To Dust

It was, she realized as she tucked her briefcase under her arm, his birthday.

She'd long since stopped buying him cakes and trinkets; Alfred thought she was too old for such sentimentality, and he'd never been one for attention. (That was silly, she thought, seeing as he saved the world for a living.)

Visits were nice, though, and even Alfred recognized that it was good for her, to see him. She'd gotten so busy, with Batman on the loose, and the peace that always settled upon her shoulders when she was with him seemed to retain her for the rest of the year.

Rachel missed their childhood, when things were simple and she could see him every day. Is it because they became adults that they grew apart, or is it because he grew idealistic and she stuck with reality?

Facts always worked best with Rachel. She didn't like things she couldn't touch – there was nothing like evidence. Trinkets to show she still loved and thought about him; visits to prove she missed his voice and touch and smile.

Alfred nodded sadly at her as she passed him; he knew what she was after and hadn't chastised her in years. Of course, he didn't understand. No one really did – being with Bruce made her feel free; made her feel like everything was all right. Bruce fought for Gotham, fought for what was real and true and good.

People like that didn't exist anymore. They'd disappeared, like dust on a birthday cake drawn in the dirt.

She placed her hand over his name, tracing the cool indents on his stone. Bruce Wayne, it said. Rest in Peace. She pressed her lips to his gravestone, nearly laughing at the irony of it all. Bruce had killed for Gotham and Gotham had killed Bruce.

Funny old world, isn't it?

She lay down, straight, her body directly above where his was decomposing and crumbling into dust.