Title: How to Eat an Oreo Cookie - posted October 15, 2005
Series:  Comrades in Arms
Author: Lacey McBain
Rating: PG.  Pre-slash.  Bruce/Wally.
Summary: If you give a Bat a cookie ...
Notes:  Fanfic100 challenge.

How to Eat an Oreo Cookie

Batman can’t see what the commotion is about.  There’s a small group of people gathered around the table in the Watchtower’s cafeteria.  It’s late in the evening and the mission went well.  Everyone should be heading back to earth.  Back to their homes and lives and families, but sometimes it’s hard to leave the Watchtower.  It’s safe.  People here know what it’s like--the job, the risks involved, the fear.  Bruce can understand why they’re all still hanging around even when there are other places they need to be.

They haven’t noticed him yet, and that’s probably for the best.  He prefers to blend into the background, come and go as he pleases.  He learns a great deal more that way.

He steps closer, the view of the table obscured by Green Lantern’s broad shoulders, the out-stretched wings of Hawkgirl.  Booster Gold and Blue Beetle are there too, Booster’s arm draped along Beetle’s shoulders.  It’s meant to look casual, but Batman can feel the tension radiating from the two of them.  If they’re not already sleeping together, it won’t be long.  Green Lantern and Shayera too.  Her hands are in plain view, but her one wing is definitely touching John’s back, the graceful feathers draped along his spine like the fringe of an ancient battle-robe.

Bruce wonders when everyone in the League started dating one another.  Sooner or later it’s going to be a problem.  Workplace relationships can get complicated.

There’s a round of surprised exclamations, and Batman thinks he catches a glimpse of Diana’s dark hair.  Plastic Man’s head stretches over the rest for a better view.  From somewhere beyond that, the Flash’s voice floats upwards on a current of laughter:

“And that’s how you eat an Oreo cookie.”

A smattering of giggles and applause, and the circle of heroes steps back, opening a gap through which Batman can clearly see Wally sitting at the table, a bag of cookies in front of him, looking for all the world like he’s won the lottery.  Wally looks up and the bright smile freezes for a moment.

“Oops!  Busted!” he says, and the others turn self-consciously towards Batman.

They look like they’ve been caught doing something wrong, and Batman knows he’s the heavy, knows he’s the one who always ends up telling them when they’ve made a mistake, screwed up, put everyone at risk.  They’ve all got their roles.  Clark’s the motivational speaker—you can do it, I believe in you, and all that jazz—and with a face that sincere who can doubt him?  Diana’s simultaneously everyone’s mother and the girl they dream about.  Totally unattainable, but they’ll go to the ends of the earth to get her approval.  And Bruce?  He’s the Dark Knight, the enforcer, the one who pushes you to be your best just because you don’t want to face him when you’ve messed up.  It’s not a role Bruce is uncomfortable with, but it makes moments like this awkward.  Forced.  No one sees him as anything more than Batman.

He supposes that’s his own fault.  It’s the way he wanted it.

Wally hasn’t moved from behind the table and across his face flits a mischievous smile.  Bruce is familiar with it—he’s known Wally a very long time, and he knows him well enough to sense danger.  Wally’s never had a problem pushing him, or pushing back, and lately he’s been insistent that Bruce needs to get out more.  Have “fun.”

The group around the table has split in half, lining up on two sides as if this were the main street of an old west town and Bruce and Wally were about to face off in a gunfight.  Bruce wonders if that’s what they’re doing.  He could put a stop to this now.  Turn and walk out.  Growl and tell them to go home.  But Wally’s grinning at him like he knows Bruce wants to get the hell out of Dodge, and Bruce isn’t one to back down from a challenge.  Even one that hasn’t been issued yet.

He steps forward.

“So, Flash, tell me ...”  Batman surveys the hushed crowd.  They’re looking back and forth between him and Wally, and it’s clear they’re waiting to see who’s going to draw first blood.  If the crowd was bigger, Bruce suspects money would be changing hands.

“Yes, Bats?”

Wally insists on calling him “Bats”—has been doing it for years, and it occurs to Bruce to wonder why he never tried to stop him.  He’s the only one who’s gotten away with it.  It’s a privilege of sorts, and Wally knows it.  Is willing to play on it when necessary.  They’ve got a history, and it gives him ammunition that the others don’t have.  Flash continues to grin at him, confident he’s got the upper-hand here.  He probably does, but Bruce won’t ever let it be said that Batman’s afraid of a fight.  He steps closer.

“Tell me,” Bruce says softly.  “How do you eat an Oreo cookie?”

There’s a nervous chuckle from Plastic Man, but everyone else is too stunned to make a sound.  Wally nods, accepting the challenge, and holds up a fresh Oreo.  He turns it around, shows both sides to the crowd as if he’s about to perform a magic trick and he wants them to know there’s no one behind the curtain, no trap door to sneak through.  He holds the cookie between his thumb and his index finger, and Bruce notices he’s taken his gloves off.

Wally has nice hands.

Wally brings the cookie closer to his mouth, his eyes never leaving Bruce’s, and in the moment before Wally flicks his tongue towards the cookie’s creamy filling, Bruce swears he sees him wink.  Then it’s forgotten as he watches Wally’s tongue trace a wet line around the edge of the cookie, eroding the cream-filling with a long, slow lick.  Bruce watches him swallow the white icing, then make another circuit, letting the motion of his tongue move the cookie in a circle.  Almost imperceptibly, Wally’s motions speed up until there’s only the abstract flicker of pink and the rapidly spinning brown-and-white circle of cookie.  There’s a last graceful curl of tongue, normal speed, and then the two halves are being pulled apart between Wally’s fingers to show a cookie completed denuded of filling.  There’s a smattering of applause.

Bruce had no idea watching Wally eat a cookie could cause such a reaction.  He’s grateful for the cowl.  And the full-body armour.

Wally flips one of the chocolate wafers into the air as if it were a coin, and catches it neatly on his tongue.  It disappears almost instantly, and Bruce shakes his head in amusement.  Wally’s one of a kind.  There are cookie crumbs on his lips, and Bruce thinks if they didn’t have an audience maybe he’d reach out and brush them off.  Maybe.  He’s not sure what to do about Wally.

“Does that answer your question, Bats?”

In response, Bruce simply reaches out and extracts a cookie from the open package.  He examines it for a moment with the same care he’d give to a bomb with only seconds to spare.  He sets the cookie carefully on the edge of the table and extracts a miniature batarang from his belt.  It’s one of the small batarangs, honed steel and extraordinarily sharp—it’ll slice through de-cel line and even small-link chain if necessary.  It’ll cut through flesh like butter.

Bruce goes down on one knee beside the table, cape puddling at his feet.  It feels oddly like he’s proposing to the Oreo cookie, but maybe it’s not so odd considering what he’s about to do feels strangely like having sex in public.  It’s just a little too intimate for this crowd, but sometimes it’s good to shake their assumptions of him, and Wally did tell him he needed to have more fun.

Maybe this isn’t what Wally had in mind.  But maybe it’s exactly what he had in mind.  Bruce thinks he’d like to find out.

The edge of the batarang glints silver as Bruce slides it between the wafer and the layer of icing.  When he pulls it out the other side, there’s not even the hint of a crumb on the blade, no smear of white icing as evidence.  No one in the room appears to be breathing, but everyone’s watching.  Wally most of all.

Bruce smiles and moves the batarang underneath the layer of icing.  It’s precisely 2 mm deep, the width of a chocolate wafer, and Bruce likes the symmetry of it, the balance.  It’s part of why he’s always liked these particular cookies even though they come from a bag and not from Alfred’s kitchen.  Once he’s loosened the icing from the cookie, it’s a simple thing.  He stands, and in one fluid motion he twists the halves in opposite directions with enough force to send the perfect circle of icing rising into the air, spinning like a pale white sun.  It lands on his outstretched tongue like a communion wafer.  He feels the weight of it there, the sweetness melting on his taste buds, and then he draws it into his mouth and lets it dissolve to nothing.  He holds a plain chocolate wafer in each hand, light brown against his heavy leather gauntlets.

Without thinking he offers one to Wally, whose expression shifts from stunned admiration to an acknowledgement that he’s been bested at his own game, and he accepts the cookie with a small nod.  The silent crowd bursts into enthusiastic cheers.

That’s how you eat an Oreo cookie,” Bruce says as he turns to leave the room.  He slides the wafer into his mouth and chews thoughtfully as he heads to the launch bay.  To the Bat-plane and Gotham and home.


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