A Night at the Theater
summary: Bruce asks J'onn to accompany him for a special date.
//...// indicates telepathy
NOTE FROM CHICAGO: Every once in a while, someone comes along to play with JV characters and comes up with a story that perfectly enhances - or even fixes - the weird world that is the J'onnverse. This is one such story. nw's chick has composed a tale that succeeds in a task I had given up on: dealing with the emotional energy still floating through the J'onnverse in the aftermath of Paper Hearts. Thus this story is OFFICIALLY CANON for the J'onnverse, and it properly belongs right after Paper Hearts, perhaps at latest after Dark Side of the Moon. Those fics will eventually be available at http://www.offpanel.net/chicago/greenguy/index.html
The theater was decrepit. While some of the scaffolding was in place for the renovation, not much had been done. The curtain was torn, the seats were mostly broken, and the screen was in tatters. But, it at least appeared as if the structure would hold for a night, so J'onn, wearing the form of Alana, wasn't too concerned.
At least, not about that.
Bruce had cleared two seats together, and made sure they would hold. 'Alana' sat down gingerly, watching as Bruce set up the portable screen. It took him another five minutes to get the projector set up, and angled right. Just as the opening credits started to roll, Bruce sat down, and put his arm around 'Alana'.
If only J'onn could read Bruce, but tonight the man was even more shielded than usual.
The message had been cryptic. Bruce said simply that he knew exactly what he wanted to do on their date, and that J'onn could dress casual. J'onn was expected a trip to the batting cages maybe, or a picnic in the zoo. Possibly horseback riding.
Not going to old Gotham for a movie in a deserted old theater. Not *this* deserted old theater. Not to see Zorro.
Bruce pulled 'Alana' closer, and 'Alana' rested her head against Bruce's shoulder. J'onn couldn't read Bruce tonight, could only feel the tension, and the anxiety, but J'onn couldn't sense any deeper.
Bruce was like a blank slate.
After the movie ended, Bruce packed up everything into a large case, and took 'Alana's' hand. They walked out into the night, the neighborhood around the theater as desolate as the theater had been, heightening the sensation that perhaps there were eyes lurking in every shadow, waiting to pounce.
They started down the street, but a very short way down, Bruce paused, pulling 'Alana' in another direction. Indicating the alley, he said quietly, "This way."
The alley. The dark alley, with the towering walls preventing any light from braving down its length. The alley where...
"Bruce... Are you sure...?" J'onn tried to read Bruce's features, tried to glean what was going on inside of him from the arrangement of his features, but Bruce was far too schooled.
"This way." J'onn resisted, and Bruce looked 'Alana' right in the eyes. There was too much going on in his stormy eyes for J'onn to read anything... "I've never done this with anyone else before." He turned to look down the alley, his voice slightly colored with wonder. "Not even Dick."
Bruce started down the alley, and this time J'onn only barely resisted once. They made their way through the dark sliver of a street, their footfalls echoing off the walls that seemed to inundate them. A little more than halfway down, Bruce stopped abruptly, and put his case down. He let go of 'Alana's' hand, and bent over to take something out of the front of the case.
It was a long, narrow black box. Once Bruce opened it, J'onn could see that inside, it was lined in white silk, and there were two red roses nestled. Bruce gingerly took out the roses, and put the box back. Very precisely placing the roses on the ground, he straightened up and took 'Alana's' hand again.
It was 'Alana's' hand, and not Bruce's, that shook and sweated, and 'Alana' who inched closer to Bruce for comfort.
Bruce just stared down at the ground.
J'onn could smell the gunpowder, hear the shots ringing out, echoing down the alley. Mrs. Wayne's cry echoed off the walls, and Mr. Wayne's protests mutely followed, and the sound of a child sobbing silently cut right through it all, but J'onn couldn't tell if these sensations were generated from imagination, or from Bruce's memory.
Startled when Bruce started to walk passed the roses, 'Alana' had to jog for a few steps to keep up. Bruce did not turn to look at her when he said, "Alfred is waiting for us."
The echoes of their footfalls were ominous as they walked to the end of the alley, and J'onn was struck with the feeling that they were going to be trapped in this alley forever, though once again the source of that thought was a mystery.
When they did break free from the alley, J'onn had to resist the urge to sigh in relief. Alfred opened the door, and Bruce helped 'Alana' inside, handed Alfred the case to be put in the trunk, and then got in the car himself.
J'onn didn't know what to say, or what to think. Bruce slid very close to 'Alana', putting his arm around her shoulders.
"Bruce..." J'onn wasn't sure if there was anything to be said, but the silence was oppressive.
Before any more could be said, Bruce leaned over, taking 'Alana's' chin in hand. "Thank you." He stole a quick kiss before pulling away slightly. "Alfred... just drive around for a bit. We... need some time alone."
Alfred barely had time for the "Very good, sir," before Bruce raised the separator.
Bruce took 'Alana' in his arms, and held her very close. Speaking gruffly into her ear, his shielding started to slip. "I thought... I..." The words started to choke him. Burying his face in her shoulder, he resorted to thoughts. //I thought something was going to happen to you.//
//Bruce...// J'onn's hands came up to comfort Bruce. //I admit, I was... apprehensive. But I'm resilient. You know that.//
//I need... I need to know...// Even his thoughts became flurried, and Bruce resorted to showing J'onn.
Pressing 'Alana's' back against the seat, Bruce devoured her mouth, his hands reached everywhere, cataloging every part of her to be sure she was fine.
J'onn lost the ability to even think as wave after wave of sensation came from Bruce, some from his hands and his lips and his tongue and his groin, and some from his heart and mind as his shields fell away completely.
Even the lighthearted quip about being sure that Alfred couldn't see them died in the wake of Bruce's onslaught of expression. In the wake of such paralyzing intimacy, J'onn could only ride the waves of passion, need, and fear.
J'onn watched Bruce speed off in the Batmobile, clenched hands hidden. Alfred was busy at the computer, setting up all the lines of communication.
Awkwardly, J'onn approached the older man. Taking a moment before speaking to consider which words were appropriate, "Is it wise for him to go out alone in this state?" Even after Bruce had completely assured himself that J'onn was all still there, Bruce had been... more intense than usual.
Alfred smiled gently at J'onn. "Wisdom has never been one of Master Bruce's main considerations before his excursions." Placing a gentle hand on J'onn's arm, Alfred spoke in a lower tone, "He will be fine."
J'onn summoned up a smile in return.
"Would you care to take the controls on this end, Master J'onn?" Sensing J'onn's immediate apprehension, Alfred added with a smile, "I would certainly not turn down the chance to turn in early. It has been a trying night."
With a short nod and a tight smile, J'onn agreed.
Just as J'onn had settled into the computer chair, Alfred spoke from the third step, "If you don't mind my saying so, Master J'onn... You've been very good for him." With a warm, paternal smile, Alfred continued up the stairs, leaving J'onn speechless.