When Selina walked in the door, Holly looked up from the magazine she was reading and turned her head towards the brunette. Her lips parted to issue a greeting, but when Selina’s eyes caught hers, the words died on Holly’s lips. Selina’s gaze was distant and haunted, more so than usual, and Holly knew that something had gone very wrong that night.
Holly’s stomach clenched with anxiety at the dead look in Selina’s eyes, and immediately she dropped her gaze down to take in the rest of Selina’s body. It was difficult to assess Selina’s condition given the dark clothes she was wearing and the fact that she was covered from the neck down, but Holly couldn’t detect any blood on the trench coat Selina had thrown on over her suit and as Selina moved further into the room, Holly was able to see that she was moving normally, which eased Holly’s mind.
Something bad had happened, but Selina hadn’t been physically hurt.
“What …?” Holly began but before she could say anything else, Selina’s hand lifted wearily, requesting silence.
“Not now,” Selina breathed out as she lowered her hand. “Not yet,” she sighed tiredly, before finally turning to face Holly again. “I need a minute,” she finished softly, her eyes pleading with Holly for understanding.
Selina looked small at that moment. She looked vulnerable and scared, and Holly’s anxiety returned because none of those were adjectives that Holly was used to associating with Selina Kyle.
“Okay,” Holly replied softly, still watching Selina closely.
Holly’s concern was evident in her voice, but Selina could see that the blonde wouldn’t press her for answers and she relaxed marginally, very marginally.
The brutality that she had witnessed in the sewers was still fresh in her mind. If she thought about it for too long she could practically hear Batman’s spine cracking as Bane brought the caped crusader down on his knee. The memory made her nauseous. Selina was no stranger to violence. She’d seen things that no one should have to see, and done things that were almost as bad, but Bane was something almost beyond her comprehension. The thought of him caused her heart to race and her mind to swim. It tapped into her lizard brain and induced a primal fear response that made her want to rush blindly to nearest window and flee into the night, but she knew that there was no escaping Bane. She could run until her body gave out, and he would track her down and break her as she tried to crawl away.
Without realizing it, Selina had started to walk towards the couch where Holly was as her mind tortured her with thoughts of what she had witnessed. She only became aware that she had moved across the room when she felt Holly’s fingers brush against the back of her hand before Holly covered Selina’s hand with her own.
“You’re home now,” Holly whispered when Selina’s shimmering brown eyes met hers again, and then as Selina stared down at her, Holly used her hand to lift Selina’s from the back of the couch. She then turned their hands so that Selina’s palm was facing up and lowered her head so that she could press a gentle kiss against Selina’s palm.
Selina breathed in sharply at the feel of Holly’s soft lips on her skin, and her eyes closed momentarily as her body flushed with warmth. The kiss was so tender, so sweet and full of love that in her already compromised state it overwhelmed her and when she opened her eyes again, twin tears trickled down the sides of her face.
At the sight of Selina’s tears, Holly could remain still no longer. Maintaining her hold on Selina’s hand, Holly shifted so that she was kneeling on the couch, and then reached out over the back of the couch to wrap her arms around Selina’s waist.
Selina wasn’t what you would call sentimental. She didn’t believe in the power of sweet kisses and apple pie to make everything better. The world was a cold, dark, cruel place, and sentimentality was a weakness that had never helped anyone survive anything. Hugs wouldn’t save the world, and they certain wouldn’t save her from Bane. But, she couldn’t deny that it felt nice to feel Holly’s arms around her. Holly was three inches shorter than her, fifteen pounds lighter, and could barely fend off a mugger – even with a stun gun – but being held by her made Selina feel safe, and Selina desperately needed to feel safe, just for a little while – even if it was lie.
They stayed like that, awkwardly hugging over the back of the couch for a while, for much longer than Selina usually let Holly hold her, but eventually Selina began to squirm and Holly loosened her hold on the older woman, giving Selina room to pull back a bit.
“Sometimes I think that you’re all that’s left,” Selina breathed out, stroking her fingers against Holly’s cheek, “the last of the beautiful things,” she sighed, brushing her thumb over the pale freckles that dotted Holly’s heartbreakingly soft cheek. “I’d doubt I had a heart if it didn’t ache for you,” she whispered, and then she was leaning down, moving closer and closer to Holly until their lips finally met.
The kiss started off slow and gentle, their lips just barely touching, but the longer they stayed pressed together, mouths exploring, the more heated the contact became until Selina slipped over the back of the couch so that she could lay Holly down on the cushions and cover her body with her own.
“It’s been a while since we’ve done this,” Holly panted when Selina pulled away from her lips long enough for her to speak.
“I know,” Selina breathed out as her eyes scanned Holly’s face covetously. “I’m sorry,” she continued, focusing her gaze on Holly’s as she spoke, wanting to let the blonde see her eyes, wanting to let her know that she meant it.
There wasn’t a name for what she and Holly were to each other. They were friends, roommates, sometimes lovers, partners, confidants, and emergency contacts but they didn’t stake claims on each other. They were both too wild for that. Life had made them feral and wary. They loved each other, looked out for each other, trusted each other and needed each other, but wouldn’t say so, perhaps couldn’t say so. They had actions not words, and Selina knew that her actions as of late had been worrying Holly.
When she’d realized what a river of shit she’d submersed herself into by dealing with Daggett and the lunatics that were working with him, she’d realized that not only was she in danger but so was anyone associated with her, because these men had no limits. She didn’t want Holly to get caught up in her fuck up. She didn’t want Holly to end up as collateral damage in her attempt to erase the past, so she’d started to pull back, to pull away from Holly in order to protect her.
She knew now that it had been too little too late. Being cagey about what she was getting up to at night and not spending her nights in Holly’s bed wasn’t going to protect Holly from the people Selina had gotten herself, and by default Holly, mixed up with. All she was doing was hurting the one person she was certain she loved in this world, and ensuring that if the days to come were her last living days that she would spend them miserable, terrified and alone.
“I need you,” Selina rasped, leaning down to kiss Holly again. “I need this,” she continued, kissing Holly with a controlled gentleness that didn’t even begin to obscure the desire pulsing within her. “Forgive me,” she whispered, pulling back slightly so that she could see Holly’s eyes.
“I was never angry,” Holly replied softly.
She knew Selina and she understood how the older woman responded to stress. She didn’t take Selina’s recent aloofness personally, it just worried her.
“Let me make it up to you anyway,” Selina purred, her lips quirking playfully even though her eyes were steady and serious.
Holly smiled and arched up; breathing out, “If you insist,” before she pressed her lips against Selina’s and drew the older woman down on top of her.
They stayed on the couch long enough to remove most of their clothes and take the edge off, but eventually they managed to rouse themselves enough to make their way into Selina’s bedroom where they fell onto the mattress and started touching all over again, moving against each other until they were both covered in a fine sheen of sweat and breathing heavily, their bodies too tired to do anything but collapse against each other.
“We have to get out of here,” Selina murmured sometime later as Holly lay with her head on her chest, her fingers idly tracing shapes over Selina’s stomach. “Gotham isn’t safe.”
“Gotham’s never been safe,” Holly breathed out, stilling her hand on Selina’s abdomen. “I’d rather stick my head into the hot, stinking mouth of an adult lion that was being poked with a flaming stick than walk down Lincoln Street past 40th … in broad daylight. Why are you concerned about how safe Gotham isn’t now?”
Selina sighed deeply and stared up at the ceiling broodingly.
“Some very bad men are after me and too many people around here know that you’re my … that you and I …” Selina paused and rolled her eyes at her uncharacteristic lack of eloquence. “They know that we’re a team,” she continued a second later, her voice steady and firm once again. “You’re vulnerable because of me.”
“Lina,” Holly began carefully, but before she could say anything else, Selina shifted, startling her, and then Selina grabbed her by the shoulders and held on, her fingers digging into Holly’s skin.
“Listen to me,” Selina began, her fingers tightening unconsciously as she stared unblinkingly into Holly’s eyes. “I can’t protect you from these people. I can’t protect myself,” she continued, and Holly could see the fear in her eyes and hear it in her voice. “I’ve always done what I needed to in order to survive. Tonight I did what I had to again, but I … I don’t want to find out what else I’m capable of doing in order to keep Bane off my back … and yours. Even I have my limits. I want to be able to sleep through the night. We have to leave Gotham, and soon.”
Holly was quiet for a moment as she considered Selina’s words. If Selina was this scared of the threat that this Bane person posed, then Holly was scared too because Selina Kyle did not scare often and she admitted defeat even less frequently. Gotham was Holly’s home, it was all that she knew, but Holly wasn’t particularly fond of the place. The best thing about the Gotham, the only thing she really loved about the city, was that Selina Kyle was in it. She had no strong emotional ties to Gotham except for Selina and therefore no reason or stay in Gotham without her. If Selina wanted to run, they would run.
“Where are we going?” Holly asked and Selina’s hold on her shoulders loosened as the older woman relaxed.
“Some place warm,” Selina breathed out as she lay back down and opened her arms so that Holly could snuggle against her side once more, “Far away and warm. I was thinking Thailand. We could live well there on what I’ve saved and once the heat dies down … well, I’ve always wanted to spend more time in Europe. So many palaces and museums … so many jewels,” she purred, smiling. “The very thought of it makes me tingle.”
Holly smiled at that and pressed herself more tightly against Selina.
“So how do we get out of Gotham?” Holly asked knowing that Selina was on everyone’s radar.
Selina closed her eyes and breathed in deeply to calm herself and focus her thoughts before she responded. Getting Holly out of the country wouldn’t be hard. Holly wasn’t under investigation. Getting herself out of Gotham, let alone the U.S., well that was another issue entirely.
“In style,” Selina drawled with an ease she didn’t feel. “I’ve already booked the flights and started arranging things in Thailand. Everything will be set up before our flight tomorrow morning. Don’t worry, it’ll be fine,” Selina said softly as she reached out to run the tips of her fingers over Holly’s brow. “I want you to go ahead of me though,” she continued, still stroking Holly’s skin gently.
“Separate cabs, separate check-in’s, separate tables in the airport bar?” Holly asked, watching Selina closely, not allowing herself to be distracted by Selina’s tender caresses.
“I’m not going to Thailand or anywhere else without you,” Holly stated firmly, understanding exactly why Selina wanted them travel separately.
Selina was worried about being caught, and when the dragnet came down she didn’t want it landing on Holly as well. Holly understood that, Selina acted too cool for school but she had a protective streak the size of continents and she wanted to keep Holly safe from everyone, including herself. It was admirable, but living with Selina had taught Holly a little something about loyalty and friendship, and if she didn’t see Selina’s sleek, graceful figure sashay it’s way onboard the plane, there was no way Holly was staying onboard that flight. She wouldn’t leave Selina alone and in chains. They either made it to Thailand together or they stayed in Gotham together.
“I’m no martyr,” Selina drawled. “I have every intention of being on that flight. We’ll be sipping Mai Tai’s on a private beach soon. You’ll see. I’ll teach you how to swim,” she continued before smiling at Holly and then tilting her head to the side so that she could press a kiss to Holly’s forehead.
There was of course a good chance that everything wouldn’t be fine. It was going to take luck in addition to planning for Selina to get onto that plane without being apprehended and she had been short on luck as of late. She had no plans to sacrifice herself or make it easy for the law or anyone else to catch her, but if the following day was the day she was made to pay for her sins she took comfort in the knowledge that at least Holly would be safe and provided for.
“I’ll believe it when I feel sand between my toes,” Holly murmured in response, but despite her somewhat dour words she began to snuggle into Selina again, settling against her more comfortably.
“So cynical,” Selina breathed out dryly, her lips curving up into a smile.
She’d taught Holly well.
Cynicism was a girl’s first defense against the world.
“Hopefully some sunshine will brighten your outlook on life,” Selina continued, laughing softly when Holly released a derisive sound from her throat and then tilted her head up so that Selina could see her roll her eyes.
Selina took advantage of Holly’s new position and lowered her head to bring their lips together in one more sweet, lingering kiss, and then she gathered Holly up in her arms again.
“Sleep now,” Selina said softly, pressing her lips to the top of Holly’s head. “We’ve got a big day ahead of us,” she whispered, lacing her fingers with Holly’s as she desperately hoped that she managed to live through it and stay out of chains.