DISCLAIMER: These characters and situations do not belong to me in any way shape or form. I have borrowed them as part of my sanity maintenance.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: 1. thanks to ralst for setting up this ficathon and asking me to pinch-hit this pairing and, as always, thanks to my beta readers for the help and encouragement. 2. I believe this is for you rysler, not sure I completely answer your prompt but hope it's ok whatever.
CHALLENGE: Written for the Dead of Winter ficathon.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
You watch her now, sitting, just staring into space, and you see the quiet, steely determination that she will catch the bad guy.
It's not always been like that.
You remember the time you watched her, sitting, just staring into space, the time her shoulders heaved in hard, dry sobs, and her eyes were raw with the shed tears. You? You just held back. It wasn't her to be so heartbroken; she was the hard, determined teenager that kept you grounded in your own misery, and you didn't know how to heal her.
So, you watched as she bled.
You remember the time, months later, as she rolled home, more than likely high on booze or drugs. You never knew what she used, you never did ask; too tied up in your own abject sorrow. You did know how to tend her through the bad nights, and the harrowing aftermath. You just didn't know how to stop it.
And then, one night, she did.
You remember the night she thudded softly onto the fire-escape outside your window, and how she just stared at you for what seemed like hours, and then, she walked into your room, stole across the room in silence, and dropped to her knees in front of you. Taking your hand in hers, she gazed into your eyes with a look of such intensity you nearly missed her words.
"We can't do this anymore."
And you knew, right then, right there, she was right.
You couldn't live with the bitterness, the darkness, and the hatred. It wasn't you, and it surely wasn't her.
Something had to change, else how could you both live?
Watching her now, short brown hair shining in the moonlight, you marvel at the changes you both wrought.
You never did know what really happened that night to change her outlook so drastically; just that she had come across some punk eyeballing a couple of children, and being the woman she could be, she'd taken matters into her own hands. You knew her hands were raw and damaged, but more you didn't ask.
You did know, from that night on, you both had a new purpose in life. She to be good and to do good, and you to teach her all you knew about stealth, and fighting, and winning. You had to teach her how to be the best.
For you, it was good to once again be involved in the crime-fighting life of the city you loved. Oh, the times with Batman were long gone; the Joker had made sure of that. And yet, with this young woman, you were better than before. You lived the life vicariously through her, and she gave you back all that you had lost.
For her, it was the making of a young woman that used her brains to be what she wanted to be; nobody, not even you, could tell her how to be herself. With training, she curbed her aggression into power and control; with training, she became more than you had ever been. And yet, you knew, without you, she wouldn't be there.
It was a good relationship; it worked.
A soft noise alerts you to her presence. She gives you an enigmatic grin, and as always your stomach flips, if only this gorgeous woman knew exactly what she did to you.
"What do you know?"
And with that, you launch into your theories on how and why the pink haired monster is back to prey on the children of the street. She sighs, reaches across, touches your hand, and chuckles. Maybe she does know what she does to you.
"I'm off to get a drink, want anything?"
You watch her walk towards the kitchen, and you swear she swings her hips in an exaggerated flirty manner. You grin ruefully to yourself, yeah, she knows alright.
Suddenly, the light mood disappears as she glances back over her shoulder and mutters, "Can we talk?"
Glancing at Delphi, you make a decision to close everything down; if anything drastic happens the alarm will alert you to whatever the problem may be. You make your way to the couch and transfer into a supported position at one end, knowing full well that she will collapse gracefully at the other corner.
She returns with two bottles of Red Bull and offers you one before taking her customary position next to you. As always, without asking, she pulls your legs across her lap and begins to mobilize the inert joints of your foot and ankle. You smile and know that within the next few minutes her hands will be gliding effortlessly up and down your calves.
Sometimes you wonder if her ministrations have been the reason that, despite the paralysis you refuse to call a disability, you have maintained such a degree of fitness and agility.
A quiet few moments pass, and as you predicted she slowly kneads your knotted calves. She glances up and just looks you in the eye until you acknowledge her need.
"Do you remember that night?"
And without words, you know which night she is referring to, that's why she'd been sitting staring out into space, that's why your memories have surfaced.
You nod in understanding.
"It was him, the pink haired guy. He had two small girls pushed up against a railing and was touching them as he shouldn't, all the while ranting about how they had nobody to care for them, that they were street bastards, that all they deserved in life was a good seeing to, and I lost it I couldn't let him, you know "
Her words trail off, and she looks at you again.
"I know you've taught me to hold back; to not use my power to its full extent, but that night, I just pounded and pounded until his face was a pulpy mess."
Her eyes drop to her knees as she quietly admits, "And you know what, I loved it, I had a blast. I hated him and I wanted him dead for what he was doing "
Her words trail off and, as her eyes stay rooted downwards, you imagine the pictures of the pink haired guy and his scar riddled face, and you know now that she had done that to him. Surprisingly, you smile.
She misses the smile, still refusing to look you in the eye, as her words begin to strengthen again, " but I couldn't do it. I let him go. And now look what he's doing. Why the fuck do we do this, huh?"
You immediately lean over and pull her strong body into your arms, stroking the dark head soothingly.
"It's what we do; we don't kill, no matter what. It's not your fault. This guy's a psychopath, and we will get him." You lift her chin up and caress the outline of her face, turning her eyes to look into yours, making sure she sees just how sure you are of her. "You will get him."
Leaning forward you cement your words with the kiss that always sends her on her way, the kiss that shows her where she begins and, lest she ever forget, where she ends.
She smiles her smile once again and jumps off the couch, grabbing for her duster. Turning away from you she jerks to a standstill and turns back, leaning down to kiss your lips more gently.
"You're right; you're always right."
And with that she leaves.
You watch her now, sitting, just staring into space and you can see the quiet, heady realization that she did it, that she caught the bad guy.
Something had to change; else how could you both live?
You both live.
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