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.
AN – Thoughts *I am thinking.*
“She didn’t kill him, Bruce,” said Dick. “She had plenty of motivation, but she didn’t kill him.”
“No she just tore most of the tendons and ligaments in his arms and legs,” replied Bruce. “The medical report states that his Achilles tendon was snapped at both ends by severe blunt force trauma. Most of the others were damaged from twists and yanks. This is a sure sign that The Huntress is at least at the upper end of human strength. And she knows how to control it to achieve her purpose.”
“Yeah. The only open wound he had was a split lip, despite the pummeling indicated by his bruises,” commented Dick. “It’s a shame the victim died before the police or EMTs got there. The punctured lung and aorta from the two broken ribs from the beating The Mountie gave her meant there was virtually nothing The Huntress could have done to save her. Putting a makeshift tourniquet on the compound fractured leg kept her from bleeding out faster, but not by much.”
“How was Anne at school?” asked Bruce, only seeming to change the topic.
Dick sighed and said, “She wasn’t overly happy. Nor was she overly sad. So far as I could see, there is nothing in her demeanor to tie her to being The Huntress as you suspect. Now I did see a bruise on her upper right arm, close to where the dash-cam from the first arriving police car showed a bloody hole in her sleeve, but there was no scab or even a scar to suggest she’d been shot there. Plus, the little talisman you gave me did not detect the use of any glamours, either. And since you, yourself, told me that magical healing only accelerates a person’s normal healing rate by at most 3 times, she would have to have an already accelerated healing factor for a bullet wound to have healed without leaving even a scar overnight.”
“Did you happen to discover how she bruised her arm?” asked Bruce pointedly.
“In fact I did,” the youth replied. “I happen to be nearby when Coach Tweety asked her about it, in case it might impact her ability to do some of the cheers. Anne’s answer, and I quote, ‘If you get up in the middle of the night to answer nature’s call, no matter how tired you are, you should open your eyes to keep from tripping and banging into things’, unquote. The Coach excused her from doing any cheers requiring hand stands or roundups, just to be on the safe side. Her part in the routines don’t require too many of those, anyway, so it wasn’t noticeable during practice.”
Bruce scowled as it was a reasonable explanation and Dick had been correct about magic only accelerating normal healing, not being a miracle cure that made wounds disappear overnight. He was still certain that Anne was The Huntress, but so far none of the evidence he’d obtained pointed in that direction. Of the three different blood samples found at the scene, one belonged to the victim, one to The Mountie, and the third was unable to be associated with anyone as it had apparently been bleached. The crime lab could determine that the samples were blood, but nothing beyond that. They couldn’t even rule out that the blood didn’t belong to one or the other or both of the other two, only that there were some samples that couldn’t be identified.
Bruce did admit to himself that if there was a way to erase DNA traces from blood and other bodily sources, as he suspected The Huntress had done, then it would help him and Dick with keeping their alternate personas secret if he could discover how she did it. Of course, it was probably magical in nature, but its usefulness would incalculable in certain situations, so it was worth investigating.
Just then, Alfred appeared and said, “Master Bruce. Master Richard. I believe there is something you should see.”
With that, he went over to a television and turned it on.
The picture showed a large crowd on the steps of City Hall. Midway up the steps, facing the crowd on the street below was a fairly attractive woman in a smart business skirted suit standing behind a podium.
“I am here today to give notice of a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Gotham City, the Gotham Police Force, the Gotham District Attorney’s Office, Batman, Robin, and The Huntress,” said the woman. “My client was subjected to a horrible beating and I blame those I just named for it.”
“Isn’t your client a murderer?” shouted a member of the crowd.
“My client has not been convicted of that crime and is, therefore, presumed innocent,” she snapped back before continuing. “And even if he was to be convicted, the beating he was subjected to is not any of the prescribed punishments for such a crime and thus it was cruel and unusual for it to happen. While I grant you that it was not the police that administered the beating, it is their lack of action in effectively dealing with vigilantes, costumed or not, that allowed such an atrocity to occur. That is the contention of my lawsuit, that they are negligent in their duties to protect the rights of all citizens and as such, are liable for appropriate compensation to my client. That is all I have to say at this time.”
She turned away and made her way towards a waiting limo, ignoring the calls of “Miss Morgan” from the crowd that obviously wanted more.
Meanwhile, Bruce, Dick and Alfred weren’t the only ones watching the news. So were several other pairs of eyes. Some were happy about the announcement, while others were less than pleased, though the thoughts of most of them, whichever way they thought, was that this would open a flood of litigation for which the USA was famous for, or infamous if one considered all the frivolous lawsuits filed each day.
After all, as the nation with the most number of lawyers per capita, they have to find ways to get paid, somehow.
There was at least one set of eyes that wasn’t watching the news. This person was trying to deal with the guilt of not being able to save someone. For not being quick enough. For playing by the rules that resulted in someone being killed.
Being reactive hindered one’s available responses and often had dire consequences. But there were problems with being proactive, as well, at least in the mundane world. One had to find a balance that they could live with, or they would lose themselves and not like what they might become.
It was so much simpler hunting vampires. You didn’t have to wait for them to attack someone before you staked them.
Janice turned off the TV. Anne really didn’t need this happening right now. Not when she was grieving over the death of the young woman she tried to save.
*Would this cause her to give up being The Huntress?* she mused. *Or would she carry on despite this?*
Janice shook her head as she really didn’t have an answer. Nor did she have any idea as to how she would advise her niece.
They couldn’t move as they hadn’t the resources for that option, yet. That meant they had to stay and weather the storm. They would have to talk out a strategy to do so. Janice refused to make any decision unilaterally, as too much had been out of Anne’s control, and hers as well, to try and force any action on the young mother.
AN: The number I found on line was that were 265 people per lawyer in the US, for a total of 1,143,358 lawyers. Brazil came in second with 326 people per lawyer.