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Looking for A Thrill

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A few grunts echoed in an alley, but no one heard it, it was covered by the city’s sounds. Grunts made out of pain, by battered and hardly conscious thugs; but no one paid attentions. Well, no one except for the one responsible for this.

 

Walking away slowly, the dark-haired boy just looked at one of the thugs. Sonny Gilzean…Bruce remembered how that low-life beat him once. Oh, it didn’t matter much to him, in the end, he had put Sonny K.O. on the ground, and back then…Back then he wanted to experience physical pain, to test his limits. But tonight, it had been different. Tonight he wanted a let-out. And when he had crossed Sonny’s path, it had been a given opportunity. He had put him KO twice in the past, but Sonny wasn’t the kind to learn. Maybe third time the charm?

 

‘Come on, you have to pay to go through my street,’ the boy had told him. Bruce just titled his head. They were three, he could perfectly handle it. ‘Or what?’

 

Now, Sonny was unconscious, his face bruised and bleeding profusely and he was pretty sure his shoulder was damaged. His ‘friends’ weren’t doing any better.  Bruce only had bloody knuckles and very few bruises from the fight. He felt better, alive and a bit better. The adrenaline from the fight, the danger of being alone in those streets and confronting several guys who could have just sent him to hospital or to the morgue…That was thrilling! For a moment, he had just been himself, alive, here, breathing and pulsing. For a moment, he had forgotten his anger and sadness. Selina…Once again, she just rejected him. He never knew what to do with her. He remembered one girl he briefly dated, it didn’t last, and he had been a bit bored, but it had seemed so simple with her! She would tell him she liked him, she would kiss him, hold hands, and when she wanted to stop, she just told him simply. Why couldn’t Selina just let things be simple? Why couldn’t she just tell him whether or not she wanted him around? She kept coming back and leaving…He was feeling tired of this!

 

His fists were sore but it didn’t matter. He had a strange feeling, suddenly, as if something was gripping his back. He huffed slightly at this. He wouldn’t mind beating other jerks like this, and maybe the person following him would do. The simple thought made him feel better again.

He decided he would find an open space, where he would see the person clearly. He wanted to know who could be behind him, on his trail. What if they were armed? He had a knife, but it wouldn’t do much against a gun. He also had a small light grenade, something he had designed along with Lucius Fox. It wouldn’t provide an harmful explosion, but when it would be thrown, a blinding light would appear. He had taken it just in case, better not go through the most dangerous streets of Gotham without a few cards in his sleeves. Still walking as if he suspected nothing, he looked up at the moon. Gotham tended to have a cloudy sky, but today had been a beautiful day, and this night was beautiful, with the full moon shining…

 

Maybe he could find a way to trap his stalker. He just had to turn in the corner of the street, hid against the wall and jump on whoever was following when they would reach him. He was walking silently, they would probably not notice the sound of footsteps vanishing. He listened carefully to the person, they weren’t far, not very close, but not far. He knew he should have put a stop to it, but there was something quite…Thrilling, once again. He felt like he had twisted the situation and was hunting his predator. But this couldn’t last eternally.

 

He took the turn and pinned his back against the wall, waiting for his stalker to come. The footsteps grew closer and closer. Was it someone who decided to rob him? Or some perverse? When the shadow finally emerged, Bruce seized their shirt and made them swirl to have them pinned against the brick wall. He heard a brief yelp. A gun was suddenly pressed against his belly. His eyes widened. Bruce was stunned, but not because of the weapon.

 

“Bad idea, Brucie.”

 

Here, Jerome Valeska was smiling crazily at him! Shit…They just looked at each other for a short moment. Jerome…The Valeska twins had became his biggest antagonists over time. First there had been Jerome, who put chaos through the city and who tried to kill him twice. Then Jeremiah; the ‘innocent’ brother, the one who was terrorized by his brother and looked down because of him. Bruce had felt sorry for him and became his friend…Until he discovered Jeremiah was actually Jerome’s accomplice since the beginning.

 

Pressing the gun against the boy’s belly a bit more, Jerome was beaming. “So good to see you, it always promise a great…”

 

“What is it you want?”

 

“Always so straightforward! You never take the time to enjoy our fun!”

 

“I never had any taste for your fun.”

 

The redhead sighed theatrically. “Fine! I want you to come with me; follow me, or I shoot that cute little couple over there.” Bruce looked to see a couple walking, probably going home. He couldn’t take that risk. He would find another way to escape. “Alright.”

 

Jerome smiled delightfully and linked their arms as if they were a couple or something. Bruce rolled his eyes at this. He should have been more careful!

 

“I recognize my little hero, here! So feisty, and always ready to risk himself!”

 

“And where are we going?”

 

“Dunno.” He laughed at Bruce’s confused face. “I don’t know, I just wanted to walk with you a bit. You think I’m gonna kill you?”

 

“You would have done it already. Or maybe you’re preparing something special. But either way, nothing guarantee you’ll be able to do it.”

 

Jerome giggled. “You do have that nasty habit of putting up a fight. And, yeah, maybe I’ll want to kill you on the way, but not for now. You know, I was bored before I passed by that alley and saw you fighting this vermin. I couldn’t see your face, but I had a feeling it was you. And I was right!”

 

“So you decided to stalk me?”

 

“Yeah. It’s a beautiful night after all, and spending some time with a handsome young man is a nice perspective.” Bruce huffed at this, Jerome couldn’t help, he was so good to tease! “But, enough talking about me, what are you doing here?”

 

“That’s none of your concern, what about you?”

 

“You say it first.”

 

Bruce shrugged: “Just looking for someone.” Jerome tsked: “Don’t lie. I know when people lie. No, you aren’t looking for anything or anyone. Tell me, sincerely, what you’re doing here. Come on, there is no judgment from me, absolutely none.” Bruce didn’t answer anything.

 

“You know what I think? You want some thrill. You wanted to find problems, and you wanted a fight! That’s why you came in such a street: you hoped someone would try to hurt you.” Bruce was still silent. Jerome knew he got it right. “You know how I know it? Anyone else would have called the police, or took refuge into some bar, or some shit like that. There aren’t many people who would have just trapped their stalker against a wall. Just like the time in the mirror house, when you bait me into going there to fight me. You could have just gone to a cop, they were all over the place but no, you decided to fight me yourself.” He pressed himself against the young boy a bit more. “I’m not blaming you. A good fight can be really entertaining.”

 

Maybe it was his current state, being heart-broken but at the same time thrilled to fight, but Bruce didn’t feel like lying to Jerome. Anyway it was true, and it’s not like Bruce could convince him otherwise. “Fine. Got me. You wanted the same, right? I mean, you have no followers with you right now, no eccentric outfit, just one gun and you said you were bored. You’re probably preparing something but it won’t be for now. I’d say you have to wait, and you hate that.”

 

“Ha, not bad. There is one thing you didn’t guess, though.”

 

“What?”

 

“I also wanted to enjoy the night, under such a lovely moon. Full moon always makes me giddy!”

 

“A paperclip on a rice cake would make you giddy, Jerome.” The redhead laughed once more, he wasn’t completely wrong. It didn’t take much to spark his enthusiasm. He looked up and suddenly made a howling sound, like a wolf would. Bruce jumped in surprise and looked at him with wide eyes: “what was that?!” The redhead laughed. “Ever saw the clip Thriller?”

 

“From Michael Jackson? Yeah, didn’t think you would like that kind of music.”

 

“Mostly that song, I’m not a fan of the rest, but that guy had style, he knew how to perform, I must acknowledge that. You ain’t a big fan, though, am I right? Emo music would be your style.”

 

This was obviously a mockery, Bruce rolled his eyes once more, that was something he was used to do with Jerome, now. “Actually no, emo music bores me. And what about you, you listen to carnival compilation all day?”

 

“Nah, that’s just for shows! I’m sometimes nostalgic of the circus atmosphere, not the people living in there, but the general thing.”

 

“Why are we even discussing music?”

 

“Why not? Oh yeah! I remember! I was speaking about Thriller because the whole atmosphere right now reminded me of that, kind of. A little couple walking through dark streets, a howl in the night…”

 

“Couple? What kind of drugs did you take?”

 

“Come on! You’re what? Seventeen? I’m twenty-one, so it’s legal. We’re both handsome and half of Gotham seem to be LGBT; So we could be a couple.”

 

“Yeah, I’ll pass.” He surely didn’t feel that lonely. He could feel Jerome’s gaze on him and strangely he wasn’t that surprised. He would always give him weird nicknames and all, and sometimes the way he just looked at him…Whatever, there was no way he would let that happen one day!

 

“Your loss. Anyway, there was something which did remind me of it.”

 

“Are you gonna dance around me like in the clip? Or do you expect me to do it?”

 

This surprised Jerome: so Bruce had some humor in him? Too bad he didn’t let it express more often! “I’m not sure I want to see you dance, Bruce; it would be a disaster. Now, dancing around you would be fun, but nah, I’m just gonna hold you tight. It’s sad Jeremiah isn’t here, he would have enjoyed it. But I’m glad to have you for myself for once!”

 

“Great! Now, where are we going, seriously?”

 

“Well, I don’t like having you under gun threat all night. I’d rather show you a place I’m very fond of. You should follow me, you might see and learn things which will interest you.”

 

“Why would you show me such a place?”

 

“Why not? Bruce, since how long have we been playing that game? Four years? It seems like you don’t know me. I’m bringing you there because it seems fun to do it…Actually you know what? I’m gonna keep you under the threat of a gun, that way you won’t get away to call the police on my ass.”

 

He brought the young man before a building which looked as normal as any other. There was a big guy at the entrance. When he saw Jerome he bowed his head slightly, looking almost submissive. He was twice bigger than Jerome, and yet he was scared of him! They descended stairs and they started to hear loud music. It was Metal, just like Bruce liked, it was aggressive, punchy, the kind which would shake your bones and send shiver into your whole body, the one which would make you out of our mind and arouse you. He didn’t say anything about it, though, because Jerome seemed to enjoy that as well, and he didn’t want to let him know they liked the same kind of music.

 

The atmosphere inside…Some were dressed in a really weird way, and it was obvious this was a dangerous place, between the fights, the ones who looked stoned or even unconscious and the general atmosphere. You could feel you could easily become a prey. Yet Bruce wasn’t about to be scared so easily. In fact, he was guilty to feel some excitement being in there. A lot of people greeted Jerome and looked at Bruce questioningly. Some of those guys were followers, others were just thugs coming to have fun. “You can drink alcohol here, no one gives a shit about your age.”

 

“Yeah, not sure this is a good idea when you have a gun pointed at me.”

 

“Come on, we never drank together.”

 

“That’s because you tried to kill me every time we met.”

 

“I know, baby, I can be a bit rough with you,” Jerome sighed theatrically.

 

“Seriously, just shut up.”

 

Jerome was about to say something else when he spotted something and dragged Bruce to the bar. Bruce recognized Jeri, he had already met her, he guessed she had to relocate her ‘business’. She was behind the counter, talking to someone, and Bruce recognized Jeremiah. Oh hell, not both twins! The young man was looking at his phone, obviously entirely focused.

 

“Hey, Jerome! Hi, Bruce! Long time no see,” she said enthusiastically. Jeremiah rose his head at the mention of the two names and Jeri went on: “What do you wanna drink?”

 

“Three shots of vodka.”

 

Completely forgetting his work, Jeremiah solely watched Bruce. Jerome turned to his brother, smiling proudly: “Look at that, Miah! I found a stray!”

 

“I think it has a home, should we give it back to his owner?”

 

“Very funny! Is it why you brought me here? For some stupid jokes with your brother?”

 

“I didn’t even know he was here, promise! Weren’t you going to work at home?” Jerome asked

 

“Why should I stay home alone all night? I wanted some company, and it seems like I wasn’t the only one.”

 

He looked at Bruce arrogantly but fondly as well. “I wasn’t expecting my best friend to be here. What are you up to this time?”

 

Ex-best friend. And your brother deduced I was just having fun beating thugs in the streets.”

 

“Well I wouldn’t judge you, I guess it’s a hobby like another when it comes to people like us,” Jeremiah replied while taking his own drink. “Though I will rather drive them mad or shoot them, but everyone has their own method.”

 

“Making them explodes with bombs and grenades is the best way to do it!” Jerome claimed while taking his drink and handing Bruce his. “Come on, Bruce. Let’s play a little game while drinking. What do you think about it, Jeremiah?”

 

“I don’t know about Jeremiah, but I’ll pass,” Bruce declared before the other twin could say anything. “Which one of you came up with this plan?”

 

“Why do you ask?”

 

“Because I want to know which one of you I’ll have to thank for the next mess we’ll have to fix.” His real intention was to get a hint, he would have a better understanding of the future events thing if he knew which one of the brothers came up with those.

 

Jeremiah shrugged at this. “A drinking game with you could have been fun…But for now, I think we’ll just keep you with us for some times, we can’t have you leave and tell everything about what you just saw.”

 

“Keep me?”

 

“Wohoo! How about we lock him in the basement? You’ll like it Bruce, it’s full of tools!”

 

Jeremiah nodded and his smirk showed he loved the idea. He was already looking at Bruce as if he was dessert and the boy didn’t like that one bit. But then, that was something he could use…Approaching Jeremiah slowly, he looked at him defiantly. “You think you can do that? You two are hardly able to do anything but run whenever you don’t have a gun pointed at me, or a bomb to threaten me. So don’t try to act like threats.”

 

This made the two furious obviously. Jeremiah’s anger was cold but Jerome was boiling. He gripped Bruce by the arm and made them face each other: “You think we’re scared? Obviously, you haven’t learned your lesson, Bruce.”

 

He leaned closely toward Jerome, leaving only a small distance between them, standing tall and looking straight into his eyes. He even leaned his lips slightly and for a second, it seemed to everyone around they were about to kiss. He could see how it was enticing Jerome. “Teach me again.”

 

One of the redhead’s hands circled Bruce’s neck: “With pleasure.”

 

He put his gun back in his holster and everything went fast. Bruce immediately grabbed the closest glass and smashed it against his head. He ran toward the exit before anyone could react. Both Jerome and Jeremiah recovered from their first stun and went after him.

 

Running through the club, they took the same exit as him. At first, they didn’t see him, and they were about to try to look out for him when Jeremiah yelped and brutally fell as a form jumped on him. Bruce punched him right in the jaw and went right on his feet as Jerome lunged toward him. The bouncer rushed to them, but Jeremiah drew out his gun.

 

“Stay out of this!”

 

Jerome and Bruce were gripping at each other and exchanging blows, Jeremiah rushed into the fight. Bruce elbowed Jerome in the chest but didn’t dodge a kick in the side from Jeremiah. With swift cat-like steps, he took enough distance to see both of them coming. For a short instant, a tense silence settled. Thrill was almost palpable.

 

“So you didn’t run,” Jeremiah panted while sweeping blood away from his chin.

 

“Did you seriously think I would? I just wanted this to stay between us.”

 

Jerome chuckled darkly, the sound coming almost languorous. “Just like I said…You want a thrill.”

 

When they lunged at one another, dodging and throwing blows, Jeremiah strangely felt as if they were both dancing. Bruce was a fierce opponent, but the twins weren’t as easy to beat as Sonny and his thugs. They were sneaky and swift; none of them would be taken down easily.

 

Bruce punched Jerome and Jeremiah grabbed his wrist. He tried to bend it behind the boy’s arm, but Bruce pulled on his arm strongly. Jeremiah didn’t release him but pulled the young man toward him instead and tried to hit him but Bruce seized his arm. They realized now they were pinned against each other, and holding their wrists. They could feel each other breath. Jeremiah suddenly went and tried to bit his neck and his teeth brushed the skin before Bruce pushed and kicked him away. Jerome came back at him. 

 

They heard some of the club clients coming out. They gathered around them, making a human ring around their fight. Jerome smirked hugely, the blood leaking on his chin making him. “Well, that isn’t going well for your privacy wants, Bruce!”

 

The boy knew he couldn’t win that fight. Even if he beat them, the ones around would jump on him, and he was clearly outnumbered. He didn’t thought he would use it tonight, but it didn’t matter. He threw himself at Jerome and acted as if he was about to punch him. The man dodged easily but Bruce just plunged toward a piece of broken cement. He threw it at the only light of the street.

 

Several yells of surprise echoed as the light broke and everything was plunged in darkness. Then, Jerome’s laugh echoed, like the cackle of a hyena. “Oh, Bruce, do you seriously imagine that will….”

 

BAM!

 

Light.

 

Blinding light assaulted them.

 

After the almost complete darkness, this felt like their eyes were burning! Screams and yelps of pain could be heard throughout the street.

 

The roof! Of course, he went through the fire-escape! He started to run after him and Jeremiah took out his gun and fired once in the air, stunning all the cultists and clients.

 

“Stay away from this, it’s between us!”

 

He then followed his brother, and they tried to look everywhere for the young man, but in the end, they had to admit the obvious: he escaped. Jerome let out a frustrated growl. The kid disappeared thanks to a trick, yes, but he had also been swift as hell! He had been able to defeat them, and thanks to only a few tricks!

 

Jeremiah couldn’t help but giggle at his twin’s reaction. He put a hand on Jerome’s shoulder and shrugged. “What’s the matter? Don’t you enjoy a challenge?”

 

He took deep breath, his twin’s words soothing him a bit. Yes, all in all, this had been very entertaining, he had to admit it. It would have been boring otherwise. He supposed this was worth failing. But there was still frustration stinging.

 

“Still wish we got him in our room.”

 

“Don’t worry, he’ll come back to us. That’s how our game works. He knows we’re preparing something and he’ll never be able to stay back. And then, maybe we’ll finally be able to get him.”

 

“Yeah…Is it me, or you’re starting to enjoy this more and more? You’re becoming less and less serious about all that stuff.”

 

“The more it goes, the more I see the futility of all this. All those mobsters, they just go round and round for money, power, stuff they hardly enjoy in the end. So why should I do like them? You know what I like? Creating and destroying and that whole game we have.”

 

“We’re the same, the three of us…Looking for a thrill and nothing else.”

 

Jerome looked up at the moon once again and howled once more. At his surprise Jeremiah joined him. The twins howled up at the moon, hoping that wherever he was, Bruce could hear.

Chapter Text

Yesterday night had been full of discovery. Not only he knew a place where the twins would hang around, he also knew they were preparing something big. And Jerome was attracted to him. He already knew Jeremiah was, but he had never been really sure about his twin. After last night, he was sure of it: both brothers wanted him.

Bruce was fifteen when he fully understood he wasn’t only attracted to girls. He had asked himself questions, and understood he was actually bisexual after some struggles and a few harmless experiences. He kissed a girl in his school to be sure he was still attracted to them, that it wasn’t something only Selina could make him feel. And he had been confirmed he liked girls, he really liked them. But he had also kissed a boy of his school, one who wasn’t scared to admit his sexuality. He had tried to go further but Bruce refused and stopped any relationship that could have ensued. He had enjoyed kissing him, but he didn’t want him as a boyfriend. Anyway, it wasn’t that guy who made that questioning happen.

Jeremiah Valeska. This was the guy who made him question his sexuality and understand what he really wanted.

He had met the nerdy boy some times after Jerome Valeska took him hostage. It was at the police station. Jerome having escaped after killing Theo Galavan, Jeremiah had been interrogated once again to know whether or not he had seen his brother, if he knew of his plans, etc. Bruce was only thirteen, then, and at first, he only had a cordial exchange with Jeremiah, but their friendship deepened, when Jerome continued to pursue them. At the time, it seemed like both Jeremiah and he were his obsession. He didn’t know back then, how much Jeremiah played him.

When he thought about it, it was one of the things that made him feel angry, Jeremiah had made him realize something important, and in the end, that important guy had been nothing but a liar and a manipulator. Yet with time, he had understood that not everything was a lie.

He was home, thinking of what happened last night, that tension, between him and the twins, he knew it was real. And somehow, using it felt like a sweet revenge, especially with Jeremiah. Nothing happened between them in the past, Bruce being a bit too shy. It was good, not only because it spared him regrets but also because that would make the redhead’s frustration even bigger.

 “There is a message for you,” Alfred announced.

Bruce looked at it with curiosity. It wasn’t a letter but  a simple folded paper. It was noon and they were about to have lunch. He took it and was pretty surprised to see it came from Selina. If he wanted to tell him something, why didn’t she just come? He read the message:

I wanted to see you, but you weren’t around. Find me, I need to speak to you, I’ll be in the Narrows, Perkin’s Alley.

Selina.

Something seemed off to him. Maybe she came while he was with the twins, that was possible. He would check out, but be careful as well. While he trusted Selina there was also something weird. He prepared himself to go to the Narrows, with time, he had learned, what to wear or not to wear according to where he would go. He had clothes which were cheap enough to make him look like any regular kid; he could even look like a kid from the streets. He put no hair gel and messed up his hair a bit as well.

One of the many things he had learned hanging around in the street: people would see what they expected to see. When he was dressing like a street kid, they would see exactly that. They wouldn’t see Bruce Wayne. And anyway, most of the people in the streets wouldn’t bother about knowing rich people’s faces. Jerome and Jeremiah would always recognize him, though.

He also had something new, something quite simple he confectioned: a chain which looked like a simple rock-fashion thing, but had a little particularity: it was attached thanks to little magnets clipped to his jeans, and could be taken off with a simple, swift gesture. It could become handy when he would fight.

When he finally found the alley, he looked around and saw no one. Did he go to the wrong place?

“Selina?” No answer. He called again: “Selina?”

Sighing, he wondered where she would come from. Probably the roof, walking normally on the ground seemed like a chore to her sometimes. Then, Bruce saw two guys coming into the alley, one was very big guy and reached him before his companion. He looked behind and saw two girls advancing toward him as well. He immediately realized this was a trap, they were blocking the exits. Actually, there was still the fire escape…And the alley was narrow, it would be hard for them to attack him all at once. They were four.

“So, here he is, our little gift,” the big guy laughed.

He lunged at him and Bruce swiftly took off the chain and whipped the guy’s throat with it. A chocked sound came out of him. Bruce kicked him in the face before punching him in the plexus. The guy bent over but threw his arm in Bruce’s chest, pushing him away hard. Bruce lunged at him but was suddenly caught by behind. The others had caught up on them. Immediately, Bruce sent his skull back violently, hitting his opponent in the nose. It wasn’t hard enough though.

He received a big punch in the stomach, he kicked and someone tried to get hold of his leg. He violently kicked them in the stomach and sent his chain behind his shoulder, where the other’s face was, and this time, he heard a cry of pain as the hold lessened. He tore himself away from their grasp and headbutted his captor hard, and sent his elbow right into the closest face he saw. He received a punch in the ribs, and was kicked against a wall. He only had time to kick the next attacker in the stomach and spun his wrist to make the chain roll around his fist. The chain was now like a brass knuckle.

His next punch made his attacker spit blood. He kicked another one and punched them in the face as well. One of the girls suddenly took out a knife but before Bruce could do anything, the big guy hit her in the face: “No knife, we need him alive!”

Bruce took the occasion: he punched him in the jaw with his chain-fist. The violence of the blow made the guy stumble. The girl went to attack and he elbowed her right in the face before kicking her away. Her head it the wall, knocking her off. One down.

The big guy punched him suddenly and kicked him, making Bruce almost loose balance; he dodged the next blow though and punched his plexus once more. Bruce went to attack once more before being grabbed again by behind, someone twisting his arm by behind. He pushed the wall before him with his leg as strongly as he could, forcing his adversary to back away with him. The attacker hit the wall and Bruce slammed his body back once more.

“Stop struggling, you…”

He sent his skull back again, making the person shut up before slamming them against the wall once more. The second girl went to hit him but Bruce kicked her, crashing his captor back again at the same time. His hold finally weakened and Bruce violently swirled, taking the guy off balance and freeing himself. He dodged another attack but received a kick in the side from the same girl. The guy previously holding him also tried to punch but Bruce dodged and elbowed him in the face. He punched the guy right in the kidney, making him bend over and kicked him between the ribs. Bruce grabbed his collar and pushed him violently against the girl who was going for him again. She lost balance and Bruce slapped her throat before punching her in the face. It was enough.

Those three were down now. The big guy was getting back on his feet, looking furious.

“You…”

Bruce knew he had to hit him again in the jaw, throat and plexus, those parts were already sore from the previous blows. He had to cut off his breath. He dodged the next attacks, letting the guy spend his energy, and took a couple of deep breath. He threw a hook in the man’s jaw again, before slapping his throat and kicking the plexus once more. The air left the guy’s lungs, and he started to cough and gasp for air and Bruce punched and kicked again, leaving him no time to regain his breath, almost smothering him. As the guy was bending over, Bruce axe-kicked him, hitting his head and upper back, and the guy finally fell on the ground.

Bruce regained his breath and looked at them. He saw the knife on the ground, the one which a girl wanted to use. He grabbed and went to the big guy again. He wasn’t completely unconscious. Bruce made him roll on his back crouched at his side and put the knife right under his throat. Of course he wouldn’t kill him, but that would remind him he shouldn’t try anything.

“What the hell was that about?”

The man coughed: “We…We wanted to…To impress them.”

“Who?” He knew the answer already.

“The Valeska twins…We wanted to…Gain their favor.” He coughed again. “We know they want you. We didn’t want to kill you, you were a gift for them…”

“And you decided to take me away like that to...Offer me to the twins?”

“Last night, we saw you. The others in the club didn’t recognize you, but we did. We…Saw they wanted to keep you…We heard you like that Kyle thief. So we used that.”

Of course...He looked at the guy with hatred: “You wanted to hand me as a gift? You’ll see what kind of gift I am!”

He punched him with his iron fist hard, making him pass out. He wasn’t so surprised. Something a bit like that had happened in the past already: a bunch of their followers had captured him along with Jeremiah (although Jeremiah was faking it), and had brought him to Jerome who decided to tie him to Gotham’s clock-tower and make him blow up along with it. It had been a big surprise for the redhead when he had managed to undo his bonds and open up the way for Jim Gordon and the bomb squad. 

He walked away and knew one thing: he would definitely return to the club. If the twins wanted him so badly that their followers would go to such lengths, then…Then he had something to manipulate them.

He thought of returning to the underground club. He hadn’t told the police where they were, they would find another place anyway, he knew how bad the GCPD was at keeping criminals. But if he allowed them to stay where they were, then it meant he would know where to find them whenever he would need to spy or try something. It could be a trail to lead to their real lair.

That’s when it hit him. Maybe he should have let those guys capture him! Maybe he would have been led to their crib? But well, that wasn’t certain. Maybe they would have met the twins in the club or in another place. No, that would have been too unsure. He had to discover that by himself.

Night was falling when he returned to where the club was and decided to squat the surroundings, the rooftops especially. He had to memorize everything, the best ways to circulate above the ground, the different establishment and all. He had built himself some memory palace, and knew by heart a lot of places in different parts of Gotham. If the twins would come in a regular way into the club, their lair was probably around. He didn’t see them come in, maybe there was another entrance? It didn’t seem so, he hadn’t seen one. Maybe they were already in? Maybe they weren’t in here tonight? Well, the best way was to see for himself.

When he came into the club, he drew no attention from the crowd; people only noticed his clothing was sparser and simpler than everyone else’s. Soon enough, someone spotted him. Jeremiah was here, talking with some of the guys who would work with him on their projects. When he saw Bruce in here, he wanted nothing but cut their conversation short.

The teen saw him as well, but didn’t go to him immediately. A few people were already ogling him, one guy in particular, a teen as well. Bruce raised his chin and walked toward him, slowly taking off his leather jacket and putting it on the nearest chair, his eyes never leaving the guy. The teen seemed turned on by Bruce’s behavior, and weirdly, the fact he was able to make a stranger feel like this was kinda exciting. He started to dance with the guy, actually enjoying this quite a bit, even though he never stopped thinking about his mission. In fact, this was the first step to accomplish what he wanted.

From the counter, Jeremiah watched them.

Bruce Wayne…tall and lean, raven hair and that face…Not perfect, but still handsome, ravishing even. Something in the expression of his eyes was especially endearing...His appearance was attractive but this inner darkness in him was what really made him irresistible, as long as that dangerous strength. It would make Jeremiah yearn for him violently. Jerome craved it too, he knew. He was dancing with some other kids of his age, wearing a black Metal-style shirt, dark jeans and God was he gorgeous like that! He kept looking at him and Bruce’s gaze fell on him. His smile faltered and his expression darkened. He continued to dance for a bit with the other guy, though, and Jeremiah wondered what the hell he was doing, yet he couldn’t help but continue to look at him. He realized it had been a while since he had seen Bruce dancing, since he had seen him being a bit wild. It was a beautiful sight, and yet…Jealousy stirred him, there was something electric between him and the guy. It was only some stupid twink, Jeremiah wanted to rip him apart. Maybe he would.

Before Jeremiah went to actually stab the guy in the middle of the floor, Bruce stopped and turned away from the dancer who looked so disappointed it could have been funny. He advanced toward Jeremiah slowly, and the redhead allowed him to come, wondering what he was going to do. He held himself from gripping the boy when he was close. He had to look collected, even if he wasn’t. His mouth was dry, and a weird shiver ran through him. But now, that wasn’t new with Bruce.

“Still lurking around?” The boy insolently asked.

“We owe that place. You’re the one who came lurking around, Bruce.” He leaned back a little against the counter, inviting him to lean toward him. Bruce took a little step back instead. Jeremiah couldn’t help but tighten his jaw at this. The boy gave a smug grin.

“Doesn’t seem like it bothers you.”

Hell, he just had to lean forward a bit and he could grab him! He didn’t want him to take any further distance. But no, he knew what Bruce was trying to do. “Luckily for you. I could have you killed otherwise.”

At this, the young boy approached closely, until their bodies were merely an inch apart. He tilted his head slightly, and for a second, Jeremiah thought he was about to kiss him.

“You have no wish to kill me. And you know it,” Bruce murmured.

Damn! That kid knew how to play with him! He would have given up if it wasn’t for his damn pride. With that, Bruce backed away but Jeremiah grabbed his arm. “Where do you think you’re going? You think you can leave like that?”

“You speak like your brother sometimes. Especially when you’re turned on.”

Jeremiah took a shaky breath, nodded a bit and licked his lips. “You turn me on indeed. Now, let me ask you something: how do you think this will end? You’re here, turning on a guy who happens to be a dangerous criminal. That seems like a stupid thing to do. In fact, some could call you naïve to think this could have a safe issue.”

Bruce’s face changed a little and a bit of wariness passed through his eyes until he took hold of himself. “I’m not here to play safe. You know that had never been my thing. But there was something I had to ask: did you know some of your followers wanted to kidnap me?”

“What?” He seemed genuinely confused at this.

“They basically wanted to impress you by handing me as a gift to you and your brother.”

A creepy grin appeared on Jeremiah’s face: “And how is it you’re not here tied up and gagged.” The idea was enticing the redhead.

“Try to guess.”

Jeremiah giggled and was about to say something when his attention was drawn by something else behind the teen. Bruce turned round to see Jerome advancing toward them. The young man swirled round in a swift dance move, hugely smirking at the sight of them.

“Ah, but what a nice surprise! I didn’t hope to see our little stray back so soon!” With that he ran the tip of his fingers over the boy’s neck but Bruce swatted his hand away. Jerome giggled at this, very much like Jeremiah did earlier. “My, my, you do look nice dressed like that. A bit too dark, maybe.”

“Don’t expect me to wear one of your flashy outfits.”

“Nah, dark colors fit you much better.”

“I think Bruce came back for more fun,” Jeremiah pointed out, “I might have an idea for that.”

“What do you propose?”

 

“Truth or Dare? And remember: each time you lie, I’ll know it. The one who’ll lie or fail at his dares will take a drink. If he wins, the two other will take a vodka shot.”

 

“Fine. But remember, if you try to fool me, I’ll know as well.” Bruce knew it was risky, but it was an occasion to learn more. Strangely, he knew the twins could actually play along for real. Because it was all a game to them, and a game you couldn’t lose had no edge, no thrill. None of them were fooling themselves: the twins knew what Bruce was doing, and Bruce knew they were aware of it.

 

They ordered a bottle of Vodka and from the barman who replacing Jeri while she was singing on stage. Three empty glasses were served along and Jerome filled those already.

 

“Since I came up with the idea, I’ll take the first turn: Bruce, truth or dare?” Asked Jeremiah

 

“Dare.”

 

“Oh, that’s a risky one! Fine…Something smooth for now…Or not. Try to beat down Barney.”

 

“Not bad, bro.”

 

“Barney?”

 

It was a guy who was here almost every night, and one of the rooms was almost reserved for him and the entertainment/challenge he proposed. He was a tall and very muscular guy, a boxer, and he was challenging anyone to beat him, anyone who could that in less than two minutes would be offered free drinks for the rest of the evening. A lot of bets would revolve around that, and a lot would try. When Bruce entered, Barney was just finishing to beat a guy off. He was indeed tall, with broad shoulders and abs. A lot of grown men would have looked small in comparison. Bruce knew how to beat a bigger guy. He wouldn’t outlast him as Alfred taught him, though.

 

“Weapons are allowed?”

 

“No guns or blades. Knuckles you can, if you got some. But let me tell you that it won’t bother him much.”

 

The boy didn’t answer, he didn’t have knuckles, but that would be a good occasion to test that little chain he got in a real fight.. When Bruce announced he would be next for the challenge, some people laughed, especially Barney, but he presented himself anyway.

 

“Well, sorry kid, but you asked for it!”

 

Barney tried to punch him twice but Bruce dodged and swiftly undid his chain. He sent it in Barney’s face, making him yelp in surprise. Bruce made the chain roll around his fist and punched him in the ribs.

 

He would need to do more than that though. He dodged two other blows but took a punch in the guts. Bending over, he just had the time to jump aside not to get attacked again. He elbowed Barney in the jaw and kicked his side. The man lunged at him and grabbed Bruce’s arm. He was about to twit it, but the teen reacted first. With his free arm, he sent a quick blow to Barney’s throat. Precise and quick.

 

The man chocked and bent over slightly. That was enough for Bruce to free his arm and slap both his ears as hard as possible. The big pile of muscles started to fall and one hard kick in the face was all it took to send him down on the ground. Everyone was baffled except for the twins and one guy yelled joyfully. He was the only one who bet on Bruce’s victory, pretty sure there was a trick. Bruce just smiled in satisfaction, he couldn’t help it, the sight of everyone’s face was actually a contenting sight. The guy who bet on him thanked him three times in a row.

 

“Alright, that was pretty impressive,” Jerome admitted while taking his first shot of Vodka along with his brother.  

 

“Especially designed to be taken off quickly…” Jeremiah observed while Bruce was putting the chain back on its magnets. “Simple but efficient.”

 

“Jeremiah, truth or dare?” Asked Bruce

 

“Truth.”

 

“What is it you’re working on?”

 

“Ha, straight to the matter! A new virus.”

 

Jerome and Bruce both took a shot. “Informatic virus or an actual disease?”

 

“Only one question, Bruce. Now, Jerome, Truth or Dare?”

 

“For you, brother, I’ll choose truth.”

 

Jeremiah didn’t hesitate: “Where did you hide my new book?”

 

“In the freezer. Now, Bruce…”

 

“You seriously hid his book in the freezer?” This was stupid, but Bruce couldn’t help asking.

 

“Yes, he wouldn’t look in there! Now, truth or dare?”

 

“Dare.” Jerome smirked, he had hoped Bruce would ask for that; he leaned a bit closer: “Kiss another guy. One who would be willing, and not a small kiss, a real French kiss.”

 

“Seriously, it’s like you’re reading my mind, Jerome,” Jeremiah declared.

 

Bruce had a little smile: “Okay.” They probably thought that he would be very hesitant, blushing and scared to do such a thing. And they might have imagined he would kiss one of them, not daring to go on the dance floor. Well, they were wrong, in fact, he wondered how it would feel to tease them like this.

 

He walked to the crowd. The dude he had been dancing with was still here, and he took a new look at Bruce when he approached. The teen walked to him, looking straight at the stranger. With a seductive little smile, Bruce came at his level and started to move slowly along with him, and didn’t wait before putting his hands on his hips. The boy smiled delightfully and they leaned closer; the boy embraced Bruce who started to feel really aroused. That guy didn’t look bad at all, and the sexual tension was making him forget his problems a bit, he could just focus on what he wanted. He didn’t wait and took the next step. He kissed him greedily, and the two embraced each other tightly. Bruce gripped his hair, holding his head in place while the boy put his hand on Bruce’s lower back, grinding very slightly against his body.

 

Bruce broke the kiss and left him, even though the boy tried to hold him back. He went back to the brothers with a smug smile. They both seemed like they enjoyed it, but he guessed they were disappointed as well, because he chose someone else. They both drank vodka silently.

 

“Truth or dare?” Asked the boy to Jeremiah, turning his back to Jerome in the process.

 

“Truth.”

 

“What kind of virus are you working on?”

 

“A biologic one. I will stop playing if you don’t make Jerome play a bit more, though.”

 

“That’s kind of you to think of me, Miah!”

 

“Twins should always share. You know, Bruce, we are really used to share, it doesn’t bother us at all.”

 

The boy snorted and drank his shot. “I know. Your turn to play, Jeremiah.”

 

The twin stopped looking at him and looked at Jerome who was still behind Bruce.

 

“Truth or dare, bro?”

 

“Dare; truth is quickly boring to me.”

 

“Okay…Go on stage and sing something to us!”

 

This made Jerome laugh. Jeremiah had learned to loosen up over the years! This made Bruce sigh, he wondered whether or not the twins were trying patience. He was here for answers and they knew it. Or maybe they just didn’t care and wanted to have fun. He felt Jeremiah’s hand over his shoulder. The redhead leaned toward him and spoke in his ear.

 

“You know he can actually sing very well. Have you ever heard him sing? You must know it’s all for you. He doesn’t really care about anyone but you and me. And right now, you’re the only one he wants to impress.”

 

“He wants to impress everyone, don’t try to fool me.”

 

“Please, Bruce, watch the crowd when he gets on stage. His simple presence is enough to make them go cuckoo!”

 

As Jerome stepped on stage and asked a song to the musicians, the crowd was already cheering, gathering around the stage, while Jerome opened his arms wide, with a huge grin. He was indeed a star among his fans. When he started to sing, they all continued to cheer and started to dance.

 

You don't know that I know
You watch me every night
And I just can't resist the urge
To stand here in the light
Your greedy eyes upon me
And then I come undone
And I could close the curtain
But this is too much fun

I get off on you
Getting off on me
Give you what you want
But nothing is for free
It's a give and take
Kind of love we make
When the line is crossed
I get off!
I get off…

 

At this, Bruce couldn’t help but shift a bit, and Jeremiah’s arm sneaked around his shoulders, gripping him tightly. Jerome was entertaining the whole audience, but Bruce could see his eyes often falling upon him. He knew Jeremiah was right: this was for him. He had to admit it, Jerome had a good voice. Sexual tension grew in the club as Jerome was singing, people who were already clingy were now shamelessly making out, Bruce even saw some hooking up against the walls.

 

Jerome was dancing while singing, his moves swift and fluid, energic and sensual. Yeah, hadn’t he been a criminal, he could have been a fantastic performer.

 

I get off on you
Getting off on me
Give you what you want
But nothing is for free
It's a give and take
Kind of love we make
When the line is crossed
I get off!

Yeah I get off!

 

Yeah, I get off!

 

When Jerome returned to them, he went at Jeremiah’s side and looked at Bruce straight in the eyes: “Truth or Dare?”

 

“Truth.”

 

Jerome seemed disappointed but then grinned: “Are single or do you have someone?”

 

“Single. Why does my love life interest you?”

 

“It’s obvious why. I want to know if there is a bitch or a twink we should kill. I could have asked for your plans, but we all know you’re trying to stop us.”

 

“Well, you got your answer. I’m actually surprised you didn’t stalk me again to know that. But then now, you seem to spend your entire day here.”

 

“Oh Brucie, we don’t. But don’t expect I’ll suddenly tell you about every place we visit.”

 

Suddenly, in spite of the alcohol starting to take a toll on him, Bruce realized something. Something important: if he hadn’t seen the twin enters, it meant they came in a way he couldn’t see from the outside, and maybe, maybe their lair was actually in that very same building. Or at least, it was linked to it in some ways. Now he had to get away from here.

 

“My turn: Jerome, truth or dare.”

 

“Dare. I’m curious to know what you’ll ask me to do.”

 

“Very simple: Start a bar fight.”

 

“Please, that’s already done.”

 

Jerome took the closest bottle and smashed it on a guy’s head, laughing crazily before yelling: “BAR FIGHT!” The people in here hardly needed more than that. Even more chaos was on as pretty much everyone started to fight. Bruce took that occasion and started to get away when an arm caught him. He punched whoever held him and saw Jeremiah; He punched him again but in the chest and kicked him away toward a group of people who were almost piling on each others. He elbowed, punched and kicked his way out but finally got to the rooftop.

 

He couldn’t help but smile at what just happened. This had been weird…But he got weirder days. Now the next step was simple and complicated as well: finding their lair.

Chapter Text

Failing at something wasn’t pleasant, no. Failing twice was even worse. And yesterday had been the second time Jeremiah and Jerome failed to get Bruce Wayne. Now, sure they toyed around a lot, but Jeremiah didn’t expect him to leave that soon, he thought Bruce would stay longer, until he found something bigger. It wasn’t like the teen to go and leave like that without a good reason. But obviously, Bruce had found more than expected. Didn’t matter, he would come back.

“Still not ready?”

He rolled his eyes as Jerome asked him that annoying question: “Told you already, it takes time to create a new chemical virus.”

“I thought a genius like you would make that in a clasp.”

“Well, even geniuses needs times when it come to some things. Did you have a sample for me by the way?”

“Of course I do.”

The sample was some poor dude Jerome picked up and kidnapped. Why experimenting on mice and rats when you could use real people? And at least it was giving him some entertainment while Jeremiah was preparing this. Oh, it hadn’t been his only activity, he had also made sure some little punks and gangs around would remember this was their territory. He also got something on the way. Oh, am I stupid! I got to put it in the fridge!

He almost ran to his bag and put his little trophy in the fridge. Jeremiah frowned while seeing this.

“What is it?”

“A gift for Bruce.”

“I see…Not sure he’ll like it, but he can be surprising. Do you know where he is?” Asked Jeremiah, still looking at what he was doing.

“Nah, I got someone to watch the manor but he didn’t come back there after last night,” Jerome declared.

“He could be lurking around.”

“That would be good. I like to imagine him searching for us.”

Jeremiah smiled as hugely as Jerome. He could understand. “Who scare him the most?” Asked Jerome. “You or me?”

“Both of us or neither. I don’t know. As long as he fears us indeed, it’s all that matter. Not too much, it wouldn’t be fun otherwise, but just a bit.”

Jerome agreed with that. Whenever he could see some fear in the teen’s eyes, he would be hungry. He often explored some fantasies where Bruce would be tied while he and Jeremiah would be able to do whatever they wanted with him. In those dreams, Bruce would always be defiant with a twinge of fear…

His phone rang, taking him out of his thoughts. It was Jeri.

“Hey, kiddo!”

Boss, a certain someone came over and left a message for you.”

“A certain someone?”

A brunet, I guess you know who I mean?

“I’m coming up.”

She would have brought the message directly to him in other circumstances, but she wasn’t allowed in there lair. No one was, there had been very few exceptions to that. He was pretty surprised no one tried to hold him prisoner, though. But he guessed the teen probably made himself a reputation after beating not only some of his followers but also Barney. And there had been that time with the light grenade. He looked around but didn’t see Bruce, Jeri gave him an envelope and he was very intrigued while opening it. There was one simple message:

Wanna play? Come and find me. Bruce

Jerome blinked several times. That was seriously Bruce who wrote that? He showed it to Jeremiah who was stunned.

“Hell…Seems like he enjoy toying around after all…That doesn’t really sound like him…”

“Yeah, he is usually more straightforward, more serious…”

“He was playing yesterday, after all he accepted that drinking game.”

But it wasn’t the same as initiating something. Both twins were suspicious, it was surely a trap, but on the other hand, leaving such an occasion would nag them to death. Jeremiah hated that, but he couldn’t come with Jerome, someone had to stay back, just in case. His twin left, and it didn’t take much time to find him. Bruce seemed fond of heights, he would often run there, he would probably be on some roof.

Jerome climbed the staircase and indeed found the teen standing on the edge. He smiled hugely, he always would whenever he was around. He was dressed in black leather, his hair without gel; Jerome loved it whenever he would wear leather and when his hair wouldn’t be neatly done, with the wind messing it. This, this was the best kind of looks for Bruce, it just allowed wilder nature to show. Now, he was really looking forward to this.

“Ooooh Brucie! What’s on your mind this time?”

The teen turned his head to him. After their last conversation, Bruce had understood their lair was probably in the same building and after some investigation, he had a hint on where it could be. Yet he had to make sure both twins were away from it before checking that out. And for that, he had enrolled Selina’s help; In spite of their last argument, he knew he could rely on her.

“You were quicker than I thought to find me.”

“I know you better than you think,” the redhead answered, walking toward him while watching out for any kind of traps. “I know what you like, what you hate, and how you think.”

I know what you want as well, Jerome. “You still have much to discover about me. Where is Jeremiah?”

“Why?”

“I couldn’t beat the two of you,” he pretexted. “I want a second chance at it.”

Jerome giggled. “Come on, Bruce. You want more than that. You want to capture us and be a little hero.”

“Wow, what a fine deduction,” Bruce sneered. “Of course I want to give you to the cops, since when did I deny that?”

Jerome huffed but he had to admit he got a point. Bruce came closer. “Did you think I would come for your pretty eyes?”

“You think my eyes are pretty?”

Jerome suddenly received a punch in the right eye and just had time to dodge the second blow.

“They would look much better like this!”

Jerome burst into laughter and the two rushed at each other. Bruce undid his chain and sent it at Jerome who dodged. Bruce made the chain roll around his fist.

“Ah, that little new trick! I’m pretty excited to get a taste!”

The teen fought fiercely, he had to get Jerome down as quickly as possible. If Jeremiah wasn’t here, then it meant he was probably inside the building, and then, Selina would cross him when she wasn’t expecting it.

After one missed punch, Jerome roughly grabbed his arm and twisted it behind Bruce back. The teen grunted. Damn! Thinking of Selina had made him lost his focus! Jerome leaned against his captive, grinning at the feeling f Bruce’s dark hair against his own cheek.

“Caught you!”

Bruce bended over and sent his skull back violently. Jerome’s head snapped back and Bruce freed himself of his hold.

“Not for long!”

On big punch from the chained fist hit Jerome.

O o O

Sneaking in the building, Selina swiftly reached the underground floors. She hoped Bruce was doing okay; fighting against Jerome Valeska was a dangerous idea. But now, it wouldn’t be their first dance. She understood why Bruce preferred to find their lair and the virus before calling the cops, Gordon could be smart but most of the GCPD would just screw everything over. She didn’t want to be involved into his hero plan at first, but then she had to admit this virus could kill anyone, and it was indeed an urgent matter.

She remembered what Bruce told her: he believed he had found what could be the entrance of their lair in the underground floors. He had inspected the building before calling her, but had been forced to leave to avoid attracting unwanted attention. Indeed, she could now see it, the supposed hidden entrance. Jeremiah Valeska was one clever dude, she had to admit it. And she wouldn’t admit it, but Bruce was also clever as well for figuring it out, cause she could have missed it! Just like she wouldn’t admit she was sorry for the last time they saw each other and how they argued…

No time for this. Let’s focus.

It was behind a fake electrical panel locker. Well the locker was real, but faint traces on the ground showed it was opened on a regular basis, much more regular. That’s how Bruce had found it. She managed to pick the lock with ore difficulty than expected and instead of an electrical panel was another door. Picking it wasn’t easy either but she wasn’t the kind to let a lock get the best of her. She held her breath as she stepped in.

She was silent as always and she couldn’t but look around. She shouldn’t have been surprised but the place was incredibly messy. Stuff such as scientific tools, weapons, clothes, papers and all were thrown around together, strange words were all over the walls, written maybe in blood, and she actually froze when she saw Bruce’s name. Hell, there were some pictures of him on the walls, as well as articles about his parents’ death and every times he had been taken hostage or confronted by Jerome or Jeremiah. Creepy…

There was something almost schizophrenic in there. But maybe that was the presence of two strong and very different personalities such as Jerome and Jeremiah. Bruce told her that in spite of his nerdy and shy look, Jeremiah was maybe even more dominant than his brother. She hadn’t interacted with him in the past, but everything she heard about him tended to prove Bruce right.

She had to go now. She wouldn’t be able to find any virus in here, at least they were sure this was the right place…

“Selina, am I right?”

She jumped in surprise and saw red hair and glasses. And a gun. Shit! Jeremiah. He positioned himself face to the door, so even if she rushed, he would have the time to shoot.

“How do you know my name?”

“Do you really need to ask? Because of Bruce. Otherwise, you’re hardly anything interesting.”

She huffed, but those words actually hurt, not that she cared about what the twins thought of her, but because of some unwanted feelings and memories. Doesn’t matter, focus on the gun, you have to get out! She had to take a chance and make it to that door…She heard footsteps and saw someone coming from behind. A big guy with a gun too appeared in the frame. Shit, now she was really trapped.

“Do we kill her now, boss?”

“Not right now,” Jeremiah quickly replied before looking at her again. “How did you find us? I guess you’re here because of Bruce, that’s obvious, but how did you find that place?”

“Maybe you’re not as clever as you think.”

“Unlike girls like you, I never make the mistake to overestimate myself. I know there is always a possibility of failing somewhere, I kinda enjoy it and I learn from it.”

He was also arrogant, and arrogant people liked to talk, to show off a bit. She knew it, she made that mistake sometimes. And Bruce, Bruce was his obsession.

“You will probably not be surprised to know it’s thanks to Bruce. He seems to know you well enough.”

Suddenly, a shot echoed and both her and the man behind jumped in surprise. The bullet had hit the floor right beside her foot. She kept her cold blood, she was used to danger but she knew she quickly had to find a solution. She had to gain time for now.

“That doesn’t answer my question. How did you or Bruce find our lair?”

“…He noticed the locker was getting open more than the others thanks to traces.”

Jeremiah grinned slightly.

“I should have known he would figure out…”

“Which one is gonna have him?” Asked she in a hurry before he could shoot again.

Intrigued, he titled his head to the side: “What?”

“Your brother wants him too. Don’t you think he will want him for himself? Unless you’re the one plotting to get rid of Jerome?”

“Oh, but that could be a smart move, Selina! Smart, but too classic. Do you know how many people tried to get Jerome and I to hate each other over something? A lot. In fact, some did exactly that: using Bruce as a argument. But that never worked.”

He took a step closer. Still not close enough and the man behind would shoot her anyway. He went on: “I know you were abandoned by your mother, you poor little thingy,” he taunted. “And I guess growing up completely unloved and being unable to keep anyone at your side made you believe that no relationship of any kind is strong enough to resist the rest of the world. By the way, is that why you never had anything official with Bruce? Or is it because underneath that prideful façade you perfectly know you’re worthless and that Bruce is way too good for you, Selina?”

She wanted nothing but tear him down, physically and mentally. Then why couldn’t she find anything to answer? Why did it hurt so much?

“Let me enlighten you: having a twin makes things very different. Our mother didn’t love us, just like a lot of people. But we had each other. And we learned to share without jealousy. We both crave Bruce, Selina. And I want Jerome to enjoy him as much as I do, in fact, I wouldn’t be as happy if my brother couldn’t understand why I desire him so much. Therefore, only death can separate us, not the words of a stupid little girl.”

“Well, at least Bruce wanted me as his girlfriend. He will never want you.”

This made his face twitch. “Never say never. But from what you just said, I indeed have all reasons to kill you…”

BAM!

Selina and Jeremiah were both stunned. A big blow by behind pushed the big man forward and he could hardly stay on his feet as Bruce lunged at him. Bruce! Quickly, Selina grabbed her whip. Jeremiah was still taken aback at that sudden arrival. She sent the weapon at his arm, and the gun almost jumped out of his hands. She sent her whip again and Jeremiah just had the time to dodge that. As Bruce was kicking and punching the big guy, she attacked the redhead. He went back for his gun but she whipped him and grabbed the weapon before he could. She struck him hard with the barrel, making slump on the ground.Sshe heard a big BUMP beside her. She feared for Bruce but saw Jeremiah’s goon sliding against the wall, unconscious. Her friend was slightly hurt but overall okay.

“Are you okay? I was scared when Jerome came alone.”

“Yeah, we have to get out…”

“Oh I don’t think so…”

There, Jerome was standing with a gun, his temple bleeding. Jerome! He had left him handcuffed on the roof! As if he could read his thoughts, Jerome laughed: “Oh please, I can deal with handcuffs too!”

Bruce stepped in front of Selina, maybe Jerome would not shoot him but he would kill her. Two of Jerome’s goon emerged and threatened them as well. Jerome went to them, his smile still huge.

“Let go of the gun, girl. You might hurt yourself with that.”

She didn’t want to do that, but she had no choice, she wasn’t ready to shoot while their three opponents were. She let it fall on the ground.

“Good, now hands up!”

They reluctantly obeyed. One of the goons placed himself right behind her, threatening her directly. Bruce couldn’t protect her from everyone anymore. Jeremiah started to get up as well. Jerome helped him on his feet, his gun still pointed at them.

“You know Brucie, I actually intended to use something on you, but you beat me up before I could.”

“Let Selina go, this is between us.”

“You involved her, Bruce,” Jeremiah reminded him while getting his gun back.

“I’ll do what you want as long as you let her leave safe and sane.”

Now this seemed to entice the redhead a lot. He titled his head and got closer to Bruce before grabbing his neck. “What we want? Well, first of all, don’t move.”

With those words, Jerome suddenly planted a syringe in Bruce’s neck, startling him. “Shh! Not a move, remember! Don’t worry,” he declared as Bruce started to swoon. “You’ll just have a little sleep.”

“Why are you doing this?” Selina yelled.

“Shut up! Guys, keep her alive, we will have some use for her. You can be rough if you want, though.”

Selina was hit on the head by one of the goons and they both threw themselves at her while Jeremiah and Jerome were taking Bruce away. She was a good fighter but those two were well-trained, and she was knocked out.

O o O

When Bruce woke up, his first thought was: why am I so nauseous? What’s on my mouth? Where am I? And…His arms were sore and up. Wait…He opened his eyes and saw he was in a room with dim lights and he was tied by the arms to…He steadied himself on his feet and looked up to see his wrists tied by a rope to a hook in the ceiling.

Everything came back in his mind and he froze in fear: Selina! What happened to her?! He wanted to talk but something was on his lips: tape. Hell, he was tapped and tied somewhere and Selina was God knows where, maybe dead…No, if the twins were smart, they would keep her captive to have leverage on him, right? Or, if they wanted to kill her, they would make sure he would see it, they would make it special. In that case, she was still alive. His mind was still a bit foggy but he did his best to think straight.

Observe, where are you? That room wasn’t very big, and it was weirdly neat. He saw a table with knives, razors, syringes, a crop, tape, a hammer…And below it was a barrel of gasoline. God know what happened in that room! Next to it was a stereo, apparently, whatever they were doing, the twins would do it in music. Weirdly, he wasn’t surprised.

He remembered what one of them said the night Jerome took him to the club for the first time: How about we lock him in the basement? You’ll like it Bruce, it’s full of tools! So it was this room…Was he still in the same building as Selina? He hoped so. He took deep breath, the effects of the drug slowly passing away. He was regaining all his senses now.

The door opened and he saw the twins enter, Jeremiah happy but collected and Jerome smiling hugely.

“I waited so loooong for that day, didn’t you, Miah?”

“You know I did. Look at him, doesn’t he look great like that? How about some music?”

“I have a special playlist,” Jerome put it on the stereo while Jeremiah grazed the leather of Bruce’s jacket before going to the table. The song Sweet Dreams started.

Sweet dreams are made of this 
Who am I to disagree ? 
I travel the world and the seven seas 
Everybody' s looking for something 

Jerome started humming while grabbing a knife too. “I don’t know about you, but I always loved that song. It just doesn’t age.”

“Oh yes, it has something to it. Some creepiness under the catchy music. And it is sensual…”

Some of them want to use you 
Some of them want to get used by you 
Some of them want to abuse you 
Some of them want to be abused 

With a satisfied little smirk, Jeremiah stood before Bruce who gave him a deadly look. But behind it, he could see fear.

“Sensual…That’s the word…Not super sexual like all those lazy songs of today…It’s more subtle…” Jerome murmured.

Jeremiah stepped away to let him approach Bruce’s face; the boy wanted to yell at him but he couldn’t. The tape over his mouth felt almost smothering. Slowly, Jerome slid a hand behind Bruce’s head and hold it in place. He gently kissed the tape, pressing his lips through it. He suddenly yelped in pain and backed away as Bruce kicked him away hard. Jeremiah laughed.

“Seems like you went a bit too far!”

“Why? It’s not as if he couldn’t see it coming, is it?”

He slapped him hard, making Bruce’s head snap to the side. The sound made both brothers smirk. Bruce shot daggers at them.

“Maybe you should remember we have that annoying little pest you call a friend, Bruce. She is still alive and relatively unscathed. Make sure she remains as such.”

Strangely, he was pretty sure that wasn’t a lie. He jumped in surprise as he felt Jeremiah’s cold fingers in his neck. He shifted to escape the touch, making Jeremiah grin.

“Being tied makes everyone nervous. You see, he can hardly handle being touched. When you think he was so willing with that guy last night!” The hint of jealousy was obvious. “You know what would make him even more nervous?”

“Go ahead.”

Jeremiah went to search for something and Jerome’s let the tip of his fingers run over Bruce’s bound arm, caressing the leather. It wasn’t much, really, but that kind of teasing just meant something. He tried to move those to get away once more. This made Jerome giggle.

“Seeing you tied really was a fetish of mine, you know.” He took a step away. “I want that image to stay in my mind for a long time. You’re just perfect like this…That black leather, those bonds, that fire in your eyes…” He actually looked serious and even entranced. “You look like some trapped demon.”

Bruce rolled his eyes, but hell, if he wanted him to be a demon, he would be! He had to free himself, one way or another. And after that, he had to make sure they couldn’t contact the goons holding Selina. He would have to play it subtly. But once again, he knew what they wanted…Jeremiah came back with a long piece of cloth.

“How do you think he’ll react being blindfolded?”

“Oh dear, that’s gonna be fun. Be my guest, you got the idea, after all.”

With a little grin, Jeremiah slowly tied the cloth, pressing his body against his prisoner. Bruce tensed at this. Now he was blinded, he wouldn’t even be able to see what was going at him! He couldn’t even speak to try to get out of this! He was entirely powerless, and God he hated that!

The feeling of a cold blade against his neck made him cringe. It was merely brushing just like Jerome’s fingers earlier. “How much can I cut there without killing him?”

“You just have to avoid the big veins right here,” Jeremiah explained. “Don’t cut much, though. I don’t want his neck to be damaged, it’s beautiful.”

“I’ll try to do that well, he shouldn’t even have a scar.” He leaned closer to Bruce’s ear and whispered: “but that’s not guaranteed. Don’t move.”

Slowly, he made the blade run over his neck until Jeremiah put his finger on a particular spot. “There, you can cut there.”

Brue took a deep breath, bracing himself. He could feel their eyes on him, and he hated that. He tried not to wince when the blade started to cut. It stung more than anything, he knew it wouldn’t be a deep cut indeed. They don’t want to kill me, it’s just one of their sick games. I got to keep level-headed, it’s alright, I’ll be fine. He felt a breathing against his neck and something wet against his new wound. He forced himself to stay stoic as one of the twins licked the blood away. One hand went on his waist.

“Maybe we should take off that jacket and his shirt,” Jerome suggested

“We can’t take it off with his hands tied. Unless…”

Jeremiah took the knife from his brother’s hands and went to cut through. Bruce stiffened as he understood what was going on. Suddenly Jerome stopped him.

“Not the jacket, I love it on him.” He swiftly opened the leather and revealed the simple tee-shirt Bruce was wearing under it. “That you can cut. No kick, Bruce, remember, or your dear girl will get injected with something nasty.”

He took another knife and proceeded to cut the shirt along with his brother. The song Sweet Dreams stopped and another one followed, After Dark. The slow, seductive tone felt extremely strange in comparison to what was happening. It seemed strange to Bruce at least. To both twin, it fitted perfectly. They cut the shirt to shreds, giving Bruce some small cuts in the process. Each time, the boy would tense; he was doing everything to remain unmoved by this but he couldn’t stop his body from shaking a bit at times. They cut the sleeves and the collar and the cloth fell on the ground, stained and ruined.

Jeremiah had to admit leaving his jacket was a good idea, it was sexier to have him wearing it open on his bare chest. “Much better…”

“Do we go with the pants as well?” Jerome asked. “We don’t have to cut those.”

Bruce tensed at this. Oh, no way he would let them do that nicely! Jeremiah tsked: “Nah, it’s too much for now. I want to take things slowly. And I like those pants on him.”

“You got a point. It’s the first time we see him bare chest, he is more muscular than he seems.”

“He is a fighter after all…”

“I want to try what you did earlier,” Jeremiah purred.

Jerome wasn’t sure what he meant, but he went behind Bruce, passed an arm around his waist, and let his knife slide under his jacket, grazing up Bruce’s spine. “Don’t try to kick my brother,” he whispered in his ear. “Or you’ll have your back covered in blood.”

He didn’t even nod in response. He didn’t want to give him that. He suddenly felt pain as a cut was made on his upper chest. Blood leaked down his chest and Jerome grinned as he saw Jeremiah leaning down slightly. A yelp emanated through the tape as Bruce felt Jeremiah’s tongue on his chest, going up the trail of blood languorously, feeling the taste of Bruce’s warm blood in his mouth. The tip of his tongue tasted the cut and slowly retreated back in his mouth.

Jeremiah suddenly ripped the tape off his mouth, allowing Bruce to take a full breath of air. In a single move, Jeremiah grabbed the back of Bruce’s head and kissed him, making the teen yelp. The iron taste invaded Bruce’s mouth as Jeremiah hungrily and tasted him, his lips devouring and sweet at the same time. He suddenly jerked back as teeth started to pierce through his tongue.

“Wow, right in time, you would have hurt me otherwise!”

“Do you want me to punish him?”

“If you want, but I would lie if I said this wasn’t worth it.”

“You knew I would bit you,” Bruce uttered now that he could finally speak.

“That’s what makes it fun,” Jerome claimed.

Jerome stepped before Bruce and Jeremiah let him do so. To be honest, he kinda envied Jeremiah for being the first to kiss Bruce but on the other hand, his twin had to kiss him. After sensually lapping the blood like this, not kissing Bruce wouldn’t have been right. Anyway, he would still kiss him too. He approached closely.

“I don’t give a damn if you bit me.”

He crashed his lips against Bruce’s too, pressing his body against his, not giving a damn about the blood staining his clothes. The redhead felt a shiver, he could still taste the blood and when Bruce sunk his teeth in his lips, Jerome retreated slightly, only to go back. The pain wasn’t an obstacle, not at all.

“You tasted your own blood, now you’ll taste mine,” he murmured against Bruce’s lips. His tongue went fully to met Bruce’s.

I know what they want.

His lips started to move along with Jerome, surprising both twins. Bruce returned the kiss passionately, his teeth teasing  Jerome’s lips, allowing him to taste even more blood. The redhead embraced him tighter, bending him slightly. Oh! Kissing Bruce was like kissing fire! He wanted more, his head turned slightly as Bruce smoothly teased Jerome’s upper lip between his own before nipping at those gently. The vertigo made him tremble as he retreated his head, still holding him tightly.

Jerome looked at him but he was still blindfolded. Before he could do it, Jeremiah took off the blindfold, knowing what his twin wanted. Jerome looked in those blue-grey eyes and saw fire and mischief. Oh, he perfectly knew what Bruce was doing, and he knew they would hardly resist it. Damn!

“So,” Bruce breathed out. “What else do you have?”

Chapter Text

Bruce perfectly knew he was in a bad situation but at least he could talk and look now. He knew he was playing a dangerous game, but he had to give them something, and more of all, show them he wasn't some passive toy if he didn't want to be used as such.

Jerome leaned toward him and whipped the small smears of blood around the teen's lips with his thumb before sucking it. Once Bruce's skin was cleaned from the blood, the teen approached Jerome's face, and kissed the bloodied lips once more, making Jerome's body go weak. Fuck, he had to control himself, he couldn't let Bruce play with him, the contrary was supposed to happen!

"I should really tape your mouth again."

Bruce murmured: "You realize that with my hands tied like that, I can only kiss you. Now, deprive yourself if you want."

"Sound like someone wants his hands untied," Jeremiah purred. "Well, that could be negociated. Apparently you're a good kisser."

He approached his lips from Bruce before stopping. "But…That won't be the only price."

He slowly kissed the teen, merely brushing his lips at first, Bruce equally responded, waiting for Jeremiah to actually yield and get what he wanted. He just breathed hotly against the redhead's lips, his mouth slightly open. Not able to hold on, Jeremiah deepened the kiss, and Bruce responded slowly, not giving everything to make his captor crave for more. Jeremiah suddenly embraced him, pressing their bodies together and pressuring the teen's lips for more. Bruce leaned toward him and his teeth teased his lips before kissing back as fully as Jeremiah did. He felt his captor's hand moving to his lower back and bit his lips in response, making Jeremiah yelp. Before the redhead could retreat, Bruce sucked his bleeding lip, tasting the blood.

They wanted some sick blood-play? Well, he would give them some! Weirdly, he liked that, tasting their blood reminded him he could hurt them, he was still a hunter. They broke the kiss and Bruce looked at Jeremiah's bleeding lip with a satisfied grin.

"You don't like it when you're the one bleeding. Your brother does."

"We don't have exactly the same kink, Bruce. For example, this is something I enjoy and Jerome doesn't…"

At those words, his hands went on the teen's neck, applying some pressure, and he looked down. He smirked and one of hand trailed down from Bruce's chest to his hip. Suddenly, he pulled on the chain Bruce used. He played with it in his hand and slowly, very slowly, passed it around Bruce's neck and suddenly tightened it around him. Bruce opened his mouth i a silent gasp and Jeremiah kissed him while half-chocking him. Bruce still responded to the kiss, even though his lungs hurt, it was distracting him from the pain. He teased Jeremiah's lips and started to control it, he was the one dominating, even though his captor initially wanted to make him weak. The chain around his neck finally loosened and Bruce took a big breath of air, his lips merely an inch apart from Jeremiah's.

"So that's what you like?"

"It's such a power to choke someone, Bruce," Jeremiah whispered before kissing the corner of his lip. "With a knife, you slice and the damages are done. But strangling…You can do it again and again and control everything as you wish."

"Sorry, but I prefer this…"

He tried to nip at Jeremiah who backed away, and a laughing and lusting Jerome kissed the teen's jaw with his blood-smeared lips. Suddenly, the teen's head plunged toward Jerome's neck and his teeth caught the skin, making the redhead gasp.

Jeremiah watched in fascination as Bruce bit Jerome's neck like some vampire: sensual but deadly. He liked blood, it seemed. His brother didn't try to get away, even though he clenched his teeth, he was enjoying this. Bruce sunk his teeth, pressuring the wound with his lips. He felt Jerome's hands on his hips. Strangely, he wasn't so scared anymore by the idea of something happening.

Jerome pulled himself away and his twin whistled at the sight of the wound. He wouldn't call that a hickey, it was more. He licked what remained of his blood on Bruce's lips.

"That was all delicious. But, well, that's only part of the price," Jerome reminded him.

"What else do you want?" Asked Bruce in a serious tone.

"Answers. We have some little questions, and you'll have to answer those, truthfully. You know? Like last night."

Bruce took a breath: "Go ahead."

Jeremiah passed the chain around his neck again, but with no pressure this time. It was merely a threat.

"What do you know about the virus?"

"Nothing except what you told me."

"How did you discover our lair?" Asked Jerome.

"…I knew you were in that building. Yesterday, I watched it for a long time and I never saw you coming in. Yet you told me you hadn't spent all your time here. So I considered the possibility of your lair being in the same building as the club. When I searched, I considered you would avoid windows, in order not to be seen."

"Not bad. I guess that's what led you to the locker."

"Exactly. But, why that place? What was it before?"

Jerome grazed his chest with the tips of his fingers. He swapped away some of the blood on it and licked his fingers clean. "It was actually an entire floors of flats. Not many flats, but still. We condemned every other entrances and only kept that one. Then, we…Made some works to redo the place. And we did the same in that one."

"What? Wait, so this isn't the same building?"

They both laughed at this, sending shivers in their prisoner's spine. Jeremiah passed a hand through Bruce's hair fondly before giving him a small kiss on the temple, deranging Bruce even more than any other kiss. "Bruce, did you seriously we would keep everything we have in one place only? Of course not."

"Jeremiah and I know by experience how everything can come and vanish quickly. And in case you told someone else where you went, we brought you here. And trust me, if the cops couldn't find our other lair, they won't find this one."

This scared Bruce to no end. God, this didn't just mean he was in an unknown place, this also meant Selina was God know where. How would he find her if he didn't know where he was himself? The ropes were becoming unbearable around his wrists.

"Where is Selina, then?"

Jerome smirked. "Now, Bruce, that's a question we can't answer right now, it would ruin the fun. You'll have to obtain it. But let's go back to our questions: except for that girl, does anyone know you're here?"

"No."

"You didn't even tell Alfred?"

He didn't even want to hear Alfred's name in their mouth. "No. I invented an excuse. He would have tried to hold me back otherwise." That was partly true. Alfred knew he wanted to find the twins, but he didn't tell him about what happened in the club. And he didn't tell him where he would go today. That had been a mistake, but he hadn't wanted Alfred involved. The twins almost killed him twice.

"So your friend is the only one who knew."

"Yes."

"You didn't tell the police about the virus?"

"No, I didn't tell."

Jeremiah seemed suspicious.

"Why not?"

"I wanted to tell them only when I would know where your lair was, when they wouldn't miss any information."

"They could have investigated."

"Please! You would have noticed them investigating and you would have done something drastic! Had thing worked out my way, Selina would have just left and called them. Then they would have come and done things in only one hit."

Jerome shrugged before stroking his neck. "You overestimated yourself a bit, Bruce. As capable as you are, you should have known we aren't that easy to take over."

"Maybe he doesn't remember that. Remember what he told us two nights ago? That we weren't able to do anything but run if we didn't have a gun or a bomb to threaten him!"

Indeed, that's what he told them. Jeremiah pointed the knife at him again, standing close, his breath stroking Bruce's face.

"Well, you still got me because you threatened me with a gun." He looked at him in the eyes with a hint of challenge. "And I'm still tied because you know I would escape otherwise."

Neither twin took the bait this time. Jeremiah whistled close to his lips, before backing away slightly: "That on wasn't subtle at all, Bruce. Well, what can I say, we both have our weapons. You have your fists, we have our guns. Why should we us anything else, if it's working?"

"We can still untie him, though. After all, he answered our questions and he won't leave like that, not now that we got that girl under threat," Jerome declared.

"Jerome…"

"Trust me, Miah. I'll make sure he won't go anywhere."

He started to undo the bond slowly and his body brushed against Bruce, his lips still bleeding. Before he could expect it, Bruce approached his face from his and licked the blood away, caressing Jerome lips with the tip of his tongue. He tasted the blood once more with a hypnotizing expression, his eyes such as those of a satisfied feline. Another vertigo invaded him, no one had ever been able to do that to him! And he certainly didn't expect Bruce to do something like that!

That sight also enticed Jeremiah, who struggled not to let his desire overcome him. Before Bruce was fully free, Jeremiah backed away, and went to the exit.

"Have your fun, I'll go back to work."

It was a relief to be finally free, Bruce slowly lowered his arms, his shoulders sore. Jerome embraced him and pressed the teen eagerly against him. His lips brushed his cheek and went to his ear.

"I'm addicted to you…"

He went down to his neck and started to kiss and nip it eagerly. Bruce's mouth opened at this, his breathing became shaky, a loud sigh escaped his lips, and his body tensed before softening again. Oh, that wasn't supposed to happen, and Jerome's satisfied huff was somehow unnerving. Yet…He gasped and tensed once more, and one of his hands went on his lower back, but not going too low. Jerome kissed the neck he almost sliced a few years ago, it was a failure he didn't regret. Having his lips and teeth cherish what his knife almost ravaged…That was driving him almost crazy.

Bruce's hands went on Jerome's hips and slid under his shirt. Jerome tensed too as the teen's fingers stroked up his body. Bruce's mouth went to his ear and teased it with his teeth. Jerome bit his neck with more ardor, and Bruce retaliated by thrusting his nails in his back. He managed to dig enough to feel the warm liquid against the tip of his fingers.

"Bruce…"

It came muffled as Jerome was still biting him with a huge grin. His captor released a shameless moan, and Bruce slowly let his head fall back, exposing his neck. He never thought he would do that with the murderous twins. He could slice his throat and weirdly, that close-death sensation was just thrilling. He didn't even know if the blood on his neck was his or Jerome's who would smear it with his bloodied lips all over his skin...

"Bit me harder."

A yelp of pain echoed throughout the room. Bruce's nails dug even deeper under the almost agonizing bite and he had to fight to remain on his feet as Jerome sucked his blood and held him in a death-like grip. He breathed in shakingly and scratched down Jerome's back slowly. His captor's teeth suddenly released his neck. One of his hand grabbed Bruce's face as he kissed him longingly. The teen immediately responded this time, eagerly, but it was nothing compared to Jerome's overwhelming hunger.

The redhead tried to push him down, and Bruce had the hardest time ever to straighten his too compliant body. He continued to kiss and hold Jerome while resisting. Jerome released his hold only to try to take off his jacket but Bruce pulled his wrists away and pushed Jerome before grabbing the redhead's face and kissing him again. The fury in his captor's eyes was striking, but he didn't stop Bruce from kissing him and held his face as well, almost painfully.

"I want you…" He breathed against Bruce's mouth.

"I know. But you won't get me like that."

He kissed him and pushed him roughly before taking a step back. This made the redhead laugh darkly, his eyes burning with lust and anger.

"Fuck you!" He growled at Bruce

"You wish."

This just made Jerome laugh more but more genuinely. "Feeling guilty? You can try to justify yourself anyway you want, Bruce, but you want me too."

He got closer to the teen. "Dare to tell me that it didn't cross your mind; that you didn't want to let that happen."

He didn't answer anything at first. Then, he just uttered: "If anything happens, I want to make sure it's worth it."

Jerome chuckled: "Of course, you wouldn't be able to look at yourself if you don't have a good excuse for shagging with us. But the enjoyment you'll feel…It will be very real."

"If you're able to make me feel such enjoyment. You're good at kissing, but we don't know about the rest."

"Sounds like a challenge…You know what? Fine. But you have to know that we will have you. You might leave that place, know what? We know you could escape, but I can guarantee you we'll get what we want before you do."

He grazed Bruce's cheek with more control this time.

"You know, I almost forgot, but I have a gift for you."

A gift? Jerome enjoyed the surprise over Bruce's face. The teen zipped up his jacket, not eager to walk around with his bloody chest uncovered. Jerome grabbed Bruce by the arm and put the knife under his neck.

"Remember: don't do anything stupid. One signal from Jeremiah or me will mean the death of poor Selina. We might add a few innocent citizen in the mix."

Selina's name made his stomach churl with guilt. What would she say? And Alfred? Gordon? But that was actually the reason why he had to buy time and make a plan. A reckless action could kill Selina.

Jerome took off the knife and released his arm. He suddenly straightened his stance and extended his arm: "Follow me, sir," he instructed in a butler-parody style. Bruce rolled his eyes and followed him.

Bruce saw that indeed the place used to be a floor of flats. The bearing walls had been kept, but some of the walls made of plasters had been destroyed, as well as some doors. The corridor they crossed obviously used to be the floor's corridor. There were no windows, Bruce knew that those kinds of places were generally built by mafia bosses, and were rented by those who would need to hide. The brothers obviously took possession of the place, but how? And from who?

Jerome led him toward a room where a bed was, things were written over the walls in different colors; it was just like their first lair. Yet there was something in that room, an atmosphere he couldn't quite grasp, weirdly disturbing, tormented but also vibrant. This was really Jerome's room, a mirror of him. There were pictures and newspaper over the walls along with the painted words. The door was suddenly closed and Bruce rushed at it, but he heard the key locking him.

"Now, Brucie, stay in here nicely, I'm getting your present!" Jerome declared at the other side of the door.

"Why are you locking me up?"

"Because I like it."

With a sigh, Bruce resigned himself. For now, he had to stay put. He looked around and felt creped when he saw that most of the pictures portrayed him. He was only fourteen on some, which showed that obsession had started soon. There also pictures of the circus, of him and Jeremiah, and of corpses…Bruce stopped looking at those. A voice in him reminded him he also had many articles about the twins' crime. But it was for his investigation! Still, there was something similar…The door opened and he saw Jerome coming back in with a box.

"Look at it!"

Since Bruce made no move to approach, Jerome just put the box on the bed and titled his head with an annoyed sigh. He went to him and put his arm around Bruce's back.

"Do you think it's a bomb or something?"

"I expect anything from you."

"Come on, I'm not stupid enough to make my lair explode. And I don't want to blow you. At least not with a bomb."

Bruce rolled his eyes and Jerome laughed until Bruce approached his face closely. He spoke almost against his lips. "Come on, even you can do better than those cheap puns."

He backed away as Jerome was about to kiss him, making the redhead smirk both in excitement and frustration. Bruce went to the box with apprehension but also curiosity. He opened it and was startled when he saw what was inside, his face paled slightly and his mouth hung open.

"What the…"

Here, in the box, was Sonny Gilzean's head.

"I think that's the one who beat you up once? Oh, sure, I know you gave that asshole some payback a few times, but I wanted to show you I could make sure you wouldn't be bothered anymore."

He shook his head. "I never wanted that!"

"Why not? That guy was just a worthless thug. You're much more valuable than him."

He went to reach for him but Bruce swatted his hand away. "Don't even do that kind of shit again? What do you think you're proving here?"

"That I can have your back."

"Do you seriously think I need that?! I could beat that pathetic clown on my own, I already did! You just did it because you're possessive."

"Yeah there was also that. I must say I'm disappointed that you don't like my present, maybe I should try something else."

"No!"

"You know Bruce, that's not the first time it happens," Jeremiah's voice was suddenly heard. "He did that for me as well. A guy who used to bully me when we were kids, when I meet him again after some years, he thought he could target me again."

The other twin entered and Jerome had a little smirk at the memory. "At least you enjoyed it; Brucie doesn't seem to be that enthusiastic."

"Too bad…A few questions ran through my mind, though, and I couldn't focus on my work."

"What?"

"What's really going on with you and that girl?"

Bruce sighed but he was scared, it would be even more dangerous for Selina if they were jealous. Jeremiah perfectly knew they were a 'thing' at a point.

"You perfectly know I'm not with her. She never wanted to be my girlfriend. I told you about it when we were still friends, don't you remember?"

"But you still love her. I guess so, if you didn't have anyone else," Jeremiah uttered with a creepy smile and furious eyes.

"I had a real girlfriend, I moved on, Selina is just a friend now." That wasn't entirely true, but Jerome and Jeremiah focused so much on the word 'girlfriend' that they didn't notice.

"A real girlfriend?" Jerome repeated on a tone which was too calm while approaching a bit too closely.

Shit! H might have made a mistake. He tried to spare Selina but that could come at a cost if he wasn't careful. "Just a girl of my school, it wasn't very serious and I broke up with her. And no, I won't tell you her name if that's what you want."

He knew them too well, and he didn't want his ex's head in a box, even if the feeling of infatuation had died she was an innocent girl. Malory her name was, and unlike Silver who had been scheming against her will for her uncle and Selina who never even wanted to call him her boyfriend, she had been normal. It had almost been weird that she had no secret purpose or police file.

The twins looked at each other, a bit soothed. "Alright. Was it your idea to send a message, or Selina's?" Asked Jeremiah, his tone obviously frustrated over the girlfriend talk.

"Mine."

"Brucie…What a little snake you are, you like to play with what we want, don't you? I didn't think you could be so manipulative."

Bruce titled his head at him, anger even more intense in his eyes.

"You have no right to speak like that! You know what could have happened if you had really been a normal guy?"

"Please, enlighten me."

Bruce looked at him straight in the eyes. "You were the first boy I had a crush on, Jeremiah."

That confession almost surprised Bruce himself, and absolutely stunned Jeremiah and Jerome who couldn't react for once. Bruce continued. "And I honestly thought something could work out between us. But then, you backstabbed me. You tore down my hopes, my desires. Why shouldn't I do the same, Jeremiah?" He murmured. "Why shouldn't I torture you a bit?"

Jerome chuckled. "No one said you couldn't. But that doesn't make you any less manipulative."

Once his twin said that, Jeremiah leaned toward him and kissed him, but smoothly this time. He cupped his cheeks gently, and Bruce closed his eyes, for a moment, it seemed like he was kissing a different person. This wasn't just lust-filled like all the other kisses had been, there was something more. He was gentle and for the first time, Bruce hesitated to bit or nip. He was still furious, but the strange gentleness was telling him otherwise.

"I got questions too."

Jeremiah hesitated but Jerome tsked: "You're the one supposed to answer us."

"Come on, I answered many questions already. It's questions about your past if you wanna know. Our rather about our common past."

Now the twins were both intrigued. Bruce wanted to know more about them…

"Well, as I said, we're addicted to you. So, I don't know about Miah, but I'm fine with it."

Embracing his waist, Jeremiah smirked: "Alright. I think I have a new idea for a game."

Chapter Text

Bruce had insisted they would remove Sonny’s head from the room before anything else. Jeremiah took it away, promising himself he would keep it for further experiments. Now, they were in Jerome’s room, the three of them sitting on the ground, the twins side by side facing Bruce.

“What’s that game?” Bruce asked

Jeremiah’s finger grazed his jacket’s zipper, and started to open it slowly. Bruce stopped him, not eager to have his bare and bloody chest exposed. This made the mad scientist smile.

“A game of questions. Simple: we ask you questions and you ask us questions. You’re free to refuse or try to lie. But if you don’t answer or get caught lying, you’ll have to do something we want. The same goes for us.”

“Okay, but I want to keep that between us only. No one else involved.”

Jeremiah shrugged and Jerome laughed: “Afraid for Selina? Fine. Go ahead, now, as the first question.”

Bruce took a big breath. Gain time, let them get their head in the game.

“Police never knew whether or not you killed your mother together, or if it was only Jerome. What truly happened?”

There was no trouble answering that, they could be completely honest on that subject. They both started to explain.

“Question: where do you hide a tree?”

Jerome raised an eyebrow. Sometimes his twin still managed to surprise him: he just asked something and Jeremiah said this. What the hell did that mean? It was a cold afternoon and they were both in their caravan, enjoying the peace while their mother was banging some dude somewhere else.

“Why do you answer my question with another question?”Asked Jerome. “You said you agreed to kill mom with me, and I asked: how do we do that?”

“Think a bit, come on!”

This time, Jerome rolled his eyes. He would have punched another person for that, but this was his twin. Jeremiah and Jerome Valeska had always been different, some people thought they were so opposed they had  no common points, except their identical appearance. But it wasn’t exactly right.

They definitely had things in common, things that mattered a lot. They were loners, both of them; they rarely considered people as really important, more like tools and toys. Only each other really mattered. Jeremiah hated that about himself, he wanted to find someone worth his attention and love, but he couldn’t. Jerome didn’t seem to care that much, since he already had Jeremiah. They also had determination and were possessive. When they wanted something, they had to get it and they wouldn’t let anyone else touch it. However, they had no problem sharing.

They were complementary as well. Jeremiah always helped Jerome to let out this endless energy which flowed through him. His brother would receive all that with his collected, quiet self, and would just help to sooth this storm inside him. And on the counterpart, Jerome’s energy would lighten Jeremiah’s melancholic mind. He would make things brighter and more bearable in that dull, boring place where entertainment was nothing but cheap tricks and illusions. Jerome’s storm would stop Jeremiah from sinking into that deep depression which threatened him, and Jeremiah’s quiet nature was perfect to receive this fiery energy. They were ying and yang. Which one was the ying and which one was the yang? They couldn’t say, and they didn’t care. All that mattered was that strong link between the two of them.

Yet strong link or not, they could still annoy one another. And here was one of those times.

“I ask again: how should we kill her if we don’t want to get caught? And please don’t answer with another question.”

“There are plenty of ways. The most important is to avoid suspicions. So, here is my question again:  where do you hide a tree?”

This time, Jerome took the time to think. The answer was simple: in the middle of a forest. But why…A smirk creped on his lips and Jeremiah grinned with satisfaction. Jerome understood what he meant.

“A serial killer will spread terror in Gotham. And mom will sadly be one among the others.”

“But now, she can’t die first, it would be suspicious. Where should we strike?” Asked Jeremiah.

“Well, that serial killer will generally get his victims in cheap clubs, where easy women will party. It’s a sad thing mom will go there so often,” Jerome sighed theatrically.

“Very sad, but what can we do? She just couldn’t keep herself from partying.”

“And honestly…Being killed with a small axe. What a horrible death! Maybe that killer splashed them with gasoline and put them on fire just to take away any hint from the police.”

“And he would never forget to wear gloves and a hood as well.”

“Of course, what a smart guy!”

“It’s not that easy, though, to make a body burn, we’ll have to look out for some tricks.”

Jerome giggled while Jeremiah got all serious and searched through his books. That very same night, a new serial killer appeared. People would call that unknown murderer ‘the butcher’. It’s so unoriginal it’s ludicrous, Jerome commented to their brother when they were alone. Jeremiah just shrugged.

“So, that’s how it all started? You really murdered your mother together?” He had always been sure of that, even though there had never been any proof of it.

“We did. She wasn’t exactly a loving mother, Bruce, as you can guess.”

Jeremiah put a strand of hair back behind his prisoner’s ear while saying this. Bruce remembered how the cops had suspected Jerome and Jeremiah, but when they actually went to visit the twins, they had seen Jerome trying to kill Jeremiah. After that, Jerome had confessed killing his mother, and told them his brother was next on the list.

“Then you faked trying to kill Jeremiah. Whose idea was it?”

“Mine,” Jerome declared. “I felt they would come. So when they did, I improvised. One of us had to be out and I pretended Jeremiah was innocent, just a poor victim.”

“It was well thought in such a short time,” Jeremiah praised. His brother slightly bowed his head in pride.

“Thanks! That’s two questions, Bruce. I’m gonna ask something: Did you ever learn what Galavan’s plans about you were?” Jerome Wondered

“Yes, I did. When you killed him, I thought he was an innocent man, but then…I encountered troubles.”

“What kind?” Asked Jeremiah

“Galavan and…Those guys called the Order of St Dumas, they wanted to get revenge against the Wayne, they pretended that my family ruined theirs. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but they decided to carry on their goal in spite of Galavan’s death. But they failed.”

Jeremiah narrowed his eyes. “There is something you’re not telling us.”

“That’s all there is to it.”

“Nah, Bruce, I know you’re lying. I can see it in your eyes. It’s too blurry...In fact, I think I remember you saying you had met someone of his family, and it wasn’t that dear Tabby. I can’t remember who it was, though.”

That was frustrating, it wouldn’t happen a lot to Jeremiah, but there was one of the times. He and Bruce had met after that Gala, after Jerome had taken him hostage. He remembered it very well. With times, their friendship progressed, and Bruce hadn’t spoken much of Theo or anything like that.

Bruce kept a poker face, but Jeremiah was right: Silver St Cloud. That was the one he didn’t want to speak about. The Order had threatened her in order to carry his uncle’s plans and asked her to approach Bruce and spy on him, making sure he would eventually sell his company to Tabitha Galavan. He and Selina had seen through Silver, though. But it seemed like Silver had felt remorse, when the order had tried to kill him, she had eventually begged for them not to do it. He didn’t know what had became of her, but she had been a victim more than a participant, he had seen how she had been threatened. He didn’t want to speak of her and risk her to be involved in anything between him, Tabitha or the twins.

Jeremiah sighed and gave him a little threatening grin.

“You lied. I have the right to get something from you.”

Bruce braced himself and nodded. Jeremiah advanced toward him predatorily.

“Let me choke you.”

Hell…He didn’t want to do that. But Jeremiah wouldn’t kill him. He nodded and couldn’t help but tense when Jeremiah put his hands on his neck. It was bruised and slightly cut from the earlier treatment, Jerome’s bite mark stung. The hands tightened and it took all his willpower not to struggle and push him away. It wasn’t so much the pain, and he could hold his breath. It was just the feeling of having his life in Jeremiah’s hands…Letting him inflict pain without being able to do anything. And that look…Jeremiah was looking at him with intense, fascinated eyes, as if his pain was a beautiful image.

His throat was starting to ache, and his lungs even more. He felt the blood rush to his face and as he was about to grip Jeremiah’s wrists, the redhead lessened the pressure, allowing Bruce to breathe without taking his hands away. This look and this grin…It was in those moments Jeremiah’s madness truly surfaced. The image of the quiet and self-controlled scientist was only a façade. Beneath it was a man as deranged as Jerome.

His head felt clear again, when Jeremiah started chocking him again. This time, Bruce grabbed his wrists. He didn’t pull but he send Jeremiah a threatening warning look. The hungry look grew more fearful. He looked at the hands on his wrists; Bruce could really hurt him if he wanted; This could go down easily.

He took off his hands and sat back next to Jerome who was laughing at him while Bruce was rubbing his neck. “Got scared four-eyes?”

“I hate that nickname.”

“I know.”

“My turn,” Bruce declared while rubbing his neck. “Let’s continue with Galavan, what happened between you? I don’t know much about it, but I got echos that you were working for him, until you turned against him.” That was something Silver admitted to him, actually.

“Let’s say I just…Double-crossed him. He made me escape from Arkham to use me in his little plans. You know, he basically wanted to kill me that night when I took you hostage. Thank God, it didn’t went his way.”

Jerome was just done accomplishing another mission for Galavan. They had made an entire restaurant explode, and shot people as well. But now it was time for him to do something personal. He drove the gang to another building and searched for the right name. He found the door easily. The rest of the maniacs were following without a word. He entered the place without even knocking and saw red hair looking at some board on the wall. He only took a look at the flat to see it was really a nerdy place. Kinda inspiring in its own way. Jeremiah turned round and Jerome smiled at him. The guys behind him both gaped in astonishment when they saw Jeremiah’s face.

The young man advanced, looking only at his brother and sighed:

“Well, took you long enough to visit me.”

“I had a busy agenda.”

“I saw that…It was all over the news! You know I got problems because of that. But now I’m used to get people mad at me because of you.”

“Well, tell me who they are, I’ll fix it the usual way!”

Jeremiah huffed and smiled at this. He hugged his brother and Jerome returned the gesture. His twin was the only one he ever embraced. They parted and Jerome told the two others to get out and seek some amusement outside. Jeremiah couldn’t help but be impressed, the two were bigger than his brother, yet he commanded them like a master command dogs. They sat together, Jeremiah getting impatient to ask questions.

“So, how did you escape? Why didn’t you went along with our plan?”

“Well, it wasn’t on my own I must admit it.”

He told Jeremiah everything, they way he met the others at Arkham, how Theo kidnapped them and proposed them to work for him in order to accomplish his plan. He was quite confused at the way his twin frowned; Jeremiah would make that face whenever he was suspicious or sensing danger. Why? This was the best thing which ever happened to him!

“He plans to be Gotham’s hero, if I got it well?”

“Pretty much. Funny how people can be stupid!”

“Jerome, this isn’t good.”

“Why?”

“A hero has to eventually defeat the villains he chases. He couldn’t let you spread terror around eternally, even if he wanted to. And you know way too much to simply end up in jail.”

Jerome tilted his head. “So what you’re saying is that he intends to kill me?” His brother nodded and he felt something dreadful spread in him. It couldn’t be! Galavan had told him he believed in him, that he would make him a star among criminals! And now…

“You don’t know what you’re talking about!”

“Yes I do! Jerome, it’s certain that he won’t be willing to keep you or any of the others, because you could talk! Sure, you’re all seen as lunatics, but it could still raise suspicions if one of you revealed what really happened. And if he is as smart as you say, he won’t take that risk.”

This raised frustration but also suspicions in Jerome. No one but Jeremiah believed in him, but his brother was his twin, they were linked, so they couldn’t do otherwise than believe in each other. That’s how they saw things since they were kids. For once, someone of the outside saw his value, and now…But doubt plagued his mind as well. Jeremiah’s reasoning made a lot of sense. His twin went on:

 “You’re not only the head of the maniacs, you’re obviously the smartest and you’re not the obedient kind, you’re independent. This Galavan seems to be a control freak; they want loyalty, blind obedience, and people who are too stupid to do anything but obey orders. Someone like you, he can admire but he won’t keep you around, it would scare him. Jerome, we always were smarter and more independent than most kids, and you know what it always got us into. People are sheep and they won’t tolerate any other kind of animal.”

Jerome breathed in deeply. His entire childhood passed before his eyes and he realized his brother was right. This had been too good to be true…Rage invaded him, now he truly wanted to murder Theo, to make him pay for those false hopes! But he contained himself; his smartass of a twin probably had a plan. If he wouldn’t work along with Theo, he could at least have Jeremiah at his side.

“Then, what do you think he is preparing?”

“I don’t know, I’m not close enough to him, I would need to know more. But you’re the most feared one; he would make sure everyone would know he is the one who took you down somehow.”

Yes, this was very likely. Jeremiah looked at him questioningly.

“You’re already being admired for your work. You told me some company wanted to hire you already, in spite of your age. Jeremiah, I need more.”

“You know there are people who admire you already, don’t you? The news spoke about a small group of people who committed a crime in your name. It’s only a start but it will grow. Jerome, Galavan wants to make you his henchman. You can be much more.”

“After that, I spied on Galavan a bit and I understood he wanted to kill me during that Gala. And then, things happened the way you know.”

Oh yes, he knew. He had killed Theo Galavan during the Gala, right after Barbara had knocked him out. He had taken Bruce hostage then, but Bruce had managed to struggle out of his hold, and escaped before Jerome could take him away from the building. Jerome had disappeared along with Barbara Kean, but her luck hadn’t lasted long. The next day, Jerome had sent her severed head to Tabitha. Bruce realized he still had questions about all that.

“You wanted to take me away with you, why? And why sending Kean’s head to Tabitha Galavan?”

“Well, it was for practical reasons first, a hostage could have been handy to get away. Also, it would have made them shit their pants if I had been able to take you away. And…I must admit I was quite impressed. I don’t know, I liked how you were trying to be brave. You were, what…Twelve? Thirteen? And yet you had more guts than all the cowards whimpering in the room. And it was quite nice to hold you against me. Don’t get me wrong, I would have sliced your throat after toying with you a bit, but thank God I failed.” He smiled and took Bruce’s hands and kissed his fingers.  “As for Barbara, she was annoying and she wouldn’t stop saying I was stupid for killing Galavan. No need to tell you I didn’t like it. Since she was shagging with Taby, I decided to send her head, to apologize to that hot lady for taking her fuck buddy.”

And that was the reason why the police had been suspicious of Galavan and his sister. Tabitha wouldn’t have called them, but a domestic did, and they had got suspicions on why Tabitha Galavan would receive that from Jerome. Of course Tabitha escaped them and got into a feud with the twins. She was still alive, working with Selina, Bruce hoped that maybe Tabitha would try to find her partner. Maybe Selina told her where she had been.

“But my, you asked three questions instead of one! That gives us three questions in return.”

“I got carried on, I guess.”

“I appreciate the enthusiasm. My turn to ask something: when did that crush on me started?” Asked Jeremiah.

Bruce felt his guts tighten. Talking about that was maybe not a good idea. But he had no choice.

“Okay…I can’t tell you an exact moment, it started slowly. Once, you were talking to me about some scientific project, it was involving clean energy.”

“I remember that. We were in my lab.”

“I told you it was really wonderful to be able to do that, that it would solve so many problems…And then you told me that…Your goal was to try to bring light into darkness, for whoever needed it.” He huffed humorlessly. “Didn’t know it was just a lie.”

“Believe it or not, but that project was dear to me. Use whatever is left of my work, if you can escape.”

“Do you seriously think I waited for your green light? Your work had been done under Wayne Enterprises’ support. Scientists are working over it.”

 Jeremiah laughed, he should have seen it coming. Of course Bruce would do that, he wasn’t stupid. The teen went on: “It wasn’t exactly that moment, as I said, it was progressive. Then, I remember a conversation at my school, one friend told me about her doubts about her sexuality. I started to wonder. I guess those are two milestones. There might have been also that time when I told you to stop working and loosen up. I brought you to that roof top I liked and we just hang out together.”

Both twins considered him with interest. “That seems sincere…My turn to ask something: That bitch’s name.”

“What?!”

“Your girlfriend, the one you spoke about. I want her full name.”

“No. That’s out of question.”

Jerome smirked. He perfectly knew Bruce would say that. “Fine, I won’t insist, isn’t it, Jeremiah? Instead…” He bit his lips suggestively. He didn’t know what to ask, Bruce, because there was so much he wanted. But Jeremiah and he had agreed on one point: no rape. Kissing and touching a bit, yes, but they would keep it to second base. Okay, but second base could be wonderful as well.

“I want you to take off my shirt and lay over me.”

“…You asked for it.”

He went toward Jerome and pushed him down with more gentleness than both twins expected. Jerome followed the move actually enjoying the softness more than he thought. felt a shiver at this, seeing him dominant was no less exciting than seeing him tied. Bruce leaned down to his face and Jerome prepared himself to kiss him but Bruce pulled his head back. His hands suddenly gripped his shirt and tore it open violently. This made Jerome gasp and grin hugely and Jeremiah had exactly the same smile. Bruce leaned down, lying over him again and his nails suddenly dug into his captor’s skin and clawed down, making Jerome grab his wrist to stop him. That shit hurt more than he liked! Bruce triumphantly smiled and leaned down to kiss him while making the torn shirt slid off Jerome’s shoulders. The redhead helped him while kissing him and tightly held the boy on top of him. He didn’t care about the pain, not is the slightest, if anything he was considering asking him for more. Bruce stopped kissing him and got away from him.

“I didn’t ask you to kiss me,” Jerome pointed out. “You did that by yourself.”

“You didn’t ask me to open your chest either.”

“You also ruined his shirt.”

“You said I had to take it off, not that I should unbutton it.”

“Whatever, it’s not as if I was low on money.”

“No, indeed, you robbed…What? A jewelry, last time?” Bruce spat.

“Yep! I hardly killed anyone in there, it wasn’t my biggest hit, but it got me some pretty pieces. Some jewels people could kill for!”

The teen rolled his eyes and Jeremiah grinned. “There is still one question for us: how did you felt when your parents died?”

This made Bruce tense. Not his parents! He didn’t want to talk about that to them! Jeremiah smirked: “More exactly, did you felt your sanity shifting?”

Bruce just looked at him with resolution and didn’t answer. There was no way he would speak of his parents with them! Thinking of them was painful enough. He felt shame at what happened: what would his parents think of him if they had known he had seduced the twins? He didn’t want to know.

“Seems like you hit the sensitive cord, Miah.”

“Wow, you’re becoming a genius, Jerome!” Bruce sneered. “My parents’ death being a sensitive cord, your brain is probably overworked.”

Jerome’s eyes widened slightly, and his smile dropped. He made him angry but he didn’t care. He was about to go and try to strike Bruce when Jeremiah stopped him.

“Chill out, it’s okay.” He turned to Bruce: “You refused to answer my question. Stand up for a start.”

Jeremiah winked at Jerome who tilted his head. Although he was suspicious, Bruce did as such. He didn’t care what they would do, he didn’t want to speak of his parents and that was all! Jeremiah stepped behind him and put a hand over his eyes. The teen tensed as he was pushed to walk. “Come on, I’ll tell you the steps, we aren’t going far.”

He was pushed to advance and Jerome followed, understanding what his brother wanted to do. After what seemed like an ever-lasting walk, they finally entered a room.

“What’s in here?”

“Nothing much, actually. It’s not a torture room if that’s what you fear. But we do keep prisoners here at times.”

Bruce suddenly felt cold metal encircling his ankle. He shuddered and the hand over his eyes dropped and he looked down to see his feet chained. Both twins were smirking hugely.

“What?!”

“This is your new room, Bruce. Have a good night.”

Chapter Text

Chained…He was chained for Hell’s sake!

The door was locked and it was only now that Bruce noticed he was in a bathroom. A bathroom? A mattress and a cover had been put in here, but otherwise, it was still a bathroom, with a tub, a toilet and a sink. Bruce sat and breathed in deeply. Of course, it made sense, they told him they would keep prisoners in here, and if for some reasons, they wanted to keep them for some times, a bathroom was perfect. Hygiene and water wouldn’t be an issue at all that way. If there was a mattress, it meant those people were important for something too, otherwise, the twins wouldn’t have bothered with that. Maybe it was the people they kept to allow Jeremiah to experiment on them.

Bruce soon noticed the dried blood: it was in the tub and around it. They told him it was no torture room, but he doubted it. And if it wasn’t one, then it was an execution room. Was that a way to threaten him?

He had to free himself; he could easily pick up the lock on the shackles. He had little tools for that on him, just…Wait…Where were those? Where were his tools? Oh hell! He started to understand: the twins knew him well; they knew he could pick up locks easily. What if they took whatever he had in his pockets? Yes, he had nothing left; his light grenade was also missing, as well as his keys. It troubled him to think the twins had searched over his body and clothes while he was unconscious. But now, it wasn’t worse than what happened between them. God, now that he thought about it, his parents would really be ashamed of him. Kissing two criminals and even finding enjoyment in it.

He didn’t do that move out of lust, sure, he only wanted to manipulate them and keep some control in that situation. Maybe his parents would have understood, but how could he explain the pleasure he felt once he did it? Selina would be disgusted too, as well as Alfred.

Taking a deep breath, he straightened his will: he had to find another way to escape he couldn’t brood and all when Selina was in danger. He started to search in the room for anything which could help him but he didn’t find anything at all. He soon understood that his only solution was getting the twins to free him. Well, that was possible. He rubbed his eyes; he was starting to be cold because of the lack of sleep. He didn’t want to sleep while one of his friends was in danger, it would be just…Wrong. Yet regaining some energy could only help, staying awake and getting exhausted wouldn’t do any good to help Selina.

He didn’t want to lie on the mattress though, not knowing how many people slept on it, dying people maybe. He laid on the ground and closed his eyes. He thought of the cultists who tried to kidnap him yesterday. “They want you.” “You were a gift for them.” A gift! Those words were really deranging because of everything it implied. Anyway, Jerome and Jeremiah had no problem getting what they wanted. But now, keeping was sometimes more difficult than obtaining.

They will not keep me long!

He eventually fell asleep, and had nightmares of people dying. It was a soft voice which awaked him.

“…something wrong with you?”

His eyes fluttered, he slightly shook his head and saw Jeremiah above him. He immediately propped himself up to sit, facing his captor who was crouching at his side. Jeremiah sat Indian style and looked at him with interest.

“Why are you sleeping on the ground? There is a mattress.”

“Try to guess; you’re a genius, aren’t you?”

“I don’t have time for that. You want to be released from those, don’t you?” He murmured while touching the shackle around his ankle.

“Of course I want to. By the way, what did you do with my stuff? You know, what you stole from me while I was unconscious.”

“Try to guess, you’re clever, aren’t you?”

Bruce huffed at this. Of course Jeremiah wasn’t about to tell him. “So, what do I have to do to be released? You wouldn’t talk about it if it wasn’t a possibility.”

“Well, I must admit the possibility of keeping you like that would be thrilling.”

“You don’t want me to be your pet, and you know it.”

This made Jeremiah laugh: “You would make an awful pet surely. One that would bit…But now, Jerome doesn’t hate that.”

“Indeed, what will it be?”

“I want you to give me information about Wayne Enterprises, more exactly about the Wayne Tower.”

Bruce gaped. “You seriously expect me to accept?”

“Well, considering your situation, it would be your best option.”

This wasn’t good, he couldn’t do that. Not only it would be bad for the company, the one his parents gave him, but more importantly all the employees inside could be injured or killed. He didn’t know what Jeremiah’s plan was but he was absolutely sure there would be victims. He had to find a way to stop this as soon as possible. He shifted a bit.

“You surprise me, I didn’t think you would ask something like that. What could you want in the Wayne Tower? Does it have something to do with your virus?”

“I’m always happy to surprise you,” Jeremiah simply stated. He wouldn’t answer those questions. But well, he had to go on.

“And why do you want me to help you? I would have think you would do that by yourself for the sake of the challenge.”

“Oh, but I didn’t choose the easy way! Getting the very stubborn CEO in my clutches and getting him to talk isn’t exactly easy. And…” He got closer to Bruce: “This is important to me, and that’s also why I want you to tell me. I want to hear it from your lips.”

Titling his head a bit, he observed Jeremiah’s face and saw his dilated pupils. He knew what it meant: he wanted him right now. Leaning forward, he bit his lip:

“You know as CEO, I had to learn something important: negotiations.”

“It doesn’t fit you to be a businessman, Bruce. It’s petty, you’re made for greater things.” The slight tremor in his voice didn’t go unnoticed.

“We’ll see if I’m that bad at negotiating.” The way he had murmured that was enough to make Jeremiah’s lips twitch into the ghost of a grin. Bruce approached him closely and went on: “You don’t like it when I bit your lips, but I know you enjoyed seeing me biting Jerome’s neck. Maybe we can get a taste of that.”

With that, he slid his head toward his captor’s neck and started to bit gently. Although Jeremiah tensed he didn’t stop him; instead, he sighed while his hand went on Bruce’s back. The teen’s left hand went under Jeremiah’s shirt, caressing the skin before planting his nails into it. His other hand roamed gently, grazing merely. Jeremiah gasped but still made no move to stop him, shifting his position and embracing Bruce instead. The boy bit harder and Jeremiah held back a moan. It was so good; the biting itself wasn’t that exciting, but it was so enjoyable because it was Bruce who was doing it, it was his teeth sinking into his flesh, sucking on it now, tasting him...Jeremiah’s lips went to the teen’s ear and he nipped at it. Something almost animalistic stirred, it was almost devouring, falling on him and enveloping him.

The teeth retreated and Jeremiah blinked, a strange sensation of cold passed through him as he started to get out of his daze. He forced himself to slowly but firmly push Bruce away. He felt even colder when their bodies parted.

“Almost. But I’ll need more to change my mind. If you’re such a good negotiator, show it.”

Bruce sighed and suddenly put a hand on his own stomach while bending slightly.

“You’re hungry, aren’t you? Guess it’s time for breakfast,” Jeremiah stated. “At least for the two of us, don’t know when Jerome will wake up.”

“What time is it?”

“8 am.”

With that, he left and Bruce opened his hand with hope. In his palms was a set of small keys. Negotiations were one thing, but sometimes pick-pocketing was much more efficient!

He tried a first key, then the second and the shackle opened. He smirked as he went to the door: it wasn’t locked, Jeremiah probably didn’t see the use for that. Yesterday, they were vigilant, but now he could fell they dropped their guard. He didn’t want to fight the two of them at the same time, there was a risk one of them could call their goons and tell them to hurt Selina.

He heard sounds coming from the kitchen. It was a blessing he knew how to walk silently, he could even beat Selina when it came to stealth. As he was walking he spotted his chain. That would be useful. He got it without a sound. Jeremiah had his back to him, preparing breakfast. It was almost weird to see him like that.

Jeremiah was thinking about a lot of things, he tried to remember what Bruce liked to eat and what he could do with him today. There were many fun things he could try with him. As he was breaking a egg to prepare an omelet, he heard a slight move behind him. Instincts alarmed him, but too late. He felt something metallic being wrapped around his neck. His brain automatically registered the chest pressed against his back, and the pain in his neck. He kicked the kitchen’s counter to try to take Bruce off balance.

He sent his elbow in the teen’s side, trying to get him to release him. Bruce grunted almost released him but held on. Jeremiah kicked the counter again, but to make noises this time. He had to alert Jerome! His twin had to wake up and know he was in danger!

He struggled and elbowed Bruce again but his lungs became more and more painful, his vision started to blur and his head turned. The teen pulled him away from the counter, trying to stop him from kicking objects. Jeremiah’s body felt weaker and weaker, his knees abandoned him and he felt himself falling. The metallic pressure around his neck disappeared but he fell on the ground. Pain and then darkness followed.

Bruce was panting, he looked at Jeremiah who was now lying on the ground, unconscious. He heard footsteps and just had the time to turn round to take a punch. He yelped and backed away to avoid the next one. Jerome looked furious, and hell, he knew how dangerous it could be.

“You’re gonna pay for that! And your girlfriend too.”

Bruce dodged the next blow and sent his chain in Jerome’s face before kicking him. He made the chain roll around his fist again. The redhead grunted and punched him again, and seized Bruce’s fist as the teen went to punch him as well. He punched him in the ribs and pushed him against the wall.

“That time, I’m gonna give you a lesson you won’t forget Bruce!”

Bruce’s forehead hit Jerome hard, making his head snap back. Bruce sent his knee up in Jerome’s side before punching him in the plexus. The redhead blocked the next blow but hit the table behind him. Bruce threw himself at him and pushed his back against the table.

“Don’t make promise you can’t keep!”

Jerome suddenly kissed him, taking him by surprise and bit his lip. Bruce instinctively pulled away, allowing the redhead to get free. He pushed Bruce again before kicking his side hard and threw himself at him to make him fall. Jerome straddled him and tried to get hold of his wrists.

“Maybe I will take what I want by force, this time!”

Desperately, Bruce punched him the eye with the chain-fist. Jerome yelped in pain and Bruce sent his knee in his side as violently as he could while punching his eye again. He managed to make Jerome roll on the side but the redhead tried to get hold of him again. Bruce backed off and stood up, only to be mimicked by Jerome. The teen blocked the next punch, and hit him hard in the face before kicking the back of his shin. Jerome lost balance and Bruce kicked him strongly.  

Another kick in the face followed, finally knocking him down.

Panting heavily, Bruce sighed in relief as both twins were now on the ground, completely K.O. He went to search for another pair of handcuff and for something which could keep the brothers asleep. Dragging Jerome away from his brother, he handcuffed him to the heater before handcuffing Jeremiah to the fridge’s handle. Then, he dampened a cloth with what he found: diethyl ether. He made both of them breathe it, Jeremiah was actually starting to get conscious again. He wouldn’t take any chance.

After taking his stuff back, his knife and his tools to pick up locks, he left the place quickly. On the way, he called the cops, he had to make sure they would come before they escaped; otherwise it would be dangerous to everyone. Although he didn’t like that, he ‘borrowed’ a motorcycle to go to their other lair. Too bad for the one who would miss it but he wouldn’t lose any time.

Parking in a deserted alley, he found the most discreet way to get into the building where Jeri’s bar and the twins’ other lair was. Bruce sneaked in easily. He found the door again, and prayed Selina was still here. He put his ear against it, and listened. No sounds.

Pushing the door as silently as he could, he first took a peak and saw her. She was handcuffed to a heater, her mouth had been tapped. He opened a bit more and checked out again. As she noticed his presence her eyes widened and she made a nod before giving a nudge in the direction of the other room. Got it, they weren’t here. Bruce immediately went to her, moving silently and used his tools on the handcuffs. He noticed she had a bruise and her nose was bleeding. They would definitely pay for that!

Once the handcuff were done, she took off the tape and rushed to grab her whip again.

“You’re okay?”

She opened her mouth but suddenly pushed Bruce away and sent her whip at one of the goons standing there. Bruce saw the whip getting around the man’s neck and Selina pulled violently before rushing toward him to kick him in the chest.

“What the hell…”

This time, Bruce turned round to see two other goons. They went to rush toward the table where their guns were but Bruce put himself between them and hit one of the guys. The second was about to hit him when Selina’s whip struck him. She didn’t get his neck this time and Bruce slammed the guns away from the table, far from the guy’s reach. The two guys backed away from Selina’s reach.

“Came to save your girlfriend?”

“We’re leaving now,” he declared.

“You will have to get through us!”

“You got no guns this time,” she pointed out.

“We got our fists.”

The teens exchanged looks, both had little grins dancing on their lips. They both rushed for their opponents. After the Valeska twins, those were actually easier to beat. They didn’t really have any technique, unlike Bruce and Selina. Bruce’s one ended up slamming the wall violently while Selina’s one got several whiplash and a good punch in the face. She hit him several times again, avenging herself from the blows she previously received when they ahd knocked her out.

“Selina, let’s go!”

Reluctantly, she listened to him, knowing it was still risky to stay here.

We got our fists, what a joke,” she sneered while leaving.

“Come on, let’s call the cops!”

The next hours were more than agitated. After all, it was a big day for the police: they found two lairs belonging to the Valeska twins as well as the prototype of a virus. And all of that thanks to an anonymous call!

From the rooftop, Selina and Bruce were discretely watching the police arresting cultists and inspecting everything. Checking his phone, he saw that both the twins had been found in their lair. Bruce sighed in relief: they were finally free and the twins got arrested! Selina looked relieved too, and satisfied for getting to beat those guys. She still smacked Bruce on the shoulder.

“What the…”

“Next time, just stay out of it!” She exclaimed

“You would rather have a deadly virus spreading over Gotham? You’re not immune to diseases, you could have caught it.”

She didn’t reply anything and rolled her eyes: she hated it when he was right.

“I won’t call you for help next time,” he simply said.

“Oh, don’t try that card with me, you know I’m willing to help.”

“Then don’t get mad at me.”

“Seriously, Bruce, you’re not the police, you don’t have to do this.”

“I’ll do it anyway.”

“Why?”

“Why don’t you try to start an honest life?” Asked he

He surprised her with that question and he went on: “You gathered money now, you’re not just a thief hardly surviving. You got a club and an associate; you could get a new start and stop stealing. But you still do. Why?”

“Because that’s who I am, you…”

“Yeah, exactly.” He interrupted her. “And you won’t let anyone stop you. The same goes for me.”

She couldn’t reply anything at this. Sadly, it seemed to be true, Bruce might have been naïve when he was young, maybe he still was, but he had never been a normal kid.

“And it’s in the twins’ nature to be crazy and obsessed with you,” she concluded. “Seems like none of that crap will be over soon.”

That was right and he knew that. As he looked up at the sky, he remembered how Jerome had caught him and howled at the moon, saying it reminded him of Thriller.

“They will tell what happened, you’ll have to explain to the cops why you went solo.”

“No, they won’t. They don’t like having the police involved between the three of us. And they won’t want them to know we managed to overcome them.”

“Well…I guess you know them better than I do. Just be more careful next time.”

They smiled to each other and kissed. It was weirdly soothing to kiss her after what happened between him and the twins.

O o O

Alfred had been mad at Bruce when he came back; thank God he had been able to put on a turtleneck before he could see the biting marks. He didn’t want Alfred to know too much. Alfred forbad him to go out for the next days and though Bruce wasn’t happy of it, he begrudgingly accepted (he could still sneak out if something happened anyway). He trained all morning, so much that his body was even sorer and some of his cuts reopened. Once Alfred noticed he was bleeding, he told him to study instead. After all, he still had much to learn.

It was while he was studying about mental illnesses that he received the visit of Jim Gordon.

“Bruce, how are you?”

“Detective? I’m fine.”

“I have to tell you something: the Valeska twins got arrested yesterday. But I guess you know that already.”

Bruce nodded: “It was all over the News.”

It seemed like he didn’t know it was he who called, but it was what he told Selina: the twins didn’t tell. Maybe because they didn’t want the cops to know Bruce had been able to play them out, but there was another reason. They wanted to keep the cops out of their business. They didn’t want them to interfere in their confrontation; to them the cops were pests. And pests had nothing to do in their business.

“Indeed. But, what they don’t know already is that they broke out.”

“Seriously?!” He just gave them the twins on a plate and they couldn’t even keep them?!

“I know, this is bad news. They spoke of you, they said they would go after you, which isn’t really surprising. Bruce, you must be prepared to anything.”

“I’ll be, trust me.”

That mess wasn’t over indeed.