"Well, I'm done for the day," In typical Friday night fashion, Bruce Wayne leaned against his secretary's desk, "do me a favour and hold all my calls or send them to someone else or whatever it is you do that keeps me from being bothered."
"Of course sir," the secretary smiled, "busy evening?"
Bruce nodded, "An old friend has recently moved to Gotham." He winked at his secretary, "and I thought we'd get back in touch."
"If you say so sir," the secretary said.
Bruce laughed, "Well someone's gotten cheeky since their vacation. I hear some disagreement there. Don't approve of my less than honourable intentions?"
This time the woman smiled, "I think that, for once, your intentions are more than honourable."
"Really?" Bruce said, "And your poorly informed, very wrong, amateur detective conclusions are based on?"
"Well sir," the secretary said, "you've never had me order two single red roses before. It's always annoying extravagant bouquets. I always order the girl a car and bring her to you. Tonight, you're using your own car and, I assume, picking her up. And finally sir," she said, "you missed a button when you changed shirts."
Bruce looked down, scowled, and started rebuttoning, "I thought I fixed that."
"It's all in the details sir," she winked as he walked towards the elevator, "have fun."
Bruce was trying very hard not to think about anything his secretary had said. He parked his car, took the elevator to the sixth floor, stopped outside the door to triple check his shirt buttons, and knocked.
"Coming!" Kayla's voice preceded her whipping the door open. She grinned at him, "Hi. She's not ready yet, would you like to come in?" Stepping back to let him pass, she shouted into the apartment, "Mom, your date's here and you haven't introduced me."
"Not so loud Kayla," Diana chastised, "I'm right here." She stepped out of the bedroom hallway while slipping in an earring. The dress was modest, coming to the knee with small cap sleeves, but fit well. The shade of green wasn't something he was accustomed to seeing on Diana and so he mentally applauded her on the choice. Even though Bruce knew that having her curls bouncing in a ponytail and keeping the glasses on her nose were enough to fool the general population into seeing Diana Prince, archaeologist, he couldn't help but see his Diana.
"For you," Bruce held out the roses, one in each hand, to the women.
Diana smiled and sniffed the flower, "Thank you Bruce."
The moment was ruined by Kayla. She plucked the other flower, waved it around and said, "Trying to suck up to your date's daughter huh? I see right through that one and will now hate you on principle."
Bruce rolled his eyes, "The door is closed and I doubt any bug could beat my system. Just enjoy the flower, my secretary is suspicious enough as is."
"But it's so much fun!" Kayla said, "I've got to stay in character. I spent a lot of time figuring it out. I, of course, have Daddy abandonment issues after the scumbag ditched Mom and I for some young skirt. Since we've spent so much time on archaeological digs I figure I'm probably a big old nerd with low people skills and an embarrassing large amount of historical knowledge." She paused, "what I really need to complete the cover is some kind of boyfriend."
"No boys." Batman growled, "None. No."
Diana collected both flowers and moved into the kitchen to snip the bottoms and find a vase, "You're going to give Bruce a heart attack." She chastised gently, brushing against Bruce as she passed.
"No boys." Batman repeated, "Boys are bad."
Kayla considered, "Maybe I'll date Bart. You've got him following me everywhere anyway."
"I mean, he's funny enough. Keeps the day interesting. Likes science, so that's a plus, and he's not turned off by the whole constant danger thing."
"You're going to need a better argument," Diana commented.
"Really," Kayla said, "it would be irresponsible of me not to date him. It would make a much better cover for why we're always together."
"Come on," Kayla said, "talk about a double standard. You're literally standing in this apartment to take Diana on a date because it makes a better cover beyond working together as to why you're always around."
Bruce was silent for a moment. Then, "no boys."
"AHHHHHHHH," Kayla flopped against the couch, "it's like a brick wall. Just go already. Someone should get a fake date and Diana's already put on the dress and everything."
Bruce sat beside her, "We'll go eventually, but I need you to tell me about your day first."
"Nothing went wrong," Diana frowned, "was an alarm tripped? Should I be worried?"
"Actually," Bruce shook his head, "I just wanted to know how the first official day of school was." Kayla grinned at him. Out of the corner of his eye, Bruce saw Diana's flicker from concern to shock to something that made his stomach flutter. Squelching it he reached into the bag at his feet, "Also, Tim wants me to inform you that it is absolutely necessary that someone beat me at Clue." He placed the board game on the table, "Apparently I'm insufferable."
Kayla's chatter started immediately as she pulled the lid off the box and Bruce didn't fight the small smile at her description of her peers as stupid, un-imaginative slugs. He spotted Diana backing out of the room, most likely in an attempt to give the father-daughter duo some privacy.
A well aimed shot sent the 'Miss Scarlet' token flying into her hand, "You playing Princess?"
"I can't believe you beat me," Bruce held the door open for Diana, "Alfred was the last person to do it and that was years ago."
Diana raised her eyebrows, "You weren't the only one trained in strategy and deduction, Bruce."
"Clearly, I'm rusty." He said before turning to the host and becoming Bruce Wayne with a crick of his neck, "Well now, good evening sir." He shook the man's hand overeagerly, "I'm Bruce. Bruce Wayne. This is my gorgeous date, Miss Prince. Now, Miss Prince here is an old family friend and she's just come back in town." He leaned in and whispered, "I'd really like to impress her and I've heard nothing but good things about this fine restaurant of yours. It's supposed to have the best food in the city. Now, I know we don't have a reservation and all, and I'm sure you're positively packed. I mean, why wouldn't you be with food like yours? But I was hoping you'd be willing to squeeze us in somewhere."
"Of course, Mr Wayne sir," the man's voice cracked, "I'm sure we can find you a table. Just give me a minute to speak to the manager."
Moments later they were making their way to the table, winding through the dimly lit dining room. Diana whispered in his ear, "Bruce Wayne can't just make a reservation? Too taxing to pick up the phone or the secretary forgot?" Bruce chuckled but was too busy focused on not tripping in the winding maze of near darkness, chairs, and legs.
This was ridiculous, he was the Batman. A dark dining room should not be giving him trouble. He sat on the chair, reaching for what he was 95% sure was the menu and used his ears rather than his eyes to confirm that it was Diana sitting across from him. He wondered if supervillians had ever considered this sort of thing.
"Thank you," he smiled at his best guess as to where the host was, "we'll take your best red, please."
"Of course sir," came the disembodied reply, "your server will be with you shortly."
Bruce squinted into the darkness and then at his menu. Nothing. Resolving to simply order whatever the waiter recommended he put the menu down, "So," he said to the woman he could hardly see, "Anything that sounds palpable on there?" Maybe he could order something that Diana mentioned if the recommended dish had something slimy in it.
There was a pause from Diana's side of the table. "Bruce," she said finally, "I can't see a thing on this menu."
He absorbed that fact that even Diana's super senses were having trouble in the 'dim' dining room, "Well," his smile was wry, "that makes two of us. And if we can't see anything I shudder for the rest of the room."
"What?" Diana said. Even though Bruce couldn't see it, he could hear the smile in her voice, "you, of all people, are having trouble seeing in a dimly light environment. Why Mr Wayne. I'd have expected better. We're really pulling back the curtain on all your bluster this evening aren't we?"
Bruce leaned forward and whispered, "I left my night vision goggles in the car Miss Prince.
However, I'd be happy to retrieve them for you provided you warn me if anything unwanted ends up on my plate."
Suddenly Bruce found himself able to see Diana. She copied his pose, leaning across the table into the whisper. Her breath ghosted across his face, "Giving up your only pair of night vision goggles. How very gentlemanly of you."
The words slipped out, "Only for you Diana."
This was easier from behind the mask. Either of them. The hardness of the cowl, the sloppiness of the playboy. Without them all Bruce could see was Diana, there was nothing to filter her. In the dark restaurant she still seemed to glow and Bruce wondered how he'd ever been unable to see her. The light danced in her eyes as though fed by sparks from her soul and there was nothing he could do to avoid them. Without the cowl, the playboy, without his filter the sparks jumped freely. Bouncing from her eyes to his and landing in the embers of his soul. He could almost feel the settle, urging on what fire he had left.
His right hand was already on the table, her left less than an inch away. One quick motion, had his hand over hers before his brain could think to overrule the gesture. But she smiled and the protest shut down entirely. Her mouth opened and the brain leapt into full gear, that close, he could steal a kiss.
He never got the chance, "Sir, Miss," the waiter. Of course, "Is there anything I can help you with this evening?"
Bruce leaned back, eying Diana who almost looked disappointed. Finally he reached into his back pocket and turned to the waiter, "How much will it cost for us to get some light in here?"
The answer was a Grand. In a swanky restaurant one grand will get the host to rush across the road to the hardware store, buy a giant camping lantern and set it on the table in the most artistic way possible. Bruce wasn't convinced that it even was possible to make a camping lantern artistic but it was light. And if all the tables around them happened to like being able to see their menus too, that was incidental. He could see Diana.
He could still see her two hours later as they pulled out of the McDonald's drive-through with burgers and chocolate milkshakes.
Diana dived into the fries, "Why," she asked, "do the fanciest restaurants insist on giving the smallest portions? Excellent presentation cannot fill one's stomach."
"Most of my dates never even finish their meals," Bruce pulled out a burger, "maybe that restaurant specifically caters to skinny air-heads."
"Don't call women skinny air-heads," Diana said, "it's rude. But," she acquiesced, "they certainly couldn't have been full. I'd imagine they sought to impress you with their tiny appetites and then immediately went home and consumed something nourishing. Perhaps, in the future," Diana's eyes flashed, "you should send a pizza to the girl's residence after the date."
The flash in her eyes bothered him. Certainly this was a fake date and a fake relationship but that didn't mean they weren't friends. Just because he'd never told her that didn't mean he wanted her to feel unhappy. Putting the burger down, he pulled out his cell phone.
Diana moved onto the milkshake, "What are you doing?"
He tapped the final button with a flourish, "Sending you a pizza."
"Bruce," Diana threw a fry at him, "I don't need a pizza."
"Well you're getting one." He leaned back against the car door, "never let it be said that Bruce Wayne doesn't take care of old friends."
Diana rolled her eyes, "I meant to ask you about that. How long have Diana Prince and Bruce Wayne been friends? I'm sure you've got a whole back story worked out."
Bruce chuckled, "You didn't get a copy of Kayla's thirty page extensive analysis of the character and history of the Princes and Waynes?"
"I asked for the cliff's notes," Diana said, "I got a four page executive summary. But I wanted to know what your thoughts were?"
"We met when I was traveling through..." Bruce began only to be cut off by an incessant beeping. Reaching into his pocket he pulled out something that looked like a cell phone, opened it, and read the screen. His face immediately darkened. The smile pulled down into a straight line.
"What happened?" Diana asked.
"Bane's been abducting children. Got a solid tip on his location." Bruce hit a button on the console. The back seats folded back to reveal the batsuit, ready to go, "I trust you can find your own way home."
Diana frowned, a small wrinkle appearing between her eyebrows, "Let me come with you."
"Fine." Diana said and Bruce struggled to keep the surprise off his face. Then, "I'm not asking. I'm just coming with you."
Bruce started lifting the suit from its hiding spot, "No, you're not."
Diana rolled her eyes, "Did you miss the part where I said I'm not asking? You can't go alone and you have no-one else to go with you. During the sticking incident I went to crime scenes with you and no-one said a word." She pulled her bracelets out of her purse and slid them on, "Like it or not Batman, you know that I can match Bane; those kids need all the help they can get."
Ten minutes later Batman and Wonder Woman were making their way through a manufacturing facility.
"Stop floating Princess," Batman growled, "Bane's still bigger than you. Keep your center of gravity down."
With barely a sound Diana's boots touched down, small puffs of dust floating into the darkness of the plant. The building was dark but well maintained as rows of raw material sat waiting for the next day's labour. Whatever this was, it wasn't Bane's center of operations. Batman scowled as they padded through the darkness. He never liked relying on anonymous tips to the GCP but this one had been filtered by his own system as potentially legitimate. The GCP had agreed, encircling the building but having the decency to stay outside. When it came to children even Batman pulled out all the stops.
Batman consciously avoided grinding his teeth at the thought of the tip. Anonymous, over the phone, muffled, male, and with good enough information to make it seem tantilizing. The man had seen kid's toys, he'd heard what sounded like a gunshot, he even described Bane's new red muscle juice instead of the usual green.
It had to be a trap.
They continued forward. To be an effective trap the kids had to be nearby and that was what mattered. Diana pressed both wonderfully close and uncomfortable close to his back as they crept through the roundabout route to the center of the building. Operations room, heart of the plant. One door in and out.
Diana broke the silence, "Look," she whispered, a hitch in her voice.
His only response was a hard exhale. There was a scruffy, white teddy bear lying on the dirty plant floor.
When Diana stepped out of formation to grab it, he didn't stop her. Extending a hand, he took the bear from her and checked it over. Missing an ear. Not recent, most likely from too much love. The flipped it over, a small mist of blood was visible. Both heroes visibly hardened.
Bruce's jaw set.
Diana's hands clenched.
Batman tucked the bear into his belt and moved towards the door, hand on the doorknob. Without prompting Diana moved to the other side of the door, waiting. Batman ran a quick check over the door, no wires, no explosives. It wasn't Bane's style but lately nothing from missions to Diana to his children had made sense. He tripled checked, refusing to let the worry curling in his stomach get the better of him. Everything would be fine. This was nothing like the Joker and Tim.
His hand skipped slightly at the unwelcome thought. Of course it wasn't like Tim. He could handle this. It would not happen again. Not on his watch. Not kids. He looked up to see Diana watching him. A quick smile when he met her eyes. He analyzed it immediately. There was no room for frivolity now, not with kids involved.
But the smile wasn't a happy one, he should have known better. Too often his sidekicks released aimless chatter and happy grins on missions. They were serious, they got the job done, but there'd always been that joy underneath. It kept him going but it also scared him. They were happy because they expected him to protect them. They were happy because they didn't understand. Couldn't understand.
Diana's wasn't a happy smile. It was a let's do this smile. He couldn't remember seeing one in Gotham but recognized it instantly from a few select missions. It was all the serious he needed, all the capability to take some of the weight off him, but still somehow conveyed all the hope for tomorrow. It didn't undermine the situation. It accepted it.
It was enough.
Without a word he tossed her a charged smoke grenade and yanked the door open. She charged, whooshing past the creak of the hinges. Batman forced himself to count to three and followed. The smoke curled around his suit and even with his mask's filters he could feel the heavy smoke in his nose.
His muscles were tight, ready for something to hit, the Kevlar lightly scratching his skin. But there was nothing. No-one came at him through the darkness. His ears strained, as he followed Diana's path deeper into the room. There was nothing. No bone crunching. No punches on muscle. No enraged Bane. Too quiet.
"Batman!" Diana's shout carried easily around the mostly metal room. He rushed towards the back of the room, following her voice. With a quick flick of a button the smoke cleared, giving him a free line of sight.
Kids. A line of them across the back. Heavy ropes around their hands and feet and grey duct tape over their mouths. He ran forward. Falling onto his knees beside the closest child, a young boy, Batman pulled out a Batarang to cut the ropes. He briefly examined the thin wrists. They were rubbed red raw, small dots of blood welling to the surface.
Batman fought to keep the snarl off his face. "This might hurt," his voice was low and soft. With a quick motion he pulled the duct tape off the boy's mouth. The ripping sound tore through his heart. The boy gave a low whimper and dove into Batman's arms and Bruce had no qualms letting him stay there. With the boy clinging to his neck, Bruce moved from child to child, freeing them with brief, soft words of reassurance. Upon their release, most of the children flocked to Diana, who was herself freeing children. She was holding three in her arms, had one on her back, and a few more clinging to legs. Ages three to ten at a guess. He couldn't blame them. Wonder Woman was a bright, safe, hero-figure while he was a dark, scary man – probably a lot like the men who had tied them up.
There were, however, a few who stayed. Clustering around his ankles and clinging to his cape. The Gotham kids. His city. His kids. He needed to get them out of here, now. It should not have been this easy. If this wasn't a trap then it was a distraction. Neither of which he could afford.
"Mr Batman," the six year old boy in his arms tapped a light hand against his cheek, "he's over there."
Batman's head swiveled instantly, "Who?" The boy was pointing to the far corner by the door. He zeroed in on the desk, the perfect thing to hide behind.
The boy buried his face into the side of the cowl, "the bad man," he whispered.
"Diana," Batman immediately passed the children off to her, "watch them."
She took the kids without argument, instinctively shielding them behind her. He carried on, slipping into a controlled, defensive stance and keeping his back to Diana and the children. The bad man could mean a lot of people. Mostly likely there was some low tier punk who was supposed to be watching the kids and had panicked when Wonder Woman burst into the room.
Still, even a punk with a gun could get lucky. There was no reason not to be careful. As a bonus they, he, now had someone to interrogate. As long as nothing stupid happened.
Batman came at the desk from an angle and pounced. His eyes analyzed everything. There was someone behind the desk, he'd seen the foot before moving in. The perp was probably lying on the floor in a pile of quivering jelly. He'd quiver more before this evening was over.
As a rule Batman did not stumble, but when he cleared the desk and finally got a good view of the man attached to the foot, he flubbed the landing. A small extra hop was required to keep his footing as the sight on the floor rattled him more than expected.
Bane was dead. The hulking man lay flat on his back for the first time seeming small and defenceless. Around him lay bits of the plastic tubing, singed, that had once held his power venom and a quick inhale confirmed that the overly sweet smell in the air was from the puddle of venom on the floor. The red liquid gurgled, swirling with a life of its own around Bane's head. A last halo. With a swipe of his belt Batman summoned the GCP, the children needed to get out of here.
Batman bent low in his examination, a lack of power juice wasn't what had killed the supervillain. Being one of Batman's few powered enemies had given Bane a certain infamy. Cutting the lines had simply been a means to an end, a way to ensure that Bane couldn't come back. Whoever had done this had known about the venom and about the villain, they'd done their research.
They'd somehow managed to shoot Bane point blank in the forehead. The hulking villain must have let the killer get close; there was no other way a hole like that could have happened even without the venom. The bullet hole was perfectly round, no slightly oval shape indicative of a bullet dropping over a longer distance. There was no blood on the forehead, a fast clean shot. He spared a moment to check the body for secondary wounds, noting absently that the GCP had finally arrived. Then there was the most disturbing of all…
Batman stepped forward and lifted Bane's head, examining the back. Exit wound. Batman turned, using a third analysis of the room to confirm his conclusion, there was no evidence. No bullet casings, no bullet, not even residual powder. The room would, of course, be double checked but Batman doubted anything would come of it.
This was too clean. Too close. It was no disgruntled henchman or a spur of the moment shot of passion. This was a professional. Someone knew what they were doing and had decided to take Bane out. They had tracked him down and done the job. Worse, they had tracked Bane down before Bruce had.
That meant a certain caliber of criminal. A very specific and very small caliber of criminal. The kind that gave even Batman nightmares.
"Professional hit," his enhanced cowl picked up Diana's words, even when muttered. He turned slightly, she was standing beside the desk careful to stay out of both the crime scene and his line of vision. He appreciated both.
He granted her a sharp nod, "It would seem so," he said, "but still personal enough that the killer got in close rather than using a sniper from 500 yards away."
Diana nodded, taking Bruce's words as an acceptance to get closer, "did he have any significant enemies in Gotham?"
"Not that I was aware of," Batman said, "Gotham's criminals tended to let Bane be. He was too powerful an ally. The others often used him as muscle when brains and tricks wouldn't cut it."
"Who could pull something off like this?" Diana asked, "surely there can't be many people who could get the jump on Bane."
Batman fiddled with his earpiece, "A small bunch who could actually get that close for one reason or another even if you include the Justice League. You, me, Superman, J'onn, Flash," Diana scoffed at the suggestions, "Deadshot, Deathstroke, Constantine, Savage, Harley Quinn, Hush, and Luthor, are a few you'd know. But," Batman continued, "most people could find a way to see Bane with some kind of business deal. It's cutting the venom where we'd see a problem. Throw in people who would use a gun and the list gets smaller."
Diana followed his logic, "So Deadshot and Deathstrike are the best bets, and they've been known to hire out their services in the past."
"Unless someone wants to hide who they are and acquired a gun," Batman reminded her. His hand dropped to his side, "nothing has happened to the League." At Diana's frown he continued, "It seems likely that this was a distraction tactic and not a grudge. When the tip mentioned me specifically I thought that it was a trap-"
"And you were going to go alone anyway!" Diana interjected.
"But as that doesn't seem to be the case," Batman said, "it has to be a distraction."
Wonder Woman nodded slowly, "But for what? Killing Bane would take a lot of work or a lot of money in and of itself. What does this get you away from?" She froze, "the Batcave?"
"Already checked," Batman strode towards the door, "we're going to have to talk to the witnesses sooner than I'd have liked."
"Batman," Diana floated after him, "the poor kids, I don't think-"
"I know," his voice was heavy and his hand heavier as he rested it on her shoulder, "but somewhere there could be other kids in trouble. You know we need to know."
The two heroes exited the building into the chaos that was the GCP ground crew. Spotting a tent off to the side, Batman turned towards it. As expected the tent was packed with cops sitting with children in various stages of distress from crying to quiet shock. Bruce took a deep breath, trying to find his friendliest version of Batman.
"Bear," Diana's hand stopped him. His mind scrambled to keep up with wherever hers had gone. Finally he just stared at her, saying nothing. He certainly couldn't ask for clarification in front of all these cops.
Apparently he could jump slightly when her hands went to her belt. He tried to cover it with a cough. When he looked back up from the fake cough, Diana's lips had curled into a small smirk. She waved the white teddy bear from the factory floor in front of him, then said softly, "I'll have to remember that reaction when I think you're made of stone."
Given a moment to unswallow his tongue, Bruce was sure that he could have come up with something witty. Wonder Woman didn't give him a moment, she turned to the room. Her voice commanding immediate attention, "We found this bear inside, to whom does it belong?"
A small boy raised his hand slowly, the same six year old who had attached himself to Batman's neck earlier. They moved quickly through the crowd, Diana extending a hand here and there as the passed. Her ability to extract even a small smile from a crying child appearing to be magic in and of itself.
Diana sat on the bed next to the boy, springs squeaking in protest. She handed him the bear, which he immediately clutched to his chest, and put a comforting hand on his back, "And what's your name, brave young man?"
"Adam." He said softly.
Wonder Woman nodded, her face light but serious, "I'm sorry we couldn't save you sooner Adam. You've been very brave about everything."
He hid further behind the bear, "the bad man is dead."
"Yes," Diana rubbed small circles on his back. Bruce wondered if she was conscious of the action, "he is. And we're trying to figure out who killed him. We were hoping that you could be brave one more time."
The boy snuffled slightly but said nothing.
"Do you think you could be brave for Batman and I, Adam?" Diana asked again.
The boy looked up at the word Batman. He leaned into Diana, pressed deeply into her side but kept his eyes locked in the caped crusader.
Batman knelt instantly, hands on his knee, and met Adam on his eye level, "I need your help." Batman said plainly.
The boy's eyes went wide. Bruce didn't blame him. There were heroes who would do just about anything to hear Batman say that they needed him. This boy was more worthy.
"Would you be willing to help us, Adam?" Batman's voice was lighter, closer to Bruce's. Although his eyes were locked onto the child's, from the corner of his eye Bruce saw Diana check if any cops were a tad too close. He appreciated the gesture.
Adam nodded, "'Kay"
Batman gave a rare, small smile, "Thank you. Now, I need you to think carefully. Did you see the person who shot the bad man?"
"Yes." The boy whispered instantly.
Batman winced internally. He'd almost hoped that the boy hadn't seen anything and had been spared the trauma, "Can you tell me what you saw?"
The boy took a deep breath, put a tiny hand in Wonder Woman's hand, and said, "It was man. He fought with the bad man and then shot him in the head with a silver gun. He almost freed us but then he didn't. He said that he was sorry but that somebody would come get us soon and that we would be safe."
Batman filed that away for later, "Very good Adam. Do you think that you could describe the man." The boy frowned, "or what he was wearing?" Batman amended.
"Black," the boy said instantly, "he was wearing all black. He had black hair and a black mask and all of his clothes were black. Except the gun was silver."
"What kind of mask?" Batman asked.
Adam took his hand and cover his eyes and nose, leaving only his mouth open, "like this," he said, muffled behind the fingers.
"But you could see his hair?"
The boy nodded, "It was kinda long. Not really long, but long for boys. Shaggy."
Batman couldn't think of any shaggy haired gunslingers, "Did he use any other weapons?"
The boy's eye lite up, "there was a laser. Like in the TV shows. I couldn't see it properly but my dad likes science and I recognized the light."
Batman immediately tensed but forced himself to say, "thank you Adam, you've been a big help." He rose, reaching for his utility belt "Diana."
She followed him a moment later, "Bruce what?"
"Singed tubes." Batman snarled, "singed. He saw a laser. It was a distraction." He jammed a line straight through to the Watchtower console, overriding the systems. He knew that his movements seemed frantic and he didn't care.
Diana stood next to him, trying to catch up.
"Location Zeta. Now." He roared into the cowl's mic when Mr Terrific picked up.
"Kayla." Diana breathed the name.
"Teleport is down," Mr Terrific stammered through the line, "J'onn is doing maintenance."
Batman hadn't waited past the word down but was sprinting to the Batmobile. If Diana wasn't right behind him, he was going without her. He made it five steps before he felt arms grip his chest tightly and his feet leave the ground.
Of course. One more reason for Batman to feel stupid that evening. Diana was faster than the Batmobile could ever be.
"You think it was Three," Diana spoke into his ear. Not daring to go too fast for fear of ripping the caped crusader in half.
Bruce fought the feeling of helplessness and compensated with explanations, "It's the perfect thing to draw me out. Leaving the kids. Laser vision is a select power and few people carry weaponized lasers. I have one in the cave and Slade has one. If he's found a way to track Kayla then this is his play. If he hasn't found Kayla then I'd call it a warning. He's angry at her. It an 'if I can do this to Bane guess what I can do to your family when I find them'. He wants to draw her out."
"We were careful," Diana argued.
"Everyone makes mistakes," Bruce said, "land on the roof of the building next door."
"What?" Diana asked even as she did so.
"I don't want to lead him right to her. This could be a tracking plan." Diana punched open the door to the stairwell. Bruce sprinted into the first apartment on the left, "I rented this just in case. Change. Now."
Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince walked as quickly as humanly possible across the street. Holding hands for effect, they smiled at the doorman, and passed on the elevator with a laugh and a suggestive giggle. Then they sprinted up the stairs, superspeed is a gift.
The heroes burst in the apartment. Diana pulling her lasso from somewhere Bruce couldn't quite figure out, while he fanned three Batarangs in his hand.
Kayla sat on the couch, an extra-large everything pizza propped open on the table in front of her. She immediately shut the laptop on her lap and stared at them, "So, thanks for ordering me a pizza."
Only a week and a half until another update. Look at me. No two year gap here. This was a long chapter but I'm not sorry. Clearly if you were looking for a story with a romantic date this is the place to come ;) And of course, I'm always interested as to your thoughts on the chapter/writing and who our killer is. -Aria