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Twist Of Fate

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Disclaimer: I don't own 'em, DC does, more's the pity.

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Beep…beep…beep…like a heartbeat thrumming, blood rushing along veins, arteries straining…

Colors sparkling in darkness, pinwheels and firecrackers burning along eyelids, strange drifting along fiery clouds…

“…opened the door…”

Fire lancing up the spine, numbing and twisting…

“…the Joker fired point-blank range…”

Why, why, why is the world falling?

“…wasn’t even in costume!”

The beeping skewers a head stuffed with cotton. Can’t someone shut off that damned beeping?

“Barbara…so sorry…”

Sick. Right in the pit of one’s stomach.

“Bruce, it’s not your fault.”


Swinging along the rooftops, rush of wind in a laughing face, dark cape billowing out behind the Bat…

“Sorry, Mr. Wayne, I have to adjust the I.V.”

Flying, twisting, dipping down, then soaring up…

“Is Commissioner Gordon all right?”

Storm clouds over Gotham. The scent of rain. The wind rustled through the canyons. Concrete, hard, pitiless…

“If you need more blood, I’ll give it.”

“Thank you, Mr. Wayne.”

Sinking, deep into cotton, wild laughter shrieking over the wind, it was a dark and stormy night…

Thirsty. Fire along my spine.

“…career ended…”

Please, I need water. Why can’t I open my eyes?

“I should be out there!”

“You should be here.”

Groaning, twisting, turning…

“…starting to come out of it…”

Fire along my spine…

"I'’ll call the doctor.”

Hand reaches out blindly, eyelids flutter, blurred faces…

Flesh grasps flesh.

“Wha…?” Coughs. “What…happened?”

“Master Bruce, be careful…”

Bruce’s face starts to swim into focus. Shock. He’s haggard, hunched, eyes wild with pain.

“We’ll talk later.”

Fire. Heavy. Can’t move…


Crushing grip.

Rasps. “No, tell me.”

Wild blood pounds, the scream tiptoeing around consciousness…

“You were visiting a friend. The doorbell rang and you answered it.” Monotone, description, the Bat’s clinical analysis. Then, some emotion tightly controlled. “The Joker shot you.” Faltering, then, “It’s…your spine.”

The world slows, stops.

“I’m sorry, Dick.”