Flipping the blanket out on the sandy area along the lake, Terry let it flutter to the ground. Dana had carried a small basket as they walked beyond the tree line, along the water's edge, until they found a quiet and comfortable spot - out of sight of the house - to have their picnic dinner and long talk.

They had made it back to the Manor two nights ago just as Terry began to slip into shock again. Bruce and the doctor were waiting for them. Though he was still conscious, he was extremely weak. Between the stress of the fight, and her deliberate hit, the wound had fully reopened.

After that, Terry remembered little else. He found himself back in his room in the early morning hours. He awoke to find Bruce and Barbara talking quietly in the doorway. They had promptly given her a quick rundown of the occurrences the night before.

Terry had mistakenly made to stand up, to which Bruce had threatened to cuff him to the bed. Barbara had laughed, making a flippant comment about how Bruce showed his love. Terry had held in the smile for as long as he could, which was not long enough for Bruce to leave the room.

Now, 24 hours later, he was allowed to leave his room, but not the property, and Dana had finally been permitted to see him. They could both understand Bruce's concern. If he ripped the stitches again, it would not be an easy task to repair the damage. He would carry the scar for the rest of his life as it was.

Dana knelt down, pulling out the Thermos of coffee, pouring them both a mug.

Terry sipped it, gazing out over the lake, a sad smile on his face. "This is how I had imagined I'd tell you." He began slowly.

She had been watching him carefully, almost afraid that if she looked away, this would all dissolve. "Tell me what?" She held her mug in her lap.

"That I'm Batman."

She let out a noise. "It still sounds so weird to hear you say that."

"It sounds weird to me too, even after all this time; unless I'm in the suit." He faced her, "I've taken too much for granted."


"Dana listen to me." He interrupted her gently. "I've never been that close before. All I could think about was you, Mom and Matt. Max knew, she'd understand, but you guys had no idea."

"What about your mom now?"

He sighed deeply, cringing slightly. "I'm not sure. I was thinking of leaving something with Max or Bruce, something for you and her - just in case." He paused, "I think she deserves to know, if something happens to me." Dana nodded, her head dropping as she stared into the mostly empty mug in her hand. "Hey..." Reaching over, he cupped her face in his hand. "I'm still learning, and the old man had a pretty amazing track record." She smiled, though reluctantly. "No one said this was going to be easy."

"I know, and I know I'm going to worry, but Max and I will work it out. She copes with it, I will too."


"For what?" She tipped her head into his hand, confused.

"For understanding. You have no idea how much that means to me."

"Promise me you'll be careful."

He just looked at her for a moment. "I can't promise you that I won't jump into a situation just 'cause it looks bad."

"I'm not asking that, just that you'll..."

"I think I know what you mean. After this past week, I think it's a given. Too many things have pointed out to me just how precious life is." He placed his mug in the sand, taking hers from her hand, he did the same with it.

Lying back, he drew her down against him. They shifted for a few minutes until Terry was comfortable on his back, with an arm tucked under his head, the other wrapped around Dana, who was snuggled into his shoulder. Closing her eyes she relaxed completely, letting the rise and fall of his breathing lull her. "Is this okay?" Her hand lay across the centre of his chest.

He nodded, "yeah, this is perfect."

"When does your mom and Matt return?"

"Four more days. Thankfully."

"You think you'll be okay by then?"

"Enough that I can easily hide it anyway. Bruce is keeping the suit from me for two weeks, instead he wants to work on my investigative skills."

Dana chuckled, "not out of it huh?"

"Like I'd want to be?? This stuff is fascinating. Plus it would be nice not to have to rely on him and Max all the time."

"Is that what Max does for you?"

"Ummhmm, mostly. I can't believe the places she can hack into." Dana started laughing. "What?" he turned his head so he could see her.

"Max had said something awhile ago about some 'amazing things she's done for a friend but couldn't talk about.' It just makes so much sense now." She shifted so she could look at him. "In a way I'm kind of glad this happened."

"Oh?" he asked, disbelieving

"It's forced you to allow me into your life."

"I wasn't trying..."

"I know, and I was pretty mad when I found out. I thought that you didn't trust me, that our relationship had faded." She sighed, wondering how she ever could have let herself think that way. "It was silly of me; just my anger and fear talking. I do know why you couldn't say anything." She felt him relax under her hand. "I am sorry about the way I treated you that night."

Terry just looked at her. "You have nothing to apologize about."

Smiling, she curled back into the crook of his shoulder. "This sure is a beautiful spot."

He nodded, kissing the top of her head, then relaxing again. He had been missing out on many of the great joys of life. Bruce had told him he had experienced the darkest venues, but he'd also been a part of some of the brightest; mostly the woman lying completely at ease against him and a best friend who was willing to cross boundaries for him.

The evening was warm, the sun was casting a purply reflection over the lake as it began to set. He felt himself begin to dose, not needing or wanting sleep, just being so relaxed, his mind clear for the first time in months. Dana shifted against him, dosing as he was, enjoying their first truly quiet moment together in months.