title: Fumbling
fandom: DC Comics
characters/pairings: Bruce/Dick
rating: Teen
warnings: nakedness
summary: Starting over, with a kiss (challenge fic)
notes: this is a follow-up from the last ficlet, Fear. still in the animated series, a few years later... and this is both a songfic, sorta (well, fic inspired by a song, at any rate...), and an answer to the first kiss challenge. i was inspired by egg to try for an unconventional kiss. ^_^ hope it works.

Bruce sat at the chair in front of the Batcomputer, only partially clad in the Batsuit. He had his elbows resting loosely on the armrests, his fingers intertwined at the tips. Tim was upstairs doing his homework, or more likely playing video games. Babs had left hours ago to have dinner with her father. Alfred was making dinner.

And Dick was here, vehemently arguing with him.

'Can't be a boy wonder forever' he had said, and it had felt like a dagger in his heart at the time. But he was beginning to see the advantage of it. Dick argued with him now, and when he did, he didn't just have a fit of temper and storm off to stew, but they talked. Bruce had long considered Dick to be his partner and equal, but Dick seemed to be getting the message at last. They would fight for hours on end, each making their points and counterpoints while still listening to each other. Whether they argued about Tim's education, or working a case, or which boy band was the most irritating, it was a refreshing change from the way things had been before Dick had left.

Not that Bruce would admit that some good may have come from their time apart.

No matter how obvious it was now that it had been necessary.

Take now for example. Before, Bruce had felt guilty every time he had enjoyed looking at Dick. There was some sense of wrongness attached to all things of less than totally proper nature that left him uneasy. During the time apart, Bruce had grieved the loss of the boy who had slipped past his barriers.

When Dick had come back, Bruce had had to get to know the man who had taken the boy's place.

Now, Dick paced around the cave in nothing but a towel that clung desperately to his hips, gesturing wildly as he tried to make his point about Tim's diet or the gross national product or why it was essential to put cd's back in their original cases... Bruce had stopped listening when he had realized that Dick was, for all intents and purposes, naked.

This concept fascinated Bruce. Dick was walking around in a towel, which wasn't really an article of clothing, and therefore he wasn't clothed. Dick was naked, and strutting about, his wet hair tossing around occasionally, his nipples sticking out proudly, and lean muscles extending and relaxing visibly.

Dick was so beautiful.

Naturally, when one is presented with a nearly naked beautiful body, the eyes stray to the part that is still covered.

Bruce began to wonder about what was under that towel.

It was practically an understood fact that Nightwing possessed the best ass in the business. He'd actually overheard Wonder Woman telling Hawkgirl that if she hadn't seen Nightwing's ass, she hadn't seen ass yet.

But what about the front? Did he have a lot of hair? Was it bushy?

Was he big?

How big did he get?

It was a question that merited investigation, he thought.

So, when Dick paused to take a breath while standing relatively close in front of him, Bruce reached out and pulled the towel away with a determined tug.

Dick just stood there, completely naked, stunned.

After a moment of blinking and staring, Dick decided he needed to blink and stare some more. Of all the things Bruce could have said or done...

Bruce smiled. Dick was so, so beautiful.

Bruce stood up with utter grace, and took the one step towards Dick that would bring him nose to nose with the naked man. Gathering Dick's wet hair, he brought the thick black strands to his lips and kissed them, passionately.

Bruce had never put his mouth on any part of Dick. No kisses to his bruises, or on his forehead, or cheek. Bruce had always been super-aware of the boundaries he needed to keep to separate him from his young partner.

Those boundaries were gone now, with a kiss to wet hair.

As he was about to brush past, Dick came to his senses, turning his head to speak into Bruce's ear. "Not afraid anymore?" his voice husky.

Bruce started, and turned to face him. "Are you afraid?"

Dick grinned. "Terrified." He smiled at Bruce's expression. "It's roiling in my belly like a boiling vat of something hot, making my palms sweat and heart pound. Great, isn't it?"

Bruce had to smile, even if he did duck his head and turn his face away slightly.

Dick chuckled, a low noise barely recognizable as a laugh. "Oh, yes, you are afraid. But you aren't going to hide it anymore, are you?"

Bruce contemplated his feet. He thought about the scent of Dick's hair as he held it to his face.

"A pounding heart can mean a lot of things."

Dick grinned, and turned smartly on his heel.

"Make sure you get a good look at the rear, too. No point in buying until you've fully inspected, right?"

Bruce didn't duck his head to hide his smile that time.

this title of this fic gets its inspiration from the song Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, which sarah mclachlan fans would know is the follow-up to fear. and it begins...

all the fear has left me now
i'm not frightened anymore
it's my heart that pounds beneath my flesh
it's my mouth that pushes out this breath
and if i shed a tear i won't cage it
i won't fear love
and if i feel a rage i won't deny it
i won't fear love