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pulling on your heart to push my luck

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The party wasn't, overall, very different from the other upper-class parties Ollie went to on a regular basis--costumes that ranged from slinky to outrageous, high-quality fabrics and handmade details on every outfit (Ollie himself was dressed as what could charitably be called Robin Hood: green leather shorts, a billowing tunic with a neckline that practically reached his belt, a bow slung across his back, and a feathered cap. He had half a dozen innuendoes ready for when people asked where his arrow was), free-flowing, expensive alcohol consumed as if the partygoers were on death row, assorted drugs available if you knew who to ask (and at this kind of party, everyone knew who to ask), the same faces Ollie had known since they were bored kids with the world at their feet.

But this party was being thrown by Bruce Wayne.

Bruce Wayne, whose parents had died when he was a child and who had rarely been seen since he was 18. He was more of a jet-setter than any other member of the elite, popping up in grainy shots on gossip websites in so many countries it shouldn't have been possible--unless, of course, you had his kind of money. And here he was, the prodigal son, ready to embrace and be embraced by Gotham's high society, ready to reclaim his home.

Ollie had met him a few times, but he had never been sober enough to remember his face. The man sitting on a couch currently surrounded by well-dressed, artificial men and women was a stranger to Ollie. He had perfectly coiffed dark hair and a smile that was perfectly at ease with the rest of the party, as if he had never left. He wore a Superman suit so tight it was practically vacuum-sealed, the cape draped artfully around his shoulders. Most Superman costumes came with muscle padding, but the way the fabric clung to Bruce's arms was subtle enough to be real, and his abs were merely hinted at, not comically exaggerated. While Ollie wouldn't have said Bruce's muscles were bulging or rippling or anything, they were certainly impossible to ignore. He almost imagined this was what the real Superman must look like--except Superman got his strength from lifting planes and jumping over buildings, not working out at a private gym. Bruce laughed and quipped and placed a hand on the knee of the woman on his right, leaned in to whisper something in the ear of the man on his left. Ollie threw back the shot of tequila he had been clutching and strode up to Bruce.

"Ollie!" Bruce exclaimed, rising from his seat and pulling Ollie into a one-armed hug. "Glad you made it. No party is complete without Oliver Queen."

Oliver grinned. "Wouldn't miss it--I never turn down an invite to a costume party, even one five months after Halloween. You planning to throw a Christmas party in June, too?"

A shadow flashed across Bruce's eyes, so fast that Ollie wouldn't have noticed it if he hadn't been staring so intently at him. Frankly, he didn't understand how everyone in the room wasn't fixated on Bruce Wayne's face. Broad, square-jawed, bright-eyed, somehow looking at everyone at the same time yet setting Ollie on fire with its focus. Ollie was starting to think he'd been wrong about meeting Bruce before; drunk or sober, that wasn't a look he could forget. "It's for Purim," Bruce said. "Celebrating when the Jews weren't murdered in Persia thanks to the brilliant Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai! Dress up, give to the poor, get so drunk you can't tell good from evil, and be glad we're not dead."

"Seems like you're not doing too well on the getting drunk part." Ollie grabbed Bruce's arm and steered him towards the bar. "You like tequila? I'll buy you a shot."

Bruce chuckled. "Shouldn't you be stealing from the rich, not flaunting your wealth?"

"Promise to take me down if I do, Superman?"

"I promise. Justice must be served, after all." There was that shadow again. It didn't cloud Bruce's handsome features so much as intensify them. Ollie shivered. The look cleared within a second, and Bruce lit up again. "L'chaim," He dragged his tongue across the salt on his wrist and quickly downed the shot before biting down on the lemon wedge.

-----

One shot became two, and two became four, and the salt went on Oliver's cheek, on Bruce's neck, the lemon wedges traded between the two men like shotgunned cigarette smoke. Bruce's alcohol tolerance was off the charts (a combination of his toxin resistance training and him simply being a rather large man), but he still had his limits. Bruce couldn't afford to be sloppy, even though neither Ollie Queen nor any of his other guests was a threat. He had returned to Gotham four months ago with a mission. The party was a necessary means to an end.

Oliver Queen, though--Bruce had slept with a few people since he had returned, all of them beautiful, none of them particularly special--but Oliver was something else. He looked at Bruce as if Bruce was a person, not a walking tragedy (as he had been before he'd left Gotham) or an empty-headed rich boy (as he had been since he came back). His surprisingly sharp gaze flicked around Bruce's body, always coming back to his eyes.

They had silently made their way into a secluded corner of the room, the music thrumming through Bruce's body like a second heartbeat. Oliver took Bruce's face in his hands and pressed their heads together, forehead to forehead, nose to nose, breathing each other in and out as the party whirled on around them. Bruce shut his eyes. He could have this one thing, this one night, this one indulgence, this one--

And then he couldn't convince himself of anything more, because Oliver's mouth was on his. Insistent. Inquisitive. Intoxicating, more so than anything they'd drank. The smell of his cologne surrounded Bruce as Oliver threw the toy bow aside and slid a hand down his back--Bruce wrapped a hand around the back of Oliver's neck--the hand on his cheek was now fisted in his hair, destroying the gel-perfect Superman cowlick--he knocked the cap off Oliver's head--oh, he wanted to write poetry about the way they moved together--

"Upstairs?" Oliver breathed after what felt like fourteen years. Bruce could only push Oliver's face up with his own in a nod and lead them both to his room. They kept constant contact through the long walk--too long, far too long--Oliver pressing himself to Bruce's side, Bruce sliding a hand across Oliver's neck, the two tangling their arms together as they walked, music still ringing in their ears.

When they got to Bruce's bedroom, he paused before opening the door.

"How much have you had to drink?"

Oliver tilted his head to the side. "Not much. I'm fine, I promise. I wasn't exactly keeping track, but I know my limits." He pulled Bruce close. "I've done this a lot drunker with people a lot less considerate."

"That's not exactly reassuring."

"Hey, look at me." Bruce hadn't stopped looking at him since they'd left the ballroom, and he hadn't stumbled, hadn't slurred his words, hadn't seemed any different from how he'd been when he arrived. He was--he was Oliver. "If you want to take it slow--"

He had never wanted anything less.

He had never wanted anyone more.

Oliver tugged them inside and slammed the door shut.

 

 

Epilogue

Several years later, at the founding of the JLA

So, there were two billionaire vigilantes running around. Bruce would never have guessed that the Ollie Queen of all those years ago would become the protector of his city.

The members of the League milled around the Watchtower, champagne flutes in hand. Most of them were still in costume, having only removed their masks, and Bruce was suddenly reminded of a party with heirs and heiresses in costumes, and the taste of tequila, and the smell of cologne.

He made his way to Oliver, allowing himself to notice the pull of his leather suit over his chest, his well-developed archer's muscles, the way his goatee drew Bruce's eyes to his mouth. Their coworkers frequently made fun of the goatee, but privately, Bruce was a fan.

"Batman," Oliver said, inclining his glass towards Bruce. His voice was a little deeper than it had been--an affectation? "Don't you ever take a night off? Gotham won't collapse if you have one drink and lose the cowl for an hour."

"Previous experience seems to contradict that. I love my city, but it's not like Star City or Metropolis. It's a dangerous place, despite my efforts."

"I'm sure you'll be able to appear out of nowhere to scare whatever criminal needs to be brought to justice just as well on one glass of champagne as you could without." Bruce rolled his eyes internally and stroked the stem of his still-full glass. In all honesty, it was likely to be a slow night in Gotham, and Robin would alert him if there were any serious issues. But Batman had to keep up his image in the League as much as Bruce Wayne did in Gotham, and that meant no drinking, no jokes, no identity. Just the Dark Knight.

Then again, Clark knew his identity. Diana knew. And Bruce knew Oliver--he had thoroughly vetted every member of the League, not to mention their personal acquaintance. Maybe he could have a little fun at the Green Arrow's expense.

Bruce tapped his glass against Oliver's, flashing a smirk. "L'chaim, Ollie."

And he turned away, cape twirling a little more than necessary, smirk still in place. He heard Oliver practically squawk, "Hold on--you're--I--" as he returned to Clark and Diana.