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Thunder King

Batman/Nightcrawler: Brimstone Avenger

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Dark skies threatened rain, there was an ominous chill in the air. The trip had originally been for pleasure. He was walking down the street when he heard the rumors of a demon child. He smelled foul and looked fouler, capable of vanishing into the night. He stole the breath of children for his foul magic. Bruce Wayne, naturally dismissed these rumors as folksy superstitions. However, he kept a keen ear, picking out the details as to where this supposed 'demon child' was.

It had been two days with the rumors in the air. He had been stalking from place to place, trying to maneuver to find more about the demon child. Soon, he heard horrifying news; a group of locals had cornered the child in an old church, threatening to burn it down.

He rushed across the wide plain, feet thumping on soft, moist ground. It had rained earlier, and looked like it might again. At any moment, it seemed, like the air was waiting patiently for the right moment.

Like everything else, he calculated the storm into his plans. Account for every variable, whenever you can. That was always his game plan. It had always served him well, and it would serve him well tonight.

The crowd was large, all holding flashlights and various improvised weapons. He did a quick head-count and scanned the crowd for anyone who looked especially dangerous. Nobody seemed to know what they were doing. They were angry, sure, but not trained. None of them even carried proper weapons.

He pulled his grapple pistol from his belt and raised it to the highest part of the church, grabbing on to a ledge. A few moments later, he was standing inside the church. It was old, probably hadn't seen regular use in a few dozen years or more.

“Vater unser im Himmel, geheiligt werde dein Name.†That was a prayer, in a soft, scared voice. He didn't trust his German, but the meter of that prayer was beyond language. He stalked forward, feet gently touching the planks, hoping not to step on a particularly weak or creaky one. Last thing he needed was to spook the child into running into the angry mob by accident.

“...dein Reich komme dein Wille geschehe, wie im Himmel so auf Erden.†He was getting closer to the voice.

He almost missed the boy, because he was nearly invisible. If it weren't for the boy's soft voice, he would never have noticed him at all. Huddled in a corner, a small figure was bent down and shaking. From fear, from anger, he couldn't tell. He couldn't get a good look, had no idea what he looked like.

“Unser tägliches Brot gib uns heute. Und vergib uns unsere Schuld, wie auch wir vergeben unsern Schuldigern...†Now that he was closer, it was clear the boy was sobbing.

“Ich ben Amerikaner...†He said. “I will help you.†He tried his best to pantomime. He didn't quite trust his German enough, and hoped his gestures would be sufficient.

“I...speak English. Not good...†The boy said.

Batman merely nodded at the boy, then extended his hand, from which the child recoiled.

“Those people...†He said, pointing towards the window. “Burn...verbrennen...†He struggled to find the right word, but the boy understood.

Batman could see it in his eyes. Either go with the strange man in dark colors, or burn alive. One was possible death, the other, certain. The boy made a smart choice and reached for his hand.

Batman grabbed the boy as gently as he could and put him on his back. He no longer cared for secrecy or stealth, at least not at that point. Batman took something from his pocket and placed it on the window. He mimed putting his hands on his ears, and the boy did the same, keeping his legs in place so as not to fall.

The small charge burst and the glass collapsed. Normally, he would have simply jumped through the glass, but not with a small child on his back. With that, he reached out and attached a hook to a nearby beam. “Hold!†He grunted, commanding the child to grip more firmly.

Turning out of the window, he rappelled down the wall. He hit the ground and started running from the crowd. Let them burn the old church, they'd never realize the boy hadn't been inside.

A little later, Batman pried open the window to his hotel room. Always get a room with a window, never know when you have to use it as an exit or an entrance. He climbed inside and the boy detached.

It was then, finally, that he got a good look at the boy. He was small, no older than about thirteen or maybe fourteen years old. He was blue. Batman blinked. The boy was blue, with blue hair and yellow eyes. He had only two fingers and a thumb on each hand, and only two toes on each foot. He had a tail, it seemed to twitch slightly, the boy was very, very frightened.

“Why...you help?†He said, clearly struggling with a language that wasn't his own.

“It's...what I do.†He said, not even trying to communicate it.

He thought about why he brought the boy to his room. His instincts had taken over, the same instincts that lead him to comfort Dick years ago. Those self-same instincts to protect and save the innocent drove him. No child should ever suffer as he had, that was his goal. Besides, the boy barely understood English, and even then, it was unlikely that he understood exactly what was going on anyway.

“Family?†He asked.

“Nein.†Came the boy's response.

“Name?â€

“Kurt...Kurt Wagner.â€

Batman picked up a nearby phone, a private number that was virtually impossible to decrypt.

“Bruce? I thought you were in Germany?†Came the voice, a young woman.

“I know, Oracle, I am. I need you to do a search on a Kurt Wagner, blue skin, blue hair, tail...â€

“Oookay...well, results are spotty. He was found in an orphanage, raised by some nuns. Let's see...ran away. German authorities aren't even looking for him.â€

“Affirmative. I'll be heading home tonight.â€

“Care for a private jet?†She asked.

“Yes, I'm going to get out as fast as I can. I'm bringing home a guest.â€

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