Crossing the Rubicon


Part VII. III — "No Fairy Tale"

A thunder clapped outside, as Bruce dived in her with a deeper move that shook the car along with them, her hand shooting out in the air, reaching to hold something—anything—whatever thing she could find, a rough grunt erupting out of her throat, partly from pain, partly from a primitive relish. Bruce echoed her raw reaction with his equally savage response, as her hand clawed at the window, her fingers leaving their marks on the tempered glass that was misted with heavy breathing and passion.

Despite her many, many attempts, she couldn't still believe this was happening, even in her current position as she squirmed under him helplessly, but even through the foggy haze of lust that covered everything else in her mind and the rest of the world in a dark red, she knew it was the truth; she was here, and they were doing it. She was fucking Bruce Wayne or rather he was fucking her, in the backseat of a car, like there was no tomorrow.

They hadn't even managed to go through their clothes, no, there hadn't been enough time; his frenzy hadn't left any place for the usual arts of love... Valerie hadn't even realized how she had ended up at the backseat, out of the downpour; one moment, they were staring at each other, and it was so hard even to breath, like the whole world squeezed inside her chest, then the next, he was kissing her so wildly, so savagely it was impossible to match with his zest.

But she had tried. She had opened her mouth, and had turned his kiss, and for the first time she had known him, Bruce Wayne truly lost whatever control he had had over his basic instincts. She hadn't understood how he had managed to open the car, pulling her inside, all whilst his hands were working on her trousers under her coat, but when she was finally on her back on the backseat, she was free of her coat, and her tight leggings were peeled off around her ankles, where her boots still decorated, and in a heartbeat, he was inside her.

The rest was a tussle through a tangled mess of clothes and bodies, in a silence that only filled with rough breathing, gasps, and occasional raw grunts, and the sounds of the thunder outside, and even though their tongues told no words they talked to each other in a language that spoken in skin and sweat and need.

She knew she should be scared, this—this was going beyond anything she had ever experienced. It didn't feel like a simple lay, and danger bells were running high in her mind despite all heat and fog cobwebbing her brain. She knew there lay the dragons, she knew she was treading through the uncharted territories that every map left only a white blankness, but she simply didn't care.

Outside, the world was still the same, and they were still the same, too, but for the moment, at least for that moment, she could pretend nothing else would matter. And, it was enough.

She titled her neck up, and caught his eyes, as he made another move inside her, deeper, his hair clung on his forehead with rain and sweat, the darkened eyes staring at her back. She rose slightly against his chest, still covered with his unbuttoned shirt, and with a crook smile, she pressed her lips on his.

It was crazy, all of this, him, her, this, it was all mad, and a wise woman would just stop at that moment, turn back and retreat to the common sense, but she had never been that woman.

When they finally settled down, all was in silence, aside the storm outside. Bruce slowly pulled out of her, and straightened back, retreating to his corner of the seat, his eyes darting away from her.

She let out a small intake of breath, and mimicked the gesture, feeling the reality whether she liked it or not returning, as the carnal frenzy faded off, leaving only a few proofs of what they had done scattered around in its wake.

His eyes still averted from her, Bruce started buttoning up his pants, and she followed his example again. She pulled her leggings up over her legs, and zipped herself. The tight thick cloth came with difficulty over her sweat-laden skin until she made a low grunt from the back of her throat.

At her low grunt, Bruce's eyes skipped at her, she caught the quick glance with the corner of her own eyes. She murmured a curse, fighting with her trousers, and shook her head, but still kept her eyes trained down on herself.

It was ridiculous, ridiculous to feel like this, but she couldn't lift her head up, and face with him, either, because she quite knew what she was going to find in his eyes. Regret. He had understood what he had done, had understood his—mistake.

It wouldn't matter. It was just heat of the moment, she knew. He had snapped; that strain between them finally breaking off, and she would say they had cleared some air, blew off some steam. That had been always her idea, after all. But she wished he would have stopped behaving like it was the end of the fucking world.

Way to make a girl feel all special, really.

She reached out to her top where he had thrown it away on the floor, and pulled it over her head, a snort escaping out of her, despite her intentions. With the sound, Bruce finally decided to acknowledge her presence. He turned to her, and his eyes found hers.

And for a moment, his look stole her breath away. She had readied herself for the upcoming "shame look" but inside the eyes that were staring at her, there were many things; confusion, perplexity, even a bit bewilderment, and beneath all of them there was a pinch of lust glinting, still, but there was no remorse, there was no regret.

She felt something leave off her chest as she looked at him, and then his corner of his mouth slowly titled up in that fashion of his to form out a little, faint smile. Suddenly, she found herself reflecting his smile back.

She let out a small, relieved breath out. It hadn't changed anything much, their precautious situation was still as crazy as before, but at least he wasn't going to behave like it was the end of the world.

He cleared his throat awkwardly, his eyes darting around again, but this time in a very unlike Bruce Wayne fashion. "I—I," he said, his voice faltering, before he started again, "I pulled back—" he remarked, his eyes facing anywhere but her. Hers stuck on his figure, for a moment, she couldn't understand what he was saying; this was a Bruce Wayne she had never seen before. Over the days they spent together, she had seen him in many ways; unmovable, angered, pissed, tensed, cold like a marble, but this man, this awkwardly faltering man wasn't the Bruce Wayne she had ever seen; and truth to be told she would have never imaged even in her wildest dreams to see him like this.

"But if you want to be sure—" he continued, his eyes shifting at her then she understood what the hell he was talking about. Ever the cautious one, he was talking about the birth control, because his craze hadn't left them a single inch of common sense to act like proper adults, and get a condom.

But she was the ever cautious too, when it was about pregnancy. She didn't make the same mistakes, well, not all the time, especially not with that. She smiled at him. "No need," she said, "I'm already on birth control—" she paused for a second, "and I'm clean, if you're wondering," she added.

Something heated in his eyes, as he shook his head. "That wasn't what I meant—" he quickly said.

She knew he hadn't, but the moment gave her an opening to put the ridiculous awkward moment to an end, so she smiled a bit wider, wilder, and looked at him, "Why?" she asked, a husky mocking entering in her voice, "Alfred never gave you lessons about sex safe?"

His expression first was puzzlement, and it looked even funnier in his distorted state, then he shook his head, closing his eyes for a second. "That's a disturbing thought," he murmured under his breath, as his lips formed out another half-smile.

She let out an exaggerated sigh. "Be thankful you never saw him having sex at least," she said, faking a gasp. His eyes jerked up open, and he looked at her, "I did—" she continued, shaking her head, "still having nightmares. Thankfully, I was half drunk, so details are still fuzzy—" she laughed out.

He let out a small laugh, too, shaking his head back at her, then his eyes found hers again. When she looked back at him, she saw his eyes had lost whatever little humor it was in them, but adapted the usual tension whenever he looked at her in that way. She felt her heartbeat fasten.

"Valerie—" he started softly, as she braced herself, that thing in her chest pinching, but she forced herself to put a brave face, "I—" he said, but the rest of his words died as his phone squalled, breaking over the soft silence between them, thunder still roaming outside.

She heaved a breath out, as Bruce took his phone, and looked at his screen. His face then closed off, but his eyes darted up at her. "It's Jason," he told her after the brief silence.

She felt the last barriers of their moment succumb down completely, as her father's name echoed in her ear, reality hitting on her at full force, crushing down everything else. She didn't say anything, only turned her head aside, and watched the storm outside. Bruce opened the line.

"Yes," he answered, the word almost barked out. She wondered what kind of talk they had after they had understood she had gone to Ronnie. Jason possibly had tried to stop Bruce coming to her—rescue. She knew her father, and Jason, goddamn him to hell and back, knew her rather well, too.

She couldn't imagine Bruce taking that well. She wondered if that had been the reason for his—erratic behavior when he had seen her; when he had kissed her, inside in his frenzy, passion, and fervor, there was also desperation. She had tasted it.

"Yes," Bruce repeated placidly, his voice curt and dry, "She's with me." He paused for a second. "We'll meet with them at midnight," he said, then added before he closed the line, "We'll be there in half an hour."

Tugging the phone back in his pocket, he turned to her. "We need to move," he said, "They're waiting for us. We need to prepare."

She nodded, and opened the car's door, and stepped out to slide back again on the passenger seat.

When she settled back on her habitual seat and Bruce on his own, everything again felt the same.

As he drove back to the motel, the silence once again ruled inside the car. Valerie was still gazing at outside, her head turned away from him. His grip tightening around the wheel, his knuckles turned to white. One move, one slip of his control, and he had messed things up even worse.

It wasn't his intention; now looking backwards he didn't know what had enslaved his mind that much that he almost ravished her like a horny teenager in the backseat of a car...and he wasn't still being truthful with himself.

He knew exactly what had enslaved his mind. He had wanted to kiss her. He had wanted to feel her, feel her skin, her breath, her heart beating against his. Whatever it was, it wasn't just lust. All indications were suggesting very clearly that he had somehow developed...feelings for her, there was no purpose in denying that anymore, but it wasn't love. He knew how love felt. He had loved Rachel many, many years, but what he...felt...for Valerie, it was different. He couldn't explain how different it was even if he tried, but he knew it was. It was more of camaraderie, enriched by the shared experience, tragedies, and secrets that he couldn't tell anyone else, secrets he hadn't told anyone else.

And he had no idea where that fact was leaving them now. They had sex. They couldn't take it back, and pretend it didn't happen, even though Valerie looked like she could. He remembered how easily she had directed the moment between them in the backseat, when his frenzy had died and what he had caused hit him, like a punch in the stomach. He couldn't look at her, because he knew she was going to require an explanation, and he hadn't had one; he still didn't have.

He could jump through rooftops, he could jump off a skyscraper to save someone, he could charge against a battalion all alone if it was necessary to save someone else, but he didn't have any idea what to say to a woman in their condition. His previous relationships were quasi non-existing; he had never had the chance with Rachel, and a few others...they had never gone beyond anything that he would consider even remotely close to the situation he was facing now.

All in frankness, it felt like it was his first time, not because he hadn't had sex with anyone since his return to Gotham, or because of awkwardness, but because of that desperate need, that fever, that frenzy he had only lived once all in his life, and he really didn't want to remember that. His eyes stole a glance at her, and somehow at that moment Valerie reminded him of Lina, with the same look in her eyes, and with the same edge in her kisses.

And, he had no idea what he was going to do with that fact. He didn't regret it, despite everything he didn't regret what he had done. It had been so long, so long he had done something just because he had wanted to; doing what he wanted was a luxury he couldn't afford. No, there was no regret in him, but still he had complicated things, perhaps irrecoverably.

Because there was a reason he couldn't do what he wanted to; a perfectly good reason. When he had called her name before her father had called, he hadn't known what he could tell her, aside not regretting it, but that was it. He really didn't know what else to say. When this all ended, they could sit down and talk but he wasn't seeing how that would help their problems.

He had already accepted the truth. There was no normal life for him, not anymore, that hope had died together with Rachel. He had told her his secret, and she had decided to wait for him, and that mistake had cost her off her life. No, he couldn't ask that sacrifice again from someone else, he couldn't be that selfish. This was his own burden, his own cross to carry. He was already asking a way too much from Valerie; so much that she had felt necessary to dive in the middle of a gang that wanted to kill her to pay her debt, no, he wouldn't ask that from her, either.

There was only one thing he could truly offer her; his dead body. He knew that was what was going to happen one day; sooner or later, no, sooner than later, he couldn't keep doing this; but he couldn't stop, either. How he could have? Rachel had died for that battle. Harvey had lost his soul because of that fight. How he could stop and close his eyes to their death, like nothing happened when they had sacrificed everything? No, he couldn't stop fighting, even though Valerie would accept...a life...with him.

And, he wasn't even sure why she would want something like that with him. Yes, she had never hid her attraction for him, but his—secret, the real Bruce Wayne had scared her; he could remember the way she had looked at him when she had seen his scars the first time, the way she had run out of the room, scared. Valerie was a hard woman to comprehend, as if there were two sides inside her clashing off constantly; one moment she could suggest they turned back their backs on someone who needed their help, with a dismissive "bad things happen to people all the time" and the next she would risk her life to save that person. She was a walking dichotomy on the legs, and Bruce knew it because he had recognized that as it was his own, as well. It takes one to know one, after all.

No, even though he could have stopped, have turned his back on to what many people, including Rachel, had sacrificed for, he wasn't sure that was what Valerie was asking from him. He didn't know for certain what exactly had gone through between the father and daughter, but he knew that whatever it had been, it was also concerning the time when she had tried—her something different.

His eyes skipped to her, but this time she caught his gaze, and looked at him back. For a moment, he thought she was going to tell him something about "the backseat", but she swallowed lightly, before she spoke, "I want to hire another room."

He stared at her, for a second, accepting he had been right; she didn't want any kind of that thing with him.

As he parked in front of the motel, he nodded in silence. It was better for anyone. As she had said before, this was no fairy tale.

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