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He oozes out of the shadows when I enter my bedroom. I haven’t seen him in months. 

“Isn’t this a surprise.” I toss my whip on the bed and leave my goggles on. In the year since we began our sexual relationship he’s never set foot in my apartment. I’ve never asked him in, never shown him where I live. We’re all about the rooftops and the fire escapes. I still don’t know his name. “I take it you’re a little more lenient on breaking and entering when you’re the one doing it.”  

“I heard you went straight.” I laugh. I did, sort of. But he doesn’t need to know that. It would spoil our fun.  

“Don’t believe everything you hear, lover.” We study each other in the dark, silence swirling around us.  

“You hear about Charger?” he asks. Charger, a serial strangler named after his preferred murder weapon - a cell phone charger. Unlike rope or piano wire, chargers are normal, every day items that don’t arouse suspicion. He’d been on a killing spree until two days ago.  

“I heard you caught him.” He nods. That’s why I haven’t seen him in so long. He’s all about the work. “What does that have to do with me?”  

“He’d been targeting women around your age and body type. Thought it might make you feel safer to know he’s behind bars.”  

“Thanks, but I can take care of myself.” He nods again and moves toward the window. “Why are you really here? Were you worried about me?” My tone is light but he’s tense, his body rigid. Something is bothering him.  

“I was concerned.” His hand is on the windowsill as he stares out at the city.  

“There’s a difference?” He turns to face me. Faint city lights illuminate my bedroom, the pallor casting long mustard shadows across the walls.  

“Every time I went to one of Charger’s crime scenes...I was afraid it would be you.” His voice is hoarse yet soft, as if it hadn’t been used in years. He cares about me. I’ve always known that, just like I’ve always know that I care for him. But we’ve used the costumes and rooftops to ignore what was growing between us. When we were together on a rooftop we treated it like a game, viewed it a something two people with high sex drives did for kicks. We pretended none of it mattered. We can’t do it anymore.  

We stand close, his head angled toward the floor to avoid looking at me. We are as awkward as two middle schoolers at their first dance. I do the only thing I can think to do; I hug him. It’s almost a full minute before he responds, his arms encircling me, head falling to the sensitive crook of my neck. He clings to me, his body melding around mine, seemingly absorbing me into him. I listen to him breathe, a sound more meaningful than any words. We hold each other in the dark until we forget where one ends and the other begins.  

He works my glove off and brings my inner wrist to his lips. Soft kisses pepper the delicate skin, his lips rose colored against my violet veins. Kisses light as butterfly wings brush my palm, causing gooseflesh to shoot up my arm. When his glove follows mine to the floor, my heartbeat quickens. Tonight he’ll be the man, not the Bat. I close my eyes, knowing there is no way back from this. There never was. 

He unbuckles the strap of my cowl. I should stop him. But I don’t want to stop him. My cowl and goggles fall to the floor. Cupping my cheek his thumb traces my lips, the evening’s lipstick long since worn off. I’ve never felt his bare hands before. A beep, a slight whoosh. Rustling, movement. Something heavy hits the floor. My eyes remain closed.  

Torturously slow we remove each other’s costumes - a gauntlet here, a glove there, a breastplate removed, sleeves pushed down. He guides my sightless hands, showing me the clasps, buttons, and triggers that free him. Any bare skin we uncover is claimed with soft kisses and light caresses until we stand before each other in nothing but our underclothes. He pulls me to him and I feel his skin slide over mine. I feel the silken hair on his forearms and the damp cotton of his shirt where his suit hugs him tight. My nose is in his neck and I inhale; faint soap, light sweat, the night. I taste him above the collar of his shirt; he’s salty-sweet, a combination I’ve always been fond of.  

“Open your eyes.” Whispered like a prayer. A moment I can never come back from. I remember another. Two days after my 7th birthday, sitting on carpeting so stained it was impossible to tell the original color. My sister and I are by the motel vending machines, my mother locked us out of the room hours ago so she could entertain a “date”. I used a paperclip to try to pick the lock on the vending machine’s cash box. I’d been at it for at least 45 minutes. We’re hungry, starving almost, and then, then I felt the lock give way. My first lock. My first score. $2.25 in quarters, most so dirty and worn it was hard to make out Washington’s features. I looked at my sister and smiled - she’d never go hungry again, I could make sure of that now. We fed those coins into the machine over and over again and we ate candy like queens. 

“Will I know you?” I ask, his hand on my cheek bringing me back to the bedroom, back to him.  

“Open your eyes, Selina.” A moment we can never come back from. I open my eyes.     

Trust does not come easy to the Batman. What it means for him to stand here before me unmasked, what everything we’ve done together or been together means to him, it’s all in Bruce Wayne’s ice blue eyes - a rare, unguarded moment that I will keep with me until the day I die. And I know it’s reflected back at him, a precious moment without my walls and defenses just for him. All for him. I smile reassuringly as I touch the face I’ve only seen on the gossip blogs, run my fingers over his high cheekbones, his broad forehead. Without a word, I wrap my arms around his neck and kiss him.  He kisses me back, long and slow.  

We find our way to the bed and lay together, just kissing and exploring each other’s bodies over our underclothes. I’m used to his suit and his gloves but I’m quickly discovering that I like his warmth and his hands. His hand lingers over my breast, the other at my hip. He pulls his head back to look at me before reaching for the lamp. I blush as the light hits us. He wants to see me. I don’t protest - I’ve spent a very long time wondering what was under all that Kevlar. He leaves the bed for a moment to pull the heavy curtains closed and shut out Gotham and her dark corners. Tonight we’ll be together where the shadows can’t reach us. He’s at the foot of the bed now and I’m on my knees pushing his shirt up over his head, and it takes everything I have not to gasp when I see them.  

Scars. Everywhere. Knife wounds, bullet wounds, and dozens of unidentifiable marks crisscross his well-defined muscles. He’s watching me, weighing my reaction, waiting for me to act. I touch a bullet wound at his shoulder, a jagged knife wound across his right pectoral. I kiss each one, individual apologies for the city that’s taken so much. My fingers come to rest on four perfect half moon scars at his side. One of our first encounters. It was winter. I slid my diamond-tipped claws between the plating on the Kevlar, cut through the breathable weave, and made him bleed. The wound steamed in the night air when I pulled my hand away.  

I get a flash of him in my mind - Him in his other life, his life as Bruce Wayne, a man I know only through reputation, fucking some socialite in the back of a limo on the way to a charity function. She’s straddling him, her tight dress pushed up around her waist, while he’s still fully clothed. Imminent arrival at the event is the perfect excuse to keep his clothes on because even a man like Bruce Wayne can’t explain away this much scar tissue with stories of extreme sporting adventures gone awry. I look into his eyes and see the truth: He hasn’t been fully naked with a woman in years. He’s trembling under my fingers, prolonged absence of contact creating hyper-sensitized skin. I know what he needs. I remove my bra and press my breasts against his chest. His eyes fall shut as he exhales slowly as we rest against each other skin to skin.  

As the tension between us rises it comes in pieces - on my back as he kisses me, his body hovering over mine, his hand sliding higher and higher up my thigh. He’s hard and insistent but we’re not ready yet. We need more tonight. We need all the things we could never do. We kiss, we touch, we memorize the other. He rolls my nipples between his fingers as I kiss his jawline. Every move he makes sets my nerves on edge, my body tingling and trembling as we move together. When he kisses my neck and his stubble rubs the delicate skin there I gasp and arch into him - I can’t take it anymore and I stroke him through his jockeys.  

“Impatient,” he whispers, his lips curling into a smirk as he kisses my neck again. I shudder.  

“I never got to do this before.” 

“You always had claws.”  

“You never had to worry. I take good care of my toys,” I tease. I pull at his waistband and he lifts his hips so I can pull the fabric down. He springs up hard and straight, the head swollen, the veins bugling. It’s amazing. I bite my lower lip and slide down his body, a wicked smile on my face. He watches as I run my tongue from the base to the tip before taking him in my mouth. I take all of him - not an easy feat as he’s not small - and pull back up slowly, releasing him with a “pop”. He flips me onto my back. 

It’s his turn to move down my body, his lips and teeth marking me as his own as he goes. The muscles in his shoulders ripple and the tendons in his hands flex and I get wetter as I watch. He pulls my underwear from my body and meets my gaze. He glances at my vagina before looking back at me with the sexiest, most mischievous glint in his eyes. I hold his gaze as I move my hands down my body. I’ve done this a million times here in this bed by myself, often times thinking of him, pretending my hands were his. I pinch my nipples into peaks as he watches. And when my hand finally reaches my center, I spread myself open for him like he wants. He runs his finger along me, feeling my wetness, feeling how ready I am for him. Then his tongue replaces his finger and I forget to breathe. I can’t think. I can’t open my eyes. All I can do it tangle my fingers in his hair and hold on while he writes a love letter across my clit with his tongue.  

I moan through clenched teeth. He’s good at this but I shouldn’t be surprised. Sex has always been good between us. But the zeal with which he buried his face between my thighs and the loving strokes of his tongue astound me. He wants this as much as I do.. His tongue is relentless in its exploration. Twirling and twisting, my whole body trembles under his ministrations. My teeth clamp shut and I try not to moan out loud, a force of habit when I’m with him. His pace increases and he’s watching me with that half-lidded cocky stare; he’s going to make me moan if it kills him. Everything’s always a battle of wills between us. I refuse to give in. It won’t be the first time I’ve drawn blood trying to hold in my pleasure. But when he gently sucks my clit, I can no longer resist and let the moan past my lips. He chuckles, the sound reverberating through my center and I flip him onto his back. I lick his face clean before claiming his lips.  

“My turn.” I wander down his body, paying homage to the scars as I go - a kiss here, a stroke there - all the while allowing him to feel my skin slide seductively along his. I take my time, kissing his defined abs and slowly following the trail of fine hair from his belly button to his groin with the tip of my finger. I delight in running my tongue along his obliques - those diagonal indents at his hips that point down toward his cock. They’ve always been my favorite part of a well-muscled man. When I take him in my mouth he stops breathing, his whole body frozen with pleasure. Then I move, bobbing my head slowly, working what I can’t take with my hand. I want him to feel every last second of this. And, selfishly, I want him to remember this as one of the sexual highlights of his life. He rubs my back and shoulders as I work, his breath becoming more ragged, his ministrations more frantic. He whispers one word -“oh” - from between his teeth as he tries to keep himself quiet. His head falls back against the pillows and his hand clenches into a fist beside his hip. I’m pulled away gently and rolled onto my back. He settles between my legs.  

As we kiss he dips his fingers into my wetness and slicks his cock with it for lubrication. After our first frantic time we’d always used condoms. But not tonight. I don’t think either of us could stand it.  

He’s guiding himself into my entrance and it dawns on me how much I’ve missed him these past three months.  

“Selina. Look at me.” He’s almost inside me. The anticipation is making my thighs tremble. I meet his gaze and we stare into each other’s eyes as he sinks into me. We kiss again and then he begins to move. I've never known him like this - unguarded blue eyes gazing at me through a fringe of black hair, mouth hovering above mine with my name on his lips, his fingers intertwined with mine and his grip tightening with each thrust. This isn't just sex anymore, we're making love, saying everything through gazes and gasps. 

I'm on top now and I ride him, my walls clenched around him, our eyes locked. It's silly, but I feel gorgeous like this, riding him with sweat breaking out over my skin, my breast moving gently to the rhythm of our bodies. He's buried to the hilt and I focus on the delicious stretch as I roll my hips. God, his cock is perfect. We fit together like puzzle pieces and if ever there was a moment where I indulged in fantasies like being made for another person this would be it. 

I lean forward to press my breasts to his chest and I kiss him deep and slow. My clit rubs against his lower abdomen with each thrust and I almost lose my mind. He notices and grabs my hips, helping me grind against him while the thrusts up into me again and again. Completion builds inside me as I moan against his lips. 

“Bruce, I’m -”  

“Yes,” he groans and he slams into me harder. My hips have a mind of their own as I grind faster. We’re almost there. He grabs my chin and makes me look into his eyes again. It’s all I need. I’m gone. Tumbling, falling, my body racked with pleasure, my muscles rippling along his cock. I think I’ve woken at least one neighbor with my moans. He follows, a low moan through clenched teeth, his member pulsating inside me as he fills me. The look in his eyes, the look I know is reflected back from my own, it’s overwhelming. As I bury my face in his neck I feel a lump rise in my throat and tears sting the back of my eyes. I hold my breath to calm myself. As idiotic as it is, I love this man. He’s holding me tightly, both of us barely breathing, and I know that he loves me, too. We’re in love. We’ll deny it to ourselves in the morning, we’ll tell ourselves that love has no place in lives like ours, we’ll blame it all on a fleeting moment of passing fancy, but we’ll be lying. The truth is in this moment and it won’t be denied.  

We remain joined, holding each other, as his penis softens inside me and his seed begins its sticky drip down my thighs. We can’t think about how long he’ll stay or what we’ll say when we separate our bodies. All we can think about is trying to rebuild the walls we turned to rubble tonight.  And through it all Gotham waits, her shadows silent and ready, waiting for us. Waiting for us to let them back in.