Title: Playing with a Bat
Fandoms: Harry Potter, DCVerse, Justice League, Marvelverse
Categories: Crossover, xover, AU, drama, action, romance
Characters/Pairing: Hermione Granger, Batman, Zatanna, Adrian Pucey, Harry Potter, Superman, Tony Stark
Series Title: Crossing Dimensions, Saving People
Summary: Hermione Granger is an Unspeakable on a solo mission tracking down escaped Death Eaters. Unfortunately she has to travel across dimensions in pursuit of her targets.
Beta: DelphiPsmith – Delphi hon, I loved working with you
Warnings: some violence, secondary character deaths, some strong language
Author Notes: B7 EWE, Harry's dream of the big happy Weasley family does not happen.
For: LJ hgcrossovers – Hermione Granger Crossover Exchange 2011
Disclaimer: I do not own Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and co, J.K. Rowling does. Ironman, Wolverine, Sorcerer Supreme, Avengers, etc belong to Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Marvel Comics. Batman, Zatanna, Wonder Woman, J'onn, Superman, Justice League, etc belong to DC comics et al.
Summary: Unspeakable Hermione Granger has returned from a difficult mission only to find she has been assigned a new one involving the DCverse Justice League.
AN: Starts around 6 years after the end of the Second Voldemort War. Hermione completed her NEWTs, Masteries, and is now an Unspeakable for the Department of Mysteries.
~ooO Playing with a Bat Ooo~
Hermione Granger did not pause or turn around. She did not falter in her stride. She had a destination in mind and was in no mood to let anyone or anything distract her. She refused to turn her head to acknowledge the wizard who increased his pace to reach her.
"I heard you've got another assignment."
Hermione pressed her lips together tightly.
He pretended not to notice her sour expression and continued blithely. "I don't understand why you aren't protesting more vociferously, Granger! You're the only one being sent solo across the Mists."
Her neck stiffened. Sharp blue eyes noted the small tell.
"There's a reason why you aren't making a fuss, isn't there?" It was more of a statement than a question.
Hermione refused to respond and made her way through the throng to a particular set of elevators. She did not sigh when her unwanted companion joined her in the small compartment. She pressed the button for Level 5.
"I'm right, aren't I?"
His voice was filled with smug confidence but underneath she could detect a trace of concern. It was the genuine emotion from a Slytherin that made Hermione finally unbend and respond. "You're right, Pucey. But I'm not going to tell you the reason."
Adrian Pucey frowned. "You're not going to return from one of these assignments at the rate you're going," he warned. "You aren't giving yourself enough time to rest and recover from the stress of Crossing the Mists."
Deep in her heart Hermione knew he was right. Each time she cast the Ritual to Cross the Mists into another dimension, she drained her magical power almost to the dregs. When she arrived in the new dimension she had to spend several days recovering before tracking down and eliminating or securing her target. And after she returned, the Head Unspeakable barely allowed her enough time to recharge before casting to pursue her next target.
Hermione had no illusions about what was happening. Despite the War and all the legal changes pushed through the Wizengamot, Pureblood traditions and mores still held sway. The war against heritage prejudice and bigotry was ongoing, and this time it was a Cold War fought in the corridors of the ministry and the ballrooms of wizarding society. And unfortunately for Hermione, the new Head of the Department of Mysteries was an old-fashioned Traditionalist. He had no cause to fire her, but he was more than willing to do everything he could to drive her out.
She inhaled sharply. "Perhaps. But it's my choice, Pucey, and I would prefer that you do not interfere."
The pureblood wizard raised a golden brow and accepted the rebuke gracefully. "Very well then." He grinned more broadly. "Do you have anything to share about your last assignment? I heard it was in the Colonies."
Hermione wrinkled her nose and made a face. "Oh yes, the Avenger universe. Not my favourite place… too many costumed heroes and villains running around. It took quite a bit of argument and debating before the Sorcerer Supreme there came around to my point of view: that they have no authority to interfere in my mission to capture escaped war criminals and return them to their home dimensions for judgment."
Adrian waved a hand. "Yeah, yeah, I read the report. Tell me about the juicy stuff, the details you left out of the report."
Hermione smiled wryly at him. "Like what? The Sorcerer Supreme is long-winded and overly fond of ritual magic? Tony Stark is an alcoholic who is one day going to pinch the arse of some woman who will transfigure his armour into toilet paper? Wolverine is too fond of his adamantium claws and I was sorely tempted to transfigure them into wet noodles?"
Adrian laughed. "Yeah! That kind of stuff!"
The elevator doors slid open. They stepped out and walked in tandem down the quiet corridors of the Department of Mysteries. These were the restricted areas, off-limits to everyone, even the Minister of Magic. The area Hermione and her friends had breached in their Fifth Year was one of the 'public' areas, accessible by various high-level Ministry employees and influential sponsors. Level 5 was off limits and only accessible by Unspeakables. Hermione Granger was an Unspeakable, and so was Adrian Pucey.
"Why are you letting them do this to you, Granger?" Adrian asked in a quiet, serious voice.
She looked up at the Slytherin alumnus. He was beautiful and intelligent and honourable. And unfortunately she did not feel one shred of sexual attraction towards him. A pity, since her private life had been rather barren since she broke up with Ron.
"I'm not letting them do this. I'm choosing to do this," she corrected him quietly. "There are only so many Unspeakables with the skill and knowledge to cast the Ritual and track down the escaped war criminals. And I do feel a bit responsible, since it was my research and theories that developed the Ritual to breach the Mist."
Adrian's lips thinned. "It's not your fault! You took all the required precautions, plus more! The fault lies with Direcawl for sharing it with a sponsor. He should never have been made Head of the DoM." Adrian sighed. "I wish Croaker were still alive."
Hermione sighed as well. "I do too, but you know very well that undoing time and events is strictly forbidden. What's done is done."
Adrian agreed, but his expression remained mutinous. Hermione softened.
"Don't worry Adrian, I know my limits and I'm most definitely not suicidal! While I can act to prevent it, I will not stand by and watch as the products of our world cause havoc in worlds that no idea what they are capable of."
The Slytherin looked troubled before he nodded, accepting her choice. "Do you have any idea where you're going next?"
Hermione grinned wryly. "I'm off to play with a Bat."
Batman was pissed. There was a serial killer loose in Gotham and yet J'onn and the others insisted he join them on the Watchtower for an emergency meeting. He looked around, taking note of those present. Diana, Flash, Fate, Zatanna, John, J'onn, Kal-el.
Once everyone was seated, Zatanna rose to speak. Batman was taken aback. Usually she was called in as a specialist; rarely did she involve the League since her domain lay in magic.
"I'll be brief, since I'm certain Batman is impatient to get back to Gotham. I have information that might have connections with The Spectral Killer in Gotham."
Everyone fell silent. The media had labelled the person responsible for the recent string of seemingly unrelated deaths "The Spectral Killer" because he (or she) could walk into locked rooms, kill young healthy victims without leaving any visible mark, and leave without unlocking any doors or windows. The League suspected the killer was a magic user, however the only detectable signs were traces of a specific energy in each site. All attempts at tracking the energy via science and magic had failed badly. Each subsequent killing increased Batman's bad mood since the untraceable killer was on his home ground. He was considered to be the world's greatest detective, and he couldn't find this killer!
"I have a guest who asked to talk to those of us trying to track down the Spectral Killer. She is not an ordinary civilian," Zatanna stressed, looking each of them in the eye. "She is a witch, and she is here to help us."
Batman glowered but did not say anything - a sure sign he was near the end of his rope, to silently accept assistance from anyone.
The occupants of the conference room waited as Zatanna left and returned a few minutes later leading a woman with long, light brown curls and dark brown eyes. She was dressed in a mid-calf grey skirt and matching vest over a high-necked long-sleeved cream silk blouse. The tops of her black boots disappeared under the hem of her skirt and she carried a black messenger bag over one shoulder. She slipped it off her shoulder and gracefully dropped it into an unoccupied chair near the door before moving towards the head of the table.
Zatanna made the introductions, indicating each member of the League in turn, then sat down, ceding the floor to the newcomer.
Hermione Granger did not flinch or retreat under the weight of the combined gazes, not even Batman's glower. She waited until she was certain she had their full attention before she began speaking.
"My name is Hermione Granger. I am an Unspeakable for the Department of Mysteries in the British Ministry of Magic. These names, titles, and organizations will make no sense to you because in your world they do not exist. I am not from this dimension or any similar analogue as in your past experiences. In my world there are no such things as meta-humans, aliens, or the Justice League. Instead, there is magic. Most of the non-magical world is unaware of our existence; we have our own government, hospitals, schools, and law enforcement agencies, et cetera. Each nation has a Ministry of Magic that interacts with the non-magical government, mainly in regards to the Statute of Secrecy. For example, the Prime Minister and Queen of Great Britain were both aware of our existence but most of the government was not. Usually there is very little friction between the non-magical and the magical worlds, with a few rare exceptions.
"As in any society, there are good and bad magicals, and there is bigotry and prejudice. Many are quite blatant about their views, but a few take it to the extreme and feel justified in killing those they consider as lesser: non-magicals, non-human sentient races, hybrids, magicals born into non-magical or mixed families. The Spectral Killer is one of these and an escapee from justice in my dimension. I am here to neutralize and contain him or her, permanently if necessary."
That set off a sharp reaction. "We do not kill!" Batman snapped.
Hermione Granger turned to face him, her expression composed and veiled. "You do not have to kill anyone. All I'm asking is for the League to stand back and let me do my job. You cannot confirm my credentials, but believe me when I say you cannot handle a Death Eater."
"Death Eater?" Superman inquired carefully.
Dark brown eyes turned towards the Kryptonian superhero. "Think the magical equivalent of Nazi fanatics who hate all those they consider impure. Death Eaters feel no compassion or remorse for their actions, past, future or present. To become a Death Eater, a witch or wizard must commit a crime that would offend the Erinyes. Such crimes include patricide, matricide, betrayal of parents or family, murder, manslaughter, breaking of oaths. Oath-breaking would destroy their magic, and most are reluctant to kill their own kin, but they have no issue with murder, especially of those they saw as less-than-human."
Wonder Woman, who had stiffened when Hermione mentioned the Furies, spoke up. "Do the Gods walk among your people?"
Hermione shook her head. "No. But there are traces of Old Magicks that scholars attribute to the deities of various pantheons. Modern mages do not believe in these gods, but sane ones act with caution and do not deliberately scorn them."
The Green Lantern frowned. "I'm not comfortable with your blunt declaration that you are prepared to kill a criminal."
Dark brown eyes turned on the hero. "It is a last resort, but one I must be up front about. The Death Eater cult caused two civil wars in my world. In the First War their actions killed twenty percent of the magical population and an undetermined number of non-magicals. In the Second War they nearly destroyed our society! If they hadn't been stopped the Prime Minister would have stepped in and authorized the use of nuclear weapons on the British magical enclaves."
"I don't believe any government, especially a G7 nation, would do such a thing!" Flash protested.
"They had very valid reason. We cannot tolerate even one rogue magical on a killing spree!" She glared at each League member. "You might feel comfortable with your rogues repeatedly breaking out and running wild, causing property damage and death, but in my view you are being blind and irresponsible! All the Death Eaters caught after the Second War were tried and convicted of war crimes and warned that if they broke out and took up their old ways, all agents sent after them would be authorized to use lethal force. I will do my best to not kill or even cause permanent damage, but I will not hesitate to do what is needed to stop them!"
The Martian Man Hunter shifted slightly. "You said you were an Unspeakable for the Department of Mysteries. Could you please elaborate on your position?"
She turned towards the green-skinned alien. "I am the magical equivalent of an MI-5 researcher and analyst. Some, like myself, are dual-trained as international cross-border field agents, like your Interpol."
"You seem very confident we can't handle one magic-user," Flash pointed out cockily.
She spoke one word and the air turned heavy and dense. Everyone present could breath but none could move, not even Superman and Wonder Woman.
Batman glared as his eyes shifted, tracking the witch as she moved freely across the room towards her bag and rummaged in it for something before returning to the centre of the room.
"As you see, I could very easily kill each and every one of you right now. I've done my research and I know your vulnerabilities." She turned to face them. "Of course, I am more logical and deliberate in my approach than those I am hunting. Death Eaters do not care who they hurt, and most enjoy causing the maximum amount of property damage and death in their wake."
She spoke another word, and several League members who had been straining to escape the restraints cast by her spell fell out of their chairs.
Flash was more subdued now. "What do you want from us? Why did you bother contacting us in the first place?"
"Because you are looking for The Spectral Killer. I don't want to cross paths with any of you in the field and I want to avoid any potential misunderstandings."
Superman considered her response. "We see your point," he conceded. "But we will not stand by and watch you kill any criminal. Even one from another dimension."
Hermione did not hesitate. "If you don't want me to kill, then help me contain The Spectral Killer."
That caused some consternation. "How?"
She held up a small vial of clear liquid. "This is a potion called the Draught of Living Death. Once administered, the victim lapses into a coma that can only be ended by a specific neutralizer. It is most effective if drunk but it can also be administered through tranquilizing darts. It would take several shots to take effect, though."
Superman's expression brightened at the option of a non-lethal method of incapacitation. "That is something we can work with. Do you have any ideas on how to track down The Spectral Killer?"
Hermione produced a slender shaft of wood from a forearm holster. She waved it in an intricate pattern, causing a silver light to pulse from the tip and expand. The light shifted into an image of a beautiful blue-eyed redhead dressed in an expensive black silk evening gown.
Batman recognized her. "Letty Charming."
"Her real name is Collette duCharme," Hermione said. "She specializes in seducing men, magical or not, using their resources for her own ends. When she is ready to move on, her inamoratas usually ends up dead."
"She's Rupert Thorne's current mistress," Batman added as he pulled up more information on Collette duCharme. "How can you be so certain she is your target? I have been keeping an eye on all of Rupert Thorne's associates and she didn't set off any flags. I find it difficult to believe a personality as sick as these Death Eaters could last so many months without killing."
"But she has killed, Batman," Hermione countered in a soft voice. "She is The Spectral Killer."
"Do you have any proof of your claims?" Batman demanded. "That she is a witch, a Death Eater, and The Spectral Killer?"
Hermione set her hands palm down on the table, leaning forward, her expression challenging. "I have been known to lie to serve my own agenda, but I am not in this instance. I am here for one reason and one reason only: Collette duCharme."
"Your proof?" Batman was not the type to take anyone's word for anything.
Hermione straightened and lifted her hands off the table. She removed a USB key from her vest pocket and tossed it towards the Dark Knight.
He caught it easily and inserted it into a tablet PC. Once the security programs verified the drive was clean he pulled it out and passed it to Superman, who uploaded the files it contained so everyone present could have a look.
Batman opened the file labelled "synopsis" and scanned it quickly. Once he reached the end of the document he opened the other files to verify the details. Her case was water-tight. If this were to go to court, Hermione Granger's investigation and research would guarantee a conviction.
He looked up at the witch sitting across from him sipping a cup of coffee. "Rupert Thorne did some renovation in the safe house you've been doing surveillance on. He added old-fashioned mechanical security measures and trusted guards."
Hermione made a soft agreeing sound. "Understandable. Tech tends to short out when a wand-user uses magic. Something similar to an energy overload. She's most likely living there. As you've seen from my notes, she does spend at least two nights each week at the safe house."
Batman leaned forward. "Are you absolutely certain? That she is your target?"
Dark brown eyes met blue without flinching. "There are no guarantees, Batman, you know that better than most. However, I can say I am ninety-nine percent sure. I need to get close enough to feel her magical aura to be absolutely certain."
He studied her intently. "And how do you plan to do that without giving yourself away?"
She smiled charmingly before responding in a fuck-you tone. "Since I don't care to explain, why don't you watch me do just that?"
Superman coughed discreetly. "I propose that Batman supervise this operation. Miss Granger will be the field lead and can draw on League assets through Batman, if needed."
After some consideration, everyone responded in agreement, signalling consensus. All except Batman, who merely glowered at the witch. When the meeting was concluded and the attendees began dispersing, Batman found himself in the position of escorting Hermione Granger.
She had to hurry, to keep up with his long strides towards the Transportation Room. "Why don't you just think of me as a friend trying to help," she offered in a soothing tone. She had been a bit blunt, and she did have to work with him.
"I don't have friends."
Hermione raised an arch brow but decided not to disagree with the claim. She tried to go about the issue in a different way. "Batman, haven't you ever heard the saying 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend'? The Spectral Killer is a mutual enemy, so we should be friends, or at the very least allies."
He did not respond to her efforts.
Hermione stifled her exasperation and hoped she would survive this mission without getting into a fight with the Dark Knight.
She could not believe she was going to be working with Batman, a movie-comic-cartoon superhero who hated magic. Then something positive about the situation hit her. Batman didn't like or trust magic-users, which meant that at least he wouldn't be grabbing her arse or trying to seduce her, like Tony Stark!
Things had worked out as Hermione had hoped. Not as smoothly, but more or less on track.
She raised a pair of binoculars and focused on a particular window, the third floor bedroom of a townhouse used by Rupert Thorne as a safe house.
"You're using binoculars." A low deep voice spoke from behind her.
Hermione did not turn around. "If I use magic she might sense me."
There was silence as the two of them watched and waited.
Fifteen minutes later a redhead swathed in a long mink coat exited the townhouse and entered a waiting limo that drove off.
Ten minutes later Hermione shifted from her crouching position on the rooftop. "Let's go. It doesn't look like they'll be returning for anything." She stiffened when Batman placed an arm around the back of her waist. "What are you doing?"
"Rappelling with you to the townhouse rooftop."
They had decided it was best to breach the safe house through the roof access points.
"I can apparate myself over!" she hissed.
"You might trip any perimeter alarms set to detect magic," he pointed out bluntly.
Hermione fell silent and allowed him to tighten his grip on her before wrapping her own arms around his neck. She did not make a sound as he fired the grappling gun and swung across the rooftops, landing lightly on the townhouse.
Batman pulled out a hand-held sensor and studied the display. "Third and second floors are clear. Two in the basement and one in the kitchen."
Hermione considered the information before reaching a decision. "I'll set up the anti-apparition and anti-portkey wards on the third and second floors." She looked up at the looming figure beside her. "Can you cover the first floor with the sleeping gas pellets?"
Batman nodded sharply and turned to the fire route access point. As Hermione watched him break in without setting off alarms, she rapidly reviewed their plans.
"We'll have to hide and wait for her to return. Once she is in the upper levels and within the wards I'll set off the gas pellets. You will secure the guards before returning to help me."
Reassured, Hermione continued. "The sleeping gas pellets probably won't work on her -she'll likely use the bubble head charm to stay awake - but they will knock out all of the guards and servants. We'll have to keep her in the house and take her down inside. If she gets out and away from the wards she'll escape. Tracking her down a second time won't be as easy."
He did not say anything but Hermione was more or less certain he'd follow the plan. He had protested the last part when she proposed it initially, but he could not disagree that Hermione was better equipped to take out duCharme. Even so, he would be providing back-up in the form of tranquilizer darts and bat-a-rangs dipped in the Draught of Living Death.
Some Power out there was smiling upon Hermione Granger because the plan went off without a hitch. An hour after midnight Collette duCharme was unconscious, the victim of several darts dipped in the Draught of Living Death. And Batman did not try to turn the Death Eater into the local police for The Spectral Killer murders.
The next day Zatanna, Superman and Batman watched as Hermione Granger transfigured grass and dirt into a six-by-six hardened clay expanse and knelt to draw a large ritual circle using a rust-coloured liquid.
"You're satisfied with Miss Granger's claims? That Letty Charming is The Spectral Killer?" Superman spoke quietly to Batman.
Batman's expression was grim. "Yes. Granger can transport herself through solid walls, like teleporting. So can duCharme. And duCharme clearly knew Granger - she became quite rabid and reckless once she saw her. The magic they use can be devastating. A small group of immoral wand-users could cause a great deal of damage." He turned to the Kryptonian. "I managed to get some details about their society from Granger. They're bound to follow something called the Statute of Secrecy; any evidence of magic must be covered up and hidden from the non-magicals. The damage caused by Death Eaters during their Second War was reaching levels that could not be covered up. Afterwards, the non-magical government insisted on legalizing lethal force against escaped Death Eaters. To keep the peace, the magical government agreed. Granger is one of the few who bothers to try and take them back alive."
They turned to watch the witch sit back on her heels, rise and step back.
Superman carefully lifted the steel coffin-like pod and placed it in the centre of the circle. Within the pod was a comatose Letty Charming a.k.a. Collette duCharme, The Spectral Killer. Hermione Granger moved towards Batman to stand before him, her hands clasped in front of her.
"It's almost time for me to leave. I wanted to say thank you. It was an interesting experience, working with you."
"The same." He tilted his head to one side. "I was surprised; you are quite logical and pragmatic… for a magic user."
She laughed. "If I wasn't born a witch, I would have been a scientist or engineer." She turned away and stepped towards the hardened clay circle. Just as she stepped over the outer most ring, Superman reached out to touch her arm.
"Miss Granger. I have one question."
He stared at her with an earnest expression. "Why do you do this?"
"Risk your life. You crossed dimensions without back-up or any certainty of survival to track down a criminal. You could have very easily ignored the situation and let the locals handle it."
"Perhaps. But not all dimensions have organizations like the Justice League. Or the knowledge and skill to take out or contain an insane magic user." She made a wry face. "My best friend has a saving people thing. It must have rubbed off on me."
She took out her wand and cast the series of charms to initialize the circle. As the markings glowed blue and silver she smiled and waved her free left hand.
"Goodbye Zatanna, Bruce, Clark."
There was a bright flash of light. When it died out both she and the human-sized steel pod were gone, leaving behind a hard clay surface covered with black carbon lines, and three shocked League members.
"Did she...?" Superman sputtered.
"Know our civilian names? Yes." Batman's voice was grim as he turned on Zatanna.
"It wasn't me! I didn't tell her anything!" she protested vociferously.
Batman's lips tightened. "She said she was a research analyst. She probably watched, observed, and deduced our identities."
"Do you think she told anyone else?" Superman asked hesitantly.
Batman shook his head. "No. She wouldn't reveal secrets without very good reason." Then he smiled wryly. "She probably determined all our identities long before even approaching Zatanna. If the League had refused to stand back and let her act, she most likely would have used the information as leverage."
Zatanna made an incomprehensible sound. "You sound as though you admire her."
"Actually I do." He gave the magic user a pointed look. "She's logical."
The Mistress of Magic made an angry huffing sound.
Batman looked at the carbon-etched clay surface. Everything he had told Zatanna was the truth. He did admire Hermione Granger: her character, her intelligence, her determination. They had spent most of her week in Gotham together. Surveillance only took up so much time, and planning involved discussion and debate which revealed each other's character traits. She was logical, ethical, pragmatic, and ruthless. She understood the guilt and determination that drove him. It drove her as well. She had created the Ritual to cross dimensions, and her work had been leaked (more than likely by a corrupt superior) and used by the Death Eaters to escape justice.
There was a small feeling of regret, which he set aside to be ignored and buried as soon as possible. He had no energy to waste on regrets and might-have-beens.
He turned away sharply, cape swirling as he walked away from the circle and tapped his communicator.
"Batman to Watchtower, one to transport."
He had his criminals to catch, just as she had hers.
AN: No romance between Batman and Hermione I'm afraid. She's only visiting and they aren't the type to fall into bed after just one week's acquaintance. He has trust issues and she's looking for more.
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