Author: Bastille Kain
Title: …And the Mouse Police Never Sleep
Disclaimer: I own nothing. The character's of Buffy, Angel, and any other show, or medium, that are unfortunate enough to be used here belong to other people.
Spoilers: Anything and everything. Set in season four of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Summary: Bruce Wayne is tracking down a piece of stolen technology. His search leads him to Sunnydale and the Initiative. Kitty Pryde is doing a bit of checking up on the Initiative for Nick Fury.
Feedback: Is always appreciated.
Email: Kain6639yahoo com
Archive: If you like it that much, sure. Just be sure to let me know where it's going, and give me the credit, good or bad, for my work.
Musical Note: "...And the Mouse Police Never Sleeps" is performed by Jethro Tull. "Running Down A Dream" is preformed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. All Lyrics can be found at sing365 com
Author Note: Don't do author notes. If you want to know what is going check out my profile at FanFiction Net
Enjoy the Story,
Chapter One: Running Down A Dream
There was an almost oppressive sensation contained within the four walls of Bruce Wayne's office. Despite its palatial, nearly cathedral like dimensions there's a claustrophobic, weight of the world pressing down on your shoulders, feel to the room.
The only wall that has even a semblance of a personality is the back wall. A monstrously gigantic, single pane window that displays a sweeping view of Gothem's majestic sky line. A mixture of old world gothic buildings, bridges, and road-ways and sleek new world sky scrapers, strip malls, and industrial complexes. To some one looking down upon the city, from on high, it would appear as if some strange metamorphosis is taking place.
Bruce Wayne, the man sitting behind the century old, solid, dark oak desk, is aware of that fact on a basic level. He knows about every subtle change that occurs in his city as soon as it happens.
For while his lively hood depends on his skill, his knowledge of board rooms and high powered business meeting and dealing with ruthless power brokers. His life, more often then not, depends on his knowing every little nook and cranny, every hidey-hole, every back room and dark alley that Gothem is home to, better then he knows the back of his hand.
While all the world knows Bruce Wayne; CEO and President of Wayne Industries, one of the largest most influential corporations in the world. Where his decision have effects both immediate and far reaching, local and global.
Only a select few, a handful of people to be sure, know Bruce Wayne's other identity. His alter ego.
The Caped Crusader.
The Dark Knight of Justice.
Whose choices, actions, and decisions, while no less vital then his more prominent persona, usually have life altering, life shattering consequences attached to them. At least for him, their impact is felt almost instantly.
Bruce's face is a mask of concentration as he tries to find the answer to a most vexing problem. His eyes remain fixed on the screen in front of him as if the answer he seeks is contained somewhere within, that if he determined enough, that if he stares hard enough, long enough they would appear in front of him.
Nothing does though. Which simply makes him that much more determined to uncover the truth. So like he always does, he sets out to find it.
Entering another set of search parameters into his computer the screen shifts displaying more information, different information then what he had just been going over.
He scans the page quickly, scrolling the task bar down. Reaching the bottom of the page he scowls in disgust when he doesn't find anything concerning his question.
Typing in another search request, the screen changes again. Again he scrolls down the page absorbing the information presented at a phenomenal rate.
Hour after hour. Page after page. He searches, reads, and becomes that much more determined to find the truth of the matter with each dead end he races into.
As useful as he finds computers, as much as he appreciates and marvels at their capabilities, it has always been painfully obvious to him that in situation such as this, they are a sever handicap. Especially if someone -- an extremely skilled someone -- managed to breach the security protocols, feed the machine false information, wiped out all traces that they had been there, so no one would know the difference.
After spending nearly three hours starring into a computer screen with the only useful knowledge he has able to glean from the contraption was that there was nothing useful to be found, Bruce hit's a button and the flat screen monitor folds up neatly into the compartment had built into the ancient oak desk to suit his needs. A square of oak paneling, that matches the color and grain of the antique furniture perfectly, slides back into place.
He leans back slightly, his fingers tapping the edge of his desk as he ponders the problem at hand. Less then a day ago Karl Rashnovik, the head of SeaStrom, had called inquiring about when Wayne Industries was going to get around to delivering the MPPG-2. A power generator, the size of an electric pencil sharpener, that can powered America's top of the line nuclear submarines for more then a week straight before its uranium core would need to be replenished.
For Bruce and a lot of others, the MPPG line would revolutionize, both deep sea and deep space exploration in ways never before imaged. No longer would there be a need for bulky, not to mention wasteful fuel storage containers that right now were necessary for shuttlecrafts to achieve the thrust required to break Earth's gravity. No longer would state of the art submarines require massive nuclear reactors to provide power.
Bruce was also acutely aware of the fact that there were also those who would do anything, go to the most extreme lengths to get their hands on the MPPG-2. People, groups, governments that didn't have their fellow man's best interest at heart. Those that would use his technology to stir up strife, create grief and conflict the world over for any number of reasons.
Very few, if any, would ever be justifiable.
When he received Rashnovik phone call he began going over ever conceivable computer record he could think of. Matching inventories. Following the paper trail from pick up to delivery. It had all been in perfect order. Everything on his end showed SeaStrom receiving the MPPG-2.
That night Bat-Man began his own private investigation. Asking questions in his unique way. While the low level thugs that proliferated the streets of Gothem had been willing to give up everything they knew -- from back rooms and gaming houses to clandestine meetings -- most of which he already knew. Nobody, however, knew anything about a hijacking of Wayne technology.
Which meant it was pulled off by someone outside the reach of the Gothem underworld, and only a handful of such organizations exited. Including a few world governments.
Or it was carried out by someone inside Wayne Industries.
He didn't like the thought. That one of his employees could be behind the mysterious disappearance of the MPPG-2. He still had to acknowledge the fact, that not only was it possible, but that it was in fact also probable.
The soft click of his office door as it closed pulls Bruce's eyes to the solid, red oak door. His awareness expanding to its utmost. He becomes intricately aware of his environment. Every slight, subtle change. It was as if something evil had taken up residence in his office.
Feeling a rush from his side, Bruce throws himself backwards barely managing to avoid the powerful blow that passes through the space his head had previously occupied. His chair crashes to the floor as he smoothly rolls to his feet.
Sensing the attack coming from his left he throws his forearms up in front of face. He absorbs the blow with a grunt. The force of the strike surprises him, driving him back. His feet sliding across the rug.
Making an instinctive, gut decision Bruce slips the punch, sliding underneath. He lashes out, his elbow striking the man in the kidney. His opponent remains oddly silent.
The other, a blonde hair man, several inches shorter then Bruce, but wider through the chest and shoulder, with arms as long as an orangutan and twice as thick, lunges for him.
Bruce does the expedient thing and ducks out of the way. Long arms crashes into his partner. Spinning quickly he punches him in the back of his head to little effect.
A second fist to the side of the head keeps him there a fraction of a second too long to avoid the swatting back fist. Still he manages to throw himself backward at the last possible instant so he doesn't absorb the blows full impact. It was still powerful enough that he felt fortunate nothing had been broken.
Going limp he allows years of intensive training to take over. His hands touch the floor, skills honed since early childhood come into play. He vaults upward into a twisting somersault to land facing his two adversaries.
For the first time, in the few seconds since the attack began, he gets a good look at his assailants faces. Heavy, distorted brow ridges dominate their foreheads, almost, but not quite drawing attention away from oddly pale, yet luminescent gold eyes. A set of razor sharp, scissor like teeth protrude from their mouths.
"Vampires," he mouths softly feeling a cold calm wash over him. One vampire shouldn't be a problem for him. He's been able to take them out one at a time since he first learnt of them, during his late teens when he was studying in Japan.
Two of them however might be more then he can handle.
They charge him without making the slightest sound. No verbalization of any kind, which is highly unusual for what are normally very vocal creatures.
Bruce darts to the side getting them to react to him. Once they do he pivots without breaking stride and races back towards the secret wall panel and the cache of weapons and equipment he has hidden there.
They react quickly, their supernatural nature allowing them to change direction without losing even a fraction of their momentum.
Still Bruce manages to reach the wall panel well ahead of the two vampires. With speed born from desperation he deftly unhooks the hidden latch and swings the square section of wall open slamming it into the deformed face of the sandy, brown haired fiend.
The demon hits with such force that his head crashes through the solid paneling before he rebounds, staggering back into the wall. He drops senseless to the floor.
Bruce reaches into the opening grabbing hold of his utility belt just as the second vampire grabs hold of him around his shoulders. The undead creature continues forward attempting to slam Bruce into the wall, only Wayne manages to duck and shrug slipping out of his coat.
Not realizing that he is now only holding onto a discarded scrap cloth the vampire runs himself head long into the wall.
Bruce rolls backwards putting a little space between himself and the vampire. Even as he roll he draws a specialized Bat-a-rang from his belt. It wasn't designed for a task like this one, being phosphorous much like a flare, but it would work in a pinch.
Coming up to one knee, bat-a-rang poised to be thrown, the vampire whirls around. With a quick, practiced, whip like motion Bruce lets the Bat-a-rang fly. His aim was as true as it has ever been as the Bat-a-rang buries itself in the creatures chest.
The vampire looks down at the protruding object, bewilderment etched on his face. He glances back at the human and freezes as he spots the sadistic gleam twinkling in Bruce's eyes. A bare fraction of a heartbeat later the phosphorous agent ignites burning a hole through through his chest.
For the first time since entering the vampire makes a noise.
A deafening roar of pain fueled rage ripped from the very core of his being as the sparks and intense heat consume him from the inside out. His pitiful cry was cut mercifully short as the body turned to dust falling soundlessly to the floor.
While the dust doesn't make any noise as it falls to the carpet. A silver chest harness clunks heavily as it lands. A multitude of blinking colored lights decorate the front chest strap. What draws Bruce's eyes though are a series of spiraling red lights that slowly, but with increasing speed, wink out.
His eyes widen as he suddenly realize exactly what is sitting in front of him. That at most he only has half a dozen seconds to get out of his office, out of his building would be the better option, and well outside the blast radius.
Jumping to his feet he slips the utility belt on even as his mind goes over all the options available to him. Before he lands on his feet he already knows he has only one choice. Only one chance to survive.
Pulling out his grappling gun he aims and fires it at the massive window as he charges forward. It punches a hole through the thick sheet of glass.
Sprinting hard, arms and legs pumping furiously. His desire to survive drives him forward as he imagines he can hear the insistent ticking of a clock prodding him, mocking him.
It spurs him on.
He throws his shoulder forward as he leaps. The soft click of finality echoes like a thunder clap in his ears.
Pain jolts up his shoulder and through his body as he crashes through the sheet of glass that was as think as a man's head.
A wave of force, nothing more then solid air, crashes into him. Propelling him far out into the open air high above the pavement below.
He struggles to hold onto consciousness knowing that if he losses that battle then there wouldn't be anymore tomorrows.
A split second later an intense heat wave washes over him followed by a roar so loud it would make standing at ground zero of a shuttle launch seem quiet in comparison. Another concussive wave of solid air, more powerful then the first, slams into him.
Darkness swallows him whole. Pulling him down no matter how hard he struggles.
- - - - -
Despite the month being January, warm sunlight bathes the dorm room. A slight crack in the window allows fresh air into confined space. It doesn't seem right to Kitty, a girl born and bred to Chicago's brutally cold winters. Who has since lived in such places as New York and Great Britain, both places known for their equally fickle weather. This sixty degrees and sunny in the middle of January was for the birds.
"…explosion that rocked Wayne Industries to its very core. Not just with the loss of its corporate headquarters in Gothem, but emotionally as well. After Five days there is still no clear indication as to weather Bruce Wayne, President and CEO of Wayne Industries, was, like he does on so many nights, burning the midnight oil and working late on…"
The radio squawks suddenly as Jubilee's nimble fingers ruthlessly change the dial. "How can you stand listening to that?" She grumbles in quiet disgust. "Need to get some tunes."
She pauses for a moment at the sound of heavy drums and a simple bass line. "…call me blind, but I didn't see it coming. Everybody was running, but I couldn't hear nothing, except gun blast. It hap…"
"Need happy music," she mumbles as her fingers once again cause the radio to squawk as she manhandles the tuner.
Kitty glances at her friend, a light scowl marring her features. Despite that, her soft brown eyes are still warm as she inquires, "thought you were going to give me a hand unpacking? Or did I just misunderstand what you said?"
"Can't unpack without good music," Jubilee points out.
Kitty gives her head rueful shake. "Actually Jubes, I'm pretty sure you can."
The younger girl gives Kitty an incredulous look. "Yeah, right," she remarks playfully just before she increases the volume slightly.
With a shrug Kitty goes back to hanging the slacks, she has been standing there holding for the last few moments, up in the closet. As she turns she glances at the mountain of luggage her and Jubilee had lugged up to her dorm room. A small frown creases her lips as she notices that her satchel, containing her notebook and computer supplies, was missing. "I gotta run back down to the rental. You gonna be okay alone?" She cringes inwardly even as she asks the question.
Jubilee looks at Kitty like she had just grown horns. "It's southern California not some backwater world on the fringe of Shi'ar space. So unless Doom, Creed, or Sinister suddenly pop in here wanting to discuss thermodynamics, I'm pretty sure I can hold the fort."
Kitty nods feeling slightly abashed at asking Jubilee the question. The teenager had been living on her own since her parent's were killed when she was in her early teens. She couldn't really help asking though. In a way, Kitty thinks of Jubilee as something akin to a younger sister. It wasn't all that surprising considering the fact that Logan has always been something of a surrogate uncle to both girls. That coupled with the fact that both of them were only children led to Kitty's unofficial adoption of Jubilee.
Of course the X-Men, and all the groups that sprang up from the core of Xavier's dream, had become the nucleus of their new, often strained, family. "I'll be right back then."
Jubilee gives a tiny, noncommittal shrug. "Take your time," she replies. Not bothering with a backward glance she jumps onto Kitty's bed. She lands with her fingers laced behind her head. "I can wait till you get back before starting," she finishes lazily while closing her eyes.
Despite the anxiety she was feeling about getting to L.A. as quickly as she could, Jubilee really wasn't in that big of a rush to get to L.A. A law firm had contacted her, with some matter regarding her parents will. Something that should have been read years ago only she had disappeared, first to the streets of Los Angeles, then the Australian Out back, The Asian Pacific, mainland China, Deep Space, The North Atlantic European Coast, New York, and finally Massachusetts, were she registered for school and created a paper trail that could be traced by anyone looking for her.
A wary smile turns the corners of Kitty's mouth up a little. This has been the most relaxed she has seen Jubilee since they started on this trip. It was a façade. Kitty could tell that easily. Jubilee was never this sedate or reserve. Not even when she was sleeping.
Nodding to herself Kitty turns on her heel and heads out the door. She hits what feels like a moving wall. Bouncing back she concentrates so her powers don't kick in and people see her phasing through the floor. She lands hard, but with nearly a decade of intense combat training she manages absorb the impact and avoid any kind of injury.
"Oh my god!" A distressed female voice gasps. "I'm so sorry, I wasn't watching where…"
"It's okay," Kitty cuts in looking up. She manages to keep her features smooth when she sees whose standing over her. Kitty knew she was going to be in the room next to the tiny blonde, Buffy Anne Summers, but still. She had been expecting a few days before setting up a meeting between the two of them. A necessary encounter in order to meet the farm boy from Iowa at her side Riley Finn. Still there was nothing like taking advantage of an opportunity handed to you. "It was as much my fault. In a rush, not looking where I was going."
Riley reaches out offering her a hand that she takes without hesitation. "That was a hard fall. You sure you're okay?"
"No worries there," she answers as Riley pulls her to feet.
Buffy's eyes narrow at the slight British accent. "You from England?"
Kitty frowns minutely until she realizes what she said and how it sounded. Shaking her head she looks a little disbelieving at Buffy, finding it hard to believe such a slight girl, someone she had a good four inches on, had sent her crashing to the floor. "I lived in the British Isles for a few years. Guess I picked up a little accent." Kitty extends her hand to Buffy. "Katherine Pryde, but almost everyone calls me Kitty."
Buffy smiles taking her hand. "Buffy Summers. Everyone calls me Buffy… Except my mother when she's upset with me." She finishes with a brief pause.
"Riley Finn," Riley adds extending his hand.
Again Kitty takes his hand. "It's a pleasure meeting you."
Buffy's attention shifts to the open doorway. To the young and petite Asian girl with the large, purple sunglasses sitting atop her head, the silver earrings with the word Jubilee, and a tight scowl on her face, that stands there glaring at Buffy.
There was something familiar about the girl , but she can't place where she might know her from. "Do I know you?" Something about the earrings.
Jubilee doesn't say anything, just continues to study Buffy. "This is Jubilation Lee. Most everyone…"
"Jubilee," Buffy finishes with a stricken look on her face. Memories of her life back in L.A., back before she was called as a slayer. Memories of a geeky looking freshman Gymnastic star at Hemery High School. A freshman she tortured mercilessly.
At least she did until the girl in question simply vanished sometime before Halloween. Sometime before her watcher showed up telling her what her destiny was.
Buffy had never found out what happened to her. Truthfully she hadn't even tried to find out why and, at the time, couldn't have cared less.
Jubilee steps forward, her trademark yellow duster clutched in her hand. Her anger burning in her eyes. It takes a supreme effort not to accidentally pop off a few fireworks at the blonde socialite.
Buffy glances down at the younger shorter girl and can't help the surge of glee that shoots through her finding somebody smaller then she was. She stamps down the emotion hating herself a little for even feeling it to begin with.
Before she can say anything though Jubilee hisses, "things have changed since high school Summers. I'm not the same little kid you used to shove into lockers." She holds Buffy's gaze for a moment and then brushes past her.
Buffy makes a feeble attempt to grab her arm, but Jubilee easily brushes it away. Softly, to softly for anyone to hear, Buffy says, "and I'm not the same person that used to do that."
"I gotta go," Kitty says rushing past. "Make sure she's all right."
Buffy sighs softly as she watches the retreating form diminish down the hall. She wishes there was something she could do, someway to negate her past actions, but she knows there isn't. The most she can do is try to be a better person then she had been back in her early high school days. She would like Jubilee to know that as well, but doesn't really see where the young girl was going to have a chance to see the changes in her character.