Title: For You
Notes: Written as a parallel piece to Jazyrha's If Sadness Is A Colour htt p:/ /w ww.f anfic tio n.n et /s/693 456 1/1/I f_Sadne ss_Is_ a_Col our... Because that was the major question hanging over me. Surely Bruce could hear them. And yes, it will make more sense, utterly, if you read hers FIRST. All speech is either from the A Better World episode, or written by Jazyrha.
'I sit here locked inside my head,
Remembering everything you've said.'
- "For You" by Staind.
"There are mercury switches at your hands and feet. Any motion and I'll know about it."
"You've thought of everything," Bruce returned calmly.
"No. Just everything you'll ever think of," Justice Lords Batman looked back over his shoulder at him and then carried on walking away. Bruce watched him go, accepting those words before he relaxed as best he could in the position he was in, saving his strength, listening to the other Bruce stop in front of the prison next to his, the one that held The Flash. The young Speedster next door hadn't stopped fighting his bonds since he'd woken up and he'd been one of the first awake and, Bruce suspected, one of the last to go down.
"Whatcha looking at, huh?" Wally shouted, sounding angry and conflicted and utterly confused. It must have been even harder for a man who ran, who did everything at speed to be trapped like this. The Justice Lords Batman must have been staring at him from his silence but as the echoes died against the cold walls, Bruce heard him shift a little.
"Calm down. You'll appreciate this some day," Batman tried to explain and he never bothers with that ever, something Wally is bound to notice. He'd have questions, so many questions for the one man he'd never expect to change into this.
"Yeah, I don't think Hawkgirl's going to appreciate it too much!" Bruce could hear the pain and anger in the red head's voice over his friend and wondered what he'd seen before he'd lost consciousness.
"That was an accident!" Batman faltered a little, almost as if physically struck and his voice was too loud, too emotional to belong to him. The tone was all right, but the words were not. It was a subtle difference, but it might as well have been highlighted in neon to Wally. Bruce knew he noticed things like that; even if he pretended to be stupid and oblivious, The Flash had often seen and processed things before others had a chance to notice they were wrong.
"She's in our best hospital now and…" Batman said, calmer now and Bruce frowned. Something had gone wrong with Hawkgirl and his sharp mind told him that her mace may well have attracted the electricity in the trap they had walked in to. Knowing Shayera she would have fought back against the pain and clearly had lost. "Believe me, he last thing we want is to lose another -" Batman cut himself off and that was wrong as well. Bruce would never start something only to fail to carry it through. It didn't matter what it was, Bruce finished what he started.
"Another what?" Wally shouted.
Batman walked away, no answer given.
"I think he likes you," Bruce commented from his cell after the doors had shut Justice Lords Batman out.
"Yeah, must be my magnetic personality," Wally replied, voice tight.
"More likely," Bruce disagreed, already having realised why this Batman had been so strange with Wally; he could feel the pain in his heart at such a realisation, "it has to do with what happened to this world's Flash."
"You mean he's..." Wally's voice was shocked, with almost a begging tone underneath it, like he was asking for Bruce to lie to him.
"Yes," he confirmed the unspoken sentence.
Bruce heard Wally go limp in the restraints, clearly thinking about how he could have died in this world. He knew the younger man was wondering if it was anything like Barry's death. Wally lived in his uncle's shadow, despite being more than his equal, but he was still so young. Bruce's jaw tightened. It wasn't fair for Wally to have died so soon on this world.
"I can't leave you guys alone for a fucking second, can I?" Wally said and Bruce guessed it was meant to be a joke, but it came out too seriously. "This… this isn't actually because… because of me, right?"
The older man knew Wally was doubting himself now, disbelieving that something as important, as devastating as this could happen because they lost him. It dug into his heart, twisting like a knife and he couldn't leave it like that, not when they are hung out like sacrifices in this twisted world.
"You are far more," Bruce paused, looking for the right word, "important to us than you think, Flash."
"Yeah, that's exactly how I'm treated all the time. Important." He sounded amused and indignant all at the same time.
"Perhaps not on a strategic level," Bruce replied levelly, knowing they treated him how he acted most of the time.
"So, what now, I'm the glue that keeps us all together?"
Bruce didn't dignify that with an answer because he knew Wally understood now, however much he didn't want to believe it. There were some things that were hard to accept and this was no small idea. Wally was seeing the reality of his death and just how much he actually meant to them. Bruce had managed to keep the implications about what Wally meant to the Justice Lords Batman so subtle that Wally had only focused on the bigger picture and he wanted to keep it that way. There were already too many parallels between the two Batman's that it wouldn't take a great leap of understanding to connect that as well.
Bruce heard Wally start to struggle against the restraints again, suddenly panicking and just as he opened his mouth to order him to save his strength the doors slid back open to admit the other Batman who walked straight to Wally's cell, tray in hand.
"Calm down, Wally." As soon as he spoke Wally froze completely.
"It's Flash to you," he said. Bruce can hear the anger. "I'm not hungry. Go away, aren't there any more innocent people on the planet you can kill, any laws to enforce?"
Bruce felt the pause in his body when Batman didn't respond straight away and hated it because he knew it was another sign this Batman had accepted his fall from grace.
"I don't kill innocent people," came the voice too like his own and Bruce's own thoughts were echoed by Wally's furiously hurt one.
"It used to be 'I don't kill anyone'."
"I was foolish back then." Bruce felt the tension stiffen his shoulders as he heard the cell door open. He knew Wally could look after himself, but they were vulnerable like this and Flash had a habit of running his mouth when he felt trapped. "I thought I could protect what needed to be protected without resorting to such methods, but…" Bruce strained in his own cell, listening for any little movement. He hated not being able to see what was going on and he wondered if his Lords-self realised it. "But I corrected that mistake now and my only regret lies in the fact I couldn't do it sooner, that I…" He could hear the pause and knew what the alternative universe Bruce had been about to say. There were so many parallels, too many things that cut too close to home. Bruce heard the slight shift of rough cloth over Kevlar and the soft sound of boots on concrete and knew he had stepped even closer to Wally. "I'm sorry I couldn't do it in time to save you."
"As if I would want such a thing!" It was a hoarse whisper from Wally and Bruce wondered at how much this confession was getting to the younger man. "As if I would ever let anyone get away with murder."
"You died, Wally. Do you even understand?"
Bruce swallowed, feeling the pain in the other man's voice deep in his gut. He understood better than Wally ever could.
"I don't want to understand," Wally interrupted. "I will never understand how you could think this is the right way." That was the red head speedster Bruce knew; true to the ideals of a superhero to his very core.
"He killed you, just like that, just a day like any other."
"Don't…" Wally said and Bruce echoed him silently from his own cell, not wanting to hear how any Wally West died. "Nothing you say will make me not hate you, so piss off."
"It was Saturday," that trembling voice continued nevertheless and Bruce could hear the tray he saw him holding when he went into Wally's cell clatter. The other man's hands must have been shaking and Bruce's hands clenched into fists in sympathy before he could stop himself. "Luthor had played us all, he kept us busy for weeks, all of us. There were so many prison breaks I can't even count them, so many false leads, so many nights we spend awake." The trembling was gone, it was almost like he was reading from a book it was so dead, and Bruce heard the tray being placed on the floor and those footsteps moving even closer. Bruce had counted them automatically and knew he was well within touching distance of Wally now. "Then that Saturday, everyone was so tired, so broken, so weak." Even through the wall Bruce could hear teeth come together before the venom in that last word was spat into the air. "We were defeated so easily, Wally, it was pathetic." A short, bitter breath, something like a laugh, so sharp that Bruce shut his eyes. He knew that sound all too well. "But you wouldn't give up. You never do, do you? I don't think you even know how to. So he made you the example. For all of us. He only needed one shot." Bruce heard movement again and tensed up. "I couldn't do anything. I couldn't do anything that wouldn't kill him, so I hesitated and that second cost you your life!"
"You did the right thing," Wally said and Bruce shook his head before he could stop himself, though whether it was in disagreement or hopelessness he didn't know.
"Did I?" There was so much anger, so much hatred. "If I did, then why did everyone fall apart like this? Tell me, how is his life for yours not a good deal? How is losing what you love better than getting rid in what causes nothing but pain?"
"But look where it brought you," Wally whispered, his voice barely audible. "Look what it did to you."
"You would've done the same," Batman spoke and Bruce could hear the smile, the belief in the truth behind the words. Bruce also heard it when Wally abruptly stopped breathing. It had been so harsh, so loud before now that the silence was unnerving and the tall man strained in his cell to hear him. There was no sound of a struggle and Bruce knew Wally was safe, but couldn't imagine what Batman was doing to make the Speedster freeze like that.
"You... loved me?" Wally asked and it was Bruce's turn to stop breathing. Damn Wally for being so quick, for connecting those words to their real meaning and suddenly he knew that Batman, that Bruce, had touched Wally, was still touching him. Anger, real and hot and deadly flashed through him before he could smother it.
"You should eat now," the other man said, changing the subject. "You must be starving." Bruce heard him pick the tray back up, no longer shaking and then take something from it. He knew what he should bring if he truly wanted to feed the Flash, but he wondered how clouded this Batman's judgement was, faced with a man he'd thought long lost, a man that wasn't his but was so close the difference was barely there.
"I brought you cookies. The one's you loved so much." Bruce could hear the embarrassment in his voice and hated his weakness. This could be him and it left him sore. He knew which cookies they were...
"I'm not him," Wally said and Bruce was grateful he could still tell the difference; that he could still tell this wasn't his Batman, even though he knew that this Batman would feel those words in every inch of his being.
"I know that," he said after the pause Bruce knew was coming. The sound of Wally biting into the cookie filled the air, unnaturally loud to Bruce's ears and it did things to his emotions that sent his inner calm into chaos. Wally shouldn't be accepting this from that Batman, shouldn't be letting him in, shouldn't be helping him... It struck Bruce then. That was exactly what made Wally who he was. Even though this Batman stood for everything he disagreed with, even though he had torn Wally's world apart and bled on his view of the truth, Wally still was willing to help him.
Bruce heard the familiar sound of gloves being pulled off hands as Wally ate a second cookie. "Do you mind?" Bruce frowned. What would he asked that for? He listened to Wally laugh; a harsh, rough sound.
"Honestly? You betray us, send electricity through our veins, lock us up and now you're asking if I mind seeing your face? You're fucked up as hell, Bruce."
'Don't call him that...' Bruce thought instinctively, even as he flinched at the idea of Batman revealing his identity. It didn't matter if Wally knew, if this was a different Batman, it was so ingrained that he couldn't help it.
"Do you?" It was simply repeated.
"No," Wally said, despite knowing better. Bruce heard the cowl slip back, brushing through thick hair before Batman bent down again, retrieving another cookie he then fed to Wally. Somehow Bruce knew something was being silently said between them. Bruce wouldn't feed anyone food, not like this, not unless there was something more to it, something deeper, more intimate, more personal.
"Wally let me see your face." Bruce shuddered, hanging his head. This was dragging everything he kept personal and hidden out into the open for the one person he didn't want to see it.
"I…" Wally hesitated and Bruce had a flash of irrational hope that he'd say no, deny this imposter Batman his face, but Bruce knew it would never happen. Wally could never be so cold, so hard. Bruce listened to the brush of material against Kevlar, against skin, against hair and fought against the images in his head playing out in a multitude of ways, but always done with care, with a gentleness he shouldn't have.
"Thank you," he said and it was too heartfelt to be that Bruce, too honest and the man alone in his cell clenched his hands into tighter fists, wanting to fight against his bonds, to disrupt the closeness next door, but he can't. He prayed someone else would wake, would move and end this. It was easier to make people believe Bruce was incapable of loving someone, anyone.
"Your eyes," the other Dark Knight let out a shaky breath. "They're still the same."
Bruce slammed his eyes shut, but it was too late to stop the image of Wally's bright, vibrant green eyes flashing through his mind. It sharpened his hearing, not using his eyes, and the sound of fingers brushing through hair felt like it echoed through his cell.
"Did we… I mean, did you and he…" Wally asked suddenly and Bruce felt a morbid sort of curiosity at the question.
"No." Bruce nearly let out an audible sigh of relief, or is it pain? "We…" Batman shook his head, started again. "I allowed myself to love him once, but I…I was an idiot." Bruce let his blue eyes stare at the floor tiles, knowing he'd never admit to that, his pride was often too great, but also knowing how much he agreed.
"You pushed him away," Wally continued the story, because this was a plot he knew. This was a story he'd heard before, the only scenario possible. Bruce had always made that abundantly clear.
"Yes," was admitted. "I told myself I didn't need it. That it would end up bad. I was so sure that I could live without it." Bruce gritted his teeth, knowing those words with every fibre of his being and knowing how much he didn't believe them, not truly.
"It's not weakness to feel," Wally protested, just as Bruce knew he would. "You're only human."
"I'd forgotten that." No, he hadn't forgotten, he'd just lied to himself for so long it became easier to live the lie than accept the truth. "I'd convinced myself I was better of without distractions, but then you died and it was too late." Bruce wanted to scream for them to shut up, to stop this because he couldn't hear this. He could never hear how Wally died and his regret for it. "And now, I'm stuck in my world of what-ifs," the whispered words were no better than if they were spoken normally. "Now I build portals just to see if you're alive somewhere, just to see you again." That had Bruce pausing, understanding, finally, what had driven his other self to build the portal to begin with and comprehending, with a sense of dread, that he could be pushed to such a point.
Bruce was so wrapped up in the realisation that he nearly missed the sound of Wally moving, ever so slightly. The noise was so quiet, so nearly not there, that the dark haired man didn't know what the Speedster had done. "He would've thought the answer was yes," Wally said softly but surely, and Bruce froze, even his heart struggled for the next beat. "If you're wondering if you were ever worth him, if it would've been worth all the hurt and the pain: He would've thought the answer was yes."
The abrupt sound of lips on lips had Bruce jerking upright, feeling the metal dig into his wrists as he unintentionally pulled at them. It didn't sound gentle. It sounded like both men giving themselves over to each other and enjoying it and it broke Bruce as much as the whimper that this dimension's Batman let out. Bruce couldn't shut out the sound.
It was like dissociative identity. Two separate personalities, two separate people, but the same at the core. This Batman could have been him and he could still end up like this. The world was folding in on itself and Bruce was abruptly glad he wasn't faced by two Flashes. Wally would not be able to keep the line from blurring and Bruce wasn't sure he would be able to either in such a situation.
"Get me out of these chains," Wally gasped and Bruce is hoping that what he can hear is all a lie, that he's hit his head, that Wally is just using it a ploy to get free.
"I can't, Wally," that Batman pleaded. "You know I can't."
"Let me touch you," Wally whispered, and Bruce tried not to think about how much he sounded like he's begging. "Please."
"You'll run," Batman's tone was accusing, hard and Bruce hoped that he'd come to his senses. "I'm not stupid."
"I won't," Wally promised. "Bruce, I won't. I don't want to." If Bruce shut his eyes he could pretend Wally was saying that to him, not to the other man that shares his name, his face, his identity, his feelings. It didn't stop him hearing the keys in the locks nor the way Wally launched himself out of his prison to kiss the other man. This kiss was noisier, harder and left no room for Bruce to dissuade himself anything else would happen now.
The sound of metal hitting the floor, the sharp jangle of keys was startlingly loud in the silence of the cells and it was like a bell highlighting the sound of a body thudding against the wall that joined Wally and his cells together. The moan that the Speedster gave, and Bruce knew it was him instinctively, sent a jolt down Bruce's spine and he unconsciously licked his lips. He could hear the wet sound of lips, tongue, on skin and the way Wally's moans got louder now that his mouth was free. The image in his mind showed the red head pinned to the wall, head thrown back as he let the other man do anything he wanted to and Bruce's nostrils flared as he sucked in a wild breath. The imprisoned man fought for control. It was wrong to let this affect him. He shouldn't be listening. The way the other Bruce was panting Wally's name over and over in his own voice was like a battering ram on his will. It was so full of passion and pain it cut through everything Bruce was trying to hide behind.
There was a slide of fabric against the wall and Bruce let out a breath, trying to maintain a normal rhythm, but that was all blown to pieces when Wally said, "Careful, I've got nothing else to wear."
Everything Bruce heard in the next minute he knew was the Flash uniform coming off Wally's body, accompanied by shaky, unsteady breaths of the man doing the undressing. It did nothing for Bruce's sanity. He'd seen Wally in various states of nakedness before, generally when he'd been injured, in the medical bay, but never wholly naked, never at the height of passion, but no one had ever criticised him for a lack of imagination.
There was a moment of silence in which Bruce's own heartbeat sounded far too loud and far too fast for a man hanging in cuffs. "You're so beautiful," Batman whispered, and Bruce squeezed his eyes shut again. Agreeing with that sentiment would be so easy but it might destroy him at the same time. "So long," was whispered against something, probably skin, muting it so much Bruce barely heard it.
They were kissing again, moving against one another and Bruce wondered if this was the sort of guilty feeling teenage boys got when they watched porn for the first time, hoping no one can hear them, no one will know what they've done. His breathing got faster, there was no denying it and he felt almost dirty knowing he was reacting to something that shouldn't be happening, that should be private.
The clatter of something solid and heavy hitting the wall the floor made Bruce pay more attention again and he listened to the slither of cloth, the click of clasps undoing and soft thumps as armoured body pieces meet the ground. Now he knew both men were naked and everything was happening too fast, too soon and there was nothing he could do except listen to the sounds of that Bruce sucking bruises onto Wally's skin.
"Oh, god, Bruce," Wally moaned, too loudly and Bruce prayed no one else was awake now. "Oh, God, fuck, this… I…" The red head cried out in pleasure and the jolt that had gone down his spine before was back, but this time it was like a lightning bolt down his belly to his groin. "B-Bruce, d-don't be so fucking slow." Wally was gasping now and Bruce knew he'd be clinging onto the man driving those noises from him.
When the gasps for air turned into moans of his name Bruce couldn't stop himself from growing hard. No iron will or years of training for perfect control could stop him reacting to something, however much he denied it, that he'd wanted to hear for years. Whatever Lords Batman did to get Wally to beg, "Oh… fuck, do that again. Again," had Bruce pushing his body back against the plate behind him, giving up on fighting and just trying not to give himself away. His mind was beginning to replace the imposter with himself and it was all Bruce could do not to give voice to the images.
"Oh, God," Wally breathed out again. "Oh, oh, you're… you're actually going to…"
Bruce doesn't need the young man to say what was happening. He knew perfectly what he'd be doing right about now and there wasn't enough difference between that Bruce and himself for it to be anything else. The noises coming from Wally's mouth grew louder, higher, more desperate and Bruce could tell that he was scratching his fingers across the wall, even through all that. His mind told him Wally's hips would be instinctively jerking forwards now, seeking more and Bruce swallowed thickly.
"I can… see… you," Wally said and Bruce smothered the small cry of something. He didn't know if it was pain or want anymore. "B-Bruce, I… I…"
"Yes Wally, yes," Bruce mouthed silently in his own cell. The protective cup in his pants was so uncomfortable now, so restrictive it was a new type of pain Bruce hadn't experienced before and there was nothing he could do about it, tied like this.
"Bruce!" he shouted one last time, too loudly, everyone would have heard, and there would be questions later, though Bruce knew they might not have heard everything. He was grateful that at least Wally was in the end cell and the only wall that connected him to anyone was the one joining Bruce's cell. Wally gasped for breath, Bruce could hear it even through the kisses and he would never be able to hear that again without being back here. "Y-You should've…" Wally wasn't coherent yet, still struggling for an even breath. "You didn't even…"
"Experience taught me I won't have to wait too long for a second go."
Bruce's pupils dilated wildly. He would have assumed as much, but he had no proof to back it. That Batman had it. He had already fucked his Wally West and now he was going to do the same to his. Bruce opened his mouth to cut them off. One word from him and Wally wouldn't be able to continue this, he knew that, but it was too late.
"Wally," Batman said suddenly, his voice all serious again, dark and low. "Wally, he'll always push you away."
"Don't let him. Don't let him make the same mistake."
"He… He isn't, he doesn't…" Wally protested, gasping a little and Bruce knew what he was thinking and felt the knife twist in his heart when the other Bruce confirmed it.
"Yes, he does. I know he does. Don't let him convince you otherwise."
'No Wally, no,' Bruce pleaded silently.
"Alright, I won't, I won't let him," he promised and Bruce was sure his heart skipped a beat. He may be able to admit he wanted Wally to promise that, deep down in his blackened, ignored soul but Bruce knew better. Nothing could happen between them. The world was too important to put it in jeopardy by blindsiding both of them with feelings.
There was a dull thump before something, someone that Bruce knew to be Wally was sliding up the wall. He's begging; the seriousness of conversation is gone again, replaced with moans and cries for faster, better, more. Everything he said and did was answered by his double, in both noise and actions. Bruce own breathing grew harsher, like he'd been running across rooftops all night and he couldn't believe that something as little, as simple as this could be affecting him so badly. He felt like he was burning in his suit, like he was standing too close to a fire and it was roasting him alive.
"Do it," Wally demanded abruptly. "Oh, God, please do it. D-Don't hesitate now. Don't stop now."
Muscles in Bruce's belly tightened and he felt the way his protection was holding all the leaking wetness his arousal is producing. It was unbelievably uncomfortable, but that didn't make his erection go away, nor the growing desperation. He knew what was coming and could only imagine how it would feel and Bruce knew he shouldn't, but there was nothing to stop him.
The sounds of sex were unique and so very clear, even over the sounds of Wally being driven against the wall. Those just added to the atmosphere and sense of perversion Bruce felt for even listening, let alone imaging being that man taking the red head hard against a wall, let alone getting off on hearing this world's Batman doing that.
"Faster," Wally commanded. "Oh, god, fuck, Bruce, ah, you… fuck."
The groans coming from the other Batman were identical to anything Bruce would make and his mouth opened, panting silently, caught at a crossroads. Bruce knew, at that moment, without a doubt, he could come by just the sounds of Wally having sex, but he was held back by how wrong the whole situation was. He shouldn't be listening to another dimension's Batman having hard, desperate sex with his world's Wally. He shouldn't be listening to anyone have sex with Wally, not when…
Bruce knew the instant Wally came. There was an explosion of breath along with the cry of his name and Bruce had never been so turned on in all his life, but that was cut into a moment later when that Bruce orgasmed as well, muffling the cry of Wally's name into flesh and skin. He could hear them both sink to the floor as Batman's legs gave out under him and he could hear the way they both panted for air.
"Wow, fuck, wow," Wally said and Bruce could hear the goddamn smile on his face, even as there was a rush of moving wind and brush of fabric that Bruce had heard a hundred times before and knew it was Wally getting dressed. It was so much easier to pretend when he knew Wally wasn't naked just a wall away.
"I suppose this is the part where you lock me up and flee," the Lords Batman said, calmly, yet with a hint of sadness in his voice. He, at least, had accepted reality at last. "At least let me put on the costume."
Bruce closed his eyes as he listened to Wally silently watch Batman get dressed, as methodical and precise as always, and then him step back into the space Wally should have been occupying. The snap of cuffs was sharp, yet as gentle as Wally could make it and Bruce knew he felt guilty for doing what he did.
"I'm sorry," Wally apologised, just as Bruce knew he would.
"So am I," Batman replied, though Bruce didn't know what for, and Wally kissed him, softly, one last time.
"I won't let him push me away," Wally promised and Bruce didn't know what to think anymore, but he couldn't think now, not with Wally flashing out of his cell and towards his. Their eyes met for a second, there was a flash of awkward understanding where Wally knew Bruce had heard everything before his head dropped and his fingers start speed pressing the keypad lock. Ignoring it worked for Bruce.