"There seems to be a new player in Gotham," came the familiar throaty growl, just when Gordon thought he was alone. He turned from the window and saw Batman standing in the shadows.
"You could always take a seat," Gordon said quietly. He had one in his office he left in a corner. Like keeping a chair out for Elijah on Passover, or cookies and milk for Santa Claus, though both were much safer traditions.
"No time." A pause, and his voice softened slightly, letting whoever he really was peek through the smallest bit. "But thank you."
Despite his weariness and worries, Gordon smiled to himself. "So. New player."
Batman tossed a familiar card onto Gordon's desk. A Joker. That man treated Arkham like a revolving door. Gordon was generally against the death penalty – illegal in their state - but wondered if there was any other way of keeping people safe from the psychopathic clown. "Found this in a back alley, where there had been evidence of a struggle, even streaks of blood. Scraps of some strange machinery. I would say a kind of deathtrap, based on the number of spikes that had blood on them, meant to taunt me. But no dead bodies. Instead, I found another card."
Gordon caught it in midair and noted Batman's look of surprise. "You're always flinging evidence at me, friend; it was only a matter of time before my reflexes adapted." Then he inspected the clue. It was a Two of Hearts. And scribbled hastily in blue pen were the words: "Nice try."
"It seems someone's taken up my line of work, but I can't be sure," Batman said. "With my experience, I'm cautious of anything unexpected. Are you aware of the string of ATM robberies that occurred this past week?"
"I don't recall."
"That's because all the money was returned. Every single ATM hit had a Joker and a King of Clubs Superglued on. The night after the money mysteriously reappeared, every single Joker had a Two of Hearts pasted on. And each King of Clubs had a Jack of Hearts taped overlapping it, covering the face. That's not all."
Gordon gamely caught the next card too. The Jack of Hearts he held sported the lipstick imprint from a kiss. There was something off about the imprint, though. It was much thinner than the typical – "It's from a man's lips."
"Right. This isn't just about crime. This is some kind of vendetta, and I intend to find out what's going on."
Two nights later, Batman rushed to the Natural History Museum when he got news that the Joker had planted a bomb somewhere on the grounds and it was going to go off within fifty minutes. Naturally the place was deserted. Wayne Enterprises had recently developed a highly sensitive device to sniff out explosives, many times more capable than a Labrador retriever, and was sponsoring a shipment to unexploded ordinance groups in mine-ridden countries.
So the bomb was in the basement. Twenty minutes to go. In his rush he nearly kicked down a door before realizing that it was unlocked and swung open quietly.
Then he saw a man who looked to be about his age, handsome features and black hair, wearing a WWII-style greatcoat modified to be lighter. There was a hole in the wall where he must have cut out the bomb he was holding in one arm, fiddling at with tweezers with his right hand.
Batman's sensors reported that the bomb had been defused.
Then the man set it down with a grin. He pulled a card out of his pocket, then a tube of lipstick that he applied. He kissed the card, wiped his mouth, and cheerily said, "Hi there, Batman. Give me a sec to tape this on. I've been wanting to meet you."
"I assume you're the Jack of Hearts?" Batman felt embarrassed to be shown up, though of course the important thing was that the situation had been ended peacefully.
"Just a joke. I'm Captain Jack Harkness. My pleasure." He strode towards him to shake his hand with a smile like a fully self-aware stud. "I assume you don't want to tell me your real name, or show me what you look like – a shame, since someone who can pull off form-fitting armor and still move in a fight has got to have a terrific body – and that's okay."
As Bruce Wayne, he could be a roughish playboy to perfection, but the glint in Jack Harkness' eye suggested that Bruce was a mere dabbler by comparison. "What are you a Captain of?"
"Nothing at the moment. You're not actually part bat." He thought about that for a second. "Right?"
"I'm not sure if I'm more incredulous that you would take such an idea seriously, or that you appear to be trying to pick me up."
"You would need to have some cough drops though, or quit smoking, whichever one it is. There's 'velvety purr' and then there's 'cancerous wheeze'."
Batman sighed. He was prepared for a fight or an intrigue, not a flirtation. "I need to know what you're doing in my city."
"We're after an old enemy of ours who appears to have joined forces with your Joker."
Jack's head whipped around, and he pointed his gun towards the sound he must have heard with the quickest draw Batman had ever seen. "Shit."
There was a blinding flash of light, and Batman felt something strike him in the jaw, like a white-hot iron had been shoved in. After that, nothing.
He awoke to someone kissing him, expertly and tenderly, and the strength of that kiss rushing through his body and making everything well again. Rachel?
Then he opened his eyes and realized it was Jack kissing him. And he punched him in the face.
Jack lay on the floor – which seemed to be a metal grate, and rubbed his jaw. "Ow. That was just to save you, y'know. What did I tell you about 21st century humans, Doctor? Quaint!"
"That was definitely not CPR," Bruce said, wiping his mouth as if that would undo what just happened. He noticed several things as the initial shock wore off.
First, he was in a very, very strange looking room, with glowing columns and hexagonal walls and knobs of metal, all in bronze and green.
Second, Jack had said, "Doctor." So there was someone else present.
Third, as he turned around to see who the "Doctor" was, he noticed an extremely skinny young man in a blue pinstriped suit and bright red sneakers, brown hair askew, draped over a chair with his whole body shaking as he tried not to laugh.
Fourth, Jack had also said, "21st century humans."
Fifth, he was not wearing his cowl. They had seen his face.
The man he supposed was the Doctor spoke. Very, very fast. And very crisply English. "Yes, yes, startling revelations. Don't be so hard on poor Jack; he did that to heal you. At least he mostly did that to heal you. It's nothing personal, Batman, or whatever your name is when you're at home, Jack goes after anybody of any gender of any species of any time period. You got shot in the face. I had the dickens of a time getting the bullet out without doing further damage – nice man, by the way, Dickens, great in a crisis – and I didn't think you wanted the hospital to see you, since you're so careful about identity, and anyway Jack pointed out that he can heal people by snogging them, and I said well that's convenient, do you use that line often? But I had to admit that it was true, and you were losing a lot of blood, so if you could bury your prejudices aside, Batman, I'm the Doctor, you're on the good ship TARDIS, and we need your help as much as you need ours, because the Joker and the Master together is not something I wish to contemplate let alone endure."