"He's trying to help Nyssa, Father."
Ra's al Ghul turned to Talia.
"Yes, he's a hero, but more than anything else, Batman is a detective. And he's a very good one. When he pieces enough of this together, and gets the information into the hands of the right people, this whole plan will fall apart."
"Falcone is a terrible man, and what he has done to Nyssa is dreadful. Aladdin is evil, too. But, you are not helping the situation, Father. Destroying Gotham City is going too far – there are many innocent people here suffering, many good people."
"I am doing what is necessary to prevent this evil from spreading elsewhere," he explained.
"You started out battling criminals, but you have crossed the line, and become a criminal yourself," hotly retorted Talia.
"I have the courage to act, to do what is necessary. A little pain now will save a great deal of suffering later; the innocent people who die will be martyrs, that future generations may live in peace and harmony," Ra's al Ghul firmly explained.
Seeing that his point had been understood, but perhaps not quite accepted, Alfred turned to Sasha Bordeaux and Bruce Wayne. "Will the two of you be coming upstairs for dinner, or should I have something sent down from the kitchen?"
"I'm not terribly hungry, Alfred, but thanks anyway," replied Wayne, focused again on the Batcomputer.
Sasha and Alfred exchanged glances. "I suppose I shall bring something downstairs, sir. I shall be back shortly." Turning to Sasha, Alfred nodded.
She understood. There would never be a good time, but perhaps now was as good a time as any.
"Bruce," she began.
He looked at her.
Seeing she looked like she had something important to say, he turned some more and gave her his full attention.
This was the moment that Bruce knew had been coming, but had hoped he could somehow put off.
"I know what you do, I know who you are. I want to be your friend, I want to be your partner... I feel like perhaps you never want to get married, but that's okay. I want to be your lover."
Bruce Wayne took a deep breath.
"I'm sorry if I have made you feel uncomfortable."
"It's not that, Sasha. I feel very comfortable around you. Maybe too comfortable. And, believe me, there is nothing that I would like more than to be with you, I think that would be paradise...." His voice trailed off.
He turned, and looked at the photos of Aladdin, Carmine Falcone, and the man he thought was Ra's al Ghul. "But they're out there somewhere, Gotham City is in danger... and I have work to do."
She smiled. That last part was exactly the answer she knew she was going to get.
"But I can still be your friend?"
Bruce Wayne turned back to her. "Not just a friend."
She smiled some more. "A partner!"
"'A little pain now', innocent people will be 'martyrs', 'courage to act' – is that not how they justified the death of my mother? And then in response a whole new generation of young Talia al Ghuls will watch their fathers become criminals. A whole new generation of young Bruce Waynes will play in the rubble, dreaming of their destinies. What you offer is only more of the same – more pain, more suffering, more injustice, more revenge. By becoming judge, jury and executioner, you have become nothing more than a fool!"
"How dare you talk to me that way?! I am your father!"
"How dare you?!!" shreiked Talia al Ghul.
Looking at Bruce Wayne, the master commented, "Some people run from their demons so far, so fast, and for so long, that they become demons themselves."