Disclaimer:I do not own the Teen Titans, Batman, or the Hulk. I do own the OC's that may or may not be featured throughout the rest of the story.
A/N: Hello everyone! It's been awhile, but I've finally, after 2 months, finished this damn prologue. It's a Vamp-ish AU story. Rated R, for violence, languageand mature situations (Not doing lemons...( ) I need to do alittle twinking on my plot, soit may be alittle while before I update, but hopefully not tooo long. I'll also be working on plots and storylines for a few other stories, including an Co-op with Nate Sindel.
In other news.. I opened a Rob/Rav forum. Free free to use it. The link is on my site.
...On with the story....
The sound of the large switches being flipped echoed out into the crowded tent. Only to be swallowed into the collective gasp of surprise, as the lights flicked into nothingness, one by one. Minutes seemed to pass as the audience sat patiently in their seats, chatting lightly to the people seated around them in the dark. Many questions arose from the audience's lips, mostly of worry, not knowing if the sudden disappearance of light was part of the upcoming show, or some kind of technical difficulty. All questions and chatter were laid to rest, as just as suddenly, a spotlight flicked on and brightened onto the center 'Ring'.
Again, another round of surprise echoed against the cloth walls. All eyes focused on the brightened area, as a faint 'Tap - Tap -Tap' grew closer. From the darkness surrounding the spotlighted area, stepped a short and robust man. He stood directly in the middle of the light, a large grin upon his face. In his left hand he held a black and silver adorned cane, that he lightly tapped against his booted heel. Held limply in his right hand, was a Mic. His eyes scanned over the shadowed audience as they took in his red and green stripped suit. His jacket was cut short, with tails, 'Penguin' as it was commonly referred as. His shirt was yellow and ruffled in the front. A messily tied bow was fit around his pudgy neck, a black Top-hat upon his head. He was what all the Carnival goers had expected of the Circus Announcer.
Before speaking, the announcer made a small show of fixing his tie and clearing his throat. With another grin, and a slight bow, he raised the Mic. to his mouth and spoke.
"Welcome one and all, to the greatest show on earth!"
His voice echoed out from the hidden speakers placed about the tent. The audience cheered and clapped in response. The announcer soaked it in, before raising his cane laden hand and moved it in a motion that seemed like he was pushing down on the air, signaling them to quiet down. Gaining their attention once again, he continued on.
"Well.. Maybe not the greatest show on earth.." He let his sentence trail off as the audience gave the appropriate response, which was a collective 'Aw' of disagreement. Grinning again, the announcer continued. " BUT.. we are the greatest show to grace Gotham City!" The audience cheered and clapped in agreement. "Now now. Why don't we save all that love for the events and performers this evening. Speaking of which, I do believe they are anxious to begin, so let's not delay.." Again he cleared his throat, put on his largest smile, and swung his cane out and up into an arc and his voice echoed out again. "On with the Show!"
And with that, the show had began. It started off slowly. A dance troupe with many acrobatic feats was the first event. With a small intermission, it was followed by a magic show. Both performances gained much applause and praise. Again, another intermission was taken, this one a bit longer. Only two events were left. From the small personal tent attached to the Big Top, a small boy with black hair, sat on a young lady's lap. The female shifted the six year old into a better position as she handed him the stick of cotton candy. She was greeted with large peridot colored eyes that smiled up at her with thanks, as the boy dug into his treat. From the small room like opening, that allowed members of the carnival to watch the events, the child and young lady watched on, as the next show began.
Two large cages where tugged out into the center ring. A Lion in one, a Tiger in the other. From behind the cages, an older gentlemen emerged from the shadows. His costume was colorful and tight, his dark hair flowed about his head, with only touches of grey. In his hand was a whip. Following on his heels, was a woman of about the same age. Dark red hair flowed down her back in a attractive braid. She wore a matching costume of bright colors and stood off to the side.
The announcer from earlier stood in front of the ring, as the stage hands set up the act. He brought the Mic. to his mouth and spoke. "Now, to amaze you all with the wilds of the jungle, our Tamers of Beasts. Everon and Allora!"
The audience clapped, as the tamers took their bows. Within seconds, the couple had the Lion out of it's cage, and the show was in motion. From the small viewing room, the young boy tugged on his babysitters sleeve and smiled up at her again. "Jana! Jana! It's the lion!" The boy pointed to the ring, still smiling. Before Jana could reply, the boy had spoken again. "Jana, do you think Mr. Everon would let me pet the cubs again?" The boy looked at his sitter with hopeful eyes, that earned a smile from the girl.
"I don't know Richie, we'll ask tomorrow, ok?" The boy nodded and returned his gaze to the show.
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Meanwhile, across the rented lot, a shadow snaked it's way through the various vehicles and tents that made up the Carnival's camp. The shadow smirked at the camp and all it stood for. This carnival was practically the only one left that caravanned across country. They refused hotels and airplanes, and took preference to tents, RV's and campfires that begot their Gypsy roots. Tradition. The shadow spat at the word.
With a nondescript whistle over it's shoulder, the shadow moved onward to the small area that held the moving trucks and a few other automobiles. Back at the camp's entrance, a few dozen of similar entities spread out across the lively camp, sticking to the natural shadows of the night, until the proper signal was given. The shadow quickly materialized into a solid form as he slipped a warn duffle bag around to the front of his body, it's strap fit snugly over his shoulder and back. Citrine colored eyes flashed over the surrounding area with one lazy sweep as the duffle bag was opened.
A stick of dynamite and a grill-style lighter were withdrawn from deep within. The shadow sent a glance at the watch on his wrist, and hastily retreated to a nearby copse of trees. The awaiting entities - Who called themselves Shades - within and surrounding the camp, sent their gazes in the direction of the still active carnival briefly before sliding them up to the black sky. From the copse, the shadow did the same before taking another glance at it's watch. A grin slid into place as his lighter flared to life with the sound of a click. The flame danced lightly in the small breeze as the lighter was held out in front of him. In the shadow's right hand, mere inches from the flame, was the short-fused stick of dynamite. Closing his eyes, he blocked out all other sound and narrowed his hearing onto the small tent and booth just on the outskirts of the carnival.
The flick of a flame flaring to life. The flutter of the flame as it was moved to a fuse. The fuse flaring. The shadow smirked at these sounds and brought his own fuse to his awaiting flame. His fuse burned in time with the fuse off in the distance. Without hesitation, the shadow cocked his arm back, and let the sparkling stick fly. As the dynamite whizzed through the air, he could hear the whizzing of the firework as it shot into the sky behind him. His eyes followed the flaring stick as it arced in the sky before falling to the earth, in between the moving trucks. As it hit the ground and exploded, the firework hit the sky and did the same.
A mixture of screams, howls, and laughter erupted from within the camp, as the shades received their final signal and departed from the shadows. The shadow himself only retrieved another stick of dynamite with a grin, as his shades set upon the camp like a plague, killing everything in it's path.
Tonight was going to be fun.
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Richie and Jana clapped along with the audience as the animal tamers took their final bows and left the ring. The stage hands made haste on removing the animals and equipment as the Announcer stepped into his spotlight. From the viewing room, Richie squealed in childish delight as Jana bounced him on her knees. His favorite part was about to begin.
The Announcer cleared his throat and hushed the crowd. "Hope you all have enjoyed the evening events thus far?" The crowd cheered, along with a bouncy young boy. "Good, good. Now... Our main event, and sadly the last, for the evening." The disappointed sigh of the audience echoed back at him. "Don't worry. I assure you it will be fantastic, it will dazzle and amaze, and bring you back night after night for more!" Again the crowd cheered. The Announcer smiled and stepped to the side, his cane pointed to the roof of the tent. "Ladies and Gentlemen...... The Flying Greysons!"
The spotlight moved to the trapeze above, and the young couple that stood on the platform, smiling and waving. The crowd roared with cheers. Richie and his sitter included. The rumble and explosions of the evenings first Fireworks Show could be heard in the distance, but was quickly overshadowed by the circus-like music that accompanied the Flying Greyson's act. Within minutes the acrobats where flying through the air and dazzling the crowd.
Richie watched on with awe, his mouth ajar, his eyes wide. He had seen the act many times before, but it still amazed him. Without looking away from the act, his reached behind and tugged on his sitter's sleeve, gaining her attention.
"Yes, Richie?" Jana glanced at the top of his head, as she pulled him close to her chest and wrapped her arms around him.
"Aren't they great?" Richie exclaimed as he flashed a smile over his shoulder at her.
"Of course they are!"
Richie's smile grew even larger at hearing his favorite person praise his parents. In the distance the Fireworks continued to explode and steadily grew louder....and closer.
Above the audience, the Acrobats swung from the swings, flew through the air with many flips and turns, only to be caught by their partner.
From within the Big Top, the audience, performers and workers alike paid no mind to the rapidly enclosing explosions, nor the screams and cries of the patrons outside. It was the normal noises of those enjoying the rides and shows.
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The camp was laid to waste far quicker then the shadow or his shades would have liked. More then half of the Carnival's members had actually been working. Leaving only a few adults, and the main of their child population behind. The first explosion within the camp had startled the residence and gave them no time to react as the shades overtook them. They tried to fight back, which earned much pleasure from the attackers, but were easily out numbered by the dozens.
The attackers moved onward to the carnival itself. Leaving the bodies of men, women, and children alike in the fiery ruins that was now the campgrounds. No one had survived, they had made sure of that.
The shadow lead them on to their next destination. With another whistle, the shades quickened their pace and passed by the shadow, hooting and howling with twisted joy as they swarmed the brightly lit festival grounds.
Taking his time, the shadow reached into the nearly empty duffle bag for another red and black stick. His shades were already wrecking havoc on the carnival goers as he slipped onto the grounds unnoticed. As he walked onward, the stick held firmly in his hand sparkled to life before he threw it in a random direction. Their were too many people around to go about it with stealth. Besides, a little mayhem never hurt.
A booth exploded soon after, instantly killing those milling around it. The screams and cries, brought on previously by the shades, doubled. Fire and debris rained over the area, setting the adjacent booths and tents on fire.
Near by, two members of the police patrol, that were hired for the night, watched with wide eyes. The elder of the two quickly made a grab for the police radio attached to his shoulder. In a rush, the elder police officer called in to the station, explaining what had happened and ordered backup. After receiving an affirmative from the other end, the two officers dashed off toward the main gates.
In the dark sky above Gotham, a bat-shaped signal flashed to life.
The shadow laughed and moved on to the next stick.
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Inside the Big Top, the Flying Greysons continued on. The animal trainers, the Announcer, and a few other carnies had recently retired to the viewing room with Richie and Jana. Outside, four explosions sounded in succession, the last one reverberating through the ground underfoot. The occupants of the viewing room looked at each other and shrugged. The grand Finale seemed to have started earlier then planned. They must have used up more Fireworks at the last gig then they had thought.
A boy, barely out of his teens, wove in and out of the visitors and carnival members that were practically stampeding in the opposite direction of the attackers, the teen included. His destination was the main tent, then the entrance. The teen sighed warily, the entrance was in his view, people were stumbling and fighting their way out of it. The attackers at their heels and flying over head. The shades swooped and tackled who they could; killing them, feeding from them, and any other torture that came to mind.
The teen turned away from the sight before him and veered left, behind him, another explosion sounded, and he quickened his pace. Covered in sweat, dirt and blood, the teen sprinted the last few yards and crashed through the clothed flap that made up the door of small tent attached to the big top. Heaving, he pushed himself forward, pushing people at out of his way, who stared at him in shocked, as he approached the manager.
"Boss!" Was all he could choke out before heaving another breathe.
The Boss, an older gentleman with a full head of gray hair and a tailored suit, turned away from the papers on the table and looked at the teen. His eyes widened at the bloody mess that was coming forward. Everyone in the tent had their full attention on the teen also.
"What is it? What is going on? Why are you covered in blood?" The Boss rattled on.
The teen stopped in front of him and raised his brows in disbelief. "Haven't you heard it?" The Boss cocked a brow at him and the teen shook his head as he continued. "The screams... the explosions... How could you not.. "
"I hear it all the time, what of it? And you haven't answered my questions, Why are you covered in blood?"
A noise rose from the teens throat, a mixture of snort and a choked sob. " They're here..destroying everything..killing everyone... how could you not notice?" He asked sadly.
Realization of who "They" were didn't take long for the Boss, who growled out a harsh whisper. "Shadow!"
Outside the personal tent, the shadow himself, lifted his hand and whispered back, knowing the Boss would hear it from this distance. "That'd be me." With the ever-present smirk he developed upon entering the grounds, the shadow tossed his hand forward, releasing the stick of dynamite.
From then on, every action and event seemed to move in slow motion. The lit stick hurled through the flap opening, to tumble and arc in the air. The Boss's eyes widened as he pushed the teen boy behind him toward the opening that lead to the main tent. The workers and performers scrambled about, women screaming hysterically as the men tried to usher them in the direction the young teen was heading.
The shadow remained outside, silently counting how many times the stick of dynamite tumbled head over end through the air, he could hear the swish of each turn. One more flip. Shadow cocked his head to the side, his shaggy black hair falling over his brow. His eyes widened momentarily with a blink and he mouthed one word. "Boom!"
Many things happened during the span of the next three seconds. The employees within the smaller tent spilled their way out into the main one. Cries overshadowed the music playing. The audience looked on nervously, some of the children adding to the noise. The dynamite rotated through it's last flip. The Flying Greyson's, now on the tight rope, stopped mid act to watch their co-workers run about frantically, before looking to each other, and then down to the small viewing room. The occupants of that room jumped to their feet as the Boss fell through it's opening. Behind him, the dynamite exploded as it made contact with the ground.
The blast ripped apart the employee tent as a wave of fire and debris rocked through the Big Top. Everyone within the small viewing room were thrown to the ground, Jana making sure her body was protecting the boy within her arms. Richie kept his wide and shocked eyes glued to his parents, who had slipped from the tightrope and where now dangling from it, holding on for their dear life.
Those of the audience and workers who weren't immediately killed or torched alive where stampeding out of the stands or screaming in pain. Richie's cries where now the loudest. The safety net under his parents act snapped, the vibrations of the blast continued to rattle the flimsy metal frame that supported the trapeze and began to crumble in on itself. The Greyson's screamed to their son, telling him they loved him, as they lost their grip on the slackened rope and plummeted to the ground with their act. Richie screamed again before passing out.
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Chaos was now the Carnival's theme. Only minutes had passed since the Big Top had been blasted in two, but had felt like hours for everyone involved. Half of the tent still stood. The personal tent no longer existed. The small viewing room had collapsed in, trapping the few people using it, underneath debris.
The shades were still attacking. People ran amuck. Bodies were scattered over the ground, lifeless. Booths and tents were still exploding. Sirens rang out in the distance, moving in fast. However, a black modified car, known as the Bat-mobile to the patrons of Gotham City, reached the festival first. It skidded to a stop, the owner hopping out before the engine fully turned off.
A black cape billowed in the wind, dark eyes scanning over the scene. The scene was nothing new to him. People screaming, people being hurt or killed. His eyes narrowed. " Not on my watch." He spat out before racing into the chaos.
Close by, the Shadow watched with amused eyes as one of his underlings appeared by his side. It's voice was a raspy hiss in this current form. "They called Batman."
Shadow snorted and looked over to his left, only to be met with a dark shadow in the shape of a man, and glowing red eyes. "I noticed." He looked back toward the entrance as Batman fought with a few of his Shades, that were having alittle fun. "What happened to the good old days, when no one blinked an eye when someone decided to massacre a clan?" He questioned lazily.
The shades red eyes shifted from Batman to his boss. " Those days are long gone, Boss."
Shadow sighed longingly, remembering those days, and turned to his underling. "Are they dead?"
The shade brought his gaze back to Shadow. "For the most part. Those that aren't, will be soon."
"Good. I'm not here for the Bat. Do what you please with him. I'll meet whoever's left back at HQ." behind Shadow a dark portal swirled to life. His gaze scanned over the festival grounds one last time before he stepped back and into the portal. It swirled out of existence seconds later. The shade turned and flew off to join in on the fun. Hissing out orders, that merely sounded like screeching to human ears, on his way.
Police cars, Fire Engines, a Bomb squad and SWAT team were now assembled in the parking lot. The SWAT team and random Police officers entered the grounds behind Batman, escorting frightened and injured visitors out of the carnival and to the awaiting First-Aid stations and ambulances. The Firemen had set up their hoses and were dousing what fires they could.
Batman moved further onto the grounds, directing people toward the entrance and the awaiting aid. Around him the shades moved in closer. He had fended off those that dared to attack when he first arrived, he had fought their kind before, and easily rid of them. Now it seemed that their target was no longer the innocent people running about, but him. Batman grunted as he slipped an unused Bat-a-rang from it's notch on his belt. His fingers quickly turned the weapon around in his hand, the wings pointed to the sky, as his thumb ran over the golden bat insignia before pressing against it. A small click was heard before the wings extended to create a staff.
He widened his stance and placed the staff out in front of him. A small group of the shades hovered around him. His gaze skimmed over them, taking in their positions. Three moved away from the others and advanced on the Dark Knight. The Knight only smirked, twirled his staff for a better grip, and charged at them.
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The shifting of debris was lost on the night wind. So where the light grunts of labor, and whispers that followed. The pile shifted again. A small opening was quickly worked free. A gasp of relief escaping the lips of all those trapped underneath it's weight. Slowly, but surely, the few members of the Carnival that were occupying the Viewing Room, pushed themselves out from it's rubble. The Boss, who had made it to the room before the explosion, pulled himself from the opening first, followed by Allora, Jana and Richie, The Announcer and finally, Everon.
Covered in dirt and blood, the small group moved away slowly. Around them the remains of the Big Top smoldered. Bodies laid lifelessly on the ground, results of the wreckage. The Flying Greysons were among it, their bodies twisted and broken within the metal and netting that made their act.
Jana held Richie tightly to her chest, burying his head into her shoulder. His tears soaked the fabric of her shirt, his body trembled from shock. Jana ran her hand up and down his back in a soothing motion. Behind her, the others mulled about, still in a daze.
Allora wrapped her arms tightly around Everon's waist and hugged her head against his chest. Everon returned the gesture, his hands weaving into her hair and pressing her body tightly to his own. The Boss ran a shaky hand through his greyed hair. Anger and shock mingled in his features ad his old eyes scanned over the damage. The Announcer shook dirt and dust from his suit, his now broken cane gripped tightly in his left hand.
"What happened?" Allora whispered to no one in general.
Everon closed his eyes briefly before settling them onto the Boss. His voice was deep and fierce. "Yes Boss, why don't you tell everyone what happened!"
All eyes turned to the old man, waiting for an answer. The Boss only scoffed and turned away.
"Well!" Everon pressed on.
Jana bounced Richie lightly in her arms, his crying had quieted down, but his body still shook. Allora closed her eyes, wishing it was all a dream. The Announcer moved closer to the group, his hand clenched at his broken cane repeatedly.
The Boss made a loud snort and quickly turned on his heel, glaring at Everon. "Do not blame this on me!"
Everon returned the glare, the muscle in his jaw twitching visibly. "If you had taken care of that boy when the problem began.." He trailed off, his right arm swung out and waved at the mess around them, before he continued. "Then this wouldn't have happened!"
The Boss widen his stance and raised his voice. "Taken care of him? Taken care of him! And how would I have gone about that? We tried to kill him, remember! It did not succeed! It was either banish him, or let him stay, only to rule and kill this clan!"
Everon let his hand drop from Allora's arm, only to fist at his side. "Look around you! We are already dead!"
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Batman pushed himself to his feet. His dark gaze skimmed over the grounds. Most of the visitors had been cleared out. Some still loitered about, slowly making their way to the entrance. The parking lot was full of people and vehicles. Around him laid a few rapidly decaying bodies, mingled with the ones that had immediately turned to piles of dust.
His gloved hand raised to his face and pinched the bridge of his nose. An audible sigh passed through his lips as his shook his head slightly.
Quickly, he retracted his Bat-Staff, re-notching it to his belt. His gaze passed over his suit as he walked away from the corpses he had been fighting. It was ripped, dirty, stained with blood, and had a nice layer of the Shades ashes on it.
' Great! Another suit gone to hell. Hmm. Wonder if Alfred can get his hands on that Material the Hulk uses for his pants..' Batman thought seriously as he walked toward the closest grouping of Carnival attractions.
He heedlessly picked up a stray Bat-A-Rang from the ground and returned it to it's notch. His eyes landed on the Big Top. Light trails of smoke twirled in the night air, mingling with the fog rolling in from the mountains in the distance. Voices sounded from behind what remained of the tent.
Batman quickened his pace as he came closer to it. The cape that hung from his shoulders billowed out on a breeze that passed through the tent's opening. His heart thumped a beat faster. The voices rang familiar in his ears. His gaze narrowed as he moved forward and flung the cloth flaps aside, a spotlight from an approaching fire truck briefly highlighted him from behind, and his shadow fell over the currently arguing survivors.
The Capped Crusader quickly assessed the scene before him; Three adult males, one woman, one young lady, a small boy - all clustered together, covered in blood and soot, arguing. Their chatter died quickly upon noticing Batman's presence. Some blinked while others cleared their throats. The young girl clutched the child tighter to herself as Batman pursued upon their small group. The eldest of the survivors righted his suit jacket and averted his gaze elsewhere, the action was registered by all present.
The Announcer continued to remain behind the others, awe clearly noted by the wideness of his eyes. Allora smiled faintly and moved to check on Jana and Richie. Everon sighed and stood taller as Batman stopped before him, his shadowed eyes briefly sliding from person to person, before landing back on Everon.
"What happened here?"
Everyone kept an ear and eye on Batman. Everon raised a shaking hand to his face and rubbed it's palm against his eye, his voice thick with weariness.
"Shadow happened!" Everon spat out to no one in particular.
Batman closed his eyes slowly and swallowed. "The others?"
Everon dropped his hand but kept his gaze on the ground. "We don't know yet... but I'm sure they're all dead. We need to check the camp." Without grace, Everon lowered to body down, to sit upon a large piece of wood that belonged to one of the 'Rings'. "Most of the children where back at the camp." He said in a whisper.
Batman's hand clenched into a fist, his eyes narrowed on the Boss before landing upon the boy in Jana's arms. He made a step forward in their direction, before bringing his eyes back to Everon.
"Evelyn and John?" Anger, worry, and hope all seemed to make itself present within Batman's voice.
Everyone turned their gazes to him, then to Richie, and finally over their shoulders to where the Trapeze act laid in a smoldering mound of metal and debris. Batman's eyes, of course, followed their lead and immediately realized what it meant. They were dead. His friends were gone. His brows raised beneath his mask in disbelief, his head slightly shook out the 'No!' that screamed into every recess of his mind.
Everon made a step forward, his hand reaching out to comfort Batman, who only stumbled back, away from it. His fists clenched tightly at his sides before he hunched over and rested them onto his slightly bent knees. His eyes were closed tightly against his friends resting place. Still, he didn't want to believe it.
It wasn't a new experience. The deaths of others. It was part of his crime-fighting career. It was easy, too easy, to erase the faces of the nameless or not-so-nameless victims he had found, or failed to save. But this was different. Besides Alfred, John and Evelyn were the only other people he viewed as family. He had witness the deaths of his parents, too young to prevent it.
Now his friends were gone. Dead. Again he wasn't able to help.
Batman stood straight, wiping a stray tear from his dirty face. 'What's the use of being a 'Hero' if I can't even save those I truly care for.' After composing himself, he turned angry eyes to the man known only as 'The Boss'. "You! I asked you to let me help! This could have been prevented ages ago, you stubborn fool."
The Boss returned Batman's intense gaze and sighed heavily before briefly looking away. When he spoke, his voice was slow and heavy with his age. "He's my son, you wouldn't understand." With that said, he turned away from the remaining members of his Clan and walked off toward the camp.
Everon shook his head, Batman growled while the others sighed. As the old man faded off into the horizon, Allora slowly walked over to her husband and batman, Jana and a now sleeping Richie in tow. Allora cleared her throat before speaking.
"Fool he is, but what's done is done. If it wasn't Shadow, then it would have been someone or something else. Our kind isn't understood and mistaken for our cousins. But even I was not expecting it this early, nor to be almost completely wiped out within hours." She was met with silence before continuing on.
"Now we have other problems to deal with. We need to search the grounds and camp, others may have survived. We need to bury our dead and salvage what we can of our lifestyle."
Behind them, the Announcer agreed with a grunt like noise. Everon nodded his agreement before speaking up.
"We have more problems then that. This attack was meant to kill us all. If...no, not if...When Shadow and his lackeys find out that people survived, he will hunted us down one by one. We need to go into hiding, at least for awhile. There's already so few of our kind."
Batman sent a small glance over Everon's shoulder. "I'll help any way I can. New identities, location, belongings. Anything. I owe it to them."
Allora sent a small smile to Batman before turning to Jana and motioning for her to come closer.
"Thank you for the offer. It is generous, you have always treated us kindly. But we have our own ways of disappearing, we should manage." Batman nodded to her as Jana came to stand beside Allora, who placed her hand on the girls shoulder and spoke up again. "There is one thing you could do, need to, really."
Batman raised a brow beneath his mask as he followed her gaze to land on the small boy. He swallowed and closed his eyes.
"You are his Godfather. Evelyn and I talked about it much. That if anything were to happen, to make sure Richard was safely placed with you. It would be hard for us. I'm sure you understand."
Batman opened his eyes and kept his gaze on the boy. "Yes I do. I promised John I would take him..if.. " He let his sentence trail off.
Everon stepped closer and placed a hand on Batman's shoulder. "Thank you. For everything. But we need to make haste and prepare all that needs to be done."
Batman gave a brief nod before moving in front of Jana and reaching out for Richie. Jana squeezed the boy tighter against her chest and ducked her head as she hugged him goodbye. Before Batman could ask her to hand him over, Jana had already placed him into Batman's arms and turned to bury her head against Allora.
Batman shifted the child in his arms and held back a sad smile as the boy cuddled against his chest in search of warmth. After a long second, he brought his head up and gave curt nods to the four people before him. Batman left as quickly as he had arrived, leaving Everon and Allora to take care of what remained of their clan.
After making his way through the parking lot, and placing the sleeping child safely into the passenger seat, Batman slid in behind the steering wheel and stirred the engine to life. As he pulled out of the parking lot, his gloved finger depressed the red colored button that turned the Com-link to the Bat Caves on.
"Yes, Sir?" The reply crackled through the speaker.
"The situation has been taken cared of. I'm on my way back."
"Very well, Sir." Replied the refined voice.
"How may I assist you, Sir?"
"Make up a room." Batman turned his gaze to Richard. "We have a new member of the family."
"Very well, very well indeed."