Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Batman, Batman/Catwoman
Challenge/Prompt: beattheblackdog 125: Breeze
Word Count: 1,542
Date Written: 2 September 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to DC Comics, not the author, and are used without permission.
He stood above his city and watched the clouds roll out as he had watched a a ship roll out earlier that day. It was funny, he thought, that she’d chosen to leave him on a ship when she’d had so many other ways she could have traveled. It was almost as though she’d been trying to send a message to him. Indeed, she had been trying to get him to listen to a message, but he’d known a lie whenever he heard one for years now. Her statement when she’d left him was just another of that long barrage of falsehoods.
She didn’t understand, he thought, as a breeze ruffled his cape. No one could. Not even the others who had picked up the superhero mantle and were constantly helping him to keep his city safe could understand. They may have lost their parents, but they hadn’t them cruelly slaughtered in front of them for a bit of cash and jewelry. He had, and he remembered that night again as his gloved hands balled into tight fists. Even Dick, who had lost his entire family, had been older than he had been when tragedy had struck his life.
They couldn’t understand. They would never understand, Bruce told himself. She was wrong, as she always was when she tried to tell him that something else mattered more to him than her for the wrong reasons. Yes, he’d chosen to stay here in Gotham. Yes, he would always choose to keep doing what he did over his love for her when their opposing roles or Selina’s own frustrating stubbornness forced him to choose between the two. But it wasn’t because he needed what he was doing. He’d gladly give it up if he wasn’t needed, but he was.
He didn’t need to fight the criminals for his own peace of mind. He didn’t need to save lives so that he could sleep with himself as night, as she’d tossed at him today over the angry, rising winds. He didn’t need to be a hero to feel alive. She made him feel that and so much more, but the simple fact was that he was needed and could no more turn his back on the people who needed him than he could forget how he’d felt when he was eight years old and watched his parents be killed.
He had felt so helpless, Bruce recalled vividly, forcing down a lump in his throat. He had been so felt completely and utterly alone and helpless, and the police, to whom his father had always told him to turn to if he ever needed help, had been as witless and cowardly then as they are now. They’re not all cowardly, he knows, but it takes more than just a couple of good cops to right all the wrongs that Gotham endures every day and night.
This city has been swept over by crime since he was a child, and it and its innocent citizens would be eaten alive if the Batman wasn’t there to stand between the good and the wicked. There would be other children who were orphaned at far too early an age and other innocent and good people who were murdered for a string of pearls around their necks and whatever meager cash they carried. He wouldn’t let anyone else go through what he had been forced to endure, even if it meant surviving as Batman and always pushing Bruce Wayne’s life and heart to a proverbial backseat. Stopping what began when his parents were killed has to come first, or else, what kind of a man is he?
“A good man,” she had whispered to him, leaning in and kissing him in that way she had that made him ache to follow her to Hell and back. She earnestly believed he would be good no matter what he did, but Bruce knew better. Once you saw tragedy, you couldn’t turn a blind eye to others’ tragedies and be even half the man you should be. A real man didn’t ignore the wrongs he saw happening. He couldn’t ignore them, not and be a truly good man. Had not his own father taught him that at an early age? It was a good thing he had, because he’d been able to teach him very little else before he’d been murdered.
He reminded himself of those facts every time he was tempted to leave this place, as he had been earlier when she’d sailed out of Gotham Harbor, taking her cats with her but leaving him behind. She had wanted him to come, but he had refused. He had tried to make her see reason, tried to make her understand that he could not be the man she loved and simply ignore the evils in the world. Fighting injustice was as much a part of him as the air he breathed, far more so than this suit he wore which still held marks in its rubber and spandex from her claws.
She couldn’t understand. Of course she couldn’t. She had never suffered like he had, and she wasn’t a hero, not really. She didn’t stand up for all who needed her. She picked her battles. He couldn’t do that. Wherever he saw an innocent who needed help or a criminal who needed to be stopped, that was where he had to intervene. He didn’t go seeking fights. He didn’t have to; they always came to him.
The breeze shifted, and Bruce frowned behind his cowl. His mind was playing tricks on him again, taunting him with the smell of Selina’s own special brand of perfume. It was a high dollar scent he knew she pocketed more often than she bought and mixed with the catnip she grew by hand. He sniffed again, still smelling the enticing aroma, and shook his head. It was all his imagination.
He grumbled incoherent words underneath his breath. On any other night, the sirens would be wailing. The Batlight would be in the sky. There would be crimes to be stopped and murders to prevent. There would be bad guys to punish and guilty criminals to throw behind bars. In short, there would be no end to the work he was needed to do as Batman and no time to think about what he’d let sail out of his life today or, rather, who.
She was wrong, he thought again. He did love her. He would always love her, but he could not put her first any more than he could put his own desires first. He was Batman first and foremost, because that was who his city needed him to be. If Gotham was ever completely purged of the criminal element, then he could be Bruce Wayne and settle down with her. But if he tried to do so now, people would die not at his hand but still because of him, because he failed to rise up and save them. He couldn’t let even one more life be on his conscious.
His hand moved to his utility belt as he felt someone approaching him. Her footsteps were badly audible as she padded across the roof. If he had been anyone else, he would never have heard her coming, but he wasn’t anybody else. He was the Batman, and he spun around to meet her, a Batarang slipping out into his hand.
He stopped, frozen in actual surprise. He blinked, and his eyes grew large behind his cowl. “Sel -- ?” he started to ask, but she shushed him.
She placed a finger across his mouth. “Sh. Catwoman,” she reminded him. She replaced her finger with her lips, but when she lifted her mouth from hungrily tasting his, he was still looking down at her in silent, shocked surprise. She smiled up at him as she slid her arms around his muscular torso and held herself close to him. “I realized something today,” she told him. “Just as Batman has to stay because Gotham will always need him, he will always need Catwoman.” Her voice dropped to a husky whisper as she purred invitingly, “Or, at least, I hope he will.”
He smiled, his heart leaping in his chest. “Of course he will,” he said. His hands spreading over her back, he pressed her closer to him and kissed her long and deep, his tongue sweeping into her mouth and dancing with her own.
Sirens split the silence in the night. Bruce felt like throwing his head back with a groan, but Selina was almost smiling as his mouth ripped from hers. “They’re playing our song,” she remarked with a wink. She threw out her grappling hook and started moving rapidly from one building to the next, heading after the sirens’ call.
Bruce gave a small sigh and shook his head in wonder. Batman was needed, but he didn’t needed the villains he fought or the innocent lives he saved. The person he truly needed had returned to him. He’d much rather spend the rest of the night making love to her, but he was needed. He threw out his Bathook and followed rapidly behind her, thankful Selina had returned to him. Maybe she understood him better than he thought.