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Fic: Styrofoam Cup

Title: Styrofoam Cup
Author: Brokaw22
Disclaimer: The norms
Rating: T
Story Synopsis: For every memorable moment in my life, there has been a styrofoam cup.
Thanks to Kathy for beta work.

For every memorable moment in my life, there has been a styrofoam cup. Every hospital visit lasting until the early hours of the morning, every time I've learned of a new death, every time I've had to meet the Bat on a rooftop in the middle of February. When I sit in the park waiting for some tip that ultimately leads to another crime scene. There has always been a styrofoam cup. And now, as I sit and watch one of my best friends die there is still, yet again, another styrofoam cup.

This man, whom many would call eccentric, (if only they knew the truth of that eccentricity) is probably the only friend I've ever had who truly knew me. And I...well, I like to think that I knew him just as well. That is, if I ever let myself really think about what I had realized so many years ago. I've been through this before, of course. Thinking that he was dead, only to have him emerge from the shadows a few months later, but that won't happen this time. It can't happen this time.

There will be another Batman, of course. Batman can't die. This city has already proven that. There will be more late night rendezvous on a rooftop with a styrofoam cup in hand, terrible coffee that will go cold before I get a chance to finish it, and a man dressed in a black costume trying to make this city just a little bit better. It won't be the same, though--that's been proven already as well. But it will work, even if only because we have no choice but to make it work.

It still seems so wrong that this man gave everything he could for this city fought unimaginable things (well, unimaginable for those who weren't born and raised in Gotham) only to have it end this way. He's lost so much to protect this hell hole, and now he's going to die--of a brain tumor. It just isn't right. There is nothing that could ever make this okay. If anything, he should have gone out fighting. Every hero deserves to go out fighting, but especially Batman. He's earned more than this. Hell, so have his kids for that matter.

None of the people who risk their lives day in and day out deserve to see this man die in such an undignified way. He's not even awake to hear the heartfelt goodbyes of the people who love him the most. He's been in a coma for the last three days. The only real comfort any of us have is that he was out standing on a rooftop (the way he should have been) when he fell down unconscious. The truth be told, no one was surprised to learn that he hadn't told anyone about his condition, nor did he refuse to stop or slow down on his nightly patrols. It's just another thing that makes this man, my friend, so great. He never stops--not even when he's dying.

I wish that he would have said something--given some hint that it was all going to end this way, but it's not shocking that he didn't. If I was a betting man, which I'm not, I would bet he had every intention of dying in the suit, tumor or no tumor. It's just his way. I can only imagine how much he didn't want to die lying in a hospital bed. It's almost a gift that he'll never wake up--that his last memories will be of a moment of peaceful silence on a rooftop in between bouts of violence while protecting his city. And I've never had any delusions. This is his city. It probably always will be, even after he's gone.

I lean over and place my styrofoam cup down on the floor beside my chair. I can't stay much longer, and I don't know if he'll still be here when I return tomorrow, so I grab a hold of one of his scarred hands and try to find the words that I so desperately need for this moment. Talking with this man has never been an easy thing for me. For the last couple of years, however, it's seemed that we didn't really need words to understand each other. It doesn't change anything, though. It doesn't matter if he can hear me or not. This is something I need to say, if only for myself. I grip his hand tightly and breathe for a few moments. I can still taste the stale coffee on my breath, but it doesn't really matter. In fact, it almost seems to fit, given how we normally spend our time together. I sigh to myself before staring remorsefully at his still form. “Bruce, my friend, I'll miss you dearly.”

The End