Rating: PG13 (dammit! I suck at this, it should at least be an R!)
Fandom: DC AU.
Author Notes: DC Comics meets Lovecraft again, only this time in a slightly darker way (not as dark, of course, as it could be, this being Gotham and all.)
Something lifts him by an ankle, picking him off the alley faster than he can scream. There's a shape in the night's darkness, and eyes in the shape. There is blood on your hands hisses the night in a voice far from human. Confess.
It shifts itself closer to the light coming from the street, close enough for him to guess its shape.
He screams, and he doesn't stop when it drops him to the ground, or when he finds a policewoman, or when he finally convinces her to take him to the Police Station. He doesn't stop screaming until he is safe in a cell, as far away from the night as he can.
* * *
The thing inside and outside you doesn't speak in any language fit for human ears, but the bond that links you both through your shared flesh lets you know that madness and terror are to it as the sun and rain to a field.
All the long years of travels, study, and preparation will finally pay. Your deal will be honored: Gotham's underground will be a bountiful hunting ground for the thing you brought from beyond, and you will have your revenge, and make the night safe for everybody else. Just as you dreamed the first night you slept with your parents under the ground.
It will slowly drive you mad, and finally kill you, but that's a price you are more than willing to pay.
* * *
A few years later, the price goes up. It is no longer crime, but sheer madness what you are fighting, and that demands a stronger boon.
You refuse at first. You refuse for months.
When the acrobats are killed in front of your eyes, you realize you never really had a choice.
The boy is fearless and willing. That's no excuse, but it's consolation.
You almost want to sing when he leaves, even if that could doom Gotham. You've come to care more about him than about the city itself. Then he settles in Bludhaven to repeat your rites, and the thing you become at night laughs at you through the day.
You loved the second boy more than the night, and the night punished you by taking him at once, instead of wound- and loss-wise, as per the deal.
Grief maddens you, and it's no longer possible to distinguish between the demon and the man, until a boy comes to your door, knowing the need, willing -understanding- the sacrifice.
You want to send him away, but the demon says no. You will die some night.
Somebody must carry on the covenant.
Post-story Author Note: A young Bruce making a deal with a Great One to fight Gotham's criminals isn't, given the deal he did make in canon, that unexpected or horrible (and would explain why the Batman seems to feed on their fear - it's because he does (also, it explains why mad people have relatively better chances against him, as they aren't crippled by handicaps like euclidean thinking and silly notions about Things That Shouldn't Exist)). What really surprised me while writing this fic was the price going up, and what that entailed.
Suddenly, the Robin thing made a lot more sense.
(Mutatis mutandis -a demon for another- this is perhaps not necessarily *that* far away from canon in any case.)