Just a little something that I feel that could have happened after the scene where Bruce and Rachel talk when he decides to turn himself in. Inspired by Christian Bale's abs (they have a life of their own, I swear), and the beautiful music of Explosions in the Sky. Nolanverse. Smut inside.

The sections of text in italics at the start and end use dialogue taken directly from TDK.

Summary: Rachel loves Bruce - of course she loves him - and she always will. It's different to the love she has for Harvey. It's so much more complicated than that, and it hurts more, because it's a love that can't be real. TDK missing moment. Rated M.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of Christopher Nolan, Warner Brothers, DC comics, etc. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended and I don't own Batman/Bruce Wayne. Sadly.

** Thanks go to venis-envy for betaing/cheerleading for me on this one. Her support and encouragement of my work is always appreciated. **


"You once told me that if the day came when I was finished, then we'd be together."

Rachel's mouth is dry. "Bruce, don't make me your one hope for a normal life."

Bruce ignores her, pressing on. "Did you mean it?"

"Yes." His hand stretches out to sweep her hair from her eyes, reaches around to the back of her head. Insinuating her closer.

His lips are instantly on hers, but the kiss is taut, careful, even somewhat detached. He's giving nothing away. Even now, he still wears the mask of Bruce Wayne. Not the fa├žade of the hedonistic, billionaire playboy that the tabloids know. The one she knows. The scared little boy who never stopped hurting over his parents' death. The unhappy, lonely man who knows nothing but the discipline and control and denial of the life he has created for himself. The man who has built steel walls around his heart to never let anyone in who could hurt him.

They break apart and she sighs in frustration. His eyes are intense, boring into her as if he knows exactly what she's thinking, too. He turns and starts to walk away, and Rachel fights back tears of frustration. She knows Bruce too well. He will always deny himself what he wants, if he can hide behind the guise of doing the right thing.

Her voice cracks. "Bruce, if you turn yourself in they aren't gonna let us be together."

That stops him. "I know, but I have to. I can't let anyone else die because of my cowardice."

"You're not a coward, Bruce. You wouldn't do what you do for Gotham if you were."

To her surprise, he smiles. "No, actually I really am a coward - and I'm not talking about the fact that I hide behind a mask. For instance, I have a beautiful woman standing before me and I'm too much of a coward to kiss her again."

"What's stopping you?"

"I'm afraid that if I do, I won't stop this time." His voice is low, full of longing, and it makes her shiver.

"Maybe I don't want you to stop." She crosses the room to his side, and he turns to face her, his eyes dark with desire.

"God...Rachel." His breathing is heavy, and she can see that he is fighting to remain calm and controlled. When he kisses her this time, it's different. His mouth opens against hers, warm and wet, and she feels herself dissolve into the kiss. It's firm and soft and perfect where they fit together, familiar and yet so new. Bruce has never kissed her like this before.

He groans low in his throat and pulls her closer, letting all pretence of control fall away. She wraps her arms round his neck, fingers winding into his hair as his hands wander lower. They break apart and his eyes dart to the bed just feet away, her gaze following. She bites her lip and can't suppress a giggle when he looks embarrassed. This is the Bruce that she remembers. The Bruce she loved, and still loves.

"Are you sure?" he whispers, his fingers pausing over the first button of her shirt.

She nods, not even allowing herself to feel guilty about betraying the man she loves. The wonderful, brave, decent Harvey who asked her to marry him and hasn't even got an answer from her yet. Rightly or wrongly, she knows that Bruce needs her more right now. And she needs him. She needs this.

They make it to the bed in between hot, insistent kisses, falling onto the pristine white sheets in a tangle of limbs. She unbuttons his shirt slowly, revealing scars that criss-cross skin marred by a patchwork of purple bruises. Rachel runs her hands over him and finds his body harder than she expected, unyielding in its power. It's beautiful, but it's a body moulded by scar tissue and stitched wounds and pain. Her fingers trace the outline of the darkest bruise blooming on the right side of his chest. She hears his breath catch, but he doesn't wince.

And why would he? she thinks to herself. Pain and suffering is what drives Bruce. It's who he is. It's all he is.

She hopes that at least for tonight, she can help him forget that.

Fingers fumble at buckles, zips and buttons in between frenzied kisses. Bruce's strong, confident hands lift Rachel, tug satin and lace down her legs and then there's nowhere to hide. He looks at her with such open, honest desire that she's no longer afraid of what she feels for him. As she pulls him closer, she hopes that this is one night where he will let her see the real him. One night where he can leave Batman behind and give in to the needs and desires of Bruce Wayne. His hands brush her thighs; rough, callused fingertips pressing to smooth skin, and she sighs.

"You're soft," he whispers against her hipbone, his mouth hot against her skin.

"Well, you're certainly not," Rachel hears herself say with a smile, trying to make light of the situation. Bruce laughs. At this point, she'll do anything to pretend this doesn't mean as much as it does. That she doesn't love him so much. That the thought of not being with him doesn't hurt so much.

He gently parts her thighs with his hands, pressing her back into the mattress.

When he slides inside her it's slow, achingly slow, all his well-practised self-control in use - a sharp intake of breath as he enters her the only break in his composure. Soft kisses press to her forehead, her throat, her lips, and his thrusts are gentle, passionate, careful. Too careful. Her pleasure builds minute by minute, and it's obvious he knows what he's doing, but it isn't enough. She can tell he isn't giving all of himself. Rachel doesn't want him to be like he is with all the other girls who share his bed, who are only interested in his body and the contents of his wallet. She digs nails into his back, knowing he's holding a part of himself back, wanting all of him. Wanting him to be rough, to lose control.

It's okay with me. Just let go.

Please.

"Bruce," she mutters, pleading, and it's enough to shatter his control. His lips find hers, biting down on the flesh of her bottom lip as he pulls back and slams into her hard. It's as if at first he was afraid that his powerful physique would hurt her, but no more. Rachel's fingers splay out over his back, pressing into the bruises and scars as he plunges deeper into her. When she moans in his ear, Bruce has to fight the need to just take her harder, deeper, faster. His thrusts become swifter, charged with a raw power and desperation, a need to have all of her. He murmurs her name against her skin over and over, taking ownership of her body as he moves inside her. Finding the spot where they join with his fingers, his thumb pushes against her once, twice, and she's gasping, shuddering as she climaxes almost without warning. With a deep groan he finds his own release, giving himself over to her completely. She watches the relief play out over his face, the mask stripped away to reveal the pure, beautiful vulnerability underneath.

Despite his physical fitness, he's exhausted; out of breath and sweaty as he collapses beside her. He kisses her one more time and tucks the covers over them before they slip into a dreamless, sated sleep. Later, Bruce wakes in the night, months of nocturnal patrols having altered his sleep patterns beyond recognition. He can't get back to sleep, so he just lies there and watches Rachel. She's peaceful, carefree, her curls spread out over the pillow. His fingers trace the path of her spine with the lightest touch so as not to wake her. Right now, she belongs to him, and him alone.

Perfect.

Mine.

...

When Rachel wakes the next morning, the bed is empty. He's already gone to turn himself in.

Rachel loves Bruce - of course she loves him - and she always will. It's different to the love she has for Harvey. It's so much more complicated than that, and it hurts more, because it's a love that can't be real. A mere phantom of something; with echoes of reality. The Bruce that she saw last night was real enough, but she knows being that man would never be enough for him. He could never just be ordinary - run Wayne Enterprises, pursue various philanthropic endeavours, marry her and father her children. He will always push himself harder, causing himself more pain, finding catharsis in the breaking of his body and his spirit. He is Gotham's Dark Knight, and the city will always need him more than she does.

She watches Bruce stand by while Harvey declares himself to be Batman. She waits for him to step forward, to stop Harvey, to reveal to all of Gotham that they've got the wrong man. He doesn't, and her stomach clenches. This proves what she's always known. There will never be a time when Bruce Wayne can leave Batman behind.

Rachel takes the coward's way out. She sits down at the desk and puts pen to paper, tears spilling from her eyes.

...

"That's the sacrifice he's making. To not be a hero. To be something more." The butler's words are calm, and make maddening sense, and yet she's still angry. Angry at herself, for not being braver. For not believing that things could be different, that Bruce could leave Batman behind.

"Well, you're right about one thing. Letting Harvey take the fall is not heroic at all."

Rachel sighs. Alfred was right about Bruce making a sacrifice. He would sacrifice his own happiness, and probably one day his life in the pursuit of what he thought was right. She hopes that day will never come.

"You know Bruce best, Alfred. Will you give this to him, when the time is right?" she asks the older man, holding out the envelope.

His eyebrows furrow. "How will I know?"

"It's not sealed."

She hopes he can't see the tears in her eyes.


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