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One-shot! Ever wonder how Batman was cleared of suspicion by the police by the end of Mask of the Phantasm? Here's one possibility...
SUMMARY: Ever wonder how Batman was cleared of suspicion by the police by the end of /Mask of the Phantasm/? Here's one possibility...
WARNING: Movie spoilers, obviously. Also rated PG (K+), just to be safe.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This starts right after the scene where Batman finds the locket hidden for him in the Batcave. It also ends with the scene at the end of the movie where he resumes his work as Batman after seeing the Batsignal in the sky.
Dedicated to Patricia de Lionheart for beta-reading this.
Bruce Wayne slept badly that night.
In fact, he probably hadn't slept this badly since his parents were murdered when he was just a child.
The very thought of Andrea Beaumont made him ill... especially when he considered both what they could have been, and what they had become.
Andrea's abrupt departure from his life ten or so years ago had been the final catalyst which had motivated him to become the vigilante crime-fighter, and ultimately, this "blast from the past" had come back to renew the pain, and make it hurt even worse.
Seeing what Andrea had become had most Bruce even gladder that he never fell into that pit himself. Even now, Bruce's lament of failure and Alfred's words of wisdom echoed in his head...
"I couldn't save her, Alfred."
"I don't think she wanted to be saved, sir. Vengeance blackens the soul, Bruce. I always feared you would become that which you fought against. You walk the edge of that abyss every night, but you haven't fallen in, and I thank heaven for that. But Andrea fell into that pit years ago, and no one, not even you, could have pulled her back."
When Bruce finally fell asleep, it was a kind of dreamless, painless sleep he had not had in a long time.
The next morning, Bruce slowly opened his eyes and looked up at the ceiling, thinking...
Minutes later (although it seemed more like hours to him), Alfred came in. "Good morning, sir," he said with cautious optimism.
"'Morning, Alfred," Bruce mumbled.
"I have some good news," Alfred said with some cheerfulness. He then extended his hand to offer the morning paper.
Bruce accepted it and immediately saw the headline on the front page: BATMAN PROVEN INNOCENT!
Intrigued, he read it. Someone had caught footage of him chasing and fighting that phantasmal figure (/Andrea/, he thought sourly) on the rooftops after Salvatore Valestra's apartment blew up. And that someone just happened to be Commissioner Gordon.
Wisely and thankfully, Gordon refused to take any part in the manhunt for Batman in response to the gangster killings. Now, it seemed almost fitting that he should clear Batman's name.
Feeling a hunch, Bruce reached for the remote control on his bedside table and turned on the TV.
Gordon's voice could be heard as the shot of Batman and Andrea in her disguise fighting briefly ran:
"I actually live across the street from where this fight took place. This figure obviously looks something like the Grim Reaper, or maybe even the Ghost of Christmas Future. In retrospect, I think it's easy to see how so many people confused this figure - this "Phantasm" - for Batman."
After the Phantasm disappeared in a cloud of smoke just before the helicopter focused its sights on Batman, the video clip ended and the scene shifted to where Gordon was speaking to the press behind a podium.
"Clearly, Batman was /not responsible for any of the gangster killings. I would like to apologize on behalf of the Gotham Police Department for this grave misunderstanding."/
Bruce couldn't help but grin a little at how Detective Bullock and quite a few other police officers present silently grumbled onscreen.
"I see you're already feeling a little better, sir," Alfred commented as Bruce shut off the TV.
"Anything else I can do for you, Master Bruce?"
"I'll be fine for now." Getting out of bed and tossing his bathrobe on over his nightclothes, he went to the door. However, just at the last moment, he stopped and turned to face Alfred. "Oh, and Alfred... thanks," he said with a small yet grateful smile.
"You're certainly quite welcome, sir," the butler responded with an equal smile.
Later that night, Batman was prowling the rooftops, taking a small pleasure in being able to freely move about Gotham again without cops after him.
Stealthily moving toward the police building, Batman lurked in the shadows outside Gordon's office.
He heard some yelling from Bullock, topped off by the office door being slammed on the way out.
A few moments later, Gordon opened the window and whispered, "Come on in."
"How did you know I was here?" Batman asked as he entered.
"Call it a hunch," Gordon said with a grin. The grin then faded as he asked in a concerned voice. "How are you holding up after the chase and the construction site?"
"As for that Phantasm guy... any idea who he was?"
Batman couldn't bring himself to reveal that it was Andrea. She could have revealed his secret identity at any time... and if he revealed it was her, she could get angry enough to reveal who he was in return. And considering how she was eager to take revenge on those gangsters for the murder of his father, he didn't want to take the risk of her taking revenge on him for identities revealed.
"No, I'm afraid not." He hated lying to Gordon, but given the circumstances, he would have to forgive himself this one time.
"Also, I'm assuming that the destruction of the old Gotham World's Fair grounds had to do with all this?"
"Yes. It was the Joker's hide-out. He had filled the underground tunnels with high explosives."
"The Joker, huh? What did he have to do with all this?"
Now he had to lie again, or at least not tell the whole truth. "From what I can gather, he killed someone close to the Phantasm."
"Lord knows he's made enough enemies in the past," Gordon sighed.
"That's not all. He was a hired hitman for Salvatore Valestra at least ten years ago, before he became... well, the Joker."
Gordon raised an eyebrow. They knew that the Joker became his insane, clown-like self after getting drenched in acid and going insane from it; however, they still couldn't figure out even his real name, and very little was known about his past.
Batman also thought about it briefly... how ironic that both he and the Joker had actually yet briefly crossed paths in the past, before they became Gotham's savior and bane respectively... that night when Andrea and her father had to flee the country...
Gordon's voice helped pull him back out of his thoughts to the matter at hand. "And the Joker killed this person close to the Phantasm on Valestra's orders?"
"Yes, it seems so. And judging by how Chuckie Sol and Buzz Bronski were also killed, one can only conclude that they were somehow involved too."
"Also... you think the Joker survived?"
Batman was silent. Andrea and the Joker had vanished rather ambiguously in that cloud of smoke, so...
"Knowing him, yes."
Gordon sighed. "Ah well... pardon me for sounding vindictive here, but his death wouldn't have necessarily been a bad thing for the rest of us."
Batman nodded solemnly. "I understand, Jim."
After a moment of silence, Batman turned around to face the window, ready to leave. At the window, he paused and said to Gordon. "By the way... thanks."
Gordon provided a small smile. "Of course."
Batman didn't even wait for Gordon to look away this time when he departed.
The Dark Knight then headed further downtown. He observed the city from the top of a skyscraper as he dwelled on his thoughts.
Sometimes, he wondered if he had been destined to become Batman from the moment he was born... maybe even before that. Even when he proposed to Andrea, that swarm of bats burst out of the cave, almost as if Fate was interfering with his decision to not become Batman, or any kind of vigilante for that matter.
There was that old saying about how time healed all wounds... Batman rather doubted that this wound who heal entirely, but he was sure that he would recover from it soon enough.
He was Darkness... He was the Night... He was Batman.
As the Batsignal appeared in the sky, he looked out at it and put his personal feelings aside. Shooting his grappling hook, he swung off the rooftop, and soared into the night.
A/N: So, what did you think of this? I thought it made for a nice kind of "missing scene" fic, since we never see when or how the police decided that Batman wasn't responsible for the gangster killings.
Note about the chronology of the movie: I'm pretty sure that the flashbacks took place at least ten years before the present. Remember the one scene where Batman's working at his computer looking up info on Chuckie Sol and Buzz Bronski? "They were partners in dummy corporations set up over ten years ago."
Note about the bit with Commissioner Gordon: Here's an interesting bit of trivia, not once in the entire movie is the name "Phantasm" said. However, I decided for here in this fic, it would be a name which someone (Commission Gordon) assigned to this person. Also, as for where he lives... I got the idea of him living in an apartment building from the movie /Batman Begins/.
Note about the Joker's real name: Even in the comics, we don't know his real name for sure after so many years, but it's been speculated that it's Jack Napier.
Thanks for reading this! -Quillian