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Family Reunion

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Chapter 12

Watchtower; September 19th, 07:54 EST

Superman took a sip of his coffee, setting it down on the table before taking his usual seat with a weary sigh. He looked around the conference table with a grim expression gracing his face, his blue eyes reflecting the worry that had consumed him since Bruce had disappeared with Hades.

It had only been two weeks ago and yet it felt like an eternity…an eternity since he’d last seen his best friend. Two weeks. How in the world was Bruce going to survive much longer being down there especially knowing that he was losing his memories?

He shuddered to think about what state Diana was going to find Bruce in once she finally got to him. Would he even recognize her or know who she was…how much she had truly meant to him? It would break her heart if Bruce didn’t remember her. What would happen if they were never able to help him return to the life that he’d once had…the family that he and Diana had made together?

He wished he could’ve gone with her, but he knew that it was impossible. He wouldn’t have been any good to her down there away from the sun’s yellow rays. Besides, neither the League nor the world could afford to have both of them gone if someone decided to attack Earth or if there was a catastrophic event.

Clark looked up as the doors slid open, J’onn entering with his typical stoic expression. “Good morning, J’onn.”

“Good morning, Superman,” he formally greeted him as he took his seat. Studying the Man of Steel sitting directly across the table from him, he easily sensed the distress that he was struggling with. “Are you all right, my friend?”

Clark released a frustrated huff as he slowly shook his head. “To be honest…I’m not, J’onn.”

“I know this is a difficult time for everyone,” J’onn revealed. “Batman and Wonder Woman’s absence from the Watchtower has had a ripple affect on everyone I’m afraid.”

Clark’s eyebrows rose marginally in surprise with the unexpected news. “Really?”

“I’m afraid so,” J’onn confirmed with a nod. “Their impact on the League and civilian staff alike is far reaching. When they are gone for long periods of time, their absence is felt. It leaves a hole that is next to impossible to fill. It is that way for any Founder who is gone for an extensive period of time.”

“I guess we’re going to have to issue another statement about their whereabouts,” Clark thoughtfully said. “I already issued a statement that Batman was on leave for an unforeseen amount of time due to responsibilities in Gotham, but with Diana gone now too, I’m sure it looks suspicious. We don’t want their absences to be connected in any way.”

“Rumors have been running rampant I’m afraid,” J’onn informed him. “Many believe that Batman was killed in Gotham when Hades attacked.”

“I’ll make a League-wide announcement after the meeting letting everyone know that Batman is working a case in Gotham and Diana is away visiting family on Themyscira,” he decided.

Before Clark could say anymore, the doors to the conference room slid open, Green Lantern and Flash entering, deeply immersed in conversation. “Are you sure the kiddos will be okay in day care?” Flash asked, sipping on his iced mocha. “Maybe I should go back and check on them again.”

“Nah, they’re fine,” John reassured him as they headed towards their seats. “Rex and Bella love day care on the Watchtower. Jenna’s there today and she’s one of their favorites. They didn’t even say goodbye. They just ran off as soon as they walked through the door.”

“Still, it probably wouldn’t hurt if Uncle Wally stopped by to check on them to make sure they’re okay,” Wally decided with a frown.

“If you want to,” John said with a shrug before taking a sip of his coffee. “I’ve got Monitor Duty till one.”

“That’s fine,” Wally reassured him. “I don’t mind checking on them. Besides, Bells is still teething.”

“Here, you have one of Bella’s socks stuck to your back,” John told him, reaching behind him and removing the little pink sock.

“That Bells,” Wally said with a chuckle. “She’s such a little cutie.”

“Forgot to put the fabric softener sheets in the dryer again, didn’t you?” John asked with a snort of amusement.

“Hey, give me a break,” Flash replied. “I’m still learning how to use your washer and dryer.”

“It’s not the first time you’ve ever done laundry, though.”

“I’m just used to the little ball you fill with softener that you put in the washer with the dirty laundry,” Wally revealed.

“Uh, good morning, guys,” Superman interjected, breaking up the banter with an amused grin.

“Oh, hiya, Supes,” Wally said, waving at him from his seat at the table.

“Sorry, we were talking about the kids,” John apologized.

Clark smirked at them, deciding they sounded like an old married couple. “So, how’s it going taking care of two kids?” he asked.

“Rough,” John said at the same time Wally said “great”.

They both looked at each other, frowning with the other’s response. “Wait…what?” Wally asked. “I’m having a blast.”

“Well, yah…I mean it’s been fun having you there, but it’s still a lot of work taking care of two little kids,” John pointed out. “I never realized how much Shayera actually did.”

“Yah, I guess so,” Wally conceded. “It is rather exhausting.”

“Welcome to parenthood, Wally,” Clark told him, grinning.

“I think I’ll wait on having my own kids for a little while longer,” Flash ultimately decided.

“Just don’t wait too long,” John recommended, clapping him on the back. “The older you get the harder it gets.”

“All right,” Superman said, his gaze falling on the three empty seats. It caused his heart to clench with worry. “Let’s get this meeting underway.”

“Wow,” Flash solemnly murmured as he too glanced at the vacant chairs. “It seems sorta empty in here.”

“I know,” J’onn agreed. “It’s rather disconcerting is it not?”

Clark cleared his throat, trying to rein in his emotions, but it was difficult with their teammates missing and out of communication with no clue what was happening to them. “John, have you heard anything from Shayera?”

“No,” John said with a shake of his head. “I heard from Diana two days ago. They were in Greece searching for a hidden gate to the Underworld.”

Clark frowned as he considered the newest information. “Why were they in Greece? Why not just use the gate to the Underworld hidden beneath Themyscira?”

John shrugged his shoulders. “I have no idea,” he replied. “She just said it was a long story. I guess Hermes is helping them.”

“Hermes?” J’onn questioned him.

John bristled the more he thought about Hermes, a scowl forming on his face. “Yah, Diana said she would keep Hermes away from my wife,” he revealed. “Not sure what that was about and, at this point, I’m not sure I even want to know especially since I can’t contact my own wife.”

Wally clapped him on the shoulder, squeezing it in reassurance. “Don’t worry, John,” he assured him. “Shayera would never cheat on you.”

“Thanks,” John ground out through clenched teeth as he glared at Flash. “That’s reassuring.”

“I’ve tried contacting Diana multiple times, but I get nothing but static,” Clark informed them with a sigh.

“They must be in the Underworld by now,” J’onn assumed.

“I hope that’s all that it is and not something worse,” Clark ominously replied.

“What could possibly be worse than being in the Underworld with Hades right now?” Flash exclaimed, throwing his hands up in the air.

“I don’t want to think about it,” John adamantly stated, refusing to discuss it any longer.

“Have you been in touch with Nightwing?” J’onn asked.

“Yes, I spoke to him late last night,” Clark confirmed. “They’re doing fairly well. Nick and Kaia are feeling a little lost and confused by it all. They really miss their parents, but they’re doing all right. Gotham is another story I’m afraid.”

“Do we need to step in and help?” Lantern asked.

Clark chuckled softly. “Not at this point…or probably ever,” he replied. “Dick was as adamant as Bruce about outside help in Gotham.”

“Let me guess—the Joker,” John said with a grim expression.

“I’m assuming so, but Nightwing never actually came out and said it,” Clark revealed. “Whatever it is that’s happening, it’s likely not good if the tone of his voice was any indication. He seemed pretty frustrated by it.”

“I’m sure that it has been difficult for the entire family having Bruce and Diana away,” J’onn commented. “Nightwing is having to shoulder the responsibility of the family as well as Gotham. I’m sure that he is feeling the weight even more so now if the Joker is causing trouble.”

“At least Jason, Tim, and Damian are there to help with Gotham,” Flash added. “That has to help some.”

“I told Dick to contact any of us immediately if he needs backup,” Clark informed them. “Whether that actually happens or not remains to be seen, but he really appreciated knowing we are here to help them if they need it.”

Flash shook his head, his expression solemn and reflecting the extent of the frustration that was weighing him down. “I just wish we knew what was going on down there,” he groused, his shoulders slumping further with every word that poured out of his mouth. “I mean we’re family and we have no idea what is happening to members of our family. What if they need us, but we don’t know that they need us, and we can’t get to them to help them because we don’t know that they need us. What if they…”

His voice trailed off, John’s hand coming to rest on his shoulder. “It’s okay, buddy,” he reassured him. “We all feel the same way, but we can’t lose hope. Bruce, Diana, and Shayera are some of the strongest, most stubborn people that I’ve ever known. I wouldn’t bet against any of them just yet.”

“I’m sorry…you’re right,” Flash said, sitting up straighter in his chair. “I’m just really worried about them. They’ve been gone for what feels like forever.”

“We’ve survived some of the darkest adversity together over the years, relying on one another and working together as one,” J’onn replied. “Even as dire as this situation has become, I have faith that they will find a way through this calamity as well.”

“Okay, let’s move on to discuss some other items on the agenda,” Clark said, trying to lighten the tone of his voice in order to help lift everyone’s spirits.

“Yah, like a homecoming party for when they get back,” Flash excitedly declared.

“You can work on that on your own time,” Clark decided. “Moving on to more important business…”

“What can be more important than welcoming our teammates back?” Flash asked. “It’ll be like a family reunion.”

“How about the fact that we have several repairs on the Watchtower that we need to be taken care of,” Clark told him.

“Don’t we have repair teams for stuff like that?” Wally questioned him; his face scrunched up in confusion.

“Not these repairs,” he replied. “These repairs require heavy muscle.”

Flash slumped sullenly in his chair. “Great,” he grumbled, resigning himself to the fact he would be helping to work on repairs today.

“Hey, it’ll help get your mind off the others being gone,” John attempted to cheer him up.

“Ye-ha,” Wally groaned.

Wayne Manor; September 19th, 13:34 EST

“No,” Kaia firmly stated with a scowl on her little face as she glared up at her older brother.

“But you need to pick up your toys so we can paint your room,” Jason tried to explain on bended knee before the stubborn two-year-old.

“No,” Kaia repeated with a pout.

“Don’t you want your room painted?”

“No,” she stated.

“I can’t reason with her,” Jason muttered to himself, standing to his feet. He folded his arms against his chest as he stared down at his little sister.

“No,” she said, her eyebrows knitting together in a obstinate glare.

“Why don’t you want to pick up your toys?” he asked her.

Kaia suddenly went from stubborn two-year old to sobbing toddler as she burst into tears, laying down on the floor of her bedroom and burying her face in the carpet. Jason knelt down, rubbing her back. “What’s wrong, Kai?

“Me want mommy and daddy,” she choked out between sobs.

“But we’re going to paint your room and make it look all pretty and grown up,” Jason gently tried to tell her. “Your mom and dad will be so surprised when they come home and see your new room all decorated…especially your dad when he sees that it’s purple.”

“I…I like…purpo,” Kaia sniffled, burying her face in the carpet again as she cried harder.

“What’s wrong, Kaia?” Nicholas asked as he ran into her room.

“She wants mom and dad,” Jason informed him.

Nicholas got down on his hands and knees beside her, putting his face next to hers. “It’s okay, Kaia,” he told her, patting her back. “I’m here with you and mommy and daddy will be back soon.”

Kaia lifted her face red and wet with so many tears to look at him. “Me miss them,” she choked out.

“Me too, but they doing very portant work,” he said as he put his arm around her.

“I think I’m going to cry,” Donna murmured from the doorway of Kaia’s bedroom, tears brimming in her eyes.

“Not you too,” Jason said with a groan. “It’s only because your pregnant. You’re on a nine-month hormone rollercoaster of emotions.”

“Keep it up, Jas, and you’ll find out just how quickly these hormones can shift,” she threatened him with a glare as she lifted her fist.

“Okay, kiddos, let’s pick up the toys so we can move your furniture,” Jason suggested. “If you do a good job helping out, we’ll get some ice cream.”

“Bribing children?” Donna questioned him, an eyebrow arching in question.

“Hey, whatever works,” Jason replied.

“Me like ice cream,” Kaia said with a sniffle.

“With sprinkles,” Nicholas excitedly said.

“Yah, spwinkles,” Kaia agreed, wiping the tears from her face with the backs of her hands.

“You got it,” Jason confirmed. “All the sprinkles you want.”

“Come on, Kai,” Nicholas said. “I help you pick up your toys.”

Kaia got to her feet, running to help Nicholas with her toys. “Smooth move, Jas,” Donna said with an appreciative nod. “You’re going to make a great father someday.”

“Whoa there, Don,” Jason said, holding his hands up. “I’m not anywhere near ready for that.”

“What if Artemis was?” she asked him with a grin.

Jason’s head whipped around to stare at her in wide-eyed shock. “What?” he demanded to know. “What did she say? Did she say something to you? Is Artemis pregnant? She can’t be…not yet!”

Donna laughed as knelt down to pick up Kaia’s blanket up off the floor. “No, she’s not pregnant and no, she didn’t say anything,” she replied. “I just wanted to see your reaction and it was totally worth it.”

Jason released a ragged breath, his hand coming to rest on his chest right over his heart. “Thanks a lot, Don,” he groused. “You about gave me a freaking heart attack.”

“I’d say I was sorry, but I’m really not,” she said with a chuckle.

“Hey, you share that crazy soul binding thing with Diana, right?” he asked her.

“Yes, why?”

“Can you feel how she’s doing?”

Donna thought about it for a long moment, focusing on what her sister was feeling. She’d been working at locking that part of her emotions away in an effort to hold on to her sanity while Diana was gone with the others, but she had to admit that she needed to know if her sister was all right.

“She’s furious which isn’t any different than when Hades first disappeared,” she cryptically said, not wanting to alert the little ones to more than they needed to know. “She’s exhausted…and in pain, but from what I don’t know. She misses him greatly and is very worried about him. Why do you ask?”

Jason shook his head, a frown causing his lips to curve as he averted his eyes. “I was just wondering,” he replied. “I was hoping you might be able to figure out where they’re at or how they’re doing.”

A soft smile graced her face as she studied him. “You miss her, don’t you?”

“Yah,” he admitted, clearing his throat and fixing a carefree expression on his face in an effort to dismiss the topic that was becoming uncomfortable to him. “I was just wondering. I’m sure they’ll be back soon.”

“It’s okay to miss her, Jas,” she reassured him with a knowing smile. “I miss them too.”

“We better get to work,” he said, changing the subject. He clearly didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

Hearing breathless giggles, Jason and Donna looked over to see Kaia chasing Nicholas with her foam Wonder Woman sword. “Okay, you two,” Donna said, clapping her hands to get their attention. “You still have a mess to pick up.”

Kaia swung her foam sword, Nicholas ducking and rolling out of the way with amazing skill as he came up on his feet. Jason shook his head in amazement. “There is no question these kids are gifted and meant for crimefighting,” he commented. “Bruce is going to have start training them soon.”

“Bruce doesn’t want them following in his and Diana’s footsteps,” she reminded him.

“I don’t think he’s going to be able to stop them,” he told her. “They’re already like little ninja warriors.”

“And I have a feeling we haven’t seen the full extent of all of their gifts yet,” she said.

“Great,” Jason muttered as he watched Kaia tackle Nicholas to the ground. “They’re going to be flying around the house and lifting the furniture over their heads before we know it.”

“Hopefully not anytime soon,” she replied as Nicholas pinned Kaia to the floor, both of them giggling as they wrestled.

“I don’t think they’re going to be much help,” Jason decided. “Maybe we should send them downstairs to Alfred while we work.”

“Do you two want to go swimming?” she asked.

Nicholas and Kaia quickly got to their feet, Kaia running to her dresser to find her bathing suit. She stood on her tiptoes in an effort to reach her swimsuit despite the fact she was unable to reach the top drawer. “Good idea,” Jason said with a nod as Nicholas ran to his bedroom to change.

“I’ll take them downstairs while you start moving furniture,” she suggested.

“Where’s Tim, Dick, and Damian?”

“They’re finishing moving Nicholas’s furniture out of his room,” she responded as she helped Kaia get into her swimsuit.

“So, where are the kids going to sleep tonight?”

“I’ve got it covered,” she said with a mischievous grin.

“Why do I have a feeling I’m glad I don’t live here?”

Underworld; September 19th, 19:18 EST

Ra’s al Ghul looked askance at his traveling companion, taking note of the minutest of details in order to determine his condition. He appeared to be struggling both mentally and physically at the moment. His breathing was becoming a little more exerted over time, an occasional grimace reaching his face despite his best efforts.

The Detective was a master at disguising his feelings or how badly injured he was, never wanting to appear weak or to give his opponent any sort of advantage over him. Now, however, he was clearly struggling just to maintain some semblance of the typical control he always held so strongly to.

Gone was his emotionless mask that was usually held firmly in place. Instead, there was the faintest of winces and grimaces, a muffled groan stifled before it could fully form. Despite his black cape masking the majority of his movements, his hand kept moving to bracing his ribs.

Mentally, he knew that the Detective had to be slipping even more. It was only a matter of time before he wouldn’t be able to remember his own name. He had a feeling that time was approaching faster than the Detective was letting on and he was more than determined to use it to his own advantage.

“What do you want?” Bruce rasped, a sneer twisting his lips.

“Excuse me?”

“You keep looking at me,” Batman stated. “What do you want?”

“Just wondering if maybe we should take a break for you to rest,” Ra’s told him.

“I’m fine,” he spat out. “Let’s keep moving.”

“It’s not a sign of weakness to stop and rest for a few minutes,” he pointed out. “We’ve been traveling for hours.”

“Time doesn’t exist down here.”

“Still, it wouldn’t hurt to take a break.”

Batman stopped in his tracks, casting a dark glare on him. “Do you need a break?”

“No, but I believe you do,” Ra’s stated, refusing to back down under the withering glower being cast upon him. “So, let’s take a short break.”

“Just for a few moments,” Batman relented.

Ra’s watched as Batman walked over to a rock, grunting softly as he sat down on it. He walked over to join him, settling down on the rock beside him. “Would you allow me to help you bind your broken ribs?”

Batman stared straight ahead of him at the desolate landscape that awaited him, the unknown creatures and beasts of the Underworld that were laying in wait to try to keep him from escaping. If he was going to be able to fight his way out of here, he was going to have to do something about his ribs.

He looked down at the utility belt that circled his waist. He knew that he wore it for a reason, but he couldn’t for the life of him remember what all the compartments were for or what they held. He began opening them one at a time, finding an assortment of supplies that he never would’ve guessed were in there.

Finally finding a roll of elastic bandage, he began wrapping it around his torso, pulling it as tightly as possible in order to brace his broken ribs. Ra’s watched him intently, knowing that the Detective would refuse his help. They were quite alike in several ways.

“We’re being followed,” Ra’s softly said.

“Since the ravine…I know,” Batman replied just as quietly. “It’s about fifty yards away watching us.”

“Any ideas about what it could be?” he asked.

“None,” he stated, “but it doesn’t seem very interested in attacking us or it would’ve done it by now.”

“Agreed,” Ra’s said with a nod. “Should we try to engage it…see what it wants?”

“I have a feeling it’s going to make its move sooner rather than later especially the further we away from the palace we get,” he told him. “We should be prepared for anything. Can you still use that sword?”

Ra’s chuckled softly with the question. “Your memory is slipping, Detective. You should know that a broken arm isn’t going to slow me down in the least.”

“Just be prepared,” he bit out, pulling out a razor-sharp Batarang, more out of instinct than memory.

“Tell me, Detective,” Ra’s replied. “Do you remember your name? Where you came from? Why you dress as a bat?”

“I remember what I need to know,” he ground out as he stood to his feet. “Let’s keep moving.”

“Your parents were Thomas and Martha Wayne,” Ra’s began as if telling a story. “They were murdered in an alley before your very eyes when you were eight years old after taking you to a movie.”

“Stop talking,” Bruce stated as he began to walk, his hand instinctively moving to his ribs. The binding had definitely helped, but breathing was still somewhat of a painful chore.

“You were devastated by the loss of your parents,” Ra’s continued on as if not hearing him, following behind him. “It consumed your life…lead to night terrors that haunted your sleep. You decided to make it your life’s goal to make sure that no other child endured the trauma that you had suffered.”

“I said stop talking,” he growled, the white-knuckled hold on his Batarang beginning to cause his fingers to ache.

“You learned every single form of fighting that you could, became obsessed with being the best,” he told him. “That’s when you found your way to me. I taught you everything that I knew…trained you to be a powerful and skilled warrior. It’s also when you fell in love with my daughter Talia.”

“I said enough!” Batman roared, whirling on him and grabbing him by the throat with one hand, the edge of his deadly Batarang pressed against his jugular with the other.

Ra’s stared into the narrowed white slits of his cowled face, his expression bland. “You and my daughter gave me the greatest a gift in the world…a grandson. His name is Damian. You and Talia giving me an heir was the best moment of my life. My world was finally complete in every way.”

Chest heaving and anger burning through his veins, Bruce fought valiantly against the flood of nonsensical images that assaulted his mind—images of a man in a suit and a woman with pearls around her neck, flashes of making love with a beautiful woman with brown hair and chestnut brown eyes, the face of a ten year old boy who resembled him in so many ways. It was overwhelming, stealing his breath and threatening his sanity.

“I said…enough…” Batman breathlessly rasped, glowering at his traveling companion a moment longer before finally releasing him.

“Talia loves you more than you can begin to imagine, Detective,” Ra’s calmly told him as he watched the Dark Knight struggle to rein in his emotions, attempting to gain some semblance of control. “She misses you dearly and wants you back with her and your son where you belong.”

Batman turned his back to him, his back ramrod straight as he surveyed their surroundings. “Keep moving or stay here…I don’t care,” he said.

Ra’s continued to follow him, knowing that he was getting through to him…creating a whole new world in his head that never truly existed outside of his daughter’s dreams. With a little luck, he would be able to get the Detective back to his daughter before the Amazon could find them. After that, they would call for Damian, returning him to his rightful place in the al Ghul family. Everything would finally be complete as it should have been from the first time that he had met Bruce Wayne.

Catching movement in his peripheral vision on his left, Batman kept moving, tightening the death-grip he already held on his Batarang. Whoever or whatever had been following them since the ravine was making its move. If it wanted a confrontation, then he would give it one.

With an unexpected and unseen flick of his wrist that came from beneath his cape, his Batarang flew through the air, narrowly missing its target as the creature ducked at the last second. Batman turned a glowering eye on it, finding a small demon of some kind. It was gaunt with bulging red eyes and large ears, its bony hands moving to show it had no weapon.

“What do you want?” Batman demanded to know.

“I am Abnegazar,” it revealed. “What you are seeking you won’t find.”

“How do you know what we are seeking?” Ra’s asked it.

“You are seeking a way out of the Underworld, but you won’t find it,” Abnegazar told them, shaking its finger at them. “No one escapes the Underworld.”

“Why have you been following us?” Batman questioned the demon.

“Because I know who you are,” Abnegazar said with proud grin. “You are the mate of the Amazon princess.”

The white lenses of his cowl narrowed, his mind nothing but a thick fog…his memories far too distant to grasp hold of now. “Amazon princess?”

“Yes, she was here a while ago with the angel to correct the balance of power and restore her father Hades to his rightful place on the throne of the Underworld,” he replied. “Felix Faust had stolen it from him.”

“You’re lying,” Batman stated as he turned on his heel to continue his journey.

“I don’t lie!” Abnegazar declared in indignation, running to catch up to him. “I speak the truth. Hades wants you back at his palace, but he’s waiting to see if you can survive the desolation of the Underworld first.”

“He’s testing us?” Ra’s asked.

“No, not you…him,” Abnegazar said, pointing at the Dark Knight. “He wants to see if his son-in-law is worthy of the princess’s hand.”

“I’m not married,” Batman snapped.

Abnegazar chuckled, its bony hand coming to rest on its abdomen. “Yes, you have already seen the affects of the Underworld on your mind. You’ve lost your memories of your former life, lost all that you once held so very dear to you including your beloved princess. Now, it’s all gone, never to return to you.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Batman growled. “I’m just trying to find a way out of here. If you’re not going to help us, then leave us alone.”

“It’s best if you return to Hades’ palace,” Abnegazar warned them. “There are great dangers that await you if you stay outside of the safety of the palace. You won’t survive out here for very long. May I keep this?”

Batman snatched the Batarang out of Abnegazar’s hand with a growled response in the negative, his teeth clenching. His broken ribs were making it difficult to breath, his pounding head reminding him that he couldn’t remember anything about his past now. He just wanted to lay down and sleep, but he knew that would result in his truth death. He would fight that fate with every ounce of strength he possessed.

He didn’t fully understand why or how he got here, but he knew that he needed to get out of here. That was the only thing that he was actually sure of. He had no idea what life held for him outside of this world, but he was determined to find out no matter what it cost him.

If Talia and his son Damian were truly waiting for him to return, then he wouldn’t fail them.

“If you’re not going to help us escape, then leave us alone,” Batman stated, tucking his Batarang into his utility belt.

“I know where all the gates are in the Underworld, but you won’t be able to escape through them,” Abnegazar revealed. “Hades has already tried countless times without succeeding. You might as well save your strength. This is your new home now. I’ll be your friend.”

Batman whirled on the small demon, his Batglare terrifying to say the least. “I refuse to stay here one moment longer than I have to,” he hissed. “I will not stop until I have found a way out of here.”

Abnegazar shrugged his bony shoulders. “Suit yourself, Dark Knight, but be aware,” he warned him. “Adversity and horrible dangers await you down here. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Batman glared at him a moment longer before finally turning to resume his journey. He had no idea where he was headed or how he was going to manage to find a way out of a place that the god of the Underworld couldn’t even find a way out of, but he would not stop until he was finally free and back where he belonged.

He just hoped that Talia and Damian would be there waiting for him when he returned.