I don't own these characters or profit from them. While this is a fan fic based on Batman Begins and Dark Knight, all Batman stories not written by the original creator of Batman could be considered fan fiction too, published or not. So get off my back! This is just my idea of how I'd like the next one to go okay.
By, Clayton Overstreet
Bruce Wayne sat at his computer deep beneath stately Wayne Manor. "Alfred, come take a look at this."
"What would it be this time Master Wayne?" The elderly butler moved up behind his employer and friend.
"I've been tracking this string of robberies across the country. Nobody has yet found a common link between them all. But, then I noticed that in each instance the circus was in town."
Alfred read, "Professor Oswald Cobblepot's Circus of Wonders. Coming this week to the Gotham Area. Bring the kids." Alfred raised an eyebrow. "I take it you're going to take in the show."
Bruce nodded. "And take it down if my hunch is right."
Barbara Gordon looked up pleadingly at her father as he bagged yet another piece of Batman's discarded gear. "Please daddy." They had started another whole room specifically for it over the last four years since Batman had come on the scene. Officially the police were supposed to catch him. Unofficially most of them were not trying that hard. "Batman even has a motorcycle!"
"And if Batman jumped off a roof would you?" Jim asked playfully. "Barb, I've let you get away with a lot. I admit I've let you wrap me around your little finger since your mother and brother left. But there is no way I am going to let my sixteen year old daughter cruise the streets of Gotham on a motorcycle."
He frowned at the memory of his wife leaving, but he had to admit his ex-wife had a point. Gotham was not a great place to raise kids, even if it was getting better than it was. After Twoface… Harvey Dent he reminded himself… had kidnapped them and held a gun to his son's head he could understand why she had to leave. And she understood why he couldn't. Still she had been a lot less understanding about Barbara insisting on staying with Jim and not her. True his daughter visited with her every other weekend, but he knew she resented her daughter's choice.
"This is so unfair." She sighed and looked in the room. On the wall hung pieces of cape and costumes. Strange devices. Baterangs. And even a few spare utility belts. Several technology firms had already offered the police a lot of money for them, but each one was catalogued and not going anywhere until the day they actually arrested Batman and used it as evidence in his trial. So basically almost nobody really paid much attention to it. Still it was pretty cool. Barbara was one of the few non-police officers who had ever even seen this room. "Why not?"
"Because you can't lock the doors in a motorcycle."
"And I can't run away from a spreading toxic gas cloud in a traffic jam in a car either," she said.
Jim frowned. "That's not the point." Last month the Joker, assisted by Dr. Harlene Quinzel of Arkham had escaped and reworked Dr. Crane's fear gas into some kind of laughing gas. That had almost completely decimated most of the city. Truthfully there were days when Gordon wished everyone would just pack up and leave town so he could too.
He waved to the guy at the controls and with a loud buzzing sound the evidence cage opened up. "Thanks Dave."
"No problem Commissioner," he said and nodded to Barbara. "You know I wish they'd just catch Batman already."
"You do huh?" Jim said, filling out the forms.
He nodded. "Yeah. I mean sure he's cleaned up the mob bosses and street crime, but now there's all these freaks moving in. Most of 'em are being chased out of Metropolis by that flying guy in the cape, so they come here because everyone knows as good as he is Batman's just human. He doesn't have any powers above and beyond mortal man. Not like that other guy." He took the clipboard back.
"I don't know," Barbara said. "I heard a few months ago they saw Batman fighting Dracula."
Dave laughed. "Hey Gordon, you should tell your daughter not to believe everything people say about the bat."
Gordon shrugged and motioned for his daughter to follow him. The truth was he had been part of the group investigating those sightings. They had found a pile of ashes, an opera cape, and a bloody stake. But he had not told his daughter that. So far all she had to go on was the police radio. Children in Gotham had enough problems. Anyway there was evidence that some of these costumed psychos had been operating for a long time. It was just that nobody had really heard about them before. Batman had recently dropped off the Royal Flush Gang. Rumors about their activities had gone back for centuries.
Outside they got into his cruiser and he said, "Sweetie, what is wrong with a nice safe car?"
Outside the big top the mother and fourteen year old son in the acrobatic group the Flying Graysons watched as the father argued with a squat round figure. "My family and I are leaving tomorrow!"
"You signed a contract."
"I don't care. Mr. Cobblepot, when you took over this circus I thought it was a little strange, but I was okay with it. We did our job and that was it. But after this…"
"The circus was failing. We needed the money," the voice was nasal, like a cross between a bird and a man. Not surprising.
Dick watched his father from beside his mother. He knew something had happened, but so far his parents had refused to talk with him about it. So he stood silently with her and waited for his father to finish.
"I understand that sir, but I refuse to expose my family to it. I won't go to the police. I've got no proof anyway, but in the morning we are leaving."
"Fine," the man squawked. "Have it your way. But tonight you do the show."
"Right," Mr. Grayson said. He waved his family over. As they moved into the tent he waited until they were out of earshot and said, "As soon as the show is over we pack up and head out while they're still busy."
"Holy sh-" Dick began.
"Dick!" His mother said. Then she turned to her husband. "What about our last paycheck?"
He shook his head. "Forget it."
Outside the tent another figure stepped up behind Cobblepot. "You think we can trust them to keep their mouths shut?"
"Does it matter?" They stood silently for a moment. "They're up in half an hour."
"That's what they think."
They walked into the tent and split up. There was a drum roll as Cobblepot made his way to the center ring, the spotlight on him as he walked, arm up to hide his face under the large top hat. And then he took it off and bowed, eliciting gasps of astonishment from the crowd. They were looking at his long hooked nose, his flipper-like clawed hands, and his black gums full of pointed misshapen teeth. "Greetings ladies and gentlemen. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Oswald Cobblepot, also known as the Penguin. Welcome to my circus." Someone tossed a raw fish from off to the side. He caught it in his teeth and swallowed it whole. The crowd applauded.
The show went on. And Cobblepot introduced each act one at a time. "A student of the ninjas of far east the amazing Kite-man!" And the audience watched as the top of the tent opened up and up flew a man with a small hang glider on his back. "From the bayous of Louisiana, the famous crocodile man himself, Killer Croc!" Several women screamed as the monster, who was pale white and covered with scales snapped long reptilian teeth at the audience. He was held in check by several handlers and some large thick chains. Someone tossed him a raw chicken. His teeth snapped on it crushing the bones.
"The strongest man in the world, Bane!" A tiny man, shorter than Cobblepot even walked out and people laughed. He growled like a child beneath his thick leather mask. Then he flexed and suddenly to everyone's amazement he bulked up to huge proportions, towering almost ten feet tall. Roaring like a wrestler now he walked over to the wrecked car people had dragged out before and began crushing it like a soda can in his hands.
"Next up, the first family of the air, the Flying Graysons!"
Up at the top of two polls the Graysons began swinging back and forth over the dirt floor of the tent. They swung and jumped and twirled through the air. Even Bruce, sitting in the audience, was impressed. They had moves it had taken him years working with ninjas to learn. And they performed them even better than he did. Though he would personally never dress in bright red and yellow shirts and green tights. But that was the circus for you.
Mr. Grayson flew out of his son's hands and into his wife's they smiled at one another and anyone who saw them would have realized that even after years of marriage they were still deeply in love.
The trapeze ropes snapped.
Bruce walked up to Jim Gordon. Barbara was still sitting in the car. "Any idea what happened?"
Suddenly there was a shout and the two men turned to look. "You killed them! You killed them!" They saw Dick Grayson screaming at the mutant ringmaster.
Cobblepot said, "I'm afraid the boy is right. I did kill his parents." Everyone froze. "It's all my fault. I knew we should have replaces those ropes months ago. But business has been slow and we've been putting things off. It's all my fault."
"No! He murdered them!" Dick shouted.
Oswald said, "I'm afraid young Grayson is distraught by the loss of his parents. He's a young boy and does not realize what he's saying." The man's beady bird-like eyes narrowed. "And how much trouble someone can get into for saying such untrue and hurtful things."
Bruce looked at Gordon who said, "I saw it. But no proof."
"You'll look into it?"
"You bet." He looked at Cobblepot and raised his voice. "You will of course stay in town while we investigate this."
"Certainly." He was dressed in a lack tuxedo and top hat, leaning on an umbrella like a cane. "We can extend the run of the show and do some much needed repairs. I'm certain that with an accident like this the safety inspectors will want to look over everything." He nodded to them. "Good day gentlemen. As you can guess I have a great deal of work to do." He turned and waddled away.
"What about the boy?" Bruce asked.
"He's got a trust fund that will kick in when he's sixteen. The Graysons were fairly high paid performers. Long time circus family. Earned a lot and spent a little. Until then he'll probably be in an orphanage. I heard some of the circus people offered to adopt him, but there's no way social services is going to allow that. Aside from the bias the people in this town have for clowns in general."
Bruce looked at Dick. The boy was watching Cobblepot leave with an odd look for a kid who had just lost his parents. Bruce had had the same look when he had first seen the man who killed his parents during the trial. With the dark police blanket wrapped around his body you could only see his red shirt. He looked like a robin. "I might have another idea."
Bruce was leaving when the social worker's car pulled up out front. Alfred said, "Are you sure this is a good idea Master Bruce? You should know how easy it is for a young man like that to stumble across certain things."
"Alfred, he lost his parents. And we rebuilt everything from below ground up. He won't stumble on anything." He paused. "You're sure you don't mind showing him around without me?"
"I did raise you sir," Alfred said with a smile.
"And look how normal I turned out." The butler rolled his eyes. Together they walked out to meet the lady and boy getting out of the car. Dick was in a new set of clothes and holding a large suitcase.
"Mr. Wayne, I'm Miss Sydney of…"
"Yes, I know," Bruce said. "Was there some more paperwork?"
"No sir I just…"
"Then I must be going. Business to see to. You know how it is." He looked down at Dick. "My butler Alfred will get the boy set up while I'm gone."
"Right this way master Dick," Alfred said.
"But…" The lady began again, only to realize she had been left alone without a backwards look. Bruce's Viper pulled out of the garage fast and went right by her. "Jerks."
Inside Alfred led the boy through the house. Dick looked around. "Big."
"It is rather," Alfred said. "It's why Master Bruce thought we could spare some room for you. Though he is a busy man. It's unlikely you'll see much of him I am afraid."
"That's alright," he said quietly.
"Dinner is served promptly at seven and breakfast is at six. You will be attending school during the day…"
"Can't I be home schooled? My mother had a teaching degree."
"But I do not," the man said.
"Oh." He stopped, staring at a large portrait over the fireplace. "Who are they?"
"Master Bruce's parents," Alfred said softly. "They were killed by a mugger when Master Bruce was very young." Dick started walking again. Neither of them said anything until they got to his room. "Master Bruce wanted to make sure you felt at home here." He opened the large double doors.
Dick gasped. His room was huge. As big as a circus tent. In fact Bruce had hung a pair of trapeze bars from the ceiling. Next to the large bed was a small fridge and microwave. And on another wall was a large circus poster promoting the flying Graysons. Dick and his parents were on it, smiling in black and white.
"Will that be all sir?" Alfred asked. "You have one hour and then we need to go get you registered at the school."
Dick nodded. "Uh, yeah, thanks." Alfred left. Just in time too. Dick was starting to cry.
Wayne Banking and Trust was one of the most well protected private banks in the world. From conventional attacks and from some of the strange r attacks. This was Gotham City after all. At one time being a bank guard in that city was considered a form of suicide. Now many of the wealthiest people in the world had money in it and more things than it was easy to imagine in the safety deposit box.
Kite-man did not land on the roof. Instead he floated an inch above it. The sensors were designed to trip from weight if he landed on it and from heat, if he were not wearing a thermal stealth suit. According to everything but the cameras he was stealthily avoiding he was nothing more than a large flock of pigeons. Eventually he found the power box connecting to the emergency generators. "Now!"
Down in the sewers Oswald and Croc were in front of the line for the city's main power grid. Croc bit down on the line leading to the bank. Meanwhile Cobblepot pressed a button setting off the bombs they had planted at the power station and Kite-man dumped acid into the backup generator. "There we go. Now the cops will investigate the bombs and even if they get the power grid back up they won't notice a thing wrong here until it's too late."
"You always did got some good plans Wally," Croc said in a deep Cajun accent.
"Penguin you reptilian dolt. Never call me Wally when we're on a job. No names."
"Perfectly alright my old luggage. Now," he added with a twirl of his umbrella. "Shall we head on up and help our colleagues take our much deserved retirement fund?"
"Oh boy howdy. I got my eye on a nice swampy island in the Florida Keys."
Bruce smiled at the woman he was meeting at the restaurant "Mr. Wayne this is Miss Selina Kyle."
"A pleasure," he said taking her hand and kissed the back.
"Same here Mr. Wayne," she purred. Bruce thought she looked like the lady who played Storm in the X-men movies. "And may I thank you for your generous donation to so many of the Kyle foundation's charities."
"I try to make the world a better place however I can," Bruce said.
Selina smiled. "Well that's the point. But according the company policy if someone donated more than thirty million dollars in one year as head of the foundation I have to meet them and thank them in person with dinner."
"Well feel free to order whatever you want."
"No Mr. Wayne, I'm supposed to pay."
"Save it for the kids," he said, pulling out a chair for her. "I own the place."
She laughed. "Okay then."
Bruce smiled and took a seat across from her. They ordered and the waiter took the menus. "So what is someone like you doing in Gotham?"
"I'm part of a group holding a special event. In the last few years Gotham has been one of the most crime free cities in America. So my board of directors wanted to old it here."
"True, but you have to know that the crimes we do get here are… pretty extreme."
"I know. Criminal masterminds. Metahumans." Bruce frowned. "Hey, they're everywhere."
"True, but a lot of them are showing up here. Then it's only a matter of time before more costumed clowns like Batman show up."
"I always thought Batman was kind of cute." Bruce smirked. She smiled and sipped from her glass of wine. "Anyway we've got a local museum to let us have a party for bug time donators a their museum at the same time they are exhibiting…"
"The golden statue of Bast," Bruce said. "It's been in all the papers."
"Cute and well informed. You know Mr. Wayne I could use a date."
"I do have something on my schedule, but I may be able to fit it in," he said evasively.
Selina smiled and
said, "Listen buddy boy. I don't care how rich you are. Nobody
fits in Selina Kyle. You will be there. You will dress well. And you
will have a wonderful time."
"Well when you put it like that…" Suddenly his phone rang. Moving it aside he saw a bat symbol flashing on the screen. "Uh, I'm afraid that's an emergency… but tell them it's on my tab." He got up and moved away from the table.
"So much for your reputation as an easy going playboy. You look so serious."
"Oh I have my kicks."
The doors of the bank had locked automatically when the power went out. Everything in the bank was designed to open only when the power was on. Otherwise it should take a tank to get through any door in the place and more to get through the front door. The guards, all heavily armed with Wayne-tech stun guns capable of knocking out an elephant, stood in a wall in front of the vault. Mostly because they were used to someone commandeering a tank to get in.
The door seemed to explode outwards with the squeal of tearing metal. It floated in the air three feet in front of the wall. The guards opened fire, but it blasted off the chunk of wall. Seconds later roughly a dozen gas canisters entered the room through the gaping hole. "Gas!" The customers rolled their eyes at the man who said that. Like they had never been gassed by bank robbers before.
When they were passed out Bane threw the wall away and stepped in followed by Penguin, and Killer Croc, all in gas masks. Through his mask Penguin said, "Bane if you would be so kind, please remove the vault door."
Bane grunted and moved forward. As he did the elevator doors opened and Kite-man floated out, looking smug. "I didn't miss the fun did I?"
"It just about to begin," Croc said.
Bane reached out and grabbed the vault door. Muscles heaving he pulled. And pulled. And then stood back. He turned to Penguin and shrugged.
"Well my word. It appears to be sealed tight," Penguin said. "Amazing. Something our friend cannot break through."
"Then how we going to get our hands on the money?"
Before Penguin could answer a new voice said, "You aren't." They turned to look and saw Batman in what was left of the doorway. "You're going to end up in a jail cell." He paused and looked them over. "Or possibly an aquarium."
"You talking about me boy?" Croc asked walking forward. Batman moved at him and jumped up, passing between the monster's claws. On the way up he kicked Croc in the face making him stagger back but not fall. Behind Croc's back Batman hit Kite-man, knocking him back into the elevator shaft.
:Impressive," Penguin said and raised his umbrella. Without warning the thing started firing bullets.
Batman ducked while Croc jumped around. "Watch what you're aiming at!"
"I am," Penguin said. The bullets tore holes in the wall like they were styrofoam. Batman dove behind the customer service desk. While under there Batman hit the alarm and the room filled with a loud ringing. A few moments later Penguin ran out of bullets. "Bane, if you'd be so kind." Bane lumbered forward and kicked the desk.
The bell rang loudly. Barbara Gordon sighed and checked her watch. Well at least after lunch break it was time for her Gymnastic class. Some excitement in this boring school. But then boredom was the point at Merry Weather Academy, the most prestigious private school in Gotham. Directly across from the police station it was the place where all the rich people in town sent their kids for maximum protection.
"Miss Gordon," her teacher said and she winced stopping just before she got to the door. Other kids hurried past her.
"Yes Miss Isley?"
Pamela Isley, the biology teacher pushed back a strand of red hair and adjusted her glasses. She was very pretty and a lot of the other students had crushes on her. The only problem as far as Barbara was concerned was that she was completely insane. "I wanted to discuss the paper I assigned over the weekend."
"What about it?"
"Well I asked the class how you would save the rainforest. Your answer was to make people better. You went into some detail about that."
"Yes Miss Isley. I think if people were better…"
"Do you not listen to any of my lectures? People are the problem whether they fall into such mundane classification of good or evil. You can not make the world a better place merely by changing attitudes. Either way they will still overpopulate and-"
"That leads to cutting down precious natural resources for the world's only unnatural creature," Barbara finished.
Isley frowned. "Just so you know you are getting a C on the paper."
"Whatever," she said and walked out. As she did she almost ran into the Principal. "Excuse me."
"It's quite alright." He stepped past her. Behind her Barbara heard him say, "Miss Isley, we need to talk." Barbara walked around the wall, then leaned there and listened. "It's come to my attention that you have been using school supplies to run unauthorized experiments."
"Only a side project. If it works I'll be able to…"
"Never mind. I've
ignored numerous complaints about your… fanatical talk of
environmentalism. Your odd projects. But you have stolen school
supplies. I'm sorry but you are fired."
"You can't! I'm too close!"
"I'm sorry but school rules say…" And then the lights went out. In the distance there was a huge roar. Like an explosion.
Along with everyone else Barbara ran outside to get a look around. They arrived just in time to see the police pull away in droves. The power was in inside. There were maybe three cops outside standing around looking confused. Then the ranking officer split them up to search around the building.
The principal came out and said loudly, "Students! Please head to the football field. I'm sure the power will be on shortly."
"That or someone dropped a nuke on the town," someone in the crowd said.
"And about time too," someone else added. But they filed off under the watchful eye of campus security. Barbara eyed the almost completely empty police building in front of her.
Twenty minutes later she was in the principal's office. Her backpack was next to the chair. A security guard stood next to her. "So Miss Gordon, Oliver here says you were seen hopping over the fence to get back into school."
"Yes sir," she admitted. "But the thing is I was worried about my dad."
"Ah yes, the police commissioner." He coughed. "Well miss while I can understand your worry you still violated school rules. So I am assigning you to a chore."
"Out in the yard you'll find a young boy and an old man. They are Bruce Wayne's butler and his new ward, Dick Grayson. I want you to show them around the school."
"Won't I be late for class?" The principal looked at her. "Okay, got it. Tour guide it is."
The security guard picked up her backpack then asked, "What's in this thing, rocks?"
"School books," she said and snatched it back.
Walking out Barbara went to her locker and set the backpack inside. There was not much room. The thing was stuffed full and it barely fit inside on the pile of books in her locker. She gave her gym suit a longing look, but shrugged it off. She would practice more after school. What she really missed was the self defense classes the school insisted they take Freshmen and Sophomore year. But after they taught the basics they did not teach much so she had signed up for more training with some friends of her dad's in the vice squad most of the last year. Now she had the moves down and mostly practiced by herself.
Outside she found the old man and the kid waiting patiently. She waved at them and took a closer look. She had seen Dick at the incident at the circus when they had loaded him into the social worker's car. "You look good in a suit kid." She grinned as he blushed and looked down quietly.
"I take it you are meant to be showing us around the school, Miss Gordon. I'm afraid it's been some time since Master Wayne went here."
"I'm surprised you know my name," she said. "My dad usually keeps me out of the papers. He's afraid I'll get kidnapped again."
"Again?" Dick asked.
Barbara smiled and put her hand on the kid's shoulder. He turned a nice shade of red. "You're new to this town, right kid?"
"Yeah," he admitted.
"Well you'll get used to it soon enough. I mean you are the ward of the richest man in town. You'll probably be kidnapped by the end of the year." She leaned down. "Sooner if you're right about those circus people killing your mom and dad."
"Miss Gordon," Alfred said warningly.
"It's cool Alfred," Dick said regaining his composure. "I knew people like her in the circus. Usually in the freak show."
"Ooo, good one," Barbara said with a grin. "Call me Barb. Anyway you're supposed to see the campus. So follow me."
She led him through the halls. Pointed out the library. The cafeteria. And then the gym where she was called over by the teacher. "Barbara, you're late."
'The principal is having me show a new student around Mr. Smith."
"Oh, well okay then," he said glancing at Alfred and Dick. "But as long as you're here can you do a quick jump?" He pointed to the pommel horse.
"Sure," she said with a shrug. The other kids moved back. She stretched a little first then ran forward. In a heartbeat she planted her hands on the horse and jumped, She managed to do a complete flip and land. She bowed as everyone else applauded. "Thank you, you're too kind."
Then something appeared above her. She looked up and saw Dick complete three spins almost five feet over her head. He landed on one hand, legs spread into wide splits. Barbara was impressed. So was everyone else. At least until his pants suddenly split in half. Still he laughed with them and shrugged it off.
Alfred came forward. "Well Master Dick, you seem to have made a good impression. Though next time maybe you should change into gym clothes."
Flipping up onto his feet Dick smiled broadly and said, "Point made Alfred."
"Come Master Dick, I believe we're done here for today. You can start next week."
:"Hell," Mr. Smith said. "If he wants he can teach this class."
"Not bad," Barbara said and ruffled the kid's hair. "Ten minutes in school and already you have a job offer."
Batman groaned and rolled over in the rubble that had been the desk. Fortunately for him the alarms in the bank each had their own batteries. And the cops in this town had experience. As soon as a bank alarm went off at least half of the sirens in the city had converged on the bank.
In one desperate move he hand grabbed one to the guard's weapons and aimed it at Bane, but the behemoth just shrugged it off. And then the Penguin had said, "Gentlemen I believe this plan is a bust. Time for us to take our leave through the usual methods." Bane had started to move towards Batman. "No time for that. Let's go." And they walked off into the bank.
Batman then had to drag himself out of the rubble and to the Batmobile before the police showed up. His new car was sleeker and not as tank-like as the old one. Faster too. But with less room on the inside. He had to lay across both seats when he ordered the car, "Home." The autopilot took off, passing easily through two dozen police cars and disappearing around the corner before the drivers could react.
Bruce woke up with Alfred finishing tying up his latest bandages. "When I suggested you learn polo to cover up your wounds in public I think I was wrong. I should have suggested you claim to be a very poor bull fighter. What happened Master Bruce?"
"Metahumans," Bruce muttered. "I hate supervillains."
"Well nothing's broken, thought your whole body appears to be one big bruise. If we want to explain this we may have to burn the house down again."
"Screw that," he said sitting up. "We'll lose the deposit. Besides, I have a date this weekend."
"Oh really? With whom?"
"A miss Selina Kyle." He stretched and winced. "Hopeful the bruises will fade by then though. Otherwise I'll have to show up in makeup." Alfred pushed him back down.
"Master Bruce, if you want to get well enough to get the men who did this, lay still for at least a day."
"No buts. Let the police handle the search for now. They have guns." He cleared his throat. "In any case Master Dick had a productive day at school today. You may find it amusing."
"Don't make me laugh," he said.
"I'll try." He failed.
Upstairs Bruce found Dick watching television and looking a little down. He walked over, limping slightly. Dick glanced at him and asked, "What happened to you?"
"Fell down. Somebody kicked me." He smiled. "I heard you had quite a day today."
"Not really." He motioned to the TV. "In the circus we had an antenna but then they switched over to digital and we've been stuck with DVDs for a while." He shook his head. "Didn't matter though. I always wondered how someone could just waste their time watching TV all day and not doing anything."
"Well there are about three thousand channels."
Dick looked away. "Have they found any proof that Cobblepot killed my mom and dad yet?"
Bruce smiled. "Yeah actually. They found Kite-man in the shaft of an elevator at a bank robbery. I have a pretty good feeling he's going to talk."
"I'm afraid so. He had some accomplices but whoever they were they escaped. Apparently they tore a toilet out of the floor of the bank's bathroom and dove into the sewer."
"So unless there's actual proof Wally's going to be able to say that Kite-man was by himself and is trying to pin it on them." Bruce didn't say anything for a while. Dick said, "Hey I know you understand how I feel. Alfred told me about your mom and dad. But, well… they caught the guy who killed them right?"
"Yeah… they did." He reached out and touched Dick's shoulder. "And I promise you that one way or another the people who killed your parents will pay for what they did."
Dick snorted. "Right. Like nobody ever got away with murder."
"Not in this town," Bruce said firmly. Then he smiled. "So I hear you met a girl."
Dick forced a grin. "She was cute, but I prefer green eyed red heads with deep golden tans who are light on their feet." He added, "Uh, think you can show me some moves? I saw you on the news a few times with some cute girls."
From the hallway Alfred watched them and smiled. Briefly he saw in his mind two children sitting there. Both young boys. Talking like they were old friends.
Jim Gordon answered the door and found a delivery man standing there. He had three large boxes. Briefly Jim noticed that they looked a lot like the kind they used in the police department's delivery room. "Sign here please." He did and the man brought the boxes inside. Jim looked and saw that they were addressed to his daughter. "Barbara." She didn't hear him. He signed and closed the door, heading to her room. He knocked on the door. "Barb!"
She opened the door and peeked out. Her music blared through the whole room. "Yeah Pop?"
"You got a delivery."
She came out and he glanced inside. "What is that you're working on?"
"Something for home economics. I'm supposed to sew some stuff." Barbara walked into the living room and began taking the boxes back to her room one by one.
"What is all this?"
"Just some stuff mom sent me. Car parts. I was thinking of taking a mechanic class at school next semester. I wanted to study how they work so I can fix my car myself." She shook a box. It sounded like metal parts alright. "How have you been?"
"Not great. Someone blew up the power company, but it was a distraction. Someone tried to rob a bank and someone else managed to break in and steal all the evidence from the Batman room. Cleaned it out. The DA is pissed."
"Wow, that sucks," Barbara said closing her door. "Hey how about we order pizza and get some movies?"
He smiled and said, "Sure. Sounds like fun."
Barbara went to the phone and dialed the number. "Hey dad, I was wondering. Do you think someday I might become a cop?"
"Are you kidding? I want you in college learning how to work computers. I want you as far away from the crime here as possible. If I didn't have my job to do we'd have left this place with your mother."
"Sure dad," Barbara said. "I guess you're right. I'm not really cut out for law enforcement." The line was picked up. "Yeah we want two double cheese…"
"We been in this sewer for three days," Croc muttered. "We was supposed to be rich Wally. Now we can't even go back to the circus cause Kite-man wouldn't keep his mouth shut. I told you from the get go we shouldn't have trusted no regular human."
"Forget it," Penguin said. "We knew they were going to figure it out eventually. I bought the circus as a temporary cover."
"So what we going to do now boss bird?" Bane grunted agreement to the question.
"We're going to make the big score I promised." He held up a paper. On the cover was a statue of a large golden cat.
In the lab she had set up in an empty classroom at school Pam Isley worked over a collection of beakers. "I'm not done yet. Soon they'll see. I can change the world. Make it a better place. A place without stupid ignorant humans!" She pulled out a syringe and tapped the side. Inside was a thick green liquid. She pushed the needle into her skin and injected herself. She closed her eyes tight. Her skin took on a green tinge. "There we go."
Reaching over she picked up a bottle marked cyanide. Taking a deep breath she tipped it up and drank it. "Hey, it does taste like almonds." She waited. She did not drop dead. "Success!"
Next she reached for a different beaker and grinned. Pouring and mixing things.
Suddenly the door opened and the principal stood there. "Miss Isley, what are you doing here? The school is closed and you were fired."
"You know Steve, I have a master's degree in three different sciences. I have a genius level IQ. And yet, I still ended up working for someone like you." She sneered, ignoring him and mixing her chemicals. "Do you know what this is? It's a special pheromone that I've developed. Do you know what it does?"
"I don't care. I'm calling security…" He paused. Pam had dabbed some of the chemicals on her neck. The smell permeated the room. He blinked and shook his head. "What is that amazing aroma?"
"Oh just something I whipped up. It's a mind control serum. Of course it's only one of two things I've made recently. The second was a compound that allows me to ignore things like this. Chemicals and poisons. Poisons like this…" She motioned to the empty cyanide container. The principal was not really listening any more.
"Miss Isley, has anyone ever told you how pretty you are?"
"My, you'll turn a girl's head sir. Why don't you come here and give me a big kiss?"
The principal nodded. He wandered over, barely paying attention to where he put his feet. And then he leaned forward and Pam took his pudgy cheeks in her hands. And kissed him. The cyanide still on her lips and mouth. A moment later he dropped dead at her feet. "Idiot."
Bruce and Selina were mixing with the crowd and they moved to the center of the room. Selina smiled and sipped from her champagne flute. "Have you ever noticed that rich people always seem to be drinking when they want to have fun?"
"Probably because they don't remember how to actually have fun," Bruce said.
"And you do?"
"I try," he said. "What do you do with your time?"
"I'm a night girl. Tight leather outfits. Whips. A few scratch marks…" Suddenly the floor exploded and the scent of sewer gas filled the rooms. Everyone backed away from the hole as Penguin, Bane, and Killer Croc rose up out of the hole.
"Nobody move," Penguin cried.
Everyone was so focused on them that nobody noticed that neither Bruce nor Selina were in the room any more. Security guards were flooding the room though, all of them with guns. These were not Wayne's employees. "Freeze."
Penguin raised his umbrella and opened fire, taking down half a dozen. Bane slammed his hands on the ground and the room shook, unsettling everyone. While they were unstable Croc moved with inhuman reptile speed and slashed his claws through the remaining guards.
"Bane, grab the statue and let's go!" Everyone moved out of the giant's way. He walked over and smashed through the large glass case containing the cat statue.
"Naughty," a voice said from the ceiling. They looked up. By a skylight there was a woman in black leather with a cat mask on her face. She went on in a thick purring voice, "Didn't anyone teach you not to steal? Especially when someone else has already has plans to steal it."
"Who're you?" Penguin asked.
"They call me Catwoman. And I'm afraid my fat little canary, that I already have plans for that little trinket." She touched her belt. Suddenly from the floor around the shattered case four small explosions went off. The floor collapsed and it dropped into a hole.
"I told you that weird ramp shouldn't have been there," Croc muttered to Penguin.
Catwoman jumped down, landing on her feet into the hole after it. Deep in the sewer they heard the sounds of something sliding down a metal ramp. And then a speedboat rapidly vanishing into the distance.
"I have got to sell this museum," the curator muttered.
Penguin groaned. "Not again! What is it with this town?" He turned and snarled to the others. "Let's just hold these saps for ransom…" Suddenly a boot hit him in the side of the head sending him forward. Bane caught him. Penguin turned see who it was. Batman stood there. "Not you again."
"Yeah, me," he said. Suddenly Croc rose up behind him and grabbed him in a bear hug. Batman slammed his head back into the gator-man's face then reached up and threw him over his shoulder into the other two. Bane did not even flinch as he caught the flying monster. "Give up."
'Not today!" Penguin raised his umbrella. The top shot up into the air and opened, spinning. "I'd get these people out of here bats. In about ten seconds this place will fill with gas. Bane, let's go." They turned and jumped back down the hole they came from.
Batman looked at them then up at the flying deathtrap. "Everybody out!" The umbrella began to smoke. Everyone screamed and ran for it.
Down in the sewer Croc said, "I been with you up until now Penguin, but I got to say his here town strikes me as being out of our league."
"Maybe you're right Croc. I'm starting to think we'd have done better out of Metropolis than this place. I think it's cursed."
"Maybe we head out west and knock over a few small banks. Just settle for what we can get." He paused. "What's that smell?"
"We're in a sewer. You'll have to be more specific. After five days down here I can barely smell anything." But then he caught a whiff too. "Do you mean that enchanting aroma?"
Suddenly a new person stepped out from behind one of the sewer walls. She was beautiful with long red hair and a skin tight green outfit. "Thought I'd find you boys down here. Read all about you in the papers." She smiled and looked them over.
"Who are you?"
"Call me, Poison Ivy," she said.
Croc grinned stupidly. "Hey, maybe this here town not so bad after all." Bane nodded agreement.
"How would you boys like to make some real money?" She asked.
"Whatever you say babe," Penguin said dreamily.
She motioned for them to follow. "Come with me boys and I'll lead you to this city's real piggy bank."
Outside the police rounded up the guests to ask them questions while men in special suits cleared the building for toxins. Looking through the crowd Bruce finally caught sight of Selina. "There you are."
She smiled and hurried over to him. "I was looking for you. Did you see what happened?"
"Not much," he said. "You?"
"Just the tail end."
"Do you think that Catwoman was working with the others?"
"I don't think so," she said. "She didn't strike me as being that much of a freak."
"Except the part where she jumped down from the ceiling," Bruce said. "I hope the police will find the statue. It's priceless." He smiled and said, "So Miss Kyle, can I have my driver give you a ride home?"
"No, I have some things I need to do tonight." She paused. "Unless you'd like to wait around?"
"Can't. I have some people to see. Lunch tomorrow?"
"It's a date." She leaned forward and kissed him. "Goodnight Bruce."
"Goodnight Selina." He turned and headed for his limo and opened up a suitcase he had kept in the back. Inside was his costume and some electronic equipment. He pulled out a tracking device. It showed the tracer stopped dead near the Gotham Zoo.
"Where to Mr. Wayne?"
"Home. I have some work to do and I need to drive myself the rest of the evening."
"Very good sir."
Batman walked through the dark zoo, avoiding the cameras and security guards. His tracker led him to the tiger cage. It made sense to him. The tigers were one of the few big cats that spent a lot of time swimming. Their moat was the only one full of water and thus had a connection to the sewers. The cat theme made it kind of obvious. And provided the tracer was still on the statue it was inside the artificial cave.
"Why is everyone getting in my way tonight," Catwoman said, stepping into the light.
Batman narrowed his eyes at her. "If you weren't a thief you wouldn't have problems like that."
"Oh but then I wouldn't get to meet tall dark strangers like you." She leered at him. "Nicely sculpted muscles by the way." He didn't respond. "The strong silent type?"
"Give up now and return the statue and the police will go easier on you."
She laughed and looked him in the eye. Hers were cat-like slits. "You know I think I'll take my chances." Batman jumped. So did she. Catwoman landed in a crouch on top of the light post. "Too slow… Yipe!"
Batman tugged on the cable he'd gotten around her ankle and she fell, barely managing to catch herself on the light. "We have leash laws in this town."
"Cute," she said and sliced down with diamond tipped claws on her gloves, severing the cord. Then she blew him a kiss. "Catch me if you can." Swinging by one hand she flew through the air and landed running. Batman took off after her.
When they got to the parking lot he was just in time to see a motorcycle puling out. He hit a button on his utility belt and the car pulled up. Batman hopped in and took off after her.
Catwoman glanced over her shoulder at the high speed car barreling down on her. "I need to hire minions."
Barbara got up early and turned on the television. Sadly a few years ago they stopped showing cartoons on most of the major networks in the morning, but she lucked out with the news. It was just as good.
"Once again this is Vicky Vale and we are showing footage of Batman as he chases the masked criminal known as Catwoman. This is a combination of News Footage and home video emailed to this station from several eye witnesses…" The footage showed the Batmobile chasing a woman in black leather on a motorcycle.
"Does everyone have one of those?"
Then Catwoman stopped the bike and abandoned it, racing for a fire escape. Batman stopped to and his car opened up. But instead of jumping out his seat catapulted him up into the air and he landed above Catwoman on the fire escape. She stopped and looked up at him, then turned and jumped to the building next to them, and ran on all fours up the side of the building like a squirrel. Batman followed and the both disappeared over the edge. What followed next was a series of clips of the two of them running over rooftops.
"Well that explains why dad isn't in this morning," she muttered. She was going to have to take the bus to school today.
Still that meant he would probably be real busy all day and probably into the night. Which meant she could get some practice in. Absently she wrote him a note, hastily scribbled out, saying that she would be staying at a friend's place tonight. It was Friday after all. The friend's name was illegible. Then she went into her room and got the thing she had been working on our of her closet and stuffed it into her backpack. Then she used a padlock on the zippers to keep it shut.
An hour later she was being dropped off outside school by the city bus along with about a dozen other kids. "Amazing. The richest kids in the city and half of them still have to take the bus to school." Then she noticed a sleek limo dropping someone else off. "Hey Dick."
"Hi Barb," Dick Grayson said, hefting his own pack.
"Your application for the school gymnastics team went through. You can start Monday if you want."
"Great. I'll try not to show you up," he teased.
"Watch it shrimp," she mock growled.
Suddenly the PA system came on. ""Students please assemble in the auditorium for a special announcement."
Barbara frowned. "That sounded like Miss Isley."
"So I thought she was fired a few days ago."
Dick shrugged. "Maybe they had to give her two week's notice or something."
"Probably," she agreed. "Look, you'd better go. I'm going to head into class early. I do not need to hear another one of that lady's lectures."
"Won't you get in trouble?"
"Not for the first time," she assured him. "If there's anything important tell me at lunch okay?" Barbara watched Dick walk off and then headed towards her first class. Oddly enough the teacher was not in either. "Huh, maybe I should have gone to the assembly." She shrugged and headed up to the front of the class where they kept the televisions for special days. She snagged a video from the stack and sat back to enjoy herself.
Dick entered the auditorium and found all the kids seated quietly and staring straight ahead. So were the teachers and security guards. Miss Isley was up on stage in a tight green outfit. It looked like something from a school play. Maybe a forest nymph from Midsummer Night's Dream or something. Were they putting on a play? Recruiting actors? Dick wondered if he might get to play Puck.
The door slammed behind him and Dick turned in surprise to see an all too familiar face. Penguin smiled and said, "Well isn't this a lucky break! Young Dick… I was afraid we might have to leave town without killing you." He began raising his umbrella.
"Holy batshit it's the Fatman!" Dick said.
"Wait," Isley shouted from the stage.
"Why?" Penguin snarled. Dick was getting light headed. There was some kind of strange smell in the air. Ivy shot him a glare. "I mean, what for my dear?"
"Do you know who this kid's legal guardian is? Bruce Wayne. We can get more money for him than the rest of these little brats put together."
Croc said, "Bruce Wayne? I heard of him."
Penguin said, "You'd have to go five thousand miles away to find someone who hasn't." He glared down at Dick. "Fine kid, you have a chance to live, provided your new daddy pays up." Dick reached out and grabbed at the umbrella. Oswald backhanded him away.
And then Ivy was there. The pain of the sudden slap was gone. Her hands were on either side of his face and suddenly her eyes were all he could see. "Dick, do me a favor and sit down with the others will you?"
Dick blushed and smiled. "Uh yeah… sure."
"There's a good boy," she said standing up. Dick got up and walked to an empty seat. "You just have to know how to talk to them." Everyone in the room was under her total control. The kids, both boys and girls, stared straight ahead, waiting for her next order and smiling in love-sick ways. "Now I think it's time to make some calls."
Catwoman was breathing hard. Batman was still on her heals. She looked over her shoulder at him and said, "Come on Bats. Shouldn't you be after mob bosses or muggers? I do my best not to even hurt people when I steal things." He did not answer, but he did get closer. "Besides the suns up. We're supposed to be nocturnal. Let's call it a day!"
Suddenly a window opened nearby and Catwoman froze. Someone was holding a shotgun in her face. "Stop right there!" The fat redneck cocked his rifle.
And then Batman was there. He grabbed the gun and lifted it up, pointing it at a brick wall just before it fired. The bullet went into the wall. Then Batman yanked it away and punched the man. "No guns."
Grabbing his bloody nose the man shouted, "You freak! I was helping."
"I work alone," Batman said. Turning on the man he looked at Catwoman who was still stunned.
"Why did you do that?"
"I don't kill." He reached for his belt and pulled out a pair of bat-shaped handcuffs. "Now are you coming quietly?" He moved towards her. Catwoman brought of her claws in a defensive posture. Then Batman froze and reached up to his ear. "Say again?" He waited, like he was listening to someone. "Be right there." He turned and started walking away.
"What? That's it?" Catwoman asked. Batman ignored her and jumped off the building. She followed and watched him land in the waiting Batmobile. "Hey!"
Barbara glanced at the clock. It had been two hours and she was already into a second movie. It was strange. They had never taken this long for announcements before. What did the school do? Hire a magician? A self help guru? Whatever it was she had better take a look. If it was taking this long it was probably important.
Still, she thought, if they saw her sneaking in now she was sure to get in trouble. It was probably better to sneak around and peek inside. There was a side entrance to the auditorium that the kids used when they were putting on shows for the parents. She went around there and peeked in. Surprisingly she did not hear anything at first. Nobody was speaking. Moving forward quietly behind the curtain Barbara peeked around the edge.
The kids and staff all sat in chairs staring forward like they were in a trance, smiling in a worrying way. Further in the room she saw four people walking around. She recognized them immediately. Three of them were the freaks from the circus who had killed Dick's parents. The last was Miss Isley. "What the…?"
Isley shouted loudly into the wall phone she was holding, "I don't care if he's in a meeting! You tell him that if he wants to see his darling daughter alive again he had better talk to me right now!" She covered the phone and looked at the mutants. "Can you believe these people? This is the twelfth time this happened."
Barbara pulled back out of sight and bit her lip. They were holding the kids for ransom! Probably drugged them all too. That explained the stares. But how did she do it? They all looked wide awake and it wasn't like she could get really exotic poisons on a teacher's salary. And why did Miss Isley suddenly look so good? Really really good. Like totally… what was she thinking? She sniffed and smelled something odd. It made her want to… what?
Something flashed through Barbara's head. A lecture Isley had given a few months back. "Many plants contain pheromones, particles of smell meant to attract certain creatures. Especially flesh eating plants, flowers, and fruits. In fact most perfumes work on this premise. Animals also have their own smells each one designed to produce a visceral response based on instinct rather than thought. If you found just the right scent you could probably control people's minds." At that point Isley had gone off on how she would then use that smell to control logging developers and make them turn on each other rather than cut down the rainforest and Barbara had tuned her out.
She raced out the door, holding her breath. Then winced as she realized how much sound she had made. Behind her she heard heavy footsteps echoing in the huge auditorium. She turned and ducked around the edge of the building as the doorway literally erupted around Bane, hunks of wall falling around his shoulder as he stared out at the area.
"Anything?" Isley's voice asked. "Well it doesn't matter. I used my pheromones in the police station air system an hour before we started this. They and anyone who comes to check on them will not be any problem, even if the brat can get to a phone." She touched Bane on the arm and the huge man shivered. "Just incase Bane sweetie, close up this hole. I don't want our hostages snapping out of it." They turned and went back inside.
Barbara cursed and leaned against the wall. Her first thought had been to call the police. The station was right there! But if they were all zombies like the people inside then they were probably telling everyone that everything was fine.
If she went and got anybody else the freaks would probably tear them to pieces. Probably while Isley's scent stuff kept them standing there and taking it. There was nothing anybody else could do. Unless…
Determination on her face Barbara headed inside the school and back to the lockers.
Batman arrived at the school and leaped out of the car. In his ear Alfred said, "I've tried contacting the police several times. But no matter what I say they just say that everything is fine and hang up on me."
"I'll look into it when I finish here. They would want me to take care of the kids first."
"I attempted to hack the school's security system but that's down as well."
Batman was about to say something else when a motorcycle roared up behind him. He turned and said, "What are you doing here?"
Catwoman grinned. "I figured that whatever you've got going on has got to be pretty important if you're going to leave a girl like me behind."
"Stay out of this," Batman said. "There are hostages inside."
"Then you can probably use some help," Catwoman said.
Batman frowned. "Why would you help me?"
"You saved my life," she said. "I owe you."
"No. I work-"
"Alone. Yeah I heard. But the thing is, I'm going in there. Now you can either have me where you can see me or moving around on my own." She winked at him.
Batman sighed. "Fine. But stay back and do what I tell you. I don't need your death or any of these kids on my conscience."
"You got it Batman."
"Sir?" Alfred asked.
"Later. Can you give me any help?"
'Thermal imaging from the satellite shows a large heat mass in the auditorium. I'm not getting anyone anywhere else."
"On it," Batman said. He motioned for Catwoman to follow him.
From behind she said, "So who is on the other end of that radio?"
"Someone I trust," he said.
They moved slowly towards the auditorium. Batman stopped outside when he saw that there was a large hole covered up by what looked like stage curtains. Catwoman said, "I take it the bad guys are in there?"
"Yes. You ready for this?" Then Batman jumped and automatically covered his butt.
Catwoman wiggled her clawed hands and grinned. "I'm ready for anything handsome."
"It sounds like you've made a friend," Alfred said and Batman could hear the smile in his voice.
"Let's go," Batman growled.
Ivy was half way through the ransom demands when the power went out. The windows burst in and two black clad pointy eared figures jumped through and stood up. Penguin shouted, "It's the bat!"
"And the kitty cat," Croc put in. "How many times we going to have to beat you down boy?" Bane started to move forward.
Batman reached for a baterang and then paused, sniffing the air. Next to him Catwoman did something she had not done in years. She stumbled. "Whoa bats, I feel a little strange. And who is that beautiful woman over there?"
Batman turned and said, "I don't know…"
Pam smiled and moved forward. "Oh isn't that sweet. I have two superhero admirers."
Catwoman purred. "I'm more here on a temporary truce." She frowned. "Wait.. what am I? What are you doing to us?"
"Stop it," Batman growled. "Don't do this." He stood still as Ivy reached out to touch his cheek.
"You know, I've always wondered… what does Batman look like under that mask?" She smiled and leaned up, blowing warm breath in his face. "Why don't you two both take off that masks and show Poison Ivy exactly what you look like?"
"I…" Batman began.
"Please? For little old me?"
Reaching up he and Catwoman began pulling up their cowls.
Another window broke then and a new figure dropped into the room. "Don't do it." The voice was adult. Female. Everyone turned to look.
"Another Batman?" Penguin said.
"I don't think so," Croc said.
This new figure was smaller than Batman. Her costume was just as form hugging, but you could see hunks of body armor under the purple latex. It had taken her hours to bang out the chest. Admittedly it was padded and a lot bigger than her real chest. But the armor was just as effective. She had added a wig made of red human hair to the back of the cowl, making it look like her own. The cowl, while purple too, was still in the shape of Batman's. The gloves had a single line of razor sharp spikes down the side instead of the two rows on Batman's. Around her waist was a utility belt. It had been a lot of work resizing everything to fit her. Still she had done it and it fit nicely. She could move and it hid her well. Plus she had worked in most of the high tech Batman had built into his costumes and added a voice frequency modulator to hide her voice. With a recorded sample she could sound like anyone. She had also tied a scarf around her face.
"Great another one," Isley said. She glanced at Batman. "Are you starting a franchise?"
"Isley, give up now," Batgirl said.
"It's Poison Ivy now," she said. "And why should I? A few more seconds and you'll be my slave. Or maybe I'll have the boys here kill you. Or maybe I'll have these children tear you apart." She tilted her head. "No, I have a better idea. Batman. Catwoman. Get her."
Batman moved fast, Catwoman on his heels. Batgirl dodged back in time to avoid his first punch. He was still moving but he was slow. Then she ducked back and took a row of scratched from Catwoman's claws. "Call them off Isley or else."
"Or else what?"
"You forget where you are Isley. Or Ivy. Whatever you crazies call yourself." She ducked and wove between Batman and Catwoman's assault. Then she back flipped, landing next to the door. "This is a school."
Batgirl smiled as Batman and Catwoman rushed after her. "So, you always have a problem with delinquents." Reached out to the wall Batgirl pulled down the fire alarm switch. An alarm began to ring. Then the sprinklers went off. Batman and Catwoman froze. Behind them kids and adults started shaking their heads.
"No!" Ivy screamed. The water was washing her scent out of the air.
Penguin, Croc, and Bane all shook their heads. Croc said, "What that lady do to us."
Penguin turned and a knife sprang from his umbrella. Before Ivy could dodge he stabbed her in the leg. She fell screaming to the floor. "We'll deal with her later. For now Bane, keep those kids in their seats!" The knife retracted and it clicked, switching to gun mode. "Then we'll handle the bats and the cat!"
Batman frowned, coming out of it. Batgirl said, "You two alright now?"
"I think so," Catwoman said. "I'm no longer in love. Just pissed. But then, that's how it always is, right?"
Batman looked Batgirl over. "I think those belong to me." He pointed to the outfit and utility belt.
"Don't see your name on them," she said quickly. "Sue me. Anyway can we talk about this later?"
Batman glanced back over his shoulder at the approaching villains. "Right." He threw a baterang at Croc's foot, knocking it out from under him. "You get the lizard. I'll handle Bane."
"That leaves Tweety for me," Catwoman said. They broke apart. The kids were too scared to move, Bane hovering over them like a cloud. But they did when Batman came running.
Batgirl raced towards Croc as he got up. She kicked him in the face sending him back onto his back. "That hurt. Girl when I get my claws on you…" He reached out quickly and grabbed her leg, pulling hard. Batgirl ended up on her back. And suddenly he was on her. His jaws opened and he moved towards her face.
Batgirl reached up and brought her hands together on his jaws, forcing them shut. "No snacking between meals." She twisted and forced him onto his back, her straddling his belly. Then she head butted him. The reinforced bat-shaped cowl cracked hard against his skull. It made her head ring. Him it knocked out. She reached for some of the reinforced line in her utility belt and began tying him up.
Catwoman was fighting the Penguin. She was too close to shoot so he brought out the knife again. He was faster then she thought and she ended up with a cut along her ribs that made her hiss. "Ow! See, this is why I don't do the hero thing." She back flipped and kicked out, knocking the umbrella out of his hand. Instead of going after it though Penguin dropped to the gym floor and slid across it like it was ice, ramming into Catwoman and knocking her back. Then his hands were on her throat.
"You know what you do with a two hundred pound canary?" He said as he choked her. "You teach it to say 'Here kitty, kitty!'" Catwoman was kicking him but the blubber was too thick for her to hurt him.
Then Batgirl appeared, punching him across the face. Penguin was knocked back. He landed in front of Ivy who used her good leg to kick him the rest of the way out. "Fat… ugly…useless…You ruined everything!" She kept kicking long after he was out. "When I'm back on my feet you'll all pay! I'll wipe out every human on this planet!"
Meanwhile Batman was having trouble. Bane was slow, but powerful. And Batman was still tired from chasing Catwoman all over Gotham. He was slowing down and it was only going to take one good hit for Bane to finish him. None of the punches and kicks Batman landed seemed to have any effect. Batgirl and Catwoman moved in to help but he said, "Stay back!"
"But…" Both women started.
"Just get the kids out of-"
And then a new shape flew through the air, landing on Bane's back. The giant tried to reach it, but the boy there was too small and his muscles were too big. The rest of the room stared in shock. Dick then pulled down the back of Bane's shirt, revealing a tube that had been hidden by the cloth. In his other hand he had the baterang that Batman had thrown at Killer Croc. With one quick move he used it to slice through the tube and then jumped away as off fluid began spraying out.
Bane screamed, trying to reach back. But as he did his body seemed to deflate like a balloon. As fast as the strange liquid spilled out he was shrinking. Until he was not much bigger than Dick.
Batman towered over the little man. Bane looked up and smiled hopefully. Then Batman punched him, knocking him across the room and into the stage. Then he looked at Dick. "Good work."
"It was no big deal," the boy said, dropping the bat-shaped piece of metal in his hand. "I'd seen him use it before in the circus."
"What about me?" Batgirl asked. "I just saved everyone."
Batman turned on her. 'And now you can give back what you stole."
Batgirl backed away quickly. "No way!"
Suddenly there was a loud click. Both bats turned and saw Dick standing over Penguin. He had the bird's umbrella in his hand and a steely look in his eye.
"Don't do it," Batman said.
"He killed my mom and dad."
Batgirl said, "And he'll pay for that. He will. But if you shoot him you'll be just as bad. Your parents wouldn't want that."
"What do you two know?" He looked up, tears in his eyes. "What do you know about anything?"
"I know," Batman said firmly.
Batgirl said, "I know how my parents would feel… if I did something like that. No matter who it was. You can't make their deaths right by killing someone. It doesn't work like that."
Slowly the boy lowered the weapon. "You're right." Then he kicked Penguin in the balls. Hard.
Catwoman said, "You know, I was just thinking about hiring a partner, if you're interested. Thief pays way better than crime fighter. And you have a way with people."
"Thanks for the offer. But," Batgirl smiled and shook her head. "Not a chance."
"Pity," Catwoman said. She winked at Batman, blew him a kiss, and then turned and ran out the door. "Later."
Batman let her go. He turned to Batgirl. "I said, give it back."
"I don't think you'd look good in it," she said, back flipping towards one of the busted windows. She landed on the ledge and saluted him. "Later!"
"Wait," Dick called. "Who are you?"
Batgirl smiled. Reaching up she adjusted the voice synthesizer to another voice she had recorded when she had been playing around with it. Throwing a smoke pellet in front of Dick and Batman she said in the voice of a cartoon duck, "I am the terror that flaps in the night…" Batman ran towards her but when he cleared the smoke she was gone.
"You should let her go," Dick said, a big grin on his face. "I heard Poison Ivy talking You should head over to the police station. She dosed all of them."
Batman nodded. Then he reached for his belt and nodded at the sleeping villains. "Think you can tie them up?"
"Please," Dick said. "I used to help out with an escape artist." He took the cuffs and turned to do it as the teachers helped settle the still confused children. He paused and looked back. "By the way thanks for…" But Batman was gone. "I know how that trick works too!" He yelled.
The next week at school Barbara came in with a bounce to her step. The police had found her squeezed up inside a locker. She had told them that she had seen what Isley was doing, but when she tried to call the cops and got no help there. So she had hidden herself in the locker to wait for help to arrive. Since then the kids had been taken to various shrinks and school had been closed for a week. Barbara thought it was a bit of a short break, but had to admit that if they closed down the whole city every time someone was kidnapped or a building got ruined nobody in Gotham would do anything.
Dick was waiting for her outside school. He smiled and waved her over. When she got there before she could even say hello he said, "I know it was you."
"Huh?" She said.
"I totally recognized that back flip you used when you left," he said smugly.
Barbara gritted her teeth. So much for her career in crime fighting. "So what are you going to do? Tell on me?"
"No," he said. "I was wondering if you might need help."
"I don't mind being a sidekick. At least for a while. And you know I'm good. Heck, I took down Bane without help. And you're still a kid. You could use the assist."
Barbara smiled. "Don't you think you might get into trouble?"
"Nah. Bruce is never home at night anyway. He's either working or out on dates. And Alfred's so old I'm amazed he remembers what day it is."
"And if I say no you'll tell on me?" She asked.
"Nah. You did save my life after all."
"Okay, you're in. I still have some left over gear of Batman's we could use to outfit you with. But it'll be dangerous." He gave her a look. "And you'll need to think of a name… how about Wonderboy?"
"No," he said. They started walking inside.
"Okay… how about… Bartman?"
"Now that's just stupid."
In Arkham Asylum Poison Ivy was led to her new cell and pushed inside. "Say hello to your new roommate." And the cell was locked behind her.
It was dark inside. There was a small window covered in bullet proof glass. Ivy had to have a roommate. It turned out that a side effect of the potion she had given herself was that now she gave off oxygen and breathed carbon dioxide. Without a human in her cell she would die. Talk about irony.
"You smell like an air freshener, you know that doll?" An annoying voice said from the covers on the top bunk. It was the most annoying voice Ivy had ever heard. And the accent was like an old time street moll.
"Sorry," she said limping into the room.
"Not complaining toots. Just commenting. Don't get to talk to too many people in here ya know? Once you're here they usually just want you to talk to the shrinks so they can figure out what's wrong with ya."
"So why are we sharing a cell."
"Cause that don't work with me." She uncovered herself and rolled over. She had a huge grin on her face. It continued past her mouth as a four inch row of stitches on each cheek. "I used to be one of the doctors here."
"My god… what happened to you?"
"My boyfriend thought I looked sad and could use a smile," she said cheerfully. "I think it adds a little something to my looks, don't you?" She rolled off the bed and extended her hand. "Harley Quinn, at your service."
"Poison Ivy," she said, shaking the hand.
"You know Ivy, I got the feeling you and I are going to be real good friends."
Suddenly the light spilling in from the window turned green. Both women moved towards to, looking out into the Gotham night. Up in the clouds someone was shining a light in the shape of a huge green question mark.
Like it? Hate it? I love for responses from my fans. Personally I think this would make a good third movie. But that's just my opinion. Tell me what you think.