|By : AsylumWritings|
Category: DC Verse Comics > Batman
Views: 57 -:- Recommendations : 0 -:- Currently Reading : 0
|Disclaimer: I do not own Batman/DC Comics, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.|
Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. Neil Gaiman, The Kindly Ones
I walked into the safe house, moving a little slowly. Breathing was easier now, after a couple of days, but I was still not feeling my best. I was just going to have to make do, because there was no way I was waiting to end this. With no idea what and when the next attack would be, I couldn’t afford to waste any more time.
I hadn’t gone through any of Falcone’s accounts or anything before, so this was going to be a long evening. Sitting down at my computer, I got to work. Bank accounts, business dealings, real estate, I sorted through it all.
As I began collecting evidence, I noticed a window pop up on one of my screens. Suddenly a bunch appeared, accompanied by a progress bar telling me my files were being downloaded.
Someone had hacked into my system, and was taking everything. I fought back, tracing the hack as it bounced around from country to country. It was hard to trace, moving through more countries than even I used, and erasing any evidence of its existence at the same time.
It was so fast, but it seemed like an automated hack, so it didn’t dodge and weave as it would if there was someone at the helm. It wasn’t easy, and I probably should have waited until I was feeling a little better, but eventually I traced it back to the source.
“You have got to be kidding me.” I sat back in shock, watching as the map zoomed in on Wayne Manor.
I’d been all around the manor recently, and I hadn’t seen any sort of computer set-up. It didn’t take a lot of searching around before I found an old blueprint for the manor that showed tunnels underneath the ground that I could actually access from my home.
I didn’t know what was going on, but I did know that I was definitely going to find out.
I walked out of my bedroom, feeling strangely energetic. The drive home had been calming, like I knew things were finally getting better again. I was going to find out Bruce’s secret was, and I didn’t know what would happen when I did, but I was certain it would be worth it. My father had always said that if I could be anything, the best thing to be is persistent. Persistence leads to the truth.
“Charlotte?” I called out.
“I’m right here.” She laughed, behind me. “What can I do for you?”
I turned to face her. “I was looking at the blueprints for the manor, and I saw that there are tunnels underneath. Do you know how I could access them?”
She nodded. “There’s a trapdoor in the cellar. If you go down there, please be careful. I don’t know how safe it is.”
“I’ll come out as soon as I think it might be unsafe.” I headed to the kitchen to get a torch, then down to the cellar.
Armed with the torch and an approximate map of the tunnels, I opened the trapdoor and climbed down. It was dark, and the air was stale, making me cough a little. Taking a few moments, I breathed deep and calmed myself down.
Once I was ready, I made my way along the path I’d drawn on the map. I didn’t know if it would be blocked off, or if it would even connect the way I thought it might, so I was going slow.
I turned a corner, suddenly finding the tunnel blocked by wooden slats. I could see light coming through the gaps, so I kicked the wood hard. The slats broke, and I almost fell over the edge into the abyss below. The tunnel had opened up into a large cave.
It was brightly lit, and I could see a platform that housed a lot of tech. The path in front of me dropped off, but the metal platform was not far.
Backing up, I ran forward and jumped across the gap. I landed in a roll on the other side, surprised when an alarm didn’t immediately go off. As I looked around, I saw something that made me realise exactly what was going on.
A big black tank sat on what looked like the way out. It was more than just familiar, I’d seen in on the news nearly every night. Now all of the cancelled dates, the late night disappearances, and the scars made sense. He’d saved my life, even when I was so angry with him.
Before I could look any further, I heard the sound of scraping metal behind me. I turned, watching as an old looking lift descended. Bruce stepped off it, hesitating when he saw me.
“How did you…?” He asked, walking over.
I casually pointed at the tunnel I’d come through. “Were you planning on telling me about this? After all your concern about how Gotham is dangerous, you’re out doing this every night.”
“Because I know what I’m doing, and I know how to make sure I don’t put a target on my back. You blackmailed the mayor, Eve. And in the process, put yourself right in the path of Carmine Falcone.”
“How can you be so self-righteous?” I clenched my fist, trying to resist the urge to punch him. “Do you know what he did? He drove my mother’s charity into the ground, blackening her name. This was the only option I had to restore her reputation so that I can reopen the home. What else was I supposed to do?” I could hear that my voice was beginning to croak up again, but I pushed on.
“You could have come to me!” He grabbed my arms tightly. “I would have helped you.”
I gave him an incredulous look. “Why would I tell you? You made it clear you didn’t trust me, because you’ve been lying to me from the start.”
“I couldn’t tell you. I was trying to keep you safe.”
“You don’t get to make that choice for me, Bruce.” I snapped. “All you would have done is put me in more danger, because I would have had no idea why anything was happening.”
He let go of me, walking over to the wall of monitors. “Why did you come here? You didn’t want my help the other day, so what do you want now?”
“I want the truth. Because…” It was all coming out, and I couldn’t stop it. Wrapping my arms around myself, I continued on, nearly in tears. “Because… Because I love you, and I couldn’t just leave things the way they were, and I needed to know that all of this was worth it.”
He turned, his blue eyes seemingly piercing my soul. Then he ran over, pulling me into a kiss that was deeper and more passionate than any we’d ever shared before. I could barely breathe, wrapping my arms around him as he pulled me closer.
“I love you too.” He whispered breathlessly when we finally parted. He held me tightly, like he thought I would run. “How did you find out?”
I gently pulled away. “I’m guessing you have an automated hack connected to certain keywords or files. It’s fast, but it isn’t intuitive. It hit my computer system hard, but when I tried to trace it back, it didn’t react or change in any way.” Walking over to the desk, I leaned against it. “It took me a while, but I traced it back here.”
He looked like he was about to say something, but I began to cough. The dust from the tunnels combined with the side effects from the smoke inhalation was doing a number on my breathing.
“Are you alright?” He asked, running over to me.
“I…” I nodded. “I will be. It could have been a lot worse. Thank you for getting me out of there. You didn’t have to.”
“Yes, I did.” He tucked my hair behind my ear. “It doesn’t matter how angry I am, I will never let you get hurt. Do you need some water?”
I took a slow, deep breath, feeling it rattle in my chest a little. “I just need a second.”
He pressed a kiss to my forehead, patiently waiting until I could breathe again. My chest hurt from all the coughing, and it constantly felt like my lungs were too small to get enough oxygen. It took a little longer, but eventually I managed to get my breathing back to normal.
“I’m sorry I didn’t get you out faster.” He whispered.
“I’m going to be fine.” I stood up, hugging him tightly. “The doctor said I’ll make a full recovery, it’s just going to take some time. But, he’s going to try again, you know that.”
Stepping back, I looked up at him. I was hesitating, and I almost rolled my eyes at myself. “I can’t believe that after all this I’m still having trouble asking… Will you help me? I can’t do this alone.”
“I love you, and I will help you whenever you need me to. I know how we can end this, but we can talk upstairs.” He took my hand, leading me to the lift.
I watched him, as the lift took us back up into the house. “So all that travelling you did…?”
“After the trial, I confronted Falcone. It was stupid, but for some reason I thought it would make a difference.” He pushed open the door, revealing the study.
I stepped out, realising we’d come out from behind the fireplace. It was strange, but not the strangest thing I’d seen recently, so I rolled with it.
“He told me I would never be able to face up against criminals if I didn’t understand their world.” He leaned against the back of the couch. “He was right, so I travelled and got myself in a lot of trouble.”
“You? In trouble? No way.” I laughed, before it turned into a yawn.
“It’s late, Eve. We can talk tomorrow.” He took my hand, pulling me in close. “Do you want me to walk you home?”
I shook my head. “I… would feel safer here.”
He kissed me, sliding his arms around my waist. “You can stay as long as you need.”
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