Title: Dark Knight in Denver
A/N: This is the last chapter. But I'll start posting the sequel (where Team 7 goes to Gotham) within a week. Trecebo, THANKS, again. Yeah, Bruce gets tunnel vision sometimes, doesn't he? ;-) They get to thank Bats for his help in the sequel. Glad you liked the story. Thanks!
As soon as they walked into the building Monday morning Team 7 got the word that DA Travis wanted to talk with them. Once they had all arrived they headed to his office.
"I have some good news," Orin told them, an ear to ear grin on his usually serious face. "Ella Gaines is in custody, and on her way here. She's also confessed."
Travis enjoyed the stunned looks on their faces. Even Buck, for once, was speechless.
"The Metropolis Police got a call. When they arrived at the location given by the caller Ella was there and confessed. I've made arrangements to have her extradited here for trial."
"But why would she confess? And who made the call to the police?"
"She says it was. . . Batman," Travis reported in a skeptical tone.
"That vigilante from Gotham? What was he doing in Metropolis?" asked Vin.
"I've heard he and Superman sometimes work together, and Superman is from Metropolis," JD put in.
The word Gotham had gotten Buck thinking. Bruce was also from Gotham, and he was starting to look into the case.
Chris noticed the thoughtful look on his best friend's face. "What's up, Buck?"
"I had lunch with Bruce Saturday. He said he was hiring a private investigator to look into the case."
"Well, I guess he won't need to now," JD quipped.
"There's no way anyone could have found her in less than two days. Not even Bruce Wayne, with all his money," Vin said, understanding Buck's thought.
"I know, but. . ."
Travis stepped in. "I called Bruce at the hotel yesterday. They said he was feeling ill and not to be disturbed."
"The perfect cover if he wasn't there to be disturbed," Ezra noted. He'd used that trick himself a few times.
"I like Bruce. But I've also known him since he was a boy. There is no way he had anything to do with Ella Gaines capture and confession," Orin told them.
"So what happens once she gets here?" asked Nathan, trying to be practical.
"Ya aren't going ta offer her a plea, are ya?" asked Vin, looking at Travis.
"She can plead guilty to everything and do the max," Travis replied in a diamond hard tone.
"Will you be able to use her confession?" JD asked, worried since a vigilante had been involved. He loved the idea of Superman, Batman and the other superheros, but as a federal agent he knew their involvement could complicate things.
Travis nodded. "According to the Metropolis DA, it won't be a problem. They did it all by-the-book."
Just then they heard a cough at the door. With a slightly sheepish grin on his face, Bruce walked in. "Am I interrupting?" he asked in an innocent tone.
Buck, Josiah and Ezra were all looking at him closely, watching his body language and listening to his tone.
Travis answered Bruce's question. "Not at all. We just got some good news. From what Buck said, I take it you know the story of Ella Gaines?"
"She's confessed, and is on her way here."
"That is good news," Bruce said, glancing over at Chris.
Chris focused on Travis. "When she gets here . . . "
Travis cut him off. "You will stay far away from her. I want to have her on trial for murder, not you. Same for the rest of you," he added as he looked at the rest of the Seven. "Stay away from Ella Gaines. And just so we're clear, that is an order."
Bruce repressed a smile. Orin's evaluation matched his. If Chris, or any of the others, were left alone with Ella Gaines she was as good as dead. "Well, you clearly have a lot to take care of. I'll be on my way," Bruce said.
"You're leaving?" asked Buck.
"Yes. My plane leaves for Gotham in a couple of hours," Bruce replied. He automatically calculated the exact time in his mind: Two hours and twenty seven minutes. "I was supposed to fly back yesterday, but wasn't feeling well."
Nathan automatically looked the other man over and saw no hint that he had been sick. He began to wonder if Buck and Ezra's suspicions weren't right.
"I'm pleased to see you've made such a quick recovery," Ezra noted, his tine tinged with irony, and still carefully watching Bruce's reactions. Like Nathan, he'd noticed that Bruce didn't look at all unwell.
"Thank you," Bruce said, careful to keep his voice neutral, and control his body language.
Before leaving he turned back to Travis.
"You don't need to worry about her putting together some kind of high priced defense team to get the confession thrown out."
Orin's voice took on the tone of a father scolding his son. "Bruce. . . I've told you about interfering with the legal system. And much as I might not like them, defense attorneys are part of that."
With a smile curving his lips Bruce left the room.
"What was he talking about?" JD asked.
Travis shook his head slightly before answering. "If Ella tries to get some Dream Team of defense lawyers Bruce will pay them to drop her case. And with the Wayne fortune, he has the money to do it."
After they left Orin's office Chris didn't follow the others back to their office area. He went down to the building's gym and switched into the work out clothes he kept in his locker. He then went through a grueling work out routine. He ended up wrapping his hands and taking his anger out on the punching bag.
He's always assumed that he would be happy when Ella was caught. Instead he found himself seething with anger. Ella might spend the rest of her life in jail, but she would still be alive. As he punched and kicked the bag his anger faded and he thought about what Ella's life in prison would be like for her. Her parents had been rich, and she'd been spoiled. She was used to having servants wait on her, not on working herself. She was used to giving orders, not taking them. She was used to silk and satin dresses, not prison jump suits. She would be alive, but for her it would be no life at all. She would probably rather be dead than spend the rest of her life in prison. A vicious grin curved his lips.
He took a step away from the large punching bag, then turned slightly and hit it with a powerful side kick. The chain the bag was suspended from broke and the bag landed against the far wall. Only fast reflexes and ingrained training kept Chris on his feet. He hadn't been truly aware of how hard he'd kicked.
He stood frozen in place for a moment.
"Been a long time since I've seen ya do that," came a familiar voice from the doorway. Buck was very pleased to see Chris dealing with his anger in what would be considered a healthy way. He understood Chris's anger, and felt his own anger. But, as always, he didn't let his anger show.
Chris turned to see Buck and Vin standing there. He met Vin's eyes and saw the concern in them.
"I'm fine, Vin."
Looking in his 'big brother's' eyes Vin could see that Chris was telling the truth and let himself relax.
"I know it's still early but we were all gonna head to Inez's to celebrate. Travis ok'd it," Buck said. "Ella in jail won't bring Sara and Adam back, but it's still a good thing and worth celebrating, Chris."
Chris now met Buck's eyes. They exchanged a look of shared pain, and of understanding. "Yeah, it is," Chris agreed. "I'll be up in a few minutes." With that he headed toward the locker room to shower and change back to his street clothes.
A few days later JD was working on tracing Ella's past. He quickly noticed that all the information he was checking had been accessed the day before her confession and arrest. He temporarily dropped the hunt for Ella's past and tried to trace who else had accessed the information. He felt sure it was Batman. If he could trace Batman. . . As the hours past his hope slowly died. He got to a certain point but no further. He was sure he was close, but he could never get the final location.
Across the country Oracle called Batman. "We may have a problem."
"What kind of problem?"
"The information you used to trace Ella Gaines. Someone else is now using it to trace her. The problem is they've quit trying to trace her and are trying to trace you."
"That would be JD Dunne, with the AFT. He's Team 7's computer expert."
"He's good," Oracle said, unable to keep the professional admiration out of her voice. "But he doesn't have the equipment you've given me. He won't get your location, but I thought you should know."
"Understood. Batman out."
Back in Denver JD startled when Buck called his name.
"Uh, sorry Buck. What'd you say?"
"I asked what it is that's had ya so preoccupied all day. You didn't even break for lunch," Buck added. That was almost unheard of and told the other men how focused JD was.
"I was tracing Ella. Now I'm trying to trace Batman, but I'm not having any luck," JD said in a tone full of disappointment.
"Yeah. At least I'm pretty sure that's who it is. I can trace the computer access to the Gotham area, but no exact location. And with Ella saying it was Batman who got her, I think it has to be him. And he is good. Really, really good. There's a reason they call him the "World's Greatest Detective". I mean, he accessed all this stuff within a day. The day before she was brought in. I'm not that far back yet, and I'm tracing him to get what I have. . . . I would die happy if I could get a look at the computers he must have," he added in a wistful tone.
Josiah had been standing beside Buck, and now spoke. "What interests me is why Batman would suddenly show an interest in hunting down Ella Gaines. And how he would have known what to start looking for."
"Detective," Buck mused, not realizing he was speaking aloud.
"Yeah, they call him "The World's Greatest Detective," JD said.
"What's on your mind, Brother?" Josiah asked.
"Well, you're probably going to think I'm crazy, but. . . If I'm right it was only hours after Bruce told me that he was hiring a private investigator, a detective, to look for Ella that Batman started looking for Ella. What if that detective was Batman? And I gave Bruce more than enough info to tell Batman where to start looking."
"You think there's a connection between Bruce Wayne and Batman?" Josiah asked.
JD's face lit up. "Actually that makes sense. And I think I know the connection. A man like Bruce Wayne has to know Commissioner Gordon, the Gotham City Police Chief. Who also happens to have a BatSignal to contact Batman. Bruce calls Gordon who then calls Batman."
Josiah spoke next. "And how do you know so much about the Gotham City Police Department?"
JD got a slightly sheepish look. "I learn everything I can about Batman, and Gotham. I mean, Superman is great, but he's . . . hard to relate to with all his super powers. Batman is just a guy. Well, I don't guess Batman is 'just' anything. But he's human, like us. He doesn't have any super powers, but he still fights the bad guys. And he wins. He uses his brain as much as his muscle. He's kind of why I wanted to join the ATF. So I could fight the bad guys like he does."
Buck and Josiah shared a look. JD had never told them anything like this before.
"Guys, time to go home," said Chris as he walked toward the group. "What are you all working on anyway?"
"Just trying to figure out how a Millionaire Playboy, a Vigilante and a Murderer are connected."
"Bruce Wayne, Batman and Ella Gaines?" Chris asked, to make sure he understood what they were talking about.
"Yeah. We think that Bruce called Commissioner Gordon and he called Batman, who then went after Ella. It's the only way all the pieces seem to fit."
Chris thought back to his talk with Bruce. If Bruce had put in motion the events that led to Ella's capture he owed the man a debt he could never repay. And with the role Batman had played in Ella's capture he was feeling a bit more tolerant of costumed vigilantes. Or at least one vigilante. He still didn't want any operating in his city. He shook off his reverie and looked at his men. "Let's call it a night. We have to meet with Travis early tomorrow. New case."
PS: I really, really wanted them to find out who Batman really was in this story, but Bats glared at me and I crumbled. . . . ;-)