Disclaimer: I own neither 'Batman' or 'Castle', and the original idea for this story was inspired by a piece of fanart created by AwsomeGeek and is used with her permission

Feedback: Feel free

AN: The final chapter, set shortly after the last one, featuring Kate's reflections on the meeting she had with Bruce; hope you like it

Detective al Ghul

Sitting in her hotel room, Kate had to admit that she had actually enjoyed her brief meeting with Bruce Wayne, even if she hadn't even stayed for dinner.

As much as she wanted to trust him, she just wasn't comfortable sharing more information about her real background with anyone; her relationship with her father was complicated at best, but she understood that he had kept himself out of her life in order to ensure that none of his enemies could find her.

In some ways, it was almost disturbing how easy it had been for her to assume a 'cover identity' for her meeting; the semester she'd spent in Kiev thanks to her father's donations had given her the chance to develop a fairly convincing Russian accent, which, combined with her use of her 'birth' name rather than her 'cover' name- she might think of herself as Kate Beckett first, but Talia al Ghul was still the name on her original birth certificate-, should be enough to stop Bruce Wayne finding her unless she wanted him to do so.

Giving him the phone number had been risky, but she felt that it would be good for Bruce Wayne to have someone else to talk to about whatever he had done as Batman; even if he had allies or associates who had helped him assemble his arsenal and other available equipment, an outsider's perspective on events could often be of more value to someone in this kind of work than someone who had been there from the beginning.

Still, no matter how disturbing it was to hear how far her father had fallen when he launched his attack on Gotham, she was glad that she'd had a chance to talk with Bruce Wane about what had taken place, to say nothing of the unique opportunity to talk with the most infamous vigilante of the modern world.

As a detective, it hadn't been hard for her to deduce that Bruce Wayne was Batman, but that was only because she knew that Bruce Wayne had been training with her father and would have had the opportunity to pick up the necessary combat skills to become the 'Dark Knight', as he was coming to be known to the general public; once she'd started thinking about Batman's role in the crisis and Bruce Wayne's continued presence in Gotham after a failed attack by the League of Shadows, it didn't take Sherlock Holmes to realise that the most likely explanation was that the two men were the same person.

It hadn't taken her long to realise that she wasn't going to use that information, of course. Even if the part of her that had trained at the Academy knew that she was legally required to report Bruce Wayne's activities as Batman to the Gotham police, the rest of her knew that she wouldn't do such a thing; in a city like New York or San Francisco, a vigilante was just a random citizen with interesting skills trying to make an impression, but in a city like Gotham, where the crime rate was so high that most of the cops were on the take because it was easier, it was easier to understand the mentality that would inspire someone to don the mask of the Batman in the first place.

So long as Bruce didn't kill anyone, and so long as she was certain that Gotham City still needed Batman to keep the peace- rather than Bruce going out and beating people up for the sake of it, rather than because the city genuinely needed the reputation of Batman to intimidate the worst of the criminals into backing down-, she would keep his secret.

If either of those situations changed...

She'd deal with that when the time came, even as she hoped that such a time would never come; she didn't want to have to arrest Bruce for doing what more than one detective would like to do if they didn't have to worry about the other issues of the job.

It was a small legacy for her father's cult, but, in its own way, that just made it all the more appropriate a legacy; when her father had lost his way more than once in his desire to 'protect the world', Bruce had maintained his with his focus on a specific city that he knew and loved, rather than operating on a scale that would almost force him to cross the line if he was going to do anything.

In any case, she'd accomplished what she'd come here to do, and she'd head home the following night; the more time she spent here, the greater the risk that someone would find where she was saying and identify her as 'Bruce Wayne's latest fling', attracting far more attention to her than she wanted or needed; if anyone back in New York saw the photographs that would result from that discovery and recognised her, the last thing she wanted was to face questions from her colleagues about why she was meeting with Bruce Wayne of all people.

This meeting would never be something that she would discuss with anyone but herself and Bruce, but it was something that she would always remember; it was the moment when she had met the man that her own father had considered worthy enough to suggest him as a partner.

Even if she doubted that she would ever see Bruce Wayne in that manner, she would always respect him as a fellow crusader in the fight to give others what they'd never be able to find for themselves, and her father had given him the skills he needed to accomplish that goal; it wasn't the most conventional connection, but the bond was there nevertheless.

"Goodbye, father," she said, looking out at the large form of Wayne Tower in the centre of the city, the location where her father had last been seen by Bruce Wayne before the train that he was on had crashed.

She had spent so little time with him over the course of her life, and they had drifted so far apart over the years since her mother's death, but he was still her father, and he deserved that much acknowledgement.

She had some doubts about whether her father was actually dead, of course- she'd heard too many stories about what he'd survived in the past to believe that he was truly gone without a body-, but, if he wasn't gone for good, he would definitely be gone from her life for the foreseeable future.

Still, he'd been gone from her life for so long already that another absence wouldn't really make any difference one way or the other; the events that Bruce had described just made it more likely that his absence would be permanent from here on in.

Maybe it was her imagination, but, as she turned to prepare for bed, she couldn't shake the feeling that someone else was watching her, somehow keeping an eye on her rather than watching her for the sake of watching her...

Enough, she told herself.

Bruce certainly couldn't have followed her as himself without attracting attention, and there was no way for him to have found her hotel when she'd checked in under another false name- Clara Storm; it was a neat little indulgence of her interest in those mystery novels-; she was just being overly paranoid.

She'd be home tomorrow, and her time in Gotham would pass by as nothing but an interesting diversion to give her important answers to certain questions about recent events; she doubted she'd ever actually return to the city now that she'd found what she was looking for.

AN 2: Well, that's the first story in this series done; once 'Dark Knight Rises' comes out I've got a one-shot planned to explore Kate/Talia's thoughts on the events of the Joker's rampage, and after that...

Well, I'll see what happens when we know how Bane's assault on Gotham unfolds in the film.