New Suit In Town
Rated PG-13 for Language and Violence
Disclaimer: I don't own Batman Beyond. DC Comics does. If anyone has a cow, send it to the pasture.
Note: This takes place right after Terry graduates from high school though it's never really mentioned in the story.
Two nights ago…..
BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!
"That'll teach you, Teddy-boy!" A man said between hysterical laughs.
"Ted?!" A girl yelled. She ran around the corner only to see the shooter smile at her before running into the shadows. The girl fell to her knees beside the man named Ted. "Ted?" The girl shook his shoulder, but he didn't respond. Blood pooled around his form and started soaking into her pants. "Uncle Ted?!"
There was a squeaking sound from the shadows. Through the tears that were starting to fall from her eyes, a plastic chew toy bounced into view. The toy ticked and a small digital clock was counting down to zero.
5…..Oh shit. The girl stood up…..4…….She started to run. She rounded the corner and tried not to slide on her ass. It had been raining for a week and she ended up sliding into a street pole. 2……She picked herself up and continued running. 1.
The explosion was big enough that the shop windows in the building next to her exploded. She collapsed to the ground and tried to shake off the glass bits. She looked behind her. Flames roared from the alley.
"NO!" The girl yelled. Her clothes were soaking wet and bloody. Her hair clung to her forehead and she felt rage building up inside her. She stood up and ran back towards the alley. "You SON OF A BITCH!"
Her uncle's body was nothing more then a flaming corpse that had become blackened. The sound of sirens made her look out towards the street. She backed out of the alley and took off running down the street.
The man who did this would pay.
Samantha, Sam to her friends, Fiorentino had spent most of her teenage-life keeping track of Batman. By the time she was fifteen, she had started to research the older Batman stories. Where had it gotten her? Two nights ago she had followed her mobster uncle and found that a smiling freak had gunned him down.
Sam had torn through her uncle's apartment and had found the wet suits that they had used while vacationing in Mexico. She pulled one on and dressed herself in black. She had one option left that she could think of. His presence had graced her room for years. Batman. There had been a Batgirl at one time and she swore there had to be one again.
She left the apartment and started heading through the alleys towards the older part of Gotham. Batman was always seen in the older part of Gotham. She stopped to catch her breath after climbing to the top of an apartment building.
Her uncle had always thought it was 'cute' that she collected news articles and information on Batman. She sneered at the word 'cute'. Her uncle never understood. She hadn't just collected information on Batman. She wanted to meet Batman, fight crime beside him. Now that her chance was staring her in the face, she didn't even know where to begin.
Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard a low aircraft overhead. She looked up to see the familiar sight of the Batman's plane. It sped though the sky towards the outskirts of Gotham. She followed as quickly as she could, but lost it as it went behind the tree line.
Great. Just great. She stuck to running through the woods next to the road. She ran through all the people who lived slightly out of town. Nothing came to mind. She slumped against a tree as she crossed the Robert Kane Bridge. I need a vehicle. A motorcycle… She started to run through the woods again. Maybe a car. She jumped over a fallen log. Even roller skates would be good right now.
She slumped against another log as she stared at the entrance to the Brentwood Academy. There wasn't a single sign of Batman or anyone. She kept walking through the woods until she came across a dirt road that looked like it hadn't been used in a while. She crossed the road and stayed in the woods. The dirt road was clear of any weeds, which meant that it was used frequently.
Where am I? Think. Think. She thought to herself. Brentwood Academy's long drive was about five miles down the road. Then she had passed the long drive that belonged to the Drake family. And now….she looked down the dark road. Bruce Wayne's property.
Sam stayed in the woods and silently followed the dirt road until it stopped. It led straight into the side of a cliff. Sam didn't step onto the road, but she felt frustrated.
What the hell is this?! Who has a road that leads right to a cliff? Two booming echoes reached her ears. She couldn't see what was going on since the trees were blocking most of the sky. There was a deep rumble and suddenly the side of the cliff opened.
Whoa. The Batmobile raced out of the opening. Before it could close all the way, Sam threw herself into the cave. The opening closed with a heavy sound. She looked around and found herself wishing that she had brought a flashlight.
She carefully, silently made her way towards the innards of the cave. Her stomach felt like it was going to flop when she was close enough to hear a deep voice.
"Terry, are you there yet?" A deep voice asked.
"I'm Batman, not the Flash" A younger male voice replied.
"Hurry" The man with the deep voice said. Sam pressed herself against the rocks and remained in the shadows. She was glad that she had decided to wear the heavy, full-face ski mask. With the minimal light glaring from the computer her pale skin would have lit up like firefly. She peered around the corner. There was an older man sitting at a large computer bay and a dog lying next to him.
Amongst her uncle's things she had found a small bottle of chloroform. She wasn't expecting a dog. She felt the pockets of her coat and pulled out a canister of mace. Her uncle had made her keep it with her, even if she never used it.
Mace the dog and stick the chloroform in the old man's face. She smiled to herself until she realized that she didn't have a cloth to put the chloroform onto. She quietly knelt down and tried to find something to use with the chloroform. I can't believe Bruce Wayne knows Batman. She paused as a thought spread through her mind. He was Batman.
Her stomach flopped again. She took off her glove and poured the chloroform into it until it started to drip through the fabric. She picked up the mace and ran out into the bowels of the cave. The dog was up instantly and he charged at her.
A red light started to flash and a computerized voiced rang out 'Intruder Alert'.
"Bruce?" The younger male voice called.
Sam sprayed the dog as it pounced on her. The dog fell to the ground and started whining. Sam got up from the floor and ran towards the old man. He was standing up now.
"Who are you? What do you want?" He bellowed. Sam threw the, now empty, can of mace at him. He caught it. Then, she threw her chloroform soaked glove at him, hitting right in the face. He stumbled backwards and finally fell to the ground.
"Bruce?!" The younger male frantically yelled. Sam bent down and lifted Bruce Wayne into the chair he had been in before she went to take what she wanted.
Sam quickly broke the glass that housed the older Batgirl suit. She found a duffle bag and emptied out the contents, which was a change of regular clothes. She then stuffed the bat suit into the duffle bag. She looked around the cave and saw a line of weapons along the wall. She took six batarangs and a grappling gun. She had heard of the older Batman using these all the time.
The young man was jabbering away over the radio. Sam went over to the computer and found the radio controls.
"He's fine" Sam said into the radio.
"Who is this?" The young man asked.
"Go save the city" Sam said. "I'll find you later."
"Wait!" He yelled before Sam cut the radio connection. She turned to the slumped over Bruce Wayne.
"I'm really sorry about this" Sam said. She turned to leave. She stopped when she saw the dog facing her. He let out a small growl. "Whoa. Hey puppy."
She walked sideways over to a table that had a bunch of tubes and glass vials. There was a notepad and pencil sitting next to the chemistry mess. The dog growled at her again and took a step closer to her.
"Stop" Sam said. She had the pencil pointed at him. "Sit. Sit down."
The dog just stood there growling at her. Sam flipped to the next blank page. She scribbled down a message and tore it out of the notebook. She walked back over to Bruce Wayne and put the paper in his lap.
"I gotta take off" Sam said. She looked over at the dog, then around the cave. There were stairs leading up and there was a motorcycle down here. Sam stretched her neck and looked between the stairs and motorcycle. She stepped towards the stairs and noticed the dog inching its way over to Wayne.
Sam took her cue and left by going through Wayne Manor.
"Bruce?!" Terry called as he jumped out of the batmobile. "Bruce!"
Bruce swiveled around in his chair and leaned against his cane.
"I'm alright, Terry" Bruce said.
"What happened?" Terry asked. "I heard you shouting, then there was a girl on the radio."
"I know" Bruce said in a disapproving tone. He stood up and held out a piece of paper. "Were you able to figure out who caused the explosions?"
"No" Terry said. He peeled the mask back and started to read the note. It simply read: 'Batmen – I'm sorry. I'll return the stuff when I can. He looks like the Joker. – Batgirl'
"How did she get past you and Ace?" Terry asked.
"Mace and chloroform" Bruce said. He sat back down and pulled up the surveillance videos of the cave. They watched her spray Ace and throw the glove into Bruce's face.
"That thing must have been soaking with chloroform if it knocked you out" Terry said.
"It was like getting hit with wet towel" Bruce said.
"So this girl thinks she's Batgirl?" Terry asked. Bruce nodded. "Is there a tracker in the suit?" Bruce nodded. "I'll go see if I can find our girl then."
"Be careful" Bruce said. "If she thinks there's a guy like the Joker –"
"I know" Terry said. "You've told me about the Joker."
"Just pay attention" Bruce said. Terry pulled the mask back over his face and left.
Sam had taken one of Bruce Wayne's old cars. She had changed before ever getting into the car and felt a little stupid driving the stolen car as Batgirl. She kept to the speed limits and finally parked the car along Amusement Mile, which consisted now of an abandoned theme park.
Sam got out of the car and ran towards the alleyways of the mainstream buildings of Gotham. As she ran through the alleys she pulled out the grappling gun. It latched onto the top of a building and she stopped. She had a few buttons to choose from. She pressed one and the grappling hook started falling back to the ground.
"Damn" Sam said under her breath when it clunked to the ground. She pressed another button and the line reeled itself in. When it finished, she shot the line up again and pressed the retraction button. She held on while making her way up to the top of the building. She grabbed onto the side of the building and hoisted herself onto the roof. She hooked the gun to the belt and looked out at the city.
"Very retro" A voice said behind her. She turned around to find Batman standing there.
"Batman" She said. He walked up to her and looked her up and down.
"The suits a little big for you" He said.
"There wasn't much of a choice" She said.
"I'm going to need that suit back" Batman said. Sam raised her eyebrow and nodded.
"I'll give it back when I'm done" Sam said. She turned to leave, but Batman grabbed her arm.
"What are you talking about?" Batman asked. "What needs to be done?"
"That's my business" Sam said pulling out of his grasp.
"Oh no you don't" Batman said grabbing her around the waist and pinning her arms to her sides. Sam bent forward to try to get him off of her, but his hold tightened. She kicked her foot up and nailed him right in the groin. He groaned and loosened his grip.
Another explosion erupted from Crime Alley. Sam took out the grappling gun.
"I have to go" Sam said. She shot the grappling gun and swung over to the next building.
"Follow her" Bruce said over Terry's headset.
It took a while, but finally Sam got the hang of the grappling gun. She made it to Crime Alley and watched as the police scurried about. Batman came up beside her.
"Another explosion" Batman said.
"They started two nights ago" Sam said.
"Great, so you read the newspaper" Batman said.
"I was there" Sam said and swung down to the street below.
"Wait!" Batman yelled. "Dammit."
"Keep an eye on her, Terry" Bruce said. "Barbara isn't going to like this."
"Great" Batman said. "I'm just popular with the ladies tonight."
"What's this?" Barbara Gordon asked when an officer pointed out the girl walking towards them. Her eyes narrowed behind her glasses. "Batgirl."
"Commissioner Gordon" Sam said.
"I thought Batgirl had red hair" Barbara replied. "What do you want?"
"Any tips on---" She said being cut off.
"Sorry, Commish" Batman said. He grabbed hold of Batgirl and kicked on his rockets.
"God dammit" Barbara said to herself.
"What do you think you're doing?!" Batman asked when they landed on the roof of a nearby building.
"Trying to get information" Sam said. She poked Batman in the chest. "I need to find him."
"Who?" Batman asked.
"The new Joker guy" Sam replied.
"The new Joker guy" Batman repeated. "Just give me the suit. Leave this new guy to me."
"My clothes aren't with me" Sam said. "Sorry."
Batman grabbed her and pulled her close to him. "What's wrong with you?! I'll take care of the problems!" He pushed her away and she landed on her butt. "Take off the costume."
"No" Sam growled at him. She picked herself up and stood in front of him defiantly. "I'm going to find this guy and I plan on beating him."
"Why?" Batman asked.
"He killed someone" Sam said. "Someone close to me."
"So you just think that you could steal this suit, bat weapons –" Batman said.
"And a car" Sam said.
"A car?!" Batman replied.
"It's okay. I locked it. It's at Amusement Mile" Sam said. She took the keys out of her belt and handed them to him. "There. Tell Mr. Wayne thanks. It's a really nice car."
Batman stared at the keys in his hand then back at Sam. "Who are you?"
"A mysterious stranger" Sam said tossing her hair a little. He moved to grab hold of her and was met with a punch to the stomach. Sam grabbed one of his pointy ears and pulled his head back so he was looking at her. "I managed to find the batcave, break in, and figure out this grappling gun. Mr. Wayne is listening right now, isn't he?" She spoke to his ear, hoping that that was the area the com device was. "Hello? Thanks for the suit, Mr. Wayne. Tell the boy bat that I need to go find the Joker."
Batman pushed Sam away and tackled her. They wrestled until Batman had her pinned beneath him.
"So what? You're out for a little revenge. Is that it?" Batman asked.
"Why did you don the bat suit?" Sam said.
"Terry, let her go" Bruce said over the com system. Batman stood up and glared down at her. "If the Joker managed to influence someone to be just like him, you have bigger problems then her."
Batman narrowed his eyes at her. "I'll help you out."
"I don't think I want your help" Sam said. "In fact, I think I know more about this then you do."
"Then update me on what's going on" Batman said.
"I'll update you when I have more information" Sam said. From the street below, there was a tirade of laughter followed by gunshots. Sam and Batman looked over the edge. They both wasted little time in getting down to the street.
"It's Batman!" A girl yelled. The group of people below had painted faces and was deviously known as the Jokerz. Batman took on most of the thugs when they charged him. Sam stayed in the shadows when she noticed a figure walking down the street in a trench coat.
"I could use some help!" Batman yelled. Batgirl, Sam, ignored him until she saw the glint of metal from the man in the trench coat. She flung a batarang at him. It flew right by his head, clipping his ear.
"Ow!" He said. Batgirl stepped out of the shadows throwing another batarang at him. "Oooh! Is this THE Batgirl? You know, I thought you died or something."
"What would you know?" Sam asked. He raised his gun towards her.
"It's too bad I have to kill you" He said. "I should at least introduce myself." He took off his hat to reveal a white face, green hair, and a red smile. "Guess who's back in town."
BANG! BANG! Sam fell to the ground from the force of the bullets.
"Batgirl!" Batman yelled. He tried to rush over to her, but a big thug stepped in his way.
"Her suit is bulletproof" Bruce said over the com link. "Don't let them take her."
"Too bad you wanted to be good" The new Joker said. "I like women with dark hair. They can really party." He laughed and gave her a kick to the stomach. "Now then. I have a second bat to deal with."
Sam opened her eyes as the Joker stepped past her. She heard the hammer of the gun click. She grabbed his leg and pulled him down. A gunshot rang through the air and one of the Jokerz fell from being shot. She climbed on top of the Joker and knocked the gun from his hand.
"Oh sweet-ums" The Joker said. "You're alive! Which means, I can kill you again."
"In your dreams" Sam said. She punched him until his nose and mouth bled.
"Batgirl? Are you okay?" Batman called to her. He threw a thug into the others and walked over to Batgirl and the Joker. Sam looked over at Batman to say something, but she stopped before anything came out of her mouth. "Batgirl?"
"Get off of me" The Joker said pushing Sam off of him. He stood up and took a few steps back. "Well Batsy. I'll see you later." A van squealed around the block. "Here's my ride! Toodles!"
Batman watched as two men helped him into the van and sped off.
"They're gone" Batman said. He knelt beside Batgirl who pulled out the knife in her side. She groaned and rolled over onto her side.
"I'm going to kill him" Sam seethed. She tried standing up, but only managed to fall back to the concrete. Batman walked over to her and scooped up.
"Want to send the car my way?" Batman asked.
"Already on it" Bruce replied. A minute later, the black batmobile pulled up beside Batman. The top opened and Batman placed Sam in the passenger seat.
"Why don't you just drop me at Monolith Square?" Sam said. She kept her hand pressed against the wound.
"You got stabbed" Batman said.
"I'll be fine" Sam replied.
"You're losing blood" Batman replied. The car headed out of Gotham at a fast rate.
"Ungh" Sam said. She was losing blood fast and she was starting to feel dizzy. "Just leave the mask on."
She felt her head hit the window before her eyes closed.
"She's coming around" A deep voice said. Sam opened and blinked her eyes until they focused. Bruce Wayne stared down at her. "How are you feeling?"
"Just peachy" Sam said. She sat up and looked around. She was back in the batcave. "Damn." She looked over at Batman, who kept his mask on while at the computer. "I thought I asked you to drop me off at Monolith Square."
"I told him to bring you in" Bruce said. "You have some explaining to do."
Sam looked down at herself when she felt goose bumps form. She still had the mask on, but the top part of the suit had been pulled down to her waist.
"Me?" Sam said. "You couldn't just spare a towel? I hope you two got pictures, cause you'll never see them again."
She jumped down from the medical bed and pulled the bat suit on. Batman turned around in his chair and Bruce stood to her side.
"Why'd you take the suit?" Bruce asked.
"Because I needed it" Sam said.
"You could have easily made one" Bruce said.
"Yeah, that would have gone over well" Sam said putting her fists on her hips. "Hi, I'm Batgirl. Don't mind the spandex, I'm going swimming later."
"You're not Batgirl" Batman said standing up.
"And you're not Batman" Sam growled. She reached back and grabbed Bruce's shoulder. "This is Batman. You're….Batboy."
"That's enough" Bruce said. Sam and Terry both looked over at Bruce. "What's your name?"
"Sam" Sam said.
"How did you get in here?" Bruce asked.
"I followed him" Sam replied.
"What?" Batman said. He walked towards them. "There wasn't anyone on the road."
"I wasn't on the road" Sam said. "I was in the woods."
"You traveled by foot?" Bruce asked.
"Yes" Sam said. "I wouldn't mind a ride back into Gotham either."
"You said you were there when the first explosion occurred" Bruce said. "What happened?"
"My uncle was gunned down by the Joker" Sam said.
"The new Joker" Batman chimed in.
"He threw a chew toy looking thing" Sam said. "And it exploded."
"You saw your uncle get gunned down?" Bruce said.
"No" Sam said. "But the Joker was standing over him with a gun. No one else was there."
"Why would he go after your uncle?" Batman asked.
"He was with the mob" Sam said. She looked over at him and tensed her jaw. "Aren't you going to share your name?"
"No" Batman said. Sam shrugged. She had heard it while she was breaking in. Sam turned to back to Batman, Terry.
"I know that the Joker was your greatest enemy, Mr. Wayne" Sam said.
"Then you'd know that you don't want him to be yours" Bruce said.
"I can't just sit around while that lunatic outruns the police" Sam replied. Bruce grumbled and walked over to the computer. After punching in a few buttons, the Joker's smiling face appeared on the screen.
"You should read his dossier" Bruce said. "Maybe you wouldn't feel the need to have him as your enemy."
"I already know about him" Sam said.
"Heard stories from Pops?" Batman asked.
"My parents were killed when I was two" Sam said. "Terry." Batman looked over at Bruce. "I over heard it when I was on my way in."
Bruce sat down in the computer chair and looked to be in deep thought.
"Why don't you leave the crime to me?" Terry said.
"Because it's become personal" Sam said. Terry took a few steps towards her.
"We don't need another bat!" Terry yelled.
"Afraid that I'm better then you?" Sam asked remaining calm.
"If you were better then I wouldn't be here" Terry said.
"It's all in the timing" Sam said. She put her hands on her hips.
"You got yourself stabbed!" Terry yelled at her.
"While making sure you didn't get shot!" Sam finally yelled while taking a step towards Terry.
"You could have helped me out with that fight!" Terry yelled. "You're a coward!"
Sam jutted her fist out and punched him in the jaw.
"Enough!" Bruce yelled. He was standing when they both turned to look at him. "Both of you take your masks off! Now!" Sam and Terry grimaced and complied. "Look at each other. Shake hands."
"What?!" Terry said.
"You two will be partners" Bruce said. "She has the passion for it."
"I'm not working with her" Terry said. He stalked past Sam and stopped over by the uniforms. "What's this? Where's my bag?" Terry stalked back over towards Sam. "Well?"
"It's in Mr. Wayne's car" Sam said.
"Terry, calm down" Bruce commanded. The two raven-haired teens stared back up at Bruce. Bruce walked towards them. "Sam, Terry, I want you both here tomorrow at four."
"I can't" Sam said.
"Figures" Terry chided.
"I work until five" Sam said.
"Like niece, like uncle?" Terry asked. Sam punched him in the arm and Terry pushed her back. They started pushing each other until they ended up wrestling on the ground. Bruce took a deep breath and rolled his eyes. With a few motions from his cane, Sam and Terry found themselves on their backs holding their stomachs.
"Be here at five then" Bruce said. "If you want to be Batgirl, then you have to pass a few tests."
"Okay" Sam said. Bruce hit both of them on their hips.
"Get up and stop fighting" Bruce said. "Terry, take her home."
"Yes, sir" Terry said moving over to his scattered clothes. He scooped them up and disappeared into a dark hallway. Sam stood up and brushed herself off. She fingered the knife hole.
"Leave the suit, I'll fix it up" Bruce said.
"And wear what?" Sam asked.
"Terry should have an extra pair of sweats around here" Bruce said. Terry emerged from the dark room. He had his things bunched up in his hand. "Terry, she needs a change of clothes."
"Oh, well let me just run and grab mine" Terry said in an upset voice. He turned around and walked back into the dark room. He came out with a pair of sweats and a t-shirt. He threw them at Sam.
Sam took the clothes and went into the same dark room that Terry had used. Terry stood next to Bruce and didn't speak until she disappeared.
"I don't think I need a partner" Terry said.
"Everyone needs a partner" Bruce said. "Even if it takes you forty years to realize it." Bruce smiled. "Besides, look at you two. You look like twins."
"Ha ha. Very funny" Terry said. But, it was true. Both had black hair, fair skin, blue eyes, and both were extremely fit.
"Give her a chance" Bruce said. "There are things women can do that men cannot."
"Yeah, I'll bet" Terry said. Sam came out pulling the t-shirt down. She let her long hair fall around her face. She put the clothes on the medical bed. "Ready to go?"
"Yeah" Sam said in a small voice.
"I'll see you two tomorrow" Bruce said. Terry guided Sam out of Wayne Manor to his car.
Terry stopped outside of Sam's apartment. He looked at the building. It looked like an expensive place.
"You live here?" Terry asked.
"Yeah" Sam said. She got out of the car and looked up at the apartment windows. "Terry?"
"What?" Terry asked in an exasperated tone.
"I didn't leave any lights on" Sam said. She got back into the car. "Someone's up there."
"Want to go check it out?" Terry asked.
"You can leave" Sam said. "I can handle it."
"Out" Terry said. "I'll go up with you."
Terry and Sam found the apartment completely ransacked. The lock had been shot off the door and the apartment had papers everywhere.
"Whoa" Terry said. "Your uncle must've had something worth his while in here."
"Probably" Sam said. She put some fallen books back onto a shelf. "He never really told me anything."
Terry looked through the rest of the apartment. "Hey, come look at this!" Sam went into the bathroom. There was a message on the mirror in red lipstick. "Looks like someone knows you're here."
The message read: 'I'll be back Fiorentino.' And, a happy face followed it.
"Want a guess at who was here?" Sam asked.
"Grab some clothes" Terry said. "You can stay with me tonight."
"Are you sure?" Sam asked. Terry nodded. Sam took a deep breath and left to go pack a bag.
"Shh. They're asleep" Terry said quietly entering his apartment. Sam followed him to his room. "I'll get a bed set up for you."
Sam waited as Terry moved pillows and blankets together to form a bed.
"Thanks" Sam said. The mild manner she had while not in a bat suit confused him.
"You're welcome" Terry replied. He grabbed a pair of sweats and went into the bathroom. He came finding Sam in a meditative position on the makeshift bed. "What are you doing?" She didn't say anything. "I'm going to turn off the lights."
"Terry McGinnis!" A female voice scolded. Sam and Terry both woke up. "Why is there a girl in your room?"
"Mom?" Terry said. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and fully sat up.
"Who else would I be?" Terry's mom asked. Terry groaned and got out of bed taking his mother out of his room. Sam pulled herself out of the bed and quickly pulled on her clothes. She could hear Terry trying to explain why she was here.
When Terry and his mom came back into the room, Sam had put her glasses on and was in the middle of putting her hair into a loose braid.
"Oh, dear, I'm sorry" Mrs. McGinnis said.
"Terry told you?" Sam asked.
"Yes" Mrs. McGinnis said. "Come along. Let's give Terry a little time to get dressed."
Sam picked up her bag and boots and then followed Mrs. McGinnis out of Terry's room.
"So, Terry said that you two know each other from work" Mrs. McGinnis said.
"Yes" Sam said. Mrs. McGinnis set down a plate of eggs and bacon in front of her. Sam glanced at her watch. "Oh no."
"Let me guess" Mrs. McGinnis said. "Work calls?"
"Yep" Sam said standing up. Mrs. McGinnis took Sam's plate and pushed the contents into a plastic bowl.
"Everyone needs a good breakfast" Mrs. McGinnis said. "Just give Terry the bowl when you see him."
"I—Thanks" Sam said. Sam pulled her boots on and was out the door.
Terry came out from his bedroom as the front door shut. He looked around and sat at the kitchen table.
"Where's Sam?" Terry asked.
"Can you believe that she had to work?" Mrs. McGinnis asked. "I'm going to have to talk to Mr. Wayne about this."
"Work?" Terry said. He stood up. "I need to go too."
"It's Sunday!" Mrs. McGinnis said frustrated.
"Sorry Mom" Terry said slipping his shoes on. He ran out the door still trying to get his jacket on.
Terry easily found Sam trying to get a cab to stop. He put a hand on her shoulder as a cab finally stopped for her.
"Where are you going?" Terry asked. He got into the cab with her.
"I have to be at work in ten minutes" Sam replied. She leaned forward. "Monolith Square, please."
"What's around Monolith Square?" Terry asked.
"IMAS" Sam replied. IMAS, otherwise known as the International Martial Arts Society, was a highly respected and very elite society.
"No way" Terry said. "You work at IMAS?" He crossed his arms. "Doing what? Answering phones?"
"I teach there" Sam said. Terry rolled his eyes.
"Sure" Terry said. "How old are you? You don't look like you can teach there."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence there" Sam replied. "I'm eighteen. I started there when I was about four."
Terry's phone rang. "McGinnis. Mmm-hmm. Yeah, I'm with her. IMAS. Yeah, I'll see what I can work out." Terry tucked the phone away. "Bruce wants me to hang around IMAS today. Think we could manage that?"
"Probably" Sam replied. "Since Wayne plugs a lot of money into it, I bet you'll be well received."
"Is there anything in this city he doesn't have his fingers in?" Terry asked.
Terry spent the day watching Sam teach a handful of IMAS classes. She started out with a one-hour yoga class, then moved onto heavier things like: kickboxing, karate, and fencing. By the time five o'clock rolled around Terry had received two calls from Bruce asking where he was.
"She's in the shower" Terry said into his phone. "We're out the door as soon as she's done."
"Are you always on the phone with him?" Sam asked. Terry turned around.
"We're on our way" Terry said before hanging up. "You know sometimes I like to talk to my girlfriend too."
"Whatever" Sam said pulling her boots on. "So, what do you think?"
"Of what?" Terry asked. Sam held out her hands to signify IMAS. "Oh. It's pretty nice in here." Terry gestured towards the door. "But, you still have to convince Bruce that you have what it takes."
Sam spent the next three hours in a hardcore training session. It ended when Terry landed a hard kick to her chest sending her into one of the hard cave walls. Sam fell to the floor and groaned.
"That's enough for right now" Bruce said walking over to them. Sam picked herself up so she was on her hands and knees. "Are you alright?"
"Can I get some food now?" Sam asked. She had let Terry eat the food his mom had put into the plastic container and she hadn't eaten for the rest of the day.
"You didn't eat before you got here?" Bruce asked.
"I haven't eaten since yesterday" Sam said standing.
"I haven't eaten since this morning" Terry said. Bruce shook his head.
"And I thought I wasn't eating right this week" Bruce said. "Get dressed you two. We're going to go eat."
At Bruce Wayne's expense, the trio found themselves eating at a restaurant called Lightman's. The wait staff and restaurant patrons watched as Bruce Wayne and his two young associates took seats in the furthest corner of the restaurant.
"Maybe we just should have made some sandwiches or something" Sam said. Everything on the menu was expensive. Bruce didn't say anything.
"Too expensive for you?" Terry asked.
"Too expensive for everyone" Sam replied. "Look at this. Lobster tail for forty dollars. I could make it for less then that."
"Just pick what you want to eat" Bruce said. "I'm buying."
Dinner went smoothly considering that Sam and Terry barely bickered. Afterwards, it was decided that Terry would patrol while Sam went home to get her apartment cleaned up.
Sam hustled up to her apartment and groaned when she saw the mess again. She closed the door and went into her bedroom. She came out dressed in her pajamas. With a sigh she got started with the cleaning.
"Bruce, I don't think—" Terry said driving Bruce's car.
"She'll be your partner" Bruce said.
"That's not what I was going to say" Terry said. "Her place was broken into last night. I don't know how safe it is."
"Stop by while patrolling. If they didn't find anything the first time, then they might not come back" Bruce said. "Hurry up. There haven't been any explosions tonight."
Sam found the apartment cleaner then it had appeared. Most of the mess had been scattered papers. After straightening out the picture frames, getting the papers into a box, and cleaning up the kitchen, the place actually looked decent.
Sam glanced at the clock and smiled. It was only 10 pm. Sam turned the news on and started her computer. Recently, she had started to scan her Batman and other related articles onto her laptop. She even had started her own dossiers on as many of the various heroes and villains.
She spent the next hour plugging her articles into the laptop, periodically stopping for coffee. Sam did a double take when there was a knock on her door. She saved her work and closed her laptop.
"I'm coming" Sam called. When she opened the door her jaw dropped.
"Young Fiorentino!" Sam tried to close the door, but the white-faced man caught it. Sam backed up and ran into the main room of the apartment. "Oh, don't run. I only want your head!"
Sam picked up the phone and dialed 911. Someone picked up on the other end. Sam screamed when the phone exploded.
"I wouldn't do that" The Joker said. Sam turned to see an extra long handgun pointed at her.
"What do you want?" Sam asked.
"Well" The Joker said taking a step closer to her, grabbing her about the waist. "I have a few questions for you. Where's your uncle's money? How much of the other night did you see? Are you wearing black underwear right now?"
"Get away from me" Sam said trying to push him away. She was met with a gun pressed into her stomach. The Joker wrapped a hand in her hair. "Ow! Who are you?!"
"Don't you know?" The Joker whispered into her ear. He laughed making Sam turn her head from him. One of the apartment windows broke and made Sam and the Joker turn their heads.
"Joker" Batman said standing in the room. "Let her go."
"Touchy" The Joker said. The Joker leaned his head down and licked Sam's neck. "She tastes like a birthday cake and I love birthday cake."
"You sick bastard" Sam said trying to get free. She stopped when she felt the gun press into her ribcage.
"Think you can save her, Batsy?" The Joker asked. "Maybe I'll just gun her down right now."
"No!" Batman said. Batman took out a batarang.
"Tsk-tsk" The Joker said. "I won't hesitate to shoot."
"If you wanted to shoot her, you would have done it" Batman said. The Joker let up a hair and shot twice at Batman, hitting him both times. Batman fell back to the floor.
"I wonder if you're bulletproof too" The Joker said. He pushed Sam towards Batman and pulled a radio from his coat pocket. "Boys."
"Are you okay?" Sam asked Batman. Batman groaned. Sam stood up.
"Don't move, Sweetheart" The Joker said. His gun was trained on her once again. A second later, the Jokerz burst through her door. One of the large thugs approached her, trying to grab hold of her. The Joker walked towards the door. "Bring her down to the car."
"What about Batman?" One of the painted goons asked.
"Kill him" The Joker replied with a smile. He walked out laughing in the same manner the old Joker was known for.
Sam moved quickly, kicking her large assailant in the chest. She grabbed the tv remote from the arm of the couch and smacked him over the head, breaking it into pieces. Batman stood up just as two of the Jokerz tackled him.
Sam turned to see how Batman was doing. Two of the Jokerz, the twins, kicked her in the stomach and sent her into the couch. They pounced on her and started punching her in the face.
There was a loud crash in the apartment and before Sam was coherent enough to realize what was going on, the two twins were pulled off of her. Sam was pulled off the couch by her hand.
"Get to the window" Batman said. He kicked one of the thugs in the stomach and forced him back on the floor. Sam put a hand to her head and opened the window. She felt someone grab her and pull her through the window. "Are you okay?"
"Oh yeah" Sam said trying to look normal. Batman put her in the batwing and jumped in.
"Bruce?" Batman said. He headed back towards the cave. "We're coming in. I knew the Joker would try again."
"How's Sam?" Bruce asked. Batman looked over at the girl slumped against the side of the batwing.
"She got her head pounded into. She's out." Batman said. He sped up the plane. "I'm coming in."
Sam woke up to the chilly air of the batcave. She tried sitting up, but her head felt like lead and it hurt when she moved.
"You work at IMAS" She heard. "But you couldn't kick that guy's butt?"
"I didn't see you kick it" Sam said. She felt a hand on her head. Then the hand pushed her hands to her sides. "What happened?"
"They beat you until you were almost unconscious" Terry said. She could see him now. He had a towel around his neck and the top of his suit was off. "You have a slight concussion."
"Can I get an asprin or something?" Sam asked. Terry blurred in and out of focus. When he came back into focus, he had an asprin bottle in his hand.
"Here, take three of these" Terry said. "They're chewable."
"Where's Mr. Wayne?" Sam asked. Terry helped her sit up. Her head rolled a little and he moved it so she was leaning against his chest.
"It's late" Terry said. "He went to bed."
Sam chewed the tablets and closed her eyes. "I guess I'm staying here then."
"I know someone you can stay with if—" Terry said.
"No" Sam said. "Here is fine."
"Let's move you to the bed then" Terry said. He picked her up and carried her into one of the dark rooms. He flipped on the light to reveal a bed. In the corner of the room was a mirror and sink. Terry set her down on the bed. "Good thing you're already in your pajamas."
"How were you able to take those punches?" Sam asked. Terry covered her up and sat down.
"The suit" Terry said. "I'm surprised you weren't fully unconscious when I got you to the batwing. Even with the suit, I might have been."
"My neck hurts" Sam said.
"I hear that happens with concussions" Terry replied. Before Terry could stand up, Sam reached out and touched his hand.
"My hair" She said. Her head rolled to the side, then upright as if she were falling asleep. "Undo the braid for me?"
Terry smiled and undid her braid. He smoothed her hair and smiled. She was tough, but still a girl. Terry's cell phone rang from his bag of clothes. Terry caught it on the third ring.
"Hello?" Terry asked. He kept the phone cradled against his shoulder until he managed to get a t-shirt on.
"Terry, it's Max" Max said over the phone. "You still 'working'?"
"Yeah" Terry said. He turned towards the dark spare room. "Max, tomorrow, meet me at your place around noon."
"Why? What's happening here?" Max asked.
"You'll see" Terry said. "I need to start getting home."
"I'll let you go then" Max said. "You stopping by tonight?"
"No. I'll just see you tomorrow" Terry replied.
"Okay" Max said. "Later."
"Bye" Terry said. Terry got dressed and peeked back into the room Sam was using. She looked asleep. "Sam?" She stirred. Terry went over and put a hand on her shoulder. "Sam, I'm going home now."
"You smell like cotton candy" Sam said.
"Uh. Yeah" Terry replied. He stood up. "Just get some sleep."
"Cotton candy and strawberry gum" Sam whispered. Terry pulled his coat out of his bag and put it on. She kept repeating 'cotton candy and strawberry gum' every few minutes.
"You got hit hard" Terry said. He felt her head, but she didn't have a fever. "I'll see you tomorrow."
Bruce woke up early. He was still in his pajamas and robe when he went down to the cave to check on Sam. He was surprised to find her on the bat computer. She had a building pulled up on the screen. Bruce quietly made his way to stand beside her. Sam wrote the address down and bent forward with her hands on her head.
"Stop stop stop stop stop" Sam chanted to herself. She sat back up with a tightly clenched jaw. Bruce moved slightly. Her head whipped around to look at him. "Good morning."
"Good morning" Bruce said. "You're up early aren't you?"
"I couldn't sleep" Sam said.
"Why is the Ace Sweet Delight factory pulled up?" Bruce asked.
"He smelled" Sam said. "He smelled like cotton candy and strawberry gum." Sam pulled up a list of products made. "Other then various carnivals, cotton candy is pretty limited in Gotham. This place makes the largest amount AND makes strawberry gum."
"What about the other places?" Bruce asked.
"They don't have the strawberry gum" Sam replied. Bruce put his hand on her shoulder.
"You need to get some rest" Bruce said. Sam nodded and got up. "Good job."
Sam nodded as she headed back towards the bedroom. Bruce sat down in the computer chair and noticed an odd file that was on the screen. He pulled it up and found that Sam had started a dossier on the new Joker.
"Hey Bruce" Terry said upon entering the bat cave.
"You're here early" Bruce said.
"Yeah, I know" Terry said. "How's Sam doing?"
"She stayed up all night" Bruce said. He brought up the Ace Sweet Delight information. "She said that the Joker smelled like cotton candy and strawberry gum. I ran a second check and Ace looks like our place."
"She said that last night" Terry said. "I thought she was being delusional."
"She's been asleep since five this morning" Bruce said. "I'm thinking that an early morning patrol is in order."
"I'm on it" Terry said.
Sam woke up after eight hours of sleep and stumbled into the main room of the batcave. No one was in sight, but that didn't mean the cave was empty.
"Mr. Wayne?" Sam called. She went over to the computer and found that Terry was on patrol. "Terry? Are you there?"
"Sam?" Terry asked. "How're you feeling?"
"Like someone bashed my head in" Sam said. "How's patrol?"
"Pretty boring right now" Terry said. "I'm going to make a pit stop."
"Did Mr. Wayne tell you where he went off to?" Sam asked.
"Check upstairs" Terry said. The radio connection was cut off at Terry's end. The sound of a cane and soft leather shoes made Sam look towards the stairs.
"Good to see you up" Bruce said. "How are you feeling?"
"Bad" Sam said. She turned the chair around to face him. "Any word on the Joker?"
"No" Bruce said. "Terry checked out Ace, but no one was there. He said it looked like the party had just moved."
"Damn" Sam said. She tucked her legs under the chair and rested her chin on her hand. Sam rubbed her temple.
"I finished your suit" Bruce said. Sam's head popped up. She got up and followed him. Bruce pressed a button on a wall panel and two bat costumes slid aside. Behind them, in a small closet of a room, was a brand new bat suit. It was black and red, like Terry's, but the bat symbol extended from the front, over the shoulders, and onto the back.
"Whoa" Sam said touching it.
"It has the same features as Terry's suit" Bruce said. "There's a file on it."
"Well, I'll have to read it" Sam said. "Once I try it on."
Once the suit was on, Sam neglected to take it off. She spent her time building her strength back up and then patrolling. She had decided to take a week off of work, claiming that she was in mourning over her uncle.
She spent one day packing up her apartment and getting her things moved to a storage unit. Sam let her other uncle deal with the funeral arrangements. It had taken the police a while to autopsy the charred body of her Uncle Ted. Sam tried not to think about it. Instead she pushed herself harder on trying to find the Joker. The wannabe Joker.
"It's Saturday" Bruce said from behind the bat computer chair. Sam didn't turn around, she just kept plugging away.
"And?" Sam asked.
"Why don't you take a break?" Bruce asked. "You've barely gotten any sleep in the last few days."
"I can sleep later" Sam said. She pulled up files that had come from Arkham.
"Even Bats need to sleep" Bruce said. His tone was urging her to sleep; to anyone else it would have been a command. Sam turned around and leaned forward a little.
"Tell me, Mr. Wayne" Sam said. "How well did you sleep when you knew that your Joker was out there?" Sam turned back to the computer. "If you slept well, then you're lying."
"All of this for your uncle?" Bruce asked moving to stand beside the chair.
"I have one uncle left Mr. Wayne" Sam said. "He lives in Florida with his trophy wife. His perfect kids are both in college and the last time I saw him, he was fighting with my dad."
"Where are your parents?" Bruce asked. Sam brought up a map of Gotham. With the mouse she played connect the explosions, keeping track mentally of where the invisible lines were.
"Dead" Sam said. "The police said they got drunk, undid their own break line, and slipped over a cliff off of I-81." Sam narrowed her eyes towards the screen. "My uncle raised me." She pressed the print button and the computer spit out a printed picture of the map she had on the screen. She grabbed a marker and connected the explosions. "Look. God damn it. I didn't even think about this."
Bruce took the picture and looked at it. It read: 'Bats -'. Bruce didn't look too pleased.
"What building is it pointing to?" Bruce asked. Sam zoomed into the area the arrow pointed to. He growled out the building name. "Arkham."
"Where's Terry tonight?" Sam asked.
"He owed his friend a favor" Bruce said.
"I'm going" Sam said. She stood up.
"You can't go into Arkham alone" Bruce said. "You don't want to be there alone."
"Are you planning on joining me?" Sam asked. Bruce shook his head 'no'. "Then let Terry know."
"Wait" Bruce said. Sam turned back towards Bruce. He threw keys towards her. "Take the car."
"These keys look old" Sam said. Bruce pushed a button and a part of the cave that Sam thought was rock lit up. Sam could see the tail end of the old batmobile. "No way. I get to take the old one?" She took a step towards Bruce. "For real?"
"For real" Bruce replied. "Do you know what it can do?"
"Yeah" Sam said. "I read the file." She couldn't help but smile. Out of excitement, she leaned towards Bruce and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "It'll be fine! I'll have it back in one piece!"
"I'll let Terry know where you'll be" Bruce said. He put both hands on his cane. "Keep your radio on. I'll help guide you through Arkham."
"Okay" Sam said.
"Terry" Bruce said into the phone. "The explosions spelled out 'Bats' and made an arrow. He's at Arkham."
"Isn't that the last place he'd want to be?" Terry asked.
"Yes" Bruce said. "Sometimes the last place is the first place you should check."
"Sam heading over there?" Terry asked. He laughed and the sound of Max's voice carried through the phone.
"Yes. Terry, get over there" Bruce said. "Do not bring Max."
"Hey, would I do that?" Terry asked. Bruce took a deep breath then hung up. He swiveled around in the computer chair and turned on the radio.
"Terry's on his way" Bruce said.
"I don't think I'll need his help" Sam said.
"Where are you?" Bruce asked.
"Can't you tell?" Sam asked. She rammed the locked front gates of Arkham. "I just got to Arkham."
Arkham was creepy. There were very few people who still ran Arkham. Most of the loons that were there never left their cells now. The walls, after being reinforced, were nearly impenetrable.
Sam crept down the long halls that were now filled with graffiti. There were arrows in the graffiti and Sam followed them.
"You're heading to the cafeteria" Bruce finally said. Within two minutes, Bruce guided her there.
"I can't believe you know where everything is in here" Sam whispered into her radio receiver.
"Spend enough time there" Bruce said. "And you start knowing the place."
Sam ducked into the room and quickly backed into the shadows.
"Hey, did you see something over there?" A fat clown asked. Two twin girls, the two that had beat Sam's face in, turned and looked across the cafeteria.
"No" They said together.
"Boss?" The fat clown asked. The three henchmen took a step back when the large office chair turned around. The man, the Joker, turned around. His face had the permanent smile and the white skin, but the hair looked dyed.
"Get her" The Joker commanded. The three henchmen spread themselves out. The Joker watched until the fat clown was pelted by two batarangs. They both stuck out of his chest.
"Wait" Bruce said. "Wait for Terry."
Sam threw down a smoke bomb. She ran forward and with two roundhouse kicks, knocked Dee Dee onto their butts. They tried to trip her, but Sam jumped and ended up landing on their legs. There was an unnatural snap and both howled in pain.
The Joker was laughing hysterically.
"Terry will be there in two minutes, just wait for him" Bruce said urgently over the radio.
Sam stalked towards the Joker and stopped when he stood up. He had a cane at his side.
"Hey Batsy" Joker called out. "It took you long enough to find me." Sam stood her ground. The Joker paced back and forth. "What did you think of my sign? I thought it was a bit explosive on my part." He poked her in the chest with his cane. "Look at you. I wanted Batman and I got Batbabe instead."
Sam grabbed the cane and whipped it around, hitting the Joker between his neck and shoulder. The Joker howled in pain and stepped back.
"What are you going to do?" Joker asked with a chuckle. "Kill me?!"
Sam stepped forward and swung the cane up, hitting the Joker in his jaw. He fell to the floor and groaned. Sam threw the cane across the room and dragged the Joker to his feet. The second his eyes met hers, she slammed him into the wall.
"I've read about the Joker" Sam growled at him. "You might want to change your name to Mr. Annoying."
"Aren't you all high and mighty" The Joker said.
"Sam, stop!" Bruce yelled over the radio. "Terry will be there in a minute."
The Joker pulled Sam against his body. "Can't you see that I want you?"
Sam growled and head-butted the Joker. She then pulled out of his reach and elbowed him in the solar plexus. Sam wasn't seeing anything now, except the Joker. She couldn't even hear Bruce over the radio. As the saying went, she was seeing red.
Sam grabbed the Joker's jacket and jerked him towards her, then punched him away. The Joker sprawled out on the floor. Blood was dripping from his mouth and nose. Sam kneeled on his back and pulled his arm around into a painful hold.
"The real Joker would have had a trick up his sleeve" Sam growled. She leaned down towards his ear. "You. You're pathetic."
"C'mon, Bat-babe, you're nothing but a wannabe yourself" The Joker said back to her. Sam tightened her hold. "You're going to break my arm!"
"I can prove myself worthy of my title" Sam said. "I'm Batgirl."
The Joker started laughing hysterically. Sam felt someone slam into her. She fell to the floor beside the Joker. The Joker just laughed even harder.
"You can't kill him" Batman said. Batman slipped cuffs onto the Joker's hands and feet. Sam stood up quietly. "Batgirl?"
Sam stepped back into the shadows and threw another smoke bomb. She ducked into the halls of Arkham and proceeded to find her way through the maze of halls.
Four hours later, Sam was listening to Bruce over the headset. She still hadn't said a word. He was talking softly into a headset. Trying to get her out of the shadows.
The batmobile was back at the batcave. Sam had dropped it off and stuck to the shadows. She was clamped onto a ledge near the ceiling of the cave. Terry had tried to find her, but never seemed to look up. As the early morning hours came around, Terry had left, leaving Bruce to sit in the cave alone with Sam.
"Sam, I know you're still here" Bruce said. "I'm not upset with you."
"I just wanted him dead" Sam whispered. Bruce turned around and looked into the surrounding cave.
"Sam, I know exactly how you feel" Bruce said. "Believe me."
"I don't doubt it" Sam whispered. She sighed. Before making it back to the batcave, she had made a quick stop to get her laptop. She had it in a bag that she clung tightly to. "I have something for you, Mr. Wayne."
She clicked her rocket boots on and landed in the center of the open floor. She pulled out her laptop, letting the bag drop to the floor, and carried it over to the large bat computer. Bruce watched as she plugged a cord into both computers and fiddled with the bat computer.
"What is it?" Bruce asked.
"I've spent a long time putting this together" Sam said. "It's a database, very user friendly, of all the articles I could find."
"Articles?" Bruce asked.
"Newspapers articles, magazine articles, photos" Sam said. Sam turned around and leaned against the computer terminal. "Call it a hobby."
"How many articles do you have?" Bruce asked.
"About 14,500" Sam said. "Give or take."
"That must extend back to when I started" Bruce said. Sam nodded. Bruce stared at Sam and Sam stared back.
"What'll happen to that big Joke?" Sam asked not averting her eyes.
"They'll lock him up" Bruce said. Sam flinched then moved to walk around.
"Can I still be a bat?" Sam asked. Bruce nodded. They were quiet for a moment. Then, as if she had been asked, Sam pulled the mask from her head. The bags under her eyes were almost black. "Thanks, Mr. Wayne."
"You can call me Bruce" Bruce said.
"Bruce" Sam said. "I'm going to go shower and crash for a while."
"I'll wake you if something happens" Bruce said. Sam nodded and slowly headed for the shower. She couldn't help but smile when she saw herself in the mirror.
She had done it. She was a bat. Batgirl to be precise.
"I am Batgirl" She whispered to herself.