Batman: Meanwhile in Gotham City

Chapter Five

Bruce felt her chest rise under his arm, so Selina breathed despite her alarming white face. Her limbs slacked so much; he kept his arm against her to keep her standing. "Selina?" He shouldn't have chased after her tonight. "Your meeting with Dorrance couldn't have earned a price on your head, not if he was letting you leave through the front door." She blinked at him. "What's going on?"

Her cheeks flushed under her make-up. "No autopilot, you lying, self-righteous--!"

He interrupted, "Can we get into that after you tell me who put a bounty on you?"

"They put a statue of you in City Hall like you're some kind of martyred saint, you bastard!"

"You can call me whatever you want after you tell me who wants to kill you."

Selina shoved him and he stepped back. "Your initiated playmates want to kill me, Wayne." He followed her up the stairs. She stood on the banister railing and reached between the air conditioning units. "Probably because they don't dare risk going to America and getting Gordon." She stretched further and he swallowed. "But they're doing it for free."

He stepped on the railing, and fished out a clutch purse and a manila envelope. "The little girl staying with you has a price on her head? Why?"

"How long have you been stalking me, you paranoid psycho?" She snatched her belongings.

He hadn't expected anger over his resurrection. Would everyone he planned on telling be angry too? Granted, a child was in danger and the League of Shadows had been harassing her; his timing could be a lot better. But the psychopath label stung. "Just since yesterday," he said.

She glared before climbing up the steps. "Her name is Cassandra. Dorrance told me the price is a half a million for her alive." She waved at a taxi leaving Hotel Icon.

"But who wants her?"

"You're welcome to go interrogate Dorrance if you want." The taxi pulled over in front of them. Bruce opened the door and climbed in after her.

"Eaton House on Wan Chai Gap Road." Selina leaned back and stared at him. "Do you have anything to say for yourself?"

"Is that a question you want to ask a psychopath?" He crossed his arms.

"I was quoting a lyric from a song by Puddle of Mudd. You're no crazier than I am. Most of the time." She glanced out the window as the taxi descended into the tunnel across Victoria Harbor. "Are you going to be upset about paranoid next?"

"No, everybody calls me that."

She reached behind her neck. "I suppose you want these back."

He caught her left hand before she unlatched the pearl necklace. "It was a gift."

"It was your mother's."

"And I gave it to you." Her hand was warm inside his as they rested on her thigh. His heart pounded, and he couldn't blame it on their scuffle.

"Did we give you a nice tour of Hong Kong Island today?"

"You could have gone up the Peak."

"After shopping most of the day with a kid who thinks more than one set of clothes is too many?" Her fingers flexed, but she aimed her worried eyes out the window as the taxi exited the tunnel. He squeezed her hand. She turned back to him. "Besides, I went up my first day here, fighting jet lag. You didn't go your first trip here?"

"Too busy." The taxi pulled up at the Eaton House. Bruce let go of her hand and pulled out his wallet.


Selina let Bruce pay for the cab. It was the least he owed her. She strode up to the building and ignored how her left hand still tingled. She concentrated on the sinking in her gut that she needed to get to Cassandra now.

Bruce caught the door she swung open. "Does anyone know she's here?"

"We've both beat up League soldiers. I don't think we've led them here." She hit the elevator button. His eyebrows were raised. "But we haven't hid in this neighborhood."

He waited until they were alone in the ascending elevator. "You both beat up League soldiers?" She glared at him. "She's just a little girl."

"Let me know when you want to say that to her face. I'll have the ice pack ready."

The elevator door slid open on the sixteenth floor. Grunts and Cantonese shouts met them in the hall. Her apartment door was open. Bruce stepped in front of her as a man rolled out of her door. He slammed against the opposite wall. Bruce kicked the intruder before he stood, and shoved through the door. Selina hiked up her dress and charged in after him.

Cassandra leaped from the window seat and spun kicked in the air. The man between her and the sofa caught her foot with his temple. He crumpled and slumped over another man already prone on the carpet. Cassandra landed on the sofa, fists up while she bounced on the cushion.

A soldier stood in front of the closet and raised a handgun. Selina's throat closed as she followed his sightline. Bruce's right fist slugged his face and his other hand seized the gun. The soldier slammed against the laminate wood and slid down. Bruce detached the clip and the barrel one handed. The useless pieces hit the floor before his opponent.

Two more men ran forward from the kitchenette. Selina kicked the one on her left. Her foot caught his chin and he flailed down onto the table. It flipped over and landed on him.

The last one traded blows with Bruce until Bruce landed an uppercut. The soldier fell back between the table legs.

Selina picked her way through the limbs of the men on the floor to keep her balance rather than spare them pain. The television swayed on one screw. Cassandra stared at Bruce and remained in a defensive stance. Selina braced herself against the sofa's arm and got in her line of sight. "Are you okay? Your stitches?"

Cassandra shifted to the sofa's arm and pointed at Bruce. "League."

"No, he's not in the League. Now let me see your stitches." Cassandra still wore the unitard and she couldn't see a bloodstain on the black Lycra.

Cassandra stomped her foot and pointed at the men at Selina's feet. "League fight." Her finger shifted to Bruce. "League fight!"

Bruce didn't shift from beside the bedroom door. "You fight like the League of Shadows too."

Cassandra scowled. "No. Me better."

"Gotham, Cassandra." Her confused eyes looked at Selina before looking at Bruce again. Selina tugged on Cassandra's arm. She moved closer and Selina peeked down the unitard. The suture on her left pectoral muscle was whole. "Good, don't have to restitch that. Are you hurt anywhere?"

"No safe. Father target." Cassandra glanced at Bruce again. "No dead?"

"Thanks for the reminder, kid." Selina cupped Cassandra's cheeks. "Focus. Are you bleeding?"

"No."

"Do you trust me?"

"Yes."

"There's a price on your head. These men came here for you. We have to leave Hong Kong now."

"Me target?" Cassandra tapped her breast bone.

"Yes, but I'll keep you safe. I promise." Cassandra's eyes darted to Bruce. "He's got some explaining to do, but he won't hurt us. Get dressed in what you wore home today and pack your things in the new suitcase. Okay?"

"Okay." Cassandra hopped onto the pile of men before landing in front of the shopping bags piled by the window seat.

Selina looked at Bruce's impassive face, but he didn't say anything. She shoved the soldier away from the closet with her foot. She slid the damaged door open and pulled everything off the rod. She hugged the clothes and hangers and grabbed her suitcase. She carried it all to her bed. The small rolling suitcase already hid her catsuit and work boots. The manila envelope rested on top that compartment, but she dropped the clutch into her larger black purse. She unzipped her black dress, shimmied out of it, and rolled it into her suitcase before draping the clothes on the hangers inside it.

"Where?" Bruce stood in the bedroom door and blinked. She walked to the bathroom, closed her toiletries bag, and picked up the pants and blouse she had worn early today. He shook his head as she moved back to the bed. Behind her, he cleared his throat. "Where are you going?"

He had held a conversation with her packing before; what was wrong with him now? Her face heated as she zipped the suitcase closed. She hadn't strutted around him in her underwear back in Gotham. "Wherever the next plane out of here is headed."

"I have a house out of the country. They won't think to look for you there."

She looked over her shoulder. He tilted his head, overcompensating for her almost catching him staring at her ass. "I can get off this island."

"I want to help, Selina."

It was a compulsion with the man, but if accepting meant she got answers, that could be a fair trade. "Fine, start by finding my laptop. I left it by the sofa." He nodded and left the doorway. She stepped into the black pants and pulled on the black knit blouse before carrying her suitcase and purse out of the bedroom.

Cassandra had pulled her jeans and shirt over the unitard and stood guard at the apartment's door. Selina's laptop bag and Cassandra's suitcase waited with her. She turned as Selina crouched to check her laptop. "Father target. No safe."

Plastic rattled inside the bag. Great, now she had to buy a replacement. "Your father won't find us. And I'll keep you safe." She slung it over her shoulder.

Bruce was next to the stairwell door with his cell phone at his ear. He finished up the call and headed to them. Cassandra stomped her foot and scowled. He ignored the display of temper. "There's a car from my hotel coming for us. Stairs?"

"It's closest to the back way out."

Bruce took Selina's suitcase then picked up Cassandra's. "I have to check out of my hotel and then we can go to the airport." He pushed open the door with his back.

Cassandra's hand slipped into Selina's. "With you."

"Ditto, kid. Let's go."

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