Batman offers Takato an opportunity to join him. We learn a shocking revelation about Bruce Wayne.
It had been a few hours since Takato had met the Batman in Crime Alley. He wondered if the Dark Knight would return to give him his answer regarding Takato's request to learn, he wanted to help Batman in his quest to stop criminals. He wanted to keep people safe, like he should have done back home at the Matsuki Bakery.
Takato Matsuki stayed around his rundown apartment, hoping that the Batman would show up there. He was ready and willing to train with him if it meant that he could prevent others from suffering the fate of his beloved parents.
Takato paced back and forth, wondering if the Batman would ever show up again. He had begun to doubt that the urban legend would keep his word and tell him whether or not he would train him to fight crime.
He decided to go outside and get some fresh air. He opened the door and stepped outside. Suddenly, he felt someone grab him and yank him off his feet. He struggled to break free of the strong grip around his throat.
Takato thought he smelled something sweet, and felt hazy and disoriented. He went limp and his eyes fell shut as he passed out.
Takato Matsuki awoke with a start, staring around; he tried to figure out where he was. He discovered he was bound and gagged. He began struggling, trying to break free of the ropes that bound his hands.
"Mmmm, Mmmm," he grunted. He finally spotted the Batman standing nearby, he wasn't looking at him.
"Hello Sir," a voice said, Takato looked over to see the source of the voice. It was an elderly gentlemen, Takato thought he might be a butler. Batman had a butler? Was he rich or something?
"Who are you?" the butler asked, staring down at him in surprise.
"His name is Takato Matsuki," Batman replied. "I caught him trying to steal the tires off the Batmobile last night."
Alfred began removing Takato's gag. "Do you intend to keep him?"
"I'll let you know," Batman said. "In the meantime, make us some sandwiches. A variety, your discretion. Takato and I are going to have a long talk."
"Not that I wasn't thinking about taking you up on your offer to be your apprentice and all, but was it necessary to tie me up and gag me?" Takato asked sarcastically.
"Consider it punishment for trying to take the wheels off my car," Batman said darkly.
"I thought you were one of the good guys," Takato said, frowning.
"I'm not what you'd call a "good guy", but I get the job done," Batman stared away from him.
"What was it you wanted to "talk" to me about?" Takato asked.
"I have a proposition for you, you free yourself and then we'll see if you're fit for the job," Batman said.
"Are you serious?!" Takato asked, was he crazy or something?
"You're a clever boy, Takato, you can do anything if you set your mind to it," Batman said, folding his arms.
Takato began struggling to get one of his hands free; he wriggled around until he managed to pull one hand out of the rope. He untied his other hand and got up out of the chair as quietly as possible. Takato stared at Batman for a moment, wondering if the man had heard him get out of the chair.
Anger filled him and he decided that he wanted answers. He wanted to know why the urban legend the Batman had dragged him away from his apartment and tied him up inside some cold, dark cave.
Takato lunged at Batman, swinging at him angrily; he watched as the man moved with almost inhuman speed to block his blows and grabbed his wrist lifting him with one hand off the ground.
"You're a scrappy one; I'll say that much for you…" Batman said, staring down at him.
"Why'd you bring me here, anyway?" Takato demanded. "After all that stuff you said about training me, you show up and knock me out with some knock out gas and drag me off to…wherever this placed is."
"This is the Batcave, this is where I work," Batman said in a serious voice. Takato looked around and saw all the electronic equipment and computers. He saw the gym and the trophy cases.
"You work here? Then where do you live?"
"That's classified until I think you're ready," Batman said.
"Ready, to what, fight crime? Of course I want to learn! I came to this city looking for you so I could fight crime, so I could keep people safe!" Takato fumed.
"You say you want to fight crime, you can't let your emotions get in the way. You're too angry, Takato. You're not ready."
"Okay, what am I supposed to do now?"
"You'll stay here," Batman replied. "For protection."
"Protection? Protection from what?" Takato asked.
"A lot of things, Takato Matsuki; a lot of things that you don't even know about."
"What does that mean? I've survived on my own just fine!" Takato snapped. "Stop all the riddles and tell me what it is you want!"
"Alfred, you have the sandwiches," Batman said, taking a plate full of sandwiches from the elderly gentlemen Takato had seen earlier. The old man swayed, as if he had a headache.
"Steady, old friend," Batman said, steadying the butler.
"I must apologize, Master Bruce…something strange just came over me," Alfred said.
"Bruce, is that your real name?" Takato asked.
Yes, it is," Batman said. "If I remove this mask you would instantly recognize me."
"I don't know about that," Takato said, "you'd have to be really famous or something."
Batman removed his mask and Takato stared in shock.
"Bruce Wayne…NO WAY! How can you be Batman?" he asked.
"Eat up, Takato, it's a very long story but I think you deserve to know because I think you're ready to train with me."
"I—I don't believe it! You want me to become your sidekick?" Takato asked, in awe.
"I've worked alone for years, never considered bringing on a partner, but I think that you want to help people, you're eager to learn, that helps too."
"Does this mean you're not going to tie me up and gag me?" Takato asked. He hoped he wouldn't have to go through that again.
"You've been punished enough," Bruce said. "But now I want you to hear my story…"
Bruce told Takato everything, about how his parents were murdered in Crime Alley and how he traveled the world to learn martial arts and become a detective. Amazed, Takato wanted to follow in his footsteps and join him in his fight.
"What do I have to do to get you to train me?" Takato asked, eager to begin.
"You've taken your first step into a larger world. You're clever, resourceful and persistent. You've survived the streets longer than most boys your age, and I think that with training you'll follow the right path."
"So…I guess I'll be going home now," Takato said, picking up a chicken salad sandwich, he wolfed it down.
"No, Takato, you won't be going home, you'll be staying with me. I'm going to make sure that you become my legal ward so I can watch out for you."
"You really mean it? I can stay here?"
"Not here," Bruce said. "Alfred, take Takato upstairs and make sure the guest bedroom is ready for him."
"Uh, Bruce, tomorrow can I go by my apartment and pick up some of my things?"
"What things?" Bruce inquired. "It depends on what they are."
"It's just some things I brought over from Japan," Takato replied. "Photos of my family and sentimental stuff."
"Fine then," Bruce said, "training starts right after."
"I thought you said I wasn't ready," Takato frowned.
"You've proven it now, now go get some rest, you're going to need it," Bruce said.
Takato headed off to bed and was amazed by the size of the room. The bed was enormous, unlike the one in his house in Japan. He flopped down and fell into a deep sleep, dreaming of his friends back home and Guilmon.
Takato awoke the next day, looking around, confused about where he was. Then he remembered the events of the previous night and how the Batman, Bruce Wayne had taken him in and offered to train him.
Takato Matsuki wandered down to the kitchen to find breakfast waiting for him. He saw the butler Bruce had called "Alfred" standing beside the enormous table.
"You must be Takato Matsuki," the elderly gentlemen said as he greeted the thirteen year old. "I am Alfred Pennyworth; I am Master Bruce Wayne's butler."
"So he lives here?" Takato asked, amazed by the sheer size of Wayne Manor.
"Yes, you've seen where he works, the "Batcave" as it's called by a few who know his identity."
Takato stared at the food on the plate in front of him. It had been so long since he had seen this much food. He was starving. He tried to remember his manners. He forced himself to eat slowly, he turned to Alfred.
"Alfred, do you have any chopsticks?" Takato asked.
"Yes, I do. I'll get those for you, Master Takato," Alfred said calmly. He went into another room. He came back with a pair of chopsticks for the boy and Takato took them.
"Thank you, Alfred," Takato said. "So, uh, Alfie, have you always known Bruce? Or did you just start working for him or something?"
"Well, while I don't particularly like to be referred to as "Alfie", I have been in the employ of Master Bruce for most, if not all of his life."
"Are the stories true that his parents were shot to death by a mugger in Crime Alley? I mean, I heard it from the man himself and I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it."
"Yes, it's true," Alfred replied. That night changed Master Bruce forever. It set him on the path that led him to become the Batman."
"I'm sorry," Takato said quietly. I know how he feels. I lost my parents too. They got shot during a robbery. The man who held up our bakery killed my parents."
"My sympathies, Master Takato," Alfred said. "Master Bruce told me you used to live in Tokyo in the Shinjuku District."
"Yes, I did," Takato said. He finished eating his food.
"Hello, Takato," Bruce greeted as he walked into the kitchen.
"Bruce, can I go to my apartment and get some of my things? You wouldn't let me go last night."
"What do you need from your apartment?"
"I just want my Digimon Cards and some photos of my friends."
"I used to play it a lot when I lived in Japan. They even have an online game on the network that I played too."
"Make it quick, and when you get back, go down to the cave and do 100 pushups, sit-ups, and crunches," Bruce instructed.
Takato fought the urge to cringe, but if he wanted to be Batman's sidekick he'd have to do. He got up and started to walk out the door.
"Takato, Alfred will drive you back to your apartment," Bruce told him. "You can get your things and he'll bring you back here."
Alfred led Takato out of the car. He sat in the back of the limo, interested in his surroundings. He'd never seen the finer side of Gotham City, all the ritzy, glitzy glamour made his head spin.
He showed Alfred where to go and they arrived and Takato ran into his apartment, grabbing his backpack, he went back out to the car.
"I'm back, now I'm ready to go home," Takato said quietly.
Driving back to Wayne Manor, Alfred showed Takato how to access the Batcave and told him to start the regiment that Bruce had given him.
Bruce Wayne walked through the doors of his vast mansion. He saw Takato's backpack on the table and wondered what the boy had brought with him from Japan.
Bruce Wayne frowned, looking at some of Takato's things he'd brought back from his apartment. He noticed some of the photos and his gaze fell on the one of Rika Nonaka. Picking it up, he stared at the picture.
"So you know him, huh?" Bruce asked the picture. He pulled a photo out of his pocket.
It was a photo of Rumiko Nonaka and a younger looking Rika. "You've grown too."
"You act as if you know that young lady, Sir," Alfred spoke up, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"I do…" Bruce said, his voice held a twinge of regret.
"Who is she?" Alfred asked.
"She is…my daughter…" Bruce stared at his butler quietly.
In all of Alfred Pennyworth's life he was rarely surprised, but this was a shock. "Master Bruce…when?"
"I met Rumiko Hata thirteen years ago. You remember when I traveled the world training in martial arts and detective skills. I lived in Japan for six years. I married Rumiko under the alias Chiaki Nonaka and tried to settle down…I really tried to be happy Alfred, but I couldn't let it go. Even while we were married, I traveled around Asia, training in martial arts. I told her they were business trips. She didn't like the fact that I wasn't telling her everything, or that I was being so secretive…I made up excuses, picked fights with her so she'd want a divorce. I finally made the decision to initiate the divorce and I left her…and Rika."
"Is she your daughter?" Alfred asked.
"Yes, but I haven't seen her since she was a little girl," Bruce said. "I've heard she won a Digimon Card Game tournament and she's made quite a name for herself."
"Digimon, isn't that the card game that Takato had in his backpack?"
"Yes," Bruce examined the cards. "He's told me he played it a lot when he was younger before his parents were murdered. It was a staple of his childhood. I'm thinking it's something Wayne Enterprises might want to invest in. He told me the online game is popular over there."
"An interesting idea, Master Bruce," Alfred commented. "Speaking of Takato, he's down in the Cave following your instructions."
Bruce made his way down to the Cave and saw Takato doing his crunches.
"Ninety-eight, ninety-nine….one hundred," Takato panted. "Oh, you're back, Batman. When do we start?"
"Right now," Batman told him. He took Takato to the training mat and gave him a white training gee.
He began showing him a series of kicks and punches. Takato learned quickly and they practiced for hours. Finally, Bruce felt his young protégé was too tired to continue.
"Get some rest Takato, we'll continue this tomorrow. By the way, you will be going to school. You're attending Bristol Middle School."
Takato visibly cringed and groaned.
Takato woke up the next day and Alfred drove him to school. He went into the building and took an aptitude test, he scored average for a boy his age and was placed in the eighth grade.
"You'll start tomorrow, Mr. Matsuki," Mr. Rooney said.
"Thanks Mr. Rooney," Takato called out. He wasn't looking where he was going when he crashed into someone walking out of the school.
"Oh, I'm sorry, let me help you with that," he apologized. He gathered up the girl's loose books and pencils.
"Thanks, but it's okay, really," the girl said. Takato stared at her and blushed. She was very pretty and had red hair and blue eyes.
"I'm Takato Matsuki," Takato introduced himself. He reached out and shook her hand.
"I'm Barbara Gordon," the girl replied. "It's nice to meet you, Takato."