A/N: OK, so this just popped into my head yesterday. I don't know how good it'll be, but it's different. Let me know!

The Knights of Gotham

"Dent?" Gordon called out to the blackness of the warehouse.

No reply. Gordon makes his way deeper. Up the stairs, searching for a sign of his family. He peers around the corner, finally spotting Barbara and their two children huddled together. He moves towards them. Barbara is shaking her head-

Without warning, Dent appears next to him, cracking a gun over his skull. Gordon crumples to the ground, eyes watering, legs giving out. From this side, in the

moonlight, Dent looks completely normal.

"This is where they brought her, Gordon. After your people handed her over. This is where they bound her. This is where she suffered. This is where she died," Dent's voice was strained, harsh. Much like another "Knight" of Gotham.

"I know. I was here. Trying to save her," Gordon looks up in confusion, desperation, and pity.

Dent turns, and Gordon winces at the scarring.

"But you didn't, did you?"

"I couldn't."

"Yes, you could. If you'd listened to me- if you'd stood up against corruption instead of doing your deal with the devil…"

Barbara whimpers in the background, and Gordon wants nothing more than for his family to survive this, even if he himself doesn't.

"I was trying to fight the mob-" He tries, but Dent interrupts with a look of fury.

"You wouldn't dare try to justify yourself if you knew what I'd lost. Have you ever had to talk to the person you love most, wondering if you're about to listen to them die? You ever had to lie to that person? Tell them it's going to be all right, when you know it's not? Well, you're about to find out what that feels like. Then you'll be able to look me in the eye and tell me you're sorry."

Dent turns. He walks over to Barbara, putting a gun to her temple…

"Harvey. Put the gun down. You're not going to hurt my family," Gordon tries to make his voice firm, demanding, but there's no denying the tremble of fear.

"No, just the person you need most," the expression on Dent's face was truly frightening now. He cocks the gun.

"So is it your wife?" He asks.

"Put the gun down," Gordon says calmly, recalling his training. Always be patient. Never show fear.

Dent moves the gun to point at Gordon's daughter.

"Please, Harvey..." Gordon's begging now.

Dent moves to Jimmy. Brushes the hair out of the boy's eyes with the muzzle. Gordon can't hold in his anger any longer.

"Goddamit! Stop pointing that gun at my family, Dent!"

"We have a winner," Dent smiles and pulls the boy away from his mother.

"No! Jim stop him! Don't let him!" Gordon ignores Barbara and follows Dent with his eyes as he pulls his only son to the precipice.

"I'm sorry, Harvey. For everything. But, please. Please don't hurt him." Please, Oh God, please leave my son alone…

Sirens sound nearby, and Dent turns with fury.

"You brought your cops?"

"All they know is there's a situation. They don't know who, or what. They're just creating a perimeter."

"You think I want to escape?! There's no escape from this-" Dent indicates his face. His suffering.

"No one needs to escape, because no one's done anything wrong. And nobody has to," Gordon tries.

Dent simply chuckles. A macabre sight. His scarred half remains still, while the good half wrinkles in laughter.

"I've done plenty wrong, Gordon. Just not quite enough. Yet." Dent squeezes the gun a little tighter against the Jimmy's neck. The boy whimpers.

And miraculously, as if a sign from God, Gordon's favorite raspy voice sounds from the corner of the burnt warehouse.

"You don't want to hurt the boy, Dent."

Dent turns. Batman steps from the shadows.

"It's not about what I want. It's about what's fair. You thought we could be decent men in

an indecent world. You thought we could lead by example. You thought the rules could be bent but not break... you were wrong. The world is cruel."

Dent holds his coin into a sliver of light, admiring it.

"And the only morality in a cruel world is chance. Unbiased. Unprejudiced. Fair."

"Nothing fair ever came out of the barrel of a gun, Dent," Batman wheezes.

"His boy's got the same chance she had. Fifty-fifty."

Batman steps closer, desperate, trying to reach Dent.

"What happened to Rachel wasn't chance. We decided to act. We three. We knew the risks and we acted as one. We are all responsible for the consequences."

Dent looks at Batman. Pleading.

"Then why was it only me who lost everything?" He bursts, tearing up.

Batman looks into Dent's eyes. Emotional.

"It wasn't."

"The Joker chose me!" Dent screams in fury.

Batman opens his mouth, but says nothing. It closes again, and Dent shakes his head.

"Nobody in Gotham can possibly know the pain I'm in! Nobody loved Rachel like I did, nobody!" Dent bellows, loosening his grip on Jimmy.

"Somebody did," Batman murmers, barely audible.

"Oh really?" Dent says, sarcasm dripping from his words as he tilts his head. "Who?"

For a few moments, there is nothing. Then Batman inhaled deeply, as if debating. And Gordon understood.

"NO!" He screams at him, "No!"

Batman looks at him, then turns to his family.

Gordon understands, and looks at his wife.

"Get out of here," he orders, "Go home. I'll be there later."

His wife stands up, pulls their daughter to her feet, and leaves, glancing back at her son with worry.

"He'll be fine," Gordon promises, and she disappears.

Batman turns back to Dent and takes a step closer. He reaches up to the sides of his face and pulls off his cowl. For a moment, his face is indistinguishable. Dent and Gordon squint through the darkness.

"Wayne?" Dent's mouth falls open, and he releases Gordon's son, who rushes back to his father. Dent takes a step back.

"You're not the only one who's lost, Dent," Batman-Bruce Wayne- walks slowly towards Dent, his mask draping loosely from his hand. His voice is normal now, with no need to disguise it.

Dent is at a loss for words. His mouth opens and closes. The sight would have been comical, if not for the disfigurement. Gordon's mind is at work, looking back, calculating. He realizes he should have known sooner. It was obvious that Batman was wealthy, with all the technology needed to produce his car, weapons, suit. But Wayne had never seemed like someone who initiated justice, never seemed smart enough to pull a stunt like this off. It wasn't entirely his fault for not guessing. Wayne was a damn good actor.

"You realize, now," Wayne says, continuing to step towards Dent, "That you aren't the only one who's lost. I've loved Rachel since we were children. She meant just as much to me as she did to you."

Wayne stops, he's only a foot away from Dent now.

"She wouldn't have wanted this, you know," he says softly, concern evident in his voice, "She loved you. She wouldn't have wanted to see you become a monster. Rachel believed in you, she believed you were good. Do you really want to disappoint her?"

Dent looks up.

"Give me the gun, Harvey," Wayne holds out a hand, "Nobody has to get hurt. Nobody has to know what happened. Give me the gun and be the man Rachel loved."

Dent looks at the gun in his hand, glances at Wayne. He holds the gun out tentatively, hesitates before dropping it into Wayne's hand.

Gordon sighs in relief, and Wayne removes the bullets before stuffing the gun into his belt.

Dent falls to the ground in tears, cradling his face in his hands. Blonde hair shakes as his sobs wrack his body.

"What are we gonna do?" Dent asks, looking at Wayne, trying to picture Batman but only seeing the young boy in the police station, tearing up after his parents' death.

"Harvey Dent won't be blamed for any of this."

Gordon is incredulous.

"Five dead? Two of them cops? We can't sweep that under-"

"No. But the Joker cannot win. Gotham needs it's true hero." He looks down at Dent, who's tearstreaked face is looking up in confusion.

"You? You can't-"

"Yes, I can."

"No." Dent stands, shaking his head, "You won't take the blame for me."

Batman stands and faces the two men.

You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. I can do those things because I'm not a hero, like Dent. I killed those people. That's what I can be."

"No, you can't!" Gordon exclaims in anger, "You're not!"

Batman hands Gordon his police radio.

"I'm whatever Gotham needs me to be."

Batman hurries off. Limping into the shadows.

"Batman?!" Jimmy runs over to the edge, "Why's he running, dad?"

Gordon stares after Batman. Dent looks guilty as the boy stands so close to him.

"Because we have to chase him..."

"He didn't do anything wrong! Why, dad? Why?!"

"Because...he's the hero Gotham deserves...but not the one it needs right now."

Dent turns to Gordon.

"I'm so sorry, Jim," he says, "For everything. I…I don't know if I can do this. I don't deserve to be free after this. I should be locked up."

Gordon shakes his head.

"Gotham needs you, Dent. They need someone to believe in, they need a hero. Batman is risking his life to give them that hero. Don't disappoint."

Gordon takes his son's hand and walks off, leaving Dent to stare off in the distance.

So we'll hunt him, because he can

take it. Because he's not our

hero...

...he's a silent guardian, a watchful

protector... a dark knight.