Diversions & Digressions | fanfiction by mara

(I Wonder) If I Can Trust You

(I Wonder) If I Can Trust You

by Mara

Summary: Ever since the night they kissed, Bruce has kept an ear out for word of Captain Jack Harkness.

Story Notes:
This is a sequel to my fic “Part of Life’s Fascination.” It is for Psych_30 #26, Obsession and Fanfic100 #79, When? Thanks go to PurpleAllison for the betaread and catching a rather amusing mistake 😀

In the DCU, this takes place no particular time. For TW, it takes place in a season 2 in which a certain office scene in “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” didn’t take place. ::coughs::

The supercomputer in the Cave was constantly scanning a wide range of sources, from ordinary newspapers to classified federal e-mails. Those searches were supplemented by the work of Oracle, and as such…there wasn’t much they couldn’t find eventually.

But if Bruce was entirely honest with himself (and occasionally he was), there was one search that he half-expected to never set off an alarm. It was a simple search for a name: Captain Jack Harkness.

So when his watch emitted a discreet beep during a meeting with Lucius, Bruce had to fight not to tense up, because that alarm generally heralded something like a breakout from Arkham.

Glancing at his watch, Bruce was already preparing his excuses when the message scrolling across the tiny screen penetrated his conscious mind and made him freeze in surprise.

“Bruce?” Lucius sounded annoyed.

“Wh–what? I’m sorry,” Bruce said, mind racing. “I was just distracted by a reminder.”

“Don’t tell me,” Lucius said, lips tightening. “You’ve just remembered a hot date and you’re going to run off.”

To his greater surprise, Bruce found himself flushing. “No, I’m not. This…can wait.”

It took a great deal of concentration to make it through the rest of the meeting without fidgeting, remembering the first and last time he’d met Captain Jack Harkness.

As Lucius described the latest work out of the R&D department, Bruce absently rubbed his tingling lips.

* * * * *

As soon as Lucius let him go, Bruce was out the door of his office, yelling an excuse at his secretary. She simply nodded and waved, entirely used to his peccadillos.

By the time he’d reached his car, Bruce had Oracle on the comm. “I’ve got a hit on Harkness,” he said. “I’m on my way to the Cave, ETA 15. What have we got?”

“Hmm,” Babs said.

Bruce stilled his hands when he found himself tapping his fingers in time with her keyboard clicks.

“Not a lot right now,” she said finally. “He seems to have just come up in connection with a super top secret organization in Wales called Torchwood.”

“Torchwood? What do we know about them?”

“Not a lot. They keep their nose to the ground and deal with local stuff, so we’ve generally left them alone. Apparently a few years ago there was a brief encounter between another Torchwood office and the JLE, and J’onn said in his report to the JLA, and I quote, ‘Torchwood seems to be marginally more competent than my team.'”

Bruce winced. “Oooh, that bad?”

“Apparently. Oh, I knew the name Torchwood sounded familiar! They’re the ones that caused the Cybermen invasion last year.”

“You mean Harkness–”

“No no, his team didn’t have anything to do with it, it was the branch in London that caused it. Wales seems to have kept a low profile, which is why we didn’t catch his name until now.”

“Fascinating.” Bruce pulled up to the mansion and slid out of the car, jogging toward the front door. “See what else you can find about Torchwood. I’ll take a look at what we have so far.”

“Okaaaay,” Babs said. “Um, why exactly are we looking for him?”

Because I need to ask him why he kissed me. “Because I need to know how he knew I’m Batman.”

“Fair enough.” Her shrug was almost audible. “I’m on it, unless the League calls.”

“Thank you.”

* * * * *

Alfred almost looked surprised when Bruce came through the door. “Is there an emergency, Master Bruce?”

Pausing in his headlong rush to the Cave, Bruce looked at Alfred. “Not as such, no. I just have a lead to follow up.”

“Of course, sir.”

It took Bruce an hour to carefully read everything he could find about Torchwood, which seemed to be the least-secret secret agency he’d ever heard of. He shook his head in disbelief, especially when he read J’onn’s report about the Cybermen invasion.

But Oracle was right and Harkness and his team were another office, not involved in that particular debacle. There wasn’t much about them–a few references to them as Torchwood Lite and a bunch of blind mole rats. Bruce grinned at that. He didn’t have a problem with an underground team.

Apparently Harkness had been there a while, but until now he’d kept his name a great deal more secret than Torchwood itself.

Bruce tapped the comm. “Oracle?”


“Have you figured out where the Torchwood Wales headquarters are?”

“Hmm, I think so. I’ve definitely got a line on their network, though.”

“Let me know when you’re in. I want to know what we’re dealing with.”

With an almost physical wrench, Bruce turned his attention to the myriad other tasks that awaited Batman.

* * * * *

A sandwich appeared by Bruce’s side some time later, and he picked it up, murmuring “Thank you,” absentmindedly.

There was a discreet cough from behind him and Bruce blinked, looking up from his contemplation of a report from Nightwing concerning some strange chemicals being transported through Bludhaven. “Yes, Alfred?”

“Sir, if I might presume…”

Swinging around in his chair, Bruce blinked in surprise. “You have my full attention.”

Alfred’s expression was very carefully blank…and *nobody* did blank like Alfred Pennyworth. “I was wondering,” he said finally, “about your preoccupation with the whereabouts of Captain Harkness. I recall the name as one that Master Timothy mentioned, but I don’t recall anything of importance about him.”

Bruce’s expression remained neutral only because he had years of experience at it. “He rather mysteriously appeared at a Foundation fundraiser last year, revealed he knew I am Batman, and disappeared again.”


Bruce twitched. “Yes?”

Alfred tilted his head slightly, frowning. “It just seems to me that the notion of someone knowing your identity should have caused rather more alarm.”

“I’ve been searching for him for the last year.” Bruce found his voice rather more petulant than he’d expected. Alfred was still the only person who could make him both sound and feel like a six-year-old boy.

“Of course. But I was wondering why you let him go last time.”

Bruce blinked twice. “Alfred?”

“Yes, sir?”

“I thought you said you didn’t remember anything about this incident?”

“No, I believe I said I didn’t recall anything of importance about *him*. And since you told me nothing, that would certainly be true. However, Miss Barbara and I have had a fascinating chat on the subject now and then.”

Rubbing his eyes, Bruce decided that it might be time to look into becoming a hermit. “Conspiring against me, hmmm?”

“I’d call it conspiring *for* you.”

“Right.” Bruce took a deep breath, entirely sure this was a bad idea. “Just before he left, he kissed me,” he said quickly, meeting Alfred’s gaze.

Alfred’s eyebrows shot up so quickly, it seemed they’d fly right off his face, and Bruce felt a streak of amusement at flapping the most unflappable man on the planet. “Excuse me,” Alfred said. “You did say ‘kiss’?”


“I see.”

Bruce narrowed his eyes, because from the look on Alfred’s face, he might just be seeing a little too much. “He said he’d always wanted to kiss Batman. And since he didn’t reveal my identity to anyone else, I determined he wasn’t a danger to me.”

He started to turn back to the computer, but Alfred pinned him with a glance. “If he wasn’t a danger to you, then why have you been searching for him?”

Bruce opened his mouth, closed it, then opened it again. “Just because he isn’t dangerous doesn’t mean that I don’t want to know how he knew.”

“Of course.”

“If we’re done, perhaps I could get back to work?”

“I was wondering if perhaps you were searching for this Captain Harkness because you were interested in repeating the experience.”

“I…that’s ridiculous, Alfred.” Bruce felt himself flush and he whipped the chair around.

“Naturally. What in the *world* was I thinking?”

Bruce winced as Alfred clattered around behind him, cleaning spotless surfaces in the laboratory.


“Yo, Bats.”

“What is it, Oracle?” Bruce glanced up at the screen, where she was visible typing intently on a keyboard.

“These Torchwood folks keep an ace hacker on hand. She’s really very good.”

“Better than you?”

“Bite your tongue.”

“And how do you know it’s a woman?”

“Hmmph. Do I ask *you* how you know that the Flash is about to do something stupid? No, I do not.”

Bruce coughed into his hand. “Sorry.”

“She’s really good, but I think I’m going to be in soon. Just to give you a heads-up that I’m pretty sure they’re on to me.”

“Excuse me?” He stared at her, finally noticing her face was somewhat red.

“I said she was good.”

“Yes, I–” Shaking his head, Bruce reached for the cowl. “Never mind. Can we talk to them?”

Barbara stared at him. “Then why didn’t you just ask me to call them? I’m pretty sure I’ve got a phone number here.”

Bruce didn’t have an answer, so he didn’t respond.

She muttered something that he chose not to hear, then looked puzzled at something on the screen. “Huh, that’s never happened before.”


“Their computer ace just sent me an IM and said hi.”


Barbara waved a hand at him. “I’ll get back to you when I’ve got someone for you to talk to.”

And Bruce was left looking at a blank screen. He sighed heavily and turned back to his work.

* * * * *

It was half an hour before Barbara reappeared on the screen. “Ready?” she asked without any preamble.

“What have you been doing?” he asked, with a bit of a growl.

“Talking to Tosh.”


“Toshiko Sato. Torchwood’s computer ace. You wouldn’t believe how many similar problems we’ve got.”

“I’m sure.” Bruce rubbed his forehead through the cowl.

“Gimme a second and I’ll get her on the line to you.”

Bruce waited, then the screen cleared, showing a lovely Asian woman, frowning anxiously. “Batman?” she said, in the tone of someone who was, for example, staring at an urban legend.

“Ms. Sato, I need to speak to Captain Jack Harkness.” He was anxious to speak to Harkness alone, when he didn’t need to be Batman.

“He hasn’t…done anything wrong, has he?” she asked hesitantly.

Bruce pursed his lips. “Not that I *know* of.”

“Oh good.” She gave a smile that lit up her face, then turned away. “Jack! Batman wants to talk to you.”

Bruce couldn’t decide whether he wanted to grin at the muffled sounds he heard behind the woman or whether he was utterly aghast at how this Torchwood bunch worked.

Several other faces peered at the screen from behind Sato, looking curious and completely unafraid. Bruce decided to go with aghast, just as Jack Harkness stepped into view.

Harkness grinned that same grin that had unsettled Bruce a year previously. “Well, *hello*, tall, dark, and most likely handsome.”

Bruce scowled harder, fighting the blush that threatened to spread up from his chest and grateful for the cowl covering part of his face. “Captain Harkness. We meet again.”

Harkness’ eyebrows shot up. “Again? I’m fairly sure I would remember meeting you. Believe me, I clearly remember seeing Wonder Woman and I was at the back of a very large room.”

Bruce was taken aback. Of all the things he’d expected when he found Harkness again, this wasn’t even on the list. “We met in Gotham. Last spring, at a Memorial Day fundraiser.”

Harkness glanced off-screen in response to something mumbled at him. “No, Owen, I was not sneaking off to go to a party while you were up to your elbows in Weevil guts.” He turned back to Bruce. “I’m sorry, but I’ve never been to Gotham City. And at the end of last May, well, all of us remember exactly where I was then. I’m fairly sure all of Cardiff remembers.”


“No, really, my entire team was busy. I don’t think I left for more than a few hours the entire end of the month. Trust me, they’d have noticed.” Although his expression didn’t change, Harkness sounded worried. “You’re sure it was me.”

“Absolutely.” There couldn’t possibly be two men who looked and sounded like *that* and went by the name Captain Jack Harkness.

For just an instant, Harkness chewed on his lip. “There is a possibility. Look, can we talk privately?” There was an uproar from behind him, and he turned away from the screen. His face was hidden, but his stance was very tense, maybe angry. “Not this again. Do you trust me or not?”

Batman couldn’t make out most of the words, but he heard a woman say “…not about trust, Jack, it’s…”

“Do. You. Trust. Me.”

Silence. “Fine,” a Welsh accent said. “Have your secrets, sir.”

“Ianto…” Harkness’ shoulders slumped a tiny amount, before he turned back. “Let me switch this to my office.” He held Batman’s eyes as he called, “And Tosh, no fair peeking. You know I’ll know.”

* * * * *

In a few moments, the screen shifted to what was presumably Harkness’ office. He looked…tired, Bruce thought, trying to get a good look at the desk or shelves. “Batman,” Harkness said, looking into the camera. “I need you to tell me about when we met.”

Bruce frowned. “I think I’m going to need an explanation first. The details are…complicated. They include some information that I believed you already had.”

Harkness leaned back in his seat, huffing out a laugh. “When is my life *not* complicated?” He seemed to be studying what he could see on his screen. “Okay,” he said, taking a deep breath. “I used to do some traveling in time.”

Bruce waited.

“Right, I guess that’s not going to phase *you*. Well, the organization I worked for at the time wasn’t the most trustworthy. They…took two years of my memory.”

Bruce felt the blood drain out of his face and his fists clenched, looking for something or someone to hit. “Took?” he choked out.

Harkness nodded, his face that variety of still that tended to mean strong emotion in men. “I suspect that I might have met you during that period.”

For a long moment, Bruce looked at the man on the screen. He wanted to trust him because…he didn’t know why he wanted to trust him. And that scared the shit out of him.

“I’m sorry,” Bruce said, voice feeling scratchy. “If you don’t know my secrets, I don’t think I can reveal them to you. You…if it helps, you didn’t do anything wrong. It was…personal.”

It took a physical wrench to make himself lean forward and cut off the connection. And the look on Harkness’ face, the naked pain in the instant before the picture cut off…that was even worse.

Bruce ripped the cowl back off his head and put his head in his hands.

“Fuck,” he said, voice echoing in the empty Cave.

* * * * *

Bruce ruthlessly threw himself back into work, ignoring all questions or comments from any of his family. Keeping his mind from considering what he’d done was another matter, but as it happened, he’d had a *lot* of practice at ignoring uncomfortable thoughts.

Alfred only made one attempt to discuss the matter, but when Bruce actually *yelled* at him, Alfred chose to retreat with a sniff that managed to include disdain, annoyance, and a message that if he expected fresh chocolate chip cookies any time in the next *decade*, an apology might be in order.

Head banging slowly against the back of his chair, Bruce ran through curses in a dozen different languages.

* * * * *

A week later, Bruce was hunched over the keyboard, back early from patrol. Nightwing, Robin, and Batgirl had the city under control for the night, and Oracle had some intriguing new leads on Intergang’s latest inroads into Gotham.

Caught in the middle of a thought, it took Bruce a moment to recognize what the particular set of alarms ringing through the Cave meant. When the meaning penetrated his mind, however, his head shot up and he slapped the button that would alert Alfred and Oracle and place the Cave into lockdown as soon as Alfred was down the stairs.

Someone was trying to get through the security set up around Wayne Manor.

Knowing Alfred wouldn’t tarry, Bruce turned immediately to figuring out what was going on. What he found alarmed him: Whoever was trying to get in was good–they’d found and disarmed every single piece of Bruce Wayne’s excellent security system without triggering any alarms. They’d even–Bruce scowled–disarmed over half of *Batman’s* security precautions, and they’d come close to getting through the rest.

Every single camera and bug had been completely disabled or looped. Bruce cursed under his breath and Oracle chimed in. “Who the hell is this?” she asked. “Who would be attacking Bruce Wayne? Well, except Ra’s, and he never bothers to be sneaky.”

“We’ll know in a minute, I hope.” Bruce cursed again, but finally got some of the cameras working again. “Got it.” He copied the signal to Oracle.

His eyes flickered through the various camera images, finally finding the one with two hunched over figures scuttling through. “Huh,” Bruce said, feeling his adrenaline level ratchet down. Oracle was right and it wasn’t Ra’s with a few hundred ninjas, so that was a good thing. “Alert the others to stay on patrol,” he said, trying to get a good look at the faces on the two figures.

“You sure?”

“If I can’t handle two ordinary-looking humans by myself, there’s always Alfred.”

“My frying pan is always at your service,” Alfred said from behind him.

Laughing, Oracle said, “I’ll leave you to it, then. Just remember, whoever they are, they’ve got *damn* good tech. Call if you need me.”


“You’re welcome.”

Based on the camera view that was currently watching them, they were planning to approach the south veranda, presumably heading for the very steady-looking trellis. Standing, Bruce hit the button to end the lockdown of the Cave, and started to shed the suit.

“Master Bruce?”

“I think I’m going to try handling this as Bruce Wayne. Stay here.”


“Excuse me?” Bruce stopped in his tracks.

“Bruce Wayne would certainly bring his butler along to confront these intruders.” Alfred’s look said that arguing would be a waste of time. “I thought I would bring the shotgun.”

Throwing his hands in the air, Bruce gave up. “Come along, then.”


They reached the south veranda just ahead of the two intruders and Bruce waved Alfred over to the other side of the broad glass doors that were actually bullet-resistant polycarbonate thermoplastic.

A count of three, then Bruce flung open the door and turned on floodlights directly into the faces of the intruders.

The two men automatically flung their arms across their eyes.

“Oh hell,” said Captain Jack Harkness. “We’re screwed.”

“Ever the optimist,” said a muffled Welsh voice that Bruce recognized as the one Harkness had called Ianto. Oracle had come up with the name Ianto Jones for him.

“I think screwed is fairly accurate considering that I’ve caught you trespassing on my property,” Bruce said, caught between amusement and irritation.

“We have you covered,” Alfred said. “I’ll thank you to drop your weapons now.”

Through blinking and teary eyes, Harkness looked like he was going to lie about having a weapon, but instead he chose to very slowly and carefully pull a Webley from under his coat and drop it on the ground from between two fingers. Moving even more slowly, he pulled a weapon Bruce didn’t recognize and dropped it next to the Webley.

The other man pulled a similar unidentified weapon and dropped it on the ground, giving Harkness an annoyed look. “I said we should just call him,” Jones said, in a tone rather reminiscent of Alfred.

“But where’s the fun in that?”

“Fun.” Jones squinted into the light. “He thinks this is fun. Do you see what I have to deal with?”

Bruce was glad he was on the other side of the lights, because he found himself struggling not to smile. Forcing the smile down, he said, “Step forward away from the weapons. Hands up.”

The way they moved together showed they’d worked together for quite a while, Bruce decided, stepping forward after he’d dialed the lights down to something a little more tolerable. “Now you can tell me who you are and what the hell you’re doing here. You have five minutes to convince me not to call the cops.”

Harkness rubbed his eyes once, then looked at Bruce. “I know who you are.”

“I should hope so. I doubt you thought you were trying to break into Lex Luthor’s house.”

Jones’ lips twitched. “He’s got you there, Jack.”

“Not helping.”

“Do I ever?”

Harkness mock-glared at him.

“Hey!” Bruce said. “You’re down to four minutes.”

“Fine. You’re Bruce Wayne, also known as Batman. Happy now?”

He’d seen it coming a mile away (literally) and yet it was still a struggle not to jump. “Not particularly. Why in the world would you think that I’m Batman? Okay, we both live in Gotham City, but I’m pretty sure the guy who pumps gas at the corner of Markham and 23rd lives here too, and I doubt he’s Robin.”

Harkness grinned at him. “If you want to play games, I’m *very* good at games.”

I’m sure you are, Bruce absolutely didn’t say. “I don’t particularly. It’s late, I’m tired, and I’m still waiting to be convinced why I shouldn’t either shoot you or call the police. I give very generously to their charity every year, you know.”

“Nice to know you can get me arrested on two continents,” Jones said.

“Look, I’m still a bit jetlagged,” Harkness said, ignoring the quip. “If you want to stand around and argue about whether you’re Batman, that’s fine, but I think it would make things a hell of a lot easier if you could just admit that we’re right and we can all sit down somewhere more comfortable.”

It was a bizarre moment of déjà vu, Bruce thought, staring at Harkness’ too-handsome face. A split second in which to decide whether to trust him with the secret he’d spent so many years protecting. And…instinct said to do it. Hell, instinct said he should have done it a week previously.

“Alfred, put the rifle down. I think we could all use some coffee.”

Alfred shot him one unreadable glance, put the rifle down, and marched across the room, the line of his back saying there would be hell to pay later. Sighing, Bruce turned on the lights inside the room and waved the two men in.

Harkness strolled in, as comfortable as if he’d been invited for a late lunch and a game of tennis. Jones wasn’t quite as cool as he was pretending, Bruce decided, but he was taking his cues from Harkness.

Waving them at chairs, Bruce sat down in the seat nearest the rifle. Harkness smiled briefly, not missing the significance, and shed his coat, which he tossed carelessly onto the arm of the couch. He sat down, crossing his legs and looked relaxed. Jones perched next to him.

“Bruce Wayne, aka Batman,” Harkness said, “this is Ianto Jones. He’s indispensable to Torchwood operations.”

“Which is why you brought *me* to America and left Owen in charge.”

Harkness shrugged. “Would *you* bring Owen if you had a choice?”

Crossing his arms, Bruce cleared his throat. “If we could get back to the reason you’re here? And how you learned one of the most closely guarded secrets in the world?”

“Sorry,” Harkness said, looking entirely unrepentant. “It actually wasn’t all that difficult. Well, it wasn’t that difficult for Tosh. I suppose others might find it a bit of a challenge. She said something about correlating flights from Gotham City with appearances by Batman, plus a few dozen other variables.”

“She’s really quite dangerous with a few good databases,” Jones offered.

“I can tell.”

“I can’t believe nobody else has tried that. Mind you, I was surprised to find that *you* topped our list, but I never argue with the data.”

“Actually, that’s not true, sir,” Jones said. “You *always* argue with the data.” He smirked as both Harkness and Bruce glared at him.

“In *any* case,” Bruce said pointedly, “I am left with the question of what to do with you. I don’t exactly enjoy having trespassers who know my secret.”

Alfred chose that moment (and Bruce was sure it *was* a choice) to re-enter the room with a tray in hand. Distributing coffee and cookies gave everyone a few moments to regroup and somehow made the entire thing a bit more civilized.

Jones smiled up at Alfred. “Thank you, I do appreciate a man who knows how to make a proper cup of coffee.”

Alfred smiled back, and Bruce blinked. For some reason, Alfred was taking a liking to the younger man. Interesting. Perhaps…

“Alfred, maybe you’d like to take Mr. Jones on a bit of a tour of the…public parts of the mansion?”

The look Alfred gave him was even *more* unreadable, which was an impressive feat, but he said, “Of course, sir.”

Jones glanced at Harkness, but stood when he received a small nod in return. “I’d be delighted. Perhaps you could give me some tips. I seem to have a great deal of difficulty keeping my team organized, what with the constant alien invasions and such. I suspect you have some experience with that.”

“Indeed I do.”

The two men marched out of the room, somehow managing to look remarkably alike, and Bruce stared after them with some alarm. When he looked at his remaining intruder, Harkness had a similar look on his face.

“I’m not sure that was the wisest thing to do,” Harkness said.

“I’m beginning to think you might be right.” Bruce shook his head, dismissing those concerns for the more immediate ones. “However, I *still* haven’t gotten an explanation for your presence.”

For the first time, Harkness showed signs of anger, in the fist that clenched momentarily and a twitch in his jaw. “Why do you *think* I’m here? You’re the first clue I have to what I might have done in those two years.”

Bruce looked down into his cup.

“Look at me.” Harkness’ voice was raw. Unwillingly, Bruce looked up. “You would do the same.”

“Yes.” It hadn’t been a question, but it deserved an honest answer.

With unsteady hands, Harkness put his cup down, leaning forward to stare into Bruce’s eyes. “Do you want me to beg? Because I will.”

The vision that flashed through Bruce’s mind was…unsettling. “No, that won’t be necessary.”

Harkness seemed to have an idea of what Bruce was thinking, at least if the brief grin was any guide. “Tell me?”

“You came to a Wayne Foundation fundraiser last year and followed me around.” Bruce scratched the back of his neck, remembering the annoying feeling of being watched. “We tried to figure out who you were, but couldn’t find any record of you. This annoyed me.”

Bruce looked at the man sitting in front of him, remembering. “Finally I confronted you, asking you what you wanted.”

“And…?” Jack said when Bruce paused.

“You kissed me. Then you said you’d always wanted to kiss Batman and you disappeared.”

There was a long pause as Jack stared at him, handsome face almost slack with astonishment. In an instant, he started to laugh, a full-bodied roar of amusement that left him hunched over.

Bruce flushed, annoyed at being mocked. “I’m glad to have provided you such amusement.”

Jack trailed off, pulling himself back upright. “Sorry. Believe me, I wasn’t laughing at *you*. It’s just…I may not remember what I did during those two years, but it sounds like something I would have done. After all, I stopped being a con man because of a pair of brown eyes and a set of big ears.”

“Jack, what are you talking about?”

Jack stared at him. “What did you call me?”

“I…” Bruce trailed off.

That damn grin spread across Jack’s face. “I’d say I made an impression. And I may not know why I was in Gotham, but believe me, if I kissed you, it was because I was attracted to you.” His eyes did a swift appraisal. “In fact, I’m surprised that a kiss was all I did. Hell, I’m surprised I left.”

From the heat he could feel coming off his face, Bruce suspected he was red as a tomato. He took a moment to bring his autonomic functions back under control. “It was just a kiss.”

“Mm-hmm.” Jack looked completely unconvinced. “So, I kissed you, vanished, and…you’ve been looking for me for the last year.”

It sounds bizarre when put that way, just as when Alfred had said it. “Yes.”


“I wanted to know how you knew my identity–it *is* a rather closely guarded secret. But I would assume that you no longer know the answer to that.”

Shrugging, Jack said, “I probably found it in Time Agency files, but it could have been revealed any time in the next few centuries. I doubt you’ve got a leak to worry about.”

“Oh.” Now that Bruce thought about it, that was a very anticlimactic answer to the question. What the hell was he supposed to do now?

“So really, why have you been looking for me?”


Jack was reclining again, but somehow he didn’t look nearly as relaxed. In fact, he reminded Bruce of one of Selina’s cats. The large ones. When they were waiting for dinner to arrive. “Why were you looking for me?”

“I told you–”

“You’re probably a damn good liar under normal circumstances, but you’re bad when it comes to your personal life. Has anyone ever pointed that out?”

Bruce couldn’t help it. “It’s been noted on a few occasions.”

“I’m sure it has.” Jack put his arms over his head and stretched, deepening his similarity to the larger cats. Bruce couldn’t help the way his eyes drifted, and Jack was grinning again when Bruce managed to drag his eyes back to Jack’s face. “C’mon, it’s just the two of us now.”

Bruce swallowed. “I wanted to ask why you’d kissed me.”

Sobering, Jack met his gaze. “I can’t say for sure, but you are one of the most handsome men I’ve met, so I can take a damn good guess.”

Bruce suppressed another flush.

“Was it unpleasant?”

Bruce was silent for a long moment. “No, it wasn’t unpleasant,” he finally said through a throat that threatened to close.

“Were you interested in repeating it?”

Unsure how to answer that, Bruce just watched Jack slide off the couch and take three steps to kneel in front of him.


“Yes.” He cleared his throat. “Yes, I think I was. Am.”

Agonizingly slowly, Jack put his hands on Bruce’s head and pulled him close, until their lips were millimeters apart.

The memory of their kiss was so vivid in Bruce’s mind that he found himself angry that Jack couldn’t remember it. He grabbed Jack’s shoulders and pulled him in tight, kissing him as if he could force him to remember. It was…well, Jack was definitely the man Bruce remembered, as he found himself leaning against the back of the couch with no memory of how he’d gotten there.

After an endless kiss, Jack pulled back. “How far did you want to take this?”

“I don’t know,” Bruce said, forced into complete honesty. “I’m not sure why I’ve been obsessed with finding you.”

“It’s the jawline,” Jack said with a grin. “Gets ’em every time.” The smile faded away. “I don’t really know you, but I want to. I wouldn’t have come if I weren’t fascinated you, both as Bruce Wayne and Batman.”

Bruce tried to remember the last time he’d done something on impulse and when he failed, said, “To hell with it.” Grabbing Jack, he pushed the two of them to standing.

“I love a man who can push me around.”

Rolling his eyes, Bruce took a handful of Jack’s shirt and dragged the unresisting man out the door toward the stairs.

* * * * *

They were through the door to Bruce’s bedroom in a flash, and Bruce took a moment to lock the door just before Jack pushed Bruce against the carved wood of the door.

Jack’s body was hard in all the right places as he leaned against him, cradling his head in warm hands. Bruce let his hands roam, as he’d spent the entire past year wishing he’d done the last time. Jack obviously approved, moaning into his mouth more than once as Bruce skimmed hips and back and shoulders.

Bruce was sure he was supposed to be thinking about something else, but the most coherent thought he could manage was “Clothing. Off.”

He wasn’t even sure if he’d articulated the thought, but Jack was obviously on the same wavelength, as Bruce felt Jack’s hands unbuttoning his pajamas.

A small part of Bruce’s brain wondered idly why having someone else unbutton your shirt was so hot. But the sensation of hands tracing up and down his chest quickly banished that question.

Bruce unbuttoned Jack’s shirt quickly, yanking up the undershirt as swiftly as possible. Bare chest to bare chest was even better, and Bruce’s skin felt overheated as he ran his hands up Jack’s back to hold him in place.

“Not leaving this time,” Jack mumbled into his mouth. Bruce froze, and Jack pulled back, looking serious. “I…was a different person then. You’re not the only person I’ve abandoned.”

Bruce looked him in the eyes. “I don’t trust easily,” he said.

“Neither do I. Kind of a failing of the job, isn’t it?” Jack gave him that sexy grin.

Bruce swallowed. “Yes, it is.” Then he gave in and took Jack’s hand, tugging him toward the bed. Jack followed, toppling next to him with a look of glee that was contagious. Bruce found himself grinning like an idiot as they rolled back and forth, fighting to be on top.

When Jack suddenly dropped onto his back, only near-perfect reflexes kept Bruce from falling over. He found himself hovering over Jack, and slowly lowered himself down, catching Jack in a long kiss, then pushing himself up again.

Down, kiss, then up. Jack’s hands rested gently on Bruce’s biceps, feeling the flex and release. Down, kiss, rub against him, then up.

“Who know,” Jack said, his voice catching, “that I had such a kink for muscles?”

Bruce just lowered himself as slowly as he could, feeling the pleasure burn through his entire body like a wave that crested in his groin. Jack leaned his head back, eyes drifting closed, and Bruce took the opportunity to kiss and lick his neck, enjoying the faint smell of cologne and the taste of fresh sweat. Jack’s hands clenched and he said, “Nnngh.”

“I’ll assume that’s a good thing,” Bruce said into Jack’s ear.

Laughing, Jack slid his hands up to cup Bruce’s face. “Yes, that’s a good thing.” In a sudden move, he wrapped his legs around Bruce’s waist and lifted his lower body.

The feeling of their dicks touching, even through pants and pajamas, was enough to make Bruce groan and he lowered himself out of the pushup until he was pressing Jack into the bed. “Still too much clothing,” he managed to say.

With a little slithering and a lot of groping, they were finally naked. Bruce felt goosebumps all over his body and tugged Jack up the bed until they could pull the blanket over themselves.

“Cozy,” Jack said, nibbling on his ear and stroking up and down his side.

Bruce couldn’t reply, each of Jack’s movements making him catch his breath. How long had it been since he’d let someone touch him this way? When had he and Selina last…? But this was definitely not the time to think about Selina, as Jack’s hand slid down, focusing his attention.

Against his will, he tensed, and Jack stopped, bringing his hand up to gently stroke Bruce’s chest. “Okay there?”

“Sorry, this is kind of a bad time to have second thoughts.” Bruce’s face felt feverish.

“Not the worst.”

“Pretty close.” Bruce managed a grin.

“Tell me.” Jack sounded calm enough to wait all night, although certain portions of his body proved it was a lie.

“I’m not sure what’s wrong.”

Jack ran a thumb across Bruce’s lower lip, considering him. “When was the last time you truly let go?”

“I…” Bruce closed his eyes.

“You don’t always have to be on top, you know.”

“That’s not–”

“Uh-huh, pull the other one, it’s got bells on.” Jack ghosted his lips over Bruce’s ear, delicately tracing the outline with the tip of his tongue. “I understand, you know. We’re not that different. Fate of the world, too much responsibility–”

“Amateur psychoanalysis,” Bruce said with a snort.

“True.” Jack’s shrug somehow turned into a full body rub. “But it doesn’t make it any less important that you occasionally relax.”

“I’ll bet you say that to all the guys.”

“And gals.”

That made Bruce laugh.

“Hey, when it comes to pleasure, I’m equal opportunity.”

“I can’t make any promises. About anything.”

“Neither can I.” Jack turned Bruce’s head to face him, looking very serious in the bright moonlight. “But that has nothing to do with right here, right now. You and me.”

“I’ve also never been good at staying in the now.” Bruce smiled a little at the vast understatement.

Jack gently stroked Bruce’s cheek, strong calloused fingers leaving a trail of warmth. “Will you let me teach you?” he asked.

Bruce’s entire body thrummed an answer. “Yes.”


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