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Buzz Kill

by Sarah Ellen Parsons

[Story Headers]

The soprano's voice rose in an ecstasy of melodramatic orchestration, capping off an evening of some of the most florid over-singing Catwoman had ever had the misfortune to witness, but the fact was she didn't care. It was a gloriously warm autumn night on the rooftop and she was halfway through her second bottle of asti-spumante, chosen just to go with Gotham's resident Italian soprano's tendency to make the most delicate aria into the less-than-mellow tones of drunks bellowing "O Solo Mio" in the street.

Catwoman was tempted to throw a boot at her through the skylight, but contented herself with drinking another big swig of the overly sweet bubbly wine directly from the bottle. She'd finished most of the bread and cheese she'd brought for her rooftop picnic in a fit of boredom halfway through the baritone's big scene at the beginning of the second act. Now she was pleasantly buzzing as she listened to the finest people in Gotham applaud the truly mediocre singing. Catwoman knew that the only reason the soprano kept her position in such a prestigious city was that she, herself, was being kept by a rather famous patron of the Gotham Opera.

It just went to show that even among the "best" people of Gotham the same rules applied. It isn't what you know, it's who you blow. And that was all there was to that.

Shame about the Verdi, though.

Catwoman lay back on the sheet she'd brought to protect herself from the tarry roof of the Opera House and indulged in a wee, tiny pity party for herself. Downing two entire bottles of depressant in the course of the opera might have had something to do with the unusual self-indulgence. She deserved to feel bad every once in a while, just like anybody.

The fact was, she was dead broke and things were looking grim. It was more than likely she was going to have to do something quite beneath her dignity and pull a fast little smash and grab down in the diamond district. She hated doing things like that now. She was establishing a good, professional rep and a high profile and word getting out that she was doing run-of-the-mill unskilled labor stuff would not help her land the big money jobs.

But at the moment, there just wasn't anything big and valuable and cat-related at hand. She couldn't afford the Opera this Season and that made her feel VERY poor, indeed. She'd had season tickets last year. Sure, they'd been balcony seats, but that had been because she liked being up high, not because she couldn't afford floor. This year things had not been going well.

There had been something of a retrenchment among Gotham's criminal element. Batman had stepped up his operation beyond the mob and the occasional crazy and was systematically working his way through the organization behind the organization, hitting suppliers like gun-runners, drug-smugglers and fences. The last one was the only real problem for her. He was working closely with the police now, and even they were picking up the pace, so the local criminal element was keeping their collective head down.

Of course, she hadn't seen Batman around lately. But that probably had more to do with the dire lack of crime to commit rather than that he wasn't around.

Despite her current financial troubles, and annoying crime crackdowns, and a copious amount of wine, she just couldn't stay depressed. Not on a perfect autumn night with a harvest moon the size of a dinner plate hanging over the city and turning the grimy skyscrapers into shimmery silver castles and there she was, the Queen of it all. The Queen of the Night, in fact, at the opera under the stars and perfectly alive in her glorious city where even broke, she could soak up more culture in a few hours than she'd seen her her whole life before she'd moved here. She wouldn't give it up for anything.

She'd do what she had to, beneath her dignity or no, to have the money she needed to stay in her city. The city she loved as fiercely as she loved her independence, her cat-costume and her mad skills as a professional bad-ass?all of which she'd never have had if she hadn't come to Gotham. She loved every dirty corner of it from the grime of the East End to the scum that collected around the freighters at the wharf to the layer of soot that gathered on the gargoyles.

The Opera House had gone quiet and she was rather surprised to find that she had completely finished the spumante. She rolled the bottle out of her way and got up off her sheet, folding it neatly and placing it into her backpack with her CD-player and her book. She didn't think she'd listen to more music tonight; she'd just listen to the music of the city, instead.

She looked down at the busy crowd now beginning to pour out of the building and put itself into taxis, their excited chatter and the sounds of traffic coming up to mingle with the hum of the rest of the life around her. It was her city at play; her city to play in.

Catwoman ran to the side of the Opera House and leaped, flinging herself into the air and the end of her whip at the flagpole of the County Building, catching it easily and swinging herself up to the roof in one smooth motion, making her head feel all pleasantly swoony. She hadn't been this drunk in a while. It was fun. She'd have to get drunk more often and go out catting about. It made running around on the rooftops a little more challenging, her feet weren't quite so sure, and she loved a good challenge. And seeing she had nothing to use her skills on, a fake challenge would have to do. She picked a direction and set off.

Nothing she'd ever experienced could match the simple rush of a journey across the city, far above the streets. The exhilaration of leaping over the edge and finding her footing sure on a ledge or fire escape, the scamper up the drainpipe and the sprint across the rooftop were a million times better than sex. She always wondered why people used that as a comparison, probably because people who compared things to sex were stupid and had no real idea of fun. Nearly everything, in her wide and extensive personal experience, was better than sex. This rush, this life she'd chosen, was even better than chocolate.

She reveled in the sheer perfect physicality of a rooftop run. And it never got better than this. How she was in perfect control of her every movement, despite being three sheets to the wind, even down to the beating of her heart. How her feet met the roof just so, how her body swung through the air, how the wind felt caressing her face as it blew up 20 stories from the street below. It seemed almost better right now, she was so relaxed, so able to enjoy every nuance.

Then there was the skill required to subvert a state-of-the-art security system and the incredible thrill of emerging successful with whatever she'd set her sights on. Nothing she'd ever done could compare with the pure joy of exercising her skill and getting away clean. Nothing ever compared with winning.

She ran over the roof of the County Building, and swung up the Post Office drainpipe to the ledge of the boring and mostly featureless Federal office building next door. A quick run along the ledge and she was across an alley to the equally boring subsidiary of LuthorCorp beside that and then back to the lovely Art Deco shimmer of the stainless steel clad Mayes Building, a favorite of hers as it had a lot more places to hide and hang onto than it appeared to.

That was the beauty of Architecture. Architecture was not only prettier than simple building, it was much more useful; especially for someone like her. She hoped Mies Van der Rohe was rotting in a very special hell for designing all those hideous black glass boxes back down by the Gotham River, because there was virtually no purchase anywhere, cutting off a main highway through the city.

Swinging up on the fantastic gargoyles of the Maitland Building, she sent a prayer up for the Wayne Foundation and all the money it had thrown at getting the Maitland declared an historic landmark despite the fact that neo-Gothic was sadly out of fashion. She didn't think the Foundation had gone so far as to buy the Maitland, but it certainly had been instrumental in keeping the faade intact even though the inside had been turned into a vertical shopping mall and luxury apartments. She bet that Batman felt just the same way every time he swung off one of the Maitland's prolific spikes and spires.

The Maitland was the perfect stepping-stone to the Wayne Building beyond and from there to the very highest points in Gotham. She had gotten a hankering to look at the moon from the top of the Gotham Mutual tower. There was a gorgeous view of the riverfront and the more green and residential portions of the city, including the obscenely elaborate mansions of the Old Money families like the VanWerts, the Dustins and the Waynes. But despite how the thought of people having so much who had never earned anything annoyed her, she still liked looking at those beautiful relics of industrial robber barony. At least the villains of the past had had some taste and style.

As she came over the top of the Wayne Building, something very much out of place caught her eye, two buildings over, the horizon had changed. One of her favorite old brick chimneys was completely knocked over and lying on its side, all broken to pieces. Beyond she could see another place where the slightly raised facade of the building had been knocked off, causing an ugly gap. The water tower on the same building was standing crookedly with one leg broken into splinters. The other three were still supporting the weight, but it trembled on the edge of falling.

It was clear a moment later what exactly had happened to the building as Batman flew backward through the air and smacked hard into the air conditioning unit. It looked painful, and he was a little while getting up.

Well, that was by far more interesting than the river. She'd jump a couple of roofs to find out what it was that could throw Batman like a ragdoll across the length of a building.

She leaped off the side of the roof, easily catching onto the flagpole half a story below and swinging around until the centrifugal force carried her up and over the edge to the roof above. Landing lightly, she sprinted across the roof and then jumped up onto the roof-access stairwell. She clambered up just in time to see Batman toss a batarang toward a huge, hulking figure that was currently picking up the broken chunk of faade to crush him with.

Whoever he was, the creature was huge, with bleached skin and hair and the size of about four normal men put together. And he certainly seemed to have the strength of more than one person, the way he'd picked up the Batman and thrown him like he was a toy. She wondered what he'd done to get Gotham's resident busybody after him.

"Grundy smash talky Bat!" the creature yelled and threw the chunk of masonry at Batman, who easily leaped out of the way of the stonework. The batarang he'd thrown came fluttering back out of the night and hit the creature in the back of the neck, exploding, raising a howl from the creature. Catwoman wrinkled her nose at the stench of burning rotted meat that wafted her way.

"Just give me the disc, Grundy," Batman growled at the creature. "You don't want it! You don't use computers!"

"It Grundy's! Grundy got it! Grundy takes it away!" the creature yelled, looking around for something else to hurl at the Batman.

Catwoman sat down on the edge of the roof facade to watch--a ringside seat. Just the thing after the soprano's awful singing and a large quantity of alcohol, watching a couple of great, big guys beat the living hell out of each other. That was always quality fun. And she'd be there in case something bad happened. In case the Batman got really hurt and needed some help.

The huge albino pried a metal smokestack off the roof and tossed it at the Batman like a javelin. Batman dodged it easily. While the big white guy was incredibly strong, he was also pretty darned slow. Catwoman was sure she could have got the better of him, or at least gotten away at least ten times in the time it was taking the big guy to find things to toss.

Batman, himself, kept dodging whatever the big guy threw and lobbing the occasional well-aimed batarang. But they didn't seem to make much of an impression other than to piss the huge albino off a lot more and to get it to yell.

"Go away, Bat! Grundy leave now!" The huge creature tossed another small piece of facade at Batman and began to bound away from the fray, directly at Catwoman.

The move surprised her, probably because she was drunk. Instead of running away she just gaped at the huge man lumbering toward her. Neither he nor the Batman had seen her yet, and she was pretty sure the huge thing didn't even notice her until he came skidding to a stop directly in front of where she was sitting. He stared at her stupidly, all filmy eyes and earth-stained clothes. He smelled a lot like a burlap bag full of potatoes that had been left in the root cellar too long. She found herself staring just as stupidly back instead of being alarmed, probably the fault of the spumante.

"What are you?" the huge albino said, towering over her. "Big gray kitty. Girl kitty. Pretty kitty girl."

Catwoman smiled. Flattery would get him everywhere.

"And a friendly kitty, too," Catwoman said giving a little purr deep in her throat. She really didn't want the huge thing to sock her one. "Batman is sneaking up behind you."

"Nasty Bat! Grundy pound to pulp!" The huge man turned around and clubbed Batman upside the head, knocking him sideways into the roof stairwell.

"What is the Batman trying to do, Mr. Grundy?" Catwoman asked pleasantly as the big creature turned back toward her.

"Bat try take Grundy disc!" The huge creature yelled empathetically. "He talk talk talk and try take Grundy disc."

"He does that, yes," Catwoman agreed, smiling as sweetly as particularly gooey pie. "He'll talk your ear off and then take whatever you have."

"Yes, he try take Grundy disc!" Grundy yelled and brandished a CD in his huge hand.

"That CD doesn't belong to you, Grundy!" Batman said, picking himself up off the roof and continuing to be tiresome as usual. "You're being used!"

"You shut up, Bat!" the huge creature growled.

"Why did you take the disc, Grundy?" Catwoman asked leaning forward. For a person with obviously limited grammar skills, she found Grundy's conversation enthralling.

"Grundy friend want shiny disc," Grundy said. "So Grundy help. Grundy get disc for Grundy friend. Now Grundy take to friend."

"Ah, you're doing this for your friend," Catwoman said. "That's very nice of you, Mr. Grundy. You must like him very much."

"He good friend," Grundy said, nodding his huge head up and down.

"Why does he want the shiny disc?" Catwoman asked.

"Grundy not know. Just know friend want," the huge man said, looking very confused now. All of his expressions were as exaggerated as his enormous size. "So Grundy get. That what friend do."

Catwoman looked past the creature at Batman, who was preparing to rope it with some steel cable he'd come up with from somewhere, probably his belt. He seemed to carry everything under the sun in that belt. She fully expected him to be able to pull a 1983 Buick Century out of there if pressed.

"That's very considerate of you, Mr. Grundy," Catwoman said. "Batman is sneaking up behind you again with a rope."

"Stupid Bat, leave now!" Grundy bellowed and backhanded the Batman across half the length of the roof this time.

Catwoman rose from her seat and slowly crossed the roof to where the Batman was rising to his feet, smiling over her shoulder at Grundy all the while.

"Maybe I can help you, Mr. Grundy," Catwoman said. "I have met the Batman before. Let me try to talk some sense to him."

Batman had risen to his feet and was glaring down at her like some grim gargoyle from the side of the Maitland Building. He was bleeding from cut on his lip and she could see that his left eye was starting to swell from one of the creature's blows.

"Looks like you've got a problem, handsome," she said, low enough that only just Batman could hear, unless the creature had some kind of super-hearing, of course. She turned around to smile at it, but it was just looking confused again, so she figured it couldn't hear them.

"I don't have a problem," Batman replied grimly.

"Looks like you're getting pretty beat up to me," Catwoman said, pounding him on the shoulder where the huge creature had hit and making him wince.

"Ha ha, pretty kitty hit stupid Bat!" Grundy bellowed a laugh, bending over in a paroxysm of mirth. "Everybody hit Bat, maybe then he shut up!"

"You want that little shiny disc, don't you, sweetie?" Catwoman circled the bat on his chest with a claw, dragging the point of it with just enough pressure to let him know she could put on more if she wished.

"I want to return it to its rightful owner, yes," he growled.

"And what if I told you that I'd do it for you?" she smiled up into his face, leaning close, teeth bared, her hand now raised as if to slash at him.

"Why would I believe you?" he asked.

"When have I ever lied?"

"Do you want an itemized list?" The dripping sarcasm in Batman's voice added some insult to injury, actually.

"Ok, fine," she said. "When have I ever lied about anything that was your business?"

"I don't have time for this," Batman said. "You define my business differently than I do."

"Ok, whatever," she said. "I feel like it. I can get the fucking thing for you, without you getting your ass hammered to hamburger, does that sound like something you'd want?"

"Why?" he asked, narrowing his eyes suspiciously inside the mask.

"Because I feel like it," she replied snappishly. "You need more of a reason than that?"

"Ok," he said slowly. She could literally see him calculating that it would be easier to get the disc from her than from the huge white guy, he was that transparent. This was quickly turning into no fun. She'd just get the disc and get gone.

She looked back at the huge creature looking hopefully at her. She felt kind of bad for what she was planning. But then she looked back at the Batman, somebody whose goodwill it might prove useful to have, and she decided she could live with herself.

"What's on the disc?" she asked. "It doesn't seem something his type would want."

"That's none of your business," Batman said.

"Do you want me to get it without your getting smacked around any more, or not?" she asked. "Because I can just walk away and leave and let that thing pound you like a nail."

"It's nothing you'd want, either," he said.

"So nothing useful like access codes to a vault or the numbers of Bruce Wayne's Swiss Bank Accounts, then?" she said. "Is it some kind of industrial espionage?"

"It's worse," he said.

"Like what? You might as well tell," she said.

"I can't trust you not to sell to them if I do," he said. "You might sell anything to anyone."

Catwoman glared up into his face and spoke in her quietest, deadliest voice.

"There are certain things that I never sell to anyone," she said. "Not anyone."

She could tell from his eyes that he believed her. He should have, because she'd never been so serious in her life.

"Ok, so now you need to hit me," she told him.

"What?" Batman asked.

"The big guy needs to believe I'm on his side," she said. "And it's not like you haven't hit me before, Lover."

"You aren't doing anything that requires hitting," he said stubbornly.

"It won't be the first time I've been hit for not doing anything," she said. "Hit me, it will convince him. And I'll get you your CD."

Batman frowned. He clearly didn't like the suggestion, but then he drew his fist back and swung at her head. She rolled with it and it didn't hurt much, but she also lurched sideways, exaggerating the blow so that it looked good.

"Screw you, Batman!" she shrieked, slashing at the air between them. She put her hand to her jaw where his blow had connected and backed away from him. Turning to the white giant, she put her sweetest smile on. She walked slowly up to the huge Grundy all friendly.

"What Bat say, pretty kitty?" Grundy asked. "I saw he hit you."

Catwoman shook her head sadly, feeling at the lump. He certainly hadn't pulled that punch. Not even a little.

"He isn't going to give up," She leaned forward. "But I have an idea."

"What?" The huge creature bent down toward her, breathing on her with a smell that was somewhere between cow pat and chum. She did her best not to flinch.

"Why don't you let him think that I've taken the CD from you?" she asked in a whisper. "I have another one here in my bag and we can pretend that it's the one you have, do you understand?"

"No," the creature said.

"Do you know what pretend is?" she asked.

"It like lie?" he asked. "Grundy not like lie."

"No it's not like a lie," Catwoman said reassuringly. "It's like a joke. You like to laugh, don't you?"

"Yes," the big creature said.

"Would you like to laugh at Batman?" she asked.

"Would like to laugh at Batman broken bones," Grundy growled.

"Well this will be even funnier, because you'll play a fun trick on him." She reached inside her pack and took the disc out of her CD player.

"See, here is a CD, let me see yours now and I'll show you something," she said.

She looked around at Batman and gave him a wink.

"Batman can't see what we're doing," she said, easily performing a switch right in front of the creature's eyes, swapping one shiny silver object for another with next to no effort at all. "So I'm going to take my CD and pretend that it's your CD. You'll run away to your friend with your CD and I'll take my CD and pretend that you gave me the one that you had and get Batman to chase me instead. Do you understand?"

"You fool Bat. Bat think you have Grundy CD," the creature said in its rumbling voice, taking her copy of "Aida."

"Yes, exactly! And then when he catches me, he'll see that I don't and by then you'll be all the way back home to your friend! Won't that be funny?"

"Bat be fooled good!" the huge creature said smiling broadly. "Yes, that good. Pretty kitty is good."

"Yes, kitty is very good." She ruthlessly stamped on the twinge of guilt she felt, hoping that would kill it dead.

"When we go?" Grundy asked. She blinked at him, trying to decide when she'd become the leader of this unlikely gang.

"Go now, Grundy," she said, patting the huge creature gently on the arm, which felt rather too soft and sort of squishy, like the belly of a fish. "I'll take care of the Batman. I'll run away and he'll chase me and you can get away."

"Ok," Grundy said, thumping her on the shoulder so hard she staggered sideways. "Good kitty. Kitty run fast now."

"You too," Catwoman replied.

The huge white creature turned and bounded away across the rooftop, glancing behind him as she rushed toward Batman, claws out as if to rend.

Batman looked surprised. She could tell he was expecting a doublecross, so she pulled her mad rush up short and stopped right in front of him, throwing her arms around his neck like she was happy to see him.

"Kitty is goo-oood," she drawled, leaning up toward him as if she was going to kiss him. She even thought of doing it. That WOULD be funny considering the huge plank that he always had rammed up his ass. And he was attractive enough if you liked them tall, strong and broody. And, sadly, she did. She didn't know what he looked like, of course, but how bad could it be? He had one of the most amazing bods she'd ever seen, and those broad shoulders. And he was Batman. Kissing Batman might be quality fun. And it would piss him off so much.

She giggled just thinking about it. It was naughty.

"Are you drunk?" he asked peering down at her from his considerable height, taking hold of her arms and removing them from his neck.

"So?" she asked, pulling herself from his grip. "That's none of your business. And," she jabbed a finger into the center of his chest, right in the middle of the stupid black bat. "You should be thanking me, not nagging me. I got your stupid disc for you, didn't I?"

"Did you?" he asked. "Where is it?"

"Wow," she sneered, annoyed that he had not got with the program of tricky fun. "Aren't you just fucking Prince Charming?"

She pulled the CD out from where she'd stashed it in her pack and twirled it around like a magician doing sleight-of-hand with a coin--right, left, left, right.

"Must be pretty important if you were willing to get your ass kicked by that huge thing to get it back. I wonder who else wants it? Seeing you don't know how to say "thank you," she began edging toward the side of the building. The booze had kicked back in now that she didn't have to think anymore, making her head feel all light and floaty like the bubbles had been.

She would make him chase her for the disc, just like she'd told Grundy she would. He was being all dour and humorless tonight, not even bothering with conversation, and a good chase was the only fun she was likely to get out of him.

"You are not leaving this rooftop with that," he said, sternly like some mean old grandpa berating a spoiled kid.

"Oh no!" she said, stowing the CD back where she'd had it and pulling out her whip. "I'm the one that got it away from that big, white guy. And I feel kind of bad about it. It's mean to play tricks on people who are, well...clearly not all that much in the brains department. And he was just trying to help out his friend. I hope the "friend" won't be mad."

"His "friend" is just using him as an errand boy," Batman said, also edging toward the side of the building and toward her at the same time, as if she wasn't going to notice. She cracked her whip, an inch from the end of his nose.

"Back off, Bat boy!"

She had to give him credit for not flinching, though she did see him blink. Which is why she chose just that exact second to leap toward the edge of the roof. One more good jump and she'd be over and away.

"No!" he shouted, like always did. "No! Don't!" But this time he sounded different. He sounded almost...frightened. She'd never, ever heard him sound like that before, even when he was taking an awesome pounding by somebody. So, that note of raw -whatever it was--made her hesitate just a split-second, which was a split-second too long.

As she took her second leap, the one that was to carry her off the roof and away, Batman's hand locked around her ankle and he threw all of his considerable weight and skill at stopping her and her forward momentum.

She did her best to turn it to her own advantage, curling up in midair to hopefully land advantageously and possibly flip him off the roof instead. But he dug in and stopped her short like a barking dog at the end of its chain.

She fell down awkwardly on her side on the very edge of the rooftop, banging her hip and feeling incredibly resentful of the stupid Batman for wrecking all her fun. She dug her claws into the asphalt of the roof to get traction to spring away, but the Batman hauled on her ankle, pulling her back toward him like some kind of caveman. Then he moved his grip up to her hips and hauled again. She let go of the roof and rolled over on her back to be sure she could get her claws in him to get away if she needed to.

He was kneeling over her, with his legs on either side of her hips now, in some iconic pose of primal male dominance. It was scary, especially with his cape draping down over them both. But as soon as she looked into his face, she wasn't worried about it at all. The Batman looked freaked out, not hostile.

"Wow, that was kinky for you, Lover," she purred teasingly. "Just couldn't bear to have me out of reach, hmmm?"

"There's no fire escape on that side of the building," he said, and his voice cracked. It actually cracked like he was almost experiencing an emotion or something. Almost like he was a human being. "There's no flagpole or window ledge, because it used to be up against the Daniels Building before it was knocked down ten years ago. There's nothing there until the parking garage 25 floors down."

"No I wouldn't," she smiled sweetly at him. "I was jumping off the north side of the building, silly."

"This is the west side of the building," the Batman said.

"Oh come on, it is not!" she said and looked upward, back toward the edge. That really didn't help, though. It just looked the same as all the other edges, but she did realize she didn't see Wayne Tech, and that was on the west side of the building. The side she'd been jumping off. "Um, they didn't move the Wayne Tech building, did they? Not while I wasn't looking."

"North side of the building, Catwoman," Batman growled. "You are impaired. You have no business being up here in this condition. You're going to kill yourself."

"You have no business telling me what I can and cannot do," Catwoman snarled back, annoyed at him but not terribly embarrassed by her error. She hadn't planned on anything more than a night at the opera and a pleasant catting about in the moonlight until she'd run into him. Running about the rooftops for her was just about as safe as taking a hot bath at home.

"Responsible people have the business of keeping the irresponsible ones from doing stupid things," Batman spat back, literally shaking with fury, she could feel it in his hands where he still held them on her hips. "Because we always get blamed when idiots get hurt or killed."

"Nobody would give one shit if I got hurt or killed," Catwoman snarled back. "Nobody would sue you or come after you or bother you at all! You're nothing but an anal-retentive annoying butt-insky wrecking my fun night out! Now get off me and get out of my business before I really get pissed off!"

"You don't get it at all, do you?" Batman said grimly. "It doesn't matter if anyone would come after me because of you. I would have seen you jump off the side with that stupid, joyful grin on your face, and then I would have had to see you all...broken, at the bottom. Because you think it's all some kind of joke up here! Because you think its fun.

"Well, it's not! It's serious business. And if you don't get serious and right now, you aren't going to last long."

"Somebody told me that would happen if I ever set foot in Gotham once, too," Catwoman replied, coolly. "I'm not broken yet. I have no intention of being broken. I love it here! This is my city, just as much as anyone's. And I'll do what I want when I want and you have no power and for damned sure, no responsibility, to stop me! Now get off!"

"No," he said and she could see him digging in mentally as well as physically, a mulish cast taking hold around his mouth. "You're drunk. You're refusing to see sense and you're going to get hurt!"

"That's my lookout, then, not yours," Catwoman said and punctuated each of her next words with a sharp jab to his breastbone right on the bat.

"You...have...no...right...to...tell...me...anything!"

He grabbed her wrist and the other, too, and pinned both of them down next to her head.

"You're not going anywhere like that," he said. "How much did you have to drink?"

"None of your business," she spat.

"Where did you get it?" he asked, casually.

"The store," she said through gritted teeth. "I'm not such a loser that I have to steal wine."

"Which store?" he asked.

"I don't know, what does it matter?" she asked. "Get off me! This is the last time I'll ask, before I make you get off!"

"What store matters because they shouldn't be selling wine to minors. I know how old you are," he said.

"Then you know how much of a difference that will make in two months, then," Catwoman said.

"I can take you in for that," he said. "Not to mention drunk and disorderly."

"That will be the last time I ever help you do anything!" Catwoman seethed.

"Why did you do it this time?" Batman asked calmly, pissing her off even more. He didn't seem to be in any hurry to be going anywhere, in fact. He seemed perfectly inclined to loom over her for the rest of the night. He was a talky bat tonight, the big white guy had been right. Too bad he was also a preachy pain in the ass bat.

"Because I was in a good mood before you decided to wreck my buzz, ok?" she cried. "I know it's not something you understand or anything seeing you suck all the joy out of everything faster than a two-dollar whore down in the East End sucks off a john, but until I ran into you I was having a real good night. I was happy. And I was loving this town and everything in it, and I guess for some totally delusional moment, that included you. So I helped you out and look what it got me--the usual lecture and not even a thank you."

"You didn't give me the disc," Batman said grimly. "What did I have to thank you for?"

"Getting that huge white guy to stop beating on you, maybe?" Catwoman slumped limply in his grip, which didn't relax at all, damn him!

"I was handling him fine," Batman replied.

"I could tell that from the way you kept flying backward across the roof and slamming into stuff," Catwoman agreed nastily. "Silly me to think you'd want to stop doing that before you cracked ribs, or maybe your skull."

"Oh, so I'll buy you thought you were helping me," Batman said. "I'll even buy you did it on a whim, because I've seen you do things like that before and have heard around of a whole lot of other things you've done. But if that was the case, then why try to run off with the disc, yourself? You don't want it. It's not your kind of thing. You didn't even know about it until you saw me fighting Grundy."

"I took it because I take things," Catwoman said. "It's what I do, ok? Plus, you'd have chased me, and that's fun sometimes, when you're not being a total self-righteous prick. Unlike now, I might add."

Batman looked at her skeptically.

"Just take the damned thing if you want it," Catwoman said. "You've already ruined my evening. I don't think I can get back to being all happy like I was. You've sucked the joy out of it like a vampire."

"Maybe I'm a vampire bat," he suggested, letting go of her left wrist to rummage through the bag that was lying just above her right shoulder. She let him and didn't even try to get away. She feigned boredom.

"Whatever you are, you sure do suck," she commented coldly.

He fished around in the bag and the first thing he came out with was her leftover cheese and an apple, which he set aside without so much as a look. Next he got her old beat-up discman, then her sheet. Finally he pulled out some extra tampons she'd had rolling around in the bottom of the bag, and had the gall to not even be embarrassed. Finally, at the bottom, she supposed, he found what he was looking for--the CD he'd fought the zombie giant so hard to retrieve.

"Happy now?" she asked. "Can I go?"

"No," Batman replied and she felt the unmistakable hard edge of metal against her wrist. She hadn't expected it. She'd trusted him and now he was going to turn her in when she hadn't even done anything!

"No!" she cried. "Stop!" and she dug her claws into his glove, but he already had the other end of the cuff firmly locked to a pipe coming up out of the roof and had jumped out of easy reach. "What are you doing? Are you nuts?"

"I'm locking you up," he said. "You're in no condition to go home and I'm not going to let you jump off the roof on the wrong side and kill yourself."

"I hate you," she screeched and stretched out to give him a good kick. Batman had judged the distance between them pretty well, but he had misjudged just how far she could stretch. She got him in the stomach, but not nearly hard enough.

He still gave a startled, "whoof" and slammed down on his ass, which was satisfying, but didn't get her loose.

"You let me go you..." but Catwoman just sputtered. She couldn't think of anything bad enough to call him.

She'd helped him and he'd betrayed and humiliated her just like everyone else she'd ever trusted.

"I'll come back later and let you go," Batman said. "Once you've had a chance to sober up a little and I think you might be able to get home safely."

"This is not your business! I am not your business!" she cried, clawing at the handcuff.

"I'm making you my business," he said quietly. "You can think of it as my way of saying "thank you."

He turned his back on her and was over the side of the building before she could say another word.


She saw him come back to get the cuffs a few hours later from a favorite perch up on the carved faade of the Travers Tower. She smiled when she saw he was limping slightly which served him right for sticking his nose into everybody's business and trying to be the policeman of the universe.

He looked around for her as he unlocked the handcuff from the pipe. It had only taken her a minute or two of red rage before she remembered she had lockpicks in the heel of her boot and had gotten herself out of there and up here to a good sulking position overlooking the scene of her humiliation.

She wasn't really angry anymore. He had thought he was doing the right thing, of course. That was basically the principle he constantly operated under when he was out spoiling everybody's fun and telling them "no" to everything they wanted to do. But she wasn't about to forget what he'd done anytime soon or the way he'd lectured her.

He'd shown her a fundamental lack of respect and it wasn't something she could just let pass. She'd worked hard to earn respect, after all.

She would remember this and hand it right back at him at the earliest opportunity. She'd get Batman at her mercy. And then what would she do to him?

The better question was, what would she not?

Catwoman smiled as she contemplated the Bat's humiliation. Maybe she could have some fun with him after all.

-30-

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Fandom:  Batman
Title:  Buzz Kill
Author:  Sarah Ellen Parsons   [email]
Details:  Standalone  |  PG-13  |  gen  |  37k  |  07/08/05
Characters:  Catwoman, Batman, Solomon Grundy
Summary:  Catwoman goes for a night out on the town and Batman spoils all her fun.
Notes:  This doesn't stray far from canon if you use Batman Year One as your source material.
Disclaimer/Other:  Disclaimer: Characters belonging to DC Comics are used for noncommercial derivative purposes only.
Warnings: None
Note: Originally written to be part of La la la Zombies Challenge 2004 on LJ. You can see how well I did on that.
Thank Yous: To the best betas anyone could ask for--M. Sebasky and Hossgal--all deviations from good storytelling are entirely my fault and not theirs. They gave excellent advice.


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