Disclaimer: I do not own Batman, Detective Comics, Legends of the Dark Knight, Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, or any of the lovely DC comics I can't afford but covet anyway.

Note: This little piece started out as a prolog for one of the Batman fanfictions I've been working on, but it kind of took on a life of its own. Because it seemed to be complete in-and-of-itself, I decided to post it as a one shot, although I'm thinking of adding some short chapters of actual stories from throughout Batman's experiences in childrearing.

He is the Batman

He is the Dark Knight. He is the world's greatest detective. He is Gotham's protector. He is one of the Justice League's most valued and prized leaders. He is ever the loner with family of followers. He is a son, ever morning his parent's loss. He is the new life of child's heart struck dead long ago by the sound of gun. He is the superhero most likely to be voted "Desperately in need of a shrink" He is an enigma. He is grim and stern, for the task is great. He fights for justice. He fights as penance for survivor's guilt. He fights, that no other should feel the strength of his pain. He is immersed in the darkness so that light might prevail.

He is Batman.

His shadow frightens criminals to lengths no other vigilante has reached. His fighting skills are legendary. His tools of the trade are the envy of all in tights. His cause brings loyalty and obedience in all who follow in his path. His glare is rumored to turn errant individuals to stone with its sharp gaze. His plans are thorough and almost faultlessly perfect. His calling causes tragedy and difficulty for those in his love life. His mask is the face he was born with. His double life is a constant struggle to balance Bruce Wayne with The Bat.

He is Batman.

He saw his child in the eyes of a boy filled with grief. He saw his future in a flash of red and green and yellow mixed with god-awful puns. He saw his greatest fear in a young man's injury and tried to push it all away. He saw a second chance in redheaded gall and eagerness. And watched it die in blood, explosions and a parent's worst nightmare. Realization slowly came with another dark-haired boy, and words beyond his years. Batman needs a Robin. Batman needs a son. A girl who grew up with no words taught him something of innocence again.

They drive him crazy. They fight with him. They stand with him. They learn from him. They keep him sane to fight the fight. They love him

He is a Father

In the end, though many might forget… One fact remains undisputed, unignorable, most relevant to his entire being….

Batman is a father.