chapter thirteen

It was odd for Batman, having another like him by his side. He was used to working with Gordon, when he was working with anyone at all. He had to admit though, Nightingale was a quick learner. She followed him through most of the city, only taking a different path when his abilities outreached hers. She adapted easily to her environment, using the narrow set of wings to her full advantage. She couldn't glide as far as Batman could, but Nightingale compensated by making smaller jumps and making more of them. It didn't slow her down in the slightest.

Her stamina wasn't quite where he wanted it yet, but he figured he would work with her a couple of months before allowing her to take on the bad guys by herself. She would have plenty of time to get where he wanted her.

For now they chased their goal through the city, following the elusive shape across the sky. To his left and slightly behind him, Nightingale called out. "You do realize this could be a trap, right?"

"The thought had crossed my mind." Batman grunted. "If it is a trap, Gordon will be there regardless. I'd rather him not get caught without backup."

Nightingale nodded, but he couldn't see it. "I'll go for that." They landed on the roof of the police department, standing to either side of their goal and source of confusion.

The repaired signal.

Nightingale looked around, ready to take flight again should the need arise. "I don't see anyone."

"No one but Gordon." Batman confirmed. He tapped on the metal, drawing the Commissioner's attention. "Nice."

"I couldn't find any mob bosses." He smiled at the inside joke. "I figured that would bring you." His eyes slid from Batman to Nightingale, and a wry smirk crossed his face. "You have a fan club."

"Hitchhiker. I couldn't figure out how to get rid of her." Batman smiled as he noticed Nightingale roll her eyes. She kept her mouth shut this time. "You do realize you're running a risk here, right?"

"I'm not that stupid. It was put to a vote." Gordon took a step forward. "We need your help with the bank robberies."

"I'm willing." Batman assured him. "But I'm brining Nightingale in on this. She could use the on-the-job training." Gordon nodded.

"Speaking of Nightingale." He turned to the girl, and she took a step forward, curious. He handed her a card. "We found this by the signal. I thought you might be able to make more sense of it than we could." Nightingale frowned as she studied the card. A Joker, with a very distinctive bulls-eye drawn on it in black Sharpie marker. A true smile crossed her face for the first time in weeks.

"Don't worry about it." she said simply. "It's not a threat." Gordon nodded and continued to discuss the robberies with Batman.

Nightingale tried to focus, but for the most part found herself staring at the card. It was so perfect, a guarantee it would find itself in her hands, and something only she would understand.

Harlequin was alive.

And Nightingale was going to save her.

The End

AN: Wow, it's short. But it was supposed to be. By the way, THERE WILL BE A SEQUEL. Look out for Dark Man's City, coming out sometime next month at the latest. As a fair warning, the sequel will not include Joker or Harley, but it will include a character called Patience Phillips and plenty of romance. (as much as I do romance)

I also have planning for a sequel to the sequel, so there should be four of these things in all. Assuming I don't lose you guys with the third one. Joker and Harley re-appear in the fourth one.

All that said, I now sign off, and remain yours truly,

Shadowblade-tara