Batman hated monitor duty in the Watchtower.
Although, admittedly, he shouldn't say that, at least out loud – he was the one that suggested that system.
The point would be to take advantage of all the many equipments of surveillance and be able to detect an event like the alien invasion that happened five years ago in its early stages. In such case, the Justice League would be able to reunite and plan quicker and more effectively, potentially saving thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousand lives more than they had in that first event. There was no doubt that monitor duty was a necessity.
But it was incredibly boring.
He would go over and over the cameras and sensors around the world and space. Scan again and again the solar system. Watch images and enhance them, send messages and radio signals, write reports. And then, he would do it all over again.
In a lively evening, he would even find excuses to leave the Watchtower and get into action himself, but that was only justify if the situation was dire to the team, or if there was no other Justice League member to deal with the problem. Those were the rules; and if he made exceptions, soon Flash would be escaping monitor duty in its first minutes – it was hard to keep him up there for even an hour…
The bright side was, he could bring work from Gotham to do there, and get ahead in a few things. At least there, in space, there weren't enough distractions, and he could concentrate. Even do some lab work he had been neglecting for a while.
He had been reading police reports for the last twenty minutes, an old habit: sometimes, if he organized and read them all, he would see connections between cases the police often wouldn't. As reports were filed by hundreds every day, and most detectives were always so busy, there weren't many moments for them to share information. And so, Batman would do that. The lack of time usually obligated him to just use a computer program, but he liked to do it himself. He was way better than the computer, so why not take the opportunity? Already he had found several interesting points to show Jim Gordon.
The teleporter's alarm.
Batman abandoned the reports and searched the monitors, not too worried. Their teleport system had a trigger, and any one that used it should also use an additional three digit code when setting coordinates. Problem was, most of his teammates usually forgot it. Therefore, the alarm would be set, though not as if a stranger had entered the place.
Looking at the monitor, he saw exactly what he expected: it was just Clark arriving. As usual, he forgot the code. Batman reached his hand to press the communicator button, prepared to tease Superman about his mistake and then invite him to join him at monitor duty – he would never confess, but a very welcomed company.
The alarm again.
He saw in the monitor that Wonder Woman had also arrived, just a few seconds after Superman. That picked his curiosity; as far as he knew – and he knew a lot – there weren't any meetings scheduled, and certainly there weren't any serious trouble in Earth at the moment that required both Superman and Wonder Woman's attention. He certainly hadn't called them or asked for them. What was that about, then?
He turned on the microphones in the teleport room.
"… you sure?" Diana was saying.
"I'm sure. Bruce never leaves the monitor room. Besides, we can lock the doors."
"He knows this place better than anyone, Clark. If he wants to go into a room…"
"And why would he?"
Diana laughed. "Why indeed. It's not like he ever sleeps."
"Nope, not Bruce." Superman was smiling. Then, he gently placed a hand on Diana's waist. "Neither do I."
She placed her arms around his neck. "So", she said, then standing on her toes and placing a light kiss on Superman's lips, "about that room…"
"Come with me", Superman said, leading Diana by her hand.
In the monitor room, Batman gasped.
It was true, then, the rumors… Clark and Diana really were…
He watched on the monitors as they found one of the empty sleeping bedrooms. The Watchtower didn't serve as anyone's home of refuge for the moment, and all the living quarters were empty. Batman wasn't surprise to see that Clark had led Diana to the largest bedroom, the one that had that open window to the space. It was a beautiful sight… He had thought about it himself, every once in a while, wondering if he would ever take someone there, to that room, and share the view with her…
The nameless, inexistent her…
As predicted, Diana seemed to have liked the view. She approached the window and smiled. Clark joined her. Placed an arm around her, while she rested her head on his shoulder. And then, she turned to face him, and they shared a kiss…
He turned off the monitor.
Damn it, Clark. He would have to talk to them. That shouldn't be allowed. That wasn't what the Watchtower was there for. That place had a very specific purpose, and being the refuge for lovers wasn't one of them. What if every hero had a similar idea? Soon it would be Barry, or Hal, bringing his girlfriend or, in Hal's case, girlfriends, and the place would be a mess. No, that wasn't the place… not the Watchtower.
He couldn't believe they were doing that, Clark and Diana. Using a place for serious work as a love nest. It was unbelievable. Insulting, even.
Maybe he should check on them. Perhaps they weren't doing that. Maybe they… they…
He left the room and teleported back to the cave.
Batman finished his work back on the cave. Alfred noticed he was early:
"Master Bruce", the butler said when he found Batman on his chair, legs stretched over the computer bay, "weren't you supposed to be in orbit?"
"Changed shifts", he groaned.
"Glad to see you are in such a cheerful disposition."
He stood up from the chair and put back his cowl. "I'm leaving."
"Shall I call Master Damian…?"
"No", Batman abruptly said. "I have to… take care of things."
"Things that… require my attention."
"Ah. Of course. This explanation cleared all my doubts."
He ignored the sarcasm in Alfred's tone, walking to the car and silently driving away. When he was a few miles away from the manor, and knew he wasn't being followed, he turned off the radio and the GPS.
He didn't want to be interrupted.
He found her in a back alley in a bad part of the East End, most likely coming from a meeting with one of her fences. He knew she had lost her main contact a few months ago, and now was reaching for risky jobs and siding with bad elements. Things were not going well for her, and that was bad timing. He should have known, especially by the way she reacted when she saw him:
"Oh, no, Batman…", she angrily snapped, "get out of my way! I'm not doing anything wrong!"
"Catwoman", he tried to explain. She didn't want to hear anything, though. In a few leaps she was already on the rooftop of the nearest building.
He chased her – as usual. The chase, it was part of the fun. Of their relationship. As a rule, he found it annoying; not that night. That night, he enjoyed the thrill of jumping after her and following her over Gotham, cornering her and trying to grab her, touching her and letting go. She was skilled, she was smart. He would have her in one minute, and then she would escape, usually in an unexpected way.
He didn't give up. She neither.
They were in the cat and mouse game for almost an hour when he got her: taking hold of her ankle before she landed on the roof ahead, both of them tumbling and falling heavily on the roof. He had a moment of chivalry, pulling her on top of him as they hit the cement, most of the impact absorbed by his back. Painful, but he thought it was worth it: she didn't try to escape him again, instead letting herself rest on top of him as they regained their breathes. He was the first to speak:
"Are you okay?"
She nodded. "You?"
They sat on the cold roof.
"What's the matter with you tonight?" She seemed deeply intrigued.
He thought of answering. Prolonging a conversation he didn't even want to have.
And then, he remembered Wonder Woman and Superman; what they had. And what he didn't have.
She certainly wasn't expecting what he did: he almost jumped over her, immediately taking hold of her neck and kissing her violently. He wished that wasn't the case, that he could be gentler and less abrupt, that he wasn't always in such urgency for her. But there was never time; never a good moment.
Never a window and a beautiful view to appreciate.
She didn't seem to mind, though. Or, at least, she didn't show.
Soon she was unzipping her outfit, exposing her exquisite body right there, under the twilight, over the rooftop. That was them: not even a regular room, a bed, a mattress. All they had was his cape, that he quickly placed under them as he found his position on top of her. He barely undressed, merely taking off his belt and allowing her to pull down his pants a few inches. Masks? They would stay on, as usual.
He took off his gloves, feeling her breasts and the curve of her waist, her hips, and then between her legs, finding her ready for him. He kissed her again, then whispering by her ear:
"I missed you."
He missed her; that was all he had ever allowed himself to say to her, perhaps even feel. Yes, he missed that: their clandestine meetings, arranged between fighting crime and saving the world, usually sprinkled with tragedy. Their relationship, that happened under masks and without names – he missed that. And not because it was good: because it was all they had.
"I missed you too", she told him back.
She deserved more, no doubt. He wished he could tell her that, get the courage to tell her she was better than that… but then, he would lose her.
And he couldn't have that.
He entered her. Under him, she gasped in pleasure and surprise. Her naked body shuddering and trembling, the sounds of her low moans filling him with delight. And he moved. Moved inside her, following the rhythm that she gave him, her legs around him, the soft sound of her voice as she let escape a word here and there. Just a few words: they didn't speak. He moved, she moved, he caressed her body, she bit his shoulder, they kissed and kissed, their mouths barely able to be apart.
They didn't stop, they never stopped once they started. He entered her deeper and deeper, she pulled him to her, she allowed a brief shout in a quivering voice as she came. And something inside him melted as he watched her, a lump formed in his throat: her perfect beauty, her youthful abandonment, her authenticity.
He couldn't give her the same.
But he gave her something. He embraced her and followed her, kissing her as he came inside her, his silence disguised by a tender stroke that passed as affection. And no words, no words at all, his eyes avoiding hers as he rested his forehead on her shoulder.
It was no surprise that soon she wanted to put her clothes back on, getting ready as he merely adjusted his cape and belt again. He stood up, watching her slide inside her uniform once again and remove her goggles, not seeming the least embarrassed about taking off his mask in front of him. She knew it: he was well aware of whom she was; she was the one that ignored his identity. Sometimes, he wondered if she even cared.
"Did you use something?" She asked.
He was slightly confused for a moment, trying to make sense of her words.
"Protection." She explained. And as he didn't immediately answered: "No, hm? I didn't think so."
She didn't look too worried, but he asked anyway:
"Is that a problem…? That we didn't…?"
"It's fine", she bluntly said. "Nothing for you to fret about."
He said nothing – it wasn't unusual that things ended like that: both of them unsure of what to do, awkward silences and aggressive exchanges. Because truth was, he had no idea of what to do.
And neither of them knew what would come next.
She was finished with her clothes, back to be Catwoman, burglar-slash-vigilante that now stared at him from ten feet of distance. And he, he had never allowed himself to stop being Batman.
"That's it, then", she declared. He was ashamed to admit, but he usually left to her the responsibility of closing their sexual encounters.
He nodded, already turning his attention to his com-link.
"Hey", she called. He responded merely by slightly raising his glance from the device in his hands. "Look, whatever happened…"
"Nothing happened", he quickly said, his voice hoarse and dry.
She snorted – she didn't believe him. Of course she didn't believe him; what had he done to ever deserve her trust?
"Anyway", she concluded, half-smiling, a hint of sadness in her voice, "if you ever want to talk…"
"Yes. Yes, I know." He made an effort to properly look at her. "Thank you."
"You're welcome", she said.
Again he nodded. Turning to the edge of the building, he leaped away into darkness.