by Chicago

Warning - rated R (adult situation, sexual content).

Follows Guarded, and Confronting.

Disclaimer: The characters belong to DC Comics, from whom I've borrowed without permission, for fun, not profit. It's a fair bet they'd never explore this situation, but they nonetheless invented the characters...

Continuity note: This series started before Bruce Wayne: Murderer?, and that storyline will not figure into this 'verse. Consider it a situation where Bruce was heading in the direction that led to BW:M?, but this sudden love affair derailed the rejection of his Bruce Wayne persona and offers an alternative. So yes, he dated and dumped Vesper, but she went on her merry way afterwards, rather than meeting her demise.

...the boy was tumbling... falling ... no way to reach him ... tumbling... under control now... yellow cape caught in the wind... rakish as his cocky grin as he turned to fly again and was suddenly... Zorro catching a toehold on the balcony, sword coming to hand... the audience, he took his mother's hand with his excitement... glanced at his father's smiling face ... but Zorro was burning ... not the moving picture by the screen itself...

...screams rising from the crowd as they trampled away ... pressed against their bodies, fighting for air... mother's hand so tight...

...and then the crush eased into cool night air and they were walking... an alley ... a sound behind...

WAKE. Bruce Wayne's eyes flew open. He was home. Safe. A dream. His thudding heart began to calm as his conscious mind began to register what had pulled him from the nightmare.

In the late night privacy of Bruce's bedroom, even the beetle- browed visage was abandoned. J'onn J'onzz hovered quietly above Bruce's bed in something like a lotus position, his body wearing the Martian's true shape. One lean fingered hand stretched down to Bruce's cheek, resting there.

"You're trembling," Bruce observed.

"I ghosted through to you," the Martian confessed. "No need to add to Sasha's confusion."

Bruce frowned, pushing himself into a sitting position and claiming J'onn's hand. "You shouldn't be doing that yet." A gentle tug prompted J'onn to settle, let the bed take his weight.

"You prefer your nightmares?"

Our nightmares, he could've said. The linking of their subconscious minds was an odd side-effect of their intimacy - one which Bruce knew J'onn felt more deeply than he did.

Bruce shook his head. "No. Thank you - it's a rare thing that someone pulls me out of that dream before -"

J'onn's free hand settled on Bruce's knee through the blankets. "I know."

Bruce sighed and looked down at the hand in his. It looked so delicate, an illusion aided by its unsteadiness. He cupped both his hands around it, inspecting the flesh with fingers and eyes. He was learning to read the progress of J'onn's healing from the shades of green that varied over his surface and by the give and and tenderness of his palms. He felt J'onn's other hand tighten on his knee as ran his thumbs over the smooth green.

"Tough patrol?" J'onn asked.

"You're trying to distract me," Bruce accused mildly, releasing J'onn's hand.

"Perhaps," the Martian agreed easily, meeting Bruce's eyes.

The eye contact had an unexpected effect on Bruce's body. He felt the blood rushing to his groin, and in an uncharacteristic move, he pulled J'onn toward him almost roughly to press his lips to those of his friend.

He didn't know why he did it. Their earlier experiences - there'd been no kissing, not like this. They'd held each other, true, but Bruce had never sought this more conventionally human gesture of intimacy, and J'onn had never offered it. Now, though? Bruce closed his eyes as he opened his lips, relishing the way J'onn's mouth responded - hard, but somehow also yielding - a firm kiss of the kind which most of Bruce's lovers could produce only rarely, if at all. It was strong, meeting him fully, blending with him but refusing to be subsumed by him. He would think of it as a masculine kiss, except he had never desired a man's lips, and J'onn's mouth felt distintively female as the kiss deepened.

As this thought occurred to him, Bruce opened his eyes, drawing back slightly. J'onn's form had shifted slightly, his face and head taking on more human dimensions.

"J'onn," he protested.

J'onn laid a stilling finger on Bruce's lips and began to shift further, adopting his Alana form. "Please," he said softly through Alana's lips. "Let me be human for you."

Bruce wanted to object. All these shifts of shape, these efforts to be an unobtrusive presence at Wayne Manor - they were slowing J'onn's healing. It didn't matter that J'onn had pointed out that the feeling of family that filled Bruce's rebuilt ancestral home was aiding his recovery more than the inconveniences of protecting Bruce's secrets were hurting him - Bruce still didn't like the idea of any harm to his longtime friend.

What objection he might have leveled, though, was caught by another drive. J'onn - Alana - sat there, casually draped in an unbuttoned shirt and a pair of boxers, unselfconsciously revealing hints of flesh. It was the kind of seductive sight that he had long disciplined himself against, but his guard was already down. His eyes noted the reverse curve of throat to breast, a line of smooth flesh interrupted by the modest placement of the shirt - one of his dress shirts, he noted - and he found his arousal growing. And she's not even my type, he thought suddenly, incongruously.

The thought brought laughter into his mind. Of course not, J'onn projected, and from Alana's eyes Bruce picked out the gentle amusement of the Martian. If she were your type, you would be making love to that type and not to me.

Bruce hesitated, the hand he was reaching for J'onn's body hovering between them. Make love? His mind flashed through the human meanings of the phrase.

J'onn smiled with Alana's lips and took Bruce's outstretched hand. How long has it been, my friend?

Bruce sat, remembering the perfunctory performances with Vesper most recently, and with other of Bruce's "girlfriends" over the years. Pleasant, surely - a bodily need met while his mind raced through whatever puzzle was confronting Batman that day. He'd even schooled himself in appropriate responses so the women he had sex with would not notice that he was really a million miles away.

And then there was the Bat. Bruce actually shuddered. The Bat came closer - on those rare occasions when he let himself take the bodies offered him - to reaching something inside him. But Batman's desires were hard, animal, fierce - the harsh demands of an ascetic suddenly given release in the sensuous realm. Not so much making love as rutting - a cruel truth mitigated by the mirrored drive of the women who satisfied the need.

I thought so, came J'onn's response, and Bruce looked up to see that J'onn had shifted, come closer to his side.

"You already knew," Bruce accused aloud, sinking slightly toward J'onn as Alana's fingers caught onto his shoulders. He closed his eyes and breathed into the sensation as strong lips kissed the merge of shoulder and neck.

Hazards of telepathy, came the amused reply as lips found the precise point on Bruce's collar bone to send a tingling through his body. Bruce couldn't suppress a quiet moan.

Some hazards, he remarked wryly, gasping a bit as one of J'onn's hands drifted down to squeeze his thigh.

He reached for the woman's body next to him, pulling J'onn over to straddle his lap and settling her back so he could gaze at him/her. There was a smile on Alana's lips, triumphant and yet somehow - tentative. Bruce returned the smile and reached a hand under the fabric of the shirt. He was rewarded by a surprised gasp that made him pause.

"You've never -?" he asked.

J'onn/Alana shook her head. It is not a Martian way. And it is not for me to stay in a mind when-

"Shh," Bruce interrupted, running his other hand under the shirt and pushing it off smooth shoulders to expose slightly asymmetrical breasts to the moonlight streaming into his bedroom. Not his type, perhaps, but exactly the size and shape that he craved, he reflected, leaning forward to nuzzle the supple flesh.

J'onn's fingers reached out to twine through Bruce's hair. Their warmth brushed across his scalp, and they tugged slightly in the slept on tangle of Bruce's short locks.

Bruce looked up into her face. J'onn's smile still danced in her eyes - no mistaking the spirit there behind this body that was leaning into him now, once again claiming his mouth.

Admiring caresses gave way to a more primal hunger as they reached for one another, blankets falling away and two pairs of boxers shed and tangled among the sheets. Mouths and hands explored every expanse of flesh, occasionally provoking shudders and giggles as enlivened nerves and ticklish skin met equal and unstinting treatment. Bruce wanted to laugh. Make love. Had he ever? He knew something like love - love of son toward parents, father toward children, the love of brothers in arms. He'd fallen hard for Shondra and her healing touch-

The memory startled him, caused him to pull away from J'onn's willing body. Was that it? Did J'onn love him in that way, the grateful kind of blind love for a healer -

Suddenly he was not facing Alana, but cradled in the embrace the Martian Manhunter, encircled by arms infinitely stronger than his own, his head resting on a broad expanse of green as familiar lips nuzzled the top of his head. No. You came to me in an hour of need, but - no. We have loved each other longer than that.

Reassured, Bruce wrapped his arms around the broad torso. They had loved each other for longer, understood each other in ways that neither had felt the need to reveal until they were almost lost to each other.

J'onn was changing again, slimming under Bruce's embrace, flowing again into the shape of Alana beneath him. Bruce raised his head and looked into her face.

She smiled up at him. "Kiss me, you fool," she directed, her eyes dancing with J'onn's humor.

Bruce grinned and obeyed, his temporarily muted desire flaring fully alive again as his/her tongue thrust into his mouth, demanding his attention. Beneath him, he felt her legs open and lift around his hips in unsubtle invitation. He shifted, kissing her deeply as he moved against her. She trembled, and he lifted his mouth to whisper, "Relax," as he brushed his other hand across her cheek. You don't need to- he projected toward J'onn, but the thought was cut off by a little cry and a sudden give.

Bruce froze, looking down. "J'onn?"

Tears were streaming down Alana's cheeks and she gasped breathlessly through smiling lips. "First... time..." he/she reminded him, reaching up to touch his face reassuringly.

"Oh, J'onn," Bruce breathed, understanding suddenly what J'onn was experiencing, what he wanted to experience. Human - to be human, made love to as human. A surge of tenderness took him as he remained carefully paused and leaned down to kiss Alana's tears.

They were salty, but somehow sweeter than they should have been. Another kiss, and the sweetness was gone.

No, Bruce ordered gently, don't correct. I am making love to you.

He smiled as the sweetness returned to the tears. Beneath him, J'onn tightened Alana's legs. "Please," J'onn whispered, his tone Alana's only inasmuch as smaller vocal chords prevented the emergence of a deeper voice.

Bruce kissed J'onn again, losing himself in the trust in those eyes, now more red than brown, as he moved with her gently, teaching-

A sudden insight struck him. Teaching. His way of showing love, expressing how deeply he cared for a person. For the first time, he was teaching how to make love.

J'onn learned quickly, matching Bruce's motion, tentative care giving way to the pleasure of the moment, driving out all other thought. Bruce could feel suddenly the friction of himself in J'onn, the linking of their mutual pleasure in a final hard drive that pulled a shared cry from both their throats, echoing in the quiet of early morning as Bruce collapsed into J'onn, spent.

They lay for a long moment, Bruce's lips playing softly on Alana's collar bone as their breathing settled. Finally, Bruce reluctantly withdrew, rolling to one side with arms still wrapped around his lover.

J'onn snuggled deeply into him, burying Alana's face into his chest. Bruce smiled, playing gentle fingers through her hair which morphed at the slightest thought from him into the flanges of flesh that adorned J'onn's true Martian form. Bruce looped one leg possessively over J'onn's hip, maintaining as much skin to skin contact as possible as a dry Martian warmth enveloped him. J'onn shifted, pushing himself upward to be face to face with Bruce, the length of him brushing deliciously over the hairs on Bruce's legs and chest. Bruce breathed a heavy sigh of contentment.

"Thank you," he murmured, tightening his arm to take another kiss from freely proffered lips.

"I should be thanking you," J'onn pointed out seriously once his lips were freed to speak again. "Again I only take from you."

"No." Bruce held him possessively. "No, only giving this time. I wanted - needed -"

His words were cut off by another kiss. We both-

-need, Bruce finished the thought. And love, he continued, letting his mind dance among the sands of Mars, lulled by a music he had only recently learned to hear.

This is the human way. J'onn's mental tone was marveling.

Yes, Bruce agreed, unwilling to speak this truth out loud. The way it is supposed to be, at any rate.

He felt a wash of understanding from J'onn's mind. It is... good.

Yes. He let himself press against the Martian flesh, feel it meld to him, cradle him. He was suddenly completely exhausted, scarcely able to keep his eyes open. He could sense J'onn's matching somnolescence through their shared mind.

J'onn shook himself, drawing away a little. I should- He projected an image of himself returning to Alana's bed, being there instead of here for Alfred's summoning breakfast knock.

Bruce pulled him back. No. Stay.

There was a slight give as J'onn acquiesced, a wave of contentment settling over them both. Assured that J'onn would not leave, Bruce let his eyes fall shut, nestling his head more deeply into J'onn's yielding shoulder, confidant that tonight, at least, there would be no more nightmares.


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