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TITLE: "Only Human"
AUTHOR: mistressmarilyn
DATE: October 11, 2010
FANDOM: Twilight Saga (books and films) x Nolanverse Batman films
CHARACTERS: Carlisle Cullen and Thomas Wayne (Peter Facinelli and Linus Roache)
DISCLAIMER: I don't own 'em. They're characters belonging to Stephanie Meyer; Little, Brown & Company; and Summit Entertainment--and to DC Comics, Christopher Nolan and Warner Brothers--not to mention the respective actors of the movies, and to the ages. This is a work of a fan, done for no remuneration save the satisfaction of the work.
WARNINGS: None, really--no slash!
WORD COUNT: 999 words
AUTHOR NOTES: Written originally for the twilight_las community for the prompt Make a Stand. (I won this challenge!)


Gotham City, 1982

Carlisle moved toward the door, quicker than the human eye could follow. In fact, the one such set of eyes that did notice belonged to a 60ish man with wire-rimmed glasses. He saw Carlisle's motion as a flicker of light, and he squinted against what he thought was glare from some nonexistent sunshine, removing his spectacles and rubbing at them stubbornly. He would have no recollection of Carlisle later, as he had never really seen him at all. And since he had come to Gotham General's emergency room because of a severe headache that was soon to erupt into a brain hemorrhage, even if he had seen the ephemeral doctor, it wouldn't have mattered.

The Cullen Family and their ilk counted on the disbelief of those around them. During the past century, the world had become more and more skeptical and less superstitious, and this served those who lived just outside the lines of human civilization, as the Cullens did.

The others in the dimly lit waiting room noticed nothing more than a rush of air as the door inexplicably blew ajar. Before a nearby nurse could move to shut it, it surprised her by shutting itself, as quickly as it had opened.

Outside Carlisle rushed to the private spot where he parked his Mercedes. As he sped down the ramp, another doctor turned his head and elbowed a colleague. "There goes Cullen, late for Le Mans," he said. Carlisle's driving habits were well known at Gotham General.

It was 40 minutes to the Pallisades, and another ten to the top of the winding road that led to Wayne Manor. On foot he could have made it much faster, but he needed to make an official appearance, to enter still wearing his white coat and toting his black bag. There were more than a dozen cars parked in the gravel drive of the manor, cars with familiar insignias that announced the affluence of their owners, like Jaguar, Lexus, Infinity and even Masarati. Carlisle's car fit right in.

The Waynes' manservant, Alfred, opened the door and welcomed him. "In the conservatory, Doctor," he said. "It appears he may have slipped and hit his head."

Carlisle knew the way; he hurried past the British butler, down the hall to the northeast wing of the house. As he entered the conservatory, he couldn't help thinking of the party game, Clue, imagining Colonel Mustard wielding a candlestick.

He turned past a row of lush foliage, and saw a tableau that caught at his throat. There on the Italian marble floor lay a pale-faced Dr. Thomas Wayne, dressed for a party in a fine tuxedo; next to him squatted his young son, Bruce, wearing an expression of stunned horror.

"It's all right, Bruce," Carlisle said in his most soothing voice. "I'm here to help."

"Don't be afraid," Thomas said, trying to sit up. "I'm all right."

Carlisle went down on one knee next to his friend and colleague, reaching a hand out to gently touch the man's skull. There was no obvious fracture, but he knew Thomas could possibly have a concussion. He reached in his pocket for a small flashlight, flicked it on and studied Thomas' shrinking pupils.

"I think you're fine."

Alfred entered the conservatory behind Carlisle. "Master Bruce, come with me," he said, reaching for the boy.

Bruce rose reluctantly and allowed Alfred to take his hand, his eyes never leaving his father's face as he was led from the room. The sight of his naked love clutched at Carlisle's throat. He was a father himself--had chosen to be one--and he found no other tie as touching.

"Help me up, will you, Carlisle?"

Thomas reached around and rubbed the back of his neck. "I think I'm going to have a headache. I hate scaring Bruce that way."

"Bruce will be all right, Thomas. He's stronger than you think."

Gotham City, 1985

"Get Alice on the phone!" Carlisle said.

Esme looked quizzically at her husband, just as Edward rushed into the room.

"Carlisle--" he began.

The front page of the Gotham Times was spread across the empty dining room table, two-inch headlines announcing the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. The accompanying photograph was somewhat dark, but managed to capture the slumped bodies of Gotham's much-loved couple lying in the street, with young Bruce kneeling beside his father, eyes wide. The similarity of the scene struck Carlisle with brute force, reddening his eyes.

Edward stared at him with concern, obviously sharing the mental slideshow of his memories of Thomas Wayne, whom he originally met during his most recent stint in medical school. Their later collaboration as fellow doctors had been a rare treat for Carlisle, who counted few men among his friends during his centuries of existence.

Carlisle didn't even attempt to disguise his pain at the loss of his friend. Or of the innocence of his friend's son.

Forks, Washington, 2006

Carlisle sat flipping through the Gotham Times; he had the Sunday edition mailed to him every week, along with the Chicago Tribune, London's Daily Telegraph and the Wall Street Journal. He found several articles about the mysterious Batman, about the creature's reported superhuman speed and freakish acrobatic abilities, climbing up the side of skyscrapers and soaring through the Gotham night. If he didn't know better, he'd believe this Batman was one of their own.

But he did know better, thanks to Alice.

He had always sensed that Thomas Wayne's son was stronger than he appeared. Evidently the events of the years since his parents' death had served as a forge to steel his strength, both mental and physical. And now he was taking on the most dangerous city in the world, seemingly single-handedly.

Carlisle picked up the phone and dialed a number he knew by heart. He hesitated, just for a moment, not sure how he would ever explain himself.

But Bruce Wayne was only human. And he would eventually need a good doctor.

{fini}