lowered his hand between John’s legs. He pressed against John’s entrance, and John almost jumped at the cold feeling.
Bruce pulled his fingers away. “Shit, sorry.”
“It's just… really cold.” John said softly. “But, please continue.”
Bruce kissed his forehead and pressed his fingers against John again. John shivered, but when Bruce pushed in slightly he stopped caring about the coldness of the lube.
It felt a bit odd, admittedly, but not uncomfortable. He let out a sigh as Bruce pushed farther, and he squeezed his shoulder.
“Mmm, ahh..”
Bruce worked it in and out, gradually opening John up. He added a second finger and moved them slightly faster, causing John to moan.
“Aaah… oh, Bruce..” John moved his hips against Bruce’s fingers. Bruce began to scissor him, and John moaned louder. It was slowly starting to turn to pleasure, and John adjusted himself. It was getting to be almost too much.
“Bruce, Bruce…” He ran his hand from Bruce’s shoulder down his arm. “I’m ready..”
Bruce nodded, scissoring John once or twice more before slipping his fingers out. John felt empty without them, and he couldn't help but whimper when they were pulled out.
Bruce applied lube to his length, and he pressed against John’s entrance. John gave him a small nod, and Bruce pushed into him.
John squeezed Bruce’s shoulders. It was far from painful, but it wasn't the most pleasurable thing, either.
“Mm.. ah..” John let his eyes wander over Bruce’s front, helping to distract him. Bruce soon was entirely in, sighing softly under his breath, and John cupped his cheek as they kissed. Bruce gave John’s hips a squeeze.
“Bruce.. Mm..” John sighed softly. “When you’re ready..”
Bruce kissed him as he began to move his hips slowly, and John moaned into his mouth. He wrapped his legs around Bruce’s hips and began to move with him. They broke apart and John moaned softly beneath Bruce. It all began to feel so perfect, so right. This was how it was always meant to be.
John wrapped his arms around Bruce’s neck and pulled him close. He wanted him. He needed him. Bruce kissed at his neck, biting the places John loved. He adjusted his angle and began to thrust harder, and John cried out softly.
“Bruce..! Ah, oh, god!”
Bruce bit down on the pulse point on his skin, moaning softly. John felt perfect around him.
“Yes- aaah! More!”
Bruce did as he was told, thrusting harder and faster into his love. John dug his nails into Bruce’s skin.
“Come on, baby.. come on…” Bruce encouraged softly.
He adjusted his angle again, and John clenched around him, crying out loudly as he brushed against the perfect spot.
“Bruce!! Oh, fuck, yes!! Right there!”
Bruce moaned as John tightened around him, beginning to thrust directly into that bundle of nerves.
“Mm, John, fuck..” Bruce pressed their lips together, moaning against John's lips. He pulled away to kiss at his neck again.
“Aaah!! Bruce- I'm..!”
Bruce thrust into him, hitting his spot directly as he bit down on his neck. “Come on, baby, cum for me.”
John cried out loudly, his back arching up as he came. Bruce followed him quickly, moaning against John’s skin as he released inside of him.
John gradually came down from his high, his hand absentmindedly running up and down Bruce’s back. The entire room was silent, only the breathing of the two men could be heard.
Bruce lifted a hand after a moment, and ran it down John’s arm, before gently locking their fingers together. John squeezed his hand before a small smile crossed his face. He was so unbelievably happy.
Bruce lifted himself up, and carefully pulled out of John. John blinked up at him, a small noise escaping his lips. Bruce kissed his forehead and sat up, then was off to the bathroom. John stared after him, closing his legs as his body shivered. He felt so cold without Bruce with him, without Bruce in him.
Bruce quickly returned with a washcloth, laying down on the bed next to John. John wrapped his arms around him and pulled him close, and Bruce responded by wrapping an arm around his waist and burying his face in John’s hair.
“I love you…” John mumbled softly, and Bruce kissed his forehead.
“I love you, too.” There was a pause as Bruce rubbed John’s hip gently. “May I clean you up?”
John nodded, closing his eyes. “Please..” Bruce trailed the cloth down John’s back before pressing lightly against his entrance. John shifted against him, shivering at the touch. Bruce kissed his forehead again.
He cleaned up their fronts as well, making sure to get everything. He pulled the cloth away when he was finished and sat to get up again. John wrapped his arms around his waist.
“Bruuuuuce..”
Bruce ran a hand through John’s hair. “Won't let me get up, huh?”
“Nuh-uh.”
He dropped the cloth to the floor lamely, deciding that it could spend the night on the floor. “Ok, hold on.”
He laid back down and pulled the covers over both of them. John giggled against his neck, snuggling against him. He'd gotten colder and colder as he'd laid down, so he welcomed the warmth.
“Better?” Bruce asked. John nodded quickly. Everything was so perfect. He was so happy...
It was overwhelming. It was too much. He sat up, feeling very hot.
Bruce looked up at him, tilting his head. “John..?”
John closed his eyes. It was all so much. “I'm… I need a second.”
Bruce nodded, but he was still concerned. Was John sick? Was he upset?
After a few deep breaths, John laid back down with Bruce, burying his face in his neck. Bruce lightly ran a hand up and down John’s back, trying to be comforting but not pushy.
“I'm… I’m really sorry..” John mumbled. His mind always managed to go to the worst of places, even when he was happy. He hated it. He shouldn't have been like that. Normal people weren't like that.
“Hey, hey, nothing to be sorry for.” Bruce replied. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“I just… got really upset. I don't know why. I was so happy, thinking about how lucky I was and how much I love you… then it was just too much.”
“It’s perfectly ok.” Bruce said. “I just want to make sure that you’re alright.”
“If you love me, then I’m perfect.”
Bruce raised his eyebrows, then gave him a small smile. “Well, I do love you.”
“Promise?”
“Promise.”