Perhaps Bruce shouldn’t be surprised that after he’d been ambushed, kidnapped, thrown into a van with a bag over his head, then taken to some unknown location and forced into a chair, that when his sight was finally restored to him the first thing he was allowed to see was Jerome’s smiling face directly in front of him.
So much for him getting caught before his next mad scheme could occur.
“Hiya darlin’, miss me?”
Bruce scowls at him. Jerome chortles and reaches out to ruffle his hair. Bruce would slap his hand away, but a pair of Jerome’s Maniax are still in the room with them and he knows with absolute certainty that they have guns.
He’s also relatively sure that he wouldn’t be the first person that Jerome would order to have shot if he did anything to piss him off, too, so he bears the touch with as much composure as he can manage until Jerome finally withdraws and circles to the opposite side of the table that Bruce had been forcefully seated at.
There’s nice silverware and place settings laid out.
There are lit candles, too.
It’s very… Atmospheric.
Jerome leans his elbows on the table and folds his hands together, settling his chin on his interlocked fingers.
“Surprise,” he calls over the table cheerily.
Bruce resists the urge to bury his head in his hands. He has no idea where he is, he’s got nowhere to run or hide, and Jerome doesn’t appear to be in the midst of causing too much pandemonium right now, so maybe the best course of action would be for him to play along until someone came looking for him.
Alfred would figure out that he was missing soon. He’d likely tell Detective Gordon immediately, and the Detective was already aware that Jerome had tried to get close to Bruce after the night that he and his Maniax took over the city. He wasn’t aware of how close Jerome had gotten, or how he had successfully broken into Bruce’s bedroom, or what he had wanted, but he knew enough that Jerome should be the first suspect that he thought of.
Bruce just needs to make sure there’s enough time for Detective Gordon and Alfred to find him before anything too terrible happens.
“Is taking me by force going to be a theme for all of our dates?” He tries to keep his expression neutral as the dreaded word passes over his tongue. “Because I don’t find it particularly romantic.”
Jerome smirks. “Would you rather I threaten civilians in order for you to come willingly? I could do that instead if you want. It wouldn’t be too difficult. I’d even get someone to broadcast it live so that you and everyone else in Gotham could see their pathetic, terrified faces.”
Bruce’s hands curl into tight fists and Jerome smiles at him as if he sees the dark, violent thoughts filtering through Bruce’s head. “How about next time—” Bruce grits out, and he inwardly prays to whoever might be listening that there isn’t an opportunity for a next time. “—you tell me when and where to be beforehand.”
“And trust that you won’t share that information with any of your buddies at the GCPD? Bruce, darlin’,” Jerome drawls the pet-name lowly, as if basking in the mere act of saying it, “I don’t think we’re quite there yet.”
“I find it odd that you don’t trust me yet want to date me. Maybe your mind is still a little scrambled post-thaw. Perhaps you shouldn’t be making decisions about romantic partners before you’ve gone through some sort of neurological assessment.” At a medical facility far, far away from Bruce.
“No, I don’t think that’s quite right.” Jerome leans back in his chair and signals one of his Maniax closer. Bruce watches, trying not to let the bewilderment show too clearly on his face, as she starts pouring wine into their glasses. “I’ve always been a simple guy. I see.” He locks eyes with Bruce, grin stretching at his lips. “I want,” he states pointedly, lifting his glass as if in a toast. “I take.”
“Believe or not, I noticed.”
Jerome chortles, evidently amused.
“You and I are going to have so much fun together.”
Bruce has no idea what to say to that, so he sips on the wine instead and tries not to make a face at the unfamiliar flavor.
About as well as Bruce had expected it would go. Jerome seems to know exactly what to say and how to say it for Bruce to feel irritated and on edge, and he seems intent on pushing all of Bruce’s buttons just to see which ones bring forth the best reactions. He dismisses his followers from the room after a time, and he keeps drawing his foot up and down Bruce’s leg under the table, which is—
Very distracting. Even if Bruce wishes it weren’t.
“You’re so cute when you’re angry, when you’re on the verge of letting your darker side take over,” Jerome tells him with a happy little sigh when they’re halfway through dessert. “It makes me want to order my cult of lunatics to kill your precious butler all over again.”
Bruce lifts himself out of the chair and jumps onto the table, intent on grabbing Jerome by the neck and doing something.
Jerome cackles madly as Bruce grabs at him, then he tilts his chair back and Bruce is pulled along with him, falling to the floor with a crash that must alert Jerome’s followers that something is going on, even though no one seems to be rushing in to ensure that their leader is alright.
And then they’re wrestling on the floor.
Bruce wonders if this is going to become a theme, too.
Perhaps he should have grabbed a fork on his way over the table so that he would at least have something a little more intimidating than his bare fists to threaten with. Not a knife though. Not when he knew he’d never go so far as to use it.
Plus, knowing his luck, Jerome would show up in his bed again to offer it up as another memento after all of this was over. Something for Bruce to remember their second date by. He’d leave it right beside the mirror shard that Bruce couldn’t bring himself to touch, and thus had left on his bedside table to collect dust.
He punches Jerome in the face, and Jerome knees him in the gut, and then Jerome twists them around so that Bruce is pinned on his back. Bruce can see that his pupils are blown, and his expression has that same hungry edge as when he’d pushed his thumb into Bruce’s mouth and waited for Bruce to do something about it.
Then Jerome is kissing him and, just like before, Bruce has nowhere to retreat to.
He bites Jerome’s bottom lip instead, hard enough to draw blood, but instead of backing away like a reasonable person Jerome moans and presses against Bruce harder.
He’d done that last time, too, when Bruce had dug his nails into his scalp.
Jerome liked it when Bruce was brutal, he liked seeing the rage and violence he tried to keep locked up inside get the better of him. Bruce’s lips are getting slick with blood that isn’t his own, and it’s just as awful as it had been when Jerome had painted that frown on his face at the carnival.
The metallic taste is pervading his mouth, and he abruptly finds himself wishing that he hadn’t broken skin.
Jerome, on the other hand, is obviously delighted by this turn of events. One of his legs forcefully parts Bruce’s thighs, and he grinds himself against Bruce in a way that can only be categorized as obscene. Bruce feels the press of something hard against his hip, and he’s angry and mortified not only at Jerome’s actions, but also at the way he’s not entirely unaffected by it.
Jerome’s kiss feels good. Jerome’s thigh against him feels good.
Jerome’s blood is on his mouth, is in his mouth, and not only is it disgusting but Bruce is sure that the taste of him will linger long after this night is over.
His hands curl into fists and he lands strikes against Jerome’s shoulders and sides, and his back arcs off the floor in an attempt to throw Jerome off. Jerome merely chuckles into the kiss as if he’s charmed by Bruce’s attempts to get away before he grabs onto Bruce’s wrists and pins them down on either side of his head.
The kiss finally breaks and Bruce takes in quick, shallow breaths through his open mouth as he watches Jerome watch him.
“Look at you,” Jerome coos, “so flushed and pretty for me.” His chapped lips are tinged with red, and the open wound that Bruce had left with his teeth bleeds sluggishly. He runs his tongue over the cut, and his eyelashes flutter at the sting. “So angry and violent. Tell me, Brucie, are you feeling what I’m feeling?”
“No,” Bruce retorts vehemently, trying to pull his wrists free from Jerome’s tight grip. “I’m not.”
Jerome cocks his head to the side, mock-thoughtfulness written over his features. “I find that difficult to believe.”
“We are very different Jerome. We perceive things in different ways.”
“We’re not as different as you’d like to think, Brucie baby. Plus.” Jerome rolls his hips against Bruce languidly, like he has all the time in the world, and Bruce feels himself go hot. “You’re thinking from an emotional standpoint, but I’m currently way more interested in the physical.” His thigh shifts against Bruce, firm and purposeful. Bruce has to bite his lip to stifle a noise and tries to force himself into stillness, but his legs jerk and twitch on either side of Jerome’s, and Jerome’s eyes glint with elation as he asks, “Do you want to know what I feel right now?”
Bruce shakes his head. If he opens his mouth to speak he’s not sure what will come out.
“I feel you getting hard because of me.”
Bruce shuts his eyes and tries not to let the mortification overwhelm him.
“Hey,” Jerome’s voice is sharp, and one of his hands lets go of Bruce’s wrists so he can take Bruce’s jaw in a viselike grip. “Look at me, or else the owners of this lovely hideaway who are a little tied up at the moment are going to get shot in places that’ll make them bleed out agonizingly slow.”
Bruce’s eyes snap open and his lips curl into a snarl.
Jerome smiles like he’s won something, like he has the upper hand.
Bruce punches him across the jaw, then arcs his entire body to throw Jerome off balance and scrambles to get on top of him. His hands come to wrap around Jerome’s neck.
“You’ve had hostages this whole time?”
“Of course, doll. What do you take me for?” Jerome laughs, and Bruce’s hands clench tighter around him. Jerome’s laugher transitions into a pleased sound. “That’s it, you’re doing so good,” he rasps, and Bruce hates that even when he has the upper hand Jerome seems to be getting something out of it.
When Bruce had been holding onto the mirror shard, when he’d almost killed Jerome, he’d seen something dark inside of Bruce that brought about this macabre fascination. And now, with Bruce’s hands around his throat, Jerome’s eyes glimmer with that same fevered interest. He reaches up and his fingers trace irregular patterns on the backs of Bruce’s.
Jerome is still hard.
Bruce is, too.
“You’ve got such soft, delicate hands, I bet you’ve never really tried to strangle someone before,” Jerome tells him lowly. “That’ll change someday. I know it. I can sense it.”
“No. I’m really not. Someday you’re going to hurt someone real bad, Bruce, and I’m going to be there to see it.” Jerome’s grin stretches wide again, and he rocks his hips upwards. “And I’m going to fuck you so good afterwards.”
Bruce lets go of Jerome’s neck and attempts to retreat—hopefully away from this entire situation—but Jerome greedily follows after him, fingers hooking into Bruce’s shirt and forcing him back to the floor.
Fighting only seemed to excite Jerome more. Ignoring him would get people shot.
Bruce has got to bite the bullet; it would make Jerome ten times more unbearable, but Bruce could survive that. He’d survived it last time, at least, and that had to count for something.
He digs his hands into Jerome’s hair and pulls him into a kiss. His lips part, quick and easy, when he feels him respond to it. Jerome’s tongue slips inside of him again to drag against his teeth and the roof of his mouth, and his legs settle on either side of Bruce, forcing their pelvises together. Bruce doesn’t let himself think about who he’s with, or why he’s here, he just grinds up against Jerome and digs his nails into Jerome’s scalp.
Jerome’s followers could walk in at any time. Alfred and Detective Gordon could come storming in without warning. There are so many variables that Bruce isn’t aware of and Jerome has hostages and Bruce feels feverish and lewd and gross. Sparks of pleasure are running down his spine, and his blood is pooling low in his belly, and he feels like he’s too clumsy and amateurish for Jerome to be reacting the way that he does; encouraging noises and breathy sighs and obvious arousal.
But he’d said before that he liked that Bruce was a blank slate, hadn’t he? He wanted to be the one who showed Bruce what he’d been missing out on.
He wanted to leave his own marks on Bruce before anyone else had a chance to.
“So sweet,” Jerome murmurs against his lips, “I could eat you right up.” He pauses for a moment, then chuckles crudely. “Well, I did tell you that I was going to blow you away on our second date.”
And Bruce, no matter how little practical experience he might have, isn’t oblivious to what Jerome is insinuating. Jerome must see it on his face, because his expression gains a wicked edge that makes Bruce break out into goosebumps.
“How about it, Bruce, want me to find out if you taste sweet everywhere?”
Bruce’s mouth falls open, mind too frazzled to list the pros and cons of answering one way or another, but the sound of heavy footfalls interrupts him before he can make a terrible mistake.
The door slams open, and Bruce clenches his eyes shut and wishes he were invisible.
It must be so obvious what they’re in the middle of.
“The GCPD are closing in,” one of Jerome’s Maniax informs them without pausing, apparently not too shocked at the sight of his leader straddling the person who he’d tried to murder with a cannon not very long ago. “We’ve got maybe ten minutes before they start canvasing this block.”
“Right,” Jerome says, short and clipped. Bruce doesn’t open his eyes to look at his face, but he sounds like he’s not very happy. Good. “Didn’t I tell you to knock if you had to come back in here?”
“Well, yes, but I figured—”
Jerome shifts overtop of Bruce and before Bruce can even work out what he might be doing there’s a sound of a gunshot, then the thump of a body hitting the floor.
All of the heat that had been building up inside of Bruce is washed away in a cold wave of dread.
“Some people just don’t know how to take directions,” Jerome mutters under his breath. “But overall I’d call date two a rousing success. Wouldn’t you agree?” He trails the barrel of the gun across Bruce’s cheek, and Bruce forces his eyes half-open. “It’s too bad it’s getting cut short again.”
“You could stay and get caught by the GCPD,” Bruce suggests after taking a few moments to find his voice. Jerome huffs out a laugh.
“And get carted back to the looney bin, away from you? Please darlin’, I have so much more in store for us.” Jerome presses the barrel to Bruce’s temple, and Bruce’s breath catches in his throat. “I’m going to make you fall to pieces, Bruce, one way or another,” he promises. “Maybe in even more than one way. I bet you’ll cry so prettily for me next time.” Jerome reaches down between them, and Bruce bites his own lip hard enough to bleed when Jerome presses his hand against him. “I bet I can make you beg for it.”
Bruce parts his lips to deny it but all that comes out is an embarrassing, wordless plea.
Jerome laughs and grinds the palm of his hand down harder. “Think about me when you touch yourself tonight, Brucie baby, and know that I’ll be thinking about you.” He leans in to press a stinging kiss to Bruce’s bleeding lip before he lifts himself into a standing position. He doesn’t point the gun in his hand at Bruce, but the presence of it and the still-warm body of one of Jerome’s followers is enough to keep Bruce in place.
“Oh! And tell Jimbo I said hi, though you might want to keep the rest of this our little secret.” Jerome winks at him as he walks backwards to the open door. “Who knows what your friends would think of you if they knew what we get up to when we’re alone together. I bet they’d see you in a whole new light.” Jerome hums as his eyes ravenously take in the sight of Bruce; angry and ashamed and still so pleasantly flushed. “Till next time, darlin’.”
He turns with a flourish and rushes out of the dining room.
Bruce watches him go and wonders if Detective Gordon will have any luck with catching him this time, because if not…
He can’t even imagine what the future holds for him.