The Man Who Broke The Bat
AN: Here we go again.
Xander nearly dropped the binoculars as he witnessed the Batman remove his mask after rescuing several people from a burning building. He had started the fire to drawn the Batman out so that he could gather move information about the Caped Crusader, but he had never expected it to work so well. It was almost too easy, had Xander been a common snipe then the Batman would already be dead. He had watched as Batman made his way up to a gargoyle on one of the many cathedrals of Gotham and witnessed hm removing his mask to take a breath of cool night air after being nearly cooked in the building's high temperatures. The figure of the mask-less Batman stared possessively at the city below him, standing like a gargoyle himself watching over his city protectively as the wind billowed his cape around impressively. A silent and horrific guardian.
Bruce Wayne. The billionaire playboy and owner of Wayne Enterprises, the man who slept with half of the attractive females in the city, the apparently witless spoiled party boy was the the Dark Knight. Wayne had disappeared for seven years and returned when Batman did, no doubt he was honing his skills and training for those years, preparing for the day when the Batman would stalk the night. It was amazing, almost impossible. A complete surprise, but that's what made it so perfect and why Xander accepted the truth immediately. Often it is the most unbelievable things that were the truest, reality more strange and unbelievable than fiction. Plans would have to be modified to suit this new surprising fact and a more appropriate final battlefield would have to be chosen again to match this. Only one place would make the Batman truly off of his game.
The more he thought about the new possible battleground, the more he liked it. A dark and savage chuckle left him as he mentally made preparations.
"Master Wayne, I found this tape on the doorstep. This note was on it" Alfred said to his master as the man typed away on the massive computer in front of him. Bruce grabbed the tape and looked at it. It was a standard recording tape with the words 'To the Batman' on the front. Narrowing his dark eyes, Bruce slipped the tape into the tape player of the computer used for the analyzing of the tapes the Joker so loved to use. The writing on it was small and neat, unlike the Joker for which he was relieved.
"Good evening, Mister Wayne." A South American accented voice filled the cave as the masked man who had broken out the super villains from Arkham appeared on the screen. He appeared to be wearing a sleeveless v-necked black wet suit of some sort. "I must apologize for the sudden interruption to your cases that I'm sure my tape has caused you. My name is Bane and I desire to challenge you one on one. For many years I have honed my physical and mental capabilities until I felt certain that I had achieved the title of the strongest human, but then I heard about you. One man with the knowledge, skill, and intelligence to bring the Mob to it's knees and send all criminals cowering at his banner. A great achievement to be sure, something I might not have been able to do myself. There is no doubt in my mind that you are the only rival I have in the matters of battle, but I believe that you will not answer my challenge as you are not the prideful sort. It is for this reason that I have a family here with me. A man, a woman, and a young boy. If you are not in Crime Alley behind the old theater by 10:47 PM, I will kill the parents and leave the boy alive in the alley. Be prepared for battle Batman as by midnight, one of us will be standing over the other's broken body."
The video ended abruptly, leaving only a picture of the tearful face of a ten year old boy who bore a great resemblance to Bruce looking at the camera.
Bruce's brown eyes were nearly black with his rage and his gloved hand slammed down on the desk angrily. This was a calculated move, one designed to enrage him and it had worked even as his great mind started bringing up possible plans to save the family. It was bait designed to draw him using the memory of his parents and the threat of another boy who suffer as he did if Bruce did not act. He couldn't not show up. That would go against everything that he was and had trained for, no child would be orphaned because he lacked the will to act. Even the exact time of his parent's death, 10:47 PM, had been mentioned as a dead line. It was monstrous, it was maddening, and he couldn't just stand by. He may die, but it was better his death than allowing another orphaned boy to feel the pain of watching his parents die, helpless to stop it from happening as it had happened to him all those years ago.
Alfred watched sadly as his surrogate son struggled with himself and decided to make the choice for him. "I shall go prepare the Tumbler, Master Bruce."
"You are nearly late, Batman." Bane said calmly to apparently no one and continued to look at the stop watch in his large hand even as the Dark Knight stepped out of the shadows silently. "But I left you with little to no time to do anything other than get here. I must say that I have been waiting for this day for some time, even back in prison I dreamed of this fight coming to pass and now it is finally time. I've got chills."
"Let the family go, Harris." Batman growled out, standing as still as a statue. Bane shot him a surprised and oddly pleased glance, the mask around his mouth bunched slightly to give the impression of a smile. "If you want to fight me, then they are nothing but distractions."
"You found out my name. Impressive." Xander said pulling a knife from his boot and tossing the stop watch aside as he slowly walked toward the family of three. Once, there he cut the ropes binding them and walked back to Batman, unconcerned whether they stayed or left. Either way, he gave them the chance to leave. He could hear the sound of footsteps as the family left Crime Alley. "Shall we banter? I feel I must offer some warning that I have spent months around SoCal teenage girls, so I am quite fluent in the bantering and quipage."
Batman made no comment as he fairly flew at Bane who quickly turned the dial on his Venom bracer and stepped to the side, launching a powerful right hook in return. The Dark Knight dunked under Xander's arm and punched his rips with a punishing blow, sadly Xander showed little sign of injury and grabbed Batman's shoulders, lifting him up, and tossing him like a rag doll into a large garbage bin eight feet away. Veins stood out on Xander's body as the super steroid known only as Venom pumped through them, expanding muscles, adding density to them and the rest of his body. Rage pulsed through him and Xander rushed his downed opponent, only fall back in surprise as Batman threw a small bomb at his chest which exploded causing damage to Xander, knocking him back a few steps. Xander stared down in surprise and pain at his destroyed vest and the raw burn on his chest. He had been hurt, seriously hurt.
Xander twisted the dial violently, glaring in hatred as Venom pumped through his body in much greater quantities and expanded his muscles grotesquely ripping the remains of his vest from his chest. Roaring in pure rage with his eyes bulging behind the red lenses of his mask, Xander ran toward Batman and feinted a punch. Batman fell for the feint and was sent slamming against the wall from the force behind Xander's kick, he wasn't allowed time to rest as the giant grabbed him and lifted him high into the air. "I AM THE STRONGEST, BATMAN, DO YOU HEAR ME? THE STRONGEST AND I WILL BREAK YOU!"
Xander brought the Batman down with great force, assuming a kneeling position as he slammed the Batman's back down on his knee. Batman's mouth opened in a pained roar as a loud cracking sound filled the air and unimaginable pain swept through him as his back was broken. It was so loud that it almost drowned out the sound of a gunshot as a bulled ripped it's way from Alfred's position on a nearby roof top to the tube feeding Xander his Venom, cutting through the tough rubber with ease. Xander froze in shock as he felt the liquid from the tube flowing down his back and that was more than enough for Alfred to fire another shot, but this time to his Venom control bracer. The bullet tore into his forearm, piercing through the side of the muscle though thankfully not the bone.
The Venom drained from Xander's system, weakening him greatly until he was back to his normal strength in a matter of moments. He was so stunned at this turned of events that, coupled with the mind dulling of Venom, allowed Commissioner Gordon to sneak up behind him and knock him in the back of the head with a night stick. Xander's eyes rolled back into his head and he lost consciousness, falling face first onto the concrete. Gordon looked at his unconscious body with satisfaction, then a worried look took it's place he saw the Batman's unmoving body. "No. Oh God, please no."
"In today's news the criminal mastermind known as Bane was apprehended late last night. He is most well known for being responsible for the massive break out at Arkham Asylum where the most dangerous and insane criminals in the city were kept, unleashing a crime wave in Gotham unlike any other. The Police have not yet released the criminal's real name nor the particulars of his capture, but we here at GCN were relieved to hear about his arrest." Mike Engles said to the camera, shuffling the papers in his hands as he did so and offering a smile to the police. "In other news, Billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne suffered a skiing accident in which he harmed his back badly. He is expected to make a recovery and has recently made a generous donation to the many hospitals in Gotham. There is talk from Wayne's butler and friend Alfred Pennyworth about setting up a fund for injured patients whose health care does not cover their injuries or those who lack health care altogether under the name of the 'Thomas Wayne Foundation'. The foundation will be optional for those with low income only."
Pained screams echoed throughout the police station as the suspect went through terrible withdraw symptoms. Doctors had been called in to help him, but it was their opinion that Bane wouldn't survive the night due to the force of his withdraw. All attempts to drug him and relieve the pain had been met with stern disagreement from Bane and even hostility directed at those who pressed the issue. Neither the police nor the doctors could talk any sense into the man or understand why Xander insisted on what would no doubt be his death. The police standing guard at Bane's cell door were a nervous wreck from hearing the screams and witnessing their suspect writhing on the floor in pain. They thought he deserved to die, but even they wouldn't wish the pain he must be feeling on anyone.
Police Commissioner Jim Gordon watched all this sadly from the cameras. It was unbelievable just how young the dangerous Bane really was, he was only nineteen. A kid. A baby really when compared to his own forty five years, twenty five of which had been spent in Law Enforcement. Why did Bane insist so strongly on suffering when it was clear that, unlike the Joker, he didn't enjoy the pain in the least. It was almost like the boy was punishing himself for some unknown reason that Gordon couldn't figure out. There was also the issue of Batman and his back injury, luckily the Dark Knight had been able to mention the name of a private doctor named Leslie Thompkins and Gordon had rushed him to her clinic. When Gordon had returned to the alley he had discovered the 'Batmobile' gone with no trace of DNA anywhere in the alleyway. No doubt one of Batman's agents had removed both the vehicle and the evidence of Batman's identity. Dr. Tompkins had stated that he would recover, but it would nearly a year before he would be recovered and even then it would take him months to retrain his body.
A year and a half was her estimate of when he would be able to take cases again. Eighteen months with no Batman to strike fear into the criminals of Gotham, no Batman to catch the Joker when he escaped again, and no one to catch any of Batman's rogues gallery. God help them all when the public finds out about Batman's disappearance. Crime will skyrocket, maybe even surpass the times before Batman showed up. He and the rest of the force needed the time before that happened to prepare for the massive crime wave that will be sure to follow. Recruiting was at an all time high and they were spending ridiculous amounts of money on training the current police officers to handle the coming event. Oh yeah, they were definitely going to be over budget this year.
A knock on his door distracted him from his thoughts and when he called for the person to come in, a heavyset thirty something black woman in a business suit walked in carrying a brief case. "Commissioner, I'm Dr. Amanda Waller and I'm here to discuss with you the death of the criminal Bane. Apparently, Bane dies in a few minutes from now thanks to his addiction to the steroid Venom."
"Do you think that I will let you kill a suspect?" Gordon asked the woman incredulously, his hand moving under his desk carefully and slowly toward the emergency button on it's underside. "Do you think that you can tell me that you are going to kill Bane in the middle of a police station and do it successfully? I'm sorry, Doctor, but I can't allow you to do that."
"Kill him? Commissioner Gordon, Bane's actual death is last thing we want." Amanda Waller smiled, her dark eyes crinkling in amusement. "I represent Project Cadmus, a top secret government organization whose purpose is the capture and, if need be, death of these 'super villains' who appear to be popping up everywhere and the so called 'superheroes' if they decide to turn against the public. Bane is a singularly gifted individual with high intelligence, a great deal of training, and an experienced fighter who took down even the Batman, though that was thanks more to the Venom than skill. Nonetheless, Bane is nearly Batman's match and a perfect candidate for our project. He will do this country a service in return for American citizenship and his release, but don't worry about him escaping or returning to his old ways. We will watch him constantly both during and after his service. If he returns to his old ways then he will be captured and sentenced almost immediately. I'm telling you this because of my respect for you, Commissioner, but I will be taking Alexander Harris with or without your permission."
"Take him, then." Gordon replied helplessly, not seeing a way around the situation. "Just treat him humanely, please. If you can promise me that then I'll turn him over to you."
"You have my word, Gordon." Waller said seriously, nodding. "Not many men would say that, let alone while bargaining for a criminal. I admire you."
"Just take him."
"It hurts, doesn't it? The withdraw. I imagine that it's similar to being digested alive." Waller said, looking at the pathetic sight of Xander moaning on the floor in pain, his large hands seeking something, anything to relieve the pain. "I can end the pain you feel." She reached into her suitcase and pulled a syringe filled with a clear red liquid. "All you have to do is ask for it and I'll inject you myself. Just ask and the pain will go away."
Xander's entire being cried out for the syringe, but instead of giving in he crawled painfully to the farthest corner from Waller and the Venom. "G-get." He paused as spasms rocked through his body. "Get that away from me. Please, just get it away and let me die. I deserve it." He stared at the syringe with both longing and hatred. "It promises strength, but all it does is cause weakness and pain. I don't need it. I want to die free of it. Venom just destroys life and releases your darkest aspects, it takes control from you."
"Good answer." Waller complimented, walking over to the pained Bane. "This syringe is filled with colored cyanide, made to resemble Venom. If you had taken it, you would have died. We have no use for a druggie in Cadmus." The heavy set woman squatted down in front of him, wiping the cold sweat from his brow with her handkerchief. "Now, I am going to tell you your options. You can stay here and probably die or be deported back to Santa Prisca, and I'm sure you know what they will to you there. Or you can work with me, bring down the various super criminals in return for an early release and American citizenship after two years of service. Make you choice."
"I agree." Xander gasped, his whole body shaking in pain. Waller smiled and pulled another syringe from her suit case, this one filled with a clear liquid. She carefully injected Xander with it's contents and the world darkened around him as he became drowsy. Soon he out cold and Waller stood up, staring down at her newest recruit with a small smile.
"Welcome to Cadmus, kid."
END OF CHAPTER
AN: Well, the next chapy is finally up. Sorry for the delay, I hope you enjoyed the chapter. Review, please.