All rights to Nolan, D.C Comics, and Warner Brothers.

Chapter 1 – Masks

Water was sloshing over the steel-shod heels. It was already nightfall – the city regrouping and evacuating while the Feds brought in their resources to check over Gotham for any residual threat. No threat. She'd put the threat through a solid concrete wall with the Bat's fancy toy.

And here she was – booking it through the surf to scramble over rocks and debris. A small scale tidal wave had hit the shoreline after the bomb had gone off in the bay. Selina Kyle squashed another rising knot of fear in her throat. There wouldn't be a body left. It would've been incinerated in the blast.

But she'd trusted her gut since she was old enough to even remember. Things worked that way when you were on your own. You relied only on yourself and not the say-so of any other bastard trying to screw you over.

And it paid off after an hour or two of scouring the shoreline on foot. He was washed up, just a dark lump covered in sand and flotsam. Just idling in the tide with the trailing length of his cape surging and receding in the current.

The heels were shitty traction in the sand, so she scrambled as quickly as she could to flip him. No burns or horrible wounds – just passed out from exhaustion from treading water in the heavy suit. Took in water when he exhausted himself. Drowned.

"You lying bastard," she hissed, pumping his chest in rhythmical, jerky jabs with her clenched fists. "Don't die on me, Wayne," she half-shouted, gritting her teeth and forcing his lips open with her mouth to force a wave of air into his lungs. More pumps to his chest – still nothing. The lower half of his face remained wan and slack beneath the cowl.

Selina almost gave up at that point. Everything was impermanent in her world. Even this brief flicker of kinship she felt with the former billionaire who ran around in a cape, defending the weak and downtrodden while giving back to those that had none.

The first that had inspired in her some sense of responsibility. Anchored her to this shithole city and made her care enough to not speed off into the sunset and out of the possible blast radius. Her sense of self-preservation was her religion. Where did this guy get off by making her go back on her most absolute policy then have the stupidity to die on her?

Wetness raced down her cheeks. She refused to call them tears. No need to cry over spilled milk.

Selina still couldn't will herself to stop pumping his chest and forcing air down his lungs. She could try and race back to the cycle to radio in help, but the lack of oxygen she was constantly forcing into him would terminate whatever was left of his brain functions. So she kept on until her arms ached with the effort and her lungs burned, chanting, "Wayne, c'mon. Wayne."

It happened so abruptly. He reeled up, choking and spitting out a stream of seawater before losing whatever he had in his stomach, dry heaving near the end onto the sand before she eased him onto his back.

"No auto-pilot?" she said tersely, yanking back the synthetic material of his cowl to bunch around his neck.

"Had a few bugs in the system – couldn't trust it to get the job done until I was sure it'd go far enough out without manual drive," he wheezed out, his eyes sharpening into focus. And he was looking at her, smiling with that infuriatingly peaceful look he had around him these days. More at peace than the man she'd turned on in the Wayne Manor the first night she'd clapped eyes on him.

Gone was the hounded, haunted look in his eyes. All Selina saw was a calm peace she ached for.

"C'mon. Up, Wayne, we've got to clear out. Conquering hero and all, they'll be wanting you back in Gotham," she muttered, lacing an arm under his body. He stilled her with a hand to her cheek, her mask slipping off to dangle useless in his fingers.

Both of them were unmasked. Exposed in every way. On every level.

Warmth was coming back into his body by the time Bruce Wayne eased his lips over hers, her mind slipping away to just idle in the background while her body surged against his.

All her life she'd been able to put on masks. A weak, screaming woman. The seducer. An efficient conman. Even feeble, meek maids and unflinching, uncaring opportunists who valued their own skins above anything else. But Bruce saw through all of them. Just as she saw through his masks.

"How adaptable are you, Selina?" he asked her after they had broken the kiss, panting for air and looking just as shaken up as she was. Connections were rare for their kind. And theirs came once in a lifetime.

"Very," she breathed, leaning back in to catch the taste of him on her tongue once more.