A/N: Yeah I'm writing a TDK fic, can't help it.
*I do not own Batman or any of the Batman characters. I do not make any money writing this story.*
As soon as she closed up and locked the door to the office behind her, Michaela pulled out her phone and dialed a familiar number as she stomped down the dark, deserted hallway towards the lobby. In her ear, the line rang twice and then Roger picked up; a dead giveaway that he was waiting up for her.
"Hey, it's me." Michaela said in a tired yet cheerful voice. "I just finished up."
She could hear the TV on the other end of the phone, and Roger made an exasperated sound. "Jeez, took long enough. Whose shift were you covering?"
"Jamie's." Michaela answered as she juggled her phone and her bag around as she tried awkwardly to put her coat on.
"I say we hunt her down and kill her." Roger said matter-of-factly, as though he were dead serious.
Michaela grinned. "Sounds like a plan."
It did sound like a plan; she was only scheduled to work until four in the afternoon but then Jamie called in complaining of cramps and so Michaela had to stay until 8:00 pm, something she hadn't done since she first started working at the agency. "Did you eat?"
"Yeah," He said, and she heard the volume on the TV in the background become quiet, like he was turning it down. Sounded like a football game. "I saved you some pizza."
Michaela walked into the lobby and raised her hand to wave goodbye to Marv, the security guard; he waved back and buzzed her through the front doors. "Ohh, pizza, how nutritious."
"It is nutritious," Roger stated, as if he'd swear his life on pizza. "It's got like all the food groups in it; it's probably one of the most nutritious foods ever."
"Really." Michaela said, but she wasn't asking, she had heard this spiel about pizza being the best food before. She wandered across the plaza towards the bus stop on the sidewalk. There was no one else waiting at the lit-up bus stop, but a quick scan of the street showed her there weren't any louts around that might cause trouble. She figured she'd be all right.
"So where are you at?" Roger asked.
Michaela walked towards the bus stop and looked up at the bright red sign. It read GOTHAM TRANSIT: ROUTE 58. She stepped in under the lights and dropped her bag on the bench. "I'm at the bus stop."
"This time of night you're taking the bus?" She could detect the alarm in his voice, even if he was trying to hide it a little. "Want me to pick you up?"
Michaela held her arms to her chest in an attempt to warm herself up a little. "No, you're twenty minutes away."
"Well I can come pick you up," Roger said somewhat anxiously. "I mean it's dangerous, that area, this time of night."
Michaela smirked, looking down the street to where the bus was sure to be coming from. Sure this area had been dangerous in the past, but there were areas in downtown Gotham a lot worse than this one. "Yeah, think I'll see the Batman?"
There was a pause. "Maybe." He responded with a lilt of interest in his voice.
It'd be almost six months since they had heard or seen anything of the Batman. Allegations about who the Batman was had appeared all over the television, they interviewed all the specialists and psychologists in the city, trying to uncover the mystery. They tried to bait people with money for tips on who the Batman might have been, but no one seemed too interested. City officials claimed that crime rates had doubled since everyone thought the Batman had disappeared, but there was still enough fear on the street to keep the criminals in their place.
After he had supposedly killed Harvey Dent, it was like Batman had fallen off the face of the earth, never to be seen again.
Another minute went by and then Michaela noticed the bus coming slowly down the road, flashing ROUTE 58 from its sign above the windshield. She reached for her bag to pull out her city pass. "The bus is here, I gotta go."
Roger made another noise over the phone, like he still wasn't comfortable about the idea of her riding the bus this late at night. "I'll pick you up at the station, okay?"
Michaela stepped out onto the sidewalk, watching and waiting patiently as the big red bus approached. "Okay, that sounds good."
"See you in a bit." Roger said.
"Okay, bye." Michaela said, and then hit call end on her phone just as the bus lurched to a stop in front of her. She waited a moment, pass in hand, as the doors opened and she stepped up, flashing the driver her pass. Curiously enough though, the driver didn't even look over to acknowledge her.
"Hello." Michaela said in greeting.
"Evening." Came the grumbled reply from the driver, but he still wouldn't look at her. She couldn't even see his face from the shadow of his cap.
She moved onto the bus, taking in the people that she passed. She was surprised, there were about twenty people on the bus, and most of them looked like they were late night workers from around the area, going home after a long night at work, just like her. A few of them looked up at her as she passed them, but for the most part everyone looked pretty tired. Michaela found an empty seat about midway through the bus and collapsed down onto it, leaning up against the window and sighing in content to get off her feet. Her shoes were killing her.
With a rumble, the bus started up and began to move down the streets of Gotham. Michaela pulled her feet up onto the seat, despite the looks she was getting from the lady across the aisle from her, and she huddled back into her coat for warmth. She was secretly so happy that Roger was going to pick her up at the station; she really didn't feel like walking that extra fifteen minutes, especially not in these shoes and not at this time of night.
Michaela hadn't realized how exhausted she was; working double shifts was a lot harder than she thought. When she first got the call that Jamie wasn't coming in, she figured it would be no biggie, but in truth if Jamie ever asked her to cover the late shift again, Michaela would probably say no.
Her stomach growled and Michaela shifted to get more comfortable. She sure liked the sound of that pizza right about now.
Just as she was started to doze, she heard the familiar ding of a customer who wanted the next stop. Not bothering to open her eyes, she waited for the bus to come to a rolling stop and let off whoever it was that wanted off. She wondered what kind of pizza Roger had ordered. Knowing him and his carnivore tendencies, he had gotten the ultra-meat lovers, and that sounded perfect. With pizza, a nice cold beer and a boyfriend to keep her warm, it was going to be the perfect end to a shitty day.
After a few moments, however, she suddenly heard a woman say: "Hey driver, you missed my stop! …Driver?"
The bus continued to roll on, and there wasn't a response from the driver. Michaela sleepily opened her eyes, wondering if she had really heard that, or if she had dreamt it.
A gentleman closer towards the front leaned out into the aisle, gripping the bar in front of him. "Driver, you missed her stop! Didn't you hear?" He shouted in a tired, angry voice.
There was a moment of silence, and then the driver replied. "Oh, I heard."
Michaela blinked her eyes sleepily and gripped the bar on the seat in front of her to ease herself up to a sitting position. As she looked around, she noticed that the other passengers were getting increasingly agitated. She looked behind her and noticed the passengers were looking at each other with baffled looks on their faces. She looked out onto the street and noticed that they were pulling off the road, and off route.
Then, much to her surprise, a man at the very front of the bus hoisted himself out of his seat and pulled a gun out of a bag in front of him. Michaela heard a woman scream as he fired a few shots into the ceiling of the bus, presumably to get everyone's attention. Michaela froze, looking at the man with the gun. He was wearing a plastic mask, crudely painted in the face of a clown.
Michaela felt her breath catch in her chest.
"Everyone this is a hijacking!" Screamed the masked gunman through his mask. "So sit down and shut up!"
Michaela heard a woman behind her whimpering; many of the other passengers were trying to keep from screaming, but for the most part the bus had gone dead quiet. Michaela knew that she herself wouldn't even be able to peep.
"Oh my god…" came a hushed whisper from somewhere behind her.
"Where are you taking us?!" Came a desperate plea from a terrified woman in the back.
"Hey!" The gunman raised the gun and everyone gave out cries of fear and cowered in their seats, trying to hide their faces behind the seats in front of them, just as Michaela did. "I said shut up back there!"
Michaela swallowed thickly, watching the gunman at all times. She figured that if she just stayed quiet and maybe stayed out of sight as much as she could, she wouldn't draw any attention to herself. She could hear someone start to cry behind her, and a man was whispering hurriedly, but it wasn't clear to whom he was whispering. Michaela wondered maybe, if she moved real slowly, she could reach her cell phone and dial 911.
Just as she thought this, the gunman reached over and pulled the duffel bag up by its straps. He then proceeded to walk down the aisle. "Now everyone, all of you, gimme your phones! I want every single cell phone on this bus!"
He began with the folks up front, who nervously reached into their pockets or their bags and pulled out their phones to deposit into the duffel bag. With a shaky breath and even shakier hands, Michaela reached into her purse and searched frantically for her phone, thinking that maybe if she dialed really quickly the call would go through in time.
"Come on, come on, give it here!" the gunman growled, harassing one of the ladies up towards the front, who whimpered in fear as she forfeit her cell phone.
Michaela found her phone and clasped it tightly between her hands, watching the gunman carefully. He was two seats away from her, would that be enough time? She figured it would have to do; there was no time to lose. She looked down at her touchpad and tried to dial 911 but her fingers were so shaky she could barely apply the right pressure to the keys.
She looked up to watch the gunman and suddenly saw a man, who had already given up his phone, stand up and grab the gunman from behind, hooking an arm around his neck and trying to grab his gun with the other hand. The gunman let out a cry of great annoyance, and fired several times as they struggled. Michaela gasped and ducked her head, listening to the screams of everyone around her as more shots were fired. She heard the driver scream something, but it was hardly audible over the screams and the sound of the struggle. Finally Michaela raised her eyes just as the gunman pushed his attacker back into one of the bars, hard, and the man let out a groan of pain and let go of the gunman, who then spun on his heels and pointed the barrel of the gun into the man's chest.
Michaela heard a scream erupt all around her as she gunman shot his attacker three times in the chest. As she watched the blood appear on his clean white shirt, and watched his knees fail as he doubled over, she screamed again, just as the passengers behind her were screaming.
The gunman, now officially pissed off, looked towards the back of the bus and rose the gun. The screaming stopped. "All right, anyone else wanna be a hero? Hmm?"
Michaela was breathing erratically and shook harder with more fear than ever before as the gunman approached her and held open the duffel bag, his gun pointing right at her thigh. Michaela closed her eyes and let out a little whimper as she gathered all her strength and threw her phone into the depths of the duffel bag. And then the gunman was gone.
She covered her mouth with her hand and she realized she was going to start crying. Looking up, she saw the poor man shot to death lying motionlessly on the bus floor, a big pool of blood surrounding him, and she felt her stomach churn. She squeezed her eyes shut and sat back in her seat, rocking back and forth.
Once the gunman had gathered all the cell phones, he stomped back up to the front, carefully stepping over the dead body, to talk to the driver. "How much longer?"
"Almost there." The driver mumbled.
"Good," The gunman said, and going back to the duffel bag he produced a handful of long, black scarves. Without hesitation, he started throwing them at the passengers he passed. "Put these blindfolds on!" He commanded as he threw one at Michaela. It landed in her lap but she regarded it as if it were an eel; she didn't even want to touch it.
"Put these blindfolds on!" The gunman demanded again. "I see anyone without a blindfold, and they get shot."
Swallowing hard, Michaela reached for the blindfold with her clammy hands and picked it up. She looked up out the window to the street, but all she could see was darkness. She took a deep breath and tied the blindfold up around her eyes, cutting out her vision, and tying it securely at the back. She figured at least this way she wouldn't be able to see the dead body, and she wouldn't have to look at the crudely painted mask on the gunman.
Someone behind her was definitely crying, but for the most part the bus was eerily quiet. She could hear the gunman pace up and down the aisle of the bus, tensing as his heavy footsteps came closer and closer to her and finally passed her. She anxiously chewed on her bottom lip as she waited for something to happen, anything to happen.
"Where are you taking us?!" Came the anxious demand of someone in front of her.
"Hey shut up!" The gunman yelled, rocking the bus and making Michaela physically jump in her seat. She gathered her purse in her arms and cradled it close to her body, trying to calm down.
She thought of Roger, Roger who had waited up late for her and saved her pizza for dinner and was probably waiting for her now at the train station, wondering where the bus was. He was probably calling her phone, wondering where the hell she was. Again she fought hard to keep the tears back. The last thing she needed now was to show these men that she was frightened, which she really, really was.
The bus rumbled on in silence, and despite the few soft cries and whimpers from the other passengers, the bus was fairly quiet. Michaela curled her fingers into her bag over and over, trying to maintain her breathing and telling herself that everything was going to be okay…everything was going to be okay…
Finally, after what seemed to be a decade of riding the bus blind and scared, the driver mumbled something. "We're here."
Another five minutes and the bus made a right hand turn and rolled to a gentle stop. Everyone on the bus made curious sounds and noises, but were instantly quiet when the gunman started talking. "All right, everybody up! Single file, out the door, come on!"
Michaela wanted to mention that it was pretty hard to do so when you were blindfolded, but she wasn't even going to breathe a word. She took the bar in front of her in her hands and carefully hoisted herself up. She moved slowly into the aisle, bumping into someone in front of her, and she waited until they started to move.
"Come on, let's move it!" Came the voice of the gunman, and Michaela tried to hurry but she was worried about her footing with the blindfold on. Suddenly she heard the woman in front of her let out a little cry of disdain, and then she literally ran forward. Michaela stepped forward as carefully as ever and grimaced as her shoe touched something solid. It was the body.
Michaela gasped, but then someone grabbed her upper arm and forced her forward, over the dead body, towards the door to the bus. She fought the urge to vomit when the overwhelming scent of blood flooded her nostrils and she pushed herself out of the door once she figured out where it was. She only hoped there wasn't blood on her shoes.
Another person grabbed her arm and forced her to speed up. She stumbled over her feet, clutching her bag and trying not to say anything or make a noise. Whoever it was that had taken her arm suddenly pushed her forward, up against another person. She gasped and straightened herself up so she would stand, and then she heard doors closing. Five seconds later she felt the unmistakable lurch upwards of an elevator. She took in a deep breath as she sensed she was crammed in the elevator with several others of the bus passengers.
Michaela sucked in heavy breaths, just like the others all around her. Someone behind her was weeping quietly. She could smell perfume and sweat and fear. She counted approximately ten floors and then she heard the chime of the elevator, and then the doors opened. Cold air hit her in the face, but she had little time to register it as someone grabbed her and forced her forward. She wondered how much man-handling she would have to endure before she knew just what was going on.
"Get them in here and keep them quiet!" came a voice from the far corner of the room. Michaela already sensed that wherever they were, it was a large room. The floor underneath her felt like concrete, and there were probably more people in the room than she first realized.
"Sit them down over here!" came another order that echoed off the walls, and Michaela was jerked to the side by whoever was leading her around, until she was unceremoniously shoved against the wall and told to sit down and be quiet.
With her back against the wall, Michaela slid down until she was sitting on the cold floor. She felt people on either side of her; she could feel their kneecaps bump hers and she could hear them breathing unsteadily. She heard the sound of the elevator again and the shuffling of more people, probably the last of the passengers. She could hear the sharpness of their footsteps on the ground stop when they too were probably lined up against the wall.
Michaela rested her head back against the wall and closed her eyes. Now she really wanted to cry. She couldn't remember the last time she had been so frightened. She was thankful that at least she wasn't alone with her captors, that there were others around her that were in the same boat. She hugged her purse to her chest and started to shake. Why was the room so cold?
Finally, when it seemed that everyone was situated, she could hear the tapping of feet walking to and fro.
She became distracted by a voice that was close to her, probably someone that was watching them to make sure no one made any sudden moves. "This was all of them?" he asked one of his accomplices in a questioning tone.
"Yeah," came the annoyed reply. "We had to get rid of one on the bus."
Michaela recognized that voice to be the gunman on the bus, and then she heard him speak again, in a quieter voice. "Don't give me that look, he won't notice, don't worry."
Michaela scowled. She wondered how maybe they were hoping to abduct, and furthermore how many they had actually abducted from the bus. Were there more captives then she previously thought? Or was it just the people that had been on the bus with her?
Suddenly she heard heavy footfalls emerge from the far end of the room, and the room went deathly quiet. No one made a sound, not the guards, not the passengers, not anyone. The room had gone deathly quiet.
And then there was the voice that echoed off the walls, low and menacing and unmistakable. "I won't notice what-ah?"
Michaela's breath caught in her chest. She knew that voice, everyone in Gotham remembered that voice. After all the videos he sent to GCN, to the incident with Gotham General Hospital…
Michaela felt a single tear roll down her cheek. Oh no…
Next chapter: Guess who.
A/N: Wow, I wrote this whole chapter in one sitting. Hope you enjoyed it.