My apologies for the long delay. I am going to try and get at least one chapter out each week as long as there is interest.
When last we saw Clark he had left Metropolis shortly after saving the life of Perry White and had arrived on the outskirts of Gotham City. How will living in the dark city affect Clark's view on the world and what if any affect will it have on his decision as to what type of man to be.
A Dark Night in Gotham
Not five minutes after I arrived I heard my first sirens in Gotham. Shortly after that, I began to hear gun shots in the distance. I had heard these things while I was in Metropolis but it was rare and often I would have to use my hearing ability to figure out where it was coming from. When I opened up my hearing it seemed as though it was coming from all around me. I counted at least ten different incidents going on at once. The most I had ever noticed was two in Metropolis. I definitely wasn't in Kansas anymore.
Over the course of a few days I began to get used to the chaos of this city. Doing the same as I did in Metropolis I quickly found a job out by the docks where I could work for cash and then a small studio apartment to keep my things. The biggest thing I noticed about this place was that it was always dark. Even during the day everything felt depressed and dirty, as though there was no hope for the future. After work I would go to the local library and I tried to find out what went wrong here. Apparently about 20 years earlier there was a rich couple that had been murdered. They had been a major force in the revitalization of the city and once they were gone, their dreams of a better Gotham went with it. Now it was overrun with crime and corruption. Also, I saw a recent article that said that their only son had just returned after eight years. Many had thought he was dead, but now he was back and wanted to be an active part of the company that his family had started. Unfortunately, he seemed like too much of playboy with only having fun on his mind to do any actual good.
My feelings for Gotham started to change when I was working the late shift one night down at the docks. We were all on our lunch break at about midnight when gunshots rang out from across the way.
"Hey Kent, you hear that?" said my shift boss. "Yeah, sounds like someone ran across the wrong crowd. Nothing new though, I hear it all the time in my neighborhood." Was my less than enthusiastic reply. "Well I'm going inside the office trailer at least that way I have one more wall between a stray bullet and me." He said. "Ok Boss, I'm gonna stay out here and head over and start on the next batch of containers too so that I can get a head start." I yelled to him. "Sounds good Kent, nice having a hard worker around here for once that I don't have to babysit." He said as he walked into the trailer.
Quickly I walked out of sight and then ran to where I heard the gun shots. What I saw didn't make any sense at all. It looked as if the gunmen were all scared of something and were firing up into the air. Once it was all quiet I finally saw what they were afraid of. I saw a man dressed in black with a cape glide down onto the roof of a limo. Before I could comprehend what was going on he had the man in the limo tied up to a large spotlight that we used for night loading and then he was gone. The next day I read in the paper that a local mobster was arrested at the docks with a drug stash that was smuggled in inside teddy bears. This man in black had stopped him and made it possible for the cops to arrest him even though there was no mention of him in the papers. It was like the cops either didn't know or wanted to keep it quiet.
Over the coming weeks it seemed as though this man in black was given a name. After the incident near Arkham he was known to the city as Batman. The police and Mayor said that he was a vigilante who couldn't be trusted. All this guy wanted to do was help clean up the city and they were throwing him under the bus. Maybe Dad was right, people fear what they don't understand. Especially the people who are supposed to be in control. The people of Gotham, the good ones at least, began to feel hope in this guy. The criminals feared him. Some of the stories that I had read and heard from people on the streets sounded like fairy tales. He could fly, he appeared and disappeared out of thin air. I needed to try and find him and find out if he was like me. Maybe I'm not alone after all.
One night, my last night in Gotham in fact I decided to hunt him down. Earlier in the day some character named the Joker had blown up a couple of buildings including a hospital so I knew if he was the real hero that I thought he was that he would be out looking for him. I went to the top of the tallest building and began to scan for him and listen for reports of him with my extra hearing. As the odds would have it I found him in a closed off area of the docks where I worked. He was pulling a motorcycle looking thing out of a container.
Running to him as fast as I could I reached him just as he was starting up the bike. "Wait, don't go." I called to him. "Who are you and where did you come from?" he growled at me while staring through me with his icy gaze. "I could ask you the same thing, but I just wanted to know why you are doing this?" I replied. He turned away from me and started his bike and started to drive away. Not wanting to lose the opportunity I used my super speed to run around in front of him grabbing his bike stopping him in his tracks. "I asked you a question. I'm not here to expose you, I just want to know if you are like me." I said staring him in the eyes. "What are you kid?" was his only response. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was trying to figure out how I was doing what I was doing. "I suggest you let me go kid. I have to stop the Joker before he kills innocent civilians." "I can help you find him. I have certain abilities that could come in handy." I said to the Batman. "Well, I'm faster than your bike, I can hear across the city and I can't be shot, that work for you." "Nice try kid, this isn't a job for a boy. This is my city and I have to protect it. Plus, no one has abilities like that, not even me." He said to me, his voice seeming to soften up a bit. "Wait, you mean you're just a normal guy in a suit. You don't have any special powers like me?" I asked him crestfallen.
By this point I had let go of his bike but he went nowhere. Sensing my disappointment he continued, "I have had some training and I have the ability to acquire certain gadgets and toys that help me do what I do. Otherwise I am just a man. Completely corruptible and easily broken. But when I put on this suit I can be something else. A symbol, everlasting and invincible. A symbol of hope for the people of this city to look to. What exactly do you mean special powers? Who are you?"
"You can call me Kent. I grew up in Kansas, but recently I found out that I'm not from around there. I was born with gifts. I've only used them a few times, but every time I have done it and people have seen me they have looked at me with fear. All I want is to help them, but they run away." I replied looking in the distance. "I was hoping you were like me because as far as I know, I'm the only one of my kind. Where I'm from isn't there anymore or at least that's the feeling I've been getting. I can't explain it but that's just how it feels. My parents, well adoptive parents don't know much either, other than that they found me after a meteor shower."
"So you are an orphan? You're parents are dead." this time he said in a normal voice, all traces of the growl now gone.
"As far as I know yes. My guess is that they sent me here before they died."
"I believe you kid. I know how that feels. My parents were taken from me. Killed right in front of me. That's why I do what I do now. I am trying to finish what they started for this city by striking fear in the hearts of those who would do her and her citizen's harm. That's why I have to stop the Joker. How long are you going to be in Gotham?" he asked finally.
"Honestly, I don't know. The only reason I have stayed this long is because I wanted to see if you were like me. Now that I know you aren't I feel like I need to move on. Plus, the few times I have helped people they have thought I was trying to hurt them. The only person they really trust is you it seems."
"Yes, well they may not feel that way forever. I may have to make choices that will turn them against me. Just know that I am doing what is best for this city. It's all I have left. I'm sure you want to help me out Kent but I work alone, it's safer for me that way. If you have to leave I understand. Maybe someday when you figure out what you are going to do with these abilities I can help you out. But now I have bigger things to take care of." The Batman said to me.
"Yeah, and how will I know how to get a hold of you?" came my sarcastic reply.
"Seeing as you have just as big of a secret as I do, and that we have both lost our parents….hell, I shouldn't have told you about that either. You seem like a smart kid and I am sure you would be able to put the pieces together so I may as well tell you. This could be my last night doing this if the Joker wins." With that he reached up to his head and removed his helmet. When he looked back up I was shocked to see Bruce Wayne staring me in the face. The Playboy billionaire douche that I saw on the news was actually the Batman. You have a first name Kent?" he asked.
"Yeah, sorry, Clark….Clark Kent." I answered with wide eyes not believing what I was seeing.
"Well then Clark, now we know each other's secret identity and now we can both trust each other to keep it. One word comes out about me and I spill it that you are an alien." He said.
"Wait, I never said I was an alien."
Bruce continued. "Yeah, well I figured it out and you just confirmed it. Can I trust you to keep this secret?"
"Yes, of course, you seem like a good man just trying to do his best. Plus, my greatest fear has been people finding out about me." Was all I could say.
"Alright, then it's a deal. Now, I need to go and take care of the Joker. I mean it when I said I don't need your help. You're too young and this is my city, not yours. If you need anything you know how to get a hold of me. Goodbye Clark and good luck in finding what you are looking for." With that he put back on his cowl and started his bike and drove away.
Still trying to process what I had just learned I walked back to my little studio apartment. He was just a man. If he can do it here, perhaps with my abilities I can do some good for people. But I can't let people know about me. Because of all of my thinking that I was doing I didn't hear anything that was going on that night. To say that I was shocked to open the newspaper the next day and see that the Police were saying Bruce, or Batman, had killed cops and the DA would be an understatement. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Suddenly this city was turning on this man that was trying to protect them. He didn't seem like a killer to me. His parents had been murdered in front of him when he was a child. There was no way he would murder anyone, especially cops.
Packing my things in my bag and grabbing my red coat I decided to leave town. I needed to get away from here. There was no way these people would accept me for who I am here even more so than Metropolis. They didn't like heroes here, they hunted them down and blamed them for things they didn't do. When I opened the door to my apartment I noticed a yellow envelope on the ground. Picking it up I noticed that my name was written on the front. Noone knew I lived here.
Carefully I opened the envelope and dumped the contents into my hand. All that was in there was a key and a small handwritten note.
" Locker 1138, Gotham Central Station."
How did Bruce know I lived here? He really is a great detective to figure that out. I have been paying cash to live here and didn't even use my real name. Heading down to the train station I looked for the locker that the key went to until I reached #1138. Looking around to make sure that no one was looking I slowly opened the locker. Inside were a blank plane ticket voucher in my name, a passport, and a bank card along with a note taped to a small box. I guess being a billionaire does make things go faster for you. He even had all of my correct personal information on the passport. Deciding this was way to public a place I took all of the locker's content outside and ran outside of town. I didn't want anyone seeing what was in it.
Opening the letter I began to read, "Clark, by now I am sure that you have seen the news. As I said before, there are times where I have to do things that may look different than what actually happen for the better of my city. This is that time. I need to be a symbol to these people. Now that is a symbol of what is wrong so that they can do for themselves what they have been unable to. Perhaps you can be a symbol of hope sometime in the future. A true hero for the people to look up to, but that is your choice to make, just as being a Dark Knight for my city was my choice when I took the blame for the murders. Inside the box you will find additional documents in the event that you need to change your identity should be have to go on the run and hide who you are. Also, there is a number that you can call to reach me. Only one other person has that number, my butler and closest friend Alfred. The bank card is for an account in your name, that I set up for you. Now you won't have to worry about working for cash on the docks anymore. Try and find something legitimate like journalism to do. I know about your school articles and you are pretty good. Get the truth out there. Someday, Gotham may call for the Batman again to help them and I will answer their call. You though, given what you can do, you could affect more than just one city. Good luck Clark, I pray you make the right choice as to what you are going to do with your life. Don't let small set back keep you from your destiny. ~B"
Bruce Wayne, believes in me. I knew he didn't do what the press was saying he did. But he took the fall for it and now he, or should I say Batman was a pariah. He was just a normal man, there is no way that they world is ready for me yet. I have to keep looking for answers.
Quickly I ran to the airport. I figured I would take advantage of this ticket voucher while I had the chance. Going to the nearest ticket counter I used it to purchase a ticket for Brazil. Maybe some time in the Amazon will do me good as being the cities has made it so that getting away with my saves has been tough. Going through security I stop at an ATM and punch in the code so that I can get something to eat. When I grabbed my $20 and receipt I headed to the little café. Standing in line I quickly scanned the receipt before throwing it away. "CURRENT BALANCE: $999,980.00" He'd given me a million dollars, he trusts me to do the right thing with it and really meant it when he said I shouldn't waste my time on the docks. Maybe when I get down to Brazil I can start writing and sending in the stories to Mr. White. I had heard something on the news about some conflict with drug runners in the jungle. I could cover that.
Grabbing a sandwich and coffee I headed to my seat at the gate and watched the TV while I waited to board. On it was a special report from South America, apparently there was another uprising down in the jungle. The translation was confusing though so I listened to the local that they were talking to. All I could make out was, "Woman, black hair, strong, gold rope, stopped heavily armed drug runners." Here we go again. Another super powered being or a rumor of it. I'll have to keep my eye out for this Amazon Woman when I get down there.