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Rookie Magic

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This story is No. 16 in the series "Midnight City". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Wayne had told him to always beware of his surroundings.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
DC Universe > Batman > Buffy-CenteredVashtiFR1512,150021,0798 Jan 138 Jan 13Yes
Title: Rookie Magic
Fandom: BtVS/The Dark Knight Rises
Character(s): Sarah the OC Slayer, Buffy Summers, Batman, Ethan Raynes
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Wayne had told him to always beware his surroundings.
Length: ~2100 words
Disclaimer: Only the words are mine, and that’s probably up for philosophical debate.

§§§

“Are you two always like this?!” Buffy snapped, balancing a box of donuts in one hand.

John and Sarah stopped arguing long enough to bite out a “Yes!”

They’d been forced to put off the hunt for Ethan Rayne for another night when Batman reminded Buffy that his comm had been compromised. Speaking in his ear, Sarah had assured him that Willow would be able to fix it before the next night, and that she was looking for a way to reverse whatever Ethan had done to the college students. Batman had relayed the information before insisting on radio silence. Buffy and Commissioner Gordon had agreed that the time could be profitably used to pinpoint Ethan’s location and perhaps even find out why he was transforming the men into bat-like creatures. Batman would see what he could learn from the street, and they’d all regroup in the morning.

With that in mind, Buffy had been at John’s condo bright and early at 9am, a box of donuts in hand to get them started the right way: with sugar. Instead she’d been greeted with the muted, but still audible, sounds of verbal battle. From what she’d been able to make out, it had been going on for some time. When they finally let her in—she’d had to wait for a lull in “conversation” before either of them heard her knocking—she’s jokingly asked Sarah how long they’d been going at it.

“Since last night,” she’d said, arms crossed under her breasts.

Buffy had looked from one to the other. “What, seriously?”

“As a heart attack,” John had said, dourly, almost in that voice. “From the moment I got back from patrol.”

“No,” Sarah had said, voice dripping sarcasm. “I waited until the prowler’s doors were open since someone decided to declare radio silence.”

“Weren’t you the one that said our lines had been compromised and Willow hadn’t had a chance to fix them yet?”

“Yeah, but—“

And they were still at it. The argument frequently spiraled off into related territories, but it never strayed far from its main point; Sarah wanted to be with them when they took down Ethan, and John insisted it was too dangerous.

Beyond frustrated—they had to have been going at it for twenty minutes, and that was just counting the time since she’d been let in—Buffy tossed the doughnut box to Sarah. Catching it, she was temporarily distracted by the box of sugary goodness. “Look!" Buffy snapped. "This is how it’s going to be because, y’know what? It’s my case. You’re all just my lackeys.”

Pointing at John, she said, “I know you’ve got this big brother complex and all, which I find super endearing and surprisingly hot, but that one over there? Slayer. Her born purpose for existing? Slaying evil. If a slayer wants to go out on a mission of slayage that doesn’t involving killing regular humans, there is no way I’m going to stop her.”

Sarah crowed around the sugary fingers jammed in her mouth. Until Buffy rounded on her. “And you! Technically Big Brother is not under my jurisdiction, same as I’m not under Gordon’s. Don’t make me regret pulling the slayer card. I’m leaving and you’re staying. Just because he’s an overprotective lug doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to him.”

Suitably cowed, Sarah pulled her now-clean fingers out of her mouth. “But I can still go, right?”

Buffy and John both sighed. “Yes,” Buffy said, “you can go.”

Eyes hard, John approached Buffy as Sarah went bounding into the kitchen to make them all coffee to go with their sugar. “There’s a reason I plan on putting Sarah on street crime when I take her out with me. Don’t make us all regret your decision.”

***

“So we’re really just gonna walk right in there?” Sarah asked, breath misting in the cold night air.

Buffy nodded. “Yup.”

“Cool!”

Buffy cut her eyes toward her sister-slayer, walking jauntily beside her. “You are the tiniest bit too excited about this, you know that?”

Sarah had the grace to blush. “I know. This is serious business. I saw the pictures of that guy last night,” she said in the more subdued, more serious tone Buffy was familiar with from her time in the Command Center. “Do you think we might find anyone alive?”

“God, I hope so.”

“And did the Commissioner take your warning seriously? About Ethan targeting Asian students next?”

Buffy nodded. “I think so.” She grinned. “I would have loved to see the look on John’s face when you told him that’s why you guys were working on your Thai the other night.”

“It was a moment for the ages,” Sarah agreed, eyes-wide. “He was mad that I didn’t say something sooner, but I couldn’t have without alerting Ethan. Or whoever was on the line. I didn’t know you’d already figured it out.”

“We-ell, ‘figured it out’ is such a strong term.”

Sarah snorted good-naturedly, twirling her wooden practice sword as if it were a heavy, katana-shaped baton. “Any word back from Willow about changing anyone we might find?”

“Yeah, and none of it good.”

“Oh no.”

“Oh yeah.” Buffy’s shoulders slumped as she explained that the young men’s appearance were a result of they’re becoming hosts for Mayan bat demons. It turned out that the Camazotz demons had a real affinity for their original half man/half bat shape. If they inhabited the host body for more than a few hours, they invariably transformed it into the shape they preferred. A transformation that was torturous, ultimately shredding the soul of the original person. “So if any of them have ‘made it’ through the bat-ing process, they’re no longer playing for our team.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah.”

“I hope he doesn’t go looking for anyone tonight,” Sarah said in a small voice.

Buffy threw an arm around the smaller woman. “Ditto.”

"You two all right down there?" Batman muttered in their ears. "Or would you like some privacy."

A half smile pulling at her lips, Buffy said, "Well, if you’re offering."

He made some incomprehensible sound, halfway between a growl and an annoyed scoff. Buffy glanced at her sister-slayer. "Any idea what that sound means?"

Sarah shrugged, freeing herself from Buffy’s embrace as she did. "He’s not happy."

"I kinda twigged to that one, sweetie."

"Target at twelve o’clock," Batman warned them, ignoring their comments (which Buffy thought was admirable).

Putting a hand on Sarah’s shoulder, she stopped them. John’s comment from the morning had been bothering her all day. Because she’d had a bad habit of besting him at every turn for almost a year, Buffy had to remind herself that he’d come to her a fully grown police officer. A detective, even. There some things, many things even, that he understood just as well as she did.

"You ready for this?" she asked Sarah. "It’s going to be different from everything you’ve probably done before. Ethan’s an evil jerk, but he is human. We’re not allowed to break him."

Sarah nodded. "I know. S’why I have a bokken instead of a real sword." She spun the wooden sword in a tight circle.

"Yeah, but those things can do damage, too. I’m just saying, stay alert, stay cool...don’t let his taunts or cleverer-than-thou attitude get to you."

"Slayer, on your six."

"What?"

"Buffy! Behind you!" Sarah grabbed Buffy’s shoulders and threw them both backwards.

Buffy landed on her feet in time to see a batlike creature, complete with wings, swipe wicked looking talons through the space where her torso had been.

Sarah had rolled along the asphalt. She came up in a crouch, bokken drawn. "You’re sure they’re not human anymore," she said as the Camazotz demon charged.

One of the Camazotz demons. More were appearing behind it. Buffy drew her sword. "Dibs!"

She charged forward, swiping at the Camazotz. It leapt out of the way, rising briefly in the air. Buffy followed it with her eyes. "Hey! No fair!"

Then something barreled into her. She elbowed it’s gut. Slammed the butt of her sword into its sensitive nose. It howled and reared, preparing to strike.

A dark shape grabbed the Camazotz over Buffy, yanking it off and away from her. He pulled Buffy up.

Releasing her hand, he reached for something in his belt and threw it. An inhuman shriek pierced the air.

"What about that bat sound thing Bats the First had?" Sarah shouted.

"Only draws them to us," said Bats.

"Think we got that covered." Using her bokken like a club, she smashed two Camazotz knee caps on a rising swing that nearly tore through the wing of a third.

Buffy lopped the head off another Camazotz. It’s funny flat nose looked flatter than usual. She gave it a little smile. "I remember you." Then another was coming for her, talons first.

"Holy God! How many of them are there?" she heard Sarah shout.

"One for every man Rayne kidnapped," Batman said. A demon hooked its claws in the upper part of his cape. Batman threw his entire body forward, landing on the creature, spiked gauntlets in its neck.

"Well, how many was that?" Buffy asked.

A quick glance in Sarah’s direction showed her spearing one through with her bokken, much as she would have a vampire, as it tried to jumped over her. Instead of dust, black ichor flowed down the wooden length, quickly coating her arm. "Okay. Definitely not hum--"

Sarah’s back bowed in a sharp arc, red-brown hair flying away from her eyes, mouth open wide in a soundless scream. A pale arm, strange on such a cold night, came around her body, cradling her as she convulsed.

"SARAH!"

Ethan Rayne’s head appeared, almost in slow motion, as he gently lowered Sarah’s convulsing body. He grinned in Buffy’s direction.

She gutted another Camazotz, fury turning the motion vicious. She could hear guttural howling off to her left.

"Don’t like my little bat army, Slayer? They weren’t so little before, but between the three of you... Well."

Batman tossed something small in Ethan’s direction.

"No!" Buffy cried. She grabbed the first thing to hand—an arm that had lost its owner—and threw it to intercept, as Ethan ducked behind Sarah’s still convulsing body.

"Oh, you don’t want to do that, Batman," Ethan said, cautiously rising. "Not unless you want to hurt... What was her name? I heard someone howling it. Oh, yes. Sarah was--" He stopped short, Buffy’s legs suddenly filling his vision. "Hello, Slayer."

Buffy wrapped her fingers around Ethan’s neck. "You’re not the only one who can be sneaky," she said, a nasty smile on her face. Lifting him one-handed, she shook him like a dog. "What did you do to her?"

"Can’t...breath...Slayer. Buffy!"

"Forgive me if I don’t trust you as far as I can throw you."

"But...you’ve got...good...arm."

Buffy shook him again. "What did you do to Sarah!"

"Buffy," Batman said from behind. "If you kill him, we won’t find out anything."

Snarling, she threw him to the ground, stepping over her sister-slayer’s body—which had gone disturbingly still. With the Camazotz all dead, the night was suddenly, painfully, still. Except for the sound of Ethan Rayne trying to drag himself away from. He had one hand to his neck. He was pulling himself along with the other. Buffy trailed along.

"It’s nothing serious, Slayer. Just a little Tetanus neurotoxin. Doesn’t everyone enjoy a classic?"

"Buffy, I have to get her to a hospital immediately."

Buffy nodded, still watching, still following, Ethan as he tried to scoot away. "Go. I still need some answers. And I’ve been told that playing with your food can be fun."

***

Batman stopped paying attention after Go. Cradling Sarah to his chest, he ran.

So glad he’d brought the Batwing, despite how hard to get her in. But she was. And Gotham General stupid close in this thing. He couldn’t breath. The syringe had broken when she was dropped. Couldn’t think of it. Just remember it.

Couldn’t breath.

John tore off the cowl, the mask, swiped at his eyes. He powered up the Batwing. "Hold on," he said. Not sure who the words were for. Wayne had told him to always beware his surroundings.

Fin[ite]



Notes: Camazotz are a real thing! Sorta. You have no idea how happy I was to find these guys as I'd already decided what Ethan was doing with our poor hapless victims 2-3 stories before I got here. They were a Mayan bat god about which there seems to be little information. Here's the wiki page, but you'll probably have better luck googling them for more info and pictures.

The End

You have reached the end of "Rookie Magic". This story is complete.

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