Who: Luke and Wren What: Talking after the drugs wear off. (1/2) Where: Their house. When: Recently. Warnings/Rating: None.
For Luke, the aftermath of whatever the hell had happened in Gotham was sort of like being hungover. His head throbbed a little, the world was in-and-out fuzzy, and he kind of just wanted to sleep for days and days until he could wake up normal again. It was a miracle he hadn’t been fired, considering how much work he’d missed, but he knew he couldn’t pull something like this again; that had been made pretty clear. The ‘family emergency’ excuse was already wearing thin.
But maybe that wouldn’t be a problem since, well, he hadn’t heard Bruce since he’d started worrying about every little thing again.
That was the last thing on his mind, though. He didn’t care about the door. He cared about how he hadn’t cared, how he’d let Wren go off with Lia when she should have been resting, how he hadn’t worried and had done whatever the hell he wanted. Yeah, sure, being worry-free felt nice, but it wasn’t practical. It wasn’t responsible and he was supposed to be the responsible one; instead, Jack and Evie had been the ones to wrangle them like a couple of unruly kids and make sure Wren got the medical attention she needed because Selina had a bomb in her head and had nearly died because of it. He hadn’t been worried about that before, but oh, he was worried now. The realization that he’d almost lost her haunted him day and night, and it made going to work absolute hell because he didn’t want to be away from her. Evie was great, yeah, but that wasn’t the same, and he figured the only good thing about the whole thing was that the kids hadn’t been scarred by it. Gus had no idea anything had been wrong and was thrilled by his new bunny and, okay, maybe Lia hadn’t exactly been looked after as she should have been, but she was so young that he didn’t think it would matter.
Despite his poor track record, he’d managed to get off work early enough to take Gus to school and, blissfully, had the rest of the day off. He hadn’t been sleeping well and he had this irrational yet unshakeable fear that Wren would be gone, somehow, that he’d lose her; he didn’t know how, and he knew it didn’t make sense, but it was what it was and after days of not worrying, well, it had all come back full force. Every waking minute was worrying, and even sleep didn’t offer much of a reprieve these days.
Wren was tired.
The visit to the hospital was a memory filled with fuzzy confusion. She'd been there a handful of hours, and things had become clearer and clearer and clearer the longer she was there. They said there was a foreign substance in her system, something they couldn't actually identify. Apparently, it was like a lot of things, but there wasn't anything that poison control could definitely point to. So they flushed her system, and they gave her IV antibiotics for her fever, and they wondered why she had a surgery scar at the back of her neck, when there was no actual sign of surgery in her x-rays.
In the end, they sent her home with strict orders to rest for the next few days, and with an appointment to see her regular doctor. Oh, and to come back immediately if her fever climbed.
But her fever hadn't climbed, and she'd gone home and slept and slept and slept. And by the time she woke up, she felt normal again. Well, tired and achy from what was left of the fever, but she was her. And being herself again, it came with guilt and guilt. Lia had been rocked until Wren's arms were sore, and she'd made Gus' favorite soup, despite barely being able to stand on her feet without swaying. And then she'd slept again.
And now, finally, the house was empty and quiet. She loved Evie, and she loved Jack, but there was something about the sweet quiet of home, especially after she'd actually managed to forget how much she loved it there. Gus was at school, and Lia was asleep, and she walked through every room on bare feet, wearing only one of Luke's LVPD t-shirts, the fabric wrinkled at her thighs from so much curling around her fingers as she moved through the house like a pale ghost. She was mussed short hair, pale and curls that rioted around her face. Her arms were IV bruised, patches and patches and patches against her pale skin, and her lips were chapped and worried red. She dragged her hands along the walls, grounding the drywall in reality with her fingertips. She felt dreamy and dissociated. It was like when she was younger, before Gus and Lia, before Luke. Before Seattle, when she'd walked along the edges of highways and wondered how this was her life. It felt like that, and she didn't like it.
She checked on Lia, and she dragged the bassinet to the edge of the bed, where she could curl up and peek over at the little girl who was thisclose to figuring out how to roll from her tummy to her back. She was a danger on the bed now, and so the bassinet came close, close, and Wren sat on the mattress beside the baby, looking down at her as she slept, an old blanket around her shoulders.
The only sound in the room was the sound of the pacifier in Lia's mouth, and the occasional sleepy yawn from Petti. Cygne and Finch were on Gus' bed, where they always spent their days as they waited for their little zookeeper to come home.
The quiet was nice, soothing, but at the same time it made his panic spike as he closed the front door behind himself with a soft click. And it was turmoil, those clashing reactions, but he couldn’t help worrying. It could be quiet because Lia was sleeping and Wren didn’t want to wake her, or it could be quiet because something was wrong, because she was gone, a million reasons that made fear close up his threat while his heart beat out a frantic rhythm. He kicked off his shoes and moved through the house swiftly, trying to tell himself that it was fine, fine, but there was no sound and he was pretty sure he didn’t breathe until he looked until their room and saw Wren on the bed. He stared, let himself exhale in relief as he reassured himself that she was there, that she was okay, and then his gaze dropped to the bassinet. Lia was sleeping. Of course she was sleeping. There was nothing to worry about, not now, at least, not in this brief stretch of time.
He crossed the room quietly, not wanting to wake the baby, and sat next to Wren on the mattress. “Hey,” he whispered, arms sliding around her as he leaned over to look at the slumbering little girl. But Lia was okay, Lia was fine, and after a few seconds his gaze shifted to Wren. “How’re you feeling?”
She looked up when the bedroom door opened, and she was coiled movement, ready to jump to her feet and go to him, no matter how tired she was. But he stepped forward, and she inhaled, and she forced herself to wait for his arms around her.
She leaned into him, warm and heavy, and she didn't even try to keep her weight from pressing against him. "Hi," she whispered back, and then she went quiet, quiet, waiting for him to give her more words. She just wanted to hear his voice, to listen to him talk, to be conscious of him in a way she hadn't been for days. And patience paid off, and she exhaled, and it was like she could breathe again. "Tired," she replied, and she turned her head to look at him. She was going to say something else, more words, but she kissed his cheek first, and she didn't pull back once the kiss was done. She stayed there, breathing against his skin, and she could count his eyelashes. "Hi," she repeated, but it was even quieter this time, even more of a whisper, barely audible over the sounds of the pacifier in the baby's mouth, and the words fanned breath against his cheek.
"Did I almost die?" she asked, finally testing the words aloud, wanting to see how they felt on her tongue. She didn't really know much at all, and only a few words lingered in her mind from their conversations during the past handful of days. But she was pretty sure that had happened, and that it wasn't part of whatever had made them not worry about anything at all. "That's why I was sick, right?" He always had the answers about Gotham. She never knew anything, and she hated that sometimes. No, she hated that all the time. But she didn't want to be angry, she didn't want to be scared. He was there, and she was alive, and nothing terrible had happened. Maybe it almost had, but they were okay. Right? "Say we're okay," she said, thoughts becoming words, and maybe it was disjointed, and maybe it didn't make sense, but she didn't care.
He didn’t mind her weight against him; in fact, he welcomed it. Seeing her was good but feeling her, that was even better, because there was less of a chance that he was imagining her warmth under his hands. “You’ve been resting, right? Sleeping okay?” Concern was woven into his voice and he let himself worry, he let his chest tighten and his stomach churn because it was better this way, better to care too much than to not care at all; he still felt guilty for that. He should have made her top priority despite being under the influence of some drug. He wanted to very badly to apologize, but the words stuck in his throat with the knowledge that she wouldn’t accept them. She’d just tell him not to blame himself. He closed his eyes at the feel of her lips against his cheek, and her breath on his skin was even more of a reassurance. Breathing meant that she was alive, and he slid his fingers along her arm from elbow to wrist, searching for her pulse and stilling once he found it. The nightmares that seemed so real in the dark were faded now, wisps that he pushed away and away because they didn’t belong here.
Lying, or minimizing, to soothe her fears had occurred to him, but he wanted to be honest. “You did,” he told her, and his arms tightened around her as though he could somehow protect her from the truth. “It was-- it was really close. Too close.” And he managed to get the words out with only a tiny hitch, a hint of just how much it terrified him that he’d almost lost her. “Yeah, that’s why you were sick. You were supposed to rest, and I was supposed to keep an eye on the stitches. I was supposed to take care of you.” Guilt coated his words but he was here now, and somehow he’d make sure he never, ever let something like this happen again. He turned to look at her when she asked him to say that they were okay, and he nodded. “We’re okay,” he reassured her. “We’re okay, and I’m never going to let anything happen to you again. I promise.” Whether it was a promise he should have been making or not, it didn’t matter; he meant every word. He kissed her, soft and slow and warm, and he didn’t pull back. He didn’t want space. He tried to be careful, but he didn’t want to let her go.
"I've been walking," she admitted. It wasn't very informative, but it was still true. "I slept for a whole day, and it felt like forever." Which was maybe a silly thing to say, because how could sleeping feel like anything at all? But it felt like she'd been gone for ages and ages, and she hadn't wanted to sleep anymore, despite being tired. And he was there now, solid and warm, and she wasn't going to sleep again, non. And he was right in thinking that she'd argue if he tried to blame himself. This wasn't their doing and, while she had her own guilt about it all, she wouldn't let any of it bow his shoulders. She watched his fingers trace along the bruise-pale-bruise-pale skin of her arm, and she watched as those fingers stilled. She smiled just the tiniest bit, just the beginnings of a smile, and she wondered if her need to touch everything was contagious. "Is it beating?" she asked of her heart, because she assumed he was counting beats in the steady pulse beneath his fingertips.
The tightening of his arms around her made the plain words more palatable. She had questions and questions, why and how and why again. But what was the point in asking them? They'd done this for years now, this living at the whim of others, and what good would asking do? It wouldn't change it. It wouldn't make future risks less risky. Selina was gone, but she didn't know that, and she envisioned years and years and years of this. Years of almost, and it hurt to even think about. "It was something she did," she finally said, no question mark, because of course it was something Selina had done. Wren had never been particularly safe, and she'd never been particularly careful. But it was nothing like this, it had been nothing like this.
She glanced toward the sleeping baby. "You couldn't take care of me. You didn't know," she said, looking back at him after a few seconds, a slow slide of her gray gaze. "You didn't know," she repeated, because that was important to her, that he understood that she didn't blame him. "But you can't promise that," she added quickly, fingers to his lips and a shhhh. He kissed her then, and her fingers slid to his chin, then down to his adam's apple, and she didn't pull away either, not yet, and she let her breath mingle with his. "Why didn't Bruce stop it?" she finally asked. Not that it mattered, but that was what she counted on. She knew Selina was reckless, and she knew Selina was foolish, but Bruce wasn't.
“Walking where?” Worry became alarm as he imagined her wandering the neighborhood when she should be in bed, and he wished, not for the first time, that he still had Thomas’ money. But it was a fleeting thought, and he was more focused on her just then. “You need more than a day’s sleep, baby. You need to get your strength back.” Not that Luke minded her being home; home was safe. He wanted her to get better, though. He wanted her to be okay, because he always wanted what was best for her. He smiled a little, just a little, when she asked if it was still beating, aware that the path of his fingers and where they’d stopped hadn’t exactly been subtle. Part of him wanted more, wanted to hear the steady beat rather than just feel it, but for now this was enough. “Yeah,” he whispered. And he knew it had come very, very close to stopping, but he couldn’t imagine it. He couldn’t, not without so much fear and anguish that it felt he might suffocate from it all.
Had she asked, he would have told her. Why and how, even though it didn’t matter now. It wasn’t fair, and it wasn’t right, and he hated being so helpless about what happened through the door. Somehow he had to make it better, but he kept saying that and he never managed to figure out how. “It was something she did,” he agreed quietly. “She said-- she said she didn’t know. She took a risk, but she didn’t know how much of one until it was too late.” He shook his head. “Not that it matters. She was still stupid,” he frowned, scowl and dull anger. He knew Selina had been scared, he knew, but he’d been scared too and Wren had had no control over her own fate. It just wasn’t fair.
No, he hadn’t known, but that didn’t make him feel any better about it. “I should have,” he admitted, a guilty whisper, and he shook his head when she tried to silence his promise. “I can if I want to,” he insisted stubbornly, and he didn’t answer right away. He breathed against her mouth, pressure without any real contact, and then he sighed. “I don’t know. I don’t think he meant to let it happen, but I think, maybe, in the end Gotham always comes first.” And he knew Bruce regretted it, or at least he had. He’d put the greater good first once, too, and he’d never stopped wishing he’d done differently. He knew better now. Nothing was worth sacrificing her, and he was supremely selfish in that regard; but maybe Bruce just wasn’t like that.
"I was only walking around the house," she told him soothingly, her voice softening in response to the alarm she heard in his question. "Only around the house. I guess I wanted to be sure it was real. Or, maybe, that I was real." When he insisted she needed more than a day's sleep, she shook her head. Non. "What if I wake up and things are wrong again? What if I sit in a church and let Lia cry and cry? What if I forget to come home?" She shook her head again. No, she didn't want to sleep. And he was there now, and she didn't want to close her eyes at all, not even for a second and maybe not even to blink. But then he told her that her heart was beating, and there was another soft smile for him. She tugged his hand up, away from her wrist, and she pressed a kiss to the tips of his fingers. "What if I forget to see you for days and days, and what if that doesn't even worry me?" she asked, quieter, because that really, really scared her. Her feelings for him, they were so much a part of every beat of her heart, of every breath she took, and if she forgot just how much she needed to see him in order to live, then was that even really her? She wasn't really sure, and it shook her to the core.
"It doesn't matter," she agreed, when he said whatever Selina had done was stupid. It didn't matter, because they couldn't control it. The whys, the hows, they didn't actually change anything, and maybe she'd stopped actually thinking about them months ago. Once, Selina had felt like someone real, but not anymore, and now Wren was just waiting and waiting and waiting. Waiting for things like this. Waiting for the one thing that finally killed one, or both of them. But then his guilt made her shake her head. "You couldn't have known. You can't know everything. If Bruce doesn't tell you, or if she doesn't tell Bruce, you don't have a way to know." Okay, they'd known something was going, but they had no idea what. "And you're not allowed," she insisted firmly, silencing his protestation with a kiss when he said he could make promises that he couldn't possibly keep. She frowned when he said that Gotham came first for Bruce, because she couldn't actually wrap her mind around that. It was so very different from how she and Luke lived, and it made her realize that maybe she'd credited Bruce with caring more than he actually did. "So, we're on our own now," she finally said with hopeless finality. Because that was what it came down to, wasn't it? Before, they'd trusted Bruce and Selina to keep each other safe, at least, but it sounded like they'd been wrong. She shuddered, and she scooted back from him, away and away, and curled up on her side on the bed.
He relaxed a little when she reassured him that she’d only been walking around the house. She still should have been resting, but at least she’d been inside. She couldn’t wander away within these walls, couldn’t go so far that he’d lose her and go insane until he found her again. His expression softened when she admitted that she’d just wanted to make sure that it was real, that she was real, and the fingers feeling out her pulse tightened on her wrist. “You are real,” he told her, firm and sure. “This, you and me and the kids, our life, it’s real.” And it had bothered him that he hadn’t cared, that he hadn’t known where Wren was and hadn’t cared. Normally losing track of her for a few minutes was enough to send him into a panic, and it killed him when he had to work late or long hours. Like Max had said, not worrying wasn’t like him, and the freedom of nothing bothering him wasn’t worth the trade-off. He shook his head as she voices her fears, seeking to soothe them as best he could. “That won’t happen. It was Gotham, before, it carried over. But you’re going to stay on this side of the door for a while, and so will I, and it won’t happen again,” he said, and he knew he was repeating himself, but what else was he supposed to say? He just didn’t want her to be afraid anymore, even though he was himself. Her smile was like a soothing balm, and he brushed his fingers over her lips after she kissed them, trailing them down to her jaw a few seconds later. “You won’t forget to see me. I’m never going to let that happen again, not ever,” he vowed. “It wasn’t us, not really. We would never not care like that. It was out of our control, but it’s over now.” Bruce had gone quiet, but before that had happened he did know that he’d come back to his senses, too.
Logically, he knew she was right. If Bruce didn’t know something, or if he intentionally kept it to himself, there was no way for Luke to know. He still felt like he should, though, and he started to protest a couple times before he thought better of it and kept himself from insisting on his responsibility. And it was only her kiss that kept him from arguing that he could make promises if he wanted to, the desire to feel her overcoming the desire to argue. He hated the hopeless finality in her voice when she asked if they were on their own, and he hated the distance she put between them even more. He really did believe that Bruce regretted his actions; he just didn’t know if that was enough to keep him from making the same decision again.
A few seconds later, barely that, and he curled up next to her, chest against her back and arms wound around her. “We’re going to be okay,” he whispered against her cheek. “No matter what Bruce and Selina do, they’re not going to take us away from each other. I won’t let it happen. When we got back together, after being apart for so long, I promised myself that I’d never let you go again. And I won’t. I love you too much for that.” His voice stayed a whisper but it was fierce, fiery, no doubt to be found. “I’d go to Hell and back for you a thousand times, Wren. As long as we have each other, we’ll always be okay.”
She felt him relax, and she relaxed a little in turn. She always became more nervous when he was, and she always became calmer when he did, especially when he was this close. It was like she could feel everything in the beat of his heart and his body against hers, like she could pick up on things from him that maybe weren't really logical. But she didn't cling to logic, really. She'd never been books and intelligence, and she trusted her feelings over everything else, and maybe that explained it. And she couldn't help but smile when he reassured her that she was real, because who else would have the patience to do that. She was fond adoration as she looked over at him, endless love in the gray of her eyes. "You know, I think you're probably the only person in the world who would actually have a conversation with me about the fact that I'm real, without secretly dialing 911 when I wasn't looking," she said. She sounded tired, and she sounded scared, but there was a smile in the words. And she listened to his reassurances with a gaze that quickly turned to disbelief. It wasn't that she didn't trust him; she didn't trust the situation. And she didn't believe it could change. "You can't be sure that it won't happen again. You can't be sure that we won't forget each other. It might happen again and again and over and over. Maybe next time we'll really forget. Maybe we'll forget each other entirely. Maybe we'll forget everything." Her voice was panic, mounting even as she grew quieter and quieter, her final claim only a whisper.
Despite the distance she'd put between them, she exhaled in relief when she felt him curl up against her back. She made room for his arms, and she closed her eyes when he whispered against her cheek. "I feel so safe with you. I feel so safe like this. But it won't last, Luke. It won't. It'll go away. It always does," she insisted, soft babble and repeated things, even as he whispered fierce promises that she wished he could keep. When he said he'd go to Hell and for her, that he wouldn't let anything happen, she rolled onto her back, careful not to dislodge his arms. She looked up at him, and she raised a hand and cupped his cheek. "You can't promise that," she said, and her voice cracked and shook and broke. "We can't be sure of anything anymore, and I don't want you saying things that you can't do. I don't want promises that you have to break, and that you feel guilty about if something happens to me." And that if, it was almost a when. "Promise. Promise you won't let it eat you up," she demanded, voice going a little determined, a little fierce. "Promise me."
He smiled, warm and fond and forgetting, just for a moment, that there really wasn't anything to smile about at all. But it was always like that with her; the world could be ending just outside their door and she'd still be able to make him smile, laugh, forget everything but the two of them. "I love you," he said simply, as though that explained everything. "I'd have conversations with you about anything you wanted, and I'd never, ever dial 911." He saw the disbelief in her expression, stark and unavoidable, and he wished he could do more to reassure her, to actually believe his words, but all he could do was keep trying. "It won't," he insisted. "It won't happen again, and we could never forget each other entirely. That's a fact, Wren. We might have lost track of each other a little this time, but we still remembered. What we have, it's too strong. I couldn't ever forget you." And he really was sure of that, despite everything. No matter what happened, in Vegas or in Gotham, he believed they'd always find their way back to each other.
Maybe she was right. Maybe something would happen to take this quiet safety away, but how could he admit that? He had to be the strong one. He had to be optimistic, even though it contradicted his constant worrying. "I like making you feel safe," he whispered, pressing an impulsive kiss to her cheek. "It doesn't have to go away, baby. We've made it this far, haven't we?" He would have continued, but then she rolled onto her back and he nuzzled against her hand unthinkingly, wanting the touch. His heart ached as she spoke, and he was seized by a sudden determination to make sure this didn't ever happen again. She deserved so much better. "I can't," he whispered. "I can't promise you that because I'll never stop fighting. For us, to keep you safe, all of it. And a stupid comic book door isn't going to stop me. That's what I'm sure of."
She'd heard him tell her that he loved her a hundred times, and yet it never stopped being the one thing that could make her believe - even for just a heartbeat - that things might be okay. "You could visit your crazy wife in a padded room," she said, but she wasn't being serious, and that was evident given the trace of a teasing smile that was on her face. He was always trying to tell her she wasn't crazy at all, and so she didn't mind teasing him about it in the way she would have once upon a time. And she loved him for being so sure that they wouldn't forget each other entirely. She loved him for it, and she feared it just the same. She never felt permanence. She was always waiting for whatever would eventually tear them apart. She waited for him to realize that he could do so much better, and she waited for him to realize that he didn't want to be saddled down with two kids in his mid twenties. She waited for him to die on the job, and she waited for someone to realize he'd killed his way across the country. She waited for so many bad things, and Gotham was only one of them. And this new thing, this was even scarier than the others, because they could just forget. After everything, it could all just be like it had never existed at all. Like they had never existed at all.
She might have told him, but he kissed her cheek, and the nearness made her go quiet and still. She listened. "The further we make it," she admitted, "the more scared I am of losing you." It was a hard admission, but she didn't think it would surprise him. With each day that passed, it became harder and harder to imagine even the shell of a life without him. She'd managed it for the five years they were apart, but she'd clung to the belief that he was happier without her then. She didn't think she could do that now, and she sighed when he nuzzled against her hand. She shook her head when he began to whisper. Shake, and her curls were a messy halo against the pillows. "Stop. Stop saying things like that," she pleaded, fingers against his lips, because they didn't have any control at all. She knew that now. It was all borrowed time, and that was just inevitable. "Kiss me instead? Just, kiss me? Please?"
He pretended to think about it, a teasing hum of thoughtfulness becoming a smile that gave him away. "Visiting wouldn't be enough. I'd miss you too much," he said decisively, "so you'll just have to stay here instead. No padded rooms." The last thing he'd ever believe was that she was crazy, no matter what she did or said, and so he didn't take it all that seriously either. When it came to permanence, to them lasting, Luke knew somewhere along the line he'd become the one who had more faith than she did. He was stubborn in his belief that nothing could tear them apart. Oh, he was still afraid of losing her, but that fear made him fight that much harder to protect what they had. Even now, when she'd come so very close to dying, he refused to give up. One thing he didn't fear, though, was forgetting her; there they differed.
No, her admission didn't surprise him. He understood. He understood because he couldn't imagine life without her either, and he honestly had no idea how he'd survived those five years apart. Doing it again wasn't even an option. Without her there was nothing, and as guilty as it made him feel, he doubted even his kids would be enough. "I know," he said. "I understand." But he refused to be shushed, fingers against his lips or not; normally he'd always stop when she asked him to, but no, not this time. "It's true," he insisted, and while there was no anger in his hushed tone, there was the heat of conviction. "I'm not giving up, Wren. I won't. They don't get to control our lives." And he would have kept arguing if she hadn't asked him to kiss her. That he couldn't refuse, and he didn't want to. He broke off mid-sentence with a quiet whimper before he kissed her, open-mouthed and coaxing the same from her, forgetting to be careful.
"You could always pad the rooms here," she offered, her smile tease-soft. A laugh followed, just as quiet. "Wait. Hold on. You'd actually really, really do it, and I kind of like the wallpaper." And she couldn't blame him, really. She would do absolutely anything she needed to in order to keep him with her. And maybe it was joking a little, all the times she talked about locking him up or cuffing him somewhere, but she was more than a little bit afraid that she would actually do it, if it came right down to it. They'd never been tested that way, but she had a feeling she might actually manage to scare him, and she really didn't want that. So it was better not to say it anymore, even though it was on the very tip of her tongue. And she was so bad at not saying the things she was feeling now. Years ago, she'd been quiet stares and lack of emotion, but that wasn't the case now. In the end, she worried her lip raw. "It makes me want to, I don't know, lock you up somewhere and throw away the key, just in case I forget again, so I don't lose you before I remember."
She felt a little guilty once the words were out, because he didn't need to know those things. He really, really didn't. But then he was fighting the press of her fingers against his lips, and she was stubborn pressure there, because she could just imagine a world in which he failed and couldn't live with himself for having said the words. She began to say non, to tell him to hush, but he gave in and kissed her, and she didn't need the words anymore. She let him coax, and she made him wait before she parted her lips for him, let him coax more and more, until she eventually gave in. She sighed as she capitulated, and her fingers slid down his chest and freed his shirt from his waistband. Just that, and her fingers slid beneath fabric to find warmth and skin as she kissed him, tongue and teeth and a mounting desperation that she fought to control for the sake of the baby in the bassinet. But it was hard, and she didn't want that. She didn't want calm and quiet and easy. She wanted sting, because that was real. That was proof that everything wasn't clouded over with Gotham's anaesthetic anymore.
“Don’t tempt me,” he warned, but it was a teasing thing since the likelihood of him actually installing padded walls was slim. “You could make them pretty. Pick whatever color you want.” Her laughter, such a small thing, was enough to make him smile, and no matter how bad things were it was never, ever fake or forced with her. She was the only person he allowed himself to be vulnerable around, and he always gave her all of himself, every bit, good and bad and even the dark, gritty bits he was ashamed of. And despite her fears, he was certain there was nothing she could do that would ever scare him. There was nothing fearful or appalled when she admitted the desire to lock him away, because he understood. He did. Saying it aloud wasn’t something he often did, worried about possessiveness that crossed lines, but he did understand. “You won’t lose me,” he assured her. “I’m not ever going anywhere.”
Any inclination he had to continue arguing, to fight her stubbornness with his own, was lost once he kissed her. He was bad at waiting normally, even worse with the weight of the past few days and the fear of losing her piled atop his usual impatience, and he pushed and pushed until she gave him what he wanted. It was sweet, when she parted her lips, and he gasped against her mouth when her fingers slid against his skin. Control was so very hard, but he tried. Just this, he told himself, as the kiss intensified, heat and frenzy. Just this, as he pressed against her and slid his hands under her shirt. The urge to keep hold of her and never, ever let go was like an itch under his skin that he just couldn’t scratch; it was always there, but stronger than usual now. “I know,” he whispered between kisses, because it seemed important that he tell her. “Wanting to lock me up somewhere. I know. I get it. I just-- I want to keep you safe, away, all to myself where nothing bad can happen.” It was disjointed, maybe, but honest.
"You would let me wallpaper our padded walls?" she asked, but it was a teasing little question, because she knew that he would do just that. There was a security there that scared her, because she was always afraid that if she let her guard down for just a second, for just one, the universe would take it all away. "It's scary," she told him, voicing her thoughts, because she felt okay about doing that now, about letting the words fall from her lips without thinking. Only with him, though, only with him. "It's scary, believing you. Believing that you'll be mine forever, and I always think that the very second I believe it, the second I stop being scared, something will steal you away. Or you'll decide to go. Something," she admitted. But he was saying she wouldn't lose him, and that he wouldn't go anywhere, and there was that need to believe him again, that want for him to be telling the truth.
It was easiest to lose that want in a kiss, in that push and push of his, and it felt like forever since she'd been with him. It hadn't been, but days and days felt like that, especially now, when it felt like lost ages that she hadn't even noticed at the time. There was a desperation in that, and the frenzy of his hands beneath her shirt just made it harder for her to stay still, to stay there and calm. She rocked against him, up and a press against his hip. His whispers didn't calm her. They didn't soothe. They were promises that he shouldn't be making, encouragement that she knew should feel wrong. But it didn't feel wrong, it didn't, and she just whimpered into that kiss, swallowing that gasp down and claiming it for her own. Her nails dragged along the skin of his stomach, and she pulled back enough to look at his face, to see him. She bit her lip to keep quiet, to keep from saying things that she might regret, but it was all there, on her face for him to see. The possession and the want and the desire and the overwhelming fear. Her nails dragged down to his hip, and she glanced toward the bassinet where the baby girl slept. A second, if that, and her gaze slid to the walk-in closet, the door partially open, the space dark and quiet. And maybe it made her think of memories, of a closet in Florida that he'd never actually been in. Of Seattle, of the start of things, and she slid out from beneath him and crawled to the edge of the bed.