It'd been a while since Selina checked one of her places, perhaps almost a year, if she was keeping a close eye on the calendar. She didn't like to go to this one in particular because it was one of the places she shared with Bruce, and she'd been avoiding anything that could remind her of him, but there was only so long she could keep from checking if everything was okay and if her cats were still there.
(maybe it had something to do with his doppelganger trying to kill her, maybe she was still mad at him for bailing on her when she needed)
(or maybe it was because she heard those rumors, you know? Rumors that he'd been going on about clubs getting high and drunk and sleeping with every girl uptown for months now)
(and it had absolutely nothing to do with Valentine's day being just a week away)
Selina really hoped the cats weren't there anymore, though, and was certain they wouldn't. Cats are just smart that way, and when the food stops coming, they bounce. She knew for a fact that some of them followed her to her new place, and she lost count how many times Tabby tried to scare them away with her whip.
Tabitha might go by the alias Tigress, but she wasn't a big fan of pets because they were a big responsibility and expensive to take care of, especially if one is feeding strays that always come back with a plus one.
Well, things got better after Babs came back, and business had been soaring for them lately – what, with Sofia gaining her territory in Gotham and building the female empire they dreamed about – so Selina had in hand a carton of milk just for good measure.
Relaxed, yet being fully alert, Selina climbed the broken stairs that would take her to the room that once was hers, watching for any strange noise. It'd been a while since she'd seen Ivy, and maybe the girl would use the place if she wasn't getting lucky (honestly, Selina didn't know. She haven't seen Ivy for months now), but maybe the noises she'd often hear were from someone else, some other street kid looking for a place to stay.
And maybe, if her mind wasn't tricking her, Tabby was right and she shouldn't have left alone. There still were some Penguin men here and there, and it wasn't as if they thought he could get out of Arkham as easily as last time, but men like them wouldn't hesitate to "harm a pretty girl like her" – Tabitha's words, not hers.
So Selina watched out for any intruders, one hand to her back ready to reach for her whip if necessary, as she looked around the empty, dusty hall and pushed open the already half broken door with her shoulder, the carton of milk held close to her chest.
The story was freezing cold with the broken windows she didn't tape newspapers to, snowflakes flying around with the cold winds, and she heard it – not the unmistakable sound of a person trying to strive in that place (no one could possibly think they'd survive with all that cold), but cats pawing around, purring and meowing in the room.
Now, of course she didn't think those were her cats, but also it wasn't surprising to find strays there. Open windows or not, all kitties really needed was a sofa, or a mattress - something fluffy and broken enough that would let them climb inside - and each other. As long as they had that small confined space and some extra body heat, they could go on for a while.
Kittens. Okay, Selina could handle kittens. She could find every empty can and plate and pour the whole milk for them, and she could come back with Babs in a couple of days after tracing a plan to put them somewhere really warm and safe for them. Differently from Tabitha, Barbara quite liked the surrogate pets, and often sided with Selina when it was time to shoo them away.
With her mind set, Selina started to look for the cans, and it didn't take longer than a few seconds for the cats to take her as a friend, tiny ears poking out from behind the old couch to peek at her. A bold and beautiful Siamese braided around her ankles marking the dusty floor with wet little paw marks, and Selina bent down to pet its head.
"Be patient, little guy," she said. "I'll get you some food, okay?"
It meowed, circling her legs again, and Selina frowned at the paw marks the cat was leaving. There were three other cats coming from behind the sofa too, looking at her with different levels of distrust, but it was too weird that their paws were wet. Cats, they weren't dumb that way, they avoided water at any cost, and the fact that they didn't…
Suspiciously, Selina poured some milk in the first container she found and decided to follow the trail of tiny footsteps. The four cats rushed to the milk, and she saw that they too had wet paws, so she knelt down and touched the track.
The tip of her fingers came out red and her eyes widened. Blood. Where did they find blood? She looked back at the kitties, and only then noticed that the Siamese one had blood stains on its belly. Was it hurt? It looked too happy to be hurt, but she took a closer look anyway, daring to pet it looking for injuries while it ate.
No injuries in that one, so she reached for the next cat – a black kitty with the whitest nose – but that one was clean too, and the other two were too skittish to let her get too close.
"Where did the blood come from?" she wondered to herself, getting up, and against common sense she started to follow the trail of paws.
There was another room in that "apartment", the room where she used to sleep into, with a secret pass way inside a closet, a half-assed hole in the wall hidden by a wooden plate and some ratty blankets. Selina suspected that there could be more kitties there, perhaps one of them had had kittens, but any theory she had about the blood shattered when she stepped in the room.
With a shocked gasp, Selina dropped her whip and hurried to his side, shocked to see the pool of blood under his middle.
"Bruce!" Selina called, hands to his face. He was on the floor, face as pale as could be, partially covered by a heavy jacket and one of her old blankets. The closet's door was open and the blankets scattered all around, indicating that he had used that entry to get in. "Bruce, wake up."
She tapped his face worriedly, and in an unconscious decision took off her gloves to check his temperature and pulse. He was breathing, okay, but just barely, and he was freezing cold, heartbeat slow. Selina had to check his injury, though, so she removed the jacket to see what was going on.
Bruce's torso was smeared with dried blood, and he had lousily tied gauze around his waist, though it was blooded and humid, meaning he didn't completely stop bleeding yet, so she found the tip of the gauze and started to pull it free carefully, all the while calling his name and hoping for him to wake up, or just flutter his eyes.
"Bruce, I'm calling Alfred," Selina said, even though she didn't even move to get her phone yet. She was too busy trying to see what could possibly have caused so much blood loss. "Jesus fucking Christ, I'm really calling."
There was a cut on Bruce's side, awfully close to his right kidney. It was a rather deep cut, considering how much he was bleeding (and had bleed), and Selina used the bloodied gauze to try and stop the bleeding while she looked around to see what she could use to help him before calling 911. She could swear there was a first aid kit somewh-
"Don't call," Bruce said weakly, his fingers trying to grab her wrist, and she glared at him wide eyed.
"Don't call Alfred."
"Why the fuck not?"
He opened his mouth to answer, but only ended up coughing, his lips tinging in red, and Selina cringed. Not a good sight.
"Look, I won't call him, but I need to call an ambulance, you lost a lot of blood. But first, where's my first aid kit?"
He moved his head, sort of pointing to his legs, and she draw the blanket away, sure to find the tin box under it.
Selina got Bruce's hand and lead it to his side, for him to hold the gauze there, and then she helped him sit up, his back against the wall; she then reached for the box, its contents smeared with blood, and he had used most of the gauze, but she still had hydrogen peroxide, iodate, tape and enough cloth to patch him up and hold up until emergency arrived.
She pushed his hand aside and tossed the gauze away to clean the cut with peroxide using the last cotton ball of the kit, and he hissed at the contact. The blood flow had slowed down considerably, but she couldn't know how much damage was caused inside.
"What the hell happened, Bruce?"
"Bar fight," he told her. His voice was weak, he was shivering, and she'd have to help his temperature go up soon, had to patch him up fast.
"You were in a bar fight? In the Narrows?" she replied skeptically. "What happened to South Channel Island?"
He made a face and winced again when she applied some ointment before she covered the cut.
"Tommy wanted an alternative place to celebrate his birthday."
"Fucking hipsters," she said rolling a good chunk of gauze around her fingers and then cutting it with and old scissor she kept in the kit. "Hold this," she instructed. Only then she saw that his knuckles were bruised, and it made her shake her head. "That Tommy bounced on you, didn't he?"
"We got separated," Bruce said with a tremble to his voice. She got the tape and used her teeth to cut the pieces that she used to glue the gauze to his skin. "I lost sight of him in the middle of the fight, and ended up alone outside. So I came here."
"Did they rob you?" Selina asked, putting a last piece of tape on the gauze. Bruce smirked with bloody lips. He only had a small purple on his chin, and she was amazed he didn't get that pretty face of his punched.
"Every penny, and my phone too, but it's alright."
She scoffed again.
"Of course it is."
Because honestly? Booze and phone money were nothing for him, and the fact that he finally realized it was both annoying and a relief. About time he understood his place.
That didn't mean he could die on her like that.
"So what did you think? To come to this shithole and die alone?" Selina asked taking off her jacket and then her shirt. "Brilliant, really."
"I knew about the first aid kit, figure you kept it here," Bruce told her, his eyes lousily drifting to her chest and stomach. "I thought I could stop the bleeding, get some rest, and then leave."
Selina shook her head.
"Funny how you're so smart, and yet so dumb. Bend over."
With a grimace, he followed her instruction, and she went behind him, making space to sit with him between her legs. She put her jacket on her shoulders and leaned against the wall, and then she made him lean against her, his head resting on her shoulder heavily. With limited movements, she covered his chest with his jacket and the ratty blanket that they probably shouldn't be using, and only then she fished her phone from her back pocket.
"Why can't I call Alfred?" she asked as she dialed.
"I fired him," he said and she shook her head. Stupid boy.
"Well, you're in lucky, because I don't have his number anyw-Yes! I need an ambulance in the Narrows, my friend was stabbed?" she placed the fact as a question, and wasn't happy to hear that it'd take over half an hour for it to arrive. Unsurprising, but annoying anyway. "What if I say that it's Bruce fucking Wayne? Will it come faster?"
"They won't believe you," Bruce said with a delighted chuckle. He was so cold against her, and she was worried.
"We traced your locality, miss, but there's no way in hell you're friends with Bruce Wayne," the receiver replied condescendingly and Selina frowned at her phone.
"Fuck you!" she hang out and searched for another number on her contact list; the phone only rung twice.
"Dr. Lee Thompkins speaking."
"Hey, Doc, it's Selina," she greeted with an unsatisfied sigh. She didn't like the next words she had to say. "I need a favor."
She got Leslie to agree on going when she told it was Bruce who was in danger, and gave her the coordinates to find the building, with instruction to bring warmers too, and after that was taken care, Selina put her arms around Bruce's torso under the jacket. Her fingers were colder now, with all the exposition, but her blood flow still was better than his, and the contact would do wonders – much like her kitties, they were now.
"You know," Bruce said low, just for her, and she turned her head to look at him. "I didn't think the first time I'd have you undressing for me would be like this."
Selina rolled her eyes, but he was talking, and that was a good thing, so she encouraged him.
"Really?" she said and he hummed a yes. "When would that be, then?"
"I don't know, in a different time, after a Valentine's date or something."
"Valentine's day, huh? It's only a week away, what would you do if you weren't, you know, dying?"
Bruce smirked and looked at her.
"A week away, huh? Why would I ruin the surprise?"
Selina guffawed, but tightened her grip on him when she felt him slipping away. She wanted to call on his bullshit, because they hadn't been exactly on speaking terms for a while now and she didn't expect for him to ever talk to her again – especially now that they were so clearly from such different turfs. But she liked him anyway, and there was no way in hell she would let him die on her, so instead of saying everything that was on her mind, she made him talk, and talk until the doctor arrived and instructed her to call Jim Gordon too, and when Selina was sure Bruce was going to be okay, she left with a mental note to come back for the cats later, even though she supposed they'd be out of there by the time she came back.
When Selina opened the door to her house days later, wearing nothing but her PJs and warm socks, a tiny little kitten perched on her shoulder chewing on the tips of her hair, she wasn't ready for no Valentine's day program, but Bruce was standing there with a box of chocolate in one hand, and a carton of milk in the other.
"Bruce?" she greeted confused and he smiled. He was a completely different sight from last week, the color back to his cheeks, no sign of blood outside his body. Good.
He showed her the milk and handed her the chocolate, and she caught the box suspiciously.
"What's with the milk?"
His smile turned into a smirk and he leaned against the doorframe, trying to look all cool dude and everything.
"Figured if I wanted to win you back, I should start by winning your cats too," Bruce said reaching out to touch behind the ears of the kitty on her shoulder, and it purred for him. "Guess I'm starting of well."
Selina scoffed and turned her back to him.
"Gotta go through Quinn's judgment first to know if you have a chance," she told him and stopped in the middle of the living room to look back at him. Bruce was still waiting outside the door like a vampire waiting for permission. "You coming in or not?"