Follow up to "Heart and Home" and "The Other Life". Thanks to Charlene for Heart and Home and the initial idea. This is unbeta'd, and Charlene doesn't know its in existence. SURPRISE! Feedback always encouraged and welcome.

Summary: Not sure I can give one without giving stuff away. Takes place during the Fugitive storyline. Sorta.

Rating: PG. Why? CYA.

Anyways… on with the show.

Twilight into Darkness

**

Through the opened curtains of the master bedroom at Wayne Manor deep blue light poured through and did it's best to illuminate the oversized room. It was twilight, and he hadn't yet bothered to turn the light on the bedroom. It seemed to be making the decision harder. Standing in front of his dresser, Bruce Wayne contemplated two different styles of cuff links. "So… um… the green ones, or the silver ones?" he asked, totally at a loss.

"Do we have to do this?" He asked finally, looking at the image of himself in the mirror. The dark suit suddenly made him feel stuffy. Maybe he should have worn something casual. Well, it was too late now. He'd seen Tim dashing down the hall in his best clothes. "Let's not do this."

If he didn't go through with this, then there were a lot of things he wouldn't have to admit. He was old, and he was losing his son.

"Do you think we'll be able to keep orange juice in the house for more than a day after Dick… well, you know." Finally picking the silver cuff links, Bruce reluctantly tossed the other cufflinks onto the dresser, not caring where they landed. "And say something. Don't let me stand here rambling." Were those grey hairs he saw in his image in the mirror?

Lying to himself, he convinced himself it was a trick of the dim light.

There was a soft, feminine laugh behind him. "I kind of like it when you ramble." Selena's arms slid around his midsection, and her head came to rest on his back.

He rubbed the royal blue silk covering her arms, suddenly terrified. "What if Jason meets some girl?"

Selena laughed at the sound of terror in his voice. "Jason meets too many girls. That's his problem. He's about as likely to settle down as Cassandra is to break up with that Allen boy." She'd gone through her own separation anxiety this afternoon, and was now well over it. "Now, why did I have to come up here and get you? Dick was supposed to drag you down stairs." She kissed his shoulder, and then moved on to his neck.

"I told him I'd be down in a few minutes." Of course, it had been daylight when he'd told the boy that. The boy who was about to be a father. "I don't like this."

"They all grow up."

"They should stay little."

"Then we'd never have a moment's piece."

He turned and put both of his arms around her, then kissed the top of her head. Resting his chin on her coifed hair, he looked at the bed. In his minds eye, he saw them jumping upon it, as if it were a trampoline, and him.

Tim cracking opened the door on his first night with them, not wanting to be a bother and yet not wanting to be alone. Finding Cassandra under the bed talking to Bart Allen, the day she discovered boys so that Dick and Jason wouldn't find her. Dick laying at the bottom of the bed and watching the news every night with them, all the way until he went to college. Jason constantly stealing their pillows for God only knew WHAT evil plot in his grade school years.

And now… no one bothered them at night.

"Come on," Selena said, gently pulling herself from his grasp. "Barbara's going to be here any minute. And I'm going to tell you the same thing I told the kids—no sad faces." Kissing his cheek, she made her way to the door.

Obediently, he followed. Watching her exit the room and walk down the warmly lit hall, he paused. Looking back to the bed, he also remembered all the nights they'd spent there. All the mornings he woke with her in his arms, either to the sound of her breathing, or the trouncing and bickering of children. Trying to hide beneath the covers as they raced back and forth across the carpeted floor, begging them to break up fights.

His eyes could almost see the carpet tracks…



His eyes could almost see the blood stains.

Alfred had cleaned the carpet impeccably. It wasn't within the old butler to do any less, but the outline of the body and the pool of blood were forever burned into his mind.

Why had he come back here? To remember what was, or what had never been?

Batman turned in the doorway, his long cape twisting behind him. He exited the room and fled into the darkness of the pitch-black house, then finally into the cold, bleak night. Looking back at the ominous mansion with it's leering gothic lines and it's memories—real and imagined—he vowed never to return.

THE END.