Lacking Grace

by Lara Wilson

Floating in the shadows she watches him. The cape makes his swings across the skyline sharper, less graceful, and she wonders how long it took him to adjust. When he lands in the alley it's straightforward. No somersaulting.

When he comes out of his crouch, his first blow is a punch, not a balletic kick. As he takes on four young thugs, she analyzes the differences in his fighting style. More punches, less kicks. Nothing ariel. Perhaps the cape hinders him, makes him rely on his strength alone. And the familiar escrima sticks are gone as well. He only has his gloved fists.

She floats lower and listens to only grunts and cries from those he is beating. He's silent.

He was never silent.

The quips are gone, the continual chatter that used to bother her. A warrior shouldn't crow and tease and joke. But, over the years, she grew used to that from him. Came to rely on it, to know that when he was joking, everything was all right.

She can't tell that anymore, as the only sounds he makes are blunt noises of his fists on flesh.

When he turns, she sees his face, or at least the lower half revealed by the heavy looking cowl, and there's no smile there. Only grimly closed lips and a tight jaw. His cheekbones are cut in half, hidden, and while his mask for years has hidden his eyes, without the crinkling of his brow and the smile at his lips that pulled his cheekbones higher, she can't see any joy.

And she wonders if Batman is what drains the happiness and pleasure, the pure joy in fighting.

He is a warrior now, pure and cold and brutal, and she realizes that he is now her opposite. She is fire and he is ice. She is passion and he is rationality.

It's not an opposite that she finds attractive.

End

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