Disclaimer: I do not own any of the recognizable characters from Buffy or DC. I receive no profits from this. It is just for fun.
Archiving: Please ask.
Feedback: Constructive Criticism desired.
Summary: Only a small but important part of Xander survived the Hyena incident.
Anne had no difficulty stepping into Cindy’s position on the Cheer Squad. Cindy hadn’t been one of the flyers so that simplified what Anne had to do. She did have to be careful during the lifts so as not to put too much strength in them and over balance which ever squad member was being lifted. She also didn’t want to outshine any of the other squad members so she concentrated on being as good as Cindy, not better.
Coach Tweety was impressed with how well Anne did the tumbling, cartwheels, hand springs and back flips that were part of the squad’s repertoire for the upcoming City League Championships. She was positive that they still had a chance.
When he woke up in the hospital, he found casts on both wrists, along with the cuffs that chained him to his bed. It took him a few moments to remember what happened. He hadn’t slept since.
Even though his eyes were constantly moving, checking out every corner of the room as quickly as he could. However, it still took him over a minute to realize he had company.
Swallowing the lump that formed in his throat, he quietly said, “Sh . . she said you’d st . . . stop by.”
“Really,” his voice rumbled. “What else did she say?”
“That I should con . . confess to any crimes that wouldn’t get my cur . . current employers m . . mad at me but would p . . put me away for awhile.”
“Anything else?” he said putting just a tinge of menace into his voice.
“Only that you’ll be too late,” said the man. “Carlo and Mario have already been dealt with.”
“And who are Carlo and Mario?”
“The guys I bought the cell phone from.”
“You didn’t tell the police any of this or about her. Why?”
“She said to only tell you when you showed.”
“Why did you obey her?” he growled.
“Sh . . . she hit m . . my back with one of her st . . sticks and I lost all feeling below my waist. It came back quickly but she told m . . me it could b . . . be permanent. I also heard her mention ‘gelding’ when she was questioning Johnny.”
“Did you tell her where to find Carlo and Mario?”
“Of course I did. Why should I suffer to protect their hides? They weren’t paying me.”
“Where did you send her?”
“They normally hang out on the other side of town, near the garment district at 516 Mayberry Street, apartment 7C,” replied the man. “However, currently I believe you’ll find them four doors to the left if what I heard the guards say is true.”
The man blinked and Batman was gone. He let out a long breath and finally allowed himself to pass out from exhaustion.
The thug had been off. Carlo and Mario were five doors down on the left.
The cuffs attaching them to their beds were strictly SOP. These guys weren’t going anywhere soon under their own power for quite some time. Even then they wouldn’t be going very fast. Of course they would have to awaken from their comas first in any case.
Their charts told of broken bones, torn ligaments, dislocated joints plus severe trauma to the pelvic area. However, not a single open wound was found anywhere on their bodies.
He found out later that they’d only been brought in a few hours before after an anonymous tip was phoned to the police. The police had also found evidence from several muggings that had taken place around Gotham, including Cindy’s. That was why they were in the hospital’s prison wing.
He figured she’d gone after Carlo and Mario straight from the crack house after she put Robin to sleep. Waiting to call 911 until the following day didn’t endanger Carlo and Mario’s lives but did separate the two attacks enough in time to keep the police from making any immediate connections between them since there were no witnesses to the second attack. Also, by scaring the thug to not say anything to the police kept them, and him, from interfering with her mission.
He’d put off the meeting for as long as he could. Unfortunately he wasn’t going to be able to give any answers to the questions that he knew would be asked.
He moved out of the shadows and said, “She’s not a protégé of mine.”
Gordon jumped just as he always did when Batman did his surprise entrances, regardless of if he was expecting it or not.
“Do you know who she is? What her intentions are?” Gordon asked.
“I don’t know who she is,” said Batman, which was true as he had no proof. “As to her intentions, at the moment I’d have to go with to dish out pain to criminals.”
“Well, officially City Hall doesn’t like it,” said Gordon. “Helping to capture criminals is one thing but deliberately inflicting injury or possible death is too much like vigilantes taking the law into their own hands and sets a bad example for the public.”
“I agree but until I or your people catch her there isn’t much that can be done about it,” stated Batman.
“I just don’t want this to escalate like it did in those ‘Death Wish’ movies,” said Gordon with frustration. “Gotham doesn’t need that type of reputation.”
“At the moment, I don’t think you have to worry about her killing anyone,” stated Batman.
“She may not be using a gun but those hand crossbows of hers are very powerful as Jack Smack and his body guards can attest,” replied Gordon. “Piercing bone is a good indicator that someone could end up dead if she made a mistake or just decided to accidentally miss a non-lethal shot.”
“Based on the accuracy of her shots so far, I’d say she hit exactly where she wanted to hit and is skilled enough not to have accidents,” said Batman.
“Then you’re saying that if someone does end up dead during one of her forays, it’ll be because she wanted them that way,” challenged Gordon.
“I’m saying that I believe she will avoid situations that might get someone killed,” stated Batman. “Of course this is based on the two raids she’d made where there were no innocent bystanders around. I do not think that is a coincidence.”
“I suppose that’s something at least,” sighed Gordon as he paced around.
When he turned back to ask another question, Batman was gone.
“I hate when he does that,” muttered Gordon.
“So how did your talk with Gordon go?” asked Robin as Batman joined him on a downtown roof top.
“He’s worried about her aggressive style,” Batman replied. “Especially if it causes a decrease in the crime rate. It makes the authorities look bad and could give rise to more vigilantism of a violent nature. Gotham doesn’t need to revert to Old West justice.”
“Well, if it is Anne since Cindy’s attackers have been caught, she might stop,” opined Robin.
“She made an elaborate costume and armed herself with various weapons. One doesn’t do that just to complete a single goal and then stop,” said Batman. “No, she’s setting up for the long haul. Cindy’s attack was only the trigger for her crusade, though it was possibly Joker and Harley that put the thought in her head in the first place.”
“I really should have anticipated something like this happening,” Batman continued. “We already speculated that she was some type of warrior, possibly even an assassin. And while it’s true she’s in hiding, her inclination would dictate that she find an outlet for that training. Since we also speculated that her training probably involves the Supernatural and she’s avoiding that, then she would need a more mundane cause. I should have offered to mentor her but overlooked the possibility due to her condition. I didn’t think about what might happen after she gave birth. I underestimated the situation.”
Robin was flabbergasted. Batman very rarely, if ever, admitted to making a mistake about anything. Oh, he made mistakes on occasion but didn’t admit to them.
“You could still make the offer,” prompted Robin.
“If I’d made the offer before, even if she turned it down then, it might have been able to earn her respect enough to have a chance of her accepting now,” said Batman. “Making the offer now would be seen as disrespecting her and you were right, respect is the key to her and her Aunt.”
Robin was going to mark this day down for its specialness. Batman admitted he made a mistake and then told him that he’d been right about something. This was truly a red letter day. However, he wasn’t planning on any celebrations just yet.
“So do you have any ideas on how to earn their respect?” he asked his mentor.
“I have to show them that I trust them,” was the reply. “That I really trust them.”
AN: Don’t own any part of the “Death Wish” franchise.