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Fic: Tiger Laying in Wait 2/2

Gotham City had always been a little strange compared to the cities that were around it, and the last decade or so had brought an alarming fashion trend that had the monsters hiding in plain sight. It made Chris’ skin crawl, especially since there was no way for him to know if someone was really a Wesen or one of these ‘splicers’ that seemed to be all over the place on the lower levels.

It wasn’t hard to get into the city records. He could probably have done it before coming to this nasty city, but it was better to be close in case snooping in the records sent up a red flag. If Jennifer had managed to fake her death he wouldn’t put it past her to be monitoring who looked into her records and to rabbit if she felt it was necessary. The woman would have decades more practice at not being found and if she went to ground he would never find her.

After two days of combing through and looking for any sign of Jennifer Halder, Chris finally got a solid lead. Jennifer Halder had married a man and become Jennifer Tan legally, though she’d kept her maiden name for her work in public relations (another thing that made him cringe, because it was the least Grimm-like profession he could think of) and that was the name used in her obituary.

Jennifer Halder’s story ended there. Jennifer Tan, however, had one more secret to share before Chris moved on: she’d become a mother a year before the accident that had supposedly killed her. Dana Tan was eighteen years old now and most Grimms came into their heritage in their late teens to early twenties, when they were most physically capable of handling things. There was the occasional outlier, but typically that was the progression, from older to younger.

Dana Tan was his most likely suspect and he was going to have to find her quickly. There was no telling what she knew and the longer she carried on the more difficult it would be to neutralize the threat she posed to the line. The next Grimm would be more worthy and better prepared to handle the burdens and abilities.

xxx

Terry was absolutely horrible with bladed weapons. Dana wasn’t sure why that was a surprise, but he was so physically adaptable that the idea of him not being a natural at anything hadn’t even crossed her mind. Despite Wayne’s grumbling about discipline and precision, Terry absorbed new moves and styles from Cassandra like a sponge and with an ease that she envied. It turned out that Dana finally had him beaten in at least one aspect of their now-mutual physical training, because Cassandra had nodded with approval at the end of their first weapons lesson. With a practice sword in her hand things felt a little more right and her training went more smoothly. It was the only time she ever beat Terry in sparring, though even then it wasn’t a sure bet. Terry was more likely to abandon the sword and fall back on his other skills and Bruce allowed it without comment, since his focus was never points on a scorecard. He was training them to survive, after all, not to compete, and anything up to and including dirty street tricks were fair game.

Cassandra was always quiet and hard for even Dana to read, but she had the feeling that the woman felt at least some measure of approval when it came to Dana and Terry. There was an unspoken respect and some small measure of affection toward Bruce, which was a lot better than the reaction she’d gotten from Grayson. It hadn’t been hard to put two and two together and realize that she was learning from another Bat, though pinpointing exactly which one was a little more difficult. There had been several different Batgirls and Robins over the years and Dana was only vaguely familiar on this side of history. It was interesting, but not her priority. Terry likely knew exactly who the older woman was and which cape she had worn, but he was keeping that information close to the chest.

The first day of training with Cassandra should have been far more nerve-wracking, but something about her quiet, no-nonsense approach was oddly comforting. Certainly she wasn’t as intimidating as Bruce, though Dana had the feeling she was just as dangerous. She’d started on the weapons training from the beginning, putting Dana and Terry on a little more even footing.

Bruce didn’t say much beyond a brief introduction, but she caught a glimpse of something like regret when he looked at Cassandra. Given how attentive she was, Cassandra had to have seen it as well, but she didn’t seem to respond beyond a respectful nod at the time.

The training might have been accelerated, since it took up most of Dana’s days and some of her evenings, but she didn’t have the knowledge to be sure. Making use of the seemingly bottomless hot water that Wayne Manor offered became a daily thing, and the only thing the kept her from hobbling home at the end of her lessons. She had two months before classes started at Gotham State University and she had to be ready.

The nights that didn’t involve physical training were usually spent down in the Cave, working through the files that Bruce had collected on the subject of Grimms and Wesen over the years and observing as Terry patrolled the streets of Gotham City.

The view that filled the screen was disorienting and Dana couldn’t watch it for very long. They’d already proven that her newfound knack at reading people worked through the link, and that was what had been important. “Do you watch this every time he goes out?” she asked.

“I don’t leave the vidlink up,” he said, closing that connection. “It uses up too much battery. I’m usually listening when he’s out in the suit. Going out without someone watching his back is dangerous, and it’s always better to have someone else to gather intel. I just wanted you to have an idea of what it’s like out there for him.”

Dana chuckled at that. Knowing her boyfriend, he probably kept up a constant stream of quiet chatter while he was out working, just like he was right now. She had the feeling that Bruce left up the audio for company just as much as for his listed reasons. “Can Terry hear us right now?”

“No. I keep that turned off until I need it. A distraction could be fatal if it came during a fight.”

“Can you drop the volume from his end?”

Bruce raised his eyebrows. “I can. I’m not sure why I should.”

“Because I have some things I need to ask you, and Terry’s voice in our ears will be distracting as hell.” He was still looking skeptical, but Terry’s speech dropped down into background noise.

“Good.” She still wasn’t sure that this was a good idea, but she needed to know and she suspected he needed to tell someone. Dana had the feeling that she was getting better at reading Bruce Wayne, which was probably quite a feat all on its own. “Why does Terry have your eyes?”

He went still for a fraction of a second, barely enough to notice. “I don’t know what you’re asking.”

“I’ve known him since we were kids. I remember what he looked like when he was eight. And that portrait upstairs is pretty close to that. I know you didn’t meet his mother until you hired him, but Terry has your eyes. I would like to know why. I haven’t told him anything, and I waited until we were alone to bring it up, but we both know that it could ruin everything if he comes to his own conclusions.”

Bruce turned to look at her, his expression closed off. “You can’t tell him,” the man said. “It would damage things. It might even get him killed.”

“I won’t tell him,” Dana said. “I promise.” Terry was good enough at observation and putting together the pieces that he would figure out the right questions with a few hints, but she needed to know what clues to drop.

There was a nod, barely there. He wasn’t giving anything away now. “Terry is my son.”

It was exactly what she’d suspected, but Wayne stopped at that point and Dana was forced to ask questions. “How did that happen?” As far as Terry knew, his mother hadn’t met Bruce Wayne until the day the old man came to the family apartment with a job offer.

“Not the traditional way,” Bruce admitted. “If I were to guess, it would be someone trying to recreate Batman, but there aren’t many people who would be willing to do that and who also have the necessary connections and information to make it happen.”

He suspected something, Dana could tell, but quite frankly that particular piece to the puzzle wasn’t terribly important. “So you’re somehow his biological father, through unknown outside interference. Why haven’t you told him yet?”

“I have another son, conceived in a slightly more traditional way but with the same goals in his mother’s mind.” Bruce glanced over at the cases that held an array of costumes. “He was convinced that he was the only one who had the right to become Batman because he was my child by blood. He never realized that it was more about having the right heart for the mission than the right genetics.”

“And Terry does,” Dana said. It was a statement of fact rather than a question. Terry was one of the best people she knew despite his temper and his tendency towards recklessness.

“He’s understood what it meant from the very beginning,” Bruce confirmed. “Even I had started to forget what it meant until he came along. He’s more than earned the right to wear the suit and that’s the reason he’s Batman. That’s the only reason, but if he finds out he’s my son, he’ll start to doubt. He’ll think I only cared about his blood rather than his talents.”

“You could try telling him the truth like you just told me,” Dana pointed out. “Terry isn’t stupid, no matter how he likes to play it in school sometimes. He’s going to start putting things together eventually. If he finds out that you kept this from him it’s going to do a lot more damage.”

“I will tell him. I just need some time.” And with that the conversation was over and Bruce turned back to the monitor, hands on the keys and typing out commands. Terry’s background commentary switched back to the forefront. “I’ve found someone willing to talk to you about Grimms,” he said, voice back to neutral crankiness.

“Face to face?”

“Yes. He’ll be here tomorrow night. If I were you I’d plan out what you want to ask beforehand.”

xxx

She was a foolish girl. Chris was disgusted just watching as she walked down the street, her hand wrapped in the hand of a teenage boy. She laughed at something the boy said and leaned in closer, completely unaware of her surroundings. How could someone this weak become a Grimm? As far as he could tell, the only reason it had happened was because she was younger and theoretically more physically capable of enduring the tasks of the life, but she was obviously unsuited for it. It was a good thing he was here to correct this mistake.

The boy was of little consequence beyond a symptom of the real problem, but he would need to be removed to prevent the possible roadblock to his real goal. He might put up more of a fight than the Grimm girl if the way he was walking and taking in his surroundings was any sort of indicator, so he’d need to be killed quickly and with little warning. Chris would have to isolate them somehow, cut them from the rest of the herd of teenagers and prevent them from calling for help. The thought made his hands shake a little, but he stiffened his resolve and clenched his fists to stop before it could get out of hand. It wasn’t murder. He was simply solving a problem and making sure that his family’s Grimm legacy wasn’t wasted on a bit of brainless fluff who couldn’t fight her way out of a paper bag. Killing her quickly and efficiently was really doing the girl a favor. She’d never be able to defend herself from a Wesen and they would do so much worse to the girl. A quick and merciful death and everything would be back on track.

Chris was so caught up in his plans that he didn’t notice the tall, mean-looking man who was watching him as well as the girl, and as he turned away to go back to his hotel and start making his plans he definitely didn’t see the same man follow him.

xxx

When Barb had come to him with her request Sam hadn’t been sure how to take it. It was clear she was reluctant to even mention it, and as the story spilled out about how Bruce Wayne knew about Wesen and had known for years that he was a Jagerbar it was easy to see why. The concept of secrecy was drilled into every Wesen’s head at a young age, with the main tenent of ‘be good or a Grimm will find you’ underlying that early education. It helped that Barb hadn’t been the one to share that secret with Wayne, but the very idea that it was out there was mildly frightening. In this day and age, it might deliver accusations of splicing and drive him from his work.

The request that had followed that revelation was equally as unsettling. There was a young Grimm who knew nothing about their world except what Wayne had been able to deliver, and while the man’s contacts were no doubt remarkable it didn’t begin to equal experiencing the tangled way Grimm and Wesen interacted. No matter what Wayne could dig up and teach, the Grimm would almost certainly die in short order without someone who knew how to navigate the world. He was ashamed that it still took a minute or so to agree to meet.

The days of Wayne fundraisers had been before his time, but not before his wife’s, and Barbara knew her way up to the grand old place very well. Wayne was once one of the greatest champions of Gotham’s police force and had been close friends with Barb’s father back in his days as the Commissioner. No doubt she’d been here many times when she was younger.

Sam kept aware of what was happening around Gotham, enough to at least recognize Wayne’s young assistant from the news footage, though the man was usually only barely seen in the corner of the shots while his employer spoke on camera. He wasn’t the Grimm that Sam had been mentally preparing for over the last few hours, but Sam had been in the game long enough to know that the guarded expression and careful stance meant he was looking at Wayne’s bodyguard. When the young man opened the front door and showed them in Sam kept his body language as neutral as possible as he walked into a large, empty foyer. It had probably once been beautiful, but now it simply seemed lonely and oddly abandoned and Sam had to suppress a shiver. It might be impeccably maintained, but he had the feeling this place had its fair share of ghosts.

“We’re going to be in the study,” Wayne’s assistant said, and Barb nodded. The familiarity on the drive up continued as she started off deeper into the house and Sam followed, deliberately turning his back on the young man in a show of trust. This would have been a pretty elaborate scheme for an assassination attempt and he had faith that his wife wouldn’t lead him into such a thing.

To live in Gotham City was to know the name of Bruce Wayne, even in this day and age, but Wayne stayed strictly away from politics and he’d never met the man before today. Despite the fact that Wayne must be past eighty by now, he had an undeniable presence even as he leaned on his cane. To ignore him or dismiss him would be incredibly stupid, but once his eyes had passed over the young girl standing next to him he found it hard to look away. Her human face was covered with a bone-white blank mask, its only embellishment the faint outline of a tiger across the forehead. Sam had only met three Grimms in his lifetime, all of them older, but they’d all worn those masks. According to what most Wesen knew, as a Grimm grew in their abilities things began to emerge on those masks as if being painted. He was curious about what the tiger meant, as it was her only embellishment.

He blinked, feeling the bear emerge for a moment under her scrutiny, before her features resolved into those of a lovely young girl, likely with Chinese heritage. She hadn’t flinched or shown any sign of surprise at his face, so she knew at least a little. This might become a very useful opportunity.

Barb cleared her throat. “No bloodshed so far. I’d say that’s a good sign.”

There was a huffing sound from the door. “It’s an improvement over the last time, that’s for sure,” Wayne’s assistant said.

Wayne sent the young man a look and turned to Barbara. “I believe that introductions are in order.”

Barb made the rounds, introducing Wayne and his assistant (Terrence McGinnis) before ending with the Grimm, Dana Tan.

Dana was looking at his wife as if she’d just learned something important and surprising, but she turned to him quickly enough. “Thank you for coming. I’ve got so many questions and Mr. Wayne was starting to run out of answers.”

“It’s my pleasure,” he said, and it was. Despite the knee-jerk fear reaction (and it was fear, based on years of mutual conflict between Grimms and Wesen) Sam had the feeling that he was about to learn just as much as Ms. Tan.

xxx

He watched the girl and her playmate until they went beyond his reach and skill before retreating into the security of his motel room. He’d chosen a motel typical of the places that he and his sister had frequented in their travels, with the largest deciding factor being the willingness of the management to ignore anything as long as the police didn’t get dragged into things and they paid their bill ahead of time. It meant that the places weren’t particularly clean or comfortable, and as a younger man with hands like shovels pushed his way in the door Chris was forced to admit that it also meant that he wasn’t as safe as he should be within the thin walls.

“I don’t know who you are,” the man said, his voice oddly soft. “The name on the register probably isn’t real. What I do know is that you’re a stranger in Gotham and you’re poaching on my turf.”

Chris had a gun strapped into a holster inside his jacket. It was illegal as hell in Gotham City, but he’d figured it was better to be in trouble for using an illegal weapon than to be dead because he was a sterling citizen, and with that reasoning he went for the weapon.

The other man closed the gap more quickly than he should have been able to move, given his bulk, and ripped the weapon away before he could shoot. A couple of Chris’ fingers were probably broken in the meanwhile, but this much he could keep private due to the training he’d received when it wasn’t clear whether he or Jackie would become the next Grimm in the family line. His hand was screaming in pain, but he wasn’t about to let this clown know he’d managed to score a hit. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, lifting his chin a little and trying to exude the confidence he’d seen from his sister when she was facing down a Wesen. With the way his attacker had moved Chris was fairly sure he was looking at a creature. He could have probably bluff his way out of the problem with the simple fact that he was tracking down his lost cousin, but that would only work on a normal person and it was best if he didn’t think about the family relationship. Giving her that kind of relevance might make him hesitate and he couldn’t afford the distraction.

There was a growl from the man, further proof of Chris’ hypothesis, and the monster pushed in close. “Dana Tan’s mine. She’s my ticket to the big time and I’m not going to let some out of town loser come in and take that away. Her boyfriend’s mine, too. He owes me and I intend to collect, one way or another. So if I were you I’d pack up my stuff and get out of my town.”

Grimms were made tougher than most people, and Chris might technically not be one yet but he wasn’t going to allow this punk to push him around. He was stronger, likely a Wesen, but Chris was smarter. He was willing to bet his life on that much. “You want the girl, you can have her,” he said. It would accomplish his goals and leave him in the clear. “But you better make it soon. As soon as word gets out that there’s a helpless little Grimm out here in Gotham this place will turn into a shark tank. If you don’t want to get caught up in the feeding frenzy you should take care of it before you have to spend more time taking out everyone who’s here for the opportunity than killing off the girl.”

“I’m going to kill her soon.” The Wesen put one hand around Chris’ throat and lifted him into the air easily, cutting off his supply of air. “Probably going to kill you even sooner. Nothing personal. I just can’t let you ruin this for me.”

Its face morphed until Chris was seeing the monster’s true face, one he recognized from his own research. He was currently being threatened by a Schakel, most likely a young one with a lot to prove, and unless he thought of something very quickly Chris wasn’t going to live through this encounter. Even in the world of monsters Schakel’s were known to be mean, ruthless killers. “I can help you isolate her,” he said quickly.

The Wesen paused, his animal face disappearing. “How were you planning on doing that? I guarantee you’ll have a hard time getting Terry to leave her side if he thinks she’s in danger. He’s kind of stupid like that.”

Chris hadn’t wanted to use this, hadn’t planned on using it, but it was the only real solution to his problem. “I’m her cousin, and the only family she has left on her mother’s side. She’ll want to meet me.”

There was a flash of some kind of understanding in the Wesen’s eyes. “Family, huh? Family might work. What’s your name, Dana’s cousin?”

“Chris,” he said. He left off his first name. It was less complicated that way.

“Good to meet you, Chris. You can call me Big Time.” There was a smile on that cruel face, one that fit the Wesen’s personality. “It looks like you just became useful. That’s probably a first for you.”

Chris gritted his teeth. “Glad to know it.” The first chance he got once the thing had taken care of their problem, Chris was going to put a bullet in its head. The Wesen was probably planning the same thing, of course, so it would be entirely fair.

xxx

The time spent with DA Young had helped. After that first meeting with Dick Grayson Dana had been worried that every single person who understood what she happened to be would either want to kill her or avoid her completely, leaving her with nothing but the knowledge that Mr. Wayne had collected over the years. That knowledge had been primarily gathered with Mr. Grayson’s heritage in mind and she could already see the gaps in that education, mostly secondhand and little of it verified. She would need more help in the long run, of course, since apparently Grimms had been better about keeping their abilities secret from their counterparts, but it was a start. Mr. Wayne had a lead on that front that would hopefully help once he’d managed to track it down.

The four of them went through a full pot of coffee and half a pot of tea before Mr. Young was done answering all of her initial questions, and he’d given her his business card so she could ask further questions as she though of them. When Terry escorted them to the door Dana joined him, watching as the car went through the open gates and disappeared around the bend. “The Commissioner used to be Batgirl,” she said quietly. It explained a lot of things that had happened over the years.

Terry gave a short nod. “She was the first Batgirl.”

“Wow.”

“That was my reaction,” Terry agreed. “Wait until the first time you meet a member of the League. Just don’t try to strike up any meaningful conversations with any of them.”

“Why not?”

“They’re jerks. It’s not important.” He closed the door and turned to her. “Did it feel good to get someone to talk to you?”

“It felt amazing,” Dana said. “I still don’t know why Mr. Grayson couldn’t just sit down and have this conversation with me. Am I really that much of a threat?”

Terry shrugged and didn’t say anything, but it was clear he had some thoughts on the matter that he wasn’t sharing. She’d have to tease those out of him later, when they were alone. For now, though, the city was calling and Terry was going out to answer it. He had his own heritage to claim, just like Dana was starting to come to grips with being a Grimm.

Official training was over for the day and Cassandra had gone out to meet with someone she simply described as a friend. Dana didn’t ask questions. Cassandra would share if she wanted and to do anything more would be a breach of the older woman’s privacy. One similarity that Dana had noticed across the board when it came to Terry’s new family was their desperate need for privacy. Of course, looking at Mr. Wayne it was easy to see where that had originated. Because Cassandra had gone and Terry was out on patrol, her options were to stay upstairs in the vaguely spooky house or to follow the old man down into the Cave and do her reading while keeping an ear on her boyfriend. She wasn’t sure what she was going to do if something happened, but just listening as Terry made slightly sarcastic commentary and beat up Jokerz was oddly calming.

It was a quiet night, which apparently had the effect of making Mr. Wayne suspicious. He liked to speak about Gotham like the city was a person, sometimes, and to him a lack of current activity meant that there was a mess coming down the road. He had just ordered Terry back to the Cave to start looking for that potential mess when her phone chirped to indicate an incoming call.

The number wasn’t one she recognized, so she held it out so Bruce could see it. He nodded, and by the time she’d answered he was already running a search and a trace. “Hello?”

“Is this Dana Tan?”

She didn’t recognize the voice, though it was deep and male and devoid of a local accent. “Yes. May I ask who this is?”

A chuckle echoed down the line, only barely forced. “My name’s Chris Halder. You don’t know me, but I’m your cousin.”

A glance at Bruce showed that his eyes were narrowed even as he continued his quiet search on the computer. “I don’t have a cousin,” she answered. She shouldn’t have known about him, after all. Most girls didn’t have two different versions of Batman digging up information on her family. “My mom was an only child and my dad’s family is long gone.”

“No, my mother and yours were sisters. I recently discovered a diary of my mother’s when I was looking through some of her things and it mentioned her sister, Jennifer Halder, who ran away when she was a teenager.”

Dana took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “She never said anything that I can remember.” That much was true, at least.

“Yeah, when I looked her up I saw that she’d passed away a long time ago. Then I found out that she had a daughter and I knew I had to try to contact you. My sister died not too long ago and you’re the only family I’ve got left.”

It would have been a lot more convincing if she hadn’t remembered the information that Mr. Wayne had discovered on her first night down here, and the theories he’d constructed with that information. Jaqueline Halder’s death was suspicious at best. The woman’s brother was up to something. She’d have to meet him to be sure, but Dana was becoming more convinced that Chris Halder had set his sister (and potentially, the last Grimm) to be killed. This wasn’t the way that people behaved. Her cousin was at least a decade older than she was and his mother had died years ago. The timing was a little too coincidental to be genuine.

Wayne’s expression was readable enough to convey that she should play along, so Dana took a deep breath and did exactly that. “I don’t have any family,” she said, keeping her voice soft and hopefully vulnerable. “But I think . . . I think I might like to have family.”

“Can you meet me?”

Dana had a hard time keeping from laughing at that. No self-respecting Gotham girl would fall for this, recent special training notwithstanding. Gotham City followed Darwinian theories regarding survival of the fittest, and anyone stupid enough to allow an unknown to isolate her got what they had coming. “I’m not sure,” she said, her voice still soft and uncertain.

“We can meet somewhere public,” he assured her quickly. “I just want to talk.”

“I suppose that might be all right,” she finally said. “Can I pick the place?” At his agreement to those terms, she gave him the address to Rhinos and agreed to meet with him before closing off the connection and turning to Mr. Wayne. “Well, that seemed completely innocent and innocuous. Nothing at all creepy or suspicious in that phone call.”

The old man nodded. “And what are you planning to do with this obvious trap?”

“I was thinking that Terry could help me spring it. I’ve got a feeling he’s going to say a little too much once we’re in person, and then he’s going to try to get me alone.”

“The best advantage you have in this situation is that he had no clue how much you know,” Mr. Wayne agreed. “He’s expecting a young, inexperienced girl with no idea that she’s in danger. He thinks you’re easy prey. When Terry is back the two of you should start making plans for your family reunion.”

It turned out that the first and hardest decision was whether to use Terry McGinnis, Dana Tan’s boyfriend, or Batman. Either one presented risks and rewards, but with the very real possibility that Chris Halder had been tailing her recently Batman won out as the best choice. Terry swore that he could pull off undercover if necessary, but it was probably best not to risk it. Right now they were going to enter into this situation with the greater share of knowledge, and if Halder recognized Terry and came to the conclusion that he was there undercover they would lose that edge. Batman was something you took for granted as a possibility and part of the bargain when it came to doing business in Gotham City.

Dana made a conscious decision not to worry about this meeting as she climbed into her car and headed out. The girl that Chris Halder was planning to meet wouldn’t worry about such things, only about the fact that she was going to be meeting a member of her family for the first time. She didn’t check for Batman once she was in the parking lot, though she was very tempted. The reassurance that he was there would have helped her nerves a little. Instead, she took a deep breath, sent out a mental reminder that Terry never let her down when it mattered and was probably already in position and under camouflage, and walked into the restaurant.

Halder had promised to meet her at the counter and she made a show of looking for him despite the fact that she spotted the man as soon as she entered the building. He waved her over and they made introductions and awkward small talk while they waited for drinks. Once the waitress was gone he pulled out an old electronic tablet and set it down on the table between them. “I found some pictures of our mothers and thought I would share him,” he said, tapping on the screen to start the program before sliding it toward her.

The pictures were vague and ambiguous, mostly two girls in t-shirts and shorts standing in various places. They didn’t really help build the connection that Halder was probably counting on since there were no shots other than that. The man probably didn’t realize that most children would have pictures taken while they were playing and the fact that such images apparently didn’t exist spoke volumes of their childhood and him. It was no wonder her mother had run away. This was a youth straight out of the Supernatural novels.

He waited until Dana had finished her refilled glass of water and gone through the contents of the album multiple times before finally baiting his trap. “I’ve got some other family things in my car. They were a little too unwieldy to bring inside, but I thought you might like to see them.”

Dana pretended to debate the decision while she hit the alert button on the disguised bracelet on her left wrist. It would be nice to have this whole mess over and done with, because this guy was starting to creep her out. He couldn’t quite decide whether to be a concerned family member or a guy who was trying to pick her up in the club and the combination was particularly off-putting.

He was just leading her around the corner of the building to his supposed car when another man stepped out of the shadows to join them. “Been looking for you, Dana,” Charlie said, and Dana wanted to scream at the universe. Of course the two of them had teamed up. Scumbags seemed to always find other scumbags.

“I’ll just get out of your way,” Chris said. “You never saw me and I didn’t get a good look at you.” With that he retreated to a distance several yards away.

“You have no idea how much I’m going to enjoy this,” he told her, grinning in a way that was completely unpleasant. “You’re my ticket to the top, babe, and I wish I had the time to truly enjoy it.” His face changed and Dana glared at him.

“I wouldn’t count on it.” And with that she delivered one of the moves from the self-defense class that she’d taken a few years ago, enhanced and refined with Cassandra’s instruction, and put all of her leverage and weight into a snap kick to the groin. Her conversations with DA Young had assured her that such an attack was just as effective against a Wesen as it was a standard human.

He dropped to his knees, but his scream was more rage than pain and he reached out for her with both hands. She’d been expecting it and countered before dodging back out of his range, stumbling a little on the uneven ground of the parking lot. That stumble probably saved her life, since it meant that the shot fired towards her went through empty air. There was an odd sound, more like the pop of an air gun than anything else, and Halder dropped to the ground with a bola wrapped around him. There was one around Bigelow a second later. “The police are on their way,” Batman said, and Dana shivered. Hearing that voice when she knew the person behind the mask was eerie and unsettling and she would need practice at not reacting. “Are you all right, miss?”

Dana turned away from the two on the ground so they wouldn’t see her roll her eyes. He was putting it on thick. She returned the favor by batting her eyes and pressing her hand against her chest. “It was terrifying. Can you stay with me until they come?”

“It won’t be a problem,” he assured her, walking over to kick the weapon away from Halder and casually delivering a taser shot to knock him out. He did the same to Bigelow, ignoring the stream of insults and obscenities and keeping on the juice for longer than was probably necessary. “Did you record everything you needed?”

“Halder didn’t outright say he wanted to kill me, but since he fired a shot at me I think I’ll be pretty successful in pressing charges.”

“Good.” There was a moment of hesitation. “You should call your boyfriend and let him know what’s happened. That way he knows to head this way and he’ll get here right after the cops arrive.”

“Thank you, Batman. That’s an excellent idea.” She did that, just in case someone checked her phone records. It was obvious that Batman wasn’t willing to risk breaking his cover to have a real conversation with her and that she’d need to wait until she had her boyfriend back to get the reassurances she really wanted. Now that the fight was over her hands were shaking a little from the adrenaline.

The first flashing lights appeared in her peripheral vision and Dana turned to look as the car drove into the parking lot. She felt Batman’s sudden absence, rather than heard or saw it, but not two minutes later Terry was pulling into the lot on his cycle and he had his arms around her.

It wasn’t truly over, of course. Dana had the feeling that this type of thing never really ended. But for now the immediate threat was gone and she was safe. It was enough.







Author’s Note:

This literally wouldn’t have been possible without my beta and friend, PaBurke. Most of the ideas for Grimm succession and powers and the specific concept of the mask as the Grimm’s true face come directly from her headcanon, and she was also the one who did the initial legwork regarding the tiger in Chinese mythology.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
sailorlibra
Aug. 23rd, 2013 05:50 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed this story. Dana-centered stories are pretty rare and the characterization was spot-on in this one. The ending was kind of anti-climatic, but I loved it otherwise. Definitely bookmarking this story.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )