Dark Knight in Denver
Disclaimer: I don't own Team 7 or Batman. I also didn't create the wonderful ATF AU. Summary: This is a crossover story between the ATF AU and Batman. Bruce Wayne pays a visit to Denver and meets Team 7. Batman gets involved in the hunt for Ella Gaines. Set in the ATF AU. For the "Batverse" stuff Dick is away at college but still Robin (not Nightwing), Barbra Gordon is Oracle, not Batgirl.
Author's Note: THANK YOU to Lacey for her help and encouragement on this story, and all my writing
"So Travis didn't tell you why he wanted to see us all?"
"I've already told you he didn't, JD," Chris replied as they walked toward the DA's office.
The secretary smiled at them. "He's expecting you. Go right on in."
As soon as they entered the room they noticed a man facing away from them, looking out the window.
Travis stood up and smiled. "Gentlemen, I'd like you to meet and old friend of mine, Bruce Wayne."
The man turned from the window, an easy smile on his face. Ezra and Josiah both noticed that the smile didn't reach the man's eyes. "Hello. Orrin's told me a lot about you gentlemen," Bruce said as he walked toward them. He'd also done his own research on them and knew a great deal about each man.
Chris stepped forward first. "Chris Larabee." As they looked in each other's eyes both felt a sort of connection. They each saw the soul- deep pain, and loss, in the other man's eyes that they usually saw in the mirror.
Bruce then looked at the man on Chris's right. "Buck Wilmington," Buck said as he held out his hand.
Bruce then looked to Chris's left. "Name's Vin Tanner."
"Josiah Sanchez,"the profiler introduced himself.
"I've read some of your work on profiling. I look forward to discussing it if there's time."
"I'll look forward to it," Josiah responded.
Looking at the man beside Josiah, Bruce noticed that he was dressed almost as expensively as himself.
"Ezra P. Standish, at your service. It is a pleasure, Sir."
"Likewise. I've met your mother," Bruce admitted.
"You have my sympathy," Ezra said, a wry smile on his face as he thought of how Maude would be around a man as rich as Bruce Wayne.
"And you mine," Bruce replied with a wry smile of his own.
Bruce stepped back to the other side of the group.
"I'm Nathan Jackson," the last of the team said.
"So what brings you to Denver?" asked Ezra.
"The Gun Control Conference. I'm going to be speaking at it," Bruce replied. "And it's always good to see Orrin."
"I went to University with Bruce's father. Then he went to Medical School and I left for Law School, but we stayed in touch," Orrin supplied.
"Why the interest in gun control?" Josiah asked, curious.
The pleasant smile disappeared from Bruce's face as if it had never been. The look in his eyes was very intense, and very remote, as if seeing something no one else in the room did. And in truth he was again seeing the image of his parents dead on the sidewalk. When he spoke his voice had slipped down octaves into a tone usually only heard from beneath the cowl of Batman. "My parents were shot by a mugger."
No one knew what to say and the room fell silent. They were saved by Travis's phone ringing. "Why don't you guys show Bruce around the Team Seven offices," Travis suggested before picking up his phone. "I'll see you for dinner Bruce."
"See you then," Bruce agreed before following the others out.
"So I take it you're in favor of gun control?" asked Buck as they walked down the hall.
"To a degree. I have no problem with citizens legally owning guns. I have a problem with how easily criminals can get guns illegally," Bruce replied.
"I think that's about how we all feel," JD said.
After a brief tour, Bruce and Josiah began a conversation about profiling. Josiah was amazed at Bruce's knowledge of the subject. While Bruce never mentioned any profiles he'd done Josiah felt sure that the younger man had worked up a great many of them.
Bruce then got into a conversation with Ezra regarding investing and managing money. While Ezra had heard that Lucious Fox ran Wayne Enterprises, by the end of the conversation he didn't believe Bruce wasn't making some of the decisions. The man clearly had a very good business acumen.
After talking with Ezra Bruce wandered over to where JD was working on one of the computers. Before long JD was sure that Bruce knew his way around computers. Sure, there were experts who knew computers better, but Bruce was better than any average person. A lot better, JD decided.
Eventually Bruce left, and the Seven gathered together.
"So what do you think, Josiah?" asked Chris.
"He has the reputation of a shallow playboy, but there's a lot more to him than that. While he was talking to Ezra I did a little checking. His parents were killed by a mugger. . . and he was there. Saw everything. Just a child at the time. That kind of trauma at that age is going to have some lasting effects. It certainly explains his interest in gun control. He never actually admitted it, even tried to hide it, but he's a master profiler."
"He also knows his way around computers. More than a guy with the technical support staff Wayne must have would need to know," JD reported.
"They say his right hand man runs Wayne Enterprises, but Wayne could easily run it. He has the knowledge and ability. I have a feeling it simply isn't his main interest," Ezra reported.
"I was watching him. The way he moves, and holds himself, I'm thinking he knows martial arts. And not just someone who took a few classes as a kid," Vin added. "I'm talking someone I wouldn't want to go up against." Chris nodded, having seen the same thing.
The others were al a bit shocked by that. Vin was a very good fighter, trained by the military and in martial arts. If he didn't want to go against someone. . . That was all they needed to know.
"That pleasant charm is a mask," Buck said. Chris sent him a look that said 'takes one to know one'. Buck gave a slight grin in acknowledgment.
The next day was the Gun Control Conference. Bruce's speech was short, but well received. While he didn't specifically mention his own childhood trauma he did point out that many children had their childhood innocence cut short by violence from guns. He then spoke about how the selling of illegal guns was a business, a very profitable business. Next he suggested that if the fines and punishments were raised enough it would become unprofitable, and that if a business wasn't profitable it didn't last.
Everyone in the audience liked the idea of much higher fines, and longer prison terms, for anyone selling guns illegally. The Seven each thought of men they had arrested, who had paid fines that were small compared to the amount of money they made from illegal gun sales. They'd seen the men walk free with probation rather than jail time. They also knew that mandatory jail time and high fines would give them more leverage to get the small time players to flip on the big time players.
Once the conference was over the members of Team 7 met DA Travis who was talking to Bruce.
"We're going out to get some drinks, want to join us?" invited Buck.
"I'd better get home to my wife," replied Travis.
Bruce decided to join them.
"This may not be the kind of place you're used to," Ezra warned as the group walked towards the doors of Inez's bar.
Bruce didn't say anything, but a half smile formed on his lips. From the outside, the bar looked like it was somewhere between the high- class private clubs Bruce Wayne would be seen at and the seedy dives he haunted in the guise of 'Matches' Malone.
Once inside Bruce quickly scanned the building. Vin and Chris both noticed the action. They each would have bet cash that Bruce could have diagrammed the layout of the place down to the last electrical outlet. He probably could have spelled out detailed descriptions of everyone present, too. They shared a look that told the other they'd both seen the same thing. They'd both learned that ability in the military and wondered where Bruce had learned it.
Inez came to greet the men and noticed they had an extra person. "And who is. . . Bruce Wayne?" she asked as she recognized their guest.
"So they tell me," Bruce replied with his most charming smile.
"Bruce, allow me introduce Miss Inez Recillos . She owns this establishment," Ezra said.
"We'll just take out usual table," Chris told her.
Once they were seated Inez looked at Bruce. "What can I get for you?"
"I'll have bourbon, Purcell's if you've got it," he told her.
"I do. It's Ezra's favorite as well."
Bruce then looked at the others. "Drinks are on me tonight."
"You all still want your usual?" Inez asked them.
They all did.
They Seven ended up having a few rounds each, but Chris and Josiah both noted that Bruce just sipped the bourbon he'd ordered, never ordering another.
Eventually Chris and Bruce were alone at the table.
Chris spoke first. "You don't drink?"
"No. I prefer to remain in control," Bruce answered candidly.
"A lot of times I've preferred to forget."
"Did you forget?"
"No," Chris admitted. He gave a slight nod to say he saw Bruce's point. Bruce didn't drink to forget, because for them it wouldn't work. What they wanted to forget, you couldn't forget.
"You lost your parents, right?"
"Yes. I understand you lost your son and wife." As Bruce spoke he thought of his own son, Dick, away at college. He decided he'd have to call Dick tomorrow. For no other reason than that it had been too long since they had talked. It would also surprise Dick ,which wasn't an easy thing to do.
"Yeah," Chris answered and downed another drink. "Every day I wish it had been me instead of them," Chris admitted, thinking the man across from him would understand that wish.
Bruce took a sip of his drink as he thought about his response. "Would you want your son to go through the Hell you've been through?"
Chris's eyes blazed. "Never," he shot back in a harsh whisper.
"Then quit wishing it had been you and not him."
Chris forced himself to calm down enough to consider the other man's words. Bruce was clearly speaking from his experience as the child- survivor. Because of that Chris accepted his point of view as he would not have anyone else's. He'd seen in Bruce's eyes the pain he still felt after all these years, and realized he'd never wish that for Adam.
After a moment he gave a nod to indicate he had gotten Bruce's message. "So you've never wished it had been you instead of them?"
"No. In my dreams I am either able to stop the mugger and no one is shot, or there are three shots," Bruce explained.
"Sounds more like nightmares," Chris noted.
"The nightmare is when there are only two shots."
The nightmare that had been the reality, Chris thought. Just like his worst nightmare was the reality of what had happened. He found himself surprisingly glad to have someone he could talk to about these things. Someone who truly understood. "How'd you survive it?"
"Alfred and Leslie were my guardians. They took care of me and got me though it. But I was really just surviving until I took in Dick as my ward, my son. He gave me a reason to live. A reason to smile again. A reason to hope. You?"
"Buck kept me from self destructing. Then I got the Team, my new family. Dysfunctional as we tend to be," Chris added with a half smile twisting his lips.
"They seem like good men," Bruce said.
They fell quiet for several minutes, then Bruce spoke. "Did you ever find out who did it?"
Chris's voice was hard and cold when he spoke. "Yeah. A former lover of mine. She wanted them out of the way so that I'd come back to her. She slipped away before we could prove anything. You?"
Again Bruce's voice slipped down octaves, to the voice most criminals in Gotham would identify as Batman's. "No. Like most criminals he was a coward. He hid his face." His blue eyes were darker than usual, as if bruised from the pain they held.
Before either spoke again Inez announced that the bar would be closing soon.
The next morning Bruce used his laptop to access the BatComputers and from them the Denver Police and ATF records. He also pulled up Josiah's profile of Ella Gaines.
Half an hour after he logged on his cell phone rang. He'd been expecting the call for ten minutes.
"Master Bruce. I noticed you had logged onto the computers. Is anything amiss?"
"No. I'm just working on an old case here in Denver."
The concern in Alfred's voice disappeared. When he spoke again there was a reproving tone in his voice that no one else would be allowed to use on Batman, even if they dared. "I would remind you that you promised Leslie and myself that you were going to use this time as a vacation. Even if Bruce Wayne was scheduled to speak at the conference."
Bruce was silent for a few seconds. He knew what it cost Alfred to speak of Batman as "you". He hated speaking of 'Bruce Wayne' in the third person. But over the years he had, very reluctantly, come to accept that Batman was the genuine person and Bruce Wayne the role played to allow Batman to function.
"I tried," was the only answer he could give.
"It always astounds me that anything you try you accomplish, with this one exception."
"No one's perfect," Bruce replied in a deadpan tone.
Alfred gave a small sigh. "Very well. I know there is nothing I can do to change your mind. Will you be extending your stay in Denver?"
"Yes. I'll call Fox Monday morning and let him know."
A few moments later they ended the call. He then called Dick. After they finished talking he called Buck and asked him to meet for lunch. Buck was surprised by the request, but agreed to meet Bruce.
"Thank you for meeting me," Bruce greeted.
"Sure," Buck said as they shook hands.
Formalities taken care of they sat down.
"So what did you want to see me about?" Buck asked.
"I've hired a private investigator to see if he can track down Ella Gaines."
Buck's eyes narrowed. "Why?"
"I never found who killed my parents. He never paid for his crime. I may be able to at least help find the woman who killed Sara and Adam Larabee and bring her to justice."
Looking into the blue eyes Buck saw that Bruce was being honest. That he had no hidden agenda. "Why are you talking to me, and not Chris?"
"I don't want to get his hopes up if nothing turns up."
Buck thought it over for a few seconds then gave a small nod. "What can I do to help?"
"Tell me what you know about her. And the hunt for her. No sense in having my investigator waste time redoing things that have already been done."
Before Buck could answer the waiter returned. They placed their orders then got back to their conversation. By the time they left Bruce felt he had everything he needed. Through careful questioning he'd confirmed his suspicion that as Chris's best friend Buck had been close to Sara and Adam. He'd loved Sara as a sister and considered Adam his nephew.
As Buck drove home he thought about his meeting with Bruce. For all his charm there was a dangerous edge to the man. In his mind he again saw Chris's 'takes one to know one' look from the day before. He knew it would be worse for Ella to meet Chris, himself or any of the Seven; but other than that Buck didn't think there was anyone else Ella should be more worried about hiding from. Remembering Josiah's comment about Bruce being a master profiler, and JD's comments about Bruce's ability with a computer he wondered if there really was a private investigator or if Bruce was doing the investigation himself.
Back in his hotel suite Batman logged onto his computer again. They'd tried to see if Ella had created a false identity. But they'd only gone back to a few moths before the car bomb. Batman began checking further back. Buck had also told him they'd only had the resources to check in Colorado and the surrounding states. Batman had the resources to check every state.
Before starting his search he thought back on what he'd learned about Ella from Josiah's profile and his talk with Buck. Given her obsession with Chris and her belief that she should have been his wife he entered the last name Larabee as one of the search parameters.
He finally found what he was looking for. A driver's license issued to Ellen Larabee in Bludhaven almost a year before the car bomb. The hair color and eye color were wrong, but everything else fit. Dye job and colored contacts, crude but effective, Batman thought as he used the software on his computer to change her hair color and eye color. Pulling up the picture of Ella Gaines he saw it was a perfect match. Considering the corruption in Bludhaven he wasn't surprised she'd been able to get everything she needed for a false identity.
Running the name he saw that less than a month later she'd opened a bank account and gotten several credit cards. There was no history on the woman before that.
Seeing the time he decided to take a break and went to the Hotel's gym for a much easier version of his usual punishing work out. After a light dinner he got back to work. Convinced he had her, he began working forward in time to find her present location. Hours later he had the location. Looking at the clock he saw it was just after 2am. Standing up to stretch he decided to get a few hours sleep.
As he ate breakfast the next morning he considered calling Orrin, Chris or Buck. Orrin he discounted immediately. He didn't want a DA around until he'd had some time alone with Ella Gaines. He then discounted Chris and Buck for much the same reasons. Considering that according to Orrin's stories, and his own research, both men had tempers he figured it would be safer that way. After all, he wanted her in prison for life, not dead. Nor did he want Chris, or Buck, up on murder charges; and he had little doubt that either of them would happily kill Ella. He would make sure Ella was ready to confess before bringing her in. Besides, this was one bit of intimidation he would enjoy. At the thought Batman's lips twisted into what only the very brave would dare call a smile.
The next morning he did a little more checking and learned that Ella had surrounded herself with private security. He flipped open his cell phone and hit the speed dial for Dick.
"Do you know what time it is?" asked Dick, even though he knew Bruce was well aware of the time.
"On a Sunday morning," Dick added.
"I need you to meet me in Metropolis."
"I'm sure you and Clark can handle whatever is going down."
"I do not want Clark knowing anything until well after we are out of Metropolis."
Dick was suddenly interested. If Bruce didn't want Clark, aka The Boy Scout, knowing what he was doing then it was most likely borderline illegal. Or totally illegal.
"I'll catch a flight that will get me there this evening. You can get there a lot sooner. I'll send you the location to check out."
Picturing the BatPlane Dick grinned. In it he'd definitely be able to beat Bruce flying cross country on a commercial jet. "'Kay. See you tonight."
That taken care of Bruce called the airline and got a ticket to Metropolis for one Matthew Malone. Then he called the front desk and told them that he wasn't feeling well and didn't want to be disturbed for the rest of the day.
Hours later Dick picked Bruce up at the airport. They ate dinner while Dick filled him on what he'd learned about the estate where Ella was living. The security was good, but not good enough. They would have no real trouble getting in.
His 'report' finished Dick decided to ask a few questions of his own.
"So why are we after this woman? What did she do?"
"She arranged a car bomb that killed a woman and a little boy, and almost destroyed a good man."
"A friend of yours?"
"A friend of Orrin's," Batman answered, not yet willing to admit the friendship he felt for Chris.
Disk gave him a skeptical look, but knew that pressing the subject would be useless. No one got Batman to talk if he didn't want to.
An hour later Batman slipped into the library where Ella was reading. She looked up when a shadow suddenly loomed between her and the light.
"Go ahead and scream. Your guards won't answer."
"They're a little tied up at the moment," Dick quipped as he entered the room.
"What do you want?" Ella asked, deciding from their costumes and manner that this wasn't a robbery.
"The truth. You're going to confess that you arranged the bomb that killed Sara and Adam Larabee."
For a second she considered trying to run, then she looked into his eyes and gave up any idea of running, fighting, or trying to escape. "Why would I do that?" she taunted in an attempt to hide her fear.
"'Cause he can be very persuasive," Dick answered, with his trade mark grin.
It took less than five minutes. An hour later police were taking Ella into custody and Batman and Robin were in the Batplane heading to Denver. Dick would drop Bruce off then fly it back to Gotham.
As soon as they walked into the building Monday morning Team 7 got the word that DA Travis wanted to talk with them. Once they had all arrived they headed to his office.
"I have some good news," he told them, a smile on his face. "Ella Gaines is in custody, and on her way here. She's also confessed."
Orrin enjoyed the stunned looks on their faces. Even Buck, for once, was speechless.
"The Metropolis Police got a call. When they arrived Ella was there and confessed. I've made arrangements to have her extradited here for trial." "But why would she confess? And who made the call to the police?"
"She says it was. . . Batman," Orrin reported in a skeptical tone.
"That vigilante from Gotham? What was he doing in Metropolis?"
"I've heard he and Superman sometimes work together, and Superman is from Metropolis," JD put in.
The word Gotham had gotten Buck thinking. Bruce was also from Gotham, and he was starting to look into the case.
Chris noticed the look on his best friend's face. "What's up, Buck?"
"I had lunch with Bruce Saturday. He said he was hiring a private investigator to look into the case."
"Well, I guess he won't need to now," JD quipped.
"There's no way anyone could have found her in less than two days," Vin said, understanding Buck's thought.
"I know, but. . ."
Orrin stepped in. "I called Bruce at the hotel yesterday. They said he was feeling ill and not to be disturbed."
"Also the perfect cover if he wasn't there to *be* disturbed," Ezra noted. He'd used that trick himself a few times.
"I like Bruce. But I've also known him since he was a boy. There is no way he had anything to do with Ella Gaines capture and confession," Orrin told them.
"So what happens once she gets here?" asked Nathan, trying to be practical.
"Ya aren't going ta offer her a plea, are ya?" asked Vin, looking at Orrin.
"She can plead guilty to everything and do the max," Orrin replied in a hard tone.
"Will you be able to use her confession?" JD asked, worried since a vigilante had been involved. He loved the idea of Superman, Batman and the other super heroes, but as an Agent he knew their involvement could complicate things.
Orrin nodded. "According to the Metropolis DA, it won't be a problem. They did it all by-the-book."
Just then they heard a cough at the door. With a slightly sheepish grin on his face, Bruce walked in. "Am I interrupting?" he asked in an innocent tone.
Buck, Josiah and Ezra were all looking at him closely, watching his body language and listening to his tone.
Orrin answered Bruce's question. "Not at all. We just got some good news. From what Buck said, I take it you know the story of Ella Gaines?"
"She's confessed, and is on her way here."
"That is good news," Bruce said, glancing over at Chris. Chris focused on Orrin. "When she gets here . . . "
Orrin cut him off. "You will stay far away from her. I want to have her on trial for murder, not you. Same for the rest of you," Travis added as he looked at the rest of the Seven.
Bruce repressed a smile. Orrin's evaluation matched his. If Chris, or any of the others, were left alone with Ella Gaines she was as good as dead.
"Well, you clearly have a lot to take care of. I'll be on my way."
"You're leaving?" asked Buck.
"Yes. My plane leaves for Gotham in a couple of hours," Bruce replied. He automatically calculated the exact time in his mind: Two hours and twenty seven minutes. "I was supposed to fly back yesterday, but wasn't feeling well."
Nathan automatically looked the other man over and saw no hint that he had been sick. He began to wonder if Buck and Ezra's suspicions weren't right.
"I'm pleased to see you've made such a quick recovery," Ezra noted, still carefully watching Bruce's reactions.
"Thank you," Bruce said.
Before leaving he turned back to Orrin.
"You don't need to worry about her putting together some kind of high priced defense team to get the confession thrown out."
Orrin's voice took on the tone of a father scolding his son. "Bruce. . . I've told you about interferring with the legal system. And much as I might not like them, defense attorneys are part of that."
With a last smile Bruce left the room.
"What was he talking about?" JD asked.
Orrin shook his head slightly before answering. "If Ella tries to get some Dream Team of defense lawyers Bruce will pay them to drop her case. And with the Wayne fortune, he has the money to do it."
After they left Orrin's office Chris didn't follow the others back to their office area. He went down to the building's gym and switched into the work out clothes he kept in his locker. He then went through a grueling work out routine. He ended up wrapping his hands and taking his anger out on the punching bag.
He's always assumed that he would be happy when Ella was caught. Instead he found himself seething with anger. Ella might spend the rest of her life in jail, but she would still be alive. As he punched and kicked the bag his anger faded and he thought about what Ella's life in prison would be like for her. Her parents had been rich, and she'd been spoiled. She was used to having servants wait on her, not on working herself. She was used to giving orders, not taking them. She was used to silk and satin dresses, not prison jump suits. She would be alive, but for her it would be no life at all. She would probably rather be dead than spend the rest of her life in prison. A vicious grin curved his lips.
He took a step away from the large punching bag, then turned slightly and hit it with a powerful side kick. The chain the bag was suspended from broke and the bag landed against the far wall. Only fast reflexes and ingrained training kept Chris on his feet. He hadn't been truly aware of how hard he'd kicked.
He stood frozen in place for a moment.
"Been a long time since I've see ya do that," came a familiar voice from the doorway. Buck was very pleased to see Chris dealing with his anger in what would be considered a healthy way. He understood Chris's anger, and felt his own anger. But he didn't let it show.
Chris turned to see Buck and Vin standing there. He met Vin's eyes and saw the concern in them.
"I'm fine, Vin."
Looking in his 'big brother's' eyes Vin could see that Chris was telling the truth and let himself relax.
"I know it's still early but we were all gonna head to Inez's to celebrate. Orrin ok'd it," Buck said. "Ella in jail wont bring Sara and Adam back, but it's still a good thing and worth celebrating, Chris."
Chris now met buck's eyes. They exchanged a look of shared pain, and of understanding. "Yeah, it is," Chris agreed. "I'll be up in a few minutes." With that he headed toward the locker room to shower and change back to his street clothes.
A few days later JD was working on tracing Ella's past. He quickly noticed that all the information he was checking had been accessed the day before her confession and arrest. He temporarily dropped the hunt for Ella's past and tried to trace who else had accessed the information. He felt sure it was Batman. If he could trace Batman. . . As the hours past his hope slowly died. He got to a certain point but no further. He was sure he was close, but he could never get the final location.
Across the country Oracle called to Batman. "We may have a problem."
"What kind of problem?" "The information you used to trace Ella Gaines. Someone else is now using it to trace her. The problem is they've quit trying to trace her and are trying to trace you."
"That would be JD Dunne, with the AFT. He's Team 7's computer expert." "He's good," Oracle said, unable to keep the professional admiration out of her voice. "But he doesn't have the equipment you've given me. He won't get your location, but I thought you should know."
"Understood. Batman out."
Back in Denver JD startled when Buck called his name.
"Uh, sorry Buck. What did you say?"
"I asked what it is that's had you so preoccupied all day. You didn't even break for lunch," Buck added. That was almost unheard of and told the other men how focused JD was.
"I was tracing Ella. Now I'm trying to trace Batman, but I'm not having any luck," JD said in a tone full of disappointment.
"Yeah. At least I'm pretty sure that's who it is. I can trace to Gotham area, but no exact location. And with Ella saying it was Batman who got her, I think it has to be him. And he is good. Really, really good. There's a reason they call him the "World's Greatest Detective". I mean, he accessed all this stuff within a day. The day before she was brought in. I'm not that far back yet, and I'm tracing him to get what I have. I would die happy if I could get a look at the computers he must have."
Josiah had been standing beside Buck, and now spoke. "What interests me is why Batman would suddenly show an interest in hunting down Ella Gaines. And how he would have known what to start looking for."
"Detective," Buck mused, not realizing he was speaking aloud.
"Yeah, they call him "The World's Greatest Detective," JD said.
"What's on your mind, Brother?" Josiah asked.
"Well, you're probably going to think I'm crazy, but. . . If I'm right it was only hours after Bruce told me that he was hiring a private detective to look for Ella that Batman started looking for Ella. What if that detective was Batman? And I gave Bruce more than enough info to tell Batman where to start looking."
"You think there's a connection between Bruce Wayne and Batman?" Josiah asked. JD's face lit up. "Actually that makes sense. And I think I know the connection. A man like Bruce Wayne has to know Commissioner Gordon, the Gotham City Police Chief. Who also happens to have a BatSignal to contact Batman. Bruce calls Gordon who then calls Batman."
Josiah spoke next. "And how do you know so much about the Gotham City Police Department?"
JD got a slightly sheepish look. "I learn everything I can about Batman, and Gotham. I mean, Superman is great, but he's . . . hard to relate to with all his super powers. Batman is just a guy. Well, I don't guess Batman is 'just' anything. But he's human, like us. He doesn't have any super powers, but he still fights the bad guys. And he wins. He uses his brain as much as his muscle. He's kind of why I wanted to join the ATF. So I could fight the bad guys like he does."
Buck and Josiah shared a look. JD had never told them anything like this before.
"Guys, time to go home," said Chris as he walked toward the group. "What are you all working on anyway?"
"Just trying to figure out how a Millionaire Playboy, a costumed Vigilante/Supper Hero and a Murderer are connected."
"Bruce Wayne, Batman and Ella Gaines?" Chris asked, to make sure he understood what they were talking about.
"Yeah. We think that Bruce called Commissioner Gordon and he called Batman, who then went after Ella. It's the only way all the pieces seem to fit."
Chris thought back to his talk with Bruce. If Bruce had put in motion the events that led to Ella's capture he owed the man a debt he could never repay. And with the role Batman had played in Ella's capture he was feeling a bit more tolerant of costumed vigilantes. Or at least one vigilante. He still didn't want any operating in his city. He shook off his reverie and looked at his men. "Let's call it a night. We have to meet with Orrin early tomorrow. New case."
"There's always a new case," groaned JD.