It took a while... but I'm back! I didn't jump off a cliff, get stabbed by a foil, run over by Sphere, or even run through by lightsabers. I'm in one piece and in pretty good condition. Anyways, sorry it took so long. This has been literally haunting me for the past few days. I typed it up, sent it to Diligens to look over, and - BAM - now officially on the FanFiction website.

Thank you, Diligens, for looking this over.

Disclaimer: Not mine, not mine, not mine. *sigh*

When it comes to my Dark Knight persona, it's pretty straightforward. I say, "Go!" and you go. I say, "Do this," and you do it. If I tell you to distract Joker's pack of hyenas or to stay put while Bane is crushing everything around you to bits, you will do it. You'll hate me for it during and maybe after, but you'll do it because I won't take no for an answer.

Ever.

I'm an amazing actor, really. During the day I'm swinging billionaire bachelor Bruce Wayne, the White Knight of Gotham, a man without a care in the world. Then night swallows light, and I'm the Dark Knight, hated by the scum of the city and half of the police department. I am vengeance, the night personified. A man who – even those in the superhero community – will say, I'm too willing to sacrifice everything in order to achieve a goal. Some say I'm the devil himself, threatening my "friends" in order to get what I want.

And they say my paranoia is unfounded.

I will be ruthless, unrelenting, and harsh all – no, most of the time. I will hate your guts if you disagree with me and disobey my orders, but contrary to what people will tell you, that is not the worst thing I could hear. Alfred knows (the looks are all too obvious), and Dick has a clue.

"What do you value most?"

First of all, if you have kidnapped Dick/Robin, you should be leaving him on top of the Police Headquarters and giving yourselves up. I won't beat you up… too badly. Second, get a better line. I don't appreciate guessing games.

I remember the first time I heard that line. Joker was the first villain to figure out that getting to me would require Robin. He knocked out my little bird, trussed him up, and was carving little smiles on his skin when I arrived. Complete annihilation took less than three minutes. I hauled Joker's snot-nosed, bleeding, bruised face up by the neck, and prepared to take my final swing. As I looked at the evil clown, I saw Robin's limp body with bleeding knife wounds and scarred skin. I knew that the courts would either sentence that maniac to Arkham (where he'd soon escape from) or let him go free, but I also knew that I could not let myself be the judge, not even once. I would become what I fought against, and I would let Alfred and Dick down. I'm pretty sure, though, that the police would have been okay with it given Joker's breakout and killing spree less than two weeks later. That madman won't quit.

I left the Joker behind for the police as I left for the Batcave, where I tended to my unconscious partner. Fortunately, Robin's a fast healer. A few months passed and then Bane decided he would kidnap Robin and threaten not just me but also the entire police department; that he would break the kid's back if his ransom demands weren't met by midnight.

Alfred was that close to forbidding Robin from continuing his nightly activities, followed closely by Gordon and most of the League (unfortunately, they had been watching). It took a lot of… talking… on my part and Robin clinging to me to convince them to not take him away.

After that it became almost a ritual every time we went out, so we developed a tally system. Joker topped the list at 9 times, then came Bane at 3, Freeze at 2, and Penguin at 7. Normal villains came in around 5. And that was just Robin's tally. Dick Grayson, on the other hand, got kidnapped at least 13 times by the local mafia. The supervillains had left him alone… at least, he hasn't been kidnapped by Joker or Freeze yet. Bane held him hostage right before Thanksgiving, and Penguin almost succeeded right before Christmas vacation. Robin – Dick – barely had enough time to heal before school started again as Leslie didn't let him off the IV drips until the day before. His teammates couldn't see him for if they did, they'd discover his secret identity. Not going to happen.

Doing it my way or the high way. Willing to sacrifice everything for the cause. Threatening people I care about in order to complete the mission.

I may be cold, but I am not a monster.

Not yet.

You target my son; you will have earned the beating I have prepared for you.

That's a promise.