Short one-shot about how I think this could have taken (or will take) place. Written a long, long time ago. I need this much time to pluck up the courage and actually post what I write.

Your comments and critique would of course be greatly appreciated. :)

Disclaimer: The characters, terms and settings in this story are all property of DC Comics and I have no intention of profiting from this work. I'm just playing around for my amusement.


A Batman Beyond Fic by CascadingCrimson

"What's your excuse this time?"

You frown slightly. It isn't that you're upset to hear her angry again - hell, it has practically become a sort of constant tune in your relationship – no, that isn't the reason. It's something in her voice, the way she says it; it seems more mellowed, more doubtful, more confused. You wonder if you're simply imagining it. Desperate, hope filled optimism of a dying man, if you will.


You snap out of your reverie. "Oh yeah, sorry. I um – you know, something's come up and Mr. Wayne needs me -"

You cringe slightly at the way that comes out. Actually, it comes out like every other time you speak to her about cancelling a date. You know you aren't being fair to her, but how on earth are you supposed to compromise? Bruce never bothers to get worried; according to him, things between the two of you are always fine and dandy, and even if there's any strain, "you'll get back together soon enough." Yeah, right.

"I didn't bother to get dressed." Her voice is quiet, lacking its usual indignation and fury. You can imagine her standing before you - one brow arched, eyes sparkling with anger; her typical stance with her left hand on her hip and the other one behind her back, one strand of deep raven hair falling insistently into her eyes despite being pushed back several times behind her ear. Except now you can't. There's something in her voice - it makes you uneasy. Something different.

"Dane, you know I don't plan for this. I'm really, really sorry – I'll make up for it, really -"

You don't hear a response from the other end, and so you perch at the foot of your bed, struggling to explain. Well, explain as much as you can without really explaining, obviously. It has worked so far, but you doubt it will this time.

"- and I really have to go right now, but I'll try my best to be there next time, okay?"

You curse yourself inwardly, and wait. A slight feeling of alarm courses through you when you don't hear anything, and you consider the idea of her being so mad at you that she wants out. Permanently. Wait, scratch that. You don't want to think of that at all – it simply isn't an option. Not after so long – you can't even imagine it, it's so intensely ridiculous. You always make up somehow. On some level, you guess you're more like Bruce Wayne than you'd realised.

"Dana? Is something wrong? You're so quiet – I mean, I know I'm such a twip for letting you down again but -"

You get to your feet. Hearing a sharp intake of air from the other end, you press the phone more closely to your ear to hear her reply. "I'll be fine, Terr. You go, just – just be careful, okay?"

You freeze. It takes a few seconds for your brain to actually process the meaning behind those words and its implications for you. For her. Maybe you haven't heard right. Or maybe she meant something else. Her next few words are all the confirmation you need yet don't want. Her voice is soft, questioning.

"Terry, can we talk? Later, I mean…after you return?"

You're still numb from the revelation of her realisation, but you force yourself to stutter out, "I guess I owe you that much," before slamming your cell phone shut and falling face-down on the covers of your bed. Dana knows. Dana knows.

You don't know what to think of it.

You get dressed with half a mind on your actions. Deep inside you somewhere, you half-wish your entire rogues' gallery will turn up together and finish you off before you can meet Dana. Slag it, Bruce would kill you before that for even thinking like this.

The confrontation is inevitable though. So you remind yourself sternly that you're Batman and can face whatever's coming at you. Or most of it, anyway. At any rate, you have to do what you have to do and you're gonna do it. Hearing Bruce's voice from the radio receiver in your cowl, you slip out of the window unnoticed by anyone.

At least till then you can do what you're good at - criminal butt-kicking. And you do just that. There'll be time for talking later.