Well, here it is… I put it off for as long as I could ;) It has been a rough week, but as promised I got it up before the end of the extended weekend… Enjoy the final chapter of As Dark As Knight…

-Part 18-

A Storm Is Coming

"Master Wayne, if you refuse to stay in bed, then please, just sit down and rest before you pull out your stitches…again." Alfred sighed as Bruce shuffled by him. The billionaire had been restless ever since returning to his penthouse two weeks ago, and in Alfred's opinion, it had been a rather daunting two weeks at that.

"Alfred, you worry too much. You should take a vacation, you know? Somewhere nice, with an ocean view. The sound of the ocean is said to have a… calming effect on people." Bruce smirked as he peered out of his floor to ceiling windows to the tiny street below before resuming his pacing. Alfred's eyes watched the man warily, but he was simply too worn out to reprimand him for the thousandth time.

"You will be the death of me, sir…" The butler smiled as Bruce turned towards him, a look of mock shock plastered on his handsome face. He laughed as he crossed the room again, finally sitting stiffly in a cushy black leather chair. He still ached all over, but his wounds were healing nicely.

"I better sit down then, wouldn't want to do that, now would I…" Alfred rolled his eyes, at least his charge's sense of humor was back. Bruce smiled, "Did you call Lucius yet, Alfred?…Alfred?" He asked accusingly this time.

"I though it best to wait, sir, you still being on the mend and all that." He returned the accusing glare. "After I was forced to replace the stitches in your shoulder wound after you deliberately tore them…"

"Alfred, I was just trying to fight the overwhelming boredom…"

"Yes, doing one handed pushups… with your wounded arm no less… it was a bloody brilliant idea…" He said flatly, Bruce only laughed as he opened his cell phone. He needed to talk to Mr. Fox about getting a new Kevlar chest and shoulder piece, but Alfred, much to the younger man's surprise, snatched the mobile device right out of his grasp. Bruce raised an eyebrow as he stared incredulously at his old friend.

"Alfred… is that really necessary?" Bruce asked flatly. Getting up had been the worst part of his injuries. His torso burned horribly, making the very act of drawing in oxygen difficult. The fact that Alfred knew about it only made matters worse.

"I'll just hang on to this until I feel you are well enough to go out again." Alfred patted his charge's good shoulder. His older blue eyes were bright as he quickly left the room, keeping the phone as far away from Bruce as humanly possible.

Bruce sighed, releasing his frustration, and settled back down, allowing his muscular frame to sink deeper into the cool leather. For some strange reason, a calm feeling of contentment washed over him. Perhaps his old friend was right, he though with a brilliant smile as he closed his hazel eyes, a few more days couldn't hurt.

Alfred had fought him every step of the way, but after spending almost a month cooped up inside, Bruce had finally had enough. Out here, looking over Gotham city, the only thing fighting against him now was the wind, that whipped furiously at his cape, causing it to thrash violently behind him. He grinned, the air was warmer then before, but not stifling, like he knew it would be in another month or so. Summer was coming.

Suddenly, a light struck the night sky, revealing the swirling clouds that hovered angrily over the city. A storm was coming… Bruce turned and walked back into the shadows, he knew that signal. They were calling… he was calling…

Bruce took off at a run, jumping easily from the rooftop, with the sheer reckless abandon that would have put a lion tamer to shame. He fell for what seemed like an eternity before his cape snapped rigidly into it's familiar shape and he took to gliding over Gotham's buildings, watching over them, like a dark angel.

Batman finally came to rest on the top of a brick building. It was smaller in stature compared to some of the other buildings, but high enough from the ground so that no one from the streets below could possibly see the rooftop clearly. The light, or rather, the bat signal was quickly shut off, and Jim Gordon stepped out of the shadows. He cleared his throat to make his presence known, but it wasn't necessary, Bruce knew he was there the whole time. Gordon was carrying something with him, and Batman resisted a smile.

"Thought you might like to have this back, I was able to pick it up before the boys got in to sweep for evidence. I also managed to 'clean' up a bit, so the DNA traces they would have found were… let's just say I took care of them as well." The lieutenant stated with a small smile, as he returned Batman's armor, the same armor that Bruce had been forced to abandon nearly three and a half weeks ago, to its rightful owner.

"Thank you…" He whispered gruffly, there was a deeper unspoken meaning behind the two simple words, but Gordon understood them. Batman knew he did, and he was grateful to the lieutenant… there was no explanation needed. "Did you…?" He stopped abruptly as the lieutenant shook his head. Bruce clenched his fists tightly around the newly returned Kevlar plates.

"No, he just seemed to disappear… we searched everywhere," Gordon frowned as he spoke. Thunder began to rumble loudly over head. "He got away… but something tells me we will hear from him again."

"A storm is coming… sooner then you think. Are you ready for it?" Batman growled as lightning streaked across the angry sky, causing his hazel eyes to flash dangerously. Gordon knew that the Bat was not talking about the weather.

"Do we really have a choice…" He spoke, but the dark knight had disappeared. Jim Gordon stood alone on the black tarred rooftop of the MCU staring into the blackness. " I hope you're here when Gotham cries out for it's hero… but for now, I'm just going to pray to God that you are wrong." He whispered as he caught a large shadow swoop across the sky before it was swallowed by heavy sheets of falling rain.

Well, I hoped you all liked it! Just a quick note, the final chapter is meant to connect dircetly to the begining of the Dark Knight, that is what Batman means by "the storm". :)... Thank you to all my reviewers and readers who stayed with me for the duration of the story. You really all made it worth while, and I had a lot of fun.

As for my next story, I have begun working on it! So... with that in mind... I would ask that you all remember to add me to your author alert list, that way you will all know when I begin posting it! Thanks again ;) It's been great, and I can't wait to hear what you all have to say about the last chapter!

The Dark Knight