Author's Notes:

Unlike some of the fanfic I've posted, this one's finished in its entirety already. I am, however, going to be posting it one chapter per day because I think it'll work well like that. This is a bit of an experiment; I'd like to hear some feedback on what people think. A warning: it's pretty dark and depressing. It is a tragedy, after all.

Disclaimer: These characters are mostly not mine and belong to DC. No profit being made, for entertainment purposes only.


Deconstruction of a Tragedy

The Denouncement

The Batman stared at the body on the slab. It was impossible to guess what he was thinking.

Commissioner Atkins cleared his throat. He didn't want to seem callous but…

"So… ahem… Do you recognise…"

"Yes. He's one of mine."

"Ah."

The Batman turned away from the body and the Commissioner silently replaced the sheet. He didn't know what to say. James Gordon had recommended that he use the services of Gotham's Darkest Knight, and he had been trying. He was hardly close to the man though, barely knew anything about him. To have to talk to him in these circumstances was… uncomfortable.

"I'm sorry." A feeble gesture, and they both knew it.

"There's nothing you could have done to prevent it."

"Perhaps. But I will do my best to find his killer, I promise you."

He could swear he saw the Batman's face crease momentarily with emotion, and then the implacable mask was back. That was surprising in itself, but his next words were frankly astonishing.

"There's no need. It was suicide."

He blinked. It was what? "Look, I don't like to say this but I'm not sure whether that could be possible."

"It's possible."

"Yes, but the wounds…"

"Were self inflicted."

"Self inflicted? I'm sorry, but that's quite obviously impossible. If you'd seen…"

He trailed off. The Batman looked at him, his cold eyes narrowed. It was…unpleasant.

He spoke softly, but the Commissioner could hear the rigidity behind every word.

"It… was… suicide."

He swallowed. His mouth had suddenly gone dry.

"If… you're certain of this… I need to know how."

The cape spun around him like a shadow as he turned towards the door.

"There will be an e-mail sent to this station with all the details."

"We'll need a name…"

"All the details."

"From the Batman?"

"From the Oracle. A much better source of information."

The Commissioner took at deep breath and followed him out the door.

"I'll understand if you don't feel up to helping with the other matter I discussed with you."

Ahead of him up the stairs, the Batman stopped dead. Atkins stopped as well, peering through the gloom at the ominous shape before him. What had he said? Surely the man couldn't take offence at a simple concession like that?

"I… Are you…"

The voice was like steel when it came, and it sent shivers up his spine.

"You'll receive an e-mail about that as well."

And he blinked, and suddenly the Batman was gone.

***