Hello, sorry about the delay. My other life away from my computer has been rather demanding recently, a lot to do, and sleep is an unfortunate necessity that has been equally demanding…mmm sleep…..okay back to reality now. Enjoy this update!

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Chapter Five – Observing

Watching: Protecting from afar

Discovery: Learning a fact previously unknown

Death: Final and absolute.

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Bruce remembered reading a story when he was a child; it was about how a poor boy was unhappy and sad, but he worked hard and one day he became wealthy and he was happy. Bruce couldn't remember the name of the story, but he always found it odd. Bruce had never known what it was to be poor; well those seven years he spent traveling the world was an exception. What he did know, was that having money did not in any way guarantee happiness.

Being number 7 on the international wealthy list made him certain that he had money; donating $100,000 to a hospital was pocket change; buying a new car every week was a trifle expense, but these in no way made him happy. The only thing Bruce could remember had ever made him happy was the love of his parents, soaring through the sky over the top of Gotham as Batman, the warmth, kindness and affection he had received from Rachel. Even her anger and bitter animosity towards him had made him happy.

Well obviously it hadn't at the time, but thinking back on it, every single interaction he had ever had with her made him happy.

But now, Bruce was like that little boy in the story, except he was not poor. He was unhappy and sad. His life meant nothing without Batman or Rachel. Rachel, he knew there was no way to atone, there was no way to revive. Rachel he was moving on from. It was still taking a while, but it was happening. 'M' was not the reason, in fact she didn't help at all, but just the time – three years – was enough.

But in his spare time, on the nights where he was not prior booked to attend some function or other – he used to just leave early, but having an addition to his arm made it difficult– he would suit up and fly over-head of Gotham, making sure crime was under control. If he saw a woman having her purse stolen, he would land behind her, and those petty men who sought to steal a handbag were rather easily scared. If he observed crime at a level more familiar to hi m – organized – then he would gather what ever information he could – those guys just laughed at him – and send it off to Gordon, anonymously of course.

It was one of these nights, when sitting alone in either the manor or his penthouse was just not an option, where he found himself soaring over Gotham, making use of a new device he had recently acquired – a laser mike. It made surfing the police radio look like child's play.

As he soared above what had once been the slums of Gotham – the Narrow's, he caught sound of a conversation that immediately sent a tingling feeling up his spine. Swinging around he landed on nearby rooftop and sent his mike in the direction of the roof-top the voices were coming from.

All he could see was shadows moving, and pointing the mike to the middle of the group he realized that he was at the end of a deal.

"If he told you how much he would pay, then it shall all be there. You know he is a man of his word." A heavy Eastern-European accented male voice spoke.

Bruce immediately recognized the voice as belonging to Sergei Abromavitch, one of the men who had taken control of the underbelly of Gotham after Sal Maroni was killed and his associates arrested. But the woman's voice, the crisp English accent with some French undertones was completely new. As Bruce remembered the information of the new player in Gotham, he realized that this 'the Cat' must have been the woman talking.

"What does that mean?" A new voice, a voice which made his eyes bulge and made his stomach start a ride on a rollercoaster, sounded through the mike.

Of all the gadgets and tools he had, why did he not have binoculars? There was no way it was her, no way at all. She was blown up, she was dead, they found remains and they were hers, Rachel Dawes was dead.

"What did all of that mean; your employer can't risk me going solo?" She spoke again.

No, that was definitely her. It had some English influence in it, making her sound like the actors from the fifties. Bruce found himself tearing his helmet off so he could see her better, but in that time, the Cat ha responded to her question, and the two women had jumped off the opposite side of the building and disappeared. Throwing his helmet back on he made to chase them, but quickly found that they had disappeared.

Coming to a stop at another building he sat down and realized that there was no way it was possibly Rachel. It had been a dream, a willful dream, projecting the voice of the woman he most wanted to return onto another who sounded similar.

But the more he thought about it, the more he realized that it was, but that something had changed.

"She's being held against her will." He spoke to himself, looking in the direction he imagined the women had disappeared.

He felt something burn inside him. Since Bruce had given up his life as Batman, he knew that there was a fight he still needed to take part in. Batman was still needed, and now he was being called on.

Knowing he had information that would likely assist the police – for some reason they always looked in the wrong direction – he turned in the opposite direction and headed for the police precinct.

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