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It Ends With Bloodshed

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This is how it goes.

You are sitting at a table and across from you is a beautiful boy. His hair is red and his eyes are green and his lips are perfect and pink, wrapped around a spoonful of pineapple flavoured pudding, all the same curled up in a slight smile.

You comment on how disgusting that flavour is and he laughs and says, I shall prove you wrong.

The beautiful boy takes another spoonful and turns it into your direction. Smiles. Says, care for a bite, Mr. Wayne?

There are eyes directed at you, because you are probably in a public place. You can't quite remember. You can't quite seem to bring yourself to care.

The beautiful boy's cheeks flush a wonderful red as he realises what he is doing. You smile and pretend to be oblivious.

This is how you want it to go:

You lean forward and smile as you do so, your eyes and his eyes focused on the same point, the same point that is each other and nothing else.

You forget that you are, in fact, in a public place.

You forget that you are Batman and you aren't supposed to do things like this.

You taste pineapple flavoured pudding and you say, sweet, doubting whether you're talking about the man offering you the pudding or the substance itself.

You memorise the way he blushes and looks more radiant than ever.

Stop.

. . .

This is how it goes:

You are sitting on a rooftop and next to you is a beautiful boy. He isn't supposed to be there and you know this and he knows this. He's not nearly as stupid as he's supposed to be, so he knows these things. He knows about sad endings and cruelty and reality and he knows also about impossibility.

He knows he is sitting closer than friends would and he knows you are aware of that, as well.

You watch the streets underneath you and he makes up stories about the people walking across them. You memorise license plates. He takes care of living things, you of the inanimate.

He looks at you, head tilted to the left and smiles.

You look back and memorise every detail of his face.

This is how you want it to go:

You slide your hand a little to the right, making it so that you are gingerly touching his. He takes the encouragement without a word and takes your hand and it feels so reassuring; you feel something, like a warmth or love, ignite in your heart.

You listen to his jokes and you even laugh once or twice.

You let him hold your hand the whole time, only to let go when you say you are moving on, having to go to another place for a stakeout and then you will let him hold your hand again.

You forget that things like these are the A and that A always, somehow has to lead to B and that B is always really bloody and horrible and disgusting.

You forget that you cannot really feel his warmth through the Kevlar.

You let him be with you.

Stop.

. . .

This is how it goes:

You are in a car with a beautiful boy and his feet are on the dashboard. His arms are folded behind his head and he is humming a song you don't know. You like the tune. You like his voice and the way his eyes flutter as he battles sleep and pain.

You are driving on a badly lit road and much, much too fast. You are in the middle of a chase and Wally wouldn't be in this car if he hadn't let himself be shot in the foot.

He will be healed in a few hours. Everything will be fine.

You drive and drive and the road disappears under your wheels. You leave it all behind.

He says, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to mess up, but I wasn't paying attention.

You grip the wheel tighter. You feel as if someone has done something really terrible and personal. You feel as if someone has set your house on fire, only because you live there. You feel as if someone has sought you out in a press conference and hit you in the face.

It's not that personal, you tell yourself. Wally's eyes are on your face.

This is how you want it to go:

You let him look at you the whole ride long. You let him reach over and lay his hand on your shoulder and tell you, don't be like this, Bruce, I will be fine, don't you worry.

You worry, still, but you are also reassured by his words.

You catch the one who did it, put him in prison and take Wally home with you. You take care of his foot and you tell him to rest.

He states, you could have dropped me off at the hospital.

You say, they will comment on your ridiculously fast recovery, idiot, but your heart isn't in the insult. It hasn't been for a long time.

He says, you just want to take me home with you.

You say, yes, I do. I have for a long time now.

He smiles and doesn't reprimand you.

He stays the night.

Stop.

. . .

This is how it goes:

You are watching the news in eight languages and next to you is a beautiful boy. He has one knee pulled up and the shadows dance on his face.

You are desperately trying not to blurt out all of sudden that you love him, but you do, in fact, love him. With that realisation comes a feeling, a feeling that you have done something horribly wrong, like jumped off a twenty-level building, or pulled a trigger of a gun planted to your temple or jumped into a river with a weight attached to your foot.

You are trying not to realise how scared you are, how scared you have always been.

He turns and smiles worriedly, says, are you okay, Bruce?

You are trying not to think. You cannot think.

You say, yes, just tired, that's all.

The worry doesn't quite leave his eyes. You are trying not to succumb and surrender and you are also losing.

He reaches over to you then and he smiles and he leans in for a kiss.

This is how you want it to go:

You let him kiss you. His lips are soft and warm and they taste of sugar, the way they should. You let him take off the cowl and you let him play with your hair.

You smile and you mean it.

You let him kiss you again and again until kissing isn't enough anymore and then you say have some patience, Wally.

He waits for you, occasionally giving you another kiss.

You wait until Clark and Diana take over monitor duty.

You take Wally home.

You wake up in the morning to the smell of breakfast and Wally and you pull him closer and go nowhere at all.

You don't want be anywhere else.

Stop.

. . .

This is how it goes:

You are laying face-first in the dirt and you are bleeding. You know you have been unconscious for a while now and you also know that you cannot move.

You can lift your head and you see a beautiful boy.

The beautiful boy is held by two men and Lex Luthor is pointing a gun at his head and even though all you can hear is the blood in your ears and you heartbeat, frantically, you know he is delivering his final speech. You are Batman and you know these things.

You also know he will pull that trigger and you know how deadly bullets are.

Wally's eyes are green and huge, but he doesn't look at Luthor. He looks at you. You cannot really see this, because your vision is blurred and blood is dripping in your eyes and it stings, but you feel this.

Wally is broken and bruised and beautiful.

This is how you want it go:

You get up, ignoring the pain, ignoring the impossibility of that very action.

You find a batarang, perhaps the only one left.

You make it all the way over to Luthor and he doesn't see you. You stab him in the shoulder, until the harness comes off and it's just Luthor, nothing else. You save the world.

You save Wally.

You get down on your knees again, you crawl to him.

You say, I love you, I want to be with you, let's grow old together, don't die.

He says, I love you too, I won't ever leave you, I'll survive this.

He smiles.

You smile.

The next week, you both leave for Paris, or Madrid, or Kiev, or any city Wally wants to go to and it takes you a very long time to come back and it is perfect and love never dies.

Stop.

. . .

This is how it goes, in reality:

You say, no, thank you, Wally, I don't like being poisoned.

He says, sorry, I'm sorry, and puts the spoon in his mouth, no longer smiling.

You get up and leave.

. . .

This is how it goes, in reality:

You say, you are not supposed to be here, go away.

He says, sorry, I'm sorry, and speeds off, leaving you alone on the rooftop.

You memorise licence plates.

. . .

This is how it goes, in reality:

You say, how can you be so stupid to let someone shoot you in the foot?

He says, sorry, I'm sorry, and he is healed by the time you catch the villain and is gone before you can say another word.

You get in the car and go home alone.

. . .

This is how it goes, in reality:

You say, I cannot let you do that.

He says, sorry, I'm sorry.

You turn your head and he sits back, leaving in a sorrowful silence when Diana comes to take his place.

. . .

This is how it goes, in reality:

Lex Luthor pulls the trigger.

Wally is dead by the time you get to his body. Wally is beautiful, still.

You say, sorry, I'm sorry.

. . .

The next week, you put a bullet through Luthor's head and you don't apologise.