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Title: A voice like velvet.
Author: Munnin
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Bruce/Tim.
Disclaimer: No ownership, no profit and no offence meant. Everyone is of the age of consent in their country and period of history.
Author’s notes: 100% organic. May contain minor flaws and imperfections that beta-treated slash wouldn’t.

Happy birthday [livejournal.com profile] batstalker! Hope you like it.

“Be still Robin.” Bruce’s voice was oddly soothing despite Batman’s habitual growl and Tim swallowed his fear as Bruce pulled the blindfold tight around his eyes. “The effect is temporary but your eyes will be sensitive until it wears off.”

“Understood.” Tim answered, fighting to keep his voice level. The flashbang had left him blinded and despite his training, he felt panic tighten in his chest. Only Bruce’s hand around his shoulders and the rough growl of his voice had kept Tim from bolting. Without his sight, Tim felt lost and frightened and fought to remember everything he’d been taught about using his other senses. He felt his shoulders drop; he had failed in his training and let Bruce down. He was unworthy of the title Robin.

“I’m going to guide you back to the car now.” Batman whispered, one hand still tight around Tim’s shoulder. Bruce’s tone seemed gentle, almost pitying as he steered Tim back towards the waiting Batmobile. He cupped Tim’s wrist, guiding it to the door and letting Tim strap himself in by feel.

Tim held himself rigid, letting the car’s acceleration push him back in his car. Bruce hadn’t spoken since starting the car and Tim couldn’t help but wonder how angry his mentor was.

But then the weight and warmth of a heavy hand rested in his thigh. “Robin? Tell me what’s wrong?”

Tim swallowed thickly, glad of the blindfold as it absorbed his gathering tears. He tried to speak but it stuck in his throat, coming out as a tiny sob.

“We’re almost home.” Bruce said softly, his thumb brushing rhythmically against the youth’s thigh.

Tim let himself sink into that touch, grounding himself in the warmth of Bruce’s hand, even through the glove. He had failed in his duty as Robin but Bruce still concerned about keeping him calm. The car pitched forward and Tim knew they were descending into the cave.

Bruce’s hand moved away, leaving Tim strangely cold as the doors opened and the cool of the cave rushed over him. But then Bruce was back, one hand on Tim’s waist to steady him as he helped Tim out of the car.

“I need to check for injuries.” Bruce soothed, guiding Tim towards the medical bay and lifting him onto the bench.

Tim held tight to the edge of the cold stainless steel surface as Bruce swiftly stripped him. Without the security of his costume and robbed of his sight, Tim felt vulnerable beyond words. Unable to focus Tim shivered, as much afraid and cold.

Bruce was silent for a long time, his hands moving methodically over Tim’s slender frame with detached professionalism, pressing and checking each inch of his partner for injuries. After a long moment he squeezed Tim’s shoulder, clearing him to move.

But Tim stayed still, too frozen by fear and worry to move.

“It’s aright Tim, you’re safe.” Bruce whispered, shedding the latex gloves to brush his thumb over Tim’s pale cheek. “What do you need?”

“Talk to me?” Tim blurted, started by his own reaction. The silence, the emptiness, dragged at him and without the reassurance of Bruce’s voice...

“I’m here Tim.” Bruce purred, his voice soft and rough like the scrape of well worn velvet across skin. “You’re safe.” He rose, wrapping a robe around Tim’s shoulders. “You don’t appear to have sustained any other major injuries.’ He chaffed his hands down Tim’s arms, rubbing warmth into the youth. “I want you to come upstairs with me and get warm. I don’t like how cold your skin is.”

Tim nodded and let Bruce guide him up the stairs, one hand protectively around his waist as they walked.

“Last step,” Bruce whispered, pushing back the clock. He steered Tim towards the library where a roaring fire and the smell of Alfred’s cocoa greeted them. He lowered Tim into one of the deep couches and pressed a mug into his hand.

Tim savoured the deep chocolate smell and sipped it slowly, fighting the slight tremble in his hands. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t fast enough. I let you down.” The awful truth slipped from his lips with another tiny sob.

“Shh.” Bruce purred, resting a finger on Tim’s lips to silence him. “You did well. I’m proud of you.”

Tim shuddered, a warm rush arching through his body at the sound of Bruce’s voice, soft and low, whispering the words he lived to hear.

Bruce took the mug from Tim’s hand as he trembled, pulling the youth into his arms. “I’m sorry I couldn’t reach you in time.”

“No.” Tim stuttered, curling up against the warmth of Bruce’s chest. “No, don’t apologise, please? Just... just keep talking to me, please?”

Bruce ran a hand through his hair, stoking Tim’s pale cheek around the blindfold. “You were right when you went to Dick all those years ago; I can’t be without Robin. Without Robin I’m lost and I forget what it is I’m fighting for. And then I see you; the grace with which you move, the quiet efficiency in everything you do and I remember.” He cupped Tim’s cheek and tilled him up. “I am lost without you.”

The kiss should have come as a surprise but...somehow it wasn’t. The press of Bruce’s lips against his was as soft and warm and velvety as his voice and filled Tim with a sense of wonder and safety.

“Let me stay with you tonight?” Bruce whispered, peppering Tim’s pale cheek with kisses. “Let me show you how much I need you.”

All Tim could do was sob ‘yes.’
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