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Rapunzel was in a pensive mood, and couldn't sleep. She knew that Alex was concerned about her since her encounter in Gotham, and she had to admit it had shaken her up.

It wasn't that she was afraid of getting mugged again, or anything like that; she wasn't afraid at all. The memory of her flight to the End of the World to flee the homelands had simply been so unexpected, that it had let the door open to the whole tale. In the dim light of the moon through the bedroom window, with Alex's arms around her, she feels ready to answer the unspoken questions she knows he's been harboring.

She began to speak quietly, knowing he was listening.

"I was on my way back from visiting a neighboring kingdom. I remember that day so clearly…it was warm and sunny, and the wildflowers were blooming everywhere. I was glad to be going home, because I had been gone for three weeks, and missed my family.

A single rider found our traveling party; he was bloody and bruised and barely able to stay upright on his mount. How odd is it that I can remember the color of the tunic he wore, and that the horse had no saddle, but I sometimes have trouble remembering if the dimple in Baldur’s cheek was on the right or left, or exactly how tall Jolenta was…

At any rate, the rider found us and told us we must not go back to the castle, or even enter the kingdom. The Adversary had sent a battalion of soldiers and goblins, and everyone in the castle had been slaughtered. He realized how blunt he’d been, and begged me to forgive him for not putting it more delicately. Imagine--he’s just saved us from a violent death, and he was apologizing."

Date: 2008-09-07 12:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
He holds, and just listens, but makes sure she knows that he is there. He can't imagine what it was like. Or what she's feeling even now.

Date: 2008-09-07 01:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
He gets it. And he can't quite see it. He can't see Rapunzel ever being so wild and savage and angry. it's not her. Another time, another world, another life.

He is, though, thankful that someone made sure she didn't do something stupid. That she somehow survived.

He strokes her hand softly. "Go on?"

Date: 2008-09-07 01:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
"You did what a leader should, you know. You led them and at the same time were one of them. We never see that in this town." He might admit, if pressed, that he never thought about that part of her. But it's there, isn't it? The way that good leaders make everyone else better. The way she makes him better? Maybe. But he likes that.

Date: 2008-09-07 02:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
"Wooden heads?" That's the first thing he heard that was a bit more odd than usual.

Date: 2008-09-07 10:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
He pulls her as close as he can, and just thinks. He recalls the things he heard from relatives who got out of Europe ahead of the Nazis, or after. He remembers the things his dad said about combat in Korea. He wonders about how she managed to do what she needed to, and realizes that sometimes the only way to cope is to forget.

And he thinks, oddly, that he will never be able to watch the Laurel and Hardy "March of the Wooden Soldiers" again.

"Did you miss doing something the last two Mays?"

Date: 2008-09-07 09:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
"But sometimes it's good to remember, yes? And to share?" He wants to make it clear that she doesn't have to be alone. Not that she doesn't know.

Date: 2008-09-08 01:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
He thinks for a moment. "Yeah. I think it can be a little tough sometimes. I know that in my mother's family, we all tried never to talk about the Holocaust, and in my dad's family, we never talked about the brother he lost in Iwo Jima.

"But I like to ask questions. I should have asked questions. I guess...it's still never easy.

"Next May, though, if you want the company, we can do something as a memorial. Maybe plant another tree?"

Date: 2008-09-08 09:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
"I don't think it needs to be. But I still want to write that novel, if nothing else. And I want to get it right. The bad and the good." He pulls her face to his and kisses her.

Date: 2008-09-08 10:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
"The truth is always a good thing. And the truth, my dear, is that I love you. And I always will. And I will always be here for you." And it still startles him that he feels that strongly. But in a good way.

He kisses her again, with a little more passion.

Date: 2008-09-08 11:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
"So in a way, being mugged was a good thing?" That sounds really odd.

Date: 2008-09-08 11:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
"You didn't? But that's how we treat all our tourists! The Deluxe Mugger and Batman Tour!" He's been avoiding joking about it till now. But now that he's sure she's fine, he can be his usual wiseguy self.

Date: 2008-09-08 11:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
"It's been 50/50 as well. Sometimes there is a witness, or the victim presses charges. Sometimes, they can't charge the person on that crime, but there are priors and parole questions and the like. I think he works mostly as a deterrent. And if he's gonna be out at dusk, it's gonna be that much harder for the crooks." How else to explain the early Batman show.

Date: 2008-09-09 12:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
"Both Harvey Dents discussed that, I hear. And concluded that a man in a mask has no credibility. And yet Superman does. I guess no one thinks he has anything to hide and Batman must." He lies back on his pillow.

"Do you think you want to go back to sleep? Or maybe do something else?" He doesn't say what, knowing that Rapunzel has many ideas of note.


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