Author: Kat Lee
Warning(s): Slight Spoilers
Word Count: 1,721
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to DC Comics, not the author, and are used without permission.
He paces in the still and dark room, wondering what's taking so long, but then the one thing Cat has never been is predictable. She goes days, weeks, even months sometimes without appearing in his life only to show up when he really needs her the most. She's never late on those occasions. She's always appeared like magic when he's needed her the most. Bruce doesn't believe in magic, but she's taught him to belief in fate.
He pauses as he makes another turn, his head looking up while his hands are still clasped behind his back. He thought he heard a noise, but there's no movement as he waits. He resumes pacing, feeling the emptiness of his family's huge mansion almost in his very bones. He knows he's not really alone. Alfred retired hours again, thinking he was fast asleep, but the moment he'd heard the telltale whisper of his door cracking open, he'd known his butler was headed to his room and had slipped out of his own thirty minutes later.
It's nothing unusual for him to let Alfred think he's retired. He does so many nights to slip into his father's secret study undisturbed, but not tonight. Tonight, almost ever since leaving his own room, he's been waiting here just beyond the window Cat always uses to enter his home undetected. He's been waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting still for her to make an appearance.
He's just beginning to eye the big chair in the far corner where his father used to sit and read for hours so long ago now that it seems to be almost an entirely different lifetime when he again hears a noise. It's the barest slip of a sound, unnoticeable by those who haven't trained their hearing, but Bruce has been training day after day and night after night, honing his abilities as well as his instincts and senses. There are times he fears Alfred is never going to say he's ready, but he's never going to stop trying. He's never going to give up on finding his parents' murderer, bringing the merciless criminal to justice, or righting all the wrongs their company has done.
Just as, he thinks, turning around again just in time to see her pretty face peeking up into the open window, he's never going to give up on Cat. She's the reason he now believes in fate, and he knows, just as he told Silver in the lie he made so convincing because he believed it for Selina instead of the girl to whom he'd actually spoken the words, their lives are entwined. These encounters they have now while they're still really just kids are only the beginning of something that's going to last for the rest of their lives. He's fully believes that, even if he doesn't know quite yet what exactly that something is.
He could easily fall in love with Cat, but their beliefs are so different they keep coming between them time and again. Sometimes, he fears they always will and that they'll eventually ruin whatever this connection between them is and the potential it has to become whatever it one day will. But although a part of him fears their friendship one day failing, there's a bigger part of him that knows, beyond any possible shadow of a doubt, that she is always going to be an important part of his life.
She grins as their gazes meet. She quirks an eyebrow, an expression he finds so cute, even if that's a word he's never really used before meeting her. He knows she's going to tease him the moment he sees that look, and she doesn't disappoint. She never disappoints him when it matters the most. "Waiting up for me?"
He doesn't deny her teasing accusation. He merely crosses over to the window through which she's climbing and offers her his hand. A part of him had began to fear she might not show up tonight, but she always shows when he needs her the most. And besides, he thinks, swallowing down his uncertainty like a young man much older and experienced than he actually is, tonight isn't a night for fears. It's the single night, out of all the year, that's supposed to hold the most hope, and he finds all his hope shining in Selina's warm smile.
She studies his outstretched hand but for a moment before slipping her hand into it. His fingers close around her smaller hand. Her skin instantly warms from his contact, but she says nothing as she uses his hand to help her balance. She doesn't need him. She doesn't need to be here tonight, but this is where she wants to be and accepting his offered hand is an easy excuse to get to touch him again.
"You came," he whispers, breaking the silence between them as she pounces into the room. He'd almost made his move while she was still perched on the ledge. He didn't dare surprise her too greatly there, but now he surges forward eagerly and presses his lips to hers.
He feels the soft breath of her gasp of surprise beneath his mouth but doesn't let her talk. He keeps kissing her instead, only parting his lips when he feels her tongue pressing against his closed mouth. Her tongue slips into his silken warmth, and with only a second's hesitation, Bruce slides his tongue against hers and, with some considerable nervousness, into her mouth. The soft sound of pleasure he hears, but will never mention aloud because he knows she'll deny it in a heartbeat, encourages him, and he deepens their kiss more, thrusting his tongue further over her teeth and deeper into her sweet mouth.
Time seems to stand still for them as they kiss for a while, Selina's tongue rubbing and wrapping around his own with expertise and his arms folding more gently around her small frame than any one who's ever touched her before. Bruce could easily spend the whole night right there, kissing her (loving her? he dares to wonder), but he moves slightly as he hears the grandfather clock downstairs begin to chime the time. Misreading him, she lets him go and steps back until the window ledge collides with the back of her legs. She stands there, caught and uncertain, and tries to find something to say, "That . . . was a surprise . . . "
Bruce grins, his blue eyes lighting up more brightly than all the candles Alfred has lit on the Christmas tree downstairs. They almost hadn't set up the tree this year, but his mother used to love it. Furthermore, when Selina had been with them one Winter before, Bruce had often caught her admiring the tree, and Alfred, though he'd never told his young charge, had caught her climbing its highest bows late one night all the way to Wayne Manor's considerably high ceiling. So, for his mother and secretly for Cat as well, they had worked together to make the tree the best they had seen since they'd lost Bruce's parents.
Selina follows Bruce's gaze up to the sprigs of two small plants above her head. She recognizes the traditional mistletoe immediately, but it takes her a moment to detect the catnip with which it's entwined. Her grin isn't quite as cocky as it usually is, but it's still clear he's impressed her this night. Her eyes flick back to him, and he swears he can almost see the tail of her namesake swishing behind her legs. "You've still got some surprises, don't you, Bruce?"
He'd like to give her a cool line in response, maybe something like he'll always have a surprise for her, but he can't think of any words that sound right in his head to impress her. Instead, he darts forward again so quickly that, even if she'd wanted to, she couldn't have stopped him and swipes a chaste, swift kiss across her closed mouth. Stepping back again and this time blushing lightly in the moonlight, he says, "Merry Christmas, Cat."
His mother was right, he thinks, watching the skin at her temples darken ever so slightly. There is something magical about this night. The grandfather clock was as punctual as it's always been as well: Christmas has officially began.
The light switches on suddenly, making both children jump and whirl toward the doorway. Alfred smiles patiently at them. He's learned his lesson about trying to keep Cat away from Bruce. He might well try again sometime, but tonight is Christmas after all. Looking at the girl who he knows has no other family or home to whom to turn tonight, he offers softly, "Would you like to join us for some midnight milk and cookies?"
Bruce cuts shy eyes sideways at Cat, but he needn't bother with the silent plea in his bright, blue eyes. She's still grinning and facing Alfred full on. "Sure," she answers simply. As they follow the butler from the room, her eyes slide sideways to Bruce just as he looks away. She watches him while he's not watching her and knows, her grin widening like the happy and fat cat who swallowed the canary, that even if she had somewhere else to be tonight, there's nowhere else she'd rather be than right here at his side.
When the butler isn't looking and is busy instead fetching the cookies and glasses from the Waynes' vast pantry, Selina whispers, "Merry Christmas, Bruce."
"Thank you, Cat." She nods, saying nothing else and hoping to show him her gratitude later with another kiss. But as she looks sideways at him once more, she finds her hand reaching out instinctively for his. She starts to pull away, but he catches the movement and again takes her hand in his. He smiles at her as his fingers wrap around hers, and on this bright, Christmas Eve night, Selina finds herself warmed more thoroughly than any fire ever could with but a sweet smile, a kind touch, a couple of kisses, and the promise of much more to come. She grins, and although she thinks she hears bells somewhere out in the night through the window they left open, all her fondest Christmas wishes have already come true.