Pairings/Characters: OC Narrator, Bruce/Dick (implied)
Genres: Challenge, Drama
Claim: For the dcu_freeforall Challenge (Bruce/Dick)
Prompt: T 9; P 4: Vengeance
Prompt Count: (11/15)
Summary: What happens when the Bat is out for vengeance?
Date Of Completion: October 12, 2011
Date Of Posting: October 14, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1712
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Gotham’s a weird town. Not only is it old and crumbling and really depressing, it’s chock-full of crazies.
And I’m not even talking the Joker, the symbol of this city.
The people who live here are a little crazy. Why would they stay in a city in which the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, and even Catwoman consider it their playground? Though I hear the Cat’s gone soft, probably because she moons over the Bat.
The Bat! He’s just as crazy as the Joker. But he doesn’t scare me.
The criminal underworld in this city considers themselves the biggest and the baddest.
Yeah, that’s right, wimps. They run around either scared of the Batman or the Joker. The crooks in Metropolis have more balls than these losers.
So why did I come to Gotham from Metropolis?
Opportunity knockin’. My cousin got me hooked up with a gang that was cleaning out jewelry stores and makin’ some nice change, and I needed the money. My bookie was breathin’ down my neck, and even though Superman rarely gave a crap about gambling operations, the Mob sure did. I needed to make some quick scores and settle up back home.
So that’s how I came to be in Gotham one really hot, sticky night.
We were on a job. I was helping out the Broad Street Gang rob one of the jewelry stores they liked to target lately when cries of “The Batman!” went up. I looked up to see a bat-shaped shadow against the moon, then suddenly this flash of light and gaudy colors swept down right in the middle of us.
The kid Batman worked with. Well, not exactly a kid anymore, but still a wise-ass, accordin’ to the guys I’d talked to. He was already punchin’ out a bunch of guys when his mentor swooped down and a couple of pansies went runnin’. So what if he was dressed as a giant bat? He didn’t scare me! Nope, not at all.
I took out my gun and slipped behind a crate. Far as I could tell, neither one had spotted me. They were clobberin’ the gang but we still had more guys than just the two of ‘em. I couldn’t believe I had such a good bead on the kid. Pixie Boots was goin’ down. I took aim and fired.
The kid stiffened, then went limp like a rag, starting to fall from the air. He’d been in the middle of a high kick, and now his cape fluttered out behind him as he fell to the dirty alley ground. I’d gotten him good. I could see a red stain on his tunic.
The cry was anguished, and a dark figure leaped for the kid crumpled on the ground. My pansy fellow robbers just stood and stared as the Batman turned the kid over and saw the gaping hole in his chest. He set right away to trying to stop the bleeding, but good luck on that. It was a nice, big hole, and the kid was bleedin’ out all over the alley.
The stupid Gotham crooks turned tail and ran. My hand shook with fury (not nerves, I tell ya!) and I heard the Batman saying over and over, “Don’t leave me, Robin, don’t leave me.” Well, Bats, sorry ‘bout that, because when I get a good shot, I don’t miss.
His dark cape was draped around him and Robin. It was weird, seein’ the dark Bat with that bright kid. It was a combo you didn’t expect would work.
The Bat’s gloves were gettin’ dark with blood. I started to take aim for ‘im when I heard police sirens when he looked up and saw me.
My legs turned to jelly.
I took off, those eyes burnin’ into my soul. Yeah, kinda high-falutin’, but it’s what I felt. I could feel my heart poundin’ as I ran, and I managed to make it back to my dump of an apartment in the crappiest part of town. Hey, I had to save money and now I’d probably be stuck here until the next job.
Once I got back to my place I turned on the radio, keepin’ it low. I sure didn’t need the old bat in the room below me bangin’ on the ceiling with her broom. Old witch probably rode it at night.
The news was all over the radio about the kid. I lit a cigarette with a shakin’ hand. I should take credit for this. It wasn’t Batman, but pluggin’ Robin was nearly as good. It would keep the Bat off-balance, at least, and outta our hair as he camped out at the hospital. I should be a hero in the underworld. I’d shown these Gotham mugs how Metropolis guys did things.
So why was I so nervous?
Easy. I couldn’t get the look that Batman had thrown at me outta my mind. He’d looked half-insane, his eyes not hidden behind those white lenses of his and could see ‘em burnin’ at me. I shoulda plugged ‘im then and there.
I laid low that night and the next, tryin’ to stay off the streets except for buyin’ a paper and readin’ the big, black, screamin’ headlines about Robin near death. On the third night I went to a dive where I’d met up with the gang, hopin’ to get a new job goin’. I walked fast, lookin’ over my shoulder all the way. The place was buzzin’ with the news, hushed whispers and fear stinkin’ the place up worse than the cheap beer and unwashed bodies, not to mention the heavy smoke. Wimps, I tell ya!
I could hear the guys over at the next table talkin’. One guy said, “If Robin croaks, I’m outta here.”
“Me, too. Batman’ll be crazier than the Joker if that happens.”
“Yeah, there’s a reason you don’t plug Robin unless you get Batman, too! Damn fool who did it oughtta be run outta town.”
Hmph, that was gratitude for ya! I’d been runnin’ scared for three nights, scared of my own shadow, and now this?
“He’s real bad off. They say the Batman is hoverin’ around and givin’ the doctors and nurses the willies.”
“Nothin’ worse than an Avengin’ Bat.”
That did it! I shot to my feet and slammed my beer mug down on the peanut shell-littered table, the liquid sloshin’ around, and said loudly, “You guys are wimps! Afraid of your own shadows! What kind of criminals are you? This is supposed to be Big, Bad Gotham!”
One of the mugs sneered, “You gotta big mouth, fella! And you must be outta town if you don’t know why we’re concerned.”
I sneered back, “You bet I’m outta town! I’m from Metropolis, and we don’t quake in our boots when it’s freakin’ Superman like you guys do about Batman! He’s just a man, and so what if his partner got plugged? Good enough for ‘im, the tights-wearin’ freak! Wipe ‘em all out, I say!”
“Oh, sure, you can go back to your shiny Metropolis while we have to work here with an Avenging Bat on our tails!”
“You would if he was on your tail!”
“I wouldn’t! I was the one who plugged Robin, and I’d do it again!”
All the buzz of conversation died down and every eye in the place turned toward me.
“Yeah, that’s right! Me!” I thumped my chest. “I shot Robin right in his redbreast, and I hope he croaks!”
Chairs started to scrape across the floor as people started backin’ away from me. I sneered at ‘em and puffed out my chest. I was King now. I had taken down the Batman’s precious partner, and I could name my price!
Except when I realized that people were lookin' over my shoulder.
I looked at the mirror over on the far wall and my blood froze. I slid my hand down to my jeans pocket, reaching for my gun…
Everything exploded. The Batman stalked into the dive and people parted for him like freakin’ Charlton Heston and the Red Sea. I panicked and threw a chair at him, but he batted it away. I threw another chair and even a table, adrenaline givin’ me the strength. I ran, spotting a doorway and was through it as the Batman kept comin’, never stoppin’.
The doorway led to a dingy hall and I took off, reachin’ another room and yellin’, “Get ‘im off me! Get ‘im away!” I could see his shadow loomin’ in the hall and picked up a chair and smashed the window next to me. I nearly made it out, too.
Blackgate ain’t a paradise spot, but no prison ever is. It still beats Arkham, though. I healed in the infirmary and now have my own cell, a cramped room with a cot, toilet, and shelf for my magazines. Oh, and one barred window.
I thought about suin’ the GCPD for lettin’ me get beat up by the Batman while the damned Commissioner was right outside the bar, but my lawyer didn’t advise I go ahead with it. Said I was lucky that all I got was a beatin’, because Robin had been at death’s door when Batman found me. I guess it’s a miracle that he pulled through, and my court-appointed lawyer, the smarmy bastard, said I woulda probably disappeared if he’d have died.
I thought that Batman didn’t kill? But the lawyer shook his head and whispered, “He would if you killed his soulmate,” and left me to ponder that.
I guess when you go out on the streets every night ya need a soulmate, someone who has your back, and when someone takes ‘em out, ya gotta avenge ‘im. While I wasn’t happy with broken bones and bruises, I remembered the man’s eyes when he caught me in that back room of the dive. He’d had his lenses up and I could see his eyes.
I shuddered. I never wanted to see eyes burnin’ like that again, borin’ into my soul.
Once I get outta here, I’m goin’ back to Metropolis. Gotham ain’t safe for people like me with crazy, vengeful Bats runnin’ around.