DISTRIBUTION: At my site www.harley-quinn.co.uk. If you want it just ask.
DISCLAIMER: Buffy and her cohorts belong to Warner Bros, Mutant Enemy, Fox etc. Batman and associates and the JLA all belong to DC Comics (which incidently, belongs to WarnerBros too). I own none of the characters but the thin thread of plot is mine and I cling to this like a life line. It's mine! I tell you and I gain no money from it but the immense satisfaction of turning the characters into whatever I see fit.
SUMMARY: Buffy/Batman/JLA (Justice League of America) X-Over. Summaries of the groups preceeded part 1 of the story so there's no need to not read it just because you don't know who they are. I have provided! :) Buffy goes to Metropolis for her summer job at the Daily Planet. Nothing works out the way you think when you come from the Hellmouth. Buffy's POV.
SPOILERS: Some Season 4 and 5 BtVS, Season 1 and 2 Angel. (No WW this fic is not for you-sowwy.) DC spoilers are up to Jan2001 comics. DEDICATED: To cHeWtOy as always. To Panthera and Susie for beta'ing and Panthera for giving me the idea in the first place, and to Soul, angelsbitch, Melissa, Eliz (esp. for her US ettiquette advice) and anyone I might have forgotten who had to hear about this and the word counts over the three and a half days that I spent writing it (incidently the total fic weighs in at just over 22300 words, just the fic, without the headers.)
I choose to start this story now...
I was so tired when I got back to the apartment. Not that I'd done much that day but booklearning can tire you out more than physical exertion.
Dad wasn't back, no great surprise. Thank heavens he was feeling guilty for my last birthday. I love this laptop.
Email from Willow.... Miss you too Wills. Email from Giles... Yes I'm training. No I'm not patrolling. Yes I'm doing my reading. Email from Xander... No I haven't met Superman yet.
Well everything is ok back home. Yay Sunnydale. I could really learn to love Metropolis though. This window is huge. I can see so much. The night seems very different and I feel so pre-Slayer normal.
Ooop... phone. "Hey Dad... That's ok. Take as much time as you need... Yup. Love you too Dad."
Ah! I hate it when the phone rings as soon as you put it down. No amount of Slayer training prepares you for that. "Hello?... Oh hello Lois... No I'm not busy... Are you sure? I don't have anything to wear... But I don't have an invite... You aren't going to take no for an answer are you? ...But I really don't have anything to wear to a cocktail party... Are you sure? ...Alright. See you soon."
Expensive and big were my first thoughts of the party for Lex Luthor. He'd donated something or whatever. Lois and Clark admitted they really didn't care which made me giggle. They did say that Lex was slimy and that whenever something happened he always got out of it. Lois also said that the general American population believed the sun shone out of Lex's ass and that she didn't want sunshine if that's where it came from.
I think Lois and I could be great friends.
I tagged along with Lois and Clark. We chatted to Jimmy and Perry for quite some time about nothing much. Mostly it was Lex based gossip and a bit of bitching. It was amusing considering these people are respected journalists and sound more like they should be working for The National Enquirer. Clark had excused himself from the group to talk with a pair of rich looking men. I looked around the room and realised I'd rather be in a cemetery waiting for a newbie to dust. At least there was something to look forward to, that wasn't a longwinded speech that would probably put me to sleep faster than a slow night in Sunnydale.
The younger of the two men with Clark was staring in my direction. I turned back to the conversation and quietly asked Lois, "Who is that with Clark?"
"Shall we go and meet them?" Lois asked with a glint in her eye that I decided I *really* didn't like. What was I thinking when I thought we could be friends? She's worse than Cordelia.
"Nononono... That's not necessary Lois." She dragged me with her anyway. "Lois," I hissed.
The taller stranger smiled and commented, "Lois. You look lovely this evening."
"Who is your nervous friend?"
Great now I look nervous to strangers. Good thing I haven't come across any vampires. They'd laugh at nervous me. I'm the veteran Slayer... and it doesn't count a jot at this party.
"Buffy Summers. Buffy's with us at the Daily Planet for summer. She's from California."
They looked at me expectantly, except Lois who just looked amused. "I am. My dad's here too. He's here to talk business with someone named Bruce Wayne... Did I get that the right way around?"
The man standing beside Clark chuckled. "Yes you did. He's me."
You could roast marshmallows with the heat from my face. "Uh... sorry. I'm... gonna go and hope the ground swallows me on my way out."
Bruce laughed again. "No need to do that. It's a pleasure to meet you Buffy."
"Likewise Mr Wayne," I stammered as I shook his hand.
"Please call me Bruce. This is Dick Grayson."
"Uh, hi," I said nervously extending my hand to the gorgeous young man beside Mr. Wayne.
"Hi. So you're Hank Summers daughter?"
"Yeah. All the way from Sunnydale California."
"Did you have plans for your summer holidays that didn't involve working at a newspaper?" Bruce asked.
"Doesn't every university student?"
Bruce chuckled. "I guess they do. Has Perry let you write anything yet?"
"It's only my first day and I don't imagine Perry letting me do anything. Besides if I do anything Clarks ultimately responsible and I'm too nice to do that to Clark." Did that make sense?
"I think you have a fan, Clark," Bruce said looking from me to Clark.
"Yes. Me," Lois said, saving me.
"Uh, if you'll excuse me, I want to go and say hello to my dad."
They nodded. "Watch out Buffy," Lois warned. "That tall bald man over there is Lex."
"I won't be going to talk to dad then. That less tall blonde man is my father. So Mr. W-Bruce, do you live in Metropolis?"
"No. I've lived my life in Gotham City."
"Have you always lived in Gotham too Dick?"
"I've lived in Gotham since I was 12. Before that I was part of Haly's circus. My parents were trapeze artists. The Flying Graysons," he said fondly.
"You came to the city where I grew up. I must have been about 8. I saw them and for weeks my mother had to pull me down from anything I could swing on. You were the little boy? Wow. That is very cool." Then I remembered what happened to his parents. Another circus had been in town that year, I had gone to see the trapeze act and I had heard some circus clowns talking about the Flying Graysons being killed and how their little boy was now the ward of some rich man. "I, uh... I guess it's a little late to say I'm sorry about what happened to your parents. I mean not that I could have done anything but... well I'm sorry anyway."
He blinked away the brief flicker of emotion. "It's past now."
"Like Merrick," I whispered, remembering how it had felt to watch him sacrifice himself to save me. At the time he was more like my father than the man talking with Lex Luthor. It shattered me, and it was threatening to do so again. "Excuse me," I mumbled and headed for the open door onto the balcony that faced the moon. I ran down the steps into the garden and secreted myself in a shadow.
I don't know how he found me but you can imagine that when he spoke I was ready to stake him from fright.
"Who is Merrick?"
I spun to face him. In the moonlight he looked so much younger. "No one Mr. Wayne, uh Bruce. Just a memory now. Please go back inside. I can't imagine how this appears. Not that I really care about what everyone thinks of me but you should and I don't think my dad would appreciate his little girl looking like a golddigger. Please Bruce? I'll be fine. Just a little overwhelmed by everything. It's been an eventful few days. Arriving in a strange city and having to find my way to an apartment I don't know and not having anyone to meet me there either." I take a deep breath, pouring out my soul to a stranger is not how I'd envisioned my evening. "Merrick was a friend when I had none and he died."
"That's not the end."
"But it's all I'm telling you. I don't know you Bruce Wayne, except that my dad was here to talk to you and that you live in Gotham City and have done all your life. Just-go back inside. I'll be fine."
"It's not safe."
"I'll be fine." I began to walk away.
Now I was in trouble. "Uh, hey dad."
"Are you alright? What are you doing here?"
"I'm ok. Just needed some fresh air. Lois and Clark from the Daily Planet brought me with them. Uh, have you met Bruce Wayne?" I saw Bruce’s eyes narrow as I distracted my father. He's a smart one. "Mr Wayne, this is my dad Hank Summers." Dad was easily distracted, more interested in clinching a deal than looking after his distressed daughter, what I didn't notice until too late was Bruce's tiny gesture that sent Dick further down the garden under cover of shadows to intercept me.
And intercept me he did. He seemed to just appear. I really should have been more used to men doing that. Angel was an expert and it drove me nuts then and this was no different. "Don't you know how dangerous it is to sneak up on a person?" Forgetting myself I punched him on the arm.
"Ow. That hurt."
"So?" I asked stalking away from him.
"It hurt a lot."
I shrugged and kept walking.
"You have to talk to someone Buffy. You don't have anyone else in Metropolis. I'm offering to listen."
I turned suspicious eyes on him.
"I was raised to be a good boy Buffy. No romp in the hay in exchange for a listening ear... that is... unless you want to," he grinned and though I wanted to be angry and upset, I melted. Staring at the moon my mind is filled with the thoughts I fight every nightfall, like my own personal mental vampires. Damn the night. It took my youth, and offered me salvation with one who would be my prey. The moon laughs at me.
"I often feel that way," Dick said, and I realised I'd said at least that last part out loud.
"I'm different Dick. I have a destiny, a defined destiny and already I have cheated the Fates once. The night took away my innocence and gave me a purpose. The night offers me what I cannot have. By moonlight I know my purpose. By daylight I am forced to hide my truth. The truth is a great burden."
I expect him to be staring at me like I'm mad. Instead I see an understanding as he quietly says, "It is indeed. There is little freedom in truth. Humanity isn't ready for the truth."
"Merrick was a friend who showed me my future. To save me he took his own life... and I saw it. Another took his place, is one of my greatest friends but Merrick paid the ultimate price for my innocence. Greater than the price the Fates asked of me. But I think that by surviving I had repaid my debt to Merrick. I think I'm ok now Dick. Uh, thanks for listening to my vagueness."
"It's a free service Buffy. Let me walk back with you." We walked quietly. I don't know what Dick was thinking but I was wondering what on the Hellmouth possessed me to share so much information with a total stranger. I just hoped that no one waited for me at the office with a straight jacket the next day.