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[personal profile] cleromancy
Title: A Place Where I Can Shout and Weep
Fandom: DC Comics
Pairing: Jason/Tim
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: implied reckless self-destructiveness, possibly to the point of self-harm or suicide (with an ambiguously hopeful ending); graphic sex
Length: ~3300 words
Notes: Dedicated to my buddy Sasha for their birthday; thanks to Kat for the title. Hurt/comfort.

You're not sure why he came to you. Why he showed up on your stoop and stared at you and didn't answer any of your pointed questions, didn't seem to hear them. Why he leaned up on his tiptoes and kissed you once the door closed, like he didn't get the point the last couple times you tried to kill him, like he had nothing to lose. 

And there's the question of why you let him, why you're still letting him, why you're pulling him into your lap instead of going for your gun. You guess it's because you don't feel like getting mad tonight, you don't wanna bring the whole house of Wayne down on you once you kill the baby of the family. You don't think about how that didn't stop you before, and keep kissing him instead. Anyway, you don’t make a habit of turning down gifts that've been--heh--dumped in your lap.

You pull back to breathe. He's squeezing his eyes shut. Suddenly you want him to look at you, feel anger bubbling when he won't, but he's trembling when you take his face in your hands and tilt his head. You are angry, you are hurt, but now you're distracted by the strange realization that your replacement is fragile, held as he is in your big hands. His cheekbones jut out, leaving deep hollows beneath them; there're deep bruises under his eyes where his long eyelashes crease against his cheek. No one's been taking care of him. He lets himself be turned, inspected, but he won't open his eyes.

“Not gonna look at me?” you say. You laugh at him. Sometimes you laugh when you're pissed. “Guess that'd make it hard to pretend I'm someone else, huh?”

You wonder who it is he's thinking of, when he's here straddling your lap and shivering. You try and remember the last time you slept with someone who was sleeping with you. You can't. Maybe you never have.

One of your hands slides down to his neck, thumb stroking the tidy scar there. Brings back memories. You lean in and lick the length of it before you really decide to. He shudders; maybe it reminds him who put it there. The thought makes you smirk against his neck. You're not gonna let him forget who it is he came to. If he wanted someone who'd play nice, he got lost somewhere between a pipe dream and a castle in the fucking sky when he wound up at your door.

He squirms back up for a kiss, and it's a little less careful, a little more desperate. You see his eyes are open now, slitted, and it shouldn't feel like as much of a victory as it does. You kiss him, bite his lower lip and listen with some satisfaction to the noises he's trying not to make. You don't wanna think about how breakable he is anymore, so you don’t. He jerks when you stick your hands up the back of his shirt and you laugh at him again. You can feel his ribs. It makes you think of the cliche, or the song lyrics, you're not sure which, the one that goes “playing ribs like piano keys.” They do remind you of piano keys, the ones on the manor's lonely old baby grand. You'd played it once--well, banged on it, stuck your hand up under the dust sheet and let loud dissonance fill up the room before Alfred materialized and said, "Master Jason, perhaps you should consider blah blah blah you're not allowed." You're playing Tim now, or he's playing you.

Something’s going on with him. You want to ask but you don't want to know, or maybe you want to know but you don't want to ask. It's one of the two. You're thinking about where he's gonna go when he leaves, because you know he's not gonna be here when you wake up. He's kissing too hard and he's a little too frantic—you've been there before. You know how it feels to be ready to do something thoughtless or dangerous and to need someone first, one last-ditch attempt to tie yourself down.

It sparks some cold worry in the icy cold cockles of your withered heart. You don't want to care, you probably shouldn’t, but you have this problem with caring where it sneaks up on you when you can count someone's ribs under his baggy t-shirt.

You're gonna say something, won't be able to stop yourself. So, from an inch away from his mouth, so close your puffs of breath hits his swollen lips, you murmur, "you're a mess, aren't you?” instead of something dangerous.

He stares at you like it's obvious. It's not, not usually. It's not expected.

"You thought I wouldn't say anything," you guess, and he looks away again. Your hand's on his face and turning it to yours, thumb idly rubbing at the soft skin of his cheek. He meets your eyes. The belligerence in his face would be funny if it wasn't for the hopelessness there.

He didn't think you'd care. You shouldn't care. He doesn't want you to.

You don't really care what he wants.

You open your mouth to make a demand or two, to get the little shit to come clean, but he interrupts you, his eyes clouding over in defeated defiance.

"Don't ask," he says. "It won't matter tomorrow."

That's what you're afraid of.

He tries to kiss you again. You put your hands on his shoulders and push him back, just to put a little space between the two of you. He lets you, docile like a housecat grabbed by the scruff of its neck. At any other time, the pissy little pout on his face would be almost cute.

“Just what do you think this is, Drake?”

"I would have thought that was obvious," he says, deliberately rubbing his hips against your crotch. "What do you think this is?"

The friction makes your eyes cross--your dick doesn't exactly have any qualms about fucking beautiful, self-destructive fuckups--and you grab his hips to keep him still, fingers digging in hard enough to bruise.

Your temper is fraying. This unwanted concern is swirling in your gut, queasy and oily, and it's wearing you thin. You don't think you have it in you to be gentle now.

"Why don't I tell you what I think," you say sharply. "First I thought you just forgot who I was. That you thought I was easy, just a bad choice of a stand-in for whoever you really wanted to fuck. But that's not it, is it?"

Tim's blank mask is slipping. For the first time, something like fear flickers there.

"You're not the only one who can read people," you remind him.

He looks away. You let him. You're not really angry anymore.

"It's a swan song, isn't it?" you say softly, watching his profile. "Something risky. Self-destructive. Exciting. One last hurrah."

He's dropped his hands from your shoulder; his arms are hanging limply at his sides, and he's still not looking at you. He starts shaking his head when you're talking, like he doesn't want to hear it, like he's trying to keep you out.

"I know, kid. I've been there. Hey--hey," you say, alarmed, because his chin is trembling, and he's choking on a gasp or a sob. When you take his face in your hands again, it's with a gentleness that surprises you both.

Your accidental tenderness makes something in Tim crack. His face crumples and for a moment panic seizes you, before you're pulling him close and letting him hide his face in your shoulder. You stroke his back through his t-shirt, staring unseeing at the wall behind him, and hold him as he shakes.

He's so small.

All your feelings are whirlpooling, thrashing around in your chest. There's a part of you that wants to resent him for making you care, but you can't, not when he's falling apart in your arms. Not when all he'd wanted was someone to touch. He's clutching at your shirt, trying in vain to muffle the ugly sobs that are torn out of him with each breath. You hold him, you try not to think, but it hits you again how much he needs someone to take care of him, and all he got was you.

You don't know how long you sit there, Tim in your lap and sobbing into your shoulder. But the sobs die out, eventually; that kind of crying is exhausting. He fades into shaky breathing again, like he's trying to get himself back under control.

With uncharacteristic caution you sweep him up, princess-style; after a moment's hesitation, he wraps his arms around your neck.

It's hard to maneuver the door handle with a hundred and twenty pounds of sniveling wreck in your arms, but you manage. You deposit him carefully on your bathroom countertop. When you let go, he makes a tiny, involuntary noise of protest, before looking away and scrubbing at his eyes with his fist.

You turn on the faucet and stick a clean washcloth under the stream, thanking God for Alfred's ridiculously thorough care packages. He flinches when you press the washcloth against his salt-stained cheek, but his hand comes up to cover yours briefly before you relinquish it.

"Hey," you say, wincing at how hoarse your voice is, "shower?"

He doesn't move, not even to look at you, limply holding the washcloth to his face. The sight makes your chest tighten, and you have to turn around and busy yourself with fussing with the faucet.

Once you get yourself under control and the water temperature just the right position between hot and cold, you cross the bathroom to Tim again; you take the washcloth away, gently, and help him down from the counter.

When you tug at his t-shirt he obediently lifts his arms; you pull it over his head. You leave the white undershirt there alone and undo the button fly of his jeans. He's wearing plain white briefs, authentic tighty whiteys. Normally that'd make you laugh, but now it just makes something in your chest ache.

You stand up straight again and find yourself very close to him. His face is still red and splotchy and his eyes are painfully blue.

"C'mon, kiddo," you say, ignoring the way your mouth suddenly went dry.

He stumbles when he steps into the shower, almost falling flat on his face. You grab his arm to steady him.

Okay then. Assisted showering it is.

"Hold on," you tell him, before stripping to your boxers and climbing in behind him. He relaxes when he feels you there, when you angle the shower head down over the two of you.

Showering together is weird, but less of a mindfuck than the entire rest of this evening. All you have to do is keep Tim from falling over and braining himself on the tile. Easy.

Your hot water doesn't last forever, though, so you herd Tim out of the shower and towel him off while he drips on your floor. After giving yourself a cursory wipe-down, you scoop him up again, naked and wrapped up in the towel, and carry him to your bedroom.

After changing into a dry pair of boxers, you find him one of your oversized t-shirts to wear to bed. He takes it from you and puts it on himself, which shouldn't be as big of a relief as it is. He notices it when you relax, flashing you an embarrassed little smile.

It's fucking bizarre that the two of you are here now, together, that he's giving you calculatedly disarming smiles, but you're too tired to really question it.

"You okay to crash here?" you ask, scrubbing a hand through your wet curls. You don't really know how to feel right now. You're pretty sure you shouldn't be leaving him alone, but maybe you should be making him talk about what's wrong or dragging him home.

He hesitates. You sit down on the other side of the bed. He looks like he's not quite sure what to make of you.

"This is weird, right?" you say.

It startles a tiny huff of a laugh out of him. "A little," he says. "Sorry about that."

You wave a hand dismissively. "Makes my life interesting," you tell him.

He smiles at that, another tiny, secretive fledgling smile, before tentatively scooting under the blankets and laying down on his side.

You watch him for a moment. The night's events are clamoring for attention in your head. Him kissing you. Crying on you. Going limp and helpless in your arms. Needing you. And now there's this fragile moment where you're watching him and worrying about tomorrow.

In the long run, there's nothing you can do. You can't fix him. You can't save him. You can't do anything except what you're doing right now.

You lie down next to him.

He has his eyes open, searching your face. Like he wants to say something. He opens his mouth, then seems to think better of it.

You're about to tell him to spit it out when he leans over and kisses you, dry and chaste. Your eyes go wide. He pulls back, pink flush spreading on his cheeks.

For a moment, sick worry forms a knot in your belly, fear that he thinks he owes you, but then he starts to speak, low and fast and never once meeting your eyes.

"You were partly right, when you said--that stuff. About what I wanted. But I also wanted you. So."

His eyes flicker to yours, once, before he flushes and looks away. You're oddly touched, filled with a strange sort of fondness for this boy you barely know.

You want to make a joke, want to make him smile for real, but apparently you've run out of snappy quips for the day. So you just say, "okay," uselessly. Not like not knowing what to say has ever stopped you from saying shit anyway. You brush his wet hair out of his face. He turns his face into your touch.

You kiss him, then. You think you could have stopped yourself if you tried, but you didn't want to try; he opens up to your touch with a soft little mewl. Arousal flares in your belly. You take his face in your hands.

The blankets are separating the two of you, so you release him--his tiny noise of protest makes you smirk a little--and crawl under them, next to him. You rest your hand on his neck. He shivers.

"Okay?" you ask, eyes searching his face.

He nods and kisses you again, light and sweet. You remember earlier, his first kisses, how different it was. You're not sure if anything changed between you. All you want right now is to touch him.

When you stroke down his side, he squirms up to you, pressing his lithe body flush against yours. You slide your hand under his shirt, petting from his ribs to his hip, and smile against his mouth when he shivers against you. He nips your lower lip sharply, almost playfully.

"Cheeky," you tease, voice a low rumble against his mouth. His answering smile is tiny but unrepentant, and he bites your lip again, slowly and deliberately.

It drives you a little wild, even--especially--knowing he was provoking you on purpose. You kiss him with renewed fervor, hard and hungry. When he kisses back it's noisy, the sloppy, wet smacking of your lips, both of you panting and gasping for breath.

Still kissing you, he snakes his hand between your hips. It takes you a minute to realize he's trying to push your boxers down; you lift your hips and wriggle out of them, kicking them off, and laugh against his mouth in triumph.

You shove your thigh between his legs. He shudders against you, rubbing almost involuntarily, before he deliberately grinds down, like he's riding your thigh.

It makes you choke, "fuck," against his mouth, scrabbling at his shoulders. He's making tiny, pitchy noises high in his throat. It's unfairly sexy, the desperation in his movements, the high flush sunburning his cheeks, and for a moment you're stunned into almost motionlessness by the sight.

But your dick is protesting, because as gorgeous as he is right now, you need a little friction. "Hey," you croak, "hey, c'mere," and grab his skinny little hips in your big hands. You move him, guide him so your hips line up together. He whines against your mouth.

"C'mon, baby, c'mon," you murmur, rolling your hips against his.

He grinds up against you, gasping, hiding his face in your shoulder again. You grab his ass and yank him close; he gasps a hitching breath like it was ripped from his chest. The sound goes right to your dick, making you groan and your hips jerk. The feeling of his body pressing into yours is breathtaking; your cocks rubbing side-by-side is heady and heart-pounding. You rock together, finding a frantic rhythm. You hold him close and he clutches you, nails digging into your bare back.

He comes first, sinking his teeth needle-sharp into your shoulder. The unexpected pain sends hot sparks shivering down to your groin and half a dozen thrusts against his belly later, you're coming too, so hard you see stars.

You come back to yourself and realize you're crushing him with your weight. "Fuck, sorry," you mutter drowsily, rolling off. The blankets have been kicked off down to your knees, and you pull them up over the two of you. He's making a fussy face at the mess, scrubbing at himself with your shirt.

Yeah, that's gonna be nasty in the morning. You're tempted to say "fuck it," and leave it, but the look of sleepy, childish distaste on Tim's face is enough to dissuade you. "Fuck, okay, hold on," you groan, and roll out of bed.

Post-orgasm, you're clumsy and half-asleep; you shuffle to the bedroom and stub your toe and you're pretty sure Tim saw because that back there definitely sounded like a laugh.

Grumbling and gummy-eyed, you find the long-abandoned washcloth and give yourself a quick, perfunctory wipedown. When you get back to the bedroom, you see Tim has tossed your dirty shirt off onto the floor, and is lying on his side, snuffling into your pillow.

"Tim?"

"Mm?" he says, opens his eyes a slit and surveys you for a moment before letting them slip closed again and burrowing himself deeper into the blankets.

You sit down on the other side, once again feeling awkward in your own bed. He doesn't move except to breathe; watching him, you think the line of his shoulders are too tense for genuine exhaustion. You know in his shoes you'd be faking drowsiness to avoid a confrontation too.

After waffling for a minute, you crawl under the covers and scoot up behind him. He makes a sleepy confused noise when he feels you there. "Wet spot," you tell him by way of explanation, like you're just putting your arm around him to keep yourself anchored out of the way of bodily fluids.

He doesn't protest, though, even relaxing a tiny bit against you after a moment of tension. His hair, still damp, tickles your nose.

His breathing deepens, evens out. Your hand is tucked against his chest, where you can feel his heartbeat. Your mind is wandering like it does before you can fall asleep, and it keeps catching on concern.

"So...about tomorrow..." you murmur into his neck. You wait, counting his breaths, but he doesn't answer. You don't know whether it's because he's asleep or because he's avoiding scrutiny.

You exhale slowly and hold him a little closer. Waking him up to force a promise out of him won't solve anything. All you can do is what you have done. All you can do is be here.

If he's here tomorrow, if he's here and wants to talk, you'll listen.

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