Pairings/Characters: Clark/Bruce, Alfred, Dick
Warnings: Violence, character deaths
Summary: Bruce is uneasy as he returns home to the Manor after patrol while a storm approaches.
Date Of Completion: November 7, 2007
Date Of Posting: November 8, 2007
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1968
Author’s Note: I don’t know what this says about me, but on a gorgeous, golden fall day, I’m detailing murder and mayhem in my head. :) Ah, well. Sometimes you just have to let the plot bunnies lead you to the garden, weeds and all! ;)
Bruce tried to relax as he listened to classical music in the Batmobile. Patrol was over, and he was heading back home.
He glanced at the empty seat beside him. Dick had been down with a bad case of the flu for the last few days, and was far too weak for patrol. There were times when Dick was absent from patrol, due to Teen Titans’ missions, school obligations, or the rare social occasion, but it still bothered Bruce that he wasn’t here at his side.
Something was niggling at the edges of his mind, an uneasiness that he didn’t like. As he drove the Batmobile up the road, the spires of the Manor loomed up over the trees, the starlit night dimming as clouds moved in, blotting out the moon, and the ocean’s waves were loud and tumultuous. A storm was coming.
He eased the Batmobile through the secret entrance and into the Batcave, cutting the engine as the sleek vehicle rolled to a stop.
The Cave was dark, except…
He frowned as he saw a green glow, slipping out of the driver’s seat. Damn, he should come up with a remote lighting system down here.
The bats were agitated, squeaking high up overhead, tiny wings rustling. Something was disturbing them.
He strode toward the source of the green light and gasped.
Bruce fell to his knees, slamming the lid of the lead box shut and pushing it away. Clark was stretched out on his back, but once the light from the Kryptonite was shut off, Bruce was in the dark again. He stood and slipped on a patch of water as he hurried to the light switch by the computer console.
He turned back and gasped again.
Clark’s skin had an unhealthy green cast to it, and the water he had stepped in wasn’t water.
It was blood.
Bruce was on his knees in blood, shocked at the deep wounds oozing scarlet on Clark’s chest and stomach.
He removed his gloves and stuffed them in his utility belt. Desperation fueled him as he shook Clark’s shoulder lightly, tapping his face.
Green coloring. The last stages of Kryptonite poisoning!
“Clark, please, talk to me, love.” His hands shook as he felt for a pulse. Yes! Very weak but there!
He kissed cold lips, trying to bring his husband back. Drawing back, he searched frantically for any sign of movement.
Clark’s eyes fluttered open. Fear skittered through them for an instant, then he said so softly that Bruce had to bend close to hear him, “Bruce…love you…”
“Shh, Clark, it’s all right, I’ll get you help…” His voice was shaking as badly as his hands as they smoothed soft, silky, midnight-blue hair.
Clark shook his head slowly, tears brimming in his beautiful blue eyes. “’M sorry…the screams…tried to…” He gasped as a wave of pain went through him, his body shuddering. Bruce grasped his shoulders. “Love you…always…”
A look of pure love was sent his way, a trembling hand weakly grasping his arm, then Clark’s eyes slid shut.
“No, please, Clark, don’t leave me!” Bruce clamped down on the wail that was building up inside him. “Don’t leave me!”
He held Clark close, but his mind knew that there was no pulse, no heartbeat, nothing but a cold body in his arms.
His mind reeled. His husband was dead! Who could have tricked Clark into exposing himself to Kryptonite and weakening him enough to be stabbed?
Sick with grief, he suddenly remembered Clark’s words…
“’M sorry…the screams…tried to…”
He saw bloody footprints leading away from Clark’s body and up the stone steps.
He gently eased his Beloved’s body back to the concrete floor, brushing away the distinctive curl from the pale forehead. Heart pounding, he left his husband and stealthily crept up the stairs.
He eased open the grandfather clock in the library, straining to hear, but it was silent except for the clock’s ticking. He slipped out into the shadows, the moon coming out from behind the clouds and illuminating the library.
He went down the hall and into the foyer.
Turning on the chandelier, light blazed on the heartwrenching scene: blood spattered on the polished parquet floor and Alfred face-down in the middle of it, the vase from the pier table in shards on the floor, yellow and red flowers and greenery scattered amidst water and blood, a silver serving tray up-ended, the remnants of chicken soup mingling with the blood.
Trembling, he turned Alfred over.
Only once through the heart.
A great pain went through him. His fingers told him there was no pulse. The man who had raised him after his parents’ deaths was gone.
He gently touched the wispy hair on Alfred’s head, his eyes straying to the broken shards of the ceramic bowl that had held the chicken soup.
He saw the bloody footprints trailing up the grand staircase. He left Alfred’s body and ran up the stairs, urgency screaming within him.
Not his boy, too! Not his bright, happy boy!
He ran down the hall, muscles trembling as he burst into Dick’s bedroom.
He saw tangled sheets on the bed in the pale silver moonlight.
He saw the twisted body on the bed.
Whimpering, Bruce rushed to the bed as he turned on the light. The pale yellow sheets were streaked with bright, red blood, his teen-aged adopted son deathly still.
No, no, no, not you, too! Not you, Dick! Not my Robin! My Little Bird! Please, God, no!
He felt for the pulse and his hopes were dashed. Nearly sobbing, he sat on the bed and cradled the broken body in his arms, gently rocking back and forth as his own body trembled.
My beautiful boy.
Dick had been so weak from his illness! He had probably fought off the killer as best as he could, but even his well-trained body could only do so much in such a depleted state.
He hugged Dick tightly to him, one hand cradling his head to his chest. Poor Clark, listening to the screams of his family upstairs and not being able to help as he lay dying in the glow of the Kryptonite. Had Alfred time to scream? Had he been surprised and stabbed right through the heart? He would have died immediately while the killer had continued slashing. Small comfort there.
But Dick? Bruce saw the deep cuts on his legs and torso, the final thrust through the heart swift and deadly after cutting the rest of him badly (please, God, let the killing stroke have come first), the strong, beautiful legs that could leap and fly hacked like a butcher cutting up a side of beef…
Stomach roiling, his mind frayed at the edges as shaking fingers touched a cold cheek. At least his face had been untouched.
Who could have done this? Who had robbed him of his entire family in one horrific night? Thunder rumbled in the distance.
There was blood on the walls, and the colorful poster of The Flying Graysons on the wall was destroyed, the smiling family slashed to tatters.
Compulsively he rocked and stroked Dick’s hair, trying to come to grips with the horror all around him. He could feel the abyss opening up under his feet.
He heard a noise downstairs and gently laid Dick back on the ruined bed. He pulled on his gloves over bloodstained hands and his face set in grim purpose, trying to push away the grief. Coldness ran through his body. He stood up, swaying, his senses prickling as a small child screamed within him. Everything whirled around and around as he flew down the hall and the stairs, shouting, “Who’s there? Come out, murderer!” as his heart and head pounded, blood singing through his veins, blood on the walls, blood on the floor, blood everywhere…
He froze at the bottom of the stairs. Painted in blood on the walls…
HAD ENOUGH, BATS?
YOU WANT THE KILLER?
LOOK IN THE MIRROR!
The chandelier shook as a titanic rumble of thunder crashed through the Manor. He looked in the full-length mirror framed in gilt and reeled back, hearing screams and maniacal laughter as he clutched his head, the mirror shattering into a million pieces, each shard slicing him to ribbons…
& & & & & &
It was never very quiet here. There were always moans or shouts or wails. The massive iron door shut on the latest patient’s screams of rage and despair as the two doctors in white coats stood in the dim hall, consulting their clipboards.
“Commissioner Gordon says it was a pretty grim scene,” said the woman, her dark-red hair pulled back into a ponytail as she pushed her glasses up on her nose.
The man nodded. “The incident in this patient’s past was most likely the trigger.”
Screams floated down the hall, mingling with the groans and pleas from the nearest room.
The woman sighed. “Funny how events that change a person’s life can be reduced to an ‘incident’.”
“Well, it’s tough to pinpoint what drives a human being to slaughter an entire family.”
The man shuddered. A flash of lightning and crack of thunder set off more of the inmates. Heavy rains fell, drumming on the roof.
She pushed back a strand of hair off her brow. “A killer clown?”
He shook his head in bemusement, looking down at the report. Only in Gotham.
"How did the police know to go to the Manor?"
He flipped a page of the report. "Said they got calls from people out there hearing strange sounds from the Manor. Screams and other weird noises."
She adjusted her glasses again. “Do you think we’ll ever find Bruce Wayne?”
He shrugged. “Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t.” They began walking down the hall as the lights flickered. He looked back at the iron door.
It was their job to find Bruce Wayne in the dark abyss that had claimed him. The man who had been found on his knees in the library of his Grand Manor, whimpering and begging for forgiveness as he looked up at the painting of his parents, clothes bloodied and clutching a bloodstained knife while his skin oozed blood from the dozens of cuts inflicted by the shattered glass that he had crawled over from the foyer to the library had turned into a violent, screaming lunatic who had raved about a killer with the face of a clown as the police had restrained him.
Even now he was insisting that he had to get out to find the clown, calling him the Clown Prince of Crime, and that he would do it dressed as a bat, that his husband was an alien from the stars and possessed all kinds of wonderful powers, just like those in the comic books, and his son was a robin who fought crime by his side.
The spouse of Bruce Wayne, a famous Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, had been found in the basement, while the faithful family retainer had been discovered in the foyer, and the heir apparent upstairs in his bedroom.
It was the twentieth anniversary of the night that Thomas and Martha Wayne had been murdered in Crime Alley.
The two doctors discussed what they would tell the incoming physicians for the next shift. He was looking forward to a hot bath, a home-cooked meal, and a good night’s sleep.
Time enough tomorrow to start the search for Bruce Wayne in the mind of the screaming man in the room down the hall.
The Crown Prince of Gotham would no longer reign over the city but instead over a small, cramped, cell-like room in the dark, ancient building.
Arkham Asylum always welcomed the insane.