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Dark Shadows in the Snow

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“Do you remember anything from before?”

He paused, trying to think of an answer to her question as he put the wings on her costume. He hated doing it, hated the cruel joke they reminded her of every time she had to wear it. She was no mouse, nor had she become one with wings when she was thrown off a building and almost killed.

“I think I remember... snow,” Nightwing answered. “I don't know. I can't see it now, and with my memories gone, I'm not sure what snow means.”

She turned back to face him, her fingers tracing along the side of his face, the scar that made him hers, the one he'd gotten when he jumped after the falling mouse. “Do you think we will ever be free to see snow again?”

He shrugged, too proud to tell her that the vision in his other eye was fading fast enough to where he didn't think he'd see anything again. “Maybe. You'd better go out there quick. It's time for Batgirl to put on a show.”

She nodded, blowing him a kiss as she left, and he smiled even though he didn't think she would ever mean any of them. He was younger than her, some kind of little brother, and kids in their line of work weren't going to have any of that kind of stuff anyway. Especially not ones that were half-blind.

They'd decide he wasn't of any use soon enough and kill him.


“You should have told me.”

His body wouldn't move. He hadn't figured they'd give him the mercy of a painless death, hadn't thought they'd use drugs, since theirs was a world where only the strong survived, where only his stubbornness had made surviving after being blinded in one eye possible. What good was an assassin without sight anyway?

He managed to shrug. “Nothing you or anyone could have done.”

“Nothing I could have done?” Batgirl demanded, shaking him. “If you could see, you would know that I did plenty. You owe me.”

He reached up and pulled off the mask that covered his damaged eye, allowing what was left of his sight to get a look at the world around them. He blinked, trying to focus. “We're not... Where are we?”

“Free.”

“Free?”

She nodded. He could see a blur of her hair, and it had never seemed as red before as it did now. “All it took was the right motivation, I guess.”

“Motivation?”

“You, you idiot,” she said, but her voice didn't go with her words because he heard affection in it, too. “I couldn't let them kill you.”

“My hero,” he said, wrapping his arms around her. He leaned his head against her shoulder, still too weak to move much further. “Not sure I was worth your effort, though. They were getting rid of me for a reason. I'll be completely blind soon.”

“They're the ones that were blind. You did plenty with only one eye, and you didn't need to see anyone to kill them. No one would ever have suspected you.”

“You just say that because they liked to make you dress as a creepy vampire stripper.”

“I don't know why I saved you.”

“I don't know why you did, either. There are white spots all over my vision.”

“That's not just you,” she said, lifting her hand out to catch something in her palm. She touched a finger to it with a sad smile. “I think it melted. Or disappeared. I didn't even know that was possible.”

“It is when it's snow.”

“This is snow?”

He nodded. “I still don't remember much from before, but I think that's what snow does. I'm glad I was able to see it one last time. Thank you, Bat—no, I can't call you that. That's not your name anymore. Not when you're free.”

“I'll pick something,” she said, shrugging. She shivered, and he started to tell her something else he'd remembered about snow—how cold it was—when she touched his cheek and the words went out of his head. “You're not allowed to give up on me now. Not when we're free and there is something as beautiful as snow in this world.”

“There always was,” he said, feeling her tense as he spoke. “You.”

She laughed, and he felt stupid for saying it, but that went away in an instant when she kissed him.