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if i dared you to kiss me, would you?

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Three months was a long time.

It was easy to forget that Selina had been on the periphery of his life, in the same city as him but their paths never crossing since that day in the hospital, while he was working toward his goal-- to defeat Ra's al Ghul. But it was hard to brush thoughts of her aside when she was standing a room away. Her hair was wild and curly and kissing her shoulders in that familiar way and even though he'd never run his fingers through it, he knew his fingers would get tangled up in it. Everything about Selina ensnared Bruce like a spider catching her prey.

She looked absolutely, insanely beautiful. Lovely didn't even begin to cover it and that dress. He wondered where she had lifted it, from a shop, from some poor girl's closet. Bruce did not pity whoever she had taken it from, it was served much better on her person than it ever could be on some stupid mannequin.

He breathed her name reverently soft and surprised. She made missions feel less important, somehow, like maybe life could be more than justice and preparing to fight Ra's al Ghul.

Looking at her felt like providence.

Looking at her also hurt. They hurt each other. Every time. They had played this dance out a dozen times now and each time they tried to meet in the middle one of them would misstep and it would implode. Each time more painful than the last.

"Selina," he said, again, watching her closely as she started to talk with Tabitha and Zsasz.

Alfred's hand clapped on his shoulder and kept him back from her. He hadn't even realized he'd taken a step toward her until Alfred stopped him. Bruce flushed and straightened his jacket. Alfred sighed, "Master Bruce, is that wise?"

Bruce shook his head, "No. No, of course, you're right. I'm focused on more important things now. Different things. Not her."

Alfred didn't look convinced and Bruce knew it was partially his fault. His voice sounded uncertain and weak. He hated how easily Selina could distract him from any moment, any task.

Bruce's eyes followed her as she moved to the staircase up to the roof and disappeared.

His butler clicked his tongue and pulled down on his vest, "Right, off you go, then."

Bruce narrowed his eyes, "What-?"

"You and I both know you're gonna follow her. Might as well get it over then. Shall we?"

He flushed in anger at Alfred's words. They were true and, perhaps, that was what angered him most. He was more now than that little boy who was at her beck and call. He had grown up and the sight of her wasn't supposed to still make him jump. Yet, it did.

Shouldering his decision, Bruce turned to Alfred, "Come find me if something happens." He buttoned his jacket, "I'll be back."

Alfred nodded, curt and slightly judgmental, but he would suffer that. He had to see her.

Three months was a long time.

He took each heavy step up to the roof and he pushed the door open with his shoulder. She was standing on the ledge of the building, overlooking Gotham City with a reckless joy. Like she wasn't sure what would be more fun: jumping off the ledge or balancing there for as long as she could.

When she turned around and spotted him, she huffed in that exasperated Selina-way, "What do you want, Bruce?"

Bruce slid his hands into his pockets, "You knew I'd follow you. Just like I knew you'd come up here."

She sneered, "You don't know anything about me."

And while his face remained neutral, he felt the flutter of a smile on the inside.

They went back and forth, talking and treading the world's thinnest ice. After he joined her on the ledge, he was struck by how right the scene felt. Like, somehow, they were stepping into the shoes of people who spoke in hushed tones on rooftops regularly. Like this was the new normal.

He couldn't stop looking at her. "Selina," he whispered her name, just like he had down in the club, soft and reverent and she turned to look at him.

"Oh?" she teased, "You wanna say something?"

There were a hundred things he wanted to say to her, a million thoughts that came to mind, but the past was unimportant. Only the future mattered. So he swallowed his pride and pain, everything he had accumulated because of her in the last few years, and settled on, "That's a lovely dress you're wearing tonight."

Her smile was soft and encouraging. They were on the brink of a new incarnation of their relationship, he could feel it.

And then, Alfred happened upon them sounding as exhausted as Bruce felt from the weeks of training in the streets, "Honestly, you two. Why can't you just go to the cinema like normal teenagers?"

The softness of the moment was shattered and Bruce was being pulled away from her magnetic field and back down to the party.

It wasn't until he was back in the safety of the manor did Bruce finally remember Selina and the ledge of the roof. The wind that whipped against his face and the little, prideful smile she shot him as she let her leg hang off the edge of the world.

He tossed his jacket on a nearby chair and grabbed his suit, climbing out the window the way he had learned from her. It took him nearly an hour to get to downtown Gotham and from there he was uncertain of where to go. After the incident at the hospital Bruce hadn't really kept tabs on Selina. It hurt too much to know what she was doing or who she was with after everything between them. He really did try to cut her out of his life.

His life was far less messy without her muddling it up. He could focus on his new mission, on avenging his parents' murders and protect the city he loved so dearly. Selina distracted him.

The proof was in the pudding. It was because of Selina he was wandering suited up in downtown Gotham without a clue where to start looking for her.

But he knew where to start his search. He had seen that sniveling man at Penguin's party and he knew because of the permits that man had Selina's address on file. So that was where he went: back to the Iceberg Lounge and he lifted the list off of the man with the pinched nose.

There was a bit of a run-in with the police, but he was able to avoid them and once he was free he looked at the list. Her name was halfway down the third page.

It took him another hour to get to her new apartment and Bruce was impressed. Before Tabitha, Selina had gotten in the habit of squatting in different abandoned buildings, each more disgusting than the last. But this apartment building was an actual home. It had running water and electricity and it wasn't the best neighborhood but it was comfortable. He liked the idea of Selina living in comfort.

He picked her apartment lock with relative ease, another trick he had picked up from her over the years, and when the door clicked open he wandered inside. Their living room was small and a hodgepodge of different styles, but it was cozy.

Bruce spotted a bowl of water and some catfood over by the window and smiled. She had dragged her babies with her to the new place, it seemed.

The lights flickered on and Bruce felt the sting of rope around his neck. He pawed at his neck, trying to free himself from the restraints, but it was tightly wrapped around him, crushing his wind pipe. Tabitha narrowed her eyes at him and tugged her whip harder, "What're you doing here, kid?"

"Bruce?" Selina's voice was sleepy as she stumbled into the living room. When she saw Bruce's neck held in a vice grip by Tabitha's whip, she spoke loud and hard, "Let him go."

Tabitha looked between the two teenagers, sighed and released him. He gasped for breath and Tabitha commented, "I'm not used to letting people who break into my home get off without any kind of consequences."

Selina eyed Tabitha, "He's an idiot. He doesn't know any better. That's no reason to kill him."

Bruce rubbed his neck, "I second that."

"Shut up," both women echoed at once.

Tabitha tossed her whip on the couch and turned around, to head back to her bedroom. As she walked away, she leisurely commented, "Selina, you have your own room. Use it. I don't want any bullshit happening on my couch."

Selina flushed and Bruce stumbled to his feet. He opened his mouth to say something and Selina shook her head, "Don't. Don't say anything. Just...ugh...come on."

She grabbed him by the edge of his suit and gave him a significant look. He knew what he looked like, how the suit made him look, and Selina had always been smart. If she didn't know exactly what Bruce was up to she would, at the very least, have a very good guess.

She walked them down the hall and shoved him into her bedroom, locking the door behind her. He took the small moment to take in her room. It was so Selina it made him smile. There was barely anything in it. It could have been a guest bedroom with how impersonal the whole room was, but that was how he knew it was hers. Selina was always afraid to get too comfortable, afraid that whatever she had built for herself would be ripped away, and so she didn't have things. Things tied her down and she wanted to be able to bail if the opportunity ever arose where she would need to make a quick get away.

He turned around and smiled at her. She scowled and gingerly touched his neck which was still raw from Tabitha's whip. "You idiot," she mumbled, "showing up here. She would have killed you."

"I can handle myself," Bruce said, looking down at the soft dusking of freckles on her nose.

She looked up at him with disdain and a second emotion he was probably imagining, "So next time I'll just let her kill you, then?"

He stared at her. He didn't always need to say anything; in fact, Bruce preferred solitude and silence. Around Selina it never seemed to matter because she was always filling the space. "It's good to see you," is all he said.

She raised an eyebrow, "That's why you came here? To tell me its good to see me?" He shook his head. "Then why?" she pressed.

And he closed the gap between them, leaning down to slant his mouth over hers. This kiss was not like their previous kisses. Those had been innocent and probing and the most nervous press of mouths. This kiss was older and edgier and Bruce was not shy about getting his hands on her.

He grabbed her at the waist and tugged her close. She didn't seem to mind, but she did tug at the back of his hair sharply. It hurt and she seemed pleased that it did.

They stumbled back into her rickety, poorly-made twin sized bed and Selina turned Bruce on his back. As they kissed, which was more fighting than a kiss (they were always fighting somehow), Selina hands cupped at his sharp jaw. His own hands ran up and down her back and down to her ass.

They kissed and kissed and kissed. And soon, they were seeking friction, the pair of them rubbing up against each other making the bed rock back and forth. He heard the silly, little bedframe clang against the wall over and over.

It was a nice, constant soundtrack to their make-out.

Until Tabitha knocked hard on the wall next to them. They didn't exactly stop, but they slowed down. Their mouths brushing for want of something to do.

"Selina, he's a fucking billionaire. If you want to get it on, do it in his gigantic mansion. These walls are thin."

Selina sighed and Bruce pressed his hands into her hips, a plea. He didn't want her to stop, but he could already feel her pulling away. She climbed off of him and righted her hair as much as she could. He hair was never really was good at looking put-together. This small gesture made him grin on the inside, his face was as stoic as ever.

"He's going," Selina called back. Bruce sat up on her bed and she tossed her bedroom door open. "Get out of here, Bruce."


"We're good," she cut him off. "Now go."

"Can I see you again?" he tugged his black jeans down trying to hide the evidence of what she did to him.

Selina rolled her eyes and gestured to the door again, "Go."

He did. But not before ducking down and stealing one last kiss. That earned him a push on the chest and he stumbled back through her door. He turned around and gave her the briefest hint of a smile before leaving through her front door. As soon as he was outside, he heard Tabitha and Selina arguing.

Only then did he let himself smile.

When he snuck back into the manor just past two in the morning he found Alfred sitting on his bed waiting for him. Bruce stalled and easily lied, "Alfred. I was out on patrol." He was, after all, in the suit.

"No," Alfred shook his head, "I don't think you were. See, I was watching the police scanner to see if anyone saw you out. The masked vigilante. And nobody saw you."

Bruce unzipped his jacket, "Spying doesn't become you, Alfred."

"You have a hicky, sir." Bruce froze. "Did you know?"

He touched his neck and narrowed his eyes at his butler, "I got that from a fight."

"Oh, is that what teenagers are calling it now?"

"Alfred," Bruce warned with his tone.

"Yes, well," Alfred stood, a teasing smile on his lips, and crossed to his door. "Good night, sir."

Bruce put his suit away and crawled into his bed. He was restless. He never could sleep much at night. It was when the sun was warming him, peaking through the windows, that he felt safe enough to sleep. So he stared at the ceiling again, and waited.

And Selina did not disappoint. She showed up thirty minutes later than he expected, but she still came. He knew she would. No matter how many times she insisted he did not know her, he knew that he did. He could read her better than anyone and she could read him.

The opposite sides of the same coin.

She stole one of his shirts, changed in the shadows and padded over to his bed. He wiggled over, making room for her as she drew back the blankets and crawled inside. They didn't talk. Selina rolled over and Bruce wrapped his arms around her middle, tugging her close.

Even though he had trouble sleeping in the darkness, Selina's proximity eased him into the same comfort that the sun brought him. It did not take long before he was drifting off to sleep.

When he woke the next morning, Selina was making little purring noises in her sleep. She was curled up in his arms and her mouth was open just slightly. He felt a wave of affection for her and squeezed her to keep her in the ring of his arms.

Selina groaned and he smiled. She rolled over in his arms and complained, ducking her face into his neck, "I knew sleeping with you would mean getting up at the ass crack of dawn."

Bruce smirked, "Sleeping with me."

Selina kicked him under the blankets, "Don't twist my words."

"Right," he hid his face in her hair, "Sorry."

"I should be heading home. Tabitha will freak if I'm not there."

"Really?" Bruce cocked an eyebrow, disbelief dripping off his tone.

She tilted her chin up to look at him, "No. She lets me do pretty much what I want."

Bruce caught Selina's mouth in a kiss, "You're running away, again."

Selina unwrapped herself from his arms and cooed, "I know, but I do love it when you chase me."

Bruce's hand reached out for her but she was just out of reach. And, this time, when she changed, she did it for him to see. For a teenage boy this move was frankly cruel. He dropped his head back on the pillow, "You're killing me."

"Not today," she quipped.

And when he sat up to say something she was gone. He jumped out of bed to look out his window and saw no trace of her. She was just....gone.

Bruce smiled. She was right. He did love to chase her.