Author's Note and Disclaimer:
I've played BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT again and I liked the part with Ra's al Ghul, so I wanted to share what could happen if Batman let Ra's die. Imagine that this is DCEU Batman before BvS: Dawn of Justice, to avoid confusion and Talia had already died.
I do not own Batman or DC Comics or anything pertaining to the mentioned franchises.
Batman was on a patrol, when he sensed a puddle of blood on a nearby rooftop and followed the trail and saw dead ninjas… The League of Assassins… but something was off…
Batman used the sensors in his mask to do a forensic analysis and analyzed the crime scene as he looked at the injuries the assassins inflicted. "Alfred. The League of Assassins is back in Gotham but something is off. Looks like they are fighting each other."
"Civil war amongst the League?" Alfred called out. "Ra's al Ghul is not known for restraint, when it comes to punishing dissent."
"Something's going on in the League apparently." Batman said.
"Master Wayne, if the League has a new leader, or leaders…"
"They could be even more dangerous than Ra's is." Batman realized as he finished Alfred's thought. Then suddenly, one of the assassins ambushed him as Batman dodged before the assassin pinned him down with sword against his throat.
"Detective. How convenient you're here."
"What is going on?" Batman demanded. "Why are you slaughtering each other?"
"You do not get to make demands from the servants of the Demon's Head."
"You're waging war against your own kind in my city, which you know I cannot let happen. I want to speak with your master, now." Batman said bluntly as the assassin stared at him in contemplation.
"Very well. As you wish, Detective." The assassin got up and sheathed her sword.
Batman followed the assassin to abandoned Elliot Memorial hospital as there were assassins in the row training.
"Dissent cannot be tolerated. The rebellion is weak, rotten with disloyalty." Their master sneered. "You will strike at its treacherous heart. Soon they will come. When they arrive, you will strike at my command. For the League! For the Demon's Head!"
"The detective is here." Another assassin noticed as she reached for her sword.
"At ease." The assassin accompanying Batman cautioned. "He seeks audience with Ra's al Ghul."
They complied as they let Batman go down the corridor and the stairwell that led to the underground, where was Ra's sitting on some chair, to which were attached several tubes, which contained emerald bright liquid as Ra's was looking pale and weak and to him was attached a heart monitor as some kind of life support.
"Ra's?" Batman stared as he tried to near his arch-nemesis but Ra's bodyguards neared their swords to him.
"How dare you approach the Demon's Head?"
"You've brought him back too many times." Batman told the guards. "The Lazarus stream is all that is keeping him alive."
"He will rise again!" One of the guards said proudly.
"Sheath your blades, there will be no fighting here." Another assassin said as the remaining guards stood down. "But the war is coming. Traitors to the League conspire to stop the glorious resurrection of Ra's al Ghul. And we will see Gotham burn rather than let the rebels hurt our master."
"Then let him die." Batman said indifferently. While he vowed never to take a life, he was not obliged to save a life of a murderer like Ra's either. "I want you gone by morning."
"The rebels have found another pit." The assassin said before Batman could leave. "A purer source. A sample of its essence is all he would need."
"I won't help you revive him." Batman protested, realizing what did they want with him. He would not let them bring back a zealot like Ra's.
"Then you'll face the consequences of war!" The assassin retorted. "We know you, detective. You will not let innocents die, yet you will not kill the Demon's Head to prevent their deaths. You will do as we ask because your precious morality compels you to."
"Detective…" Ra's murmured weakly as Batman looked at him. "Help me… for… Talia…"
Batman glared. Ra's had him where he wanted. Batman could not care less about his nemesis dying but he could not let his death be the cause of the people of his city dying, either. But on the other hand, what good would do bringing a megalomaniacal mass murderer and terrorist?
Batman left the hideout of the League as Alfred called out.
"Sir, you could restore Ra's health and then hand him over to proper authorities." Alfred suggested.
"You know no prison can hold him, Alfred. Besides, he'll outlive any sentence." Batman pointed out.
"I see. Well, sir, what are you going to do?"
"Find the other Lazarus pit. Stop it from falling to the wrong hands."
Batman then entered his Batmobile and turned on the computer. "If there is a purer source of Lazarus pit, there should be traces of Lazarus particles in the water supply in Gotham…"
Batman followed the trail to the dockyard as he entered the sewers, looking for the Lazarus pit in Gotham. The sewers then followed deep underground as Batman entered the cavern, where was an emerald bright light shining and Batman then followed the source of light to a fountain, from which was pouring an emerald liquid. The pure Lazarus waters…
Batman knew that if it fell into the wrong hands, many people could die. So, Batman grabbed a sample of the water into a vial and planted a device on the fountain and then, he pulled out a trigger before behind him appeared ninjas in an attire similar to the League of Assassins but different somehow…
"Trespasser! We guard this site in name of a new leader!"
The insurgent ninjas attacked Batman, who dodged and blocked their attacks with his gauntlets and then counterattacked with punches and kicks before he felt a blade on his neck from behind as the ninjas stopped.
"Turn around, Bruce. Slowly. And hand over the detonator." The woman wearing a black mask said as Batman did as ordered. He slowly turned around and handed the assassin the detonator as she had the sword to his throat before she took off her mask.
Batman knew that she would not harm him, if not given a good reason, so he gave her the detonator. "Thank you."
"Does Ra's know that his daughter fights for the rebels?"
"The rebels fight for me, Bruce." Nyssa corrected. "And that zombie no longer knows his own name. Or the day of the week. Or that his other daughter died." She said as Batman noticed the look in her eyes.
"I'm sorry about Talia." Batman said sadly.
"She was a loyal fool." Nyssa sneered. "I am neither. You need to understand – so long as my father's corpse sits strapped to those tubes, there will be war in Gotham."
"What do you want, Nyssa?" Batman asked.
"Go back to him. Destroy that foul machine and let that…" Nyssa stopped, disgust in her eyes. "…thing, that was once my father, finally die."
"I'm not a killer." Batman protested.
"He's already dead!" Nyssa shot back. "He has died a thousand of times and every time the Lazarus pit restored him, he came back worse. More hateful, more crazed… I tremble to imagine, what he would have done if this…" She pressed the trigger and destroyed the pure Lazarus fountain. "…had fallen into his followers' hands." Nyssa turned to Batman again. "But with him gone, the League will be finally mine. And it will shed no more innocent blood and the assassins will leave Gotham and will not set foot here, ever again."
"Why should I trust you?" Batman questioned.
"I swear by the woman we both loved, Bruce." Nyssa pleaded. "I swear on Talia's grave. I will win this war, Detective. It's up to you how long it rages, or how much will you let your city bleed."
Batman went out from the hideout with the sample of the pure Lazarus waters as Alfred called out. "Sir, Nyssa was always the most reasonable member of the family but are you sure you can trust her?"
"I am." Batman said.
"And are you prepared to end a life for her, sir?" Alfred pressed as Batman remained silent, while returning to Ra's lair. "I... Master Wayne, all I'm saying, given Ra's supernatural longevity and his current state of artificially prolonged existence, not to mention the fact that he has, in essence, already died, a case could be made that… well…" Alfred paused.
"I swore I'd never kill." Batman protested.
"He's a dangerous, uncompromising zealot, sir. Restored to full strength, there's no telling what he'll do or who he might hurt. Is preventing an ungodly resurrection truly the same as taking a life?" Alfred pointed out.
"What would you have me do, Alfred?" Batman asked.
Alfred sighed. "Honestly, I don't know. But know that I'm on your side, whatever you decide, Master Wayne."
Batman returned to Ra's lair as he had in his hand the vial of the cure, nearing Ra's, who was on his throne, attached to the machine that was keeping him alive and contemplated…
"Waste no more of our time!" One of the assassins ordered. "Bring our master back to his glory!"
Batman looked at the machine that was keeping Ra's alive and remembered what Alfred and Nyssa had told him… and then… How many lives had been lost because Bruce let him live… and how many more might die if he restores him? And how many more people Bruce could lose if he lets Ra's live again?
"You were not a good man, Ra's." Batman said. "But you had conviction." He dropped the vial and smashed it.
"No!" One of the assassins yelled as he was about to attack Batman before a flying arrow was pinned to the machine that was keeping Ra's alive and then it exploded, destroying Ra's life support.
"Kill them!" The loyalist assassins shouted as Nyssa and her followers showed up, slaughtering the loyalists as Batman was fighting them but he let Nyssa's assassins kill them.
Ra's got up weakly from his throne but collapsed down on the ground, reaching for the sword but Nyssa kicked him and pinned him down with her foot on his chest and her sword pointing at his neck.
"Father… what a monster you have allowed yourself to become…"
"How long does he have?" Batman asked.
"Days. Hours. Does it matter? There's no way back for him this time." Nyssa shrugged as she was about to execute him but Batman stopped her.
"I'll take him in." Batman said.
Nyssa stared at him before nodding. "He is too weak to escape now. The loyalists will have scattered and I shall honor my word, Bruce." She sheathed her sword. "From this moment, the League of Assassins has no business in Gotham City and no innocent blood shall be spilled, ever again."
She was about to walk away before Batman spoke up, stopping her for a moment. "Nyssa. This is the only time I am telling you this. Do not make me regret this. Or I am coming for you next and you will regret it instead."
She turned around, nodding before smirking. "You have changed, Bruce. I wonder what happened…"
"Maybe I've realized something." Batman said. "Either I'm willing to do whatever it takes to save lives, or I should not be out there at all."
Nyssa chuckled. "I've wondered what did sister see in you." She walked away as Ra's smiled.
"I… am… proud of… you… Detective…" Ra's murmured as Batman stared at him.
"Every choice you made, ended with pain, misery and death. People died. I stopped you. Yet you came back and did it again. And again I stopped you. And this cycle kept on going and more people died because of that." Batman glared. "Never again."
Now, the reason I let Batman let Ra's die was, as Alfred and Nyssa pointed out, Ra's is already dead technically. And the problem with Batman's code is that while his "no killing" rule makes him unique, psychopaths like Joker and Ra's will always return and kill more innocents or more of people he cares about, so some people need to be stopped by any means necessary. Plus, in DCEU, Bruce firsthandledly witnessed the havoc that was brought by the fight between Superman and Zod, Bruce realized that there were more dangerous enemies out there that cannot be allowed to live and became disillusioned by his moral code, realizing that some people need to be put down for good. Therefore, Bruce resolved to more brutal resolves, showing less restraints BUT, still killed only when he had no other choice left.
So, what do you guys think?
And let's be honest, Ra's al Ghul needed to be put down for good.
Please review and let me know if you have enjoyed this one-shot.