(Several years later)
To My Daughter Talia:
The time has come.
As we have corresponded over the years, I have made more than the usual effort to keep you abreast of events in distant Gotham City and of the activities of one Bruce Wayne. "The Detective" is my moniker for this remarkable yet flawed individual, for his focus is wholly upon dealing with the trivial. Blessed as you are with uncommon intelligence and memory, I will not bore you with the details of his life or the psychopathologies that played a major role in propelling him on this mad crusade. As preparation for the mission I shall set you upon, I will focus my discussion on post-Gotham events.
Most individuals who have faced Wayne's traumas would naturally have not set upon the extreme path that he has chosen, but the combination of his economic resources, and the same driven psyche which superior individuals such as you and I possess, has given birth to The Batman. Even a commoner could identify the fundamental flaws of his strategy: risking his life and fortune every time he goes out at night, deliberately limiting himself in terms of weapons and tactics, inherently incapable of working within even the rickety constraints of normal laws. Any other individual possessed of his resources and intelligence would have devised a myriad of other stratagems to combat criminality. Despite his halfhearted social welfare contributions, The Detective steadfastly ignores addressing the larger social, political, cultural, environmental and economic forces which impel individuals to break the law, meaning no matter how many individual lives he saves or aids, the net desperation of the masses inexorably increases.
This simple Malthusian truth would in and of itself be sufficient to discredit the endeavor, but his unique methods have in addition spawned an equally unprecedented socially degenerative response-the phenomenon of the so-called "supervillain". There is evidence that the individual known as The Joker began his trade not long after the Batman became active, but of course the woman Pamela Isley-colorfully named "Poison Ivy" by the Gotham press-was publically the first of these peculiar yet lethal individuals. I must confess a certain puzzlement as to the origins of this phenomenon. It may very well be some form of collective Jungian unconscious response to the methods of the Batman, perhaps a social analogue to Newton's Third Law. That it is connected to the Detective's activities is indisputable, for nowhere else on this wretched planet does this combination exist. In any case, were Bruce Wayne a little less stubborn and a little more open-minded, he would realize that his activities have only created a far more virulent criminal response than that of normal villainy. I do not have the exact totals, but certainly far more individuals have died at the hands of the Poison Ivy, the Penguin, the Joker, the Catwoman, the Two-Face and others, than all those who fell to the organized and unorganized criminal forces that existed in Gotham before the Batman began his crusade. And the personal cost to Bruce Wayne has simply been astonishing: the gruesome death of his childhood friend Rachel Dawes, the hideous transformation of his colleague Harvey Dent into the Two-Face, the near-death of his butler, and the second destruction of his family abode, so painstakingly reconstructed after my first encounter all those years ago. That he not only persists in this madness, but actually claims that it is of benefit, demonstrates the occasional validty of truisms; in this case, the definition of insanity as 'doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.'
But now I feel a critical inflection point has been reached. The Detective has, I must reluctantly admit, vanquished all his aforementioned foes, yet is no closer to his goal than ever before. Within his mind, no doubt a part of Wayne acknowledges the truth that his crusade has been a failure and should be abandoned. However, I am certain a much-stronger part of his psyche refuses to lay down this quixotic burden, for Bruce Wayne will never be able to accept the imperfect system of justice the mundanes endure. He is now ready to return to the League of Shadows, and recommit himself to the path of true justice. Unfortunately, I cannot be the agent of his rehabilitation-unlike myself, he is one to hold a grudge.
I therefore require you to travel to Gotham City and ingratiate yourself with Wayne. As my one and only progeny, you have been well-groomed and well-trained since a child for the task now before you. I am confident of your ability to carry out this mission successfully. You may use any method up to and including offering yourself to his whims in order to succeed. As Wayne is a physically impressive specimen with a not-disagreeable aspect to his persona, and possessing material and mental assets rivaling my own, he no doubt would be a more satisfactory suitor than the many others who have in the past unwisely approached you in this manner.
In this matter time is not of the essence, but as always in life it is better to proceed than to procrastinate. Included in this message is a wealth of additional information regarding Bruce Wayne, and his associates. Once you have absorbed this material, I ask for your approval in acceptance of this vital mission, and any preliminary thoughts you may have regarding how you shall accomplish your task.
I await your response with anticipation.
To My Father:
I am honored and delighted to take on this important mission. Bruce Wayne is a fascinating character, and I have genuinely appreciated and enjoyed the information you have provided to me about him over the years.
As is the case of a man of his background and status, he has much superficial experience with the opposite sex, but his traumas have left him incapable of sustained involvement with another woman. The death of Rachel Dawes has made him even more withdrawn from further such contact, but deep down, as you have observed, there is a part of Bruce Wayne that yearns for a prosaic life, even though the rest of him can never accept it. Bringing him into the League and into your household is likely the only compromise possible. He will resist, but in the end he will succumb. The great difficulty will be in finding the appropriate social context in which to encounter Wayne. After this contact is made, I am certain I can win him.
I cannot help but notice the subtle ambivalence with which you send me on this mission-even you are not immune to the age-old prejudices of patriarchy. Rest assured that I do this of my own free will, fully cognizant that there is a grander purpose which moves both our actions. Even if he were uncomely, I would have no hesitation becoming his strumpet. That he is most handsome only means that we shall both enjoy the pursuit and eventual union.
He will join us or die, I swear this with my very life.
In preparation for this assignment I wish to return to you so that we may scheme together. Please make arrangements for my return from London.
It has been too long, Father. I eagerly look forward to seeing you again.
Your Dutiful Daughter,
Author's Notes: This fanfic was inspired by my love for Batman Begins. It wasn't very ambitious, just an exercise to bridge the movie version of Ra's with the comic one, where he is immortal through The Pit. Not long after the first chapter, I decided to do something much more ambitious: a Poison Ivy story set in the Batman Begins movieverse. That inspired the second chapter. Now in a sense I 'spoiled' the ending by saying Batman wins (although not much of a spoiler), and that somehow her defeat was not total - read Green Dawn to see how exactly!
The third chapter, where Ra's tells his daughter to go to Bruce and try to seduce him to the dark side, contains some predictions of what would happen after Batman Begins; note that it was published before even The Dark Knight! I had a chilly suspicion that Rachel would die, although fortunately Alfred and New Wayne Manor escaped further harm. No Penguin, but we did get Catwoman (to my surprise). And of course Talia does go back to Bruce in The Dark Knight Rises, but as part of a renewed plan to destroy Gotham.
Again, a very simple story, but with some thought put into it as you can see. I hope you enjoyed it!
May 16, 2015