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Pet Me

Chapter Text

IMPORTANT: While rape is mentioned and threatened in this fanfic, and there will be some dubious consent issues at first, there will be no actual rape in this story.

Starting Now

Standing off to the side to watch the show, as it were, Bane had to admit that he could see the slender beta's appeal as the other man stood straight and proud in the center of the room while wearing only jeans and frayed rope bracelets. The rope had been cut in the middle but the ends that had been used to bind the man's wrists remained, a testament to his continued captivity. There was no need for him to be bound now, after all, surrounded as he was on all sides. Trapped. With nowhere to run and no one willing to say a word in his defense, much less come to his aid. He was all alone here.

A fact the beta was well aware of, though he pretended not to hear the voices that speculated loudly on his fate while others looked at the young man with hatred, malice, or in some cases lust and the hope that Wayne's whore would be thrown to the wolves and be theirs to use until the man died one way or another. Though that comparison would be insulting to wolves in Bane's opinion.

Bane didn't allow rape in his ranks; his men well aware that they faced death for that crime. But that was his law, not those set down by Ra's al Ghul. His lord held sway here and this John Blake fate was not Bane's to decide.

The facts were simple. Bruce Wane was his lord's great enemy, and one al Ghul had yet to punish for his crimes. Punishing the Wayne's lover for the man's crimes was, for the moment, the sharpest blow al Ghul could deliver his enemy. Which meant the beta would be shown no mercy.

Little Bird, that was how Wayne had addressed the beta before them in a letter their spies had intercepted. An endearment, Bane surmised, whose origins lay in the tattoos on the beta's upper arms both inner and outer sides. The brown wings inked there spanned from shoulder to elbow, expertly done and suited for the surprisingly slender looking beta. Muscled, and in excellent shape, yes, but generally betas were more masculine in appearance, not to mention more muscular. Face wise the younger man would have more in common with an omega than a beta, which was probably half the man's appeal to Wayne. An alpha would always instinctively prefer to bed an omega over a beta. The gentle, fine boned features of this one would have appealed in that way.

And while up until this point the beta had been deliberately staring off into space, ignoring the lot of them, suddenly those dark eyes were aimed in his direction, Bane revealing none of his thoughts even as his regard for the beta went up. Especially when the beta continued to hold his gaze as the minutes ticked by, neither looking away until Ra's al Ghul's presence was announced, his lord coming into the room with Talia at his side.

Everyone went silent upon their entrance, Blake breaking eye contact then to stare defiantly in the direction of Bane's lord and his daughter, the beta apparently not the sort to cower or bow his head to an alpha. A disrespect in this case that had Bane itching to walk over there and demand that the beta show them both proper respect. But the crowd between him and the other man was thick, and his lord would take care of it himself quickly enough.

Once both he and his daughter were seated al Ghul turned his attention to Blake, studying the man for several moments before addressing him in English.

"Greetings, Detective."

Apparently refusing to answer the beta crossed his arms defiantly in front of him, his chin sticking out stubbornly as he attempted to stare down Bane's lord.

"A Beta that doesn't know his place. It seems your alpha has rubbed off on you badly, in more ways than one."

The beta actually snorted before speaking, finally. "You really are as insane as Wayne made you out to be, aren't you? And I don't need an alpha, particularly you, to tell me my place. My place is where you found me and where I'd like to be returned to, if it's all the same to you. I've known street thugs with better manners than you guys."

Rather than look insulted al Ghul's lips curled in amusement as he set a restraining hand on his daughter's, Talia having risen slightly from her seat with cold fury in her eyes. "You have fire in you. And your eyes remind me of his. Full of demons, yet in denial about how best to use and harness them."

"I'll leave the killing of innocent people to you, thanks."

"I see Wayne's also thoroughly brainwashed you concerning us."

"Your men threatened the life of a child to capture me. That tells me plenty about you and the sort of people you have working for you."

A child, Bane thought, his mind rebelling against the very idea. And while a moment's discomfort at the idea crossed his lord's face, Bane's leader didn't comment, instead asking for confirmation that Blake knew why he'd been brought here.

"Your henchmen told me, yeah. I'm the closest you can get to punishing Wayne. All your other plans to get him back for blowing up your club house have failed and killing me is the best you can do."

The beta had a death wish. A serious death wish.

Though perhaps the man was deliberately courting such an outcome, Bane considered, the boy thinking a quick death would be preferable to the possible alternatives. He wasn't necessarily wrong, either.

Apparently his lord thought so too. "Do you think to goad me into giving you a swift death? I have other plans for you. Would you care to hear them, or would you rather keep running your mouth, Boy?"

"You're going to recreate the death of your daughter's mother? Throw me to your rabid animals?"

Multiple jaws dropped, gasps echoed in the room, and like everyone else Bane felt as though he were frozen in place, unable to believe what the beta had just said. Had implied. Had dared to mention, as Talia's mother was never mentioned. Ever. Under threat of unspeakable pain followed by death.

"Bane. To me. Now."

The men in front of him parting for him like waves, Bane made his way across the room as he pondered just what he would be asked to do. The possibilities were endless, after all, though Bane thought he knew his lord well enough to have some idea of what was to come as he stepped up and onto the short dais to stand before his lord. Bowing his head Bane then moved off to standing to the side, waiting for his orders.

"Beta, I am not giving you to my men, no. I am giving you to Bane. To keep as his Pet for however long he can tolerate you before he kills you."

Bane was grateful for his mask, which hid the slight dropping of his own jaw. "Me, My Lord?"

"Yes, you, Bane. I trust that you'll have no problem breaking him for me. And that Wayne will enjoy the idea of his lover in your hands."


The smile al Ghul aimed in the beta's direction was not a kind one. "Seriously, Detective."

Turning his head Bane looked in the direction of the man who was to be his Pet, the man who stared back at him with a face that looked as stunned as he felt.


In their lands a human pet was a beta, gamma, or a disgraced omega that became the legal property of an alpha. A slave whose sole purpose in life was to serve his or her master in whatever way their alpha chose to use them. They wore, always, collars that identified their station in life which they could not remove, the key to it carried by their masters at all times. They had no rights to speak of and could not marry, everything they possessed belonging to their master's. They were also only freed from their servitude when their masters had no more use for them or upon their death.

After announcing what was to become of Wayne's cop Bane's lord had had the still shocked dumb man removed from the room to be cleaned up before delivered to Bane's quarters. And it was then that Bane had been presented with the collar and key he was to place around the man's throat later.

His lord hadn't come right out and ordered him to rape the other man even if a sexual component to his ownership of the beta had been implied. His low born status and time in The Pit meant that Bane could never have an omega to call his own. It would never be allowed even if he'd been willing to sully one of the pure and delicate that way. And while he could take on a beta as a lover or even a mate Bane had no interest in sharing his bed regularly with someone who either sought to use him for their own gain or who sought the pain they assumed someone like him would enjoy supplying. Ergo he preferred to pay for sex on the rare occasion he desired it. But his lord thought him too feral and 'savage' at times and had strongly hinted in the past, and minutes before, that perhaps he could work some of his natural alpha aggression out on his new pet. Regular sex, he'd been told, was needed for the physical and mental well-being of an alpha as old and strong as he was.

Bane preferred meditation.

But regardless of Bane's thoughts on the subject John Blake was now legally, in this country at least, his Pet to do with as he wished. Or, in this case, as his lord wished.

Killing the beta would be preferable to raping him. Bane had witnessed enough rape in his first years in The Pit to last him a lifetime. Though the horror of it had dulled to some degree as the years past Bane had never forgotten his promise to Talia's mother. A promise that he would never sink to that level of bestiality. That rape was a line he would never, ever cross.

He was a man who kept his word.

"You could kill him. Make it look like suicide."

Glancing in his second's direction Bane nodded his head in automatic agreement with that statement, the ways in which he could convincingly end the man in question and make it look self-inflicted endless thanks to his training and years of experience. Men had regularly found ways to take their lives in The Pit and on the battlefield lest they be captured.

"He doesn't strike me as the type. Not in these circumstances. Not yet." He could certainly make the beta think death more appealing than life as his pet, that went without question, but he did not think that this John Blake was a weak man. He had the eyes of a man who would accept death only on his own terms.

"I could kill him for you."

"No. Leave him to me for the time being. I'll figure out what to do with him."

Not arguing, though Barsad gave him a sidelong look that contained a hint of worry, Bane deliberately changed the subject to what had been said during the rest of the meeting, which had revolved around plans and long term goals of their leader. None of them believed that Blake would get away and be able to report back to Wayne, but al Ghul wasn't about to risk it.

That Bane's fingers remained tightly wrapped around the metal collar he carried during the whole conversation, clenching and unclenching as he tried not to think of its future recipient, was something Bane did his best to ignore.


Walking into the bedroom a couple hours later Bane scanned the room for threats, as always, before allowing his gaze to return and stay on the occupant currently tied up and naked in his bed. Hands and feet, Bane's impassive gaze made silent note of, the skin he could see around the rope a little red but not so much that a great struggle to be freed had been made. And the man didn't struggle now, though he was practically spread eagle on the bed, with no chance of getting away from him and what he had to know was coming. What they both knew was coming, however vile and soul stripping that something was.

But the beta stared back at him with cool, accessing eyes that betrayed none of the fear that Bane's nose could detect even through his mask. Though even that was muted, suggesting that the other man didn't fear him and what was to come to the degree he should. Or the fact that Bane forbade rape among his men had reached this one's ears, and Blake was under the impression that Bane wouldn't touch him in that manner. That he was to be beaten and tortured, perhaps, instead.

If only.

"If I don't rape you he'll give you to someone who will take pleasure in doing so."

That was the truth his mind hadn't been able to escape no matter how hard Bane's brain had taxed itself, trying to come up with some alternative to this. But in the end he kept coming back to the fact that as least he could limit the damage he did to the boy's body, and that once they left here…well then what they did or didn't do was no one's business. He knew his leader would find some pretense to come and inspect the damage he did tomorrow so there was no faking it now, but later they could both be spared excepted when he'd be expected to return and bring his pet with him.

Still holding his gaze, Blake didn't back down. "Might I suggest an alternative?"

Raising an eyebrow, Bane was willing to let the man stall for a minute or two. "An alternative?"

"You're not a rapist." The way he said it, it was obvious the beta wanted to remind both of them of that fact. "You're many other things. Many bad things. But not that. That's not a line you cross. And you don't want to add rape to your repertoire, either. And I don't want you to rape me, obviously. But I'm guessing that tomorrow al Ghul is going to want proof that you ripped my ass a new one, right?"


"Right. I figured." A new whiff of fear permeated the room, but still the boy was controlling and hiding any other physical sign of distress, which impressed Bane. For someone so untrained and shaped by a hell hole such as Gotham, Wayne's lover was strong in mind at least.

"Your plan?"

"Oh. Right. So I was thinking…that you and I could come to an agreement. One that would make tonight, and our future time together, a hell of a lot less traumatizing for the both of us."

Ah, not so much brave as delusional, Bane concluded. A common trait of those born in Wayne's city.

"I'm not an idiot so quit looking at me like I am one. I've had nothing to do but think about all this bullshit since they dragged me in here and you're supposed to be the smartest and most cool headed of all al Ghul's goons. So listen. I have two demands-requests for you. And if you're willing to agree to them, then I'm willing to look at this as a sort of arranged marriage."

"A what?"

"An arranged marriage. As in it won't be rape if I'm a willing participant."

It took a moment, and then Bane saw where the other man was going with this. The beta was willing to allow Bane to fuck him, even perhaps to feign pleasure in the act, in exchange for certain favors aside from the obvious desire not to be forced. An option he hadn't expected, but should have. Many men had been willing to become a 'Pet' to stronger men in The Pit, preferring to be the toy of one rather than be used by multiple men. It would appear that Blake was smart enough to know that his lover wasn't going to rush in to save him, and being coolheaded and logical about this was in his best interests. Bane's too, perhaps, depending on what the beta wanted in return.

"What are your demands?"

"The first is that you can't share me with anyone else or sell me off. I know what it means to be a Pet; how they're treated and viewed by your people. I want your word I'll stay yours and only yours until I either find a way out of this or I die."

"It will be the latter."

"Possibly." The stubborn tilt of the boy's chin amused Bane. "But is that request acceptable to you?"

Bane saw no point in saying yes to something when the other demand had yet to be made and said so.

"Alright." Looking away, and breaking eye contact for the first time, Blake stared at the far wall for a minute or so before looking back to renew the contact. "No physical violence. You can tear me a new one verbally, treat me like a slave and your plaything in public and private, but no beatings. I won't be your punching bag. I won't be abused that way. Sex wise, you're my type, physically. In theory the idea of sex with you doesn't horrify me, provided you do understand the concept of stretching since I'm guessing your proportionate everywhere. You treat my body with respect, and I'll do your menial labor, key tow in front of your men even, to a degree, while providing you with regular sex. Since we're stuck together, I think you'll agree that doesn't sound like such a bad deal, given the alternative."

Opening his mouth to point out the obvious flaw in the beta's plan, Blake beat him to it.

"And before you point out that al Ghul's is expecting me busted up tomorrow, I know that, obviously. Just like I know I haven't taken it up the ass in nearly eight months and I'm guessing you'd be hard to take even if my body was used to it. AND I bruise easily. Just get a good grip on my hips and I'll be plenty colorful and sore enough for him tomorrow."

A very loud silence.

"So, do we have a deal?"

Chapter Text

Note: Just as I did in 'Lines We Cross', the POV will go back and forth with each chapter from Bane to Blake. I'm also considering giving Barsad some chapters too eventually, so let me know what you think about that. Thanks!

Sealing The Bargain

Holding Bane's gaze was one of the hardest things Blake had ever had to do, especially when his life was hanging in the balance and the cold bastard's eyes and body language weren't giving him a single fucking clue as to what the alpha was thinking. Not even the man's scent was betraying him in the slightest, though Blake told himself that the fact that Bane was at least thinking things over was a good sign. Surely someone who despised rape as much as Bane was said to would take him up on his suggestion even if it did sorta go against what al Ghul wanted. Because no matter how he looked at it Blake knew that he had one chance to get this right. To drop the rock into the right pool in the right way so that the ripples that came out of this were ones he could live with. Because the alternative was too horrible to imagine. To live with.

Not that he couldn't survive rape. He could. He had to believe that he could. But to be broken…that he couldn't live with. And someone like Bane would, if he set his mind to it, break him. Blake had no illusion there. He was strong, mentally and physically, more so than the vast majority of the world's population even, but this was Bane they were talking about here. Because even if Bane's actions didn't turn him into a beaten shell of a man Blake knew himself well enough to know that the horrors of what could be done to him would speak to his inner demons, unleash them until he was as bad or even worse than many of the men within the League of Shadows.

And that was not a fate he could live with.

But his teen years spent pondering how to do himself in would serve him well if that was the case, Blake thought with dark humor. There was always a way, and he'd find one if he had no other choice.

"You honestly believe that you can show my lord and Talia proper respect? Obey me without question?"

"I grew up in foster care for the second half of my 'childhood'. I can tell people what they want to hear convincingly. Though I should do it grudgingly, or just refusing to speak more than one word answers to make it seem more authentic when it comes to the other two. At least at first. And I will never agree with your world views, and pretend otherwise, but I won't disrespect you in front of your men. Or at least I give you my word to try my best there."

Silence stretched on long enough that Blake could feel sweat breaking out down his back and on his palms, and that was despite the fact that the room was friggin cold and he'd been freezing his naked ass off before Bane had arrived. Was still freezing, though the fear and such were excellent distractors.

"If you fail to obey me, or show my lord or Talia disrespect, I will beat you."

"But not otherwise?" Blake knew that for all of Bane's loyalty to the al Ghul family, Bane's 'lord' didn't like having Bane around much. He could take the occasional beating if he had to. Another handy skill he'd picked up in his teens.

Bane's curt nod had relief rushing through Blake's system, the jubilation he felt making him almost giddy. Because that meant…it did, didn't it? "We have a deal, then?"


Oh thank all the fucking deities and whatever else people had worshipped around the world since it came into existence.

Still, his street training was too ingrained for Blake not to tense up as the much larger alpha walked over to stand beside the bed, Bane towering over him and looking threatening as hell with that damn mask of his. And then Bane was lifting up a hand to reveal the plain metal collar Blake hadn't even noticed in the man's hand before, being too focused on the man's impossible to read face.

Knowing what was coming Blake gritted his teeth at being collared like a friggin dog, the metal at least somewhat warm from Bane's huge hand as it was slid around his throat and then locked into place with a key whose look and shape Blake automatically committed to memory, just in case the opportunity to run presented itself. Getting out of this fucking country would be a hell of a lot easier without the collar on, since Pets without their masters present would no doubt be noticed a lot quicker than a lone man.

And then Bane was pulling a very large, very deadly looking knife from his boot and Blake froze as his gaze ping ponged between it and Bane's face.

"Stay still."

Braced for the worst, Blake couldn't have bit back his sigh of relief if he'd wanted to when Bane turned the blade on the rope binding his left wrist to the headboard.

Once that rope was free Bane moved around the bed to cut each of the ropes loose so that Blake's limbs were free and his to control. So to speak. Having the use of his limbs didn't do him a lot of good at the moment given the fact that he was worn out, hungry, dehydrated, and had spent so much time tied up recently that his limbs weren't used to being used properly.

Returning the blade to his boot Bane walked away from the bed into the room attached to the bedroom, Blake having barely rubbed some warmth and blood flow into his legs before Bane was back, tossing something onto the bed beside his hip.

"Use that to stretch yourself." A moment for that to sink in. "The door is guarded. You would not get far even if you were to get past them."

And so saying Bane went back into the room he'd just left and closed the door behind him with a soft thud, leaving Blake alone in the room once more with his mouth gaping open and his eyes no doubt huge with surprise.

Well hell.

Grabbing the container Blake quickly unscrewed the lid, his gut saying that he wasn't going to have much time before Bane returned from what he presumed was the bathroom. He had to stretch the hell out of his ass ASAP.


For the first time in a very long time Blake was actually almost sorry that he had been on the Umbra drug for years now, the injections having long since suppressed most of his omega nature. There was nothing he could do internally, at least not without major operations that would cost the earth and still wouldn't completely hide what he was, but the external tells had all but been eradicated. He didn't have heats, his ass didn't really lubricate itself when he was aroused, and even his scent had been altered enough that most people simply assumed he wore cologne that had been designed to appeal to alphas. Hell, the drug even allowed him to put on more muscle than most male omegas could manage, though never as much as he'd wanted.

Omegas in the foster system tended to meet bad ends. It was something everyone knew but rarely talked about where others could hear. Especially since the Umbra drug was illegal. Ostentatiously because of its side effects, but really because omegas were rare enough without the ruling alphas of the world allowing some of them to change their nature. So the social workers who passed the drug on to their charges did so under the table, Blake having been lucky enough to have one such woman on his side.

She'd told him to go off the drug once he hit eighteen to avoid the side effects, but Blake had no problem with said side effects and as a beta he'd been able to live the life he wanted, rather than the one society said an omega should want to have.

And fuck, just two more years of the injections and the drug would have permanently altered his system, no more injections needed. Now here he was, with no way to get his hands on the stuff and facing three months of normal before his body started to reset itself. Potentially. Being that it was illegal, not a lot of studies had been done on the topic. But either way that was to be avoided at all costs.

Though the look on al Ghul's face when he found out Blake was actually an omega would be fun to see.

Bane's…not so much.

Speaking of Bane, he really needed to get his ass in gear and prepped.

As an omega his ass was actually designed to be able to take an alpha with ease and even without the self-lubing Blake knew he was better equipped to take Bane than the beta he pretended to be. But Bane was the biggest alpha he'd ever seen and he hadn't been kidding about how long it had been since he'd had anal sex. He might have actually been a little optimistic about how long it had been since the last time.

Ergo prep was essential; especially since he had a feeling Bane wasn't going to be the type for much foreplay. Did he ever take that tin can off his face?

Not important that the moment, Blake reminded himself sharply, forcing his attention back to his ass and what he was supposed to be doing to it to avoid a heck of a lot of pain in the immediate future. Unless of course Bane was big everywhere except for his dick, which would be a sin as far as Blake was concerned. A travesty, really, given that the one thing he knew without a doubt he could look forward to was seeing Bane at least shirtless. Cause no way there wasn't a yummy eight pack under that tight shirt the alpha was currently wearing. And that was something to say yay over, in Blake's books, since that was a rare and precious sight.

His fingers brushing against his prostrate, a move that definitely had his full attention since he was still omega enough to have a sensitive one, Blake hissed at the combination of pleasure and the slight pain he'd been feeling from stretching himself out faster than was strictly comfortable.

Because you aren't relaxing or getting into the right mindset for this, Dummy.

Not a hostage or a victim here, Blake told himself as he closed his eyes and focused on his breathing, remembering his meditation training. This was just like an arranged marriage. Or a one night stand. Bane wasn't going to hurt him, at least not badly, and despite the damage he'd done to his hormones with the drugs he was still technically an omega. His body had been designed to be fucked by alphas. If he relaxed he'd be able to take Bane no matter how big he was, and enjoy it too unless he overthought this and freaked out or tensed up. He had to relax and…and remember that at least in this, he and Bane were of like minds. They didn't want this to be painful or mentally scarring, and hell, if what Wayne had told him about Bane was true the alpha got laid even less than he did.

So yeah. It was going to be okay. Maybe.

The breathing did help, and once relaxed Blake could actually enjoy what his fingers were doing even as he kept an ear out for the sound of the door opening to announce Bane's return, his whole body of course tensing right back up again when it did.

Sitting up with the intention of trying again to get some sort of read on Bane Blake's mind wiped clear at the sight that greeted him.

Aka he got his first look at what Bane looked like naked.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. It was Christmas, his birthday, and every other holiday that involved the exchange of anything all rolled into one. Fuck the weird ass tin can the idiot kept glued to his face. That body was gorgeous enough to make up for actual facial deformities, much less a poor fashion choice on Bane's part. Those abs…Blake total got the whole washboard abs saying now, seeing how all that tightly packed muscle really did resemble those old school washboards he'd seen in the museum back in his school days. Not to mention the fact that said abs were covered in skin that had been tanned a very yummy looking golden brown. ALL over. And yeah, the fact that that full body tan was likely a result of the idiot doing some completely mental training exercise outdoors without clothes on was cause for eye rolling, but that didn't alter how surprisingly hot Blake found the look.

And that was before his gaze fixed on the wonderful fact that Bane was hung, uncut, and….okay, not nearly as aroused by Blake's naked body as he should be.

Hey, Bane had been in the room with him while he was stark naked before, and had barely looked at him, Blake suddenly realized, feeling immediately offended even though he hadn't been thinking about Bane's attractiveness before. Though even through his fear he'd appreciated the bulging muscles so really it wouldn't have killed Bane to give him at least one appreciative look. Unless of course he wasn't Bane's type at all.

Oh hell.

"What are you thinking now?"

Blinking as he concentrated on the question, Blake met Bane's questioning stare as he answered honestly, his brain too focused on how this would not work if Bane didn't get it up for him to think to do otherwise. "I…ah…didn't really think to wonder if I was your type at all. It just occurred to me."

"You aren't unappealing."

Ouch. Thanks.

Some of what he was thinking must have shown on his face because Bane's eyes held something eerily similar to amusement for a moment. "You are a curious man, Detective John Blake."


A moment of silence. And then, "Roll over."


What working omega hormones Blake had sent screaming demands to his brain to obey, and since he was in agreement with them Blake blew out what was supposed to be a calming breath and did as ordered, shifting over so that he was on his hands and his knees. Putting his ass on display as Bane walked over and climbed onto the bed, moving in behind him. Moving in close enough that Blake could feel the man's body heat even before Bane leaned over him a little to grab the discarded container of lubricant.

Shivering in a mixture of trepidation and anticipation, and doing his best to relax his body again because now it really mattered whether he was tense of not, Blake didn't flinch when Bane's hands gripped his ass, parting the cheeks to look at him. Blushed, yes. Freaked out, no. At least not yet.

And then two of Bane's fingers were investigating just how loose his ass was and that pretty much wiped out every other thought in Blake's head aside from the thought that A, Bane's fingers were friggin huge and dexterous, and B, the man was going straight for his prostrate, which was a tactic Blake approved of wholeheartedly.

Having never been the quiet type unless necessary Blake saw no reason to be quiet about his appreciation of what Bane was doing, especially since in his books it was only good manners to let whoever was fucking you know if he was doing a good job or not. And considering the circumstances, on top of the fact that this was the bare minimum in terms of foreplay but he was hot as hell for him anyway, Blake figured the alpha deserved his sounds of approval and desire for more.

"Are you always this loud?"

"Usually." Groan. "Do you want me to stop?" Biting his lip would probably lead to a horrible injury, but he could lean forward and bury his face in the incredibly uncomfortable 'pillow' in front of him if necessary.


Since Bane removed his fingers immediately after that statement Blake had a couple heartbeats to wonder if there was a correlation between the word and the action when suddenly something large and hard was being pressed up against his ass with the intent to penetrate it.


The sudden slap to his ass, combined with Bane's statement that he wasn't to swear, were enough distraction that had Blake not been too busy swearing a blue streak as Bane pushed into him he would have been concerned about the idea of having his ass paddled every time he swore. Which was often. Especially when he was being fucked open by an alpha who was most definitely fully erect now and FUCKING WELL SPLITTING HIS ASS OPEN!

"Wait! Give me a fucking minute…please!"

And to his shock Bane went still, the only sound in the room harsh breathing on his part, slow and controlled on Bane's. Which managed to piss Blake off even though he had other things to worry about at the moment. But seriously, this was offending his ego. First the man hadn't eye fucked him, then he hadn't seemed all that aroused at the sight of him, and THEN he'd shown little to no interest in touching anything but his ass. And NOW Bane was nearly ball deep in him and he still had his BREATHING under CONTROL?!

Oh it was on now.

Grinching his teeth against the overwhelming fullness and the fact that holy fuck, Bane was fucking huge and that was without the possibility of knotting, Blake mentally bitch slapped his pain receptors and ordered his brain to cooperate.


Chapter Text

Note: Just a heads up, this storyline will contain components of Nolan's trilogy as well as plotlines from the original Batman comics. Will explain over time.

Getting Closer

From the first moan of pleasure Blake had surprised him. To be frank Bane wasn't used to having a sexual partner so verbal in his pleasure, especially since he wasn't used to his partners enjoying his touch much at all. At least not honestly. He'd had plenty fake it, of course. And he'd thought at first Blake had to be faking it, pretending to earn his favor, but Bane's own instincts had said otherwise.

A surprise almost as big as the fact that Blake had asked him to stop.

Not that his own size and the discomfort he caused during penetration was a surprise to Bane, it wasn't, but the fact that his new pet actually believed his request for a moment to adapt would be heeded, and that he wouldn't be punished for making it was. Though Bane supposed it could just be that the man had yet to understand the situation they found themselves in. Or the shock of it had addled the man's brains.

Regardless, Bane did not know what to make of his new pet as the minutes passed by, which was not a feeling he was comfortable or familiar with. He understood the minds of men, had devoted himself to understanding human nature so as to use that knowledge against his enemies while training his men to their full potential. He also understood biology, how the body could rule over lesser minds and influence behaviors. Even he could be brought low, to a degree, by his heats and alpha nature. And at such times he had secured a partner to work the heat out of his system, the same on those rare occasions when his desire for sexual release couldn't be otherwise satisfied.

He'd never had a sexual partner like this one.

No matter how hard he tried to find it all clinical as he steadily thrust into the tight, wet heat of Blake's body, Bane couldn't ignore the pleasure he got from what he was doing, nor forget the sounds the beta had made when Bane had been determining that the other man was stretched enough that penetration wouldn't be any harder than it had to be. That was usually a problem due to his girth and the simple fact that betas didn't possess posteriors designed to take an alpha the way omegas were, but Blake appeared to have a surprisingly accommodating rear end. Especially if the beta had been honest about how long it had been since he'd last been anally penetrated.

Ergo the main thought running through Bane's mind, aside from wanting more of this, was how much he'd liked the sounds Blake had made before. How it had elicited a surprisingly strong sexual reaction from him considering that the idea of this, of fucking a man who was not in his bed by choice, had left Bane less than eager to complete this transaction.

And then Bane stopped thinking about the past and focused very much on the present as Blake started to make low sounds in the back of his throat, which were similar to the ones he'd made earlier. Blake was relaxing a little around him too, Bane realized with a start, taking him easier into his body and starting to move into his thrusts, the beta angling his body to take Bane's thrusts at an angle that had his Pet making a sound that was part gasp, part breathy moan.

"Fuck. Right there! Just like that!"

Bane briefly considered smacking the man's ass again for the swearing but one, the beta hadn't seemed to mind it much the first time, and two, he was curious about what would happen if he did as the beta asked.

The answer…a return of the panting and moaning at an even louder decibel, combined with rather garbled, gasped out demands for more that only partially made sense half the time.

Demands Bane was willing to meet as the sounds the beta made made him feel rather like he was in heat, only more clearheaded and without a body under him that stayed still and let him do what he wanted since alphas in heat were not to be trifled with. Particular when that alpha was Bane. Yet Blake was actively participating, Bane acknowledged, and somehow, that…stimulated him a great deal, knowing that the beta was enjoying this as well. Or at least was skilled enough to pretend otherwise to the point where Bane could be fooled.

A question for another time, he decided, when he wasn't seeing just how loud the beta could be as he focused completely on fucking his Pet as thoroughly as possible.

He was supposed to leave bruises, a small voice inside his head reminded Bane, the fingers he dug into his pet's hips getting another groan, though Blake didn't stop moving into his harder, more forceful thrusts.

Though maybe it was too much, because suddenly Blake was collapsing forward to bury his face against the pillow, muffling his cries in a way that Bane did not care for at all. Even if this did present interesting new angles for him to investigate as he continued to fuck his pet while…oh.

Not out of pain or a desire to hide, Bane realized as he noted what Blake was doing. The beta had shifted position to free a hand up so that he could use said hand to jerk himself off. A plan Bane approved of, save for the positioning of his pet's head.

That being the case, Bane went still and ordered Blake to turn his head to the side so that he could hear him.

A muffled sound and then Blake's head turned, Bane immediately picking up where he'd left off as a reward once Blake started up again with the sounds Bane wanted to hear. Needed to hear, for some odd reason.

And then suddenly Blake's ass tightened around him in a tight squeeze.


His name. Blake had called out his name as he'd come. Was coming, all over his sheets. Bane could smell it. Sense it in the way Blake jerked back against him and clenched down on him like a vise.

And then his climax hit Bane hard, and he'd never known pleasure like this.



"Thanks for not squashing me."

It was the first words the beta had spoken since they'd both recovered from their climaxes, the raspy quality of the other man's voice pleasing him in some way that Bane couldn't quite put his finger on. Though his own equilibrium was so off kilter at the moment that Bane supposed he shouldn't be surprised to feel pleasure over the fact that the beta had strained his voice from all the yelling and moaning he'd been doing earlier. A lot of things didn't make sense at the moment.

Ignoring his Pet in favor of trying to regain his equilibrium-Blake had fallen silent again and was no threat to him currently-Bane turned his thoughts to pondering the strangeness of sex with John Blake, and how this experience had differed from previous ones.

Were he pressed to explain the difference Bane thought he'd use fighting as a reasonable comparison. Previously his sexual encounters had been a necessary task to keep his mind and body in tune and at peak efficiency, and afterwards he usually felt like he'd just had a decent workout with his body loose and mind clear. Sex with Blake, however, reminded Bane of that very rare and elusive high one could achieve when battling against a worthy opponent to the bitter end. Like he'd been pushed to his limits, challenged, and having faced death and come out the victor once more.

It had been a very long time since Bane had faced an equal on the field of battle, his lord no longer even sparred with him, and this was a high Bane had all but forgotten in recent years. Pleasure like this was as elusive as water in the desert.

And yet here he had a new source for that high, one that was his to use as often as he wished so long as he was careful not to break him.

That thought leading to others, Bane sat up on the mattress and turned to really look at the other man sprawled face down beside him on the bed, Blake having not moved since he'd slumped onto the thin mattress after Bane had pulled out of him. Even in the dim light of the room Bane could make out the drying sweat on the other man's skin, though that wasn't where his eyes lingered as he looked his Pet over from head to toe. No, he was looking at the bruises he and others had put on his pet's body, noticeably marking the apparently easily bruised flesh.

Most of the marks were not from his own hands, Bane knew, but there would be bright bruising on the man's hips that would fit his hands perfectly. Something he would avoid in the future whenever possible. The more damage he caused the less likely his pet was to cooperate with him. And since his enjoyment of the sex had seemed influenced by the beta's enjoyment…keeping his pet biddable would be in his best interests.

Shifting closer, Bane reached out with both hands to pull the man's ass cheeks apart, ignoring for the moment the low groan his actions caused as he inspected Blake's ass for tearing.

Impressive. Red and swollen, but no tearing or serious pain from the sounds Blake was making, given that the fingers he testing prodded Blake's ass with were met with minimum grumbles.

"Your recovery time can't be that short. You have to be pushing late thirties, minimum."

Raising an eyebrow, and feeling the other man's eyes on him, Bane turned his head to see that Blake was watching him through half closed eyes, the formally loose body a little tense but not moving away from him. Just watching him, for the moment.

"I intend to make use of you often." Bane saw no reason not to be blunt. He wished to know Blake's feelings on the matter as well.

The sound the beta made was one Bane didn't know how to interpret.

"I can live with that."

"You are stronger than you look."

"And you're as strong as you look."

The amusement Bane heard in his pet's voice intrigued Bane as he slid off the bed so that he could walk over to the water pitcher sitting on a nearby table, using the water it contained to wet a cloth to clean himself up with. Usually his strength was usually a source of fear, rather than amusement, but then he supposed he should try and get used to the beta's unusual way of looking at things.

And since he could feel Blake's eyes on him Bane decided to bring the cloth over once he was done with it, holding it out to the pet who took it and used it to haphazardly clean up before holding it out questioningly, Bane taking it from him.

"So aside from sex, what else will I be doing for you as your Pet?"

Setting the rag aside Bane turned his head to look over his shoulder. "I don't know." And he didn't. He'd never expected to have a pet. Much less one he would want to keep around long term.

"Fair enough."

"You should get some sleep. You'll need your rest."

"No arguments there." A long pause. "Any chance of more blankets?"


That statement was greeted with more grumbling, and then as Bane watched his Pet very gingerly started to move around on the bed, it only taking a moment for Bane to figure out that Blake was trying to shift enough to get under the single cover on Bane's bed. Something the other man was definitely having problems with as his injuries, exhaustion, and recent activities pained and slowed him down.

"Stop moving."

Walking back over Bane quickly and efficiently got the beta under the sparse cover, the other man's thanks surprising him as he got under the sheet himself on the other side of the bed. At his side the beta was curling up into the fetal position to conserve his body heat, the position likely uncomfortable given their recent activities. But his Pet was putting survival before comfort, which was logical. For himself Bane was used to harsh temperatures and climates, and felt no discomfort as he stretched out on his back.

Closing his eyes as he slipped into light slumber, Bane was instantly aware when Blake started to shuffle a little closer to him. And then his pet's voice reached him.



"Can I get closer to you for body heat?"

Briefly Bane considered this might be a ploy and that the beta would now seek to kill him in some manner, but that thought was quickly pushed aside. His new pet was not so stupid. He might try and kill him at a later time, but for now the man's survival hinged on leaving these mountains for a more hospitable climate where the man's chances of getting out alive were higher. Blake still wanted to live. That hadn't been beaten out of him. Yet.

A moment to debate, and then Bane rolled over and onto his side, not about to give the beta his back. "You may press against me."

"Thank Christ."

And moving surprisingly fast considering the slowness he'd shown earlier, Blake all but dove over to his side, pressing his back up against Bane's chest and cuddling in without any sign or trepidation or self-preservation. Silly beta.

But confident that he had no reason to worry for the moment Bane allowed his eyes to close, his thoughts fragmented and focused on the man beside him as he slipped back into sleep.


Having finished off a portion of the food his men had brought him an hour before, and his mask once again firmly in place, Bane turned his attention to seeing to the man still fast asleep in his bed. Or at least he assumed Blake was still asleep in his manmade cocoon. Sometime during the night the beta had stolen the sheet and wrapped himself up in it in, hiding from view save for the top of the man's dark head. A sight Bane had found rather amusing when he'd woken up that morning.

But now it was time to unravel Blake from his wrappings and get some food and water into him.

Standing beside the bed Bane ordered the beta to wake up three times in increased volume, getting no reaction at all from the other man. Which was certainly not something Bane was used to. Though the beta was most likely exhausted, Bane reasoned, rather than just being stupid enough to play possum and think that would work.

Or at least he hoped the beta wasn't that stupid.

It was entirely possible that it had been too much for his Pet, being taken twice in one night on top of all the physical and mental stresses the man had been under since the League had captured him. Not that the second time wasn't completely the beta's fault. He'd have left the beta alone if he hadn't woken to find that Blake's ass was snug against his erection, the other man's closeness and the lingering scents of their previous sexual encounter teasing his senses while Blake had rubbed said ass against him.

Tugging on the sheet, which got him some mumbling but no actual words, Bane let go at the sound of a hard knock on the door. His lord to see for himself that Bane had done as expected.

Glancing down at the beta once more Bane turned his head when the door opened, surprised when it was Talia and not her father who walked into the room, all grace and stealth as she quickly crossed the room to stand at his side, her eyes on Blake as well.

"Hiding in a blanket?" Distain dripped from every syllable. "This is Wayne's type?"

Bane had only met Bruce Wayne briefly, his lord had wanted Talia to meet the man and Bane had been tasked with escorting her back to headquarters. He'd been formally introduced to the man, but Wayne had only been partway through his training and his lord hadn't wished them to face off in battle before Wayne had studied more. He had observed the man closely though, since not being a fool Bane had surmised that al Ghul had been sizing Wayne up as a future son in law, and that was why he'd wanted Talia to meet the alpha. Therefore Bane had done what he could to get the sense of the man's character and whether he was worthy of Talia. And while he had no interest in alphas romantically or sexually Bane had been able to see why Wayne would be seen as physically attractive, as well as charming to prospective mates. The man had certainly used that charm and appeal when speaking to Talia. Bane was aware that Talia had found the man attractive and had not been pleased when Wayne had proven to be weak and faithless.

Making a sound of disgust Talia moved in closer and drawing back a hand struck Blake across his backside, lips curving a little in approval when that got a low groan, Blake curling up even more while making pained sounds.

"Still hiding? Too scare to face me, Pet?"

Some squirming and then Blake rolled over so that he was facing Talia in theory, the sheet then tugged down enough that Blake's face was visible.

Bane's Pet's hair stuck up like he'd been given a shock, the beta's face an unreadable mask as Blake silently looked in Talia's direction, obviously judging silence to be the best course of action even as his pride prevented him from continuing to hide in the sheet.

"Take off the sheet."

Blake's gaze cut over to him, Bane wondering if the beta thought he would protest or countermand Talia's order. If so his pet was going to be disappointed, especially since they'd both known that this was coming even if Bane hadn't realized his lord would choose Talia to be his eyes in the matter. Something Bane didn't approve or agree with, though he knew better than to say so. Talia would take offense for certain.

Shaking his head a little, which made Bane think Blake intended to disobey, Bane was about to haul the beta out of bed when Blake shifted up and slid off the bed, rising to his feet and letting the sheet go so that it pooled at his feet, turning slowly in place so that they could both get a good look at the marks that decorated his body.

Chapter Text

Note: Because of a game Blake will be playing with an OC later in the story this fanfic will take place in Fall 2016, despite the fact that technically this would sorta take place four years after 'Batman Begins'.

Showing Some Skin

Instinct whispered that Talia wanted Blake naked as much for the purpose of humiliating him as to see the bruises that no doubt currently decorated his body from head to toe. Talia wanted to see both very much. And while common sense had Blake looking at the floor as opposed to at her while he exaggerated his injuries, inwardly Blake smirked at Talia for thinking that this would inflict further mental pain on him. Please. He'd grown up in foster care AND worked in Vice for three fucking years.

Some of the houses he'd been shipped to had been decent, but to plenty of people he'd just been a number or a paycheck, not a living person deserving of respect and kindness. And in Vice, well he'd often gone undercover as a prostitute to roust johns and move unnoticed in Gotham's Underworld. Hell, he'd even done some turns as an undercover stripper a few times since he'd had some experience with the profession thanks to his father having been a bartender and bouncer for a strip club when he'd been a kid. When his old man hadn't been able to afford a babysitter he'd brought Blake to work with him so nakedness was nothing new to Blake. And the strippers who'd been his babysitters at times had indirectly taught him plenty about not only how to manipulate and handle men, but also how to see his naked body as simply a tool and weapon, not something to be embarrassed about.

And to paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, no one could make him feel inferior without his permission, and Blake sure as fuck wasn't giving anyone that right.

He'd stopped giving anyone that power over him a long time ago.

So look all you want, Bitch. Think that I'm nothing and whatever shit you want to, Blake silently invited Talia as he resolutely looked down rather than risk her seeing too much in his eyes. I'm not broken or inferior, and what you think doesn't mean shit to me.

"He's not nearly as damaged as I thought he'd be." Talia's tone had the faintest hint of displeasure, though her gaze remained scientific, like he was a bug under her microscope.

"The men tied him to the bed. He couldn't put up a fight."

Partly to back Bane up, partly to be a smartass, Blake lifted his arms up to draw attention to the marks left on his wrists from being tied up. In truth most of the bruising was from being tied up before, as he hadn't struggled nearly as much when they were tying him to Bane's bed.

The sound Talia made in the back of her throat suggested that she still thought more damage should have been done. But she didn't push the issue further, her tone becoming almost teasing. "Well look here and smile, Detective. I'm sure Wayne misses your pretty smile."

Looking up as ordered, Blake saw the phone she had in her hand, aimed at him with the obvious intent to take pictures or record a video to send to Bruce. And knowing what it would do to his friend, to see Blake bruised because of him, Blake didn't stop himself from lifting his chin in defiance, his posture straightening even as his body protested. Nor did he flinch as he spoke to the woman who was looking at him like he was already dead in her eyes.

"Sending him pictures with your notes, now?"

Surprise was in her eyes for a moment before Talia coolly asked him what he meant, her head tilting in a way that reminded Blake of videos of snakes poised to strike.

"You write Wayne letters. I've seen them."

Actually, it was more accurate to say that Wayne had been so disturbed by the letters she'd sent him that he'd asked Blake for his professional opinion of their contents. And he'd definitely agreed that there was cause for worry after reading them. The woman was seriously fucked in the head and obsessed with Wayne to boot. Not even in a twisted, romantic way, but in a 'No one dumps me so I'm going to fuck you up' sort of way. Only Talia's brand of fucking someone up would probably involve torture and dismemberment over a long period of time.

And a glance in Talia's direction made Blake pretty sure Bane hadn't known about these letters, and she wasn't pleased that he was now in the know. Especially since a look in Bane's direction had Blake thinking Bane was not pleased.

"You think there's something wrong in reminding him that he'll pay for what he did to the League?"

"Really? Because that's not the vibe I got from them at all. Reading between the lines, I mean."

"Ah, but you're not terribly bright, are you."

Since that had been a statement, not a question, Blake saw no point in answering. Nor did he flinch when she backhanded him.

No, he went back to studying his feet, absently wondering how long it would take for said feet to start turning blue in this fucking cold he was being subjected to. Not that he couldn't handle being cold, he'd had no say in that for the first half of his life, but he hated being cold even more than being hungry. Which he also was. Not to mention that he needed to piss soon. Really soon now that he thought about it. Dammit. Why did it always work that way? It was the same with small injuries and bruises. They never hurt so much until you noticed and thought about them. Fuck.

Being annoyed with his bodily functions distracted Blake enough that he wasn't aware that she took his picture, assuming she had. His attention returned to her only when she asked if there was anything he wanted to say to Wayne.

Looking up again, his gaze going to the phone on the chance that she was recording this as opposed to just taking pictures, Blake spoke the words he'd come up with earlier when he was thinking about how he might send his friend a reassuring message without it being obvious. "I'd tell him that he was right about Bane. And not to worry."

"Right about Bane, how?"

Still looking at the phone, Blake gave an answer that was both truth and yet not what he meant at all. "That he's bigger than my ex Will. I didn't think that was possible."

Actually, what he was really referring to was the fact that Wayne, after learning Blake's type when it came to men and how often he had dry spells because of their rarity, had stated that Blake would be all over Bane like a herd of kids on candy. After just being freed from Fat Camp.

Which, having now met Bane, was a statement he was willing to agree with.

What could he say, Blake silent smirked over. He liked his hugely built, intelligent bad boy alphas, and they were like unicorns in Gotham. Bane was an all you can eat buffet after rabbit food for months.

And he should really stop thinking about food; it was making his stomach growl annoyingly loud.

"Better get used to your stomach making those sounds."

Having made her parting shot, and a crappy one at that in Blake's opinion, Talia strolled out like she owned the place. Though she didn't slam the door for added drama, which Blake appreciated. That bit of curtesy was probably for Bane's benefit, not his.

Waiting until the sound of her retreating footsteps reached his ears Blake then glanced over to Bane with a hopeful smile he'd been told was adorable thanks to his dimples. "Would it be possible to use whatever passes for a bathroom now? Please."

A short nod, Bane pointing in the direction of the door he'd gone through the night before.

Oh thank Christ. Indoor plumbing.

Mentally sending thanks to the powers that be Blake headed in that direction with careful strides, the twinges in his backside making every move uncomfortable, but not enough so that he regretted it. Far from it. Totally worth it, actually.

Making quick use of the facilities, which were rustic to say the least, Blake reminded himself that beggars couldn't be choosers, not to mention the fact that he was just lucky the facilities were indoors. Just the idea of having to piss outside, on the mountain he assumed they were on, made his balls want to draw up in fear.

Washing up afterwards Blake dried his hands and then used the cloth to do a quick spit wash, cleaning up as best as he could before heading back out to find Bane waiting for him.

Beside a bowl and an apple.


"I will blow you for that apple."

Bane raised an eyebrow. "Do you make it a habit to offer sexual favors for fruit?"

"No. Police officers get paid crap, yes, but I'm not that poor. And even when I was I preferred stealing. Much funner for me." Blake grinned now. "Blowing you would be even funner, though."


Excellent. And he couldn't decide whether to take the offer as a compliment or an insult. But food was being offered, and that was way more important at the moment.

"You might want to dress first."

Jerking at just the mention of having something to wear Blake quickly whipped his head around in search of something he could possibly wear, his eyes landing almost immediately on the articles of clothing that had been laid out on the bed while he was in the washroom. Clothes. HIS clothes.

Hurrying over, twinges and aches be damned, Blake hopped from one foot and then the other as he got his smelly gym socks on his feet first, desperate for a barrier between his feet and the cold wood floors. His track pants were next, the material sliding on easy, followed by a T-shirt and hoodie, the sound he made when completely covered close to orgasmic.

They might smell a little, he'd been finishing up his morning run when they'd taken him and he'd worked up a sweat, but they were his and well-worn in, brushing against his bruised skin with loving care that felt heavenly after that scratchy blanket or just bare flesh against the elements.

Okay. Time to eat.


Even the mushy crap in the bowl was edible enough, once he'd sampled that as well. The apple was better though, and that Blake thoroughly demolished after the mush since he did NOT want that to be the taste he carried around in his mouth for the rest of the day. Especially since he didn't know how much food he was going to be given in the future. Not a heck of a lot if Talia had anything to say about it, but Bane had to realize that basic needs had to be met and food was one of them.

As was the water he was given to drink, which was friggin amazing even if it was too fucking cold.

"You said you had not been taken in eight months last night, but you are Wayne lover?"

Ah, he'd wondered when Bane would notice that incongruity. And had been pondering how he was supposed to answer that, given that he'd lose his value as a bargaining chip if they found out that he wasn't as important to Wayne as they thought he was. Yes, he could claim that they were friends, and had a sorta brotherly bond, but he wasn't about to count on that being enough to save him. Particularly since he was starting to get the vibe that he had Talia to thank for his present circumstances as opposed to her father. And jealous exes weren't known for hating friends as much as currents. She'd dispose of him and then go after someone else. Someone else who mattered to Bruce.

"He hadn't gotten me into bed yet."

"You are a prize we snatched away before he could claim it."

Biting back his opinion on being viewed as a thing to be won, especially when Bane sounded so pleased at the idea, Blake just nodded while mentally rolling his eyes over this whole mess all over again. I mean seriously, he saw a lot of stupidity, he lived in Gotham, after all, but he still couldn't believe that no one involved in the plan to capture him had stopped to consider the facts. Like, just for starters, the fact that Bruce Wayne didn't sleep with men. Had experimented a little in high school, yes, but had never gotten past making out with a few even then. The man was straight, and Blake was most definitely male. And sure the tabloids speculated to the contrary occasionally, but what sane person took those things seriously? They were called rags for a reason.

God, no wonder they were all dumb enough to get sucked in by Ra's al Ghul.

"You were a thief before becoming a cop?"

Blinking at the question Blake wondered again how little research had gone into him before these idiots had snatched him up. I mean seriously, getting into his juvenile record should have been easy as pie for these guys. Maybe not Bane, but that had more to do with the fact that he could see the man having trouble operating a keyboard with fingers that big.

Not that he was complaining.

"What DO you know about me, exactly?"

"Detective John Blake of the GCPD. Beta. Born and raised in Gotham. Age twenty seven. Only child, with both parents passing on early in your life. You spent time in foster care, and are a known companion of Bruce Wayne. Do you wish a reciting of your census stats?"

Wow. They'd been so crappy in their research they didn't even know his actual first name? That was just sad. Though good too, since he didn't like being referred to as Robin. Of course now he might not ever be called by his name, Blake mused, being a Pet now. Robin was better than being called Pet, but he'd deal.

And back to the question Bane had asked.

"My mom died when I was three, Dad when I was ten. After that I bounced around a lot in foster care before I got placed permanently. I was an angry little shit, and I spent as much time on the streets as I could rather than at the 'homes' they placed me in. I usually didn't have money of my own either, so I stole it and stuff I wanted. Partly as a fuck you to the world, but also because I had a serious sweet tooth." Blake smirked, though that quickly died as he realized that he hadn't even had a last taste of anything sweet before he'd been taken. Fuck, even bastards on death row got a decent meal before their executions.

"You became a cop, yet you did not let go of your anger."

With most people Blake was impressed when someone had the instincts to see beneath his masks, but in this case Blake would have been surprised if Bane had failed to. "I learned to hide and channel it." As had Bane, though not in the way Blake had. Bane used his to control his environment and the people in it, while Blake used his to shield others from becoming him.

Bane inclined his head in agreement. "Why a cop? A cog in the government wheel that failed you."

"Better a cog that actually does its job, then a wrench fucking everything up that much more. Though in all honesty I wanted to be just like Batman when I was a teenager. Before I figured out that I didn't really have the money to make that work. "

"When did he reveal to you who he was?"

"He didn't have to. It was pretty obvious, really." Because unlike the League of Shadows, Blake knew how to research even as a teenager. "The press didn't agree about much, especially in the beginning, but there were enough images of him caught on phones and security cameras that I could guess height, weight. Then there was approximate age given the amount of training he'd obviously had and the shape he was in, on top of the amount of money he'd have to spend to make not just his clothes on the down low, but his toys and headquarters as well. Add in someone with a good reason to become a vigilante…he was on my short list and then I met him. Just briefly, but I looked at him and I knew. Though I didn't say anything about it for years."

No, he'd kept quiet until about four years ago, when Ra's al Ghul had paid Gotham a short visit. The whole thing had ended in the man and his not dead or captured followers fleeing the city, though not before destroying Wayne Manor and helping Crane fuck up a lot of people with his drug shit. He'd nearly ended up dead himself while on patrol that night, but Wayne had saved his life and after, he'd searched the man out to thank him. Thank him and ask if he'd be willing to train him. Make him stronger.

Training these guys didn't know he had. Suckers.

"There is nothing about Wayne worth admiring."

"He saved my life."

"That doesn't make him any less weak."

"If that's the case, then his willingness to save others, despite his weaknesses, makes him more worthy of admiration."

A long, drawn out silence was Bane's response to that, the room's temperature seeming to drop even more as the hairs on the back of Blake's neck stood up.

"You have much to learn, Pet. I will enjoy educating you, I think."

And so saying Bane gave Blake his back and started walking towards the bedroom door, calling out instructions for Blake to remain in the room and not cause trouble for the rest of the day. He would see that food and water was brought to him, but he was to remain here. If he ventured outside the room he would be punished.

"Yes, Sir."

Bane didn't look back, simply closing the door behind him.

Leaving Blake alone to think. And plan.

Chapter Text

An Interesting Twist

After letting them know in vivid detail what would happen to them if anything happened to Blake while he was gone Bane left his new pet in the care of the guards placed outside his door before walking away with Barsad at his side, his second having been waiting for him as pre-arranged. Neither spoke to the other for the first few minutes, their destination an out of the way spot that didn't guarantee privacy or that they wouldn't be overheard, but was the best they could do without actually leaving the building.

Once there Bane stopped and looked at Barsad, waiting for the man's report.

"I was ordered to inform you that we're to leave tomorrow morning."

He'd expected as much. His presence was never wanted here by his lord, much less for very long. The very sight of him was a reminder that Bane had saved Talia when his lord had failed to do so, and then on the flip side he had failed to protect the other man's mate from The Pit's inhabitants. That no man could have gotten her out alive in that situation was understood, but changed nothing.

There was also the fact that since the failed attempt to destroy Gotham his lord had been worried, unnecessarily, that his leadership would be questioned. And while it was true that Bane would be a possible, even somewhat popular successor, that he would kill anyone who tried to overthrow Ra's al Ghul was understood by all. He'd made sure that that was understood, in fact, but Bane was aware that there were those who thought he should be the man's heir at the very least. And had made that known.

"He is also sending Hitachi and the boy with us."

Now that was an unexpected turn of events, not to mention one that made little sense to Bane as he turned the idea over in his mind. "Did he say why?"

"He wishes to test the boy's loyalty."

Hitachi had been one of Bane's instructors when he'd recovered enough from his injuries to start his training as a member of the League. The older man had shown himself to be one of the most patient, knowledgeable, and gifted members of the League, in Bane's opinion. Bane had always regarded the elder with great deference and respect, as Hitachi was a great man as well as warrior. One with one very obvious and glaring weak spot.

The boy.

Long before Bane had come to this place Hitachi had lost a son. He had spoken little of the boy or his mother, but had worn a bracelet belonging to said son every day of his life in remembrance of him. Or he had up until four years ago. It was then, during the mission against Gotham, that Hitachi had encountered a half dead boy who was said to have born a resemblance to his long dead son in some back alley in the city. A boy who looked enough like the long dead son that the old man had brought the boy back here with him, and had convinced himself that the boy was in fact his son. Hitachi had returned the bracelet to the boy's wrist, and threatened death to anyone who tried to take the teenager away from him.

Of course the boy wasn't his son. That was obvious by age alone even before the boy had recovered enough to speak and it was made clear that he didn't speak Hitachi's native tongue, recognize his 'father', or have any memories of a life outside of Gotham. But Hitachi would not be swayed by all the proof to the contrary, telling the teenage boy that he'd simply suffered a head wound that had addled his thoughts and robbed him of his memories. And the boy, realizing that Hitachi was the only thing standing between him and imminent death, had wisely decided to play along and had answered to the name Kei ever since.

And so the father had retrained his new son, ho was not the warrior Hitachi's dead son had been, and in the end the boy remained in the League solely for Hitachi's sake. It was unfortunate, but the boy was not a true follower of their ways and everyone knew it. And many questioned what would be done with him when Hitachi, who was pushing seventy three and ill, passed on to the next life. It was known that Hitachi wanted Ra's al Ghul's promise that he would see to the boy's wellbeing and allow him to remain with the League after his death. A promise his lord would not give lightly. Hence 'volunteering' them for this task, Bane surmised, given the undeniable fact that Hitachi would have a hard time pressuring al Ghul for his word when there was both mountains and a desert between them.

And if the old man was to die while he was in Bane's territory the boy would become his problem instead.

"I'm to test his loyalty to the League?"

"No. He wishes to see what the boy will do when faced with someone from Gotham. Someone who he believes would try and convince the boy to escape with him if given the chance."

Ah, that made a little more sense. Though the point in doing this before Hitachi's death escaped Bane. "So I'm to assign the boy to guard Blake in some capacity."

"That is the just of it, I believe."

Bane knew the boy mostly through overheard or reported gossip, but what he did know left him undecided as to whether this would be a good idea or not. Kei was said to be socially awkward, rarely speaking and with a habit of staring at people unnervingly.

Provided the boy wanted friends Blake was smart enough to use that and befriend the boy just to use him to escape, which was the point of their lord's experiment. On the other hand there was nothing to suggest Kei had ever attempted to make a friend to the best of Bane's knowledge and appeared to be asexual in nature. Those who Bane knew had approached the boy about sharing their beds, as the young alpha was considered very attractive in appearance, were always turned down. Ergo Blake attempting to seduce the boy into helping him wasn't likely to succeed, and if the boy did decide to make a break for it, it would most likely be of his own volition.

But there was also the fact that the boy seemed to live in his head a lot, which wasn't conducive to watching over someone as slippery as Bane imagined Blake could be. Physically the boy was up to it though, and as long as Hitachi was supervising as well Bane wasn't completely against the idea. Especially since for the most part Blake would never be in a situation where running away would lead to anything but death by nature. And besides, Kei wouldn't help Blake leave and remain behind. The boy couldn't be stupid enough to think Bane would let him go unpunished.

"What do you think of this?"

Barsad was silent for a moment, obviously considering the matter seriously. "I think we don't know what either man is capable of. From what I've been able to gather the detective was judged based on his data alone, without effort made to look beneath the surface as to who he might be under the uniform. And no one seems to know Kei. He stays in the shadows, his only known allegiance to Hitachi. And even then, whether there's true bonds there or it's just a matter of survival…I could not read him, the few times I tried to converse with him in the past."

That was saying something, as his second was usually very skilled when it came to sizing up those around him. And Barsad preferred the shadows as well, so the two would have had that in common, if nothing else.

"Arrange for the boy to meet us midday. I wish to judge him before I assign him to the task." Not that he would disobey his lord's wishes, but how much contact this alpha would have with his pet was his decision unless al Ghul specified otherwise.



Bane hadn't seen the boy called Kei in a couple years, to the best of his recollection, and his first glimpse of the boy had his eyebrows rising a little while beside him Barsad made a sound in the back of his throat that Bane wasn't exactly sure how to interpret, but assumed was some commentary on the fact that the boy really was a strikingly handsome example of the world's ethnicities. A mixture of many bloodlines and races, the Asian blood showed in the slightly slanted eyes and shiny black hair while the light brown skin despite living on a mountain suggested ancestors who'd required the darker pigment to survive in their hot climates. Add in the green eyes and a height that suggested Caucasian blood, and you had a boy-young man who exemplified the best of his varied genes.

A cold beauty, though, Bane mused to himself, as there was nothing on the boy's face to read. Like there was nothing going on underneath the surface either emotionally or mentally. Whether that was so, or it was simply a façade the other man had adopted to survive would remain to be seen.

Though Bane did make a mental note of the fact that the boy was wearing multiple layers, suggesting that perhaps all Gotham's inhabitants were unusually sensitive to the cold.

Stopping in front of them, Kei bowed his head slightly before looking up to meet Bane's gaze for a moment, no fear or even trepidation in those green eyes. And then he went back to staring at the floor as he addressed Bane. "Sir. You asked to see me."

"I did. Do you know the task your lord has asked that you be given?"

A head shake.

"Were you at the meeting last night?" Bane didn't recall seeing him.

Another head shake.

"I have acquired a Pet. It will be your job to come back to my territory with us and act as his guard."

This had Kei looking up at him again, dark brows furrowed as just a hint of the man's alpha nature showed itself. "I can't leave my father. He needs me to take care of him."

"He is coming as well."

"Oh. That's fine, then."

Cocking his head ever so slightly to the side, Bane studied the other man as he would prey, the tone his gaze had taken seeming to have no effect on the much younger alpha, who couldn't be much more than twenty. "You don't fear me."

Still meeting his gaze the younger man shrugged, like he'd just been asked if he wanted corn or beans for dinner. "Your regard for my father means if you decided to kill me, or were ordered to do so, you'd do it quickly. And I know how to take a beating. You are Death to many, but I stopped fearing death a long time ago. Can I go now?"

Finding himself intrigued, Bane thought to himself that it would be interesting to observe this puzzle before him in the future. And he was curious as to what Blake would make of the boy, especially since they were both from Gotham. Was there something in the water over there, he wondered, that made men from that city so unusual in nature?

"You will come with me to meet your charge now."

Again a nod rather than words, the boy waiting until they were moving before falling into step behind them, careful to keep an arm's length distance between them.

"How old are you, Kei?"

"My father tells me I'm fifty four years old."

"And if a physician were to examine you, how old would he think you to be?"

There was just a hint of amusement in his response. "Twenty one. Twenty two in a few months."

"Any run ins with the law when you lived in Gotham?" If the man had a problem with cops, it was best to know now. Blake had only a cop's training to fall back on, which wouldn't stand a chance against a League trained alpha. Even one who appeared as simple as this one.

"I didn't have a juvenile record before I came here, if that's what you're asking."

"And no family to miss you?"

"I don't have any family but my father." Was the boy's shrugged response.

Leaving it at that for the moment, they were all lost in thought anyway, the three of them traveled in silence up until the point where they entered the hallway leading to Bane's personal rooms. It was then that Bane spoke again, simply stating that it would be wise for the other man not to underestimate his new charge.


Opening the door Bane stepped through the threshold, making note of the fact that Blake was currently wrapped up in the blanket again, a book in hand. A book Blake set aside, along with the blanket, as the beta got to his feet, a questioning look on his face.

A puzzled expression that morphed into shock, then fury.

And Blake wasn't looking at him.

He was looking at Kei.


"Simon Tomas Deveroix! What the FUCK WERE YOU THINKING?!"

His Pet moving with a speed that took Bane aback given the careful way his Pet had moved that morning, Bane's eyes widened that much more when Blake grabbed ahold of Kei's shirt and yanked on the material to force Kei down enough that his shorter Pet could grab the alpha by the ear. And then Blake was twisting it while the beta continued to yell at the much taller and stronger alpha.

"Do you have ANY FUCKING IDEA how many FUCKING HOURS for FUCKING YEARS I spent combing alleys and the slums for you? Flashing your fucking picture around trying to find someone who might have seen your sorry ass! Huh? You want to know how many times I visited the homeless shelters and the damn fucking morgues, looking at fucking bodies so fucked up their identities weren't obvious?! I know emotions aren't your strong suit, but how could you not realize what it did to Father Riley and I, having NO FUCKING IDEA WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU all these years! YOU IDIOT! And what the hell were you thinking, joining the fucking League?! Of all the stupid things for you to-" Stopping in mid-sentence, Blake let go of both Kei's shirt and ear, his face a picture of confusion while Kei just placidly continued to stare at him while rubbing his ear.

"Wait a minute, you'd never join the League. Not willingly. They don't allow happy things around here like music. Hell, Eurovision is probably on their list of things to end once they control the world. And you're too-are you a Pet? Did they kidnap you from Gotham?"

And now Blake spun around to give Bane his full attention, the look in Blake's eyes black and feral. The darkness that hungered to rip and tear, to hurt before he could be hurt, were visible in those dark eyes, Bane noted, and he had no doubt that were the answer to Blake's question a yes, Blake would dedicate himself to making those responsible suffer.

"I'm not a Pet. It's complicated. But they haven't hurt me or anything. I promise." Kei tugged on Blake's shirt to get his attention. "What are you doing here? You're even less likely to get along with them than I am. They hate cops."

Tired of being ignored, not to mention left in the dark, Bane answered the question before Blake could.

"He is my Pet."

"What?" Confusion crossed the young man's face, though understanding dawned quickly. And in reaction to that the boy's body and face tensing up in a manner that suggested he too would draw blood in defense of the man who moments before had been prepared to do the same for him.

"Yup. So I expect you to start calling me Khaleesi."

Now all three men looked at Blake questioningly, Bane frowning behind his mask at the unfamiliar word. What did Khaleesi mean? It didn't sound English in origin. What other languages did his Pet speak? Or was it some sort of American slang? And if so what did it mean, as the boy was now looking back and forth between him and Blake, all signs of aggression and anger gone in the wake of Blake's casual statement. Why?

Turning his head slightly to meet Barsad's gaze the two silently convey that no, neither knew the meaning of the word. And found that fact frustrating even if it probably was some mindless bit of slang that wasn't worth knowing.

"Kaleesi." Kei repeated, and then to Bane's shock the boy broke out into waves of laughter, Kei's whole face lighting up in a way that elevated his face from striking to stunningly beautiful.

Blake wore a fond expression when Bane returned his attention to his Pet, the affection Blake felt for 'Kei' not sitting right with him. Blake was his, and should look at no other alpha but him. Especially since Bane could end the boy without an effort on his part.

"So since he's busy laughing at the moment, care to explain why you guys took him from Gotham?"

"After you explain how you know him."

"We were roommates in St. Swithin's for a year, before I aged out. That's a boy's home funded by the Wayne Foundation, by the way. Father Riley figured he'd do better with me than kids his own age, and even after I left I kept in touch to make sure he was doing okay."

"I see. He will explain his circumstances when we leave here. For now, Barsad, see him out."

Nodding, Barsad pointed at the door, Kei obviously struggling to contain his laughter at this point, as he bit down on his bottom lip and then waved goodbye to Blake, obviously not trusting himself to be able to talk at the moment.

And looking equally amused Blake waved goodbye in turn as the other two men left the room.

Chapter Text

No Man Was Allowed

While he didn't consider him the type to deliberately hurt or make someone feel less without a good reason, Blake was willing to acknowledge that it was like him to deliberately act like a little shit sometimes for his own amusement. And while he didn't general play jealousy games he also wasn't beyond flirting or appreciating another man's appreciation even when he was taken. He didn't cheat, just to be clear, but he liked making sure that whoever he was seeing realized that Blake had other options, and therefore treating him well was always in his boyfriend's best interests.

In this case though, Blake got straight to the point with brutal honesty.

"He's like a quite often annoying little brother to me. There's nothing romantic or sexual about our relationship, and never will be. He's gorgeous, but not my type. You have my word." In truth he was sorta Simon's type, in that he understood Simon and his quirks and accepted them, but the younger man had never tried anything with him, and if he had Blake would have turned the boy down for the age difference alone back then.

"Odd that he made no move to touch you, if you are family."

"Simon isn't big on touching people. Plus I would imagine he knows he'd need your permission, right? Now that I'm your Pet." In truth he was one of the few people Simon was okay with being touched by, but Simon almost never initiated contact.

Bane's eyes were cold and final. "No one is to touch you. Unless you're trying to escape or fighting them."

"I understand." Moving closer, and thinking to soothe while copping a bit of a feel, Blake ran his hands up Bane's chest, thinking the thin, long sleeved shirt ridiculously inappropriate given how fucking cold it was in this hellhole. And admiring the man's muscles in the more lust fueled corners of his brain, because they were right there, after all.

Apparently Bane didn't find the action particularly soothing, though, since the alpha's response was to firmly grasp his chin to insure their eye contact as he warned Blake that trying to use his charms to get free would not end well for him or his would be lover.

"I got it. I'm Anck-Su-Namun without the gold body paint and backstabbing tendencies."

Though he did appreciate bald men too, obviously.

And okay, he could only not be a smartass for so long, especially when faced with someone with no sense of humor like Bane. The man needed to lighten up and get one soon. Sarcasm had always been one of his shields and weapons of choice.

"Are you referring to Ankhesenamun, the third of six known daughters of Pharaoh Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti, who grew up to become the wife of her half-brother Tutankhamun?"

"Ah….no. I was referring to 'The Mummy' franchise. Anck-Su-Namun was the mistress to the pharaoh, who was made to wear basically netting and gold body paint so that no one could touch her without it being smudged. An interesting way of keeping your lover honest, you gotta admit, even if it didn't work. The pharaoh died at the hands of her side piece. And okay, I should have come up with a better analogy, but there's this line from the movie 'No man was allowed to touch her', and that's what popped into my head when you were doing your staking your claim thing."

"Body paint?"

"I could rock it. But no." A onetime thing to spice things up a little, yes. Full time, no way in hell. Not to mention the idea brought to mind that Bond villain who killed a woman by way of skin suffocation. So not a good way to go.

Shaking his head, possibly in exaggeration, Bane dropped his hand away. "I have other duties to attend to before we leave tomorrow."

"Tomorrow? And…uh…how are we getting down these mountains, exactly?" They'd kept him blindfolded, drugged, and tied up, so he had more impressions than memories of how he'd gotten here in the first place. But Blake did have some idea where thanks to Bruce's stories and the fact that he could feel the difference in altitudes. And this time around Blake was fairly sure that he wasn't going to be out of it for the trip…and he was not a nature person. Or a winter person. Or a comfortable climbing down a fucking mountain person.

And those were understatements.

Which Bane seemed to know, given the hint of amusement he thought he could see in those grey blue eyes.

"I will not let you die."

"Reassuring. But accidents happen. Especially where ice is concerned." Death by ice, whether falling through or slipping on it, were also not Blake's ideas of good ways to go.

"It will be a short distance to a place a helicopter can land."

"Oh thank you, God."

Again with the hint of amusement, thought with the mask on it was hard as hell to really get a read on the man. He was used to being able to look for more tells. Not that Bane's eyes didn't give little clues, Blake decided, if you were paying enough attention, but it was hard to form an opinion when one's eyes were naturally drawn to the butt ugly mask clinging to the alpha's face.

Speaking of which…

Keeping his movements slow, just in case, Blake reached up and over to touch the mask in question, running questioning fingers over the edges while Bane gave him a look that made it clear an attempt to fiddle or remove it would be met with painful repercussions.

"Wayne said you had this originally for medical reasons, or at least that's what Talia told him. But that even after you didn't need it anymore you've kept it. Why? It's not like you need to look scary to demand respect. It feels like it would cut into your face horribly, it's so tight."

"The mask stays on."

That really wasn't an answer, but Blake didn't see the point in pushing it giving the 'don't ask' vibes Bane was giving off. At least for the moment. Or at least not much. "I suppose that means I won't be kissing you before you go off to work every day like a good little househusband?"

Surprise flashed in Bane's eyes for a couple heartbeats, and then when he stated that he didn't kiss there was definitely a moody undertone to the words.

"Pity. Because I'm excellent at it."

"Just saying." Blake added, when Bane gave him a censoring look. "Don't you have underlings to terrorize somewhere in this icebox, by the way? Or were you looking for me to warm you up?" Blake fluttered his eyelashes for emphasis.

"You would be wise to think before you speak."

"So I've been told. Many, many times."

"I will see you after dinner. Behave."

"As you wish, Master."

The sound Bane made in response made Blake think the man knew sarcasm when he heard it. Which was a good thing, now that they were stuck together for the next little while.

Sarcasm was one of his specialities.



Barsad was not a people person. Not by a longshot. He preferred his own company whenever possible, and only truly enjoyed conversing with his leader. People lied, destroyed, and acted above all in their own self-interests, with little concern for the cost or consequences unless they were made to pay for it. Ergo, for the most part, when he chose to interact with people it was with the purpose of learning them well enough to insure that their actions didn't affect him, Bane, or their men negatively, and to understand who they were so as to manipulate and anticipate them when necessary.

Now here he was, with the most blank faced boy he'd ever met, and Barsad was getting nothing from him.

He didn't think the boy stupid. That wasn't the vibe he was getting. Rather Kei, or Simon, as he'd been named at birth, reminded Barsad more of a creature who was the sort to camouflage himself, staying still and unassuming for as long as it took for its prey to come to it. And yet that didn't seem right either, since Barsad didn't get the sense that Kei was dangerous. Was instead someone more used to being prey than predator. And yet he had been willing to attack Bane in the cop's defense, despite knowing how that would end for him.

Speaking of which…

"What language is Khaleesi?"


Dothraki? Barsad knew a great deal about the world and its languages, but that didn't ring any bells. "From what part of the world does that tongue originate?"

A hint of a smile. "The Dothraki Sea, in Essos, I think."

It took a moment, and then Barsad understood. "It's a fictional language. One created for a book or film."

A nod.

"What does khaleesi mean, in the language of the Dothraki? Keeping in mind of course that I can look it up later, once we're off the mountain."

"I'm not a liar." Was the alpha's response, Kei's gaze suddenly very direct and penetrating, before his gaze shifted straight ahead once more. "It means queen."


"In the book series, which is also a television show, the Dothraki are a nomadic group of warriors who travel throughout the land raiding people. Their leaders are called khals, whose wives are referred to as khaleesi."

Barsad waited for some explanation as to how any of that applied to Blake's use of the term, and why it had first relieved and then so amused Kei, but the young man remained silent, as though the conversation was over. And while he could understand why Bane, and their men by extension could be compared to a nomadic race of warriors, Barsad sensed that he was still missing the point. And that was a feeling he was not comfortable with.

"The detective is not Bane's wife."

"No. He's his Pet."

"Then why would he tell you to call him Khaleesi?" It was like pulling teeth. Was this what he was like when he didn't want to answer their nosey questions about Bane?

"To tell me he's alright."

"And how does calling him a queen translate to him being alright when he's a Pet? Bane's Pet." Not that Barsad thought that Bane would mistreat the cop unless circumstances forced his hands, but Bane did have a reputation and Kei didn't know Bane well at all, having had little to no contact with him. And why wasn't the boy even entertaining the thought that perhaps Blake was just saying things to make the younger alpha feel better about the fact that he would be no match for Bane? Could he be so naïve…or did he know something about Blake that they didn't?

Damn Talia's men for fucking that up so royally.

"Just because someone starts out as something, doesn't mean they stay that way."

The rather philosophical response surprised and intrigued Barsad. "Oh?"

"Yes." Was Kei's simple answer. "I was considered very odd looking when I was a boy. I had to grow into my face, one of my social workers said. Then I did, and now people tell me I'm very handsome or even gorgeous. Now they call me odd, not odd looking."

"And do you think you're gorgeous?" Barsad was curious to find out if Kei was vain.

It took a moment for Kei to answer, the boy's attention having been caught by the sight of his adopted father off to the side, watching them but not approaching. A silent message seemed to pass between the two, and then Kei was giving him his full attention once more.

"I'm not my type. And I've never cared what people look like. The prettiest people are often the ugliest inside. And would you do me a favor? Would you tell John to call me Kei from now on? It upsets my father, when he's reminded that I was once someone else."

Seeing no reason why he couldn't, Barsad nodded his head. He had enjoyed his time under Hitachi's instruction as well.

"Thank you. I should go now."

Nodding his head politely, Kei took a couple steps towards his father and then stopped, looking back at him, his voice very matter of fact. "In case looks matter to you, I like your face. Most men don't look good with beards, but I like yours. Goodbye."

And leaving Barsad more confused than when they'd started their conversation, Kei wandered off to join his father, the two leaving together without once glancing behind at him.


Having built up the fire in Bane's room to the best of his ability, and hadn't that just been a fun, educational process that had nearly caused him to set himself on fire a couple times, Blake sat huddled up in front of it as close as he dared. He was wearing his clothes, ones he'd snitched from Bane's drawers, and had wrapped himself up in the pathetic blanket from the bed that Bane was going to have to pry out of his cold, dead fingers later. Well, unless Bane was willing to let him cuddle with him again, since Bane was his own furnace, lucky bastard.

And okay, not out of his cold, dead, hands, since he couldn't die and leave Simon here to fend for himself. The fact that the kid had managed it this far was a hell of a shock, though he'd managed to get some information from Barsad when Bane's sidekick had dropped off some dinner or him.

Ugh. He didn't even want to think about that dinner. Or what might have been in that 'stew' thing.

It had been hot, but that was the best thing about it, Blake thought darkly, shuddering at the memory of the weird textured meat in it. And he was a man who ate hot dogs on a regular basis, so it wasn't like he was squeamish, generally, at the idea of eating weird meat.

But back to Simon, who he was going to have to start thinking of as Kei, apparently, at least for the time being. Because of some old man who considered Simon his son even though Blake was well aware of the fact that Simon's father was currently serving year seven of fifteen at Riker's in New York. Simon had been stuck here since al Ghul had tried to take out Gotham, and that had been all that he was all he'd been able to get out of Barsad which was frustrating, but then the other man had been rather subtly pumping him for information about Simon, which he hadn't been about to volunteer either. Knowledge was power, after all, and Simon more easy to manipulate than most, if you knew how to go about it. Not to mention it was clear from a couple of the questions Bane's second had posed that if nothing else, it wasn't common knowledge what set Simon apart from the average person.

He wouldn't change that unless Simon okayed it.

Most important though was the fact that any escape plan he formulated would have to include getting Simon out. He was not leaving the boy behind. No fucking way. He'd find a way even if adding the boy to the equation would probably seriously up the chances of getting caught. With his looks Simon stood out too much even in a crowd, not to mention the fact that the alpha had quirks that tended to be remembered if someone paid attention.

If Simon wanted to stay here because of his 'father'…that could be a problem too. Not just because Blake wasn't about to leave the boy behind, but because if he did everyone was sure to blame Simon for his escape even if he kept his former roommate completely in the dark about his plans. Bane knew that they knew each other, were close, and that would be enough reason for them to assume, correctly, that at the very least Blake would never leave without saying goodbye.

And there was really no point in trying to plan things out since there were too many questions he needed answered, not to mention the fact that he wasn't going to attempt an escape until he was off this godforsaken mountain range. All the metaphorical stars had to be in alignment before he tried anything, and the fact that he was like ninety nine percent likely to die if he tried to get down by himself was a damn good reason to wait until they were in a more hospitable climate. Not that he'd fare much better in a desert climate either, but at least there was less to trip and slide on.

Regardless, it went without saying that he would only have one shot at this, two if he was lucky and Bane caught him so easily the first time that he was willing to let him live. Third chances…Blake was betting not.

Hearing the door creak on its hinges Blake bent backward to confirm that it was Bane and not someone come to kill him for shits and giggles. Yup. It was Bane. And he was alone this time, which meant he didn't have to pretend and could just be a toned down version of his usual self.

And that being the case Blake straightened and went back to warming himself since it wasn't like he could kiss the big lug hello. Though…

"Hi, Honey. How was work?"

"What are you doing?"

"Staying warm. It's sort of necessary for my survival."

The sound of footsteps, and then Blake could feel Bane looming over him even before he tipped his head back to meet the large alpha's gaze. "Hi."

"You will have to toughen up." Was Bane's response, his tone commanding. "I will not have such a weak Pet. You are not an omega. To your feet."

Finding humor in that statement for obvious reasons, Blake kept his amusement to himself as he got to his feet as ordered, though he kept his death grip on the blanket as he turned to face Bane. Hell if he was giving it up before he had to.

"Are you…wearing my clothes underneath that?"


Chapter Text

Disclaimer: As always I own nothing but the original characters and the situations all characters end up in. Everything else belongs to someone else and that's the way of it. I DON'T OWN THE 'HAMILTON' SOUNDTRACK EITHER.

Note: If you want to hear what Blake sounds like, just type in 'Joseph Gordon Levitt singing' into YouTube, and there are a bunch of videos to choose from. I particularly like his rendition of Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance'.

Down The Mountain

Alphas were supposed to be at the top of the food chain, so to speak, but Bane had been around enough betas to know that while they were usually more inclined to follow than lead, there were those who hungered for the power and control generally held by alphas. And it was a foolish alpha, Bane knew, who dismissed anyone not of his designation as a threat based simply on biology. Especially since brute force was not the only way to achieve ones' goals or manipulate odds in your favor.

His pet might be considerably weaker than him physically, and perhaps also lacked his own considerable intelligence, but it was obvious to Bane as he looked down at his pet that Blake was a man who knew his limitations and had learned ways to compensate for them. And more importantly, was used to pretending to be subservient when really he was bending as much as he had to.

Bane was fairly sure if he gave the detective an inch the beta would take a mile.

Ergo for both their sakes Bane knew that it was important to establish his dominance and get it through the younger man's thick skull that he belonged to Bane, was his Pet, and that failure to recognize these facts would end in pain and possibly death for him. Because Bane might want to keep him around, at least for now, but he would kill the beta before he would allow the other man to act in ways that would call into question Bane's strength and dominance.

He'd already been too lenient with him, and that needed to stop before it became a habit.

"On your knees." Bane ordered. "You will service me."

By ordering the man to his knees Bane thought to put Blake in a subservient, submissive position, with the order to service him making it clear that any sexual acts between them was about Bane's pleasure, with Blake's being secondary. It would also further highlight the power difference, Bane decided, with Blake's very life depending on his willingness to obey and do as he was told. Bane might not want a lifeless automaton for a Pet, but either Blake would learn to obey or he would have to break him.

Dropping gracefully down to his knees, like he'd done it a thousand times before, Blake didn't look at all cowed or put upon as he obeyed the order, the hands the beta placed just above Bane's knees before sliding them up his thighs oddly soothing. And act which made no sense to Bane since he didn't need to be soothed. He wasn't the one that was going to be choking on another man's cock.

Though it could be a silent request for him to be gentle with his pet, Bane supposed as he watched Blake's fingers come up to unbutton and then unzip his pants, leaving the belt in place. And he didn't intend to be overly rough or use the man carelessly, so Bane supposed Blake would think he was being granted his silent request if that was the case. The truth of the matter was he didn't think violence had any place in the bedroom unless both parties enjoyed such things, but Blake would learn that eventually. Provided the beta didn't force him to kill him.

More surprise and uncertainty followed as Blake did not behave as expected, which Bane really should have anticipated upon later reflection. Because the beta did as ordered, in a fashion, but not in a way Bane was used to being serviced. There was no evidence that Blake considered this a chore or a necessary gesture to please Bane. No, Blake was approaching this as Bane imagined a lover would, not rushing it at all as the man's slender fingers slid under clothing to rub and stimulate first one of his balls and then the other, Blake's other hand wrapped around Bane's cock while the man's tongue…teased him. There was just no other way to put it. His pet's tongue darting out for quick tastes in between long, thorough swipes that did nothing to relieve the growing ache in Bane's belly.

But more than Blake's actions, it was the beta's expression that arrested his attention and kept him from issuing orders or grabbing Blake's face and forcing his cock into the tightness of the man's throat as the minutes ticked by. Blake's expression invited him to play, to enjoy and join him in having fun with this rather than viewing it as a chore or power play. As something to get done and over with. And it also seemed that Blake was trying to figure out what he liked too the way the beta was studying him, though Bane wasn't giving him any hints. Especially when it wasn't necessary since Blake had yet to do something he didn't like.

And that aside, Bane didn't know how to play.

He also didn't understand why the other man found his foreskin so interesting, though he did recall that Blake himself was circumcised. But either way he wanted more than licks as the heat in his belly continued to grow even as he kept his pleasure in the beta's action from showing on his face or in his voice as he spoke.

"You are not a bird but a cat. That is enough playing."

As if to answer Blake leaned forward to take half of Bane's cock into his mouth and then made a purring sound that had vibrations sending additional pleasure through his body, and had Bane grabbing the sides of Blake's head and wishing his pet's hair was longer, so that he could use it to control Blake's actions.

The fact that Blake's lips curved into what was unmistakably a pleased smile around his cock made it quite clear that he was only getting started as his pet lost interest in playing as well and went about showing Bane just how good he was at 'servicing' a man when he was serious.

The gods preserve him.

Especially when Blake started to make the sounds Bane might have made were he not so much more disciplined and in control of himself. Sounds that carried up his own body like phantom hands that has him biting back groans of him own. Sounds that, when paired with the hot looks his pet sent him while he put his tongue and hands to work, had Bane forgetting about all else but this. But Blake.

He'd have been embarrassed about how quickly he came once his pet got serious, but Bane had more important things to worry about.

Like how he was going to prevent himself from becoming addicted to this sort of pleasure.


The next morning Bane made sure to keep his pet at his side as they walked through the snow and across the rock faces and ice on their way down to the helicopter. That he let Blake cling to his arm at points was noticed by the men escorting them down went without saying, but Bane refused to so much as look at them. And none of them were so stupid that they'd question him about it. They'd likely speculate and gossip about it once they got back to headquarters, and if his lord or Talia chose to comment on it later he would simply tell them that he couldn't continue to 'break' Wayne's cop if the detective was dead. That he also had other reasons for wishing to keep Blake alive and well was inconsequential. He could and would kill Blake in a heartbeat if ordered, and that was all that mattered.

He just intended to enjoy the services his pet provided until then.

And since thinking about what those services were was distracting, especially since it would be hours before he and Blake were alone, Bane chose to change his focus to the fact that the boy assigned to guard his pet wasn't having any problem with the terrain or cold. Not that that stopped Blake from constantly looking back to make sure the boy was doing alright, which Bane found annoying.

It was also why Bane informed Blake that the young alpha was proof that Blake should be able to adapt to the cold, just as Wayne had years before.

"After being here for how long?" Blake shot right back, though Bane noted that the beta had the sense to pitch his voice low enough that his words wouldn't carry to the ears of others.

"You cling to me like a child."

"And you're letting me." Blake pointed out, the smile that followed tipping Bane off. "I like clinging to you. Especially in bed."

Frowning behind his mask over that, Bane was tempted to order the beta to turn him loose to walk behind him without help, but they were almost at their destination and losing the cop to some crevice or a false ledge would annoy him more at this point. So instead he placed a hand under the wrap around the beta's neck and gave it a warning squeeze.

He didn't expect Blake to push back against his hand like he enjoyed the touch rather than felt threatened by it. Growing up in Gotham had obviously warped his pet's common sense.

But still, he kept his hand there all the way to the launch pad, moving it only to place it against Blake's back as he ushered his pet into the helicopter first, taking his seat beside him. After that Hitachi insisted on his 'son' getting in first to sit directly across from Blake, and then he followed with Barsad bringing up the rear and closing the door behind him, taking a seat on Bane's other side.

With Bane's permission the pilot took off moments later, the liftoff and descent smooth and practiced.

And yet Hitachi's boy had noticeably started losing color as they lifted off, and the boy's nails were likely drawing blood as they dug into the flesh of his palms. Blood might not be the only thing the boy would lose, either, as the boy's face went from nearly white to having a definite green tinge over the next few minutes.

Bane gave him a look that made it clear he'd be very sorry if he vomited in the helicopter.

The look the boy gave him in return made it clear that not even the threat of Bane's wrath might be enough to keep the contents of his stomach where it was.

Hitachi, trying to aid the boy, took his closest hand and used the pressure point there to try and avert the nausea, though it seemed to have no effect on the boy at all.

Then a slight tug on his coat sleeve had Bane turning his head to meet his pet's gaze.

"Permission to distract him so he doesn't throw up all over us, Master?" Blake's voice was pitched only for his ears, but as promised the beta was being somewhat respectful while they were in public.

"Distract how?" The type of distractions Blake seemed to prefer to utilize with him were obviously out of the question.


Bane puzzled over that for a moment before he remembered that Blake had stated the day before that the boy would never willingly join the League because there was no music, which he presumed meant that music was something the young alpha enjoyed quite a bit. And since his pet had no way of providing Kei with music except to make it, Bane presumed his pet meant to make it himself. Interesting.

Curiosity had him nodding his head, giving his permission.

A quiet thank you, and then Blake turned his head and spoke the name his former friend was going by currently. And when the alpha looked at him, Blake started speaking in a way that was like singing as well.

"How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a
Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten
Spot in the Caribbean by Providence, impoverished, in squalor
Grow up to be a hero and a scholar?

The ten-dollar Founding Father without a father
Got a lot farther by workin' a lot harder
By bein' a lot smarter
By bein' a self-starter
By fourteen, they placed him in charge of a trading charter."

His pet had a pleasing voice, Bane was surprised to discover, in fact the more he listened the more Bane had to admit that he found the tone and sound of it rather…simulating in an unexpected way. Not to mention the fact that he found his brain piqued as well, as he realized that the song wasn't about drugs, sex, or acting in some laughable, stereotypical Western idea of what being a man meant, but rather about one of America's founding fathers.

And that wasn't the only surprise.

No, the even bigger one was the boy's reaction to the music.

Within a sentence Kei's full attention was on Blake in a manner that was disconcerting for lack of a better word. In truth Bane was at a loss as to how it didn't throw Blake off to be stared at so intently unless this was Kei's usual reaction to being sung to, and so his pet had grown used to being stared at years before. And while his first reaction had been to assume that the hunger and need that had come into Kei's eyes were a sexual response to Blake, Bane quickly realized that that wasn't it at all.

It was all about the music with Kei. Anyone could be singing to him and the boy would most likely react this same way unless the musician was really horrible.

But the music certainly wasn't displeasing, and the young alpha's color was quickly back in full bloom. Kei's whole body leaned forward as though he wanted to spring forth to rip the words out of Blake's throat. And in a flash of insight Bane was reminded of the way some of his fellow inmates had looked up to the mouth of the Pit, moving around in a fruitless attempt to see something of the outside world. So hungry for it that they were blind and deaf to everything else, which had gotten more than a few of them killed or broken.

As Blake worked his way through the song Bane was fairly sure he could have pulled a gun on Kei, pressing the muzzle against the alpha's head, and the boy would hardly react, if at all. He was so completely absorbed by the words and music.

And it was impressive, the next song, which apparently featured multiple singers which Blake sought to indicate by looking in different directions, which each singer given a particular spot, or in the case of one singer his pet did a credible French accent. No easy task, but his pet did well giving the voices different personalities, and Bane had to admit that he was paying attention as well, having read about the American Revolution and the founding of the country as a separate entity from Britain. This was a clever way to teach history to those Bane assumed listened to this genre of music.

Blake sang about four or five of the songs that all seemed to relate to Alexander Hamilton, and then his pet's voice started to noticeably give, Barsad retrieving a bottle of water and offering it to Bane to pass along to Blake, which Bane did and Blake gratefully accepted.

"Not used to singing so much."

"I'm assuming they're all from a musical?" Kei wanted to know, knees jiggling with agitation as he waited for Blake to drink the water and no doubt go back to entertaining him.

"Yeah. Called 'Alexander Hamilton'. I'm skipping around a bit, to the ones I know by heart." The smirk and Blake's tone made it clear that Kei didn't like when someone messed up the lyrics to a song.

"Did Lin-Manuel Miranda write the music? It sounds like him."

Blake stared at Kei for a momentm and then grinned as he stated that he shouldn't be surprised he'd known.

The boy shrugged. "Most talented songwriters have their trademarks, if you pay attention."

Kei waited while Blake took another sip before asking him to sing more.

"Why don't you go over the songs in your head and then later we can sing the ones I've already done together. You could be rusty."

A frown, followed by a grudging nod before the boy turned his head to stare out the window, ignoring them all completely as he got lost, presumably, in the music he was playing over in his head.

"How could he know enough to play it back in his head?" Barsad asked in the ensuing silence.

Still sounding a little hoarse, Blake explained. "When it comes to a regular piece of music he can usually memorize it within one or two hearings depending on how much he likes it. I deliberately picked some harder ones so it will take him longer to memorize, and keep his mind busy for the foreseeable future. My apologies if that wasn't your sort of music."

"Were they historically accurate, the songs?"

Blake shrugged in response to Bane's question. "History was never my strong suit, especially that far back, but from what I've heard its mostly accurate, with minor inaccuracies like Angelica already being married before she met Hamilton, and she and her sisters did have brothers. I haven't seen the play, just listened to some of the music."

And then, because this was Blake he was talking to, the sly little beta looked up at him coyly and asked if his singing pleased his master.

Reaching up and over Bane cupped the back of Blake's neck again, even while knowing, instinctively, that it wouldn't stop his pet from continuing to use his wiles at ever opportunity. "You will sing when it pleases me to hear you."

"As you wish, Master."

Of course the blasted man didn't sound cowed in the slightest. And did everyone in the Western world know how to make things that weren't meant to be suggestive so?

Chapter Text

Camp Rules

Having spent a good hour working the kinks out of his body with various stretches, between the helicopter and the way his body had been put through the wringer thanks to the League he'd really needed that, Blake debated doing some more before opting against it. Instead, he turned his attention to once again studying the inside of the tent he'd been ordered into as soon as they'd arrived, looking for something worth taking note of or entertaining himself with. There was really nothing in the tent, which was probably why they'd felt safe leaving him in it alone, so Blake sat and occupied himself with just being grateful that he hadn't been ordered to put the tent up in the first place. Though he might have to in the future since his current accommodation had already been erected when they'd arrived at base camp and wouldn't be in the future. Ugh.

As he'd never slept in a tent, much less put one up, Blake was really hoping that that wasn't going to be one of his duties in the future. Especially since having it fall on them in the middle of the night would not endear him to Bane. Or be much fun to get out from under. This tent seemed well built tonight though, at least to his limited understanding, which was good since Blake didn't fancy sleeping in the desert.

From mountain to desert in a day, Blake mused to himself. The world was a funny place. Though it was pretty cool out there now, too. Morning would probably be a different story.

Damn, he wasn't cut out for this nature shit.

Rubbing a hand over his head in frustration, Blake hated the fact that he was so out of his element here. Didn't know his place or what was expected or just how far he needed to bend or hold strong to stay in one piece. The main thing was he wasn't safe here. Was surrounded by enemies who were trained both mentally and physically to kill him on orders or just because they felt like it. Simon, who he needed to remember to call Kei, would be his only true ally here and even that was something he couldn't lean on since he had no intention of sacrificing the boy for his own selfish purposes.


They hadn't had a chance to really talk. No one had left them alone together yet. He knew what little he'd been told about the situation his friend was in, but he hadn't gotten it from the horse's mouth, so to speak. And he needed to get a better sense of Bane, too, and how he should behave around the man to make the best of things. Thus far he'd underplayed his intelligence and knowledge while presenting himself as something like a high ranking courtesan or mistress. Someone who was there for Bane's pleasure, yes, but also to be pampered and cared for. To be valued.

Only problem with that was he loved the sex, who wouldn't, but he also wasn't some plaything either. He was more than that, but he didn't know if he should make that clear. If he should keep playing the role to survive or could subtly continue to let his true self shine through over time.

Bane didn't know what to do with him. That much was obvious. He was the first Pet the alpha had ever had, and Blake got the impression that he puzzled his new master quite a bit. What puzzled him was Bane's behavior when it came to sex, since one minute the man seemed to know exactly what he was doing and wanted, and then the next minute seemed uncertain and wary. Either way Bane was well satisfied with the end result, he'd been able to tell that much, but it would certainly help insure his future if he could see more of Bane's face, get a better read on him.

"How do I get myself into these situations? Seriously."

Getting up off the floor, such as it was, Blake walked over to the spot he guessed they'd be sleeping on. Or at least Bane was sleeping there. He might be expected to sleep elsewhere since he was a Pet and there wasn't nearly the privacy here as there had been in Bane's room. A lot more potential spies for Talia to have. So he wasn't entirely sure if he would be allowed to share the blankets in front of him now that they were surrounded by Bane's men, and wasn't sure quite how he felt about the idea of Bane fucking him here either, for that matter. He wasn't exactly quiet, after all, and Bane definitely didn't want him to be. Or at least hadn't before.

He'd have to face these men in the morning, and he'd rather they not be thinking about him in a sexual manner when they did. He'd probably be safe from rape given that he belonged to Bane, but there were always men who thought they could get away with it. And that aside, well he'd rather they at least see him as a human being rather than Bane's sex toy.

John Blake. Sex toy.

Cue the eye rolling.

And man but he could really do with some water right about now. A galleon of it. All that damn singing had done a real number on his throat on top of the dry desert air he was breathing in now. Or at least he thought that was bad for him. Again, not his area of expertise. Either way he was a Pet; Blake didn't figure going out there and asking for water was proper Pet behavior. And while there might be water somewhere in the tent Blake wasn't sure if he was allowed to drink it.

Plus the idea of going outside the tent in the middle of the night to piss in the sand didn't appeal to him either.

Covering a yawn with his hand, Blake stared down at the bedding for a minute longer and then decided to err on the side of caution. At least for the time being.

Sighing, and anticipating a miserable night, Blake moved over to a space where he'd be out of Bane's way and then curled up as best he could to preserve as much body heat as possible. And then closing his eyes Blake willed himself to nod off into light slumber. He'd need all the sleep he could get.


He'd been sent to stand guard alongside Kei and a couple of other betas, though Barsad was fairly sure Bane's Pet wasn't stupid enough to make a break for it given the unfamiliar and inhospitable terrain around them. But Bane had so ordered, and so naturally he would obey. And was looking forward to trying again to get to know the Pet's new bodyguard, truth be told. Kei was a puzzle he was determined to solve no matter how long it took him. It was both his job and…and his curiosity needed to be appeased.

Spotting the boy up ahead, standing in front of the entrance of the largest tent, Barsad walked straight up to him, nodding his head in greeting before moving into position to stand beside the alpha to join him in facing off into the distance as he asked if Blake had retired for the evening.



"Well sleeping on the floor is never comfortable. Do you know if he's allowed to sleep in Bane's bed or not? He wasn't sure and I didn't know. So he's sleeping on the floor without even a blanket." Kei frowned over that last bit.

In truth Barsad didn't know what Bane's wishes would be, especially since Bane had never had a Pet and therefore there was no precedent for this. But he didn't imagine Bane would want the Pet to be cold, if for no other reason than the cop would be useless to him sick.

"Tell him he can sleep in Bane's bed. I'll inform Bane I gave him permission."

"Thank you." A nod and then the boy was gone and into the tent, though he was only gone for a minute before he came back out to retake his position. And then he just stood there and basically ignored Barsad like he wasn't even there. Staring off into space with nothing in his body language to suggest he was alert or aware that someone stood so close to him.

"How is your song memorization going?" Barsad finally asked. And had to repeat two more times before Kei finally turned his head to look at him.

"Well. I think I have 'Satisfied' down. I like that one best. The others will take another listen, I think."

"That's the one where the sister laments the fact that Hamilton married her sister instead of her, right?" When Kei nodded Barsad asked why that was his favorite.

"Because I've never been satisfied either."

All right. That could be taken a lot of different ways.

From the sounds of it Kei had grown up in foster care originally, which meant that he'd missed out on a normal childhood and family, which would certainly be a reason for regret and dissatisfaction. The alpha could also mean that life in the League had denied him the music he so obviously loved, as well as many other pursuits and past times Kei might have once enjoyed. Or he could feel that he was being denied the chance to go to school or pursue a profession, which he was. Or he could mean sexually, which admittedly was where Barsad's mind had immediately gone. He was male. So sue him.

"You're young yet." Was the best response Barsad could think to say, since it wasn't like he could just ask the other man if the reason he'd been celibate since he'd been forced to join the League was because he actually was asexual, or because his previous sexual encounters had been mediocre at best. Given the boy's age when he was taken, that was entirely possible.

A brief look in his direction, followed by a slight shrug of shoulders before Kei went quiet. And ignored him again.


"Are you singing in your head?"

"Yes. So please be quiet."

Jaw threatening to drop, Barsad was genuinely speechless. Did the boy not know who he was?

But even as he thought that Barsad realized something that kept him from demanding the respect he wasn't being paid. Because it would be one thing if he thought Kei was challenging him because he was only a Beta to Kei's Alpha, he'd played those dominance games all his life and was used to it. But this…Barsad wasn't entirely sure the boy wouldn't have said that to Bane if his leader had been here instead. No. This wasn't about deliberately being disrespectful or even hurtful, if Barsad had been the type to be wounded at being so casually dismissed. Kei was just that lost in his own world that the workings of the real one didn't matter to him.

And it was that that had Barsad moving to stand in front of the alpha, reaching up to grasp the boy's chin to force Kei's attention on him. He wanted his words heard and understood.

"You will not live long under Bane, regardless of the esteem held for your father, if you don't show proper respect and deference to those of higher rank than you. Which right now is everyone but Bane's Pet. Do you understand that?"

"I understand, Sir."

Letting go of the boy's chin, Barsad was just about to tell Kei that he was saying this for his own good when he sensed Bane's presence, which effectively killed the words he'd been about to say. Instead he turned and walked over to inform the other man that he'd given the cop permission to sleep in his bed, as promised.

He felt Kei's eyes on him with every step he took.


The next day was spent driving. And more driving. And lots of desert. Without even cactuses or interesting rock formations to look at. Though maybe that was only in the US? Either way there was nothing but sand, blinding sun, and four antisocial men trapped with him in the pimped up armored vehicle they were riding around in. Well no, antisocial wasn't quite the right word for it, Blake supposed as he slumped a little in his seat. More like Bane was ignoring him, Barsad and Hitachi were following their leader's lead, and Simon was staring out the window, ignoring everyone. Or possibly Barsad in particular. He was picking up something there, in the way Bane's second had looked in Simon's direction a couple of times, but he could be reading that wrong.

Either way he was dead grateful when he was ordered to sit away from the rest when the caravan of trucks and other vehicles stopped for a break to eat and no doubt relieve their bladders. Blake had certainly drunk enough water to be ridiculously grateful for the time out for that reason alone.

And since he had no wish to hang out with the League members, and was quite happy to sit with Simon, Blake had no problem taking his water and disgusting granola bars and going off to sit in the shade provided by one of the trucks, leaning his back against a huge tire.

"So Bruce Wayne is really Batman?"


"But not your lover." Simon stated with utter confidence. "He's not your type at all."


Quiet for a moment, Simon took a seat beside him, his gaze thoughtful and penetrating for once. "Are you really okay with being Bane's lover? I know that he's your idea of male perfection, when it comes to sex, but that doesn't mean he won't hurt you. He's awfully big, after all."

Lips twitching at the phrasing, Blake would have patted Simon on the shoulder if not for the whole 'no touching' thing. "I think I can handle him."

"Well you would know better than I would what your ass can and can't handle."

Choking a little on his water, Blake slapped his fist against his chest a little clear it.

"You okay?"

"I'll live."

In the quiet that followed, Blake posed his own question, asking Simon what he thought of Bane's second. He didn't know much about him.

"He grabbed my face and told me to show respect to everyone but you."

Since Simon hated to be touched, much less grabbed without his permission, Blake surmised that Barsad was now on the boy's shit list. And since apparently the man had told Simon he wasn't deserving of respect Blake was inclined to join Simon in blacklisting the pretty boy beta. But this was Simon, which meant further analysis was necessary.

"What happened before he said that?"

"I asked him to stop interrupting my mental singing. I said please."

Ah. "This was while you were guarding me outside the tent last night, right?"

A nod.

"Then Simon…maybe he said that because I'm guessing Bane or any other high ranking man in this little guerrilla army of theirs would beat the shit out of you if you told them what to do AND weren't paying attention to the job you'd been assigned to do."

Brows furrowed, Simon considered this. "You think he said that to teach me. Not to be mean."

"Well you've been in the League a lot longer than I have. What do they usually do to subordinates who aren't doing their job or ignore them when they're trying to talk to them?"

"What you said." Simon's shoulders slumped. "It was stupid of me. Having you around, someone who understands…I forgot who I have to be here. It's even worse than in the homes sometimes. Usually they preferred me singing to talking. But here Father wants me around and they didn't. It's hard."

"I can imagine." And imagining it was horrible, especially since all this had to be so much worse for someone like Simon. Which reminded him... "No one here knows, do they?"

Simon shook his head.

"If you explained Bane might cut you a break. Or I can talk to him." Honestly Blake had a feeling that Bane wouldn't make allowances for Simon or anyone given the way Bane himself had grown up. Blake was betting the alpha had held a survival of the fittest point of view even before he'd joined the League. It wouldn't hurt to try, though.

But Simon was shaking his head again. "In the League it doesn't matter if you're missing a limb, beat to shit, or so sick you're halfway dead already. If you aren't dead, you're expected to perform just as well as the crème de la crème. Twenty four seven. My brain being wired differently from most people isn't going to work as a 'Get Out of Jail Free Card'."

"Well…I assume that we're going to another training compound, or another permanent building somewhere in this godforsaken desert, right?"


"Well once we're there you and I can sing all we want, okay? Just the two of us. You're supposed to be with me at all times from the sounds of it, and so long as we aren't bothering anyone who's going to care what we're doing? Bane let me sing before."

"Let you." Simon pointed out, not the sort to hope for anything good coming his way.

And fuck, at the moment Blake understood that completely as they stared out into the unforgiving, was guaranteed to kill them if the ventured into it alone desert. Because they were okay now, but the odds of them staying that way long term weren't good, and foster care and Gotham had beaten most of the optimism out of them long ago.

"I'll figure something out."

"Don't get dead on my account."


A long silence and then…

"I ate garbage as a kid that tasted better than these granola bars."

"Yeah." Simon sighed as he stared at the bar he held in his hand. "No on in the League seems to know how to cook. Sometimes I'd sell my soul for even a slice of pizza."



"Milk chocolate."


"Ketchup?" He loved the stuff, but Blake didn't recall Simon being much of a fan of the stuff.

"It would mask the taste of at least some of the stuff they call food here."


Sighing, both men grimly turned their attention back to finishing their lunch. They still had a long day ahead of them, after all.

Chapter Text

Note: This chapter contains some very, very minor spoilers for the Psy/Changling series by Nalini Singh. Just a heads up on that.

Importance of Bonding

Narrowing his gaze to combat the glare Bane glanced in the direction of his Pet, ignoring the men around him as they packed up to continue their journey back to base. The brief look in his Pet's direction confirmed that Blake was in the process of dusting sand from his trousers, Kei standing at his side with a respectable foot or so between them while the two discussed the heat. A conversation that wasn't nearly as interesting as their previous one.

Both he and Barsad had been listening in on their conversation earlier, through the bug he'd placed on his Pet's shoulder when they'd left the vehicle. He'd been curious as to what the two would talk about, and the conversation they'd overheard had not been what he'd expected.

That the food was not up to his Pet's standards; that did not surprise him. The obvious lack of sexual interest between the two, or at least what Bane perceived to be disinterest on both parts…he noted as validation of Blake's reassurances that there was nothing between them and checked that off as one thing he didn't have to take into serious consideration in the future.

He had been caught somewhat off-guard by their discussion concerning Barsad's motives for reprimanding the boy, though Bane had seen a great deal more surprise flicker across his second's eyes at that point in the conversation before his second's usual mask of cook indifference had fallen back into place.

Currently, what interested Bane most at the moment was the boy.

Kei was almost childlike, Bane mused as he mentally went over the conversation again in his head, absently removing the ear piece he'd been using. Innocent in the way he seemed to simply say whatever he was thinking or feeling without censorship or any hint of self-preservation. And the way the two had spoken about making him aware that Kei's brain was 'wired differently' made Bane wonder if there was more to that then the boy simply being simple. Because that wasn't what he thought either had meant. It sounded like they might have meant that the young alpha's brain was different in a way that was medically recognized either due to a condition or an actual brain injury. Something that would, to a degree, excuse someone's inability to behave as they were supposed to.

From what he'd gathered Kei didn't speak more than was necessary, but thus far he appeared to have a normal vocabulary with no obvious speech impediments. Nor were there any obvious physical signs that he'd injured his skull at some point in his life. Bane was also aware that the Western World seemed eager to slap labels on children at every turn to explain their various behaviors, real or imagined, which could be the case here.

He would pay closer attention to the boy's mannerisms, Bane decided, and go from there.

Sensing Barsad movements as the beta came to stand patiently at his side, waiting for possible orders, Bane continued to look around them as he stated that he'd take the wheel for the next leg of their journey. It would give him something to do and Barsad a break.


Curiosity fueled Bane's next question as they walked in the direction of their vehicle. "You did not forcefully put the boy in his place when he showed you disrespect."

Over the years many had foolishly challenged Barsad, either because they were alphas who could not conceive of obeying a beta, or because they wished the power and prestige of Barsad's position as his second. And in all that time Bane could not think of a single instance where such a man had walked away without injury. If he was capable of walking at all.

"The boy meant no disrespect."

"If that is the case, how he's survived this long is a mystery to me."

Barsad nodded in agreement. "He is a puzzle. I don't believe he is unintelligent…and yet he is too old to not comprehend the situation he's in and what's expected of him."

Bane was pretty sure they were both thinking about how Kei had stated that it was possible Barsad had corrected him to help him, as opposed to being 'mean' to him.

"I will observe him closely. He will not remain a puzzle for long."

The boy had intrigued Barsad, Bane surmised, and quite a lot to have put such a determined look in his second's eyes. Which was unusual as Barsad generally showed little interest in people aside from sizing them up as prey, tool, or fellow predator. The boy had yet to do anything to fall into those categories, and wasn't likely to in the future. Kei had made no effort to gain skills or connections that would give him higher status within the League according to their sources, and had yet to reveal any valuable use any of them might have for him.

Topic dropped nothing more was said as they reached their destination, the other three passengers already in the backseats, waiting for them. Walking around to take the driver's seat Bane's eyes briefly met his Pet's, and then he was inside the vehicle and it was time to follow behind the other vehicles who had already started moving.

But even as his eyes stayed on the desert in front of him, Bane's thoughts were on his Pet and the fact that he needed to figure out very soon how to insure that both Blake and Hitashi's boy pulled their weight in the future.


As planned the set up team had everything ready again by the time they arrived at the designated campsite for the night. The difference was that this time, after Bane had eaten his dinner away from everyone as was his habit, he headed for his tent rather than rejoin his men. Barsad would handle any issues the men might have, and would come and get him if he was needed. For now he had another issue to deal with personally, and to do that he wanted privacy with his Pet.

When he arrived at the tent it was to find the boy guarding the entrance as before, Kei's body language and direct gaze suggesting that the boy had taken Barsad's warning from the night before to heart. Good.

Not acknowledging the boy Bane opened the tent's flap and walked in to the space lit with the lamp hanging from the ceiling, his Pet sitting cross-legged on the floor with a stick in hand. Using it as some sort of writing tool?

"What are you doing?"

Looking up Blake shrugged his shoulders a little. "Just fooling around. I didn't think you'd be back for a while." Getting to his feet Blake brushed off the sand clinging to him.

Coming over Bane studied the designs his Pet had etched into the sand, the swirls and lines aesthetically appealing, he supposed, though pointless given that the sand was already caving in in places, destroying the patterns. Such was often the fate of beauty when exposed to the harshness of this world.

"You ate?" He'd ordered food be brought to his Pet earlier.

"Yeah." The cop grimaced. "I know you weren't sure what I'd be doing as your Pet aside from sleeping with you…could I maybe cook for you? Like real food that is actually enjoyable to eat? I'll even taste test your food in front of you if you want, so you know I'm not poisoning you or something."

"What you consider food, I consider garbage that does nothing for my body but weaken it."

"Bane. I do know how to make nutritious stuff too. I don't want your body going to fat any more than you do. It would be a waste of epic proportions." Smirking, Blake moved in to stand in front of him, placing his hands against Bane's chest. "At the home I was in with Kei the older kids were always expected to help in the kitchens. Kei could help me make the food too. Salads? Stews and soups? Something that isn't so bland a Psy would have eaten it under Silence?"


"From a book series by a woman named Nalini Singh. The Psy were a group of people with mental abilities like telekinesis and telepathy that decided that the best way to prevent mental instabilities and insanity in their people was to erase emotion. They conditioned themselves and their children that way, including denying themselves food that would elicit any reaction from them. They'd love your food. If they were allowed to love things. Which they were getting to start doing…only now I'll never know how it all ends." A grumble that had something to do with someone named Silver.

"If you behave in the future, and it isn't garbage, I will get you the book." It could be an interesting premise, but Bane wasn't about to let his Pet further pollute his mind with what passed for literature in this century.

"It's a series. And it got a lot better as it went along too. You and Krycheck would totally get each other. Though Talia is no Sahara, that's for sure. But that's not important. What is important is the question of food. I could even just make it for myself and Si-Kei if it comes to that. Then the only bodies we'd be screwing would be our own."

Bane didn't like the idea of his Pet cooking food for another alpha. He didn't like it one little bit. But saying so would imply things that Bane didn't want spoken, so instead he settled for stating that once they arrived at their destination, where there would be plenty of food available, he would give Blake a chance to prove his skills. The nutritional benefits of the meals would be the deciding factor though.

"Thank you."

"Why do you touch me so much?" It wasn't what he'd come here to discuss, but since the man was basically petting his chest Bane decided to pose the question before addressing the other issues they had to discuss.

"Do you not want me to touch you?"

"That's not an answer to my question." And he had no intention of acknowledging the fact that he in any way enjoyed the fact that his Pet was strangely tactile and affectionate around him. It was most likely a seduction method on the cop's part, but he was curious as to whether the man would admit that or offer him some other excuse.

"Touché. And there's…two main reasons I touch you. The biggest reason is to normalize our relationship, so to speak. I don't like feeling like a convenient hole for you to shove your dick into. Touching you, talking to you like we're just two people, it makes this whole clusterfuck easier for me, while hopefully reminding you that I'm a person too. And one that won't hurt you if you don't hurt me."

Not knowing how to respond to that, he was still processing, Bane didn't comment.

Which Blake took as encouragement to explain his other reason. "Secondly, I'm a tactile person when it comes to the men I sleep with, and I find you sexually attractive. I want you to touch me and find me appealing, so me touching you is me telling you that without actually saying it."

"You should fear me."

"Would you rather I did?" Blake resorted, his hands still on Bane's chest, the beta not backing away in the slightest.

"You would be more malleable if you feared me." Bane pointed out, just to see what his Pet would say.

"I really wouldn't be. You'd just think I was until it was too late."

Intrigued, Bane asked if he was threatening him.

"I'm being honest. You like that."

"I do?"

A thoughtful pause, and then Blake nodded.

"If you didn't, we wouldn't be able to talk as we have since the first night. You're in charge, no argument or question of that. But I think the reason you talk to me and don't slap me down for talking to you as an equal is that no one else does that. They either talked down to you as a subordinate or tell you what you want to hear because you're their leader and you hold their lives in your hands. Even Barsad probably maintains that distance, to a degree, but I'm not your leader or a minion. I'm just yours. And so I'm more interesting unbroken and mostly unafraid. Right? Or I hope I'm right because that's the best explanation I've been able to come up with as to why you haven't stopped me from running my mouth yet."

Intrigued, he hadn't thought of it quite that way, Bane considered the beta's hypothesis. Which, he decided, had some merit since it was certainly preferable to the theory that he had suddenly become so weak and common as to let himself be seduced by the base pleasures his Pet could provide him.

It was true that he had never had anyone treat him as an equal. In The Pit he'd been seen as less than an animal by those who ruled it, both topside and within it. And after his injuries getting Talia to freedom…he'd been paid no more attention and even less respect than a homeless man on the street might get in a third world country. After, when he'd been made whole and strong again, there had been those in the League who had learned to regard him a very dangerous and powerful ally. But even the ones who claimed to hold equal position with him in the League were careful with their words, careful not to get too close. His second was indeed closest to him after Talia. And even then Barsad did answer to him. Was still his subordinate.

As a Pet Blake should be the lowest of the low. Ranked last in the camp. And his. His and ONLY his. He'd never had that before.

"Your reasoning isn't flawed." Bane was willing to acknowledge.

There was definitely relief in his Pet's eyes now.

Curious to see what his Pet would do, Bane raised a hand to cup the other man's cheek, his thumb sliding over the skin there in a short caress. The skin was soft there, and smooth in a way that tempted him to touch more.

Blake didn't flinch away, the beta's lips curving a little in a smile Bane took to be encouragement.

That being the case Bane told him to retrieve the oil from the satchel near the bedding and prepare himself. He'd join him momentarily. Discussing other things could wait now that other things were on his mind.


Bane was very pleased to find his Pet naked and waiting for him in the bedding when he finished his last circuit of the camp for the night, Blake's ass shiny from the oil and his for the taking. His pleasure was somewhat damped though, by the question his Pet posed after Bane had removed his boots, belt, and opened up his pants so that he could take said ass while leaving his clothes on in case of attack. The question Blake posed as Bane moved into position behind him was that Bane had made it clear before that he wanted to hear him, but if Blake didn't muffle his shouts with his hand or bedding the majority of the camp was going to hear them. And was that okay with Bane?

For a moment Bane wondered why he would care, and then his alpha brain kicked in and made it clear that it didn't like the idea of anyone hearing what was his. And given his own reaction to the sounds Blake made beneath him, Bane didn't even want to think about what they would do to the men with far less control than him. And there would be times when he wouldn't be around to protect his Pet. And men would always covet what wasn't theirs to touch even knowing death would come on swift feet if they dared to trespass.

Especially since Blake was moaning right now, which made Bane aware of the fact that the fingers he'd placed on his Pet's ass had naturally gravitated to testing how open his Pet's hole was to receive him. And while he'd been thinking about what he wanted his Pet had been fucking himself on two of them. Muffling his sounds with his hand, Bane saw, but his Pet was certainly enjoying himself from the sounds that were now reaching his ears.

He rather liked watching Blake's ass take his fingers, Bane realized after a few moments spent observing the sight of his fingers disappearing into Blake's pink hole. There was a beautiful sensuality to the way his Pet's moved, really. Moving back a little more, to get a better view, Bane asked if Blake thought he could come from his fingers alone.

"Your fingers? Fuck, absolutely. God. As fucking big as the rest of you."

Slapping Blake's ass with his free hand for the swearing, Bane was reminded of why that wasn't an appropriate punishment for the swearing when Blake just moaned his appreciation, the sound echoing in the room since he'd removed his hand to answer.

'"No swearing. And no coming without my permission." Bane punctuated that last order with a hard thrust of his fingers that had Blake crying out a very garbled, barely understandable yes.

Withdrawing his fingers, which Blake did not like judging from the grumble and over the shoulder look his Pet gave him, the beta had the sense not to verbally complain. And seeing what was coming Blake quickly turned back around and covered his mouth as he put his ass in the air for Bane's taking once he finished oiling himself up as well.

And Bane took it with a great deal of pleasure from his Pet's tight little ass, though he looked forward to their arrival at his home that much more, knowing that there he'd be able to make this little bird sing as loud and long as he wished.

Chapter Text

The Dangers of Boredom

Blake did not appreciate being woken up by way of his body pillow, aka Bane, twisting his warm and surprisingly comfortable body to the side so that Blake tumbled off the alpha's chest and went face first into the ground. That was not how you woke someone up even if they hadn't spent the night getting you off. Which he had, thank you very much. He had the sore ass to prove it. And that was another checkmark in the negative column, since Blake knew that he was going to be spending the majority of the day sitting uncomfortably on said ass. To add further insult to injury there was the fact that there was no toilet, toilet paper, shower, or privacy waiting for him outside the tent either.

And then it was time to eat cardboard crap again.

Seething silently through it all, there was nothing he could do to change his situation, after all, Blake took it like a man and just stewed in his spot in the car once it was time for their journey across the mother fucking desert to begin again.

Being trapped in a vehicle with nothing to do was a form of torture too, Blake thought and mentally fumed over for the first hour or so, ridiculously bored already. It just got worse and worse the farther into the desert they got. And today was even hotter than the last. And Simon and the old man were too close to him, and the air conditioning in the damn vehicle was crap, and all this silence was as grating as nails on a fucking chalkboard at this point. Would it kill them to play some music? Get into an argument about world politics or the latest celebrity scandal?

Hell, at this point he'd even get into a debate about which Hollywood actress had the best breasts to break the silence, and he couldn't have cared less. Or noticed, really, so he'd be useless in the debate, but at least talking would be involved.

And okay, he could try and start a conversation, Blake knew that. Only perversely he wanted someone to talk to him first. To acknowledge him.

Simon, fortunately for him, had enough sense to know that Blake was pissed off and was likely to explode on the first person who dared ask him how he was or what he might want to talk about.

Huffing out a breath, Blake considered seeing what would happen if he started to sing '99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall'. Or better yet, be really mean and sing 'The Song That Doesn't Ends' from 'Lambchop's Play Along'. Now that would be real torture in Bane and Barsad's books. See how they liked it.

Or he could ask if they were there yet every thirty seconds or so until his voice gave out. Though lets be real, they'd knock him unconscious or just shoot him and leave him for the vultures long before that happened.

Still, imaging their reactions had a reluctant chuckle escaping Blake's lips as they curved in evil amusement.


Glancing over at Simon with the smile still in place, Blake asked him if he wanted to sing 'The Song That Doesn't End' with him.

"They'd shoot us."

"If the bullet didn't kill us it would be like that scene in 'Major Payne'. A little something to take our mind off our current pain. Or extreme boredom in this case."


"Right. Too young to get that reference." God, he felt old. "Basically there's this scene in the beginning of the movie where the title character comes across a soldier who's been shot in the arm. He asks the man if he wants him to show him a trick for taking his mind off the pain in his arm. Then he breaks the man's finger, to make the injured guy focus on that instead."

Simon considered this for a moment. "That makes no sense."


"Though I suppose a broken finger is better than being shot in the arm depending on what part was hit."

"Also true."

"Do you want me to break your finger to take your mind off your boredom? Because I'd really rather not. And Bane wouldn't like it."

From the driver's seat Barsad snorted, while Bane glanced back once to give them a look that silently conveyed that the only one who would be breaking bones any time soon would be him. And then he went back to ignoring them.

Studying his thankfully unbroken fingers, Blake sighed again over what he'd been reduced to before asking Simon if he wanted to play rock, paper, scissors.

Since that was better than breaking Blake's fingers, Simon agreed to play.

But they were grown men who weren't actually competing for something, so that only entertained Blake for about seven minutes or so. And Simon was happy to stop because despite being an alpha, Simon didn't have the competitive instincts that were stereotypically of an alpha. If someone was better than him at something Simon really didn't care and shrugged it off better than anyone Blake knew. An excellent quality in an alpha, Blake mused, which was essentially wasted on the younger man because Simon thought omegas too emotional and touchie feelie, and had sworn off dating or sex last time he'd checked.

And he was back to being bored again.

With only his hands to play with.

Which of course got him to thinking about playing with himself, aka jacking off, which was something he was most definitely not going to be doing to alleviate his boredom, but thinking about it did occupy him for a while. Sex was always nice to think about, particularly since he was getting a lot of it even if Bane really did need to learn the meaning of the word foreplay. Seriously.

But Blake had fun thinking about it right up until Simon leaned over a little and murmured that he needed to rein in his hormones before the others noticed.

The boy had a sensitive nose, which Bane did not, and the other two were Betas so the fact that there was a hint of his true nature in his scent when he was aroused wouldn't really register with them, but Blake took the hint and tried to think of something else he could possibly do to past the time. Without annoying the other occupants of the car too much. While having zero access to paper, writing utensils, or really anything but himself.

"Bane? Can Simon and I have thumb wars?"

Bane didn't even turn in his seat to look at him as he asked what that was.

"We fight with our thumbs. Which requires some skin contact. But none from the wrist down."

Simon looked at him. "Do we have to?"

"Dude. We used to room together. You do remember how bitchy I can be when I'm bored or in a pissy mood, much less both, right?" Just because Umbra took away the outward physical signs he was an omega didn't change the fact that it was in his nature to be a Grade A bitch when displeased with his alpha. And Bane had definitely decided to start the day in the dog house. Even if the big lug was probably too dense to realize it.

A loud sigh. "Okay. I'll play."

Earning a small brownie point, Bane agreed to let them thumb war.

Which was somewhat more entertaining, but not by much as it turned out. Especially since Simon basically let him win because the alpha didn't care about the game or winning in the slightest. Ergo, Blake knew that he had to come up with something that Simon did care about winning before he got really frustrated and snapped at the only friend he had at the moment. Which narrowed it down to just one possibility.

"All right, all right. No more thumb wars. I challenge you to the alphabet game. Names of famous singers in full. First names to start. You in?"


Objectively Blake knew that Simon was good looking. Not his type of course, too pretty and not nearly bulky enough, but Blake knew that Simon's face was a work of genetic art. And when it came to music, to being given the chance to sing or talk about anything related to music, Simon went from seriously good looking to a degree of gorgeousness that lit up the alpha's whole face and had made more than a hundred jaws drop and people walk into solid objects over they ears. Before they'd been in the helicopter, and Simon did not like enclosed spaces or heights. Safe on the ground, and with a chance to school someone with his knowledge of music, Simon was focused and blinding in his joy.

Naturally Simon also went first.

"Aretha Franklin." "Beyoncé Knowles." "Celine Dion." "Diana Ross." "Ella Fitzgerald." "Freddy Mercury."

"Technical Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara, but I'll let that go." Simon told him condescendingly. "Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, professionally known as George Michael. You have H."


He was not going to be stumped already, but seriously, what names even started with H? The first name that came to mind was Harry…oh. One Direction. So not his thing or generation, but Blake had paid some attention to this particular band member because he was going to be in a WWII movie with Tom Hardy soon, who he did love. But what was his late name…

"Harry Styles!"

"Harry Styles? Really?"

"Don't judge me. Your generation is to blame for their popularity, not mine."

Simon nodded in sad acknowledgement of that fact. "Izear Luster "Ike" Turner, Jr."

"Janet Jackson." "Kelly Clarkson." "Leona Lewis." "Madonna Louise Ciccone." "Nancy Sinatra."

Back and forth they went until they got to the U, which of course Blake got stuck with instead of Simon. And Usher didn't work because there was no way that was his actual first name. And of course Simon probably knew of some obscure singer who actually had a name starting with U like Ursula or that American general from the Civil War who became president for a while.

So he lost the first round, much to Simon's satisfaction, especially when he informed him that Usher Raymond IV was Usher's actual name, so yes, he counted.


"Band names?"

Sighing, but still in, Blake started with Areosmith.


By the time they stopped for lunch Blake was parched and they'd run through singers, band names, famous song titles, types of instruments, musical numbers, Disney songs, and the first two done over with no Americans allowed. Simon won them all. And was still raring to go, only the last twenty minutes of the car ride had been spent with the alpha offering topics related to music that there was no way in hell Blake was even going to try to play because he had enough pride not to want to lose only a few letters in.

So Simon was a little annoyed about that, but still visibly happy to have played.

Which had Blake a little worried, because for possibly the first time Bane's people were seeing Simon really happy and a lot of the betas were drying out their tongues by somewhat discretely panting in the oblivious, but gorgeous young alpha's direction. Which the other alphas weren't appreciating one little bit except for the ones who were eyeing Simon with new interest too. Alphas didn't generally fuck around with other alphas, too many dominance issues in one bed, but seasoned ones who liked it rough occasionally talked the younger, yet to truly come into their dominant nature ones into their bed.

If he had to start worrying about protecting Simon's ass on top of his own Blake was going to be seriously pissed off again. Especially since it would mean giving up one of his few advantages, which was that no one here knew he'd personally been trained by Bruce Wayne for years, and therefore was more than capable of going head to head with most of them. Not Bane, of course, but the others he'd at least stand a fighting chance depending on the circumstances.

Though Barsad…Barsad might do his job for him.

The beta wasn't being obvious, or at least wasn't doing anything Blake could call him on, but there was something about the way the man looked at Simon, and seemed to be cataloging Simon's admirers along with him, that made Blake think he might have an ally in Bane's second. At least in this.

Simon would be the biggest problem.

Because of the way he was wired Simon was pretty much oblivious to not only his own appeal, but to the interest others had in him. That meant that someone could be coming on to the kid and Simon would have no clue unless the person got physical or was very blunt in their interest. And Simon, being Simon, would turn them down just as bluntly, not to be cruel but just because Simon was not the beat around the bush sort when offered something he didn't want. And heaven help them all if Simon told the story of why he'd sworn off sex in the first place.

That only made them want him more.

And since they were once again sitting alone, with no one close enough to hear, Blake got straight to the point once they'd sat down to eat their disgusting bars, grateful that Bane had made it clear they were to be left alone.

"Simon. You're still doing the celibate thing, right?"


"But these men are Bane's. They wouldn't know that, right?"

Simon shrugged. "I told four of them no so far. The nice thing about these people is that they're really blunt, so I know they want me to fuck them."

Choking a little on the bar, and only partially because of the taste, Blake nodded. That would help.

"And they're okay with that?"

"The one's still being annoying, but none of them were violent, which is nice. I don't like being slapped or punched."

"If any of them get physical, or threaten to hurt you, you come to me, okay?"

"Just like old times."

"Just like old times."

"You do realize that I have been with the League for years. I might think they're crazy, but I have learned from them. I'm not that easy to take down."

"No. But you aren't violent by nature, and there isn't a vicious bone in your body. There will be in theirs, and that will give them an advantage."

"True." Simon sighed. "Why are most people so obsessed with having sex with each other? It's not like God didn't give them two hands if one is broken or not enough."

This time Blake spewed nutrition bar. Not that that was a waste of the crap.

"I know you explained, but it still doesn't make sense to me."

"You liked sex, remember? It was the rest of it that put you off it."

Simon made a face.

"Nevermind. Just tell them you're asexual and hopefully they know what that means."

Another sigh of agreement was Simon's answer.


The rest of the car riding for the day passed in relative silence since Blake had plans to keep Simon safe to occupy him and Simon had been challenged to see how many singers he could name for each letter of the alphabet. Which he did in his head at Blake's suggestion, only saying the number once he'd come to the end of each one. The other three were silent as always, which had Blake wondering if at some point in the League's training these guys had had to take a vow of silence and had never quite let go of the mindset even when they were allowed to talk again.

When they reached the latest campsite that night, which he'd been told would be their last, thank God, Blake was also intrigued by the rock formations that started to pop up with more regularity the closer they got to wherever they were going.

Looking at them in the dim light the moon provided, Blake would have been tempted to try and climb them to work the kinks out of his body if he wasn't so sure he'd just end up breaking something in the dark. Or stung by something. Deserts meant scorpions. He was pretty sure.

Settling for stretching inside the tent, it would have to do until he had the chance to continue his training within four walls and without an audience, Blake prayed that happened soon before he became as weak as the rest of them thought he was.

And of course he was resting on his upper chest with his legs bent up and over so that his feet were touching the top of his head when Bane walked into the tent after his usual powwow with his men.


Bane tilted his head ever so slightly. "You are surprisingly flexible."

"Tomorrow, when there's a bed and I've had a shower, I'd be happy to show you just how flexible I can be." Slowly, he had been a car all day and the last thing he wanted was an unexpected cramp crippling him in front of Bane, Blake brought his legs back down.

"What do you mean?"

Pausing for a moment, and then finishing straightening his legs so that he could stand up again, Blake wasn't entirely sure how to answer that. He was pretty sure what he was implying was pretty obvious, but Bane was…odd, too, when it came to sex.

"I meant that if you wanted, I could show you the advantages of sharing a bed with someone with my flexibility." Self-preservation instincts and knowledge of alpha sized egos had Blake tacking on that he loved Bane fucking him from behind, and had just been offering.

The last thing he needed was Bane thinking he was complaining.

Thankfully Bane didn't look insulted. There was interest in those striking eyes, if Blake wasn't mistaken.


Chapter Text

The Naked Truth

It had been a little over two and a half hours since they'd arrived at his home, and Bane was just a tad anxious to get back to his rooms to find out what his Pet had been up to in his absence. Well he knew part of it, as Blake had run straight for his bathroom as soon as they'd arrived and then rhapsodized for at least five minutes over the fact that there was a shower, bath, and most importantly, a toilet. According to his Pet, the water tank was going to be noticeably lower by the end of the day because he was going to shower and then he was going to soak until he was a shriveled up raisin. A not particularly appealing image, especially when he could just be imagining the other man wet and naked. In a room with real walls and a very large bed. And with zero neighbors in his wing to bother them or eavesdrop.

As for the water, he'd showered briefly before leaving to see his men, so he didn't really care about that.

And now that he'd proven to himself that he was strong enough to resist his Pet for what was essentially three hours Bane saw no reason to deprive himself of his Pet as he'd finished talking to his men and been updated on all that had occurred in his absence. He'd also briefed them on his Pet. Namely making sure that they informed all the men that he'd personally tear limb from limb anyone who thought to put hands on what was his. And that should his Pet attempt to escape, he was to be delivered back to Bane with as little damage done to him as possible. Bane was the only one allowed to punish his Pet for any transgression.

Judging from the looks he'd gotten this wasn't something they'd ever thought they'd have to deal with, Bane could relate to that, but they would follow his orders, as they always had.

At his side Barsad seemed oddly restless, but Bane didn't ask why, trusting that his second would speak up if it was something he needed to be made aware of. But since he knew a possible cause for Barsad's unusual behavior, and had already decided to simply keep an eye on the situation, Bane watched the other man's face as he told his second to stop by the room assigned to Hitachi and the boy to make sure their former teacher had recovered from the journey across the desert. The old man had held up well until today, when the sun had seemed to sap all the man's strength and had resulted in Kei actually carrying his adoptive father into the compound and straight up to their rooms.

"Of course."

Getting the vibe that Barsad would have gone even if he hadn't asked him to, Bane told him that he could go do that now, instead of escorting him to his own rooms. It wasn't like he didn't know the way, after all.

Nodding his head Barsad headed off, leaving Bane to continue on his way alone.

And when he arrived at the hallway leading to those rooms, where guards had been positioned to make sure his Pet stayed put, Bane dismissed them for the rest of evening aswell, as he was more than capable of making sure that Blake stayed right where he wanted him.

Thinking about how he intended to make sure that his Pet stayed right where he wanted him nicely occupied Bane's thoughts until he was stepping into his bedroom, the sight that greeted him then wiping all other thoughts from his mind in one fell swoop.

Of all the sights he'd expected to greet him, his Pet stretched out naked in front of his balcony doors was not one of them. It was a sight that stopped his heart even as his mind rushed to reassure that the blanket his Pet was stretched out, the way Blake had positioned his arms to pillow his head, and most importantly the steady rise and fall of the beta's back indicated his Pet was fine.

Still his legs felt slightly weak as he walked over and then crouched down beside the other man, reaching out to check and find Blake's pulse strong and steady. Just sleeping.

That confirmed, Bane relaxed and turned his attention to appreciating the body in front of him.

Sliding his fingers through the cool, now silky smooth hair, Bane found himself enjoying the texture and opportunity to touch and play at his leisure. He hadn't stroked someone's hair since Talia was small, and there was something calming about it that had always appealed to him.

Eventually his hand went lower, the skin bared there for him impossible to ignore. It was new, to touch and trace fingertips over every dip and curve, learning and mapping it out without any need to rush or wonder if his touch was even wanted. His Pet was fast asleep, after all, and had even said before, that he would welcome Bane's hands on him. Whether that was true or just something Blake thought he wanted to hear was irrelevant at the moment as he ran his hands up and down his Pet's spine.

Someday, perhaps, he'd go over every inch of his Pet's torso with him, asking about the changes in texture that hinted at wounds that had healed long before they'd met. Some he could guess, from his own experience and knowledge of such things, but he didn't know the stories behind them. And he was curious.

Massaging and kneading Blake's ass, because of course his hands had gravitated there, Bane smiled a little behind his mask at the 'mmhmmm' sounds Blake made in his sleep.

Or not sleep, Bane realized, when a glance back along the length of his Pet's body revealed that he was being watched through half open eyes.

And then Blake was rolling over so that he was lying on his back, spread out for him in a way that invited him, Bane sensed, to continue to touch.

Cautiously Bane accepted the unspoken offer, keeping his touch light as it roamed over the pale chest beneath his hands, thumbs lingering over the nipples when he saw and heard his Pet's enjoyment of it.

To distract himself a little Bane asked his Pet why he was lying on the floor when he'd been dreaming about a bed for days now.

Arching into his touch Blake's voice was a little husky from sleep. "Stretched out here to catch the last of the sun, work on getting rid of this farmer's tan I've started. Not to mention the fact that your towels are scratchy as hell, and this seemed a better way to dry off. Do you have clothes for me, by the way, or am I staying naked in this room?"

Having his Pet constant naked and ready for him whenever he wanted…the idea did appeal…

The knowing, sexy chuckle that rumbled out of his Pet drew Bane's attention to the man's face, the moonlight playing lovingly over the planes of the cop's face. And then Blake was sitting up and suddenly they were nearly eye to eye with Blake wrapping his arms around Bane's neck like it was the most natural thing to do.

And winked at him right before Blake placed a teasing kiss on the grill of his mask while welcoming him home, as he'd gotten into the habit of doing.

Why that gesture, which he couldn't even feel, flipped all his switches Bane didn't know. He just knew that suddenly he was in motion, his hands on Blake's hips as he stood up, his only thought to get the other man to his bed. Now. And when Blake's legs spread wide, his knees squeezing Bane's hips while his Pet arms remained wrapped around Bane's neck, eyes on him the whole time…getting his Pet onto his bed was his only goal.

All but throwing Blake onto the mattress as soon as he was in range, Bane wasted no time in stripping out of his clothes and then, after switching on the bedside lamp to insure he could see all of him, joined his Pet on top of the covers as he covered Blake with his body.

The hands his Pet immediately placed on him were unexpected, though Bane knew he shouldn't be as they ran over his chest while Blake looked up at him invitingly. His Pet was very tactile, and the feel of those fingers moving over his bare flesh while one of Blake's legs came up to rub against his side…

"So does this mean I'm going to be seeing more of you this time? Well, your eyes at least." Blake smirked at him as his fingers came up to tease the sides of the mask's grill, staying away from the straps, which was smart of him.

"You want to?"

"Yes, please."

He wanted that too. "Stay."

He didn't keep the supplies needed in his quarters, he had never needed to, but-

"On the table there."

Looking in the direction Blake had jutted his chin towards, Bane saw that at some point Blake had gone through his cabinets in the bathroom, and had brought out a jar containing aloe gel, which would indeed do nicely for the task at hand.

Leaning forward Bane grabbed it and paused for a moment, considering if he wanted the pleasure of opening Blake up or not. In the end the lure of his Pet continuing to touch him was enough to have him unscrewing the lid and then coating his own fingers with the contents.

"Spread your legs."

The smile Blake aimed in his direction could only be described as wicked as he bent and brought up his knees, putting himself more on display.

Opening his Pet up, which was getting easier as the other man adapted to his girth, Bane found himself taking his time regardless, enjoying the fact that he could clearly see Blake's face as he touched inside him. Was being touched in turn for once, which his Pet seemed to actually enjoy. Though not as much as when he touched his Pet just right deep inside, finding that spot that had Blake's nails digging in, and body thrashing under his.

The look in Blake's eyes though, Bane wanted to see what they looked like when he was inside the other man. Wanted to see for himself what they looked like when he was fucking his Pet. Wanted to see the truth he would find there.

So Bane gave himself the pleasure of going slow as he slid inside Blake's body, kept his eyes locked on the beta's face as the cop moaned and arched, his lashes starting to come down, opening wide again to meet his when Bane ordered Blake to look at him. To keep his eyes on him.

And oh what those eyes told him as he fucked Blake into his mattress, his Pet arching and meeting his ever thrust while clutching him close, fingers digging into his shoulders and arms for purchase as he vocally made it clear that he was enjoying ever moment of this. That this wasn't an act Bake was putting on to save himself.

He wanted Bane. Wanted what he was giving him.

And realizing this Bane fell just that much harder under the other man's spell as he went slow until it just about killed them both, desperate for it not to end.



Relieved of duty, and grateful that Bane had given him an excuse to seek out Kei, Barsad did his best to make his way to the quarters the younger man and his adoptive father had been assigned as quickly as possible. He genuinely did want to make sure that Hitachi was all right, the man had been his teacher in the past, but if he was being honest Barsad would admit that the chance to interact with Kei and try to get to know the alpha better while neither of them was on duty was the main reason for his hurry.

Thanks to all the overheard conversations between Bane's Pet and Kei Barsad had a pretty good idea how to approach and speak to the latter now. Or at least how to have a less frustrating conversation with him. Music was in no way his area of expertise, which seemed to be the only thing the younger man seemed to really enjoy talking about, but as long as you were blunt, to the point, and patient with Kei's to the point responses one could, in theory, have a conversation with Kei where the other man both paid attention and participated. Something that thus far no one but the cop seemed capable of doing.

He'd observed others in their attempts to gain the alpha's attention, especially since the younger man sucker punched them all with how gorgeous he was when he was happy, but none had had any real luck even just talking to Kei, much less getting into the alpha's pants. Frankly, Kei had made the offers of sex seem even less interesting to him than just holding a conversation, which had flatten many an ego since then.

Remaining in the shadows while watching the others fail, Barsad had only become more intrigued by the enigmatic man who was as confusing as he was gorgeous.

Kei, formerly Simon, was an alpha who behaved nothing like an alpha.

Arriving at the correct door finally, Barsad knocked and then waited with his hands behind his back, waiting patiently for what he thought was an acceptable amount of time before trying again. He very much doubted Hitachi was up to or desired to wander around Bane's compound, and Barsad also doubted that Kei would leave his father's side, so logic dictate that they'd both be here.

The door opened, and Barsad could actually feel his eyes bug out a little at the sight that greeted him.

Wearing only a towel Kei stood in the doorway, water still clinging or sliding over muscles and curves on their way to the rock flooring. His hair was slicked back, which only highlighted the alpha's bone structure and drew more attention to the bright green of his eyes as he stared at Barsad.

And as for the rest, well Barsad was aware that he'd seen far more ripped and impressive bodies before, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with the lightly muscled, hairless body before him. Especially when it was suck an inviting golden brown that made him want to-

A hand was waved in his face, bringing Barsad's attention back up to where Kei was looking at him questioningly, asking him what he wanted. And not for the first time, Barsad was guessed.

"My apologies." Barsad blurted out, even though he was not a man who apologized. "Are you sure it's wise to be opening the door dressed-I mean not dressed like that?"

The boy cocked his head to the side in consideration, glancing down at himself and then back at Barsad. "Really? Wouldn't seeing that I'm not built like most alphas help me get rid of the ones that want to have sex with me? You're probably more ripped than I am under your clothes."

"There's nothing wrong with your build, and your face…"

"True. Most people do seem to think the perfection of my face makes up for most of my deficiencies. Then they get to know me better."

Barsad had absolutely no idea what to say to that. So he suggested that they continue their conversation inside Kei's room, where he wouldn't be on display to anyone who might come by.

Nodding, Kei moved off to the side, motioning for him to come in.

"Just keep your voice down. My father is sleeping and I'd like to keep it that way. He's very old, you know."

Stepping into the room, which was just one big space with beds at the far side opposite the door, Barsad noted the lone figure in the left bed before he turned back as Kei closed the door behind them.

"So what did you want to talk to me about? Is it about guarding John?"

"No. I'm…you confuse me, and I feel that I must understand one important thing before I proceed." He would figure this boy out if it killed him. It had become a point of honor to him and Barsad had never been the man to back away from a challenge. But first there was one vital piece of the puzzle he needed to understand for his own sake. So that he could be aware of how that piece might alter his perception. And how he proceeded in the future.

The look that came into Kei's eyes then…Barsad wouldn't have called it cunning or calculation, but rather a knowledge that suggested at the intelligence the alpha seemed to hide so well.

And Kei didn't ask what the one important thing was either, just watching and waiting.

"Kei. Do you like to kiss people?"

The boy blinked a number of times, brows furrowing a little.


"Just answer the question. You can consider it an order if need be."

A moment's consideration. "Under my own terms, I like it."

Of course even a simple question like whether the alpha liked to kiss would lead to further questions. Why on earth had he thought this would be any different? It was like pulling teeth. Or perhaps his patience was just too worn at this point, something about Kei wearing through it with deadly ease.

"What do you mean by your own terms?"

"I have to be in control."


"Then I would ask you to kiss me."

Silence once more, and then Kei asked him why, Barsad responding that it was an experiment.

"Oh. I like experimenting too." A searching look. "You're just asking for a kiss, not for more? I won't have sex with you."

"Just the kiss."

Kei mulled that over and then shrugged like he'd decided that it was no big deal. "Okay. Though I haven't done this in years. Hands to yourself and NO taking over."

Not waiting to see if Barsad agreed to his terms, which he would have, Kei moved in until they were a breath's away from being chest to chest, the other man's hands coming up to cup his cheeks.

And then an oddly delighted expression crossed Kei's face as the alpha's fingers stroked over his beard like he was…

"Are you petting me?"

"I've never touched a beard like this before. I like how it feels."

Oh for the love of God...

Chapter Text

Importance of Clothes

Being petted like a domesticated animal was not what Barsad had come here for. Had asked for. Only he didn't want to order the other man to kiss him, because that would be crossing a moral line for him. He was Kei's superior, and older, and he didn't want there to be any question about Kei's willingness in this. So he couldn't order Kei to kiss him. He could order him to stop petting him, yes, but he wanted Kei to want to touch him altogether. And the man did seem to take things the wrong way sometimes so better to keep his mouth shut, right?

But then finally Kei's hands were sliding back up to frame his face, turning his head a little as Kei started to lower his own head.

"I haven't done this in years. I'll be a little out of practice."

The lips that brushed his were soft as a breeze, testing, and then Kei's lips pressed firmly against his, no hesitation now as the alpha took control of his mouth. And while Barsad had kissed and been kissed by his fair share of alphas in the past, he could honestly say that he'd never been kissed like this before.

It wasn't just that Kei was so leisurely about it, but how in tune the alpha was with him. Most of them were all heat and power, tasting of lust while hands groped and fingers dug in. Kei though…his touch was firm but very gentle on his face, and the alpha was kissing him like he too was experimenting. Learning the taste and feel of his lips for what seemed like hours before Kei stroked his tongue over his lips, asking for entrance without demanding. And when Barsad opened his mouth….oh.

Barsad actually felt his knees go weak as the minutes went by and the kisses became hotter, deeper, and more thorough in their exploration. And with every swipe and rub of his tongue Kei was proving very well that he actually could be observant about more than music, quickly picking up exactly how Barsad wanted to be kissed as Kei's hands made minute adjustments to better the angle and change the way their lips met, seeming to invent new ways to kiss him.

Which was why Barsad's nails dug into his palms hard enough to draw blood from the effort not to touch him. Or grab onto those broad shoulders for the support he desperate needed as the kissing just went on and on. Just kissing, Barsad, marveled, with no expectation of more.

And he couldn't say exactly why but Barsad was suddenly reminded of his grandfather, and the way the old man used to take a hunk of wood and study it from all angles, sliding his hands over the surface again and again until he'd mapped it all out in his hands and mind. Necessary, his grandfather had always said, because how could he know what to carve it into if he didn't know every inch of it. What it desired to become. That was how Kei kissed, Barsad thought. Like he was learning every part of him to get the best possible results.

He actually made a sound of distress when Kei pulled away, the alpha looking at him with interest.

"You make very pretty sounds."

Staring up at him, process his words, Barsad honest to god felt his cheeks heat up in a blush. And he hadn't done that in…possibly ever.

Hands dropping away Kei tilted his head slightly to the side, watching him. "Did the kisses answer your question?"

Finding words beyond him, mortification and the lingering effects of the kisses screwing with his ability to speak, Barsad had to settle for nodding. The question of whether Kei just interested him for the puzzle he presented, or if his fascination was of a more personal nature, had definitely been answered.

"So we're done? I should get some sleep."

And now he was insulted. "Did you enjoy that at all?"

"Kissing you?"

Barsad nodded.

"Yes. Like I said, you make very pretty sounds. And you taste good too."

He could feel his cheeks heating up again. Crap. He shouldn't have asked.

Desperate to regain some of his dignity Barsad cleared his throat and stated that yes, that was everything. And he'd be going now.

"All right. Good night."

And so saying Kei turned around and walked across the room, Barsad's eyes all but bugging out of his head as Kei reached down and undid the knot that had been holding his towel in place, revealing his naked backside for Barsad's viewing pleasure as Kei tossed the towel over a nearby chair.

The lighting wasn't great, but not even that could hide the excellence of the alpha's ass as the other man walked over to the unoccupied bed. And without a hint of modesty or even awareness that Barsad was still there Kei pulled back the covers and then slid onto the bed to curl up on his side. Ready for bed and…and Barsad was just standing there watching him like a perverted idiot.

Feeling like an idiot Barsad turned around and let himself out, unable to believe his life.

As for the walk back to his room and who he might have encountered, Barsad didn't remember any of it. His mind was elsewhere.


Blake's morning had started off nicely, Bane's chest an excellent source of warmth to sleep on. Waking up on top of the man had been no hardship, nor had the nice blowjob he'd woken the man up with since he was in such a good mood thanks to the sex from the night before. And the happiness of discovering that Bane's bed had a good mattress and not the alternatives he'd been dreading, too.

Bane had certainly enjoyed the wakeup call, which he'd proven by fucking his brains out. Bless him.

Then, unfortunately, someone had come to deliver their disgusting breakfast. Oatmeal. Crappy oatmeal. Which he had to eat alone, too, because of course Bane had refused to eat with him. And now Bane was gone, and he was left here, alone, with no idea what to do with himself.

He'd looked at the books on Bane's bookshelves, but most of them weren't in English. And those that were, well he wasn't interested in reading them. Or at least he wasn't bored enough to do so yet.

God he hoped Simon showed up soon.

Laying spread eagle on the bed, wearing nothing but one of Bane's shirts since his Master had forgotten that he was without clothes, Blake wondered if maybe it wouldn't be better if Simon didn't see him while he was dressed like this. He wasn't sure how Bane would feel about it. But there was no way on God's green earth he was willing to wear the clothes he'd come here with. They would stay in a heap on the floor of the bathroom until he had new clothes to wear.

Okay, if it was those clothes of going naked he'd suck it up, but he was going to avoid that possibility as long as possible.

Wondering how he'd clean the disgusting things, it wasn't like there would be washing machines around, Blake was imagining the horrors of having to beat at them with rocks like he'd read about somewhere when there was a knock at the door.

Calling out for whoever it was to enter, Blake slid off the bed as in came Simon, who was looking especially handsome today. Though a lot of that was probably due to the fact that the alpha had bathed for the first time since he'd seen him, Blake mused with a smirk.

"You look ridiculous in that shirt."


Shrugging, the alpha wandered over to take a seat on the lone chair in the room. "Do you know what we're supposed to do? I think Father was supposed to come with me, and maybe tell me what we're supposed to do, but he's still sick. He's going to die soon, I think."

Some would think Simon heartless to speak in such an emotionless tone of voice, but Blake knew the boy better than that. Knew that Simon felt just like everyone else, only he didn't know how to show or express it like other people could.

Mentally saying to hell with Bane's no touching rule, his instincts were screaming at him, Blake walked over and placed his hand on Simon's shoulder, giving it a light squeeze. "I'm sorry to hear that. He seems like a good man." For a member of the League of Shadows.

"I think that's why Ra's al Ghul sent me here even though he had to know I'd be one of the worst guards ever. This way Father can't demand that he take care of me after he dies. He'll die and al Ghul will order Bane to kill me. His hands will be clean then."

"His hands haven't been clean for decades. And we'll run before I'll stand by and let Bane kill you."

"Now you're being stupid. I'd rather a quick death at Bane's hand then a slow, agonizing one in the desert with you. And we would die out there. You know we would. We're city boys."

Okay. He had a point. Unfortunately.

"Then we'll just have to convince Bane that you're useful enough to make him write back or whatever to al Ghul saying that you're enough of an asset to keep around."

The look Simon gave him suggested that it was more likely for ice cream to start raining down from the sky.

Ice cream

Momentarily sidetracked by that thought, Blake allowed himself a moment to mourn the end of heavenly hash, cookies and cream, and just straight chocolate ice cream. Come to think of it, his last real meal had been heated up pizza and nearly flat coke.

What the hell kind of last meal was that? People getting the chair got better than that. That was just so fucking unfair. He was seriously logging a complaint with the universe over this. That was just cruel and unusual punishment. The coke could have at least been fresh!

But back to the problem at hand, Blake told himself sternly, even as his stomach grumbled in continued protest.

"Look, we'll start with bulking you up a little more. You're an alpha, so it won't even take much effort on your part." Lucky bastard. "And yes, I know you don't like working out, but you're gonna have to suck that up, Buttercup. I can show you some stuff now, and tonight I'll ask if both you and I can use his personal weight room or the public one I'm assuming there has to be." He'd prefer to use the one he'd discovered next door to Bane's bedroom, but he wasn't even going in there without Bane's permission.

A man with a body like Bane's took working out seriously. One did not enter his happy place without permission.

"I guess." Simon sighed as he said it, his complete lack of interest obvious.

Knowing his quarry well, Blake promised that if Simon followed his workout regime there would be musical rewards. That at least got the alpha's interest.

"Even if I bulk up that won't make Bane less inclined to kill me."

"But it will show effort. Plus I can teach you other stuff that will help you when he decides to test whether you're a halfway decent fighter or not. I've been getting private tutoring almost since they took you. With me as your teacher, you'll be able to handle yourself before you know it."

"You do remember all the other stuff you tried and failed to teach me, right?"

Yes. Yes he did. Unfortunately.

"Your life wasn't on the line if you didn't learn it before. And we both know that you can learn things when you have no choice. Consider this one of those cases. And yes this won't be painless, but at the end of the day…you want to live, right?"

"I'm not scared to die."

"I know you're not. We both made our peace with dying a long time ago. But let's put it off, alright?"

"Okay. John?"


"We better not spar until you have proper clothes on and Bane's permission. If Bane sees us rolling around while you're wearing that, he'll kill me ahead of schedule."

Laughing, he couldn't help it, Blake agreed that yes, that would be the case.


So they spent some time doing some stretches and such to at least limber up a bit, Simon grumbling under his breath but cooperating for the time being. And then, because they were both still worn out from their trip across the desert, Blake agreed to Simon's request to go over the songs he'd taught him from 'Hamilton', having a sort of duet that sounded freaking amazing despite the obvious rustiness of Simon's voice. Simon had a stunning voice, at least in Blake's opinion, and he'd often thought that Simon could make a living if not for the fact that the media would eat him alive, on top of the fact that Simon had never been interested in that career choice. Actually, Simon had never had a job goal, which had always worried him and the other adults in Simon's life.

Regardless, they got lucky in that neither of them was singing when Blake's ears picked up the sound of approaching footsteps. Not Bane's.

So there was a healthy distance between him and Simon when the door opened and in stepped Barsad.

Whose gaze went immediately to Simon, Blake noted, holding there for just a moment too long before the mercenary's eyes shifted over in his direction. Interesting.

Barsad looked at him, his expression revealing nothing as he asked if Bane had ordered him to wear what he was wearing.

"No. I didn't have anything else."

The other man seemed to consider this. "I'll be back shortly. You'll wear what I bring you and then you'll both come with me."

And so saying Barsad turned around and let himself out again.

Waiting a minute, he wasn't an idiot, Blake waited until he was fairly sure that Barsad was out of hearing distance before asking Simon if anything new had happened between him and Bane's second.

"Not really." Simon shrugged. "He asked me to kiss him. For an experiment."

"Ah.' That would do it.

He didn't have any personal experience, obviously, but he had heard that the alpha was an extremely skilled kisser. Plus he'd made the mistake of asking Simon about his relationship with…he couldn't remember the omega's name, but the amount of detail Simon had gone into…well he could have done without the knowledge. Though it had given him an idea of just how Simon approached physical contact with someone. And why that approach could potentially get Simon into hot water with the wrong type of person.

And if he was reading Barsad right...

"Simon. Unless you like Barsad I wouldn't kiss him again."

"I liked kissing him."

"I'm sure you did. But your…style…is what he's looking for in a lover. And if you keep kissing him he might get the wrong idea, and that will mess things up even more for you. I don't think he'd be vindictive about it, but having him not hate you would help us."

"I told him I wouldn't have sex with him."

"That's a start." His read on Barsad was that the man wouldn't use his power to try and force the matter with Simon, and even if he did Simon wouldn't cooperate. Simon only touched when he wanted to touch. Try to force the issue and he'd go Ice King on the person's ass.

Which reminded him that he needed to teach Simon 'Let it Go'. He'd friggin love that song.

Naturally Simon didn't look at all worried when Blake focused his attention back on him. Instead the alpha seemed to be lost in serious thought about something.

"What are you thinking?"

"Well I was thinking about kissing…and I know you can't kiss Bane because of his mask, but there are other ways to make someone make good noises, and I was wondering…doesn't that mask muffle them so you can't hear them?"

Since Simon viewed sex as playing the human body like an instrument, the goal to make the other person make the prettiest sounds possible, Blake could understand why Simon was actually showing interest in his sex life.

"I make enough noise for the both of us."

"Oh. That makes sense."

And thinking it best to leave it at that, since he did NOT want either of them to be discussing sex when Barsad returned, Blake asked Simon if he wanted to hear about the Disney movies and songs that he'd missed since he'd been captured by the League.

Simon friggin loved Disney, so of course the answer was yes. And he immediately wanted to hear every new song Disney had come up with in his absence, which wasn't going to happen since one, Blake didn't have them all memorized, and two, he knew prime bribing material when he had it. So instead he just gave Simon some idea of what the songs were about and who sang them, promising to actually sing the ones he remembered in exchange for Simon spending time in the gym working out.

The alpha was bargaining him about just how much working out he had to do per song when Barsad reappeared with some articles of clothing draped over one arm, the beta's eyes going straight to Simon again before he threw the clothes over to Blake in a nice way, which he appreciated.

"Go try those on. Kei and I will wait for you out here."

Clothes in hand Blake considered ordering the two not to do anything he wouldn't do while he was gone…and then realized that there was a lot he would do that he didn't want them doing.

So instead he gave the beta a jaunty salute and headed for the bathroom to get changed as quickly as possible.

Just in case.

Chapter Text

Seizing A Chance

Walking down the busy hallway with Danilo keeping pace at his side, Bane listened to the man outline possible days and times that he could set aside to personally see to Kei's training one on one. The other alpha was in his late thirties and one of Bane's best trainers, patient and adaptable depending on the natural abilities of his students. Barsad had suggested the man to him for the task, and as Danilo had no problem with the idea Bane considered the problem taken care of. Or at least he would soon know one way or another just how hopeless his Pet's friend was as a bodyguard.

He had gone to his rooms intending to introduce the trainer to his new pupil, only to discover that neither his Pet nor the boy were where they were supposed to be. A fact that had…bothered Bane immediately, in a way that he did not like.

Another surprise, though a more welcoming one, was the discovery that Barsad had taken his Pet and Kei to the kitchens, which he learned after contacting his second about finding the two. Apparently Barsad had thought it prudent to do so, as Blake disliked the food he'd eaten thus far and had shown a willingness to take care of feeding himself and Kei if allowed. A plan Barsad had not cleared with him first, but one Bane could approve of when Barsad pointed out in Russian that it was in their best interests to keep someone like Blake occupied and under supervision. So now they were about to enter the kitchens, Bane not entirely sure what they would find in there aside from the men he'd come to see and the usual staff.

As soon as he entered the kitchen the men working at various stations on lunch for the men came to attention, Bane only having to open his mouth to demand to know where his Pet was for all of them to point off to a distant corner of the large space.

Nodding in acknowledgement of their help Bane headed in that direction, spotting his Pet immediately as Blake's laughter filled the air along with Barsad cursing, Kei handing the beta a glass of water that Barsad immediately began to chug down.

"-told you so." Blake was saying to Barsad before turning to look in his direction, smiling in greeting as he saluted him with something made of bread. "Master."

Bane heard the sound of Danilo noticeably breathing in deeply, and as he drew closer he too started to pick up the scent of various spices, mixed together in a pleasing manner and which drew his attention to the table the three men now stood around, plates and bowls laid out upon it. And three large plates held what Bane recognized as the food known as fajitas, already partially consumed.

Barsad was pouring himself another glass of water and sipping as he stood at attention while Kei was alternating between looking at Bane and down at his plate with obvious longing. The young alpha had no discipline whatsoever.

"I have something from every food group." His Pet stated, drawing his attention back to him and what the man had apparently gotten up to since they'd last spoken. "See?"

Eyes scanning over the table Bane had to agree that what on the table were healthy enough ingredients, though the bread was white and not whole wheat. Looking over at his second Bane raised an eyebrow at Barsad's expression.

Still sipping water, Barsad moved the glass away from his lips just long enough to state that Blake had warned him that he liked his salsa spicy before going back to cooling his throat.

"Want me to get you some milk?" Blake asked Barsad. "Water isn't the best thing for you to be drinking in this case, actually."

Barsad seemed to consider toughening it out, a clearing of the throat drawing all their attention to where one of the younger men working in the kitchen stood, shyly holding out a glass that Bane assumed contained either milk or something else that would help his second.

Thanking the man Barsad took the cup and started drinking from it instead.

"The food is getting cold."

"So want me to make you one to try yourself, Master?" Blake tacked on quickly, like Bane wasn't aware that Kei had mentioned the food getting cold as a not subtle hint that the alpha wanted to go back to eating.

Truthfully he would like to eat what was laid out before him, if only because he was curious about the beta's abilities in the kitchen, but he did not eat in company. "No. And you have my permission to go back to eating." Blake needed to maintain his health and strength.

Turing his attention to the young alpha giving Blake an envious look, Bane said his name to gain his attention. "Kei. This is Danilo, who will be in charge of training you from now on. You'll begin tomorrow."

Nodding his head in understanding, Kei showed enough sense to meet Danilo's gaze for a moment to acknowledge him with a polite Sir before going back to looking at the food on his plate

"Would you like one, Danilo?" Barsad asked as he motioned towards the table. "Bane's pet made a mild salsa for Kei."

"I don't like spicy." Kei agreed. "John's got a high tolerance, he loves sriracha."

"Thank you. With your permission, Sir."

Bane inclined his head in agreement before turning his attention back to his Pet, who was finishing up his fajita. "After eating you will return to my rooms immediately. I will be there shortly after." He had to eat his own lunch first, as well as see to a few other things.

"Yes, Master."

Pleased that the beta was behaving so well in company, Bane gave Blake an approving look before stating his intent to go, turning around to head back the way he'd come.

Wishing a little that he could have stayed.


Entering his bedroom a little over an hour later Bane found his Pet more or less where he was supposed to be, even if he was on the floor. Kei was sitting cross-legged beside Blake, both men with their backs against the bed's footboard and holding a single cup in their hands. Or to be more accurate they were doing something weird with the cups as they slammed them down, smacked them against their hands, all while humming a tune that seemed to be trying to match up with what they were doing with the cups, like they were instruments. His Pet's efforts sounded a great deal better than the alpha's.

And then his Pet looked up and grinned at him, like he was pleased he'd come, and Bane almost smiled back behind his mask.

Stopping what he was doing Blake set the cup aside and then told Kei to stop as well, the alpha giving Bane's Pet a very disgruntled look before seeming to realize that they were no longer alone.

Craning back his neck Kei looked at him, silent and waiting.

"You'll leave now. Come back in an hour."

A sigh, and then Kei nodded and got to his feet, the cup still in his hand. "I'll be back in an hour."


He went.

Bane waited until he heard the door close behind him, signaling that they were alone, before turning his attention back to his Pet, who had once more picked up the cup and was tossing it from hand to hand. "What were you doing with the cups?"

"It was an internet thing a while back. The song is called 'When I'm Gone', or 'The Cup Song', and these days you're supposed to do backup with the cup." Blake shook the cup for emphasis. "A bunch of the boys at the home I ended up in as a teenager were determined to learn it, and I ended up helping them. Learned it, too. Si-Kei's not the most coordinated person, but I figured teaching it to him would give us both something to do. Wanna see?"

A little curious now, Bane gave the nod.

It was a song of travel, about how the singer would be missed, and the use of the cup was clever enough that Bane paid attention to it, learning the sequence of movements even though it wasn't something he'd ever need to know. He just liked figuring it out.

When the song was done Blake set the cup aside again and then gave him a questioning look. "What did you think?"

"It was not displeasing to the ears. Better than most music produced by Western society this century."

"It was originally from the nineteen thirties, actually."

That made more sense.

"Am I correct in thinking that Barsad and Danilo used to be lovers?"

Blinking both over the sudden change in topic and the question posed, Bane asked why he was asking.

"Well like most people I like knowing that I'm right. And if I'm right I need to factor that into my plans for Kei's training."

"Your plans?"

"My plans. Which include me asking you for permission for Kei and I to use your gym or one you can assign to us that we won't be bothered in. He'll be less resistant to the idea if he can at least do it in private. Now…was I right?"

"I will consider allowing the two of you to use a gym, while supervised, but first you have yet to explain how a possible relationship between Danilo and my second is relevant in this matter."

His pet SMIRKED at him while absently running fingers over his collar. "You really don't get human nature when it comes to romance or sex, do you? And now you're looking at me like you're plotting my ass becoming very red and not in a good way." Despite his words Blake didn't look worried in the least.

"Look, it matters because I got the sense that the two used to be involved, and that it wasn't Danilo's choice that that stopped. Now you're asking the man to train the younger and infinitely better looking young alpha Barsad has his eye on. You do see where I'm going with this, yeah?"

Well when he put it that way yes, Bane could see where his Pet was going with this. If the individuals they were dealing with as base and weak as the men the cop had grown up surrounded by. "Barsad was the one who recommended Danilo for the job. He's one of our best."

Sighing, his Pet shook his head at him. "Nevermind. Forget I asked."

"The fact that the two occasionally sleep together will have no impact on the boy's training."

"They still sleep together? Shit. That's so much worse."

"Why is that so much worse?" And why did he even care?

Eyes closed as he pinched the bridge of his nose, Blake didn't answer him right away.

"All right, I'll put it into terms you can understand. Possibly." His Pet's eyes opened to look up at him again. "Suppose that you and I were normal, and dating. And then a gorgeous, intriguing, and younger alpha were to suddenly start working with you and I appeared to be more interested in him than you. How would you treat him, especially if your work put you in a position where you could cause him serious harm under the guise of 'teaching' him?"

He'd snap the little bastard's neck. Or administer one hell of a beating if he thought that would suffice and nothing had happened between the man and his Pet.

"Ah, now you're feeling me."

"The two of them have an understanding. Barsad has never belonged to Danilo or vice versa."

"I'm not going to argue. Between Hitachi and I we'll keep an eye on things. Help me up?"

Looking at the arms held up towards him, Bane reached out and wrapped his fingers around the other man's wrists to pull him up.

And felt his back muscles seize in protest.


Pain. Bane knew pain. It had been like a shadow to him all his life. Inescapable, even when the cause of the pain wasn't visible to the naked eye. He knew its layers, from the insignificant to the worst that no mind could imagine without experiencing. The worst he called Venom, after the poison he'd been given that had both saved his life and damned him to indescribably pain for years before he'd gotten away from his captors. Been able to wean himself off the drug a little at a time under another doctor's care, which had been another time in hell. And while his bod ywas his own now…every once in a while the drug that had changed his body and enslaved it sank his teeth into him again, seizing up his muscles and threatening to tear him apart if he tried to retake control of it.

This was not a pain he could use or ignore as was his way, and always brought to his knees. Fear at such times was only human, when your body stopped being within your control and you were at the mercy of those around you.

In Bane's world there was little mercy to be found.

Now here he was, starring into the eyes of his Pet, and they both knew that the beta could end him. It was there, Bane could see the knowledge so clearly in his Pet's eyes. His fingers were still clenched around Blake's wrists, probably painfully so at this point, but Bane didn't doubt that that would stop a man who'd grown up on the streets of Gotham and had already proven that he was no weakling for all that he complained and played the part. The demons that lived in his Pet were in his eyes now, and they could kill.

Any attempt on his part to defend himself would be doomed to failure.

"Bane. You need to let go of my wrists so I can help you get to the bed. Then I'll get Barsad for you, all right?" A flick of a lash, the eyes meeting Bane's revealing nothing now. "I swear on Kei's life, I'm just going to help you now."

"You wouldn't get out of here alive."

"I'm aware of that."

Letting go of him one finger at a time, Bane tried to straighten a little in a futile attempt to brace to defend, the pain searing but he clenched his teeth against it.

"Stop it. Stay as still as you can. Alphas."

His Pet wrapped his arms as far around Bane's waist as he could manage. "Lean on me. A little."

It was stupid to feel comfort from a man he knew moments before had been contemplating his death, but Bane had no other name for the emotion he felt as his Pet took a step to the side, the goal to get around the footboard so that Bane could collapse on the mattress rather than the floor.

And they made the couple of steps necessary with agonizing slowness, and then Bane allowed himself to fall onto the mattress on his side, his Pet yelping and almost tumbling down with him. Bane would have rather been on his back, but this would be more convenient for what needed to come next.

"Do I have your permission to take out your phone, go into your contacts, and get Barsad for you? Or whoever provides medical treatment around here?"

"Bedside table. Right. Top drawer. Pale green vial. That's all I need." There was nothing else anyone could do for him when this happened.

"Oh you need a lot more than that from the looks of you, but you're the boss."

Focusing on his breathing since that was one thing he could control, Bane watched as Blake opened up the drawer, withdrew the vial in question, and then squatted down beside the bed so that he and Bane were closer to eye level.

"Permission to remove the tin can, Master?"

Bane wanted to say no, to demand that he be given the vial so that he could do it himself, but what would be the point? It wasn't like he could look any less weak and pathetic in the other man's eyes, and he would only regain his strength and be able to reassert his dominance once the medicine was in his system. His Pet was also not one of his men, and he would not appear like this in front of them.

"You have my permission."

Setting the vial on the bedspread Blake took a seat beside it and then reached over to carefully start to undo the straps of the mask. His Pet's hands were gentle as the lifted Bane's head up when it was time to pull the mask away from his face, Blake not evening pausing to take a look at what he'd uncovered. Instead he twisted around to grab the vial, uncorked it, and then turned back to help Bane tilt his head enough that he could swallow the medicine down.

Letting go of him, Blake recorked the vial and set it aside. "How long will it take to work?"

"Fifteen to twenty minutes."

"All right." Looking down at him, Blake's lips curved a little. "Well now I know why you wear that mask all the time and won't let anyone see you without it."

Bane had no delusions about his face or its appeal. It was as ugly as his back. Worse, really, since the look of one's face was more important than one's back in the eyes of most. Between the scarring, different skin textures thanks to years of the mask pressed against it, and the strange tan lines, Bane knew how bad he looked.

"Can't stand people knowing you're a pretty boy, huh."


Chapter Text

Don't Touch My Kid

Objectively speaking, it would have been more accurate to say that Bane had been born to be a pretty boy, rather than actually was one. As a cop Blake had honed himself over the years to take in a person's face and features quickly and reliably, breaking them down into pieces rather than just seeing the whole. It helped him remember them better, he's found, and made it easier to distinguish them from others with similar looks. Previously he'd been aware of Bane's beautiful eyes, he wasn't blind after all, but without the mask Bane's brows and lashes somehow seemed to bring them out more, making them more stunning to look at.

It was the mouth that really caught his attention in all honesty though. Blake was willing to bet what little he had in his bank account back home that before someone had scarred them Bane had possessed an overly generous pair of lips that would make any bi or gay men wish he'd blow them. Hell, straight men might wish it too under the right circumstances. And yes the badly scarred lips and the skin damage gave Bane a somewhat monstrous appearance for lack of a better word, but when you really looked…he was still a good looking man if you paid attention.

Ditch the mask permanently and moisturize the HELL out of his skin, grow even just a buzz cut's worth of hair, and Bane would be good looking man on first glance, scars and all.

And Bane was looking at him like he was sure Blake had recently suffered brain damage.

"What? Any man with a mouth like yours is going to be called pretty, Bane. I mean your overall size and bone structure butch you up, no question, but between your eyes and lips…you're pretty."

"Have you had your vision checked recently?"

"Ah…" Blake had to think about that a moment, especially since hearing Bane speak without the mask's filter messing with his voice kept throwing him off. Because damn, the man's accent was sexy as hell. All the more so because he couldn't place it. He'd always been a sucker for an alpha with a hot accent. "Yes? Or at least it hasn't been that long since I got them checked, I think. Hasn't anyone ever told you you have beautiful eyes at the very least?"

Used to hiding his emotions behind his mask, Bane's face was now bare and his disbelief very obvious. It was a nice change of pace as far as Blake was concerned.

"I'll take that look as a no. And by the way, CAN you grow hair? And scruff? Because if you're self-conscious about your skin, you wouldn't look bad with facial hair." Reaching out Blake curiously ran his fingers over the damaged skin, the differences in texture oddly fascinating. "Just don't grow a real beard. It would be a crime against nature to hide a mouth like this like that." Blake shook his head just imagining it. It was the rare man who could pull off a full beard and still be called sexy.

"I wear the mask."

"I know." Blake couldn't help but grin. "Yet another one of your terrible crimes against humanity. A huge fashion faux pas too, if nothing else."

Bane glared at him. "Put it back on."

It was damn tempting to argue, especially since he wanted to touch and hear Bane's actual voice more, but Blake also knew better than to mess with an annoyed alpha who was also in pain and feeling vulnerable.

So instead he grabbed the much hated mask off the bed and then leaned in to place it over Bane's mouth, just resisting the urge to try and kiss him first. To find out what he tasted like.

Doing up the buckles Blake put it all to rights and then decided what the hell, and stretched out on the bed on his side as well, nearly chest to chest with Bane.

"Is this all right?"

"It doesn't worry you, to be so close? We both know you thought of killing me minutes ago."

"And we both know we've both thought of killing the other numerous times. We're both alive still."

What Blake didn't and couldn't say, was that he was fairly sure that his decision to stay close had a great deal to do with a part of his brain that he very much didn't want waking up. A part of his brain that he'd kept drugged and sedated for his entire adulthood so that he didn't let his biology do his thinking for him. Like convince him that he should cuddle against his wounded and hurting alpha even though Bane wasn't actually his alpha, and wasn't going to draw any comfort from having him near, either.

He needed to get himself on some Umbra ASAP, or more likely the ingredients to make it before he was doing other stupid things like begging Bane to breed him or started doing whatever the delusional idiot told him to do just because Bane was the best example of alpha hotness he'd ever come across.

His behavior since Bane had captured him, but especially right now…

Maybe he was just that good at being in self-denial or convincing himself to view his present circumstances in the best light, but Blake had never been a glass half full sort. He was far more inclined to believe that his omega nature was just that stupid and getting stronger by the day. He felt it at times, especially the last couple days. This hormonal reaction to Bane when the man was near that urged him to behave in ways that were definitely not in his best interests.

The Umbra he'd been on for the last few years had been supplied by Bruce. They were the best money could buy, apparently, and less damaging than the street versions Blake had always been stuck with. So…perhaps better for his body equalled quicker to leave his system if he didn't keep to his injection schedule? Or Bane was just that alpha that his stupid omega body was fighting him to retake his original, more pleasing to an alpha form.

Either way he was going to be fucked, and not in a good way, if he didn't get his drugs soon. There had to be an infirmary here, a well-stocked one given the-

Going still, his self-preservation instincts still thankfully somewhat present, Blake tensed up in preparation to defend when Bane's arm came up and that big hand started reaching for him.

And then he was zoning out both body and mind, Blake's lashes fluttering closed in reaction to Bane's hand cupping the back of his neck, squeezing lightly.

"It would be unwise of you to think you can use sex to wrap me around your finger. It will not work."

"I'd rather you just wrapped around me period."

The squeeze this time was harder. "Behave."

There were numerous responses that came to mind, such as suggesting that Bane needed a nap if he was feeling so cranky, but the majority of his brain was still working well enough for him to know better. So instead Blake settled for asking if the medicine was working.


Given what he knew about Bane's past, Blake didn't doubt that Bane most likely had a higher pain tolerance than anyone else of his acquaintance. So the pain had to have been unbearable before, for Bane to show it.

And asking for confirmation that Bane was telling the truth wouldn't do him any good, so Blake settled for closing his eyes, trusting that Bane would tell him if he needed help.


After about twenty minutes or so of just lying together Bane shifted away and sat up, Blake watching carefully as Bane rolled his shoulders and moving his upper body from side to side. With the mask on it was hard to get a read on how much that hurt, especially since Bane refused to meet his gaze the entire time. But at least he could move now, which had to mean that the pain was at least manageable. Of course Blake was fairly sure that he didn't want to know what Bane considerable a manageable amount of pain. But at least the man wasn't a complete idiot, stating that he was going to go visit the doctor and that Blake was to stay here.

"Wouldn't it be a good idea for me to know where I would find said doctor in the event of injury? Not to mention the fact that Kei won't be back here for another twenty minutes at least. Are you sure you want me on my own for that long? Who knows what trouble I might get into." It was laying it on a bit thick, but time was of the essence here.

The look Bane gave him, well Blake was actually a little flattered that Bane was imagining he could do that much damage in twenty minutes.

Even better he got his way, Bane ordering him to come too.

Doing his best not to look too happy about that, Blake followed along at Bane's side as they left their room and headed off towards the infirmary. Along the way he did his best to take in everything and memorize the layout for his return trip, which was no easy thing given that the whole compound had about as much personality as…someone or something without personality. He was drawing a blank for a good comparison, but he'd think of someone later and-

"What the fuck?!"

Coming to a grind halt Blake stared at Simon, who'd just come around a corner and was now all but in front of him. Simon with blood all over his face, neck, and shirt, hints of bruising already exploding over one of his cheekbones.


Taking the couple steps needed to get to him, Blake had blood in his eyes as he reached out to gently take Simon's face between his hands, turning it to better catch the light as he studied the damage. Which, now that he was looking at it, suggested that a lot of this blood wasn't Simon's at all. Or at least he wasn't seeing wounds, just bruises.

"I don't think the blood is mine." Simon stated, confirming it. "I'll just be bruised a while."

"What happened to you?" Bane demanded to know. "And whose blood do you wear?"

In true Simon fashion, the boy just shrugged his shoulders, not cowed or worried in the slightest. "He came here with us…I don't remember his name. He's the one that kept bothering me. I ran into him while I was coming to you, I thought I should be early just in case, and he said something about me needing more alpha in me, and volunteering for the job. I told him I'd rather shove my dick in a blender than him, which is when he grabbed my face and tried to shove his tongue down my throat. So I bit him really hard, which was gross, but he stopped mauling me. That's when he punched me. I hit the ground, he got on top of me, and I ripped his ears partially off and broke his nose. With my head."

"That's my good boy. Just like I taught you." Pleased Simon had done so well, Blake gave Simon's head an approving caress.

Simon nodded with a touch of pride, and then turned his head to the side at the sound of someone very loudly cursing in a language Blake didn't understand, but the tone said it all. And he was willing to bet the man who was stumbling down the hallway Simon had just left, blood dripping down from various wounds, was looking for Simon. Was the one who'd hurt Simon

Both of the alpha's ears were now useless flaps of flesh now, nose definitely broken and still gushing blood. There was a gash on his forehead that Simon hadn't mentioned, but which was gushing a fair amount of blood down the man's face as well. He was obviously in a great deal of pain, and that wasn't going to change any time soon.

In fact, it was about to get a whole lot worse for him.

No one fuck with a child under Robin John Blake's care.

Bolting forward on soundless feet Blake went straight at him with death in his eyes, pulling back his fist as he ran and punching it into the bastard's throat with all his strength. A move that was followed by four back to back punches to the bitch's gut, which caused the alpha to lose his balance enough that Blake could shove him back, sending his helpless prey crashing onto the ground.

Then Blake was on him, bringing both hands back and then slapping them as hard as he could over the ruins of the man's ears, smiling at the scream of pain that caused. The worst was yet to come after all, and with that in mind Blake curled his fingers into fists and turned his attention to punching the man's face into uncooked hamburger.

Doing a thorough job of it too, right up until hands slid under his armpits, the touch familiar and commanding. As was the voice.

"Stop. Now."

Instinct said to obey, but Blake's rage was a powerful thing, and never easy to control when he let it off the leash. "He hurt the boy. MY boy. Under my protection. Promised Father Reilly I'd look after him. I PROMISED."

"And he will be punished for it."

Oh. Tipping his head back Blake stared up at his alpha. "You'll punish him?"


Well that was all right then. His mate would cause even more damage than he could and….and had been hurt recently, so he shouldn't struggle or try to fight him on this. He needed to take care of his alpha too.

"I'll stop."

Getting off the unconscious bastard without any more protest, and studying the damage he'd done with serious satisfaction, Blake moved off to the side before turning his attention back to Simon, who was standing nearby. Barsad had arrived at some point too, hovering protectively by the boy, which he approved of.

Meeting Bane's gaze Blake asked for permission to take Simon back to his room to clean up.

"Go to my rooms and stay there till I come and get you."

"Yes, Master."

Ignoring all the eyes watching him, better that they know what happened to people who hurt kids under his protection, Blake marched over to Simon and told him to come with him, Simon falling immediately into step with him as they headed back to Bane's quarters.

They walked in silence until they were basically alone, and then Simon spoke in a low voice meant for his ears only.

"When did you have your last dose?"

Shit. Fuck. Double Fuck.

Now that bloodlust was waning a little, Blake recognized both what he'd done, thought, and the high likelihood he'd be in trouble for his actions in the very near future.

"Too long. We were on our way to the infirmary or whatever it's called when we ran into you. I was hoping to scope out the place."

"I know where it is."

"You do?"

"I got a tour of most of the place, and I made sure to memorize how to get there for you. I knew we'd have to break in there sooner or later. The locks will be easy for you. No idea if what you need is there, though. You'd be looking for the ingredients, right?"

"Which is the problem. Even if they're there I'll have to make the stuff. And after what just happened…" He needed the drugs now. "Thank you. For finding out for me." He would have given Simon's arm a squeeze or something, but he was well aware of the eyes that could be watching.

As it was they'd only taken about three more steps when they were told to stop, both of them turning to see Barsad coming towards them.

"I'm to accompany you."

The voice that slithered into Blake's mind, and whispered that he should send Barsad back to Bane to protect the alpha for him, seeing as Bane had only just recovered enough to stand and walk around, was definitely unwelcome. And loud. Ugh.

Must resist. Must resist.

Barsad's gaze went to Simon first. "I'm correct that the majority of the blood on you is actually Simic's, and that aside from your fists you are unhurt as well, Pet?"

His fists?

Bringing both hands up Blake looked them over, realizing in the process that some of the blood was actually his. Huh. Thank you, adrenaline. It was going to hurt like a bitch when that wore off.

And belatedly realizing that he was supposed to be answering Barsad's question about his injuries, Blake nodded. "He didn't touch me."

"You fight viciously."

Actually, when he was in control of himself and not surfing a wave of extreme hormones he fought as methodically and cool headed as he imagined Barsad would. But just as his omega brain was demanding that he take care of Bane, it was also making it clear that Simon was his to protect as well. He'd go Rick Grimes on the throat of any man who tried to hurt either man. Hurt Simon. That's what he'd meant to think. God, had his brain chemistry reached some precipice today?

"John taught me to fight." Simon volunteered. "Will he be able to sew his ears back on, do you think?"

"Depends if he is allowed to live or not."

"Oh." Simon appeared to mull that over. "Okay."

Barsad gave Simon an odd look, one that prompted the boy to ask him what he was thinking.

"You had no problem allowing a beta to fight your battle for you."

"John is better trained and more vicious than I am. Not to mention faster. And only an idiot gets between an enraged predator and his prey. I'd have ended up even more bloodied. I hate blood. It tastes terrible."

Chapter Text

Hiding Things

Barsad supposed he should be grateful for Bane's Pet, giving him something to think about other than Kei and Simic. More specifically what he'd like to do to both men in question, starting with gutting the latter like the bastard deserved. And he might still get the chance to do depending on what Bane decided where the other alpha was concerned. Or if there was anything left of the Serb once Bane was done with him. He'd have said that Simic had been wise to not lay a finger on Bane's Pet, but quite frankly Barsad was fairly confident in thinking that the alpha would have, if Blake hadn't taken him down so quickly and with such ferocity.

So now here he was, watching from a short distance while Blake pressed the icepack Barsad had gotten for him to Kei's cheek instead. The beta hadn't once complained about the pain in his hands, which had to hurt like a bitch at this point, and was fussing over Kei like he was the mother he'd acted like earlier. Protecting and babying his injured young.

Which was a weird comparison to make, Barsad knew, but it was what fit.

Many, including Bane, would disagree with him, but in Barsad's own experience there were few men and women more dangerous than a loving parent protecting their offspring. One had only to look at omegas to see it was true. They were the least violent and most subservient of the designations, it was built into their DNA to be so, but when their young or mates were threatened Barsad had seen them show incredible strength and a willingness to kill that matched or even surpassed some alphas. Their bonds with their loved ones so strong they overcame their very nature in order to protect.

It was weird to make the comparison in his mind, but in some was Bane's new pet reminded him more of an omega then a beta. But then there were always those who straddled the designation line, Barsad reminded himself. A beta almost, but not quite, as strong or dominant as an alpha. A beta who was soft enough that you'd think he or she was an omega. It happened.

Both the men in the room with him were prime examples of that.

Blake, both fierce and oddly maternal, Kei, not fierce and with absolutely no ego or outward aggression to speak of. The alpha wasn't ashamed in the least to have someone else fight his battles for him. Or baby him. Or be ordered around by someone who was of lower standing. Hell, nothing yet had seemed to faze Kei in the slightest as far as Barsad could tell. Literally the only thing the boy seemed to care about was his adopted father, Blake, and music. Everyone else was just…there, and Kei acknowledged them when he needed to and ignored them when he didn't.

Of course thinking about Kei rationally wasn't easy to do when the alpha was shirtless and wet.

Earlier Kei had taken his bloodstained shirt off to rinse it out in the bathroom sink, and had hung it up to dry afterwards rather than put it back on again. Borrowing something from either of the room's occupants was also out of the question, so the boy was now sitting around without a shirt, his chest wet from where he'd used a washcloth to clean off the blood on his skin. It was annoyingly distracting, not to mention embarrassing since Barsad was pretty sure Bane's Pet was having a silent laugh at his expense over it. So it was actually somewhat of a relief when Kei stated that he was going use the bathroom and would be right back.

Watching him go Barsad was very much aware of the cop's eyes on him, and turned to meet the other man's gaze squarely, silently daring him to say whatever it was the younger man wanted to say to him about Kei.

It was a bit of a staring contest, actually, before Blake apparently decided to just get it over with.

"What are your intentions? Towards Kei if that's not clear."

"I have no intentions." Or at least none he intended to share with him.

"Then keep your hands off him. No more kissing." The man actually wagged a finger in his direction. "Or anything else."

"And you think you have the right to tell me what I can and can't do, Pet?"

Though he didn't look intimidated in the slightest, Blake put his hands up in a placating manner. "I'm actually saying this for your own good. You don't know him as well as I do. Just be very, very blunt with him if you are going to try something with him. Unbelievably blunt. And keep in mind that I can do even more damage to a man when I have time to plan things out."

Hurt him and I will hurt, if not kill, you. Blake eyes said bluntly.

"You're tougher than I expected from a Gotham cop."

"Well I've never had a thing against a bit of fisticuffs when the need arises."


Blake just grinned at him.

"What are you talking about?" Kei wanted to know as he came back into the room.

"He was about to explain what fisticuffs is."



Annoyed, Barsad asked the alpha if he knew what that word meant. And if so, to explain.

"Fighting bare knuckle. It's an English term, I guess. We heard it on 'Foyle's War'. Which is this British show that took place during and just after the Second World War that Father Reilly really loves. We had to watch it." Kei's face scrunched up.

Barsad looked in Blake's direction. "You couldn't have just said you're not adverse to fighting?"

The way Blake smirked at him said that no, no he couldn't.


After arranging for Simic to be taken care of, he'd deal with him later after he'd gotten more information from Kei, Bane had gone to the infirmary as planned to get looked over. He felt fine now, in no more pain than he ever was, but that was how these brief moments of weakness went. Seeing the doctor to get checked out was just a part of that routine, however much he hated to be poked, prodded, and questioned.

As per usual there were no obvious after affects, and the doctor gave him the usual spiel about taking it easy for the next few days and to let him know if he had another attack.

Agreeing to do so, as per their routine, Bane would have normally gotten out of there as quickly as possible lest the man come up with some new test or question to ask. Only this time he sensed there was something the doctor was not telling him. It was there in the man's eyes and in the slight jerkiness of his movements as he put things away with his back to Bane, which the beta almost never did. It was never wise to turn your back on a predator after all, and the doctor was no fool.

"What is it you aren't telling me?"

"Sir?" Turning around the doctor briefly met his gaze before looking down.

"There's something you now you should be telling me. What is it?"

"I don't know if it's worth mentioning." It was stated hesitantly, after a telling silence. "That's why I didn't…I didn't want to accuse the boy of something unjustly. I've been mulling over bringing it up." A brief glance up. "Yesterday a young alpha was brought in here. The one assigned to guard your new Pet. He was being given a tour of the base and…he was paying a lot of attention. Perhaps too much attention, when he was here."

As the boy didn't seem to pay much attention to anything aside from music, Bane found that highly suspicious. And wasn't the least surprised that the boy had failed utterly at being subtle in his interest.

"Anything in particular?"

"The door. And the cabinet where I keep base ingredients."

"I see."

Bane took a couple minutes to mull that over before giving his orders. "Mention this to no one, and report to me immediately if anything from here goes missing." Bane doubted the boy could manage it, but looks could be deceiving. His Pet's earlier actions certainly proved that.


Considering that settled, his orders were always obeyed, Bane left the room and began considering the various reasons the boy might have for looking over the infirmary with the intent to break into it.

The most obvious and likely reason was that Kei hoped to steal something that could be used to drug or kill Bane and his top men. It wouldn't be enough just to kill him, after all, and Bane was willing to believe that the boy was at least intelligent enough to realize that. The boy using the drug to kill himself in a more humane way than at the hands of Bane or his men was another possibility, especially since Hitachi was hanging onto life by his fingernails at this point. A possible third option was that the boy had an addiction that needed to be fed. But he knew addiction. Knew the faces and ways of it. So…the first two options were the most likely.

It also went without saying that his own Pet would help Kei in any way he needed.

He hated that. Actually hated that and the idea that another alpha meant so much to his Pet. Meant more to the man than him. Which was beyond foolish and incomprehensible, but that was what Bane was feeling. And he hated that. Almost as much as he hated the idea, much less the memory of his Pet stroking the head and fussing over another man right in front of him. Not that he wanted to be stroked or fussed over. Of course not.

And he had more important things to think about.

A simple trap would be best. He'd pretend that he was doing a night security check. With him 'occupied', and the two of them alone together in Bane's rooms, it would be the ideal time for them to make their move. He'd make sure they believed that. Then he'd just sit back and see what they did.

That he hoped he wouldn't have to kill the boy…well there were reasons for that.

Barsad seemed oddly interested in him too.

And, Bane soon learned, could be persuaded to do things his second would normally never do because of that. Like sit on the floor with Bane's Pet and the boy, practicing the cup song with them.

At least his second was showing better hand eye coordination than Kei. And wasn't singing either. That was something at least. Not to mention the fact that it said something that the two betas in the room were immediately aware of his presence as soon as Bane opened the door, while Kei still seemed engrossed in his cup and singing the song to himself. Kei really was the worst alpha Bane had ever come across. He wasn't even beta material.

His Pet spoke first. "Is he dead?"

"I believe it's considered rather incriminating, admitting to a cop that you've committed murder."

Blake smirked at him. "Good thing for you we're not in Gotham, then. This isn't my jurisdiction."

Rather than answer his Pet's question Bane ordered the boy to his feet, Kei at least having the sense to do so without complaint or hesitation.

"Do you believe Simic meant to rape you?"

Blinking once, Kei showed some actual common sense by not replying immediately, instead mulling the question over and giving it the thought it deserved. "No. I don't think so. You kill people for that and everyone knows it. I think he was just going to kiss and grope me whether I liked it or not. Not rape. Though technically that is still sexual assault. Right?"

Kei looked questioningly at Blake, who nodded.

"Then no, I won't be killing him. Though his suffering is far from over."


Not quite sure how to take that, Bane asked Kei if he wished to punish the alpha himself.

"No." Was the alpha's nonchalant response.

"You do realize that if not for your scent and size, no one would believe you were an alpha?"

"I get that a lot."

His Pet snickered, the beta putting a hand over his mouth when Bane looked his way. Which only served to draw Bane's attention to Blake's knuckles, which were looking slightly bruised and torn up, though not nearly as bad as they should have been given the way his Pet had gone at Simic. His Pet's hands were as tough as he was, it seemed.

But still…Bane did not like to see them damaged.

He'd see they were taken care of before he left again.


It would be a simple matter to arrange for Bane's room to be bugged the next day. As he'd discussed with Barsad earlier, he'd pretend to inform his second within the hearing of his Pet and Kei that he intended to test the compound's defenses in two days' time, shutting down all electronic security in order to insure that the men hadn't become too reliant on technology to do their jobs for them. Then he'd threatened both his targets with severe punishment if they left his rooms at that time, and see what happened.

Barsad hadn't commented except to ask necessary questions, and yet Bane had gotten the feeling that his second didn't think this would end well. Which he was most likely right about.

But one did what one must.

Opening the door that led into his bedroom, Bane stepped inside and immediately swept his gaze over the room for signs of threat and to locate his Pet. The room was dark save for the light coming from the bedside lamp his Pet had left on, and it was the sight of the man himself that had Bane coming to a surprised halt.

It was late, so Bane had entertained the idea that his Pet might already be asleep or at least in bed. But he had not been expecting to find the other man on his bed with the single bedsheet wrapped around him from head to toe. Not an inch of Blake showed, the way the sheet was pulled taunt in places making it clear that getting his Pet unwrapped would take effort on his part.


This was not how his Pet slept. Blake tended to wrap himself up in whatever he could find to keep warm, yes. He was weak and got cold easily. But always had he been visible. There. Waiting for him. Now he was closed off. Hidden from him.

Crossing his arms in front of him Bane mentally reviewed the events of the day, searching for something he might have done to cause his Pet to behave this way.

Kei had been hurt, but that had not been Bane's fault and the boy was fine. The man responsible punished, though perhaps not to the degree his bloodthirsty Pet had wanted. But Blake had not complained about that. And after questioning Kei and ordering his Pet to take care of his hands Bane had left this room and hadn't seen the other man for the rest of the afternoon and evening. He'd had things to take care of. Had something happened when his Pet wasn't within his sights? Barsad and the others he'd hired to guard the entrance to his rooms had reported no troubles.

Frowning, Bane studied the rise and fall of the shape before him. It seemed his Pet was asleep and not faking it, but still…

Unsettled and annoyed Bane turned his attention to remove his clothing, stripping down while he tried to come up with some answer to the puzzle he faced.

It couldn't be that the room was unexpectedly cold, Bane reasoned, as it was warmer in here than it had been in the tents at night. And while he…hmm. Perhaps this was his Pet's way of indicating he wasn't interested in doing anything sexual with him? Since their first night together he'd been welcomed, so to speak, but perhaps this was his Pet's way of saying he was too tired for sex?

Or that he was tired of having sex with Bane, period. Oh.

He'd shown weakness earlier. Had let his Pet see him weak. That he wasn't always the strong, powerful alpha he presented to the world. And while his Pet hadn't seemed to judge him for that earlier…perhaps that was no longer the case.

Schooling his features not to reveal how he felt about that, though there was no need since his Pet saw nothing at the moment, Bane slipped into a single-minded focus on what he was doing, allowing no thoughts of his Pet or the coming days enter his mind.

So he felt nothing as he focused on putting away his clothing and footwear, walking naked to the bathroom to go through his usual nightly routine before turning in. And when that was done Bane headed back into the bedroom and sat down on his side of the bed, reaching over to turn off the light before stretching out on the mattress on his back while resolutely ignoring the man beside him.

Closing his eyes Bane waited for sleep to come as he kept his mind blank and quiet.

Right up until a hand suddenly slapped against his arm. Then started feeling around and up his biceps testingly.

And then there was the sound of mumbling and the sheet rustling, the mattress dipping a little as his Pet's slight weight shifted it.

Holding himself still Bane eyes opened as Blake clumsily climbed on top of him, the other man sprawling out on his chest like he had every right to do so with the sheet now haphazardly covering them both. Blake's breath ghosted over Bane's skin as the other man leaned in to nuzzle his face against Bane's chest, staying there for a minute before mumbling intelligible as he squirmed a little, very obviously more asleep than awake.

And then Blake shifted up a little to rest his head on Bane's shoulder, his Pet's face pressing against his throat and inhaling deeply.

A sound of pleasure as Blake snuggled in.

And then words that were hardly more than a happy sigh, but that Bane heard clearly in the quiet of the room.

"My mate."

Chapter Text

Important: I don't watch or read 'GoT'. My knowledge of it is based on my sister and a best friend being serious fans, along with what I've read online or seen on YouTube. But the relationship between the Mother of Dragons and her Kal inspired this fanfic to a degree, so referencing it is my way of acknowledging that. Apologies for any mistakes I might make.

Plans That Backfire

Blake woke feeling warm, centered, and with the scent of his mate deep in his lungs. The perfect way to wake up, really, and he was rather loathed to move. Going back to sleep sounded like the much better plan. And would have if not for the fact that he'd gone to bed hella early the night before, and therefore despite the early hour his brain was wide awake and screaming at him to get his lazy ass out of bed because there were things to do. He was running out of time, Blake's subconscious reminded him, which was why he'd gone to bed early in the first fucking place.

Oh fuck.

Eyes opening and staying open this time around, Blake took a moment to take stock of his present situation with dawning confusion. He was sleeping on Bane's chest, the shirt he'd borrowed from the man's dresser basically around his armpits at this point. How'd that happen? The former, not the latter. Sleep shirts never stayed in place after all. Everyone knew that. And crap, the sheet was definitely not acting as a barrier of any kind.

Double fuck.

Biting down on his bottom lip to insure none of the many, many curse words floating through his mind were actually spoken, Blake slowly lifted his right hand off the gorgeous pectoral muscle it had been safeguarding and instead brought it up and around to slide between his own butt cheeks.

Triple fuck.

Last night while he'd been waiting for Bane to turn in for the night, and had felt a weird, wet, and very uncomfortable sensation south of the border, so to speak. And while he'd been put on Umbra as soon as he'd started to show signs that his omega nature was kicking in one of the signs that had alerted him to tell his social worker he needed the drug ASAP was his ass self-lubricating itself while he made out with Shane Callahan after school one day. So fastforward to last night, when he'd been thinking about all the fun ways he could reward and subtly influence Bane to make Simic suffer that more for hurting poor Simon, and what do you know…self-made lube was a wonderful thing. Though not in this case.

He'd wrapped himself up in the sheet and turned out early since there was no way in hell he was going to risk Bane finding out. At least not until he absolutely had to.

With some success, Blake acknowledged as he retracted his slightly wet but not too slippery fingers. He had no fucking clue how he'd ended up on Bane's chest or without his sheet shield, but it was probably his fault since Bane wasn't the cuddling type. No sex had occurred or been attempted though, since there was no way in hell he would have slept through that even with his super accommodating at the moment ass.

It really was a shame to waste how easily he could take Bane's cock right about now…

Stupid omega half of his brain. It needed an extreme bitch slapping. ASAP.

Actually…if he could get off Bane without getting caught, and the alpha was sleeping deeply and the time was still early enough…now would be a good time to try and break into the infirmary. From what Simon had told him the door wouldn't remotely be a problem. Blake could have gotten past it before he even hit the double digits age wise. He'd already liberated something from the kitchens that would work nicely in that regard. The actual cabinets and such he'd need to jimmy open without leaving behind any signs that he'd been there…well he'd have to hope for the best there. They'd sounded simple enough, but lock picking wasn't one of Simon's skills and the boy didn't know shit about it.

First things first, though. He'd try getting off Bane without waking him, go to the bathroom to empty his bladder as an excuse, and then come back to check on Bane, Blake decided. If he got the sense the man wasn't out he'd just go back to bed or something. And if he was dead to the world he'd risk it.

Carefully, while trying to make it seem natural and with as little jarring as possible, Blake slowly slid off Bane's chest and onto his side of the bed. No reaction. Good.

Sitting up and swinging his legs around Blake got to his feet in one smooth motion, Bane's shirt sliding back down over his body to cover the essentials. He probably looked ridiculous in it, but it covered what needed to be covered for the time being. And smelled like its owner.

Rolling his eyes at himself Blake made his way down the length of the bed, around it, and then headed for the bathroom without making a sound.

Once in there, well some sounds were unavoidable. But at least his bladder wouldn't be a problem, nor would nasty morning breath. Running a hand over his stubble Blake recognized the fact that he needed to shave too, but that wasn't nearly as important as getting his ass in gear. And speaking of his ass.

Prodding between his cheeks again, ugh, he hated the feeling of a wet ass, Blake was considering whether he had time for a quick spit wash when the bathroom door opened behind him.

Meeting Bane's gaze in the mirror, and very much aware of where his fingers were at the moment, Blake dropped his hand away and then turned to face Bane with what he hoped was an innocent enough smile.

"Good morning."

"What are you doing?"

Somehow Blake didn't think Bane would buy the idea he was giving himself a prostrate exam. He wasn't even sure how that worked, actually. They hadn't fucked at all last night so checking himself for tenderness or tearing wasn't going to work, not to mention might result in Bane checking him out for himself…so…

"I…ah…woke up horny and thought I'd let you sleep?" God that sounded lame. Shit.

"I did not give you permission to do so."

Okay. Not the 'how stupid do you think I am' response he'd been expecting. Guess Bane wasn't awake enough to realize how lame that excuse had been. Excellent.

"I need your permission to play with my ass now?" Because if that was the case…yeah, not happening. It was his ass and he'd do what he wanted to it. Not to mention masturbation and such were essential to his mental wellbeing. Now more than ever.

Not answering, and looking oh so edible wearing nothing but that stupid tin can on his face, Bane walked over to stand in front of him, one arm wrapping around Blake's waist to yank him against Bane's chest, the other arm coming around too, but for a different purpose.

"Fuckkkkk." Arching to take the two fingers Bane had just shoved into his ass that much deeper, Blake allowed his eyes to flutter closed so that he could appreciate the sensations that much more. And fuck Bane was just so hard and solid and smelled so fucking good. Mhmmm.

"So open and wet already."

"Complaining, Big Guy?"

The third finger Bane shoved in, probably as a warning about the use of nicknames, didn't really work as a deterrent. Rather it just made Blake that much happier to shift a little so that he could grind his erection against the muscled contours of Bane's thigh. His planned breaking and entering was obviously off for the time being, and getting fucked struck Blake as an excellent consolation prize.

The slap that his comment earned his ass just made Blake moan in encouragement.

Bane's voice was raspier and deeper than usual when he ordered him to turn around and brace his hands on the sink counter. Which made Blake smile knowingly as he nodded in absolute agreement with that plan. He just wished the stupid mask wasn't in place to distort Bane's natural voice.

And as soon as Bane turned him loose Blake was quite happy to lean forward, bracing his arms on the counter while he arched his back to stick his ass up in the air as much as possible.

Looking into the mirror's surface Blake made sure his expression invited Bane to fuck his brains out.

Fuck did Bane ever accept.

As usual there was no hesitation as Bane guided himself in and then fucked in hard and deep, Blake's channel flexing and taking him easily thanks to the hormone boost. And fuck Bane felt so good inside of him. The omega part of his brain craved this like a man dying of thirst in the desert. He needed to be taken. To be claimed. By Bane. His mate.

So of course Bane pulled out of him.

Growling in protest because seriously, he NEEDED this, Blake glared at Bane in the mirror for all he was worth. Not for long though, as the look faded more to confusion at the weird look Bane's reflect was giving him in return. Blake wasn't quite sure what to make of it.

And yeah he was glad when Bane picked him up by his waist and moved him to the side so that he could start fucking him against the bathroom wall, but the whole time Bane was fucking him the alpha held his gaze captive. Stared into his eyes like Bane was trying to see into Blake's soul or something. Like he was looking for something there that had Blake asking what was wrong. But Bane didn't answer. The alpha was so quiet it was unnerving and heightened the fever and rawness of what they were doing. Penetrating him on two levels, and leaving him raw and putty in Bane's hands afterwards.

What the fuck?!


All things considered the League of Shadows and its members had been insulting Blake pretty much from the moment they'd gotten their brainless, asshole hands on him. First they'd assumed that he was nothing more than Wayne's boy toy, making him Bane's pet like they had the right to treat him that way. And of course Bane had followed that up by making fun of him because he liked to sleep on an actual bed and didn't like being cold. Not to mention the whole lot of the fuckers assuming that he was too weak or stupid to get away if he really put his mind to it.

And all those things were pretty bad, yes, but at this moment Blake was pretty sure he'd never been more pissed off at Bane and just the League in general.

All put spitting with fury as every ounce of self-control he had was used to max capacity, Blake stomped through the hallways of Bane's godforsaken compound until he was sure that they were alone before erupting into an angry tirade that Simon had no choice but to listen to since the younger man was stuck with him.

"Those jackasses! Those stupid, insulting…fuckheads!" Not caring about the pain it would cause Blake kicked the wall closest to him as hard as he could. Which not only hurt like fuck, but only served to fuel his fury that much more. "They really think I'm that stupid? Seriously? They should have just told me they were setting a trap for me and then told me they were just fucking kidding me, they were that obvious! I should have grabbed them both by their fucking necks and smashed their smug, stupid faces together!"

"Shouldn't you be ranting somewhere less public?"

"They probably have the rooms bugged." Blake bit out the words, so angry he could spit.

Simon nodded in agreement "Oh. Yeah. That would make sense."

Fighting the urge to pace or try and put his fist through the stone wall, which would make him stupider than Bane and Barsad combined, Blake couldn't believe they'd thought he'd walk into such a stupidly obvious trap. I mean seriously! He'd have had to eaten buckets of lead paint as a child to be that stupid.

"Why do you think they're setting a trap in the first place? Do you think we were overheard yesterday?"

It was hard to say, but if he was asked to lay money on a scenario Blake figured he had the alpha in front of him to thank for the situation they found themselves in. Given how detailed Simon had been about the infirmary and its setup Simon's interest would have had to be noted by anyone in the room at the time. Bane and Barsad had both been around him enough to know it was completely out of character for Simon to pay a great deal of attention to anything that wasn't music related. He'd been hoping it would be put down to Simon wanting to know because of Hitachi, but he was guessing not.

And if the bedroom was bugged…well anyone listening must have had a lot of fun listening to this morning's recordings. Which reminded him…

"That bastard! This is the thanks I get for giving him the best orgasms of his life?! I'm going to…to…shit! Something he's really not going to like as soon as I think of it!" Denying the man sex wasn't technically an option, unfortunately. Or fortunately, since that meant he didn't have to deny himself, since sex was the one thing Bane was good for.


"Dammit. Give me a second."

Pacing was needed as he considered his options, which were pretty much limited to two choices.

No. Who was he kidding? There was only one viable choice to make.

"I'll have to ask him for the ingredients." Swiping a hand through his hair, Blake struggled to regulate his breathing to calm himself down. "I'll tell him that it's a homeopathic…remedy that I take for a hormone disorder. It's not exactly a lie, and if he has a working understanding of the chemicals and such, or asks the doctor, it will ring true. Heck, what I'll be making might not be obvious without me giving him the exact amounts of each, and I'll ask him for at least double what I need just to be on the safe side."

"And if he presses?"

"Then…I'll make sure Barsad is there. He can be the voice of fucking reason if Bane's alpha brain keeps him from realizing why it's imperative that I get the drug in my system as soon as possible."

"Do you want me to just ask Barsad to get you the stuff without telling Bane? He's not stupid, like you said. And I can back you up, about you needing it."

"No point. He's blood loyal to Bane. He'd never keep a secret from Bane. Especially something like this. And even if he was willing, I need him alive to take care of you if I end up dead because Bane won't give me what I need."

Simon's brows wrinkled. "You really think you'll end up dead?"

"Once Bane's men are done with me? Hell yes."

A building full of testosterone driven alphas, many of them celibate or nearly that due to circumstances, suddenly finding themselves in the vicinity of an unclaimed omega in heat…yeah. Zero chance he'd survive that. Or particularly want to, after they were done with him.

Reaching over in a rare show of affection, Simon gave Blake's shoulder a squeeze. "We'll figure something out…Khaleesi."

Laughing as he was meant to, and thinking that this would be so much easier if he had three fire breathing dragons on his side, Blake reached over to give Simon's shoulder a squeeze in turn. "Thanks. And with you on my side as…huh...who would you be?"

"Well I don't love you that way, so I can't be Jorah."

"True. The translator chick? Missandei?"

Simon took a moment to probably search his mental databases for who that was, since it wasn't like there wasn't a shit ton of characters in that series from what Blake knew of it. He'd never been a fan or anything himself, but some of the kids at St. Swiftins were, and he read the paper and clicked on interesting looking YouTube clips once in a while. Simon had at least read the books.

"That works."

"Glad we got that figured out." It was something to think about besides his desire to maim certain idiots at the moment. "Now we just have to figure out how to get my personal Kal Drogo to do what I want him to for once."

"Sex. Sex would probably work best."

That called for more laughing, which was something Blake really needed and made affection for Simon well up in his chest. "Well I gave him plenty of that this morning, so here's hoping that weighs in on our side. And that…I guess Barsad would be Grey Worm…sorta. Mostly because I don't know any of the Dothraki, really. So I'll have to think on that one. But anyway, let's hope he ends up on our side if things go to hell in a handbasket."

Simon nodded, a thoughtful look on his face now.

"You know…I just realized something. Talia and Cersei…"

"Shit. Yeah. God. We really are living 'Game of Thrones' at the moment, aren't we? I can totally see her dad as a Lannister, too."

"At least Talia doesn't have any brothers."

All set to agree Blake groaned as he realized that the closest thing Talia had to a brother she liked was Bane. And the only brother Cersei had liked…ugh. Nauseating thought, that.

"Damn. Let's just go find Barsad. Fuck with letting this drag on any more than it has already."

Resigned to their fates the two of them headed off to find the beta in question, Simon humming the 'Game of Thrones' opening theme song.

Chapter Text

The Truth Comes Out

"Game of Thrones refers to a fantasy book series that also resulted in a television show." Barsad informed Bane from his place at Bane's side, his second's face revealing nothing of his thoughts. "I looked into it after the cop told Kei to start calling him Khaleesi. The man they compared you to was a great warrior among his people who was undefeated in battle and the leader of a nomadic group called the Dothraki. His wife was given to him against her will by her brother, becoming his Khaleesi. It was insinuated to me that your Pet used this parallel to tell Kei he was fine, as over time the Khaleesi won her husband over and was also happy with him."

Bane supposed he should appreciate the fact that he hadn't been casted as a character who was a 'bastard, jackass, fuckhead' among other things. Unfortunately at the moment his brain didn't know what to focus on. The mysterious drug his Pet apparently needed to survive here? The fact that somehow Blake had effortlessly figured out Bane was laying a trap for them? And how had he done that so easily, exactly? There was also the question of whether or not he needed to investigate this book series more and punish his Pet for the comparisons depending on what he found there. His Pet as his wife. As his…mate. The name his Pet had whispered to him in the night. Or had he? Had it all been a ruse? Had he been wrong to think Blake had been talking in his sleep? Or perhaps the words had been intended for another of his Pet's previous lovers.

Where to start?

Grateful for the mask that hid his face and therefore his inner turmoil, Bane's gaze cautiously shifted over in Barsad's direction to find the man consulting something on his phone. It wasn't hard to guess what that might be. "Looking up Grey Worm?"

"Yes." There was something in Barsad's tone that suggested that while he wasn't angered about being assigned that character, something about it irked his second.

Remembering another comparison, Bane asked if he needed to punish his Pet for comparing Talia to this other woman, Cersei.

"I would say from what research I've done there are a few…personal choices made by Cersei that Talia would never make, but overall I think that she would not be adverse to their personalities being said to be similar."

One less thing to deal with, at least. "And your opinion when it comes to the failure of the trap?"

"His origin of birth and profession too often blind you where he's concerned." There was no hesitation in Barsad's matter-of-fact statement, the beta holding his gaze without flinching. "You stereotype him because of both while ignoring all the evidence to the contrary. I've read his police record, Bane. Even the superiors who didn't like him acknowledged his intelligence, tenacity, and dedication to the job. And on top of that training he also grew up on the worst streets Gotham has to offer and survived both physically and morally intact. One does not accomplish that without a great deal of personal strength and cunning."

Barsad paused then, probable to put emphasis on his final statement. "You dangled a carrot in his face and expected him not to see it for what it was. Put yourself in his place and tell me you would not have seen it for the trap it was."

Bane didn't even have to think about it. Of course he would have seen it for the trap it was. Which meant that when it came to his Pet he was being an even bigger fool than he'd original thought.

"You have copies of all his data?" He hadn't bothered to look at himself, assuming that if there was something in those files he needed to know Barsad would tell him. He'd been so focused on learning Blake for himself, so sure that he could see through all the man's masks…which had been a mistake. And not one he'd make again where his Pet was concerned.

"Of course. I'll send them to you immediately."

He hated to ask his next question, but Bane figured it best to take all the hits at once. "You believe he's manipulated me since he was given to me. Hiding his true nature?"

"To a degree. In his situation who could blame him for the attempt? But I also think you've gotten under his skin almost as much as he's gotten under yours."

Bane snorted in spite of himself. "Almost."

"You are both what the other would want in a mate if not for the diverging philosophies you have about the world and what needs to be done in order to save mankind from itself."

Shaking his head, Bane decided to move on to the next question. Which was what Barsad thought about this drug Blake apparently needed.

"He sounded genuine, when he stated that he'd end up dead if he didn't get it."

"Addicts usually think their lives are over when they aren't getting their drug of choice."

"He'd be showing more overt signs of withdrawal if he had a serious addiction to anything." Barsad countered. "You know that. No needle marks, mood swings, sensitivity or muscle spasms. There was also nothing in his police record to suggest he was ever suspected of having a drug problem. And they have mandatory testing as well, which he always passed without incident. No hint of drug use in his juvie record either. He said it wasn't exactly a lie, that it was a homeopathic remedy for a hormone disorder."

"He was going to steal rather than attempt to ask me for what he needed." That alone condemned the beta in Bane's eyes.

"If any of the ingredients could be used to cause harm you wouldn't have given them to him even if he had asked."


"He is coming to us. Or so he said. Better to seek him so that we can find out what he wants. If death is the only alternative he won't lie or evade once we make it clear he must come clean."

His Pet had a highly developed self-preservation instinct so Bane didn't disagree with that. Instead he motioned for Barsad to follow him as they left the otherwise empty room they'd duck into so that there would be no distractions when his Pet and Kei started talking about this plans regarding his attempt to trap them.

As they started walking down the hallway in the direction the other two men had gone after lunch Bane noted that Barsad had pulled out his phone again and appeared to be scrolling through something with a barely noticeable frown on his face.

"Who is your character in this series they speak of?"

"He's the commander of an army known as The Unsullied. 'The warrior-eunuchs of Astapor whose reputation for combat is without equal'." Barsad added in a tone that suggested he was quoting from the site he was reading from.

"Eunuchs?" Bane repeated, knowing that that was most likely what had perturbed his second. Especially as the boy currently conspiring with Bane's Pet was causing Barsad as many moments of trouble as his own Pet was giving him.

"Apparently they are all males taken as slaves. Up to the age of five they are chosen and then castrated because their masters believed that to do so would eliminate their bloodlust and sexual urges on the battlefield. Make them less emotional and easier to control."

"They did not kill their masters for this offense?"

"Apparently not."

Bane didn't understand that.

The look Barsad gave him suggested his second felt the same.

And in synch the two walked in companionable silence as they went looking for the two men looking for them.


His Pet didn't look furious when he came into sight. It would seem that his earlier tantrum had calmed Bane's Pet to some degree or the cop was merely demonstrating the cunning and strategic nature he hadn't given the man credit for previously. Though it didn't appear that his Pet intended to use his wiles or sex to get what he wanted currently. No, the look in the beta's eyes suggested that he was a man on his mission. And he'd complete said mission come hell or high water. Possibly regardless of the cost.

Kei, meanwhile, seemed oblivious to the tension now in the hallway. No surprise.

"Hello again. We were on our way to find you." Blake's expression was cool, as was his tone. "I keep forgetting to give you this list of chemicals I need for a homeopathic medication I'm on due to a hormone imbalance I've had problems with since puberty. My last dose is starting to wear off, as you saw from my somewhat extreme behavior yesterday, so it would be a really good idea to get me what I need as soon as possible. I know how to make it on my own and if you're worried it's not what I say it is, or don't trust me with something, I'm fine with being watched while making it and will even prepare a dose for both Kei and I, which he's willing to take to prove that I'm not trying to kill myself with it."

As arguments went Bane acknowledged that his Pet had thought this through. He might have almost believed it. Or at least he hoped he hadn't been so naïve that he'd have bought that previously.

"You have a list?"

Nodding his head Blake pulled a piece of paper from his pocket and offered it to Bane's second, who took it and immediately started reading over the list.

Turning his head and looking down Bane did the same.

He recognized some of the ingredients listed, but not all of them. At least not by the name Blake had written. And those he recognized weren't, to the best of his knowledge, likely to cause death if someone were to ingest them. At least not in the amounts his Pet was requesting.

And then Barsad made a sound, one that had Bane looking up to see that Barsad wasn't still reading the list anymore. No. He was staring at Blake in horror, his skin visibly paler.


But Barsad didn't so much as glance at him. All his intention was focused on his fellow beta.


Bane's Pet went very still for a moment, and then nodded.

Umbra? Umbra was Latin for shadow. It also referred to the innermost and darkest part of a shadow, where the light source is completely blocked by the occluding body. What did a shadow have to do with any of this?

"We have three fourths of what you need. I can get the rest in the next twenty four hours at the most."

Bane's head whipped around to stare down at Barsad in disbelief. "You think to give it to him without my permission?" He'd be angry, but Bane was more stunned than anything else. Barsad had never overstepped his bounds like this before.

"My apologies. But he needs this as soon as possible. It's imperative."


Barsad looked at him. Looked at Blake. And then met Bane's gaze squarely.

"Umbra's a street drug. It hasn't made its way out of North America for the most part which is why you probably haven't heard of it. It's a drug taken by omegas that allow them to pass for betas. He needs it because if he doesn't get it he will not only present as an omega, but also go into heat as soon as his last dose is out of his system. A result of his body's urges being suppressed for so long. And in this case he would go into heat as an unclaimed omega in a compound filled with unclaimed alphas. When he said people would end up dead if he doesn't get this he was speaking the truth."

White noise buzzing in his ears, Bane looked at his Pet. Just looked at him. And remembered.

He remembered Talia's mother. The closest thing he'd ever had to a mother. Remembered the way their fellow inmates in The Pit had thrown themselves against the bars trying to get closer to her, especially the closer she came to one of her heats before the put her into isolation. The words they'd hurled at her like weapons, the atrocities they'd threatened to unleash upon her if they ever got their hands on her. What they had done to her when they'd gotten into their cell. What had been left of her afterwards.

But more than that he remembered the promises she'd extracted him when he'd presented as an alpha. Promises about the sort of alpha he'd be. How he was supposed to treat omegas and protect them from those who would harm them. And he'd…how could he ever face her given what he'd done, however unknowingly? How was he going to tell Talia what she'd accidentally done when she'd given Blake to him? How could they live with what they'd done to dishonor her mother's wishes? He-

The feel of fingers slipping between the straps of his mask and his skin and pulling got Bane's attention with a start, Bane coming back to find himself gasping for air and looking into Blake's eyes.

"Figured that would snap you out of it. Breathe. Just breathe, Bane."

He'd stopped breathing?

Staring into his Pet's eyes, Blake's hands having shifted to just cupping his cheeks while-while Barsad kept a firm, strong grip on one of his arms while Kei had his other. He told them to let go of him automatically, but not Blake. He didn't want those hands to leave him.


"An omega. Yes. Technically. Not for much longer given how long I've been on the drug but-Bane, I need you to give Barsad permission to get me what I need. You have to see-it's not just about the heat thing. You could isolate me, as inhumane as that would be for everyone, but, Bane…think about what this would mean long term. If I revert back then it wouldn't just be the heats you'd have to worry about. What about when I get pregnant, huh? I mean the years of taking Umbra might have done enough damage that getting pregnant won't be as easy as it would have been, but research shows that as long as we don't reach the point of no return we can still get pregnant once the drug's out of our systems. And ANY children I have would be born Pets according to the rules here. That means our children would be born SLAVES. As PROPERTY. Could be sold and abused and yeah, I know you wouldn't let that happen but what if you aren't around to stop it? What if it's what Talia or her father wants? Think about that."

Bane was thinking about it. And the conclusions he was coming to wiped all other thoughts from his mind.

Children. Their children. He could have children.

Bane had learned very early in life not to want anything. There were things he needed like food, water and air, yes, and those needs he controlled as much as he could. But things he wanted…he didn't let himself want things for himself. He had goals and plans, yes, but the majority of them weren't for his personal benefit. His lord and Talia's wants were his in the sense that he would do whatever he could to achieve them, but it wasn't the same. He would say his happiness didn't depend on their success, even if happiness was never meant for him. A few moments of it at most seemed to be his allotted amount.

But if he'd allowed himself to want one thing, to just have one thing that he wanted for himself to come true…he would want a family. A family that was his and his alone. Talia's mother had cared for him, but she hadn't been his true mother. Talia…Talia was her father's daughter first and because of that she would always side with him even against Bane. Had allowed Bane to be sent away from her side for a time without a word of protest. His biological parents had never been a part of his life. His own father had damned him to the living hell of The Pit in his place.

He was of The Pit, and therefore had never been fit to have a mate. Not an omega one. And while adoption was a possibility he'd considered Bane wanted, on a primitive, elemental level, for children that came from him. That were his flesh and blood. Who were his in every way and therefore could never be taken away from him.

And now here was his Pet telling him that he could give him that. That he would give him those children if he wasn't allowed to have this Umbra drug.


"We are so fucking screwed, aren't we?" Blake asked Barsad, who shared a look with the omega that spoke grim volumes. They both knew, in their bones, what Bane was going to say when he stopped slipping into shock over the things he was learning about his Pet. Both had been around alphas all their lives and knew an alpha with breeding on his mind when they saw one. Bane was going to knock the cop up as soon as humanly possible and neither of them stood a chance in hell of talking him out of it.

"There's a small outpost near here that the two of you can stay in during your heat. It's isolated enough that no one should bother you and I'll arrange for a security detail made up of betas to remain in the area since Bane won't be up to protecting you both."

"He better be up." Was Blake's pissed off response to that, though he kept his hands on Bane's cheeks to center the alpha. Already acting as an omega would with his mate.

"What do you mean?"

"He better be up because if he makes me turn omega, I'm so using my heat to fucking ruin him for life."

Chapter Text

The Situation We're In

The fact that Barsad's expression suggested the beta thought Blake was perfectly capable of carrying out his threat made Blake feel a little better. But not by much since he was still fucked. What the hell was he supposed to do now? How was he going to get through to Bane? What was he going to do if he did end up pregnant? Would it be kinder to find a way to abort the child rather than doom it to the life of a Pet? Could he do that? He was pro-choice because no one had the right to tell you what to do with your own body but for himself…and would it even be necessary? Bane would take care of them, he knew that. Bane's devotion to his little psychopath made that clear. So as long as Bane was alive-but then there was Talia, duh. She'd kill them before she'd risk any child of Bane's taking her place in his heart. Right? Blake was pretty sure he was right.

And fuck, forget that for a moment. What he should really be worried about right now was being an unclaimed omega in this fucking place. And what would happen if he wasn't allowed to leave during his heats. Because the other alphas that called this place home would come after him, Bane or no Bane. Bane might think that their fear and respect for him would keep them in line but Blake knew better. Had seen what happened when alphas went into heat. How very stupid and basic they could be. And how much stupider they got when there was an omega in heat in the mix.

And speaking of stupid alphas, his was giving him a look that would have been sexy as hell if Blake wasn't pretty sure the man was imagining him pregnant. He got that that was a turn on for alphas, imagining the omegas around them pregnant by them as proof of their virility, but in this case Bane needed to get a clue. A big one. Because if he thought Blake was hard to manage and understand now he had-oh.

God he was an idiot sometimes.

"Bane? You with me for a minute?" Blake stroked what skin there was to touch in the hopes of securing the idiot's full attention.

And after a couple heartbeats Bane did seem to be giving him his full attention.

"You know how manipulative I've been? How much I've messed with your life already? Well if you think I'm a problem now you have NO fucking CLUE how much worse it's going to get if I turn into an omega again. I will not only ruin your life, I will fuck with the lives of EVERY unmated alpha here. Or you could let me stay as a beta, still get the awesome sex, BUT I will be so much easier to live with. Hell, right now over half of my manipulative powers are probably due to my meds wearing off. "

Staring into Bane's eyes, Blake had a bad feeling that Bane was smirking or at least smiling at him from behind his mask.

"Boy, you can go. I will send someone to get you if you're needed to watch him for me. Barsad, if I am needed I will be in my room with my omega. He and I have much to discuss it seems."

Oh joy. From Pet to omega. How he loved being referred to as a thing instead of a person.

"I'll be in my room with Father if you need to find me." Simon offered.

Bane didn't care where Simon was going to be though, and Blake just barely contained his instinctive sound of approval when Bane's hand was suddenly gripping the back of his neck in a possessive grip meant to convey ownership.

"Our rooms. Now."

Shooting Simon a look of goodbye Blake fell into line and allowed himself to be steered in the direction of their rooms without protest. At least the walk gave him time to try and come up with a new line of attack since he was currently getting the silent treatment. Or more likely Bane was doing some plotting and planning of his own. Which was just great. Not.

The problem was he'd already laid out his best arguments for allowing him to stay on Umbra and Bane had dismissed them. Or at least ignored them in favor of imagining all the fun he'd have knocking him up in the future. Blake was pretty sure that Barsad would have more luck arguing with Bane if given the chance, but he couldn't count on Bane not shooting his second down every time Barsad tried to make him realize that Bane's head was so far up his ass that it was a wonder the idiot didn't choke on himself every time he tried to talk.

Okay. Time to think about worst case scenario. Short term anyway.

So if he was allowed to revert back to an omega he would go into heat. Barsad had stated that he'd arrange for his removal from the compound so that he wouldn't drive the other alphas in the place nuts. There was every reason to believe that Bane would support that idea at least. So he went into heat and Bane spent at least a day fucking that out of him. Then he'd be back at the compound and the alphas would be interested in fucking him but would, unless they were in heat, be smart enough to know that putting hands on him would end with them being very dead. Blake prided himself on how amazing he was in the sack but not even sex with him was worth dying for. So he'd stay away from Bane's men as much as possible and never go out alone. Not that Simon would be much of a deterrent, dammit.

Presuming that he stayed alive his next obvious immediate worry was getting knocked up. Something that he was like ninety percent sure couldn't happen during this coming heat even though that was generally when omegas were most fertile. He'd fucked with his own system too much for there not to be consequences at this point. His chances of getting pregnant had to be a lot lower than most male omegas. Hell, he could be infertile even if he did become an omega again.

Ah. Excellent. Another point to bring up with Bane. He'd ask to be examined by a doctor to determine whether or not he could even have children this late in the Umbra exposed game. If he couldn't then there was no reason for Bane to find the idea of him as an omega attractive. And even if he could get knocked up…well it was better to know one way or another.

Ugh. How was this even his fucking life?

"How the fuck do I even get myself into these situations." Blake muttered to himself, too pissed off at the world in general to care who might be listening. "How is this now my life? A little over a week ago my life was-well better than being a fucking Pet, that's for sure. I had the job I wanted, a decent social life, and enough money in the bank to keep a fucking roof over my head and food in my belly. And okay maybe I wasn't getting laid as often as I am now, but other than that it was the bomb compared to this. I would fucking kill a man for a Coke and some pizza right now."

Even through his tin can Bane's tone was amused as he stated that no, he wouldn't.

"Don't contradict me. You don't know me. You know 'almost a fucking omega' me. This is not me. I am so much more badass than this. I am Barsad level badassness on a good beta day for your fucking information. The last dose I took had much have been fucking defective. It shouldn't wear off this quickly." Blake scowled up at Bane and then growled. "That and you. You just had to be fucking you, didn't you?"

Bane's eyes communicated that he had no idea what Blake meant.

"You. All of this." Blake gestured at Bane from head to toe for emphasis. "If you weren't the epitaph of alpha hotness my hormones wouldn't be nearly this bad. I probably would have figured out a hundred ways to get out of this mess already if my stupid omega brain wasn't so busy screaming 'Take me, I'm yours' and 'I want to have you babies'. Which I don't. Dammit! I don't! No babies! Argh! Stupid fucking hormones!"

The sound Bane made behind his mask had Blake demanding to know if he'd just LAUGHED at him.

"Your behavior amuses me."

"Oh, well, of course I am. See who's laughing when your men slaughter you when they find out you're the only thing standing between them and my fine ass. My last words to you will be that I fucking told you so."

"You have a high opinion of your appeal."

Blake snorted. "Please. I've been making alphas pant after me like they're the omegas in heat while I presented as a BETA. I will be fucking irresistible as an omega."

"And you will be mine."

"Until you die." Blake showed all his teeth in a feral smile. "Which might happen sooner than you think."

The squeeze Bane gave his neck was probably meant as a warning, but it felt good so Blake just kept smiling in what he hoped was a seriously unnerving way. Or at least that's what he was going for.



"Just to confirm, I am right to assume that there are only two other people besides you who could talk him into getting Blake back on Umbra, yes? And that those two other people would be your broken leader and his psychopathic daughter, which means there's no chance in hell that this situation can be made better instead of worse?" Kei's tone was matter of fact as he looked at Barsad like the world as they knew it hadn't just imploded in their faces.

"Yes. And watch how you speak of the al Ghuls."

"Why? I'm going to die even sooner than I thought. My father might even outlive me depending on whether or not Bane allows you to remove the two of them from the compound while John's in heat."

It was hard to argue with that, but still Barsad stated that how he died was still undecided.

"Well it's not going to be a nice death regardless. Either I'll be torn apart by hormonal idiots who can't keep it in their pants or al Ghul will hand me over to his daughter to punish and then kill. I'd rather be torn apart if you have any control over the method of my death."

"You'd rather be torn apart?" Barsad repeated, though in all honesty he'd rather die in battle than at Talia's hand as well.

"She might rape me first, since she has that mentality. I've never been raped, but I knew kids who were. And I've been beaten pretty badly, so between the two I know which is worse."

Barsad wasn't sure what expression he was wearing, but whatever it was had Kei elaborating.

"Rape is about power. About taking something against the will of another and using that to pleasure yourself while hurting your victim. She has sex with League members because it gives her power over them all the time. It makes them easier to manipulate and control. Some sleep with her because it better than being on her bad side which is a sort of rape, isn't it? She'll make me pay for telling her no once my father's dead if she can. I'd rather be dead though. She's ugly."

He preferred men, but he knew Talia was very attractive. But that wasn't the ugliness Kei was talking about. And the boy wasn't wrong either.

"I'll do my best to keep you out of her hands."

"Thank you."

A short pause.

"I'm going to return to my rooms now. If you come up with a way to keep us all alive that requires my assistance in some way let me know. I'll consider it."

Barsad knew that he should let the boy leave and turn his attention to trying to figure out how to get through this latest fuck up with as little bloodshed as possible, but he really didn't want to. They were fucked and all probably going to die before this was settled like Blake and Kei thought. So best to enjoy life while he was alive to live it.

And settle his own curiosity by asking how long Kei had known what Blake actually was.

"We shared a room. Of course I figured out right away what he was. It was obvious. I'm not THAT much of a failure as an alpha."

Considering Blake had fooled ever other alpha in the compound that wasn't exactly fair in Barsad's opinion. Even though he was feeling like a dumbass for not realizing what his gut had been trying to tell him for days now.

"You don't think I'm smart enough to have figured it out."

"I didn't say that."

"No. But a lot of people think I'm stupid."

Barsad made sure to hold Kei's gaze as he stated that he didn't think that Kei was stupid.

"That's too bad."

He was never going to understand this man. "Why is that too bad?"

Kei's bright, almost impish smile was as shocking as his earlier statement.

"I get away with more when people think I'm stupid."

Barsad had no choice but to laugh at that.


When Bane let go of his neck Blake actually missed it, which was just more proof to his way of thinking of how fucked up his thinking was. Which was why he was tempted to balk when Bane opened the door to their rooms and gestured for him to step in ahead of him. A stupid idea, which was why he did as bided rather than be picked up and carried into the room, but Blake hated even the idea of someone looking at him and seeing an omega. Or an omega stereotype he should say. He wasn't ashamed of his birth designation after all. He just hated what his designation had been reduced to. How they were looked down upon by everyone just because of their biology. How no one seemed to think they were capable of doing anything but breed and raise children. Too emotional. Too hormonal and prone to weakness both mentally and physically.

And fuck anyone who thought that sincerely. Let an alpha go through hours of labor and see who the sissy was.

Whirling around once he was inside the room Blake set his feet and prepared to tear Bane to verbal shreds the moment anything like that crossed the alpha's lips.

But Bane just stood there, staring at him.

Had he gone into shock again?

Maybe he should poke him.

Taking a step forward with that intention, both out of concern and because he felt like poking the idiot for denying him his drugs, Blake didn't take another step as it was his turn to go still with shock. Because Bane's arms were moving and the man was…taking off his mask?


But Bane didn't answer him, the alpha removing his mask and then tossing it in the direction of the bed. And he hit his mark, Blake noted as he twisted around to see it land in the middle of the spread. That was sorta impressive. Not that he couldn't do the same, he could, but it wasn't like baseball was something Bane had likely ever played in his life. Though if he had Blake was pretty sure that-

Instinct had him twisting back around to face Bane, sensing the alpha's sudden closeness as Bane stepped into his personal space in a big way. They were almost chest to chest and Bane's face was uncovered and he obviously wasn't hurt so what the fuck?

Confusion and the knowledge that fighting the man's grip wouldn't end well for him kept Blake still as Bane's hands came up to grab his hips. And then he was being yanked against Bane's chest and lifted up a little as Bane buried his face against Blake's throat.

Oh. Alphas.

Rolling his eyes as he was scented, Blake stared at the wall visible over Bane's shoulder. He had no idea what his scent was telling Bane, it wasn't like he sniffed himself regularly, but the happy growl sounds Bane was making in the back of his throat suggested that Bane liked what he was smelling. So the Umbra wasn't doing its job there either, suggesting there wasn't more than traces of it left in his system at this point. Though at least he wasn't giving off heat scents yet.

If he was all the alphas in the compound would have noticed and come sniffing for him.

"You really aren't going to listen to reason about this, are you?"

Lifting his head Bane allowed Blake to stand on his own two feet again, though he kept a tight, almost bruising grip on Blake's hips to keep him right where he was. Pressed up against Bane's chest with absolutely no chance of getting free until Bane was good and ready to turn him loose.

"You are an omega. I will not allow you to corrupt your body any longer."

"Dude. I will corrupt the fuck out of both our bodies if I turn omega."

Bane responded with a dark look that was more sexy than anything else given that Bane's mask wasn't in the way to hide his mouth.

"No swearing."

"Yeah…that's like asking me not to breathe. Especially when you're about to do something this stupid. Bane. We are going to end up dead if you do this. And not good deaths either. And if there's a life after this, I will dedicate myself to making you fucking miserable for all eternity."

Bane didn't look worried.


Chapter Text

Only Fools Rush In

Despite the looks his omega was giving him Bane was no fool. At the moment he might feel like one for not realizing sooner what his Pet actually was, but no one else had realized it either. This Umbra substance was powerfully effective and did its job far too well. He would begin to research it in earnest as soon as the chance arose so that he knew more about what it had done to his omega and how to make sure the ingredients required to make it never fell into Blake's hands again.

He had an omega and intended to keep him that way.

"God. This is worse than when you're cum dumb. Seriously."

"When I'm what?" Had he heard him wrong?

A dark scowl. "Oh sure, NOW you're listening to me. And cum dumb is when an orgasm is so good it scrambles your brains and makes you stupid for a bit. Only in this case you're just being alpha dumb."

Good mood or not Bane reminded Blake to show him proper respect.

"No. And if you think that I'm going to be more respectful or better behaved or obedient, well then that tin can on your face is cutting off the circulation AND air to your brain." His Pet actually dared to drill one finger into Bane's chest to emphasis his point. "Give me my drugs or I will become the brattiest, most troublemaking pain in the ass you've ever met!"

"That is your drug addiction talking."

Blake's jaw dropped. "I am not a drug addict! Fuck that! I'm a cop!"

His Pet was in denial. That was to be expected.

"I am not an addict! Umbra is NOT addictive and I take it because my life is better as a beta than as an omega. I don't get high off it, I don't go into withdrawal without it, and it's no different than someone taking medication for a heart condition or bad blood pressure."

"You're not acting rational now that you're in withdrawal from it."

"This is not withdrawal! This is me being genuinely, really fucking pissed at you. And I'm a hormonal mess because I'm basically an omega now and about to go into my first heat after over a decade of supressing it. At this point you're lucky I'm this fucking together."

His omega really was beautiful when he was all riled up. Dark eyes flashing with spirit and fire, color burning over his cheekbones. Bane had every intention of enjoying this view for decades to come.

"Bane, if you don't…" Trailing off Blake closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and then opened them with renewed control and determination. "Let's try this again. Breaking it down into smaller pieces so that hopefully you will realize what Barsad and I are trying to tell you before you get us all killed.È Another deep breath. ÈSo first of all…Bane, what is going to happen when your men realize that there is an unclaimed omega in this place? Especially when they or I am in heat. Hmm?"

Pleased that the other man was at least trying to be rational, Bane was happy to do the same and reassure the omega that he had no reason to fear for his personal safety. "You will not be unclaimed; therefore they will not touch you. Only I will have that right."

"Not unclaimed? How do you-no. Oh fuck no. Bane. Are you thinking that we're going to mate? Officially? Get…married?"

The bug eyed, slack jawed look he was getting from his pale omega would have irked him if Bane wasn't well aware of why the idea would be so foreign to his Pet. Blake had grown up in a harsh, immoral environment that had been so hostile to his survival that his omega had been forced to corrupt his body and nature in order to survive it, soul intact. Had lived all his life surrounded by a culture where he'd been brainwashed to accept the unacceptable while being used and discarded by the alphas before he'd become Bane's. And he himself was guilty of not treating Blake as he should have; unaware of the truth of what he was until now. But that was over and he had every intention of treating the other man as he should have been from birth. He would honor, protect, and provide for his omega, making sure that no harm ever came to him.

And he needed to start behaving as an alpha should.

"I will court you and then I will make you my husband and mate. As is proper."

A choking sound was not the response Bane had been looking for. So he remained quiet as he waited for a proper one.

" can't be serious. Bane…"

It was quite a struggle, it seemed, for his Pet to properly express himself. No. Not Pet, Bane mentally corrected himself sternly. He needed to stop thinking of him that way. He was his omega. His…John? The name really didn't suit him. Perhaps he would go with Blake, which seemed to be the man's preferred way to be addressed anyway.

"I realize that I am your Pet. And I realize that in this country I have no rights and you basically own me. And I even get that you could force me to marry you-"

"I will not force you. I will court you. You said that we should think of our predicament like being in an arranged marriage. I intend to make you see the benefits to agreeing to a true marriage with me."

"And you think that by the time you're done courting me I'll be able to overlook the fact that your adopted family is insane and wants to kill me, on top of the fact that you and I have NOTHING in common aside from-okay, so we have some things in common, but our world views are radically different. And eventually Bruce will come and get me once he knows I'm here with you."

"What do you mean, once he knows you're here?"

"Bane. Do you really think I'd still be here if he knew? He doesn't know. Talia is about a good a plotter as…Elmer Fudd, for Christ sakes, when it has to do with Bruce. She doesn't think, period. If she'd bothered to check her facts she'd have known that not only am I not now, nor was I ever his lover, but that he's not even in the friggin United States right now. He's gone into these depressions since Rachel's death and this time he decided to visit this temple he visited before he met al Ghul and became his apprentice. He couldn't even tell me where it was because he took a vow of silence about it. He left like two weeks before she took me and neither he nor Alfred will be expecting a message from me because I was due for an undercover mission expected to last a couple months at the very least. Why do you think I've been so resigned to the fact that I'm stuck here for the time being? He said he'd be gone at least that long!"

He had no idea who Elmer Fudd was, but Bane was guessing he was someone very stupid. Blake's tone made that clear. And while Bane had also made it clear he expected Blake to be respectful of her it was hard to argue with the other man's assertion that Talia was not acting or thinking at all rationally where Wayne was concerned. He would need to speak with her about it when next they spoke.

But back to the matter at hand. "I am the stronger, better alpha. He will not take you from me."

"Yeah, he will. Friends don't leave friends in situations like this. And I'd rather he not have to kill you for both your sakes."

"It is I who will kill him. He will not take you from me, and you will wish to stay."

"Do you really think I'd want to stay with you if you killed my friend?"

Considering that Bane had to admit that no, given how loyal his omega was Blake would most certainly want nothing to do with him if he were to kill Wayne himself. So he would have to give someone else that pleasure instead. Which was irksome, since he would have liked to have proven once and for all that he was the better man, but really his lord or Talia would wish to claim the honor of killing the man anyway. "I will not kill him then. Though I will maim him if necessary."

Rather than look grateful Blake's eyes were narrowed with suspicion. "You're planning to use my coming heat against me, aren't you? That's why you're so confident you can win me over and I'll accept your marriage proposal. That's it, isn't it?"

"No." Bane didn't mean to snarl out his answer, but he would not shrug off such an insult easily. Especially when something he wanted so badly was in his grasp for the first time in his lifetime. "I would not be so dishonorable. I will see you through your heat with your permission. If you do not wish my company during that time I will see you safe elsewhere. I will court you once you are thinking rationally."

A long, drawn out silence.

"Fuck. You're serious."


"I need to sit down. Which I can't do until you let me go."

But he didn't want to let him go.


A moment to consider and then Bane picked his omega up by his hips, Blake hands immediately coming out to grab ahold of Bane's shoulder to steady himself as Bane carried him the short distance to their bed. Then he sat down and manhandled Blake until he was sitting sideways on Bane's lap, leaning against his chest for stability. Bane kept one arm around his omega's waist to keep him there, while the other came up to stroke a hand over the man's hair since he knew how much his omega liked to be stroked and petted. And needed to be gentled, in this case, since Bane knew the man well enough by now to know what a threat Blake could be when riled.

Giving him an unimpressed look Blake huffed out a sound of displeasure. Even as he leaned in instinctively towards the hand stroking through his hair.

"Al Ghul won't let you marry me. Much less Talia."

"Both will recognize the fact that it is the honorable thing to do. You just said that they are wrong about your relationship with Wayne. Amends must be made."

"Since when has either of them shown even the slightest interest in making amends for the innocents they've hurt because of their personal agendas? As long as they hurt Wayne and destroy Gotham they don't give a fuck about anything else." Was Blake's nasty resort to that before he lowered his head to stare at his hands as he muttered to himself. "Idiots couldn't plot their way out of a fucking paper bag. Fucking kidnapped me because of that stupid, fucking nickname Wayne gave me because he knows I hate my first name. And now this, Jesus Christ."

Watching as Blake swiped a hand through his hair in agitation, Bane frowned as he asked what the other man meant by that. His assumption that the endearment was because of the tattooed wings on his omega's arms was wrong? What did Little Bird have to do with the name John?

The look that flashed across Blake's face…

"Shit. Dammit." This time Blake's fingers insured that tuffs of his hair stood straight up from his head. "This is not my fucking day. Or week. Or fucking month, really." Some mumbling under his breath followed, then a mutter just loud and articulate enough for Bane to catch. "John's my middle name. My first is Robin."

"Robin." Bane repeated, testing it out.

A small, bright bird who was often seen as a herald of spring. A name that also brought to mind the character of Robin Hood, a man who robbed from the rich to feed the poor. Both suited his omega, Bane decided. Much more than plain John.

"Shit. You're going to start calling me Robin, aren't you?"

"Why would you prefer John?" Bane countered, genuinely curious.

"A man can only take so many Robin Hood jokes before blood is shed. And it's hard enough becoming a cop with a juvie record, much less a prison one."

Ah. "Then I will call you it only in private."


Blake-Robin stared off into space pensively for a minute or two before shifting a little in Bane's lap so that he could angle his body to better face Bane. "You're serious about this, aren't you? Why? Why me? Because unless you're counting on my personality doing a one eighty once the last of the Umbra is out of my system I am not remotely what you must be looking for in a mate. And FYI I was born an omega, and I was a BRAT before I ever had a single injection."

Bane didn't doubt it. Just as he was aware of the fact that Robin would likely continue to infuriate, confuse, and bring chaos to his life for the rest of their time together. The rules of biology and genetic coding meant that once they were bonded Robin would be more inclined to behave him, but Bane wasn't so foolish as to assume his omega would allow those instincts to hold sway over him for long. Robin had been a beta too long, his life in Gotham only warping him that much more from what he should have been.

And Bane was fine with that.

He'd met other omegas. They were terrified of him. Shuddered and hid behind their alphas or tried to hide their fear by acting as though they were too pure and untouchable to even be in the same room as him. Nevermind the fact that he never would have laid a hand on any of them. No omega in this country or most countries would willingly become his and Bane would never force one too. Not knowingly, anyway.

Robin was violent, argumentative, and abrasive. He was not afraid of Bane or his touch, and in fact welcomed the latter blatantly. The other man didn't find his size displeasing, and had seen him with both his mask on and off, like now. Had told him he had beautiful eyes. Robin was the only omega Bane had ever met who saw him and wasn't frightened by what they saw. Wasn't disgusted because of his past, his time in the Pit, or the blood on his hands. In truth his omega was nothing like an omega was supposed to be, and at the heart of it that was perversely why Bane had decided on the course of action he had.

He'd realized as they'd walked back to his rooms that while Robin would never be a perfect mate he would be the best mother Bane could hope to give his children. Robin would not only love them, but would protect and fight for them. Would shed blood and fight until the last drop of blood left his body if necessary. And furthermore Robin would use ever devious, manipulative brain cell he possessed to insure their happiness and safety in life. Bane would bet his life on that.

Talia's mother had loved her daughter and cared him. Bane knew that. But she'd spent her days in the Pit waiting for her alpha to save them while spinning stories about the life they'd have once they were free. She'd lived her life as much in that fantasy world as reality had allowed. She hadn't fought until the end. And as far as Bane knew his mother hadn't fought at all when he'd been cast into the Pit in his father's place. Better she get to keep her alpha than him.

He was willing to put up with a lot in order to provide his children with better.

And realizing his omega was still waiting for an answer to his earlier question about why Bane would want to mate with him, Bane gave him one.

"You're what I want."

Robin's expression made it clear he didn't believe that for a second.

Eyes drawn to the scowl the omega was wearing, Bane's mind suggested a way to shelve the argument for the time being while further deepening their sexual relationship at the very least. It was the only bond they had to build off of currently.

Lifting up his free hand Bane slid his thumb over Robin's bottom lip, noting with satisfaction the way that immediately eliminated the scowl and shifted Robin's focus in a more agreeable direction.

"I've never kissed anyone before. Will you teach me?"

Surprise was written all over Robin's face. "Are you serious?"

"You said you wished to. Kiss me. So teach me."

Silence. More scolding. And some muttered words Bane was willing to bet were not complimentary and curse oriented in nature. And all the while his omega eyed Bane's mouth.

"Fine. But I'm going on the record here as stating that I'm only doing this because my first heat is coming on, my hormones are out of control, and sex as an outlet sounds like a fucking good idea at the moment. And I might just have to kill you in the near future, and no one should die without being kissed properly at least once." A short pause. "And fuck you're smiling at me. You-dammit. I'm going to punch you after this."

As per usual when it came to matters in the bedroom, his Robin proved to be an excellent teacher. And Bane liked kissing. A LOT.

Chapter Text

Master Manipulators

Sprawled out on Bane's sweaty chest, his own limbs dangling like a broken puppet's and heart still beating a mile a minute, Blake supposed it was a good thing it wasn't actually theoretically possible to fuck someone's brains out. Because if ever there was an alpha that could pull that off, he had the sinking feeling it was the one underneath him. Especially if Bane started to make a habit of keeping that tin can off his face when they had sex. Access to that mouth, on top of how hot Bane sounded when the tin can wasn't distorting his accent and groans. Mmmmm.

And hopefully these thoughts were all just a product of hormones and his impending heat. Because if they weren't Blake was so screwed in a bad way. Though what a fucking way to go all things considered. And hell, a fuck ton of people hadn't thought he'd make it through his teens, much less into adulthood. He'd already exceeded their expectations.

Mmmm. Bane was stroking his hair. He liked that.

"Feeling better now, I see."

Opening one eye at the smugness of Bane's sexy voice, and recognizing that the alpha could not think he had the upper hand even though he sorta did at the moment, Blake tried to find the energy to at least pinch the man. Nope. Brain not on line enough for that level of hand eye coordination. That last orgasm had been a doozy. Plus the head stroking might stop.

"I know I said I'd punch you, and just for the record I was going to, but the only currently soft part on you is your junk, and right now I love it too much to risk damaging it. Especially since FYI, you are going to be present for my heat to fuck it out of me. That's non-negotiable. Failure to comply could lead to castration. Yours, if that wasn't clear."

The way Bane went very still beneath him was gratifying, though he's stopped stroking his hair too, which Blake frowned over. Things were never going his way for long lately. And God, his thinking was so screwed right now. He needed to find his snark before it was too late.

"This is the calm before the storm, FYI."

"I think the storm was just had."

Hard to argue with that given that they were still recovering from it. But thankfully Blake was always up to arguing, even when he had to mentally concede that his opponent had a point. "That was a little rain compared to what's in store for you, Buddy. Better eat lots of healthy crap and rest up, because I'm guessing sometime within the next forty eight hours or so I'm going to show you Perfect Storm sex."

"Perfect Storm sex?"

"Category five." He assured him, deliberately scraping a nail over one of Bane's nipples for emphasis. And hey, his arms were starting to work again. Bonus.

Especially when Bane made such a sexy sound in response. And speaking of which…

"So if I'm tolerating being called Robin…will you keep that tin can off your face when it's just us in here?"

"It's not a tin can."

"Fine. Your ugly facial accessory. Better?"

Bane's answer was a hard pinch to Blake's arse, which had him yelping in response.

"Fuck! That hurt!" Blake viciously twisted Bane's nipple in retaliation. And grinned nastily at the sound that elicited. "Serves you right. And fine, keep the ugly thing on. Not like you'd know what to do with your mouth if you kept it off, anyway."

"And what's that supposed to mean?"

His smile becoming that much more wicked, alphas really were so very easy to manipulate at times, Blake bent his arms like an officer in boot camp and started belly crawling forward to make his way further up Bane's chest until he was leaning over him, their mouths almost touching.

"I mean that this beautiful mouth is wasted on you." Closing that small gap he brushed their lips together before turning his attention to placing more brief kisses over the mask scarred right cheek.

"You seemed to be enjoying it earlier." Was Bane's less than amused response.

"True. I suppose you could be taught." Blake decided to enjoy Bane's flavor by dragging his tongue over the skin he'd been kissing. He found the differences in textures oddly…erotic. He really did have to convince Bane to let him give him a thorough exploration of his body at some point. Maybe Bane would learn a thing or two in the process. Or at the very least earn he could earn himself some brownie points.

"And what else do you think I need to be taught?"

"Well for starters-actually nevermind. I need to remain the master manipulator here." Backtracking back down Bane's body Blake returned to snuggling against Bane's chest, thinking that now would be a good time for a nap. And Bane was so much more comfortable to sleep on than their mattress. If he could just slip into slumber before Bane finished stewing over his words than-

"Now that I know what you are you will not be able to manipulate me as you have."

Raising a hand Blake hoped that the pats he delivered to Bane's chest accurately conveyed the sentiment that Bane was deluding himself if he thought so. But he was free to do so as it was in Blake's best interests.




The sound of Bane's cellphone going off interrupted whatever Bane might have said in response to that, which was a pity since Blake did love bantering with the clueless alpha. And since he wanted Bane to stay right where he was Blake volunteered to get the cell as he heaved himself up and made sure that Bane had an excellent view of his ass as he went to the side of the bed and grabbed the other man's pants off the floor. Retrieving the phone Blake passed it over before returning to his earlier resting place.

Naturally the news that it was Ra's al Ghul brought a scowl to his face as Blake listened to the two men exchange greetings. Or he assumed al Ghul returned the sentiment Bane expressed on this side of the conversation. He couldn't hear whatever the other man was saying to Bane, he wasn't close enough for that and trying to eavesdrop probably wouldn't be allowed.

And apparently al Ghul wasn't one to beat around the bush, big surprise, since right after Bane had answered the phone he went quiet, obviously listening to something a lot longer than 'how are you'.

"My apologies, but that won't be possible. The meeting will have to be moved."

Blake surmised that al Ghul didn't like that.

"I understand that, but the situation I find myself in means that for the next week I will not be available to travel. The detective you gave me for a Pet is not a beta. He's an omega. And he'll be going into heat shortly."

Listening to Bane summarize how it was that Blake had fooled them all into thinking he was a beta in the first place, Blake didn't bother interrupting to clarify something or provide more information. That was so not happening unless it was in his best interests to do so.

Scowling when Bane stated that Blake was not Bruce's former lover, but just a friend, Blake considered the fact that he might have to mate with and marry Bane in order to stay alive seeing as the whole reason he'd been taken was to cause his friend emotional harm. Not that Bruce wouldn't feel guilty as hell and sink into another depression at the idea of Blake dying because of him, because Bruce was a depressive, dark man to begin with. But in al Ghul's eyes, or more to the point in Talia's, losing a lover was the much harder blow.

Though at least that revelation basically compelled Bane to reveal at least some of Talia's sloppiness to her father when it came to picking him as a target, especially when Wayne wouldn't even be around to notice that he was missing.

Wishing he was there to see the old bastard's face, or Talia's when her precious father brought it up, Blake considered 'rewarding' Bane by getting a little frisky while the man was on the phone with his boss. It could be quite amusing, and his hormones were starting to stir again in a way Blake interpreted to mean that it would probably be for the best if he wasn't in this building come nightfall. Dammit.

And it probably wouldn't end well-okay, scratch that, it would end well for him, but Bane would also find some way to make him sorry about it afterwards. And keeping mostly on Bane's good side until after his heat was over was definitely in his best interests. Unfortunately. And he needed to pay more attention to what his idiot and the other idiot were discussing in case any of it proved vital for him to know about.

It seemed that the conversation had now turned to the question of just how sure Bane was that Blake was actually an omega, blah, blah, blah, followed by Bane informing his leader that he intended to court and take Blake as his mate in order to 'preserve his honor and undo the wrong they'd done him'. Which was definitely cause for eye rolling. It was sweet, in theory, but seriously, there wasn't a lot he hadn't done in bed with other men before Bane had ever gotten his hands on him. Or at least nothing that he was interested in doing sex wise. Though he had read this fanfic once where-

His attention shifted out of his musings when Bane stated that he and his omega would travel to meet with Singh as soon as possible. He'd keep in contact with the man in question to arrange it himself.

Singh. That was a new name when it came to the League of Shadows. Interesting. And easy to remember since he liked an author by that name, and was pretty sure that she wasn't the one Bane was referring to. Though it would be hilarious if it was. Though if it was the League better not mess with her until after she wrapped up the-he was being ridiculous. Ugh. Maybe Bane wasn't the only one who was cum dumb. He had the name of someone who might be important to the League, and the logical next step was to see if Simon had heard anything about-oh. Shit.

Eyes popping open Blake shifted over to the right and then padded forward on his hands as he slid off Bane's chest enough to get a look at the clock on Bane's side of the bed, squinting a little to make out where the hands were pointed because of course Bane couldn't have a digital one for easy reading from a weird angle.

Phew. There was still time.

A moment to consider how best to get off the bed without potentially harming either one of them, then with some maneuvering Blake slid his legs over to join the rest of him as he got off the bed and onto his feet.

Ignoring the alpha and the looks Bane was shooting in his direction Blake walked around the bed and headed towards the bathroom as he definitely needed a shower. Smelling like Bane would help keep the alphas he'd soon encounter from getting too close, especially since Bane could smell his true nature on him apparently, but-oh shit. What if he went into heat without adequate warning? Fuck. But he needed to be there to make sure-but he'd be more dangerous to both their well-beings if he went into heat.

Dammit. To shower or not to…no, he had to shower.

Perhaps he could just wear one of Bane's shirts and either drag the big lug still in their bed with him or at least arrange for Barsad to supervise for him?


Walking up to the correct door Barsad knocked, his hands then linking behind his back as he waited patiently for the door to open. Or at least he was fairly sure that both his face and body language did nothing to betray how tense and stressed he was at the moment. Bane wasn't going to back down on the Umbra or allowing Blake to go back on it, which meant in the future they'd have to deal with having an omega in their midst. One that would go into heats even if Bane succeeded in 'courting' Blake. Which Barsad was not betting any money on. And then there was the man who opened the door he'd knocked on, giving him usual vague, unfocused smile.

"Barsad. Are you here to see Father?"

"No. Blake requested I be present for your first training session with Danilo. He can't come."

The omega had wanted to come himself, but he hadn't been sure it would be wise given his impending heat. And Bane's possessive arm around Blake's waist, anchoring him inside the bedroom, had made it quite clear that the alpha wasn't letting the omega out of his sight for the next little while.

Kei nodded knowingly. "Oh. I see. He said he wanted to come to make sure Danilo behaved."


"He thinks Danilo might try to sabotage me because of you."

Barsad had a feeling he really didn't want to ask, but how could he not?

"Why would he sabotage you because of me?"

"Because you want to have sex with me and he wants to have sex with you."

He shouldn't have asked.

"You don't need to worry about that."

"I know. If he does allow jealousy to interfere with my training I'll explain to him that you and I aren't having sex, and that if you two aren't having sex it's because you don't want to have sex with him. So he should be mad at you instead of me."

"Throwing me to the wolves instead."

"Would I be? I assumed you would come out the victor if a fight were to take place." Kei frowned a little. "If you can't take him then remind him that Bane will punish him severely for hurting you. That should do it. Or John could beat him up for you. I would imagine as an alpha he would find that particularly humiliating. Perhaps teach him a lesson?"

"He would, yes. And while I can take him in a fight I wouldn't advise Blake attempting the same. It wouldn't end well for him."

Rather than argue or agree with him Kei shrugged off the topic, apparently not caring enough either way. Figures.

"Would you feel better if I told him you have no interest in having sex with me?" Barsad asked, mentally cursing himself for fishing but unable to help himself.

Kei's face scrunched up for a moment in some silent contemplation, then smoothed out again as he presumably came to some conclusion. "Does that insult you? People are very sensitive about their sexual appeal to others, I've noticed. They seem to obsess over it a lot more than is healthy. And get really hurt and angry when they don't appeal to people they want to appeal to. I don't mean to insult you. I'm sure I'd enjoy fucking you quite a lot. I just don't think sex is worth all the trouble that comes afterwards. The cuddling and the text messages and the cat fights." Kei shuddered in remembrance. "Not worth it."

"The cuddling and the text messages?"

"I HATE cuddling. And the constant messaging every minute of every day until you want to smash your cell into little pieces. 'Where are you?' 'Who are you with?' 'Why aren't you answering me?' 'Don't you love me?' 'Why don't you love me?' And then the ones from people I wasn't sleeping with. 'I would be a better boyfriend to you'. 'I'd let you do this to me.' 'Here's a picture of me naked.' Ugh. It just went on and on and on."

Barsad legitimately did not know what to say to any of that.

"I know. After sex stuff is horrible. At least you guys don't all carry cell phones so Danilo and whoever else wants to sleep with you isn't texting you all the time." Kei sighed and then appeared lost in thought for a moment again. "We're going to be late if we don't leave for the gym now. I just have to retrieve my father and then we can go. He wishes to attend the lesson as well."

"Of course. I'll wait." Barsad stated automatically.

Leaving the door open Kei disappeared back into the room, Barsad's already wide eyes widening at the sound of…well it sounded like squawking. What on earth?

Then Kei was coming through the doorway with a red cheeked, visibly mortified Hitachi in his arms, bridal style.

"You will put me down this instant, My Son."

"No. You're supposed to be resting and remaining in bed unless you have to leave it. If you insist on coming you will let me carry you since there aren't any wheelchairs in this facility. And you'll sit with Barsad so that he can look after you during my lesson. It's my way or I drop you off with the doctor instead until I'm up to taking care of you again. Those are your only choices."

If looks could kill.

But of course that didn't faze Kei in the least. It seemed nothing really did. The young man just asked Barsad to close the door for him, and when he did so Kei thanked him and then started walking like he wasn't carrying an extremely irked alpha wrapped up in a quilt like a baby in his arms.

Shaking his head as he trailed after them Barsad could only pray that this was the worst of it today. Though it wasn't fucking likely.

How had this become his life?

Chapter Text

So I thought I'd do a chapter completely from Simon's point of view. Mostly because I needed a sorta filler chapter and I enjoy thinking of how Simon sees the world. If you enjoy and want me to write more from his point of view let me know!

It's A Hard Knock Life

Why couldn't people just learn to get along? Or at least use their words more efficiently and frequently? These were just some of the many questions Simon constantly contemplated at times like this. Thanks to his experience in foster care Simon was well aware that small children could be quite successfully taught the concept of using their words rather than fists, so really why did adults struggle so much with it? Weren't you supposed to become smarter with age? Was it just because talking leveled the playing field for both parties? The average person older than a toddler could talk after all, while fighting ability varied greatly depending on the person? Unless of course the two people in question spoke different languages, in which case using one's fists did make more sense.

"You need to concentrate on this fight and only this, My Son. No getting lost in your thoughts."

Doing his best to hide his annoyance at having his thoughts interrupted, Simon nodded grudgingly in understanding. Then he looked off to the side where Barsad was talking with the alpha Simon had been informed he would be fighting today in order for Danilo to judge his skill levels.

Which just proved his point about the stupidity of the human race. Because here he was about to face off against this Danilo person in combat, and he had absolutely no wish to hurt him. But he had to hurt him in order to prove that he wasn't absolutely useless as a bodyguard, and therefore was worth keeping around a while longer. Because of course there was no value in an alpha who didn't like to beat the crap out of people.

His designation was so under evolved.

Stupid Bane. If not for that idiot John would be here. He'd feel better if he was. If Danilo started to grievously injure him because of Barsad John could rescue him before serious damage was done. John had told him he'd been training with Batman, and had assured him that he was confident in his ability to beat senseless anyone here save for Barsad and Bane. Which might be an exaggeration, John hadn't seen a lot of them in action after all, but Simon figured that if nothing else he and John could beat the crap out of Danilo together if need be.

Would Barsad intervene on his behalf?

The thought in his head now Simon tuned out the last minute instructions his adoptive father was giving him with practiced ease and instead mentally debated the likelihood that if things went horribly wrong he could depend on the beta to save him.

Hard to say.

A hard pinch to his arm had Simon biting back a yelp as he glared at the man who'd delivered the pain.

"Pay attention. Danilo is an honorable man, but he will not go easy on you. Particularly with Barsad watching. And Barsad will lose interest in you if you appear a weakling. His current interest in you needs to continue."

Rubbing his poor arm Simon muttered that he didn't see why.

"He desires you greatly. As long as that is the case he will let no real harm to come to you." The man pitched his voice so low Simon had to lean in to hear him. "Look at your friend and how he uses Bane's desire for him to his advantage. Learn from him. It never occurred to me that you might be his type, but I could ask for no better mate for you than Barsad. He will take excellent care of you after my passing."

Simon considered for a moment pointing out that he could take care of himself…but this wasn't the regular world he was living in. When it came to the League of Shadows he did need all the help he could get, yes.

"So you think that I should fuck his brains out?"

His father made an expression Simon had never seen on his face before. He wasn't quite sure how to interpret it.

"Or are you suggesting the whole cow analogy?"

"Cow?" His father repeated faintly.

"The idea that I should string him along as long as possible because why buy the cow if you're getting the milk for free."

As Simon waited in expectation his adoptive father raised his hand to pinch the bridge of his nose.

"Just do your best to remember what I have taught you. Your fate might depend upon it."

"Yes, Sir."

"Go limber up."


Doing as so ordered, it was never a good idea to disobey when he was on the receiving end of that particular look, Simon walked a short distance away to do some stretching that reminded him of gym at school. And those were never good memories since they usually involved him failing at some sport horribly or being gawked at once he'd started being good looking. Thoughts of school in general were never pleasant, really. Thank God that period of his life was over. Though there was that song about how high school never ended, and Simon supposed that there was truth in that statement.

Switching his thoughts over to what his father had had to say about Barsad since that was more interesting to contemplate, Simon pondered what to do about his father's suggestion that it was in his best interests to pursue a relationship with the beta. After all in theory he understood the older man's reasoning, and Simon wasn't opposed to the idea of sleeping with Barsad because it was-oh. Well now he felt more than a little stupid.

He'd only ever gone out with omegas, and only a few at that before washing his hands of the whole relationship/dating thing. He'd never dated a beta before. But more than that he was living in a world where people weren't permanently attached to their phones. Which meant if he were in a relationship he wouldn't constantly be barraged with texts, phone calls, and X rated pictures. And if someone wanted Simon they probably wouldn't say so just because they'd be afraid of what Barsad would do to them as the second strongest man around. Only Bane was tougher, and Simon knew the other alpha was more likely to paint his mask neon pink than ever desire him. Particularly with John around to hold his interest and insure Bane's brain cells continued to die like flies.

And Bane would be paying dearly for his stupidity soon enough, Simon mused with absolutely zero sympathy for the other alpha. Everyone said Bane was supposed to be a genius but obviously not, if he thought forcing John to revert to his omega status was a good idea. It was a horrible idea. And not just in the obvious ways that John had mentioned, but in the simple fact that by causing John to become an omega again Bane was handing the other man a weapon that John would use mercilessly to get what he wanted from Bane. Simon was pretty sure that Bane would end up wrapped around John's finger in no time.

And they'd all suffer for it whenever Bane didn't give John his way.

He was very fond of John. He was. But teenage omegas on street level Umbra were still, to some degree, omegas. Their hormone surges were just too strong for the drug to control. The high grade stuff John had been on in the last few years thanks to Wayne were a whole other story, but the social workers in their neighborhood…what they'd had to pass around paled in comparison potency wise. Which meant that while John had never gone into heat while they'd been rooming together, the mood swings, erratic behavior, and a need to be cuddled and pampered had definitely come into play whenever his roommate's heats should have happened. Which meant Simon did have some idea what John was going to be like in the near future and…not good. Definitely not good. And if Bane got John pregnant…God save them all.

He really didn't get why his kind loved omegas so much. The fact that anal sex was so much easier with them was not, in Simon's opinion, a good enough reason to subject one's self to them on a regular basis. Yes they smelled incredibly good, but they were so clingy and emotional and prone to manipulating you with their sexuality. He'd had the sense to swear off of them when he was still a teenager, yet here was Bane, nearly twice Simon's age, actively seeking one when he could have had the improved, fake beta version of John.

Though the fact that he was a great deal smarter than the average alpha was not news to Simon. Not that most of them were smart enough to realize that.

"Are you ready to begin?"

Turning his attention to the man he was supposed to injure in order to save himself from being maimed or killed at a later date, Simon bit back a sigh and nodded as he followed Danilo to the center of the thankfully deserted sparring area. He disliked being stared at.

Coming to a stop where he thought was appropriate Simon bent and brought up his arms so that his fists were aimed towards the ceiling, planting his feet at the same time as he prepared to defend himself as he'd been taught by Father. With probably a bit of John's techniques thrown in since these Shadow people were so obsessed with fighting the way their trainers had taught them. Back when John had tried to teach him to defend himself, he'd taught Simon to fight dirty. Never fair.

Assuming a much more conventional stance, Danilo told him to attack him.

"I just defend, I don't attack."

"What do you mean?"

"I don't attack people. I dislike pain. And as a bodyguard it's my job to protect, not start shit."

Since only his adoptive father and Barsad were in the room, Simon imagined that the muffled snicker he heard was from the latter.

"As you wish."

The punch Danilo threw at his face was easy enough to evade by simply tilting his head to the side. The other alpha had slowed and significantly reduced the power behind it since the whole purpose of this bout was to determine Simon's skill level. They weren't fighting with the intention of severely hurting each other. Or at least Danilo presumably wasn't. Simon was willing to maim if it got him out of more of this in the future.

He managed to block the following six blows aimed in his direction, moving as little as possible each time and feeling every hit that he was forced to block with either leg or arm. The more he moved the more likely he was to lose his balance, trip, or get caught off guard. It had taken nearly a year before his adoptive father had been willing to accept that there was nothing he could do about Simon's inherent clumsiness, but eventually the old man had devised this method of defense. Ergo Simon had spent years having kicks and punches aimed at him until blocking had become muscle memory. The aim was to defend himself from serious harm while both tiring his opponent out and lulling said opponent into thinking that Simon couldn't attack. Which he could. Sorta.

Wheezing out a gasp of pain when the seventh attempt, a kick to his ribs got passed his guard, Simon glared at his opponent but resolutely got back into position while ignoring both the pain and the way it was affecting his ability to breathe. He knew how to keep functioning even while in pain. He'd learned that well in Gotham, well before he'd ever known the League of Shadows existed.

More jabs and blows were aimed at him, Simon not at all surprised to see annoyance and frustration in the other alphas eyes. This was not how fights between alphas were supposed to go. Or even fights between alphas and betas. His lack of aggression and movement were completely throwing Danilo off, which was of course the-now.

Seeing an opening Simon surged forward and delivered a straight punch into the man's gut to knock some of the wind out of him while also leaving Danilo open enough for the other fist Simon aimed a little higher to deliver a solid cross to the alpha's solar plexus.

Then he backpedaled a couple steps to give the man some room. And put himself more out of range.

And to give credit where credit was due Danilo was still on his feet and only slightly hunched over, the shock on his face rather comical in Simon's opinion. Normally he had difficult reading people's faces, but in this case it was rather obvious.

Turning his head to look off to the side, Danilo's voice was much more jagged as he commented that his former master had devised an interesting method of fighting for his son.

"He is not one of us. Nor will he ever be. But he is competent enough to guard Bane's Pet."

Crap. Competent enough to guard a Pet. But Bane's mate?

The blow seemed to come out of nowhere, Simon aware of pain and then he hit the ground with a loud thud, his legs kicking out defensively thanks to his training rather than conscious thought. He connected too, which kept Danilo back just long enough for Simon to sit up with one arm wrapped protective around his own gut.


"On your feet." His father ordered, Simon shakily doing so since the punishment for not doing what the old man said when it came to his training was lots and lots of laps. And he wasn't even allowed to hum while he did them.

Danilo let him get to his feet, which Simon appreciated. Though it was hard to feel gratitude towards someone who'd just hurt you. Especially since Simon was fairly sure he was going to be feeling the injury and the ones coming his way for days to come.



Some ten minutes later Simon's arms and legs were well on their way to being black, blue, and a rainbow's worth of other colors. His stomach hurt, as did his jaw, but Danilo hadn't landed any debilitating blows and that was the main thing. Or Simon was hoping that that was the main thing. Because if he was being judged on his ability to cause Danilo injury Simon was fairly sure he was failing this. He'd managed his two original hits and two more glancing blows. But that was it. Danilo was way more dangerous than he was.

Blocking a well-aimed kick in his direction, and wincing as the force behind the blow sent painful shockwaves up his arm, Simon gave some thought to some of the nastier ploys John had taught him. How would trash talking go over?

But that was the last strike aimed in his direction, Danilo relaxing his pose.

"That's enough for now. Go sit down while I confer with your father."

The man didn't have to tell him twice.

Bowing his head in respect, well, in gratitude for the man not trying to hurt him anymore anyway, Simon gingerly made his way over to one of the benches off to the side. Sitting down took three times longer than normal, but at last he was down and could lean back against the cool concrete walls.

Fuck but he was going to hurt tonight.


Opening his eyes, he hadn't even been aware he'd closed them or for how long, Simon looked at the water bottle being held out to him.

A moment to consider. "My arms don't work."

"They did a moment ago."

"That was then. This is now."

Barsad shook his head and then took a seat beside Simon, passing the water bottle back and forth between his hands as he stared straight ahead.

"You defended yourself well."

"Thank you. Unless you're being sarcastic. In which case I'm well aware that I'm not a badass. Which never made sense to me because what does one's ass have to do with one's fighting ability? I've been told I have an excellent ass, and I'm no John McClane or Black Widow."

"I wasn't being sarcastic."

"Then thank you." Carefully Simon tried to roll his shoulders, wincing at the reaction that that got. "Father is going to make me all but bathE in that foul yak ointment he likes so much. Though then again his arthritis is so bad he'd probably not up to applying it. Which means I'll have to do it and won't be able to reach a bunch of spots. Do you think Bane would be willing to let me borrow John for a few minutes so that he could do it? I don't like being touched by most people, though I would imagine there are those in this compound that would be willing if I was willing. Which I'm not sure I am. I'll have to wait and see how bad the pain is later. It's going to be bad, isn't it? I can feel it. No pun intended. Though if I were in the right frame of mind I'd maybe think that was funny. Do you think it's funny?"

"No. I don't find it amusing that you're in pain."

Simon considered asking if Barsad meant that in the sense that he didn't like the idea of anyone in pain or just Simon specifically, but decided there was more important things to ask.

"Is he going to try and train me more? Because both John and Father have tried and this seems to be the best I can manage. I'd rather leave the blood shedding to people who actually like doing it."

"You are the strangest alpha I have ever met."

"You mean the most evolved one."

A low chuckle. "Perhaps."

Chapter Text

Always Your Fault!

The drugs Blake's social worker had sourced for him during his teen years had been crap. There was just no denying that. Umbra hadn't been widely available back then, or even now for that matter, and it wasn't like she'd been able to afford the best for her kids. She'd gotten them the best she could, God bless her, and it had done the job. They hadn't ended up revealing what they were to the outside world so that they could be raped, exploited, and used.

But the mood swings, full body aches, and horniness…oh Blake had experienced that in all its horrible glory during his teenage years even on Umbra. Simon might possibly still have nightmares about rooming with him. It would be understandable. He sure as fuck had had nightmares about what it had been like and how much worse it would have been without the drugs to act as a buffer. But Blake had thought, before, that he had a pretty good idea what being in a real heat would be like.

He'd had no fucking clue.

The first clue Blake had of what was in store for him came in the form of an itch. And it most definitely wasn't the sort of itch you could scratch easily and gain some relief from. Oh no, this was the sort of itch where you got bit or whatever it some weird place where only a contortionist stood a chance in hell of reaching it. And like all itches that couldn't be scratched the itching only got worse and seemed to spread throughout his body the longer Blake went without the ability to do a damn thing about it. In this case the itching originated in his stomach, where obviously Blake could do nothing about it thanks to the skin and stuff in the way. And that of course meant that it just got worse as the minutes passed and he ended up pacing around the bedroom in frustration.

Scratching his belly wasn't doing anything, why would it? And Blake tried to remember Sex Ed and biology and all the shit he'd been taught about heats, but he also figured that that information wasn't going to do him a lot of good since he was pretty sure he'd never had a class about what happened when a long term Umbra user was forced off the stuff. Hell, the research probably hadn't been done for the doctors to have that fucking information, much less the general public.

So should he be worried right now that all this itching was related to his drug fucked coming heat or was this just…could it be heat rash? He was in a desert after all. Where the fuck was Google when you needed it? Oh right, BANE had taken his phone from him!

Not that it would work out here, Blake mentally fumed to himself. He didn't see Bane giving him their internet password. Assehole. And the itching kept getting worse as it spread INSIDE his body, where he couldn't fucking reach it! Not unless he wanted to cut himself open, and Bane hadn't driven him that crazy yet. Though give the bastard time.

Glaring at the alpha in question, or at least the back of his mate's head since Bane was ignoring him and chatting on the phone with Talia at the far side of the room, Blake considered various unpleasant ways he could remind that bastard that he was there before deciding to see if a cool shower would help instead. If nothing else it was really warm in the room and the cool water should help make him feel less hot and irritable. At least in theory. And if it didn't well then Bane had no one to blame but himself when Blake came out even bitchier than before.

Flipping Bane off just to make himself feel a little better Blake shed Bane's shirt and tossed it on the floor as he walked over to the bathroom. He hoped Bane tripped over it later. Maybe after his oh so important, 'I have to have this talk with her before we leave so just wait patiently' conversation with Talia.

Once inside the bathroom Blake took a moment to give his flushed, naked reflection the finger too since this was his own fucking body betraying him, and how fucked up was that? But it wasn't like that accomplished anything, it didn't even make him feel better, so Blake entered the shower while tugging on the stupid collar around his neck. It was coming off when he got out of the shower. He'd make Bane remove it if he had to. If he had to be Bane's fucking mate he sure as fuck wasn't wearing the damn collar of a Pet. No way in hell.

The cold water that came spraying down on his bare skin did feel good though. Really good. Really, really good in fact, and even better as the minutes ticked by.

With his hands braced on the tiles Blake found himself making some rather…sexual happy sounds for some reason as all that cool water slipped and slithered down his body, the coolness of it hitting his heated flesh making Blake shudder and arch his body to make sure that every inch of him was hit.

Fuck, why had he ever viewed cold water as the antichrist of bathing meant only to wake you up or be suffered through when necessary? Fuck this felt awesome! He was going to stay in here until Bane dragged him out.

How long had he been in here? His fingers were looking more than a little wrinkly.

And there was this nagging voice in the back of Blake's mind muttering words like hypothermia, shock, and something about omegas losing their ability to judge temperatures accurately while in heat, which had led to many injuries and even some deaths.

Face scrunching up in a glower, he was fine, thank you very much stupid subconscious, Blake turned off the water automatically and reached up with one hand to check his pulse, thinking to reassure his subconscious that he was just fine, so it could shut the fuck up.

Only it took more effort than it really should have to raise those fingers to his throat. And his aim was off at first even though he'd done this like a million times. And…it was a little sluggish when he found the pulse point. Abnormally so.


Pushing off with the hand still braced on the tile Blake all but stumbled backward as his legs refused to support his weight properly. What the hell? And now that the water was off the itching was starting again and fuck, what was he to do about that? His brain didn't want to work.

He needed to sit down and try and think.

Or maybe he should call…no. Bane was on the phone with Talia. He didn't like them being friends. He didn't like HIS mate talking to that bitch. He HATED that she was more important to Bane than spending time with him when he obviously needed his alpha. Bane was stupid. Ergo he wasn't going to call for help and look weak in either of their eyes. No way. Not happening. He'd rather die, thank you very much.

Though he'd rather not be found dead and naked in a shower.

Fuck his brain was fried.

More through sheer luck and muscle memory was Blake able to get himself down to sit on the cold floor of the shower and lean his head against the tile, his eyes closing in relief at his success. Hah. Take that Bane. I don't need you.

At least not until he had to move again. And fuck, the itching.

Wiggling as he tried to get comfortable-or was he shivering? Not important. What was important was the fact that it was apparently friggin impossible without cold water streaming down over him.

He also had no sense of time or how long he'd been on the floor when Blake heard the door to the bathroom opening. Which meant he had to open his eyes, unfortunately.

It probably wasn't a good thing that that was a bit of a struggle too.

And then there was Bane and Blake found out he was still with it enough to scowl at the tin can currently hiding a large portion of the alpha's face from him. Bane had put it back on to talk to Talia.

His alpha could move quickly when it wanted to, he'd give the assehole that, and the shower door was wrenched open hard enough that Blake actually heard something break as the top hinge gave out. Thankfully the other two held or there'd be glass every friggin where, Blake noted absently as he found himself scooped up and carried out of the room. Bathrooms were death traps without that.

And being this close to Bane made the itching worse, dammit.

Mentally debating the perils of squirming or telling Bane to put him down, he probably wasn't up to walking yet, Blake found himself yelping when he was dropped on the bed like a discarded bit of clothing, which was so not-oh, Bane was losing his clothes.

Fuck he was so fuckable.

Distracted by the strip show, which wasn't really a show at all since the man was shedding clothes like it was a fucking Olympic sport, Blake found himself doing a lot more yelping and squirming as Bane joined him on the bed and yanked him up against his very warm body which did nothing to help his itching at all. Nor did the rough way Bane was running his hands over him endear the man to him AT ALL.

Or it didn't until the lightbulb went on and Blake's brain realized that while it made the itching worse, there was also pleasure in the connection. A pleasure to equal the annoyance of the itching was rubbing his body against Bane's. Or more specifically a certain part of his body against Bane.

A couple of planned wiggles had his ass positioned just right against Bane's crotch and then it was a very simple matter to start rubbing against the man in the universal demand to be fucked. Now. And fuck but his ass was already so friggin wet it would be nothing for Bane to just thrust inside him and fill him up. Fuck this itch and need right out of him.

"Be still. You're freezing."

Actually he was getting warmer by the second, thank you very much. And Bane restricting his movement with his bulging arm muscles was really starting to annoy him. Though they were really sexy to look at. He wanted to bite them. And be held down by them. And see them flex along with every other muscle in Bane's gorgeous body while he fucked him.

But apparently Bane was too stupid to get his obvious body signaled so Blake forced enough brain cells together to manage a surprisingly harsh and garbled demand to be fucked. />
Bane's response was a frustrated sounding growl followed by a question. "Are you in heat now?"


Oh. Right.


"This is ALL your fault!"

"You nearly killed yourself in that shower!" Bane growled back at him, his fury coming through loud and clear.

If he could have bit Bane he would have. In not a sexy way. He had to contend himself with repeating his early statement, since the shower thing was Bane's fault too.

"Of course it's my fault. Everything is my fault accord you."

Blake wanted to resort that everything was Bane's fault, which should be obvious to anyone with a working brain, but he was a little reoccupied trying to get some relief from the conflicting needs that had him by both his throat and his dick at the moment.

Vaguely aware of some Arabic cursing in his ear, Blake just growled in frustration right back until suddenly Bane was rolling them so that he was on his stomach and Bane was on
top of him. Yes. Progress!

"Fine. I will give you what you want and then I'll take you out of here. No one will see you like this but me."

Finally the man had a smart plan. It was about time.


If he hadn't been in heat Blake supposed he would have been mortified by his behavior in the helicopter Bane had arranged to take them to a deserted outpost an hour's drive from Bane's compound. Somewhere 'safe' according to Bane. His men were following by jeep or whatever to guard them while they were inside going at it like rabbits. A smart move on Bane's part since having anyone in the back of helicopter would not have lived long enough to do any guarding. Or at least Blake was pretty sure Bane wouldn't have allowed anyone to see Blake strip out of the pants Bane had forced him into before they'd left as soon as they were in the air so that he could spend the helicopter ride with Bane's fingers up his ass, riding them for all he was worth while begging for the alpha's cock instead.

Purely for health purposes, just to be clear.

Hopefully the earphone thingies pilots wore and the noise from the copter blades had drowned him out, because Blake was pretty sure he'd been pretty damn loud in making those demands too. Or at least he was pretty sure he'd been. Things were getting more than a little blurry by the time they started their descent and Bane made him put his stupid pants back on again.

But at least Bane carried him into the building so that Blake was able to bury his face against Bane's chest so that he didn't have to see the pilot at all. He wanted to concentrate on smelling himself on his mate. Fuck but Bane smelled good. And biteable. And his neck was within easy reach.

So he sucked and bit Bane's throat while his alpha growled at him and gave orders to the pilot, and then they were inside the building and Blake figured it was okay to start demanding that Bane fuck him again.


"Fuck patience. Fuck me."

There was a definite undertone of wry amusement to his voice as Bane promised that he would. Once they were upstairs in the bedroom. No biting until then.

"But you like when I bite you." And Blake bit him just to prove it as they headed up a rustic set of stairs that apparently led up to the second level.


"I'm starting to like the way you say my name." That called for another bite and lick, just to soothe the skin a little.

"It would serve you right if I dropped you."

Being in heat meant fighting dirty as far as Blake was concerned. "Is that any way to speak to the future mother of your children?"

"When that mother is you, yes."


When they reached the bedroom Blake looked it over in one sweeping glance. "Damn. It's a good thing I'm going to be under or on top of you the whole time or that bed wouldn't work at all."

As it was Blake wasn't entirely sure that the thing was up to the sexual beating it was about to take. Not that it was going to matter to him in about an hour. He'd be amendable to being fucked on or over every surface in the room including the floor. He really hoped they didn't end on the floor. And he was likely to end up impaled if they gave that skinny little table and it's accompanying chair a try. The mini fridge wouldn't be too bad depending on how it was utilized.

"It will do well enough." And so saying Bane walked over to it and gently set Blake down on top of the single sheet atop the bed. "Remove your clothes."

Now there was a plan he could get behind.

Before Bane got behind him, Blake mentally snarked, snickering over it.

Wiggling out of his pants Blake happily tossed them aside before pulling his shirt up and over his head. For the moment he was himself and Blake could only hope that that continued for a bit longer. Though probably not. From his own research Blake knew that omegas generally retained some semblance of common sense for the first hour or so once their heats hit, but it was all downhill from there.


And Bane wasn't getting undressed, Blake noted with a frown, watching the alpha as he went over to the fridge and opened it up, pulling out two large bottles of water from it. Oh.

Insides going to mush at the physical evidence that Bane was going to take care of him, soon he'd ben so mindless that thoughts of food and water wouldn't even enter his equally mushy brain, Blake felt a wave of affection well up in his chest. Damn.

Shuffling over to the side of the bed Blake slid off, pleased that his legs held him even if his ass was already a little achy with much worse to come. But ignoring that, and the other signs that he'd soon become a raging nymphomaniac beyond either of their control, Blake walked over to where Bane was watching him with definite wariness. It made him smile.

"Now that we're alone-off." And so saying Blake reached up to start undoing the straps that held Bane's mask in place. He wanted access to that sexy mouth of his and damn if the stupid facial accessory was going to stop him.

One of Bane's hands came up to slide his fingers through Blake's hair. "Are you back with me, Little One?"

"For the moment. Miss me?"

"Surprisingly yes."

Pleased to hear it Blake tossed the mask in the general direction of the table and then framing Bane's face between his hands brought the alpha's mouth in line with his own for a kiss.

Chapter Text

A Heated Aftermath

Regaining consciousness and rather wishing that he'd remained in tired slumber, Bane kept his eyes tightly closed as he took stock of the situation with all the wariness of prey fearing a possible predator in his vicinity. Robin was sprawled out on top of his chest still, and his omega's breathing suggesting that Robin was still fast asleep and unlikely to wake easily, thank the Gods. If the fates were merciful Robin would stay that way. For hours, preferably. Or however long there was before Robin's heat finally subsided for the last time and left them both in peace.

But the fates were never merciful, particularly where he was concerned, and so it was with a fatalistic mindset that Bane opened his eyes to look blearily around him, blinking the world back into focus with resigned resignation.

First Bane looked down to confirm that Robin was indeed asleep and not watching him with crazed, carnal intent. He looked to be unconscious. Good. That confirmed Bane allowed his gaze to switch off to the side where an old fashion style clock had been mounted on the wall, wanting to get a sense of the time that had passed since last he'd checked.

A few hours had passed since the last time he'd looked at it, which Bane knew did not bode well for him. That meant Robin had had a few hours to regain some semblance of strength and could wake up and demand to be serviced at any minute. And while he had too much self control to groan in despair Bane allowed himself the small luxury of a wince as he closed his eyes to block out the world again. He too needed to conserve his strength after all.

When Bane opened his eyes again it was to look in the direction of the table that had originally been situated beside the bed, now overturned and lying on the floor along with countless wood shards from the bed. Or what had once been the bed. Now it was just pieces of lumber that thankfully hadn't impaled them once the structure had given out on them. If there'd been a headboard…

And still they probably had splinters in their flesh that they'd failed to notice while in the throes of Robin's heat. He'd have to remember to look them both over thoroughly once they were both clear headed enough to do so properly.

The water bottles he'd placed on top of the table had ended up on the floor as well, most of them empty at this point from what Bane could see from his present position. He'd managed to keep them both decently hydrated during the whole ordeal thus far, but he'd need to get more water if this wasn't over. And now that he was thinking about it Bane realized he was thirsty, and there had to be at least one that still had some liquid in it somewhere on the floor.

Unfortunately Bane didn't see any that were in easy grabbing distance when he looked. Or at least not in his line of vision. And getting up would mean moving. Moving meant the possibility of waking the man currently using him as a body pillow.

He could wait a while longer for the water.

Looking down at his mate's dark hair, which was looking far from its best at the moment, Bane found the strength somewhere to lift a hand up to stroke the wild back strands down. Not that they stayed down.

The small sound Robin made in response had Bane freezing like a deer in headlights. Curses.

But Robin just nuzzled his face against Bane's chest for a moment before going still again, his head once again resting over Bane's heart.


And how the mighty have fallen, Bane thought darkly as he dropped his hand back to his side. Done in by an omega far less than half his size.

Robin had warned him that he would come to regret insisting that his former pet be returned to his omega status and right now Bane was willing to admit that perhaps he'd been wrong and Robin right on the matter. Perhaps leaving the other man as a Beta would have indeed been the better choice, children or not. Though surely all heats couldn't be this bad. Every year hundreds, if not thousands of alphas survived satisfying their omegas during their heats. And Bane was no ordinary alpha. He was in the prime of his life. Ergo this could have been no ordinary heat. Please Gods, let it be no ordinary heat. A one time test of strength and endurance that he had, as lowering as it was to admit, passed by the skin of his teeth if it was finally over.

He was at least able to take some comfort in the fact that what they'd experienced only partially resembled what Bane knew about the whole heat process. Admittedly he didn't have any firsthand knowledge but Bane was fairly sure he wasn't wrong to think that this had been no ordinary heat. The way Robin had gone back and forth between being…aware of him for lack of a better word, to a nymphomaniac who couldn't have cared less who was mating him so long as his ass was being filled as quickly as possible-Bane could admit that he hadn't liked those times very much. It had been too impersonal. That HE was the one Robin wanted, that his mate preferred to see him during sex and was in no way repulsed by his appearance or feared him...well that fact made up for a number of Robin's other flaws.

A low groan followed by, "Fuck."

Silently echoing the sentiment Bane waited to see what Robin would do next.

More muttered, somewhat garbled swearing followed the first curse and then Robin's arms were coming up and the omega was using them to prop himself up a little as Robin raised himself up enough so that he could look Bane in the eyes.

His eyes were clear, Bane noted immediately. That was good.

"For the record…we aren't having sex again for weeks. Possibly months. You even try and pet my ass without permission and I will cut you. Got it?"

Ordinarily he would argue, but right now…

"I agree to your terms."

"Damn fucking right you do." And having apparently used up all his strength Robin collapsed back onto Bane's chest, his arms hanging limply down. "Fuck my ass hurts."

"Are you injured?" He'd tried to ensure that no harm came to the other man while in the throes, but Robin hadn't been all that controllable. And rather single minded when it came to his need for something in his ass at all times regardless of Bane's thoughts on the matter.

"I don't think so. We're going to need to look for splinters though."


"And to paraphrase Brody, 'We're going to need a bigger bed' if we ever come back here. One not so breakable. And a new mattress."

Given that the mattress was no doubt full of splinters, having thankfully shielded their bodies from the worst of it, Bane thought the last part didn't need stating. Instead he asked who Brody was just for something to say and distract the omega with.

Thus Bane found a movie called 'JAWS' being explained to him. It sounded utterly ridiculous to him.

"It's actually pretty decent. Don't read the book though. It's hands down one of the worst books I've ever voluntarily read from start to finish. And seriously, I can't believe I'm sleeping with a man who's never seen 'JAWS'. That's just wrong."

Bane didn't think that deserved a response either.

"God I feel so gross right now. Tell me this place has a shower at least."


A thoughtful sound. "So being the big, strong alpha that you are…you could carry me to said shower, right?"


A finger poking into his chest. "Bane?"

Could he close his eyes and fake being asleep? No. The conniving fox would just 'wake' him up. In a possibly violent fashion knowing Robin.

"Right now you need to rest. You're obviously exhausted."

Robin actually snorted at that. "Do you REALIZE how covered we are in bodily fluids right now? Not to mention how we smell right now? We SMELL, Bane. And I am NOT sleeping again until we both shower. I have to sleep on top of you, remember?"

"You would have never survived The Pit." Bane muttered in retaliation, trying to buy himself some time to come up with an excuse that would hold water with his mate. He'd be having some luck with that if his brain was less exhausted and wasted.

"Bane…I'm an omega. Of course I wouldn't survive The Pit. I'd have been dead within a day. Less than that." Another poke to his chest. "I fucked what brains you have out, didn't I? I'm now the Brain to your Pinky."

He wasn't sure what that meant exactly but Bane was fairly sure that the punishing pinch he gave to Robin's ass was justified.


Yelping in reaction Robin jerked up and then flopped back down again with a loud groan that seemed to echo in the small space. And then the omega pinched Bane's side in retaliation, which Bane shrugging that off without actually shrugging. Too tired. And it wasn't like that had hurt at all.

"What the fuck did I say about leaving my ass the hell alone!"

"That had nothing to do with sex."


"Just go to sleep."

"No. I am-you know if I had mated with Bru-."

"Hush, Azizi." Bane commanded before his mate could finish that sentence. Not that he didn't have a very good idea what Robin had been about to say. And who the other man been about to throw in his face. But as long as it wasn't spoken Bane figured he didn't have to deal with punishing Robin for it.

"Azizi? What the hell? What does that even mean? And why does it sound so familiar? Was it a name from 'Aladdin'? Why am I thinking-shit. Bane, what does that mean? And you sure as fuck better not be calling me anything stupid or I will make your sorry. There are fucking wood shards everywhere, remember? And I'm obviously in better shape than you at the moment."

Shaking his head, and sadly he had no one but himself to blame for this, Bane sat up and told his mouthy mate to hold on to him if he wanted to be carried to the shower.

Robin's arms came up to wrap around Bane's neck in a surprisingly tight grip that irked him on a primitive level given his own weariness.

"Don't think you're off the hook about the azizi thing. I will find out what it means."

Rather than comment on that Bane slipped his hands under his mate's thighs to get a grip on him and then slowly and carefully Bane stood up on the wrecked mattress with Robin clinging to him. Bane didn't even want to think about what Robin would do if he dropped his mate on his sore rear end. But his legs held both their weights and Robin was smart enough not to comment on how long it took Bane to walk across the mattress and then make his way through the room while avoiding the obvious pieces of bed debris.

The 'bathroom' was just big enough to include the essentials and room to maneuver around them. Carefully.

Pulling aside the curtain strung across the small shower stall Bane stepped inside with Robin still in his arms, though he shifted his grip to Robin's hips once they were inside. If he
had to get up than Robin was going to have to stand on his own two feet as well.

While keeping his arms wrapped around Bane's neck and leaning all his weight against him, it seemed.

Since he'd turned so that Robin had his back to the showerhead Bane switched to wrapping one arm around the omega's waist while the other turned the tap to get the water flowing. The pipes rattled a little, and the water came out in fits and starts for the first minute or two, but that was probably for the best since it meant the water was tepid in temperature by the time it really started streaming over Robin's body. The pressure wasn't good enough for it to do more than mist over Bane's body.

"Fuck that's better." Finally moving a little Robin tipped back his head so that the water hit more of his hair.

Appreciating the view once he'd visually confirmed that there were no obvious injuries he needed to be concerned about, Bane contented himself with watching the water run through his mate's hair and over Robin's beautifully formed body rather than attempting to get clean. The only way his mate's body could be improved upon as far as he was concerned was if it was rounded with his child.

"Quit imagining me pregnant."

How had he known…

"What makes you think that's where my mind is?"

"Look where you hand is, Genius."

Ah. His right around was still wrapped around Robin's waist to keep him steady, but Bane's other hand had drifted over to splay his fingers against the smooth skin of his mate's belly without his conscious thought. He removed it with regret.

"I might basically be an omega now, but it will take a while for the change to be complete. And I still might not be able to have kids, FYI. Then you'll have shot yourself in the foot for nothing."

"Shot myself?"

"It's a saying. As in you've screwed yourself over for no good reason."

"We'll have you looked over when we return to the compound."

Robin's expression made it clear how much he was looking forward to that. Which was to say not at all.

Lapsing into silence seemed best for the time being as Robin revived enough under the water to turn around to take care of his front while leaning back against Bane's chest.

"I need a haircut."

Watching Robin finger comb his hair Bane hoped he wasn't 'shooting himself in the foot' by stating that he liked the longer length.

"Of course you do. It gives you more to hold on to."

More to hold on to? What did he mean by that? It wasn't like Bane was going to start dragging the often infuriating omega around by his hair. Yes he enjoyed stroking his fingers through the man's hair, and fisting the strands while Robin was-oh. He got it now.

Robin's smirk made it clear he was aware of where Bane's thoughts had gone.

"Your turn to get under the water. Cool off a little."

Too grown up to roll his eyes Bane settled for gripping Robin under his arms so that he could take the other man with him as he turned them around so that his back was now to the shower, the water hitting him instead. The cool water felt pleasant on his skin even if it did remind Bane of how the idiot once again cuddling against him had nearly given himself hypothermia.

He needed to remember to properly punish the idiot for that later.

"So does my heat seem done to you?" Robin asked after a couple minutes. "It feels done to me."

"It's your heat, not mine. But I'm cautiously optimistic."

"You? Optimistic? Shit. Did Hell freeze over too while I wasn't looking?"

"Winter will be coming to Gotham soon, yes."

"Burn." Wearing a look of delight Robin grinned at him. "Nice one."

Even if he lived a hundred years more Bane doubted that he would ever fully understand just how his omega thought and saw the world.

Telling Robin to move back so that he could turn around Bane waited until the omega complied before they awkwardly moved around each other so that Bane could maneuver into position.

"Man this takes me back to the shower in my first apartment. Once I was out of the home, I mean. Fuck that whole place was tiny. And always smelled like crap perogies thanks to the restaurant one floor below. Not that the apartment I was living in when I got snatched was that much better, no Wayne Manor, that's for fucking sure, but it had an awesome shower. And a tub I spent a lot of time soaking in. You're not a bath type, are you? You probably think it's either a waste of time and water."

"Both methods of bathing have pros and cons." Dunking his head under the water one last time Bane stayed still for a moment and then he turned the water off. "Time to get out."

"Let me get out first. It'll be easier that way. Probably." There was laughter in Robin's voice as he said it.

Turning his head Bane watched Robin push back the curtain and slip out of the shower before following after him, accepting the towel his mate threw in his direction with ease.
The shower had rejuvenated both of them, it seemed.

Or so he thought right up until his mate dropped his towel onto the floor, gave Bane his back, and then braced his hands against a wall for support as he rested his forehead against the brick.

Bane would have preferred that Robin had turned to him for support.

"Fuck I'm wrecked. This better be a one time fucking thing because of the whole delaying my heats for years thing. More of this will kill me eventually. Not to mention you'll have a shit ton more scar tissue from being bitten and scratched to hell. Have you seen your back and shoulders right now? You look like you were mauled."

No. Though he could certainly feel both.

"Can we go home now? I am so ready to get the fuck out of this place.'


Bane smiled, glad that Robin had his back to him now. It wouldn't do for his Azizi to see it and realize what he'd just said.

Chapter Text

Sorry for the lack of updates recently, Everyone. Work's been on the crappy, emotionally and physically draining side. But I'm hoping to post more this month so fingers crossed. And also the song mentioned below is another one from the Off Broadway show 'Hamilton'. I love the music heh.

Kind Of Stupid

Heats sucked. Sucked eggs and slimy, fresh from the sea oysters. Sucked-things he hadn't thought of but would definitely come up with later when his brain was firing on all cylinders. Which was probably going to be a while since his brain was still working on rebooting after the heat short circuited the fuck out of it. But his first and hopefully last heat was done and over with. That much Blake knew and clung to like it was the only life raft in a churning sea. Because Blake sure as hell felt like he'd just survived a perfect storm, and he'd only been joking when he'd warned Bane that that level of sex was in their future. Turns out the joke had been on him.

Well, both of them.

Cheered a little by the memory of how he'd totally wrecked Bane, and he so totally had, Blake's pleasure and amusement died a quick death as he remembered how wrecked he was too.

Though it could be a lot worse.

During his 'childhood' and as a cop Blake had seen and heard firsthand what became of omegas who hadn't been as fortunate as he'd been. Omegas sold out by their families to be exploited or abused. Omegas who'd gone into heat without enough warning or whose locked doors hadn't been strong enough to protect them from an alpha who'd caught their scent. Omegas whose 'partners' hadn't given a damn about their wellbeing during the heats, resulting in the omegas being half dead at the end from lack of food or water. Then there were the omegas who'd been passed around like a party favor from alpha to alpha, too out of their minds with the heat to protest, much less fight them. And always whatever happened was the omega's fault. At least in Blake's neighborhood growing up.

They asked for it. They enticed and teased alphas with their very existence. Fucking was what they were meant for. That and breeding.

Bane had made sure that he stayed hydrated and had fed him. Had taken him from this compound to another building so that he'd be safe from other alphas. And while there were bruises on his body Blake didn't doubt that they'd been unintentional on Bane's part. So yeah...for all his considerable faults Bane had taken care of him during his heat to the best of his ability. And he was grateful for that.

Though Blake's memories of what had happened during his heat were sketchy as hell. A blur for the most part. He had impressions and brief flashes of memory but for the most part he'd-blacked out wasn't the word...but Blake couldn't come up with a better way of describing it. It had been like those blinders he'd seen horses wear in the park or in movies. Like the heat had blinded him so that he saw only what the heat wanted him to see. Only he hadn't seen but just felt.

What he'd felt Blake remembered vividly.

Now if only he could block out what an idiot he'd been when his heat first started. He'd almost given himself hypothermia for fuck sakes. And yeah part of the blame could be placed very nicely on Bane's shoulders-but in the end it was his body and he should have known better. Been stronger.

Scrubbing his hands over his face while ignoring the way his arms protested the action, fuck but he was so out of shape, Blake turned his attention to looking around the bedroom he shared with Bane.

They'd arrived 'home' about half an hour ago and Bane had left him a few minutes ago to speak to Talia. Apparently the bitch had appeared at the compound the day before and had been waiting for them upon arrival. Or to be more accurate one of her minions had been waiting for them practically at the door to tell Bane that Talia wanted to see him ASAP. As in now.

It was sad that he could look at it as progress that Bane hadn't just dropped him on his ass then and there so that he could run to Talia's side like the good little/big henchman that he was.

No, Bane had insisted on carrying him back to their rooms first, Barsad walking alongside them and updating Bane on everything he needed to be updated on as they went. Once they'd arrived at their doorway Barsad had been ordered to guard said door while they'd headed inside, Bane depositing him on the bed and even covering him with the sheet before abandoning him to go shower and then get dressed in clean clothes.

Then his so called future mate had left after giving him stern instructions to remain in bed and rest until Bane returned. And looking for a silver lining-well at least he could be grateful that being forced to become an omega again hadn't turned him into an idiot.

Logically he'd known that any changes to his personality would or at least should be minor, but Blake was too much of a pessimist not to have feared the worst in the darkest corners of his brain. And hoping for the best while expecting the worst generally worked for him. Especially when he was already up shit's creek without a paddle. Like now.
Definitely like now. But since there was currently not a doubt in his mind that Bane was an idiot Blake figured he could be cautiously optimistic at the moment.

Hearing the sound of the door opening Blake gingerly slid into a sorta seated position-and then threw off the sheet and ran to Simon without any real awareness of the physical pain his mind was trying to make him aware of.

His pain didn't matter. Simon mattered. And Simon was hurt.

Simon had been fine before he'd left and the visible bruising was obviously at least a day old judging from the coloring. The most obvious culprit was just as obvious, and there was definitely a growl to his voice when he said Danilo's name.

"He had to test me." Simon shrugged as he said it. "It doesn't hurt that much."

Not about to believe that without seeing the damage for himself Blake gently grasped Simon's chin and carefully turned the younger man's head this way and that to study it for damage before lifting up the alpha's shirt so that he could get a good look at the lovely bruises blooming over Simon's torso before clinically testing the ribs for signs of breakage.

"Are you trying to get him killed?"

He'd noted that Barsad had followed Simon into his room of course, but at the other man's words Blake switched his attention to Bane's second for a moment. "What do you mean? How badly is he hurt?"

"You're Bane's omega. You do recall how insistent he was that no one touch you when you were just a Pet, yes?"

"So you're saying I literally have the touch of death now?" Because he'd met a few alphas, such as the leader of the League of Shadows, who he wouldn't mind seeing dead in the near future. And the man's daughter too, assuming the rule applied to everyone not Bane.

"Don't put your scent on Kei." Barsad bit off.

"I'd never forgive Bane if he hurt him." Blake shot back. "He knows that."

"You're assuming he'd be rational about it."Barsad resorted, his gaze deadly serious. "You're his one and only. He's decided that you will be his mate and mother of his children. He will not be reasonable or lenient when it comes to you. He'll make sure every man within these walls knows you aren't to be touched. And what he'll do to them if they dare."

Apparently agreeing with Barsad on the matter Simon reached up and pushed Blake's hand away from his skin. "I was checked over by the doctor. I'm just bruised and sore. I swear." A moment's pause. "Are you all right?"

"Just a little bruised and sore. And I had two splinters Bane had to pull out before we came back. He had four."

"How'd you get that many?"

"Broke the bed."

Barsad winced at that, probably not wanting to think about his leader's sex life. Simon on the other hand nodded and stated that it made sense that someone of Bane's size would be hard on furniture.

"How's your father?"

"The same."

Nodding in understanding Blake would have given Simon's shoulder a squeeze if not for Barsad's warning. He'd have to have a little pow wow with the idiot about this whole no touching thing ASAP. After all the no touch rule had been in effect when he'd just been Bane's 'pet', but he'd still touched Simon then without any repercussions. Bane hadn't liked it, but he'd tolerated it.

"I was sent with food for you. I set it on the table by the door since I knew you'd fuss over me as soon as you saw me."

"Sweet." He could definitely eat.

"Sit down and I'll get it for you." And so saying Simon turned around and went to fetch the food in question.

For his own amusement Blake called after him that his ass wasn't all that fond of sitting at the moment which made Simon shake his head without looking back at him.

Barsad meanwhile continued to look at Blake like he expected him to unleash the ten plagues of Egypt on him at any moment.


"Talia's presence here does not bode well for him."

"You mean it doesn't bode well for me. Assuming you mean Bane and not Kei."

Rather than comment on that Barsad stated that it would be in Blake's best interests to be on his best behavior when she came to see him.

"Let's cut to the chase, shall we? She's going to try and kill me now. Before she was getting off on the idea of Bane raping and torturing me, but she knows he won't do that now that he knows I'm an omega even if she ordered him to. And she also knows that if I become Bane's mate I'll matter to him. Yes I'll always come in second to her unless I'm pregnant at the time, but even just one instance of him putting me before her would be too much for her craziness to handle. And she won't allow me to have children that could one day usurp her, which means she'll kill me before they can be conceived. Even if I play nice."

That last bit he tacked on as sarcastically as he could. Which was saying something.

"You aren't wrong."

"No shit, Sherlock."

"We're all up shit's creek without a paddle." Simon stated in agreement as he came back over with the dinner tray. "Here you go."

"Thanks." Taking the tray Blake walked back over to the bed and then set the tray down on top of it, wincing as he carefully lowered himself as well before stretching out on his side so that he was facing the other two. "Have you already eaten, Kei?"

"Yes. It wasn't good."

Looking over what was on his plate...

"Right there with you."


Listening to the two of them discuss what the kitchens had provided for dinner and comparing tonight's meal with previous meals they'd eaten in Gotham, Barsad wasn't quite sure what to think of either man. Especially since moments before they'd been talking about the fact that Talia was going to have Blake assassinated at her earliest convenience. With Kei quite possibly dying alongside his friend in the process. The boy was supposed to guard the cop after all. And Barsad was not about to just stand around and let Kei be killed so-so shouldn't they be discussing what the hell they could do to keep them all alive and breathing?

Some of his thoughts must have been written clearly on his face.

"There's nothing any of us can do short of assassinating her first." Blake toasted him with his water glass, a knowing smirk on the omega's face. "Bane's deluded where she's concerned and his happiness means nothing to her. The only thing I can do is try not to end up dead before Bruce comes for me."

"I won't be of much use to him except as a human shield." Kei added with a shrug. "And that's only if I remain his bodyguard."

"Will he be safer if he isn't my guard?" Blake wanted to know.

"Hard to say." Barsad crossed his arms in front of him. "He was sent with us to test his loyalty and make him Bane's problem, rather than al Ghul's. He isn't deadly or skilled enough
to be a bodyguard for Bane's mate but letting him be dead weight around here isn't an option either."

Kei was nodding along with him, which Barsad took to mean the man wasn't at all insulted by anything he'd just said. Which just highlighted once again how un-alpha like Kei was.

"He could take on the full-time job of caretaker for Hitachi. Given his long service to the League, surely providing him with care and comfort in his advanced years would justify keeping Kei here."

"I intend to argue that point."

"If Bane weren't so in denial that Talia is a psychopath we could argue that I'm the only person here who won't kill him under her orders. So I should be allowed to stick around to guard him. Though I would rather just hang out with Father all day. Guarding you is boring, John."

Blake rolled his eyes over that.

"We do need to come up with a plan now. Especially since there's no guarantee the three of us will have privacy again any time soon."

"If you have some genius plan to keep Talia from killing me I'm all ears."

Barsad wished he did. But he didn't other than Blake doing his best not to draw Talia's attention or anger her while Blake was in her presence. And judging from the look in the cop's eyes when he said as much Barsad knew he'd just wasted his breath.

"She'll kill him soon."

Kei wasn't wrong about that.

"I'm not an easy man to kill, Barsad." Blake stated after a few moments of silence. "And she is going to have to be careful about how she takes me out. That gives me an advantage."

Kei wanted to know what he meant.

"Alphas aren't rational when it comes to their mates or omegas. Everyone knows that. Hell, odds are that Bane knew what I was on some subconscious level, to let me get away with some of the shit I've pulled since we met. Now maybe if we'd been together for a while it wouldn't be that bad, but this close to our 'bonding' and my first heat with him Talia has to know he won't be rational where I'm concerned. That means if I'm dying any time soon it's going to have to look like suicide, an accident, or she's got someone lined up to take the blame. Someone she can kill and take credit for killing in revenge for killing me so that she can ensure her scapegoat is never questioned while also earning Bane's gratitude and continued devotion."

"I doubt a natural looking death. She'll want you to suffer. It's her nature to play with her prey."

"Yeah, I know. It's one of the reasons she and her dad are such fuckups. They don't realize that the best way to end your enemies is to just end them. Blow them up and that's that. But no, they have to make it all complicated and drawn out." Blake rolled his eyes. "It's like the biggest villain cliché there is."

"They didn't watch enough Disney as kids." Was Kei's apparently serious opinion on the matter.

A snort from Blake. "True."

"Somehow I don't think watching sanitized versions of old folk tales would have made them more apt at killing people."

"Says their loyal henchman who will, as per usual, likely die because of their stupidity. And die in ways way worse than Disney villains if we're talking your Grimm version."

"I don't want you to die."

Surprised, Barsad looked over at Kei. "Thank you."

"You're welcome. Even though it would be your own fault for being stupid enough to join the League in the first place."

"Seriously bad move on your part." Blake agreed before Barsad could say anything. "Though Bane and Talia definitely win the prize for most stupid. Congratulations to them."
Blake pretended to toast them with his water glass.

Kei stared at Blake for a moment and then broke out into bright, happy laughter that made Barsad's breath catch in his chest. So beautiful.

In surprisingly companionable silence Barsad joined Blake in waiting the laughter out before asking the younger man what was so funny.

Obviously struggling to keep a straight face, Kei's eyes practically danced with merriment. "What he said made me think of some lines from a new song John taught me. They fit those two to a T, since Bane thinks he can control John and she thought all these stupid things about him."

And then he sang the lines.

"You've invented a new kind of stupid
A damage you can never undo
Kind of stupid
An open all the cages in the zoo
Kind of stupid
Clearly, you didn't think this through,
Kind of stupid."

Breaking out into peals of laughter Blake gave himself over to hilarity while Barsad just stared at Kei as he tried to process what the other man had just insinuated. And when he did...

"Don't ever sing that around them."

Chapter Text

More Important Than

Talia was in denial of what they'd done, which was to be expected. Bane understood why and so he listened without comment while she paced and threw out one wild theory after another as she tried to escape the unescapable truth. She had had an omega beaten. Had set him up to be raped and tortured. That she hadn't known he was an omega at the time didn't excuse her behavior any more than it did his own. They had dishonored her mother with their actions. Betrayed her teachings and expectations. And what they'd done she might never forgive them for. They could only atone now and hope that their future actions were enough to appease her should they meet again in the next life.

"Are you listening to me?"

"Of course. But you must accept the undeniable." Bane held her gaze. "He is an omega."

"I know that." She growled. " Do you think I can't smell it on you? Him."

Since he could smell his Robin on him through his mask yes, Bane couldn't see how she could miss the fact that his lover was an omega. Though the way she spoke and looked as she said it, like his omega's scent offended her...offended him. Robin was his mate and his scent was as sensual and alluring as the rest of him. But this display of anger was just another way for her to deny and focus on something other than their crimes. He knew that.

"And of course he's an omega." She continued, whirling around to give him her back as she continued to pace. "He never showed any interest in men before. But an omega, even a male wonder Wayne took him to bed."

"They were not lovers."

"So he told you. And you believe because he's an omega."

"He was living as a Beta in Gotham. Has lived all his life as one." Bane reminded her. Again. "And it is not he we have quarrel with. Wayne is our enemy."

"Which means that your Pet is worthless. That he means nothing to Wayne outside of 'friendship'. Wayne will not come for him and will not care what happens to him. Is that what you think, My Friend?"

He did not like the look in her eyes one bit. "He is not worthless. He is MINE."

"So possessive. And adamant. Unusual for you. But then he seems to be quite skilled at seducing powerful alphas into giving him value he doesn't deserve." Talia stared up into his eyes, moving close to drive her point home. "Tell me something...just how much value does he have to you? I've heard very little about him from our men, and what I've heard suggests he stopped being treated as a Pet long before you knew what he was. Has all your intelligence, like your allegiance to me, been shed so quickly?"

"Have I ever given you cause to doubt my loyalty?"

"No. Until now. You said you intend to take him as your mate. To 'restore' his honor and make amends for your treatment of him thus far. Will I still be first in your affections when that's so? Would you kill him to save me, My Bane?"

"I would never allow him to cause you harm." It was the truth. What he would do if Robin were to try and bring about Talia's end...pained him to think about. He would have no choice but to-but-death by his hands would be quicker than any her father would assign the task.

But Robin would never be so foolish and he would make sure that his omega understood. Obeyed.

At least in this.

"Lucky for you that scrawny little cop would stand no chance against me. Somehow I think you'd be slow to do what once came so naturally to you. Where is he, by the way? I really should congratulate him on his rise in position."



Studying her, knowing her, Bane knew her too well to try and steer her in another direction. If she didn't realize it now she would later, her cold rage only becoming that much more ravenous and destructive. Better to let her have her way while he was at least there to mediate.

"Follow me."


They spoke not a word as they traveled back to his rooms. It was not a comfortable silence. It wounded Bane deeply, to feel so detached from her. To feel unwelcome in her presence. It reminded him all too well of the times when he'd been torn from her side by her father, sent away to do his bidding elsewhere in the world. But this time it was she who was-but no. No this was not about him. This was about what he was becoming to think was an obsession with Wayne. She was so focused on the Betrayer that she wasn't seeing anything clearly. Otherwise she would never doubt him. Would never question his loyalty to him.

How to make her see clearly though.

Killing Wayne was the obvious answer. While several members of the League of Shadows had been given that task and failed over the years Bane had never had opportunity or the pleasure. Perhaps that was the answer. Have Wayne found and then go to him. End him. End Talia's interest in him once and for all.

Robin's wrath would be considerable, yes. But he'd be alive and of little interest to Talia then.

He'd put Barsad on the task of finding the bat, wherever he currently laired.

"I understand that Hitachi grows weaker and closer to death by the minute."

Relieved, Bane inclined his head. "That is what I've been told, yes."

"And what will you do with the boy once his father is dead?"

"Kei? I will keep him." Killing Wayne would bring about his mate's wrath. Taking the boy Robin considered family from him...

"Why? What use is he to you?"

"His father has never asked anything of the League save for the boy's life to be spared. His last wishes are easy enough to honor. I can afford to tolerate the boy."

"And the fact that your Pet-your mate is so fond of him... Are you so sure you shouldn't worry about that?"

If not for her mood Bane possibly would have laughed at the idea.

"He's a boy. And my mate sees him as such."

"Are you sure of that? Many men in the League have pursued Kei since he was first brought into our midst. He lacks intelligence, that's true, but that matters little to those who are only interested in his body and face. And his would be considered perfection by many. And while you're unquestionably the stronger and more intelligent...your looks are far more likely to scare away men than attract them, My Friend. In your shoes I would not be so foolish as to leave two of them alone the way you apparently do. You do remember that the bitch is only with you because my father gave him to you. He had no say in the matter. I would imagine Kei is more than willing to comfort him when he bemoans his fate."

Her words were meant to wound, which they did. How could they not?

Bane had never been vain. He had never had the opportunity to see his own face before leaving the Pit. And by then his face as well as his body had been scarred and misshapen by his time there. He had never cared what he looked like, and even relishing the way his face and mask inspired fear in others. But he had never had a mate before, and would not if Robin would not accept him. And for all that Robin had praised his body and indicate his much was genuine and how much was survival was something only Robin knew. And was not likely to tell him.

But regardless, Bane knew that he had nothing to worry about when it came to Kei. The boy was like a little brother to Robin, and Kei showed no sexual interest in anyone, least of all the man who babied and coddled him like the child he so often acted like. Robin didn't see him as a man, that was for certain.

Other men though...he'd kill any that tried to take his treasure from him.

"You must remember how weak and shallow his kind is. How the world in which the pig cop lives corrupted him every day of his life. Physical beauty and meaningless wealth valued more than honor and strength. It's no wonder he would be drawn to an alpha like Bruce. In their world he would be the shiniest of prizes. Even my father once thought Wayne was worthy of me."

Bane's words came out like gravel. "He was wrong."

"Just as he was to give the cop to you. Do you know he actually feels-"

What she would have said remained unsaid as both their attentions had turned to the sound of running feet in their direction. And they were both tense and prepared to defend or attack when the source of the noise came into view several meters ahead of them. And at the sight of them Bane forgot all about battle and Talia as he sprang forward while demanding an explanation.

"He was fine and then he doubled over in pain." Barsad called out in reply. "Serious stomach cramps."

Eyes on his omega, who was being carried in Kei's arms, Bane knew the pain had to be extreme for the other man to be so quiet and still. It was in Robin's nature to bitch and be as sarcastic and verbal as possible when scared or just hurting. The fact that the omega wasn't loudly blaming Bane for whatever was wrong, as was his inclination, spoke volumes.

And as soon as he was in reach Bane demanded that Kei hand him over, the boy showing some intelligence in doing so immediately.

"I'll run ahead and alert the doctor." Kei stated before taking off at a run. Without waiting for agreement or permission.

But Bane couldn't care less as Robin's arms wrapped around his neck and his omega snuggled against his chest for comfort. His little one's breathing was ragged with the pain, the scent of blood reaching Bane's nose. Robin was biting into his lip to still the cries of pain.

"Stop biting your lip." Bane ordered as they all headed in the direction Kei had gone moments before.

"Make me." Robin ground out.

Knowing better than to go there Bane asked Robin if he was bleeding anywhere else.

"No." A hiss. "Fuck. If this is anything like PMS cramps I owe a lot of women apologies."

The snort Talia made seemed to take her as much by surprise as the rest of them.

"Kei's gone to get drugs, right?"

"And you a cop." Talia taunted.

"You can-Fuck." Turning his head Robin decided that rather than bite his lip or tongue he should just bite Bane's shoulder. Hard. While making a muffled noise that Bane imagined would be words the omega wasn't allowed to utter if not for Bane's flesh getting in the way.

Bane accepted the bite without comment, preferring that to having to punish Robin for disrespecting Talia.

Talia of course noticed. "You let him mark you?"

"He cannot hurt me."

The sound that elicited suggested Bane was equally in trouble with Robin as well. The omega's teeth were also now working his flesh punishingly, promising to bruise spectacularly despite the toughness of his skin. But it marked him as Robin's too. That he welcomed even if the omega didn't see it that way.

"If he bites you every time you displease him or he has to hold back a comment he will become a cannibal in no time." Barsad muttered under his breath, though Bane heard him clearly.

Turning Bane loose for the moment Robin spoke to them in a disturbing tone of voice. "Everything in this room is eatable, even I'm eatable! But that is called "cannibalism," my dear
children, and is in fact frowned upon in most societies."

"Do we want to know?" Barsad asked, saving Bane from the task.

"No. Fuck. Take me to Kei. He gets my pop culture-FUCK-references." The words ended on a groan as Robin shuddered in Bane's arms, the other man again biting down into his already bruised and bloodied lip.

Thankfully they reached their destination before he bit through it, the doctor coming over immediately with a needle in his hand.

"It will ease the pain."


Trusting that the doctor knew that his life would be forfeit if Robin's was lost through his negligence, Bane gave the nod to administer the drug.

The drug worked quickly, thankfully. Robin was unconscious in seconds.

"What is wrong with him?"

"My educated guess is that his body is making its displeasure known to him. You cannot suppress one's nature, for it always finds a way to resurface."

Kei, who'd come over to stand close by, piped up. "The actual quote is life will find a way."

The doctor gave him a puzzled look.

"Nevermind. John will get it later."

"As I was saying...your Pet's body is not only undergoing extreme hormone fluctuations, but is under significant stress both physically and emotionally. Add in the drastic changes to his diet, environment, and the strain of his present circumstances...all could cause serious and painful stomach cramps. I will of course examine him now to be on the safe side, but cramping was listed as a side effect of going off Umbra."

"I could not find much information about its use."

The doctor didn't seem surprised to hear it. "From what I've seen little research has been done on the effects of long-term Umbra use. I have made inquiries too, but so far the information they've given me I already know. To better understand what is happening with your omega's body I would advise you to see him examined by someone more familiar with omega physiology. And with equipment designed for that purpose."

"You mean to find out if it can breed." Talia stated flatly.

"He is not an 'it'." Bane said it softly. But firmly.

And when her eyes met his he held it.

"Special equipment will be needed to confirm that, yes." Eyes wary the doctor cleared his throat and asked Bane to lay his Pet out on the examining table. While he did that the doctor explained that without numerous tests and scans being done it would be impossible to say what the Pet's reproductive abilities were at this point. Especially since the omega had used both the cheapest and most expensive versions of Umbra on the market.

"The most expensive?"

"Yes, My Lady. According to the boy the Pet informed him that for the last few years his drugs were provided by Bruce Wayne. Naturally the man could afford the best, and the more expensive versions are much less harmful to the omega's overall health."

Bane turned his attention to Kei, who just blinked back at him. Completely unfazed by the heat in Bane's stare as usual. If he didn't know how simple Kei was about some things he'd take that returned look as a challenge.

As it was Bane just mentally cursed the fact that he was stuck with the boy.

"They really weren't lovers." Kei volunteered, apparently interpreting Bane's look to mean he was supposed to say something. "I mean occasionally the tabloids speculated he went both ways but John says he's just into girls. And apparently ever since he lost some girl named Rachel he's been a real sad panda when it comes to dating and sex. Plus he's not John's type. He'd drive John even crazier than Bane does."

"And why is that?" Bane asked, his eyes never leaving the doctor as the beta checked Robin's pulse and temperature.

"I don't know. That's what he said."

"His pulse is good. His temperature is high, but not dangerously so."

"Rachel? The lawyer?"

Kei didn't look in Talia's direction as he stated that John had said that Wayne had considered Rachel his mate.

"Did he. How unfortunate for him."

"She's already dead." Kei informed her. "So you can't kill her."

Ignoring Kei Talia stated that since she could offer no 'assistance' she'd leave and give the doctor room to work. Would Bane accompany her to her rooms so that they could go over the plans he was to discuss with Singh when he met with him.

"I can look after him." Barsad spoke quietly from his side.


No. Bane couldn't do it. He couldn't leave his omega lying here, defenseless. Yes Barsad would guard him with his life. Bane didn't question that for a moment. But Robin now smelled like the omega he was and his scent still carried the seductive remnants of his heat. And while Barsad could easily take down any alpha save him in the compound...should they come en masse...

"You can brief Barsad now, or I will speak to you later when my omega is awake and well."

"I see. Later then."

A moment's glance, then off she went without a backward glance.

"She will not allow anyone to surpass her in your affection. She will kill him if you cannot convince her that her place is secure."

"She will not kill him."

"Yes." Was Barsad's firm reply. "She will."

Chapter Text

Thick, Male Heads

Blake woke up with a foul taste in his mouth and a sore tummy that thankfully no longer felt like a giant rat had gotten trapped in there and had been trying to claw and chew its way out. Thank God. And as an added bonus the first thing Blake saw when he opened his eyes was his alpha hovering over him like a mother hen, relief in Bane’s eyes when they met his own. It would have been a better visual if the alpha had ditched the mask, but still...he was pleasantly surprised to see the man standing guard over him. Which made him a complete idiot, but Blake figured he could be excused this once. Or at least blame it on the drugs or temporary Stockholm Syndrome.

“Do you require the doctor?”

Since he’d come perilously close to both screaming and possibly crying when he’d last been conscious Blake gave the question serious thought as he did a thorough mental investigation of his body. The pain level had definitely gone down from an eight point five at least to a...three, maybe? Thereabouts, anyway.

And now that the pain had significantly decreased Blake could think clearly enough to be majorly pissed at himself for taking the drugs and leaving himself open to an attack before. I mean sure there’d been people around at the time who didn’t want him dead, but given that Talia could order them all out of the room and they’d listen...he should have sucked it up and let himself cry if that’s what he had to do. Trusting Bane to stay put even with Talia in the compound had been the definition of serious stupidity. Like promiscuous blonde omega who goes down into the dark basement alone in a horror movie setting stupid.

Or it should have been. Bane was here and possibly had been since he'd passed out. Huh.

He also didn’t sense great evil in the room so Blake didn’t think Talia was somewhere out of his line of vision, which was another nice surprise too. Not that he’d expected her to stick around unless it was in the hopes of smothering him with his pillow when Bane’s back was turned. Not that they’d even given him a pillow, the savages. What did they have against basic human comforts here?

And he really needed to focus.

“My muscles are sore from seizing up, and I have low grade headache lurching in the back of my mind, but I’m okay otherwise. At least for the moment. Better keep whatever was in that needle handy though in case that changes.” Blake closed his eyes for a moment, refocusing his thoughts, then opened them again to meet Bane’s gaze. “How long was I out?”

“Almost four hours.”

“Joy. Where’s everyone else?”

“The doctor is with Hitachi in his room at the moment. The boy and Barsad are with them, and Talia is in her rooms to the best of my knowledge.”

Shit. “He doesn’t have much time left, does he? Hitachi.”


“Fuck. That’s going to fuck Si-Kei up.” Lifting his arms, a task that took way more effort than it should have, Blake scrubbed his hands over his face. “Kid just can’t catch a break.”

“You do realize that technically he achieved manhood years ago.”

This called for bunny ear quotations as Blake highlighted the importance of the word technically.

“And he’ll always be a kid to me. I taught him to shave for fuck sakes. And used to make him eat his vegetables, which was not easy since I don’t like them either.” And the shaving lessons had been a little pointless since as it turned out Simon couldn’t grow a beard or really any body hair to save his life. Lucky bastard. But he had done demonstrations, so it still counted.

Speaking of which...

“I need a shave.” He hated getting scruffy. Bane could pull off the five o'clock shadow very sexily though, Blake decided after a moment to think about it. Not a beard though. He’d take the man bald and hairless first.

“Don’t you think you should be more concerned with your inner health than your outer appearance?”

A valid point, save for one thing. “Wouldn’t you rather I focus on my face scruff as opposed to the fact that because you wouldn’t give me my Umbra my entire body is making me suffer? Not to mention there’s probably not a lot that can be done for me here other than drug me to the gills. Oh, and keep me alive by keeping Talia away from me. Those two things are now your sacred duty, by the way.”

“You are so sure she’d kill you, even knowing your lesser value to Wayne.”

“Bane.” You idiot. “EVERYONE knows she wants to kill me and why. Except for you.”

“I am aware of why. But neither of you will kill the other. I will see to that.”

Unlike Talia Blake had a pretty firm ‘I don’t kill people’ mentality. Not that he couldn’t or wouldn’t, but to take a life was a weight he would only shoulder if there was no other choice in the matter. That being said, Blake was pretty sure that Talia needed to be put down like the rabid dog that she was. There was no saving a creature who lacked a working soul to begin with. Only death would save her from herself and others from her.

That and prolonged exposure to each other could only end one way. Let's be real.

And apparently some of what he was thinking showed in his eyes or on his face.

“You would be wrong to think you could succeed.”

“Bane...if you get your wish and knock me up I will HAVE TO kill her for the sake of the baby. She might surprise me and actually be intelligent enough to realize that I can’t replace her in your affection, but a baby? Your baby? She won’t suffer it to live. And I will not let her live the moment she tries.”

“She would not murder a child.”

“Bane. Come on. She and her father constantly speak of laying waste to Gotham and other cities in order to ‘save’ the world and mankind. Can you honestly look me in the eye and swear on the lives of any future children we might have that no child would be hurt, much less killed if they succeeded? That you would never have to touch our children with hands stained with innocent blood under their orders?”

They both knew he couldn’t. And the silence in the room was heavy.

“She would not murder my child.” Was what Bane finally responded with.

Yes. Yes she would. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, and really he shouldn’t, Blake could imagine that she might, just might, have enough feeling in what passed for her soul to regret causing Bane the sort of pain the loss of his child would no doubt inflict on the already damaged man. Blake knew that Bane had been with Talia all her life, had helped raise and nearly died to see her free of The Pit. And Bane had no doubt risked his life for her many times since then. Bane probably did matter to her, even if it wasn’t real love she felt. Wasn’t selfless or giving enough to put Bane’s happiness before her own. So yes, maybe she would be sorry to hurt him...but she’d blame him and Blake for daring to bring the child into the world to ‘replace’ her in the first place. Blame the child for existing and forcing her hand.

But telling Bane that would be pointless. He, Barsad, and pretty much anyone else could talk until they expired from frustration and Bane still wouldn’t believe them. Bane would have to see with his own eyes. He’d believe only when there was no other choice but to accept the unacceptable.

So rather that argue Blake asked when Bane planned to get him to a specialist to see if he could get pregnant. If they were lucky the answer would be no and Bane would never have to face how right Blake was about this.

The emotion that came into Bane’s eyes then was there and gone so fast Blake didn’t even have enough sense to guess what Bane was hiding from him.

“You don’t want children.”

“It’s a little late to be asking me that now, don’t you think?” But because the question suggested what he might have seen in Bane’s eyes had he had longer to look Blake found himself answering the question in a softened tone. “I would want them if I brought them into a world that wasn’t so hostile to their very existence. Where they’d be safe and loved.”

“You think I couldn’t keep you both safe? Or perhaps that a monster such as I would not be capable of loving our child?”

Stupid, stupid man.

Grinching his teeth Blake struggled to sit up, Bane coming closer to wrap an arm around his waist to support some of his weight for him. Appreciating the gesture Blake worked up a smile as he cupped Bane’s cheek for added emphasis.

“I think you would love any child of ours to the very marrow of your being. And you would die for him or her without hesitation or question. I know that. Don’t doubt that for a second. And with me keeping you in line and training you I think you’d be a great father if given the chance. But neither of us controls the world we live in. And you have masters to answer to. Ones who don’t care what’s best for either of us. Or anyone else but themselves.”

“You’re wrong.”

“I’m not. But how about instead of arguing you take me back to our bed. I’d much rather be lying in it with you than in here giving my body something else to complain about. Please?”

Bane made a sound of frustration, but he nodded in agreement to the rest.

True to his word Blake kept silent as Bane scooped him up into his arms, simply settling against him as comfortably as he could as they crossed the room before twisting a little to open the door for them. That there were two men guarding the door was cause for some eyebrow raising but Blake didn’t ask about them either. The point was Bane knew they were there and they were both betas. Ergo likely not assassins sent to kill him.

Or if they were...they were really crappy at their job.

“Damn I need more sleep.” Turning his head with the intention of burying his face against the side of Bane’s neck Blake paused and tilted his head back a little to get a better look at the rather spectacular bruising there.

“Did I do that?”

Okay, not the best Urkel impression in the world, but then Bane wouldn’t get the reference anyway so it really didn’t matter.


“You mad?”


Well all right then. He’d have to remember that for later. Seeing as his ass was still firmly off limits until future notice. He was still a little drugged...but he wasn’t stupid.


Bright and early the next morning Bane was called to Talia’s rooms to speak with him and Blake was not at all surprised when his mate immediately left him to obey the order. He was surprised when Simon arrived and gave him a play by play of what he’d missed after the doctor had knocked him out though. And yes it hadn’t been an order, Talia asking Bane to leave him to spend time with her, but still...Bane had put him first. Had refused to leave his side. Bane could have ordered Barsad to watch over him since he didn’t trust Simon to do it, but he hadn’t. So Blake was willing to cut him a little bit of slack for all but running to her early. Not much...but a little.

The question of what he and Simon were going to do with themselves occupied their time after that since there wasn’t a heck of a lot they could do. Especially since Simon was half asleep as it was, having stayed up most of the night to keep watch over his father. The man’s impending death was weighing on Simon as well, the younger man showing no interest even in singing or learning a new song.

Simon was lost in his own thoughts at the best of times so yeah, Blake totally got the extra guards that had been posted outside his rooms. Or that could be because of his ‘new’ omega status, which would get annoying quick. Just because he might be able to reproduce now didn’t mean he needed additional babysitters.

And since Blake didn’t see Simon focusing anytime soon, and saw no reason to deny him time with his father before the man left him, Blake asked if Simon thought the guards would be willing to let them go and camp out in Simon’s rooms so he could be with his father.

“I don’t know. Can we ask?”

“Well Bane keeps saying I’m to be his mate so really I should just be able to order them to let us.”

Simon pointed at him. “Not as long as that’s around your neck.”

Hand coming up to fiddle with the damn collar, a sign of his ‘Pet’ status, Blake made a mental note to talk to Bane about ditching it. ASAP.

“Fine. We ask.”

So he asked. And they stated that they needed Barsad or Bane’s permission first.

It took a while, of course, but eventually permission came and the guards escorted them to Simon’s rooms where Simon’s adoptive father smiled weakly to see them join him. He was too weak to even move his head to look at them, but he seemed to draw comfort from their presence which was something.

“It is kind of you, to come here so that he might be with me.”

Moving closer so that he could hear the old man better Blake worked up smile for him. “You’re welcome. Though there isn’t much else to do around here anyway.”

“True. For you or my son.”

“He always has things to do in his head.”

A snort. “True. And too often the case.”

“I am right here, you know.”

“Aww, don’t be like that.” If Simon had been closer instead of on the other side of the bed Blake would have ruffled his hair. And speaking of which...

“You need a haircut.”

Naturally Simon shrugged, not caring either way.

“I’ll cut both our hair if I can convince Bane to trust me with scissors.” For some strange reason the alpha got a bit twitchy whenever he asked him for sharp, pointy objects. No idea why.


A sigh had their attention going back to the man lying in the bed between them.

“You are the most un-alpha alpha I have ever known, My son. The omega is more alpha than you are.”

Simon shrugged again in a ‘what ya gonna do’ manner that had Blake biting back laughter since it was obvious Hitachi didn’t find it a laughing manner. Which, given the situation they all found themselves in, did make a lot of sense.

“I’ll be alpha enough for both of us if I have to.” Blake told the man, patting him on the shoulder for emphasis. “He’s my family too.”

“It will take an omega that strong to live long as Bane’s mate.”

“So I keep telling Bane, but he doesn’t want to hear it.”

Hitachi stared at him with dark, piercing eyes. Compelling Blake to remain silent as the other man chose his words carefully.

“Bane has never seen Talia clearly. I don’t know what she was at birth, but by the time she climbed out from The Pit there was no light left in her. Only darkness. Her father is lost too, constantly searching for light in the darkness, but she doesn’t seek it to save her. But to devour it within her darkness. And as her father and Bane are the source of her power, the League will never follow her, she guards their affections zealously. She might tolerate your existence in her world for a while yet. Wayne might still come for you. But not for much longer. I don’t want my son dying alongside you, John Blake. And now his fate is entwined with yours.”

He felt like he should apologize for that, but at the same time Bane would only tolerate Simon’s presence in the future because Blake had made it clear he had to.

So instead Blake asked if Hitachi had any suggestions on how best to deal with Talia.

“Kill her. Make sure her body is never found.”

“Got a Plan B to offer?”

“There is no other option. If you are half as smart as my son thinks you are you know this.”

“Yeah. I know.”

As if to punctuate the point Hitachi was hit with a coughing fit that shook his whole frame, reminding them that the man wouldn’t be with them much longer.

“She is beyond saving.” Hitachi managed to croak out after the coughing fit was over, his eyes closing on a sigh. “End her and perhaps you can save not only yourself and my son, but Bane as well.”

Chapter Text

Simon Says

Simon was not a happy alpha. He wouldn't have been happy regardless, as the closest thing he'd ever had to a real father was dying and he was trapped in a compound full of crazy Rambo and Terminator wannabes, but still...his biggest discomfort right now was all John's fault and when the jerk woke up Simon had every intention of telling him off. Because seriously, wasn't he suffering enough without the assehole filling his room full of omega heat pheromones?

His father was so lucky he was unconscious right now.

Though then again, the man was still breathing which meant odds were he was aware of John's scent permeating their room on some level. It would explain the small smile on his father's face. Which meant he definitely did NOT want to think about what the old man was dreaming about currently. Because he sure as fuck knew what he was thinking about thanks to centuries of evolution warping an omega's heat scent into a weapon of mass horniness.

Sex. Need sex. Need sex NOW.

His vow of celibacy even before he'd been forced into the League had been by choice and while his heats were never as bad as a regular alpha's seemed to be, that didn't change the fact that he still got them. Thankfully he wasn't experiencing one now, wouldn't that just be fucking perfect, but it rather felt like it thanks to his stupid, dumbass alpha genes. The ones that had been programmed since birth to find the scent of an omega before, during, and after a heat to be the equivalent of smell Viagra.

Which really shouldn't be a thing, but it was. And it sucked. Almost as much as the fact that he was rock hard, more aroused than he would be if he WAS in heat, and there was fuck all he could do about it.

Well he could go into the bathroom and take care of it, Simon's treacherous, lecherous mind reminded him. But that would only take the edge off since he'd still have to come back into his room, smell John, and begin the cycle all over again. So better to just stay and suffer on the off chance that his father might stop breathing or have an attack while he was out of the room. His luck was sucky like that.

And again it wouldn't be a problem if John hadn't taken his discussion with Simon's father so quickly to heart and hadn't decided to start working out right then and there. Despite the fact that he was still recovering from his heat and cramping attack, which meant he really was in no condition to push his body past it's limits. Which of course the dumbass had done. This was John, after all. Omega version of John for that matter, which Simon had just known would be so much worse than Fake Beta John. Ugh.

So John had worked himself into a sweaty mess and then passed out. On Simon's bed. Which would now stink of omega long after John eventually vacated it. And it wasn't like he could insist that they leave so that he could return John to his own bed to stink that up since he didn't want to leave his father alone.

Life stunk. Literally.

Mentally grumbling and cursing a blue streak a mile long, Simon was just starting to think he would risk that bathroom break when someone knocked on the main door.

Now what? Hey, maybe it was Bane to retrieve his damn mate. That would be good.

But when he opened the door it wasn't Bane standing there, but Barsad. Who smelled really good and...huh.

Barsad wanted him. Barsad was not nearly as annoying as omegas were and smelled all sweaty and yummy and had tasted really good before and made those perfect sounds that-

"What's wrong with you?"

There was something wrong with him. And Barsad was just the man to help him with his problem.

Grabbing Barsad by the front of his shirt Simon yanked the beta into his room and then asked him to close the door behind him.

Yanking his shirt out of Simon's hand with more force than Simon would have deemed necessary, Barsad scowled at him, those lovely lips of his framed beautifully by that beard that so intrigued him.

"You don't tell me what to do, Boy. And the only reason I'm closing it now is because I don't want the pheromones the cop is giving off in waves to get out of this room. Are you
trying to insure your death at Bane's hands?"

"No. John was working out."

And now that the door was closed...

Crowding Barsad back against it Simon framed the beta's face between his hands since he intended to kiss the other man quite thoroughly. "If you don't want this just push me away. And unfortunately try not to make a lot of noise because the other two are sleeping."

Niceties taken care of Simon turned his attention to kissing Barsad as thoroughly as possible while grinding up against him in the hopes of getting some relief. He knew how the other man liked to be kissed from their earlier kissing, and he was very happy to use it against him.

He did keep half an ear out in case Barsad protested, no meant no after all. And Barsad did mumble some things in the first minute or so that he couldn't make out, which would have made Simon pause if not for the arms Barsad wrapped around his torso and the way the beta shifted his weight onto his toes so that he could better align their erections as they rutted against each other. Simon figured it was fair to interpret that as his green light to go. And an orgasm wasn't far off given how hot and bothered he already was.

It was definitely a new experience for Simon to have such a hard, muscular body pressed against his. Omegas were so much softer and delicate. Well, most of them. John wasn't, but he was abnormal. The point was that Barsad was strong. Stronger than him. And smelled all sweaty and male and...and he liked it. He liked it a lot. He would have liked it more if he didn't have to use his own mouth to muffle the sounds they were making though. It would make this so much hotter. But still, it was already so much better than making out with an omega. Why the hell hadn't he given betas a chance before this? He didn't even mind the way Barsad's hands were running all over his back and his shoulders.

Wanting more of this Simon let go of Barsad face since he was pretty confident his hands weren't needed there anymore and moved them down to cup Barsad's ass. His very nice, very toned and muscled ass.

Simon purred with pleasure as he squeezed and kneaded the ass he very much wanted to get to know better, the surprise of the sound coming from him shocking Simon into breaking off the kiss for a moment before Barsad growled in anger and lined their lips back up to continue their 'tonsil hockey'. He loved tonsil hockey. Particularly when there was the added bonus of Barsad's beard scratching up against his skin and-

"Fuck!" It was Barsad who broke off the kissing this time as he arched back, possibly in reaction to the fact that Simon had slid his hands up further to get a sense of whether or not Barsad's pants were loose enough that he could slide them under the material. Sadly they weren't.

"You need to keep quiet." Simon reminded him. "Otherwise we wouldn't be doing it this way."

Barsad gave him a very confused and dazed look.

Willing to explain, but still wanting the below the belt stimulation that had sadly stopped, Simon leaned forward to whisper in Barsad's ear while he used his hands to get Barsad's hips moving again as he found just the right angle to drag their erections against each other with every snap of their hips. Which would be so much better without clothes, but that wasn't an option either. And fuck he was already so close...

"If we were allowed to be loud and didn't have two other people nearby I'd have you naked and on my bed already so that I could lick every inch of you. Or bite or scratch. I'd have to learn what you're into. Right now I think I'd prefer to have you keep your hands above your head, it will arch your body more, and then I could just work my way down and find out myself what makes you moan and beg for more so that I can give it to you and play you like an instrument."

He was also definitely into the way Barsad was muttering something in a musical language he didn't understand, vibrating against him like a plucked string as the beta bucked and rubbed up against him with a need that equaled his own.

"I'm pretty flexible provided you're loud and moan a lot. And for the record I have no problem with giving as well as getting oral. Not my favorite thing, but it's only fair. And I really want to know what that beard would feel like on my inner thighs now that I'm thinking about it. Though-"

Simon broke off his commentary to bite back a groan because fuck. Fuck he was so close and he really, really loved the sound of Barsad trying not to make loud noise. The sounds of him trying and somewhat failing to keep quiet was surprisingly erotic. And stimulating. And he was so close to coming himself but there was that whole 'get your partner off first so they keep coming back for more' rule that John had installed in his brain, which was actually true rather than John being John. He'd had exes who'd made it clear that a lot of alphas were really selfish and didn't-

Simon yelped as Barad's suddenly bit his chest, though fuck that was-oh.

The way Barsad's hips stuttered, the other man burying his face against Simon's chest...oh. Thank God.

Four more thrusts and he was coming and that was it.

Mind blanked.


Slumped against the door, the hard surface and Kei's body kept him in place. Which was good, since Barsad wasn't entirely sure that he wouldn't collapse to the floor in a heap otherwise as the minutes ticked by. What, by all the deities in the world, had just happened? He'd...he'd just come in his pants like some untrained and overstimulated youth. And the man-boy responsible for that fact had out of nowhere pushed him back against a door, caged him in with his body, and then had launched an oral assault on his mouth that had caused his brains to apparently leak out of his ears even before Kei started to tell him what he wanted to do to him.

"Sorry. Didn't mean to squish you." Kei's voice, and the unusual huskiness of it, fucked with Barsad's mind even more than his words had minutes before. "My brain just blacked out there for a couple minutes. That's never happened before. I'm not sure I liked it. Though I think I did."


Leaning fully against the door and tipping his head back to get a good look at the bastard responsible for his present condition, Barsad stared at the heavy eyed, sweaty alpha currently smelling of him and sex. Who surprised him every time they came into contact with each other. And drove him crazy.

"We need showers. And I should check on my father." Kei thoughtfully tilted his head. "Are you here to take John somewhere?"

It took a moment for the question at the end to sink in.

"To check if he's still here. And escort him back to Bane's rooms if he was." Or at least he was pretty sure those had been his instructions. His brain was still short circuiting a little.

"Okay." Another questioning look. "Can you stand?"

Pissed at the question Barsad straightened up and brushed down his shirt. And was very grateful that his pants were black. Now if only the scent of sex weren't in the air, fogging up his brain and...and...

Some puzzle pieces fell into place. And Barsad did NOT like the way they fit.

"Did you jump me because the cop stunk this place up with his heat scent?"

"Isn't it terrible? My bed is going to smell like him for days."

The fact that Kei didn't enjoy the way the omega smelled would have been gratifying...if not for the fact that Barsad was quite certain that the only reason the annoying alpha in front of him had come on to him was because the omega's scent had stirred him up. Even if it had been against his will.

"Damn alphas."

For the first time showing some sense, or at least something resembling a self-preservation instinct, Simon shook his head at him. "If it had been someone else at the door I wouldn't have jumped them. Especially Talia. That idea is nauseating. And it isn't because my father thinks you could keep me alive after he's dead if John can't."

Barsad stuck with glaring at him.

"I like the way you smell and your beard and the fact that your body isn't soft. And the sounds you make. Even when you're muffling them. Which is weird."

There were so many possible responses for him to have to that...but for the sake of his sanity Barsad opted for stating that he needed to clean up in the bathroom and then he'd wake up Blake and see him out. They'd talk later. Much later.

"Okay. And please don't tell anyone we did that. I don't want Talia to know. She might hit on me again."

"She hit on you?"

"I told her that I was asexual. it would be best for me if she keeps believing that."

"It would be. Yes."

And now he had something else to think and worry about. Great.


Talia had kept him by her side all day, and Bane was ready to crawl out of his skin by the time he'd finally managed to excuse himself for the rest of it. it was a new feeling, not to want to spend every moment he could with Talia. She'd been his world for so long, and then every time her father had cast him from Talia's side he'd obeyed only because she asked him to. Now there was Robin. His omega. Who needed his watchful eye on him even more than Talia did. The thought of what his Pet would get up to if left unsupervised chilled his blood. And filled him with something that felt ominously like fear. An emotion he thought long conquered. And then there was the fact that his omega was so blatant in his dislike for Talia. The two loathing each other without even trying to know the other. Their views distorted thanks to Wayne and their past relationships with him.

She'd dropped hints throughout the day...that Robin had been Wayne's lover.

Grimacing at the thought, which was hidden by his mask, Bane nodded to the guards stationed outside his door and then told them that they could go.

Waiting until they had done as commanded Bane opened the door and headed into the room where his omega resided, Robin's beautiful body currently twisted into a position that demonstrated that his Pet had not been joking about his flexibility. The crane pose was not for beginners.

Robin made it look completely natural to put all your weight on your arms and bring your knees in to press against your armpits while the rest of your body was suspended in midair.

Sensing his presence Robin slowly and carefully turned a little so that he was looking in Bane's direction.

"I don't know what the hell crawled up Barsad's ass, but whatever it is I hope it's painful and dies up there. What the hell has him in such a snit?"
Since Barsad had been perfectly fine when last they'd spoken Bane had no idea what his omega was talking about. It generally took a great deal to put a visible crack in his second's composure. In fact the last time he could recall-

"It was the boy."

"The boy? Si-Kei? That...yeah. It was probably him."

With a thoughtful expression on his face Robin shifted into the firefly position. "He seemed in a pretty decent mood when we left. I'm okay with Barsad being in a crappy mood. The ass."

"He was disrespectful to you?"

Robin gave him a less than impressed look. "Bane...I'm a Pet. EVERYONE disrespects me."

"You will be my mate. Barsad and everyone will be required to show you proper respect." He'd beat that into any heads that needed the reminder.

"My neck accessory says otherwise, Big Boy."

Having opened his mouth to argue Bane had no choice but to close it because one, Robin was correct about the collar and how others viewed those who wore them. And was hard to concentrate on what they were discussing now that he'd gotten closer and could smell the sweat his omega had worked up. And that was beaded on his mate's shirtless body as he continued to twist his body in ways that showed off his beautiful, toned body to its best advantage.

"Don't even think about it."


"You're eye fucking me. And my ass is SO off limits to you."

"You're misinterpreting my expression. I simply appreciate your physical fitness and flexibility."

"Bane...I've been eye fucked since I was a teenager. I know that look. Even with that stupid tin can on your face. Which needs to come off, by the way. If you're staying."

If he was staying?

"Your mistress might need you to listen to her whine about Wayne and how mean he was to her. Or just stand around and gaze at her adoringly. Or verbally kiss her ass. If you actually kiss her ass count on both my ass and my mouth being unavailable to you in the future. Indefinitely."

He would have sighed if Robin wouldn't have enjoyed knowing he was getting to him. "We have never had that sort of relationship. And I have made it clear that you are to show her respect."

Lifting his legs straight in the air Robin turned until his rear was facing in Bane's direction. And wiggled it.

"R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Kiss my ass, BB."

Chapter Text

Sorry this took so long, was not in the right headspace or canon space to work on it. Also don't even get me started on how long it took to come up with the right song for Simon. For anyone who cares it's 'The Living Years' by Mike + The Mechanics.

The Living Years

When you lived in Gotham you learned to sleep lightly unless you could afford to do otherwise. And needless to say Blake had never been one of those people. Being in tune with his surroundings and able to throw off sleep with the snap of a finger had saved Blake's butt plenty of times once he'd mastered the art of sleeping lightly. No surprise, it hadn't come naturally to him. But whether it was that training, the knowledge that Talia was plotting his untimely demise, or the fact that he was still getting weird hot flashes that kept him sweaty and uncomfortable didn't matter. Regardless of the reason Blake was awake and aware in a heartbeat when someone knocked lightly on their door while it was still dark outside.

The fact that whoever it was was announcing their presence was reassuring. Odds were their visitor didn't want one or both of them dead. Or if they did that wasn't why they were here.

Naturally the knocking had woken up Bane as well, the alpha sliding out of bed in tandem with him a moment later while telling Blake to remain in bed. Or else.

"Or else what?" Seriously. Bad guys rarely knocked before killing you, and it had to be important if they were being interrupted so late at night. Or early in the morning. He didn't know what time it was.

Blake assumed Bane was giving him a look that would make a normal person stay put, he could feel the force of it even if he couldn't see it...and wasn't it handy that it was too dark for him to see it? He certainly thought so.

Still, there was no point in pissing Bane off if whoever was at the door was someone come to fetch Bane for Talia or to report something in a language he didn't understand and therefore couldn't prove useful later. Plus now that Blake was thinking clearer there really was no point in getting up so he might as well stay on the bed like a good little omega until it suited him to do otherwise. So he did.

By the time Bane had gotten his favorite accessory strapped into place the visitor had knocked again, Bane demanding to know who it was before opening it. So suspicious.

"Kwame, Sir. Barsad sent me."

Adding that list of names to his mental catalogue of 'Who's Who in the League of Shadows' Blake watched from the bed as Bane opened the door.


"Hitachi is dead."

"Shit." Jumping to his feet Blake quickly walked across the mattress and then hopped off Bane's side of the bed to run over to the door. Or as close as he could get before Bane moved to block him from leaving the room. The damn man took up a lot of space when he wanted to, his back to Blake. "Move it or lose it! Simon will need me!"


"I am serious right now, Bane. He's family to me and he's just lost someone he loves very much. He probably isn't showing how much he's hurting but he needs to know he's not alone and I will NOT forgive you if you try and make me stay in here. Either you take me to him or bring him to me. Those are the only two options you have." A pause for emphasis. "No one should be alone while they're grieving unless it's by choice. And even then that's usually a stupid idea."

Still not looking in Blake's direction Bane addressed the underling. "Is Barsad with the boy?"

"Yes, Sir."

Opening his mouth to tell Bane that Barsad or no Barsad he was still going, Blake found himself closing his mouth as Bane ordered the beta to go and relay to Barsad that the two of them would be coming to pay their respects momentarily.

"Yes, Sir."

Bane closed the door then finally turned around to face Blake properly. Or Blake presumed he did since there was really no light to see by now that the door was closed. "Go get dressed properly."

Oh. Right. He was only wearing boxer briefs.

Turning around Blake headed straight for the dresser where his meager collection of clothes were kept, finding it with ease since he'd already mapped out the room in his head so that even in the dark he wouldn't trip over anything. Had to be ready for anything after all. Especially since it was Talia al Ghul who was shortly going to try and assassinate him. Or more likely have one of her underlings was going to try and ideally fail. Horribly, and without him having to kill the guy in question.

Though he'd do it a hell of a lot quicker and more merciful than Bane would if he was here at the time.

Bane it seemed wanted the light as Blake had hardly started to rummage through the drawer before a nearby lamp was turned on, the setting low enough that Blake only had to blink a couple of times to adjust to the change in visibility. Then he went to work stepping into his pants, yanking them into place with a quick hop and twist. Then it was shirt time with no care given to the type or whether it was inside out or not. Didn't matter. Neither did socks to his way of thinking as Blake hurried over to where his shoes were and slipped those on before whirling around to face Bane again, hands moving to his hips and plenty of attitude present in his stance.

Luckily for the alpha Bane was dressed as well now, his man giving him a look Blake ignored as Bane retrieved his own footwear.

Opening his mouth to tell him to be quick about it it belatedly occurred to Blake that Bane had known Hitachi for a long time. Possibly since he'd come out of The Pits. Simon might not be the only one grieving at the moment.

"I'm sorry." Reaching out Blake put a hand on Bane's shoulder, giving it a light squeeze. "I'm sorry for your loss too."

Saying nothing, Bane inclined his head in acknowledgement.

Alphas. Emotionally Stunted Are Us.

But for now he'd leave that alone, come back to it later when there weren't more important issues to address than Bane's need to connect with his emotions. Instead Blake turned his thoughts towards more practical matters.

To start with Blake asked Bane if they buried or cremated members of the League of Shadows. Also would Hitachi's body be dealt with here or would they have to return to Ra's al Ghul's lair for whatever version of a funeral they gave their people.

"It is for the man to choose how he wishes his body to return to the earth. Hitachi made his preference of cremation known long ago. Some of his ashes will be taken to League headquarters, the rest can be kept by the boy if he wishes. Or returned to the earth."

Rising to his full height Bane looked in Blake's direction again. "You may offer him comfort. Even hold him if you must. Only when it is only I or Barsad there to witness it. And only now. Understand?"

"I understand." Didn't mean he'd listen, but he understood.

"Do not push me on this, Azizi."

"You know you still haven't told me what that means. And I don't have Alexa or Siri to ask."


"They're something that helps you find info on things." He had no idea what they were called exactly, just that they were useful when they weren't reminding him of Hal from '2001: A Space Odyssey'. Would you call them artificial intelligence or just a really weird search engine?

Walking over to the door Bane opened it. "Behave properly and I'll explain afterwards."

Bribery. Bane was taking a page from Blake's own handbook. Unfortunately.



When they arrived at the room Hitachi and Simon had been assigned it was to find Hitachi's body lying peacefully on his bed, Simon sitting on a chair beside the bed with his adoptive father's hand in his. Barsad stood protectively behind Simon, watching over him but not touching him. A quick look confirmed that Simon's face was expressionless, no tear tracks or swollen eyes hinting at his grief. But that meant nothing when it came to the average alpha, much less one like Simon. Since they'd been reunited Simon had told him enough about the old man for Blake to know just how much the other man's love had meant to him. Would mean to anyone, much less a former foster kid who'd never had a proper family.

Leaving Bane's side Blake hurried over but didn't hug Simon the way he wanted to. He knew better. Instead he asked if Simon wanted a hug or not.

"I don't know."

Well aware of their audience Blake placed an arm across Simon's shoulder. "Okay?"

Simon took a moment to consider, then nodded. "Yes."

"Good. I'm sorry you've lost your father."

"He was in pain a lot. And he died knowing you would at least try and take care of me. He was really worried about that all the time."

"Well you can be quite the handful."

"That's true. That's why no one ever wanted to adopt me. He only adopted me to fill the gap of his real son...but that was okay. It was still like having a real father, not one paid to pretend to care. I think in the end he loved me for real."

Feeling tears welling up in his eyes, he couldn't help it, Blake gave Simon's shoulder a squeeze. "I know he did. I could see it."

Simon looked over at him. "You always feel others pain. I can't do that. I can't cry."

"You're crying on the inside."

Brows scrunching Simon considered that possibility before turning back to look at what remained of his father. "I don't know what I'm supposed to do now. What am I supposed to do?"

"Did you say goodbye to him already?"

"No. He was sleeping and breathing...then he stopped. I did CPR. It didn't help."

"Then you need to say goodbye to him now."

Simon shook his head. "He's dead now. He can't hear me. I don't think people become ghosts or angels or anything like that. He's just gone."

"Maybe. But the goodbye isn't just for him, but for you. You need to acknowledge that he's gone and the pain that causes you." And anticipating Simon's response to that Blake cut if off by asking him if there was a song he wanted to sing. One about grief and loss that expressed what Simon needed to express in order to move forward.

"Oh. Maybe."

While Simon mulled that over Blake tried to think of some songs he could recommend if Simon wanted some suggestions from him. Unfortunately his mental song catalogue was a lot smaller than Simon's was and on top of that Blake knew Simon well enough to know that if the song didn't fit perfectly Simon wouldn't want to use it. 'Circle of Life' would fit. He'd heard that sung at a funeral once. Or there was that Jimmy Eat World song, 'Hear You Me'. No, that wouldn't work either. Nor would that really popular Vandross song from a while back since there was no mother in this scenario. Religious choices were out of the question given that neither Simon nor the man he mourned were of the Christian faith and Blake didn't know any from other religions or cultures.

"Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door

I know that I'm a prisoner
To all my Father held so dear
I know that I'm a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Oh, crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations
I'm afraid that's all we've got
You say you just don't see it

He says it's perfect sense
You just can't get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defense

Say it loud (say it loud), say it clear (oh say it clear)
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late (it's too late) when we die (oh when we die)
To admit we don't see eye to eye

So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It's the bitterness that lasts

So don't yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different day
And if you don't give up, and don't give in
You may just be okay."

There was more to the song, it was one of those classics even Blake knew mostly by heart, but running the rest of the lyrics through his mind Blake understood why Simon had stopped there even before Simon explained.

"The rest of the lyrics didn't fit. This one...doesn't say all I want to say either. But it was as close as I could come up with."

A moment of silence.

"Barsad, could you move back please. I need to get out of the chair."

"Of course."

Simon waited until Barsad had moved to his other side and then Simon pushed the chair back and letting go of his father's hand walked up the length of the bed to stand at the head of it.

"I didn't agree with the way you saw the world, and if there is a Hell you might be there now because of the League and the things you did for them. But you were a good father to me and I love you."

Leaning down Simon placed a kiss on his father's forehead and then straightened up once more, his eyes never leaving his father's face.

"I don't want to stay here anymore. He's not here."

"I'll take care of him." Barsad stated before Blake could even try to suss out whether he could convince Bane to let Simon camp out on their bedroom floor so he wouldn't be alone.

"I'm okay with that." Was Simon's response.


Alphas were very opposed to showing their emotions and for once Kei was very much acting like one. You'd almost think he was a robot instead of human, his face revealed so little. Only when he'd sung that last song for his father had any emotion come into his voice, leaving it as soon as the haunting song was finished. Now here Barsad was, in charge of taking care of Kei for the rest of the night and morning, and he had no idea how to proceed. Other than keep the touching to a minimum since Kei hadn't welcomed the cop's touch earlier.

But now here they were, in his sparse bedroom, and Barsad could think of nothing to say but state that Kei should take the bed. He'd be fine in the chair.

"Why? We'll both fit on your bed. And if anyone has to sleep on the chair it should be me. Though I'd rather not."

"If you're sure."

"It's fine."

Fine but not fine enough for Kei to head over to said bed it seemed. Instead Kei just walked over to the bookshelf situated by the chair Barsad had been prepared to sleep in.

"You should get some sleep."

Kei looked over his shoulder at him. "I don't know if I can. My mind is too busy." A moment's pause. "Do you believe in Hell?"

Well it wasn't hard to guess why Kei was asking that.

"I believe mankind makes Hell here on Earth. As for the eternal torture some religions believe waits for the damned, I don't know if there is a next life. Or a God I'll have to answer to someday."

"I'm not religious either. Neither was Father. He didn't worry about being I have to for him. I don't want him to suffer, though he made people suffer so maybe it's only fair."

Approaching Kei cautiously Barsad stopped when he was standing shoulder to shoulder with him. "I think your father was a good man."

That earned him a sidelong look. "Because he thought like you."

It shouldn't have mattered, he shouldn't care enough to ask, much less dread the answer, but Barsad forced the words out as he asked Kei if he thought him an evil man.

"No. Just stupid. Or possibly insane."

I really should be used to the weirdness that comes out of this boy's mouth, Barsad told himself after a moment of stunned silence. That had not been the response he'd been expecting...and yet now that the initial shock was fading he wasn't actually that surprised.

"I'm not insane."

"I didn't think so. But it is a possibility."

"I'm not stupid either."

"Someone said that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome. You're all trying to remake the world like millions or even billions before you. But as long as mankind exists the world will be as fucked up as we are. You can't change human nature. Not really. Not long term anyway. That's human nature too."

And on that note Kei spun around and walked over to the bed and took a seat, bending over to start untying his boots like he hadn't just picked a fight with him.

"Are you trying to pick a fight with me to take your mind off your father's passing?" That would make sense given Kei's alpha nature. But Barsad doubted that that was the case. Which meant Kei was just being...Kei. How was this boy still alive?

"Why would I pick a fight with you to distract myself? You'd beat the crap out of me. If I wanted you to distract me there are a lot less painful things we could do. And why aren't you getting into your bed by the way? Aren't you tired?"

Chapter Text

What Comes Next

Bane rarely turned his thoughts to the possibility of an afterlife or what awaited one after death. No God or higher being had ever answered the prayers of their believers in The Pit. The only way out until Ra's al Ghul's arrival had been death. And every day until that point had brought suffering and pain, without deliverance or peace for the 'faithful'. Once free of The Pit Bane had studied the religions of the world to better understand those who were believers and had quickly come to the conclusion that Karl Marx's beliefs on the subject closely aligned with his own. 'Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people'. It was a fairy story people told themselves to believe there was more to life than the Hell people made on Earth without any help from demons or gods.

Bane knew that the foster home Robin and the boy had met at had been run by Catholic priests. They would have pushed those beliefs onto the children they cared for. Such was always the case when religious fanatics went out into the world to do 'good works'. They sought to convert and control, targeting in particular the weak and young. Those who needed saving and were desperate enough to believe whatever lies told them if it made their lot in life better.

"Do I want to know why you're looking at me that way?"

His omega looked awake enough considering the hour, Bane observed, and they were almost back at their rooms without anyone around to overhear their conversation or interrupt them.

"Are you Catholic?"

"I have problems with organized religions. Why?"

"The priests who had guardianship over you when you were a child would have attempted to indoctrinate you."

Robin raised an eyebrow. "They're only allowed to push that so far these days. And we had good ones, for the most part. Not that it wasn't gently encouraged but these days the only times I willingly attend services are on holidays when someone else guilts or asks me to go with them." A smirk. "I'm going to go out on a limb and guess you aren't. Religious."


"Big surprise."

Bane was inclined to take that as a compliment seeing as Robin had just stated that he was intelligent enough to find fault with the various organized religions of the world. Though it didn't seem or feel like Robin thought so. More like his omega had meant it as a commentary on how Bane lived his life. And just because Robin didn't follow a particular faith didn't mean he wasn't a spiritual person.

"Worrying about Final Judgement?"

Not following, Bane asked him to explain.

"The Final Judgement. Judgement Day. Whatever you want to call it when you die and some religions believe your deeds upon this Earth are judged by a higher power and it's decided whether you go to the Good Place or the Bad Place. Death tends to brings those kinds of questions to mind."

"I don't concern myself with that."

"I want to say that's a good thing in your case...but you'd probably do a lot less harm to the world if you were worried that you'd pay for it later on in eternal misery."

Bane did not appreciate the way Robin was openly smirking at him. Or the next logical question to pose.

"You've stated reasons why you don't wish to be my mate. Do you also believe me to be bound for Hell? That I'm marked. Evil?"

Going still Robin stared over at him, those dark eyes revealing nothing as they looked into his for several moments of taunt silence before Robin shook his head. "I don't think you're evil."

Robin started walking again as he continued to speak.

"Given that Gotham's your big Endgame you know what the crime's like there. The sort of people I came up against every damn day on the job before your girl's minions took me. I've seen evil. I know the look and feel of it and you don't have it. Or I should say it's all around you but hasn't got you. Yet. You don't feed or take pleasure in the pain and destruction of others, and you genuinely don't know right from wrong."

"I understand right and wrong. I'm neither insane nor simple."

"Baby, you've lived in a world where there were no good choices your whole life. All you know is the different shades of grey and black."

There was some truth to that statement, or at least Bane could understand Robin's reasoning Bane thought as he opened up the door to their rooms and did a quick scan to insure it was still safe. He'd left the light on when they'd left and the soft glow was all he needed as Bane stated that he could understand right and wrong even if he'd had limited experience with the former during his life.

"True, but the important stuff you have to experience to understand."

Everything as it should be Bane stepped inside and then held the door open to allow his mate to follow in after him.

Naturally Robin wasn't done talking.

"I went to this dentist once, for a root canal. He told me that he understood how much pain I was in even though he'd never had one himself. I wanted to punch him in his pearly whites. Because yeah, no. He couldn't understand. A more extreme version of that would be me telling you that I understand how bad The Pit was. I mean you could tell me about it every day for the rest of my life and I still wouldn't understand. Not without having been through that myself. And even then it wouldn't be your version of The Pit I'd understand, just my own."

"According to that logic right and wrong are subjective to the person." Bane interrupted.

"They are. Another craptastic fact of life. I've stolen, just for instance, when I was a kid. I knew it was wrong but not so wrong I wouldn't do it to feed myself. Everyone's lines are different, based on their life experiences and how they were molded by the world." Grasping the hem of his shirt Robin pulled it up and over his head, momentarily disappearing from view. "What I'm saying is that to me you're a fanatic. One of those terrorists who wants to remake the world because they believe their version will be so much better than everyone else's. That you're saving the world from itself." A tellingly long sigh. "There's a reason 'The way to Hell is paved with good intentions' is used so often to describe mankind's behavior."

"You would wish the world to remain as it is?"

Tossing the shirt onto the top of the dresser Robin came over to him, pressing us against Bane so that they were chest to chest, breath mingling together.

"Nothing can be perfect, Bane. And no one can be. People who need things to be perfect to be happy...well they very rarely lead happy lives. Same for the control freaks. And using fear and violence to make people do what you want, even for their own 'benefit''s a temporary fix at best. You could force me to marry you. Be your mate. But you want me willing. It's the same thing."

"Those are two very different things."

"It's the same thing." Robin patted his chest condescendingly before walking away to stand by the nearest wall, bracing one hand on it while the other went to work removing his footwear.

"How is it the same?"

Another loud sigh from Robin.

"You guys want to control the world by eliminating all the 'negative' influences of the world and the 'bad' people you think are responsible for making the world a bad place. Abusive spouses are the same way. They do their best to control every aspect of their significant other's life so that their spouse and their lives together fits their ideal. And when that spouse doesn't toe the line violence and intimidation are used to keep them in line for 'their own good'. And if the abuser breaks their abused spouse will then all the better because that seriously ups the odds that the spouse will behave and their life together will be what the abuser wants. Emphasis on what the abuser wants. Not the spouse. Not the children they might have together either. Because the abuser knows best. What he or she wants is always right for them and the people under their control."

A pause for emphasis.

"You don't want me broken, Bane. You know that there's no happiness, no honor in a mating built on fear and violence. That's not a family. That's not happiness. That's not LIVING. And I'd rather die young on my feet than live a long life broken and on my knees. So would you. You would rather die than be broken by this world, wouldn't you? So how is it right in your head to do that to others?"

A thousand responses to that came to Bane's mind, this was far from his first time debating the goals of the League and his leader...but never had someone phrased it like that. Had put it like that so that he was faced with not the grand scope of the world...but just himself and his imagined family. Before there'd been only Talia, and the world the League wished to make was very much her dream. What she wanted. But not what his mate wanted. Not the world Robin wanted their children to grow up in.

Lost in the thoughts and arguments Bane actually jolted when he felt a hand slide into his, giving it a squeeze.

Blinking Bane stared into Robin's eyes.

"This isn't the time for this argument, is it? You just lost a friend and...let's call it a day. Tomorrow-today is going to suck enough as it is. Let's get some sleep and we'll fight later, okay?"

"You're too soft."

"I know. That's always been my problem."

Something about the way Robin said that suggested it was another one of his movie or television quotes, but Bane couldn't be bothered to care or ask. He was just...exhausted. Physically and mentally, for no reason he wanted to think about or consider too closely right then. So he nodded and told Robin to go to bed. He'd undress and join him in a minute.


Another hand squeeze and then Robin let go to walk over to the bed to take his usual side after removing his pants and leaving them on the floor on his side. Bane couldn't be bothered to scold him for that as he mechanically removed his own clothing and footwear before walking over to the bed, standing there looking down at his omega as he removed his mask and then set it on his table. Turned off the lamp.

Then he joined Robin in their bed, pulling his omega into his arms in the darkness.

Robin let him, holding him in turn.

"You never did tell me what azizi means." Robin murmured to him, his voice suggesting he was already half asleep again.

"Precious. It means 'precious'."



"Huh. I did not see that one coming."

Chuckling, and not sure why, Bane told his bird to go to sleep.



Bane slept little and fitfully. He was used to functioning on little to no sleep so it didn't show as he went about his duties and pushed aside all thoughts of what had kept him up the night before. There was much to do as Talia's father would be arriving at the compound that afternoon to pay his respects to Hitachi and be present at his cremation. His leader would also take some of the man's ashes back to join those of other fallen members of the League.

Ra's al Ghul had not mentioned Robin in the transmission Bane had received from him that morning, and whether he would want to see or speak with the omega was a question Bane didn't know the answer to. And very much wished he did.

With his permission Barsad had escorted Kei to Bane's personal rooms that morning and the boy was spending the day with Robin. The useless alpha would keep Robin occupied and out of the way until the funeral, which was for the best. So to speak. The lingering effects of his omega's heat and the fact that Robin had yet to accept his courtship weighed on Bane. Irritated him, like splinters he couldn't remove. The alpha part of his nature not just wanted but needed Robin with him, while logically he knew that time apart was for the best. At least for now. Until his thoughts were more orderly and at peace.

Turning his head to ask his second a question not remotely related to any of the questions he would have liked to pose to him Bane went still, sensing Talia's approach. Her eyes on him.

The way Barsad tensed up in reaction to her was something Bane would think about later, for now he turned around to face Talia and started towards her, Barsad doing the same while keeping a step behind Bane.

"My friend. My father will be here in an hour."


"All the funeral preparations have been completed?"

"Yes. We're only waiting for your father to arrive to begin." Which reminded him that he should return to his rooms as soon as possible to again go over the rules of behavior with
Robin. Given the occasion Bane was reasonably confident that his little bird would behave himself...but better to be safe than sorry.

"And where is Hitachi's...son? I wish to pay my respects privately."

Again Bane sensed Barsad tense up unnecessarily behind him.

"He is in my rooms with my omega. If you wish to see him I'd be pleased to take you to him now."

"I would hate to take you from your duties, My Friend. And he is not in your rooms. Neither of them are. I checked there first."

Glancing over his shoulder Bane gave Barsad a questioning look.

"One minute."

Moving a short distance away Barsad pulled out his phone and used it to call the actual guards assigned to watch over Bane's mate since it wasn't like Kei was competent enough to do it even on a good day.

But where was Robin? Surely the idiot hadn't decided to try and flee with the boy now that Hitachi was dead. Robin could be reckless and overconfident at times, but he wasn't stupid. Or at least not the level of stupidity that would have them attempt to flee into the desert without the provisions or knowledge to survive in the harsh climate. Not that either of them possessed the skills to get out of the compound so really it was a mote-

"They're in the kitchen." Barsad announced, interrupting Bane's inner thoughts.

"The kitchen? Why?" Lunch had been served well over an hour ago.

"Apparently they went there to make and eat their own lunch and then volunteered to do dishes to pass the time until the funeral. Your omega thought the distraction would be good for Kei."

Well at least the boy was being useful for once.

"Do you want me to tell the guards to bring them to us?"

"No need. The kitchens aren't far from here." Talia responded before Bane could voice an opinion, her long hair flying out to almost brush over Bane's face as she turned and headed in that direction, Bane immediately following after her. Barsad at his heels.

The walk to the kitchen was done in silence, the three of them entering to the sound of Kei's voice raised in haunting song.

For the first time Bane actually recognized the song being sung, the lyrics immediately recognizable as the story of 'Danny Boy' echoed in the mostly dead quiet room. The others in the room save for Robin were just standing at their various posts, staring at the boy like he was a being from another world. Bane actually saw tears in the eyes of two of his people.

Robin was washing dishes while listening, Kei taking each plate handed to him and drying it without showing any awareness of his audience or the fact that there were three additional people in the room with them.

The guards weren't paying them any attention either.

But at least one person was paying attention as Robin handed over his latest plate and then reached for a towel to dry off his hands while looking in Bane's direction. His omega gave him a little wave and then he turned to put a hand over Kei's mouth, cutting the alpha off.

The alpha glared down at Robin.

"We have company."

Responded to that statement the other occupants in the room looked around, Robin's guards losing all color in their faces as they realized that they'd been caught completely unaware. As well they should. Bane would see to it that the men were severely punished for their failure. If they'd meant to cause Robin harm his omega would be dead already.

"Oh. Is it time for the funeral?"

"I've come to offer you my personal condolences for the death of your father." Talia informed him as she walked further into the room, her attention split between Kei and Robin.

Kei's brows furrowed in what looked like confusion before smoothing out, his face becoming expressionless as he inclined his head in acknowledgement of her words.

"Thank you. It's for the best. He was in pain."

"True. Though now you're all alone, aren't you?"

Chapter Text

Cover is Not The Book

"Father Reilly would say that we're never truly alone. That God is always with us. But I've always found that idea rather creepy." There were just some things you didn't want someone else seeing you do. And really Simon had always thought that God should have better things to do with his time, though maybe that was the reason bad things happened. God was too busy watching the wrong people at the wrong time because he'd rather watch the good or pervvy things. Though God as Father Reilly described was all knowing as well...but also who would want to know everything? There was a reason telepaths were often on the verge of insanity or already insane in fiction. Seeing inside people's minds, constantly and possibly without shields...Simon felt somewhat nauseated just thinking about what that would be like.

Though that could be the lingering smells of the lunch the other poor bastards had had to eat for lunch. Simon honestly wasn't sure what John had all been washing off those plates...but it had looked pretty freaking gross to him.

At his side John pinched him hard in a signal to stay focused. Well that or-

"I have John too." Was that the right answer Simon wondered as he looked at the omega to see.

Judging from the look John aimed in his direction Simon was going to guess he wasn't quite right or wrong. People were so damn confusing. Why couldn't they be easier to read and understand? He'd get beaten up a lot less.

"You think to claim another man's omega as yours?"

"Not that way. Ewwww."

John gave him another look. "Thanks for that."

"You think it's gross too." Simon pointed out, knowing he wasn't alone in this.


Feeling vindicated Simon smirked and then turned his attention back to Talia since she was the person most likely to kill him in the room. At least at the moment.

"You haven't changed at all in your time within the League, have you, Boy?"

"A little. I think. My voice is deeper now and I don't really have any baby fat left. And I'm a little bit better at fighting than I was before. Or at least I can last longer in one, which is good. Since that's all you guys like to do."

At his side John made a sound that was part groan, part snicker.

Talia made a sound that was definitely derisive. "Still as dim as you are beautiful, I see."

As a male and alpha Simon knew in theory that he should probably object to being termed beautiful...but he really didn't care. If people cared more about being themselves and less on who people wanted them to be they'd be happier in the long run. And he didn't care that she thought he was stupid either. Why would he? The bitch was insane!

Actually, when he thought about it Simon was pretty sure that he was the only person in the room who wouldn't benefit from several months' worth of therapy. Which was just depressing.

John meanwhile had tensed up at his side because of course John would want to defend him. But thankfully he seemed to realize that now wasn't really the time.

And that being the case Simon inclined his head towards the crazy psycho who wanted to do things to him he really didn't want to think about. It would not go well for him if he didn't acknowledge that he'd heard her as Talia did not take being ignored well.

That done Simon turned his head to look at Bane as he asked him for permission for him and John to leave so that they could shower and change for the funeral. They smelled like the kitchen.

"Do we?" John whispered to him while Bane asked Talia if that was all right with her.

"Yeah. And you have something on your face."

John's jaw dropped a little. "For how long?"

Simon shrugged. He hadn't been paying attention earlier. It was hard to sing, be somewhat on his guard AND dry dishes at the same time. John knew he didn't multitask well.

"Ugh." Leaving his side John moved so that he was between Simon and Talia now, rubbing at his cheeks with his palms as he did so.

And once Bane and Talia were both looking at him John bowed his head all submissively, which if Bane bought Simon was going to seriously think less of him and his intelligence.

"My apologies for my appearance, Master."


The fact that he might have had food on his face for well over an hour now while surrounded by people who could have done the decent, humane thing and told him irked, naturally, but mostly Blake was just glad to have an excuse to put himself between Talia and Simon. Not that he thought the bitch would try anything at the moment, but better safe than sorry. Though the urge to bitch slap her or drown her in dirty dish water was strong as fuck.

To say that the bitchiness was strong with this one was a massive understatement.

But from plenty of past experience Blake knew that her comments were sliding right off Simon's back like a duck and water, which was the big thing here. Simon really didn't give a single fuck what pretty much anyone thought about him. It was perhaps his greatest strength in a world where everyone judged everyone twenty-four seven. Simon could be hurt emotionally of course, and there were a select few people whose opinion did matter, but none of those people would ever hurt Simon that way, which was why they mattered.

Bane had been standing slightly behind Talia, but now he moved past her to join Blake in No Man's Land.

"You have food on your face."

"Yeah. Kei just told me. Where is it?"

"Novik. A wet wash cloth."

One of the kitchen help immediately wet a cloth under the nearest sink and then ran it over to present to Bane like it was as offering to his god.

And ain't nobody worshipping his man but-scratch that thought. Stupid omega hormones.

Holding out his hand with the intention of taking the cloth and then asking where the smudge or whatever was Blake froze when Bane ignored the gesture and instead leaned in to start rubbing the cloth very carefully along his jawline.

Right. Like that wasn't like waving a red flag in front of Talia's face. He was sorta mated to a dumbass.

"The omega is feeling better, I see."

Mentally Blake gritted his teeth over that. He hated how his designation were too often seen as things and not people. But now really wasn't the time to get into that. So he said nothing.

Having finished removing the mark Bane tossed the cloth onto a nearby table. "He needs to rest. And they both need to shower."

Deciding that playing the bimbo omega wouldn't hurt if it meant getting away from Talia Blake turned his head and lifted up a hand to daintily sniff himself. Yeah. Definitely shower time.

"I can escort both of them to their rooms." Barsad offered.

Bane looked over at Talia. "Do you need me for anything before your father arrives?"

Naturally she had to take a minute to think about that, possibly searching her teeny, tiny warped brain for some excuse. Or a way to get Bane to leave her alone with him for a few minutes so that she could kill him in self-defense or something. Bet she was sorry she hadn't pushed him into a mountain crevasse when she'd had the chance weeks ago.

"No, go get your Pet cleaned up. I wouldn't want his stench to offend my father."

Okay, he did NOT smell that bad.

Talia's next words were directed towards Simon, the way she smiled chilling Blake's blood as she stated that he'd want to clean up too. Her father would want to speak with him at some point. About his future.

"He wants to discuss how you're going to kill me? Really? Do I get some say in the method of execution?"

That got him a raised eyebrow. "You think we're going to kill you?"


"So cavalier about your possible death."

Simon shrugged. "There are worse things than death."

There was remembered darkness in her eyes as Talia stated that that was true.

"Do you wish me to escort you back to your rooms?" Bane asked her, changing the subject.

"I can find my own way back, thank you. See to your Pet and the boy. We'll talk more about both of them later."

Moving in Talia made sure Blake attention was on her as she leaned in on tip toes to press a kiss against skin and leather as her lips met Bane's cheek. The look she sent him said quite plainly 'He's MINE', which Blake pretended not to see by lowering his lashes to hide any reaction he might have. It was better for the both of them that he didn't acknowledge that look.

And if he had to actively fit the impulse to take Bane's arm or hand...well only Blake had to know he was that stupid.

That she probably hadn't got the reaction she wanted didn't show on Talia's face as she placed a hand on Bane's cheek in a parting gesture, dragging her fingers a little as she moved her hand away and sauntered away.

His ass was so much better than hers. Just saying.

"Take the boy to be cleaned up, I'll see to my omega. If I'm required, contact me."

Barsad nodded.

"Come, Little One."

Blake would have at least mentally protested being called that, but he didn't fancy being called 'precious' or his actual first name in front of the others either.

Instead he nodded and gave Simon a little wave goodbye before following after Bane, wincing on his guards' behalf when Bane glared at the other guards when they started forward to accompany them. They were definitely in the dog house with Bane. And while that wasn't nearly as bad as say being in The Pit...they were likely going to be hurting really, really soon.

He'd pity them more if they weren't bad guys.

Following Bane out of the kitchen Blake kept close to the alpha side, just in case. Currently he wasn't experiencing any hot flashes so his scent was just that of a regular omega's for the most part. And he was covered with Bane's scent as well which seemed to be enough to keep the other alphas in the compound from doing more than look at him. Word had obviously gotten out as to what he was and possibly who Bane intended him to be. And while everyone here was stupid enough to be in the League of Shadows that didn't seem to translate into stupid enough to touch Bane's future mate.

At least for the time being.

When Talia gave the order to kill him Blake didn't-or maybe not.

"Question. This compound, is it full of your people or League people?"

"We are all members of the League of Shadows."

"Right. But say Ra's al Ghul went completely insane due to a brain tumor or something and ordered the men in this compound to kill you...would they do it without hesitation, or do they consider you their leader first?"

The look in Bane's eyes said he did not like this line of questioning.

"Like for instance Barsad wouldn't kill you even if ordered to. Right?"

"My leader has no reason to want me dead or question my loyalty."

Sighing, alphas were dumb, Blake let the topic drop for the time being. Like last night when he should have really kept pushing the whole 'you're a fanatic who's dooming yourself and the world' agenda seeing as he was pretty sure at least some of what he'd been saying had gotten through Bane's incredibly thick skull. Enough that Bane had been restless the entire night and had left him incredibly early this morning.

Last night he'd thought if he pushed any more on the subject he'd undo all the 'good' he'd done, getting Bane to at least think about what he was saying...but now Blake was second guessing himself. Had he done it because of that or had he just not wanted to upset Bane further?

How screwed was his objectivity becoming?

Though it was some comfort to remember that at least he hadn't developed Stockholm Syndrome. He still thought Bane was a complete and total idiot for being a League member.

Gotta look for those silver linings.


Barsad informed the guards that they would discuss their failure to properly guard Bane's Pet in the future and then dismissed them. Or at least that's what Simon was assuming given the guards' tones of voice and their reactions to whatever Barsad said to them in a pretty sounding language that shouldn't be used to yell at people. There were much better dialects for that in Simon's opinion. But he was pretty sure that Barsad didn't care about that so Simon kept that thought to himself.

When Barsad motioned for him to follow him Simon had no problem doing so, happy to leave. The place smelled bad and while the distraction had been appreciated, Simon was happy to give it up in favor of studying Barsad and trying to figure out if the other man was still mad at him.

It would help if he knew why Barsad had been mad at him that morning, Simon acknowledged with an inner sigh, but in his experience when you asked someone why they were mad at you they only became madder at the fact that you didn't know what you'd done in the first place. Which was very unhelpful and annoying in Simon's opinion.

He assumed part of it was that for some reason Barsad hadn't slept at all while they were sharing his bed last night. He'd offered to sleep elsewhere so that wasn't his fault and if that's what Barsad was mad about then they had a problem unless Simon was assigned to share a room with someone else since apparently he couldn't be trusted to have a room to himself. Or maybe Bane and Barsad figured he'd end up dead without constant adult supervision. They wouldn't be the first to think that.

"It doesn't bother you. That she called you dim."

"Who cares what a crazy person thinks of them." Seriously. Even someone of limited intelligence should get that basic concept.

The look in Barad's eyes when he looked over at him...Simon wasn't sure how to interpret it.

"At least you had the sense not to say that to her face."

Duh. Again. He wasn't stupid.

"We need to be careful where you're concerned until she leaves the compound."

"Is she going home with her father after the funeral?"

"She hasn't shared her intentions with me. Or with Bane to the best of my knowledge."

"Well at least her father won't stay long. John will chase him off."

Simon was used to people giving him the 'how can you be that stupid' look. But he found he didn't like Barsad looking at him that way.


"You think Ra's al Ghul would be chased off by an omega Pet?"

Eyes rolling was justified in Simon's books.

"He handed over an innocent omega to be raped and beaten by an alpha. Just like his 'mate' was once damned to The Pit because of him. Your leader is seriously delusional about a lot of things, but I think he does have enough sanity that the similarities will have occurred to him by now. And are eating away at him as we speak. And if they aren't I know John well enough to know he'll make sure al Ghul makes the connection and then do his best to twist the knife so that al Ghul feels as much guilt and shame as he's capable of feeling. So yeah, your 'fearless' leader won't be hanging around here long, I'm guessing."

Barsad inclined his head. "That would be good strategy on the cop's part."

"Yup. Not enough to get him home though." Or at least Simon wasn't anticipating it being that easy. Though he was sorta curious as to how Bane would respond if al Ghul tried to take his 'mate' away from him.

"No. Or you."

"Batman's probably our only hope." Simon agreed.

"You trust Wayne to come and save you?"

"I trust him to come and save John. And hopefully me in the process. Saving people from Gotham is his thing, right?"

"Except when he fails."

"Well no one's perfect."

The sound Barsad made might have been an extremely rusty laugh. It was hard to tell.

"You'd be unwise to put your faith in The Bat. Even if he gets through the men, he will not defeat Bane. Bane is his superior in every way."

"Wayne's better looking."

Barsad stared at him.

"And Wayne's better with people. And probably more skilled when it comes to sex since he's probably had way more of it than Bane has. And he was smart enough to leave the League and Bane wasn't. And I'd say that Wayne has better fashion sense too only that Batman outfit...I mean it could be worse but still..."

"You think Wayne is good looking?"

"Yes. He's very pretty."

"Pretty." Barsad repeated the word like he didn't know what it meant.

"Handsome?" Was that a better choice?

"He'd have been nothing without the League's training. And in turning against us he became nothing once more."

"Technically he'd have still been good looking without the League." Simon couldn't help but point out. "Though maybe not as ripped. Or I assume he's ripped given the training and his career choice as a vigilante crime fighter. Staying in peak physical condition would be vital to his survival."

"His looks are all he has, then."

"And his millions of dollars."

Barsad glared at him.

Chapter Text

Things to Think About

It shouldn't irk Barsad that Kei thought that Wayne was pretty. And handsome and muscular. The fact that Kei would bring up the millions of dollars Wayne hadn't even earned, but had inherited from his deceased parents because he wasn't capable of making that money through his own sweat and labor...well that was also a very valid reason why Barsad told himself he shouldn't care what the alpha had to say on the matter. If Kei was silly enough to care about such things then the boy was obviously too immature and materialistic to be of any further interest to him.

And yet...Barsad wanted to punch something right now. Preferably Wayne's apparently pretty face.

"You look angry about something."

Really. This boy. How did he not begin to comprehend how...Barsad had to open and close his fists a couple of times to center himself.

"I'm not angry."


Silently praying to a god he'd stopped believing in long ago, Barsad didn't respond and resolutely continued walking in the direction of his rooms. Kei following in behind him without a word. The alpha was either fine being silent or aware enough to realize that Barsad was not in the mood to deal with his lack of filter and common sense at the moment.
Barsad's money would be on the former.

But whether it was his nature or a surprising demonstration of self-preservation Kei was quiet the rest of the way and waited patiently for Barsad to open the door up for him. And once inside Kei headed straight for the door leading to Barsad's private bathroom without a backward glance.

To shower off the scents of the kitchens, Barsad assumed. Which was for the best, and not because of the mental images his brain was generating of Kei wet and naked. That just made him feel slightly better about his present circumstances.

To occupy himself Barsad went over to his closet to retrieve the black suit that Kei had brought with him from his previous room the night before. According to Kei it had been his late father's wish that his adoptive son dress formally for his father's impending funeral. It had been purchased for Kei months ago by his father in preparation for today. There'd been another suit in Hitachi's closet for himself to wear, which Barsad had arranged for the man to be garbed in that morning.

Laying this suit out on his bed Barsad stared at it a moment, debating whether or not he should take it out of its plastic covering. There wasn't anything on his bed that should transfer onto the material, but Barsad opted to leave it as it was just in case. He wished to do nothing that made this harder for the younger man to handle. Barsad knew what it was to bury one's parent.

So he stood by the bed and waited for Kei...who five minutes or so later decided to exit the bathroom without the clothes he'd been wearing earlier and using the towel he should have wrapped around his waist to dry his hair.


"You got my suit out for me. Thank you."

A curt nod was the best Barsad could manage.

Walking over to the bed Kei slugged the towel over one shoulder and then lifted the suit up by its hanger, removing the plastic from it before tossing said plastic onto the bed. The towel was then tossed on top of that to keep it from dampening Barsad's sheets.
Which, if he'd been thinking about such things, Barsad would have appreciated. But that's really not where his mind was at as he watched Kei go about putting on the suit that had very obviously been tailored to fit the younger man's body to perfection. Too perfectly to Barsad's way of thinking. He did NOT want anyone else seeing how gorgeous Kei looked in those slacks and crisp, white dress shirt.

"Are you good with ties?"

Barsad looked at the black tie in Kei's hand and thought about various uses for it. None of them involved it being tied around Kei's neck.

Kei's outstretched hand retreated back. "It's okay. John can tie it for me."

Hell no.

Striding forward Barsad held out a hand, palm facing up.

"Oh. Thanks. It's always crooked when I do it."

Taking the tie Barsad looped it around Kei's neck and got in close, fighting to ignore the fact that Kei smelled like his soap. His shampoo. Like he was his.

"The fox chases the rabbit around the tree and down the hole."


"That's how you tie a tie. Apparently."

Briefly looking up towards the heavens as he silently asked for more patience, or deliverance, Barsad tied the tie and then stepped away as soon as he was done.

A fox and a rabbit.


But who was who, Barsad couldn't help but wonder.


The trip back to their rooms was done in silence, Bane walking side by side with his omega. He was tempted to ask just how utterly his men had failed in their duties when it came to acting as bodyguards but couldn't trust that Robin wouldn't lie to him. It would be in Robin's best interests, after all, to have guards who didn't do their jobs and thus left gaps in his protection that Robin could attempt to slip through. Though perhaps not since Robin did seem convinced that Talia would attempt to assassinate him sometime in the near future. His omega would desire the most experienced and deadliest of guards protecting him then. A point he could-no. Robin would just argue that they would obey orders given by Talia and would step aside if ordered to do so. Ergo that argument and this whole thought exercise was pointless. Talia would not attempt to take his omega from him or do Robin harm.

Undeserved harm, at least. The question of whether he would agree with her when it came to what constituted deserved harm...was something Bane would think about later. For now he was reminded again of the importance of ensuring that Robin was on his best behavior for the rest of Talia's visit. Most importantly when in her father's presence. Bane still remembered quite vividly the two's first meeting and would not allow a repeat to occur. But he'd wait until they were alone within the walls of their rooms to have that conversation with Robin as he would not risk others hearing and passing along the conversation to certain individuals. The men within these walls were loyal to him yes, but with Ra's al Ghul would come those who were not and might seek out information from Bane's men that Bane did not wish known.

So he stayed silent until they were through their front door, Robin making a beeline for the bathroom to shower, Bane assumed, since he did smell of the kitchen and not in a pleasant way. What had they been cooking in there?

Following after Robin without thought Bane did enjoy the sight of the omega stripping out of his clothes before tossing them into the open hamper situated by the open bathroom door. Coming forward Bane properly ensured that the shirt was completely in the hamper rather than hanging partially out while Robin made his way to the shower without a backward glance. Or he didn't until Robin had the door to said shower open, deliberately looked back and forth between the door's hinges and Bane.

Bane got the message and glared in response.

The shower's door had been properly repaired and one had to look close at it to see that parts had needed to be replaced after Bane had torn it off its hinges. Which he wasn't at all sorry for and Robin shouldn't give him judgmental looks over seeing as he'd done so to save the ungrateful brat's life. Or had thought that was what he was doing at the time. And in his defense Robin could have very easily done his body lasting harm if he'd remained huddled on top of the drain, body half frozen from the freezing cold water he'd showered in. That the omega's heat had prevented him from accurately judging the temperature rather than a rather ingenious suicide attempt which had been first thought-well how could he have known that? He'd reacted out of instinct and said instincts had been correct. Mostly. Robin's life had been in danger and despite what his mate had stated at the time it had not been his fault.

He'd just...been on the phone with Talia. Not giving Robin his full attention, which admittedly was never a good idea it seemed.

Bane felt very old all of a sudden.

"You okay?"

Blinking as his brain shifted gears Bane asked Robin to repeat himself.

Robin spoke louder than normal, perhaps thinking that the water running over his gorgeous body was drowning him out too much. "I asked if you're okay. You looked like you were about to collapse against that door jamb there for a minute."

"I am fine."

Robin made a sound Bane interpreted to mean that he didn't agree.

"Are you worrying I won't behave in front of your master?"

"That you would behave was a part of our initial bargain." Bane reminded him, straightening up so that he took up the entire doorway. "You will keep your word."

Turning off the water Robin didn't answer until he opened the shower door enough to grab a towel to start drying himself off with before stepping out and onto the concrete flooring.

"I'll keep to our deal, no worries, Big Guy. Just keep my exposure to him and Talia to a minimum and we'll be fine."

"How much time you spend with either of them will be up to them."

Having just finished removing the majority of the water off his torso Robin cocked his head slightly to the side, the expression on his face one Bane didn't recognize but instinctively didn't like. "And will you leave me alone with them if they order you to?"

He'd known that question was coming of course. Robin was obsessed with the notion that Talia was plotting his death. Which begged the question...

"Do you think Talia's father is also planning to kill you in the near future?"

In the process of toweling off his hair now Robin paused just long enough to give Bane a look that seemed to question Bane's sanity. "Ra's al Ghul wants to kill everyone, Bane. It's sorta his thing. But of the two of them, Talia wants me dead a hell of a lot more if that's what you're asking."


"Bane." Robin shot back with a smirk.

A smirk that shouldn't have heated Bane's blood the way it did. The fact that Robin was still slightly damp and naked was surely a contributing factor, he told himself, even as he forced his eyes not to follow the few droplets of water making their way slowly down Robin's body.

He was not entirely successful.

"See something you like?"

"Yes." He wouldn't deny it. "Now finish drying off and get dressed."

Slinging the towel over one shoulder Robin gave him a cocky salute, his hips moving in a seductive way Bane found very enjoyable to watch even knowing it was a deliberate ploy. And then Robin was in front of him, the look in his eyes not boding well at all for him.



"You're in my way."

Oh. He was, wasn't he? Bane took a couple steps back and then turned to stand sideways to leave plenty of room for Robin to walk past him. He also kept it to himself that he was a tad disappointed that Robin barely brushed against him as he passed by before heading straight to his dresser to retrieve the articles of clothing Bane had seen him set out that morning.

Watching his omega dress Bane noted the fact that the simple white shirt was slightly too big for the other man, the black trousers a little short at the bottom hems. They hadn't originally belonged to Robin; nor had they been purchased for him. When they left the compound to have Robin looked over in order to ascertain whether or not his omega was capable of bearing children, or after on the way to visit Singh, Bane mentally made plans to see that time was set aside to see that his omega's wardrobe was expanded. Robin should have clothing he liked, though Bane would oversee the purchases just to be safe.

And as Bane continued to observe his future mate Robin lifted a hand to finger the collar around his neck, a slight grimace marring his features for a moment before he shrugged ever so slightly.

Robin had not been subtle about his hatred of the collar. He didn't complain about it the way he did other things which was one of the reasons why his hate for the metal around his
neck stood out. His treasure constantly complained about things just to annoy and antagonize others. It was both a defense mechanism and a small way to make those who looked down on him pay. No, it was the way Robin touched or looked at it in the mirror that spoke loudest of his feelings on the matter.

It was understandable why someone as fiercely independent and strong willed as his omega would hate wearing something that marked him as less. As property rather than a person. A Pet. Bane's Pet. Though not any longer.

He would speak to Talia's father about removing the collar, Bane decided. He wouldn't-couldn't remove it without permission, but surely his leader would understand why it should be removed. It was the least they could do. Or perhaps exchange it.

Pleased with the thought Bane could easily picture a very different accessory placed around Robin's throat. Something pretty and delicate. A collar still, if Talia's father insisted upon that for some unexpected reason, but not ugly or plain. Not something that said 'Pet' to Robin or anyone else. Something that said Robin was just as valuable and precious.


Shaking his head Bane simply moved to lean up against the nearest wall.

"So you didn't answer my question. About what you're going to do if they try and get me alone."

"It will be fine."

"You're going to hand me over to them. Got it."

"I did not say that."

"Yeah, Babe. Ya pretty much did." A pause for emphasis. "Now come on. We've got places to be, crazy-oops, my bad. Your great and selfless leader to await orders from."

"You will behave."

Robin's bow was, of course, as mocking as he could make it.

Bane told himself it was best that Robin got it out of his system now.


Upon arrival Ra's al Ghul requested an audience with Bane before the funeral began. His wording made it clear that Bane was to come alone save for Talia. That being the case Bane escorted Robin to Barsad's rooms, trusting that his second would be able to keep both his omega and Kei out of trouble until the funeral. Or perhaps not. Throughout their brief exchange outside his second's door Barsad seemed fine in word and body language, and yet Bane sensed that the beta was very troubled by something. Possibly the boy again?

Why? And what had he done now?

When Barsad opened his door to admit Robin into his rooms Kei appeared in the doorway, dressed in Western formal attire and looking far older and put together than normal.

"You finally learned how the rabbit went around the tree and down the hole."

Bane looked over at Robin in confusion.

"Barsad tied it for me."

"That makes more sense. Though why do you know how to tie a tie?"

"I have many skills. And what does tying a tie have to do with rabbits?"

"It's a good way to teach kids how to tie ties." Kei answered before Robin could. "Like the rhyme for tying shoelaces. 'Over, under, around and through. Meet Mr. Bunny Rabbit, pull and through.'."

Bane could only stare at the boy. What else could he do in response to that.

"Why rabbits though?"

Robin shrugged at Barsad's question. "Why not? What kid doesn't love bunny rabbits? They're cute, fluffy, and not likely to eat you even during a zombie apocalypse."

"Well unless it was the rabbit from 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail'."

"True. Man, I haven't watched that movie in forever. They just don't make movies like that anymore."

Kei nodded in agreement. "One of the most quotable movies ever."

Recognizing from previous experience that it was likely for the best that he didn't ask Bane looked over at Barsad and asked him if he wished for additional guards to be sent to guard his door until it was time for the funeral to begin.

In a rare show of hesitance Barsad didn't immediately assure Bane that he could handle whatever task he'd been assigned, his second hesitating for two heartbeats before stating that he didn't require additional backup. If that changed he would arrange for it.

Inclining his head in acknowledgement Bane turned his attention to Robin as he issued one last order for his omega to behave himself in his absence.

Robin's salute was perfectly executed. And entirely sarcastic given his cop's personality.

"Go inside now."

"Sir, yes, Sir. Kei and I can have a 'Holy Grail' quoting contest."

"Sick. Is that still what people say?" Kei wanted to know as he and Robin went back inside Barsad's room without a backward glance.

"They still use that, but 'Lit' is becoming more popular."

Bane exchanged a look with Barsad.


"I'll return as quickly as possible." Was the most reassurance Bane could give.

Barsad inclined his head and then headed back after his two charges, closing the door firmly behind him.

Chapter Text

Note: I know this is Blake's chapter normally, but I needed to do this meeting from Bane's point of view. Will balance it out sometime in the future. Sorry this chapter was a little short too, I had to end it where I did.

What Wasn't Said Outloud

As ordered Bane went straight to the quarters he'd had prepared for Ra's al Ghul's use during his stay in the compound. Bane didn't anticipate that Talia's father would choose to stay the night, the older man rarely left his main headquarters for long these days, but they were prepared for the possibility. The two alphas flanking the only door were part of al Ghul's personal guard, Bane knew them both to be highly competent at their job, and the three of them inclined their heads in shared respect as Bane approached, one of the guards turning to knock on the door to alert whoever was inside to Bane's arrival. Which was fine, obviously, and Bane inclined his head once more in acknowledgement of the guard who opened the door and held it open for him, stepping through without a backward glance as the door was closed behind him.

Talia stood with her Father, the two of them sharing a look before they turned to face him. Bane had the sense that he'd interrupted a conversation, one they didn't intend to pick up until he'd left the room.

Glancing around quickly Bane confirmed that the room in question had been made up as ordered, a small sitting area created in case it was needed. It was not a luxurious room by most standards, but it was the best Bane could offer given the short notice given. Not that either Talia or her father were the type to expect or demand such things. They did not seek fame and fortune, only to remake the world for its betterment. So that the pain they had all suffered did not continue on to the next generations.

After his quick glances around Bane returned his attention back to Talia, who wore a simple black dress with a headscarf edged in lace. A nod to the occasion, climate, and her mother's heritage, Bane surmised. Her father, on the other hand, wore a simple black suit. It looked a little old fashioned to Bane, though very well cared for. There was also more silver in his leader's hair than the last time Bane had seen him.

Ra's al Ghul gave the barest hint of a nod in Bane's direction. "Bane."

"My Lord." Bowing his head as was expected, Bane waited three heartbeats before straightening up once more, his eyes softening as he met Talia's gaze and said her name.

"My daughter assures me all the preparations have been made for Hitachi's funeral."

"They have."

"He is a great lose to the League. And to me."

Bane gave him his full attention. "I am sorry for your loss. And ours."

For a moment al Ghul held Bane's gaze and then the older man 'casually' looked away. He never held Bane's gaze for long. Partially because he knew that in terms of dominance Bane surpassed him, though mostly because he hated that it was Bane who'd come out of The Pit alive and not his mate. Bane who had gotten Talia out, not him.

Al Ghul laced his fingers behind his back, looking at neither of them now. "I understand the boy he adopted was with him when he passed?"


The older alpha shook his head. "I never understood why Hitachi latched onto the boy the way he did. There's no true resemblance between the imposter and Hitachi's real son, and to take him from Gotham, knowing all the inherent flaws and corruption...had I not owed Hitachi many times over I'd have put a bullet in the boy long ago."

"You will not have to deal with him. I will keep him here and out of trouble."

Ra's ah Ghul gave him a considering look while Talia spoke up for the first time.

"Why would you want to keep the boy?"

"Because Hitachi asked me to."

The lie slipped from Bane's lips before he even knew he was going to say it. Out before he could take the words back.


For a moment Bane saw something on the other alpha's face. Something that made him think that the man was...relieved to hear that.

"You are not the only one who owed Hitachi a debt. I gave him my word." Bane stated, because what else could he say. It appeared his lord had no intention of fighting him on this, however annoyed Talia appeared for some reason. Why she should care about the boy's fate, well Bane would puzzle over that later. For now it was imperative that he focus on the situation at hand. Especially now that he was thinking about why he'd said it in the first place.

Robin would never forgive him if he took the boy from him. It was as simple as that. Even if Kei was simply taken away, and not killed, Robin would not forgive him. If Bane wished to hold out any hope of winning his omega over and keeping his mate happy it was vital that Kei remain here.

"And your promise has nothing to do with your Pet being so fond of him?"

Looking Talia dead in the eye Bane held her gaze. "Alive he might be of use. And if he is watching over the omega than he is out of trouble and freeing up one of my men."

"He has no use." Was Talia's opinion. "Except as bait or cannon fodder."

Puzzled, because again, why would she care about the boy's fate, Bane asked her.

"He has been babied and coddled. I've told father I think the boy should be given to Kursk. If he can do nothing with the boy his life should be forfeit."

Kursk would kill the boy. It would not be a fast death either, and the boy would be praying for an end to his suffering long before his heart beat its last. But more importantly-at least to Bane-was the question of why Talia was lying about her motives. He'd known her too long not to know her tells. They'd worked tirelessly to train those betraying gestures out of her long ago so that she could better deceive others. Which meant she wanted him to know she was lying to him. Why? As payback for somehow knowing that he was lying about giving his word to Hitachi? Something else?

"If Bane is willing to put up with the boy he will remain here." Her father stated, his tone making it clear that this was now law and not to be questioned.

What was going on here?

Bane watched the silent exchange of looks between father and daughter while doing his best to show nothing of his thoughts as he struggled to understand. Talia wanted Kei to return with her and her father for some unknown reason. Talia's father, who sometimes indulged her too much, was not allowing this. Why? Kei was worthless. A nonentity. There's was nothing to be gained for having OR losing him. And this wasn't about Ra's al Ghul's friendship with Hitachi or any promises their leader might have made about the boy. This was...this was Ra's al Ghul knowing or thinking he knew what his daughter wanted. And denying her for that reason.

What reason? What value did the boy have that he was unaware of?

Talia's statement that if that was what her father wanted then so be it ended the silent conversation she'd been having with her father, her smile as false as her earlier claim.

Not looking at his daughter, as if she might weaken his resolve if he did, al Ghul looked instead at Bane. "If he becomes a problem, put a bullet in his head."

"Without hesitation."

The sound Talia made indicated she didn't believe that for a second.

"My daughter seems to think that the police detective is having a negative effect on you." A moment's pause. "And you are sure that that is what he is? An omega. All his records indicate otherwise. I viewed them myself."

The look in al Ghul's eyes suggested that their leader still had some hope that that was the case.

Bane stated that the compound's healer had confirmed it. He also intended to take his omega to a specialist shortly to be looked over. What Bane didn't say was that the other man could no doubt smell Robin's nature in Bane's skin. And as an alpha would know as soon as the two were in a room together that Bane spoke the truth.

They were culpable. They had brought great dishonor to an omega. It was a truth they must accept.

"Bane wishes to find out if it can breed." Talia informed her father. Distain dripped from every syllable.

It was on the tip of his tong to correct Talia, Robin was not an 'it' as he'd already made clear once, but it wasn't the time. Or the place. Talia did not react well to being corrected, particularly in front of her father.

Ignoring his daughter's words for the moment al Ghul posed another question. "You believe that he's telling you the truth? About his platonic relationship with Bruce Wayne?"

Bane nodded. "I do. The way he speaks of him, I believe his claim that they're just friends. I have also overheard conversations he's had with Kei. He says the same then as well."

A slight tightening around his mouth was Ra's al Ghul's only tell.

"Do you believe Wayne will come for him?"

"He seems convinced that he will."

Ra's al Ghul seemed to mull that over for a couple of minutes before changing the topic to the question of where the omega and Hitachi's adopted son were presently.

"In Barsad's quarters."

"I see." A moment's pause. "I am not staying the night and would prefer to leave as soon as possible. I wish to pay my private respects to Hitachi now. You will take me to him and we will discuss Singh on the way. He has been kept waiting long enough and grows impatient."

"As you wish."

Walking back to the door it was Bane's turn to hold it open, Talia's father going through first with Talia bringing up the rear. And as she walked past him Talia shot him a look Bane wasn't sure how to interpret. He just knew, in his gut, that it did not bode well.


Hitachi's funeral, like the many others before him, was a simple affair. It took place on the grounds outside the compound with Ra's al Ghul giving a short speech in praise of Hitachi's deeds and history with the League, followed by a minute of silence. Kei had not asked to give a eulogy and al Ghul didn't offer him the opportunity. In fact their leader hardly seemed aware of the boy as Kei stood sandwiched between Barsad and Robin during the proceedings. Nor did the alpha entrust the boy with the lit torch that was used to light Hitachi's funeral pyre. Ra's al Ghul did it himself.

They all stood there in quiet respect as the fire burned, Kei's voice quiet as he recited the Lord's Prayer. Robin did the same beside him.

Once they were done both men crossed themselves in nearly perfect synch.

As it took hours to burn a body to ash men had been assigned to keep an eye on the blaze while the rest of them returned to the compound in silence. The plan was to go in, have some refreshment after standing out in the drying heat of the desert, and then Ra's al Ghul and Talia would be leaving with an urn containing some of Hitachi's ashes. The rest would be allowed to scatter to the winds.

Ra's al Ghul had yet to acknowledge or speak to either Kei or Robin, which was likely for the best. Bane wanted to minimize the presence of both when it came to the other man's radar. The less his leader thought of them the better.

The men in question both seemed to recognize this, Robin remaining unusually silent as he walked a couple steps behind Bane with Kei at his side and Barsad bringing up the rear. Talia and her father walked in front, leading the way.

That Robin was behaving was both a relief and a gnawing worry plaguing Bane's mind. He knew his treasure well after all and Robin could never behave for long.

When Ra's al Ghul stopped walking they all stopped, waiting to see or be told why. They didn't have long to wait.

"Barsad. Escort the Pet back to Bane's rooms. His presence is not required."

A hiss of breath from behind him, Bane knowing the sound came from Robin. Then movement as Robin closed the gap between them, his lips probably close enough to brush against cloth or skin if he wished.

Hidden for the most part by Bane's bulk Robin's words were pitched low for Bane's ears alone. "If anything happens to him I will blame you."

A step back.

Bane didn't turn to watch Robin be led away. Knew better than to make that mistake. Instead he trusted that Barsad would see to his omega's safety and started walking again. Kei following behind. His footsteps were loud and obvious, Barsad and Robin's retreating ones barely audible.

Silence reigned once more, guards opening the door to Ra's al Ghul's quarters for them upon arrival. Drinks had been set out for them, as had grapes, dates, and three different kinds of nuts.

Talia and her father took a seat on the hardbacked sofa, Bane wordless directed to take the chair placed on Talia's other side so that he and her father protected her on both sides. Ra's al Ghul then pointed at Kei, then the other chair situated by the table. It would put Kei only just in arm reach of the table. And the leader of the League of Shadows.

Looking completely unperturbed or aware of the possible danger he was in Kei sat and folded his hands in front of him. His gaze seeming to be on the table, though Bane got the sense that the boy was at least paying a little attention to the occupants of the sofa.

Reaching for the bottle set out on the table Ra's al Ghul poured some of the amber liquid into four of the glasses, setting the bottle down once that was done. Then he picked up the first glass and handed it to his daughter. "For Bane."

Understanding what was being ordered without it being said Bane reached up to begin undoing the straps that kept his mask in place.

Al Ghul recognized the power of Bane's mask. Knew how Bane used it to unnerve and strike fear into the hearts of others. It dehumanized him and made him seem more than just a man. Hid his scars and half his face so that he was that much harder to read and anticipate. More, it was an integral part of who Bane was now. Who he had made himself to be once he'd left The Pit. No one had seen him before he'd donned the mask. Now no one forgot his face. Forgot the mask.

So when they were alone Ra's al Ghul often ordered him to take it off. To strip him of his armor...and remind him of his place.

Pulling the mask away Bane set it down on the arm of his chair, keeping his expression blank.

"Huh. You really do look like Tom Hardy when he played Charles Bronson. Well, if he'd been older at the time. And you don't have the hideous mustache."

Bane looked at Kei. "Who?"

"One of John's favorite actors. He said you looked like him and I didn't see it until now. He thinks whoever did that to your mouth should be shot. Most Tom Hardy fans would agree."

"He thinks Bane looks like Hardy, really?" Talia's voice dripped with sarcasm and derision.

"You have to look beyond the scar tissue and the 'I'm planning your death' eyes, but I think so. It's weird."

What was weird was Kei. And it would certainly be for the best if the boy remained silent unless spoken to, which Bane tried to convey with a hard look before accepting the glass Talia continued to hold in her hand for him.

Seeming to get the message Kei didn't say anything else on the subject, though he continued to stare at Bane as though he was a work of art he was appraising. It was more than a little disconcerting.


Blinking, Kei glanced over at the glass being offered him by al Ghul. He studied it just as intently as he had Bane's face for a moment and then he took it with a quiet 'thank you'.

Once they all had a glass in hand Ra's al Ghul raised his.

"To Hitachi."

"To Hitachi." They all echoed, the three members of the League tossing the contents of their glasses back while Kei took a sip, made a face, then with a grimace sipped a couple more times to finish it off.

Leaning forward Kei set his glass on the table, seeming to want to get it far away from him lest someone suggest he want a refill. Then he looked up at Bane, his expression seeming to ask if he could please have some of the fruit or nuts on the table to get that awful taste out of his mouth.

Bane sent him back a look that told him to wait until he'd been offered it.

The resigned look Kei gave in turn suggested the message had been received.

It was going to be a trying day.

Chapter Text

That Was Close

When you lived with people who were at worst certifiably insane, at best delusional, you learned to keep your thoughts and reactions from showing on your face. Especially in Simon's case, since the majority of the League of Shadows would love any excuse to kill him very dead. And they'd probably do it in very creative and horrifically bad ways that he'd really rather not think about, much less experience. So it was very much for the best that Simon's time in the foster 'care' system and his own uniqueness had schooled him well in the art of not giving himself away face wise.

Yes, Simon was very grateful for all those years of training even as his brain struggled to compute the most recent example of two League members acting in a way that made absolutely no sense to him.

Why had Bane lied to Ra's al Ghul? And why was al Ghul allowing Simon to stay with Bane?

As he'd listened to the two men talk Simon had learned that Bane had told the League's leader that he'd promised Simon's adoptive father that he would look after Simon after his death. Which was a lie. Simon knew it was a lie because his father had outright told him that he wouldn't even try to ask such a favor from Bane, knowing that there would be no point in it. Bane would never go against what Talia wanted and Talia would want Simon to suffer, not be protected.

Simon also knew that his father had given up on gaining Ra's al Ghul's word that he would allow Simon to remain within the League once his father had passed away and could no longer keep Simon in line. Or at least out of everyone's way. It had taken considerable effort on his father's part to get permission to keep Simon with him back in the day. To expect more was, it seemed, too much to ask.

His father had told him that his only hope was John's influence over Bane or being rescued by the Batman because Barsad might want to protect him, but Bane's second's first loyalty was to Bane. And Bane's first loyalty was to Talia.

Simon was pretty sure his father had died believing Simon would follow him in death shortly.

And Simon had been pretty sure his father hadn't been wrong to think so. But now...

That John was as good in bed as the older man liked to claim he was was the only logical explanation Simon could come up with to explain why Bane would lie for him. It was the only reason why the other man would do anything to protect him since it was obvious that Bane, like most people, thought Simon was pretty much a waste of space.

John was going to be insufferably smug when he realized how deeply he'd already gotten his hooks into Bane's balls, Simon thought to himself with a sigh. And really it was surprising that Bane still had them since Simon had been under the impression Talia had removed Bane's balls a long time ago. Or at least she had according to John. Figuratively of course. If she'd actually removed the alpha's balls then...was an alpha still an alpha without part of his works? I mean you'd think that would affect hormone product which would in turn-not important. Have to focus.

What he needed to be thinking about was why Ra's al Ghul had accepted Bane's lie AND gone against his daughter's wishes in doing so.

Talia hadn't said anything while the other two men were talking to indicate she'd tried to manipulate Simon's fate...but even he'd been able to read between the lines of what she had said. And her tone of voice when she'd said it. Not to mention the way she'd looked at him had made her feelings pretty clear too.

Men didn't say no to Talia al Ghul and avoid paying some price. Especially when she saw that no as a rejection of her personally.

Which, in his case, had definitely been the case. He hadn't outright said he'd sooner slowly saw his dick off with a rusted spoon than fuck her, but maybe she'd sensed that that was what he'd been thinking when he'd lied and told her he was asexual. Women were supposed to be way better at picking up emotional cues than guys were. Plus Simon was a lousy liar and knew it.

Anyway, he'd always figured that it was that, plus the fact that he was from Gotham that had sealed his fate where she was concerned. The fact that he'd come from the same city as Wayne, on top of him coming to the League directly after Wayne had handed the League's ass to them-his position on her shit list wasn't that surprising.

That she'd allowed him to live this long was.

He'd often wondered why his adoptive father was enough of a shield to keep her from acting against him...but somehow his father had managed it. But Simon had lost that shield and-well now Bane was acting as his shield.

He was so very, very confused.

In fact, by the time the meeting was over and they were allowed to leave the best explanation Simon had come up with to explain Ra's al Ghul's behavior was that the man knew Talia wanted to fuck him and was worried the birth control would fail and he'd end up with a grandson like Simon.

That at least made some sense.

The sound of his name had Simon looking in Ra's al Ghul's direction, the other man's stare as cold and penetrating as always.

"You will stay here and you will do as Bane commands you. If you prove to be the excess baggage I believe you to be he will put a bullet in your head. Do you understand."

"I do." And he was pretty sure Bane was aware that John would never have sex with him again if he were to put a bullet in Simon's head, so Simon figured his odds of living were pretty good for the moment.


For a moment Simon wondered if he should tell Ra's al Ghul that he'd rather be shot in the head than handed over to the man's daughter, just in case the older man changed his mind about Simon in the future...but that probably wouldn't go over well so Simon just went back to studying his feet. It made him look submissive and weak.

"Your job is to watch over the omega. Go and do so. I have a few last things to discuss with Bane."

"Yes, Sir."

And happy to go Simon bowed his head and then turned with the intention of making a hasty as hell retreat.


Or not.

Slowly turning around Simon met Talia's gaze, the evil woman's hand coming up to offer her hand to him. Was he supposed to kiss it? Seriously? He'd never kissed a girl's hand before.

Well there had to be a first time for everything, Simon reminded himself glumly as he took the hand and forced himself not to grimace too much as he bowed his head to press his lips as quickly as he could against the cool skin that made his own skin crawl in horror.

Looking back up as he straightened Simon could see the pleasure and satisfaction in her eyes. And the dark lust that had his stomach rolling and cramping up in renewed horror.

But as he let go of her hand it also occurred to Simon that if she was being obvious enough that he could see it...

A glance in her father's direction made it clear that he'd noticed.

His second glance made it clear Bane had seen it too.


"Lady Talia."

Bowing his head again Simon backed up and then spinning around all but ran for the door.

No one stopped him this time.


Blake really wanted to get up and punch something. No, not something. Someone. Several someones as a matter of fact. Someones who all had one thing in common and that was that fact that they were stupid enough to be part of the incredibly stupid League of Fucking Shadows. Well that and they were all on his shit list. And had taken Simon away from him so that he had no idea if the kid was okay or not. And Simon better be okay and in one perfect piece when he saw him next or Blake had very, very ominous plans for Bane when his so-called mate returned. Because if-huh. Now there was an idea.

Leaning forward on his elbows as he sat on his bed Blake posed the question to his grumpy bodyguard. "Hey. If I told Bane that I was judging his parenting abilities by how he takes care of Kei what would he say?"

"The boy is over twenty years of age." Was Barsad's dry response, the beta standing on the other side of the room at the moment while he watched him like a hawk. Which had been really fucking annoying half an hour ago.

Right now? Well right now Blake was fighting the urge to take his aggression out on Bane's second as inhumanely as possible. Oh, and he was also grinching his teeth as he pointing out that a child was always your child no matter how old they got.

"That logic won't work with him."

Unfortunately, that was probably true.

"Then do you have any brilliant ideas about how to keep Bane from killing Simon or handing him over to Talia? Because I'm running out of ideas that don't involve sexual favors and me signing away my life and freedom by becoming Bane's mate and baby making machine."

The slightly pained, just audible sound Barsad made-well Blake was willing to go out on a limb and assume that that was due to the sexual favors comment. And the mental images that comment had probably conjured up in Barsad's tiny little brain.

He regretted nothing.

Especially when Barsad finally spoke, the man's words stiff and curt.

"Bane would kill Simon quickly and as painlessly as possible. For you. That's better than what Talia would do to him."

"If that was supposed to be comforting or reassuring it's no wonder you-nevermind."

He'd about to make a comment about Barsad's bedside manner and the fact that the beta hadn't gotten Simon to have sex with him-despite how obviously he wanted it-but Blake wasn't about to go there. Mostly because he'd sensed the tension between the two earlier when they'd been waiting to be summoned. Barsad might always take Bane's side, but that didn't mean he couldn't be an ally if Blake didn't antagonize him too much. Simon driving the other man crazy was unavoidable after all. Simon made everyone crazy sometimes.

"If he's given to Talia...I'll see that-"

Whatever Barsad had been about to say died in his throat, the beta's attention captured by something-


Diving off the bed without hesitation Blake hit the floor hard, the breath knocked right out of him on impact. He didn't even have time to catch his breath or curse either as the sound of shattering glass clued him in to the situation they were in. They. Barsad.

Immediately looking in Barsad's direction to make sure that the other man was alright Blake saw that the other man had moved and crouched down as well, his new position putting him well out of range of whatever had shattered the glass doors leading out to the balcony. Blake was guessing a sniper rifle.

Barsad met his gaze. "Are you hit?"


"Good. Stay there." Drawing out his phone from his pocket Barsad began to speak to someone very fast and urgently in a language Blake didn't speak.

A quick visual exam seemed to suggest that the glass hadn't flown far enough into the room to hit the beta, and if he was shot Blake thought Barsad probably had enough brains to make that known. Or at least make some visible attempt to insure any injuries didn't require immediate medical attention.

Talia had sent her first assassin and no one had died. Yay. Score one for the Good Guys.

Though he might have very well ended up with a bullet in his brain if not for Barsad's warning and his cop training. Which was a sobering thought. A lot of civilians would have hesitated or asked why. Especially when their relationship with the one ordering them to get down was contentious at best. But when you were a cop, especially a Gotham cop, it was better to look like a fool than risk losing your life.

Muttering a few choice words under his breath to make himself feel better Blake shifted up and onto his elbows, his stomach still touching the ground since he wasn't about to tempt fate. The less of him that was visible the better.

Shoving his phone back into his pant pocket Barsad had a few choice words to say as well before he stated that men were on their way to apprehend the sniper. They would remain where they were until he was given the all clear. If Blake attempted to get up before he had permission to do so Barsad would knock him out himself. With pleasure.

"Not an idiot."

Barsad's lips quirked just a little. "I would imagine that many people who know you would debate that statement."

Rolling his eyes with every bit of exaggeration he could muster, Blake smirked over at Barsad. "Consider me not punching you for that later my thanks for saving me. You wouldn't have looked good wearing my brain matter."

"Not to mention it's hell to get out of clothing."

"That too." A short pause. "What tipped you off?"

"The light bounced off of something. There should not have been anything there."

And better safe than sorry, Blake silently added to himself.

Lapsing back into silence the two didn't say or do anything for about four minutes, the sound of the door being opened cause for Barsad to draw his gun while Blake tensed up in preparation to move if necessary.

Of course it was Simon.

"Get down!" Barsad barked out, waving Simon away with a sweeping arm gesture.



"Sniper." Blake said in perfect tandem with Barsad.

"Oh. Gotcha."

And so saying Simon moved to press his back up against the nearest wall until he'd reached the nearby dresser and sat down beside it, using the wall as a backrest and the piece of furniture as a partial shield. "Neither of you were hurt, right?"

"We're fine." Blake assured him with a smile. Then he remembered what he'd been worrying about before the sniper. "You're all right? They aren't taking you back to Mount Doom?"

"Mount Doom? Oh. Right. 'Lord of the Rings'. And no, I'm staying here."

"Thank fuck. Oh, and Barsad saved me so he's earned a kiss from you, if you don't mind. I'll pay you back in sing-a-longs."

"Okay. Bane saved my butt too so you should give him a kiss too."


A minute or two of companionable silence.

"Hey, John?"


"Question. I'm pretty sure that if Bane and Ra's al Ghul didn't know that Talia wanted to fuck me before, they do now. I figure that means her father will want to keep me as far away from her as humanly possible, but how do you think Bane's going to react once he gets over the shock?"

Well fuck. That didn't sound good.

"How do they know?" Barsad demanded, his expression going fierce.

"She made me kiss her hand. It was super gross." Simon's grimace was visible even from across the room. "And then she eye fucked me and they noticed. Her dad's face was weirdly frozen...Bane's was hard to read because he'd put his mask back on. But his eyes were huge. Like anime character huge."

"You saw him without his mask on?" And okay, not what he should be focusing on but-

"Yeah. He really does look a lot like a more butch version of Tom Hardy. It's weird. He had to take the mask off because we had to have a toast to my father."

Barsad spoke before Blake could. "Like who? Nevermind. He saw that she desires you? You're sure?"

"If I could see it, he could see it. He's way more observant than I am."

Hard to argue with that.

And since Barsad seemed in no hurry to give his opinion-he seemed lost in his own thoughts-Blake did his best to put himself in Bane's shoes.

"I think it will increase the odds that he'll do his best to keep you away from her. He won't see you as being worthy of his precious little princess and-maybe he'll just think it's your looks? That she's so taken with your face that she's not seeing all the downsides to hooking up with you. I mean his blinders are pretty strong where she's concerned. He won't see the darker edge to it."

"You think?" Simon's gaze switched over to Barsad, whose face revealed nothing for the moment. "What do you think?"

Barsad slowly shook his head.

"Honestly...I have no idea how he'll react. But Blake nearly being shot is bound to divert his interest for a while. Let's do our best to keep it that way."

"Speaking of my wannabe mate...shouldn't he be here by now? He is losing serious mate points here."

"Be sure to tell him that." Barsad's advised, his expression dark.

Advice Blake actually intended to take.

Chapter Text

Careful What You Wish For

There was a saying, 'Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it'. Bane was very familiar with both the saying and the truth of it, having experienced the latter a few times in the past. Was experiencing it now as Bane ran full out through the hallways as he made his way towards his living quarters and his mate. His mate who someone had just attempted to assassinate according to the man Barsad had sent to inform him of the situation minutes before. Yes, the messenger had also relayed the fact that Bane's Pet was fine and had suffered nothing more than some bruising from hitting the floor to escape danger, but Bane would not allow himself to believe that until he saw Robin for himself. Before he knew without a doubt that his mate still breathed and lived and was probably currently waiting to blame all this on Bane.

Please let the omega be waiting to yell at him in their bedroom.

He should not have tempted Fate by wishing for something, anything to happen to distract them all from the awkwardness that had ensued once Kei had left the room. From what he'd seen in Talia's eyes when she had looked at the boy. What Bane knew Ra's al Ghul had seen in his daughter's eyes.

Talia had seen that they'd seen and tried to change the subject. She'd failed horribly in the ten or so minutes between Kei leaving and the messenger arriving.

The horror, disbelief, and shock of all that and its implications was taking a backseat now though, the majority of Bane's thoughts veering between fear for Robin and the question of how this could happen in the first place.

He'd known when he'd chosen that room and its design that the balcony and its glass doors were a security risk. An obvious target. He'd known that and lived there anyway because he'd needed it. Needed to have that access to the outdoors and the sun and fresh air. He'd spent decades in The Pit...death was preferable to living in the dark and closed in.

But there were security features and details put into place to guard against attack from that point. No one should have been able to get close enough to the compound without being detected. How had this happened? And more importantly, who had dared to make the attempt in the first place?

The answers that came to mind turned Bane's stomach.

Entering the short hallway that led to his rooms Bane growled at the two men standing guard at the door to get out of his way, the men moving swiftly to do so with the one opening the door for him while the other reported that there had been no sign of the shooter as yet.

Breezing past them Bane stalked into his room, his eyes scanning the room as his gaze sought-there.

Robin sat on the floor, his back against the bed. The boy was sitting beside Bane's mate, the whispered conversation the two were having ending upon Bane's arrival as the two turned their heads to look in his direction.

"No sign of the shooter." Barsad stated from slightly behind him, Bane aware of his second standing directly across from the other two. Standing guard.

Bane jerked his head to acknowledge that he'd heard and then turned his attention back to Robin, demanding confirmation that the omega wasn't hurt. He had no visible injuries but...

"My bruises have bruises. But I'll live." Robin smirked ruefully. "And Barsad saved my butt, which you love, so he deserves a raise. You do pay him, right?"

Ignoring the butt comment-however accurate that first statement might be-Bane took the last couple steps needed and then asked Robin to stand up so that he could look him over himself. Not that his eyes hadn't already made a thorough inspection, but he needed to see Robin moving and touch him. See as much evidence as possible that his mate was alive and well.

Sighing, Robin placed a hand on the bed and then used it to leverage himself up, Kei standing up with him.

Their closeness bothered Bane, his order for Kei to go stand beside Barsad harshly spoken and riddled with an underlying threat if he wasn't obeyed.

Kei obeyed.

"Someone's grumpy. I'm the one that almost ended up dead, you know."

"I am aware." Bane growled as he moved in and started running his hands over the omega's body, searching for breaks or signs of discomfort. Were they alone he would have had the other man strip so that he could see every inch of skin, but they weren't and Bane would not allow neither Barsad nor Kei-especially Kei-see his mate naked. Robin wasn't a fool, after all. He was a trained professional who would have been taught First Aid. Would have taken inventory of himself and be aware of any non-visible injury that he needed to make them aware of. If only because if he died there'd be no reason for Bane to care what happened to the young alpha who had-

Not thinking about that.

"Question." Robin began, drawing Bane's attention fully back to the present. "If I told you I told you this would happen would you throw me off your balcony?"

"No. The only one to die today will be the one who attempted to kill you. Though I might add to the bruises on your precious ass if you push me."

"Right. Twenty bucks says you don't find the person who did this."

Bane glared at Robin even knowing that the silent threat wouldn't do any good. A lifetime living in Gotham had completely desensitized the other man when it came to threats of violence. That or the leniency he'd shown the former cop thus far had given Robin an overinflated sense of security. In which case he was going to have to do something about that. Soon.

Forcing himself to content himself with only checking his mate over from the waist up, Bane returned his hands to rest on Robin's waist once he was done. "You will go nowhere without protection until the individual is caught. Competent protection." Bane clarified, since he wasn't about to trust Kei to do anything but stand around and look pretty.


"Saw that coming." Bringing his arms up between them Robin placed his hands on Bane's chest and then slid them up until he reached Bane's shoulders, which he rested them on.

"Sucky day for both of us."

That was one way of putting it, yes.

"If it makes you feel better you have a big kiss coming your way for making sure we get to keep Kei."

Since that statement made him think about things he did now want to think about Bane just glared coldly in Robin's direction before telling him to go and sit on the bed to rest awhile. He'd just had a shock and needed to recover.

"Dude. I grew up in GOTHAM. This ain't nothing new."

"And yet you would return to it. Chose to remain there once you'd reached adulthood."

"It's an acquired taste. And it's my city."

"He's very possessive." Kei added from behind them. "Stupidly so."

Robin bent at the waist sideways to give Kei a look without Bane's bulk blocking him. "Shut up."

"You're both children."

"I could point out that if that's true you're basically calling yourself a pedophile...but I won't. Because you did good today saving Kei even if I probably wouldn't have been shot at if you'd taken me seriously when it came to Talia wanting to kill me." A smirk. "I'll go sit on the bed like a good little omega while you have a special meeting with Barsad to discuss who Talia most likely set up to take the fall for this."

And slipping out of Bane's hold-which he allowed-Robin did exactly as he said and sat on the bed with his legs together and his hands laced and resting in his lap. The blank face he wore finished the image Robin was deliberately presenting to annoy Bane. He was succeeding.

It almost made Bane wish, just a little, that the omega had been winged by the bullet. Or at the very least traumatized into silence for a day or two.


Nerves mostly settled now that he knew Robin was all right-though the snarky omega would probably be shooting off at the mouth on his deathbed-Bane pointed a threatening finger at Kei and ordered the younger alpha to sit on the bed as well. But on the other side so that the boy's back was to Robin and he was facing the balcony. The only thing he was good for, Bane told the boy, was as a human shield. It was too much to hope that Kei would see a new threat to Robin's wellbeing coming.

Kei's brows furrowed. "I don't know that much about it...but wouldn't the bullet just go through me and fragment that much more as it entered his body?"

Robin shrugged as he answered before Bane could tell Kei off for questioning him.

"Probably. But even without you there I'd be dead, so just do it anyway."

"Okay." Shrugging his shoulders just as negligently as Robin had Kei walked over and around the bed, taking up his position on the other side with a complete lack of self-perseveration. Not that the boy had ever demonstrated any sense of self-preservation. Ever. It made absolutely no sense to Bane whatsoever that his levelheaded second in command and a woman as brilliant and cunning as Talia would ever-

Fuck. He was not thinking about that right now. No. If Talia continued to show interest in the boy then he'd have to think about it later, but for now he had happier things to think about. Like taking out his current mood on whoever had dared to think they could come into his territory and steal the life of Bane's mate.

"I can't see the face you're making right now...but I'm going to lay odds I wouldn't like it if your face stuck that way."

Bane looked over at Robin, then made the deliberate choice to ignore him for the sake of his sanity. Instead Bane turned his back on the bed and its occupants and walked over to join Barsad, his next words spoken in a language he was sure neither Robin nor Kei understood.

"How did this happen?"

Barsad stared at him for a long, telling minute in silence.

"You know how this happened." Barsad said finally in the same language Bane had used. "I am your second. The one you can trust always to tell you the truth and speak up when it is called for. I will not lie to you in order to aid you in lying to yourself. Your omega is wrong about many Talia feels about him and her desire to see him dead is not one of them. The assassin got through our defenses because he either resides in this compound or came with Ra's al Ghul's entourage. He took his shot and then returned to the compound."

"If she wanted him dead she has only to order it done."

"And you would allow it." Barsad agreed, inclining his head slightly. "But what would her father think? What justification would she give? And would you forgive her for making you make that choice? She is not a fool, Bane. She needs you too much to risk alienating you that way. Not if she can manipulate the same results while appearing blameless."

"My loyalty is to her before all others." Bane stated firmly, refusing to acknowledge the possibility that it would or could be otherwise.

"Would you put your child in harm's way if she ordered it? Would you make the same choice as Abraham, and sacrifice your son for the one you worship blindly?"

"There is no child!"

"But if there was...whose life would you choose to save? To protect above all others?"

Barsad's words hung heavy in the air. Both knew what the answer was, after all.

"Do you think she'll risk that you won't chose her? She will not suffer a child of yours to live. Robin is the one who would carry that child. Eliminating him now, before he bears you young, is her wisest course of action."

There was only one way Bane could respond to that, and that was to order Barsad to take the boy and go and find the shooter. Now.

"Yes, Sir."

Making no attempt to press the issue Barsad turned his attention to telling Kei that they were going now. They had a sniper to hunt down.

"Me? What am I going to do?"

"What he said." Robin gave Barsad a look that said he thought the beta had lost his mind.



Hopping off the bed Kei strolled around the bed, calling to Robin over his shoulder not to get dead while he was gone.

"Aye, aye, Captain."

"Call me Ishmael."

The boy's parting shot made Robin laugh a lot, Barsad's lips actually quirking just a little in amusement too before Bane's second lost all expression in his face as he nodded at Bane and then followed Kei out of the room, leaving Bane alone with his mate.

The silence was as loud as a scream as the two of them looked at each other.

"So...since we're not going to talk about the elephant in the room...what are the chances I can get an ice pack around here?"

Immediately on high alert Bane hurried over while demanding to know what sort of injury Robin had failed to disclose to him earlier.

"Easy, Baby. I'm okay." Robin put up his hands. "I'm just bruised, like I said. I figured I'd ice them. Look a little less rainbow come morning. Not that I don't look incredible in rainbow, I totally do at Pride...but this wouldn't be a happy rainbow."


"Yeah. Pride. It's like a parade slash festival. Happens in a lot of cities around the world. Wearing rainbows is sorta required."

Bane didn't do rainbows. Or bright colors. Or really anything that could ever, in anyone's mind, be deemed colorful. But it didn't surprise him that Robin would do so. Very little about the man would probably surprise him at this point.

"I'll send for some ice. Go take a hot shower first."

"Sounds good. Well except for the ice part. But what ya gonna do?"

Shrugging his shoulders Robin slid past Bane and headed for the bathroom to do as ordered.

"Keep the door open so that I'll hear you if you need me."

Robin glanced at him over his shoulder, holding his gaze for a moment with a small smile on his face before continuing on his way without saying a word.

But he left the bathroom door open.


Trailing after Barsad Simon thought about asking if the beta wanted that kiss now. To make him feel better. He was pretty sure that Barsad was not in a good mood. Not that he was an amateur, much less an expert when it came to reading facial cues. But even though he hadn't been able to understand the conversation Barsad had had with Bane Kei still had a pretty good idea what the two must have been talking about. And Bane would not be pleased that Barsad probably wouldn't be able to produce the man who had taken a shot at Robin.

"He's dead, isn't he?"

Barsad glanced at him out of the corner of his eye as he asked what Kei meant.

"The guy who tried to shoot Robin. She'll kill him, won't she? For failing?"

"Depends on how valuable and loyal he is."

That made sense. And Kei appreciated the fact that Barsad was at least acknowledging who was behind this. It wasn't the same as the beta being on his and John's side, but it was still reassuring.

"We're not really going to go hunting for him together though, are we? I wouldn't be able to protect you."

That earned him a dark look as Barsad stated very coolly that he didn't need protection.

"I'm not insulting you. I know you could kick my ass without trying. You can probably even spar with Bane without ending up black and blue. But if a whole bunch of basasses came at you at once you could get really hurt and all I could do is call for help and then get hurt with you."

"You need to develop some pride. And ego. And basic alpha tendencies."

"Really? Most alphas are testosterone driven idiots who only think about sex and fighting."

Barsad shook his head. "That's not what I meant."

"Ah...that's pretty much what you said." Or at least Simon was pretty sure it was. "Just pretend I'm a beta or omega in your mind. I'm never going to be an alpha." Pause. "Well I am but-you know what I mean. Don't you? Sometimes I'm horrible at explaining things."

"I understood."

"Good. Now where are we going?"

"I'm going to talk to various guards who were stationed outside leading up to the assassination attempt. You're going to follow me quietly and do as little to draw attention to yourself as possible."

"I can probably do that."

"Do it."

Finding himself unexpectedly amused, Simon found himself quoting Star Wars. And he didn't even like Star Wars aside from John Williams' epic score.

"Do or do not. There is no try."

That earned him another head shake from Barsad.

Definitely time to be quiet. And not quoting Yoda.

Life in the League of Shadows really did suck pretty much all of the time.

Chapter Text

Note: sorry it's been so long since I've posted anything, I've been sick for the past two weeks.

Also Happy Valentine's Day!

A Complicated Day

Just as Barsad had predicted no one knew or had seen anything. In some of their eyes Barsad could see that the men, like him, knew that the culprit had to be one of them. Many of them probably knew why one of their comrades would wish the cop dead and who most likely had given the orders for the omega's execution. These were not stupid, unobservant men. They had all been trained by himself and Bane, allowed their current positions because they were up to the tasks they were assigned. They would all be aware of the affect Blake was having on Bane and Talia's feelings on the subject. The bitch was making little to no effort to hide her desire for the omega's pain and eventual death. Bane was probably the only one currently in the compound who wasn't aware that Blake's days were very much numbered unless Bane stepped up and chose his would be mate over the woman he'd always followed with blind obedience. Who Bane's men followed with blind obedience because that was what Bane expected of them. How he had trained them.

After talking with the latest man and learning nothing useful Barsad started off to hunt up the next person on his mental list, glancing behind him to check on Kei because keeping the alpha in his sights was basic self-preservation. For both of them. Barsad didn't even want to think about what sort of trouble the other man could find when not properly supervised for a few hours.

The glance reassured him that Kei was still trailing silently after him. The alpha hadn't said a word since the start of the interviews, observing quietly instead. Or at least Kei was doing an excellent imitation of quiet contemplation.

There was a thoughtful look on Kei's face but Barsad was loathed to ask the alpha what he was thinking. That could lead down any number of rabbit holes Barsad did not have the patience for at the moment. Actually, no. Not rabbit holes. Landmines was the better descriptive.

"You keep looking at me. Why?"

"To make sure you're behaving."

"Oh. I am. Right? I'm being quiet at least. Or I was."

"You are." Barsad acknowledged. "We have two more men to talk to and then I'll see what Bane's next orders for us are."

"Do we have to interview the other two? I mean if one of them tried to shoot John they aren't going to admit it. And if one was really stupid or suicidal and admitted it, well they'd blow their brains out or slice their jugular right after because that would be a lot quicker and less painless than what Bane will do to them. And I don't want to see that."

He'd rather not have to get blood and possibly brain matter off his person later either. But since Barsad was fairly sure that no one would step forward to be Talia's scapegoat, at least not this early in the game, Barsad just shook his head and stated that they had a job to do.

"No we don't. Bane's head is so far up his-nevermind."

So Kei did have some common sense after all. Who knew?

"Before we go find the next person can I ask you a question?"

Praying for strength since he'd no doubt need it in the coming seconds Barsad asked him what the question was.

"You said I should be more alpha. Did you mean with you specifically or just in general?"

"In general."

"Oh. Okay. I was wrong."

About so many things, Barsad silently tacked on to that statement. Then curiosity got the best of him. Dammit.

"Wrong about what, exactly?"

Kei opened his mouth-then paused for a telling moment. "I'm not sure...but I don't think you'd like it if I answered that so I'm taking the Fifth. We should get going with the fake interviews."

He wanted to ask...but Barsad told himself that if Kei thought there was a chance it would anger him than yes, odds are it would. Extremely. And he didn't need anything new to be angry about or stress over.

"Let's go."

So off they went again, the two of them saying nothing at all while Barsad contemplated all the various things Kei could have been thinking. Not surprisingly the majority of those thoughts did nothing to improve his mood or stress levels. But Barsad was also very much aware of Kei's nearness and the fact that the boy wasn't humming to himself. Something the alpha had started doing more and more lately. And it occurred to him-and shamed him-that with the assassination attempt he'd forgotten that the alpha's adopted father had died the night before. Was being cremated as they did these interviews.

"It is a difficult thing, to lose a father. After this I will see about you being relieved for the rest of the day."

"I'd rather stay with you or John."

He was a complete and utter fool, but Barsad's heart leapt that he'd been named first.

"As you wish."

"That's a line from a really famous movie called 'The Princess Bride'. The male lead says it a lot to the female one and it's sorta their inside joke. I had a foster mother who thought it was the greatest love story ever. I liked the movie way more than the book. Except for the 'rodents of unusual size'. That freaked me out as a kid."

"Rodents of unusual size?"

"Think of a rat/mole hybrid the size of a human being."

Yes. That did sound like a truly ugly and fearsome creature.

"And did the couple in this story live happily ever after?"

"They did. She almost had to marry someone else, and he almost died, but he lived for 'true love'."

True love. Barsad's parents had had that. The memories were faded, and often painful, but he did remember that. Did, in some part of himself, want that for himself too.

"You probably don't believe in true love. I don't know if I believe in it either. I've only ever seen it in movies and in books. But I think it would be nice. Maybe."

Not knowing what else to say Barsad settled for inclining his head in agreement.


Robin hated ice. Like he really, really hated ice. The only good ice was the sort in drinks or with evil food coloring and sugar added to make it taste yummy. Ice you had to apply to your skin was way more evil than the people who came up with ear worm songs like 'Baby Shark' in Blake's opinion. And that sure as fuck was saying something. So yeah, ice was something he'd prefer to avoid but unfortunately thanks his profession and the fact that he'd been trained by Batman himself to be an even bigger badass than he'd already been...well Blake was very familiar with the necessity of applying ice to his body even if he hated it with a serious passion.

Currently he was lounging against Bane's chest, the alpha's legs bracketing him and Bane's arms wrapped around Blake's waist as they sat on the bed together. Arms that kept him in place as the ice packs Blake had placed just below both knees froze his bare legs off. He was just wearing one of Bane's shirts at the moment which maybe hadn't been one of his best ideas.

Ugh. Though it was comforting too, being surrounded by the alpha. Especially after what had almost happened.

To comfort himself Blake again reminded himself that his present feelings of happiness and contentment-ignoring the whole ice thing-were a normal biological reaction and said nothing about how he felt about Bane. He'd just gone through a heat AND nearly been killed. Needing an alpha around was only natural. Totally an omega thing. The fact that only Bane would have made him feel this safe and centered and 'right'...well that was biology too. He was sleeping with Bane after all. And technically speaking Bane was the biggest and most dangerous alpha in the compound. It only made sense that his stupid omega brain thought that made Bane even better than hours of leisurely sleep and endless supplies of chocolate.

Yeah...a change in mental subject was needed.

"How did your meeting with Talia and her dad go?"

When Bane stiffened up behind him Blake belatedly realized that yeah, he could have picked a better topic. Oops. He'd forgotten about the whole Kei thing. Poor Bane. It was a wonder Bane's head hadn't exploded if Talia had been as obvious as Kei thought she'd been.

"Okay...nevermind. Kei said that-speaking of Kei, if you lose your tin can I can give you that kiss I told you about for saving him for me."

"I didn't save him for you."

Blake wasn't buying that for a minute, his tone making that clear. "Really? Then why, pray tell, would you keep him here?"

"For Hitachi's sake. To honor his memory and final wishes."

Since that was possibly, just possibly true, Blake didn't bother to argue with him. If Bane didn't want that kiss then it was no skin off his bruised ass. In fact...maybe he should have a nap. A nap sounded good right about now. So long as Bane stayed around to keep him feeling warm and not likely to be shot at in the immediate future.

Closing his eyes Blake shifted so that from the waist up he was slightly turned and then settled in to nap a bit.

Or not.

"You said you never found the boy appealing as a possible mate. Why?"

Keeping his eyes closed Blake's lips curved into a rueful little smile. He probably should have seen that question coming. "He's too young and pretty. Not to mention I prefer my men bigger, bulkier, and a great deal more dangerous than he could ever hope to be. And he doesn't hope to be. Plus I'm not remotely his type either."

"What is his type?"

That was a trickier question, especially since Blake was pretty sure that Simon had never actively gone looking for someone to date in the first place. Once Simon had grown into his looks the omegas had come a running and had kept coming until Simon had decided that dating was too much work and stressful. Still, he did know what Simon didn't like, so Blake tossed out a few obvious 'type' requirements.

"Low maintenance. Self-sufficient...and likes music. Oh, and isn't one for PDA or a toucher in general."


"Public displays of affection."

Bane was quiet for a minute or so, absorbing this. "You are not low maintenance."

"No shit, Sherlock."

"No swearing."

Rolling his eyes over that Blake made no apologies for his high maintenance. He'd warned the man not to make him become an omega again. Bane had totally brought this all on himself. Cause if Bane thought he'd been bad before...well Blake could see a lot of drama in their future. And how.

"He's not your type either."

"Yeah, no." Blake snorted in amusement over the very idea.

"He's a pitiful excuse for an alpha."

"Enough, Bane. It's not his fault your precious Talia wants to fuck him. He's made it very clear he couldn't be less interested in her." Grimacing, Blake mumbled under his breath that that was the problem.

Making a sound of discontent Bane asked what he meant by that.

Shit. Next time he'd have to mumble quieter.

"I mean that if he'd slept with her she'd have lost interest in him and that would have probably been that. Your Talia only wants him this badly because he's made it clear he's not interested and your beloved princess has an inferiority complex."

"No she doesn't."

"She does so. She wants to lead and no one is going to let her because she's a woman. All her power comes from you and her father and if the two of you weren't around the League would have no use for her. It's why she both needs and resents the two of you so much. I mean she's not weak, I'm sure she can hold her own in a fight against the average alpha, but she's not you or Ra's al Ghul."

"You underestimate her."

That called for some serious eyerolling.

"She just tried to have me killed, Bane. I'm aware she's dangerous. I'm just saying that it's a very sore spot for her that her power comes from men. Men she holds sway over by using your familial ties or her sex appeal. And in Sim-Kei's case she can't stand the idea that he doesn't want her because in her head that suggests he doesn't think she's good enough for him. And that her ego can't stand. Particularly since Bruce turned her down too. So she wants him to suffer for making her feel like she's not good enough for a-someone like Kei."

And now you're going to tell me that she's far, far too good for him, Blake thought to himself, rolling his eyes again when Bane immediately proved him right.

"He is beneath her notice."

Called it. And he should probably stop rolling his eyes so much. Blake was pretty sure your eyes couldn't get stuck that way, but seeing as being around Bane called him to roll his eyes on a regular basis, well that couldn't be good for them.

"Well be sure to tell her you think so. Preferably when I'm in the room to see it."

Bane made a sound that Blake wasn't quite sure how to interpret but he didn't really care. This was a stupid, pointless conversation after all.

Abruptly annoyed with his-with Bane and the world in general-Blake decided to do himself a favor and clear the room so that he could have a nap and hopefully avoid having to see or speak to either of the al Ghuls before the two bitches left the compound. One of whom had just tried to kill him. KILL HIM DEAD. And even if Bane were to see Talia gun Blake down out of nowhere without warning he'd still probably believe her if she said it was an accident or self-defense. And Bane seriously thought Blake would become his mate? That he would want to spend his life with a man who always put a psychopath's wants before him? All those years in The Pit had killed Bane's brain. The wheel was still turning but the hamster was dead. Decomposing, probably.

And he was imagining a decomposing hamster and that was just wrong on a number of levels. Especially since an actual corpse was even now being burned beside the compound.

Fuck. He was so done with this place!

Twisting a little Blake angled himself to the side so that he could glare at Bane.


"I'm mad at you."

His beautiful eyes clouding in confusion-dammit, no thinking Bane's eyes were beautiful, stupid brain!-Bane stared down at him warily. "Why?"

The fact that 'Because you love Talia more than me' was the immediate response that came to Blake's mind made him stomach drop and probably sucked all the color from his face. Fuck.

"A lot of reasons." Was the answer Blake went with, weak and stupid as it sounded.


"Now that you know I'll live to annoy you another day shouldn't you be running back to your masters? I'm supposed to be a worthless Pet after all. They won't like it if they think you'd rather spend time with me than them."

Bane stiffened as he stated that it wasn't safe for Blake to be left alone.

True. He couldn't argue with that.

But Blake wasn't surprise either when Bane retrieved his phone to call Barsad back to babysit him. Probably. He didn't recognize the language Bane was speaking, much less understand, but of course that was what he was saying to the beta. Of course Bane was leaving him and proving Blake's point about how Bane didn't really care or want him. Not really. Otherwise he wouldn't be leaving. So there.

Feeling vindicated Blake untwisted himself and went back to staring straight ahead on him, arms now crossed in front of him. Hell, he'd have moved away entirely but Bane still had one arm wrapped around his waist and-so he was stuck. Until Bane left.

The call ended.

"Barsad and the boy have finished their investigation for the time being. We'll all go to see Talia and her father off."

" too?"


Oh. He wasn't sure how he felt about that. Bane wasn't leaving him...but he was also putting him in close proximity to the person who had tried to have him killed. Was Bane trying to keep him safe with him or give Talia another shot to kill him because he was tired of Blake being a bitch to him? Fuck. Was this some trap and Bane intended to hand him and Simon over to the al Ghuls?

"You will stay by my side until the one who dared to try and take you from me is caught."

So until one of them keeled over dead, in other words. Great. That was just fantastic.

That a part of his brain actually thought that made Blake tempted to bitch slap some sense into himself.

"You have a right to be angry with me. I failed to protect you."

It was a testament to the weirdness of their relationship that even with that stupid tin can on his face to muffle and robotize his voice Blake still heard something in those words that made him twist around again to try and get a read on what Bane was thinking or feeling. No surprise he was out of luck between the mask and the fact that Bane had a pretty fucking amazing poker face.

"You weren't here to protect me."

"So I said."

"I mean that if you had been here, you'd have tried to protect me. This time, anyway."

Bane stared at him. "You believe that?"

"As a matter of fact I do."

Chapter Text

It's Hard To Understand

Bane didn't understand Robin. This was a fact that had been true the entire length of time they'd known each other, and even more so now that Robin's omega nature was truly emerging. And Robin had made it very clear that Bane had no one to blame but himself for Robin's erratic and confusing behavior-especially now-and Bane had given up arguing that fact. Currently he was too occupied trying to understand the workings of his mate's mind so that the rest of their lives would be a lot less chaotic and Robin's attitude could be reined in. Somehow.

Failure was not something Bane accepted lightly...but at the moment he was feeling beaten.

He didn't understand what had happened in their bedroom. Didn't understand Robin's behavior. When he'd come in to assure himself that his mate was fine in the aftermath of the assassination attempt Robin had been his usual, snarky self. The omega hadn't been shaken or afraid, hadn't clung to him or sought comfort the way most omegas would. Perplexing, but Robin was from Gotham and had made it clear that his time there as a cop had desensitized him to such things. Fine. His mate was strong mentally. It was one of the man's most attractive qualities.

So things had seemed fine-and then they hadn't been. And Bane didn't know why. It wasn't like he hadn't made his low opinion of Kei clear before. They'd also been argued about Talia since their first meeting. They argued constantly. Bane was hard pressed to remember more than a handful of conversations they'd had that didn't include them disagreeing about something. His omega was very opinionated and stubborn. Also frustrating, but Bane had accepted that personality quirk. They'd work on that.

The point was they'd argued, yelled, and called each other names before. Often disagreed with the other just as strongly at the end of the argument as they had when they started. But never once had Robin looked at him with sad, hurt eyes.

Never once had Robin said 'I'm mad at you' in a tone that suggested Bane had said or done something that had truly upset him. Maybe even hurt him.

Something that had nothing to do with Bane's failure to protect him earlier, which was the most logical conclusion Bane had come up with. That would have made sense. He was angry at himself and his men for failing so completely to keep Robin safe. Robin, who would be dead right now if Kei had been protecting him instead of Barsad.

Barsad...who said Talia had done this.

So he would keep the two apart from each other. Far away from each other until Robin was better adapted to living in the League of Shadows and more-open to seeing the rightness of what Bane was trying to teach him. That Talia wasn't the one trying to kill him. She just didn't like him. They didn't like each other. But Bane would also make sure to keep up communications with Talia, even increase them, to make sure that she understood his continued love and loyalty. Hopefully that would make her see that Robin was...good for him. That it took nothing away from her to have a mate of his own. Surely she would, eventually, be happy for him. As he would be happy for her once he got over his distrust of anyone being good enough for her.

Kei certainly wasn't.

But after Wayne Bane supposed he should have realized that Talia had a...weakness...for pretty boys with no substance. Boys who had just enough intelligence to realize that she was too strong and superior to them to be worthy, and therefore had rejected her interest. Something she might, perhaps, have misunderstood and saw as a negative reflection on her worth.

In his mind Bane recalled the look on Kei's face and in the boy's eyes when he'd kissed Talia's hand. And her reaction to it.

It turned his stomach.

"Are we there yet?"

Turning his head Bane looked to his side where Robin walked beside him, the omega's arms crossed protectively in front of him, hands holding his upper arms. A defensive position and tell-and one that a cop with any sense knew better to adopt. It would not defend him from attack, but slow down his reaction time. The omega had also, since they had left their room to see the al Ghuls off, been primarily looking at the floor rather than scanning around them for danger as he normally would. Not that Bane would allow any harm to come to him, but still...

"We are almost there."

No snarky response from Robin. The other man didn't even look up.

Bane wanted to believe that this was all a show for those watching them as they made their way through hallways and passed guards stationed throughout as the compound was on high alert. That Robin was playing the role so it would be reported back to Talia and her father that he'd been properly 'broken', as Bane had been ordered to do.

But they hadn't arrived at their destination yet and Robin had too much pride and attitude to pretend longer than he needed to. Robin was also mad at him. When Robin was angry he did the opposite of what Bane told him to do. This Bane had learned well.

There were too many eyes and ears on them. Bane couldn't demand to know what was going on. He most certainly couldn't demand that Robin behave more like himself. He was supposed to be discouraging that.

Luckily, or unluckily, Barsad joined them moments later with Kei.

Meeting Barsad's gaze Bane gave him a questioning look, the beta shaking his head in the negative to indicate that he'd found nothing worth relaying during his interviews.

Kei, meanwhile, wandered over to study Robin with apparent interest.

"I haven't seen you this depressed in a while. Did he lie and promise you chocolate or pizza?"

Kei was apparently worth looking at, Robin glancing over at the young alpha. "I'm not depressed. And don't mentioned pizza or chocolate!"

Oh. Should he be bribing Robin with those things? That would set a bad precedent-but once in a while technically wouldn't hurt.

"Well I know it's not because Tom Hardy got married again. How would you know?"

There was just a hint of a smile curving Robin's lips now. "The force is strong with this one?"

Kei smirked. "I quoted Yoda earlier. Barsad didn't get it."

"Bane never gets them either. He's never seen 'JAWS'."

"Really? I guess that makes sense. If he watched Spielberg's movies he'd realize how messed up the League is."

Shoulders straightening, engaged now with a definite smile on his face, Robin asked why Kei thought that.

"Well think about it. 'JAWS' teaches that brains will always ultimately overcome brawn. And that revenge and sequels are usually a bad idea. 'Jurassic Park' shows that life always finds a way no matter how humans try to control it." Kei ticked off each point with his fingers. "'Schindler's List' teaches that it's inhumane to discriminate, murder, and subjugate people, and also that even people with questionable morals can be heroes, and do the right thing. That 'Whoever saves one life saves the world entire'."

"I forgot that quote. It's a good quote. From the Talmud."

"It is? Well that makes sense." Kei pursed his lips. "Now like I was saying..." The alpha snapped his fingers. "Oh. 'ET' teaches that just because someone is alien to you, really different, that doesn't mean they're evil or will hurt you. And 'Catch Me If You Can' is about the importance of good parenting. And that the law will get you eventually. What else did he-'Hook' is about-"

"We're almost there. Quiet now. Both of you."

Kei looked at Barsad and nodded, lapsing into silence. Robin was quiet too, nothing about his expression indicating he minded that Barsad had told them to be quiet. Robin did not take it this well when Bane told him to be quiet. There was always at least one snarky remark or a look before Robin did as asked. If he did as asked. Hell, Robin was sharing a smile with Kei now.

That boy was annoying, dimwitted, and wouldn't know how to be a proper alpha if someone gave him step by step instructions and trained him every day of his life. Why did Robin like him so much? Why did Robin smile at him so much?

How could he get Robin to smile at him more without letting Robin do whatever he wanted, which would be disastrous? If he had to ask Kei for advice-no. Never happening. Death would be the preferable fate.

Damn. He needed to table these thoughts. It would not due to appear distracted, much less be that way.

Ahead of them, at the end of the hallway, the al Ghuls stood surrounded by their personal guard. All the men had their weapons visible and out, none of them relaxing even though they would know none of the men approaching posed a threat. But that was to be expected, the attempted assassination had put everyone on edge.

Bane didn't anticipate this taking long, especially since Talia's father wouldn't want to be around Bane or Robin for any longer than was necessary. He also wouldn't want his daughter around the younger alpha that thankfully was hanging back, almost hiding behind Robin. A fact that suited Bane just fine even as he wished that there was some way he could get rid of the fool without incurring Robin's wrath.

But he would lose any chance he might have with the omega. Not to mention the absurd fascination Barsad had where Kei was concerned. But at least in Barsad's case Bane had confidence that his second would come to his senses soon.

When they were close enough Bane stopped and inclined his head.

Ra's al Ghul inclined his ever so slightly in return. "Have you caught the sniper?"


"I see. I trust you will find him soon. Keep me informed."

"I will."


"Until we meet again, My Friend." Talia said from her father's side, the smile she gave Bane warm. "It was good to see you again."

"Yes. I will look forward to it."

Talia's gaze slid over to just beside Bane. "And you as well, Detective. I'm glad to see you're unharmed."

"I'm a hard man to kill. Safe trip home."

There was no emotion in Robin's voice, but that was for the best.

"That you are." Talia agreed with another, sharper smile. A smile she then aimed at first Barsad and then Kei, saying goodbye to each man.

Bane assumed that both men did something to acknowledge her words without speaking, as she didn't seem annoyed and her father didn't call them out for being discourteous.

And that was that.

A few more nods and then the al Ghuls and their entourage walked away to the stairwell that would eventually take them out and to their waiting helicopter. They were flying straight back to their mountain stronghold and Bane trusted that the men with them would see they got their safely.

Meanwhile his three companions all breathed a sigh of relief. Some louder than others.


It was nearly two hours later when the realization hit. Bane and Barsad had been going over what little information they had on the sniper while Robin and Kei sat at a nearby table, watching a movie on a laptop. As it turned out Barsad did occasionally watch movies for entertainment and the two had been allowed to watch their pick of his collection as it kept the two occupied and out of trouble. Less distracting in the small, windowless room they were currently in.

It was while they studied images relayed by their satellites and security cameras again, hoping that they'd missed something the first few times they'd reviewed them, that Bane realized that he hadn't once feared for Talia's safety. A sniper had infiltrated his compound, whereabouts unknown, and not once had the thought that she might be in danger. He hadn't ordered her protection detail doubled, for her to be put in lockdown, or even had her warned. And yes she and her father had known why Bane had left them and therefore had known to increase their security-but Bane hadn't been thinking about that. About her.

Numerous excuses and reasons passed through Bane's mind to explain this, but with each scenario Bane kept coming back to the same conclusion. He hadn't believed her in danger. Had known, on an instinctual, subconscious level that the sniper wouldn't hurt her.

Barsad had made his opinion clear. Bane had always trusted his second.

"If you are right, and Talia is responsible for do I make her stop?" Bane asked, speaking in Barsad's native language.

Barsad looked up from the printout in his hand. "You can't. You marked him for death the moment you decided to claim him as yours. She won't stop."

"If she didn't want me to have him, why didn't she argue against giving him to me in the first place?"

Robin's capture had been her idea. Her plan. Bane had assumed that Ra's al Ghul had given Robin to him as a test of his loyalty. A reminder of his place and the older alpha's feelings where Bane was concerned. But if Talia hadn't wanted Robin to remain in Bane's custody she could have said so and her father would have acquiesced. It wasn't as though Bane had been the only choice available.

"It was a test. Both father and daughter. Do you think it was a coincidence that she came the next day to ensure her father's orders were followed? And do you really think her father would want her to see that, knowing how her mother died? She came because she wanted to. To confirm your loyalty and to gain satisfaction in proof that Wayne's lover had suffered and that Wayne would suffer."

"Talia wouldn't-"

Barsad interrupted, which gave his words a sharper edge. "She knows how you feel about rape. By giving him to you, forcing you to do something abhorrent to you at her command, it reinforced to her that you'll do whatever she asks of you. That she owns you. Perhaps the original idea to give the cop to you was her father's...but my money would be on her. He has no taste for rape, either. You know that."

He did know that.

"Her power comes from you and her father. She needs to know, always, that it will stay that way."

Bane had to take a minute to absorb that before he could say anything.

"Have you and Robin been discussing this?"

"A little."

Acknowledging this with a stiff nod Bane turned his head to look in the direction of Robin, the omega engrossed with whatever was happening onscreen.

He couldn't argue that Talia and her father knew how he felt about rape. Everyone in the League knew he'd killed his own men for committing that offense. More, Talia knew why his feelings on the matter were so strong. Had grown up seeing men raped within the confines of The Pit. Knew what had been done to her mother. And still she'd done nothing to intervene, to prevent him from being the one expected to rape and break Robin.

"I've never given her reason to doubt me."

Barsad agreed that that was so.

"Then why?"

The look that earned him...Bane didn't know what to call it. Just that it tied his stomach in knots.

"She doesn't understand love."


"I don't understand."

"You love her. Truly love her. Would give your life for her without question or hesitation. You would never willingly betray or harm her." A moment's pause, Barsad's eyes staring ito Bane's as he softly continued. "She doesn't love you. Or her father. Or anyone. She doesn't understand the strength and power of the emotion, so she has no faith in it."

Fingers clenching into fists Bane wanted to destroy Barsad in that moment. Erase the other man and the words he'd spoken from existence. From ever being spoken.

"It's not a lack in you, but in her."

Bane looked away. It was all he could do in that moment.

"We're done here." Barsad announced in English. "You two will have to finish the movie tomorrow."

"Seriously? We've got like fifteen minutes left." Robin's voice.

"You said you'd seen this already." Kei pointed out.

"So? It's a good movie."

"Blake." Barsad spoke again.


The sound of a chair being pushed back on concrete, then moments later a familiar hand was placed on Bane's arm, fingers wrapping around to squeeze ever so slightly.

Bane turned his head to meet Robin's gaze.

"Hey. Dinnertime?"

The thought of eating was nauseating.

"Yeah. That's how I feel about the food around here too. But we should probably eat something. Keep our blood sugar levels up and all that jazz."

Yes. It was important that Robin eat.

Latching onto that thought like a lifeline Bane focused his thoughts on that and only that. Robin had mostly eaten garbage while living in Gotham and was constantly avoiding the healthy food provided here whenever possible. Kei certainly couldn't be counted on to make sure Robin was taken care of. And given the health concerns that had arisen from Robin returning to his true self...keeping him as healthy as possible was of even more importance.

"We'll go get you food."

"Excellent. Hard pass if it's whatever they served the night you and I left the compound. Kei said it looked like vomit."

Kei piped up. "It really did."

"You will eat something healthy for you."

Robin made a face like a grumpy child.

"Come. We'll get you food."

Chapter Text

Note: The Scrabble related injury is totally based on a true story. I will never do that again lol.

After A Trying Day

Blake wasn't sure, but he had a feeling that Bane had finally gotten it through his incredibly thick skull that Blake had been right about Talia all along. Okay, knowing Bane that was probably hoping for too much. The alpha was probably still in denial that his precious little darling was a narcissistic psychopath with delusions of grandeur and future world domination. But when it came to the whole 'Talia is the one trying to kill me, Idiot'...Blake was getting the vibe that that might have finally sunk in. Or was being considered as a possibility at the very least.

Whatever it was, something had hit Bane hard and it showed. Big time.

Which was why Blake found himself suffering through a disgustingly bland and healthy soup that needed salt added, stat. And don't even get him started on the mixed grain bread he was given to go with it. He wasn't even offered any butter for it!

God, he missed butter. But asking for some probably wouldn't go over well so Blake refrained. For now.

Of course if the worst happened and Bane did knock him up the alpha better be prepared to stock up on a fuck-ton of chocolate, pizza, fries, hamburgers-fuck. He should not be thinking of all the amazing food he could be eating instead of League crap.

Eating his dinner with all the enjoyment of a kid being force fed the most disgusting cold medicine ever Blake finished it as quickly as possible and then pushed the bowl aside with the serious hope that it wouldn't be refilled.

It wasn't. And Bane had hardly touched his but pushed it away once he confirmed that Blake didn't want anything else.

"We'll return to our room now. Barsad, take care of the boy."

Orders given Bane rose from his chair and motioned for Blake to do the same. A glance in Simon's direction confirmed that he at least looked okay with this turn of events, and a brief glance in Barsad's earned him a very slight nod of reassurance. Barsad would look after Simon for him. At least to the best of the beta's ability. Simon probably wouldn't make it easy for him. But trusting that Simon had a babysitter of sorts who, completely against his will, cared about him, Blake got to his feet as well and said his good nights.

That done Blake allowed Bane to herd him out of the kitchen and into the main hallway without a word of complaint or backward glance. Which was a good thing since Bane was obviously in a hurry to get out of there, even placing a hand on the small of Blake's back to keep him moving and close.

Sneaking glances at Bane's face as they walked Blake thought to himself that he could practically see new lines carving themselves into Bane's already lined and bumpy face. The man was seriously stressed and bottling it all up like a complete idiot. That amount of stress-yeah, it was going to blow sooner rather than later. And call him crazy, but Blake was willing to bet that no sane person wanted to be in the room when Bane lost control of himself.

Ergo, for the sake of all humanity-especially himself-something had to be done to relieve some of that pressure.

Sex was the obvious answer, but currently Blake would prefer to avoid since it wouldn't be all that enjoyable. He was still recovering from his heat on top of being sore as fuck thanks to his heat, the after effects of his transition back to an omega, AND hitting the floor hard earlier to avoid being shot. Plus he'd specifically said his ass was off limits for the next little while and going back on that edict would not bode well for future negotiations.

Above and beyond that stress sex was usually, well, stressful. Also occasionally insulting if the stressed person was still focusing on their problems while you were sucking them off or they were balls deep in your ass. He had enough reasons to want to beat the shit out of Bane without adding to the list.

Working out the stress by working out or fighting was the next, arguably most logical choice-only it was late and Bane was determined to stick to him like a burr. In the mood Bane was in he might seriously damage or even kill his opponent too. Blake also had a feeling that if he volunteered to spar a little with Bane the alpha would have a number of things to say about Blake's prowess without ever letting him throw a punch. So yeah, offering to spar with Bane would do no good while also giving Blake new reasons to want to cause the man significant injuries.

He couldn't suggest they watch and movie or TV show to veg out and relax with because there wasn't a TV. And while there were laptops and such Blake figured that Bane would nix the idea on the grounds that Western culture was evil and all that yadda yadda. Or he'd want to watch the most boring documentaries ever created. Hard pass. Bane probably didn't do soothing baths either. Not that Bane would fit in one unless it was a supersized one. A moonlight stroll was out since they had to worry about snipers at the moment. Maybe yoga?

Imagining Bane doing yoga was certainly improving his own mood, as in tickling his funny bone, but Blake figured he might as well rule that out too. Or at least move it to the 'last resort' list for future consideration. Would anyone in this hell hole have board games?

Okay, Blake had to snicker a little at the ideas that popped into his head.

"What amuses you?"

Jolting a little because Bane was being a man of even fewer words than normal, it took a moment for Bane's question to register with Blake.

"My twisted thinking. As in I just pictured some really weird games."

"What do you mean?"

Blake shrugged. "Well I was thinking about how we could spend the rest of the night and wondered if anyone around here had board games. That led me to imagining what kind of board games League of Shadows people would actually play in what passes for 'leisure times' around here. So at first I thought, well sure they might play games like 'Risk' or chess...then I imagined them playing 'Battleship' to plan at sea operations. Or using 'Mousetrap' as a guide to how to capture people."

His kidnapping had been a fuck-up from start to finish after all. Obviously these people needed practice.


"Yeah. It's a kid's game where you-nevermind." He wasn't that lacking in common sense, thank you very much.

"You enjoy board games?"

"I like some of them. 'Scrabble', 'Monopoly'...some trivia games. I haven't played the first two in forever. I nearly put my fucking back out the last time I played 'Scrabble'."

Bane went still, turning slightly to look at him with confusion on his face. "How would you injure yourself playing that game? I know it."

"Well I was bored so I thought what the hell, I'd play a game by myself. So I put it on the floor, tiles on either side of the board...and played a few games because I got caught up, ya know? Then I tried to get up off the floor and discovered that spending over a couple hours hunch over a game board...not a good idea. Fuck was I sore the rest of the night. Never again."

"You should have stretched properly first."

"In hindsight, yes." But seriously, who stretched before playing a board game?

And now he was thinking of playing 'Twister' with Bane. Trying and failing of course, since with Bane's bulk the game wouldn't last very long. They'd end up on the floor pretty damn quick. So if they were playing 'Sexy Twister' it would be all good. Better than good, really. Well...unless Bane squashed him in the process. Bruised or fractured ribs were a bitch.

"How would you even play 'Scrabble' by yourself?"

"Why do people say it like that? It's not that hard. You just play one side and then play the other like you have no idea what the 'other side' has planned. The only thing I could never understand was why my left side won the majority of the games. It was weird. Like at least eight times out of ten."

Bane simply looked at him, then stated that he would procure a board and then they would play.

"Get a dictionary too."

"I don't require one."

"Yeah, well I do." How else was he supposed to 'cheat' by finding words he didn't even know were words.

Something in Bane's eyes suggested that he knew precisely why Blake wanted that dictionary, but Blake wasn't about to deny himself any advantage he could find. Please. As if.

Again likely thinking along the same lines Bane just shook his head a little, some of the stiffness leaving his shoulders. Maybe a sign of amusement? Who knew? Stupid tin can. The mask was definitely coming off once they were in their rooms.

And with that in mind Blake started to lengthen his stride a little, eager to get back to-well not the safety of their rooms because hello, almost killed in there today-but at least it was theirs and Bane would hopefully be more comfortable and would ditch the mask for the night. Or maybe not. Shit, would this stress Bane out, being back in that room knowing what had almost happened mere hours ago? But if that was the case surely Bane would have had them moved to another room. At least temporarily. He knew that the glass had already been cleaned up and replaced because he'd heard Bane and Barsad discussing that earlier while the two were having one of their little powwows. Should he ask? Maybe Bane was just being too alpha to admit that he wasn't okay staying there. Of course suggesting that that might be the case would mean risking denting the alpha's ego after Bane had already had a helluva bad day. Alphas.

Rolling his eyes at his thoughts Blake was about to turn his head and sneak another quick look in Bane's direction when-Bane took his hand.

Gaze immediately dropping down to the space between them Blake watched in stunned fascination as Bane laced their fingers together. Together. And...well okay, it was Bane's left hand holding his right so Bane still had full use of his dominant hand and he didn't-but still...Bane was holding his hand in public. Not swinging it, naturally, but it was very couple-ish and not at all subtle. People could see.

Looking back up in Bane's direction Blake lifted his eyebrows, silently asking for some explanation.

Bane held his gaze for a moment-then looked away. But kept a firm grip on his hand.

Seriously? What the fuck?

But no answers came and Blake found himself shrugging and going along with it. It had been one weird, long ass fucking day.

Thank God it was almost over.


Bane had ordered Barsad to take care of Kei without stating what exactly that entailed. Or what Kei's new status within the League was now that Hitachi was dead. Bane had also apparently lied to Talia and her father, claiming that he had accepted responsibility for the boy for Hitachi's sake. Barsad had no doubt that Bane had actually done so to appease his potential mate. Or at least mate for however long the omega managed to stay alive before Talia killed him. But the point was Bane hadn't specified what his plans were for Kei and Barsad had judged it wise not to bother his leader with unnecessary questions until tomorrow. Especially as he'd prefer Kei to be under his own care until Bane stated other plans.

So he would take the boy back to his rooms with him, Barsad decided. As he had the night before so that Kei wouldn't be alone in his grief.

Though in all honesty Barsad had no idea how the other man was handling his grief. Kei was pretty much acting like his normal, abnormal self and had all day. There had been no changes that he could-Nevermind. The day was messing with his head and perceptions. Kei hadn't hummed once today. Or sang anything. The closest he'd come was saying 'The Lord's Prayer' at the funeral. That was not normal. At least not since the cop had started spending time with the boy.

Of course if anything could suck the music out of someone it would be the al Ghuls, Barsad acknowledged with a small smirk.

Regardless, he couldn't leave the boy on his own without adult supervision. So they were going back to his rooms and Kei would continue to reside there until Bane stated otherwise.

"We're going to your room?"



Not sure how to interpret that Barsad slowed and turned to the side a little so that he could see Kei better. All physical and verbal cues were appreciated when dealing with the confusing younger man who constantly made absolutely no sense. And currently...Kei was looking at his feet, arms crossed in front of him like the younger man was giving himself a hug. His posture was one of defeat, not even defensive.

"Would you rather stay in the room you shared with your father?" There was comfort in the familiar after all. He was willing to stay there too, if Kei wanted his company.

Kei shook his head.

"A room by yourself?"

That got him a jerk that was likely meant to resemble a shrug.

"Kei. I'm asking you what you'd prefer. Speak."

Finally Kei looked up, looking very young and defeated as he stared at Barsad with those big, sad eyes that made Barsad-well made him feel and want to do things he really shouldn't want or be thinking of doing. Especially at the moment.

"But it doesn't matter what I want. It never does. You're in charge of telling me what to do until Bane decides he wants to tell me what to do instead. You aren't supposed to think or have free will in the League of Shadows, remember? Trying to do either of those things will get you killed."

Not even bothering to touch on Kei's opinions when it came to the League-what would be the point after all-Barsad instead stated very coolly that if Kei preferred to be alone and not share Barsad's room then this was his opportunity to say so without reprisal.

"You sound like there'd be consequences."


That earned him a deep sigh, Kei muttering something that Barsad didn't catch.

"What did you say?" Barsad demanded to know, his tone making it clear that there would be consequences if Kei didn't answer him. His patience was shot.

"I said I thought I was done with this shit."

"What shit?"

"Being in foster care type shit!" Was the boy's surprisingly loud response, the words spewing out of Kei now as anger and pain took over. "I figured my life with Father would be the last home I'd be placed in and then once he died I'd be killed too. That or I'd have to kill myself because the alternative was worse. Now here I am being placed in another 'home' until you don't want me around or Bane wants me somewhere else. And you're constantly telling me not to sing or be myself so it's even more like foster care and-and I'm legally an adult in every country in the goddamn world! Why the Hell am I still being treated like a child! Like a burden on League society. I don't-I didn't-why can't I have a home and a family?! Why do I have to be alone?! I wasn't ready for him to go!"

Reacting to the tears shimmering in Kei's eyes Barsad took a step closer, his voice softer as he reminded Kei that Hitachi hadn't wanted to leave him. The old man had very obviously struggled to stay alive as long as he had, knowing that once he was dead Kei would be in mortal danger. One didn't always have control over the time of one's death. And Kei still had the cop. Still had Blake. He wasn't completely alone.

That he wanted to say Kei had him too burned in Barsad's throat. But he couldn't. They both knew it.

"Until Talia kills him. Of course Bane will kill me then too..."

"Unless Batman saves you both first." Fuck. Had he seriously just said that?

"Then he better hurry up." Lifting a hand Kei used the heel of his hand to wipe the forming tears from his eyes, blinking any future ones away as his lips curved in just a hint of a rueful smile. "And I know what you're thinking...real alphas don't cry, right?"

"On the contrary, I've made plenty of real alphas cry."

That earned him a rusty laugh. The sound made Barsad unreasonably happy.

"So what do you want to do now, Kei? You just said you want to be treated as an adult-so make a decision."

Barsad was not expecting Kei to stick his tongue out in reaction to that. The shock of it left him dumbfounded.

"You should see your face."

Face immediately falling into an unreadable expression, he had a rep to protect, Barsad said Kei's name one more time, his tone hopefully conveying the fact that he'd reached the end of his rope on the topic.

"Your room."

"Fine. Let's go."

"Yes, Sir."

Chapter Text

Note: Sorry there have been so few updates from me in recent months. I'm actually working more, not less since the coronavirus started, and it's taking its toll physically and mentally. I'm hoping to do better in the future!

Bucket Lists and Burning

By most standards Simon knew his 'outburst' hardly deserved to be described so grandly. More like he'd had the shortest pity party ever. But what did you expect from a kid from Gotham who'd spent pretty much his entire childhood in foster care? Sure some of the foster parents he'd ended up with had tried to be decent caregivers, but even the good ones had found him strange and hadn't had the money to spend on music lessons or any of the other things he'd longed for as a kid. Get used to disappointment was pretty much the foster kid's motto. Crying about it didn't help, so why bother? Crying was only good for headache.

Still...Simon felt better after having his say, sorta. Or at least he felt a little more settled in this new world he was going to have to live in until he died a likely horrible death at League hands.

Always good to have something to look forward to, Simon thought ruefully even as he sighed over it. Oh least his father wasn't alive to see him murdered. Got to find those silver linings where you could.

Turning his attention to Barsad-he was pretty sure that they were almost at the man's rooms which was good because he was so ready for this day to be over-Simon studied his new roommate and thought about their latest conversation.

"Do I want to know why you're looking at me and sighing?"

Simon was all set to shrug, then remembered that Barsad had made it clear that if Simon wanted to be treated like an adult he had to use his words.

"I was just thinking about you."

Barsad narrowed his eyes a little as he studied him in turn. "Me? Why?"

"Well you're my new roommate. At least until I'm dead or Bane says otherwise. Though going from past experience-it's more likely I annoy you into killing me or throwing me out of your room before the other two things happen." Simon shrugged. "Though I've never had a roommate like you before."

"I can say without question I've never known someone like you, much less shared quarters with them."

"On the A side I don't snore. Or at least no one's ever said I do, and John at least would have told me. I do sometimes talk though. Just hit me with a pillow if I do that. But don't smother me. Please."

He had no idea how to interpret the look that earned him. So Simon decided to keep being an 'adult' and talk.

"You snore a little, but not badly. John sometimes made sounds like purring in his sleep. That was funny."

Barsad sighed at that. But that was understandable, since no one wanted to be told they snored. It was an annoying habit.

"Am I going to get my own bed? I don't mind sharing with you, but maybe you don't like sharing with me. You're way better than John. For a few days he and I had to share a bed when we were kids and it was awful. He wouldn't stop cuddling! I hate that."

Barsad's voice went funny. "You shared a bed?"

"He and his boyfriend were making out at the home and they broke his. It was old." Thinking Barsad would find it funny too Simon shot Barsad a smirk. "John said that he and Bane broke the bed at wherever they went during his heat."

"I did not need that mental image."

"Oh. Sorry. Yeah...I could do without that mental image now too." Simon shuddered a little as he did his best to block that out from his mind. He'd just found it funny because how many people could say they'd broken two bed with their boyfriends.

Thinking to change the subject Simon asked Barsad how long the other man thought he and John had before Talia successfully killed them. Assuming that Wayne didn't get there in time to save them.

A dark look. "You accept your death too easily. You should be prepared to fight to live."

Right...because he was secretly a badass ninja who for some strange reason had thought it a great idea to hide his super powers until now. Unless Barsad thought that he really had been playing weak all these years because of his father, and now with him dead Simon would step up and reveal the truth. If that's what the other man thought he was going to be sooooooo disappointed.

I'm a dead man, Simon drawled out in his head, at peace with the idea. When you 'joined' the League of Shadows it was pretty much a requirement.

And hey, he'd always known that he'd never get the change to cross off the majority of items on his Bucket List. One of his shrinks-one he'd actually liked well enough because she always played background music during their sessions-had made him make the list as a future goals exercise. Even then, when he'd had no idea that he was going to be kidnapped and shanghaied into joining a terrorist organization before his eighteenth birthday, he'd had the sense to know not to dream big or much. When you were a kid in Gotham, especially a foster kid no one wanted...the odds were not in your favor. Ever.

So he'd never sing at Carnegie Hall-just on the stage, not in front of people because that really would have been asking for the moon and he'd wanted the experience, not critics. Nor would he ever see his childhood favorite animal up close in the wild-not that close though, as he'd learned koala bears were actually really vicious creatures with a habit of mauling unsuspecting people. But going to Australia would have been cool. Even if it killed him. Which...there were a lot of things that could kill you in Australia. Freakily so.

But what did you expect of a country that produced the platypus. Half beaver, half duck. Hell, he'd read that the males were venomous enough to put you down for a while in excruciating pain. Yeesh, no thank you.

"Are you imagining your death?"

"No. Thinking about platypuses."

"The marsupial?"


The long, drawn out sigh Barsad gave over that-Simon wasn't sure what to make of it.

"How did you go from your own death to thinking about platypuses?"

"Well I was thinking about my Bucket List, then seeing a koala because that was on the list, then other Australian animals."

"Huh. That actually makes sense. Surprisingly." Barsad gave him another weird look. "What else is on your list."

"I can show you tomorrow if you want. I don't remember a lot of it offhand."

"I'll probably regret saying this, but all right."

Pleased to have something to look forward to-John had made some hilarious faces when he'd read over that list and Simon couldn't wait to see if Barsad would make similar looks-Simon smiled at Barsad in anticipation.

Again with the weird looks. Though he'd never seen this one before. It did weird things to his stomach.



A light sleeper, always, Bane immediately came awake when Robin started thrashing around at his side hours after they'd turned in for the night. Rolling onto his side so that he was facing his omega Bane reached out in the darkness, finding Robin's shoulder by touch just as the other man jerked awake and sat up, breathing hard as he gasped for more air. Reacting to that Bane moved his hand to land on Robin's thigh as he asked him if he was all right, unsure how to proceed. That the omega had had a nightmare after nearly being killed was very much understandable...but perhaps Robin wouldn't want him to make that observation. Bane was wary of saying the wrong thing, especially after the troubling incident between them earlier.

"I'm okay." Was Robin's panted out response, the omega not sounding remotely fine as he shifting further away from him. "Go back to sleep."

"As you wish." Settling back down on his back Bane silently waited to see what Robin would do.

Robin didn't lay back, though his breathing gradually evened out and steadied.

"Would you like hold you?" Bane offered after a good ten minutes of awkward silence.

"No. It's fine."

It was not fine. And Robin normally loved any excuse to be as close to him as possible at night, when the temperature dropped. But earlier when they'd gotten into bed Robin had curled up on his side-at least facing Bane-and then had kept a good foot of distance between them.

"I'm going to get a drink of water. Go back to sleep already."

Bane felt Robin move even farther away, his night-vision such that he could now clearly make out Robin's shape as Robin slid off the bed and silently made his way in the direction of the bathroom.

To quote his mate...fuck this.

Tossing aside the bedsheets Bane sat up and got out of bed as well, walking around the piece of furniture with ease as he followed after Robin. He'd memorized the layout of his room long ago, but his task was made easy by the fact that Robin had turned the light on in the bathroom, a line of light illuminating the door's shape like a beacon.

Finding the door handle Bane turned it and opened the door, stepping inside to find Robin leaning his back against the sink, a glass of water already in hand. To Bane's accessing eyes Robin looked a tad pale, with obvious signs of sweat along his hairline and shirt's collar.

Squinting a little, Robin also looked less than happy to see him.

"Are you feeling ill?"

Rather than the casual shrug Robin had probably meant to give the younger man instead made a motion that was more of a hard jerk, belaying just how not okay the omega was.

"I just had a bad dream. It happens. I told you to go back to sleep."

"I think it's well established at this point that neither of us likes to obey the orders of the other." Bane pointed out as he took another step closer, the small sound of amusement Robin made in response feeling like a gift after everything else that had happened. And said.


Watching Robin sip at his water, not saying anything else, Bane tried and failed to think of what to say.

"Seriously. You don't need to hover, Big Guy. It wasn't even a nightmare."

Curious, Bane asked what the dream had been about. I mean yes, it would be logical for it to be about his near assassination, but this was Robin. The omega's mind was...unique.

"The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

Case in point. "The novel written by Victor Hugo in 1831?"

"Sort of. More like the Disney version of it. Kind of. Maybe. I never read the book so I'm not sure how much they messed with the plot to make it appropriate for children. Plus I saw the 'Wishbone' version so that's maybe twisted my memory of things too. Though I can't remember if they-the Wishbone writers-prettied up the ending the way Disney did. Nevermind. Not important. She-Esmeralda-and Quasimodo die in the end of the book version, right?"

"Yes. She is hung, and he chooses to waste away at the side of her corpse."

"Fuck. Yeah, can see why Disney didn't go with that ending." Robin huffed out a breath, saluting Bane with his glass before draining its contents. "Fucking Hugo. It's no wonder his best known works is 'Les Misérables'. Miserable was his jam."

"Why did you dream of his other novel?" Bane knew the work, and didn't see why it would come to mind.

"Fuck if I know. My subconscious is a fucked up place a lot of the time."

Bane very much agreed with that statement, but thought it best if he didn't express that opinion outloud. Instead he asked what became of Esmeralda and the bell ringer in the 'Disney' version. He wasn't interested, but at least it gave them something to talk about. It was better than awkward, cold silence.

For a minute or so it looked like Robin wouldn't answer, the omega quiet before giving a shrug.

"Instead of hanging her Frollo has Esmeralda tied to a stake, the plan being to burn her alive witch style in front of everyone. Quasimodo swoops in and saves her though, gets her to the church and safety. Bad guy is killed by falling from a long distance in typical Disney style...and Quasimodo doesn't end up with the girl because heaven forbid the beautiful gypsy not end up with a good-looking guy like Phoebus. Cue the eye rolling and the stupid sequel I never bothered to see."

"I see." He didn't...but that was to be expected at this point.

"I think they did an almost hanging on 'Wishbone'. Wish my brain had gone with that instead of the whole being burned alive thing. Fucking A."

Now they were getting somewhere. "You dreamed you were being burned alive?"

"Yup. Feel free to go Freud on that one."

Naturally he knew who Freud was so Bane got that reference. But he was focused on other thoughts at the moment.

"You dreamed you were Esmeralda?"

"Yup. And your lord and master was Frollo and you were a seriously hot version of Quasimodo." Robin's smirked for a moment, then that fell away and his face went serious. "And that was not a dig at your face or scars FYI. Seriously. I don't think of you as disfigured or-fuck. I shouldn't have-shit." Robin swiped a hand through his sweat damp hair in obvious frustration. "You'd be hotter without the scars on your face-but you're still sexy as fuck. I swear on Si-Kei's life. I'm not saying that to make you feel better."

Robin's brows furrowed for a moment, his lips twitching just a little before he controlled it.

"What did you think of that amused you?"

A small sound of amusement. "That if Kei had a role in the movie, he'd be my goat."

"Your goat?"

"Yeah. In the Disney version Esmeralda had a pet goat with an earring."

"Who would pierce the ear of a goat?"

"Fuck if I know. I pierced my ears when I was younger." Robin added, out of nowhere. "I let the holes grow in once I was in the police academy."

Conjuring up an image of what Robin would look like with pierced ears Bane found himself sorry that Robin had chosen to forgo the body ornamentation later in life. Though he could have them re-pierced, couldn't he?

And perhaps he was focusing on such a thing because he didn't want to think about other things. Like the casting of Robin's dream and its plot. Bane honestly didn't care that he'd been cast as the disfigured hunchback-he was disfigured. While also being in better physical shape than likely anyone in Robin's acquaintance. And he knew that Robin hadn't 'cast' him in that role to be cruel or mock him. The other man's face and reassurances that that wasn't how he saw Bane had obviously been genuine. One thing Robin had always been blunt about was how desirable he found Bane in spite of his numerous other 'shortcomings' in Robin's eyes.

No, what Bane didn't want to think about was the fact that Robin had stated he'd been burned alive in his dream. In the Disney version of the story Esmeralda had been saved by Quasimodo before that could happen. In Robin's dream he had not been saved. Bane had not saved him.

Even lost in that thought Bane was aware of Robin approaching, his eyes meeting the other man's when Robin's hand came out to settle on Bane's arm.

"Fuck. Did I hurt your feelings?"

"You think I would let you burn."

Robin opened and then closed his mouth. He did this four times before answering, obviously picking his words carefully.

"I think that your loyalties are and will be divided, the way Quasimodo's were. And that when that day comes to decide my will side with the al Ghuls. As much as you might wish you could spare me too. No matter how big a pain in the ass I am to you."

Robin waited a moment. "And I don't think you'd let them kill me by burning me alive. I think you'd see I died quickly and as painlessly as possible."

Grasping at straws Bane pointed out that neither of the al Ghuls desired Robin as Frollo had Esmeralda.

"No. But your Talia's obsession is just as twisted and dangerous."

"Her obsession is with The Bat." And if Wayne were dead surely she wouldn't care about Robin any more. Nor would her father.

"You're thinking that killing Bruce would solve all your problems right now, aren't you?"

"Yes." Bane answered truthfully.

Shaking his head, Robin sighed and let go of Bane's arm. "Good luck with that."

And so saying Robin turned around and walked back over to the sink, turning on the water to fill his glass up with water again.

"Better you than him." Bane pointed out, trying to reason with him.

Turning back around Robin gave him a sad smile. "That's not how friendship works, Big Guy. I would no more ask him to die in my place than he'd ask me to do the same. If you made friends outside the League, you'd get that." Pause. "I'll be back to bed in a minute or two. Promise."

He could take the hint, yet still Bane found himself walking closer until he was near enough to cup Robin's cheek in his hand.

"I will allow no harm to come to you. You'll see."

And leaving it at that Bane left the room, giving Robin the time alone he wanted.

Chapter Text

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 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. 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 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 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.


"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."


"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.


"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.



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.


How was this his life now?

Chapter Text

Note: I checked so I know that the first 'Old Guard' comic did not come out until about a year after this fanfic takes place, but I recently fell in love with the movie, Joe/Nicky, and needed to include Joe's epic monologue here. So yeah, this does contain a reference to a scene from the comic and movie, as well as some character info that isn't really spoilery. Also...go watch the movie if you haven't!

He's All and He's More

As Bane watched Robin and the boy work away on their Bucket Lists he couldn't help but wonder what the omega was writing and how long it would take him to come up with his own list. Or at least a version of a Bucket List that Robin wouldn't take too much issue with. An honest list...well that would be short and would not endear himself to his hopeful mate in the slightest. Well wanting Robin for a mate, which would be on the top of said list, would please was the rest Bane was worried about.

Though Robin had made it clear he wanted a truthful, uncensored version, Bane was forced to remind himself. Especially if Bane wanted the same from him. So really the question was how could he present the truth in a way that would draw them closer, not further apart.

There was also the problem of timing.

At the moment Bane didn't have much time to devote to this newest task seeing as he already had to make preparations for both the meeting with Singh and Robin's visit to a specialist, and that on top of further investigation into the attempted murder of his mate. He also was having to come to terms with the possibility that Talia might have been behind everything and he needed to look into ways to ensure that she didn't try again. Unlike the other two whose words and motives couldn't necessarily be trusted where Talia was concerned, Barsad had no reason to lie to him. His loyalty unquestionable. And there was no doubt in Barsad's mind that Talia was behind this. The other man had made that clear.

So Bane would keep Robin close and work with his second to uncover the full truth, grateful beyond words that he did not have to do this alone. Though even with the work divided in two Bane couldn't help but feel that all the tasks would not get the attention they required. Which could not be allowed or tolerated. All were of vital importance, and deserved to be thought out and meticulously planned so that failure or disaster could have no chance to occur.

Bane could feel a migraine developing as he silently acknowledged that no one destroyed his plans like Robin. Especially when those plans involved his omega, which all of these did.

Kei's statement that he couldn't remember any more of his list broke the current silence and returned Bane's thoughts to the present, the rest of them looking up from their own work to glance in Kei's direction.

"Want me to read it over?"

"Sure. Can I read yours?"

In answer Robin handed his single sheet of paper over and Kei did the same.

"You won't get the first one so you can just skip over that one. I'll have to explain it to Bane later too. I just didn't want to have to write it all out. It's a relationship goal."

"Okay." Kei shrugged, his gaze turning to the sheet and presumably the first or second sentence on the sheet.

"A relationship goal?" Bane asked before he could think better of it. Or the fact that he might not want to ask that question while they had an audience since it would apply to him, obviously.

"Yeah." His Robin gave him a rueful smile. "A recent one. Father Riley asked me to check out this new comic some of the kids were reading for him to make sure it was appropriate-not really-and it had one scene where two of the main characters have been captured and some of the stooges mock Joe, the alpha character for showing concern for his companion. They ask him if the beta character is his boyfriend, like that was something he should be ashamed of. The alpha's response is epic and it became an unrealistic relationship goal for me to have someone talk or at least think of me the way Joe feels about Nicky."

For once Bane was grateful for Kei's existence, the younger alpha asking the question Bane wanted to ask, which was what this Joe had said.

The look that came over Robin's face...Bane didn't know how to describe it. Dreamy, wistful, and sad all at the same time. And then his mate began to recite words he'd apparently taken the time to memorize.

"He's not my boyfriend. This man is more to me than you can dream. He's the moon when I'm lost in darkness and warmth when I shiver in cold. And his kiss still thrills me even after millennia. His heart overflows with the kindness of which this world is not worthy of. I love this man beyond measure and reason. He's not my boyfriend. He's all and he's more."

Oh. Oh, he wanted that too.

So of course Kei had to say something to mar the moment. "That is so unrealistic."

Robin laughed in a sad, rueful way as he shrugged good-naturedly in response to that. "I did say that."

"Then why put it on your list?"

"Kei. Think about it. Are you likely to be able to check off even half of what's on your list even if we get out of here and die of old age?"

A pause for reflection, followed by a head shake. "Good point. Can I have my list back for a minute?"

"Sure." Robin handed it back. "Why?"

"I want to add that speech thing to mine too. Never happen...but we're going to be dead soon so I might as well put it on there. It will make my list longer."

This time Robin's laugh was genuine.

"You don't believe such love exists?" Bane found himself asking, genuinely curious.

"No. I know it exists. My parents had it."

"Your mother died when you were only three. How could you know?" Bane had read the file, knew the facts. Robin's mother had been in a hurry, late for one of the three part time jobs she worked to help support her family, and hadn't seen the car driving the wrong way done a one-way street until it was too late. Robin's father had died when he was ten, gunned down in their home. A warning to the man Robin's father had worked for that the gunmen's boss meant business.

Robin's shrug came off forced, jagged. "You know when someone's walking around without half their soul. I've always been pretty sure if I hadn't been around my dad would have ended it when my mom was killed in a car accident. He did his best for me, he did, but he was always sad and...just going through the motions. He had a hard time talking about her but when he did-you knew. What she was to him."

"You could see it in the pictures of them too. Even I could see it." Kei added.

The tender smile Robin shot Kei made Bane want to punch the younger alpha. More than was normal.

It also made him determined to recover whatever pictures of Robin's parents there were to find so that his omega would have those mementos again.

"But given that there are over six billion people in the world the odds of finding your 'other half' is pretty slim." Kei did some sort of claw like gesture with two of his fingers. Robin did it too, when he was being particularly sarcastic.

"And that's assuming you would recognize that person to begin with. In the case of the comic the two characters originally met up during the Crusades. On opposite sides. They literally killed each other multiple times before eventually becoming friends and then lovers. They have super healing abilities that make them almost immortal, btw. Hence the not staying 'dead' for long."

"That would explain why he stated that the other man's kiss still thrilled him even after a millennia. I was going to ask about that." Barsad stated, finally joining the conversation.

"Yeah. And just in case you were wondering Nicky is short for Nicolò, while Joe's first name was originally Yusuf."

Ah, that made sense then. Though his mate's pronunciation was off on the Italian's name.

"Nicolò would have fought on the side of the Catholic church." Bane stated, saying the name correctly. "His name is Italian for victorious; conqueror of the people. Yusuf is the Arabic equivalent of the Hebrew name Yosef, and the English name Joseph, so his adoption of that name makes sense."

"Seriously? That's why he went by Joe? I was so confused by that. Thanks."

Blinking in surprise, Bane accepted the thanks with a nod.


The cop and Kei had switched their lists again, Barsad having to work hard to ignore the urge to walk down the length of the table so that he could read over the former's shoulder. He was very curious now as to what else was on Kei's list. Like Bane he'd been listening while the two discussed guidelines and format-namely that they'd opted to leave off the few things they'd originally had on their lists that they'd managed to cross off, which mostly applied to the cop. Kei had had two things he'd accomplished, though what those two things were...he hadn't said.

"I see Tom Hardy is still on your list."

"And will be until the day I die or find someone better."

"Well at least you stipulated he'd have to be single at the time."

Blake rolled his eyes. "Of course. I'm not a homewrecker. Not even for Tom Hardy." A very long, dramatic sigh. "Though saying no...ugh."


That earned Kei a surprised look. "Really? Since when are other alphas your thing?"

"They aren't. But that man's mouth..."

"Yeah." Blake sighed dreamily.

Having looked up what Tom Hardy looked like-the fact that both Blake and Kei thought Bane looked like the actor had piqued his interest-Barsad totally got what they meant about the man's mouth. Which didn't stop him from wanting to bloody it at the thought of that mouth going anywhere near Kei's body.

Also he'd seen what they meant about the resemblance between the British actor and Bane, though it hadn't been obvious at first. Both men were surprisingly observant when it came to facial features, which was something he and Bane would be wise to keep in mind.

"You think it wise to discuss your interest in another alpha in my presence, Robin?"

Inwardly Barsad winced at the tone.

"Everyone's allowed a celebrity crush, Sweetie. Even Kei's got one."

"Sweetie?" Kei repeated, as flabbergasted over that as Barsad silently was.

Blake winked in Bane's direction. "In training."

Thinking to head off an argument given that there had been tension between Bane and Blake even before this line of conversation had started-and all right, he was curious-Barsad changed the conversation by asking Kei who his celebrity crush was.

"Hugh Jackman. Though I don't want to sleep with him like John wants to sleep with Tom Hardy. I'd just like to be around him for a while."

Barsad couldn't help it. He asked why.

"Because he's Hugh Jackman. He's awesome."

"He is."

Blake's matter of fact agreement did not please Bane judging by the low growling sound he made from behind his mask. Barsad wasn't exactly thrilled either, though at least Kei didn't want to sleep with this Jackman person, whoever he was.

Some Hollywood pussy he could no doubt destroy with one arm tied behind his back.

Just saying.


Whoever Hugh Jackman was, Bane had every confidence that he could end the man without any effort on his part. The same went for Tom Hardy. A man he did not resemble in the least except for perhaps in eye color. It was a comparison that would have vexed him if not for the fact that apparently this Tom Hardy fellow topped multiple lists ranging from 'Sexiest Alpha Alive' to 'The Most Desired by Omegas List'. The fact that such lists existed proved his point about the degradation of Western society and its complete lack of morals...but it also meant that if HIS omega thought he looked like this other alpha than that meant Robin really did find him attractive. To the point where he might be willing to overlook some of the things he didn't like about him.

Also that his omega might require glasses. The boy as well.

"Well on the A side only two of the items on your list need to be scratched out."

Kei frowned as he asked Robin which ones.

Robin held up the paper with one hand, pointed with the other.


"Because I know men better than you do."

A moment's pause, Kei opening and then closing his mouth again. "Okay. Scratch them."

Taking him at his word Robin grabbed his pen and proceeded to scratch out the items on the list that apparently weren't appropriate for Barsad to see.

The question, Bane wondered, was why.

A brief glance in Barsad's direction confirmed he wasn't the only one wondering, but both knew better than to ask. At least while Robin was around to interfere. Knowing Kei the fool would think nothing of blabbing if asked.

"Don't frown. You still have a decent number of things."

"You have way more than me."

"Yes, but you don't like to travel, have adventures, or step out of your comfort zone."

"Comfort Zones get a bad rap."

Robin laughed. "I won't argue that. My point is your list is very you."

"And unachievable." Kei sighed. "I'm never going to hear John Williams conduct in person or even just go to Disney World."

"If we survive this...I promise I will make Bruce take BOTH of us to Disney World."

Kei perked up like a puppy promised a treat. "Really?"

"Really. With Fast Passes and everything. He owes me BIG."

"That's true." Kei glanced at Bane. "He is very big. I still don't get how he doesn't squash you."

Robin smacked a palm against his forehead.

Bane gave seriously thought to throwing Kei into a wall. Head first.

Oblivious as always to the danger he was in, Kei asked Robin if he thought Wayne could arrange for them to meet Idina Menzel while they were there.

"No idea. But given his looks and money I think he could manage it. And then you could cross off two things on your list. Maybe even three if I can swing John Williams. Disney did buy LucasFilm after all. Hell, I wouldn't mind meeting him either. Or Idina."

Disliking the fact that he had no idea what they were talking about-aside from Disney, which Bane knew was a billion dollar corporation with its fingers in just about every pie it could get its greedy, monopolizing hands on-Bane asked who Idina Menzel is. He could intuit what Williams did for a living.

"You don't know who Idina Menzel is?"

The way Kei said it, you'd think him not knowing was the end of the world.

"One of your singers?" Barsad asked.

"You don't-we need the internet, stat. No one should not know who she is." The boy actually made gimme motions with his hands, like a toddler.

"Yes, she's a singer. A great one. Simmer down, Kei."


"Kei...Let It Go."

Bane had no idea why, but that made Kei burst out into delighted laughter, the boy's whole face lighting up in that way that took him from handsome to stunningly beautiful. Which he hated.

Especially when a quick, side glance confirmed that Barsad's eyes were a touch glazed as he stared in Kei's direction. So intently Bane wasn't sure the other man would notice if someone came barging in to assassinate them.

Troubling, that, on a number of levels.

And as if to signal more doom Bane's tablet signaled an incoming message, Bane picking the piece of equipment up and with a couple of swipes pulled up the email, which was confirmation of Robin's scheduled appointment with one of the leading experts in omega biology AND the effects of umbra on them. It had taken some added financial incentive to convince the man to keep his clinic open after hours to see them, but everyone had a price and Robin's health was priceless to Bane.

Geographically it would have made more sense to go and see Singh first, then arrange for the appointment, but Bane wanted Robin seen to as soon as possible. He also wasn't about to take his omega into not entirely safe territory if he wasn't physically up to it. He would have rather not taken Robin with him at all, but couldn't trust that Robin would be safe away from him.

"Bad news?" Barsad murmured to him, speaking in his native tongue.

"The specialist finally confirmed the appointment." Bane answered in the same language.

"You are worried he will tell you that Blake is too damaged to bear you children? Or that he will tell you Robin can and then you will have to worry that harm will come to your unborn child as well as your omega?"

Barsad knew him well, Bane mused as he stated that it was both.

"Fair enough. Should I begin making the travel arrangements?"

"Yes. And double the security detail originally planned for."

"It will be done."

"No matter how many times I tell you guys it's rude to talk in a language we can't understand you keep doing it. Such bad manners you have."


Sighing, Bane glanced over at the man in question and only just managed to hold back a comment about how much easier it would be to keep the other man alive if he didn't keep trying to incite others to violence.

It was a very near thing.