Gotham High

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StabbyKobold
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Gotham High

Post by StabbyKobold » Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:32 am

If you’ve spent at least some time browsing fanfiction, you’ve probably come across a peculiarly popular type of story. The High School AU. In short, it is an exercise of taking every character from the established canon and throwing them into a high school setting. If that sentence itself made you cringe, you have my sympathy. That isn’t to say that it can’t be done well, though. High school is a tumultuous period in people’s lives, and it could function well as a set piece for exploring characters. Unfortunately, the characters tend to end up only superficially tied to their canon selves, any depth to them being replaced with young adult fiction clichés. Which brings us to this dumpster dive of a story.

This is Gotham High, a Batman fanfic by Crash Dummy. It is the tale of how the author’s OC enrolls into a not-so-prestigious school in Gotham and interacts with its student and teachers, who are all based on DC Comics characters. While the story’s title is similar to a contemporary comic book release as of writing this mock, the fanfic is in fact more than six years old and based on a scrapped cartoon pitch. That being said, I’m not expecting any great crimes against literature with this one. The premise is goofy, and that’s really all that I need to poke some fun at it for levity. Enjoy.

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Chapter 1

Gotham High was once a proposed TV series idea that was later cancelled. As a fan of DC Comics, I say blasphemy! C'mon, the idea sounds lame but who wouldn't want to see it? At least to satisfy some temporary curiosity?

This is the same kind of interest that is elicited by a car crash. Need I say more about the premise?

So I "created" a series involving a not-so OC exploring what that kind of universe would be like. I borrowed some ideas and/or quotes from the DC universes and wrote something that I might like to see on TV.

This story is also posted on Fictionpress since I didn't know there was a fanfiction site exclusively for Batman. The difference between this and the Fictionpress is that this one is more detailed.

Wow. It’s the first time I can say with any kind of confidence, that I’m reading a second draft.

I do not own any DC characters, comics, etc. and I don't own any of the songs or song lyrics that I may be posting.

Enjoy!

First Day Blues

Gotham High was a bit of a dismal place.

It’s Gotham. There is only one aesthetic.

All of the walls were dreary with graffiti and damage. Teenagers laughed or snickered in the hallways and teachers snoozed away at their desks.

"Dad, why are we moving to Gotham again?" Citrus whispered nervously and angrily as they walked down the hall to the principal's office. Eyes followed them with every step.

Citrus? That’s the OC’s name? Really?! Batman has given us the likes of “E. Nygma” and “Victor Fries”, but those are at least passable as names. In a world where names foreshadow your future career, hers will be a lemonade stand.

Her dad shook his red head, sighing, "I was transferred here, remember? And with your mom dying in the crash, I figured we might need to take a break from everything for a while."

I hope we take a break from contrived exposition as well.

Thank goodness her dad wasn't wearing his badge, then they'd get a lot more stares. It was awkward enough just walking down the hall with eyes following her. While it was a relief to leave what was once her home, but Gotham High was notorious for its violence, gangs, and low test scores. Other than that, she was sure this was just an excuse for him to make her get friends.

Her father wants her to have friends, so he enrolls her in a school known for its criminal environment and poor academic accomplishments. Her father, the policeman. Are there just no other schools in Gotham?!

At her last school, things were hard enough with friends. At least there, she knew how thing worked, here was a mystery.

Her dad went inside the principal's office and a redheaded girl sat next to Citrus. The girl wore a black turtle neck and a gray, ruffled skirt.

"Hi, I'm Barbara Gordon. Welcome to Gotham High," redhead smiled.

Welcome to the microcosm of everything the show was, but with teenage hormones and homework.

Citrus flushed and stammered, "Would your dad happen to be Commissioner Gordon? As in my dad's boss? Please don't fire him, I'll carry your books or help you do your homework if you want!"

Citrus clapped her hands over her mouth as Barbara stared.

Crud, now she knows my dad is employed under hers. I am so dead if she's like my last dad's boss's kids.

Image

Slow down there, Miss Vitamin-C. Get a grip, hopefully around a spine to replace your missing one. What the hell are you on about with this uncalled for despair?

"Why would it matter if your father works for mine? Why would he be fired? And you don't have to do that kind of stuff," Barbara said worriedly.

Citrus chuckled nervously, "Sorry, at my last school I attended the same school of my dad's boss's kid, and... Well, he was one of those pretty, rich types of guys. The kind with a lot of social power, so he often threatened that he'd get my dad fired if I didn't do what he said."

Why am I telling her this? She seems easy to talk to, but she could be one of those types that are nice at first, and then they stab you in the back! What am I thinking?!

I don’t believe you are thinking at all, Lemonhead. And neither is the author. Why does Citrus even know the name of her father’s boss? Why, when realizing who Barbara is, does she cynically expect Barbara to behave like an entirely unrelated character instead of trying to assess her first? Why would Citrus even start blabbering about it, as if she was stuck in constant exposition mode, instead of keeping her trap shut and merely hold it as a silent point of distrust?

Barbara looked sadly at her, "Ok, there are bad kids like that in our school, but there are good kids as well. You've just got to let them know who you really are."

Citrus smiled, "You remind me of my mom, she always believed in looking for the best in people. Sorry, I'm a bit of a blabbermouth, and also apparently a total jerk for judging so quickly. You can call me 'Jerk of the year' if you want, but my real name is Citrus O'Brien."

My god, you really are stuck in exposition mode, C. The story is barely into page two, what is the fucking rush?

Barbara smiled even wider, "I'll call you Citrus and you can call me Babs. Out of curiosity, why are you called Citrus?"

Citrus laughed, "You know how pregnant women have cravings? Guess what my mom craved."

They both laughed.

I, too, am laughing at this now verified walking joke of a character.

Citrus's dad stepped out of the office and smiled sadly at his daughter.

"See you later honey, and tell me about school later."

"Bye dad, and don't worry. I think I just made a new friend," Citrus smiled at Babs and Babs smiled back.

“Babs” means “tit” in my native language, and I don’t mean the bird. Why couldn’t you just have used “Barb”, which is the more popular nickname for her?

Her dad smiled brightly and hugged her before heading off to work. The school bell rang and Babs grabbed Citrus's schedule.

"Okay, your first period is ... Forensic science?"

"Yeah, I want to be a detective, like my mom was."

"What's with all the past tense about your mom?" Babs asked before flushing, as if she caught the gist of it. "Oh, I'm so sorry."

Citrus sweat dropped, "Please forget about the mother thing. I miss her, but she's here in my heart. The more people worry over it, the worse it feels. I'm not going to be melodramatic about it so don't worry about it. So, which way do we go?"

What you just described is textbook melodrama, dumb-dumb. Just shut up already about the saintly inspiration that was your dearly departed source of career goals with a lemon fetish. I know more about your dead mother, heck, even your irresponsible deadbeat cop father, than I know about you, you overripe lime. Who are you?!

The campus was big and worked like an overcrowded city. Citrus struggled to stick with Babs and when they reached the classroom through the sea of people, they were gasping for air.

"Oooh, new meat!" a shrill, girly voice rang. Citrus looked up from panting and saw a blonde with pigtails. One pigtail was dyed red at the tips and the other black. Through her thick mascara, which reminded Citrus of a mask, she saw the girl had twinkling, cold blue eyes full of humor. There was something weird about them, an intelligence that challenged most.

The first thing it will challenge is probably my patience.

"Whadya think Mistah J?" she said with a Jersey accent.

The blonde was looking at a boy with extremely pale skin, blood red lips, and combed green hair. He reminded Citrus of one of those really scary clowns at a circus. There was something way off about him, but something childish as well.

It’s probably the red rubber nose and goofy oversized shoes. Seriously though, what kind of circuses have you been to?

"I think it's time to get the stink bomb Harley," Mistah J smiled evilly. His voice reminded Citrus of steel rubbing on gravel, rough.

Harley smiled widely, "Now you're gonna get it toots."

The teacher walked in at that moment and yelled, "In your seats everyone! Junior Oker, that includes you. And no more stink bombs."

Image

Junior. Oker. His name is J. Oker. It’s not a nickname. It’s not an edgy moniker as befitting of cringe high school social dynamics. It’s not even the go-to alias of Jack Napir. His name is Junior Oker. I think I need a minute. Possibly a few blows to the head.

Mistah J frowned, "They spoil all the fun."

The teacher wore a nametag, Kirk Langstrom. The teacher noticed Citrus and asked for her schedule. After confirming who she was, he told her to sit next to a kid named Jonathan Crane. Jonathan was a thin person, and grim like a scarecrow. He was drawing possible chemical reactions in notebook, some of the chemicals she could recognize, like capsaicin or salvia divinorum, others were a mystery. Weird, salvia divinorum or seer's sage induces hallucinations. He's not planning to use that to get high, is he?

I’m more concerned that you recognized its formula on sight. Have you used it to get high? What exactly is your skillset, Schweppes?

Professor Langstrom began lecturing about how bats would survive anything that humans couldn't. Citrus felt like she wasn't learning anything new, and that everyone was over obsessive about something here. Ok, it was okay to have some obsessions, but not to the point where it might make others wonder if you were dropped on your head several times as a baby.

You aren’t learning anything new, as Man-Bat literally declares bats to be the new super predator on the planet?! I think I know who here has been dropped as a baby, you bruised fruit.

Citrus glanced over to Jonathan's paper again, "Hey Jonathan, what are you making?"

He looked surprised than angry, " The name's Scarecrow newbie. Everybody here goes by other names. I'm Scarecrow, the clowns are Joker and Harley Quinn. And I doubt you even know what chemical's are being used. "

Citrus narrowed her eyebrows, " I may be blonde, but I'm smarter than I look. Salvia divinorum is used to create hallucinations and can be extremely dangerous . I could tattle like a brat, but I want to know why you're using it."

I want to know why Crane felt the need to belittle your intelligence in the exact way that made you able to show off your big brains. Additionally, this is the first bit of description we’ve gotten of you. Blonde. We’re more than a thousand words into the story, and all I have is a hair color.

Scarecrow looked frightened for a second, then incredibly smug, "Okay, maybe you know a few things. I'm making a gas that will induce hallucinations about people's worst fears. I'm making it for the government to make loads of cash but if you tattle, I may consider using it on you."

Citrus hesitated, an error on her part, "I'm not fond of that kind of tactic, but as long as that's what you're doing with it, without test subjects hopefully, then I won't bother you about it. If I catch you using it for another reason, well, let's agree to disagree on that method."

I now have a hair color, a dead mother, and a non-existent moral compass. The picture of this grapefruit is slowly coming together, and it ain’t pretty.

Scarecrow glared," Are you threatening me?"

"No, I'm warning you against a possible danger asides from myself. Therefore, not a threat."

You’re literally threatening to expose him for his illicit biological weapons program. You’re in a school, open a fucking dictionary once in a while.

Scarecrow went back to his calculations, but not before glaring at Citrus. "All you people are the same, but you'll see. You'll all see."

Citrus felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up as a chill went down her spine. Something was off with that kid. Heck, there seemed to be something off about everyone. It unnerved her, but she reminded herself to keep an open mind. There's something unusual about everyone, this school just takes it to a new level.

Unless you start exhibiting something unusual about yourself too, Pomelo, I don’t think you’re going to fit in here.

The period ended and Citrus and Babs looked over her schedule.

"Crud, we only share this period and lunch together. Maybe I can convince the teachers to let me help you around at the very least," Babs offered, but Citrus shook her head.

"Babs, no offense, but I have gone to school before and I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. I can last for two periods without you before lunch, and three periods after. Although if you don't see me at lunch, please do look around."

Sure, because Barbara was such a pillar of support during Bats Are Superior 101. Who put Langstom in charge of Forensic Science anyway?

Babs laughed nervously, "You sure?"

"Yes. I'll probably regret saying this later, but how hard can it be?"

Babs face paled for a moment, "See you later, I guess. Good luck."

Citrus smiled and waved goodbye. At least she made one friend here, hopefully.

...

Her next class was PE. Now why on Earth would Citrus voluntarily go there of all places with her past? Easy, she had to stay fit and practice the physical applications in her future job.

Her past? What past?! I can pick up a random kumquat at the grocery store, and I will have greater knowledge of its past than I do about this girl! What about her mother dying, or her transferring from a different school, would make me question her interest in PE?!

Citrus got her locker number from Mr. Lawrence Crock, a PE coach with a fetish for all things sporty.

Citrus walked towards her locker and noticed her three locker mates. Harley was one of them, another girl was a red-head and had almost green skin. The last had nails like claws and animal prints clothes, she reminded Citrus of a cat.

The girls glared at Citrus as she opened her locker and dressed into her uniform. Why were they so cranky? Was it that time of the month for them?

Silent resentment and character judgement bases upon superficial physical traits. Honestly, I can’t imagine a better description of a high school girls’ locker room.

A very girlish scream ripped through the air and it was coming from... the boys' locker room?

"Eeeeeek! A bat! Kill it! Kill it!"

Citrus raced to the room while keeping her eyes down. She knew what male parts were supposed to look like, but that didn't mean she wanted to ogle them. Citrus ignored the shrieks of terror coming from the boys who noticed she was there and focused on the ones coming from the guys scared of bats.

If your presence inspires terror in a bunch of puberty-addled boys, regardless of their state of dress, then I think you have bigger issues. As big as the rampant curiosity that drove you to dive directly into the boys locker room, just because you heard someone shouting about a bat. What do you think you’re doing, you absolute nutter?!

A kid with really scaly skin, sharp teeth, and shorts , thank goodness, was raising a metal bat to hit a little baby brown bat trying to crawl away on the floor.

Citrus raced over and took the blow instead to her ribs. She grunted as she stood up and guys around her gasped. She reached down and carefully picked up the little bat, making sure not to get near its face.

Sure, let’s just ignore your broken ribs. Just like I’ll ignore how someone trying to hit a bat on the floor could hit a standing person in their chest.

The little bat squealed with a sound that was a mix between anger and terror. Citrus slowly walked out of the locker room, careful not to let the bat escape and making sure it wouldn't be able to bite her. If it did, it would have to be put down, or it could have rabies and kill her.

Outside the locker room stood Professor Langstrom, Coach Crock, and her three locker mates. Crock gave her a lecture about entering the boys' locker room and Langstrom insisted that she fork over the bat.

He also insisted that the bat would surely have survived the strike, since it can survive anything that a human can’t. No, I am not going to let that go, don’t even ask.

"Keep in mind, it didn't bite anyone. So please don't put it down."

"Don't worry, I'd never harm a bat. They're the next step in evolution you know," Langstrom explained as he put the bat into a cage with... velvet lining? He stared at it lovingly, mesmerized.

"Oh please Langstrom, you're married. So quit being in love with bats, they're so creepy. If anybody should love anything, it should be sports. I'm the master of all sports. Now wench, get your butt onto that field before I give you detention."

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Pardon me, but when first this character was introduced, I thought it was simply a misspelling of Killer Croc, but that was clearly the person who decided to practice his baseball swing by pulping the author’s OC. Let me look into this, Google don’t fail me now!

Sportsmaster? Some c-list villain whose origin is being a banned football player? I mean, sure, he’s from Gotham, but he’s a Golden Age leftover from the Injustice Society. He appeared more recently in Young Justice, but that should really just highlight how little he has to do with Batman overall. I don’t know anything about this guy’s personality, but with the way the author just had him address a female student in his class, I doubt it’s going to matter much.

Citrus ran to her locker to grab her sneakers, but realized to her dismay that they, along with her regular outfit, had been stolen.

"Terrific, it's my first day and this happens already," she murmured. Well, she had better get to the field before the Sportsmaster throws a tantrum.

...

Citrus saw that a whole lot of guys on the field were lifting weights or running the field. The girls were either sitting around or walking.

Sitting around? During a Physical Education lesson? What the heck kind of laissez-faire class is Crock running here?

Citrus shivered a little. It was freezing out and the ground even had some ice. Great... and she was out here in her socks. The boys and Crock began to fill the running track with hurdles, tires and cones.

"Okay everybody, for extra credit we have an obstacle course. Anybody who can beat the record in timed racing gets credit for the day," Citrus stepped forward and the guys around her laughed.

"This girl's crazy boys. Charging into the boys locker room, handling a bat, and now attempting to race an obstacle course in her socks? I knew girls were stupid, but not that stupid. Give it up girly, there's no way you can win," Crock laughed maliciously.

I’m sure she can still achieve a moral victory, Coach Strawman. After all, it only requires that the author makes everyone around her blatantly in the wrong.

Citrus knew he was sadistic and trying to make her cry. She had enough of that kind of thing, so she decided to be gutsy. She smiled and tugged off her socks. The coach widened his eyes in surprise.

"Your funeral. Don't expect that I'll let you go to the nurse if you get hurt. Ready, get set, go!"

He blew a whistle and Citrus ran as fast as she could. One thing her mom and dad had taught her was how to survive and thrive in these situations. Whether it depended on chasing down crooks or running for your life, it didn't matter. Citrus knew what she wanted in life and no one would tell her no simply because she couldn't complete an obstacle course.

There’s a fine line between being steadfast in the face of adversity and being an idiot, you prime example of the latter. You’re taking on an extra credit obstacle course while running barefoot. That’s not surviving or thriving. That’s begging for an injury.

Citrus tripped and scraped her knee.

I rest my case, your honor!

She bit her lip, got up, and continued. The boy who had a baseball bat ran up next to her and shoved into her ribs. Citrus bit her lip even harder to keep herself from crying out. The guy had the strength of an alligator or crocodile. Another guy who looked Hispanic with huge muscles tried to have a go at her. She jumped another hurdle and avoided both shoves by cartwheeling.

The fuck?! No, seriously, what the fucking hell?! It wasn’t enough to just stand on the sidelines and watch the girl gash open her kneecap? They have to actively attack and impede her? Why?! Not only is this goddamn absurd, the fact that a teacher would even allow this is mindboggling. I’m fully expecting they’ll keep kicking her if she falls down. I know this is based on cartoons, but full-blown cartoon villainy is not a good thing!

She was no acrobat, but knowing how to do at least that helped a little. The boy flew past her sideways and fell onto the ground with a thud. There was the finish line, only a few feet ahead of her. Citrus pushed herself and her lungs burned. She ran past the finish line and bent over, gasping for air.

After a moment, she noticed everything was quiet. Citrus looked up and saw that the whole PE class was staring at her. Despite the pain from breathing hard against her ribs, she knew she shouldn't show weakness and stood up tall.

"Your feet," Harley murmured quietly.

Someone just discovered a new fetish, I see.

Citrus looked down and was relieved her feet were numb from the cold. They were bleeding a little from scrapes and bruises. It wasn't terrible, but it'd hurt in the morning. She met Coach Crocker shocked eyes.

"What... was ... my time?" she asked between breaths.

He looked at his watch and smirked evilly, " You were ten seconds after the record. Sorry sweetie, but it's like I've said again and again. Women are no good for anything except staying at home and pleasing their men."

Can we please stop with this trope? The vocal and rampant misogynist with all the subtlety of an exploding gas main. It’s no different than the author going, “Here he is, people! Hate him!” I’m not saying he can’t be a woman hater, I’m saying he doesn’t have to advertise it, like it couldn’t possibly affect his reputation or professional career.

Citrus wanted to punch the smug look on his face. No, if she did they'd call her dad and he was worried with too much already.

"C'mon ladies, we've got work to do!" he said gleefully.

Some people looked at her with pity, and they continued on their way. Citrus took a moment to breathe before picking up her socks. She didn't know the Sportsmaster's parentage, but she called him a bastard in her head and it felt good.

...

Citrus was panting by the time she got back to her locker, so much that she started to lose her vision. Somebody caught her by the middle and helped her sit down.

Is she at all capable of taking care of herself? So far, she’s done nothing but make bee lines toward every obstacle presenting itself. Gotham High might be a health hazard, but I feel like Tangerine would stick her neck in a guillotine just because it’s there.

"Easy tiger, you've been through a lot today," it was the girl with the claws. "By the way, I'm Selina. Green is Poison Ivy and you've already met Harley."

The other two waved and Harley handed Citrus a water bottle. Citrus sniffed it and then chugged it down greedily.

"Thirsty, aren't you," Ivy said as she took out an aloe plant from her locker.

Citrus panicked, "Don't let it get near me!"

Image

"What? Do you have botanophobia?" Ivy asked.

"Batawha?" Harley asked.

"Fear of plants," Citrus clarified. "No, I don't fear plants. I fear killing them. Any plant that has ever been around me somehow dies."

Start counting the days, Pamela. It’s terminal.

Ivy took a step back and took a piece of the aloe off before putting the plant back in her locker. The she gave the aloe to Citrus.

"Thanks for the warning, I wouldn't know what to do if something happened to my babies. Anyway, this will help your feet."

"I know, it's aloe, right?" Citrus questioned.

"Right."

"Thanks, but why are you guys helping me? It seemed like you hated me earlier."

You’re the author’s OC, practically a self-insert, and the author is a fan of these characters. They’re obligated to be friendly the moment you do anything vaguely impressive.

Harley shrugged, " It's tradition to pick on the newbies. But it's kind of nice that you stood up to that jerk. Too bad you didn't beat the record."

"She would've if it weren't for Killer Croc or Bane, " Selina sneered.

Citrus almost gagged on her water, "Bane? Killer Croc?"

"Yeah, he probably hasn't killed anyone though, yet."

Makes it kind of weird that Waylon Jones would already have that name, then. Why does every character already have their future personas in place, when this is a literal formative period in their life?

Citrus gulped and then regained her composure, "Okaaay. Thanks by the way."

"You didn't get it from us," Harley said.

Citrus got the message and chugged some more water. Next thing she knew, her sneakers and clothes were in her face. Citrus looked up at Harley.

Harley glared down at her, her eyes repeating the message. Citrus nodded and grabbed her clothes before they could change their minds.

"Hey, why'd you help that rodent with wings?" Selina asked.

Citrus flushed, "I've, got a bit of a weakness for anything fuzzy and cute. Don't you dare laugh."

And yet I think Langstrom would have at least knocked, if he was in the same situation. Acting like a crazy person is not explained away by establishing superficial quirks.

Selina smiled, "Wouldn't dream of it, you're not the only one with that kind of weakness. Mine is for cats. And if anybody calls me a crazy cat lady for it, well, "she flexed her claws, "I'd have to teach them a lesson they wouldn't forget."

Citrus shivered.

"Hey Lemons, if you need help, just call us. Oh, and we're the Gotham Sirens for short," Harley giggled.

"Lemons?" Citrus asked as the bell rang. She didn't get an answer.

With a name like yours, I’m surprised you didn’t hear that one in grade school, cough drop.

Next up was Music. No, the schedule didn't clarify. Not music theory, or band or anything like that. It was simply Music.

...

The theater had kids seated in chairs on the stage where they were tuning their instruments or warming up somehow. The class seemed to be a mixture of all groups. Choir, orchestra, band, it was all a blend.

The teacher liked to call himself, The Fiddler. Well, at least he didn't call himself a master like some teachers with a superiority complex.

Another villain from the Injustice Society? He’s from the Flash’s rogues gallery - you can’t just throw everyone into a high school in Gotham because they’re from DC Comics!

"Now, my young pupil, let's see what your talent is," he said with a smile. Maybe this teacher wasn't so bad?

It turned out that his patience ran out quickly. Citrus tied out dozens of instruments, and she sucked at playing every single one. Oh, and when she tried to sing, she sounded like a kookaburra.

Oh. I see what’s going on now. This is the first time I see one of these in the wild. Citrus is an example of the lesser-known cousin of the Mary Sue, the “Anti-Sue”. This is what you end up with, when you’re trying to avoid writing a Mary Sue by removing the typical traits of one. Citrus sucks at everything she does. Because that is the opposite of what a Mary Sue would do. Funnily enough, this person typically ends up as a Mary Sue anyway, as no matter how inept, clumsy, blabbermouth, self-deprecating, or plant euthanizing they become, people still treat them like the most likeable person on the planet. They will fail, constantly, but with no meaningful negative consequences.

"Go to the corner until I figure out what to do with you!" the teacher grumbled.

In the back, two redheaded boys were fighting. One was wearing a green jacket with question marks and the other had big glasses with...music notes on them.

Citrus got out her CD player and plugged in her headphones, trying to ignore them. A favorite song of hers started playing. Admittedly, even she was confused at her favorite songs. Some were from Disney, and others from people like Adam Lambert. Sadly, this song came from a well known and infamous band, Nickelback. The song was "If Everyone Cared". What a laugh, it was Gotham wasn't it? Asides from that, she knew people who wouldn't care.

Count me in, Lemongrass! I don’t want or need you to become a mouthpiece for the author’s musical tastes. A mottled music library is not a unique personality trait. It’s such a widespread phenomenon that it’s been subjected to scientific study.

She started humming to it. Her eyes closed. The song made her see images of her past. Her mom, dad, Babs, Joker, Scarecrow, Killer Croc, Harley, Ivy, Selina...

She allowed one tear to fall. She would make it. This was one day of many and she knew her mission. She wasn't going to give up. The song finished and Citrus heard clapping.

She stood up and realized the entire class was smiling at her, and that she had been singing the song. Citrus flushed madly with embarrassment.

Total blunder of an unconsciously committed social faux pas. The result is instant praise, despite imitating a bird called the “laughing jackass” last time she tried singing. Yeah, she’s an Anti-Sue alright.

"Beautiful. Magnifique! Sing again, that was a wonderful voice!" Fiddler said euphorically with a tear streaming down his cheek like some kind of anime character.

Citrus felt frozen as a statue. She tried to sing, but her voice now sounded worse than chalk scraping a chalkboard. People even covered their ears and the teacher looked at her, confused.

Then, his face lit up like New Year's Eve, " I see, you have stage fright, correct? And when you are afraid, you perform horribly."

Of all the people to be intimidated by the limelight.

Citrus flinched a little but wrinkled her nose. As far as she was concerned, she always sounded bad. Why would people ever say she sounded beautiful?

" I shall train you so that you will no longer have stage fright. Meanwhile, you shall practice with some of my best students. Edward, my Music Meister, introduce yourselves to the young lady," the teacher clapped.

Citrus found herself facing the two redheaded boys. They looked related somehow.

" Riddle de diddle," Edward said.

Is the riddle why he would utter those words in the first place?

He had a British accent. "I'm Edward Nygma, but call me Riddler. This chap is my very distant idiotic relative who refuses to state his real name."

"Call me Music Meister," the distant relative said as he shook her hand. He had an enormous gap between his teeth.

Somehow they both seemed to be charming.

She faced Riddler, "You don't seem like the type intrigued by music. So why are you here?"

You don’t seem like the type who is intriguing, lemon slice. So why are you in this story?

"Aah my little blond friend, that is not much of a puzzle. The school staff figured that I should be close to him so they can keep track of us. I was stuck in here."

Citrus resented how people treated her differently for being a blond, but she'd put up with it for now.

"You really seem to like puzzles, can I try one?"

Gee, another chance for Citrus to flex her brain on a smug villain. I do so wonder if she’ll totally ace it.

Music Meister looked worried, but Riddler smiled an oh-so-not charming smile.

"Very well, I have billions of eyes yet I live in darkness. I have millions of ears yet only four lobes. I have no muscles, yet I move two hemispheres. What am I?"

Citrus smiled since the answer was obvious, "The human brain of course."

The Riddler's eyes widened and she continued, " The brain is made up of two hemispheres. There are four lobes. It is composed of mostly fat, it has no eyes and yet it can see, and although it has no ears, it can hear."

Because the brain has optical and auditory nerves. If you’re going to rip off the Batman animated series, at least get the entire explanation right instead of stating blatant contradictions.

The Riddler stuttered, "You're... the first one to solve that."

"Thank you. Maybe you can solve something for me since I don't know the answer to it," Riddler leaned forward a little to hear, intrigued. "Why does the teacher say I have a beautiful voice? Every time I've heard my voice, it sounds like an exotic bird squawking in terror. "

Riddler and Music Meister smiled at her. Meister was the first to respond.

"Believe it or not, you have a gift. Even I, the greatest musician and singer to ever live though it was lovely. Eventually, once you gain the courage, I hope that we can perform a duet."

Croc plays a mean xylophone with his batter swing, why don’t you start a band?

Citrus flushed and stammered, "That's very thoughtful of you, but I..."

"A warning little puzzle solver, we will teach you to no longer fear the stage or the audience by putting you through some terrifying experiences. After all, I owe you for solving my puzzle," Edward said darkly.

Damn, if it weren't for that British accent, that statement would have made her think a little more clearly on the meaning behind it. Why did girls always feel strange around people with foreign accents? They were attracted to it, or it disturbed them. Why couldn't it be the latter for Citrus?

Why couldn’t she just have self-motivation to overcome her stage fright? Why must she be baited or dragged by the hand towards the plot?

...

The cafeteria was the same wherever Citrus went. There was a table for every social group, and Citrus didn't belong to a single one. Babs sat at one table and looked like she was having a good time. It'd be better not to bother her.

Just go sit with your one and only friend in this place, you sourpuss.

Thank goodness this high school had an area to eat outside. While it was freezing to the point where her face was numb, the cold was oddly comforting. Across the way, a bald kid wearing a t-shirt, and shorts with red glasses was cuddling with a girl he was obviously in love with.

Admittedly, Citrus wanted that kind of love, but she'd rather wait till she was out of high school to start dating. Asides from the kids at this school being a little too psychopathic for her, she didn't want to kiss a sweaty or pimply kid that she'd fall in love with, only to find out when they grew up that he did drugs or something far worse. Besides, love would only be an unnecessary distraction from her goal.

Ever heard of a breakup, Honey Lemon? Your goal, as far as you’ve stated, is your future career. I think you can wedge love into your schedule.

She sat beneath a large oak filled with birds of all species. Odd, wouldn't they had flown to warmer areas by now? As she unwrapped a sandwich, Citrus could almost swear somebody was watching her. She looked and figured it was only the birds eyeing her food so she gave them some.

She was about to take a bite when something thudded at her feet. She jumped, dropped the sandwich, and almost screamed until she realized that it was a short and squat little boy with a rather large beak-like nose. An umbrella lay next to him and he was patting dirt off of himself while muttering apologies. His voice was a bit like a bird's, chittering away. She picked up his umbrella and handed it to him.

"You okay?" she asked.

He snatched at the parasol, "None of your beeswax. Oh, sorry I ah, thought you were somebody else."

Then who did he think he was apologizing to just before now? And how did Citrus not see him sitting in the tree, yet she noticed all the birds? I’m just asking for basic continuity here.

The way he straightened himself out reminded her of a penguin. It was kind of adorable.

She saw a notebook on the ground filled with pictures of birds and she handed it to him, "Are you a bird-watcher?"

"Indeed, I find them quite exquisite. Um, how about you?"

Honestly, she was more of a fan of little furry animals, but she liked some birds too. Hopefully he wasn't obsessive over animals like Langstrom.

"I think some species are very nice. I have to be honest though, I don't watch birds. Your drawings are fantastic though."

They really were. The drawings were lifelike. Some of the even looked like they were breathing or full of life. He must really love birds if he draws them like that.

Passion and talent are not necessarily linked. Case in point, this fanfic.

"Oh um, thank you. Too bad about your sandwich, I think I stepped on it."

Citrus tried to appear nonchalant, but that really was the only food she really had for today. She didn't want to bother her dad for more. A fishy, literally fishy, salty smell filled the air.

"Would you like some sardines? I really am sorry about your lunch," he said as he held up a can of the stinky fish.

Citrus didn't want to be rude, "Thanks but, I'm okay. Besides, my feet are about to freeze off. I better go inside. Oh, I'm Citrus O'Brien by the way. What's your name?"

"I'm Oswald Cobblepot, of the famous and wealthy Cobblepot family. Pleased to make your acquaintance Ms. O'Brien. I hope we meet again for I find your company quite, pleasing."

They shared all of thirty seconds and four dialogue exchanges, boom, friendship. Today’s flavor of Mary Sue is zesty.

He acted like a gentleman and she even pretended to curtsy, although she had no skirt. Like many students at Gotham High, there was something eerie about him. Citrus felt a flash of fear since she found out he was somebody of wealth and great social power, but she calmed herself down. He didn't have blue eyes or dark hair like her former bully and Oswald seemed nice. She didn't know what'd she do if she ran into somebody like her ex-bully.

Blue eyes, black hair, wealthy and coming from higher society? Gee, what character could you possibly be foreshadowing in a Batman fanfic?

...

The next few classes didn't seem too unusual compared to the hours before. She met no new students, but she did meet some new teachers. Professor Strange was her psychology teacher, her arts teacher was nicknamed "The Crazy Quilt" for his fashion sense, and her government teacher Professor Joe Coyne, was obsessed with pennies.

Crazy Quilt and Penny Plunderer? What forgettable c-listers are you going to dig up next? Does Lock-Up manage detention? Is the Condiment King in charge of the cafeteria? Does Getaway Genius drive the bus?!

So far, Citrus felt like she made a few enemies, but she had hopefully made some new friends as well. However, today was almost like a paradise since no one like her ex-bully was there. Citrus began to write in her diary and decided that maybe Gotham High wouldn't be so bad after all.

My song for this series can be High School Never Ends by Bowling for Soup ( watch?v=jrxI_euTX4A) or Photograph by Nickelback ( watch?v=T3rXdeOvhNE).

My song for this chapter is If Everyone Cared by Nickelback ( watch?v=-IUSZyjiYuY).

If only I had a nickle for every time that band inspired mediocre writing.

------------------------

I can’t say that I’m familiar with American high school outside of the cultural paradigm portrayed in media. I blame it on being an introvert Scandinavian kid during my youth. I doubt it’s inhibiting me from mocking this fanfic, though. First day in school, and already Citrus has met seemingly everyone worthy of note, and she has asserted herself as an absolute screw-up, who somehow still manages to impress everyone around her. There are two more chapters of this - in this version of the story. The Fictionpress version the author mentioned is both longer and has newer updates with a tally of twenty-five chapters. Unless the next couple of chapters somehow overturns my opinion of this fanfic as nothing but harmless, I don’t see a reason to tackle the full brunt of the author’s teenage angst theater performance.


Edit: Removed messed up formatting.
Last edited by StabbyKobold on Sun May 10, 2020 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Gotham High

Post by StabbyKobold » Tue May 05, 2020 10:41 am

The stage is set. The author’s OC has been introduced along with her worst enemy - herself. The eponymous Gotham High has been plastered up as a backdrop, and more than a dozen named villains inhabit it for reasons that are beyond the author’s interest. It’s time for the main star of the canon series to make an appearance. And I fully expect disappointment. Let’s see if the author can exceed my expectations. Enjoy.

------------------------

Chapter 2: Fear is Only the Beginning

Oddly enough, Citrus felt a spring in her step as she walked in the hallways. She and Babs called each other last night after she wrote in her diary and talked about their day and all the fun girly stuff. Apparently, a friend and possible crush of Babs who'd been gone for seven months.

Will the rest of that sentence be gone just as long?

Citrus wished that Babs had told her more about her friend. After all, Babs wants them to meet and be friends. Citrus said that she honestly had to know the person first or at least meet them.

How fortunate then, that the first step of Barbara’s plan for them to meet and be friends is to meet with him.

The hallways seemed somewhat crowded that day. Maybe there was a fight? She'd better hurry then if she didn't want to get caught in it. Citrus ran down the hallways to Professor Langstrom's classroom where to her surprise, the little bat she saved was in a cage in front of the classroom. Not to her surprise though, was that the class had moved their seats back away from the bat.

I’ll be surprised if any sort of justification for their reaction ever gets brought up.

Citrus chuckled a little and started to head to her seat. Babs caught her wrist and was smiling as if Citrus was the sun.

"He's going to be here soon! OhgoshIhaven'tseenhiminsolong! Iwonderhowheis. Ohpleaseohpleaselethimrememberme..."

Citrus tried to catch every other word, but Babs' speech was a blur. Wait, why were the girls in here wearing a whole lot make-up? More people than Joker or Harley looked like clowns.

For all I know, so do you. The only thing mentioned about your appearance is that you’re blonde.

Citrus breathed and almost held her nose. Ugh, the room was a frenzy of smells. Chocolates, vanilla, mints, exotic flower, herbs, candy, and other scents too weird or strong to recognize. None of them were what somebody would want to wear altogether. Especially in a science lab! The smells could contaminate any chemicals they may deal with or what if the fumes were flammable?

Why not introduce Firefly and find out? At least then you’d have something worth whining about.

She almost choked. Citrus walked to her seat next to Jonathan Crane. Weird, the seat behind was empty. How come she hadn't noticed that before?

Because the author hadn’t yet decided from which angle Bruce Wayne was going to ogle you during class, most likely.

Crane was sketching something in his notebook, a scarecrow? Jonathan snapped his notebook closed and glared at her. She raised her arms in a fake surrender and began to doodle in her own notebook. When little flowers didn't cut it, she looked at the clock.

The late bell would ring in two minutes and hopefully class would begin. Maybe there's an assembly today that everybody wants to see? Nah, high school kids hate assemblies unless it's got something to do that's inappropriate. Oh crud, maybe there's going to be a huge prank and she was the only one who knew about it. Babs was incoherent and no one else would talk to her since she was the newbie. This...sucked...epically.

Have you considered the ancient art of information gathering known as “asking”? Have some initiative.

The bell was about to ring when somebody stepped into the room. Citrus saw his shoes at first since her eyes had been glued to the floor. What the? He was wearing Testoni shoes, those things were expensive a heck. And, he wore a Gucci suit. Ok, Citrus had to calm down. Just because he was rich, it didn't mean...

That's when she saw his face. The guy looked so much like the jerk who'd been able to bully her for years. They even had the same shade of dark hair, although this one's eyes were a lighter hue of blue and his hair was longer. Heck, his hair reached his shoulders. He had bags under his eyes, but that only highlighted the blue even more. He walked to Babs' desk and did a fist bump with her. No way, this was Babs' friend?!

Initially, I only had one million dollar question. Namely, what would Bruce Wayne be doing in this academic wasteland of a high school when private schools exist? Now I’m in double jeopardy, as I not only have to question why he’s wearing Gucci in class, but also how he attempts to pull off the rich kid look with sleep deprivation and what I assume is a mullet!

As long as he didn't keep next to her, she wouldn't panic. She wouldn't panic. No, he was coming her way. Citrus saw her hand shake and flashbacks of what the bully did to her flashed through her mind. Citrus realized with dread that rich boy was supposed to sit behind her. It was okay, she could handle it. At least that was until he was next to her desk. Something came off him in waves. Whatever eeriness came from the others, couldn't compare to his. There was a darkness about him, a haunting. Something, frightening, and it had nothing to do with what he reminded her of. She had to get out.

“Oh my god, the guy is rich, has black hair and blue eyes! Even though he’s done less than acknowledge my existence, he’s obviously hiding something and reminds me of an unrelated person, so I’m totally going to get triggered!” You need to get both your bully PTSD and author-given clairvoyance under control, you weak-willed wreck.

She paced towards Professor Langstrom when it dawned on her.

The boy was watching her. His eyes pierced her soul. She asked Professor Langstrom if she could step out for a moment, and he let her. The look on her face may have convinced him. Heck, she felt like blowing chunks. In the hallway, away from the smells and his eyes, she felt some peace.

What was she doing? He could be like Oswald, a little unusual, but nice. She should give the guy a chance. Citrus took a deep breath, she would not run. She would not duck and cover like a child in a thunderstorm. There was something off about him though. Something...wrong.

Image

Really, Miss Mandarin? You’ve encountered a grand total of fifteen villains in this school, ranging from the violently deranged to the manically obsessed - but you spend less than a minute in Bruce Wayne’s presence, and suddenly you decide that he’s the guy something is wrong with. Fuck off, you Bella Swan wannabe!

Citrus clenched her fists, gathering what little courage she had. She would not let somebody rule her life again. No more of it. No more. Now was not the time to get over-emotional. She could control her fears and not the other way around.

Her stubbornness was greater than whatever he had. She would win against her fears. Citrus stomped into the room and she avoided his eyes as she sat into her desk. No, she should have met his eyes. Or not, judging from the class's reaction to her face.

They looked more afraid of her than the bat. Even Crane was staring at her with wide eyes.

Not only do I not know what Citrus looks like, I don’t even know what people see when they look at her. Expressions, body language, gesticulation, these are things you have to tell the readers, author! The class is acting like she grew a second head or became ten feet tall; what the hell do you want me to infer from that?!

Citrus softened her eyes when they met Babs. Babs looked as if a light bulb just lit in her head with horror. Guess she had forgotten Citrus's description of the a-hole who picked on her.

Citrus took a deep breath, letting the stenches cloud her mind. The teacher shook out of whatever trance he'd been in and continued on with the lesson. She could sense rich boy behind her staring. Who was he anyways? She'd been so concentrated on controlling herself that she hadn't even heard his name.

"Hey Bruce? Wayne? Why does the newbie hate you? She looked ready to kill you just now," a student said to the rich kid. Citrus thought his name was Harvey.

I’m surprised you didn’t have him flip a coin constantly or paint half of his face. Just saying, subtlety hasn’t been your strong suit so far.

Bruce Wayne? Why did that name sound familiar? Then again, he was rich and probably socially powerful. Of course his name would be famous.

Citrus kept her eyes on the clock, waiting to dash out of that class. Every minute felt like forever. Finally, the bell rang and she ran for dear life.

...

In the locker room, Citrus could feel the girls glaring at her. Oh come on, did every girl in Gotham High crush on him but her?

Have you considered it might be because you act like a weirdo at all hours of the day?

She felt tired though, must be the adrenaline rush.

"Hey Lemons. You okay?"

It was Harley, with her mascara so thick it was like a mask.

Citrus chuckled a little, "Yeah I guess. As long as I don't have to see whoever that rich kid is, I'll be okay."

"You mean Bruce Wayne? The biggest teen heartthrob in all of Gotham? Let me guess, you're attracted to him against your will, right?" Ivy laughed.

Citrus felt like puking and it must have showed. Harley and Ivy gasped while Selina froze.

"Wait, ya think he's icky? How is that possible?" Harley said in shock.

The boy is an unkempt mess in designer clothes, and yet the school’s female populous fawns over him like he’s the bad boy in class. Did I miss some kind of memo?

Selina kneeled before Citrus and pushed back a few strands of hair, " What did somebody do to you?"

Citrus flinched. Oh crap, they might spread rumors that she was raped or something. Well, she almost was.

She tried to keep her composure as she spoke," I fear people like him. People who are rich and have social power can get away with almost anything. If you're the little guy, they'll squish you like an ant. And there's nothing somebody can do to stop them. A person who looks a lot like, Wayne, hurt me for years. I tried to get away and he tried to break me. I escaped, but it was close. I will never let anybody control me like that again. I will fight people like him, always."

While that’s nice and all, you’re currently projecting your blueblood prejudice onto a guy who has done nothing but look at you. I’m not saying you’re not supposed to, though. Bruce Wayne usually acts like a self-absorbed asshole to maintain his secret identity. But why can’t you wait until he actually does so?

Citrus let more words flow than she had intended, " I can still feel his hands on my stomach, trying to push down my pants. I'm glad for damaging his precious jewels when I got away in time."

The girls could tell that his precious jewels weren't actually jewelry.

Could they also tell, and more importantly explain to me, why she would call his testicles that?

" That explains some things. How long ago was that?" Selina asked.

" About a week ago, right before I moved to Gotham," Citrus hesitated, " I guess he wanted to leave a mark I wouldn't forget."

" I guess it worked," Ivy murmured. "You let him win."

"What? But I got away before he did any physical damage..."

"But he left his mark didn't her? It didn't have to be physical. I'm not saying you should love Wayne, but give him a chance. It doesn't have to be now, but it needs to be soon. If you don't that pain you carry could last forever."

I would ask you to talk to the school therapist, but I don’t think Hugo Strange will help the situation.

Citrus clenched her fists. Ivy had a good point. That jerk would win if she didn't do something.

"Oh and almost all the girls in Gotham High have a copy of Bruce's schedule now. Here's one for you," Selina handed her a piece of paper.

Citrus raised an eyebrow at them and the girls flushed.

"Hey, yer the only one who doesn't think he's dreamy," Harley defended.

She’s also the only one not stalking him.

"Don't you have a boyfriend?" Citrus poked.

"Ooh, she's got claws," Selina smiled.

"I love Mistah J, I just happen to think some other guys are handsome too."

Citrus was about to giggle until she saw the schedule. Her face drained of blood and she moaned.

"He has four classes with me including this class and lunch," she laughed bitterly.

"Wait, you don't have math," Selina said as she looked over both of their schedules. "How come?"

" It's our senior year. I took all my math classes already. Starting from Middle School."

And as we all know, math never gets more complicated after junior level.

"C'mon ladies! Onto the field! Don't make me come in there!" Crock called.

That got all the girls moving. Outside, the boys were doing the same as yesterday, lifting weights or running. The girls started to laze around until the coach called for the daily obstacle course challenge. Citrus saw to her dismay that Wayne was across the way. His eyes were on the obstacle course thankfully and not on her.

"Okay, we all know the drill. If somebody can beat the record on this course, they get credit for the day and they can laze around all they want. Who's stupid enough to try it? How about you O'Brien?"

All eyes landed on Citrus and she ignored a specific pair as she smiled sweetly at the coach. Admittedly, her feet still hurt, but she wanted to wipe that smug look off Crock's face.

She apparently wants another knee injury, too. Pick your damn battles, girl.

"It will be my pleasure," some members of the audience snickered as she took her place at the starting line.

To her left, Bane and Croc stood next to her. To her right, crud, it was Wayne.

"Hi, I'm Bruce Wayne. Do you have a pretty name to go with that pretty face?"

Oh yeah, teen heartthrob. Of course he'd think she was attracted to him. She ignored him, shoving aside her fear. She was going to kick his butt.

He compliments her looks while asking for her name - them’s fighting words!

Crock blew the whistle and she ran as fast as her feet could carry her. Wayne ran alongside her, no matter what pace she was at. She looked from the corner of her eye and saw that he winked at her. That scummy...

She narrowly dodged a shove from Bane by doing a cartwheel and nearly hitting a hurdle. Crud, he was coming at her again, and there was a hurdle less than five feet in front of her. This was going to hurt. She attempted to do another cartwheel, but ended up doing something different. Instead of her back bending sideways, it bent backwards.

Image

I was skeptical when she did cartwheels to dodge tackles during the last time she ran the course, but now she attempts to do them over hurdles? Has the author ever run the track? I haven’t, and yet I’m pretty sure that’s not a thing you should try. I know I’ve already declared her an Anti-Sue, but how many times can she fuck up before landing herself in the hospital?

She made it over the hurdle and had a far from perfect landing. The only good news was that she fell onto her behind. She struggled to get up, but Wayne and the others already crossed the finish line. Citrus grunted as she stood up, her back felt bad. That...hurt.

The class was staring at her as she rubbed her back. Coach laughed loudly and rubbed away a tear.

"I didn't know you could back flip O'Brien.'

Citrus whispered in pain, " I can't."

Crock widened his eyes, "Uh oh. Um, you get to go see the nurse."

Oh no, what if Dad found out? "No, I just need to stretch, I think."

Oh no, what if her parent was made aware of the crippling injuries she gathers on a day to day basis, yet somehow she expects him not to notice.

Crud, her voice sounded like a whimper. And her back making a loud cracking noise.

" Nope, you're going to the nurse so I don't get in trouble."

Yeah. the bastard was that self serving.

This day couldn't possibly get any worse, right? Then Citrus remembered her schedule. Oh yes it could, and she felt like crying.

Finally, a reaction I can sympathize with.

After getting a checkup from the nurse and calming her dad over the phone, Citrus felt like her world was spinning. She wasn't going to faint, but she did feel like taking a nap or hiding. Damn, she was supposed to make criminals know her strength. With this school's population, she wouldn't doubt that at least half of the school's population would end up either on the streets or in jail.

She had to be strong, no emotion. No fear, no pain. She had to stay strong. She was going to be a protector, a defender, and hopefully so much more.

You’re planning on becoming a detective, lemon cake. That’s criminal investigation; not criminal apprehension. Your ambition says Batman, but your job description says Bullock.

But to do that, she had to prove herself. That meant not only showing strength, but smarts as well. It certainly didn't help if one missed their classes to see the nurse. She missed Music class. Citrus texted Edward and Meister, asking what she missed and if they could practice later.

Missing lunch was a relief since she wouldn't have to face Babs or Wayne. Although her stomach rumbled.

...

Aside from music or plants, it turned out she sucked in the arts.

Oh, you’re having writing courses too?

The teacher assigned a boy called Matt Hagen who was skilled with clay. He had a natural way of molding it. It was almost like he was a part of it.

Citrus on the other hand, had the art skills of a two year old if she was lucky. She had to be able to draw crime scenes, and she had a difficult time just drawing a stick figure.

After several failed attempts to draw.. well, anything, the bell rang and Citrus prepared for the worst. The next two classes were with Wayne. How much fun can a girl have?

If you can find any in this story, please let me know.

However, she didn't see Wayne in Psych. Maybe he ditched? It wouldn't surprise her since all rich boys were like that. They had enough money to do whatever they want.

"Can somebody tell me about the Attribution theory?"

Harley raised her hand quicker than anyone else. She was an expert in this class, so why'd she act like a twit in others? Well, there was no Mistah J in this class. For some reason, even though she was smart, she had a need to degrade herself for her boyfriend's needs.

A mighty fine use of attribution theory there, Citrus. Now, do you have an actual reason to attribute these motivations aside the author knowing everything about Harley’s character?

Government with Mr. Coyne was running smoothly. He decided that the class could have fun in the computer lab while he counted his pennies again. Citrus rolled her eyes, why did everyone seem obsessed with something? Then again, looking back at herself. Yeah, she was a huge hypocrite.

You’re not obsessive, you’re stubborn. If you were obsessive over something, it would actually provide you with some personality.

They were walking to the computer lab when Citrus noticed something on the ground. Scraps of red and yellow fabric making their way to the janitor's closet. Citrus looked back at the class and figured it'd only be for a moment. Curiosity always got the best of her, and it'd probably kill her one day.

How soon? Let me get my calendar.

Inside the closet was dark so she searched for a light along the wall. She was shoved, something rattled to the ground with a metallic clang, and the door shut closed. Whatever the clang can from, it had a weird smell, not at all like what janitors use. Citrus began to sweat and choke on whatever the gas was. She pounded on the door profusely.

"Help! Somebody let me out!" Citrus screamed.

Images flashed in her head from around a week ago. What the heck? She felt way more scared than she should have been.

Of course, she noticed the effect of fear toxin, even though every emotional reaction that has come out of her thus far has been comically exaggerated. She screamed at a house plant and left a classroom because Bruce Wayne entered it - frankly I’d expect her to panic when locked in a closet; gas or no gas.

Citrus coughed so much that she felt dizzy. Oh no, she was not going to...

Citrus woke up to the feel of fingers pressing her stomach. She instantly panicked, thinking she was reliving a nightmare. Then she realized with an even darker fear that it wasn't a nightmare, it was real. Her shirt was lifted up and somebody was prodding her stomach. No way she was going through that again.

She kicked whoever it was off her and jumped up. Her vision was kind of wavy and she had a hard time standing up. After a moment, she looked at her attacker. No, it couldn't be. It was him, her bully. It was Paul Sloan.

Charlatan? A method-actor turned Two-Face impersonator? That’s your ex? I mean, sure, that’s fine, but why do I feel like you took an obscure Batman villains trivia quiz before writing this story?

That rich kid who claimed that he was going to be an actor one day. That and he was going to work for the mob like his dad. Those blue eyes cut her and she screamed.

Citrus tried to run away and tripped on some sort of ninja outfit. She clamored over it backed away from the coming monster. She screamed again and somebody grabbed her. She looked up to see Harvey Dent keeping her from fighting the beast.

You and I have very different definitions of the word “fighting”.

"Let me go! He's a monster! A monster!" she screeched.

"Calm down!" Harvey said as he struggled to hold her.

"He touched my stomach. He's going to hurt me!"

"Bruce was checking to see if you had any internal damage! We already called for the nurse. You're going to be okay! Calm down," Harvey insisted.

Internal damage? What, did they think she was practicing her backflips inside the closet?

It was only then Citrus's vision started to clear up. Then she saw Wayne's face. He looked hurt and worried. Real hurt and worry. Citrus was still shaking but she calmed herself. She didn't know what to say to him. Why was she seeing things?

The nurse came then and asked her dozens of questions.

I’m guessing the first one was, “You, again?”

"Dearie, why were you in the closet anyway?" she finally asked.

"I... I had seen something and I thought to investigate. I was shoved into the closet with something else, I couldn't see what it was. It sounded metallic. I choked from the gas that came from it. After that, I woke up and saw, some weird things. I don't want to say what, it's private. But, I think I saw my worst fear."

Wayne turned away from her and looked into the closet, searching for something. He picked up a canister and examined it.

He looked at her without meeting her eyes, "This it?"

Could be, could also be janitor supplies, how about you describe something for once?

"I... I don't know. It was too dark. Damn, I feel really tired. It's like I have goosebumps all over."

"Nurse, is this the first time this had happened?" Wayne asked.

"I am not permitted to say..."

"This is students' safety for chrissakes! I knew this school is twisted, but at least they were honest about it! Tell us already," Citrus growled. She felt an overwhelming amount of anger.

The room was silent before Harvey spoke, "Jeeze, and people think I'm bipolar."

I think you’re shallowly portrayed, as every character in this story just seems to quip about their future personas, but that’s just me.

"Guys, we have no idea what was in that canister. It may not be a good idea to mess with her," Wayne murmured.

Citrus suddenly felt really, really fatigued. She also felt giggly. "Hey, can I go beddy bye?" she giggled.

"Like I said, bipolar," Harvey chuckled.

The world was spinning even more than it had earlier. It was kind of pretty. Swirly, swirly, swirly.

She giggled fervently before sighing. Darkness began to creep in. It felt nice...

Crane’s gas needs some work. I doubt the government weapons program wants it to be considered for recreational use.

"Ow!" cried as she was pinched. "Whadja do that fer?" Citrus asked.

Wayne was looking at her face, but not her eyes. "Possibly saving your life. You've got to stay awake till this is over."

Weird, rich boy, didn't seem like a rich boy. Citrus wrinkled her nose like whenever she did when she was thoughtful. He seemed different. The darkness that surrounded him was now like a warm light. It was nice. This was, somebody different from Bruce Wayne. Who was he?

...

Hospital trips were never fun. Hospitals stank of chemicals and something rotting.

Unless there’s a gangrene patient in the waiting room, or you used to live in Silent Hill, what fucking hospital are you talking about?

She told doctors that she felt fine now, and that it was no big deal. Nobody listened until her dad came. Citrus looked out the window since the doctor's would be talking to her father for hours.

She loathed doctors and their tools. She'd admit that they were smart, but that didn't mean that had to like their methods. Citrus looked at the clock. They said they'd be back in four, long, grueling hours. Stuck in a room like that, is not fun and not productive.

Citrus smiled maliciously as she picked the window lock. It was a good thing Gotham General had rooms on the ground floor, it made it easier to escape. She was a cop's daughter, did they honestly think that she wouldn't know how to pick a lock?

Maybe they would expect her to follow the law?

Was she crazy? Maybe, but if she wasn't the first victim, she wasn't going to be the last. She would just have a quick look and see before they notice that she's missing.

The school was only eight blocks away. It'd have to be a real quick looksee, but it was better than nothing. As for defense if she did get into trouble, she'd go Casey Jones with her backpack. Yeah, she was a fan of TMNT and others needed to learn how to deal with it.

I think the only one that needs to learn how to deal with their behavior is you. People aren’t going to give you shit for liking TMNT, they’re going to heavily disagree with your use of bodily harm for reprimanding you on doing wrong things.

Citrus was careful to listen for anything on her way there. Unfortunately, she heard something that might not help her.

"Drop the drugs criminals! Nobody sells drugs in Gotham while I'm around, " a deep, gargled voice commanded.

"And what're you gonna do stop us, ninja boy?!" somebody squeaked.

Ninja? Like that outfit in the janitor's closet? Citrus ran toward the voices and couldn't believe her eyes. The alley was filled with garbage, construction materials, and containers of delirium. There were some metal construction poles along the wall. An idiot was facing off Salvatore Maroni's hooligans, and the idiot was dressed like a ninja.

Any sane person living in Gotham would take this as their clue to get out of dodge. But no, contrivance brought Citrus to this place and contrivance will make her stay.

She would've laughed in pity if it weren't for the look on that ninja's face. He looked like a soldier. Somebody determined to fight in war. There was something about him. She didn't mean it in a romantic sense, but one of awe. Citrus tried something difficult, use common sense.

By now, this comes as a surprise to no one. Author, at what point does this failure in human form become too incompetent to breathe properly?

There was no way he was the one who shoved her into the closet if he was fighting drug dealers. She should leave right now, but something told her to stay.

That look in the idiot ninja's eyes...How could no one else see it? One of the gangsters held up a gun and the guy still reminded her of a warrior. He was either really brave or really stupid. She knew that she was the latter though. After all, she was going to help him. She grabbed some poles quietly, careful not to rouse attention just yet.

Take your time, I’m sure the freeze-frame standoff will resume the moment you interact with it.

The gunmen had a finger on the trigger and Citrus threw a pole at his hand. It hit dead center to her surprise. The crowd looked in her direction and she faced the ninja.

"Hey idiot, you want to live and fight," she called, "Why?"

Hey, dumbass, will you ever talk like a normal person?

He growled, "I made an oath and I intend to complete it."

Her nose wrinkled, "What kind of oath?"

"One to stop people like them and save the innocent."

She smiled, "Want some help this one time?"

Ninja looked shocked as she hit one person with her backpack and another with a pole. She applied self defense by poking one guy's eyes, pretending to go for the nuts, and then breaking his nose. The crook screamed.

Image

You’re telling me that these grown men, these mobster goons who seemingly only had one now entirely forgotten gun to share, are being subdued by a high schooler who can barely function as a normal person? Author, there’s a thing called the willing suspension of disbelief. I can buy that a kid like Dick Grayson could take down adult criminals as Robin, because he was raised to be a circus acrobat and later received martial arts training. The only merits of physical prowess that Citrus have are cartwheels and a sprained back.

Crud, somebody was behind her with a knife and she wouldn't be able to reach in time. Ninja covered her by throwing some stars in her direction.

"Thanks!" she called.

After what an hour, they had the drug dealers running.

I’ve been staring at this sentence just as long, trying to figure out how the author doesn’t realize how ridiculous it is.

"Are they gone?" she asked, panting.

"Yeah"

They both collapsed onto the ground before laughing.

"Are you crazy?" they asked at the same time.

They laughed some more before ninja pouted behind the mask.

"Hey, we beat them," she said.

"Yeah, but they should've have been afraid of me. I need to strike fear into the hearts of criminals."

Maybe try not dressing up in a Halloween costume in the middle of the day?

Citrus frowned, "Fear may not be the best maneuver. Besides, going out dressed like a ninja isn't the best idea. You aren't the first to stand up to them and you wouldn't be the last. I'll admit though, you're really good at fighting". She hesitated, "Who'd you lose?"

The ninja flinched which confirmed it.

"You remind me of a soldier who's lost somebody. You're looking for vengeance."

The ninja nodded, "And what about you?"

"That would be telling," Citrus replied.

Could you at least tell me how you’re suddenly the expert of piecing together character motivations from just glancing at a masked person?

The ninja leaned his head back against the wall, "Women confuse me."

"We confuse everybody. It's fun."

They sat there, watching the skies. Her watch beeped and she realized she had to get back to the hospital. She stood up slowly and so did the idiotic ninja.

"Um, thanks for helping."

"As long as you promise not to get killed, you don't owe me anything," she stated.

If he does get killed, what would he owe you then?

She started walking when a rat scurried past her feet. She squealed like a little girl. Citrus hid her face in disconcertion as the ninja laughed his butt off.

"You just beat back a miniature army of mobsters, who would make most men pee their pants, and you're scared of a rat?" the idiot howled with snickers.

"Men are something people understand. Things people understand, aren't what they fear. I understand rats, but I just happen to dislike strange things running across my feet," she said in defense.

Did you try to make a point, or did you intend to fail in justifying the forcible and continued parody of life that is your existence?

The ninja snickered a little bit before looking at the rat, "Hey what's an animal that people fear?"

Citrus felt a humorous dread, "You're not thinking about dressing up as a rat to fight crime, are you?"

"Not a rat, I'd get killed then," ninja scoffed.

Citrus sweat dropped, " Um, whatever you end up doing, don't get killed. Gotham sees enough bodies."

"Hey, can I see you again?"

She twitched, "No. You're suicidal and I've got a mystery and a future to think about". Citrus waved goodbye and ran off.

The ninja looked up at the sky as a stream of bats flew by. A grin appeared on his face, " An animal people fear."

Fuck off, author. Sincerely, fuck off with this credit theft for Batman’s inspiration of his aesthetic. Bruce Wayne’s choice of a bat as his moniker is based upon his own phobia from childhood trauma. He chose it not only to overcome his own fear but also to impart that fear upon criminals. Now you want it to be because your OC spouted some nonsensical lines with less gravitas than a fortune cookie slip, and because you’ve made every villain in high school irrationally afraid of the animal. It’s like your story rejects the very concept of clever writing.

...

Citrus was tired and sore by the time she got home. Her dad took way too long with doctors even after she got back to the hospital. Why were dads so overprotective. Then again, considering the reckless stuff she did tonight...

She had just collapsed onto the bed when her cell phone cried. Oh great, caller ID said it was Babs.

"Hi Barbara..." she answered.

"Okay, we need to have a talk later but I figured I should tell you now. Bruce is funding a school dance on Friday. The theme is Costumes and Masquerade. I can't wait! I met a cute boy who asked me to it called Dick Grayson who really flexible and cool since he was in a circus, and he said he could get you a date! Youare coming since I already contacted your dad about it. He says you're going," Babs said quickly.

A privately funded school dance announced less than a week before it’s being held? Sure, whatever, it’s not like anything else has made sense thus far.

A... dance? Funded by Wayne? Why? Citrus hated dancing because she always stepped on people's feet. Oh, and it was masquerade? In Gotham High? This was going to be epically evil.

It’s going to be epically annoying if you don’t stop whining about everything that happens, sourpuss.

"Hey Citrus? I'm also taking you out shopping with the Gotham Sirens. We need to get outfits."

Citrus almost gagged and reminded herself that even if her father wasn't contacted about this, she really didn't have much of a choice. "Look, I'll go to the stupid dance, but right now, I'm really tired. I've fainted enough in school already and I have no desire to do so tomorrow. I'll see you tomorrow, but for now, let me sleep."

She hung up the phone before landing her head into the pillow. She looked back at the past couple of days when it hit her.

Jonathan Crane claimed that he was going to make a gas that incited people's fear through hallucination. He was drawing a scarecrow with red and yellow coloring. He also was bitter towards her and said that she had better watch out.

This girl wants to become a detective, and this is how long it took her to piece together the blatantly obvious. It’s like the author is writing parody.

Jonathan Crane was the most likely suspect for throwing her in the closet. He was probably testing his gas on her to see its affects. Why hadn't she realized it sooner? And she thought that ninja was a fool?! She had to tell somebody or...

No, she had to somehow prove it first. She needed to think like a detective, and stop whatever crime may occur.

A detective would have informed the police about the drug dealers or apprehend them instead of letting them run away. You are insufferable.

Watch out criminals, Citrus O'Brien is going to hunt you down...after she gets some sleep.

Chapter's song: A Thousand Angels by Rachel Macwhirter.

My guess would have been Green Day, American Idiot.

------------------------

The logic Citrus employs is weird to me. While getting gassed in the school janitor’s closet, she notices a discarded ninja outfit. Why it’s there, who the hell knows? Upon seeing someone in a ninja outfit, in the middle of the city, somewhere between the school and the hospital, she suspects them of having something to do with the gas until deciding, “nah, couldn’t be, they fight drug dealers, they wouldn’t gas people.” Why she didn’t go, “hey, what if this masked vigilante is someone from my school,” is beyond me. It would be yet another leap of logic, but one that would at least be justified.

Edit: Removed messed up formatting.
Last edited by StabbyKobold on Sun May 10, 2020 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Gotham High

Post by GorillaGamer » Sat May 09, 2020 1:03 am

The one good thing I'll say about this story is that the author's creative enough to add some of the more obscure villains in Batman's infamous gallery of rogues. Who knows, we might be lucky enough to see Professor Pyg, The Clock King and maybe even Boss Biggis in a future chapter. Asides from that, it's your typical Mary Sue/Anti Sue who's constantly facing adversity from her sexist PE teacher. (You seem to have a knack for finding stories filled with comically sexist antagonists.)

The mock's looking very good so far; I'd go for the Fictionpress version of the story as I have a gut feeling there's a goldmine over there, but that's ultimately up to you.
Jesus man what is up with you and all of those waifus! Are you secretly the "Ultimate Pimp"?
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Re: Gotham High

Post by StabbyKobold » Sat May 23, 2020 7:31 am

Thank you, GorillaGamer. I agree, the antagonist stereotype of "misogynist prime" is rather pervasive in the stuff I find. It's one of the most lazily implemented bad guy stereotypes in fiction, the stock reference for a kind of person everyone dislikes, and that sums up the entire point of their existence within the story.

With the school dance masquerade coming up, I fully expect all of the villains to show up in costume, plus a Batman. The only one I’m clueless about is Citrus herself. Nothing defines this girl. She is so bland and contrarian that she might just decide to go without a costume. I could ramble on and on here about how much she grinds my gears, but I’ll save that for the story. Enjoy.

------------------------

Chapter 3: Fear is Only the Beginning Part 2

School that day was a pain. The little bat she saved was sick and girls were screeching with joy over the upcoming dance. After school wasn't much better.

I know you’re probably at that age where a broken nail can ruin your entire week, but by now you’ve literally had worse days. All you do is complain.

Citrus ran as fast as she could from the monsters who were chasing her. It wasn't some sort of dream sequence. She was really running from some of the worst monsters imaginable, girls dreaming of the perfect dance, infatuated with fashion. They were on her trail like a pack of wolves, trying to get her into the perfect outfit for the upcoming masquerade dress funded by teen heartthrob Bruce Wayne. If the girls were like this now, just wait for prom.

Let’s walk through this logic, shall we? A school dance is happening. Citrus is mopey about it. Somehow this sets off the piranha instincts of teenage girls just salivating at the opportunity to give the party pooper – not themselves – the perfect makeover. And these aren’t even her friends, they’re just random girls smelling the chum that the author threw overboard into the sea of nonsense on which they sail. And just when you think there couldn’t be less reason for this to be happening, you have to remember that Citrus just spent the last two chapters establishing how unpopular she is. She could have been struck by lightning from a clear sky with better justification, because at least lightning has been known to come from there.

Citrus ran around a corner to hide and catch her breath. She really didn't have time for this, she had to prove that Jonathan Crane assaulted her and whoever his other victim was. That and she had a homework assignment from Music to make up for her absence.

At first, she had thought whoever assaulted her was dressed as a ninja, but he wasn't.

The reason for her knee-jerk suspicion, mind you, was that she found a discarded ninja outfit in the closet. You know, one that was not being worn by anyone.

In fact, last night she fought alongside the stupid ninja against some gangsters. One would think that if she was able to handle gangsters, than Citrus would be able to handle teenage girls. Nope, they were a whole different story.

One bereft of logic, and I’m reading it.

"You know they're gonna catch you eventually."

Citrus almost screamed and looked at the direction the male voice was coming from. It was the devil himself, Bruce Wayne. Why was he smiling so brightly at her? It was creepy.

If he had smiled creepily it would have been charming, I’m sure. You literally can’t get a positive reaction from this girl.

"Uh, sorry about yesterday. You know, for screaming at you?" Citrus apologized while backing away.

He raised his eyebrows, " That's what you're sorry about? Not that you almost gave me a heart attack for the glare?"

She tried to sound brave, " You almost gave me a heart attack just now! How'd you sneak up on me?"

"I'm just that good."

Citrus couldn’t spot Cobblepot sitting in a tree, I don’t think she’s very aware of her surroundings on the best of days.

Citrus rolled her eyes, "What do you want?"

Wayne tipped his head to the side a little, "Weird, sometimes you act like a timid mouse and other times you're completely fearless. I wonder why that is."

Citrus wrinkled her nose, "Are you talking to yourself? 'Cause we already have a enough psychopaths in the school."

He frowned, " How come you're so hostile towards me and not others? What did I do?"

You talk a lot of sense, Wayne. Could you please share some with the protagonist?

She felt guilty all of a sudden. After all, he didn't do anything wrong. "It's not really you. It's just..."

"Found you!" Babs sang.

Citrus tried to make another getaway, but found she was surrounded. Oh terrific.

"Good luck," Wayne chuckled.

Citrus wanted to choke him at that point. Jerk.

...

After being hassled into more than a dozen dresses and outfits, the girls finally asked what her favorite colors were.

Citrus flushed, "If I told you, you'd laugh."

"What? Is it orange or pink? Ya know, like citrus fruits?" Harley laughed.

Okay, so it wasn’t just random girls. It was just the four named characters that Citrus has known for all of three days. A period of time in which they’ve shared a locker room and barely anything else. Friendships sure are simple, aren’t they?

"No. Fine, it's black and gray."

The girls stared up at her.

Citrus waved her arms above her head, "What?! I'm not Goth or anything. Black and grey just happen to go with everything. Don't you dare laugh."

"Black and grey? Don't you want something a little more flashy? It is a dance after all," Ivy asked.

Citrus shook her head, "I hate expensive or flashy. That kind of stuff is either irritating or too stuffy."

Oooh, she likes dark colors and hates gaudy stuff, how weird and controversial, choke on that feminine stereotypes! Fuck off.

Selina walked into the back and brought out a silver, sleeveless bow and ruffle Victorian dress. Citrus had to admit it was beautiful and somewhat simple compared to the other outfits. She was pushed into the dressing room to change.

Where are they, and where do they pull these clothes from? Does the school have a theater with a costume room, or something? And if that was the case, how come it hasn’t been completely raided already?

The dress was snug, showed a little cleavage, and was a little tight, but it was better than a lot of outfits that girls wore these days. Citrus looked at herself in the mirror before putting the mask on. It wasn't her. That person in the mirror was a total stranger. The girl looked like everything Citrus wasn't. She seemed beautiful, graceful, and something that Citrus loathed. How could she complain though? The girls put this much effort into finding a dress for her and she had acted like a total jerk.

She bought the dress to the girls' delight. What else could she do?

Maybe she could grow a spine that would support a personality to which she could find a matching outfit, instead of being a bland, irritating, unrelatable, ridiculous, stick-in-the-mud dumbass.

"Hey Lemons, ya got a date?" Harley asked.

"No, she won't accept any dating advice or anything like that. She wants to go stag," Babs claimed.

"Wouldn't it be doe?" Ivy asked.

"No. It really should be, but I guess that it's a term no one can change," Selina said.

After buying the dress, the girls decided to grab some pie from a restaurant chain called Bibo's Diners. It originated from Metropolis and was spreading quickly. Good thing too, the pies were amazing.

Citrus ordered an Oreo pie to which her friends inquired.

"What? I love Oreos," she vindicated. Love? No, she went crazy over them. Nobody gets between her and the Oreos.

Image

Another profound minutia of our protagonist’s deep personality has been uncovered by the observant inquisitiveness of her peers. She likes Oreos. What shocking revelation will we learn next?

"Hey Grapefruit, how come you don't feel the magic of dances? Ya know, the beauty, the dancin', the food, and all that good stuff?" Harley asked.

Citrus sipped her soda before answering. Dang she had to stop taking in so much junk food, she was already ten pounds overweight. "I don't believe in what I can't see, and that includes magic. I don't see beauty in dances, I see death trps waiting to happen."

Does this rain cloud in human form enjoy anything in life?!

"Don't ya believe in air? 'Cause yer head seems to be full of it," Harley retaliated.

Citrus chose to change the subject to avoid a fight. She decided to ask questions to see if she could find anything about Crane or that idiot ninja.

"Hey, does anybody in the school have a friend or family member that's died? Of a violent nature?"

That’s your opening question? Not, “Anyone see a ninja around school,” or “What’s up with that Crane fellow,” you jump immediately to, “So, violent deaths, anyone at school experienced those?” The answer is YOU, dumbass! Your detective mother must be spinning in her crushed driver’s seat coffin!

Now that she reflected on her question, it had sounded really stupid. This was Gotham, of course there would be people like that. And why was she worried about that idiot?

"There's whole lot of people like that. Bruce Wayne, Helena Bertinelli, Andrea Beaumont..."

"Wait, Wayne lost somebody?" Citrus asked.

“But he’s rich, how could that possibly happen?!”

"Yeah, his parents. They were shot and killed in Crime Alley by a mugger. Bruce witnessed the whole thing when he was eight years old," Ivy explained.

So, Wayne knew that kind of pain? And here she thought he was a spoiled rich boy. Across the street, Wayne got into a limo with an elderly butler. Through the window, she saw his face lower. A shadow was on it, but she could still see an expression full of anger, frustration, and confusion.

Holy contrived coincidence, Batman! I guess I have to add telescopic vision to the odd list of things that Citrus doesn’t suck at.

" But he's gotten past all that. He must have those memories repressed or something," Harley exclaimed.

Somehow, Citrus doubted that. The first time she saw Wayne, he had some sort of darkness in him. She was willing to bet it was still there even though he tried to hide it. She better change the subject before the girls go all goo goo over him.

...

Citrus chose not to tell the girls about her suspicions of Crane. They wouldn't have been able to or want to help with their fantasizing over the dance. She didn't want to ruin their moment.

Warning them about the potential threat of being locked in closets and gassed for unknown reasons would just totally have ruined the mood.

When prom came, all of hell would break lose. For now, she had to solve the current situation at hand.

All day Citrus tried to find something on Crane and had no luck. She watched him through air ducts, from the school roof, and almost the bathrooms. She tried to avoid the bathrooms once she realized where he was headed. How did detectives do this? No matter what she did, Crane was either gone or doing something normal for any other student. Maybe she was wrong about him like she was Wayne? Better throw in the towel for now.

Detectives do more than surveillance, lemon twit. And even if they didn’t, they would do it for more than a single day. Do you think criminals do crime all the time?!

It was dance night and the girls would have fun while boys moaned. Citrus felt like joining the guys in their excessive whining.

Once again, she didn't know that stranger in the mirror. At least the girls didn't make her wear makeup or any other girly stuff. Citrus clutched her skirt, ready to tear it when somebody knocked.

"Hey Lemons? It's Harvey. Ivy's sitting in the car with the others and she wanted me to get you."

“We decided to carpool for some reason, and they told me to come get you here, wherever this place actually is. I mean, is this your home or a dorm room? I can barely tell what anything around me is.”

Citrus sighed and opened the door. Harvey stood there in a outfit that looked Roman. He had two fake beards and a wreath. Citrus tried to keep from laughing, barely.

"Like it? I'm the Roman god, Janus," Harvey smiled.

"Janus? Like January?" she asked.

"Yeah, it's said that he had two personalities and... Wow, you clean up nicely."

Implying she’s a mess any other day of the week, which isn’t news to me.

Citrus flushed as realized he was looking at her chest," Ahem, my eyes are up here."

Harvey flushed and looked up.

"Aren't you going with Ivy?" Citrus growled.

"Yeah, sorry," he shrunk. His eyes became serious, "Wayne's not coming though."

Citrus's head snapped up, "How come? He's funding it after all."

Why are you suddenly invested in this? You should be ecstatic that the bane of your questionable existence isn’t going to be bothering you.

" He said that some people probably didn't want to see him there as himself. I think he meant you."

Citrus felt guilt all over. Okay, she should ease up on Wayne. It was his party after all, and he wasn't going because of her. Then again, why should he care? She barely even spoke to him.

"Hey Harvey, how close are you and Wayne?"

"If you're insinuating something..."

“I just stared at your tits; you can’t possibly be this dense.”

"No, I just want you to give him a message if you can. Tell him not to hide for my sake or anyone else's. I never meant to hurt him or anyone else. He should be his regular playboy self, no matter what anybody thinks."

Harvey looked surprised, " I thought you hated him. "

"No, there's somebody who looks a lot like him that I hate. I was a jerk for acting like that toward Wayne and I'm sorry."

Harvey frowned, "Deliver your own message. I'm Janus, not Mercury."

Well, this was high school drama she guessed. Nothing ever worked out and there was always something to bring down spirits. Right now, Citrus would rather fight mobsters again.

I fucking wish you would, you sack of sadness! Why is this the story the author wants to write? Why do we have to sit through Citrus the Cynic whining her way through high school, when there are much more interesting things you could do with the premise? WHY?!

Hold on, tonight was supposed to be fun. So why did she get the feeling tonight was going to be a disaster?

...

Everyone was in a costume of some sort. Joker and Harley were clowns as usual. Ivy was Persephone. Barbara was an Oracle. Dick was some sort of birdman, and Selina was a cat. Riddler was an owl and Meister was a composer.

In other words, Junior and his floozy didn’t dress in costume, half the guests thought this was a toga party, and somehow Cobblepot didn’t get invited for the full zoo experience. Oh, and Meister dresses like his teacher.

Citrus sat in the corner, watching all of the fun. She didn't dare dance. Even if she could dance, she wouldn't dance with these kids or any stranger. Why dance with somebody you didn't know?

"Don't worry princess, a knight will come and rescue you from the belly of the beast known as high school," Selina said.

Citrus laughed, "I don't need a knight. I can protect myself."

But can you pull yourself out of the pit of mopey boredom you’ve dug for yourself? Liven the fuck up!

"Way to be tough. I'm going to look for some prey, will you be okay?"

"Yeah, go have fun."

Selina looked at her nervously and murmured, " Please don't be another Holly."

Citrus barely caught it as Selina walked away. Who the heck was Holly?

The author’s attempt at wedging yet another DC Comics character into this mess. Holly Robinson is Selina Kyle’s protテゥgテゥ. That’s all I have ever heard or care to hear about her.

She tried to focus on how to prove Crane behind the fear gas crime when the room became silent.

Citrus looked up and saw a guy dressed up in black armor, a Dark Knight. His cape flowed like wings in flight, and his head looked like it had devil horns. It was either that or really pointy ears. On his chest was the marking of a bat. Weird, something was familiar about him even though she couldn't see his face. She knew him somehow. Citrus looked around and noticed that everyone had shrunk back in fear. Girls looked at him with lust and fear while boys looked in fear and confusion. What were they afraid of?

The absolute mockery that is the author’s take on Batman’s aesthetic. They got it ass-backwards. Bats don’t make Batman frightening, Batman makes bats frightening. Before Bruce Wayne started his hero career, bats were just another animal; at worst a nuisance to the city. But then Batman turned them into his symbol, making them synonymous with justice and vengeance, the harbingers of unrelenting and uncompromising punishment of criminals. But instead the author has turned every goddamn villain in this story into lily-livered cowards afraid of the yet-to-exist connotations of a nocturnal critter the size of a softball.

The Dark Knight turned in her direction and stared at her, silently asking to dance. The room filled up with whispers and deep breathing. Somebody started to play music, from the corniest movie Citrus knew. She didn't know what to do. She didn't know this guy, and the people in the room looked at her with expectancy. Why on earth would she dance with a total stranger? This wasn't a fairytale where she starred as Cinderella and she wouldn't play someone else's game.

Citrus decided to follow her gut, "I appreciate the offer, but no thank you."

Will you fucking stop this apathetic bullshit already? This entire story is basically the plot begging you to participate, and you refusing as if you have better things to do. The height of your personal involvement was when you were literally forced into a closet to be gassed! Even when you helped a ninja beat up random thugs, you had nothing but disinterest afterwards! I have never seen a more uncooperative protagonist!

She had to get out of there. Things were becoming weirder than normal. Citrus walked toward the gym doors, only to be met with eyes of a blood red color. She tried to jump back as she sensed danger, but something caught her arm. She looked up and realized with anger that it was a scarecrow. No, not a scarecrow, the Scarecrow. It was the Scarecrow from Jonathan Crane's journal. Screams surrounded her. They must have seen him. What was worse was that fact he had a gun in one hand and a canister in the other.

I guess he’s using his third hand to hold your arm.

A gun. A gun meant shooting. Shooting meant death and blood. A massacre, a school massacre.

Better throw something at his hand, so he loses his grip on the gun and it falls out of existence. Fucking hell, what kept you from being this triggered back in the alley with the mobsters?

Citrus couldn't let him expose the others to that madness, not matter what craziness or violence they may be already exposed to. She kneed Scarecrow and carefully tugged the gun from him onto the floor. She tried to reach for the canister, but he twisted he around so that her back was to him.

"If you value your lives, unlike this stupid girl, get down to the ground and beg for mercy from the Scarecrow!" Crane cried. Then he whispered to Citrus, "You will be the first to die blond."

What the hell are you doing, Crane? Gas first, then you make with the posturing! You don’t need a hostage for this, you numbskull!

He squeezed his hand around her throat. Everyone except for the Dark Knight slowly got down to lay on the floor. The Dark Knight stood, staring at Scarecrow.

"Let her go," he growled. His voice sounded like he was gargling marbles. It sounded really familiar.

What you do in your spare time is of no concern to me, lemon bread.

"Or what? I've been waiting for years to do this to get my revenge on these people. Do you know how many times they've ridiculed me and had me sit in fear? Now I control fear, and everyone will know me and fear me when they find out what I did to these stupid little children. I will always be remembered."

Citrus wondered for a moment if that's why people did that kind of stuff. For fun and fame? No, she wasn't going to let this jerk haunt everybody. He would not make others feel fear. She wasn't going to let any kind of bastard like him win.

For crying out loud, Citrus, are you even listening to the guy? He’s doing this for revenge, not for laughs – that would be Joker’s department. If the author wants to stand on a soapbox and comment on school shooters, they can be my guest. I just want the analogy to be consistent with itself. Scarecrow’s entire MO is to force fear on others. With toxins. Something he does in underhanded ways. Not at gunpoint. If the author wanted a school shooter, she should have picked Black Mask, Hush, or Deadshot – instead we have a version of Scarecrow that doesn’t use his fucking fear toxin to make people afraid!

She bit his hand and as he screamed , she flipped him onto his back. Not exactly easy to do in a dress and heels. The canister went flying through the air. The Dark Knight back flipped high through the air and caught it. Crane shoved her onto the ground. Then he grabbed the gun on the ground and tried to shoot her. Some sort of boomerang shaped like a bat whizzed through the air and knocked it out of his hands. Scarecrow screamed in pain and the Dark Knight came over and punched him so hard she heard a crack. It must have been his jaw. She shuddered as she imagined the pain.

Would that be more or less painful than reading that paragraph? What was Wayne even waiting for? Scarecrow was unarmed. He had a gas canister, no gun, and a hostage. A hostage he suddenly decides to kill, as if she was the focus of his revenge, when instead he should reaffirm his control of the situation. Can’t a villain just for once make a smart move?

"Who... what are you?" Scarecrow mumbled weakly.

The Dark Knight growled like a beast, it chilled Citrus to the bone. "I am vengeance, I am the night, I am... Batman."

Batman? What kind of name was that? Then it occurred to her. People feared darkness and bats. Not only that, but he just proved he would defend...

Wait, was he the idiot ninja?! That's why he seemed so familiar, they had the same fighting styles and the same voice that sounded like gargled marbles.

The guy throws a single punch and speaks in a gravelly voice – big brain Citrus instantly ties this person to the ninja she fought alongside, somehow.

Batman threw Crane to the floor before running off. Hands helped Citrus stand up and she dusted herself off.

...

"Batman, the Dark Knight, just who is this vigilante who saved the students of Gotham High against the Scarecrow? All of the students say he is a hero, but who is he really? What do you think Jack?" Summer Gleeson of Gotham Live asked while looking at Jack Ryder.

Citrus had to admit, she was curious as to who Batman was. Whoever it was, needed years of training, money to fund tools, and a good motive. Not only that, but the person attended Gotham High.

Image

I don’t even know what to say about this. Half the time Citrus reaches conclusions with record breaking leaps of logic, for the other half she couldn’t connect the dots if they were numbered and on paper.

Question was, should she investigate? Did she want to since he saved them all? Could she at all? After all, it wasn't until the dance that she was able to prove Crane was behind her assault and the others. She was sure there were more mysteries that Gotham High would have to offer. After her poor attempts in this case, she needed the practice. Unless the Batman posed a threat to innocents or started killing, she'd leave him alone for now. For now.

Motherfucker, you want to be a detective! You want to! So why don’t you want to do detective work?!

Citrus stuffed an Oreo into her mouth and pondered for a moment.

The phone rang again, probably from Batman's fan girls. The Gotham Sirens especially liked him. Oddly enough, while he scared villains, apparently girls "loved" him. They called her since "Batsy" somehow knew her. He supposedly was tall, dark, mysterious, handsome, flexible, and some girls said he smelled nice. One, you can't even see his face, so how do you know if he's handsome? Two, he smelled like too much Axe deodorant. Three, he was wearing military style boots, he probably wasn't that tall. What was with these people?

“Gee, these dumb people the author wrote into existence sure are dumb. Not like me, because I’m so observant and levelheaded. What morons, am I right?

Wait, before she did anything, she had to apologize to Wayne first. She had to do something fun and hopefully with other people around. What did Gothamites do for fun besides fight? Go see movies? Yeah, that would work. Maybe she could convince Babs and the others to go along with them. They wouldn't be friends that quickly, but she had to at least try.

...

A teenage boy sat in front of a portrait of a man and a woman. Next to him was an elderly man with a blanket. The butler wrapped a blanket around the boy.

"Alfred, it just happened. I was going to tell her my story and what I wanted to do. Then all of that happened. Now, I can use this to my advantage and save people. However I need to keep them safe from my enemies as well. How do I handle that? What do I do?"

Be in a better story.

"Well, I believe that the answer will come to you eventually. Follow your heart Master Wayne. Listen to advise without telling others your secret. I will stand by you no matter what happens."

Bruce Wayne smiled, "Thanks Alfred. Hey, you know that cave underneath the mansion? If I'm a bat, I should have a cave, right? And to stop crooks, I need all the right tools. I need a lab, a computer, maybe even a car."

The author’s take on Batman’s origins is some of the most ridiculous and juvenile bullshit I’ve seen. Freakazoid parodied this shit better.

"One thing at a time Master Wayne. Ms. Gordon called to ask about a trip to the movies with some friends."

Bruce hesitated, "Is that girl going to be there? Or does she truly fear me?"

"Apparently, the girl wanted to apologize to you personally. She wasn't sure about being friends so quickly, but she wanted to give you a chance. Ms. Gordon said she was a little scared, but that the young lady could handle the situation."

"Good, I want to scare people as Batman. Not Bruce Wayne. I hope we can be friends like that. It felt easy being around her as that 'idiot ninja', " Bruce laughed.

“Idiot ninja” is a term that has never left Citrus’ head. It was never endearing, not a compliment, in fact it felt just as dismissive and contemptuous as every other reaction our protagonist has put forth. Author, if you think these two words put next to each other is narrative brilliance, then I can think of many other two word combinations as a response.

Alfred smiled, it was the first time Bruce laughed for real in front of him since Thomas's and Martha's death. He hoped that this was the start of something new and wonderful. Odd since it had such a fearful beginning.

Start of Something Newperformed by Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens.

‘I don’t care’, by Ed Sheeran

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A dumbass in knight armor punches a school shooter, and suddenly they’re deemed a vigilante. What a brilliant take. What a magnificent origin story. And of course our protagonist, our beloved plank of wood with an on-scribbled frowny face, was the center piece of this event. Good grief. It’s not that the author doesn’t try to make her interesting and relatable, they just suck at doing it. Citrus has bursts of heroic resolve. That’s all the praise I can give her character. But even those aren’t justified. What makes her willing to risk taking a bullet for a school full of hoodlums? The plot demands that she must, I guess. You could say that about a lot of the things she does.
Last edited by StabbyKobold on Sun Jun 21, 2020 8:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Gotham High

Post by StabbyKobold » Sun Jun 21, 2020 8:54 am

With three chapters of this story behind me, I feel that I have to admit something. This was worse than I was expecting. It’s weird that I have to admit that, because that’s sort of always been my expectation with any other fanfic. But this time, it comes from an unusual source. The author made their protagonist a moron - intentionally. I’m used to writers building absolute caricatures of decent human beings with bad decision making derived from simplemindedness and one too many edgy anime music videos. But this is different. The author decided to have a main character that acts stupid at all times. I’m still assuming this was done to avoid the Mary Sue trope, but the result is an endless source of frustration. Citrus makes bad decisions, complains about everything, and she never tries to improve upon her flaws but instead indulges them. Which becomes very apparent in this chapter. Enjoy.

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Chapter 4: The Man Behind the Bat

"Dad, for the last time, I have no freaking idea who the darn Batman is! Now excuse me, I've got to go"

Citrus said as she ran as fast as she could, and she wasn't running away from something this time.

That remains to be seen. The plot is still waiting on her.

She was late. She was supposed to meet up with everybody, the Gotham Sirens, Babs, Harvey, and last but not least, Bruce Wayne. They were going to see a new CGI movie based on The Grey Ghost, a famous television series. Citrus attempted to ignore the fluttering of her skirt and the cursing of people watching TV in their apartments.

Ok, outfit check. Citrus wasn't a fan of fashion, but she had to have the right clothes. They needed to enable her to appear nice while staying functional. She had thought about wearing a Grey Ghost costume, but people were nervous about anybody dressing up in costumes lately. Why? Batman of course. He managed to drop crime by nearly ten percent in the past week. People, especially the police which included her dad, were ever wary of him. It was like they expected him to do something horrible.

Image

The kid who needed a teen girl’s help beating a couple of mobsters has reduced crime in Gotham by ten percent in a week?! The high schooler who dressed up for a dance is now crusading through the city streets in a war against crime, and he’s winning?! Are you out of your fucking mind, author? It took Bruce Wayne decades to amass the skill and technology needed for Batman to become a reality. All that this version of him has is a costume. And that would have been enough for the story. If you had simply stuck to the premise - Batman in high school - it would have worked, if you limited the scope of crime fighting to the campus. Because now that you’ve stuck every villain into the school, what is there even left out in the rest of Gotham for Batman to fight?!

What's worse, since the Batman was friendly with her at the dance, she couldn't get a moment of peace. Fangirls would call her, the police interrogated her multiple times, and she met the paparazzi for the first time. Why did Batman want to dance with her at all?! It made no sense! Damn, she had to sneak past an armada of reporters just to get out of the house to spend time with , she hated wearing skirts and it was the worst thing to wear in Gotham. They made a girl look helpless and caused inconveniences. Sadly, her newfound friends wanted her to become more feminine.

Attention and femininity is forced on our female protagonist. Oh the horror.

Citrus already went through a lot last week with trying to survive her first week of high school and didn't feel like going through that sort of thing again. Fear gas, assault, Scarecrow, life-threatening situations, not fun. She felt more comfortable in jeans that were durable and permitted her to move. Boots and a leather jacket kept her warm from the cold. Her face still stung from the chill as she dashed.

Oh crud, wasn't Wayne's parents killed by a mugger after seeing a movie? Citrus face palmed as she ran. She was supposed to be nice to him, not hurt him more! Moron, moron, moron! What would he be thinking right now? That she was insensitive or a jerk? She wasn't sure about being friends with him, but that didn't mean she wanted to make things worse between them. He wouldn't even look her in the eye.

Listen here you self-deprecating, hair-trigger worrywart. Tragedies and death can leave lasting trauma, but they’re usually not triggered by the smallest of associations. Your mother died in a car crash, and yet you didn’t have a fucking problem carpooling with Dent. The only way you taking Bruce to a movie could be insensitive, would be if you took him to see The Mark of Zorro - the actual movie he watched before the shooting. Stop finding excuses to whine about every little thing you do!

She seriously didn't have a grudge against Wayne, she just hated a rich kid who looked a lot like him. Paul Sloan had bullied her for years and almost raped her once. For a while, he haunted her every nightmare and made her life a living hell. Odd, after the incident with Jonathan Crane aka the Scarecrow, she felt like she could face anything. Well, almost anything. Her life in Gotham seemed to get weirder every day and she wasn't she what to expect when something happened. This city made anything seem possible, no matter how unbelievable.

Such as making Batman boring, or will the author take responsibility for that one?

Citrus rounded a corner when she noticed something, a shadow was following her. The shadow looked like a bat. Why would Batman be after her? Then again, he did fight with her while was an idiot ninja and he did try to contact her at the dance. Maybe he needed help, or a punch to the face. She looked up and almost screamed, it was a bat alright, but not the one she was expecting. It was a giant, furry bat with giant, razor sharp teeth. It was larger than most men, and it was after her.

Why did this kind of thing happen to her in this stupid city?!

Why, exactly! Why the hell would Langstrom be after her? Of all people, of the entirety of the student body and school faculty, why her? Why is everything happening to this one boring, bumbling buffoon?!

She dodged a swipe, barely. It caught her coat and she let the thing take it. She ran even faster and for once, thanked Coach Crocker for his crazy obstacle courses. It really taught somebody how to run away from monsters while running through the street, avoiding trash cans and various debris.

I guess your singing lessons didn’t teach you to YELL FOR HELP, YOU STUPID DUMBASS!

She ran into the street when bright lights flashed. Oh no, she was in the middle of the street, she wouldn't be able to make it. Citrus braced herself for impact when the vehicle screeched to a stop. She was still seeing spots from the lights, but was able to make out the giant bat flying away.

"Limes?! What the heck are you doing here?! We're supposed to go to the movies!" a familiar high pitched voice called. It was Harley Quinn, a member of the Gotham Sirens.

Footsteps ran toward Citrus as she tried to keep the glare out of her eyes.

"Hey, you okay? What happened to your arm?" the teen heartthrob of Gotham asked her. It was hard to see, but Bruce Wayne had trimmed his hair and smelled strongly of deodorant.

"I can't see very well right now so you'll have to tell me what you see," she said.

He’s seeing an idiot standing the headlights of a car. Did your legs stop working, lemon squeeze?

Wayne chuckled, "Well, at least you aren't' hiding from me. Seriously though, you okay? It looked like you were running from something and...Hhmm..."

He was feeling her sleeve and she realized that his fingers were poking through it. Her vision finally cleared and she saw what he was talking about. Her sleeve had three long tears in it. That thing had claws that struck through leather. Really not good. When she thought anything could be possible in this place, giant bats with razor sharp claws weren't what she meant. There was no way anybody would believe her about this, how could they? Sure, this town had its fill of psychos, but still.

You’ve been vibe checked with a baseball bat by a human crocodile, and one of your new besties has green skin. For once in your life, can you act like the world around you isn’t already ridiculous?

If she didn't act, maybe it would hurt somebody else. She had to do something, but who to go to? The police wouldn't be able to take it or handle it. She also didn't want her dad in that thing's path. Batman maybe? After all, he seemed to want to protect everyone, and at the dance he seemed to be especially protective of her. What was she doing? She didn't have a way to contact him or some sort of Bat-signal.

Will you please stop cramming references down your readers’ throats; they know what story they’re reading already.

Hold on, focus on the now. Citrus was going to the movies and she couldn't let them worry. Besides, Harley was, no offence, an even bigger blabbermouth than Citrus was. Blabbermouths always either got into trouble, or caused trouble. This sort of news would cause mass panic. And if it were a giant bat, people would blame a certain vigilante. Sure, she wasn't exactly happy with him and a bit of a jerk, but she wasn't that messed up.

"Citrus everything okay?" Selina asked.

She’s rationalizing letting a monster with lethal bloodlust roam through the city without trying to warn anyone about it. She’s as peachy as her name would imply.

Citrus put on her biggest smile, " Yep, I just had a bit of a fright. I thought I was going to get hit. Note to self, look both ways before crossing. Sorry I'm late by the way. Oh, um, aren't we heading to the movies?"

Her speech was very quick, like all the other times she'd attempted to lie, but the group seemed content with that kind of answer except for Wayne. He was still looking at her sleeve.

"Where'd you get these?" he asked.

“It’s really fashionable; I could see it catching on.”

Please let him be a stupid rich boy, "I think I cut it on something. Maybe a rake or something?"

"Hey guys, it's cold out! Get into the limo already! It's warm in here!" Harvey called.

They all headed to the car, but Citrus could almost swear that Wayne had pulled something from her sleeve. In the limo, she looked and saw a few brown hairs poking out from the sleeve. Evidence, maybe she could use it. Citrus grabbed a few hairs and stuffed it into her pocket. She'll look at it later with her mom's old kit. Why did Wayne grab some?

Why does your fantastical deductive reasoning stop working when he’s involved?

Wait, who was driving? She looked at the rear view mirror and saw that elderly butler. Darn rich kids. She better be polite. Besides, he looked like a nice fellow. Hopefully he wasn't snooty or anything.

Or prejudiced like a teenage girl who has a very adverse reaction to people with money.

"Um, I'm Citrus O'Brien. What's your name?" she asked the elderly man.

He looked surprised and smiled before answering her, "I am Alfred Pennyworth. Pleasure to meet you Miss O'Brien."

She frowned, she hated formalities.

You hate a lot of things, and I hate you for it. Do you like anything? Aside from Oreos, the literally only thing I can remember that you do like?

"Please call me Citrus. Lemons, Limes and Grapefruit are also good options since everyone likes to call me different kinds of citrus fruits. Can I call you Alfred? Or do you have another name you want me to use?"

He smiled even wider, "Please call me Alfred...Lemons."

Image

Having to raise a kid who is going through a part-time ninja phase, I imagine Alfred has learned to just roll with whatever a teenager tells him.

She laughed a little before nodding. She looked up through the limo's skylight. She wasn't religious, but if anybody was up there, please, just this once, let everything go smoothly. Please no life in peril or danger situations happen. No problems, and just a regular good time. She'd figure out how to handle all of the dangerous crap later, but just please let nothing go amiss. Pleeeeeaaaaase?!

I’ve seen a lot of characters baiting for dramatic irony to occur, but this is the first time I’ve seen one begging for it.

...

The trip to the movies wasn't too bad. Some spilled soda and after the movie, a small popcorn fight. Wayne seemed to really like it and apparently he loved the Grey Ghost. He had even brought a costume to dress up in. Bruce Wayne, the Grey Ghost, who'd have thought? Though she thought he looked awful with a cape. They actually had a good time. Hurray!

Now she had to investigate the giant bat.

Really? She can investigate the ravenous monster now? She doesn’t have a girls’ night she needs to attend, too?

She changed and placed her shirt on a clean table. Citrus got her mom's old CSI kit which had almost everything a good detective needed, including files on different kinds of hair. Hair is class evidence unless it had blood or skin follicles on it. Sadly, it's hard to pull hair out by the root and these hairs fell off. No DNA to identify it by, then again, the kit didn't have a PCR to help her. That didn't mean she wouldn't be able to identify what kind of hairs they were. Her guess before looking was that they were fake hairs from a costume, and the hairs would be synthetic.

Because it was totally someone in a giant bat costume that chased you in the dead of night with razor sharp teeth and claws, here in Gotham, the city in which anything can supposedly happen. Cram that fake hair bullshit up your fake logic ass.

She put a few hairs up to the light. Odd, they weren't clear like synthetic hairs would be, so they were real. Maybe a costume with animal fur? That would be a pain to manage. She looked at the hair underneath a microscope, it wasn't smooth like synthetics either. It had keratin and scales. The hair was either golden or brown. She wasn't good with shades of color. Selina or Babs could probably tell the difference.

As someone whose future career depends on their investigative ability, not being able to tell the difference in color hues spanning across a tenth of the visible spectrum should be a red flag to you, Citrus. Or can you not tell the difference between green and red either?

Odd, the hair had a mixture of coronal patterns and flattened scales. Coronal patterns belonged to creature like rodents and flat scales suggested human, although some animals did have flat scales. Ugh, this was going to be even harder than she thought.

Could it possibly be a bat? You know, like what the fucking monster looked like by your own assessment?! Why are you acting like you didn’t witness your own attack?!

The hair's color didn't constantly change like an animal's, so human hair? No, the cortex was thick like an animal's. Things were always one species, not both, but these hairs mystified her. They were like a mixture. A disturbing though occurred to her, coronal hairs were also found in bats. A bat-man hybrid? No, that name would confuse her with the vigilante. A...Man-bat hybrid? How was that even possible? Then again, this was Gotham. Apparently anything could happen here.

Apparently, the author was so fond of the concept that we needed to be told a third time.

Citrus took notes in her diary, the safest place to keep secrets.

Ah yes, the most inconspicuous and safest of places to keep secrets - the thing in which any teenage girl writes all her secrets.

Not even her dad knew about it. Yeah yeah, that's were all girls would keep their secrets, but who'd suspect that she'd have a diary? A few, maybe, but no one would find it. Except for when she wrote in it, it was in a secret place. One that not many people would expect it to be in.

Author, honey, if you write in an idea into your story and realize it is stupid, you scrap it. You don’t try to rationalize it afterwards. Because that makes you, and your mouthpiece character, look stupid.

While it was irritating to think about, Man-bats weren't her area of expertise. Maybe if she were better prepared...No, she was training to become a cop, not an animal tamer! Besides, she hadn't even a clue how to find a giant bat. What was she supposed to do?

INVESTIGATE! My fucking god, it’s even in your future job title, you insipid plot wallflower!

Dare she search for the Batman? Did she want to? As far as she knew, he might only be a fighter, not a detective. And how would she find him anyway? The only way she knew how to was if she looked for where'd he be, which was wherever there was trouble. She was going to do the stupid thing again, wasn't she? Yes, yes she was. Citrus face palmed herself. She was such a moron.

YES! Yes, Citrus. You are a moron. However, most people realizing they’re exhibiting this trait have the sensibility to STOP ACTING LIKE A MORON! You’re not even considering smarter alternatives, you’re just simply deciding to be stupid about this. Without reason! Without justification! Without even a fucking excuse! What sane human being, fictional or otherwise, would willingly act like this?!



Okay, there was a major rumor going around that he would investigate. Rupert Thorne and Sal Maroni were going head to head for control of Gotham's drug trade. Citrus didn't know where it was going to be, but she knew where Rupert Thorne was. He was meeting with Carlton Duquesne about purchasing weapons for "protection" and "security guards" of his business. Business her butt.

Okay. Question. How does she know this? How does a high schooler know the whereabouts and business meetings of a crime boss?!

Duquesne's place was a tower of solitude. A castle of sorts, meant to protect a king. It stood over twenty stories and made Citrus cringe at the height. She wasn't really scared of heights, but when she thought of what would happen to a person if they fell from that distance...ugh. She'd seen enough autopsy photos to figure out the possibilities.

Citrus spotted Thorne's limo easily and planted a GPS underneath.

Because she has that now! And presumably a tracker for it! Why not?!

Rich boys always got the cool and obvious cars. It made it really easy when the creeps had their own personal insignias on them. Rupert Thorne walked out with his men and into his limo. Citrus looked at the GPS coordinates and realized her was heading towards Infantino's Costumes store. Citrus quickly rode there on her bike. How come rich people got all the cool stuff? It seemed like being rich was a kind of superpower.

Is being a pedantic complainer your superpower? How many times are you going to point out that rich people are rich and that you don’t like it?

She snuck into the back of the store. Back there, she realized that these people were real bad guys. They could hurt anybody she cared about. Moron, moron, moron! Good thing it was a costume store. She saw a costume meant to resemble singer Cyndi "Cherie" Almouzni with a mask set. Her acting wasn't the best, but now she could blend in and if was caught, hopefully no one would recognize her. Or kill her...Ugh, costumes were irritating, no way she was ever dressing up like this again. On the bright side, she wasn't wearing tights, latex, or fishnet leggings.

She’s blending in. Among mobsters. Meeting in a costume store. While being dressed like a famous singer. But hey, at least she’s not wearing something annoying like a superhero outfit, hyuck-hyuck — WHAT THE FUCK AM I READING?!

From the corner of the shop, she saw Sal and Thorne sit down at a table, underneath a single light. It was like an old cop movie, but without the cop.

Take away the defining feature of your simile, and what are you left with? More than what Citrus has between her ears!

A dim lamplight was all that was shared between the two as they sat down at the miniature wooden table. She couldn't hear them, but Citrus saw their faces twitch and their expressions change. Crud, a fight was going to break out. Where was Batman?

You’ve been stalking a crime boss with the expectation that a vigilante will show up because you want him to. That’s like following an elephant across the savannah with the expectation that a poacher will show up. They might, but they also might be doing something else with their lives today. Thorne isn’t the only criminal in Gotham, you absolute loon.

As soon as the thought occurred to her, a shadow struck the mobsters. The lights went out and there was screaming. Good news was, it was the bad guys screaming. It would've seemed like a horror movie if she hadn't known what was happening. She heard the familiar sound of what was now known as a Batarang in the air and punching. A moment later, it was over. Or so she warm brushed against her cheek and she jumped.

A voice whispered, " What are you doing here?"

Not even the Riddler could answer that one, Bruce.

She recognized the voice and smiled. It was the idiot ninja errr...Batman. She whispered back, "This is going to sound really bad, but I need your help, and this was the only way I knew how to contact you."

Sirens and flashing lights blared outside the shop.

Batman backed off and she continued, "Look, can we talk somewhere else? Somewhere the cops won't be?"

Why are they even here? Did Batman interrupt their sting operation and that’s why Citrus could have known about the trade happening? Or am I trying to rationalize the author’s completely crazy writing by grasping at straws?

He nodded and they ran out they back. Batman then put his arm around her waist and she flushed.

"What are you doing?" she growled. Citrus did not like being manhandled.

"Taking us somewhere a little more private."

He took out something similar to a gun and fired at a roof nearby. A rope streamed out and... was that a grappling hook? She held on tight as they flew into the air. He let go when they were on solid ground.

"Your father is a cop and you can't talk to him about whatever this is?" he questioned as he placed the tool back into his belt.

She froze, "How'd you know my dad was a cop?"

Your own justification for trying to find Batman was that he might be able to help you with an investigation; that he might be a detective. How hard is it to follow your own narrative?!

"I'm the Batman, I know everything and can handle anything. So tell me what's going on Ms. O'Brien," he gestured.

Creepy, "Okay, tonight I was chased by something..., " Citrus told as many dteails of what happened earlier as she could figure out. Including what she found out about the hairs from her jacket. "If you're really a detective, then maybe you can do a better job than I did analyzing these hairs I nabbed," she tossed a container of it at him. "Who knows? Maybe you'll even find out what's going on."

He caught the container easily and raised an eyebrow at her, "Why trust me? For all you know, I could have hurt you."

You saved her from a hostage situation! Why is everyone in this story a moron with the memory of a goldfish?!

Citrus smiled. She had thought of that, but, "The idiot ninja I met, kept a guy from stabbing me in the back and right now he could have left me to the gangsters or the police, but he didn't."

She liked the look of surprise on his face, "How'd you know it was me?"

Gee, Bruce, I don’t know. Maybe the total lack of any other vigilante in town, the fact that you couldn’t hide a secret identity to save your life, or that she can somehow see your face despite you wearing a mask. Fucking hell, when will this cavalcade of awful writing end?

She smiled even wider, "You're the detective, you'll probably figure it out."

Batman walked over to her and looked into her eyes. He was obviously wearing contacts as they were pure white, but something was familiar about them. It was like he was staring into her soul. It should creep her out, but it made her appreciate him more. It showed he was confident and that he was seeing whether to trust her or not. She stared right back.

"Fine, I'll help you," he grunted.

She sighed, finally relaxing, "Thank you."

He handed her something that looked like a cell phone, but a little batty. Seriously, it was shaped like a bat. A Bat-phone? Now things were getting just plain ridiculous.

Image

Yes. He has a motif. We realize that. We’re reading a Batman fanfic. And you’re starring in it. You, an imbecile who decided to intrude on organized criminals in the hopes that a vigilante would show up during the same timeframe - and before you got your ass killed. I can believe he has a Bat-phone. I can’t believe you’re still alive.

"Use this to contact me from now on, and don't even bother tracing it."

She raised an eyebrow, "Why would I? You're the one protecting the city, you know what you're doing. I'm starting to wonder what's considered right or wrong."

"Sometimes, even I wonder what's right and wrong in this city. I try to protect it, but people hate me for it. I rescued a holy man a few days ago and he cursed me because I looked like a demon. He said I would never enter Heaven," he murmured.

What are we even talking about? What kind of angsty bullshit is the author spinning now? This is not a time for a heart-to-heart, Man-bat is on the lose!

Citrus looked up at him, surprised, "I'm no holy person, and let's face it, I'm not smart. I know something though, you're a Dark Knight. Somebody that Gotham may not want, but you're something it needs. I'm not religious or anything, but if there's a Heaven, I know there's a place for you in it when the time comes."

He stared at her before clearing his throat and taking out a writing pad. Why was that bat-shaped?! Maybe he had an unusual fetish, "Can you describe what attacked you?"

The author’s attempts at humor, shaped like a giant finger pointing at a bat symbol with a sign that says, “Laugh, dammit!”

She wanted to scream that it was a big f***ing bat, but she was patient and described it down to every detail she could recall.

Batman looked down at the pad and she did as well. He did take notes, but he tried to draw it as well. While it was a better drawing than anything she'd make, it was still ridiculous.

"It looks like a bad version of a vampire," she commented.

"At least it doesn't sparkle," he replied. "Are you joking with me by any chance?"

No, but you sure are, author. Are you done having yourself a giggle? Can we get back to your fucking story now?

She growled, "I nearly got myself killed trying to ask for your help, and you think I'd joke about this?"

"Calm down, I'll help," he paused, "Don't panic but..."

Citrus stiffened and whispered, "It's right behind me, isn't it?"

He slowly nodded, "Run, I'll fight it."

She glared at him, "Can you?"

"You have a better option?"

Dumb luck seems to have worked for her thus far. Emphasis on dumb.

She grunted, "I hate this city."

Citrus heard a terrible screech and began to run. Batman's footsteps echoed and she silently wondered, would he be okay? She heard Batman grunt and claws grabbed her shoulders. Great, would she be okay?! She was lifted off of the ground and screamed.

Oh no, they were flying above the city. The Man-bat flew her near Duquesne's tower and she saw through the window that they were at the eighteenth story. Good thing she wasn't scared of heights. Something hit the Man-bat and it dropped her. Okay, she was scared of falling! What was with this city?!

I hope that joke hits the pavement before you do so it can finally die.

Aren't cliffhangers fun?

The song for this chapter should be obvious for any Nickelback fan, but the song is Savin' Me.

When do we get to “Burn it to the Ground”?

------------------------

Oh boy. At the start of this, I didn’t think I would feel the need to go through the longer version of this fanfic. But this last chapter might have changed my mind. Citrus is awful. Her continued existence is an enigma. The secondary cast’s interest in her is likewise a mystery. Her personality is entirely made up of superficial traits, a spiteful disposition towards the world around her, and an uncanny ability to screw up what should be within basic human ability. I don’t know when I’ll be taking on the full length of the author’s FictionPress edition of this fanfic, but it has earned its future spot on my list. Until then, thank you for reading, I hope this travesty was made at least mildly entertaining.

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