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Taken for Granted

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A siren screeches out, reverberating throughout empty halls and bringing several figures to wake. All beings now on alert, they scramble for their weaponry littered amongst them.

“Where are we?” Dick blurts out, groaning as he is forced to ignore the nausea of standing up while only having recently awoken. As it abated, however, his ability to comprehend his surroundings improved. Beside him stood Damian, the current Robin, who provided no solid expression whilst he contemplated sheathing his sword. Soon joining them was Jason and Tim, the former keeping his guns to his chest in the case that the persistent ringing brought about any threats and the latter simply standing about, observing their companions.

Off to the far side of the hall was the Justice League, gathering their wits in a far slower manner and looking about. Superman, bombarded suddenly with the shriek of the sirens, fought to reel in his powers, as did WonderWoman who leaned against the wall for support. Before them, Martian Manhunter stood stoic, awaiting any incoming threats as Green Lantern and Flash watched Cyborg attempt to bring up his systems in the case that he may be able to stop the alarms.

Suddenly, the alarms shut off without warning and, based on Cyborg’s surprised reaction, it wasn’t his doing. This was apparent by the rushing of people of varying appearances adorning staff clothing into the hall, blocking off the entrance to it as they held forth tasers and batons.

Alarmed at the group’s evident weaponry, some people up front cried out to the back, “Someone call the police! And call over the Mistress and Master! Quick! The intruders are armed!!”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, calm down, sir. We don’t intend to cause any harm. We’re the Justice League,” Barry smiled to the people, seemingly panicked at the prospect of facing off with the police.

“I’m not with them and I fully intend to shoot you all down if you don’t let us through,” Jason interjected, earning him glares from Dick, Tim, and the League, Damian giving no visual nor verbal input.

Everyone seemed to pause, though, at a smooth, however confident voice booming from behind the blockade.

“We refuse to cater to the whim of criminals. Although, if you wish to pass through our people, we ask that you not harm them. These men and women are each individually treasured souls within this world and if you respond to their attempts at maintaining peace within this manor, as is part of their job description, we will respond with violence.”

At that, the center of the blockade separated, making way for a man and woman, presumably a couple, through. Both people, although seemingly aged and in their mid-fifties, sustained a presence of youth, features proving to have once depicted natural beauty on their faces. They adorned fashionable wear that must have been incredibly expensive, the man wearing a midnight blue Armani suit while the woman wore a simple, scarlet hued, silk gown topped off by a pearly white jacket of some sort, although not obscuring the midst of her figure.

As the man made his way forward, the woman stopped and waited, clutching at a pearl necklace.

Superman, meanwhile, in hopes of negotiating, walked towards the man correspondingly, raising his hands to show his lack of harmful intent at the presumed servants’ sudden willingness to charge towards him. Soon enough, the two men were no more than two feet before one another.

“Hi, sir, we deeply apologize for the intrusion,” Superman started, adopting a posture that displayed sheepishness at their being caught in such a situation. “We were formerly quarreling with some counterparts of ours,” he gestured at the batkids, “and suddenly found ourselves waking here. We are the Justice League, and we hope that you can give way for us to exit your estate.”

The man’s eyes seemed to narrow for a moment, scrutinizing Superman, although suddenly explained when J’onn inquired, “You do not happen to have that here, do you, sir,” sustaining a tone of statement rather than question. In response, the man’s eyes scanned over the group and he looked to ignore answering before he let out a firm, “No.”

“No Justice League? Here? That means-“ Flash started, soon cut off by Tim, who was struck by realization and, judging from the furrowing of his eyebrows, a hint of confusion. “We got transported to another universe.”

Turning once more to the man, Superman continued. “Look, sir, we are truly sorry for this intrusion, and we know our situation sounds confusing, but would it be too much to ask if you could tell us where we are?”

Once again, the man stayed silent, unnerving the League and the boys with the familiar imagery of their reserved, however harsh companion that, lucky for the strangers before them, wasn’t around. A period of indecision, however, ends as he speaks, just as WonderWoman was about to open her mouth to speak. “Wayne Manor. You people are currently at Wayne Manor.”

Slight realization dawns upon the entirety of the group and they look around once more to realize that the barren hall they stood in did happen to maintain a sense of familiarity, that of which was confirmed by the statement of their having currently occupied Batman’s home. This looked relieving to Superman, however, as he stammered out, “Oh, well, if that’s the case, then can you let us through here? We can force our way out but, really, we don’t want to resort to violence. We have a friend around we might be able to nego-“

He was countered with a strict, “No.” The man continued, “Like I said, we do not cater to criminals, if that’s what you people really are. Furthermore, we won’t consider the credibility of statements coming from supposed strangers to this place who wear spandex and freakish outfits. If you even think that you can get through us with random claims that you’re good people, think again. We may be rich but we are not stupid. Surely, you should have a reason for being here and carting around deadly weapons. We don’t know how you got in without triggering our alarm systems when you set foot in here, but if you don’t give us a valid reason to let you go, we will turn you in to the police.”

The man’s glare made sure his statement was final, capable of sending shivers of familiarity down everyones’ spines. Those of the batfamily, however, were unaffected.

“Look here, old man-!” Jason demanded, frustrated at the man’s firm intent to keep them there. Rushing to maintain any semblance of trust and innocence, Dick shot forth. “Look, sir, once again, we’re sorry, but really, we have an acquaintance here that could perhaps confirm who we are. Please, he might even be here in this manor.”

A questionable eyebrow came from both the man and woman, the latter still clutching the necklace to her chest with anxiety and concern adorning her features as well.

Catching wind of Dick’s idea, Superman hardened his tone once again, looking at the man who, standing at his full height, came eye to eye with him. “He’s right, sir. Please, just call forward this manor’s resident Bruce, he can possibly give insight on our situation.”

The completion of that sentence seemed to flip a switch within the room and the servants held a heated anger within their eyes. Before Superman, the old man and woman’s expression morphed into a sickened rage and the man bellowed forth, “What is this, some kind of joke?! How dare you even insinuate that we can turn to him?!”

The confusion expressed by the intruders didn’t seem to calm the group’s anger.

“No, sir, it’s just, we’re sorry if we thought your Bruce held any ties to you, we just thought he’d be the best candidate to help us out here,” WonderWoman stepped forward, Hal growing impatient behind her as Barry and Victor adopted concerned expressions. J’onn, meanwhile, dawned an expression of realization and the batkids gave no indication that they felt anything in the situation.

In retaliation to this, the man snapped at them once more, “It’s not only that!! How dare you even imply that you have some sort of understanding with Bruce! You people barge into our home, threaten us, and then pretend to even know our son in hopes of escaping! You’re all sickening, whoever you are! You people will meet justice for this!”

The man’s eyes grew wet as he exclaimed this, the woman in the far back holding her free hand to her mouth as her brows furrowed, but in rage or sorrow for some offhand reason, no one could tell.

Once again, Superman grew defensive of their claims. “We aren’t claiming to know Bruce, we do.” Although the topic of his former best friend struck a nerve with him, he proceeded. “Bruce’s favorite book series as a child was Sherlock Holmes. His birthday is February 19th and he’s allergic to cinnamon. His hero figure as a kid was Zorro, and he loves knowledge. He grew up being a fast learner and his favorite color is midnight blue, although he finds it’s counterpart of an icier shade like those of his eyes to be as equally appealing.”

With every word, the rage in the man’s face seemed to become drained, suddenly replaced with a look of realization and grieving. Suddenly, his knees buckled and he fell to the floor, tears streaming down his face, as did his presumed wife while someone in the blockade shot forth to support her.

Tim let out a startled “Oh” and J’onn grievingly averted his gaze, the two of them seeming to come to an understanding of their situation. Meanwhile, the rest of the group stood confused and concerned.

“Sir, are you okay?” Superman whispered out, kneeling before the old man and lending him a hand up.

Temporarily regaining his voice after a short silence, the man turned to the blockade. “Call off the police. Tell them it’s a false alarm.” One person ran from the group, doing just that.

The old man turned to Superman and took the hand up as he attempted to dry his tears. As they did that, the woman in the silk dress came to them, standing beside what everyone assumed was her husband. She spoke no words but a quick exchange of glances between the presumed couple seemed to be all that the couple needed to compose themselves.

“We’re sorry for our persistence, but we believe you can be trusted, for now. Some of what you said has been known to the public but most of it is something only we’ve known,” the man informed. Beside him, the woman smiled and spoke for the first time, her voice coming out rich and velvety despite her age, with a hint of nostalgia. “I can’t even remember the last time Bruce felt the need to remind us about his favorite color anymore but god knows I would give anything for him to do it again, no matter how annoying it sometimes got.”

The woman let out a weak whimper at the end of her sentence, voice breaking, and the old man gripped her hand, stroking her arm to try and comfort her. Still, the group remained confused and, at the sight of this, the old man explained once again.

“Sorry, I don’t think we introduced ourselves properly. I’m Thomas Wayne and this is my wife, Martha Wayne. We’re Bruce’s parents.”

Anticipating misunderstanding, Thomas continued, cutting off any excited inputs from his second long pause.

“However, Bruce died over 20 years ago.”