Holding Down the Fort

Disclaimer: All characters belong to DC Comics and Time Warner. No profit, no sue. Capiche?

Note: Set after the Justice League Unlimited Episode, "Epilogue".

Dana McGinnis sees the questions on their faces, the unspoken questions on the tips of their tongues. From friends, neighbors, co-workers. She knows that she is an object of pity, a topic of gossip. The poor woman who always comes alone to PTA meetings. Who's husband never shows for luncheons. They assume that she's seperated, or that he's having an affair, or that they don't love each other anymore. That the gold ring on her finger doesn't mean anything.

Dana sits, hands folded neatly in her lap, smiling to herself. Pretending she doesn't hear the whispers, or that she doesn't see the prying eyes. She smiles because she knows the truth. She's stopped herself from telling the truth so many times, likle today when another mom asks why her husband never picks their sons up from school. My husband is Batman, Dana wants to tell her, but instead she just smiles and makes up some flimsy excuse. It'd be funny though, to see the look on their faces, the disbelieving laughter. How many women fantasize about coming home to Batman? Only one woman actually does it. But she never tells, never even hints. Their family, their lives, are at stake. The secret is heavy, but Dana knows she can carry it.

It's hard sometimes. When Terry comes home with someone's blood on his hands -- or worse, his own. That one awful year when he missed Thanksgiving, Christmas, her birthday, and Jonathan's birthday. When she sits up nights, waiting, fearing the worst, that call from Matt that she dreads. When Dana watches her sons sleeping and wonders if they will escape the cycle, or if their lives too will be dedicated to violence. But there are good times, too. Waking up in the morning next to her husband. Watching Terry play with Jonathan and David and knowing that nowhere on Earth are their sons safer than in their father's arms. Meeting her husband's friends, and the unbelievable thrill of shaking hands with Superman. Superman! She's thankful too, thankful that Batman never consumed Terry the way he consumed Bruce. Dana knows that inside, where it matters, Terry is the strongest man she has ever known.

It isn't always easy. But Dana knew what she was getting into when she said yes, when she kissed him. This is why that gold ring means everything. Because when it's all said and done, when the streets are free of crime, when thugs and criminals cower at the shadow of a bat, when the sun rises... Terry always comes home to her.