Harry had sworn to himself that he would not interfere in the affairs of the Muggles, and whatever was going down inside of the parking garage was not going to be an exception. As soon as the gunfire started up, he gathered the rest of the group together and started running for the next building-

But when a stray bullet caught Ginny in the arm, it took the combined efforts of Neville and Hermione to keep him from running back and cursing anyone he saw into oblivion.

The sounds of the fight were getting closer to them. Suddenly, a van came careening down the ramp and in to the ground level of the building—just to be crushed by a caped crusader from above. The roof of the van crumpled under the impact.

Batman tried to get up from the roof of the van, but part of his leg was caught in the crumpled metal. He struggled to pull away from the vehicle, but he was, unfortunately, stuck.

The remaining mob members and henchmen had coalesced around the car. The Scarecrow, dazed from the landing, opened the van door with some difficulty, and stood among the mob.

He reprimanded his fellow criminals. "What are you all standing around for? Yes, it's the Batman stuck to the top of a car. He can't hurt you. Consider yourselves lucky enough to have seen him before his death." He pulled out his gun and aimed at the Batman, who had crouched down on the roof of the car, now appearing perfectly calm. There was a Batarang concealed in his hand. He threw it at the Scarecrow in an attempt to knock the gun away when a shining barrier appeared between them. Both bullet and Batarang bounced off of it harmlessly.

Hermione finished placing the shield charms. There was not interfering in Muggle affairs, and then there was watching a helpless man get killed. She had instructed Neville to find a pay phone and call the police. Harry was helping Ginny stop the bleeding in her arm.

The criminals looked around in shock as the Scarecrow checked his fear toxin supply, suspecting that it had somehow leaked. Except that wouldn't make any sense, unless he had some sort of subconscious fear of translucent walls, and he seriously doubted that. Fear toxin also wouldn't cause such blatant disregard for the laws of physics. He stopped the pointless investigation of the aerosol canisters and found that the Batman was free from the metal deathtrap and had also just punched him in the face.

The Scarecrow staggered backwards in to the other mob members, and they fell like dominoes.

The Batman picked up the dropped gun and disabled it with practiced efficiency. After making sure that the criminals and the false-batmen were definitely out of the action, he turned with a flourish of his cape to leave.

"Don't let me find you out here again," he shouted back at them, addressing both criminals and vigilantes.

"We're trying to help you!" claimed one man in spray painted hockey equipment.

He scowled. The heavily armed impostors hurt more than they helped. "I don't need help," he growled.

"Not my diagnosis," the Scarecrow said with biting sarcasm. The Batman couldn't resist rolling his eyes in response.

The one false Batman continued whining. "What gives you the right? What's the difference between you and me?"

The Batman returned to his Batmobile, and with a sardonic smile, replied: "I'm not wearing hockey pads." He was about to take off when he saw a small group of teenagers crouching behind the barrier. They were tired looking, and wearing rumpled clothing. They might have been a few of the many homeless youth in the city. The thing that really caught his interest was the exceedingly pale redheaded one clutching her bleeding arm.

He briefly considered letting the police pick them up before remembering how the police treated the homeless population of the city. Besides, the girl had been injured, probably by stray gunfire. She needed immediate attention.

He had a first aid kit stowed away under the dashboard of the Batmobile. He grabbed it, swung back out of the vehicle, and ran towards the group of kids. Ignoring the looks of shock on their faces, he crouched in front of them and opened the kit. "Stay calm," he ordered as he tried to get a better look at the injury. Luckily, it had only grazed her, and it seemed like the blood was slowing. He pulled out bandages and disinfectant. "I can't stay here long. Do either of you know how to do this?" he asked, looking at Harry and Hermione.

Hermione nodded curtly and took the items from his hands with care, as her own were shaking. "Yes. Thank you."

"You'll want to get out of here as soon as possible. The police are probably on their way," he said, standing back up. The sirens could already be heard in the distance. Hermione nodded in response, already working on cleaning Ginny's arm.

Batman made a grunt of approval and turned to leave, but the screech of metal on metal stopped him in his tracks. A rusty pickup truck had careened into the Batmobile. The armored vehicle hadn't suffered much damage, but the truck had an ugly gash in its side. The collision hadn't slowed the car down- it continued to speed into the parking garage. Batman was able to just barely glance at the driver: a rotund man with a pale face and beakish nose. Penguin, he concluded, and he ran back into the building in order to pursue him.

Harry tore his attention away from the drama in the garage. "We have to get out of here." A series of loud bangs from whatever confrontation was happening underlined his point.

Hermione and Ginny nodded in enthusiastic agreement. Neville, however, seemed distracted. He was patting down his pockets, and his face was pale.

"Whenever we dodged those shots-my wand fell, I think. Came out of my pocket..." He looked around with rising panic.

Harry joined in the search and quickly saw that it had rolled out into the road. "Over there!" Neville gave him a wide smile in thanks and ran out to pick it up.

Just as he was leaning down to quickly grab it, Ginny pointed at the garage entrance with a yelp. Hermionie, instinctively reacting to her warning, threw up a new shield charm in front of Neville. The truck from earlier came speeding out of the garage and crashed head-on into the shimmering wall. On the other side of the shining barrier stood a visibly shaken Neville, who was temporarily frozen in his spot as he stared at the vehicle that almost ran him down. The sight of the smoking engine stirred him back into action, and he ran back to his fellow wizards and witches.

The Penguin rolled out of the driver's side door and stared at the wall with shock. He staggered a few steps to the side with the help of his umbrella as the Scarecrow flopped out of the passenger's side in an ungainly heap.

Hermione canceled the charm as soon as it looked like Neville was out of harm's way. The Penguin blinked in surprise as the shield disappeared. He had seen Hermione's wand as she dispelled the charm, and while the connection didn't seem to make any sense to him, the cause-and-effect relationship was definitely there. His thoughts spun as he tried to figure of what he just saw. On a sudden, curious urge, he pointed his umbrella at the group of people, aimed just below them, and fired a pellet from the tip. One of them, the one he had seen in front of the car before it crashed, waved his own wand, and another barrier popped into existence. The pellet bounced harmlessly off of it.

The Scarecrow had regained his footing as the Penguin was experimenting. He caught sight of the shimmering wall. "What the hell- again?"

The Penguin gave him a questioning glance. "Again?"

"That's what I saw back in the garage." He reached back into the fuming car and grabbed some metal containers from under the seat. "We're going to need to run. Now. Put this on." He tossed a small gas mask over to the shorter man as he carefully affixed his own.

"Those kids." The Penguin pointed his umbrella at the figures warily crouched behind the shield. They looked like they were ready to bolt at any moment. "Either grab one of the things they're holding or grab one of them." He put on his gas mask and turned to face the garage entrance. "I'll take a car, and then we can drive out."

The Scarecrow squinted at him. "Are you delusional? We don't have the time for that." Despite his doubt in the plan, he was starting to prepare the cylinders of fear toxin. Whatever kind of ploy this force field was, the scientific side of him wanted to figure it out.

The Penguin began running, surprisingly quickly for his stature, towards the garage. The Scarecrow sighed wearily, but launched one cylinder of toxin towards the shimmering wall, and the other into the ground floor of the garage.

As he had figured, the group of teens immediately ran as they saw the projectile going towards them. Fortunately for him and unfortunately for them, the fog of toxin was faster.

Inside of the garage, the Penguin broke into a car, killed the alarms, and began to hotwire it with the help of his ever-useful multipurpose umbrella. He was just about to break the steering column when he saw the Batman coming towards him. He looked, despite how much the cowl hid his emotions, absolutely pissed. Apparently the penguin-themed traps he had left behind during the escape did not entertain the masked crusader very much.

He fired a few pellets from the umbrella in the man's general direction, knowing that they wouldn't do much against his body armor. He put the car in reverse and slammed on the gas, and watched as a Batarang narrowly missed slashing the tires.

He continued backing up and took note of the sound of approaching police sirens. He saw Batman take a running leap out of the side of the building, presumably to get into the Batmobile and block him from exiting the garage. The Penguin snickered under his gas mask, wondering if the hero was prepared to be leaping right into an unhealthy dose of fear toxin.

Speaking of heroes and fears, Harry Potter was currently incapacitated by a combination of both hallucinogens and a particularly strong telepathic message from Vodemort, or as Harry was swearing repeatedly under his breath, He-Who-Is-An-Utter-Bastard. Hermione was doing her best to drag him to relative safety, having hooked her arms under his shoulders while simultaneously sobbing as she saw images of hideous things happening to her parents. She knew objectively that this was an illusion, her first thought about the gas actually being that the man had thrown some sort of weaponized boggart at them, but that didn't make the images any less painful.

Neville appeared to be shaking like a leaf, but he and Ginny were doing their best to watch each other's backs. They both had their wands drawn and at the ready.

A tall figure in a gas mask materialized out of the fog. Neville, startled, tripped and fell on his back. Ginny stood over him protectively and aimed her wand at the stranger.

Now, redheads need to take 20% more anaesthesia (or in this case, fear toxin) than the average person does before it gives a full effect. Ginny had been holding up the strongest defense against the gas, but that could only last so long. She could feel her hold on the situation beginning to slip.

She blinked.

The ground beneath her was an open maw. A snake, a chamber, a basilisk, dripping venom and smelling of blood. Her legs felt like lead. Her skull was pounding.

The man in front of her was holding out a hand. She stared at him without comprehension. The tall silhouette faded away and resolved into a more familiar figure.

The disgustingly smug face, the impeccable robes, and the familiar, knowing eyes all came into existence. She felt her stomach sink.

Tom Riddle.

Slowly, calmly, she set her wand on the ground. He took that as a sign to approach her. She kept her face blank as he came closer. She could see all the details of his Slytherin robes, and the sickening smirk that grew with proximity. Slowly, calmly, she curled her fingers into a fist.

The Scarecrow received a punch to the face that made his vision go temporarily blank. Before he could even react, the harmless looking girl in front of him had tackled him to the ground and was punching him repeatedly. He yelled and tried to push her off before she ended up breaking his gas mask. In response, he received a knee to the chest.

The Penguin pulled up in the stolen car, the Batman presumably distracted with getting himself antidote for fear toxin. He sighed and rolled his eyes at the sight of the Scarecrow on the ground, getting the life nearly beat of of him by a teenage girl. He balanced the umbrella on the rolled-down car window and aimed for her shoulder.

As Ginny was venting her pent-up rage, Neville had scrambled to the side and watched with awe at her punching skills. It certainly beat paying any attention to the terrifying hallucinations going on in his peripheral vision. He did, however, notice the car pulling over and the man from earlier aiming his umbrella at Ginny.

Not thinking straight due to fear toxin, he disregarded his wand and instead sprinted forward to tackle Ginny out of the way. In doing so, he caught the pellet meant for her in his shoulder. He yelped as both he and Ginny landed hard on the ground. He rolled to the side, and she stayed prone on the ground, coughing.

Neville shoved her with his uninjured arm. "Get to Harry and Hermionie." When she gave him a look of anger- an ' I'm staying here and finishing my beatdown ' look- he pushed her again. "Go!" She finally complied and started to crawl away, stopping only to grab her wand.

Hermionie was gasping for breath as she leaned against the low concrete wall. She barely noticed the armored figure approaching her. A few small objects were placed in her hand as a familiar gravelly voice spoke.

"This is the antidote. Give it to your friends as fast as you can." Batman had barely finished his sentence before he ran into the foggy fray. The red and blue flash of distant police lights gave the gas an even more unearthly look.

Hermione struggled with the syringe mechanism for a few moments before crouching down by Harry and administering the drug. Within minutes, his breathing had slowed and he looked less panicked. Once she was sure that Harry had pulled through, she injected herself. The relief felt almost immediate.

Ginny came stumbling towards them with bleeding knuckles. Hermione ran forward to help her. Ginny was breathing heavily, but looked almost elated. Hermione quickly gave her the antidote.

After they had gathered together and treated their injuries as well as they could, they came to a collective realization. Hermione paled. "Neville-where is he?"

Ginny's eyes went wide. "He must still be in there."

Harry was about to run into the fog when Batman reappeared, his cape swirling in the gas. He nodded towards them. "You should get out of here before the police sort this out. Some of them are definitely not on your side. Or mine." He turned to show an array of dents in his armor.

"Our friend," Harry said, pointing towards the scene. "He's still in there."

Batman turned his head and let out a low sigh that ended up sounding like a growl. "Probably not anymore." He was silent for a moment, considering something. "Come with me."

"What do you mean, not anymore?" Harry's voice raised, and he backed away. "Why should we trust you?"

"The two criminals you saw drove off just before the police arrived. He's most likely with them. And you can trust me, because..." He paused. He felt a cliche coming on. Alfred would undoubtedly chuckle when he told him about this.

"...I'm Batman," he said with a shrug.

I'm back! After how many years? I just don't know. Sorry about that. So much and yet so little happened in this chapter, and since you're dealing with poisoned and injured teenagers, there just isn't that much room for humor, but I hope the end result was good.