A Wish For Batman
by Christopher Jones
This is a *damn goofy* little fic. Be forewarned....
Batman sat a at sterile bench, carefully picking the remnants of a shattered claw out of a gash in his arm. He grunted, accidentally jabbing the wound a little with the forceps. It had been a long night, and if the events of this evening were any indication, tomorrow night would be even longer.
He sighed and began to butterfly the gash.
After making sure the wound was clean and disinfected, he wandered over to the command console near the front of the cave, and pushed the intercom button.
"Yes, Master Wayne?"
"Is Dick still up?"
"I'm certain he is, sir."
"Why don't you ask him what he wants on a pizza."
"I'm sorry sir, but Dick's gone out with young Miss Gordon. I however, would be happy to share a pizza with you, sir."
Batman raised one eyebrow.
"My favorite toppings are pineapple and anchovies, sir."
Batman shook his head, and thought darkly about the odd habits of the British.
"I'll call for delivery, Alfred. Would you meet the boy at the gate?"
As Batman pushed the off switch on the intercom, he accidentally knocked over a glass he had been drinking from earlier in the afternoon.
*Careless of me,* he thought. *I should have taken it back to the kitchen, or had Alfred clean in here.*
He lifted his cowl and looked down at the shattered glass disgustedly. *Oh, well. First things first. I'll get this ordered, and go up stairs and get a broom.*
He picked up the phone.
"*zzz beeeep* Thank you for calling Domino's Pizza. Our regular hours are Ten A.M to One A.M. Please call back."
Well if they were closed... "Hello, Pizza Planet."
"Yes, I'd like to order a couple pizzas, please."
"I'm sorry, but we closed an hour ago. *click*"
Bruce Wayne sneered at the phone. "Fine. I didn't want Pizza Planet, anyway. Let's see, ah, Gumby's Pizza is open 24 hours.
He quickly tapped the number into the touch-tone pad.
A pleasant female voice answered in Japanese. "Moshi- Moshi. You have reached the goddess helpline, Tokyo branch. Please hold, and you will be visited for a wish consultation."
Wayne's first thought was, *Now how on earth did I dial Tokyo?* His second was *Wish consultation?* He noticed the dim overhead lights reflected in the shards of broken glass. Then, he saw the glowing points of light flowing out of the shards.
A stiff breeze picked up in the Bat-Cave. Some of the loose papers on the console began to flutter in the wind.
The flow of light from the broken glass picked up and began to swirl. Bemused, Wayne stared openmouthed as the light began to coalesce into two amorphous shapes. Soon, they became too bright to look at directly. Wayne shielded his eyes with his gloved arm, doing his best to try to see what was happening.
When the light faded, two figures stood before him. The first was a tall Japanese man. He was wearing a light red silk blouse that seemed to flow around him in a non-existent wind. His pants were black, in the same material. His shoulder length hair was pulled into a braided ponytail. He had a cocky, almost challenging expression that was made just a bit sinister by the three silver marks on his forehead. The marks were arranged in a trident pattern, and glowing slightly in the dim light of the Bat-Cave.
The second appeared to be a Japanese school girl. She was kneeling in front of Wayne, in the traditional 'receiving' pose.
She rose to her full height, which was still a good foot and a half shorter than his own, even though she was levitating several inches.
*Levitating? What the--?*
She was wearing what looked like a combination between a typical Japanese school uniform and something out of a fantasy magazine. Strips of ribbon and fabric moved of their own volition around her short, pleated skirt. Gold bangles spun around her wrists and ankles, sparkling with their own light. Her short blouse seemed buffet from below, by the same invisible wind that was moving the rest of her costume. While she was very short, even for a Japanese woman, it left little doubt in Wayne's mind that she was physically mature.
Her hair was cut short, but in a loose, feminine style. She had a single, blue mark on her forehead in contrast to the man behind her, but had another on either cheekbone. It gave her an exotic, if unusual look. Across her back, she carried a worn, pitted iron sledgehammer.
"Wayne-San?" she asked in a high pitched, accented voice.
He started, still being in most of his Bat-man armor. He thought briefly about covering the emblem on the chest, but the two had already been staring at him for more than a minute.
"What... What can I help you with?"
The pigtailed man smirked and the girl held her tiny, almond colored hands out to him.
"It is I who would help you, Wayne-San," She replied in heavily accented English. "I am Akane, goddess of fire, muse to those who destroy to create. My domain is Chaos. Through me, you may receive any one wish. What do you desire, Wayne-San?"
*This must be one of Alfred's jokes,* Wayne thought. *or some hideous plot by one of my enemies.*
"I assure you, Dark Knight, that there is no deception."
*She read my mind!*
Akane nodded and smiled demurely.
"This must be some kind of mistake," Wayne muttered. "I only wanted to order a pizza."
Akane smiled knowingly. "Pizza? Is that your desire?"
The pigtailed youth's stomach grumbled noisily.
The goddess reached back and clocked him one on the forehead, hissing in rapid-fire Japanese. Wayne's Japanese wasn't as good as it used to be, but he did pick out the young man's name, and that he was a complete embarrassment in such a serious situation.
Akane turned back to him, an apologetic look plain in her eyes.
"You must forgive my associate. He often makes an ass of himself."
"Kawaii-kunee..." Wayne heard the youth mutter. He raised an eyebrow.
Akane's expression cooled twenty degrees, along with the temperature in the cave.
The youth continued muttering in hushed Japanese. "Why anyone would ever want to marry that tomboy is beyond me..."
Wayne rather wisely decided, as Akane began to heft her sledgehammer, to change the subject.
"What is this about wishes? Is this some kind of joke?"
Forgetting the insult, Akane shook her head. "Anything you desire is possible through me. Once you choose, I will submit your request to the Heavens for approval."
Wayne looked at her with a thoughtful expression. He of all people never expected to open a genie bottle. He found that he couldn't doubt the girl's claim that she was a goddess. If nothing else, the challenging expression in her eyes since her altercation with the pigtailed youth gave her away. Wayne had seen the expression thousands of times before in his corporation. New executives, given real authority for the first time along with real expectations often wore it as they adjusted to W.E.'s policies. The people under them often suffered when their authorities were challenged or their roles questioned.
If he was any judge of character, and Bruce Wayne liked to think he was, this young goddess was very new to her job, and not the least bit comfortable with its auspices. The man, Ranma, was her supervisor? brother? He remembered the youth's statement about marriage. From the almost protective stance he held over the girl, Wayne assumed that he was likely her lover or even husband.
More importantly, if she could read his mind, did she just hear what he was thinking?
Closing his eyes from the rapidly shifting expression of the goddess, Wayne considered the question before him.
"I really have anything that a man could want. A mansion, cars, yachts, jets, a powerful, successful corporation. What can I wish for that I don't already have?"
Her expression softened and an almost pitying expression crossed her face. "Is that all you have made room in your life for, possessions?"
"I have Alfred and Dick. I have many friends and an active social life."
Akane shook her finger. "Is this the social life where all your friends think of you as nothing but a dumb, eccentric, rich man. Why do you hide, Wayne-san? Do you think that they will be repulsed by all this?" She gestured round to the high tech interior of the Batcave, the Batmobile and his armour.
Wayne laughed. It was a sad, hollow sound. "Many of them would like to see the 'Batman' locked up."
"For all the good you do? Even in Japan, we have heard of the black cowled mystery who saved the life of the Prime Minister."
Wayne coughed. "Didn't he resign last week."
Ranma spoke in stilted English "Yeah! Who thought old man like young girl? Big laugh all over Tokyo."
Wayne remembered reading about the sex scandal the previous week. He rather wondered if Ranma's opinion on the situation was shared by his country-... men...? gods...?
"Ranma is something in between, Wayne-san." Akane clarified his thoughts. Wayne was growing quite uncomfortable with the goddess' abilities.
"As you grow older you shall see more like him. For all the sureness you project, you are still uncertain?"
Wayne shook his head. "Shouldn't this go to someone else? Someone who deserves it? Maybe someone who could actually use it?"
Akane bowed her head sadly. "There are very few capable of receiving a wish from a goddess, Wayne-san. You are such a man. If you were to refuse your wish... it would not be the first time, and will not be the last.
"I ask you to consider carefully before you make any decision. The wish is yours to make--" Akane's voice dropped to a whisper. "--Or discard. It is your decision."
"I...I must have time to think."
"Hai, Wayne-san." Akane's smile returned. "I know that you will choose correctly."
Wayne leaned back in his chair and exhaled sharply. "I told my butler that I would order a pizza. Do you want anything?"
Ranma's poked his head around Akane's shoulder. "You say... Pizza?"
After Alfred had been introduced to his 'guests', and Ranma made an impressive display of appetite, the apparently divine youth challenged Wayne to spar.
"Always want to fight super-hero. See if any good. You train against best martial artist in Japan, yes?"
Wayne agreed to the fight and was soon clad in his workout gi. Ranma changed his clothes (He didn't ask how) and was clad in a cotton version of his silk clothes. He had discarded his shoes, and was waiting boredly in the mansion's workout room when Wayne arrived.
"I'm ready when ever you're ready."
Ranma smirked from behind his folded arms. "Ready."
Wayne bowed from the waist, but Ranma only returned it with a slight nod. He still held his cocky, informal stance, but Wayne could see a slight tensing of his elbows and knees that informed him that the youth was ready for anything he might throw at him.
Wayne was suddenly certain that he could be facing his first formal defeat in over a decade.
He opted for a straight forward attack to start, a simple punch and block combination. Instead of countering the punch, as Wayne expected, Ranma simply bent away from the strike.
Wayne turned, and kicked for the young man's shins, but Ranma hopped over the kick.
*He's much faster than me.* Wayne changed his tactics so that the emphasis of his attacks lied on misdirection. Ranma was drawn into them, but still managed to dodge each of them handily.
"Good. Usually work with cape and armor, right?"
Wayne nodded as he directed another punch at Ranma's face.
"Good for robber, no good with real martial artist."
"In my line of work, I have to fight as much on the-- ugh," Wayne grimaced as Ranma dodged a combination that he was sure would connect. "--Psychological level as the physical. Criminals are very superstitious, so I use the image of a bat."
Ranma nodded, and started his first punch. It came at Wayne faster than he could ever hope to block, but only touched his chest lightly. Wayne could tell that the youth was testing out his defenses, and he had just failed, horribly.
"Musabetsu-kokoutu use enemy weakness against. You win battle before battle start. Good." He ducked another punch. "Raise arm against attack if no counter. You get hit too much. Like this."
Ranma threw another one of his lightning fast punches. It came full strength this time, but somehow Wayne managed to block. He realized he was learning more about fighting than since he returned to Gotham from Asia.
His forearm was left aching from the blow, but he suddenly relished the opportunity to train with what was, in his opinion, the finest martial artist he had ever met.
"How did you get so fast? Is it a special ability?"
"Hah! Train with Oyaji since four years old. Train all over Japan, China. Train with bakemono obaba, train with hentai panty thief, train with Ryouga..."
Wayne didn't know why, but the youth shuddered at the mention of that name. He actually managed to get a punch in, but Ranma shrugged it off like a mosquito bite.
"...And slow-girl, Akane, still hammer me any time she want. So keep training."
Wayne laughed at the thought of the small girl who was currently inspecting his art collection laying a finger on the powerful martial artist in front of him.
"You're kidding right?"
Sadly, Ranma shook his head. "Violent otembo..."
"If you don't mind my asking, how did you and she--"
"LOOONG story. Take up many manga."
Wayne laughed again. Ranma caught him upside the ribs for the lapse in his defense.
"Actually, I was referring to your status. You seem to take to it rather well, but it's pretty apparent the young lady is new to her job.
Ranma laughed and told him a story he wasn't sure he believed.
Apparently, the girl's mother was a goddess as well, but never told her husband or three daughters. Somehow, she died in a car accident when the oldest girl was nine. A few years after his father had engaged him to Akane, three of the girls' divine cousins came calling to properly train the three girls, along with a young man that had been promoted to the level of 'God- Man'.
Ranma explained that he also had that qualification, and what it meant. These God-Men were supposedly supposed to be human, yet immortal at the same time. It was their duty to lead humanity through a great cataclysm, and into the next stage of their evolution.
This was only what Wayne got from Ranma's broken English, however.
"So all of these God-Men have a curse?"
"No, just me. Ryouga has curse too, be he no count."
Wayne managed to duck a quick jab to his face. "What is this curse?"
"Nyaniichaun. Hard to explain. I show you later." Ranma swept Wayne's feet out from under him, but Wayne managed to roll back to his feet.
Wayne took a step back, and fell into a defensive pose. "I think we both know where this is going, Ranma. If I were a serious opponent for you, what would you use to defeat me?"
"Chikshu... I was having fun... You good opponent. Make good fighter if train right. Have to fight you with weapons sometime."
Wayne smiled. "I will train in the new techniques you have shown me, Sensei. I have learned much this evening."
Ranma grimaced, but nodded. "Watch... Try block."
Wayne firmed up his stance and prepared for the worst.
*Roasted chestnut fist?* Wayne was taken aback as the youth's arms began to blur. He tried to block, but the youth was tagging him with inhuman, incredible speed. Wayne fell, stinging, but unhurt against the onslaught.
"If learn, speed can defeat almost all enemy."
Wayne sat up. "A mortal can learn that?"
"Learn when sixteen. Taught by slow old lady. You have potential, so learn."
Wayne nodded numbly.
"Have you decided Wayne-san?"
If only he could. There were so many different things he could wish for... so many that wouldn't make a difference.
The Joker could be sane...
Harvey Dent could be healed of his horrible maiming...
Dick could actually be in for curfew for once...
Wayne started at the realization. Dick's parents could still be alive.
The possibilities crashed down on him like a wave. His own parents could still be alive.
Suddenly, the wish took on a whole new meaning. If he could truly have any thing he wanted...
He almost blurted it out. A guilty flush crept up his face as his mind filled with shame. Who was he to use his wish in such a selfish manner.
"Yes, I have decided."
Akane nodded, respectfully, "You must say 'I wish'"
Ranma stared at him, awaiting his wish. Alfred, standing well behind Akane, only shrugged.
"I wish... I wish for my life's work. I want this city to be safe place to live. I don't want the people to have to fear riding the subway, or walking to work, or that some maniac is going to escape from Arkham and go on a killing spree. I want... I want the same thing that happened to my parents, never to happen again."
Akane placed her hands together, as if in prayer. "Are you sure that this is the wish you want, Wayne-san?"
"Yes. It really is the only thing I could wish for." That didn't mean it hurt any less. It didn't mean that he could have what he really wanted. Alfred smiled at him in silent approval. Somehow, it didn't ease the fresh ache inside him.
Akane started glowing. The marks on her face flared red, and then the same blinding white that heralded her arrival. She turned her face to the heavens, and a spear of white flared up from her forehead through the roof of the cave.
Wayne found that he had to hold his ears, to keep the sharp tone that accompanied the goddess' power. A miniature tornado began swirling through the cave, centered on Akane. Alfred was forced to take cover behind a control panel, and he was thrown against the wall. He noted with some desperate amusement as he struggled to breath in the incredible gale that Ranma merely stood his ground a few feet away from the goddess as his clothes and pigtail whipped around behind his head.
Suddenly, it was over. He and Alfred were both standing as if they hadn't been knocked down.
Akane dimmed back down to reality, and Wayne could see that now, instead of the intricate outfit she had been wearing, she was clothed in the long blue skirt and jacket that he recognized as a typical Japanese school uniform.
Ranma's clothes had gone back to something similar to what he had sparred in. Wayne got the impression that fashion was a very minor concern to the martial artist.
Then, as he noticed Alfred looking around in awe, Wayne realized that the Batcave had changed. It wasn't nearly so... dark?
Instead of the sparse lighting that he usually preferred, there were large halogen globes spaced evenly, hanging from the steep roof of cave.
There were also... decorations? Along with the usual computer benches and workstations, there were potted shrubs and planters arranged tastefully around the walking and working areas.
"Are you surprised, Wayne-san?" Akane smirked at him with a mischievous expression.
"W-who designed all this? Is this your doing?"
Ranma guffawed. "HAH! Tomboy make room look like bomb blast if make. Don't eat cooking, either!"
Akane produced her sledge out of nowhere, and simply pounded Ranma into a quivering lump.
She turned back to Wayne. "You designed this, of course. The plans are in your computer if you would like to refresh your memory."
Akane shushed him with a finger across her lips. "Why should a warrior of light live in darkness when he has to fight in darkness, especially when he has so much to live for?"
"Master Bruce, I should see what else had changed." Alfred pointed towards the rest of the mansion. Wayne nodded, and sent his butler up the stairwell to the house. As he opened the door, a slender black cat rubbed past his legs and trotted down into the cave.
Ranma jumped up from his indisposition, and lighted on one of the hanging stalagmites. (Somebody help me with this one. Which hangs, and which rises up from the floor?)
Akane growled, sending a withering glance up at the martial artist. Wayne stared suspiciously, but picked up the cat as it rubbed up against his legs.
"I know you... Isis?"
"Is Selena in trouble?"
"I can take care of myself, handsome. Who are our... guests?"
Wayne looked up at the voice. It was coming from a tall, leggy blonde dressed in a conservative dress suit.
"Selena?" Bruce stared in shock as the woman strode down the stairs. Nervously, he glanced over at Akane, who was whispering into Ranma's ear. Ranma looked back at her dubiously and pointed at Selena.
"Her?" He whispered loudly enough for everyone in the cave to hear. Akane nodded.
"Good, Lord, Bruce! I thought that this was supposed to be a secret. Why don't you invite Lois Lane down here?" Selena glared in disapproval at the youths.
A lifetime of thinking on his feet gave him the answer he needed. "They... assisted me when I rescued the Japanese Prime Minister."
She looked down at Akane, speculatively. "So just how much do you know?"
Akane affected a partial knowledge of English as she bowed to the taller woman. "Hai... know most everything, Neko- onna-san."
Selena raised her eyebrows. "We're having a talk later, Bruce." She turned and walked back up the stairs. "You weren't up all night again, were you?"
Wayne could only shake his head.
"I've got such a worthless husband. You--" She pointed to Akane and Ranma, "--should beat this one into shape before he gives you the same kind of grief. Out all night, chasing criminals, Traveling to all parts of the globe to chase down terrorists, picking away in here 'at his life's work', so he says. It would be too much to bear if I didn't enjoy it so much, too." She smirked and skipped through the doorway. "Oh, and Brucie... come upstairs when you're done giving the grand tour. I've got a surprise for you."
Wayne fell back into his chair, slack-jawed. The cat laid down to doze in his lap. "I'm... married... to Selena Kyle?"
Ranma bent over one of the workstations and nervously picked up a feline shaped mask.
Akane nodded. "Selena Wayne. You've been fighting international crime together since the police commissioner's crime initiative passed two years ago."
"But that was voted down..."
Akane shook her head. "It passed with a narrow margin, and now there are several thousand more police officers on the streets, as well as programs to curb gang violence and 'The criminally insane' as it is worded in the document."
A much shorter blonde woman ran down into the Bat-cave. "Mistah Wayne! Mistah Wayne!"
"Harlequin?" He whispered under his breath.
Akane smiled, and shook her head.
"Mistah Wayne, we jus' got a fax from Ahkam. The Jokah's up fuh parole, but they wanna get youse's and Batman's approval before they realease him!" The poor woman was nearly frantic. "How ah we gonna do that? I mean you and Batman can't show up at the same time... I guess you could dress Dick up again! Oh, but Dick's out with Bah-bara again today! What'll we do?!?!"
Wayne hesitantly patted the woman on the shoulder. "I'm certain we'll do something... Harley..."
She looked up, nervously, "You sure, Mistah Wayne? I mean, if--"
More confidently, he turned her around and sent her back up the stairs. "I'm sure."
The woman ran back up the stairs and slammed the doors behind her. Again, Wayne fell back into his seat. "How...?"
Akane pointed to the file folder lying next to his arm. "Quinn-san completed rehabilitation after working with the Joker after you saved her life from a fall. She's been working as your personal secretary ever since."
"The woman has a Ph.D. in psychology." Wayne shook his head.
Akane nodded and explained. "She dislikes spending time with people like the Joker. After her experience, people with psychological problems disturb her deeply. She's studying for a second degree in political science. You have helped her more than a team of psychiatrists and therapists ever could."
"This is so different..."
Akane nodded. "The Ultimate Force has ensured your wish."
Alfred poked his head into the cave. "Master Bruce! You should come up here at once!" He was pale, and panting as if he had been running.
"What's wrong, Alfred? You look like you've seen a ghost!" Wayne tried to stop the butler, but he had already closed the door.
Wayne looked back at Ranma and Akane, who were only mischievously smirking. Not being able to take his eyes off of them, he ran up the stairs.
Alfred was busy, straightening his uniform. He led Wayne into the front parlor.
Wayne's breath caught, at the sight that awaited him there. A large shouldered man with grey hair and a woman, about the same age were waiting there. They both had several suitcases, and were wearing tropical clothes. Selena was with them, smiling broadly back at her confused husband.
Wayne struggled to stay on his feet, as the sixty year old wrapped his arms around his shoulders in a fierce embrace. Tears started to course down his face. He buried his face in the older man's shoulder and tried not to sob like a small child.
"It's been too long, Son. Surely the incredible Bruce Wayne can afford to spend a weekend in Hawaii every once in a while to visit his parents."
Only Alfred, who was also doing his best to keep the wetness out of his eyes, knew why Bruce Wayne broke down and cried like a school boy as his father embraced him.
"He got what he wanted, right?"
"Yes, Ranma. Even though he wished for what he thought he had to, he still got what he wanted. That's what we do."
"Okay, I understand that. I still don't get what happened with the blonde lady. I mean, a girl like her doin' the super- hero bit? An uncute, violent girl like you, sure, but her?