It took him a month from the publication of Diary Of A Henchgirl to track down the woman herself, but Batman had finally found her. Lydia Mia Luisa Thompson; a.k.a. Techie, a.k.a. Marilyn Mae Bow, a.k.a. Jessica Stewart, a.k.a. Kennedy King...
He'd stopped reading the a.k.a. list when he hit ten aliases. Really, there was no point after that.
Besides, only one of those aliases mattered to him. Techie was what she'd been known as throughout her criminal career--the others seemed to be pen names and stage names.
Ironic that the one name she didn't use as a Nom De Plume was the one she'd become famous for in the literary world. Though the rest of the world knew her as 'anonymous', Techie was the identity that--if she ever returned to a life of crime--would become linked to the book that had swept the nation like a violent scholarly rash.
Either way, he tracked her down and was currently observing her on her walk down a dark alley, grocery bags in hand.
If he didn't know her history, he'd think she was just another ordinary citizen and not a former henchgirl to the master of fear.
He couldn't very well let her go on completely oblivious to his presence; he'd tracked her down to impart a warning, and impart it he would.
Stalking through the shadows behind her stealthily, he waited until she was about halfway down the alley before he put a hand on her shoulder firmly.
She screamed and dropped the paper bags, then she spun around so swiftly that her glasses flew off her face and she squinted in the darkness, putting her fists up. "Come get some! COME ON!"
Batman had to hide his amusement. It was clear she could barely see a foot in front of her face in the dark, but she was still prepared to put up one hell of a fight. Admirable, if a bit on the stupid side.
She squeaked loudly when his hand popped out of the gloom, her spectacles clasped gently by the bridge between the lenses and he waved them in front of her eyes.
They were on her face again in seconds and she was glaring into the expanse of darkness in front of her. When he stepped out of the shadows, she went from defiant to ashen so fast he thought she might faint from the amount of blood that must've vacated her face to take up residence in her chest cavity to keep that pulse racing at breakneck speed.
"Oh." She looked up at him, jaw hanging open before she gulped air like a fish out of water. "Oh fuckity fuck fuck."
"You're looking rather healthy, for a dead woman."
She recovered faster than he thought she would. "Um...thanks?"
"Are you going to go back to him, then?" He asked, cutting directly to the chase without any ceremony whatsoever.
Techie scrunched up her face, unable to lie to him. "We...we might."
He crossed his arms over his chest and gave her his sternest disappointed parent stance. "I should take you in, you know. You were a wanted criminal."
She looked up at him, alarmed, "So...why don't you?"
"I read your book."
Her expression changed to one of annoyance. "Yeah...my book. Just for the record, I didn't publish it, you know."
"I figured you didn't, what with the fact you were trying to keep up the pretense of being dead. Crane clearly did it to flush you out of hiding."
"Idiot," she muttered, "I mean...not you but him. I respect him--which I'm pretty sure you already know...as do half the country's literate population--but this was not the smartest thing he's ever done. He only thought about the fact that publishing the diary would get our attention...not that it would alert every moron who came across the book to the fact we faked our deaths. I mean...you're not a moron but...I'm totally fucking this up, aren't I? Just arrest me and be done with it, huh?"
Batman's upper lip twitched. "I would, but there's an awful lot of paperwork involved with bringing someone back from the dead just in order to arrest them."
Taken aback, Techie eyed the caped crusader warily, "Ok, what gives? I'm not stupid...people like you don't give people like me and my buddies breaks just because of legal technicalities. It's Hero/Villain Interaction 101. You confront me, we fight, you kick my ass, you take me to jail, I escape. Lather, rinse, repeat."
"So you want me to arrest you?"
"No...but I don't want you to do me any favors that'll have to be repaid either," she answered quickly. "So if you've got some dirty work you want me to do for keepin' me out of jail, you've got another--"
"I don't give favors...and I don't take them, either. But I do give warnings." He went from the casual to the menacing in seconds flat and he could see her shrink back from him. "If you do go back to him--if you give up the legitimate lifestyle you've been living--I will put you in prison. And you won't get out."
"I...um..." She blushed and took a sudden interest in her shoes.
He narrowed his eyes at her. "What?"
"I was going to say 'Don't count on it' but I don't think you're the kind of guy I should antagonize too much, what with the fact you could hand me my spleen without blinking. Kinda fond of my internal organs...they're part of a matched set I'm a little hesitant about breaking up, so I'll just--"
Techie was treated to a rare sight then. The Batman laughed.
Oh, it wasn't a full blown Joker laugh, but it was a curt bark of laughter that was so unexpected it stunned her into silence.
The weirdness was over just as quickly as it began and Mister Serious Face was back in place as though he never left. "Just remember the warning, you'll find I'm a man of my word."
"I'll keep that in mind."
He turned, grappling gun in hand. "And do me a favor--"
"Thought you didn't ask for favors?"
He looked at her curiously before his lips twisted upwards. "Don't write any sequels."