Somebody's Watching Me
Title : Shadows Under Gotham
Author : Booster
Rating : PG-13
Disclaimers : Buffy and co belong to Joss Whedon, Batman and his bunch to DC Comics, etc. I own….. actually, I don’t own anything. Damn.
Settings: Set two months after the end of Buffy season 7. For Batman, after Hush finishes.
Distribution : Twisting the Hellmouth. Anyone else wants it, just email and ask.
Feedback : Yes, please.
Special Thanks : Laney for help, support and beta reading.
Chapter 1 : Somebody’s Watching Me
Gotham at night was never a good time to be out.
Recently however, things had been getting worse. The very atmosphere seemed to be even more dark and gloomy than before. Reports of odd things moving in the shadows had greatly increased in all the reports to the GCPD. Commissioner Akins was getting increasingly worried too. Assaults were up. Muggings were up. Disappearances were up. And a disturbing new trend in murders emerging, with a large number of bodies being found with mutilated necks. Even some of the smaller crimes like vandalism in cemeteries were up.
And yet…. There was nothing he could do. Not one single incident that he could tell his already hard pressed detectives to concentrate on. No one standout case even to justify using the signal sitting on top of the station. Atkins couldn’t even justify calling HIM in on the necks murders. And yet, things were getting darker and darker. Even the daytime seemed shorter these days.
Oracle was not a happy bunny these days.
Even Dick was carefully watching his words around her. She was more terse and tended to snap more quickly than she’d ever done before. Tim Drake mused on these things in a small corner of his mind while he worked on hooking up yet another upgrade to the already impressive and sprawling electronic equipment in the Clocktower.
Finally finishing the last connection, he pulled himself out from under the console. “That should be about it, Barbara” he called over to the redhead working away on the keyboard. Barbara Gordon just shot him a look as if to say about time, and carried on frantically working. Eventually finishing, she quickly turned her wheelchair around and headed over to where Tim was waiting.
Examining the work carefully and thoroughly, she seemed to relax a tiny fraction after seeing that everything was present and working correctly. Eying her warily and noticing just where the exits were, Tim decided to press his luck a little.
“So, have we finished all those updates you so suddenly needed?”
Ooops. The shoulders straightened immediately and the glare was back full force. Tim sometimes wondered how Cassie had stood it. But now it was his turn in the spotlight.
“I mean…. Um… why? You’ve been freaking out for weeks now.”
The glare continued.
“Um... I mean… what could possibly worry the mighty Oracle in the middle of all this equipment?” he said, waving one hand around in a semi circle.
The glare continued, but dimmed suddenly. And Barbara looked uncomfortable in her seat for a change. Almost worried….
“I’m sorry, Tim. I’ve been pushing you hard for quite a while now, haven’t I?”
He snorted. “Not just me, Barbara. Even Bruce hasn’t been here for a bit. So, just what is it that’s worrying you so much?”
“I didn’t realize it was quite so obvious.” said Barbara, turning her chair back towards the main screen. “It’s just that… well…. There’s somebody out there.”
“Out where? Outside?” Tim found his hand dropping down to his utility belt and a batarang, while at the same time his gaze flickered to the windows.
“No. On the Net.” Barbara brought up several access logs onto the main screen, with a few practiced motions. Almost as if she’d been doing that quite a lot recently…. “There’s somebody out there on the Net, poking around various Gotham servers.” Her mouth pursed. “And I have no idea who they are, or what they want. All I can find are traces of where they’ve been. And pretty vague traces too.”
“So far they haven’t got into my system or the Cave’s. Yet. And the big thing is that I can’t tell whether that’s because of my defenses or because they don’t know about it.”
Elsewhere in Gotham, Rupert Giles sighed and started cleaning his glasses.
It was going to be another long night he could tell. Willow was still convinced that someone was following her on the internet, Buffy had broken yet another ornament during practice with Faith, and Dawn was sulking about having to do even more catch-up homework.
Oh yes, a very long night indeed.
To be continued