Disclaimer: Batman © DC Comics.

Sacrifice

"I killed those men."

The words were uttered so calmly, so blandly, that Gordon couldn't stop his horrified reaction.

"But you're not!"

Batman turned his gaze to him, and Gordon could feel the weight that the man must suffer through. "I'm whatever Gotham needs me to be. I killed those men."

For a moment, neither spoke. Gordon took a step forward, placing his hand on the injured man's shoulder. Batman almost jerked back, but forced himself to hold still. Quietly, so softly the young boy sitting near them wouldn't hear, he murmured, "But you're not that man, Bruce. I know you're not." The same man that had saved the petty money changer who would have ratted him out would never have just upped and killed five men, three of which were cops. It sickened Gordon to be forced to vilify this man.

Batman offered a small smile, and for the first time Gordon could see Bruce Wayne behind the mask. "You know." Bruce whispered. "And for now, that's all that matters." His eyes shifted over to where Gordon's son was slowly starting to stand up, an awed look on his face. Quickly, he redirected his gaze to the cop. "What about the boy?"

"He'll know the truth." Gordon said immediately. "You saved his life. He'd never believe anything else." Batman nodded. Gordon pulled back, allowing Batman to pull back and run away.

Gordon understood, after a fashion. Batman had spent his entire existence fighting to protect Gotham. If Harvey Dent was prosecuted, if the city found out what the Joker had done to their white knight, then everything was lost. The city would go right back to where it had been before.

So Gordon understood the sacrifice. He just hated that it had to come from a man who probably understood sacrifice even more than Commissioner Gordon himself did.