Description: The Dark Knight resurfaces when John Blake takes over Bruce Wayne's legacy. Barbara Gordon comes to Gotham. They surrender to consuming passion. Can they really be together when there's always danger on the horizon?
AN: I took some bits and pieces and characters from the comics universe, but ultimately it's of my own creation. Some things might seem familiar, but I will shape them into my own liking.
I don't own anything.
full link in my profile
John Blake threw away his badge in a moment of anger. In a moment of grief and unbelievable disappointment with the Gotham Police Force. He was no longer bounded by the law. He was done listening to orders he didn't think were even right. From the very beginning the police had been chasing the wrong man and once Batman had made his grand comeback, all the task force had been sent after him again, completely ignoring the real danger, ignoring Bane. It was then that Blake had truly felt helpless. It was then that he realized he couldn't fight the system when being a part of it in the same time. In other to succeed, he actually had to be above it. He couldn't abide by the law every single time. He needed to take the law into his own hands.
The question was how?
Batman, The Dark Knight of the city, had just made the greatest sacrifice. He'd not only taken Harvey Dent's blame all those years ago, but now, even though he'd been hunted like a dog ever since, he sacrificed what he held dearest - his own life. And for what? For the people of Gotham. For the city he loved so much that he couldn't stand it being destroyed, that he was willing to pay the highest price for saving it. That was the man who was the real hero. Not the police that hadn't even tried hard enough, that had nearly killed Robin as he'd tried to make his way across the bridge in other to save all those orphans in the bus.
Once John had started working in the force he'd thought he could learn a lot from the commissioner, Jim Gordon, but even that man's hands were dirty. Nothing was right anymore. Bane might've been gone, but it didn't mean that the terror would end. The gates of Blackgate had opened and even though many fugitives had been caught by now, a huge amount of them was still at large, being a direct threat to Gotham's already fragile state.
A city like this would never truly find peace, Robin realized. There would always be a fight to win, people to protect. And those people needed someone who wouldn't be bound by the law. They needed Batman.
The only problem was that the hero was dead.
Once John actually resigned from the police force, he felt lost. He was no longer a detective, he was suddenly a plain citizen of Gotham. Someone with no job, no money and no means to help. He couldn't even make his own living at the moment, not to even mention try to do something good for the city. How would he even begin to bring his plan to life? How would he even begin to moonlight and take Batman's reins? He couldn't live out of air, he needed to survive first, to make sure he wouldn't wind up on the dangerous streets of Gotham and get himself killed before he even managed to learn how to protect himself. And how would he learn that with no mentor to guide him? Bruce Wayne was dead and there was truly no one else for the job.
How could John safe anyone when he couldn't even safe himself?
Now, once all the emotions including his anger and disappointment with the police fell down, he started beating himself over for not thinking soberly before. It was just one more time in which he proved to everyone else who had ever called him a hot-head that they'd been doing it for a reason.
Now he was at the reading of Wayne's testament and didn't even know what he was doing there. Why Bruce would want him there? Did he leave him something? He hadn't even gotten to know John that well, so the situation was pretty surprising. Only then he actually understood why. He was the one to come to Bruce and tell him about the terrible conditions of the Gotham orphanage, about the money that had stopped coming, making it impossible to keep older children in. It really pained John to see them winding up on the streets, working for scams like Bane. How many had already died because of that man? Because of the fact that there was no place for them anymore in the home? John actually smiled as he heard that Bruce Wayne wanted all those orphans to find a new home at the manor. He had heard John, after all. He had taken his words to his heart. Better late than never, John thought and then stood up, directing himself to the exit, having heard everything he needed. Yet, once he reached the elevator in the hall, someone called after him.
"Mr. Blake?" He turned at the sound of his name and discovered the person being Alfred Pennyworth. "Can I speak to you for a moment?" the older man just asked him and then pointed the empty room at the end of the hall.
John frowned, wondering what that could be all about, but he eventually followed Bruce's butler and the door closed behind them. He had nothing better to do anyway. He might as well delay the moment in which he would have to sit down and figure out his next step in life.
"What I'm about to tell you, I will tell you in confidence," Mr. Pennyworth started in a serious tone. "You must not repeat this conversation to anyone, even should you decide to decline my offer."
"I don't understand," John admitted. "What offer?"
"After master Wayne's death I inherited everything, including a significant part of the manor if I wished to stay. Now, that is not actually something that I want to keep and I am ready to hand it over to you, provided that you will take charge of managing the Wayne Foundation. There is nothing left for me here in the city since the only reason I stayed was in order to keep an eye on master Wayne."
For a moment there, John was rendered speechless and all he could truly do was to stare at Alfred, not quite believing what he just heard. It couldn't be that easy, could it? He couldn't be that lucky. Opportunities like the one he'd just received didn't come often and especially, they didn't come in Gotham when one had truly nowhere to go.
"Are you… Are you really saying that I can be in charge of the Wayne Foundation?" he finally asked, not accepting this just yet. He wasn't used to gifts, much less he wanted used to anyone taking care of him like this, giving him something for free and with no agenda. In Gotham there was always a catch. In Gotham one paid severely for every good thing that came their way. "Will I really manage the orphanage?" John made sure again, his head spinning as Alfred smiled to him.
"Yes, that is what I am saying precisely and something tells me that master Wayne liked you for a reason. Are you willing?" the older man asked and John still couldn't believe his lucky stars. He wanted to take the matters into his own hands, he wanted to carry out Bruce's legacy, to keep Gotham safe and just when he needed it, he got a chance to actually live in the Wayne manor.
"Well, of course! Of course, I'm willing!" he nodded enthusiastically, realizing that Pennyworth was still waiting for his answer. "But I need to ask you something about Bruce first," he quickly followed, thinking that there had to be a Batman lair somewhere in the manor and if he found it, he would have a great start at what he wanted to do.
"There's something waiting for you under this address," Alfred interrupted like he already knew what John was about to ask and then he handed him a small piece of paper. "All the answers you are looking for are waiting there."
John stared down at the address and then looked up at the old man's crinkly face again.
"But how do you…?" he started when Alfred was already on his way to the door. "What if I need to contact you?" John followed with another question, giving up on the previous one. "What if I need help?" There was panic welling up in him now that he took it all in, that he realized what he was getting himself into. Bruce had been preparing himself for years before he'd even achieved something significant. Why John would be any different? Was he really the right choice to do this? To be the new Batman?
"You will not contact me. I'm retiring," Alfred said when opening the door and shooting the young man one last glance. "But if you're really in the need of an advice or possible guidance, feel free to contact Lucius Fox. Hopefully, he will be able to help you. Now, goodbye, John Blake, and… good luck," he added with a wink and then he was just gone.
When the student is ready, a teacher will appear, a well-known saying came to John's mind and he thought he needed a different one. He didn't have a teacher. All he had was the legacy Bruce had left behind. He had the means, but he wasn't sure whether it would be enough. Hell, he wasn't even sure if he was, indeed, ready!
First things first, he decided when looking at the small piece of paper again. He had a mystery to solve.
The elevator's door slid open, revealing a young, redheaded and very panicked woman. She stepped out of the metal box and started to frantically look around for the nurses' station. Once she spotted it, she ran toward it and said without even taking a breath, "I need to find Jim Gordon."
The nurse slowly raised her head from the keyboard, clearly making a statement that this was a hospital and there were certain rules of behavior the visitors needed to abide by. When she was done eying the young woman, she just asked in a tired voice, "Are you a family member?"
"Yes!" the woman confirmed, nodding energetically. "I need to see him, please! Is he all right?"
"Had has a couple of bruises and few minor injuries, but it's nothing serious," the nurse finally deigned to inform her, still looking at her with contempt.
"Where can I find him?" the woman wasn't giving up, desperate for more information. She needed to see Jim Gordon. She'd barely found out he even existed and now she was scared that she would never get the chance to actually meet the man.
The nurse finally directed her to the right room, glad that she didn't have to put up with the redhead anymore.
Once the woman made her way to the pointed room, she noticed that the door was slightly opened and when she finally came closer, she heard someone arguing.
"I'm telling you, I'm sick of hospitals and I just want to go home!"
"Commissioner, I recommend…"
"Haven't you heard, doctor?" the man answered in an exasperated voice. "I resigned."
"But…" the other one, clearly the doctor, was still persistent.
"Excuse me," the woman chose that moment to push the door open, too impatient to actually wait. "May I?" She stepped inside and saw two men in there, both quite surprised by her sudden appearance. Her eyes set on the one with the mustache. He was wearing his regular clothes, so she knew he was the patient, therefore the one she was looking for.
"Leave us," Jim Gordon asked the doctor, his voice suddenly strained as he took in the sight of the woman. She had dark, red hair, was tall, lean and slender and she looked just like… He swallowed, feeling his throat actually constricting as painful memories from his past swum up to the surface.
The door closed behind an exasperated doctor and he murmured something like, "on your own responsibility! Don't say I didn't warn ya!" Still, neither of the remaining people in the room actually heard him.
"Do I know you?" Jim finally asked, but he was pretty sure he already knew the answer. He just needed to acknowledge it. He needed it to sink in. He needed to hear her say it.
"No," she shook her head, emotions visible on her face, "but you knew my mother, Thelma."
"Dear God," Jim exhaled and brought his hands to his face. "Are you…? Could you be…?" he started, not able to finish neither of his questions as he raised his head to meet her eyes again. Eyes that were exactly the same as the woman's he remembered from his past.
"I'm your daughter," the girl finally said the words he discovered he actually wanted to hear so desperately.
John discovered with a mild surprise that the duffel bag Bruce had left for him was under his legal name. Under the name Robin. How Bruce even knew that it was Robin John Blake? Was it a hint? A beginning of a new identity he would have to take on if he wanted to do this all the way? After all, he remembered Wayne telling him that the mask wasn't for him, it was to protect the people he cared about, to become a symbol rather than a man. It was just another reason for John to try to fall into Wayne's footsteps. The man behind the mask could be anyone. It was about fighting and standing for something, it was about saving people.
In the bag John found a pile of sketches, one showing a secret passage behind a piano in one of the manor's rooms, and some coordinates. Blake chose to follow the latter first and that was how he found the underground cave with everything he needed to truly become the symbol.
The Batman, The Dark Knight would be reborn.