Author: Yours Hopefully PM
All her life she'd been able to put on masks. A weak, screaming woman. The seducer. An efficient conman. Even feeble, meek maids and unflinching, uncaring opportunists who valued their own skins above anything else. But Bruce saw through all of them. Just as she saw through his masks. Post TDKR.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Crime - Bruce W./Batman & Selina K./Catwoman - Chapters: 30 - Words: 66,112 - Reviews: 1,053 - Favs: 607 - Follows: 792 - Updated: 01-28-13 - Published: 07-21-12 - id: 8344110
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
All rights to Nolan, D.C Comics, and Warner Brothers.
Chapter 28 – Her
They had arrived at Gotham General amid the squealing tires and breakneck speed he had slammed into the city with.
Only to wait nearly a full day and a half.
Leslie and Alfred weren't kidding when they said the first labor a woman experienced sometimes ranged longer than most that followed.
Selina had spent the daylight hours pacing the halls in a flimsy hospital gown, Bruce following with a bucket of ice chips as she worked through cup after cup. Chewing and nursing the melting chips under her tongue, she cursed and huffed her way through contraction after contraction.
Finally, the clock was striking midnight after a whole day of the stressing ordeal. Both of them were greasy, tired, and worn out. Not nearly the pristine image he had of a birth. Nothing like all the films or books had made it out to be in his limited experience. But they slugged on until Selina was close to fully dilated and cleared for the heavier spinal tap.
Now they were under the glare of the delivery room lights.
"Oh, Christ," she gritted out as another contraction hit, bellowing out air with flushed cheeks and over bright eyes. Bruce was already scrubbed out and trying to anchor himself to something. The cloth of the surgical mask was overheating his face, but he earned a dirty look from one of the physician assistants after lowering it over his chin earlier.
Bruce tried to tell himself that it wasn't exactly panic gripping his guts. More like anxiety over being the observing party while the ones with the real power to solve this situation were bent to the task. Literally.
Their chosen obstetrician, Dr. Lensky, was flashing in and out between Selina's knees with all manner of instruments that Bruce had trouble placing a name to. Bruce shoved back the uneasy irritation of having another man observing his wife in such a bared manner while the practical side of his mind gave the baser side a thorough talking to, squeezing Selina's shoulders in a comforting grip.
She was oblivious to the presence of everyone in the room, Bruce figured. Even his own. All that filtered through her mind at this point was the cadence of "Push, push!" from the nurse coaching her from the side.
"I'M FUCKING PUSHING!" Selina screeched at the overly peppy, fresh faced nurse urging her on. Bruce soothed her with a hand on her brow while secreting an apologetic look towards the harried looking woman over his wife's shoulder.
No luck with holding Selina's hand. She'd nearly crushed the bones with the force of her squeezing. He'd settled on bracing up his wife while the entirety of the medical staff milled around them in a controlled flow of chaos.
The sterile smell of chemicals and the staccato beep of the machines unnerved him. The eerie silence that had fallen over the delivery room set more of a trip to the beat of his heart.
No cry was sounding – not a bit. His heart started to plummet into an all-out free fall, and the blood drained from his face with it. Something horrible was transpiring. Death – the baby –
A thin, high noise came from the shielded screen of linen tenting the space between Selina's spread legs. Tiny and as unimpressionable as the cooing of a bird. He could feel his face again, thankfully. Tension started to flood out of him as the doctor came up with a pale little form coated in blood and filmy mucus before he placed the baby straight on Selina's midsection.
"Mr. Wayne?" Lensky asked, offering out a pair of surgical scissors to Bruce. His shaking hands and dumbfounded look of awe directed at both Selina and the new creature in the room must've given the doctor initiative to help the new father along – he calmly clamped the pulsing, vivid purple of the umbilical cord as the afterbirth passed and ushered Bruce Wayne into the highly ceremonial act of cutting it.
It cleaved from the tiny body in a clean, fleshy snap after Bruce had gotten over the fear of wielding a sharp object near his newborn and squeezed. The team moved in to finish the procedure, his wife shifting and acquiescing in the appropriate ways as they worked.
Selina looked close to broaching some awesome, indiscernible emotion. For now, the gaze she fixed on the baby was one of solemn awe. Lank strands of hair clung to her face, wan and drained of blood. But that glow was back – in her skin, in her eyes. It radiated as her fingers clasped the length of the tiny body and cradled it to her breast.
Bruce dragged his eyes away from his wife to finally settle below.
Couldn't be over six pounds. Dark, damp hair plastered over a perfectly rounded head. Ten fingers, ten toes. Her mother's mouth.
A girl – perfect in every shape and way.
Time seemed to resume in a normal flow. He must've pressed a hundred kisses to Selina's upturned face, sharing the beaming look she'd eased into while the nurses took their newborn a few feet away for cleanup.
She was returned to Bruce for his first contact, a little cap of white snug over her skull and the swaddling clothes tight around her body. He was at a loss for words, one hip leaning against Selina as he perched on the edge of the slanted bed.
"Say hello to your daughter, Bruce," Selina rasped out, exhaustion and relief written in every line of her radiant face. He reached for her to draw her tight against his side, both of his girls in his arms.
"Hello. Helena," Bruce croaked the name at the wrinkled, red face turned up towards him.
Helena cracked her mouth to show him the gummy red of her tongue, little lids fringed with just the tinniest smattering of lashes cracking open for the first time.
And those rheumy little eyes focused on him. He'd be damned if he didn't see her mouth tip up in a small imitation of the smile he couldn't seem to will off his face.
"So quiet," Selina murmured. The staff was tending to the minor details, the doctor passing on words of encouragement to the new parents as he congratulated the pair and left them to their privacy. They had all cleared out in ten minutes flat and moved Selina into a private room in the maternity wing.
"She's full of secrets. Her mother's girl," he assured her with their own brand of sly humor.
"Way you're looking at her makes me believe she'll be more of her father's daughter than anything."
Bruce had been reluctant to hand off Helena for handling by the staff – basic recordings and exam. He was hovering something fierce already as he hung near the nurses while they worked over her vulnerable little body. Six pounds and two ounces. Seventeen inches in length. Sound and healthy.
It felt very official to sign off on the birth certificate. Selina did the honors of filling in 'Helena Maria Wayne' on the dotted line before signing her name under his own.
He felt a weight that'd been pressing down on his shoulders since they'd discovered Selina was carrying lift. Shouldn't have worried. Not with his daughter.
Too stubborn to be anything less than perfect. Said as much to the nurses after they had cooed and swaddled her back up in the cotton blankets.
Alfred did eventually tear up over Helena when it came time for his turn to hold her. Their close friends and de facto family unit had been pacing the waiting room when Bruce had crashed out in his bloody, borrowed scrubs and ushered the group into Selina's room.
He'd helped her freshen up with a quick sink wash beforehand and gentled combed out the worst of the tangles in her hair – her strength was sapped completely and she had rasped about not wanting to look like the greasy horror from hell. Selina gave up the baby to Alfred first, of course. All honors conferred upon the elderly butler that had now witnessed the birth of two generations of Wayne children.
In his practiced grip, Helena settled down from her wriggling and managed to work an arm free of the swaddling. Grasping the air under the old gentleman's chin, she latched onto the proffered fingers Bruce stretched out.
"Quite the grip," Alfred chuckled, watching on as Bruce switched the finger enclosed in the tiny fist back and forth in a gentle wave.
"Got the brawn from me," Bruce said in his best self-assured voice.
He could practically feel her rolling eyes as Selina let out a helpless groan. "And so it begins," she said with no small measure of dramatics, throwing an arm across her brow to raise a chuckle out of everyone.
"My turn," Leslie needled in with a warm, humorous voice. Helena was relinquished, and Bruce caught sight of Barbara tucking herself against John's side with a contented sort of sigh as they watched from Selina's bedside. The young man looped an arm over his partner and lover's shoulder, sharing a quiet smile with his mentor.
The papers, by the time morning rolled around, boldly heralded Gotham's Premier Couple Welcomes Baby Girl! Splashed in all its colored glory beneath the headline was a shot of them exiting the hospital on their way to the car. Selina had shoved herself out of the hospital wheelchair in a stubborn act of defiance against medical procedure and carried Helena out herself.
No one thankfully took notice of the tiny embroidery Leslie had stitched onto the blanket she'd gifted the evening before.
Tiny little cats with batty wings frolicked on the satin lining of the swaddling blanket she was ensconced in. Safely tucked in her mother's arms. And slung across the narrow shoulders of Selina Wayne was the greatcoat of her husband, shielding her against the flash of the cameras and the late winter's last chill of the season. Bruce stood behind them both in the photo, for once sparing a real smile for the crowd that had gathered outside of Gotham General to catch a glimpse of what was quickly becoming the most interesting infant in the free world.
It would be a false statement to say that he hadn't felt whole when it was just him and Selina in the equation.
But, after all was said and done, Bruce Wayne felt as close to paradise as was humanly possible. Every niche in his soul was filled, and no longer did the dark shadows of ill memories or resentment dog his every step.
He was whole. And he felt it most with the sight of Selina holding Helena close in the cushioned rocker by the bay windows in their home, the wintery fall of snow coating the panes of glass and the grounds in a pure, fresh white.
This was paradise.
Yours Hopefully here! Sorry for the delay, readers, but college is calling! I apologize with shameless fluff in this chapter. This shall be wrapped up no later than the end of the year as a story, so fear not! This shall be a concluding tale with more to come.
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