Disclaimer: DC Comics owns the characters. I don't. I want to own them but that means I have to become a multi-billionaire and buy up Time Warner, etc. I'm not quite there yet, so no copyright infringement is intended—I am borrowing them for a bit and will make sure they're back on the shelf before next month's issues.

And So It Goes
By Smitty

Her bag was already packed. Alfred had whisked it away, assuring her that it would be waiting for her in the front closet; sparing them all from the constant reminder of the temporary nature of her stay.

Dinner had been sweet, but quiet, and hurried, knowing what little time there was. Because he still had to patrol. She slept a few hours as he did so, and he missed her voice on the line.

It was still dark when she left the bed, and he felt her move. He watched as she dressed, quickly; quietly.

"I'll walk you down," he said, slipping on a robe as he, too, left the bed.

The manor was silent and dark as they slipped down the stairs. The squeak of the closet door as she picked up her bag sounded horribly loud, and the sound it made as it closed reminded him of the sound of a coffin closing. Their eyes met, and they said nothing.

I wish I didn't have to go. I wish I could stay here with you. I wish you could go with me. She thought about saying the words, but it didn't seem appropriate.

I hate it when you go. I hate not being able to protect you. I hate how dark and lonely I feel when you're gone. He thought about saying the words, but it didn't seem appropriate.

"Call me when you get back in town," he said, instead. "Be safe."

"Always," she replied with a wink, one last ray of sunlight into his otherwise grim existence.

They kissed, lingering the contact, and pretending they didn't notice. Finally, she pulled away and opened the great door, slipping out and blowing him a second kiss just before the heavy slab thunked shut.

A grim silence settled on Wayne Manor, all the more gray and dismal after her sunny cheerfulness had made the place feel like a home for just a few more hours. Bruce Wayne walked slowly to a large chair and sat, surrounded by the silence of his solitude.


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