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Pick-A-Number: Crossover - length - plot point

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Ficlet(s)

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

Summary: Another entry to the Pick-A-Number series. Stories in this grouping will include a crossover, a word limit and a plot point. Enjoy!

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > GeneralBeriaearwenFR1535,096071,22925 Feb 1116 Apr 11No

BtVS/Comic - 3000 words - pregnancy/children

Disclaimer: The characters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel the Series belong to J. Whedon, et al. The characters of “Batman” belong to DC Comics. All are used here without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.

Notes: 1) In this series of Pick-A-Number ficlets, the numbers tell me what crossover to use, what the word-limit will be and a random plot point to include.
2)In this story the random plot point was pregnancy/children. While I have another idea for this same series of numbers, when I started typing (after reading Magus's “Batman/Buffy: The Slayer Prophesy”) this is the story that came about. Maybe I'll write the other one too.

WARNING: I'm not an avid Batman fan, nor do I read the comics. What I know of that universe is from the fanfics here and from some very brief research at dc.wickia.com, and Saturday morning cartoons. It's a combination of various Batman incarnations and things that never were. It is AU after season 7 of Buffy. Characters will be out of character.


The Gotham Effect
By Beriaearwen

Buffy stood under the tree staring up at the moon and stars. For once her mind was mercifully blank.

"They don't know, do they, luv?"

"No."

"You going to tell them?"

"Tell them what, Spike? They're a bunch of scared little girls."

"And the Scoobies aren't much better. But don't you owe it to the little one there to keep it safe."

A bark of laughter escaped Buffy even as she felt tears prick her eyes. Her hand drifted down to her abdomen and she sighed. "The only way this one will be safe is if we end this threat and soon. The First is escalating and we need to as well." Glancing over at Spike she could see he hated it every bit as much as she did, but there really was no other option. The First started this war and Buffy couldn't take eight months off to wait.

"I know the father's from Gotham," Spike said, reaching for a cigarette before putting it away. At Buffy's inquiring look he tapped the side of his nose. "Could smell him on you and your scent's been changing. Didn't take a genius to put one and one together."

Buffy blushed and looked back out onto the night. "Today the doctor confirmed it. They were rushing to pack up and leave. I figured it would slip through the cracks, be unrecorded."

"Information unavailable to the others and the enemy."

Buffy nodded before moving and leaning her head against Spike's shoulder. She felt some comfort as his arms wrapped around her. "I'm scared."

"Being a mother is scary stuff. But you won't be alone in it. I'll stay by your side during this fight and after. Once we're done here, we can go to Gotham and track down the father. If he doesn't do right by you, then you just let Ol' Spike take care of him. Besides I've always wanted to meet one of the flying rodent brigade."

Buffy let out a short, soft laugh and shook her head. Pulling back a little, she looked up at Spike. "The father is one of the flying rodent brigade." Seeing the incredulous look on his face, Buffy sighed and rested her head against his shoulder once more. "I went to pick up Beth. While I was at her place, a group of vampires walked by. I went to take care of them, but she made me put on a mask.  By the time I caught up with them, they'd met with another group and there was a demon. I took care of the vamps, but the demon took off.

"After a while I caught up to him, but we were near some abandoned warehouses. I tackled it, but we went through the wall of one of the warehouses. There was already something going on inside, but I didn't really pay attention. After killing the demon I finally looked around and saw the batman and a few of the others fighting. One of them took a hit and headed toward me. Since that made me step in the disintegrating demon, my shoes were ruined."

"And you joined the fight."

"And I joined the fight. Only this... villain, or whatever, managed to send both of us flying back into this big pile of dust type stuff. It, uh, had the effect of..."

Spike snickered, knowing Buffy was blushing. "So you and who? And where?"

"Stop enjoying this so much, it's embarrassing," Buffy grumbled.

"No luv," Spike said, his voice softer. "It's not embarrassing."  His face darkened as he thought about what it was. "But it did give you a wonderful gift that neither Peaches nor I ever could."

Buffy looked up and offered a soft smile of thanks. Taking a deep breath, she continued. "Not sure of his name, but he had a black suit with a blue V on it and really dark hair."

"Nightwing," Spike supplied.

"We weren't over concerned with where until we heard the sirens from the police. He grabbed me around the waist and next thing I knew we were swinging through the air.

"I didn't really notice where we were going, but eventually there was a bed."

"The next morning I woke up. He was still sleeping, but it was late and... well... I didn't know what to do, and Beth was waiting and it wouldn't take long for the Bringers to find her... so I got dressed and left."

"You didn't think to get his name?"

"It was... I was... No. All I could think of was getting away.”

"We'll find him," Spike assured, holding her for a few minutes longer, enjoying the precious moment of peace before the chaos and horror of their current war intruded.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Batman landed almost silently at the back of the alley. Keeping to the shadows he moved forward and peered further into it from where the sounds of fighting were coming.

He paused when he heard a female voice a correction and then another few hits and silence. There were a few mumbled words and then the sound of one person retreating.

"So are we just going to chat here in the alley or should we get comfortable somewhere else?"

Batman started and turned. He struggled to make out the person who spoke. He knew they were in the shadows on the other side of the alley, but couldn't make them out. He recognized the voice as the woman who spoke earlier. He didn't know how she got around him, but he didn't like it.

"OK. Alleyway it is," she said, stepping out of the shadows to reveal a petite form topped with blonde hair and wearing a mask. "I'm not here to stay, not treading on your turf, though you really could use someone here. A few months ago I was here and our paths crossed while you were taking down... someone or another. Apparently Nightwing and I ended up overdosed with some sort of magic powder which... well... it's had some lasting effects," she said placing a hand on her slightly rounded abdomen.

Batman's eyes grew wide at the implication. Before he could gather his thoughts, he found himself staring at a business card he didn't even know he'd taken.

"Nightwing has a right to know. If he wants to talk, he can reach me at that number. Gotta go now Batman. Got a wicked craving for white pizza with broccoli, shrimp and chocolate sauce."

He watched her disappear into the shadows before he could speak. Looking down at the card once more, he saw there was nothing but a phone number in the middle.

He remembered that night she mentioned. He knew Nightwing had disappeared, but never found out the reason. Frustrated by the younger man's refusal to elaborate on why he'd abandoned the fight, they had exchanged words he regretted.

Now he knew and he understood why Nightwing hadn't said anything to him.

His jaw clenched thinking of the rift that stood between him and Nightwing as well as Bruce and Dick. The problem was, while Batman had been the one to create the distance, Nightwing was the one who refused to bridge it. He'd known at the time he hurt his son, but it had seemed necessary.

Maybe this unexpected twist would be the beginning of the bridge they needed to repair their small family.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"You bellowed, oh Batty one?"

Batman's hands tightened into fists. He didn't appreciate the flippancy, sarcasm or the bitter bite to Nightwing's words, but there were more important issues on the table.

"Four months ago you disappeared from a fight."

The smirk disappeared off Nightwing's face and his eyes drifted to the side so he wouldn't have to look at Batman.

Batman noticed the heightened color on Nightwing's cheeks and couldn't decide if it came from embarrassment or anger. At one time he would have known. “There were some lasting effects from your activities of that night,” he added, choosing to use the words the woman had.

Nightwing turned quickly, looking his mentor and guardian. He instantly understood what that phrase meant and had no idea how he felt about it.

Taking a chance, Batman reached out and put a hand on Nightwing's shoulder. “We need to discuss this somewhere else, somewhere safer.” He watched as Nightwing took in their surroundings on the roof of a building overlooking Crime Alley. “Come home, son.”

Nightwing turned quickly, eyes wide in shock at hearing the endearment from Batman, at the longing tone that weighed every word of the plea. He still hurt from Batman's words and actions, but maybe, just maybe it was time to try and mend some fences. And in truth, he really did want to talk to his father about this. Nodding his agreement, Nightwing turned and began making his way back to his motorcycle.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Three men were sitting around a comfortable table in the break-room area Alfred added to the cave. Anything having to do with the Bat Family was discussed in the cave. Nothing of their vigilante exploits was ever discussed in the mansion and this situation was a Bat issue, not a Wayne one. Still, it was nice to sit at the table like they had so often when Dick was growing, just him, Bruce and Alfred.

“Here's the card she gave me,” Bruce said. “I dusted for fingerprints and ran them through the regular databases. Got a ping from the army, but couldn't get information.”

You couldn't get information?” Dick asked, his voice incredulous.

Bruce just nodded. “And I won't let Oracle try either. There are some things we don't need to know and the way that file is guarded and encrypted... We don't need to know.”

Silence descended on the trio as Dick stared at the card. “What should I do?” he whispered.

He'd always thought that someday he would have kids, though he'd been a little unclear on the wife part since the one woman he thought might work out didn't seem to want him. But this... He remembered more of that night than he felt comfortable admitting even to himself.

“Master Dick,” Alfred said, snapping Dick out of his memories. “Perhaps it would be best if we began this by having you answer some simple questions.”

Dick stared at Alfred and nodded his agreement. He'd take whatever help he could and Alfred was a master at leading him in determining his course of action.

“Do you want to know your child or not?”

For a moment, Dick blinked and considered. Could he really live knowing he had a child out there somewhere and never be involved in its life? Honestly, no he couldn't. “Yes, I want to know my child.”

“Do you want your child to know you as Nightwing only or as Dick Grayson as well?”

Could he live his life without his child knowing him, knowing his face, knowing his past, knowing the reasons that drove him? Could he have lived like that with Bruce? “I want my child to know all of me.”

“Then you will need to call the young lady and let her know these things,” Alfred advised.

He glanced at Bruce who was sitting stiffly in his chair. As much as he wanted his child to know all of him, he knew Bruce was uncomfortable with the idea of revealing himself to anyone.

Dick wasn't sure he was ready to reveal his identity to a woman who worked on something so classified that Batman couldn't even get her name. Maybe it was time to ask Bruce the same questions. “Will you want to be involved in my son or daughter's life?” one corner of his mouth lifted in a smirk as he added, “Grandpa.” He laughed and saw Alfred's smile as Bruce's eyes widened and his mouth opened a little. Obviously he hadn't thought of that aspect of things.

“I'm too young to be a grandfather,” Bruce finally managed, a certain amount of horror in his voice.

Dick watched carefully, though, as his father-figure absorbed the idea. He saw something in Bruce's eyes soften slightly and knew that at least Bruce would be involved. He highly doubted Batman would. His suspicions were proven correct a moment later.

“I'd be happy to have you and your child visit at the manor. Somehow the big, old place seems more alive with children in it.”

Dick and Alfred exchanged a glance, but said nothing. They would each mark this day as a special one. Only very rarely did they get to see the man behind the mask – be it Batman's or Bruce's. And, of course, it was special because Dick actually managed to resist pointing out that Bruce could fill the manor with children if he'd finally settle down. Such a wide open door was difficult to resist.

“Will you tell the child's mother who you are behind the mask?” Alfred asked.

Dick hesitated, before admitting. “I don't know. It depends on a lot of things. But, for this first meeting, I will definitely be going as Nightwing.”

“We'll leave you to make your call, then,” Bruce said, rising from his chair. Alfred followed suit and the two were quickly out of earshot.

Fingering his cell, he took a deep breath and closed his eyes, trying to force away the nervousness trying to choke him. Unfortunately, closing his eyes brought back images from that night, the actions and the conversations. He quickly opened his eyes and released the breath before taking another deep breath and releasing it slowly.

With decisive movements he dialed the number on the card.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Buffy sat in the remarkably comfortable chair in her hotel room staring out at the Gotham night.

Things in her life had been chaotic since before her first trip to this city four months ago. The final two months in Sunnydale were almost unbearable, especially once the morning sickness – or in her case sunset sickness – began. In a way it figured that slayers would get their morning sickness when the sun went down and it was time to hunt.

She'd been terrified when the sword ran her through, worried not about dying, but about her child's safety. Fortunately, the sword stroke seemed to have missed the little peanut.

Rubbing her hand over the slight protrusion of her stomach, she knew her child was more than a little peanut now, but back then, she'd been grateful he or she was so small.

The loss of Spike had been devastating.

The trip to LA to inform Angel that he could stand down was long and painful. The ensouled vampire had been furious that the others dragged her so far, her wound only partially treated and in her condition.

A smile of amusement curved her lips as she recalled everyone's reaction when they finally figured out what her “condition” was.

They'd been supportive in their own ways, but Buffy just wasn't in the mood to let them in again, not yet. The pain the lies of the First had inflicted were too raw to begin healing. She'd stayed in LA with Anne while she recovered and worked in the shelter as she could. The work was hard, and it was difficult to see so many hurting, but it was rewarding in its own way and did much to heal some of the wounds to her soul.

Eventually, after Giles got hold of some of the Council's money and paid Buffy and the others their wages for the current year to date. He would be doing back-pay once things settled down. Once she had money to travel, Anne convinced Buffy it was time to go back to Gotham and fill Nightwing in on his impending fatherhood.

She had no idea where things were going with her life, where she intended to go, what she intended to do, but she was beginning to think that finishing her degree and working in or starting a shelter like Anne's might not be such a bad idea, or a bad example to her little one. Helping people was always a good idea, and it would give her contacts and information on where her slayer skills might be needed. The world outside Sunnydale was very different, as she'd learned the summer she spent in LA, fortunately, her own experience and Anne's insights taught her how to work in that world.

She still wasn't sure how much of a role she wanted to play in the new council or how much she wanted her old friends to play in her and her child's life. Dawn would, of course, have a role to play, but anyone else?

She also had to figure out how much to tell Nightwing about her world, her work. Gotham's supernatural population was exceedingly small for such a large town, not that she blamed them, even demons enjoyed having a safe place to sleep where they didn't have to worry about the psycho of the week trying to kill them, where they only had to worry about their own community and the slayer. She wanted him to be involved in their child's life, but knew it would be safer if he wasn't involved in her world. How she would accomplish such a thing she had no idea, but a small part of her hoped that he would let her into his world so she could let him into hers. Though it was a foolish thought, a tiny corner of her heart wondered what it would be like to be a family.

The sound of a phone ringing disturbed her train of thought. Picking it up, she opened the phone. “Hello?”

End
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