Title: Cold Winter's Night: Carpe Diem

Author: DC Luder

Rating: M for language, adult situations and violence

Summary: At his lowest hour in No Man's Land, a surprise encounter may be the difference between surrendering and pushing onward.

Infringements: All recognizable characters belong to DC Comics, not DC Luder.

Author's Note: After reading No Man's Land to sate the sudden need to re-read that wonderful scene between Jim Gordon and Batman in Legends of the Dark Knight #125, I randomly sat down and wrote this piece.

A/N 2: References made to The Long Halloween, Dark Victory and NML. This chapter features adult sexual content and brilliant Alfred-ness… although not at the same time. Reader discretion is advised.

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He only employs his passion who can make no use of his reason.

Marcus Tillius Cicero

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"Just forget about who we are, forget about the masks, forget that this city is falling down around us… for once, let it just be me and you. Everything else, just let go."

Despite the fact that I had every reason to be focused on the present, I found myself thinking back nearly fifteen years, looking into her green eyes, running my hands through her hair…

Not as Batman and Catwoman, but as Bruce and Selina.

I could still hear the clink of her silver bracelets, the way her hair covered half of her face, the rich scent of Chanel coming off of her in waves. I had been on my way out of a wedding reception, ready to shed the skin of Bruce Wayne in order take to the streets. All those years ago, there was no one that stood in the way of my work, of my war.

Except her.

She had caught my eye as I approached the front door, standing with a hip cocked and fingers gently tapping her chin. It had taken me a moment to focus on her words given the how little her little black dress was, "It's hot... even for June. Years from now, when people are talking about the weather, they'll say 'It's hot but… not as hot as it was the night Johnny Viti got married…'."

"Hello, Selina."

That smirk, that look in her eye, it had never changed and never ceased to reel me in, "Care to dance, Bruce?"

A lifetime ago but I could still feel her arm around me as we danced amongst Gotham's elite, both civilians and criminals given the mob ties the newlyweds had. She would kiss me in between every song, biting my lip to the point of nearly drawing blood. When she had invited me to her penthouse that night, I had to literally force myself to decline, knowing if I went I would never make it to patrols.

While we had willingly shared a bed as civilians, our masked identities were caught in a relentless battle of wits and fists. Seemingly every night after leaving Selina's side, I would find myself face to face Catwoman. Without warning, she would hunt me down, engaging in abrupt, violent encounters before speaking her mind. Any time I had tried to reason with her, she would either kiss me or claw at me before taking off. As the year had progressed, she had even aided me in a number of confrontations, battling off mobsters and henchmen by my side with a grin on her face.

Unfortunately, the closer Batman had gotten to Catwoman, the further apart Bruce and Selina had grown. After Harvey had been burned, forever reformed into Two-Face, I had taken it as a personal failure and had started to drive away those who cared for me. This was only mad worse as a series of hangman influenced murder suspects began to surface, of which all leads had pointed to Harvey. Selina had done her best to tolerate being ignored and brushed aside, even going as far as associating herself with Mario Falcone in hopes of attracting my eyes through jealousy. I had managed several weak attempts but she spent more nights at the Manor with Alfred rather than myself.

New Year's Day we had reconciled after I had showed up at her doorstep with fresh baked treats and a dumb smile on my face. She had tried to reject me, saying that because I had bailed on her the night before that she had decided we were over. Rather than defend my actions, I had agreed to leave.

After narrowing her eyes, she had grabbed me by the scarf, dragging me into her brownstone while sighing, "No, damn you. The least you could do is stay for breakfast."

If only that morning could have lasted forever…

Selina had left me two months later, the day after Valentine's. In fact, she left everything behind, moving out of her home, leaving nothing behind save for a note that explained why she left even though it hadn't been necessary. In a way, it had made things easier, giving me uninterrupted time to hunt down Gotham's latest killer. Not long after, I had gone to a charity circus performance that had turned tragic, thus making Selina's whereabouts the least of my concerns.

Like any cat, she returned to her territory, first only in the guise of Catwoman and then eventually reintroducing Selina Kyle to the Gotham elite. Raising and training Dick and tackling an onslaught of new foes had left me little time to get in touch with her without a cowl on my head. It had been simpler as Batman and Catwoman where Bruce and Selina had seemed to be doomed from the start.

Maybe she was right.

… For once, let it just be me and you…

… Just let go…

After her lips left mine, I found my voice, "I don't believe in fate."

"Really?" Selina drew her head back, "Your lips say no but… something else tells me you want to say yes…"

"Selina…" instinct forced my universal warning as my hold on her arms tightened once more.

"I'm all ears," she replied before kissing me once more.

Despite my grip on her, she bent her arms so that once more rested on my chest. I resisted her advance momentarily before my jaw relaxed, parting my lips just enough to allow her access. My conscious should have been reminding me that it was wrong to kiss her, to be spreading my legs in order to bend my knees, to release her arms in order to set my hands on her waist. But there was nothing, no voice, no reasoning, no logic.

…Just let go…

She bit my lip suddenly and I found myself smiling instead of recoiling.

Keeping her hands on my chest, she pushed herself up, taking heavy breaths through her mouth while drawing her legs up in order to kneel above me. Knowing I would only make matters worse, I remained still, breathing through my nose as slowly as I could. She rested against my thighs for a moment before pulling herself up, pressing her pelvis flush against mine.

Slowly, she began to rock against me and I somehow managed to enough control to keep myself from lifting her up so that I could enter her. Just as any encounter we had endured in our lives, this was on her terms, not mine. My hands traced up her sides before moving back down, passing over her hips before settling on her thighs.

After a quick laugh, Selina leaned in to plant her lips on mine once more, still teasing her sex over the length of me. I pulled back for a moment to speak but she shook her head before growling, "Shut up."

"Selina, I need to…"

She interrupted me, driving her tongue into my mouth before retreating, "You're right, a decade of foreplay is enough."

Without a wasting another second, she moved forward so that her breasts came to rest on my collar bones. I had been about to lift my head in order to kiss one but she was already moving back, this time taking me inside her.

Involuntarily, I let my breath out in a gasp, nearly as loud as she sucked in air. Where a moment earlier I had been overwhelmed by memories, I found myself only focused on the present. Her nails dug small rivets into the flesh of my trapeziums while her feet curled up behind my thighs, her toenails tickling my skin, the way her most inner muscles clenched down on me. Despite the fact that we both stank of stale reservoir water, her hair gave off the scent of coconut as it slipped over her shoulders, strands dancing over my forehead and cheeks.

Selina's hands moved suddenly, planting themselves deep into the covers as she increased her tempo. To that point, I had done little aside from gently guide her forward and back with my hands on her legs, mostly in order to keep myself from releasing too quickly. The sudden rush of pressure from her movements encouraged my hips to rise to meet hers, causing her to suddenly grunt before leaning in to bite my neck.

The silence of the satellite cave made our pants, kisses and moans that much louder. She arched her back suddenly, breaking her lips away in order to gasp softly while pushing her torso off of me in order to alter the angle I entered her. One of my hands suddenly rose up to the back of her neck, the other to her waist but she was unwilling to lower herself back down.

"Just let go," she managed between pants.

My hand rejoined the other, holding her hips as they rose and fell, releasing me and drawing me in. My short breaths became grunts as she cried out again, this time her body shaking violently as she had been earlier that night although for a far different reason. Her breath, seemingly trapped inside her, was finally released in a succession of unintelligible cries.

Not a moment later, I found myself in a similar state of ecstasy, although I managed to cry out her name at the release. Still throbbing inside her, I sat up, moving one hand to rest between her slender shoulders while the other rose to brush the hair out of her face. Her lips found mine once more, although her kisses were staggered between sharp intakes of air.

"Should have done that in the first place," she said before moving to rest her brow in the crook of my neck, "Plenty warm now."

Given that she was kneeling, my face was even with her chest and I lapped at a bead of sweat that ran down her sternum. Rather than recline back down onto the bed, I gently rolled her over so that I was balanced on my hands and knees while she lay on her back. I followed the taste of salt down her navel and then back up to her collar bone.

"I'm sorry," Selina sighed as her hands locked behind the back of my head.

I cleared my throat before searching for her face in the near complete darkness, "For what?"

There was a pause as her knees rose up slowly, "For this."

The knees slammed forward into my groin as her hands grasp my hair, driving me headfirst into the metal frame of the head board.

I woke to Alfred shaking my shoulders, his voice seemed as if it was coming through a dense fog, "Master Bruce! Master Bruce!"

Shaking my head, I began to sit up but he was quick to press his thin hands on my chest, forcing me back down, "Sir, I insist you remain where you are, given the state of your brow there's no doubt you've suffered a concussion."

"My brow?" I reached up to touch my aching temple to feel warm, wet flesh. My fingers came back red.

"Ms. Gordon contacted me when you failed to respond to her calls on the communication link. She said were suffering from hypothermia and Lord only knows what other injuries."

As my mind slowly regained focus, I tried to piece together the previous night knowing full well I should have woken up with Selina in my arms rather than alone with a gash on my forehead. While Alfred rummaged through the medical supplies for a sterile suture kit, I sat up, looking about the small room. When looked over the bed, I spotted the dried blood on the headboard and growled lowly to myself.

Stupid fool.

"Sir, I'm afraid I'll have to take you to Dr. Thompkins, it seems as if most of the medical supplies are gone, along with the food rations."

"Of course they are," I snapped as I rose from the bed, retrieving my scattered garments from the floor, "Were the lights on when you arrived?"

"No, sir, in fact everything was turned off."

"Was trying to conserve the generator for the heater," I replied curtly before depositing the pieces of the Bat-suit in the room's sole chair, the smell of the reservoir clinging to every piece. I had a clean one in another one of the satellite caves waiting for me after I washed and changed into civilian clothes. For the interim, I donned a pair of sweat pants that were in one of the utility drawers.

Rather than boot up the computer, I opted to wash up using the small sink in the closet of a bathroom. Leaving the door open, I watched as Alfred began tidying up the room, collecting garments in a laundry basket while discarding garbage. After washing my face, I looked to the mirror, my eyes instantly finding the bruising of my forehead in addition to a four inch gash.

Slam, bam, thank you, ma'am.

"Sir?"

"What?" I asked as joined him, tossing the bloodied towels into the basket that sat on the floor.

He had his back to me as he stripped the small bed clean of sheets and blankets, "Was there anything else you needed laundered?"

"The suit needs to be cleaned. And waterproofed."

"Anything else?" he inquired with a look over his shoulder.

"Not that I know of."

"Are you certain?" he asked as he turned around, revealing a pair of lace trimmed, purple Brazallian cut panties dangling from his pinkie finger.

I was the Batman, capable of striking fear into anyone… save for Alfred.

"Selina… was at the reservoir. She dove in to save the second victim... Her suit made her more vulnerable… her hypothermia was nearly in the third stage before I managed to get us here… Her body temperature was well below mine."

Alfred tossed the undergarment into the laundry basket, "Well, obviously you managed to correct it… a hero to us all, Master Bruce."

I simply stared at him, trying to convince myself that I didn't need to explain myself to him.

That was until he continued, "I'll be sure to have Dr. Thompkins arrange for a tetanus and rabies booster when you get your sutures."

"Rabies?"

"Why, it appears that either Count Dracula has paid you a visit, sir, or that you have been attacked by a wild animal," his eyes travelled to my neck.

I glanced over my shoulder to catch myself in the bathroom mirror once more, this time far enough away to see my upper torso.

Wild animal.

Wild cat.

He clucked his tongue softly before speaking, "Well, it does explain why this humble little abode has taken on the scent of Chanel and adultery… and it also would clarify the message left scrawled in the frost on the secret entrance, as it was."

"What message?" I asked, my voice straining for a demanding tone but came out urgent and confused.

"Ahem, I believe it read: 'Next time, bring the cuffs, I'll bring the whip.' Or something to that effect. Now, sir, not that I wish to stress you when you are clearly infirm, but I must ask…"

"What?" I snapped, the growl back in my tone.

"When I restock this or, perhaps, all of the satellite caves… should I make the beds with one pillow or two?"

"Alfred."

"Mayhaps some scented candles… chocolates, perhaps I can rustle up some---."

"Shut up."

"… Very good, sir."

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