As Snape passed the two gigantic statues of Rodan's The Thinker that framed City Hall, whose pale pillars were lit in the darkness from below, he shook his head, regretting the Art Deco nightmares that had so obviously influenced the design of Gotham City. Luckily his destination was on a street so dark he could ignore its architecture. If only Gotham's citizens would be so accommodating.

"Mr. Professor," a blonde in a tight red dress said as she slinked out of the shadows.

"Miss deVine," he half-sighed-half-snarled. "If I thought you had any brains at all, I would explain to you, yet again, that Mr. and Professor are both titles but, as I am running late, perhaps you would be so kind as to let me pass."

"It must be so lonely," she said, brushing up against him, "in that laboratory, all by yourself. Surely you need an assistant to..."

"I work alone," he interrupted, shoving past her.

While it would have been undignified to run, he did pick up his pace but, unfortunately, she was able to keep up even in those ridiculous torture devices on her feet. As he spotted the shop, he formed a plan, a way to kill two birds with one stone. The bell over the door jingled cheerfully as he was assaulted by the inordinate brightness of the store. He felt Miss deVine plaster herself to him as he blinked his vision back.

"Professor." It was a short, chubby woman with a fuzz of hair, wearing a pastel outfit that resembled, but weren't, robes.

He shoved his companion at her. "Here. I'm certain she could use a good smudging," he said, giving the woman another victim so he could make his way to the back of the store.

"Ah, yes. You're perfectly right," the chubby woman said. "Come with me, dear." Miss deVine held a hand out to him, as if for help, as she was dragged into a side room.

With a smirk, Snape walked past a roomful of crystal glass gewgaws, through a beaded curtain, and into the herbiary. Surrounded by plants and what he would call potions relaxed him even if the place was only a muggle's approximation of an apothecary. The woman who ran it had the most bizarre ideas about the magical uses of plants but she'd learned to keep her uninformed opinions to herself and could get any herb or plant he'd required there.

"Professor Snape," she said, sounding cheerful but not as sickeningly sweet as the woman by the door had. "I've got your package all ready to go." That was the advantage of dealing with muggles. They could be quite efficient when they had a mind to.

As he stepped back into the street, Snape, enjoyed the cool darkness of Gotham's perpetual night. He'd wondered if he could create a spell to simulate the effect but couldn't actually conceive of a useful reason to ban daylight from an area.

A figure stepped out under a streetlight. "Professor," a cultured voice said.

"Joker," he replied. The man's clothes looked garish even in the darkness. Who would even consider combining green and orange? Revolting.

"Did you enjoy my little present?"

"If you're referring to the snake venom in the city's water supply, it did manage to be of some use in one of my spe..."

"Useful?" Joker asked, as if he hadn't noticed that Snape hadn't finished the sentence. "In the same way that a, say, business partner might be useful?"

"I work alone."

"Id like you to reconsider." A half-dozen goons leaped out of the shadows and rushed him. Snape sighed. He threw marbles under the foot of the closest two. Another he turned into a ferret. Making the fourth as light as a feather, Snape bounced him into a dumpster. He blew dust from his hand at the fifth, who, screaming about his eyes, raced off and crashed into a wall. The sixth turned tail and ran.

When Snape had chosen Gotham City, he'd been told that, living in such a dangerous place, he'd be allowed to use magic to defend himself but only so long as the muggles didn't realize he was a warlock. They'd come up with their own explanation.

"I can't get over it. Just how do you do that? Any other supervillian, I could figure out the tricks," Joker said as some sort of device lifted him up into the sky. Snape wished he'd brought a broom. So many of Gotham's citizens flew, he might as well too. Also, it had the potential to reduce the distracting encounters he was forced to endure. Speaking of which...

A figure leaped down next to him, a man dressed as a bat. "You are aware that foxglove," Batman said, gesturing at the bag Snape was carrying, "causes heart attacks when mixed with certain agents, such as..."

"Really. How interesting," Snape replied in his driest tone, not that it had managed to deter any of the Gothamites yet.

"I can't let you do it," Batman said.

"All I want to do," he replied under Batman's unbelieving gaze, "is to make my way home, unmolested, through Gotham's streets." Honestly, Snape thought. I should have moved to Metropolis.