I know you're already writing The Librarian, but I'm greedy. If you're still doing Flash fics - Bruce and Selina? Or Selina interacting with one of the bat kids? Thanks :)
Rating: T? Maybe G? Idk it’s pretty darn mild.
“Just a coffee?” he repeated, to make sure. Catwoman studied her nails with a slight frown and nodded at him, a little distracted.
“That’s all,” she said. “Black.”
He didn’t sigh or shrug or give any indication that he felt any particular way about this aside from a pause that stretched out a bit long even for him.
“A coffee,” she repeated. “Un café.”
“You’re not going to steal my fries,” Batman said sternly, more a declaration than a warning or a question.
“Me?” she asked, lifting her goggles to blink at him. “Steal?”
“Hnn,” was all he said. His cowl hid any expression around his eyes and underneath the cowl, his discipline smoothed out any expression that might have dared show itself anyway, but one corner of his mouth quirked up just slightly.
Catwoman slid her goggles back down and moved closer to him. How the hell he managed cursive with a pencil while wearing the gauntleted gloves was beyond her, but his script neatly filled part of the white notepaper all the same. She tried blowing on the lower part of his cheek to see if he’d react. He didn’t.
She traced his jawline with a fingernail and he did not flinch or jerk away, but the pencil stopped moving and he exhaled long and slow and soft. It would have been sweet if it wasn’t clearly a noise of irritation. Catwoman glanced down at the paper, where the pencil mark made a long, marring gash through the words above his present line. She grinned and sat back.
Batman did not bother to erase the line, but finished the short list and then stood and stepped off the edge of the roof. Catwoman yawned and sat back, propping her weight on her outstretched arms, and a second later there was a snick as the grappling hook caught the concrete.
Down the building face, he tucked the folded paper into a windowsill while hanging from one arm, then pressed the recoil button and soared vertically with his cape fluttering around him. At the top, he swung up over onto the roof again.
Catwoman was examining a batarang and he glanced down at the compartment on his utility belt and bit off his own compulsion to sigh. He held a hand out for it and she laughed and shook her head.
“Finders keepers,” she said, spinning the flat edge around on a finger.
“That hardly applies to pickpocketing,” he retorted.
“I thought your belt was ‘impossible,’” she smirked.
“That wasn’t a challenge,” he said, turning to gaze across the city instead of look at her. If he did, she’d know how close she was to eliciting a laugh and it wasn’t exactly the sort of behavior he wanted to encourage.
“Just like ‘take off your pants and get in the van’ wasn’t a challenge?” she asked, snatching his cape and pulling hard. He actually staggered a step back before whirling to scowl at her.
“That was an emergency,” he said, irritated. “And you were wearing that ridiculous disguise. You can’t possibly think that was intended to be flirtatious.”
“It’s hard to tell with you sometimes,” she said obstinately. She reached up to hand him the batarang, which he accepted gingerly with two fingers as if it might explode. She shivered when she realized it had been an actual possibility, considering him and his arsenal.
He actually clicked open the eye visors in the cowl to meet her gaze.
“You know what I do during daylight hours, my reputation,” he said, as if they hadn’t had this conversation half a dozen times already. “If I’m flirting with you, you’ll know. That was a matter of safety.”
“Damn, but you’re prickly tonight,” Catwoman complained. “Are you hangry?”
“I don’t know what that means,” he said stiffly, though she guessed he had to know somehow or other. She didn’t explain.
The roof access door opened just a crack and a paper sack and drink carrier were set on the roof, then the door clicked shut.
“Delivery, too,” she said, whistling. “You don’t even really need to go home if you don’t want to.”
He ignored this and strode over to pick up the food.
This time when he rejoined her, he sat down next to her and handed her the coffee. The other drink looked like it might be a milkshake.
“Are you eating with the gloves on,” she asked, when the burger was halfway to his mouth. He froze for a second and then took a bite as an answer. She rolled her eyes. “It’s a wonder you aren’t dead already.”
For a few minutes, they were quiet and the quiet shifted to companionable, like it usually did these days. He turned his head to scan the skyline, his eye visors still retracted, and Selina snuck a French fry.
She sipped her coffee immediately after, making it soggy, but he’d looked back and she didn’t want to risk her mouth being visibly occupied with food.
It happened again, and then again. He’d let his gaze drift over the city and her hand would creep into the thin cardboard package. Even as good as she was, he had to know she was doing it, so she figured he’d stop her if it really bothered him.
He wadded up the foil wrapped from the burger and tipped the fry container up. It was nearly empty.
“Selina,” he exclaimed, sounding a little shocked. It probably would have sounded flat to most people but she’d known him a long time.
“What?” she asked, a little surprised herself that he apparently hadn’t noticed and feeling a little triumphant that she hadn’t lost her game. She raised an eyebrow even though it was pointless with the mask and goggles and she slurped his milkshake.
His jaw tightened and he reached forward and took it from her hand.
“I could have gotten you anything,” he said.
“It’s more fun this way,” she answered.
But now that the glow of victory was fading a little, she realized that he seemed…distracted. He’d sought her out tonight so it probably wasn’t that she wasn’t interesting, otherwise, he wouldn’t have wasted his time.
He was sometimes infuriatingly unromantic and practical like that.
“You okay?” she asked, bumping his knee with hers. She sipped her own coffee this time and admitted to herself that it was actually really good coffee for a midnight diner.
“Hn,” he said without looking over. “I’m fine.”
“That’s great,” she said, taking the milkshake from him and sucking down a drink again. She put it back in his motionless hand, his fingers still in a C-shape she fit the cup into. “Now how about the truth? I don’t like playing therapist so I’m not asking again.”
Batman scoped out the rooftop and surrounding buildings before setting the milkshake down and pushing his cowl off his head. His hair was slightly damp with sweat and he still wore a domino mask, but it was much more like looking at Bruce than Batman.
Selina pulled her goggles down around her neck and tugged her own mask off. She wasn’t wearing a domino but she didn’t ever care as much as he did about the identity thing.
He finished the French fries while they sat and she’d nearly given up on him actually saying anything more when he spoke, facing the city instead of her.
Their shoulders were touching after she’d scooted closer but for a brief moment, it felt like there was an actual barrier between them as he looked straight ahead; it was like being dragged to confession as a child, but as the confessor for once.
“It doesn’t matter how much I do,” he said. “It’s not enough.”
Selina wanted to tease him about midlife crises, but she held her tongue.
“There was a drive-by tonight,” he said. “I didn’t get there in time. A pedestrian died on the scene.”
“If you think that was your fault, I’m going to scratch your face,” Selina said seriously.
He looked at her then, his slight frown belying the intensity in his eyes. She didn’t scratch his face.
“It all feels like my fault,” he said levelly. “Every time I’m not fast enough. It all matters or none of it does.”
“That sounds like a shitty way to live,” she observed, she hoped neutrally.
The city had his attention again.
“It is,” he said in agreement. “But I can’t settle for the alternative. Too many already do.”
Selina opened her mouth to point out how stupid this sounded, as if his sense of guilt negated the lack of care others might show, but she reconsidered and said simply, “I’m sorry.”
His posture dipped a little and then straightened again and he nodded.
Selina put an arm around his waist and leaned her head against his shoulder. She put her hand in his free hand, intertwining glove and gauntlet.
“For the record, the apology was not for the fries,” she said quietly.
He chuckled, a coarse and cut-off sound, and said, “Noted.”
They didn’t move from the spot for a long time and when the sun began to tinge the eastern horizon faint purple against the dark sky, he lifted her chin with two fingers and kissed her.
It wasn’t hard or passionate, like some kisses she’d had from him or other men. It was gentle, for all the confidence in his movement, and when she ducked her head after he pulled back, she frowned at her hands and then looked up at him again.
“What do you say we get out of here?” he asked. “I know a place.”
“If it has a bed and a nap, count me in,” Selina said, stretching.
“I think that can be arranged,” he answered. “As long as you promise to not steal the blankets.”
“I can’t promise something against my nature,” she retorted, standing and stretching again. “I’ll meet you there, Bat.”
“Selina,” he said, just as she was about to run and leap. She hesitated and looked back. “Thank you,” he said.
“You’re too hard on yourself,” she said in reply, and then she jumped.
He repositioned the cowl and made the journey alone back across the city and through the outskirts and into the Cave.
She wasn’t there.
Bruce climbed the stairs into the Manor thirty minutes later, after writing patrol reports and storing the suit and repairing a utility belt compartment. It was fully dawn outside but the house was still quiet.
He didn’t hear the shower running until he was in the hall leading to the master bedroom.
Tim was sitting on the floor, back propped against the bedroom door, looking groggy and half-asleep.
“Is this an authorized use of your space?” Tim asked, yawning and rubbing his eyes.
“Selina?” Bruce asked, holding out a hand to the teen.
Tim nodded and let Bruce pull him to his feet.
“Yeah,” Bruce said. “Thanks.”
“M’going to bed,” Tim mumbled in reply. “Don’t let her steal the silverware.”
“Has she ever stolen the silverware?” Bruce asked dryly, raising an eyebrow.
“No?” Tim said like it was a question. He disappeared around the corner.
Bruce went into the bedroom. The bathroom door was cracked open and the shower was still running and on his bed was a paper bag. Curious, he wondered over and tipped it to look inside.
It was full of French fries.