The Gotham War
AN: OK, to ensure that there is no confusion at this point, when I refer to Talia I'm referring to Kate Beckett, while Nyssa is Miranda Tate; they will be referred to by both names depending on whose perspective is being used at that point in the story
Looking at the assembled representatives of the GCPD advancing on city hall, all dressed in their uniforms and armed with whatever they'd managed to salvage as they faced their challenge, Batman was amazed at how quickly things had changed; he'd only arrived back in Gotham a few short hours ago, and already he had an army at his back.
He had been slightly surprised to see Richard Castle standing alongside Officer Blake, claiming to be with Talia- the idea of the daughter of Ra's al Ghul with a mystery writer of all things felt a bit strange, to say the least-, but he'd put that thought aside; it was unlikely at best that such a man would have known Talia's name by chance, which meant that he had to at least consider the possibility that Castle was telling the truth, and he had to focus on the more immediately priority.
Still, considering the response their efforts had received, his decision had paid off; they had their army to counter Bane's, Miranda- or Nyssa, whatever she wanted to call herself- was still unaware that Talia was there or that he knew who she really was, and they had identified the bomb's location with Miranda none the wiser. Gordon and his team were working on capturing the bomb, and Talia and Castle were heading towards city hall via a side route in the hopes of taking Nyssa by surprise once the fighting started, leaving him to deal with Bane.
It wasn't a perfect plan, but it was the best they had; all he and the rest of the GCPD could do now was make their stand against Bane's army and fight to the finish against a nightmare beyond anything he could have imagined facing when he'd set himself the task of saving Gotham…
," one of the voices said from one of the three Tumblers gathered before his army of cops, Bane's mercenaries gathered behind them. "Disperse or be fired upon
Hovering just out of sight, grateful for the Bat's stealth feature, Batman simply sat and waited for the first few moments as the police advanced forward, Bane emerging from the doors of the building to stare at his approaching foes, until one of the Tumblers activated its gun and aimed it at the advancing police. Before the gun could fire, Batman lowered the Bat into position and fired at the Tumbler, destroying the large weapon before he flew away to a nearby alley.
With the largest gun disabled, the police were now facing merely conventional weaponry that wouldn't be a significant threat to them on anything more than an individual level, where the Bat couldn't contribute anything more than be a more obvious target for the enemy to shoot at; if he was going to make an impact now, he had to get back in the game as an individual combatant.
With that resolve, he abandoned the Bat as soon as it was securely parked in a convenient alley, quickly hurrying back towards the mass melee now taking place in Gotham's main street as the police struggled with Bane's men, a few fallen bodies already littering the streets as proximity forced both sides to revert back to hand-to-hand combat rather than the guns used earlier; at this distance the possibility of shooting someone on their side was far too high. As he entered the combat zone, Batman quickly took down a couple of Bane's mercenaries with relative ease, but it didn't take long for him to work his way to Bane, the masked man having effortlessly kicked and thrown various cops out of his path as he worked his way towards Batman.
"So," Bane said, his voice still the deep, twisted echo it had been as he looked at his foe, "you came back to die with your city."
"No," Batman replied- and he was
Batman now; Bruce Wayne had had his time, and would have it again, but right now Gotham needed Batman more than anything else-, staring grimly at Bane amid the temporary stillness that had settled around them. "I came back to stop you."
With that exchange completed, Bane launched a punch towards him, Batman only just managing to deflect it before countering with his own blow to Bane's face. A second blow from Bane was narrowly parried before it could strike, but Bane's next blow to his face sent Batman staggering, and the follow-up strike to his chest didn't help matters much.
As the fight raged around them, Batman soon found himself forced on the defensive, Bane launching a flurry of punches at Batman that forced him to slowly back away from the advancing warrior, only briefly aware of his central goal as he 'led' Bane towards the steps leading up to city hall. An unexpected kick to the chest knocked him down for a moment, but the Dark Knight was soon back on his feet, deflecting Bane's blows as they advanced to the top of the stairs leading up to the city hall. As Bane pinned his right arm, Batman launched another punch at his face, only for Bane to grab his fist, leaving the two men straining against their foe as they wrestled without motion, glaring intently at each other as they fought for the advantage…
Finally, Batman gained the upper hand by allowing Bane to push his fist away before bringing his now-free arm back up to strike his opponent in the mask, forcing Bane to back away far enough for Batman to strike Bane's other arm with his now-released elbow. Batman's attempt to strike back were interrupted when Bane struck him in the face with a powerful headbutt, sending him staggering backwards for a moment, but he regained focus in time to deflect a couple of punches, following it up with a powerful backhand blow that struck one of the tubes around Bane's face, creating a hissing sound as whatever gas the device was 'feeding' to Bane was disrupted.
Clearly off-balance following the loss of whatever drug the mask was feeding to him, Bane tried to reach up and reattach the damaged tube to his mask, but the new focus brought Batman the opportunity to strike back. Bane attempted to fight back, even managing to pin him to a pillar and begin a beatdown against his armoured chest, but Batman swiftly ducked out of the way, leaving Bane to wear out his knuckles against the pillar for a moment before he turned his attention back to his foe. For a moment, the two simply exchanged blows in front of the doors to City Hall, Bane's punches becoming increasingly random due to the pain caused by the damaged mask as Batman dodged around them, until an opening in Bane's defences gave him the perfect chance to strike, a kick to the other man's chest sending Bane through the doors behind him before he fell to the ground. Walking through the shattered doors, Batman kicked the downed man in the chest- it wasn't entirely sporting, but this wasn't the time to worry about playing fair- before quickly disarming another henchman who attempted to attack him, tossing the gun to the woman he'd known as Miranda.
"Cover the doors!" he said to her, reminding himself of their original plan before his attention was re-focused on Bane; as long as he could still hear Miranda, he had to give the impression that he still didn't know who she was…
As she heard Bruce order Bane to tell him where the trigger was, Nyssa smiled in satisfaction at his misdirected focus.
That was Bruce Wayne all over; so focused on his goal that he ignored all evidence that it was pointless even trying. That attitude had driven him to fight for a doomed city, and it would now condemn him to die with it; his life would have been longer if he had remained in the prison…
Her thoughts were interrupted when someone- how anyone could have come in close enough to disarm her so quickly Nyssa couldn't even begin to imagine- kicked out at her wrist, forcing her to drop the knife that she had been about to use to stab Bruce while he was distracted. For a moment, Nyssa was ready to attack this new arrival as she spun to glare at her attacker, but the glare quickly shifted to confusion when she realised who had appeared.
"Talia?" Nyssa said, looking at the new arrival incredulously.
"Hello, Nyssa," Talia replied, smiling slightly at her sister, dressed in a comfortable but comparatively cheap dark coat and trousers, her long brown hair tied back as they exchanged glances for the first time in more years than Nyssa could remember.
"You came to help?" Nyssa asked, looking at her with a hopeful smile; she must have disarmed Nyssa to ensure that she wasn't deprived of her share of their revenge against the man who killed their father…
"Yes," Talia said, interrupting Nyssa's grateful smile with a punch to the face that sent her sister staggering backwards, one hand raising up to examine her bleeding lip in horror. "I came to help them
?" Nyssa said, barely registering the low, pained voice of her protector as he tried to respond to Batman's words, the damaged mask increasingly hindering his responses. "But this city must
"You were always so single-minded, Nyssa," Talia said, looking pityingly at her sister in the same condescending manner that Nyssa had always found so aggravating; her sister seemed to be convinced that she was stupid regardless of whatever plans she came up with to prove otherwise. "You're so focused on achieving what
our father wanted that you've completely neglected the need to think about why
he might have wanted it."
"He wanted to destroy the heart of modern corruption-!" Nyssa began indignantly.
"And hasn't that been accomplished already?" Talia asked, still looking at her sister as though pitying her mistaken assumptions. "OK, so maybe how
it happened was a bit questionable, but who cares about that so long as the end results are good? The city was safe, and crime was in decline; you had no
right to do this-"
decided to ignore Father's mission, you believe that I
should?" Nyssa said indignantly.
"No," Talia replied, glaring at her sister. "I am saying that you should think more about why
Father wanted to do something, rather than decide to do something just because he was trying to do it."
"I will not
permit you to question our father's mission!" Nyssa retorted. "We have a duty
Nyssa was so shocked at the fact that her sister struck her that it took her a moment to realise that she really had just been slapped.
"We have a duty
to our parents, but that does not mean that we should let their goals define ours," Talia said, staring grimly at Nyssa. "You need to make your own
path in life, Nyssa; you aren't going to get anywhere in life by just trying to do what he did-!"
Screaming in rage, Nyssa lashed out at Talia, who only just managed to deflect the attack; clearly, whatever her sister had been up to since they'd parted company, she still had some interesting tricks up her sleeve…
"Tell me where the trigger is," Batman said, glaring firmly at Bane; it wasn't his usual style, but Bane had done too much and attacked him in too personal a manner for him to be comfortable adhering to his usual rules right now. "Then
, you have my permission to die."
"I broke you…" Bane said, looking up at Batman with weakened confusion. "How did you come back?"
"You think Nyssa is the only one who could learn the strength to escape?" Batman replied, enjoying the shocked expression on his foe's face at that revelation.
"Yeah," the surprising addition of Richard Castle said from behind them, the writer walking up to look at Bane with a satisfied smirk on his face. "We know about that
, too… or did you really think you were the only guy who lucked out a friendship with the daughter of a nutjob with delusions of saving the world by killing people?"
"You do know he's still her father?" Batman said, risking taking his eyes off Bane to look at Castle with a slight smile despite his best efforts to maintain his usual 'mood' as Batman.
"Eh, she's already told me he went too far at times; I don't think she'd dump me for that," Castle said, smiling slightly at Batman before he glanced over his shoulder. Following his glance, Batman noted that Talia and Nyssa were currently engaged in a fight, but although it appeared to be mostly even it looked like Talia had a slight advantage, most likely because Nyssa hadn't been expecting such a fight in the first place. "Actually, talking of family troubles…"
Picking up a discarded gun, Castle dashed over to where the two sisters were fighting, slamming the gun into the back of Nyssa's head just as she had sent Talia staggering with a powerful punch. Unprepared for the attack from the rear, Nyssa was left dazed long enough for Castle to kick her in the back, sending her to the ground with such force that the second impact as her head hit the floor would have almost certainly knocked her out even if the first blow hadn't done so already.
"Now," Batman said, turning his attention back to Bane, the masked man unable to do much more than stare in shock at where Nyssa had fallen, "tell me this; does Nyssa have the trigger?"
"What?" Castle said, looking at Kate with a slight shrug as she stared at him, the ex-NYPD officer gasping for breath after the strenuous fight she'd just been engaged in had ended so abruptly; he knew Kate well enough to guess what her first response would be, so it would be best to cut that off before she could get too caught up in it. "I was fairly sure you were going to beat her, but I just wanted it to be over so we could-"
The feel of something striking the side of his face cut him off mid-sentence.
was for interrupting," Kate said, glaring at him with a cold stare that reminded him of her expression in the early days of their partnership.
"What-?" Castle began, only to receive a far more pleasant interruption when Kate leaned over and kissed him warmly.
"That was for caring enough to step in," Kate said, smiling at him as she stepped away, before her gaze turned back to the centre of the room. Following her gaze, Castle winced at the sight; Bane, the man who had terrorised Gotham for so many months, was lying on the ground, gasping weakly for air through his mask, which now had various loose tubes hanging out all around it, clearly in no state to continue doing the task it had been designed for.
Castle wasn't sure if he should be shocked or impressed; from what Kate had told him about Bane's history and the reasons he wore that mask, the guy had to be in a significant amount of pain right now, but he couldn't argue that the bastard deserved it after everything he'd planned to do to Gotham…
"Huh," a new voice said, prompting Castle to turn around and blink in shock at the sight of a woman dressed in skintight black leather sitting on the most elaborate motorcycle he'd ever seen; if it hadn't been for his new relationship with Kate, he would definitely
have commented on it. "Bit brutal, isn't it?"
"After what he's done, he can take all the time he wants to die; I won't kill him, but I have no interest in saving him," Batman said, looking coldly at Bane before he stood up and looked at the new arrival, leaving the mercenary to stare weakly up at them. "You came to help?"
"What can I say?" the woman said, moving her goggles up onto her head, giving her a cat-like appearance. "You grow on me."
…" Nyssa said, now blinking her way back to consciousness as she slowly got to her feet, glaring at the new arrival. Before she could do more than get rise up on her knees, Kate hit her once again, leaving the woman once known as Miranda Tate groaning in pain as she lay on the ground, before Batman walked over with a couple of handcuffs that he must have had in his belt, quickly using them to bind Nyssa's arms and legs together, leaving her immobilised on the ground.
"Sorted," Castle said, grinning at Kate's sister as she lay on the ground, glaring back at him in obvious rage, before Kate pulled out a roll of duct tape from her pocket and placed it over her sister's mouth.
"Don't leave home without it," she said, in response to Castle's surprised expression, before she looked back at her sister with a cold stare. "You're finished, Nyssa; Bane's not going to last much longer without his mask, and once the bomb's dealt with and Gotham's back in full contact with the rest of the world, I'm going to use every contact we've got to ensure that you're left somewhere cold, dark and depressing for the rest of your life."
"Oh, and by the way," Castle said, looking at the woman- as far as he was concerned, she barely deserved to share a species with Kate, never mind a parent- with a slight smile, "if you're thinking your little 'flood the facility' plan will stop us shutting down that bomb, don't bother even grinning about it; Lucius already disabled the program after you installed it."
"Advantage of knowing there's someone acting as a double agent," Kate explained, as Nyssa looked at them in shock. "We learn to check everything, even the things that we thought were secure from penetration."
The tape might prevent Nyssa from answering, but the glare in her eyes was all the confirmation that those watching her needed to know that they had succeeded in their goal; they'd undercut every plan she might have attempted to defeat them, and there was nothing that she could do about it.
"So… what now?" the woman in black asked, looking at Nyssa in an inquiring manner (Castle wondered who she was, but also knew that this wasn't the time to ask). "I mean, Bane's done for without the mask, but what's the plan for her; lock her up, throw away the key, and hope she doesn't tell anyone who you are? No offence, but that seems a bit risky…"
"Let's just say… we know people who know people who won't ask too many questions," Kate said, looking over at Castle with a slight smile that did little to hide the apprehension in her eyes.
Nobody present bothered to argue with the decision; killing Bane in a fight was one thing, but all of the people present had more than a few issues about killing an unarmed woman, regardless of what she'd done, even without the fact that she was the sister of one of the people present.
It would be a bit of a stretch, but Kate and Castle weren't exactly short of favours and contacts that they could draw on to ensure that Nyssa was locked away somewhere where she'd never be able to harm anyone or reveal her true family history to anyone that mattered;
"So… that's it?" Castle asked, looking over at Batman. "We won?"
"Gordon's men have probably already recovered the bomb by now, and it shouldn't take them long to get it back to its original storage facility for Lucius to return it to normal," Batman said, looking over at the writer with what could probably be considered a reassuring smile if it wasn't for the intimidating nature of the person giving it. "Thanks to everything you were able to tell us about Nyssa's plans… we won."
"We won," the woman in black repeated, looking around at the other two people in the room with a surprisingly warm smile. "Have to admit, I wasn't sure we'd make it…"
"All we need now is to give Gotham time to come back…" Kate said, looking out of the shattered door at the fight still being waged around them; it looked like the GCPD were getting the upper hand- most likely their opponents' dependence on Bane as a symbol was working against the fact that the GCPD had needed to rely on themselves recently-, so as long as things were under control and Gordon and Lucius Fox continued to live up to the expectations they'd created…
It was strange having such faith in people they'd only met a short while ago, but Castle already knew that he could count on the two aforementioned men to complete their part in the current plan.
They'd saved Gotham.
The only question now was where the four people standing in this room would go from here…