DISCLAIMER: Batman was created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane. This fanfic is in many ways an adaption of Frank Miller's All-Star Batman And Robin. I own precisely zilch in this story.

The Dark Knight watched from a perch overlooking most of downtown Gotham City. The rain continued to beat down on him, but fortunately, everything important about his suit was completely waterproof. Still, on nights like tonight, he wondered if that was going to be taken to the test. It seemed like at least 89% of all nights in Gotham resulted in rain, except when it was winter, in which case, it'd be snowing just as much. Point being, precipitation was not an uncommon thing in Gotham City by any stretch of the imagination.

Despite having the reputation of being a loner, Batman actually wasn't all that fond of not having anyone to talk to at night. Having Alfred in his ear usually helped to keep him grounded, what with the older man's witty banter oftentimes balancing out the otherwise dire nights. But, he was having to go without for much of tonight. Worse, not having Alfred in his ear just reminded him why: That he was tending to their new guest in the cave. And all THAT did was serve to depress him.

Despite only having just taken up the cowl less than two years ago, it already felt like Batman had been at this forever. Maybe it was just the culmination of it all: The training, the preparation, the countless nights of him dreaming (having nightmares, really) of when he'd be ready to put on the costume, and now, finally being out here, doing what he'd planned to do practically from the day his innocence was shattered.

Mother...Father... Bruce thought to himself, his eyes shut as he was deep in thought. I'm sorry. I swore I'd do my best to ensure there could be a world where no child would ever go through what I did, and yet...

"Sir?" Alfred's voice sounded through the comm in Batman's cowl, interrupting his thoughts. "I've just gotten word from Lieutenant Gordon. There were no registered arrests during the points in time you specified, which means the murderer either wasn't picked up, or..."

"Or his arrest wasn't put on any sort of record," Batman finished with a sigh. "Was worth a try. I suppose I'll just have to do this the hard way, then."

Before Batman could put that into motion, however, another voice, one masked by a voice filter, came through. "Batman, do you hear me?"

Bruce's eyes widened in surprise. "..Who is this? How are you-"

"Call me Oracle," the voice replied quickly, just as the image of a green mask appeared over his lens, along with a window revealing a download of information. "I know everything about what you're doing tonight, and I wanna help. I'm sending you data from the National Criminal database. You should be able to use the information there to find the man responsible for the Grayson killings."

"You hacked the National Criminal database?" the Caped Crusader inquired, stunned. "Just who the hell are you, anyway?"

"A friend," Oracle answered. "I wish I could say more. I just hope this information is enough to bring this man to justice. Oracle out."

Batman opened his mouth to say something, but was quickly cut off as the line went dead. "...Alfred, the data?"

"I have it right here, sir," Alfred replied, likewise sounding amazed.

"Go through all the individuals listed with ties to protection rackets in Gotham and cross-reference their photos with the image of the killer from earlier tonight," Batman ordered, stepping off the perch and going into a dive before grabbing hold of the sides of his cape, extending it into bat-like wings to glide on.

"Right away, sir," Alfred responded as Batman glided through the night sky, making his way to the alley where he'd parked his car. "...There. I believe I have a match."

"Good work," Batman commended, softly touching down next to the car and opening the canopy, getting in. "Upload it to the Batmobile's screen."

"...The what, sir?" Alfred asked, sounding a bit amused as Bruce felt the need to facepalm, realizing he'd just adopted Dick's name for his car.

"N-Nevermind," Batman groaned, just as the screen in the car showed an image of the man he'd fought earlier, which he'd saved via his lens, next to an image from the database, along with all relevant information. "...Tony Zucco. His family were mob bosses, usually involved in protection rackets. But it looks like they were all shut down."

"It says here that Zucco's father died in prison," Alfred went on, "and most of his assets were split up. So then, how could his son still be running the 'family business', as it were?"

"He must be getting help," the Dark Knight surmised, starting up the Batmobile. "I'll know more after I've had a conversation with him."

"But sir, how will you know where to find him?" Alfred inquired. "It doesn't list any recent addresses for him in the database."

"There's one man who keeps tabs on nearly every single criminal in Gotham City," Batman answered, driving the car out of the alley. "Edward Nygma."

"The Riddler," Alfred sighed. "And you're sure he'll co-operate?"

"He's an information broker, willing to give up what he knows to the highest bidder," Bruce replied, letting himself smirk a bit as he sped along the streets of Gotham. "I'll just have to make him an offer he can't refuse."

Dick let out a sigh, laying back on the cot Mr. Pennyworth had set up for him. He'd even gotten him some nice, comfy pajamas, and made him a cheeseburger with some fries. He had to admit, Alfred was a pretty nice guy. It was no small wonder Batman would trust in someone like him. It was almost as if the guy lived for servitude.

Upon thinking this, a thought suddenly hit Dick. ...I wonder if these are Batman's PJ's from when HE was a kid? Those two DO seem like two guys that have known each other for a LONG time...Man, I wonder what Batman was like as a kid?

"...Tony Zucco," he heard the Dark Knight say over the comm channel he had set up with Alfred in the next room. "His family were mob bosses, usually involved in protection rackets. But it looks like they were all shut down."

Dick's eyes lit up slightly as he rolled off the cot. Hearing Batman say this, he realized that he must have found the killer's name. Unable to help himself, Dick tip-toed out of the room that had been set up for him and into the computer room, seeing the picture of the man on the screen: Tony Zucco. However, while he expected seeing his parents' killer would maybe make him angry, one look at his face made Dick's blood turn ice cold, nearly frozen. He couldn't even hear Batman and Alfred talking anymore. All he could do was stare at that screen for what felt like minutes on end.

"...Master Dick?" Alfred called, walking over to the boy and snapping his fingers in his face. "Dick! Are you alright?"

"...Th-That guy...!" Dick stammered, his eyes still wide enough that they looked like they might fall out.

Alfred sighed, nodding slowly. "...Yes. We think he might've been the killer. Batman's looking for-"

"I saw him," Dick muttered, taking a step back and leaning against the wall. "...He was talking to Mr. Haley a couple of days ago. They didn't look happy. I've never seen Mr. Haley so upset. And then, just a few minutes before curtain, I saw him near the tent. I knew he didn't belong there, but I-"

Dick's face went pale as tears started to well up in his eyes, his hands clutching the sides of his head. "...Oh no! It's all my fault! If I'd just said something-!"

Alfred frowned sadly. "Master Dick, you can't blame yourself. There probably wasn't anything you could've done."

"But I didn't even try!" Dick yelled, tears streaming down his face far more freely now. "Mom and Dad are dead, and I didn't even try to save them!"

Unable to hold himself up anymore, Dick fell to his knees on the cold steel, sobbing into his hands as they clutched hard to his face. Alfred exhaled hard, kneeling down and taking the boy in a somewhat awkward yet comforting hug, trying his best to help him ride out his storm of emotions...It was something he'd become far too good at, once upon a time, and had hoped would never be put into practice again.

In an abandoned printing press in Old Gotham, where they used to print crossword puzzles and the like, Edward Nygma, AKA The Riddler, sat back in his chair and looked upon his computer screen with satisfaction, spinning his trademark question mark cane between his palm and the floor. He'd just managed to obtain quite the acquisition: Several of Commissioner Loeb's most prized and well-kept secrets from the past couple of years. Now, they were his to do with as he pleased. It was days like these that made him most glad to be alive.

It was really no wonder, then, that he barely noticed any sort of presence in his room until said presence yanked on the collar of his green coat, pulling him out of his chair. "What the-?!"

"Hello, Nygma," the intruder, none other than Batman, said coldly.

The Riddler put on a small grin, albeit a nervous one, as he adjusted his tie. "Well, well, well. If it isn't Gotham City's own bruised-knuckled, bat-fixated bully of bandits, black-marketeers, and all-around bad men."

"I thought we should have ourselves a little talk," the Dark Knight commented, kicking the balcony window open and dangling Edward over the ledge. "You have information I want."

"I don't just GIVE information away, especially to the likes of you, Batman!" Nygma yelled. "Now put me down!"

"If you insist," Batman replied, letting go of Nygma, causing him to let out an almost girlish scream as he plummeted, only to come to a stop as a line Batman had connected to his coat held him in place.

"OKAY!" Edward screamed, his hat falling off his head to the concrete below. "OKAY! WHATEVER YOU NEED!"

The Dark Knight grabbed hold of the line and pulled the Riddler back up, holding him upside down by the leg as he pulled the line free and looked Nygma in the eye. "Tony Zucco. I want everything you have on him: Addresses, where he goes to drink, what his favourite restaurants are, EVERYTHING."

"Zucco? Why do you want that heinous has-been? He's barely even a blip on my-" Edward started to ask before being jolted, like Batman was about to release him. "ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT! I'll give you what you want, but it's not much, I swear!"

The Dark Knight scowled, but nonetheless tossed Riddler back onto the floor in front of his computer. With a groan, Nygma got back into his chair and brought up the files he had on Zucco, taking as little time as possible in downloading the information onto an SD card as Batman loomed over him. Once the files were transferred, he pulled the SD card free and handed it to his assailant.

"I presume this will suffice?" Nygma inquired before Batman took the card. "Now, if you'll kindly remove yourself from my office, so I might return to work?"

"Your work is illegal, and you know it," Batman scoffed, turning away.

"And yours isn't?" Riddler retorted. "Besides, there's not a chance in the world that you would be able to make a single charge stick against me."

Batman peered back over his shoulder with a smirk. "I wouldn't be too sure of that, Nygma. Commissioner Loeb might not be one of my favourite people, but I'm sure he'd be interested to know just how many kick-backs he's taken that you have information on."

Edward's jaw dropped in stunned anger. "How did you know I had information on his kick-backs?!"

"You just told me," the Caped Crusader replied before leaping out of the window.

Edward fumed in his chair, knowing not to even bother looking out the window. Batman was likely long gone. Instead, he dug into his pocket and grabbed a cell phone, quickly dialing up a number he had memorized in case of emergencies.

"...Dent?" Riddler asked. "It's Nygma. I have a favour I'd like to call in."

AUTHOR'S NOTES: So yeah, like I've been saying on my blog, because there's a lot from the original comics that I had to drop, I decided to involve some more of Batman's rogues gallery in this story. Specifically, Riddler seemed like a good call because he's a popular character, and under his persona where he keeps tabs on everyone in Gotham that he can, it made sense for him to be involved in Batman's attempts at hunting Zucco down.

As for Zucco, well, in ASBAR, Zucco was replaced by someone named Jocko-Boy Vanzetti. However, I decided to revert back to Zucco, only making him a lot more small-time. As for why...well, anyone who has read the original comics by Frank Miller that this story is based off of knows that he decided to go with a bit of a twist for the story of who killed the Graysons.

And yes, I know that Alfred making Dick a cheeseburger is probably a little weird, but he got him one in ASBAR, and I still like to make references to what happened there from time to time, so here we are. lol

Anyway, be sure to check out the next chapter as the hunt for Zucco continues. Ja né!