Disclaimer: I don't own nothin'.

Author's Note: Was inspired to write this after completing Batman: Black and White. Theoretically there are a number of ways to interpret it, so very curious what you guys think.


On the Shores of Cocytus

Sometimes, I wonder if I'm really doing the right thing. Gotham is a dark and unforgiving city, her streets clotted with faces, memories, atrocities that nobody knows about until it's too late. Every night I explore her scars a little more intimately and part of me wants to do whatever it takes to punish those responsible. I will not watch another child destroyed, blood so vivid in that instant only to be washed away by rain and time until he barely remembers anything of childhood at all. It isn't fair.

But there are always new wounds to discover. As one we decorate ourselves with bullets and body bags. When sirens call we are the ones who follow. Our passion for self-annihilation is unrivaled in the outside world.

Sometimes, those crippled by Gotham strike back. It doesn't matter if the threat has been neutralized, the enemy slain, no further source of agony but a festering mass of puss and brain tissue that screams I am still dying. I don't know how to save everyone.

I don't feel like a hero.

My father the doctor understood what death and sacrifice meant. In life there are patients simply beyond saving. They might go in pain, he explained, but they don't have to go alone.

I have heard you, who think Gotham's criminals are a disease—a cancer to be eradicated at any cost. You liken me to an inexpert surgeon afraid of amputating the wrong limb, afraid to act, allowing the whole body to waste away in front of me.

Maybe you're right.

But unlike my father I cannot surrender to inevitability. Tonight a man donned his mask and watched me across the rooftop. He raised his gun. Smiled. Pulled the trigger.

Fell.

A week from now there will be no trace. People will hurry past not out of superstition or fear but because other places are more important.

We, Gotham, have no apologies.

I offer my farewell.