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A Witch in Gotham

Chapter Text

“Harvey called, he said that the Batman is going to turn himself in.” Rachel said softly while Bruce moved over to gaze out his Penthouse window, staring off into the night.

“I have no choice,” Bruce said with conviction, as his eyes remained fixated out onto Gotham’s skyline.

“You honestly think that is going to stop the Joker from killing people?” Rachel queried back in disbelief.

“Perhaps not, but I’ve got enough blood on my hands.......and I’ve seen now what I would have to become to stop men like him.” Bruce’s head turned and gave Rachel a desperate look before he moved towards her completely. “You once told me that if the day came when I was finished, we could be together....” Bruce finished speaking as he stood directly in front of Rachel, his hazel eyes boring into her blue ones.

“Bruce, don’t make me your one hope for a normal life.” Rachel rebuffed unconvincingly.

Bruce moved his left hand up and cupped Rachel’s cheek as he said achingly, “Did you mean it?”

Rachel’s blue eyes filled with emotion as she whispered out, “Yes.”

Bruce moved his head down and captured Rachel’s lips in a heated kiss, unaware that their entire conversation had been watched from the other side of the door.

 

Six Months Earlier

 

Gotham City wasn’t what anyone could consider a tourist destination, or anyone’s preferred destination.....but for Hermione it was a place where she was certain no one would ever come looking for her. After the war had been won and the dead were buried, she’d returned to Hogwarts and finished her schooling....earning 10 NEWTS and due to her status as a War Heroine, was courted by almost every department within the Ministry of Magic.

Her relationship with Ronald had ended quite heatedly Christmas the year after she’d graduated, as he had gone into Auror training with Harry right after the war. Hermione, had decided to take a position in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures or the DRCMC. It was something that was dear to her heart and she felt that it was a place where she could make a difference.

What no one had known at the time, was that there was something sinister moving through the shadows within the Magical World.......it started out simple at first.......a few deaths being reported from an unknown curse.....it didn’t seem to have a pattern nor a reason and the Healers at St. Mungo’s has no idea what kind of curse it was, or how it was spread. By the time Hermione had finished her first year at her new job, many more people had succumbed to the insidious curse.....but it didn’t reach the ears of the public until Harry Potter, the boy who lived started suffering the ill effects from the curse.

He had been out on an Auror mission, rounding up the last remaining stronghold of Death Eaters when he had collapsed without warning and was portkeyed directly to St. Mungo’s. Hermione had been called immediately and along with Ronald, Ginny and the rest of the Weasley’s and were told the particulars of the curse and what the likelihood of survival was for the Boy Who had Lived through everything.....but this.

When Harry died a month later, the press had gone into a frenzy....but by that time, the unknown curse had spread.....beyond the borders of England. America, Russia, Bulgaria, France and countries as far as in South America were all reporting casualties due to the curse. All the best Healers in the world had convened en masse to Britain, but after several weeks, it was determined that there was no cure for the curse......because they could not determine the origin of it.

Kingsley had gone to Hermione in his desperation. The little witch had become a recluse since Harry had died, and the Minister of Magic pleaded with the Brightest Witch of the Age to work with the Unspeakables to try and determine just what kind of curse they were dealing with. Hermione was understandably confused as to how she could help, but when Ronald was admitted to St. Mungo’s along with Ginny and Seamus.....Hermione knew she’d have to do something. So she took Kingsley’s offer and started researching every magical archive she could find.

Nearly six months had passed, and Hermione was becoming increasingly desperate. Thousands of witches and wizards had perished.....Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy, Ron, Seamus, Dean, Ginny, Fleur, Viktor, Theodore Nott, Astoria Greengrass, Ernie MacMillan, Michael Corner, Adrian Pucey, the entire Flint family, Professor Sprout, Slughorn and most of the prisoners in Azkaban. Those had been just in the past few weeks, and there were several more that were in hospital....the Healers becoming overtaxed at how many people were coming in with symptoms.

Hermione had finally determined a little over eight months in that the curse was causing magical deregulation.....which was then shutting all organs down simultaneously, causing death. The process of a witch or wizard losing their magic was a truly horrific thing to watch and when death finally did come, it was almost a relief unto itself.

Reports were coming in daily to the Ministry and the Minster himself. By all accounts, nearly half of the world’s magical population had been wiped out by the curse.....at this rate....within two years the Unspeakables were determining that the remaining magical populations would be gone. Magic would cease to exist if they couldn’t find a way to stop the curse......and it also was apparent that no new births were being recorded either......as for some reason, Magic wasn’t allowing for procreation.

It was only by chance that Hermione had determined how the curse had come to be. She had found buried within the Ministry archives a mention of an ancient curse that had been wielded nearly two millennia prior......and directly correlated to the downfall of the Roman Empire. Heading to Italy’s Ministry, Hermione was able to find corroborating texts that outlined the curse.....how it had been detected and the possible origins of it.

It had taken her nearly another two months to locate the origin of the curse itself, within the Egyptian ministry.......but the part that had made Hermione’s blood run cold, was the curse had been wielded in generations past to reset magic itself. That when magic had become so badly corrupted, polluted and damaged from its original intent, it would restore balance on its own. It was beyond ancient blood and death magic......and as such, there was no clear cut way to stop the curse from ripping through the remaining witches and wizards until it felt balance was restored.

Undeterred by this, Hermione kept researching and finally one year in, found a possible countercurse for the phenomenon, which was being called ‘magicis excoquam ad mortem’ which essentially meant the purge of magic leading to death. At this point, there was approximately a quarter of the remaining magical population left alive and it had taken Hermione several weeks to configure a working countercurse, that had utilized many facets of magic......Astronomy, Arithmancy, Alchemy, Potions, Ancient Runes and Charms.....but she had done it.......she had single-handedly saved the entire magical world from decimation. For her efforts, she was lauded a Heroine again......and all within the magical world owed her their very lives.

In the year that followed Hermione had become even more reclusive. Although the curse had been abated in the sense that no witches and wizards were dying, the problem remained that no new offspring were being born. Hermione had shared her theory with Kingsley as to why she thought that was the case, but without solid evidence, the Unspeakables and the remaining Wizengamot refused to take her words to heart, despite everything she’d done to save their sorry arses.

Hermione realized that despite all she’d done, she would always be looked down upon most likely due to her Muggle heritage, she disappeared from the Wizarding world in the fall of 2002......beaded bag in hand and her Gringotts account closed......Hermione Granger ceased to exist from that moment on. She’d decided to take a few things with her when she left the Magical World......Harry’s Invisibility Cloak, the Elder Wand (which she retook from Dumbledore’s grave), where Harry had returned it as well as the Resurrection Stone, which she’d found in the Forbidden Forest a year prior.

Harry had left the Black Fortune to her when he’d died.....and as such Hermione was quite well off. Converting her galleons into Muggle money at a five to one ratio, gave her an estimated net worth of just over 50 million pounds sterling.....which was more than enough to disappear into the Muggle World without a trace. She’d met with Neville, George, Luna and oddly Draco Malfoy, who’d become a friend of sorts in their eighth year (and whom she’d had several one offs not too long ago), before she had disappeared for good.....letting George know how much she would miss him and giving him a charmed galleon that would act as a locator of sorts should he ever need her and vice versa.

That was how she had found herself five years later staring from her new apartment into the skyline of Gotham City. Hermione Granger was now known as Mia Black, she’d decided to take on the surname of Harry’s Godfather Sirius.......feeling that it was appropriate in a way. It served to remind her where she’d come from, as well as honor both Harry and Sirius, who had both died heroes.

Mia Black had moved around the world since 2002....traveling to various destinations and doing research wherever she went, studying various disciplines. She’d invested her money into several corporations and trusts, nearly quadrupling her wealth. Hermione had also felt it might be prudent to change her appearance a bit, as her distinctive curls and features were a dead giveaway amongst magicals....and the Wizarding press had been apoplectic when she’d disappeared....and it hadn’t abated since that time. So gone were the bushy locks and in their place was stylish long curls that fell to her mid back....her hair used to be a mousy brownish color, but was not a mixture of chocolate, reds and sun-kissed whirls of golden highlights that brought out the golden hue of her eyes and skin. Her frame had filled out a bit since Hogwarts, although she was only mid five feet, her body was a bit curvy like her mum’s. Smallish, high, pert breasts and bum, curvy hips and a narrow defined waist. Legs for days helped to make Hermione appear taller than she actually was.....and heels had helped with that illusion. Hermione had learned to appreciate fashion as a means of distraction and armor.......no one would have ever believed the stylish Mia Black was really Hermione Granger......at least no one had figured it out so far.

Mia had kept track of the going’s on in the Wizarding World the best she could. From what the Daily Prophet reported, it would seem the magical birth rates were at a standstill, and for some reason she simply couldn’t fathom......no one seemed to be willing to take her warnings seriously. But that wasn’t her problem any longer. If the magical world ceased to exist....it would be due to their own prejudices and not anything she’d done.

Mia had been quite interested to read about Gotham City’s Batman.....a masked vigilante who seemed hell bent on saving Gotham from itself......a mission she could well appreciate. Gotham had the highest rate of crime of any city in the US and was one of the top crime riddled cities in the world.

As she stood there looking up at the Wayne Enterprises building, she couldn’t help but wonder what exactly she was getting herself into.......but one thing she knew for certain.....Bruce Wayne was Batman......her research had led her to that conclusion, now she just had to figure out what to do with that knowledge. Undeterred, she entered the building.....she had a two o’clock appointment with Mr. Lucius Fox and she didn’t want to be late.

Chapter Text

“Mr. Fox, your two o’clock is here.”

Lucius stood up and straightened his jacket, politely nodding at his secretary. “Send her in Elena.”

The secretary nodded and left momentarily, before entering back into Lucius’ office with his two o’clock, Mia Black.

Lucius had been intrigued when the meeting had been requested by Miss Black. From his research she was a prodigy in various fields. Statistical analysis, mathematics and oddly, Medieval Studies just to name a few. Her background was quite formidable....several concurrent undergraduate degrees from Oxford University in England as well as a doctorate in Industrial Mathematical Modeling.

Lucius smiled when the woman came into the room, again amazed that someone so young could be so accomplished. Extending his hand in welcome, he was pleasantly surprised his firm handshake was returned with equal veracity.

“Miss Black, welcome to Wayne Enterprises....it is a pleasure to finally meet you in person.”

Mia smiled politely. “For me as well, Mr. Fox. Thank you so much for making time for me today, I know you must be very busy so I won’t take up too much of your time.”

Lucius gestured to the couch in the corner, and watched as Miss Black moved gracefully to the offered seat, sitting and crossing her ankles.....hands folded onto her lap and back posture perfectly straight as she made herself comfortable.

“It’s not a problem at all Miss Black. I was most intrigued when I received your request for this meeting. I must admit, I was very impressed with your background......you’re very accomplished for someone so young.”

Mia nodded politely. “Well, I’ve always had a passion for learning......and it has served me well, I suppose. I was very impressed as well, with Wayne Enterprises current focus on environmental and green technology as well as some of your current forays into medical research. My foundation is currently doing some research into genomic based statistical analysis programs......well, its more of a platform I’ve created.....but I’m very interested in seeing how our interests might intersect.”

Lucius appeared thoughtful for a moment. “I’m always on the lookout for new inroads to technology and would be happy to take any prospectus you might have to look over. It might take me a week or two to get back to you, at least to see if there’s any possibility of our collaborating.”

Mia nodded and opened her briefcase, handing Lucius a rather thick folder...which he took with a raised eyebrow and an incredulous smile. Opening the folder and giving the material a quick once over, Lucius had to admit.....he was blown away by the information contained within. The data was impressive and if accurate, could revolutionize mathematical modeling and statistical programming for decades to come.

“This is unbelievable.” Lucius gave the woman across from him a look of stunned disbelief. “Did you do all this research on your own?”

Mia nodded once. “I did. I understand it’s quite a bit to digest, but I wanted you to get a real sense of what I’m trying to accomplish. If Wayne Enterprises isn’t interested, I have a meeting scheduled with John Daggett of Daggett Industries in a few weeks.....but your company seemed a better fit logistically speaking, for my purposes.”

Lucius nodded, staring at the folder in contemplation. “This research could make you a very wealthy woman....why come to us?”

Mia laughed, a bright tinkling sound that had Lucius smiling widely despite himself. “I’m wealthy enough, thank you. This is more about helping to make a difference than it is about money. If this can pave the way to streamline research and development, thereby making things like medicines, vaccines, farming and production more affordable and available....everybody wins, correct?”

Lucius couldn’t argue with that sentiment at all. “But why Wayne Enterprises?”

Mia bit her lip as she gave Lucius a knowing look that had the hairs on the back of his head rising in attention. “Wayne Enterprises has a long standing tradition of philanthropy. The previous CEO, Thomas Wayne was a very good man by all accounts. Even during the company’s darkest times, he cared more about his people and those of Gotham City than his own pocketbook. I would hope that his son would apply the same visionary and altruistic heart in his business dealings that his father employed. If not, then perhaps I might seek to do business elsewhere.”

Lucius sat there completely dumbfounded. This woman had clearly done her research and what was more important, she seemed to understand that Mr. Wayne was not your typical CEO that only cared about the bottom line. It made Lucius a bit wary to wonder if a woman as supremely intelligent as Miss Black seemed to be, might’ve figured out all on her own just what Mr. Wayne did in his spare time. The thought gave him pause.

“I would need to discuss this with Mr. Wayne.”

“Of course, please take whatever time you need. I’m staying at the Park Regent Building for the foreseeable future. My contact information is on the inside of the folder should you or Mr. Wayne have any questions.”

Lucius nodded and stood up, signaling the meeting was at a close. “I should have an answer for you within a week, Miss Black. Thank you for taking the time and coming here today.”

Mia shook the man’s hand and smiled softly. “Thank you for meeting with me Mr. Fox. Enjoy the rest of your afternoon.”

Lucius walked Miss Black to the elevator before making his way back to his office and calling his employer, who picked up on the first ring.

“Mr. Fox,” Bruce said firmly, “what can I do for you?”

“We have a situation Mr. Wayne....how soon can you get here to the offices?”

There was a brief pause on the phone. “I can be there within the hour.”

“I’ll see you then, Mr. Wayne.”

The line went dead as Lucius sat behind his desk, looking through Miss Black’s prospectus again....even more intrigued than before. He didn’t know if his gut was correct or not, but he owed it to his employer to make sure every concern was addressed before doing business with Miss Mia Black.

Bruce Wayne flew through the streets of Gotham in his Lamborghini, wondering just what it was that had Lucius so on edge. The tone of his voice had been worrisome, and that never boded well for Bruce or Batman. Since taking the mantle of Batman over two years ago, Bruce had managed to make Gotham a little bit safer, a little bit brighter. Things were slowly changing, crime was down and people seemed to be a bit more hopeful. The sacrifices he’d made had been challenging, his home being destroyed by the League of Shadows, Ra’s dying and Rachel walking away because she wasn’t sure how to deal with his alter ego........the toll had been tremendous.....but Bruce couldn’t help but remain hopeful that someday in the future, Gotham would no longer need the Batman.

Pulling into the underground garage at Wayne Enterprises, Bruce walked to his private elevator, scanned his thumbprint and then made his way quickly to the executive floor where Lucius was no doubt, pacing his office waiting for him to show.

When Bruce walked into Lucius’ office, the man was buried in notes and papers on his desk.....looking through something that had his rapt attention. When Bruce chuckled and cleared his throat, Lucius looked up with eyes that were filled with.........awe......as he gestured for Bruce to sit down.

After a few minutes, Lucius handed Bruce a few of the most important documents that he’d sussed out and watched as his employers eyes widened comically before he blew out an impressed whistle at what he was reading. After a few more moments, Bruce raised his eyes and locked them onto Lucius’ questioningly.

“Where did this come from?”

“I believe I might’ve mentioned last week that I had a meeting scheduled for today with a one Mia Black, Head of the Black Foundation. She brought that in for me to look at.”

Bruce sighed as he nodded a bit distractedly. “Yes, I do remember you mentioning it. I don’t know much about the woman in question, what were you able to learn about her background?”

Lucius sat back and watched his employer closely, knowing that what he was about to share would be a bit difficult for Mr. Wayne to believe........if he didn’t have the proof sitting in his hands.

“Mia Black, age 27. Born in London England, graduated with perfect A levels at the age of sixteen....attended Oxford and graduated with three undergraduate degrees in Applied Mathematics, Statistics and Medieval Studies by the age of 20. Earned her doctorate from Oxford three years later....a full three years early, in Industrial Mathematical Modeling. Started the Black Foundation at 24, net worth is somewhere in the 200-300 million pound range from what I’ve been able to ascertain. Father killed when she was a child, mother wasn’t in the picture as far as I could tell. Uncle was in prison until he died sometime in 1996. Raised by her godparents, who were killed in a car accident back in 1999. No other family.”

Bruce sat there completely stunned as he looked down at the paperwork in his hands. This woman, Mia Black was a veritable prodigy by all accounts. Her life seemed even more tragic than his, in some ways. He at least had known his parents, and they had loved him.....but this Mia Black had never had any of that and the thought was a sobering one. It was impressive that she’d managed to accomplish so much in her young life.

“Was she independently wealthy?”

Lucius shrugged. “Her inheritance left to her by her family was approximately 50 million pounds.....but she’s managed to turn that into a considerable fortune in the last few years. Wise investments, patented technology which you will see in her prospectus. It’s quite impressive.”

“Did she say why she came to us?”

Lucius nodded a bit warily. “She mentioned your father, Thomas. Stated that she’d done her research into how altruistic and philanthropic he’d been during the dark years. When I’d put the question to her about how she could make a fortune with this research on her own, her answer was quite surprising.”

Bruce raised an eyebrow, intrigued. “Which was?”

“That she had enough money and her only motivation was to use this to help people. Her exact words were, ‘I would hope his son would apply the same altruistic heart in his business dealings that his father employed. If not, I might seek to do business elsewhere.’ She was very convincing, and I have no reason to doubt her motivation. In fact, the conversation left me wondering just how clever and observant Miss Black truly is.”

Bruce’s eyes widened in shocked understanding. “You think she knows about my nocturnal activities?”

Lucius sighed deeply. “Perhaps, or she suspects it.”

Bruce nodded. “Do you think we need to be worried?”

Lucius thought for a moment before he shook his head slowly. “No, I don’t Mr. Wayne. I didn’t get the sense that Miss Black was a danger at all. If anything, she seemed almost impressed with Wayne Enterprises history of helping Gotham City. If she has made the connection, I doubt she would see your extracurricular activities as being a hindrance.”

Bruce sat back and stared out Lucius’ window, deep in thought. Perhaps it would be prudent to meet Miss Black himself. “Did she mention where she was staying?”

“Her address in Gotham is at the Park Regent. I will write down her contact information as well, are you planning on arranging a meeting?”

“I think it might be prudent under the circumstances. Don’t you?”

Lucius smirked and nodded. “That I do, Mr. Wayne......that I do.”

Chapter Text

Hermione didn’t have long to wait for Bruce Wayne to make his move.....it would seem that Lucius Fox was able to read between the lines well enough that he understood the correct undertone of their conversation. Three days after her meeting with Mr. Fox, she received a phone call from the man himself, requesting a dinner meeting at one of Gotham’s finest restaurants, which was also owned by the man in question.

Deciding to dress the part, noting that first impressions were important and she didn’t want to appear intimidated nor overconfident. The dress she chose, was a black Valentino that she’d purchased a few months ago. It was simple, but a bit on the daring side too. The skirt went to the just above the knee and had a subtle jaquard print while the top of the dress had three-quarter sleeves, was black velvet and the neckline plunged between her breasts to sit just below the bottom of her sternum. Her cleavage looked amazing in this dress, and it was classy, yet sexy.....everything she’d never felt in the skin of Hermione Granger, she embraced enthusiastically as Mia Black. A confident, sexy and brilliant woman.......

When she’d entered the restaurant and the Maitre D’ led her to the appointed table, she was taken aback momentarily at how handsome her dining companion was for the night. She’d noticed the appreciative stares from many of the men within the restaurant and it seemed her date did as well, as he stood up politely and greeted her, as his hazel eyes roved over her body, before meeting her eyes once again.

“Miss Black?”

Mia nodded. “Mr. Wayne.”

Bruce moved over and pulled her seat out, and Hermione could feel the heat from his body radiating behind her, as well as his cologne, which was simply mouth-watering.

Taking a fortifying breath, Hermione sat down elegantly as she watched Bruce Wayne take his seat across from her, his eyes scrutinizing and calculating as he gave her the once over. Deciding offense would be the best defense, Hermione smiled politely before she spoke. “I must admit, I was a bit surprised to hear from you so soon, Mr. Wayne. Mr. Fox indicated that it would be at least a week before you’d both had a chance to look over my prospectus.”

Bruce sat back and took in the beautiful English woman before him. She was simply stunning.....her hair was long, flowing and smelled fantastic, her body was sinful and her eyes held the deepest intelligence he’d ever seen. He couldn’t help but be instantly intrigued.

“We were both very impressed with your work, Miss Black. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Lucius as excited about a prospectus in all the years I’ve known him.”

Hermione smiled softly at the compliment. “Well, my work is my passion so I’m pleased he was impressed.”

Bruce smiled in return, but his eyes remained guarded. “Lucius mentioned this was more of a philanthropic effort for you, and while I admire the sentiment, I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t more to your interest in working with Wayne Enterprises?”

Here we go.....smirked Hermione inwardly. “I’ve done my research on your company, I’ll admit. I was most impressed with your father’s efforts during the economic downturn when he was CEO. It was my understanding he was a medical doctor as well?”

Bruce nodded once, unsure of where she was going with this.

“Part of my research has some medical components to it....genomic statistical analysis and so forth. I’ve developed my own statistical algorithm that looks primarily into medical mathematical modeling as a means of developing new treatments for various diseases. Of course it’s still in the development phase, but should it prove useful it could greatly improve the quality of life for many. Your father seemed like his heart was in the right place........so I had hoped that might extend to his son as well.”

Bruce stared at the English woman, who radiated nothing but calm sincerity. It was a bit too good to be true however.....and he kept wondering what the catch was.

“Thank you for those kind words about my father.” Bruce offered quietly. “But that being said, I still feel as if there’s more to this than what you’re sharing with me.”

“Everyone has their own personal motivations for why they choose to do certain things Mr. Wayne. I’d imagine you’re no different than your father in that regard. You’ve done some traveling I’d assume, seeing as you were gone from Gotham for seven years......did you find what you were looking for?”

Bruce’s gaze narrowed a bit, unsure of exactly where this conversation was going. “You’ve done your research, Miss Black....Perhaps you might have an answer to your own question already formed?”

Hermione smiled genuinely. “Not as such......circumstances change as does a person’s motivations...and sometimes we end up serving something far greater than ourselves in the process. I’d imagine being whom you are, Mr. Wayne......that you’ve found that to be true more often than not.”

Bruce smirked at how intelligent this woman was.....she’d just confirmed without actually coming out and saying it, that she suspected he was Batman. “You seem to be very well informed.”

Hermione shrugged elegantly. “I’m highly observant......which sometimes can be both a blessing and a curse.”

Bruce grinned. “I’m sure being above average intelligence doesn’t hurt either?”

Hermione laughed a musical sound that had Bruce’s eyes widening in admiration. “Thank you for the lovely compliment, Mr. Wayne. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed if I neither confirm nor deny that supposition as it would be a bit unseemly to do so.”

This got a firm chuckle from Gotham’s Prince as his eyes warmed a bit at their excellent repartee. “Well, Miss Black, I wouldn’t want to put you on the spot.”

“At least not intentionally, yes?”

Bruce shook his head in amusement. “Are you always two steps ahead of everyone else?”

Hermione’s smile was radiant and Bruce felt his breath hitch at how beautiful she looked with her eyes sparkling and her smile blinding him to all but her. “I’m not sure we are even playing the same game, Mr. Wayne? All these double entendre’s and subtle nuances do make the conversation more interesting to be sure.....I’m just not sure what the endgame is?”

“Aren’t you?”

Hermione’s tilted her head at the hit. “I’m a simple girl, Mr. Wayne. Perhaps you’re ascribing characteristics to myself that aren’t quite in evidence yet.”

“I doubt there is anything simple about you Miss Black. In fact, I’d stake my entire fortune on that fact.”

“Well, please don’t do that on my account. I’ve never been a gambler, at least not with anyone’s life but my own.”

This comment had Bruce sitting up and leaning forward in his seat with interest. “Are you a bit of an adrenaline junkie?”

The smirk that bloomed on Mia Black’s face was positively sinful as her eyes darkened at the question. She didn’t answer however, and Bruce now found himself painfully intrigued.

“I thought you were going to feed me, Mr. Wayne? And as much as I’m enjoying our excellent conversation, I understand they have an divine Beouf de Rue here, that I’m simply dying to try.”

Bruce bowed his head in acknowledgment. “Of course, far be it for me to leave a lady wanting.”

Hermione’s bit her lip seductively and watched as Bruce’s eyes scope-locked onto her lips as his gaze darkened in response. “I sincerely doubt that is one of your shortcomings, Mr. Wayne.”

Bruce grinned in a predatory way. “And what shortcomings would you ascribe to a man such as myself, Miss Black?”

Hermione’s gaze locked with his as she smirked wickedly. “I’d imagine you’re interests are quite nocturnal in nature....which probably doesn’t leave much time for a proper social life?”

Bruce’s eyes and features darkened dangerously, which caused Hermione’s heart rate to double as she swallowed at how completely captivating he looked in that moment. Bruce’s hazel eyes locked onto hers and they were positively blazing. “You seem to have me at a disadvantage, Miss Black.”

“I’m sorry if you feel that way Mr. Wayne. I’m in no way trying to make you feel uncomfortable. On the contrary, I admire your desire to make Gotham safer......it was the main reason I came to your company with my prospectus. I would rather be upfront with you, and I’d thought you’d prefer that as well, or am I wrong in that assumption?”

Bruce’s body relaxed a bit as he thought over Miss Black’s words before he nodded his head once. “No, I suppose it does neither of us any credit to pretend. Lucius mentioned to me that you might be a bit more informed about certain aspects of my life......so I probably shouldn’t be surprised.”

“But you are?”

Bruce nodded again in acquiescence. “I am.”

“Please be assured that whatever level of trust you place in me will not be taken lightly. We all have a past, and in some cases it can serve to complicate our present. We both have suffered tremendous loss, my only motivation is to make sure others don’t have to needlessly suffer a similar fate. If I can be an agent of change, at least in my own way, then why wouldn’t I do all I can to ensure a better future for someone else?”

Bruce was taken aback by Miss Black’s words. He didn’t think it was possible to find someone so completely devoted to helping others, but here was a woman willing to do just that.....if she was to be believed. As Bruce looked into the golden amber eyes across from him he was floored to see the raw pain and haunted quality of the eyes staring back at him.

“And what about your future, Miss Black?”

“I do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, but try and concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

Bruce couldn’t help but be impressed by the sentiment as he smiled softly. “Buddha.”

Hermione nodded. “Eastern teachings are quite simplistic in their beauty. I did a bit of traveling a few years ago throughout Nepal, Tibet and Kashmir. The people there are lovely people who lead very minimalistic lives.....it was actually quite refreshing. They stay in the moment, are ever present to each other and how they look at life. It was a good place to disappear for a while and recalculate my life, such as it is. I find that despite my wealth, there is little value in all the intrinsic nonsense that comes with it. Other than helping others.”

If Bruce had been impressed before, he was doubly so now. “Tapā'īṁ dhērai prabhāvaśālī hunuhuncha.” (You are quite impressive)

Hermione smiled widely. “Tyō tapā'īnlā'ī dhērai bhanna kō lāgī cha.” (That is very kind of you to say so)

Bruce smiled genuinely as their waiter came over and took their orders. The conversation flowed from there, and Bruce had to admit......Mia Black was the most interesting person he’d ever met. She was witty, intelligent, a bit sarcastic, humble, gracious and kind to a fault. He couldn’t help but wonder if she was seeing anyone romantically, but unsure if it was wise to mix business with pleasure, despite very much wanting to.

When dessert was finally served, Mia moaned at how decadent the chocolate torte was and when she looked up into Bruce’s hazel eyes, they were staring back at her with undisguised lust. “Good?” He smirked teasingly.

“Delicious.” She winked back playfully. “I don’t believe I’ve indulged in anything so decadent in quite some time.”

Bruce felt himself respond to the sultry words, as he discreetly adjusted himself. “That’s a shame, Miss Black........a woman such as yourself should enjoy life’s simple pleasures.”

The musical laugh was back, and Bruce couldn’t help but respond to it with a chuckle of his own before heated amber eyes caught his in challenge. “What makes you think my pleasures are simple ones, Mr. Wayne?”

Bruce visibly swallowed at the look Miss Black was sending his way. “Then I would ask if you have someone in your life to indulge with, Miss Black?”

Hermione smiled softly as she shook her head in the negative. “Alas, I’m unattached. Perhaps as we get to know each other better, you might afford me an introduction to someone who might help me in that regard?”

Okay, now she was teasing him and baiting him too......not one to back down from a challenge, Bruce sat forward a bit in his seat as his eyes bored into the beauty across from him. “I’m sure you’ll find that unnecessary, Miss Black.”

“And why is that, Mr. Wayne?”

“Because if anyone is going to indulge in you, I’d prefer it was me.”

Hermione’s breath caught at the fierce, almost possessive look in Bruce Wayne’s eyes. “Do you often mix business with pleasure, Mr. Wayne.”

“Never, Miss Black.....but sometimes exceptions have to be made.”

Hermione smiled seductively in response. “So, I take that to mean we will be working together?”

Bruce chuckled deeply before taking a sip of his coffee. “As if that was ever in doubt, and since we are going to be spending time getting to know each other, please call me Bruce.”

“Mia, then.”

“Mia....” Bruce said the name huskily as it rolled off his tongue in pleasure, not missing the subtle shiver of the woman across from him.....clearly as affected by him as he was by her.

“I want to thank you for a lovely dinner, Bruce.”

“It was my pleasure, Mia. Perhaps you might allow me to take you out again tomorrow evening?”

Mia’s smile was playful as she nodded. “I would like that very much.”

Chapter Text

As it turned out, the next evening had been even more stimulating and engaging than the previous night, so much so, that the couple had closed the restaurant down. It was a bit after midnight when Bruce finally got Mia back to her apartment, and despite very much wanting to follow her upstairs and have his way with her, he had a standing appointment that couldn’t be put off.

When Bruce went to say goodbye, Mia reached into her purse and handed him a small box, which he took with a questioning look.

“What is this? Isn’t it a bit early to be giving gifts Mia?”

Mia laughed in the way that Bruce was beginning to realize he simply adored, as she shook her head in exasperation at him. “This is not that kind of gift Bruce. Inside is a concoction of my own creation in a way. I’d imagine you might need it from time to time.”

“And what is it?”

“It’s a liquid that can be applied to any wound and it will close it instantly. I would imagine it might come in handy at some point?”

Bruce looked a bit dubiously at the box before he opened it and saw a small vial with a medicine drop stopper. His gaze was wary, so Hermione grabbed a knife out of her bag and before he could stop her, she cut across her palm.....blood pooling.....but she hadn’t flinched at all, and Bruce was shocked still.

Taking the dropper, Hermione placed a couple drops onto her skin and the wound smoked and started to close immediately. Bruce grabbed her hand with his and dabbed at the wound with his handkerchief, astonished by what he was seeing.....the wound was completely closed and looked to be days old.

“How?”

Mia smiled softly. “It’s my own creation, which I’m not at liberty to share. But I thought you might need it, and it would make me feel better if you had it. It can’t be reversed engineered however....”

Bruce nodded thoughtfully. “What do you call it?”

“I don’t really have a name for it actually. I suppose I should think of one though.”

Bruce was floored. In all his years he’d never seen anything like this. It was almost.......magic. The thought made him smile and chuckle.

“Penny for your thoughts?” Mia said quietly.

Bruce’s eyes caught hers as he fiddled with the box. “I was just thinking that it’s almost like magic.”

Mia’s tinkling laugh rang through the car as her eyes blazed with amusement and Bruce couldn’t help but smile fondly at the woman. “I suppose it might seem that way. Please take it and be careful.”

Bruce nodded in thanks and when Mia made to step out of his car, he reached for her hand, placing a heated kiss to the back of her knuckles in gratitude. “Will I see you tomorrow?”

Mia smiled shyly. “I will be doing some research for the next few days at MIT. But I should be back by Saturday if all goes well.”

“Can I see you Saturday evening?”

“If you like?”

“Trust me Mia, I’d very much like to spend time with you Saturday evening. Any thoughts on what you would like to do?”

Mia tilted her head in contemplation. “Well, I was planning on seeing the Opera soon, I was classically trained as a child and thought about singing professionally at one point.....but circumstances such as they were, ended that dream. I hear Gotham has an excellent company, but I would completely understand if you preferred to do something else.”

Bruce shook his head, finding himself even more impressed with the beautiful woman in front of him. “You were trained classically? Just voice?”

Mia shook her head. “No, I also played the Piano and the Violin as a child.”

Shaking his head in amazement, Bruce couldn’t help but stare at Mia in awe. “What other hidden talents do you have Mia?”

Shrugging in embarrassment, Mia’s cheeks colored enticingly as she bit her lip. “Well......I do have an affinity for languages I suppose. But it’s more of a hobby, truly.”

Bruce sat back in his car seat and raised an eyebrow in question, watching Mia’s face darken even further. “How many languages can you speak?”

Mia sighed. “Fourteen.”

Bruce gasped in shock. “I’m sorry?”

“It’s not really as impressive as it sounds. I studied Medieval History in school as I’m sure you’re aware. Ancient languages, such as Demotic, Harratic, Egyptian, Sumerian and Etruscan to name a few. I also speak Latin and Ancient Greek as well. Common tongue languages are Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Nepalese, Mandarin and Aramaic.”

Shaking his head in wonder, Bruce just sat there completely dumbfounded. “Is there anything else you’d like to share? I’m finding myself feeling quite inadequate at the moment.”

Mia’s head tilted down in what Bruce could only think of was embarrassed shame...... “No, I don’t suppose so....I should leave you for the evening, be safe out there Bruce.”

Reaching for Mia’s hand, Bruce squeezed it in reassurance. “Don’t be embarrassed, please. If I’ve offended you, that was simply not my intention.”

Mia shrugged. “I’m not offended. It just serves to remind me how much of my life I’ve spent alone. I had a very close friend whom I lost a number of years ago.....I don’t make friends easily but Harry was never dismissive of my intellect.”

“He sounds like a good man.”

Mia nodded, her eyes showing that haunted quality Bruce had seen last night. “He was the best person I’ve ever known.” Mia smiled softly but it didn’t reach her eyes. “Be careful out there, Bruce.”

Bruce nodded as he leant over and kissed Mia’s left cheek while his right hand cupped her other cheek softly. “I always am.”

The doorman came over and helped Mia out of the car, giving her an appreciative once over that had Bruce glaring at the man in warning. “Goodnight Mia.”

“Goodnight Bruce.” The words were soft as she turned and made her way into her building, leaving Bruce staring after her for a moment until the doorman returned to shut his car door.

“Is there anything else you needed Mr. Wayne?” The doorman asked politely.

“This building is well guarded?”

“Yes Mr. Wayne.....the elevators to the upper floors are all scanned via facial recognition. There are three guards on duty in the daytime and four at night. Miss Black is very well protected, Sir.”

Bruce nodded, handing the man a couple C Notes for his trouble. “Thank you......Quinton?”

“Yes Mr. Wayne.”

“Quinton, please let the owner of the building know I wish to speak with him as soon as it’s convenient.”

“The owner is Miss Black, Sir. She bought the building about a month ago.”

Bruce sat back and smirked before he nodded in understanding. “Then I’m sure all is well in hand. Thank you again Quinton, have a pleasant evening.”

“You too Mr. Wayne.”

As Bruce drove away and back to his Penthouse, he went over the entire evening again in his mind. Mia was truly astonishing in so many ways. Her intellect was unparalleled, her beauty was disarming.......every man in the restaurant had watched her when she’d walked in on his arm. The dress she had worn tonight doing absolutely nothing to hide her curvaceous figure.....she reminded him of a Greek Goddess with her long flowing curly hair, her light olive complexion, the small smattering of freckles on the bridge of her nose only adding to the allure. Her mouth was lush and tempting, the sweet smell of her perfume had his mouth watering the entire night and her skin was soft as silk. And then there was her legs........for a woman of barely mid-five feet.......Mia Black had legs for days........they were supple, lush, firm and her ass was a thing boyhood wet dreams were made of. Even her breasts, which were a bit smaller than he’d normally preferred, seemed to be a perfect handful and didn’t need a bra to push them up at all. Adjusting himself and breathing out heavily through his nose, Bruce had to wonder just how long he could hold out.......he wanted her.....that much was clear to him......but beyond that, he just wasn’t sure where that left him. He didn’t want to lead Mia Black on......she’d been through more than her fair share of heartache and his heart......well, there was Rachel and that complicated things more than he’d like to admit.

As he pulled into his Penthouse, he made his his way up his private elevator to go get changed into some street clothes, before he headed down to the docks and out patrolling for the night.

When Bruce walked out of the elevator, he was immediately welcomed home by Alfred.

“Good Evening, Master Wayne.......did you have a good time on your date this evening?”

Bruce gave Alfred an indulgent look as he nodded his head in the affirmative. “I did.....Mia Black is an extraordinary woman.”

Alfred smiled inwardly as he noticed the faraway look on his ward’s face. “Well, it is good seeing you enjoy yourself.”

Bruce nodded a bit distractedly before he pulled out the small box that Mia had given him earlier that evening. “She gifted me with a concoction of her own creation. If I hadn’t seen what it could do with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it.”

Alfred walked a bit closer and took a good look at the small bottle. “It looks to be some kind of medicine?”

Bruce shrugged as he set the bottle down on the table. The bottle was dark, so whatever the concoction inside was, it most likely didn’t do well in light....whether it was natural or artificial Bruce couldn’t say for sure.....but he was touched by her concern for his well being. Taking out a small knife from the kitchen, Alfred watched stunned as Master Wayne cut himself rather deeply on his forearm and then placed a few small drops of the medicine.....it smoked a bit and then the wound immediately ‘healed’ and closed. Alfred’s gasp of surprise had Bruce nodding in turn.

“That was my reaction as well. When Lucius had told me how accomplished Mia Black was, he’d left out a few things. I’m pretty sure the term ‘genius’ doesn’t even adequately offer a true representation of her intellect. She’s surprisingly kind and humble for someone so accomplished.”

Alfred nodded, staring at the barely there wound on his employer’s arm. “I’m sure there’s a story there Master Wayne. But in any case, that is a very useful, and dare I say.......valuable gift to give someone she barely knows.”

Bruce sighed as he took the medicine bottle and put it back into his pocket, heading upstairs with Alfred at his heels. “Mia told me tonight to be careful. She is also the new owner of the Park Regent Building as of a month ago. The building is fairly well guarded according to the doorman. I can’t help but wonder what it is she’s after.”

Alfred took Master Wayne’s dress jacket and moved into the closet to hang it up. “Do you not trust in her motivations, Master Wayne?”

Sighing softly, Bruce couldn’t help but remember the haunted look in Mia’s eyes as she talked about her friend Harry. “No, it’s not that Alfred. I just feel like I’m missing a vital piece of information where Mia is concerned.”

“Perhaps as you take the time to get to know her, you might find that she’ll open up to you on her own. She is aware of your nocturnal activities and yet has kept that information confidential. Perhaps you might give her the benefit of the doubt?”

Bruce nodded as he dressed in a pair of jeans and t-shirt.....grabbing his motorcycle boots and leather jacket, he made his way to the elevator which led back down to the garage so he could head out to the docks. “I received intel that there’s a meeting going down tonight with some of Gambol’s men......I need to get there soon. I’ll see you in the morning Alfred.”

“Take care of yourself Master Wayne.”

“Always do.” Bruce smiled as he made his way out into Gotham for the night.

Chapter Text

The rest of the week had moved rather slow for Bruce’s liking, as he’d found his thoughts often wandering back to Mia Black. He had managed to procure tickets for the Opera on Saturday evening and after a quick text on Friday night, confirming her time at MIT had gone well and she would be back in Gotham Saturday morning, plans were made for Bruce fo pick up Mia for the Opera at half past six o’clock for drinks and then the Opera which started at half past seven. Bruce purposely left the rest of the evening open, hoping that perhaps he might receive an invitation to Mia’s place after.

When Alfred pulled up to Mia’s building, the same doorman opened the door for him and he made his way inside. The largest of the guards nodded in his direction before he gestured to the elevator at the farthest end of the hall.

“Miss Black is expecting you, Mr. Wayne. When you enter the elevator there is a facial scanner on the right. Place your right thumb in the slot under the scanner and then wait until the light on the display turns green and press number 28....it will take you directly to her apartment on the top floor.”

Bruce nodded once and made his way to the elevator, followed the directions and was soon let out into a spacious apartment that was tastefully decorated. He was quickly met by a young Asian woman, who looked to be no older than Mia was. She came over and bowed politely.

“Mr. Wayne, please allow me to introduce myself. I am Jian Cheng and am Miss Black’s personal assistant. She will be down momentarily, and asked me to offer you any refreshment while you are waiting.”

Bruce smiled at the young woman. “I am fine, Miss Cheng....but thank you for the hospitality. If I’m not being too forward, how long have you worked for Miss Black?”

Jian’s face was a masque of feigned politeness as she said simply. “Almost three years now. I met Miss Black in Hong Kong and she offered the position to me.”

Bruce nodded. “Mia did mention she’d spent some time abroad in the East. I’ve spent a few years traveling there myself.”

“The East has many charms to recommend it, and many that do not. I am fortunate to be working for Miss Black. She is an exceptional woman.”

The last words were said with a bow and then Miss Cheng excused herself, moving up a set of stairs....probably to let her employer know that Bruce had arrived and was waiting.

It wasn’t long before Bruce heard someone moving around upstairs and when his eyes lifted, his breath caught at the exquisite vision that was walking down the staircase towards him. He had thought over the past few days that he’d imagined just how lovely Mia was....but looking at her now.....she was utterly breathtaking and he could feel his own body coil in anticipation at her proximity.

The dress she had chosen for the evening was a deep emerald green, that shimmered when she walked. The dress had a slit up the center, which showed off her gorgeous legs to perfection. The top of the dress was haltered, with a small keyhole drop that showed just a hint of her cleavage. Adorned around her wrist was a silver and emerald snake-like bangle that slithered up her arm....its fangs looked to be biting into her flesh almost teasingly. Her shoes were silver stilettos that had a snake wrapped around the back of the ankle and emerald eyes glinting on its small head. Her hair was long and flowing in the back, but pulled away from her face and he could make out a pair of studded tear-drop emerald earrings.

Bruce cleared his throat as he moved to intercept Mia as she walked effortlessly down the last few steps. Reaching for her hand, Bruce placed a heated kiss on the back of her knuckles before speaking. “You look exquisite.”

Mia blushed and her eyes fluttered enticingly as she bit her lip. “Thank you Bruce.....you look very handsome this evening as well.”

Bruce smirked devilishly as his eyes raked down Mia’s form in appreciation. “If I didn’t know better Miss Black, I’d think you were deliberately trying to test my resolve and good manners.”

“In what way, Mr. Wayne?”

Bruce chuckled. “In every way.” His eyes burned into hers and Hermione could feel the blush from her cheeks spread down towards her chest.

“I would think a man of your obvious training, not to mention position would have a firmer handle on his self control?”

Bruce stepped in a bit closer, inhaling Mia’s sweet perfume....their chests almost touching as he wrapped his arm around her waist and brought her flush with his body....letting Mia feel just how in control he was at the moment. He delighted in seeing her eyes widen and her cheeks pinken an even a more enticing shade of color as her golden amber eyes stared into his hazel ones that were darkened in desire.

“I thought we had an Opera to attend? And here I was so looking forward to it.” Mia whispered teasingly.

Bruce cocked an eyebrow in challenge and then said deeply, watching her body shiver at the tone, “And afterwards?”

Mia giggled, causing Bruce’s face to break out into a naughty grin. “Why Mr. Wayne....this is only our second official date, if I’m not mistaken. Do I strike you as the type of woman to succumb to her baser proclivities after only two dates?”

Bruce’s chest rumbled and his nostrils flared in want at Mia’s provocative words. “I’d be very interested in learning more about your baser proclivities Miss Black. Perhaps you might be open to allowing me the pleasure of learning all of them?”

This did garner a genuine laugh from Mia and Bruce couldn’t help his response to her mirth....he simply adored her laugh....it was musical and inspired a feeling of happiness from within his chest.

“You’re simply incorrigible Mr. Wayne....but I suppose I can take it under advisement. Patience is a virtue, or so I’ve been told.”

Bruce nodded and then leant down to place the softest of kisses on Mia’s succulent lips, feeling her respond instantly as he gently prodded them, but never going deeper. After a moment he pulled back and observed the way in which Mia’s face glowed from his attentions. “I do believe I have sufficient patience Mia......so therefore I’ll allow you to be my guide.”

Mia’s eyes locked with his and he could see them shimmer with amusement and desire. “Hmmmm....and here I thought you were the kind of man who preferred taking control, or was I wrong in that assumption?”

Bruce’s face darkened as his smile turned a bit predatory. “I think you’ll find that I enjoy giving as well as receiving. Sometimes both avenues can be highly pleasurable.”

“Good to know......I look forward to exploring, as I am a huge fan of research.”

Bruce chuckled warmly and took Mia’s hand into the crook of his arm, as she reached for her wrap and bag with her other hand. Together they made their way down to Alfred, who was waiting patiently by the curb. The older man’s eyes widened with appreciation at the stunning woman on Master Wayne’s arm as the two make their way out of the building.

When they’d reached the car, Bruce introduced Mia to Alfred, and he was pleasantly surprised when Mia smiled genuinely at his Butler and adoptive father. “It is an honor to meet you Mr. Pennyworth. It’s not often I come across a fellow countryman on my travels.”

Alfred bowed. “I haven’t been back across the pond in some time, Miss Black, but there are some things I miss.”

Mia nodded. “I admit, I feel that way too. I was always a huge fan of the West End growing up.....and I do miss the quality of the theatre life there.”

Alfred smiled genuinely. “I was trained as an actor before entering the military.”

Mia’s eyes widened in appreciation, before they took on a hint of mischievousness. “I’m sure that must be a useful tool when working for Mr. Wayne.” Her wink and smile caused Alfred to chuckle deeply while Bruce just gave her an incredulous look.

“If you both are done joking at my expense, I do believe we have a performance to get to?”

“Of course Master Wayne.”

Alfred held the door open for his charge and date, before settling himself back into the drivers seat and heading out to the Opera House.

Bruce couldn’t help but shake his head at how Mia had completely won over his guardian, and his face must’ve shown his amusement because Mia’s eyes were fixated on his and her smile was playful.

“I think you’ve just won over Alfred, not an easy thing to do mind you.”

Mia’s eyes were glistening in the low light of the car as they moved through the streets of Gotham. “I feel as if I should perhaps, apologize?”

“But where would the fun in that be, right?”

“Well, there is that too.” Mia’s smile lit up her face. “He seems like a good man.”

Bruce nodded. “He’s the best man I’ve ever known......outside my father of course. I’m lucky to have him looking out for me.”

“It’s good to have family, in whatever capacity that entails.”

“What about you Mia, do you have any family?”

Mia shook her head. “No....I’ve lost all my family along the way. I have a few friends in England I still keep in touch with, but after Harry died, there didn’t seem any reason to stay in England long term. I do miss it on occasion and I do have a few friends there.....but as time goes by, I’ve found that helping others gives me a sense of purpose..... so that is what I’ve chosen to focus on. I can’t control the rest.”

Bruce reached for Mia’s hand and squeezed it within his own. “I can appreciate that sentiment as I share the same conviction.”

Mia’s hand returned the gesture. “I know, and I truly believe what you’re doing is making a difference. Sometimes the right choice isn’t always the easy choice.”

“No it isn’t, but it is the necessary choice.”

Mia’s face took on a serious edge. “Do what’s necessary.”

Bruce turned and gave Mia a startled look. “Yes.....I’ve heard that before.”

Mia nodded. “I’d guessed that you might’ve in your travels. I admit, my knowledge of such things was only peripheral, and I’ve never espoused to understanding certain eastern teachings. But I wasn’t ignorant of them during my time abroad.”

“And just what was your experience?”

Mia sighed softly as her face took on a faraway look. “I was in Kashmir for a few months, and as I’m sure you’re aware, the country is quite war-torn between their neighboring countries. There were several factions trying to gain a foothold into the country.....but there was one who sought to help the people......if a bit misguidedly. I met a man in my travels, he approached me and asked me to join him.....I thanked him for his offer but refused.......it wasn’t something I could commit to under the circumstances. It’s my understanding this man was killed a few years back.......he has a daughter who is quite formidable in her own right and was excommunicated from her Father’s organization years ago. I’ve kept tabs on her......she goes by the name of Miranda Tate.”

Bruce sat back in shock as Mia shared this piece of information with him, but one thing kept entering his mind. “Why would this man seek to recruit you?”

Mia’s gaze met his and Bruce was floored by the hardened look behind her amber eyes. “He had heard of me, don’t ask me how.....he never spoke of it. My past is complicated Bruce....more than you can possibly imagine. I’ve seen things and survived things that somedays I wish I hadn’t. How Ra’s was able to find me, I have no idea.”

Bruce shook his head in exasperation and growled out angrily, “You didn’t see fit to share this before?”

Mia turned and faced him, her eyes filled with purpose and her body language coiled like a warriors.......the fierceness took Bruce aback momentarily. “Trust is a two way street. Don’t insult my intelligence by thinking that in the course of this understanding we have, that there aren’t going to be times when you keep things close to the vest. When I was younger, I was taught quite voraciously by an old mentor that things needed to be done for ‘the greater good’ which I’d learned the hard way, was mostly a load of rubbish. Basing your own morality on someone’s else’s faulty one, is foolish at best; but using that knowledge to affect change in a positive way is far preferable. I’ve never forgotten the lessons that were taught to me, and even so....many don’t share that sentiment. Entrenched in their own sense of self-superiority they often fail to do what’s right, only what’s expedient. Prejudice and ignorance is a hard pill to swallow....yet the world is rife with it. I’m telling you now....if that isn’t good enough for you, then I suggest you have Alfred turn this car around and we can call it an evening.”

Bruce didn’t know how to respond immediately, but he couldn’t help but be impressed with Mia’s impassioned speech. He’d known she was complicated, but the fact that Ra’s had tried to recruit her and that she’d turned him down was beyond impressive. Not wanting to waste words, he reached for her gently by the back of her head and brought his lips to hers in a searching kiss, which she responded to without hesitation. When her body relaxed completely within his embrace, he pulled back minutely and placed his forehead against hers in submission.

“I’m sorry if that came out wrong,” Bruce said quietly, but firmly, “You are right, we are only just getting to know each other and I thank you for your honesty. It means more to me than I can say. I’m impressed beyond words that you turned Ra’s down.....I don’t imagine he was pleased with that.”

Mia sighed softly as her eyes opened and held his in understanding. “No, he wasn’t....but he let it be and for that I was grateful. It’s been a very long time for me....being with someone and having to open myself up. I don’t imagine it’s any easier for you. I don’t expect you to share everything with me.....but just be honest with the things you do share. Don’t lie to me....because it’s the only thing I won’t be able to forgive you for.”

Bruce nodded. “Agreed. Now I would like to spend the rest of this evening enjoying ourselves and if you’re agreeable, I would very much like to take you back to your place and spend some quality time with you.......enjoying your luscious mouth a bit more.”

Mia blushed deeply. “So you want to spend a few hours snogging me silly?”

Bruce chuckled and nodded again. “That’s the plan.”

Mia lifted her lips and Bruce took advantage of the unspoken request before pulling back as they’d reached their destination. Mia moved over and whispered into Bruce’s ear just as they were getting out of the car, “That sounds like a excellent plan, Mr. Wayne.”

Chapter Text

In the months that followed their date to the Opera and the heated snogging session back at Mia’s apartment which lasted most of the night......Bruce Wayne and Mia Black had become a couple. They were discreet, for the most part......and the press thankfully hadn’t picked up on the fact that the two were an item, which Mia was grateful for. She had started working at Wayne Enterprises in earnest and Lucius had given her an office on the executive floor, as well as access to the underground Applied Sciences area, where most of Bruce’s gadgets were located, along with several various prototypes that Mia found to be quite impressive.

She engineered a computer station in the dungeon as she had grown fond of calling it and with Lucius’ expertise, was able to organize a more streamlined computerized database with the help of Wayne Technologies. It was busy work, and she was often in her offices from early morning until late evening, where Bruce often found her working away and forcing her to come have dinner with him.

Bruce had been overwhelmed by Mia’s work ethic. He could now understand why she was so accomplished. Her ability to collate and disseminate information was staggering and he’d realized early on that she had a photographic memory. Her mind was like a highly efficient computer and she could see patterns and solutions so quickly, it was astonishing and arousing in equal measure.

After their first night of kissing, Bruce had taken it upon himself to make time for them both at least a few times a week to go on proper dates. He’d realized after a couple months that he was actually courting the woman, and the thought gave him pause. He hadn’t thought about Rachel at all during that time, and while she had always been a living presence in the back of his mind, the more he got to know Mia, the less he found himself thinking about Rachel. It was disconcerting and Bruce wasn’t sure what to do with that realization.

Bruce hadn’t had sex with Mia yet, and true to her word......she was cautious in taking their relationship to the next level and in truth, he was as well. Bruce, was a still going out most nights as Batman, and that had been his primary focus....although he did have a date with Mia later on this evening, as they were going to the opening night of the Moscow Ballet together.

When he’d arrived at her apartment precisely at six, she was busy talking with her assistant and Bruce noticed she had a file in her hands. They were talking in Mandarin, and Bruce could pick out a few words here and there, but his language skills weren’t nearly as impressive as Mia’s.

When the meeting was over, Mia made her way over to him and gave him a lingering kiss hello. “You look very handsome this evening Mr. Wayne.”

Bruce grinned at the compliment. “And you look ravishing as always, Miss Black. Is everything alright, I could only make out bits of your conversation.”

Mia took his hand and moved them over to the couch, and then handed Bruce the folder that was in her other hand.

“I thought you’d might like to take a look at this. It’s information I’ve been gathering for a while now and I think you’ll see why.”

Bruce opened the folder and read through the contents, his eyebrows rising in interest as he shook his head in wonder. “Where did you get this information?”

Mia smiled softly. “I have contacts in Hong Kong. Jian’s family is fairly well connected and her brother was approached not too long ago by Mr. Lau....who as you can see, is the CEO of Lau Security Investments in Hong Kong. He is also the main money launderer for Gotham’s mob bosses. They have several banks in Gotham that they launder their money through, but I wasn’t able to get that information. I thought perhaps you might be able to figure out how to do so, in your spare time?”

Bruce leaned forward and gave Mia a heated kiss on the lips in gratitude. “You’re amazing, you know that right?”

“Perhaps I’m just good at research.....but thank you for the lovely compliment.”

“You’re very welcome, and you do look especially beautiful this evening.”

Mia shrugged. “It’s amazing what a nice dress and a bit of makeup can do.”

Bruce smiled softly as he pulled Mia into his lap and tilted her head up to his so their gazes met. “You are so humble, and it’s quite endearing.....but know this Mia Black.....that you are extraordinary in every way and I’m a damn lucky man to have you on my arm.”

Mia blushed and dropped her head down into Bruce’s shoulder in embarrassment while she sighed in pleasure. “You’re making it very hard for me to resist your charms.”

Bruce chuckled deeply. “Then don’t.....you won’t find me complaining at all.”

Mia’s eyes were darkened in desire as she looked back up and caught Bruce’s stare. “Stay tonight?”

Bruce’s breath hitched in surprise before he smiled in that sexy way of his. “There’s nothing in this world that would keep me from spending the night with you tonight.”

Mia’s smile was blinding as her eyes radiated that blissful warmth that Bruce had come to adore. “Okay.”

Nodding in confirmation, Bruce gently lifted Mia up and together they made their way out to Bruce’s car where Alfred was waiting.

“Good evening Miss Black.” Alfred offered politely as he opened the door.

“Hello Alfred, it is lovely to see you again, as always.”

“The pleasure is all mine, I assure you.”

Mia smiled as Bruce helped her into the back of his car and then got in himself, wrapping Mia into his embrace as Alfred pulled away from the curb. With Mia’s head resting on his shoulder, Bruce just took his time inhaling her sweet scent that calmed him in ways he was just beginning to appreciate.

When they’d reached the Ballet, there were a few photographers taking pictures of the people walking in. When Alfred opened the door for Bruce, the flashes started going off in earnest as soon as Mia appeared by his side. Questions were being asked in a barrage while Bruce led Mia into the entrance to the amphitheater, where they were greeted by one of the attendants who took their tickets and led them both into a private VIP area with a few other people.

Bruce escorted Mia over to the bar, and grabbed a champagne glass for each of them, handing one to Mia who took it with a soft, ‘thank you,’ before they moved over towards a couple that Bruce seemed familiar with.

“Doug, it’s good to see you this evening.”

The man Doug, shook Bruce’s hand firmly. “It’s good to see you as well Bruce. You remember my wife Gwendolyn.”

“Of course, it’s lovely to see you again.” Bruce offered as he kissed both of Gwendolyn’s cheeks in greeting. “May I introduce you both to my lovely date, Miss Mia Black. Mia this is Douglas Fredericks and his wife Gwendolyn. Doug is on my Board at Wayne Enterprises and is an old family friend.”

Mia smiled graciously. “It is lovely to meet you both.”

Doug kissed the woman’s hand in greeting. “I’ve been hearing good things about your research Miss Black. Lucius has nothing but the highest praise for your work and I must admit, what I’ve seen so far has been more than impressive. You studied at Oxford?”

Mia nodded. “I did my undergraduate work there as well as my doctoral work. I also did some time abroad during and after school.”

Doug nodded. “I had an opportunity to spend some time in London years ago, what area did you grow up in?”

Mia smiled wistfully. “Hampstead Heath primarily. My godparents owned a dental practice there.”

“And your parents?”

Mia’s face shuttered a bit as she felt Bruce’s arm go around her in comfort. “My godparents were the only parents I’ve ever known. I was very lucky to have them in my life.”

Doug’s expression seemed a bit sorrowful as he said quietly, “Please forgive me, I didn’t mean to bring up any unpleasant memories.”

“Oh no, it’s not as if you could’ve known and I really do choose to remember the good moments. I have been more fortunate than most people, so there’s little to complain about, I assure you.”

Hermione could feel Bruce’s arm tighten around her waist in comfort. “Well, it seems as if you’ve managed to get this one out and a bit more social. Which is a good thing, by the way.”

Hermione’s laugh filtered through the room, causing many within their vicinity to turn an appreciative eye to the musical sound. Bruce couldn’t help but shake his head in wonder at how Mia seemed to draw people into her warmth and kindness. “So he’s a bit of a recluse, is he?”

Doug chuckled and then he winked conspiratorially, “Perhaps not anymore.”

“Well, I will do my very best to make sure Bruce Wayne doesn’t turn into a shut in anytime soon.”

The laughter of the small group turned a few heads as the two men shook hands and promised to have lunch sometime soon. Before moving to their seats, Gwendolyn took Mia’s hand and told her if she ever found herself in the need of a friendly ear, Bruce would know how to get in contact.

Mia thanked her genuinely and promised to get in touch soon, and then Bruce led her into their private box for the performance.

Once they were seated next to each other, Bruce reached for Mia’s hand and kissed the back of her knuckles in gratitude. “They seemed to be impressed with you Mia. In fact, everyone who meets you seems to fall under your spell.”

Mia’s tinkling laugh made Bruce’s smile widen. “You make me sound like some kind of siren.”

“Perhaps, if Magic were real I’d imagine you could apply for the job.”

Mia’s smile took on a wistful quality as she gave Bruce a considering look. “Some cultures truly believe magic exists. If you look at historical literature it’s filled with magical references.”

Bruce thought about that for a moment before he shrugged it off. “Well if magic does exist, I’ve never seen anything to make me think it does.....but I suppose it’s fun to imagine.”

“Hmmmm.” Mia murmured. “You have an astonishing lack of curiosity Mr. Wayne.”

Bruce grinned playfully as he took Mia’s hand and nipped her knuckles in retribution. “I guess you’ll just have to wait until later to see if that’s true or not.”

Mia blushed prettily and bit her lip seductively as her gaze fixated on Bruce’s....watching his eyes move to her lips before they settled back on her. “I’m positively wet at the thought.”

Bruce growled lowly as his nostrils flared in desire. “You don’t play fair.....”

“No, but then I’m sure you’ll find out for yourself later?”

“I think you are enjoying this, Mia darling.”

Mia’s gaze moved unabashedly down Bruce’s body, allowing her gaze to linger between his legs as she bit her lip harder and saw his erection come to life. A wicked smirk bloomed onto her face as her gaze lifted back up to Bruce’s and she noticed his eyes were nearly black with desire. “I think this is going to be the longest three hours of my life so far......but I’m finding the anticipation quite heady.”

Bruce’s hand lingered up the slit on Mia’s dress until it reached the upper part of her inner thigh....watching her chest rise and fall with labored breathing, he could feel his own pulse quickening in response. As the lights dimmed low, he moved a single digit into the crevice between her thighs and felt his breath hitch at the fact she wasn’t wearing any panties. Her legs parted slightly, allowing his digit to slip into her moist folds, that were deliciously wet. Pumping shallowly a few times, captivated by the way her skin glowed and her eyes fluttered at his touch.......Bruce removed his finger and placed it into his mouth and sucked on it with relish....groaning in pleasure at the taste. It had been a few days since he’d tasted Mia, but he hadn’t forgotten how divine her nectar was on his tongue.

When Bruce pulled his finger out of his mouth he hummed in satisfaction. “You taste so good, I can’t wait to indulge myself.”

Mia’s breath hitched and Bruce could see the outline of her nipples as they pebbled against her dress. “Perhaps we might indulge reciprocally then......heaven forbid that I should be the only one receiving pleasure.”

Bruce’s body shivered as the images of what Mia was suggesting shot straight to both of his heads. “You’re a wicked witch.”

Mia’s face spilt into the biggest grin Bruce had ever seen, as she winked playfully. “You might be more right than you know, Mr. Wayne.”

Chapter Text

The ballet was quite enjoyable as both Bruce and Mia took turns taunting each other relentlessly, so by the time they’d gotten back to Mia’s apartment, they were both tearing at each other clothes in their haste to consummate the carnal promises of earlier. Their first coupling was raw and passionate against the wall near the elevator and didn’t last very long as they both fell over into the abyss simultaneously. The next coupling was on Mia’s table as Bruce took his time feasting upon her before bring her over the edge again and again.....and then working them both into a frenzy as they broke apart....their mutual moans of bliss echoing throughout Mia’s apartment.

By the time they’d finally reached Mia’s bedroom, it was hours later and their lust hadn’t abated at all. Currently Mia had Bruce’s hands tied to her headboard as she proceeded to show him just how good her oral skills were. After nearly an hour of teasing him to the brink, his wrists bruised with how hard he was pulling on the restraints, she used a handy wandless spell and deep throated him, her amber eyes fixated on his hazel ones as they were blown in astonished lust as he came down her throat in thick spurts of slightly bitter salted flavor......

When she’d finally released Bruce from his confines, he returned the favor until he was ready to go again and took Mia roughly from behind, her screams of pleasure causing him to pound into her willing body even harder. By the time her whole body shivered in exhausted release, Bruce let himself go one final time with a loud groan. He didn’t think he’d ever felt this satisfied in his life. Fuck this woman was amazing in every way!

As they both laid spent on the bed, trying to catch their collective breath, Bruce enveloped Mia into his arms and curled her into his side, gently caressing her backside as they both fell into a blissful sleep.

When the morning finally came, Bruce woke up to the smell of food cooking....and his stomach growled hungrily in response to the mouthwatering aroma. Looking for his clothes, he’d noticed his boxers and dress shirt on the chaise near the bed along with the rest of his clothes. Grabbing his boxers and pulling them on, he sauntered downstairs to where the delicious smells were coming from.

The sight that greeted him made him smile in pleasure as Mia was in the kitchen, her hair pulled up into a ponytail, her long legs on display in a very cute pair of cotton shorts that left little to the imagination and a singlet cami that fell to her waist and had small straps holding her cleavage up. It was a very welcome sight for first thing in the morning.

When Mia turned around and saw him standing there watching her, her smile brightened and she gestured to the coffee machine. “There’s fresh coffee if you want some. Cream is in the fridge and there’s sugar in that container by the coffee machine. Cups are in the cabinet to my left.”

Bruce nodded as he reached for a cup, dropping a quick kiss on Mia’s shoulder as he walked by to get the cream. “Something smells delicious.”

“Well, I’d figured since we worked up quite the appetite last night, you might be a bit ravenous this morning. I hope you like Eggs Florentine.”

Bruce grinned. “That sounds perfect. You cook as well? Are your talents endless?”

Mia laughed and Bruce chuckled at the glorious sound. “I wouldn’t call myself a chef by any means, but I can make certain things fairly well. I don’t like to eat out all the time, and when I get busy with work I rarely leave home so I find it helps to take breaks and cook. It’s a way to process and keep my mind from getting too overworked. Which I can do sometimes.”

“I hadn’t noticed.” Bruce commented dryly, causing Mia to smirk at him.

“Yes, well it has been known to be a bad habit from time to time. I once forgot to eat for three days when I was doing research and nearly passed out from lack of sleep and food.”

Bruce’s eyebrows shot to his hairline as he looked at Mia incredulously. “That’s not good Mia.”

Nodding her head in agreement, Mia sighed. “No it isn’t, and I’m working on being better....hence the cooking.”

Setting down the plates on the table, which had been cleaned off by her after last nights activities, Mia grabbed the utensils and napkins from the drawer near the stove and served up breakfast.

Bruce took a bite and moaned out in pleasure. “This is really good.”

“Glad you approve Mr. Wayne. I don’t want to be accused of starving my employer......that’s not exactly good for business.”

Bruce chuckled deeply. “I don’t see myself as your employer Mia....if anything we are work colleagues. Equal standing.......you’re far too brilliant to be anyone’s employee.”

“Thank you kind Sir. What do you have planned for today?”

Bruce shrugged. “I don’t have any definitive plans. I was going to give Lucius the file you gave me tomorrow and have him look into Lau Investments a bit more closely. I was actually hoping I might entice you into taking a shower with me and then see if we can improve on last nights performance.”

Mia blushed, but her smile was playful as she nodded her head. “I think that could be arranged. I do have one question however?”

“And that is?”

Mia’s face took on a look of uncertainty which had Bruce sitting up in concern. “This, what we have between us....I’m not the kind of woman to have sex indiscriminately, so if this is only a one off for you.....I’d rather know that now.......”

Bruce looked completely floored. “Have I given you any indication that’s my intention here?”

Mia shook her head. “No you haven’t at all, but I’m the kind of woman who prefers to not assume things......it makes things less confusing and complicated.”

Bruce nodded thoughtfully. “I can respect that, and my answer to you is simple.....what we have here I don’t intend on sharing with anyone else. If you wish to call it a relationship, I’m fine with that.”

Mia sighed and nodded in return. “I suppose I’d only wondered because last night when you’d introduced me to your friends, you’d called me your ‘date’ which presupposes a more casual acquaintance. Which I understand if that’s where you are with this.....I just wanted some clarification is all.”

Bruce pondered over Mia’s question and had to agree with her reasoning. He had made their relationship for lack of a better word, sound entirely casual last night to Doug and his wife. He hadn’t meant to offend Mia, but looking back on it, he realized that he’d probably had.

“I’m sorry if I made it seem as if I was dismissive of the time we’ve spent together.”

Mia waved her hand like it was no big deal. “I don’t expect a big declaration Bruce as I don’t necessarily have one to offer myself. I do enjoy spending time with you and now that we’ve taken this next step.....well, I’m enjoying that too. I just ask that in the future if you wish to discontinue seeing me, you let me know. I’d rather not find out some other way......”

“I don’t want to be with anyone else, so you don’t need to worry about that. I’m invested in seeing where this goes between us.”

“Okay.” Mia said firmly as the two finished their breakfast in relative silence. When Mia went to clean up the dishes, Bruce offered to help which she allowed. Soon they were flicking soap bubbles at each other and then Bruce took the water hose and shot it at Mia, causing her to shriek in surprise. From there the two lovers started kissing and taking their clothes off, repeating the previous nights activities for the better part of the day and evening.

When Bruce left that evening and headed back to the Penthouse, he couldn’t help but go back over his and Mia’s conversation from that morning. He knew he found Mia very desirable, and he enjoyed spending time with her. She was caring, funny, sexy and intelligent. As he gazed down at the folder she’d given him, he’d realized a bit belatedly that she was showing him in her own way, that she supported his role as Batman, and wanted to help him in whatever way he allowed her to. It was a nice feeling in a way, to have someone other than Alfred and Lucius in his corner. He’d fervently hoped at one point that Rachel would’ve been the one to stand by him, to be there and offer her unconditional love and support.....but she’d chosen a different path and he hadn’t begrudged her that. Being the Assistant District Attorney made it difficult for her.....she couldn’t openly support his vigilante activities, due to her job, but she’d distanced herself over these past few years as his efforts stepped up in trying to rid Gotham of its underground elements. Rachel knew what he was trying to do, and they’d promised each other that when Gotham no longer needed Batman, they’d finally be together. Bruce had held onto that hope for so long.....that Rachel would be there at the end of this that he’d never once entertained the idea of someone else. But now there was Mia.....and he couldn’t help but wonder if he was doing her a disservice by holding onto that hope in his heart.

He was truly beginning to care for Mia......and could see himself falling in love with her eventually. They were very well matched in many ways.....but she wasn’t Rachel and it was that thought that kept holding him back. Perhaps he should’ve been honest with Mia about Rachel, but Bruce didn’t know what he could say to Mia that would make sense. He and Rachel might never find their way back to each other, so was it wrong of him to want some happiness in the interim? Was he doing himself a disservice by holding onto the what might’ve beens, instead of embracing the here and now?

Shaking his head clear as he pulled into the Penthouse parking garage......Alfred having the car service bring him his car to Mia’s apartment, Bruce had to wonder what exactly he wanted from all of this. One thing he knew for certain, he was smitten with Mia Black and wanted to get to know her better.....last night and today was beyond anything he could’ve imagined and it was with that thought in mind, Bruce decided that the rest would take care of itself.

Chapter Text

Lucius had been intrigued with the information Bruce had given him on Lau Investments. When Bruce had told him where the information had come from, Lucius had grinned knowingly and promised Mr. Wayne he’d get on it immediately.

Batman had contacted Lt. Gordon and together they started having their informants making drug buys with marked traceable bills. It had taken a few weeks, but they were able to get a line on four mob banks within that time.

Unfortunately, the last mob bank had been targeted by some criminal calling himself the Joker and leaving a calling card wherever he went. But Batman wasn’t worried, and recommended to Gordon that they hit all the other mob banks simultaneously to ferret out the mob’s money.

Bruce had also gotten a line on Jonathan Crane....aka....the Scarecrow and a meeting that was to take place later that week between Crane and the Chechen. On the night in question, Batman had Lt. Gordon put up the Bat Signal in the sky, and Batman made his way through Gotham City in his tumbler, heading for a parking structure on the west side of town near the old library. He had been keeping track of Marone, the Chechen and Gambol.....the three biggest underground mobsters in Gotham. It would seem that in his haste to keep his drug business thriving, the Chechen has gotten into bed with Crane.....or the Scarecrow, as he preferred to be called these days.

Once he’d reached his destination, Batman parked across the way a bit in a nearby alcove that was hidden from prying eyes and hunkered down to wait. Fortunately it didn’t take too long as a large white van pulled up and parked and then a few minutes later two large black SUV’s pulled up behind the van. Batman watched one of the Chechen’s men pull out a young kid from the back of the second SUV and throw him onto the ground. Listening into the conversation, Batman was able to determine what was going on.

“Look what your drugs did to my customers?” The Chechen said incredulously.

“Buyer beware,” mocked Crane in his Scarecrow mask, “I told you my compound would take you places, I never said it’d be places you wanted to go.”

“My business......repeat customers!” The Chechen said half amused, half irritated.

“You don’t like what I have to offer, you can by from someone else.....assuming the Batman left anyone to buy from.”

Just the the Chechen’s Rottweilers started to bark viciously in warning. “My dogs are hungry!” The Chechen shouted out in warning.

Suddenly a skirmish happened and Batman watched as several imposters, dressed up like him, started to fight against the criminals present. The dogs were released and one of the imposters was taken down. Realizing he needed to do something, he put the tumbler on autopilot and sent it through the barrier to a hail of gunfire.

Setting the tumbler on intimidate mode, Batman had the tumbler shoot out weapons that blew up some of the existing parking structure, causing the Chechen’s men to get into their SUV’s and try and escape the scene. One of the imposters went to shoot the Chechen with a shotgun, but Batman stopped him, allowing the Chechen to get into his car and speed away.

The Rottweiler’s attacked and bit Batman in the arm.....which he eventually escaped from by throwing the dog hard onto the ground. Crane had gotten into his white van, and Batman jumped on the side of it, trying to pry to door open with some tech, but it got jammed and he was thrown off the van when Crane pushed him into a cement retaining wall.

Getting up slowly, Batman went over to the ledge and waited until Crane’s van was at the bottom of the garage before he launched himself over the side and down several flights, landing on the hood of the van and smashing it in completely, knocking Crane unconscious.

A bit later, after Batman had rounded up the remainder of the Scarecrow’s men and a few of the imposters, he tied them up and left them for the police.....calling it in.

Kneeling down in front of Scarecrow, Batman ripped off his mask to the self-satisfied look of the former Dr. Crane smirking at him completely unrepentant. Looking at one of the imposters, Batman said firmly, “Don’t let me find you out here again.”

The imposter implored with feeling, “We’re trying to help you!”

“I don’t need help!” Batman growled in warning as he moved back into his tumbler.

“Not my diagnosis.” Crane mocked.

“What gives you the right, what’s the difference between you and me?” The imposter demanded.

“I’m not wearing hockey pads.” Batman growled before the tumbler enclosed around him and he sped back off into the night.

Heading back to the docks, Batman could feel the soreness of his body as he shook his head in consternation. More imposters......while he was a bit flattered that he was inspiring people to take up Batman’s mantle, that hadn’t been exactly what he’d had in mind.

When he’d reached the Wayne docks and moved the tumbler into the crate container, he got out and pressed the button....lowering it into the makeshift bat cave he’d created after the Manor had been burnt down. Gingerly making his way over to his desk, Bruce took out his medical kit, which now contained the new medicine that Mia had given to him and went to remove his Batsuit.

He desperately needed a new suit....something that carried less weight and was easier to maneuver in.....turn his head in. He would be seeing Lucius later that morning as they had a meeting with the CEO of Lau Security Investments Holdings that afternoon to discuss a possible business deal between the two companies.

Bruce was dabbing Mia’s concoction on his body as Alfred found him sitting in the Batcave attending to his wounds.

“Be nice when Wayne Manor’s rebuilt....you can swap not sleeping in a Penthouse for not sleeping in a Mansion.” Alfred said in exasperation. “It looks like you don’t need to stitch yourself up however, as that medicine Miss Black gave you seems to be working just fine.”

“My armor, I’m carrying too much weight.....need to be faster....”

“I’m sure Mr. Fox can oblige.” Alfred said looking at a few of the remaining wounds on his charge’s arms. “Did you get mauled by a tiger?”

“It was a dog...”

“Huh?”

“It was a big dog...” Bruce said sarcastically. “There were more copycats last night Alfred, with guns.”

“Why don’t you hire them and take the week off?”

Bruce chuckled. “That wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I said I wanted to inspire people.”

“I know, but things have improved.” Alfred said firmly. “Look at the new district attorney.”

“I am, closely. I need to know if he can be trusted.” Bruce said as he looked at his monitors with interest.

“Are you interested in his character or his social circle?”

Bruce stared at the monitor of Rachel and Harvey walking into the County Building smiling at each other. “Who Rachel spends her time with is her business....” Bruce said unconvincingly.

“I trust you don’t have me followed on my day off?”

“If you ever took one, I might.” Bruce said in amusement.

“And what of Miss Black, Master Wayne? How does she figure into all this?”

Bruce took off his t-shirt and went to put on his dress shirt, his back showing the bruises from the night before. Alfred came over and dropped some of Mia’s medicine on his back wounds, which healed them fairly quickly. Alfred shook his head in astonishment. “It’s obvious she cares for you and accepts your choice to be Batman....”

“I know Alfred.” Bruce said quietly with feeling. “And I can’t help but think I’m doing her a disservice by allowing her in.”

“Why is that Master Wayne....is it because you’re afraid she might get hurt by someone seeking revenge for the Batman.....or because you’re afraid you might hurt her yourself?”

Bruce gave Alfred a dubious look as he put his dress shirt on, then his tie.

“Know your limits, Master Wayne.”

“Batman has no limits.” Bruce replied quickly.

“And Bruce Wayne, does he have limits as well?”

“Can’t afford to know them.”

“And what’s going to happen on the day that you find out?”

“We all know how much you like to say I told you so...”

“On that day, Master Wayne.....even I won’t want to.....probably....” Alfred smirked while Bruce just rolled his eyes at his Butler.

Chapter Text

Bruce made his way to Wayne Enterprises and proceeded to fall asleep during the meeting with Lau Investments, much to Lucius’ chagrin. When the meeting was concluded, Lucius handed Bruce the paperwork that he’d procured....which showed that Lau Investments growth was steady across the board, which likely meant their revenue stream was off the charts.

Bruce was impressed once again by Mia’s cleverness and her ability to help him with his nocturnal activities. He hadn’t talked to her much the past few weeks, due to going out most nights on patrol as well as meeting with Harvey Dent and Lt. Gordon to go over how they were going to go after the mob, which had been more involved than Bruce had anticipated.

When Bruce had tried calling Mia that afternoon, she hadn’t picked up her phone and he’d stopped by her apartment on the way back to his Penthouse, but her doorman had told him that Miss Black had gone out of town on an emergency and wouldn’t be back for a few days.

Bruce felt both guilty and worried......as Mia hadn’t left any messages for him stating she was leaving town, in fact, he hadn’t seen her at all since a couple days after he’d left that Sunday evening. She had asked him about his intentions and he had told her he’d wanted to see where this would go between them....then proceeded to almost ignore her for an entire three weeks. He shook his head in frustration, realizing that she most likely thought he had lied to her about seeing their time together as nothing more than a glorified one off.

Bruce gave it a few days and then went back to Mia’s apartment, her doorman letting him know discreetly that she had finally returned and was currently on the premises. Bruce made his way over with flowers in hand, and once he’d been allowed up to her apartment, he’d noticed that she wasn’t waiting for him, but her assistant was.

“Mr. Wayne.”

“Hello Miss Cheng, is Mia available?”

“Let me see if she has time to see you today.” The woman gave him a measured look before going upstairs to see her employer. After a few minutes, Mia came downstairs dressed in a nice pair of fitted jeans and a some kind of sports shirt that had a number seven on the front and looked to be gold and maroon.

Mia’s gaze was hesitant as she approached him warily. “Hello Bruce, what can I do for you today?”

Bruce sighed. “These are for you.” He handed the roses to Mia, who accepted them graciously and moved over to the sink to place them in water while she searched for a vase to put them in. Bruce noticed the back of her shirt had the name Potter on it, which gave him pause.

“Nice shirt.” He said softly.

“Hmmmm.” Was the only reply he got and he felt himself groaning inwardly at how stupid he was.

“I’m sorry I haven’t stopped by sooner. I did call and I came by a few days ago and was told you were gone on an emergency. Is everything alright?”

“It’s fine.” Mia said without feeling. “Did you get the latest report that I gave to Mr. Fox?”

Bruce leaned up against the counter as he watched Mia’s face, which was disturbingly placid and without emotion......almost as if she’d trained herself not to show any feelings. It was disconcerting.

“Yes, he was excited to share with me all the progress you’ve made. I was hoping we could go to dinner tonight and discuss it, if you’re free?”

Mia’s eyes looked up into his and Bruce couldn’t help but be alarmed at the lack of emotion present, it was as if she’d shut herself off completely. “Dinner isn’t going to be possible tonight I’m afraid as I’m right in the middle of some research and I need to devote all my free time to that for the foreseeable future. Perhaps some other time?”

Bruce shook his head as he grabbed Mia by the arm and pulled her into his body, tilting her face up to his. “I’m so sorry.......I didn’t mean to disappear for the last few weeks. This, what I do, gets complicated and I’ve been debating these past few weeks if I’m doing you a disservice by dragging you into my double life. I never meant to hurt you.”

Mia sighed softly as she pushed away from Bruce, moving over to put the flowers into the vase, turning her back to him. “I do understand Bruce, and I don’t hold it against you, truly. I don’t expect you to change who you are for me, that would be an unrealistic expectation on my part. Perhaps a bit more communication might’ve been welcome, but I don’t imagine your mind processes things in that way. It’s just going to take me some time to come to terms with it.”

Bruce sighed in exasperation. “It’s not unrealistic to expect the man you’re in a relationship with to be a bit more considerate of your feelings, and I’m sorry for that. It’s been a while for me Mia.....I haven’t had a proper relationship since before I left Gotham....and even then, it was difficult. I’m not trying to make excuses for myself, but I’m just asking you to be patient with me......I’ve missed you and I’m here now and I would very much like to make it up to you.”

Mia hesitated briefly before she walked over into Bruce’s space and ran her hand through his hair in a soothing fashion. She saw his eyes close in pleasure as he hummed at her touch. When his eyes opened, they were filled with desire and Mia couldn’t help but respond to the need she saw emanating from his gaze. Leaning up on her tiptoes, she kissed Bruce softly, which was all the permission he needed before he scooped her up into his embrace and took her stairs two at a time until they reached her bedroom.

Clothes were removed hastily and Bruce didn’t waste anytime pushing himself into Mia’s warmth....both groaning in bliss at being rejoined. Bruce held Mia’s head in his hands as he kissed her over and over again...never breaking eye contact and hoping she could feel all the things he wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to say. Her gaze never left his and when her body sucked him deeply and clamped down on him as she came.....Bruce kissed her with all the emotion he could muster.....over and over again in gratitude.

There wasn’t much talking that night.....both of them showing with their bodies, hand and mouths how much they desired each other. Bruce couldn’t remember ever feeling so raw and exposed before......but it seemed that every time he was with Mia, another layer of his armor got stripped away....leaving him a bit more vulnerable to her. It scared him more than he wanted to admit.

Hermione for her part, understood more than Bruce would ever know about how hard it was to open up and let someone in. She had done so with Ronald with disastrous results. Then there was the series of one-off’s she’d had started with Malfoy shortly after his parents and Ronald died and ended shortly before she’d left England for good. It was a time of two people taking comfort in each other......but the last time they were together when she’d awoken.....he was gone and Hermione figured he’d regretted bedding the ‘mudblood’ so she’d never spoken of it again, and left the Wizarding world soon after. And then there was Harry........

Years later and a few flings here and there......but her heart had been permanently shut off until Bruce and she could feel herself beginning to truly fall for him. She’d known it the week after their liaison that her feelings were involved. She’d been hurt and had felt dismissed....so much so she’d left town for a while and went to England to see the one person she still kept in contact with. George was still running the joke shop, and he had been thrilled to see her. They had kept their meeting confidential and no one had gotten wise that Hermione Granger had returned to London. George had informed her what was going on in the Wizarding World, how the Ministry was still trying to figure out why witches and wizards just couldn’t get pregnant. Hermione had told George what she’d shared with Kingsley, and why she had left. When she’d asked about Malfoy, George told her the blond ferret had been in to see him weekly, begging for any news of where she’d disappeared to. When he saw Hermione’s shocked face, George confided that Malfoy had told him about their time together and how devastated he’d been when she’d disappeared. Hermione had shook her head and told George that he must’ve been mistaken, because there was no way Draco Malfoy cared about her one iota. George had just given her that enigmatic knowing look, and the subject was dropped.

Hermione had wandered back to her old home in Hampstead Heath and spent an afternoon at Godric’s Hollow crying at Harry’s graveside. It had been his birthday.......he would’ve been 27.........and she missed him more everyday.

Bruce was rubbing her back in a soothing fashion as Hermione wiped a tear from her eye, not realizing she had gotten so emotional lost in her memories. Moving to get up before he noticed, she wasn’t quite quick enough as Bruce grabbed her around her waist and pulled her back into his chest.

“Talk to me, Mia.”

Mia sighed but shook her head. “I’m fine.”

“You’re not......please talk to me.”

“What do you want me to say?”

“The truth is always a good idea.”

Mia sighed unhappily. “Fine.....I went home this last week to London. It was Harry’s birthday and I went to visit his grave. This time of year is never a good time for me......could you please let me go now?”

Bruce sighed as he rolled Mia, so she was underneath him as he looked into her eyes. “I don’t think so. Why didn’t you call me and tell me?”

Mia just glared in response. “If that’s not the pot calling the kettle black then I’m not sure what is......I’m not a needy, clingy woman for the record and I can manage my emotions just fine on my own. I sought comfort elsewhere....so you don’t need to concern yourself with that.”

Bruce glowered heatedly. “What is that supposed to mean?”

Mia rolled her eyes. “I didn’t fuck anyone else if that’s what your thinking......but I did go to an old friend who knows me fairly well. He is a good listener, and I care for him tremendously.”

Bruce snarled at the innuendo. “I would’ve never assumed you had fucked someone else Mia.....and I didn’t realize that’s was what we were doing.....fucking? Does this feel like fucking to you?”

Mia pushed Bruce off of her. “It didn’t until it did.....so I don’t know.....perhaps you should be asking yourself that question.”

“Damn it Mia! I’m sorry.....I don’t know how else to say it.....but this what we have, has never been as crude as fucking......I’m crazy about you, and I know I don’t show it in the typical ways a man might show a woman he cares for, how he feels.”

Mia sighed and rubbed her hands down her face. “I’ve started to genuinely care for you......and it’s definitely not something I’m used to. I’ve always been too logical, too practical to allow my feelings to get in the way of my life. But you hurt me, and it surprised me....more than I was ready to admit to. I’m not sure what to do about it, but I’m thinking it would just be easier for us to end this now.....”

Mia didn’t get another word out, before Bruce grabbed her and kissed her brutally. After a few moments she surrendered to the kiss, her mouth opening to his onslaught. When Bruce broke the kiss, he whispered hotly into her ear.... “No.....you’re not going anywhere....this is not over, do you understand me? I’m not going to let you walk away from me!”

Mia’s gaze then fixated on Bruce’s heated one as she pulled back and saw the sincere conviction radiating from his eyes. “Then don’t shut me out Bruce. Let me help you......I want to stand beside you.....I’m not afraid, so please don’t shut me out.”

Bruce sighed heavily before he kissed Mia again and then pulled back, speaking with feeling, “You’re sure? You really want to do that?”

Mia nodded her head emphatically. “I’m not afraid......and if this between us has any chance of being something lasting....you need to let me in and help you. I’m a lot tougher than I look.”

Bruce chuckled as he held Mia’s face in his hands before he nodded with finality. “Okay.”

Mia’s smile was blinding as she kissed him back hungrily and Bruce felt himself immediately responding to her overtures. He gripped her legs and wrapped them around his waist as he pushed himself into her willing heat and together, they moved as one....their eyes locked on each other as their lips meeting in hungry open mouth kisses until Bruce felt Mia ready to let go.

“Come for me Mia.....let me feel you.”

Mia flung her head back as she detonated around Bruce, screaming out his name in wonder, feeling him biting into her neck as he came hard inside her....his whole body shaking with release.

“So good.....so, so good....” Bruce whispered over and over again as Mia felt herself smiling in true happiness.....which felt simply amazing, and had her feeling real hope for the future for the first time in a very long time.

Chapter Text

For the next month or so, things went back to the new normal. Bruce spent most of his nights out patrolling, but made sure to always check in with Mia if he wasn’t able to get back to her before sun up. Most nights he’d come strolling in around three o’clock in the morning, sometimes bleeding and battered. Mia always made sure to have plenty of dittany on hand and had even made a batch of skele-gro that she kept handy for emergencies. It would’ve been easier to heal him with magic, but she couldn’t tell him her final secret unless their arrangement became more permanent. So she fixed him up each night as best as she could, falling asleep in his arms after making love. Most mornings she would wake to find him spooned around her, his face buried in her curls and his hand wrapped possessively around a breast, with one of his legs wedged firmly between hers before he would wake up and ravish her again. Mia loved mornings the best.....it was the one time of day Bruce’s defenses were completely down and she relished in those quiet moments before the world descended.

Tonight he was taking her out to dinner at his restaurant here in town. His purpose was to meet Harvey Dent, the new District Attorney and get a sense whether the man could be trusted or not. Lau had fled back to Hong Kong for the time being and Bruce was wondering how he was going to get him back to the States as the Chinese would never extradite one of their own citizens.

The press had finally picked up on the fact that Bruce and Mia were a couple. The few times they’d been out in public the press had reported on it immediately. He’d been amazed at how well Mia had handled the press.....she had joked about the fact that it wasn’t her first time dealing with nosy reporters....which had caused Bruce to chuckle in amusement.

When they got to the restaurant that evening Mia was a bit nervous but she had dressed with care....choosing an elegant Elie Saab dress that was one of her favorites. The color was a shimmering pewter with a fitted bodice and a skirt that went to just above the knee. It had a matching wrap and she paired it with pewter and silver pumps that had a red sole. Her hair was left long and flowing in the back and pinned back with a set of pearl combs that her mother had given her for her sixteenth birthday. The matching set of pearls she wore around her throat were also her mother’s....one of the few things she still had of hers.

Bruce had whistled with appreciation when he saw her come down the stairs that evening, eyeing the pearls with interest....which Hermione thought odd, but wisely didn’t comment on it. As they walked through the restaurant, Hermione spotted Harvey Dent, but didn’t immediately recognize the woman sitting with him.

“Rachel, fancy that.”

The woman at the table turned to look towards them and her blue eyes sparkled with amused irritation. “Yeah Bruce, fancy that.”

“Rachel....Mia.....Mia.....Rachel.” Bruce introduced the two women flippantly which Hermione thought odd. Again, he’d failed to introduce her as his girlfriend and she was growing tired of Bruce’s mercurial mood swings.

“Mia, aren’t you working at Wayne Enterprises?”

“Yes, I am....it’s lovely to meet you.”

“For me as well. Didn’t you attend the ballet recently?

“We did.” Mia said softly.

Rachel nodded, her gaze fixated back on Bruce’s. “Harvey’s taking me next week.”

“Really, you’re into ballet?” Bruce said a bit condescendingly, which was starting to raise Hermione’s hackles as she didn’t understand where this side of Bruce was coming from.

“Bruce,” Rachel interrupted and gestured to the man sitting next to her, “This is Harvey Dent.”

Harvey offered his had to Bruce, who shook it firmly. “The famous Bruce Wayne....Rachel’s told me everything about you.”

“I certainly hope not.” Bruce said mockingly. “So, let’s put a couple tables together.”

“I’m not sure they’ll let us.” Harvey said in confusion.

“Oh they should,” Bruce gestured to someone over Harvey’s shoulder, “I own the place.”

Bruce waited for a moment as the Maitre D’ brought over a second table and Bruce helped Mia into her seat, removing her wrap and placing a soft kiss on her shoulder. When he sat down, Mia could see how uncomfortable Rachel looked, while Harvey just seemed to be bemused by the idea of his date being absconded by Bruce Wayne.

“So Mia is it?” Rachel said a bit stiffly. “What do you do at Wayne Enterprises?”

Mia felt like she was missing something vitally important but not wanting to appear rude, and remembering that this woman was a friend of Bruce’s from his childhood, she smiled in what she hoped was a welcoming manner. “I’m working on platforming a new industrial mathematical modeling database. Once operational, I’m hoping to expand it into genomics for medicinal applications to determine predictive outcomes for treatments of diseases.”

Rachel’s eyebrows rose in surprise. “That sounds quite complicated.”

“I’m sure it probably sounds a bit stuffy as well.....but I enjoy research and helping people is a passion of mine. I have my own foundation as well...so that keeps me busy.”

Harvey’s eyes widened in recognition. “The Black Foundation?”

Mia nodded once. “Yes, that’s me.”

Harvey looked over at Mia with a welcoming grin. “I’ve heard about some of the work your foundation does, it’s quite impressive.”

Mia blushed. “That’s very kind of you to say, but you’re doing some good work yourself Mr. Dent. I can’t imagine it’s easy to take on such a high profile job that’s inherently filled with the risks yours is.”

Harvey nodded. “It’s a calling I suppose.”

Once dinner was served the conversation flowed to a different topic. “How have you enjoyed your time in Gotham Mia?” Rachel asked with feigned interest.

“It’s an interesting city, although I don’t tend to wander around at night.” Everyone chuckled at the joke. “I did hear an interesting conversation recently at Wayne Enterprises between two co-workers talking about raising children in a city like this.....it took me aback a bit.”

“Well, I was raised here....I turned out okay.”

“Is Wayne Manor in the city limits?” Harvey joked.

Bruce chuckled, but it wasn’t genuine. “The Palisades? Sure....you know, as our new DA you might want to figure out, where your jurisdiction ends.”

“Actually, I think they were talking more about the kind of city that idolizes a masked vigilante.” Mia quipped softly, her eyes narrowing a bit as she noticed Rachel tense up minutely....but it was there....fuck!!! She knew Bruce was the Batman and he hadn’t told her that going into this....

“Gotham city is proud of an ordinary citizen standing up for what’s right.” Harvey said with conviction.

“Gotham need heroes like you Harvey,” Mia said softly, “Elected officials, not a man who thinks he is above the law.”

“Exactly,” Bruce said in an overbearing tone, “who appointed the Batman?”

“We did,” Harvey interrupted, “all of us who stood by and let scum take control of our city.”

“This is a democracy Harvey.” Mia stated with conviction.

“When their enemies were at the gates, the Romans would suspend democracy and appoint one man to protect the city, and it wasn’t considered an honor it was considered a public service.”

“Harvey, the last man that they appointed to protect the republic was named Caesar and he never gave up his power.”

Mia gestured at Rachel and nodded in agreement.

“Okay fine, you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Look, whoever the Batman is he doesn’t want to do this for the rest of his life, how could he? Batman is looking for someone to take up his mantle.”

Mia sat there in shock as she caught the heated look shared between Bruce and Rachel and felt herself wondering if she hadn’t been played for a fool. There was clearly a not so distant history between the two of them, one which Bruce failed to inform her of. Bringing down her occlumency shields firmly into place, her mask came down in a smile of feigned politeness.

“Someone like you?” Mia questioned softly.

“If I’m up for it, sure.” Harvey smiled.

Mia put her bag in front of Harvey’s eyes playfully. “What if Harvey Dent is the caped crusader?”

Harvey chuckled and gripped Rachel’s hand. “If I were sneaking out every night, someone would’ve noticed by now.”

Mia didn’t miss the way Bruce’s body tensed at the gesture either, but before she could react, Bruce spoke. “Well, I’m sold Dent and I’m going to throw you a fundraiser.”

“That’s nice of you Bruce, but I’m not up for re-election for three years.”

“No you don’t understand, one fundraiser with my pals, and you’ll never need another cent.”

Harvey looked at Bruce in contemplation before he nodded once. The check came soon after, which Bruce graciously offered to take care of. As they said their goodbyes, Harvey took Mia aside and asked her if she would be willing to have lunch with him at some point as he wanted to discuss some of the work her foundation was doing. Mia accepted readily and gave Harvey her contact information, watching Bruce out of the corner of her eye....his attention was solely focused on Rachel as the two talked a moment in private.

When they were finally in the car, Mia didn’t say anything....she stared out the window and felt herself closing off.....how could she have missed that? In all her research on Bruce Wayne there was no information that he and Rachel had been anything more than childhood sweethearts, but seeing them tonight, it was clear that there were still genuine unresolved feelings there. Deciding to keep her own countenance, as she didn’t want to come off like some jealous girlfriend, especially since he’d failed yet again to introduce her as such, she just stayed silent.

Bruce had noticed Mia’s quietness, and reached over to grab her hand, gently placing a kiss to the back of her knuckles. When she finally turned to face him, Bruce noticed immediately her eyes were closed off.....emotionless......and he knew he needed to offer an explanation.

As they reached Mia’s Penthouse and Bruce pulled up to the curb, the doorman came over to open Mia’s door and Bruce squeezed her hand giving Mia a questioning look. “Are you alright, Mia? You’re awfully quiet.”

Mia shrugged, trying desperately to appear unaffected. “I’m fine. I’m going to head up and go to sleep. I’m actually rather tired and I need to leave early tomorrow on business for a few days.”

Bruce nodded thoughtfully, pretty sure Mia didn’t need to go anywhere, but she’d sensed something was off and she was distancing herself.....likely as a protective measure, which made him feel like an idiot for hurting her again with his thoughtlessness.

“When will you be back?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Where are you going?”

“New York. I was supposed to leave yesterday, but I postponed it because you wanted to meet with Harvey tonight and get a sense of where he was at. But I can’t put it off any longer....I’m meeting with a Professor at Columbia at three tomorrow. My flight leaves at eight am.”

Bruce sighed in relief, realizing that Mia’s plans were legit and likely had nothing to do with tonight. “Okay, would you like me to take you to the airport?”

Mia smiled in what she hoped was a placating manner. “No thank you. I’ve already hired a car service to pick me up in the morning.”

Bruce nodded and leant over, gently grasping her head and placing a gentle kiss on her lips, to which she barely responded to.....making his sense of unease flare a bit. “Call me when you get there?”

Mia nodded once before getting quickly out of the car and headed into her building. Bruce sighed unhappily as he watched her walk away.....realizing that she hadn’t missed any of the subtle byplay from the evening. Mia was far too clever for that and she had to be feeling insecure....which made him feel like an asshole for hurting her again. Starting his car and taking off into the night, Bruce couldn’t help but wonder just exactly what it was he truly wanted for his future and where this would all end, when the dust finally settled.

Chapter Text

As it turned out, Mia had been gone for nearly four days and when she’d returned, Bruce picked her up at the airport at his insistence. As she got into his car, he reached over and kissed her hungrily, his eyes blazing with emotion.

“Hi.” He whispered out with feeling.

“Hi.” Mia said in confusion. “Everything alright?”

Bruce nodded. “I was hoping I could perhaps persuade you to leave town with me for a few days.”

Mia’s eyes widened in disbelief. “I’m sorry.....you want to take a vacation together?”

Bruce nodded as he pulled out his car into traffic, reaching for Mia’s hand and rubbing over her knuckles in reassurance. “Yes, I’ve found a way to get into Hong Kong and extract Lau out....but I need a plausible cover story to do so. So I thought it might look good to abscond with the Russian Ballet for a few days aboard my yacht, I have a plane that’s going to pick me up and fly me under the radar into Hong Kong. Lucius is heading over......to meet with Lau and set up the tech I need to get in. I just thought....” Bruce’s voice faded away as Mia’s eyes flashed as she finished for him....

“That it really wouldn’t look good for your supposed girlfriend to be left at home while you entertain a bunch of ballerina’s for a few days?”

Bruce grimaced sheepishly, sensing Mia’s ire. “Supposed girlfriend? I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean, but it seemed like a good plan.”

Mia shook her head in disgust, completely pissed off at this point. “And I’m sure this has absolutely nothing to do with interfering with Harvey and Rachel’s date to the Ballet......fuck, could you be any more obvious?”

Bruce’s eyes widened at the use of profanity as he swerved his car over into an alley and shut off the engine. “That has nothing to do with it Mia, actually it was Alfred who suggested the idea.”

“It’s quite convenient though, isn’t it? Let’s recap shall we? Your childhood sweetheart, whom you clearly still have unresolved romantic feelings for, if the look you gave her at dinner the other night was any indication, is now dating and sleeping with the new district attorney......she also knows you’re Batman, which you’d also failed to inform me of going into said dinner date......the same dinner date where you effectively made me seem like I was the model of the week on your arm, and not the woman you’re supposed to be in a relationship with. But the one thing that was glaringly obvious was for some reason I can’t fathom....and believe me, I’d considered every possible scenario while I was gone......Rachel Dawes isn’t the one at your side, but you clearly, desperately want her to be.” Hermione shook her head in disgust. “This between us is over, Bruce Wayne! I won’t be your consolation prize, and I will not be played for a fool by you, or by anyone!”

Mia went to get out of the car, but Bruce was faster and pulled her into his lap....all the while trying to get her to calm down. He deserved her rage.....fuck, he deserved her leaving him.....but it was the last thing he wanted right now.

“I’m sorry, I should’ve told you about Rachel. Our history is complicated, but trust me when I tell you it’s you I want to be with Mia......only you. I’m sorry I was dismissive of our relationship, you have to know that’s not how I feel about you at all. I care deeply for you Mia.”

Mia’s amber eyes stared into Bruce’s hazel ones in disbelief. “Really? You’re quite sure about that?”

“Yes, I’m sure about that! I don’t want this to be over Mia.”

Mia’s eyes bored into Bruce’s, wishing more than anything she could use legilimency and looking closely for any sign of deception and not finding any....which left her feeling more confused than ever.

“I will go with you to get Lau because I gave you my word that I’d help you, but after that’s over we will sit down and discuss whatever this is.......because right now if I have this conversation, I’m going to do or say something I can’t take back. I don’t feel the least bit logical right now, and it’s pissing me off.”

Bruce nodded in agreement. “Agreed. When we get back home, all cards on the table.”

Mia nodded and moved back over to her seat and buckled in.......remaining silent as they drove the rest of the way to her apartment. When she got out of the car, she turned back and said firmly, “When can I expect you to pick me up for our excursion?”

Bruce sighed softly. “Tomorrow at noon.”

Mia nodded and made her way back into her building, not sparing him a backwards glance. Door closed and Bruce floored the accelerator, needing to figure out what the fuck he was doing and how to fix the mess he’d made.

When he’d picked Mia up the next day, he couldn’t help but notice how tired and withdrawn she looked. Her eyes were emotionless, and her normal carefree smile was missing. It made his heart hurt to think he’d done that to her after everything she’d done for him.

When they’d reached the airport and got onto the plane he’d chartered for the flight, Mia sat with Natasha, the Prima Ballerina and together they’d talked for several hours. Mia was trying to learn Russian on the flight and Natasha was impressed with how quickly Mia was picking up the language. Bruce just sat there watching Mia with open admiration at how easily people responded to her genuine kindness and good heart.

They landed some time after breakfast the following day and the car service was waiting to take them to Bruce’s yacht. When they finally arrived at his yacht, Bruce came over and gently took Mia’s hand, leading her to their stateroom. Thankfully she didn’t protest and once they were alone, Bruce took Mia into his arms and kissed her softly.

“Thank you for coming with me.” Bruce said with feeling.

Mia nodded. “Of course, I told you I would help and I’d meant it.”

When Mia went to get up, Bruce’s grip on her hips tightened instinctively. “I know we said we’d talk about things when we got back to Gotham and I still want to do that, but you need to know how very sorry I am that I keep hurting you. It was never and will never be my intention to do so. You are so amazing Mia, and I can’t help but wonder what it is you see in me somedays. I’m trying to do better and I want to do better........I’ll probably screw it up again though, because it’s just who I am. But you need to know how much I care for you, and how much I want you.”

Mia sighed softly as she thought over Bruce’s words and then slowly shook her head in resignation. “I don’t doubt you want me and care for me......but the fact remains you don’t need me and you don’t love me.......and I’m not convinced that’s ever going to change as long as you keep holding your heart for someone else who’s not me. You can deny it, but you’re lying to both me and yourself and I think you know it deep down. You want to be happy, and you don’t want to be alone, I get that......but you’re in love with Rachel, and she doesn’t love you enough to stand by you unconditionally, and even with all that.....you still hold onto that hope. When you get back to Gotham.....you need to figure out what you want for you.....not as Batman, but as Bruce Wayne. I’m going to head back to England..........I can finish my research there and when it’s done I’ll forward it to Lucius.......you won’t have to see me again.”

Bruce shook his head in consternation. “I don’t accept that......Damn it Mia! I won’t accept that!” He said with more feeling than Mia had ever heard from him. “You’re wrong, I do need you in my life! I don’t want you to leave Mia......I don’t want to lose you. As for love.....I’m not ready to say it yet, are you?”

Mia tilted her head down and sighed. She already knew where her feelings were, and this was why she needed to leave. When she looked back up there were tears in her eyes as she nodded. “I’ve been in love with you for awhile....and the fact you can’t say it back tells me everything I need to know. If you truly want to be with Rachel, and you do, since you didn’t deny being in love with her, you need to let me go Bruce Wayne.......I won’t be your consolation prize.”

Bruce was stunned silent as he watched Mia get up and make her way out onto the boat deck.....leaving him to his own thoughts as he stared out into the empty room feeling his heart breaking in two and not sure how to fix it.

When the South Korean smugglers came to pick Bruce up, later that same day, Mia was nowhere to be found. He’d nodded to Alfred, and made his way to the plane, his only thoughts filled with how bereft Mia had looked when she’d left him a few hours earlier and how he was terrified he’d never see her again.

When his mission to Hong Kong went off without a hitch and he’d left Lau in front of the police station for Lt. Gordon back in Gotham......knowing it wouldn’t take long for Harvey and Rachel to break him......he drove to Mia’s building, and was notified by her doorman that Miss Black had left the country and would not be returning as far as he knew. Bruce drove his car away wondering how the fuck it had all come to this. He’d tried calling her several times a day, but her voice mail was turned off so he wasn’t able to leave any messages.

The following week had been a nightmare of epic proportions as the Joker ran through Gotham with a vengeance. Commissioner Loeb had been killed and the Joker had broken into Bruce’s Penthouse during his fundraiser for Harvey, throwing Rachel out the window. Luckily he’d been able to save her in time, but it had been too close and left Bruce feeling even more desperate.

When Bruce made the decision to turn himself in after Jim Gordon had been shot and killed at Commissioner Loeb’s funeral service, he’d found Rachel waiting for him in his room at his Penthouse, where she’d been staying for a few days. As he walked into the room, Bruce was struck momentarily with the notion that in all the months he’d spent with Mia, he’d never invited her into his home.....to his bedroom. But here was Rachel, standing in his room like she belonged there.....the irony was not wasted on him at all and it made him feel like an even bigger heel.

“Harvey called, he said that the Batman is going to turn himself in.” Rachel said softly while Bruce moved over to gaze out his Penthouse window, staring off into the night.

“I have no choice,” Bruce said with conviction, as his eyes remained fixated out onto Gotham’s skyline.

“You honestly think that is going to stop the Joker from killing people?” Rachel queried back in disbelief.

“Perhaps not, but I’ve got enough blood on my hands.......and I’ve seen now what I would have to become to stop men like him.” Bruce’s head turned and gave Rachel a desperate look before he moved towards her completely. “You once told me that if the day came when I was finished, we could be together....” Bruce finished speaking as he stood directly in front of Rachel, his hazel eyes boring into her blue ones.

“Bruce, don’t make me your one hope for a normal life.” Rachel rebuffed unconvincingly.

Bruce moved his left hand up and cupped Rachel’s cheek as he said achingly, “Did you mean it?”

Rachel’s blue eyes filled with emotion as she whispered out, “Yes.”

Bruce moved his head down and captured Rachel’s lips in a heated kiss, unaware that their entire conversation had been watched from the other side of the door.

Hermione had come back to talk with Bruce......when she had gone back to London she’d discovered quickly that she was pregnant.....which had been a complete shock as she’d thought it would’ve been impossible for her to get pregnant due to the curse. But several home pregnancy tests later when she’d returned to Gotham yesterday and a visit to a Muggle doctor today had confirmed it......and here she was......hoping that Bruce would be happy to see her and now realizing she’d never stood a chance.

As she stood there in the hallway outside of Bruce’s bedroom Hermione’s heart splintered in two and the folder she’d brought for Bruce to look at, fell to the floor as she turned around and quickly headed back out the way she’d come.

As she moved through the hallway and out to the main part of the Penthouse, the elevator came into sight and Hermione could feel herself getting both nauseous and dizzy at the realization that once again her love hadn’t been enough and without her permission, tears started to threaten to fall. Grabbing her stomach in stark realization, Hermione’s feet were quick to move towards her destination but before she could press the button, she was stopped by Alfred’s voice.

“Miss Black, were you able to talk to Master Wayne?”

Hermione’s pale face and swollen eyes met the concerned gaze of Bruce’s butler. Taking a deep breath, Hermione tried to get her Occlumency shields to come down before she answered the question.

“He was otherwise occupied.” Hermione said as evenly as she could muster. “It was a great honor to have met you Alfred and I want to thank you for the kindness you’ve shown me these past months.”

Alfred nodded, unsure of what had happened but realizing that if he allowed Miss Black to walk out of Master Wayne’s Penthouse, she would likely be gone forever.

“It was my great pleasure to get to know you Miss Black. You’ve brought a spark back to Master Wayne that I have not seen since he was a young boy.”

Hermione instinctively gripped her stomach as a wave of nausea hit her unexpectedly, which wasn’t missed by Alfred if the concerned looked he was giving her was any indication. “That’s very kind of you to say.”

As she turned again to reach for the elevator call button, the one voice Hermione hadn’t wanted to hear called out her name in confusion. “Mia, what are you doing here?”

Hermione turned around and saw Bruce standing there with the sealed Manila folder in his left hand. “I was just leaving Mr. Wayne and I won’t be bothering you again. The folder in your hand contains some information I’d thought might be helpful to you going forward. If you’ll excuse me.”

Bruce’s face paled in understanding as he realized that Mia had seen his conversation with Rachel and likely what had come after. “Mia........please don’t leave like this.” Bruce pleaded, but Hermione just shook her head and pressed the call button on the elevator door, as she turned her back to Bruce, ignoring him completely.

She could feel him as he came up behind her and when he went to reach for her, she sent a wandless stunner directly at him, knocking him back long enough so she could get into the elevator and close the door.

Once the door was closed, Hermione took out her wand and silently disapparated out of the elevator and back to her apartment, where she fell to the floor in heaving sobs as she felt like her chest was going to fracture open from the all-consuming pain.

Back in Bruce’s Penthouse, the man in question was valiantly trying to catch his breath from however Mia had incapacitated him. Alfred was looking at him with both concern and disappointment.

“Master Wayne, are you alright?”

Bruce took another deep breath as he stood up fully, picking up the folder that Mia had left for him. His heart was literally torn in two and he didn’t know what to do. It was clear that Mia had seen the kiss between he and Rachel.......and the confession that had proceeded it. He didn’t know how this had gotten so messed up, but he knew on some level that Mia would likely never forgive him after what she’d seen and heard, and he deserved her censure and anger. He cared deeply for her, and as he opened the enveloped and saw what was inside, a single tear fell from his eye as he realized just how much Mia had supported him unconditionally and what a cad he was for not realizing sooner how truly special and amazing she was.

Handing the papers to Alfred, he could see the stunned look of shocked disbelief on his Butler’s face. Mia had discovered through her research all the dirty cops within the Gotham PD. Which one’s were on Marone’s payroll and which cops had likely been responsible for the poisoning of Commissoner Loeb, the death of Judge Sorillo. Fuck, with this information the mob would be left in ruins. Shaking his head sadly, Bruce came to the stark realization that he loved Mia.......that he loved everything about her and now she was gone and he was screwed!

Rachel walked into the living room at that moment, calling out his name in worry. Silently handing her the information, Bruce watched with bemusement as Rachel gasped in wonder at the paperwork.

When her blue eyes caught his, she blurted out, “How?”

Bruce swallowed uncomfortably and then said softly, “Mia was just here.”

Rachel paled and her eyes widened in shocked understanding. “She saw us, didn’t she?”

Bruce nodded as he dropped his head into his hands in despair. “She’s gone and she’s not coming back.”

Alfred gestured in agreement. “That seems likely Master Wayne and I’m afraid the situation is far more tenuous than you could possibly imagine.”

Bruce gave Alfred a wary, questioning look. “What do you mean Alfred?”

“I do believe Miss Black had another motive for coming here tonight.”

“Which was?”

“I believe she was going to tell you she’s pregnant.”

Bruce stood there staring at his surrogate father in abject horror while Rachel gasped out in shock.

“Did she tell you that?” Rachel asked, as Bruce just stood there completely unresponsive staring out the window as he tried to process everything that had just happened.

Alfred shook his head. “Intuition Miss Dawes. Miss Black didn’t need to bring that folder over personally, but when she came in she was almost desperate to speak with you Master Wayne. When I found her by the elevator, she had her hand grasped onto her stomach and she was desperately trying to get ahold of her emotions. I have no doubt that she came here tonight to tell you the news in person and in all likelihood, she will disappear without telling you the truth based on whatever she witnessed between you and Miss Dawes. If I understand Miss Black at all, you won’t see her again Master Wayne. So the question you need to ask yourself is this......what do you want Master Wayne? If you wish to be with Miss Rachel than let Miss Black go, it’s the least you can do for her under the circumstances.”

Bruce glared at Alfred. “And if you’re right Alfred, should I just forget about my child too?”

Alfred shrugged, but the look he gave his charge was filled with sad disappointment. “I’m sure you’ve been selfish enough where Miss Black is concerned, Master Wayne.......and I’m fairly certain today is the day ‘I told you so,’ yes?”

And with that, Alfred left the room to the astonishment of both the people standing there, one feeling terribly guilty and the other feeling as if his entire world had just imploded.

When Alfred was gone, Rachel turned to Bruce and reached for his hand, which he allowed without hesitation and the two made their way over to the couch where they sat in silence for a while. Finally, when Rachel couldn’t take it a moment longer, she asked the question she needed the answer to.

“Do you think Alfred is right?”

Bruce’s hazel eyes met hers and they looked defeated and torn. “I do.”

Rachel nodded in agreement. “What are you going to do Bruce?”

Bruce hung his head down as his elbows fell to his upper thighs and he stared out the window. He loved Rachel, he’d been in love with her since they were children. She was his best friend, his first love and he’d held on so tightly to the hope that someday when all this madness was behind them, they could finally have a real chance at a happy ending. But then there was Batman, then Harvey and now Mia........and the choice that had been so glaringly obvious not only six months ago, was muddled with different possibilities, different choices.

Mia had accused him of holding onto Rachel and he’d lied to her time and again, but the truth wasn’t nearly so simple. Somewhere along the way, he’d fallen in love with Mia too.........and he’d taken her for granted every step of the way. What must Mia have thought when he’d asked her what she was doing there in his home? A home he’d never once invited her into. Mia had seen him kiss another woman in a place she’d never been welcomed by him.........and if that didn’t make him a first class asshole, Bruce wasn’t sure what did.

As he looked over at Rachel, Bruce could see a myriad of emotions emanating from her blue eyes and all of them made him feel even worse, if possible. How in the world was he supposed to choose between the two halves of his heart?

“I need to talk to Mia. I need to know if what Alfred suspects is true.”

“What makes you think she will be honest with you? If it was me, I’m not sure I would.”

“I have to try.”

Rachel nodded again. “Do you love her, are you in love with her?”

Bruce sighed, but not wanting to lie with Rachel, nodded in response before speaking. “Are you in love with Dent?”

“Yes.” Rachel whispered out emotionally, seeing Bruce’s resigned look of understanding.

“How did we screw this up so badly, Rachel? I’d never wanted to see you get hurt by my choices and yet that’s all I seem to do, hurt the ones I care about the most.”

Rachel reached for Bruce’s hand and squeezed it in reassurance. “I think we’ve held on so tightly to the past Bruce, that we’ve forgotten how to live in the present. Most of our lives we’ve only been for each other, in one way or another, and that’s a hard thing to let go of. I didn’t want to give up, because on some level that meant that I’d failed you, but I think I’ve always known deep down that our time had passed us by, long before you came back to Gotham. I’d just wish I had been the one to stand with you through your crazy journey, but we both know that I couldn’t do that. It’s obvious that Mia loves you enough to stand by you and support your decision as Batman. We just needed to give each other permission to let go and move on. If you love her Bruce, then go to her.......not because of the possibility of the baby, but because she’s the one you truly want to be with.”

“She’s never going to forgive me.”

“I think you can plead your case and because she loves you, she’ll forgive you eventually.”

Bruce nodded and gave Rachel one last kiss on the cheek. “You should call Harvey, tell him to come over and show him everything. I’ll try and get back before morning if all goes well and if not, I’ll probably be back sooner than I’d like.”

“What about tomorrow, Bruce? Are you going to turn yourself in?”

“That’s something we will all need to sit down and discuss.”

Rachel nodded and wished him luck as she watched Bruce grab his car keys and head for the basement garage. Rachel had no idea if Mia would forgive Bruce or herself for what happened tonight and she would have to tell Harvey the truth, she owed him that much. Shaking her head in despair, Rachel dialed Harvey’s cell phone and hoped that everything would work out for the best.

Chapter Text

Bruce raced through the streets of Gotham in his Lamborghini, so it didn’t take him long to reach Mia’s building. When he got to Mia’s apartment, the doorman came out and gave him a dubious look as Bruce parked his car and rounded the vehicle. “Mr Wayne, how can I help you this evening?”

“I need to see Miss Black and I believe she’s here.”

Quinton sighed in resignation as he made his way into the building with Bruce closely following him from behind. When he rang up to the Penthouse, Miss Black’s assistant picked up the phone.

“Hello Miss Cheng, I have a Mr. Wayne here to see Miss Black.”

There was a moments worth of silence before Bruce heard the woman’s voice come back on the line. The doorman nodded once and hung up the phone. “I’m sorry Mr. Wayne.....Miss Black is indisposed and is not taking visitors at this time. Would you like me to leave a message?”

Bruce glared at the man, impressed by his professionalism but equally pissed he couldn’t get to the place he needed to be.

“Look Quinton, this is an emergency. Can you please tell Miss Black that I need to speak with her at once?”

The man sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose while the other guards just looked on in confusion. Picking up the phone again, he dialed back up to the Penthouse and spoke with Mia’s assistant. After a few minutes the line went dead and Quinton hung up the phone and gestured for Bruce to follow him. When they reached the elevator, Quinton entered the access code and the elevator took Bruce up to the top floor of the building.

When the door opened, Jian was standing there looking quite put out. “Mr. Wayne......what can I do for you this evening?”

“I need to speak with Mia....is she here?”

Jian sighed heavily. “I don’t mean to be rude Mr. Wayne....but haven’t you done enough damage already?”

Bruce looked taken aback by the reprimand. “Excuse me?”

“Miss Black does not wish to see you.......yet here you are, forcing the issue.”

Bruce glared angrily at the woman. “She came to see me earlier this evening.....I just wanted the opportunity to speak with her.”

Jian looked at him in open dislike before she moved to the staircase to find her employer.

It was at least twenty minutes before Mia made her way downstairs. Her eyes were swollen from crying and filled with anger and pain. Bruce made his way over to her, but she put her hand up to stop him.

“I don’t know why you’ve come here, Mr. Wayne.” Mia said harshly and Bruce flinched at the formal use of his name. “Shouldn’t you be with the woman who was in your bedroom looking like she belonged there? The one I clearly heard you say that you wanted to be with? The one I saw you kissing?”

Bruce sighed in resignation as he looked at Mia pleadingly. “I’m here because we need to talk Mia.”

Mia laughed, but it wasn’t her usual warm happy laugh, but cold and cruel. “I think we’ve said all there is to say to each other, so if you wouldn’t mind, please leave.”

Bruce shook his head as his eyes bored into Mia’s. “I’m so sorry about earlier Mia, if you would just give me a chance to explain.”

“There’s nothing for you to explain Mr. Wayne, as what I’d heard and witnessed earlier was fairly self evident. I asked you to make a choice and you did. Obviously my declaration of love made very little impact with you, and I’m not one to overstay my welcome. So please do us both a favor and leave now, as I’d rather not have to get my security detail remove you by force, not that I’d need them to, as I’m more than capable of doing so myself.”

Bruce’s eyes narrowed at the threat, but he also knew this was Mia’s home and he currently was a guest.

“I need to ask you a question and I would appreciate it if you gave me an honest answer.” At Mia’s scoff of disbelief Bruce grimaced, but forged on as he was desperate for the truth.

“What?” Mia bit back harshly, her amber eyes were literally glowing in her ire.

Bruce took a deep breath and blurted out a bit more passionately than he’d intended. “Are you pregnant?”

Mia’s eyes widened at the question before her expression closed off completely and Bruce knew in that moment that Alfred had been right.

“No.” Mia said emotionlessly and Bruce felt his hackles go up in defense of the blatant lie.

“You’re lying to me.”

Mia smirked and responded sarcastically, “I’m afraid Mr Wayne, that dubious distinction belongs to you.”

“Damn it Mia!” Bruce growled out in desperation, realizing their conversation was deteriorating rapidly. “I know that you’re lying to me! I also know I deserve your anger and resentment, but please give me a chance to explain myself!”

“I’m afraid that’s no longer possible Mr. Wayne.......”

“Fuck Mia! I’m Bruce........stop with the formal address, alright?”

The look Mia gave him was full of condescension as she stared at him unflinchingly. “I’m afraid that’s unwise Mr. Wayne, since we are no longer romantically acquainted and I’m not interested in any of your flimsy excuses. You’ve made your choice........go back to said choice and leave me be.”

“I choose you, Mia.”

Mia’s eyes widened comically before she buckled over in hysterical laughter that was both harsh and very caustic sounding. After a few moments, she smiled almost cruelly. “No you don’t, don’t insult my intelligence. Somehow, you’ve got it stuck into your mind that I’m pregnant and think you need to make some big grandiose, self-sacrificing gesture, probably due to some misplaced antiquated honor or some other such rubbish, like pity..........fuck you Bruce Wayne! Get the fuck out of my apartment now!”

“Mia, please! You’ve got this all wrong........I lov......”

Mia screeched in anger as her hair crackled with electricity and her aura filled the room with an energy, quite unlike anything Bruce had ever felt before.

“Don’t you dare fucking say it! Not now!”

“I love you Mia.” Bruce said softly, earnestly....

What happened next, Bruce couldn’t have ever imagined in his wildest dreams, because when Mia screamed, all of the windows shattered outward in an explosion of raw power.

Mia’s eyes were black and her fists were clenched, her body shaking and then several loud cracks were heard and before Bruce knew it, there were three people standing there in the room that he didn’t recognize.

The three men that had appeared all held wooden sticks of some kind and Bruce couldn’t help but wonder just how they had appeared out of nowhere. There was a dark haired man, a red headed man and one gentleman with white blonde hair who was fixated on Mia as he went to move towards her. When Bruce went to intervene, he felt himself unable to move as he stared at the scene before him in fear......

The red head quickly took in the destruction before them and muttered a quiet, “Fuck,” in an English accent.

The dark haired man seemed a bit lost, but he started waving his stick and miraculously the windows that had been blown apart were starting to reform themselves......but it was the blonde man who’s grey eyes were fixated on Mia as he walked over slowly, as if he was approaching a wild animal and stood directly in front of her, gently cupping her face and tilting her head up so their eyes could meet. Bruce couldn’t help the low growl that sounded from his throat but with a wave of his stick, the blonde had somehow silenced his voice before he turned his attention back to Mia.

“Granger?” The blonde said hesitantly and Bruce watched as Mia’s eyes finally returned to their normal amber color as she stared up at the other man.

“Malfoy? What are you doing here?”

“That’s a story for another time love.....” the blonde man then addressed the dark haired gentleman, “how much time Longbottom?”

“A few minutes at most. I’ve reset the wards, but if Mione’s burst of accidental magic was strong enough to alert us to her, it’s only a matter of time before MACUSA sends a team of Aurors and Obliviators here.” The man called Longbottom trained his gaze onto Bruce and gestured in his direction. “Should we remove the Muggle? If he’s here when they show, there’s no telling what they might do to him.”

Bruce had no idea what they were talking about, but based on the sticks he’d seen and the power they wielded, it was clear these people were magicals of some kind.....which meant that Mia was as well and she hadn’t told him.

His face must’ve gave away his inner turmoil because the red-head came over and gave him a considering look that wasn’t friendly, but wasn’t quite threatening either.

“You’re thinking that Mione lied to you about her past, yes?”

Bruce couldn’t speak but nodded as he glared at the blonde man who was solely focused on Mia. He was running his hands up and down her arms in a soothing fashion and it was clear there was some kind of history between the two.

“She didn’t lie, Mr. Wayne.......in our world we cannot speak of it to those who aren’t Magical. It’s called the International Statute of Secrecy and Mione could’ve been thrown into our Wizarding prison if she had told you the truth. Nod if you understand.”

Bruce nodded again, feeling a bit of the tension leaving his body as the man next to him waved his wand and released him from whatever spells had been placed upon him.

Bruce was just about to ask a question when a booming sound echoed through Mia’s apartment, which jolted Mia out of her melancholy as she turned and faced Bruce and the two other men standing next to him. Holding out her hand, Bruce watched as a beaded bag flew into it and she reached into the bag, her arm going up to the shoulder inside of it, which should’ve been impossible, and she pulled out some kind of blanket, which she threw at the red-headed man next to him.

“George, get yourself and Bruce under the cloak and stand over in the far corner by the stairs and stay there. Malfoy, you and Neville disillusion yourselves, one by the window and the other by the elevator.”

“Granger, you don’t know how many Aurors are coming.”

“That’s why I need every advantage I can get.”

The blonde called Malfoy reluctantly nodded and gestured for Neville to take his spot by the elevator while he took up his position by the window as another booming sound echoed through the room.

“What is going on?” Bruce demanded as the man called George escorted him over to the staircase.

“The wards we set up are being taken down and we only have about a minute before they fall completely. If you don’t wish to have your memory erased of ever knowing Mione, you’ll be quiet and stay out of it, understand?”

Bruce glowered angrily at the man, but realized that he didn’t have any clue how to fight against these magicals......so he followed George to the designated spot before the cloak was draped over them.

“It’s an Invisibility Cloak, if you remain quiet they won’t know we’re here.”

Bruce nodded and was surprised to realize that he could still see everything in the room, even though he was completely covered.

Just at that moment, one final boom sounded and then there were several ‘cracks’ as another group of three men and one woman appeared within the room. They had formal clothing on, unlike anything Bruce had ever seen.......it appeared to be quite old fashioned, but they all had sticks brandished in their hands.

The largest of the four stepped forward to address Mia, and Bruce was amazed how how relatively calm and composed she appeared.

“I’m Auror Piquery from MACUSA and we were alerted to an outburst of accidental magic at this location. You will need to come with us Miss.”

Mia smirked at the man as she gave him a considering look. “Are you sure you have the correct location, Auror Piquery? As you can see, there is no visible damage to speak of.”

The man’s green eyes narrowed at Mia suspiciously as his gaze locked with hers but after a few seconds, the Auror hissed in anger and Mia’s smirk deepened.

“Legilimency won’t work on me Auror Piquery and if you try and invade my mind again, it won’t end well for you at all.”

Bruce could feel George chuckle in amusement next to him and he was confused as to why George didn’t seem more concerned for Mia’s welfare.

“Who are you?” The man demanded.

“You mean you don’t recognize me? Well, that is a conundrum I suppose, but regardless, you’re trespassing on private property and I will kindly have to ask you all to leave now.”

Two of the other Aurors hissed in displeasure at seeing their superior addressed in such a manner, and Bruce could see them preparing to mount an attack of some kind. When he went to move, George held him firmly and shook his head, placing a finger to his lips as he winked and then mouthed ‘just watch.’

“I don’t know who you think you are Miss, but we have very strict laws here in the States and as such I’m going to have to insist you come quietly or we will have to take you in by force.”

Mia chuckled as she smirked at the larger man in amusement before she spoke in her best Draco Malfoy impression, “You’re more than welcome to try.”

In a flash all the wands from the four Aurors converged on Mia in a blinding display of power, as the streams of color collided with her instantaneously........and Bruce noticed that Mia had her wand out and her arms crossed in front of her chest as the spells hit some kind of shield, and when the four intruders realized that Mia was still standing their eyes all widened in shock........and then Mia extended both hands out and reflected their spells back at them in an awesome display of power.......the resounding concussion that echoed through the confined space was deafening and Bruce gasped in wonder as he saw all four of the intruders blown back, landing hard against the wall, as well as being thrown onto the floor.

Then it was Mia’s turn to go on the offensive as she slashed her stick through the air and incapacitated three of the Aurors almost immediately and obtaining their sticks, before the man called Piquery went back on the attack. It wasn’t even a fair fight and in less than a minute Mia had the man shackled and disarmed, her hair crackling with power and her lithe form coiled like a warriors......she looked astonishingly beautiful in that moment.

George leaned over and whispered into his ear, ‘see, nothing to worry about’ and Bruce couldn’t help but smirk at the man’s accurate assessment of the situation, while finally realizing in that moment why Ra’s had sought Mia out all those years ago.

Mia stalked over to the large man who was glaring up at her in open hostility. “Auror Piquery, I don’t know what kind of training your superiors have bestowed upon you, but you have come into my home without a shred of evidence other than a ‘suspicion of accidental magic’ is that correct?”

The man gritted his teeth but nodded once.

“Do you also make it a habit of attacking unknown targets without obtaining their proper credentials beforehand? In other words, you didn’t know whom I was when you broke into my home and assumed facts that weren’t in evidence, correct?”

The man nodded again, clearly angry at being shackled to the floor, by what appeared to be magical restraints of some kind.

“Trust me when I tell you Auror Piquery, that I don’t take kindly to witches and wizards who break into my home unannounced and without cause, and you are lucky I’m feeling generous today or I would have your job and those who came with you.”

The witch who was pinned to the wall hissed loudly and said haughtily, “You don’t have that kind of authority. You’re British, you have no power here.”

Mia’s smirk widened as she glared at the other woman. “That’s where you are wrong Auror?”

“Beauvais.”

Mia bowed her head mockingly as she eyed the other woman with disdain before her gaze focused back on the man in front of her. “You tell President Quahog that Hermione Granger sends her regards and if he ever thinks about sending his Aurors into my home again unannounced and without cause, I will tear into his Ministry with the same efficiency that I did to mine during the war..........you think you can remember that?”

Bruce’s face broke out into an appreciative smile as he watched the looks of surprise, awe and reverence on the faces of the Aurors as they all gazed at Mia in astonishment.

“You’re THE Hermione Granger?” Piquery said quietly as his eyes softened imperceptibly.

“I am.”

“Then I would need proof you are whom you say you are?”

Hermione nodded and rolled up the right sleeve of her shirt and waved her wand over her forearm where Bruce could just make out some kind of tattoo there......and he didn’t miss the way George tensed at Mia’s reveal nor the low hiss that escaped from his mouth.

Bruce also noticed that the Auror’s face fell as he gazed at whatever was on Mia’s arm. “Apologies Miss Granger......we didn’t know who you were.”

“Apology accepted Auror Piquery, now remove yourselves quickly if you would be so kind.........I’m quite tired and would like to adjourn to bed for the evening.”

With a wave of her hand, the restraints on all her captives were vanished and Mia gave the four wands over to Auror Piquery. One by one the other three Aurors ‘popped’ out of Mia’s apartment with only Auror Piquery remaining. The man seemed to be struggling to say something and Bruce could see Mia waiting patiently for the man to speak, which he did after a few moments.

“I wanted to offer my sincerest apologies Miss Granger.....I was only doing my job. I also wanted to offer my thanks and those of my fellow witches and wizards here in the States.....none of us would be alive today if it wasn’t for your and Mr. Potter’s efforts during the war.........and your efforts afterwards. He was a great wizard and all of us were saddened when we’d heard of his untimely death.”

Mia nodded graciously. “That is very kind of you to say......Harry was the bravest man I’ve ever known and if he were here, he would seek to remind you of the tremendous duty you have to do what’s right and good, to honor the office you hold and protect those who can’t protect themselves.”

Auror Piquery bowed humbly at the gentle admonishment before his ‘pop’ signaled his immediate departure.

Once the man was gone, Bruce felt George remove the cloak from over them and noticed that Malfoy and Longbottom were also visible. Both men were smiling fondly at Mia, but the look in the blonde’s eyes was heated.

“That was awfully generous of you Princess, to give them back their wands and their dignity relatively unscathed.”

Mia smirked at the blonde. “Well, I could have punched him ferret and broken his nose.....then you both could’ve commiserated on getting your nose broken by the Brightest Witch of the Age.”

“More like the most vicious Swot of the Age.”

“Elitist git.” Mia bit back with a fond smile.

“Insufferable know it all.”

“Get a room.” George groused out mockingly and Mia’s cheeks reddened while Malfoy just smirked knowingly.......confirming to Bruce that these two did indeed, have a history together.

Chapter Text

The press conference the next day was an absolute cluster fuck, and when Harvey outed himself as the Batman, the entire conference room went into an uproar. Bruce stood there on the sidelines as pandemonium reigned, silently hoping that when all was said and done, Gotham would finally be free of the darkness that had pervaded through it for decades.

When Harvey was put into the back of the prison transport afterwards, ‘Rachel’ was there as moral support, Harvey promising her that all was well in hand. Once he’d entered the transport, Harvey was stunned by Draco, and then taken by Neville via side-apparition back to Mia’s penthouse. Draco then transformed himself into Harvey Dent and waited for the fun to begin.

It hadn’t taken long for the Joker to make his move, nor for Batman to take him down. Thankfully the newest batch of Polyjuice that Draco had been working on for the Auror department had a six hour shelf life instead of the one hour previously. He had hoped that Granger would be okay, and wasn’t thrilled with the idea of the brilliant swot putting herself into harms way.......yet again.

When the final showdown happened and Batman had the Joker in custody, Draco wasn’t surprised when Officer Ramirez offered to drive him back to police headquarters, and wasn’t surprised when he awoke later strapped to a chair in an abandoned factory tied up surrounded by what looked to be explosives set to a timer.

Hermione found herself in similar circumstances and shook her head at how predictable some people were. Looking around and seeing that she was alone, she tried to remove her bindings wandlessly, but was having a bit of trouble doing so.

Draco however, had no problem getting out of his bindings and disillusioned himself before walking out of the building. Seeing that there was no one around he sent out the magical locator spell he’d placed on Granger, as a back up....and disapparated to her location.

Meanwhile back at police headquarters, Jim Gordon was in with the Joker, who seemed to be enjoying the havoc he’d created.

“Harvey Dent never made it home.” Jim Gordon said calmly.

“Of course not.” The Joker replied.

“What have you done with him?”

“Me?” The Joker looked around in feigned confusion. “I was right here.” Lifting his hands so show the manacles placed on them. “Who did you leave him with? Hmmmm? Your people? Assuming they still are your people and not......Marone’s....” the Joker taunted. “Does it depress you Commissioner, to know just how alone, you really are. Does it make you feel responsible for Harvey Dent’s current.....predicament?”

“Where is he?” Jim Gordon asked again.

“What’s the time?” The Joker bit back.

“What difference does that make?”

“Well, depending on the time.....he may be in one spot or.....several.....” the Joker nodded mockingly.

“If we’re going to play games...” Jim Gordon said calmly, unshackling the Joker from the table..... “I’m going to need a cup of coffee.”

“Ahhh....” The Joker said knowingly, “the good cop, bad cop routine......”

Jim Gordon looked back at the Joker and smirked..... “Not exactly.”

Moving outside to the other side of the two way window, the newly appointed Commissioner dismissed his people, leaving the room empty. He locked the door from the other side and then went to stand on the other side of the mirror, to watch the interrogation about to take place.

The light went on in the room and Batman pushed the Joker’s head down roughly onto the table.

The Joker looked up at Batman a bit disoriented and said sarcastically, “Never start with the head, the victim gets all fuzzy....”

“You wanted me,” Batman growled, “Here I am.”

“I wanted to see what you’d do and you didn’t disappoint.” The Joker mocked. “You let five people die.”

Batman smirked. “That’s where you’re wrong......no one is going to die today. You think you have it all figured out don’t you?”

“Well....yeah.” The Joker said sarcastically. “Don’t you? You think these people are ever going to accept you, what you do? You’re a freak, like me.......the difference between you and me? I’m just ahead of the curve.”

“You’re a psychopath.” Batman growled.

“Well......yeah....” the Joker chuckled, “But right now, at this very minute Harvey Dent and his squeeze.....Rachel Dawes are about to become another tragedy that you can’t stop......”

Batman tensed at the mention of Rachel. “What are you talking about?”

“You see, it’s simple really........Harvey and Rachel are both at this moment on their way to join the great beyond.....together.......it’s so romantic!” The Joker’s maniac laugh reverberated through the room.

“That’s where you’re wrong.” Batman said deeply....pressing on the coin Mia had given him and hoping she was free from whatever situation she had found herself in. In a flash, Draco Malfoy still in Harvey’s skin and Mia as Rachel were standing there before him in the interrogation room. The Joker’s eyes widened comically before he broke out in peels of laughter.

Draco, rolled his eyes and wandlessly stunned the clown, before giving Bruce the once over in his Batman costume. He then turned to Mia as Rachel and lifted an eyebrow, “Really?”

“Please, let’s just get this done.”

Draco chuckled and pulled out the vial of veritaserum, opening the clowns mouth and dropping enough down the clown’s gullet to get several hours of truth out of him.

Batman came over to Mia and caught her gaze with his, she smiled and nodded and saw Bruce sigh in relief. When the Joker finally came to, Batman was gone.....but Draco and Mia were there, still Polyjuiced. Nodding to Gordon through the mirror, the Commissioner let the other police officers back into the room, where Batman was standing by the door, so no one could escape. The looks on Wertz’s and Ramirez’s faces at seeing Dent and Dawes in with the Joker, was telling.

Mia decided to take point. “Hello Mr. Joker......can I can you Mr. Joker, or would you prefer I call you Jack? Jack Napier?”

The Joker’s face fell as he ground out. “How are you here?”

Mia ignored the question, deciding to ask one of her own. Her American accent was quite good.....at least she hoped so. “Is your given name Jack Napier?”

The Joker moved his mouth around, trying not to answer but the word “yes” came out despite his best intentions.

“Did you have Marone kidnap Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes?”

“Yes.” The Joker hissed.

“Are Officer Ramirez and Detective Wertz on Marone’s payroll, and did he hire them to kidnap both Mr. Dent and myself?”

“Yes...” the Joker hissed out angrily.

Outside the room, Ramirez and Wertz were taken into custody by their fellow police officers. Gordon nodded at the Batman, who returned the gesture, before focusing back inside the room through the two way glass.

“”How did you intend on going after Mr. Lau this evening?”

“Planted a thief with cell phone bomb in his chest.....should be going off here shortly.”

“Here, in the precinct?”

“Yes.”

Mia looked out through the mirror and Jim Gordon moved out to the holding cells, to take care of the threat.

“Where is the mob’s money?”

“Down by the docks....pier 74.”

“Is it guarded?”

“Yes, the Chechen’s dogs.”

Mia nodded. “Were you responsible for the deaths of Commissioner Loeb, the attempted murder of Lt. Gordon, the murder of Judge Sorillo?”

“Yes.”

“Who else in the police department is working with you and Marone?”

The Joker listed off a few more names and Mia nodded. “Do you have any other plans in motion for tonight to terrorize Gotham?”

“The ferries.....there are two bombs aboard the ferries.”

Mia nodded, before she stood up and cocked her fist back, punching the Joker in the face and knocking him out cold.

Everyone on the other side of the room chuckled in amusement while Mia turned and nodded to Draco. Dropping the Peruvian instant darkness powder, Draco grabbed her hand and with a ‘crack’ they were gone.....and then two subsequent cracks were heard......when the darkness cleared, Harvey and Rachel were standing there.....in the same clothes they were before......but only Bruce could tell that this was the real Harvey and Rachel.....he had to admit, Mia’s plan had gone off without a hitch.....and he was absolutely amazed at how brilliant she was.

Rachel and Harvey stood there for a moment, and then moved out of the room together, to the congratulations of everyone within the room. Harvey nodded at Batman and Rachel just smiled warmly at Bruce, impressed beyond words that Mia’s plan had worked and they were all safe.

“We need to get someone out to the ferries.” Gordon said firmly.

“It’s already being taken care of.” Batman growled. “I trust you can take it from here Commissioner Gordon?”

“I think so.” Jim Gordon chuckled. “Thank you for your help today.”

“Just make sure this sticks and we’ll call it good.”

“Oh, you don’t have to worry about that,” Harvey said firmly, “they’re all going down. It’s time we cleaned house around here.”

Batman smirked and left the building, heading back to the Batcave and then to Mia’s......he needed to make sure she was alright.

Bruce was able to get to Mia’s apartment in record time, the doorman thankfully, allowing him entrance immediately. When he got inside her apartment, she wasn’t there....so he sat and waited for her to return.

It was several hours later when four distinctive ‘pops’ sounded through Mia’s Penthouse, and Bruce turned to the sounds, smiling widely when he saw Mia standing there as herself and not Rachel.

“Everything good?” Bruce said calmly.

“Yes, we were able to find the devices and disarm them. Hopefully come morning, this whole mess will be done with.”

Bruce nodded. “I just wanted to thank you three for helping Gotham.....you didn’t have to, but I do appreciate it.”

George shrugged. “It’s nothing, really.....been through so much worse than this....it was kinda fun.”

Neville rolled his eyes. “You have a warped sense of fun, George.”

“Guilty as charged. I’m gonna head back to London......and I’m going to take these two with me.”

When Draco glared at George, the older wizard just smiled. “You need to let Mione figure it out for herself Malfoy. If she wants to come back to England, she will....and if not.....you’re not helping yourself by being a possessive git.”

“Piss off Weasley.” Malfoy groused unhappily.

“He’s right.” Neville said softly.

“Just whose side are you on Longbottom?”

“Mione’s, always....by the way Mione......Happy Birthday.”

“Traitor.” Draco sneered while Mia just rolled her eyes before smiling widely at Neville and walking over to give him a hug.

“Thank you Neville.”

Moving back over to Malfoy, Hermione cast a wandless ‘muffliato’ so they could talk in private as they both watched as George and Neville disapparated back to London.

“Thank you for coming Draco....you didn’t have to, and I do appreciate it.”

Draco nodded, looking over at Bruce Wayne who seemed to be quite angry that he couldn’t hear their conversation. “Are you really going to give the Muggle a chance to break your heart again?”

Hermione sighed. “We are having a child together Draco. Whatever I choose to do, I expect you to respect it and not try Slytherin manipulations to get your way. I do care for you Draco.....and I’m sorry I didn’t give you the benefit of the doubt before I left. Please don’t put your life on hold for me.....I would never ask that of you.”

“And if I want to?”

Hermione sighed and shook her head, not stopping Draco when he enveloped her into his arms and tilted her head up to his. “I do love you Granger. Took me years to figure that out....and I’m not proud of how I treated you. Until you figure this out, I’ll wait......you’re worth waiting for.”

Hermione giggled and shook her head harder at the impish look on Draco’s face. “I just think your doing this to piss off Bruce.”

“He’s a tosser.......and he doesn’t deserve you.”

“And you do?”

“Fuck no, but at least I’m smart enough to realize it.” Hermione tilted her head back and laughed, causing Draco to chuckle in response. “I’ve missed that sound.” Draco said softly.

“We didn’t really have much to laugh about growing up, did we?”

Draco shook his head, grasping Hermione’s face in his hands. “You deserve to laugh more.....be happy. You just send me the word Princess, and I’m here.....do you understand?”

Hermione nodded. “I understand.” She leant up and kissed Draco chastely upon the lips. “Do take care of yourself Malfoy.”

“Always do, Princess.” Draco pulled something out of his robes and handed it to her. “Happy Birthday Princess.”

Hermione looked down at the gift and smiled widely at the package of her favorite sugar quills from
Honeydukes. “You remembered?”

Draco nodded. “I remember a lot of things Granger. Come home soon.”

“I’ll think about it, that’s all I can promise right now.”

“Okay.” Draco cupped Hermione’s cheek softly before stepping away and giving the Muggle one last look of utter loathing, disapparated back to London.

The room was filled with silence and Mia walked over into her kitchen, she was hungry and hadn’t eaten much today, other than breakfast. Turning her head, she saw Bruce watching her closely.

“Thank you for today, Mia.” Bruce said quietly, trying to get a read on Mia’s emotional state. “I know you’re still angry with me, and you have every right to be.”

“What’s done is done and we can’t go back and change it. All I asked for was honesty.....if you had told me about Rachel from the start, I might’ve been more cautious about getting involved with you. What hurt the most was how dismissive you were of me whenever we were in public......that time with Douglas Fredericks and his wife......the blasé way you introduced me to Rachel in the restaurant that night.......as if I was the model of the week on your arm, instead of the woman you were in a relationship with. It didn’t take me long that night to figure out what was really going on, and I almost got up and left several times.....but I made you a promise to help you and I don’t take those kind of things lightly.”

Bruce sat there and listened to Mia, realizing she was right. He had been dismissive of her, especially on the night in question when they’d had dinner with Harvey and Rachel. He hadn’t invited her to his apartment, never properly introduced her as his girlfriend to anyone.......he had taken her for granted and now he was paying the price for that mistake.

“You’re right.” Bruce said softly. “I didn’t treat you as you deserved to be treated, and I’m more sorry than you will ever know. I know I’ve said in the past it was never my intention to hurt you, and it seems as if that’s all I’ve done.....is hurt you.”

“I’m not sure what you want me to say Bruce? I do believe you when you say you’re sorry and I know you’re not a cruel person by nature..............but you did hurt me and I’m not sure what to do about it yet.”

Bruce nodded in reluctant understanding. “And our child?”

Mia’s gaze hardened as she considered the man before her. “You’re really not going to let this go, are you?”

Bruce shook his head emphatically. “No, I’m not. And why didn’t you mention it was your Birthday today?”

“Why would I have?” Mia snarked condescendingly, before walking over into her kitchen and opening the refrigerator, pulling out a few things before she spoke with her back turned towards him so Bruce couldn’t see her face, nor her expression. She could’ve kicked George last night for outing her condition in front of everyone, and the look on Bruce’s face had been both parts angry and vindicated as he had stared at her from across the room.

 

Flashback

 

They had all decided after the visit by the MACUSA Aurors to regroup at Bruce’s Penthouse when Hermione explained what had been happening recently in Gotham City and Bruce let them in on what had transpired over the previous week. Bruce had driven his Lamborghini back home and when he’d returned, it was to a very angry Harvey Dent. Rachel looked to be on the verge of tears, so Bruce decided then and there to confess everything to Dent........up to and including his identity as the Batman.

If Dent had been angry before, he was positively livid after Bruce’s confession and proceeded to deck Gotham’s Prince with a blistering right hook to the jaw. Bruce had just nodded in silent understanding before shaking his head at Rachel, who seemed to want to speak up on his behalf. Bruce realized in that moment there was nothing either of them could say to make things better, so he decided to accept Harvey’s rage for what it was.

After that was done, Bruce called Mia on her cell phone, explaining he was home and that they were welcome to come over and discuss the mission planning for the following day. Mia, George, Neville and Draco Malfoy all appeared directly into his Penthouse with four distinctive ‘pops’ causing Harvey, Rachel and Alfred to gasp at them in shocked astonishment.

“How?” Harvey sputtered out inelegantly while Alfred and Rachel just continued to gape at them.

Bruce nodded in welcome and gestured for his guests to sit down in his living room, while Alfred.....who was now a bit more coherent, offered to make tea for anyone who wanted some. Mia thanked Bruce’s Butler and the man smiled fondly at her and nodded once before making himself scarce.

“Thank you for coming.” Bruce said politely and Mia nodded stiffly as she resolutely refrained from making eye contact with Rachel, even though she could feel the woman’s eyes boring into her.

“Of course.” Mia said emotionlessly before she looked at Harvey and smiled softly. “It’s good to see you Harvey.”

Harvey returned the smile genuinely before he spoke. “Are you alright?”

“I’m as well as I can be under the circumstances, but perhaps we can table personal matters as there is definitely a more pressing issue to deal with, yes?”

“Of course, you’re right.” Harvey offered kindly.

“I’m assuming you’ve had the chance to look through the paperwork I left with Bruce?”

Harvey nodded enthusiastically. “I have and it’s quite impressive. Your research skills are amazing, Mia.”

Mia blushed at the compliment and completely missed the dark looks coming from both Bruce and Draco. “That’s very kind of you to say, Harvey. I do have some suggestions going forward for tomorrow.”

George chuckled as he grinned at his friend. “Of course you do, Mione.”

Hermione glared playfully at the red-head as she looked at him reproachfully. “I’ll have you know George Weasley that I’m excellent at making plans.....it was always Harry who was pants at it.”

Neville snickered in agreement. “That’s true enough. So what did you have in mind Mione?”

“Polyjuice, Veritaserum and some Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder.”

“What exactly are those items, Miss Black?” Alfred asked as he set down the tea and some biscuits for everyone in the room.

“Polyjuice is a potion that allows a person to transform into someone else temporarily. Veritaserum is the most powerful truth serum in the world, and Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder is actually pretty self explanatory.”

“Who would you transform into?” Bruce asked warily.

“Malfoy would transform into Harvey and I would transform into Rachel. If I’m correct, then Marone will likely kidnap one or both after the press conference. I’m assuming the plan was to have Harvey admit he’s Batman, correct?”

Harvey’s gaze lowered sheepishly at being outed while Bruce just smirked at Mia’s perceptiveness and cunning. When Rachel realized the truth of what Mia was speculating, she turned to Harvey and hissed out in anger. “Is this true? You weren’t going to tell me that this was the original plan all along?” Then her blue eyes fixated on Bruce, who just stared back at her impassively.

“What do you want me to say Rachel?” Harvey spoke up in defense of himself. “It seemed like a solid plan going in. Jim Gordon would be driving the prison transport and the likelihood of the Joker coming after me was a given. It would’ve given Batman a chance to capture him.”

“And it was probably the best plan you could come up with on short notice, yes?” Mia offered helpfully and watched balefully as Rachel’s face contorted in displeasure. “Don’t pout Rachel, it’s unattractive. The only thing you’ll actually need to do tomorrow is hand over a strand of your hair, I’ll take care of the rest.”

Rachel’s eyes blazed in anger at the other woman, as she sneered in irritation at being spoken to in such a way, but Bruce was the one who spoke up.

“Mia, that was uncalled for.”

Hermione bristled in anger at Bruce defending Rachel to her. “Actually it’s not. Your dearest Rachel is a walking liability I’m afraid. She has no formal training of any kind......unless you count stringing two men along at the same time......” Mia smirked and Draco chuckled at Granger’s audacity.....he didn’t think he’d ever seen her this catty.

“Mia....” Harvey sighed in pained understanding. “I know you’re upset and trust me, you have every right to be, but perhaps you might deflect some of that towards the person who actually deserves it.”

Mia’s eyes widened at the rebuke and saw Rachel’s face take on a smug look, before she shook her head in disgust. “You know what Harvey, I think you’re right........and I think you all should figure this out on your own. This really isn’t our problem; in fact, I could just obliviate all of you and you’d never remember this conversation, or me for that matter.”

Bruce snarled at the suggestion as he stood up angrily, but George was faster as he grabbed the man’s arm in warning. “She’s angry and hormonal mate. Pregnancy hormones will do that to a witch, so I’d sit down if I were you.”

Hermione’s face paled as she gazed up at George in shock, who belatedly realized what he’d said and when her gaze caught Bruce’s, his hazel eyes were filled with anger and vindication.

Hermione felt a tear fall from her eye as she gripped her wand and with a loud ‘crack’ she was gone.

“Shite.” George said softly and one look at Malfoy had him sitting back down and putting his head into his hands in shame. He didn’t know that Mione hadn’t told Bruce about the pregnancy.

“Nice one idiot.” Neville said half-heartedly while Bruce just stared at the spot Mia had vanished from with a panicked look upon his face.

“Clearly something else is going on.” Draco said haughtily, as his voice dripped with disdain and the patented Malfoy sneer found a permanent residence upon his face. “And frankly, I couldn’t give a knut about your little problems here in this shit hole you call a city, but you’ve managed to hurt someone I care deeply for and I find myself quite disinclined to offer my substantial services in the aid of Muggles who clearly don’t appreciate the superiority of the woman who just left here.” And with that, the blonde pulled out his wand and vanished into the ether, while Bruce looked over at Rachel and Harvey morosely before moving out to the veranda to get his thoughts together and try to figure out how he was going to fix the huge mess he’d made.

 

End Flashback

 

As she pulled out some vegetables from the fridge, Mia kept her back to Bruce as she set everything on the countertop. “Besides, the only reason you’re even here is because of this child, and we both know it.”

Bruce growled out angrily at the comment, shaking his head in response. “That’s not true and you know it!”

“Do I, do I really? You couldn’t help but defend Rachel last night to me, even though I was right in what I’d said. She did string both you and Harvey along......and you let her........he will too, because you’re both too weak to see it where she’s concerned. I may respect Rachel’s desire to protect Gotham from its criminal elements, but I have absolutely no respect for her as a woman.....so, if you’re going to defend her, leave now! I’d rather not hear it.”

Bruce sighed at Mia’s admonishment, realizing on some level she was right in what she was surmising about Rachel’s character, or lack thereof. It wasn’t easy to hear it though.

“What would you have me say, Mia? Rachel is my best friend, always has been. I’m sure you’ve had to defend your friend Harry many times from those who would try to demean his character?”

Mia turned around, her hair crackling with righteous fury. “Don’t you dare compare Rachel to Harry! Rachel didn’t sacrifice everything to save thousands of people, nearly die more times than I can count to do the right thing.......Harry was a hero!”

Bruce realized he’d stepped over some invisible line and backtracked quickly. “I’m sorry, and you’re right. George and Neville shared a few stories with me last night before you came back with Mr. Malfoy and I must tell you that I’m in awe of what you both must’ve gone through together. Perhaps someday, you might share with me your entire story, as I’d be very honored to hear it.”

Mia sighed and felt a tear fall from her eye. Wiping it away, she missed Bruce coming over and standing next to her, his eyes full of concern. “I’m sorry.” He whispered with feeling. “I know I fucked this up, but I want to make it up to you if you’ll let me......and not because you’re pregnant but because I want to be with you, only you.”

Mia’s amber eyes locked with Bruce’s hazel ones as she tried to read his expression. He seemed sincere, and she wanted to believe him. Sighing in resignation, Mia turned back to her food preparation so she was somewhat stunned when a tiny vial was placed on the counter top next to her. Staring at it in horror, she understood the gesture for what it was.

“Who gave that to you?”

“George. He’d figured it might help you to trust me again if you were assured I was telling you the truth.”

Mia gazed back at Bruce over her shoulder. “You’ve had league training, so I’m unsure if you’d be able to lie or not.”

Bruce nodded. “And if I told you that George tested it on me before he left?”

Mia’s face paled in shock. “Why would you agree to do something like that?”

“Because I knew you’d never trust me otherwise, and I want you to trust me Mia.”

“Veritaserum only makes the person verify their own truth.......so it’s not infallible, but still......I’m not inclined to utilize it for personal reasons. Your mind is far too developed, and even though I could possibly ask the correct questions, I’m not sure you couldn’t circumvent the potion if you really wanted to.”

“Your faith in my abilities is flattering Mia.”

Mia shrugged. “I can give credit where it’s due.”

Bruce chuckled. “Can I help you with dinner?”

Mia raised an eyebrow in challenge. “What makes you think you’re invited to stay?”

“Because if I wasn’t, you’d have kicked me out well before now.....so how can I help you?”

Mia glared but gestured to the pots on the rack hanging over the kitchen island. “You could grab the big pot and fill it with water for the pasta.”

“Sure.” Bruce smiled softly, and reached for the pan and filled it up before placing it onto the stove and turning on the burner. The rest of the food preparation and meal was met with stoic silence as the two of them tried to figure out where they went from here.

Chapter Text

The next day the press was in an uproar over the news of the downfall of the Joker and all of Marone’s men being arrested for the second time. Marone was arrested in his home, along with the Chechen and the man who had taken over for Gambol after the Joker had him killed. With Mia’s information, it seemed as if there was no way out for Gotham’s mob this time.

Harvey Dent was being hailed as Gotham’s White Knight, and while Batman was given some credit, the press latched onto Harvey as the Savior of Gotham. In the days and weeks that followed, trials for all the main players had come and gone, with Marone and the Chechen each serving life sentences with no possibility of parole behind the walls of Blackgate prison and most of the other mob serving lesser sentences.......but the mob was fractured beyond repair and for the first time in a very long time, the citizens of Gotham City felt hope for the future.

The Dent Bill had been passed not long after the final trial was done. The Joker had been convicted on all counts and sentenced to remain in the psychiatric ward at Arkham where he’d spend the rest of his life incarcerated. Once he was admitted, Mia used Polyjuice, went into his ward and obliviated the clown. There was absolutely no way that man could ever be allowed to remain in his current unhinged state. Now he was simply Jack Napier, before the Joker persona had taken over his life. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but it was the best compromise under the circumstances.

Harvey had been pestering Mia for several weeks to have lunch with him. He had been so impressed by her research that he’d wanted to offer her a job to come work with him in the DA’s office. Mia had finally decided to take him up on the offer of lunch, because it was clear the man was more like a pit bull in personality and wouldn’t leave it be.

They’d decided to meet just near City Hall, at an excellent dining establishment that Mia had wanted to try. When Mia entered the restaurant, Harvey was already waiting for her.

The man in question stood up with a wide smile upon his face as he came over and gave Mia a quick peck on the cheek in greeting.

“How are you doing Mia?”

“I’m fine Harvey, how have you been?”

Pulling out her chair for her, Hermione nodded with a soft ‘thank you’ as she took her seat.....before Harvey took back his spot directly across from her.

“I’m doing pretty good actually. The trials are done as you probably know, and now I’m just trying to plan for what comes next.”

Mia smiled and picked up her menu, perusing through the options as she considered Harvey’s words. “I’d imagine you have some ideas in mind, yes?”

“I do actually.” Harvey grinned playfully. “But you know that too.”

Mia laughed and Harvey’s smile widened at the musical sound. “So, you want me to come work with you?”

Harvey nodded. “I do. I know you aren’t thrilled about the idea of working near Rachel, and while I can’t promise that you won’t have any interaction with her, your exposure would be minimal.”

Mia sighed softly, as she set down her menu and waited to answer until after their waiter had taken their orders.

“I’m not keen on the idea of working with Rachel in any aspect Harvey, I won’t lie to you about that.”

“I’d figured that Mia, but just because the mob is fractured doesn’t mean there aren’t other threats out there waiting to fill in the vacuum left in their absence. With your research we could discover potential threats before they become a problem. I know you have a vested interest in keeping Gotham safe.”

“I do.”

Harvey tilted his head thoughtfully, considering the woman before him. “How’s Wayne?”

Mia grimaced slightly. “He’s a right menace actually.”

Harvey belly laughed at that comment, smiling widely at the thought. “He’s just worried about you Mia, I would be too if it were me.”

“Yes, I know he worries about the baby, and me by extension.......but we aren’t a couple and he’s too used to getting his own way more oftentimes than not. I’m not inclined to make it easy for him.”

Harvey didn’t care for Wayne, that much was true, but even he could see that Wayne cared deeply for Mia and their child. It couldn’t be easy for the billionaire to have to try and fix the mess he’d made. At that moment their food was served, and the two spent a few moments eating before conversation resumed.

“You know I’m not a fan of Wayne’s, but he does care for you Mia.....even I can see it.”

“I know Harvey, I just haven’t decided if forgiving him is the right thing to do. You forgave Rachel, yes? How did you manage to do so?

“Because when it came down to it, I do love Rachel and want a future with her. I said my peace to Wayne......more yelled it actually, punched him and then moved on.”

Mia’s eyes widened in shock. “You punched Bruce? When did that happen?”

“The night before we caught the Joker. Rachel called me to come to Bruce’s Penthouse where she told me everything. Wayne was there and well......I punched him. He didn’t fight back, just nodded and walked out of the room leaving Alfred and Rachel looking a bit stunned by what happened. I’m not going to apologize for it either.”

“I wouldn’t ask you too. Believe me, there have been moments I’ve wanted to deck Bruce too.”

Harvey’s laughter filled the vicinity as many eyes turned towards their table with interest at seeing Gotham’s White Knight so completely open. “I’d pay good money to see that!”

Mia laughed joyfully in return, causing Harvey’s smile to brighten. Her laughter was like music, and if he didn’t love Rachel, he’d give Wayne a run for his billions where Mia was concerned. “But back to the job, any thoughts?” Harvey asked curiously.

“I’m still trying to finish my work at Wayne Enterprises, so I’m not sure I can commit to anything else right now. I’m just impressed you’ve managed to forgive Rachel so easily.”

“I realized that they had to see for themselves that time and circumstances have passed by their opportunity for something more. I think that for Rachel and Bruce, they needed that closure....to give each other permission to move forward and leave the past behind. I don’t doubt they loved each other once and had circumstances been different, perhaps they might’ve made it work. But Wayne......he’s obviously quite complicated and has a lot of demons to deal with. I think you’re better equipped to deal with his complexities than Rachel ever was.”

“I don’t pretend to know Rachel’s motives nor her feelings.....but what I do know is that for whatever reason, she wasn’t willing to stand by Bruce and go on his journey with him. I’m sure her reasons were good and true for her, but I’m also positive it didn’t hurt Bruce any less that she chose to walk away. She’s never going to be my favorite person but things do seem to be settling down, and I’ve noticed a change in Gotham’s need.......but do you think it will ever end completely?”

“I think between the both of us, we can try our very best to make sure that Gotham’s need for Batman becomes a moot point.”

Mia nodded. “Give me some time Harvey to think about your offer.”

“Are you going to tell Wayne?”

Mia shrugged. “I’m sure the next time I see him, he’ll want to know what we’ve discussed.”

Harvey looked up over Mia’s shoulder and grinned as his eye caught something. “I don’t think you’ll have long to wait.”

Mia’s look of confusion cleared and she rolled her eyes as her magic sensed Bruce walking towards them. She could always sense when he was nearby........his aura was quite developed and easily discernible amongst other Muggles.

Mia leant forward and whispered lowly so that only Harvey could hear her. “What did I tell you......he’s a right menace.”

Harvey’s laughter filled the room as his eyes twinkled happily noticing Wayne’s glare, as the man moved behind Mia and instinctively dropped a possessive kiss onto her shoulder.

“Enjoying yourselves?” Bruce whispered into Mia’s ear and her answering shit-eating grin had Harvey chuckling in response.

“Harvey is excellent company......aren’t you Harvey?”

The man in question bowed his head humbly, but he couldn’t keep the smug smirk off his face. “I think you have it backwards Mia......and I’m sure Wayne will agree with me that there is no better company than you, my dear.”

Mia’s laughter floated through the air, and Bruce couldn’t help but smile despite his discomfort. “Am I interrupting?”

Looking up over her shoulder at Bruce, Mia lifted an eyebrow and said playfully, “Would it matter if you were?”

Bruce smirked back in challenge. “Not at all.”

Mia’s gaze met Harvey’s and her countenance relayed to Harvey that she was both irritated and amused by Bruce’s show of dominance. “We were just finishing our lunch. What brings you here?”

“I came to see if you needed a ride back to Wayne Enterprises. I had a meeting with the city planner that got out a bit earlier than anticipated, so I just thought I’d check in to see if I might escort you back.”

Mia sighed softly, but one look at Harvey had her rethinking her retort, as she was really trying to give the man a chance at forgiveness. It was clear that Bruce was trying very hard to make amends and it was both sweet and annoying in equal measure.

“That would be lovely.” Mia said at last, before reaching for her beaded bag, but Harvey placed a gentle hand on hers and neither of them missed Bruce stiffening at the gesture.

“I’ll take care of the bill Mia, as I asked you to lunch. Please think about what we discussed.”

“I will Harvey, and thank you for a lovely lunch.”

Harvey grinned and winked, causing Mia to giggle as Bruce grabbed her coat and helped her into it, purposefully ignoring the other man, who’s playful grin wasn’t missed by anyone.

“Take care of her Wayne.” Harvey’s words belied the hard edge to his voice and neither Mia nor Bruce missed the subtle admonishment.

“Of that you don’t need to worry Dent.” Bruce said politely, but his eyes were glacial as he stared down the other man.

“Let’s just hope you’re as good as your word this time, Wayne.”

Bruce’s face darkened at the not-so-veiled slight and Mia shook her head reprovingly at Harvey. “That’s enough Harvey.....while I appreciate the sentiment it’s not strictly necessary. I’m more than capable of taking care of myself.”

“True enough.” Harvey grinned. “You must share a bit more with me sometime about your time in England.......I’m sure that’s a story I’d love to hear.”

Mia smiled at the unspoken subtext and felt Bruce’s arm move around her waist in a clear show of possession. “I’ll think about it.”

Harvey nodded and Bruce didn’t waste another second escorting Mia out of the restaurant and into his Lamborghini, which was waiting by the entrance. Once they were on their way back to Wayne Enterprises, Bruce couldn’t help but speak up.

“I think you enjoyed that.”

“Enjoyed what?” Mia asked in faux confusion.

“My discomfort.”

“Oh dear, were you uncomfortable?”

Bruce glowered as he stopped at a red light, his jaw clenching in anger. “You know I was.”

“Hmmmm........that’s unfortunate. Perhaps next time don’t show up unannounced.”

Bruce sighed as the light turned green and he moved his car back into traffic. “What can I do to make this better? It’s been over two months Mia and you’re still angry with me.”

“I’m not angry Bruce.”

“Oh? Now who’s lying?” Bruce bit back sarcastically. “Just get it out please. Yell at me or scream at me......something.......anything...”

“Is that really what you want me to do?”

“Yes, you can even hex me.......but we need to get past this if we are going to move on and heal. I love you Mia......I miss you and I want you and I’m not going to let you keep pushing me away!”

“Why didn’t you tell me when Harvey came to your Penthouse, he punched you?”

Bruce groaned in exasperation. “Because it wasn’t important.”

“Excuse me, how is that not important Bruce?”

“Because it wasn’t and it isn’t. The man obviously needed to get out his anger, and he did......he took it out on me and it’s done with, which is far more than you’re doing if we’re being honest.”

“I’m not going to punch you Bruce, but you’re right, I’m angry with you......hurt, angry, scared, confused......but mostly I just miss what we had from before. You lied to me Bruce. Do you have any idea what it was like for me to see you declare your desire to be with Rachel not even a week after I’d left? Did my admission of love mean so little to you that you just tossed it aside and thought nothing of it? How am I supposed to trust you again? Tell me Bruce? Explain it to me, please?”

Bruce stared at Mia’s face briefly, her eyes were alight with unshed tears and her lower lip was quivering in suppressed hurt and anger. “I’m so.....so sorry Mia. I will never be able to say it enough. When you told me that day that you loved me and then left, my heart literally broke in two. I can’t explain what it was I felt because I’ve never experienced that feeling before. When I left our stateroom and couldn’t find you, I almost made the decision not to go to Hong Kong despite what needed to be done, because I was terrified I wouldn’t see you again. When I got back to Gotham, I went straight to your apartment but the doorman said you were gone and weren’t coming back. I called several times, but your voicemail didn’t allow me to leave a message and all I could think about was how much I’d fucked everything up. At Harvey’s fundraiser, the Joker threw Rachel out my Penthouse window and I dove after her in my Batman suit......saving her......but all I could think about in that moment was that I had lost you and I couldn’t lose her too. Yes, she and I had made a promise and yes.....there was a part of me that held onto that hope because it was all I had to keep me going for so long.....for years Mia, I’d held onto that hope. I couldn’t imagine what my life looked like without that hope. What you’d heard that night was the manifestation of that one hope that kept me going.......and I think I needed to know in that moment that there was something more waiting for me because you were gone and all I was left with was that intangible hope. I can’t explain it any better than that, but when I’d realized you’d likely seen my confession and the kiss, it was like a light switch went on and I could finally see with perfect clarity what I truly wanted and needed. You’d asked me.....told me, I needed to figure out what I needed as Bruce Wayne.....not as Batman. I told you before that it was you, and it still is and always will be. What more do I need to say or do to convince you that I’m sincere? That I love only you?”

Mia sighed softly as a tear fell down her cheek and Bruce leant over and wiped it away. “I want to believe you more than anything Bruce.......and I want to forgive you for hurting me. I’ve never told anyone I love them other than Harry.”

“Can you forgive me Mia? Can we start over?”

Mia sighed and shook her head and saw Bruce’s body tighten in response. “Bruce, starting over is impossible......I don’t want to start over.”

“What do you mean?” Bruce didn’t want to assume anything at this point and his heart was pounding in fear that Mia was going to walk away from him.

“What I mean is, too much has happened. We are having a child, and at least as far as I was concerned, our child was conceived in love. Yes, you hurt me and it’s going to take me time to come to terms with it and offer my complete forgiveness but that doesn’t mean we need to start over.”

Bruce’s body relaxed a bit as he considered her words and then nodded in agreement. “Our child was conceived in love Mia.......please don’t ever doubt that I feel that way too.”

“You told me on the boat you weren’t there yet, as far as love was concerned, so it’s hard for me not to wonder if the only reason you’re with me now is because of the baby.”

“And I don’t know what I can say to change your mind about that.”

“I’m not sure you can, as I don’t exactly trust your word......and I’m not sure what to do about that.”

Bruce nodded in understanding. “So what does that mean for us?”

Mia sighed softly. “As of right now, there is no ‘us’ at least not to the extent we were before. Even though she’s with Harvey, situations and circumstances change and I’m not convinced should Rachel’s romantic options become available again, I won’t be the one left high and dry.”

Bruce’s hands clenched around the steering wheel of his car as his jaw tightened and his entire body felt like it might snap at any moment. He was angry at himself, at the situation but he couldn’t fault Mia for protecting herself, especially under the circumstances. It made him feel like a first class heel and he wished more than anything he could go back and make a different choice that night. Fuck, there were so many choices he’d do differently if he’d known this was where they’d end up.

“Then I suppose I’ll just have to prove my intentions are serious.”

Mia gave Bruce a dubious look, but their conversation ended as Bruce pulled into Wayne Enterprises garage and parked his car near his private elevator. Unbuckling himself, and then Mia, he escorted her out of his car and to the elevator, where they spent the rest of the afternoon busy with work.

Chapter Text

In the week following their discussion, a tentative detente of sorts emerged for Bruce and Mia.....but she was still unsure of his intentions and couldn’t seem to give herself permission to let the hurt go completely. She had been working late one evening at her apartment when the sound of apparition cracked through the air. Brandishing her wand, Mia was surprised to see Draco standing there looking a bit worse for wear.

“Malfoy, what are you doing here? Are you alright?”

Draco grimaced as he sat down on Granger’s couch holding his head in his hands as he shook his head. “I’m sorry to barge in unannounced, but I needed to check on you to make sure you’re okay.”

Hermione sat down next to Draco and gave him a questioning look. “Did something happen?”

Draco nodded. “As you know most of the Death Eaters were rounded up years ago except for Rabastan Lestrange and Walden McNair. We finally caught up with both of them and got McNair.....but Lestrange got away, but before he did........he threatened to come after you Granger.....and I just needed to make sure you were alright.”

“I’m fine as you can see. Did anyone get hurt in the raid?”

“Zabini is in St. Mungo’s but should be fine in a few days. Unfortunately Dawlish was hit with Sectumsempra and the countercurse didn’t save him in time.”

“I’m so sorry Draco.”

Draco just nodded as he dropped his head against the back cushions of the couch and closed his eyes. “You need to be vigilant Granger. If Lestrange is coming after you, I can’t protect you from here.”

“I can take care of myself you know.”

Draco turned his head and opened his eyes, the normal grey was darker.....more subdued than Hermione had ever seen them. “I know you can, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m worried about you Granger. Am I not allowed to worry about you?”

Hermione smiled indulgently at the blonde wizard. “No Malfoy, you can worry about me if you like.”

“How are things with the Batman going?”

Hermione giggled as she smacked Draco’s arm in exasperation. “His name is Bruce, Malfoy......and it’s fine.”

“Just fine?” Draco smirked knowingly and Hermione rolled her eyes at his impudence.

“I’m still trying to figure out how to let my hurt go.......it’s not been easy for me.”

“You’ve always been too forgiving Granger.......it’s one of your best and worst traits. Your lack of self-preservation has always been to your detriment in many ways.....not that I’m complaining mind you, since I’ve benefitted from it.”

“I did manage to finally forgive you.”

“You did, but I don’t think you ever got over the hurt I caused you for all those years and that’s why you didn’t give me the benefit of the doubt before you left. You assumed I was still the same prejudiced git and instead of talking to me, you ran from me.”

Hermione sighed and nodded reluctantly. “I know I did Draco and I’m sorry.”

Draco reached over and cupped Hermione’s cheek softly, caressing her face as he stared into her amber eyes......eyes that he missed more and more everyday. “You don’t ever need to apologize to me Granger. I could spend the rest of our lives begging for forgiveness and I’m sure on some level it would never be enough.”

Hermione’s hand reached up and cupped over Draco’s as his hand stilled on her cheek. “There are times I wonder if I did the right thing in leaving England, but I had to leave.....you do understand why, right?”

“I do Granger. You’ve always had the weight of the world thrust upon your shoulders and you’ve never once shirked in your duty to do the right thing. It’s the main reason why I love you.”

Hermione sighed softly, seeing the truth in Draco’s eyes. “Draco......please don’t make this harder than it needs to be.”

“Do you remember the last night we were together Granger?”

Hermione swallowed nervously, but nodded all the same. “I do remember.....all of it.”

“Then tell me true Princess.......has Wayne ever made you feel like that.....made you scream and beg like that? Made you come undone like that?”

Hermione’s breath hitched as her face flushed with the vivid memories of the last time she and Draco had been intimate, but also what led up to that night. Thinking about the question, Hermione knew that what she felt with Bruce was every bit as intense and satisfying as it had been with Draco. With Draco the sex had been intense and fiery because it had been forbidden on some level. With Bruce, the sex was raw, passionate and consuming because of how she felt for him........

“Draco.......what do you want me to say to you? How do you expect me to answer that question?”

Draco’s eyes heated as he leant forward and cupped the back of her head as his gaze lowered to her lips, their faces only inches away from each other. “Honestly......truthfully.......”

As Hermione was about to answer the elevator door dinged, opened and in walked Bruce.....who looked shocked at first, and then livid at seeing Draco Malfoy with her.

“Mr. Malfoy, what brings you to Gotham?”

Draco sneered but stood up to face the man, who looked like he wanted to throttle him. “I’m here to speak with Granger.”

Bruce gazed down at Mia and she was hesitant to meet his eyes, which made his gut clench in jealousy and fear.

“I see.” Bruce said lowly. “Is everything alright?” The question was directed to Mia, but Bruce noticed Malfoy bristle in irritation at the query.

“Draco came to tell me that there was a raid on the last two remaining at large Death Eaters. They’d captured one, but the other escaped and apparently made some sort of threat in regards to me. He wanted to make sure I was alright.”

Bruce nodded as he eyed the other man across from him. He wasn’t a fool, and knew that while the reason was likely real, Draco Malfoy had no qualms about using this situation to his advantage. “Well, I thank you for coming here and checking on Mia and letting us know about the situation.” Bruce moved over to the couch and sat down next to Mia, reaching for her hand in solidarity and pleased when she took his hand, returning the gesture.

Draco’s eyes were glacial as he gave his most aristocratic sneer at the other man. “I take my responsibilities seriously Wayne......perhaps you might remember that.”

Bruce didn’t react to the taunt at all, he just stared down the man standing above him and seethed inwardly. “Was there anything else we needed to be made aware of?”

Draco’s gaze locked with Granger’s momentarily and she shook her head subtly at him. “No. I’m going to head back to London, but send your Patronus Granger.....should you need me.”

Hermione nodded. “I will. Thank you for coming here personally and letting me know what’s going on.”

Draco bowed in response. “Of course Princess........stay safe and I’ll talk to you soon.” Draco’s grey eyes locked with Wayne’s hazel ones as he smirked and said haughtily, “Wayne.” And then with a ‘pop’ the wizard was gone.

Bruce stared at the spot the other man had vanished from as he contemplated how best to handle the situation. He had thought that he and Mia had made some real progress this past week and then to see Malfoy here.........and to walk in on them and see their closeness and feel the tension within the room.....Bruce couldn’t help but feel threatened and it made him realize just what Mia must’ve felt when she’d walked in on he and Rachel.

“Do I need to be worried about that?” Bruce asked stoically.

“I didn’t know he was coming here Bruce, he just showed up unannounced. Apparently one of the Aurors sent to go after the Death Eaters died trying to bring in Lestrange.”

Bruce’s eyes widened. “Lestrange? I thought the woman who tortured you was dead?”

“She is....this is her brother-in-law and he is just as fanatical as she was. Draco was worried about my safety so that’s why he came.”

Bruce nodded in understanding. “That still doesn’t answer my question however.”

“I know it doesn’t.” Mia said softly.

“Are you trying to punish me?”

Mia sighed as she shook her head in exasperation. “Do you think I’m the kind of woman who would play such petty games with your emotions?”

“No, I don’t.”

“Good.....so in that spirit I will be as honest and forthcoming as you weren’t with me.....what do you wish to know.”

“Ouch Mia......that was a low blow.”

Shaking her head, Mia then rubbed her hands down her face as she grimaced in contrition. “Sorry.”

“Accepted.” Bruce said firmly. “He wants you back?”

“Yes.”

“How do you feel about that?”

“Conflicted.”

“Do you want him?”

“In what way are you asking?”

“Do you want to have sex with him? Be with him?”

“I’m attracted to Draco, I won’t lie to you about that, but I would never act on that attraction, as I’m still trying to figure out where we go from here. Draco is very good at manipulating situations to his liking, and while I’m not prone to fall for his machinations, he did make a few solid points that I needed to hear.”

“Such as?”

“That I was able to forgive him for being such a hateful prat......for years he was a bigoted prat and yet I forgave him. That I do have the capacity for forgiveness, often to my own detriment and that I have no sense of self-preservation when my feelings are involved. He challenged me to look introspectively at what I’d felt for him years ago versus what I feel for you now........Draco’s very self assured in his own sexual prowess, and rightly so.”

Bruce’s lips thinned in anger as he considered Mia’s words. “And what conclusions did you come to?”

“Draco asked me straight up if what I feel when I’m with you was as intense as it was with him. If you want complete honesty?” Bruce nodded, knowing as much as he didn’t want to hear this, he needed to...... “The sex with Draco was intense and fiery because on some level it was forbidden for both of us. He is a Pureblood aristocrat and I’m a Muggle-born witch. I may be the Brightest Witch of the Age and a War Heroine.....but to most of the Pureblood elite, I’m beneath them. If everything had been equal, and Draco’s parents had lived.....they NEVER would’ve accepted my relationship with Draco. He’d likely been disinherited and his Father would’ve tried to have me killed.”

Bruce’s face darkened ominously as he listened to Mia’s story, having no reason to doubt the veracity of her words.

“With you, it’s different but equally intense and passionate because of how deeply I felt for you. With Draco it was just sex.....pure and simple but with you it was different. Making love with you was so much more than I’d ever expected or experienced.....even with Draco. If I had stayed in England, and not run away there’s a very good chance that Draco and I would’ve tried to have a proper go at a relationship.....but there is no way of knowing how or what that would’ve entailed. Part of me thinks we would’ve eventually killed each other......”

“And the other part?”

“Thinks we could have made a real go of it.”

“If he is what you want Mia, I won’t stand in your way.”

Mia’s eyes glistened with unshed tears. “You wouldn’t fight for me?”

Bruce shook his head emphatically. “That’s not what I’m saying here. I’ve spent the past few months doing just that.....fighting for you, showing you that I love you and want to be with you.....and only you, and because of that, I won’t stand in the way of your happiness because I love you. If you can’t forgive me completely, then I don’t see a future for us, do you?”

Tears started pouring down Mia’s cheeks in earnest and Bruce felt his heart breaking apart all over again as he felt his world being torn apart and he simply didn’t know how to fix it.

“You have the power to break me, Bruce Wayne. In all the years that Draco taunted me in school, he’d never had the power to break my spirit nor my heart because I’d never given him that power. I’ve never been in love with Draco.”

“Then please forgive me Mia........I don’t want us to keep doing this to each other. It’s not healthy for us or our baby........so I’m going to ask you here and now, can you forgive me and allow us to move forward.....no more holding onto the past, no more holding back?”

“Are you giving me an ultimatum? If I don’t offer my forgiveness right here and now, are you going to walk away?”

“That’s not what I’m saying at all.”

“That’s sure what it sounded like to me.” Mia said stoically as she stood up and walked over towards the window, looking out over Gotham City.

Bruce stood up and followed Mia, before gently taking her into his arms from behind, which she thankfully allowed and the two of them stood there silently staring out into the night sky for a few peaceful moments before Bruce finally spoke.

“I know it’s hypocritical of me to chastise you for your past with Mr. Malfoy when I’ve had my own past with Rachel......but that’s what it truly is for me.....in the past. I don’t know exactly what your relationship was with him, but it’s clear to me that you cared for him. I won’t give you an ultimatum Mia.......but if you need to see where your heart truly lies then I’d understand it, I wouldn’t like it but I can’t expect you to take my word for much of anything right now, so I’m going to have to show you through my actions that I’m invested in us and want a future with you.”

Hermione sighed heavily as she thought over Bruce’s words, as she relished even briefly, feeling his arms around her again. It was difficult for her to give her trust, and even more difficult to bestow her forgiveness........back at Hogwarts the only person whom she’d ever truly given unconditional love and forgiveness to was to Harry. Harry, who was her best friend and for a brief time, Hermione had hoped for more......their time on the run, after Ron had abandoned them.....sharing a wand......the bond that had forged in those few months had sustained her through her darkest fears and despair. She’d loved Harry with everything she had been up until that point in time, but because he’d loved and chosen Ginny, Hermione had never confessed her heart, nor the bond they’d forged. When Harry had died, a part of her had died with him.........leaving her a little more damaged and a little less whole.

When she and Draco had slept together the first time in their shared grief, Hermione hadn’t even considered the idea that he might have wanted something more from her than just sex. The sex had been fantastic.....but because her heart had been closed off, she’d never given Draco the opportunity for anything more than just a series of glorified one-offs. Having him confess that he’d loved her was astonishing in itself, and it made things more confusing too. She was pregnant with Bruce’s child and she loved Bruce.......at least she had before the ‘incident’ with Rachel........but right now her hurt and anger felt too raw to consider where her feelings were currently.

She didn’t want to lead Draco on......she couldn’t promise him anything at this point and she wouldn’t do what Rachel had done......string two men along......that would just make her a hypocrite and that was one failing that Hermione was proud to say she didn’t suffer from. She couldn’t help but wonder where exactly that left her.

“You’re awfully quiet.” Bruce whispered into her ear.

“Just processing.” Hermione said emotionally. “No matter my own feelings, I won’t do to Draco nor to you, what you did to me.......you may not have slept with Rachel, but the intention was there and the fact remains that if I hadn’t come back that night, you would’ve been with her......assuming she’d survived Marone’s abduction.”

Hermione felt Bruce stiffen behind her as he let out a ragged breath of shock at her words. “You would’ve let her die?”

Hermione turned around and her expression was completely closed off. “I’m not a Seer Bruce, but I’m smart enough to understand what the likely scenario of Marone’s and the Joker’s endgame was. For all your power as Batman, you couldn’t have stopped the combined efforts of both of them along with all the dirty cops.......even you must know that to be true? And don’t think that I didn’t notice the fact you didn’t deny my statement about being with Rachel either.”

Bruce’s face paled considerably before he spoke with emotion. “Just because I didn’t deny it doesn’t mean that I agree with your statement, but I will concede to your first point about the fact that for all my efforts, it wasn’t easy trying to stay one step ahead of the mob. Before the Joker, it had been working, but I didn’t take into consideration that someone like the Joker could’ve become a problem.”

“I’m not sure how to respond to your denial, but I do know that your blind arrogance would’ve led to Rachel’s and Harvey’s death........and in the aftermath, who knows what might’ve happened to Gotham. You’ve spent years working alone, but the problem with that sentiment is you can’t see all the threats coming at you when you’re so singularly focused. For the record, I was planning on coming back to help you.....that’s why I’d gathered the information I did......I just never expected to walk in on what I did.”

“I know Mia.........I can’t change it and I can’t keep apologizing for it either. What’s done is done and I’m grateful you cared enough to help.....even though you had no reason to do so, after everything.”

“I’m not the kind of person to walk away from something like that. I spent seven years with Harry fighting for him and my right to survive and live in the Magical World. I obliviated my own parent’s to keep them safe from Death Eaters and as a result, lost them forever when I couldn’t reverse the memory charm I’d placed upon them. I was tortured, cursed, belittled, mocked and hated for the simple reason of my birth.......to Muggle parents who loved me unconditionally and gave me a good life. I lost the one person who meant the most in the world to me, watched him die and there was nothing I could do to prevent it. I may not like Rachel and trust her even less, but I won’t stand by and watch innocent people die......ever, if it’s within my power to prevent it.”

“I’ve always known you were extraordinary Mia, but learning about your past has given me an entirely new perspective on you. I’d never imagined in my wildest dreams that magic was real......but it is and now looking back, it makes complete sense and I’m sure there’s a lot more I have to learn in relation to your magical background?”

“Yes, that’s probably an understatement.”

“Well, I’m looking forward to learning more.....if you’re willing to open up to me.”

Mia’s amber eyes locked with his hazel ones as she stared up at him with a small smile upon her face. “Not all of it is pleasant.....most of it isn’t, actually.”

Bruce shrugged. “You can trust me Mia.”

“That remains to be seen Bruce, but perhaps with enough time we can figure out where we go from here.”

Chapter Text

As Christmas approached, Mia told Bruce she was going to leave for England for a few days at Christmas......and he had been understandably concerned. When he’d asked her why, she had told him that she went to Godric’s Hollow every year on Christmas Eve, and it was important to her. Bruce had offered to go with her, but Mia had been adamant that it was something she needed to do on her own. Bruce hadn’t wanted to argue with her, so he left it for the time being. At that point, Christmas was still a couple weeks away, and he was hopeful he’d be able to change her mind. As luck would have it, fate intervened on Bruce’s behalf the week before the holiday.

Currently Mia was in her twenty-second week of pregnancy, and she was showing a bit more than normal........and Bruce couldn’t help but feel a sense of abject male pride every time he watched her......whether they were at home, or at work, or out for the evening. Mia had always been beautiful, but now she simply glowed. Her body was filling out nicely and Bruce had to admit, it was very difficult for him to refrain from wanting to indulge in Mia’s loveliness. The additional curves, especially to her breasts, were often the focus of his heated gaze whenever they were alone.....and even when they weren’t.

Unfortunately, Mia had shown little interest in reigniting their physical relationship and Bruce had to wonder if he’d permanently damaged the love she’d felt for him because of his poor choices. It was difficult for Bruce to realize that this might not be something he could easily fix and it was made all the more difficult as he’d essentially cut all ties with Rachel because of what had happened. Harvey and Rachel were trying to make a real go of their relationship and Bruce was happy for his best friend. He knew that Rachel loved Harvey, and oddly enough, he wasn’t as devastated by that fact as he’d been a few months ago.

That’s why it was a surprise the Friday afternoon before Christmas after he’d had lunch with Mia in her office at Wayne Enterprises, that he found Rachel waiting for him in his office.

“Rachel, what are you doing here?”

Rachel smiled softly at him from her position on the couch, where she was currently sitting, looking through her cell phone.

“I’m sorry to come by unannounced, but I needed to speak with you for a few moments.”

Bruce nodded warily and took a seat in his chair next to the couch. “What can I do for you?”

Rachel sighed in frustration as she clasped her hands tightly in her lap. “Harvey asked Mia to come and work with him at the DA’s office and she’s yet to give him an answer. Apparently she refuses to work with me, and Harvey thinks that’s why he hasn’t heard from her.”

Sitting back in his chair, Bruce gave Rachel a contemplative look before he responded. “And just how do you think I might be able to help, Rachel?”

“Talk to her? Make her see reason?” Rachel pleaded earnestly. “Look, Mia and I are never going to be friends. I’ve come to accept that as she will likely never trust me, or my friendship with you, but I’m not so blind to see that she’s quite formidable and capable. Harvey really wants her to come work with him, and I think it would be a good thing if she did. I’m just asking you to please try and help her to see reason!”

Bruce rubbed his hands down his face in frustration, clearly not wanting to get involved in the middle of this situation. “I think you’re overestimating my influence with Mia. She’s still fairly angry with me and I’ve yet to earn back her trust. She still thinks that I’m going to change my mind about wanting to be with her and I don’t know how to convince her otherwise. If I go to her and plead your case, she’ll just see it as me taking your side again. She was furious for me for doing so that night.......I’m not sure it would be wise of me to try it again.”

Rachel scoffed as she shook her head in anger. “Since when have you ever backed down from doing what’s right for Gotham? You sacrificed our relationship for that very reason!”

Bruce raised his eyebrows incredulously at Rachel’s assertion. “From my recollection, it was the other way around Rachel. You’d told me that the ‘man you’d loved never returned to Gotham and when I was done, maybe you’d see him again.’ You didn’t want to follow me down my chosen path........and I didn’t fight you on it either. I’m thinking we are both equally to blame for allowing our chance to slip us by, don’t you?”

Rachel blushed uncomfortably at Bruce’s harsh words, but she realized deep down he was right. Reaching for his hand and giving it a reassuring squeeze, she nodded in an unspoken understanding. “I’m sorry, for what it’s worth. I don’t think I’ve ever actually said the words to you before. I’m sorry I couldn’t be what you needed me to be.”

Bruce returned the gesture, nodding in return. “Look, we’ve both screwed things up with Harvey and Mia, but I have no intention of doing so again. I love her and I want a future with her, and the only way that’s going to happen is if she forgives me and trusts me again......and I’m petrified that she’s going to walk away and take our child with her if I don’t figure out a way to make this right.”

“Do you really think she’d do something so petty as to keep your child from you?”

“No, I don’t think she’d ever do that.” Bruce stated unequivocally.

“I’m glad to hear you think so highly of me.” An angry voice spoke from the doorway and Bruce’s head shot up in shock at seeing Mia standing there.......her eyes blazing as they were firmly fixated on his hand, which was currently attached onto Rachel’s.

Bruce immediately released Rachel’s hand and stood, making his way over to Mia. “Mia, this isn’t what you think it is.” Bruce’s voice was quiet, but calm as he took in Mia’s body language.....which was coiled in her fight or flight mode. And right now, he couldn’t get a handle on which impulse she was leaning towards more.

Mia’s amber eyes were locked onto his as she refused to acknowledge Rachel in any way. “I just came by to tell you I am leaving for the day. The database is done and I’ve dropped off the finished prototype to Lucius for his inspection, so if you’ll excuse the interruption, I’ll be heading back home.”

Bruce couldn’t help but smile in appreciation of Mia’s efforts. “That’s really good news, you’ve been working yourself too hard, Mia.”

Mia shrugged. “It’s a good distraction.”

As Mia turned to leave, Rachel stood up and cleared her throat causing Bruce to give her an irritated look over his shoulder, which Mia didn’t miss.

“Mia, I know I’m the last person you want to see right now, but the reason I’m here is actually on Harvey’s behalf.”

Mia gave Rachel a disbelieving look before turning her attention to Bruce, who just nodded in support of Rachel’s words. Not responding to the other woman, Mia just stared at her condescendingly, and Bruce had to give Mia credit, she was quite intimidating when she wanted to be.

When Rachel realized that Mia wasn’t going to respond, she took the opening and continued on. “Harvey shared with me that he wants you to come and work with his office. He also shared with me your reluctance to do so because of me. I came to talk to Bruce to see if he could convince you to give Harvey a chance, despite my presence in the DA’s office. You have my word you won’t have to work with me.....although I can’t promise we won’t run into each other from time to time.”

Mia’s face was impassive but her eyes were anything but as she considered the woman before her, not buying her story in its entirety for a second.

“You could have emailed Bruce or called him to ask for his help.....you didn’t have to come here directly to plead your case........yet here you are. I have to give you credit, it’s probably why you chose the profession you did. It’s far easier to manipulate people into doing what you want face to face, with a side of guilt and a bit of a carrot.”

Rachel’s face flushed angrily at the accusation. “You don’t know me Mia!”

Mia scoffed harshly at the woman. “You’re right about that, but I do know your type. If you didn’t think you still held some sway where Bruce’s feelings were concerned, you wouldn’t be here pleading Harvey’s case and yet, here you are. Please, don’t insult my intelligence.”

“You’re paranoid.” Rachel bit out while Mia just smirked at the other woman before she wandlessly cast a notice me not charm and a muffliato, then whipped out her wand, making eye contact and silently casting a legilimens. When Mia entered the other woman’s mind, it didn’t take her long to find what she was looking for. She immediately broke eye contact with a victorious smirk, while Rachel’s eyes filled with tears at the sudden invasion.

“You bitch!”

Bruce stood there in shocked disbelief before his face darkened at Mia, as he shook his head angrily at her. “Did you just do what I think you did? You invaded her mind?”

Mia nodded, unapologetically. “I don’t like liars, and she is a liar........and not a very good one.”

“Damn it Mia! You can’t just mind rape someone like that!”

Mia’s face paled at the analogy, but her eyes were glistening with unshed tears as she shook her head angrily. “She lied! I’m so bloody sick of you defending her! She is a user and a fucking liar.....she knew she could manipulate you into helping her! That’s why she came here! I can’t believe someone so intelligent as yourself is such an idiot where she’s concerned.”

Bruce’s face darkened even further as he moved over to take Rachel’s hand and sit her back down onto the couch, before moving over to his bar and pouring a glass of water which he offered and Rachel took shakily, with a nod of thanks.

“How am I supposed to take this Mia? Rachel’s been my best friend my entire life! Whatever her motivations in coming here, her reasoning was sound. You’re the one who crossed the line!”

Mia’s face instantly closed off completely as she sighed in defeat. “We are done, Bruce Wayne; because no matter what I tell you, you’re always going to take her side.”

Dropping her wand down, Mia disappeared instantly and Bruce’s mouth dropped open as he screamed, “Fuck!” Realizing with sudden clarity that Mia was gone and if he was correct, she wasn’t coming back this time. He’d likely lost her for good.

Rachel’s face paled even further as she stared at Bruce, who appeared to be struggling with his emotional state as his hands were shaking violently in either fear or anger......Rachel wasn’t quite sure which emotion was the more prevalent at this moment.

“I’m sorry Bruce.”

Bruce sat down and placed his head in both of his hands as he felt adrenaline spike throughout his body. He was angry at Mia for what she’d done to Rachel, but he also understood why she’d done it. She didn’t trust him........he’d lied to her and somewhere along the way, Mia had been through hell and back. She’d been tortured, hunted.....oh, George Weasley had told him enough that night to understand just how much Mia had suffered. The only thing she’d ever asked of him was honesty, and he hadn’t given that to her. So how could he blame Mia if she needed to feel secure through other means? It didn’t make what she’d done to Rachel right, and Bruce had no doubt once Mia’s rational, logical mind kicked in, she’d be horrified by what she’d done. But she was pregnant, hormonal and George had mentioned how difficult pregnancies were for witches......their magic made everything more elevated and emotions were much more difficult to control. Shaking his head, Bruce reached for his phone and was about to call Mia when Rachel spoke up again.

“I’m so sorry Bruce.....I should’ve never come here today.”

“Was Mia telling the truth?”

Rachel grimaced, but not wanting to make a bad situation worse, nodded sadly. “It doesn’t excuse what she did though!” Rachel quickly defended herself, while Bruce just gave his friend a hard look.

“Two wrongs don’t make a right, Rachel! Your motives weren’t exactly pure and while Mia stepped over a line, she’d have never crossed that line had it not been for our actions......mine in particular! You will let this be....if you care anything at all for what’s left of our friendship you will let this go! The mother of my child is gone, and I have no idea how to find her if she’s chosen to return to her world.....do you understand that? There’s no way to track the magical enclaves at all....which means I’m pretty much screwed right now!”

Rachel paled in shocked understanding. “I’m so sorry Bruce, and of course, I’ll let this go. I won’t mention it to Harvey either, you have my word.”

Bruce nodded his thanks. “I need to get to her apartment to see if she’s there.”

“And if she’s not?”

“Then I’m heading to London to find her.”

“If you need me to do anything.....”

“I think you’ve done enough Rachel!” Bruce growled out angrily. “Next time you need me for something, email or call first so I can give Mia a heads up.....assuming that I can find her, get her to forgive me and convince her to come back home.”

“She can’t keep you from your child Bruce.” Rachel tried to sound confident but Bruce just gave her a disbelieving glare.

“You don’t understand! According to her friend George, Magic can make someone unplottable......literally. Their home, their person......if Mia doesn’t want me to find her, I won’t. She was on the run for a year during their magical war......hunted by everyone and somehow, she’d managed to keep both herself and her two best friends hidden from everyone. If Mia doesn’t want to be found, she won’t be.”

“I know you talked with her friend that night on your balcony, but I hadn’t realized he’d shared so much with you.”

“He shared enough to let me know that Mia is easily the most powerful, Brightest Witch in the Magical World today. She’s a heroine in their world......twice over. She’s saved thousands of lives and was tortured, hunted, nearly killed and never broke during their magical war. She was branded and scarred, hated, taunted and looked down upon for her magical pedigree.....and yet, still she has spent the majority of her life helping people......Magical and not. She’s the most amazing woman I’ve ever known.”

Rachel’s eyes welled up at Bruce’s confession, finally realizing that she’d truly lost her best friend and first love. The way in which he spoke of Mia was with awed reverence and love.......and Rachel wondered if Bruce had ever spoken of her in such glowing terms and with such feeling.

“You need to find her.”

“I know. Tell Harvey Mia had to head back to England for a while.”

“I will. Good luck Bruce.”

“Something tells me I’m going to need a lot more than luck to get Mia back.”

Chapter Text

When Bruce made his way to Mia’s apartment he was surprised to find that she wasn’t there, and for a moment, thought she hadn’t returned there yet following their argument. So, when he’d been let into her apartment by the security guard, he had been hopeful that perhaps he’d gotten there before her........but when he walked in, his heart dropped into his stomach as the entire apartment had been cleaned out of almost everything.

The walls were bare, the furniture gone......and as Bruce ran up into Mia’s bedroom and threw open the door, he felt his heart shatter at the empty room staring back at him. Her furniture, clothes, personal belongings....all gone......

As Bruce slowly made his way back downstairs, he noticed something sitting on the counter in the kitchen. When he made his way over, he saw it was an envelope with his name on it. Hands shaking and heart pounding, Bruce opened the envelope and observed there was a letter inside along with a flash drive of some kind. Placing the flash drive into his pocket, Bruce pulled out the letter completely and unfolded it, immediately noticing Mia’s elegant handwriting. As he read the words on the paper, his hands were trembling........and he felt his heart move up into his throat as his eyes started to blur a bit. Taking a fortifying breath, Bruce closed his eyes briefly to get his body and mind under control, before reading the letter again......

 

Bruce,

I’m sorry it had to end this way. Whether or not you agree with my methods, it is a moot point now......the truth is, I am never going to be your first choice......you will never choose me over Rachel, and I will not settle for second best no matter how good you think your intentions are towards me and my child. I’m going back home, and I’m staying there.......and while I realize the child I’m carrying is biologically yours..........I can take steps to change that, which might be easier on both of us.

Draco offered, the night he found me in my apartment after I’d left your Penthouse, to raise my child as his own. Through blood magic, the baby would essentially become his and mine......which I’m seriously considering. It actually might be better for both of us this way.

Don’t follow me.....you can’t find me. If I’m such a horrible person as you seem to think of me, then I’m sure you’ll be relieved that I’ve left, and am willing to raise my child without you. Perhaps you and Rachel can finally be together and have your own children. I’m sure that would be far preferable, right?

 

 

As Bruce stared in shocked dismay and horror at the contents of Mia’s letter, he felt so many emotions simultaneously. Rage, anger, hurt, confusion, betrayal, understanding, remorse, shock, pain.....but the overriding emotion was determination. He was determined to find Mia before she decided to do something in her hurt and anger that she couldn’t take back. He didn’t want to lose her, nor their child and he was damn sure he wasn’t going to let that happen!

Pulling out his cell phone and calling Lucius, he filled him in on the situation and then called Alfred, whom after a few moments of silence, promised to get in touch with all his remaining contacts at the SAS and MI-5 to see if they could get him any information on the Magical enclaves located in London, promising to be discreet.

Bruce left Mia’s apartment, ignoring the interested stares from Mia’s guards as he got into his Lamborghini and headed for the docks to pack up his extra batsuit and tech for his trip to London. He had no idea where he might start looking for Mia, but was hopeful that with Alfred’s contacts he might have a starting point soon.

Calling his pilot, who assured him that the Wayne jet would be ready to leave by nine o’clock that evening, Bruce wasted no time getting everything together and met Alfred back at the Penthouse where Bruce packed his bags and together he and Alfred headed to Gotham’s International Airport.....

Back in London, Hermione had found herself with beaded bag in hand staring at her old house in Hampstead Heath. She had placed the house under the Fidelius before she’d left England and now, as she made her way through the wards and back into her childhood home, she was feeling as empty and hollow as the barren interior surrounding her.

Resetting the wards, Hermione walked upstairs and opened the door to her old bedroom, which was just as empty as the rest of the house. Sitting down cross-legged on the floor, she opened her beaded bag and started pulling out several things at once.....magically enlarging things one by one until her room was furnished with a bed, dresser, rug, desk, chair, and clothes were hanging in her closet once more. Placing sheets and a comforter on her bed, Hermione made her way into the bathroom and placed her toiletries in the cupboard over the sink and in the shower before heading downstairs to furnish the rest of the house.

It hadn’t taken her long at all to magically shrink down everything she’d had in her apartment in Gotham and place those items into her trusty beaded bag. Jian had helped her, as she too was magical.....a Muggle-born witch, born into a family that had accepted her magical heritage just like Hermione’s parents had. Jian had been more than just a personal assistant but a trusted friend and confidant and she had offered to stay behind in Gotham and make sure the rest of Hermione’s things were placed into storage before coming to London.

When Hermione’s cell phone rang, she grabbed it out of her coat pocket and noticing the number, picked it up immediately.

“Hello Jian, were you able to get everything out of the apartment?”

“Yes Miss Black, you should know however, that Mr. Wayne came by while I was there. I disillusioned myself and observed him while he searched the apartment for any sign of you.”

“Did he find the letter I’d left for him?”

“He did Miss Black.....” Jian’s voice had taken on an uncomfortable edge to it, and Hermione couldn’t help but sigh in resignation.

“What was his reaction Jian?”

There was a moment of silence before Jian answered, her voice wasn’t emotional per-say, but Hermione could tell she wasn’t happy by what she’d witnessed.

“Mr. Wayne was clearly very upset when he’d realized you were gone and the apartment left bare. He found the letter and his reaction was........he was utterly devastated Miss Black. I honestly didn’t think the man was capable of the kind of emotion I witnessed tonight. He immediately called Mr. Fox and then his Butler to determine how to track you down in London. He’s leaving for London tonight, Miss Black.”

Hermione sighed softly as tears fell unchecked from her eyes. Wiping them hastily away, she took a deep breath and tried to get her traitorous emotions under control.

“Thank you for letting me know Jian.....I will see you in a few days?”

“Of course Miss Black.”

“Thank you again for your loyalty Jian.”

“I owe you my life and Magic, Miss Black.......I don’t know what happened today with Mr. Wayne, but if I’m not being too forward, it’s clear to me the man loves you and the baby. I don’t see him giving up trying to find you......and if what I overheard was correct, he intends on bringing his tech gear with him as well.”

Hermione sucked in a surprised breath. If Bruce was bringing his Batman gear, he really had no intentions of letting this go........and that thought scared her because if it became widely known Bruce was in London and then Batman showed up......someone other than herself would put the pieces together of Batman’s true identity.

“Thank you, Jian.”

“Of course Miss Black, I will see you soon.”

The phone disconnected and Hermione’s stood in her kitchen, staring out the window and feeling her heart pounding within her chest. This while situation was such a huge mess and the only thing she was certain of right now, was that she needed some time and distance away from Bruce and Gotham City. Her hormones were all over the place and the increased stress of everything made Hermione worry for herself and her pregnancy. When she had left Wayne Enterprises there was a small part of her that had wondered if she’d overreacted to Rachel and Bruce being together.......it clearly hadn’t been anything romantic, but his knee jerk reaction to protect Rachel while chastising her had made Hermione feel angry and insecure. She’d written that letter to Bruce in her anger, but there was a part of her that had to wonder if perhaps Bruce might be relieved that she’d left. Jian’s phone call had quickly disabused her of that notion however, leaving Hermione feeling bereft and a bit panicked.

Realizing quickly she’d forgotten to bring food with her, Hermione decided to go take a shower and get to bed early. She walked up the stairs and headed into her bathroom, turning on the shower and waiting for the water to heat up before stripping off her clothes and moving under the warm and welcoming spray.

Taking her time to shampoo and condition her hair thoroughly and shave her legs.......Hermione finally got out of the shower and wrapped herself in the towels she’d brought with her, before heading back into her bedroom. After she magically dried her hair, she slathered her body with some coconut lotion before putting on her pajamas. As she situated herself into her bed, her cell phone rang again. Looking down at the number, Hermione winced when she saw that it was Bruce calling. Refusing to pick up, she waited to see if he’d leave a message.

A few moments later, Hermione’s phone beeped, signaling that indeed a message had been left and gripping the phone tightly in her hands, she hit the speaker button and Bruce’s voice filtered into the room.........

 

Mia........I went to your apartment and found everything gone except the letter you’d left for me. Needless to say, I do not accept your decision to have our child without me. I know your angry at me.....I’m angry with you too.....but that doesn’t mean I don’t love you, Mia. We need to talk about this face to face. I’m coming to London......I’m leaving on my jet in an hour and will be at my townhouse in Kensington sometime tomorrow. Please don’t make me tear London down to find you........We need to try and find a way to work through our problems together. I do love you Mia.....nothing is ever going to change that. Please call me.

 

Hermione listened to Bruce’s message three more times before she deleted it. She honestly didn’t know what to think or how to feel about Bruce’s words. He sounded so sincere, emotional and upset simultaneously........and it was hard for her to admit to herself, but a part of her had actually wondered if Bruce would swallow his pride and follow her to London and now that she had her answer.......she wasn’t sure what to do with it.

Chapter Text

The next day found Bruce Wayne making his way to his home in London with Alfred by his side. He hadn’t spoken much throughout the flight, taking the time to go over everything that had happened with Mia over the past six months. It still rankled him that Mia had left Gotham and made the assumption that he didn’t want her nor their child. To taunt him with the idea that he’d ever allow another man to raise his child hurt Bruce more deeply than anything, other than Mia leaving him.

When they got to his townhome in Kensington, Bruce sighed as he stared at his cell phone, checking for the hundredth time to see if Mia had left a message.......she hadn’t and Bruce had to wonder if he’d have to actually hunt her down......which he was more than willing to do.

Alfred had promised that somehow, he’d get some information before too long, but the more time passed, Bruce was convinced that Mia might actually follow through on her threat to allow Draco Malfoy to raise his child.

Shaking his head clear of the morbid thoughts running through his mind, Bruce made his way upstairs to his room and threw his bags onto his bed before making his way into the ensuite to take a shower.

Standing under the spray, Bruce just stared off into space and going through the motions of washing his body and hair in a state of disconnect, wondering if there was anything that could hurt as much as the day he’d lost his parents, and realizing sadly, as he stood there that if he lost Mia and his child, he wasn’t sure he would survive the heartbreak.

Moving out into his room and getting dressed, Bruce was unsurprised to find Alfred in the kitchen cooking lunch.

“Are you feeling any better Master Wayne?”

“No Alfred, Mia still hasn’t called.”

Alfred nodded sadly. “I’m sure she will, given time. Her emotional state is compromised, and she’s not thinking entirely rationally.”

“That’s what worries me Alfred. I’m afraid she’s going to make some unilateral decision regarding our child in her anger that she can’t take back, and I don’t know how to fix this.”

“Christmas is coming Master Wayne.....perhaps Miss Black might show some good will come the holidays?”

Bruce nodded absentmindedly for a moment before his eyes cleared with purpose. “Alfred, do you know where Godric’s Hollow might be located?”

Alfred shook his head in the negative. “No Master Wayne, I’ve never heard of such a place. Perhaps it is one of the Magical enclaves here in England?”

“That’s definitely a possibility.” Bruce agree readily. “Mia mentioned that her friend Harry Potter was buried there. She goes there every Christmas Eve to visit his grave. If we can locate the village, perhaps I can track her down there if I haven’t heard from her by then.”

“If it’s a magical village, wouldn’t it likely be hidden from non-magicals?”

“Most likely, but I am having Lucius working on an idea as we speak. Magic can’t be created from nothing, the laws of physics don’t work that way. Therefore, there has to be a way to track it through non-magical means.”

“Like a sonar pulse or an EMP tracker of some kind.”

Bruce smiled and nodded. “When Mia was working at Wayne Enterprises, Lucius was able to scan her fingerprint as well as facial recognition via a Non-Instrusive Load Monitoring algorithm he’s developed, that can look at the differences between finite states and variable states of energy output. In theory, this process may be able to discern a magic users signature, or on a larger scale, the area where many magical users reside if the energy output is significant enough to discern.”

“You would have to discover the actual frequency of distribution however, and that could take time Master Wayne. And isn’t this based on the assumption that magic follows the Laws of the Conservation of Energy, correct?”

Bruce nodded. “Energy can’t be created nor destroyed....so it begs the question, where does the magic originate from? The easiest answer to that question is the elements themselves, and while I think this might be true to an extent, I’m not convinced it explains the existence of magic entirely and it may not truly follow any discernible rules that we know of yet. But I have to wonder if magic users are able to change the essence of energy by focusing it in such a way that it alters the state that the energy was originally intended for.”

“I’m not sure I follow Master Wayne.” Alfred stated in confusion.

“Each witch and wizard has a well-defined magical aura. My theory is that their magical aura takes in energy from the surrounding area and then changes that potential energy into spells.......the more developed a witch or wizard’s magical aura, the more powerful they are and the greater their output of spells. Mia referred to it once as a magical core, and it may have something to do with their genetics that allows that trait to be passed on to offspring. They also carry wands, that focuses their energy output in the form of spell casting. Mia can do spells without a wand, but from what I understand, the majority of magicals can’t.”

Alfred considered Master Wayne’s theory for a few moments as he finished cooking their lunch. “You do realize Master Wayne, that if you are correct and are eventually able to find a way to actually track magic, it’s not going to make you exactly popular within the magical enclaves?”

Bruce shrugged. “With the advent of technology Alfred, it is highly likely that someone would eventually discover how to track magic......if I can discover it first........then I can patent the technology indefinitely and protect the magical enclaves. I think that alone might generate me some good will, don’t you think?”

“Always thinking two steps ahead, Sir.”

“If that were true, Alfred......we wouldn’t be here right now. I should’ve done things differently with Mia and I didn’t. Granted, I didn’t know at first she was magical, but that’s no excuse for taking her for granted the way I did. I just need to find her and get her to talk to me.”

“Well, hopefully my contacts will have something for us shortly. You should eat something though......you didn’t eat at all yesterday after lunch.”

“You haven’t given up on me yet, Alfred?”

“Never Master Wayne.”

The two men ate in a peaceful silence as Bruce kept checking his phone in vain, hoping that Mia would text or call him. When lunch was over, Bruce retreated to his office to call Lucius while Alfred cleaned up.

In another part of London, Hermione had left her parents home under a disillusionment charm and headed for the Leaky Cauldron. She was starving and needed to get something to eat, so she sent a Patronus to George and the two agreed to meet for lunch at the Leaky.

When Hermione arrived, George was already waiting for her in the back corner of the pub that was secluded from prying eyes and ears. When George spotted her, he stood up immediately and engulfed Hermione into a fierce hug.

“Mione, I was surprised to hear from you.”

Hermione sighed and nodded before taking out her wand and casting a series of detecting spells, specifically to prevent unwanted bugs from eavesdropping on conversations. George chuckled knowingly and the two sat down together.

“It was a last minute decision to return.” Hermione offered softly, and George couldn’t help but noticed the dark circles under her eyes.

“What’s going on Mione?”

“I left Gotham and Bruce. We got into a fight and I left.”

George gave his friend a penetrating stare. “What happened?”

So Hermione told George about the altercation with Rachel and how Bruce defended her, how she’d used legilimens to determine the woman had been lying and how angry she’d been at Bruce’s defense of his........whatever the fuck she was........

To George’s credit he listened and didn’t say anything right away. “Why do I feel like there’s something your not telling me?”

Hermione just glared at George morosely, flummoxed that even after all this time, he could still read her so well. So she told him about the letter she’d left for Bruce, his showing up at her apartment, the phone message and the fact Bruce was probably already in London or would be soon enough.

“Mione.......I get that you’re upset and you have every right to be......but you actually threatened to take the man’s child away and allow Malfoy to raise it as his own. That’s a bit harsh, even for you.”

Sighing in defeat, Hermione grimaced in contrition. “I know......but Godric only knows how much that man has managed to hurt me. I loved him and he just.......” Hermione couldn’t finish her thought as she felt her throat closing up in emotion.

“You don’t love him anymore?”

Placing her head into her hands, Hermione’s couldn’t look at George directly. He was too good at ferreting out her secrets. “I don’t know what I feel right now.”

George scoffed out disbelievingly. “You do know, you just don’t want to admit it to yourself, which is fine under the circumstances. You are going to have to talk to the man though. He’s not going to let this go and he’s powerful, smart and determined enough to track you down eventually. It’s only going to get worse the longer you let this go.”

“Aren’t you supposed to be taking my side?” Hermione questioned petulantly.

“Aren’t you supposed to be the Brightest Witch of the Age?”

“Piss off George, this hasn’t been easy for me.”

George sighed and nodded sympathetically at his friend. “I know it hasn’t. I honestly was worried about you Mione. After Harry died........” George’s voice fell away awkwardly while Hermione just stared down at the table unseeing.

After a few moments and once the waiter came by to take their order, George continued on with his train of thought. “After Harry died, I know you wanted to give up too. I know Harry loved my sister, but I never understood why you didn’t tell him about the bond?”

Hermione sighed in resignation and shook her head sadly. George was the only person she’d ever confided into about the bond, and that was only because he had been the one to break into her flat, sent by Kingsley, to try and get her back to the Ministry. There had been screaming, ranting, magical outbursts and in the end, she had broken down in uncontrollable sobs and confessed everything to George. It hadn’t been pretty, but it had helped her........enough to try and figure out what was going on within the Magical World.

Hermione’s research had taken her to bowels of the Ministry archives within the Department of Mysteries. It had taken a few months, but she had found an obscure reference to a similar curse that had ravaged through the magical world prior to the rise of Merlin, in Rome around 200 AD. Going to Italy and getting special permission to enter the Italian Ministry archives as well as the Vatican archives it had taken another couple of months......but Hermione had found a reference dating back to ancient Egypt, which led her to the Egyptian Ministry and it was there that she’d discovered the origins of the curse itself.

Heka, the Egyptian deity of magic and medicine was also viewed as the personification of Magic itself. Seen as neither male nor female, although often referred to as a god, he was seen as the most important deity in Egyptian mythology and was often regarded as the power behind the gods whose names and stories became synonymous with Egyptian culture.

Heka was present at the great beginning of creation itself, and was the operative force in the act of creation of life and part of the Triad of Latopolis with Khnum and Menhet (depicted as Heka’s father and mother respectively).

Khnum was the god of fertility, Menhet was a war goddess and her name literally meant ‘the one who sacrifices’ but she was also known as ‘the slaughterer’ or ‘she who massacres.’ The particulars of the curse were complex but Hermione had spent months translating the ancient texts and what she’d discovered had made her blood run cold.

Heka, although perceived as a deity, was a literal life force unto itself. Magic was sentient and was bestowed as a gift only upon those worthy to wield it. Magic wasn’t prejudiced, hateful, spiteful.....it’s wasn’t perceived as male or female......but an immutable essence of being that couldn’t be polluted or corrupted at its very core. As many within the Magical World had understood but rarely practiced in theory, a Triad was considered to be the most stable form of magical power. Each entity brought something unique and immutable to the Triad. Khnum brought fertility, the ability to procreate.......Menhet brought death and destruction, retribution......and Heka brought Magic, balance and healing........all of these existed in perfect harmony so that magic could continue on and thrive. But.......(and there was always a But)........if magic became corrupted and perverted from its natural state, a devastating curse would be unleashed and ravage throughout the magical world like a plague.......until magic was reset. Menhet would bring the sword and Khnum would cease to bestow his blessings of fertility until Magic......Heka.......was satisfied that balance was restored and magic could no longer be subverted nor perverted.

Prejudice such as it had been since the Statute of Secrecy was established, had forced the magical world into hiding and due to the separation from the Muggle world, every generation had seen its share of Dark Wizard’s rising to power on the pulpit of blood supremacy as doctrine......except Magic had never cared about blood......only about ability and potential.

So after Voldemort had been defeated, and those within power still hadn’t wanted to change their prejudiced views.......thousands had been killed due to their ideology......Magic took retribution and Menhet was the sword and swath that cut through the magical population like tares of wheat reaped and sowed with vengeance and death as her weapons. The sad part was the innocent hadn’t been spared........and in her vengeance, the most precious had been taken as payment.

When Hermione had shared her findings, no one on the Wizengamot had wanted to listen to the ramblings of twenty year old Mudblood witch. When she’d found the countercurse in the writings of Sekhmet, who was seen by some as the Lady of Pestilence in Egyptian lore, but was also a Master of the art of Medicine and Healing.........the only other source material for the countercurse was mentioned to exist within the Book of the Dead, but more importantly than that; Sekhmet was most widely known as the protector of Ma’at (balance or justice). Only when balance was restored and justice served could life be given once again, as it was written: For ‘The One who Loves Ma’at and Who Detests Evil’ can be called the Lady of Life.

The curse had been vanquished, but until Hermione had gotten pregnant, no one within the Magical World had been able to conceive for almost seven years. No magical births had occurred anywhere.........Hermione’s hypothesis had been simple when she’d spoken with Kingsley, that perhaps the only way to appease the Triad was for Magicals and Muggles to procreate together. It was a radical theory, but until she’d gotten pregnant, an unproven one. Even she had been skeptical of her supposition, but as luck would have it, Hermione realized belatedly that her original instinct had likely been correct. It was just her luck really.......

Hermione had gotten so lost in her thoughts, she hadn’t realized that she hadn’t answered George’s question until he cleared his throat quite loudly.

“Sorry, got lost in my own mind.” Hermione’s blushed sheepishly.

“Well, it’s quite the prodigious mind, so you’re forgiven........but you still haven’t answered my question Mione......why didn’t you ever say anything to Harry?”

Hermione shrugged, trying to appear unaffected, but George wasn’t fooled. “What could I have said George? Hey Harry, did you know why we were on the run, sharing a wand for two months that our magical cores aligned and we formed a magical bond? How do you think Ginny would have taken that news?”

George grimaced at the thought of his deceased sister’s volatile temper. “Not well, I’d imagine.”

Hermione nodded before she noticed their server coming over with their lunch order and talking ceased for a while while she inhaled her food. Godric, but she was hungry!

George watched her with disgusted amusement but she just grinned. “I haven’t eaten since lunch yesterday.”

“That’s not good Mione.....you’re eating for two now.”

Hermione grimaced a bit before her face fell. “Actually, I’m eating for three.”

George’s eyes widened comically as he gasped in wonder. “Merlin’s Beard! Twins?” His face lit up in excited happiness and Hermione couldn’t help but giggle at his infectious spirit. He really was a good friend.

“Yes.....twins.”

“When did you find out?”

Hermione sighed heavily. “I’ve known for a couple of weeks. I had a sonogram at twenty weeks, and Bruce was supposed to go with me, but he got called into an emergency Board Meeting at work.....he told me to go without him, so I did. When my doctor told me, I nearly passed out from the shock. I didn’t know how to tell Bruce, so I didn’t. He still doesn’t know and before you yell at me for being selfish, I’m still processing it all.”

“Do you know the sexes?”

Hermione sighed, but nodded. “A boy and a girl. Fraternal twins.”

“That’s brilliant!” George beamed happily for a moment before his voice took on a serious edge.
“You need to get in touch with Wayne, Mione.....he has a right to know. If he’s really here in London then you need to give the man the benefit of the doubt. He followed you, it’s clear he loves you. He may be a bit emotionally stunted, but he seems like he’s got a good heart and is a good man. Merlin, he’s sacrificed parts of himself to keep Gotham City safe......he’s tried to do the right thing more oftentimes than not. He may be a dunderhead when it comes to relationships, but he’s definitely tough enough and smart enough to keep up with you. If he wasn’t, you’d have never fallen in love with him, right?”

Hermione sighed in defeat but nodded reluctantly. “No, Bruce is complicated, but he is a good man.”

“And you love him, right?”

Hermione glared at her friend, before nodding again. “I do love him.”

“Then why are you having such a hard time forgiving him?”

Hermione’s eyes filled with tears, as she inwardly cursed her damn pregnancy hormones that were making her emotions run all over the place. “Because I’m afraid......afraid he will end up choosing Rachel, just like Harry chose Ginny and I’ll be left alone and broken-hearted again.”

George reached for Hermione’s hand and gave it a comforting squeeze. “Mione, Bruce isn’t Harry and I think by coming here to London, he’s trying to show you that you’re his choice. He didn’t have to come here, he could’ve stayed in Gotham. He didn’t. My guess is he’s not going to leave this place until he finds you and takes you back home with him. Were you happy in Gotham?”

“For a time, I was very happy........probably the happiest I’ve ever been.”

“Then do yourself a favor and give the man a chance........for yourself and those two precious children you’re carrying. They deserve to know their father, their real father.......yes?”

Hermione shook her head in wonder. “When did you get so wise, George Fabian Weasley?”

“Please, I’ve always been wise.....it’s was Fred who was the slacker, not me!” George winked impishly and Hermione couldn’t help but laugh at her friend’s antics. He was a good man too.

Chapter Text

After lunch, Hermione walked with George back to the joke shop and then went to the apothecary to pick up a few items, including items to make a standard calming draught, pre-natal tonic and dittany. Once she was done there, Hermione decided to spend a hour perusing through Flourish and Blotts, picking up a few books on charms and transfiguration, and one on curse breaking that looked interesting.

She had just brought her purchases to the counter when the bell on the front door rang, signaling a new customer had entered the shop. Hermione didn’t need to turn around to know whom it was, she could always sense Malfoy’s presence, even back in school. She had gotten fine tuned to his aura as a means of avoiding him during their time together at school and Hermione had to smile at how much things had changed in the past ten years.

“Hello Malfoy.” Hermione smiled over her shoulder at the blonde, who was smirking playfully at her as he made his way over to the counter and picked up one of the books she was purchasing.

“This one is a good read.” Draco hummed thoughtfully as he opened a section of the book and pointed out a particular chapter. “I think you’ll like this chapter best.”

Hermione glanced down at the opened book and nodded as she’d noticed the title of the chapter. It had to do primarily with ancient Egyptian curses and Hermione couldn’t help but smile inwardly at how well Draco knew her.

“I did notice that chapter, as a matter of fact, and that’s why I picked up that book.”

“You’ll have to let me know what you think of it. I just finished it last week.”

Hermione nodded again as she paid for her purchases, shrunk them and placed them into her beaded bag. “Did you know I was here, or is this just a coincidence?”

“Nope, I stopped by to see George and he told me he’d had lunch with you. I knew I’d find you in here.”

Hermione’s laughter rang out through the store. “Good old boring, predictable Granger?”

Draco shook his head as he smiled genuinely.....something he did far too little of in Hermione’s humble opinion. “You’re neither of those things Granger. Are you planning on staying for a while in London?”

Her face pulled down into a frown. “Still undecided.”

“Did something happen with the Bat?”

“His name is Bruce, Malfoy.........not Muggle, not Bat.......”

“Eh, where’s the fun in that?” Draco smirked playfully while Hermione rolled her eyes.

“Well, I could call you ferret?” Hermione’s grinned while Draco sneered unhappily at the reminder.

“Not funny Granger!”

“So funny, what was your Patronus again?”

“Piss off Granger!” Draco growled lowly while Hermione just winked and walked out of the store, the blonde wizard following closely behind. “Where are you staying?”

“My childhood home, don’t worry.....it’s protected under the Fidelius......I’m perfectly safe.”

“That remains to be seen. Are you heading back their now?”

“I need to buy some groceries first, so I’m heading out to Muggle London to do that before heading home.”

“Want some company?”

Hermione stopped and stared up at Draco incredulously. “You? Voluntarily setting foot in Muggle London? You feeling alright there Malfoy?”

“Ha....ha....ha.....smart arse......but, yes......I’m perfectly fine.”

Hermione couldn’t help herself from grinning up at Draco’s face while he pouted, he was so adorable when he pouted which was ironic because he was such an arse when he was younger it made that particular trait annoying rather than the alternative.

“I’ll be fine on my own Malfoy, but thank you for the offer.”

Draco nodded. “Christmas is coming up this Thursday, are you going to be at the Weasley’s?”

Hermione sighed, she had completely forgotten about Christmas. “Probably, although I am surprised George didn’t mention it.”

“Perhaps he’d just surmised that you’d visit his parents before then?”

“Probably.” Hermione agreed quickly. “I should head home. Maybe I’ll see you on Thursday? Will you be at the Weasley’s?”

“Are you kidding, with Molly’s cooking? There’s no where else I’d rather be.”

Hermione couldn’t help but smile at how much things had changed. “I’m glad that Molly and Arthur have opened their home to you, Draco.”

“They’ve pretty much adopted all the strays. Myself, Neville, Pansy, Blaise.....even Greg.....they truly are good people.”

“They really are.” Hermione’s agreed readily. “I should go.”

Draco nodded. “Be safe okay? And send your Patronus if you need me.”

“I will. I promise.” Hermione’s waved one last time before making her way back through the Leaky and headed back into Muggle London....deciding to take the train to Hampstead Heath and stopping at her local market for some groceries. It didn’t take her long at all to find her way home that evening, and as she’d finished putting her produce in the refrigerator, her cell phone rang again. Picking it up, she wasn’t surprised to see Bruce’s number flash on the screen. Her finger hovered over the green button, but at the last minute she hit the red one and set her phone down with a small sigh.

It was only a minute later when the phone beeped, signaling another message had been left. Picking up the phone, she hit the voicemail and speakerphone buttons, listening to Bruce’s voice fill the empty void of her home, and heart.

Mia.......I’m in London, at my townhome in Kensington. I’ll text you the address in a few minutes, just so you have it in case you decide to seek me out. I’m worried Mia, I haven’t heard from you in over a day......I don’t know if you’re okay. I know Lestrange is still out there and I just need to know if you’re okay. Please......text me or call me.......I love you Mia.....

The message ended and Hermione felt her heart constricting at how worried Bruce sounded. There was clear desperation in his voice and she didn’t want to worry him needlessly. Scrolling through her text messages until she came to his name, she typed a message and hit send....

****(Hermione) Bruce, I am fine. Safe.

The reply was instantaneous.......

****(Bruce) Mia....where are you?

****(Hermione) I’m here in London......at my family home which is protected and warded so there’s no way to find me unless I tell you the address.....which I’m not ready to do.....

****(Bruce) Okay.....is there any chance we could just talk?

Shaking her head in resignation, trying to remember her talk with George and what they’d discussed, and that she did love Bruce and she couldn’t stay angry at him forever.....even if she was right now.

****(Hermione) What did you want to discuss?

There was a delay for about a minute before Bruce’s text came through.

****(Bruce) Your letter......the one you left for me. Mia please, I know you’re angry at me, but don’t take my child away from me. I don’t want to lose you. I don’t want to lose our child. I don’t know how to fix this, but I did tell Rachel not to contact me anymore. At least not directly. Any communication can be done either by phone or email......you were right about her motives, and while I don’t agree with how you handled it, I do understand why you did it. I blame myself.

Hermione couldn’t help her reaction to Bruce’s words, tears started leaking from her eyes as she read Bruce’s text. He really was trying.....she could acknowledge that much. Perhaps she hadn’t handled it correctly, but Rachel had been so used to manipulating Bruce, he just couldn’t see it.......he couldn’t be objective. Hermione could never be objective when it came to Harry either.......so she could understand it on some level.

****(Hermione) maybe I could’ve handled it better.....but I don’t know where I stand with you.....not really.....

****(Bruce) Mia.....I love you so much. Your place is next to me.....that’s never going to change for me, you have to believe that.

****(Hermione) I just don’t want to keep feeling this way......

****(Bruce) Only you have the power to change that. I wish I could give that to you. Part of me wonders if this has to do with more than just me........and if it does, I can’t help you unless you talk to me. We can fix this together.

Hermione sighed heavily as she wiped a few tears away. She knew that Bruce deserved the truth.....the entire truth.......

****(Hermione) I do have something to tell you, and I should’ve done it sooner, but I was so shocked and scared I didn’t know how you were going to take it.....so I didn’t say anything.....

****(Bruce) Okay? Whatever it is, I can deal with it.....we can deal with it.....

****(Hermione) It’s about the pregnancy......

There was a long pause before Hermione’s phone rang again, and this time she knew she needed to pick it up.

“Hi.” Her voice was shaky, but when she heard Bruce’s heavy sigh of relief at hearing her voice, Hermione couldn’t help but smile.

“Hey.” Bruce said softly, his voice had an edge of panic as she could hear him swallow a few times before he spoke again. “Please tell me.”

Hermione’s breathing became a bit labored as she stared off at the wall, wondering just how Bruce was going to take the news.....would he be angry at her for telling him over the phone? For leaving Gotham and not telling him?

“Just promise me your not going to get upset.”

“I can’t promise that Mia, but I can promise that whatever you tell me won’t change how I feel about you nor our child.”

“Children.” Mia blurted out quickly and flinched at how horrible that must’ve sounded.

The phone was deathly quiet for about a minute before Bruce spoke.....his voice filled with raw unrestrained emotion as he simply couldn’t keep his voice from wavering.

“Children? As in Twins?”

Hermione nodded, and then stupidly realized he couldn’t see her reaction so she just whispered out, “Yes, twins.....a boy and a girl.”

Bruce’s sob echoed over the phone and Hermione’s heart broke listening to him trying to get himself together. He didn’t sound unhappy, quite the opposite.

“That’s amazing.” Bruce’s voice cracked on the last word as he cleared his throat. “That’s really amazing.”

“Yeah?” Hermione’s voice was uncertain.....she hadn’t been sure Bruce would be accepting of her being pregnant with twins.

“Yes, definitely. Did you find out at the sonogram appointment?”

“I did. I was shocked. I think I still am.”

“I understand......I do Mia......I’m not angry or upset......just the opposite. How are you feeling, are you eating properly, taking your vitamins, getting enough rest?”

Mia couldn’t help but giggle at the barrage of questions as she heard Bruce’s light chuckle over the phone in response. “I’m not sleeping well, but I am taking my vitamins.”

“Have you eaten today?”

“Yes, I had lunch with George.”

“Good, he’s a good man.”

“He is.” Hermione said unequivocally. “He convinced me I needed to talk to you.”

“Then I owe the man a huge favor for advocating on my behalf. Mia, I know you need time, but I would very much like to see you. Do you think that’s possible?”

“Just give me a day or two....okay?”

“Okay.” Bruce sighed in relief. “I love you Mia. I miss you too.....”

“I know Bruce.....just give me a bit more time.....”

“I can do that. I’ll do anything you need me to do.”

“Thank you......I should go.......Goodnight Bruce.”

“Get some rest. Can I call you tomorrow?”

“That’s fine.....tell Alfred I said hello.”

Bruce chuckled deeply. “I will. He will be over the moon about the babies. Sweet dreams Mia.”

Hermione reluctantly hung up her cell phone and stared at it for a few moments before heading back into the kitchen to start on her dinner preparations. She couldn’t help but smile at how happy Bruce sounded about the babies and her heart felt a bit lighter knowing that he hadn’t been upset with her. Perhaps Bruce was right.....maybe she just needed to open up to him and be honest about her past......maybe it was the only way she could heal completely and have a future with Bruce and their children.

Chapter Text

The next morning Bruce woke up fairly well rested. After speaking with Mia last night, he’d told Alfred the news about the babies (plural) and his surrogate Father hadn’t stopped smiling for the rest of the night. Bruce had chuckled as Alfred had spent the better part of the evening making several lists of things he needed to go out and purchase today. Apparently Alfred was determined that when Mia finally decided to show, he’d make sure she had plenty of fresh baked goods for her to take with her.

Bruce hadn’t been able to keep the smile off his face either.......the thought of having not one, but two children was both scary and amazing! Bruce hoped more than anything that he’d be able to be the kind of father to his own children that his own dad was for him. Even though he’d only had his dad for eight years, Thomas Wayne was a loving, generous person who adored his family more than anything in his life. Between Alfred and his Father, Bruce had two of the best role models to emulate, and for that he was very grateful.

Grabbing his phone, and looking at the time, Bruce sighed when he realized it was probably still a bit too early to call Mia.....but he desperately wanted to hear her voice. So he opened the text window and sent a quick good morning.....not expecting to get a response, at least not right away.

About twenty minutes later after he’d gotten out of the shower, his phone dinged with an incoming message. Opening it up, Bruce smiled at the message from Mia.

****(Hermione) Good morning to you too.....did you sleep well?

Smiling widely, Bruce decided to be completely honest.

****(Bruce) I slept fine......but I don’t think I’ve ever slept as well as I did when my face was buried into your curls, smelling your sweet scent of vanilla and rose.......

Mia didn’t respond immediately, but when she finally did, Bruce couldn’t help but chuckle deeply, happy that she seemed to be in a playful mood this morning.

****(Hermione) You clung on to me like a Niffler hoarding gold......it’s a wonder I slept at all.....

****(Bruce) I am not sure what a Niffler is......but it’s sounds quite pleasant and I’m sure they are adorable. In any case, you never seemed to mind much.....in particular, how we used to enjoy spending those mornings......do you remember Mia?

Again, there was a pause for a few moments before Mia answered, well.....more like deflected but that was alright.......he could work with that......

****(Hermione) It’s been quite a while for me.......I’m not sure what you could be referring to? Your leg wedged between mine? Your deep breathing and soft snoring when you were particularly tired?

Bruce couldn’t help but shake his head and laugh at Mia’s playfulness.

****(Bruce). Now that doesn’t sound like me at all. I don’t think I snore. In fact, I’m fairly certain I don’t. But I was referring to what came after we woke up. I seem to recall a certain predilection that was enjoyed most mornings. I think it had to do with you waking up with my face buried between your thighs.......

The pause was a bit longer this time, and Bruce had to wonder if he’d gone too far...but after a few moments his phone dinged and he looked down and groaned at the message.....

****(Hermione). I seem to recall many occasions waking you up in much the same way. In fact, I’m fairly certain of it, if memory serves. You seemed to think so too.......especially when I rubbed that spot.....you DO remember that spot.....don’t you?

Bruce was starting to get visibly aroused, a fact he felt conflicted about because he definitely didn’t want to pressure Mia, but he couldn’t help the way his body responded to the images she’d conjured for him. He missed waking up to her more than he’d realized, until this very moment.

****(Bruce). I remember everything......how delicious you taste, how heavenly you smell......how warm and tight......and perfect you feel.........the sounds you make when I’m inside you.......how your eyes roll back right before you come........the way your mouth opens in surprise and your body shudders as you let go..........how warm your amber eyes look half-lidded and sated afterwards........how simply beautiful you are...........I remember it all Mia........and I miss it all......so much.......

The phone was silent for an entire five minutes and Bruce couldn’t help feeling a measure of panic set in, that perhaps he’d pushed too hard, too fast......he was just about to call Mia when his phone dinged again. His mouth gaped open widely at the message Mia sent him......

****(Hermione) Tell me what you’d do to me if I was there right now.......

Bruce’s nostrils flared in desire as he was nearly fully erect at this point.....Fuck, it had been too long!

****(Bruce) grin****are you aroused? Wet? Are you touching yourself Mia?

Another pause and then.....

****(Hermione) yes

Bruce groaned as he sat back naked on his bed, warring with himself......he’d never engaged in phone sex, nor text sex.......it wasn’t an idea he’d ever particularly entertained, nor thought arousing in any fashion.....but right now.......he was painfully aroused at the thought.......which made him feel like a randy schoolboy.......that thought brought a wicked smile to his face as he used the dictaphone and spoke out his message and hit send......

****(Bruce) you are a temptress, you know that, right? I’ve never even considered something like this to be a turn on, yet I’m hard and aching Mia.......imagining you touching yourself........if you were here, I’d want to watch you........God Mia, why have I never taken the time to watch you pleasure yourself?

****(Hermione) would you enjoy that?

****(Bruce) Fuck yes! I’m imagining it right now.....

****(Hermione) are you touching yourself too?

****(Bruce) yes.....

****(Hermione) how hard are you?

Bruce couldn’t help the groan that slipped out from his lips....

****(Bruce) aching.....weeping.....

****(Hermione) you always felt so good.....tasted so good.....

****(Bruce) Mia.......

****(Hermione) I know.......

Bruce couldn’t take it anymore.....his mind had switched into overdrive as he set his phone down and felt himself let go........and as he laid their panting, another ding filtered through the room. He picked up his phone with his clean hand and opened the message.

****(Hermione) Did you?

****(Bruce) yes.....did you?

****(Hermione) mmmmm......yes

****(Bruce) Mia......please let me see you soon......

****(Hermione) Tomorrow......

****(Bruce) tomorrow......you’ll come here, or should I meet you?

****(Hermione) I will come there........

****(Bruce) Promise me?

There was a pause before the phone dinged and Bruce’s smile was blinding as he read the words....

****(Hermione) I promise......tomorrow

****(Bruce) Thank you

****(Hermione) You’re welcome

 

Bruce couldn’t help but feel satisfied as he wandered back into the shower to clean himself off all over again, the images of the past twenty minutes playing though his mind. He shook his head at himself, feeling his face splitting into a huge grin at how utterly ridiculous he was being. He had really felt like an addled schoolboy, completely consumed by his raging hormones and lust. Bruce couldn’t help it, but actually in that moment...it was the most normal that he’d ever remembered feeling in his entire life. Just Bruce, a man desperate for the affections of the woman he loved, hoping to gain her favor, realizing how utterly besotted he was in that moment that he’d willingly moved out of his comfort zone and done something he’d never would have even considered before.

The loss of control, was something completely foreign to him. Loss of control, especially emotional control equaled weakness and vulnerability...which was something Bruce Wayne and Batman could never afford nor allow. But now, Bruce didn’t really care much about that anymore. He had allowed himself to fall hopelessly in love...another thing he’d sworn off entirely when he’d made the decision to don the cape and the cowl. He’d pushed Rachel aside and those feelings as well...because he hadn’t wanted her to get hurt, but on a deeper level he knew he couldn’t give her what she ultimately wanted from him.

Mia however, she was so different. Strong, resilient, caring, brave...but there was a fragility about her that cried out to him...she’d deny it, Bruce was certain of it...but there was the desperate need in both of their souls that cried out for family, for acceptance and unconditional love. She had tried to show him when he wasn’t ready to see it, where her heart was at...and it took him losing her to realize that he desperately wanted that too. With her.

As he got dressed, Bruce had to wonder what tomorrow would bring. Would Mia be open to finally giving their relationship a proper chance to move forward? Could he convince her that was what he wanted more than anything in this world? The only thing Bruce knew for certain was he couldn’t live without her.......whatever else happened, whatever else life threw their way, that was his truth now and always...Mia was his life...his home...his family...he just needed to prove that to her somehow.

Chapter Text

Hermione had decided to visit Molly and Arthur that afternoon, so she had sent her Patronus and was happy when Molly responded that they would be expecting her for Sunday Brunch and to bring her appetite. When she got to the Burrow, Hermione noticed right away that the house was full of people. Neville, Malfoy, Zabini, and Goyle were flying outside with George, Charlie and Bill playing Quidditch. Pansy Parkinson was helping Molly in the kitchen along with Susan Bones and Luna. Hermione couldn’t help but feel a bit wistful at those who were missing. Harry loved Sunday Brunch at the Weasley’s more than anyone.....he’d loved the sense of family and acceptance, and Hermione had often wondered if that was why he’d chosen Ginny in the end. Because he’d wanted a large family more than anything and that was the one thing Hermione couldn’t give him.....a large magical family.

It had been a bitter pill to swallow and for a while, Hermione had avoided going to the Burrow on Sundays.......everyone had assumed it had to do with her failed relationship with Ronald and Hermione had never disabused anyone of that notion.......it was easier than admitting the truth, which she hadn’t shared with anyone other than George and that was only after swearing him to secrecy after Harry had died.

Molly turned around and saw Hermione standing there, her smile was warm as she held out her arms in welcome. Hermione didn’t waste anytime allowing herself the comfort of Molly’s embrace. After a few moments, Molly pulled back and cupped Hermione’s face in her hands.

“You look a bit peaky, dearie. How are you feeling?”

“I’m fine Molly, just a bit more tired than normal.”

“Luna told us the news, and I must say, I didn’t believe her at first until George confirmed it. Why haven’t you been home sooner and where is your beau?”

“I’ve been busy with research and I just finished my project this past Friday, so I decided to come home for the Holidays. Bruce is in London, I’ll be seeing him tomorrow.” Hermione didn’t want to elaborate further and Molly seemed to be appeased, at least temporarily.

“Well, he is more than welcome to come for Christmas. Arthur and I would very much like to meet him.”

Hermione nodded. “I’ll talk with him about it tomorrow, Molly.”

“Good.....now, why don’t you go outside and say hello to everyone.”

“Sure.”

Hermione gave Molly a pat on the arm and walked past the kitchen, and out the back door quickly, not really wanting to talk with any of the women, at least not right now. Luna had an unnerving ability to pick up on things Hermione would rather she not.....like the pregnancy and she’d rather not have Luna blurt out to everyone that she was carrying twins.

When she stepped outside, Hermione saw Arthur sitting under a tree, obviously surrounded by a few warming charms. There was no snow on the ground, the skies were clear and there was no breeze......the sun was shining in the sky, but the temperature was a bit chilly. When Arthur saw her, he stood up and came over, wrapping her firmly into a hug before leading them both back to the bench under the tree.

“You look well, Hermione. I see your starting to show fairly well. How far along are you now?”

“About twenty-three weeks.”

Arthur’s eyebrows raised a bit as he took in her appearance again, before he smiled benevolently. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were having twins.”

Hermione’s breath caught on a surprised gasp. “Did George tell you?”

Arthur’s eyes widened in shock, before he shook his head, grinning like a fool. “No he didn’t but with this being your first pregnancy, and already showing like you are, you’d have to be carrying twins.......how have you been feeling?”

“Tired, emotional, not myself at all actually. It’s been a stressful couple months.”

Arthur nodded. “George did share a bit when he’d returned home a couple months back. He told me about your new beau, is he here?”

“No, we had a fight and I left and came home. I left him a note.....a not very nice note and he followed me here to London. He has a home in Kensington and I’m going there tomorrow to talk with him.”

Arthur nodded. “George also mentioned a few things about this Mr. Bruce Wayne?” Hermione nodded in response so Arthur continued on. “He seems like his heart is in the right place. Trying to help those less fortunate than himself, trying to do the right thing. I don’t know much about the Muggle World, although it’s always fascinated me. I also understand why you left all those years ago Hermione. You’ve always had the weight of the world placed upon you, and you’ve never been given the proper credit you deserve for all the sacrifices you’ve had to make to keep everyone safe. I wish I had known back then, I would have helped you more......but with the loss of Ron and then Ginny, I didn’t have it in me to give you the support you’d needed from me.”

“It’s not your fault Arthur. I’ve always been grateful that you and Molly accepted me as a part of this family, especially after I’d lost my parents. I did what I needed to do, and I don’t regret any of it. I’ve learned so much about myself these past seven years, and despite everything, I found a good man whom I love very much. I’m just trying to figure out how to fix things with Bruce....how to move forward without this overwhelming fear in my heart.”

“Are you afraid you’re going to lose him?”

Hermione nodded again. “More or less. It’s complicated, but I just want to feel like I’m someone’s first choice........I know it sounds silly....” Hermione said shakily as her voice fell away and Arthur gripped her hand in solidarity.

“It’s not Hermione. I may be a man of few words, but I do see more than most. I know something happened with you and Harry during your time on the run. I think even Ginny sensed it, but Harry had promised her that you two never saw each other like that. I’m not sure that was exactly true, was it?”

Hermione shook her head sadly, trying not to give in to the emotions that were threatening to spill over. Damn hormones!

“Harry and I were never physically intimate, but on Christmas Eve 1997, we went to Godric’s Hollow to try and find the Sword of Gryffindor. We met Bathilda Bagshot, who ended up being Nagini......we fought and I cast a series of spells in our escape.....one backfired and Harry’s wand had been irreparably damaged......So we had to share my wand for almost two months until Ron came back.”

“That’s unprecedented! Did your wand work for Harry?”

“Yes, it did.....quite well actually. I’d always assumed it was because Harry was such a powerful wizard. I’d realized later that hadn’t been entirely the reason why.”

Arthur sighed in resignation, understanding the ramifications of such a connection. “You two shared a bond.”

Hermione nodded. “I did some research on bonds. Family bonds, marriage bonds, blood bonds, soul bonds.....”

Arthur sat forward and stared out into the rushes, thinking deeply about what Hermione had told him.

“Did you ever figure out what kind of bond you were dealing with?”

Hermione swallowed and looked away briefly before answering softly. “I did.”

“I see.” Arthur replied thoughtfully, not needing Hermione to answer the question as he’d realized pretty quickly what kind of bond was likely forged. “Did Harry ever suspect?”

“If he did, it didn’t matter to him.....so I left it alone. There was no reason to bring it up.....he loved Ginny and married her.”

“And that’s why you broke it off with Ron?”

“Yes. It wasn’t fair to Ronald and I couldn’t hurt him that way. He was my best friend too and for a time, I thought we’d have a future together. But he’d left us, and if that hadn’t happened, in all likelihood....”

“The bond would’ve never been forged.”

“Exactly. Although it’s hard to know for certain.”

“I’m sorry Hermione, I can’t imagine what that must’ve felt like for you. Bonds are tricky things and sentient unto themselves. I had wondered why you had been nearly catatonic after Harry had died.....Ginny had been devastated as well, they had a marriage bond as you know......but certain bonds usurp even a marriage bond.”

“I’m aware of that. Again, if Harry knew, he’d never spoke to me about it. I’d always figured it was because he didn’t see me as anything other than a friend. Whatever the reason, it’s in the past.”

“Except it’s not.” Arthur said sagely as he stared at Hermione with feeling. “From what George shared, your relationship with Bruce Wayne hit a snag because of feelings that existed with another woman? And if I had to hazard a guess, it left you feeling insecure and scared?”

Hermione tilted her head down as she discreetly wiped a tear from her eye. She didn’t answer however, not that Arthur needed her to. Hermione’s body language was screaming that he was right in his assumption.

“Hermione, somehow you need to find closure in your heart so you don’t carry your pain from Harry’s loss into your relationship with your children’s father. If this Bruce Wayne followed you here to London, it’s clear he’s made his choice and that choice is you. I think the man deserves the benefit of the doubt in this one instance. He didn’t choose to marry this other woman, and Muggle’s don’t bond the way we do in the Wizarding World. Perhaps you need to share this with him, so you can stop projecting and finally heal and let go.”

“Do you think that’s what I’ve been doing?”

“Don’t you?”

Hermione’s face turned up towards the sky as she considered Arthur’s words. Had she been projecting her feelings of rejection from Harry onto her situation with Bruce? She didn’t think so, but it was hard to say with absolute certainty that the insecurity and fear wasn’t a direct result of Harry’s rejection in choosing Ginny over her. Granted, she’d never confided in Harry about the soul bond. When she’d realized what had happened, it had been when she’d returned back to Hogwarts for her eighth year. Harry was working in the Aurors office and Ginny had decided not to return to Hogwarts and had taken a spot on the Holyhead Harpies playing Chaser.

Harry had repaired his original Phoenix wand with the Elder wand, and returned the Elder wand back to Dumbledore’s grave. Hermione had used Bellatrix’s wand for a while, but it never worked properly for her. When Harry had died........Hermione had been terribly sick for weeks. Bond sickness......and it had been awful. Harry had been buried with his Phoenix Wand and in her desperation, Hermione had done the only thing she could think of at the time.......she’d broken into Dumbledore’s crypt and claimed the Elder Wand for her own. When Hermione had taken the wand, it was all the confirmation she’d needed that she and Harry had bonded. The warmth and rightness from the wand let her know it was hers......because Harry had been its last Master and the wand sensed the remnants of their bond and became her wand. It had stabilized her magical core just enough.......that the bond sickness abated completely and she was able to get on with her life.

Hermione had been surprised, when Harry’s will had been read a month after he’d died and his Invisibility Cloak had been left to her along with the Black fortune. Ginny hadn’t said anything, and as fate would have it, she was gone a few months later.

The Resurrection Stone was easy to locate once she’d had the first two Hallows. Hermione had gone out to the Forbidden Forest and had accio’d the stone. It had flown into her outstretched hand and with all three Hallows in her possession, Hermione had become the Master of Death. Which had been very useful and necessary in trying to find a cure for the curse.

Hermione had toyed with the idea many times to call Harry forth and just ask him if he’d known about their bond, but she was afraid of what he’d say. If he had known of it and had ignored it, then the only reason Hermione could come up with, was that he’d loved Ginny more than he’d cared about her. It made little sense to Hermione because it wasn’t like Harry and Ginny had spent much time together sixth year before they’d left on the horcrux hunt.

“You’re far away right now.” Arthur said in a worried tone, and Hermione started in surprise, not realizing she’d spaced out for a bit.

“Just processing everything. It’s just, no matter how much I try and tell myself I did the right thing, all I’m left with is more questions, and it’s made me wonder if I can trust my judgement where relationships are concerned.”

I see.” Arthur hummed. “It’s my understanding that you and Draco had a relationship of sorts before you left?”

“We did, but I misinterpreted his interest and thought he was still prejudiced against my blood status. I know now I was wrong, but at the time it seemed like the correct assumption.”

“That makes sense. Draco has changed quite a bit.....and when he’d lost his parents, it forced him to realize that things weren’t black and white, especially where you were concerned.”

“Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy would’ve never accepted me, nor Draco being in a relationship with me.”

“You’re right about that.” Arthur chuckled deeply. “Lucius especially would’ve been fit to be tied at the thought of his son and Heir marrying a Muggle-born witch. Narcissa would’ve hated it too, but if you had been Draco’s choice, she would have begrudgingly accepted it with enough time. Years....”

Hermione smirked. “That would’ve been a right nightmare. I can’t imagine having those two people as in-laws. I know Draco’s changed, but there’s still a large part of him that’s a Malfoy. If it wasn’t for this bloody curse, I don’t doubt he’d have already been married to Astoria Greengrass by now, and popped out a respectable Heir with a lovely constellation name.”

Arthur laughed genuinely at the thought. “And he’d be a mirror image of his father and grandfather too.”

Hermione’s smiled and hummed in agreement. “No doubt.”

Just then, Molly’s voice carried over the backyard, telling everyone that Brunch was ready. Arthur stood up and waved his wand, the canopy was already set up with warming charms blanketing the area. Soon, everyone had cleaned up and were sitting down, eating and enjoying each other’s company.

Draco sat next to Hermione on her left and George was on her right with Pansy sitting directly across from her. The conversation flowed easily until Luna decided to join the conversation. She was sitting next to Neville, who was sitting on Pansy’s right.

“How are you feeling Hermione?” Luna inquired in her dreamy voice.

“Fine Luna, how are you?”

“Oh, I’m doing well. I’ve been busy running the Quibbler and daddy and I are going to Greenland in the summer to hunt for Crumple-Horned Snorkacks.”

“That’s wonderful news Luna.” Hermione tried to smile genuinely while Draco just bumped his leg against hers, but his face gave nothing away of his amusement.

“Hmmmm.....well, I’m hoping we will have some success. Daddy really wanted to come today, but he’s busy doing research on scouting locations for our trip. So when are the babies due?”

Hermione inwardly groaned as several utensils hit the table and she could feel everyone’s eyes on her. Draco’s hand grabbed onto her knee and squeezed and she couldn’t help but turn her head, their eyes meeting. Hermione sighed and nodded once while Draco’s grey eyes darkened a bit as his gaze fell down to her stomach and his lips pulled up slightly.

“Twins?” He breathed out in wonder.

“Yes.” Hermione’s voice was shaky, but her eyes were glowing as she turned back to the rest of the table and saw the looks of astonishment, wonder, happiness....... “I just found out a couple weeks ago.”

“Oh dear!” Molly gasped as she placed a hand over her heart. “Two more grand babies!”

Hermione couldn’t help but smile fondly at Molly’s enthusiasm. Molly and Arthur would be the only grandparents her children would ever know.

“Does Wayne know?” Draco asked lowly, his eyes glittering with emotion.

“Yes, he knows and he’s very happy about it.”

Draco nodded stoically as his attention was focused back onto his plate.

“Do you know the sexes?” Pansy asked curiously and Hermione nodded.

“A boy and a girl.”

“That’s brilliant Hermione!” Neville piped up enthusiastically.

“Thanks Neville. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it.”

“You’ll be a wonderful mother, Hermione.” Luna said confidently.

“I hope so.”

“Are you going to stay in London?” Pansy inquired.

“I haven’t decided yet.” Hermione responded softly. “It’s something I still need to figure out.”

“This is your home Granger.” Draco stated unequivocally.

Hermione’s gaze drifted back to Draco, who was staring at her again. She reached for his hand under the table and gave it a reassuring squeeze, but wisely chose not to comment. She didn’t want to have that discussion right now.

The table quieted for a few moments before conversation resumed to other topics and after Brunch was over, Hermione helped the women clean the table before deciding to head back to Muggle London. She was tired and wanted to take a nap.

As Hermione went to hug Molly and Arthur goodbye, thanking them both for a wonderful brunch, Draco came into the room and waited for her to finish. When the Weasley’s had left, Draco took her hand and led her outside to the front of the house. The two walked in silence until they reached the apparition point.

Before Hermione could leave, Draco pulled her into his arms and tilted her head up so their eyes could meet.

“Did you come to London with Wayne?”

Hermione shook her head in the negative. “We had a fight and I left Gotham. I was very angry and I didn’t tell him about the twins, and I might have used your offer and thrown it into his face. It wasn’t very well done of me.”

Draco smirked, seemingly not angry at all by her confession. “It must have been some disagreement?”

“Rachel came to see Bruce to try and manipulate him to intercede on Harvey’s behalf. Harvey offered me a job in the DA’s office. I called her out on it and when she lied, I used legilimency......Bruce defended her, was angry at me for invading her mind.....”

Draco chuckled deeply, impressed with how ruthless Granger could be when provoked. “Yeah, I don’t imagine the Bat was too happy with how you chose to handle that. He seems to have a warped sense of morality.”

“Just because Bruce doesn’t use manipulation to get what he wants.....”

“Don’t kid yourself Princess......that man didn’t get to where he is today by not having some of the more devious Slytherin qualities. I take it he followed you here?”

“Yes, he did.”

Draco nodded. “Did that surprise you? Or were you hoping he’d follow you?”

“I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. My emotions are all over the place right now. I was angry and hurt and I wanted to hurt him. I’m not proud of it but I can’t change it.”

“He forgave you?”

Hermione nodded in return. “He did.”

Sighing in defeat, Draco just gripped her closer to him as he placed a soft kiss on the top of her head. “I wish things had turned out differently for us, Princess. But I know you, and I know you’re going to give Wayne every chance to be a proper Father to your children. I won’t get in the way of that, despite very much wanting to.”

“Thank you Draco. I know this hasn’t been easy for you either.”

“It hasn’t been, but I can’t change it either.” He then reluctantly stepped back and smirked. “Take care of yourself and I’ll see you on Christmas?”

“I will and yes, I’ll be here.........Bruce probably will be too, so do try and behave.”

“I make no promises Granger.” Draco winked before placing his hands into his pockets and sauntered back towards the Burrow. Sighing deeply, Hermione disapparated back home, she was tired and needed some rest. Tomorrow with Bruce was going to either go really good or really, really bad.

Chapter Text

Bruce had sent Mia a text later that same evening with the address to his home in Kensington and inquiring about her day. Mia had shared with him that she had visited George’s family for Sunday Brunch at some place called the Burrow, and afterwards she’d returned to her childhood home and took a nice, long nap.

Bruce hadn’t slept well that same night, his mind racing with all the things he wanted to say to Mia, and how he was going to try and fix things between them. Bruce had spent the better part of the evening thinking back on his entire relationship with Mia, and all the things he’d wished he had done differently. Logically, Bruce knew there was no going back, but he needed to try and understand why he’d made the choices he had. It wasn’t easy to reconcile the fact that at one point, he had been in love with two women......two very different women. Rachel had always been a permanent fixture in his life from the time they were small children. They’d laughed together, played together, grew up together, grieved together and as a consequence, fell in love with each other.

But that hadn’t stopped Bruce from seeking out other women in college......he had slept with several women back at Princeton, and even had a girlfriend of sorts his sophomore year. But he’d always held back because of Rachel.....even then, before there was Batman.....he’d held a part of himself back and he didn’t understand why........at least not until just recently.

When Bruce had met Mia, he’d been instantly smitten and overwhelmed by her beauty, intelligence and infectious laugh. She had been real and tangible in a way Rachel had never been for him. If Bruce had to place a single word on his attraction to Mia, it was simply that she had been his equal......in every way that mattered. Bruce hadn’t seen it right away because he’d been so blinded by his relationship with Rachel, it made everything else seem less........less what? He wasn’t sure, and that was where the confusion had settled in and made everything inherently more complicated.

The truth was that Bruce had been in a holding pattern for a very long time. Emotionally, physically, mentally.......and he’d lived in that space for so long, it had been nearly impossible to acknowledge anything different or break out of it, until Mia barraged her way into his life.....and it wasn’t until Mia had become a permanent fixture and he’d almost lost her, that he’d finally realized just how unsatisfying and empty his relationship with Rachel had really been. It hadn’t been healthy, nor equal.......it hadn’t been free and open......it had been shrouded in pain, guilt, heartache and poor timing.

But rationality and logic didn’t always make sense when dealing with first love. Bruce had spent years placing Rachel upon a pedestal, building up their relationship as this larger than life, fated, match that he’d automatically rejected the idea that anyone could take her place, or be as important to him and his future. And that was where he’d made his mistakes with Mia........he’d closed off a part of himself because he didn’t want to give up the dream of Rachel........but Bruce’s dream of Rachel and the reality of Rachel were never compatible. At least, not in the ways he’d needed her to be.

Rachel hadn’t supported his desire to be Batman, hadn’t stood by him.........not really, and not in the ways he’d wished she’d had. At the time, Bruce had rationalized it, but deep down.......he knew that he was only making excuses, because the truth........well, he simply couldn’t handle the truth. Not then.

When Mia had come into his life, he’d been surprised that she had been so willing to accept his dual identity and for a time, Bruce hadn’t known what to do with that. He’d never had anyone other than Alfred support him unconditionally........Alfred understood the pain and rage that drove his desire to become a masked vigilante, and for a brief moment, Bruce had thought Rachel had too.....until she’d disabused him of that notion the day after the fire at Wayne Manor when she’d confronted him about his ‘mask.’

He’d subconsciously known it then......deep down in his gut......Bruce knew that Rachel wouldn’t be able to watch him go through his journey and support it unconditionally. He’d known it and ignored it.....because he hadn’t wanted to give up on that one intangible hope he’d held onto for so many years. It was like ripping a bandaid off, and he’d spent years removing it bit by bit.......never willing to just take the damn thing off and start fresh. Perhaps it was because he didn’t see a future for himself that didn’t include Rachel in it. She’d been his past.......integral to every moment of his formative years.....that it only made sense that she’d be there for all of it.

But life does move on and people do change, and Bruce.....well, he’d changed more than anyone. Gone was the selfish, entitled young man with no purpose and a huge stick on his shoulder. Angry, filled with rage and hurt........but now looking into the mirror and seeing his reflection staring back at him, Bruce couldn’t help but wonder where that person had gone to? The rage was tempered, the hurt........healed. The anger.......that was more self-directed these days at his own stupidity than anything else. For the last few months, Bruce had learned that sometimes, life doesn’t give you what you think you want.......but what you desperately need in order to grow and be better. Mia made him better......happier......more normal than he’d ever remembered feeling in his life. It was ironic that a witch.....who could do magic; had the ability to help him feel the first stirrings of normalcy that he’d ever felt.

Looking at the clock, it was almost six in the morning and Bruce knew that he wasn’t going to be able to go back to sleep. Getting up and walking over to his closet, he grabbed a pair joggers, a T-shirt and some running shoes, deciding to go for an early morning run. The weather had been cold, but he’d had worse in Gotham, and a run was always good for clearing his mind and helping him focus his thoughts.

Bruce had been gone for over an hour and when he’d returned home he checked his cell phone, immediately noticing that there was no new message from Mia, which meant she was probably still asleep. Sighing in disappointment, Bruce went into his ensuite and decided to take a hot shower........his thoughts racing about today and how he might be able to convince Mia to finally move forward. He had wasted so much precious time.....time that he couldn’t get back. He wasn’t going to waste anymore of it....he wanted his family back.

Once Bruce finished getting dressed, he went downstairs and wasn’t surprised to see Alfred in the kitchen baking.......the fresh smells of coffee and pastries filled the room and Bruce’s stomach grumbled as he reached for a muffin from the basket on the counter.

“You’ve been busy.” Bruce said with a smile before taking a bite of the warm blueberry muffin.

“I have.” Alfred replied. “Have you heard from Miss Black this morning.”

“No, but it’s still early. She might be sleeping.”

Alfred nodded. “Perhaps you might text her and see if she’d like to come over for some breakfast. If I recall correctly, she did have a liking for my homemade chocolate croissants.”

Bruce chuckled and reached for his phone, noticing that it was a bit after eight as he texted Mia a ‘good morning.’

It was a few minutes before his phone beeped with a response. Opening the text, Bruce smiled at the reply.

 

****(Hermione) your timing is impeccable.....what can I do for you?

****(Bruce) It’s what I can do for you......Alfred has made some homemade, fresh chocolate croissants and wanted me to let you know they are here waiting for you this morning......

****(Hermione) that’s blackmail......I’m sure he did that on purpose!

****(Bruce) and I’m sure you’re right. I think he just wants to make sure you eat......

****(Hermione) by feeding me chocolate and carbs?

****(Bruce) are you saying you don’t want them? Cause I would be happy to eat them all.....

****(Hermione) you wouldn’t!

****(Bruce) can’t promise you that I won’t. But if you were to come and have breakfast with us, I’m sure I could be persuaded to save a few for you......

****(Hermione) now that’s definitely blackmail.......

****(Bruce) hmmmmm.....so come and punish me.......

There was a brief pause before Bruce’s phone beeped and he couldn’t help the genuine laugh that erupted from his mouth, nor the wicked smile at Mia’s response.

****(Hermione) I don’t think you could handle any of the punishments I might enact in retribution if you eat all my chocolate croissants.......

****(Bruce) I think I just might take my chances......come have breakfast with us.......you can punish me however you see fit later.......I’ll happily submit to you, if you like......

****(Hermione) really?

****(Bruce) mmmhmmm.......

****(Hermione) you might regret that Wayne.......

****(Bruce) at this point darling, I’ll take my chances.........I miss you and need to see you.......please Mia, come and make Alfred and I happy.......he’s dying to see you too.......

****(Hermione) sigh......fine give me twenty minutes to get ready and I’ll be there soon.....manipulative git.....both of you.....using chocolate against a pregnant woman.......low blow Wayne.....

****(Bruce) a desperate man will use whatever means he has at his disposal......

****(Hermione) well, that remains to be seen.......wink......

 

Bruce’s smile was filled with joy as he set down his phone and Alfred couldn’t help but notice how genuinely happy Master Wayne appeared.

“I take it you convinced Miss Black to join us this morning?”

“More like your cooking did Alfred, so I thank you for that.”

“Just doing my part for the future Heirs of the Wayne Family.”

Bruce’s grin widened as he took a pleased bite from his muffin and waited in anticipation for Mia to arrive.

Almost thirty minutes later, the front doorbell to Bruce’s Penthouse rang through his home and Bruce nodded at Alfred before he quickly made his way to the front foyer to welcome his guest.

When he opened the door, his breath caught at the vision of loveliness staring up at him in hesitation and wariness. Clearing his throat, Bruce offered Mia his hand and after a few seconds she gently placed her hand into his, allowing him to escort her over the threshold and into his home.

Mia looked around with interest, refusing to make eye contact with him which, Bruce sadly realized, was because she was still feeling uncertain of him.......and it made his heart hurt at how fragile she appeared. As he got a closer look, Bruce noticed that Mia looked tired.........but still achingly beautiful. He smiled in what he’d hoped was a placating manner, before leading Mia into the kitchen where Alfred was waiting with breakfast.

When they entered the kitchen, Bruce observed Mia’s face relax completely as Alfred came into view, her smile was wide and genuine.

“Hello Alfred.”

“Miss Black, it is very good to see you.”

“Thank you Alfred.....I wish you would call me Mia.”

“How about a compromise then, I will call you Miss Mia?”

Hermione’s giggled and nodded in agreement. “That would be fine, thank you Alfred.”

Bruce walked Mia over to the seat he’d designated for her and instinctively placed a possessive kiss on her shoulder in greeting. She didn’t flinch or give any outward sign she was uncomfortable with the intimate gesture which made Bruce pleased. He sat down next to Mia and pushed the plate of chocolate croissants in front of her, watching her lips curl up into a half smile at the gesture.

“So, you did leave some for me after all?” Mia gave Bruce a side-eyed look and watched as he grinned before grabbing one and placing it on her plate and then taking one for himself.

“I’ve been told that witches and pregnancy hormones don’t mix well, and I’d rather not take my own life into my hands at this point.”

“Probably wise of you.” Mia bit back playfully as she took a bite of the pastry and hummed in bliss, causing Bruce to chuckle and Alfred to smile fondly at her before he spoke.

“I’m pleased that my pastries meet with your seal of approval Miss Mia.”

“They are heavenly Alfred. Probably the best pastries I’ve ever had.”

“I’m glad you think so. I would be happy to package some for you to take with you?”

Mia smiled widely and nodded. “I would love that, thank you Alfred.”

“Of course.” Bruce’s butler nodded in return as he went back to his baking.

Mia couldn’t help but notice Bruce smiling fondly at Alfred, and it was clear that they shared a deep affection for each other. Alfred seemed like such a genuine, kind-hearted man and he’d supported Bruce through everything he’d been through, the good and the bad.....Bruce’s decision to take on the persona of the Batman........shaking her head, Mia couldn’t help but wonder what Alfred must have thought when Bruce had shared that decision.......

“Something funny?” Bruce asked softly, causing Mia to turn her head sharply, not realizing she had been so obvious in her musings.

“Just processing.”

“Care to share with me what you’re thinking?”

“Just wondering what Alfred thought when you first told him about your plan to become Batman.”

Bruce’s face registered his surprise at the question, before he chuckled and looked up, noticing Alfred smiling to himself.

“Maybe you should ask him?” Bruce offered magnanimously, knowing exactly what Alfred had thought of his desire to make Gotham safer.

Mia’s face turned towards Alfred as he came over, wiping his hands on a kitchen towel before sitting down and joining the conversation.

“As you’re probably aware Miss Mia, Master Wayne was gone from Gotham for seven years. During that time, and even before, Gotham City was under siege by many of the crime syndicates of the time......primarily a man name Carmine Falcone. When Master Wayne returned from his sabbatical, he’d shared his desire to try and shake Gotham out of its apathy, to try and make it safer. It wasn’t an easy decision for Master Wayne, but ultimately I believed it to be the right one. I’ve sat back and watched for the past four years, as he’s tried to make Gotham City safer, and oftentimes it wasn’t easy for me to see him come home most nights broken and bleeding, but in my heart I knew Master Wayne needed to do this. So, I supported that decision and never once felt that it was the wrong decision. I had hoped that with time, and support, he’d be able to hang up the cape and cowl for good and because of you, he finally has a chance at a real life.....a normal, happy life and I thank you immensely for that gift.”

Mia smiled shakily as she wiped a lone tear from her cheek. “Bruce is lucky to have you Alfred.”

The man in question bowed his head humbly at the compliment. “It has always been my great honor to serve the Wayne Family, Miss Mia. A great man once made me responsible for that which he loved most in the world. I’ve never regretted taking on that responsibility because I’d always hoped that someday, Master Wayne would find peace, hope and a family to call his own. I’m grateful that you’ve given him a chance to show you how much he cares for you. No one is perfect, but there is one thing I know as truth and that is Master Wayne tries harder than anyone I’ve ever known and loves deeper than even he believes he’s capable of. I know you worry that the only reason he chose to be with you is because of the children you’re carrying, but I can promise you that is not the case, Miss Mia. I hope in time you will come to see that as the truth.”

Mia sniffled softly as her eyes welled with tears, and Alfred reached into his pocket and pulled out a clean handkerchief which she accepted gratefully. He then stood up and nodded to his charge before discreetly leaving the room so the two of them could talk.

Wiping her eyes, Mia could see Bruce’s expression from the corner of her eye as he watched Alfred leave the kitchen with a loving look upon his face.

“It’s clear he loves you very much.” Mia stated softly and Bruce nodded in agreement.

“He’s never given up on me, even when I’ve given up on myself.”

“That’s a rare find to have in this world.”

“It is.” Bruce stated unequivocally before his hazel eyes locked with amber ones. “And I’ve not been as appreciative of him......nor you, as I should’ve been.”

“Me?” Mia stared at Bruce in confusion, not understanding the correlation between herself and Alfred.

“Yes, you.” Bruce replied. “From the moment you walked into my life, looking achingly beautiful and grabbing my attention, you’ve known my secrets and been supportive of my choice to be Batman. You never second-guessed it, never berated me for it and you stood with me even when I didn’t deserve it from you. I took you for granted.......something that has kept me awake most nights wondering how I could’ve been so obtuse not to see it. I’d like to think I’m a reasonably intelligent person...” at this, Hermione’s laughter filled the room, causing Bruce to grin sheepishly, “but I was an idiot when it came to our relationship, Mia. You are my forever in every way that matters........and you’re so much more besides. Yesterday, after we got done with our texting, I’d realized a few things that took me by surprise.”

Hermione blushed at being reminded of exactly what they’d done the morning prior, but her curiosity won out in the end. “And what did you realize?”

“That I could feel normal......yesterday morning I was just Bruce.......not Bruce Wayne CEO nor Batman......just Bruce........desperate for the attention of the woman he loves more than anything in this world......moving out of his comfort zone and doing something he’d never considered doing with anyone else......and being completely okay with that fact. I’ve never allowed myself to lose control like that and just give in to the moment, to be completely vulnerable......but with you Mia, I’m alright with it......I’m more than alright with it. I don’t want to hold parts of myself back anymore and never with you. I’m sorry I didn’t make it clearer to you from the first time we were together that you will always be my first priority......and not because you’re carrying our children, but because I don’t want to live without you in my life.”

Hermione was in a complete state of shock listening to Bruce’s heartfelt words and knowing deep down, that he was being completely sincere. Staring into his eyes, that were filled with so many emotions, Hermione didn’t know what to say. On one hand, her heart was thrilled at Bruce’s declaration and on the other, she knew that she needed to somehow let her insecurities and anger go. Part of her, a small part, was still afraid that somehow, someday he’d go back to Rachel and leave her broken and alone......and it was that fear that was keeping her from jumping into his arms and moving forward.

Bruce couldn’t help but wonder what Mia was thinking as she stared at him with her wide amber eyes that were filled with so many conflicting emotions. He could see shock, hope and fear........and he had to wonder if her fear had more to do with than just him.

“What is it Mia? What are you scared of? That I’m going to leave you? That I don’t love you? Please tell me what has you so afraid, so we can figure this out together.” Bruce’s voice was pleading, and he reached out for Mia’s hand and gently pulled her up and into his lap, which thankfully, she allowed.

Hermione stared at Bruce, who was watching her closely and his eyes were literally begging her to open up to him. After a few more minutes of silence, Bruce whispered into her ear, “You can trust me Mia, I promise you.”

“You know,” Mia began hesitantly, “in the magical world we have something called an unbreakable vow and it’s a vow made between two magicals.....a promise, but if the person who makes the vow breaks it, they die.”

Bruce nodded his head in understanding of what Mia was saying. “And nothing short of that is ever going to make you trust me again, is it?”

Several tears leaked out from Mia’s eyes, and Bruce gently wiped them away as he could see how much she was struggling with her emotions. “You need to understand that because you’re a Muggle, I have no means to protect myself other than taking you at your word.....which hasn’t worked out so well for me.”

Bruce’s lips tightened in displeasure at the admonishment, but he nodded, understanding that Mia was correct.

“If I could, I would take an unbreakable vow. I did offer to take your Veritaserum and beyond that, I guess it’s whether or not you can forgive me and believe in me again. I wish more than anything I could go back and change things, as much as I wish I could change what happened with my parents......but I can’t. I have to live with my mistakes and the guilt I feel for hurting you Mia. I can only promise you that no matter what happens going forward, I want to be with you.”

“And if I wasn’t pregnant? If Alfred hadn’t told you about his suspicion that I was pregnant that night, would you have chosen me and followed me?”

Bruce sighed heavily and nodded, knowing in his heart it was the truth. “I would have. I’d realized after you’d left that I loved you.......when I opened the folder you’d left for me, my heart broke when I’d realized just how much you unconditionally supported my duality as Batman and I hadn’t been as appreciative of that fact as I should’ve been. When Alfred shared his suspicion.......I’ve never felt so broken in my entire life. When my parents died a large part of me died with them........but you brought me back to life in a way I’ve never allowed anyone to do, not even Rachel. When Rachel told me after the League burnt down my home, that the man she’d loved had never returned to Gotham, I didn’t disabuse her of that notion, because instinctively I knew she was right. She also told me that being Bruce Wayne was my mask and the real me was the man the criminals in Gotham feared, and I suppose she was right......but I think it’s a bit more complicated than that and I didn’t see it until that night.”

“Which was?” Mia said quietly.

“I’m both........Batman is Bruce Wayne and vice versa. The darkness that lives in me is very real and Rachel was always the light in the darkness that was my life. But, it wasn’t until you came along that I actually allowed myself to live in the light, to have a life there. I didn’t see it.....or perhaps I was just in denial.........I really don’t understand it all myself, which is no excuse, I know. Mia, I don’t know how to be in a proper relationship, not really. I want to learn to do better and I want to do that with you. When Rachel walked away I let her go, and when you tried to walk away several times......I couldn’t let you go.........I just couldn’t and I can’t. I don’t know how to explain it any better than that. It’s not possible for me to let you go........I don’t see a future without you in it. I don’t want a future without you in it.”

A few more tears escaped unheeded and Bruce wiped those away lovingly as he stared into pain-filled amber eyes that were mentally processing everything he’d just said. After a few moments Mia sighed in resignation as she stood up from his embrace and went over to stare out the window leading into the backyard. Bruce didn’t follow her, but just waited patiently for her to speak.....which she did after a few minutes.

“I went to the Burrow yesterday to visit George’s family. His parents, Molly and Arthur are surrogate parents to me. Their youngest son Ronald, was my best friend in school and along with Harry we were known as the Golden Trio. We did everything together; fought a Mountain Troll, faced Dementors, Werewolves, Snatchers, Death Eaters.......and there was a time that I thought that perhaps Ronald and I might actually have a life together when the war was over. But then we went on the run for a year, and when things were at there lowest, Ronald abandoned Harry and I.......he never forgave me for staying with Harry and I never forgave him for leaving us.” Mia turned around and faced Bruce, knowing she needed to see his expressions when she shared the next part with him.

“During the time Ron was gone, Harry and I on Christmas Eve in 1997, went to Godric’s Hollow, searching for a magical sword to help us destroy the horcrux we had. Horcruxes are items where a witch or wizard can store a piece of a soul.....but in order to do so one has to commit murder.....only murder splits the soul and only remorse......true remorse, can heal it. Voldemort split his soul seven times.”

Bruce’s breath let out on a hiss, as he realized what Mia was saying.

“On October 31, 1981......Voldemort sought out Harry and his parents, killing his mother and father. Harry was prophesied to end Voldemort and when he’d killed Harry’s mother Lily, a piece of his soul fractured and attached itself to Harry. For most of Harry’s life, his mind was linked to Voldemort’s, but because of Lily’s sacrifice, Voldemort became incorporeal for a time, until the Spring of 1995.”

“What happened?”

“Harry was entered against his will in a wizards tournament, the particulars aren’t important but one of Voldemort’s followers kidnapped Harry and another follower used a blood ritual to bring back Voldemort to full power. In the Spring of 1996, Harry fought Voldemort and a battle took place in the Ministry of Magic here in London. Myself, Ronald, Luna, Ginny, Neville and Harry fought off many Death Eaters to save Harry’s godfather and obtain the prophecy. I was nearly killed in that battle.”

Bruce’s face paled at the confession, and he swallowed several times to get his rage under control.
“A Death Eater?”

“Yes, he’s dead now. After the Final Battle, Antonin Dolohov went to Azkaban, our Wizarding prison. I broke into the prison before I disappeared from the magical world. He left me with a scar from the Dark curse he’d used on me, which amongst other things, left me in a measure of pain for a long time. I managed to procure the countercurse and while the scar remains, the pain is gone.”

Bruce appeared confused as he considered Mia’s words. “I’ve never seen any scars on you Mia?”

“No, because I glamour them. That night when the Aurors came to my apartment in Gotham, I showed the one on my arm to Auror Piquery.......when I was tortured during the war, I was left with another scar.......a witch carved a cursed blade into my flesh because I wouldn’t break under the torture curse she’d inflicted upon me.”

“Bellatrix Lestrange. George mentioned her to me.”

“Yes.”

“What does the scar look like? I remember George’s reaction when you showed it to the Auror.....he was visibly upset.”

Hermione walked over and lifted her arm, wandlessly removing the glamour charm......Bruce hissed out angrily at the word that was carved into her flesh.........mudblood.

“What the fuck, Mia?”

“It’s a word that belies dirty blood. My parents were Muggles......I’m sure you can do the math?”

Bruce nodded angrily. “Yes.” He gritted out, before his voice softened. “Why have you kept these hidden from me?”

“I couldn’t tell you about Magic.....I know George explained why. And then everything happened and I didn’t trust you to share any of this with you.”

“I understand.” Bruce stated sympathetically. “You don’t need to hide these from me anymore.”

Mia nodded but didn’t say anything in response as she glamoured the scar again and sat back down in her original seat.

“While I was on the run with Harry, and that night in Godric’s Hollow, we dueled Voldemort’s pet snake, a large python that was also a Horcrux, although we didn’t know it at the time. My spells rebounded and Harry’s wand was broken in our escape. For several months we had to share a wand.....my wand.”

Bruce nodded again as he considered Mia’s words. “I would imagine that’s unusual if your bringing it up?”

“It is, very unusual. You see, the wand chooses the witch or wizard and they learn from each other. Harry’s wand and Voldemort’s wand both had identical cores from the same Phoenix. My vine wand had a dragon heartstring core. Harry and I shared my wand for over two months, and during that time, our magical cores aligned.”

“Does that happen often?” Bruce inquired curiously, and Mia shook her head in the negative.

“No, it’s extremely rare. I’d realized what had happened after the war was over. I’d lost my wand when I was taken by the Snatchers, and I ended up using Bellatrix’s wand for a while, but it never really worked for me.” Hermione could see Bruce’s expression of stunned disbelief as he processed this truth. “Harry was a Horcrux, but he was also the Master of Death.”

“Excuse me?” Bruce stuttered out in shock. “Master of Death?”

“Yes.” Hermione nodded. “You see, there are three items that one needs to become Master of Death. The Invisibility Cloak that you and George used, was one.....it belonged to Harry and had been passed down throughout his family for generations. He left it to me when he’d died.”

“And the other two items?”

Hermione’s reached into her beaded bag and pulled out the Elder Wand and a Golden Ball that flittered through the air next to her. “The wand I have is the Elder Wand, the Deathstick. It’s the most powerful wand in the world. It originally belonged to Dumbledore, my former Headmaster who’d won it in a duel in 1945. Voldemort stole it from his grave in 1997........but it would never give him its allegiance because Draco had disarmed Dumbledore earlier that same year. Harry overpowered Draco at Malfoy Manor, where I’d been tortured.....”

Bruce’s eyes widened at the implication before he stood up and growled out angrily. “Let me get this straight, you were tortured in Malfoy’s home, was he there? Did he witness it?”

Hermione nodded and Bruce just stared at her in shock. “So you forgave Draco Malfoy, the man who watched you being tortured.....you slept with him......and yet you can’t forgive me?”

Hermione’s eyes narrowed angrily and Bruce saw and felt her magic respond to his words. Realizing he’d stepped over the line, again......he bowed his head and said ‘sorry’ before sitting back down.

“I don’t expect you to understand what it was like for me after the war, and after Harry died. He and I bonded, and he rejected that bond......I watched as he married another witch and I never told him nor asked him if he knew about the bond......but when he died, I almost died from bond sickness. I had to break into Dumbledore’s grave and retake the Elder Wand to save myself. Because it technically was still Harry’s, the wand recognized our bond and accepted me as its new Master. Draco was unknowingly the Master of the wand for a time, and perhaps being with him helped with the bond sickness, although it’s unlikely......but he’s not the same wizard he was all those years ago. He’s never killed anyone despite how he grew up and his choices were just as awful as mine were back then. His parents died from the curse and as much as I abhorred them as people, they were his parents and he loved them. They were all he had.” Shaking her head clear, Hermione gestured at the snitch. “The third item is in the Golden Ball, and it’s called the resurrection stone.....it can bring spirits back from the dead.”

Bruce scoffed for a moment but then his eyes widened in horror as he realized Mia was completely serious. “That’s not possible!”

Mia smirked and took the Golden Ball, placed it to her mouth and whispered the words, “I am ready to die.”

At those words, Bruce lurched out of his chair with a cry and enveloped Mia into his arms, his whole body shaking with adrenaline as he held her to him. Mia was confused momentarily then she blushed in embarrassment, but before she could respond, the snitch opened and the resurrection stone floated out into the room. Using her wand, Mia placed the stone on the counter top in front of her.

“That is the Resurrection Stone.” Mia whispered reverently.

Bruce nodded warily as he stared at the black stone that was unlike anything he’d ever seen. “How does it work?”

Mia sighed. “Take it into your hand and turn it over three times, and call forth whomever you wish to speak to.”

“My parents?”

Mia nodded. “Yes, you could call them forward if you wished.”

“Fuck.” Bruce whispered in awe as he stared morbidly at the little stone that just sat there mocking him. He then turned to face Mia and asked her a question that had come to him suddenly. “Have you ever used it?”

Mia shook her head. “No, I haven’t.”

“Why?”

“It’s complicated Bruce.”

“Because of Harry?”

“Yes.”

“Wouldn’t that give you some closure if nothing else Mia? Isn’t it better to know where his mind and heart was at, than keep all these feeling bottled up?”

“Hello Pot, I’m Kettle....” Mia snarked and Bruce chuckled at the admonishment.

“Fair enough.” Bruce conceded, before staring at the stone again. “So these three items makes one Master of Death?”

“Yes, they were given to three brothers.......the Peverell Brothers.......Ignotus, Cadmus and Antioch. There is a story that states that they were conferred to the brothers by Death himself.”

“And do you believe that?”

Mia shrugged. “I’m not sure it matters. What I do know is when I took possession of the three Hallows, I was spared from the curse. My bond sickness was cured and I was able to go on with my life. How they came to be, well.........I can’t say for absolute certainty that the story is false. There is a Veil within the Ministry of Magic here in London, and it is said to be the gateway between the Realm of Life and Death. It’s where the battle took place when I was sixteen...the Death Chamber.”

“This is a lot to process.”

Mia giggled. “I’m sure it is.”

“So, going back to our original conversation.......your reluctance to move forward with me, is it more to do with trusting me in general, or trusting in yourself?”

“Both.” Mia stated unequivocally.

“Okay, I suppose that is understandable, but it doesn’t change the fact that I love you Mia and I want a life with you. I know we aren’t always going to agree on everything, but please don’t run away every time we disagree........don’t assume that my feelings aren’t genuine.........I am willing to discuss anything you need me to, in order to make you feel secure in us and our future.”

“My emotions are all over the place these days.”

“I get that, and I can be patient.......And just for the record, I wasn’t taking Rachel’s side when you read her mind........I was shocked that you felt you needed to do something so drastic in order to feel secure in our relationship, but thinking on it these past couple days, I’d realized I handled it poorly and for that I’m sorry.”

“You were angry at me.”

“I was deeply shocked, can’t you understand why? If it had been Alfred or Lucius I would’ve been just as shocked and dismayed. What you did was an invasion Mia.........I know you’d have never done such a thing under normal circumstances......and I blame myself for you having to resort to such measures......but promise me you won’t do that again.”

Hermione sighed and shook her head. “I can’t do that. I don’t trust her.”

Bruce stared at Mia, knowing that this was always going to be an issue and what he should’ve done when he’d seen Rachel in his office was ask her to leave, but he hadn’t. She was his friend and there was a part of him that had hoped despite everything, they could still be friends. That simply wasn’t possible anymore, not if he wanted Mia in his life and he did......more than anything.

“Fair enough. I’ve told Rachel not to contact me anymore. George mentioned something to me the night that I found out about your magic......because of the Statute of Secrecy, those Aurors would’ve wiped my memories of you and magic, was he telling me the truth?”

Mia paled and nodded, wondering where Bruce was going with this. Watching his face, she could see the sad, quiet resolve in his eyes.

“How would they do that? You mentioned it once I believe?” Bruce asked quietly.

Hermione nodded. “Obliviation. Muggles aren’t allowed to have knowledge of the Magical World unless it’s under very specific circumstances.”

“Such as?”

“Marrying a magical, or having children or if a Muggle-born child expresses magic the parents are told......usually when that child turns eleven.”

“That’s interesting,” Bruce commented thoughtfully, “why wait until eleven though?”

Mia shrugged. “I’ve never really understood that rationale either. The magical world isn’t perfect and some of their ways......are a bit out-dated.”

Bruce nodded, his eyes darkening a bit as he contemplated what he wanted to say. “Rachel, Harvey, Lucius and Alfred don’t qualify under any of those parameters, Mia. Why haven’t they been obliviated?”

Mia cringed a bit and blushed. “Because of you.”

Bruce looked shocked. “What do you mean?”

“Look how upset you got when I read Rachel’s mind! If I had obliviated her.....then I would have had to obliviate Harvey too! I trust Lucius and Alfred however, so that would never be an option.”

Bruce nodded in understanding as he realized that Mia was right......she had continued to make sacrifices for him and he needed to do the same for her, no matter how difficult that choice was to make.

“I wish you had talked to me about this beforehand, perhaps this whole situation might have been avoided had I truly understood the ramifications of the Statute of Secrecy and how that affected you so therefore, I have a suggestion.”

“Which is?”

“I’m assuming an obliviate can be specific to certain events?” Mia nodded. “Perhaps it might be prudent to have Rachel and Harvey’s memories modified so that they don’t remember you’re magical and I’m Batman. That way your gifts aren’t compromised nor my dual identity.”

Mia sat back stunned, as she stared at Bruce in shock. “You’re completely serious?”

Bruce nodded. “I had wondered something after you’d left my office and correct me if I’m wrong, but when you read Rachel’s mind.........was there any indication that her knowledge of your magic played a factor in her coming to see me directly?”

Wide amber eyes stared sadly at Bruce, wondering how he could’ve figured that one out on his own. It was why she’d been so furious in the first place, but how do you explain to someone that the person they’d grown up believing in wasn’t exactly who they thought?

Mia nodded and Bruce sighed in resignation, wanting to yell and scream at Rachel for her idiocy and himself for believing implicitly in the goodness of his friend; but now, knowing the truth made the decision he needed to make that much easier for him.

“Then do it. If you don’t want to do it yourself I understand. Send Mr. Malfoy or someone you trust to take care of it. While they’re at it, perhaps it might be best to modify Rachel’s memories of our past relationship.......the feelings that went with it but not basics of our friendship. Would that be possible?”

“Yes.” Mia replied stoically.

Bruce nodded. “Then if we are in agreement, call whomever you need to and let’s get this done, I’d rather not wait if that’s alright. I apologize for not coming to this conclusion sooner, but I thought she was a trusted friend, and it’s hard to admit to oneself that someone you’ve spent your whole life trusting isn’t exactly whom you thought they were.”

“I know.” Mia replied morosely. “I understand more than you realize.”

Bruce enveloped Mia into his arms and held her to him. “I know you do Mia. From here on out it’s just you and me.......if that’s what you want.”

“I’m willing to try.”

“It’s more than I deserve but I’ll take it because I love you and I can’t lose you. I don’t understand all there is to know about Magic and your world here......but I’m willing to learn and make whatever concessions you need me to make so that you feel secure in our relationship. Even if that means hexing me from time to time.” Bruce grinned and Mia giggled at the idea.

“I just might take you up on that Wayne.....so don’t make promises you can’t keep.”

“I have absolutely every intention of keeping every promise I make to you from here on out. I know we didn’t get to this place overnight and it’s going to take time for you to trust in my intentions, but please......no more running away when we disagree or argue......as I’m sure it’s going to happen again.”

Mia nodded in agreement. “That I can promise.”

“Thank you.” Bruce responded emotionally. “That means more to me than you will ever know.”

Chapter Text

Hermione had sent her Patronus to Draco, asking him to meet her at the Leaky Cauldron at two o’clock that afternoon. His response had been swift and Bruce had smirked at the swirling otter and the.........was it a ferret? Shaking his head in wonder, Bruce couldn’t help but continually be amazed at how magic worked.

When the time came, Bruce requested the opportunity to accompany Mia to the pub where she and Draco Malfoy were meeting and surprisingly she’d agreed, which made him feel that perhaps they were actually making some positive initial progress after their talk.

Reaching the meeting point, Bruce was confused as there didn’t seem to be anything but an empty, abandoned building, but Mia had taken his hand and pulled him through some kind of forcefield that made him instinctively want to turn around and walk in another direction. Odd.......so Magicals used some kind of repelling spell to confuse non-magicals away from their enclaves? That was an interesting if not a bit concerning conundrum......and left Bruce wondering if there was some technological equivalent that might counteract the spell......

Before they walked inside Mia waved her wand over her stomach and Bruce was surprised that the obvious signs of her pregnancy were instantly hidden from view, his raised eyebrow garnered a sheepish smile but he decided to inquire about it later. The pub was rather busy for the Monday afternoon before Christmas and Mia led him over to a corner booth that seemed to be well hidden from prying eyes as she cast a series of spells before they sat down in their seats.

After a few moments, and the waiter bringing Bruce over something called Butterbeer......Draco Malfoy sat down in the booth across from he and Mia, his gaze glacial as he considered the man before him.

“Wayne, fancy seeing you here.”

“Malfoy, Mia was kind enough to allow me to escort her here.”

Draco nodded once and then turned his attention to Hermione.

“What’s going on Granger, your Patronus sounded important.”

Hermione nodded in response. “It is.....Bruce and I would like to ask a favor.”

Draco’s eyebrows raised in surprise as he wondered what in Salazar’s name Bruce Wayne would want from him.

“A favor?”

“Yes.” Bruce stated firmly. “After talking with Mia this morning about your Secrecy laws, I came to the conclusion that it would be prudent to modify the memories of Harvey and Rachel going forward. I’ve come to realize that it’s not in Mia’s best interests for either of them to know about her magical background. I would also request that any memories of my dual identity be removed as a courtesy to protect Mia and myself and finally I would request that Rachel’s memories of our previous romantic relationship be modified of everything after I returned to Gotham four years ago, if possible.”

Draco sat back stunned before his focus fell back to Granger, who appeared to be in full agreement with Wayne’s suggestion.

“I see.” Draco stated dryly. “And when would you like this done?”

“As soon as possible.” Bruce replied evenly. “I would also make one more request?”

Draco smirked but nodded in response while Hermione gave Bruce a curious look but didn’t speak up immediately, wondering what Bruce wanted Malfoy to do.

“I understand that Legilimency is the ability to look into ones mind, correct?”

“It is.” Draco responded immediately.

“You have this ability? But I take it, that it’s not a common ability?”

“I do, and it’s not.” The smirk was back in place on Draco’s face as he watched Wayne closely pondering over whatever it was he wanted to ask.

“I’m sure Mia might’ve mentioned the impetus for the disagreement we had recently over her use of Legilimency and while the concept initially shocked me deeply, I do understand the rationale for its uses. Therefore, I would request that before you modify Harvey and Rachel’s memories you check to see if either one planned for any contingencies with Mia’s background or mine.”

Draco considered the man with a bit of respect as he had wondered why the two Muggles hadn’t been obliviated, but realized it was likely due to Granger herself and her overblown sense of fair play.

“You’re thinking that Harvey made a contingency plan and might have left himself a clue in case his memory was in some way compromised without his consent?”

Bruce nodded. “Yes, because that is what I would do under similar circumstances.”

Draco chuckled while Hermione stared at Bruce completely flabbergasted by his admission.

“Have you?” Draco queried with interest and Bruce just smirked in response, while Hermione glared angrily at Bruce.

“Seriously?” Her anger was evident in the tone of her voice and Bruce’s hazel eyes met her amber ones with open honesty.

“You threatened to obliviate me once.....did you honestly think I would sit back and be okay with that? Would you have, if you were in my shoes?”

Hermione’s crossed her arms petulantly as she glowered at Bruce while Draco’s laughter deepened.

“I did warn you Princess that Wayne had a Slytherin streak. Why are you surprised?”

“Shut it ferret, no one asked for your opinion.”

“Yet I’m going to give it all the same, you vicious swot.”

Hermione stuck her tongue out at Draco petulantly before she quipped, “Pontificated prat.”

“Unmitigated Idealist.”

“Perhaps, we could table the name calling for now?” Bruce bit out harshly and watched as Draco Malfoy gave him a warning look, while Mia just blushed uncomfortably.

“I will have Warrington and Blaise go with me to Gotham. It might take a day to get Kingsley to sign off on an international portkey but when I explain the reasons, I have no doubt he’ll agree.”

“Thank you Malfoy for doing this.” Hermione’s voice was a bit emotional and Draco just nodded.

“It’s not a problem. I’ll contact you when it’s done.”

“Thank you Mr. Malfoy.” Bruce nodded politely at the younger man, who despite his willingness to help, obviously wasn’t a fan of him nor the Muggle World.

“I’m not doing this for you Wayne, just so we’re clear. But I will make one thing perfectly crystal for you before I leave here today.........if you so much as break Granger’s heart again and not put her first, I will take you out.......I am powerful enough to remove all your memories of Hermione, ferret out all your secrets and make sure you never bother her again. Do I make myself clear?”

“Malfoy!” Hermione spoke up in warning, but one look from the blonde had the Gryffindor Princess closing her mouth.

“Don’t Malfoy me, Granger. I remember what life was like for you before and after the war.....and I never thought I’d see you as broken as you were after the war........but this one,” gesturing to Bruce angrily, “has managed to break something inside you I didn’t think possible. So excuse me if I am not willing to stand by and watch him hurt you again!”

“Like you stood by and watched Mia being tortured in your family home?” Bruce growled out angrily.

Draco’s eyes darkened as he placed both hands on the table, doing his best not to react to the taunt. “Not proud of that fact Wayne, but since you don’t know what life was like for all of us back then, I’m going to be the bigger person and give your ignorance a pass. You don’t know me......you don’t know my history or what life was like for me growing up, so therefore you don’t get to judge me. The only person who has that right is the witch sitting next to you. She’s forgiven me, which I’m smart enough to realize I don’t exactly deserve.....but too selfish to turn down because I’ve been in love with her for years. You’ve taken the most precious person in my life, and made her fall in love with you.........and you were too ignorant and idiotic to realize just what a lucky fuck you were. If it was up to me? You’d be nothing but a bad memory......you’re not worthy of her! You fuck it up again.......you and I will be having words.......and trust me when I tell you, that’s one battle you won’t win.”

“Draco....” Hermione whispered out painfully, her eyes pleading with him to let it go.

Grey eyes moved from dark hazel to deep amber and he sighed. “I won’t apologize.”

“I know.” Hermione responded with a nod. “I would never ask that of you.”

“I’ll let you know when it’s done.” Draco stated with finality before he stood up with one last angry glare at the Muggle staring murderously back at him and sauntered out of the Leaky to take care of Granger’s other Muggle problem.

Hermione watched Draco leave with tears falling down her cheeks, while Bruce gently wrapped an arm around her shoulders and folded her into his side. The two of them sat quietly for a few moments before Bruce decided to say what was on his mind.

“He truly loves you.”

Hermione sniffled. “Yes, I think I just realized that myself.”

“Does this change how you feel for him?”

Hermione lifted her head so she could meet Bruce’s worried gaze. “I care for Draco, I told you as much. But no, I’m not in love with him.”

“And you feel guilty about that fact?”

Hermione nodded while Bruce’s eyes searched her expression before he spoke again. “Did you love Harry? Were you in love with him?”

Her expression turned to confusion as she thought for a moment before she nodded. “I loved Harry and yes, there was a time when I was in love with him.”

“And yet he chose someone else?”

Hermione nodded again, unsure of where Bruce was going with this.

“I think that it’s entirely possible to be in love with two people at the same time, and before you interrupt me, allow me to get this out, okay?”

Hermione sighed but gestured for Bruce to continue which he did after a moment.

“You loved Harry, and I believe he loved you too. He left you part of his fortune, yes? And his Invisibility Cloak which according to you, Harry knew to be Hallow?”

“I suppose that last part is an accurate statement.” Hermione agreed softly.

“Harry loved his wife, he married her and by all accounts would’ve had a family with her, had they both not perished. Rachel was my first love and until you came into my life, she was the only woman I’d imagined spending my life with, possibly having a family with but then I met you and fell in love with you. You care for Mr. Malfoy, in whatever way that’s true for you. You’ve both shared something that many people can’t understand and that bonded you both. The issue however, was that you had already bonded with someone else......Harry. So you couldn’t give Malfoy what he wanted from you at that time. Do you think it was possible that Harry had bonded in some fashion with Ginny? Before your time on the run? Wouldn’t it be likely that the existence of a previous bond might have confused the issue for him somewhat? He wasn’t raised in the magical world from what you’ve shared, so it’s unlikely he’d recognize the signs like you did eventually. I think he subconsciously knew there was something......enough that he made sure you were taken care of. He did love you Mia, I just don’t think he had all the information and you never did tell him either, correct? So is that truly Harry’s fault, or yours?”

Sucking in a breath at Bruce’s summation, she sat there and pondered his words and couldn’t find any fault with his logic. Was it likely that her inability to confront Harry had led to him choosing Ginny in the end? Was that possible? Could it really have been as simple as that?

“You seemed shocked?” Bruce asked softly. “Did that idea never occur to you? Did it never occur to you that Harry loved you, but perhaps had been in love with Ginny first, so he made the best choice he could with the information he had? Or perhaps he knew, but assumed since you never approached him about it, you didn’t feel more than friendship for him?”

Hermione shook her head in the negative. “No, it really didn’t.”

“I love you Mia........and I hope that in time you will be able to trust me enough to say the words back to me again. I know these last few months have been difficult for you, and I know I haven’t made it any easier. I do respect what Mr. Malfoy said, as it was something I needed to hear. It’s hard to know that you’ve irreparably hurt the woman you love due to your own stupidity and ignorance. You and I are very similar when it comes to our feelings, and I know I haven’t been the best at communicating. I promise to work on that with you.”

“I admitted to George that I was still in love with you when he asked me recently. It’s just hard because I’m scared that this, being with me, isn’t really where your heart is at, but I do owe you an apology about that letter. I never should have reacted in such a way and for that I’m sorry.”

Bruce kissed Mia’s temple reassuringly, as he whispered into her ear with emotion. “I forgive you Mia and I choose you, I will always choose you. I’m desperately in love with you and always will be. I will follow you wherever you wish to be.....if staying here in London is what you want, then I will stay with you.”

Pulling back slightly, Hermione was stunned by that admission. “You’d truly leave Gotham behind?”

“Yes, for you, I would do anything you wish.”

“Anything?” Hermione’s amber eyes were alight with so many emotions that Bruce could help but respond to the plea emanating from within their depths.

“You have my word........anything.”

Chapter Text

Mia decided to take him into Diagon Alley after their conversation and Bruce was amazed how how well magic could hide something so large. The amount of magical energy to make something so vast appear non-existent was perplexing and Bruce had to wonder yet again just how Magical energy fit within the properties of physics...if it did at all.

“You seem confused?” Mia asked quietly as she watched Bruce’s face take on that foreboding look when he was trying to figure out a problem he couldn’t quite solve.

“I am.” Bruce admitted. “Magical energy, I’ve been wondering how it follows the laws of Physics and Thermodynamics. Energy can’t be created from nothing...and you’ve mentioned before about a magical core? But I have to wonder if it’s that simple or if there is something I’m missing?”

Hermione thought about the question for a few moments as they perused the shop windows and she pointed out things here and there to Bruce, who seemed genuinely intrigued by everything.

“I suppose I’ve never considered the possibility where the actual energy source comes from. Our wands channel our spells, focus our intent and they are sentient unto themselves.”

“The wand chooses the wizard or witch?”

Hermione nodded. “Yes, wandlore is a fascinating branch of magic but studied by very few individuals. The trade secrets as you might call them, are usually kept within certain families. The Ollivander Family for instance has been selling wands for over 1000 years.”

Bruce’s eyes widened at Mia’s words as he shook his head in wonder. “That’s incredible.”

“It is.” Mia agreed. “Mr. Ollivander is the last of his family however, and he was held prisoner by Voldemort for nearly a year. I’m not sure how much longer he will be able to attend to making wands. I’m not sure who will take on the role once he’s gone.”

“War always affects the innocents in ways we don’t often realize until many years later.” Bruce admitted sadly. “I saw enough of that in my travels to understand that much.”

Mia nodded. “It’s true. I don’t think anyone could have envisioned what happened after the war was over and the loss of life that occurred because of the curse.”

“Is that why you glamoured?” Bruce looked purposely down at Mia’s stomach and she nodded again.

“Standard operating procedure. I’d rather not draw unwanted attention to myself. Most of those within Britain’s magical community view me as a War Heroine, and I don’t fear for my safety persay...but I’d rather not take any chances. Kingsley knows about my condition, and he’s offered his protection as much as he’s able to. The Aurors know, as do the Hit Wizards stationed here within our ministry. The Head of the Department of Mysteries was also informed when I sent my Patronus to Kingsley the night I arrived. The people here owe me their very lives...and a life debt is a serious bit of magic that most witches and wizards take very seriously.”

“Wouldn’t that be true of all magicals everywhere?”

“Theoretically yes, but again...not all view such a debt favorably, but it does offer me a measure of protection should I need it. Even though I’m a War Heroine, there are still some within the Pureblood circles that look down upon me due to my Muggle heritage.”

“Former Death Eater families I’d assume?”

“You’d assume correctly, although surprisingly many of their children work in the Auror offices now with Draco. Many of the worst offenders during my school years have changed since the war...but there are a few who haven’t seen the errors of their prejudicial views.”

“Hence the glamour?”

Hermione sighed heavily. “It’s mostly a precaution but since there haven’t been any magical births in seven years, I haven’t quite figured out how to announce my pregnancy. I’d imagine there will be many questions, since there are some within the Wizengamot who immediately rejected my original hypothesis.”

“Which was?”

“The curse itself was born of magic. In my research I was able to trace the origin to the Egyptian Triad of Latopolis.”

“Ah, I do know a bit about Egyptian history. Khnum was the god of fertility and his wife was Menhet, the goddess of war and pestilence. Their son was Heka, was the god of magic.”

Hermione smiled widely and nodded, Bruce never ceased to amaze her with his wealth of knowledge and intellect. “Yes, that’s it exactly. I found the countercurse in the writings of Sekhmet.”

“The goddess of healing.....makes sense actually.” Bruce nodded thoughtfully.

“Yes, this has happened once before prior to the fall of the Roman Empire.”

“That’s interesting.” Bruce said softly. “Merlin’s rise theoretically transpired almost a hundred years after the fall of Rome. That can’t be a coincidence.”

“That was my thought as well. The Druids practiced magic during the Roman era....but their practices were abolished sometime in the late second century....due to the Romans inherent distrust and fear of their practices.”

“So they went underground?”

Hermione nodded. “They did. Much like what happened with the Statute of Secrecy, magic was forced back into the shadows due to the curse.”

“So magic reset itself and due to the loss of magical blood, they were forced to procreate with Muggles?”

“Yes...and for a time during the years of Merlin and after it seemed balance was restored. It took nearly 1500 years and here we are, back to the beginning. Nearly seventy percent of the Magical population was killed during the war and the curse that followed. If something doesn’t change soon, it’s very likely the magical population may not recover.”

Bruce didn’t say anything for a while as they finally made their way to George’s shop, but before they entered Bruce pulled Mia to a covered spot off the alley. “Was there any research that indicated what the impetus for the magical birth rates improving was?”

Mia gazed up at Bruce stunned as she slowly shook her head. “I did research birth records, and what I was able to discover seemed to support my hypothesis that magical births occurred when mating with Muggles...why? You think it might be something else?”

Bruce shrugged. “Your hypothesis might be correct. However, the druids were practitioners of astronomy and cosmology as were the Egyptians...both used cosmology as the cornerstone of their magical practices if folklore is to be believed. I’d imagine that the countercurse you found had some astrological component to it?”

Hermione nodded, stunned at Bruce’s words. “You think that the lifting of the curse may have be linked to some cosmological phenomenon?”

“Well, didn’t the druids have their own triad of spirits much in the way the Egyptians did?”

“They did, but I admit I’m not as familiar with Druidic history.”

“Perhaps magical and Muggle procreation isn’t the only answer....it may be, but perhaps it’s more involved than that?”

Hermione just stared at Bruce in amazement, before shaking her head and giggling to herself. “You’ve given me a lot to think about.”

“Just promise you won’t disappear on me if you decide to research this further?”

“I promise.”

“Good, now lets go say hello to George. I owe the man a debt and his shop looks quite interesting.”

“Fine.” Hermione grinned. “But don’t eat, drink or volunteer for anything he might give you.”

“He’s that much of a prankster?”

“You have no idea.”

“Well, I’m quite interested in that Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder and was hoping to take some with me for research purposes.”

Hermione gave Bruce a dubious look. “I’m not sure how you would use it properly for your nocturnal activities? It blocks thermal as well as visual.”

Bruce smirked in response. “But not sound.”

Eyes widening in surprise, Hermione realized that Bruce was right. “Bats use sonar...”

“They do, but training with the League you learn to fight using only sound as a guide. Potentially, I could blind one opponent or several using the powder, but still be able to take them down...theatricality and deception are powerful tools.”

“So I’ve heard.” Hermione bit back playfully. “You’re just full of surprises Wayne.”

“So I’ve heard.” Bruce’s answering grin had Hermione shaking her head in mock disgust.

“Come on then, let’s go see what other tricks George can entice you with. Something tells me I’m going to regret putting you both in the same room together.”

“We probably shouldn’t stay too long, as we need to get you fed and Alfred is making dinner as we speak.”

“Oh, and what is on the menu for this evening?”

“Chicken Marsala”

“That’s one of my favorites.”

“Yes, I seemed to recall that too. Have you been having any cravings lately?”

Hermione sighed and squirmed uneasily as Bruce opened the door to George’s shop and led her over the threshold. “Perhaps that’s a discussion best saved for another time.”

Bruce’s initial look of confusion followed her as they walked inside and she could feel his stare on her as George came over and said hello and then he proceeded to show Bruce where the Peruvian Darkness Powder was.

Cravings? Hermione groaned inwardly...yeah, she’d definitely been craving something lately...and it wasn’t food.

Shaking her head clear of those unhelpful thoughts, she couldn’t help the blush that noticeably stained her cheeks...nor her own body’s traitorous reactions to where her mind had drifted too...not realizing that Bruce had been quietly observing her and had figured out for himself just what the problem was...while devising a plan to take care of it.

Chapter Text

Bruce left George’s joke shop with quite a few items and Hermione was amused by just how well the two men got along. Bruce had asked many questions about various products and stocked up on Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder....even going so far as to have George promise to send more to Gotham in the future. He’d purchased a few extendable ears, portable swamps, shield hats, decoy detonators, bruise removal paste and one weather in a bottle. Bruce had even inquired if George might be interested in expanding to the States as he’d be willing to finance any level of expansion the wizard wanted. Hermione had been shocked, and George had stood there dumbfounded as he shook Bruce’s hand in thanks and promised the billionaire he’d give the idea some serious thought.

When they’d returned to Bruce’s townhouse in Kensington, Alfred had been amazed by all the things that Master Wayne had purchased, asking multiple questions which Hermione had been too happy to share with Bruce’s father figure.

“These are quite ingenious.” Alfred offered with a shake of his head. “And you say that Mr. Weasley invented these himself?”

“He invented many of these with his twin brother Fred, who was killed in during the final battle at my old school Hogwarts in 1998. George hasn’t fully recovered from losing his twin, but he carries on the joke shop in honor of Fred’s memory.”

“That’s admirable.” Alfred stated firmly. “I can’t imagine it must’ve been an easy decision to make.”

“No, I’m sure it wasn’t. Ronald, one of my best friend’s growing up, helped George for a time before he was taken by the curse. George’s best friend Lee Jordan has taken to helping him in running the shop.”

Alfred nodded thoughtfully before he moved back into the kitchen to finish preparing dinner. “Dinner won’t be ready for a few hours yet Miss Mia.....perhaps you might wish to lay down and take a nap beforehand?”

“That actually sounds like a good idea, perhaps I will head back home and do just that.”

Bruce shook his head and took Mia’s hand into his own. “How about you take a nap here?”

Staring up warily into hazel eyes, Hermione swallowed nervously as she considered Bruce’s offer.

Seeing her hesitation, Bruce stood up with her hand in his and led Mia upstairs to his room...pleased when she didn’t struggle or immediately pull away from his hold. When he’d entered his bedroom, Mia stopped abruptly on the threshold and Bruce could feel her hand shaking a bit in his as he turned to face her fully....seeing the uncertainty in her eyes. Sighing in resignation, Bruce realized a bit belatedly that Mia had never been in his room before....not in Gotham. He’d never invited her into his private space and he could sense her unease as her wide amber eyes stared into his before moving around the room.

Moving back and enveloping Mia into his arms, Bruce tilted her face up so their eyes could meet.

“I should’ve done this so much sooner and I’m sorry I didn’t. This is as much your home as mine, and I want you to feel comfortable here.”

Mia swallowed nervously again as her eyes filled with reluctant tears and Bruce couldn’t help but feel his heart break at how uncertain and small Mia looked standing in the doorway of his room.

“I should go back home.” Mia whispered softly.

“No,” Bruce replied gently but firmly, “this is your home now too. Please stay with me Mia, let me just hold you until you fall asleep?”

Hermione couldn’t help but feel scared. If she stayed with Bruce in his home, it was like there was some unspoken acceptance of their renewed relationship status. Was that what she truly wanted? Could she trust in Bruce’s promises to allow herself to fall asleep in the same bed with him? Hermione wasn’t ignorant, and she knew if she stayed it was only a matter of time before she gave into her desperate desires and allowed Bruce back into her body and heart. Her cravings for sex lately had been quite potent and she found that pleasuring herself gave very limited temporary relief. Her body shivered in anticipation, but Bruce mistaking her desire for anxiety, pulled her deeper into his embrace as he kissed the side of her forehead softly. Inhaling his cologne always made her body hum and her knickers pool with aroused need and when her eyes caught Bruce’s again....she could see his own hazel eyes darkening in desire as he suddenly understood why she was so anxious.

Bruce cupped the side of her face with his hand, his eyes full of questions as they stood there staring at each other....both afraid of breaking the fragility of this moment between them.

“Mia...” Bruce’s voice had deepened huskily and Hermione couldn’t help but shiver again in aroused anticipation. “Do you want to sleep?”

Amber eyes widened at the question. Hermione bit her lip and could feel Bruce’s answering growl as his nostrils flared and his grip around her waist tightened.....his body coiled, waiting for a response.

“No, I’m not tired.” Hermione whispered so quietly Bruce almost didn’t hear her.

“What do you want?”

Unable to form the words, Hermione lifted her lips in an unspoken offering and Bruce wasted no time bringing his mouth to hers as he kissed her with months worth of pent up angst and longing.

Bruce lifted Mia into his arms and crossed the threshold of his bedroom, closing the door and moving them both towards his bed. He was a man on a mission at this very moment, understanding deeply the renewed trust that Mia was giving him....his heated kisses and roaming hands letting her know how much he’d missed her....how much he loved her.

Hermione was lost in sensation as she felt every nerve ending of her body come alive at Bruce’s touch. She instinctively gripped her hands into his hair and pulled as she kissed him deeply....feeling his answering groan as he plundered her mouth with equal ferocity. Neither one was gentle.....and Hermione didn’t want this to be.....gentle could come later.....right now she was a quivering ball of hormonal need as she felt her knickers drench in anticipation of what was to come. She’d missed Bruce more than she’d realized until that very moment. She’d missed his touch, his taste, his scent.....the feel of him.....Merlin’s Beard but she’d missed the feel of him!

Bruce was utterly lost to the moment as his mind shut off completely and his instincts took control. He couldn’t fathom how this had happened, only that he was ecstatic that it had. Kissing Mia felt like fire, warmth and home.....he had missed her desperately and now that she was back in his arms, he was never letting her go again.

Pulling back slightly and gazing down into Mia’s flushed face, lips that were swollen and amber eyes half-lidded with lustful need caused Bruce to groan again in anticipation. His hands wandered down Mia’s body, slowly undoing pieces of Mia’s clothing as he went. When her hands moved from his hair and pulled his shirt upwards, Bruce moved off the bed and ripped it over his head, then unbuckled his pants....taking his boxers with them. Standing there completely bare, Bruce watched as Mia’s eyes raked over his body with needy appreciation before she waved her hand and her remaining clothes vanished in an instant.

“That’s cheating.” Bruce chuckled deeply as Mia arched her body under his heated gaze.

“And?”

“I think you need to give me something in return for denying me the pleasure of undressing you.”

“Such as?” Mia’s voice was husky as she licked her lips and Bruce couldn’t help but feel a wave of possessiveness wash over him as his eyes settled over Mia’s body that was lush with her pregnancy. Her breasts were a good size larger and the noticeable swell of her stomach filled him with abject male pride.

“Fuck, you’re so beautiful.” Bruce said deeply, not answering his question due the tempting distraction of the woman spread out before him like a sinful offering. “Can you silence the room?”

Mia nodded and waved her hand again before Bruce grinned devilishly at her. “I want to watch you Mia.....make yourself come for me. Show me what I’ve missed out on.”

Mia’s eyes widened as her body blushed in embarrassment and arousal, and now it was Bruce’s turn to lick his lips in anticipation as Mia slowly spread her legs as he watched in fascination as Mia began to pleasure herself while he watched avidly.

Bruce laid down next to Mia and then hovered over her as he followed her fingers as they moved over her body, pinching her nipples with one hand while the other ventured south towards her pussy....and Bruce couldn’t help but growl when Mia’s fingers entered her slick channel as he heard and smelled the signs of her arousal. It was heady, making him salivate at the thought of tasting her.....but he could wait his turn. Right now, he was enjoying the show and watching Mia as her eyes locked onto his and her body arched as she came.....his name coming from her lips in a breathy plea that made him harder than he’d ever been before in his life.

When she’d removed her fingers, Bruce grabbed her hand and sucked the essence of her orgasm greedily......groaning in pleasure at the taste before moving down the bed and placing his mouth where Mia’s fingers had just been.

At the first taste and feel of her in over four months, Bruce couldn’t hold back. He voraciously lapped and suckled like a man starved......pinning Mia down to the bed with his hands as he ravished her, making her scream out his name and thanking magic for silencing spells as he felt her squirt all over his face and down his chin and he continued to lavish attention until she pleaded with him to fuck her.

Bruce moved up and kissed Mia deeply, which she returned enthusiastically never once shying away from her own essence on his lips and tongue. Mia had surprised him when they’d first had sex at how uninhibited she was, and now......she was biting and sucking at his lips in earnest until he sheathed himself into her tight heat......breaking the kiss as her head was thrown back with a loud moan and her eyes closed in bliss.

“Look at me Mia.” Bruce demanded and watched with satisfaction as Mia’s eyes opened and their gazes held as he pumped his hips over and over again into her wet and willing body.

“I love you Mia.” Bruce grunted out as he grasped his hands into Mia’s curls and kissed her deeply, feeling her nails scraping down his back as she returned the kiss with abandon.

When Bruce broke the kiss, he felt his body ready to snap in two......his mind, heart and soul filled with unconditional love for the woman beneath him. How he had missed her!

“Bruce...” Mia whispered in wonder as her body arched one final time and Bruce felt her inner muscles squeeze him impossibly tight as her body convulsed in pleasure, triggering his own release as he groaned out her name in gratitude......feeling light-headed as his body collapsed into waiting arms.

Heavy breathing was the only sound within the room for a few moments before Bruce realized he was laying on top of Mia and rolled over so they were lying on their sides, bodies still joined as they kissed each other slowly.

After a bit, Bruce pulled back slightly and ran his hand over Mia’s body while his eyes gazed into bright amber ones that were sated and content. His soft smile was returned and Bruce felt his chest constrict with pure happiness as a lone tear fell from his eye.

“You okay?” Mia whispered gently and Bruce nodded.

“Shouldn’t I be asking you that question?”

Mia shrugged. “Perhaps. But I asked it first.”

Chuckling deeply, Bruce grinned at his witch. “I’m just happy......”

Mia’s face softened as her mouth quirked up into a half smile before her eyes darkened a bit and Bruce could see her mind processing.

“Mia, don’t overthink this please. I love you and I’m not going anywhere. I want to be with you and build a life with you. You are my home....my heart, my family. Where you go, I go. I’ve missed you so much and if it takes me the rest of our lives together, you need to know that you are the very best thing that’s ever happened to me. Please forgive me for being an emotionally stunted jerk.”

Hermione giggled as she ran a hand through Bruce’s hair and kissed his lips softly before speaking.

“I forgive you Bruce.”

The smile that bloomed onto Bruce Wayne’s face was one that Hermione was sure she’d never seen before. His eyes were alight with happiness and his grin stretched from ear to ear....his eyes glistening with unshed tears of joy.

“Thank you Mia. I promise you, you won’t regret giving me another chance.”

“I do love you Bruce.”

Bruce’s answering kiss left no doubt in Hermione’s mind that her feelings were most assuredly returned wholeheartedly.

Chapter Text

Life sometimes, teaches you lessons in ways you don’t expect. When Bruce lost his parents at the age of eight, he’d felt tremendous guilt and loss.....so much so, that a part of him had died.....or so he’d thought. He’d distanced himself from everyone in his life and had forged ahead as only a survivor could....by keeping everyone at arms length.

When he’d left Gotham after Chill’s murder and his confrontation with Falcone, Bruce had decided at that moment, that he just didn’t care anymore......and he’d hadn’t for a long time until he’d met Ra’s. It was the first time in years that Bruce had started to care for someone else. Ra’s was a mentor, but for a short time, he’d also been a friend and a trusted confidant. Bruce had finally learned to control the rage that had threatened to consume him.....but the guilt.....that had never completely gone away.

He’d loved his parents more than anything, and they’d died because he’d been afraid. No matter what anyone said, Bruce had always known it was his fault they were gone. If he’d just been stronger in the face of his fears, his parents might still be alive today.

For years that thought stayed with him, festered like an insidious virus....and his desire to make Gotham safer by becoming the Batman had been a direct result of that guilt and fear. The deterioration of his relationship with Rachel had been collateral damage of his penance.....and that was what Batman was.....his penance.....his purgatory.

Then something unexpected and miraculous had happened.....a beacon of light in his darkness had appeared: shoving him out of the shadows and into a life he’d never thought he’d have, nor deserved. He’d fought it, made excuses why he couldn’t have it, had almost destroyed the promise of it.....all because of guilt and fear.

As he stared down into the sleeping face of the woman who’d had upended his world and changed it irrevocably, Bruce couldn’t help but smile. She was exquisite, fierce, brave, strong, more intelligent than anyone he’d ever known, humble, kind, determined.....but she was also fragile, scarred and broken in ways that made him wonder how she’d survived everything life had foisted upon her; and still managed to inspire such warmth, goodness and hope. Bruce shook his head in wonder, as he continued to stare down into the angelic face of the woman who owned every part of him. Bruce Wayne and Batman. Both sides of his personality loved her without reservation......Bruce Wayne loved the intellectual and Batman loved the warrior. Bruce adored the quintessential kind heart of Mia while Batman adored the fierce, cunning and clever Hermione who could strategize better than most field generals.

As his eyes settled on the soft swell of Mia’s abdomen, he placed a gentle hand on the sheet that covered her stomach and gasped in wonder as he felt the stirrings of his children as they moved under his palm. A tear fell down his cheek as Bruce laid there staring in awe as he gently moved his hand and felt the first greeting of his children.

Soon another hand joined his and Bruce looked up into half-lidded amber eyes that were watching him with renewed love radiating from their depths. His answering smile was filled with joy as they both relished in this quiet moment for what it was. A promise of a new beginning and a fresh start for their future. Bruce felt whole for the first time since his parents had died, and he owed it all to this amazing woman whom he didn’t deserve, but loved more than life itself.

“Does it hurt?” Bruce whispered in curiosity as one of his unborn children rolled under his hand.

“No, it feels a bit unusual.....but this is the most active they’ve been.”

Bruce nodded as he stared back at Mia’s stomach and swallowed emotionally, his hazel eyes filled with unshed tears. “It’s amazing.” He turned back to Mia and couldn’t hold back his emotions as he spoke again. “You’re amazing.”

Mia’s eyes started to shimmer as her hand tightened on his own. “I’m sorry.”

Bruce shook his head emphatically. “You have nothing to apologize for.”

“That letter really wasn’t very well done of me.” Mia admitted, her voice tinged with guilt and remorse.

“But understandable.” Bruce offered magnanimously. “I hurt you one too many times....it is I who am sorry, Mia. There was a time I didn’t think we’d ever get back here, and that thought filled me with more sorrow than when I’d lost my parents.”

Mia’s eyes widened in shock at the admission, her body turning to face Bruce’s completely so they were lying down and facing each other. Her expression one of shocked curiosity and Bruce couldn’t help but smile inwardly at how much his Mia loved new information.

“I was thinking about my decision to become Batman and why I’d made that choice. I’d had so much guilt and fear from losing my parents.....we went to the Opera the night they were killed and I’d been frightened.....I’d fallen into a well on the Wayne Manor property some time before and there were bats.....hundreds of them and it terrified me. That’s why I chose Batman as the symbol for my vigilante persona.....I’d wanted the criminals to share my dread.”

Mia nodded. “The Opera was Mefistofele, wasn’t it?”

Bruce stared in shock, but he really shouldn’t have been surprised with Mia’s background in Opera that she’d have known the origins.

“It was.”

“Batman is your penance, isn’t it?”

Bruce choked on a sob, but nodded as Mia reached for him and folded him into her arms, allowing Bruce to finally let go for all the years of pain and torment he’d suffered due to a single choice that had cost him so much.

For a while neither spoke as Mia just held Bruce to her and let him take comfort in the safety of her arms. She wasn’t ignorant of how difficult this was for him......Bruce was Batman in many ways.....and he had spent years cutting himself off from his emotions....probably seeing it as a weakness he couldn’t afford. He’d made the decision to push Rachel away....or perhaps they’d made it together......Hermione really didn’t care why, only that it had cost her a piece of her heart for a while. But she knew now, as she held this man in her embrace, that he truly hadn’t meant to hurt her......he just didn’t think deep down, he’d deserved to be truly happy. To have love and a home.....perhaps that was why he’d never invited her into his Penthouse in Gotham. Not because he hadn’t wanted her there, but because he wasn’t ready for what that meant. Rachel had been there, but from what Alfred had confided one afternoon.....it was more for her own safety after what had happened when Gordon had been shot and the Joker had left his calling card....indicating he was going after Rachel and Harvey.

Bruce was complex, there was no doubt about that. But underneath all that, there was a young boy who was desperate for a home and family to call his own. He’d sacrificed himself for years to save others, never believing he deserved to have what so many took for granted. Hadn’t she been the same? Hadn’t she believed that because she’d obliviated her parents, and directly caused their deaths by trying to protect them that she hadn’t deserved her own happy ending with Harry? She’d stood back and watched as Ginny took her place and never spoke up, never demanded what was hers......she would’ve done the same thing with Bruce, had he not come after her.....fought for her and their family. Was she really that much of a coward? Did she hate herself so much that she’d self-sabotage her future with her children’s father because she felt undeserving of a family again?

“We are quite a pair, aren’t we?” Hermione whispered as she stroked Bruce’s hair....feeling him nod once in response.

“Do you think two people who don’t believe they deserve a happy ending can be good parents?”

“I think that our children will know we love them unconditionally and will have the best we can provide them. We just need to promise each other that when those feelings of self-doubt and distrust fester because of our own guilt and fear.....we talk it out and not run from each other. I’ve been through a War Bruce, I’ve watched almost everyone I’ve ever cared about taken from me. Some due to my choices, others because of hatred and bigotry. I’ve spent years running from my past guilt....with my parents, Harry, Ronald....even Draco. I ran from you because it was easier than staying and fighting because I’d felt that my love wasn’t enough....that I wasn’t enough. I’m tired of running.”

Bruce lifted his face up and stared into worn amber eyes that were resolved and spent. “I’ve let my guilt and fear dictate my life since I was eight years old. I’ve pushed everyone away....kept them at arms length. Alfred loves me so he stays.....he’s never given up on me. I was scared Mia of believing that I could live outside the shadows and have a life there. I didn’t think I deserved it, some days I still think I don’t. But I want it....with you and our children.”

“I do too.” Mia admitted. “I’ve allowed logic and reason to shield me from my emotions. I don’t want to do that with you nor our children. I want to be for them, the kind of mother my own was for me. I want to have the kind of relationship my parents had.....filled with love and laughter, hard work and meaningful moments rich with possibilities. I want to be the example for our children my parents were for me.”

Bruce nodded and smiled. “My parents loved each other more than anything. They were good, kind people who cared about others and strived to live their lives with charity in their hearts. I want to be that for you and our children. I want to be a man you can be proud of having on your arm....”

“Oh, Bruce.....you’ve always been that man. Even when you’ve been a jerk, you’ve never been cruel.....just shortsighted and a bit dense.”

Bruce chuckled at Mia’s spot on assessment. “Touché. I vow to do better. Just promise me one thing?”

“And what would that be?”

“Don’t run away from me again? If I’m being a jerk talk to me....if I get too obsessed with my darker side, remind me that there’s a light to come home to. You’re my beacon Mia......you are my salvation.”

“You don’t need me to save you Bruce.....you have already done that for yourself. You just need me to accept you and I do......both Bruce Wayne and Batman. You’ve always had that inner strength of character, you just needed to believe in yourself and give yourself permission to let go and forgive yourself.”

Bruce grinned. “Hello Pot, I’m Kettle.....”

“Touché love.”

Bruce stared down at Mia’s abdomen again, placing his hand there for a moment before he quietly asked. “Have you given any thought to names?”

“Some.”

Sitting up and pulling Mia into his embrace so he was wrapped behind her while both hands were splayed on her stomach, Bruce whispered into her ear....”And?”

Hermione sighed as she covered Bruce’s hands with her own. “Well, I’ve always adored the name Rose for a girl......”

Bruce nodded. “Rose is a pretty name. How about a middle name?”

“Your mother’s name was Martha, correct?”

Bruce nodded once, his chin resting on Mia’s shoulder. “It was.”

“Rose Martha Wayne?”

Bruce smiled widely, his throat convulsing as he tried to get his emotions in check but his voice cracked a bit as he said, “That sounds perfect.”

“Do you have a preference for a boys name?” Mia asked softly and Bruce thought about it for a moment.

“Not really. What was your Father’s name?”

“Richard Damien Granger.”

“Damien sounds like a fine name. How about Damien Thomas Wayne?”

Hermione’s eyes filled with tears as she nodded in agreement. “I think that sounds perfect.”

“I think so too.” Bruce admitted softly. “I love you Mia.”

“I love you too Bruce.”

Moving a bit back out of Mia’s embrace, Bruce leaned over and opened the side drawer of the nightstand by the right side of the bed, pulling out a small box.

“I made a promise to myself that if we ever got back here that I wouldn’t waste another moment without declaring myself. I know you might think this is too soon, but I’ve had this for a couple months.......” Bruce handed the box to Mia and her breath hitched as she held it, turning her head back to see the quiet resolve in Bruce’s eyes as he nodded at her to open it.

When she did, her breath gasped in wonder at the beautiful ring that was nestled in blue velvet inside the box. The center diamond was at least four carats and was a periwinkle blue....her favorite color....the oval center stone surrounded by perfect white diamonds in what looked to be a platinum setting. It was exquisite.

Hands trembling, Hermione could feel tears leaking down her eyes and she watched with wonder as Bruce cupped her shaking hands into his while he whispered emotionally into her ear.

“This wasn’t how I’d planned it.....I had wanted to make a big romantic gesture, but this.......this feels right. I’m not good at spouting romantic prose and I’m not the best at sharing my emotions.....but what I do know is that you are the most amazing woman I’ve ever known. You awe me with your kindness and strength of character.....how you fight for what’s right and good. You are uncompromising in your intellect and give me hope for the first time since I was a young boy. I love you, will protect you and be faithful to you always. You are my home Mia.....marry me?”

Chapter Text

Tuesday morning was spent buying Christmas Presents as Bruce insisted on taking Mia shopping in Muggle London so she could get a few things for her friends. Then Alfred had taken them to Harrods for lunch and afterwards, Bruce had met up with his personal shopper who had been more than happy to spend the afternoon with Mr. Wayne and his lovely fiancé.

Hermione couldn’t help but stare down at her new engagement ring throughout the day, the sparkle and beauty of it was blinding. She had never been a fanciful witch while in school, but her time as Mia Black had educated her on some of the finer things in life. As such, Hermione had indulged in fashion and a few pieces of jewelry that had caught her eye here and there. The exquisite ring that sparkled on her left hand put them all to shame. Bruce had mentioned he’d purchased it a couple months ago, right after their conversation in his car following her lunch with Harvey. Bruce had stated firmly that day, that he’d intended to prove himself to her.......and what better way to do that with a proposal of marriage.

If he hadn’t shared with her the story, as she’d stared down in complete and utter shock at the ring box sitting within her hands, Hermione might not have believed in his sincerity. But as she gazed back into his hazel eyes that were filled with warmth, love and assurance.....she felt her heart respond in kind. Bruce Wayne was not a man to take commitment lightly, she’d known that much from early on. Despite being pregnant with his children, Hermione knew instinctively that this was so much more than just raising a family together. He was putting his heart into her hands and giving her the power to say ‘no’.....and after many, many minutes of staring at the ring, she’d leaned back into his embrace and titled her head up, kissed him softly and said ‘of course I’ll marry you.’

Bruce’s responding smile could’ve lit up London for how brightly it shown and the tears that fell down his cheeks as his breath hitched on her answer, made the last vestiges of doubt wither away. He had taken the ring from the box, placed it lovingly onto her finger with a kiss and said in a voice filled with such raw emotion, that she had made him the ‘happiest man in the world and he would spend the rest of their lives together proving everyday how much he loved her.’

Hermione could only nod as tears fell from her own eyes and then they were making love all over again, and neither one wanted the moment to end. It had been the most profound and overwhelming feeling of her life to date, and that was saying something. She truly loved Bruce with all her heart and couldn’t imagine ever loving anyone the way she loved him. From the answering passion and devotion mirrored within his hazel eyes, she knew he felt the same. It was magic.

Now as they walked through Harrod’s, with Bruce’s arm wrapped firmly about her waist, Hermione felt a sense of rightness. Many of the patrons within the store fixated on her fiancé immediately, and then their focus was shifted to her. Shaking her head, Hermione couldn’t help but smirk at the complete change of circumstance. Yesterday in Diagon Alley, all eyes were focused solely on her. Many witches and wizards had come up and said hello to her while Bruce had stood by watching with something that looked like irritated amusement. Her stomach may have been glamoured, but it didn’t stop the looks of adoration and welcome from nearly everyone they came in contact with. Some eyed Bruce with distaste, others were openly curious......a few smiling and welcoming. When they had left Diagon and headed back to Bruce’s townhome, he’d commented on it.

“When you’d mentioned that you had experience with the press and public, I thought you were kidding, but you weren’t, were you?”

At the rueful shake of her head, Bruce had just nodded and let the subject drop. Now in Harrod’s all eyes, particularly the women, were staring at Bruce with lustful looks filled with awe. Hermione had thought seriously about glamouring her stomach this morning, but realized it was probably easier to introduce their pregnancy in the Muggle World. When she’d asked Bruce his thoughts on the matter, he just kissed her passionately and said whatever she wanted was perfectly fine with him.

Earlier that morning, Bruce had decided that Mia needed a new wardrobe and he’d wanted to take her shopping for some new maternity clothes. He’d missed her Birthday back in September due to his poor choices and the Joker issues and he wasn’t going to miss out on Christmas too. Mia had been apoplectic at first, insisting she didn’t need anything....but he’d been adamant that she deserved a day of pampering and it was his right as her fiancé to spoil her. Mia had shaken her head in exasperation but eventually capitulated.....but not before explaining that she was more than capable of taking care of herself and didn’t need fancy gifts.

Bruce had smiled adoringly at her, and then kissed her again before they’d left explaining that this was new territory for him as well......and that compromise was good for successful relationships... which had garnered a sigh and another brief nod of acquiescence. Bruce had taken the win then and there and called his personal shopper before Mia could change her mind.

Hermione had shopped in Harrod’s many times as Mia Black, so she was familiar with many of the designers, but she rarely purchased extravagant clothes for herself.....she had a few designer dresses and her love of shoes was.....a bad habit. But with Bruce, he seemed to be a man on a mission and had picked out several outfits and dresses that were flattering and would probably be worn only a handful of times since she was growing by the day. One particular dress had caused her fiancé to literally growl from the couch where he’d been ensconced for nearly an hour, watching her try on dress after dress. Once their shopping was done and delivery situated to his townhome, they took a few items directly....including the Hervé Leger dress Bruce had favored, and headed back to Kensington.

“I made reservations for dinner this evening if that’s alright?” Bruce admitted quietly on the drive back to his home.

“Oh?”

“Yes, there’s a restaurant not too far from home I’d thought you might like to try. You could wear your new dress if you like?”

Mia giggled and shook her head at her fiancé......now there was a word she would have to get used to.

“And where are you taking me?”

“The Savoy.” Bruce grinned. “I have a standing table there whenever I’m in London.”

Mia shook her head playfully. “Of course you do.”

“Are you teasing me?”

“Not exactly.” Mia sighed softly, gesturing down to her stomach. “It’s just we’ve kept such a low profile until now. If we go out.....you do realize it’s going to be in all the papers come tomorrow?”

Bruce nodded. “I do. Does that bother you?”

“I’ve been hounded by the media since I was fourteen Bruce.....you have no idea what life was like for me in the Wizarding world before I disappeared. Most of what was written was not complimentary at all.”

“Would you mind sharing a bit more with me about that? I’d noticed when we were in Diagon Alley yesterday just how famous you are Mia. I admit, I’m curious about your background.”

Mia sighed and bit her lip as she stared out the window deep in thought. If she told Bruce everything, he might look at her a bit differently, but it was important to move forward with honesty and she didn’t want to keep things from him.

Turning back, she reached for his hand which he gave her without hesitation. “In my fourth year at Hogwarts things had gotten very difficult for Harry, Ron and I. During our first three years, we had dealt with several things but during our fourth year.......things started to get really bad. I told you that Harry was entered into a Wizard’s tournament without his consent. What I’d failed to mention was, it was a Tri-wizard’s tournament. Two other schools came to Hogwarts that year......Drumstrang and Beauxbatons. Before fourth year officially began, Arthur Weasley took myself along with Harry and his younger children to the Quidditch World Cup....please don’t ask me to explain what Quidditch is.....I’ve never particularly enjoyed the sport and George can share it with you on Christmas.”

Bruce nodded, as he smiled softly as Mia’s obvious loathing of the sport.

“At the World Cup.....Death Eaters attacked after the game. Ron, Harry and I were separated from our group and we managed to escape, but when we had returned to Hogwarts the Seeker from the Bulgarian team was part of the Drumstrang contingent. His name was Viktor Krum and he was the most famous Quidditch Player in the World at that time. He was also my date for the Yule Ball that year and my first boyfriend.”

Bruce nodded, pursing his lips in understanding. Mia obviously had some experience dealing with famous men from a very young age.

“The press were at the school that year for the tournament. One of the writers from the Daily Prophet made it her mission to write terrible things about me. Later I’d found out that Pansy Parkinson and Draco we’re behind much of what had been written that year and before you say anything....yes, Draco was a prat back then.”

Bruce’s eyes narrowed angrily, but to credit he didn’t say anything derogatory.

“Rita Skeeter hounded me that year. Accused me of stringing both Harry and Viktor along, which was ludicrous because at that time, Harry and I were friends and I had a crush of sorts on Ronald.....” Mia shook her head at the memory before continuing..... “I had wondered how Rita was getting her stories all year......turned out she could transform herself into a beetle......a witch or a wizard who can transform into an animal is called an animagus.”

Bruce’s eyes widened, turning his head slightly as they stopped at a light. “Can you transform?”

Mia nodded. “I can, though it’s not a common gift and I spent years perfecting my form.”

“And?”

“How about I show you some other time?”

Bruce nodded reluctantly and when the light changed, he moved back into traffic patiently waiting for Mia to continue on with her story. The more he learned about her past, the more impressed he was.

“When I’d discovered her duplicity, I’d realized she was an illegal animagus. You have to register with the Ministry when you make the transformation......she didn’t. So I captured her in an unbreakable Mason jar for a few weeks and blackmailed her. She couldn’t write any stories for the Prophet for a year and I’d keep her secret.”

The laughter that filled the car was not the reaction that Hermione had expected, but when she caught Bruce’s eye, he was smiling at her widely. “Remind me not to get you angry with me again.”

Hermione blushed, but grinned in return. “Yes well, it worked for a while. After the war most of the press was favorable but Rita has always been vindictive and has used her post at the Prophet to take any chance to smear me. Perhaps it’s because I’m a Muggle-born.....who knows. I have a hate-love relationship with the Wizarding press and I’ve tried very hard to keep my identity of Mia Black as far from that life as possible.”

“I understand Mia, but we will have to share this news at some point and I’d rather we do it on our terms, yes?”

“I suppose your right.”

Pulling up into his garage at home, Bruce shut off the car and turned to face his fiancé. “Any other laws you’ve broken that I might need to know about?”

The profuse blush that stole over Mia’s cheeks had Bruce smirking in glee. “Tell me Mia.”

Hermione huffed in exasperation but growled out, ‘fine!’ In response.

“Just remember you asked.”

“I will....now spill.”

So Hermione proceeded to tell Bruce about fifth year and the clandestine defense club she and Harry started. She told Bruce about Umbridge, the illegal blood quill she’d used for detention, how she’d charmed the club roster with a charm that if anyone betrayed them, they’d be left with a nasty reminder and then leading Umbridge out to the Forbidden Forest and the Centaurs, before they broke into the Ministry of Magic.....that story garnered another round of laughter from her fiancé as his smile widened with each story.

When Hermione shared with Bruce about the break in at Gringotts her seventh year, and how she’d freed their security Dragon from the bowels of the bank and that they’d ridden said Dragon to freedom, the look of utter astonishment made her blush again.

“Dragons are real and you freed one and rode him?”

Hermione nodded. “It was the only way out and I couldn’t leave the poor thing chained underground. They blinded him for Merlin’s sake. No creature deserves that kind of brutality!”

Bruce smiled adoringly at Mia and cupped her cheeks, placing a soft kiss on her lips. “You really do advocate for the downtrodden, don’t you?”

Hermione nodded. “I worked in the Ministry when I’d graduated from Hogwarts. I scored the third highest in the history of the school. Only Merlin and the Dark Lord scored higher.” At this confession Bruce was shocked speechless. “I went to work in the Department for Regulation and Care of Magical Creatures. I had hoped to free House Elves from enslavement, give Werewolves the right to free Wolfsbane and jobs, and protect the Centaur lands from being taken over by the Ministry. I even created a club my fifth year of school called S.P.E.W. The Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare.....granted, I probably could’ve come up with a better euphemism than that.....but the concept was a sound one.”

Unbuckling Mia’s belt, Bruce lifted her gently into his arms and kissed her soundly, which she responded to without hesitation. After a few minutes he pulled back and rested his forehead onto hers, speaking emotively.

“I’m an idiot.” Bruce sighed and Mia giggled, nodding in agreement. “For every story you share it makes me realize how much I don’t deserve you Mia. You’ve spent your whole life advocating and taking care of everyone but yourself, even me.” Running one hand through her hair and the other under her chin, Bruce gently tilted Mia’s head up so their eyes locked. He wanted her to see the sincerity behind his words. “From now on it’s my turn to take care of you and protect you. I should have protected your heart Mia......I’m so sorry I didn’t. I won’t fail you again, you have my solemn vow for what it’s worth.”

Mia smiled tremulously as her eyes filled with tears. “It means a lot Bruce....more than you’ll ever know.”

“Just how many more stories do you have that I need to know about?”

Mia shrugged. “I told you once my life was complicated. Trust me when I tell you that what I’ve shared, is the good stuff.”

Bruce’s gaze narrowed suspiciously. “And the bad stuff?”

Mia’s eyes took on that haunted quality that Bruce had seen several times before. “I’ve mentioned much of it. Obliviating my parents, wiping all traces of me from their lives and sending them away.....being tortured and branded, cursed and nearly dying. With all that, the worst traumas had to be wearing a Horcrux around my neck for months on end.....feeding into my darkest fears about myself. Never feeling good enough, smart enough, brave enough. Second guessing every choice....the guilt and terror I’d feel some mornings when I slept with that thing around my neck were too horrific for words. The final battle in 1998, watching friends die in front of me.....seeing a girl who I’d loathed in school being eaten by a werewolf....the same werewolf who threatened to rape me once Bellatrix had her fun torturing me.....seeing my best friend go out to die and begging him to take me with him.......seeing the sad resolve in his eyes when he’d refused.......knowing he was going to die anyway and feeling my heart ripping out of my chest. Watching that same boy I’d loved, being carried as a sacrificial lamb into the destroyed courtyard and believing he was dead......and when he wasn’t.....the joy I’d felt in that moment was enough to sustain me through the remaining horrors that followed.....watching the burials of those I’d loved and lost and then what came after with the curse and spending a year trying to find the cure. When I’d disappeared into Mia Black and walked away.....it was a relief Bruce. I needed to move on and I couldn’t do that as Hermione Granger. Some would say I was a coward, but Draco once said that I’d carried the weight of the world on my shoulders and he was right. Whenever the Magical world started to implode, it was always my job to fix it. Yet, I’ve never been given the credit I’d deserved for it. To many, I’m always going to be Hermione Granger, mudblood witch. I can’t live in a world like that anymore. I won’t. Does that make me a bad person?”

Shaking his head, Bruce cupped Mia’s face and kissed her reverently, pouring all his emotions into the gesture and feeling her clinging to him like a lifeline. He finally understood now why she’d left Gotham and ran from him. How in the world could someone so young be given such responsibility and still been criticized? How hateful and prejudicial were these magicals that they couldn’t see how amazing and self-sacrificing the woman in his arms was and is. Could he have given that much of himself? Batman was a vigilante, and to many he was a hero.....but no one knew who he was except for a very small group. How might his life been different if his dual persona had been outed four years ago? Mia had no such protections.....her deeds were out there for all to see, yet she’d never shirked her duty to the Magical World..........they’d taken her for granted just like he had. That thought alone made him both angry at himself and those who’d hurt her.

When they broke away from the kiss, Bruce smiled lovingly before he spoke firmly, “If I ever forget to remind you how extraordinary you are everyday.....you have my permission to do so in any way you see fit.”

Mia giggled and shook her head playfully. “That’s a loaded statement Mr. Wayne.”

“And yet I meant every word of it, soon to be Mrs. Wayne.”

Chapter Text

As Hermione got dressed for their evening out, she couldn’t help but wonder if Draco had managed to make his way to Gotham yet. She hadn’t heard from him, but that wasn’t worrying in itself. He had mentioned that it might take a day or two to get an international port key approved, so she decided to push it from her mind at least for tonight.

The dress that Bruce had picked out was rather form fitting and didn’t leave much to the imagination. The swell of her pregnancy was prominently on display as was her cleavage, as the dress itself had a rather plunging neckline that settled between her breasts rather enticingly. The length of the dress ended at her knees and the stilettos she’d chosen were rather daring for a woman who was twenty four weeks pregnant with twins. Thankfully, cushioning charms were perfect for walking in heels.....

Leaving her hair down in the back, and pulled up on the sides by the set of antique pearl combs that were her mother’s along with the same strand of pearls she’d worn on that fateful date with Bruce months ago......Hermione couldn’t help but think back on all that had happened since that night. Staring at her engagement ring for the upteenth time that day, oddly she felt real hope for her future for the first time ever and it was a bit disconcerting if she was being honest with herself. In all her formative years, Hermione had never imagined making her permanent life outside the magical world, but sometimes life doesn’t work out the way you plan. There was a time she had seen her future with Ron, little red-haired children and a happy life....perhaps rising to be the Minister of Magic someday.

But those hopes had been cruelly dashed during her time on the run and afterwards.....she had desperately tried to make it work with Ron, despite knowing it never would. The fall out had been difficult, but on some level Ron had suspected they weren’t a good fit.....and for a brief time before he’d succumbed to the curse, had been happily dating Susan Bones.

Looking back on her decision to go to Gotham had at the time, felt right. She’d done her research on Bruce Wayne when she’d realized just whom he was and what he was trying to do. His sacrifice for the greater good in many ways paralleled her own.....and she had been impressed that a Muggle could wield such power without magic. It was hard not to be instantly drawn into the man that was Bruce Wayne.

He was charismatic, enigmatic, brilliant, strong, brave, selfless, determined and held a sex appeal that few men could match. Draco held the same charisma, but there was something inherent in Draco’s personality that made it difficult for her to get past. She’d been overwhelmed by his attentions, but never fully trusted in him as a person. Hermione didn’t think that Draco Malfoy would ever been able to get over the fact that she was a mudblood......

Now Hermione realized, that it was she who had never gotten past that fact. She’d spent years glamouring her scars for that very reason. There had always been the need to prove herself, even before entering the Magical World.....but after? Well, it became an obsession to be the best at everything......and she had succeeded to a certain degree, but there were many who still looked down upon her for the simple fact of her birth. It wasn’t fair, but Hermione had come to the realization that life rarely was.

As she stared into the mirror, it was not easy to think about those times in her life. Once she and Bruce married, it would be likely he’d want to stay and raise their children in Gotham.....after all, generations of Wayne’s had lived there and his business was there. The thought didn’t fill her with dread as it might have a few years ago. So much time had passed and except for a handful of dear friends.....there wasn’t anything keeping her in London anymore.

Magic had many benefits and the best one was the ability to easily visit her friend’s should she wish it. Molly and Arthur would be the only grandparents her children would have. When they turned eleven, the choice would have to be made at that time where they would go to school. Their magical signature as such was already well defined......Luna sensed it obviously, which was good enough to know that both children would be blessed with magic. Would Bruce be open to having his children attend a magical boarding school? And where would they go? Hogwarts? Ilvermorny?
How would the lack of magical births start affecting the schooling in a few years? Would she need to home school her children? All these thoughts kept playing through her mind on a circuitous loop.

Shaking her head clear, Hermione didn’t realize she was being observed until Bruce cleared his throat from behind her.

“You look beautiful.” He grinned impishly and Hermione rolled her eyes as his gaze focused over her body heatedly.

“You do know, I won’t be able to wear this dress again.”

Bruce shrugged completely unrepentant. “Probably not......but you can’t blame me for purchasing it. You are stunning. Every man in the restaurant will be envious of me this evening.”

“Doubtful.”

Bruce walked over and enveloped her into his arms, placing a gentle kiss on her lips as he gazed into her eyes. “You really have no idea how exquisite you are......do you?”

Shrugging her shoulders indifferently, Hermione reached for her beaded bag and silently transfigured it to a black clutch to match her dress.

“Show off.” Bruce chuckled.

“Perhaps.” Hermione grinned back. “You look very handsome as well.”

And Merlin did he ever! His dark charcoal grey Armani suit was fitted to his body like a glove....the white shirt and dark maroon tie added a nice touch of color.

“I’m glad you approve.” Bruce’s eyes glinted with a hint of mischief before his gaze focused on the pearls draped around her neck. That was the second time he’d noticed them and Hermione couldn’t help but be curious as to the why.

“You know,” she stated quietly, “you noticed these when I wore them before. You have the same contemplative look on your face. Mind sharing what’s on your mind?”

Bruce’s eyes widened as they met hers and his face shuttered a bit, but he answered all the same.

“My Mother had a set of pearls very similar to these.” Bruce gently traced his finger along the strand of pearls. “I still have them......she had worn them the night she was killed.”

Hermione’s face paled as she instinctively gripped her throat. “Would you prefer I not wear them?”

Bruce shook his head. “No, they seem to mean a lot to you.....did they belong to your mother?”

Nodding, Hermione swallowed with emotion. “It’s one of the few things I have left of hers....well, these and the combs in my hair.”

Bruce’s eyes traveled to her hairline as he noticed the antique pearl combs embedded into her hair. “They suit you.” He offered quietly.

“I don’t have a lot of jewelry, I’ve never been one for frivolities. It’s odd, because when I was younger I never much gave thought to my looks.....my studies were always more important. When I left London and took on my identity as Mia Black, it was important to distinguish myself apart from before. I think that’s why the Aurors didn’t recognize me immediately when they barged into my apartment that night.......I look a bit different than what some people expect of me.”

“Theatricality....”

“And deception, I know Mr. Wayne......”

Bruce chuckled and led Mia out of his bathroom. “You were deep in thought just a few minutes ago.”

Humming in agreement, Hermione grabbed her wrap and folded it over her arm as Bruce led her downstairs where Alfred was waiting to drive them to dinner.

“Just processing.”

“You’ve used that term before.....it seems to be a catch all for how complex your mind processes information?”

“Sometimes.” Hermione admitted sheepishly. “I do tend to overthink things a bit.”

“Really?” Bruce mocked playfully, earning him a glare for his impudence.

“Are we really going to go there, Wayne?”

“Probably not tonight.” He acquiesced calmly. “But you do know that at some point, we will have to discuss our future.”

“I know......and I’m sure you have your opinions on the matter as do I.....”

Bruce nodded as they followed Alfred out to the Bentley. “I do, but I’m happy to follow your lead.”

“For now?”

Bruce couldn’t help but smirk at how intelligent his fiancé was. “Now Mia darling, I did promise you that I’d do anything you needed me to.”

“You did.”

“And I intend to keep that promise.”

“Good to know.”

As the Bentley moved out into traffic, Bruce enveloped Mia into his side and kissed her temple reassuringly. “I can’t claim to be an expert at relationships Mia.....you know this....but I do know that our children will likely be magical and that makes me nervous as I’m not sure how much help I’m going to be under those circumstances.”

Mia’s amber eyes met his and they were filled with several emotions. Worry, love, concern.....

“The truth is I don’t have any idea either. That was one of the things I was thinking about. Where our children will go to school when they turn eleven. There is a magical school in the States on the East Coast.....Ilvermorny. Of course there is Hogwarts in Scotland. But with the depletion of magical births, and not knowing what to expect going forward......I just don’t know how that’s going to look when the time comes.”

“We could always home school? From what I’ve heard, their mother is the Brightest Witch of the Age, yes?”

“Prat.” Hermione groused while Bruce just grinned.

“Guilty as charged, doesn’t change the facts though.”

Sighing in defeat, Hermione just shook her head at her fiancé. “No, I suppose it doesn’t.”

“Do you think your pregnancy might be the catalyst that could lift the curse entirely?”

“I don’t know.” Hermione admitted. “I just wish I had more information. I suppose I should do some research after the new year.”

Bruce nodded. “I’d figured you would.”

“I’m that predictable?”

“Not even close.” Bruce smiled playfully. “I think you’re the most complex woman I’ve ever known.”

“Well at least you won’t be bored, right?”

Bruce laughed out loud, garnering a smile from Alfred and a raised eyebrow from Mia. “Mia, you are many things.....but boring isn’t one of them.”

“Happy to amuse you, Mr. Wayne.”

Bruce tilted her chin up and kissed her deeply before pulling away. “I think I’m going to have my hands full keeping up with your brilliance. That’s alright, I do love a challenge.”

“You’re no slouch in the intellect department Bruce.”

“True, but that being said.....you are brilliant Mia. In everything you do.”

Mia blushed prettily and Bruce smiled fondly at his witch, who looked rather delectable this evening.

“You’re very tempting in that dress.....”

“So you’ve mentioned.”

“Hmmmmmm.........I shall endeavor to be on my best behavior this evening.”

The car pulled up to their destination and Alfred moved out to open the door for them. Hermione smirked as she allowed her hand to run over Bruce’s upper thigh suggestively.

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Mr. Wayne.”

Chapter Text

As they walked arm in arm into the Savoy Grille, Hermione didn’t miss the interested stares from many within the restaurant. She had also noticed a few paparazzi with cameras outside, and it was highly likely come the morrow, that their images would be splashed across the society section of the London Times.

Being the Head of the Black Foundation, Hermione had received some press due to her position, but most of it had been confined to the business sections and technical journals of various publications. Although in Gotham she and Bruce had been photographed together prior to their falling out, not much had been written about them in the ensuing months as Hermione had purposely kept a low profile and limited going out in public.

All that would be shot to hell come tomorrow....but Bruce didn’t seem to be all that worried if his countenance was any indication. His expression was open and happy.....and he seemed genuinely at ease........which was quite unlike him.

“You don’t seem to be too concerned?” Hermione whispered softly as they were led to their table.

“I’m not.” Bruce admitted as he pulled out her chair and placed a soft kiss on her shoulder before taking his own seat. “We should probably think about releasing a statement at some point.”

Hermione hummed absently, but didn’t immediately respond as their waiter came over and poured some sparkling water and left the menus.

Bruce watched Mia closely as she focused on what to order. She still appeared a bit tired and worn around the eyes, but he had to admit.....she looked much more settled now than the past few months in Gotham. Perhaps being back in London agreed with her.

“Are you happy to be back home?” Bruce inquired curiously before taking a sip of his water.

Hermione’s eyes lifted and caught hazel ones that were fixated upon her intently. Biting her lip in contemplation, she shrugged. “I’m not sure how to honestly answer that.”

Bruce’s brow furrowed in confusion. “I’m not sure I follow.”

“I come back to London twice a year. On Harry’s Birthday and Christmas Eve. I usually make a point of visiting with George but rarely see anyone else while I’m here. Logically I understand that London is my home, but I haven’t had a real home in a very long time.”

Nodding thoughtfully as he pondered Mia’s words, Bruce couldn’t help the stab of guilt he felt at her confession. It wasn’t like he’d ever offered his home in Gotham as a refuge.

“Would you be open to returning to Gotham at some point?”

Mia’s amber gaze once again locked onto his before her expression shuttered, causing Bruce to sigh inwardly. It was clear that while they were heading in the right direction, he still had some penance to perform.

“I can’t answer that at this moment.”

Bruce nodded reluctantly as their waiter came over and took their orders. Once that was done, he sat back and seriously considered where he wanted to take this conversation. After a few minutes of silence, Bruce asked the one question that seemed to be weighing heavily on his mind.

“Were you happy in Gotham?”

Sighing softly, Hermione nodded once. “For a time.....George asked me that same question the other day.”

“And what did you tell him?”

“That there was a point while living in Gotham, that I was probably the happiest I’ve ever been.”

Bruce swallowed uncomfortably as he cursed at himself and his own stupidity before he spoke.

“There was a time I didn’t think I’d ever go back to Gotham. Alfred at times has wished I’d stayed away and found a different life, a happier life. I suppose, a part of me had always hoped that Gotham wasn’t beyond saving.....generations of the Wayne Family have lived and raised their families there. When Ra’s burnt down my ancestral home, I made the decision to rebuild it...brick for brick. It will be done in a few months.....right before the babies are born. I would be honored if you would at least come and see it with me. I think we could be very happy there. I’d only ask you to be open to the possibility.”

Hermione’s countenance didn’t give away any of what she was thinking as she stared at Bruce and pondered his words. There was a part of her that was desperate for a real home and family......she had agreed to marry Bruce and on some level she had known he would want to return to Gotham and raise their children there. She wasn’t against the idea persay, and knew deep down that their children deserved to know their family history......and the Wayne Family had a rich and storied background.

It was ironic that it would be here in London that she and Bruce were finally having the conversation they should’ve had months ago. It had taken her running away and getting him out of Gotham City for Bruce to finally open himself and his heart to her completely. If they’d returned, would it change? Would he go back to the Bruce from before?

“What are you thinking?” Bruce asked softly.

“Just processing.”

Bruce smirked and shook his head and their conversation stalled for a bit while their meals were served but not wanting to let the topic go, Bruce spoke up after a short time.

“Please share.”

“I was just thinking about life’s little ironies.”

“Such as?” Bruce asked in confusion.

“It took us coming here to finally find common ground. If we return to Gotham are we going to go back to before?”

Bruce’s hand reached for hers and squeezed it reassuringly. “No Mia, that I can promise you. I don’t know what the landscape of Gotham will be and how much I’ll be needed.....but I hope you understand that as long as there’s injustice, I will fight to make Gotham safer. You once told me you weren’t afraid to stand by me and fight with me, and I hope that still remains true. We will have two innocent lives who will need us, but deep down we are both the same. We fight to make a difference.....to make the world a bit safer for those who can’t fight for themselves. Perhaps Gotham will see the other side and there won’t be need for me to continue on in the shadows. But one thing I do know is that there is no one in this world who is braver, fiercer and more dedicated to helping others than you. With you by my side, there is nothing we can’t achieve together.”

Mia pondered Bruce’s words for a moment before she spoke. “I have two questions and I want an honest answer to both before I give you my decision.”

“Okay.”

“You left Gotham for seven years and decided to come back to fight injustice. Who was it for?”

Bruce’s lips thinned a bit as he understood what Mia was asking him and he sighed deeply, knowing that he couldn’t lie to her. Nor himself, not anymore.

“Primarily it was for me, to avenge the loss of my parents but I would be lying if I said that was the only reason.”

Mia nodded, not needing Bruce to spell it out for her. “All things being equal, if it was within your power to change the past and have Rachel make a different choice in her support of your nocturnal activities, would you take that option?”

Bruce’s eyes narrowed and his face darkened momentarily, not answering the question right away.

“That’s not a fair question Mia. Things aren’t equal and I’ve made my choice and that is us and our family. I can’t change the past.”

Mia smirked wickedly and her eyes glinted with a smugness Bruce hadn’t seen before.

“And if I were to tell you that it is possible.”

Bruce’s breath hitched and his eyes widened in shocked understanding. “Are you telling me that there is a way to undo time?”

Hermione nodded once, not bothering to explain the exact parameters of time travel. She watched Bruce closely as he mulled over this new information.

“How do you know this?”

Hermione’s smirk deepened. “Because I’ve experienced it personally.”

Bruce’s nostrils flared with emotion as his eyes narrowed further. “Might I ask how?”

“You can ask, when you answer my question.”

“I thought you said you forgave me Mia?”

“And I do forgive you Bruce. I’ve agreed to marry you but you are asking me to return to Gotham and stake my future to yours in a place where you hold all the cards. There is no neutral territory for me in Gotham. Your past has tainted our relationship to the point where it nearly broke me. If this is going to work between us, you need to give me honesty.......always. Because if you don’t, I’ll always wonder where I stand with you and I’ll never trust you again.”

Bruce couldn’t help but admire Mia’s logic as well as her steely resolve. Life was filled with harsh truths......he just didn’t like to be reminded what an asshole he’d been to the woman he loved.

“If there was a way to undo time......I’d go back and save my parents. That choice would affect everything that came after. If my parents hadn’t died, I would have grown up a completely different person.....one who wasn’t shaped by rage, grief and guilt. I would have finished college and most likely, married Rachel. Can I say it with absolute certainty? No.....but my relationship with Rachel before I left Gotham was fraught with problems because of my issues surrounding my parents death and what came after. When I went to Princeton I had other relationships, but I’d never allowed myself to open up to anyone. Not until you. What you’re asking of me comes down to making a choice between having my parents or having you.......if you could have your parents back.......Harry? Would you make a different choice?”

Hermione’s amber eyes burned with emotion and Bruce thought for a moment he’d gone too far, but after a few minutes she sighed and smiled softly.

“Thank you.”

“For what?”

“For being open with me. That’s all I wanted from you Bruce. I don’t expect us to agree on everything and I don’t expect you to forget your past......but I do expect you to always be honest with me. I knew cursorily about your previous relationship with Rachel, that wasn’t what bothered me. It was the fact you didn’t tell me about how unresolved it was for the both of you. You didn’t tell me she knew your secret before you introduced us. Perhaps it’s not fair of me to hold that against you because you didn’t exactly lie, but can you honestly say you didn’t string me along for a time? Perhaps as a filler until Rachel came to her senses? Happiness in the interim?”

Bruce’s breath hitched and his eyes widened in shock at the very accurate description, knowing he’d definitely had those exact thoughts early on. Hermione’s gaze narrowed as she observed his reaction.

“Before or after we slept together?”

Bruce’s lips pursed deeply as he shook his head angrily at himself before he choked out, “Right after.”

Mia’s gaze moved away from his as she pondered that confession for a few moments. Bruce just stared at her in panic as he wondered if she would get up and leave him again and knowing he couldn’t blame her if she did. When the waiter came over and asked if they’d wanted dessert, Mia shook her head in the negative and Bruce politely asked for the check. No more words were spoken as they left the Restaurant, Bruce had his arm wrapped around Mia’s waist as he led her to the Bentley where Alfred was waiting.

The drive home was very quiet and Bruce wanted to scream, rage and pummel something at how utterly idiotic he’d been. As he silently watched Mia, her expression giving nothing of what she was feeling away, he desperately wanted to say something, but instinctively knew that he needed to allow her this time to process.

When they got back to his Townhome, Alfred gave him a look of concern, but wisely chose not to say anything. His adoptive father had always been excellent at picking up on the undertones of most things.

Bruce escorted Mia inside and she still didn’t say anything. He led her to what he’d hope was to now be their bedroom, and Mia hesitated minutely before she’d entered.....moving silently over into the ensuite and closing the door. With a heavy sigh, Bruce sat on the edge of the bed and felt his body shaking with adrenaline as he stared morosely at the bathroom door.....knowing that his own choices had caused this mess and wondering if he would ever be able to make it up to Mia for how shabbily he’d treated her heart.

When the door finally opened several minutes later, Bruce’s heart clenched in his chest and his eyes immediately went to Mia’s left hand......his body relaxing slightly as he noticed she was still wearing her engagement ring. She was dressed in her street clothes and he couldn’t help it, but he needed to know.....

“Are you leaving me?”

Hermione sighed, walking over slowly and gingerly kneeling in front of him....gripping his hands into hers and staring up into his eyes that were filled with utter remorse. Her face was calm and composed.....not emotionless but definitely not open.

“No, I’m not leaving you Bruce.” Mia stated with firm resolve in her voice. “I did suspect that our relationship hadn’t started out ideally......and I needed to know if my suspicions were accurate. Does it hurt? Yes......am I angry at you? Yes.......do I wish I could hex you? Very much yes......”

Bruce chuckled, squeezing her hands in return before he spoke out emotionally. “I’m never going to be able to adequately make amends for hurting you Mia.”

Mia shrugged. “I’m not looking for amends Bruce, I’m looking for honesty. It couldn’t have been easy to share the truth with me.....not knowing if I would walk away, but you did it. We can’t change the past, it’s true......but if we have any chance of a real, lasting and amazing future we have to go forward with complete honesty. You’re not perfect and I don’t expect that from you. I love the man you are......the one who is emotionally stunted but has a very good heart underneath his tough exterior. The man who tries more often times than not to do what’s good and right.....who’s brave and committed to a vision few could achieve. I didn’t fall in love with you easily Bruce Wayne......but one thing you need to understand about me is when I give my heart, I give all of it....unconditionally.”

Bruce couldn’t help the tears that leaked from his eyes and he watched stunned as Mia wiped them away tenderly.

“I don’t deserve you.” He choked out.

Mia smile softly and shrugged. “Probably not.” Bruce chuckled on a sob as amber eyes regarded him with more love than he ever thought possible. “But you’re stuck with me. I suppose we can try to make due in Gotham City.”

Bruce shook his head in wonder as he lifted Mia into his lap and buried his face into her neck, inhaling her sweet perfume and holding her like a vise within his arms.

“I promise you Mia, you won’t regret it. I love you more than anything.....you have to know that.”

Mia tilted Bruce’s chin up so she could give him an impish look. “Even more than Alfred’s chocolate croissants?”

Chuckling deeply and feeling more grateful than he could ever remember feeling, Bruce smiled adoringly at his future wife. “They’re a close second.”

Mia’s laugh was quickly ended when Bruce kissed her breathless. It didn’t take long for him to show her just how much he loved her.......promising with words, and showing with his body that she owned every part of him and she always would.

Chapter Text

Christmas Eve had arrived the next day and Mia woke up in Bruce’s arms, the aroma of Alfred’s cooking permeating through the bedroom. Her stomach rumbled and she felt Bruce chuckling from behind her where he was spooned up against her.

“I suppose morning sex will have to wait until tomorrow.” He grumbled out deeply, placing a soft kiss on her neck before pulling them both up to get ready for the morning.

After taking a shower together, the two lovers dressed and made their way into the kitchen where Alfred was busy putting the finishing touches on breakfast. A fresh plate of chocolate croissants were sitting like a beacon on the table with slices of fresh fruit and herbal tea. Bruce led Mia to her seat, kissing her shoulder and then grabbing a cup of coffee for himself.

“These look delicious as always, Alfred.” Mia smiled as she picked up a croissant and took a small bite, humming happily at the chocolate buttery goodness.

Bruce grinned happily at his fiancé while Alfred just nodded. “I am always happy to make these for you Miss Mia. After all, it is important to keep the mother of future heirs of the Wayne Family happy and content......”

“A girl could get spoiled eating these every morning.”

“Do you have any other favorites I need to know?” Alfred inquired, “I am happy to make most things.”

Mia’s eyes glinted as she gave serious thought to the question. “I don’t really know if I have a favorite of anything in particular. Certain things I’m finding don’t agree with me now. I do love spicy foods, but it doesn’t seem to mix well with my pregnancy. I miss having a glass of wine now and then or a good glass of scotch on occasion. It’s strange, because I haven’t had any cravings for certain foods that some women get during pregnancy.”

“Master Wayne’s mother craved lemon crepes while she was pregnant. I made them every morning for her as a result. She also had chocolate mousse at dessert time...” Alfred smiled fondly at the memory while Bruce’s face registered shock at the story.

“I didn’t know that.”

“There are many things I haven’t shared with you Master Wayne.....mostly due to the fact that you’ve always had a hard time speaking about your parents. It was easier to forego talking about the subtle things for that reason but I’m always happy to share with you.”

Bruce swallowed and nodded. “I’m sorry Alfred. Sometimes I forget that you lost them too.”

Alfred shrugged. “There’s nothing to apologize for Master Wayne. Healing takes time and is different for everyone. I’m not sure there is a set time schedule for such things.”

“Definitely a true statement.” Mia agreed softly.

Taking a sip of her herbal tea, Mia felt Bruce’s gaze on her. Turning her head to the side, hazel eyes were regarding her intently.

“So,” Bruce said lowly, “I was hoping to finish our conversation from last night.”

“Hmmmm, I’m surprised your curiosity waited this long to be satiated.”

Bruce grinned. “I was interested in more important pursuits last night.”

“So ask your question.” Mia quipped saucily and Bruce’s eyes darkened at the rebuke.

“Time Travel, please explain how that’s possible.”

Alfred listening in on the conversation, turned his head sharply and stared at Mia in astonishment.

“Excuse me Master Wayne.....did you say Time Travel?”

Nodding, Bruce’s gaze fixated back upon Mia’s as he waited for her to explain.

Sighing, Mia took another sip of her tea to gather her thoughts before speaking. “In the Wizarding World, we have a device known as a time turner. It allows the user to go back in time.....usually no more than five hours. In my third year at Hogwarts, I was given special permission to utilize one of these devices so I could take more than the allotted number of classes offered.”

Bruce shook his head and chuckled while Alfred sat down in the seat across from her, stunned speechless.

“How many classes?”

Rolling her eyes, Mia bit back, “All of them.”

“I see.” Was all Bruce said, but the playful smirk was telling.

“Yes, well......because of my usage of the time turner that year, I actually aged almost a full half year older than my chronological age. I turned 28 back in September but due to the time turner usage, I’m actually nearing 29.”

Both men’s eyes widened at the admission, and Alfred shook his head in disbelief. “Is that even possible?” He queried.

“Surprisingly yes.” Mia smirked fondly at the older man. “Time turners were heavily regulated by the Ministry of Magic. The request to use one for a student to my knowledge had never been approved before myself. The rules of time travel are very specific and finite. You can’t interact with yourself at all and to go back too far results in catastrophic damage to the witch or wizard. Dangerous things happen to magical’s who tamper with time.”

“Yet they gave one to you at the age of fourteen?” Bruce inquired incredulously.

“I was a very responsible fourteen-year-old.....but even so, I did manage to free two prisoners, fight off a werewolf and escape hundreds of dementors by using the time turner that year.”

Mia’s smirk was completely smug....and Bruce couldn’t help but be impressed and aroused simultaneously.

“Who were the prisoners?” Alfred asked curiously.

“One was a Hippogriff named Buckbeak who had attacked Draco in our Care of Magical Creatures class....he was being a foul, evil little cockroach and had offended poor Buckbeak who didn’t take it well. Draco got a scratch on his arm but his Father Lucius was Head of the Hogwarts School of Governors and decided to have poor Buckbeak executed. I went back in time and set Buckbeak free, saved Harry’s godfather Sirius Black from being wrongfully executed by flying on the back of Buckbeak with Harry to the tallest parapet Tower at Hogwarts and freeing him before they could give him the Dementors Kiss. Then Harry and I returned to the original time line before anyone knew what had happened.”

Bruce’s laughter erupted into the room and even Alfred was chuckling deeply before Bruce spoke again. “And the werewolf?”

Mia’s face fell a bit. “Our defense teacher Remus Lupin. He was bit by Greyback, the werewolf who infected him and whom I killed in the final battle. Remus was a good man and we have a potion called wolfsbane that allows werewolves to retain their mental acuity while they go through the transformation during the full moon. The problem is the potion is ridiculously expensive to produce, very difficult to brew and due to the inherent prejudices within the Magical World, werewolves can’t get jobs to buy the potion or the ingredients.”

Bruce nodded in understanding. “That’s was why you wanted to make it free when you worked in your Ministry?”

Mia nodded in response. “Remus was an exceptionally good man. His wife, Nymphadora Tonks was his mate, an Auror and one of the kindest women I’ve ever known. Their son Teddy is Harry’s godson. He lives with his Grandmother Andromeda and is a sweet boy but many witches and wizards look down upon him because his father was a werewolf.”

“Is the trait passed?” Alfred wondered aloud.

“No, the only way to pass the trait is to bite someone while you’re transformed during the full moon. As long as you take the potion, it’s a non-issue. Dumbledore, our Headmaster, gave Remus a job that he desperately needed my third year and he was an excellent teacher. He died with his wife in the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998.”

Both men sat there and pondered Mia’s story but it was Bruce who decided to speak up. “How difficult would it be to produce large quantities of this wolfsbane potion?”

“Aconite, the primary ingredient is difficult to cultivate and source. There are currently only a few natural sources worldwide, so the cost of the potion is prohibitive for many.”

“And where exactly are these sources?”

Mia’s eyes blazed momentarily before sighing in defeat. “Central Asia primarily. There are several strains of the plant but the most potent sources come from Nepal, Khasmir and Tibet.”

Bruce’s eyes darkened in understanding. “That’s why you were there, wasn’t it?”

Mia nodded. “Yes. Khasmir has the most potent strain in the world. Twenty times more potent than anything in Europe or Asia because of the soil it grows in. I was trying to work with the factions within the country to source the plant for production. Unfortunately, I wasn’t successful. Ra’s had come to me and offered to make inroads for me within the Government if I joined him. It wasn’t an option I was willing to consider, so I left.”

“You left that bit out.”

Mia shrugged. “I couldn’t exactly share the whole story with you without outing my magical background, could I?”

“It would appear not.” Bruce shook his head and smiled at his fiancé. “Did you ever have a simple, quiet year at school?”

Mia thought about it for a moment. “Sixth year was pretty mundane until the very end when Draco let Death Eaters into Hogwarts.”

Bruce sighed unhappily. “It would seem your Mr. Malfoy was quite the troublemaker in school?”

“Draco was a first class git in school and no one is more aware of it than he is.....trust me.”

Nodding once, Bruce decided to let that go for now. “Do you still have the time turner?”

Shaking her head, Mia’s face took on a haunted quality that had Bruce reaching for her hand.

“What happened Miss Mia?” Alfred asked the question, seeing the woman’s pained expression.

Fidgeting with her napkin while staring down at the table, she felt Bruce squeeze her other hand and as her gaze caught his, his eyes were filled with concern and love.

“During my fifth year of school, a Ministry worker infiltrated Hogwarts. Her name was Delores Umbridge and she was sent by the Minister of Magic at that time, a man named Cornelius Fudge to try and undermine our Headmaster......Dumbledore. The woman systematically took over the school, with the backing of the Ministry behind her, she eventually had Dumbledore removed as Headmaster......and the fault lied with Harry and I. We had started a clandestine Defense Club to teach other students how to protect themselves against the Dark Arts. I had charmed the roster parchment with a secret spell. If anyone betrayed Harry, that person would suffer permanent scarring in the form of the word ‘sneak’ being branded onto their forehead.”

Bruce couldn’t help himself, he laughed out in surprise while Alfred just rose an eyebrow at her confession.

“There was a girl, Marietta Edgecombe who betrayed us to Umbridge and as a result the Headmaster got sacked. He escaped from the school, but the rest of us got detention with Umbridge and her blood quills that left permanent scarring.” Hermione watched as Bruce’s lips thinned in anger, but eventually nodded for her to continue on.........

“Harry as I’d mentioned to you Bruce, had a link to Voldemort’s mind and as such, Voldemort planted a false vision of Harry’s godfather being held prisoner within the Ministry of Magic. Our Ministry, studies certain disciplines.....prophecies, time, space, love.....and death. The vision Harry had was of Sirius being held within the Hall of Prophecy. Before Harry was born, our Divination teacher Sybil Trelawney gave a prophecy about a ‘Chosen One’ defeating the Dark Lord. Harry was that Chosen One, but prophecies can only be retrieved by those whom their about. Voldemort led Harry to the Ministry and along with a few of our friends, we broke into the place where we thought Sirius was being held. He wasn’t there, but Voldemort’s Death Eaters were. We fought them all, and eventually Harry ended up in a room called the Death Chamber where the Veil resides. Sirius showed up with Remus, Tonks and our current Minister Kingsley’s Shacklebolt, who were all members of the Order of the Phoenix. An organization started by Dumbledore during the First War in the seventies.....Sirius was killed....fell through the Veil. I dueled Dolohov in the Time Room, where all the time turners were kept. The room was destroyed due to our duel and he nearly killed me when one of his curses hit me......I was hospitalized for two months and took ten Potions a day. I’d managed to silence him before he cast the curse and I believe it was the only reason I survived, as no other person had ever done so prior.”

Both men were stunned silent as they pondered over Mia’s story and again Bruce was simply amazed at how much Mia had faced in her life........and how brave she was.

Alfred stood up and went to retrieve the kettle from the stove, pouring some more tea for Miss Mia as he ruminated on everything he’d heard.

“It’s a testament to your strength of character that you’ve survived everything you have Miss Mia.” Alfred stated unequivocally. “I can’t imagine what that must’ve been like for your friend Mr. Potter to be faced with such difficult challenges.”

Hermione sighed and nodded sadly. “Harry never shirked from his path....not from the time he was eleven. He grew up with his Uncle and Aunt who were Muggles and they abused him terribly. Kept him locked up in a cupboard under the stairs growing up. When he came to Hogwarts he had no idea how famous he was. Everyone knew the name Harry Potter. He was the most famous wizard in the Wizarding World, but he never wanted that acknowledgment. He just wanted to be Harry.....but that was never meant to be. There were times I’d wondered if I would make it out alive at the end, but I never doubted that Harry would emerge victorious. He was simply too stubborn and pig-headed not to.”

Alfred smiled and Bruce felt himself feeling a bit jealous over how lovingly Mia spoke of her former best friend and first love. It was obvious the two of them shared something so unbelievably profound that no one would ever be able to truly comprehend just how irrevocably it had changed both Mia and Harry. Bruce had to wonder if Harry Potter suspected about the bond all along........and if he had, why had he really chosen another witch? It didn’t make much sense at all.

“You’re awfully quiet.” Mia said softly, her amber eyes filled with worry.

Bruce’s eyes softened as he stared into Mia’s. “Every story you share just leaves me more in awe of you. To have suffered so much, so young......it’s incomprehensible to me. My life and problems at sixteen seem quite inadequate in comparison.”

Mia giggled at the thought of Bruce at sixteen......maybe learning to drive......going to, what did the Americans call it......Prom? How nice that might’ve been to have a somewhat normal school year not filled with imminent death.....

“School was never boring.”

Bruce chuckled before he bit out. “I think that’s the biggest understatement I’ve ever heard.”

“I’m not sure now is the best time to mention it, but I was planning on going to Godric’s Hollow tonight.”

Bruce’s eyes darkened as he considered his fiancé. How did he feel about her going to her former best friend’s grave? Should he feel jealous? Worried?

“Is that a magical enclave?” Alfred asked curiously.

Mia nodded. “It is.”

Alfred glanced over at his ward and could see Master Wayne struggling with wanting to say something, knowing that he wouldn’t want his fiancé and the mother of his children wandering around alone.....even if Miss Mia was more than capable of taking care of herself.

“Would you mind some company?” Bruce inquired softly.

Amber eyes locked with his, and Bruce could see her eyes register initial surprise by his question, but just as quickly Mia’s eyes shuttered and she sighed. “I think this is something I need to do alone, if that’s alright. I don’t imagine I’ll be returning back to Godric’s Hollow after tonight.”

Bruce’s heart leapt at the admission, understanding what Mia was saying. She wanted to go to Godric’s Hollow one last time to say her goodbyes to Harry and the past. As much as he didn’t like the idea of her going alone, he had to respect that this was something she needed to do for her.

“Is there some way you can charm something to allow me to come to you if you’re in danger?”

Mia’s eyes widened a bit but she nodded. “I think I can come up with something.”

“Good.”

Chapter Text

Hermione had decided on charming her engagement ring as a locator and then charmed a galleon as a portkey that would taken Bruce to wherever she was in an emergency. He had been quite impressed with that bit of Magic and had asked if there was a way to make magical improvements on his Batsuit as well. Laughing, Hermione had added some cushioning charms to help dampen the force of impact he might sustain during fights as well as helped with some simple modifications to allow Bruce to use the Peruvian darkness powder as a projectile to instantly blind his opponents. Hermione had also added an undetectable extension charm to his utility harness, thereby making it easier for Bruce to hold multiple things at once. He had watched avidly and had asked many questions.....but for the most part he’d been impressed with Mia’s handy work.

Bruce had done a lot of thinking over these past months about his relationship with Mia. He had moved well beyond his comfort zone in trying to repair their relationship and trust issues. It was unlike him to capitulate to anyone or anything.....he’d always been stubborn and single minded in his life. Perhaps that was why his relationships up until now had never worked out for him.....he was too self involved and selfish to compromise. He’d never had to......or been willing to, even with Rachel. Thinking back upon it, Bruce had always known why that was.....because it was easier never letting anyone get too close to really hurt him......after losing his parents that choice had been an easy one to make.

Now with Mia, he was well past his normal comfort zone. This all was uncharted territory and at times, made him feel quite unlike himself. After Mia had seen his kiss with Rachel, and what had transpired afterwards.....Bruce had come to the conclusion that his own innate selfishness had led to making some terrible choices. He’d never had to bend to anyone’s will before......but then Bruce Wayne had never been completely in love before either.

This was new for him. Compromise. Putting someone’s happiness above his own in the traditional sense. Sure, he’d sacrificed his relationship with Rachel to try and save Gotham.....but in the end it hadn’t been a difficult choice and he hadn’t regretted it for a second. Mia had spent her entire life sacrificing her own happiness for others......what did she call it? The greater good? He’d followed her to London....chased her here and he hadn’t even second guessed it......which was again, a new experience for him.

His relationship with Mia hadn’t started out on his part with the best of intentions, but somewhere along the way he’d fallen in love with her. They were both abysmal at communication in so many ways.....but it didn’t change the fact that in every other way they just fit......in the beginning, before everything had imploded, being with Mia had been as easy as breathing.

Both of their pasts had nearly cost them their relationship due to unresolved issues that had plagued both of them. They hadn’t discussed these issues because of several factors.....Magic, inherent secrecy, cowardice, conflicting emotions......but Bruce wanted to try and do better for Mia because she deserved it from him and he wanted to be with her.

She had surprisingly, decided to return to Gotham and give their relationship new life in spite of what had happened and for that he was grateful. Gotham was his home and in time, he knew Mia would be happy there too.....she would embrace it and together they’d build a life with their children. He would do everything within his power to give Mia a happy home to call her own.

So yes, Bruce Wayne would have to continue to learn compromise and continue to move out of his comfort zone......he had spent the first few months of his relationship with Mia making it all about himself....and she had supported him unconditionally......so it was his turn to support her and put her first. She really deserved nothing less from him if he was being completely honest with himself.

That was another thing......honesty. Complete and brutal honesty.......that was another concept Bruce Wayne was not familiar with at all. He’d spent his formative years hiding behind a mask of one kind and then in his adult years perfecting that mask into what it was today. He’d lived behind that mask for most of his life, that being open and vulnerable was a hard pill to swallow some days.

Oh who the fuck was he kidding.....it was a hard pill to swallow most days! Last night had been the first time in his entire life he’d been completely honest and open with the truth and knowing in that moment it could very likely backfire spectacularly. It hadn’t thankfully, but it was touch and go there for about an hour as to whether or not it had......it would seem that once she’d given her forgiveness, Mia’s heart and capacity with that particular emotion was endless. Could he have been so forgiving if the circumstances had been reversed......knowing that in the beginning he’d been nothing more than a glorified place holder for her affections? Bruce liked to think he hadn’t been that much of an asshole, but looking back on it he knew deep down he had been, even though it wasn’t done purposefully. He’d just been that clueless.

As he watched Mia sitting in their current home and quietly reading a book, he continued to watch her and go over everything that had happened with a fine tooth comb. Every conversation, choice, misunderstanding and the only conclusion he could come to, was that they were both badly damaged people, but good people who deserved happiness with each other. She didn’t expect him to be perfect and as much as he thought she was....Mia would deny it vehemently. He knew enough about her to know that amongst her many stellar qualities, humility was at the top of that list despite her many accomplishments and acts of heroism.

“You’re staring.” Mia said softly as she turned a page in her book, not bothering to look up.

“Is that a problem?” Bruce smirked, as he looked back down at the society page in the London times, which as they had predicted, contained a picture of he and Mia entering the Savoy last night......along with a close up of her left hand wearing the engagement ring, causing all sorts of speculation. Bruce sighed......he probably should contact Lucius and have his PR team at Wayne Enterprises prepare something.

“Nope.” Mia’s amber eyes lifted to his as she half-smiled at him in amusement. “If you stare at that paper much longer you should be able to commit the article to memory fairly easily enough.”

Bruce chuckled. “I think you’re teasing me?”

Mia turned back to her book, but her smile didn’t fade as she said playfully, “Probably.”

“We are in the paper.” Bruce admitted, handing the society page over to his fiancé, who reached for it and then squealed as he pulled her into his lap, biting her shoulder in retaliation.

Huffing in feigned irritation, Mia looked over the article and rolled her eyes at how ludicrous the media was. It didn’t matter if it was Muggle or Magical, it was all the same thing....a load of utter rubbish.

“How interesting.” Mia said sarcastically. “I’m surprised your PR team hasn’t been inundated with requests for an interview based on this stellar piece of journalistic fluff.”

Bruce grinned widely and then gasped in shock as Mia crumpled the paper up into a ball and then proceeded to set it on fire in her hand......the ashes disappearing in a cloud of smoke.

“Show off.”

Mia’s eye caught his and she shrugged, completely unrepentant. “If you’re looking for an apology I’m afraid you’re going to be sadly disappointed. I detest the press......it’s horrid no matter which world I’m in.”

“You know, we are going to have to make a statement, right?”

“Yes....you did mention that last night and I’d figured you’d handle it. I can’t exactly trap Muggle reporters in mason jars and blackmail them......now can I?”

Bruce’s face split into a wide grin as he pulled Mia tighter into his body and covered her lips with his own. They remained that way for a while before Bruce pulled back and touched his forehead to Mia’s.

“No, I don’t suppose that would be the best idea. I can have my Press Secretary issue a statement if you’d like?”

Sighing softly, Mia nodded once. “I suppose that’s fine. Not to change the subject, but Christmas is tomorrow and I’ve been invited to the Weasley’s for dinner.....you and Alfred are more than welcome to join us. They’d asked after you the last time I was there.”

Bruce sat back and cradled Mia into his lap as he considered her request. “Alfred has an old friend he was going to visit tomorrow for the day, but I would be honored to meet your friends and extended family. You’d mentioned that George’s parents are the only grandparents our children will know. Alfred would probably take exception to that though.”

Mia blushed and shook her head. “I’m sorry, you’re right.....I didn’t even think about that. He’s such a good man and I know our children will love him like you do.”

“When I told Alfred about you carrying twins, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so happy in my life. He isn’t one for emotion, but he got quite teary eyed.”

“I’m glad he’s happy. I’ve come to care a great deal for Alfred.”

“I know Mia and I’m more grateful than I can say for that.” Bruce kissed her forehead softly and rearranged them so they were laying on the couch together with Mia’s head cradled onto his shoulder while his hand was splayed on her stomach....gently caressing her belly where their children were actively moving below his palm.

“They are awake and active.”

Mia giggled. “They are......at night they move around a lot too. Sometimes I sing to them.....I’d like to think it calms them down and I can get to sleep.”

Bruce tilted Mia’s chin up so their eyes could meet. “What do you sing?”

“Mostly Christmas songs right now.....but other things too. Really, it’s just whatever comes to me.”

“Would you sing for me now?”

“Really?”

“Please, I’d love to hear you sing to our children.”

Mia laid her head back onto Bruce’s shoulder and sighed softly before waving her wand......Bruce’s eyes widened in amazement at the soft strains of music floated through the room. It was a few seconds before Mia’s voice filtered through the room, and Bruce’s breath hitched in wonder at how amazing she sounded.

The lyrics of Ave Maria flowed from Mia effortlessly as she sang, all the while Bruce rubbed her belly with her hand placed gently upon his......after a few moments when the music tapered off and the song ended.....Bruce just sat there stunned speechless. Lifting his eyes, he noticed Alfred standing in the doorway with an awed look upon his face.

“That was beautiful Mia.” Bruce whispered appreciatively. “And it worked, I think they’re back asleep.”

Mia smiled and squeezed Bruce’s hand as it continued to stroke her lovingly. “It usually does.”

“What other songs have you sung to them? Do you have a favorite?”

Mia sighed but nodded. “I have one song I sing to them every night.”

Bruce squeezed her closer to him before he asked her if she’d sing it for him. Mia lifted her head up and gave him an incredulous look. “You really want to lay here while I sing?”

Bruce nodded. “I can’t imagine anything I’d like more right now.”

Laying her head back down, Mia hesitated before she waved her wand again and this time, Bruce immediately recognized the introduction of the song and then listened with rapt attention as Mia sung the words......that were more profound than any incarnation of the song he’d heard before.....considering everything she’d been through in her life up to this point.....it was very appropriate and beyond moving.

 

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try

No hell below us
Above us only sky

Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one

I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

 

When the music ended and Mia stopped singing, Bruce felt tears well behind his eyes and his breath choked on a sob. This woman in his arms was truly the most amazing person he’d ever known. Her capacity for kindness and love was truly inspiring. Catching Alfred’s gaze again, Bruce could see his surrogate father wiping a few discreet tears from his eyes before he quietly made his exit and left them alone again.

Lifting Mia’s chin again so he could see her face, Bruce cupped her cheek and brought his lips to hers in a heated kiss. After a few moments Bruce pulled back and whispered achingly, “You are amazing Mia. I love you.”

“I love you too Bruce.” Mia’s smile was genuinely one of happiness as she stared up at him before they took on a mischievous quality. “What were you thinking about earlier?”

“You mean when I was staring at you in admiration?”

“Yeah that.” Mia quipped and Bruce grinned at how cute she was when she pouted.

“Honestly?”

“Always....you know that.”

Bruce sat up a bit and brought Mia with him as he settled them a bit more comfortably on the large plush couch. “I was thinking about compromise actually.....and how I’ve never really had to do it before.”

Mia’s eyebrow lifted and her lips quirked with amusement, but she rolled her hand like she wanted him to continue....so he did.

“I know this isn’t going to sound very complimentary of me, and I have to admit......I’ve never been one for much self-reflection until well after the fact. It took me seven years away from Gotham to find myself.....but I’ve never had to really compromise before. Not my feelings, nor my beliefs. I’ve always been rather arrogant in my own path........and I didn’t see it as a hindrance, even in the beginning of our relationship. You knew my alter identity from the get go, so I didn’t have to pretend with you about that......you’d offered your help and I took it for granted. In my arrogance I just expected you to accommodate my role as Batman, and it didn’t even occur to me that I’d done that to you, until just recently.”

“Well.....I do agree with some of that sentiment, but it wasn’t like I hadn’t offered my help Bruce.”

“No, you did. That’s my point. I have been so used to building and maintaining my walls, that when you walked into my life with the knowledge of my identity as Batman.....that wall wasn’t an option. I allowed my past with Rachel to serve as that protective barrier. I made horrible choices and it never even occurred to me until today that the Bruce Wayne from before he met Mia Black, would’ve never compromised, nor moved out of his comfort zone for anyone....because I didn’t need to and I didn’t want to.”

Mia thought about what Bruce was saying to her and then responded with a question.

“Do you ever think that maybe your decision to come back to Gotham as Batman might have reinforced that wall? I mean, you obviously wanted a relationship with Rachel at one point.....but did it ever occur to you that once she’d discovered your secret that she wouldn’t support it the way I did?”

Bruce honestly hadn’t really ever thought about it that way, but looking back on his past with Rachel, he’d realized that Mia made a valid point. His reasoning for choosing to take up the mantle of Batman was for him, his parents...but also for Rachel because of how she had always chosen to fight for what was right in Gotham. But looking back on it, he had known that due to the way he’d chosen to fight against injustice, it would ultimately put him in direct opposition to how Rachel had chosen to fight. He could have shared his decision from the get go, when he’d returned to Gotham after being gone for seven years.....but he hadn’t. He hadn’t told Rachel until it was too late.

“That’s a valid assumption.” Bruce admitted. “But I think it had to more to do with the fact that so much time had passed, I really wasn’t sure about whether or not I was ready for the commitment and compromise required of a real relationship. Even when things between us were at their most tenuous, it never even occurred to me to give up. The Bruce Wayne of a year ago would have never made that concession with anyone and I think that’s why I held on to that wall for as long as I did.”

Mia giggled. “He sounds like a real prat.”

Bruce nodded. “He was......sometimes I think he still is. But he’s learning to be less selfish and self-involved.”

“It’s intriguing how comfortable you are referring to yourself in the third person.”

Bruce laughed out loud. “Well, Batman has his own personality as does Bruce Wayne. With you, those lines are blurred more than I’d ever thought I’d be comfortable with. But somehow, I’m learning to be okay with it. Does it make me uncomfortable.....yes. But my discomfort is secondary to making you happy and having our relationship.....so I’m learning compromise.”

“It’s a bitter pill to swallow for you, isn’t it?”

Bruce nodded. “But oddly not in a bad way......in a necessary way.”

“Do what’s necessary?”

“You do understand, don’t you?”

“I do.” Mia admitted softly. “I am not one for compromise either.....I’m not sure I’ve ever had to be. My life has always been dictated by my choices and others followed because my plans were always the smartest and most well thought out ones, usually. Harry once said something that was true, even though it sounded quite horrible at the time.”

“And that was?”

“It was during our time on the run and Harry had realized that there was a Horcrux at Hogwarts....it was after we’d escaped on the back of the dragon into a lake. He had a vision of Voldemort, through their linked connection and it was at that point that Voldemort discovered what we’d taken from Gringotts and that we knew about his horcruxes. Anyway....I had told Harry we’d needed to plan and figure it out before we just tried to break into Hogwarts where all the Death Eaters were....Harry just snarked back, ‘Hermione, when of any of our plans ever actually worked? We plan, we get there....all hell breaks loose.’ And he was right.”

Bruce couldn’t help but chuckle at the sentiment. “Did it stop you from breaking into the school?”

“Nope,” she admitted with a fond smile, “we still did it anyway......found the Horcrux, nearly got killed when the room we’d found it in was set on fire by one of Draco’s cronies, but it got destroyed so that was good I suppose.”

Bruce sighed as he raked a hand through his hair. “Was there ever a time Mr. Malfoy wasn’t involved when something horrible happened?”

Hermione laughed out loud but shook her head. “Pretty much no......he and Harry loathed each other in school. Rivals you see.....from the first year. When Harry and I became best friend’s I was targeted for my friendship as well as my blood status. Being smarter than everyone was just an added bonus as far as the torment. Swot, insufferable know it all, brains of the Golden Trio, Brightest Witch of the Age.........it’s pretty much all anyone ever saw me as.......”

“You are so much more than your intelligence Mia. You are beautiful, kind, brave, selfless and overwhelmingly sexy.”

Hermione blushed and tilted her head down, but Bruce wouldn’t allow her to hide herself from him. He cupped her cheeks and lowered his lips back to hers in a searing kiss that quickly escalated.

Hermione straddled Bruce’s lap as his hands cupped her ass, his erection nestled between them and he groaned when her hips pressed down and ground down on him.

“Mia,” Bruce whispered as he pulled away ever so slightly, “Ward the room, silence it too.”

Hermione grabbed her wand and wasted no time doing as Bruce asked before clothes were torn off each other in a flurry of carnal need.

After a while and several rounds of lovemaking, Bruce and Mia were lying back down on the couch completely spent. Waving her hand and a few cleansing charms later, a blanket flew into her palm and Bruce resettled them together before they both fell off into a blissful sleep.....

Chapter Text

When evening came and dinner was over, Hermione left Bruce and went back to her home in Hampstead Heath to get showered and changed for her excursion to Godric’s Hollow. She couldn’t help but feel sadness at the thought of saying goodbye to Harry and finally putting the past where it belonged. Today with Bruce had been one of the best days of her life, and it brought back all those all those happy memories back in Gotham after she and Bruce had agreed to give their relationship a real chance. Those memories of that first night were tainted slightly by knowing that while Bruce had been there with her, his mind and heart had been with Rachel even then. She didn’t know when that exactly changed for him, but something had and she didn’t think it was just about the children she was now carrying.

Bruce was complicated, and even he admitted that he wasn’t the best at communication nor relationships but to his credit, he was really trying to move out of his comfort zone for her. It was endearing if not a bit belated......but forgiveness was never an easy thing, but a necessary thing in life. If Hermione hadn’t loved Bruce as much as she had loved Harry, there was no doubt she would’ve disappeared for good and raised her children alone.

She’d loved Harry....first as a friend but then as something more. Hermione would be lying to herself if she didn’t acknowledge that her feelings had changed irrevocably while they’d been stranded together without Ron. It was the first time that Hermione’s eyes had been opened to the possibility of there being more between she and her best friend. The night they’d danced.....alone and hungry.....but their eyes had locked for a split second and Hermione had seen the emotions in Harry’s green eyes......he had wanted her too in that moment. They had both pulled away for some inexplicable reason that still confounded her. Whether it was Ginny, or guilt over usurping what Harry perceived as her dynamic with Ron.....Hermione didn’t know. They’d never discussed it.

Then everything had gone sideways. Facing her best friend as he went off to sacrifice himself for the fucking greater good had nearly destroyed her. But she had done it. She’d cried and watched the most important person of her life walk away to die.....and she had begged him to allow her to go with him.....which of course, he’d refused. But it didn’t change the fact that Hermione would’ve gone.....would’ve died to save her best friend from his fate.

As she finished getting dressed and made to apparate to Godric’s Hollow, Hermione couldn’t help but finally understand why Bruce had been reluctant to give up his friendship with Rachel....because she didn’t want to give up her crutch with Harry. She didn’t want to say goodbye....but she needed to, and she knew it.

Breathing back the tears that were threatening to fall, Hermione whipped out her wand, closed her eyes and with a crack.....she was gone.

As she re-emerged just outside the graveyard in Godric’s Hollow, she noticed that there was no snow on the ground and while it was cold, it wasn’t unbearably so. It was strange for there to be no snow this time of year, and that saddened her a bit but she didn’t know why.

As she moved into the graveyard, Hermione cast a Hominem revelio just to make sure she was alone and when the spell came back negative, she breathed a sigh of relief as she opened the outer gate and made her way over to where Harry was buried.

When Harry had fallen ill, and had known his time was coming he had requested to be buried next to his parents here. No one would refute the Boy Who Vanquished, so therefore it hadn’t been an issue. Only families who have ties to this community were afforded the right to be buried in this cemetery......the oldest in Wizarding Britain.

When Ginny had passed, Molly had petitioned for her daughter to be buried next to Harry.....but the request had been denied. There was no history of the Weasley’s ever having lived in Godric’s Hollow and Hermione had been too buried in trying to find the cure she hadn’t used any of her clout from the war to facilitate that request. Looking back, it had been petty on her part. Ginny had gotten Harry in life, and it didn’t seem fair she would have him in death as well. So Ginny had been buried near Fred and Ron at the Burrow.......but now staring at Harry’s gravemarker, Hermione’s felt a bit of shame and remorse that she hadn’t at least fought for Ginny’s body to be buried next to her husband. She had to wonder if Harry and Ginny would ever forgive her moment of selfishness.

Hermione fiddled with her beaded bag as she knelt down in front of Harry’s grave.....conjuring a wreath of flowers, and then placing one on his parent’s graves.....like she had on that fateful night back in 1997. The beginning of everything that was to come......and it was hard to fathom that now eleven years later.....she would be saying her final goodbye to the boy she’d loved for over fifteen years. A boy who had never shirked his destiny, who had persevered and stood up for what was right and good no matter the personal cost. Who was brave, kind, powerful and unfailing loyal to those he loved. He was the best person she’d ever known in her life......and saying goodbye felt like leaving a part of herself behind in the process. The Hermione who’d fought a mountain troll, been petrified, used a time turner and saved Harry’s godfather from the Dementor’s Kiss, fought off a werewolf, started a clandestine defense club, lead a Professor into the Forbidden Forest, got cursed within the Ministry of Magic, went on the run, wore a Horcrux for months, broke into the Ministry, broke into Gringotts, flew on a Dragon and was tortured and branded.......a mudblood.

The same Hermione who watched the boy she’d loved, her best friend.....marry another witch and then die not too long after........she had spent years trying to save Harry from his destiny and in the end, she had failed him and herself.......it was a stark reminder that sometimes despite your best intentions and efforts, things just happen for reasons you can’t explain.

Sighing heavily and seeing the puffs of her breath filter out into the cold graveyard, Hermione went to reach into her bag when her senses registered that she wasn’t alone anymore within the graveyard. She silently erected a shield, just in time as the first spell hit it and crackled with a fierce intensity. Diving behind the gravemarker, Hermione’s quickly sent out her patronus to George and then sent a message along her ring hoping that Bruce received it before sending off a barrage of spells at her would be assailants.......realizing there was more than one.

The air crackled with the intensity of the spells that were hitting her shield and soon Hermione heard the distinctive pops of apparition and someone yelling her name.

The air was crackling with the effects of the magical discharge as spells were being cast left and right.......but soon there was a darkness that pervaded over the grounds of the graveyard. Hermione listened as she heard voices barely carrying through the blinding darkness.....several minutes passed by before the darkness deepened again and then there was a few more strangled noises. After about ten minutes the darkness lifted and there within the middle of the graveyard several wizard’s were bound.....including Rabastan Lestrange. Hermione went to stand up when she felt a presence behind her.....turning around she saw Bruce in full Batman gear as his eyes blazed with unrestrained anger and fear.

A coughing sound broke her gaze and she grimaced as she notice George, Draco, Blaise and Neville standing there looking a bit worse for wear as they gaped at her fiancé.

“Nice costume.” George smirked. “How in the world did you manage to catch them through the darkness?”

Batman glowered before his deep voice answered...... “Do you really think I’m going to tell you that?”

Draco stared at the Muggle and had to admit.....he was impressed. Somehow Bruce Wayne had managed to find a way to disarm three wizards using only Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder.....which should’ve been impossible, but clearly wasn’t.

“We should get them back to the Ministry Drake.” Blaise said firmly before nodding at Hermione. “You should get back home Granger. I think you’ve had enough excitement for a lifetime, eh?”

Everyone laughed while Hermione just glared at the Italian wizard.

“Noj spingere la fortuna, Zabini. Entrambi sappiamo che posso portarti fuori.”

“Bellisima, mi hai ferito con le tue parole. Sai, dopotutto, sto solo cercando i tuoi migliori interessi."

Hermione sighed as she gave the Italian a subtle head shake. It wouldn’t do her any good if either Draco or Bruce suspected that she and Zabini........it was only one time......two years ago when she’d ran into him in Italy.........it was amazing but definitely not to be repeated.

“Ti piace solo scatenare la merda.”

Zabini chuckled deeply, purposefully ignoring the looks from everyone in the graveyard as he went over to the prisoners, tagged them and then disapparated on the spot.

Draco turned around to face her with a lifted eyebrow, not fooled in the least. “We need to talk Granger.....tomorrow.”

Hermione nodded and watched as Draco, George and Neville all left, leaving her alone with Bruce.

Turning to an angry Batman, Hermione reached out her hand and after and minute he took it before pulling her into his embrace.......immediately disapparating them out of Godric’s Hollow.

When they’d re-appeared in Bruce’s bedroom, it took a minute for him to get his bearings but once he did....Bruce moved into the bathroom and emerged some time later as himself and not the caped crusader.

He sat down on the edge of the bed and said deeply, “Hai una storia con questo zabini, sì?”

Hermione flinched at how harsh Bruce’s voice sounded when he was still in Batman mode, but folded her arms across her chest in irritation.

“It was one night, two years ago. I ran into him by chance in Rome.....I was doing some research there. I hadn’t been with anyone in a couple years......and I haven’t been with anyone since then except you....happy?”

Bruce sighed and rubbed his hands down his face before his gaze softened and he held out a hand to her, which she took.....allowing him to fold her into his lap.

“Are you alright?” He whispered into her hair, and Hermione nodded.

“I’m fine. Thank you for getting there so quickly.”

“Does danger follow you wherever you go?”

Hermione giggled. “Hello Pot, I’m Kettle......”

Bruce chuckled as he moved his head up and gave her a lopsided smirk. “Fair enough. I’m just glad your okay. I can’t tell you how panicked I was when that coin heated up Mia. I’m just grateful I was able to get to you in time. I don’t know what I would do if something happened to you and our children.”

“I’m fine Bruce.”

Bruce nodded before his face closed off a bit. “Did you get to say your goodbyes?”

Hermione shook her head. “No, I was attacked before I could.”

“Maybe you don’t need to do it there? I would be happy to stay with you as support if you wanted me to. I have to admit I’m curious how this stone works.....but I’d understand if you need to do this on your own.”

Hermione bit her lip as her gaze fell away from Bruce’s......did she really want to say her goodbyes to Harry with Bruce in the room? Did it matter in the grand scheme of everything that had happened? Bruce knew pretty much everything about her past with Harry......there wasn’t anything that she needed to keep from him. They had promised each other complete, brutal honesty.......it didn’t get more brutal than this.

Reaching into her beaded bag, Hermione pulled out the snitch and held it up to her lips, saying the phrase that would release the stone into the room. When the stone floated in front of her, Hermione grabbed it with her hand and closing her eyes......she turned it thrice into her palm. She heard Bruce’s shocked gasp before opening her eyes slowly and seeing the warm bright green eyes of the first boy she’d ever truly loved staring back at her.....his eyes filled with unbridled warmth, affection and love as he smiled softly at her before speaking....

“Hello Hermione, I’ve really missed you.”

“Hi Harry.......”

Chapter Text

Bruce Wayne stared at the ghost? Specter? Bruce shook his head in amazement. Whatever this was, it was clear that the wizard before him must’ve been extremely powerful in life......because even in death, Bruce could feel the power radiating from the apparition before him.

As bright green eyes turned to him, the warmth that had been overwhelmingly present when those eyes had stared lovingly at Mia were now hardened into bits of cold, crystal ice as the wizard known as Harry Potter glared at him.

“Bruce Wayne.” The voice spoke in a tone that had the man in question physically holding back his shiver of dread.

“Yes.” Bruce answered firmly, unwilling to show any hesitation or fear.

“I’ve been watching you Bruce Wayne,” Harry Potter spoke harshly, “and while I admire your commitment to the people of Gotham City.....your commitment to my best friend has left something to be desired. If I was alive right now, you wouldn’t be. I was Master of Death once, and it’s not unreasonable to assume should I wish it, I could be again.”

“Harry Potter!” Hermione admonished her best friend, but the stern look from Harry had her bowing her head in submission, much to Bruce’s astonishment.

Harry’s eyes softened as he gazed down at his best friend. The girl he’d grown up trusting like no other. As he looked at her closely, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of wonder at how beautiful she looked pregnant. A sad feeling of nostalgia swept through him before he trained his gaze back on the man who had somehow, managed to win Hermione’s heart. A man who was both brave and reckless, intelligent and emotionally stunted......Harry smirked knowingly.....leave it to Hermione to find the Muggle version of himself.

“Hermione, that tone stopped working in sixth year.”

Hermione lifted up her eyes and blushed, while Harry smiled fondly down at the little witch whom he missed terribly.

“You’ve called me here for a reason Hermione.......yes?”

Rolling her eyes at her best friend, Hermione glared at Harry’s smug look. “Get that look off your face Harry Potter....if you were alive right now I’d hex you good and proper!”

Harry chuckled deeply. “Godric, I’ve missed you witch.”

“I’ve missed you too Harry.”

Bruce shifted on the bed and sat Hermione down next to him, taking her hand and giving it a squeeze. When he lifted his gaze back up to the wizard, he could see both irritation and longing as Harry observed the two of them together.

Hermione, (decided to rip the bandaid off.....because if she didn’t, she’d never get through this) spoke up haltingly.....

“Did you know?”

Harry tilted his head at the question, but his eyes were emotional as he nodded once. “I did.”

Hermione’s breath hitched on a gasp. “When did you know?”

Harry sighed softly, but his expression was filled with regret. “The day Ginny and I married.....the marriage bond.....while it sealed.....I’d immediately noticed something wasn’t right. I didn’t say anything right away, but even Ginny had sensed it, being that her family was more knowledgeable about those things than I was. It wasn’t until I talked with Andromeda a few months later that I finally put the pieces together. Why didn’t you ever tell me Hermione?”

“Would it have made a difference?”

Harry’s eyes glistened as he smiled adoringly at his best friend. “Silly witch.....it would’ve made all the difference in the world. I loved Ginny, that’s true. But Hermione, you had to have known that it’s always been you......I’ve always been in love with you since we were kids. Why do you think I changed my will and left you the Black inheritance as well as my Cloak? Even Ginny knew....but we were bonded and Wizarding marriage bonds....” Harry’s voice fell away.

“You couldn’t do that to Ginny. I do understand Harry.”

“You know, I should’ve been upset with you.....but I could never be mad at you for anything.”

“Liar.....remember third year and the Firebolt incident?”

Harry chuckled and nodded. “Fine....one time and as it turned out, you were right. You were always right Hermione.”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t save you Harry.” Hermione’s eyes filled with tears and it broke Bruce’s heart to see her like this. It was clear to him that what these two shared was beyond anything he’d ever had with Rachel. It made him realize just how utterly unfair he’d been to Mia and how much she deserved to have unconditional love in her life. He vowed right then and there to always put her first and let her know everyday that she was his top priority.....his only priority.

“Hermione,” Harry admonished gently, “it isn’t your job to save the world, despite what you might think. You’ve always been extraordinary and smarter than everyone else.....but you’ve never been good at taking care of yourself and putting your own needs first. I had assumed it was Ron for you, and I didn’t realize until after you broke up with him that I had been an idiot for not going after what I’d wanted and making my intentions known. Snape used to relish calling us dunderheads and maybe he was right. And maybe Ron wasn’t the only one with the emotional range of a teaspoon, eh?”

Hermione’s musical laughter filled the room causing both wizard and Muggle to chuckle at the sound. Harry smiled widely, “I’ve really missed that sound.”

Hermione returned Harry’s smile and said, “I’ve missed laughing with you too.”

Harry nodded as his eyes fell to the man sitting next to his best friend. “I don’t think I need to tell you what a lucky man you are Mr. Wayne. But just in case it’s not clear, I expect you to take care of my witch and make sure she wants for nothing. You are to put her needs first and protect her always....even when she makes it impossible to do so.”

Hermione blushed and stuck her tongue out playfully, earning another round of chuckles.

“You have my word Mr. Potter that I will cherish Hermione and keep her safe. It may have taken us a while to finally get here together, but I love her more than anything.”

Harry nodded and turned his attention back to Hermione. “Sirius says hello.....and thinks you should keep the name. He said, and I quote.... ‘Kitten will make a fine Lady Black......but tell her that doesn’t mean I want her marrying my cousin to make it official.’ He was pretty adamant about the last part, come to think of it.”

Hermione giggled and shook her head, lifting up her engagement ring for Harry to see. “Tell Padfoot, he has absolutely nothing to worry about.”

“I’ll let him know, he will be so relieved.”

“How’s Remus and Tonks?”

“They’re good....they miss Teddy. Please stop by and see him before you head back to Gotham. I’m sure Meda would love to see you too.”

“Actually, I think they’ll be at the Weasley’s tomorrow for Christmas.”

“Good.” Harry nodded. “Give Molly and Arthur my love and tell George to stop playing games with Parkinson, and just propose to the witch.”

Hermione’s eyes bugged out in shock, before she choked out a laugh. “You’re barking!”

“Really not,” Harry grinned, “besides, how else will everyone know you’ve talked to me. No one knows about the two of them. No one.” Harry winked and Hermione shook her head at her best friend.

“You should’ve been sorted into Slytherin, Harry Potter.”

Harry shivered and scowled. “Not nice witch. Not nice at all.”

“Take care of yourself Harry....give my love to everyone....even Ron.”

Harry nodded. “I’ll do that. I love you Hermione, always. Be happy.”

“I love you too Harry....and I think I finally am.”

Harry’s eyes locked with Bruce’s, as the wizard nodded in farewell. “I’ll be watching you, Bruce Wayne.”

And just like that, Harry Potter vanished back into the ether.

Bruce folded Mia into his side as he held her tightly to himself, knowing how emotional this had to be for her.....but even more amazed at her courage for facing her past and finding a way to say goodbye.

“He’s a very good man.” Bruce said softly.

“He was and is.” Hermione agreed readily.

“He truly loves you Mia.”

Hermione’s amber eyes lifted and met his own, so many questions running though them Bruce couldn’t keep track.

“I feel like a fool.”

“I think you’re being too hard on yourself Mia. You both went through hell and back for years.....I can’t imagine it’s easy to try and find happiness when you’ve been in a war zone for the better part of what, eight years? I’ve come to realize that life sometimes tries to teach us lessons in ways we aren’t ready to see yet because there are other more pressing matters to deal with. Maybe if you and Harry hadn’t been thrust into so many life or death situations and allowed to grow up normally....things might’ve fallen into place easier, but who’s to say for certain. Would you trade any minute of your time with him?”

“No,” Hermione didn’t even need to think about that, “I’d do it all over again if it was the only way I could have had him in my life.”

“Something tells me he would feel exactly the same way. He must’ve been a truly powerful wizard in life.....I could feel his aura quite viscerally.”

Hermione smirked. “I have no doubt had Harry lived, he would’ve eventually become more powerful than Voldemort, Dumbledore or possibly Merlin himself. He had no idea the Magical world existed until he was eleven. He was smart, a natural at Magic......had he truly applied himself and not had to deal with imminent threats of death every year.....there’s no doubt he would’ve been very formidable indeed.”

Bruce hummed in agreement, before asking the question that was niggling at him. “Who is Sirius’ cousin?”

Hermione grinned up mischievously as her eyes sparkled with glee. “That would be Draco.”

Bruce growled out unhappily, which caused Mia to giggle. “That’s not funny Mia.”

“Of course not Bruce.”

Mia’s face though, belied her words and Bruce gripped her and pulled her onto their bed before kissing that look off her face.

“You’re a wicked witch.” Bruce muttered as he pulled back, seeing happiness and finally peace, radiating from Mia’s eyes.

“You might be more right than you know, Mr. Wayne.”

Chapter Text

Hermione woke up Christmas morning to Bruce wrapped around her.....his leg wedged in between hers and the soft snoring, indicating that he was still completely asleep. Wandlessly casting a tempus......she was surprised that it was after seven o’clock in the morning and then her brain registered the delicious smells coming from downstairs as she smiled softly. Alfred was such a good man....it was clear he loved Bruce very much and doted on him. She couldn’t imagine what it must’ve been like for him to have taken charge of Bruce at such a young age.....but clearly there was genuine affection between the two men.

Bruce was right about one thing.....Alfred would love these children as if they were his own grandchildren and that thought gave Hermione a bit of comfort. Making the decision to return to Gotham permanently hadn’t been an easy one, but in her heart she knew it was the right one. Bruce’s home was there.....his business and his heritage was irrevocably entwined with Gotham City. He cared about the people there and wanted to make a difference in their lives in whatever way he could and she had wanted to help him with that.....it was, if she was completely honest, why she had gone to Gotham in the first place. Not just because Wayne Enterprises could be instrumental in aiding her research efforts, but because she had been intrigued with the fact that a Muggle could actually be so devoted and altruistic with giving back. Hermione didn’t think Bruce would ever see himself in that vein, but it was true nonetheless.

The amused look on Harry’s face last night when he’d considered Bruce had made Hermione realize that it was highly likely that Harry intuitively noticed the similarities between himself and Bruce. Hermione hadn’t been blind to them either........they were essentially the same personality, except for magic. Both stubborn, rushing into danger, devoted to a cause, helping others and in general......powerful within their own spheres. Bruce was far more controlled than Harry ever was, but that was most likely due to his age and experience. Perhaps Harry might have learned to not be so brash and brazen, had he lived.

The fact that he’d known about the bond had been heartbreaking.....but Hermione had understood Harry better than anyone. He would’ve never walked away from Ginny once they’d married, regardless of the soul bond. He would have remained faithful and done his very best to honor Ginny in the way she’d deserved. The fact that Ginny was aware was a bit more complicated, and made her feel sad for the witch, who had never been a close friend.....but a good person.

As Hermione’s stomach rolled with the morning greetings of her two children, she couldn’t help but smile softly as she rubbed her stomach gently. She had always hoped to be a mother someday.....but had no idea what that would look like. Perhaps it was due to the curse, that those thoughts had been firmly supplanted from her mind with other more relevant tasks. But the fact was, in a few more months she would be a mother and the thought was both scary and exciting. Would she be a good mother? She certainly hoped so.

Sighing softly, Hermione made to move out of bed when a strong arm pulled her closer into a hard warm body as soft lips kissed her shoulder in greeting.

“You’re awake.” Bruce mumbled into her neck as he deeply inhaled the remnants of Mia’s perfume before humming and kissing along her neck in earnest......while other parts of his body responded to his unspoken intentions for the morning.

“I am.....so are your children.”

Bruce chuckled as his hand cupped Mia’s belly and he felt the fluttering of his children greeting him. His hands soothed over her stomach for a few moments and than moved in opposite directions as he used one hand to lift Mia’s leg over his and the other to cup a breast that filled his hand perfectly.

“Hmm......best Christmas ever.”

Mia giggled, before her breath caught on a moan as her amorous fiancé’s fingers began to tease her in earnest. Bruce’s low groan as his fingers dipped inside her, indicated he was very pleased with what he’d discovered and it didn’t take him long to join his body with hers as he brought them both to a languid release.

As they both laid in bed spent from their morning romp, Bruce didn’t seem to be interested in moving and Hermione’s entire body felt warm and satiated in a way she hadn’t felt, ever.

“Happy Christmas.” Hermione hummed out.

“It is.” Bruce admitted softly. “I can’t remember the last time I’ve looked forward to Christmas.....it was always a stark reminder of what I’d lost, but now.....it’s just the opposite. Thank you for that Mia.”

Hermione’s eyes filled with tears as she tilted her head up and looked over her shoulder at her fiancé, who’s face was open and happy. A stark difference than what his demeanor usually displayed. Bruce gently disengaged himself from Mia and situated her next to him so she was lying snuggled against his side with her head resting on his shoulder before she replied, “You’re welcome Bruce. It’s been a while for me too. I’ve always loved Christmas but the last one with my parents back when I was seventeen, was the last truly happy Christmas that I can remember. This time next year, we will have these little ones to spend the holidays with. I’m looking forward to that.”

Bruce smiled and his eyes were filled with affection as he hummed in agreement. “Me too. How old are children when they express their magic?”

Hermione shrugged. “It varies. I was four......but it can happen sooner.”

“Do you remember it?”

“Not really, but from what my mum told me......it was bedtime and I wanted to read my favorite book.....but she wanted me to go to sleep so she put the book on the top of the bookshelf. The next morning I had it in my bed, and at first she thought she’d forgotten to put it away. The next morning the same thing happened. So the following night she stood right outside my room and waited.......she saw me summon the book using magic.......she was shocked to say the least. She didn’t know what to think so apparently, she didn’t tell my dad right away. He’d figured it out sometime later.......but they were always supportive of my magic......they didn’t know what was going on, just that I was different. When Professor McGonagall came to our home the summer before I started Hogwarts with my letter and informed them that I had magic.....they were both stunned and oddly relieved.”

Bruce couldn’t help but chuckle at the image of a young Mia wanting her book. “So, you were a bookworm even then, huh?”

Rolling her eyes playfully, Mia replied, “Apparently. Are you surprised?”

“Not especially.” Bruce grinned as he kissed Mia’s temple affectionately.

“Anyway,” Mia went on with a huff, “magical children usually express bouts of accidental magic, as young children can’t control it. It’s why we use wands.....it helps center our magic into a focal point for spells. I’ve never really understood why we wait until eleven to tell Muggleborns and their families about magic. I would’ve really appreciated knowing about it sooner, perhaps then I wouldn’t have felt like a social outcast all throughout primary school.”

Bruce tilted Mia’s chin up so their eyes could meet, and his were filled with shock. “You, a social outcast? I have trouble believing that. Everyone who meets you falls in love with you. How was that possible?”

Mia blushed deeply and bit her lip in contemplation before answering.

“I was quite an arrogant child. I used my intellect as a buffer because the other children thought I was a freak. I was always the smartest one in class and children can be cruel. Even Harry didn’t really like me at first....but in his defense, I was kind of bossy, which didn’t change too much as we grew up. I just learned to temper it a bit.”

Bruce chuckled deeply as his eyebrows lifted in amusement. “I’m still having a hard time picturing it, Mia.”

“Well, maybe I’ll show you some of my memories.”

Bruce sat up in surprise as he stared down at Mia in shock. “I’m sorry? You can share memories and there is a way to view these?”

Mia blushed but nodded. “Yes. A pensieve is an object used to review memories. It has the appearance of a shallow stone or metal basin. Runes and symbols are carved into the basin.....and jewels are inlaid throughout.....there are also powerful enchantments on pensieve’s and they are quite rare. Dumbledore had one when he was Headmaster at Hogwarts and it was later given to me when I was doing research on the curse, as it was helpful to go back and recheck my memories from time to time. When my mind would get overworked......or a bit stretched too thin, I could store potentially helpful memories and revisit them later.”

Bruce sat back in shock as he processed what Mia was telling him.

“Do you have this pensieve with you?”

Mia sighed. “It’s in my beaded bag, warded inside another box that can only be opened with my blood.”

Turning towards the chaise, Bruce couldn’t help but fixate on Mia’s bag, so she immediately got up and went over to it, reached her arm in and pulled out an ornate box that had markings all over it.

“I don’t understand Mia....if this thing is so rare, how did they not take it back when you left the Magical World?”

Mia sighed heavily and Bruce noticed she didn’t make eye contact with him.

“Honestly, no one asked for it back. Minerva the Headmistress at Hogwarts, had given it over to Kingsley, our Minister and since the pensieve was technically Dumbledore’s, his brother Aberforth was next in line to inherit it......but he didn’t want it. Something about already living through his worst memories once and having no desire to do it again. Aberforth is a bit strange actually, but a good man. Kingsley had given it to Aberforth and he let me take it, never bothering to ask for it back. I’d just assumed he was fine with me keeping it, so there you go.”

“Possession is nine-tenths of the Law, right?”

“Something like that.” Mia smiled awkwardly.

Placing the box on the bed between them, Mia took her wand and cast a diffindo, and a small well of blood appeared on her hand.......when a few drops had made their way onto the box, it glowed for a moment and then the latches that held it closed opened instantly. Mia set the box aside and silently healed her cut with an episky.....before reaching back for the box and opening it on her lap.

When the pensieve came into view, Bruce was stunned with how ornate it appeared....it hovered on the bed between them in the air and the surface of the basin glimmered like burnished fire.

Hermione levitated the box back on the chaise next to her beaded bag and then slowly extracted a memory from her temple.....the silvery wisp swirled into the pensieve and Bruce stared at it in something akin to shocked horror.

“It’s fine,” Hermione admitted quietly, “if you take my hand I can lead you into the pensieve. The memories are quite vivid and very realistic so it can be a bit awkward at first....you may feel inclined to react to the things you see inside, but no matter how real it feels, it’s just a memory......nothing in it can hurt you.”

“Okay,” Bruce nodded and swallowed nervously, “what memory did you choose?”

Hermione smiled a bit in what she now would consider fond remembrance, but back then she’d had a nightmare or three after the incident in question.....even though it was one of her happier memories.....the day she, Harry and Ron became friends.

“This memory is from my first year at Hogwarts. Halloween specifically. Up until that day, I hadn’t made any friends at school.....I had overheard Ron talking about me rather unkindly earlier that day and I had gone to the girl’s lavatory prior to dinner and cried my eyes out. I was terribly homesick and despite desperately wanting to learn magic, part of me just wanted to go back home to my parents. Our Defense teacher let a Mountain Troll into the school, unbeknownst to myself.....and it found me crying in the bathroom. Harry and Ron, realizing I wasn’t at dinner.....came looking for me. They saved my life and it was that day, we became friends...inseparable.”

Bruce nodded as he took Mia’s hand, very curious to what exactly he’d be seeing and how realistic it would be. As he followed Mia’s lead and placed his head into the pensieve, he felt himself being pulled into the memory.....and was shocked at how real it looked and felt.

He watched in wonder as the scene played out before him......

 

Young Mia was sitting in one of the bathroom stalls crying her eyes out and utterly devastated. Bruce’s heart went out to the young girl, and he turned to see Mia’s face as she watched the scene.....seeing the sadness reflected in her gaze as she observed the heartbroken younger version of herself.

Then younger Mia stood up and wiped her eyes, opening the bathroom stall and moving towards the sink when she noticed the troll standing there and her eyes lifted, seeing the towering greenish monster growling at her. Mia took a few steps back and made to move back into the stall while the troll followed her.......until there was nowhere left for her to go.......

The troll lifted its club and arched it through the air, smashing the bathroom stalls while Mia’s screams rent through the air in terror......

In that moment two boys rushed into the bathroom, one obviously was a younger version of Harry Potter and other was a red-headed boy, who must’ve been the wizard known as Ron.....

“Hermione, move!” Harry yelled out, as he bravely rushed into the bathroom, no hesitation on the young wizard’s face nor fear in his eyes.......

Mia tried to crawl through the rubble on the floor as the troll smashed his large club again into the stalls, pinning Mia down under more debris......

Bruce smirked as he watched Harry and Ron pick up broken wood, throwing it at the troll to get its attention away from Mia......

“Hey, pea brain...” Ron yelled out as he threw a piece of wood at the troll, causing the beast to turn towards the two young wizards as the piece of wood hit it square in the face......

At that moment Bruce saw Mia crawling from under the debris, moving under the sinks trying desperately to hide from the troll, but the momentary distraction hadn’t stopped the troll from observing where she had gone, as it’s focus was once again on her......

The troll’s club slammed down on the porcelain sinks, just barely missing crushing Mia as she screamed again......

“Help!” Young Mia screamed at the two boys.......

Harry reached into his robes, grabbed his wand as he rushed the troll and bravely grabbed onto its arm......being lifted into the air as he yelled out.....then landing on the trolls shoulders......and Bruce shook his head at how recklessly heroic the young wizard was even then......there was simply no hesitation, nor fear in the young Mr. Potter’s actions......

The troll, realizing the situation, started to move his head and shoulders manically; trying to dislodge the young wizard......then somehow, Harry’s wand ended up the troll’s nose and Bruce could hear Mia’s soft chuckle as she watched the scene with amusement shining from her eyes and a small smile resting upon her face.......

Young Mia’s expression however, was one of disbelief as she watched Harry being thrashed around by the troll, until Harry’s wand lodged into the troll’s nose.....the disgusted grunt of Ron’s ‘ewww’ and young Mia’s abject look of utter disgust had Bruce chuckling as well......despite the imminent danger.....

At that moment the troll started to sneeze and young Mr. Potter grabbed onto the troll’s ears for leverage.....desperately trying not to get flung off......

Then the troll grabbed Harry, suddenly the young wizard was hanging upside down in one hand, while the troll had its club clutched in the other.....

“Do something!” Harry yelled.

The troll swung the club and Harry moved up out of the way, just barely avoiding being struck.

Bruce could see Ron looking around in confusion and saying, “What?”

“Anything!” Harry bit back as he flailed upside down in irritation, just barely getting out of the way of another swing from the troll’s club.

Bruce saw Ron pull out his wand, and point it at the troll......

“Hurry up!” Harry bellowed.

“Swish and flick!” Young Mia imitated what looked like the motions to a spell and Bruce watched in amusement as the red-headed wizard pointed his wand at the troll and spoke......

“Wingardium leviosa.”

The club that was in the troll’s hand was immediately suspended in mid air, above its head and the troll look confused as Harry writhed around, still hanging upside down........

The troll then looked up and the club immediately came down on top of its head hard, and Bruce watched as Ron muttered the words....”cool”.....before the troll swayed and dropped Harry, who desperately moved out of the way as the troll came crashing down towards him.......

Bruce saw young Mia standing up from under the destroyed sinks where water was squirting everywhere, her curly hair in complete disarray while Harry and Ron just stared at the troll in shock.....

“Is it.....dead?” Young Mia asked.

“I don’t think so.....just knocked out.” Harry replied kindly.

Bruce observed Harry leaning down and removing his wand that was stuck in the troll’s nose, causing everyone to grimace in revulsion.....himself included as the young Harry cleaned off the wand with his robes as he groaned and said......”troll bogies.”

Suddenly three adults came rushing into the bathroom.....one woman and two men.....the woman had a pointed hat on her head and her hand was clutched to her heart as she gasped, “Oh my goodness! Explain yourselves....both of you!” Immediately addressing the two young wizards.......

“Well, what it is.....” Harry mumbled while Ron started to say something when Young Mia piped up....

“It’s my fault Professor McGonagall.”

The three adults turned towards Mia in shock, clearly not believing her......even Harry and Ron seemed stunned....

“Miss Granger?” The woman McGonagall replied, clearly shocked.

“I went looking for the troll, I’d read about them and thought I could handle it....”

Bruce noticed Harry’s look of complete surprise as he gazed at Mia......and he turned to Mia and saw where her focus was as well.......the small smile on her face was telling.......

“But I was wrong,” young Mia continued, “if Harry and Ron hadn’t come and found me.....I’d probably be dead.”

“Be that as it may,” McGonagall replied emotionally, “it was an extremely foolish thing to do! I would have expected more rational behavior on your part and I’m very disappointed in you Miss Granger,” Young Mia’s head bowed in shame as McGonagall continued, “five points will be taken from Gryffindor for your serious lack of judgement.” The woman then focused her attention on the two young men who were standing there looking a bit flummoxed.....

“As for you two gentleman,” the older woman continued, “I just hope you realize how fortunate you are.....not many first year students could take on a fully grown mountain troll and live to tell the tale......five points will be awarded to each of you......for sheer dumb luck!”

Bruce chuckled again, not missing the happy smiles from the two boys nor Young Mia’s small smile of acceptance.

 

The memory ended as both he and Mia were pulled out of the pensieve and Bruce sat back stunned at what he’d just witnessed, all the while observing the look of melancholy on Mia’s face.

“That was incredible,” Bruce admitted, “it felt so real!”

“It does.” Mia smiled warmly at the amazed look on Bruce’s face, before his hazel eyes settled onto her.

“You took the blame for your friends. They saved your life.....I can see how something like that would have bonded the three of you. Your Mr. Potter was quite brave and reckless even back then.” Bruce shook his head and chuckled deeply. “I don’t even remember what I was doing at eleven, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t anything remotely as interesting, nor dangerous.”

Mia giggled and tilted her head in amusement. “Yes.....that moment bonded the three of us irrevocably in many ways and you’re right about Harry. He was always jumping into danger without a second thought......it’s a wonder I didn’t have permanent gray hairs by the end of sixth year.”

Mia moved the pensieve to the side of the bed where it hovered as Bruce stared at it with a questioning look upon his face.

“Have you used it to go back and look at memories other than for research, or was this the first time?”

“This was the first time.” Mia admitted softly.

Bruce nodded as he enveloped Mia back into his arms and sighed. “Thank you for sharing that with me, Mia. If I hadn’t witnessed it with my own eyes, I don’t think I would have ever truly understood what your school years must’ve been like. Seeing it up close makes it so much more real and visceral in ways that I’d never imagined. I can see where this device could be quite dangerous....someone could get lost in their memories if they weren’t careful.”

Mia nodded. “I suppose that’s a possibility.”

Bruce smirked as he rolled Mia underneath him. “If you ever feel the need to share your past with me, just know I am willing and honored to take part in whatever you wish to show me. I can’t imagine it was easy to share that memory, but I’m impressed and amazed by you Mia. With each new thing I learn, it makes me wonder why you chose me......my life seems so mundane in comparison......despite being Batman....” the look on Bruce’s face was suddenly filled with uncertainty and Mia realized what he was likely thinking.

“Bruce, I was just thinking about this before you woke up.”

“About what?”

Mia sighed as she cuddled back into Bruce’s side before she spoke. “About why I came to Gotham in the first place.”

Bruce tilted her head up again, so he could see her face....his own eyes were filled with curiosity at where the conversation had gone.

“I’ve always wondered why that was,” Bruce admitted softly, “you obviously suspected I was Batman and Lucius told me a bit about the conversation he’d had with you during your first meeting with him....as to why you chose Wayne Enterprises. Was that true?”

Mia nodded. “It was. I had followed Gotham’s news a bit after you’d returned from your disappearance. It was mostly the news about the Batman that had left me intrigued. When I’d started putting the pieces together, it wasn’t crazy to assume that you were him. I was impressed with how someone with no magic could wish to make such a difference.......I suppose I was intrigued with the possibilities. Occam’s Razor.....I’m assuming you’re familiar with it?”

Bruce chuckled and nodded. “I am. Most people choose not to see it.”

“That’s understandable I suppose. I mean, there aren’t many billionaires dressing up as vigilantes out there.....”

“No I don’t suppose there are,” Bruce admitted, “I think that’s why people tend to overlook the obvious.”

“Well that and your playboy persona, which was quite convincing if I do say so.”

Bruce growled and rolled Mia back underneath him. “There will be no more of that.......regardless of what the press may or may not speculate, I’ve never been that person.”

Mia giggled as she grinned up at her fiancé mischievously. “Are you sure about that?”

Bruce’s eyes narrowed. “Quite sure.”

“Good to know.” Mia bit back playfully while Bruce just heatedly covered her lips with his, deciding to put an end to their conversation for a few moments until he pulled back and stared down into gorgeous amber eyes that were filled with warmth.

“What time do we need to be at your extended family’s home today?”

“Two o’clock.”

Bruce smirked while his hands reached down between Mia’s thighs, finding her wet and ready for him. Her inhaled moan made his smirk deepen before he said, “Perhaps we might spend a bit more time in bed this morning as Alfred won’t have everything together for a least an hour.”

Mia bit her lip to try to prevent the moan escaping that was building up in her chest as Bruce teased her relentlessly with his talented fingers. His answering grin let her know he was fully aware of exactly how he was affecting her.

Mia’s eyes glistened as she waved her hand and Bruce suddenly found himself flat on his back, arms pinned above his head with magic, while Mia stared down at him with a predatory grin before she began to kiss him on his neck, chest....biting and licking her way south, and his former triumphant smirk vanished as his wicked witch decided to take control of their playtime for the next hour.

Chapter Text

Alfred had left breakfast for them with a note to enjoy their day and that he’d see them sometime later that evening. Hermione had smiled in glee as she picked up a fresh chocolate croissant and took a bite, humming with pleasure while Bruce just chuckled at her enthusiasm for Alfred’s pastries.

A bit after breakfast, Hermione went to grab her things so she could return home to get ready for the afternoon and Bruce stopped her before she could leave.

“Why don’t you get dressed here?”

“I probably could, but I have some gifts at my home that I need to get so I thought it might be easier to get ready there.”

Shaking his head, Bruce pulled Mia into his embrace as he kissed her softly before speaking again.

“Please don’t take this the wrong way, because I know you’re more than capable of taking care of yourself, but I’d just feel better if you got ready here. Would it be too much to ask you to get what you need and come back?”

Hermione sighed as she ran her hand through Bruce’s hair and he hummed at her touch while his eyes bored intensely into hers.

“I suppose not,” Hermione capitulated easily, “Just give me a bit, okay?”

“I can do that.” Bruce nodded as he stepped back and watched with a chuckle as Mia disappeared with a ‘pop.’ Shaking his head, Bruce had to wonder if he would ever get used to seeing Mia disappear and reappear at will. Of all the things he’d witnessed and seen, apparition was the one that amazed him the most. What an effective tool to have.

It wasn’t long before Mia returned, beaded bag in hand as she came over and sat down on his lap and gave him a kiss. “Better?”

“Much, thank you.”

“Hmmm, you’re welcome.”

Bruce considered his fiancé for a moment, then asked a question he’d been wondering about for a while.

“You’d mentioned before about being an animagus?”

Hermione nodded and grinned in understanding. “And you’re curious to know what form I take?”

Bruce mimicked her response and waited with bated breath to see if Mia would actually show him.

Standing up and grabbing her wand, Hermione’s body shifted until her animagus form took hold and Bruce gasped in wonder as he knelt down and reached out to feel for himself that what he was seeing was real.

“That’s amazing!” Bruce breathed out in wonder as he felt the fur beneath his fingers and Mia’s responding purring as he stroked her in earnest. Her fur was spotted and softer than anything he’d ever felt, her large tail swished in amusement as Bruce just sat there and petted her. Her large paw swiped at him and Bruce fell over laughing in delight as the big cat plopped down next to him and chuffed, almost as if she was laughing.

A series of mewls and a yowl came from the large cat. A Snow Leopard.

When Mia transformed back into herself, Bruce’s smile couldn’t have been any wider if he’d tried.

“And I thought apparition was incredible! But why a Snow Leopard?”

Mia sat back and tilted her head before shrugging. “I went through the meditations whilst I was in Tibet and it’s the meditations that bring knowledge of your form. I was surprised at first, but the more I’d thought about it, the more it actually made sense. I became very attached to that part of the world when I was there and it irrevocably changed me in many ways. Not enough for my patronus to change, but enough that my animagus form was representative of my time there.”

Bruce nodded, clearly impressed. “If I didn’t know better, I’d really think you were a Snow Leopard.”

“I did spend some time in the mountain regions after my form took hold, and while Snow Leopards are extremely cautious and solitary creatures, I did encounter one during my time. An older female who oddly, didn’t seem wary of me at all. I learned to hunt, scent and use my night vision fairly well. I’ve still been trying to learn partial transformation, but it’s much harder to master.”

Bruce looked over at his fiancé stunned. “I don’t think I understand....partial transformation?”

“Yes.....transforming only parts of myself....mostly my senses. Sirius, Harry’s godfather, had spent so much time in his animagus form whilst in Azkaban he was almost more dog than human. He took on the form of a Grim, which is considered a dark omen within the Magical world. Sirius, was a Black and as such knew quite a bit of Dark Magic but he wasn’t like the rest of his family. He was good and kind, if a bit mental. Harry loved him tremendously and it was the closest he’d ever had to having a parent when Sirius was alive.”

“It’s truly astonishing what magic can do.” Bruce admitted, and then stood up bringing Mia with him. “We should probably get cleaned up and dressed for our visit.”

“That sounds like a good idea, although I did get you something for Christmas if you would like it now?”

Bruce was a bit stunned as he wasn’t expecting Mia to get him anything, but he smiled widely as he told her to wait a moment before he moved quickly into his closet and then came out with a gift.

“I was going to give this to you tonight when we got home, but now is as good a time as any.” Bruce said as he sat down on the bed and handed Mia the gift he’d gotten for her.

Her amber eyes lifted in surprise before she opened her beaded bag and pulled out her gift for Bruce.

They both stared a bit awkwardly at their gifts until Mia said softly, “Open yours first?”

Bruce nodded as he sighed a bit nervously and then proceeded to unwrap the paper, opening the box underneath and when his eyes caught on what was inside, his heart skipped a beat as he swallowed emotionally at the pictures that were surrounded by a stunning silver frame.

The collage was a set of four sonogram pictures from Mia’s ultrasound that he’d missed at her twenty week check up, due to an emergency board meeting at Wayne Enterprises. Bruce had been disappointed, even moreso when Mia had told him she was pregnant with twins, but looking at the photos in his hand....as he took the framed picture out of the box, caused a wide smile to bloom over his face.

Bruce looked up and saw Mia biting her lip in anticipation and he felt a tear fall from his eye as he reached for her and gave her a heated kiss full of gratitude.

“Thank you, this is the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received.”

Mia’s face blossomed into a relieved smile as she pointed out several features on the sonogram and Bruce nodded attentively as his finger gently traced each image in wonder.

“You can see so much, it’s amazing,” Bruce admitted before his face fell a bit, “I’m sorry I wasn’t there to experience this with you.”

“It’s not your fault Bruce,” Mia’s voice was soft, but resolved as she spoke, “you can’t always control everything, despite your desire to do so. Emergencies happen and I’m not unaware of how much you’re responsible for.”

Shaking his head, Bruce reached for Mia’s hand and gave it a firm squeeze. “No matter what obligations I might have, you and our children are my number one priority. I’m not missing any more appointments. The board will just have to understand that our family takes precedence.”

Mia’s smile was blinding as she nodded in understanding. “I could always confund them, you know?”

Bruce chuckled deeply at the mischievous glint in his fiancé’s eyes. “Don’t tempt me, you wicked witch. I just might take you up on the offer.”

Mia’s laughter rang throughout the room and Bruce couldn’t help but grin at how happy she looked. He then nudged her and gestured to the gift on her lap, “Open it.”

Taking a deep breath in, Mia gently undid the wrapping and opened the small box as her breath hitched in shock at what was inside; but when her eyes met Bruce’s they were filled with questions.

“I’d actually planned this before everything that’s happened this past week. I wanted to show you that my intentions were serious. I honestly hadn’t known when we’d get our relationship back here again and I didn’t want to rush you.....so I’d figured next to proposing, this was the one way I could show you how much I wanted to be with you.”

Mia nodded absently as she lifted the keychain from the box......one end had her name.....Mia.....engraved in what looked to be platinum and there were sapphires that glinted throughout her name. On the other end, was an actual key.......

“Where is this a key to?”

Bruce smirked. “The key is a master for Wayne Manor, which I’ll be taking you to see as soon as we get back to Gotham. The other part of the keychain, contains a electronic master key that accesses the Penthouse, my private entrance at Wayne Enterprises and the Batcave down at the Wayne Dockyard.”

Mia stared at the gift and bit her lip trying to keep the tears at bay. Logically she knew that since they were engaged, it was only a matter of time before she and Bruce would be co-habitating but the fact that he’d planned this for a while made the last vestiges of doubt fall away. He was essentially giving her access to every part of his life....both Bruce Wayne’s and Batman’s. He was trusting her with all that he was and it made her heart swell with love for the man sitting across from her.

The silence was deafening as Bruce cleared his throat awkwardly before he spoke. “Is it okay?”

Mia’s eyes lifted up to meet the hazel ones staring back at her, which were filled with uncertainty and she smiled and nodded. “Yes, it’s perfect. Thank you Bruce.”

Taking the box from Mia’s hands, that were trembling, Bruce enveloped her into his arms and kissed her gently for a few moments before pulling back and touching his forehead to hers. “I know our road hasn’t been a conventional one, Mia.....but I want you to know, all that I am belongs to you. You once told me I needed to decide what I wanted as Bruce Wayne and not Batman....do you remember?”

Hermione nodded. “I do.”

“That’s just it Mia, I’m both. I can’t separate my dual persona anymore than you can separate being both a Muggle and a Witch. Both are integral to who you fundamentally are, just as Batman is fundamentally a part of who I am and both parts of me love all of you, equally. I remember thinking not so long ago, that Mia was the Muggle part of your personality and Hermione was the magical one.....Mia’s kindness and Hermione’s cunning.....Mia’s determination to help others and Hermione’s uncompromising will to see it through.........you are both women, just as I’m both Bruce and Batman. There isn’t a part of me that wants to stay hidden from you.....I want you to know all of me as I want to know all of you. I love all of you Mia.”

Hermione couldn’t hold back the tears anymore at Bruce’s declaration and damn her hormones.....she didn’t think she’d be able to even if she wanted to. Bruce was right about there being two parts of her personality, and as much as he loved her.....she loved him just as much.

“I love both parts of you equally. I’ve never considered favoring one over the other. I suppose back then, I thought the main reason you allowed me into your life was because of what I offered in the way of help for Batman. At least it felt that way at the time. That was the reason I said what I did that day on your yacht. I had wondered if Batman was the more dominant side of your personality for a time, but you’re right.......you’re both just as I am. It’s not a bad thing....in fact I find it rather attractive.”

Bruce grinned at the admission. “You have a penchant for danger, Miss Black.....in fact I seem to recall you mentioning something to that fact the first night we met.”

“You mean how I don’t tend to gamble with anyone’s life but my own?”

“Mmmhmm,” Bruce agreed, “and how you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie. Don’t think I didn’t notice that night how you didn’t answer that question.”

Mia shrugged but the look on her face was telling. “You didn’t seem to have a problem with it, in fact if memory serves.....you seemed quite aroused by the lack of admission on my part.”

Chuckling deeply, Bruce pulled Mia flush with him as he kissed her deeply and the two remained that way for some time before Bruce pulled back with a sigh of disappointment.

“As much as I’d like to stay here in bed with you all afternoon, we do have an engagement to attend and I am very interested in meeting the Weasley family and maybe hearing a bit more about your escapades as a child.”

“You know, it hardly seems fair.....I’ve shared quite a bit of my past with you and yet you haven’t reciprocated much.”

“Well, I am at a disadvantage. It’s not like I can show you my memories.”

Mia’s grin was predatory as she quirked an eyebrow in challenge. “Not exactly true Mr. Wayne. If you are able to focus your thoughts well enough, I could extract a memory or two for viewing. I would imagine your time with the League taught you many meditation techniques that would be helpful in that regard.”

The look on Bruce’s face was both wary and curious. “Really?”

“Yes, but perhaps we might try it some other time as you’re right and we need to be leaving fairly soon. Shower?”

“Sounds like an excellent idea.” Bruce smirked, as he lifted Mia up into his arms and headed for their ensuite.

Chapter Text

When they were both ready, Mia reached for Bruce and grinned mischievously.

“We will need to apparate to the Burrow, you up for it?”

“I’ll be fine Mia, I actually think the portkey was worse.”

“Really?”

“Yes. So Portkey and apparition.....are those the only ways magicals get from place to place?”

“We use brooms, and the floo network.”

“Floo?”

“I’ll show you later.”

“Fine, let’s get going.” Bruce said a bit shortly, trying to hide his nervousness.

“Everyone will be very welcoming Bruce, so you don’t need to worry. Besides, Molly would never allow anyone to mistreat a guest in her home and no one would dare go against her.”

“Not even you?”

“Are you barking?!? That woman is scary. I think I might’ve mentioned it, but she was the one who killed Bellatrix during the final battle at Hogwarts in 1998. Bellatrix was an insanely powerful witch, so.....”

“I understand and I will be on my best behavior.”

“Good to know.” Hermione smiled and took Bruce’s arm before dropping her wand and ‘popping’ to the Burrow.

When they landed just outside the perimeter of the Burrow, Bruce couldn’t help but gasp as he gazed upon the crooked building in front of him.

“That’s....”

“Magic.” Mia grinned as she took Bruce’s hand and led him towards the Weasley’s home.

Just as they were about to enter the front door, it opened and there stood a fairly tall red-headed man with longish hair, scars on one side of his face and an earring in his left ear. He was dressed in dark colors, but his blue eyes were bright and assessing as he watched them approach.

“Bill!” Hermione smiled widely as she rushed for the man who picked her up into a bear hug and smiled widely.

“Hey Hermione, it’s good to have you home.”

Bill set her down and his eyes focused back on the man standing there before he held out his hand in welcome. “Bill Weasley.”

“Bruce Wayne.”

The two men shook hands firmly and Bruce nearly grimaced as Bill slapped his hand down onto his shoulder at the firm a grip the red-head had. He wasn’t particularly muscled...but lean and wiry so it was surprising his grip was so strong.

“So you’re the man who knocked up our Hermione?”

Bruce smirked and nodded. “Yes, that would be me.”

Bill chuckled as he opened the door and ushered the two inside. “I’m looking forward to getting to know you Bruce Wayne.” The words were innocuous but the sharp look emanating from Bill’s eyes was not.

When they moved inside, Bill left for a second and another voice that Hermione knew very well reverberated through the home.

“There you are young lady!” Molly Weasley blustered into the living room with her apron on, as she enveloped Hermione into a motherly hug. Pulling back she took Hermione’s face into her hands. “You look peaky dear, perhaps we should get you something to eat.”

“I’m fine Molly, but I would like to introduce you to my fiancé....Bruce Wayne.”

“Fiancé!” Molly’s eyes widened in shock before she called for her husband, who came quickly wondering what the commotion was all about.

“Hermione!” Arthur said happily, “And is this your beau?”

“Fiancé!” Molly bit out, her cheeks flustered as she eyed the well dressed gentleman who was standing there with a placid expression on his face.

Bruce smiled and held out his hand in greeting. “Bruce Wayne, Sir. It is lovely to meet you both. Mia had told me so many wonderful things about your family.”

Arthur smiled and shook the man’s hand warmly. “Hermione has mentioned you to me, and it’s good to finally put a face with a name. Happy Christmas and welcome to our home. You will need to excuse my Molly as she views Hermione as a daughter.” Arthur’s blue gaze landed on Hermione’s amber one as she blushed in embarrassment. “Engaged?”

“Yes, I should have owled before....but I just thought it might be better to share it with everyone today.”

Arthur chuckled. “Well, it will make for an interesting Christmas if nothing else, but we are happy for you Hermione. Does this mean you will be making your permanent home in.....what was the name of that city again?”

“Gotham, Sir.” Bruce offered helpfully.

“Ah yes,” Arthur nodded, “George mentioned something about what you do there, but to be honest I don’t always understand all the nuances within the Muggle World. It fascinates me, but confounds me equally. I do think it’s admirable that you manage to do so many things without magic.”

Bruce chuckled. “I can understand that. After seeing all that magic can do, I would imagine it might be a bit much wrapping your head around the muggle ways of doing things. Take transportation.....I must admit I find your modes of getting from one place to another quite efficient and time saving.”

“Well, perhaps we can share information as I’m always eager to learn new things.” Arthur offered.

“I would be honored, Sir.”

“Oh call me Arthur.....you’re going to be family after all. Isn’t that right, Mollywobbles?”

Molly’s eyes narrowed at the Muggle before she sighed and focused her gaze back on Hermione.

“You’re happy?”

Hermione nodded. “Yes Molly, very happy.”

Molly sighed in resignation before her blue eyes locked onto Bruce’s hazel ones, while she pointed her finger at him. “You just make sure that you take care of our girl, Mr. Wayne. I don’t have to tell you what will happen if you don’t.”

“No, ma’am, Mia explained to me already just how formidable of a Witch you are, not to mention the only mother figure she has. You have my word that I will take care of her and put her needs first.”

“Very well,” Molly capitulated, “The remaining members of our family are outside playing Quidditch. Why don’t you take your beau out to meet everyone dearie......I’m sure there’s a few people he hasn’t met yet.”

“Of course Molly, thank you for being so understanding.” Hermione said softly and Molly just enveloped her back into a hug before cupping the younger witch’s cheeks in her hands, giving her a long look.

“Nonsense, Arthur and I are your family dearie. This is your home no matter where you end up. Those children you’re carrying are our grandchildren in every way that matters. Don’t you worry yourself about anything. As long as you’re happy, Arthur and I are happy for you. You deserve some joy after all you’ve suffered.”

Hermione gripped Molly into a tight embrace which was returned, both witches teary eyed and emotional as they clung to each other. Molly pulled away and wiped Hermione’s tears from her cheeks, placing a kiss on her forehead. “Go relax....dinner will be along shortly.”

“Okay.” Hermione nodded, taking Bruce’s hand and leading him out into the back of the Burrow.

Hermione led Bruce outside, and Bruce’s gaze moved up into the distance as he watched several people flying around on brooms. Chuckling to himself, he shook his head in wonder.

“That’s amazing.”

“I hate flying.” Hermione grimaced as she took a seat on a bench, patting the spot next to her.

“Really? You’ve flown on a dragon....how can you hate flying?” Bruce took the offered spot and locked his fingers through hers.

“I didn’t necessarily choose to fly on a dragon Bruce. It was the only option we had, so barring life and death scenarios where I need to fly to save my own skin....I’d rather keep my feet planted firmly on the ground.”

Bruce’s grin was wide as he stared at his fiancé. “I see, well it’s good to know that you actually aren’t perfect.”

Hermione snickered. “Shut it, Wayne. Nobody’s perfect, especially not me.”

“Hmmm, jury’s still out on that one. So you detest Quidditch?”

“It’s an unnecessarily brutal sport with no redeeming value whatsoever.”

“I take it that’s not a popular sentiment within the Magical Community?”

“Nope, but it’s not like I’m ever going to play so I really don’t care.”

As they watched the game being played, Bruce recognized George and Malfoy, as well as Zabini who looked to be playing on one team against another red-head who was much bulkier than George or Bill Weasley. It looked like the other two men were people that Bruce wasn’t familiar with.

“Who are the other wizards who look to be playing against George’s team?” Bruce inquired with interest.

Hermione stared up into the sky for a second before speaking. “The red-head is Charlie Weasley, who is just a bit younger than Bill. He’s a dragon tamer in Romania.”

“Excuse me, a dragon tamer? That’s an actual profession?”

Hermione’s laugh carried through the backyard as she noticed Bruce’s disbelief. “It is, and he loves it.”

“Okay,” Bruce shook his head before continuing, “and the other two men?”

“The large one with black hair is Cassius Warrington. He works in the Auror office with Malfoy. The other wizard is Greg Goyle and he also does some work in the Auror department. Both wizards are Pureblood’s and we’re sorted in Slytherin.”

Hermione looked around and her eyes widened a bit in realization.

“What is it Mia?”

“I just realized something.”

“Which is?”

“Everyone here except for me is a Pureblood. In fact, I think pretty much everyone coming today is a Pureblood....except for me.”

“Who all is coming today?” Bruce asked with a furrowed brow.

“The Weasley’s of course: Arthur, Molly, Bill, Percy, Charlie and George. Malfoy, Zabini, Warrington, Goyle, Neville, Parkinson, Luna Lovegood, Andromeda....Teddy’s not because his parents weren’t.....but the adults, yes.”

“Did you ever look into just what demographics were more affected by the curse?”

Hermione shook her head. “I didn’t. Why, do you think there’s a correlation of some kind?”

“Well, I don’t know much about such things.....were there historically more Purebloods than Half-bloods or Muggle-borns at your school?”

“I would say that there were nearly as many Half-bloods as Purebloods...but Muggle-borns were always in the minority.”

Bruce thought about it for a moment before he decided to speak up what he was thinking. “Maybe it’s not about Magicals and Muggles procreating to break the curse. Maybe it’s about diluting the magical lines altogether. If there are no more Purebloods, then there would be no more prejudice, correct?”

Hermione’s face paled as she realized just what Bruce was hypothesizing. “Do you really think it’s that simple?”

“I don’t know. You are a Muggle-born....you got pregnant by a Muggle. What if we are looking at a trickle down effect? A Pureblood, in order to procreate has to do so with a Half-blood?”

Hermione stared up into the sky and thought about that. “Okay, I see what your saying, but the fact remains in that it doesn’t necessarily take care of the hierarchical structure inherent to blood prejudice. Those who are children of Half-Blood/Pureblood matches will still be seen as better than those like our children.”

“Then it must have to do with a combination of things: Introducing new blood, removing prejudice and creating balance. How would something like that happen naturally? Or could it?”

“Balance would be tricky, but again it goes back to my original hypothesis. If magicals had to procreate with Muggles....all children would be seen as half blood regardless of the magical parents blood status. It would introduce new blood and force the magical community to remove their inherent prejudices about blood superiority.”

“But, it would also negate the Statue of Secrecy in many ways because the more Muggles who are introduced into the Magical society, the greater chance of exposure.”

Staring off into space, Hermione thought a bit more about it and then another idea occurred to her.

“What if it’s not about the whom but the why?”

“What do you mean?”

Hermione gave Bruce a haunted look. “I’m an orphan, so are you. Draco is, Neville is; Goyle, Warrington, Zabini, Teddy, Parkinson, Susan Bones, Hannah Abbott all are. In those cases.....one or all their parents were lost to the curse. In the case of the Slytherin’s.....all their parents were lost to the curse. The thing is......Myself, Teddy, Susan, Hannah and Neville all lost their parents as a byproduct of the wars....the others the curse. Could the curse have taken their parents in retribution......and forced the younger generation to give up their prejudiced ways? The ones who couldn’t, or wouldn’t were taken....the ones magic felt had a chance for redemption were spared? Perhaps I’ve been looking at this from the entirely wrong angle?”

“It’s possible....but then why Harry? Or Ron?”

Hermione sighed as she lowered her head in sadness, then a horrific idea came to her. Harry, Ron and she were the Golden Trio.....a triad for lack of a better analogy. Harry was the Chosen One......he saved the wizarding world....Merlin’s Beard!

Menhet was literally ‘The One Who Sacrifices’......Khnum was the God of Fertility, Family.......Ron was born into the most prolific line of Wizards and Witches in the Wizarding World! He was Khnum......that would mean that she was Heka.....a deity that was neither male nor female. Harry was Menhet reincarnated, Ron was Khnum and she......Hermione gulped in terror.....could she really be Heka reincarnated? Heka brought magic, balance and healing.....was it really that simple? Why she and her two best friends had been inseparable? The Golden Trio......it couldn’t be a coincidence, could it? One a Pureblood, one a Half-blood and one......a Mudblood......

“Mia, what is it?” Bruce gripped Mia into his embrace as her body shook with the realization of the very real possibility of her conclusion. She started to hyperventilate and didn’t hear Bruce yelling for someone to come help him.

Suddenly she was surrounded by several people as her body started to calm down, a light warmth enveloped her as her breathing slowed and she felt herself being lowered onto the ground, that was soft and welcoming.

As she got her breathing finally under control, her amber eyes locked onto hazel ones that were filled with fear and worry.

“Mia, are you alright?”

Hermione shook her head as her eyes glistened with tears as her breath caught on a sob. How could she have not seen it?

“I’ve been so blind...” she said slowly, her eyes filled with terror, “I finally figured it out.”

The looks of confusion were understandable but Bruce’s face paled in understanding.

“The curse? You figured out what?”

“Why it happened now, and what it all means.”

The shocked gasps from around her caused Hermione’s gaze to move towards her friends and extended family, all of them gazing down at her in shock.

“Granger,” Draco growled out emotionally, “Are you sure?”

Hermione sighed. “Am I absolutely 100% positive, no.....but are my educated guesses usually right?”

Everyone just stood there as Arthur nodded in understanding. “You’ve always had good instincts.”

“You’ve always been right Mia, do you remember the words that were spoken last night?”

Hermione paled as the tears that were ready to fall, finally did so down her cheeks.

“He did say that, didn’t he?”

“He did.” Bruce concurred.

“Who said what?” Bill inquired curiously.

“Harry.” Hermione admitted as she saw the looks of utter astonishment on the faces of everyone present but it was George who recovered first.

“You spoke to Harry? How is that even possible Hermione?”

“It just is,” Hermione admitted quietly, “he asked me to send his love and to tell you George to just marry the witch and put both yourselves out of misery.”

George’s face turned ashen while another voice gasped out in shock. When Hermione turned her head around, she saw Pansy Parkinson rooted to her spot, staring at her in horror.

“Fuck.” George said half-joking, half serious then screeched ‘ouch’ as his mother silently hexed him.

“Language, George Fabian Weasley!”

“Sorry mum.”

“I think we need to get everyone inside Mollywobbles. Something tells me we have quite a bit to discuss.”

Chapter Text

It had taken a bit to get everyone situated into the family area inside the Burrow, where Bruce and Hermione were currently sitting on a small couch near the center of the room. Bruce had his arm around his fiancé, while her head was cradled into his shoulder, her demeanor oddly subdued as if she was in a trance of some kind. Bruce knew his Mia was processing something deeply, so he just held her and quietly soothed her with gentle touches and the occasional kiss on her temple....just so she knew he was there....supporting her.

Whatever realization she’d come to in the last 10 minutes had been life altering if her reaction had been anything to judge from. When she’d starting panicking, Bruce had been beside himself and he’d never been more grateful for Magic than he’d had in that moment. If they hadn’t been here, with her friends and extended family, there’s no telling what might’ve happened.

The reactions of Mia outing her talk with Harry had been telling. The astonished looks on everyone’s face let Bruce know that it was likely that none of them knew about the Deathly Hallows, or at least the fact that none of them knew Mia was in possession of them. Not that it was surprising, Mia tended to keep things close to the vest.....but it did explain a few things he’d never considered before.

First, that even though she’d been intimate with Malfoy, she obviously hadn’t trusted him enough to share such information with him. That was telling. Most women equated sex with intimacy, but Mia seemed to be the opposite. While she had made him wait for a while to initiate sex in their relationship, she hadn’t necessarily confided in him either. But once Mia’s magical background had been outed and she’d eventually trusted him enough, the honesty had come. She hadn’t held back any of what she was.....except for her scars which she’d yet to show him in full detail.

Secondly, these people trusted her implicitly. They knew enough of her brilliance to know that whatever conclusion she’d likely come to was the correct one. Arthur Weasley had sent for someone named Kingsley Shacklebolt, and if memory served he was their current Minister. So they trusted in Mia’s intellect enough to know that her theory, whatever it was, was likely right.

And finally, Bruce realized that despite her closeness with these people, there was something fundamentally missing for Mia if she had chosen to walk away from these people nearly seven years ago. Instead of allowing them to support and comfort her, she’d left and made a new life for herself. Bruce had only had Alfred, Rachel at times and now Lucius as his main supports. But here, Bruce was amazed at how much these people genuinely loved and cared for Mia.....so why had she ultimately decided to walk away? Guilt could be a powerful motivator, fear as well.....but Bruce had to wonder if it was something more that caused her to leave.

Suddenly the flames in the fireplace glowed green and a large black man with the most colorful outfit Bruce had ever seen, walked out of the hearth and into the room. Everyone went over and greeted him, and Bruce knew immediately just whom this man was.

As his dark eyes fixated on Bruce, a single eyebrow lifted in acknowledgment before his eyes were firmly locked onto the woman in his arms and a beaming smile took over the man’s countenance.

“Hermione! It is so good to see you!”

Bruce stood up with Mia and watched as she walked over and allowed herself to be enveloped into the large man’s arms, both of them held onto each other for a moment before each pulled back and smiled widely at each other.

“Hey Kings, you’re looking well.”

Kingsley’s eyes fell down to Hermione’s stomach, and they widened in shock. “And you’re looking pregnant!”

Hermione giggled whilst everyone in the room chuckled.

“Nice greeting, but yes....I am pregnant.”

Kingsley nodded and then his eyes fixated back on the man behind the little witch with curiosity. “Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?”

Turning around, Mia held her hand out for him and he walked over....taking it quickly as he considered the man staring at him with an unreadable look upon his face.

“Kingsley Shacklebolt, this is my fiancé.....Bruce Wayne.”

The surprised gasps of a few people were to be expected.....but Bruce could’ve sworn he heard a low hiss somewhere from behind him...,probably Malfoy.

The man, Kingsley Shacklebolt held out his hand in greeting and Bruce took it, shaking it firmly.

“Welcome to England, Mr. Wayne.”

“Thank you, Sir.” Bruce responded politely.

The man’s dark eyes were penetrating for a moment longer, before his gaze moved back to Mia’s.

“Arthur mentioned that you were home and had something important to discuss.”

Mia sighed but nodded. “I think I may have finally figured out why the curse happened now.”

Kingsley swallowed and sat down, gesturing for the both of them to return to their seats....which they did immediately before all eyes were trained back on his Mia.

“As many of you know, when I was researching the origins of the curse, it took me to Egypt. This curse, which had been seen only once before, nearly 2000 years ago was beset by The Triad of Latopolis: Khnum, Menhet and Heka were each powerful beings with dominion over each of their spheres. Khnum was the God of Fertility, Family, Procreation......Life......Menhet was the Goddess of Pestilence, War.....Death. Heka was a Deity that was born of Magic itself and from all accounts was the primordial source of all magic that has been gifted throughout the millennia. As I told you and the Wizengamot before I left Kingsley, the reason this plague happened was due to the inherent prejudices that have plagued the Wizarding world for hundreds of years. The Statue of Secrecy, while necessary in many regards, has set a chain reaction that has seen the rise of several Dark Lords since its implementation. Grindelwald and Voldemort of course, being the most recent within the past 100 years.”

Kingsley nodded. “I remember Hermione, but what does it all mean, and how were you able to get pregnant?”

“I realized something today and as improbable as it sounds, I believe it to be the truth. In Egyptian religious doctrines they believed fundamentally in three afterlife ideologies: belief in an underworld, eternal life and rebirth of the soul. The soul is the fundamental essence of life....and as such Egyptians believed that the soul could return to mortality if its task had yet to be completed. Khnum and Menhet were viewed as the parents of Heka, but what I’ve come to believe in my research was the Heka was something bigger......more elemental if you will. Khnum and Menhet used the fundamental forces of light and darkness, death and life and created magic........their child......Heka.”

Everyone sat around pondering these pieces of information until Arthur asked the question everyone was thinking, “But how does this apply to the curse?”

Hermione sighed and Bruce gripped her hand in reassurance before she spoke again. “I don’t believe the curse occurs in a vacuum. Something triggers it. That being said, the curse is a physical representation of the Triad of Latopolis, so therefore the physical manifestations of each part of the Triad would have to be present in order for the curse to be activated. I believe that the Triad itself has been present throughout history, trying to influence the greater good for the sake of Magic and balance......but because of the inherent prejudices that have permeated for millennia, when the balance tips too far, too much towards Death......the curse is triggered and it forces Magic to reset what humanity refuses to do so on its own.”

The room became deathly silent for a few moments before Bruce spoke up. “You said the Triad had to be physically present so if I’m understanding you correctly, you’re saying they continue to be reincarnated into other forms until magic finds balance.”

Hermione turned towards Bruce and nodded warily.

“If this is true Granger,” Draco piped up, “then you’ve figured out just whom the Triad is.”

All eyes fixated on Hermione as she paled and nodded once, earning a few astonished gasps from her friend’s.

“Whom?” Kingsley asked shakily.

“Who was the most famous Trio in the Wizarding World?”

Everyone’s eyes widened in shock and a few heads were shaking in disbelief.

“I know what this sounds like but think about it. Menhet was literally referred to as ‘The One Who Sacrifices’......the Chosen One Who Sacrifices.......”

At this post everyone’s faces had paled in shocked horror, realizing that the little witch, who had been more brilliant than anyone they’d ever known.....was likely right.

“Khnum was the God of Fertility, Family......Ron was born of the most prolific Wizarding Family the Magical World has ever known. It wasn’t a coincidence that Harry was born at this time....nor the prophecy that was given about him. It also wasn’t a coincidence that Harry was the first of the Triad to fall for the curse......as the reincarnation of Menhet, he would’ve had to been sacrificed for the curse to take its full effect. The deaths didn’t start in earnest worldwide until Harry perished. And it wasn’t until Ron passed that Wizarding births stopped completely. Fleur gave birth just a month before Ron passed, and then the curse took her a few months later. It’s not a coincidence.”

The room was bathed in silence for a few moments before Draco spoke up again.

“You’re Heka, reincarnated? Your magic itself? Salazar! No wonder you’ve always been so good, a natural when it came to magic!”

Hermione nodded. “A Pureblood, a Half-Blood and a Muggle-born.......a Triad of blood. That’s not a coincidence either. The only reason I was spared the curse was two-fold. First, Harry and I formed a tentative soul bond when we were out on the run during that year. The bond was never consummated and I didn’t realize what had happened until before I’d ended things with Ron. Harry had married Ginny and by that time it was too late. The marriage bond that forged between the two of them wasn’t strong enough to usurp the soul bond, but it did cause Ginny to succumb to the curse due to her lesser bond with Harry.” At this point tears were leaking from Hermione’s eyes as she stared sadly at Arthur and Molly. “I’m so sorry Molly, Arthur.....I wish I could bring both Ron and Ginny back to you.”

Arthur shook his head but it was Molly who came over and enveloped the little witch into a fierce hug. “This is not your fault Hermione dear! You didn’t ask for this to happen anymore than we asked for a war to take so many of our loved ones. You don’t blame yourself, you hear me? You are our daughter in every way that matters and always will be.”

Hermione pulled back and Molly wiped the tears from the little witch’s face before kissing her on her forehead and settling back down next to her husband.

“And the second?” Bill Weasley asked curiously.

Hermione looked at Bruce and he nodded, knowing she needed to share this with everyone.

“I won’t ask for an unbreakable vow from all those here, but I will stress that what I’m about to share with you be kept in the strictest confidence. If anyone can’t agree, or if your Occlumency isn’t sufficient please out of respect for me and the children I’m carrying.....leave now.”

Looks were traded around the room and surprisingly Greg Goyle, Pansy Parkinson and Cassius Warrington all moved to leave. When Draco gave them a questioning look, Pansy sighed.

“You know our Occlumency is not an issue Drake, but if something happens, I’d rather not be accused as the leak due to our unfortunate past. I think Greg and Cassius feel the same way. We trust you, and know that you’ll have our backs.”

Draco smirked and nodded. “I understand Pans.”

Pansy gave George a quick nod before she left the room. Hermione then set out a series of spells and when she was satisfied the room was secure, opened her beaded bag and took out Harry’s Invisibility Cloak, the snitch that held the Resurrection Stone and the Elder Wand.

“I’m sure you’re all aware of the Tale of the Three Brother’s?”

Everyone nodded.

“This is another reason that I firmly believe Harry was Menhet reincarnated. These items.....the Cloak, the Elder Wand...”

The gasps in the room were loud as everyone stared at her in shocked awe and horror as she put the snitch to her lips and said the words.....’I am ready to die’ and watched as the stone floated into the air in front of her. “The Resurrection Stone.”

Placing it into her hand, she turned it three times and closed her eyes....before the shocked shouts of those within the room quieted and when Hermione opened her eyes....both Harry and Ron were standing there, smiling widely down at her.

“So you figured it out?” Harry said in a voice that wasn’t surprised in the least.

“You knew I would,” Hermione snarked, “You could’ve told me last night?”

“I couldn’t Hermione, you know that. This was something you needed to discover on your own. For as long as we’ve been entwined, eons really......You, Ron and I......at no time in our human forms did any of us ever suspect the truth until now. Only you, the Brightest Witch that Magic has ever known, could have figured this out and tried to bring balance to chaos. I may be the Master of Death.....but you are Magic itself. You always have been.”

“He’s right Mione,” Ron stated softly his blue eyes filled with tears, “you were always the best of us. The strongest, most capable......the children you’re carrying, once born will bring balance again to Magic and the curse will be lifted in its entirety. Life will come once again. It’s not a coincidence you’re carrying twins. Life, Death and Magic will find balance through you.”

The literal astonishment of all those present was palpable as they all stared at the two young men who along with the little witch in front of them, had sacrificed so much for the Wizarding World.

“Ronald.” Molly whispered in reverence.

“Hi Mum. Please take care of Mione and love her children, give them a big family.”

“Your Father and I will Ronald.”

Ron nodded and it was Harry who spoke up next. “Kingsley, you need to protect Hermione and listen to her. Somehow get the magical communities to see that they can’t keep living their lives in ignorance of their prejudice and hate. If they don’t, the next time the curse hits.....and it will if things don’t change.....there will be no survivors of Magic....except Heka herself and her offspring. And Magic will reset as it did from the beginning.”

Kingsley bowed his head in understanding. “I vow to do all I can to make sure this travesty doesn’t happen again Harry, you have my word.”

“I’ll hold you to that.” Harry said firmly, his green eyes flashing with warning before they softened as he gazed down at his best friend, the love of his life and smiled. “Take care of yourself Hermione and try to stay out of trouble.”

Hermione stuck her tongue out at Harry and everyone chuckled at the little witch. Ron’s eyes were filled with sadness as he stared at his family before his gaze settled back on Hermione.

“Be happy Mione. You’ll be the best mother.”

“Thanks Ronald.”

The red-head nodded before both of them expressed their love for everyone and then their best friend before they shimmered out of existence and back into eternal rest.

After Harry and Ron vanished, Bruce enveloped Mia into his embrace as everyone in the room stared at her with reverence and awe. Placing the stone back into the snitch, Mia took the Cloak and Elder Wand and put them back into her bag.

“So you’re Master of Death, eh Granger?” Draco smirked and Hermione rolled her eyes.

“Temporarily it would seem.”

“Well, I don’t know about anyone else....but there is no one else I’d trust with items that powerful but you. By rights they’re yours anyway, since Potter left them to you.”

Hermione smirked and felt Bruce tighten his arm around her a bit as her amber eyes caught hazel ones that were staring back at her knowingly.

“Something like that......if it’s alright can we eat soon? I’m starving!”

Everyone nodded and Kingsley decided to stay for dinner as Molly bustled back through the Burrow with Andromeda, Luna and a few others at her heels....all helping get the food finished so they could enjoy their Christmas Dinner. As Bruce and Hermione made their way out to the back of the Burrow where the tents were set up, Draco stopped them.

“We still need to talk. We went to Gotham, like you asked.”

“And?” Bruce asked quietly.

“There’s a problem.....and it’s one I’m unsure how to fix.”

Hermione’s breath hitched. “Rachel?”

Draco shook his head.

“Harvey?” Bruce growled at lowly and Draco nodded.

“Later....we will discuss it later, alright?”

“Okay,” Hermione said softly, “Thank you for everything Draco.”

Draco shrugged but winked as he moved out towards the rest of the group while Hermione stared up into Bruce’s eyes that were filled with worry.

Chapter Text

After dinner was over, Draco found Bruce and Hermione, asking them where they’d like to meet and Bruce offered to have the discussion at his home in Kensington as it was getting late and he wanted to get Mia home.

Draco reluctantly agreed, as he just wanted to get the conversation over with. The last few days had been rather stressful and despite what he’d learned today about Granger, he wasn’t exactly thrilled with the fact that she was engaged to the Muggle.

Pansy, Luna, Molly and Andromeda had gushed over her engagement ring, and even Draco had to begrudgingly admit.......it was a magnificent piece of jewelry that had probably cost quite a bit. He didn’t know too much about the Muggle exchange rate but if he’d had to guess, that ring alone was probably worth several hundred thousand galleons easy.

It was disconcerting to know that this Muggle, not had only comparable wealth but seemed rather adept in other areas too. Taking out Lestrange and the other wizards in the graveyard had given Draco pause, and made him realize belatedly that Bruce Wayne was quite formidable. Draco had looked into the man’s background months ago, when he’d left Gotham the first time and what he’d discovered about Bruce Wayne had Made him uneasy.

The Muggle had been trained for several years by a group known as the League of Shadows. An ancient and powerful society whose purpose was to restore balance to the world by enacting purges at various points in history. Places were targeted based on the amount of crime and injustice that pervaded throughout that society and the League would enact retribution to relieve the suffering of the innocents.....self-appointed executioners and harbingers of what they referred to as ‘true justice’.....and over millennia had been rumored to be responsible for the downfall of Rome, the Black Plague, the Great London Fire and more recently.....the Great Economic Depression in Gotham. It was ironic that Bruce Wayne joined an organization that peripherally at least, contributed to the death of his own parents.

From there, Draco had researched a bit into Wayne’s background since he’d returned to Gotham and he had to give the Muggle his due. The Batman was quite formidable, but the one thing that impressed Draco the most was, the Batman didn’t kill. He was brutal, efficient and unrelenting towards the criminal elements within Gotham but he wouldn’t kill......at least not directly. That in of itself was something to be admired.....albeit reluctantly.

Granger had disappeared with Wayne before returning to take him side-along to Wayne’s home in London. He didn’t know what to expect, but the room that Granger apparated them to was tastefully decorated and had a rather large fireplace with several paintings that looked to be original works of art.

Wayne was standing by the doorway talking to an older gentleman that Draco recognized from his time in Gotham. The man......Alfred Pennyworth had raised Wayne after the death of his parents. The servant was obviously very loyal.

“Mr. Malfoy, welcome,” Alfred spoke formally with a polite bow. “Can I offer you anything to drink....some tea perhaps? Scotch?”

Draco nodded regally in thanks. “A scotch would not go remiss, Sir. Thank you.”

Bruce’s eyebrows rose at the formal polite tone from the wizard, not expecting such courtesy.

“I will bring that out immediately.”

“Thank you Alfred.” Bruce said kindly, before he made his way back into the room and gestured for his guest to take a seat.

After a brief hesitation, Draco did just that.....leaning forward a bit as he decided to jump right into the fray as it were.

“I returned from Gotham this morning,” Draco began stoically, “I was unable to do the memory modification that you requested Granger.”

“Why?”

“I should probably give you both a bit of context. When Warrington and I got there, we spent a few hours following both Harvey and Rachel separately. We disillusioned ourselves and followed them from their place of work to their residence. Once they were asleep, we cast a somnus charm and I was able to have Warrington hold Rachel’s eyes open whilst I easily entered her thoughts. She has no protective barriers at all.......but what I found in her mind gave me pause.”

“What do you mean Mr. Malfoy?” Bruce inquired, his body radiating tension.

“Rachel’s mind was a rather open book. Her memories surrounding your relationship both platonic and romantic, although entwined, wouldn’t be too terribly difficult to separate to create new memory pathways. Her memories surrounding Harvey were a bit more problematic. Apparently, Harvey Dent suffers from some kind of split personality disorder. According to Rachel’s memories that I was able to access, he treats it with medications and it seems relatively under control from what I was able to discern. The problem is, I’m not familiar enough with this condition to be able to guarantee that I can successfully modify Harvey’s memories without triggering some kind of larger problem since I have no idea what exactly his issue is.”

Hermione gasped and Bruce paled before he spoke out angrily. “When you looked into Rachel’s mind, were you able to determine how long she’s known about this issue with Dent?”

Draco nodded. “She’s known since the beginning of their relationship.”

Bruce growled out angrily as he stood and paced around, running his hands through the back of his hair in frustration just as Alfred walked in to bring the drinks to their guest. Seeing the look on Master Wayne’s face, Alfred nodded once and left the room discreetly. “She knew, and she allowed me to not only out my alternate identity to Harvey but Mia’s magic as well?”

Draco sighed, but nodded again in return. “You need to understand something about Legilimency Wayne. It’s a highly complicated branch of Magic and only a truly expert Legilimens can see beyond basic memories and discern intent and emotion. It’s far easier to do when the subject is conscious....but Muggles don’t have the protective mind barriers that wizards and witches can employ. So as I said, Rachel was rather an open book.”

“You’re an expert?” Bruce stated harshly.

“Probably the best in Europe currently. My Godfather was a spy during the war. Voldemort was the best Legilimens the Wizarding World had seen during his time, but my Godfather was the best Occlumens in the world, bar none. He fooled the Dark Lord for years.....spying for the light. As such, he was also a highly proficient Legilimens. He taught me everything he knew.....that being said, even I have no idea if it’s possible to modify Harvey’s memories at this point. But Harvey does have a contingency plan and I was able to discern that from looking into Rachel’s mind. From what I could see, he’s very interested in having Granger come and work with him.”

“I’ll bet he is,” Bruce growled out angrily before he gave the blonde wizard a considering look, “From what you were able to discern, is Mia in danger from either Rachel or Harvey?”

“Rachel’s thoughts seem to be more directed at you Wayne, but her thoughts aren’t exactly complementary towards Granger. There’s some jealousy there, anger, resentment too......but underneath it all she does wish you well and wants you to be happy. From what I could see, I believe she saw herself fulfilling Granger’s current role eventually and not some other woman despite of how she feels for Harvey. Rachel believes on some level the only reason you chose to be with Granger is because she’s magical and pregnant with your children. She’s not convinced you’re in love with her. She loves Harvey, is protective of him, but her larger emotional entanglement is that she believes fiercely in his ability to help Gotham. I couldn’t exactly tell if Rachel’s jealousy and resentment stems more from your relationship with Granger or Harvey’s interest. That part was unclear.”

Bruce watched Mia as Draco Malfoy spoke and he could see the blonde wizard watching her closely too. When he was done speaking, Mia turned to him and her eyes were not filled with worry or uncertainty, but sadness. Bruce shook his head in exasperation and came over immediately to place soft kiss on Mia’s shoulder, whispering in her ear how sorry he was about everything.

Mia smiled softly at him and then turned back to face Draco before she spoke.

“I take it, you didn’t even bother looking into Harvey’s mind?”

Draco shook his head. “I didn’t feel it was safe to do so until I got a bit more context about this issue he has. Do either of you know anything about it?”

“Dissociative Identity Disorder,” Bruce growled out, “sometimes known as schizophrenia but also known as multiple personality disorder. In some cases it can come about as a reaction to a trauma and it allows the person who experienced the trauma to deal with it, or to avoid it altogether. There are also different forms of the disease and from all accounts it can’t be cured. Medication can help a person live a more productive life, the problem is the severity of the disorder. Also, another problem I foresee is that if it comes out that Harvey suffers from this, it could call into question every single criminal he’s prosecuted in the last six months as DA.”

Hermione gasped and Draco nodded solemnly. “I wish I had better news. Harvey did create a back up file with both your information Wayne, along with Granger’s. I was able to extrapolate from Rachel’s mind where he’s stored this information but if you go after it and he’s not obliviated properly, it could cause more problems.”

Bruce’s mouth tightened and he nodded once in understanding.

“Is there any magical way to treat Harvey’s condition?” Bruce inquired, as he walked around the couch and sat back down next to Mia.

Draco looked to Granger and she shrugged. “I honestly don’t know Bruce. I would have to do a bit of research, perhaps talk to a few Healers at St. Mungo’s, our Wizarding Hospital. Andromeda Tonks, Teddy’s Grandmother that you met today....she’s a Healer. Perhaps I can ask her.”

“That might not be a bad idea,” Draco admitted, “I’ll check the Malfoy family library and see if I can find anything that might be useful too. I’m actually not sure if even a full obliviation at this point would work. However, it may be possible to go back into Harvey’s memories and find the origin of when the split occurred. If it was due to some kind of trauma, erasing the event might take care of the problem?”

“That’s an interesting theory,” Hermione stated curiously, “I think I’ll owl Andromeda tomorrow and see if I can go visit with her.”

“Was there anything else you needed to share with us Mr. Malfoy?” Bruce asked lowly.

“Not as such,” Draco bit back, “but you might want to stay in London at least until you have an idea how to handle this mess. If Granger is here, we can protect her far better than if she’s halfway around the world. You also failed to mention that you both took a little excursion out into the Muggle World and outed your pregnancy. Rita Skeeter is aware and there will be an article posted tomorrow in the Prophet. You might want to be prepared for the fall-out Granger. There’s going to be a lot of questions I know you’re not going to be ready to answer yet. Perhaps you both might consider allowing me to erect some wards here, or stay at Granger’s home that is heavily warded. Malfoy Manor is also an option if you need it.”

Bruce bristled at the suggestion while Hermione just sighed in resignation before excusing herself for a moment. When she came back about ten minutes later, she had a rather smug look upon her face.

“Do I want to know what put that look upon your face Granger?”

“I sent my Patronus to Kingsley and told him what is happening. I outed Rita’s animagus status and reminded him that he owes me a life debt from the war. He promised me he’d take care of it and he will.”

Draco chuckled and Bruce just gave his fiancé a confused look. “Life debt?”

“Yes....I’ll explain it later, okay?”

Bruce sighed, but nodded before he turned his attention back on the other man. “I want to thank you Mr. Malfoy for making the attempt regardless of how it turned out. Hopefully we can find a way to minimize the damage.”

“I would agree, and you’re welcome. Right now it doesn’t look like either Rachel or Harvey, based on her memories....have any intentions of outing Granger’s magical background or your alternate identity Wayne. If that changes, it could put Granger at risk due to the International Statute of Secrecy. Here in England it wouldn’t be so much of an issue....but in the States, I can’t make that same guarantee. She’s compromised herself because of you. I don’t like you Wayne, and I still don’t think you deserve Granger but I won’t let anything happen to her if it’s within my power to take care of it. My offer stands....so let me know what you’d both like to do.”

“We will, thank you Draco.”

“You’re welcome Granger.”

Bruce nodded at the wizard and watched as he disappeared with a ‘pop’ from the room. Bruce sat back with Mia curled into his side....neither one of them spoke for several minutes until Mia tilted her head up and caught his gaze.

“How angry are you?”

“I’m beyond angry, Mia. Rachel knowingly put you and I into danger. She’s not a stupid woman, so the only thing I can think of is she really believes that Harvey’s medical condition isn’t that serious....or he’s led her to believe it’s nothing serious. Either way, she failed to inform me before I decided to let him know I was Batman and had I known about your Magic and the Statute of Secrecy....I would have never allowed you to compromise yourself....even if it meant letting the Joker win.”

“Bruce, I don’t regret helping you or Harvey in taking the Joker down. It needed to be done, you know this. Gotham would’ve never been free if the Joker had won. Whatever choices we made in ignorance, our reasons were good ones.....the right ones. I firmly believe that. I’m sorry you had to find out this way, and I can’t imagine this is easy for you. Whatever my personal feelings about her, Rachel was your friend.”

Bruce pulled Mia tighter to his body and placed a gentle kiss on her temple. “I’m so sorry Mia. For everything. You have to know that.”

“I do and I’m not angry anymore. Just sad. I suppose I can’t help but think that perhaps if circumstances had been different, I might be in Rachel’s place right now.”

“What do you mean?” Bruce tilted Mia’s face up to his and stared at her in confusion.

“Well, you could have decided to stay with Rachel that night and not have followed me back home.”

Bruce’s face took on an expression of incredulity. “Mia, there was no way that would’ve ever happened. Regardless of Alfred outing the pregnancy, but even if he hadn’t I still would have followed you. Once I’d realized I loved you, the choice was an easy one to make. You supported me in such a way that only Alfred had ever done for me prior to that moment. You accepted me, all of me without question nor judgement. After you’d left, I opened the package you left for me and I realized it immediately what a fool I’d been. Alfred mentioned his suspicions about the pregnancy after.....told me I should let you go if I’d wanted to be with Rachel. It was the harshest he’s ever spoken to me in my entire life, and the look of disappointment from him as he walked away, was only compounded by my own disappointment in myself for how I’d treated you. Rachel could’ve told me then, but she didn’t. She admitted she was in love with Harvey when she asked me if I was in love with you and I told her ‘yes’.......I told her to call Harvey and have him come over, that I’d be back and we would discuss everything. She knew what that meant and she didn’t tell me the truth. Whether it was subconsciously to punish me for choosing you, I can’t help but wonder. I suppose it really doesn’t matter much at this point.”

“No, probably not,” Hermione admitted softly, “but whatever her reasoning, we need to figure out how we’re going to deal with this. Hopefully we can find a magical solution because I shudder to think what Harvey might do if I don’t agree to come and work with him.”

Bruce glowered as his mouth pressed together in anger. “I don’t want you anywhere near him Mia.”

“Bruce, I don’t think Harvey means me any harm.”

“And I’m not willing to take that chance. We will just have to find another way to deal with this.”

Hermione sighed as she tilted her head back onto Bruce’s shoulder and felt his lips gently kiss her head as the tension left his body slightly. Her heart hurt for him.....it wasn’t easy to find out that someone you’d cared for deeply was not the person you’d thought they were. She just hoped that they could figure out a solution before they had to return to Gotham permanently.

Chapter Text

When the next morning arrived, Hermione woke up to the sound of something tapping against the bedroom window. Looking slightly over her shoulder Bruce was still fast asleep, softly snoring with his leg wedged firmly between her own and a possessive hand splayed on top of her abdomen. When she went disengage herself from Bruce’s embrace, she felt him grumble something that sounded an awful lot like ‘no’ as he pulled her deeper into his embrace. Smiling at how naturally clingy he was in sleep, Hermione gently moved his hand and tried to extricate herself a second time which woke him up despite her best efforts.

“Where are you going?” He mumbled sleepily and then his brain seemed to register the tapping against the window. Lifting his head in confusion, he allowed her extraction from bed and watched closely as she opened the window and the large eagle owl perched onto the ledge hooting angrily at being kept waiting. Silently accioing her beaded bag and pulling out some owl treats, Hermione took the paper attached to the owl, offering the bird a treat which it took before flying away.

Leave it to Malfoy to send her a copy of that mornings Daily Prophet. Hermione sighed as she came back over to the bed and gingerly opened the paper, expecting to see herself plastered on the front page with Rita Skeeter’s byline staring up at her.....

But what she saw had her howling in laughter as there was a picture alright, but one of Rita Skeeter being taken away by the Aurors including Malfoy and the caption simply said, ‘Rita Skeeter outed as unregistered Animagus’......Her eyes were bugged out and widened, as it looked like she was frozen in some kind of mid-transformative state. She looked equal parts angry and horrified and Hermione grinned widely at the bug getting her comeuppance.

Showing Bruce the paper, she smiled when he chuckled at the photo. “So that is Rita Skeeter?”

“Mmhmm,” Hermione admitted gleefully, “vapid woman! I rather think today is a good day.”

Bruce’s chuckling deepened as he threw the paper down and grabbed his witch, pulling her back into bed with him. “You have a vindictive side that I’m finding quite the turn on at this moment.”

“Really?”

“Yes.” Bruce grinned playfully. “How about I demonstrate?”

Hermione’s eyes were bright with mirth as she bit her lip. “What exactly did you have in mind?”

Bruce’s eyes darkened before he moved down the bed and proceeded to show his Mia for the next thirty minutes exactly what he had in mind.

Several orgasms later, the two found themselves in the shower getting ready for the day.

After soaping each other down, Hermione now had her arms wrapped around Bruce’s neck as she stared up into his eyes which were alight with momentary happiness and contentment.

“Are you feeling any better today?”

Bruce tilted his head down and placed a gentle kiss onto her lips before pulling back with a sigh. “You mean about Rachel?”

Hermione nodded, knowing how difficult this all was for Bruce. Whatever her own feelings on the subject were secondary to supporting Bruce’s emotional state. He’d loved Rachel and had trusted her....to find out she’d violated that trust was not an easy thing for someone like Bruce, who didn’t trust easily.

“Mia, I’m not sure what to think about any of this. I honestly don’t think Rachel sees anything wrong in her choices nor actions. I do believe her first instinct is to protect Gotham and by extension Harvey. Am I upset, yes.......angry too, but I’d be lying if I didn’t understand her motivations at least cursorily. I know it doesn’t make it right. I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t acknowledge my own willingness to compromise when it’s come to trying to help Gotham.”

“Do you think that was her only motivation?”

Bruce shrugged, but Hermione could see his eyes darkening as he considered the question before he answered. “No I don’t.” Bruce’s eyes locked with hers as he pulled her into his body more firmly, kissing her deeply for a few moments before moving over to the shower bench and sitting down with her readjusted into his lap. His hands were splayed protectively over her abdomen and Hermione could tell Bruce was thinking deeply about something.

“You can tell me whatever is on your mind, you know? I’m not going to leave or get angry if you say something I might not like. We can’t erase the past Bruce.....but I can’t help you if your not honest with me.”

Bruce nodded as his expression closed off a bit before he spoke out haltingly. “It’s clear from Mr. Malfoy’s words that Rachel isn’t truly over our relationship...there is still a part of her that is attached to the idea of she and I being together. I think that was fairly self evident.”

Hermione nodded in agreement. “And how does that make you feel?”

Bruce’s hazel eyes met hers and she could see the emotions raging there. “Conflicted but not for the reasons you might suspect. It’s hard Mia, to let go of a friendship that has defined me for the better part of my life.”

“And feelings?”

“That too. Rachel was my only friend for so long and the only person whom I trusted apart from Alfred and Lucius. Alfred works for me yes.....but he has always been a surrogate father in many ways. Lucius is my employee, but he shares my commitment in helping Gotham, so he provides support in my nocturnal activities as well. With Rachel, it was different. I made the decision to tell her of my identity as Batman because I desperately wanted her to believe in me and not think I was just Bruce Wayne, playboy billionaire. She had told me once that ‘it wasn’t what you are underneath, but what you do that defines you.’ I wanted her to see that the person I was.....was more. I trusted her with that and somehow she abused that trust in a way I’d never thought she’d be capable of. Despite what you might think of her, she’s not a vindictive person.”

Hermione ran a hand through Bruce’s hair, sensing his inner turmoil. This had to be so difficult for him to reconcile that his trust in Rachel, may have been misplaced.

“Can I share something with you?”

Bruce nodded, so she went on with her story.

“When I went to Godric’s Hollow, before the attack, I had a few moments to reflect on some of the choices I’d made when Harry had died and after. Godric’s Hollow is the oldest Wizarding Community in England and as such, only families who’ve lived their historically can be buried within the grounds of the cemetery there. Harry’s family had been residents of Godric’s Hollow for hundreds of years, hence why he’s buried there. The Weasley’s have never lived there. When Ginny died, Molly tried to petition to have her buried next to Harry but her request was denied. I was so caught up in my research into the curse that I’d purposefully didn’t offer my help nor clout to Molly. It’s something I’ve come to regret greatly, but at the time I was lost......and I didn’t make the right choice. Not because I didn’t care about Ginny, but because I was jealous of her status as Harry’s wife. It wasn’t well done of me and if I could go back, I’d make a different choice but I can’t.”

Bruce nodded in understanding. “You think Rachel’s made these decision based on jealousy?”

“To an extent,” Hermione admitted quietly as she waved her hand and the water warmed again causing Bruce to smile at her fondly, “I think that despite everything, perhaps you and Rachel didn’t get the necessary closure you both needed because of everything that’s happened. Bruce, time is a great healer and eventually people do move on, but sometimes people cling onto the familiar because it’s safer that way. Harvey clearly has some issues, and I do know he loves Rachel. He’s told me so himself. His heart is in the right place, trying to help Gotham despite his issues and that’s commendable. He needs our help and so therefore, Rachel does by extension. Perhaps when this is resolved, you can try and settle things with her completely.”

“Things are settled in my mind Mia. I love you, I’m marrying you. I want to be with you.”

“I know this Bruce. I do. But I’m not ignorant of the fact that Rachel has hurt you deeply and if you don’t find a way to resolve this in your own mind and heart.....you’ll carry it with you. I’m not inclined to think that it might affect how you trust me, but it could?”

“That’s not possible Mia, I’ve been the one to abuse your trust....not the other way around.”

Hermione smiled softly as she kissed Bruce gently on the lips. “That’s not exactly true and we both know it. We’ve both hurt each other. I can’t promise you that we won’t disagree and argue over things in the future but if I’m going to trust in us and our relationship....I have to trust in you. And trust in your word that this, what we have and our family is what you want.”

“You think I should confront her?”

“Not until this thing with Harvey gets resolved but yes, I do think you two need to sit down and somehow get closure.”

Bruce shook his head in amazement. “I don’t deserve you.”

“Of course you do, Bruce. You deserve happiness and a family. You deserve to have good things in your life. If you keep thinking you don’t, then the chances of you self-sabotaging based on your lack of self-belief could potentially be damaging to our family....our children. Do you want that for them, for yourself?”

“No! I would never do anything to risk our family Mia, you have to know that!”

“Then forgive yourself and if you can, forgive Rachel.”

“You never cease to amaze me, you know that right?”

“Well, I hope I continue to make life interesting for you. I wouldn’t want you to get bored.”

Bruce chuckled as his expression relaxed completely. “Mia, you couldn’t be boring if you tried.”

“How about we get out of here, dry off and go get some breakfast?”

“That sounds like a plan,” Bruce grinned before pulling them both up and turning off the water, “what’s on the agenda for today?”

“I’m going to see if I can meet with Andromeda and discuss Harvey’s condition with her. Figure out if there’s a magical treatment that might help.”

“If you’d like some company, I’d be honored to go with you.”

“I think that could be arranged.”

“Good.” Bruce replied as they moved into their room and proceeded to get dressed. Before they made their way down to the kitchen, Bruce grabbed her and placed a passionate kiss on her lips.

“Thank you.”

“For what?”

“For believing in me, loving me.”

“I do believe in you Bruce, and I do love you.”

“I love you too Mia...you truly are the very best thing that’s ever happened to me. I can’t imagine what my life would look like without you in it and more to the point....I don’t want to.”

“Me neither.” Hermione winked and smiled, taking Bruce’s hand and leading him down to where breakfast was waiting for them both.

Chapter Text

As it turned out, Andromeda was working at St. Mungo’s until three, so Hermione made arrangements for she and Teddy to come over for dinner that evening, after some persuasion from Bruce and Alfred, who was always happy to cook up something.

Andromeda was nothing like her two sisters, and although she favored Bellatrix in looks, their personalities were like night and day. The most notable trait was that Andromeda was quite sane whereas Bellatrix had been......well, whatever Bellatrix was......there were really no questionable superlatives to adequately describe that woman.

Hermione was looking forward to spending a bit of time with Teddy today, as she hadn’t gotten to see him much the previous day. He would be starting at Hogwarts come September and that thought filled Hermione with a tinge of sadness and nostalgia. Teddy and Victorie, Bill and Fleur’s oldest.... were quite good friends, so at least there was that. But Teddy had lost not only his parents, but his Godfather as well before he really could remember Harry. She had done what she could early on, but it was difficult for Hermione to try and fill the void Harry had left and Andromeda had been understandably over protective of Teddy.

As she sat down in the larger living room in Bruce’s home, Hermione couldn’t help but think back on what Ronald had said the night before. The curse would be lifted when her children were born. That in and of itself was a relief to be sure but it also filled her with some concern. Would the Wizarding World ever truly change it’s prejudiced ways? She had asked Kingsley to do some research for her to see what the demographic was of those who’d perished worldwide. Perhaps with a bit more information, she might be able to find the answers for some of her questions.

So lost in her thoughts, she didn’t hear Bruce come into the room. He stood by the doorway for a few minutes and quietly observed, noticing Mia’s faraway look as she bit her lip in contemplation....her forehead was furrowed like she was deeply processing something of importance and he couldn’t help but smile softly at her expression. Since learning about her theory yesterday, which now that he’d had a day to process it......seemed completely plausible to him. Mia was so brilliant in everything she did and she handled magic seamlessly. Her intellect was staggering and her beauty, astonishing. Everything about her was simply amazing to him and he wondered not for the first time why she had chosen him. He was a Muggle, and although he was considered by many to be rather intelligent....Bruce knew that Mia far surpassed his intellectual prowess. Of all the things Bruce Wayne had felt over the years....he’d never felt inadequate until he’d met Mia. It didn’t concern him however, as he just felt honored that she’d chosen him and forgiven him for his foibles and poor choices.

Clearing his throat, Bruce smiled when Mia’s amber eyes locked with his and she blushed.

“You’re deep in thought.” Bruce said as he walked over and sat down next to Mia, enveloping her into his side.

“Just....”

“Processing, I know.” Bruce chuckled and Mia smacked him softly on his chest in admonishment, but her answering smile took the heat out of the gesture.

“Andromeda and Teddy should be here within the hour.”

Mia nodded and sighed heavily as she snuggled further into his embrace.

“You’ve taken this all in stride,” Mia stated softly, “and been so supportive. Thank you for that.”

Bruce shrugged, kissing Mia on the temple. “You’re very welcome. I must admit, everything I’ve learned these past few days has opened my eyes to so many different possibilities I’ve never even considered. I feel like I’ve been living in the dark for so long and now I can see so much....does that make sense?”

“It does,” Mia admitted, “and I understand it completely. When I got to Hogwarts everything made sense in a way it had never done for me prior to that moment. Even with how everything turned out, that part of me never went away. I had wished many times that there was no prejudice and hate....but the world is simply rife with it. It doesn’t matter if it be Magical or Muggle.....as long as people live in ignorance, prejudice will always be a living, breathing evil pervading over everything.”

“The sad thing is, you’re right. I don’t know what the future will have in store for our children...but I just want them to feel safe and secure in the knowledge that we love and support them no matter what.”

Deep amber eyes stared up at him lovingly and Bruce cupped Mia’s cheek into his palm as he kissed her reverently. When Mia broke the kiss, her gaze was filled with concern and a tinge of fear.

“What are we going to do if we can’t fix this mess with Harvey?”

Bruce sighed and shook his head in exasperation. Angry at himself and Rachel for this mess....knowing that Mia’s desire had only been to help him and because of his choices she was now paying for that, along with him.

“I don’t know Mia. I wish I had the answers but I don’t. I think we need more information at this point and I don’t know how we go about getting it without alerting Harvey and Rachel to the fact that we know his secret. If I trusted Rachel, I could go to her but I don’t....not anymore.”

“I’m so sorry Bruce.”

Bruce lifted Mia into his embrace and cupped her face into his hands, forcing her to meet his gaze which was heated.

“This is not your fault! Never your fault! The fault lies with me and my own stupidity for trusting my friend when I should’ve listened to you. I didn’t want to believe it and it hurts, that the one person I trusted more than any other has betrayed me like this. If she had told me the truth from the beginning, I would’ve never outed my identity as Batman to Harvey. I understand that you couldn’t tell me about being magical back then.....but I’d like to think that we could’ve spared you this as well. I don’t want you to be stressed...it’s not good for you nor the babies. I promise you Mia, we will figure this out.”

Tears leaked down Hermione’s cheeks and Bruce’s breath hitched in worry as he gently wiped them away.

“Please don’t cry Mia.”

“Bloody hormones..”

Bruce chuckled deeply, but his eyes were still wary as he continued to stroke her cheeks with his thumbs, wiping away the evidence of her loss of emotional control.

“Well, maybe it would help if we could think about this from a different point of view?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, we know an obliviation may not work. It may be possible to determine the origin of Harvey’s mental split but we don’t know for sure. Are there any potions that might work?”

Hermione thought about it for a moment as she considered Bruce’s question. Then her face cleared as she gasped on a thought.

“Yes! I mean not a potion....but there is a substance that can mimic obliviation. It comes from a Swooping Evil and it’s venom is said to remove bad memories in Muggles and Magicals alike!”

Bruce couldn’t help but be perplexed. “A Swooping Evil?”

“It’s a magical creature. It appears similarly to an extremely large butterfly but with a wolf-like skull in place of an ordinary head. When it’s not flying with its spiked wings, the Swooping Evil shrinks into a green spiny cocoon. It can be quite dangerous though, as it is an encephalophage — it feeds on people's brains — and its tough green skin has the ability to deflect at least some spells. It secretes venom that, when properly diluted can erase bad memories. If I remember my history correctly, it was used back in the 1920’s to obliviate the entire city of New York.”

“I’m sorry?” Bruce sputtered out inelegantly. “The entire city of New York?”

Hermione nodded. “Really long story, but yes.....it worked by all accounts and prevented the magical world from being exposed due to an obscurus.”

“Okay?”

Hermione grinned momentarily at Bruce confused expression before she sighed unhappily. “An obscurus is a Dark parasitic force that evolves when a witch or wizard suppresses their magic for too long. Usually it’s do to psychological trauma or abuse. The magic becomes unstable and usually kills the child in question. Back in the 20’s there was an obscurial whom wreaked havoc on New York and nearly exposed the magical community there. The head of MACUSA at the time approved the usage of Swooping Evil venom and released it utilizing a Thunderbird. The entire city was obliviated.”

Bruce sat back stunned. The more he learned about magic, the more improbable and frankly, terrifying it was. “That’s a lot to process Mia.”

“I know.”

Bruce cleared his throat before he spoke up, trying to get ahold of his emotions.

“So, theoretically...this venom may work? Would it just take away the bad memories? Or all his memories?”

Hermione sighed. “That part is unclear, but I could probably research it.”

“Of course you can.” Bruce smirked playfully, earning him another smack on the chest for his insolence.

“You’re teasing me.”

Bruce’s smirked widened but he didn’t deny it, which earned him an eye roll for his efforts. He was about to speak when the doorbell rang and they both could hear Alfred greeting Andromeda and Teddy. Hermione stood up in excitement as Teddy walked in and immediately was enveloped into a warm bear hug from his Aunt Mione.

Hermione pulled back and smiled widely at Teddy, who looked like a replica of Remus. “Hey Aunt Mione.”

“Hey Teddy, you’re looking good. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to spend quality time with you yesterday.”

“It’s okay. Grandmum told me what happened.”

Hermione’s eyes met Andromeda‘s and the two witches were quick to embrace. “Thanks for coming over Meda. It’s good to see you.”

“You too Hermione. How are you feeling?”

“Tired and hormonal....but surprisingly good.”

“Is it true you’re having twins Aunt Mione?”

Hermione smiled. “Yes Teddy, a boy and a girl.”

“Cool.” Teddy smiled and then his eyes caught Bruce’s. “You’re marrying my Aunt?”

Bruce smiled and nodded, extending his hand which Teddy shook. “That I am. It is good to meet you both. Yesterday was kind of a blur, so I’m glad we could have you both over to visit.”

“You have a beautiful home Mr. Wayne.”

“Please call me Bruce.”

Andromeda nodded and Bruce gestured to the couch, while he and Mia took the loveseat. Alfred came in with some tea and homemade biscuits.

“Thank you Alfred.”

“Of course Miss Black. Is there anything else you need?”

“No, we’re fine.”

Bruce nodded to his Butler and when Alfred left, Andromeda turned to Hermione with a questioning look.

“Miss Black?”

Hermione nodded and proceeded to tell Andromeda how she had assumed the name and why. Andromeda listened intently and then chuckled when Hermione told her what Harry had imparted from Sirius.

“I can just imagine how thrilled Sirius would be about you assuming the family name. He adored you. He owed you his life and while Azkaban changed my cousin...he was a good man til the end.”

“He was.” Hermione smiled softly. “Other than Harry...Remus, Tonks and Sirius’ deaths were the hardest to try and come to terms with.”

Andromeda took her hand and gave it a squeeze. “I know, and I think it’s wonderful that you’ve managed to honor Sirius in your own way. So why don’t you tell me what’s on your mind Hermione?”

Hermione went on to explain about Harvey and his condition as well as sharing parts of what happened in Gotham prior to her returning back to London. She shared her thoughts on the Swooping Evil venom as well as Draco’s concerns about obliviation. Andromeda listened intently and then once Hermione was finished, the elder witch sat back with a guarded look upon her face.

“I don’t know if you’re aware Hermione, but there aren’t many mind healers within the Wizarding World. I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard of Dissociative Identity Disorder, at least not in those specific terms. You know the history of the Black family and much of it wasn’t good. Insanity isn’t a topic that was discussed in polite society but most Pureblood families were aware of the inherent risks of inbreeding. Low Fertility Rates, Insanity, high rates of miscarriages. As far as Swooping Evil Venom, I would suggest talking with Rolf Scamander....the grandson of Newt Scamander. From what Luna has shared, he is just as involved with magical beasts as his grandfather was and probably would have a bit more information. Have you talked to any of the Obliviator’s from the Ministry?”

Hermione shook her head. “Not exactly. I know that department works closely with the Aurors. Draco took Cassius Warrington with him to Gotham. Is there someone you might recommended I talk to?”

“Chester Davies runs the office currently at the Ministry.”

“Isn’t he Roger Davies older brother?”

Andromeda nodded. “He is. He used to work in the same Department as Delores Umbridge during the war. He detested the woman, and wasn’t sad to see the curse take her. He was promoted to the Head of his department two years ago. Would you like me to send him an owl and request a meeting?”

“How likely do you think he will keep the circumstances private?”

Andromeda shook her head. “That I don’t know. Chester was also in Ravenclaw like his brother but never seemed to be a zealot like so many of the other Purebloods during the war. I do believe he would be likely to help you.”

Hermione sighed and looked to Bruce who nodded once. “If you think it will help, please send him an owl for me?”

“Of course.”

The attention was diverted when Alfred came into the room a short while later to announce that dinner was served. Bruce took Andromeda’s arm, to her surprise and Teddy escorted Hermione into the dining room...which was beautifully set up for the evening.

Once everyone was situated, Hermione smiled at Teddy and inquired about his expectations for Hogwarts come September.

“Are you excited to start at Hogwarts?”

Teddy nodded enthusiastically. “I am. Victorie is attending too, so hopefully we will get sorted into the same house.”

Bruce’s interest was peaked at the mention of houses. “I’ve heard Mia mention once that she was a Gryffindor and I’ve heard the name Slytherin. How many houses are there at Hogwarts?”

“There are four: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. My dad was a Gryffindor and my mum was a Hufflepuff. My grandmum was a Slytherin.”

Bruce nodded thoughtfully as he considered this. “How does one get ‘sorted’...I don’t think you’ve ever mentioned it Mia.”

Hermione giggled while Andromeda smiled and Teddy grinned in excitement before he spoke up.

“The sorting hat places you into your house.”

“Sorting hat? Wait a minute....does the hat actually speak?”

Everyone laughed and nodded and Bruce just sat back flabbergasted. Hermione decided to take pity on her fiancé and explained exactly what the sorting hat was and what it did. After a few minutes Bruce just shook his head in wonder.

“That’s.....I’m not sure what to think. The more I learn about magic, the more it surprises me.”

“I can imagine,” Andromeda responded kindly, “yet you seem to be handling it all remarkably well.”

“Thank you.” Bruce bowed his head at the compliment. “I must admit, my mind is rather scientific in nature so it’s hard to not to want to try and logically explain everything new I learn about magic. I suppose what is the old saying.....magic is just science that we haven’t discovered yet? I’m not sure it’s true....but it does make it a bit easier to wrap my mind around.”

“Well, you’re going to have two children whom are going to be magical,” Andromeda stated firmly,
“So it’s good you’re preparing now.”

“Are you ever truly prepared for children, no matter what their gifts?” Bruce inquired with a smile and Andromeda nodded in agreement.

“Probably not. Children are a blessing it’s true, but they require patience, love and acceptance. It’s trial and error mostly. But it seems like you and Hermione have a solid foundation, so that will help.”

“I just hope I can get a firmer handle on understanding magic before our children start to express theirs. I want to be prepared.”

“I don’t think you can ever be prepared enough.” Hermione said softly. “We will just have to do our best.”

Bruce nodded and smiled softly at his fiancé. “As long as I have you to guide me Mia, I’m sure the rest will come with time.”

Chapter Text

Hermione had owled Chester Davies the following afternoon once Andromeda had let it be known that the wizard was more than happy to speak with her. Leaving Bruce at home, which he was clearly unhappy about since he couldn’t go to the Ministry, Hermione glamoured her stomach and headed for the visitors entrance to the Ministry of Magic.

Chester Davies looked just like an older version of his brother Roger, who had been Fleur’s date to the Yule Ball. Dark hair and dark eyes, pale skin and not too tall, slim built and a aristocratic nose, he wasn’t by any means overtly handsome, but he seemed pleasant enough.

“Hermione Granger, welcome back to London. Please have a seat! Andromeda said you’ve run into a problem and wanted to get some additional information?”

Hermione nodded as she sat down across from the older wizard. “Yes, I had some questions about obliviation of Muggles specifically.”

Chester offered her some tea, and she thanked him stating she’d just prefer water if that was alright. Once the banal pleasantries were disposed of, their conversation resumed in earnest.

“What exactly was the concern?”

“Have you ever run across Muggles, or Magicals for that matter, who have what is known as Split personality disorder?”

Chester thought about the question for a moment before he shook his head. “I’m not familiar with that term, could you give me a bit more context?”

“Well, within the Muggle World there is a mental disorder known as Dissociative Identity Disorder. It usually happens in response to a traumatic event but the particulars aren’t as important as to the fact that an individual can present with more than one separate psychological identity. When you modify someone’s memories, versus a full obliviation.....have you ever come across a Muggle who presented with more than one identifiable persona when you looked into their mind?”

Chester’s face paled as he stared in horror at what Hermione was asking. “Are you saying that Muggles have the ability to lock separate identities away within their minds?”

“I’m not sure how it presents itself. Draco was tasked to obliviate a Muggle and he came to me because this particular Muggle has this mental disorder. He was unsure if he’d be able to obliviate him properly. He was also concerned that if he wasn’t able to, that the other personality would manifest itself and that was an unknown variable. I’m trying to get a bit more context. I am sure you’re aware I obliviated my parents before the war started in earnest and had them sent away. I was never able to restore their memories. I know a little about neurological pathways and as such, understand the very basics of how obliviation works. But this is something I’m not familiar with.”

“I can see how that might be concerning,” Chester admitted, “obliviation responds to the intent of the caster. If a person is a Legilimens, they might be able to look through a person’s memories to determine which memories could be removed and modified. Theoretically this would give them a road map to work with. A Legilimens accesses the mind on a conscious level whereas an obliviate doesn’t require the caster to be able to read a person’s thoughts....it’s all about intent. When you obliviated your parents, your intent was to remove yourself from their memories completely? Correct?”

Hermione nodded as Chester continued on. “The more complex the spell, or the more complex the intent....the harder it is to reverse. An obliviate can’t be reversed in the traditional sense with a counter charm, but if there is not neural pathway scarring or the damage hasn’t been retained for too long a period of time....it is possible to rebuild some of those pathways and some memories can be restored. So I suppose to answer your question, if you can’t risk modifying particular memories you could do a full obliviation if your intent was to wipe all memories from a person. But that’s the conundrum......it wipes everything. So say you wanted to wipe your existence, like you did with your parents....you’d have to have the intent of taking all those memories away. The intent would have to be strong enough to remove yourself from the subject entirely.”

Hermione nodded. “And if that would raise additional questions?”

“It would depend from whom,” Chester stated unequivocally, “That is why in some cases, multiple obliviates are cast.”

“What do you know about the venom of the Swooping Evil?”

“Used in the 1920’s to obliviate the city of New York after an Obscurus nearly outed the Magical Community there. Tricky to administer to single subjects though. The potency of the venom has the ability to remove bad memories, but only in the correct amounts.”

“Would you have any idea what the potency rates are for the venom?”

Chester shook his head. “We have never had to use it here in Britain so I can’t help you there. I suggest getting ahold of Rolf or Newt Scamander.”

“Andromeda suggested that as well.”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t be more help.”

“No, no....you’ve been very helpful Chester. I thank you for seeing me on such short notice.”

Standing up, Chester escorted Hermione out towards the Ministry elevators. “I will do some research and get back to you about this issue. Whilst I haven’t much experience with it, I suppose it might be helpful to know if any other Ministries have ever dealt with this problem. It would be catastrophic to know that our obliviators aren’t successful due to some medical condition we aren’t aware of. I do thank you for bringing it to my attention.”

“It’s not a problem.” Hermione smiled and shook the wizard’s hand in gratitude. “I will see myself out, enjoy the rest of your day.”

“You too, Hermione. It was good to see you.”

“Thank you for your help.”

Hermione walked into the lift and headed for the main atrium of the Ministry, eager to get back home and share with Bruce what she’d just learned.

When she got into the lift, it was to the smirking face of one Blaise Zabini who’s grin was positively mischievous.

“Bellissima.”

“Cut the crap Zabini.” Hermione shook her head.

“I’d say I’m sorry, but we both know I’d be lying.” The Italian bit back fondly.

Hermione smirked but didn’t say anything. Once they’d reached the atrium, Blaise held open the grate for her as she walked out into the main lobby with the Italian Stallion walking closely at her heels.

“So, Bruce Wayne?”

Hermione stopped and turned around, immediately throwing up silencing and notice me not charms.

“Spit it out Blaise. You obviously have a point to make.”

“Don’t get upset Bella. You really don’t need to hide your pregnancy, you know.”

“Thanks for the heads up, but since Rita was taken into custody, I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be able to keep this quiet and I’d rather not have the press or anyone else breathing down my neck asking highly intrusive questions they have no right to ask.”

“I didn’t think I was just anyone.”

Hermione sighed and looked into Blaise’s dark eyes, that were a little more subdued than normal.

“I didn’t realize you felt entitled to details about my personal life.”

Blaise chuckled deeply. “I seem to recall we spent a rather blistering night fucking each other’s brains out Bella. Then I woke up and you’re gone. You do that a lot, you know.”

“Do I need to apologize to you too?”

Blaise shrugged. “Not exactly. Does your Muggle know just what a lioness you are in bed? Or have you shown him that side of you yet?”

Hermione blushed deeply, but her eyes were glowing like embers as she stared down the Italian wizard, who’s self-satisfied smirk was starting to piss her off.

“Zabini, I’m warning you....”

Blaise put his hands up in surrender, before he spoke again. This time the words were softer....kinder....

“Bella, whilst we didn’t talk much two years ago, we did some. Draco confronted me about our time together yesterday after you’d left....well, punched me was more like it.” Hermione’s eyes widened at the admission and she sighed.

“He had no right to do that.”

“Yeah, well you know how Malfoy’s don’t like to share their toys.”

Hermione bristled at the reference and Blaise chuckled again. “I’m not a toy, Zabini.”

Blaise’s answering grin was knowing and Hermione sighed in resignation. “Look, I’m not here to give you a bad time. I just think you need to be honest with your fiancé about a few things. I know you Bella.....probably better than even Draco does on some level. The woman who was with me two years ago is still a part of you and I know you are aware of that too. So tell me Bella, have you shared that side of yourself with Wayne?”

Hermione shrugged. “A little.....” biting her lip, Hermione’s expression became unsure, “Bruce is quite capable. I’m sure I don’t need to explain that to you.”

“No, you love him. That does make a huge difference but now that I understand better about your heritage....history....you must admit that being able to tap into certain kinds of Magic’s.....well....”

“You don’t need to draw me a diagram Blaise. We both know your history and experience with certain branches of Magic.”

“That we do. You were more than willing to experiment with me. Just give it some thought Bella, that’s all I’m saying. Talk to Wayne, you need to be brutally honest with him. I’m not saying it’s impossible to tap into those Magic’s with a Muggle, but it’s going to be a lot harder to do so. Just think about it.”

Hermione cancelled the charms and nodded. “I’ll talk to him.”

“Good. Take care of yourself Bella.”

“You too Blaise. Find a nice witch, settle down.”

Blaise shook his head in the negative. “You and I both know that’s not possible for me.”

“You don’t know that. You’re not your mum Blaise.”

Blaise’s expression faltered momentarily before he leant over and kissed her on the cheek in parting.

“Be safe.”

“You too.”

She watched Blaise walk away, her mind swirling with so many thoughts, her head was starting to hurt. It would seem she needed to have another brutally honest conversation with her soon to be husband.

Moving over to the apparition point, Hermione’s twisted and popped back home into the Master bedroom of Bruce’s townhome. The sound caused her fiancé to call out for her.

“Mia?”

“I’m here.” She said loud enough to carry as she sat down on the chaise and took off her heels. When she looked up Bruce was standing in the doorway, giving her the once over.

“I take it the news wasn’t what you were hoping?”

“Not exactly.”

Bruce nodded as he walked in and sat down next to her, placing a soft kiss on her temple.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, I’ve never met a problem I couldn’t find a solution to.”

“That confident?”

“Well, mostly.” Hermione smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes and Bruce could tell that something else was bothering her.

“What’s wrong? Did something else happen?”

“Not exactly....oh, I don’t know.” Hermione went to stand up but Bruce put a firm hand on her arm to stop her from doing so.

“Talk to me Mia. Something is obviously bothering you.”

Hermione stared into Bruce’s hazel eyes that were filled with worry and she sighed heavily, rubbing her hand over her face before she spoke.

“I ran into Zabini before I left. We had a conversation.”

Bruce’s gaze darkened and his lips pursed momentarily before he bit out, “About?”

“About the time I spent with him two year ago.”

Bruce nodded, unsure of where Mia was going with this.

“I thought it was just a one off?”

“It was in a manner of speaking. Look, I promised brutal honesty so I need to explain something to you and I need you to listen and not judge....can you do that?”

“Mia, I don’t have any right to judge your past. Whatever it is you need to tell me we can figure it out together, I promise you.”

Hermione nodded before she spoke up again.

“There are different branches of Magic....some are more difficult than others. Some aren’t practiced as extensively anymore. Alchemy for example is a rare branch of magic that is only practiced by a handful of witches and wizards because of how complex it is.”

Bruce nodded. “Alchemy. The precursor to chemistry that amongst other things can turn metal into gold.”

Hermione smiled at her gorgeous fiancé and nodded. “Yes, as I’ve shared with you, not every witch or wizard has the ability to transform into an animagus. It’s a difficult branch of advanced Human Transfiguration that not many witches or wizards have the aptitude for.”

“Okay, so what does this have to do with Zabini?”

Sighing softly, Hermione gripped Bruce’s hand and gave it a squeeze before she went on. “Two years ago I was in Italy, when I ran into Blaise. I had been doing some research there into an obscure branch of magic. Blaise, well his mother actually, is rather well versed in this particular area and as such....Blaise is as well. When I told you about my one off with Blaise, what I didn’t tell you is that for two days and then one night.......Blaise helped me with my research.”

Bruce’s expression was clearly confused, but he soldiered on and asked the obvious question, “Exactly what branch of magic are we talking about here Mia?”

Hermione blushed deeply and Bruce’s eyebrows lifted in sudden understanding. “You’re talking about Sex Magic’s, aren’t you?”

Biting her lip, Hermione’s gaze met Bruce’s where she could clearly see his eyes darkening in response as she nodded.

Bruce stood up and paced around the room pondering this new piece of information before he turned around and gazed down at his fiancé, who was staring at him in worry.

“I’m not upset Mia. I just don’t understand. There must be something I’m missing if you’re bringing this up to me?”

“Sex Magic can strengthen an already existing bond between a witch and wizard. But in some cases, it can serve as a release of excess or pent up Magic’s. In my case, with Blaise it was the latter. I hadn’t used Magic extensively for a while, and as a result I needed to find a safe way to release it. Blaise is magical, he’s also rather adventurous......it was because of his predilections that I was able to find some semblance of release through sex. My magical core has always been more than most other Magicals, now I understand why but at the time I didn’t know the root cause of why it was. Usually a witch’s sexual drive becomes more pronounced during the second trimester of pregnancy. I had been having a hard time over the last month we were separated finding satisfaction through my own efforts. You’re not magical however, and I don’t want this to become an issue....since we’ve recommitted to each other I’ve been better....”

“But you don’t know how the increase of your needs during pregnancy is going to affect you?”

Hermione nodded and Bruce sat down next to her and enveloped her into his side.

“Mia, why didn’t you say something to me sooner?”

“Because I didn’t know what to do about us at the time. I wasn’t sure if we were ever going to get back to this place and I wouldn’t have felt right using you.....” her voice dropped away awkwardly and Bruce chuckled before he finished.....

“For sex?”

“Something like that.”

“Well, I’m not complaining at all. Is there something more I could be doing to help you?”

Hermione cupped Bruce’s cheek and tilted it down to her as she gently kissed him and sighed.

“Uhm.....Merlin this is awkward....”

“Why?” Bruce asked, clearly intrigued now. “What am I missing?”

“Do you remember what I said about brutal honesty?”

Bruce nodded and felt Mia’s body tense for a moment before she released another sigh. “I do....whatever you need from me Mia, I’m more than willing to do for you. I know I’m not magical...wait a minute....is this something that I can’t do because I’m a Muggle?”

Mia shook her head emphatically. “No, it’s not impossible to tap into Sex Magic’s with a Muggle. I will admit I’ve been holding back a bit..”

Bruce’s eyes widened comically and he swallowed heavily before clearing his throat. “During sex?”

Hermione blushed but nodded. “Yes. I mean it’s not all the time. But the first time we had sex I had to a bit, because I couldn’t release my magic with you. You didn’t know about me and I was able to take care of it myself. Now that I’m pregnant I’m not sure that’s possible.”

“Okay....” Bruce said slowly as he pondered how to deal with this....well, it wasn’t exactly a problem but he wasn’t sure what Mia needed yet.

“Perhaps you might show me what it is you need?”

“I don’t want to hurt you Bruce.”

Bruce smirked at this. “Mia, I spent years training with the League. Whatever this is, I’m sure I can handle it.”

Hermione’s amber eyes darkened as she bit her lip in contemplation before she spoke up, her voice was a bit hesitant but her eyes were clearly heated as she said, “Just remember you said that.”

“Oh I will, don’t worry.”

“You’re sure?”

Bruce chuckled then grinned in challenge. “No time like the present. Silence the room Mia, I think you need to show me exactly what it is I’m getting myself into.”

It was over four hours later and Bruce Wayne had nearly passed out from exhaustion.....sexual exhaustion. During their first round of sex, Mia’s magic had surged at the moment of her release and it had effectively ripped his own orgasm from him in a blinding rush of liquid heat.....she had been astride him, and when her head flung back and her orgasm had taken hold, Bruce’s vision whited out and then he felt a tangible current of Magic ripple across her body and into him. His back bowed off the bed at that exact moment as he shouted out his completion, thanking every deity he could think of for silencing charms.

It hadn’t stopped there and by their third round of sex, Mia had to cast cooling charms within their room as well as a stamina spell over him. If it hadn’t been for his training with the League, Bruce had no doubt he would’ve passed out hours ago.

The strength of Mia’s magic was unlike anything he could’ve ever imagined. He could literally taste it on his tongue and feel it move through him. She was relentless, and imaginative......not to mention had some interesting dominant tendencies of her own that left him reeling, but in a very good way. When she’d finally allowed him to take charge, he’d done so with gusto and when he’d realized that his witch was open to pushing her boundaries, he’d taken over with relish. The experience had been transcendent and he now understood why Mia had been so hesitant to share this with him initially. Bruce could well imagine how it definitely would be easier sharing this with a partner who was magical....but it didn’t seem to hinder Mia’s desire for him at all as she was currently lying next to him with her leg slung over his and her head nestled into the crook of his neck as she tried to get her breathing under control. He could only hope that he would be able to keep up with her needs for the duration of her pregnancy and after.

“That was.....”

“Bloody brilliant.” Mia finished happily as she hummed in pleasure, her lips and teeth biting softly into his neck and Bruce couldn’t help but pull her tighter into his body in response.

“I love you.” Mia’s gentle words made Bruce’s heart swell with affection and peace.

“I love you too.”

“Thank you.”

Bruce chuckled. “Mia, you don’t ever need to thank me for that. The pleasure was all mine, I assure you.”

Mia lifted her head up and Bruce couldn’t help but notice how bright her amber eyes were as she smiled at him in sheer happiness.

“I don’t think it was all yours......”

“No, but you know what I meant.”

“I do.” Mia sighed as she laid her head back down and rubbed her hand absently over his chest in small circles. “Are you okay?”

Bruce couldn’t help but grin at the question. “Mia, I’ve just had the most earth shattering sex of my entire life....yes, I’m more than okay. You’re perfect.”

Mia giggled as she shook her head in exasperation. “Don’t put me too high on that pedestal Mr. Wayne. That’s lofty praise to have to live up to.”

“Yet you do it with ease.” Bruce quipped back playfully. “You may need to heal my bruises in the morning.”

Mia’s laughter filtered throughout the room and Bruce found himself laughing right along with her before he rolled her underneath him and kissed her breathless.

When he pulled back, Mia was smiling up at him in absolute adoration and it made his breath hitch in wonder. “You’re beautiful.” He stated lovingly.

“As are you.”

“Not sure about all that, but as long as your satisfied....”

“Fishing for compliments, Bruce?”

“Do I need to?”

“No, at least not tonight.”

“Good to know.” Bruce looked at the clock and the time was just a bit after eight pm local time.
“Are you hungry?”

“Ravenous actually.”

“Let’s get cleaned up and get you fed.”

“Now that sounds like a plan.”

Chapter Text

That night Bruce slept like the dead....his body was completely wrapped around Mia’s and when he woke up in the morning every muscle in his body hurt like he’d been in a street fight with twenty goons without his Batman gear on. Bruce didn’t think he’d ever felt this sore in his entire life.

He tried to stretch his aching body out and groaned at the sensation of his muscles straining past their limits. When he tried to roll over, he groaned again and heard Mia chuckling next to him....her bright amber eyes filled with warm amusement as she sat up and stared down at him with a small, wicked smirk upon her face.

“Sore?”

“Fucking hell Mia! Why didn’t I feel like this last night?”

“The after effects of Magic probably gave you bit of an endorphin or adrenaline high for a bit. Now it’s worn off and you feel completely knackered, yes?”

“Completely,” seeing Mia’s gaze fill with worry, Bruce chuckled deeply, “but I’m not complaining. Last night was amazing! You’re amazing! But I would really appreciate it if you could heal me now, or else I’m going to be out of commission for the rest of the day and unable to attend to you.”

“Ah, emotional blackmail.....very well.”

Mia waved her wand and healed Bruce’s bruises that were beginning to show in earnest before she reached into her beaded bag and pulled out a small vial, handing it to him. Looking at it closely, Bruce squinted at it before giving his witch a questioning look.

“Pain potion. Much more effective than any Muggle pain reliever. Try it.”

Bruce nodded, unstoppered the vial and chugged it down, making a face of disgust at the taste before he felt his body relax and his muscles loosen.

“Wow! That’s good stuff.” He sighed in relief.

“It is.” Mia smiled knowingly before handing him another, smaller vial.

“What’s that one?”

Mia giggled. “Pepper up potion. It will give you your energy back.”

“Really?”

“Don’t you trust me?”

“I thought you were exaggerating last night when you’d said you were holding yourself back during sex, but you weren’t. So yes, give me the potion Mia.”

Mia’s laughter bubbled out and Bruce smiled before downing the next concoction and literally felt steam coming out of his ears.

“Fucking hell!”

At this, Mia threw herself back down on the bed and laughed uncontrollably at Bruce’s reaction.

“Not funny Mia.....that stuff is.....” Bruce stopped speaking for a moment as he flexed his body and realized he felt......great! “That really works!”

Sitting up, he smiled down at his fiancé who was staring up at him with an impish little grin on her face.

“You’re enjoying this way too much.” He groused out forcefully.

“Probably. Was last night too much?”

Bruce shook his head. “No it wasn’t. It was unbelievably fantastic but I do think I’m going to need to do a better job keeping up my fitness regime just so I can keep you satisfied, wicked witch.”

Mia’s grin widened as her eyes glittered with joy and her cheeks flushed. “You did a remarkable job of it last night. You know....there is a potion you can take before sex that helps the man. It’s called virilium.”

Bruce chuckled deeply. “Like Muggle Viagra, I’m assuming?”

Mia nodded and Bruce gave her a dubious look before he started tickling her in earnest, causing her to shriek out in laughter.

“Bruce! Stop it!”

“I don’t think so! Are you saying that I need help keeping it up?”

“No! I’m not saying that at all!” Mia gasped between giggles and Bruce smiled at how flushed and happy she looked like this. He decided to take pity on her and stopped his torture for the moment.

When Mia calmed down, she grinned and shook her head before continuing. “I did cast a stamina charm on you last night but that just helps lessen the refractory time. You were most impressive last night Mr. Wayne. It was the best sex I’ve ever had.”

Bruce lifted an eyebrow in response before he grinned proudly. “Glad to hear that my services were adequate.”

“It was more than adequate, you git.”

Bruce snorted before he asked, “How are you feeling this morning?”

“Surprisingly settled.” Mia said softly, but her expression was relieved. “My Magic feels better than it has for a while.”

“That’s very good then.”

“It is.”

“And how are our little one’s faring today?” Bruce’s hands cupped Mia’s belly as he moved them around, until he felt the telltale signs of his children greeting him for the morning.

“I think they’re hungry and require sustenance.”

“Well, I’m sure Alfred has some fresh chocolate croissants waiting downstairs just for you.”

“Hmmm,” Mia hummed happily as she stood up and made her way into their ensuite with Bruce following closely behind, “What are we waiting for!”

About twenty minutes later, after showering and dressing for the day, the two found their way into the kitchen where Alfred was indeed putting the finishing touches on breakfast.

“Good morning you two, sleep well?”

Mia blushed and Bruce chuckled before he said seriously, “Like the dead.”

Mia’s laughter filled the kitchen and Alfred gave them both a fond look. “You both look very well rested......what are the plans for today?”

Mia hummed as she took a bite of her pastry and chewed it happily before swallowing then taking a sip of her tea before she responded.

“I need to send an owl to someone about a question that came up yesterday. My visit to the Ministry didn’t have the desired results I was hoping for.”

“So it’s not possible to obliviate Harvey?” Bruce queried warily.

“It’s not that. You see, when a magical casts a spell, we do so with intent. The level of intent determines the strength of the spell. When I obliviated my parents, I removed all traces of my identity from their minds. It required a great deal of intent because the goal was to make sure I never existed to them. I had to wipe years of memories. The same would be true to obliviate Harvey. I’d have to wipe all traces of my identity and yours from his mind. Same with Rachel. The problem is, too many people know that we’ve all interacted. Commissioner Gordon for one. So that’s not an option. Agreed?”

Bruce reluctantly nodded. “So where does that leave us?”

“Chester Davies, the Head of the Oblivation Department didn’t know much about the parameters of the Swooping Evil venom. It’s highly potent so therefore it’s dosage is highly regulated. Using it on a single individual could be problematic if the potency can’t be mitigated to a dosage that doesn’t completely wipe the subjects memories.”

“So you’d need to research if there is way to make it dose specific?”

Mia nodded. “That’s why I need to get in contact with Newt Scamander. He’s the leading authority in the world on Magical Creatures. He’s what we call a Magizoologist. He currently lives in the States, in New York with his wife Tina and her sister Queenie.”

“Then we need to go to New York.”

Mia nodded. “MACUSA is a bit more open minded about Muggles than here in the UK....but that being said, you probably won’t be able to visit the Ministry. I’ll see if I can make arrangements to visit them at their home so you can come with me.”

Bruce kissed Mia’s temple in gratitude. “Thank you for that Mia. I would very much like to accompany you.”

“I can call the airport and have the jet on standby within the hour Master Wayne.”

Bruce looked to Mia and she shook her head. “It may take a day or two to get a response back from Mr. Scamander. Let me go send the owl and we can play it by ear?”

Bruce nodded. “Do you have to go to Diagon Alley to do that?”

Mia nodded in return. “There’s an owlry there I can use.”

“I’m coming with you. I want to talk to George anyway about some more of his products.”

Mia groaned. “I knew it was a mistake putting you both into the same room together.”

“His inventions are brilliant and I was serious when I’d offered him capital to expand to the States.”

“I know you were.” Mia huffed indignantly and Bruce just grinned at her petulant expression.

“Don’t be like that,” Bruce pleaded, “it’s a win-win for both George and myself. His inventions keep Batman safer....I’d think you’d be happy with that.”

“What’s with the emotional blackmail this morning...sheesh...”

Bruce and Alfred just chuckled at her expense, leaving the conversation completed for the moment as they all finished their breakfast in silence.

When they were done, Mia grabbed her coat, scarf, beaded bag and wand while Bruce called Lucius to check in before he got his coat and scarf. When they were back in the kitchen, they said their goodbyes to Alfred before Mia took Bruce into her arms and turned on the spot, disapparating them both to Diagon Alley.

When they appeared at the apparition point, Bruce took a few moments to steady himself before he nodded and allowed Mia to lead him towards the owlry.

“You’re getting better with apparition.”

“It’s a work in progress.” Bruce admitted. “Definitely faster and more convenient but not my favorite mode of transportation.”

“And what is?”

Bruce sighed heavily before he answered. “My tumbler actually, but it was destroyed when we captured the Joker. Lucius is making another one for me. My Bat Pod is quite fun to drive and I do have a fondness for motorcycles in general.”

“And your Lamborghini?”

“That too. I’m also a bit of an adrenaline junkie, in case you hadn’t noticed.”

“Never would have guessed.”

“You know Mia, they say sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.”

“I didn’t realize I was conveying sarcasm....I think the word you’re looking for is equanimity.”

“Really? Because I’m fairly certain that your tone of voice didn’t convey anything close to calm acceptance.”

“You weren’t listening hard enough.”

“Apparently.”

“Now that was sarcasm.”

“Are you sure? Perhaps your discernment is a bit off today.”

“Are we really going to spend the afternoon bantering about the finer points of sarcasm?”

“Only if you want to, Mia.”

“Merlin! I should’ve left you at home! You’re a right menace!”

Bruce gripped Mia and pulled her into his side, before placing a kiss on her temple.

“Would more chocolate help? Or sex?”

Mia giggled, turning her head up to his and lifting her lips in an unspoken invitation which Bruce was only too happy to oblige. When he pulled back, he took in Mia’s flushed cheeks and was about to speak when a deep voice interrupted them.

“Bellissima, twice in two days! And Mr. Wayne....you both look very well rested this morning.”

Mia groaned as she dropped her forehead onto Bruce’s chest at the same time Bruce’s gaze fixated onto the Italian wizard, who was smirking at the pair knowingly.

Bruce tilted Mia’s face up back to his and kissed her gently again before whispering, “Go and send your letter, I would like to have a moment with Mr. Zabini in private.”

Mia’s eyes widened but Bruce’s expression left little doubt he wasn’t going to be swayed on this, so she nodded and left quickly not seeing Bruce’s expression darken, nor Blaise’s grin deepen as she walked away.

“Perhaps we could go somewhere private and have a quick chat, Mr. Zabini?”

Blaise nodded and held his hand out, gesturing for Wayne to move towards the back alleyway behind the joke shop. When they got there, Blaise warded and silenced the area before he turned back to the Muggle, only to see the man’s fist just before it connected with his jaw and knocked him out.

It was a bit before the Italian Wizard came to, but it was enough time for Bruce to confiscate the man’s wand and then waited for the younger man to wake up.

When Blaise groaned in pain, Bruce chuckled before he growled out in his Batman voice, “Get up, I didn’t even hit you that hard.”

Blaise’s green eyes gazed up at the Muggle, who’s expression was fierce and forbidding as hazel eyes glared down at him from above. It didn’t take long for Blaise to realize he didn’t have his wand anymore so he gingerly stood up and gave Wayne a wary look.

“That’s twice this week I’ve been punched,” Blaise bit out as he rubbed his aching jaw, “but I have to admit, you pack a much harder wallop than dear Draco.”

Bruce’s eyebrow lifted at the admission, but his expression was still closed off as he growled out, “Mia explained everything last night to me about your time together. I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t continue to make her uncomfortable with your innuendoes and smug looks. I find it repulsive and frankly, demeaning.”

Blaise’s faze registered shock as he considered the Muggle’s words before he nodded reluctantly. “My apologies, it’s just who I am. I would imagine Hermione explained a bit of my background, but you’re right that it’s no excuse to treat her with anything other than the respect she deserves.”

Bruce nodded and handed Blaise back his wand before he spoke again, this time his voice was back to normal. “I must also thank you for encouraging Mia to come to me and explain the truth of her situation. I’m not sure she would’ve, at least not right away.”

Blaise sighed but bowed his head in acknowledgment of the sentiment. “Hermione is stubborn and willful....but she is also loving and loyal to a fault. It took her years to come to terms with certain aspects about her personality....her needs if you will. You’re a Muggle, so I don’t expect you to understand all that’s entailed with magic as such. But you need to understand that your witch is unlike any other by virtue of how powerful she is. I expressed my concerns because they are genuine.....and I’m not convinced you have what it takes to balance her magical needs.....especially whilst she’s pregnant.”

Bruce nodded reluctantly. “Then what would you suggest?”

Blaise was thoughtful for a moment before he sighed in resignation. “Your aura is fairly well developed for a Muggle, so I’d imagine that has something to do with being part of the League?” Bruce nodded again, unsurprised that Mr. Zabini knew of his background before Blaise queried, “Are you familiar with the Lazarus Pit’s of legend?”

Bruce shook his head, his expression clearly confused as he didn’t know what the wizard was talking about.

“The Lazarus Pit is a natural phenomenon that possesses restorative properties that can instantly heal injuries and even grant immortality, although I’m not entirely certain that last part is true,” Blaise admitted with a causal shrug, “essentially they are restorative chemical pools that can confer temporary enhanced strength and agility. Are you familiar with Ley Lines?”

Bruce nodded. “They are theoretical lines that intersect places of historical significance and are hypothesized to be places of convergence where magic can be amplified. It’s what we call a pseudoscience within the Muggle World.”

“Pseudoscience?”

“Essentially a scientific principle not based on any or very little factual data.”

“I see,” Blaise stated condescendingly, “be that as it may, these Ley Lines do, in fact exist. At specific places of convergence along these Ley Lines, you will find the famed Lazarus’ Pit’s. From my understanding, there was one in Nanda Parbat....which if I remember correctly, you spent a bit of time there....yet you never saw it?”

“No, I trained there with Ra’s al Ghul but he never shared the existence of it with me.”

“Rumor has it, that more than the one in Nanda Parbat exists. In fact if memory serves, there is supposedly one located near Gotham City.”

Bruce’s eyes widened in shock as he digested the wizard’s words.

“Why are you telling me this?”

“Because Hermione loves you and since you’re not magical, it’s going to put increasing strain on you both unless you can find some way to bridge the gap.”

“Mia stated you have extensive knowledge of Sex Magic’s?”

Blaise sighed and nodded. “I’m assuming she didn’t give details.”

“No, that’s not Mia’s style and I think we both know that.”

Smirking at the rebuke, Blaise couldn’t help but admire the Muggle whom his Bellissima had fallen in love with. He was formidable and strong....perhaps he would be strong enough to stand beside Hermione. Blaise waved his wand and a piece of parchment appeared, he handed this to Wayne and saw recognition steal over the Muggle’s expression.

“These are the coordinates of Wayne Manor.”

“So they are,” Blaise’s smirk deepened noticeably, “good luck Mr. Wayne. Take care of Hermione and never forget how lucky you are that she chose you.”

“That’s something you don’t need to remind me of, Mr. Zabini. I thank you for the information.”

“I didn’t do it for you.” Blaise bit back, before he cancelled the charms and started to head towards the main part of Diagon Alley. Before he rounded the corner however, Blaise stopped and looked back over his shoulder, speaking in a low voice.

“Just know that if you prove unequal to the task, there are those who would gladly take your place.”

“Including yourself?” Bruce growled out in his Batman voice.

Blaise’s answering grin did little to placate Bruce, as he watched the Italian wizard disappear from sight....silently absorbing his words and vowing to himself that he would do whatever it took to give Mia what she needed from him.

Chapter Text

Hermione found Bruce inside George’s joke shop and the two were hovering over something when she walked in. She could see from her vantage point that George was explaining something and Bruce was nodding along, as he pointed to something and then George nodded back and waved his wand. She quietly observed unseen for a few more moments until Bruce lifted his head and caught her eye, smirking at her knowingly while she just rolled her eyes in response.

“Did you get your letter sent off alright?” Bruce inquired as Hermione smiled at him warmly.

“Hey Hermione.” George piped up.

“Hello George and yes, I got the letter sent just fine. How did your talk with Blaise go?”

Bruce’s smirk deepened a bit and his hazel eyes flashing before he shrugged. “It was fine.”

“Seriously? That’s all I’m going to get is a ‘It was fine’...?”

“What would you like me to say? That I punched the wizard and knocked him out temporarily and then told him I didn’t appreciate his innuendos?”

Hermione’s eyes narrowed as she considered Bruce’s words, while she was trying to figure out if he was joking or not. George’s answering chuckle made her realize that Bruce was completely serious.

“You punched Zabini?”

“Yes. But we came to an understanding of sorts. It’s fine Mia.”

Hermione huffed but wisely decided to drop the discussion until later. Staring down at the counter, Hermione’s eyebrow lifted at the schematic drawn on the parchment.

“Do I want to know what you two are plotting?”

George smirked while Bruce just shrugged nonchalantly, “Probably not.”

“Godric, you’re a right menace!”

“You’ve said that before darling, and yet you still love me....so what does that say about you?”

“That I’m a glutton for punishment.”

Bruce walked over and enveloped Mia into his arms, leaning down and whispering seductively into her ear, causing her to shiver, “You can punish me later. In fact, I insist upon it.”

Bruce pulled back and winked while Mia’s cheeks turned a very pretty shade of pink.

“You two need to get a room.” George quipped causing Bruce to chuckle deeply.

“You’re corrupting my fiancé with your questionable gadgets.”

“Now Hermione, you know that’s not entirely true. Besides, Bruce was trying to convince me to open up a Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes in the States. I think the nearest magical community is in New York, right?”

Hermione nodded, while Bruce seemed a bit perplexed. “How many magical communities are there in the States?”

“There are magicals all over but the largest concentrations are in New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, Chicago and Salem.”

“So, some of the oldest cities in the US?”

Hermione nodded. “There’s quite a bit of magical population within rural areas where the Native tribes still congregate. I do believe the largest is somewhere in Arizona, but there are smaller groupings near Seattle, Denver and South Dakota.”

“Interesting,” Bruce admitted, “and I suppose there are magical schools too?

Hermione nodded. “Ilvermorny is on the east coast, Mount Greylock in Massachusetts. There is Castelobruxo which is located in the heart of the Amazon rainforest and accepts students from all over South America. There are eleven magical schools worldwide.”

Bruce’s eyes widened as he considered Mia’s words. While it wasn’t exactly surprising, the fact that they had remained hidden for so long was. He had to wonder how technology might become a problem in the future.

“Mia, have you ever wondered how the advent of such newer technologies might become an issue?”

“I’ve thought about it quite a bit. We have wards, charms and spells that keep Muggles away. As such, I’m fairly certain that Muggle technology wouldn’t be able to bridge that gap. Muggle electronics can’t work around magic unless proper wards are set up....so it’s unlikely that Muggle technology would be able to circumvent that.”

“You are assuming this based on the current principles of physics? But what if you’re wrong?”

Hermione gave Bruce a questioning look and he sighed as he grabbed her hand and led her and George to the back of the shop. George warded the area and placed a silencing charm as they both gave Bruce looks he couldn’t describe.

“Look, I don’t want you to get upset, but the fact of the matter is that magic would have to follow some kind of physical laws. Matter and energy can’t be created from nothing. You’ve spoken about your magical core and I’ve also heard the term ‘aura’ in relation to magic. Your wands channel your magical intent.....what if it’s as simple as magical’s are able to take in their surrounding energy and transfigure it through their aura.....thereby changing that energy into a magical spell? Because there has to be some way magic can be tracked if accidental magic can be, right? If your ‘magical core’ is more developed Mia, than most other magical’s all that might mean is you’re able to access more of that surrounding energy faster, or more of your ‘core’ if you will, has a greater capacity to store that energy than another witch or wizard might not have? Energy is quantifiable. So theoretically, if there was a technological way to quantify that energy, say on a certain wavelength, then it could be discovered.”

Mia’s face paled in shock while George just looked even more confused.

“Why are you telling me this?”

Bruce grabbed her hand and placed a reassuring kiss on the back of it. “Because I’ve had Lucius looking into this for the last several months.”

“What?” Mia’s face was ashen. “Why would you do that?”

“To keep you safe. Damn it Mia! If someone with enough intelligence and resources were to discover magic, don’t you think the military or some other organization would be all over it eventually? If I can discover it first, I can patent the technology and make it unavailable to anyone who might go looking for it.”

Mia’s eyes filled with tears as she took in the serious expression on Bruce’s face. “Why didn’t you tell me this sooner Bruce?”

“Because I wasn’t sure how you would take it. Things have been tenuous with us for a while. I didn’t want you to get the wrong idea. I need to keep you and our children safe Mia. That’s my job as your husband to be and the father of our children. I won’t let anyone harm our family!”

Hermione flew into Bruce’s embrace and kissed him heatedly, causing him to respond immediately while George just coughed out in amusement.

“I’ll leave you two alone for a bit,” George winked, “and no worries, I’ll keep our little conversation private. Let me know what you find out, maybe I can help you. I’m rather inventive you know.”

Bruce broke away from Mia’s kiss with a smile. “I’ll keep it in mind George....I think I’m going to take Mia home.”

“Sure thing,” George nodded, “you going to be staying in London for a bit?”

“We might be heading to New York shortly.”

“Well, make sure you both stop by and say goodbye to mum and dad, as they’ll want to see you both before you head back across the pond.”

“We will George,” Mia said softly, “thank you.”

“Not a problem Hermione. Keep her safe Bruce.”

Both men shook hands and Bruce nodded. “I fully intend on doing just that. I’ll expect an answer soon, yes?”

George chuckled but nodded back in return. “Soon.”

“Excellent.”

George left the back office and canceled the wards leaving Bruce and Mia alone. “Do you want to apparate us back home, or would you like to go see a bit of London?”

Mia bit her lip in contemplation before she smirked playfully. “I’m thinking home sounds like a good idea right about now.”

“Oh really, and what would you like to do when we get home.”

“You, if that’s alright.”

Bruce grinned. “I think that sounds like an excellent idea.”

Hermione took Bruce’s arm and disapparated them back to their home in Kensington where they spent the rest of the day ensconced inside their room and Bruce had to wonder, as they’d laid there sweaty and sated after several hours of lovemaking, if he had ever imagined in his wildest dreams that anyone could be as perfect as his lovely Mia was and just how much he needed to do to make sure she and their children were protected from anyone who might wish them harm.

Thankfully they didn’t have too long to wait for a response from Newt Scamander as luck would have it and on the early morning of New Years Eve 2008.....Bruce, Mia and Alfred were on the Wayne Jet heading for New York City to hopefully get some answers for their Harvey problem.

Chapter Text

Mia had slept through the entire flight from Heathrow to La Guardia, and Bruce had just sat there gently running his hand through her hair as he watched her sleep with a contented expression on her beautiful face. Alfred had commented on how much happier he’d been this past week and it was all due to his renewed relationship with Mia.

After their trip to Diagon Alley, the last few days had been spent just enjoying each other’s company. Whether it was making love, talking or listening to Mia as she sang to their children every night, Bruce couldn’t help but realize just how fortunate he was that his witch had forgiven him. There were moments when Bruce actually forgot that Mia was a witch. While he’d noticed that magic made certain things inherently easier, what astonished him the most was that Mia preferred to do many things the old fashioned way. Perhaps it was due to growing up in the non-magical world, but Bruce was very impressed that Mia didn’t simply whip her wand out for every little thing.

Last night before they had fallen asleep, Mia had inquired whether or not they should return to Gotham after leaving New York and he had actually hesitated in answering her. This last week in London had been for lack of a better word...magical, and Bruce had wondered in that moment how things would change once they returned to Gotham. The Joker was gone, the mob fractured and impotent but Bruce would be a fool if he didn’t believe that meant that Gotham was free from the evil that had plagued it for so long. In some ways, this felt like the calm before the storm hit in full and it left him feeling uncertain if he really wanted to return to that life with Mia and his children. Was it fair to ask that of his soon-to-be wife? His Mia was a warrior to be certain, but didn’t she deserve to have some semblance of peace after all she’d suffered?

Bruce had asked Mia about her scars last night as well, and she had stiffened and told him that she wasn’t ready to show him everything just yet. He had been disappointed, but ultimately understood that this hurdle would likely be the last barrier between them to fall. While Mia forgave his trespasses in hurting her, that didn’t necessarily equate to full, unequivocal trust....at least not yet.

So he’d decided to let it go for now. When Mia was ready, she’d let that last stumbling block fall and he would love her through it and let her know that it simply didn’t matter to him at all...she would always be the most beautiful woman he’d ever known inside and out....scars or no.

When the pilot made the announcement they were getting ready for their descent into La Guardia, Bruce gently shook Mia awake. Her sleepy amber eyes opened and he couldn’t help but grin fondly down at her as she yawned and stretched her body against the couch.

“Hi,” Bruce said softly, “sleep well?”

“Mmm,” Mia stretched again and Bruce felt his body start to stir as he watched Mia’s back arch, her breasts heaving against the fabric of her blouse, “I did. Did you just sit here the entire time?”

Bruce gently cupped Mia’s cheek, stroking her skin with his thumb as he nodded. “I did, you looked so peaceful I didn’t want to wake you.”

Helping Mia sit up, Bruce moved her into the seat on the other side of the plane, buckling her in safely before taking his spot across from her and doing the same. Alfred was sitting near the cockpit, engrossed in a book.

“I guess I was more tired than I realized.”

“It’s to be expected Mia. Are you hungry?” Bruce looked at his watch and readjusted his Omega timepiece accordingly to the appropriate time. “It’s almost eleven in the morning local time, but it’s closer to dinner time for you.”

“I’m fine with whatever,” Mia admitted, “where are we staying at?”

Bruce smiled. “I’ll admit, I don’t have a personal apartment here in the city. Never saw the need to since Gotham is only a couple hours away. I can see about making a reservation at a hotel if you’d prefer, but Wayne Enterprises does have offices here in the city and there are apartments attached for executive use. I was just going to have the driver take us there.”

“That sounds fine I suppose. Where is it located?”

“Near Lexington and 87th. Where does Mr. Scamander live?”

“He lives at 679 W. 24th Street.”

Bruce nodded and then asked, “MACUSA is located in New York?”

Hermione nodded. “The Woolworth Building.”

Bruce’s eyes widened, clearly intrigued with this new piece of information. “How is that possible?”

“It’s magic Bruce, but there is a secret entrance which has an owl carved over it and can only be activated by a witch or wizard.”

Bruce chuckled as he shook his head in wonder. “You do realize that with every new thing I learn about the magical world it just confounds me even more. I think it’s just the idea that magic can stay so hidden within plain site.”

Hermione smiled at her fiancé, realizing how difficult this all must be for him to process through. It had been that way for her as well, when she’d found out she was a witch and had first come to Hogwarts. So many questions had flitted through her mind those first weeks of school, but over time she had just come to accept that magic was in many ways, undefinable in scope and practice. Bruce was highly logical, like she was but he didn’t have the context she’d had growing up, but if he was right and somehow magic was quantifiable than there just might be a way to track it with technology.

Their plane finally landed and moved to a private hangar where a town car was waiting to drive them into Manhattan. Once they arrived at the New York offices of Wayne Enterprises, the doorman was waiting for them and took their bags up to the Penthouse Apartment where Alfred left them to get the kitchen together and start making lunch.

Bruce and Hermione made their way to the largest bedroom and started to unpack. When Bruce was done he sat on the edge of the bed and watched Mia as she removed the remainder of her clothes from her beaded bag and hung them up in the closet.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that.”

Mia turned around and gave him a confused look. “Used to what?”

Bruce pointed to her bag and Mia giggled softly as she came over and sat down next to him, handing him the bag. “That bag has been through everything with me. It’s become an extension of my life and there was a time that everything I owned was packed into this bag.”

Bruce nodded. “When you were on the run?”

“Mmhmm, if it hadn’t been for this little bag here, things would’ve been much harder for Harry, Ron and I.”

Bruce handed the beloved object back to Mia and sighed as he plopped back onto the bed, staring up at the ceiling. He could feel Mia’s eyes on him and when his gaze locked with hers, she tilted her head questioningly at him.

“Something’s bothering you?”

Bruce nodded and held his hand out to Mia, pulling her down into his embrace. The two of them laid there for a few minutes before he spoke up. “What are we going to do if this doesn’t work?”

“You mean with the Swooping Evil?”

“Yes.”

Hermione lifted her head off Bruce’s chest and stared down into his worried expression. “There are several options but each one is worse than the next. I could obliviate Harvey completely, but it would raise many questions the least of which is Rachel. Something tells me she would take issue with it. If I were to fully obliviate both of them, it would raise far too many questions. Another issue is if MACUSA were to become aware of Harvey and Rachel’s knowledge they could intervene and remove their memories directly. If this somehow triggered Harvey’s condition that would be a disaster. The larger problem is we don’t really know how extensive Harvey’s condition is or if his other personality has any violent tendencies.”

“You don’t think Rachel is at risk, do you?” Bruce asked quietly and felt Mia sigh heavily. When his gaze met her’s again, she didn’t seem angry with the question....just resigned.

“I don’t know. As much as I’m not a fan of Rachel’s, I can’t abide anyone being hurt for any reason. Being a victim of torture, is a nightmare I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I’ve never gotten the sense that Harvey is dangerous. Calculating and devious, maybe...but dangerous, no.”

“He seems to truly love Rachel.”

“He does,” Hermione agreed easily, “and perhaps it’s that love that keeps his condition in check. He’s led a very productive life up until this point. Done some good things and seems genuine in wanting to make Gotham safer. Part of me feels guilty for immediately supposing that he might be a threat when he’s never actually done anything for me to think otherwise. Both you and I made the choice to share our dual identities with Harvey, and Rachel but we really have no one to blame but ourselves for this mess.”

“True, but Mia if I had known....”

“But we didn’t, and despite everything...I’m not sure I would’ve changed a thing. The Joker needed to be stopped. It was the only way with the limited amount of time we had to plan and execute. Do you regret it?”

“No, not exactly. You’re right and the Joker needed to be taken down.”

“Hopefully Mr. Scamander will be able to help us. If not, I’ll continue to research until I figure something out.”

“Have I told you today how amazing you are?”

“No, but why don’t we go take a shower and you can show me how amazing you are.”

Bruce chuckled deeply as he sat up and lifted Mia up into his embrace, walking her into the bathroom ahead of him as he placed heated kisses onto her neck and behind her ear, feeling her squirm in need. Clothes were quickly discarded and it didn’t take long for them to sate their need for each other. As Bruce stood behind Mia, plastered to her body as he was buried inside her tight heat, he couldn’t help but feel complete in every way. Cupping her belly he grinned when he felt his children kicking at him in greeting.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of feeling that.” Bruce whispered deeply into Mia’s ear. “How many children would you like to have? Would you object to me keeping you knocked up indefinitely?”

Mia giggled at Bruce’s audacity then she sighed happily as he nipped at her neck as his hand traveled down to her clit and proceeded to work her back into a quivering frenzied ball of need.

Tilting her head back, Mia moaned out as she felt Bruce harden again inside her, his hips moving slowly and methodically as he continued to play her body like a bloody violin. His kisses became more intense as he sucked on her neck and pulled on her nipples with one hand while his other continued to circle her clit in firm, assured movements.

Bruce grinned momentarily before he kissed his way back to Mia’s ear and whispered again. “So?”

“Are we really going to have this conversation right now?” Mia moaned again as she pushed her body back tighter into Bruce’s, while her inner muscles clamped down fiercely on his erection as he continued to push and pull himself inside her relentlessly.

“Yes, I want to know Mia. I won’t let you come until you tell me.”

Mia growled, while Bruce just chuckled deeply...before he purposefully slowed down his movements causing her to whine in aggravation.

“Answer me Mia.”

Hermione placed her hands against the shower wall and pushed back in warning, but Bruce just pinned her between the wall and himself harder, slowing the pace even more.

Instead of answering him, Hermione turned the question back to Bruce. “How many children do you want?”

She felt Bruce’s teeth nip into her neck in retaliation before he started moving his hips again in earnest setting a punishing pace that had her moaning and pleading out his name. His fingers started applying more pressure to her clit and right before her body snapped in release, she heard him growl in his Batman voice deeply into her ear, “I want to fill Wayne Manor with our children...whatever you want Mia...I want to have that with you. Fuck I love you.”

Mia’s magic surged as she couldn’t hold back any longer, her body bowed as she screeched out her orgasm, pulling Bruce’s from him with a shout of her name. Once they’d caught their breath, Mia groaned into the wall in embarrassment.

“I forgot to silence the room.”

Bruce shook his head as he grinned. “I do believe Alfred left to go get some groceries for the kitchen so not to worry.”

“Thank Godric!” Mia breathed out as she tried to pull away, but Bruce’s arms wrapped around her forcefully as he bit into her shoulder again.

“You didn’t answer me.” His voice was rough and a bit uncertain, but she’d heard it and gently moved away enough that Bruce’s erection slipped from her body. She then turned around in Bruce’s embrace and gave him a loving smile as she gently combed his wet hair back with her hand.

“I didn’t think I’d ever be able to have children due to the curse. Now that I’m pregnant and we’re going to be parents I’m still wrapping my mind around the fact that in a few months I’m going to be a mum to two children. I don’t know if I ever saw myself as having a large family. Even when I thought about a future with Ron, I’d always known he wanted a large family but because of what happened to me in the Department of Mysteries at the end of my fifth year and the curse Dolohov hit me with, I just didn’t know if it’d be possible for me to get pregnant. Now here I am, twelve years later pregnant with twins. I just want them to be healthy and happy. If magic blesses us with more children, I’d be happy with that too.”

Bruce grinned. “Mia darling, you are magic itself....perhaps that is why you got pregnant in the first place, yes? You said you got pregnant that night when we made love after you came back from London. Do you remember what you’d thought about, or felt that night?”

Hermione tilted her head down and thought about it for a moment before she smiled softly at the memory. When she caught Bruce’s gaze again, she leant up and kissed him softly before responding.

“I remember feeling true happiness and hope for the future, which I hadn’t felt.....” shaking her head, Hermione turned to look away as tears started forming behind her eyes but Bruce wasn’t having any of it. He cupped her cheeks and held her gaze with his, as he said, “Tell me, please.”

Hermione breathed deeply several times to try and get her emotions under control before she responded.

“I’m not sure I’d ever felt the peace and hope I felt before that night. Do you remember asking me about the conversation I had with George about being happy in Gotham?”

Bruce nodded so she continued..

“I think that night, and the month that followed was probably the happiest I’d ever remember being.”

A few tears escaped and rolled down her cheeks and Bruce wiped them away lovingly as his hazel eyes brimmed with emotion too. What didn’t need to be said was how it had all come crashing down on Mia because of his selfishness and stupidity. The sadness reflected back at him from her eyes was telling.

How many times can you tell someone you’re sorry for hurting them irreparably before you can forgive yourself for being a colossal idiot?

“Don’t.” Mia admonished softly and Bruce’s look of surprise was palpable as he stared morosely at his fiancé.

“How can I not?” Bruce whispered emotionally, his hands tightening slightly on Mia’s face as he gazed down at her with a pleading, open expression on his face.

“Because it doesn’t matter, not anymore.” Mia’s voice was calm and reassuring as she placed her hands over his and smiled softly, her eyes filled with love and unequivocal acceptance. “We’re both self-preservationists in our own way Bruce. Tremendous loss, guilt and fear will do that to a person and we’ve both survived our fair share of it. What I felt that night is infinitesimal compared to what I feel now when I’m with you. For the first time in my entire life I can truly be myself and be open.”

Bruce sighed but his gaze was still a bit sad as he shook his head. “Not everything Mia. You’re still holding back from me and I do understand why that is.”

Amber eyes glistened as she processed Bruce’s words and realized belatedly that he was right...she was still holding back from him. She had never shown her scars to anyone, had never trusted anyone enough to show all of whom she was.

As her eyes held Bruce’s, she could see the love and acceptance in his gaze and she knew he wouldn’t think less of her imperfections. Sighing in resignation, she lifted her hand and waved it once and the glamours dropped. She watched Bruce’s expression closely as his eyes fell to her chest and his breath hitched at the purple scar that ran the length on her torso from her shoulder, between her breasts and down over her belly to her hip. Then his gaze lifted to the thin slightly reddish scar that ran across her throat and finally to the mudblood scar on her arm. Smaller whitish scars littered her lower arms and hands from where the chandelier had fallen on top of her at Malfoy Manor, the only part of her body she could protect had been her face. Dittany had helped with some of the scarring, but not the ones from the cursed blade and Dolohov. Nothing would ever take those away.

Whatever Bruce had been expecting when the glamours had dropped, this had not been it. The purple scar that bisected Mia’s body made him want to rage and scream out in anger. That someone could do something so vile to a sixteen year old girl made absolutely no sense to him. The other scar across her throat could only have been done by someone holding her threateningly from behind. It matched the color of the scarring on her arm, so it had likely happened when she’d been tortured in Malfoy’s home....by Bellatrix. Bruce had never been one to subscribe to killing, but right now in his anger he’d have no such reservations about killing either Lestrange or Dolohov and he wasn’t disgusted by that fact. Not at all.

When he lifted up his head and his gaze locked with Mia’s, he could see the fear and humiliation she felt standing there so exposed. He shook his head angrily as his lips came down forcefully upon hers, while his hands ran over her body in appreciation.....showing with his touch what words alone couldn’t convey.

He lifted her up into his arms, her legs instinctively wrapping around his waist as he held her with one arm and turned the water off with the other one. Moving out of the shower, he whispered lowly ‘dry us off Mia’ to which his witch waved her hand again and they both were instantly dried from their shower. Moving towards their bed, Bruce set her down reverently on the duvet as he kissed his way down her torso, leaving no part of her scar untouched by his lips as his hands caressed her other scars tenderly.

When he finally got to her hip, he glanced up and noticed Mia’s hooded gaze as she bit her lip in need.

“Silence the room, now.”

Mia nodded and did as he asked and then moaned loudly as Bruce spread her legs open and started to feast on her in earnest. Several hours later, both of them laid completely spent curled around each other in blissful satisfaction with Bruce lightly stroking Mia’s backside as she breathed heavily into his neck.

After a few moments, Bruce rolled Mia underneath him and stared down into her eyes. He wanted her to see the sincerity of his expression as he said the words he needed to.

“You are beautiful,” he began in earnest and placed his fingers on her lips when she went to speak, silently shaking his head in rebuke of the denial that he was certain was coming. Once he had her attention again he repeated himself firmly, “You are beautiful Mia. All these scars are proof of, is your bravery and resilience...nothing more, nothing less. They don’t define you, they are just a part of the package that makes you extraordinary. I understand not wanting to see the visual reminders of the past, but just know you don’t ever need to hide these from me again. Thank you for trusting me enough to show me all of you and I hope you know I will hold that trust sacred and not fail you again.”

Hermione’s eyes brimmed with tears as she stared into Bruce’s eyes that were filled with warmth and love. She could see that he meant every word of his declaration to her, and it filled her heart to bursting knowing that he truly loved all of her. Reaching up and running her hand through his dark locks, she couldn’t help but smile at how handsome he was. He had his own scars too, but it never detracted from his beauty. He was truly stunning in every way.

“Thank you.” She whispered out emotively.

“You don’t ever need to thank me Mia. It’s I who should be thanking you...for forgiving me and giving me a chance at the life I never thought I’d be able to have. I love you.”

“I love you too Bruce.”

“Marry me.”

Hermione’s look of confusion was instantaneous before her expression cleared in understanding.

“You want to get married now?”

Bruce smiled at how clever his witch was. “I don’t want to wait, I’m done waiting. We can have another ceremony with the Weasley’s and your friends after we deal with this Harvey mess, but I want you to be my wife now.....today. Please say yes.”

Hermione couldn’t help but smile adoringly at how earnest Bruce looked in that moment. She was fairly certain that he’d never looked so open ever, with anyone and she couldn’t help how her heart responded to his declaration, finding that the last remainder of her resistance had completely melted away. So without second guessing it, she decided to go with her heart and hope the rest would take care of itself as she nodded and said simply, “Yes.”

Chapter Text

Bruce didn’t waste any time calling in several favors. He had Lucius fly into New York that afternoon to be a second witness for their nuptials while Alfred contacted Judge Meeker, who had been an old Wayne Family friend and was currently a sitting Federal Justice in New York, who was more than happy to officiate the ceremony. Judge Meeker gave Alfred the name of a trusted associate in the County Recorders office who procured the marriage license and thankfully since it was New Years Day, word wouldn’t get out until the weekend of the Wayne Heir and his English Rose getting married.

Mia had transfigured a cream colored silk gown she had, into a more appropriate wedding dress and Bruce had chosen his pinstriped charcoal Armani suit that Mia favored with a light blue shirt and dark blue tie with charcoal accents. By the time everything was in place it was nearly eight in the evening and thankfully, Alfred had managed to find a local florist who was open today buying his entire stock of flowers and arranging the living room into something more befitting for a wedding ceremony.

The final touch had come when Bruce had made a phone call early that afternoon to a trusted local jeweler who brought over a selection of platinum wedding bands. He and Mia had selected a matching set and Bruce had generously compensated the man for his time.

Mia had asked Alfred to give her away, which he had been more than happy to do. The soft strains of Cello Suite No. 1 by Bach were playing in the background as Mia walked towards him, her amber eyes shining with happiness. Bruce’s matching grin couldn’t be helped as Alfred handed over his bride, giving his charge a proud pat of the back as he went to stand next to Lucius.

Judge Meeker went over the traditional wedding vows, the ceremony was quick and simple but no less emotional for the bride and groom. When Bruce promised to love, honor and cherish Mia her smile shone brighter than he had ever seen it and when she promised to love him for better or worse, Bruce couldn’t help but mouth the words ‘thank you’ as his heart filled with gratitude and unconditional love for his bride.

The final words of ‘by the powers vested in me, I know pronounce you man and wife’ Bruce lifted Mia into his embrace and kissed her deeply, tasting her sweetness mixed with salt from their tears of joy as she was now officially his.

When they broke apart, both smiling like fools...Alfred and Lucius came over to congratulate them both and Judge Meeker offered his heartfelt wishes for a long and happy union. Bruce thanked the man, before the Judge left to return to his family while Bruce, Mia, Alfred and Lucius enjoyed a late supper together.

Once the food was eaten, Alfred and Lucius left the newly married couple to enjoy their first night together as man and wife.

Mia had smiled at him and then giggled at how utterly besotted he appeared.

“Leave it to Bruce Wayne to be able to organize a wedding on a National Holiday.”

Bruce chuckled as he took his wife into his arms and kissed her repeatedly. “I didn’t hear you complaining wife.”

“Merlin! I’m not sure I’m ever going to get used to that.”

“Well, you’re stuck with me now darling so I suppose you better just learn to deal with it.”

“Nice!” Mia snarked out playfully, before her expression softened. “No regrets?”

Bruce shook his head. “Not a single one...well perhaps that we didn’t do this sooner but no....Today was perfect. You are beautiful.”

Mia blushed at the heated look her husband was giving her and Bruce couldn’t help but grin at how delectable his wife looked when her skin flushed just so.

Standing up, Bruce led his wife into their bedroom. “Now we move on to the best part.”

Mia laughed at Bruce’s wicked grin. “Is sex all you can think about?”

“Hello Kettle, I’m Pot....”

“Touché Love.”

For the rest of the night, the newly married couple enjoyed the happy bliss of their newly minted status and when the morning came, it was to a soft tapping on the window.

Bruce groaned as he moved over and opened the curtains and sure enough, there was an owl fluttering outside.

“Mia,” Bruce whispered into his wife’s ear as he kissed her shoulder, “There’s an owl at the window.”

Rolling over, Mia grabbed her wand and waved it causing the glass to disappear for a moment as the owl fluttered in, dropped off the parchment and flew back out. Waving her wand a second time, the glass returned to its former state and Bruce just chuckled as he sat down and handed the parchment to his wife.

“It’s from Mr. Scamander,” Mia stated as she read through the note, “he’s invited us for afternoon tea at his home.”

“What time?”

“Four o’clock.”

Bruce looked at the clock and noticed it was just a bit after ten in the morning. “We need to get you fed.”

“Fine, but I would like to take a shower first.”

“Sounds like a plan, mind if I join you?”

“I’d be disappointed if you didn’t.” Mia quipped with a wink and Bruce followed her into their bathroom to enjoy a few more moments together before their day started in earnest.

When they made their way into the kitchen, they found Alfred cleaning up and fresh pastries on the counter along with juice, fresh fruit and the morning edition of the New York Times.

Bruce grabbed the paper, and there on the front page of the society section was a picture of he and Mia taken in front of the Savoy with the caption...Billionaire Bruce Wayne Marries in Secret Ceremony....

Handing the paper to Mia, she rolled her eyes at the headline before reading through the article......

It was confirmed to this reporter just before publication that Bruce Wayne, CEO of Wayne Enterprises and sole Heir to the Wayne legacy has married Mia Black, Head of the Black Foundation in a private ceremony yesterday here in New York. Speculation that the Gothamite Billionaire had recently become engaged to Miss Black were rampant when photographs of the couple outside the Savoy in London were published last week clearly showing Miss Black wearing an engagement ring. No official press release has been offered by Mr. Wayne or Miss Black’s publicists, although the two have been rumored to be a couple for at least six months.

Word is Miss Black is pregnant with the future heir of the Wayne dynasty and while photographs indicate that this supposition is likely true, there is still no confirmation from any official sources. The former Miss Black, graduate of Oxford University with several notable degrees to her credit, has been working at Wayne Enterprises as a consultant, according to inside sources. Miss Black’s personal fortune though substantial, is no where near the affluence of her now husband. Rumor is there was no prenuptial agreement although we can’t imagine someone with Mr. Wayne’s business acumen overlooking such an important detail.

No word on where the couple will cohabitate, although the rebuilding of Wayne Manor is rumored to be completed sometime in the upcoming months.

We here at the Times wish the lovely couple all the best.

 

Once she was done, she handed the paper back to her husband with a scoff. “That was much quicker than I thought it would be and their inference that I’m a gold digger was only slightly offensive.”

Bruce skimmed the paper, his gaze darkening as he came to the end of the article before he looked up at his wife, who was humming happily as she bit into a chocolate croissant.

Standing up and giving her a kiss on the cheek, he excused himself and left the kitchen with Mia’s gaze following him closely.

“Where is he going?”

“Oh, I’d imagine Master Wayne is none too pleased with tone of the article and intends to handle it personally.”

“Is that wise Alfred?”

“I’d imagine he will have either Lucius or his head of PR handle it Miss Mia.”

“I hate the press.”

“With good reason I’m sure Miss Mia.”

It was about twenty minutes later when Bruce came back into the kitchen and sat down, grabbing his coffee and taking a pleased sip.

“Do I want to know what just happened?”

“Probably not.”

“Hmmm, fine...but only because I abhor the press and I can’t go around placing reporters into jars at my whim.”

Bruce sputtered out his coffee as he playfully glared at his wife. “Please refrain from doing so.”

“I make no promises.” Mia quipped back with a sly smile before taking another pleased bite of her breakfast. “How many reporters are out front this morning?”

Bruce’s expression was heated as he gazed over at her in appreciation.

“Enough of them.”

“Well, there is an apparition point not too far from Mr. Scamander’s residence if you would prefer to not use a car service to go out today.”

“That might not be a bad idea.” Bruce admitted.

“I thought so too.”

After a few moments, Bruce’s phone rang and when he looked down at it, his face blanched in surprise before he sighed and hit the button sending it to voice mail.

Hermione didn’t need two guesses to figure out who had called. “Rachel?”

Bruce looked up warily and nodded. After a few moments of awkward silence, Hermione stood up and moved over, giving Bruce a kiss on the cheek.

“If you need to, call her. I will give you some privacy.”

“Mia...” Bruce’s voice was strained but she just squeezed his arm in reassurance.

“Do you love me?”

“Yes.” Bruce answered without hesitation. “Only you.”

“Then call your friend. It’s only going to get worse if you don’t and I don’t want to be accused of being unsupportive regardless of how I feel about her.”

“I’m still angry with her and I don’t trust myself not to say something I shouldn’t at this point.”

Hermione nodded her head and then offered as a compromise, “Text her and let her know you’ll talk to her when you return to Gotham. Did she leave a voice mail?”

Bruce looked at his phone and nodded in return, playing the message on speakerphone.

Bruce, it’s Rachel. I just saw the local news this morning. Call me...

“Well, that answers that question.” Bruce mumbled while his wife just gave him another kiss on the cheek.

“Possibly, but in any case we can’t ignore her forever and it probably isn’t a good idea to arouse her nor Harvey’s suspicions at this point.”

Bruce leant down and kissed his wife in gratitude before he pulled up his texts and sent a quick note off to Rachel that said simply.....The report is true. I’ll talk to you when I get home to Gotham....

A few minutes later the phone dinged with one simple word of Fine....

Bruce sighed and Hermione just shook her head at how petty one word could come across in a text. She didn’t even congratulate Bruce which was telling. It would be unproductive to point out the obvious as she was relatively sure Bruce had noticed Rachel’s omission.

Deciding a change of subject was needed, Hermione placed Bruce’s hand on her stomach and watched his expression soften as he felt their children moving under his palm.

“I was supposed to go into my OB in Gotham for an appointment next Tuesday. Would you like to come with me?”

Bruce’s face broke out into a relieved smile as he nodded. “I would like that very much.”

“Good. Now I’m going to go call Jian and let her know we are in New York. She’s been visiting family back in Hong Kong for the holidays.”

“Sounds good. Lucius left some paperwork for me to look over, so how about I take care of that now and then we sneak out into the city for the morning.”

“You think that’s a good idea?”

“I refuse to live cooped up. Besides we are on our honeymoon of sorts, although it might be nice to take a proper trip once this mess is resolved. Where would you like to go?”

“Well, that’s another thing I wanted to talk to you about.”

“Which is?”

“Giving birth. Magical births can be difficult and I would prefer to do so in St. Mungo’s back in London. It’s our Wizarding hospital.”

“Don’t they have one here in New York?”

“They do, but I don’t trust them here Bruce.”

Bruce nodded, realizing that Mia make a valid point. “Then I suggest once we are done in Gotham we head back to London until the babies are born. Besides, it might be a good idea to have the Weasley’s around, especially Molly.”

“You’re sure?”

Bruce gave Mia a kiss and nodded. “I’m sure.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Go get your phone calls done and I’ll get my work done so we can enjoy the rest of our day.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

Chapter Text

That afternoon just before 4pm found the pair at 679 W. 24th Street, which housed a Postal Service Building on one side of the street and on the other was a large gated enclosed green area, Chelsea Waterside Park. Bruce was confused for a moment until Mia took his hand and led him over to the gated area on the west side and waved her wand. The gate then opened, and she led him through a series of Muggle repelling enchantments until they were inside the gated area. When they finally were clear, Bruce gasped at the large Victorian Brownstone that appeared directly in front of them. The building had to be at least four stories tall and probably had 10 bedrooms. Mia flicked her wand a second time and her patronus burst forth and then scurried into the building. A few moments later the front door opened and an elderly woman with white hair walked down the stoop and invited them inside.

Once inside, the small group made their way into a well appointed sitting room where another woman and Newt Scamander were sitting.

“Ah, Miss Granger.” Newt stood up and walked with his hand outstretched in greeting.

“It’s actually Mrs. Wayne.” Hermione replied and Newt’s face broke out into a delighted smile as he introduced himself to the gentleman next to the War Heroine.

“Newt Scamander.”

“Bruce Wayne.”

The two men shook hands and Newt gestured to the two women sitting next to each other.

“Allow me to introduce you both to my lovely wife Tina and her sister Queenie.”

“It’s wonderful to meet you both.” Hermione smiled warmly at the sisters. “I understand you were quite the noted Auror, Mrs. Scamander.”

“Oh call me Tina. It’s definitely easier than my given name of Porpentina.”

“Then please call me Mia.”

“Of course dear. This is my sister Queenie.”

“How do you do Ms. Goldstein.”

“Oh, it’s Queenie to you sugar, and such a fine gentleman you have brought with you. Bruce Wayne....he’s quite a dapper young man.”

Bruce grinned and blushed at the complement. “It’s lovely to meet you both.”

“So you’re a no-maj?” Queenie asked intrigued, her green eyes considering the man before her.

“No-Maj?”

“It’s what we call Muggles here in the States.”

“Oh, I see.” Bruce nodded and they all sat down as Tina waved her wand serving tea along with some pastries.

“Congratulations on your children Mia,” Queenie said kindly, “twins, a boy and a girl.”

Mia smiled, while Bruce just looked perplexed. When Queenie’s gaze locked onto his her smile faltered for a brief second and then she shook her head. “Sorry sugar, I should’ve probably let on a bit about myself.”

Mia gripped Bruce’s hand and answered in unspoken question. “Ms. Goldstein, Queenie....she’s a natural legilimens.”

“Natural?”

“Mmhmm,” Queenie offered with an apologetic look, “I can read people’s thoughts without need of a spell. When I was younger it was difficult to muddle through the noise inside my head most days, but over time I was able to work through it a bit better.”

Newt chuckled. “She’s being modest Mr. Wayne.”

“Please call me Bruce. I do know a bit about legilimency from Mia, but I had no idea someone could be a natural legilimens.”

“Yes, well your daughter will be....even now her mind is already well developed.”

Hermione’s expression dropped and Bruce appeared to be shocked to the core. “I’m sorry?”

“Oh don’t be, sugar. Both your children will be gifted beyond their innate abilities, if what I’m sensing is accurate.”

“That’s remarkable.” Hermione placed a hand on her abdomen and felt an answering kick in response.

Queenie’s eyes met those of the Muggle and she could sense his discomfort. “I know it’s a lot to process, having no magic yourself. I loved a man once, his name was Jacob and he was a Muggle like yourself. Back in my time, magical’s were forbidden to love Muggles, we even had a law in place that prevented us from associating with Muggles.”

“Rappaport’s Law.” Hermione said sadly and Queenie nodded.

“My Jacob died during the Grindelwald years, but he was a good man. Accepted magic and everything. He was obliviated with the Swooping Evil after the incident with Grindelwald and the Obscurus, but it didn’t take. I suppose that’s why you’re here, yes?”

“It is.” Hermione admitted. “And that’s interesting. The venom didn’t take?”

“No, because he didn’t have bad memories of the magic he’d seen. He’d accepted it. This man you wish to obliviate, he has a condition that makes you uncertain if obliviation will work, yes?”

Both Hermione and Bruce nodded and it was then that Newt spoke up. “The Swooping Evil venom works much like obliviation, but instead of wiping out memories...it only wipes the bad ones away. From what you’ve shared with me via our correspondence Mia, you’re uncertain how this would work on a Muggle who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder. What I can tell you is that the venom can be diluted enough to administer to a single individual. If the memories are traumatic enough, the venom would likely erase the trauma of the events in question.”

“Even if the secondary personalities are protected by mental barriers?”

“Yes. Muggles don’t have the propensity for Occlumency that we as magical’s employ. An accomplished legilimens would be able to modify any subsequent memories after the fact once the venom had cured the subject. However, if the subject considers magic to be in any way threatening, the venom would obliviate those memory pathways as well.”

“How long after Jacob’s exposure did the memory block clear?”

“It wasn’t long, maybe a few weeks at most.” Queenie offered.

“Would you be willing to give us instructions on how to administer the venom?”

Newt nodded. “It’s the least I can do.”

“How is your grandson, Rolf? It’s my understanding that he and my friend Luna are seeing each other.”

Newt grinned. “They have been and he is doing well. He’s in the Southwest right now studying up on the mating habits of Thunderbirds. A chip off the old block he is.”

“You both must be very proud.”

“We are.” Tina offered with a smile. “I always knew Rolf would follow in his Grandfather’s footsteps. The boy was born to be a Magizoologist.”

“Is there any chance the venom might trigger any side effects that might worsen the condition?”

Newt thought about this for a moment but shook his head. “It’s highly unlikely and I’ve never heard of such a circumstance.”

Bruce nodded and gave Mia’s hand a reassuring squeeze. “We are heading back to Gotham by Monday as Mia has a doctors appointment next Tuesday. Would it be possible to get everything we need by then?”

Newt nodded. “Stop by Sunday afternoon same time, I should have everything for you by then.”

“Thank you Sir.” Bruce smiled warmly and Newt just waved his hand like it was no big deal.

“We’re happy to help.”

Queenie smiled at Mia and tilted her head as her grin widened. “How interesting!”

“What?” Tina asked, giving her sister a fond look.

“I understand now Mia. You’ve been through quite the journey haven’t you?”

Mia smiled wanly and nodded. “I have, and I have no doubt you understand everything, yes?”

“Enough to know that you needn’t worry about protecting your heart, it’s in good hands.”

Mia’s smile was relieved and Bruce couldn’t help but feel like he’d passed some unknown test.

“That’s good to know, but I’ve known that for a while.”

Queenie then turned her attention to the young man and gazed at him intently. “You are brave Bruce Wayne and accept Mia’s magic and your children’s. That is good. You worry that you won’t be enough, but you needn’t sugar. You have hidden depths that you haven’t even tapped into yet. If I didn’t know better I’d say you two were fated, but Mia here doesn’t like Divination much.”

Mia laughed merrily and nodded in agreement. “No, I don’t.”

“Pity.” Queenie winked and everyone laughed. “I’m no Seer, at least I’ve never thought so.”

“No Sis, you’re just too honest for your own good.”

“Probably.”

After a another half hour, Bruce and Mia left the Scamander’s home and apparated back to their downtown apartment. Once they’d arrived, Bruce swept Mia up into his arms and placed her on their bed before taking his place next to her and cuddling her into his side.

“So, that was good news.”

“It was.” Mia agreed. “Queenie is an interesting character.”

“Definitely. I thought it was intriguing what she told us about these little ones.” Bruce placed his hand lovingly on Mia’s abdomen and felt his children greeting him almost immediately. “Does it worry you at all?”

“A little, but I’d figured they’d be gifted under the circumstances, so having it confirmed wasn’t a complete shock.”

“I can understand that. How about a short nap before dinner Mrs. Wayne?”

“That sounds like an excellent idea, Mr. Wayne.”

Chapter Text

When Sunday had come, Hermione had apparated to Newt’s home and picked up the vial in question, returning home after thanking the Scamander family for their time and generosity and promising to visit again soon.

Before she left, Queenie had taken her aside and reassured her that Bruce loved her and only her, and that Rachel was no longer a threat to her happiness. Hermione had hugged the older witch and thanked her profusely for sharing that information with her, to which Queenie responded, “It’ll be our little secret, sugar.”

They landed in Gotham Monday early evening and made their way back to the Penthouse where they both feel asleep immediately in each other’s arms, exhausted from jet lag and traveling.

The visit on Tuesday to Mia’s OB had gone very well. Another sonogram was done at Mia’s request and Bruce had sat there completely enraptured at the images of his children on the screen. When Mia reached for his hand, he squeezed hers with affection and mouthed, ‘I love you’ as they both continued to watch Mia’s doctor take measurements of the children.

Mia had then told her OB that they would be leaving back for London within the next few weeks as her regular doctor was located there and she wanted to give birth around her family and friends. Her OB promised to have her records ready to take by the end of the week.

Bruce had dropped Mia back at the Penthouse with Alfred and made his way to Wayne Enterprises to check in with Lucius and get some paperwork done. It was around four in the afternoon when his secretary came in and notified him that he had a visitor.

“Who is it, Kathy?”

“Rachel Dawes, Mr. Wayne.”

Bruce’s eyebrow lifted as he nodded to his secretary before sending a quick text to Mia to let her know that Rachel had shown up to his office uninvited. The text he’d received back said three words, but they’d meant the world to him. ‘I trust you’......and it was enough.

Bruce sat behind his desk as Rachel walked in, her expression clearly stressed and unhappy. In the past he would have jumped up at the clear distress he could see on her face, but that was before and he was married now. Rachel, as much as he cared about her....was no longer his concern nor his priority.

“Rachel, this is a surprise.”

“Hello Bruce, thank you for seeing me. Is Mia here today?”

“No, she’s at home resting.”

Rachel nodded as Bruce gestured for her to sit in the seat on the other side of his desk. Her surprise at being relegated to such an informal position wasn’t missed by him, as he gazed at her with a critical eye.

“What can I do for you?”

“I’m sorry to barge in here unannounced, but I was worried about you.”

“Worried?”

“Yes, worried. It is unlike you Bruce to make such rash decisions like getting married at the spur of the moment. I just needed to make sure there wasn’t some other underlying reason.”

Bruce sat back and pondered Rachel’s words before he shook his head in sudden understanding. “You honestly think Mia used some kind of magic to force me to marry her, don’t you?”

Rachel’s cheeks blushed and she didn’t meet his gaze which led Bruce to believe his assumption was spot on.

“Look at it from my perspective Bruce. I’ve known you all my life and this isn’t exactly normal behavior for you. You’ve avoided commitment like the plague and now in the space of a week, you’ve become engaged and then married? Doesn’t it seem a bit suspicious to you?”

Bruce chuckled, but it wasn’t a happy sound. “I’m going to ignore the fact that you just insulted my intelligence by coming here and insinuating that I’m not capable of making up my own mind and my own choices for my family. In case it has escaped your notice, Mia is pregnant with my children, so why wouldn’t you think I’d want to marry her?”

“Children?” Rachel’s face paled and Bruce nodded.

“Yes, twins.”

Rachel thought over Bruce’s words and then she scoffed. “So the only reason you married her was because of the children?”

“No Rachel. I married my wife because I love her more than anything and want a future with her and our children. You don’t know Mia. You’ve made an erroneous assumption based on your own prejudices against her because of what transpired before she left. But let’s be real, can you sit there and honestly tell me that you’ve been completely forthcoming yourself?”

Rachel’s breath hitched before she hissed out, “And just what’s that supposed to mean Bruce?”

“I don’t know Rachel, you tell me?”

Bruce sat back and waited for Rachel to speak up and confess about Harvey, but she just sat there stoically and refused to say anything which just angered him even more.

“I’m not sure what your inferring here Bruce. My only reason for coming today is because I care about you and don’t want to see you being taken advantage of. Did you even have her sign a prenup?”

Bruce’s expression darkened ominously as he glared at his former love. “Don’t Rachel, you’re walking a very fine line right now. How I handle my relationship with my wife is none of your concern. In case it’s escaped your notice, Mia is fairly wealthy in her own right. The new platform database she’s patented and designed for Wayne Enterprises will in all likelihood, triple my bottom line once it goes operational. Do you want to know how much of that revenue she requested for herself? None...she did it because she wants to help people, not for some nefarious monetary reason.”

“Well, why would she need to when she’s managed to dig her claws into you and the Wayne Fortune?”

Bruce instantly slammed his palms down on his desk as he growled out in anger, realizing at this very moment that his friendship with Rachel was done.

“How dare you come here and speak that way about my wife! You don’t have that right and you need to leave Rachel, now!”

Rachel stood up, and Bruce could tell she was holding back tears as she gazed at him with something akin to pity. “You’ve made a huge mistake Bruce, and it saddens me that you can’t see it.”

“The only mistake I’ve made Rachel, was blindly trusting in our friendship. Please go and don’t come back.”

Rachel nodded and stormed out of his office, leaving Bruce staring after her completely enraged as he clenched his fists before rubbing his hands down his face, trying desperately to calm himself.

Deciding he was done for the day, Bruce grabbed his car keys and headed to Lucius’ office to let him know he was heading home. He needed to see his wife.

When he finally got back to the Penthouse, Alfred could see his distress and told him that Mia was upstairs taking a bath.

“Is there anything I can do Master Wayne?”

“If Rachel comes here, or Harvey you need to advise security they are not to be granted an audience with myself nor Mia.”

Alfred nodded, clearly wanting to say something else but decided it was probably wiser to let it go for the time being.

When Bruce got upstairs he heard Mia’s voice as it carried through the hallway and he instantly relaxed and smiled at how beautiful she sounded as she sung to their children. He entered their bedroom, took off his clothes and went into the bath to join his wife.

“Mind some company?”

Mia looked up over her shoulder with a smile, which faded instantly as she noticed his expression and nodded....scooting forward in the tub to make room.

“Always love, are you alright Bruce? I take it your conversation with Rachel didn’t go well?”

Bruce stepped into the tub and situated Mia back against his chest so he could wrap his arms around her middle, gently caressing her stomach and couldn’t help but smile softly as his children rolled beneath his touch.

“That’s an understatement.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, it’s not your fault.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“Not especially, but we promised no more secrets. Maybe when we get out of the tub you can extract the memory and have a look at it? Or look into my mind? Either way, I’d rather not make you upset but I’m fairly certain there’s no avoiding it at this point.”

“It must’ve been really bad.”

“If by bad you mean that my friendship with Rachel is irrevocably broken....then yes....bad.”

“Well, let’s try and not worry about it right now. Relax with me and we can figure it out later, okay?”

Bruce kissed Mia’s shoulder and nodded. “Sounds like a plan.”

After about an hour of just holding each other, Bruce helped Mia out of the tub and she dried them both off with magic before they went back into their bedroom and got dressed for dinner.

After dinner was eaten and Alfred was cleaning up the dishes, Bruce led Mia back upstairs and she pulled out the box with the pensieve in it, placing a drop of her blood and then opened the box. Bruce watched as the magical item floated into the room and then he sat down across from Mia, making eye contact as he brought forward the memory form earlier that day and was amazed when Mia was able to extract it from his temple, swirling it into the basin.

He sighed as Mia dipped her head into the pensieve and after a few moments, when she came back out, her expression was both sad and disgusted. She flicked the memory and murmured an incantation, pointing her wand back at his temple and he shuddered as the memory was returned to him.

“I don’t know what to say,” Mia admitted emotively, “it’s clear that Rachel hasn’t quite let go of you, and that she definitely doesn’t trust me, although I can’t say I completely blame her after what happened...but still....”

“Don’t Mia, don’t you dare own this! Rachel is in the wrong here, not you. I just don’t know her anymore....the person in that memory was not the Rachel I grew up with.”

“I’m sure it still doesn’t make it hurt any less though.”

Bruce didn’t say anything however, he just folded Mia into his lap and kissed her neck in gratitude. Alfred would definitely have questions for him, as he had always been fond of Rachel but somehow Bruce doubted Alfred would be willing to give Rachel the benefit of the doubt on this one. Alfred adored Mia and truly believed that he was happier with Mia in his life. Bruce had to agree. Mia was light and love.....and whatever Rachel’s issues, Mia was now his wife.....his family. Bruce hadn’t allowed himself to believe he could have a family again, but Mia had given him that hope and that was more precious than all the money in the world.

Chapter Text

The next day at breakfast he and Mia discussed how they were going to go about administering the Potion to Harvey. They had discussed several ideas, but Bruce simply wasn’t sure what the best way to deal with it was and thought it might be a good idea to see if Malfoy might be inclined to come to Gotham and assist with the planning. Mia had been surprised by his suggestion, but pleased as well that Bruce seemed to be over whatever jealousy he’d harbored in relation to Draco.

When Bruce left for the office, Alfred had indicated that he needed to go to the store to pick up some groceries to make Mia her pastries that she favored. She had called Jian after Alfred had left and her assistant indicated she would be back in Gotham by the afternoon, so they’d made plans to meet at Mia’s apartment.

Mia still had most of her belongings still secured inside her beaded bag, so she disapparated from the Penthouse into her apartment, called down to security to let them know she was on the premises and started to take things out of her bag, putting everything back in its rightful place.

It was about two hours later when her apartment phone rang, it was Quinton stating she had a visitor and when she asked who it was, Hermione was surprised by the answer but allowed the visitor access.

When her elevator dinged a few moments later, Hermione had already texted Bruce to let him know where she was and what was going on. The message she received back stated clearly that he was on his way and would be there within the next thirty minutes.

Harvey walked into her apartment looking a bit disheveled and clearly unhappy, which immediately raised her defenses as she made sure her wand was securely in its wand holster on her arm. Smiling in what she hoped was a friendly manner, she greeted Harvey warmly.

“Hello Harvey, what can I do for you?”

“I was hoping we could have a little chat.”

“About?”

“Rachel came home last night after talking with your husband and apparently she was quite upset.”

“I see, Bruce did mention that she had stopped by his office unannounced and they had a disagreement.”

“You don’t know what it was about?”

“Bruce told me that Rachel seems to think I’m some sort of gold-digger and she believes the only reason he married me is because of the pregnancy. I’m unsure of where she got such an idea.”

“Perhaps it was when you decided to look into her mind without permission?”

Hermione sighed and offered Harvey a place to sit, which he did after a few seconds. He seemed unhappy, tense and irritable which was concerning.

“I did, and Bruce defended Rachel to me. Look Harvey, I’m not proud of what I did, but Rachel hasn’t exactly been honest with her intentions either. Frankly I’m confused as to why she felt it was necessary to confront my husband not even a day after we returned home.”

Harvey sighed heavily as he rubbed his hands down his face in exasperation. “Rachel has her reasons, but I’m more concerned as to why you think it’s acceptable to use magic unwillingly on someone else.”

Mia shook her head, realizing where this was likely going. “I did what I needed to protect myself from someone who clearly doesn’t have my best intentions in mind, nor Bruce’s....nor yours if we’re being honest. If you’re okay with someone who is comfortable lying than that is your business but don’t expect me to stand idly by when that person threatens me or anyone I care about.”

“Rachel threatened you?” Harvey scoffed in disbelief. “Now why don’t I believe that?”

“Oh I don’t know Harvey, maybe you should tell me why you’ve really come here?”

Harvey’s gaze narrowed. “Why do you think I’ve come?”

“I’m not going to play defendant to your prosecutor, Harvey. You clearly had an agenda in coming here, so what is it?”

Harvey stood up and paced in front of the window a few times before he spoke, his voice harsh and nothing like the carefree Harvey she’d become so fond of. Mia had to wonder if this shift in his demeanor was closer to his other personality.

“I want to know what you saw in Rachel’s mind.”

“That she lied. That she fully intended to use her knowledge of my magic as a bargaining chip to convince me to come work with you in the DA’s office. I believe that’s called blackmail, yes?”

“Rachel wouldn’t do that!”

“But she did Harvey. Why would I lie about something like that? I was seriously considering your offer until she came to visit Bruce.”

“And now?”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea under any circumstances. I don’t trust her.”

“Well the way I see it, I believe we are at an impasse here. I can’t arrest you for violating her mind, but I’m just as sure you’d rather not have too many questions asked about your background either.”

Mia chuckled at Harvey’s audacity and his expression darkened noticeably. “You don’t have any bargaining power here Harvey. Don’t try blackmail with me, I have far more experience with it and am much better at it.”

“What’s that supposed to mean.”

“I think you know exactly what that means. While I believe your concern for Rachel is genuine, that isn’t the only thing that’s worrying you about me looking into her mind, is it?”

Harvey moved over quickly and Mia could see his body coiled, like he was about to strike when she wandlessly petrified him. His look of shock was evident.

“You’ve been keeping your own secrets, haven’t you Harvey? Don’t come into my home and threaten me because you have far more to lose than I do. I know about your condition as does my husband. The fact that you’ve kept it under control is admirable, but if word got out it would likely put into question every conviction you’ve garnered over the course of your career. Now, I can help you...cure you possibly....would you be open to discussing it calmly?”

Harvey’s expression was fixed as he stared angrily and Mia put some distance between them before waving her hand and releasing Harvey from the spell.

“How?”

“I have a Potion, if you’d be open to taking it, it could provide you with a mental reset. The potion, is designed to remove traumatic memories from a person. If your condition was caused by such an event, it’s likely this could cure your condition.”

Harvey sat down, stunned as he stared up at her morosely. “I don’t understand.”

“I was able to discern from Rachel’s memories about you condition. Dissociative Identity Disorder, I believe it’s called, yes?”

Harvey nodded. “When I’d realized what you’d been dealing with, I made it a priority to try and find a cure for you. I didn’t know if it was possible and it took me a bit of time and several trusted contacts to come up with a viable solution.”

“That’s why you went to London and New York?”

“Yes Harvey, part of the reason. I wanted to help you. After all you’ve done to make Gotham safer it didn’t sit right with me that all your hard work could be for naught if this got out. Of course I told Bruce and he was understandably upset with Rachel for lying to him. He outed his dual identity to you, without being told all the facts. He saw it as a violation of his trust in a lifelong friend. Tell me, if the roles were reversed, how would you have taken that?”

Sighing in defeat, Harvey then nodded in understanding. “I wouldn’t have taken it well.”

“My instincts that day told me Rachel was lying, just not what she was lying about. I know you love her Harvey, but coming here and blackmailing me is not the Harvey that I’ve come to respect and admire. Is it?”

“No, it’s not.”

“Then I have to ask you, did you come here with any kind of weapon?”

Harvey blanched in horror and shook his head in the negative.

“I’m sorry, but I needed to know.”

At that moment Hermione’s elevator dinged and out walked Bruce looking murderous.

“Dent.”

“Wayne.”

“You better have a good explanation as to why you’re here right now.”

“Bruce, it’s alright. Harvey and I had a talk and put everything out on the table. I told him about the potion, and gave him the option to try it.”

Bruce nodded, but his expression was still tense as he considered the other man. “Would you be willing?”

“Do I have a choice?”

“Of course you do Harvey,” Mia admonished softly, “I truly believe this is the best chance for you to live the life you want without having to worry anymore.”

Harvey nodded and was about to speak when the elevator phone rang and Bruce went to pick it up. His expression hardened as he gritted out, “Rachel’s downstairs.”

Mia shook her head and even Harvey seemed unsure.

“Should we let her up Harvey?”

“She has a right to know what’s going on Mia, so if you’re alright with it then yes.”

Mia nodded to Bruce who gave Quinton permission to let Rachel come up. When she walked into the apartment, she seemed surprised at seeing Bruce there.

“Harvey, your Secretary told me you were coming here to talk to Mia. I just wanted to make sure everything was alright.”

“I’m fine Rachel.”

Rachel looked unconvinced while Bruce just stared angrily at the other couple.

“I didn’t know you’d be here Bruce.”

“Lucky me.” Bruce snarked, causing Harvey to bristle and his wife to roll her eyes at him.

“Bruce, I know you’re angry at Rachel but that isn’t going to get us anywhere.”

“I don’t need you to defend me Mia.”

“I wasn’t defending you Rachel. I’m not sure there is a defense for you at this point, although I’ll concede that you genuinely care for Harvey’s welfare, as do Bruce and I.”

“Right.” Rachel bit out and Harvey just shook his head reprovingly at his girlfriend.

“Mia and Bruce know about my condition. She thinks she’s found a way to cure me.”

Rachel’s look of incredulity was palpable as she stared at Harvey in shock, before turning and facing the other woman angrily.

“That’s not possible.”

“Yet it is.” Mia pulled out a small vial from her bag and held it aloft. “I’m not going to lie by claiming my motives are completely altruistic here. Harvey’s condition leaves both Bruce and I vulnerable. You created a back up file Harvey as a safety net, outing both my identity as a witch and Bruce’s identity as Batman. Did you honestly think that is a scenario that Bruce and I could live with due to your condition? A condition that you failed to inform Bruce of Rachel, before he shared with Harvey his dual identity? This entire situation has left us all vulnerable, and my only goal here was to try and protect our secrets from coming out. This potion will help you Harvey.”

Harvey went to speak but Rachel got there first. “And why should we trust you? You broke into my thoughts without warning.”

“And you lied to me about Harvey’s condition. You aren’t standing on any moral high ground here Rachel.” Bruce growled out in warning. “Mia could have obliviated you both and taken the flash drive with no one the wiser. So tell me, why do you think she didn’t choose that option?”

Rachel paled and Harvey swallowed in pained understanding as he realized Wayne made a valid point.

“So, you really think this will work?”

“I do.” Mia offered with a smile. “If you want, it might be easier to do this with someone who can access your thoughts if you’re willing. To see if they can determine the source of the mental break. Are you even aware of when or how it occurred?”

Rachel reached for Harvey’s hand as the man nodded. “I have a fairly good idea.”

“Well, that’s something.”

“Will the potion erase all my bad memories?”

Mia nodded. “That’s what it’s designed to do. Again, you may need some help from an expert legilimens to make sure the memories that remain are intact and fluid. But this potion has been used before and it has a successful track record.”

“Then I’m willing to try it.” Harvey replied and Rachel seemed to want to say something, but a quick head shake from her boyfriend had her shutting her mouth. “Can we get this done now?”

Mia nodded and cast her patronus, sending it to Draco and letting him know where she was at. It was about fifteen minutes later when a crack sounded and the blonde wizard was standing before everyone in the room looking a bit disheveled.

“Sleeping?”

“Not anymore.” Draco sneered unhappily as he nodded at Wayne. “I take it you found the cure?”

“We did.” Bruce replied, his voice a bit deeper than normal.

“Harvey would like to take it now and we thought you might be able to check to see if it worked properly.” The rest of the conversation was left unsaid as Draco nodded and sat down across from the Muggle whilst Hermione handed Bruce the potion.

“I think it might be wise to minimize the unnecessary distractions, therefore I’m going to go upstairs.” Mia gave her husband a reassuring smile before heading up to her room with her beaded bag in hand.

It wasn’t a few moments later that her door opened and she turned to find Rachel standing there in the doorway, her expression completely closed off.

“I’d thought you’d want make sure of Harvey’s well-being?” Mia’s voice was even, her expression indifferent.

“What exactly was your endgame here?”

Mia smirked inwardly, but her voice was calm and composed when she responded, “Please clarify, as I’d rather not assume what you could possibly mean by such an ambiguous statement.”

Rachel scoffed before answering. “I know Bruce probably told you about our conversation yesterday. I still find it difficult to believe you just decided to help Harvey out of the goodness of your heart.”

“Did you not hear me Rachel? I was rather transparent in my motives in helping Harvey.”

“Why not obliviate us?”

Mia did then smirk as she faced the other woman and gave her a pitying look. “You really need to get over this jealousy issue you have where Bruce is concerned. You made the choice to be with Harvey.”

“Actually, your pregnancy made the choice for both Bruce and I. I knew once Alfred told us of his belief that you were pregnant, I’d lost Bruce for good. He would’ve never walked away from his child, even if he did love me more.”

“So, you’re convinced that the only reason Bruce is with me is because I’m pregnant.”

“It’s the truth Mia. You won by default, don’t kid yourself about that.”

Mia laughed and shook her head at the other woman. “I’m sorry you think so. It must’ve been difficult for you to realize that you couldn’t string Bruce along indefinitely. You made the decision to sleep with Harvey and then throw your relationship with him into Bruce’s face, or do you not remember the night we all had dinner together? You were angry Bruce left Gotham for seven years, angry that he chose to be a masked vigilante, angry he felt he needed to do this to save Gotham. But did you ever once ask yourself why Bruce chose the path he did? Ever once ask Bruce where he’d been for seven years and how that had irrevocably changed him? I don’t think you did. I think you used Harvey to punish Bruce for choosing to be Batman over being with you and instead of supporting his decision, you pushed him away in return because you took it personally.”

“It was personal Mia, don’t kid yourself that it wasn’t!” Rachel sneered in anger. “Bruce has always loved me...always, since we were kids. I am an Assistant District Attorney, so of course I couldn’t support a vigilante regardless of whether or not I agreed with Bruce’s decision. I remember that night very clearly too, and I also remember the night you found us at his Penthouse. And do you know what I remember? Bruce begging me to wait for him, even though he was involved with you. He was in love with me, not you. So forgive me if I’ve assumed you’ve worked a bit of your hocus pocus on him to make him marry you....the Bruce who loved me would’ve never married you.”

Hermione’s expression was placid, but inside her heart was racing. Rachel was saying all the things that she had once feared too. That Bruce was only with her because of the children, because he’d felt obligated to be with her, not because he’d loved her. When she didn’t speak right away, Rachel smirked in satisfaction but it was a colder voice speaking up, that stopped both women cold.

“I never really knew you, did I Rachel?”

Rachel turned around in the doorway and saw Bruce standing there, staring at her with undisguised disgust.

“Bruce...”

“Don’t!” Bruce snarled out hatefully as he walked past the woman and went straight for his wife, enveloping her into his side and kissing her temple in reassurance...before his attention was once again focused on his former friend.

“I can’t believe how blind I was all these years.” Bruce growled out harshly, his face thunderous in his anger. “But once the blinders came off I came to a few startling conclusions, would you like to hear them?”

Rachel just stood in the doorway, her arms folded in anger as she refused to answer, so Bruce just continued on...

“I’d realized recently that the idea of you that I’d built up in my mind and the real you, were never compatible. I’d idealized you, because for the longest time you were all I had to keep me going in the darkness that was my life. But even with all that, I still couldn’t bring myself to have a real relationship with you because there was a part of me that instinctively knew you weren’t enough to stand with me by my side as an equal. You weren’t brave enough, smart enough, uncompromising enough, dark enough to accept who I really was and am. You’ve never understood me....the real me. Mia knows me and accepts me. The intellectual and the warrior because she is both too. She. Is. Everything. I thought that even after yesterday that there’d still might be a slim chance that we could salvage something of the friendship we used to have, but I know now that’s never going to happen. You’ll never accept the fact that I chose Mia over you. I told you that night I was in love with her and I’d thought you’d accepted it, but you lied to me Rachel. Just like you’ve lied about everything else. Mia was right about you, you are a liar and can’t be trusted.”

Rachel just stared at Bruce in shock, and she couldn’t help the tears that came to her eyes as the man that she’d loved since they were children was glaring at her with nothing but disdain and distrust.

“You don’t mean that Bruce.”

“Oh, but I do.” Bruce said without emotion. “Mia is my wife and I warned you yesterday that you were walking a very thin line. You’ve now crossed that line and I’m afraid you’ve left me with no choice. Mr. Malfoy if you would please.”

Draco’s disillusionment charm dropped as he held out his wand on the woman in front of him. Rachel’s face was ashen as she stared at the wizard over her shoulder, before her gaze moved back to Bruce and Mia. Mia’s expression was resigned, but Bruce’s held almost a perverse satisfaction as he smirked at her before he spoke.

“The potion worked. Harvey is cured. I thought you’d want to know Rachel, but I feel it’s only right to tell you all of it. You see, I asked Mr. Malfoy to come here to Gotham before Christmas with the express intention of checking your memories to make sure that Harvey hadn’t some kind of back up plan in place in regards to outing my identity as Batman nor Mia’s as a witch. Imagine my surprise when he returned and on Christmas Day and informed me that not only did Harvey have a backup plan, but that you knew about it and his condition and failed to inform me. To say I was hugely disappointed, would’ve been an understatement.”

“Why would you do that?” Rachel breathed out in horror.

“It was simple really,” Bruce continued on seamlessly, “I’d realized belatedly that I’d done my wife great disservice by not believing in her when she’d told me that you couldn’t be trusted. But the joke was on me I suppose, so my intention was simple. To have Mr. Malfoy obliviate you and Harvey. Harvey of ever remembering my dual identity and Mia’s magic and you......of also ever remembering anything of our romantic history.”

Rachel’s face paled as she gasped out in pain, not wanting to believe Bruce would ever do something so devious. Her gazed moved to Mia and could see the truth of Bruce’s words as the woman just stared back at her emotionlessly.

“This is all you fault!” Rachel hissed at Mia. “Bruce would’ve never considered doing something so underhanded if you hadn’t suggested it.”

“That’s where you’re wrong Miss Dawes,” The aristocratic drawl of the blond wizard behind her, sounded equally amused and bored, “It was Wayne’s idea. Granger, was just as surprised as you are right now when he suggested it.”

Rachel turned back to face Bruce and he nodded once before his smirk deepened. “I just thought you should know the truth before you leave here today.”

“And why is that?” Rachel hissed out in hurt and anger.

“Because after today you won’t remember any of this, nor me for that matter. At least beyond the fact we knew each other as children. This is goodbye Rachel.”

Mia’s face was shocked as she stared up at her husband, who’s expression was resolved. Draco chuckled before he stunned the woman and watched as she fell to the floor in a heap, smacking her head on the way down. The likely concussion would go a long way in explaining the soon to be memory loss.

Draco’s gaze met the darkened hazel ones of the Muggle and he smirked in appreciation, before levitating Rachel and taking her downstairs to finish out their plan.

Once they were gone, Mia gazed back up at her husband and then grinned at him. “Remind me husband, not to ever underestimate you.”

“That’s probably a wise idea, wife.” Bruce leant down and kissed Mia softly before pulling back and whispering with feeling. “You know I love only you, right?”

“I know Bruce. I love you too.”

Chapter Text

When they got downstairs, Draco was just finishing up the memory modification on Rachel and then grabbed a strand of Harvey’s hair, placing it into a small bottle and taking a sip. Hermione grinned when he shuddered in revulsion, before he started to morph into Harvey. He then disapparated and about forty minutes later, reappeared with a flash drive in his hand.

“From what I could tell in his thoughts before I gave him the potion, this is the only back up he’d made. However, I did bring some Veritaserum with me just in case.”

“Do you think it’s likely that he was able to hide the existence of any other information from you?” Bruce inquired thoughtfully and Draco shrugged.

“Honestly, I was able to recheck again before the potion took full effect. When I checked after, most of the memory pathways in regards to Granger’s magic were wiped. So I feel fairly confident that what you have there is the only one.”

Bruce nodded as he handed Mia the flash drive and a few moments later Draco changed back into himself.

“Go ahead and modify his memories Draco,” Mia stated firmly, “then I think we need to stage some sort of accident for them both. Since Harvey told his secretary he was on his way here, it’s going to look suspicious if he has no memory of coming here. He will remember me, just not my magic correct?”

“Yes.” Draco sighed in disgust, “It would be too complicated for Harvey or Rachel to have no memory of either of you.”

“Good.”

Draco sent out his Patronus and in few minutes later George appeared.

“What’s going on?”

Draco explained the situation to George and it was decided that they would use polyjuice to change into Harvey and Rachel, leave the building and take Rachel’s car. Cause an accident with the vehicle and then come back and place both into the car, where someone could find them easily.

Bruce and Mia waited until the deed was done and about an hour later, George and Draco returned looking no worse for wear.

“Did it work?”

George nodded. “Yes, it looked like the car blew a tire and swerved into a wall. We were able to make the injuries look realistic enough that no one will second guess how it happened. We stayed disillusioned until the Muggle police got there.”

“Good.” Mia smiled in relief. “Thank you both for your help.”

“It’s not a problem Granger.”

It was a few seconds later everyone heard the crack of apparition, and when they went into the main foyer it was to the panicked expression of Jian.

“Miss Black..”

“Are you alright?”

“No, there are several Aurors downstairs Miss Black. I heard them talking to security.”

Everyone looked confused, and Mia shook her in exasperation. “I don’t understand, why are they here?”

“I saw one of the Aurors with a Muggle paper Miss Black. I was disillusioned but did manage to Accio the paper before I disapparated.”

Jian handed her the paper and Mia’s face paled at the headline.

Confirmed.....Billionaire Bruce Wayne to become Father of Twin Heirs.....

“Shit!” Hermione handed the newspaper to Bruce, and he glowered at the headline.

“They’re here to take you, aren’t they?” His expression was forbidding as he crumpled up the paper in anger.

“Yes, and we don’t have much time. I’m going to go with them.” Bruce snarled and Draco shouted ‘the fuck you are!’

“Look, if I don’t there’s no telling how many Aurors they’re going to send the next time. I knew this might become an issue.”

Handing her beaded bag and wand to her husband, which he refused to take...Hermione grabbed his arm and pleaded with him.

“Please Bruce, have Draco take you back to the Penthouse. They can’t get their hands on the Hallows, do you understand?” Bruce reluctantly nodded before she turned to Draco and George. “Go get Kings, tell him what’s happened and get him here along with everyone left from the Order and the DA. They will be taking me to MACUSA.”

Draco nodded and then heard the elevator ding. He turned and gave Granger a hard look. “We will get you out of there. Don’t do anything stupid witch!”

“I make no promises...now go!”

Bruce grabbed her and gave her one last kiss before the three of them disapparated away. Hermione turned to Jian and said firmly, “Go to Hong Kong. Call in my life debts there.”

“I will do so Miss Black. I will see you soon.” And with a crack, Jian was gone.

It wasn’t even ten seconds later the elevator door opened and in walked Auror Piquery and six other Aurors. His expression was resigned, as if he didn’t want to be there.

“Miss Granger, you will need to come with me.”

“On what grounds, Auror Piquery?”

“Violation of the use of Dark Magic’s and willfully disregarding the Statute of Secrecy, ma’am.”

Hermione nodded and moved forward, allowing the Auror to place the magical restraints on her hands.

“Your wand Miss Granger.”

“It’s Mrs. Wayne, Auror Piquery and my wand is not on my person.”

“Where is it Ma’am?”

“That’s not your concern Auror.”

The man looked upset for a moment before he nodded again in resignation. As he went to take her arm, he leant down and whispered into her ear, “I’m truly sorry for this.”

Hermione stared up into the Aurors eyes and nodded. “I know you are.”

And with a crack, they were all gone.

Back at Bruce and Mia’s Penthouse, Bruce was pacing frantically while he glowered at the blonde wizard, who was staring back angrily at him.

“You need to get back to the Ministry mate,” George stated a lot more calmly than he felt at the moment, “and I’m going to get everyone else rounded up. Bruce,” George turned his attention to Hermione’s husband who had his cell phone in his hand getting ready to call someone, “Do you want me to come back and bring you to New York?”

“Mia stated that MACUSA was in the Woolworth Building but that Muggles weren’t allowed in. Will they let me in since I’m her husband?”

Draco shook his head. “No, my guess is you won’t be allowed entrance at all.”

Bruce growled out in anger. “That’s Bullshit! How can they keep stop her husband from seeing her!? What kind of fucked up system doesn’t allow a spouse that right?”

“A highly prejudicial one?” George quipped and earned a dark look from both men.

Bruce shook his head. “Go back home, gather the reinforcements. I’m going to head to New York as soon as I talk to my current CEO before I leave. Is there anyway to get ahold of you when I get to New York, George?”

George sighed and looked over at Draco who just shook his head. “We don’t have any suitable Muggle technology and I’m not sure anything would work in MACUSA’s headquarters anyway. Where will you be?”

“Wayne Enterprises owns offices at 87th and Lexington.”

“We will find you then.”

Bruce nodded and watched as the two wizards disapparated away. Dialing Fox’s number on his phone, he breathed out a sigh of relief when the other man picked up immediately.

“Mr. Wayne, what can I do for you.”

“Are you at the office?”

“Yes Sir.”

“Lucius, did you get that problem we discussed figured out?”

“As a matter of fact Mr. Wayne, I did.”

Bruce’s face split into a predatory grin. “Is the tech operational?”

“I’ve already configured it into your suit as well as the additional items you requested. I’ve also configured an EMP-like neutralizer that should short circuit any immediate area temporarily. At least long enough to grant you access.”

“And my suit?”

“It will absorb and neutralize any oncoming energy and redistribute that into a re-useable kinetic distributive force.”

“And you’re sure this will work?”

“Well, based on the information you gave me plus the scans of Miss Black, I’m fairly certain it will but we won’t know for sure until it’s been tested under the proper conditions. Might I ask Sir, what you need it for?”

“Mia’s been taken and I’m fairly certain I’m going to need to resort to drastic measures to get her out. This is my bargaining chip if you will. Lock down the research, and place it at the Manor until I return from New York. Is everything where I left it?”

“It’s all been relocated to the Wayne Docks. Do you need me for anything else?”

“No Mr. Fox, you’ve done exemplary work as always.”

“Just glad to be of service Sir.”

“If you don’t hear from me after 48 hours from the time I land in New York, put our contingency plan into place.”

“Will do Sir. Be careful.”

“I always am, Mr. Fox.”

MACUSA headquarters was unlike their British counterparts in many ways, but one thing was obvious, was that the moment Hermione walked through the front atrium, everyone stopped and stared. It was clear that these people knew whom she was and while unsurprising, the expressions on some of their faces weren’t exactly welcoming.

So somehow they’d found out about the Statue of Secrecy breach? That was concerning but not altogether unexpected. The Dark Magic charge however? What? Did they assume that she somehow used Dark Magic to get pregnant? That was just ludicrous! But again, she could sort of understand why that assumption might’ve been made, since there hadn’t been any magical births in seven years.

As their group made their way to the elevators, Hermione could tell that the Auror contingent sent to retrieve her didn’t look too happy at all. She knew Auror Piquery wasn’t pleased about having to take her into custody, but it begged the larger question on how they knew she was at her apartment? She had called down to her security to let them know she was there...did one of them alert someone? They were all squibs so it was plausible that might’ve been the case...but still?

As the elevator moved to its destination, Hermione just sighed in irritation. There was no doubt had she been a pureblood witch, this wouldn’t be happening...at least not like this. Being a noted War Heroine and savior of the Wizarding World still wasn’t enough for bigoted shits to overlook her blood status. But either way they’d find out soon enough that for all their perceived superiority, she was much smarter than they were.

The elevator dinged and she was led out into a set of offices that were quite darkened and a bit claustrophobic. Desks were littered all around and she could see bookshelves in the back of the room. There were many people milling about, but when they’d entered everyone stopped and stared.

Auror Piquery led her over to the back left offices, where there was a large room situated. When they stepped in a large, rotund wizard stood and and sneered.

“So, this is the Hermione Granger.”

“It’s actually Hermione Wayne.” Her voice was calm and expression composed as she stared down the older wizard. “Do you have a name? Or are we going to stand here and continue to state the obvious?”

She saw Auror Piquery smirk out of the corner of her eye, while the other wizard bristled in irritation as his sneer deepened noticeably.

“I don’t like your attitude Miss Granger and you’ll find we have little patience for that sort of thing here. You’re not in Britain, your in the United States and are subject to our laws. So you might want to think about that while your cooling your heels in a holding cell.”

“What? You’re not going to formally charge me? Tsk, tsk.....I suppose you think I should be shaking in my....” looking down Hermione smirked at the trainers she was wearing... “well, they’re not exactly heels, but you get the picture, yes?”

The wizard moved forward into her space, clearly hoping to intimidate her...but Hermione just lifted her chin in defiance as she stared the man down.

“Listen sweetheart, you better be careful. We don’t take to kindly to witch’s and wizard’s who don’t know their place.”

This caused Hermione to giggle before she responded frostily, “You know, I seem to recall being on the front lines of a war against bigots who used to spout the same bull shit....one of them was named Voldemort.”

The other wizard flinched but his expression darkened as he glared at her hatefully.

“And if memory serves, and mine is rather prodigious....I was tortured and carved into by another one of those same bigots and placed under the cruciatis for quite some time and lied quite effectively. So trust me when I tell you, whatever your name is.....if Bellatrix Lestrange couldn’t break me, I’m not worried about you.”

The wizard snarled and nearly shouted at Auror Piquery to ‘take her to holding and get her the fuck out of my office!’

Auror Piquery did just that, and took Hermione Granger to a holding cell, where she’d wait until her hearing took place.

Chapter Text

It hadn’t taken long for Draco and George to raise the alarm. Within six hours, every member of the Order and Dumbledore’s Army that were still alive had heeded the call. Kingsley has arranged portkeys and several of Draco’s fellow Slytherins had insisted on going as well.

Luna contacted Newt Scamander, and he had given them all permission and access to port key to his address in New York which was heavily warded against intruders. Eight hours after Hermione had been taken, the newly reformed Order of the Phoenix was greeting one of the greatest Magizoologists the Wizarding World had ever known, along with his wife who had an extensive knowledge of MACUSA and the building and her eclectic sister who was probably the most prolific legilimens in the Wizarding World.

When Newt asked about Bruce Wayne, George explained that he was likely already here in New York at his office building on 87th and Lexington. Newt offered to go there himself as he was very familiar with the local apparition spots near the area. George indicated he wanted to accompany him and the rest of the witches and wizards went with Tina and Queenie to the Woolworth Building.

Bruce had gotten into New York six hours after Mia had been taken and sent Lucius a text stating, ‘the clock starts now’....Alfred had stayed in Gotham to make sure all was well with Harvey and Rachel. It was currently nearing eight pm local time, and Bruce had to believe that Mia would most likely be in some kind of holding cell within the building. He got his tech gear together and waited to see if he would hear from George which he did thankfully just a bit after ten that same evening.

He was with Newt Scamander and the older wizard smiled sympathetically in greeting.

“I’m sorry to hear about Mrs. Wayne.”

“Thank you Mr. Scamander. Is everyone here?”

“Yes.” George nodded. “They should be heading to the Woolworth Building as we speak.”

Bruce looked down and checked his phone when it dinged and opened his message. Inside was a encrypted link that Lucius had sent him the the schematics of the Woolworth Building, all all the sewer lines that ran in proximity to it.

“I’m going in myself.”

“Bruce, that’s suicide!” George shook his head in worry. “You have no way to defend yourself against magic!”

Bruce smirked and George’s expression paled in shocked understanding. “You figured it out?”

“Lucius did, but yes.”

“Shite!” George was clearly stunned before a wicked grin pulled up onto his lips. “What’s the plan?”

“I have a locator on Mia’s ring, which means I can find her anywhere. There is a port key she gave me but I’m going to assume that MACUSA probably has security measures in place that prevents people from just popping in and out when they want?”

Newt nodded. “It does. Anti-Apparition wards as well.”

“You need to cause a ruckus when you get there. Demand to see her and try to get them to take her somewhere that is a bit more open.”

“Like the courtrooms?”

“Are they open?”

Newt nodded. “They are.”

“Good, get as many of the MACUSA people in charge there. This Samuel Quahog too. I’ll give you four hours. That should be plenty of time. If you can, have Mia activate her ring to let me know when everyone is in place.”

“Then what are you going to do?” George asked curiously and Bruce’s grin was feral.

“I’m going to make them regret ever taking my wife. When I’m done with MACUSA, they’ll never bother my family again.”

“Wicked.” George chuckled and Bruce watched with satisfaction as he and Newt disapparated back to wherever the rest of Mia’s friends and family were located.

Bruce spent the next few hours going over the schematics that Lucius had sent him as well as a cursory layout of the building itself and its sub levels. He had a pretty good idea how to get inside. From there it should be fairly easy to locate Mia. He hoped and prayed this new tech worked, because if it didn’t....he’d be out of the game before he even got past the initial guards. But he trusted in Lucius implicitly, the man had never let him down.

Packing up his suit and other tech along with Mia’s wand and beaded bag, Bruce headed out in the nondescript car one of his employees had left in the garage. The keys were in the glove compartment and as he made his way towards his destination, he felt the rush of adrenaline he’d always felt had going into battle. But this time it was personal....far more personal than even taking out Carmine Falcone and Ra’s has been. This was his wife....his unborn children.....and he’d be damned if he let these fuckers get away with hurting his family or taking them away from him!

When he got to the predetermined location, Bruce parked his car and placing his hoodie over his head, took his duffel bag with his Batman suit and tech gear out of the truck and headed down into New York’s underground. Before he got to his destination however, he was stopped by a familiar voice.

“Mr. Wayne.”

Bruce turned around quickly at the familiar voice in surprise before he nodded. “Jian.”

“You are going to save Miss Black?”

“I am.”

Jian nodded and then waved her hand and in an instant nearly fifteen witches and wizards appeared out of thin air.

“Who are these people?”

An older gentleman moved forward and bowed. “My name is Kuok Yeung and these people you see before you all owe Miss Black a life debt. We are all trained in Wizarding combat as well as Muggle combat. We owe it to Miss Black to help her and her unborn children.”

Bruce sighed but then nodded in understanding. A life debt was a serious piece of magic when invoked. Mia had told him as much.

“Mia is in MACUSA and her friends and family from England are going to try and have her moved to the courtrooms so I have a better chance of getting to her and moving her to safety.”

Jian’s expression was inscrutable as she stared at Miss Black’s husband. “You have figured out a way to neutralize magic.”

It wasn’t even posted as a question and Bruce smirked then nodded. “I have.”

Jian nodded and then said something in Mandarin to the rest of her group. Everyone’s eyes widened in shock before one of the wizard’s asked something back in a hardened voice.

Jian turned back to him and said, “And what do you intend to do with this technology now that you have it.”

“My intention was only to keep my family safe. I was worried that something like this might happen as was Mia. I fully intent to patent the technology and keep it secret, but I won’t hesitate to use it as a bargaining chip to get Mia back and if they hurt her or my children it won’t end well for them at all, do you understand?”

Jian relayed Bruce’s words to her comrades and they all nodded in seeming agreement. “We will help you.” Jian said at last and Bruce smiled in gratitude.

“Stay invisible, when I go in I’ll be using my own tech and some of the things George gave me to make my way through their ministry. Stay invisible, take out as many as you can.” He handed Jian Mia’s beaded bag and wand. “Keep these safe. Once we’re in Jian, you go to Mia. Give these to her and have her put the cloak over her so they can’t see her. Move her somewhere in the room away from the fighting. Are we good?”

“Yes Mr. Wayne.”

Bruce then smiled and nodded to the rest of the magical’s standing there. “Thank you for your help and loyalty. It won’t go unrewarded.”

Kuok spoke up and said, “We owe Miss Black our very lives. We would do anything for her.”

Bruce smirked before stating firmly, “She’s Mrs. Wayne now.”

“Of course.” The wizard grinned while Jian just rolled her eyes.

Bruce then gave Jian a questioning look. “How did you find me?”

This did cause Jian to smirk. “I placed a tracking charm on you the night you showed up to Miss Bla.....sorry....Mrs. Wayne’s apartment after she left for London.”

“You were there?”

“I was.”

“I see. Very clever.” Was all Bruce said, before he moved towards the entrance to the main underground access point.

They all moved down together and made their way to the Woolworth Building where Bruce waited for the signal from Mia. Hopefully George and his group were already inside.

As luck would have it, Kingsley Shacklebolt was not a wizard to be trifled with. He was angry, and an angry Kingsley was a scary Kingsley. He owned Hermione a life debt of his own from the night they’d taken Harry from Privet Drive before the war started in earnest. She had been impressive that night, casting barrage after barrage of spells at all the Death Eaters who had come their way. At one point she pulled him out of the way of a green light that had been destined to end his life....but it hadn’t. From then on, Kingsley Shacklebolt had owed Hermione Granger a life debt.

But Harry had been right. The prejudice in the Wizarding World was still very much evident even after everything that had happened. Kingsley just hoped that he could talk some sense into Quahog because he hated to think what might happen if he couldn’t.

As they made their way through the spinning door and into the atrium, they were met with several guards who had their wands drawn.

“State your name.”

“I am Kingsley Shacklebolt, Minister for Magic of The British Isles. These are my comrades, fellow members of the Order of the Phoenix.”

The wizard’s eye widened before he side-eyed his compatriots who seemed stunned speechless.

“Why are you here?”

“We are here to seek the immediate release of Hermione Granger.”

“I’m afraid Miss Granger is in holding and her hearing isn’t scheduled until sometime tomorrow.

Porpentina Scamander moved forward and gave the wizard a critical look.

“What is your name?”

The wizard’s eyes widened as he immediately recognized the woman in front of him. She was a famous Auror and a well-respected member of the Magical Congress.

“I’m Auror Archibald Graves, Ma’am.”

“Auror Graves, as a sitting member of the Magical Congress of the United States I hereby call for an emergency session per ministerial rule 1072. Please advise President Quahog and all sitting members they have one hour to present themselves to courtroom seven. If they do not comply, I will be forced to file an injunction freeing the prisoner to her own jurisdiction for prosecution as she is a British National and a noted War Heroine.”

The younger wizard’s face paled before he whispered something to his counterpart and everyone watch as the other wizard scurried off into another part of the Ministry.

After about twenty minutes, the floo to the right flashed and a rotund wizard walked out, with a fixed sneer upon his face. Tina’s expression morphed into disgust as glared at the wizard in open dislike.

“Ah, Josiah....I should’ve known that you were behind this.”

“Mrs. Scamander, I’d think you’d have better things to do than to bother the Ministry at 2 o’clock in the morning.”

“Normally I would, but imagine my surprise when it came to my attention that Hermione Granger was taken into custody not even eight hours ago. You must know your on shaky ground here Jackson. Under what authority did you have to arrest a noted War Heroine?”

“She violated the laws of Dark Magic and the International Statute Of Secrecy?”

“Well then I suggest you get Quahog and the other members of Congress down here now so we can figure this out or I’m going to have to pull rank and file an injunction freeing her to her own Ministry.”

“You don’t have that right!” Josiah Jackson snarled out in warning.

“Actually I do, this gentleman standing next to me is Kingsley Shacklebolt, current Minister of Magic for Great Britain. Get President Quahog down here now. We will see you with Miss Granger in courtroom seven in thirty minutes or I’m pulling rank and you can explain to Quahog why you’ve single handedly managed to destroy diplomatic relations with our closest ally in the space of one night.”

Josiah Jackson glared at the older witch, but knew she was right. She could pull rank and he’d look like a fool for bringing in Hermione Granger, only to have her let go not even twelve hours later. Josiah Jackson was named for his ancestor, the first President of MACUSA and the man responsible for the modern day Auror corps. Being the descendent of such a great and noted wizard had made moving up through the ranks at MACUSA fairly easy, now being Head of the Aurors himself.

Then Voldemort had come along, and while there hadn’t been much Death Eater activity here in the States, there had been some recruitment early on. Even during the first uprising of Voldemort, he’d been approached by a wizard named Corban Yaxley to pledge his loyalty to that of the Voldemort’s ideology.

Josiah had no love of Muggles nor Muggle born witches and wizards, seeing them as a threat to the security of the magical world. He’d read his ancestors journals about the Salem Witch Trials, and all that had transpired in the immediate aftermath. He’d never subscribed to the belief that Harry Potter had been a great or powerful wizard...but had believed that he’d merely surrounded himself with enough help to eventually defeat Voldemort.

He’d agreed with Voldemort’s ideology, not just how the wizard had gone about it. That a Muggle born witch could be hailed and lauded as a Heroine infuriated him. He had heard from Auror Piquery just how the witch had bested four of his Aurors and he’d seen the pensieve memory. He knew that there was simply no way a Muggleborn with could be that powerful. He was Josiah Jackson...pureblood wizard from one of the most famous Wizarding families in the world. This whole thing didn’t sit right with him at all.

But somehow the witch had gotten pregnant. There’d been no pregnancies for seven years after the blasted curse had been stopped. Now all of a sudden, the one witch who’d help Potter defeat the darkest wizard the Wizarding World had ever seen, was suddenly with child? It had to be Dark Magic.

And to add insult to injury she’d gotten knocked up by a fucking Muggle. Who gave two shits whether the fucker was a billionaire or not....he was still a fucking Muggle that didn’t deserve to be the father of not one, but two potentially magical offspring. Josiah Jackson fully intended to get to the bottom of this travesty and if he had to make sure those children were taken away from their parents, he’d do that too.

Staring at all the witches and wizards who’d come with Shacklebolt, Josiah knew he’d have to have a darn good reason for taking the witch into custody. Luckily, he had an ace up his sleeve.

“Fine,” he groused out angrily, “I’ll have Miss Granger moved to courtroom seven within the hour, but I’m afraid your friends will have to remain here.”

“That’s not happening.” The blonde wizard spoke out haughtily. “I am Draco Malfoy, and I’m Head Auror for the British Ministry of Magic. I am also Minister Shacklebolt’s security detail as are the other wizards here. Diplomatic credentials can be provided if you insist, but our Minister will not be going anywhere in this Ministry without his protective detail.”

Josiah’s eyes narrowed at the name. Oh, he’d heard of the Malfoy family. Fully entrenched into Voldemort’s ranks. He couldn’t imagine how this child had managed to secure such a lofty position after clearly being on the wrong side of their war. But from what he knew, the Malfoy family had no love for Muggles nor Muggleborns.

“I will need to clear it with President Quahog. I’m sure you understand?”

Draco smirked but nodded. “Please advise him that his willingness to accommodate out request will not be overlooked.”

Josiah’s answering smirk and nod was telling as they all watch the wizard walk towards the elevators before he disappeared into the bowels if MACUSA.

Queenie came over and whispered something into Draco’s ear which had his expression darkening momentarily before he smirked in satisfaction. The group was patiently waiting until the lift opened again and another wizard came out and gestured for them to follow him.

They all made their way to courtroom number seven, and when they entered they immediately noticed the seal of the Magical Congress of the United States on the far wall. Below the seal was a seat and in it sat a man who looked to be in his late forties, early fifties. He had black hair, sharp blue eyes and a mustache that curled at the ends. He wasn’t very tall, but he clearly dressed the part of a Minister. His robes were nearly as colorful as Kingsley’s.

When he noticed the British Minister of Magic, Samuel Quahog stood with a forced smile and went to greet his unexpected guests.

“Minister Shacklebolt, this is a surprise. I’m sure this could’ve waited until the morning?”

“I’m afraid not President Quahog. You see, you’ve incarcerated a British Magical citizen, and a War Heroine who is pregnant with the first magical children in the last seven years. You have no jurisdiction over her and need to release her immediately.”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that Shacklebolt,” Quahog sneered haughtily, “she’s broken several laws, here in my country and will face MACUSA judgement.”

Just then there was a noise to the right of the courtroom and Hermione was brought in looking tired, but surprisingly in good spirits. She smiled at Kingsley and the others before allowing herself to be led to the center of the room where a chair was located.

The room was nearly filled to capacity, and Quahog gestured to his counterpart and guests to take a seat near the right back of the courtroom, before he addressed Tina Scamander.

“It is my understanding that this little get together was requested by you, Mrs. Scamander. Perhaps you might explain why.”

“I would like a minute to confer with Miss Granger to ascertain her condition.”

Quahog sighed but nodded once, waving his hand in irritation. Tina went over quickly to her new friend and smiled in relief.

“You’re okay?”

“Been better. I’m impressed that everyone got here to quickly.”

Tina nodded and then grabbed Hermione’s left hand and gave the witch and wink. “Not everyone. Someone is waiting elsewhere. I think he just wants to make sure you’re alright.”

Hermione’s expression was placid as her mind raced at Tina’s words before she said lowly, “He isn’t planning on doing what I think he is?”

“He is and told George that he figured it out. Said you’d understand.”

“Merlin!” Hermione whispered out in shock, but then her expression became resolved as he pressed on her ring and gave Tina a smile. “How close?”

It wasn’t even a minute later that there were defeaning percussion sounds heard from the distance and Tina grinned widely. “Close enough.”

President Quahog looked over at his head Auror in confusion. The rest of the Magical Congress appeared to be perplexed as well as the sound became louder.

“Josiah! What is that racket?!?”

“I’m not sure President Quahog.”

Lifting his hand to several of his Aurors, he watched as they left the courtroom and then stared over at the young witch sitting in the middle of the courtroom who was smiling like she didn’t have a care in the world.

The sounds kept coming. Then there was another explosion and the door to the courtroom blasted open and then just as suddenly, the room was covered in pitch black darkness.

“What the fuck is going on?” Josiah screamed, but his voice was muffled in the ensuing darkness that didn’t seem to want to let go. He tried to wave off the blackness by casting a lumos but the light was snuffed out instantly. He could hear the muffled screams and thumps within the room and then there was complete silence which lasted for another few minutes. When the darkness faded, everyone in the room gasped at the dark figure crouched in the middle of the room with several witches and wizards bound and gagged in front of him. But the more pressing issue was Hermione Granger was gone!

Josiah looked over at the British contingent and they all appeared unsurprised by the new addition. The figure was dressed as a large bat......he’d heard of this character. A Muggle dressed up like a fucking bat in Gotham City. Taking out criminals like they were nothing more than a nuisance. But how in the fuck did he get in here?”

“Who are you?” Josiah growled as he went to stand over by President Quahog.

“I’m Batman.” The deep, gravelly voice hissed out...his piercing eyes never wavering and he didn’t look afraid at all.

Josiah has heard of this Muggle vigilante. Fighting the criminal elements in Gotham City, a place riddled with crime and drugs. But that didn’t explain why he was currently inside MACUSA or how he got there.

Josiah raised his hands to his Aurors that he had stationed covertly in the courtroom and they all converged, sending out a barrage of spells at the Muggle but what happened next caused the entire room to gasp out in shock. Just before the spells hit, there was a pulsating noise and then nothing. The spells and simply died before they’d reached their target. The masked vigilante smirked but remained where he was, coiled and ready to attack.

“If you try that again, I will be forced to retaliate in kind.” The harsh voice of Batman reverberated throughout the room.

“How did you do that?!” Josiah shouted, and noticed that several of his fellow witches and wizards were now cringing away in fear.

“You don’t need to know that. What you do need to know is you’ve overstepped your jurisdiction and taken someone who doesn’t answer to you. If you don’t release her into the custody of her Ministry, you will leave me with no choice but to destroy you.”

There were several hissing voices throughout the courtroom, but surprisingly the British Minister just watched the scene with an unaffected expression on his face.

“You don’t have that kind of power. You’re nothing but a Muggle.”

Batman chuckled. “A Muggle who’d just rendered your magic ineffective. I’d say that makes me the most powerful person in this room right now.”

“This is some kind of trick, I don’t believe you have that kind of power.”

“You’d be wrong.” The Muggle’s voice deepened harshly as he continued to stare at both him and President Quahog.

“Where is Miss Granger?”

“Where you can’t find her obviously.”

“What stake do you have in this?”

“Enough!!!!” The masked man bellowed out, causing many people within the room to flinch. “I want an unbreakable vow that this Ministry will in no way retaliate against Miss Granger, her family or friends.”

“How do you know of such things.”

“Not your concern. I have the ability to make this entire building visible to all the Muggles and render your magic obsolete. Do you seriously want to test me?”

Josiah went to speak again but President Quahog placed a hand of his arm and stopped him cold.

“What you are suggesting isn’t plausible. Magic cannot be tracked my Muggles. Now, we are willing to allow you to leave peacefully, but I’m afraid if you don’t we will have to resort to lethal action.”

Batman just remained rooted in his place, clearly not intending any such thing. When Quahog nodded to Josiah, he lifted his wand and went to yell out the killing curse, but a scream from somewhere in the room stopped him and his eyes widened when Hermione Granger suddenly became visible again.

“You will put your wand down right now, or I will do it for you!”

Batman growled as his gaze shifted to his wife, who was standing on the far side of the room near Draco Malfoy, her hair sparkling in anger as she hissed out in warning.

“You have no say here Miss Granger! Put down your wand!” Josiah yelled.

“I will not and if you wish to duel me you’ll find yourself at my mercy very quickly.” She then turned her attention to the rest of the Magical Congress. “This is the reason why the curse was allowed to happen. This kind of prejudice, hate and ignorance. If you don’t do something to change your thinking, the curse will strike again and when it does.....there will be no survivors left.”

“You’re lying!”

“I’m not, and I can prove it.”

Josiah went to speak, but Batman growled out in anger...shaking his head.

“They won’t listen! People like them never do!” His voice was rough and angry and he growled out in frustration. When he turned towards the two men at the head of the room, he moved forward in an offensive position. “People like you, who use hate as their weapons and ignorance as a tool... think you are better than others because you’ve deluded yourself into that ideal. So I’m going to make it real simple. The magical entrance to this building will become visible to Muggles. If you fail to take the vow, I have made arrangements for every Muggle press organization in the country to receive information in relation to this building and the magical community within.”

“You don’t have that kind of power.”

“But I do.” Batman said and then proceeded to remove his cowl, hearing Mia’s voice pleading with him to stop. When Bruce became visible, the room quieted down completely.

“I am Bruce Wayne and Hermione Granger is my wife. I have fairly unlimited resources at my disposal and was able to discern through technological means how to track magic and neutralize its effects. So I have a proposition to make. You make the vow, leave my wife and I alone with our children in peace. I will vow to hide the technology from the Muggle World, make it inaccessible to those who would go looking for it. If you try and obliviate me or harm my wife or children, the entirety of my research will be handed over to every Muggle government on the face of this planet. Your entire Statute of Secrecy won’t save you. Nothing will save you.”

The room was dead silent as everyone weighed what Bruce Wayne had said.

“And how do we know we can trust you?” President Quahog asked.

“Because those children my wife is carrying will be magical and it’s in my best interests and yours to protect them from the bigoted zealots both outside and within this world. It’s why I researched this as soon as I found out she was pregnant. You people frankly, live in ignorance of the world outside this one. We can either be allies or enemies, but trust me when I tell you....you don’t want to make an enemy of me. I trained with the League of Shadows, was right hand to Ra’s al Ghul himself. When he tried to destroy my city, I killed him. If you try and hurt my family, I will destroy you too.”

The room was quiet for what seemed like an interminable amount of time until President Quahog finally spoke. “I have just one question. How did Miss Granger get pregnant?”

Bruce looked over at Mia and she sighed before answering. “The curse was born of magic itself. I traced the source to the Triad of Latopolis. What I came to understand recently, was that the Triad over the course of history has been present.....reincarnated to other forms if you will.”

“I know a bit about what you speak,” Quahog stated with interest, “Khnum, Menhet and Heka.”

“Yes,” Hermione smiled and nodded, “The triad was present during the time before Merlin rose....there was a plague that devastated the magical world during the fall of the Roman Empire. Magic reset because the Druid’s were persecuted. The wars that have raged this last century due to inherent blood prejudices had caused the plague to activate. Harry Potter was Menhet reincarnate, Ron Weasley Khnum.”

Quahog’s eyes widened as he stared at the little witch intently before he spoke. “Then that would make you.....”

“Heka.”

The crowd started to speak out at once and it wasn’t long before Quahog had to calm everyone with a sonorous charm.

“What you’re insinuating Miss Granger, is too fantastical to be believed.”

“And yet it’s true.”

“And you can prove this?”

“I can.”

“Then do so.”

Hermione reached into her beaded bag and took out the snitch before whispering the incantation and taking the stone in her hand. When she turned it three times, Harry and Ron came forth and everyone in the room were staring at the Savior of the Wizarding World in horror.

Harry’s green eyes flashed at Josiah, and even in death the Head Auror could feel the wizard’s power. When green eyes settled onto Hermione Granger they softened before he spoke.

“You can’t stay out of trouble, can you Hermione?”

“Shut it Harry.”

Both Harry and Ron chuckled before they were addressed by President Quahog. “Mr. Potter, I must say this is unexpected.”

“And yet apparently necessary.”

“How is this possible?”

“I was the Master of Death, when I died for the curse it was activated in earnest. When Ron Weasley died sometime later all the magical births ceased. If Hermione here is killed due to your prejudices, if her children are harmed the curse will activate one final time and magic will be taken from the world. There will be no coming back, no more blood prejudice because magical blood will cease to exist.”

“How are we supposed to believe you Mr. Potter?” Josiah spoke up harshly.

“Because It is the truth Josiah Jackson. It’s men like you who have caused this plague with your hate and blood prejudice. You had every intention of taking Hermione’s children from her and ending her life. You followed Voldemort. Perhaps not in practice, but in sentiment. You would see Muggles and Muggleborns killed because of your misplaced prejudice.”

Josiah snarled but before he knew it something had hit him on the side of the neck and then he collapsed in a heap on the floor, a small metal device shaped in a bat lying next to him.

Everyone turned to stare at Bruce Wayne who’s expression was murderous.

“I want him taken away right now. If he comes near my wife again I will kill him myself.”

President Quahog sighed out in resignation. “We don’t know if what Mr. Potter saying is true, Mr. Wayne.”

“Oh it’s true,” Draco spoke up with a sneer, “Ms. Goldstein was able to read his thoughts earlier and told me herself what he had planned. He is a danger to Hermione and her children. Either lock him up or I will. He essentially kidnapped her from her home for the sole purpose of taking her children.”

“If that is correct, we are going to have a serious problem Quahog.” Kingsley said angrily. “You’ll find diplomatic relations strained not just with Britain but with other countries as well.”

“That’s an empty threat Shacklebolt.”

Suddenly there was a loud gasp as several disillusionment charms dropped simultaneously. Within the room stood about fifteen Asian witches and wizards, the oldest of which was easily recognizable.

“Chairman Yeung,” Kingsley said in surprise, “what are you doing here?”

“I am hear at Miss Granger....or should I say Mrs. Wayne’s request. And I would have to agree with Minister Shacklebolt, President Quahog. You will find no friends in China or anywhere along the eastern continents.”

Quahog sighed as he stared morosely down at the Head of his Auror Department and nodded sadly.

“Very well, Mr. Wayne.....I will take this vow you require.”

“And him?” Bruce gestured to the unconscious wizard.

“He will be dealt with, you have my word.”

“I’ll take the vow if you will.”

Quahog looked out over the Congress and asked if anyone had an objection, which unsurprisingly, no one did.

He then came over and made the vow with Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy was the bonder. Once the vow was done, Josiah Jackson was taken away to face prosecution and one by one the members of his Congress left the courtroom.

When all that was left was he and the Wayne’s along with Minister Shacklebolt and the specters of Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley; President Quahog bowed his head in contrition. “I do apologize for what has transpired here this evening Mrs. Wayne.”

“Just leave me and my family and friends in peace and we will call it good President Quahog.”

The man nodded and left the courtroom. When he was gone Harry and Ron looked at Hermione’s new husband in admiration.

“I must say Bruce, we’re impressed.”

“Thank you Harry.”

“Don’t thank me, just take care of Hermione.”

“I fully intend to do that for the rest of our lives.”

Hermione smiled widely are her two best friends. “Love you both.”

“We love you too Mione.” Ron said with a wink.

“Take care of yourself Hermione.”

“Always do Harry.”

With that, her two friends disappeared and Hermione put the stone back into its rightful place. Bruce was quick to envelope her into his arms and gave her a heated kiss. After a minute he pulled back and cupped her cheek tenderly.

“Are you alright?”

“I’m fine Bruce. So Lucius figured it out?”

“He did.”

“He deserves a raise.”

“I’ll let him know when we get back home.”

“Home?”

“London. The jet is standing by to take us home Mia....at least for now.”

Hermione tilted her head down into Bruce’s chest and smiled in happiness. Gotham could wait, but for now London was calling and she just wanted to go back home.

“Let’s go home.”