They told me there was nothing out there, nothing to fear. But the night my parents were murdered I caught a glimpse of something. I've looked for it ever since. I went to the other side of the world, searched in all the shadows. And there is something out there in the darkness, something terrifying… something that will not stop until it gets revenge… Me. – Ronald Stoppable
THE BATMAN …
Chapter 1: More Than a Man
Triton, the city that was once three smaller towns: Middleton, Upperton and Lowerton. When the cities merged, it was a happy and joyous time. But that time was a long time ago. Since then the Mob Boss Rupert Thorne had brought a powerful wave of the Mafia into the city, as well as a new wave of 'Supercriminals' doubling the already high count. Even Team Possible was unable to stop these monsters. That is … until he came home.
"Get all that transferred to the truck," A mysterious man said as he watched a large group of thugs transferring crates from a river barge to a waiting, unmarked moving truck from the shadows.
"We're almost loaded, Scarecrow," a thug said as he approached the man's position.
"Very good …" the man said in a hoarse voice, "How is security?"
"Let me check," the thug said, lifting a handheld radio, "Hey, Nick … Nick, ya there?" he asked, but received only static.
"So … we meet at last …" Scarecrow chuckled, "Warn the men. The Batman's here."
The lead thug nodded and turned to a group loading the trucks, but was shocked to find the whole dock seemingly abandoned. "Oh, man …"
"Do not fear; that's what he wants." Scarecrow warned as the thug drew his gun.
"S-So, what do we do?" the thug whimpered.
"We take what we have and leave." Scarecrow said, walking out of the shadows to reveal what looked like a cross between the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz and something from a Stephen King novel. "Let us hurry." He said, both men walking toward the truck, not noticing the pair of white, demonic eyes opening behind them in the darkness.
"Close the back," Scarecrow said as he moved toward the passenger side of the truck. The skinny man climbed into the truck and awaited his hired hand to join him. He waited... and waited. "Not bad," Scarecrow chortled as he got back out and moved to the back of the truck. "Come out and face me, Batman. I know you're there."
"I know you're working for someone, and it's not Thorne," a deep, intimidating voice spoke from behind the masked criminal. "Who?"
"You'll find out soon enough," Scarecrow said before he was knocked to the ground, seemingly by nothing but darkness.
"Wrong answer." The Batman growled, swooping out of the darkness, his long cape draping out like his namesake's wings. He grabbed Scarecrow by the collar and lifted him into the air, the villain clawing uselessly at the Bat's black, form-fitting battle-suit. "Who are you working for?" The Bat growled again, his narrowing, brown eyes just vaguely visible behind the white eyepieces.
"I refuse to answer, but I do have a question for you, Batman," Scarecrow growled, lifting his hand toward the Batman's masked face. "What do you fear?"
Batman tried to shove the Scarecrow away, but still got a face full of gas from the masked villain. Batman stumbled back, coughing, trying to cover his face. "I would love to kill you, but I have this to shipment to check in. Enjoy my gift to you, Batman!" Scarecrow said, scurrying quickly to the driver's side of the truck and taking off.
Batman lifted a grapple gun from his belt, but fell to his knees before he could fire it. He shook his head as painful images flashed before his eyes. He closed his eyes tightly and reached for a communicator on his belt. "Wade … Felix … help …" Batman grunted as he fell to the side, watching the Scarecrow's truck get away.
SEVEN YEARS EARLIER …
"I cannot believe we are finally done with high school!" Ron Stoppable cheered as he walked with Kim Possible and her family into their family home, both still dressed in their graduation robes.
"No kidding, Ron," Kim replied as the two teens dropped to the couch in the living room.
Kim reached for the remote before leaning against her boyfriend. "Life is good," She sighed as she laid her head on his shoulder and switched on the afternoon news.
"So, coming with us to celebrate graduation, babe?" Kim asked, glancing up at her boyfriend of three weeks. "Whole family at the all-you-can-eat country café downtown?"
"Na, me and the folks are gonna have our own party," Ron said as he hugged his girlfriend with one arm. "Gonna go see the new Zorro flick, then catch Bueno Nacho."
"Naturally," Kim rolled her eyes. "Breakfast at my place in the morning, then?"
"Wouldn't miss it for the world, KP," Ron nodded before moving in to give her a tender kiss on the lips.
Ron was grinning ear to ear as he stepped out of the movie theater with his parents on either side of him. "That was so cool!" Ron cheered as his dad patted his shoulder. "That was the first time since I was a kid we actually went to dinner and a movie together!"
"We had to celebrate our high school graduate, honey," Mrs. Stoppable beamed, hugging her son's arm.
"We're extremely proud of you, son," Mr. Stoppable said, grinning as they continued toward the parking lot. "Have you told Kimberly about your big job lined up? Huh, Mr. Vice President of the Food Division of Nakasumi Corporation?"
"Ah … um … not yet," Ron scratched the back of his head, "besides, I won't start until after I get through all the classes and all and …" He rambled on, still surprised the toy company owner had gone to him, Ron Stoppable, to run his beloved Bueno Nacho, which Nakasumi-sama had received out of the lawsuit over the stolen Little Diablo toys.
The three Stoppables approached their family car and noticed a pair of rough looking young men looking at it.
"Nice car," one of the thugs said as two more approached from the other side of the car. "Real nice."
"I'm glad you like it," Mr. Stoppable said uncomfortably as he eased between them and his wife.
"I believe we'll take it," one of the thugs said, pulling out a gun, "And your wallets and purse, guys."
"I don't think so!" Ron said, tackling the lead thug and knocking the gun out of his hand, then hopping to his feet to punch the first of the thug's friends to come to his aid. He hit a series of punches and kicks, fighting off three of the four thugs easily. He was winning too, when suddenly…
Ron slowly turned to see his parents on the ground with the blond-headed thug standing over them, gripping Mr. Stoppable's wallet. "Leave the karate kid alone; his dad's got enough to do us a while. Let's bail!" the thug said as the four of them ran past the stunned Ron and climbed into the car.
Ron vaguely heard his parents' car start up and drive off as he dropped to his knees between his parents. "Mom … Dad?"
"You … did your best son …" Mr. Stoppable breathed, gripping his son's hand. "We're …so … proud of you … don't be afraid, son … Tell … Kimberly … to watch out … for you … for us …" he wheezed, squeezing Ron's hand tightly. "I love you, son …" he said as his head fell back, and his eyes slowly closed.
Ron tried to scream for help, but no sound came from his mouth as he doubled over, between his parents. Rufus crawled out of his pocket to stroke the back of Ron's neck as he sobbed on the pavement with police sirens finally approaching.
Ron sat numbly in the crowded, stuffy Middleton Police Department, tears still sliding slowly down his cheek as Rufus sat asleep in his pocket. A young police officer finally came up to him and placed a hand on his shoulder. "It'll be ok," the officer whispered, "It'll be ok …"
"Gordon!" another officer said, walking up to the two. "We got one of the perps from tonight's shooting. Joe Chill."
"Hear that, son?" Officer Gordon said, giving a sad smile to the blonde-headed youth. "We got one of them."
Ron didn't respond, only continued to stare into space.
"Ron!" a feminine voice echoed through the police department as Kim Possible ran straight toward the still stunned teenager. "Ron, are you ok?" she said in a trembling voice as she dropped down before him, stroking his face and hair with her fingers, "I'm so … so sorry Ron …" she whispered as she pulled the numb, young man into a tight hug.
Kim then helped Ron to his feet, growing even more worried when he simply did as she led him to. "C'mon, Ron … mom's waiting in the car …"
Ron said nothing as he let Kim lead him out of the police station.
The sun was shining on a beautiful, Tuesday afternoon. Though, no one was smiling on the grounds of Middleton Memorial Cemetery. Kim Possible stood in a black dress, clinging to her boyfriend's arm as he and his surviving family recited the ritual prayer Kaddish. Ron was dressed in his best suit and tie and even got his cowlick to lie down. Since his parents' death, he had been staying with Kim's family in the guest room, but everyone present could see by the dark circles under his bloodshot eyes that he hadn't gotten much rest.
What disturbed Kim the most other than the day his parents were taken was that he hadn't shed a tear.
Kim watched Ron give her mother a nod, wordlessly thanking her for her aid in preparing his mother for burial. Kim stared at Ron's drained, emotionless face as he watched the twin wooden boxes adorned with the Star of David being lowered into the ground. 'It's not fair …' Kim thought as she hugged his arm tighter. 'Not to Ron, it's not fair …' she said, her eyes once again flooding with the tears that had been unyielding the last few days.
She'd give up everything she had just to see that carefree smile one more time. Though, she knew it would be a long, hard road before he would ever be the Ron she first fell in love with. She was so lost in her thoughts that she was unaware of the service's ending and the people beginning to file away.
"C'mon, Ron, let's go home," Kim said, lacing her fingers with Ron's, leading him behind her parents as they walked to the Possible's minivan. Kim sighed sadly, giving a faint glance to Ron, who was simply letting himself be led by his girlfriend to the car.
The ride home was one made in silence; even Kim's younger brothers were silently taking a few glances at the shattered, young man their elder sister was clinging to.
"Alright, kids, we're home." Mr. Possible tried to sound cheerful as the minivan came to a stop in front of the house.
Again, the family climbed out of the van in total silence. Kim stopped to watch Ron dragging his feet as he walked into the house.
"He'll be ok, Kimmie," Mrs. Possible said, placing an arm around her daughter, "Just be there for him. He needs you, and us." Kim nodded and wrapped her arms around her mother in a firm hug. "Now, go give Ron one of those," Mrs. Possible smiled down as Kim released the hug.
Kim again gave a nod and moved quickly for the door. As soon as she was gone, the reassuring smile faded from Mrs. Possible's face and the fought tears finally came.
A week passed slowly. Time continued to pass; life went on, but Ron Stoppable's emotional condition remained the same. Luckily, they didn't have any missions, so Kim was able to stay home and keep her boyfriend company. Ron showed no emotion whatsoever, until one fateful afternoon …
Kim and her mother stood before the kitchen sink, doing the dishes. Kim would occasionally nod as her mother would give her a particular instruction. Her parents were going to be going out of town for the evening and wouldn't return until early morning. "And I don't want to 'KNOW' about anything that could happen in your bedroom tonight; just make sure Ron's in his own room by morning." Mrs. Possible winked, laughing when Kim gave her a very good impression of a goldfish, red face and all.
"Besides, when he and your father get in from Chill's trial," Mrs. Possible said, her voice dropping to a growl at the mention of the Stoppables' murderer. "After we leave you two alone, you may want to… celebrate." Mrs. Possible put her hands on her hips and tilted her head, "Kimberly Anne Possible, your father would probably kill me for saying this, but stop looking at me like that. You are eighteen years old, a legal adult; it's no more any of mine or your father's business whether or not you have sex with your boyfriend than it is anyone else's. I'm not saying you HAVE to; I'm just saying what your father doesn't know won't hurt him a bit."
Kim started to retort when the front door slammed open violently, followed by Kim's father's voice. "Ron, calm down," he said as Ron stomped into the kitchen. Kim and Mrs. Possible blinked in confusion when he pulled open the refrigerator door angrily, grabbed one of Mr. Possible's hidden beers, sat down roughly at the table and began to chug.
"Ron, you're still underage!" Mrs. Possible gasped as she jerked the beer away and poured it down the drain, "Now, what happened?"
"The jury got bought," Ron growled in an angry voice Kim had never heard come from him before, "or they're the biggest bunch of fucking idiots I have ever seen in my life!"
"Ronald, watch the language," Mrs. Possible said warningly before turning to her seemingly equally angry husband. "James, what happened?"
"Chill was found 'Not Guilty', Anne!" Mr. Possible growled, clinching his fists at his sides. "Said that there was no proof he was even there except for the 'distraught son who didn't get a good look at his face'!" Mrs. Possible covered, her gaping mouth with her hand as Kim ran to Ron's side. "It was a disgrace to the justice system … that's all you can say about it!"
"Justice system?" Ron snorted, seemingly to ignore Kim's back rub. "Whatever system we have doesn't have JUSTICE in it at all."
"James, I want to talk to the DA," Mrs. Possible said, throwing her dish towel to the side.
"Me, too. This isn't over, not by a long shot," Mr. Possible responded just as heated, "You want to come with us, Ron?" Instead of answering, Ron pushed away from the table and dashed toward his guest room.
"We'll go see what happened, Kimmie; you talk to Ron," Mrs. Possible said, giving a slight nod as she and Kim's father made their way to his car.
Kim gave a sad smile when she found Ron sitting on the edge of his bed, holding a photograph of his parents. "He'll get what's coming to him, Ron," Kim said softly as she walked toward him. "He won't get away forever."
"It wasn't as much his fault as it was mine, Kim …" Ron whispered, placing the photograph back on his night table. "I killed them."
"What?" Kim asked in disbelief that he'd say something like that, let alone think it.
"If I had just given them what they wanted … if I hadn't fought back, Mom and Dad wouldn't have been shot." Ron said, tears rolling down his cheeks. "I killed them. It was me. I killed them."
"Don't say that, Ron," Kim said, pulling him to his feet, "That's not true at all. If you hadn't stepped up … and if you hadn't … we … I might have lost you, too." She whispered as she brushed the tears from his face before pulling him into a kiss. She put everything into this moment, everything she'd come to realize she felt toward Ron she tried to convey in this one act. Ron seemed to realize this, and the feelings were returned as the kiss grew deeper and deeper by the moment.Kim was unaware that they were undressing each other until she felt her bare body lowered back onto Ron's bed and realized her arms were gripping Ron's bare shoulders and her legs were wrapped around his waist. She moaned as a feeling washed through her body that could only be described in one word: "Heaven."
"You … did your best, son …" Mr. Stoppable breathed, gripping his son's hand. "We're …so … proud of you … don't be afraid, son … Tell … Kimberly … to watch out … for you … for us …" he wheezed, squeezing Ron's hand tightly. "I love you, son …" he said as his head fell back and his eyes slowly closed.
Ron sat up quickly in his bed, sweating heavily, and realized it was still early in the evening. He glanced at the clock on his night table and saw the time was 7:54 P.M. "Why'd I go to sleep so early?" Ron asked before his eyes widened as the sleep-amnesia finally wore off, and he remembered what happened a few hours earlier. He blushed slightly and glanced to the redhead still sound asleep with her back to him, her body covered only by the thin bed sheet.
The smile that was beginning to form fell when the nightmare he'd had and the dream it just caused him also returned to his memeory. Ron gave a low growl as he climbed out of bed and searched around the room, looking for his clothes. Dressed himself, he gathered Kim's discarded clothes and placed them at her feet. He walked out of the room and up the stairs, hoping the item he was looking for was still where he remembered finding it with Kim when they were younger.
He silently crept into her parents' bedroom and went to Mr. Possible's side of the bed. He reached under the mattress and pulled out a revolver. He stared at it for a moment. "You're right, KP. he'll get what's coming to him …" He said before leaving the room. He stuffed the gun into one of his pants' pockets and stopped for a moment at Kim's bedroom.
Kim was still soundly asleep as he returned and placed Pandaroo in her grasp. She sighed happily as she hugged the stuffed animal to her chest. "Love you, KP. I'll be back sometime. I promise …" he whispered, knowing after he did what he was planning, it would be a few years before he'd be allowed to be alone with her.
Ron narrowed his eyes as he sat at the table at the run-down diner in Lowerton. He had stalked Joe Chill to this point and was preparing to shoot him from his seat at the bar. Ron's trembling hand gripped the handgun under the table as he slowly and carefully positioned it where it was pointing directly at Chill's back. He was close enough he wouldn't miss.
"Is this really what you want, Ron-kun?" a soft voice whispered beside him, making him jump and almost shoot himself in the foot.
"Yori?" Ron hissed, turning to see the Japanese girl sitting beside him in a traditional Japanese kimono. "What are you doing here?"
"We have heard of what has happened to you and your family, Ron-kun," Yori stated, giving a small smile towards Ron's gun. "We feared you might attempt something like this."
"He deserves justice …" Ron growled, glancing to the oblivious murderer.
"Indeed, but if you go about it this way, it is not bringing him to justice, but making him a martyr and you the monster." Yori explained, softly placing her hand over Ron's gun.
"There's no other way; he's already got out of it easily in court," Ron sighed, "He deserves to rot for what he did to my parents."
"Listen to me, Ron-kun. I know the rage that drives you.That impossible anger strangling the grief, until the memory of your parents is just poison in your veins. And one day, you find yourself wishing the people you loved had never existed, so you would be spared your pain." Ron looked in awe at Yori. He had never suspected such emotion, such hatred had existed inside her.
"Would you become like him by doing to him what he did to you?" Yori asked, taking a sip of his drink. "Or would you rise above him and bring forth the justice he and others like him deserve? Ron said nothing. "Ron-kun, if you go about it this way, you will prove that they got to you, which is nothing to be ashamed of. You are human, fallible, corruptible, mortal." Yori said, drifting off, "But, there is another way." Ron glanced at her. "As a man, you can be defeated. You can be killed or locked up, as is inevitable if you go through with this course of action. But, if you make yourself more than just a man... if you devote yourself to an ideal …" She smiled softly. "You'll become something else entirely."
"And that is?" Ron asked, with a slow nod.
"Legend, Ron-kun." Yori smiled as she placed a scroll in his lap. "This is a map and a written guide. Follow it to the letter, and it will eventually lead you to Yamanuchi. Every stop on that list will be a personal test for you to overcome. If you overcome and arrive at the school, we will give you what you were born to receive."
Yori stood up and kissed Ron's cheek, "Come with me, Ron-kun," she said, leading him outside. Once outside, Yori surprised him by pressing her lips to his in a fierce kiss that literally sent an electric current through his body.
"Good lord, what was that?" Ron gasped as he shoved away from the dejected girl.
"That was just an electric signal I sent through you, destroying the tracking chips your friend Wade-san has placed inside you," Yori said, "This is your journey, Ron-kun. Possible-san and Wade-san cannot aid you." Yori smiled sadly. "They must not know of this. They will try to stop you; you know this to be true."
Ron sighed and glanced down to the scroll. "We can help you learn to keep what you're feeling now from being felt by anyone else."
"Yori?" Ron asked, glancing around but finding himself alone. "More than a man …" Ron breathed as he opened the scroll.
To be continued …
Disclaimer: Batman is property of DC Comics. Kim Possible and all related characters are property of Disney.