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Title: The Call
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.


.finis.

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.)

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Comments

( 37 comments — Leave a comment )
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oflittlefaith
Oct. 9th, 2008 05:46 am (UTC)
Oh, this is nice. Wholehearted approval, sir.

Because there is always a price.
__marcelo
Oct. 9th, 2008 12:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
ratcreature
Oct. 9th, 2008 05:58 am (UTC)
Oh, that is awesome. Though now I wonder what his costume would be like instead of a Batman if he didn't make promises to The Bat he sees and talks to in canon, but to some Lovecraft monster instead. Or does he even need a costume with that backing him?
odditycollector
Oct. 9th, 2008 06:38 am (UTC)
What is this "would be" nonsense?

Batman. Batman. Batman. Batman. Batman....

(no subject) - __marcelo - Oct. 9th, 2008 12:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - __marcelo - Oct. 9th, 2008 12:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
__marcelo
Oct. 9th, 2008 12:36 pm (UTC)
I haven't written anything else, but this sort of rabbit hole has a way to drag me in, so who knows?
katarik
Oct. 9th, 2008 06:13 am (UTC)
GOD IN HEAVEN THAT'S CREEPY. AUGH.

... I want the rest of the story. Like, oh, Jason coming back.
__marcelo
Oct. 9th, 2008 12:37 pm (UTC)
Oh... I wonder who made that pact, and what was traded in exchange.
(no subject) - katarik - Oct. 9th, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
odditycollector
Oct. 9th, 2008 06:39 am (UTC)
This is pretty damn creepy. I'm loving the Lovecraft crossovers!
__marcelo
Oct. 9th, 2008 12:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
outlawpoet
Oct. 9th, 2008 09:05 am (UTC)
liking this series, obviously.

obvious weirdness for those whom Bruce is romantically involved with, but how much weirder for those that love BATMAN? Catwoman, Talia al Ghul, Zatanna, The Joker, Eddie Nigma?

Also, creeptastic overtones to those with not-so-subtle hero-worship and aping of him, like The Creeper, Green Arrow, Catman, even those in denial, like Plastic Man and Guy Gardner.

Man, the whole DC universe is going to get sucked into this series of yours, at least in my fanon.

(also, most emphatically, the lights in that cell need to be ON)
__marcelo
Oct. 9th, 2008 12:39 pm (UTC)
If Joker is human, then he's the creepiest human ever (not that he isn't anyway)...

(also, most emphatically, the lights in that cell need to be ON) Word. I suspect he's going to scream a lot every time the lights go out in prison.
sockich
Oct. 9th, 2008 10:39 am (UTC)
NOT ENOUGH HEARTS IN THE WORLD! :DDD
__marcelo
Oct. 9th, 2008 12:39 pm (UTC)
:D !
dessieoctavia
Oct. 9th, 2008 10:57 am (UTC)
That makes way too much sense. You going to do Diana too? Just to complete the set? *hopeful*

Also, you should read this.
__marcelo
Oct. 9th, 2008 12:41 pm (UTC)
Loved the story! Thanks.

I hadn't thought about Diana, but, hmm, maybe? It certainly sounds interesting!
(Deleted comment)
__marcelo
Oct. 9th, 2008 01:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Suitablity of Rating
Thanks! You're very kind *g*.
browngirl
Oct. 9th, 2008 01:35 pm (UTC)
I knew this was coming and yet it is still more terrifying and more splendid and more perfect than I could have dreamed.

*wibbles in awe*
__marcelo
Oct. 9th, 2008 01:40 pm (UTC)
I knew this was coming I hadn't. You do know me well :).
mkcs
Oct. 10th, 2008 09:14 am (UTC)
Wonderful!
__marcelo
Oct. 14th, 2008 07:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
shadowvalkyrie
Oct. 10th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC)
Here via Rubynye
Scary! But your writing style is lovely, to say so much in so few sentences.
__marcelo
Oct. 14th, 2008 07:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Here via Rubynye
Thanks so much! Glad you liked it.
arch_schatten
Oct. 12th, 2008 11:00 pm (UTC)
Uhm, uhm. The pact, meep, is not what I thought would be... because as long as it's only your soul, it's not so bad? but what can you bargain for the souls of others, when you have already bargained that? the Robins make a lot of sense, but I'm, as usual, fixated on Tim's willingness. Very much like Lois here, isn't him? The price for knowledge is never too high until it is?

I love this. I have the suspicion that Gotham as a whole is a doomed city, that something older than the beast Bruce brought over to complete his mission lives there and gives the people and the city it's.. peculiar flavor. But once you start clashing universes, it is easy to suspect of everyone. Scary as hell, and fantastic.

I would love to see Bruce and Clark first meeting in this universe, lol. Talk about awkward. I love this theme! you have a wonderful hand for horror and subtle -and not so subtle- wrongness.

Si tengo pesadillas te culpareeee :P
__marcelo
Oct. 14th, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

I think, too, that giving away your soul is, in some way, "within your rights" (I'd love to talk about that with somebody who knew more about theology than I do). Bartering with the souls of others is a different matter altogether.

I shudder to think of Dick repeating Bruce's action in Bludhaven. It's a worse city, of course (a worse demon?), but he wouldn't sacrifice anybody else to the Mission. He'd try to shoulder all of the burden himself, which will both not work and destroy him that much faster.

Come to think of that, it might explain his checkered post-Robin life, and the ultimate fate of Bludhaven... Dick refused to sacrifice an innocent, and the city paid the price.

*headdesks* And now I've talked myself into another fic. Great.
(no subject) - featherwizard - Dec. 18th, 2008 05:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - __marcelo - Dec. 18th, 2008 10:46 am (UTC) - Expand
jij
Oct. 14th, 2008 09:26 am (UTC)
The price going up is terrifying because yes, Bruce would pay any price to himself. Paying it in the souls of those he loves, though? That's true horror.
__marcelo
Oct. 14th, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC)
Yes. It creeps me a lot to think that Bruce is more than moral enough to know the wrongness of what he's doing, and yet engrossed enough in his mission to do it.
featherwizard
Dec. 18th, 2008 05:25 am (UTC)
WOW
D'ya know what's so creepy about this fic? The fact that it actually fits so very well with canon. Bruce Wayne didn't need any Lovecraftian monster to drown in ferality and madness. Canon!Batman is sacrificing his life/sanity/stability to his anger and rage anyway. No supernatural horrors needed. The superbly appropriate metaphor ends up suggesting canon!Bruce Wayne is sucking away his own sanity and that just adds...extra levels of creeping horrors.

On rereading this, I'm sorry if it sounds a little incoherent. It's the middle of exams for me and I'm exhausted.
__marcelo
Dec. 18th, 2008 10:39 am (UTC)
Re: WOW
That's a very good observation - this works as well or better as a metaphor on canon *g*.
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