Carl Gustavus has announced his intention to begin a career similar to mine, and after much careful consideration I have given him my approval. This is an extremely dangerous calling, but I know him well, and if anyone is up to the task, it is him.
I know, also, that I do not desire another "sidekick," nor would I accept one. With all due respect to Mr. Grayson, I cannot afford the risks entailed by working with a less experienced partner or the time required to serve as his mentor. There is no need for debate on the matter; Carl shares my feelings with equal resolve. Nonetheless, we will work closely together--continue to work together, I should say, for he has played an absolutely essential role in my own retraining, becoming more and more actively engaged in the process. So much has he learned from these sessions, in fact, that I daresay he will be ready for active duty very soon. He is currently in the process of selecting a name for his new alter ego.
Our current plan is this: he will continue to live and train with me for the next several weeks or even months, joining me on patrols off and on, then launching a solo identity as quickly as possible. Although we are open to whatever the future may bring, we envision a time when he will move his base of operations to his own home (after he has completed the necessary preparations there). This will, of course, mean that our domestic relationship will change. While our feelings for each other remain passionate, we must face certain realities. My return to the life of Batman has reminded me that it is the single most important purpose of my brief time on earth; as deeply as I care for Carl, I cannot allow any personal bond to distract me from the enormous task at hand. He, on the other hand, has told me on several occasions that he feels stifled by the current power dynamic between us, which is quite different from the one by which we first operated. He was, to use his own blunt phrase, happier with me when I was "all bottom, all the time." That is no longer the case, and we must each deal with the consequences of the change.
I have no intention of breaking off our sexual bond. I owe him more than I can say--without his professional assistance, I might never have been able to come to terms with certain interests of mine, and without his love (I must not run from the term) I might never have been able to put those interests to productive use. (My language about this delicate matter is formal by necessity.) I do not see why we cannot grow closer as lovers even as we may grow farther apart as friends and fellow travellers.