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.
RATING: PG.
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.)
FEEDBACK: PLEASE???

I choose to start this story now...


Part 5
by cHarley


Dad was nowhere to be found in the apartment but on the table in the little kitchenette was a ribbon wrapped box. The card with the pink art deco tulip on it read my name.

I yanked the ribbon bow undone and pulled the lid off the box. Inside, under the pink tissue paper lay a black dress. I carefully took it out and examined it. It had thin straps and was low cut at the back. On me it would be about mid thigh length. Under the dress were a pair of nylons. At one end of the box were a pair of strappy black thin heeled shoes and a small handbag. I carefully put the dress back in the box and carried the box into the bathroom. Looking at my watch told me I had just over an hour before Dick would be here to pick me up.

I showered, and standing in the bathroom in my underwear I styled my hair and did my make-up. The nylons were the first article of clothing from the box I pulled on, then the dress. I raised my arms and let the dress fall over me. It floated over my body and seemed to be a perfect fit. Fortunately I had brought a strapless bra so no problems with extra straps. I stepped into shoes and adjusted the straps. It was all a perfect fit. This was a little nerve-wracking. I didn't think my dad knew my sizes that well.

I tucked my id and some money into the purse before checking my hair and face again. Yup, they were both still there. Then the doorbell rang. I walked carefully for a few steps before I got the feel of the shoes. I looked through the peephole and saw that Dick waited on the other side of the door. I checked my dress one last time and fixed the handbag on my shoulder before I opened the door with a big smile.

"Good evening Dick."

He was staring. This makes me a nervous Buffy. I know that Iím dressed and that my face and hair are ok. Either he thinks I look really bad or I look really good. Pleeeeeeeeease let it be that I look good.

"You look incredible. Do you like the dress?"

"You chose it?"

"I chose it," he nodded.

"It's lovely thank you."

"You are very welcome."

"Did you want to come in for a few minutes?" I heard myself asking.

"They're expecting us at 7. Though Iíd love to we'd better go. Have you got a coat? There's a breeze outside."

"Come in and Iíll just get one." I had a black cardigan that would be ok with this dress. I rummaged through my drawer and found it. I started pulling it on as I came back into the lounge room.

Dick held the shoulder up for me so I could find the other sleeve and I was ready. I checked I had keys and took his arm.

The ride to the restaurant was short. The elevator ride was longer. It was a rooftop restaurant. Fortunately we were seated inside, out of the breeze which cooled the night air. My cardigan was checked at the door.

Bruce was seated at a table with Lex Luthor, Lois, Clark and Tim. Dick pulled out the chair beside Bruce for me to sit in and sat in the chair on the other side of me.

"You look lovely Buffy."

"Thank you Bruce. Hello Tim. Lois, Clark, I wasn't expecting to see you both here."

"Neither was I," Lex mumbled.

"Bruce thought it would be nice for us to be here with you," Clark smiled.

"And another woman at what is probably going to be a very dull dinner. They'll talk money and politics and we'll be expected to nod and smile blankly, or discuss the latest fashions. That sort of thing."

I started to laugh. "I'm afraid I don't follow fashion trends. If it's comfortable I'll wear it. Don't get me started on politics and money bores me, unless Iím spending it."

The Maitre'd approached Bruce and handed him a slip of paper. "It appears your father is going to be late Buffy."

"Figures."

"Your father is Hank Summers?"

"He is indeed Mr Luthor. Do you honestly think I'd be sitting in the same restaurant and containing my urge to throw something at you if he wasn't?"

"I see that Lane and Kent have already poisoned you against me," he said dryly.

"They didn't need to. I can sense a vampire from a mile away."

"Buffy, Dick was telling me how you believe in magic and fairytales," Bruce interrupted before I leapt across the table and injured Metropolis' richest man.

"I didn't say that, and he called it mysticism."

"Vampires and demons?" Lex scoffed.

"Just because you haven't seen it doesn't mean it doesn't exist," I defended.

"I'm not doubting you," Bruce continued. "In Gotham City there is talk of a Batman but the only people who have seen him are in Arkham Asylum. Of course, that doesn't mean he doesn't exist."

"Very true, but don't they also say it's just a man in a costume and not a real bat at all?"

"Indeed."

"Makes you wonder what drives a person to do that sort of thing. I mean, there could be all sorts of reasons. A childhood trauma, being the victim of a crime, revenge, a need for justice in a world that is so concerned with not causing offence that some of the worlds greatest criminals never stand trial. And then there's the truth, something that this Batman obviously believes Gotham City is not ready to know, nor are they ready to recognise that in their city it's the only way to stop people like The Joker and Two-Face who are maniacally intelligent. Most criminal genius' are more intelligent, by the common methods of measurement, than your average police officer... I've studied some psychology," I said apologetically, beginning to feel a little dizzy.

"And human behaviour..."

"We *are* human behaviour. If we know ourselves, we know humanity. Not in its ideals, in its actuality. I know that for myself there are some truths I would much rather not know. Some of the truths and facts I have learned in my mystical studies I could have lived quite happily never knowing but that isn't how it works." The colours around me seemed to dull to a blur of shadow and light and I began to see things that weren't there. It felt like I was dreaming.

"No it isn't and we have to adapt to that."

"Even through the pain," Dick added.

"And what drives the Superman if some sort of past criminality drives the Batman?" Lex asked. I sensed a great interest from Lex in my answer to his question.

"A similar sense of justice though because of his superhuman abilities Superman does not have to rely on rumour, suspicion and fear to adequately function as a crime deterrent." I could feel the answers slipping from my tongue but at the same time knew this insight was not my own.

"Then why does the Batman restrict his activities to the night?"

"Why do most criminals restrict their activities to the night? The dark breeds fear in some, confidence in others. They hide their crime and shame in the dark. Where there is crime there must also be punishment and that is where the Batman seems to enter. The Police cannot be everywhere at once. They cannot adequately train their staff to think like criminals. I've seen some of Gothamís statistics. The police cannot keep up with that level of mastermind criminality and the ordinary criminal that exists everywhere."

I could feel everyone at the table staring at me. I'm beginning to get used to the feeling of being closely observed. I was prompted to speak what I saw by whatever seemed to be guiding my thoughts. "You Lex Luthor, hide behind your money and your high-tech security systems and think that you are safe, that nothing will harm you but one day you will start something that no matter what anyone does, will not be controllable. And that something will destroy you. I just hope it isn't anything I've dreamed of, or seen in my 'mysticism'. There are some terrible things recorded in the tomes I have seen and read, in languages so old they are forgotten. You'd better start praying none of it comes to your city."

I could see Lex's end. I saw the demon hunt him as he cowered behind his electronics. It felt so real I could smell the blood. I just wanna know when it was decided Buffy was allowed to have prophetic dreams while she's awake.

This entire conversation I have been plagued with visions through this haze that has overcome me, visions and words that are beyond my imagination. The murder of a wealthy looking man and woman. A man standing solemnly at a grave vowing to end it. A much younger man making a similar vow. I saw the men prowling the night.

There is no way I would normally have that sort of intellectual insight. Something somewhere is trying to tell me something, a warning perhaps. All I have to do is grab hold of it, but everytime I reach for it it moves further away.

I blink and actually see them looking at me, feeling the visionary eyes lift from my mind. An amazing experience but not the best time to have it. I begin to stammer out an apology. "I-I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me. I apologise Mr. Luthor." I try to stand and feel my knees give way. Dick and Bruce stand on either side of me, helping me remain on my feet. "Bathroom," I mumble.

"Come with me," Lois said, taking my arm and leading me away, straight past my father.

"Lois?" I ask as she helps me sit on one of the chairs in the plush bathroom. "Have you ever felt like you weren't normal? Like you were peculiarly special?"

"Sometimes. I've had some interesting experiences Buffy."

"Have you ever seen something that no one else has seen? Something that's like a warning but not for you?"

She studied me carefully before answering. "No I haven't."

"I'm not mad. I know it. But back there, at the table I saw something, some things. Some of it was the past, some of it the future." I took a deep breath and sighed. Even to me I sounded tired. "I'll be ok. I just feel a little strange. Give me a few moments and I'll be fine."

"Are you sure Buffy?"

"I... I feel like I've just woken up from a dream. I want to tell you Lois but you'll think I'm completely insane."

"I've seen some strange things Buffy, the least of which is someone with seer abilities. Just because I don't believe doesn't mean it doesn't happen."

I sigh in relief. Of course Lois would understand. I feel so weak. "Thank you. I don't understand why that happened but it's not happened that way before. Please, can we keep it between us?"

"Are you sure that's what you want?"

"Yes. Definantly yes. I wouldn't be surprised if Bruce wanted me out of the restaurant. I haven't been myself since I arrived in Metropolis."

"Maybe something wants your attention. Maybe it's just stress. Metropolis is a long way from your home."

"There are lots of maybes. I'm ok to go back now."

"You look better. You were very pale for a while there." She stood up and I followed her back to the table. Dad continued his discussion with Lex, who eyed me cautiously as I came back to my seat.


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