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Night of the Living Batmen

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This is either the best or the worst idea they’ve ever had.

As far as Dick is concerned, the jury’s still out.

“Are you sure about this?” Tim asks, pulling the cowl over his head. It takes him a moment to adjust the ears correctly.

“Hell yeah.” Jason smirks. “It's gonna be awesome.”

Dick tests the weight of the cape. It’s been a while since he last wore one of these. He can’t say he missed it.

Tim shrugs. “You’re the boss.”

“Damn straight, baby bird.”

Next to Dick, Cass pulls on her gauntlets, one after the other. Since her costume was already so similar to Bruce's, tonight is going to be more of an aesthetic shift for her than any sort of substantive technical change.

Dick would be jealous at the easy costume switch, but that would imply that he actually wanted to wear a cape and cowl year-round. No thank you. He’d miss the unencumbered freedom of the Nightwing suit and the feeling of the wind in his hair way too much. Besides, he’s done this before, and there’s nothing about that dark time he wants to relive except for maybe his close partnership with Damian.

Besides, it's only through the promise of cookies and the careful application of blackmail that the rest of these lunatics have talked him into donning the Batsuit once more... for one night only, that is. He has absolutely no plans of going back after tonight.

“You’re all imbeciles,” Damian says from across the room.

Dick looks up to see silhouetted in the doorway, already dressed. From his stance, he’s probably going for imposing. But Dick thinks he looks absolutely adorable in what's essentially a miniature Batman costume.

“You’re one to talk,” Tim says. “You were dressed before any of us.”

Dick sighs internally, slinking into the shadows along the edge of the room. If he’s going to head off this argument, he’ll have to do it soon.

Damian sneers. “Of course I was. But unlike you, Drake, my father’s mantle is mine by right. As the blood son -”

The sentence devolves into a wordless shriek as Dick sneaks up behind him, scooping Damian up in his arms and hoisting him across his shoulders in a fireman’s carry.

“Put me down this instant, Grayson!” Daiman yells, struggling against his hold. But Dick has experience on his side, and his grip stays firm.

“That’s enough out of you,” Dick says, good-naturedly. “We’re all family here, Damian, but blood has nothing to do with the job. Any one of us has sacrificed more than enough to be worthy of the being Batman.”

“Some more than others,” Jason mutters, darkly, beneath his breath.

Dick raises an eyebrow at him, but Jason just huffs and affixes the grill that starts where his cowl stops and covers the lower half face.

"That thing still looks ridiculous," Tim says, fixing a steel-edged cape around his shoulders.

"I think you meant it looks damn awesome," Jason says.

Up on Dick's shoulders, Damian resigns himself to his fate and goes limp with an annoyed "Tt."

"Regrettably, I must agree with Drake," he says. "You look preposterous."

Jason rests a hand on the holster of the gun they hadn't been able to dissuade him from bringing. "Ya wanna say that again you little twerp?"

"I said - " Damian starts, before Dick puts a hand over his mouth.

Damian hisses but doesn't otherwise fight it.

"None of that," Dick says to the assembled vigilantes in various states of dress. "Can we all agree that as long as no one actually followed through on putting nipples on their costume, no one looks nearly as questionable as they could have?"

He glances around to Jason, Cass, and Tim in turn. All of them look mildly uncomfortable.

Good. It was a horrible idea and if he remembered who suggested it, he'd never stop teasing them.

But there are more important matters at hand.

"Tonight," Dick announces. "We have a mission. And we are going to complete it."

On Dick’s shoulders, Damian tries to take a chunk out of Dick’s ear.

Dick drops him unceremoniously, but true to form Damian lands on his feet with a disgruntled huff.

"This is hardly a mission," Damian mutters.

"Oh come on, little D," Dick cajoles. "There'll be cookies at the end of it."

"I will not be swayed by cookies."

"Is that why I found you trying to raid my stash earlier?" Tim asks as he slots a couple of extra batarangs into his utility belt.

"Lies," Damian says.

"Cass literally caught you doing it."

Cass nods her assent. If Tim notices her stealing one of his batarangs out of his utility belt and replacing it in her own, he doesn't mention it.

Damian crosses his arms, mumbling something in Arabic that sounds highly uncomplimentary.

Cass and Jason both look at Tim, their respective expressions confused and mildly horrified.

"Rude," Tim says. "And I don't see how that's any of your business." The smirk he levels at Damain is vicious. "Besides, it's between me and your grandfather."

"The hell - " Jason starts.

Damian lets loose a battle cry that would probably be more at home on the training mats and launches himself at Tim.

Dick reaches for him, hands snagging around his torso at the last minute.

Damian writhes in his grip, trying to free himself.

"Unhand me!" he yells, struggling harder.

There are times when Dick really hates being the only one of them who hasn't spent significant time with the League of Assassins and, consequently, hates being the only one of them that isn't quite conversational in Arabic.

Considering the edge to Tim's smirk and the horror that overtakes Cass's expression until it matches the one on Jason's, he suspects this is one of those situations where he's glad for it.

"O-kaaaay," Dick drawls. "Moving on. We have five Batmen and six hours to mess with as many people as humanly possible. Tim?"

"We start in thirty-two minutes," Tim says. "Have we finalized the rules?"

"One point for a selfie with a handcuffed goon," Jason says, counting off on his fingers. "Two for selfies with civilians. Five for selfies with civilians who are also dressed as Batman-"

"If it doesn't make it onto Twitter, it didn't happen," Tim interjects.

"-I was gettin' ta that. Aaaaand twenty points for each selfie with a handcuffed rogue, with double point multiplier for each one ya managed to bag an' tag in the same picture."

Cass jabs her elbow into Jason's ribs.

"And?" Dick asks.

Jason groans. "And there's a hundred point deduction for getting in a fight with that clown bastard. I know."

Dick nods, satisfied. "Remember kids," he says. "Alfred's promised us double cookies if we can get this insanity trending on Twitter.

"That is the only reason I am willing to be seen with you imposters," Damian says, his chin jutting out stubbornly.

"I guess you are swayed by cookies after all, baby bat," Jason snarks.

"Do not call me that, Todd." Damian looks like he's about to launch himself again, but this time at Jason.

For his part, Jason throws his arms out, making himself a bigger target as he grins like a maniac. "I call 'em like I see 'em," he taunts.

Tim taps a non-existent watch in annoyance. Oddly enough, it seems to diffuse the tension in the room.

"If we want to start on time," Tim says. "We're really gonna have to wrap this up."

Cass nods, smacking Jason on the shoulder with enough force that he has to catch his balance.

"Well in that case," Dick says. He reaches up to pull on his own cowl, flicking on the synths. In his best impression of Bruce he growls, "To the Batmobile!"

They nearly fall over from laughing three separate times before they make it there.

 


 

From the average beat cop to Gordon himself, it is a truth universally acknowledged that on the last day of each October, Gotham goes to hell in a handbasket faster than Usain Bolt.

Tonight is no exception. Which is why at ten-fifteen on a Thursday he finds himself on the roof of GCPD headquarters, throwing the lever on the Bat-signal a full three hours before the average non-Halloween night.

With that done, he pulls his cellphone out of his coat pocket to check what's trending on Twitter in Gotham.

See, one of Gotham's many many problems is that the stubborn assholes who've lived here their entire lives have come to accept that random criminal invasions are par the course of daily life. They're not wrong, exactly, but it galls Gordon that when some people see an Arkham escapee, they would rather complain about it on social media instead of calling the damn police.

Case in point: the first tweet that comes up is from someone bitching about how their Halloween-themed trivia night has been hijacked by the Riddler, but he only locked one person in a giant Pumpkin full of knives so it's fine or whatever.

But did anyone call the precinct about it?

NO.

Gordon sighs, calling downstairs to make sure one of the GCPD's standby officers is put on that until someone more equipped to handle Nygma-level crazy can show up on the scene.

The next few tweets are just some of Gotham's influencers in their Halloween best, including one of Dick Grayson wearing a highly questionable Catwoman costume.

It makes part of Gordon glad he had turned down Bruce's invitation to his company's Halloween-eve gala. It makes the other part of him hope that Dick decided to wear something little more sensible tonight. 

He doesn't have to hope for too long.

Two tweets later is a selfie of a civilian and... Batman? Gordon squints at the picture. It isn't the best quality, but that jawline doesn't look quite like Bruce's. And Gordon would swear he hasn't seen that costume since...

The next picture is one of a slightly smaller-looking batman smirking at the camera. In the background, a disgruntled Edward Nygma is trapped in his own pumpkin prison.

What the...

More pictures.

There's a selfie taken by a child-sized Batman sitting on a veritable mountain of unconscious henchmen.

Next, a Batman with some sort of metal grill over his mouth shoots fingerguns at the camera in a selfie with five different people in Batman costumes from Halloween popup stores.

The night's current second-most retweeted picture is one that was taken as an oddly slight seeming Batman suplexed one of the Penguin's henchmen... beat only by the first-most retweeted picture of the same Batman suplexing Penguin.

All at once, Gordon realizes what is going on.

With a deep, exasperated sigh, he fishes around in his jacket for a cigarette and lights it.

He's barely one draw in when a deep, familiar voice from behind him says, "those things will kill you, you know."

"You know, Batman," Gordon says, turning around. "Somehow I don't give a - "

He chokes on his words mid-sentence.

Because the person standing behind him certainly isn't Batman.

On the roof of the GCPD, Bruce Wayne stands in a short, yellow cape, a red tunic, and what can only be described as scaly green underwear. His face is covered by a domino mask. His hair is some monstrous combination of the first through the fourth Robins' bad hairstyle choices.

"What the fuck?" Gordon near-shouts, his mouth dropping open. He barely notices his cigarette fall to the gravel and oil rooftop where it sits, smoldering.

"I have to get this to trend on Twitter," Definitely-Not-Bruce-Wayne says. "Alfred promised double cookies."

Gordon blinks twice before staring so long that his cigarette extinguishes.

Without a word, he brushes past "Robin," opens the door to the precinct's stairwell, and goes back inside.

They don't pay him enough for this shit.