These Vicious Things

by 'rith

A dark fic for Halloween. Mind the rating. M/M sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. You've been warned.

So I picked up this Batman graphic novel, "Fortunate Son." About Robin (a young Dick Grayson), and a musician who's been accused of a crime, and-- there's this flashback scene. Young Bruce. Dialogue:


"Before I became Batman, wandering alone and without purpose through a foreign city... I heard a scream of rage and anguish--and rushed to stop the crime I thought was being committed. But the scream--and the crime--were *music.*

"The bass player--talentless, brainless, but powerful in his madness--fixed on me like a predator.

"Like a *beast.*

"My wealth, education, self-control, spoke to something in his injured soul.

"He simply would not... let me... go!

After weeks trapped in his obsession, I finally shook myself free. He turned his predatory hunger to the broken girl who'd been drawn to his sudden fame...."


And this is *published* material!

As if the dialogue wasn't suggestive *enough,* it's accompanied by pics of the musician staring into Bruce's eyes...holding his arm...very close. The scan is at the bottom of this page.

Here's what else Bruce had to say about it.

These Vicious Things

Last night while on patrol Tim encountered a gang of teenaged criminals. These children who might have in another life been his peers, his classmates, were instead no more than a pack of rabid wolves; snarling, defiant, *choosing* to live their lives on the edge of destruction. It wasn't the first time he'd met such creatures, but nevertheless the encounter shook him deeply. "Why," he asked me. And I could only answer: "Because they are simply that way, and there is no telling how or why, nor cause or cure for it."

I hope he never understands. I hope that kind of darkness never takes root in him, as it did in I allowed it to take root in me.

Against all desire, I remember. Years ago....

We met after the "concert." Far too formal a name for the howling on a tiny platform to a screaming, drug-addled mob. I'd come in expecting some act of violence, and that's what I found: an assault on the eyes, and the ears, and the mind.

This-- this *crime,* it was offensive and vile and meaningless and an unbearably painful exhibition of unfettered rage, aimed at whomever simply happened to be there to hear it. I couldn't look away. The bass player--

He was the focal point, the center of the mad storm of sound and fury. His presence *demanded* attention, commanded it, and I was captivated in its wake like all the rest.

Afterward, I bribed the roadies to allow me backstage. He stormed off the stage, shouting incomprehensible foul curses at his fellow musicians, at the fans who stood waiting to worship him. He saw me, standing uncertain waiting to--speak to him? just to witness? I'm not sure I even knew then--and stopped. I don't...quite remember what he said, or what I said, or how it happened; but I remember him taking my arm and leading me back to his squalid flat while I paced him, unresisting.

We must have spoken. He offered me drugs, which I refused, and I watched without judgment as he took them himself. This was simply part of his whole persona, and to deny *that* was to deny *him.*

I could deny him nothing, at that moment.

He wanted my youth, my wealth--though not my actual money, just the aura of affluence that clung to me by fortunate accident of birth. He touched me like he wanted to crawl inside my skin and take that upon himself, the kind of easy-not-earned success he wanted for himself.

For my part I was fascinated by his sheer magnetism, his energy, his *power.* His raw sexuality, which left me helpless when he turned it on me.

He wasn't my first lover but he was the first one who left me breathless and gasping with just a touch. His intensity found expression in his music, and when he wasn't on stage, it found outlet in his bed. Or the floor. Or anywhere he found a willing partner.

For a few weeks, I was willing.

It wasn't love, or tenderness, or anything approaching true affection. It was *sex,* primal and dangerous. It was all about passion and emotion, the very things I'd been trying to escape by traveling through Europe, seeking out teachers who might help me make an ordered sense of the world and my parents' deaths. A futile search, I know now. But the lessons, the skills I learned would serve me well nonetheless.

The lessons he taught me touched just as deeply, though I denied them then. I deny them still.

We rarely called each other's names. His mouth traveled me with an eager tongue and sometimes-too-rough teeth. I tasted him when he came off the stage, gritty dust and sweat, and yet we never kissed. I slept beside him and never felt comfort, yet I couldn't bring myself to leave. His power over me would have rendered me his slave if he hadn't been equally caught, equally wanting what he saw in me.

His music, such as it was, reflected anger and hatred and the deeply rooted self-destructive urge that lived in him; all the things I'd sworn to combat. And yet. In some ways he came to symbolize the manifestation of my rejection of those things, so by embracing them, embracing him perhaps I was trying to understand....

Or perhaps it was just animal attraction, after all.

"Live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse." An appalling concept. When I left--when I was finally *able* to leave!--it was in rejection of that principle he lived by. He turned to someone else, far less able to endure the weight of his passions than I, and that proved fatal...for both of them.

I bear the guilt of their deaths...and yet, had I stayed, I would have been destroyed. If I'd known.... But pleading ignorance would be a lie. I knew what he was, what he was capable of. And I fled rather than face it.

If I learned nothing else from that time, the dire example of their deaths stands as a stark reminder of the responsibility I swore never to shirk again. As a man, and as the Batman.

All of this was long ago and far away, a part of my past I had never wanted to carry with me. But sometimes I see glimpses of him in adolescents on the streets, in back alleyways. I hear echoes of his voice while turning past popular radio stations. I feel a shudder go through me as the odors from an interrupted drug deal bring me back to a tiny room with its discarded needles lying about, waiting to stab at an unwary bare foot. His influence lives on in music, in reoccurring fashions, in the eternal spirit of teenaged rebellion.

I reject what he was, the spirit that dwelled in him. I cannot escape that part of him that took hold in me, even so briefly. I don't want to remember...and I can never forget.

These vicious things are with me still.


...yes, it's definitely Sid Vicious, though the name's never said in "Fortunate Son."

BTW, 'rith quite likes the Sex Pistols. ;)

On February 2,1979, Sid Vicious died at the age of 21.

"To fast to live, too young to die."

It is said that the shabby rooms of New York City's fabled Chelsea Hotel are inhabited by ghosts--of Mark Twain, Janis Joplin and other luminaries who once occupied them. But none of the wandering souls could tell a more haunting tale than the spirits of Nancy Spungen and her lover, Sid Vicious. In the early morning hours of Oct. 12, 1978, in room 100, Sid ended his tempestuous 21-month relationship with Nancy by stabbing her to death with a hunting knife. Four months later, in agony without her, he ended his own tortured life as well.

At the time, Sid was 21 years old. As bass player for the Sex Pistols, which had broken up a year earlier, he was a member of one of Britain's most influential and incendiary punk-rock bands. Nancy, 20, had been his most ardent fan. Together, the couple had been in the forefront of rock's avant-garde, two dog-collared nihilists who brought their twisted, gothic romance to its ill-fated end.


This crime was committed by 'rith (

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Disclaimer: All characters property of DC Comics. What I have done with them is mine.

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