I have spent my entire life looking forward to 2000/2001. These were the years of wonders - of shiny silver clothes and flying cars and space stations. These were the years of the promises of Arthur C. Clarke, of Heinlein's Door into Summer, of a brand new century, a brand new millennium. They were the Future and they were as bright and hopeful as the Enterprise herself.
And through most of 2001, I did my best to write the full year out, to enjoy this year even though the promises were broken and we don't have flying cars and we can't even get to the Moon again. And then it changed.
Today, I wake up and I'm grateful that it's over. Oh, good things happened. I got a job. I was tossed out of my apartment and got a far better one in a neighborhood where I feel I belong, while the job and other things keep me tied to the best of the old neighborhood. I celebrated my tenth wedding anniversary with friends at a convention, with my family and just with my husband. I wrote. I went to Worldcon.
But I still dreaded the news from overseas even before 9/11. And I could see our change in administration already hurting things. And then the world really changed.
I will try to remember the good things in 2002, and hope that our entry to 2003 is a much happier and stronger time for all of us.
"He's very beautiful." The words followed a whoosh and two light steps.
Batman didn't turn. That sound was familiar enough for him, and he didn't want to take his eyes off the horizon, where a green glow was coming towards him. "Yes." In so many ways.
"I'm happy for you. We all are."
Now he had to look. He held his wrist as he twisted to face Superman. "Why?"
"You hurt yourself. Did you keep fighting afterwards?"
"Not important. Why?"
Superman rubbed his hair. "Why. Um. Because you're happy. Because it's not a good thing to be alone. Because being in love is...wonderful and we're glad two of our friends...are together."
"It's..."Batman clenched his fist for a moment. Then he checked the area for surveillance. Satisfied, he pushed his cowl off his face. "This relationship may be the...worst thing I've ever done."
"I don't understand. Bruce, when you look at him - even in that mask, you light up. You're happy. Even now, without your lenses, you're staring at him. You can't even see him from here."
Yes, I can. I can always see him. "That's why I'm not doing the smart thing. He's keeping me sane, Clark. Tim's tried, Dick's tried. Hell, you've tried. You know me almost as well as they do. Alfred's gone gray trying. He doesn't try. He just...does." Kyle laughing when he got too serious; Kyle calmly taking care of his injuries. Kyle quietly holding him when the demons invaded his dreams again. Kyle making him smile just by rubbing his eyes in the morning.
"Now I know why you're scared."
Bruce thought about denying it. "He'll wake up one day and leave, and I'll be useless. I've never let myself get this dependent before. What does he get out of this that he stays with me?"
"He gets you, Bruce. He loves you, and he needs you, too. You're happier, and he's steadier. He acted like a leader out there today, and he did a good job."
"He was heading that way already. But, yes. I was proud of him." All this time, the green glow had grown. Now he could see Kyle on back of a flying tiger construct, waving his arm. Minutes later, Kyle had landed. He jumped off the tiger's back and patted it before it dissolved, roaring as it did. At the same time, the Flash ran up in a red blur.
"We got the buildings all livable - walls and floors stabilized, basic utilities rehooked." Wally gave them a parody of a salute.
"You know, we're doing that stuff - plumbing, electrical work - without a license." Kyle's eyes had flickered at Bruce's naked face for a moment before he was distracted by the broken wrist.
"Speak for yourself, greenboy. I'm a member of all those unions back in Keystone. Well, honorary member. And when did you get *your* medical degree?" Kyle had constructed a miniature X-ray machine and was probing gently at the broken bones.
"EMT certificate. Real one." He grinned at Bruce. "Does this hurt? And don't play stoic."
"A little." A lot, but Bruce ignored pain, even as Kyle used his artist trained fingers and eyes to heal him.
Bruce flexed his wrist. No pain, no stiffness. "Perfect." He had to smile.
"Of course." Kyle smiled back, his eyes glinting with mischief.
Acting without thought for the first time in years, but unable to resist, Bruce grabbed him, held his firm, warm body close to him and kissed him with all the passion he could muster. Kyle responded with a happy sounding sigh.
"Come on. I'll take you home."
Bruce could only nod. He let Kyle wrap the two of them in green light and fly them through the night skies to Gotham, holding him tightly all the while.