The Dark Knight Rises: Weapon of the Shadows

Chapter Eighteen

Cassandra loved this gun that made it easy to climb the ventilation tunnels. She stopped the fan like Selina had shown her, opened the grill, and looked at the roof. Batman fought Father! She gripped the grill's lip. Selina sat up, taking deep breaths after every movement. Cassandra pulled herself out of the metal box and dropped into the shadows.

She recognized Batman's blocks and punches. She had fought those same moves. Bruce was Batman! No wonder Selina was so sad in Hong Kong. It also explained Bruce's agitation with Batman stuff.

Father somersaulted backwards and kicked Batman in the chin. Batman didn't fall, but Father landed behind Selina. Selina kicked, but he twisted her ankle and caught her in a headlock. They talked about Cassandra. Bruce was supposed to be her target. That's why his picture was in her room. Father said he loved her. But then he told them what she had done, what he told her was a game.

The blow delivered by words nearly knocked Batman over, but he recovered. Bruce would be angry at her like Blake was angry at Selina. The word blow made Selina think hard. Her thoughts made Selina laugh.

Under the mask, Cassandra gaped. Batman cocked his head slightly. Father shook Selina to cover his confusion.

"No kill." Selina laughed. "Your gun don't shoot no more. You ruined it."

Cain's arm tightened around her neck. "You ruined her! You filled her head with pacifist shit!"

"She reads people like she feels every detail herself." Selina stared at Batman. He nodded slightly. "You made her kill, she felt his death, and she's been running from you ever since." Selina laughed again.

Cassandra pressed her hand on her heart. If it beat any louder, they would hear it. Selina knew she hadn't chosen bad. Now Bruce knew too.

Father's face darkened in the harsh orange light. "She would have come back if you hadn't interfered."

"No kill. She said that so proudly in every fight. I didn't teach her that. That was her final lesson from you, Daddy Dearest."

Father snarled and shifted his arms to break Selina's neck. Batman moved forward. Cassandra screamed, "STOP!"

Father whirled in the direction of her voice, dragging Selina with him. Cassandra sidestepped in the shadows until she was behind Batman. Selina's groans covered her. "Cassandra, show yourself," Father ordered.

She pulled out the money she got from the Cobblepott man. Jobs were over once Father was paid. She threw the bundle as hard as she could. It hit Father in the chest before it landed in front of Selina.

"I think that belongs to you." Selina pointed to the money with her left hand. Cassandra moved back halfway to her original position.

"You've had your fun." Father glared into the shadows. "Now it's time to come home."

"It's clear she doesn't want to go anywhere with you." Batman said in a growly voice.

"I won't hurt them if you're a good girl." Father threw Selina down. She yelled when she landed on her damaged right shoulder. Batman surged forward, but Father rested his boot on Selina's ribcage. Batman froze. "She took care of you. Don't make me break more of her ribs for that."

Cassandra shuddered. If Father dropped his weight on Selina's ribs, they would crack into her lung. Cassandra pulled back her shoulders, didn't step on the too-long cape, and entered the pool of light. "No hurt Selina."

Father lifted his foot off Selina. "There you are. Take that silly mask off."

The rubber and fabric pressed tighter against her skin. She curled her hands into fists at her sides. "No. Me hero."

"What did you say?" He stepped toward her, leaving Selina.

Her whole body quivered. This mess was her fault. Anyone can be a hero. Father stalked closer. She lifted her chin. "Me hero. Me clean my mess!" She sprinted and leaped. Her legs wrapped around Father's neck. The borrowed cape swirled around them as she pulled them down. She punched his right shoulder before she rolled away.

Batman stepped closer to them. She pointed to Selina while Father rolled onto his hands and knees. Batman slid into a stance protecting Selina but faced their fight. Cassandra swept out of her crouch with a kick to Father's right shoulder.

Father backhanded her. She hit the roof and rolled as he dropped his foot. He stepped on the cape and kicked his other foot. She grabbed it before it hit her hip. She shoved up and Father's balance toppled. She darted to the side while he regained his footing.

Her eyes darted around their battleground. They were closer to the roof edge than Selina. She circled. Father matched her movement. She stopped when his back was in front of the edge, and lunged forward.

He swung his fist, but she ducked and kicked his knee. He stepped back before kicking. Cassandra jumped over his leg and drove her elbow into his thigh. He staggered back and swiped above her head as she ducked again.

"Me good." She coiled down. He shifted to grab her. "Me stop you!" She leaped and wrapped her body around his neck and shoulders. Her fists pummeled his head. "Me good! Me good!" Father staggered as she threw her weight back.

"NO!" Selina screamed as Cassandra and Father toppled off the building.

The cape whipped up through the air. Cassandra punched Father repeatedly, not stopping until they reached the ground. She heard the grapple gun fire. Father pulled her arm and leg, but she clung tighter.

Father's body collided with something. He punched her stomach and her grip loosened. He yanked her limbs off him.

Another arm wrapped around her waist. Batman held Father with his legs. The street lights retreated and the capes fluttered down. She banded her arms around Batman's neck, so he had both arms free. The grapple wire hooked to his gold belt dragged them over the roof's little wall. Batman kicked Father away as he released him, but set her on her feet.

Batman pounced on Father. One gloved fist yanked Father up by his shirt. "You're lucky I'm not the executioner Ra's wanted me to be." His other fist moved as fast as hers, and Father's bloody face fell on the asphalt roof.

Cassandra blinked and Batman kneeled in front of her. Bruce's worried eyes raked over her from behind the cowl. The rest of his body was too still and she couldn't read him. Her eyes watered. "Me good?"

His exhale exploded out as he hugged her. "Yes, yes, you are," Bruce's voice said into her ear. He let her go and set a pair of handcuffs into her hands. "You earned it."

She sniffled as she looked down at Father. She closed the metal around his right wrist, tugged his left ankle up and closed the other handcuff around it. He wouldn't get out of a half-hogtie. Batman held out his hand and she took it.

Selina propped up on a shaky left arm and panted through gritted teeth. Cassandra whimpered as Selina twisted to sit on her glutes. Batman kneeled in front of Selina. "How bad are you hurt?"

"I'm not walking down the stairs." Blood was smeared with her lipstick, but she still smirked.

Footsteps pounding up the stairs wiped away Selina's smirk. Batman touched her cheek and spoke like Bruce. "I'll find you."

He sprinted to the edge of the roof. Cassandra cried out as he jumped, but Selina grabbed her arm. His cape stiffened like a hang glider and he floated out of sight.

The rooftop access door banged open. Two uniformed police officers jumped out with their guns pointed up, but right behind them stormed a brown-haired and mustached man wearing a trench coat. Cassandra's mouth dropped open. Father earned the Commissioner's attention?

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