When Urban Legends Collide
Gotham City was even more fucked up than Sunnydale, and that was saying something.
Never before had anyone as seemingly harmless as the petite blonde Slayer and her sidekick, the one-eyed carpenter faced down Batman, his sidekick Robin, and their associate Nightwing with the calm aplomb of someone running into a friendly cat sunning itself on a suburban sidewalk.
Then again, Buffy and Xander only seemed harmless, and whatever else they were, the superhero defenders of Gotham City were only normal (well, non-super-powered) humans, which meant that Buffy was stronger than all of them put together.
Though not even Buffy back in her cheerleading heyday was as flexible as Nightwing (currently balanced nonchalantly on the inch-wide rail of a rusty fire escape), or Robin (currently hanging by one hand from an aluminum television antenna five yards above their heads).
"Who are you and what are you doing in my city?" Batman demanded in a gravely voice, glowering down at them.
"I'm Buffy, he's Xander, and unless your name is John Q. Gotham, this isn't your city," Buffy shot back.
Batman just amped up the mean on his glare.
Buffy found herself mesmerized by someone who could manage to put that much menace in his eyes even when they were hidden from view. She unconsciously found herself leaning forward, almost under his thrall. Then his cape rustled in the wind, smacking lightly against her leg, and she jumped. "Bat! Ooh, bat!" Déjà vu hit and both her common sense and her Slayer sense kicked in, so she scowled and pushed – more like forcefully shoved – the Batman none-too-gently away from her.
Batman blinked, obviously startled, not only at her moving him, but at how easily he was moved. He stared at Buffy for a moment, and then went back to glaring at her. He did, however, fold his arms underneath his cape in such a way as to keep said cape from hitting Buffy again.
What weapons he might have been accessing that she couldn't see, Buffy didn't know.
"Hey!" Robin narrowed his eyes, almost pouting. "What was that for?"
Buffy quit scowling at the Batman, shook her head, then shrugged at the kid. "Sorry, Dracula flashback," she said, not sounding too apologetic at all.
The Batman stared hard at her, giving the impression of someone with a single eyebrow raised. It was hard to tell, since his cowl obscured everything north of his nose. "Dracula is an urban legend," he growled.
Xander snorted. "So sayeth the Batman," he muttered, then cringed at the dark look thrown his way by the Dark Knight. He manfully managed to not hide behind Buffy, however much more intelligent – yet dignity-dissolving – that move might have been.
"That's a really black pot and kettle sitch, coming from you, now isn't it?" Buffy added, cocking a brow.
Nightwing coughed to cover his laugh. Robin's face had the stone-stillness of someone who was exerting most of their self-control to keep their lips from twitching into a smile.
"If you're not going to tell me why you're in my city, then tell me why you attacked my s– partners," Batman said, making a last moment switch over the final word.
Buffy doubted he was going to call the birdboys 'Scoobies.' More likely sidekicks, which their mini Death Glares seemed to not appreciate.
"We didn't attack them. They attacked us," Buffy said, almost boredly. She couldn't exactly be self-righteous about it, since from wherever those two were skulking it had probably looked like she and Xander were killing criminals instead of vampires.
She'd heard very little about Batman before coming to Gotham City, but one thing that practically everyone had said was that he didn't kill. He was downright creepy, absolutely chilling, and more than likely crazy, but he didn't kill. If he was scary enough in a non-lethal way to have had Spike detouring around the whole state of New Jersey on his way to stalk Drusilla in New York, then he must have been mucho frightening.
At least, to people who hadn't died twice and seen the end of the world countless times. Or maybe he just only pulled out the mucho scariness for Big Bads.
"Oh, really?" Batman said in a skeptical drawl. He once again gave the impression of someone raising an eyebrow behind his mask.
"Yeah," Buffy agreed, folding her arms over her chest and giving the Batman a cocky stare. "We were fighting vampires, and once they were dust, those two–" here Xander helpfully nodded his head at the two birdboys, "–attacked us. Right, Xan?"
Xander nodded over-eagerly, his lone remaining eye focused on the fearsome force of Batness in front of them. "The kid was all like, 'Death from above!' and I was like, 'Whoa…' and the soldier was grumbling, 'Kid, I could swat you like a fly,' and the hyena was drooling and going, 'Tasty morsel…' and– Willow is sure that they're going to integrate soon, right, B?" Xander asked, looking even more pained than he usually did whenever he dealt with non-usual weirdness.
Buffy shrugged helplessly. "That's what she said." But then, magic sometimes – more than sometimes – didn't work exactly the way it was supposed to, where the Scoobies were involved. And Willow had been very wary of getting to 'into' her magic, ever since she'd had her affair with the Dark Side.
Batman and his birds were looking at them like they were crazy. Which, well, okay. But still, pot, kettle, black, and other such clichés. "Never mind. All you have to know to know is that we didn't kill anyone. They were vampires, which means that they were already dead." Buffy paused a beat and then added, "And soulless," because Spike was dead, and she didn't want to think about him, and Angel…she didn't want to think about either of them, actually.
"Assuming I accept that there were legions of the undead loose in my city without my knowledge–" Batman started to say, only to be interrupted.
"What legions?" Xander asked, half-hysterical from dealing with the growling hyena in his head and the brooding Batman in front of him. "There were only four of them. Believe me, if legions of vampires show up, you'll know." And probably be dealing with an apocalypse before long, was left unsaid, but then, most demonic entities tended to steer clear of Gotham City.
Batman threw a glare Xander's way and went back to attempting to stare Buffy down. His attempt wasn't going well, which probably explained his frustration. "Assuming I believe your excuse, that still doesn't explain what you are doing here." Eyes narrowing behind his mask, Batman demanded, "Why are you in my city?" punctuating each word as if it were its own sentence.
Buffy was not impressed. Giles on a rant was scarier than this guy. Admittedly, not by much, but then, he was a Man of Tweed. Batman was a Man of Myth. "The evil lawyers from L.A. and the demons from Cleveland decided to team up and open a Hellmouth in Gotham City," Buffy replied blithely. Which was the truth, but she could guess what the Batman's reaction was going to be.
Robin couldn't hold back a snort of laughter; Nightwing didn't even try.
Xander couldn't help shivering at the sudden icy shock that had come over him; the wintry look Batman gave the two of them was chilling him to the bone. "Vampires, demons, now evil lawyers. You expect me to believe that drivel?" Batman demanded, voice low and gravely.
Buffy shrugged. "I don't care whether you believe me or not."
"You should, if you want our help," Batman shot back.
Snorting derisively, Buffy said huffily, "I definitely didn't come here to ask for your help – and I most definitely don't need it. I came here to kill demons, stop an apocalypse, and hopefully catch the thirty-five percent off sale at Nemain's tomorrow." She smiled brightly at the glowering tower of black battiness.
"Evil lawyers," Robin muttered, chortling. "Isn't that redundant?"
"Now, now, Robin, not all lawyers are evil," Nightwing chided softly. "Just most of them."
Robin eyed the other man with feigned disdain and shot back, "Two-Face was a lawyer."
"Touché," Xander murmured, semi-cowering near Buffy as Batman exchanged heated words with his partners.
Buffy just sighed and perched on the edge of the building. She had a feeling they were going to be on this rooftop for a while, and she might as well make herself comfortable. Gotham City was nuts. Definitely more fucked up than Sunnydale used to be.
And it wasn't even midnight.