BATMAN : THE WAKE
Plotted and written by Batwoman
Tim : It's alright, Bruce. It's just us.
Bruce : Go away.
Tim : No. You need help, we all do. Scarecrow's back. He seems to be fully prepared this time. Gotham needs Batman.
Bruce : Batman is gone. You all know that.
Jason : Then why are you wearing his suit? You've been wearing it for one full month.
Bruce : Leave me alone.
Helena : No. We always listen to you, Bruce, always. Now you get to listen to us.
Tim : She's right. Come on, there's still one thing we need to do.
One day later :
It's raining. The sky and clouds are grey. Mourning takes-over the Wayne residence.
A plane faster than any other lands on the fields surrounding Wayne Manor. Martian Manhunter, The Flash and the Justice Society of America step out and walk towards the Manor's back door. They knock three times, and the door slowly opens. The heroes find a stairway behind an opened clock, and they begin to walk on down The stairs.
In the Bat-Cave, a multitude of other members of the super-hero community are gathered. Superman and Los Lane share a memory about their first visit to Wayne Manor.
Lois : He was so kind. The kindest man I've ever met, even more than Clark.
Clark : Well, I can't disagree on that one.
Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak have just arrived.
Oliver : I'll be back, Felicity, go meet Green Lantern...
Oliver walks to the Cave's Museum area. There, he finds shattered glass cases and pieces of old costumes scattered around the floor. Only one costume is still in one piece, and there's a man in front of it.
Oliver : Bruce...
Bruce doesn't answer.
Oliver : I'm sorry. About Alfred, about everything...
Bruce : Thank you, Oliver.
Oliver : You're welcome. So... You're hanging out the cape and cowl, huh?
Bruce : This city deserves a better Batman than I was.
Oliver : But Bruce... You ARE Batman. What are you planning to do?
Bruce : I'll stay here, in the Cave, filling in on Alfred's role : I'll take care of everyone while they're out there.
Oliver : I see. Tell me, do you remember what I used to say to my enemies before I killed them? All the way back to when I returned from Lian Yu?
Bruce : You told them that they had failed their city.
Oliver : So don't fail yours, Bruce. Gotham has always needed Batman, and now it needs him the most. Don't fail Gotham...
Bruce : I have already failed, Oliver. I can't allow myself to fail again.
Oliver : That's what I thought after Merlyn leveled The Glades, killing my best friend. That's what I thought when Deathstroke killed my mother and almost wiped-out Starling. But after all those tragedies, those defeats, I rose again, stronger and stronger. We fall so that we can learn from our mistakes. And like a friend once told me, we honor the dead by fighting. So fight, Bruce, just like you taught me to. Like you taught all of us...
Oliver walks away, as Bruce stares at his cowl.
An hour later, Bruce, Dick, Tim, Jason, Clark and Oliver carry Alfred's coffin into the Wayne Manor graveyard. Everyone is out there, silent.
Bruce : Thank you all for coming. Alfred Pennyworth was my real father. I spent more moments of my childhood with him than I did with my biological father. We played. We laughed. We loved each other. After my parents were shot, Alfred's parental role came into full form. And as years passed, and I became what I became, our bond grew stronger. He was always there to patch me up, and as more people joined us, he was there for them, too. From a scratch on my knees to getting my back broken, Alfred was always there. And now that he was taken from us... I honestly don't know how I will carry on. Thank you, Alfie, get some rest... You deserve it.
Raindrops start to pour down on the green grass.
After the ceremony finishes and everyone leaves, Bruce calls Oliver to the Cave.
Bruce : Oliver. Thank you. Now I know what I have to do. You've taught me a lesson I've known from the very first time I put on that cowl : Batman never dies. Never.
Oliver : You need anything, you know where to find me.
Later, Bruce and Tim are walking in the fields.
Tim : The city was re-named " Gothtopia ". This new Mayor really intends to bring some big changes.
Bruce : Gotham evolves, Batman evolves. That's why I called you, Tim. I'm leaving. I'm not sure for how long, but I'm leaving, and Gothtopia will need Batman.
Tim : Bruce... Don't...
Bruce : You've shown unique leadership during the attacks. You kept them all togheter despite what happened. You are my best student, Tim, even better than Dick. I need you to be Batman until I return.
Tim : Bruce. I don't know if I'll be able to fit on your shoes...
Bruce : Then don't. Don't be the Batman of Gotham, and be the Batman of Gothtopia.
The sun begins to rise from the horizon.
Bruce : Will you be able to do that for me?
Tim : ...
The sun now faces Wayne Manor, lighting it with an organge light.
Tim : Yes.
END OF PHASE ONE
Special thanks to everyone who supported the stories of Phase One :
Arkhamverse : September 2015
. Batman : Knight of Vengance #5
Tim Drake vs Mr. Zasz, with the fate of innocent souls hanging in the balance.
. Batwoman #4
The new arc begins, as the Red Bat is named an outlaw. Plus, Bette Kane, Kate's younger cousin, returns to the city.
. Batman : The Awakening #4
Bruce and the Bat-Family find themselves at war with Nanda Parbat.
Thanks TheCat for the signature and the avatar !
Formerly known as Red Robin 1999