For the original story by Theik2, visit Batgirl and Batwoman!
(Femslash edited out of the original is re-added into this version.)
Due to the fact that this was obviously extended a good deal and I started to get tired, I've decided to divide this story into two chapters. This, clearly, is the first one -- for the second, click here!
There was always something more important, wasn't there? When you were him. When you were the Dark Knight himself. There was always an alien invasion, or some world-consuming supervillain. Maybe Superman needed help, or maybe it was the Justice League this time. Regardless -- Batman and Robin were not in Gotham.
With Nightwing in Bludhaven, Tim leading the Teen Titans, Oracle working full-time with the Birds of Prey, Cass missing-in-action, and the Question recently declared officially dead, Gotham would be left unprotected from its traditional onslaught of crime and terror; be it Two-Face, Joker, or even the Black Mask who would use the Batman's absence to bring the city to its knees.
But Bruce Wayne wasn't one to leave his city without a contingency already in place -- even if that contingency consisted of a barely-trusted ally and an amateur who had yet to prove herself. Nevertheless, with Batman gone, two women were left in charge -- Stephanie Brown and Kate Kane, better known as the current Batgirl (or "the blonde Batgirl") and the little-known yet reportedly brutal Batwoman.
"Do you even know what you're doing?" Kate growled, remaining silent on her perch atop one of Gotham's ubiquitous lofty gargoyles. Beside her, Stephanie tapped frantically at her bat-radar handheld, keeping a watch on Gotham National Bank. A tip had been "acquired" from one of Gotham's known street-snitches no more than two hours ago, and while Batwoman wouldn't go into detail as to how the information was obtained, she insisted that the thread was legitimate -- the pair hadn't gotten a name, or even a clue as to who was in charge of the heist, but it was confirmed that the bank was going to be hit tonight.
"Of courseI know what I'm doing, I've used this thing before," Steph snarked, bashing the tiny device again with one purple-gauntleted fist. "Oh wait, hey. I got something!" she turned to the tall, red-haired woman, beaming. "I got something!"
"I heard you the first time," Kate exhaled, leaning over slightly to glance at the screen. The cash that Steph had secretly tagged and deposited not long ago was showing up on the screen as a tiny blip, but instead of remaining still in the vault, it was beginning to rapidly vacate the building. "Alright, we've got incoming. Can you handle yourself in a fight?"
Stephanie huffed. "Yes, I can. You don't have to take care of me."
"Let's hope so," Kate cracked her neck and leapt off of the gargoyle, tightly gripping the edges of her cape – and then Batwoman had taken flight. A shrill alarm heralded her, ringing out through the air -- sloppy work, whoever had done it. As the doors open, a mob of men began flooding out of the bank, carrying their usual assortment of insufficient weaponry. Crowbars, baseball bats, knives. Nothing Batwoman hadn't dealt with before.
"Hey--" Steph began as Kate took off into the night, before flailing her arms. "Wait for me!" She sent out a quick zipline to the bank and started speeding off behind the older woman, grabbing a fistful of batarangs from her belt with her free hand. Behind the squad of mooks (Steph counted around fifteen in all) was a man who was more than a little familiar -- the squat, top hat-wearing, umbrella-toting criminal known as the Penguin. Rare for him to show up in person to this type of heist job but she wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth. She needed all the luck she could get with Batman out of town.
The quick flurry of batarangs slammed into the back of the head of one of the fleeing thugs, knocking him to the ground and, presumably, out cold. Batgirl silently fist-pumped to cheer for her own aim before landing feet-first into the wall of the bank. Retracting her zipcord, she kicked backward in a long flip that sent both feet smashing into the chest of another man running off with the cash -- the blow knocking him face-first into Batwoman's fist.
"Not bad," Kate said with a smirk, backfisting another man before shooting forth one of her own signature red batarangs and downing a man. Three down, not enough. They had to pick up the pace.
Penguin, however, had other plans. "Waugh! Actually fight ya stupid cod-for-brains!" he shouted, turning to face the two women (or woman and girl, if one wanted to get technical) and pointing his umbrella at them, quickly spraying out a row of automatic fire from the accessory's tip. "Cover me! We're gettin' outta here -- waugh waugh waugh!"
"I really hate that guy," Steph said, drilling her fist into another thug's face and moving forward, narrowly avoiding Penguin's spray of bullets. Batwoman merely deflected the attack with her cape, which was suspiciously... well, bulletproof. Penguin was getting away though, with the lion's share of the cash -- and there was no denying that his goons were slowing the pair down.
Batwoman snapped back with an elbow, cracking a skull and possibly causing some brain damage. "We have to move faster. Batgirl! Penguin's the priority -- gasmask on!" With that brief warning, Kate pressing a small button on the side of her cowl, causing a rebreather to fold out over her mouth. She then tossed a small canister from her belt, cracking it open and flooding out a viscous green gas.
Steph barely got her mask up in time, releasing a small cough as the men around her started collapsing. "What the heck is that stuff?" she wheezed, catching up to Batwoman who was already in a full sprint after Penguin and his two remaining thugs.
"Tear gas," Kate replied simply. Penguin was headed to the sewers -- it was already obvious. He'd have some sort of passageway to the Iceberg Lounge and once he was at his home base, he'd make it so there was no way he could be officially caught. He already had the majority of the GCPD in his pocket, and Bruce had been working for months to rip his influence out by the roots... but it had been slow going. The bottom line was that the girls had to catch up before he made it back to his home turf.
"Keep 'em back, boys! Waugh!" came Oswald Cobblepot's echoing shout from within the tunnels to the sewer, punctuated by a quick spray of ammunition. The remaining two thugs that hadn't been knocked out by Kate's tear gas charged forward recklessly with pipe and chain, only to be put out cold by a single punch from each heroine.
Penguin rushed forward, huffing and puffing as he dragged his umbrella behind him, searching frantically for the secret entrance to the Iceberg Lounge. "Where the hell is it...!" he grunted desperately, only to flinch when he saw a black-and-red shadow drop in front of him.
"End of the line, Cobblepot," Kate said grimly, knee-deep in the muck with a batarang on hand.
Penguin did a quick 180 and started rushing in the opposite direction, pointing his umbrella -- only to have it caught and knocked away by a set of bolas coming from in front of him.
"Ah ah ah," Stephanie said with a smug smile. "I don't think so."
"That went surprisingly well," Kate said a soft sigh. Penguin's secret pathway had been found, Cobblepot himself had been put behind bars, and the cash had been safely delivered back to the bank. All in a night's work. The biggest drawback had been the sewage itself, which had "protected" the route to Cobblepot's hideout. It hadn't taken long for them to get covered in the stuff, and even after their trek back to the Batcave (Kate having to, frustratingly, be blindfolded for the trip) they reeked of raw human excretions.
"What, you act like I haven't done this before," Steph said with a little laugh, tossing away the scrap of black cloth that Kate's eyes had been wrapped in.
"Yes!" Stephanie huffed.
Kate showed a rare smile, working out a minor cramp in her shoulder. "If you say so. This place has two showers, doesn't it? Because I'm not leaving until I get one."
"I don't blame you -- and yeah, I think it does, for Bruce and Dick to both take their 'sport-showers' or whatever it is they do."
Kate's grin widened as she dropped her cape into the laundry bin for Alfred to tend to, starting to undo the grime-slick suit. "Got it. I'll get cleaned up and then we can patrol again, if you want. Though after Penguin's heist there's probably gonna be a hush in the underworld for a couple nights."
"You'd be surprised," Steph said, tossing her own cape away and heading towards the shower room. "Sometimes they think we're distracted and it makes 'em overconfident. Not that we don't kick their butts anyway."
Kate and Steph exited the shower simultaneously, each planning to immediately go collect their costumes... but stumbling into each other first. Kate's towel was loosely draped over her shoulders as she vigorously dried her short mop of scarlet hair, revealing the entirety of her lean, athletic, and almost inhumanly-pale figure, while Steph's own towel was still being put to use drying herself off.
Upon her glimpse of Kate -- the mysterious Batwoman -- unmasked and unclad, Steph's eyes widened and she dropped her towel, which pooled unceremoniously at her feet. "Oh--!" she gasped, before quickly kneeling to collect the cloth, awkwardly covering her own bared figure.
"Problem?" Kate said, cracking her neck. After her time in military school, not to mention her time patrolling with Flamebird, being nude around other women wasn't an entirely shocking or unfamiliar prospect, and it took her a moment to grasp Steph's flustered attitude. "Oh... is it...?"
"No! I, um-- I mean," Stephanie awkwardly folded her arms across her chest, the towel doing the rest of the work for her. "It's just that I've never seen you unmasked before. You're... you're Kate Kane."
"Very observant," Kate said with a ghost of a smile, leaving her hair in an uncombed mop and tossing her towel in the laundry. "Yes, I am. And you're Stephanie Brown... one of Bruce Wayne's new wards."
"You're not supposed to--!" Stephanie blushed furiously, looking down to avoid eye contact with Kate's nudity. "I, um... yes, I am. I guess you put the rest together?"
"I'd had my suspicions already, but I suppose it's nice to see them confirmed. You don't have to be shy, you know. I went to military school, I've seen women's bodies before. I even have one of my own," Kate smirked at her own dry joke. "And from what I see you don't have much to be ashamed of, even if you are a little young. Just because I'm gay doesn't mean I'm going to molest you on the spot, contrary to popular belief."
"Heh... hehe, I guess you have a point," Steph said, finishing drying herself off before tossing the towel away, though her blush never faded. Kate's fleeting (and occasionally lingering) gaze, however, made the blonde teen wonder if her comforting words didn't carry an ulterior motive... even if it was kind of exciting to be looked at in that way.
After retrieving their suits from Alfred, the pair went back on patrol until nearly dawn, but it was as Kate had said -- the underground was silent, and the night was uneventful. They returned to the Batcave, with Kate insisting she remain un-blindfolded this time around, and crashed for the day, sleeping until nearly dusk.
They had breakfast around 7:00pm, dressed in their civilian clothes and enjoying a little of the luxury the Wayne household had to offer, not that either were strangers to the good life. They sat and chatted about boys and girls, crime and combat, Bruce Wayne being Batman, and even Alfred's cooking skills, but neither mentioned the tense events of last night when they had come out of the shower.
"I thought having a girlfriend would be easier than that," Steph said, tilting her head slightly. "You'd wanna do the same stuff, don't have to deal with stupid boys. It's almost tempting."
"It's not as easy as it sounds. You quickly start to realize that the whole 'boys and girls' division isn't quite as cut and dry as it seems," Kate explained, taking a long swig of coffee. "We're all people. We have different opinions and different personalities -- and even if you're with another woman, things just don't always work out. Ask Officer Montoya sometime."
Stephanie held back a little snort of laughter, but didn't comment.
Moments later, Alfred Pennyworth stepped over to the table, setting a small note on the table. "We received this today, Miss Brown. I believe it to be for Master Wayne -- but as he said, the two of you are to be taking his place." Steph furrowed her brow and took the note, quickly looking at it while Kate craned her head forward, trying to read it upside-down.
"All that glitters is gold," Steph whispered, before looking up at the red-haired woman. "It's Riddler."
For more of Theik2's remastered work, check The Theik2 Library of Ultimate Excellence!