Genres: Challenge, Horror
Warnings: Major character death; grave-robbing. Not light ‘n’ fluffy, folks!
Spoilers: If anyone out there doesn’t know about Doomsday, this could be considered spoilerish, I suppose.
Summary: Bruce has never been one to easily accept the inevitable.
Date Of Completion: October 20, 2008
Date Of Posting: October 23, 2008
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1003
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: I think I’ve been reading too many of EC’s Tales Of The Crypt over on scans_daily. ;)
This horrific little tale of obsession gone wrong was written for the 2008 DCU Fic/Art Halloween Challenge. Prompts Used: Colors: Yellow, Gold. Traditional Elements: Bats, Cemeteries/Crypts/Coffins. Setting: Gotham City.
He had been fighting death all his life.
The Batman stealthily entered the crypt. Its security had been designed by some of the world’s greatest minds, including Bruce Wayne’s, but he still had to be careful.
His boots echoed on the smooth marble floor, the mix of alien and human architecture lovingly crafted for the man who had been laid to rest here. Batman listened as he always did, but it was improbable that anything else living was in here.
He carefully skirted the electronic eye beams and other security measures, movements graceful and silent. His silk cape whispered along the floor, but otherwise no other sound could be heard.
He reached the main chamber without incident, hesitating before the sarcophagus with the special symbol etched into its golden surface. Batman pressed the side of the coffin in just the right place with the small disc he carried.
The lid opened without a sound.
He gazed down at the body resting on white satin.
“Clark,” he whispered.
Bruce settled the body on the table, strapping it down. For a moment he paused, running a gloved finger over the beautiful marble-white face, then he hurried to his machinery, working feverishly. The Fortress had gone dark and the AI silent after Clark’s death at the hands of Doomsday, so Bruce had set up everything in the Batcave. He had managed to send everyone away for this one night, so he couldn’t waste time.
No one understood. They had thought he had stayed away from the funeral because he was grieving too much or didn’t care at all.
Far from it.
Bruce was ready for this. He had studied, experimented, calculated.
Learning Kryptonian was tough, but he had persevered, conversing with the Fortress’ AI and learning what he had wanted to know.
He didn’t have time to waste. He couldn’t allow too much time to pass, or this wouldn’t work at all.
Poor Dick. He worried too much, tried to get him to ‘calm’ down’ after the funeral, but Dick didn’t understand.
It wasn’t his fault.
He just didn’t get it. Neither did Alfred, or Diana, or anyone else.
Not even the AI. The crystalline Kryptonian voice had sounded disapproving years ago when he had started this project.
“You cannot be sure. Cell regeneration in this case is theoretical. Living Kryptonians are powered by the sun, but dead ones? It has never been attempted before, Bruce Thomas of the House of Wayne.”
When it called him that, he knew it was annoyed.
“Of course it hasn’t been tried before! No super-powered Kryptonians have died yet! But I know this will work. Your people’s cell structure will assure virtual immortality.”
He wouldn’t have it, but Clark would always be with him.
He couldn’t lose him.
Not after he had finally opened up and given him his heart.
“Beware, Bruce Wayne. Matters of the soul should be very carefully handled. Science does not cure all.”
Ironic that an artificial construct from a planet that worshipped science should think such a thing.
Bruce threw his cowl back as he ran through his calculations, flicking on the machines. The hum soothed him. Technology had always had that effect on him.
He consulted his notes, glancing over at the body on the table.
It won’t be long now, Clark. You’ll come back to me.
He would gaze into those beautiful blue eyes and know he was loved again.
It was what he had worked so hard for, preparing for just this eventuality. That was him, the Batman, always prepared, though he was no Boy Scout.
No, the Boy Scout is on that table, and he’ll be back rescuing old ladies and rescuing kittens from trees before you know it.
And loving me.
Bruce felt a surge of excitement as he flipped more switches and the power hum grew louder. It vibrated beneath his feet as it ratcheted up, lights coming on over the table and bathing it in sweet light.
Sunlight, funneled in from the outside.
Dawn was breaking.
The humming grew louder as the sunlight shone down on the body clad in the familiar red-yellow-and-blue. Clark’s paper-white skin started to glow, Bruce’s excitement building as the machines shook and the energy crackled among the three giant lamps set up over the table. The bats high overhead squeaked and flew around in agitation.
The body twitched, then shuddered, suddenly snapping up in a rictus of motion as the bands of energy snaked around it, Bruce still feverish as he flipped more switches and levers, more power, more electricity...
Limbs shaking, sweating with nervous excitement, he whipped around and watched as the sunlight completely enveloped his lover.
It was an otherworldly thing, this radiance coaxing the body back to life, the hum of power loud and sizzling.
Abruptly, the whining of the machines turned into a whimper, the sunlight fading as the body fell still. Bruce held his breath.
Suddenly, the silence in the Cave was complete. Even the bats were still.
The fingers moved.
He’s alive! He’s alive!
Bruce hurried over, pulse pounding as his heart surged with joy. He’d been successful! He quickly undid the straps and breathlessly waited while Clark’s breathing steadied. The color of his skin was a light tan, patchy-white in places and dark veins running in crooked patterns over his face and neck. Well, a good sunbathing would cure that.
“Clark,” Bruce breathed, ripping off his gloves and touching his lover’s face.
The blue eyes snapped open.
Joy turned to horror.
The eyes that stared back at him…there was no personality, no intelligence…no soul.
The AI was right, was Bruce’s last thought as the monster’s hand came up and closed around his throat, crushing his windpipe.
As Bruce’s lifeless body fell to the floor, the monster slid off the table and shambled up the stone steps, the bats squeaking in alarm as they fled the Cave.
Additional prompt: Zombies