Buffy goes to Gotham to visit her cousin after Sunnydale fell.Disclaimer:
Don't own Buffy or Batman.Word Count:
This is not connected in any way to my previous Batman stories. No set Batman canon, either, but I like the house in the Nolan films. This is for hellbells
, who is in the process of feeding more of my addiction. So here's a nibble for yours, lady!
After the collapse of Sunnydale, Buffy and the others decided to rebuild the Council and make it what it should have been all along; a support base for slayers. That was all well and good, and they did it. It took most of the summer to get access to the current Council accounts, but they did it. It took another couple of months until the Council was running smoothly enough that those who were in Sunnydale could take a break. Willow was going to join her parents in Germany, where they were currently speaking on child psychology. Xander, who didn't much care for any of his family, was going to Africa to round up whatever slayers he could find there. Likewise, Giles was going to be making plans and setting schedules for when everyone returned. Dawn was, surprisingly, going to visit Hank. The new slayers that had been in Sunnydale were either going to be training with Faith (who couldn't wait to get out of the US and stay in Scotland at their training center) or visiting their own families. That left Buffy. She was going to visit a cousin on her mother's side out in Gotham.
Buffy's cab let her out in front of Wayne Manor just as a spiffy sportscar roared up the drive. She never was good at knowing the various cars out there, but she could tell this one was expensive
in a way that even her little rich friends from Hemery would have been hard pressed to buy. Instead of continuing around the drive to put the car away, the man stopped it and got out, looking curiously at the blonde looking up at the house. She watched him from her peripheral, and thought that what she could see was cute.
“Excuse me, miss, but can I help you?” he asked her politely. His voice was pleasant enough, she thought.
Turning to him, she smiled. “Hi! I'm actually looking for my cousin and was hoping he was here.”
The dark haired man blinked. He didn't think he had
any blonde cousins. She was likely another one of those that were trying to cash in on a Wayne family connection, then. His expression cooled considerably.
“I don't believe that I have any cousins, actually,” he said, and she couldn't help but feel the chill from his tone. But she blinked at him in a very confused way, as well.
“That's good, I guess? Look, I don't even know who you are. My cousin's name is Alfred. Alfred Pennyworth.”
The man – formerly cute, now just weird... okay, still cute – stared at her a moment before he laughed. “Follow me, then!” This time, his tone was warm and jovial.
Following him up the never ending steps, Buffy considered him. He had a very nice backside, she decided, following that for a few steps until she placed a foot wrong and nearly tripped. Slayer balance kept her upright and with minimal embarrassment, thankfully, and they finally arrived at the front door. Buffy was only glad that she had dropped her bags off at the hotel beforehand.
The door opened and a man she hadn't seen since before she moved to Sunnydale stood there. She hadn't been able to reach him in time for him to make it to her mother's funeral as he'd been out of the country with his boss and she only had one number for him then. He must not have noticed her right away, though.
“Master Bruce, might I inquire as to if you plan on going out again?”
“Not at all, Alfred.”
“I'll just put the car away for you then,” he said in that reproving yet very British manner that Giles always got when she left her weapons out after training or slaying and he had to pick them up when she was well able to do it herself. She hid a smile behind her hand and bit her lip to keep from laughing.
“Oh no, Alfred! I'll take care of the car. You have a visitor,” the man – Bruce Wayne himself, apparently – said as he moved aside.
“A visitor? Who- Buffy? Oh my! It is wonderful
to see you, my dear!” Alfred said, taking the small blonde into his arms. “And is Dawn here, as well?”
“Nah, Dawnie went to see Dad.”
“And why didn't you go with her?” he asked, leading her to a sitting room so they could talk.
“The question really should be why did she go see him? It's not like he's cared since we moved to Sunnydale.”
“Buffy, I know things have been rough since Joyce died, but,” Alfred began, trying to put his question delicately. He saw Bruce slip into the room and that just made his question all the harder to ask. “Well, do you need help?”
Buffy blinked at him for a moment then gave a sweet laugh that Alfred hadn't heard in far too long. “Oh goddess, no! After we got control of the Council's assets, money isn't really going to be an issue.”
The Council? Alfred wondered about that, and resolved to ask Bruce to look into the dealings of this Council later; provided he was able to find out what, exactly this Council was, or at least their proper name. But now, a more pressing question.
Buffy interrupted, but he didn't mind this time. “Why am I here? After we got everything set up, all of us that were in Sunnydale decided we needed a break. So most of us have gone to visit family, let them know we're safe and made it out. The usual survivor thing, I guess.”
Alfred met Bruce's gaze for a moment before waving him forward. “I apologize, Buffy. This is Bruce Wayne. Master Bruce, this is my cousin, Buffy Summers.” He felt that prying information from Buffy would be easier for Bruce. He had a charm that could be put to use and even if Alfred had the same, he assuredly wouldn't use it on his cousin. Buffy stood to greet the man who led her to Alfred.
“Pleasure to meet you, Mr Wayne.”
“The pleasure's all mine, Miss Summers. I wasn't aware Alfred had any family left.”
“Oh, it's just me and Dawn left now. Alfred is... let me see if I can remember right. First cousin twice removed? Anyway, he and my grandmother were cousins, but Mom said she and Cousin Alfred were closer in age, a mere decade apart.”
“And did I hear you say that you were doing the 'survivor thing'?” And there was the question Alfred had been trying to find a way to phrase properly. “What did you mean by that?” Bruce asked.
Buffy cocked her head. “Didn't either of you hear about Sunnydale? I know it was all over the international news for weeks after it happened.”
Bruce and Alfred exchanged another look, this one noticed by Buffy and she sighed. “Oh boy. So you haven't heard? That would
explain why you didn't call, Cousin.” She shook her head and settled back into her seat. “Sunnydale turned into a sinkhole back in May. We were the last group to make it out.” And wasn't that
“Really? I can't believe I hadn't heard a thing about it,” Alfred said while Bruce was typing away on his phone, bringing up the relevant news articles.
“It says here that the devastation was total and the entire town
is gone!” he read. He began frowning as he read more. Something wasn't right about this. “And is this right? There were no tremors or any indication that anything was wrong, yet the whole town evacuated over a series of weeks?”
“Yup! Sunnydale citizens always did have almost a sixth sense about things,” Buffy answered gaily, but inside she was squirming. She had expected that they'd heard about it already and so she wouldn't have to go through the initial disbelief and skepticism. And Cousin Alfred had always been sharper than most. A man he practically raised was likely to be just as sharp. Crap.
“Look, Alfred. I only came by to let you know Dawn and I were safe, and it was a really long trip here from Scotland,” except it really wasn't since she used the Willow Express, and she smothered the pang of guilt she felt for lying to the man, but she had to get out of here, “so if you don't mind, I'm just gonna grab a cab and head back to my hotel. I'm here for a week, so I'll come by bright and early, if you don't mind, and we can spend some time together. I promise not to be in the way or anything, but I'm really tired.” Well, the time change did
screw with her a bit... not as much as she's claiming, but it worked for her.
“That's quite alright, Buffy. No need to call a cab, either. I'll gladly give you a lift.”
“Absolutely! Alfred will see you back to your hotel, and he'll be by to pick you up at eight.”
Buffy blinked again. This authoritative man was not the same man who'd been in the room with her this whole time. Bruce Wayne was a man who bore watching.
Bruce was down in the Batcave when Alfred returned from dropping his cousin off. She was staying at one of the nicer hotels, she'd said, because of the lower crime rate in that area. Not that there was a low crime rate anywhere in Gotham, really, and he hoped she wouldn't leave. A nubile young woman like that was bound to attract attention of the wrong sort.
But currently, Bruce was trying to find out what really
happened to that southern California town. Everything he found claimed it was seismic activity, but there was no indication of any tremors either before or after the town turned into a crater. But there was something very wrong with it. There would have to be some form of indication that an entire town was going to sink into the ground. And the crater, itself. It was perfectly round. The town sank into the earth on its own damned border lines! There was something very
fishy about Sunnydale, California and Buffy Summers knew what it was. Her hasty and abrupt need to leave said as much. But Bruce would put it off until he could learn more. Now was the time to find out about this Council she, what? Worked for? Owned? Ran? Her phrasing was really vague and could mean any or all of the above. So he dug into Buffy Summers, and the more he read, the less he liked. It seemed that Batman would have to make a visit to the city's newest arrival.
Buffy left the hotel dressed to slay and knew she looked good, too. Black leather had a way of making a girl feel sexy, especially when it framed her ass so nicely. What she wasn't expecting was to have a human thug try to grab her from an alleyway that she was passing. One punch to the jaw had the man flying backwards and knocking his head on the brick wall, losing consciousness as he fell. Next thing she knew, the local vigilante was in front of her, herding her into that same alleyway. She groaned and looked skyward.
“Why couldn't you just put a nice vamp or ten in my path instead?” she muttered.
“Who are you?” Batman growled at her.
“Excuse me? You're the one who nearly pushed me in here, and you
have the nerve to ask who I
am? Who the hell do you think you are?”
“Duh. I think the costume party look and the whole bat theme you've got going on gave that away.”
“You're in my town, and I expect you to tell me who you are.”
Buffy sighed. Obviously, they weren't getting anywhere soon. “I get it. You don't want any unknowns in your town. Whatever. I'm here to visit some family, then get back to the castle. Maybe hit the new Hellmouth on the way, take out some vamps and demons.” Canting her head slightly left, she studied him. “What do
you do about the demon population in your town?” she asked.
“What are you talking about? Demons aren't real.”
She snorted and shoved past him, moving him aside easily. “Sure thing, Bats! Give me a call when you find out what really happens in the night, okay?” Incongruously enough, she'd managed to slip a card into his gloved hand.
“And who do I ask for?”
“That's easy. Ask for the slayer.” She disappeared before he could reorient his thought process. But she wouldn't slip past him again. For now, he had to find out what the slayer was and why she thought the mythos and boogeymen of the night were real.