When Spidey Met Batgirlbylittleblackduck©
I don't own Spider-Man or Batgirl or any other characters or places Marvel and/or DC related. I make no profit from this work.
CHAPTER ONE: Before Sunrise
It wasn't an easy climb up the trellis.
Barbara Gordon had been Batgirl for little over a year, and as the nights wore on, she'd gotten better and better at scaling the trellis to her bedroom window after a late-night patrol. It'd gotten to the point where she could scale the twenty-foot expanse in thirty-seven seconds without making a sound -- the silent element being essential to maintaining both her secret identity and good relations with her father, Jim. After all, if the recently appointed police commissioner were to investigate a mysterious noise outside of the modest Gordon estate only to find his daughter playing Dark Damsel vigilante dress-up at fifteen feet, it'd spell curtains for her crime-fighting career.
Suffice it to say, it was probably a good thing that the Commissioner was out of town at a police convention that week. On that particular morning, as an early spring dawn broke over Gotham City, Barbara was a little too banged up to make a quiet entry. About three minutes into her ascent, as she reached the half-way mark, it occurred to her that she really should think about moving out sometime soon -- a thought that had been occurring to her more and more in the last few months. She was twenty-three years old, and as much as she loved her dad, it was probably well past time she got out on her own.
She sighed with relief as she climbed through her window and tumbled to the bedroom floor. After a few moments rest, she pulled her cowl off in a huff and shook out her long scarlet locks as she rose to her feet, thoroughly exhausted.
She'd broken up one of the Riddler's less than daring raids on a rooftop restaurant. The brainteaser-obsessed megalomaniac and his assorted henchmen had put up a much tougher fight than she'd expected. She examined her cape to find it riddled with bullet-holes -- no pun intended. Edward Nygma's shots had come pretty close to tagging her. He was a better marksman than she'd given him credit for -- not that it had added up to much.
After wearily pulling off her yellow boots and gloves, Barbara carefully peeled off her black lycra leotard, wincing every time the fabric brushed against her various sore spots, the sorest of which was her left breast. One of the Riddler's men had elbowed her in the tit when she wrestled him to the ground.
Barbara sighed, realizing it was the most action she'd gotten in quite some time, and sighed again at just how pathetic she had to be if she was actually equating a life-and-death struggle with second base. Stripped down to just her boy-shorts, she flopped down on the bed -- an action she immediately regretted as little shock waves of pain exploded through her body. She remembered that young couple at the corner table of the restaurant who'd made out through the entire fight, so engrossed in each other they completely missed the fact that they were being robbed.
Only in Gotham.
With her new nightlife, she didn't think about men too often, but at that particular moment, when she felt so worn out and tender, it was hard to remember what made being Batgirl so worthwhile. She was sure that a good night's sleep would leave her refreshed and once more capable of connecting with the joys of crime-fighting, but as she drifted off into a well-deserved slumber, Barbara wondered if those two lovers were somehow better off than she was. She was a strong, independent woman. She didn't need a man for shit, but there were times when she wanted one. Unfortunately, the only guy who'd shown any consistent interest in her in the last few months was that little squirt Robin, the Boy Wonder. He was a cute kid and all, but a kid nonetheless, and she was really beginning to regret their occasional dalliances -- like that kiss in the subway station when they were fighting Blockbuster, or that quick little blow job she'd given him after he'd helped her take down The Scarecrow. She just knew the smarmy bastard was bragging about it to his silly little friends in the Teen Titans.
Because even if he was eighteen, the Boy Wonder was just that. A boy. And Barbara wanted a man. But there was no telling when -- if ever -- one might drop into her life.
Okay, Spider-Man thought to himself as he tightened his grip on a weakening web-line. This has gone on long enough.
In the three years since the bite of a radioactive spider had sent him crawling up the walls, Peter Parker had been thrown into some impossible situations, each more ludicrous than the last. But as he looked down at the blanket of clouds below him, he figured it'd be quite some time before he blundered his way into a state of affairs any wackier than this.
It started off the same way most of his nights came to an end -- that long and lonely swing back to his house in Forest Hills after a night 'trolling for a little Spidey-crime-bustin' action. He'd been making a bee-line for the Queensboro Bridge when his spider-sense alerted him to a disturbance.
And that's when he ran afoul of the Vulture.
Now at this point in his career, Spider-Man had sparred with Adrian Toomes about a dozen times, and since he'd thoroughly trounced him again and again, he figured he was looking at a ten-minute scuffle at the most.
Boy was he wrong.
The Vulture had always been a fierce, tenacious fighter, especially for a man of his advanced years, but that morning, the old thief fought with a dogged determination that caught Spider-Man off guard. And at the inevitable moment in every fight he'd had with the Vulture -- the one where the wallcrawler hit Toomes with a web-line so he could get dragged through the sky for a bit -- Spidey was surprised when the crazed codger skyrocketed straight up, hauling him up to an altitude he'd never thought the Vulture's flying rig capable at a speed he couldn't believe.
Once they'd broken through the clouds, Toomes had started heading in a direction Spider-Man could only guess was vaguely northward at a stiff 90-miles per hour, tossing idle threats and peppering profanities back at the web-slinger every couple of minutes or so.
Spider-Man, worn out as he was, had no idea how long they'd been at this. He tended to lose all sense of time in the middle of a fight. He'd often be surprised to find that the super-powered tussles he'd thought had lasted hours had actually been about five minutes and sometimes, vice versa. But however long the Vulture'd been towing him along, one thing was certain: it'd been long enough.
"Christ on a bike, Vultchy!" Spidey shouted, hauling himself up the web-line toward the old man one arm-length at a time. "Can we take it down a couple thousand feet? It's pretty nippy up here and I'm freezing my tight and well-toned little toosh off."
"I'll flay you, you shit!" the Vulture shrieked back. "I'll tear out your guts!"
"I'd check the batteries on the ol' hearing aid, Mr. Magoo," Spider-Man told him, finally getting a hold of the old man's feet, "'cause I don't think you heard me." He grabbed at one of the Vulture's wings, tearing a chunk of it free from his costume. "I said down!"
Surely enough, the aged supervillain and his nemesis dropped down into the clouds, exchanging punches and insults as they were bombarded by stinging droplets of frozen water.
"I can't fucking believe this!" the Vulture screamed.
"I know," Spidey replied. "You'd think they'd be all soft and fluffy, but no -- Clouds hurt like a mother..."
"You're going to get us both killed!"
Finally bursting through the last of the cloud cover, Spider-Man took his first look at the ground below since this whole miserable mess had started. He was grateful to see skyscrapers and buildings teeming with urban life. He was sure they would have flown out of range of New York by now.
"Aren't you going to do something?" the Vulture asked as they continued to plummet.
"Oh now it's up to me, right?" Spidey mock-fumed. "Fine! I'll knock you out, then hope I can snag a building with a web-line before we hit pavement."
The old man didn't even get a chance to blurt out a confused "What?" before Spider-Man's fist caught him in the nose.
"Finally, a little peace and quiet," the web-slinger muttered, as he tightened his hold on the Vulture so he could focus on the task at hand: surviving the next thirty seconds.
The closer they'd gotten to the city, the faster they were falling, and the more Spider-Man realized just how unfamiliar his surroundings were. They were dropping over a part of New York he'd never seen before -- maybe Harlem.
Whispering a quick prayer, he fired a web-line to the tallest building in range. The constant blare of his spider-sense was a sure sign that a little assist from The Big Guy couldn't hurt as much as the cold facts of physics. The line went taut, and Spider-Man -- still gripping the Vulture with his other arm -- screamed as he and his unconscious passenger swung over a busy city street in a wide arc. If not for his spider-strength, his arm may have just been torn off. As it stood, his shoulder was wrenched out of its socket. Blacking out from the pain, Spider-Man lost his grip on the web-line at the apex of his swing, sending the two of them on a collision course with the plate glass store front window of Wayne's World o' Beds.
Spider-Man came to five minutes after his fall had been miraculously and implausibly broken by a stack of mattresses and the body of the Vulture.
"That was uncharacteristically lucky," he murmured as he disentangled himself from the Vulture's broken limbs.
The sound of sirens blared in the distance and his spider-sense began to tingle as he popped his shoulder back into place with a grunt. By the time he made his way to the front of the store, two squad cars pulled up.
"GCPD?" Spider-Man said, reading the emblems on the police cruisers as the officers climbed out of their vehicles, training their side-arms on the bruised and shaken hero. "Where the hell am I?"
"Welcome to Gotham, freakshow!" one of the cops shouted at him. "Now keep those hands where we can see them!"
CHAPTER TWO: Escape to New York
Escaping the cops had been a breeze. Of course it was. Spider-Man could escape the cops in his sleep. Half of the NYPD had been taking shots at him for years. The Gotham cops hadn't even switched off their safeties by the time he scaled the building and bounded down the block with a series of thirty-foot leaps.
Throughout his entire daring getaway, the same question burned through his head: What the hell was he going to tell his Aunt May?
Forget the fact that he'd almost torn his arm off. Forget the fact that he'd been carried to a strange city far from home. Hell, forget the fact that he'd pissed off the cops three seconds after touching down. He had to figure out how to explain his sudden absence to his beloved aunt without giving her a coronary.
Assuming she hadn't already suffered one.
Hopping from building to building in the unfamiliar environs, the answer suddenly came to him. Or rather, he came to it. Stopping at the roof of a small apartment complex, Spider-Man looked down to see the main gate of Gotham University, where a giant banner blazed the words "WELCOME PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS."
Barbara -- still sore and undressed from the previous night -- rolled gingerly out of bed at noon. She had a one o'clock shift at the Gotham Public Library that she really didn't want to work, but she'd used up the last of her sick days recovering from that ugly dust-up with Solomon Grundy two months earlier.
"Librarian by day, crime-fighter by night," she murmured to herself as she shimmied out of her boy-shorts on her way to the bathroom for a quick shower. "I just gotta do something 'bout that day job..."
"I don't know, Babsy," she heard a voice say as she opened the bathroom door. "You make that whole sexy school marm thing work for you."
It took Barbara a moment to register the fact that Dick Grayson was sitting on her toilet, thumbing through her diary. It took her another moment to tear the book out of his hands and one more to cover herself with a towel.
"What the hell are you doing here?" she demanded.
"Well, I was reading the bawdy backseat adventures of a young, lithe, and flexible high school gymnast on the cusp of her nascent sexuality, but I fear I may have crossed a boundary there," Dick replied with a smirk. "By the way, I just love your new choice of sleeping attire. So many young ladies are afraid to let their puppies out to breathe au naturel."
"I could have sworn it was a school day," Barbara said.
"Spring break," he told her.
"That's great," she said. "You can gear up for finals on your own this time. I don't tutor anymore. Now get out."
"Overstayed my welcome already?" Dick sighed. "Pity. We didn't even get a chance to talk shop."
"What do you mean?"
"Batman wanted to congratulate you on a job well done last night."
"Why?" Barbara asked. "It was the freakin' Riddler."
He shrugged. "Trust me, Red. These little bits of praise are few and far between. Take 'em when you can get 'em."
"Thanks. That means a lot. Now get out."
Dick ignored her and pressed on. "Oh and heads up, His Holy Darkness is skipping town for a day or two."
"Batman's leaving Gotham?" she asked. "Why? Justice League business?"
"Something like that," Dick sighed. "Anyway, the Teen Titans and I are on a big case right now, so I won't be around either. That means the city's in your hands."
"Wow. It looks like this little boys club we've got going's finally starting to shape up. Super. Now get out."
Dick pouted a bit. "Babs, I thought that with your old man in New York and my legal guardian gallivanting about while I'm headed off to face god-knows-what peril out in the world, maybe you and I could finally deal with all this damn sexual tension."
"Seriously, Pixie Boots," she said. "My dad's got a service revolver somewhere in the house. I'm just about willing to use it."
"I know, I know," Dick said. "'Now get out.'" He made his way toward the door, casually snatching Barbara's towel away as he passed.
He just made it out of the house before she found the gun.
Spidey was surprised he didn't get too many odd looks as he walked up to one of the campus pay phones. Peter was about a month away from his high school graduation, and he could already tell he was going to like college life. Anything that would regularly seem out of sorts appeared to be accepted with a shrug.
Probably think this is a frat stunt, he mused, dialing his house in Forest Hills.
"Hey, Aunt May, it's me," he said when she picked up. "Just calling to tell you I got here all right."
"Peter, I've been worried sick!" she cried. "Where are you?!"
"Aunt May, I don't understand!" he said with as much shocked indignation as he could muster. "I'm in Gotham City! I told you I was taking a tour at GU!"
There was a pause on the other end of the line. "You did?"
Spider-Man sighed. "Of course I did, Aunt May. You didn't forget, did you?"
"I guess I did." She sounded shaken. "I could have sworn you had your heart set on Empire State University."
"I'm just trying to keep my options open," he lied. She was right, of course. He vaguely remembered getting an invite to prefrosh weekend at Gotham University, but he'd tossed it out. There was no way he could actually afford to leave New York. And there was no way he'd move that far from his aunt.
"Of course you are, dear," she said. "I should have remembered. Must be having one of those senior moments Anna's always teasing me about..."
He winced at that. He was loathed to admit it, but he was getting used to lying to her. He hated leading her to doubt her own faculties, but what else could he do? The truth would kill her.
"What a shame you're away," May continued. "Anna's bringing her niece here for dinner tonight."
Well at least there was one good thing about his current predicament. Peter had never met Anna Watson's niece, and since Aunt May had always described this Mary Jane girl as having a "wonderful personality" he doubted he wanted to. And ever since Betty Brant broke things off with him, May had redoubled her matchmaking efforts.
"Well thank you for checking in on a silly old woman, dear," she said with a frown he could hear some 90 miles away. "You're such a sweet, thoughtful boy."
That last bit really stung. "Okay, Aunt May, I've got to go," he told her. "The group's leaving without me."
"Have a good time, Peter, and try to stay safe," she said. "I hear such dreadful things about that city. I love you."
"I love you, too."
He hung up and hung his head in shame.
Harlene Quinzel had been working at the Gotham University Bookstore for two years. This was her last semester earning her doctorate, and she found that at times, her job made adequate use of her abnormal psych material. Days like today were a good example.
"This all seems a little pricey," the guy in the red and blue tights said as he approached the counter. Harlene had been watching him the entire time he'd been sifting through the clothing racks. She tried not to pay him too much attention -- that was what these frat boys wanted you to do -- but she couldn't help it. He had a really nice butt.
"I gotta tell you, the bookstore isn't the best place to find bargain duds, stud," she told him, ringing up the tee-shirt, licensed track pants, and authorized GU logo sneakers he'd selected. "Going Gotham all the way, huh?"
"Certainly looks like it," he muttered, reaching into his tights and producing two sweaty and wrinkled fifty dollar bills. "There goes my mad money."
Harlene couldn't resist anymore. "Can I ask you something?" she asked.
"I'm working on a paper," she explained. "Would you say you feel compelled to alienate others in order to ingratiate yourself into a reward-based sub-culture, or would you say you feel a need to dismantle your primary persona to resocialize yourself within a collective ego mass? I mean, what drives you to participate in this type of ritualized norm disruption?"
She bagged his clothes in silence, awaiting his response. He didn't say anything for a while. Since his features were obscured by that ridiculous mask, Harlene couldn't quite tell if he was mulling it over or just confused. "I get punched a lot," he said finally, "but with great power comes great responsibility."
"Power, huh?" she murmured, considering his words as she handed him the bag. "So you feel different? In the tights, I mean..."
"Oh yeah," he said, making his way out of the store. "Very liberating in strange ways. You should give it a try some time."
"Maybe I will," she said.
She watched him leave, marveling at the way he filled out that spandex in all the right places. And that twisted sense of humor! She loved a man with a twisted sense of humor...
"Get me another rum and coke and a gin and tonic," Jim Gordon said to the barman.
"What do you want to drink to this time?" his companion asked, raising his gin.
Gordon thought on that for a moment. "How 'bout our girls?" he suggested.
"Sounds good to me." They clinked glasses.
Jim didn't drink too often -- least of all in the afternoon -- but this was a special occasion. It'd been years since he'd seen George Stacy.
"How is little Gwendy?" Gordon asked after a healthy gulp of his drink. "I thought she'd be around."
"She's off looking at colleges most weekends," George said with a grimace. "She's graduating from high school next month."
"Makes you feel old, doesn't it?"