The Dark Knight Rises: Weapon of the Shadows

Chapter Twenty

Selina brushed a soft rose petal against her lip as Bruce set her bag on the gurney. He pulled off the mirrored sunglasses when he stood in front of her again. His bland expression didn't match his flinching eyes. "How badly are you hurt?" he asked.

She set the bouquet on the empty tray stand. "Shoulder was dislocated, set in place, so using the sling for the next couple of days. One rib fractured here," she laid her hand on her left side. "The ankle is severely strained so he put a brace on it, but nothing broken." He looked at the plastic and ACE bandage encasing her right ankle. "I'm free to go home as soon as I'm dressed."

His head jerked up. "Home?"

The tightness in her lungs wasn't caused by her damaged rib. "I thought we'd go back to Italy. You want to live somewhere else?" Unless you don't want to live with me?

"You want to live with me after what I did to send you on this suicidal stunt?"

He always tried to take the blame. She shook her head. "No, Cain was going to kill Jen--"

"And you didn't come to me!" His low voice almost matched his Batman growl. "You knew you couldn't beat Cain."

"Maybe if you didn't go easy on me during training--"

"What did I do that made suicide by assassin a better choice than asking for my help?"

"That didn't even--"

"What did I do?"

"Stop it! I couldn't throw you to Bane--Cain! I couldn't throw you to Cain," she repeated.

His face cracked before he unlatched her mask. He cupped her face. "I forgave you for that before I climbed out of the Pit, Selina. I know you wouldn't have done it if Bane hadn't threatened you, and if I hadn't acted like an arrogant ass before I asked for your help. I thought you knew that." His feather-light touch traced around the bruise on her cheek.

She still had trouble believing it. "I could save you both." Her hand on the back of his neck pulled him closer. "I'm responsible for Cassandra and Cain was my problem."

He pressed his forehead against hers. "And I didn't make myself responsible for you both?"

"I knew you'd take care of Cassandra."

"Really? I told her to stay with Blake. That's how well she listens to me. We both need you."

"No, you don't."

He pulled back but his eyes snared her gaze. "I turned on the autopilot for you. I was willing to let go as long as Gotham was safe, but you kissed me. I turned it on because I wanted you."

Selina felt tears building. "You never said. I told you I love you."

"In a note."

"Still counts."

He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small jewelry box. "I love you." He cracked it open. "Marry me."

She gaped at the diamond and pearl platinum ring that hadn't been in the house when she left. "Training exercise, my ass." The tears welled.

"She was really well behaved in the jewelry store." He set the box in her hand before cupping her face and wiping away a tear. "That's not an answer." His hazel eyes gleamed.

"Yes, of course, yes!" She surged forward. He wrapped his arms around her, avoiding her ribs and not pressing down on her right arm as they kissed. He lifted the ring box from her hand and slid the ring on her ring finger. His hands then leaned her head back as he deepened the kiss.

He pulled back and panted. "Don't you dare take it back. I don't want another heart attack tonight."

"Not going to happen." She didn't want to see her gray hairs over tonight's escapades. "So you're responsible for me?"

"This makes it official."

"Then you better help me get dressed before someone shoos me out in my underwear."

"And usually you can't wait for me to have you like this." He laughed, but opened up her suitcase. Between the two of them, they pulled on her black dress. Bruce surprised her to near tears again by pulling the pearl necklace out of his pocket. Once she was composed, he opened the door.

Gordon pushed in a wheelchair. "You'll probably attract less attention with this."

Bruce shook his hand. "I expect you to come to the wedding, Jim."

Selina held up her hand with the engagement ring. "You haven't had a vacation in forever."

"Congratulations to both of you," he said with a smile. "And I'll come as soon as I get an invitation."

Bruce unfastened Cassandra's cape. "Selina has to heal and then we have to plan it, no rush. Take it off," he directed to Cassandra. "We're leaving not in costume." She nodded before pulling off the rubber and cloth cowl.

"So you aren't staying in Gotham." Bruce's head jerked, but Gordon raised his hand. "It's all right; you deserve a life. Now I have to get back to my job." He handed Selina her medical printouts, and held out his hand to Cassandra. Her eyebrows drew down over her eyes but she reached for him. He shook her hand. "You've got time to grow into a hero. Don't rush it."

"Yes," Cassandra said.

Bruce waited until Gordon had left before he plucked a bronze-colored gun from Cassandra's belt. "What else did you get from Blake?"

"Blake no give." She jutted her chin up.

His stern expression sagged as he looked at Selina. "I'm afraid I sent the real Batgirl to find Blake tied up and the bunker ransacked." He stuffed Cassandra's modified cowl into his jacket pocket.

Selina looked at the child's costume cobbled with the catsuit. "Nightwing and Batgirl need their equipment. Pile it here so we can return it." She patted the mattress beside her.

Cassandra set the cape on the bed, took the grapple gun and set it on the cape with a little pat, and fished out a handful of bat-shaped throwing stars. "All."

"Okay." Selina pulled her white blouse out of her suitcase. "Let's get you disguised and get out of here."

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