The Dark Knight Lives (FIFTY-ONE)

Lucius Fox removed his glasses and his feet from his desk as he heard the elevator doors open. A smile came to his face as he beheld Katherine Kane walking toward him purposefully.

“So, what’s new young lady? Looking for a new toy?”

She stopped, placing her hands on the desk and gazing at him expectantly.

“I’m looking for a base.”

Lucius Fox’s eyebrows furrowed. “Base, hmm? Well, I know where Bruce Wayne’s base used to be…” he smirked, “but I’m sure you don’t want to go there.”

She practically jumped with joy. “Are you kidding me?” Stepping aside and gesturing to the elevator she continued, “Lead the way, governor.”

Lucius Fox stood. “Bruce Wayne was always enthusiastic whenever I was helping but you’re far more chipper.” He grinned. “I think we’re going to get along quite nicely.”

Blake Lively was sitting before his monitors gazing at the ruckus that filled the streets of Gotham as news of Batman’s return spread like wildfire. Alfred approached with a tray with a single cup of coffee atop it.

“You’re still looking at the news, I see?” Alfred said as he placed the cup of coffee on the table.

Lively nodded, his gaze filled with wonder. “Batman’s back. I just…I can’t believe it. It almost doesn’t seem real.”

Alfred cocked his head. “Are you implying that you don’t believe he’s returned?”

Blake looked at him, sighing. “Yes, Alfred. I am.” He returned his gaze to the monitor. “He can’t have returned. I saw him die.”

There was a pause before Alfred said, “Did you now?”

Blake looked at him. “We all did!”

“We saw his plane explode over the Atlantic sea. We didn’t see him actually die before our very eyes. How do we know that he didn’t simply jump to safety before the explosion.”

“If that was the case, then why didn’t he return to protect Gotham?”

Alfred sighed, placing the tray down as he sat in a nearby chair. He looked Lively directly in the eyes.

“Young man, there was more to Bruce Wayne than that mask. He did what he had to do to protect people but with every year that passed Mr. Wayne was fading away and Batman was beginning to take over. Mr. Wayne wanted a normal life, a chance to fall in love with a woman, settle down, and know that the choice wouldn’t have drastic consequences.”

Alfred placed a hand on Blake’s shoulder. “He knew, from his work that he would inspire others to follow in his footsteps, and he knew you would be that person. That symbol to carry on his work and keep Gotham safe. And now look,” he said, gesturing toward the monitors.

Blake followed his gaze.

“Batman has returned. It may not be the one we know but it’s very true. The dark knight is here to stop this darkness that is trying to corrupt Gotham at its very heart and they are already doing that by providing hope to the millions of Gothamites living in this city.”

Blake’s gaze dropped. “I guess I’m…just surprised that he’s back.”

He looked at Alfred, his eyes shimmering with wetness. “I missed him, Alfred. I still miss him.”

Alfred’s smile saddened. “We all do sir.”

Suddenly there were approaching footsteps as Gloria appeared from around the corner. Blake hurriedly turned, swiping at his eyes to wipe away the tears.

“I’m shocked,” she said as she reached them. “I was expecting an early morning jog.”

“Don’t worry. We’ll get to our workouts soon enough.”

Her shoulders slightly slouched. “Great,” she mumbled.

Suddenly there was a beep from one of the monitors. Blake sat forward, typing hurriedly onto the keyboard. One of the monitors changed, giving them access to a grid of the surrounding area. There was a road that led toward the base and a pinging red dot was moving speedily down that road.

“Someone’s coming,” Gloria gasped.

“Alfred, you know what to do!” Blake said as he jumped out of his chair.

The butler didn’t hesitate. He hurriedly began to type in commands. Lively meanwhile tapped Gloria’s shoulder.

“Come with me.”

They hurried through the base before Blake took them to the cabinets that held their suits.

“Put that on. Quickly.”

Gloria grabbed her suit and ran off to change in private while Lively quickly stripped to his underwear before putting on the suit.

“How close are they, Alfred?” he asked as he put on his mask.

“They’re right on top of us, sir!” Alfred replied.

Robin grabbed his staff and hurried toward the secret entrance. He was relieved to find Gloria following after him in her Nightwing suit, her new batons designed for her style of combat in hand.

He brought them to a halt before a simple section of the cave wall. He looked back at her.

“Be ready,” he told her. “We could be facing anything.”

Her heart was hammering in her chest but she made sure not to show her fear. Instead, she nodded, her grip tightening on her weapons.

“They’re getting ready to enter, sir!” Alfred called. “What precautions should I take?”

“None, Alfred.” Robin’s expression intensified. “Let’s welcome our guests.”


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