She actually enjoyed being Bruce Wayne’s personal electrician. Along with dating his best friend, it made the two become good friends. It made her realize that she didn’t have his upbringing so she found it odd that the two were friends. She wouldn’t fit in with his other filthy rich associates. Then again, she had to realize that Bruce was definitely different from any rich bachelor she had seen portrayed in the movies.
Bruce Wayne was very different, despite what others thought of him. His forefathers actually were one of the first settlers in Gotham, which made him the actual prodigal son. His parents, however were brutally murdered in front of him when he was just a young boy and Alfred had a major part in raising him. She felt bad for him; he was really the last of the Waynes. Tabitha had always secretly hoped that the man would settle down and continue the name.
Despite the early tragedy, he had pulled himself together and made the decision that it wouldn’t be something that would completely ruin him. However, he didn’t let the fame and money get to his head. Tabitha saw that he was really a normal guy. Of course, he would dine in the finest restaurants, had the largest and most expensive home in Gotham (to his credit, Wayne Manor had been passed down generation after generation) and even attended the theatre for a night of opera on several occasions; these were the things that people expected for him to do.
Tabitha saw that those were very trivial things to him; the homey 50’s diner was where he was most comfortable if not at home. As she became his good friend, she saw what others didn’t; just about everything that the media and gossip columns “caught” him doing was a sham; a front to keep up with his rich, arrogant playboy tag. She didn’t understand why he did it… or why the media never caught on to it. Every time he was pictured with another beautiful woman (or sometimes women) on his arm, it was the same: they were all smiles, he looked… bored. The real Bruce Wayne was the one who sat and drank coffee with his technician and her detective boyfriend every other day in the diner, the one who looked happy whenever he contributed or gave back to Gotham.
When she finally got to take a look inside Wayne Manor, “impressed” was an understatement! She knew that the estate was large; she never imagined just how large. Tabitha had never been in a home as big as Wayne Manor and it puzzled her as to why a single man and his butler would want or even need so much space. When she thought about it, it made her wish she never took the job; she would be busy nonstop with upgrades to this massive home!
She didn’t know how she found the time to moonlight as a super heroine; even if Bruce was lenient and tried to cut her days short, she still wanted to spend as much (or as little) time with Ethan. Nevertheless; whenever their time was cut short, she would be out and about, attempting to help The Batman as much as she could. It seemed as though every night there was a different freak villain trying to defeat the man; they were just as adamant about taking him down as GCPD was! However, seeing that the city was filled with so many of them, it made her feel much better about being a mutant, herself!
Yet again, she had found The Batman having trouble with another villain. This one she recognized as Mr. Freeze, another genetically altered mutant. She knew that he was once a bank robber but old habits die hard; he had begun robbing the jewelry stores as of late. When she saw that he was encased halfway in a block of ice, Tabitha did a Lightning Cloud towards the two. Taking his attention off of The Batman, Mr. Freeze threw an ice blast towards her. She dodged it right on time and gotten a better look at the iceman, her first time ever doing so. He had what looked like a block of spiked ice protecting his head; the only thing she could see was a silhouette and glowing red eyes.
“Ah; the ‘lightning girl’ everyone’s been talking about. Hmm… I get to destroy two pests in one night!” it seemed like he was excited at the thought. Another ray of ice was sent her way and she had to do a Lightning Cloud to miss it. Tabitha was closer and noticed another useful detail about the robber.
“A suit…” she smiled. She sent a burst of lightning his way before thinking about it, shocking Mr. Freeze unconscious. She hoped that she hadn’t killed him, quickly checking on him as she made her way over to The Batman. She put her attention fully on him and almost couldn’t contain her smile, “Let’s see… I believe that’s seven in a row, pal! But, who’s counting?” she couldn’t help laying on some of Peter’s cockiness in her voice. He was too cold to even roll his eyes, shivering slightly.
Tabitha carefully applied lightning to the block of ice, hoping that she wouldn’t accidentally shock The Batman! When he saw that he was free, he tried to leave but was stunned as she immediately grabbed his wrist. He glared at her.
“What do you want?” he hissed. It only made Tabitha smile.
“Seems to me that we make a good team… especially seeing that I’ve definitely saved you on more than one occasion.” she told him. He sighed and snatched away from her grip.
“Oh, no, no, no… no; you’re not going to go ride off on your little motorcycle, again! I can help you out, you know…”
“I don’t need any sidekicks.”
“Really? You know… had I not shown up, you would’ve been ice cream by now!” she pointed a finger at him. He narrowed his eyes at her and turned to leave. Tabitha sighed and did a Lightning Cloud to face him, smiling at his surprised and irritated look, “See; not only did I prove that I’m stronger than you but I’m faster as well! You keep running away… and I’ll just end up chasing you…” she almost sang. Before he could glare at her yet again, a light was being flashed on the two. Tabitha squinted her eyes and looked in disgust at the flashing red and blue lights on top of the vehicle; the police, she rolled her eyes.
“It’s The Batman! Who’s that with him?” a familiar female voice asked. Tabitha closed her eyes in defeat. No; don’t tell me…
“I don’t know. Freeze, ‘Bats’!” Ethan ordered. Tabitha bit her tongue to keep from cursing out loud. She could think of only one thing to do; she sent two streaks of lightning towards the detectives. She had hoped for two things: one, they wouldn’t be quick enough to fire back at her and two, the lightning would not hit them. Tabitha sighed in relief as she saw that her aim was perfect, hitting their weapons instead of their bodies. She turned and saw that The Batman had catapulted himself up the building.
“Damn…” she huffed and followed him. As the two detectives tried to shake the uncomfortable feeling of being shocked from their hands, Ethan looked on in amusement at the quick streak of lightning that tailed the character.
“Was that… real…?” Yin asked. She looked on the ground where the two had dropped their guns; both had been melted into a pile of metal and rubber mess.
“It sure did feel like it! Who… or what is she?”
“I don’t know. Whatever she is, one thing is clear: she’s helping out The Batman…”
He put on a look of surprise yet again as the white-haired woman landed in front of him on top of the building. He sighed.
“Did you forget the conversation we just had? I have nothing else better to do in the morning; I can chase you all night! Faster than you…” she teased childishly. It was enough for Bruce to roll his eyes dramatically and place his head in his hand. She was right, he reasoned. She was lightning fast; she not only provided a distraction from Ethan and Yin but had caught up to him in no time. He also saw that she would keep her word and follow him effortlessly if he tried to escape again; he doubted that even if he used one of his smoke grenades, she would track him down sooner or later. A problem, a major one, especially if it led her to the Batcave.
He had to admit that she was helpful; she had thwarted many of villain away from him. That was something that he had appreciated; the nights were not as stressful and long for him. If he was to make her a sidekick, she would have to know the whereabouts of the Batcave… as well as his identity.
“Okay… fine…” he made the decision to give in.
“Okay?” she raised her eyebrow at him, trying not to smile.
“We can form a partnership. You… can be my sidekick…”
“Do I get to find out who you really are?” she tried.
“Do I…?” he retaliated. It was enough to make her laugh heartedly.
“That’s not just a no, but a hell no!”
“Hmm… something we agree on. Got a name?”
“Sg…” she stopped herself. Crap; not again, she wanted to moan out. Tabitha, yet again, had to come up with another super heroine name on the whim. She couldn’t use anything that had to do with her first or last name; not that she was well known but there was no telling who The Batman really was. If he was someone on the force, like she felt he was, then he knew who Detective Ethan Bennett was… and who his girlfriend was as well. Nothing was coming to her at the moment.
Tabitha slightly perked up; she couldn’t use her first or her last name… but no one knew her middle name! She giggled when the name formed in her head.
“Nikki. Nikki Strykher… at your service.” she slightly bowed and it produced a half smile from him.
As if he didn’t have enough on his plate; Ethan and the rest of GCPD had to deal with yet another vigilante on their watch. A woman who could conjure up lightning. Whether she was wearing a suit that produced the lightning abilities for her or she was just another mutant didn’t matter; Chief Rojas was not tolerating two vigilantes in the city.
He thought about the encounter as he made his way towards the Financial District. He guiltily admitted to himself that the lightning girl looked great in her snug, black outfit. He absentmindedly compared her to his Tabitha; they were shaped the same for sure… were they? He blew out a quick breath and laughed at himself; no way, he thought. He would’ve picked up on the fact that his girlfriend was a super heroine; a lightning-toting one at that. Ethan tried to come up with contrasts of the two. The lightning woman had pure white hair for one; Tabitha’s hair was…
He stopped at a traffic light and thought. He had yet to see her hair, not even a strand of it; she always wore that t-shirt head wrap.
“N-no. No! What am I thinking; that’s definitely not Tabitha!” he tried to reassure himself. He decided to call her.
She turned her TV down and smiled at the number displaying on her phone.
“Good evening, detective…” she tried her best to sound sleepy.
“Sweetheart, I didn’t wake you, did I?”
“Mmm hmm…” she was glad that she really had to stretch; it made her story more believable, “Long night?”
“Like you wouldn’t believe! I’m in the area. Can I…” he was about to ask but was interrupted by her light laugh.
“Don’t you know you ain’t gotta ask no more? Just stop by, goof!”
He debated on knocking but went with his instinct and simply opened the door. Only the glare from the TV gave light to the living room. He saw her sprawled out on her loveseat, wrapped in a thick blanket. She lazily looked up at him and smiled.
“Man… if you’re naked underneath that blanket, you’re going to make my whole week!” he smiled. She snorted.
“Just like a man to think that…” she showed him that she was fully clothed. He pretended to be disappointed but sat down beside her. She immediately embraced him and he gave her a passionate kiss. Before he knew it, he was studying her hands and fingers, remembering the shock he felt when the lightning woman hit his weapon. She eyed him strangely.
“Everything okay?” she asked, snapping him out of his trance. When he realized that her skin and hands were normal, he tenderly kissed them and let out a sigh.
“Yeah; just a long day. We came across The Batman tonight.”
“Oh! So you got ‘em?” she asked. Ethan slowly shook his head.
“No. He had… a sidekick.”
“You know, you guys are gonna be out of jobs soon…” she mentioned with a slight smile. He had to laugh; he knew that she was trying to make him lighten up about the situation. Many a night, he had to tell himself that he would not stress out in front of her. He knew for a fact that she always worried about him.
It was her turn to examine his hands. She grimaced and bit her lip; even in the dark, she saw it: the slight burn mark on the palm of his hand. She quickly turned her lamp on, just to make sure that she saw what she saw. She lightly traced the mark and looked at him.
“Baby, your hand…” her heart dropped a little. She didn’t want to hurt him; didn’t mean to. However, it was the only thing she could think of to make sure that they escaped. He shrugged and slightly smiled.
“It’s fine. Just a little burn.”
“The Batman’s sidekick is a woman and… she did that to me.”
“Wait… what?” she looked dead into his eyes; she had to make sure that she sold her act. He laughed a little and gave her a quick kiss, “How?”
“It was… unbelievable. She… produced lightning from her hands.” he slowly remembered. She sat back and looked at him.
“Yeah. She hit Yin, too. Well, she didn’t actually hit us; I think she was aiming for our weapons. Pretty good shot…” he had to admit. Deep down, Tabitha was proud of the compliment; throughout her Army career, she always qualified as a sharpshooter on the rifle range, “Anyway, that’s where the burn mark came from; me holding my weapon when she hit it.” he shook his head. Had he not been there himself, he wouldn’t have believed it. Ethan had to remind himself that anything was possible in Gotham, especially when there were people like Joker running around.
She gently caressed his wound as he was deep in thought. She felt awful that she had hurt him, even if it wasn’t her fault that he held on to his weapon.
“I think I got some burn ointment somewhere.” she said as she got up.
“Tabby, I’m fine…” he threw his head back and laughed.
“Nope; don’t wanna hear it!” she said from her bathroom. As she rummaged through her medicine cabinet, Tabitha made a promise to herself: she would never throw lightning at him, ever again… no matter what.
She had to admit that all of her relationships were going great. Bruce and she were almost the best of friends; when he wasn’t trying to impress the media with a fake weekly fling and she wasn’t out with her boyfriend, the two were always seen together: she was surprised that the gossip columns weren’t filled with rumors about the two of them.
Then again, she had to give them credit; they knew that she was just his trusting and loyal head technician as well as Detective Bennett’s very steady girlfriend. Ethan and she were heavily in love; so much so that she seriously thought about asking him to move in with her. She knew that she would have to confess to him who she was and what she was capable of. Tabitha had hoped that it wouldn’t damage their relationship; she knew that he actually didn’t mind having another vigilante roaming around Gotham so her hopes were very high. It was finding the right time to tell him that was killing her.
Even Batman (he had told her to drop the formalities; he was simply known as Batman) was starting to tolerate her more. The two were making easy work of the freaks and other bad guys around town as well as avoiding GCPD as much as possible. Tabitha admitted to herself that had she not been in love with Ethan, she would have tried to put all of her attention on the Dark Knight.
Taking care of Wayne Manor was something she had looked forward to; she found a new room to “explore” almost every week. Being a multibillionaire had its perks; travel was one of them, she quickly learned. Her boss had been around the globe and had the artifacts and souvenirs to prove it. Seeing that geography was her favorite subject, she would always take the time to look at the various items, wondering where they came from and how Bruce had acquired it. Of course, Alfred seemed to always be a step or two behind her, as if watching her. The way he hounded her, she wondered if he either didn’t trust her completely or he was making sure that she didn’t go somewhere that was off limits. She really couldn’t blame him; the manor was filled with priceless items and heirlooms. With time, however, the elderly butler grew to trust her as much as his master did and seemed to delight in telling her about his many adventures around the world.
She had grown accustomed to Bruce’s numerous dinner parties in the manor so it wasn’t anything special as she tried to quickly finish her work before one started. As she placed the cover back on one of the lights in the living room (which her entire apartment was a mere fraction the size of), she saw her friend grab her toolbox; a sign that he made to signify the end of her work. She smirked at him but then her smile widened at who was behind him; Ethan and Yin. While Bruce was dressed in a classic tuxedo, the two detectives were in plain clothes exposing their holsters. Without thinking of that fact, Tabitha quickly made her way over to her boyfriend and gave him a soft kiss. When she saw that he had a look of embarrassment, she stepped away.
“Oooh… you’re on duty…”
“Unfortunately.” he finally smiled.
“The chief of police assigned us for security…” Yin almost mumbled, secretly rolling her eyes towards Bruce. Both Tabitha and Ethan tried to tell her that what the tabloids and gossip magazines reported about him weren’t true. However, Yin had already formulated a biased opinion on the billionaire and couldn’t for the life of her see what his best friend and his head technician saw in him. To her, he would always be the rich, spoiled, arrogant playboy. She drew her attention to the lights in the room and looked at Tabitha, “So… you really do all of this work by yourself?” she mused. Tabitha grabbed her toolbox from Bruce and smiled.
“Never met a wire I couldn’t handle! Can’t trust no one else to do the work that I do; and it takes too long to train ‘em so… I rather just do it myself. Need some upgrades in your home, detective?”
“… I don’t think I could afford your services…” it was a straight and blatant jab at Bruce, actually. Ethan winced at her boldness but Tabitha gave her a blank stare.
“What? You actually thought I’d charge you?! Nah… free for you and anyone else at the station!” she smiled. Yin returned the smile.
“Thanks. I think I’ll pass for the moment… but I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Okay. Guess I’m done here, huh, boss?”
“Stop calling me that!” Bruce laughed, “I wanted you to join the party. Guests won’t be arriving for another couple of hours; I know it’s a little last minute but better late than never, right?”
“I don’t think Tabitha has anything she could wear to something like this…”
“I don’t think Tabitha blah, blah, blah, blah!” she mocked her boyfriend and gave him a slight push, “How about you go patrol the grounds or something?!” she laughed. She slightly blushed at the fact that he was right; she had nothing in her wardrobe that wouldn’t make her feel underdressed for one of his dinners. She would have to go out and quickly buy something.
Ethan gave his girlfriend a quick kiss before the two detectives excused themselves to begin their security detail.
“Well?” Bruce looked at her.
“Okay; I guess. Let me run a quick check and then I’ll leave to get ready.”
“Good. If you can’t find me, just tell Alfred to rearm the security.” he told her and left. Tabitha went upstairs to a room she had done earlier that day to check on the wiring job. When everything was satisfactory, she started to make her trek back. The massive bookshelf in the study intrigued her; she went in to take a quick look at it. Something didn’t feel right about the whole room, now that she was inside of it. For it to be in the manor, it was dull and boring; not as elaborate as the other rooms. As if someone didn’t want to draw any attention to the room, she thought. None of the books on the shelf had any writing on the spines. Curiosity getting the best of her, Tabitha picked up a random book, opened it and saw that it was indeed blank.
“The hell… something’s here…” she half whispered. She put the book back and studied the scene a bit more. On the left side of the shelf was a grandfather clock. Had she not been looking for clues, she would’ve missed it altogether; the pendulum was out of sync with the ticks of the clock. It’s a fake, she gave the clock a curious look. What was he trying to hide here?
She got closer to the clock and noticed that there were two spots that were tanned in the face. It wasn’t by much but as close as she was, it was noticeable. She moved the hands of the clock to shadow the tanned spots: 10:48. No sooner had she done so, the clock gave way, making her gasp. A secret entrance, she realized. She quickly glanced around to make sure that no one was watching and quickly stepped inside. The door closed her in immediately and she was alone in the dark. She was glad that she had her toolbox and fumbled to retrieve her mini flashlight. Looking around, she saw that she was on a staircase that had been built into the wall. It spiraled down into the dark void below her but she didn’t hesitate to follow it. Flashing the light around slightly, she realized that she was in a cave and was immediately puzzled as to why her friend would have a secret entrance to a cave. Maybe it had something to do with the Wayne legacy; maybe more heirlooms were hidden there, she thought. A secret mine; she had a feeling that she would find out the origins of how Bruce really got his money!
A couple of feet from the end of the staircase stood a massive steel door. It surprised her as it easily gave way when she tried to pry it open and was reminded of two things: Bruce’s security system was turned off and she had super strength as it was! She traveled down a short corridor and encountered another huge door; this one was made of lead. Just as before, she had no problem opening it… and stood in a paralyzed shock at what laid in front of her. It was definitely an enormous cavern but modernized. In the middle was a computer system like no other she had seen before. Labs and workstations seemed to stretch out as far as the eye could see. As she finally found her legs, she walked around and noticed other areas; a training/gymnasium area, somewhat of a trophy case, an armory, even a harbor. It was there where she became frozen yet again; on the edges of the harbor were vehicles of all kinds… quite a few were noticeably variations of the Batmobile. On a wall next to the harbor were suits encased in glass… Batman’s suits to be exact.
“Holy… shit…” she couldn’t believe her eyes. She tried to reason that maybe, just maybe Bruce was a very avid Batman fan; he would be the only one who had enough money to get any of the patented items. However, that only explained the vehicles, the suits and the weapons. There was only one way to explain the other intricate things she found in the cave, “… Bruce Wayne… is muthafucking Batman!!”