Required Reading

I don't own anything Star Trek, The Dark Knight Rises, The Fantastic Four, or Ninja Assassin. Characters you don't recognize belong exclusively to me. I tend to pair male protagonists with women of color, specifically black women. If this poses a problem with your ability to suspend disbelief, then this fanfic blog isn't for you. Otherwise, do enjoy.

12/09/2012

His Girl Friday


Fandom:  The Dark Knight Rises
Pairing: Bane/Max (Female OC)
Rating:  Mature audiences.
Timeframe: This fic follows the canon established by the film but deviates just enough to be considered AU.
Disclaimer:  I own nothing TDKR, but Max is all mine.
Summary:  Max decides to join Bane’s cause.  Shenanigans ensue.
A/N:  This is a sequel to “What You Need,” which explores the path not taken in “Bad Habits.”  For those who saw the movie, there is a brief scene where Bane is exposed, and in that exposure, I saw an entire universe.



Prologue

She knew he was coming back.  She knew it in her bones, in her soul.  Even though it was never explicitly agreed upon and he never mentioned it again after that last conversation, she knew he would come back for her.  They had an intimate connection, and such things weren’t easily forged, especially between murderers.  She had enough residual anger that she felt like she could easily be a part of Bane’s plans, whatever they were.  So not too long after he left on her Ducati, she started preparing herself.  She took classes in martial arts, lessons in using various types of automatic and semi-automatic weaponry, learned to fly planes and how to use knives bigger than her switchblade and balisong.  Max spent three years learning how to become even more of a badass.  She found it highly exhilarating and satisfying on several levels.


Max took boxing lessons and got one of her clients to hook her up with a hacker so she could learn some basic techniques and some useful databases she could hack into.  Why she felt it was necessary to learn such things was beyond her, but Max never questioned her instincts.  She had plenty of time to master her lessons.  She also continued making and selling designer drugs and raked in a fortune that she scattered all over the world in numbered bank accounts; that way, she always had easy access to her money.  Some of her clients had contacts in various parts of the world, and she cut deals with them to be introduced; it was yet another thing her gut told her to do.  Whether the hookups would be useful was a different story; it just made sense for her to do it.  She had to be ready for anything, and that included getting out of sticky situations.

Max hacked off six inches of her glorious curly hair.  She had a lot to begin with, so the cut wasn’t too traumatic.  For what she believed she was getting into, she thought it best to keep it manageable.  Nothing that cornrows or French braids couldn’t handle.  Erik would maintain her house, as she planned to return to it regularly.  Whatever foolishness she was liable to get up to wasn’t going to be anything she couldn’t escape from.  She hoped Bane would be sensible enough to run if the situation dictated it because she had no problem with it.

Part of her looked forward to Bane’s return.  She wondered about his health and the integrity of the mask.  Too many times over the past three years, her mind turned to him.  She forced it back, but truth be told, she was very fond of her masked friend.  He had said that he would come back for Kirrah, but he also wanted her to come along when he did.  Bane wasn’t a liar or one for games, but time always passed and with it, the best-laid plans.  Max didn’t know with 100% certainty if she’d ever see him again, but 95% of her believed she would. 

Said side was vindicated when her doorbell rang one humid Thursday evening.  Erik was gone for the day, and she was wandering about the house, sipping on a glass of red wine, thinking about synthesizing some new compounds when the sound of the bell boomed through the house.  Max wandered towards it, wondering who in the hell it was and why she was even bothering to answer the door.  She didn’t, under normal circumstances.  Bane was standing there, filling her doorway, dressed in gray fatigues and big as Jupiter at perizene.  Max gaped like a fish and almost dropped her wine.  It was surreal.

“Bane?”

“I take it you were not expecting me?”

“Well…uh, yes and…no.  I mean, I thought I might see you again, but today?  No.”  She moved and nodded her head.  “Come in.”

He would have whether she invited him or not.  Max put her wine down on the table in the foyer and closed the door. 

“I thought I told you to call first.”  Then she noticed the truck outside.  “I see you’re not alone.”

“I rarely am these days.”

Bane followed Max into the house, staring at her.  She looked different; tougher, defined musculature, hair definitely shorter, but still a complete knockout.  He thought of her many, many times over the past three years.  It was hard not to.  She was the only other woman he’d ever connected with, and in a completely different way than with Talia.  Max teased him that he’d never find a woman like her when he left three years ago, and she had been right.  Not that he made it a point to look, or that he even cared if a reasonably attractive woman crossed his path.  There were other, more important things to consider.  There was the destruction of Gotham and little else.

“I see the mask is intact,” she said as she entered the den and sat on the couch. 

Bane sat across from her and the chair squeaked from his weight.  “I maintain it just the way you taught me to.”

Max smiled at him as she curled her legs underneath her.  “You always were an excellent student.”  Then, because small talk wasn’t really her forte, she said, “What are you doing here?”

His eyes never left her face.  “I came for you.”

It was the answer she expected, but to hear it phrased in such a way threw her.  “What?”

He pulled out a long, thin strap of leather and began to fiddle with it while maintaining eye contact.  “I want you to come with me.”

She decided to play dumb.  “And you want me to go with you where, exactly?”

“Wherever I go.  We discussed this, remember?”

“I never gave you an answer.”

“Give me one now.”

“Right this second?  I mean, you could at least give me an overview of whatever fuckery you’ve been into and what you plan to do.  I mean, you just got here and you expect me to put my world on pause and run with you hither and yon?  Your mask must be too tight.”

“Does it matter what I’ve done and what I intend to do?”

“Of course it does.”

“Max, you know that my intentions are nefarious at best.”

“I recall, but what makes you think that I’d want to be a part of all that?”

“I don’t see you attempting to be a part of any other reality.”

“I’m fine with my own reality, Bane.  As you know, I’m at my best when I’m doing me.”

“Come with me, Max.”

“Where are you going?”

“I have several operational bases in Europe and in Asia.  There are plans that must be made to supplement the master plan already in place.  I’m also recruiting soldiers for my cause.”

“Which is?  I mean, if you’re asking me to get involved, you need to tell me what I’m risking my life for.”

“We’re going to destroy Gotham City.  It is a place that is overwhelmed with corruption and teeming with venality.  It was the plan of my predecessor and mentor, Ra’s Al Ghul and the League of Shadows.  He died at the hands of an enemy and I’m…compelled…to finish his work.”

“Isn’t he the same dickhead that stuck you with the halothane that nearly killed you?”

“You were more upset about that than I was.  The cause is bigger than my little inconvenience.”

“You were unconscious for five days, and it took me a couple of months to get you back on your feet.  You call that an inconvenience?  You’re an idiot, Bane.  Your sense of loyalty is royally fucked up.”

“Regardless, my objective is the destruction of Gotham.  The plan is multilayered and complex; it requires time, patience and cunning.  There is much to be done.  I have a colleague on the inside and an army outside.  But I want you with me.”

“Why?”

“A woman of your undeniable skill, talent and abilities would be extremely valuable.”

“Exactly what is it that you think I’d be able to do for you?  You don’t need me to take care of your mask or give you meds; you look as if you have that covered.  I don’t imagine you’ve been celibate either; there are women available everywhere if you want to get broken off.”

“I have been celibate since I left Macau.”

Max rolled her eyes and stretched out on her couch.  “Bullshit, Bane.  Your appetite is as healthy as mine.”

“I have not had time to indulge in random sexual encounters. I’ve been building my army.  It is difficult to find like-minded individuals willing to give up everything for the cause.”

“I’m certain they want to know if you’re going to do the same.  You know a lot of motherfuckers say a lot of shit, so I’m sure they want to know what your big ass stands for.”  She rolled her eyes dramatically and glared at him.  “How many of them are women?”

“None.”

“And you want me rolling with you and a bunch of goons.  I’d laugh if it was funny.”

“I do want you.  I still want you.  I don’t consider you a part of my army.  I want you with me.  Always with me.”

“And what will I be doing, Bane?  You haven’t said.  The intelligence thing is fine and all that, but you’re a fucking genius and you can handle that shit yourself.  Please don’t insult me by saying you want me along just to break you off.”

“Do you truly think that is why I came all this way?  For something as trivial as sex?”

Max laughed.  “Not to put too fine a point on it, but there was nothing trivial about the sex we had.  To answer your question, I don’t know why you came all this way.  I’d like to think I do, but you play your cards close to the vest.  Show me your ace and I’ll show you mine.”

“I trust you.”

“You don’t trust your men?”

“There is always the chance of misplaced loyalty or an inability to grasp the bigger picture.  There are hotheads and ulterior motives that time will out.  Barsad, a fellow inmate from Pena Dura, is the only one I trust, and I trust you more than I do him.”

Max looked at Bane, eyes wide.  “Does he know this?”

“Barsad can be trusted with information.  He knows who you are and what you did, and he agrees that you will be an asset.  Not that his acquiescence is necessary.”

“Well, that’s good to know.  I hope he also understands that I have no loyalty to him or to anyone else.”

Bane stared at her. “What about me?” 

Max smiled and ran a hand over a denim-clad hip.  They were beyond bullshit.  “Of course I’m loyal to you.”  Then she chuckled.  “Unless you don’t give me what I want or need.”

“I wouldn’t come all this way if I weren’t willing to satisfy your requirements,” he said.  He couldn’t stop staring at her.  She looked amazing.

“All of them?  You know that I’m spoiled.”

He raised an eyebrow.  “I can acquire anything you want, Max.  I have an extensive underground network.”

Max chuckled again and swung her long legs off the couch.  “If this is your idea of wooing me, then you need to go back to the drawing board, Bane.”  She got up and went into the kitchen.  “Are you hungry?”

Bane took several deep breaths.  He was starving, and he got up and followed Max into the kitchen.  She was bent over, staring into the fridge, her face scrunched up.  “Erik needs to go buy groceries.”  Then she stood up and closed the door, startled to see Bane directly in front of her.  It was easy to forget how large he was when he was sitting across the room.  Even though she was tall, it was insignificant when she faced him.

“Bane?”

He reached behind his head and unhooked the mask from the tube she inserted at the back of his skull.  Then he loosened the straps and carefully removed the apparatus.  Max gazed at him.  As she’d figured, he had a serious tan-line.  He tossed the mask on the counter and she looked at it, making a move to go for it.  “I guess I’d better check it out, see if it’s—”

Bane stuck an arm out, blocking her.  “It’s fine.  I’ve been taking care of it.”

“You just took it off.  Did you take an injection beforehand?  Don’t stand here in my kitchen and be in agony, Bane.  Don’t do that, please.”

She still cared.  “I’m suffering from a different type of discomfort, Max.  But to satisfy your concern, I took a painkiller just before I arrived.”

“So this is planned?  You trying to seduce me, Bane?  You have rough edges; you’re not the seductive type.  Though I’d actually pay money to see it; it would be hilarious.”

Bane picked her up, took two steps to the counter, and sat her on it.  Max stared at his face; at the scarring that covered his nose and mouth, deforming his once-handsome features.  She had never been put off by Bane’s scars; as their relationship deepened, she’d taken to kissing his lips and face.  It surprised him because he was not inclined to have people that close, and being kissed like that shook him to his core.  It was something that was…other.  Max told him many times that she liked kissing him and was quick to demonstrate it.  Bane was so unfamiliar with the act that he produced a weird little noise in the back of his throat whenever Max graced him.  He had many fond recollections of lying underneath her while she covered his face with sweetness and sucked on his tongue like it was candy.  It never failed to get him harder than he ever believed possible, and he came to crave the feel of her mouth and hands as well as her body.  It made Bane want Max in every way a man could want a woman and it was that, the splendor of her mouth and the unbelievable way in which it motivated him, that sent him halfway around the world to get back to her.

Bane explained his desire to have Max by his side to Barsad, but his explanation did not include her kisses or their unbelievable compatibility.  Instead, he sang her praises in regards to her intelligence, skills and abilities and how useful she could be to their cause.  Barsad, who revered Bane but also feared him, accepted his boss’ explanation on its surface and was therefore willing to accept Max’s presence without inquiry.  How she would be received by the rest of Bane’s mercenary army was a different story, but if the woman commanded the unswerving loyalty of their beloved general, Barsad saw no problem with the men not only eager to welcome Max, but also protect her.

Not that she needed protection.

Instinctively, Max put her hands on Bane’s splotchy forehead. Whenever she removed the mask, she always massaged his head.  “How often do you remove the mask?”

“Right before I go to sleep, when I am completely alone.”

Her fingers moved slowly over his cheeks and just like that, he was clay.  “How often do you clean the faceplate?”

“Every two days.”

Max was moving without instinct.  She’d been concerned about Bane’s health from the moment they met.  She touched his lips. “Are you taking care of your mouth?”

“You tell me.”  He opened his mouth and put his hands on his thighs.  Barsad and some of his men were sitting outside, waiting patiently for their general to return with his female friend.  Chances were excellent that he would be communicating with Barsad within the next few minutes.

She examined him closely.  “I see no discoloration or damage to your teeth and gums, and don’t smell any indicators of the same…I am very pleased, Bane. I don’t want you to suffer any more pain or discomfort.  You’ve had enough to last a lifetime.”

“I want you, Max.  I want you with me.  I had arrangements to make, plans to put in place, things to do…but I always knew I’d come back for you.”

“Do you still want Kirrah?”

“I'd rather have you, Max.”

Max smiled at him and he stared at her, feeling time slow down and stretch out.  The decision to come for her was the correct one.  She ran her thumb over his lips.  “I’ll go with you, but there are conditions.”

“I expect nothing less from you.”

“Your head looks like a giant peppermint.”

“I do not walk around with my face exposed.  No one sees me without my apparatus.  Not even Barsad.  There are limits.”

Her fingers slid up his temples.  “He won’t be jealous, will he?”

Bane closed his eyes.  “I don’t care if he is.”

“I don’t want to cause problems.”  Max couldn’t stop touching Bane’s face and she wanted to kiss him.  This whole thing could become real problematic real quick if she didn’t learn to control her wandering hands.

His eyes were still closed and he waited patiently.  “There is no chance of that, Max.”

She moved her index finger over the bridge of his nose.  “How long can you stay?”

“I will not leave here without you.”

“I want to kiss you,” she said, caressing his cheeks.  “And if I do that, I don’t think I’ll be able to stop.  I admit, Bane, that I’ve missed you.  I haven’t connected with any other man since you left, not like this.  I’m not happy about it either.  You’re going to be the death of me.”

Bane went for his cell phone and contacted Barsad.  Barsad’s voice was quiet but strong.  “Brother.”

“Contact me tomorrow at 1500 hours for further instructions.”

“Will she be joining us, Brother?”

“She will indeed.”

Bane hung up the phone and tossed it carelessly on the counter.  Without hesitation, Max put her hands back on his cheeks and began kissing him slowly, thoughtfully, dropping tender little baby smooches on each scar.  The warm charm of her tongue slid over his damaged lips and it took less than thirty seconds of bliss before he was throbbing, excruciatingly so.  Perhaps the ability to keep women compartmentalized to the extent that he didn’t want to fuck anyone but Max was going to be embarrassing at times.  But Bane’s soldiers would never mock him; he’d venture to wager that every last one of them—those that were interested in women, anyway—would be all over her like skin.  He wasn’t worried about reciprocation.  If they allowed so much as an eyelash of theirs or a random fleck of their spittle to land on Max, Bane would viciously murder the shit out of them in seconds.

That is, if she didn’t do it first.

Bane’s large hands were already under her shirt, caressing her wonderful breasts.  He was a tit man to the core, and hers were awesome.  Max moaned softly; her nipples were tingling in sweet pain.  Bane hadn’t been here fifteen minutes and she was getting ready to bone the shit out of him.  But hadn’t she expected it?  Hadn’t that been their second major form of communication?  They were so good at it, so good that she had no true desire to hook up with another man for quite some time after he left.  When Max finally made an attempt, the man in question, who spat major game and bragged on his prowess (really, she should have known better) had a pencil dick and no rhythm.  After two minutes of frenetic, sweaty pumping, she shoved him off, got dressed and left.  At home, she soaked in a tub of hot, hot water and did her best to bathe away the memory.  She was successful.

Max broke the kiss, staring into Bane’s bright blue eyes.  “I swear, I didn’t…I can’t stop…”

“I don’t recall asking you to cease your actions, Max.  I welcome them.  My hands are underneath your shirt and you have not demanded the same of me.”

She ran her hands over her boobs, making her nipples pop before lifting her T-shirt.  “I demand that you suck hard enough to draw milk.”

Suddenly, words left him and he picked her up and carried her to her bedroom, which he remembered fondly.  While he hadn’t expected to bed Max so soon, he knew that their particular chemistry wouldn’t allow them to be around each other for too long without yielding to its massive power.  Bane thought it would have taken at least a day to persuade Max, to rile her, to get her blood up so that she would fight with him…but three years was three years and he should have known better.  He would have to make certain that they had plenty of privacy because the truth was the truth, what was real was real, and what couldn’t be denied wouldn’t be.

Later, he lay on his back, looking up at her skylight.  She lay on her side, one leg thrown over his waist, her head on his chest, her fingers moving languidly over his stomach.  Their clothes were scattered from the kitchen to the bedroom. 

“Show me your ace,” he said.

Max chuckled, tweaking his nipple.  “I just did.  Showed you the king, the queen and the jack as well.  A little longer and I’d have shown you my joker.”

“Your post-coital commentary is another characteristic I missed.”

Post?  We’re done?  Funny, I remember going at least two or three heavyweight rounds.”

Bane turned his head to look at Max.  “Will you leave here with me?”

“You seemed quite certain of that when you called your boy.”

“I want an answer,” he said.

Max tweaked his nipple again.  “I’m ready,” she said.

“What are you ready for?  More?  I can certainly give you that, Max.”

“I’m ready to go with you.  I knew you would come back, and so I made preparations.”

He gazed at her.  “What kind of preparations?”

Max smiled in the dim light, snuggling against his solid warmth.  “I learned how to fight, how to use a variety of automatic weapons, and how to fly a plane.  I also learned to hack my way into a computer and stashed funds from my business in several offshore accounts.  You and I won’t want for money, but I’m not trying to finance your revolution or take care of your homies.  You, my friend, will have to do that on your own.”

He was very, very pleased to hear of her plans.  “So why did you give me so much grief?”

“Just to see what you would do.  It’s crazy, really because we both knew that you’d be back and I’d be right by your side.  I had to get ready for you, baby.  I’m prepared for as much as I can be.”

Bane curled his hand around her bicep.  “This is reason for the alteration in your appearance?”

“Meaning?”

“You have lost some weight. You’ve become leaner, harder.  No doubt due to your activities, but you have also cut your hair.”

“You can tell?”

“My memories of you are pristine.  Your hair was much…larger…than it is now.”

“You’re still big.  Bigger, even.”

“That was never a problem before.”

“And it isn’t now.  I mean, I really enjoyed what just happened.  You were different, not the way I remember you being.  You used to be…blunt.  You weren’t just now.  I like that.  It makes me feel like…like I want to do more to please you.”

Bane continued to look at her.  “Is that a problem, Max?”

“Would we be lying here if it was?  We’ve never had issues when it comes to sex, and I’m under the impression that it’s not something we’re going to stop doing.  I hope your boys are smart enough to understand that and never mention it in my presence.”

He put a large warm hand on her hip.  “They will never speak of it, I assure you.  They respect me but they also fear me.”

“So sexy when you’re in badass boss mode, I bet.  But snarkiness knows no bounds, Bane.  They might try to pop off when you’re not around.  I can handle myself, but you may as well know that I'm going to take zero shit off your dudes.  I will fuck them up.”

“If I am not around, you won’t be either.  I meant it when I said I wanted you with me.  And I know who you are.”

“Just so we understand each other.  If any of your boys decide they want to come at me like I’m a standard-issue female, I’ve become exceptional at using knives.  Just call me Queen of the Sliceahoe Court.  And know that I’ve made plans to get us out of hot spots.”

“You have?  Interesting.  Do tell.”

“My clients tend to be well-connected people.  I took a couple of risks, linked myself with some more well-connected people.  Once I learn details of the location of our final objective, I’ll get us out of Gotham.”

“We’re staying until the bomb—if operational—goes off.”

“Then I guess I’m not one of those down for the cause because I am getting the fuck out of there before that puppy barks.  I don’t want to leave you, Bane, but you best bring your fine ass on because I’ve been known to change my mind under duress.”

“The cause is bigger than you or I, Max.”

“Fuck that, Bane.  No cause is worth my life.  We can escape before the city blows. I will have a way out in place, trust and believe.”

“Things will go as they’re planned.”

Max leaned over and gently sucked his nipple.  Bane made a weird little noise and she gave him a sultry smile. “You better believe they will.  I’m planning not to die.  I can run and live to fight another day; I got no problem with that.  But I won’t force you to do anything you don’t want to do.  You’ll either come with me or you won’t.  But I’m bailing.”

Her words turned him on.  Max’s ruthlessness was something Bane always found attractive and he didn't doubt a word she'd said.  The hand resting on her hip went lower.  She wiggled, adjusting the leg that draped over his waist.  “Did something just wake up?”

“I believe something has.”

Max grinned at him.  “We understand each other, Bane.  Let’s not kid ourselves.  I know you and I accept you just as you are, and I know the converse is true.”

“Yes.”

“So I’ll always give it to you straight with no chaser, which is what I expect you to do with me.”

“Of course.”

Max rolled atop him and started rubbing his chest.  She leaned down and kissed him deeply before stopping long enough to say, “Membership has its privileges, and one of mine is fucking the boss.  And of course, all that other stuff you say you need me for.  I’m with you, Bane.  No matter what, by your side, running things, doing what needs to be done.  With the exception of getting blown up at the end, I’m with you 100%.  Any questions?”

“How long will it take for you to stick your tongue back in my mouth?”

She pressed her lips against his and invaded his mouth.  Max wiggled her naked hips, causing Bane’s erection to stand straight up.  She stopped long enough to acknowledge his passionate gaze and chuffy breathing before whispering: “Your every command obeyed, sir.  I guess that makes me your Girl Friday.”



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