*Disclaimer: I.. love.. Batman!! ;) I also love Catwoman. That's probably why Batman Returns is one of my favorite movies -- of all time! This is set in the movie-verse.. before Batman Forever. (I despise Joel Schulmaeker.. or however you spell it. Heh.) Anyhoo -- all characters belong to DC, or whomever.. I don't own them. Which is obvious. Hope you enjoy the story. I'll post more soon if so desired. Thanks for reading!

Bruce Wayne sighed, looking over the information on the incredibly large screen before him. It was one of the many tools of the Batcave that he'd become dependent on, no doubt about that.

"It's been a year," he spoke in a low tone.

"That it has, Sir," his faithful butler -- and the man who'd been like a father to him -- replied. He'd only just arrived, but didn't find it a shock for Bruce to realize he was there so quickly. "Has nothing turned up?" Wayne only shook his head no in reply to Alfred, but soon after offered another sigh. "Forgive me, then," the old man began, "but perhaps she .."

"..She's alive, Alfred. I know she is," he interrupted. "I just ... feel it."

"Whether Ms. Kyle is indeed alive or not isn't what takes precedence at the current time, however, I'm afraid," Alfred began. "You're wearing that rather expensive tuxedo for a reason, you know."

"Is it time for the party already?" Bruce asked in an annoyed tone.

"Dreadfully so."

* * * *

Music played flawlessly in the background as Gotham's richest citizens drank martinis, ate cocktails, and paraded around the dance floor. After making his way through the crowd, Bruce took a seat at one of the many tables in the large room.

"Well.. if it isn't Bruce Wayne!"

Bruce looked up, his eyes meeting that of a woman he'd never seen before. Not to sound cocky, but it was something that happened a lot.

Being single, extremely wealthy, and in the news will do that to you.

She was tall. Thin. With brown, shoulder-length hair -- and a tan. She was dressed extremely well -- but most people were. The richest of the rich (or simply those who knew the right people) were the only ones in attendance tonight.

Which was another reason Bruce dreaded attending.

"Is this seat taken?" She said, her perky voice serving as more of an annoyance than anything else.

Bruce's head moved from side to side. He wanted to scream inside -- after all, it was obvious that he was by himself. Which was rare.

She sat, pulling a napkin out of her purse and patting her lips. "My name's Volanda. Volanda Shrien."

"Nice to meet you. I'm.." Bruce stopped, realizing the first thing she had said to him was his name. His grin finished his sentence. "Nice to meet you."

Volanda began to speak, but Bruce simply tuned her out -- adding a few "mmhmms" and nods here and there. He was surprised she hadn't asked for his signature at the bottom of some sort of business paper by now. He loved giving to charities, but it seemed that he couldn't escape parties like this without people wanting something.

But then something caught his ear.

"I know you're Batman," she said in a low whisper, her eyes glued to his.

Bruce sat up. "...Excuse me?"

"Don't play your games," she continued quietly. "Selina told me you wouldn't admit it."

Bruce stood amidst the drunken, partying billionaires of Gotham. His eyes were now glued to hers as well. Thoughts raced through his mind at an alarming rate. Even if some called him (well, Batman) the greatest detective in the world.. it didn't matter. Not right now. He was dumfounded.

"You're certainly a bold person, Volanda."

Her eyes flashed. "That's why she loves me so much." The woman stood, motioning for Wayne to follow her. Perhaps against his better judgment, he did.

The Dark Knight was about to face a villain which could be far deadlier than any he'd faced before. A villain that could alter his perception -- toy with his emotions.

His heart.