Batman: Stranger Days
The Phantom Stranger shows Bruce Wayne how different the world would be without the Batman.
This is another Short story.
Basically this story fits into the HAWKverse during the events of my Batman 6: Knightfall story. It does not matter if you have read it or not, this can be counted as a standalone story.
A family walks down a street late in the Gotham night. The mother and father hold a little girls hand, she looks up at them smiling as they chat about a movie they had just seen.
A man rushes out of an alley and grabs the mother, pushing the daughter to the ground as he holds a knife to the woman’s throat. The father pulls out his wallet and hands it to their attacker “Please, leave us alone!”
The thief smiled a sick grin “I’ll go but I’ll be taken your wife with me.” He began to pull the screaming woman the husband rushed him, causing the thief to drop his knife. He reached in his coat and pulled out a gun. He smiled as he aimed it at the husband, only to be tackled to the ground by Batman.
The gun slid away as Batman beat the thief into unconsciousness.
The girl looked up at him through tear soaked eyes as her mother and father hugged her tight. Batman shot his grapple and swung away.
Batman sat at his computer with his cowl off. He held it in his hands looking at it, he then typed up a code and pulled up a case file, it was Vesper Fairchild’s murder case. She was Bruce’s girlfriend, only to be killed a few months earlier, and Bruce was blamed for the killing. [For more on this, check out Shadow of the Bat: Part 1 and Shadow of the Bat Part 2]
He was still trying to solve that case…but he had been distracted by the appearance of someone who has been persistently hunting Batman, a person known only as Bane.
He runs his hands through his hair, and puts his cowl on. Batman is still looking at the computer when a voice is heard behind him “You summoned for me?”
Batman turns his chair around to see a man in a cloak with a wide brimmed hat that obscured his face.
He studied his guest and nodded slowly “I believe so, I’m not familiar with magic, I’m not sure if I even believe in it. It all depends…I have heard stories about you, a mysterious Phantom Stanger. But are you…”
“Real?” the Stranger asks, “Perhaps, but does that truly matter for what you need?”
“No…I need your help. I understand you…know things.”
Stranger nodded “You never ask for help, and are not now.”
Batman looked back at the computer screen and shut it down, darkening the cave, save for the lights hanging above, “I am at an… impasse. I need clarity.”
Stranger nodded once again, and walked closer to Batman, “Your decision should not be taken lightly, it’s impact is great on things to come, or else I would not be here to aid you. Tell me about your problem.”
Batman looks down and sighs hesitantly “I am tired. I know I made a vow.”
Stranger nodded “A solemn vow.”
Batman shook his head trying to clear it, “A vow to protect the world from the evils that took my parents, or others like them. I have given my life to this cause, but I am tired, tired of everything. I am losing my focus… I need to know how my decision will affect the future.”
Stranger shook his head “I am sorry, but I cannot do that. The mortal mind is not prepared to accept the future, if you learn your future, your mere knowledge of is and what could be, could alter the things to come.”
Batman turned away “I thought as much.”
Stranger sighed, “there is one thing I can do for you Bruce.”
Batman turned back to face him “And what is that?”
Stranger spread open his cloak dramatically, “I can show you what could have been, and what never was. Perhaps that can ease your mind.”
Batman nodded as he stood and walked to the Stranger “I need to know. I need to know how the world would have been if I was not Batman.”
The Stranger pulled his cloak around them and when he opened it, they were in the Iceberg Lounge.
Batman looked around to see that he was still in costume and they were standing in the lounge “Not exactly where I expected to be. They can’t see us can they?” Batman said as a waitress walked past them.
Stranger shook his head “No, we are between worlds, mere phantoms to them, it is as if we do not exist.”
Batman looked at him “That’s comforting. What are we doing here?”
Stranger shrugged “We were drawn here by your subconscious this is where the Penguin operates is it not?”
Batman nodded as he and the Stranger walked to the back wall, Stranger walked through it, Batman looked at it a moment before following. There they saw the Penguin speaking on the phone. Stranger turned to Batman “Since you never became Batman, the Penguin was never shut down, he now controls all of the major crime families in Gotham. Under his reign there have been no gang wars and few deaths. However the drug trade is flourishing due to his imports business.”
Stranger held out his arm and the rooms filled with smoke, once it cleared they were in another office, only this one was occupied by “Harvey?” Batman questioned.
Stranger nodded “The Joker never made the mob scar him. He put away most of the Falcone crime family, and was recently elected Mayor. He is the first uncorrupt Mayor Gotham has head in decades.”
A woman came into the room, smiled and kissed Harvey passionately, Batman noted that the woman was pregnant “Who is this?”
Stranger stood there showing no emotion “This is Harvey’s wife, Gilda Dent. They have been married for two years and are pregnant…with twins.”
Batman sighed a moment before asking “What about Rachel? Is she alive?”
The Stranger shook his head “No, she was killed by the mob years ago. On the night she would have first met Batman.”
Batman looked down and turned away from Harvey and his wife “So Rachel was always meant to die...”
The room filled with smoke again and when it cleared Batman saw that they were in the police commissioner’s office. Batman turned to the desk expecting to see Gordon, but instead saw, “The Riddler?” he looked at the Stranger in surprise “how did this happen?”
Stranger stood still, showing no emotion “He hid his criminal activities and the Penguin made it to where he was commissioner. He is completely loyal to the Penguin. Let’s continue.”
The room filled with smoke an when it cleared they were in Arkham Asylum, outside of the chief medical officer’s office. The Stranger led them inside, Batman was surprised to see Harleen Quinzel sitting behind the desk.
“This is interesting.” Batman noted as a peaceful and serene Harley sat there going over files “She runs Arkham?”
The Stranger nods “Yes, and surprisingly quite well. Under her control the facility is making breakthroughs in treatment techniques.”
Batman looked at him confused “What happened to Strange, for that matter what about Jonathan Crane and the League of Shadows? What happened to their plan to poison Gotham?”
Stranger continued to look at Harley as he said “Carmine Falcone gave him up to Dent to buy himself some leniency. Because Batman never arrived in Gotham, the League waited longer before unleashing their plan. And Hugo Strange simply never came to Gotham. You were the only reason he came to begin with.”
Next the Stranger took them to a small apartment in Gotham. There sat a man, a woman and a small child at a dinner table.
Batman looked at them questioningly as Stranger began speaking “This man is a simple standup comedian, living happy with a wife and child. He just signed a contract with NBC, he is going to be famous.”
Batman interrupts him with some confusion in his voice “Why are you showing me this man Phantom?”
The Stranger looks at him, Batman can tell that the man is looking at him in mild surprise, “You do not know him?”
Batman looks at the man a long moment before shaking his head “No. I’ve never met him.”
Stranger shrugged, “Very well then, we will continue.”
Batman recognized the next place they came to “This is Jim Gordon’s home.” The Stranger nodded as they walked into a room where Gordon sat passed out with a bottle of cheap whiskey at his feet. Batman knelt down beside him “What happened to him?”
Stranger walked over and picked up a picture of Gordon’s wife and youngest son and daughter. He turned to Batman as a red headed woman in a police uniform came down the stairs, she kissed the unconscious man on the forehead and muttered softly “I love you dad.” Before walking out the door.
Stranger walked over to Batman and handed him the picture “The mob put out hit on him, a car bomb. It took out Gordon’s wife and two youngest children. It left him broken. His eldest child, Barbara, is now a police officer as well, she joined against his wishes and brought in the man who set the car bomb. Gordon never made above Sergeant. He was discharged from the force two years ago.”
Batman stood and walked away “Let’s go.”
The next place they came to was a brothel
“Where are we now?”
Stranger shook his head “Not where, when. We are three years in the past. This is where Selina Kyle dies.”
Batman looked at him quickly “Selina? Where?”
Stranger points to a set of stairs “there.”
Batman rushes up the stairs and through a door to see Selina arguing with her pimp, standing over the bloodied form of Selina’s young friend, Holly Robinson. Selina shouts at her pimp and slaps him in the face, the pimp grabs her and slams her to the ground. He kicks her in the jaw and rips her clothes off and proceeds to beat her as he pulls off his belt.
The Stranger puts his hand on Batman’s shoulder “We can go if you wish.”
Batman shakes his head as the Phantom Stranger continues “Selina tried to help her friend, their pimp attacked her. Selina fought back, but was beaten and raped. The pimp then beat her to death.”
Batman looked down as the pimp began choking her, “Go. Let’s just go.”
Next they are out in an alley beside a liquor store as the moon shines high in the sky. Beneath the neon lights, close-ups just began. Batman and Stranger look in the window as a boy in a mask walks in and points a pistol. The old man behind the counter raises his arms in terror as the boy waves at him with the gun. The boy yells at him to unlock the register and run. The old man runs out into the street shouting for help. Batman can hear sirens off in the distance he closes his eyes and quietly says “That’s Dick isn’t it?”
The boy pulls off his mask revealing himself to be Dick Grayson, he slumps agains the counter and hangs his head. The Stranger nods slowly “After his parents deaths, Dick Grayson left the circus. He killed Tony Zucco, the murderer of his parents, and became wanted by the police. He has been living on the streets since.” As Stranger said this sirens could be heard in the distance, Dick snaps his head up, grabs the money and runs out into the street as a squad car pulls up.
Barbara jumps out of the passenger side and yells for Dick to freeze, Dick pivots on his heel and drops to his knee and opens fire. The shot goes wild and misses, Barbara’s does not. Dick slumps to the ground, dropping the handful of cash he was holding.
Stranger shakes his head “He could have escaped, but he didn’t want to escape. He wanted release from his troubles. He wanted death.”
The world becomes smoke again and Batman finally asks “What about me? Where do I fit into this strange world?”
Stranger nods and takes them to Wayne Manor. The other Bruce is smiling as he walks down the steps into the garden. He smiles warmly at Alfred and walks over to a patio table and chairs that has a nice meal for two laid out. Bruce sits down and pulls out a newspaper. He smiles as a woman walks up to him, she is pregnant, it is Vesper.
Batman feels something catch in his throat as he watches the other him take her in his arms and kiss her, “How far along is she?”
The Stranger looks from Bruce to Batman “Mere days away. You would have a son.”
Batman looked down and breathed deeply “If I give up Batman, will there be a child in my future?”
The Phantom Stranger shook his head “Bruce I…”
Batman looked at him angrily as he shouted “Just tell me. Will Bruce Wayne have a child if Batman is gone?”
The Stranger sighed “yes, that is a likely outcome if you abandon Batman. You will find love, and happiness.”
Batman shook his head “I have to think. Take me to the corner of 500th Street and Mason Street last night.”
The Stranger brought them to the street corner just in time for them to hear two gunshots. Batman looked to see the young girl cry as her mother and father slump to the ground and the thief runs off into the night with their wallets and purse. She sits between her parents as blood begins to pool around them.
Batman closes his eyes and opens them to reveal that he is still in the cave “Was it a dream?”
The Stranger appeared from the shadows “Perhaps Bruce, perhaps not. Have you made your decision?”
Batman did not respond, he simply stood and walked over to the Batmobile “I have work to do.”
He relied flatly as he jumped into the Batmobile and sped away into the night.
The Phantom Stranger watched him go speaking softly “Batman will live on. Bruce Wayne is only a man, Batman is something greater. Whenever a matter between Bruce Wayne and the Batman arises, Batman will win, Batman will always win. Batman wants much for himself, but he is willing to sacrifice everything for others, even his own happiness. In this case, Bruce Wayne loses his peace and happiness, and Batman wins. Batman always wins."
Thanks for reading guys! This was fun to write, I enjoy doing these short stories. My next short should be "Citizen Luthor" a character study about one of the most infamous villains of all time.
Until next time
Here is a complete list of my Fan Fictions that I have done here on Comicbookmovie.com:
Here is my list of Stories I have written on CBM
Justice League of America Vs the Legion of Doom parts 1-3 (Never finished)
Batman3: End of Days
Batman 4 Darkside of the Mind
Batman 5: Shadow of the Bat
Shadow of the Bat: Part 1
Shadow of the Bat Part 2
Batman 6: Knightfall
Batman Knightfall Part 1
Batman Knightfall Part 2
Superman: The Man of Steel
Superman: The Last Kryptonian
Lobo’s Blackest Night, or: Lobo’s Posthumous X-Mas Special
Ghosts of Yesterday (Featuring Zatanna and Question)
Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD
X Men 4
I have done numerous casting on this site as well, they are very enjoyable and I put a lot of thought into them.
My Pride and Joys
330 X-Men Characters!
THEHAWK Casts the ENTIRE 108 Members of the Justice League
Casting the New Gods of Apokolips
Batman's Rouges Gallery
Wonder Woman's friends and foes
X-Men 4 Cast
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