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FIC: Children of Gotham

Title: Children of Gotham
Characters: Batman, Clark
Words: 1071
Rating: G
Summary: Reporter Clark Kent keeps an eye on a kidnapped girl while waiting for Batman to rescue them.



"This locket was my mother's," the young girl in front of Clark Kent said, showing him a large silver oval on a chain. She opened it to reveal the slightly faded picture inside of the iconic starlet Jenna Renee Jones, her buxom form framed by ebony hair. The girl snapped it shut again, sighing with a weariness that made her seem much more than ten years old. "I have no memories of my mother, of course. But I like to think...she would have liked me."

Clark eyed the girl sitting on the brocaded chair in front of him, feeling a strong sense of distaste for himself and his profession at that moment. He'd been sent to Gotham, with much imprecation from Perry White, to interview Desiree Jones, the Poor Little Rich Girl herself, on the anniversary of her mother's death in Jamaica a decade ago. He had steeled himself to get through the interview quickly, but faced with the actual child he couldn't bring himself to be briskly professional. Desiree's eyes were deep blue and infinitely sad, much older than they should be.

They reminded Clark of another motherless Gotham child in another gilded cage.

"I'm certain she would have been very proud of you," he said. "But Desiree...would you like to talk a little more about you? Not just about your mother? What do you like to do that makes you feel happy?"

The girl's face lit up.

Soon Clark was out in the gardens with Desiree, the girl pointing out her favorite flowers--marigolds and pansies that she had planted herself, sturdy little flowers in amongst the fancy roses and lilies. He cursed himself later for being so focused on her and making her smile that he missed the approach of five men with guns who suddenly surrounded them, jerking Desiree to her feet with a gun at her head. She shrieked but went still when she saw the weapon, her eyes imploring Clark to do something.

Clark couldn't exactly get Desiree away right now without revealing his secret identity. He raised his hands, giving her what he hoped was a reassuring look.

"Do we off the reporter, boss?" one of the thugs asked.

"No, we don't want to get blood on our hands unless we absolutely have to. Murder one of them and suddenly the stakes are a lot higher. But don't get any funny ideas, you hear?" the leader demanded, waving his gun at Clark. "We'll plug you if you make us do it." He gestured at one of his crew. "Cuff the girl to him, that'll make it lots harder for him to get away."

Clark found himself tied to the girl by a tight plastic cuff. On the plus side, this meant they weren't going to separate the two of them and he could keep her safe. On the down side, he was stuck in reporter mode for a while.

He wasn't that worried though.

He was in Gotham, after all.

A car ride and a small blank room later, Desiree was revealing that she had been thinking along the same lines as Clark. "Batman's going to come here and kick your asses, you creeps," she hissed.

"Should I gag her too, boss?" smirked one of the thugs, but they didn't bother.

Clark felt Desiree slip a small cold hand into his. "He'll come, right? Batman? He won't leave us here? He'll save us, right?"

He smiled at her. "Of course he will."

As night fell, the thugs grew more and more jumpy. The shadows lengthened and the sounds in the building became spooky. The ransom money was not being dropped off. The gang's air of confidence was dissipating.

There was a clanging noise off in the distance. One of the thugs went out to investigate it. He didn't come back. Then another. He didn't come back either.

"It's him isn't it?" whispered Desiree. "The Batman?"

Three people left in the room and they didn't look like they were going to budge. Bruce was going to have to come in after them. "Most likely."

The girl drew a little closer to Clark. "Is he...really scary? I want him to come and save us, but...it sounded less scary during the day."

"He's only scary to bad people, Desiree," Clark whispered back. Echoes down the hall. He was coming. The thugs cocked their weapons, too panicked to worry about their hostages now. "Just...when I hold you, promise you won't move."

Her only response was a small whimpering noise.

When the door blew open into splinters, Clark caught Desiree up in his arms and held her, shielding her with his body through the fight that followed. Bullets whizzed and criminals cried out; Clark wished he could help Batman, but Desiree was shaking against him; if the child got a scratch on her that Clark could have prevented Bruce would have his head. So he held her tight and felt bullets glance off his back, waiting until silence filled the room again.

"It's safe," rasped the familiar voice, and Clark uncurled his body from around the girl. She was sobbing, and looking up at the looming black figure sent her into a fresh jag of hysterics, clinging to Clark. Clark held her and patted her back, whispering soothing words. Batman finished cuffing the unconscious criminals, then stood there as if he had all the time in the world to wait for small children to finish weeping.

Eventually Desiree's sobs died down and she looked at Batman, her breath still hitching somewhat. "Thank you...sir," she managed.

Batman knelt between them. "Hold still," he said, and the plastic cuff fell away.

"Thank you," said Clark as Batman stood up.

Batman inclined his head slightly and said nothing. He gave Clark one last enigmatic look from behind the white-lensed eyes, then faded into the shadows.

Police sirens started to sound in the distance. Clark gathered Desiree up in his arms. "I'll carry you out," he said softly, and began to make his way toward the exit. In the distance he could still hear the steady beat of Bruce's heart. And in the siren-streaked silence he could hear the words the Dark Knight spoke under his breath from far away:

"Thank you, Clark."

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Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
jij
May. 5th, 2007 02:20 am (UTC)
Aw, thank you! I really liked seeing Clark out of uniform and doing his best here...and Batman as very opaque and frightening...
bradygirl_12
May. 4th, 2007 06:45 pm (UTC)
Oh, this was so good! Clark protecting Desiree and Batman coming to the rescue! And the last line. :) Wonderful job, Jen!

I like the title, too, as Bruce is counted among those 'children' lost to dark Gotham.
jij
May. 6th, 2007 11:55 am (UTC)
Thank you! And I took a long time to come up with a title for this one for some reason...but yes, that was definitely the tone I wanted to get across. I'm glad it came through! And thanks for commenting!
bradygirl_12
May. 7th, 2007 01:09 am (UTC)
It came through loud and clear! The poor little rich girl Desiree just screamed 8-year-old "Bruce!" to me, poor dears.
tsukiwriter
May. 8th, 2007 04:07 am (UTC)
Mmm, I really like the ambiance of this fic. Very much like a good scene in an action movie-- full of suspense. And the ending was just, well, cute.

Thanks for making me smile,
Tsuki
jij
May. 8th, 2007 02:11 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed this prompt--but then, I'm a sucker for cross-costume meetings, Clark with Batman or Bruce with Superman. :) Glad you liked it too!
javana12
May. 10th, 2007 10:53 am (UTC)
awwwww.... the fluff just gets me! loved it. really well written (well, everything of yours is well written but i thought i'd say it anyway.)

loved it.
jij
May. 12th, 2007 01:55 am (UTC)
*grin* Thank you! I love Clark meeting Batman or Bruce meeting Superman...it puts them both in such a different sort of place. And of course, protecting children is always fun. :)
(Anonymous)
May. 20th, 2007 01:55 am (UTC)
Aww. That is so adorable.
jij
May. 20th, 2007 01:44 pm (UTC)
*grins* Thank you so much!
crimsonquills
Oct. 23rd, 2007 01:50 am (UTC)
This was very sweet, but I felt a little bad for Bruce that the little girl was so scared of him. I mean, it totally makes sense, but awwww. And I loved that the girl sucked it up a bit and thanked Batman. :-)
jij
Oct. 24th, 2007 01:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know. It's always heartbreaking when kids are afraif od Batman, it appals him so much! (There's a moment in Darwyn Cooke's "The New Frontier" where a kid shieks in terror on seeing Batman and the look on his face is so terribly sad...)

I think I probably would have been scared silly of him as a kid myself, lol...
hobbitstown
Mar. 30th, 2008 01:15 am (UTC)
Children of Gotham
Great Story! I just recently moved into the DC fandom, and this is an excellant find.
jij
Mar. 31st, 2008 03:34 am (UTC)
Re: Children of Gotham
Hi and welcome to the DC fandom! I had fun with this one, as I always do when Clark is forced to stay in civilian identity and still save the day. :) Glad you liked it!
shardsofblu
Sep. 13th, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
Oh I loved this. What a wonderful portrayal of hope -- the way you show people being heroic in and out of the costume, and that act of the simplest gesture of gratitude to unsung heroes.
mithen
Sep. 14th, 2009 08:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I re-read this and really liked Desiree, lol. And I love, love, love writing Clark and/or Bruce being heroic without the uniform--those were always some of my favorite stories when I was a kid (I'm thinking of Bruce rushing Alfred to the hospital in your scans now!)
toketsupuurin
Jun. 3rd, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
I want to see more of Desiree. She's compelling, and it would be interesting to see her over the years as she grows up. someday being trapped with Bruce when superman has to save her, then maybe Clark again, just constantly brushing up against both of them over the course of her life slowly coming to notice the undercurrents between the men and perhaps eventually figuring out who they are.
mithen
Jun. 6th, 2010 01:02 pm (UTC)
LOL, I like that storyline very much! And she'd keep her mouth shut about it, too. I really ended up with a pretty clear idea of her personality from just this little snippet, so I'm tickled that comes through!
kuonji14
Jul. 18th, 2012 12:54 am (UTC)
Fantastic! Love how Desiree is certain Batman will save her... but is scared of him at the same time. Love how Clark wants to help 'Batman' but knows that 'Bruce' would be furious with him if he let a child get hurt.
mithen
Jul. 19th, 2012 04:09 am (UTC)
Thank you! Batman's relationship to the people of Gotham is so complex...I can't help but think people love him in the abstract but the real thing is pretty spooky. :)
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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