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Creatures of the Night

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

Summary: There are all sorts of creatures that haunt the night, and some are a lot scarier than others. A response to my own TTH Challenge 5613 and my own TTH challenge 1733.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
DC Universe > Batman
Highlander > General
GreywizardFR1825,4131227,95311 Feb 118 Jul 11No

Chapter One

Disclaimer: They all belong to Crack-Head Joss and ME, DC Comics, and Davis-Panzer Productions. Deal with it. I have.

Category: DC Universe and Highlander universe crossover.

Time Frame: Post Season Seven for the Scoobies, and post 'The Dark Knight.' Also note, since this is a universe of my own making, I will also eventually be incorporating other characters from various other media and the time frames on those 'verses will probably be altered, too.

Spoilers: None intended, but if you don’t know what happened up to this point, why are you reading this story?

Character Bashing: None.

Feedback: Of course!

Archiving: Talk to me first, please.

Author’s Note 1: Many thanks to Bill Haden and Theo (Starway_Man) for beta-ing this story.

Author’s Note 2: After writing 'Capes And Other Accessories,' my muse evidently decided to give the DC Comics universe equal time, and I wound up with this. ;-)

Author’s Note 3: As usual, “word” indicates speech, :: word :: indicates mental communication and { word } indicates a character's thoughts.

~~~

A currently unused warehouse
Port Adams area
Gotham City, NY

May 2, 2003


"Hmm, this guy definitely tasted different," Andrew Hoelich, one-time student of Sunnydale High School, CA and current at-large representative of the Wallenquist Organization, commented pensively as he let the black-costumed body of the obviously crazy – and soon to be quite dead – guy who'd interrupted his meeting with one of the local mid-level gangs drop to the floor.

"Had a kinda spicy flavor to his blood I don't think I've ever tasted before," the yellow-eyed vampire declared as he licked the last drop from his lips. "If I was planning on hanging around this town, I'd definitely be interested in tracking down his family and seeing if they all taste the same.

"So, what'd you say the papers call this psycho, anyway?" he asked, looking over at the wide-eyed, clearly intimidated gang member who stood near the warehouse entrance, shaking with fear.

"B-B-Batman," the terror-filled wannabe hardcase stammered an answer. "The editor of the Gazette called him 'the terror of the night' in his last editorial."

"Oh, he did, huh?" Hoelich grinned. "What the hell – that's an idea that's just begging to be followed up on," Andy said as he leaned down over the body and held his wrist above the near-corpse's face. Slicing his wrist open, he let a handful of his lukewarm, vampiric blood drip into the mouth before turning away.

"Now, once he wakes up, he really will be one of the terrors of the night," Andy smirked. "At least until someone eventually gets around to staking him, that is."

"You – you – you're gonna turn the BATMAN into a vampire like you?" the gangbanger said, an expression of disbelief on his face as he stared at the golden-eyed demon.

"Nope," Hoelich shook his head. "Not like me, pal – 'cause I'm as sane as they come. Anyone who runs around in some sort of costume like this idiot did, is definitely a nutcase."

"B-but the Batman's already messing things up for pretty much every gang in town already," the hired muscle whined. "Making him some bloodsucking fiend is just gonna screw up things around here even worse!"

"Well, too bad – it's not like it really matters all that much to me, does it?" Hoelich grinned nastily, his fangs glistening in the flickering overhead electric light. "I was just supposed to drop off this shipment of Orpheus to you guys, like my boss told me to do, and then I'm outta here.

"And for the record – I don't think I'd like to find out that someone staked my childe here, once I left this dump. It just might make me come back and deal – harshly – with the person responsible," Andy smiled malevolently at the punk, who was now all but wetting himself in fright.

"You guys got your shipment so, go on now, get out of here!" the soulless yellow-eyed demon ordered, and started laughing as the local mob minion immediately turned around and ran as fast as he could though the door.

Hoelich and his own minions followed him a few minutes later, laughing and making jokes about the crazy guy who'd dressed up like a bat, which was why no one was present to notice, several hours later, when small sparks of blue-white lightning began running along the jagged edges of the gashes on the torn-out throat and the various cuts and other wounds marring the body lying on the floor.

~~~

The metaphysical plane

The same time


As Andy Hoelich's vampiric blood trickled down Bruce's throat, one of the innumerable blood demons inhabiting the Abyss launched itself from its perch on one of the cavern walls of this particular level of Hell and soared upward through the ether, answering the metaphysical summons to possess a quickly dying human body.

At the very same instant his heart finally ceased beating as a result of the sudden violence of Hoelich's attack, the spark representing Bruce Wayne's potential for Immortality, his Quickening, flared into fullness, redoubling in size and intensity with each passing second as it spread through his currently lifeless body, permeating each cell it encountered with the latent energy that could restore him to life and preventing his soul from departing to either Heaven or Hell.

As the newly arrived blood demon seized possession of the cells Hoelich's tainted blood had infected, it began spreading its contamination further through the lifeless corpse, even as Bruce's Quickening sought to do the same thing, although it represented a different facet of the metaphysical plane which was interwoven with and throughout this particular physical manifestation of the megaverse.

Hours passed and the two opposing forces clashed innumerable times, each cell representing yet another new battlefield for control of the body which both the demon and the Quickening were each trying to infuse with their own essence.

Unlike the blood demon, however, the Quickening could modify its processes to meet and adapt to new requirements as circumstances demanded, allowing it to overcome whatever sort of cellular damage or contamination it might encounter, regardless of whether it was simple environmental pollution or radiation damage, or even a demon trying to remake the body into a vessel of darkness – a soulless creature of the night.

With each demonically tainted cell it encountered, Bruce's Quickening simply integrated it into its own framework and then annihilated the demonic impurity, flushing it from the cell's matrix and modifying its own restructuring of the cellular configuration so as to incorporate and provide the improved physical capabilities the blood demon typically made in its host, while maintaining its own control over the body.

Hours passed before final and total victory was achieved, but once the Quickening had permeated every single cell of the body, the potential metaphysical energy held in abeyance was released and blue-white sparks of the life-restoring Quickening began jumping across the torn and damaged flesh, repairing the damage which had triggered its initial activation.

The body suddenly writhed with that tell-tale blue-white lightning that Immortals exhibited when healing; only this time, the Quickening covered the corpse completely. Bruce jerked around for a few moments, and then a fine dust seemed to explode into the air around his body.

The non-corporeal blood demon had been sent back to the Abyss, enraged at being cast out of its new home, but also quite unable to prevent it.

~~~

The same unused warehouse
Port Adams area
Gotham City, NY

Many hours later


Bruce Wayne (although his alternate persona was now more commonly identified by the media as the Batman) opened his eyes and glanced around with a mixture of surprise and some concern, as he found himself lying amid rubble filling up what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse of some sort.

Pushing himself to his feet, Bruce was surprised to discover none of the aches or pains he would have expected to feel after having apparently spent several hours lying atop the debris on the warehouse floor, although his head seemed to be filled with persistent traces of a nightmare mixture of what had to be either some sort of delirium or hallucinations.

The Dark Knight could recall quite clearly tailing Julian Lorena and his underlings as they drove to the warehouse in which the drug gang routinely initially met up with their new suppliers, and where he'd concluded they'd meet the representatives of a drug dealer who'd only recently moved his operations into the city and who was offering them a brand new product called 'Orpheus' – a drug which was rumored to produce a high more intense and longer lasting than that of crack cocaine, while also allegedly bestowing additional, unspecified advantages to its long-term users.

Bruce could also remember lurking in the rafters of the warehouse where Lorena had met his suppliers and observing the negotiations, and then tossing several of his smaller flash-bang munitions amid the groups, sending Lorena and his minions scuttling out of the warehouse in terror, while he dropped a number of his incendiaries onto the drug bundles themselves, in order to ensure destroying that particular collection of poison.

He'd swooped down on one of his grappling lines, then, intending to seize one of the new gang members and interrogate them for information about who was trying to move into his city; he could remember that with no problem, at all. But that was when everything had ceased making sense – as the guy he'd grabbed had broken his hold effortlessly and had then actually picked him up and thrown him across the room, if he was recalling events properly!

He'd landed somewhat awkwardly near the smoldering bundles of drugs and he'd unintentionally inhaled some of the fumes as he tried to catch his breath. For the time in *years*, Bruce had been a bit woozy in the midst of combat, which most likely explained the ease with which the gang member who'd then attacked him had batted aside his defenses and beaten him down to the ground.

Being affected by the drug fumes would also explain why he remembered the gang member who'd assaulted him as possessing bright yellow eyes and some sort of deformed forehead as well as superhuman strength, and the hallucinations which had only made him think that his assailant had effortlessly broken his arms and legs during their fight.

The hallucinatory memory of his opponent opening his mouth, leaning in and biting him – fastening his teeth around his throat like some sort of rabid animal – was definitely the most disturbing sight he thought he could ever imagine, he decided as he dusted himself off, noting the various rips and tears marring his costume and uneasily fingering the jagged, ripped material that had previously covered his throat.

Although the extremely blurred semi-memory of tasting coppery blood in his mouth and hearing a voice off to one side laughing and saying something along the lines of, "Now, once he wakes up, he really will be one of the terrors of the night," came in a close second in the contest for horrifying memories, he reflected, seeing as how that particular one made Bruce think of the various vampire movies he'd occasionally watched as a child with Alfred.

Clearing his mind of the very disturbing and still lingering memories, Batman noted, now that he actually gave it some thought, that he felt great – he couldn't even feel any of the throbbing or twinges from the various bruises and contusions he'd gotten earlier in the week while patrolling Gotham's seedy underbelly.

The caped crusader frowned at that realization, and noted it as something that he'd have to have checked out as soon as he returned home to the Batcave.

Moving over to the less obstructed wall of the building, Bruce leaped upward, looking to grab the lowest rung of the access ladder leading to the door to the roof he's used to infiltrate the building earlier that evening, and was astonished to find he'd effortlessly jumped nearly thirty feet up the wall.

Reflexively grabbing hold of the ladder in front of him, the newly-activated (but unknowing) Immortal carefully made his way to the roof, marking down this new and unexpected display of strength as just one more item to be examined and evaluated at the earliest possible moment.

{ If this 'Orpheus' drug can provide me with this sort of strength enhancement just by breathing in some of its fumes, what sort of effect will it have on someone who actually gets a full dose? } Bruce asked himself as he quite carefully made his way back to the spot where he'd concealed the Batmobile.

{ I’m going to have to check this out in much greater detail, as soon as possible. }

~~~
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