"You want to cut my hair." Most of the time, his questions were statements.
You stared into his beautiful blue eyes, always wondering what was going on behind them. What the inside of his mind looked like.
Bruce Wayne was an enigma, and you knew you were lucky to see a glimpse even into one corner of his private world. Behind the cowl and the cape, was the man now gazing up at you.
He was also in desperate need of a haircut.
You smiled down at him (how often could you say that? looking down?), hesitating before reaching to tug a little on the fringe that so often fell over his eyes.
"Well, it seems to be getting in the way. Doesn't it bother you?"
Bruce shrugged, his expression unchanging. He was reclining in his chair, his arms crossed casually over his t-shirt clad chest. Black, of course. Even if something did bother him, no one would ever know. He was inexplicably selfless, or completely uncaring of himself in an apathetic way.
You couldn't decide.
"If you'll let me, I can give it a trim. I used to cut my brothers' hair all the time growing up," you said, tapping your finger lightly against his temple as you stood close enough to him to feel the heat of his own body. Sometimes you couldn't help yourself from relishing in these casual touches. That you got to be near him, touch him, and he let you. You didn't always push your luck, but sometimes you couldn't help yourself.
He thought for a moment, searching your eyes, before giving the tiniest nod. "Sure."
He was sitting on his chair near his computer, watching film from the night. He was obsessive that way. He was un-showered, the dark kohl around his eyes smudged and running. Tonight was better than most, his face unmarred except for a healing bruise from a few days prior.
"Take a break, honey," you said softy, reaching for his hand. You felt reckless with your touches tonight, using the excuse of needing to physically drag him from his work. "It's easier to cut when your hair is wet," you said, urging him to follow you upstairs.
When you finally reached your destination, you had him sit on the edge of the bath while you grabbed a chair.
He waited, looking at you, face completely open. Bruce Wayne rarely presented as content in the public eye, but with you, he seemed to step out of the darkness a little.
"First, I'm going to clean your face," you said. You knew you didn't need to narrate everything—he would let you do whatever you wanted. Still, you thought of how many people took advantage of the man behind the mask. No one really ever did anything for him.
Using a warm wash cloth, you started at his forehead, swiping gently over his face while cupping his chin in your other hand. You avoided the healing bruise, but reached forward to brush a chaste kiss to his jaw where it bloomed. You were feeling particularly rash tonight. Selfishly, you wished you could do this all the time.
His eyes fluttered closed as he leaned into your touch. Your heart soared at this simple gesture from him. This sign of trust.
You took a moment to let yourself scan his features while you washed him. His sharp jaw and strong cheekbones. The faint line of a scar on his right temple. The length of his lashes brushing against the tops of his cheeks. Open and vulnerable, and right in front of you. It wasn't often that he let himself be this way.
He was gorgeous, of course. You felt a surge of emotion in your chest, bubbling its way up your throat.
In the back of your mind, the vision of Atlas and his tired shoulders.
You swiped dutifully under his eyes, using the lightest of touches to remove the kohl.
"You know," you said, with laughter in your voice, "you wear more makeup than me sometimes."
Bruce's lips twitched, giving you a hint of a smile, while he kept his eyes closed.
When all of the kohl was gone, you asked him to open his eyes. Some black still remained near his waterline, so you swiped it away with your finger, urging him to look up. Standing between his legs, his hands came to settle on your waist, not quite squeezing, but letting them still there.
Even after all this time, your breath came a little faster from his touch. In these moments, when it was just you two, you relished in the simplest displays of intimacy. The rarity of them not lost on you.
"All gone," you whispered, running the back of your hand down his face from temple to jaw.
"Can you take off your shirt?"
He quirked an eyebrow, but did as you asked, revealing his broad shoulders and toned chest. The scars that you had already grown used to
As you did, you had him lean back in his chair over the tub, using the detachable shower head to wet his hair with warm water. Wrapping a towel around his shoulders to protect against any falling droplets, you reached for the shampoo you had grabbed from the shower, lathering it in your hands.
You ran your fingers through his hair before scrubbing and massaging his scalp, focusing on taking care of him. You loved the feeling of someone washing your hair, and you wondered if Bruce ever experienced that. As far as you knew he seemed to like when you touched him—he often turned toward you when you did so, opening up for more. Despite his reserved nature, you'd hope he would tell you if it bothered him. More often than his touch, you often felt his gaze when working on paperwork for the hospital, or when you did your makeup. His displays of affection were more from a distance.
As you massaged his temples, he let out a deep sigh, his head getting a little heavier as he relaxed. At the sound, you felt your lips move upward.
"I can't tell you how good that feels," he said softly. Your stomach flipped with pleasure, and that emotion bubbled up once more. Waves of fondness crashed over you when his hands found your hips again, his thumbs tracing light circle.
This was the side of Bruce that no one else got to see. In your head, you said a thank you to whatever power let you have him. I must have been a saint in my past life, you thought dreamily.
"Sometimes, I never know if you enjoy being touched," you said hesitantly, breaking the silence a moment later, but focusing on the task at hand instead of looking down at him, where he was surely looking up at you.
"What do you mean," he said, almost anxiously, waiting for your response.
At the panic in his voice, you finally looked down, continuing to massage his head. Bright blue eyes met yours with furrowed brows.
"I mean, sometimes I worry that I cross boundaries," you said, frowning. "I feel greedy, sometimes, with how much I want to be near you. Always touching you. But I never want you to feel like you can't tell me to stop. I know you like your space," you admitted, shrugging to minimize the seriousness that had settled between you, stilling your hands in his hair.
He stared at you a moment, before pulling your hips closer.
"C'mere," He finally tugged, pulling your body down to his and situating your legs on either side of him. Now, you were nose to nose, lips perfectly in line.
"I know I don't—" he said, his eyes flittering back and forth as he swallowed. You tentatively lowered your arms around his neck, crossing your wrists to keep the soap off of him, while you waited for him to finish.
"I know I don't always initiate things," he said, leaning his forehead against you, as if to make up for his words. "I didn't grow up around the people I loved. I had no one to show me what it's supposed to be like, beyond Alfred."
He reached up to stroke your face, just as you had done earlier, and you inhaled softly.
"But with you, I get to finally feel what it's like. You can't imagine what it's like to go so long—so many years—without touch, and then to feel it from the one person you want it from most."
He leaned back again, looking into your eyes, as if waiting for the words to fully sink in. You took note of the suds in his hair. It would be funny if what he was saying didn't feel so serious—like a cosmic shift in this relationship.
Then, Bruce Wayne smiled. "Sometimes," he said, still grinning, "I wish you would touch me more."
At those words, you leaned in, kissing him sweetly. All this time of loving him, from afar, and now you had all the permission you needed.
You kissed him deeper, feeling arms encircle you, pressing you closer. It was not like the other, brief, chaste kisses that you often felt like you were stealing from him. This felt like a gift.
He wanted you to touch him.
Absorbed in the kiss, and feeling his tongue trace your lips, you almost forgot about the task at hand, until Bruce shivered underneath you as water trailed down his neck from his wet hair.
Breaking apart, you leaned your forehead against his, turning your head slightly to catch your breath. You were practically vibrating from the brief make out session. You laughed lightly, finally leaning back to look at him.
"I'm supposed to be cutting your hair, honey, not going weak in the knees," you laughed again, gazing at his eyes. His pupils were blown, and yours were probably the same.
How could you describe this feeling in your chest? You imagined it was like finding that last puzzle piece, inserting it, and having everything fit perfectly.
Like someone had turned on a light and bathed everything in color.
You moved to stand again, but Bruce held your hips tighter, keeping you from leaving.
"Honey, how am I supposed to wash your hair like this," you said, teasing him. He sighed, leaning forward to brush his lips against your cheek once more. Your heart ached at the tenderness of it all. At the intimacy.
Reluctantly, he let you go, allowing you to finish your job. You rinsed the suds from his hair, brushing your long nails through his locks as warm water worked its way through. Bruce groaned when your nails lightly scratched his scalp, resuming the massage, buying more time before you had to towel him off and begin cutting. The sound made you smile.
"You know," you started, breaking the silence. "You have incredible hair for not really taking care of it."
"You can do this whenever you want to," he answered back, his eyes closed serenely. His voice sounded deep and relaxed, which is exactly what you wanted.
Even Vengeance, you thought, needs a break sometimes.
You used both hands to dry his hair, rubbing the towel over his head softly. You thought about being in a hair salon—how clean you felt after having someone else wash your hair. If it felt good for a stranger to do, it must feel even better coming from someone who loves you. You hoped he felt the love you were trying to show him, hoped he could feel it down to your fingertips.
You grabbed the comb, wanting to get rid of all the knots before you started cutting. It had been years since you had cut anyone's hair, but you were confident in just cutting off a few inches.
Before you grabbed the scissors, you leaned down (though not much, because even in a chair Bruce was tall. You barely came to shoulder while standing) and brushed a kiss across his shoulder. He shuddered.
"Don't hate me if I mess up a little, my love," you said, jokingly. You wouldn't mess up, but you were sure he wouldn't care if you did.
"I don't think I could ever hate you," he said, tilting his head back to look at you. You think maybe your heart stopped for a moment.
The city of Gotham knew Bruce Wayne, billionaire orphan. And they knew the masked vigilante called Vengeance. Only you knew Bruce, vulnerable.
Bruce looked straight ahead, letting you section and cut his hair, gingerly raking your fingers through it. You were determined to just clean it up—he always looked nice, but you thought he might appreciate the clean feeling that comes after a haircut.
Silence carried on between the two of you. Occasionally you would rub his shoulder, or massage his head in between cuts. When you couldn't help it, you would press a kiss to a scar that reflected silver in the bathroom light. Each time, Bruce drew a breath.
"Halfway done, honey," you said as you rounded to the front. As you did, his hands came to rest on your hips, like he had been waiting for you. He opened his legs wider, allowing you to step between them again. You felt so small, sandwiched between both of his legs. It made something inside of you stir.
Why had you been holding back this entire time? Could it have always been like this?
"I like when you call me that," he said. Bruce was gazing at you with contentment, a lazy smile pulling at the corner of his mouth. He was beautiful.
You felt yourself blush, trying to focus on his hair. Had this Bruce been in there, buried, this whole time?
You finished cutting the remainder of his hair relatively quickly after that, brushing whatever had fallen off his shoulders. His hair was still wet, and he would need to rinse off before you got to see it styled, but you knew it looked good.
"All done, Mr. Batman," you grinned, stepping back to admire him.
Bruce tilted his head, eyes and mouth and everything smiling, looking up.