Prologue: Sewers of Love
I own neither the Buffy or Batman franchises in any way, shape, or form. And I am making no profit from this story.
Buffy was sure this was one of the worst nights she had ever had as a Slayer. Scratch that! It was one of the worst nights of her entire life, before and after Slayerdom.
It had started out as any other. There had been reports of vampires nesting in the catacombs underneath Paris even before she had left Rome two months ago. As soon as everything in the other city had been taken care of, she had raced off to the famous French city. Famous for love and lovers. So far, she was not impressed. In any way, shape, or form.
The catacombs had proven to be much more difficult that she had first believed they would be. Miles and miles of winding, twisting, and altogether confusing tunnels, a vast network of turns and dead ends and secret passages, all crumbling and dirt strewn, not to mention the skulls and various other bones that were not only littering the ground, but were, in some cases, actually part of the construction of the walls of the place, which led to nothing short of a frustrated, ready to scream Slayer who was just about to give up her two month quest to destroy this particular nest.
Paris had a lot to thank her for. Ungrateful, snail eating. . . .
She knew she had been in this blasted tunnel before. Or maybe she was just confusing it with another identical tunnel, but she was pretty sure she had seen that femur sticking out of that crumbling mortar in that exact same spot earlier. Or had it been yesterday? Or last week? It was all so damn confusing and running together in her mind.
She checked her phone again just for the heck of it, and was not surprised to see that there was no signal down here. No way to call for help if she got lost. No one to hear her scream in her irritation.
Deciding she had already had enough for the night, even though it was early for her, she began trying to find her way back to the surface by back tracking. It did not take her long to realize she was lost, or at least not headed back in the general direction she had came from when entering. Just wanting to get out, not caring where, she began picking random tunnels, her Slayer senses telling that she was not going deeper in and that she actually was making progress in getting out, but not giving her much more than that.
She stopped in the center of a tunnel and looked up through the moonlight that was shimmering down through a grill above her head. She could make the jump easily, move the grate with one hand, and be out of here in a few seconds. But something caused her to pause. Sighing, hating her awesome senses, she left the area of moonlight and ventured farther down the tunnel. A few feet later, she could hear several voices, and her senses were all tingly. Yep, there were more vamps down here. And just like them to show up not only where she planned to exit stage right, but just as she was about to give up for the night. Figures!
Peering around the bend, she could see there were only three of them. Not a big problem, unless there were more of them lurking around that she could not see, and they came charging in at the first sounds of battle. Shrugging, taking the stake out of her back pocket, she jumped around the corner and staked the first vamp before the other two could even register what was happening.
One of them got over being startled very quickly and lunged at her. She was glad to note that the other just stood there looking around in confusion which she took to mean that there were not any other vamps in the vicinity for him to call for aid.
The second vamp was on her quickly, but not quickly enough. He exposed his fangs at her, raising his claw like hands in a menacing way. Stupid move. She staked him before he could do anything more.
The third vamp came charging through the dust of his comrade. While he had been a little slow on the uptake, he proved to be the most difficult one to take out. He dodged her initial attack, and came back with one of his own: punching her in the ribs on her left side. She rolled with it, coming up with her back against the far wall, stake in hand and at the ready. The vampire charged again, dodging her once again, but this time her attack was a fake, and she shifted her swing, taking the punch in the ribs again, bringing the stake up and through the vamps chest.
He dusted, growling angrily at her. She shrugged, rubbing her sore ribs, and made her way back to the shaft of moonlight. A jump and a few seconds later, she was on the street, going back to her hotel. It was still rather early, especially given Slayer hours, but her senses were calm, and there wasn’t that much else to do in the city, especially if you were alone, so she decided a little extra rest could not hurt her one bit.
She had turned down several streets, only paying attention to the cobblestones in front of her, letting her senses alert her to any danger, when suddenly something grabbed her arm. Her eyes swung up and around, landing on the near skeletal hand that had her arm in a vice grip. Her first instinct was to attack, but she knew that this was not some sort of demon or undead creature out to get her, so she froze, and looked into the eyes of the person holding on to her.
It was an old woman. Her back was bent some badly that it appeared she was doubled over. Her iron gray hair was wrapped up in a tight bun, and she had so many wrinkles she would give one of those wrinkled dogs a run for their money. Her eyes were a smoky white color, telling Buffy she was blind.
“You are the Slayer,” the woman stated in a gravelly voice. Buffy looked around in alarm, but saw no one else on the street with them.
“How do you know that?” She asked in a whisper. She couldn’t help it.
“Take heed, child,” the woman began, ignoring her question. “You must leave here. You must travel to Gotham City. There the beasts are gathering. You must stop them before it is too late.” She gripped Buffy’s arm even tighter and pulled her closer. “Beware! Beware the Insurrection! You can stop it, but not alone. Only in his shadow can you do this.”
The woman released her and began hobbling down the road, humming to herself. Buffy stood rooted to the spot, watching her, only able to make herself speak just before the old woman rounded the corner.
“Wait! Whose shadow?”
“The Bat, child. Look for the Bat.” The old woman waved her hand as she went around the corner.
When Buffy dashed down the street and around the corner only seconds later, there was no sign of the old woman.
“I really should be used to this sort of thing,” she stated to herself. She pulled her cell phone from her front jeans pocket, and soon there was ringing on the other end. When the voice of her friend greeted her, she returned it whole heartedly. “So, Will, I need a favor: What can you tell me about Batman?”