WARNINGS! DEAD PEOPLE BE AHEAD- also torture so please don't review saying that I didn't warn you because I did.

Anyway, enjoy and Merry Christmas all.

I was being rocked, not exactly the thing one wants to feel with a pounding headache. Light was flashing beneath my lids, so I slowly opened my eyes to avoid the pain of fast exposure. I was being carried, and it only took a second for my memories to return to understand who was doing the holding and why. Bane.

I chose to ignore him for the moment, trying to focus on where I was and how I would escape. Shockingly enough we were currently walking through what appeared to be one of Gotham's finest hotels, the Royal. It was empty; there were no rushing maids or eager-to-please receptionists. As I was carried past the desk where such a person might have sat, the stark and still dripping liquid dripping down the wall woke me up to my situation.

"Do not fight, small one, it will only mean more pain for you." He must have felt my body tensing in fight vs flight mode, in that second flight one out despite the warning.

"No!" crying out I bucked my body in his arms, trying desperately to tumble out of them. Shockingly enough it actually worked; I landed on the floor besides the receptionist desk with a thump. Panicking I gripped onto the first thing I could find while trying to scramble up; what I touched was soft and fleshy. Everything around me froze; even the breathing from Bane seemed to become slower as I looked at what I had my hand on. Blank eyes stared up at me from between my fingers. My hand had landed on the head of what had been one of the Royal Hotel's receptionists. Screaming I scrambled backwards, my spine meeting Bane's legs caused a chain reaction in my mind.

Bane. Danger. Escape at all costs.

I had never moved so fast in my life, body and limbs working in perfect tandem to dodge Bane's attempt at snatching me up and darting between his wide stances. Nail's broke as I shoved myself up, and then bolted. I didn't even notice Bane's men watching in amusement as I effortlessly darted through them.


Something shot up my spine, sharp and horribly agonizing. Falling flat on my face, the carpet scraping it, I screamed and arched my body, trying to somehow escape the horrific pain radiating from my neck downwards. Hands latched onto something warm and metal wrapped around my neck, it felt like a collar one might put on a dog.

Loud footsteps alerted my shocked mind to Bane's closeness, as he got closer the pain seemed to lessen. Finally it stopped when he was within spitting distance. Tears were blurring my eyes, but I could still see the crinkled lines next to his eyes as he smiled.

"It is called a 'safeguard collar', originally intended to keep dogs in the vicinity of their masters when required." Hunching down next to me he gripped the back of my neck and forced me up with him. Still holding my neck he brought my face close to his, "I made a few alterations. If you wish to remain pain free then you must stay by my side." A small black remote was waved in front of my eyes, "currently it is on a low setting." With a flick of his thumb it went up to a high level, I actually felt a small jolt of electricity go through the collar and nervously tried to move closer to Bane.

"Y—you can't want to have me around all of the time?" I questioned through my teeth, still slightly stuck together after my harsh clenching of them.

Bane looked down at me silently, long enough for me to become twitchy and try to lightly pull away from his hold on my neck. "Oh I am well aware of how you would inconvenience me if I was forced to bring you around with me, like a pet." I winced, feeling more and more like something he owned. "Remaining inside our rooms will also ensure you do not suffer the effects of the collar."

He marched me into the elevator, past more dead bodies that I simply couldn't process at the moment. Only one other man entered the metal box with us, the others seeming to stand guard outside of it. Bane roughly pressed the penthouse button, for the next few seconds there was nothing but awkward elevator music and me waiting to be slammed into the metal doors in punishment for trying to escape…again.


I was yanked out as harshly as I had been pushed in; apparently Bane was angrier than he let on to his men. A lavishly made door automatically opened and admitted up to the suite; my jaw dropped. It wasn't a suite, it was a house. I was marched down a large hallway; ornate golden trimmings along the wall and far more doors then I could count passed us by. I wanted to ask who owned the suite before us, but was afraid of the answer.

"Guard the door; I don't want my little escapee trying anything." Bane spoke to the man I had forgotten followed us, said man snapped to attention and stood straight as a board outside one of the doors.

"I don't want to be here." I honestly said, and strangely enough the hand holding my neck seemed to release a little bit.

I could feel eyes on me, but ignored them and walked through the door myself, this time forcing Bane to follow if he wanted to keep his hand on my neck. The room was beautiful, it had a light yellow wall and tasteful white furniture; overall it reminded me of an old Victorian manor room. I had seen a picture of one in a book once and used to imagine myself as the woman being wooed; it was a dream from my much younger days.

Slowly the hand released my neck. "This will be your new room, our room." The only thing that kept me from losing my mind entirely at the prospect of sharing a room with a mass murderer was the fact that we had done it before and he hadn't forced himself upon me. I wasn't even sure if he was capable of physical interaction, and had no intention of finding out.

"I don't understand you," gradually I inspected the room, one hand lightly gliding over every piece of furniture I passed. "Why don't you just let me burn with Gotham… I am nothing. A nobody."

His clothes rustled loudly as he walked, how hadn't I noticed that before? I did however immediately notice the heat behind me, his massive shadow dwarfing mine. "You escaped me, something no man or woman has ever been able to claim before. But rather than escape Gotham, this cesspool of dirty politics and greed, you chose to stay and help those children. You tried to save them from me, from what I will turn Gotham into." A hand that was heavy despite how gentle it was trying to be ran along my shoulder and toyed with my new accessory, testing its tightness. "You are an oddity, a creature of innocence in a city of filth. I am making a choice to keep that innocence safe." Bane turned me around, I had to strain my neck to look him in the eyes. "I will provide you with anything you require and keep you safe, and perhaps in the coming months you will be appreciative of me for saving you from what would happen to you in this 'new Gotham'."

"What would have happened to me?" I had survived hardship before. I couldn't imagine a worse scenario than what I had already been through. Bane ran a finger down my cheek, an almost reverent touch.

"Those boys you have teach the younger ones how to survive on the streets, passing on your codes of honesty and hope, would hold you down and do what they have been wanting to do for months." I reared back from Bane in disgust, but he wouldn't let me go. It was true that some of the older boys only helped me because they had developed a crush, any woman would notice the signs, but nothing would bring them to actually harm me… "Once they are done they will offer you to their friends, and so on. Until you become something as dark and twisted as Gotham. I am the only thing preventing this Gotham from destroying you."

"And what, you want me to thank you?" Too shocked with his words to be angry, I went for offended instead.

Bane laughed, it was a haunting noise that would no doubt follow me for many years to come. "No small one. First you will hate me, and then slowly hate will become acceptance of your new life; finally you will no longer see me as an enemy."

"You are my enemy." I hissed out, "And you will never be anything but!"

The masked monster was silent, his eyes unreadable and body stiff as always. Confused and furious I stormed towards the window, I could see Bane staring at me through the reflection cast by the evening glare. If it were any other time, if I were with any other person, I might have marvelled at the wonder that was Gotham from this high up. Great skyscrapers were all around, none would ever be close enough to jump to from the roof though; it appeared that I was trapped here for the time being…

"I am curious to why you have not asked about your punishment, small one. Do you no longer care what happens to you? Or have you simply forgotten it in the events of this evening." Bane took a step towards me; I wanted to for a second pass right through the window and fall to an easy escape.

"Haven't you done enough to me? You kidnap me again, after I justly earn the right to escape you without consequence, and then you chain me to this room like a dog." I pulled on the metal band around my neck; he had certainly fitted it to me well.

"I made no promises that I would not hunt you down, that I would not exact due punishment." I could see he was smiling beneath the mask. He took another step and I faced him, no longer comfortable being so vulnerable. "I have told you why I brought you here and why you wear the collar, to save you from yourself and this world, but I have done nothing so far to remind you of what happens to those who run from me."

"I—I thought you said I was the only one to run?" I tried to sound brave, but my not-so-subtle sidestep away might have ruined it.

"You are the only one who escaped, not the only one to run." Bane stepped with me, like a mirror image… a much larger and stronger mirror image.

Images of people having limbs torn off and bones crushed entered my mind, flashing through like a slideshow from hell. "What did you do to them?"

He straightened and tilted his head, seeming to decide something. "John, please come in here." Bane hadn't had to even speak loudly, and his man who had been guarding the elevator exit entered the room.

"Sir?" an emotionless voice, but his eyes spoke of the loyalty he had.

"Would you be so kind as to show young Clara your back?"

John nodded and swiftly removed his armour, placed his gun on the cabinet and pulled off his shirt. I might have appreciated his form, had he not turned around and showed me his back. Gasping I backed up as far as I could against the window, horrified at the sight of this soldiers back. What looked like dozens of old whip scars lined up and down his back; a twisted mess of wrongly healed flesh.

"Thank you. That will be all." Rather than dress here, John swiped up all his gear and walked from the room, his back muscles rippling grotesquely around the white and red scars. "Many of those who find themselves under my guidance do not wish to stay. Many try to escape, and many are brought back or return of their own free will. Some are whipped for their disobedience; others are given a more severe form of punishment."

"You—you want to make my back like his?" shaking like a leaf, I sunk onto the ground, my legs no longer supporting me.

"When John attempted his escape, he killed several of my loyal brothers, that is why is punishment was so thorough." Bane moved towards the bedside table and opened one of the draws; from it he drew a small-but still deadly-whip. "This is an Australian stockwhip; it will not damage your skin like the cat-o-nines did to John."

For a second my stomach rolled and I thought I would lose my lunch, but I refused to humiliate myself to that extent. So I held my stomach, stayed sitting and stared at Bane silently. Begging would get me nowhere, but I surmised that no access to the back meant no pain.

"You have two choices, small one. You may either allow me to tie you to the bed post, and you receive your punishment with some dignity. Or do you require the presence of John to hold your topless body down while I merit your chastisement out?"

I wanted to run, run and hide and never have to see his mask or face again. But I was trapped, an invisible electric fence keeping me in place, not to mention the deadly army guarding the building. So pushing out a shaky breath, I rose with the help of the window behind me, the cool glass soothing. Stiff legged, I took my place against the post. I wasn't sure where to put my hands, so just let them hang. Something soft wrapped around my wrist, making me jump nearly out of my skin.

"Hush small one, soon this will be over."

Just hearing Bane's voice so near to be brought a small sob to my throat, I had never been this terrified. My bound hand was brought above my head and tied into place, the other hand quickly following. Breathing suddenly became very difficult, my body was shaking so badly that for a second I thought I might simply faint away. No such luck. My hair was pulled away from my neck and pushed over one shoulder; again Bane seemed to enjoy the feel of it, his hands running through it before returning to the task at hand. I didn't want to look behind me, so didn't see him raise a knife to the collar of my shirt and cut it open. I suppose I should have expected it, but still my fear increased at being so vulnerable to him.

There was no warning for the first hit, just silence for a second as he moved away, and the quick whistle of something moving through the air.


Nothing could have prepared me for the hit; it sliced up my back from my shoulder to my hipbone. Crying out I pressed myself harder into the post, whether it was to melt into it and disappear or retain my dignity by not falling down and hanging by my hands alone, I didn't know. The second hit was harder than the first, tearing horizontally from one shoulder to another. The one after that I didn't even really feel, the pain suddenly rushed to my head and I slumped momentarily in my bonds. Bane stopped for a second, he wanted me aware for each and every agony he set upon me. When my feet became steady, he carved through my bra strap. I didn't even care about my dignity anymore. Every whistle of air brought with it even more pain and an even louder cry from my lips, until I was screaming for mercy. Words fell from my mouth like water, both promises to never try to escape again and pledges that I would see his heart in my hand for this.

Finally I fell silent, only sobbing and crying out occasionally, it was then that he stopped. The only thing holding me up was my hands, the rope holding them together cutting off the circulation. Through the haze I watched them turn from purple to an even darker purple, but large hands tore away the rope before I could see them turn black. I fell sideways, slumped like a lifeless doll, and was caught in gentle arms. Gently, as if to cause me less pain.


Bane laid me face down on the bed, turning my head so I was forced to look at him. He knelt by the bed, small flickers of red dripped down his face.

My blood…

A hand reached out and pulled my hair from my wounds where it had stuck in my struggles, a pathetic whimper left my mouth.

"First you will hate me, but eventually you will understand why I did this," said Bane, as he finished removing my hair from the open wounds. He studied my back for a moment, "you will require stitches."

I wanted to beg for him to please do them while I was passed out-already I could feel darkness at the edge of my mind-or to numb the area with something… anything.

His hand touched my cheek, lightly stroking it. After so much pain my body actually focused on the small pleasure, cheek turning into it. "Sleep now small one, when you wake there will be no more pain."

"Until you decide to pu—punish me again." My throat was dry and in agonizing pain, but I still spoke the words that would probably get me harmed again.

Bane didn't answer; he just ran his hand through my hair and lightly stroked my temples. My mind quickly gave up on keeping me conscious, my eyes drooped shut and I wished nothing more than to hide in a dark room and never emerge again.

Hey guys, been a hell of a long time since I updated, inspiration trouble/laziness and all that. Anyway I require your help! I did re-read over this story and think I didn't muck up in this chapter, but sometimes it can be hard remembering exactly what I wrote, especially considering I write several stories at a time… Anyway, please feel VERY free to review and comment upon anything that I need to fix. I want this to be a good story, and stay true to the characters.