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World's Finest Writer's Corner Batman Beyond: Untold Story (C)

Discussion in 'The Story Board' started by SilentBat18, Aug 11, 2006.

  1. klammed

    klammed the fool.

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    Babs is extremely antagonistic, I wonder how that will play out, and if it will hurt her unsteady partnership with Terry as is. Also, I understand that Jazz is generally on edge right now, but not sure if that warrants her constant scowling at Terry... wonder how he feels about that, heh. Can't wait to see more :)

    -k
     
  2. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    “Mom, I’m not falling behind,” Terry’s irritated voice echoes through the dark hallways leading into the east wing of Wayne Manor.

    After his lunch with Jazz, he had decided to head back to the mansion to finish neglected homework and maybe solve some other cases. He received a call from his mother when he arrived a half hour ago, and is now trying to convince her that postponing his graduation date for the second time isn’t hurting his academic career. He never liked arguing with his mother in front of people, so he starts wandering into the still deserted parts of the manor knowing he won’t be running into anyone there.

    “I had to drop a few classes this semester because of schedule conflicts,” he explains as he passes by a door that is cracked open.

    He finds this strange since he knows Bruce still has many of the unused doors locked. His mentor may have an honest relationship with his protégé, but it doesn’t mean he’s careless with secrets. He stops in front of the door as he finishes his conversation with his mother. After reassuring her for the fourth time that he will be graduating in one more semester, he hangs up before she could ask about work. He pushes the door open to find a roomful of tarp-covered furniture and the black piano sitting in one corner of the room. Figuring he’s in a music room he never knew about, he walks in wondering who could have used it recently.

    Terry has always been a curious person, poking his unwanted nose into business that didn’t concern him. During the five years he spent working with Bruce, he has gone off countless times to explore the huge estate without Bruce’s permission. Eventually, the old man warmed up to Terry and soon many of the closed off rooms were reopened; pieces of furniture, though unused, were uncovered and cleaned; and it wasn’t long before the manor slowly returned to its glamorous state. Terry never thought that the rejuvenation of the manor reflected Bruce’s spirit, but he noticed a positive change in his mentor, so he never stopped exploring.

    He begins pulling the tarps off uncovering the elegant furniture that was hidden away years ago. He has never seen old-world style furniture, so he takes a closer look at the wood detailing carved into the couches and chairs. He continues admiring the artful designs with both his eyes and fingers, forgetting about the reason he drove to the manor in the first place.

    -----*****-----​

    With Henry at work and finished with her classes for the day, Jazz decides to head to the manor to practice her self-taught piano lesson. She walks down the hall she is familiar with, but halfway to her destination, the sound of music stops her. Frowning with confusion, she stops short of the open doorway and quietly listens to the harmonious melody coming out, admiring the flowing notes that crescendo perfectly before smoothly quieting down. If she didn’t know better, she would have assumed a professional pianist was performing the symphony. When she pokes her head into the room, her brow rises with surprise when she finds Terry seated at the bench focusing on the piano keys he presses.

    His fingers flow perfectly over the ivory keys and his memory never wavers as he remembers the next measure just before the previous one ends. As he reaches the symphony’s conclusion, he looks up to find Jazz staring at him from the doorway with mouth agape. Returning his gaze to his fingers, he effortlessly finishes the piece before closing the instrument’s lid.

    “I’m assuming you’re the one who uses this room,” he says, standing as he steps out from behind the piano.

    “That was amazing,” Jazz praises walking towards him. “How come you never told me you played?”

    Terry shrugs. “Not something I tend to mention.”

    “How long have you been playing?”

    “My parents signed me up when I was a kid, but I stopped taking lessons when I was twelve.”

    Nervously shifting her weight to her other foot, she enviously stares at the glossy instrument. She has always admired the piano, at one point dreaming about performing moving symphonies with perfection.

    “You, uh, you think you could teach me?” She timidly asks.

    Amused by her coyness, he gives her a small smile. “You want me to teach you?”

    “If you’re willing.” He gives it a moment’s thought before nodding towards the bench, inviting her to sit. “What were you playing?” She asks, hiding her excitement by moving to the piano and lifting the lid.

    “Tchaikovsky’s June; it’s tougher than it sounds. So what do you know so far?”

    “Don’t laugh, but just a few chords,” she replies in a small voice.

    “We all start somewhere,” he shrugs, easing her initial nervousness.

    She’s glad Terry is handling her vulnerability with a gentleness she didn’t expect. Sensing he’ll be just as supportive during the lesson, she slides to the right side of the bench and he sits on the other.

    “What do you want to learn?”

    She takes out the book she has been studying from and opens it up to a page. Reading over the notes, Terry raises a brow at her. She chose Weber’s Perpetuum Mobile, a very complicated piece that even he feels he couldn’t perform correctly.

    “Uh, how about we start with something simpler.”

    Flipping through the pages, he finds the perfect piece that provides finger exercises and an easy to learn melody. Open on Hovhaness’ Moon Dance, he rests the book on the stand and explains the symbols being used. After showing her how to play the left handed notes a few times, she begins playing it for herself starting slow then speeding up after her mistakes diminish before all together disappearing. With shoulders touching, he asks her to repeat it as he fills in the missing melody with his right hand. Stumbling at first, Jazz gets the hang of it, and as her performance smoothens out, a smile creeps onto her face.

    “Relax your fingers,” Terry instructs. “Your notes shouldn’t sound choppy. Good, there you go.”

    “You’re a better teacher than a sparring partner,” Jazz quips still smiling.

    “Ever thought it might be because you’re a better student?” He counters, intently watching her fingers repeat the same choreography on different keys.

    “How am I better?”

    “You’re actually listening to me,” he replies, adding a little trill to the melody that wasn’t on the music sheet before playing on.

    “I’ve always listened to you.” He raises a disagreeing brow at her. “In my defense, you make it hard when you’re constantly telling me what I did wrong.”

    The comment causes his finger to slip onto the wrong key, breaking the melody for a split second before he corrects himself. It makes him realize that he’s adopted Bruce’s training style, something he was hoping to avoid since he resents the unmerciful challenges Bruce puts him through before reprimanding him for mistakes and forgetting to compliment him on achievements. He knows first hand how difficult training can be when negativity is the only thing that surrounds him.

    “Am I that bad?” Terry asks, looking over at Jazz.

    “You are when you’re pissed,” she replies, her eyes concentrating on her fingers.

    He uses his left finger to lift her chin a little. “Keep your eyes on the sheet, your periphs on the keys.” The gesture momentarily throws her off, but she quickly corrects herself, intent on hitting the right notes without gazing down.

    “It’s not that I mind the harsh treatment; Henry used to be a lot less forgiving. It’s just, I don’t know,” she tries to think of the right words. “It’s like it doesn’t suit you, being that tough, you know?” The sigh that escapes him brings Jazz’s apologetic eyes to look at him. “Hey, I’m sorry if I offended you.”

    He shakes his head. “No, it’s not that. I just didn’t realize how much of Bruce I let rub off on me.”

    “You say it like it’s a bad thing.”

    He shrugs. “Too much of Bruce is a bad thing; I mean, come on,” he adds, looking over at her with suggestive eyes.

    “I guess,” she replies, remembering how unsympathetic Terry was during training the other day.

    The sound of the soft notes playing harmoniously fills the room for a few minutes before Terry’s hand abruptly lifts away, making Jazz stop as well.

    “Before all this happened, you were just a job to me,” he finds himself quietly confessing while avoiding her gaze. “I clock in by training you, clock out by bandaging your cuts. I didn’t really care about anything else.”

    “I don’t blame you,” she replies with equal unexpectedness. “I didn’t give you a reason to think of me otherwise.” He brings his eyes to lock with hers. “I really am sorry, Ter,” she apologizes with sincerity he’s rarely seen her use.

    “So am I,” he replies, carefully watching her face, amazed by how different she seems with her vulnerabilities laid out.

    For the first time since they met, Jazz feels truly free in his presence, no longer bound by the fear of being judged. It’s been a long time since she’s felt this way, a smile stretching her lips to show her relief. Who knew learning to play an instrument could help two people get along so well?

    “So does this mean you’re going to take it easy on me?” She asks, making him scoff.

    “Not that much,” he replies with a grin, making her eyes roll.

    “Can’t say I didn’t try,” she sighs, bringing her attention back to the music sheets. “So, what does that symbol mean?” She asks pointing at a straight line running under the notes, starting and ending with notches.

    “Right pedal,” he explains, pointing at the three levers beside their feet. “Press down on the first notch, release on the next and so forth. Play your part and I’ll show you,” he says, placing his foot on the pedal.

    They play the sonatina harmoniously, Jazz feeding off of Terry’s calm energy as he plays the melody with the kind of gentility musicians can add to any piece.

    “You want to try playing my part?” He offers, stopping a few measures from the end.

    “Uh, sure,” she hesitantly replies.

    “Relax, you’ll do fine,” Terry encourages, moving over just enough so she can reach the right keys.

    He explains where her fingers go and demonstrates one last time before handing it over to Jazz.

    “Start out slow,” he coaches, “and don’t worry about making mistakes.”

    “Easy for you to say, Mozart,” she says as she lines her fingers on the appropriate notes.

    He ignores her comment and waits for her to start. The first two measures she manages to play slowly but without mishap, but her fingers fumble when she moves on, making her cringe and apologize.

    “Sorry for what?” Terry asks, pointing at the next set of notes for her to play.

    “I don’t know, messing up,” she replies, slowing down even more as she tries to coordinate her fingers, each hand trying to master their differing choreography.

    “And what are you expecting in return? To be blessed with perfection?”

    “You’re point, McGinnis?”

    “I’m only Mozart because I really sucked when I started.”

    “Liar.”

    “You can call my mom and ask her yourself,” he replies.

    “So how’d you get better?”

    “I was competitive.”

    “Competitive?” She asks raising a brow but keeping her eyes on her fingers.

    “You seriously expect a hyper six-year-old boy to actually like the piano?” He counters.

    “Good point.”

    “To motivate me, my teacher turned everything into a competition, rewarding a different winner every week. Only reason I learned my chords in three days.”

    “So were you like the star prodigy or something?”

    “Hardly,” he scoffs. “But I was the one who improved the fastest.”

    “Wait, so you really did suck?”

    He nods once as she reaches the measure before the last and stops there. Terry takes over and explains how to play the conclusion since the notes looked alien to her. After she tries it for herself, she looks up at him with grateful eyes, knowing she never would have even gotten this far if he wasn’t there to help.

    “Can you, uh, play June again?” She asks, hoping to watch his fingers in action this time.

    He shrugs and cracks his knuckles as Jazz gives him room to play. His hands drift to the appropriate keys, and after taking a deep breath, he starts the moving piece, playing the first notes with slow, deliberate strokes. He keeps the tempo steady, his flowing hands adding emotion to the music.

    She flits her admiring eyes between the graceful hands to his concentrating face, impressed by how in control he is but seeming so carefree. Not a trace of rigidity shows as the tempo suddenly picks up, transforming the piece into a lively one. The speed with which he moves his fingers makes her eyes widen with awe, amazed by the way he maintains the accuracy despite the swiftness before the melody slows down again.

    She marvels at his ability to move from an uplifting and energetic section to the original, calming tempo without making the piece seem fragmented. As his fingers drum over the last few notes, quieting down as the sonata comes to an end, he looks over at Jazz to find her eyes wide with wonder.

    “You’re really good,” Jazz praises when he finishes. He timidly places a hand on the back of his neck as he quietly thanks her. “Wow, Terry McGinnis is actually bashful,” she teases.

    “I don’t like performing in front of an audience.”

    “Even an appreciative one?”

    “Hard to tell between appreciation and sympathy sometimes.”

    She frowns at him. “What do you mean?”

    He lets out a sigh as he fiddles with a few keys. “When I was eleven, I performed at a concert where I got a standing ovation. Still being competitive, I worked hard for a year so I could top it at the next concert. When that day came though, I must have psyched myself out or something cause the next thing I knew, I was messing up at least a dozen times. But when the audience still got up to applaud, it made me wonder if I was really that good or if I had a pitying audience. Dropped out of lessons after that.”

    “You were just a kid, though; they were just boosting morale.”

    “I don’t need them to doing me a favor.”

    “You’re too tough on yourself, McGinnis.”

    He raises a brow at her. “Oh, cause you pat yourself on the back every few minutes?” He sarcastically asks, sending her eyes into a roll.

    “We’re a pair to be admired,” she quips, making him scoff with laughter.

    “Being Batfolk doesn’t help much.”

    “Was that a complaint?” Jazz playfully asks, making him grin. “Never thought you were the type.”

    “I’m human, Jazz,” he replies, closing the lid over the keys.

    “Never would have guessed,” she jokes as she closes the booklet and tucks it into her bag.

    “I could say the same about you,” he retorts as he gets up. “So, you want to meet here same time tomorrow?” He asks.

    “Really?” She asks, surprised by the offer.

    “You want to reach that unrealistic and unattainable perfection, don’t you?” He sarcastically quips, receiving a playful scowl in reply. “Then we meet tomorrow. Anyway, I have homework to finish before heading out. You can have surveillance duty for the night.”

    “Thanks.”

    “Hold the gratitude till after I brew a full pot of coffee.”

    She smiles as she watches him walk out, realizing that letting her guard down around him is an experience she won’t regret. The damage she had done to their relationship over the last seven months is finally repairing itself. As she rises, she places a hand on the black instrument as if with gratitude for bringing them closer together before she makes her way to the cave.

    Terry, meanwhile, takes a slight detour into the kitchen to satisfy a growing hunger. Opening the fridge, the first thing he sees is a container of food with a note hanging on its side making him smile. He pulls off the note to read “shepherd’s pie almost from scratch” written in Jazz’s uniform handwriting before transferring the cold food to the microwave and counting down the seconds to appreciating her talent as a cook.

    -----*****-----​

    Gracefully gliding from one building to the next, Batman stays in contact with Jazz through the comlink. Since Bruce is busy resolving company issues for a morning meeting, he doesn’t have a problem with Jazz taking control of the console for the whole night.

    “It’s a pretty quiet night,” Jazz announces as she listens to the police radio.

    “Don’t jinx me,” he replies. “Any sightings on Thorn?”

    “Nothing on the security cameras,” she replies, switching the screen over to the video surveillance at the pier.

    “You sure Henry said he’s working there?” Batman asks, his eyes scouting his surroundings with scrutiny before perching himself on a high-rise building.

    “I thought you were starting to trust me.”

    “You, yes. Mysterious friend from the past who’s the human equivalent of Wikileaks, not so much.”

    “He’s more reliable than Wikileaks.”

    “I still wouldn’t site him in my bibliography,” he quips before a shadow leaping from one building to another catches the corner of his eye and making his head whip in its direction.

    Using his cowl’s sensitive lenses, he zooms in on the dark mass standing on the roof of a nearby building before it makes its way down the fire escape. He’s somewhat surprised that he recognizes the man to be Jimmy “The Thorn” Falon, but he’s more concerned when he realizes Thorn looks like he’s on a mission when he emerges from the alley’s shadows. After looking both ways, Thorn pops the collar of his jacket to partially hide his face and makes his way across the street towards a building familiar to Batman.

    “Bad news for Henry’s reliability,” Batman starts, turning on his vid link for Jazz to see.

    “What’s he doing?” Jazz asks, swallowing the innate rage she feels when she recognizes Thorn.

    Batman leaps off of his perch to follow Thorn heading towards Jazz’s apartment building. “Looking for someone; you, I’m presuming. Good thing I got a party planned for him. Better say hi.”

    Taking advantage of Thorn’s distraction, Batman glides down to the sidewalk. Before landing, he fires the batarang with the titanium ribbons that wrap around the would-be intruder before he has a chance to draw a dagger. Falling to the ground, Thorn looks up just in time to see Batman land by his head.

    “Well, this is an unexpected surprise,” Thorn greets with a taunting grin in his voice. “How’s the girlfriend?”
    Grabbing his shirt, Batman effortlessly pulls him up. “She has a message for you,” he replies before knocking him out with a single blow.
     
    #62 SilentBat18, Dec 17, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2012
  3. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    Rolling his head back, Thorn slowly opens his eyes to find himself sitting alone in a room faintly illuminated by the yellow glow of street lamps. He tries to lift his arms, but discovers they’ve been tied down. Looking around, he finds the only thing furnishing the bare room is a projector on the floor in front of him. He tries to pull himself free of the binds but quickly fails.

    “Don’t bother; you’ll just tire yourself out,” Batman, leaning on the wall behind him, advises.

    Thorn whips his head around, but Batman is out of his line of vision. “To what do I owe this special treatment?”

    “Thought we could have a little heart-to-heart.”

    “And you expect me to talk because…?” Thorn asks with a cocky grin.

    “It’s highly recommended.”

    He lets out a loud, amused laugh. “Oh, Batman. Who do you think you’re dealing with here? You think I built a reputation from thin air? Now, now, what would people say if I couldn’t handle my own poison? But I’ll let you humor me; I’d like to see what the legendary Dark Knight has up his sleeve.”

    “You’re chatty tonight; how bout you tell me where Boris is.”

    “Screwing your girlfriend,” he replies with a spiteful grin.

    “I really don’t like repeating myself.”

    “Then you better teach me a lesson so I don’t do it again,” he taunts.

    The projector in front of him suddenly whirrs to life and the opposite wall fills with the image of a woman, the faint wrinkles around her eyes suggest she’s in her mid-thirties. Thorn’s smile instantly fades when he recognizes her.

    “Remember her?” Batman casually asks. “Sure you do; she’s your wife; oops, I mean ex-wife.”

    “I know this tactic,” Thorn tries to sound confidant, but his smile doesn’t return. “Save your breath, it’s not going to work. You’ll have better luck adopting some of my techniques.”

    “Oh, but you’re wrong. That old saying about sticks and stones, Jimmy, you know it’s a lie.”

    “So you’re going to use my wife to make me talk? Tell me how much of a monster she thought I was and how she walked out on me? Save it,” he scoffs. “You’re better off finding a couple stones, Batman”

    “Actually, I was planning on telling you how well she’s doing without you,” Batman replies, noticing Thorn stiffen. “She’s married now; to a dentist. Says she’s never been happier. The way she talks about you though,” he clucks his tongue before continuing. “Says you were the biggest mistake, a coward, beating her cause you didn’t have the balls to pick on someone your own size. Her only regret about leaving you was not being able to see your face when you found out she was gone.”

    “Not working, Batman. Try again.” Although he keeps his voice calm, Batman can sense the tension he is trying to hide.

    The picture blinks to reveal a different face. This woman is considerably younger, but she shares a resemblance to the first woman. “Krystal Falon. Oh, my mistake, she changed her name to Krystal Kolby. She wanted nothing to do with you, so she adopted her stepfather’s name. Nice girl, nothing like you of course. She told me about the day she publicly disowned you at the family reunion you crashed. Must have been embarrassing to have a seventeen-year-old girl humiliate you like that.”

    “You’re failing miserably,” Thorn informs, looking away.

    “Is that why you can’t look at a picture of your daughter?”

    “I don’t give a **** about them.”

    “What about mommy then?” Batman asks, switching the picture to that of his mother. “She’s quite a character. What was the word she used to describe you? Oh yeah, a lowlife.” He strikes a nerve in Thorn. “A good for nothing son, a little bastard who was never good enough for her,” he taunts, pleased when Thorn visibly tightens every muscle in anger.

    “Enough,” he hisses through clenched teeth.

    “Not done,” Batman replies and switches to the next picture. “Molly is her name, right? I’ve heard about sibling rivalry, but you never had a shot at winning anything. I mean look at her, she’s the perfect baby sister. Beautiful, smart, married well, and most importantly, mom is so proud of her. The day she was born, mommy washed her hands of you, didn’t she? Molly got the attention, the toys, the love,” Batman mockingly adds the last words. “Shadowed by a baby girl; how pathetic.”

    “I said enough!” He yells, proving Batman’s hunch about him having a superiority complex around women was right.

    “Your poison getting to you, Jimmy?” Batman asks with a smile in his voice.

    “You want to know where Boris is?”

    “Your call; I’ve got a bunch more family photos you’d love to revisit,” he casually replies.

    “He’s hiding out in Barcelona,” Thorn confesses with his head hung low.

    “Spain? He’s supposed to be in France.”

    “He flew to his Barcelona office a few days ago. Told me to call that number after I finish off the girl.”

    “Do you know her?”

    “I don’t ask questions. Nick offered fifty grand for her dead and I took the job. He gave me the address and name, and I went to work.”

    Straightening, Batman takes out the small disk containing the pictures in the projector and places it in his belt. Standing in front of Thorn, he takes out the recording chip from his wrist and plants it on top of Thorn’s binds.

    “Thanks for volunteering the info, Jimmy,” Batman states as he walks to the open window. “Cops should be around to pick you up in a few minutes. ‘Night.” He shoots him a satisfied grin before flying out into the night.

    Thorn lets out a cry of frustration when he realizes Batman has just screwed him over. During their conversation, Batman made sure to only tape the confession, and by taking away the evidence of pictures, Thorn will look like he volunteered the information rather than forced into confessing. Since word travels fast in the criminal world, he’s sure no one will be willing to hire him for a hit once they know he’s a squealer. To add insult to injury, he’ll be the laughing stock of Gotham if they find out he caved after having a taste of his own medicine.

    “I’m going to rip that bastard to shreds,” he hisses before the door bursts open and the police rush in on the scene.

    -----*****-----​


    “Smooth,” Jazz compliments over the comlink as Batman drives home. “How did you get all that info on him?”

    “With a fake police badge and a charming smile.”

    “Does Barbara know about the badge?”

    “You think I’m an idiot?”

    “You have your moments,” she teases. “Anyway, Nick is an executive for a shoe company called Achilles. I have the address of the office Thorn was referring to, so how do you want to go about this?” She asks, making Terry quirk a brow at her willingness to work as a team.

    It’s a stark difference from the stubborn woman who had dangled her most recent victim over the edge of a rooftop, so he’s happier about the change.

    “Call Barbara,” he replies, hiding the surprise. “Let her know where he is and see if they can get some sort of international warrant ready.” He knows that the more they stick to the books on this one, the more likely Nick will get a conviction instead of walk on account of Batman’s interference.

    “What, that’s it?”

    “Has it ever been?”

    “First time for everything.”

    “This isn’t one of those times. We’ll keep an eye on Nick so he doesn’t find a way to slither out of this.”

    “We?” She asks, surprised he’s including her.

    “I didn’t stutter,” he replies, bringing a grin to her face.

    “Before you make it back, an alarm just went off at the art museum in downtown.”

    “On it,” he nods before cutting the link between them as he speeds in the direction of the museum.

     
    #63 SilentBat18, Dec 22, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2012
  4. aiwac

    aiwac Member

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    Wonderfully, wonderfully done. Crisp, smooth and powerful characterization of Terry done seemingly effortlessly. Would that I could do as well :).
     
  5. Theking

    Theking Very cute Lego Babe.

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    That was a Great!!! post!

    I am so sucked into this story.

    Some day we will make it a movie. ;-)

    TheKing
     
  6. klammed

    klammed the fool.

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    Nice, loved the interrogation scene, and the name of Nick's company! (Not very auspicious, eh?) Nice bit of development on Jazz and Terry too. Keep going :)
     
  7. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    Considering Bruce is a billionaire who owns a private everything, Jazz expected to be flying to Barcelona in a private jet. Instead, she finds herself on a very commercial airline, stuck in coach between a snoring man and a loud gum-chewing teenager.

    ‘So much for perks,’ Jazz thinks to herself as she pushes the sleeping man off her shoulder for the fourth time.

    Although Terry was hesitant about it, it was Bruce’s decision to send Jazz to Spain for two reasons, one of which unknown to her. The first, and obvious, is because Jazz has yet to fully recover from her injuries and go out on patrol in Terry’s absence. The trip theoretically shouldn’t be physically straining in any way. The second reason is Bruce’s way to test her restraint. The trust and respect he put in her at their first meeting was lost when she continued to disobey rules. Now he needs a reason for it to return, and the best way he knows how is to send her straight to her foe. It’s a risky plan with consequences that could turn either good or bad, but he knows whatever happens, it’ll give him a better insight into the type of person she is.

    Before she left, Bruce reminded her of the goal once she arrived in Spain: just watch him, don’t try anything else; he kept her suit as insurance. Jazz couldn’t help but notice how tight the leash felt, believing that if they pull it back just an inch further, she would definitely choke to death.

    Relieved to finally land, she can’t get out of her seat fast enough to escape her two neighbors. After claiming the small bag she brought with her, she grabs a cab and, using her high school Spanish, asks the driver in a broken accent to take her to the hotel Bruce had booked for her. The drive doesn’t last long and she soon finds herself stepping out onto a small, somewhat busy street facing a small stone covered building. Coming from a big city with skyscrapers that could live up to their name, Jazz feels awkward and uncomfortable in such a “quiet” town. According to the driver though, this is considered rush hour: a barely crowded sidewalk and about ten cars whizzing past. Maybe she misunderstood him.

    Jazz enters the small building to find a modestly furnished lobby with one person working behind the reception desk and a teenage bellboy lounging on a couch, playing on a hand held video game. As she walks towards the receptionist, she studies her surroundings wondering if time decided to give up on progressing this little hotel sitting in a shy town on the outskirts of a bustling city.

    “Hola,” she greets. “Se habla usted ingles?”

    Looking up, the receptionist gives her a warm smile as she nods. “Yes, of course,” she replies with a Spanish accent that could seduce any man. Pushing a brown strand of hair away from her face, she looks down at her screen. “What name is on the reservation?”

    “Jasmine Douglas.”

    “Ah, here you are. You’re room is on the third floor,” she explains, sliding a key card through a slot before assigning the room number. “Will you be needing any help with luggage?”

    Jazz turns to look at the bellboy still lying on the couch with legs resting on an armrest as he vigorously presses a button on his controller. “I’ll manage, thanks,” she replies knowing nothing is going to tear the teen away from a heated video game.

    Taking the card, she starts heading up the stairs since the elevator is apparently out of service, while wondering if Bruce is using this as a way of punishment in his absence.

    “I wouldn’t put it past him to plan a situation like this just for me,” she mutters to herself when a reminding pain shoots from her shoulder, stopping her halfway up the third flight.

    Although her bag isn’t too heavy, her shoulder is still too sore to handle any strain or sudden movements. Having no choice in the matter though, she heaves the suitcase up the last few steps and lets out a sigh of relief. Glad to finally reach her room, she holds her breath with anticipation as the door swings open to reveal a small but cozy room. The simple bed has clean and pressed white sheets, in a corner is a small desk complete with pen and paper, and they even managed to squeeze a small sofa chair next to the window. The wallpaper looks new, and the carpets have recently been cleaned. Impressed at the pristine condition being maintained, she walks in thinking that staying here for a few days may not be so bad after all.

    Rolling her bag into a corner, she takes out her phone to update Bruce on her whereabouts. “Any particular reason why I’m staying here?” She asks as she checks the spotless bathroom.

    “Less suspicious than posting you in front of Nick’s building. You’re a ten minute bus ride away from him.”

    “Hard to believe considering how sleepy this part of town is.”

    “You’re staying with locals who hold on to tradition and community values, but don’t be fooled. They have the same technology as any other city.”

    “So now that I’m here, what’s next?”

    “Barbara has alerted the Spanish police, but since they have to follow protocol and their tangling judicial system before they can produce a warrant for arrest, you have to make sure Nick doesn’t suddenly disappear.”

    “Can’t I just use a tracker on him?”

    “No. He could recognize you if he sees you and know we’re on to him.”

    “You’re doing this old school,” Terry’s voice explains in the background. “You remember the lessons I gave you on that, right?”

    “Yes,” Jazz lies, regretting the fact she didn’t pay enough attention at the time.

    “Keep your distance, stay with a crowd, look casual, fit into the background,” Terry reminds her; she could tell from his tone that he’s rolling his eyes. “And always have a valid alibi explaining you’re presence.”

    “And remember Jasmine,” Bruce starts before she interrupts.

    “Yeah, yeah, there to keep an eye; I know. Any idea how long I’m going to be here?”

    “Three to four days in the least.”

    “Fine, anything else?”

    “Yeah,” Terry replies, “Bring back a souvenir.”

    Rolling her eyes, she hangs up the phone as a smile crosses her lips. She flops down on the bed and stares at the bare ceiling as she lets out an exhausted sigh. As her eyes slide shut and a tired yawn escapes her, she considers giving Henry a call to let him know what’s going on. Before she could act on it though, her body relaxes and her mind quiets down, visiting dreamland within a few minutes.

    -----*****-----​

    Sometimes it’s hard to decipher dream from reality, especially when the wave of emotions feel so real and overwhelming. Dreams are an enigma because of its strong influence on its sleeper; it’s an unconscious state of mind that can make dreamers cry, scream or laugh before waking to realize none of their experiences are real. The most frightening experience they could have before that waking moment though, is watching a good situation unexpectedly turn frighteningly horrible, the worst part being the helplessness that follows.

    Jazz’s dream takes a sudden turn into nightmareville when she finds herself trying to run from the revving chainsaw somewhere in the darkened distance. Her legs feel heavier than stone, as though running in a knee-deep pool of molasses. As the chainsaw’s screaming motor comes closer and closer, her chest tightens with fear, making breathing difficult. She tries to scream, but no sound comes out; she keeps mouthing the word “help” hoping someone could hear her. Soon the roar of the chainsaw is so deafeningly close, Jazz squeezes her eyes shut, covers her ears with her hands, and begins to wheep.

    Then, everything falls eerily silent. For a confusing moment, Jazz takes a look around the darkness to find nothing there. There isn’t an echo, a movement, or even a shadow. With her voice still muted, Jazz tries to ask if anyone was there, but no sound escapes her mouth. She begins spinning in place, too afraid to venture forth, and after turning for the third time, her father’s pale face suddenly appears, making her fall back. Andrew stands at full height, but his body is withered and emaciated, his face colorless and sickly with dark circles around his eyes, red hair turned white with age, and blue eyes dark with disappointment. Jazz crawls backwards as she tries mumbling an apology.

    “It was Nick,” Andrew croaks in a raspy voice. “Nick. Nick killed me, and you’re not doing anything about it. You know, Jazzy, you know and you’re not doing anything. Not doing anything.” He keeps repeating the words like a broken record, and their effect is clear on Jazz’s frightened, tear stained face. “You’re not avenging my death. Not doing anything,” he continues with a rising tone as he approaches his daughter. “You know it was Nick and you’re not doing anything.”

    ‘No, please, daddy, please,’ she desperately thinks but can’t say as sobs take over her hyperventilating lungs. ‘Daddy, please; I’m sorry.’

    “Not doing anything. Nothing. Nothing!” He yells before the powerful chainsaw appears in his hand.

    “Daddy, no!” She gasps when her eyes fly open.

    Still panting, Jazz shoots up to find herself in the clean hotel room and the morning sun shining through the small window. Her phone buzzes underneath the pillow she was sleeping on, startling her at first before she realizes the vibration may have been why the chainsaw manifested. As she tries to steady her breathing, she fishes it out and finds Henry to be the caller.

    “Hi, Henry,” she finally greets once composed.

    “I like how you called me the minute you land,” he sarcastically starts trying to act annoyed.

    “Sorry, I fell asleep before I had the chance.”

    “So I take it the flight was exhausting.”

    “Don’t get me started,” she replies rubbing her eyes with a hand. “How’s the cat?”

    “Uh, when did you say you were coming back?”

    “Don’t tell me you hate him already. It’s been one day, Henry.”

    “It’s not that. He’s just so shy he won’t even come out of the closet to eat.”

    “He’ll be fine. Just ignore him,” she replies, wishing Zee was there to comfort her. “So how are you?”

    “Little lonely at night,” he smoothly replies, making Jazz smile. “You never said when you’ll be back.”

    “A few days I hope.”

    “So do I. Listen,” he starts a little hesitant. “I can’t seem to find Ethan.”

    Frowning, Jazz straightens up. “Why?”

    “He’s changed his alias six times; that makes it kinda hard to track him.”

    “But is it impossible?”

    “I can’t promise anything, if that’s what you mean, but I know I can’t do it before the trial.”

    Jazz lets out a short sigh. “It’s not about the trial. I just want to get in touch with him, to talk to him, you know?” She explains, shuddering when she remembers her nightmare.

    Even though she knows her father would never say such terrible things to her, she feels Ethan is the only one who can validate that truth and relieve her fears.

    “I know,” Henry sympathetically replies without elaborating how much he really understands. “Anyway, my shift is about to start. I’ll call you later.”

    Bidding a good-bye, she hangs up and checks the time, realizing it’s time to start the work she was sent to do. Tiredly getting up, she fetches her bag and pulls out some clothes and her make-up bag. If she expects to sneak around Nick, she has to disguise her resemblance to her mother so she can go unnoticed. After changing into a pair of faded and torn blue jeans and a tight green tank top, she begins applying dark eye shadow and eye liner, purple tinted lipstick, and even adds a fake lip ring. Pulling her hair up into a bun, she pulls on a short, bleach blond wig and inserts her pink lenses finishing her make over.

    “God, I look awful,” she grimaces once she eyes herself in the mirror. After adjusting the wig, she grabs her bag and jacket and heads out the door to start a very long and tedious stake out.

     
    #67 SilentBat18, Jan 3, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2012
  8. klammed

    klammed the fool.

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    I like the last line, kinda shows how Jazz has changed in character, didn't she kinda used to look like that anyway right at the beginning? Nice, there. :) Keep it up.
     
  9. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    It’s Jazz’s third day in Spain, and she can’t believe how bored she finds herself considering she’s in such a beautiful country. On her first day, she had managed to figure out Nick’s daily routine, and found a good look out point by his office and apartment that weren’t too conspicuous. The second day she had devoted to spying for sixteen hours before finally making it back to her hotel room fed up and exhausted. The morning of the third day she was reluctant to restart the routine, but with Terry motivating her over the phone, she manages to drag herself out of bed. Deciding to ditch the blond wig, she braided her black hair and wore a baseball cap instead. She left the dark make-up and pink lenses on, but her lips remained cherry red.

    She spent the last five hours staring through a pair of binoculars into Nick’s office window before he finally takes a lunch break. Relieved to leave the roof of the opposite building, Jazz quickly takes the fire escape down and follows Nick to a café a few blocks away. After making sure he is seated at a table enjoying his sandwich, she lingers around the shops a block away looking like a typical American tourist searching for a unique souvenir. Keeping a mindful eye at the café’s door, she takes her time admiring some of the whittled figurines lined on some shelves.

    When she picks up one carved into a flamenco dancer, her eyes look up to find Barbara’s face glaring at her through the space between the shelves. Startled for a moment, she almost drops the statue as she takes a step back.

    “What are you doing here?” Jazz gasps as Barbara rounds the shelf to face her.

    “I could ask you the same thing.”

    “Uh,” she tries thinking of an excuse that could fool the commissioner, “study abroad program for next semester. They offered a preview for the course.”

    “That so?” Barbara asks unconvinced before narrowing her eyes. “If you’re not on a plane to Gotham in five hours, Jasmine, I’m going to have you arrested for obstruction.”

    “I’m not doing anything,” she argues, too occupied with hiding her jitteriness to realize the threat is an empty one; Barbara doesn’t really have any jurisdiction in a foreign country. “There’s nothing wrong with watching someone.”

    “That’s called stalking, and I’ll arrest you for that, too.”

    “Look,” Jazz starts in an attempt to reach a compromise, “from what I understand, you don’t want anyone messing around with police business. I’m respecting that and, to prove it, I don’t even have my suit,” she adds the last phrase in a hushed voice.

    “Suit or no suit, you shouldn’t be here,” Barbara replies with a tone cold enough to freeze boiling water.

    “You’d rather have Terry here instead?” Jazz asks, taken aback.

    “At least he knows how to control himself.”

    Jazz has a hard time believing that the stab of pain she feels isn’t a physical one, but it hurts just as much as her sustained injuries. Barbara has finally expressed her resentment regarding Jazz taking on the mantle. She knows Barbara didn’t like the way she handled Max Hemming, but she had no idea the original Batgirl didn’t approve of her. Staring at the figurine still in her grasp, Jazz takes a moment to process the statement before responding.

    “I’m sorry you feel that way,” she starts, without looking at Barbara’s hardened face. “But I was the one asked to come. I’m not planning on getting in your or anyone else’s way, and if you want to arrest me, go ahead.” Hiding her disappointment, Jazz looks up. “But I’m not going anywhere.”

    The two women hold a chilling gaze before Barbara breaks it by turning and leaving the little shop. Letting out a relieved sigh, Jazz looks down at the statue still in her hand. During her stare down with Barbara, she didn’t realize she gripped the delicate dancer tight enough to break it. So when she opens her hand, the thin arm that holds the fan falls to the floor making Jazz curse under her breath. Bringing it up to the counter, she apologizes and pays the equivalent of twenty dollars before walking out to follow Nick back to his office.

    -----*****-----​

    “Anyone ever tell you that you’re an excellent judge of character, McGinnis?” Jazz sarcastically asks Terry over the phone.

    Reaching the roof of her second sentry adjacent to Nick’s apartment, she makes herself comfortable on the make shift chair she made out of cinderblocks and her jacket, and pulls out her small but powerful binoculars from her bag.

    “Who are we talking about?” Terry’s says, his voice sounding distant suggesting he diverted her to speaker mode as he gets dressed for the night’s patrol.

    “Gordon. We bumped into each other earlier today and had a pleasant conversation.”

    “What did she say?”

    “That she more or less hates me.”

    “Hate is a strong word.”

    “No, it’s rather mild actually. How did you win her over?”

    There is a momentary pause before she hears Terry pick up the phone and press a button. “It’s complicated,” he explains.

    “What do you mean?”

    He hesitates to recount the last tale starring the Joker. “It’s a story for another time.”

    “That serious?” She asks looking through her binoculars when a light shines in Nick’s living room.

    “It’s not a subject I like discussing over the phone,” he explains as Jazz watches Nick walk around his condo, chattering away on his phone.

    “Well, got any advice for me?”

    “This you have to figure out on your own; sorry.”

    “Come on, Ter. I’m desperate to please the original Batgirl.”

    “Why?”

    “Cause she deserves to be proud of whoever carries on the mantel she created.”

    “You realize you’re talking about the commissioner here, right? Her goal is to have a Gotham that doesn’t depend on vigilantes.”

    “But for the time being, she respects you, and wants me out.”

    The two remain silent, one not knowing how to respond, and the other not knowing whether to press on. A full minute passes before Terry clears his throat.

    “If it’s any consolation, I don’t want you out.”

    “Tell that to Barbara,” she retorts before she could bite back her words.

    Terry frowns at the unappreciative reply. “Hey, come on.”

    “Sorry; slipped out.” Letting out a bored sigh, she sits back to watch Nick make himself comfortable on his couch and turn on his theater sized TV. “How much longer do the Spanish police need?”

    “No more than a day hopefully.”

    “Why is this taking forever?” She asks with a groan.

    “International law likes making things a little difficult.”

    Another irritated sigh. “Or they hate me, too. Anything going on tonight?”

    “No; I’m going to be as bored as you,” he lies, frowning when he hears the police radio call in a plastics factory catching fire and unpredictably exploding every few minutes. Instead of hanging up, he hurries to the car and diverts Jazz to the com link as he speeds out of the cave.

    “You haven’t been watching the same guy for three straight days, so you don’t know the meaning of bored,” She replies watching Nick pick up another incoming call.

    “At least I’m trying to keep you entertained.”

    “I know. It helps a little.”

    Suddenly, Nick shoots up from his seat looking worried. Frowning, Jazz straightens up and zooms in on him. After flailing his arm a few times, he hangs up the phone and rushes to a closet pulling out a suitcase.

    “Shit, he knows,” Jazz informs Terry as she stands.

    “Knows?”

    “Nick just got a call, and now he’s packing his stuff. I’m going to try to stall him. Is there anything Barbara can do?”

    “I’ll get in touch with her. And Jazz,” Terry stops her from hanging up. For a moment, she thinks he’s about to repeat the same warning Bruce had given her before she left, but she’s surprised with what he says instead, “be careful.”

    “I will.” Hanging up, she grabs her bag and rushes down the fire escape as she tries to conjure up a plan good enough to distract him.

     
    #69 SilentBat18, Jan 10, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2012
  10. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    Taking a quick look around to make sure she’s alone, she lies down on the concrete floor and, with the futuristic car propped up on landing stilts, she pushes herself underneath it. Using her pocketknife, she first cuts the car alarm wires. Shifting to the right to reach the engine, she then shoves the small blade into the ignition box destroying the coils that help start the car. Satisfied, she quickly pushes herself out and hides behind a support column just as Nick rushes out of the elevator doors.

    It doesn’t take him long to hurry over to the car, and once he stuffs the luggage in the trunk, he tries turning the car on. When nothing happens, he tries a few more times before getting out. Nick grunts a curse, gives the car a kick and takes out his phone to call a cab. According to half the conversation and Nick’s fuming reaction, the taxi company won’t be able to send out a car for at least another half hour because of college night.

    With a grin plastered on Jazz’s face, she unnoticeably follows him out the garage and watches him head to a bus stop. To avoid raising any suspicions, Jazz races to the next stop, arriving barely a few minutes before the bus. Composing herself in time, she calmly boards it and, for a second, her eyes lock on Nick seated in the middle row. She moves past him, sitting a few rows behind him, and keeping her gaze glued on the nervous rider who obsessively checks his watch every few seconds.

    She continues to play her role as a random bus rider and takes out a stick of gum to loudly chew on. At the next stop, a few passengers take their time climbing off making Nick more antsy and Jazz smile a little. Seeing him so anxious is rewarding since it’s a punishment in itself. The anticipation and suspense is always the worst part of anything, be it a drama, thriller, or guilty criminal about to spring a trap. With twenty minutes left until they reach the airport, Nick takes a look around the bus to count how many passengers are left and sees only one: Jazz.

    She blows a bubble out of her gum, hiding part of her face whilst giving him a look of indifference bordering on annoyance. With the hat, make-up, and bubble, he doesn’t recognize or give her a second glance before bringing his attention back to the front of the bus. Popping and returning her gum to her mouth, she continues chewing as she interprets the situation they are in.

    No one is on the bus, except for the cameras that act as driver. Nothing can stop her from taking him out with two punches, three at most, wrap him up and hand him over to the police; tempting, but crazy. If she goes through with it, she could jeopardize everything, and never achieve the proper justice giving him a chance to run free again. What troubles her though, is the trial he is going to face; for all she knows, the jury could be paid off to side in his favor, which sends him right back to freedom. Suddenly, she remembers her dream as she imagines Nick smiling on his way out of court. The accusations Andrew hissed in her dream send shivers up her spine, making her look down at her fiddling fingers in thought.

    She has the rare opportunity to finally achieve her overdue revenge and deliver exactly what Nick deserves. A voice in the back of her head moves forward to argue how some sleazy, overpaid lawyer will find a way to set this man free. Why not avoid wasting tax dollars and a jury’s time, and do it yourself? Sure she will get caught and sent to life in prison, but at least justice is rewarded, and the haunting dream she had will stop emotionally crippling her each time she thinks of her father.

    Her fingers stop fiddling as a tight fist forms in the place of her nervous habit. ‘There’s nothing to it,’ the voice tries convincing her. ‘You know fifteen different ways to kill a man, five of which are very painful.’

    She gently shakes her head to quiet down those thoughts, but the more she tries repressing, the clearer her father’s pale, sunken face becomes. ‘You did nothing!’ His voice screams when she closes her eyes. Her very soul is being torn apart; any sense of logic drowns as the voices of her father and the demons she hid years ago emerge to torment her.

    ‘He deserves it after all the torture he put you through. He ruined what could have been a perfect life, a perfect family. No memories of abuse, of pain, of struggle. He deserves it.’

    She sets her jaw and raises her eyes to glare at the back of Nick’s blond head. ‘He deser—’

    The sound of her chiming phone wakes her from the trance she was in. Pulling it out, she finds Terry has sent her a message, the contents of which she ignores. The only word she focuses on is the sender’s name.

    ‘If she hadn’t left you, I wouldn’t have you as a partner.’ Terry once said that to comfort her; it worked then and it works now.

    The fists she made unfurl and her jaw relaxes as she remembers some of the fonder memories she has collected. Terry wouldn’t have had her as a partner, because she never would have learned to fight. Her fateful meeting with Henry wouldn’t have happened, and she wouldn’t be so happily involved with him. Had she not stood up to her first caretaker, she would have moved through life as a shy, cautious girl who would blindly swim with the current.

    ‘You have to persevere to earn what you deserve.’

    It was a lesson her father taught her years ago, and she finds herself surprised by suddenly remembering it. The sick and tired face she dreamt fades away along with the disturbing voices that are screaming in her head. Looking through her bag, she pulls out the old picture she found in the mangled convertible a few weeks ago. Smoothing it out, she smiles at it when she remembers the day that was captured on film.

    Jazz was reluctant to go to the Independence Day parade that day because of the many fears that held her back. She was afraid of being trampled and pushed around, she didn’t know anyone there, and she was too shy to meet anyone new. With a lot of persuasion, her father managed to get her and Nicole to the hustle of the day. As soon as they made it to the crowded sidewalk, Jazz clung to her father’s leg as though her life depended on it. She nervously looked away anytime someone smiled at her, and she took shelter behind Andrew when another kid asked to play.

    Sensing his daughter’s agitation, Andrew made it his mission to make her smile. Trying to soothe her with words wasn’t going to work, so, instead, he picked up the four year old and sat her on his shoulders. At first, Jazz clung to her father’s head for fear of falling off, but as he started walking around to visit the vendors set up by the barricades, she began to loosen up.

    Being high up on his shoulders, the crowd seemed less intimidating. She didn’t shy away this time when people smiled at her, and she even started waving at the jugglers who performed on the corner. She giggled when a balloon vendor placed a crown shaped balloon on her head; and when the parade started, she excitedly pointed at the different floats that moseyed by asking her father if he saw “that one”.

    The bright smile her father wears in the picture wasn’t there because of the celebrations, but because he succeeded in helping his daughter smile that day. When the realization strikes her, Jazz feels ashamed for ever thinking her father would want revenge in any way. People can keep saying that her father “only wanted her to be happy” till their faces turn blue, but they never know how hard that is to believe. It may have taken years, but she finally comes to accept that fact to be true. With a fresh and optimistic determination, Jazz tucks away the picture as the bus approaches the airport.

    The two get off, and only for a moment, Jazz breaks away from Nick as he rolls his luggage into the airport. He hurriedly approaches a kiosk and searches for available flights out of Spain. Taking a quick look around, Jazz spots a TSA officer and lets a sly grin form on her face when an idea pops into her head.

    She approaches the officer as she feigns uneasiness. “Excuse me, sir,” she starts.

    “Yes?” He asks looking down at Jazz.

    “I need to bring something to your attention,” she turns to face Nick’s direction. “You see that man over there?” She points at him with a shaking finger.

    “Yes.”

    Turning back, she starts shifting her weight. “Well, he looks pretty suspicious to me, know what I’m saying?” She watches the officer narrow his eyes to study Nick. “I mean, he’s sweating bullets like he’s hiding something, and he keeps looking around like he’s paranoid.” She leans closer to whisper, “I think he’s a terrorist.”

    Stiffening at the threatening word, he presses a hand to his ear and contacts the other officers in the building. Giving the warning in Spanish, he wastes no time in rushing over to Nick just as he picks up his boarding pass. Surprised to suddenly be surrounded by TSA agents pointing guns at him, he freezes in place and begins trembling. Trying to hide a growing smile, Jazz manages to disappear into the panicking crowd before remembering Terry’s still unread message.

    Sneaking off to a quieter area, Jazz opens her phone to read:
    “Barbara’s on her way to the airport with the arrest warrant. Should be there soon.”

    When she looks up from her phone, she catches a glimpse of Barbara confidently walk in and smile when she finds a frightened Nick already subdued by twelve TSA officers. Letting out a satisfied and much anticipated sigh, Jazz turns on her heel, and strolls out the door to grab the next bus back to her hotel. The feeling of accomplishment and pride lingers all the way back to the room, and her smile doesn’t fade even after she finally falls into a restful sleep.

     
    #70 SilentBat18, Jan 10, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2012
  11. klammed

    klammed the fool.

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    and so the plot races :D coming to some resolution for Jazz here, which is nice to see. Babs is tough as nails, as always. After this I'm hoping for some sort of grudging acceptance (if not respect) for her apparent successor :) great stuff, keep it up!
     
  12. Theking

    Theking Very cute Lego Babe.

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    Hey that was really good. (not that I am supprised)

    I like that Jazz did do the right thing, you would hope that Batman would actually be able to rub off on someone he is training. ;)

    Keep it going, love to see how this all ends.

    TheKing
     
  13. aiwac

    aiwac Member

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    Simply excellent - esp. the bus scene. You are really starting to hit your stride.

    In the space of a few chapters, you succeeded in expanding Jazz's emotional and psychological world. I could literally feel the tension of her sitting on the bus, wondering whether to exact ultimate revenge. The way you moved seemlessly between flashbacks, imagination and reality was almost flawless.

    One quibble, though -

    Since when does Barbara have legal jurisdiction in a foreign country (threatening to arrest Jazz and all that)? :evil:

    Waiting for more,

    aiwac
     
  14. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    Taking a look around the busy airport, Terry searches for Jazz’s raven head among the swarm of people at conveyor belt 13. It doesn’t take him long to find her standing with arms crossed as she scans the bags that go by, secretly hoping hers isn’t the one that got lost.

    “Welcome back,” he greets once he reaches her side.

    Looking up at him, she gives him a small smile. “Good to be back.” She returns her watchful eyes to the belt.

    “How was the flight?”

    “Usual complaints: bad food, crying baby, and chatty old lady. Did the media catch wind of the whole Nick situation?”

    “Unfortunately. Did you have to call him a terrorist?” He asks, repressing a smile.

    Jazz shrugs before stepping forward to pick up her luggage. “Thought it would be fun; kinda like pulling a fire alarm, ever done that before?”

    “Uh, no,” he replies, beating her to the bag and pulling it off the belt for her.

    “You should try it sometime; crying wolf is very liberating.”

    “I’ll keep it in mind the next time I’m feeling antsy,” he quips as they start walking towards the elevators. “Anyway, that terrorist stint delayed the arrest. He’s stuck being interrogated right now. Once they’re done, he’ll be flying back here to face trial.”

    “Any way he’s going to weasel out of this?”

    “Not likely. The second he’s released, he’s going into Barbara’s custody and she’ll be escorting him back.” Getting off the elevator, they begin walking towards Terry’s parked car.

    “What about the goons who were after my mom and me?”

    “Well, since Nick can’t give any orders, we figure you two are safe,” he explains as he places the bag in the trunk. When Jazz quietly nods as she gets into the passenger seat, Terry wonders if she might still be traumatized. “If you’re still on edge about that, you can stay at my place for the night,” Terry offers as he climbs into the driver’s seat and starts pulling away.

    “I’m fine,” Jazz replies staring out the window.

    “You sure?”

    “Sounds like you’re more worried than me.” Terry shrugs. “I know what you’re thinking. If Falon managed to warn Nick, then nothing’s stopping Nick from calling a hit on me.”

    “He just seems pretty determined to get you out of the way.”

    She lets out a defeated sigh. “Relax, Henry’s staying over.”

    “Henry, huh? You guys seem to be getting closer.”

    Awkwardly squirming in her seat, Jazz winces when she realizes she has yet to tell Terry about her relationship. “Uh, well, yeah,” she starts, trying to bring herself to look at him. “About Henry, we’re actually kinda dating now.”

    “Dating?” Terry asks, raising his brows in surprise. “Since when?”

    “Last week. I meant to tell you…”

    “Don’t you think you’re going a little too fast?” He asks, unintentionally coming off as disapproving.

    “No; why?” She replies, frowning.

    “Well, you just reconnected.”

    “So?” She asks, feeling a bit attacked.

    “Never mind,” Terry sighs as he turns a corner. The rest of the drive continues in uncomfortable silence before he pulls up by her apartment building.

    “Thanks for the ride,” Jazz quietly mutters as she opens the door.

    “Hey,” he grabs her arm stopping her from stepping out. “Look, I didn’t mean to offend you.”

    “Your point, McGinnis?”

    “I don’t have one; I was just looking out for you.”

    Instead of shooting a snide remark his way, Jazz locks eyes with him for a moment before nodding. “I appreciate that, but trust me on this one.”

    “Fine.” Letting go of her, the two climb out of the car and Terry pulls out her bag from the trunk. “So, see you at the cave tonight?”

    “Sure,” she replies. “Oh, and before I forget.” Rummaging through her handbag, she pulls out the whittled flamenco dancer that she broke when she was at the Spanish gift shop. Grinning, she tosses it to Terry.

    Grimacing at the amputated arm, Terry turns to watch her walk away before rolling his eyes and getting back into his car. “God knows what she’ll get me for my birthday,” he mutters to himself as he drives off.

    -----*****-----​

    After managing her way to the Douglas estate by switching a few subway stops and grabbing two buses, Jazz finally makes it to the front door of the mansion. More relieved to arrive than nervous to be there, she rings the doorbell and waits for the door to swing open. It isn’t long before Nicole answers it and warmly invites her to the kitchen. Although Jazz’s demeanor upon entry is cold, Nicole is grateful that her daughter accepted the invitation for lunch. Once Jazz gets settled at the kitchen island, Nicole starts building an egg-salad sandwich to her liking and tries to keep the meal simple and casual.

    “I’m glad you came,” Nicole starts as she slides the plate in front of Jazz, who shrugs in reply. “I’m going to give you the key to this place and you can live here if you like.”

    “Too far from school,” Jazz replies staring at the whole wheat bread covering the contents of the sandwich.

    “Speaking of which, do you need help with tuition?”

    “No; I’m managing.”

    Feeling a bit disheartened at the curt reply, Nicole quietly returns the ingredients to the fridge before sitting across from her daughter with a glass of water in her hand. “Well, I noticed you don’t have a car. I could help you get one if you like.”

    “I get around fine without one. Why did you invite me here? I already went over everything with your lawyer and we rehearsed my testimony.”

    “I know you have questions about our family. I want to give you all the answers you’re looking for before I have to go back to France.”

    “And when is that?”

    “Once the trial is over tomorrow. I’m sorry it’s short notice, but I’ve been away from my business too long.” Jazz quietly nods and takes a sip of her juice. “Aren’t you hungry?”

    “No, not really. Sorry you went through the trouble.”

    “Don’t worry about it,” Nicole tries reassuring with a smile.

    “So how did you get out of the obstruction charge?”

    “With a good lawyer and a small fortune. I guess when your life is in danger, obstruction can be looked over if you pay the right price.”

    After a short silence, Jazz starts twirling her cup and she hesitantly asks, “What was dad like?”

    “It’s about time you asked,” her mother replies with relief.

    Getting up, she picks up an old photo album from an adjacent counter and takes a seat beside her daughter. Opening the slightly worn book, the first picture Jazz sees is of her parents’ wedding day.

    “You keep old-school photos?”

    “That’s exactly what’s wrong with today’s youth: no sentimental value,” Nicole replies with a smile as she flips to a different page. “That was on our third date,” she starts, pointing at a picture of Andy and herself seated in a bowling lane. “He sucked so much at bowling, I thought there was no way I could lose on purpose.”

    A more relaxed smile stretches on Jazz’s lips as Nicole recalls the story and moves on to other memorable moments in life. The tension that was suffocating the room unnoticeably lifts and disappears as Nicole becomes more animated and Jazz laughs at some of the stories told. Before the two know it, lunch turns to dinner, and the barely existing bond between the two women strengthens with every passing tale. By the time Jazz has to leave, comfort and calmness take over her usually abrasive nature, and stay with her all throughout training.

     
    #74 SilentBat18, Mar 7, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2012
  15. aiwac

    aiwac Member

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    My, my, my. A touching graveyard scene and a (possible) cliffhanger all in one go! :D

    You're not evil (well, maybe just a little :p), but if you don't continue with Jazz I'll have to hunt you down :evil:. Seriously, you've planted a lot of seeds of character development (esp. the revenge aspect) that are BEGGING to grow. It'd be a shame if this were the complete end.

    In any event, I look forward to your future stories.

    Well done,

    aiwac
     
  16. Theking

    Theking Very cute Lego Babe.

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    THE END????

    Nooooooo

    I tell you I hate those words when I am really enjoying a good story.

    I will for sure be looking for more Jazz. :D

    You have a great story here.

    Way to go.

    TheKing (fan of SilentBat18)
     
  17. klammed

    klammed the fool.

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    end? End? Nice cliff hanger ending :p, and I see you've started on the next in your 'world'. Nice bits of resolution for this thread of the story, good work :)
     
  18. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    ****What's this? A new chappie? Wait, but it seems familiar.... no it's not, there's an epilogue! Yes, readers, i have revamped the fic, and this is not just me whimsically adding an epilogue. Much has changed (characters, events, dialogue, entire chapters), so i recommend a re-read if you're interested. It's much better now. Anyway, hope you enjoy the new version!****
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It’s over. She can’t believe it. A six letter word ends it, brings justice, closure, everything she’s been looking for. The deliberation is quick, the verdict unanimous, the sentence pleasing: life without parole. Bruce was right; the judicial system is working. Upon hearing the word, her mother breathes a sigh of relief, and she catches Terry smiling from the corner of her eye.

    But she doesn’t move. She doesn’t speak. She just watches Nick stand up to let two men escort him out with his head hanging low, wishing he never got caught. Even after he disappears behind the door, Jazz can’t take her eyes away from it. She doesn’t blink. She doesn’t smile. She was so ready to give up her own life to deliver the punishment he deserved, the punishment she thought he wasn’t going to get. But she just can’t believe that the system worked.

    “Jazz?” Terry asks, trying to snap his partner out of the trance he finds her in. When she doesn’t move, he frowns with concern and leans closer to whisper. “Jazz, are you okay?”

    She finally meets his gaze, but her gray eyes seem hollow and dull. “I’m fine.”

    Suddenly getting up, she moves past him, and walks out of the courtroom pushing past the hovering cameras and ignoring the yelling reporters. Clutching her jacket close, she walks into Gotham’s windy streets heading in a familiar direction. After fighting the gusts for ten minutes, she finally walks past the open cemetery gates and up the path that leads to the person she’s looking for.

    “Hi daddy,” Jazz starts, kneeling in front of the headstone. “I, uh, I got you something.” Taking out a stuffed animal from her bag, she places it at the base of the stone. “Remember Roger? You won him for me at the fair. I’m sorry I didn’t bring him when mom took me away, but I didn’t lose him.” Jazz tries to smile, but she ends up looking down at her fiddling fingers. “We got Nick. You should thank Terry and Henry for that.” Lifting her eyes, she studies the engraved name for a quiet moment before she scoots closer to wipe away the dust and debris.

    “Daddy, there’s something you should know,” she hesitantly continues as she slowly traces the letters of his name. “In Spain, when I was on that bus,” her hand hovers over the word “father” for a moment before she begins tracing it. “I was thinking of things you—” She pulls her hand away, takes in a breath and stares at Roger. “Things you wouldn’t be proud of. Dad, I wanted to get rid of Nick myself, and the only reason I didn’t was because Terry distracted me. Now though,” she hesitates, her muddled eyes looking at the name.

    “The thoughts won’t stop. Daddy, I’m scared of myself,” she confesses with a quivering voice. “I’m scared of what I could do sometimes.” Lowering her eyes to her knees, she wipes away a stray tear. “I just wish you were here to help me.” She rises to stand, finding it hard to leave him; she rests a hand on the top of the headstone as she says her last heartfelt good-bye, and walks away as quietly as she came.

    When she reaches the gates, she spots a familiar figure seated on the bench just outside the entrance. After making sure her eyes are dry from tears, she takes a seat beside Terry. “You followed me?”

    “Not all the way in,” he replies straightening up. “Feel better?”

    She takes in a deep breath and slowly lets it out. “A little,” she lies.

    “Can we celebrate now?”

    She lets a small smile cross her face. “What did you have in mind?”

    “Beer and pizza,” he replies getting up. “I know a good place just up the street.”

    “Lead the way.”

    -----*****-----​

    The confessions she shared with her father’s tombstone continue to mull over in her mind for days, becoming particularly persistent at night when she dons her cowl. They obsess her mind, making her lose sleep over the matter; and when she does finally dream, all she sees is that day on the bus. The question of “what if” hauntingly floats in her mind, a disturbing scenario replaying in her head, the sound of a neck snapping making her flinch.

    Her fear exacerbates when rage boils within her every time she comes across a remorseless criminal, particularly those she knows to be repeat offenders. The temptations to just end them, permanently stop them from terrorizing the innocent, grow and distract her on the field. Two long weeks of sleepless nights pass, enduring torment that even Thorn can’t dream of take its toll on her, finally cracking her sanity. Jazz forces herself down the cave’s staircase, prepared to do the one thing she didn’t think she would. She walks up to Terry hunched over the Batmobile’s engine fixing a mechanical failure.

    “Terry?” She starts in a quiet voice.

    He looks up to find Jazz standing a few feet from the car with hands behind her back. “Hey, you’re early. I’ll be done soon, so if you want, you can start practicing upstairs and-”

    “I’m not here for the lesson,” she interrupts. “Terry, we need to talk.”

    Frowning, he wipes his hands on an oil rag as he approaches her. “What’s going on?”

    After nervously swallowing, Jazz manages to utter, “I, uh, I’m quitting.”

    “Piano? But it’s only been a couple weeks.”

    “No.” She holds out her hand to give him her suit. “Everything.”

    Terry’s eyes widen with surprise. “What? Why?”

    “I’m not fit for the job,” she quietly replies.

    “Jazz, if this is about what Barbara said-” Terry tries before she interrupts him.

    “It’s not.”

    “Then why?”

    “The only reason I decided to do this was to get closure for my past. I have that now, so there’s no point in continuing.”

    Narrowing his eyes to study her intently, he takes a moment to process her excuse. “You owe me a better explanation than that load of ********.”

    “Look,” she starts, growing irritated. “I’m sorry if you feel I wasted your time, but I don’t feel right doing this anymore.”

    “Why the hell not?”

    “I just don’t,” she replies, shoving the suit onto his chest and forcing him to take it. “Don’t make this harder than it already is.”

    “Harder? Jazz, you haven’t given me a single legitimate excuse! What the hell changed?”

    “You wouldn’t understand,” she mutters as she turns to leave. She hurries up the stairs leaving Terry baffled and angry by the outcome of her visit.

    Appearing from a nearby alcove, Bruce comes out just in time to see Terry furiously ball up the suit and hurl it across the cave. “What’s the matter?” He asks approaching his protégé.

    “My ****ing partner just quit,” he growls as he stalks back to the car.

    “Why?” Bruce asks, feeling both insulted and infuriated at Jazz for wasting time and effort just to end up quitting not even a year after starting.

    Terry rests his hands against the car’s hood, leaning forward as he lets out a disappointed sigh. “I don’t know.”


    Epilogue

    Nobody asks questions about you past in Poland’s small town of Skwierzyna; as long as you respect their customs, you’re welcome and Michael knows this. He’s been there long enough to call the place home, having traded the carrots, potatoes, and onions he grew in his garden for goat cheese and weekly drinks at the pub. He befriended the owner of the one convenience store near his part of town. He trades his prized tomatoes for some good old-fashioned American beef jerky the owner imports; it’s one of the few things he misses about his native country.

    Life is simple here, having to look after the one bedroom cottage by himself, the collie-mix and three chickens keeping him company when he gets too lonely. He makes weekly trips to town, treating himself to that whisky on the rocks while catching up on the news by watching the pub’s only television set. He never bought one for himself, preferring the solitude and silence of his tiny farm over the distraction a TV can bring. Nursing his favorite drink in his hands, he asks the bartender in Polish if he could switch the channel to CNN so he could watch news from home. Obliging with a nod, the bartender flips the channels, landing on the requested one before complimenting Michael on his improved accent.

    Smiling, Michael cracks a joke, never failing to entertain the few friends he has before bringing his attention back to the news. Updated on the politics state side, he scoffs at the ludicrous promises politicians are making, realizing that not much has changed in DC in the last seventeen years. His eyes shift to the other side of the screen as he sips the smooth liquor; he has always been given the good stuff. He reads the stock graphs and numbers he’s chosen to follow, not surprised by how well Wayne Corps has been doing.

    He’s glad Bruce took back control of his company, remembering the one time he met him when he saved World Chemistry from the brink of bankruptcy. That was a good day. He raises his tumbler to take another sip, but it freezes midair when an all too familiar face flashes on the screen under the title “CEO Nicolas Boris found guilty of murder”. There Nick stands, trying to hide his grimacing face from the cameras floating in his face. What he couldn’t believe though, is the image of the next person that flashes; his eyes widen at the fair face he knows to belong to his best friend’s daughter.

    “Jazzy,” Ethan gasps, his glass slipping out of his calloused had and smashing against the bar, shattering into pieces much like the life he painstakingly built for seventeen years. However, it was her face, those lips still ruby red like he remembers that has him debating if it was finally time to come back home.

    END

    Don't forget to check out the next installment BB: Lost in the Unconscious!​
     
    #78 SilentBat18, Apr 30, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2012

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