Bloody scrap, this chapter went into a different direction that it was originally supposed to be. Because of that, I'm not giving anything else but a simply title so I won't give misleading information again.
1- When I get off my lazy butt and do this chapter.
Ninjatana Warrior- I suppose.
Black gate prison
In a secluded part of Black Gate prison, three men were pushing a laundry cart full of clothes to their destination. But they weren't going to the laundry area, no. They were planning on using the cart to get their fellow criminal out. But this criminal wasn't any normal criminal. He was family. Upon finding the cell, the smallest of the bunch brought out a lockpick and began working on the lock, while the other two kept an eye out for guards. After a few minutes, the lock was picked. Opening the door, the three saw a man with white hair getting up, smiling.
"Nice of you guys to get me out." Said Zucco as he stepped out of his cell. "I hope you guys don't have any plans later on, cause we got ourselves some payback to deliver.
Few days later
Some museum in Gotham.
"Honestly." Mumbled Dick as he saw Batman spar with Catwoman, while either ignoring or responding to her flirtatious remarks and advances. "Can you guys get a room or just go on a date?" When he was ignored, Dick shook his head and looked at the empty booth, its contents stolen by Catwoman.
This has been going on for quite a while. Catwoman would steal an item. Batman would come and try to take it back. After a short chase and maybe a spar, the thief would give the caped crusader the item before dashing off. Though Dick was only with Batman once or twice since Catwoman changed her attitude when it comes to stealing, he knew enough to just lean back and watch the two adults duke it out and flirt. It was kind of gross.
"Seriously, can't Bruce find a normal woman to date? Alfred even put him up with one and he just ditched her! What's so special of Catwoman. Aside from being a thief." Thought Robin as he tried to wonder why Bruce was even indulging Catwoman. Did he have a crush on the thief? If so, how in the heck did he even develop one for the thief? Did the flirting have something to do with it? He'll have to ask Bruce later after this. Which happened soon as, after a few minutes, Catwoman stopped and held her hands in surrender.
"Alright, handsome." Said Catwoman with a smile. "I had my fill." She then went up the raptures and brought out the painting she stole. Jumping down, she gave Batman the painting, who carefully took it from Catwoman. "Let's do this again in about three days. Preferably without the boy wonder or the girl." She then winked at Robin. "Don't want to ruin their innocence just yet." With that, she swung her whip before taking off, leaving Batman to return the painting and for Robin to roll his eyes.
"No offense Bruce, but what do you see in her?" Asked Robin as he saw Batman return the painting. "When we used to fight her, you always fought her for real. And you tried to arrest her. Now, its just play fighting. What happened?" Bruce just stayed silent as he returned the painting. After motioning for Robin to follow him, the two ventured to the batmobile and went inside. As Batman drove, he spoke.
"Don't honestly know myself." Said Bruce honestly. "There's something…off about her. Something different. When we first met, she was just a thief. I treated her like any normal criminal and have for the first year since we met, but now. She's just different. She's not trying to run away with the items she stole and she just returns them to me after a chase or a fight. Not to mention she keeps flirting." Bruce then remembered the first time she did this. He was a bit confused with her actions and tried to arrest her, but the woman just escaped during his moment of confusion. He tried to arrest her again, but she kept the same process. After the 3rd, he reached a compromise with her. So long as she returned the real item, he'll let her go, something that Catwoman agreed warmheartedly, saying she'll do it as long as she gets a chase and/or a fight with him in the end. He rose an eyebrow at that, but agreed.
"You sure she's not catching us off-guard?" Asked Robin, thinking Catwoman was just playing a long mind game with them. And when the time was right or when a really big haul was in her grasp, she'll use their lowered guard around her to her advantage and take whatever she wanted, making them not trust her anymore.
"Positive." Said Bruce as he drove into the batcave. "She always gave us the authentic item and not a fake. I also checked any upcoming events relating to cat items. Unless she can see the future, I doubt she's trying to catch us off-guard. She's patient and smart. But not patient enough to pull something like what you're thinking Robin."
"We shouldn't underestimate our enemies, Bruce." Robin reminded Bruce, who nodded in agreement.
"Don't worry." Said Bruce. "If she does try to deceive us, we'll be ready." Secretly though, Bruce hoped that Catwoman wasn't trying to trick us. There was something in her. Something that made her different from Joker, Penguin, and Black Mask. And it wasn't the fact she was a woman. He saw it in her eyes when he and Batgirl went to save those panthers with her. She may be a thief, but she cared for others, even animals. If he could just bring that out, then maybe she can reform. He knew to keep his hopes in check lest he be disappointed for more than he would like, but he was willing to give her a chance. Moving on from Catwoman, Bruce looked at the time, frowning. "Its time to go to bed, Dick. You have school tomorrow and I have a business meeting tomorrow." Groaning, Dick went up to brush his teeth and to go to bed. Once he was gone, Bruce took off his cowl and looked at it. Thinking of a certain thief, he wondered what she was doing right now.
"What the heck am I doing?" Thought Selina as she laid on her coach, having not bothered to take her suit off aside from her cowl. Looking at the ceiling of her apartment, she wondered what she did for the past few weeks.
For the last ten heists she pulled, she returned the item she stole to Batman. After getting a spar and a chase from him, of course. Since then, she's been doing the same thing over and over again. Its gotten to the point that she was wondering why the heck she was doing this.
"Why the heck am I doing this, Dahlia?" Asked Selina as she got up and began to stroke the fur of one of her cats, who purred in content. "I used to steal without a 2nd thought and selling them on the market, but now I'm returning them. What the heck is up with me?" The cat simply tilted its head before jumping on Selina's lap and rubbing her thigh. "Oh sure, like that'll help." With no more complaints, Selina continued to stroke the cat's fur.
"Okay Selina, think. What's so different from these heists to the ones from before." Thought Selina as she thought back to her first couple of heists. After a few minutes, she realized what the difference was between her past few heists to the ones when she first started out. Groaning, she slumped on her couch. "Of course. Its tall, dark, and mysterious."
Batman. There was something about him that just aroused her curiosity. At first, she just saw him as a way to further excite her heists and, for a time, he did. He always gave her a good fight and kept her amused whenever they meet. But now, there was just something about him that made her want him. To see under that cowl and to spar with him. In bed. The thought of doing that made her insides tingle and heart to skip a beat. But even with those lustful thoughts, Selina knew that it would never happen.
For one, they were on opposing sides of the law. She was a thief and he was a man that made it his life's goal to bring people like her to jail and the like. Plus, they didn't have a good first meeting. Not only did she knock him out, but she also took his utility belt, using it to perform more heists. There was also the fact that she ended up trying to leave him and Batgirl alone on that rich man's island. Granted she helped them out until the very end, but she still ended up trying to backstab them. Combined those two incidents with the many times that she tried to hurt him and break the law, any chance of them actually getting into a relationship are slim to none. Sighing, she got up.
"Its just a passing fancy." Thought Selina as she went to her bathroom to brush her teeth and change into her nightwear. "It'll pass in time."
Two days later
"So, what do you think, Bruce?" Asked Dick as he ate his cereal. Bruce hummed to himself as he read the flier that Dick got from school. It was a family fieldtrip that was involved going to a carnival that was in town. It'll be in a week and Dick wanted to go with him. "Can we go together?" Bruce hummed as he thought of his busy schedule, both as Batman and as CEO of Wayne Industries. Much as he wanted to give a Dick a sure answer that he can come, he wasn't sure that was possible. Though he didn't have anything urgent on his plate right now that can interfere with this trip, there was always the possibility that something important can come up that can interfere with him going on this trip.
"You know my job will prohibit be from promising to be there, Dick." Said Bruce as he looked at Dick, who nodded sadly at that. "But I'll try to make an effort to be there." Dick smiled at that.
"Thanks Bruce." Said Dick, causing Bruce to smile. "This means a lot to me. I know that we have a lot of bonding out fighting crime, but I want to have a day with just the two of us. No criminals. No saving Gotham. Just us. Having a good time." Bruce nodded at that before rubbing Dick's head.
"I completely understand, Dick. Now hurry up with your breakfast. Alfred's waiting in the car with Barbara." Nodding, Dick quickly finished his food before running to get his backpack. With everyone gone, Bruce finished his breakfast before going to the Batcave. Once there, he went to his supercomputer and powered it up. Once it was on, he began to pull up the files he had on Black Mask and his recent spree of crimes.
It was concerning to Bruce that Black Mask was stockpiling so much material. He had just received a report of Green Arrow that some of Black Mask's goons were spotted stealing some military-grade equipment from Star city's police force. That wasn't particularly comforting to hear. With that news, Bruce requested help from the other members in the Justice League to help figure out what Black Mask was up to, something that they were all willing to help out.
Gathering all his notes, Bruce stroked his chin as he wondered on what Black Mask was up to.
"Just what are you planning?" Thought Bruce as he tried to figure out what Black Mask was aiming for. It couldn't be money because he wouldn't need military equipment to rob a bank. He was planning something big and he needed to figure out what it was before it's too late.
Later that night
"Master Bruce, what have I told you with staying in here for too long?" Asked Alfred as he arrived with Bruce's dinner. Honestly, he loved his ward, but he was annoyed at Bruce for being so obsessed with crime to the point that he was neglecting his health, so much that he actually needed to be here to take care of him.
"Sorry, Alfred, but I need to figure out what Black Mask is up to before its too late." Said Bruce as Alfred placed his dinner on a table near him.
"While I understand the need to bring Black Mask to justice once again, you do need to eat and sleep, master Bruce. Otherwise you won't make a difference when you finally catch Black Mask." Sighing, Bruce stopped and began to eat his dinner. Swallowing his first bite of Alfred's cooking, Bruce looked at Alfred.
"I understand that, Alfred, but I'm close to figuring what Black Mask is up to. I just feel it. Just a little while longer." Alfred just sighed as he shook his head, far too used to his master's stubborn behavior.
"Well, I hope that your little investigation will not prevent you from going to the field trip that master Dick hopes that you will attend. Much as the boy is fond of me, it would mean a great deal to him if you go, master Bruce. After all, you're his father now." Bruce sighed as he stopped to look at his computer.
Much as he wanted to deny it, Alfred was right. Dick was his adoptive son now and he deserved some time with his new father. He may not be as great as Dick's original father, he doubted he ever will, but Dick deserved moments like this trip to remind him, even if he didn't need such reminders, that he had a father that cared. The only problem was finding the time to go on this trip with Dick. His job at Wayne industries and as Batman took up a great deal of his time, making him wonder if he can go on this trip with Dick.
Sighing, Bruce took the cup of water that Alfred brought before drinking it all in one go. After finishing, he looked at Alfred.
"I just don't know if I can make sure that it doesn't prevent me from going on the trip, Alfred. Even if it doesn't, what of Wayne Industries? I mean, just a day before the trip or even during it, I may get an urgent call from the company, saying that I need to be there, forcing me to leave and leaving Dick alone. I don't want that to happen, but I can't be sure that it won't happen, even if I tell the board that I'm busy with something." Alfred sighed with a nod, knowing that Bruce was right.
"This would be far easier if there was someone else that Dick considers a parent to take him, sir. Someone that he considers to be a mother." Said Alfred. Bruce nodded in agreement. "Though I know that will never happen, as much as I wish it to." Bruce nodded again, knowing that Alfred was right. Much as Alfred wanted him to find a woman to love and marry, even setting up a blind date once, he couldn't find one that matched with him, both as Bruce Wayne and Batman. Not only would he have to do a background check on the woman to make sure that they weren't after his money, but his job as Batman made sure that he wouldn't have much time to actually have a date. Plus, he doubted many women would like their husband to be a masked vigilante that beat up criminals for a hobby and job. No, if he ever got a woman, it would, unfortunately, have to be someone that also partook in the vigilante business, which also meant they were too busy to take Dick on the trip. Groaning, he looked at Alfred.
"I'm sorry if this bothers you, Alfred, but I just don't have the eye on anyone right now." Alfred shook his head at that, disappointed, but not surprised at Bruce's answer.
"It's quite saddening that your last date was with miss Kyle, Bruce. What's even more saddening is that you two didn't meet after she donated to that cat's shelter, sir. She seemed made for you, sir." Bruce sighed before going back to work, causing Alfred to shake his head again before leaving. Once he left, Bruce stopped and looked at his food. Picking up his utensils, Bruce thought of Selina and what she was doing now.
"Just a little more." Whispered Selina as she finished installing a new receiver into her cowl's ears. The receiver was from a police radio that she took during one of her previous heists. With it, she should be able to overhear the police and when they're approaching a museum that she was robbing, thus making it easier for her to tell when she needs to run and abandon her prize. Once she finished, Selina grinned. Putting on her cowl, she purred in satisfaction as she heard various police officer talking through the radio. "Oh, this will make things much easier. Much easier. Now let's take it for a spin." With that Selina began to put on the rest of her outfit and left her apartment via a window.
"Whatever it is, its probably about cats." Thought Bruce with some amusement as he recalled how obsessed she was on cats. Almost as he was obsessed with dogs and crime. With that amusing thought, he went back to work, eager to find out what Black Mask was up to. Unfortunately, just as he was getting into, he heard the Batwave transmitter going off. Narrowing his eyes, he called Alfred, told him to get Barbara and Dick, before going to get his suit.
Thirty minutes later
"So, what's the situation?" Asked Robin as the Batmobile drove quickly to their destination. Barbra, unsurprisingly, was too cold to really ask Bruce, something that concerned him a great deal. Reminding himself to talk with her about revenge, Bruce talked to Dick.
"Vandalism. Someone is vandalizing a family business and they're taking their sweet time in doing it." Said Batman as he drove past a corner. "We're the closets, so get ready." Nodding, Robin before cracking his knuckles in anticipation. If only he knew.
Zucco hummed to himself as his brothers' vandalized the store they were in, knocking down shelves of food, breaking windows, and stealing cash from the cash register, while he himself kept an eye on the family, who were huddled together in a corner, scared. Chuckling, he looked at the man in charge, who was staring defiantly at Zucco, anger at the man for vandalizing his store.
"I'm truly sorry that this happen, sir, but business is business." Said Zucco as he picked at his teeth with a toothpick. "Don't worry, once the Batman arrives, we'll be on our way after a tussle. We just want to send a message to Batman that if you screw with the Zuccos', you'd best be prepared to pay the price." With that, he brought out a gun and began to inspect it. "Hmm…here's hoping that brat is with him, cause I'm hoping to get some payback tonight." Grinning, he was about to put the gun back in his jacket, when he heard the sounds of a car stopping some distance away. Smiling, he got looked at his brothers, who also heard the noise. "Get ready boys, its time for some payback." Grinning, his brothers got ready for a fight when the Batman and his sidekicks arrived, having crash through the windows in a grand appearance. The brother with the whip tried to attack Batgirl, but Batman threw at Batrang at the whip master's hand, causing him to yell out in pain as he dropped his whip. Upon seeing Zucco, Batman and Robin narrowed their eyes in hate.
"Zucco." Said Batman. "So you broke out of black gate prison." Smiling, Zucco smoothed his suit before looking at Batman with hatred and anger that was kept in check.
"That's right, Batman. It wasn't easy, I tell you. Had to bribe so many officials just to get me out. But it was worth it just to see you and the little kid again." He then saw Batgirl and smirked. "Got another kid too, huh? Bats, you're a horrible parent if you're bringing your kids into this line of work. After all, they might get exposed to stuff like this." With that he pointed his gun at the family of three. Widening his eyes in shock, Batman tried to stop him when Zucco fired, putting a bullet in the father's head. As screams perpetuated in the room, Bruce remembered back to when his own parents were killed before his eyes. Rage filled him, he growled as he tried to tackle Zucco, trying to get him to stop when the brother with the muscles tackled him instead, sending him flying towards a freezer. The muscleman grunted as he charged at Batman, eager to get payback when he made him rat out his family. With Batman busy, Zucco was about to fire his gun at the mother, trying to use the same method, when Robin threw his staff at Zucco's chin, sending him back a few feet. Rubbing his sore chin, Zucco looked to see Robin charging at him while Batgirl dealt with the other brother. The young boy tackled Zucco to the ground and began to punch him.
"You're not going to ruin another family again!" Yelled Robin, rage in his veins. When Zucco killed the father and about to kill the mother, Robin remembered the time when Zucco killed his family, lessening the bolts of their equipment, thereby causing them to fall to their deaths. What made it worse was that Dick saw it all. Their last moments and their dead bodies. Though he got justice for them by arresting Zucco, he still hasn't gotten over it. He cried when the 1st anniversary of their death happened. Barbara, Alfred, and Bruce were there to comfort him. And with the 2nd anniversary coming soon, just three days before the school trip, he hoped that he could be fine before the trip so that he can have some good memories that can help with the bad ones.
But now, Zucco was back and he had ruined another family, thus bringing back those painful memories. And that was enough for Dick to lose it, enough for him to charge at Zucco with no strategy. He just tackled him on pure instinct and rage.
Dick kept punching Zucco until Zucco recovered and grabbed the boy. Though Dick was at top physical strength for his age, he was still just a boy, so Zucco lifted him up easily and tossed him off. He then grabbed a metal pan from a shelf nearby and used it to smack Dick hard on the face. He kept at it until he heard a whimper from the family. Upon hearing the whimper, Zucco smirked deviously.
Upon seeing that Dick was still conscious, but temporarily dazed, he directed the boy's gaze toward the family. He wanted the boy to see this.
"You've been a major thorn on my side the last time we meet, kid." Said Zucco. "If it weren't for you, the Batman would be dead and I would be a major player in Gotham for getting rid of the one thing that's been keeping criminals awake at night. So for that, you get to see this." He then picked up his gun, which luckily wasn't anywhere near the family when he was tackled by Robin. Checking the chamber, he pointed his gun at the mother, who hugged her child tightly. Smiling evilly, Zucco looked at Robin, who widened his eyes in shock. Before he could do anything, Zucco proceeded to fire twice, a bullet for each of the remaining member of the family still alive. Rage filling him, Robin tried to get up, but was kicked to the ground by Zucco.
"That's what you get for crossing me, kid. Hopefully, this will keep you up for the rest of your days. Both for failing this family and for failing to catch me." With that, Zucco whipped out his pistol and hit Dick on the head so hard that he knocked him out. Satisfied, Zucco put the gun away and yelled at his brother that it was time to go. Upon hearing that, the brothers tried to retreat but Bruce had grabbed the strongman when he tried to retreat. Without warning, he slammed the man's head on the wall, knocking him out. The little brother was kicked to a shelf, which fell down on top of him. Miraculously, the shelf merely knocked him out and not caused major fracturing when it fell on his head. Only Zucco and the whip brother escaped. Batman would have pursued them when he noticed Robin was knocked out. Concerned, Batman knelt down and inspected the boy. Relieved to find that nothing major was wrong with him, he was about to pursue when he noticed tears rolling down. Sighing, knowing what was wrong, Batman hugged Robin as the boy cried subconsciously. Batgirl looked in sympathy and anger. Sympathy for Dick and anger at Zucco for killing an entire family.
Catwoman sighed as she held the ruby statue of a cat. She had stolen it sometime ago and she was currently waiting for the Batman to show up. At first, she assumed it was because he was busy with another crime somewhere else, this was Gotham after all, thus missing their usual confrontation. It has happen, much to her disappointment. But her built in radio had told her that there weren't that many crimes happening right now. Aside from her heist, the only other crime was a robbing of a general store. Something that should be child's play for Batman, especially if he had his two sidekicks with him. As she continued to wait, she groaned before going back to the museum she robbed, replacing the cat statue, and leaving.
"What's the deal this time?" Thought Selina as she walked on the rooftops, eager to get back and pout that she had an uneventful night. "He usually be here by now. What's keeping him." She got her answer when she heard the police radio go up.
"Tell the morgue that they have three new bodies." Said a police officer.
"God damn fuckers! They even killed the kid!" Said another.
"Yeah, nice going bats. You let them down." Said a third. As the police officers argued with each other, Catwoman stopped, her eyes wide as plates.
"Oh dear." Thought Selina as she stopped. "That's why. They…" Though she didn't know much of Batman's personality aside that he was brooding and dark, she did knew that he had a strong sense of morality and care, both towards criminals and innocents, something that she had seen witnessed several times since meeting him. The fact that he constantly saved villains that honestly deserve to be left for dead was something that astounded her.
She also knew the extent that he would go to save people from death, having seen it with herself whenever she got in a sticky situation and he just so happened to be there to save her. Case in point, their little team up against Joker to save some panthers. She didn't know how much failing to protecting some people would do to him, but considering that he didn't arrive, she could safely say that it affected him greatly. And since the kids weren't here to stop her as well, she could predict that they were there with Batman when the people they were supposed to protect ended up dead.
Sighing, she then began to leave for her apartment, deciding to take a break from crime. Without Batman trying to stop her, there was no point in stealing anything. Her job as a charity fundraiser kept her and her cats well supplied in money for the time being. So really, she was just stealing for the thrill now. And without Batman there to stop her, there was no thrill in stealing. It would just become a chore to her and that was no fun at all.
So, without any more thought on the matter, she made the rest of the way to her home in silence. As she ran, swinging to building to building with her whip, she hoped that the bat family was doing alright.
Few hours later
Alfred was dusting the cave when the Batmobile arrived. With its arrival, Alfred stopped dusting to greet them as well as ask Bruce on how the patrol went. As he walked, however, he felt uneasy for some reason. Soon, though, he got an answer of that uneasiness when the bat family got off the Batmobile very angry. Alfred, particularly, winced when Robin slammed his fist onto the door of Batmobile before storming off with Barbara, who was in a quieter mood than usual. Concerned for the kids, Alfred went up to Bruce and asked what happened.
"*Sighs* Things took a turn for the worst Alfred." Said Bruce before explaining what transpired. When he finished, Alfred's eyes were as wide as plates.
"Oh dear. Master Bruce. I'm so very sorry to hear that." Said Alfred, genuinely sad. He knew that this meant to Bruce. Though it didn't happen much, Bruce always blamed himself whenever people got hurt or killed during his attempts to bring criminals to justice. When people were harmed from the criminal that Bruce hunted and locked up, he would blame himself for his lack of skills. Not being there fast enough. Or wasn't strong enough to stop the villains in time. Though they were usually minor, aside from Ethan, who went through troubling times to be reformed back into the police detective that he used to be, this seemed to trumped them all. To hear that the child also died, was also disheartening.
"Master Bruce.' Said Alfred, seeing Bruce look at the floor in disappointment at himself. "You cannot blame yourself for their deaths. You and the children have done their very best to stop Zucco. He was simply too much for you to handle."
"That doesn't make it better, Alfred." Said Bruce as he looked at Alfred, anger at his eyes, though Alfred ignored it, knowing that it wasn't directed at him. Rather it was at Bruce for failing to protect the family. Walking up to the supercomputer, Bruce continued to speak with Alfred in tow. "I've done this time and time again. I've beaten Bane, Firefly, Killer Croc. All without civilian deaths. So it shouldn't have happen with Zucco. He's not as strong or well-equipped as them. I shouldn't have had a hard time with him or his gang."
"Even so, Zucco makes up for this by being smart, like Croc." Said Alfred as Bruce sat down and began to type at his computer. "Remember, master Bruce, Tony Zucco was a well-connected crime boss before you brought him to justice. He wouldn't have gotten that position without having a good amount of intelligence on his side. Besides, you had trouble the first few times that you faced Bane, Firefly, and Killer Croc. It shouldn't be any different with Zucco. In time, you'll learn his way of conducting battle and business and be able to adapt to fighting him. Just as you always done."
"Even so." Said Bruce as he furiously typed. "It won't bring that family back." Sighing, Alfred looked at Bruce in sympathy before leaving, finding that he couldn't talk Bruce out of this right now. Telling Bruce to get some rest, Alfred went to the mansion, eager to get some sleep. As he walked, he wondered how the children are doing.
Barbra was already doing poorly. Her father was still unconscious and would be for several more weeks. To have people die under her watch, it must be killing her on the inside. He feared for Barbara and made a note to keep an eye on her as well as comfort her should she need it.
Dick, however, concerned him the most. The boy, when he first knew of Bruce's identity as Batman, immediately wanted revenge against Zucco for killing his parents. Fortunately, the boy realized justice was more important than vengeance and so spared Zucco life when he had the chance to end him.
But now Zucco had done it again. This time killing an entire family, not leaving a child to fend for themselves, which was just as bad as leaving an orphan. He worried what would happen when those two meet again and what would happen if he killed Zucco.
Swallowing, Alfred hoped that Bruce and himself can steer Dick from delving into such a dark path.
In the middle of the night, just five hours before the sun will rise over Gotham, Dick was thrashing in his sleep.
Whimpering, Dick thought of the family that he failed to save.
In his dream, he, Zucco, and the family were in the store. All of them, except for Dick, were in the same position with Zucco aiming his gun at the family. Seeing this, Dick, in his Robin costume, tried to stop him, but Zucco just quickly gunned them down. This then reset with Zucco aiming his gun at the family once again.
Robin tried to stop him again, only for the same outcome to happen. This continued over and over again until Dick just gave up and slumped to the floor, closing his eyes as he heard the three gunshots from Zucco's gun.
"Its your fault!"Yelled someone. Looking up, he saw the child looking at him, a bullet hole in his forehead. Gasping at seeing this, Dick was then grabbed by the boy, who forced the sidekick of Robin to look at him. "If you didn't stop Zucco the first time, we wouldn't be dead! Its your fault!" The boy then proceeded to strangle Robin.
Seeing this, Robin tried to get the boy's hands off his throat, but he was much stronger than he looked as he put even more pressure on Robin's throat. As the boy wonder began to lose consciousness, he suddenly woke up. Gasping in pain, Dick looked around, seeing that he was back home in Wayne Manor. Sighing, he rubbed his neck, finding that it was sweaty.
Whimpering, Dick went to get something to help him sleep and nightmares. As he walked, he couldn't help but watch his back for Zucco or that dead family
The next day
"I'm sorry for such a late reply, principal, but Dick won't be attending school for a while." Explained Wayne as he spoke with the principal of Dick's school. "Yes, I understand. Can you send the material he needs to keep up with the rest of his classes? Thank you." With that, Bruce ended the call and sighed.
"I worry for master Dick, sir." Said Alfred as he looked at Bruce, a worried look on his expression. Bruce nodded as he recalled what he saw from Dick when he first saw him this morning.
When Dick didn't come down to eat breakfast and get ready for school, Alfred and Bruce went to his room to wake him up. But upon arriving, however, they were stunned to see the boy in a disheveled state.
His hair was all over the place. His bed was in shambles. And there, sitting on his bed, was Dick, eyes red from crying and snot coming out of his nose.
Knowing what was going on, Bruce left Alfred to attend to Dick while he spoke with the principal of Dick not being able to attend school for a while.
"I do too, Alfred." Said Bruce as he held his forehead. "I do too." Sighing, he looked at Alfred. "I need to go to attend to an important board meeting. Keep an eye on Dick for me, Alfred." Nodding, Alfred watched Bruce as he got up to get dressed. Once he was alone, Alfred sighed.
"This job just gets more and more darker, master Bruce." Said Alfred as he walked up to attend to Dick. "Are you and miss Gordon and master Dick ready for the trials to come?"
"*Sighs* Idiotic board members." Said Bruce under his breath as he left Wayne Industries, intending to get back home to do his more important work as well as tending to his son.
For the past three hours, he had spoken to various board members about the future of the company. As usual, Bruce couldn't stand most of them.
They all didn't care about the ordinary people, the middle class. They didn't care about anything other than their shares and the future of the company, which is their source of income. If it wasn't for the fact they were good in their jobs, he would have fired them and replaced them with people he could relate to. He was grateful that a few shared his care for the middle class, like Lucius, but they were too few in number.
But that wasn't all for today. No, it was when he told them that he wasn't going to be attending the next few board meetings for the next couple of weeks. He explained to them in detail that he planned to take a break from the company to spend time with his son, something that a father should always do.
To his anger, they protested, saying that this was unbecoming of the leader of Wayne Industries. One even had the audacity to tell him that his company was worth more than Dick would ever be and that he shouldn't waste time on his foster son. It took all of Bruce's willpower to not strangle that man right then and there. Once they were done complaining, Bruce told them that his decision was final, and that Lucius was in charge until he returned. With that, he took off and left for his car, which was parked in a special garage made for Wayne executives.
As he walked to the garage, he accidentally bumped into someone. Fortunately for both of them, neither fell down to the floor on the hard concrete.
"Oh, I'm very sorry." Said Bruce, cursing his clouded mind. His anger on the board must have clouded his vision. Upon hearing that, the person he bumped into, a woman with black hair, looked at Bruce and widened her eyes, if the raising of her eyebrows were any indication.
"Well, isn't this my lucky day." Said the woman before removing her sunglasses, revealing her blue eyes. "And yours as well, Mr. Wayne." Widening his eyes in recognition, Bruce let out a friendly smile.
"Selina. Its nice to see you again." Said Bruce as he extended his hand out in greeting. Taking the hand, Selina smirked as the two shook. Once done, Bruce began a conversation.
"I didn't expect to see you again." Truth be told, he didn't expect to see her at all. After she donated the money that she got from him to a cat's shelter, she just dropped off the face of the Earth. At first, when he didn't hear anything from her, he assumed she was just after his money, but when he learned that she donated the money he gave her, he knew that she was a caring person. Deep down underneath that aura of mystery that surrounded her.
"Neither did I. Well, face to face at least." Said Selina. Truth be told, she didn't want to meet Mr. boring again. To be honest, she found him a bit too nice and clean for her taste. Someone like that bounds to have a couple of skeletons in their closet. Most of the time, they weren't pleasant. Still, she would be courteous if only to save face. With his resources, he could easily ruin her reputation and have her blacklisted. He may not seem like that person, but Selina was paranoid enough to not take the chance.
"So, how is life as the CEO of a big company such as Wayne Industries?" Asked Selina. Bruce just chuckled at that, finding that he can trust Selina. Not that it matters, really.
"Quite frankly, boring and frustrating." Bruce then sighed. "My board members were trying to convince me the company needs to lower our donations to various charities around Gotham. They think that money would be better spent collecting dusts in the company's bank accounts." Selina would be narrowing her eyes if she didn't know that was true. Most company leaders cared only about their own personal wealth. Except one it seemed.
Bruce Wayne was an oddity to her. On one hand he was a billionaire playboy that hooked up with countless women, only to dumb them the next day. But on the other hand, he personally donated millions of dollars to various charities around Gotham. Charities on orphans, medical advancements, even dogs shelters, you name it. He's donated money to all types of charities around Gotham. These elements of Bruce Wayne would have confused the common person, but not to someone like Selina.
She knew his type. He just donated all that money to charities just to save face for his company. With all his escapades he's done during his time as CEO, it was one of the best way for the company to save its reputation. If it wasn't for that stupid ragdoll of a human, she was sure that he would have gotten into her pants during their little late-night dinner.
But now, upon hearing genuine frustration from him, it seemed that she was wrong. He genuinely donated to those charities with the best of intentions on mind. If that was the case, then perhaps she was wrong on him being boring.
Still, she's still assuming that he has some skeletons in his closet. No one got into a position of power without some skeletons. She knew.
"So, what? Just ignore them. You're the CEO of Wayne Industries. Your word is the final say on the matter." Bruce chuckled at that.
"They can still vote on removing me from position, Selina. Don't forget that. I need to keep them appeased enough to not make them vote to remove me. It's a tough battle between balancing what they want and what I want." Selina scoffed at that.
"Too much work and too little gain for me. I pity you, Bruce." Bruce simply smiled.
"You're not the first." Said Bruce, remembering the time when he asked Ethan if he wanted to take over Wayne Industries for the day. The man nearly turned white as a ghost when he heard the offer. He then politely told Bruce to stuff it and that he rather be the janitor for a whole year in the Gotham police department than be stuck in the CEO position of Wayne Industries for a whole day. Bruce couldn't help but understand and envy the detective's want to stay away from those corporate blockheads. Still someone had to do it and it might as well someone with the best interest of the people in mind, like him.
"Anyway, so what are you doing here, Selina?" Selina just shrugged.
"Out for a stroll." Said Selina. "It's a nice night for a walk." Looking around their surroundings. Seeing the clear moon and the slight breeze that wasn't bone chilling, Bruce nodded his head in agreement.
"That it is." Said Bruce before he looked at his watch. Upon seeing the time, he widened his eyes in surprise, something that caught Selina's eye. "Look, as much as it was nice to see you again, I got to go. My son needs me." Upon hearing that, Selina raised an eyebrow.
"What's wrong?" Asked Selina out of the blue. She cursed in her mind when Bruce looked at her with sadness in his eyes.
"*Sighs* Something bad happened last night. Something that affected Dick hard." Upon hearing that, Selina's, much to her dislike, maternal instincts kicked in. Much as she denied on having them, her maternal instincts were strong enough for her to care about Bruce's adopted son.
She didn't know the kid much, other than Bruce adopted him, whether it was for publicity or genuine care, she didn't know, when his parents were killed by a mob boss named Zucco.
Speaking of Zucco, she heard that he escaped prison from a news channel sometime ago. Putting the dots together, Selina could figure out what happened.
"Dick had a nightmare of the man that killed his parents?" Asked Selina, slight worry in her voice. Sighing again, Bruce nodded reluctantly.
"He had a bad dream of Zucco. I'm guessing it was about his parents or him killing another family." Said Bruce. The answer she got caused Selina to wince in pity and sympathy.
"I'm sorry to hear that." Said Selina. Bruce nodded before saying goodbye. With him gone, Selina sighed as she turned around to get back to her apartment, her interest in taking a walk now over.
Two days later
"Dick, I'm going to get Zucco back for this." Said Bruce, his Batman suit on, as he typed furiously on the keyboard of his supercomputer. After coming back and comforting Dick for his nightmare, he went to the Batcave in order to find Zucco and bring him to justice again. After he beat the man to an inch to his life, of course. As he typed, he heard the opening of elevator doors. Knowing who it was, Bruce continued to work as Alfred and, to his surprise, Barbara walked up to him.
"Sir, much as we share in your desire to bring Zucco to justice again, this really isn't the time to be doing this. Master Dick is emotionally unstable. But unlike miss Gordon, he isn't mature enough to deal with the kind of trauma that he's dealing with right now. He needs his father now. Not Batman." Said Alfred, his stoic stare looking at Bruce. Upon getting no response, Alfred pursed his lips in disapproval.
"I won't yell at you, Master Bruce, but you are disappointing me with your refusal to see master Dick during these troubling times." Upon hearing that, Bruce stopped what he was doing. Clenching his fists, he turned and glared at Alfred.
"Alfred, I am helping Dick. I'm helping to bring the person that brought him so much pain to justice." Argued Bruce. Alfred, however, stood his ground and looked at master Bruce with disapproval.
"That's not the help that Dick needs from his father, Bruce." Argued Barbara, glaring at Bruce. "For the past two days, you've done nothing but leave the job of comforting Dick to me and Alfred. You barely even give the time to comfort him! He doesn't just want to bring Zucco to justice, he wants, no needs, his father to be there at his side, telling him that everyone thing will be alright. Yet you're not providing him that comfort! Why aren't you providing Dick the comfort that Alfred gave you when your parents died?" Clenching his fists, Bruce was about to speak when the Batwave signal went off. Sighing, Bruce got up and put on his cowl.
"Master Bruce, this isn't the time to be running off to fight off a criminal!" Said Alfred, trying to stop Bruce with words.
"Someone is in danger, Alfred." Said Bruce as he went down some stairs. "I won't let them get hurt because of a little talk I'm having with you and Barbara."
"Little talk!?" Yelled Barbara as she glared down at Bruce as he got on the Batmobile. "So, asking you to take care of your son when he's clearly under stress is little talk? Great way to set your priorities, Bruce. If this is how you handle your stepson needing help, then I can see why the Gotham police used to shun you!" Bruce didn't respond. He just started the Batmobile and took off, leaving Alfred in the dust and Barbara fuming.
"*Sighs* I'll go attend to Master Dick while Master Bruce is away." Said Alfred before going up to take the elevator.
"At least someone is responsible in this house." Muttered Barbara as Alfred passed her. As the elevator took him up, Alfred wondered how to convince Bruce to take care of his son the right way.
Half an hour later
"Master Dick, I prepared a small serving of scones and milk for your consumption. I made it just the way that you…" Alfred couldn't say anymore because he saw Dick wasn't in his room and an open window. Widening his eyes in dismay, Alfred dropped the plate of cookies and milk, not caring that he made a mess. Rushing towards the closet that contained Dick's suit, he was further dismayed when he saw iit was gone as well.
"Oh dear. Oh dear. This is beyond terrible." Said Alfred before running back to the Batcave. Master Bruce had to hear about this.
Catwoman was checking her clawed gloves when the dark knight appeared. Smirking a bit, she stopped admiring her gloves and looked at Batman. Despite the cold glance she got from the dark knight, Catwoman stayed calm, though she wouldn't deny that she was a bit scared when she saw that Batman was also impatient.
"So, handsome, how's your night been going?" Asked Catwoman, putting a flirty smile on her face. Not to her surprise, Batman narrowed his eyes in annoyance and walked up to Catwoman, no sign of playfulness in his face. At least the parts that she could see.
"I don't have time for games, Catwoman." Said Batman in barely controlled anger. The fact that she could hear him straining to control himself made Catwoman wince. That night must have really affected him and his sidekicks. A great deal since he came alone. She really didn't know why she thought doing this to get his attention was a good idea while the wound was still fresh.
Unfortunately for her, this was her only way to get his attention as she didn't know his real identity, nor did she have some sort of communicator to call him. So really, she was limited in how to get him to come to her.
"Return back what you stole, and I won't try to take you to jail." Said Batman, holding out his hand. But unlike the other times they fought, there was not playfulness. Just the stoic voice he used when the two first met. Sighing, Catwoman crossed her arms under her chest and looked at Batman.
"I didn't steal anything. I did this to get your attention." Said Catwoman, no teasing in her voice. She was completely serious. "I'll cut to the chase. I heard what happened last night." Upon seeing Batman tense, she continued. "I…got worried. About you and your sidekicks. As far as I know, this is the first time that people died while you're there. Failing the 1st time in protecting people from death can get to a person, especially if they're in the job of protecting people from scum for quite some time." Batman looked at Catwoman, his posture not betraying what he felt.
"Why do you care?" Asked Batman. Catwoman sighed at that.
"Damn if I know." Said Catwoman as she began to pace around the room. "I guess its because of those kids of yours. They're young. They don't have the mental toughness that we adults have, right?" Batman nodded in agreement. "So, I guess, I want to help in getting them through this. That is if they're even hurt." Batman sighed before looking at Catwoman again.
"Yes, they are." Said Batman as he looked away, looking out a window. "Batgirl is already struggling with a recent attack on her father. He's in the hospital and is unconscious. She's wants revenge for the person that did it, but I hope to dissuade her. Now this," He then sighed again. "But its Robin that's worrying me the most." Upon hearing that, Catwoman looked at Batman and urged him to speak up.
"He…he lost his original parents to the man that was responsible for what happened last night. I adopted him out of pity." Catwoman widened her eyes at that. If that was the case, then then she couldn't help but feel sorrow for the little bird. It couldn't get any worse. "And he watched the man kill the family. He was too dazed to even help them out." And Selina had to tempt fate. Sighing, Catwoman walked up to Batman and looked at him.
"So, what are you going to do?" Asked Catwoman, crossing her arms.
"What I always do." Said Batman. "Bring those that bring misery to the innocent to justice." Raising an eyebrow, Catwoman asked another question.
"What about comforting your sidekick? Do you do that as well?" Asked Catwoman, wondering why in the hell she asked that. Of course, Batman would do that. He's not stupid. Upon seeing him tense up, Catwoman narrowed her eyes. "Don't tell me you're not doing that?" Upon not hearing a response, Catwoman hissed. "Are you a complete idiot? Your little sidekick is hurting emotionally and probably mentally and you're not doing anything for him!? Is arresting this criminal so important to you that you're neglecting your sidekick!?"
"Zucco, the man last night, needs to be brought to justice. If he isn't, then more people will die." Said Batman, looking at Catwoman. Narrowing her eyes, Catwoman, in a moment of anger, grabbed Batman by the collar and forced him to look at her. Momentarily surprised at this, Batman, nonetheless, allowed Catwoman to vent, knowing that, deep down, she was right to be angry.
"At the cost of your relationship with your sidekick!? At the expense of his mental and emotional health!?" Yelled Catwoman. She knew that she was assuming things. She didn't know if there were other people taking care of Robin for Batman, but she didn't care. This bastard was neglecting his own sidekick and she was going to make him see that. "Don't you care for him!?" That struck a nerve. Without warning, Batman grabbed Catwoman's wrists and squeezed hard. Gritting her teeth in pain, Catwoman glared at Batman as he glared back.
"Never say that to me again." Growled Batman as the bat and cat glared at each other, neither backing down. "I do care for Robin and it hurts me that he's under such stress from Zucco."
"If you do care for him, then why aren't you being there for him?" Demanded Catwoman, ignoring the pain she was feeling on her wrists. Batman just loosened his grip and her wrists before letting go and looking back at the window, looking at Gotham.
"I…I need to focus on recapturing Zucco. While others are dealing with Dick's emotional troubles, I'm on the hunt for Zucco, both for Robin's sack and for the sack of justice." Rolling her eyes, Selina hissed as she got into Batman's line of view again.
"You're sacred." Said Selina, placing her hands on her hips. "You're afraid that you'll say something wrong to your little sidekick and make his condition even worse. Am I right?" Batman just stayed silent as he turned around. He was about to leave, when Catwoman grabbed his cape. "You're not escaping me that easily, handsome. You're going to tell me your reasoning in not helping your little sidekick. The full reason. Now!" She then brought out her claws to demonstrate how serious she was.
For his part, Batman was a bit surprised with how Catwoman was acting. She was never this serious or angry before. It was obvious to him that she was angry with how he was handling the situation to Dick and, to be honest, she had the right to be. Bruce was being a horrible father and he knew it.
Dick needed him to provide the comfort he needed and all he was doing was focusing on Zucco, not his son. While he did considered Alfred as a good replacement, Bruce knew, deep down, that it wasn't just Alfred's comfort that he needed. He needed his adoptive father's comfort as well.
Just like when Bruce needed Alfred and Lucius during the months after his parents died. He needed both of them to get through it and right now, Dick needed him.
Closing his eyes, Batman spoke the truth.
"The truth of the matter is, I want to hurt Zucco." Said Batman, opening his eyes. "Both for murdering a good family and hurting my son." Upon hearing that, Catwoman widened her eyes in shock.
She was surprised to hear Batman opening up so quickly, but she was even more surprised when Batman admitted that Robin was his son. While this angered her more, she nonetheless, allowed Batman to speak.
"He hurt him before, I can't say how, but it left him scared. I vowed to bring Zucco to justice as a result. Unfortunately, just like then, I'm neglecting my son. Only this time, it's much worse." With that, Catwoman scoffed as she let go. Looking at Batman in disgust, Catwoman spoke.
"So now that you know what you did wrong, what are you going to do about it?" Demanded Catwoman, crossing her arms over her chest. Batman was about to speak when he got a call from Alfred.
Sighing, he turned around and picked up Alfred's call.
"Master Bruce! It's terrible! Master Dick has left on his own!" Yelled Alfred as he worked on the supercomputer in the Batcave. Upon hearing that, Bruce widened his eyes in horror and shock.
"What?! Robin is missing!?" Demanded Bruce as he clenched his free hand in worry. Catwoman, meanwhile, widened her eyes in horror and shock.
"He took one of the spare Robin suits, sir, and he took off! I'm currently trying to find him, but he's disabled all the tracking devices on the suit. I'm trying to get them back online, but it'll take time. Master Bruce, I implore you. Forget what criminal is committing a crime right now and focus on your son. Its selfish I know, but you need to find him or else I'll never forgive you! Nor will you forgive yourself!" Gritting his teeth, Batman let go of the commlink in his cowl and looked at Catwoman.
"I need to go rectify my mistake." Said Batman. Though he tried to say it with his usual stoic attitude, Catwoman could hear the crack of worry in his voice. Something that Selina could understand. "Don't steal anything for tonight. Please."
Offended, Catwoman glared at Batman before going over and hissing at him.
"Look, handsome. I have limits and those limits say to not steal anything if a kid is in danger. Those limits are also telling me to help out." Widening his eyes in shock, Batman looked at Catwoman.
"Are…you sure?" Asked Batman. He didn't think that Catwoman would ever volunteer to help him.
Though she didn't hate Robin nor Batgirl, she got annoyed whenever they appeared. Mostly because it meant she couldn't say anything naughty with them around. But here she was, volunteering to help find his son.
"Of course, I am." Said Catwoman. "Your son can be annoying, but that doesn't justify me not helping in finding him. Besides," She sighed. "I think that your little code is rubbing off on me." She then looked at Batman with conviction in her eyes. "So are we going to find your boy or keep talking?"
Twitching his mouth in amusement, Batman nodded his head.
"I think I know where he's going." Said Batman as he walked out with Catwoman in tow.
Cold and alone, Robin walked with purpose as he ventured to the patch of land where his life changed, for better or worse. The patch of land where he met Batman for the first time. The patch where he meet Zucco for the first time. The patch where…his parents were killed.
Clenching his fists, Dick tried to suppress the memory of seeing the faces of his parents made when the fell to their deaths, at least for now, as he made his way to the ground where they fell to their death.
As he walked, he began to recall the location of all the circus equipment that was brought that day. He remembered where their trailer was. Where the tent was. And where the dressing room was. All of that brought a smile to his face. Of course, that went away when he remembered the bastard that took his parents from him.
As much as Robin hated Zucco, he was even more overcome with the sadness and loneliness he felt when he saw Zucco and how he callously murdered a family just to spite him. He also felt shame for failing to protect that family. He failed at times, sure, but never to such an extent.
And to top it all off, Bruce wasn't even providing the help that he needed right now.
For the past two days, Bruce had done nothing but go to the Batcave after work, spending all his free time in trying to find Zucco. Much as Dick wanted Zucco to be brought to justice again, he couldn't help but feel angry that his adoptive father wasn't there when he needed him.
Bruce knew what he was going through, he'd been forced to endure it like Dick had, so why isn't he helping. Dick's adolescent mind wasn't comprehending why Bruce wasn't there for him and it hurt him as a result.
It may sound illogical, due to all they've been through, but Dick felt like Bruce didn't care for him. As much as his mind was telling him that wasn't true, his heart was telling him that it was.
So, out of a need to get some air and a need to get out of the mansion, Dick took a Robin suit and took off, believing the suit should keep thugs from trying to hurt him as he made his way to the spot that his parents died.
And once he arrived, he began to long trek to where his parents died. Upon arriving, he looked at the patch of dirt where his parent's bodies resided until police removed them from the spot.
Kneeling down at the spot, the area engraved in his mind, Dick began to cry underneath his mask.
"Just why?" Thought Robin as the tears fell, blurring his vision. "Why did you have to die? Why did fate have to be so cruel to us?" As Robin continued to cry, remembering his parents and how much he loved them, he began to hear some clapping.
"Well damn." Upon hearing that voice, Robin turned around and gasped out loud. Standing before him, just a few meters away, was Zucco, a grin on his face.
"And here I was thinking of an elaborate kidnaping to get you to come here kid, but here you are, all alone and without back up." Said Zucco, his remaining brother grinning as he stood beside him. Walking up to Robin, he put a hand on his chin. "Not only that, but I catch you crying over a pile of dirt. Wonder why that is?"
Glaring at Zucco, Dick wiped the tears that were leaking from his mask. After wiping them off, Robin got into a fighting stance.
"Guess I just wanted a quiet place where I won't be bothered." Said Dick, trying to sound confident and tough, but failed. Zucco smiled at the tone that Robin had.
"I guess that's a possibility, but I got a better theory." Said Zucco as he looked at Robin with amusement. "Call me crazy, but if I recall, this was the place that I killed the parents of a family that refused to pay me protection money. The boy I let go and he got adopted by that Wayne guy. What a stroke of luck for that, kid. I guess he should thank me. He's in a better place now than whatever his parents could provide." Upon hearing that, Robin gritting his teeth in anger. It took all his willpower to not attack Zucco and beat him to a pulp.
"But moving on, unless I'm crazy, but you're the same height and body size as that kid. Heck, you even got the hair style as him." Zucco then grinned. "And the fact that you're here, crying in the same place as the area where I killed that circus kid's parents, made me think that you and that circus kid are the same. And that Batman is Bruce Wayne." Whether Zucco knew it or not, he was right in the money and it was a miracle that Robin hadn't tensed up or widened his eyes in shock, thus confirming Zucco's theory.
"That would explain a lot actually. The gear, the motive, and the anger you had when we last met." Said Zucco. "Bruce Wayne must be a crazy dad if he's letting you off all alone and fighting crime. Honestly, guy needs be brought to the police for this. I may be cruel, but I'm not dragging kids into my line of business. He brings shame to his dead parents. If they knew what he was doing, they probably would have taken his inheritance away and lock him up in Arkham. That way he wouldn't spread his insanity to other…" He couldn't say anymore when Robin suddenly tackled him and began to punch him, rage in his eyes.
"You son of a bitch!" Yelled Robin as he punched Zucco, letting out all the rage he had for the cruel man that's caused him so much grief. "You don't know a thing about Mr. Wayne. He's a better man that you'll ever me!" As Robin continued to punch Zucco, Zucco's brother came up from behind Robin and kicked him in the head. Dazed, Robin couldn't do anything when the brother pushed him off of Zucco and proceeded to use his whip on the boy wonder.
Gritting his teeth in pain, Robin braced himself as the brother continued his assault, creating some tears onto his outfit and making lashes that bleed.
He would have continued if Zucco hadn't stopped him. The boy wonder was his own problem and Zucco was going to deal with it himself.
Wiping his face with a handkerchief, Zucco frowned when he saw some blood on the handkerchief, the result of a broken nose that was bleeding.
"I wish I could make you suffer for that kid." Said Zucco as he put the handkerchief back into a pocket on his suit. "But if you're here, then I got no doubt that the Bat will arrive soon." So, he pulled out a pistol and aimed it at Robin. He was about to pull the trigger when the lights of a car blinded both him and his brother.
Yelling out, Zucco looked away as a car sped its way to Zucco. As the car neared, the car's roof opened and out came Batman, who crashed into Zucco while the car stopped just feet away from Robin.
Landing on top of Zucco, Batman glared at the man while putting his feet down on the mob boss, who was recovering from the sudden tackle he got from Batman.
"I'll break you in two." Threatened Batman as he got off Zucco and grabbed the man's suit's collar. The brother, seeing Zucco was in danger, was about to intervene when a whip cracked against the hand that held his own whip. Yelling out in pain, the brother dropped his whip. Looking at the source, he saw Catwoman glaring at him with hate while brandishing her own whip.
"Attacking a little boy?" Asked Catwoman with anger in her tone. "You people make me sick." With that she cracked her whip across the man's face, causing him to yell out in pain. As he held his now bleeding face in pain, Catwoman pounced on him and knocked him out after a few kicks and punches to the head. With him unconscious, Catwoman got off the man and proceeded to go tend to Robin, who was getting up, despite the pain he felt around his body due to the whipping he got from the brother.
Looking at the boy in pity, Catwoman knelt down and inspected the boy. Suspicious of Catwoman, Robin was, at first reluctant to let her help, but when he looked at Batman, who nodded at him to trust her, he allowed her to help. Carrying the boy, causing Robin to protest, Catwoman got into the Batmobile and began to tend to Robin wound with a small emergency medkit that Batman had on the Batmobile in case something like this happened.
With them in the Batmobile, Batman ordered the car to close the roof. He didn't want neither Catwoman and Robin to see what he was about to do to Zucco. Once the Batmobile was completely sealed did Batman let loose.
Tossing Zucco across the ground, Batman didn't waste anytime in laying the smackdown on Zucco.
Without mercy, he began to loose a barrage of punches on the man, all with barely controlled rage. After a full minute of this, Batman grabbed Zucco's head and slammed it into the ground. Despite that though, the man was still conscious, which was fine to Batman. Grabbing the man's neck, Batman forced him to look him in the eye.
"Let me make this clear, Zucco." Said Batman in barely controlled rage. The man, just stared back defiantly, despite the fear he had for his life. "If I ever see you again, I'll break every single bone in your body, paralyzing you forever. And if you hurt my ward again, I will break each bone one at a time, making it long and painful. Got it?" Not getting an answer but a glare, Batman slammed Zucco's head into the ground multiple times until the man finally went unconscious.
Checking to see if the man was bleeding internally, upon finding that he wasn't, Batman got up and left for the Batmobile, having called the cops ahead of time. Upon getting in, he saw Catwoman tending to Robin's wounds.
"So, how did it go with, mister Zucco?" Asked Catwoman as she applied some disinfectant on some of Robin's wounds. The boy winced, but nonetheless stayed quiet.
"Unconscious." Said Batman simply as he got on the driver seat and looked at Robin. He was about to say something but refrained from the last minute. Instead, he drove off, heading to the Batcave, though he intended to drop Catwoman off, way before they even got close to the Batcave. Much as he wanted to, he couldn't yet trust her with such a secret.
As Batman drove, Robin looked at him, happy that he arrived to save him, but a bit disappointed that he didn't even talk to him. He knew that he would be angry at him for leaving on his own, but he thought he would at least talk to him to see if he's safe. Starting to get angry, he was about to yell when Catwoman spoke.
"Don't be mad at handsome, boy wonder." Said Catwoman, looking at Robin with her goggled eyes. "He cares about you. He's just not showing it in the way he should." If Batman was offended, he didn't show it. He just focused on driving. Moving on, Catwoman continued to try and convince Robin that Batman did care for the boy wonder.
"I put together what's going on, kid." Said Catwoman. "Handsome has been neglecting you, hasn't he?" Upon seeing the eyes of pity from Catwoman, Robin nodded, finding he can trust her. At least when it came to this.
"Yeah, I love him, but he hasn't been there when I need him. It hurts." Said Robin. "I needed him to be there, not as Batman, but as a friend. But he wasn't there. He was just focused on getting Zucco. And though I wanted him to, it hurt that he focused more on Zucco and not on me." Sighing, Catwoman decided to hug the boy, despite knowing that it'll ruin her reputation as a crook if this comes out. Tensing up at first, Robin nonetheless returned the hug and placed his face near her chest.
After a few minutes of hugging the kid and carefully stroking his hair, Catwoman let go and looked at the boy in the eye.
"Don't worry about him neglecting you anymore, little bird." Said Catwoman. "I took care of it." She then glanced at Batman's form. "Right?"
Batman, upon hearing that, turned around slightly and looked at Robin, nodding his head. Robin smiled. It wasn't much, but Robin could see the sorrow and regret in Batman's stance, having been with him for at least two years now made him used to Bruce's body language.
"We'll talk later, right Batman?" Asked Robin with hope in his voice. Batman nodded in confirmation before turning back to focus on driving. Smiling a bit at Batman's decision, Catwoman looked back at Robin.
"So, after I get off, give him an earful. I honestly think he deserves a scolding from a couple more people." Said Catwoman before hugging Robin again. "And if you need another shoulder to lean on. Well, just ask when I rob a bank or something. Not like I steal anything anymore." Robin and Batman gave a grunt of amusement at that before Batman suddenly stopped. Opening the roof of the Batmobile, Batman got off and motioned Catwoman to do so as well.
Saying goodbye, Catwoman got off the Batmobile and looked around, seeing that they were an alleyway.
"Seriously? If you're going to drop me off, then do it in a less suspicious place." Teased Catwoman as she walked up to Batman as the roof to the Batmobile closed, allowing them to get some privacy.
With Robin not seeing what they were doing anymore, Batman looked at Catwoman.
"Thanks for putting some sense into me." Said Batman. "A couple of people tried, but I just pushed them away. I guess I needed someone a bit more forceful to get through." Catwoman, though still a bit angry at Batman, let out a smirk.
"Oh?" Teased Catwoman as she adopted a provocative stance, placing an arm underneath her chest and placed the other on her toned stomach. "Is it that or a woman with a skintight, leather suit on?" Fluttering her eyelashes, Selina purred as she got right up to Batman's face. Chuckling internally, Batman took a step back and went into business again.
"If it doesn't bother you, Catwoman, can you hold off crime for a week? I…need the time to take care of Robin." Upon hearing that, Catwoman nodded as she stopped being flirty, at least for now.
"Alright, but you better make sure he's more or less alright when I next meet him. Otherwise, I won't be a nice kitty the next time we meet." Threatened Catwoman, something that Batman took into consideration.
"Understood." Said Batman. He was about to take off when Catwoman stopped him.
"Wait." Said Catwoman. "I know that I shouldn't be saying this, but I need to know." Stopping, Batman looked at Catwoman. With a sigh, Catwoman spoke to him. "Your sidekick, Robin, he's Dick Grayson, isn't he?" Upon hearing that, Batman, having anticipated this, just nodded, causing Catwoman to sigh. She then placed her hands-on Batman's cowl, though she wasn't planning on removing it. "And your Bruce Wayne, aren't you?" Once again, Batman nodded, causing Catwoman to sigh again.
"Well damn." Said Catwoman as she let go. "Should have realized that it had to be someone with loads of money. How else can you afford all those fancy toys like the car and mech suit? And handsome as well."
To be honest, he really had her fooled for the two years they've known each other and would have been longer if she didn't connect the dots between Zucco, Robin, and the place where they found Robin and the mob boss. At first, she thought he was just a guy being funded by a rich man, who hated crime, which was backed somewhat when Bruce and Batman were in the same place at the same time that one time. But know, thinking on it, she probably didn't care. He was a source of amusement for her as well as a source of her desire. She honestly didn't care who he was. But now, knowing who he was, she couldn't help but feel sympathy for him and his ward.
Batman just exhaled before speaking.
"Don't tell anyone of this." Said Batman. Catwoman looked at Batman incredulously at that.
"Why the hell would I do that?" Asked Catwoman, looking at Batman. "If I do that, loads of criminals will come at you and all your loved ones, whether its in public or night. You'll never get a rest of criminals. And I don't want that for you or your son, Batman. I'm a thief. Not someone who takes joy in ruining lives like Joker." Upon hearing that, Batman relaxed a bit.
"Promise not to reveal our secret?" Asked Batman. Scoffing at that, Catwoman glared at Batman.
"Just take care of your son, Batman and you'll not hear a peep from me." With that Catwoman was about to leave when Batman stopped her. Looking back, she saw, to her surprise and delight, Batman brought her to an embrace.
"Thank you. For everything." Said Batman before letting go. Purring in delight, Catwoman decided to leave on a high note and so put a kiss on Batman cheek. Winking after doing so, she soon left, using a fire escape to go to the rooftops.
Smiling a bit at Catwoman's retreating form, Batman went back to the Batmobile, knowing that there was something that needed his attention.
The next day
Inhaling a bit, Bruce went inside Dick's room, intending to do what he should have done awhile ago. Opening the door, Bruce saw Dick getting dressed, ready to eat breakfast and to do the work that he was given from his school. Upon seeing Bruce, Dick looked at him with anticipation. Sighing again, Bruce went to Dick's bed, sat on it, and spoke.
"Dick, before we begin, I want to apologize for neglecting you." Said Bruce as Dick sat next to Bruce. "After witnessing you cry after Zucco did what he did, I became focused on taking him down. Unfortunately, it came at the cost of neglecting you and making you believe that I didn't love you. And I only realized that when Catwoman decided to knock some sense into me. I'm sorry."
Dick, a bit angry, but a bit happy that Bruce was having this conversation with him, looked at the floor, unsure of what to say.
"And though Alfred and I are disappointed in your little stunt last night, its my neglect that made you go there in the first place." Said Bruce, knowing what he said was true. "So, along my apology of neglecting you, I want to let you know that I'll promise to take you to that fieldtrip as well as focus on your needs and not the companies." Upon hearing that, Dick looked at Bruce with widened eyes.
"Are you sure?" Asked Robin, unsure if Bruce was telling the truth. Bruce simply let out a small smile.
"I think that board can handle the day to day dealings of Wayne Industries without me. Besides, if I can't deal with the troubles of my son, then I don't deserve to be CEO of my family's company." Dick let out tears of joy before embracing Bruce, who simply smiled and hugged him back. "And don't you worry Dick. I'll help you get through this. I promise you." As Bruce embraced Dick, both Alfred and Barbra watched, satisfied that Bruce had come to his senses.
"Ah, it pleases me that moments like this happen." Said Alfred, a small smile on his face. Barbara nodded in agreement before asking a question.
"You think that Bruce would take some woman to this little field trip?" Alfred just hummed in thought.
"I doubt it." Said Alfred. "I very much doubt it."
"So, Batman is Bruce Wayne." Said Selina with a smile as she thought of last night. "Well, guess I was wrong about Mr. Boring. This will be such a juicy secret to keep." She then thought of Dick and how Bruce is handling his son. "He better be making up to his son for his mess up." She was about to head out for the day when her apartment's phone rang. Curious, she went over and picked up the phone.
"This is Selina Kyle." Said Selina, wondering who it was. To her surprise, it was Bruce.
"Selina! Its good that you picked up." Said Bruce as he helped Dick with his homework while Alfred was dusting the mansion. "Listen, I was wondering if you're free in about four days. I'm going on a fieldtrip with my son and I was hoping that you can come with us. It seems better to have one guardian and parent instead of just one parent. So, what do you say?" Knowing what this was about, Selina smirked.
"I don't know. You going to pay me for this? And did Dick want this?" Asked Selina. Her answer was dependent on his answer.
"Dick wanted this to be just us, but I felt like it would be safe to have a guardian on standby. In case, he gets separated from me. Anything can happen. If you don't want to, I understand. But," Bruce then smirked at Dick. "I think Dick would like it if you're there, Catwoman." Spluttering at that, Selina looked at her apartment phone in shock.
"Of course, he knows." Thought Selina as she smacked her face. "Tall, dark and handsome is a master detective." Sighing, Selina answered back.
"So, he's fine with me coming?" Asked Selina. "I mean, that trip is suppose to be a moment between you two. Won't I ruin the moment?" Bruce then looked at Dick, who simply shrugged with a smile. Smirking, Bruce spoke.
"He wouldn't mind. If anything, we both agree that the trip would be even better if there was a good woman there. And I know that you're a good woman, Selina, despite the thieving." Rolling her eyes, Selina was touched at Bruce's words. She honestly didn't think that he would extend the offer at all. All she did was help him get on the right track, help with Zucco, and tend to Dick's wounds. Yet here he was, asking her to go on a family trip with him and his son. It was touching.
Sighing again, Selina spoke.
"Alright, I accept the offer. But if you flirt with me during this trip, you won't be feeling your cheek for a month." Bruce just smirked at that.
"I wouldn't dream of it. Thanks, Selina. I'll call you later to discuss the details." With that he ended the call and looked at Dick, who was smiling.
"So how did you figure out Catwoman's identity?" Asked Dick.
Bruce just smirked. To be honest, he knew of Catwoman's identity when removed her goggles during the whole struggle with the vigilante Rumor. Without the goggles, Bruce saw her face, unobscured by anything. As a result, he did a quick face check on who shared a similar face structure with Catwoman.
After and hour of adding and removing variables, Bruce eventually found out who Catwoman was. After getting over the initially shock that it was Selina, Bruce decided to keep it a secret.
Catwoman, now know to him as Selina, didn't do any crime except stealing priceless artifacts that were shaped like cats. Plus, he felt that, she was a good person at heart. She just had kleptomaniac urges, nothing to arrest her over. Well, that and the fact that he didn't have an evidence that could have her arrested without also incriminating him as Batman.
And now, he got the feeling that he made the right choice in keeping her identity a secret.
"A little detective work can do wonders, Dick." Said Bruce before going to get a glass of water. "After we do this homework, how about we sit and talk."
"About the nightmares?" Asked Dick, not liking the thought of reexperiencing them, but knew that he had to deal with them.
"That, and to just talk with each other.' Said Bruce. "Would you like that?" Dick smiled at that.
"Yeah. I think I would." Said Dick before going back to work.
"So, Catwoman decided to join Bats?" Asked Black Mask as he looked at Deadshot, who nodded.
"Saw it through my scope." Said Deadshot. "She was in Batman's car when it came and saved Robin." Deadshot then sighed. "Want to add her to my list of targets?"
"Of course." Said Black Mask, turning his desk around. "She's no longer viable to recruit for my heist. If she gets in my way, eliminate her." Deadshot nodded at that. "Moving on, how is Zucco?"
"Guy is back in prison along with his brothers. Want me to eliminate them so you could get their assets?" Black Mask just chuckled darkly.
"Of course. Zucco spat at my offer when I first offered it to him." Said Black Mask, remembering how, after Zucco's brothers busted the man out, Zucco had threw a glass of water at him and told him that they had no deal. Needless to say, Black Mask wasn't eager to offer him a new deal now. "He had his chance and now he has to deal with the consequences."
"Understood, I'll ask your number one for help." With that Deadshot then began to leave Black Mask's office. As he left, Deadshot sighed. He began to remember what Zucco had said to Robin. He heard it from a device on his helm and what he got surprised him.
"So, Robin is Dick Grayson, the adoptive son of Bruce Wayne." Thought Deadshot as he recalled what Zucco said and how Robin reacted. There were too much emotions in the boy's attack for Zucco's claim to not be true "So that means that Bruce Wayne is probably Batman." Deadshot couldn't help but shudder if Black Mask got this information.
It wouldn't be good for any of Bruce Wayne's friends and acquaintances. Even his company for that matter.
"You're lucky that it was me that overheard and not any of Black Mask's goons, Wayne." Thought Deadshot as he resumed his walk. "Because Black Mask would have destroyed all your loved ones, what's left of them, one by one."
Next episode- The date.