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Ignite

By Beretta Riggs

Romance / Adventure

Prologue

Disclaimer on Characters: Under no circumstances do I own Batman or any related characters. nvillians from Batman's Rouge Gallery. I do not claim ownership to any plots / technology / gagetry which co - insides with Batman. I do, however, own my OC's ( those who you have no recognition of in this story ), and would be greatful if you would consent me for use of them whether briefly, and / or chronically.

Disclaimer on chapter titles:For everyone's information, the titles to each of the chapters are indeed archery terms. They make no absolute relevance to the content of each chapter, they are indeed just terms. I used for the terms, so look them up if you like. They are legit terms, and though they may seem corny, ridiculous and/or absurd, they are archery.

Disclaimer on medical jargon: By no means am I a doctor. I am, however, in nursing school, so I do know some medical jargon. But that does not mean I am always acurate. For all you doctors and / or medical professionals, please feel free to leave me pointers on information for medical instances. I am always open for learning. I am not perfect, as are we all.

Disclaimer on medical instances: All medical instances and diagnoses, patients and/or treatments are purely a work of imagination. No such instances are medically approved, all are researched according to the author's best abilities. Nothing from this work of fiction should be used for treatments and/or medicinal use.

Firestarter Series:

Ignite

First of the Firestarter Series. "Ignite" is the first installment, introducing a new OC character, Marianne Lancer. Ignite gives us snipette's of Marianne's past as Bruce Wayne's best friend, how her adoration for him has grown into love and passion, and how she overcame his apparent "death" after he left Gotham. It's based off of Nolan's "Batman Begins", as the entire trilogy is based off Nolan's film work. It also introduces newcomer vilgilantress "Reacher", an expert archwoman having claimed the grounds of Gotham to be her's by the 'first-come-first-serve' claim. She presents an ever challenging opponent component to Wayne's 'Batman' when it comes to wit and investigation-but she lacks necessary commutative skill to effectively and safely get the job done.

While drowning in their competitive banter, neither of our two heroes can quite piece together what is happening with the crime-lords of Gotham. It seems most of the big-name criminal's have been arrested but released to Arkham Asylum due to sudden 'insanity' pleas. During all of this Batman and Reacher find large shipments of drugs have come in off Gotham's water, and Dr. Jonathan Crane is subjective to being a suspect. That's not all the loose ends...Crane has a skeleton in his closet, one that Reacher meets personally and knocks at death's door with.

Meanwhile, Wayne and Lancer are caught up in a complicated dance of frustration tolling on their relationship. Marianne is fighting the feelings raging inside her about Bruce's sudden return, and Bruce is slowly coming to grips with the fact that Marianne isn't the kid she once was-she's sprouted into a beautiful, respectful woman with an opinion.

A mixture of romance, action, medicine and justice for the criminally intrigued. There are faith-based POV's thrown into a mix, very light but recognizable. Lot's of fluff and OC pairings. Appearances by Gordon, Fox, Ghul, Dawes and Thompkins (Dr. Leslie). Also, other OC appearances include ER's infamous Dr. John Carter, only briefly mentioned. Research citing will be added only after the epilogue is posted. Fan art can be found on the author's home-page.

Dedication: To those who have felt less beautiful

Prologue

Thwack!

Sawdust silently floated on the cool September breeze, falling to the still blades of grass in serenity. Above, an arrow stuck pointedly from the hand-painted target, stuck deep in place in the sack. Lowering her position, the girl hung her head as the breeze pulled at her braid hanging over her shoulder. She exhaled and looked up, pushing up her glasses, glaring at at the shot staring dauntingly back at her. A sliver away from the red, humiliating, bulls-eye.

Just a sliver.

The broad shouldered boy to her left smiled awkwardly, and rested a calloused hand on his friend's shoulder, which drooped in disappointment. Not once today had she gotten a straight on shot, not once out of the hundreds of times she had shoved that arrow into the sawdust bag. She jerked away her shoulder from his grasp, and rested the point of her bow in the soft earth. She placed both her palms on the other end and leaned against the bow, plopping her chin on the top of her hands.

"Great try, Marty!"

The name raked over her nerves like fingernails on their teacher's chalkboard. It played on her already tight nerves and sour personality, but she clenched her jaw and closed her eyes. Thankful that the third party was unaware of her disgust, she glared at her friend from the corner of her eye and muttered.

"Why'd you have to invite her?" she muttered, "She can't even pull the bow back!" her voice was a harsh whispera against the chilling wind, but that didn't matter. Her friend just blushed and shrugged a shoulder before selecting an arrow and feathering the fletching with his fingers.

He looked to her before fastening the nock into place on the arrow. "She's my friend, Marianne," he sighed. "It's fun for her...in some strange way."

Marianne rolled her eyes and lifted her bow, grabbing an arrow and slickly nocking it into place. She pulled it back and glared ahead at the target. "I guess." her shoulders strained for a brief moment, but relaxed as the tension of the bow burned into her finger joints.

Within moments, both shooters were aiming at their acquired targets. Bruce planted himself directly at the shooting line, Marianne a few steps back, due to her constant practice and unfair advantage. She anchored at her cheekbone as her aim fell into place, and she released a sigh. On an inhale, she closed her eyes and waited. She released the breath, and her fingers let the nock go. The line snapped against her wrist guard and jolted back into place, slack overcoming the equiptment and her muscles. For a second the fletching had tickled her fingers before it soared through the air and collided with the target beside Bruce's.

"Whoa! Cool!" Rachel exclaimed behind them.

Marianne and Bruce shared a smile. He turned, and Marianne stared at the target. Rachel had every right to be impressed; and she should. After 10 painstaking hours a week of practice and training with her father, Marianne had earned the right for such praise.

Bruce turned and situated his bow against the arrow rack, and began unstrapping his wrist guard. He tossed his finger guard to the grass and joined Rachel on her blanket, outstretched on the grass. Rachel popped up, smoothed her rose printed skirt with one hand and extended the other to Bruce. Something glistened in the sunlight before Bruce grabbed it.

"Look! I bet it's from Indians!"

Marianne's heart sank. She spotted the arrow head, charred from age and dull from lack of use. So she hadn't been impressed with Marianne at all. Bruce inspected the arrow head and shrugged a shoulder as if to agree with her. "It's probably one of Dr. Lancer's heads," he concluded intellectually, "From practice."

Rachel's lower lip pouted out. "It's from Indian's, Bruce!" Rachel announced arrogantly. "And it's mine!" she snatched it back from his hand and looked down at it. A smile stretched onto her lips, as something boiled within Marianne's stomach.

She tucked her bow protectively in her quiver, along with her blunt arrows. It fell into the quiver with a clank, and Marianne approached the two. She rubbed her arm, and then tucked her curly bangs behind her ears. A blush escaped her as Bruce smiled at her as if to welcome her to their group. "Let me see that, Rachel." Marianne snatched it from Rachel's hand and looked down at it.

"Hey!"

Marianne twisted it through her hands. Her brow wrinkled and relief overcame it. It was only one of her dad's signature favorites, a Nightra. It was the only kind he liked to use, which was fine. Relief overcame Marianne and slid across her nerves, releasing the tension that she'd bottled up in her stomach. So, her shooting was more impressive than Rachel's discovery.

"It's my dad's. He always uses Nightra's," she announced proudly.

Rachel glared and grabbed it brutally from Marianne's palm. Her nails raked against the soft skin, grating across it gashing it open about half an inch. Reflexively, Marianne pulled her hand back and gripped her wrist. "Ow!"

She looked down at her palm, a small red streak trickling down her hand. Bruce looked at this and then back at Rachel, and furrowed his brow. As if unaware of the situation, Rachel continued to look at her precious arrow head, as if it were gold instead of metal.

"Finder's keepers, losers weepers," Rachel chanted, "It's mine. I found it."

Bruce rolled his eyes at her childlike demeanor. "In my garden, Rachel?"

Marianne placed her hands on her hips and frowned. "From my dad's bow?"

Rachel's face paled slightly. "Fine. You can have it if you catch me!"

Without warning, Rachel took off. She brushed by a wilting rose bush, causing one of the dying buds to catch on her cardigan and tumble to the ground. Marianne blinked at stared at the small bud, ignoring the fact that Bruce was rushing after her. Marianne approached the bush and knelt, scooping the dying flower from the ground and letting it rest in her palm. She smiled and tilted her head to the side.

She then replaced it within the brambles of thorns and scrambling leaves. A smile overcame her at her act of kindness and she inhaled the smell of the other flowers, all alive within the garden; even in the chilly September air. All worries of Rachel and Bruce left her for a brief, fleeting moment.

"It was in my garden, Rach..."

Jealousy overcame her and flashed emerald across her ocean eyes. Heat bubbled in her veins; Rachel was getting a head start, she'd had one forever now! She was prettier, thinner, and smarter than Marianne was, but that did not mean she could steal away Marianne's best friend. Clenching her fingers into fists, Marianne bolted to her feet and took off around the corner of the house.

She followed their voices, listened to the echoes ringing out across the garden. For a moment, she lost track of them, and stopped dead in her tracks. The garden was quiet around her as both of their voices stopped at once. Marianne closed her eyes and let the hammering of her heart be the only sound she would listen to. Then she felt it, rising in her feet.

The ground trembled.

Her eyes popped open, and there before her, was a panting Rachel. Her one hand clutched the arrow head as if it were her last hope; her one last chance to best Marianne against Bruce. Marianne narrowed her eyes behind her glasses and watched as Rachel bolted towards her, defiant in her stance. Rachel whipped around her and collided with her back, pushing Marianne to the ground.

Both tumbled over the other before they stopped. Rachel squealed and material ripped. Marianne pushed herself up with her hands and looked up, finding Bruce a few yards away, in front of the green house. Rachel was laughing and Marianne scrambled to her knees, determined not to be the butt end of this sick joke raging around her.

"Finder's keepers..."

CRASH!

Both girls whipped their heads to look at the scene before the greenhouse. Bruce's body had vanished into the ground in a cloud of dust and wood planks dashing against the sky. Rachel and Marianne looked to the gaping hole in the ground and screamed, dashing towards the place where their friend had once stood. Tears dripped down Rachel's cheeks as they both stopped at the hole. Marianne fell to her knees and stared down at the muddy, dark place.

"Bruce!" Rachel cried.

Marianne whipped a finger towards the mansion, looking up at the frantic girl through her bangs. "Go get Mister Wayne!"

Without argument, Rachel bolted. "Mom! Mister Alfred!"

Marianne whipped her attention back to her silent friend beneath the ground before her. She dug her nails into the dirt and tried to find him in the debris and dirt and darkness. Panic seized her heart as she screamed into the blackness.

"Bruce!"

The arrowhead bounced off Marianne's sneaker, and disappeared into the blackened hole.

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