In the Dark of the Night
Author's note: I have been writing for some time now. I only started writing for Batman after watching Batman... Show full author's note »
Chapter OneI saw it all happen as if in a dream. Batman had him by the throat, his feet dangling inches above the ground. “Crane.” He growled.
“Doctor Crane isn’t here right now. But if you’d like to make an appointment…” he started to reply before Batman noticed the sirens and threw him against the wall. A sickening crack resounded through the room and he slumped against the ledge.
“DADDY!” I shrieked and ran to his side. His hand was cold as I took it in mine. “Daddy, wake up.” He groaned just as I heard footsteps on the stairs above us. As the clattering of boots came closer I snuck under the stairs and found solace in the shadows. Gordon cuffed my dad and dragged him away, the whole while muttering about scarecrow.
So there you have it. I was stuck in the Narrows, parentless. For now. A sly grin found its way to my lips as I stepped out of the shadows hiding me and straightened to my full height. They would no doubt take him to county for holding. But then again, he was insane. Another set of footsteps came back into my range of hearing so I turned on the waterworks…and ran into Gordon.
“Please, you can’t take him from me, he’s all I have.” I begged, grasping at Gordon’s hand.
“What are you talking about?” he asked, guiding me to the table that Rachel had so recently vacated. I sat and started sobbing.
“My dad. You can’t take a single parent away from a child like this.” I wailed, wiping my eyes on the sleeve of my sweater. Something in his eyes softened and he placed a careful arm around my shoulders.
“Crane is your dad?” he asked, I nodded. He sighed and ran a hand over his face tiredly. “Alright, you can see him every once in a while but for now you can come with me.” He said, pulling me to my feet.
“C-can I see him now?” I asked, loving that he was falling so hard for my act. He looked around and his eyes stopped in the far right corner of the room. I spun to see what had caught his attention, and froze. The Batman sat perched on a ledge and was staring intently at Gordon and me.
“I know of a place where she can stay.” He said in his gruff voice. “I can take her there now.”
“But I want to see my dad, Gordon you promised.” I said, starting to tear up again. He placed a hand on my shoulder and turned to the Batman.
“I did tell her she could see him. Could you take her to County to see him, one hour is all you have before they move him to Arkham-“he paused, searching for my name.
“Right, Allesandra, one hour is all you’ve got. Good luck kiddo.” He said and left me to face Batman.
“Will you take me to County?” I asked.
“If that’s where you really want to go. But after that I know of a place where you can stay until they let your dad go.” I nodded, why was he showing me this kindness? He had just gotten my dad thrown in his own asylum for crying out loud. “Let’s go.” He said and showed me to a door in the wall that I hadn’t noticed before. I ducked through it after him and stopped short. What I saw was nothing like what I had expected. Instead of a sleek shining black car I saw something resembling a tank. The top popped up and two seats emerged. “Hop in.”
“It is safe, isn’t it?” I asked warily. He just sighed and I took it for a yes. Carefully I climbed into the passenger seat and fumbled with the buckles before giving up.
“Be prepared to see your dad at his worst.” Batman warned me as we pulled up in front of County holding cells. I disregarded this and got out of the vehicle as soon as the top was open for me. Without a second to spare I ran in and stopped at the front desk.
“I need to see my dad. Jonathan Crane, Gordon said I could come see him.” I blurted out in a barely perceptible sentence. The girl behind the counter nodded and buzzed a door open, motioning for me to follow her. I obeyed, clipping the flimsy visitors tag to the hem of my shirt as I walked.
The girl got many strange looks but waved them off with a curt, “Gordon’s clearance.” We walked through hall after hall into the belly of Gotham County Police Department’s holding cells. In the closest cell was a dark slumped figure that I recognized immediately.
“Dad!” I called and rushed through the open bars. I barely heard them clang shut behind me as I knelt in front of my dad. “Daddy are you alright?” I asked, smoothing his hair away from his face. He chuckled and grasped my hand.
“I’m fine, Allie. But they took my mask.” He replied in a slight panic. His grip on my hand tightened and I had to hold back from pulling away.
“Of course they did dad. Did you think they were going to let you have they very object of half the criminals of Gotham’s fears?” I asked. He sighed and shook his head.
“I suppose not. I’m sorry this happened Kitty.” He said, stroking my hair and smiling down at me fondly. I smiled at the use of his pet name for me and covered his hand with mine. “Come up here and sit next to me.” He said, making room for me on the sad little cot used for a bed. I pushed myself off the floor and onto the cot, leaning on his shoulder. The next hour was spent talking of how soon we thought he could make bail and how much it would be. I was working so it should have been easy enough.
“Miss Crane, your hour is up. You can come back another day to see your father.” Said the girl from the counter as she unlocked the bars and swung them open for me.
“Could I make one request please?” I said before passing through the waiting door. The girl nodded and waited expectantly. “Could I possibly have my father’s mask?” she paled at hearing my request.
“Well I’m not sure what the office would say about that Miss. Crane but I can sure try to get it for you.” She replied. I smiled and nodded my thanks at her, finally following her through the open door. She shut and locked it behind me and led me back up to the front of the building. When we reached the desk she disappeared behind a thick door and emerged a few minutes later, mask in hand.
“Oh thank you so much.” I said, reaching for the mask. She smiled at me and handed it over.
“This was no easy task for me, you know. You’re lucky you get to even look at it.” She said. I smiled and nodded, dropping it into my shoulder bag. Out of nowhere the Batman appeared next to me and placed a hand on my arm.
“It’s time to go now.” He said shortly and pulled me outside. I shouted a thank you behind me on my way out and found myself back in the…vehicle.
“Where are you taking me?” I demanded. He decided to ignore me. Not a good choice. I sighed, quite frustrated and raised my voice. “Where are you taking me?” I said again.
“Somewhere safe.” Was all he said. I huffed and crossed my arms over my chest, watching the streets go by in a blur. What seemed like seconds later we were slowing to a stop in the pebbled drive of a huge manor. I recognized it right away as Wayne Manor.
“Wayne Manor is your ‘somewhere safe’?” I asked. In return he popped the top open and jumped out. I followed him and caught up as the sound of the doorbell faded into the night. Within seconds the door was answered by a tall graying man in a black suit.
“How can I be of service sir?” he asked. Batman pushed me forward and growled out a response.
“Could your Mister Wayne take her in for a while?” he asked. The butler looked down at me over the bridge of his nose and gave a short nod. Next thing I knew Batman was gone and I was left with the butler.
“This way miss.” He said, leading me inside and closing the door behind me. “If I may be so blunt, miss. What is your name?” I realized that I hadn’t told any of the people that I had spoken with my name except for Gordon.
“Allesandra Crane, but people call me Alle.” I answered. He nodded.
“Well Miss Crane, my name is Alfred and my master will be with you shortly.” He said and left the room he had led me to. I turned around to find a sofa and ottoman set. It looked safe enough so I sat and reached into my bag to pull out the mask. I sighed and looked down at it in my lap, the rough burlap chafing the skin of my palm. Every line was as familiar to me as the lines on my father’s own face. A small noise made me jump up and spin around.
“Sorry to startle you. I didn’t want to make too much noise, you seemed like you were thinking. But now that I have your attention, I’m Bruce.” He reached out his hand and I shook it.
“Allesandra.” I said in return. He sat on the ottoman and motioned for me to sit again so I did.
“So, what brings you here Allesandra, may I call you Alle for short?” he asked. I nodded and took a deep breath.
“The Batman. He got my father arrested and since I don’t know who my mother is I can’t exactly go to her, so he brought me here.” I said, glancing back down at the mask in my hands.
“Well, what’s mine is yours as long as you’re here in the manor.” He said, I nodded and glanced back down at the mask in my lap. “Alfred, is a room ready for Allesandra?” he called.
“Yes Master Bruce, if the young miss would follow me please.” I got up and followed him through a maze of halls and up a grand staircase until he stopped in front of a large white door with a bronze knob. “Here we are miss.”