Hey, guys! I am back from my weeks long leave of absences. Yes, I apologize for leaving you all hanging for so long, but thank you for being patient with me! School really has been loading me up day and night, where I just want to curl up under my covers and sleep for hours. But honestly, you don't really care about that…so all I have to say about this chapter, aside from the obvious disclaimer, is: Be careful little ears what you hear.

Camille: Places! Someone do the disclaimer! Hurry! Now!

Lucy: Yeah, I don't think I can do it from where I am…there is terrible service down here…and I don't have my phone.

Camille: Fine. Since our main character finds herself incapable, I will pass the disclaimer to more capable hands.

Joker: Hehehe hahaha hoohoo….yes, un-fortunately…bird girl here doesn't own any of this precious information about Batty Boy and that Nolan fellow…

Lucy:…But he's not even part of this story…

Joker: Do you want me to be?


Chapter 11:

There weren't enough hours in a day that would give John Blake a chance to be both Detective and Big Brother. That, sadly, is one of the unspoken stipulations of living in the great city of Gotham. It practically ran on its own off-track and completely messed up clock, handing out no advantage to anyone who actually needed it.

It was much harder than John had anticipated. Since John Dagget's body had turned up in a dumpster two days ago, he's been sweeping the streets of Gotham to follow up on his high stack of Dagget- related reports. Unfortunately, all of them were completely misleading and brought John to dead end after dead end, making him trash several files faster than he'd like. By the end of another wasted day of chasing invisible trails, John was desperately ready for some shut eye and dragged himself over the threshold of his apartment.

Then he stopped.

His jacket continued to slide off his tensed shoulders, as he remembered that the apartment was empty. He was alone. Without a second thought, he silently pulled his jacket back on and left the same way he came, shutting the door a bit more forceful than he intended.

It hardly fazed him that it was almost nine o'clock at night and in Gotham that was late. Sleep could wait. Finding anything concerning Lucy's whereabouts was a priority to him. Admittedly, he wasn't really making much progress on his own and thus, he was ready, though reluctantly, resort to the more traditional way of dealing with Lucy's disappearance.

The Gotham Police Station wasn't the most appealing building. Though, it would seem that it wasn't meant to look pretty. Nonetheless, John still found it to be a sight for sore eyes, since he hadn't been back around as often since his promotion, yet…here he was. He gave the dull, gray building a once over before walking straight in. With a flash of his still brand new badge at the front desk, John ambled back into his old workplace.

It was apparent that he hadn't been away long enough as he was recognized and greeted by officers left and right as if he had been working there all day. John gave a tightlipped smile and shook hands with partial enthusiasm for the sake of cordiality before making a beeline toward the other end of the office space.

"Well, well, well, look who decided to come back for a visit." A man, who seemed to have the same amount of years under his belt as John, instantly stood up from his seat to greet John. "Detective John Blake. You don't look half bad in the suit!"

"Ha. Thanks." John said with a weak smile as he shook the hand of his former field partner, Ross. "It's good to see you, man."

"Same. What brings you back to the precinct?"

"What else brings someone back to this place?" John replied, with a shrug. "Did they find you a new partner yet?"

Ross shook his head. "Nah, I've been assigned to train some of the incoming rookies. Babysitting really. That's one of them over there." He nodded his head in the direction of the coffee station, also known as the social circle, where a young, blond haired and bright faced fellow stood laughing and conversing with other colleagues on break.

"Doesn't look like that bad of kid." John observed.

"Typical rookie. Reminds me of us when we started." Ross mused.

"A bit cocky but mistaken?"

"Exactly." They nodded in agreement before turning away. "So, what can I do for you, Blake?"

John rubbed a hand on his chin before ducking his head and lowering his tone of voice to a volume only audible to Ross's ears. "I need to report a missing person."

It left a bitter taste in John's mouth having to say that; having to admit it out loud, really. He knew it would have been more responsible of him to report it the very day Lucy went missing. But he would be lying if he said he didn't think her disappearance was nothing but horrible dream and she was probably traversing through the city on her way home at this very moment. But he should have known better.

Ross sensed the shift in John's voice and nodded his head, "Sure. Give me a second." He returned to his desk and sat down in front of the computer. He tapped at the keyboard and clicked on the mouse a few times, accessing the precinct's system.


John clenched his jaw and breathed deeply. "Lucy Blake."

Ross froze and he drew his hands away from the keyboard, as if he were scared of typing in the name. "Lucy? Lucy is…" He swallowed. "Lucy's missing? What—how did…"

"Just…please type it in. I'll explain right now."

Ross did as requested and quickly entered in all of Lucy's information. Ross had only met Lucy enough times to know two things: what her general features were and how important she was to John. And despite his fairly accurate estimations on height and hair color, it took some of John's input to know what her 'defining features' were: a birthmark of three little dots clustered under her left ear, a pink scar on her right knee from when she tripped on the side table of the living room, and she bites her nails, if anyone cared to look further.

"Do you have a recent photo?"

That was stupid question. Of course, John had a recent photo of Lucy. He dug his hand into his back pocket and fished out his wallet, having no issue in finding Lucy's graduation photo. She wore a bright red cap and gown, diploma in hand, her neck weighed down by her honorary medals and tassels, while a bright smile sat on her face. He gave the photo a proud smile before handing it to Ross, who shared the same reaction. Ross put the photo face down on a scanner and loaded her photo onto the computer. A short time later, Ross had a full missing persons' case. He hit print and flyers started to feed out of the printer, continuously depicting Lucy's face in dull gray and black ink. When the printer gave a finishing wheeze, Ross took up the warm stack and handed them to John.

"Do you have an idea of what happened? I can't believe Lucy would be…I mean, she's a smart girl…"

"I know." John sighed, glancing down at the flyers in his hands. "She…was just at the wrong place at the wrong time." Another glimpse of her smiling face made him grumble, "Why did it have to be her?"

"Where was she taken?"

"She was at Wall Street the day the stock market was attacked." This elicited a very vivid recollection of that day. John suppressed a cringe.

"I thought all the hostages were retrieved?"

"Obviously, they missed one." John muttered.

"God, if I knew…"

John paused and looked at Ross, "What do you mean?"

"Every unit was called to the scene that day, John. If I had known Lucy was there too, I would have checked for her. I'm sorry." Ross said, shaking his head.

"It's not your fault," John sighed, knowing now that there was no blame to share. "The attack completely blindsided us and we didn't act as fast as we should have. There's nothing any of us could have done." He painfully admitted, remembering the look on Lucy's face as the gunmen drove her out of his reach. He couldn't figure out why Lucy wasn't disposed of when they gunmen made their escape.

None of it made sense.

John scratched at his forehead, pondering this till he realized that it made no sense because he had been forgetting a crucial point. What exactly went on inside the stock market exchange? It had been in the back of his mind since the moment Lucy never texted back that day and he couldn't believe he didn't consider it till now.

John sharply turned to Ross then, a new look of urgency on his face, "Ross, can we access the security footage from the stock market attack?"

"I think so. Hold on." Ross returned to his desk, seeing where John was going with this, and started to access all of the password locked files as fast as he could. "Got it. Here it is."

Ross pushed his office chair over a bit so John could come around the desk and see the screen. The fuzzy image of the security footage depicted the normal chaos of Wall Street for a few minutes before the violent hail of gunfire turned the situation into a dire hostage one. Everything that followed were simply visuals that went along with the some of the accounts the police had gathered; most of it was true to its interpretation: the gunmen, the hulking masked man, the face planting of a Mr. James, almost everything. Almost. The only thing that was left vague by the witness accounts was what exactly happened to Lucy; and no doubt John was about to find out.

It wasn't too hard for him to find Lucy. However, it was hard for him to watch her be roughly manhandled and pushed around. He kept reminding himself that she is a strong girl as he forced himself to look on. He knew that he couldn't expect the worst out of this because she was clearly alive when they came out with her. However, he was about to eat his words.

The worst did come.

The worst came when the little body of his baby sister was brought before the masked man, who completely dwarfed her by feet and turned her into a mere speck on the floor. John was in the right mind to think that that was Lucy's general feelings at the moment. But with her back to the camera, John couldn't accurately tell.

But then again…there was a load of things you could never accurately tell from a security video.

However, what he could decipher did nothing more than stir disconcerting feelings in the pit of John's empty stomach. Violating…sickening…angry…all this and more. But suddenly, all else managed to slip into the gray backdrop of John's mind as he forced himself to lay eyes on the masked man for more than a mere second.

He almost wished he hadn't.

For if he didn't, he would have never caught the unsettling glint in the man's eyes that resonated even through the fuzzy video footage.

It wasn't lecherous.

It wasn't devious or even remotely evil.

He looked at her…simply…with purpose.

"Such an interesting choice, my friend."

A woman sat at the side of the creaky bed on which a curled up Lucy still slept, dreaming empty dreams. She, like Lucy, looked as though she were out of place here. Her pale, unmarred features holding something of grace and elegance, eyes glittering beautifully, and a petite figure that spoke a direct contrast to the less than appealing view of the sewers and the brooding man who commanded it. Yet, there she sat so comfortably, so daintily, as if this place was her home.

"I am glad you find my choice…adequate." Bane breathed as he stepped out of the shadows, watching as the woman looked over Lucy with a curious look in her eye.

"Oh, your judgment is always sound, of that I am sure," She affirmed, "However, tell me something." The woman turned to Lucy and with a gentle hand, brushed her hair out of her face. "What is the purpose of this…this little pet?" She said, brushing a finger down Lucy's cheek and smirking when she felt Lucy twitch underneath her cool fingertip.

Bane's eyes narrowed, "Looks can be deceiving. She is no pet."

"I have yet to understand why." She said.

"There a very few people in the world who can grasp the things she can and not lose themselves in the process. She doesn't speak much, however, I know she has much to say. She is a complicated creature, not easily broken, but…she is an avid learner. She seeks knowledge." Bane explained.

"You seem so fascinated…and by a child at the very least." The woman chuckled.

"Enlightened is a better word."

"Enlightened or not, I hope you understand there is no reason for you to be distracted by your little…students. There is still much for us to do, and she cannot become an obstacle in our path to succeeding." She said solidly, standing up and approaching Bane with not a hint of hesitance.

"You must think so little of me to think that a child could be a distraction." Bane said, sounding uncharacteristically insulted.

"On the contrary, I do think highly of you, my friend." She said, lifting her hand to touch the cold metal of his mask. "But I was once your child too or have you forgotten?"

Bane narrowed his eyes and shook his head. "I will never forget."

She smile and removed her hand from the side of his face only to be replaced by her lips; and despite the thick barrier, Bane seemed to have felt the gesture anyways.

"I trust you, but as I have said, we are so close, my friend. So close." She emphasized her words with piercing look in her eyes. "And if this child is to be of use to you, then so be it." The woman left him and sat down on the side of the bed again, stroking a hand down Lucy's face and resting it upon her arm. "Harden her as you will, Bane. Teach her to defend herself. But not with her fists. She is too much of beauty to have that taken from her. Gun handling will do just fine for her."

Bane nodded his head once, heeding to her wishes.

"She must be prepared," She looked tot Lucy and uttered in a low, cold whisper, "There is a storm coming, dear child, and the ship of Gotham shall be overturned…permanently."

The whisper drifted over Lucy's skin, gooseflesh subconsciously rising out on her skin. The woman reached out and tucked more loose tendrils of black hair behind Lucy's ear, giving an approving look over Lucy's features. Nodding her head once, she silently stood up, straightened her jacket, and turned to Bane who had momentarily bled out of sight.

"Come now. If I spend any more time down here, suspicions will rise. Come, take me to the surface."

The exchange ended with her curt request and they took little time in fulfilling it. They left down one of the many passage, leaving behind them the rhythmic beating of their light and heavy footsteps. It was not until the footsteps became mere echoes that Lucy finally shifted on the bed.

Eyes opened.

Face was unreadable.

Lips pressed into a white line.

Ears clinging to every…single….sound.

So I finished this after going to a Midnight Movie Night Event for my school choir and we went to go watch Taken 2 (fantastic movie by the way, Liam Neeson is incredible as always) so I am in that mode where I am over actively tired…if that makes any sense….

But whatever….at least I got a chapter out to you…

Enjoy…review…whatever you like…just don't steal it…or I will find Liam Neeson and get him to hunt you down…

Joking…But really.