AN: A more Bat-centric chapter this time, as we see Richard Castle's first meeting with some characters from the other
continuity in this crossover series...
Sitting on a rooftop as she stared at the streets below her, Kate had to admit that they were actually doing a bit better than she'd expected.
While it sucked that they'd spent over a week in Gotham by this point and had yet to make contact with the people that they'd come here to look for, they'd managed to hold their own against the various minor crooks they'd encountered so far, ranging from a few opportunistic muggers to some of the more hardened criminals- she thought that she'd seen a man she recognised as Victor Zsasz at one point, even if she and Castle had taken care to avoid the scarred hitman-, but most of them had been easily avoided, and the exceptions' relatively amateurish combat skills were no match for her father's old training and the tricks that Castle had picked up from his various sources and the training he'd received with them over the last few years.
They might not have actually found her sister or anyone who might be an actual ally in their efforts yet, but at least they'd managed to make some kind of dent, no matter how temporary, in Gotham's ever-rising criminal population...
Still, no matter how much of a difference they tried to make, it never seemed like it would actually be enough in this city. Without anywhere for them to put the criminals they defeated, all they were doing was less use than any kind of band-aid, literal or metaphorical, and there had been no sign of any kind of police support, to say nothing of her continued inability to track down any sign of Batman.
She knew that Bruce Wayne had dropped off the radar, but surely Batman would have done something
about Bane right now, even if he didn't know who 'Miranda Tate' really was-
Glancing down from her rooftop surveillance position, Kate's eyes widened as she saw a heavily-armoured truck going past, a large jeep in front and behind it that were obviously intended to be escorts, with her gaze narrowing as she noticed a dark-haired man pressed against the wall of an alley along the truck's route, turning around to make a mark of some kind on the wall beside him...
As she strained to make out more detail about the face of the man in question, Kate's eyes widened as he turned in the right direction to give her a clear view of his face.John Blake
He might have been listed only as an officer in the files on the Gotham City Police Department that she'd studied back at Castle's apartment in preparation for their entrance to Gotham, but there were rumours that he'd been promoted to detective shortly before Bane's attack- the resulting loss of communication lines between the city and the rest of the world meant that some of the city's primarily internal paperwork hadn't been completed and fully registered with non-Gotham-based officials-, and the fact that he was still active in a situation like this said something about him.
"Castle!" she said, turning to look urgently at her partner where he was studying a different part of the city.
"Yeah?" he asked, looking round at her curiously. "Seen something?"
"Possibly," she said, indicating the street where she'd just seen Blake, the young man in question already looking around himself as though checking his surroundings. "I can't be certain, but I'm pretty
sure I recognise that guy from some of the files on Gotham's police."
"Really?" Castle said, looking at her with a hopeful smile. "Then-"
He didn't even have time to finish his sentence before Kate was on the move, hurrying after the figure she'd identified as Blake as the young detective began to run down the alley she'd seen him in, leaving Kate with no other choice but to follow him, only peripherally aware of Castle as he hurried to keep up with her. Fortunately, the grounded detective was sticking to the back alleys and lower buildings as he ran, which made it comparatively easier for Kate and Castle to jump from rooftop to rooftop in pursuit of Blake- the gap between buildings was short enough for them to jump it so long as they kept up a good speed, and they could remain within visual range of Blake without too much trouble, while also being far enough aware for him to not see them.
After a few moments of running, Blake finally came to a small door in the back of a building that looked like it had been abandoned since at least a few months before Bane's attack, Blake slipping into the door as Castle and Kate came to the edge of the roof.
"Going in?" Castle asked, looking over at her with a slight smile.
"Naturally," Kate said, smiling back at him before she walked over to a nearby fire escape and began to climb down towards the street, Castle just behind her as they clambered down the ladder. Reaching the bottom, Kate waited for Castle to join her before she walked up to the door and casually opened it- it looked like the lock had been broken in whatever circumstances led to this place being abandoned, and they obviously couldn't get a replacement in Gotham's current state-, finding herself staring down two gun-barrels as she did so.
"Hi," Kate said, smiling politely at the two men with guns standing on the other side of the door, her hands raised in a non-threatening manner as she stood protectively in front of Castle; no matter how many little talents he had, if these people looked like they were about to turn violent, she was better equipped to deal with the potential threat than Castle was. "I'm here to speak to Commissioner Gordon."
After the expected cursory search had been carried out and their few weapons removed- on the bright side, Kate doubted she'd have much trouble getting the weapons back later; it wasn't like Gordon's men could afford to discard anything of value in Gotham's current condition-, Kate and Castle were taken deeper into the building, eventually being shown into a small room with one inhabitant and a large map of the city behind him, their two guides/guards taking up position outside the room's thin door.
Kate had to give the guards credit; they were giving her and Castle the illusion of privacy to talk with Gordon, but the walls and door were thin enough that any attempts to physically attack him would be easily heard, and there was enough space between them for Gordon to produce a weapon if they should try and charge him.
"Commissioner James Gordon?" Kate asked, looking at the older man in glasses as he stood up from behind his obviously makeshift desk, a strength and certainty in his manner despite his slightly shaky stance (If she recalled the news reports correctly, Gordon had been in hospital shortly before Bane's attack; the fact that he was active already did him credit).
"Yes?" he said, looking at the two new arrivals in an inquiring manner; Kate had refused to tell anyone else who she and Castle were and what they were doing here until they'd spoken to Gordon directly. "Who... what do you want?"
"My name is Kate Beckett, formerly of the NYPD, and this is my... partner, Richard Castle," Kate replied, indicating the man standing beside her; hopefully she could avoid too many questions about Castle's name, given that it was unlikely anyone could look him up even if they found it familiar. "We're here because I know where Bane came from and who he's working with."
"You do?" Gordon said, looking at her in surprise after a briefly suspicious glance at Castle; Kate guessed that he vaguely recognised her partner's name but couldn't immediately place the context of his knowledge. "And... how did you come by that information?"
"Because he's working with my half-sister," Kate said, looking solemnly at the older detective, hoping that Gordon lived up to what she'd heard and deduced about his reputation.
To his credit, Gordon didn't do what a part of Kate had worried he'd do and pull out his gun to point it at her; he just stood there, staring silently and contemplatively at her for a moment, until he spoke again.
"Care to explain exactly how
you know that?" he asked at last, looking at her in a neutral manner that effectively concealed his thoughts from her. "We still don't know that Bane's working with anyone..."
"My father- the parent I share with my sister- was Ra's al Ghul," Kate began, looking directly at Gordon as she spoke; if the situation had been less serious, she would never have been this open with someone she'd only just met, but this wasn't the time to worry about that. "He was the original leader of the League of Shadows, the organisation that Bane currently leads, but Bane was expelled years ago for being too extreme- as well as various personal conflicts that are not relevant right now-, but my sister remained in contact with him ever since, preparing him for the moment to act. I'm only guessing about how and when it happened, I should stress, but after Batman left the League-"
"Batman was one of... these
guys?" Gordon said, looking at Kate in shock with an edge of anger; evidently he didn't like the idea that Kate was implying the man he'd trusted to help him save Gotham had been involved in the group responsible for its current state.
"In a sense, anyway," Kate replied, looking solemnly back at her. "Batman was my father's prized student in the League for many years."
?" Gordon said, looking incredulously at her. "Batman
"He trained with the League in the belief that they would help him fight injustice, and learned a great deal of skills from them, but left the League when he was called upon to complete his final test of initiation as he refused to kill a criminal," Kate explained. "Batman's association with the League has been officially over ever since, and the League itself virtually dismantled after they were responsible for the attack on Gotham shortly after he began his career, but Bane was able to re-organise the remaining members of the League under his authority to prepare for this new attack on Gotham city; they perceive themselves as completing my father's work."
"And you don't?" Gordon asked, demonstrating the healthy scepticism of any cop as he looked back at her, clearly evaluating the worth of her next words.
"Gotham has already experienced a great deal of progress in the last few years; I feel comfortable saying that it's nowhere near as bad as it was when my father tried to destroy it," Kate replied, looking solemnly back at Gordon. "I never participated in my father's missions- we parted ways due to a difference of opinion many years ago, motivated by personal factors that are not relevant right now-, but I have made my own life away from his views, and I will not allow my sister to corrupt everything that my father sough to stand for by destroying this city merely to prove him correct."
Gordon looked at her for a moment, a contemplative expression his face, before he smiled and nodding in acceptance of her explanation.
"So... how do you know your sister's here?" he said at last. "What makes you so sure Bane isn't acting alone?"
"My sister is Miranda Tate," Kate replied.
Gordon could only blink at that news.
"Huh," he said, as though the previous news had knocked all of the shock out of him. "Wasn't expecting that."
"You're taking this that simply?" Castle asked, looking at Gordon in surprise. "I mean-"
know who you are, Richard Castle," Gordon said, looking at the author with a slight smile. "I've heard a few stories about your recent activities with the New York Police Department; I take it Detective Beckett here is the inspiration for Nikki Heat?"
"Only loosely-" Kate began (She still couldn't believe that scene in Heat Wave
where Nikki fought off an invader in her apartment while naked).
"I assumed as much," Gordon said, smiling briefly at her before turning his attention back to Castle. "The point is, I don't think even you would go to all the trouble of breaking into the city at a time like this to lie to me about something this big, and nothing I've read suggests that you'd be involved with something like this in the first place; since the idea that you'd lie about something like this is ridiculous at best, I'm going to assume you're telling the truth unless something happens to convince me otherwise."
"Thank you," Kate said, smiling gratefully at Gordon before she continued speaking. "Now that you know why I'm here, we need to talk more about what's going to happen now."
"I take it you came here first because you don't think a direct confrontation with your sister would work?" Gordon asked.
"As much as I would like to show my sister the error of her ways, she didn't spend this long establishing an identity in Gotham without being completely convinced that she was doing what she should be doing," Kate replied grimly. "I may know her, but she and I spent so little time together growing up- we are only half-sisters, and my mother had an established life that she refused to leave- that I cannot guarantee any accuracy when trying to guess how she will react if we confront her directly, and then there is the possibility that she or Bane will have contingency plans in place..."
"So... what?" Castle asked, looking at her uncertainly. "I mean, I know
you didn't come here just to pass on a message..."
"I didn't," Kate said, nodding in agreement at his assessment of her character before looking back at Gordon. "What we need to do now is let her think that she still has the upper hand of anonymity, maybe feed her some false information to make her think that we trust her..."
Her plan was still a tentative one, but in the end it all hinged on one question that she still hadn't worked out a means of finding the answer to; where was Batman in this whole mess?