My arms were splayed in front of my chest when I awoke. Groggy, my blurry eyes took in the thick and dried layer of blood on my palms. I shifted and growled with pain, covering my stomach. Ignore it... think... the manors gone... ambulances will be here... they'll take care of Vickie. My stomach clenched, releasing a new wave of pain as my scabs cracked, releasing small streams of blood. Where's Alfred?
I rolled over on the count of three, ignoring my stomachs cries. Alfred blurrily filled my view, unconscious, but intact. Closing my eyes, I counted to three again and stood up. I practically fell back down as scabs on my stomach opened, causing thin streams of blood to issue, dripping onto the floor. With one hand on the wall for support, I grabbed Alfreds arm and dragged him to the Caves main room. Massive lights flickered to life, exposing the rooms six million dollars worth of equipment. Growing increasingly bitter, I layed Alfred onto a surgical table. How could this have happened?! Vickies dead and Alfreds on his way there!
Shaking, I began to stitch up Alfreds wounds. Whoever bombed the manor knows who Batman is. A third player is unlikely, no one other than the Joker, Hugo Strange or The Riddler would keep my identity a secret for their games. How do I deal with this? I dissolved my scabs and used a Wayne Enterprise invention- a gel that sizzled my skin back together. Moaning, I flicked the TV on. Images of a burning gotham park filled the screen. I can still track the Joker.
Harley Quinns old apartment was a mess. Posters of the Joker were strewn all along the walls, some with lipstick kisses. Police tape still blocked the front door- most of the apartment had already been gone through. I walked over the mess on the ground towards the poster with the most kisses on it- and ripped it down. Kisses formed a heart surrounding a small picture of the Joker on a safe with a small dial met my eyes. My eyebrows furrowed. The hiding place is bad, but that safe looks professionally installed.
I put my sonar googles on. The safe remained stubornly solid to the googles. I grabbed my knife and slapped the safe with the flat end. A high pitched whine filled the air. It still denied my googles attempts. Minutes passed as I chisled at the sides of the safe, coming to the realization that it was solidly anchored to the wall- and it wasn't just made of steel. My thermite went of at two thousand degrees on the safes door. Looks like I'll need some help.
Hours passed as I waited on the rooftop. I repeated the words do not trust her over and over in my head. Her calling card crumbled in my hand as a dark shape walked out of a corner. She came into the light, lifting her googles of. Catwoman. She smiled, walking carefully towards me. "You just couldn't pass up my card, could you? Can't say I blame you."
I growled "I need you to crack a safe."
"You only want me when I'm useful? That's not gonna cut it bats."
Crossing my arms I stated "I didn't call asking for handouts and you didn't come come here out of charity. What do you need?"
She chuckled, walked close and gently stroked my shoulder. "I want Gothams Knight to let me go for a month- just long enough to keep things fun." Her arms wrapped around my neck.
I stated, "Done" and gently pushed her arms of me. Glad, I walked towards Harley Quinns old apartment, waving Catwoman on. I didn't hear her following me until we got inside the apartment, her foot landing on a plate. She kneeled in front of the safe, spinning the back and forth. Minutes passed before she unlocked the safe. You've gotten better.
Catwoman passed a slip of paper to me, a little dissapointed. "Just an address inside... well, I won't see you for another month."
She stood up, weakly smiled and walked past me, practically whispering "You've seen my face, never seen yours."
It didn't matter if I saw her face- she is a ghost in every system.
Harley Quinn returned to her apartment in a sour mood. Looks like the Joker asked her to leave.
She closed the door. The lights turned of and I walked out of the shadows, smashing her face into the kitchen sink. My EMP generator died and the lights came back on.
Harley, almost delighted, said "How's it hangin' bats?"
This better work. I grabbed Harley Quinns cell phone and put my recorder up to the receiving end. If all goes well, Joker will hear the Riddlers voice, asking for him to back of from me- that I'm his. Otherwise, he'll kill Harley Quinn- just having her phone showing up in his caller ID should be enough.
The message played smoothly, despite being made by a computer- I hit Harley, just loud enough for her moan to be clearly heard in the receiver. Three vs. three... your move Joker.