Darkness covered Gotham, and no stars shone. The warm glow of electric light was scattered across the city, for in the past days there had been a shortage of electricity. Snow covered the streets in a freezing blanket of white. Midnight was approaching, and it seemed as if things were finally calming down.
After the period of oppression under the psychotic warlord Bane, the people were celebrating; even with all of the lives lost, an air of joy filled Gotham. Some idiots had set off the leftovers of a fireworks shop a couple of hours before. The fires were just dying down, but nothing could dampen the spirits of Gotham.
Everyone was happy, all but a dark figure on one of the rooftops of the city. A woman in a skintight catsuit stood in sad watchfulness over the city. Though the other Gothamites celebrated, there would be no joy for Catwoman. She had lost the man who could have had her heart, if only he had asked. Instead, they had shared one kiss before he dashed off to save the not-so-innocent of Gotham.
Moments later he was dead, and she was alone. There had been nothing else for her in that place. He wasn't coming back, so there really was no reason to stay there. Before the final reverberations from the explosion had finished trembling, she was gone. Catwoman had scaled a building and raced across the rooftops from there. The grief pounded through her like the beat of her heart. Ba-bump. Ba-bump. Ba-bump.
The only way she knew to deal with the pain was bury it under anger; later, when she was finally alone and she had long since given up on trying to forget that day in sleep, then she would cry. She would sob and shake, and shed tears for a future that would never be. In the coming days, the darkness that once welcomed her would threaten to overcome, perhaps it would even seem to win on the really bad days. But for now, she would hide the pain and watch from the rooftop.
The cold wind of winter blew harshly, sending chills to her very bones. It was nothing compared to the pain inside, so she welcomed it. The cold would keep her mind from the warmth of their kiss, and the dampness of the light snow would protect her from the memory of the passionate embrace.
"You should get inside. You'll catch a cold out here."
Catwoman didn't even bother to turn at the sound of her friend's voice. She said flatly, "The police will be overwhelmed by the number of people clearing out; this is your best chance to leave Gotham. Nobody will care about one more woman leaving."
Holly Robinson walked over to the edge of the roof, only hesitating momentarily due to her long-time fear of heights. The other woman attempted to look her friend in the face, but Catwoman merely continued to watch the surrounding area. "I thought you said we would be in Gotham for a while."
There was silence for a moment; then she seemed to understand. "You wouldn't be coming with me, would you?"
The older woman removed her goggles and mask, before turning to look at her friend sadly. "You've got your whole life ahead of you."
Looking at the woman who was Selina Kyle once more, Holly asked, "And you don't?"
The question struck far too close to home, and Selina could feel the ache begin to intensify. Her gaze drifted toward the area of the bay as she said quietly, "Not anymore."
Holly crossed her arms and said, "You're my best friend. I can't just leave you."
At last Selina turned to her friend. She grasped her friend's arms and said firmly, "Yes, you will. I've taught you everything I know. You'll do fine. In the chaos, you have the chance to start something new, to change your life."
The other woman frowned. Several minutes passed as she thought. When Holly spoke, her tone was resigned. "What will you do?"
Selina shook her head slightly with a sad smile. "Curiosity killed the cat, you know."
For a second the younger woman was silent. She pulled her friend into a hug saying, "I don't want to leave you."
"I don't want you to go, but it's time to move on."
Holly pulled back and walked away without looking back. Upon reaching the entrance to the building she called, "Are you going to be okay?"
The older woman turned to watch the streets, saying, "Cats always land on their feet."
A moment later the door to the roof shut, signaling Holly's departure. Selina let out a tiny sigh. Holly could never know what it cost her at that moment to send her only friend away. The younger woman deserved more than a life of prostitution and thievery, but she would never have left the woman who took her in, unless she was sent away first.
Heavy silence settled on the rooftop. The cold wind was blowing harder than before, attempting to oppress any who would stand against it… just like Bruce, Selina thought. She sighed, knowing it would be a very long time until the memories would give her any peace. Bruce was to be her new beginning; now, he was what held her to the past.
Suddenly the sound of a thud nearby caught her attention. The woman scanned the alley by the building where the noise had seemed to come from. However, there was nothing to worry about. The only occupants of the alley were an old homeless man in a nice coat and a stray cat pawing through the garbage bins for scraps.
After several minutes of examining the alley, nothing more threatening emerged. Selina went back to watching over the rest of the area, noticing that the first few rays of dawn were stretching across the horizon. For some, it would be the start to a beautiful new life; for her, it was merely the reminder that had to make a decision about what to do, soon.
"I thought you would have left by now."
Selina whirled around, not daring to hope upon hearing the familiar rumbly voice. There, standing not five feet from her, was the man she thought was dead. Bruce Wayne, the Batman, was alive, though a bit worse for the wear. Immediately she was face with conflicting desires. Part of her wanted to run to him and never leave his side, while another part wanted to cause him pain for the pain he had cause her.
"Well, I thought you were dead. It looks like we're both wrong."
Bruce sighed and said, "Selina, I'm sor-"
Before he knew what was happening, Selina had closed the distance between them and slapped him, leaving an angry-looking mark on his cheek. Her dark eyes were ablaze as she hissed, "Do not say you're sorry! I thought you were dead. You-" She suddenly stopped speaking, choosing instead to press fierce kiss against his mouth.
He returned it with as much passion and emotion as she was giving. This kiss wasn't like the one before; this wasn't goodbye. Instead, it was like a phoenix, rising from the ashes. What they had together was new and delicate, but it was also primitive and powerful.
Both pulled away slowly, neither wanting to be the first to speak. Finally Bruce said, "Selina, I am sorry. I should have told you that I fixed the autopilot months ago, but I didn't want to give you hope if I should die. You can't know true despair without hope."
There was a darkness in his eyes, as if from some haunting memory, that Selina didn't like. He was alive, and if she had her way, she would spend every day making him happier. Several minutes passed quietly before she asked playfully, "Now that the Bat's away, how will Bruce play?"
The man's hazel eyes twinkled mischievously as he was saying, "I was thinking about wiping the slate clean, starting over. I heard that a feline friend had what I needed."
Selina smiled widely, almost predatory. "Hmm… She has something that could be useful. What did our mutual friend think of her offer?"
The wait was nearly unbearable, but it didn't last long. "He was wondering what you thought of Italy."
"Well, all roads lead to Rome. Just show me the road, Mr. Wayne," Selina said, grinning.
Bruce smiled slightly, which turned into a wide grin, and then into an uninhibited laugh. He reached out and pulled Selina to him, tucking her against his chest. Selina rubbed her face against the thin t-shirt he wore, contentedly inhaling the scent that was simply Bruce. She wrapped her arms around his waist and smiled with the knowledge of a special revelation: everything was going to be alright.
The Dark Knight was dead to the people of Gotham, their greatest hero. Batman would be an eternal symbol of hope coming from the darkness, but it was time for the man, for Bruce Wayne, to rise. He had given so much to fight the darkness. Night had come over the city, bringing panic and hopelessness. Like the sun's rays breaking up the black cover of night, new strength would be found within, and hope would fight back. It was the Dawn.
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