HelLex IV-Titanic-Part 10
by cHarley

Dawn and I arrived at Angel's headquarters, a huge hotel in a run-down area of town. Batgirl wasn't in the lobby or anywhere else I could see but Cordelia came out of a small office.

"Oh Buffy..."

"Please don't Cordy. I really don't want sympathy right now," I said gently. She understands I think.

"No. Of course you don't." She does. "Angel and that Batgirl should be back within the hour."

"Good. Have you got the Internet?"

"Sure do. It's over here," she said brightly.

"May I?" I asked, indicating the computer.

"Go ahead."

I logged onto Oracle's message boards. Finding the board for me I told her that Dawn was with me and that we were waiting for Batgirl and Angel's return.

A message quickly came back telling us that we should expect Batgirl in about three minutes and sure enough in three minutes they returned.

Faiths feathers were a little ruffled when Batgirl dropped her on the floor of Angel's office lobby.

"Lex Luthor had my mother kidnapped and I need your help."

She blinked at me. "Goody goody Buffy broke naughty me out of prison so I could help rescue her mother."

"Batgirl's more bad ass than you Faith so don't start. I don't care about our past. It's done. We can't change that but we can learn to get along and realise that we are opposite ends of the same balance beam. Will you help or not?"

She looked up at me uneasily. "Who do I have to kill?"

"No one. Well maybe a couple of demons and Lex if I can prove once and for all that he isn't human. I came to you because you know what this means and what we are up against."

"What about the Bat?"

"He's still a demon rookie. They all are. This is our calling, our duty. Are you with me or not?" I felt no malice toward her but I *was* impatient to get on with it.

"Lead on MacBuff," she said, standing up.

"Very droll," I said dryly. "And *I* didn't actually break you out of prison though I guess it was my idea. Welcome back Faith," I stretched my hand out.

She eyed it, then me before taking my hand and shaking it.

On the brief journey from LA to Metropolis I filled Faith in on the happenings and the villains and heroes of this unfolding drama. She asked a few questions but mostly she was contemplatively silent. This was highly unusual for Faith and it bothered me a little. When I asked her about it she said she was ok, just surprised that I would ask her for help. I told her we were two of a kind no matter what happened and who else could I ask for help if I couldn't ask a fellow Slayer? I gave her a black outfit to change into. I think she was relieved to be out of the prison uniform.

In Metropolis the penthouse apartment of Bruce Wayne was abuzz with whirring computers ad the voices of people on their phones. Cass had entered the apartment first still in full costume, followed by a nervous looking Faith, well nervous looking if you know how to see it in her, then Dawn and myself. The room fell silent as we filed in.

I don't know how but Dawn recognised Tim in his Robin costume and went to him straight away, taking the readily given hug.

"Buffy," Superman began.

"Shh," I said quickly. "Faith meet the JLA. Green Lantern, The Flash, Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Plastic Man and J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter. This is Batman, Nightwing, and Robin. You've already met Batgirl." As I spoke I stripped out of my dark grey dress to reveal my own costume. Nightwing tossed me a mask. I was already wearing my boots. I quickly affixed the mask to my face. "I'm NightStalker. Before you ask Bruce Wayne is at his office here in Metropolis. He's been gracious and let us set up here."

Willow came out of the kitchen. "Welcome back Faith," she said dryly. She was doing a good job not being bitter.

"Hey Red."

Willow ignored her and took a seat in front of the computer. "Oracle thinks she has something Buffy." She handed me a printer copy of the Daily Planets front page for the next day. 'U.S. President Kidnapped.'

"I'm not going to ask how you got that but I *am* going to call Perry and confirm it."

"Hi Lois. Thank you. Faith this is Lois Lane-Kent, a colleague and friend from the Daily Planet. Lois, this is Faith." Lois nodded at Faith as she spoke with Perry.

Batman managed to find the only shadow in the entire room and melted into it. Everyone else seemed to explode into conversation. I sat beside Dawn who sat beside Robin on the sofa in silence while the rest of the world continued on this crazy, nightmarish path. Nightwing sat on the arm of the sofa beside me.

"Perry confirms the headline," Lois announced wearily, sitting at the table beside Willow who was putting the protection spell and ingredients together.

Faith sighed and sat in the armchair near us. "Buffy? What are you going to do once you find the Joker?"

"I don't know Faith. It's easier with demons huh? A stake or sword to the heart and it's all over. Well usually it is. Zombies are a whole 'nother matter..."

She nodded agreement.

"He said Metropolis' richest son... maybe he's in Lex's office or apartment or something," Dawn whispered. If I hadn't been sitting beside her and hadn't had my Slayer hearing I wouldn't have heard it.

"Dawn, that's brilliant!" I smiled. "Flash check out Lex's apartment, Green Lantern check his office. Superman check anywhere else he could be held by the Joker." They were gone as soon as I issued the orders and returned just as quickly.

"Nada," Flash reported when he returned.

"Nothing I'm sorry Buffy," Superman said, returning a full minute after the Flash.

"Thank you. Both of you."

We waited anxiously for Kyle to return, the click of Willow's keyboard the only sound interrupting the silence.

Willow stood up and approached the balcony doors. I noticed a faint green glow then and realised Kyle was returning.

"He's got your mom and Lex in Lex's office in the LexCorp towers."

"Let's go," Flash announced.

"Wait. Willow? Can I have a sewer map for under the LexCorp Towers and the surrounding area?"

"Just a moment." She returned to the computer. "Ok. Just printing now."

I looked at them. "We'll take two teams. Faith you'll take one I'll take the other. We'll get a better look at the building before deciding how this works." I looked at the print out again before folding it flat and sliding it into my boot. I grabbed a small Metropolis sights guide Willow was using as reference beside the computer and found the pages that covered the Tower area. "We'll meet here," I said pointing to a side street. "You are not, I repeat NOT, to go in alone unless instructed. J'onn, could you please take Faith?"

"Certainly. Faith?"

"Erm... ok." The JLA and Faith were gone.

"Dawn, we'll be back as soon as we can be."

"I'll stay with you if you want Dawn."

"No. Go and do your vigilante thing," she said to Robin, trying for humour.

"You can call me back anytime Dawn, any of us. Just ask Willow to send the message."

"Ok," she said softly.

We must have looked a sight, if anyone was looking, the five of us swinging through Metropolis' high-rise buildings. The occasional car of the future made for an interesting and shocked spectator high above the city. I discovered that it was often faster for me to run across the tops of buildings, only using the cables when I had to. It seemed the same way for Cass.

The JLA were waiting for us when we arrived. "Flash, can you get into that building and get a look at all of the floors?"

"Start counting to five," he told Faith. She did. He was back by the time she reached two.

Flash came back to us with a report. "The Joker has your mom and Lex in Lex's top floor office. Vampires and hired groupies inhabit the floors between us and the top floor. The elevators have been deactivated."

"Faith, take the JLA with you and get into the building. You have to run interference. You get a twenty minute head start. I'd suggest..." I began as I reached for the map in my boot.

"Going in through the sewers. Got it." She took the map.

"And Faith?"

"Yeah B?"

"Destroy whatever you want. Take out as much as you can. This is the man who engineered this."

"But don't kill any humans," she said as though reminding herself.

"Well it is in the handbook though I'm entirely unconvinced that one actually exists." She offered me a small brave smile and slipped away into the sewer system. I heard Kyle mumble about dirty sewers before Faith ruthlessly shushed him.

I checked my watch. Batman and the others prepared their grappling hooks ready for launch. I looked up the side of the building and thought they had to be joking. I sighed when I realised they weren't. We began climbing the side of the building. It was slow and we had to change lines because of the height of the building three times.

With great effort, Batman broke one of the windows on the floor below the top ushering us in ahead of him. We met with no resistance as we moved through the building and up the single flight of stairs to the top floor. Batman led us to Lex's office and on the count of three he and Nightwing swung the doors open.

The Joker sat on the edge of Lex's desk, the window behind him smashed open. I'm assuming that's for a later escape, one he won't get. My mother and Lex were tied into a chair each, one on the Jokers right, the other on his left.

The Joker turned a delighted grin on us. "Aaaahhh!! Another little girl to the ranks. Why Bats, you really do set them up for me don't you?" He took his hands from behind his back and aimed the gun at Lex. I watched, horrified as his finger began to squeeze. At the last moment he swung the gun on my mother...

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