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Immortal Youth

Chapter Text

  

The dark silhouette observed the decrepit boarded up abandoned building from his position outside. From his research, the building used to be an animation studio called “Joey Drew Studio”, which produced the locally popular cartoon show Silly Vision , during the 1900s. However, for unknown reasons the place fell out of business. Overtime, the building was never touched nor torn down for a new business to be built like numerous other abandoned buildings did after the Great Depression. It was like some driving force around said former studio kept people away by its overwhelming dark aura alone, screaming danger if dared to be tampered with. Many of the locals called the building cursed or bad news, even the children and teens were smart enough to steer clear of the area. That’s all the information the overly paranoid silhouette had, therefore it was enough to stir up suspicion within the dark knight of Gotham City.

 

The disguised man had gotten wind of the place during a conversation with an animation studio director his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, had decided to donate money towards to keep them in business, having been a fan of their cartoons while he was younger. It was a slip of tongue by the drunk intern, that was accompanying the animation director at the party he was throwing at his mansion. The intern was promptly scolded by the director, who explained to Bruce Wayne that the animation industry in America over the span of time considered the abandoned yet-still-somehow-standing animation studio ‘taboo.’ When the billionaire asked why, the director hesitated before replying, “No one knows really, nevertheless I would never in my right mind be even ten miles caught near that place.” That was the end of that. No one brought it up again, the topic obviously greatly uneased the director.

 

That left Batman with a new mission; to investigate the abandoned studio every floor, to every corner, to every inch of the sacred taboo building among animators and locals. Batman was alone that night, Robin was grounded for the week after his Cadmus stunt with the other proteges two days ago. The dark knight approached the doors before kicking said door down off its weak rusted hinges. Powering on his night vision, that was part of his mask by a hidden button on his suit, he stepped into the building, gracefully jumping over the medium sized hole in the wooden floor.

 

Not even fives seconds into investigating, Batman found his first clue. Not even a few feet away from the hole in the floor.

 

The rectangular yellowed piece of paper sat forgotten on the rotting floor of the studio, loopy flowing big handwriting faced the ceiling. The caped crusader crouched down for a closer look. ‘What do we have here?’ Batman thought, reading what he identified as a very old letter.

 

‘Dear Henry,

 

It seems like a lifetime since we worked on cartoons together.

30 years really slips away, doesn’t it?

 

If you’re back in town, come visit the old workshop.

 There’s something I need to show you.

 

            Your best pal, Joey Drew’

 

Narrowing his eyes at the letter, he carefully bagged the letter in a plastic bag before storing it on safely on his person.

Chapter Text

Advancing down the hallway, Batman ignored the fading aged posters of unimportant cartoon characters (he wasn’t here for the cartoons after all), in favor of inspecting the still moving three film wheels on the right side of the wall in suspicion. He turned his attention to what he recognized as a old film projector facing towards the wall. The projectors light was on, the screen blank. The bat narrowed his eyes, wondering if the building wasn’t as abandoned as he thought.

 

Nevertheless, the dark caped crusader pushed onward, scouting the room for clues and evidence. Evidence of what? He wasn’t quite sure himself, but the man was known for being through with investigations, or even simply on a hunch-- never giving up in seemingly the worst needle in the haystack scenario. This kind of determination and stubbornness led the hero to solving various cases...and as equally sleep deprived all-nighters. Yes, Batman was not a force to be reckoned with in the intelligence department or the fighting one. Batman threw up his guard even more. The electricity in the studio should have been cut off decades ago, yet, the invention of times past was running smoothly.

 

~=~

 

After a through investigation of the first floor, gathering clues, observations, brief shock at discovering a cartoons corpse, no one coming to confront him, and taking notes-- the dark knight decided to call it a night and review what he had so far. Try to piece together bits of the puzzle offered from the first floor of mysterious studio, from his own sanctuary of his Bat Cave.

 

He had came across a set of various items, he deemed as peculiar and/or important.

 

The first item he chose to inspect was a tape recording with the name ‘Wally Franks’ written on the back of the tape with ink. The handwriting was borderline chicken scratch. The bat pressed play of the tape, listening what the tape contained for the first time.

 

“At this point, I don’t get what Joey’s plan is for this company. The animations sure aren’t being finished on time anymore. And I certainly don’t see why we need this machine. It’s noisy, it's messy. And who needs that much ink anyway? ... Also, get this, Joey had each of us donate something from our work station. We put them on these little pedestals in the break room. To help appease the gods, Joey says. Keep things going. I think he’s lost his mind, but, hey, he writes the checks. But I tell you what, if one more of these pipes burst, I'm outta here.”

 

Machine?  Gods?  Was Joey practicing dark magic? He recalled the pedestals mentioned from the studio, though two were knocked over and the rest collecting dust. The dark knight remembered a machine that looked that a axe was hacked into it. He picked up the book, skimming through the pages, being rewarded by the sight of pentagrams.

 

What in the hell…

 

This only served to cement Batman’s resolve on solving the mystery that was Joey Drew Studios.

 

~=~

Sammy slowly inhaled the fresh air around him into his lungs, banjo delicately positioned on his lap from the lawn chair he was sitting upon outside. He admired the nature around him that was made up by the green lush woods around him, savoring every moment. Birds sang their morning songs hidden in the trees, two squirrels in Sammy’s peripheral vision scurried from tree to tree in a game of tag, the gentle breeze whooshing and danced to what the man perceived as the language of wind he would never begin to understand-- however he had a language of his own with his music. The rising sun’s rays caressed his skin, the illuminated sky around the sphere of blinding light was painted with gorgeous purples, oranges, and reds. The sight never failed to make the young looking man awe-struck. Releasing the air from his lungs, the long haired brunette lad with a low ponytail smiled softly with a content hum. Sammy hummed a upbeat unnameable tune of the past, only known to him, feeling at peace with himself and his surroundings. The man set his attention back to his banjo for tuning.

 

Once the instrument in question was properly tuned, Sammy started playing tune after tune to his heart's content.

Chapter Text

I plucked the last note of the tune on my banjo, feeling the chord resonate through my entire being. Once the chord died out, a deep smiling calm voice spoke up from behind me, “Up at the crack of dawn again? I don't know how you do it.” Used to the war veteran sneaking around in the morning, I dryly retorted, listening to the heavy footsteps walk across the deck of the patio, “Looks who's talking, Henry, I could say the same to you.”

 

Henry chuckled good naturedly, taking a seat in the chair next to me, “Sammy, you're up one hour before me!”

 

“Your point?”I scoffed, despite the playful crooked smirk tugging at the corners of my lips. Henry shook his head, rolling his eyes and pushing at my lanky shoulder. Not being able to help myself I let out some laughs, Henry joining me heartily. Soon, our laughter died down. A long peaceful silence was shared between us, watching the last of the sunrise together. Listening to the birds chirping, the lazy chilly morning breeze ruffling our clothing. I closed my eyes, feeling blessed to be miles upon miles away from that cursed studio of nightmares and horrors. I absentmindedly strummed a rag on the banjo, as my thoughts swept me away into darker territory.

 

Fortunately, Henry broke me out of thoughts by speaking up with the simple statement of; “The others should be awake soon.”

 

He was right, I noted, watching the last moments of the rebirth of the sun. I stood up, banjo securely in hand as I walked into the cabin we shared, “I better get started on breakfast.”

 

After I put away the banjo, Henry followed my lead into the kitchen. “I’ll set the table,”He volunteered as he did every morning, tossing me the apron hung on one of the kitchen chairs. I caught the apron, tugging it on, gathering ingredients, and getting to work. The smell of bacon, eggs, and pancakes wafted into the air after a time, along with the sound of the clanks of porcelain plates and silverware utensils being set on the kitchen table by Henry, while I busily focused on cooking.

 

Cooking was like music. Certain ingredients had to be added and mixed, like certain chords on a instrument had to be struck to make a tune-- timing was also a component. Cooking had become a hobby of his, it was enjoyable. He wouldn't admit he liked the delighted reactions towards his cooking too, hiding it behind modesty and his ‘grumpy’ personality.

 

As he set a good portion of the cooked bacon, eggs, and pancakes onto each of the plates, he heard the sound of pattering footsteps coming closer to the kitchen. Two males and female aged around 20 rounded from the corner into the kitchen. The three humans taking a seat at the kitchen table. Henry from his seat at the table, sipping coffee, greeted the toons, who were currently in their human forms. “Good mornin’ you three.”

 

Two of them mumbled good mornings, while Boris, chirped an good morning back-- being the morning person of the three. “Eat up, as people say these days; ‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the morning.’”

 

“Day,”Henry corrected me.

 

“That too,”I waved off with a grumble at being corrected. New sayings, new technology, along with heros prancing about in costumes-- what's next? A hero breaking through our window demanding lemonade? If so, that hero has another thing coming.

 

After the human toons ate their breakfast, Bendy and Boris ran to get ready for their jobs as a waiter and warehouse worker respectively, hurried “thank you for breakfast” was thrown over both of their shoulders. I rolled my eyes. It was like what my mother always said, boys will be boys.

 

Henry stood up, clasped me on the shoulder in his own way of thanking me, before leaving the cabin for his own job as a professor at a college for artists.

 

Alice stayed at the table, taking her time with eating her breakfast, since she didn't have a job. “Thanks the amazing breakfast as always, Sammy,”Alice thanked, helping me with the dishes.

 

We watched as Bendy and Boris ran out the front door, Alice giggled. “Where's the fire, I wonder?”She joked, making me crack a small smile.

 

“How are you holding up today, Sammy?”

 

“...it's one of the better days.”

 

“That’s good, you've been doing swell these past weeks...we're all proud of you, ya’ know?”

 

“I know.”