Author's Notes: This chapter contains many material from recent and some history of the comics, and is probably the heaviest on that of all, things will 'mellow' on content from next chapter on. As a comic-reader who knows no boundaries in moderation this will be applied with common knowledge from said sources. Must pinpoint that the expertise point in here is anything Batman related, and while some characters of the whole DC Universe may not be my first pick, everything portrayed happens for an ultimate reason in here. I've got no intentions on flaming anyone's favorite characters at anything seeing this is a product of my thoughts. Also, pairings will form eventually. This story will contain slash as well, even if it's from minor to greater points. If you don't like it don't read.
Disclaimer: All the characters belong to DC and I only use them for entertainment purposes. I own nothing. If I did the reboot wouldn't exist. Like other details.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Summary:Post-apocalyptic world. Six long years ago the world fell apart at the hands of Leviathan. Now, the Bats must decide if past events and strained relationships are to be put aside to end the Empire, while trying to remain alive. Pre-reboot.
Eventual Pairings: Dick/Jason and Dick/Tim with Dick being the center of the triangle; hints of Tim/Conner, one sided Tim/Stephanie, and one sided Dick/Barbara, Minor Bruce/Selina and Bruce/Talia.
Warning(s): Foul language, and mentions of death.
Thursday November 3rd, 2011 Words: 4,460
Edited: Wednesday Agust 20th, 2014 Words: 4,503
War of the Bats
By Robin Wingster
Chapter I.- Remembrance on the Beginning of the End.
It started one Monday morning all those years ago. Cassandra, being the representative of Batman Incorporated on the Far East came out with a very strong lead on the head of 'Leviathan(1)', something that meant a one-of-a-kind opportunity to seize the ten-thousand or so heads that were part of Leviathan's army before it went all-the-way to a Global scale.
Of course Bruce was the first to know.
Cass went after her father immediately, providing all the information she had on the lead and requesting Bruce's presence to secure the assignment that could possibly mean having an advantage against the enemy.
It all came downwards after that.
Everyone knew how Bruce Wayne, the first Batman, kept things close-to-the-chest when it came to his own investigations, enemies, and city. His overzealous nature bordering on obsession with everything that involved Gotham City was well-known among the other capes—especially the ones who were Metas. The only one who were truly allowed the liberty to meddle in his business—and not without too many liberties—were the members of his family, and all the same, they themselves were within that overzealous hold of the Wayne Patriarch.
So when word came-out to the rest of the superheroes' community about the return of the Bat, and subsequently, the foundation of 'Batman Incorporated' declared to the world, no-one had any idea of what to think; this coming from a man that preferred his solitude and kept his reservations with even those who claimed to know him best. Members of the League attempted to take part of this new team of Batmen; to offer their aid, support, or knowledge to the billionaire without success, Bruce remaining adamant on any forming part of his special brigade of closest allies, or as usual, about sharing his private business and motives behind his actions.
In a place where ego's are concerned many were left with a sour taste; being frowned-upon and neglected of their services when something clearly important was going-on right under their noses.
High numbers of neglected ones broke-up their relationships with the Dark Knight and his partners, while others tried to go towards the more friendly-ones in search of answers, finding the Younger Batman of Gotham City far more understanding and easy to get along with; or Red Robin and the Outsiders more indulgent on distributing Intel; the new girl on England amicable enough to share since she was once frowned-upon; even the quiet-one in Hong Kong a better reliable source, though it went with no accomplishment. The children knew how to keep their mouths shut; not directly enunciating their refusal to allocate what others were so fervently trying to find-out, but clearly establishing where boundaries stood.
Superman was the first option. If Batman had seen something on his Travel-through-time important enough to be handing-out Bat-costumes around the World, it certainly concerned every-member of the Society. Who better than the Man of Steel to know what all the secrecy was about?
It didn't work. Bruce sent Clark home without as much as a "We're working on it" coupled with a closed-door. Conner went next, his relationship with Tim not quite defined but special in their working, nevertheless returning with the exact same four words as his source, and his heart-aching. Kara tried after him, working to gather-up her courage for something that was clearly unheard of—since when had Tim and Conner not shared anything bosses be damned?—as she went to Stephanie's apartment on England. Three days later she came to the Fortress of Solitude just as withdrawn Superboy had. Whilst none of the two teenagers had been disdainful with their friends, the wound of being sent home nothing short of the same sentence stung.
Wally(2) had talked with the other three of the original Fab Five(3) in-regards to their 'Fearless Leader'; the four being preoccupied the Romani was taking a toll with the enormous pressure of keeping his place with his family. Even still, the group knew Dick enough to let the young man decide if he needed them, hoping he would reach for them before he got his ass backhanded to him.
The Gothamite Clan had openly declared that it wasn't anyone's business but their own. Nothing that unusual and yet oddly unheard-of all the same.
Bruce had sent word to his associates of Batman Inc. of Black Bat(4)'s findings, arriving on Hong Kong immediately afterwards to deal with the matters and leaving the others to stand-by in case they were needed.
When in Hong Kong, Bruce and Cass got intercepted with numerous calls from their agents stating impressive precise-military attacks on their respective bases. They got detained on the sewers, fighting their way-back on what was obviously a set-up to have the Original busy elsewhere while Leviathan ran wild. Batwing(5) was the first to make a complete report in the middle of the assault. Mtamba was suffering serious losses and everything was engulfed by flames; an impressive number of two-thousand or so burning Africa, taking the youngsters and leaving death behind them. Some superheroes on their own part of the league or not went there too, having heard the distress-calls from the African government, but they weren't nearly enough to contain that level of massacre.
El Gaucho(6) came-up next. The state of Argentina was so bad that the Cartels were partaking in the battle to regain their floor. Military rampaging against the Drug Lords and those of Leviathan invading their country—hijacking their children; blood and inferno everywhere they went. Gaucho stated a number close to that of three-thousand on their backs; bodies splaying all-over the place, and not near-enough man power or bat-technology to defend their posts for longer.
By the time Santiago had made full-contact, Oracle, who was under-ground on Australia assisting the Dark Ranger(7) on his own Crisis, had already went past Wayne Tech R.B. computer's hardware and released the G.I. Robots(8) at Dick's orders. Lucius Fox had managed to come-up with eight-hundred-and-fifty-seven models before he met his supposed demise(9), having to enforce himself on the design of better Jet-Suits(10) for the Bat-members. They weren't nearly enough to scout-out their enemies, and Barbara drove the G.I.'s in equal numbers to Paris, where Nightrunner(11) was overwhelmed by riots of the citizens against the government, himself, and Leviathan's deadly attacks; to Mr. Unknown(12) in Japan, who had managed to fend-off a small group while taking cover to prepare for a counter-attack, other heroes in the area giving him a hand to free the citizens from the hits; she gave Great Britain special detail to attention, since Batgirl(13) was on another sector and had managed to rendezvous along with the Knight(14) and Squire(15), having a more organized front towards the enemy but with pretty much the same casualties; The Hood(16) hadn't made contact with any of them, and was reported as M.I.A. to their band in the meantime; Argentina came next on her list, seeing as Santiago was clearly losing his precise footing; and along came the others, leaving Kate Kane, the current Batwoman with the last pack of her G.I's back on Washington(17).
Dick had instructed Tim to proceed with their plans with the Outsiders' help, while he and Robin, along with no more than a hundred of G.I.'s stood on their posts to guard Gotham. He'd also sent word to his Original Team of standing-put on their places and prepare for the worst. Alfred had proven himself as dutiful and resourceful as ever as he assisted Oracle on commanding half-the-extent of the G.I.'s via the Internet 3.0 that Bruce had engineered on the bunker, permitting at the same time the space the redhead needed in order to locate Bruce and Cass to deal with the aftermath in the plan they had created.
As reluctant as Red Robin was, he left Gotham in the capable hands of his brother and the devil-spawn who wore his former skin, fearing the consequences. It wasn't a matter of trust on Dick protecting their city—their base, but this scenario reminded him of the last Crisis they all had to face when Bruce was lost in time and space, and he hoped Dick, Alfred, and even Damian wouldn't come to harm. The Outsiders where effective in their attacks, having all been previously instructed by Batman (like all his Agents) of this eventual scenario. The real issue came in the early date it started. According to Bruce, Leviathan wasn't going to make his move for another good six-months; a shock to every party-member when all inexplicably went south.
They lasted two weeks before Batman and Black Bat escaped their holdings, managing Hong Kong rather nicely and attempted communications with their allies. By this time, the casualties were vast. Bruce had expected considerable numbers, nonetheless not at the present scale. Hong Kong was the first one to accomplish a semblance of control before they took England away.
Batgirl, The Knight, Squire and the Hood were forced to retreat to Belgium, where an impressive number of refugees from all-over Europe strained to get to Netherlands for asylum given by Hawkman and Powergirl, trying to get past Germany to the rendezvous point in Russia, where Nightrunner and Batwing where already established and in-charge of Security Measures; aiding those they managed to conceal on their respective points of the globe via Internet 3.0.
El Gaucho and Batwoman, the latter who had flew to help the Argentinean, weren't fairing any better: having returned to their base on Buenos Aires while trying to regain the control they lost four-days ago to the Cartels mistaking them for Leviathan—or just seizing the opportunity to 'displace of them' as Santiago stated. Red Robin and the Outsiders went searching for Batman and Black Bat, having been the ones who located their signals and on the role of taking them back to Gotham City where Dick and Damian had been forced to make use of the Jet-Suits, providing Gordon with one as well as many members of the Network Dick and Cass had created not that long ago around the Globe. They were the ones with the best control-point on their whole operations, maintaining their criminals under-lock in the Asylum and the City's streets as clean as they could under the circumstances.
Then it happened.
It was an understatement the madness that had engulfed the World, and the obvious deaths that came along with it. Many heroes had died already in the name of good and justice: Dove, Vixen, Gypsy, Guy Lantern, The Question, Hawkgirl and Plastic Man to name a few. The list was starting to seem endless, and under any-means none had the time to grieve for their losses with the extent of damage they were trying to deal with.
But nobody expected Huntress' end.
Then came the Green Lantern John Stewart.
One by one they fell; in less than four-hours, six of the strongest Heroes had perished. Bruce and Cass followed the news with Tim and the Outsiders just as they reached the base in Russia. Paradise Island was offering refuge to women and children, Diana and Donna making their way to search for survivors. Cassie fighting alongside the remaining of the Teen Titans, trying to avoid thinking of her fallen teammates Starfire, Cyborg, and Garfield.
Aquaman had long-fallen, the Oceans now property of Leviathan and its minions attacking every port they could whilst Tempest had gone missing, presumed to be dead.
Garth wasn't the only one reported M.I.A.; amongst the more notorious were The Flash—Wally West, Kid Flash—Bart Allen, Red Arrow—Roy Harper, and Ravager—Rose Wilson.
Superman, for all it's worth and power was helpless against the attack, and he, as many others, began blaming Batman and his crew for it. Powergirl's death weighted him down, Lois safe on Paradise Island, but the damage done. Conner, Kara and Cir-El used the Fortress as haven for any who needed it, having put their brawns for more useful purposes.
Helena's death was a waking call. And Batman went with his Plan 'C', establishing the severity of the situation as Maximum, and resulting in something he did not wanted to undertake since his beginning of having the cowl-the time before his first Robin wiped the idea away from him:
Leviathan killed, and while they would never place themselves to that level, Bruce wasn't going to restrain-himself any longer.
He sent the signal, his associates receiving the call and preparing themselves for the worst they would probably do against enemy lines:
They had two-days to secure as many streets as they could before the beginning of Phase One. Red Robin was the first to go. Germany, while it hadn't its Batman Inc. representative, was under the care of the Bats, and had-like all the main capitals they could take care-of on that time-frame-a safe Base for any refugees. The Outsiders took their role in taking them to safety, assisted with the G.I.'s on Alfred's hands while in the meantime, Red Robin and Metamorpho used an improved advanced system Dr. Crane applied with his fear-gas toxins. Already with the antidotes inside their systems while they infected any-enemy in-line.
Soon, they all spread in the same manner; regaining control slowly by incapacitating Leviathan's army with a mix of Scarecrow's improved-toxin and some heavy snake's poison that guaranteed madness with temporal paralysis for 48 to 72-hours top. The remaining G.I.'s serving their purpose in apprehending those already taken care-of.
On their return to Gotham, on the 28th-day since the attack, while troops were salvaging their Countries and there was a semblance of peace on most points, Stephanie Brown, a.k.a. Batgirl, was taken prisoner and ransomed to her partners by the British Government and members of the League.
The blame went full-on to the Bats for the attack-even when Leviathan had already been seized for the most part, the majority of the captured children returned to their parents or guardians, and Wayne Enterprises was helping to rebuild the cities.
The only remaining Teen Titan, current Wonder Girl 'Cassie', (Superboy and Raven had been declared missing a week since the riots started) was part of this group of extremists that wasn't content with Batman Inc. Outrage inside her family flew at the sight of Stephanie Brown being unmasked on International Exposure. Bruce, Dick, Cass and Tim demanding her release, with no positive responses from others on their line of work. Even Damian spoke against such acts, demanding her freedom while Stephanie was transferred immediately afterwards to the Fortress of Solitude—undamaged—after the request of Superman, where he assured the authorities and publicly guaranteed to the World the imprisonment of the rest of the Batcrew.
Batman got angry.
The situation went awry.
Mr. Unknown was the next they captured, Dark Ranger and The Hood not having escaped their grasp for long, all of them unmasked and held for shame. Even Kara seemed unwilling to help Stephanie, keeping her on straight vigilance. A day didn't pass for the secrets to get-out. The residual members of the League didn't care any-longer for their identities to remain anonymous if it meant the multiple Batmen got to stay free. Months of resentment and days of world-massacre after massacre got them irate, blind, furious with the ones that threw humankind to the pits of hell.
Word got out. Bruce Wayne was Batman. And the World went mad.
It suddenly made sense. His bank accounts got frozen-not even Selina was capable to get past the vaults without risk being captured. Barbara was in-hiding on Russian underground-land and trying her best to use their Intel to their advantage. The bank accounts were not the only places were his money, his inversions, his properties were, but soon, every government took away what it could from Bruce Wayne and any of his Associates. Barbara and Lucius prevailed on saving the majority of Bruce's fortune on John Doe's secret Id's Bruce had created in case an eventually such as this proceeded.
Naturally the Mansion was the first place the authorities went to take care of; Jim Gordon opting for resigning his job and going into-hiding with Barbara with the help of Bruce, who later revealed her double-life as the first Batgirl years ago to her father.
Superman was the leader of the whole orchestra; demanding others to step-aside as he checked the Cave—not one citizen permitted to pass—and found it intoxicated with the green venom for his kin. Hal went to aid him, the whole Mansion submerged to microscopic levels of Kryptonite to ensure a form of protection and all of Superman's specialized protective-gears missing. The Mansion in itself was empty of relevant accessories. Rooms of his children vacant, paintings gone, wardrobe in-existent, furniture, mementos of their life marking the place as once full gone; making the gigantic ceilings and grand spaces give the illusion of a Monastery long forgotten. Underground (even the majestic Grandfather clock without trail) a suiting reflection was discovered: the cars, helicopters, submarines, weapons, uniforms—there was nothing significant in the Cave. Not the damn Dinosaur, or even the Penny; not the revered computer, and it left Clark with a sour taste on his mouth as he flew with the speed of light to the bunker, where he knew Dick had his Center base to find it like the remaining Green Lantern reported the Cave before being summoned away from Earth to the Guardians.
If Bruce—if Dick who was more understanding and rational than the old-man had informed them of what could happen the repercussions could have been avoided.
Knight and Squire got detained when they tried to break Stephanie and the others free, likewise receiving the donning of their capes. Diana refused to form part of this whole charade and confronted Superman on Gotham about his actions, until she found-out about Donna's missing state.
For three consecutive days they captured most of them: El Gaucho, Batwoman, Nightrunner, Batwing and the Outsiders. All held-up in different chambers with the rest of their team in the Fortress of Solitude.
They knew Bruce was waiting for the perfect opportunity to arise and free his allies. And they waited. In the meantime, the people were demanding payment for their blood. The destruction on a Worldwide scale was bad-terribly so that public nation went with their rage and blamed the Bats just like everyone else was doing it. It was an understatement that Bruce and his children were accustomed to being labeled bad at the public's eye, but they were demanding an eye-for-an-eye. Blood for Blood.
Cass came-up with a plan.
It involved Selina and Dick at her side, and Damian was fast to protest. His mother had vanished, probably taking part on this whole 'Hating Batmen' propaganda, and even if he didn't want to admit it, he was scared. He feared that if Stephanie and the others got caught, Dick and Bruce would share the same fate. It wasn't that he didn't have confidence in their abilities, or that he didn't wish to rescue his allies, but couldn't it involve someone else rather than Dick?
"Dick's agile and stealthy. Just like Selina and me. Better." Cassandra told him on their Underground Facility of Gotham's roots in the ocean. "We need to be covert."
"So send Drake and the harlot for all I care! Grayson stays here! Batman and Robin stay together!" Damian gritted-out to the girl while taking a protective stance in front of his older-brother. Tim glared at him from the corner of his eye standing next to Bruce, but Damian paid-him no mind. Grayson wasn't going anywhere near those aliens and trash without him.
"Damian," his father called-out in his gruff-voice and Damian spared him a glance before returning his glare against assassin while taking a defensive-stand in-case he needed violence to make his point.
"Father," he responded with irritation directed at the source. Why wasn't his father doing anything? He should know better than to risk his best soldier—though it pained to admit it—to the War for such a foolish action. Grayson's place was here until they came-up with a decent-strategy to prevail and return everything with as much a semblance to normalcy as they could given the recent turn of circumstances.
Even Todd was off-their radars. The pathetic excuse of a former Robin only communicating with Dick at undefined intervals to send him Intel of their current enemies.
Selina smirked and shook her head at his actions, obviously entertained though Damian couldn't care less for her. What her father saw in such an indecent-fickle female was beyond him.
"Every minute that goes-by we leave our troops to their luck, and I will not permit it any longer. Black Bat has a plan, and so far it's the best that's been discussed. We're doing it. No debate." Bruce said with his cowl in-place and cold-voice, making Damian's shoulders shiver in fear at the memory of the only time his father raised his voice at him.
"Then I am going too." The boy snarled in determination; clenching the knives he had on both hands. "If Grayson's going then I am going as well. Batman needs Robin." He repeated widening his stance.
"No." Bruce's reply was firm. Decision made.
"But-!" Damian started to retaliate when Bruce cut him off.
"You will only hinder them on their mission." The elder bat said and ignored Alfred's disapproving stare on his way.
"I am fully capable to stand my own-ground and have proven vastly on different occasions that I'm no hindrance whatsoever!" The ten-year-old shouted at his sire with his face hot-in-anger. Sensing movement behind him, he chanced a glance to see the oddly-quiet Grayson moving to stand beside him and placing one glove-less hand on his left shoulder; immediately turning to provide him his whole attention, but not before glaring at the other five individuals that shared this hideout with the Duo.
"Damian," Grayson started with a calm voice, and Damian knew what he was going to say before he even voiced-it.
"You promised." He growled in low-tones such as only Dick could hear him, and with a meaningful-look the last Flying Grayson gave the others, they backed-away as much as possible to give them the privacy they could on such a reduced space. It was enough for Damian. "You said we were partners. That we had each others' backs." Damian trembled as the words left his mouth and saw the acrobat clench his jaw momentarily.
"We are Damian," the older male told him in soft tones, a small smile gracing his attractive young-face when he looked at him, "but right now the other Batman needs you here." He told him with that stupid logic of his, and Damian's jaw tightened. "Sometimes Robin needs to step-down and watch from the sidelines; and I need someone here that I can trust to keep the Dynamic Duo kicking if something goes wrong."
Damian's navy-eyes hardened as he dropped his knives and tugged Grayson's collar; his cowl down just like every-single time he wasn't on public view left his shocked-expression nude for the boy when he pulled-him to his level and glared heatedly at his partner.
"'If something goes wrong?' " He mimicked the twenty-five year old's(18) voice ignoring Drake's yell to release Grayson, "How dare you to expect me to stand-by while you acknowledge the probability of you getting caught in the fucking fire?!" Damian screamed in his rage, and Dick's serene-smile only made his eyes water some more. It was infuriating.
"Damian, I'm not going to lie to you. You deserve better than that." Grayson told him softly without missing-a-beat and Damian had to swallow a big lump on his throat just as something in his chest throbbed-painfully. The masses had been demanding blood in retaliation for hours now, and the governments supported that claim. It was up to the capes if such was going to be the punishment, and so far, it appeared so.
If Grayson was quick to recognize it as a fact, then there wasn't much doubt to it. They were going to kill them.
"Dammit Grayson! Shut. Up!" The youngest Wayne growled at the young-adult. His shoulders shook and his legs gave-up on him, so he fell to his knees uneven and fighting the urge to release unwanted tears. He knew that tone, and it meant his Batman was determined beyond any reason to change cause, and that only meant that he would never come back. That he would never be his Batman to his Robin.
Gentle but strong arms surrounded his small figure, and for the first time, Damian Wayne didn't care if there were witnesses to see him when he returned the hug with as much force as his body allowed him and closed his eyes to ensure no water came out from them; both lanky arms gripping the Roma's lean back as he was held on the floor with a warm low-calming lullaby of his only friend in the world to soothe him away.
He was unaware of the dead-uncomfortable silence on the sidelines. They were the only ones left. The last seven—if Red Hood and Oracle weren't accounted for—of the family still standing, and despite their best efforts to ignore the possible negative outcomes, the crew knew that the risks were too-high, and the possibilities of being caught likely.
But was else could they do?
(1) A mysterious Criminal Organization that's Batman's main enemy on his new comic's Batman Incorporated.
(2) Current Flash. I love Wallace Rudolph West. And the original Teen Titans (dammit reboot. They actually left Dick without friends-seeing as Roy is currently with Jays not seemingly interested in his best bro).
(3) Lian is alive; Roy still has his arm, and is working with the League. That's what it should have been instead of messing up with him again. I hate how Roy can't catch a break.
(4) A.k.a. Cassandra Cain.
(5) A.k. Zavimbi.
(6) A.k.a. Santiago Vargas.
(7) See 'Batman Incorporated 006'.
(8) Potential-remote-control Soldiers with cut-edge-technology to support Batman's war on crime made by Wayne Tech. with Lucius Fox. See 'Batman: The Return.'
(9) See 'Red Robin 023'.
(10) Suits that provide increase human strength, and endurance as well as short-range flight capabilities to support Batman's war on crime made by Wayne Tech. with Lucius Fox. See 'Batman: The Return'.
(11) A.k.a. Bilal Asselah.
(12) A.k.a. Jiro Osamu.
(13) A.k.a. Stephanie Brown.
(14) A.k.a. Cyril Sheldrake.
(15) A.k.a. Beryl Hutchinson.
(16) British super-spy.
(17) Important city. Need her there.
(18) This age fits best.
~Author's Notes Edited:
Chapter changed many-typos that had either grammatical errors, or just weren't fitting. It changed slightly, but only on narrative procedures; no events were changed, removed or upgraded to this Chapter. Hopefully it's better to the taste.