Christmas came and went without much notice around Wayne Manor. Bruce continues to train with ever-increasing intensity, and I cannot say that I much missed the holiday myself. On the one occasion that the subject came up--two days ago, during a break, as he sat sipping water in his sweat-soaked tights--he admitted what I'd long suspected: that the season is a painful one for him, reminding him not only of the death of his parents but, more recently, the personal downfall that began around this time last year.
I could see it was hard for him to talk about--so many things are, though the ice has melted significantly since I first met him--so I wrapped my arm around him and held him tight for a long, quiet moment. I could feel and smell the perspiration gather around his neck and armpits, and I brushed my spare hand through the moisture to smooth some of it away. I kissed the top of his head and each of his ears, nuzzling the lobes against my lips and wishing like hell there was some other life in store for the two of us.
Then it was back to work.