Right, so liviapenn's Pairing Generator spit out Bruce Wayne / Death. And because it's 1am and Death started talking to me. (Doesn't that sound terribly Emily Dickinson?) For some reason I'm picturing this as happening between the panels of Hush when Batman was lying wounded in the ally. Thanks to reccea for encouraging the muse.

One Lifetime
By Smitty

"One lifetime, Bruce," she said, sprawled on a discarded couch, looking up at him. "No returns, refunds, or exchanges. One lifetime. No more. No less."

He paced in front of her, hands flexing as he measured out his intensity in long, careful steps. "You want me to think that what I do means nothing?" he asked. "That whether I'm there or not doesn't matter? That people are going to live or die with no interference?"

"Of course not," she said, straightening just a little and tilting her head winsomely. "You're part of it all. If you aren't there..." She shrugged. "Then the Fate is not the same. The lifetime is shorter Maybe, sometimes, the lifetime is longer."

"Would -- " His pacing slowed and he stopped in front of her, turning to face her for the first time since she'd appeared in the trash-strewn, grimy allyway. "Would Jason's lifetime have been longer if I hadn't...if I wasn't... there?"

Her white shoulders raised and lowered as she sighed. "I don't know," she answered. "Because you were."

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