[Tim has serious father-figure issues. Bruce has serious son-figure issues. This is not about how they work them out, at all.]

Bruce needed a Robin, and always would. Tim knew he was getting old for it, and Steph was dead. Tim was never the best candidate for the job; he could glance around the cave once (Dick) and know that (Jason) no matter how he tried (Steph) he wasn't fast enough, didn't sparkle enough, couldn't be light enough. But Bruce needed someone, and Tim fell into the role.

When Alfred went upstairs, he took the next step. Hoping to land on his feet, he put his hand on Bruce's cheek and kissed Bruce, moving into his orbit where Robin always belonged, then moving closer, where Bruce couldn't tolerate anyone's presence for long.

But Bruce needed him there, pushed against the armor of the Bat-uniform with an embrace strong as gravity. Victory was unsurprisingly painful with Bruce's hands in his hair and tugging off his uniform, and Bruce's voice gruff with pain and need saying, "God, Tim."

"Help me forget," Tim said, playing into it, shifting his face and his posture into someone who showed Bruce what he needed. "Make it stop hurting, just for a while." It was a simple change to make; the mask of pain was all too close to the truth.

Bruce made a choking noise in his throat and crushed Tim against himself all too literally. Tim choked on the smell of kevlar and sweat, and made it sound like emotion instead of breathlessness. Bruce always needed reassurance and tried to disguise it in stoicism and the occasional gesture of brotherhood. The transparent desperation almost made Tim laugh, which would have been a wholly inappropriate reaction. He pushed the derision away and reached for the pain, which was all too real and raw.

He rocked against Bruce, looking for the heat underneath the ache. Bruce tugged at his uniform, and Tim sighed, the best kind of lie, because he meant it with all his heart. He wanted, he needed, he could whisper "Please" and his voice hitched. What he wanted and what he needed was not precisely the light in Bruce's eyes when he tugged his gauntlet off and unfastened Tim's tunic.

Nothing was simple enough for a kiss to solve it, and Tim was planning for every contingency. He was trained to do it, and if Bruce needed him too much to see the signs, so be it. Tim knew the financial cost of changing the world, money Jack Drake didn't leave him. There wasn't enough money in the world to make it perfect, but there was enough in Wayne Enterprises to assuage small hurts and the pains of conscience. All Tim needed for the future was access and time.

All Bruce needed at the moment was him, Robin and Tim. He could be the good son, the lucky son, the charmed third prince. He was the cautious one, the careful one, and he could promise never to leave. Maybe Bruce thought of that.

Maybe Bruce was too lost in needing Tim. Tim's voice was hoarse, half on purpose; he said, "Don't let me go," and Bruce helped him out of his uniform, finding every fastening even though his hands were shaking. Tim was shuddering with the cold and with the half-feigned agony of need, and Bruce rubbed his back with long strokes and kissed him.

Tim had planned some vague phrases, anything to convince Bruce. Overprepared, as always. Bruce never said anything emotional at the most appropriate times. In a tangle of discarded uniform pieces, Bruce only said, "It'll be all right, Tim," and kissed him, over and over, until Tim was trembling from every kind of frustration and no small measure of chill.

"Don't make me leave," Tim said between kisses. It made Bruce shiver and hug him too tightly, then let him go to take off his own uniform. Tim ran his hands over the familiar map of scars on Bruce's broad chest; Tim had a smaller collection already, but he knew that with time, he might accumulate as many marks as Bruce bore. The thought gave him goosebumps. "I don't want to be alone."

"I won't make you leave." Bruce let him go, frowning. "The mats," he said, shortly, and started for them. Tim watched him for a breath, shivering, and regretted that it was too soon to insist on going upstairs. In the Cave, he was never just Tim, and Bruce was even less Bruce than he normally bothered to be out of uniform. In the training area, he was inescapably Batman, who was not exactly who Tim had meant to seduce.

Batman or Bruce, it was a relief to touch him again, basking in the solid warmth of his body. This time, Tim reached for him and kissed him hard, making Bruce moan and pull Tim close. Whenever Bruce stopped touching him with as much skin to skin contact as could possibly be feasible, it was the easiest thing in the world for Tim to gasp and cling to him, to need as hard as he could. He was kneeling on the mat, too dizzy to stand, too stubborn to lie down while Bruce was stroking him. On his knees, he had no dignity, but it was easier to push against Bruce's hand. "Please," he said again, and his voice cracked. "Oh, God, please." It might be embarrassing at any other time. Coherence would be out of character, and was too difficult by half with Bruce squeezing his ass.

When that maddening pressure paused, Tim sighed, and Bruce kissed his cheek. "I'm not going anywhere." After a moment, Bruce's fingers were back, slick and chilly, and Tim wished for the flexibility he hadn't achieved. Dick could do this so much better than Tim, and the mental image of Dick spread wide with Bruce deep inside him made Tim shiver. Bruce squeezed his shoulder. "It's all right, Tim. You're safe here."

Tim could hardly move, except in response to Bruce's hands. He was drowning, smothering, and he still couldn't feel enough. "Don't let me go."

His voice sounded small in his own ears, and he knew the answer before he heard it and felt it rumble in Bruce's chest. Bruce never let anyone go. Look how far away Dick never got, always in reach, always available. Look how far away Barbara wasn't, breathing in his ear whenever she chose. Look at Steph, who threw herself at this life, at Batman, at Tim. Look at Jason, who got away and whom Bruce could never, ever let disappear. "I've got you," Bruce said, and Tim shuddered and pressed back onto his fingers.

Tim was all too aware of every security camera in the place, catching every detail of the way he moaned and arched with Bruce pressing into him and holding him tight. Tim whimpered, which was no act at all, and played the role harder. "Don't let me go. Please don't let me go. Don't make me be alone." He sounded like a lost child, and he meant every second of it.

Bruce tugged him closer and kissed him again. "It's all right."

"Help me," Tim said, and he no longer knew whether the desperation was false or real. He sounded broken inside his head. "I can't stop feeling alone."

"You're not alone." Bruce moved behind him and put an arm around his chest, pressing his fingers into Tim again. "I'm with you," he said in Tim's ear, and Tim shivered. Nothing could have been more real than the sound of Bruce's voice except for the first burning push of his cock. Between one breath and the next, it was too much.

Tim pushed Bruce's hand down his chest to his erection and thrust into his palm. He knew he could push Bruce away, deny his own ragged breathing and the implacable pressure inside him that made him gasp with every inch Bruce moved. He could have left, but he had nowhere to go that could be better than being on his knees, in the cave, with Bruce fucking him and holding him and saying his name. No one else needed him. No one needed him to be just Tim.

It was the wrong thing to think. The dissembling was getting too strong. He heard the lost voice, the broken Tim, say, "Oh, God. Dad." It was the wrong time for this pain. He wanted to take it back, erase it from the moment and all the recordings, because the broken Tim started to cry and say, "Dad," and that wasn't in any of the plans at all.

Neither was the way it made Bruce growl and thrust harder, pulling Tim backward until he was leaning on Bruce, open and wide and vulnerable. "I've got you, son," Bruce said in his ear, deep and strong as the tide. Tim heard himself whimpering, trying to cover the words, but his voice was too high, and Bruce was in him and under him and everywhere, saying, "It's all right, Tim. It's all right, son."

The force of his voice was as undeniable as Tim's need to come. He pushed himself back harder onto Bruce's cock, knowing he was making noises but too dazed to know what they were. Bruce stroked him faster and said, "Yes, God, yes, Tim," until Tim shuddered and cried out something even louder, even less coherent, and came, digging his fingernails hard into his palms.

Tim could feel the tears on his face, and hear himself saying, "Oh, god, Dad," even though he knew he had to stop doing that, immediately, even though he tried like hell to shut himself up. Bruce groaned in his ear and clung to him for a few last, faltering thrusts before he went still. Tim was grateful for his brief lassitude because it gave him a moment to stop crying irrationally and pull himself together before Bruce pulled out and tugged Tim into another hug.

"You're not injured, are you?" Batman asked, in a distinctly different voice.

It was Robin checking, Robin who was more used to pain than Tim Drake could ever be, though not in precisely this way. "No. I'm all right." Which was not what Tim Drake wanted to say, but screaming would help nothing.

"You're safe," Bruce said, and Tim buried his face in Bruce's chest. "You're safe here, son."

Tim thought about what it meant to inherit a fortune, and what little difference it would make, practically speaking, for Robin to really be in Batman's bed every night, or rather morning. "Yes," said Robin, and Tim, more weakly, said, "Yes. It'll be all right."

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