The next day, Bruce was tired but pleased with himself as he parked in the school lot. His first night out had been a success, a very popular one at that. The whole school was talking about that shadow-man that attacked the school bullies, one of them must have talked about it.
"Bruce!" Oswald called as he and a few others rushed to him. "Did you hear?"
"The Bat Man," Victor answered. "Wayde kept talking about it, an individual wearing a bat suit attacked him and his partner last night."
"Made total fools of them too," Edward added.
"Well, I guess that taught them a lesson," he shrugged.
"How can you be so impassive to this?" Oswald asked. "I know you've only been here a short while but I thought you had developed the same animosity towards them."
"I just think it would have been better if we taught them a lesson, not some loon in a bat suit," Bruce answered opening his locker.
"I agree," Harvey added. "Noble as this vigilante's intentions may be, we should be the ones the school talked about..."
'I'm a vigilante?' Bruce thought and could not help smile. "Let's get to class before the 'vigilante' comes after us for being tardy," he joked.
The whole school talked about nothing else and the cafeteria was louder than ever. He never expected to have such an impact on everything. However, the really important part was to wait and see the effect he had had on the two boys. Wayde, apparently, had already been scared of him. Eduard, however, would not be so easily intimidated. Unfortunately, he had not seen either of them all day.
"Morning Bruce, have you heard?" Pamela asked taking his arm.
"About that bat guy who..."
"Oh not you too..." she said on a slightly irritated tone. "What is it with boys and guys in masks that..."
"Stand up for others?" Barbara interrupted.
"That act crazy," Pamela said and squeezed Bruce's arm.
"I think he's amazing, what about you, Bruce?"
"Well... a guy who dresses up like a bat can't be right in the head no matter what good he does," he answered trying to look amused by what he was saying.
"At least someone has some sense in his head," Pamela said approvingly.
"Bruce, can I talk to you for a moment?" Barbara asked ignoring the cheerleader.
"Sure, about what?"
"Go ahead Brucey. I just wanted to know if anyone's asked you to the dance. You know, the one where girls invite the boys..."
"Um... not yet..." he said nervously.
"Then you'll go with me?" she asked giving him the seductive smile.
"Great!" she exclaimed and kissed him on the cheek then took off.
"Yeah... what did you want to... Barbara?" he suddenly realised she had already left and walked to his friends' table. "Did you guys see where Barbara went?"
"Bruce, on our last test you scored highest in the class. You have a brilliant mind but... you can be quite dim at times," Oswald replied.
"What do you mean?"
"She left looking very upset," Victor added.
"Honestly, Bruce, you really don't see it do you?" Harvey said half-amused half-sympathetic.
"Barbara wanted to go with you to the dance," Matt said glaring at him.
That left him confused. Why would she have wanted to go with him to the dance when there were so many other boys around? The two had grown up together, had been like brothers... maybe that was the reason. She did not want to go with someone she did not get along with and if it were the two of them, it would have been like old times. In any case, he had to find her and apologise for not realising it.
In the principal's office, the wrestling captain was seated on the couch and waited patiently while the man behind the desk was looking over a file on his computer. After a few minutes he made a long call, speaking in Japanese then turned to his guest.
"Bat-man, was it?" he asked.
"His moves were exceptionally tutored and disciplined," Eduard answered. "My first thought was that he was someone in your employ."
"I have no one that skilled in this city. Which makes this Batman all the more curious..."
"How do you propose to deal with him?"
"Tell me, what effect did he have on Mr. Jones?"
"He's still shaking," the boy answered reproachfully. "He thinks it was some kind of monster."
"Indeed... well then, why not pin a monster against a monster?" R'as said smiling.
Eduard nodded and left the office. Outside, Wayde was waiting for him. Even then he still had a nervous look on his face.
"Pull yourself together, will you?" Eduard told him.
"Wh-what did he say?"
Eduard smiled and said: "Round two."
Outside, on the football field, the cheerleaders were just finishing up their own practice just when the boys were headed towards the lockers. When Bruce looked her way, Pamela blew a kiss towards him and he gave a nervous wave.
"So you and Brucey, huh?" Harley asked.
"Yeah, he's a flower that one..."
"He's a... flower?" the blonde repeated confused.
"Don't worry your pretty little head," Pamela said patting her on the head. "Think Jay will be out in time for the dance?"
"I don't know... I'm going by the hospital now. Wanna come?"
"I'll pass, thanks. Say 'hi' for me."
Half an hour later, Harley knocked on the door of the hospital room where Jay was then opened it slowly. She found him sitting up in bed, still covered in bandages.
"Puddin'!" she yelled gleefully and hugged him. "How ya feelin?"
Jay started mumbling something but it was indistinguishable because of the bandages.
"Oh... right... well the doctors said you should keep them on another week..." she said looking upset.
Jay raised his hand and made a scissors out of his index and middle finger towards her.
When he gestured even more violently she quickly rummaged through her back and pulled out a small pair of scissors with pink handles. Jay grabbed it and started slashing at the bandages covering his face, throwing them off until his face was uncovered. When he looked at Harley she gasped.
"Harl? What's the matter?"
"Hand me your mirror," he said extending his hand.
"I don't think..."
"Harley," he cut her off then something in his voice changed. "Give me the damn mirror."
The girl quickly obeyed and handed him the mirror, shaking the whole time. Jay took it and looked at himself. His skin was white, his hair green and his lips turned red. He looked liked a clown... a twisted, devious clown.
But for some reason he started smiling, then shaking and giggling silently until his mouth opened: "Heh heh heh heh heh heh heeeh... heh heh heh ha ha ha ha ha haaa... uwaaa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaa ha ha haaaaaaaa!"