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Depths of Arkham

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This story is No. 3 in the series "Ascension of the Dark Knight". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Things are going well for Xander Harris. He's got money coming in, a few superpowered friends, and a nice place to put away the crazies. But when you moonlight as Batman, things just can't stay good. Welcome to the Madhouse.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
DC Universe > BatmanSirWillFR18315,34111339,49211 Oct 1026 Nov 10No

Plans in Motion

A/N: Yes, I know that Cordelia’s really focused on Xander. She’s got good reason, though. His counterpart murdered her folks, went on an international killing spree, assassinated a president, and destroyed the world to get Willow back. All at a ridiculously young age, but that’s constrained by necessity. That version of Xander learned two things very quickly and very painfully. Adults were assholes, and adults were vulnerable.

Anyway, read, enjoy, and review. This is all in good fun.



Karen looked down and huffed. “Damn it. That’s the third one this week.” She gathered up the mangled pieces of the vibrator on her bed, sighing in frustration as she threw them into the trashbin. Muscle control by itself was fairly simple, but honestly it was far easier to not crush a glass between her fingertips than it was to maintain control in a moment of passion. Since she found herself in this weird world, she hadn’t been able to find someone to play with. She hadn’t in the previous world either, but she’d been a bit more isolated there anyway.

Well, there was Clark. Even as her mind flitted there for a brief moment, however, she banished the thought. Genetically, he was her brother. Intellectually, he was even closer than that, nearly a twin brother. Same birthdate, same father, same mother, same explosion of homeworld, same launch in a pod and landing on Earth, same adoption by Jonathan and Martha Kent. While she was sure they could play without hurting each other, every bit of her upbringing said it was wrong. Why couldn’t he have been descended from anyone else on Krypton?

And while Karen Kent, now Karen Starr, was willing to bend the rules to have some fun, she wasn’t willing to break them. Teasing him was one thing, going through with such an act was quite another.

It was pretty frustrating. She finally meets a pair of guys she wouldn’t mind sleeping with, and one turned out to be her brother, the other she’d end up wrecking if she enjoyed herself just a little too much. Just like the pieces of plastic in the trash.

“Now I know how Princess Leia felt. Or should have felt.” Karen huffed. “Well, at least the home team’s still available.” She muttered to herself as she stepped into her bathroom. It wasn’t that consoling, but it was something at least.

A hot shower made her feel much better. Combing her hair back and smirking to herself at the naturally attractive sight in the mirror, she dried the mop of her hair with a towel and prepared for the day. She had a modeling gig, then an appointment to send up a space shuttle. Apparently the Hubble got clipped by a piece of debris and NASA needed to fix the thing. NASA had been more than happy to take her up on the offer to ferry equipment up. They ended up saving an immense amount of money in resources, such as rocket fuel.

The hard part was the engineering. In order for them to send a shuttle up with her doing the heavy lifting, they had to build a sled capable of supporting the shuttle that could be lifted and supported on the surface area of a human-sized object. That had been a problem that kept the engineers gnawing through pencils for months. It was quite a conundrum. Power Girl and Superman were strong enough to lift a shuttle, albeit with a lot of effort. But the shuttles weren’t strong enough to be lifted. Lifting a satellite was rather easy in comparison, all they had to do was attach a casing that the Kryptonians could manhandle.

“Hmmm...” She mused as a thought came to her. “Maybe I can ask them for a few materials in thanks, since I keep wrecking plastic...” Laughing to herself at the thought of that conversation, she put on her uniform and zipped out the window. Only she would consider asking NASA for materials to build a pleasure toy.

Being a superhero was quite a busy thing. But she loved doing it. Some of the drawbacks, though, were quite frustrating. Not for the first time, she wished she could shut her powers off when she wanted. It would certainly make relationships a lot easier.



Dawn muttered to herself. “Stupid viruses.” She was sixteen, she was curious, and she had one of the best computers on the planet at her disposal. It wasn’t her fault the most fun websites were swarming with viruses and scams. She hadn’t been dumb enough to fall for one of them, at least.

“Dawn, please focus.” Giles spoke gently, arranging her clothes before her. “I know it’s been difficult, but we must make do. If worst comes to worst, you have to know how to defend yourself.”

“C’mon, Giles.” She said, making him wince. “Sorry, Alfred. He gets to run around all night, every night, having fun. While I get in trouble for messing around on a computer.”

“A very expensive and powerful computer.” Giles said dryly. “I don’t pretend to be an expert on such things, young lady, but I do know if it had been damaged in some way, it would have been very difficult to repair. And that computer is a valuable part of their work at night, work that saves lives.”

Dawn slowly shrank under the lecture. “Alright, but still! I just don’t like being stuck behind.”

Giles gently squeezed her shoulder. “I know it’s been hard, Dawn. But he’s still doing the best he can for you. Nobody’s perfect, not even your brother, but he does care. He wouldn’t have brought you here if he didn’t.”

“You’re damned right.” Xander’s voice spoke from the door to her room. He smiled roguishly. “And my little sister deserves the best. There wasn’t any way in he...heck, I was going to leave you back in Sunnydale with dear old dad.”

Dawn gave him a smirk. “You can swear around me, you know. I know all the words. It’s not called the Heckmouth.”

Xander shrugged. “Sorry, habits.” He stepped forward and gave her a gentle hug. “Tell you what. If you manage to get through this next week without any trouble, I’ll see if I can call on your favorite person to come on over and visit.”

Dawn’s eyes widened. “You’ll call Superman for me?”

“You bet.” Xander nodded.

Dawn scrambled for her books, stuffing them in her backpack and nodded quickly, nearly rushing out the door. She paused at the doorframe, looking over her shoulder. “Alright! No problems! Got it!”

As she left the apartment, Xander and Giles shared a grin. Giles recovered his voice first.

“She hasn’t a hope in hell of catching him.”

Xander shrugged. “Yep. But she doesn’t know that. She might have a crush on him, but he can deal with a lovestruck teenager. And I’m not going to ask Faith to babysit. Not if I want there to be an apartment building left when I get back, anyway.”

The two men shared a shudder.



“I don’t care what the opposition is! I want my Key!” Glory shouted at the outwardly calm Lindsey.

“Please, great goddess.” He spoke in a placating tone. “We know that the Key is in the hands of one of the members of the Justice League. We just don’t know which one. And while we’d be quite happy to see all of them go at once, it would be best to remove each in turn. I’m certain your power is more than enough to defeat any of them apart, Divine One, but together they may come up with some means of trapping you in your mortal shell.”

Her eyes narrowed dangerously. “Are you saying you doubt I’d be able to take on this group of mortals, you little insignificant piece of pondscum? I’m finding myself wondering if you’d be so certain if I bent you backwards so you’d end up smelling every single bowel movement you had from now for the rest of your very short life.”

The ringing of a coin, and Angelus’ sardonic chuckle, brought the attention of both lawyer and Hell-Goddess. The vampire’s maimed face turned up in a smirk. “The gal has a point. We did bring you forth to ask for help. But there’s two things to keep in mind, your Magnificence. Without the bracelet on your wrist, you haven’t enough strength to manifest yourself, and you’re denied the majority of your powers due to the lack of your worshippers here. Meanwhile the Justice League has a champion of the Gods of Olympus, two unknown but very powerful beings, demigods at least, a huntress with a burning bow, and one weirdo running around in a bat costume. The last you shouldn’t be worried about. The first three, even you can use an edge.”

Glory’s eyes hardened. In less than a second, she was on the other side of the room, her fist buried inside Angelus’ chest. With a vicious smile, she ripped her hand out, squeezing the vampire’s heart to mush between her fingers as she dropped him on the floor, smirking at a very white Lindsey. “Now, I suggest you suited types start listening to me and giving me the appropriate respect I deserve, otherwise I’ll get...”

Laughter made her trail off as Angelus got back to his feet slowly, looking down at the ruined remnants of his suit. The wound in his chest sealed up within moments, and he gently patted the now-unbroken skin over his heart. He looked on Glory with a bit of amusement. “Would it have killed you to let me finish? I was about to say we’ve arranged for a few things to give your Magnificence everything she needs to overcome the gods of this realm, but if you’re not going to listen...”

Glory looked down at the crushed remnants of the heart in her hand, looking back and forth between Angelus and the destroyed organ. “Huh. I knew lawyers were heartless, but really.”

Angelus shrugged. “Insurance polices. Now, please? On the first floor we’ve laid out a room for you, Divine One. A shrine devoted to you, and all the human sacrifices you need to keep yourself charged up. I’m sure that any god here can’t stand up to you in your full glory, err...Glory. But we should hurry things along to make sure they don’t act before they realize you’re loose.”

Glory smiled, patting Angelus’ burnt cheek. “Aww, that’s so sweet! Sorry for ripping you open there. Tell you what. When I’m restored, I’ll fix you up real good.” With that, she dropped the crushed heart in Angelus’ hands, walking out of the lavish room with a sway in her step.

Angelus’ lip twitched. “Thank you.”

As Glory left, Lindsey swallowed hard. A moment later, Two-Face rested his back against the wall, sliding down to the floor on boneless legs. He groaned as he rubbed his chest, letting out a sigh. “Invincible or not, that hurt.” Looking up to Lindsey, he said tiredly. “First thing, make sure she’s well fed. And secondly....get me some fresh clothes. And a towel.” Absently rubbing his left hand, the Gem of Amara buried in his flesh, Two-Face silently thanked the magical artifact.

Lindsey let out a soft breath as he nodded. “Right. Anything else you need, boss?”

An indifferent shrug was Angelus’ response. “Some blood. I seem to have lost a pint or two. Hmm... Fresh Iowa virgin, I think. I find myself quite peckish.”



Buffy and Cordelia sighed almost as one. “Is he ever going to do something bad?” The Slayer complained. “A full week of watching him go to work, then go home, and the spending the rest of his time messing around. I was expecting him to execute a few employees at least.”

Cordelia nodded as she watched Harris Enterprises’ front doors through her binoculars. The hotel room overlooking the former Lexcorp office building provided an ideal vantage point, from which the pair of old friends could watch the comings and goings of Alexander Harris through relative safety. It was fairly expensive, but Cordelia could afford it. College didn’t appeal to her very much now, anyway. Still, if something didn’t materialize soon, by the end of the week they’d have to take a different tack.

“He’s got to be doing something.” Cordelia said absently. “We’re missing some pretty big chunks of time after he goes home. That apartment of his is well-sealed off.” She stiffened as Xander walked into view in his office, glaring at his phone. “Hey hey! Get the directional mike!”

Quickly grabbing the device, Buffy pointed it at the window opposite, tuning the machine carefully to the appropriate range and filtering out the background noise of Los Angeles. With both girls slipping headphones on, they quieted and listened in as Xander sat in his chair, anger unmistakable in his tone. They could only catch his side of the conversation, but hopefully that would be enough.

“I don’t care how you feel. You certainly didn’t. Here I’m a burden for twenty years, and suddenly you come making demands of me?”

“No. No. Hey, shut up! You’re damn right I can take that tone with you, asshole. Let’s see, how about you ask mom? Oh, right, she took off when they took Dawn away.”

Buffy and Cordelia shared a look at that, Buffy mouthing. ‘Dawn?’ Cordelia could only shrug.

“Yeah, like you deserve any respect. Gee, I’d be really sympathetic about your financial situation, if you hadn’t been drinking away every buck you earn and had me and Dawn living in the freaking basement. You didn’t even give a cursory call or try to file a police report when I stopped coming home at night. Now you’re begging me for money? You haven’t got any leverage, and you know it.”

There was silence for a moment, then he started laughing. “Yeah, right. You must have fried a lot of your brain cells, if you ever had any. She ran for the Child Protection Services van when we showed up. She wasn’t exactly fighting to stay at your side, dad. Only reason it didn’t show up earlier is because you filled our heads with horror stories about how things are worse at foster homes and orphanages. Did you think I was going to let my little sister stay with you?”

Xander barked out a laugh again at the response. “Good luck with that, dad. My inheritance came from mom’s side of the family, and it’s not like you’d ever care about who else was over there. I’d tell you to ask mom, but hey, she’s probably in Vegas by now. And I’m going to stop speculating there, because I frankly don’t want to know how mom lets her hair down.”

“Well fuck you too. That’s all the respect you deserve. Look at it this way, dad. Least you still have the house. I could just buy the land out from under you if I felt like it. I’m not going to really care about you, though. I’m indifferent to your fortunes. Go on, have a nice life. I won’t even bother showing up for your funeral. You’re not even worth the effort of showing up to water your grave.”

“You’re right. I wouldn’t say that to your face. I’d have just slugged you. Bye.” With an almost negligent flick, the phone went back on his cradle.

As Xander left his office, Buffy and Cordelia set down their headphones, frowns on each their faces. Buffy spoke first. “Well, he’s not an assassin, but he was certainly rude to his dad, there.”

Cordelia nodded slowly. “Weird.... I don’t remember him having sister there.”

“Things are different here.” Buffy pointed out.

“Yeah, but...” Cordy trailed off. “Willow’s alive here. When she died back...there, he first killed his father. Then my folks after my dad attended Willow’s funeral, for Willow’s parents.” Rubbing her chin in consideration, Cordelia tried to drag up the memory. “I think my dad tossed the flowers he brought a little offhand. I remember Harris glaring at him after that.”

Buffy nodded slowly, her own tone thoughtful. “It all came to Willow, there. What about here? As you said, she’s alive here, Cordy. That’s going to change things. What if whatever he’s doing now started because of her?”

Cordelia thought for a few moments, frowning, and then realization came to her features. “Bring up the pics. We need to go over everything again.”



Clark gently set Dawn down on the rooftop, shaking his head with amusement. She grinned up at him, nearly bouncing with excitement. “Can we fly again? Please please please? That was fun!”

“I don’t think so. As much fun as I have flying, it’s not a good idea for you to be along all the time. I wouldn’t want you getting dizzy and ruining someone’s day while we’re up there.” Clark said with some mirth. “Come on, we should see your other sitter for now.”

Dawn pouted. “Oh come on. Karen doesn’t take me along when she flies.”

He playfully ruffled her hair. “That’s because Karen doesn’t fall for those eyes. You sneaky brat.”

She playfully stuck her tongue out at him.

Clark’s grin grew wider. “Real mature there, shorty.” Whirling around in a tornado for a moment, Clark was no longer wearing the outfit of Superman, but rather a simple pair of jeans and a white T-shirt.

Dawn frowned as she looked him over. “You know, I think glasses would help separate this and Superman a bit more.”

He crooked an eyebrow at that. “You think so?” After a moment’s consideration, he shrugged. “I suppose. Who’s going to be fooled by a pair of glasses, though?”

Dawn shrugged. “Hate to say it, but people are dumb. People didn’t see the Mayor of Sunnydale hadn’t changed for a century. He never even held an election.”

With a tired sigh, Clark opened the roof access door and led the much shorter Dawn Harris down the stairs, to Karen’s apartment. With a quick double-tap on the door, Karen opened it and smiled at the pair. “Hey!” She said, hugging Clark. “Welcome to my digs in LA, bro.”

Clark swallowed awkwardly, grinning in return as he patted her back. “Hey Karen. Just dropping off Dawn here.” From behind him, the young girl gave a little awkward wave. “Is Xander around?”

Karen released him, grinning. “Yep. He’s just preparing everything for movie night. Even we’ve gotta take a break now and again, don’t we?”

“We’d go crazy otherwise.” Clark agreed. “What’s on the movie list?”

Karen smirked. “Gray Ghost Strikes Again.”

Dawn started laughing. Xander strode out of the kitchen, pizza slices on a plate as he looked as his laughing sister. “What’s so funny?”



Xander groaned. “That was awful.”

Karen playfully swatted his arm. “I dunno, Clooney looked pretty good in that outfit.”

Clark laughed at that. “It had nipples on the suit. Nipples! I’m shocked he didn’t kill his costume designer. The man has to be a saint.”

Xander sighed, shaking his head. “That’s just one problem. I’d say this movie was as cheesy and campy than Adam West’s show in the sixties, but that’d be an insult to Adam West. His show at least had a few points of seriousness.” He frowned, stroking his chin. “Actually, I’m having trouble remembering any, but there’s gotta be something. It was better than...that!”

Dawn shrugged. “I liked it. This is one of those movies you have to shut your brain off to enjoy. He’s much better on that TV show, though.”

“More like a lobotomy, I think. But yeah, I can see it. It was like watching a train wreck. Well, not really, because I’d be doing something to help stop it, but you get what I mean.” Clark said.

Karen got off the couch and stretched. “Excuse me boys, I have to visit the little girl’s room.”

As Karen stepped into the washroom, Xander lowly asked. “Any ideas for me, Clark? She’s a bit of a handful.”

Dawn snorted. “In more ways than one. I’m sure you’ve noticed the size of her-” She was stopped as Xander clapped his hand over her mouth, glaring at his little sister. She put an innocent look, somewhat ruined by her lip twitching beneath Xander’s hand.

Clark chuckled. “I noticed. Sorry, though, I can’t help you much. We weren’t raised together, after all. I can tell you that while she’s playful, she’ll always be available in a bind. You can trust her with your life.” He let out a forlorn sigh. “If not your privacy. I do like her, but I’m glad she found somewhere else to live.” His face grew very amused. “I don’t envy you, though. When she wants something, she gets it.” A serious tone entered his voice then. “And if you break her heart, well, I’ll send you on a long trip. Mars is nice this time of year. For me, anyway.”

Xander sighed. “And you’re not worried about her taking it out on me? Clark, if I broke her heart, I highly doubt there’d be enough left of me to send on a long trip.” Growing thoughtful, he spoke softly. “On the one hand, I do like her. On the other, she’s aggressive, and she can squish me as easily as I can crush a tin can. Easier, actually. I’m doomed. A very good doom, but a doom all the same.”

As he took his hand away from Dawn, she put on an impish smile as she finished her previous sentence. “Big tracts of land. If you don’t want her, big brother, I know a lot of guys who will. And a few girls at school, too. Who wouldn’t want to have a date with Karen Starr, model galore?”

Both Xander and Clark looked at her, blinking for a moment. She shrugged. “What? It’s true, and I do have eyes in my head, you know. I can’t help but notice her figure, and I’m jealous of her tracts-”

Xander clapped his hand over her mouth again. “I know. Believe me, sis, I know.” He grinned at her. “Keep talking like that, though, and I’ll begin to think you’ve got a fixation.”

Dawn’s eyes grew wide. Karen stepped back into the room then, smiling at the tableau. “Done talking about me, or should I take a quick hop over to China for some authentic Chinese food? That’s if Dawn isn’t finished talking about my ‘huge tracts of land.’”

Clark shook his head, grinning as the siblings blinked. “Super-hearing, remember?” He pointed out. “Kryptonians have lots of advantages."

Dawn jumped up, grabbing her empty can of soda. “Right, I’ll just...um...dispose my trash here.” She dashed for the kitchen.

Xander, Clark and Karen all shared a chuckle. Karen was the first to recover her voice. “Well, it’s good to see teenagers the universe over are all awkward.” Settling back on the couch beside Xander, she rested her head against his shoulder. “Now, what’s the next movie?”

Gently stroking her hair, he smiled. “The Protector with Christopher Reeves.”

Karen rose her head, and an eyebrow. “The first one, right? The fourth was pretty bad.”

Clark chuckled. “Don’t worry, it’s the first one. It’s the good one, even if they mess up with the time-travel thing toward the end.”

Dawn’s voice came drifting from the kitchen. “Hey, what’s this piece of mangled plastic in the garb....oh. Ew.”

Karen flushed as red as her alter-ego’s cape as she jumped to her feet. “Dawn!”



Joker smiled as he hung up the phone, licking his tortured lips. “Hey toots! It’s time! Get everything ready, we’ve got an asylum to take over!”

Harley walked into the room, smiling and twirling a baton. Joker let out a low whistle at the nurse outfit she was wearing. Her voice was mischievous. “So we head on over, use the security, take things over, and take out the big bad Bat. Why don’t we just shoot him, Mista Jay?”

He sighed. This was why he preferred ordinary minions. She just wasn’t ready to be a partner in crime yet, and explaining things was getting a bit tiresome. “It’s rather simple, Harley. I want the Bat. I don’t want the big blue boyscout to drop down out of nowhere and turn me into paste. Or the blonde gal. Or the two brunettes. The younger brunette, by herself, maybe...”

He paused for a moment, considering. “Well, I wouldn’t mind the last three dropping in for fun, but a completely different kind of fun, I think.” His eyes glazed over for a moment before he shook himself. “So while the Just-a-Fools are kept busy with the lawyer’s helping hand, we get our shot at the local man hidin’ in the shadows. Chances are pretty good, with what’s going on around the world, only one at a time will get to respond.” His horrid grin grew wide, stretching his scars. “And no matter what, we get rid of those idiots who think they’re the second coming!”

Harley frowned at that. “But then why are we inviting more guests to the list?”

Joker held up a newspaper, grinning as he tapped the picture. “Because Burnt-Face wants to say hello to an old friend. And I always have appreciated old friends. Us folks from Sunnydale really need to stick together! It’ll be nice to have a little taste of home in Arkham.”

The picture was of Harris Enterprises’ latest announced fundraiser, taking in donations for urban renewal projects. And Joker’s finger rested just beneath the owner’s face, one Alexander Harris.



A:N/ Yes, they watched the in-universe versions of Batman & Robin and Superman, respectively. You could never save the former, but the latter would be damned hard to improve on. So there ya go.

The End?

You have reached the end of "Depths of Arkham" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 26 Nov 10.

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