AN: This is the final chapter, though I am considering an epilogue. Thank you all for reading. You're feedback has meant a great deal to me. I can't promise future batman stories, but with your overwhelming response, I'll certainly be entertaining different ideas. I also encourage those of you who liked the Xena TV series, to check out my body of work on that genre, though I warn you, some of it is in bad need of editing.
The Mighty Lu Bu
Batman shed his costume and became himself again, that is he shed the costume of the playboy Bruce Wayne and soared the night air as Batman. Beside him was Catwoman, and together they single mindedly heading for their target. The man who would dare victimize a little 10 year old girl. It was his time to pay, his turn to be the victim.
Victim; that was the wrong word. How can a rapist be a victim? Batman shook the questions from his mind, instead concentrating on bringing justice to the man who would dare…
A few hours ago at the Hospital
"Selena, what do you mean you know where he is?"
Selena stared into Bruce's eyes, "I found him last night, I was going to move on him tonight, but I wanted to see the little girl first before I left. You know, to bring things into perspective."
"And that is…"
Selena stated, "That no matter what, that little girl deserves…"
"Justice," Bruce finished.
Batman returned his thoughts to the moment at hand as they neared the place where the bastard lived. An old apartment complex near the river. There the scum stayed, sleeping in his warm comfortable bed. There it was that he would pay. Together they landed on the roof top.
Catwoman said, "Now Bat, that light, on the end, second from the ground. The pig is there."
Batman breathed in once. Taking vengeance would have given him pleasure years ago, but now that he knew and tasted vengeance and understood what it did to a man's soul. He did not smile, and yet knowing that the little girl who lay in the hospital would be freed from that burden of fear meant something to him.
Batman said, "Let's go…"
Batman and Catwoman swooped downward towards the apartment. Within a split second they smashed through the window catching a middle aged guy sitting at his computer. Batman threw him to the floor as Catwoman glanced at the laptop. She said, "Kiddy porn…"
Batman growled as he picked the man up by his shirt. The man shook before him in fear. A small a trickle of urine streaked down his leg. Batman stated, "So… you like little girls…"
The man turned white with fear, as he tried to protest but was flung across the room. Catwoman leapt around batman and punched the rapist in the face. He screamed for fear as Batman followed her. Catwoman stepped aside as she said, "You're the one who rescued the child, it's you're right."
Batman pulled the man to his feet, and then slammed him into the wall. The man tried to talk but Batman squeezed his larynx with both hands. Every dark thought came over batman once and for all. Memories of Joe Chill, the person who murdered his parents came into mind, and so many others from his early days when he would kill his targets.
The words of Gordon came to him, "We can't live like beasts murdering those who wrong us."
Batman breathed once in his face, releasing his grip he said, "I'm not a beast like you… you will not destroy me."
Catwoman protested, "Kill him Batman!"
Batman replied, "No! I won't go the path of vengeance again!"
Batman set the man to the floor as he started to smile, relieved that he should yet have his life. Then Batman stared down at him, a cold chill in his voice, "Don't smile creature… I'm not going to take your life. But I don't have to save it either."
The man shouted, "No please!"
Batman kicked him in the head shutting him up. He eyed Catwoman, "Vengeance is the wrong path… it is better to put this man in jail for the rest of his life. But… but… I will leave that decision to you. I won't tell you what to do, or what not to do, only that I'll be back here in one hour to collect him for the police, or for the morgue. You want to take a life, here it is."
Batman turned around and left through the window leaving Catwoman their standing in shock. Then she turned to the bleeding man...
One hour later Batman returned with the sirens of the police roaring in the distance. He entered through the broken window to search for the rapist. Gordon burst through the door. Together Batman and Gordon caught the image of a man handing from a ceiling fan with a leather rope around his neck. His body was cold with death.
Gordon said, "… bring him down."
Batman paused, "Wait…" Batman reached out and pulled something from his pocket. A note, he was careful to make sure Gordon didn't see it as he balled his fist, "It was nothing… I'm going to the hospital, do with this scum what you wish."
Gordon said, "I'm glad you didn't do it Batman…"
Batman didn't reply as he left through the open door. Once away from all the police he took the note and read it,
"Batman, I thought about what you were trying to say… I could have left him there so that you could take him away once and for all… But I thought of that son of a bitch living and breathing. Eating his government food… I couldn't do it. Not with that little girl knowing he's still alive. She will have no reason to fear him since he his dead. It's better this way…
"But as dark as you are, I can see why you get to be the hero, and I don't. I can't make those decisions Batman, I see a monster like that, I have to kill him. That is the difference between you and me. You can make those hard choices, not to kill a man, but to keep him alive. You are a better person than I.
"Or maybe you're not, my way will make sure there will not be another little girl laying on the side of street who was a victim of this man. My way will give comfort to the grieving family. I dare not say which way is right every time, and you may have made the right decision by not killing him. But this death, this time… it's justice. The world batman needs people like you, and people like me as well. Don't stop being you, and I won't stop being me.
Batman put the letter away. Was this what Batman wanted? Had Justice been done? Should he have left her with the rapist? Did he make the right the right decision? Did he leave the man there in hopes that he would teach Catwoman something about justice and doing the right thing? Or did he leave him with her, so that she would kill him, since he, the Batman, couldn't do it himself?
These were questions that Batman couldn't answer to himself. He wanted to, but he couldn't. This was just one more thing on his conscience. A long list of painful memories he will never forget. Batman didn't know what to say or do, it was done, and it was over. There was nothing left to do… well, there was still one thing.
The little girl stared out of the window, staring into the blackness of the night. Then she saw something go by. She didn't know what to make of it. She turned her eyes and tried to go to sleep but suddenly a voice said, "Amelia…"
The little girl turned her head in surprise seeing the man before her, the batman.
Batman approached dropping to one knee, "Amelia… you're safe. The monster is gone and never will come back. I promise."
Amelia paused for a moment thinking about what it meant, then she said, "Thank you Batman?" She then extended her arms out to be hugged.
Batman reached forward and gently pulled her to his chest. Then finally after a few more seconds she pulled back. Then suddenly someone came through the door.
Seeing her mother Amelia said, "Look it's Batman."
Her mother replied, "Honey I don't see anyone…"
Amelia turned and saw Batman was gone, "Oh… it's alright, he's got other people to help…"
"How are you feeling honey?"
"Better… I'm better."