Categories > Comics > Batman3 Reviews
[DROPPED] AU. One Year Later. After the devastating events of Infinite Crisis, Bruce Wayne takes a year off to recenter himself, Dick and Tim join him. When they return, new teams of heroes exist a...
Prologue - A New Crisis
The poor lighting in the exam room only added to the grim mood. Batman had been through his share of battles and too many times he's had to watch those close to him succumb to their mortality. His respect for the girl -- no. young woman -- that was lying in the bed in front of him was what kept him from withdrawing back to his dark cave alone. Again.
"I think I need to rest now," came weakly from the mouth of a bruised and battered Stephanie Brown. Her lips barely moved, if not for Batman's superb lip-reading skills he might not have heard it.
"You bet. I'll be here. Watching over you." His voice is grim, yet full of emotion. The mask while on has been put aside emotionally, letting Stephanie know that Bruce is with her, putting her conscience at ease. She is not alone.
Beep. Beep. Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.
He can only watch in silent horror as another life is extinguished because of knowing him. She only wanted to help. She had reminded him of Dick when he wore the pixie boots, but there were also moments when her ambition would get the best of her and he would see Jason in her place. Jason.
In the end, he was the cause. It was his plans, his persona that didn't show up, his partner making deadly mistakes. It all led back to him. Dick was special. Tim was too much like himself for Batman's taste. He wasn't look forward to having to break this news to him. It would probably lead the boy back to the mantle, where he belongs -- just not this way.
Batman broke away from his contemplations and reached over and squeezed Stephanie Brown -- Spoiler -- Robin's hand one final time. Switching off the lights in the room and closing the door behind him, Batman vows to protect those close to him. He failed his parents. He failed Jason. Now Stephanie. Never again.
/BAM! BAM! BAM!/
The air around the now pitch-black exam room shifts. The body lying in the middle of the room, glows briefly and the chest rises suddenly as a slight gasp emerges from the once cool lips.
Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. Beep. Beep.
The girl coughs, her ragged breaths can be heard clearly in the once quiet room. She can't see because her eyes are swollen shut, but the palm of her hand feels warm, as if someone had held it.
/BAM! BAM! BAM!/
Hours have passed and no one has discovered the miracle that occurred in exam room nine earlier that night. The girl that lies in the bed is now sound asleep, her body beginning the process of recovery while her mind thinks of better times, of certain cape-clad friends.
No one hears the window of the exam room slowly open either. Or the male intruder slipping into the room and approaching the medical bed.
"Oh baby ... baby," muttered the male as he looked upon the bedridden girl. "What has that monster done to you?"
He pulled a nearby chair to the side of the bed and sat down, reaching over with his hand to push the girl's bangs away from her forehead. "Stephanie ... Stephanie ... I know I haven't been there for you before, but I'm here now. And I'll make him pay. We need to get you better first, out of this third-rate Clinic and into some proper care. Away from the Bat. Away from Gotham."
The man stood up from his seat and pulled away the curtains shielding the room from the moonlight. As the room was invaded by the natural light, the shadows obscuring the man fell away to reveal ... the Cluemaster!
/BAM! BAM! BAM!/
Leslie Thompkins stepped into exam room nine bright and early the next morning. It wasn't one of the prettier aspects of the profession but she was resigned to prepare Stephanie Brown's body for its resting place.
To her surprise the room was empty ... and spotless -- as if no one had been in the room the night before. She quickly moved about the length of the room looking for anything to no avail. The medical records of Stephanie that she'd left in the room were also gone.
"Bruce ..." Dr. Thompkins uttered softly as she looked out the window to the healing city outside.