Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Catwoman, Batman, Furbabies
Challenge/Prompt: 1_million_words: 5 + 1 Challenge: Five times _____ saved strays, and one time ____ brought a stray home.
Word Count: 2,104
Date Written: 25 April, 2016
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to DC Comics, not the author, and are used without permission.
He's watched her all night long, since before the sun had even fully set and she'd exited from the doors of Gotham's Humane Society. He's heard her preach about the differences between humane societies and being truly humane many times, so many, in fact, that he's often considered buying the place just so he can make it a no kill sanctuary as she desires and insists she already runs. Perhaps she does, in her own way. He's certainly seen plenty of evidence of that tonight, but it's certainly not a traditional no kill shelter.
But then, too, she is anything but a traditional woman. He knows no other person who would spend so much of her time doing what Selina does, but he knows the stories she tells him aren't made up. This isn't the first time he's spent hours following her, trying to find proof that she's behind a burglary or somehow connected to another crime. When the diamonds went missing last night, both he and the Commissioner were certain she had to be behind the theft from the museum, but he's yet to see any proof.
He's seen plenty of proof of the kind of woman she truly is tonight, however. She hasn't spent any time on theft tonight. She's been too busy helping lives that most people never even notice. He wouldn't notice them, either, if he didn't spend so much time watching her.
When she left the shelter this evening, it was with a cat in her arms, and he could tell from the feline's very noticeable ribs that she to be a recent pick up from the streets. Selina hadn't used a leash or a cage. She had simply held the animal until she'd gotten into her car and driven away. He'd noticed several other furry bodies milling about inside her vehicle and had wondered how many were new additions she'd just picked up that day. Even most animal lovers would have been content with having saved one life, but not Selina.
He'd followed discreetly behind her as she'd gone home. She'd only spent a short time in her penthouse apartment, and when she'd left again, she had been slipped from her roof top, dressed in her costume and ready for the night's activities. He'd figured she'd go to fence the diamonds next, but she hadn't. She wasn't done with what she always tells him is her true job. The diamonds weren't at all near the top of her schedule, if, indeed, they were there at all.
She had gone instead to a circus that had just up that very day. He had watched as she had slunk around and through various tents and displays until the sound of roars had caught both their ears. They'd raced quickly to one of the larger tents, which turned out to house one of the training areas of the animals. It was Catwoman, not Selina, who grabbed the whip out of the lion tamer's hands and struck several lashes onto his body.
Batman had been caught, watching her, not by her or any of the circus people or animals but by he himself and his strict morals. He had felt that he should swing in to stop the violence being enacted on a person, but when he'd noticed two of Catwoman's cats pouncing on the flames licking a weak lion's mane and working together to put them out as their heroine deftly lashed the man who had caused the animal's pain, he'd no longer been certain that that wasn't the right path.
It wasn't supposed to be their place to wreck vengeance, but he knew if Catwoman didn't help the lion, no one else would, either. The supposed authorities in the matter had already okayed the circus as being one who didn't harm their animals but respected them and cared for them. Even if the truth was discovered, the lion would be long dead by that time. So he had watched and debated, and it had taken every ounce of his self control not to intervene. The whole time, however, he wanted to hit the lion tamer himself.
He had almost made up his mind to stop Catwoman, however, when she lashed the lion tamer's groin. He had grimaced and reached for his Bathook. He had barely swung it when Catwoman turned tail and ran, but she didn't leave alone. Every cat in the place went with her, and as they fled, Batman got a good look at not just the lion she had saved but the other cats, as well. He saw a rib sticking out of one tiger's coat and witnessed Catwoman double back for a cub who couldn't even walk on his paws without yowling in pain.
He let her go that time. Perhaps, he shouldn't have, but he did. He noticed as she ran from the circus that other cats joined up with her. He had to scratch his head, though, when they all piled into a clown car and fled into the city.
He found her again just outside of a string of warehouses where he knew one of her locations was kept. He also knew that it was the warehouse she'd set up like a greenhouse, perhaps, he wondered often, with Poison Ivy's help. It was as warm as Africa in that building, and the grass was lush and green, despite never seeing real sunlight except through the warehouse's few windows and skylight. It was the perfect place for the big cats from the circus, but it wasn't where she'd stashed the diamonds -- or if it was, she came out without them again.
He had barely resumed following her when sirens had drawn him away again. He'd dealt quickly with the robbery and handed her the average robbers over to the cops before moving back after her. The sounds of a fight had led him to her, and he'd arrived just in time to watch her again dispensing her own special brand of justice. He knew the gang she was fighting and had watched from a distance as she single handedly took them down.
Oddly, or so it seemed to him at the time, it wasn't their leader upon whom she spent the most time. It was just another misled, young teenager who she had driven to his knees. He couldn't hear what she was telling him as she kicked him, but he could hear her angry hisses. She kept a handful of the boy's long hair and yanked his head back up as she slashed the claws of her other hand across his eyes.
"CATWOMAN!" Batman had roared and dove from the shadows, but she turned and ran again. Still, she paused one time to grasp a tiny object from the shadows. Batman peered closer and realized it wasn't an object at all but a teeny kitten, whose eyes were not open but were bleeding.
"Aren't you going to help me?!"
"The police can help you," Batman had returned and fled the scene, hearing sirens blaring again. Even as he left the gang behind, however, he knew very well the police would not have helped that kitten, who was nowhere near old enough to be on his own. They wouldn't help him, but they would try to mend the damage done to the thug's eyes. Batman wondered how adept Catwoman was at mending feline eyes, knowing well that she was the only help that poor kitten was going to receive.
He'd found her again behind a set of stores, pouring cat food onto the paved streets of the alley ways from a fifty pound bag. He knew she'd probably stolen the bag, although none of the stores' alarms had been triggered, but as he watched whole families of cats rush from every conceivable hiding place within the allies to their one source of decent food, he again couldn't find the heart to persecute her. He was glad when the Batsignal lit up the night sky and called him away for the second time that night. He wondered how many she took home from Gotham's back alleys but didn't have the time to wait and see that every one who would come with her was welcomed until the allies were left empty and deserted.
Now he's watching her as she slips back into the humane society. She doesn't have to bypass any alarms on this step of whatever plan she's hatching. She puts the codes in easily, and he knows she must have full access to the compound. He slips in behind her, careful not to make a noise and flips up into the rafters as she heads for the office.
He's wondering if perhaps she stashed the diamonds somewhere on the grounds when he sees her firing up the computer. He watches as she scrolls through lists before turning off the computer and the cameras before going inside to the kennels. The dogs do not bark as she moves slowly and cautiously along their cages.
Her green eyes peered into the darkness, seeking among all the furry faces for only certain ones. When she finds the ones she wants, she opens their doors, and they run off into the night until at last she comes to the end of the rows. Both Batman and Catwoman freeze when a goat suddenly bleats, but she tosses a can to the goat, whose horns indicate he must be considerably aged, before continuing on through the building. The goat chews the can and its paper and smacks his lips, quite pleased, behind her.
The dogs had large kennels, but the cats share small cages. Catwoman works deftly on them. Cats and kittens jump out of every cage she opens until the very last door is opened. Then Catwoman reaches in with the gentle hands of a mother and withdraws kittens even tinier than the one she rescued earlier from the gang. Batman watches in wide-eyed, silent amazement; he hadn't realized they came so little.
He follows them as Catwoman leads her latest rescues to her home. Her arms are loaded with kittens, but her long, slender legs move deftly, quickly eating up the miles to her penthouse. She slips the guard a bill and hurries everybody inside before she is seen -- or so she thinks. But there looms behind her a great Bat, scratching his cowl in wonder.
He waits, but she doesn't come back out. It's only when he's beginning to see rays of pink pierce the dark night that Batman finally turns and wings his own way home, feeling still befuddled and, oddly, more than a little empty. He's still pondering all he's seen when he enters his cave. He steps out of the Batmobile and almost onto a small, black bundle beside the car.
He frowns and looks closer. He has to remember to always look closer, he thinks, because things and women are not always what they seem. He half expects the tiny, furry bundle to be a kitten, but as he lifts the tiny life into his gauntleted hats, he notes torn, leather-like wings trying to flutter. The bat shrieks but doesn't have the strength to move from him.
Batman cups the tiny animal and looks around, wondering how it landed there. Was it attacked? Surely he didn't accidentally hit it with the Batmobile? He sees no signs of fighting or intrusion, but the bat is clearly in need of help. He hurries to his medlab, but as he sets about setting the tiny animal's wing, he doesn't realize that he, too, is being watched.
He doesn't see a tail lash out into the night or ruby red lips curve with pleasure. He doesn't hear the low rumble of purrs from both woman and cat, and he's never aware that some one he finally knows well has slipped into his secret hideaway -- or that she's the one who left the poor, little bat there for him to find after having found him in the streets of Gotham earlier that very night herself. She leaves no physical mark as she exits, but Catwoman knows she's left a mark.
Batman will never look at her, her babies, or the animals of the world the same way after tonight. After tonight, she thinks, maybe, just maybe, the animals will have another hero, and those who need his help the greatest will finally receive it, but one thing's for sure: he'll never find the diamonds now. She laughs as she and Isis, her favorite cat of them all, race into the rising sun.