Disclaimer: Full disclaimer at the start, but I still own nothing. Fox TV owns the "Buffy show", Joss Whedon originated the Buffy universe, and Batman and all other DC characters are owned by Warner Brothers and DC Comics. I make NO profit from this fix whatsoever, I just do it out of love. Foreword: I apologize about the big delay between chapters. It took some thrashing out, watching the movie some more, putting the chapter aside and more rewriting after a while. I do have the seventh chapter outlined, so the delay between the next couple of chapters should be minimal. Helpful criticism is wanted, so R&R's do help. -- TL Chapter 6
The next morning, Buffy had her first official trip to Wayne Enterprises. Her dad had wanted to meet with Lucius Fox to discuss that flash drive he'd taken from the Gotham Stock Exchange guys, and she'd insisted on tagging along.
The ride to Wayne Tower was surprisingly uneventful, but just as scenic and beautiful as it was when Buffy had first arrived, so that was a plus. She inwardly whistled at the 108 stories of glistening steel and glass as Alfred dropped them off at the entrance.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" Bruce asked, opening the doors for her as the two made their way inside.
"Kinda empty though," Buffy remarked, noting the conspicuous lack of office noise as their footsteps echoed throughout the lobby.
"Normally Lucius would be home like everyone else, but this is a special case. Shouldn't take too long." Bruce made a beeline for the elevator doors, and Buffy was quick to follow.
"Do you think he's got some new toys he could show us?" Buffy prompted innocently as the two stepped inside. At her father's look, she shrugged. "If I'm going to be your sidekick…"
Bruce gave her a pained look. "Don't say sidekick."
"Well, that's who I am, right? Batman and the Blonde Wonder…"
"Sidekick sounds too… childish," Bruce demurred. "I like the name they gave you… the Slayer."
"You know the press will just call me Batwoman or Batgirl right?" Buffy rolled her eyes. "They would only call me Slayer if I actually kill someone. Which, considering the city's woeful
lack of vamps and demons, not happening."
"Well, Gothamites think I killed Harvey Dent… but they still call me Batman."
She paused. "Point taken."
As the elevator smoothly came to the designated floor, Buffy couldn't help herself. "Besides, it doesn't sound right: Batman, Superman, and the Slayer. Doesn't roll off the tongue well and, well… Batwoman has a nice ring to it. Oooh, what do you think about Wonder Woman?"
Bruce just sighed.
"Ah," Lucius removed his reading glasses and got up from his desk. "On time for a change, Mr. Wayne."
"Well… my daughter here is keen to see the inner workings of Wayne Enterprises." Bruce smiled warmly at Buffy. "Seeing as she will run it someday."
"Never too early to start," Lucius said warmly, extending his hand for a shake. "Pleasure to meet you, Elizabeth."
Buffy gave his hand a firm, quick pump. "Call me Buffy. Everyone does."
"That's quite a firm handshake you got there, Buffy," Lucius smiled, a knowing look in his eyes. "Like father, like daughter."
"Exactly." Buffy flashed him a beaming smile.
"Which brings me to the point of our special meeting," Bruce cut in. He pulled out the bent flash drive from his coat pocket and handed it to Lucius. "Bane's guys had this hooked up to the computer tablet. When I got to the last guy, an unknown application had just finished transferring."
"Let me see." Lucius went back behind his desk and effortlessly plugged the drive into the CPU of his desktop computer. After a few mouse clicks, his hands flew over the keys for a few seconds. After a beat, he frowned. "Seems like this Bane fellow was trying a hostile takeover over the majority shares of Wayne Enterprises, using your fingerprints."
"You said he tried," Buffy said, her brow furrowed.
"He did," Lucius confirmed. "But a few days ago, the Stock Exchange implemented a failsafe measure that would prevent this kind of thing from happening. It was both a firmware update to the main databases as well as extensive hardware wiring."
"This Bane guy is a smart cookie," Buffy mused. "He would've had to know about this, days before this happened. So why go through all the trouble?"
"Unless… unless the point wasn't
about the shares and the media attention," Bruce surmised. "He did this to draw me out."
"Us," Buffy put in. "He meant to draw us
out. He wanted to see what'd you do. What I would do, whether I was your weakness or not. Like he knows Clark's weakness."
"What would've happened had the shares been overrun?" Bruce asked. "Would that mean that I would be…"
"You'd be wiped out, financially," Lucius said. "You would have to transfer your remaining shares and control of the company to someone else with comparable rank."
Bruce's face darkened. "I would've had to sell the rest of the shares to Daggett. Or Miranda Tate."
"You wouldn't be entirely cleaned out," Lucius continued. "They'd probably let you keep the house."
"Small comfort," Buffy shuddered as she considered, had that happened. Back in her own dimension, her mom had struggled to pay the bills back when they first moved into Sunnydale -- even with running an art gallery full-time. Then that time she'd endured a waitressing job at Carl's Diner after leaving home, before returning to Sunnydale. It was tough and the pay was lousy, but it felt like a temporary respite from the pain she endured. Still, she'd endured far worse.
"There's more," Lucius announced. "This flash drive was sourced from that computer tablet the police found on the suspect. Using both items, we can trace the IP signal to the exact location of where the application was sourced from…"
"How long do you think the trace would take?" Bruce demanded.
Lucius shook his head. "I'm not sure, Mr. Wayne. Maybe an hour, possibly more to get the exact coordinates."
"Good," Bruce turned to leave. "Come on Buffy. We'll need time to tell Commissioner--"
"Wait a minute," Buffy interjected, grabbing Bruce's arm. "We need to think this through before we go in guns blazing."
"I have a plan--"
Buffy shook her head. "We know Bane did this show to get us out last night. Don't you think that he knows we will go after him, especially after he let his accomplices get arrested? He's not stupid. He's too smart for that." Already she could see her dad's idea in place, but she had a better one in mind. One that would require more time than what her dad planned.
"So, your dad enlist you for this?"
Buffy started, but relaxed in the passenger seat in the police cruiser as it cruised downtown Gotham.
"He didn't encourage me to, if that's what you're saying," she replied, casting a glance towards the officer behind the wheel beside her. He looked like that guy she saw in Third Rock from the Sun
, only fifteen years older and with a more sensible haircut. He wasn't studly like Clark or had the playboy demeanor of her dad, but there was something about him that Buffy found herself drawn to. "More like a civic duty."
The officer's eyebrows knitted in surprise. "For a billionaire's daughter, you're pretty down to earth," he replied. "John. John Blake."
"Call me Buffy."
John cracked a smile. "Not the kind of nickname for a Gotham socialite, but I approve. You can call me Blake."
"Blake. It's a good name." Buffy paused. "You related to Commissioner Gordon?"
"Nah. Rough childhood." Blake paused. "Don't know if you can relate to that."
"Well… I can." Buffy admitted. "More middle class-ish. Mom was my link to the world. We didn't see eye to eye all the time, but her heart was in the right place. She raised me as best she could, and I love her for that.
"When she died, it was like the rug was pulled out from beneath me and I was just drowning in my own guilt for the next few days. For all the dangerous…" Buffy caught herself from mentioning 'demons', "… people out there, Mom died of a brain aneurysm. And yet I felt that I could've saved her. If I had only had done this, that she would still be here. I only knew about Dad up until a few months ago, when Mom's will was read."
An uncomfortable silence filled the car. Buffy felt equal parts embarrassment and sadness. Embarrassment at spilling her inner feelings to a guy she barely knew, and sadness at reliving those painful memories. Sadness at losing her mom, and the very real possibility of not returning to Sunnydale.
"You're not alone," Blake said, after a few minutes. "Others are out there wallowing in their own guilt over someone they couldn't save. That's part of the grieving process. Life goes on."
"And you just brush it off?" Buffy shot back.
"I grew up in foster care," Blake said. "When I started working for Gotham's finest, plenty of families were torn to pieces by the shit justice system and the high crime rate in the Narrows. Even with the Dent Act and Batman keeping things in check, it's still a nightmare out here. You just have to immune yourself to it, otherwise you'd lose it after seeing it the first few times. It's part of the job."
Silence reigned once more for the next couple of moments.
"You seem to be getting along with your dad," Blake said, deciding to break the silence.
Buffy shrugged, her Slayer side coming to the fore. "Well, what's there to say? There's more to him than you know." At Blake's raised eyebrow, she amended, "Aside the whole vigilante-at-night thing, that is."
Blake just left it at that. He slowed down the cruiser and turned off the ignition. He took in the location they were in, took a second glance at the GPS navigator on the dashboard and frowned. "Well, we're here."
Buffy looked around, also confused. "It didn't take that long."
"It didn't," Blake confirmed, opening the door and climbing out. "We're just outside the perimeter of Wayne Enterprises' Applied Sciences division."
"You're right. Something smells funny," Buffy frowned. "Nothing that says 'Criminal mastermind… tread carefully' or anything suspicious. Unless…"
"Unless…?" Blake pressed on.
"Unless… the coordinates are under
the ground." Buffy picked up the duffel bag lying on the floor board, opened the passenger door and joined Blake outside the cruiser. Placing the bag on the ground, she unzipped it and pulled out the two handheld scanners. Placing those aside, she also drew out a chisel.
"What's that for?" Blake asked, bending over to examine one of the handheld scanners.
"Lead detection," Buffy replied, placing the chisel on the ground. She pulled out her cell phone from her jacket and hit the quick dial for Clark. He picked up after the second ring.
"It's me," she said, wanting to keep words to a minimum. She didn't know whether Blake knew about Superman's secret identity, so she decided to play it safe. "You in place?"
"What's your coordinates again?"
Buffy rattled off the coordinates from Blake's GPS navigator.
Blake was confused. "Hey, who are you talking to?"
Buffy made several shooing motions and turned her back on Blake to give herself some privacy. She waited for Clark's response.
Clark's reply was uncertain. "Hold on a minute… yes."
"Can you see anything under us?"
"Hardly. No big details."
"Thanks. Gotta put you on hold," Buffy turned back to a confused Blake.
"Grab of these scanners. Flip the green switch on to get it going." Buffy carefully eased her phone back into her pocket and picked up the chisel.
"Where do you want me to scan?" Blake asked, looking a little lost.
"Just the area around you," Buffy replied, dusting off her hands. Kneeling down on the ground, she slammed the chisel down at a downward angle several times, and pried up a big concrete slab.
Putting the chisel and slab to the side, she picked up her scanner, switched it on and carefully ran it over the concrete. Her eyes widened at the readings.
"Yep. Just what I suspected." Buffy said, looking to Blake, who was back a little ways away. "How about you?"
"The scale's off the charts," Blake noted, returning to Buffy's side. "Way too much lead here."
Buffy pulled the phone out of her pocket. "Knew it. Dad is usually on the up-and-up on this stuff." She took another critical glance at the concrete slab she'd chiseled out of the ground. "Looks like it's pretty new. Maybe this happened while he was in his recluse phase."
"It looks fresher than that," Blake noted, tracing the contours and grain of the debris. "Maybe a couple of weeks old, tops." He then turned his back to give Buffy more privacy, as she picked up her phone and continued her earlier conversation with Clark.
"Okay, we were right. Plan A."
"Bane can't get his hands on Dad's armory," Buffy said. "No matter what. Get Lois to help if you have to. Now." She cut off the phone and shoved it in her pocket.
"Say what?" Blake asked, as Buffy gathered up the items and shoved them back in the duffel bag.
"It's only a matter of time before Bane raids the Applied Science division with a bomb or something," Buffy said, yanking open the trunk on the cruiser and shoving her bags in the back.
"Are you an Army colonel or something?" Blake asked, astonished.
Buffy spared him a quick glance. "Something like that."
"So what's our next move?" Blake prodded.
"Ah," Buffy looked around and brightened as she heard a sonic boom, something heavy impacting a roof, and the sound of metal caving in nearby. "You can help out."
"What about you?"
"Me? I'll have to borrow your car."
"Damage control. Don't worry, we'll swap." Buffy pulled out an oddly-shaped car key, plucked Blake's keys off his belt and shoved her key in his hand. "It works on all of them."
"I don't follow."
"You know that big tank Dad has?" At Blake's nod, she continued. "Lucius has several more prototypes in the warehouse. Works like just any car. The main priority is those prototypes. You and Superman have get those out, no matter what."
"Anything else?" Blake asked, but already he was starting towards the damaged warehouse.
Buffy paused. "Can you drive stick?"