*A/N I do not own Batman, or any of its characters. I only own my own OC. Story contains spoilers for the movie.
Arc 1: Begins
22 years ago
A young male voice called out across the gardens as a dark-haired eight-year-old boy searched through all the flowers and shrubs leading towards the main greenhouse.
"Rachel? Becky?" The boy called as he wandered into the greenhouse.
A small giggle, hurriedly stifled, alerted the boy to the presence under one of the greenhouse worktables, and he smiled.
"Got you two." Bruce Wayne grinned as he dropped down on his hunches, coming face to face with the two little girls hidden under the table.
The equally dark-haired Rachel Dawes quickly covered her hands together, hiding her newfound treasure while her younger sister, Rebecca, tried to hold in in her little giggles again while pushing back her bright red curls.
"Now, can I see?" Bruce wheedled, but Rachel taunted playfully, "Finders keepers, and I found it."
"My garden." Bruce countered, and Rachel glanced at her sister.
Rebecca nodded, her blue eyes sparkling as she agreed to show Bruce, so Rachel finally opened her hands enough that Bruce could see the arrowhead Rachel had found – with Rebecca's help – in the garden.
Instantly, Bruce had reached out, grabbing the arrowhead right out of Rachel's hands as he shouted, "Finder's keepers!"
"Hey!" Rachel cried as she and her sister chased after Bruce as the young boy raced out of the greenhouse. "Bruce!"
"That's mean!" Rebecca chimed in, as the sisters ran out after Bruce.
The boy had ducked to the side, hiding quickly over an old dried well that had been covered up for safety. Rachel paused as she reached the outside of the greenhouse, uncertain where to go, but Rebecca went straight for the well.
"Bruce!" The little girl exclaimed, spotting the boy as she had expected to find him.
It was a knack of hers – being able to find people even when they didn't want to be found. It certainly made playing hide and seek with the six-year-old much more interesting than Bruce would have thought as it forced him to both hide and seek in the most interesting places around Wayne Manor.
As Rebecca came upon him now, Bruce laughed as he quickly stood up. He made to run again, but the sudden movement was too much on the old wooden boards. The planks suddenly gave way, causing Bruce to fall right through with a cry – while Rebecca screamed as she too tripped and fell into the well.
"Becky!" Rachel screamed, running over and peering into the well fearfully. "Bruce!"
She let out a small gasp as she saw her little sister lying on top of Bruce, both children groaning. Without another moment's hesitation, Rachel turned and started running back towards the Wayne Manor as she cried out to the adults for help.
"Mom! Mr. Alfred!"
Inside the well, Bruce turned to Rebecca as he groaned, getting a very strange feeling in his arm, "Becky, get off."
"S-Sorry." Rebecca whimpered as she made to crawl off of Bruce, also feeling sore though she hadn't broken any bones.
But Rebecca froze as she saw a small opening on the side of the well.
It had probably been a drainage pipe at one point, but the metal had rust and parts of the ground had eroded to make it look rather sinister – especially to a six-year-old girl.
"B-Bruce." Rebecca whispered, pointing while she continued to stare with wide blue eyes, and Bruce turned his own dark brown eyes to also see the hole.
He shivered in fear, but tried to be brave for the younger girl as he said firmly, "It's okay Becky. Nothing's down there."
At that precise moment, something jittered inside the pipe, making Rebecca grasp Bruce's uninjured arm tightly as she whimpered, "There's something there."
"N-no, it's fine." Bruce struggled, trying not to scare Rebecca or himself any more than they already were.
But at the sound of his voice, something moved in the drain again. Rebecca grasped Bruce's arm tighter, when suddenly an entire swarm of bats came flying out of the drains and around the two children.
Rebecca screamed, Bruce screaming right with her as the two children cowered in utter terror while the bats flew about around their heads, the creatures shrieking their own high-pitched screams. The sounds seemed to echo all around the frightened children, and Rebecca turned into Bruce as he huddled with her, both crying out in pure fear.
Rebecca straightened up instantly as Sergeant James Gordon called for her as he made his way into his office that evening. She winced, knowing from his tone he wasn't happy, and she followed him into his office, closing the door behind her as Gordon strode behind his desk.
Her direct supervisor, Gordon was also someone whom she had come to look up to in the last few years on the force as one of the only really good cop left in Gotham. It was particularly admiring, because he actually had a family to look after, too – not single like Rebecca, who only had to worry about her older sister.
And considering Rachel was as big of an advocate for justice and peace, being the assistant District Attorney, Rebecca didn't really have to worry about how her actions might affect her sister. If Rachel ever got into trouble, it would be all on herself. Not the most pleasant of thoughts, but at least Rachel also knew that if Rebecca ever got into trouble, then that would be all on Rebecca.
"Sir? Is there a problem?" Rebecca asked as she watched Gordon while he set his things down on his desk.
"Yes, there's a problem." He snapped, turning to her. "I thought I told you not to go snooping around Falcone's den."
"Yes, sir, you did." Rebecca answered at once, knowing exactly where Gordon was going to go with this and grimacing again – she'd hoped he might miss the odd detail on her report. But, Gordon was nothing if not sharp.
"Rebecca, listen to me." Gordon said sternly as he settled his hands on her shoulders and looked her square in the eye. "I know what you want to do, and trust me I wish we could get there. But if you keep doing this, you're just going to end up at the bottom of the river."
"I know, but I'm so close." Rebecca argued. "I am this close to finding out what Falcone's doing with all those damned drugs! And I know my sister's also itching to prosecute him for all his crimes."
"All right, so let's say you figure it out." Gordon interrupted. "The what are you going to do? We can't arrest him, because we'll never have enough evidence to back up throwing him in a prison cell, because he's paid up with all the right people – Judge Faden being one of those people."
Rebecca's jaw clenched, but Gordon pleaded, "Look, Becky, you're the best detective on the team and one of the very few I know I can trust to do the right thing. I know how badly you want to catch Falcone; because I want it too."
He squeezed her shoulders as he emphasized, "But, we'd both be better use to Gotham alive and grabbing what small fry we can and putting them away safely, than dead and buried under the ground chasing Falcone."
"It'll never stop unless we get the head." Rebecca muttered, but she knew Gordon was right – of course he was.
Everyone knew Falcone had at least half of the city paid off, which made him basically impossible to touch. But that made it all the more frustrating when Rebecca wanted nothing more than to right the injustice of letting Gotham's filth run the entire city.
Sensing she was giving into his argument – not that it would matter in the long run, she'd probably try going after Falcone again soon enough, Gordon thought with a sigh - Gordon waved her out as he said, "Just think about what I said, all right? Now, get on home. You could use a rest."
Rebecca glanced at the clock before she sighed.
"Yeah, okay." She answered, turning to leave, and Gordon looked at her sternly as he added, "And be careful."
"I'll try, sir." Rebecca answered as walked out. "But in Gotham City? It doesn't matter how careful I am to prevent a mugging."
"Still, being careful will lower your chances of being targeted." Gordon reminded. "And I didn't mean a mugging - I'd pity any bastard who tries to mug you."
Rebecca chuckled slightly as she walked out and gathered her things, packing up for the night.
She'd just about gotten ready to leave, maybe ten minutes later, when Gordon abruptly came racing out of his office, gun in hand.
"You lot, follow me!" He shouted, and Rebecca and two of her co-workers (the only ones still in the office this late at night) grabbed their guns without question.
The group raced up the stairs, bursting out onto the roof of their building just in time to see a man dressed in all black perched on the ledge at the edge of the roof.
"Freeze!" Gordon yelled, and Rebecca aimed her gun at the mysterious figure just as the man dashed across the roof edge.
Rebecca's jaw dropped as the man threw himself from the rooftop, landing with a crash on the metal balcony on the building on the far side of the police station. There were several more crashes as the four police officers ran to peer over the edge of their roof, just in time to see the man disappear into the shadows.
"Crazy nut." Rebecca muttered, while one of the others turned to Gordon as he demanded, "What the hell was that?"
Gordon glanced at them, his eyes landing on Rebecca as he answered, "Just some nut."
The other officers shrugged, turning to leave, while Rebecca frowned at Gordon. There was something in the look in his eyes that said he hadn't been fully forthcoming on his answer. But knowing better than to ask, Rebecca wisely kept her mouth shut as she followed Gordon and the others back into their office.
It was with a start that Rebecca woke up the next morning, her alarm beeping loudly on her bedside table.
Groaning, she quickly shut off the annoying beeps before hauling her body up and off her wonderfully soft bed. It didn't matter that she'd been on the police force for five years, getting out of bed was always the most difficult part of her day.
"Morning, sleepy." Rachel greeted with a small smile when Rebecca trudged into the kitchen for breakfast.
Now, there was someone who never had trouble getting up in the morning. It amazed Rebecca no end that Rachel could always get up so early and do full makeup without fail every morning; but then again, Rachel was an assistant District Attorney while Rebecca was a detective officer. Rebecca could probably count the number of times Rachel got in later than she did on one hand – and that was for all of the past five years, too.
"Morning." Rebecca greeted as she switched on the news. "How are you?"
"Doing pretty well." Rachel sighed as she leant back with a mug of coffee in one hand. "If Crane didn't keep declaring all Falcone's men insane and moving them to Arkham."
"That's Dr. Jonathon Crane, right?" Rebecca asked with a frown as she grabbed her own coffee. "He's still at it?"
"Yeah." Rachel sighed, a frown appearing on her face. "And we can't even stop him – that's what makes me even angrier."
"I know." Rebecca said sympathetically. "I'm still trying to find leads on the Falcone case as well, but…"
She shrugged helplessly, and Rachel understood – she understood too well.
"It'll work." Rachel said determinedly, looking at her little sister. "If we're willing to stand up to it, others will join. There will be a start sometime, there has to be."
Rebecca smiled and nodded, the two sisters taking sips of their coffee as they shared their encouragements with each other.
It was at that point that Rebecca happened to glance at the television, and she stilled.
"Becky?" Rachel asked, noticing her sister's shocked expression, and she turned to look at the news as well. "What-? Oh."
Rachel sighed as she saw the news clip showing Bruce Wayne appearing at Wayne Enterprises the day before, having returned from the dead after eight years.
"So, you didn't get the memo either." Rachel noted glumly, and Rebecca turned to stare at her sister with wide blue eyes.
"Is this true?" Rebecca asked numbly. "He's back?"
"Apparently." Rachel sighed. "I found out through the news yesterday as well."
"But…" Rebecca trailed off as she glanced automatically at her cell.
"I didn't get a call either." Rachel answered quietly. "I assumed it was because he was still mad at me after how I left him that day he disappeared. But I didn't think he'd hold a grudge against you, too."
Rebecca just continued to stare at the news, unable to believe what she was seeing. He was back. He was back, after eight years of radio silence. And he hadn't even bothered to let her or Rachel know.
"Look, Becky." Rachel said softly as she watched her sister stare numbly at the screen. "I think the best thing to do is probably to just let it go. He left without a word, and now he's come back without one too. I think his message is clear."
Rebecca nodded silently, and Rachel turned away to get going for work. Rebecca lingered a little longer, staring at the image of Bruce on the news.
He didn't look too different from when she'd last seen him – buffer, yes, and older definitely. His hair was also actually sleeked back like a professional, not his usual unruly soft curls. But otherwise, his face was exactly the same as that of her best friend from eight years ago – her best friend since she was three years old.
Until he'd disappeared.
Now, he was back… and somehow, it hurt knowing he'd come back without caring to let her – or Rachel - know. More even than it had hurt when he'd simply left eight years ago without so much as a word to let them know where he had gone.
'Why, Bruce?' She asked the screen silently. 'Why did you push me away?'
*A/N This is another story that I've been wanting to do since forever. I had it roughly planned for years but never got around to writing it because I didn't really feel it. And I know those of you who know my other stories are going to say I'm crazy for starting this one when I'm still struggling to catch up on my other ones. But having to restart has made my creative juices go crazy and wanting something different; and then this story just came to me. Hopefully, you'll all enjoy it as well! Happy holidays!