Obligatory Disclaimer : I do not own anything (except maybe OC characters) all characters, places, worlds, universes…etc mentioned here belong to their respective owners and/or companies.
This is purely a work of fiction. Not meant to offend or incite, but to entertain and (maybe) inspire.
“Listen, I’ll say it again slowly. I. Am. Not. Your. Enemy—ugh!” He doesn’t let me finish my statement. He never does. Another punch slams into my gut, nearly folding me in half. I crash my forehead into his nose. He bleeds and I swallow the bile back down.
“Who are you and how did you get in here?” He growls wiping the red dribbling down his nose, I likened him to a bulldog that learned speech. He attacks like one, and honestly, he does act like one.
“My name is ##### #### and this place is just a #### to my world. I am from ###### where you are just a ###### #####. Oh, you can’t even comprehend certain words I’m saying, can you?”
I ducked to the left, dodging the bat shaped projectiles he threw at me. I rolled again dodging small explosive balls. I reached behind me and dragged the black cape over my face, protecting me from the blinding flash, my mask protected me from the debilitating sound.
“You’re experienced kid. Trained. Tell me who sent you before I gut you.”
“I’d love to see you try old man.” No, no. de escalate this situation. Stay in control.
I needed to play along to get this guy relaxed for now. “Fine! Thomas, it’s me Bruce!”
“I’m your son, damnit.” I wasn’t really. I was just a guy stuck in the body of a teenager who would’ve been his son, had his son lived. In simple terms, I occupied the body of one of many Bruce Waynes that littered the multiverse.
“My son is dead, you sick bastard.” He sounded pissed off now, really pissed. He pulled out the guns strapped to his thigh and cocked the hammers back. I hid behind one of the many natural pillars in his barebones bat cave. According to my memories and skill sets, I could dodge bullets and even tank small caliber rounds — a virtue of my padded Batsuit.
I just didn’t think it wise to take the hit when I had other options.
“Listen to me, I know you can hear it in my voice. I know deep down you recognize it, because if you hadn’t, you’d have shot me earlier instead of trying to now.”
“I’m going to come out from behind this rock, I’m going to take my mask off and I want you to look at me. Really look at me and tell me what you see.”
I calmed my nerves, pulled the cowl up and over my face leaving it to hang around my neck and stepped out from behind the improvised shield to confront the man.
I came face to face with the barrels of two magnums. I’ve heard that you can see the face of death when you stare down the barrel of a loaded gun. Lies. What I did see was a Batman shedding tears as he stood frozen, his gaze unflinchingly fixed on mine, I could tell that he was scrutinizing every square inch of my face.
He lowered the guns as though they were pieces of red-hot metal, he couldn’t wait to get rid of. His figure blurred— for a bear statured man he was surprisingly agile— I fought the urge to retreat and the next thing I know arms the size of logs enveloped me. He coiled them so tight around my center that he drove the air out of my constricted lungs.
“Bruce, son?” He questioned, unbelieving. “My boy you’re real. You’re alive. My son. My son.” He repeated, hugging me even tighter.
I’d already thought up something convincing to tell him when he’d undoubtedly ask me where I came from. On the bright side, crisis averted for now.
“I..can’t..breathe” I rasped with what little air I had left. Prompting the man to loosen his grip on me.
“How are you here, Bruce? You died. I buried you with my own hands!” He too pulled his mask off, his hard cut solid features were honestly intimidating. Even with slightly greying hair his eyes were as cold as steel. I could see that this man had been scowling for so long that smiling was physically exhausting for him. And yet he maintained a smile. “And why are you dressed like me?” That Wayne rationality was kicking in.
“I come from a different world—one of the many alternative universes in the Multiverse(yes, there is a multiverse) in one of those worlds, you and mom die in the alley that night and I live…I swore to get revenge for you and to not let what happened to me happen to anyone else. I’ve been fighting crime ever since as the Bat” My facial expression alternated from sad to mad and then to resolved, I had to really sell it here. Now let’s see if he buys it.
“Was it Joe Chill? Was he the mugger?” Sold.
“Yes…where is he in your world?”
“Mmmrrr” He hummed, a small smile on his face. Probably due to my implied ruthlessness.
“As for how I got here, the last thing I remember was in the Batcave with Alfred working on Motherbox technology, when everything went dark and I found myself here. It might have been an anomaly of some kind, but I don’t recall moving through a boom tube. I suspect that I have been unmoored—detached from my native reality due to a spatial continuum folding as a result of timestream altrance. In simple terms, someone time travelled, changed things and it resulted in a catastrophic cascading effect that altered reality on a multiversal scale.” I deserve an Oscar.
“What does all that mean?” I knew he found it hard to believe, but this time I was actually being honest…well technically at least.
“The past has been changed. The timestream has shifted and if I’m right, reality is going to collapse in on itself and we are all going to die if we don’t find a way to get everything back to normal.”
“Did you do this Bruce. Were you the one who tried to change your past to bring me and your mom back?”
“…I wanted to. I really did want to. But it wasn’t me, I knew of the risks it would put all of reality in. Why bring you back into a broken reality that won’t last?” Do you get what I’m implying here old man? Your world is ending, you cannot save it. But you can save me from dying with you if we fix this. You will if you love your son.
“Bruce, we will solve this. I want you to promise me that after this is over, you’ll drop the whole crime fighting agenda. This is not the life you want Bruce, this isn’t the life for you. For anyone sane for that matter. You’re such a bright boy, you have an even brighter future ahead of you. Just, just leave this all behind. We would never want you to avenge us. The best thing you can do for your mom and I is to live”
I’m glad we understand each other Thomas.
“I miss you dad; I miss mom too. But you should know that I am my father’s son”
“That Wayne stubbornness.” He sighed. “I won’t give up on convincing you to stay away from this life son.”
“Where is she, dad?”
“No, it’s really simple. Where’s my mom? Why do you keep brushing over her?” Need to show some initiative. Some sort of familial need.
“How old are you son?”
“Seventeen. Stop trying to change the subject dad”
“Seventeen. Seventeen whole years” He muttered, rubbing my head in an oddly calming way. “Your mother was never the same after you died. You’ll understand.”
“…Where is she?”
“I don’t know yet.”
“What do you mean?”
“I have a case to solve right now. The Joker abducted Harvey’s twins tonight. I have to go out and get them back.”
“You’re saying my mom--”
“Yes, Bruce. Yes.” I cupped my hands over my lowered head. Emulating a sadness so deep it radiated off of me.
“Let me come with you--”
“--Once she sees I’m alive she’ll go back to being--”
“NO! Dammit.” He shouted. “You’re staying here Bruce; I won’t put you in harm’s way.”
“I want to see her!” I shouted back. “And you know I can take care of myself. Don’t baby me.” Come on, we know teens can be bratty and irrational, I had to lay it on.
“I know you can son. And I won’t, I’m sorry.” He began by placating me “Believe me you will see her. I promise. I’ll bring her with me. You just wait here. Wait for me Bruce. Don’t leave. I swear I’ll be back with her.” He said, his eyes on mine, his hands gripping my shoulders.
“Fine. I’ll wait.” Thank you for trusting me with your Batcave.
“sigh I promise dad. I’ll wait for you to come back with my mother.”
“Son, promise me you won’t leave the cave till I get back. And mean it.” His grip tightened.
“I said I promise old man. Just go, I’ll be waiting here”
“Mmmrr” He smiled and rose to his feet, standing at a towering height. Pulling back his mask on, he approached the cave’s exit and turned back to stare at me. His jaw muscles clenched and relaxed, he was hesitant to say something and just decided not to for reasons unknown.
I sat in the cave that contained simple yet useful equipment; A workstation for tools, ammunitions and weapons. Another for chemicals, curious items and sensitive materials. Some hospital instruments next to a surgical bed, above which hung a cupboard of clinical materials.
Next to his work station was a monster computer rig, a massive desktop CPU placed beneath a table that supported an array of expensive monitors. Each one displaying a different feed; some from cameras within the cave and without. Some from tracking devices placed on individuals and objects, others from news channels and whatnot.
On what seemed like an altar that took up space near the cave’s center were a bunch of alcohol bottles. Behind which stood a glass case holding a pistol—the one that shot his son, I assume. Next to the glass case was a framed portrait, one with Thomas and a woman I knew to be Martha Wayne, I finally knew the face she had in this world. Beneath them stood a very young Bruce Wayne. They were all in smiles, joy written on their faces. What a happy family.
One step was done, I was now alone in the cave, it was time for me to achieve the next step; finding the pool.
But before I begin, I had to know if whatever brought me to this universe would respond. “Are you there? Listen to me, I have to tell you this again. I think you made a mistake with me, I’m not one of the good ones. I’m not part of the sheep. You should know what I did back in my home world. So, let me give you this opportunity to return me from where you took me.” I took a seat on the floor and buried my head into my knees and whispered. It was a precaution taken so the cams wouldn’t catch what I was saying. Even if he checked the video feed, it would seem like a confused and exhausted child seeking self-comfort.
“…I’m telling you now, whoever you are, wherever you are. Take me back to my world.” My doc would tell me not to talk to myself, she’d say for me to tell her what I thought so she’d jot it down in one of her notepads and prescribe me more meds. I actually convinced her to let me see the notepads once, right after I’d slept with her. She was more than happy to oblige then, the hypocrite.
Wanna know what she wrote? She said I was a psychopath. In her words; “#### #### is a clinical psychopath with the capacity to recognize just what he is, which compounds on his danger level. His capacity to not only emulate certain emotions but also influence them in others could be as a result of his astoundingly high EQ and impressive IQ. He is an enigmatic individual with unpredictable blah blah blah”
I never understood why she’d go so far as to kill herself when I asked how heaven looks or why I was then blamed for her death.
“Are you listening to me? Do you hear me? I’m going to fuck it up! I’m going to mess up your universe if you don’t let me out of it...Ok then, I’ll take your silence as approval.” Of course, I had no idea how to mess up a universe. But I could always learn from trial and error.
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” I sprung to my feet and decided to go ahead with the plan. If I failed, I failed. I had all to gain and nothing to lose but my new life. It was a better option than sitting on my ass in a comic book world. That was just a recipe for disaster.
I walked deeper into the undeveloped cave. Channeling the memories and experiences of various Batmen I assimilated upon my transmigration, letting them guide me deeper into the belly of the earth. Every twist and turn felt familiar, every nook, cranny and cavern was laid bare. Down, down, down I went, into the darkness, deep into the heart of the Bat.
Plop. Plop. The sound of feet stepping into puddles of flowing freshwater echoed through the pitch black cave, accompanied by the serene rhythm of water drops falling from canine shaped stalactites. The cowl had night and infrared vision among other things, allowing me to navigate in near total darkness. I followed the water current, letting it lead me further down the path where the memories of Batmen couldn’t.
It led me to the edge of a cliff. Water fell from above and beneath my feet, falling down into a place past my sight. I would have to let the meta-knowledge I obtained from entertainment media back in my universe lead me from here on out. Yes, it sounds like nonsense. But when in Rome, do as they do.
This was a world that made no sense. A world with magic and superpowers. With men who could take down gods. With trans-dimensional beings that could fold the very fabric of space-time and reality. In the grand scale of things, my actions today would barely even equate to the weight of a grain of sand.
I retrieved the grapple gun from my belt, pointed it at the rock face and pulled the trigger.
ViiP! Went the line, the hook embedded itself and drilled deep into the rock. I tugged hard at the line, the hook remained unmoved. Finding it secure, I slowly began rappelling down the side of the cliff. The waterfall made seeing hard, but not impossible, it did cause me to slip and lose my footing on the rocks more than once, but I maintained my hold on the gun.
The cord tightened and I knew that I could go no lower, with the length of the line having been exhausted.
Clenching hard, pushing my ring finger against a tactile button on my gloves extended slanted blades from my gauntlets. I raised my arm and was about to ram it into the cliff face so I could slowly descend.
“Man you’re stupid” I mocked myself, realizing that I could use some spare lines to lengthen the grapple cord. I would have to forgo the gun, but that wasn’t an issue. Digging my blades into a thin groove on the side, I secured myself to the rocks. I retrieved the lines from a compartment on my utility belt and connected them to the dislodged spool that nearly slipped out of my fingers. I stashed the gun and once again began my descent.
Going this far down felt like an attempt at breaching the earth’s core, or the lair of a very reclusive dragon. The water vapor clouded my vision, the fluid themselves made my suit damp. The relentless crashing sound of water against water was all that filled the dark passage.
My arms were starting to go numb, breathing became demanding. I rested when I could, the respite allowing me to clear the fog from my cowl, and gain strength in my tired arms.
I saw a luminescent green radiance come from behind the waterfall. The light was an almost blinding emerald when amplified by the night vision on the cowl, making it virtually impossible to miss. I lowered myself to where it was brightest and discovered a wide crevice, into which I entered, unlatched the line from my waist and nailed it into the damp wall.
Yes, I was afraid, but I was excited even more.
I switched to normal vision, the darkness rushed for my eyes like an ink tide. I blinked to acclimatize my eyes to the dark.
Within this dark and dreary cavern, the green glow emitted from the still and calm pool was truly a peaceful and inviting sight, it was a lush oasis in the middle of the desert, it was Indiana Jones finding the fountain of youth. Magnificent, beautiful, inspiring, all those poetic words to express a sense of the divine and more —was only fifty meters away from me.
Dionesium; named after the god of madness and rebirth. A rare and unique naturally occurring chemical substance that might be the very key to immortality. One of the mantling metals. It has profound healing properties and can even be used to revive the dead. Lazarus pits are corrupted and derivative versions of Dionesium. Electrium—the substance the court of owls utilize to allow them to raise their undead assassins is also a corrupted derivative of Dionesium.
How did I know to find one here? Every Batcave, built beneath the Wayne Manor contains one, or rather leads to one when the cave systems are explored. They are exceedingly difficult to locate. I learned that during the events of the Death of the Family and Endgame Joker storylines. Where the Joker jumps off a cliff in the unexplored caverns deep in the Batcave after being chased by Batman.
Instead of falling to his demise, it is implied that he manages to find a Dionesium pool within those cave systems. It grants him enhanced physical ability and an injury resistance. One that allows him to tussle with the caped crusader to the death.
Don’t be too surprised, we all know Gotham city has Lazarus pits beneath it. It might be one of the reasons its denizens are so insane. Heh.
I stripped naked and couldn’t help admiring my new body. It was incredibly defined and proportioned. I’m not vain, I’m just making an observation.
Expectations can wildly differ from reality. I expected the calm green pool to feel as refreshing as it looked. Coming in contact with it was the same as putting the most sensitive part of my body under a burner to slowly roast. Each step I took was a monument of effort and pain tolerance.
“Fuck!” I didn’t like pain, I hated it. But I have come too far to back out now.
“Ah! My fuck!!” It hurts, it hurts so bad. It hurts so fucking bad. Why the hell am I walking deeper into the pond?
“AHHH!!” My mind was engulfed and overloaded. I grit my teeth so hard they cracked. The water greedily surged into every pore on my body as I submerged myself within it. My eyes burned the worst, followed by my spine. It felt as though the Dionesium was trying to replace my entire spinal fluid, and it was doing it as crudely and agonizingly painful as possible. As I screamed underwater, I ended up swallowing the fluid as well. I couldn’t define the level of soul burning torture even if I wanted to. And I wanted to.
Perhaps I spent seconds, minutes or even hours submerged in the pool. I couldn’t tell. All I know is that at some point in time, I had passed out while submerged, and yet did not drown. I stood and walked out the pond, shivering like a whipped child.
Was it still burning? Yes. Why wasn’t I yelling out in pain? Pain is relative… nah, It just didn’t hurt as much.
I sat nude on the bare ground, trying to weather the shivering spell all I managed instead was to have my ass go numb and cold.
After a while, the burning sensation turned into a revitalizing chill that swept throughout my body. Dull aches I’d grown accustomed to since occupying the body disappeared like they never existed in the first place. Apart from feeling energized, nothing was different, outwardly at least.
I walked to my item pile and grabbed a Batarang from the utility belt on the floor. Dragging a sharpened edge against my thumb to create a thin cut, which closed faster than the blood could leave it. Deciding to further test the extent of my acquired healing factor, I dug the edge an inch into my forearm and pulled, resulting in a deep bleeding gash on my forearm—I hated pain but this was nothing compared to the Dionesium pool.
A slight tingling sensation ran along the length of my spine, the same sensation but itchier assaulted the area of my wound. The blood clotted and the bleeding stopped, it was healing but not as fast as the thin cut did.
It was magical. This was truly something that defied common sense.
I cut myself again just to see my flesh knit back together. It was an unbelievable sight and an amazing experience. I was essentially a second-rate wolverine if you wanted to get brutally honest about it.
“Look, I’ll say it again. Take me back to my world. This is awesome and all, but I actually have things I care about back on my earth, as surprising as that may seem. Please just take me back to my fucking world!!” No one answered because no one was listening. Or maybe someone was listening and they just didn’t care.
Maybe in their eyes I was a mere speck of dust undeserving of an answer. An ant that had no right to make demands. And I couldn’t do jack shit about it.
No, no I could do something about it. Maybe not at the moment, but I’ll live and I’ll thrive, and grow strong, strong enough to find the one responsible for this and make them pay the price in blood.
I got into my suit and equipment. Retrieving a bunch of vials from the utility belt, I gathered pure Dionesium into them and stashed them back into the belt. Apart from their research potential, the things were basically health potions. Heh. Plus, they had another purpose to serve, one that would work as political insurance.
I refuse to be passive; I choose to act on my circumstances until they work in my favor. I pulled the cowl down and approached the cavern’s exit.
This world will be mine.
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