Chapter 12 : The Night of the Broken Bat
Alfred Pennyworth sat in the study waiting for his master to return when door bell rang. "Who that could be at this hour?" He placed his cup of tea on the coffee table and walked out of the room. "I'm coming!" he shouted strutting to the front door. He unlocked it and opened it. "Good evening." He was greeted by an ominous hooded figure.
"Mr. Pennyworth?" asked a harsh voice.
"Is your master home?"
"I'm afraid not. Who are you?" Alfred asked as he peered at the hooded man. He was tall and massive from what Alfred could tell.
"I have only one name. It's what all my prey scream when I break them in two."
Alfred swallowed softly as he moved to close the door, but the man entered and grabbed by the neck. Alfred gasped and tried futilely to free himself of the large hand clutching his throat. "You can't..." He choked out. "this is Wayne Manor."
Dark and merciless eyes glared at him from beneath the hood. "I know." He was began to squeeze Alfred by neck.
"My name is Bane. Scream it!" He yelled.
"Bane! Bane!" Alfred could do little but try to buy time for his master. He wasn't sure for what however. To save Bruce of save himself? Alfred considered the possibility this "Bane" had to know who his master really was otherwise why else would be attack Wayne Manor?
Bane waited for the butler to faint and then he threw him onto the floor and walked down the hall towards the study. He entered the room and saw the clock. "The entrance to the Bat's cave." he snarled. He smashed the grandfather clock and pushed it to the left side and saw the passageway way. "It will be his tomb." He walked down the stairwell.
10 minutes later...
Bruce knew something was wrong as soon as he saw the open door to the front of the Manor. Alfred would never leave it open, even if he himself decided to step out and enjoy the scenery, he'd close it behind him. Quietly, Bruce entered the front door of Wayne Manor only to find Alfred lying on the floor.
"Alfred!" He ran and knelt beside his butler. A sickening bruise was left on his throat. Whoever attacked him and strangled him. Checking his pulse, Bruce was relieved to feel it was still beating. Bruce gently shook his shoulders. "Alfred wake up it's me!" Bruce shouted in the old man's ear. Alfred opened his blue eyes and looked at his master.
"Master... Wayne." He said weakly, his voice strained from his injury.
"Alfred, what happened? Who you did this to you?"
Alfred gasped, still trying to regain his breath. "...A monster. He's in the manor. I tried to keep him out but he was too strong. Bruce looked down the hall angrily. "It's all right."
"No, it's not... It's Bane sir, and I think that he's found the cave." Bruce's eyes went wide. "Is my suit still in the closet of the master bedroom?"
Alfred nodded. "Most of it. Not the belt."
"It will do." Bruce helped Alfred to a sitting position against the wall. "I'll be back."
Bruce raced up the staircase and ran into the master room. He opened the closet door and finds the graphite armor lying on the floor. He removed his dress shirt, exposing his sculpted, battle-scarred body to the cold night air. He pulled on the chest piece and the rest of the armor, then moved over to the nightstand and pulled out the drawer containing his graphite cowl and gloves.
Alfred made his way to the foot of the staircase when he saw Batman rushing down the stairs adjusting his gloves, his long cape flowing behind him. "Alfred?" Batman growled. "I want you to go to the penthouse. I will meet you there."
"Master Wayne, I can't leave you."
"Yes you can. Please old friend." Batman placed his gloved-hand on his butlers shoulder. "Please."
Alfred looked into the dark eyes of his master and could see the plea in his eyes. Alfred knew his presence here would only distract Bruce from the task at hand and his master would need all his wits about him for this fight. "All right but if you're not there in one hour I'm coming back."
Batman raced down the hall and Alfred grabbed his coat and the keys to the Rolls Royce and exited through the front door.
Batman entered the study and found the clock pieces on the floor. He ran into the passage way , down the steps and into the cave. "Bane!" He screamed. "I know you're in here. Get out!"
All was quiet. "You heard me Bane. Get out of my cave."
"This cave will become your tomb little bat." Bane came out from behind and grabbed Batman's cape yanking the hero to the floor. "That's all you are. A little bat."
Batman unclipped the cape and rolled on his back and then stood on his feet while feeling dizzy. Bane did a running jump kick sending Batman crashing into the work bench. Batman felt like the wind was knocked out of him. He slowly got back to his feet making his arms ready to strike. Bane laughed. "You think you can beat me. With your little moves. I know all your moves Batman. I was trained by the same person who trained you."
"Shut up and fight." Batman growled.
"If you insist."
Bane cracked his knuckles.
"I'm going to enjoy feeling your bones break in my hands."
Batman ran to the metal case which stored his other suit and belt. He grabbed the belt and snapped it into place. Bane grabbed him from behind covering Batman's mouth with his bear sized hand. Batman bit into the flesh and head butted the monster using the back of his cowl. Bane moved back rubbing his head.
Batman took a deep breath and then threw a bat star at Bane, which sliced his arm. Bane ripped the star out and crushed the piece of metal with his hand.
"Toys. Toys that break easily." He chuckled darkly while he and Batman circled each other. "Is that the best you've got? I thought you were a legend of this city. Its been said the Batman is terrifying, fearless, unbeatable... unbreakable. But now I see the truth. You're an exaggeration. A man in dressed as a little bat that can't fly anymore."
"I can still fight!"
Bane turned around and then did a round house kick into Batman's chest, then jabbed his elbows into Batman's head making him fall to the ground on his back.
"Weak. You have to power." He spat.
Batman coughed. "Oh I have one power Bane. I'll never give up."
Bane scoffed. "We'll see."
Bane reached for Batman, picked him up by the neck and squeezed. "You're too old to fight. You're body is weak and frail and your bones are decaying." He looked at Batman. "But I can put you out of your misery."
Bane ripped the cowl off and crushed it into pieces on the cement. He threw Batman on the ground and then kicked him mercilessly.
"When I'm done with you." He kicked him again. "You won't be Batman or Bruce Wayne. You'll just be a broken man."
Bane lifted Batman and put him a choke hold cutting off the air supply. Batman tried to fight but fainted in Bane's arms.
"Sleep little bat. For tonight your wings will be clipped. "He grabbed the mask less hero and walked up the stair well."
Bruce awoke to his head pounding and limbs throbbing as he tried to lift his hands but to his surprise he saw that they were tied with tight silver duck tape. "What?" he groaned as a horrid smell of decaying flesh mixed with garbage hovered in the air around him.
The smell made his stomach spin and bile rose in his throat. Dried blood surrounded his upper lip, and a huge cut on his forehead leaked blood down to his jaw line.
"Where am I?" He growled, unsure whether anyone was around him. He felt a sharp pain in his right shoulder as the sound of harsh footsteps echoed around him. It took Bruce a moment to realize that he was in the Water Treatment plant basement.
"So the little bat is finally awake?" Came a mocking gravelly voice. Bruce peered in the shadows at the bulky figure. He knew who it was.
"Bane." He snarled.
The figure emerged from the shadows and glared at the wounded man lying before him. He knelt down and squeezed Bruce's cheeks together in a vicious grip.
"How does it feel to be weak?" He growled.
Bruce jerked his head trying not to look into the monsters eyes. "What do you want? Why did you bring me here?"
"To prepare you for Gotham's reckoning."
Bane nodded. "Tonight all of Gotham will see the truth." Bane placed the broken cowl over Bruce's head showing a half-masked Batman. "They will see you're true face."
Batman tied to lift himself up off the cold floor but his body was giving out. He could feel the sharp pain in his legs and back.
"Are you in pain little bat? Do you how to deal with pain?"
Batman clenched his teeth together and took a deep breath, determined not to show anymore weakness or vulnerability than he already was.
Bane squeezed his hand on Batman's shoulder and pressed hard enough to hear the crusader wince. "Does that hurt?"
Batman's eyes became filled with rage. "I work through pain."
"You lie. I see tears in your eyes while the pain runs through your veins like running water." Bane looked at the water dripping from the pipes. "Pain is what makes me strong and what makes you weak. At midnight you will know pain for it will be your master."
Bane stood up and smacked Batman across the face making his head shake side to side from the force. Batman spat out blood mixed with vile while he watched Bane walk away, leaving him alone to fight the pain.
At this moment Bruce took the moment to berate himself for being so careless and allowing himself to fall into Bane's trap. A trap set within his own home. His thoughts then turned to Alfred and Bruce imagined how much his friend was now worried about him and regretted leaving him.
Bruce didn't lie that he worked through pain and at the moment his pain, his anger was an incentive he used in moments like this. He wouldn't be beaten this easily.
The air was crisp as the light snow, which Gotham Weather News called for, began to fall down on the streets of Gotham while Selina Kyle stood on the balcony of her Gotham Arms Hotel room, arms folded, breathing in the cold air. The wailing sound of fire trucks sounded off below. She looked down at the streets covered with snow.
In her mind she couldn't understand why the Mistress would want to destroy a city like this, sure it had its up and downs but what city doesn't?
As she looked across all the tall buildings with the American flag blowing in the wind, she began to doubt herself, motives and heart. Was she beginning to love in with Gotham City, the place where dreams become nightmares? That was a question that she begun to ask herself.
Across town, in a Gotham Century Towers Penthouse, Alfred Pennyworth sat in a leather recliner looking at the time on his pocket watch. It had already been six hours since he last spoke to his master at the manor, he was starting to worry.
Selina heard her cell phone ring in her jeans pocket. She removed the device and pressed the button. "Hello?" She said in a pleasant tone as she entered the room.
"Alfred? What to do mean Bruce is in danger?" She paused listening to the old worried butler give her the detail. "OK, Alfred I'll go look for Bruce." She hung up and then pulled her suit case from under the queen size bed and unzipped it.
Inside was her leather outfit, she placed it on the bed and then grabbed her cat-eared cowl, the same one she wore when she and Batman fought on the Phoenix building's rooftop. The same night when she realized that she was in love with him.
Holly entered the room with a bag of chips and a bottle of Coke when she saw Selina pulling on the costume.
"And where are you going?" The blonde haired teen asked closing the door. Selina zipped up her jacket and then pulled on her black gloves.
"A friend is in trouble." She said blankly.
"And you're going to save this person?"
"Something like that?" She walked over to Holly and placed her hands on the teens shoulders. "I won't be long."
Holly rolled her eyes. "I heard that before." She spat as Selina pulled on the cowl over her head. "Just be careful Selina. This city is not safe anymore."
I know." The Cat said as she walked to the balcony, snow fakes landed on her leather cowl as she jumped down and landed on the balcony blow.
Meanwhile on the rooftop of Gotham City Hall, Mayor Anthony Gracia had duck tape around his mouth, wearing only his suit to protect him from the cold as his dark brown eyes stared into the face of fear.
"I hope you're comfortable." Bane hissed. "Because tonight I'm giving you the best seat in the house."
The mayor looked at the frail form that knelt on the ground before him wearing a cracked graphite cowl, blood was dripping from his mouth as his intense silver hazel eyes stared back at him with fear imbedded into them.
"Batman?" The Mayor gasped,
Bane stood behind Batman glaring at the mayor. "Look at your protector!" Bane snarled as he smacked Batman in the back of the head. "Look at this weak shell. This is what you put your faith into when your city was in trouble?"
Bane wrapped his bear like hand around Batman's neck and pressed hard. "He's nothing now, just a frail broken man that must pay for his sins." Batman lowered his head gasping. "That's right little bat tonight you give this city your final breath."
Catwoman ran down the alley ways, with her high-heeled boots echoing on the snow covered pavement. She stopped in front of the closed office building and saw a crowd of people standing around SWAT vans and patrol cars staring up at the rooftop of City Hall.
"Bruce," The Catwoman said with a whisper. "Hold on handsome."
Bane grabbed Batman by the cape and began to drag the cape crusader towards the edge. He lifted him up with his big arms full of huge blue veins. Batman tried to break free from his grasp but his body was too weak.
"Wait what are you doing?" the Mayor pleaded keeping his eyes focused on Batman.
"Clipping the bats wings." Bane said with his harsh voice.
"Batman!" The Mayor screamed. "Get up. Fight for your life!" He could see the blood dripping on the snow covered pavement. "Fight for your life!"
A chilling wind blew across the rooftop as Batman shifted his gaze to the streets below him. Red and blue lights from the squad cars were flashing as he could see searchlights being set up to shine their light on the snowy roof. His heart was pounding through his chest, as every fiber was burning in pain. He could feel Bane's cold hands through the armor; it felt like the touch of death itself.
"Bane," Batman rasped releasing a harsh breath that made his ribs hurt. He looked at the crowds of people below. The people that he protected all those nights from monsters that lurked in the shadows waiting to grab innocent prey.
Monsters like the one holding him up like a broken martyr. The people believed in him as a symbol of hope many years ago before chaos entered the streets in a form of a monster. He could only imagine how he must now look to them. The thought of that prompted him to struggle angrily in his captor's grip. Bane only shook him into place.
"People of Gotham City!" Bane screamed as Batman was engulfed in his big arms.
Commissioner Gordon was standing near a SWAT truck ordering his officers. "Get a light up there."
The searchlight hooked onto the flat bed and turned its view to the rooftop. An officer who stood beside it flicked it on.
"Long have you let this monster haunt you in the shadows, take away your hope." He lifted Batman up into the air, letting his long black cape dance in the chilling wind. "Tonight his reign of terror ends. Tonight you can take your city back!"
Bane lifted up Batman above his knee. Blood dripping from the crusaders mouth; his eyes were filled with tears from the pain coursing through his veins. He now knew this was his last fight, and he was paying for it because of his injuries but mostly because he was careless. "Any last words Batman?" Bane growled.
Batman coughed up blood. "This city is full…" He coughed again with the red blood dripping down his chest. "Of heroes that will rise up against you... That's why you'll never win, Bane."
Catwoman jumped onto a rusted dumpster, she cracked her long whip to a balcony and swung her body into the air landing perfectly on the rooftop of Gotham National Bank adjacent to the City Hall. She ran to the ledge and looked across at Bane who held Batman high in the air.
"Tonight your wings are clipped!" Bane snarled. He jabbed his knee into the lower part of Batman's back.
"No!" The Mayor screamed as he heard a sound of bones break. "No!"
The Dark Knight screamed as the monster threw him down. Gordon saw Bane throw Batman on the cold cement roof. "No," He said in shocked tone. "Batman!" He yelled. The rookie John Blake came running to the back of the SWAT truck as Gordon was running up the steps, John knew he had to stop his boss or else Bane would destroy him too.
Commissioner!" John screamed. "Commissioner, don't!"
"I have to save him!"
John ran up to Gordon and knocked him off his feet. The commissioner landed on the steps. "Sorry sir. But this is for your own safety."
Gordon glared at Blake with his wry blue eyes behind his glasses. "You don't understand. I have to save him. He saved my family!"
John looked at the other officers who looked confused. "Give the order and we'll move in."
Bane placed his boot on Batman's throat and pressed hard smiling under his mask. Batman jerked his head while clenching his jaw as he could feel this lungs collapsing.
"Say my name!" Bane screamed at him. "Say it!"
Batman shook his head. "Never." He coughed.
"Then you will die little bat. Helpless and weak just like your parents." Batman growled loudly. Bane smiled sinisterly behind his mask. "Your last breath will be a fading memory to this city without hope." Just as Bane was about to crush Batman's skull a whip wrapped around his neck.
"Enough!" Catwoman yelled. "I won't let you kill him."
Bane ripped the whip off his neck and turned around to see Selina wearing no cowl standing behind him. "So you did survive?" He hissed.
"Yes. Don't you know that cats have nine lives?"
The sound of a woman's high heels echoed on the cement. "True. But you've already lost two." Selina felt a sharp pain in the back of her leg, she looked down and saw blood leaking out of her boot with had a small hole, torn through the leather. She fell to the ground holding her leg.
"Selina!" Batman screamed as blood spilled from his mouth. "Selina!"
Selina lifted her head up and saw Miranda standing by the doorway of the stairwell surrounded by her shadow men who now had the Mayor wrapped in their arms with a rifle to his left temple.
"I warned you kitten. I warned you." Miranda said, looking at the wounded cat with her piercing blue eyes; they held no pity. "But I guess its true: cats don't like to be told what to do." She walked over to Selina and crouched down. Selina groaned while she nursed her injury.
"Now you're going to be alone just like before. Alone and forgotten."
Selina made her gloved hand into a fist and was ready to strike at Miranda but one of the shadows pointed his gun right at her. "Touch her and you'll be put down kitten." Selina placed her gloved hand on the cement.
"You know I thought that we would've been magnificent together." Miranda said as she touched Selina's cheek. "You were one of my greatest students."
Selina shook her head. "I made my choice." She looked over at Batman whose chest was rising and falling rapidly. "I will never let you destroy this city."
"We'll see." Miranda stood up and walked to Batman, she looked at her shadow men. "Take this broken shell of a man."
"No!" Selina snarled. "Don't touch him!" She lifted herself off the cement and began to limp to where Miranda was standing holding a gun in her left hand.
"Make one move kitten and the bat is exterminated." Miranda hissed pointing the nose of the gun at Batman's chest. Selina stopped dead and looked at Batman, while Bane was stood behind her with a vial of teargas in his hand. He threw it into her face.
"Bruce," Selina coughed as she fell on the cement roof.
"Goodnight kitten." Miranda said looking down at Batman. She pulled the cracked cowl off his face and threw it on the cement. She crouched down and kissed him on the lips and then stood up. "Take this broken prince away." She commanded.
"Where to my Mistress?" Asked one of the shadow men looking at Bruce. "To our prison, that's where he'll spend the rest of his dying days surrounded by the rest of his kind; all the ones who didn't care about the underclass, of their cities. Now they are experiencing it firsthand what it's like to have everything taken away from them."
Miranda pulled up a black mask and placed it over Bruce's face. "You're nothing now. You're not Batman nor Bruce Wayne. Now you're just a lost soul searching for freedom." She placed her cold hands on Bruce's chin and whispered.
"How does it feel beloved, to have everything taken away from you? First your symbol," she looked at Selina, "you're heart," then she looked at the buildings around, "then finally your beloved city that will turn to ashes."
Bruce lowered his head as Bane slammed his fist into the back of the billionaire's skull making him land face first on the ground.
25 minutes later,
Selina awoke to a touch of a gentle hand on her shoulder. She opened her hazel eyes and saw a grey-headed man kneeling down beside her. "Miss?" Gordon said as he looked down at the young woman. "Are you alright?"
She tried to lift herself up with her hands but the wound was making it difficult. She could feel the pressure of the bullet in her muscle still numbing with pain. But that was not what she was concerned about; she looked around at the snowy roof and saw puddles of blood.
"Batman," she whispered.
Gordon glanced at the puddle of blood that was forming underneath her.
"We got to get you to Gotham General." He pressed his three way radio. Selina pushed it aside and got on her knees. "I'm fine."
"But you could be bleeding internally."
She got on her feet. "So that just means I have five more lives." She walked to the edge and looked down and measured the correct distance between the roof and the ground.
"At least let me get you downstairs." Gordon reasoned, seeing the amount of blood she lost.
Selina turned around. "No, I can't rest now; not when he needs me."
Gordon looked at her with his forgiving blue eyes.
"Where do you think he went?" He asked as the snow was starting to form on the lenses of his glasses.
"Someplace where all broken men go." She said in a low voice before she dove into the air and landed on the top of the green dumpster. She rolled off and disappeared in the shadows, looking for a place to rest.
East End Gotham Water Treatment
"Wake up little bat."
Bruce opened his blood shot eyes to the drops of distilled water running off his blood stained forehead. The sweet smell of a woman's perfume lured his senses to the corner of the empty space where he saw Miranda standing near the rusted pipes leaking out murky water.
She was wearing a brown overcoat, brown hair covering her shoulders and no makeup. Bruce could feel the pain increasing as he tried to move his arms.
"Relax beloved," she hissed as she moved closer to where he was lying on a wooded board. "How are you feeling?"
"Feeling!" Bruce growled. "How you think I'm feeling!" He could taste the blood running down his throat. Miranda knelt down and placed her hand on his forehead. "Don't touch me!" He snarled jerking his head away.
"What's a matter? I could've let Bane kill you. But I want you to live and watch this great city fall into the hands of the shadows. It needs to be cleansed for the inhumane, sinful acts it has forced on itself. Soon the streets will be stained with the blood of those who are slaves to injustice and corruption."
She placed her finger on his inviting lips and wiped the dried blood from the corners of his mouth. Bruce's eyes were watering from the pain coursing through his veins, each breath felt like a knife from the Joker's purple overcoat jacket stabbing his chest. He could feel his heart pounding, legs felt like ice from the lack of circulation. And he was running a high fever.
"So what..." He coughed. "What are you going to do with me?"
Miranda moved her head in closer and pressed her lips on his; she tasted of lust that she carved so many years ago when her father ordered her never to touch Bruce Wayne, the young American that endured great pain.
Bruce was frozen, locked in her eyes as if he was in a trance, the pain from his fractured spine was decreasing. It was like she was breathing life back into him. "Wait," he said trying to push himself away from her lips. "I don't understand." He said, pulling away from her.
"Why are you doing this to me Miranda?" He paused. "Why did you send Bane to break me?"
Miranda touched his razor sharp cheek bone. "Don't you know? I have been in love with you since the moment I laid eyes on you Prince of Gotham. You're my beloved."
"Beloved." Bruce shook his head. "I have no love for you Miranda."
"Why? It's Selina?"
Bruce gave her a cold stare. "Leave her out of this. You shot her."
"Yes. But she'll live. Cats have nine lives." Miranda took out a vial from her pocket. "Here. Open your mouth. This will help with the pain."
"Beloved you must." She squeezed Bruce's cheeks together and opened his mouth. He tried to force his way out her hold but she poured down the green liquid into his throat. It burned as it went down, making him feel light headed. "This will ease the pain while you sleep."
"Sleep?" Bruce felt a sharp string in his arms. He looked down and saw a needle sticking out. "Miranda."
"Shhh beloved. Sleep. Soon you will be mine."
She waited for his eyes to close and then snapped her fingers. Two of her shadow men stood before her. "Mistress?"
"Take the prince and load him with the others. Tonight the bat flies out of Gotham and goes to our cave."
The men nodded and picked up the unconscious billionaire and left the room.
"Good bye beloved."