Characters: Wonder Woman
Universe: Justice League (Various) / Arkham (Games) (Batsuit/tech only)
Genre: Drama / Tragedy
I've been asked if I'll be writing some BMWW stuff, I may well do so but be warned - this is NOT it!
This is an idea i just couldn't let go.
It's raining. Just like that day.
I find myself in Crime Alley once again.
Tim's body is lying in front of me.
I'm frozen in place. My scans have already shown there's nothing I can do. His body is cold. He has no heartbeat. His injuries are extensive.
Just like Jason.
I have failed. Again.
Until now my body has been paralysed by indecision. The rain is pouring around me, battering the cowl.
If I stand here in the rain, time can slow down. The reality of this situation doesn't need to happen yet.
If I lower myself to my knees, and cradle his body like I want to, it's over…
My knees make the decision for me as I fall in front of him. I let the red rose and the note fall off his body as I lift him into my embrace.
I feel my stomach lurch as I look at the smile carved from his lips up to his eye sockets. The white make-up has mostly been washed off by the rain, but still lends him a ghostly pallor. His eyes are no longer sparkling as I close them for him.
Not bearing to look at him any longer, I bury my head in his neck as dry sobs escape me for the first time in years.
A sudden sound in my ear punctuates the sound of the rain.
"Watchtower to Batman." A tinny voice in my ear signals. Despite the poor quality of the line, I hear J'onn's baritone with reasonable clarity.
I don't answer. I'm not sure I can.
I've never not answered the comm.
I feel the temporary lightheaded-ness of the Martian's telepathic contact.
"Bruce… I'm so sorry." The voice in the comm crackles. A pause. "Can I send someone down?"
I don't reply.
"NO!" I yell, my head lurching upwards suddenly. The line goes dead, and I can imagine J'onn's shock at my outburst.
"Please…" I reply softly, returning my head to the crook of Tim's neck. "Not him."
The line goes dead, static once again replaced by the sound of the rain.
As soon as J'onn informs me of the situation telepathically, I request he teleports me down straight from my quarters.
Kal and Barry have been dispatched to the Manor and Blüdhaven respectively to break the news and aid the Bat-family on their patrols tonight.
I want to help Alfred, Dick, Barbara and Damian; but I need to be with him now.
The sensation of my brightly lit, air-conditioned quarters is replaced in an instant by the darkness and wind-induced chill of Gotham city.
I have been here twice before, and frankly consider it three times too often.
The falling rain makes contact with my exposed arms and legs causing me to shiver slightly at the unexpected sensation.
I look up at the dimly lit street sign. This is where it all began for him. J'onn was right – Bruce's secret must be out, and the Joker has taken advantage.
I allow myself a wry smile. He'll have a surprise if he heads to Wayne Manor. A super-fast, super-strong, nigh-invincible Kryptonian surprise.
J'onn has dropped me next to the Monarch theatre. The sign is pointing me round the corner.
I steady myself and take a deep breath. As I step forward I'm incredibly aware of the sound of my heels hitting the concrete. I won't fly towards him though. I want him to know I'm there.
I round the corner and see him instantly. He is on his knees cradling Tim, his back turned to me.
As I'm within touching distance I suddenly freeze. It was difficult to tell at range, but I can certainly tell now.
He is sobbing.
He can't be heard, and if there were any tears, they would be indistinguishable from the rain. But the Batman is sobbing.
I realise quickly that I'm wrong. The Batman isn't here. This is Bruce Wayne.
And right now, he doesn't need Wonder Woman. He needs Diana Prince.
He doesn't react as I drape my arms around him and embrace him; he just carries on mourning his son.
I look up, past Tim's mutilated body and see a discarded note lying next to a red rose:
"Bruce…" I whisper in his ear, pulling him a little tighter. "I'm so sorry."
Bruce's shaking has stopped, pulling himself together.
"I'm sorry too Princess." He replies quietly.
Out of nowhere my side literally explodes with a pain I've never felt before. I let go of Bruce and stagger backwards, crashing into a wall. The shock makes it difficult to draw breath and panic grips me for a moment before my warrior training kicks in.
I look down and pull the object from out of my side, wincing and screaming a little as I do so.
In my hand is a blood stained Batarang, blood coating one of the edges maybe two inches from the tip.
As I recall how to take shallow breaths, I watch Bruce reverently lay down Tim's body, pausing to brush away the hair from his forehead with his thumb.
I look from Bruce to the Batarang in my hand in disbelief. He rises to full height and undoes some clips at the base of his neck, removing the cowl. He looks at it in both hands briefly before tossing it aside thoughtlessly.
"W-why?" I narrow my gaze, making eye contact with him. I can already feel the wound starting to heal.
"Some time ago, I theorised if you were ever attacked, you would carry on that fight until you either emerged victorious, or died." Bruce explained.
The pain in my side is a dull ache now as it continues to heal. I push myself up from the wall, and steady myself on my feet.
"This madness… Can't go on." Bruce explained, gesturing towards Tim's body. "I can't ever kill the Joker, but he won't stop until I'm dead."
"If you think I'll fight you to the death- AH!" I reply, cut off by a Batarang slicing through my shoulder. Another hurtles towards me and I block with a bracelet.
As the deflected Batarang hurtles off into the alley, a grappling hook grabs my throat and I'm brought hurtling towards Bruce's fist. He strikes me in the face, and then I'm smashed down into the concrete with his elbow.
I send him flying with a kick and flip myself up. An electrical whine hisses through the air as he activates his shock gloves.
"You're not a match for me Bruce!" I scream angrily at him, wiping the blood from my mouth. He's starting to infuriate me, but I'm dimly aware that that's what he wants.
The darkness of the alley works to his advantage. He is nowhere to be seen. I edge forward cautiously.
I whirl around at the sound of myriad Batarangs whirling through the air behind me. I block each with my bracelets, but continually lose my footing due to their odd flightpaths, allowing myself to be pushed further into the alley.
A deafening bang in each ear sends showers of bricks and rubble cascading down on top of me.
"He placed explosive gel on opposite walls, pushed you into their blast radius and detonated them. Classic Batman." I scold myself as I languish underneath a half ton of bricks. My heart is hammering, and I'm tempted to rip out Bruce's spine when I get hold of him, but I muster all my fortitude to suppress it.
"You'll struggle to outfight him without killing him. That's why he chose you." I whisper to myself. "You need to outthink him."
I burst out from under the pile, sending bricks flying once more. I take a deep breath and brush myself down, extricating myself from the rest.
"So Bruce, why not Kal?" I shout into the night sky. "Because you think he won't kill you?"
There's no response.
"Maybe the master strategist can't help but use the kryptonite he carries around at all times?" I shout again. "Maybe the last son of Krypton wouldn't be a threat?"
I take a few steps, scanning around for him.
"I think I know why." I shout, slightly sick with what I'm about to say. "I think you couldn't bear to let him see you cradle the body of another Robin."
I don't know where he is, but I can practically hear his heart rate increase.
"How many now Bruce?" I yell. "How many have you failed to save? Your parents! Jason! Tim! Thank God Kal is with Alfred right now, because you certainly shouldn't be trusted to protect him from this mess you dragged him into!"
"You're no born warrior!" I continue. "You're a born stockbroker! Soft! Weak! Unwilling to do what's necessary! You could have snapped the Joker's neck a thousand times over!"
I resolve myself to go in for the kill.
"What has your restraint ever brought you?" I ask. "I'll tell you what it's brought you – two dead so-"
He lands in front of me, face contorted with rage. He swings his electrified fists at me with all his might and we spar through the alleyway. He's enraged, and therefore sloppy and unfocused. He throws wide, and I easily duck and weave around him. Enough is enough.
I unsheathe my short sword and drive it through his right shoulder, leaving it there. He howls in agony and swings wide with his left. I lock his arm with my own and push, hearing it snap and eliciting another wail of pain.
I'm still locked with him, supporting his dead weight. He's leaning backwards now as I hold him and I can't help myself as he looks up at me.
My right fist strikes him in the face, dazing him. I repeat, and repeat.
"I am not! Your! Punching Bag! Bruce! Wayne!" I scream at him, punctuating my speech with blows to his face. "And I am certainly! Not! Your! Executioner!"
I unlock my arm from his and he crashes to his knees. He's dazed, and looks up at me with unfocussed eyes.
I look at him, broken and at the very brink of defeat as the rain falls around us.
"I want to tell you I didn't mean a word." I say quietly. "But I don't really know any more."
He doesn't hear me. At the very least he doesn't react. A moment later he slumps face first into the concrete.
I look at his back as the rain runs off his cape. As I look at my sword emerging through his shoulder, my gaze lowers to my own. My hair is matted to my skin with water and blood – mine and his.
"Watchtower to Wonder Woman. Yours and Batman's vitals are highly erratic, what's happening?" J'onn asks.
I pause, wondering what to say.
"Batman requires immediate medical attention. Transport him straight to sickbay." I reply, settling for a basic answer.
Batman disappears, and I'm left in the alleyway with Tim. I quietly take a few steps towards him and emulate Bruce's earlier action, brushing away his stray fringe with my thumb. I kneel down and lift him gently into my arms. The Joker's brutality has made him near unrecognisable, and the smile carved into his face fuels my hatred for the wretched clown.
"Wonder Woman to Superman." I announce over the comm.
"What's happening?" I ask.
"I'm at the Manor with Alfred. No sign of the Joker. Where's Bruce?"
"The Watchtower." I reply curtly, trying my best to close off that part of the conversation. "How is Alfred?"
"He is… not good." Superman replied sadly.
"He shouldn't see Tim like this." I decide. "He should remember him how he was."
"It's that bad?" Superman asks. I hear a tremble of emotion in his voice and I remember he knew Tim a lot better than I.
"I'm afraid so." I reply. "I know what I'm going to do."
A pause over the line.
"OK." He replies. "I trust your judgement. Superman out."
I lift us into the air, climbing until we see Gotham's skyline.
The city is wet, dark. Miserable.
"You were brave Tim." I tell him. "Braver than him."
I lower my lips to his forehead and linger there for a moment.
"You died like a warrior. I know where warriors should spend eternity."
I turn and head for Themyscira.
We leave Gotham behind us.