The world passed by in a blur, filled with swirling lights and voices, the underlying pain throbbing, filling him, consuming him.
Talia...Sweet, beautiful Talia...Why have you not returned for me? Has my failure disgusted you more than these scars?
As the hours crawled past, thoughts of her filled his mind, filtering past the fire that ran through his veins. It felt as though every nerve was alight.
Thought of the glittering spark of light in his otherwise shadow-filled life tormented him.
Had the one pure, radiant person in his life always been so twisted? When had she changed from the sweet, innocent child, willing to reach out to a monster born from darkness, into the obsessed, bitter, selfish young woman who had been willing to destroy over a million lives to fulfil a dead man's last wish?
She had been his salvation, yet, where was she now? He had been willing to give her everything. The pain and fear of an entire city, brought to their knees by him – by his men. His face, his health, his loyalty, his life... his heart.
It took close to two days for the rescue teams to find him. Barely alive, lost in a haze of memories and pain. It had taken eight men to lift him into the back of the ambulance, a further eight with guns trained on him, despite his blood-soaked shirt, his broken mask, and his delirious state.
Pain raced along his nerves, hours bleeding into days, as they poked and prodded at his mask. A string of men in uniforms and suits came with questions and accusations. More than one had attempted to rip the IV from his biceps, to make him bleed.
Did they want him to beg for forgiveness? To give a reason? An excuse?
It wasn't until a nurse attempted to smother him with a pillow as he slept fitfully, that they finally decided what to do with him; Arkham Asylum.
It wasn't until the bars slid shut behind him, the all too familiar, metallic thud of metal meeting stone breaking through the haze that had clouded his mind for what felt like an eternity, that he was able to reach up, to attempt to fix his mask. They hadn't been kind enough to remove his cuffs.
From what he could feel, three of the connectors were damaged.
Talia...why have you not returned?