by Chicago

Rated R for adult situations.

Disclaimers: Characters are owned by DC Comics. Relationship is entirely my fault. Written for fun, not for profit.

Bruce pressed his forehead to the porcelain tile, letting the hot jets sluice away the rank smell of body stuck in the suit too long, layers of dried sweat trapped against the skin. He hated nights like this.

It didn't help that Two-Face was back in his "target Robin" mode. Dealing with Harvey any time he broke out was difficult at best, but when his psychosis fixated on Batman's responsibility for his state? The stakes of the games he set then were always too high. Fortunately, Tim had suffered only a mild concussion and was now remanded to Alfred's capable hands. And Dick-

He squeezed his eyes more tightly closed. Not hurt, fortunately, but too nearly killed, too quick to launch his rescue attempt. Too trusting that Batman would be right behind him. Not that he hadn't been, but what if one day-

No, that was the defeatist talking. Dick could take care of himself as he so pointedly reminded Bruce time and time again. And Batgirl had only been half a heart beat behind in decoding Two-Face's clues. He had crafted a good and competent team, all confident both in their own abilities and in the abilities of one another. He couldn't afford to think about it any other way.

But nights like this-

He set his palms against the wall on either side of his head and pushed, straightening under the spray of the shower. His right calf screamed at him, threatening collapse under his weight. Muscle tear, he thought, giving in a bit and shifting his weight more to the left. He should power through, but why? The fight was fought, Two-Face was back in custody - he could rest his body a little, let it heal - at least until the next patrol.

He rubbed one hand over his face and reached for the soap. He could already tell he was going to ache in the morning, but that was morning. Now, get clean, get sleep-

He'd already sent Sasha to bed. She wasn't used to this - almost 40 hours in the suit, forcing mental acuity at every moment past the point where any caffeine could keep a person awake. He thought it might even be harder for her, forced to sit anxiously in the background, kept out of the fight as much as possible. Waiting, observing was part of the game, but action was easier.

He worked the soap into a lather over his body, letting his fingers do a check of his body as he scrubbed. Some serious bruising just below the left scapula - not disabling, but very tender. A lucky kick from heavy boots. Kevlar burn from shoulder to elbow, raw skin from skidding across the floor. Otherwise - just an overly tired body feeling older than it should.

He set the soap aside and shampooed his hair, matted by the cowl and rankly greasy. It felt good to wash away the grime, although the bitterness of the case would not go blithely down the drain with the soap bubbles. He rubbed his chin then decided to skip the shave until morning. Now that he was allowing himself to relax, his hands felt shaky, and he didn't feel like summoning the energy to steady them. Sleep this one off, he told himself, not letting himself think about the likelihood of nightmares.

He shut off the water finally and limped out to grab a towel. Alfred used to always have one ready and waiting, and Bruce still rarely remembered to pull one out to throw over the heated towel rack while he showered. An odd kind of resistance, he mused, knowing the lesson Alfred would point to in that and still managing to always forget.

The civvies from three days ago still sat neatly folded in the locker, but Bruce couldn't bear to put them on. He rummaged instead for the bottom half of a pair of pajamas and a dressing gown. He probably should eat, but the idea of staying awake a moment longer than necessary? Food could wait.

He hung the towel to dry and put on a pair of slippers, shutting down the shower/locker room and trudging toward the stairs. His calf protested with fiery stabs of pain as he walked, making the steps up to the Manor above seem to stretch endlessly. One foot in front of the other, he recited to himself, gritting his teeth.

Even the clock felt heavy as he finally swung it soundlessly back in place over the opening to the Cave. Weight of the universe, he commented dryly to himself, wondering idly how his cobbled together "family" would react to his late night irony. He shook off the thought, taking his weary body up the stairs to his bedroom.

The covers on the big bed were already turned down invitingly - odd, but not impossible given the solicitousness of his household. He accepted the small blessing, discarding his dressing gown and slippers and burying himself between the cool sheets.


The softest telepathic touch, but enough to dissipate any lingering tension in his body. J'onn, he returned warmly, feeling immeasurably lightened, reminded of his not-aloneness.

I'm sorry, he projected, remembering guiltily how he had snarled at J'onn's concerned touch at the start of this case.

Not necessary. There was almost a laugh in the tone, followed by - a touch?

Bruce opened his eyes, but the dark still appeared empty. The feeling around the toes of his right foot, though - he grinned slightly and snuggled more deeply into the blankets. Playing invisible house guest again?

The response was a cool smoothness entwining around his foot, sinking into his skin to travel caressingly along his muscles. Rough case.

Bruce nodded sleepily. You're giving my subconscious hints again, he accused, although not angrily.

Just little ones, J'onn agreed amiably, sliding further up the muscles of Bruce's leg.

The pain in Bruce's calf suddenly lessened.

Don't worry, it'll still hurt in the morning, J'onn remarked wryly.

You know me too well.

On the contrary - I learn you better every day. This remark was accompanied by the brush of lips across Bruce's inner thigh.

Romantic, Bruce snorted, but the delicious warmth that flooded him was finding a center.

He felt J'onn stretching himself into his left leg as another kiss landed on the inside of his knee. You don't seem to be complaining.

"Mmmm," Bruce replied aloud, straightening his legs and pushing them deeper into the contact. He could almost picture the threads of green tangling along muscle fibers, working through quads and abductors and tensors and into the glutes.

You're going to want to drink tons of water in the morning, J'onn recommended, his body stretching and tensing within Bruce's muscles, a deep tissue massage of an order quite impossible for human hands.

Morning, Bruce acknowledged, distracted by the pulsing motion of J'onn through his lower body. It was definitely getting blood flowing somewhere. Suddenly, though, his eyes flew open. "Tomorrow's Wednesday."

Shh, J'onn chided, landing a kiss on Bruce's hip bone this time as he tangled more insistently into Bruce's muscular system in an effort to relax him. Yes it is.

Bruce settled back into the massage, moaning faintly as J'onn began working his way up his ribcage. I have a meeting with Lucius in the morning, he pointed out...

He told you to stay home, J'onn informed him, ...

Stay - oh! The push of J'onn through his abs almost tickled.

You looked awful when you went into the office today, J'onn explained, a hint of mischief in his tone. He gave a whole body pulse to Bruce's muscles, thrusting down along his deltoids and into his biceps and triceps as he did so.

J'onn! Bruce exclaimed, the objection to his subterfuge mingled with the pleasure of his spreading touch. You didn't!

You really need to give Maggie a raise, the Martian continued, ... She really takes care of everything, and she makes the most wonderful tea. J'onn flowed in one motion through Bruce's trapezius, along his mastoids, moving in rippling waves across his occipital muscles.

J'onn, I wish - mmm.

... Wish I hadn't doen the Bruce Wayne act? I know. ... Sometimes you'll have to allow me to support you on my terms.

Bruce took a shuddering breath, sending more oxygen into his bloodstream and creating tingling excitement through every muscle J'onn occupied - which was every muscle in Bruce's body. "Yes," he breathed, earning the touch of lips to his mouth.

He opened his eyes to see J'onn's Alana face materializing around her lips, watching the covers tent over him as J'onn became tangible in human female form.
















...and then J'onn was flooding his bloodstream and he was flooding J'onn in a jolt of release that felt like it could never end. The flames were dancing but at bay as the red sand slipped between his toes and somewhere he felt a female body fall against him or was it that his female body was falling onto a strong chest and lips that were both his own and not his own were pressed together exchanging breath that wasn't air but self pouring into/out of lungs and through the blood and brain and body and soul as recent memory showed Dick safe in bed and Tim well enough to pester Alfred and Harvey in his cell remanding Two-Face into custody as tears fell from one good eye and bitter night was not so bitter as the joy of being loved and loving with lover inside/outside/around/embracing traipsed through every synapse and the Martian landscape danced with the light of souls who thrilled for the union of the two/the one who walked not alone through the dunes and he was crying and there were gentle hands to brush at the tears and he opened his eyes-

"J'onn." He reached his arms for his lover, burying his face in the shoulder that was exactly what he wanted as he sobbed the night's frustration away. When the moment finally passed and he raised his face, he saw that J'onn was staring up through the skylight to the stars outside. He didn't change his gaze as he brushed a kiss across Bruce's forehead, and there was something wondering in his expression.

"They really danced for us," he said in an awed tone, speaking aloud for the first time all night. Bruce just smiled and kissed J'onn's cheek and rolled to his back to stare out toward Mars, where the northern lights of another atmosphere played the colors of souls who danced for the love of their last son.


Full version of "Synthesis" available here. Please note that the full version contains explicit sexual material and is not appropriate for younger readers.

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