I dedicate this chapter to my friend Rhonda, who always sends cards on important days and is always fun to talk to.
The Dark Knight sits, bound and gagged, in the dark. The manacles normally wouldn't be a problem, but at present his left arm is broken and he is barely able to stay conscious, so he isn't getting himself out of this. His upcoming death wouldn't be a pointless one though. That night the Batman had defeated an insane cult leader (who is now dead do to his own lack of balance) and had saved almost a hundred men, women, and children. He just couldn't save himself.
The door opens and two cultists grab him roughly and drag him out. They've cleared an area and have a sword ready. They're faith must be true, as the fall (literally) of their master wasn't enough to break it. In fact they tased, beat, and bound the hero within seconds of their leaders death. It is true that the Batman's will, training, and preparation is what has made him a man to reckoned with, but he has to admit that luck had a lot to do with his continued survival. As one of the cultists picks up the broadsword he is sure that the luck has finally run out.
Not a pointless death though, he thinks to himself, I saved them, and these mad fools were too busy dealing with they didn't go after them.
The gag is pulled from his mouth and the one with the sword points the blade at his throat. "Any last words before we smite you from this world, demon?" he asks.
The Batman thinks about his friend Gorden and how he's going to be doing the job by himself now. He thinks about Alfred, in many ways as much his father as Tomas Wayne. He thinks about his city, sitting dark and proud in the night. He thinks about the blue eyed farm boy, and hopes he'll look in on his city from time to time. He thinks about the mischievous cat who is capable of so much more than petty theft. And then he thinks about a beautiful princess who was the closest thing to perfection he'd ever seen.
"I have no regrets," the dark hero answers. "Someone else will get the rest of you, and I'll be waiting for you when you get to Hell."
The cultist raises his sword and the Batman's stare never wavers. The blade never falls though, as before the madman can make his cut the wall behind him burst inward. In the hole stands the vision of perfection the Dark Knight thought of a second before, clothed in her usual red, white, and blue. Wonder Woman quickly assess the situation and glares at the man with the sword. "Drop the blade, this is your only warning," she orders.
"The Demon will die! Begone whore!" the sword wielder shouts as he swings his blade at the Amazon.
Wonder Woman blocks the blade with her bracelet, then easily clocks him one, knocking him out. The rest of the cultists rush her and try to bring her down, only to be knocked away, one by one, and bounce off the walls then drop witless to the ground. One gets back up, pulls out a knife, grabs the Dark Knight, and pulls him up so that he stands between him and the angry superheroine, then press the blade to the Caped Crusader's throat.
"Let me walk out of here, or I promise that I'll spill his blood," the villain says.
The Batman elbows his assailant in the stomach and head buts him hard hard in the face, then both men slump to the floor.
Diana rushes over and takes the hero in her arms. "Batman, its alright, I'll get you out of here," she tells him.
"I didn't think anyone was coming to save me," he tells her right before he loses conciseness.
The Batman wakes up later in the clinic of Leslie Thompkins. "Its sad that I can honestly say I've seen you in worst shape," the good doctor says, checking his cast.
"Alfred teach you bedside manner?" he asks, wondering why he's still in his mask.
"Who are you kidding, I taught it to him," she answers. "The only reason he's not here by the way is that I sent him to bed an hour ago. But you do have one visitor."
Leslie steps aside to reveal Diana Princess of Themyscira. "Its good to see you doing better," she says.
"How did you find me?" Batman asks.
"The news report said that neither the rest of the cultists or you had been seen, and I...had a feeling. So I flew over the area and listened until I heard your heartbeat," she answers.
"Thank you," Bruce tells her.
The Princess smiles, knowing how rare it is to hear that from the man. "You've been there for me, so I'll be there for you," she says.
Then Wonder Woman leaves her friend to heal, with the beautiful rhythm of his heart beat still in her ears.
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