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Dedicated to AnneTaylor! Thanks so much for your awesome review!

Didn't Sleep On It

A sleep deprived Robin John Blake was a fearsome and terrifying thing. And that was when he was at least caffeinated. Not caffeinated...well then the comparisons made tended to suggest that he could be traumatizing. Hell, there were people who had literally turned around and fled the sight of him once they realized the state he was in. A wise decision. Totally fair and understandable. And that was before he'd been forced against his will to return to his omega state on top of being kidnapped by a group of crazy as fuck terrorists, one who was determined to make him his mate. Despite the billions upon billions of reasons that that was not a good idea.

Ergo...this was not going to be a good day for anyone.

How much sleep he'd gotten-Blake wasn't even sure. Just that it definitely was NOT enough. He'd tried to fall back asleep after the whole being burned alive dream...not a lot of success. That was the sort of thing that haunted you for a while.

To be fair he'd never been on fire before, so Blake really didn't know what it was like to be burned at the stake or even close to it, but like most people he had burned himself a few times over the years and knew how bad even minor ones could hurt for hours afterwards. Flesh still cooking even once you were away from the flame. And if minor burns hurt that much even with medical attention and a hell of a lot of ice and cold water...

Being burned alive could not possibly be a good way to die. Period.

So here he was, stretched out on the bed with his back to Bane, staring at the wall across from him like it held the meaning of life. Which he'd been doing off and on for hours now and, surprise, it was not getting any more interesting as the minutes ticked by. He sorta wanted to punch his hand through it, actually.

No...what he wanted to do was punch several holes in it. And scream and rage and break the few things Bane had lying around the space. The furniture he'd spare only because it was all so solidly built that the damage would be to him without the proper backup in the form of power tools. Which he wouldn't know how to use and death by accidental dismemberment struck Blake as another crappy way to go. Though still better than the stake burning.

What the fuck was he going to do?

How did he get himself into these situations?

Scratch that, this was literally the worst situation he'd ever gotten himself into and no comparisons could be made. If he lived through this the bar would be set so high Blake couldn't imagine anything he might do that could compete with finding himself-

He didn't even want to think it in his head.

But you need to, Dumbass, Blake told himself, this being an argument he'd been having with himself for quite a while too. And he better hurry the fuck up and get his head on straight because Bane was an early riser and sleep deprived and pissy as he was already...one dumbass comment from the alpha and he'd tear into him about all the crap that was eating him up inside and that...that would not end well. On numerous levels.

Time to be a man and man up.

Okay.

Okay. He could do this. Mother fucking Hell.

Fuck it. He needed to decide how he was going to handle things with Bane from here on in. He needed a game plan and he needed one bad because not thinking about it was going to get him dead or maimed for life.

He'd gone with the whole 'arranged marriage' mindset slash plan in the beginning because that was the only way he'd been able to-to keep his sanity and accept what he couldn't change. He'd done it to avoid being raped. To avoid the physical, mental and emotional scarring that went with that. To take back what agency he could over his body and his fate. And...and thank fucking God that he'd genuinely found Bane physically and sexually attractive so sleeping with him hadn't been a hardship.

But it had still been out of his hands. If Bane hadn't 'played along' it would have been a devastating wound he'd have had to learn to live with all his life. He owed Bane for that. To a point. On the flip side Bane would have gone along with the al Ghuls' original orders if he hadn't come up with another plan. That was how much Bane was their Pet. And he could NOT forget that.

So here he was, still a captive, now an omega, and while he wasn't locked in the delusions of Stockholm Syndrome-Thank God-certain lines were beginning to blur in dangerous, so fucking dangerous ways.

For his sake, for Simon's sake...Hell, even for Bane's sake he needed to solidify those lines and where they were drawn. ASAP.

To start with...the possibilities.

1) Bruce showed up ASAP to save him and Simon within the next couple of days and yay, he got to spend the rest of his life in Gotham worrying about Bane coming to retrieve him. Because unless the alpha ended up dead, Blake didn't think he was being egotistical to think Bane wouldn't let him go easily.

2) Talia killed him in the near future before Bruce came and his relationship with Bane and the choices he'd made regarding that relationship didn't matter, because his brains were currently painting the interior designer hell that was a League headquarters a brilliant red. And grey because brain matter-nevermind.

3) Bruce failed to find him or retrieve him and he was stuck with no hope of ever being saved. He accepted his fate and stuck with Bane until Talia killed him.

4) He rejected Bane to the point where the alpha killed him.

5) Bruce showed up a few weeks or month from now and-being stupid-Blake had let himself fall in love with a terrorist and either refused to leave with Wayne and stayed with Bane until Talia killed him...or left with Bruce and was miserable the rest of his life because he was without his mate.

If there wasn't any hope of being rescued then letting his relationship with Bane develop the way Bane wanted it to would be in his best interests. Because-because he wanted that too. Or part of him did. He could be an idiot as much as the next person after all. These feelings and needs and desires...and that way was a minefield. Unless there was no hope and then they could be reasonably happy until Talia killed him. But there was reason to hope that in the near future Bruce would get his vigilante ass here and rescue him and then...

Then was a problem.

Time wasn't just of the essence in terms of getting him out before Talia mounted his head on her wall. He needed Bruce to get here before he let his dick...and his heart...do his thinking for him. Before he stopped thinking that the emotions Bane inspired in him were a result of his hormones and started thinking that maybe...just maybe...Bane was meant to be his mate after all. That that was why everything that had happened had been bearable and why-despite the bazillion reasons they should not get along-Bane felt right to him. Meant for him.

Clearly, if he got back to Gotham, CAT scans would need to be performed immediately. Or maybe the doctor who looked him over to check out his breeding capabilities would do those. A nice silver lining to look forward to. Not.

Then again...a brain tumor was arguably better than starting to fall in love with a man who was either going to get you killed or break your heart into a million pieces to the point where you never recovered from the loss of him and spent your life pining and sighing over what could have, should have been. So really-

Fuck. Things would be so much easier if Bane weren't so...so oddly perfect for him. No, that's wasn't right. That was the stupidity talking. What he meant was, why the hell had he never been able to find an alpha who suited him back in Gotham? The goddamn city was full of fucked up people after all. It should not have been that hard for him to find a reasonably intelligent badass alpha who was damaged enough to understand Blake's own darkness and love him anyway. If he'd had more experience with real, happy relationships than he wouldn't be so fucking susceptible to Bane's insistence that he was his.

It wouldn't be so appealing, the idea of actually being wanted by someone. Of being judged worthy of putting up with all the pitfalls of dating him.

Bane had definitely not seen Blake at his worst...but he'd still presented himself as less than an ideal mate since the beginning of their 'relationship'. He'd been demanding, whiney, bratty as fuck-he could be worse, but that would require going to levels where he'd piss himself off and deserve whatever punishment came his way, Blake silently acknowledged. He'd always been too much trouble for any alpha to want around long, much less to keep. Until Bane.

Of course the one alpha in the world who saw him as mate material would be even more twisted and in need of therapy than him. Really he should have seen this coming.

"You are thinking very loudly."

Mentally cursing that fact and the fact that Bane was awake, Blake's 'Sorry' applied to a multiple of things.

"You did not sleep."

"Nope. So beware."

A hand placed on his back, fingers spreading out to cover more area.

Blake waited, but Bane didn't say anything. Probably didn't know what to say, the Relationship Newbie.

And while common sense said to move away from that hand...being dumb where Bane was concerned seemed to be his M.O. at the moment. So Blake didn't move away. Nor did he say anything.

They stayed that way for a while...until they had to get up and start the day.

)

Breakfast food wise wasn't horrible-a nice change in pace. It was awkward though, with Bane sitting beside Blake but talking mostly to Barsad in a language Blake didn't understand. Which was rude as fuck, but he also didn't want to talk to Bane at the moment so Blake let that go. Simon was also there to make it a double date of sorts, but the young alpha had way too much experience with 'Sleep Deprived John' to say anything to him. No, Simon was wise enough to know to devote all his attention to his food, glancing over at Blake every so often to make sure he wasn't prepared to attack or getting pissed off by something around them. Totally fair reaction.

It was also a dark, morbid irony that of all the people in the room currently Simon was actually the ideal person to talk to about the idea of whether it was better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all-but asking the guy that the day after his father's funeral crossed so many lines Blake didn't even bother trying to count them. He was a dick sometimes, but not that big of one.

Pushing aside his plate Blake stared at Simon until the alpha warily looked up at him.

"What?"

"How are you?" If he couldn't deal with his own problems he might as well get over his selfish, whiney self enough to check in on the kid who just lost his dad.

Simon blinked. "I'm okay. You're not."

Wow. It must really be obvious if Simon was picking up on that and wasn't just chalking it up to sleep deprivation. Unless that was what he was referring to.

"I dreamed I was burned at the stake."

"Oh. That would suck. Also I never got why anyone thought that those women they burned as witches were witches. I mean seriously-if they were witches they'd get away easy. Or at least do some serious damage before getting taken out somehow. Like that witch from that book, 'Good Omens'."

"That was pretty epic."

Simon nodded in agreement. "No sympathy. You decide to burn someone alive-you deserve to get blown to kingdom come."

"Agreed." Blake even raised his water glass in a toast for emphasis. "And it wouldn't surprise me if a lot of them knew they weren't magical witches. They wanted them dead because they were different and upset the status quo. Or the people were bored and decided to make their own 'entertainment'."

"People suck."

"I second that." And that brought a movie quote to mind. "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."

"How did the rest of that quote go?"

"No idea. I'd have to look it up, and I don't have access to the internet."

"Me neither. Maybe we could watch it sometime, if we don't die soon."

"Deal."

"You are not going to die soon. And probably not the boy." Bane stated, joining the conversation.

Looking over at Bane Blake gave him a less than impressed look as he stated that Simon better live as long as he did. Or outlive him.

"It's probably for the best that I don't outlive you." Simon pointed out. "The odds of my death being relatively quick and painless would decrease rapidly after that."

"There is to be no more talk of dying." Bane commanded.

Seeing no point in arguing-he was dealing with enough emotional turmoil already-Blake saluted Bane as sarcastically as possible.

"Can I talk about my Bucket List?" Simon wanted to know.

"Your what?"

"Bucket List."

"It's a list people make of all the things they want to do before they die. AKA kick the bucket. And why do you want to talk about Bucket Lists? It's not like we're going to be able to cross any of them off while here. Well..." There were actually a few he could possibly cross off his own mental list...but that would involve sex and Bane and he was abstaining at the moment. Oh, and a couple that would get him into more trouble than it was worth.

"Barsad wants to see my list so I was going to recreate it. I figured you could help me remember stuff."

Oh he could help him remember...but remembering some of the things that had ended up on Simon's list-he might have been a slightly bad influence on the updated version-Blake stated that they could do that. After some heavy editing.

"Why?"

"It's for the best. Trust me on this."

Brows furrowing, Simon looked skeptical for a moment and then shrugged it off.

"Do you have such a list?" Bane asked.

"Me? Not written down anywhere or anything. But yeah, I have a mental list of things I'd like to do before I end up pushing daisies."

"Such as...?"

Opening his mouth to give some flippant answer, Blake paused as a thought occurred to him. And after a moment or two to think it over, Blake found himself giving an entirely different answer.

"I'll show you mine if you show me yours."

"What do you mean?"

"Make your own list. I want to read it. You do that and I'll write mine out and let you read it."

"Really? Why?"

Blake gave Simon a less than impressed look. Which naturally went completely over Simon's head.

"What? It would just be a list of places he wants to conquer. And you as his mate." Simon tacked on at the end.

"It's his list, not yours."

"Well conquering countries and having you as my mate are definitely NOT on my list." A shudder. "Only crazy people want to take over countries. Or have you for a mate."

"Watch your tongue, Boy."

To save them both Blake gave Simon a look meant to re-enforce Bane's command.

Thankfully the message was received. Or maybe Barsad kicked Simon under the table. Either way Simon turned his attention back to finishing the last of his breakfast without another peep.

"I will make a list in exchange for yours." Bane stated a couple minutes later.

"Deal."

)

Barsad had never given much thought to having a 'Bucket List'. Nor did he imagine the idea of making one had ever entered Bane's thoughts until the cop had brought it up. Silly as it was...Barsad had to admit that he was very curious as to what Bane would put on his list. He was planning to offer his help in creating it if the opportunity presented itself. Blake's list didn't interest him nearly as much, while Kei's...the fact that Blake had stated they'd need to edit Kei's original list before Barsad could see it intrigued him very much. Would the list need to be edited before anyone other than Kei and Blake could see it...or was it him specifically? And if so, why?

He both wanted to ask...and didn't.

At the very least the list writing would keep Blake and Kei out of trouble for a while. That would be beneficial at least. He'd been wondering how Bane intended to keep Blake close to him all day despite his other duties. Keeping the omega busy coming up with a list-fuck.

A list that was sure to vex and trouble Bane once he read it, Barsad belatedly realized with a barely concealed wince. No easy task, that, as he looked over at the omega sitting at Bane's side. Plotting, most likely. He was slow this morning to have not realized the pitfalls of these lists as soon as they'd been suggested. He could blame that on the fact that he hadn't gotten nearly enough sleep the night before.

And he could blame that on sharing a bed with Kei.

And not in an enjoyable way.

Sigh.

How was this his life now?