Authors Notes: This was a short story I wrote in about two days. Batman is one of my favourite comic book characters for a multitude of reasons, but one of them is that he is so many things to so many people, some of which I detailed here. This is a mix of several canon, both pre and post-crisis, as well as The Dark Knight and The Long Halloween and the animated series. Please enjoy…
Note: This story was inspired by a series of TMNT stories by user Princessbee.
He is… Son
As he had done every night, for as long as he could remember, Alfred Pennyworth, loyal butler to the Wayne family stood within the cavernous living room of Wayne Mansion, staring out the large windows into the darkness, the lights of Gotham City glittering in the distance. The house was cleaned, the floors scrubbed until his fingers bled, everything was spotless, and he really had nothing else to do to take his mind off his worries.
As he had done for so many years, he looked out into the dark, hoping, praying that his charge would return home this night as well.
It had been so long since the night when both their worlds had fallen, the night almost 20 long years ago, when the sound of a gun had left his charge an orphan at 8 and him his guardian. The night that destroyed the innocence of Bruce Wayne, leaving only the Batman.
He blamed himself. Blamed himself for failing the boy, who grew to a man consumed still by rage and grief, blamed himself for not being enough to turn him down a different path. He had done all he could to heal the boys broken soul, but it wasn't enough. Never enough.
He missed them too. He missed the gentle, caring souls that had been Dr Thomas and Martha Wayne, who had treated him as a member of the family. He felt like he had failed them as well. Failed to care for their son like they would have wanted.
It was nights like this when he stood in front of the window, staring out into the dark, waiting for the familiar sounds of the car rev into the ancient cave beneath him, for the ascending steps up the stairs, when the secret door would swing open, and his charge would step out, safe and sound.
But it was also nights like this that filled him with a strange pride. As much as he wished his charge had taken another road, part of him knew that Gotham needed Batman. The city which had never known hope before, finally had someone that cared that protected it. The monsters of the city, who had taken the Waynes, had created their own worst enemy.
In so many ways, Bruce Wayne was his fathers son. He recognized the gentle face of his old friend in Bruce's, though now hardened and grim, he could still see him there. His eyes were his mothers, caring, and loving, now usually hidden behind the white eyes of the mask.
He remembered another night, just a few years after Bruce had first donned the mask, when he had brought home a crying boy, no older than 12, victim to the same crime that had claimed his charge's childhood. He remembered seeing Bruce and himself consoling the young boy, help him past the horrors and sorrow that laid before him.
And he remembered…
He remembered holding a crying 8-year old to help him past his nightmares, he remembered tucking in a 9-year old, who's nightmares would finally let him sleep. He remembered spending Christmas with a 10-year old, who could enjoy the holiday a little more than the last one. He remembered watching a 16-year old graduate high school. He remembered seeing a 17-year old off as he would explore the world, to train for his calling. His mission.
His only true regret, perhaps, was not being able to accompany him.
"Please be okay…son"
He is… Partner
"We haven't been able to come up with anything…else"
As usual, when Gordon turned around, the dark knight of Gotham City had vanished into thin air. Normally it annoyed him, but tonight it made him smile a little. One of these days he was going to figure out how he did that.
It was another case too hard for the police to solve on their own, The Joker was about his usual business of some twisted design, murdering people based on some complex pattern in the phone book. Forensics were working hard on it, but Batmans touch was also very welcome in matters of The Joker.
It hadn't been that long ago since he thought of The Batman as an enemy, a violent unstable vigilante, another plague upon the already sickly city. But he had been proved wrong. Time and time again. It wasn't long before Gordon trusted Batman more than his fellow officers, though considering the corrupt state of most of them, that wasn't saying much.
But, times changed, and so did Gotham. The city was still rife with crime, now by supercriminals as well as the usual riff-raff. But for the first time, it had hope. The mob had lost it's grip, the criminals had someone to fear… The police had someone on their side.
There had been setbacks, times when he wanted to give up. They had lost the District Attorney Harvey Dent to madness, now plaguing the city as the gruesome Two-Face, his own daughter Barbara had lost the use of her legs at the hands of the Joker, but even with all this, he had pulled through. And so had Batman.
He had heard disapproving mutters from his own men, that Batman was a menace, that he went against and above the law. Gordon couldn't openly approve of him, otherwise he might loose control, but in his own mind, he knew that Batman was needed. That he was a good man.
Looking out through the open window, into the Gotham night, spanning the rooftops, though his dark friend was long gone, taking in the scent of the city, smog and gas and… life. Somewhere out among the clusters of buildings, he knew his friend was hard at work, trying to crack the code The Joker had left behind.
He had his suspicions about the identity of the dark knight, but he had never bothered to find out. He wasn't even sure why himself, perhaps the respect he held for him, perhaps a fear that he wouldn't be able to keep it to himself. A small part of him suggested that he was afraid of what he would find behind the mask. But he refused to let doubts like that cloud his mind.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Detective Bullock bull rush towards his office door, Sgt Montoya in tow behind him, no doubt some new leads they had managed to shake out of some two-bit criminal in the holding cell. Taking one last glance out the open window, he he smiled and sent a silent thought out to his friend… his partner.
"I belive in Gotham City"
He is… Lover
High above, among the glittering skyscrapers, perched upon the twisted form of an ancient gargoyle sat Selina Kyle, more known among the elite of Gotham as the burglar Catwoman. The tightfitting suit she had designed for herself left little to the imagination, hugging her curvy form closely, irresistible to any man
Except the man she wanted.
It was Batman that had inspired her to put on the suit years ago, when she was leading a stable, yet boring life, using her athletic prowess to rob from those who could afford it. Soon, it became more for the thrill than anything else. And that's when she had met him in person for the first time.
Smiling to herself, she remembered her first real meeting with her dark love. He had been so imposing, so overwhelming, so dark, yet so alluring. Of course, he had come to capture her, lock her away, didn't bat an eye at her advances, maintaining his stone face, impossible to read, unattainable.
Oh god, how she wanted him.
Over time, their games became more intimate, more personal. He did capture her of course, several times, though he showed surprisingly little interest in locking her up. He had figured out her identity out before too long as well, but even this he kept to himself. It was a game to her, maybe to him as well, the chase over the rooftops, the teasing and playing, a kiss or an embrace every now and then. But they had wanted more.
He couldn't give her everything, she knew that, his crusade was too important, but he gave what he could, gave enough for two lonely beings in the night to get some reprieve. Eventually, she had invited him to her bed. And he had accepted.
She still didn't know who he was; she hadn't asked him to reveal it. Oh, she knew the mind behind the mask, if not the actual identity. She knew his body, scarred and battered from countless cuts and blows, from the constant gauntlet he put himself through. Most important, she knew the man behind the wall of darkness and pain, the tormented soul crying out for companionship.
She wasn't sure if what they had was love, but when they laid there in bed, in each others arms, both their worries seemed to melt away, curled together in the folds of his cape, it hardly seemed to matter. They were complete. She could feel his reluctance to leave as the sun set, and he vanished out into the night, to continue his mission.
She would miss him, as always. But, they would meet again, in the night.
A familiar shape darted past in the corner of her eye, vanishing among the cluster of rooftops of Gotham. Smiling, Catwoman stood, gazing after the shadowy form she had come to know and love. A small meow broke her out of her reverie.
Stroking against her mistress leg, the Siamese cat named Isis purred happily, wanting to be picked up by her owner. Catwoman did so happily, the cat had been her companion even before she had donned the costume. Stroking the sleek fur of her feline friend, pressing the small warm body to her, she chuckled.
"Another night, dear Isis. We will go to him another night."
He is… Father
Far away from Gotham, just outside New York City, there was a reputable college know as Hudson University. It was a famous campus, having such reputable alumni as scientist Crystal Frost, Louise Lincoln, and professor Martin Stein, now known to the world as the superhero Firestorm.
It had yet another famous student, though known to none but a select few. A young man named Dick Grayson sat in his small dorm room, looking out through the window towards the lights of New York. He knew he should be studying, but on nights like this, it proved impossible. His mind kept drifting back to the rooftops of Gotham, of the man he had come to know as…father.
They had been known as the Flying Grayson's, among the best acrobats in the world. He could still remember his father and mother, though their kind faces had faded from his memory over the years, only having grainy newspaper clippings to remember them by, how they flew among the trapeze far above the crowd. He remembered the roar of the crowd, the pride of his father when he had managed to perform a difficult manoeuvre.
Then, one night, his world had shattered. He still wasn't sure what had transpired before the performance, all he knew was that a man named Tony Zucco had tried to extort the circus for money. It didn't matter…
When the dust had settled, his parents laid dead, and only 8 years old, he was alone in the world.
He never thought his heart would heal, he wanted to die, to follow his parents to the grave. He had lost everything that mattered to him. Most of all, he wanted revenge. And then, he came…
He had never heard of Bruce Wayne before, to a young boy at the circus, such things didn't matter much. But he came to him, dried his tears, told him that he knew what he felt right then, that he too lost his parents as a child, that he had a place for him to go. And he had gone with him.
It had been rough, of course. Bruce had never been a parent, didn't know how to care for a child. He supposed his attitude hadn't helped either, sullen and angry at his loss. But, very soon after, he learned of his new guardians' secret.
And so, Robin was born.
He had brought the costume with him when he left for college, knowing he might need it. His thoughts drifted to the red and yellow suit, hidden under a false panel in his closet. He remembered swinging across the rooftops, following the dark knight in his quest for vengeance, for justice. He remembered battles and games of wit with the madmen of Arkham, the demonic grin of The Joker, the teasing smile of Catwoman, more friend than enemy, the cold stare of Mr Freeze, the inquisitive voice of The Riddler, telling him riddles that made his head swim…
Sighing, he turned back to his books. It was nights like this when he longed for the past the most. He had left for college to further his education, and had chosen one far away, to carve his own path, but still, he found it hard to let go. He missed the thrill and excitement, sure, but most of all he missed… his father.
"You can never go home again…"
He is… Purpose
Most people knew to stay off the streets of Gotham after dark. Especially here, in East End, where crime was never far off. And especially when the mad laughter of a clown echoed through the dark, empty alleyways.
"Let me tell you a story" the mad clown said to no one in particular.
The twisted creature known to the world as The Joker giggled madly to himself. A grotesque parody of a grin forever carved onto his face, dressed in what had once been a purple suit, now filthy and stained with blood, a gag flower attached to his jacket.
His mind was muddled, torn and twisted beyond repair by something that had happened long ago. He wasn't even sure what that was anymore, he always remembered it differently. Sometimes he thought for sure he had been a hitman for the mob once, the next he seemed to remember an abusive childhood. He didn't like the one where he remembered being a failed comedian though, who could possibly not find him funny?
It didn't really matter of course, all he knew for sure was the night when he had emerged from a pool of chemicals, his mouth bleeding profously, and he had been himself! Oh what jolly fun he would have!
Standing above the insane scribbles and notes, apparent gibberish to everyone but him detailed his latest plan. He had already racked up a whole bunch of stiffs, based on a strange pattern he had found in the phone book, not for any particular goal, mostly because he thought it would be funny if he did, and it was! And even more fun to watch the coppers scramble to make any sense of it.
No one had a sense of humor anymore.
And then there was dear old Batsey, of course. Big mean old grumpy Batman who always tried to ruin his fun. Oh, but he wouldn't have it any other way! Batman was the only one whom he could butt heads with, his only equal in this festering hole. Without Batman around, he might just go insane! What would they do without eachother?
Cackling as he scribbled madly in the phone book in front of him, tracing the way to his next victim, wanting to get some more bodies together, before Batman found him. He was more than happy to face off against dear old Batsey, especially now that he had gotten rid of that bird boy of his.
"Seriously, whats with that? A young boy in tights? Heehee, Batman, you ARE a pervert!"
Giggling, he made a mental note to use that gag with Batman again, it always seemed to get under his skin. Or just shoot him, he hadn't decided which yet.
The hairs on his neck stood up suddenly, and he knew. He knew before he heard the shattering of glass and the slight rustle of a dark cape as the owner soared in through the window. Turning around, locking eyes with the dark figure before him, he let out a howling laughter.
He is… Saviour
Life had not been good to the soft spoken, timid man known as Arnold Wesker. Gotham was not a place for his kind, those with weak wills or gentle souls. The city fed on them, it drained them, leaving only empty shells, devoid of hope or emotion. He had lived in Gotham all his life, beaten and tormented by everyone, until finally, one day, he had struck back, murdering a tormentor.
He had been sentenced to life in Blackgate Prison, and as hard as it seemed, this place was actually worse than life on the outside. Nobody cared, the guards were just as sadistic as the inmates and the outside… no one missed him on the outside.
All that he had was a talent he had nursed since childhood, the ability to throw his voice, ventriloquism. He made crude dummies in prison, practicing with them, trying to keep busy, to keep sane. But it was all for naught.
His cellmate was named Rocko, a monster of a man, who got sadistic pleasure out of the fear he instilled in poor Wesker. Then, one day, that wasn't enough. He still couldn't reflect on what had happened that night, but when it was over, his body wracked with pain, Wesker cried for the first time in years, feeling like his head was about to burst. That's when he had heard it.
One of his puppets spoke to him, calling itself Scarface. It never even dawned to him that he might have gone insane, it just… made sense. From that point on, Scarface was in charge. He had murdered Rocko in his sleep, and under Scarface's directions, escaped through a sewer pipe. And on that road it was. He became The Ventriloquist, together with Scarface, they plagued Gotham for years, and though he tried to resist Scarface's evil on occasion, he always yielded, always returned to the twisted dummy.
But Batman had opposed them. And Batman had understood. Batman had talked to him, begging him to resist Scarface. That Scarface wasn't the one in charge. It had been so hard, he had tried so many times, but Scarface always returned. No matter how many times the dummy was destroyed, it came back. He didn't remember rebuilding it, but… it kept coming back!
But, then, one night, Batman had foiled yet another one of their plans, but Wesker had him at gunpoint. The memory came flooding back. Batman, standing there, asking Wesker to surrender, to stop listening to Scarface. Scarface laid on the railing, berating him, screaming at him, calling him dummy.
And he opened fire.
And he hit Scarface. Over and over, the machine gun spewed it's fire into the wooden body, finally blasting it off the railing into a woodchipper!
And that had been the last words he had ever heard Scarface say. He had been quiet ever since. He had never come back. Batman had taken him away, not to Arkham, another asylum, away from Gotham. And his mind had slowly healed. Slowly the pain and fear had shrunk away, to a tiny corner of his brain. And Scarface was gone.
He had a new life now, entertaining children on a kids show, using his talent for good, building a new life, far away from his old one. He loved working with children, make them laugh, making up for the evil deeds Scarface had done.
Nights like this, he sat in his apartment, looking out into the dark sky, wondering what the man who had saved him did now. He wondered if his salvation had mattered to the dark knight, if it gave him some comfort to know that at least one of his foes felt gratitude for him.
He had been lost once, and still, so many in Gotham were lost. People like him, who needed someone, anyone, who cared. And Batman was that man. Wesker truly belived that if anyone could save Gotham, it would be The Batman.
"Don't ever give up…"