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Summary: Only a small but important part of Xander survived the Hyena incident.
AN – Thoughts *I am thinking.*
If Bruce had had the habit of pacing when frustrated there would be a trench three foot deep in the stone floor of the Batcave. And that would be just from his current frustration with the vigilante known as The Huntress.
Since the night of the away game, there had been only two more outings that could be attributed to The Huntress in the past week and a half. While there might be others that were not reported, it wasn’t likely given her not so subtle approach to dealing with the criminal element. In a couple of cases where the victims were in no shape to call for help he was certain that The Huntress made the calls herself even if it sounded like a man on the recordings. While she was definitely dishing out painful and even debilitating injuries, she was also seeing to it that prompt medical attention was called for even if it was only the perp that needed the attention.
Once again he had failed to recognize the clues he had for what they implied. There had been a gap between the time she’d dealt with Jack Smack and Cindy’s muggers till her second foray after the away game. There were similar gaps, though not of the same duration, between the third and fourth forays.
He realized that she was not like him in that he went out almost every night to do battle with Gotham’s criminals. He had forgotten to account for the fact that she was a new mother and her child was her top priority and dealing with muggers and the like was a secondary goal. Of course her outings would conform to an irregular schedule. It would not only make it more difficult for him to encounter her away from her child and Aunt, it would keep the underworld guessing about when and where she might show up as well.
Another thing was she was targeting what many would describe as low level crime that he only concerned himself with when he happened upon it while out on normal patrol. The areas she’d been spotted in were those he’d only rarely gone through on his usual patrols. Yes he might hit them every couple of months but not like other areas of Gotham that could be called his usual haunts.
He wondered how he could explain his current insight to Dick without his protégée marking another day on the calendar in red. While he hadn’t commented about it when he noticed the red circle around a particular date, he knew exactly why Dick had done it. Alfred had raised an eyebrow when he’d seen it but hadn’t made any inquiries as far as Bruce knew, even though Dick would get a strange smile on his face whenever he looked at it.
Even with only having made herself known to the criminals of Gotham through 4 outings, she had definitely garnered their attention. Muggings and assaults in the areas she’d hit already had dropped by 10% even though she hadn’t been back to any of the same places for a second time yet. Even places she hadn’t paid a visit to yet were seeing a decline. Getting caught and thrown in jail was one thing but to receive injuries that would make returning to a life of crime impractical did have some deterrence associated with it. Which of course had the authorities worried almost as much as the crooks. Though for different reasons.
And he still hadn’t caught sight of her leaving or returning to her neighborhood on his surveillance cameras. Oh, he knew it wasn’t completely covering the area, but still she had to be taking a very complicated zig zag route to avoid the three layers he had in place. He considered putting more in place but didn’t feel that the use of that many resources was warranted at this time.
Plus even if he knew when she went out, she hadn’t had enough forays for him to discern a pattern of where she would go. He of course had already figured out what selection criteria she’d been using for her identifying where to do her hunts but there were so many that fit the parameters he assumed she was using that he’d miss her 9 times out of 10 if he even tried to guess where she’d be.
Of course now that she had been ‘outed’ by the Gotham Free Press after her third foray, the authorities were being a bit more open on their radio calls about any ‘sightings’ of The Huntress. This did give him information he could eventually use to know where she was going to be next and be there to confront her. That was assuming that he wasn’t involved in some other incident of his own or wasn’t on the wrong side of town like during her second outing. Still it was something that would eventually cause them to meet.
His big worry was that some of his flashier foes might go after her, thinking she was another member of the Bat Family. Even though he had told Gordon that she wasn’t his protégée and the authorities had stated there was no evidence that The Huntress and The Batman were associated with each other, he wouldn’t bet on it that people really believed that. This despite the reports from some of those she’d rescued that she had been a bit disgruntled for being compared to him and Robin albeit mostly concerning their lack of fashion sense.
While she might be a bit brutal in her handling of the crooks she dealt with, he worried that when faced with any of his Rogues Gallery she might just turn lethal. Where Joker was concerned he had no doubt about it given the conversation with Anne in her Aunt’s hospital room. If Harley weren’t already crippled he’d put her in the ‘no doubt’ category as well but despite how harshly she dealt with criminals he didn’t think she would go that far against the crazed Clown Princess unless truly provoked.
He wasn’t sure whether The Joker might use his warped sense of logic to come to the conclusion that the Museum robbery where Harley was injured was foiled by The Huntress. Other than the use of the Arbalest and The Huntress using crossbow pistols there wasn’t really any obvious connection. That, plus the long time span between the Museum and The Huntress’ first appearance should also make it unlikely to happen but then paranoia didn’t mean that someone wasn’t out to get you. Or that you shouldn’t plan for foreseeable contingencies.
“Car 34,” came the dispatcher’s voice over the police scanner. “Proceed to 9th Street and Clover. Possible Huntress sighting. Shots fired.”
Before the call had even finished, Batman was out of his chair and mounting what Dick called the Batcycle. It would get him there faster than the Batmobile as there were quite a few narrow alleyways in that part of town.
Montegue Fitzroi, otherwise known as The Mountie for always getting his man, was an enforcer for John John, a pimp with a stable of over 50 whores, both male and female. Many just teenagers. He had been out doing the rounds to ensure none of the ‘staff’ was shirking their duties to make the night’s quota when he came upon an unknown young woman dressed just a little classier than what John John’s girls wore. John John had standing orders to make an example of any outside talent caught working his territory so The Mountie went to do his duty.
Bethany Kirkpatrick was cursing her luck. She’d been on her way to an illegal Rave when her car broke down six blocks from where she was going. She wasn’t really dressed for a prolonged outing in the cold but knew she wouldn’t get a tow truck out to the area at this time of night so started hoofing it to the Rave in the hopes she could bum a ride home from someone.
She almost didn’t see the big man come out of the shadows and when she did all she got was a glimpse of his face before something smashed into her face and knocked her to the ground several feet from where she’d been. And that was only the start of the pain that would be inflicted upon her.
The Huntress had been tailing the brute of a man for about five minutes after she’d seen him harass a couple of hookers for not doing more to make their ‘rent’ payment. She took that to mean, the hookers would stay out in the cold until they came up with a minimum amount of cash. While she would have had no qualms about beating the guy up just on general principles, since he hadn’t done anything overtly to get him accused of a crime, assuming she could get the hookers to testify against him in the first place, she held off.
Now she regretted not going with her first instinct. The man moved quickly for his size and had punched, stomped and kicked a young woman several times before she could jump down from the roof she’d been on to catch up with him. Due to his size she had unsheathed her bokuto and smashed him in the backs of his knees to bring him down. She’d followed up her initial attack with a baseball swing to smack him hard on his forehead which tumbled him backward and smacked the back of his head on the sidewalk.
She would have followed up with a few more blows but a quick glance at the victim showed a gore covered bone sticking out of the woman’s left thigh and blood spurting out of the wound. Reacting quickly, The Huntress pulled out several zip ties and threaded them together to fit around the woman’s leg and pulled them as tight as she could. She did this twice more before she was satisfied she had stemmed the flow. The woman appeared to be unconscious but before The Huntress could check the woman’s vitals she heard a metallic click from behind her where the big guy had fallen.