This is an 'oldie but goodie' story. Something I posted to the Blüdhaven group I'm a member of waaay back in January of 2004, but never quite got around to posting here. So, seeing as I have some time up my sleeve today, I thought I'd finally post it. For those familiar with this, it's unaltered. I've only changed the grammer and spelling mistakes, and adjusted the summary slightly to better suit. Now go, read and enjoy.

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Author: Sah-Rae Hyjo

Disclaimer: I can't sing, let alone draw. So the songs and comic characters I refer to aren't mine, are never gonna be mine, so why don't we just play? I'll return them whole...pwomise!

Category: Angst, romance, fluffy vignette, and all that.

Overall Rating: G for...great angst:-)

Time/spoilers: Um, general ones, somewhere about Nightwing #83 to #87, I think. (No NW comics where I live, so the numbers are only general.)

Summary: Dick's initial reaction and thoughts about that split. (Kind of a companion piece to my Untouchable story, also found here)

Feedback: Definitely. :-)

Warnings: Warm and fuzzy goodness as well as my first official look at their relationship...so it's maybe a little OOC/elseworld on the narrator's part...I think. Like I said, no NW comics where I live :-(, so this is going by the seat of my pants as to what exactly was said between our fav couple and what they did when the split was over. (I'm imagining Dick went home, and Babs stayed on her computer...)

Dedications:
-- To Robin, because she said I had to be fired with inspiration...and she was right!
-- To SKH, for the Flux insight into Dick's instincts.
-- To Terri Hayes, for the sweet story "I'll Never Let You Fall", which a part of this chapter is loosely based upon. (Go read it!)

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The Night The Music Died

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"...I can't imagine life without your love.
And even forever don't seem like long enough
Cause everytime I breathe I take you in,
And my heart beats again.
Baby I can't help it,
Keep me drowning in your love.
And everytime I try to rise above,
I'm swept away by love..."

Drowning
Backstreet Boys

"...But my love is all I have to give
Without you I don't think I can live
I wish I could give the world to you..."

All I Have To Give
Backstreet Boys

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I can't believe it. I really can't. It's unbelievable to me that you're gone, that there's this wall between us that we built with our own hands and words. I feel like I was walking out a hazy dream world where everything was fine, only to come face-to-face the bitter and harsh reality of what transpired between us. It was like, one moment we were fine, but the next...we weren't, and I'm left to wonder why.

I thought we had a love that was going to make the distance. I thought we really had something special, that you felt for me the way I felt for you. It sounds clichéd, I know, but the sun really did shine brighter when I knew that you loved me. Even now, in the hours before the dawn, the night seems a lot more suffocating and oppressive than I remember it being normally.

Why did it have to happen to us? Why did this specialness that we shared have to pass us by? How could I miss the signals and warning signs of what was to come? Why couldn't I ask you about the looks you'd give me when you thought I wasn't watching you before it was too late? How did I let myself ignore the fact that over the last few days you wouldn't tell me you loved me when I shared my own feelings with you?

I really was the fool, wasn't I, to be thinking we were fine when we obviously weren't, to keep dancing long after the music died?

If only I could rewind time, rewind my day back to before we began that fateful conversation...but why do I fear that that would only be delaying the inevitable? Goodness knows you've broken up with me before. Your moods could be so variable that I sometimes felt like I was running a race where you had a kilometre head-start and all I could do was scramble to catch up. Maybe that's why I get the feeling that I'd lost the race before it had even started, that I could never have gotten you to truly accept my love for you no matter what I did. Certainly nothing I sacrificed for you seemed to make any difference in the end...but I kept trying anyway.

I kept hoping that you'd accept me one day, that you'd see the truth of what I was offering you -- heck, for a while there, I thought that maybe I'd succeeded. When you'd agreed to be my girl not that girl, I was invincible...nothing could hurt me...nothing but you. Oh Babs, we would've been so good together. I could've helped you take flight again, and together we could've reached peaks that would've been beyond our comprehension if we were apart. We could've flown through life, surmounting all that life had to throw at us together... But when I look at us now, all I see is a torn and ragged hole in my life, in my heart. And all I can do about it is mourn what we've lost today and do my best to face the future...alone...because this time my instincts are telling me that this split will be forever. Too much was said and done, you see, that should've remained unsaid and undone.

All I can do is mourn what we lost today and struggle to face the thought that I'll just have to live out my life with this hole in my heart...because this time, my instincts tell me that this break will be forever. Too much was said and done, you see, that should've forever remained unsaid and undone.

Why oh why did we have to try to push the issue just this once?

But even despite all that, I can't be angry with you, as much as it would be easier if I was. I wish I was livid at the words you flung at me that final time, at the insults and double-meanings you threw at me, so that these wounds you've inflicted could be glossed over. I wish I could hate you for the things you put me through. I want the righteousness of anger to help me set our failed relationship aside and get on with my life, to use the anger as my crutch now that you're gone.

Maybe if I loved you less, it wouldn't have to hurt so much.

And now that the heat of the moment has passed, I'm finding that I can't really be angry at you, though goodness knows I've tried to recreate the anger I felt only a short time ago when we had that final talk. Lying here through the hours till the dawn, I've tried to dredge up every single bad memory I have of you, of all the times you've given me the cold shoulder when I tried to get closer...of the times you've pushed me aside in favor of that damn chair.

So far, I've only managed about five seconds. Every time I get close, whenever the anger takes me, there pops in my mind a bittersweet memory of the better times...and I find myself smiling wistfully instead of scowling. My breath catches in my throat when I imagine the way your pretty red hair flies around your face when you get angry at me for something or other...the little frown you make when you concentrate...the way you purse your lips when you're annoyed at me...Everything I see reminds me of you, even this empty ceiling I've probably been staring at for waaay too long, and suddenly the anger and the hate doesn't matter any more.

Actually, the only thing I can hate is that damn chair, if only because it seems to be the blunt instrument you keep hitting me on the heart with.

I guess I just can't stop loving you, even though its clear now that my feelings aren't compatible with yours. I don't suppose I'll ever be able to stop thinking of you. You were my everything for so long. My world revolved around you and you were what kept me going when I was down. You were the reason I got up each morning, the reason I faced down everything this city had to throw at me. It sounds corny and clichéd to the hilt -- something you definitely would've kicked my butt over if I'd said it to your face -- but I don't care 'cause it's all true. Everything I did, I did it all for you, to keep you safe. It was all I ever really wanted, and I guess even that was too much to ask for.

All I'd ever wanted was to spend the rest of my life with you, to let myself drown in the love that you once offered me...the self-same love we both thought would last a lifetime. I never thought it would be possible to live without your love, to continue moving on without being sure that you would be there to catch me should I fall... And now I've got to face the harsh reality that this chasm will stay between us for every day still to come.

I don't know how I'm going to accept this...or even if I ever will. I certainly can't accept it right now. I can't just give up on you, not after how far we've come and the roads we've traveled together.

I knew that you always were the one for me and always would be, knowing it through and through from the first moment I laid eyes on you all those years ago. You and Alfred were my constants, my shelter when life got a little too rough for my liking. You were always there for me when I needed you -- it seems too incomprehensible that you won't be there for me now. And I was there for you too...even if you probably don't remember it.

I was always there for you, in spirit if nothing else. Even when you were shot. I forget now what I was doing at the time -- whatever it is, it's still a worthless excuse for not stopping The Bullet. I came to see you in the hospital the night after the surgery...and we spoke a little, but I don't know if you remember that. You've certainly never mentioned it since...so I guess I've always kinda figured that the drugs did a number on your memory.

What I remember most is the moment I first saw you After, lying frail and broken on that bed. It broke my heart that you'd never ever fly with me through the night, that you'd never have the chance to break gravity's shackles again. You belonged in the air, and still do, truth be told. And now...and now your wings are clipped, aren't they?

But I guess that never really stopped you, did it? You never gave up and you always kept pushing, kept searching for...that elusive something. You don't know how proud you made me feel just to know you and watch you keep going despite everything life throws at you. Whenever I felt like giving up -- which is much more often than I like to admit, Blüdhaven being what it is -- your example would make me stop and regather myself so that I could conquer whatever problem I was facing. And I did conquer, with you on my mind.

You never knew how great it felt to point you out to people and say: "See her? The beautiful redhead over there? That's the one...that's my one and only girl." And now you never will. You'll never know just how you made me feel, nor will you be my girl again.

That's what my brain tells me, anyway. But my heart's never been one to listen to things like that. I'm too stubborn for my own good...but this time at least I don't mind. I don't care what it costs me, but I'm going to hold onto this stubbornness as long as I can.

As long as I live, Babs, I'll keep hoping that you'll say that you love me too. I'll keep hoping that maybe if I hang around enough, then maybe you'll let me back in and together we can ease the pain you're feeling deep inside, the pain of losing your legs and all your piled-up regrets that you never could quite hide from me. Maybe if I keep reminding you that I've long since given you my heart, then perhaps you'll be able to give me yours one day.

I have to, I've got to hold on to it, don't you see?

My guts are twisting all over the place just lying here, telling me that something's about to happen. All my instincts are screaming at me that the paths ahead for us are going to be fraught with danger and uncertainty, rough and rocky roads that I have no idea how to face...and it's not just because you won't be by my side. So many things have been happening lately...things that I haven't dared tell you or Bruce...I don't know where its going to end. Lying here now, I can feel it closing in on me...and this chasm between us is but the first pebble to fall before the avalanche descends on me from on high.

Bruce always did say I had remarkable instincts...for a Romany kid.

Don't you see, Babs? If even a quarter of what I'm feeling is real, I need the hope that you'll come back to me to carry me through, to help me survive long enough to deal with this emptiness losing you left inside me. I've already lost my parents, and I've almost lost Bruce more times than I care to count...I can't bear to lose you as well. You've held hostage a part of me for so long...a part of me I'm not sure I can bear to live without. But as long as I keep on hoping, keep on holding on to what we once had, then maybe, just maybe, it'll be enough to tide me over until the madness is all over.

So please, Babs my girl, please don't tell me to let our relationship end this way, with you pushing me away, when next we meet. Please don't ask me to forget you, to let you go like you seem to have released me. I'd do anything for you; I'd give you the moon and even the entire universe if I could and I thought it would make you happy...but I can't give you up as a lost cause.

I can't forget you, and I can't stop thinking about you...and I don't think I ever will.

I don't care how much it hurts to stay when you don't want me, how empty you can make me feel with that sharp tongue of yours, but I'll never let you go. I'll always be there for you when you need me, when you need a shoulder to cry on or someone to make you laugh. Even if you just want someone to listen...or someone to be your punching bag... I'll be there for you. No matter what you do, what you say to me, I won't give up on you. And maybe, just maybe, you won't give up on me.

Even if you won't...or can't...return my feelings for you, I'll be waiting for you.

Forever, if I have to.

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The End