Fandom: Batman Begins/The dark Knight
Characters: Bruce Wayne/ Selina Kyle
Rating: T/PG-13 Sexuality, but obliquely phrased
Word Count: Just over 5000
Summary: Inspired by damnyouautocorrect and a question: who exactly is Selina's roommate?
I got a place- 2 Bed + bath, $650 a month + utilities!
Got to love the ‘burbs. Is it nice?
Yeah- good light, location and ELEVATOR. :D
Clean- smaller than the old place
I liked it tho
Paid- got keys too
How about a job?
Like a real job?
I know but aren’t you coming up here anyway?
I’ve still got cash and stuff
Selina’s mother had told her relationships were a way to see how someone fit. She’d never really understood the analogy until now- just watched as her mother went around trying on different men. Some had stuck around longer than others, but the ones that had walked away soonest had been the ones that got that look after seeing them lurking in the apartment behind the babysitter. Even back then, she knew what it meant- as bright and pretty as mom was, kids were unwanted baggage. To the day she died her mother had dreamed of finding some white knight to whisk them away. And if she’d got that desperate, lonely look in her eyes sometimes, she’d always shrugged it off while snuggling with “her girls” as they watched some movie with a fairytale ending. She’d never neglected the two of them, like other single moms in the neighbourhood. When they’d watched CPS take Jonny and his baby sister from the lady down the hall, she’d pulled them close and whispered, “Blood is thicker than water. You girls are pieces of me and we come as a package. Never forget that.”
She hadn’t- after their mom had been killed she’d taken care of Jen the best she could. Even in and out of Juvie she’d made sure they stayed in contact, that the foster system would not make them strangers.
And she’d been careful not to repeat her mom’s mistakes- she’d gotten them out of the Narrows all on her own. They’d made a pact to keep men as marks only after they’d both been badly burned.
Where the hell are you? Aren’t you done in Gotham yet?
I know, I’m sorry- I’ve been busy. I’ll try to visit in the next couple weeks.
You told me to get a place here for us!
WHERE ARE YOU?!
This place sucks. Can’t even get Chinese
Just hang tight. I’m coming ASAP but not near where you are now
And not like we could get Chinese in Gotham last month. Try to keep some perspective.
Don’t do anything stupid. I don’t know if that program works twice.
I love you, OK? Just give me a few days.
Bruce could tell that something was up. He’d been chipping at Selina’s defenses for the past few weeks and it had been working marvellously- she was opening up, relaxing into being part of a couple. He hadn’t expected smooth sailing all the way --both of them were rather inexperienced when it came to relationships-- but it was gratifying to see how beautifully they meshed, both in and out of bed.
Even the little things, like how he took his coffee black and she took it with a ridiculous amount of cream. She’d taken to pouring as much of her coffee into his cup as it would take and then snagging the entire mini pitcher.
He’d teased her the first time she’d done it. “Want any coffee with your cream?”
“What? I like it this way. Just need a little jolt and the flavour.”
He’d chuckled, sipped from his perilously overfull mug and pretended not to notice her stealing the sausages off his plate.
He also loved how she fit right under the crook of his arm. Without the heels, he could keep an arm around her shoulders as they walked- when she let him keep it there. His strength and stamina improved with each passing day, and the discomfort in his chest had disappeared except for the occasional twinge- they both knew he no longer needed her there for support. But for every time she told him to “quit the PDA, Wayne,” she leaned her head against his shoulder and slid her arm around his waist just as often.
Unpredictable. Irrepressible. Smart and sexy as all get out.
Just thinking of how wanton she would get after a bit of foreplay made him grin. Doesn’t mind what I have in my pants now…
He relished how his creativity was coming back as well- he kept a pad on hand at all times now so he could get his ideas down. Selina had flipped through a couple pages, raised a brow in disbelief at his scrawl and shaken her head.
“Maybe you should have been a doctor.”
“Naw- my father was the doctor in the family. And I figure it’s past time somebody gave Fox a run for his money.”
“With chicken scratched bits of computer code and weird diagrams?”
He’d chuckled. “A syncing app and a phone design there.”
“Re-inventing the wheel now?”
“Putting my spin on it.”
He finally got why they called it “falling in love”- the rush, the high was exactly like the exhilaration of free fall. He hadn’t felt this alive in ages.
Having spent the past few weeks studying her body language though, he could tell she wasn’t happy about whatever she was reading.
They were back in their hotel room after breakfast, and she had slipped off her shoes and curled up in the armchair with her phone. That was normal- the set of her shoulders and that look in her eyes wasn’t.
Her eyes flew guiltily to his. “It’s- I know I promised the doc I would stay with you. But my sister’s been wondering where I am.”
His eyebrows rose and he sat back on the bed to face her. “You never mentioned having family.”
“Just a half-sister. You met her, actually.”
Another surprise. “I thought she was your roommate.”
She shrugged. “Most people do- she takes after our mom. Six years younger. I have no idea what my dad looked like, but I’m guessing that’s where I fell on the genetic side of things.”
“You got her out of Gotham.”
She rolled her eyes. “Practically kicking and screaming. She was pissed –still is-- but I’ve always been the one who makes the plans. And I didn’t want her anywhere near the blast radius in case we…”
“In case we failed.”
“Yeah. I told her I needed to wrap things up in Gotham before I left. Warned her not to go back since the city’s still such a mess. She did what I asked, like always. But I ah, got a bit wrapped up in…”
“Where is she? We don’t need to stay here.”
She pressed her lips together and looked away, shaking her head.
“A town a couple hours drive from here. But… she’s not going to like you.”
“Ouch. I didn’t think I was that offensive.”
She gave him a derisive look. “You’re the one who shafted her on my list of priorities. And I’m the sucker who can’t stop spreading her legs. You don’t want to be there when the yelling starts, trust me.”
“I happen to like your legs.”
She laughed despite herself. “Bruce…”
He grinned. “You don’t do guilt often. It’s charming.”
He laughed and caught the phone automatically when she slung it at him, laughing even harder when she tackled him in its wake. Her eyes widened with belated remorse when they went down hard on the bed and he grunted, but he ignored the pain and rolled, grinning when they both ended up exactly where he wanted.
“Gotcha,” he growled triumphantly, smiling at the burgeoning excitement in her eyes.
“Well, this is new. You okay?”
“Not bad. You mentioned something about spreading your legs?”
She narrowed her eyes, locked a leg over his and flipped them back over as he chuckled. She noted that his breath was hitching a bit- still not fully healed even if he was testing the boundaries. “See, this is the sort of thing that got me in trouble in the first place.”
He chuckled and slid a hand up her back. “Tell you what. We check out and head to her place. I drop you off so you can sort things out with her while I go talk to a lawyer about getting patents in and get the contents of another box. And we meet up in a couple days.”
She traced the facial hair he’d allowed to sprout. “This isn’t such a great disguise once you start talking, you know.”
He tilted his head, smiling smugly. “Might know a lawyer in the next state who owes me a favour.”
She shook her head, grinning. “You ever just head off without a plan?”
“Not if I can help it. But I never pass up on pleasant surprises. See, I didn’t expect to get you back in bed until the afternoon.”
“Mmm, really? Well, I hate wasted opportunities.”
“A woman after my own heart.”
15 Holly Rd #605
I’ll be working tho
It’s mostly flavored crap here
“You’re sure you’ll be OK?” Selina gently touched his side, biting her lip. “I shouldn’t have tackled you this morning.”
“I’m fine, Selina. Oxygen tank is in the trunk, and I know how to dial 911. I’ve survived a lot worse.”
“…Yeah, I remember.”
He frowned and grabbed her hand. “Hey, I didn’t mean it like that.”
“I know- it just- I hate screwing up.”
“Even the best of us trip up and fall sometimes. Apologize. Tell her you were busy having the best sex of your life.”
That was outrageous enough to make her laugh. She yanked back her hand and silently cursed the blush creeping onto her cheeks. “Conceited much?”
He grinned unapologetically. “She’ll forgive you. I know from experience that it’s impossible not to.”
That made her smile, and she leaned in. “Are all rich boys this glib?”
“I don’t know, haven’t filed the patents yet.”
She laughed and tugged him close. “Just shut up and kiss me, Wayne.”
How’s it going?
Ugh. Ask me later.
She didn’t bother to unpack, merely dropping her satchel in the bedroom Jen hadn’t claimed. She felt a pang of guilt as she looked around- there were sheets in her favourite colour on the bed and a couple of Jen’s paintings on the walls. Both were Gotham cityscapes, which was telling. There were also a bunch of finished canvases stacked against the wall in the hallway. She must have done them all recently.
The rest of the apartment was mostly devoid of furnishings- a battered table and two similarly decrepit chairs sat in the kitchen and the living room had an old wooden sided TV, a VCR and a lurid red vinyl couch- probably all garage sale or curb acquisitions. Sighing, she picked up stacks of take out containers and dirty clothes and investigated the cupboards– a few cans of soup, a couple boxes of cereal, mismatched utensils and tableware and a single pot and pan. But once she entered Jen’s room she could tell why she’d made this place her new home- a full bank of windows sat behind the easel, the bed and her old suitcase shoved against the wall like an afterthought. The lingering smell of turpentine filled the air and she could bet the sink in the bathroom was streaked with paint. Selina had always hated all the windows Jen needed, but they shut the curtains at night so she could leave and return without feeling exposed. And she could indulge her baby sis with a bit of light after a lifetime of darkness.
Which reminded her of the other thing she’d been planning, and she searched for the closest grocery store on her phone before leaving. She could buy some basics Jen had ignored- cleaning supplies and hot chocolate, for instance. Jen didn’t cook, but Selina could manage a few things on the stove as an apology of sorts.
And that brought her thoughts back to him again.
She was glad for the cool weather as she walked briskly to the store- her red cheeks could be attributed to the winter chill rather than her thoughts. Logically, she knew that endorphins and hormones had a lot to do with what she was feeling. It just felt so good to be together- to debate and laugh and make love with a man she respected and even admired. She hadn’t expected her emotions to come into focus while he was gone. But she realized that if she hadn’t already fallen for him, she was precariously close to it.
So why was there this sharp edge to it? Wasn’t love supposed to be grand, rainbows and starlight?
And how was she going to get Jen to like him? She kept trying to imagine a scenario where Jen would meet him with a smile instead of hostility and suspicion --had been since the first worried texts started coming-- but kept coming up short. The truth might help, ludicrous as it sounded when she had imagined saying the words. But betraying Batman again, even to her own sister, didn’t sit well with her at all.
It wasn’t like her to have troubles planning, but emotions were not her forte. Well, maybe Bruce’s idea would help melt the ice a little, and she could wing it.
It took a little more than an hour to get home with all the things, and she set herself to cooking right away. The mundane work was calming, and she was actually looking forward to eating too- food had a new place in her heart after eating rations for so long.
She was in the middle of setting the table when Jen came home, and her eyebrows rose as she sniffed. “Wow. You made Chinese?”
“Well, the sweet and sour sauce comes from a package and the rice is Uncle Ben’s. But I thought I’d give it a shot. You know, make a peace offering. Although I get it if you want to keep yelling.”
Jen slammed down the bag of takeout she was holding onto the counter, rolling her eyes. “You made me leave practically all our stuff. You drive off on like, Batman’s bike to go fight some stupid war. You could have died and left me all alone. Might as well have- I’ve been waiting for you to show up for weeks. You’re supposed to be my freaking sister.”
“I know, and I’m sorry. But there was more at stake than just you. I helped save the city, Jen. How often does someone like us get to say something like that? And this crazy bitch stabbed Bruce during the fighting- she was one of the ringleaders behind the whole thing. I had to use that jacked up bike to get him to a doctor.”
“Fine. You’re a real freaking hero. But you could have told me sooner.”
“I’m sorry. But you know now, OK?”
Jen sighed and shrugged, eyeing the food. “Fine. But you still owe me.”
“Fine. I owe you.” Selina sighed and gestured at the table. “You hungry?”
A tentative smile appeared. “Yeah. Cheater.”
Selina grinned and slid into her seat. “I know. Sit. Eat. Talk. You weren’t kidding about the light in here.”
That brought a genuine smile to her face as she dug in. “Isn’t it awesome?”
“Blinding. How do you even sleep?”
There was so much to catch up on. Between bites, Jen talked about how she’d hitched from town to town before finding the restaurant and apartment here. She talked about Toni from the restaurant and the other waitresses- they hung out together on breaks and days off. The friendliness had been genuine- the couch was a donation from one girl’s parent’s basement, the TV and VCR from another. They had gone out in a group shopping for more clothes when they’d discovered Jen had brought almost none and all chipped in to buy her a top.
She hadn't stolen anything since arriving here- made her feel weird when people were treating her so nice. Didn't want to change the way they saw her, and all.
And besides, she was working hard on a portfolio and looking into art school applications.
It made Selina’s chest hurt again as she nodded and asked the occasional question. They both might be born and bred Gothamites, city girls well versed in the harsh realities of survival. But it seemed that Jen had managed that fresh start on her own after all.
Maybe she had done right to uproot her, despite all the resentment. She could take being the bad guy.
“Am I ever going to meet this Bruce guy?”
That shook her out of her reflections, and Selina looked away, grinning. “ You've actually met him.”
“What? When?” Recognition sparked. “The hot broke guy in the suit.”
Selina looked back at her expectantly and raised her brows.
It only took Jen a couple seconds. “Bruce Wayne?”
Selina flushed and rolled her eyes. “ Wasn't exactly something I could text or say on the phone.”
“Shut. Up.” Jen digested that information for a minute. “Mom would have liked it. Didn't they call him the Prince of Gotham or something?”
“Oh please. I saved him, not the other way round.”
We’re having a movie night like old times :)
I told her about you.
He’s dead. Why bring him into the picture?
Miss me already? ;)
It was funny how quickly things could change- it surprised Bruce to discover he’d grown accustomed to sleeping with Selina curled against him. The first few nights they’d shared a bed had been restless- they were both used to sleeping alone and had kept jolting awake each time the other turned or made some noise. But he’d missed her warmth acutely when he’d stretched out alone on the hotel bed last night, and substituting a cold shower for their “morning exercise” had been downright unpleasant.
He was also surprised to discover that he was actually nervous about meeting the sister- her approval –or lack thereof-- might change things between him and Selina, and he knew precious little about twenty two year olds. But they said all things were fair in love and war, and he’d discovered certain things about Selina’s sister—well, her IP address. He could also recall details about their place in Oldtown that had struck him as odd- until matched with those online pieces. Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting. Besides, it wouldn't do to show up empty handed to dinner.
Selina opened the door and her smile grew wider when she saw the name on the bag he was holding.
“Always the sneaky one, huh?” she murmured, pressing a quick kiss to his lips. “ I've softened her up with some booze. The food will help too- she always talks more when she’s eating.”
He chuckled. “Always a pleasure to work with you, Ms. Kyle.”
She smiled deviously and tilted her head. “I suppose we make a decent team.” But he could tell by the way she held his hand that she was nervous despite how self-assured she sounded.
Jen’s expression was guarded as Selina made the introductions, and she gave him an unabashedly obvious once-over, unimpressed by the T-shirt and jeans. Curiosity seemed to win out over her reluctance when he offered her the bag though, and her eyes went round when she glanced inside.
“I thought you were supposed to be broke. I've been saving up my tips for one of these,” she said, pulling out the leather portfolio case with careful hands.
Bruce laughed, chagrined and Selina rolled her eyes. “Tell me about it. The rich really don’t go broke the same as the rest of us.”
“You hate deadbeats and leeches. Or I might have… forgotten… my emergency stash to stay in your good graces.” Bruce reminded her, grinning when she rolled her eyes again. “I was… careful… for a number of years so there was a small sum not affected by what happened in Gotham. And I owe you something for letting me steal Selina for so long,” he explained.
Jen shrugged. “She said you were hurt bad.”
He nodded. “She saved my life. Well, her and the doctor. I find I’m owing a lot of people these days,” he said, smiling self deprecatingly.
“It’s nice- I actually need one for art school.” She looked at Selina reflectively for a second and seemed to come to a decision before turning back to Bruce. “You went to college, right? What was it like?”
Bruce sucked in a breath, thinking back. “Yeah- I did. Wasn't the best student though- went to a lot of parties and skipped a lot of lectures. Was kind of an ass to the profs. They kicked me out after a couple years.”
She grinned. “Nice.”
“Naw, it was a waste. I missed out on learning from some of the smartest guys in the field. But I had some ah, issues I needed to work out. What schools are you looking at?”
They all relaxed by degrees as Bruce and Jen talked about application essays and she showed him the pieces she had decided on for her portfolio. Selina gave him a grateful smile- stints in jail had destroyed any hope of getting into school or scholarships, despite her high scores on aptitude tests.
The evening passed without incident, with offers of drinks or food smoothing over any overlong pauses in conversation. By unspoken agreement they kept the topics neutral, like driving stick vs. automatic –Jen wanted to learn to drive since there was a notable lack of public transport here. Bruce wondered briefly what Alfred would think of his choice of dinner companions as Selina described how she had “ground the crap out of the gears” when she’d learned to drive stick. And he thought the old man would have approved, despite the former occupations of the two ladies at the table, the shabby chairs and basic fare- pasta with homemade sauce and salad with store bought dressing and a twenty-dollar bottle of wine.
This was as close to normal as it got for him- and he didn't mind it at all.
It was awkward leaving after the meal though- they’d booked a hotel room and Selina looked a bit flustered as she excused herself to grab her things. He was scrambling to find something to fill the silence when Jen suddenly spoke quietly.
“Don’t hurt her, OK? She’s not as tough as she pretends.”
He met her eyes and nodded. “You don’t have to worry- pretty sure she has all the power. She ah, took my heart along with all my money,” he said quietly, chagrined.
“Ha! Nice.” She tilted her head and eyed him speculatively. “Don’t tell her I told you- but she’s always wanted to go to Europe and stuff. She couldn't ‘cause she didn't want to leave me when I was little. And then ‘cause of parole restrictions. But… now she can.”
Bruce smiled. “I think it’ll be in our plans.”
Jen nodded and looked away, and he grinned down at his shoes. He could see the similarity after all.
You’re pieces of me too
And he’s OK, I guess
You really like him, huh?
I get it
He’s freaky smart like you
I’m off at 1 tomorrow
He’d expected her to be eager- he’d certainly been looking forward to getting her naked for hours. But Selina seemed to be driven by something almost primal, and after the time apart he was happy to match her hunger, exult in the urgent rhythm she set until they both shattered, trembling and boneless.
It wasn't until she pressed her wet cheek to his after that he realized something more was going on.
“…I love you,” she whispered, and he shut his eyes, pulling her closer.
“That wasn't how I’d planned to tell you.”
She huffed a laugh through the tears. “You and your plans.”
He pulled back and cupped her cheek in his hand, swiping at a tear with his thumb. “Is loving me really so awful?”
“What?” And she looked into his eyes and saw the feelings he usually hid behind all that self-confidence and swiped at her cheeks impatiently. “How can you even say that? You’re so goddamn good and perfect. And I’m so goddamn not. Being with you is like living in some fairytale –literally, sleeping with the Prince of Gotham even though he’s got a scar from me stabbing him in the back. It’s not- fair.
She shook her head. “Part of me keeps waiting for the bubble to burst. And then you tell my sister…”
He smiled tenderly. “…that I love you.”
She rolled her eyes. “Yeah. I can’t ever seem to get on even keel with you.”
He pulled her close, considering. “I didn't know you still felt that way.” He should have realized from that outburst in the car.
“Yeah. Not so charming now, is it?” She sighed and leaned on his shoulder, glad the waterworks had stopped. “I hate crying.”
“It’s supposed to relieve emotional stress.”
She scoffed. “Messy and useless. Weak.”
“Weak, huh? Do you remember that man you stole the fingerprints and necklace from? How would you have described him?”
She remained silent, so he continued. “You brought me back to life, Selina. Helped me save Gotham, and then helped save my life- twice over. Give yourself a little credit in your equation.” He smoothed her hair back over her ear, gently tipped her chin so that their eyes met. “Not that it matters where my feelings are concerned. You challenge and fascinate me like nobody else. I can’t imagine finding anybody who fits me as well as you do.”
Her eyes filled again, but this time she smiled. “I didn't expect to find anybody at all. Going in blind with this love stuff.”
A/N: Inspired by damnyouautocorrect (Who says procrastination can’t be productive?) and a question: who is Jen to Selina? (Nobody ever states her name, but it is in the credits.) It seems like a close relationship, but she is not pictured again after we see her and Selina hanging out together during the occupation. And why is there so much artwork in their place? I grew up poor and we definitely didn’t have paintings hanging in our development project house. So I took a little artistic license. :P
Hope you liked the change in style- the “texts” were super fun to write after struggling over how I was going to introduce the conflict without masses of exposition. I also want to acknowledge using a quote from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.
Your thoughts are always appreciated~