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A Bird in the Hand

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I lay on my back, staring up at the ceiling, acutely aware of the warm heaviness lying against my side, of the soft breathing in my ear. If I turned my head, I would be able to see how beautiful he was as he slept, a tiny smile on his face. I had left the bedside lamp on, turned low so as not to disturb him while he slept, on purpose. It's not that I needed the light – God knows that the Dark and I have been close companions for years. It's that I needed to see him, needed to watch him while he slept. It had been a long day, and an anxious night while I searched for him, but I still couldn't sleep. My mind was too full of thoughts to sleep.

I had just made love to Dick Grayson. My ward and friend for nine years, my student and partner for seven years.

My – until this evening – virgin underage ward.

If They ever found out, they would take him away from me and throw me into the darkest prison cell they could find, my money be damned. Never mind that I had never thought of Dick in that way until the day a few months earlier when I suddenly realized that he had grown up into a beautiful, intelligent young man. Never mind that Dick was a man in everything but number of years, had stared death in the face and risked his life on more than one occasion. Never mind that no one had ever forced Dick to do anything he didn't want to do – as the many times we've gone toe-to-toe could testify. They would see the black and white facts of the matter, and judge us, and both our lives would be over.

And the facts were that I had seduced an underage virgin into my bed.

A smile tugged at the corner of my mouth, interrupting the brood that I'd started. In point of fact, he did the seducing, even if the first kiss had been mine. I could see him again in my mind's eye, blue eyes awash with tears and pain as he hurled the fact of his love in my face, daring me to reject him. And I couldn't. Couldn't allow him to suffer any more – couldn't allow myself to suffer, when what we'd both wanted was within our grasp. And so I'd kissed him

He'd kissed me back. Hell, he'd climbed me as easily as any circus rigging, had wrapped his arms and legs around me, and had come on the force of our kisses and the friction of his body against mine. And he'd been so beautiful in that moment, with his skin flushed and his mouth hard against mine, that I'd been hard-pressed not to come myself. But I'd managed to summon controls I've perfected over the years, to hold it back, because I was damned if I was going to have him this first time up against a wall. No, I decided that it would be in my bed or not at all.

And you wonder why Dick sometimes calls me a control freak.

He'd been beautiful lying in my bed, too, so erotically beautiful with his body writhing under mine as I teased him with my mouth, as he screamed his release into the pillow he clutched to his face. Later, as his body smoothly undulated alongside mine, I found myself buried deep within him as I had longed to be but hadn't even dared to hope. And he was crying my name, over and over, until he finally exploded and went limp. But the most breathtakingly beautiful part of all was when he opened his eyes and looked up at me, his new sexual awareness blending with his barely-lost innocence. And it was a look I wanted to see again.

I pressed a kiss against his forehead and allowed my hand to change from merely holding him to stroking the skin of his back. He stirred against me, eyes blinking open and then a slow, sultry smile crossed his face.

"Hi," he murmured, turning his head up to kiss me. "Can't sleep?"

I kissed him back. "I'd rather watch you."

He grinned and rolled over onto me, his hips straddling my body. "Don't let me stop you," he said, and leaned back down for a kiss.

The feel of his lithe, firm body against mine did things to my libido that hadn't happened in years. I kissed him back, then smiled up at him. "Want to do it again?"

His eyes fired up. "Can we?" he breathed, and leaned down to kiss me with all the heat of youth. "Like before?"

I wrapped my arms around him, holding his body close as I returned his kisses. "No, you'll be too sore for that. Let me show you something new."

Dick grinned wickedly at that. "I'm all yours."

I rolled with him, pinning him beneath my body, and grinned back. "I noticed."

"So – you gonna do anything about it, or just lie there?" he teased. I kissed him fiercely, then began to move against him, allowing our bodies to rub together. He moaned and arched under me, trying to press our bodies closer together, then gasped as our cocks slid alongside each other.

"Bruce!" he gasped. "Oh, God!"

"Feels good, doesn't it?" I murmured, nipping along his jaw line until I reached his ear. Gently, I took the lobe between my teeth, playing with it, and he moaned again, shuddering.


I continued to feast on his body – the side of his neck, the spot right under his collarbone, his firm shoulder. He threw his head back, his eyes closed as he abandoned himself to pleasure, and the sight of it drove me crazy with desire and need. I rocked against him, faster and faster, and heard him cry out a second before I felt the warm splash against my skin. And then I was coming, too, pleasure slamming through my body as I ground my body against his.

I propped myself up on my elbows and looked down into his face, and I couldn't help smiling. Dick was sprawled on the bed, face and body slowly losing its flush, his face glowing. He looked like a debauched angel. My debauched angel, I thought with a little laugh. At least the wings fit with reality.

He opened his eyes at the sound of my laugh and smiled. "What's so funny?"

"Nothing. Just feeling – happy." I leaned down to kiss him again, a tender kiss this time. "I love you."

His eyes widened as he pulled back from the kiss. "Wh-what did you say?"

I gave him an amused look. "What – you expect me to say it again?"

"I didn't expect you to say it the first time."

His voice was low, his eyes half-closed. I rolled off him and sat on the bed looking down at him. "Dick? What do you mean? I know that I don't express my feelings out loud often, but surely you realized how I feel about you."

He still wasn't looking at me, which I thought was an ominous sign, and he shrugged. "I knew that you wanted me, but – "

I didn't know whether to pull the impossible boy into my arms and kiss him insensible, or pull him over my knee and paddle him. I settled for the first option, holding the second in reserve. Holding him wrapped tightly in my arms as he tried to catch his breath, I said fiercely, "Richard Grayson, don't you ever do that again! Do you hear me?" I shook him a little. "Don't you ever go to bed with someone just because they want you, no matter how much you love them!"

"Jesus, Bruce!" he gasped. "Let me breathe, would ya?"


"I promise, all right?" I eased my grip on him and he gave me a look that was half impish, half hopeful. "After all, I don't intend to go to bed with anyone but you from now on."

"Good," I said, kissing him again fiercely. Then I pushed him down on the bed and proceeded to prove just how possessive I could be, an exercise that had him screaming as he came down my throat before he collapsed into an exhausted and sated sleep.

I must have drifted off to sleep in spite of myself because the next thing I knew was that light was shining in through the windows. I had awakened suddenly, some noise triggering my instincts, and looked around the room warily. Nothing appeared to be amiss and I settled back down on the pillows, but now that I was awake I couldn't go back to sleep. Dick had shifted in his sleep so that he now lay sprawled half across my body, his head on my chest and his legs intertwined with mine. My fingers automatically carded through his short, dark hair as I thought about all the twists and turns of our lives that had brought us to this moment.

I thought back to that dark, horrible night, the night he saw his parents fall to their deaths. The police had swarmed over the area with their questions and investigations. Circus folk and gawking bystanders had crowded the entrances to the big top, talking and speculating and staring. And all the while a small boy had sat on the first row of the bleachers, silent and still and alone.

Something in that too-quiet figure had touched a chord deep within me. I had sat like that once, on a bench inside a police station, waiting for Alfred to come and take me home while the world spun around me, agog at the murder of the wealthy Waynes. I had wondered suddenly if this boy had anyone to take him home, if he had a home. Surely someone at the circus – or the owner - or maybe the boy knew if there was family to go to. And I had crossed the ring and crouched in front of him and said his name.


He had looked up at me with eyes that reflected a pain that was soul deep. Eyes that were mirrors for my own. How could I not respond to that? I don't even remember opening my arms. He had flung his arms around my neck and buried his face against my shoulder, sobbing his heart out. And suddenly I was overwhelmed with the need to protect and cherish this fragile little spirit. Playboy Bruce Wayne - who hadn't been part of a family in far too many years and who wouldn't know what to do with a child if he had one - had fought for the right to become guardian to this orphan with no family to turn to, and had carried him off in triumph to Wayne Manor. Where, thankfully, Alfred was more than willing to raise another orphaned boy, and where two lonely orphans had become friends, and partners, and now lovers.

Did I say fragile? My lips twitched, and I glanced fondly down at the dark head resting on my chest. I had soon learned that there wasn't a fragile bone in his body, and that his spirit was twice as strong as men two or three times his age. He also had an inexhaustible bundle of energy, was always in movement – a fact that I'd found exasperating on dozens of occasions when I've wanted to snap at him to just sit still for a moment.

It looked like I had finally found a way to burn off some of that energy. Dick was sleeping soundly, sprawled across my chest and three-quarters of my bed. And it only involved making him climax five times in one night to do it.

At this rate, I'd be dead inside a year.

Dick stirred in his sleep and snuggled in closer. I couldn't resist the urge to kiss the top of his head, and was rewarded when a sleepy face turned upward for a real kiss.

"Morning," I murmured.

"Mmm," he purred. "I like this way of waking up." He shifted his body on top of mine and grinned down at me.

I gave him an amused look. "Oh, you do?"

"Uh-huh. I think that we should wake up like this every morning." The look he gave me was a combination of hopefulness and uncertainty, and it was absolutely endearing.

"Sounds like an excellent idea," I replied, and was rewarded with one of his brilliant smiles. I slid my hands down to cup his ass, careful not to apply too much pressure since it was undoubtedly still painful. "And I've got an idea as well." I watched the anticipatory grin cross his face and said, deliberately, "A shower." He groaned and I scowled at him. "Have a heart, chum. Not all of us are seventeen."

"Oh, all right," he said reluctantly, rolling off me and letting me out of the bed. "Go get your shower then."

"Actually, I was thinking about a shared one," I said as I started towards the bathroom. In the doorway, I turned and looked at him over my shoulder. "Coming?"

I always knew that Dick could move fast…


It wasn't until we were drying off after our shared shower that I brought up the other matter between us. "Richard, you know that after breakfast we're going to have to discuss the rest of last night's event."

I saw him swallow. "Do we have to?"

I sighed. I'd been afraid of this, afraid that he would think that our becoming lovers meant that I was going to let him get away with his misbehavior, or that I'd ease up on him in training. He was about to get an unpleasant shock – I couldn't afford to lessen an iota of my vigilance in training him. One moment's carelessness out There could get him killed.

"Dick, you know that what you did was wrong – "

"Yes," Dick said, interrupting me hastily. "I meant, do we have to wait till after breakfast. I – I don't think I could eat a bite knowing what was coming."

I stared at him in surprise. "You want to have our discussion now? Before breakfast?"

He nodded, giving me an uncertain look. "You've never made me wait before."

He was right – I hadn't. I knew, having faced my fair share of punishment when I was younger, that the dread of what was coming could be worse than the punishment itself. I'd never made him wait longer than it took for us to get to a private place.

I nodded. "All right, but not here." The last thing I wanted was for him to associate my bedroom with pain of any sort. I tossed him my robe. "Wait in your room. I'll be there in a minute."

He nodded and silently pulled on the robe, then left. I took a few minutes to finish drying my hair and pulled on casual clothes, then walked down the hallway to Dick's room carrying the tray Alfred had left in his room the night before.

Dick had pulled on a shirt and shorts and was sitting on the side of the bed. He looked up at me as I entered and nervously licked his lips, then looked back down at his hands. I set the tray on the dresser and crossed to sit down on the bed next to him.

"Richard, we discussed your lying to me last night, but there were other things you did last night that were wrong." He nodded, still not looking up. "You didn't risk your life foolishly, so I think a hand-spanking will be sufficient. You know what to do."

He stood up and reluctantly pushed his shorts and briefs down to his knees, then settled into place over my lap. I made sure that he was secure and that his cock was tucked away safely, then rested my hand on his upturned bottom.

"All right, Richard. What is this for?"

"For going to that place. And for drinking."

There was a small hint of defiance in his voice, as if he still disagreed with my assessment that the place was too dangerous for him. I swatted him hard and heard his grunt of surprise.

"It was a stupid thing to do." I continued to spank him as I spoke. "Even if you are old enough and mature enough to handle yourself in a place like that, you're still legally underage. And that makes it illegal for the four of you to have snuck in there. What if you'd been caught, Dick? You don't need an arrest for underage drinking on your record. You do agree that you broke the law by drinking?"

I heard Dick trying to catch his breath. "Y-yes, sir."

"A law I happen to agree with," I said, swatting him several times as I spoke. "You may think that you are responsible enough to handle alcohol, but I have seen far too many statistics on teen deaths from drinking and driving – and I refuse to let you become a statistic."

"I wasn't – I wasn't driving!" he protested.

"And who was going to drive Jon's car home? Did any of you agree to be a designated driver?"

"I didn't think – I didn't plan – "

"No, that's right. You didn't think, and none of you made plans for that. When you are old enough to legally purchase alcohol, I expect to see more responsible behavior from you. Am I understood?"

"Y-Yes, sir."

I laid down several more swats, enough to make his bottom uniformly red, then stopped and began the task of soothing him. "All right, all done." I rubbed my hand over his back, soothing his sobs. "It's over and you're forgiven."

It took a long time for his sobs to subside into hitching breaths – I hadn't been easy on him and his backside was going to be sore for days. When I felt that he was soothed enough, I pushed him up and then took him into my arms for a comforting hug. He clung to me, burying his face against my chest, and his body shook with sobs again.

"It's all right," I said soothingly. "All over."

"Are you s-still mad at me?" he asked, not looking up.

I gently forced his chin up. "Dick, I'm not mad at you. Disappointed in your choices, yes. But I'm here to help you make better ones." And then I gave him my sternest look. "But if I ever catch you doing that again, you won't sit for a month. Do you understand me?"

"Yes, sir," he muttered.

I kissed him gently. "Good."

He smiled tremulously and kissed me back. "I like this part. Much better than before, when you'd hug me and then fix me a mug of hot chocolate."

"You're incorrigible," I teased. "Lay down and let me take a look at you."

Reluctantly, he let go of me and stretched out on the bed, face down. I picked up the salve and began smoothing it over his reddened skin, checking for any sign of a problem. The welts from last night's caning stood out in start relief to his spank-reddened bottom, but they were healing nicely. I spared a moment to check him for damage from penetration last night and breathed a sigh of relief to see that he looked fine if a little bit sore. I smoothed more of the salve over his tender flesh and heard Dick sigh in relief.

"Thanks," he murmured.

"You're welcome," I said, pulling a light sheet over him. "I want you to lay here and rest this morning, sleep if you feel like it. I'll send Alfred up with breakfast and a fresh ice pack."

" 'kay," he murmured sleepily. I brushed a kiss over his forehead and quietly left the room, heading downstairs with the tray.

Alfred was in the kitchen when I entered, and I could smell his fabulous muffins in the air. "Morning, Alfred."

"Good morning, sir. Breakfast will be ready momentarily."

In all the years that we'd been together, I'd never figured out how Alfred knew exactly when to have breakfast ready. No matter how early or late I came downstairs, it was always moments away from completion. When I was younger, I'd been convinced that he had my room bugged, but nowadays I knew that it was just his consummate skill. However, there did seem to be something a little – off about him this morning.

I set the tray on the counter and then took my place at the table. "Dick will be eating in his room this morning, and he'll need a fresh ice pack."

"I shall take a tray up to him momentarily." There was a pause as Alfred filled my coffee cup. "I went by Master Richard's room earlier this morning, to see if there was anything he required. He wasn't there."

My stomach plummeted. Here it came – Alfred had found out. "Oh?" I managed to say.

"Quite, sir. I had the troubling thought that events last night might not have gone as smoothly as could be wanted, and that Master Dick had run away."

"He didn't."

"No, sir. I was relieved to discover that," he paused and fixed me with the same look I used to get as a youngster when he'd caught me out at something, "when I went to your room to apprise you of Master Dick's disappearance."

I dropped my eyes to my coffee cup and took a deep breath. "I didn't seduce him, Alfred."

"I didn't think you had, sir. Knowing both you and Master Dick, I presumed that he finally decided to act on his feelings."

My head jerked up. "You knew that Dick was in love with me?"

"Yes, sir. Longer even than I've known you were in love with Master Dick. He discussed the matter with me on more than one occasion."

"He told you he was in love with me?"

Alfred shrugged. "He was vague on the particulars about the person he was in love with, but it didn't take much to discern who it was." He paused again. "Pardon my asking, sir, but are you certain you are doing the wise thing? If they should find out, they will take Master Dick away from us."

My heart warmed at the way he said "us", and I took another deep breath. "No, I'm not sure. But I know that I can't continue to ignore how I feel – how Dick feels. That stupid stunt he pulled yesterday – all designed to get my attention, to make me jealous. Who knows what he'd get up to if I waited like I originally intended to do?"

I could see Alfred shudder. "It doesn't bear thinking about, sir."

"Yes, well, he won't be pulling something like that again," I said with a certain amount of satisfaction. "A fact that I emphasized this morning, which is why he is spending it in his room."

"Very good, sir." Alfred set my breakfast in front of me and then quickly began preparing a tray for Dick. I watched in amusement as he prepared a small pot of hot chocolate to take up as well as the muffins – Alfred's special hot chocolate had been a favorite of Dick's since he had first come to live here. As were the muffins, come to think of it.

"You know that you're spoiling him," I pointed out with amusement.

"I seriously doubt that, sir. Master Dick has a solid head on his shoulders." He added an ice pack to the tray and picked it up. "If there's nothing else that you require, sir - ?"

I shook my head. "No, Alfred. I'm fine. I've got everything I need."

And, as Alfred headed upstairs to take care of the young man we had both come to love, I realized that what I had said was true. I have everything I need.

The End