Diversions & Digressions | fanfiction by mara

Till You’ve Left It

Till You’ve Left It

by Mara

Summary: “You can’t appreciate home till you’ve left it.”

CONTINUITY: Takes place during the episode “The Once and Future Thing: Weird
Western Tales.”

NOTES: I wasn’t going to write about Cowboy Bruce, but he insisted. I’m still
not sure why he chose this moment to *want* me to write about him…

The saloon was dirty, smelly, and rife with barely-leashed tension–it made
Batman homesick for the seedier parts of Gotham.

He resisted the urge to tip the hat even lower across his forehead, because
every time he did, either Wonder Woman or Green Lantern laughed at him. And that
was even more annoying than the…exposed feeling.

It was all well and good for the other two to wander around being heroes with
their faces exposed to the world, but he was *Batman*. Neither of them had the
faintest clue how hard he worked to keep his two lives separate, how much effort
it required to keep the civilians in his life safe.

They didn’t understand why Batman needed to be alone.

And while his conscious mind knew there was no need to hide his face so far in
the past, it still made him want to squirm–face bare to the world, sitting next
to two of the most famous members of the cape and tights crowd. He felt like he
had a target painted on his back. In neon letters. Saying ‘Kick me.'”

Batman wanted to be in the Cave with Robin making bad jokes. Or flying through
the skies while Nightwing tried to provoke him to anger. Or even back on the
Watchtower with Lantern putting him on the spot. Anywhere but stuck in the past,
with their only hope of getting home finding one idiot time traveler.

Not true, a traitorous portion of his mind argued: There were far worse fates
than being stuck in the past with Diana, where they *weren’t* Batman and Wonder
Woman, charter members of the Justice League. Where–

Batman told Bruce to shut up, and absentmindedly took a drink of his beer. It
was just as vile as he’d predicted and it took effort not to spit it out.

They needed to find their missing time traveler and get *out* of this place.
They needed to stop wasting their time in saloons watching card games. They
needed to *do* something, rather than just sit here hoping a clue would drop in
their laps.

In the spirit of ‘Know thyself,’ Batman had to admit (but only in the privacy of
his mind) that he was uncomfortable with so many openly displayed guns. They
were *everywhere*, making his palms itch and the hair on his neck stand up. He
should be rounding them up and dumping them in a handy river, not waiting for
somebody to get shot.

And right on schedule, that poker game was going downhill fast. Batman tensed,
preparing for action if necessary, cursing at being on the opposite side of the
table from any gunplay that was about to occur. What were the chances that
Lantern and Diana could restrain themselves from using their powers?

In the depths of his mind, Batman growled in the manner that made hardened
criminals shake in their boots. He just wanted to go *home*, damn it. Was that
too much to ask?

–end–

Final author’s note: The title is from the O. Henry story “The Fourth of
Salvador”: “You can’t appreciate home till you’ve left it, money till it’s
spent, your wife till she’s joined a woman’s club, nor Old Glory till you see it
hanging on a broomstick on the shanty of a consul in a foreign town.”

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