Well Met – Epilogue
"I still don't see why I have to come along." Terry McGinnis took a sharp left. Bruce frowned. Terry had been Batman for over ten years now; he should know by now there was no need to draw attention to themselves, in the Batsuit or not.
"I need to be there because it's a medical breakthrough supported by what's left of my company. You're there to act as my…"
"Wet nurse?" Terry supplied, taking a right.
Bruce nearly sighed. "Do you even know what a wet nurse is?"
Terry smirked. "The guy who cleans up your old man drool?"
Bruce glared; the kid could be as bad as Dick at times. "I want you there as protection. This is a prime target for criminals, as almost all of Gotham's rich and powerful will be there, along with the most brilliant and secretive scientist of this age."
"Yeah, Bruce, I know. You've been talking about the guy's work for over a week now. The science may be over my head, but I got the genius part. He's practically you, minus the Bat fetish."
Bruce glared. Terry ignored him and continued to drive recklessly. The silence grew, and Terry felt the need to fill it with something, so he said, "It's kind of tacky though. That he goes by his first name, Dr. Kyle."
Bruce didn't comment, but he had always wondered about that name. The full name of the brilliant scientist had never been released, only Dr. Kyle. Bruce couldn't help but wonder if it was a first or a last name. After all, his last name could double as a first. Furthermore, he knew someone whose last name had been Kyle. In fact, after reading Dr. Kyle's first published article, Bruce immediately tracked it, hoping it would lead to the woman he'd lost. But the search had been a futile one. Science wasn't the doctor's only skill, gaining him (or her) total privacy from even the Bat family, which only increased Bruce's suspicions. It was amazing that such secrecy would be broken tonight for the world to see.
Terry screeched to a stop in front of the museum. Bruce glared at his protégé, but Terry simply shrugged and exited the vehicle handing the keys to the waiting valet. Bruce followed.
The museum was fully decked out. It reminded Bruce of past times, and he had to lean on his cane for extra support as the memories came flying back to him – memories of battling costumed criminals, dancing with beautiful women, and doing both with her. They'd met here, both as Bruce and Selina as well as Batman and Catwoman. Bruce closed his eyes gathering his strength. This is why he was so content to stay isolated in his Mansion barely in the city limits, too much had happened in Gotham.
It was going to be a long night.
Bruce looked over at his "date" for the evening. McGinnis looked uncomfortable in a tuxedo. He hadn't born into a life a privilege and prestige, and the kid was having adapting. Bruce worried he wouldn't be able to be his successor in every way. He turned away and studied the room for a moment longer before, he said, "There are people here I need to talk to." He inclined his head. "Commissioner Gordon is over there if you'd like to talk with her."
Terry looked ready to run over to Barbara, but he restrained himself, turning back to Bruce, eyeing him carefully, "Are you sure you'll be okay?"
Bruce stiffened, gripping his cane tightly again. "I'll be fine. Now go."
Terry knew better than to argue with Bruce when he got like this, so he walked over to Barbara stopping by the punch table to grab two glasses first. He held out the extra glass as his opener, "I saw you were empty."
She smiled, her wrinkles deepening around her eyes, "Thank you." She took a drink and he followed suit.
"Quite a party."
She nodded. "Bruce is here, I presume?"
Terry tipped his glass, watching the red liquid twirl. "Yep. What are you doing here?"
"Same thing as you, I'd wager. This is a prime target for the more colorful element of Gotham."
Terry agreed, "Nothing seems to attract the crazies like a good party."
Barbara took another drink before asking, "So what do you know about the famous doctor?"
Terry knew that she was really asking what Bruce knew; he gave the expected answer, which wasn't really an answer at all, "The guest of honor is some sort of prodigy. Doctor Kyle something. He invented a whole lot of stuff I didn't understand and cured cancer."
"What makes you so certain Dr. Kyle's a man?"
Terry's right eye twitched and he took a drink of his punch. "I'm not. Are you certain Dr. Kyle's a woman?"
Barbara finished her punch. "Did Bruce ever talk to you about Selina Kyle?"
Catwoman. "Yeah. But I doubt it's her, I don't recall her ever being big on the science thing." Terry's eyes began to scan the room, looking to locate Bruce.
"True enough." Barbara set down her empty cup. "So how's work treating you?"
Terry's eyes had stopped. He was looking at a stunning woman in red strapless gown, with icy blue eyes, and full, straight black hair that went just past the edge of her dress. While her looks could put supermodels to shame, it was more than her perfect body that captivated him. It was the way she held herself, scanning the room the room as though she were looking for a challenge, but basking in the knowledge there was nothing she couldn't handle. Without looking Terry knew every eye was on this woman, every man was practically drooling with lust and every woman wanted to either claw her eyes out or be her. She was a rare and beautiful specimen. And then she smiled at him.
He didn't hear the Commissioner's question.
"Mr. Wayne, is that you?"
Bruce took the hand of Martin Fox, Lucius Fox's son, "Yes. It's nice to see you again."
"And under much better circumstances." That was true enough, the last time Bruce had seen Martin had been at Lucius's funeral. "I didn't realize you were into science."
Bruce answered, "Your father may have been the brains behind the face so to speak, but I still was the majority stockholder."
Martin smiled. "That's true." His eyebrows shot up as if he'd just remembered something, "Did you get a program? I think they may have run out early."
Bruce frowned; any soiree he'd thrown in the past never ran out of anything. Crazy people in costumes often interrupted them, but at least there was still champagne to be had after Batman's eventual appearance. He supposed it was just a sign of the declining times. He took the program and looked for information about the doctor. He immediately noticed something about the name that made his stomach twist. Dr. H. Kyle, Kyle was the last name. He wondered what the H stood for, Henry perhaps, a man as old as he was, an old costume like him, exposing his genius to the world. But even as the thought crossed his mind, his stomach twisted again.
How long had it been since he'd seen Selina? Almost thirty years.
Martin continued talking, but Bruce's mind was elsewhere, his eyes scanning the room. When he spotted a familiar figure and a perfect stranger.
He didn't recognize the woman's face, but the way she held everyone's attention effortlessly, the way she held herself, everything about her was familiar to him. He turned back to Martin, "Excuse me."
Where the hell was McGinnis?
Barbara was still talking with him, and Terry was giving appropriate responses, at least he hoped. His attention had yet to leave the beauty in the middle of the room. He noticed that she'd barely spoken with anyone. He understood why people would be intimidated to approach her. He wondered if she knew anyone here, and if not, why was she here?
He felt a strong hand grasp his should and knew it wasn't Barbara. He fought against the instinct to flip the unknown person and simply turned to see Bruce. He recognized the intense look right away, and nearly sighed. He was about to be ordered to do something he really wouldn't want to do. Bruce nodded his head in the direction Terry had been looking, "You see that woman in the red dress?"
I've been starring at her for at least five minutes. "Yes."
"I need you to go dance with her."
Terry briefly wondered why Bruce wanted him to do that, but wasn't about to protest against the best order the old man had ever given him. "Okay."
Barbara raised an eyebrow at her former partner. Once McGinnis scampered away, she asked simply, "Why?"
Bruce's eyes didn't leave his apprentice. "Must there always be a reason?"
"With you, yes."
Bruce ignored her questioning, turning away from Terry, "How are you, Barbara?"
Barbara knew the trick of changing the subject and diverting a curious subject's attention, she knew this trick because Bruce had taught it to her. However, she also knew if Bruce was attempting to change the subject, it meant she wouldn't get any further with her inquisition. "I'm fine." She looked at her empty glass. "Why don't you go get us something to drink?"
Bruce was suspicious, but he nodded and left. Barbara turned her attention to Terry, who was approaching his target. Barbara studied the woman – she looked familiar, somehow.
The woman in red looked surprised but answered, "Hello."
Terry regretted not putting much thought into what he'd actually say once he approached her, for some reason he'd thought "Hello" would be inspiring. Even though in the history of men approaching woman, the word had never gotten any man far. He improvised, "Would you like to dance?"
She bit her lip, thinking over the decision. Terry wasn't sure what to make of that. She seemed to argue with herself for a moment, putting more into the decision than Terry thought necessary, before she nodded, "Sure, why not?"
He took her hand, and as he led her to the dance floor, he asked, "Why did you hesitate?"
"Oh, well…um…" She knotted her eyebrows, weighing her responses. She shook her head suddenly as if to clear it. "You know, it doesn't matter. I said yes." She smiled and Terry felt the pit of his stomach lurch. "So can you dance…" She trailed off, waiting for him to supply a name.
"Terry, Terry McGinnis."
She smiled again. "Terry."
Reaching the their destination, Terry spun the woman so they were facing one another, ready to go. For an instant Terry panicked, forgetting that he did in fact know how to dance.
She teased, "Do I need to lead?"
Terry smirked (though a twitching eyelid displayed his irritation) and stepped to the side. His partner followed, and it didn't take long for him to recognize that she was far more skilled. But Terry wasn't one to back down from a challenge so he began using more difficult moves, and she matched them with no effort. He'd change directions quickly as though trying to escape and she'd pursue, then he'd begin chasing her and she'd avoid him gracefully. He'd spin and dip her, and she'd do it in a way that left them both gasping for breath. They were perfectly synced, but their stiff frames and tight expressions signaled that this was a battle as much as it was a ballet.
In its most basic essence, dancing is nothing but a series of rhythmic motions set to a beat. With the right partners, however, it can be elevated to something more, something magical that can show two people have just fallen in love in Victorian romances and musical theatre. Though in some cases, two people dancing may just be a less graphic way to stage a fight. Or have sex.
This dance included all of the above, as a fight for dominance between two people used to being on top.
When it ended, their faces were inches from each other and drops of sweat were threatening to fall. Terry took a step back and gathered his breath before smiling, "Not bad. So what's your name?"
He'd seen the look she was now wearing in a hundred movies, when the mysterious vixen teases the hero. She said, "You're going to have to work a little harder than that, Mr. McGinnis."
He imitated the hero's responding smirk the best he could. "Hard work has never scared me off."
She smiled and nodded. "It was nice to meet you."
Terry nodded as well, "You too."
She looked to the stage, focusing on something Terry couldn't see. "Excuse me." She stepped away walking quickly in the direction of Bruce, Barbara and an unknown woman's back. Terry followed her. She stopped and to prevent running into her, he did as well. Before he could go around her, she started again. Then she stopped again and spun around to face him properly. "Please don't follow me."
"I'm not, just walking in the same direction as you."
She looked as though she didn't believe him, but continued walking. He followed her.
Barbara turned her head and saw an older version of one of the most stunning women she'd ever met. Unlike herself, or even Bruce, this woman had aged well. Barbara guessed it was an advantage to getting out of the game early. The other woman's beauty was still present, but with slightly more puckered skin, shorter, silver hair and a bit more stiffness in a graceful walk that had once been impossibly smooth. "Selina."
Selina studied Barbara, much like she'd been studied. Then her eyes stopped. "I hear you're police commissioner now. Congratulations." She tipped her glass.
"Thank you. And what have you been up to for all these years?"
Selina smiled, as if laughing at a private joke, "Nothing for you to worry about."
Babara lowered her voice, "Haven't changed a bit have you, Catwoman?"
Selina responded just as quietly, "Watch what you say, Batgirl."
Babara returned to her normal tone, "So what brings you back?"
Elusive as ever, Selina continued to give infuriating responses, "Oh, this and that."
Done playing coy, Barbara asked, "Here to see a Bat?"
"So Bruce is here? I'd wondered."
"Don't start pulling that act. It never worked on me."
Selina dropped the pretense; facing her accuser coolly, "Tell me, Barbara, did you ever manage to act on your crush?" Her green eyes danced, much like they did when she knew she'd already gotten away. "I mean, we all know, you certainly had a relationship with the first Robin, but you always held a torch for daddy Bat." She leaned in, savoring the victory in a way that only a true villain can, "How did it work out?"
Barbara wanted to punch the other woman, more than she ever had when they were Batgirl and Catwoman. "How dare you."
Selina smirked and she softened her voice so no one else could hear her, "I was a villain, in Gotham no less, daring is an essential part of the job description."
Barbara set down her glass, trying to get her sudden anger under control, "I never did like you, Selina."
Selina smiled, "You've never liked me Barbara because I won. He was mine more than anyone else's."
Barbara glared, "What are you talking about?"
Selina was about to respond when a deep voice interrupted her. "Hello Selina."
Bruce had returned with their drinks. Barbara cursed his timing. All these years, and Bruce could still show up at just the right or wrong moment.
Selina slipped back into a cool expression, "Hello Bruce. It's been too long."
A lesser woman would've withered under Bruce's angry gaze, "Whose fault is that?"
Selina was about to answer when another woman interrupted. "Mom, they're about to start." Barbara recognized her as the beauty that McGinnis danced with earlier. Bruce's anger disappeared, but quickly he made his face impassive.
Terry was right behind the stranger, he looked at Selina, who he'd never seen before and politely said, "Hello."
Selena quickly studied the man who just danced with her daughter and then proceeded to ignore him. "Barbara Gordon, Bruce Wayne, may I introduce my daughter, Helena?"
The kid had it wrong. Barbara tried not to stutter, "Doctor Kyle?"
Helena smiled. "Why does everyone always look so surprised? Like you can only be beautiful, intelligent or a woman but never all three at once."
Barbara forgot how to breathe. "I assure you that's not it."
Helena looked ready to ask her what it was, but held back. Barbara looked to Bruce for some kind of direction, as though she were a teenager again. His face was still in a controlled look that betrayed nothing outwardly.
Bruce had figured that Helena was Selina's daughter immediately, but still when she said the word mom, it felt like a punch to the gut. He studied the girl with the techniques he'd used to try to identify the Joker, ones that mapped her facial features in terms of genetic background. At first glance it appeared she looked just like her mother, and she did possess her mother's mouth, nose and eye shape. But her eyes were blue instead of her mother's green, and her dark hair had no hint of her mother's curl. And the shape of her face actually reminded Bruce of his mother's. "How old are you, doctor?"
She glared, "What an inappropriate question."
Selina answered for her daughter, "She's 29, Bruce."
He nodded, remembering it's been thirty years since he'd seen Selina. And it all came together, why Selina left and hid, how a mysterious stranger could match his wits. Of course, he had no concrete proof, but he didn't believe in coincidences this convenient.
Selina, fed up with the sudden silence, lit a cigarette, and Helena turned to her mother, frowning, "Mom, you can't smoke here."
Selina shrugged. "What are they going to do, arrest me? I've never been arrested in my life. Not about to start now."
Bruce said, "It's killing you."
She met his gaze, "I've done much worse for my health."
Both Helena and Terry didn't miss the exchange, and they both heightened their guard as a natural response. Helena noticed a man waving for her to come to the stage, "It was a pleasure meeting all of you, but if you'll please excuse me."
After more fanfare than Terry thought necessary, the mysterious Dr. Kyle was introduced to the astonished crowd. Terry took a quick glance around and noticed that both Selina Kyle and Commissioner Gordon had slipped off. He put it aside and listened to Helena.
"As I start, let me clear up a common misconception about me." Terry waited for her to point out the obvious—she wasn't a man. "I did not cure cancer. I simply found a way to slow cancer's effects without poisoning your body with chemotherapy." She continued to speak, but now she was talking shop. Terry wasn't dumb but every other word she spoke went over his head. Bruce looked intently on her though, totally focused. In Terry's experience, it was never a good look, as it usually meant he wouldn't be getting any sleep any time soon.
Terry refocused when it came to the question/answer portion of the night. The first journalist asked her about her invention. She smiled and explained it would be easier to show. She then dazzled the crowd with an invention, which if Terry hadn't been in close contact with Justice League technology would've dazzled him too. One asked her how she was enjoying Gotham. She expressed her love for the town (her mother's hometown) and her respect for Batman.
The next journalist had a high-pitched voice, "Miss Kyle…"
Helena interrupted, "Doctor, please. Didn't go through all that hard work to be called Miss after all." She said it with a smile, charming the crowd.
"Excuse me, Doctor." The journalist giggled as well. "Did being an attractive female ever hinder you from garnering respect? Is that why you often go by the misleading Dr. Kyle?"
Helena didn't react, and answered coolly, "Being an attractive female, as you say, would occasionally complicate things for me, but overall it had little bearing on my accomplishments. And Kyle is my last name, it's not meant to be misleading."
She smiled, and began to call on the next person, but the woman asked a follow-up. "If you had a father you could use his. Does not having one complicate things for you?"
Helena did react at that with narrowed eyes and tightened fist, but after taking a moment to collect herself, she answered, "I have a father, I simply wasn't raised by him. It has little bearing on my present actions."
The woman kept pushing, "So you feel no anger or resentment towards him? You aren't lashing out at the male population by conquering a field where they have dominance in?"
Helena assumed a calm look, a look Terry recognized, it was the same one Bruce got before he cut someone down to size. "I have no anger for my father, as my mother worked very hard to ensure he never knew I existed. It's hard to hate a man for not stepping up to the plate, when he didn't even know there was a game. And it's women like you with your trivial and unimportant questions and belief in the depth of pop psychology that force women like me to work twice as hard to earn respect. Excuse my ego for a moment, but you have a once in a lifetime chance to question one of the most brilliant minds of this century, and you ask me about my father? Next, you'll ask if I, like, have a boyfriend." The woman looked properly shamed and Helena regained her composure turning away from the woman she'd embarrassed. "Now if anyone else has questions that aren't of a personal nature, I'd be happy to answer them."
Terry turned to Bruce and said, referring to Helena, "You know, after I get past the fact that she's an intensely beautiful woman, she kind of reminds me of you, old man. Any secret love children you want to tell me about, Bruce?"
Bruce actually looked panicked, at least more so than Terry had ever seen before, "Keep your voice down, and you heard her, her father doesn't know."
"You expect me to believe you didn't know?"
"Part of the reason Catwoman was never caught is that she was the best escape artist, and when she did not want to be found, even I couldn't find her."
"Did you look for her?"
Bruce ignored Terry at this point. Terry mumbled to himself, knowing Bruce could hear him, "Guess those brains of yours weren't lost after all. Amanda Waller went to a lot of trouble for nothing." Terry's attention returned to the stage just in time to see the child of Batman and Catwoman dazzle her audience once again.
As soon as the villain crashed the party, Selina rushed Helena out of the building. She knew too well how these things went, and had no desire to see her daughter become a hostage. Her inside knowledge also helped her to know which exit would be lightly guarded. It took Helena less than ten seconds to get them in the back alley.
Helena looked to her mother, her curiosity written plainly on her face, "Since when do we run away?"
"Batman will save the day." Selina sighed, suddenly exhausted. "I know what's going to happen, and I just don't have the patience for it anymore."
Helena put a comforting hand on her mother's shoulder. She wondered what was really bothering her, but figured it was just the past. Her mother rarely spoke about Gotham, and eventually Helena had stopped asking, as it always saddened her mother.
"Why hello girly."
Selina was surprised to find herself encircled by at least ten men. Damn, had she really gone this soft? It used to be difficult to sneak up on her. She looked quickly to her daughter.
Helena's eyes had the same sparkle hers once got. It was the thrill of the fight. Selina had hoped her daughter would've kept out of danger, but who the hell was she kidding? Her daughter was the offspring of Batman and Catwoman; her blood would never turn from the excitement of the night. Already she could see Helena's body loosening itself subtly, preparing for the upcoming conflict.
One of the men, Selina saw he was dressed as a Joker now – good God one of the monster had been one too many, smiled widely, bright red lips stretching, "My, my, you are a pretty one."
Despite the implied threat, Helena's voice was steady, "Please let us pass."
A voice from behind answered, "You ain't going nowhere."
Helena counted the weapons, two lead pipes, one with chains, three guns, two knife men and the remaining three were cracking their knuckles. This would be a simple matter. "Please stand aside."
The man with chains attacked first. Helena caught them, and used his momentum to bring his testicles to her knee with more force than she could've produced on her own. When he crumbled she threw him into the two men standing beside each other before they even thought to raise their guns.
She immediately went to the third man with a gun and broke his arm, forcing him to drop his gun. As he cried out in pain, she hit his throat robbing him of breath. He passed out.
On to the next one, a roundhouse to the face, and as he fell she caught his pipe to and used it against the two knife men. It was quick work.
Only one armed man left, but another stood in her way, so she dodged a few punches first. She ducked under his leg and forced his knee out from under him. She made sure he stayed down. She caught the lead pipe just in time, and flipped it around to use it against her would-be attacker.
Helena turned to face the two men left to find them already on the ground. She looked to her mother, the only other person in the alley.
Selina scoffed at her daughter's surprise, "Don't give me that look. I may be old, but I can still kick some no-name punks' asses."
Helena smiled, "I didn't doubt you could." She felt her hair, not a strand out of place. Which wouldn't do with the police lights flashing at the entrance of the alley. She messed it up and fudged some of her perfect make-up, before turning to her mother. "How do I look?"
Her mother nodded in approval. "Appropriately frazzled."
"Perfect," she said with too much emphasis on the purr. Helena prepared her sob story for the police before she felt something, a feeling of being watched coming from just over her shoulder. She looked up to the rooftops and for moment saw Batman.
Her heart skipped a beat and then he was gone again. She smiled at the empty space.
But Selina frowned. "Don't."
"Why? Because the last one broke your heart?"
Selina said nothing before the police arrived to see if they'd been hurt. Helena told them the story of Batman saving them from the gang, playing her part of the slightly hysterical but relieved and even a little thrilled damsel better than any Hollywood actress.
Selina kept quiet, watching the play act out without comment or additions.
Bruce looked to Terry, or more appropriately considering what he was wearing, the new Batman, waiting for further explanation. "Helena Kyle took out a gang of Jokerz almost single-handedly and then lied to the cops about it. She told them Batman saved her. But she'd handled the situation before I could intervene."
Bruce turned back to the Batcomputer, which was currently searching for everything on Helena Kyle to be found. "It would've lead to more questions."
"It certainly does!" Terry paused. "Is she your daughter?"
Bruce wanted to say he planned on finding that out. He'd already tracked down where the pair was staying; one strand of hair would be enough. But for once, he put the detective aside. "Yes."
Terry nodded, accepting the fact that Bruce had had a child with a woman who was supposed to be one of the bad guys. He moved on, "I think she's still hiding something. I plan on tracking her down."
The kid was asking for permission. Bruce could hardly stand it, most fathers had young men asking permission to marry their daughters or even for a date. Could nothing ever be normal for him? "What are you thinking?"
"I don't trust her, Bruce. No one gets that good without some practice, and she's no superhero."
No, she wasn't because she'd been raised by her mother, Bruce's daughter, his only child, was mostly likely a criminal. "Go."
Terry hesitated. He knew Bruce probably needed some word of comfort, something to help him cope with a newfound child. But Terry had nothing to say. So he left without a word.
Bruce sat in silence for a moment. Then he rose to leave.
One Batman would follow the daughter; it seemed only logically the other should visit the mother.
When they got back to the hotel room, Helena insisted on examining her mother for her nightly check-up. Selina tried to beg off, but her daughter was as persistent as her father. So Selina let her check the progress of the disease that was killing her. When she'd finished, Helena said, "It's getting bad. We're going to need more money for the treatments."
Selina knew what that meant, and saw that Helena was already digging out her costume, "No. Helena, we'll find another way." She inhaled deeply, "Your father can help."
Helena's breath caught. It was the first time her mother had ever voluntarily brought up the subject. But she shut down her emotions quickly and ruthlessly, ironically so much like him, "We don't need him. Really, mom, I don't mind."
Selina saw her daughter's cheeky smile, a reflection of her own. She knew the thrill her daughter got from stealing, it had once been hers. Sometimes Selina wondered just how much Helena made from all of her legitimate discoveries and if the stealing was really necessary anymore. Selina certainly had kept going long after she was financially secure.
"It wouldn't be wise, not here." His city. "Not in Gotham."
Helena, half-dressed, asked, "You're not worried about Batman are you? I can handle him as well as you did."
"This isn't the same Batman that I faced."
Helena finished dressing. "Well that's a good thing. I'm pretty sure playful innuendo would freak him out more than distract him, being my father and all."
Selina's breath caught and Helena smiled, finished dressing, "I figured it out years ago, Mom. Your voice was always so wistful when you talked about Batman. Though it wasn't until tonight that I figured out that Batman was Bruce Wayne." She laughed lightly. "It's obvious really when you think about it. I mean the list of Gotham men with the means and looks of Batman is a pretty short one. Really, except for his reputation, he was the only real contender. It was a genius disguise to hide in plain sight." Helena's eyes shined in admiration of her father, and Selina's heart tugged though she wasn't sure if the emotion behind it was joy or fear.
Helena turned to her mother fully, and kissed her on the cheek. Then she stepped away putting on her mask and stepping out into the night with a Cheshire grin.
Bruce had considered knocking. But he didn't want to exchange pleasantries if he could avoid it, and he wanted to avoid rejection even more. So he picked the lock and slipped inside the Kyle hotel room without a sound. He looked around the penthouse, not surprised. It was only the best with Selina.
"Anyone else, I'd ask how you got in. But with you, that's a ridiculous question isn't it?"
Bruce turned to see the woman of his thoughts in a robe, holding a mug of something hot in her hands. Tea? Hot chocolate? Bruce struggled to remember what beverage she liked before bed.
"What are you doing here, Bruce? I would think you're too old for a late night booty call." She put down her mug and invaded his personal space in a way only she could manage, and all of the old feelings came rushing back. She played with his shirtfront the way she once played on the Bat symbol. "Though I suppose they make little pills for the that now don't they?" She lowered her voice to a throaty purr, "Well, I'm game if you are."
He stiffened, "Stop it."
Selina laughed, "I find it amazing that someone who once wore his underwear outside of his pants can be such a prude."
Bruce refused to let her distract him. "I'm here about Helena."
Selina backed away, "Children really are the best birth control."
"And about us."
"Us? There's not much to say about us." She folded her arms. "We managed to pull off a love square between two people. That is an accomplishment."
True. Even Superman only managed a triangle. Bruce kept that thought to himself and asked, "Why are you really here, Selina? After all these years."
"I came to Gotham to die, Bruce. I couldn't stand the thought of my life ending anywhere but the city in which it began."
It was devastating news. So much that Bruce didn't even question it. He collapsed in the closest chair; Selina followed him, grabbing her mug again. She handed to him. "Here."
Earl Grey tea with a splash of honey, Bruce now remembered she used to sneak her packets from Alfred's stash. And Alfred would always get annoyed with her for it though Bruce had suspected it was an act. Alfred had adored Selina. Thinking of Alfred wasn't helping, even though it'd been years since the butler had died. Bruce felt Selina snuggle up to him. He wished he could go back in time, and for a moment he imagined the life he'd never lived. One where he married Selina and they'd raised Helena together. Alfred would spoil his daughter; Dick and Tim would've been her bad influences, and Barbara would act as a protective older sister. They would even give her a younger brother, and he and Selina grew old together watching their children grow.
His heart lurched, and Bruce's arm pulled Selina closer to him. And so they sat for a moment, Selina listened to Bruce's heartbeat as he stroked her hair.
Bruce studied the room and noticed an item in the room, one he knew was stolen, but not by Selina. He couldn't let the truth go and asked, "How long has she been a thief?"
Selina wanted to claw his eyes out. How dare he? He had no right to criticize her. No right at all when it came to Helena, she'd seen to that. She ignored the guilt and pulled away, metaphorical claws extended, "I'm guessing that McGinnis kid is the new Batman, or do you really just like hanging out with young males, Bruce?"
Of all the people to question, "Really?"
It lightened her mood and Selina gave her signature mischievous smile, "If I thought there was any truth to that rumor, I wouldn't joke about it."
Bruce responded in his Batman grovel, "I don't like jokes."
Selina was a little thrown. She couldn't remember when she'd ever seen that voice come from the unmasked face.
Bruce continued, "Where is she, out battling my protégé? She really is your daughter, Selina."
"Our daughter, Bruce."
Bruce had so many questions, wanted so many answers, but he settled on the biggest one,
Selina couldn't face him, as she answered, "Batman cannot be a father, Bruce. You know that."
Bruce got up and made her face him, "Did it matter that much, to steal my child from me?"
"She was our child, and I had to protect her. The daughter of Catwoman would've been in enough trouble, but if it'd gotten out that she was Batman's child? Can you imagine what the Joker would've done?" Bruce knew – two of the three Robins had suffered at the madman's hands. Poor Jason and Tim. But Selina continued, "He would've ground her up into cat food or something. He tried to do it to me to get to you, can you imagine what he would've done to our child?"
Suddenly too exhausted to fight, Bruce let it go. He let everything go. They were both too old, there was too little time left and what did it really matter anymore? He forgot all of his questions and held her face gently, sliding his fingers under her chin, and said, "I love you, Selina."
She smiled, the fight gone from her as well, "Took you long enough."
Their lips sealed their words, both rejoicing at the peace they'd finally found.
It had taken far too long to find.
Terry turned off the Batsuit's cloaking function to inspect the device. He recognized that this was what had allowed her to bypass the security grid. He calibrated his suit to give him the ability to deactivate it on command. Then he moved on, searching for his prey. His senses were on full alert as he crept through the darkness.
A shadow shifted and revealed a beautiful woman in a catsuit. She smiled at him, jewels in hand, "Meow."
Batman tried not to let the perfect body encased in leather distract him. He tried to ignore her suggestive smile and the way her hips moved when she walked. He didn't think it showed in any case. "Catwoman, I presume?"
She continued to walk around him. "Got it on the first guess." She smirked, "And here I thought you were supposed to be dumb. But then again, daddy left some pretty big shoes to fill."
She knew? Damn, there went one plan of attack. But then again, maybe she was just trying to throw him off. He wasn't sure. Batman scowled. "You're going to jail."
Catwoman didn't look worried. "And I'm guess you're going to be the one who puts me there?" She unzipped the top of her suit, teasing her opponent, and then shoved the jewels down between her breasts and zipped back up. "Forgive me if I'm not too worried."
Batman made his move, but she was ready for him. Their fight was quick and dirty. He grabbed both her wrists, but let one go to catch the leg aiming for his crouch. She extended her claws on her free hand and attacked his face. He dodged the swing and grabbed her wrist again, trying to force her to the wall to trap her legs. But she got one around him, and used his hold against him, throwing him against the wall.
To her surprised he hung on to her wrists after the impact. So she rammed her shoulder into him. He used his grip to throw her over his leg, but she grabbed his wrists right back and threw him over her head. This time the impact did cause him to let go. She leapt up and began to run the way she came.
Batman used the boosters in his shoes to get up and chased her. When she got to where the grid was he activated it while she was in the middle of it.
Luckily for her, she'd been looking behind at that moment and noticed the movement. She managed to activate the correct lenses in her goggles before he'd pushed the button. She saw that she barely missed several lasers in her current position.
Batman smirked; glad he'd caught her. He was about to speak when he saw her move.
She twisted, turned, flipped and slid her way careful through the remainder laser grid. She had never needed to turn off the lasers. When she finished executing moves he could never have done, she looked back and smiled in a challenge. Batman felt his blood rush.
He charged the laser grid, not caring about the alarms and police being summoned.
He didn't anticipate the cage though, and bars closed in around him, much to Catwoman's amusement. She collected her equipment with ease and flung the pack over her shoulder, looking over at her caught prey, "Wow, first meeting and we've already established which one of us is better." She came closer, playing with the bars. "If you ask nicely, I might let you out."
He already had a plan of escape. "I'll manage."
She shrugged, "Suit yourself." And with a skip in her step, she left the same way she'd entered.
It took him less than a moment to escape, and with that the chase across rooftops was on.
So as it often does, history recycled itself with new players wearing the same masks.
Author's note: Even though I included reference here, I've always had a problem with the fact that they made Terry Bruce's kid. The conspiracy was too unbelievable and felt like such a cop out. That said, in my imagination, Terry isn't Bruce's biological kid.
I hope you all enjoyed what was supposed to be a one-shot and thank you all for your reviews. They were a great source of inspiration for me, and tempt me to start a series with far more detail and characters. But as you've noticed I have trouble updating in a timely fashion and fear I'd never find the time/energy. We shall see…