Summary: Kon/Tim. Robin's boyfriend can single out his heartbeat from an entire city. Tim has to cope somehow.
"Bats stalk the people they care about." Superman had tried to tell him, in a way that hadn't explained anything and only made Kon think the Bats had a vast spy network hooked up across the world. Which they probably did, but there was something so much more sinister when he felt the constant camera lens focused on him every moment. Not that he'd seen anything. If there were cameras, then they all turned off or looked away the moment he turned around like some paranoid comedy sketch. But he knew, just knew that Tim was watching. There was the call right after he'd finished plowing the field. The distress signal from Arkham when the Titans had just finished taking down Dr. Light. The courtesy call conveniently after Kon came out of the bathroom.
Kon hadn't had a good wank in weeks-a hurried moment in a tall cornfield did not count.
"Is it so upsetting?" Kory had asked him, watching him from the doorway as he unscrewed the lightbulbs, moved the furniture, telekinetically reduced the cabinet and bed to their nuts and bolts and then put them back together again. "They care about the people they watch."
Five listening devices, one camera in the vent, one camera at the window, and a motion detector in the attached bathroom. He crunched them in his fist.
"He didn't even ask!" Kon fumed. "He could've...God, he is such a little creeper!"
Kory grimaced. "You shouldn't speak of him so. It might hurt his feelings."
"Not unless he's got another bug in here," Kon said, though the possibility was real.
Then another thought occurred to him. The lack of surprise, the rueful dismay over him ransacking the room. The way she sounded just like Clark. He gave her a look.
"You know something."
Kory smiled and ducked her head with a good natured shrug. "They watch the people they love, Conner."
"Is this like a thing everyone knows about but me?" Kon pitched the bugs out the window. "Is it like some bat hazing ritual?"
"It's far more benevolent than you're letting yourself think," she said. "I suppose it's just that it's so new to you. I had time to get used to it."
Kon sighed. Dick. He should've known. "They probably talk, don't they? I mean, what one hears, they all hear."
"No!" Kory said, shaking her head in a blur of orange curls. "They'd never do that. That would be wrong, a...a..."
"A violation of privacy?" Kon laughed grimly. "Right. 'Cause they've got a great sense of personal boundaries."
The landline phone by the bed rang. Of course. Kon picked it up and wasn't surprised by the voice on the other end.
"Tim." It wasn't hard to make his voice stern.
"Can we talk?" Tim asked.
"Which ones did I miss?" Kon demanded.
"I'm on top of Gotham cathedral," Tim said.
"...Batman isn't in town, so you can just fly on in."
"Two, one in the bathroom mirror and one in the tv."
"I'll be there in half an hour."
Kon hung up and went to the mirror, reaching into the space between the glass and metal. There-impossibly thin and hard to extract, even with telekinesis. After doing the same with the television, he opened the window and leans out.
"Don't go angry," Kory said hastily, coming up behind him. "They don't mean badly."
"I know." Kon paused, staring at the ocean horizon under the tower. "That's why I'm flying slow."
Gotham cathedral stood out in the city's skyline, even among the old skyscrapers. Dark, filled with deep recesses that clung to their shadows, it matched the old city's style of stark lines and gargoyle demons watching from the hidden edges. In the soft rain, the roof and windows sparkled with moonlight, the stained glass color washed out from the gray clouds.
Low rumbling thunder rolled through the clouds, escorting Kon through the sky as he floated over the city, and like a bell, a single heart beat called him down. Gotham pulsed with her own vitality, but beneath her pipes and roads and electrical wires ran all the hearts and voices of her populace. It took a keen ear to piece out one sound from thousands of others, but Tim's had always resounded clearly to Kon. Lighter, quicker, birdlike.
So appropriate to find him perched by the belltower, cape and cowl dripping so that he looked like one of the gargoyles. As Kon stepped down out of the air, Robin stood, hands down, head up, meeting Kon's eyes.
Tim held his gaze for several long seconds, and Kon got the feeling that Tim wasn't going to start. His mouth twisted. Tim was the one who called him over, dammit.
"Well?" he prompted him. "You wanted to talk."
Tim stayed quiet. Behind his cowl, his emotions were carefully schooled and shielded, but there was no hiding the tremulous flutter of his heart, his too measured breaths. Kon had been working with Tim for almost all of his life. He knew the little nervous quirks that Tim can't control. And Tim knew that, which made him all the more irritated that he could be read against his will. It took a long moment for him to talk.
"I didn't mean to make you angry," Tim said.
Kon clenched his hands into fists, but not because he was angry. His exasperation mixed with a wrenching feeling deep in his heart. He was used to creepy Tim and cocky Tim, but vulnerable Tim was rare and hard to handle.
"You didn't tell me you were spying on me," Kon said. "How come Clark and Kory both knew, huh? I felt like a total noob."
"They didn't know I had you bugged," Tim said, shaking his head. "I never told anyone."
"Well, that's a little better," Kon breathed a sign of relief. "At least you aren't gossiping with Dick."
Tim didn't school away the hurt look on his face. Which meant he was being completely honest right now. That should make Kon happy, but the fact that he had to recognize it rankles.
"I wouldn't! We don't talk about things like that," Tim insisted.
"Do all of you have someone bugged?" Kon asked. "I mean, I know you're always watching everything, but...dammit, Tim, I know bats are creepy but this is creepy, even for you!"
"It's not creepy," Tim said. "I mean, you can find me anytime."
Kon blinked. "What?"
"You can hear my heartbeat out of a whole city," Tim said. "It's just me trying to keep up."
"And it isn't fair," Tim said, voice suspiciously brittle. "I lost you. You were dead."
"Please," Tim said over him. "Please, Kon. Let me do this. I need...I don't know. I'll do whatever you want. Just, I need to know."
"Know what?" Kon asked. He ran a hand through his hair, looking at his boyfriend without a clue. "Where I am every single second?"
Tim didn't bat an eye. "Yes."
"Why?" Kon heaved a sigh. "You don't have to know where I am every single second of the day."
The look in Tim's eyes said he did. In a way, Kon could even understand. Of course Tim wanted to know where he was. If he knew, if he was watching all the time, then Kon coudn't disappear. But unlike most boyfriends, Tim would not be satisfied with just a cell phone and speed dial.
He took a step so that he was almost flush against Tim. Taller, broader, he should have overwhelmed his boyfriend, and yet Tim had that sense of presence and keen focus. All the bats seemed to have it. And this was what happened when a bat focused on him.
Slowly, so that Tim didn't get spooked, he put his hands on Tim's cowl and slid his thumbs under the edge. There was a little hesitation as Tim tilted his head and lightly touched something at the base of the cowl, disarming the trap in the suit, and then the hood slid up and away.
For a moment Tim winced as the light rain touched his face. It happened whenever he'd been wearing the mask for too long, making his skin too sensitive. Kon obligingly leaned over and covered him.
"Please," Tim whispered.
Kon knew he shouldn't give in. This was just one more step in Tim's paranoia, and a healthy relationship was based on trust and faith.
"Love you," Kon said softly. "You little creeper."
It was all the permission Tim needed, and his relieved smile, his choked, disbelieving laugh, and the way he returns Kon's kiss, was enough for Kon. For now.