After being in Paris for a couple of days, Basem felt the return of the uneasiness that caused him to decide to leave Paris to begin with. But it was different this time. He didn't feel guilty. He felt the need to move on. And he only thought of one way to do it. He discussed it with Sally and she completely agreed.
The next morning, Basem and Sally trekked through the graveyard, with Sally holding Stevie.
They walked until they arrived at Marie Leblanc's grave.
After they stared at the tombstone in silence for a while, Sally, solemnly, said, "Ya know… I told Bruce, once, I really did get it. Why he became Batman, after knowing about his parents. But standing here now… it's like… it's suddenly so much clearer. It's like… I mean, it's weird but… I can almost… feel where that urge could come from."
"Yeah," Basem whispered. "It's always strange how loss… death… makes it seem so much clearer."
"Not an easy life."
"No. It's not."
"But you can handle it," Sally declared. "I know you can." She took a deep breath. "That's why… I have to say this."
Basem looked at Sally.
Sally looked back at Basem. "You. Can't. Quit."
Basem blinked in surprise.
"I know the days'll get hard. I know I'll want you to quit. I know you'll want to quit! But… baby, Terry is always gonna need you. Hayate can be there. The whole Justice League can be there but… Terry broke that Batman curse of having to be alone. He trusts you. And… you… managed to fight back and… be okay, thanks to him. We met because of him and Max. We owe Terry. We owe Batman."
Basem could see the seriousness, and the fierceness, in Sally's eyes. She meant every word. "Don't worry, Sal. I'll never abandon you or Stephen. I'll never abandon Terry or Max."
"Or Grace," Sally smiled.
"Oh, especially not her," Basem smiled. His smile fell away as he looked back at the grave. "When I left here… after Marie… I knew I couldn't stop being Nightrunner. She'd never forgive me for letting that failure keep me from continuing to help people. But, I won't lie… it was the first time in my life I considered quitting all of this. Rene showing up was the second."
"Yeah," Sally sighed. "I know it's still hard."
"It always will be." He smiled at her. "But… all of this…" He looked at their son, "…makes it worth it."
She smiled back. "It really does, doesn't it?" She paused. "Do you… think Marie would've liked me?"
"Are you kidding? I told you already."
"I know but… we were… in the moment?"
"You're adorable, chérie. And, yes, Marie would've loved you. Stephen, too."
A huge grin spread across Sally's face and she squeaked, "Really?!"
Basem laughed, "Yes, my love. They would've adored you."
Tears began to stream from Sally's face. She adjusted Stevie and held him closer. "I… wish… we could all be together. Be one big happy family."
"If only you and I could've met… and Marie would've still been alive."
"Yeah, I thought about that. I really didn't wanna bring it up."
"I think about it," Basem admitted. "Impossible not to." He looked at Sally and Stevie. "But… as much as I miss her… I'm thankful for the strength she gave me to keep going. Because of that… I met you. I have a new home and even more family. I'm always going to miss them…"
"I'm going to miss them and I never even got to meet them," Sally added.
Basem smiled. "But… I don't regret where the journey took me."
Sally smiled. "That's good to hear. Because… that journey's just getting started."
"Oh, I know." He sighed. "And I think… I know… the journey really starts now."
He nodded. "I am."
She smiled. "Don't ever expect me to hold it against you when you miss them."
"You've got one of the kindest hearts I've ever seen, Sally. I never for a second thought that."
"Good. Let's get back to your folks'. I wanna hear more of your dad's stories."
"He's got plenty," Basem said, ruefully.
Sally giggled, softly. She looked back at Marie's tombstone. "We'll visit again, Marie. I'm sorry for what happened to you. I'm sorry we never met. But… thank you. For being a hero and a friend."
"Look at that, Marie," Basem said. "She said the same thing I say whenever I visit. Take care of Stephen for me."
At that moment, a gentle wind breezed through the graveyard.
Basem smiled. "I hear ya, loud and clear, Marie."
"What'd she say?" Sally asked.
"If I heard her right… 'go home and be happy, you idiot.'"
A brief but strong gust rushed by.
Sally looked at the sky, "I really like Marie!"
"You and everyone else." Basem took hold of Sally's hand. "Let's get going."
"Yeah. We got a whole life ahead of us!"
Basem smiled. "Bright future. And a brave new world." He took a deep breath and exhaled.
A/N: And there we have it! I hope you guys like it. I very much did! It turned out way better than I thought it would and I had a lot of fun writing this. Sally and Basem are so great and are probably my favorite OCs.
So, what's coming up next? The next story in the "Unpack Your Heart" series will be a story called "Iridescent." Trust me, it's going to be a doozy! More on that in the future. I'm going to make an announcement about "Chronicles" soon so be on the lookout for that.
Well, that's all for now! Don't forget about my book and other stuff. Thank you all so much and I'll see you soon!