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Ace Chemicals - 6:12 A.M.

It was a dark and rather chilly morning in Gotham, as a pale orange glow settled and stretched along the horizon. It could warrant a day of warmth. Either that, or, there wouldn't be a sky visible. Only a blanket of mottled grey for the people of the city to look up to. 


That and the eerie, radioactive glow that mingled with the constant black fog that would rise from the factories smoke stacks. It floated up high over the highest building tops, poisoning the fresh air of a new day. 

The walls of the facility were towering, so at least they did a good job of keeping something concealed. Like deep, dark secrets of the past and present. Surely this place would be packed with them, given the extensive and unnecessary magnitude of it. At least someone truly knew about that. 

What was he thinking that fateful morning? Had he always been that stupid? That foolish? That blind?

All feelings he had had of the intoxicating environment slowly disappeared. Like he'd stepped outside of the boundaries of his own body and mind, taking only a small chain of thought along with him. He felt floaty. Not in a sickly way, but in a way that made him feel like he could do anything in the world, as though the curious child buried beneath had  finally broken out and had the chance to roam free. 

But then, he felt trapped in his own headspace. It was a dark place. Nothing was present there, nothing at all. No-one there to reach out to. Just.. a void.

It was confusing, and that terrified him.

He had similar experiences before. Like he was strapped down in the passenger seat against his will, with someone else who he never recognised driving him down a path he never wanted to go down. The sickness of reckless travel made him feel dizzy, so he closed his eyes, just for a moment.

Then, reality would set in.

Be loved by you...

And God.. if he thought that was the worst of it, he would sit there and do nothing until it blew right over. Just like it always did, like it always had. And he would be back. His thoughts would be his once again. Complete control.

It's always about keeping complete control.

But the catch was (and there was always a catch), was that he felt so disconnected from the world then that he had to pry off the choking strap that seemingly secured him from losing himself entirely. He had to. 

And so he would. 

He has to show that he is strong.

I will show them. For you, Bruce. For you.

He knew he should have been feeling an immense amount of searing pain in his left hand as he let himself fall. He knew he should be feeling an overwhelming amount of heartbreak. He knew it wasn't the adrenaline numbing everything to practically non-existence. He knew. He knew. He knew it all.

That wasn't it. Which meant the obvious.

His vision slowly faded to black that fateful morning, as the sun began to shine its first rays of sunlight on a city so precious to him. Just as he heard Bruce's hissing protests to stay alert, he closed his eyes.


Then everything.

John woke up with a start. Grabbing fistfuls of white bedsheets as he subconsciously heaved himself up and gasped. He was drenched in a cold sweat, and his eyes were blurry with tears. His hair was disheveled and it clung to his forehead.

He took a few deep breathes as he analysed where he was, doing just as he was taught: in through the nose, out through the mouth. It would always help, it never failed him. He clenched his tired eyes closed for a moment to let the tears run down his cheeks so he could see clearer. The room was dark and cold and damp, light from the pale moonlight only let through by the giant window next to his bed and above his desk-drawer, that held his essentials. Spare uniform, toiletries, any belongings he could grab a hold of before his freedom was ripped away from him completely.

He looked at the photograph on top of it. The one of him and Batman together. John was wearing a wide and mischievous grin as Batman clenched his teeth and narrowed his cowl’s shining, white eyes with the sudden flash. Then he kneeled down and opened the bottom draw, patting at the inside until he grasped a hold of what he was feeling for and pulled his arm back out. Now in his pale, shaking hand was a doll with a black suit, white shirt, red tie. It had two button eyes, a sown on smile and black hair made of felt.


John let his thumb run over the dolls cheek.

Soon you say?

Then he sat down properly on the cold floor, legs crossed but propped up so his elbows could rest on his knees. It held the doll a rulers length away from his face.

Yes, soon.. I hope.