The Dark Knight Rises Anonymous Kink Meme

Gotham's Reckoning

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Round Two Prompt Post
tdkr_anon wrote in tdkr_kink
Round Two Is Currently Closed To New Prompts

Welcome to 'Round Two' of The Dark Knight Rises Kink Meme.
This round will close when it reaches four thousand comments and after two weeks, another prompt post will open.

Please read the rules before posting

General Policies

ͽ Be polite to everyone within and outside of the community.
ͽ Please post your prompt with the according subject line.
ͽ Do not embed NSFW images and videos; link to them instead.
ͽ Warn for NSFW images and videos.
ͽ Do not repost a prompt that has previously been prompted.
ͽ Limit yourself to how many prompts you post per round.
ͽ Please post your work with the according warnings. Warning Guide 
ͽ Enjoy yourself.
A full list of the rules can be found here.

Subject Line Format

ͽ Alphabetize pairing names (ex. Bane/Bruce Wayne/John Blake) or use (Any/Any)
ͽ If you have one character chosen, but not another, put ‘other’. (ex. Scarecrow/Other)
ͽ Use ‘Gen’ if no pairing is wanted.
ͽ Add 'RPF' if you want a real person fic.
ͽ Put appropriate warnings if they are needed. Warning Guide (ex. Torture)
ͽ There is nothing else that needs to be put on the subject line, which means you should refrain from adding anything else.

Example Subject Line
Bane/John Blake, Warnings: Torture, Non-con.

Filling A Prompt

ͽ Do not embed NSFW images or videos; link to them instead.
ͽ Do not link to locked material.
ͽ There are no limits to how many fills a prompt can have.
ͽ A fill can be anything: fiction, fanart, podfic, manipulation, video, podmix, ect.
ͽ You can post anonymously or under a username.
ͽ Please post your work the according warnings. Warning Guide

Character List
The Dark Knight Rises List:
Bruce Wayne
Dr. Jonathan Crane
Dr. Pavel
Jim Gordon
John Blake
Lucius Fox
Miranda Tate
Ra's Al Ghul
Selina Kyle
Talia Al Ghul
(There are others, add them as you see fit)

Actor List:
Anne Hathaway
Anthony Garcia
Christian Bale
Cillian Murphy
Gary Oldman
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Liam Neeson
Marion Cotillard
Nestor Carbonell
Tom Hardy
(There are others, add them as you see fit)

Flat View | Fill List | Discussion Thread | Beta Search Thread | Friending Meme

  • 1

Bane/John, Prison Bitch, Dub-con

I just read a delightful story by whiskyrunner called No Holds Barred.

On one of the conversations, Bane was explaining to John that there's only men in the pit and that to get protection a man will become one of the inmate's wife. My favorite part was when he said that everyone in the pit would've lined up or something to get a taste of John and that he will fight everyone to protect him.

Okay, so I want this. Like really badly!

You can make John be a prisoner in the pit for whichever reason, like taking someone else's sentence instead or something. John is the one who ended up taking care of Talia when her mother died? And he went to Bane for their protection? Or Bane immediately claimed him upon his arrival and they took care of Talia when her mom died.

Re: Bane/John, Prison Bitch, Dub-con

YEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSS!!!! That was my favorite part as well!!!! I can't lie... I wouldn't mind Bane treating John like his missus! I can even imagine that John has slightly long shoulder length curls that Bane can't help but twirl around his fingers! Could you imagine one of the prisoners taunting John, calling him "Mommy," as he walked with Talia in his arms, and then Talia looking at John and starts calling him mom! Ohhhhh.... brilliant! My perverted mind is thinking up so much amazingness right now!!! I love you OP!

Re: Bane/John, Prison Bitch, Dub-con

Yes!! What you and cricket5144 said!!!!

Re: Bane/John, Prison Bitch, Dub-con

You have so many good ideas, I would love to read this!! Beautiful, beautiful prompt <3

And the Talia calling him mommy idea, so adorable!

...I'd also love to write it but I can't, just too much to write already :'(

Re: Bane/John, Prison Bitch, Dub-con

I am loving this idea so much. Can't wait till someone fills this.
Kin_01 damn you and your brilliant prompts.

No title yet.

When John wakes, he's surprised to find a blanket over him. He's been shivering his way through each night, too proud to curl up next to his protector for warmth. The blanket is old and worn and it smells musty, but he's cocooned himself within it and it holds body heat better than his clothes alone.

He brings his hands closer to his face, curled up in a tight fetal ball, and blows warm air over them. He's sore, as usual, and his inner thighs feel uncomfortably slick, but even that is something he's beginning to adjust to. The light is still dim and murky; few bodies are stirring beyond the iron bars of the cell. If he can move past his discomforts and go back to sleep, he might get another couple hours of peace before Bane rouses him.

Then he realizes Bane is already awake. He raises his head and squints in the dark, trying to work out what his—guardian is doing. Bane is crouched at the far end of the cell, next to the adjacent wall of bars. That cell is closed off from the inside by a wall of dark curtains, shielding its contents; it has been since John got here. He always assumed it held supplies of some sort, probably medical—only the doctor has keys to that cell—but now, at Bane's side, the curtain twitches.

Bane speaks softly in some other language, maybe Arabic. There's a quiet reply. John soon stops straining to hear: the rest of the conversation is carried out in this other language, indecipherable to him.

He's surprised. He's been here for two weeks, judging by the marks he's left with a flinty piece of stone on the wall, and he never knew they had a neighbour. The man next-door must be very quiet during the day.

He's curious only until men start rousing themselves outside, and Bane leaves the bars and goes back to bed; then John says, “Who's in the other cell?”

Bane hesitates, and it occurs to John that Bane didn't know he was awake, or he might have cut his hushed conversation short sooner.

“No one of concern,” Bane says finally, “to you.”

John considers this, decides the knowledge won't help him, then rolls over and decides to sleep for as long as Bane will let him.

John can't remember how he got into the pit. He remembers this: Waking up with a throbbing headache and a dry tongue, sprawled on a rock floor, hands tied in front of him; suddenly conscious that about a dozen men are peering down at him. Some are kneeling at his sides, fingering his clothes with open curiosity. Above them, a hazy circle of blue sky floats into view.

John flinches away from their hands and eyes. Seeing that he's awake, a couple of them try speaking to him, but he shakes his head until one particularly hulking, dark man says, “English?”

John nods and tries to sit up. Half a dozen hands press him back down. He jerks away angrily, then nearly swoons when nausea makes his surroundings whirl around him. A few men chuckle roughly.

“English,” he affirms, sinking weakly back down. He swallows; his saliva is tacky. “Where am I?”

The man—dark hair, cunning dark eyes—tries to pull him upright. “Come.”

“What? Why?” John says, resisting, and the other men protest, too. One of them even pulls a sort of primitive blade out from under his cloak, getting to his feet, a challenge which the dark-eyed man meets with a brief, laconic glance. He utters something that's probably meant to be a warning, but two other men stand up on either side of the armed man, and they look angry, too.

A smaller man is beckoned to the dark one's side, and sent forward, where a fist-fight breaks out. Other men get up to look on with bored apathy, and while the rest are watching, an older man brings a little flask to John's lips. John resists, until he realizes it's water—slightly gritty, but cool water—and he drinks gratefully.

“Thank you,” he says, and the old man's face creases in a smile. He says something John doesn't understand, trying to slide a hand under John's shirt. John rebuffs him gently but firmly, thinking this a mistake at first, and then he hears a new voice:

“He expects repayment for the water.”

Edited at 2012-11-01 02:40 am (UTC)

Re: FILL: pt. 1b/? (Anonymous) Expand
Re: FILL: pt. 1a/? (Anonymous) Expand

FILL: pt. 2a/? WARNING: attempted noncon

The prison is circular. Barred cells line the stone walls. Men roam freely—there is, after all, nowhere to go.

When night falls, and the ring of sky above them goes black, John lies down on his coat on the bare floor against a wall and tries to relax without falling asleep. He can hear the muted sounds of garbled screams and flesh hitting flesh.

That's when they come for him. Hands sliding over his body, forcing fingers into his mouth. He thrashes, and finds himself shoved onto his back and pinned there. He can't count how many there are. He can hear their feverish panting. Their palms are sweaty where they touch him, tugging at his clothes. A couple hands make their way down the front of his pants, groping hard enough to make his eyes water; he bites down on the fingers in his mouth and gets his head slammed against the rock for his troubles.

It lasts maybe a minute, though it feels like an age—there's a shout in the dark, a true snarl of a voice that makes John's blood run cold. His attackers' hands slide away. A second barked command, and they slink back into the shadows where they came from.

Silence falls temporarily over the prison. John dry-heaves a couple times, trying to get rid of the taste of sweat and dirt on his tongue, and pulls his clothes back into place with shaking hands. Then he picks up his coat and abandons that patch of floor. He makes his way along the stone wall until he can find the narrowest crevice, and he wedges himself into it to wait until morning.

His second day in the pit is a haze of fear and alertness that leaves him exhausted. He catalogues as much information as he can. One of the first things he learns is that there are no guards here, which strikes him as strange, since he'd thought it was a guard who saved him in the night.

Nobody touches him, although he can feel how high tensions are whenever other men are close. Some offer him food or drink; he declines each time, though his stomach cramps and his throat burns. He returns to his crevice at night, and no one approaches him there.

The next day, emboldened by his temporary immunity, he decides to make his way down to the water basin in the middle of the pit. Men watch him go by, not moving to stop him. He travels the spiral path all the way down until he can stoop down next to the pit of muddy water and examine it closely, trying to decide if it would be okay to drink. Probably not, but he's never been this thirsty in his life.

There's one other man there at the edge of the water, soaking some clothes and wringing them out by hand. His appearance is a surprise to John—he hasn't noticed this man among the others, all the time he's been watching. This man is boyish and slight. He has longer hair than the rest, and his eyes are lined with what looks like kohl. He smiles when he sees John looking, which John returns uneasily, noting that the man has no teeth.

He finally decides to just go for it, cholera be damned, and scoops some water into his cupped palms, when the other man waves frantically at him to get his attention. John looks up. The man starts to say something, stops, then mimes drinking the water the same way as John is about to, and does a pretty good impression of puking.

John laughs, letting the water run out of his hands, and wipes his palms on his jeans. It's somehow deeply refreshing just to see a friendly face. He points to the clear plastic bottle of water resting next to the man. “Can I get some of that, then?”

The man's smile falters. Verifying that John is pointing to the water, he at last reluctantly picks it up and holds it out. John smiles back, reaches to take it.

“Don't take that,” a low voice warns.

FILL: pt. 3a/? WARNING: noncon

It happens the next evening, when the light is low.

Amir, the dark-eyed one, has timed it well. The water from the day before took the edge off John's thirst, but his mouth is dry and parched again, and he's gone days with no food or sleep now. He's weak and tired. The fact that Amir comes for him is not a surprise. The manner in which he does it is.

John is just slinking away to his crevice when the bigger man catches him by the hair and drags him into the open, where plenty of men are around to see. He throws John to his knees in front of him and points commandingly at his crotch.

John leans away, weak but too proud to give over so easily, especially in sight of so many other men. Amir scowls and grabs him by the chin, trying to force his thumb into John's mouth.

“Open,” he demands. John shows his teeth angrily. He's not going to roll over and let another man fuck his mouth without a battle.

He gets one. Amir drags him to his feet and backhands him hard enough to send him spilling to the ground again. He doesn't even give John time to submit (not that he would) before laying into him viciously.

The surrounding men watch and cheer as John is brutally beaten with fists and feet. They form an impenetrable wall, kicking John scornfully back toward his attacker when he tumbles up against their legs. Amir pursues him everywhere, kicking him in the ribs, in the back, striking him over and over. He means to thrash John into submission, and he's not going to stop until he's satisfied.

Eventually alarm breaks through the fog in John's brain, and he starts to panic. What if this doesn't stop until he's dead? Which alternative is actually better? He only knows which one produces the most immediate fear.

“Stop,” he croaks, trying to shield his face with his arms.

Amir throws him onto his back and straddles his chest. He punches John in the face systematically, taking his time about it. John tries to lash out at him, but is swiftly blinded by his own blood. Amir's sweat drips onto his face. He's enjoying this. John feels his nose break, hears the crunch of cartilage. He tastes blood; his mouth is bleeding.

He goes limp. He can't win.

Amir is satisfied by this. He pulls John over onto his belly, hauls him onto his knees and yanks his pants down. John clenches his hands into shaking fists, buries his face in his arms. The men are cheering. They're all here to witness this, his terrible defeat. Maybe they'll all take a turn and then kill him afterward. He's not even supposed to be here; this is punishment for a crime he didn't even commit—

Amir is just mounting him when John hears a new voice, a sharp, rasping bark of a voice. Amir moves away. The men are going quiet. John lifts his head blearily and sees another man there—not wearing a muslin mask now, and difficult to place for a moment. The grey eyes are familiar, and so is the voice, but the face— This man could nearly be called handsome, but his lips are bisected diagonally by a long gash that twists his mouth mockingly and gives him a brutish appearance instead. For a second John is more afraid of him than Amir.

Amir says something, and Bane barks back. For the first time, unmuffled by a shroud, John recognizes the growling voice that had saved him on his first night.

Bane's cell isn't what John expected. After three nights of wedging himself into a stone cranny to await dawn, it's somewhat of a surprise to find actual furniture in here. Bane has a cot with a pillow and a couple blankets—wide enough for them both, but after that first night, John starts sleeping on his coat on the floor. There's a table in the corner against the front bars of the cell, and a wooden chair. In the back corner there's a deep pit that serves as a private latrine, which is preferable to the communal one.

Most surprising of all is Bane's collection of books. They're arranged in several stacks on the table, from children's picture books to thousand-page tomes. There's a King James Bible and what John guesses is a Koran. The languages range from English to French to Russian to symbols John can't even guess at. Bane has four of the seven Harry Potter books, but they all look to be written in Arabic.

John comments on this eventually. He tries the first day not to look at or speak to Bane, but he can't stand the other man's silence for long. Silence gives John too much opportunity to think about what's been done to him. So he asks.

“I know every language spoken in the pit,” Bane says simply.

That must mean there are other English speakers here. John wants to find them, to give himself someone else to talk to, but the thought of leaving Bane's cell has become terrifying.

There are limits to Bane's English, he learns—vast gaps in his knowledge. Bane knows everything about how the prison works, but almost nothing of the outside world. John realizes this when he's telling Bane—stupid, nervous chatter to fill in that intolerable silence, to which Bane listens and says nothing in return—that he never read the Harry Potter books, but he did see some of the early movies, when the priest at the orphanage organized some lame little “fun night”, and—

Bane interrupts, unexpectedly. “I don't know that word.”

“What word?”

Bane reclines on his cot, arms folded behind his head. His eyes are half-lidded; the shroud covers most of his face, as usual. “Movies.”

“Oh,” John says. His brain turn momentarily to static, thrown off. He didn't think Bane was even listening to him. “Uh—video? Films?”

“I've heard of that,” Bane says, looking mildly intrigued now. “The pictures truly move?”

“Uh, yeah.” John might smile if he could remember how. “Jeez—how long have you been down here? It's not exactly a new concept.”

“A very long time,” says Bane.

“What did you do?”

Bane's eyes flash. “Don't ever ask a man what his crime is,” he warns. “It wouldn't be wise for you here.”

“I didn't do what they said I did,” John says, impulsively.

“It doesn't matter,” Bane says. “You're here now.”

Choking anger constricts John's throat momentarily. “And I belong to you.”

“Yes,” Bane says, without feeling. “You belong to me.”

Re: FILL: pt. 4b/? (Anonymous) Expand
Re: FILL: pt. 4b/? (Anonymous) Expand
Re: FILL: pt. 4b/? (Anonymous) Expand

FILL: pt. 5a/? WARNING: noncon

It's only a few days after John moves in with Bane that he sees the first attempted climb.

He hears the shouting first, cheering and yelling and chanting that wakes him from a shivery slumber. Bane is already getting out of bed and going to the door of the cell, and John yawns and stretches and joins him.

“What's happening?” he asks, rubbing at his arms to get the blood flowing. Bane looks down as if just noticing him, eyebrows furrowed, and John makes a conscious effort to stop shivering. He won't be forced to Bane's bed, not for any reason.

Bane turns away and points. “He's nearly at the ledge. Few men make it that far.”

John looks in the same direction everyone else is: up. It takes him a moment to pick out the man climbing the rock face that goes all the way up to that circle of blue sky.

“I didn't know you could climb out,” John says, feeling severely cheated.

Bane just grunts. “Watch.”

The man hauls himself onto a ledge near the top. He stands up, and John sees that he's got a rope harness wrapped around him. The shouts and chants rise to a fever pitch. The man walks to the edge of the rock shelf, sights set on another ledge that looks to be a short jump away. He swings his arms a couple times and backs up, then bounds forward and leaps.

It's not such a short jump, John realizes when the man misses his mark entirely. He plummets, screaming, until the rope snaps taut and sends him crashing into the rock wall. Stunned, the man is lowered. The watching crowd begins to disperse, grumbling.

Bane turns away. John follows him back into the cell.

“What happens if you get to the top?” he asks, just to make sure there's no catch.

“It doesn't matter,” Bane says. “No one has ever made it.”

“But what if you did?”

“You would leave here a free man,” Bane says simply. “That is the unique torment of this place. Freedom is there, just beyond reach, every day. Unattainable, but the hope drives men mad down here.”

“I want to do it,” John says. Bane shakes his head irritably.

“You can't.”

“Have you ever tried?”

“Once,” Bane replies, “when I was young, and stupid, like you. That was before I had watched men's spines snap as the rope caught them, or seen their skulls dashed against the wall. Men who make that climb are willing to die for their chance to escape, even knowing they have no chance.”

“That guy fell without breaking anything,” John pushes recklessly. “I could try. I haven't been down here that long, I'm still pretty strong. I could—”

Bane turns to him, eyes blazing.

“Enough,” he says. “This is not a discussion. You are forbidden from climbing that wall. Do you understand? Nod your head.”

John nods, smoldering inwardly with anger.

“Good,” Bane says. “Look down, John. If you look at me like that in front of anyone else I'll have to beat you. That's better. See, you do learn.”

John remembers that day vividly. It marks the second time Bane fucks him.

He's changing his clothes in the corner that evening, trying to do it as quickly as possible. As soon as the sun starts to set in the sky, the cold creeps into the pit. It seems to get colder every night. John's teeth are chattering as he pulls his shirt on quickly.

“Does it ever get warm in here?” he asks.

“Not at night, no,” Bane says behind him. “Stop dressing. Come here.”

John stops. He turns, slowly, and goes to Bane.

“On the bed,” Bane orders.

Of course. He's given John a few days to heal; now he gets to fuck him all over again. John gets on the bed carefully, numbly. Bane is breathing quickly and lightly next to him, pulling the muslin mask down to reveal the ugly gash over his mouth, then tugging his hood off. John only notices then that he's never seen Bane without the hood. It makes him look astonishingly young, baffling John for a moment until he realizes Bane probably is young, for all that every other prisoner in this place is scared of him. He can't be more than a few years older than John, who is only twenty. He has fair hair.

Every night is colder than the last. After two weeks, the blanket appears.

Bane must have bartered for it. John doesn't ask what he gave up. He doesn't care.

Bane uses him twice a day on average, every night and once in the morning. He uses the grease, so that it doesn't hurt as much as that first time, but John sometimes wonders despairingly if he'll ever find it tolerable. If he seems particularly squirmy or in pain one night, Bane won't fuck him the next morning, but he will make John suck him, which is almost as bad. Bane is demanding, his sexual appetite a seemingly bottomless well. It's a hard slog to get him off, and he expects John to swallow. Sometimes he wants John three or four times in a day, and that's the worst, when there's light outside the cell and men can look in and watch his degradation.

He folds all his shame and humiliation into a tight, hot ball inside him and refuses to open it. He won't cry, either. If he cries, he thinks, he'll be acknowledging that his situation is futile. It will mean he accepts that Bane is his master.

Eventually, the cell becomes too claustrophobic. He follows Bane out one day, and is surprised when Bane says nothing. John follows him around the prison, watches him perform little errands and converse briefly with other men. Being around the other prisoners is terrifying—as far as John knows, they all watched Bane break him that first time—but he finds comfort in the last place he expected it: Bane's presence. When he's lurking in Bane's shadow, the men's eyes slide right over him. Nobody looks John in the eyes or lets their gaze linger. He's invisible.

John wanders away a little bit one day, curious about the cell next to theirs, wondering how close Bane will let him get to it, when he runs into a tall, slightly-built man who regards him curiously. He says something to John in a friendly enough manner, but when he brings a hand up and brushes his knuckles down the side of John's face, John flinches.

The blood drains from the man's face when Bane appears at John's side. He starts to speak, probably babbling some apology, but Bane cuts him off by wrapping a hand around the man's throat in a casual, almost thoughtful way. Then John gets to watch as the other man's knees almost buckle under him. His eyes bulge, the whites flashing. He seems to be begging, though curiously not fighting. The muslin shroud covering Bane's mouth flutters in and out as he breathes, and John watches, sickly fascinated, as a dark stain spreads over the front of the man's trousers. He starts crying.

John comes back to himself abruptly. “Jesus, let him go!”

Bane blinks, appearing to come out of a trance of his own. He releases the man, who runs away.

“Don't do that,” John says angrily, conscious that he is in no position to make demands. “He pissed his pants, for Christ's sake. No wonder everyone here hates you.”

“They respect me,” Bane corrects, eyes narrowing.

“Because they're terrified of you. What the hell did you do to these people?”

“I earned my name,” Bane says darkly. “And the next time a man touches you, I will kill him.”

I don't need you, John wants to say. But that's a lie, so he doesn't.

He wakes up early one morning—earlier than Bane—and he knows that, within an hour or so, Bane will wake and want to fuck him. He rolls over and stares at the figure on the cot.

He can't lie here anymore.

He gets up and leaves the cell, alone. A couple men are milling around in the dim light: they ignore John utterly. He walks across the prison until he finds a man standing at the base of the wall where the rope harness is. He has to repeat his request twice before the man will even look at him. Then the man laughs, shakes his head, holds up a hand.

“Give me the rope,” John repeats stubbornly.

The man just laughs, so John grabs the harness himself and carefully loops it around him. He doesn't care what this man thinks. The men down here are malnourished and old. John is young and strong, fresh out of the police academy. He climbs obstacles like this all the time. Most importantly, he remembers the outside world. He can feel how strong its call is. He finds a good, solid foothold, and starts climbing.

Re: FILL: pt. 6b/? (Anonymous) Expand
Re: FILL: pt. 6b/? (Anonymous) Expand
Re: FILL: pt. 6b/? (Anonymous) Expand
Re: FILL: pt. 6b/? (Anonymous) Expand
When John can finally walk, he drags himself unsteadily back to Bane's cell. His protector is already lying on the cot, apparently asleep. John moves his blanket around and lies down gingerly, curling himself around his arm.

Between the cold and the pain, he doesn't sleep at all that night. Every now and then he moans softly, holding his arm. He's got ropeburn and a wrenched shoulder but it's the broken limb that aches nauseatingly, eclipsing all other pains.

In the morning Bane rolls out of the cot and looks down at him scornfully.

“Up,” he says.

John struggles to comply. “Why?” he asks wearily. Surely Bane won't fuck him now.

Bane just flicks his head in the direction of the door.

John follows him out, staying close to him. They make their way across the pit to another spacious cell, this one lined with even more furniture than Bane's. John recognizes the prison doctor, slumped against the wall, fast asleep. John's seen him a few times before, usually visiting the curtained room next-door late at night.

Bane crouches and gives the man a shake. The man snorts and slumbers on. Bane backhands him, and he comes awake with a startle, blinking bleary eyes at them both like he's not sure where he is. For the first time, John notices the needles on the floor. The doctor mumbles something.

“Broken arm,” Bane says.


Bane switches to a different language. He gestures impatiently at John's arm and repeats himself a few times while the doctor just stares uncomprehendingly at them. Finally Bane grabs him by the front of the shirt and hauls him to his feet, snarling into his face.

The doctor shuffles his feet and says something non-committal. Bane lets go of him in disgust and searches his pockets. He holds out a hand and deposits something into the doctor's upturned palm. John leans closer to see what it is: two batteries.

The doctor pockets both. He seems to wake up a bit more, motioning for John to have a seat while he goes through his things. Bane paces the length of the cell, radiating impatience, while the doctor finds a long piece of wood and binder twine, a few strips of cloth.

“Seriously?” John says.

“What did you expect?” Bane snaps. “Do you think you're still in America? I told you what would happen if you climbed that wall. Don't complain now.”

John subsides. It hurts like hell when the doctor splints his arm. He's forced to hold it out in a stiff line, to set it. The next month is going to be really uncomfortable. The doctor goes back to sleep as soon as they leave, and John's arm is still killing him.

“Stay put,” Bane orders when they return to the cell. “I'll be back later.”

“Fine,” John mutters, taking a seat on his blanket in the back corner. There's a dangerous glint in Bane's eye that tells John he should be on his best behaviour for the next few days. He wouldn't go anywhere even if he wanted to.

He wraps the blanket around himself, awkwardly, and slumps miserably against the wall. He wonders where Bane is going, and then reminds himself what Bane said about curiosity down here. He doesn't care what Bane does, anyway, as long as he's leaving John alone.

John sighs and scratches at his nape with his left hand, twisting his head a bit. He nearly jumps out of his skin when, from the corner of his eye, he sees a dark eye watching him from the curtained-off cell.


The eye blinks, and a small hand appears to push the curtain aside more than a crack. John's heart is pounding. He'd totally forgotten there was someone in there. As a face appears between the edge of the curtain and the wall, he realizes with a jolt that the person is a child.

“Do you like the blanket?” the child whispers.

“What?” John says stupidly, dry-mouthed. The kid blinks.

“The blanket,” she—or he?—repeats. “Mama and me gave you it, but it's a secret.”

“Uh,” John says. He peers a little more closely. The child's head is shaved and it wears a plain, dirt-brown tunic. Boy, he decides. “Yeah ... thank you. It's warm.”

The little boy smiles. “Do you live with my friend?”

“Who's your friend?”

The kid pulls the hood of his tunic over his head and covers his mouth with his collar. Bane. Rapist, killer, friend to little children. John's learning all kinds of new things today.

Re: FILL: pt. 7b/? (Anonymous) Expand
Re: FILL: pt. 7b/? (Anonymous) Expand
Re: FILL: pt. 7b/? (Anonymous) Expand
A couple of things happen over the next week or so.

John learns that the woman in the cell next-door has a name, and it's Nadiya. He doesn't talk to her or Talia again. It pains him, because he knows how it feels to be trapped here and totally alone, but if he lets himself give in and start talking to Talia, Bane will surely find out. He leaves the cell only in short stints now, as if he expects John to strike up a conversation with the inhabitants next door as soon as he's gone. John doesn't. He hardens himself to the plight of Talia and her mother. He sits straight and still and keeps his eyes on his book even as he hears Talia whispering to him through the curtain, John, John.

The other thing is that John makes a friend. He has to leave the cell and go for walks when he doesn't think he can ignore Talia any longer. He's getting braver. He doesn't need Bane nearby anymore: the men still walk past him as though he isn't there. Everyone knows who he is by now and they don't dare touch him or even look at him—except for one. He's an old Frenchman named Renard and he invites John to sit and talk in his cell. Because John is starved for company and English conversation, he obliges, though warily, at first.

Renard has been in the pit for a long time and he doesn't have the same fear of Bane that everyone else does. The first thing he says to John is, “So you're old scarface's wife, eh? He's a ugly son of a bitch, no?”

“Yes,” John says firmly, making the old man laugh.

He's a friendly face and a wealth of knowledge, and he doesn't want to fuck John, which is nice. John learns Nadiya's name from Renard, who naturally knows of her existence.

“Have you met the desert beauty next to your cell yet?” Renard asks. John nods. “Lucky you. Lots of men push their luck trying to get a glimpse of her, just to give themselves something to think about at night. Bane likes to keep her to himself, selfish bastard. Nadiya is her name. It means hope. Ironic, no?”

“What did she ...” John trails off, remembering what Bane said about asking people's crimes. Renard smiles, squinting at him.

“Something bad, no doubt. Just like the rest of us.”

He doesn't seem averse to questions, at least, the way Bane is, so John asks, “How'd Bane get that scar, anyway?”

Renard's thick white eyebrows shoot up. “That is a story your master would not like repeated.”

“Oh,” says John. Of course.

“I have no quarrel with Bane, but a wise man doesn't put his hand in a lion's mouth.” Renard grins slyly. He's missing a few teeth. “You could ask him yourself.”

John shakes his head quickly, and Renard laughs again. John visits him a few more times that week. It's hard to leave his cell and force himself to return to Bane's. Once Bane comes to fetch him, and though John is certain he'll be in trouble, or Renard will be, Bane simply nods to the old man politely, as if thanking him for keeping an eye on his wayward wife.

He doesn't fuck John for two days in a row, and John isn't sure if this is because of his arm or because Bane's thinking of what John said about Talia hearing him. Bane paces instead, incessantly, and he keeps his hands busy playing with pieces of string. John can't see what he's doing, but he catches a glimpse of Bane's handiwork one day and is startled to find that it's lace, or something very similar. Predictably, though, Bane soon puts down the lace and orders John to his cot, and then it's life as usual.

Re: FILL: pt. 8c/? (Anonymous) Expand
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Love you guys. You make my bad month not-so-bad. <3 Have some character development.

Bane doesn't order John to his bed again. Not until it's so cold at night that there's a sheen of frost over every stone surface in the morning. John initially resists, because all he can think is that it's been days since Bane last fucked him and how much it will hurt to be stretched open again.

“You're cold,” Bane says dryly. “Let me warm you.”

Fucker, John thinks angrily, using his own stupid lie against him. Then he gets up, and Bane says, “Bring your blanket.”

He does. He gets on the bed and Bane arranges the blankets into a rough cocoon. He grunts when John brushes him.

“You're frozen,” he says. “Don't sleep on the floor anymore.”

“Fine,” John says, unable to believe Bane isn't getting on top of him. He huddles under the blankets and waits, breathless, but Bane just rolls over, and is asleep within minutes.

Some sort of barrier has crumbled between the occupants of the two cells. Now John gets to see how Bane interacts with them, and it's interesting.

Talia and her mother sleep mostly during the day, to avoid being bothered by other prisoners. At dusk and dawn Nadiya draws back the curtain between them so they can interact freely, and John figures this is how it used to be, before he came along. Men lurk outside Bane's cell more frequently when he's away, probably trying to catch a glimpse of her, before Bane returns and scares them off.

Her cell is lavishly furnished, compared to everyone else's. There's an actual bed with red-and-gold patterned blankets on it, a rug on the floor, and a table for them to eat at. It's deeper than it looks, too, giving them a lot more space than John and Bane have. There's plenty of supplies, but no toys or anything to indicate that a child lives there. Nadiya's father funnels supplies to her, Bane explains, and he doesn't know about Talia.

He talks to Nadiya daily. He sits in the chair and has long conversations with her while Talia plays with crudely-constructed toys on the rug. When Bane is near Nadiya, he touches the shroud over his face repeatedly, like an unconscious tic. He gets quieter and the rasp in his voice is less pronounced. It's an unsettling transformation for John, who's gotten used to Bane the monster.

He himself doesn't interact with Nadiya. There's something intimidating about her cool, imperious demeanour, which thaws only for Bane. She's beautiful, despite, or perhaps because of, their surroundings—a diamond in the rough.

A month after John's arrival, another man is lowered into the pit. He's young, dark-skinned and attractive in a fairly feminine way. His fate is sealed. By nightfall his screams and sobs are echoing around the stone walls as the men take their turns with him. Bane looks out broodingly; John sits against the wall and tries to shut the noises out. In the next cell, Nadiya cradles a sleeping Talia in her lap, covering her ears, her features blank and unreadable. John can't imagine a worse hell to raise a child in. He understands the curtain now: not just to shield them from sight, but to block out sounds.

That could have been me, he thinks distantly, nauseous. His eyes meet Nadiya's for a moment. John looks away first. By the door to the cell, Bane murmurs something in Arabic and turns away.

John tries not to talk to Talia. He doesn't want to care. Bane talks to her, though, and he's just as gentle with her as he is with her mother. He crouches down next to the bars and shows her the picture books from his collection. He's teaching her to read.They read aloud to each other, his voice a soft rumble, hers small and halting. He never rushes her. Time ceases to matter when Bane is with Talia; he has all the patience in the world for her.

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Re: FILL: pt. 9d/? (Anonymous) Expand
Hey all, next update may be a little slow to happen. I got hit in the eye by an angry barn owl at work and it makes typing and computer work a little painful at the moment. Off to the eye doc to find out if there's any permanent damage!

(I wish this was a weird situation for me. Don't play with matches or barn owls, kids!)

So there's going to be a scar on my eye, which is lame, but apart from that, no permanent damage. DON'T play with barn owls, kids! It's all fun and games until you pull a Whisky. :(

The next eleven months pass more quietly for John than the first one did. He learns more about the prison than he ever expected to.

As in any prison, there are cliques and gangs and rivals. An attack on one man may mean retribution from twenty more. Bane has no friends, and respects only the older men in the prison—who, John now knows, must have virtually raised him from infancy—but he also has no enemies. All men respect Bane, even Amir, the one who'd tried to claim John first. They hate him, but they respect him. This balance amongst the prisoners is tenuous: when a new man is lowered into the pit, everything is unsettled for a few days while he finds his feet in the prison hierarchy. To some, this hierarchy is all they have.

When the really cold season hits, about a month after John's arrival, relations in the pit thaw. Everyone comes together then to scrape up any piece of wood they have, and construct a bonfire under the circle of night sky. Enmities dissolve for the sake of warmth and company. Only the “women”, like Aisha, are relegated to the sides. When John asks, Bane takes him to the communal bonfire. He lies with his head pillowed in Bane's lap and listens to the men laugh and joke and swap stories, while Bane slowly strokes a hand through John's hair, over and over.

It's a strange culture in the pit. Violence is commonplace to them; they think nothing of it. They talk about rape as other men would discuss the weather. Evil, John realizes, becomes banal when one is surrounded by it.

Talia longs to see the fire up close, when there is one. She's fascinated by it. John ends up begging Bane to go to the doctor and ask for the keys to Nadiya's cell, so that they can let Talia out every now and then. Bane hedges, but when Nadiya says it's okay with her, he gets the keys for them. This sudden vast expansion of Talia's tiny world is initially overwhelming to her, but soon she's running and playing with John just like any child. The men, who think she's a boy, regard her with either indifference or indulgence, and when there's a bonfire, John isn't the only one cautioning her from touching the flames.

“I realize we seem like barbarians to you—I know, I was new here once, too,” Renard says dryly when John asks what makes the prisoners so tolerant of Talia. He expected Bane to have to constantly protect her, even if she is a “boy”. “But even the men here have their limits. They don't harm children.”

“Was everyone this nice to you, when you were a kid?” John asks Bane curiously later. Bane just grunts, and tells him not to ask questions.

Talia very quickly becomes the light in John's dark world. Bane's sexual appetite is ravenous once again. Two times a day is normal, sometimes with an additional blowjob thrown in. He stops fucking John briefly when they run out of grease, but he very quickly procurs a much larger quantity. John is always sore, and always hungry, even though Nadiya shares her supplies with them. He can't recall being this hungry since his first days outside the boys' home, on his own. It's an every-day ache, a hollowness in his stomach. When supplies are low before a drop, Bane makes sure everything goes to Nadiya and Talia, so that some days he and John eat nothing at all. Starvation is normal for Bane, and he carries on as usual, but John usually ends up lying down, light-headed, when he can't do anything else. Those days are long.

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Trying to work on the NHB sequel. Meantime, here is some filler.

“Are you happy, John?” Bane asks one day.

It comes at the end of a stroll around the pit. Sometimes John is inclined to spend several days in a row holed up in the cell, if the men outside are in a particularly brutish mood, if the screaming at night sounds especially tortured; or worst of all, if someone else's wife has been badly injured or killed. Those are the only occasions, these days, when a man will feel inclined to fight Bane for the right to John's body.

Bane is observant—maybe the most observant man John has ever met, and he worked with cops—and he reads the mood in the pit unerringly. So when tempers are high, and John's courage has flickered low, he'll ask John to join him on an errand. It took John months to realize there is no errand. Bane will usually stop and chat with one of the older men in some other language, but that's all he does. It's just a walk, a short exercise so that John can stretch his legs and move around unmolested. It's a thoughtful gesture, coming from Bane. John supposes it's one of the few nice things Bane can do for him.

On this walk they passed by another man, a hulking brute of a man even bigger than Bane (who is far from the largest prisoner in the pit, but still considerably imposing). Knelt at the man's feet was one of the women, sucking his cock. The “woman”—shirtless, with kohl smeared around his eyes—had a hand thrust into his own pants and was touching himself openly, something the bigger man evidently permitted.

Bane actually stopped, curious, before John pulled him along in embarrassment. Nobody in the pit seems too shy about other people watching their transgressions, but John still has a sense of shame to cling to. Moreover, he didn't want Bane to think this was standard behaviour, something John should be doing when he's choking himself on Bane's dick.

It seems to have planted a thought in Bane's mind anyway, because now he's asking if John is happy. As if that were at all possible.

“No,” John answers him, finally. “I'm not happy.”

Bane's brow furrows. “Still?”

“I'll never be happy here,” John says tiredly. “Don't you get that? Where I come from, I don't belong to anyone, and I don't have to do anything for anyone else to protect myself ...”

He can see Bane's lack of understanding in his eyes. Bane has never known any place but this pit. It doesn't matter how hard John tries to explain: as far as Bane is concerned, John is here now and he's better off than most other men in the pit. Where he was before is irrelevant. John tries again, anyway.

“I used to have my own place,” he says, “and—all right, there wasn't heat, but I had a space heater, and I always had food, and clean water whenever I wanted it ...”

“You miss your home,” Bane says carefully.

“Yeah, but not just that. I used to have friends, and ... and girlfriends, occasionally ...”

Now Bane's interest is sparked. He understands this need. “Do you want—I could bring you a woman,” he offers. “Aisha would—”

No,” John says wearily. “Just forget it.”

“You don't pleasure yourself.”

“No, because I don't feel good.”

That seems to leave Bane at a loss. He sits down, picks up some string, untangles it carefully. He ties a little noose. Unties it. John watches him from the cot.

“What would make you feel good?” Bane asks without looking up when he's on his third miniature noose. John can't believe the deftness in those blunt fingers.

“Nothing,” John says dully. He revises, “Not getting fucked by you.”

Bane growls softly. “Not an option.”

“Then I don't know. You can't ask me to like it.”

“Fair enough,” Bane says. They both fall silent again.

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“John, you're Ariel!” Talia is virtually bouncing off the walls in their cell. “Bane, you be Prince Eric.”

“I can't sing,” John informs her. She scrambles up into his lap.

“Of course not, Ursula took your voice. But you have to make Bane give you the kiss of true love anyway.”

Bane looks deeply aggrieved by this, even more so than when Talia demanded he play the Scar to her Simba and John started snorting with laughter. John smiles.

“Who are you supposed to be, then?”

“Ursula.” Talia bares her little teeth. “I have your voice. Stop talking.”

“Pretty small for a bad guy,” John says, and flips her onto the cot, tickling her to make her squeal. She thrashes, shrieking and giggling.

“Kiss him!” she yells. “You have to kiss him.You can't talk till you do.”

John scoops her up. “Boys don't kiss each other, Ursula. It's boy code.”

“But you're Ariel! You're a princess. And he's your handsome prince.”

“I've seen handsomer,” John says. He puts her down. “Why don't you be Prince Eric?”

“Bane's the prince,” she says. She tugs at Bane's hand. He's sitting in the chair, observing them. “Kiss Ariel. You're in love.”

“You should go to bed,” Bane says, not looking at her.

“Kiss Ariel!” She starts jumping up and down. “She can't talk until you kiss her. Then you have to get married!”

“Enough, Talia!” Bane snaps.

It's the first time John's ever heard him snap at her. Talia flinches back from him swiftly. In the next second she's recovered, piling into John's lap to be tickled again.

“Eric's grouchy,” she says, a word that John taught her to describe Bane. She flings herself on top of him, cackling as she tries to press their lips together. John struggles gamely. “Now you have to marry me!

He plays with her until she's exhausted and Nadiya is calling to her softly that it's time for a nap. As John unlocks their door, Talia says goodnight to Bane brightly.

“Goodnight, Talia,” Bane replies gently.

John locks the door. He gives it a few minutes before he attacks Bane.

“Why'd you snap at her like that?”

Bane looks surprised. “You were the one who said no to her.”

“I said it nicely. You bit her head off.” John drops back onto the cot, clenching the sheets in his hands. “Whatever there is between us, you keep her out of it.”

“I don't understand,” says Bane.

“I mean if you're mad at me for going along with her game, or whatever, don't take it out on her. You don't have to bark at her because you're pissed off at me.”

“I wasn't—”

“You hurt her feelings,” John says. “Don't talk to her like that again.”

He flops onto his side and drags the covers over himself, hoping to end the conversation. Then he feels Bane's fingers digging into his shoulder.

“You're telling me what to do? In my own cell?”

John doesn't say anything.

Bane drops onto him. He shoves John onto his back and wrests the shroud off his face. John flinches. The sight of the thick, ugly gash that twists Bane's mouth into a fixed snarl is always, somehow, a surprise.

“Do you want to kiss me, John?” he demands.

John remains quiet. He's found silence works well when Bane is angry with him. Sure enough, after a moment, Bane is breathing less harshly. He moves aside.

“Don't ever tell me what to do,” he says. “I own you.”

“I know,” John says bitterly.

He regrets it immediately when Bane's fingers dig sharply into his shoulder again. He stiffens, clamping his eyes shut. Then Bane lets go, snarling under his breath.

“Sleep,” he growls.

Nights like these, John really wishes he could sleep with one eye open.

One good thing about Bane is that his dark moods are about as fleeting as his good ones. In the morning he acts as though nothing happened. He fucks John no more roughly than usual and lets him go back to sleep afterward.

When John wakes up again, and climbs stiffly out of bed, he finds Bane standing by the door, gazing up. John joins him. Everyone is watching a man make the climb out of the pit. He doesn't even make it as far as John did.

There's no surprise in John when the man fails. He's becoming as resigned as Bane. There's no point to climbing the wall when it will only mean an injury that could make him potentially vulnerable. He refuses to believe he'll die down here, but if he ever gets out, it won't be by climbing.

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FILL: pt. 13a/? WARNINGS: noncon, general darkness

This is a not-nice chapter. Be warned!

The men who take John away from Bane are in a joyous mood at having not only beaten Bane but stolen his wife as well. They celebrate by raping John all night.

He doesn't really remember it, afterward. He knows it happened, but he just sort of goes blank, inside and out. He's an empty shell. Nothing penetrates the fog.

He does learn that it can get worse than being forced to live in the pit with Bane. It can get much, much worse.

Amir doesn't have a cell. There are a few tunnels that wind around the pit like the passages of an ant colony, and he's claimed a sort of burrow for his own. The floor is strewn with cushions. The only light comes from kerosene lamps. Not even sunlight can find its way here. John wakes up in the morning—or maybe he was awake all along—shivering among the cushions, arms wrapped around his knees.

He fights, at first. It's a mistake. Amir beats him viciously, and spits on him with contempt afterward. He has John the most. While he rests, he watches his friends take their turns until he's excited enough to join in again.

He has six friends, whom John nicknames privately to separate them in his head—Shorty, Grumpy, Fatty, Sweaty, Beardy, and Grabby. He never learns their real names. None of them are like Bane. They don't read or have hobbies or make much conversation, even amongst themselves. John is their toy and, for the moment, their only means of entertainment. They hit him for no reason, they mock him, ask him in broken English how it is to be fucked by Bane, the ghul, the monster; if he ruts like a bull between John's legs. Unlike Bane, they don't tolerate any talking at all, especially talking back—he learns that very quickly. And they touch him, which adds a new level of humiliation to the rapes. They reach between his legs and grope him there, leaving dark bruises in the shape of their fingers. Bane never touched John any more than he had to. John hates and fears every single one of the six.

But it's Amir he hates most of all: smiling at John with dark killer's eyes, gripping a handful of his hair before throwing him to the floor to be fucked. He's drunk on his success for days; he can't get his fill of John, this tangible evidence of his mastery over Bane. He wants John at his side always and keeps him on a rough noose, a leash and collar, even though he doesn't leave the tunnel. When John can't stand fast enough for his liking, Amir strangles him with the rope until John's vision goes black. He rarely speaks in English to John. It's hard to see him as a person or anything more than a mindless brute. He's the real monster down here.

His only concession to John's abuse is to turn down the men who, even on that first day, seek him out to offer him goods and favours in exchange for a turn with John. News travels fast in the pit. It's not much of a kindness: John gets the feeling that Amir just wants to break him in first.

Nobody ever asked Bane if they could use John. They probably knew what the answer would be. Bane doesn't share his belongings with anyone.

It's impossible to judge the passing of time. John is dizzy all the time. He's so hungry.

“Johanna,” Amir proclaims on the third or fourth or fifth day.

“My name is John,” John mumbles confusedly past a split lip.

“Johanna,” Amir repeats. He leans down, gripping John by the jaw. “A fine name for a fine woman.”

And that's what they call him from then on. Even after everything, John still feels a little prickle of shame every time he hears it. If he doesn't respond, they beat him. He never thought to be grateful for something as simple as being allowed to keep his name. There's a lot of things he wouldn't have thought to be grateful for.

He doesn't hear anything about Bane, those first days. His worst fear is that they killed him. For a few days he's sick over the certainty that Bane is dead. Any man would have killed Bane, after taking John away from him. Bane is the scariest guy down here. Any man foolish enough to steal something from him would make damn certain that Bane couldn't steal it back.

Bane nurses John a bit that night, a kindness John knows won't last, but soaks up anyway. The first thing Bane wants to do is take stock of the physical damage, but John manages to deter him for the time being. Bane gives him rice and water when he realizes how starved John is. John falls on it ravenously, but it hurts so much to swallow that he only manages to get a little bit down. Bane cautions him against drinking too quickly, and frowns when he sees the dark ring around John's neck where the rope had strangled him. He touches it lightly, but makes no comment.

Bane himself looks rough from his scuffle with Amir, and from the previous beating. He has a new scar, an ugly red split over the bridge of his nose, running partway down across his cheek. Kicked in the face with a sandal, John thinks. He seems self-conscious of it, even though John looks like shit too; he shares some of John's rice and pulls his shroud back on quickly. He moves around stiffly, much more so than when he'd been rescuing John. John comments on this.

“Broken ribs,” Bane says, touching a hand to his side. “They've been bound.”

“Are you crazy?” John says, but not with much emotion. He's so tired. His tongue keeps snagging on a chipped tooth when he talks. “You could have snapped a rib and stabbed yourself, fighting like that.”

Bane shrugs. “I had to get you,” he says. “Talia missed you,” he adds, like that explains everything.

“How long was I gone?”

“Seventeen nights,” says Bane.


Bane points to the wall, where, John sees, he's kept up the little tallies John's been marking since he got here. His chest clenches hotly. Just two and a half weeks, and yet he feels like a different person. Everything that was John Blake has been washed away in a tidal bore of hurt.

“I have to sleep,” he says, because the alternative is to vomit up the rice and water right then.

Bane lets him lie down, and gets into the cot carefully beside him. He grunts softly, a pained noise, when he lies down. Broken ribs. Guy doesn't know when to quit.

John doesn't sleep. Can't sleep. He lies awake and stares up into the dark, struggling to keep all his thoughts at bay. Then he seems to blink, and Bane is sitting up next to him, framed by the dim morning light that seeps into their cell.

“Did you sleep?” Bane asks.

John shakes his head.

“I want to bathe you,” Bane says.

John waits almost a minute before he realizes Bane is actually asking permission.

“Uh ... yeah,” he says hoarsely. “Okay.”

Bane pours a little water into a bowl, then helps John peel off his shirt—dirty and stained, too big for him—and wets a cloth. Before he does anything else he just looks, cataloguing the damage. John's whole torso is mottled with bruises; some dark purple and fresh, others growing yellow-green around the edges and fading. The mark around his throat is the worst.

Bane washes him without saying anything. He gives John a different shirt, a softer, cleaner one, and John pulls it on stiffly. Then Bane pauses, and John has to nod before Bane will take hold of his pants and pull them off.

His lower body is a landscape of bruises, too. He doesn't know what his hole looks like, but when he draws up his knees and parts his thighs for Bane to look, he can hear a soft growling from behind the shroud. He can see Bane's eyes darting over him, disbelieving. Bane takes good care of all his possessions: even the books, after many years of repeated readings, are no more than slightly worn. For them to misuse John the way they had makes no sense to him. It'll be at least a week before John is any good to him.

He says nothing. He just wets the cloth again and starts wiping away crusted blood between John's thighs.

When he's done, he gives John different pants as well. He helps John pull them on, and John feels profound relief that that's over.

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FILL: pt. 15a/? WARNINGS: brief noncon

John sleeps and dreams.

He's on his back, sprawled limply between someone's spread thighs with his arms pinned behind him, while another man fucks him hungrily. It hurts. He arches against it, groaning. It's not a sharp hurt, it's hot, blazing, traveling a path up his spine. He can't quite open his eyes to see who's fucking him.

But it's Bane holding him down. In John's ear he says you're doing well, John, we're almost there, and John tries to pull his arms free but Bane's grip is iron. John is grinding his teeth, sweating, moaning in pain, and a cool, comforting hand passes over his forehead, settling him for a minute...

He's in Gotham and he's all wet, he's in his shower, trying to turn the temperature down from boiling but it won't work. His skin is reddened and prickling from the heat. Just a little cooler, that's all he wants, but the knob keeps slipping under his fingers. His skin is dripping. He's supposed to be making himself ready for them, but how can he when he's already bleeding all over the tiles?

John's all hot, Mama, he hears an alien voice say, very far away, like fire...

They come for him when he's still in the shower, dragging him out and pinning him down so he's paralyzed. He wants to fight but there's a great weight smothering him, holding him down, and he can't move. He's not ready yet, Amir is saying. They're all so hungry and there's no food, so John will have to do, but they have to cook him or he won't be any good. John can't do anything but watch as Amir forces a burning metal rod inside him, and it hurts worse than anything, it blinds him. He wants to fight but his body is so heavy and it hurts so much. He's burning alive.

Hands pin his wrists above his head. Other hands are prying him open, laying him bare, and when he gives a choked sob and tries to pull his hands free a gentle, accented voice is saying it's okay, John, it's almost over...

It's Bane on top of him, holding him down now as they fuck, and it's never been like this before, he always takes John from behind. Now their bodies are pressed together, he's smothering John with his weight and heat and John squirms, can't catch his breath, wants to struggle free, and then Bane leans down and kisses him and warmth ignites in the base of John's spine...

The fire swallows him up.

He wakes up shivering on the rock floor with cold wet cloths all over him, under his clothes, seeping down his skin. He peels one off his forehead, off his neck, and feels a little better. Nadiya crouches down at his side and touches his face.

“Less hot,” she says.

“I had a fever,” John says, confusedly.

“Infection,” says Nadiya, her beautiful face creased with concern. “Do you feel better now?”

He's not sure. She helps him to sit up a little, just enough that he can drink the medicated tea she makes for him. The doctor's been here. John's head spins. He knows he's been sleeping for a long time, but he's still so tired he can barely hold his head up. Talia's asleep in the bed, clutching her doll.

When John has finished the tea, and feels slightly more clear-headed, Nadiya shows him a little bottle the doctor gave her.

“Ointment,” she explains. “For the infection. I can help you ...”

She trails off, and John figures it out, where the infection is. He licks his lips and shakes his head.

“Bane,” he says hoarsely. She looks surprised.

“Are you sure?”

“Ask him,” John says, and he rolls over on the floor and shuts his eyes. Nadiya hesitates for a minute. Then she steps over him to the cell bars. There's a hushed conversation in Arabic.

Re: FILL: pt. 15c/? (Anonymous) Expand
Re: FILL: pt. 15c/? (Anonymous) Expand
The cold season is late that year, but it makes up for its delayed start with a vengeance when it arrives. Soon John can't sleep at night, even wrapped in a pile of blankets and pressed against Bane's warm body. He lies awake and shivers and tries to switch off his brain, shut down every memory he has of the dark.

It's been a couple of weeks since he returned to Bane's bed and Bane still hasn't fucked him. John is careful to act more injured than he is. If there's a shred of goodness in Bane that keeps him from using John while he thinks John is still healing, then John intends to make the most of that. He wants to stretch it out for months. Forever, preferably.

Bane gets out of bed one morning when the light is still low, his breath a fine mist through the shroud.

“Up,” he says, stretching. “You're coming with me today.”

John is too stiff and cold to move, until Bane pulls the blankets off him. He groans and curls up, and Bane drops a linen robe over him.

“Put that on over your clothes. Get up and walk around, it will warm you faster.”

John never actually noticed until now how much warmer it made the bed when Bane fucked him. No wonder he was always able to fall asleep afterward, even when he felt like throwing up. He'll take the trade-off, but that doesn't make it any easier to crawl out of bed, yawning and shivering.

“Where are we going?” he asks, rubbing his arms. Bane steps in front of him and rubs them properly, forcing the blood to flow. John winces.

“Supply drop today,” Bane says. “We need to get extras.”

He's right: they wait outside the cell, soaking in the weak, watery sunlight that trickles in, and soon a net full of crates appears over the lip of the hole. It's lowered painstakingly slowly. As soon as it touches rock, the rope lowering it is slashed.

Bane walks over and starts cutting away the netting with his knife. A few other early risers join in. It's too cold and too early for enmity; they start cracking open crates without any of the typical scrapping and snarling. John wanders over tentatively—he barely leaves the cell at all, these days—and pokes through a couple crates. He shies away when other men come near him.

Bane comes to him with a stack of goods and loads up his arms. “Take those to the cell, and come back,” he says.

John obeys. He leaves them all in the cot, under the blankets, hidden. Bane drops off another load, and leads John back out. Now more men are picking over the pile, and John sees what Bane is doing: they look like they've just arrived, free to take what they need. Bane makes John carry half of the extra supplies, but they aren't going back to the cell.

“Where are we taking these?” John asks.


“Can't he get his own stuff?”

“Too cold,” says Bane. “His joints pain him. I bring his supplies in the cold season.”

John had never noticed Bane making extra trips last year. He follows along behind. In Renard's cell the old man is sitting up in bed, blowing air over his swollen, blueish knuckles. He starts to greet Bane in French, then switches to English when he sees John there.

“What do you want, you ugly son of a dog? Can't you let an old man freeze to death in peace?”

“I have spirits,” Bane says, setting down his pile.

“Good. Bring them here.”

“You got spirits and aren't going to sell them?” John asks Bane, surprised. Spirits are one of the biggest commodities in the pit. If Bane had kept a bottle for them, they could sell it for—anything.

Renard raises an eyebrow. “Spirits are for drinking. Where did you find this boy, huh? When are you going to let me die?”

“Perhaps next winter,” Bane says. Renard's beard twitches in a smile.

“Ah, get out of here. Go on.”

Bane bows his head and leaves with John. Renard's grumblings follow them out. Despite the way he acts, there's something almost close to fondness in the old man's face when he watches them leave. John never had an aunt or uncle, but he wonders if that's what family is like—people who will grumble and gripe at you, knowing you'll still like them in the morning.

Re: FILL: pt. 16c/? (Anonymous) Expand
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Re: FILL: pt. 16c/? (Anonymous) Expand
Re: FILL: pt. 16c/? (Anonymous) Expand
Re: FILL: pt. 16c/? (Anonymous) Expand
Christmas busyness + sore eyeball = unmotivated Whisky. Still working on both stories. Did I link to the NHB sequel yet, by the by?

Aisha lurks outside their cell. Waiting for Bane. John hadn't noticed before, but he does now. Aisha probably knows the same thing John does now: that they've got a pretty good thing going with Bane.

“Stay away from Bane,” John says, hovering in the cell doorway with his arms folded over his chest, when Bane isn't around.

Aisha startles and looks at him, uncertain. No one's supposed to talk to the women if it's not for sex. John wonders if Aisha recognizes him from their last encounter, when John was new to the pit. He'd still been wearing his Gotham clothes then, his hair cropped short.

Affirming that John is addressing him, Aisha mumbles something in his own language. John notes again that he has no teeth. Does that make for a better blowjob?

“I mean it,” John says. “Stay away from him.”

Aisha spreads his hands in helpless bewilderment. He has no idea what John's saying. He looks afraid.

John softens, letting his arms fall to his sides. What can either of them do? Aisha belongs to the men in the pit. He can no more say no to Bane than John can. He's a lot worse off than John, actually—for him to say no to any man would mean being beaten to death or worse.

“I'm sorry,” John says. “I feel bad for you,” he adds, since Aisha doesn't understand. Aisha just smiles nervously, a pathetic, supplicating gesture.

“John.” Nadiya's voice in the other cell is soft, barely audible. John retreats back into the cell, to the back corner where he can peer past the curtains. Talia's asleep in the bed, but Nadiya is up, doing something with needles and yarn again. She looks at him curiously. “Who are you talking to?”

He takes a deep, shaky breath. “Bane's using some other man. For ... sex.”


John is taken aback. “How'd you know?”

“Bane had needs before you came here,” Nadiya says, smiling. “And I know more of what goes on in this pit than you think.”

Nothing John wants to say seems to make sense. It's not fair. It's supposed to be me. Of course it makes no sense, because John doesn't want to be the one on his knees for Bane. He doesn't even know what he wants.

“He wouldn't ...” he starts. Nadiya just stares at him until he manages to spit the words out. “... replace me?”

Nadiya smiles again, the needles clicking peacefully together. “No, John.”

John is doubtful, though. Maybe he was right: Bane doesn't like sharing, doesn't want to think about all the other men who fucked John. It's different with Aisha, because John was supposed to be his.

He's doing it again—refusing to give Bane the benefit of the doubt. Part of John still thinks of him as a monster. But he's a good guy, down here.

“What makes someone a woman?” John asks when they're in bed that night, spooned close for warmth. “Are they women as soon as they get here, just 'cause they're small and weak?”

“Sometimes,” Bane says, not particularly interested.

“So that could have been me?”

“Doubtful.” Bane's nose is pressed to John's hair, at the nape of his neck. John can't tell if it's intentional or not. Bane loves stroking a hand through his hair. He noses John and growls, “You are too lovely for any man to pass up.”

His deep rumble spirals down to the base of John's gut and settles there, warm. John shifts.

“Why's Aisha a woman?”

“They say he pleasured men even before he came here.” He says this like he finds the very thought outlandish and quaint. John has to smile. He's only just noticed that when Bane is referring to the prison women, he doesn't say she or her like the other men who speak English.

“Amir called me a woman,” John says impulsively. “He gave me a girl's name.”

Bane says nothing, but John can feel the bass vibration of a growl through his back from Bane's chest.

He's hard, John realizes. He squirms around, twisting in Bane's grip until they're almost nose-to-nose.

“I can suck you off,” John says.

He can't see Bane's face in the dark, but he hears Bane growl now with audible displeasure.

“Are you so determined to hate me, John,” he bites out, “that you ask me to violate you now?”

Re: FILL: pt. 17b/? (Anonymous) Expand
Re: FILL: pt. 17b/? (Anonymous) Expand
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Re: FILL: pt. 17b/? (Anonymous) Expand
Re: FILL: pt. 17b/? (Anonymous) Expand
Hope everyone had a great Christmas! Here is a slightly belated update-present. :)

The cold snap fades, just enough to take the edge off at night and during the day. It means spending more time with Talia and much less in bed with Bane, which comes as a relief.

It's Nadiya who declares that John needs a haircut. She offers to do it herself, which John gratefully takes her up on. Last time Bane had done it with the straight razor he uses to shave them both, but Nadiya has actual scissors. She bids John to sit against the bars where she can reach through.

Bane had looked like he wanted to stop her when she brought it up, but she's right—only the women keep their hair long. John's falls past his shoulders now. He sits still for Nadiya, and Bane sits on the bed and watches them, even while Talia is teaching him a little hand-clapping game that Nadiya taught her. John would love to make some teasing comment, but he's still trying to be quiet and compliant and all the things that don't come naturally to him.

“There we are.” Nadiya brushes some strands of hair off his shoulders. His hair is now just long enough to cover his ears. “Such a handsome man, John. Like my husband.”

“Thanks.” John smiles and gets up. Talia scampers off the bed and starts collecting every strand of his hair. John looks at her curiously. “What are you doing?”

“I'm going to make a nest for the mice,” she says, cradling a bundle of hair. She deposits it in a pile on the chair. “They'll live with us and be our friends and then we can cook them and eat them.”

“Oh. Jeez.”

“Me now,” Talia says, turning to her mother and bouncing on the balls of her feet. “Do my hair.”

“You don't have any to cut,” John tells her, running a hand over her bristling scalp.

“Bane's turn,” says Nadiya. She beckons to Bane. “Come sit. Hood off.”

Bane hesitates. He goes to her reluctantly, pulling his hood off. When he's sitting with his back against the bars, Nadiya reaches through and runs her fingers through his hair. John wonders why she's allowed to touch and he isn't, and bites his tongue.

Talia wants to draw pictures, so she and John do that while Nadiya trims Bane's hair. There's not a lot to take off. She talks to him while she trims, a steady string of Arabic that Bane occasionally replies to. John keeps glancing over at them, and wondering at the stiff way Bane is holding himself. It's rare for him to ever look uncomfortable.

“There,” Nadiya says when she's finished, brushing away loose hairs. She smiles gently. “Now you are nearly as handsome as your lover.”

John is looking over, and he's the only one who sees the way Bane's face goes tight for a moment, his eyes full of pain, as if she's struck at him physically. Then he shakes his head and he's thanking her, getting up and pulling on his hood swiftly. John is quick to look away.

All this time, and he'd never even guessed. Bane is in love with Nadiya.

John brings his hand to the shroud over Bane's face that night, when it's just the two of them and Bane is on top of him. They haven't started anything yet. A candle flickers on a rock ledge next to them; Bane has just finished reading and hasn't blown it out yet.

Bane goes very still, but he doesn't grab John's wrist. This might be because he's supporting himself on both hands. John takes advantage to trail his fingers up the shroud, and then slowly, slowly peel it down. Bane turns his face away and sits back, pushing off the hood as well. Not for the first time, it strikes John how young he actually is.

“Can I see?” John whispers.

He fully expects to be rebuffed, or even snapped at. Instead, Bane blinks and then slowly turns his head to gaze down at John. John sits up, too, squirming out from under him to get a better look at his face. Strange to spend so much time in a man's company and barely know him. The scar over the bridge of his nose and cheek hasn't faded, but of course, it's the gash that bisects his mouth that automatically draws the eye. Bane holds himself very still while John traces it with his fingertips, finding little nicks at the edges where the stitches must have been. It's so long, John thinks numbly. They'd ripped his face apart.

FILL: pt. 19a/? Warning: death

John dwells on this latest sexual encounter all night. It's a few hours before he figures out what's nagging at him.

I asked another man. Bane doesn't know how to make sex less uncomfortable for his partner, so he tried to educate himself. The cynic in John says that maybe he thinks John is tender now, unable to be used roughly without tearing again, but then he has another thought. Bane lied. He can't have asked another man. If he went to someone else and said “how do I make my wife feel good when I'm fucking him?”, they would take John away from him, regardless of how afraid of Bane they are.

That means Bane had to have asked someone who couldn't use it against him, and John knows immediately who: Aisha. But then why not say so? And there's only one conclusion John can come to, after mulling it over in his head for a long time, that makes any sense: Bane's promise to stop seeing Aisha matters to him.

It's absurd, it's impossible; but Bane cares for John's feelings. He lied to spare them. He wanted to have sex again, so he went to Aisha and asked how he could cause John the least pain. It wasn't punishment at all.

This is speculation, of course, and so different from his image of Bane that John struggles to wrap his head around it. He falls into a doze, finally, early in the morning, and manages a few hours of sleep before Bane wakes him just after dawn.

“Supplies,” Bane says in a blunt, flat voice. “Come along.”

John obeys. He's not going to make Bane talk about it.

The net full of supplies is waiting; a few men are already prying crates open. John and Bane work swiftly to pick out what they need without talking. John is startled when he opens one crate and finds stacks upon stacks of old books, English and Arabic and Russian and even more languages. He riffles through them, pulling a few out.

“Hey, look at—” he starts to call out to Bane.

Another man hits him across the face, stunning him. Wresting the books out of his hands, the man hisses something at him angrily.

Bane is there at once, shroud fluttering and eyes blazing with rage. The man drops the books, immediately starts to say something, but he's cut off when Bane grabs him by the throat, gives him a hard shake, and throws him to the ground.

“Books are kindling,” he says in a cool undertone to John. He takes one, an English copy of a Dickens book, and puts it under John's shirt. If anyone else sees, they don't say anything. They give Bane and John a wide berth for a few minutes; but a couple of men shoot Bane hard glances.

Once John has toted their supplies to the cell and returned, Bane is gathering things for Renard. A larger crowd has gathered and men are jostling each other aggressively. John hangs back, waits for Bane to emerge, and follows him. He can hear a fight breaking out behind them. It's shocking how swiftly the men down here devolve into a mob mentality; even men who are low on the prison pecking order will jump in to punish an infraction. John stays close to Bane.

In the door to Renard's cell, Bane stops short. John almost walks into him.

“What's wrong?” he asks.

Bane doesn't answer. John slips around him, and sees at once. The old man is dead. He's lying in the bed on his back, hands clasped on his chest, his face grey and still.

They both stand there for a minute. John looks at Bane, unsure what to do. Bane's eyes travel the cell, taking everything in. Thinking.

Finally, Bane puts down the pile of supplies. “Help me gather his things,” he says.

John joins him warily. Bane's already sifting through Renard's sparse belongings—clothing and blankets and dishes.

“Would he mind?” John asks.

He expects Bane to laugh or scoff at him. Instead, Bane says, “He would prefer that we, who respected him, take his possessions, than the scavengers who will come later.”

John helps him collect everything Bane thinks will be of use. They carry it back to the cell together in silence. Bane slips back out to sell the alcohol, and comes back with extra fruit preserves and salted meat. John sits on the cot and watches him sort the supplies, hiding everything away expertly. He can't read Bane's face.

Re: FILL: pt. 19d/? (Anonymous) Expand
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