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Midnight City

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This story is No. 15 in the series "Midnight City". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Buffy's taking over this case. Gordon and Bats are just along for the ride.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
DC Universe > Batman > Buffy-CenteredVashtiFR1511,937031,7177 Jan 137 Jan 13Yes
Title: Midnight City
Fandom: BtVS/The Dark Knight Rises
Character(s): Commissioner James Gordon, Batman, Buffy Summers
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Buffy's taking over this case. Gordon and Bats are just along for the ride.
Length: ~1875 words
Disclaimer: Only the words are mine, and that’s probably up for philosophical debate. Title from "Midnight City" by M83.
Notes: Thai translated by Google, so I apologize for mangling the language.

§§§

Gordon stooped and flicked the switch on the bat-signal. The instant darkness was almost palpable before Gotham’s radiant light filled the space. He levered himself up

"Changed your mind, Commissioner?"

Gordon jumped, turning in time to see Batman detach himself from the lingering shadows.

"You know, of all the things I wish you hadn’t held on to from your predecessor, that is it."

"I’ll wait for for a phone call next time."

Gordon’s jaw tightened, though the words had been said without inflection. He’d been around for the better part of six months, this replacement Batman, and showed no sign of going anywhere but Gordon still found it hard to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Running a hand through his hair, he said, "A ‘hello’ when you show up would be fine."

"Hello, Commissioner."

"And I’m not the one who turned this on. Nor did I authorize it." Gordon turned away from Batman, knowing the man would disappear on his own (never saying ‘goodbye’ was the other thing he wished the new Batman hadn’t kept up with), and ran into Miss Summers striding purposefully across the roof.

"I had the officer turn on the signal, Commissioner Gordon. Good evening, sir," she said, extending her hand. "I’m sorry I missed you earlier. I’ve been holed up with Montoya all day."

"Who gave you the right?"

***

Half-cloaked in shadow, ready to disappear, Batman was content to observe the exchange between Buffy and the Commissioner. Quite unlike his own interactions with her, Buffy never invaded Gordon’s personal space and she maintained a level tone as she reminded him that her special status as a para-government advisory put her outside his jurisdiction. Batman filed that away for later.

"To top it off, it’s looking more and more like this case falls under my area of expertise. Between the body your people found today, the ramblings of that thug Batman dropped off to us earlier tonight and information I’ve just received from one of my contacts... This is bigger and uglier than anything you’ve ever faced, Commissioner."

"Looks, Miss Summers--"

"Commissioner, I know you’ve handled some really out there stuff. Trust me, I was sitting on the edge of my seat when that wacko took over your city and, to be honest, I really thought someone would try to call in my organization when the plant lady showed up. Go figure, she’s totally human--"

Gordon’s eyes narrowed. "What do you mean totally human?"

Batman wanted to caution Buffy. The wrong word choice could have Gordon trying to put her in a padded cell while he ran another search on her credentials.

She took a deep breath. "This is going to sound far-fetched, even after all the crazy you’ve seen over the last decade, but give me the benefit of the doubt. Please." When Gordon nodded, she beckoned to Batman. He covered his surprise with indifference, as he did most of his emotions.

"Look, I know you’re over there," she said when he didn’t step forward. "This way I only have to go over it once."

Gordon didn’t turn to him, didn’t acknowledge him at all, as Batman approached though he stiffened under his trench coat.

"I think your person behind the missing college students is a magician named Ethan Raynes."

Gordon shifted on his feet. "Let me see if I heard you right: you think a professional illusionist is kidnapping night students and disfiguring them?"

"What?" Sarah asked in his ear. "What disfigurement?" Batman asked for both their benefit. The information had to be relatively new if Sarah didn’t know about it.

Nodding, Buffy raised the manila envelope she’d been holding and shook it a bit. "Thought you might have missed that memo. Earlier today, some nature enthusiasts found the body of one of our missing night students about an hour outside of Gotham. The body had already begun to decompose, but there’s evidence he had been kept alive while he’d been disfigured."

She handed him what he could only presume were pictures. He took the envelope and brought it to the roof access door where there was better light. Somewhere on his belt was a small device, ostensibly for observing small crystal formations and measuring their angles of refraction, etc., but he’d found a more practical use for Lucius Fox’s toy.

"Thing is, Commissioner," she continued, "the guy wasn’t disfigured. Or, he was but not with a scalpel."

"She’s right," Batman said. "There’s no sign of cutting from what I can see, although I don’t know how these growths and formations on his body are possible without some sort of surgery." The noses of the victims were flattened and flared , their eyes over-large with very little white showing, and the skin had a grayish cast that wasn’t related to his state of decomposition. It seemed to be textured or lightly furred.

Batman held out the modified electronic loop to Gordon...who strode forward and took it and the pictures from his hands. "So what does that mean for us, Miss Summers?" he asked, eye pressed to first one picture then another, and another.

"On its own? Not a lot except for a major case of weird—which, by the way, is also my department. Except there’s also the confession of Macaroni’s guy... What?"

Both men were looking at her oddly. Batman cleared his throat. "Did you mean ‘Meroni’?"

"Isn’t that what I said?"

They were both too polite to call her one it and let it slide.

"Anyway, so Meroni’s guy blew his Miranda rights to pieces blabbering half the night after Batman scared him straight. He kept talking about a wizard they had hired to fix their problem once and for all, but how he kept screwing it up and he couldn’t take it screw ups anymore. Which--" Buffy held up a hand to forestall any questions. "--again, doesn’t mean much of anything on its own. I think everyone figured he meant a criminal mastermind or a great techie who turned to the Dark Side of crime when he talked about the wizard."

"But those two things together..." Gordon prompted.

"Were almost all the proof I needed. Especially when I got a chance to examine the body and talk to the attendant after forensics was done with him. My contact’s information was just the icing on a cake full of nasty."

Handing Batman the loop with one hand, and Buffy the pictures with the other, Gordon said, "Great, so you have a bead on the guy you think is behind these...well I guess it’s officially a homicide case now. That still doesn’t explain why you’re pushing the GCPD off this case. Unless you’re afraid he’s going to put us all in a closet and make us disappear."

Buffy’s face wrinkled. "Actually...I am sorta worried about that. See, when I say that Ethan’s a magician I don’t mean like David Copperfield. Remember David Copperfield? He used to be so cool." She shook herself. "Sorry, not enough sleep and way too much coffee while staring at really small print have taken their toll.

"Ethan Rayne can use actual magic. It would be better for us if he couldn’t, trust me, because physically? He’s a weenier. My old school librarian beat him up more than once."

"So you know him," Batman said.

Buffy nodded. "Unfortunately. He tried to sick a chaos god on me once."

"He what?" both men said.

Buffy held her hands out placatingly. "Okay, here’s where you have to believe me because I don’t have any proof materials handy and I really don’t want to give you the whole spiel if I don’t have to. It’s like this: Magic is real. So are vampires, werewolves, demons...the whole kitty caboodle."

"Miss Summers, if there were vampires, werewolves and demons running around Gotham City, someone would have noticed."

"I agree, sir, although they may or may not have been inclined to report it as anything more dangerous than a bunch of kids on PCP. Trust me. That said, there aren’t vampires, werewolves and demons running around Gotham. Apparently, your bad humans are sufficiently evil enough to fill your quota."

"And you know this because..."

"This is what my agency specializes in. We only handle evil of the supernatural variety, which was why I was hoping this would fall under your jurisdiction, but said it’d have to be the Buffy Show if it didn’t. Trust me, it’s not."

"Miss Summers--"

"Commissioner, look. I really don’t have time to argue with you, and I have absolutely no problem going around you to get this done. As a matter of fact, that’s one of the big reasons why I sent up the bat-signal. He--" She jerked her thumb in Batman’s direction. "--can move at a pace you can only dream of. By the time you’ve gotten your paperwork all tied up, I can have Ethan Raynes tied up and out of your hair."

Batman took the envelope with its pictures, studying them again while Buffy and Gordon squabbled about who had authority, the legality of handing over a human magic-user to a non-government agency without following any of standard protocol, and the possibility of there being such a magic-user all.

"Next time we’ll send Willow over and you can talk to her about the possibilities of magic-users, okay?" Batman glanced up to see Buffy’s arms crossed under her breasts. For the first time, he realized that she was standing outside in nothing more than a turtleneck in the frigid air. "Right now, I’ve got a bad guy and supreme pain in my butt to find and hog-tie, much as I’d rather put him out of our collective misery."

"Then what’s he doing here in Gotham? None of this make sense, Miss Summers. I can’t--"

Holding out the first picture, Batman strode toward Gordon. "It’s me. Meroni hired this magician Rayne to ‘fix’ me. I’m their ‘little problem’."

Eyebrows going up, Gordon stuffed his hands in his pockets. "While I can’t say as I blame them, what makes you say that? I’m just as likely a target for this magic man."

"Look at the picture. Look at what Rayne was turning him into."

Batman was grateful to Buffy for allowing Gordon time to study the photo in his own time, without comment or prompting, or any other outward sign of impatience. "Sorry, son, I still don’t see it."

"Wait! Gimme a sec...I can do this." Buffy whipped out her cell phone, a dark colored smart phone with, what Batman realized was, a stylized stake on the back and a cross charm. "New toy...just give me one... Ugh, where’s someone under 30 when you need one? Ah ha! Here it is. Take a look at this, Commissioner," she said as she handed him the phone. She snagged the photo of the body from Batman. "And now look at this."

"Oh my God. He’s turning them into bats. What in the-- ? Why?"

"Don’t know, sir, but I am more than ready to find out." Buffy turned to Batman. "If we get a move on, we might be able to flush him out tonight."

"Chan ca keinpi," he heard in his ear. I’m going, too.

Fin[ite]

AN2: I listed this as Horror, but I'm not sure that this is "horror" enough to warrant the classification. Thoughts?

The End

You have reached the end of "Midnight City". This story is complete.

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