Her palm grazed a spot of tender flesh on Terry's stomach, making him inhale sharply. He glanced downward, holding up the sheet so that the orange-gold light from her lamp could trickle in.
"That's a bruise from where you kicked me."
Max's jaw dropped. "It is not."
"It is," he insisted, stifling a laugh at the horrified expression on her face. Max quickly withdrew her hand, not wanting to make it hurt more.
"You bruise easily."
"Yeah, and you've got a really hard foot."
"Shut up," she muttered, rolling her eyes. He grinned and leaned in for a kiss. She accepted. It took a large amount of restraint for her not to sigh into his mouth. She couldn't count the number of kisses he had bestowed on her in the last couple of hours, but each one felt unique and memorable. Each had its own varying softness and feeling behind it. Often, she found herself hoping he never stopped kissing her.
"We should probably tell them soon," Max said after a while. She settled onto her side—the one with the least amount of sore ribs—and he mirrored her, one large hand gently mapping the curve of her naked hip. His skin looked pale next to hers. She liked it.
"I'm not in a hurry," Terry admitted. "Bruce told me dating within the team leads to disaster. I think he always knew I liked you but didn't want me to get involved since my job's so dangerous. He's been in situations like this before, you know."
"Naturally. Selina tries to hide it, but I know she still cares about him."
"We should fix them up."
Max giggled. "I'm sure that'll go over well."
Terry shrugged one shoulder. "I don't see why not. Maybe having her around will get him off my back."
She shook her head. "Ever thoughtful, aren't you?"
"Mm-hm." Another kiss. Two more. She was getting greedy. His hand was wandering, too, and she nearly forgot what they were talking about during its exploration. Still, she knew there was more to say—and more time to be lascivious—so she reeled in her focus.
"What should we say at school? People are gonna notice."
Terry watched her for a moment. "It's up to you. I can take the heat from Dana since I'm used to it, but what about you?"
Max sighed, lowering her eyes to the mattress. "I don't know. It's so hard to tell with her sometimes. She'll be mad at first, but maybe after a while it'll make more sense to her. I just hope she doesn't hate me forever."
"People change. She's a good person. She won't be mad forever."
"Though, now I sort of understand why she never broke up with you." A blush started to form by the end of the sentence as Max's eyes wandered over his upper torso, practically radiant with allure in the dim light. He grinned, pleased by the comment.
"Flattery will get you nowhere, Ms. Gibson."
"That's not what I hear."
More kisses. She shook her head, drawing back. "I need to take a shower."
Terry's grin widened. "Hm, that sounds like fun."
She rolled her eyes. "By myself."
"Good luck with that," he purred, wrapping a muscular arm around her waist and tugging her into the circle of his body. She didn't try to wriggle out of it, either. Instead, she pressed her face into his neck and breathed in the scent of his skin, warm and alive. He felt like home.
"It won't always be like this, will it?" she whispered when the silence had wrapped around them like the night itself. He shifted a bit and kissed her forehead. She lifted her head enough to meet his gaze. His pale eyes were serious from so close, but sincere all the same.
"No. But we'll try to keep it that way for as long as we can."
Max smiled. "Good answer."
TWO MONTHS LATER
"Is that the last of it?"
Marvin nodded, grabbing his partner's arm so he could pull him up into the back of the armored car. "Yep. Bastards didn't know what hit 'em. How much you think we can fence this stuff for?"
Gary pulled the doors shut, chuckling in the back of his throat. "Enough to get us to Mexico to prune up in the sun with bitches and booze for the rest of our lives."
"I like your style, man." He went up to the front of the trailer and banged his fist on the wall twice. The driver up front slammed on the gas, making the two men stumble as the car rocketed out of the back lot of the jewelry store.
"When does the boat leave?"
"Quarter after three. I've got the bags already packed and waiting for us in a limo nearby. Twenty more minutes and we're set for life. Man, I love this city."
Gary squatted to examine a ruby necklace when all of the sudden, the trailer shook violently and they heard the tires screeching beneath them. The armored car slammed to a halt, knocking both of them against its steel walls. They rubbed their aching skulls and stood up, confused.
"What the hell, Lenny? Forget how to drive?" Gary growled into his mic. Silence greeted him. He frowned trying again.
"Lenny? Answer me, ya dreg!"
THUD. Both men's eyes snapped to the ceiling after hearing something heavy land on it. Marvin spared his partner a nervous glance and he nodded. They withdrew their guns and flashlights, aiming at the back of the truck.
"Think it's the Bat?"
"I don't know. Just keep quiet for a couple seconds," Gary instructed, pulling his ski mask back down over his face. He inched closer to the lock, sliding it back slowly and taking a deep breath. Sweat dripped down his spine like icy fingers. He swallowed to wet his dry mouth and took a deep breath. Without warning, he kicked the doors open and aimed at the first thing he saw.
Gary narrowed his eyes, peering into the dark alley their truck had stopped in front of to detect any sign of life other than the stray animal. He leaned over the edge of the trailer to find that the tires were all punctured and swore.
"Grab the stuff and make a run for it. It's gotta be the Bat or—"
A pair of impossibly strong arms grabbed him by the shoulders and yanked him up into the air, screaming.
"Gary!" Marvin hollered, too petrified to move. He heard gunshots on the top of the trailer and then another heavy thud. It was enough to convince him to run for his life so he grabbed a sack of jewelry and leapt out of the truck, racing down the dark alley. His knees knocked over trash cans but he kept going, panting heavily and darting around corners as fast as he could until he reached a point where he had to stop because he was about to have an asthma attack. He flattened himself against the brick wall, the gun in one hand, and the stolen jewelry in the other. The thief waited to hear footsteps but none came. Maybe he'd gotten away.
"Looking for someone?"
Marvin whirled, gun raised, to find a woman standing in front of him. He squinted in the dim moonlight to see her, his voice wavering when he yelled, "Don't move!"
She raised her hands and walked forward into the light, which spilled over her black suit, short cat ears, and silver goggles. Her face was hidden behind a black cloth mask except for the goggles and there was a whip coiled at her shapely hip.
"Oh, I wouldn't dream of it."
"Move or I'll shoot!"
He could hear the smile in her voice. "I thought you just told me not to."
"Shut up! I may be scared of the Bat, but I ain't scared of you."
She clucked her tongue. "Now that's a damn shame. What's a girl got to do around to get a reputation with you crooks?"
Marvin glared. "Last chance, kitty cat. Move it."
Her posture straightened all of the sudden and a low sigh escaped her lips. "You really shouldn't have called me that."
Before he could move, she kicked the gun out of his hand and punched him in the jaw. He tumbled backwards, dropping the bag, and then recovered, reaching for his back up gun tucked in the small of his back. She dove into a front roll as he shot at her and kicked him in the chest with both feet on the way up. He smashed into the brick wall behind him and slid down, moaning in pain. Catwoman rose to her feet and rested her hands on her hips, her voice casual.
"Don't jump in or anything."
Marvin heard a chuckle and then nearly wet himself as Batman appeared from out of nowhere on his right, brandishing a pair of handcuffs. He snapped them on the fallen thief, shaking his head.
"Shouldn't have called her kitty cat. Bad manners, you know?"
Police sirens whined nearby, filling the alley with blue and red lights. The pair of heroes saluted to the terrified criminal and melted back into the shadows. They watched him be hauled to his feet by the police from atop a building nearby.
Max sighed. "Two months and still no gasps of horror whenever I show up. I'm really starting to hate this city."
Terry laughed. "This isn't a cartoon, y'know. People don't really do that in real life."
"That guy looked like he was about pee himself when you showed up. That's all I want. Is it too much to ask?"
He shook his head. "You'll get there soon enough. I'm sure Selina can give you some tips. Hopefully some non-lethal tips."
"Oh, shut up," the former Catwoman chimed in from his radio. "I've never killed anyone, for your information. Keep sassing me and you'll be the first."
Terry grinned, unable to hide the amusement in his voice. "Yes, ma'am."
"Where are we heading next?" Max asked, trying not to giggle.
"Fourteen and ninth. We've got a gang fight that's getting out of control. Be advised, it's pretty nasty out there."
The pair met eyes and smiled slowly at each other.
"We can handle it."
I am eternally grateful for every review, every Story Alert, and every favorite I've gotten on this fic. It's been a truly wonderful experience writing it and I hope you guys enjoyed the ride. I have no plans for a continuation, but hey, who knows what the future might bring?
It's been a pleasure.