A/N: HI! Me again. This is the second story in the Murderous Kisses series, and yeah, it IS connected to the previous one, "Watching". (smirks) It seems that I've given RedX quite the sexual appetite.
Okay, this is Batman/RedX with an unrequited Robin/Batman. Don't like DON'T READ.
It was wrong to want.
Once upon a time, that had been a basic principle of being Gotham's dark defender. Now it was a mantra, a sacred code, his ill-compliance of which had already damned him. It was wrong to want. Wrong.
It was worse to have.
Though, technically, this couldn't be considered "having"; technically, he wasn't possessing the object of his desire. It was imperative that he not submit to such a weakness; Batman had not weaknesses and neither did Bruce Wayne. They were both monoliths of the same nature, even though they ruled separate arenas of his life. One was a business man, the other an enforcer of justice— though, he would admit, that seemed as paradoxical as his current predicament. Business men, as a general rule, were fairly underhanded and firm believers in consequentialism— yet, for all his dealings, Bruce Wayne was nothing is not a just man. Similarly, other costumed heros made sure to display their righteousness and moral purity on their sleeves; and still, he was no Superman. Truth be told, he was nearly as fearsome as the criminals he sought, and he wasn't above using dirty tricks to catch them either. What he was doing now only coincided with his normal route and was, most probably, not damaging him any great amount more than his daily activities did.
But this: there was no way for him to justify this.
Batman— Bruce, as he was not in dreaded costume— shifted on the cosy chair in his den; for all the cushion the furniture offered, he did not know how to get comfortable. The pendulum of a large grandfather clock swung and ticked softly to itself; the heavy dust-ridden tomes that lined the east wall seemed to whisper heartlessly amongst themselves; behind him, the screen of his laptop glowed, illuminating the dark finish of the mahogany desk it sat upon. The web page displayed a Jump City news article; a headline, highlighted and in bold, shouted silently from the screen: TITANS LEADER GONE MISSING!!
Missing. The word rang in his ears.
He brought a hand to his face. He closed his eyes.
He saw red.
Red like blood, bountiful with oxygen, not dark ruby but bright crimson; life-blood. Red like anger bubbling beneath cool resolve. Red like youth, cocky and brash in its folly. Red lips lips raw from ravishment. It was all red now.
It was worse to have.
It was weakness that brought him to do it. His susceptibility to evil had always made him a pleasing target for those who enjoyed corrupting heroes. It was a vulnerability he didn't like to acknowledge, a secret he liked to keep in the dark. But to shield it with shadow was to guard it carelessly: all one need do is shine a light upon it.
And light, he found, could have both forms licentious and forms immaculate.
For example, immaculate: Robin.
At the reminder of his previous partner's name, Bruce clenched his fist. He could remember— yes, he could remember.
Barely a teenager when they first met, but already the boy had a hard shell and a trouble-maker reputation that kept people from getting too close without accumulating some measure of disgust. And yet, t here was a radiance in him that was yet untouched— as a whole he was untouched, all his fury meant to conceal tears. He'd been an orphan too, which struck a special chord with Bruce. His acrobatic gifts and untapped potential endeared him further; the adoption of this boy-child seemed the only natural thing to do.
And it had been a good choice when he'd made it. The trouble hadn't begun until later, when he'd matured from boy to young man.
Heavily, Bruce sighed. Perhaps he could have called it love and made the emotion less evil; but there was not pretext he could use to console himself when he found his fists clenched with the effort not to touch his pupil.
It had been a relief to see Robin go.
It was wrong to want.
But he had continued wanting Robin even after he'd left. He began getting copies of the Jump City Daily, had made sure to check in with Robin (if only bimonthly, so as not to see overbearing). That aside, the boy also still made visits every four or five months, which were excruciating as they were enjoyable; because, every time that the benign and oblivious object of infatuation came to him, he never failed to shine upon the depths of Bruce's soul that beautiful, horrible light.
Ironically, (or perhaps unsurprisingly) it was Robin who had lead him to— no, invented— the next object of infatuation.
Example two, licentious: RedX.
The reasons there were obvious.
Momentarily clenching his jaw, Bruce took his hand away from his face, and his eyes were assaulted by the brightness of the fire in the grate. The glow was painful enough to wince at and nearly blinding . . . but he was used to being blind these days.
He had initially heard of RedX through Robin. He had come down after the whole "get-close-to-madman-with-my-new-secret-identity" affair at what he claimed was his team mates' insistence. In this very den had Robin divulged the whole first part of the saga— tearfully, at that, but ever the proud soul, Robin had tried to mend his display of weakness by berating himself severely. Bruce had been stricken. It was almost too much knowing that Robin's affliction was the same as his own; but he'd been a dutiful godfather, had only touched him to put comforting arms gingerly, then firmly around his shoulders.
Then the reports came of another RedX, one much too reckless to be Robin. After a few confrontations with the Titans, he'd disappeared. . . .
And ended up in Gotham City.
And Batman had met him, whilst he was pulling a grand-scale jewelry theft in Gotham's Eastside Downtown area. He had seen him, poised above and cutting into a glass jewelry case, his prize glinting not eleven inches from his fingers; he had seen those white-masked eyes, the red scar meant to mirror the one on his real flesh. He had fought this agile young thief, injured him, and taken him home, against the screaming voice of his better judgement. From the moment he awoke on the Batcave's operating table, opening those robin egg blue eyes and looking blearily up at him, he had crept under Bruce's skins.
It shall be said again: the reasons for this were obvious. It was Robin all over again: ash-blonde hair, as opposed to Robin's jet-black, but the same eyes, the same sculpt of the face, the same charming, shit-eating grin. But this boy was hungry and willing; and he was already jaded, seductively so, and could be corrupted no more than he already was— not by Bruce, anyhow. What was more, he matched Bruce's aggression, oftentimes outmatched it, so that the latter need not be concerned with hurting the young man.
Disturbingly, RedX seemed to like being hurt. He seemed to positively relish the pain. Bruce never saw him more content then upon waking up, battered and bruised.
But he never stayed long. He was as constant as smoke and never consented to give word when he might return.
It was simply understood: he would always return.
He would always return to shine upon Bruce that angry red light.
And Bruce: he hated himself.
There was his weakness, plain as day, for all the world over to see. Robin would have been horrified— but the boy wasn't present to be so.
'After a run-in with the notorious and psychotic villain known as Slade at the sight of a demolished building, Robin, the leader of the Teen Titans, was reported missing by authorities. Police and the four remaining team mates searched the rubble of the fight's aftermath, but to no avail. Police are scouting every area of the city, while team mates go in search of other Titans to aid their. . . .'
That article was three weeks old.
Three weeks, and still no sign of Robin.
The fire in the grate burned his eyes. Not one hour ago had he arrived back from Jump City, where he'd joined the search along with the rest of the entire league of Titans.
He hadn't been able to find Robin. He couldn't. He was stumbling around in the dark, shin-deep in liquid fossil fuel and looking for leeches. He was blind, so very blind. . . .
Not a black blindness, though; nor a crushing white; and he wasn't blind, really.
But everything he saw was red.
Disgusting. Disgusting how he still let himself be consumed, how he gorged himself now more than ever with his vulgar vice. Robin was missing— and yet he still pretended to devour him in bed. What was more, between looking for the real Robin and satisfying his need with the faux one, there was little time for him to play Dark Knight and defend his precious bag of rot that he called his city. It was disgusting how, as days went by, he was losing hope that maybe he never really had in the first place.
Three weeks was a lifetime. It wouldn't surprise him to find that he'd grown as base and cold as the criminals he used to fight. The only two differences seemed to be lack of motivation and weakness.
As Bruce blinked in the firelight, staring pensively into the flame, the person that had been standing in the darkest corner of the room said:
"You won't find him."
An icy claw reached up from Bruce's stomach, wrapped its brittle fingers over his heart. "I know."
Moving silkily out of the shadows, the blonde-haired boy swept noiselessly over to stand behind Bruce. From his chair, Bruce could imagine without looking how the orange-yellow glow would cast shadows on the young man's face, how it would illuminate the gold streaks in his hair, how the warmth would dance upon the X-shaped scar above his eye and make the mottled flesh tingle.
"Some shamans and magicians claim to be able to divine secrets by fire." His voice was rough, like a man's, but honeyed in some strange, delectable, adolescent way; a solitary shiver ran the length of Bruce's spine. "Somehow, old man, I don't think you have the talent."
"Yes," he heard himself reply. "But I thought I might try my luck."
Fingers, nimble and dry, brushed the hair on the back of his neck (the same way he might fondle precious stolen jewels, Bruce thought). The voice whispered, "Fool."
Insolence; he never tolerated it from Robin; X was a creature that he couldn't deny, though. X owned his soul and he played with it to his heart's content, like a cat pawing at an injured mouse. Yes. He was a fool.
And there was that light, shining on him again.
He actually shuddered when he felt the prick of teeth at his neck and warm breath along his shoulders.
Behind him, X gave a muffled laugh, brought his fully lips, so like Robin's, close to Bruce's ear.
"You won't find him," he whispered, "because you can't even see what's right in front of you."
Bruce was silent for a moment. It would appear that he crackling of the fire and the preoccupied ticking of the clock were the only sounds in the room, but his ears were flooded with the sound of his own pulse, blocking out everything else except RedX breathing in his ear.
"Then show me," he said at last, voice soft. "Shine a light on me and show me what I'm not seeing."
A hand on his neck, and words poured sensually into his ear, "But I like to keep you in the dark."
And, as X continued his ministrations, Bruce found himself thinking that being locked in the darkness wasn't such a bad idea.
A/N: There you go. X makes an allusion to his little sessions with Slade. (Batman can't see that the person with the answers is right in front of him)