Enough was enough, he felt. Bruce needed to speak with Nikki about her raging bouts. They had started appearing more and more often, even if she wasn’t fighting Joker. He knew that it was something that he wouldn’t be able to handle alone and had mentioned it to his fellow Justice League founding members. There was a plan formulated however, they all agreed that it wouldn’t be forced on her. The first step would be for him to simply hint that her bouts with small blackouts were causing slight problems. He made plans to mention it before one of their nightly treks and was glad that he found her by Amusement Mile. When she turned and smiled at him, he uneasily found that it warmed him. He really liked her smile, even her cocky smirks. He had a small crush on her however the facts that she was his partner and that she had a major attitude problem stopped him from pursuing her. If only she was more like Tabitha, he found himself thinking.
“About time…” even her sultry voice would give him tingles every now and again; he had to find out who this woman was at least. Maybe he wouldn’t need the League’s help in adjusting her attitude problem then.
“Before we leave, there’s something we need to talk about…” he looked dead at her. Tabitha knew that it was something important; he usually had a nonchalant reply whenever she was arrogant with him. Maybe he’s going to finally confess, she realized. Her heart pounded; it had been a couple of months since she found out that Batman was Bruce and was dying for him to admit it.
“All ears.” she felt that whatever he was going to say required for her to take a seat.
“You have a problem we need to settle.” his words made her blink at him.
“A… problem…?” this wasn’t what she was prepared to hear.
“Your rage. We shouldn’t have to fight these guys for as long as we’ve been doing. You need to cool your temper a bit.” his raspy voice wasted no time in explaining. She looked away for a moment but then glared at him.
“Wait… so, you’re gonna sit here and try to tell me how to act, now?” a bit of her accent came out. He was about to continue but caught on to the accent; so she doesn’t have a sultry voice, after all.
“I think I’m in a rightful position to do so. It shouldn’t take all night to take someone down; all you have to do is zap them and be done.”
“… ‘Zap’ them? You really think it’s that easy for me, huh? Do you even know what I have to do to even control this shit?! I guess not; seeing that you have a utility belt that gives you all the fucking gadgets you need! No damn control there; it’s fucking simple!” she argued. He was about to respond until the two were ambushed by The Penguin and his two oriental sidekicks, the Kabuki Twins. While he tried to fight back, his mind definitely wasn’t clear. Nikki’s real voice had come out when she had gotten upset, he knew it for a fact. It was… southern. Was Nikki Strykher really Tabitha?
She stared down one of the killer geisha dolls, the void in her eyes immediately started.
“It ain’t nice to interrupt people talking!” she said and did a Lightning Cloud towards it. It flashed its menacing claw fingers in retaliation and swiped at her as she came in close proximity. Landing across her chest, Tabitha winced; while her shirt was indestructible it did nothing to cushion the feel of a sharp blade running across her body. It angered her more, blurring her vision. As it tried for another attack, Tabitha foolishly grabbed it by the wrist, not even feeling the slight slice made on her arm, and flung the doll across the river with all of her might. As she started to lose control over her mind, her last rational thought was that she was pretty sure the thing couldn’t fly… or probably even swim.
His annoying nasal cackle drew Tabitha’s attention towards him; The Penguin was definitely enjoying just standing back and watching as the other Kabuki Twin tried to subdue Bruce. He had fought them before and narrowly escaped their wrath, locking them in a large birdcage that The Penguin had used to keep Alfred prisoner. Bruce had no idea how this was going to work out; he really needed some help.
The Penguin looked, seeing that he was being tracked down by the menacing white-haired woman. He had heard about her through the other villains; Joker especially had this love-hate relationship with her (he found it weird that someone besides Batman would give Joker chills). When he saw that he was missing an assassin, he slightly gulped and held out his umbrella towards her. A quick squeeze on the handle and a bullet flew at her. She moved her head slightly, the bullet grazing her cheek through the mask. The act only made her lose even more connection with reality as she threw a streak of lightning towards him, knocking the umbrella from his hand. The only thing he could think of doing was retreating towards the amusement park.
Tabitha gave him a sadistic smirk and did a Lightning Cloud, landing in front of the short man.
“I… fucking… hate birds, you know that?!” she growled at him. She grabbed him by his coat and flung him towards the roller coaster, making a teeth-chattering “clang” noise as he bent one of the steel beams. The Penguin was shaken up but it didn’t matter to her anymore; she did another Lightning Cloud and was in his face before he could regain regular vision. She threw him towards another ride, immediately destroying it.
“Tabitha!” Bruce made the decision. He had taken care of the deadly assassin, tying it to a pole. After hearing her speak the last time, there was no doubt in his mind: Tabitha Lyght was Nikki Strykher. He went after her, thinking of everything he could to try to stop her. This was what he was afraid of; she had lost complete control and was intent on beating up The Penguin to death. He was clearly defeated, barely able to speak, begging for mercy but she had fallen deaf and continued to destroy the park with his round body.
He was glad that he was finally close enough to the two. Bruce debated on which he would use the net on and decided on The Penguin; maybe if she saw that he was contained, she would stop his brutal assault on him. It saddened and shocked him however that no sooner had the net covered the villain’s body, Tabitha was charging up, getting ready to hit him with all of her power. Bruce immediately threw a Batarang towards her, hitting her square on her wrist. She angrily looked in the direction of the hit and glared at him. At least she stopped charging up, he thought.
She stopped glaring long enough to actually realize who had hit her; it was enough to make her calm down a bit and regain some type of vision. The dark silhouette became clearer; it was Bruce. He picked up the Batarang and she realized that was what hit her. She looked down in front of her and saw The Penguin subdued in the net, bloodied, beaten and barely breathing. It made her come back to reality fully and she looked back at Bruce. She had no idea how to react; whether she should be ashamed or upset that yet again, she submitted to the rage.
Pain had finally set in as she followed an angry Bruce out of the park. The occasional breeze had stung something on her left cheek even through the mask and part of her shirt stuck to her chest; that area felt sticky and uncomfortable, enough for her to grimace every time she tried to suck in air. Even an area on her left arm throbbed. The two walked in silence for at least two miles before he quickly turned towards her.
“Do you realize how much damage you just caused back there? That’s not how I do things! It’s bad enough that I have the police trying to…” although it was raspy, his tone reminded her too much of her father; the disappointment in his voice whenever her and her brothers got in trouble was always enough to bring her to tears, wishing for a belt to her backside rather than one of…“those” talks. The feeling was almost mutual; she had disappointed her good friend.
“Bruce… I’m so sorry…” she barely choked out. Open mouth, insert foot, she quickly thought as she registered the quick shocked look on his face. Under the normal eye, he had collected himself immediately but she was staring at him, wanting to get back into his good graces. It also helped that she actually knew who he was but now that she blurted it out, she probably did more harm than good.
He pondered deeply how she had found out. Had she secretly followed him one night, finding one of the secret entrances to the Batcave? When that thought crossed his mind, he put his head in his hand and sighed. The dinner party, he remembered. She was acting strangely distant throughout the entire thing. Before, he had just wrapped it up as her being uncomfortable around the other people; he knew that she always had a sense of not belonging in that type of environment. He would have never guessed until that moment that she had found out who Batman really was.
He finally looked at her and sighed; even through the mask, he could tell by her misty, cloudy eyes that she was crying. Quietly, he wrapped his arm around her shoulder and they made their way back to Wayne Manor.