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 second one -- for the first, click here!
“What do you think we're supposed to do?” Stephanie said, her voice panicked, almost frantic. She was up and pacing now, wildly gesticulating with her arms. “Penguin's one thing. He's a mob boss, he has goons, he has guns, he steals money. Riddler is completely freaking different!”
Kate took another drink of her coffee, still at her seat, though her eyes had grown serious. Penguin, Black Mask – hell, even Two-Face, were all people she was prepared to go up against. But Riddler was a different case. He was a mastermind, a genius that equaled or possibly surpassed Batman in intellect. He was obsessive, he was cunning, and he was dangerous. Someone like Riddler or Joker simply wasn't within Batwoman's pay grade. “Maybe he's having an off day. And, I mean... technically we have an advantage, right?”
“Advantage?!” Steph wailed. “What kind of advantage do we have over the friggin' Riddler?!”
“There's two of us.”
Steph twisted her lips into a scowl and flopped down into her chair. “Can't we wait for Bruce instead?”
Kate sighed, leaning one elbow on the table and setting her pale chin on her wrist. “We're in command with him gone, and he trusted us to take his place. If we let him down we'll be outside of his circle of trust – we won't be given this kind of opportunity to shine again.”
Stephanie let out an extended whine, laying her face on the table. After about a minute of silence she exhaled. “Okay. So we have to start with the riddle right?”
“That's how it goes,” Kate grunted, taking the note and looking at it herself. “All that glitters is gold. Well obviously that's not entirely true, but it's the clue we have.”
“Well what do we know? Not all that glitters is gold, that's how the saying goes. So that means that the note is--” Stephanie's eyes widened suddenly, and she held her hands up as if receiving a grand epiphany. “--Is a lie! Everything that glitters isn't gold, that's the point!”
Kate nodded, furrowing her brow as she digested Stephanie's train of thought. “So we have to look out for something that glitters, obviously, or....”
“...Or we have to look for gold,” Steph finished. “And the Federal Reserve Bank has a shipment of gold bars coming in tonight! Why the hell didn't I think of this earlier?!”
Kate smiled. “So all we have to do is suit up and make sure we get to the bank before he does. Easier than we thought.”
“One hundred million dollars worth, ma'am,” the man said, his hands up as Kate pressed him against the wall of the bank, the spikes of her gauntlet pressed against his clavicle. “It's all there, I promise!”
“I bet it is,” Batwoman said with a dead-eyed stare, her teeth bared in a vampiric snarl. “Why are you working for Riddler?!” she roared.
“R-Riddler?” the man gasped out, glancing sidelong at Batgirl, who just chuckled. “I don't-- I mean-- what are you even talking about? I work for the bank, I'm just a security guard! OhGodohGodohGodohGod....”
“Try not to piss yourself,” Kate growled, dropping the man to the ground and moving to the trucks that had just arrived.
“If Riddler was coming for the gold he would have already been here,” Steph grumbled. “He'd take it while it was vulnerable, not wait for it to enter the vaults where he can't get it.”
Batwoman glanced at her younger companion, then knelt before one of the sacks of gold bars, eying it. “All that glitters is gold. The riddle is that the statement's not true – not all that glitters is gold. This glitters...” the red-haired woman leaned in, scraping her gauntlet-spikes across one of the bars roughly. The paint flaked off after a few strokes, revealing a dull gray mineral underneath. “...And it isn't gold.”
“Holy crap. That was actually pretty smart.” Steph said lightly. “So wait – Riddler already has the gold?”
“Exactly. He lured us here... which means he's trying to buy time to do something else, presumably stealing the real gold.”
Batgirl turned to the still-cowering security guard, putting on her meanest face. “Where was the shipment coming from?”
“T-there's a mill outside the mine, they turn the gold ore into bars, they put it on the truck, we take it to the bank!” the man wailed. “That's it! Ordinary job, everyday stuff! That's how it goes and that's all I know! Just let me go!”
“Good boy,” Batgirl said, shooting out a zipline to the top of the bank. “Come on Batwoman – time to hit the mine and see what Mr. Nigma's up to.”
When the girls arrived, they were greeted by the sound of applause. It was him – the green-suited mastermind, Edward Nigma. The Riddler in the flesh. “What wears a colorful suit and is far out of its league?” he said with a smile, a few of his men stepping out beside him, setting down their cases of gold bars. “You don't give up already, do you?”
Kate glared, and Steph reached into a belt for a batarang, holding it tightly. “Don't bother, Nigma. All you're getting for your efforts is fool's gold.”
The man tutted sadly. “Watch the puns, sweetheart. Come on, it's easy – the answer is the two of you!” Eddie said with a biting laugh. “Cute, though. You did better than expected.”
“Better than expected?” Batgirl barked. “We found you! We caught you! We figured out your stupid riddle!”
Riddler frowned, glancing to Batwoman. “Is she always this thick?” He sighed softly. “Do you really think I don't know when the Dark Knight's out of town? This wasn't for him, and it wasn't for the gold, either. That means nothing to me.”
“Uh, boss--” one of the thugs said, taking a step back.
“Silence,” Riddler snapped, then turned back to the girls. “This was all about you. After the tangle with Penguin I knew who he'd left behind, and more importantly I knew the real detective was already gone. You don't really think I'd leave a one-sentence riddle for an actual intellectual equal, do you?” Another derisive snicker. “Consider this your test... and congratulations, really. You passed the kiddy grade. Maybe one day the two of you will be something besides a complete embarrassment to Gotham.”
“I've had about enough of this--” Kate started, taking a step forward.
“Don't bother, I'm done,” Eddie said, straightening his signature green bowler with one hat. “You caught me, you two. Great job. Take me to Arkham, and when the Dark Knight returns you can tell him all about how you managed to beat me. Why, I believe after that the two of you will be up for a promotion. Just try to go easy on the boys,” he said, gesturing to his small cadre of mooks. “They didn't know their role in tonight's game.”
Batwoman narrowed her eyes, cracking her knuckles. “I'll give it a shot.”
With Riddler safe in Arkham and his men transported to Blackgate, Kate and Steph finished their patrol and headed back to the Batcave, grappling across the skyline of Gotham. “You did a great job out there, you know,” Kate said softly as the replacement dynamic duo took the elevator down into the cave itself. “Maybe I was a little too... harsh on you, when we started out.”
“You were awesome out there too, y'know,” Stephanie said with a warm smile, looking up at the taller woman and pausing at the entrance. “And I'm sorry I made fun of you – considering that Bruce didn't train you, you're... you're a really amazing crimefighter.”
Kate returned the smile, pulling her cowl down around her neck before setting her hands lightly on Steph's shoulders. “You know, maybe... even after the real dynamic duo return to Gotham...” she paused, a faint pink tinge of a blush staining her porcelain-white cheeks. “...Maybe we could go patrolling together again sometime. We make a good team.”
Batgirl pulled her own cowl down, her loose blonde locks falling free to frame her face as she looked up into Kate's fierce green eyes. The older woman had leaned a little closer, and Steph could hear her heartbeat. “Yeah... we do, don't we...?”
All it took was for Stephanie to inch closer, her face leaning forward and her eyes drifting shut, and Kate closed the distance. She gently pressed her deep scarlet lips against the teen's, her arms sliding down the other girl's shoulders to embrace her back. Steph let out a soft whimper as skin touched skin and her own arms folded around Kate's waist, pulling herself more deeply into the kiss. It was warm and it was moist, and it was so close, and the sensation of Batwoman's warm, armored figure against her own was... well, it was something Stephanie felt she could get used to.
“I'm not pleased that you revealed the secret identities of myself and the rest of us, Batgirl.” Batman said grimly as Damian tossed a tennis ball at the wall behind him, catching it when it sprung back. “But I'll let it pass for now. You said Riddler struck while you were gone...” Stephanie chewed her bottom look frantically, looking away, but then perking up at Bruce's next words. “...And you landed him in Arkham?”
“Mhm,” Batgirl said, beaming and then glancing at Batwoman with a little smile. “He's not as tough as you make him seem.”
Batman's gaze didn't waver, and he didn't smile.
“...Or, y'know, maybe he is.”
Bruce inhaled, glancing back at Damian before turning back to Steph and Kate. “Well, whatever you two did. I'm impressed. You... you did a good job while I was gone. Thank you.”
Kate managed to hold her composure, but cheered inside. Batman had been her inspiration and her influence, and to be personally thanked by him was one of her life's new highlights. “It was an honor, sir,” she said firmly.
Stephanie, on the other hand, grinned like an idiot, bouncing in her seat. “You're, um, you're welcome sir! Anytime! I mean, like, anytime you need me!”
Batman nodded, standing and turning to go deeper into the cave. When Kate cleared her throat, however, he paused. “What is it?”
Kate glanced to Steph, a tiny, shy smile crossing her lips. “Sir, if it's alright, I....”
“Yes?” Batman said grimly.
“Would it be okay if Stephanie and I went on patrol again sometime?” Kate glanced at Stephanie, who smiled again, blushing slightly.
Bruce didn't miss the look. But nor did he comment on it directly. “...I don't see why not.” The two girls' smiles widened, but they didn't say anything. “Actually, it's about time to do a sweep around the west side, and I have to do some work synthesizing these samples. If you two wouldn't mind doing a quick pass over, it would be... helpful to me.”
“Absolutely, sir, right away.” Kate saluted, then took Stephanie's hand, the two rushing from the Batcave and out into the Gotham night air.
As the two ran off, Bruce walked slowly over to the bat-computer, pausing only briefly to allow himself a tiny smile before setting himself to a hard night's work.
For more of Theik2's remastered work, check The Theik2 Library of Ultimate Excellence!