Bruce sat back down, grabbing his abdomen where he had been stabbed as he did so. He stared blankly at the door that Autumn had closed behind her. He knew her decision was the best for the both of them, but he couldn’t quiet place his emotions at the moment. But he knew that with her out of the picture, he could put more focus into capturing The Joker and Harley Quinn.
Alfred entered the room, a too familiar expression on his face. “What is it, Alfred?” Bruce asked, rolling his eyes. Alfred remained silent for a moment, choosing his words carefully.
“Do you remember the first time you brought up the idea of Batman to me, sir?” Bruce nodded. It was on the plane trip home after he had decided to return to Gotham. Alfred sighed and continued. “I remember you telling me what you wanted Batman to stand for, though at the time you didn’t know it would come to be Batman. You told me that it was a symbol that couldn’t be corrupted. While Batman hasn’t been corrupted… Bruce Wayne has been.” Bruce waited for him to continue, he already knew that he didn’t like where this was going. “You’re not the same person you once were, Master Wayne. To be perfectly honest, I never expected you to be. But I will not sit here and watch you waste away. Your parents wouldn’t have allowed it, and I won’t allow it. You chose this life. You can just as easily choose to give it up, and have a real life.”
“I can’t just drop everything and go back to my old life, Alfred. Not yet.”
“And what if the day you decide is the right one, is a day too late? Master Wayne, you’ll always make up excuses as to why you should continue being Batman. It’s up to you to decide when enough is enough.” Alfred’s words sank in, and of course, like always, Bruce knew he was right. But he also knew that now wasn’t the time to give up on Batman.
Autumn sat at her work desk at The Gotham Times, her mind completely wandering. She was surprised at how little she was affected by giving Bruce a final farewell. Instead her mind was rather consumed by the thought of Batman, and his heroism that took place at Bruce’s party last night. He had been stabbed, and yet he still went after The Joker. She was brought back to reality by a small thud. Her boss, Jim, had dropped a manilla folder full of paper work on her desk.
“Do you know what this is, Autumn?” He asked, clearly angry. Autumn shook her head no, though she already knew what this was about. “This is everyone else’s article for tomorrows paper. Everyone has finished except for you.”
“I’m working on it, Jim.” Autumn answered, carefully tilting the computer screen so that he couldn’t see her page was blank.
“Just have it in within the hour, Autumn. I know you’re still relatively new here, but it’s time to pick up the pace. And make sure it’s something interesting.” With that he grabbed the folder off her desk and walked off. Autumn sighed heavily and began to think. She had to come up with something people would want to read, and she had to do it fast. She typed a few lines, but then her mind began to wander back to Batman. There was something really remarkable about him. Not to mention he had a very attractive jawline…
“That’s it!” She muttered excitedly to herself. It was risky, since no one would want to hear it. But she knew this is what she wanted her article to be about. She would write her article about Batman, and regardless of the rumors involving Harvey Dent’s death, he was not a bad guy. He was still the dark knight Gotham needed.
Friend: “You should definitely be Catwoman for Halloween. You definitely have the curves to pull it off.” <3
The blood began to seep through his suit, and his grip on Harley involuntarily loosened. She snaked through his grip and ran for the door. He went after her, but the moment he took a step the pain shot through his entire body. He grabbed for his wound and looked up as the door closed behind Harley. He forced himself to go after her, pulling open the door while trying to force the pain from his mind. He looked around but Harley and The Joker were nowhere to be found. At the end of the grounds, he saw the flashing on police sirens and realized that it was time to turn back into Bruce Wayne, regardless of his injury.
Bruce was in the Batcave, carefully pulling off the Batsuit that was now stained with blood in his abdomen area. Alfred looked on, worry aging his already older face.
“Master Wayne, you can’t keep this up forever. If I had a nickel for every injury and scar you have, I’d be richer than you.” He mumbled, handing Bruce a first aid kit. Bruce ignored him and glanced down at the wound Harley had given him. It was still gushing blood, she he applied pressure up to it and finally answered Alfred.
“A part of me wants to give it up Alfred, more than anything. But there is no way I could sleep at night knowing The Joker is still out there. After all he’s done, I…I just can’t.” Alfred went to speak, but Bruce stopped him. “Go deal with the cops.”
“They’ve already been dealt with.”
“Then go deal with what’s left of my guests. Apologize, do whatever just make them leave.”
Alfred looked at him severely but replied “As you wish… sir.”
Autumn sighed at as she looked in the last room that had been open to the party goers. She had looked everywhere for Bruce, and couldn’t seem to find him anywhere. She remember hearing Alfred mention the east wing, but she didn’t feel appropriate just nosily going through every room in the manor.
“Miss Redding!” A voice said behind her. Alfred entered the room, by the looks of everyone leaving down the corridor behind him, he had finally kicked everyone out. Autumn nodded in reply, relief washing over her knowing that at least Alfred was okay.
“Alfred, where is Bruce? Is he okay? Does he even know what’s going on? Where was-“
“Miss Redding, please calm down. Master Wayne is fine. I came to fetch him for a very important business phone call, and he took it in his study so he avoided the whole ordeal. I’m assuming you’re fine?” Autumn nodded.
“Can I see him? Or is he dealing with all the police work right now? There’s… there’s just something I need to tell him.” Alfred thought for a moment.
“Ah… let me speak with him first.” He briskly walked out of the room before Autumn could say anymore. He found Bruce in his bed room, redressing himself in his formal attire. “Miss Redding wanted to speak with you, sir. What shall I do?” Bruce walked over to the nightstand, very aware of his pain causing him to limp. He couldn’t let Autumn see him like this it was too obvious, but it didn’t seem polite to throw her out without an apology.
Send her to my study.” He mumbled, adjusting his tie. Alfred gave him a puzzled look. “I’ll make out like I’m dealing with some legal documents at the computer, that way I can sit, and give this injury a rest.” Alfred nodded and left the room, Bruce immediately followed after him, but instead limped his way to the study. He sat down at his desk with a heavy sigh, pain shooting through his body at the sudden posture change. He opened his laptop and clicked on a random file, just as the door creaked in and Autumn appeared. She walked up to the desk cautiously, a look of uncertainty taking over her beautiful face. Bruce instantly knew that she had something to say, and it wouldn’t be something he would want to hear. He opened to apologize for disappearing on her, but she was dying to say what was on her mind.
“Bruce… listen. I need to get this out. Even though we both say we’re not looking for anything serious, we both know this relationship we turn into something, even if it’s not something we can put a label on. I know I’m really lucky for you wanting to give me a chance… but I know better. You have too much on your plate for me, I understand that. I’m perfectly okay with that in fact. I…I just can’t do this. I’m not sure where things will go with us, and I don’t like uncertainty. And right now I’m still so new to Gotham so I should focus on my career, and-” Bruce held up a hand to stop her. She was completely rambling, but she had still made herself perfectly clear. He stood, carefully forcing his face straight so that he would not wince in pain. She walked around the side of the desk so that she was in front of him. “I’m sorry, Bruce. I really am. I just don’t think either of us are in the position to pursue anything between us right now.” Bruce sighed. She was completely right. As long as he was Batman, all attempts at a relationship would be in vain.
“You’re right, Autumn, it’s okay.” He shrugged and gave her a half smile in attempts to erase the sympathetic pain from her face. She reached up and stroked his cheek, it was clear that she was sincerely sorry to abandon whatever it was that they had.
“I really do hope that one day our paths happen to cross again, Bruce.” She leaned forward to kiss him on the lips. He returned the kiss, a nagging feeling of regret in his stomach. With a final kiss to his cheek, she turned around silently, and left him alone in his study.
Batman jumped down from the railing, landing with a well postured thud in front of Harley and The Joker. “Leave this place.” He growled.
The Joker grinned and licked his lips before saying “Not until I get what I came here for.” The crowd of guests remained silent in fear and Batman and The Joker exchanged looks, making it clear that neither would budge on their wants. Harley had backed up a little so that she was partially hiding behind The Joker, but her gun remained pointed at Batman. Batman ignored Harley’s pointing gun and reached for The Joker’s throat, picking him up by it. Harley jumped back in fear, but kept her aim on Batman, her hands shaking on the gun. “Don’t shoot him.” The Joker croaked. Harley dropped her aim obediently, her head cocked to the side in confusion. A look of disgust crossed Batman’s lips as he threw The Joker against the door.
“Get out. I’m not going to have you terrorize these people.” The Joker stood back up, laughing and rubbing his throat. Harley ran to his side to grab his arm and help him regain his balance.
“Well see the thing is… it doesn’t really matter if I leave or stay. I figured kidnapping the famous Bruce Wayne would draw you out, but it looks like I can completely skip that part thanks to you.” He straightened himself, but made no attempt to leave. Batman attempted to step toward him but he ripped up his coat, revealing the explosives that were strapped to the inside of it. “Let’s just settle this like adults, shall we? You know why I’m here. I want to know who you really are, I have to know who you really are. I’m pretty sure the last time we spoke we had made a little deal… either you tell me who you are, tell Gotham who you are… or I kill people. Sound familiar?”
“I never made a deal with you, I don’t make deal with criminals.” Batman growled, standing in place. He was ensure of what to do, he didn’t want to risk the lives of all the people in the manor just to catch The Joker. He knew it was a matter of time before he did, if it meant skipping that tonight to keep others safe than so be it. He took another step forward, attempting to see if the Joker was bluffing, but Harley spoke up when she noticed pulling the string rigged to the explosives.
“What do ya think your doing? Batfreaks identity isn’t worth blowin’ us up over!” She said shrilly, her eyes begging him to stop.
“You’re right Harley, if we’re all dead then it won’t matter who Batman is. But I don’t think he’s getting the point. Start shooting people. Anyone. Everyone!” His infamous laugh escaped his lips as a confused Harley raised her gun for him once again. No that Batman had realized that The Joker wasn’t going to blow anyone up, he quickly moved forward. Harley shot at him, her eyes fearful, but Batman dodged the bullet. He grabbed her wrist gently but firmly, and ripped the gun from her hands. Not wanting to harm her because she was a woman, he turned to The Joker. Before he knew it, Harley was on his back trying to choke him from behind. He reached around and picked her tiny body up by her jester suit, and threw her to the ground.
“Leave Mista J alone!” she shouted shrilly, trying to stand back up, though it was clear she had been slightly injured by the toss. There was a small banging sound, and Batman turned to look behind him. A heavy cloud of smoke replaced where The Joker was once standing. Harley let out a pathetic cry. Batman ignored her, trying to figure out where The Joker had gone to. Looking to the crowd for some sort of sign to where he had fled, Batman noticed that the crowd was a lot smaller due to his guests fleeing to different rooms in the chaos. Confused as the why The Joker would leave without getting what he wanted, he turned back to Harley. She was now standing, one hand on her thigh, revealing it as the source of her minor injury. Her attention was no where near being on Batman, she was looking around the room in a panic, also looking for The Joker. In the distance he could hear the sound of sirens growing closer, the reason why The Joker had fled. One of the guests that had managed to escape must have called the police.
Batman approached Harley cautiously and wrapped an arm around her and crushing her to his body, he could leave her for the cops. It dawned on her that she should stop worrying about The Joker and she began to flail wildly. She struggled against him, kicking and screaming as he reached for his belt to find something to bind her hands with. Batman felt a sharp pain in his abdomen, and looked down to Harley had pulled out a knife and stabbed him as hard as she could.
I’ve just been really busy lately with work, and setting up for school. Not mention I’ve been sick as hell these past three days. I’m going to try and get a chapter out tonight once I finish some work up. Thanks for sticking with me! <3