Title: Knight In New Gotham...or (Catwoman's Baby's Daddy)
Summary: The title is kinda self-explanatory
Fandom: Birds of Prey the Series
Rating: R...for all the naughty words
Feedback: yes please.
Distribution: You can find this at www.realmoftheshadow.com/amluv.htm and www.alightlefton.com
Disclaimer: I don't own anything related to these characters.
A/N: This fic is unbeta'd.
A/N 2: << >>...Indicates radio transmissions...neato..:)...<wishing I had one of those in chemistry...Ah, c'est la vie...
Once again darkness fell upon the city of New Gotham. A cool, late autumn night, shimmering in moon light and serenaded by the rustling of wind. On the surface it was a night unlike that of any other in like places across the country, across the world. Yet as with any other surface, if you scratch hard enough, deep enough, you'd find what lies beneath the surface is always...different.
Beneath it's placid surface, New Gotham was any thing but benign. When darkness fell, so did the facade of tranquility. Where in the day time, good, hardworking, and descent folk walk the street, comforted in the knowledge that they are safe, that their loved ones are safe. At the same time totally unaware of what lurks in the shadows when the sun goes down. Totally unaware of the filth, the violence, the complete disregard for life in general that existed there. Yes, a night unlike that of any other in like places across the country, across the world.
She crouched on the edge of the building, intense blue eyes fixed on the street below. She peered into the night, waiting for, and anticipating, expecting, the time to come for her to once again fulfill her duty as the guardian of New Gotham. Which wasn't a mantle she took with much enthusiasm, but took nonetheless. This was her city, and pity those who deemed themselves bold enough to take it over.
"Nope, not yet. Hasn't been anything in the last hour Oracle." Huntress sighed.
<<You sound disappointed.>>
"Well, maybe I am."
<<And why is that pray tell?>>
"Maybe because I could think of oh, about half a dozen of other things I'd rather be doing right now."
<<Oh really Huntress. Then I suppose those myriad activities take higher priority over say, the well being of the general populace of this fair city?>>
The younger woman sighed.
"Have I ever told you how I just love your sarcastic, superior voice?"
<<No, but I'll be sure to file that little tid bit in the back of my mind.>>
"Hardy-har friggin'-har Oracle. You are so gonna pay...Wait a sec...!"
<<Huntress, what is it?>>
"There's someone on the roof of the bank on 5th." she panted as she raced across the roof top.
<<How many are there?>>
"Don't know yet. So far I saw just the one."
<<Proceed with caution Huntress.>>
"I always do." she said as she took a free fall from the roof of the building onto the lower one of that of the bank where the heist was taking place.
This was more like it she thought to herself. She could feel the adrenaline coursing through her body. Flowing into limbs, into muscles. She became heady with the idea of unleashing the aggressive energy that had coiled within her for most of the night. There was an up side to this gig, in that it allowed for the opportunity to kick ass. And ass kicking was her specialty. Ass kicker by name and ass kicker by reputation.
<<Talk to me Huntress.>> the redhead said as she absently tapped her finger on her desk. Trying not to feel the butterflies nestled within the confines of her lower extremity. She always felt like this whenever Huntress went out on sweeps. It wasn't until recently that the nervousness had intensified with a vengeance.
"It looks like he's in. I'm in some kinda electronic graveyard now. Do you have a schematic of this place?"
<<The upper level is a storage area. Several levels below are offices. The main floor is where all the vaults are located.>> Rapid tapping of fingers upon keys could be heard in the background.
"I guess that's where I'm headed then. How does the security system look?"
<<They must have cut into it. I've already tried to trip them with the Delphi.>>
"All right. Going silent."
"I will." she smiled
Thwarting the would be bank heist had been quite easy. Just enough to get her blood pumping, but at the same time, not so taxing that she'd feel the after effects the next day. She had gift wrapped the four burglars for New Gotham's finest and started to make her way back to the clocktower. And although she didn't look forward to the endless question and answer session she and Barbara would have for their post sweep debrief, she did look forward to post, post sweep debrief activities.
"Lucy, I'm hooome." she mimicked in a very poor Ricky Ricardo accent.
"I do recall telling you to...never do that again." the redhead chided.
"Aw, c'mon you know it's cute. You know it makes me irresistible" she wiggled her eye brows suggestively.
"No, not really. It's highly annoying and makes me not want to have sex with you ever again."
"Well, when you put it like that...and that was sooo hitting below the belt."
"I thought that's how you liked it." she smirked.
"Oh, Ms. Gordon. Are you trying to seduce me?"
The woman in the wheelchair couldn't help but giggle.
"Okay, enough of the Babara/Helena unfunny comedy hour. I know how much you hate the debriefs, so the sooner we get through it, the sooner we can get to...other things."
"Well, when you put it that way..."
"Helena..." the older woman's patients slightly wearing.
"Okay, okay. It was all pretty much straight forward bad guys go in, I go in after bad guys, I kick bad guys collective asses, tie up bad guys in such away that would have made the harshest of dominatrixes proud, waited for cops, and voila, here I am."
"I thought so." she smirked.
"Helena, please. This is a tad bit serious. What did you notice? Did you see anything that was out of the ordinary? Were these guys working on their own or do you think it was part of something bigger? I need specifics."
"All right already. From what I could tell, they needed one guy to get them in, That was roof guy. Then one guy to deal with the alarm. One for the safe, and a getaway guy. They were more than likely working on their own. I'd guess maybe they thought they were pros, but they were too sloppy. No criminal mastermind undertones there. It only took me twenty minutes to round them all up. I didn't see anything out of the...ordinary."
She suddenly became aware of how distant her voice had become. She hadn't planned on telling the other woman about the feeling she had. The feeling that she thought someone else was lurking about the shadows with her for the most part of the night.
"Helena, what is it?"
"Nothing...just that had a weird feeling all night. Like I was being watched or something."
"Yeah, kinda...I don't know...just weird feelings. It's nothing really. It gets a little spooky out there sometimes, that's all, and before you know it your mind starts to play those crazy little games with your senses. You know how me and paranoia roll." she tried to laugh it off, but still felt the uneasiness.
"If you say so Hel. I just want you to be careful and stay alert at all times."
"Yes, ma'am." she saluted the older woman.
The redhead rolled her eyes and removed her glass so she could rub the bit of cartilage between her thumb and index finger.
"Why don't you go get cleaned up and I'll order a pizza or three and then we can pretend that we're normal people."
"That I can definitely do, but where's the kid?"
"Yes, at Gabby's."
The brunette just snicked as she made her way toward the bathroom.
"Guess I'm not the only one who's gonna get lucky tonight." she laughed
"Keep it up and she'll be the only one getting lucky." The redhead shot over her shoulder.
"Well, when you put it like that..." her voice trailed off into the distance.
Despite herself, the older woman couldn't help but smile. Helena had something that was totally unique unto herself, something that she wasn't immune to. Which both infuriated and pleased her at the same time. However, no matter how much she'd joked, something spooked her tonight. And Oracle was going to get to the bottom of it. Helena was a very important part of her life...no, Helena was her life, and she'd be damned if anything was going to happen to alter any part of that.
"Hello, I'd like to place an order please..."
Their lovemaking had been lazy at first. Nips and nibbles in sensitive places, long kisses and caresses, slowly exploring familiar terrain. It was very playful and undemanding, then, gradually it intensified into something more urgent, almost primal. Helena marveled at Barbara's veracious appetite. It nearly rivaled that of her own and once she made her intentions known, it's as if Helena would feed off of that hunger.
As Barbara's fingers pistoned back and forth within her, the only thing she was consciously aware of at that point was that her hands were scraping bare flesh and her heart was pounding at an unusually rapid rate. Thoughts were no longer coherent and nothing else mattered, except the woman atop her. The woman she loved more than her own life, the woman who was her life. She felt her orgasm traveling through her body as it bubbled up from the center of her body. She loved the sensation of it, how it made her feel like a volcano. Her juices coursing through her body like hot, molten lava, until it makes that final surge and erupts, leaving her a quivering mess of sweat, cum, and gleeful bliss.
Over the past several months, almost every night ended like this, with them both satiated and limp, falling asleep tangled in a heap of arms and legs. Each comforted in the other's presence...existence. And in those moments, life had become perfect for them. It was in those moments when they were the only two people on the planet and everything outside of them was unwelcome, unwanted, and unneeded. But the world stops for no one, they came to realize with each and every sunrise. And in that realization, they silently agreed to endure the slings and arrows that each day brought, so they could always return to their new found piece of heaven on earth. So that they would always return to each other.
She waited until Helena was sound asleep before she removed herself from the web of limbs. Barbara sat for several moments, before getting into her chair, just to look at the sleeping form beside her. A smile ghosted across pursed lips as she carefully swiped a few stray hairs from Helena's forehead, before she placed a soft kiss there.
She thought to herself how many times had she done that over the years. And for a slight moment, a wave of nausea took her unaware. She still had issues about the current course of their relationship. But she didn't want to think about such things, especially right now.
She wheeled herself to the Depli station. She had hoped that she could hack into the police computers and find some clues about Huntress' mystery stalker.
"C'mon, there's gotta be something on the surveillance tapes." she whispered to herself.
After two hours of nonstop research, the redhead stretched stiff limbs and wheeled herself to the balcony of the clocktower. She thought about how unusually brisk it was, even for this late in the autum. Then she thought about how much she loved this time of year. Everything seemed so vibrant, despite the fact it was the time of year when things began to wither away. She became overwhelmed by a rare sense of contentment sitting there on the balcony, and as she felt a shift in the wind, she became aware of the fact that she was no longer alone. She deftly retrieved a bat-a-rang from the side compartment of her chair and threw it in the direction of the intruder.
To her amazement, her uninvited guessed managed to dodge her attack by somersaulting off of the ledge of the watch and onto the balcony where he now stood before, all six feet two inches and two-hundred ten pounds of him.
"It's good to know not everything I've taught you hasn't gone to hell." came the voice behind the black ski mask.
"Should have know it was you skulking in the shadows like some phantom." she bit out.
Bruce Wayne pulled of the mask he had been wearing. She couldn't believe how long it had been since last she saw him. He almost looked exactly the way he did all those years ago, aside from the graying at the temples and the deep creases in his brow and at the edges of his eyes. But he still had that same square, stony jaw, was still the same face of stoic indifference.
"Well, I didn't exactly expect to have the red carpet rolled out for me Barbara."
"Why are you following her?"
"This city is a pit, and from what I've observed these past few weeks, I'm beginning to understand why." he said evenly.
"And just what is that supposed to mean?"
"I think you know exactly what I mean, Barbara."
"Son-of-a-bitch. You walk out on this city, your daughter, your friends and every other responsibility without a word, an explanation for years Bruce. And now suddenly, you come back and the job isn't getting done right? Just who in the hell do you think you are?" whispering her venom, not wanting Helena to hear what was taking, place nor see just with whom it was she was having this confrontation.
"Maybe if you weren't too busy indulging in certain carnal activities with my daughter, you would have been able to get a better handle on the syndicate currently taking over this city." voice still even.
"Fuck you Bruce. We do the best we can. We save lives every day. We make a difference every day. All the while we were busting our asses, you were on your little sabbatical of self pity. So don't you dare presume or suggest otherwise. And just so you know, what goes on between Helena and I, is none of your business."
"Anything involving my daughter, is my business Barbara. Just as anything going on in this city, is my business."
"You are unbelievable. After all this time you want come back and be the guardian of this city again, and be a father to your adult daughter?"
"Why now Bruce? I mean you've had seven years to come back and resume your mantle as guardian and be Helena's father. Why the sudden urge to do so now?"
"After Selin...after what happened, I lost...I needed time to heal. I couldn't face you, let alone my own daughter, knowing that I failed you both. I wanted to come back when I felt like...when I felt like a man again."
As she looked at him, it was the probably the first time in a very long time, maybe even perhaps the this was the only time, she could see emotion on the face of the man who had trained her, in many way, made her into the woman she is now. Every inch of her wanted to hate him for is abandonment, but she knew deep down she would always love him and admire him.
"I was out of line Barbara, and I'm sorry, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm needed here. New Gotham is starting to resemble the wild west and someone has to put an end to it."
"So you're saying we're not up to the task, right Bruce?"
"No, not entirely. Helena is good, but she could be better. And under my tutelage, she could be the best."
"That I don't doubt Bruce, but when I..."
"No! Don't tell her...not yet. The time isn't right yet. I need to meet on my own terms."
"So typical of you Bruce. How do me do you expect me to keep the small fact that you are in New Gotham away from her? I can't lie to her Bruce, especially now that we're...involved."
"You're not a stranger to the delicate art of omission Barbara. I'm sure that you're more than capable at keeping my presence in New Gotham a secret."
"Never did play fair, did you Bruce?"
"I'm not making any promises. You do know that she felt you following her tonight, right?"
"Alright. I won't say anything for now, but if she starts asking questions, I will not lie to her."
"And if you hurt her in anyway, I will make it my life's mission to hunt you down like a dog and make you pay."
A small, yet noticeable smile crept onto his lips.
Complication had always been apart of her life. Such was the case when duality was involved, she had reasoned. Even as a young girl she struggled with the stress of maintaining the balance necessary to lead two lives at the same time. She often felt caught in the middle of two warring factions of herself. On one side, the daddy's girl who could do no wrong and on the other, the thrill seeking, danger thriving, adrenaline junkie, Batgirl. Over the years, the two sides came to coexist, as she learned how master the fine art of keeping secrets and compartmentalizing. But it didn't make her life any less complicated.
She thought about all the decisions she made. Thought about everything that had led her down the path she had chosen. She thought about the all things that led her to where she was this very moment, confined to this wheelchair, permanently grounded and in exile from the rooftops of New Gotham, and from the freedom they held. She tried not to dwell on the things she couldn't change. She had learned long ago that it was merely an exercise in futility and that it only succeeded in feeding into the overwhelming rage that would forever be at the center of her soul.
But at this very moment, her anger was directed toward something other than the circumstances that put her in this prison with wheels as she found herself once again caught between two extremes. Only this time instead of those extremes being parts of herself, they were two people whom she loved dearly. Father and daughter. Mentor and lover. Friends. And because of this, her white hot anger had found a new focus. She was angry at Bruce for asking her to keep his secret and royally pissed at herself for allowing him to put her in a position where she would have to lie to Helena. Needless to say Barbara Gordon was not a happy woman right now.
Her mind drifted back in time. She thought about how hard it was to gain Helena's trust after her mother had been murdered. And she wasn't exactly in any position to trust anyone either, after having her spine nearly obliterated by the bullet that took her legs away and by a significant measure, her life as well. That had been a very difficult time for them both. It was the time when the physical and emotional strain for them both was at its greatest. Sometimes, she found it almost impossible to believe that she survived not just the shooting, but also the utter despair she was drowning in then. And Helena wasn't in that great a shape herself. Barbara, never told her about the fear she had that one day she would find the young girl lying on the bathroom floor with blood flowing endless from her wrists. She never told her how vivid and tangible the image was to her. And it was that fear that caused her to give herself a kick in the ass and get her act together, because she was all the girl had, and that in and of itself, was more than reason enough to live.
Helena had always been somewhat of a hell raiser. That was part of the reason Barbara had taken a shine to the girl in the first place. That and the self awareness she possessed even at such a young age. As Helena got older, those traits seemed to become more pronounced. To her credit, Selina never tried to retrain Helena in anyway. She allowed the girl to decide for herself who it was she was to be. Barbara always respected Selina for that. Yet, it was that exact same independent streak in Helena that was the center of so many confrontations between them over the years, especially when she was a teenager. At one point it was as if everyday had become a battle of wills between the two of them. Whether it was about her clothes, in Helena's case it was more, of a lack there of, friends, school, or curfew, they seemed to always be at odds about something. For some reason Barbara was never able to convey to the girl that they were not of equal footing, that she was in fact the adult in the twosome. But in the end, they managed to forge a bond that was stronger than anything Barbara had ever experienced, outside of the one she had with her father.
For all her willful mischief, Helena was totally devoted to her. There wasn't a day that went by that she didn't dote on her guardian. Even after an argument, she would make sure Barbara didn't want or need for anything. And although Helena doted on her, she did it in a way that didn't make Barbara feel like a...cripple. It was as if the chair didn't exist to Helena. The girl refused to allow her to feel sorry for herself because of her circumstance and forced her to be herself in spite of it. She'd say things like, "Just because you're in that chair doesn't give you a free pass to be a quitter," and other colorful words of encouragement. But most importantly, the girl would simply tell her, "I need you." Hel trusted her implicitly, and as she sat looking out into the orange and lavender sky undergo yet another metamorphosis in the throes of sunrise, she knew she was about to betray that trust and the woman she loves.
She had been too well aware of the other woman's absence for most of the night. She tried not to take it personally, as a slight, but it still hurt that Barbara shut her out of parts of her life. Helena tried to resign herself to the fact that, that was who Barbara was, all self-containment and introspection. And to be honest, it is part of her appeal, her mystique. It added to the challenge of trying to break through those self protective barriers she had in place, but it was beyond frustrating when she didn't make any leeway.
Soft, muted sunlight permeated the room, signaling the beginning of a new day. Reluctantly, Helena slowly removed herself from the warmth of Barbara's bed, having given up on the idea that the other woman would return. She padded across the bedroom to retrieve the robe that was draped across the chaise by the window. It was Barbara's robe, and she didn't need heightened meta-senses to appreciate all the Barbara like elements it held in the confines of it's fabric. She let Barbara's scent envelop her and the memories it conjured left a fluttering in her well toned tummy.
Bits and pieces of various scenes played behind closed eyes. The first time she saw Barbara on the uneven bars, watching Barbara write something on the chalkboard, Barbara after the shooting. The last image caused her to wince and that all too familiar anger to bubble up to the surface. So much was taken from both of them that day. It was more than the obvious she thought. It was as if everything she had ever believed in was a total lie. She believed that her mom would always be around, would always be there to protect her, would guide her through the pitfalls of life, would be there to watch her grow up, just would be there period.
Helena had stopped believing in anything good. Life had become too harsh and had betrayed her in it's failure to save her mother and protect Barbara. But that wasn't really life who had failed her and her loved ones. It was him. He was too busy being the caped crusader and all around good guy to care what happened to the people he supposedly loved. To her, he was just as responsible for what happened as the Joker, maybe even more so. If he would have just put aside his stupid moral code bullshit for just once, things could have been so different than they are now. They might have even been able to forge some kind of father/daughter relationship. But his impotence cost her that too. Just another item to add to the list of his sins in her book. But all of that is nothing more than water under the bridge now. Life is what is for them, all violence, crime fighting, and trying to make it to the next day. Only difference being, she and Barbara were together and if there wasn't something worth fighting for before, there is now. And unlike her cowardly father, she'd kill, maim or die to protect Barbara from anyone or anything who would do her harm.
She pulled the robe tighter around her and with a shake of her head, Helena tried to push away the dark thoughts that had took up residence inside her brain and tried to concentrate on the more positive aspects of life, namely a certain redhead with a killer smile. As much as she fought it, she was finally happy. Life was good. Yet, there was still the nagging feeling that the other shoe was going to drop any second. She didn't want to think about it, but it was always there.
She wandered into the loft only to find it empty. She had surmised that Dinah had yet to return from Gabby's, but couldn't explain Barbara's whereabouts. Surely she would have heard the other woman leave the clocktower, she thought to herself. Helena walked over and sat down on to the couch. She pulled the robe tighter once more, just so, that the lapels now covered her nostrils. She inhaled deeply, and was filled with a longing that threatened to cause her to spontaneously combust. She needed Barbara.
Still caught up in the throes of her need, Helena didn't hear the advancing footsteps from the stairs.
"Ah, Miss Helena?"
The somewhat elderly gentleman startled her out of her reverie.
"Jesus Alfred! You nearly scared me half ta death."
"I do apologize Miss. I thought you would have heard me wheezing from my descent from the stairs."
She looked up to see that he was carrying a tray filled with food and drink.
"What? Is everyone suddenly a comedian in this place?"
"Oh Miss Helena, you know we Brits don't have a sense of humour." he said with a smirk.
"Just so you know, I do have a comeback for that, but I figure if I said anything, you'd take all the goodies away."
"A rather wise decision Miss."
"Ya know Al, life is good."
He smiled broadly.
"And you will do well to remember that Miss Helena. Always."
"Well, it's kinda hard sometimes Alfred. You know fate hasn't exactly been very kind to me. Actually, it's more like I'm fate's bitch and it periodically bends me over the kitchen table and has its way with me."
"As...vivid as your analogy is Miss, fate also has a habit of bringing us where we need to be, despite the course we must take."
"I'm afraid Alfred."
"Of course you are dear girl. The question is, will you allow that fear to take away your new found happiness?"
"I ain't letting anything get in the way of this Al. I've waited a huge chunk of my life to get here and there's nothing gonna mess it up for us."
"Ah, and you will do well to remember that also." he winked at her.
"How did you get to be so wise Alfred?"
"I told you we Brits don't have a sense of humour, so we more than compensate in the wisdom department."
"Cute Al. Reaal cute."
"I rather thought so. By the way, Miss Barbara had to run some errands this morning and wanted me to inform you that she shall return some time this afternoon and for you to up, showered, and dressed upon her return. She apparently has a surprise in store for you."
"Oh goody you know how I love surprises." she squealed
He just smiled and turned to make his exit.
She ran up to him and threw her arms about his shoulders and gave him a peck on the cheek.
"Thanks...for everything. But mainly, for just being here. I know I don't say..."
He patted her on the back.
"It's quite all right Miss Helena. I wouldn't have it anyway. No hurry along. I scarcely think Miss Barbara will be back shortly and would be most displeased to find you...otherwise attired."
"Way to crack the whip Al. Is that a Brit thing too." she winked at him.
"Incorrigible you are Miss Helena. Incorrigible" he smiled
And as Alfred made his exit, she returned to the sanctity of Barbara's bedroom.
"Yeah...life is good."
Fall was giving way to an early winter and what was once vibrant and fiery, was now drab and dead. Grey skies meshed right along with the grey of the New Gotham skyline, a mixture of stony facades and fiber glass monstrosities. A marriage of progress and an unbearable likeness of a time nearly forgotten. Yet, despite its aesthetic duality, the city of New Gotham manages to retains its gothic and grim allure.
"It's colder than a witch's..."
"Wart...I was gonna say wart."
<<Somehow I'm doubting the veracity of that retort, but be that as it may, I seriously doubt that any witch would prance around in leather halter tops, covered only by a leather duster in winter like temperatures.>>
"A) I don't prance around. Richard Simmons prances around. I...strut. Rather sexily I might add. 2) There's nothing wrong w/ my outfit. It's completely insulated, combat functional, and I look damn good it. and C) I don't recall getting any complaints from anyone before." The last comment made in a sultry tone.
<<First, "sexily" isn't even a word...I mean how do you even spell that...nevermind...Look Huntress, all I'm saying is that maybe you'll take advice and get a proper costume. Preferably something with a mask...>>
"C'mon Oracle, not that old chestnut. What the hell does that even mean? I mean who comes up with stuff? Who the hell walks around with an old chestnut. And what's with beating a dead horse. I mean what kinda sick jackass would beat a dead animal..."
<<Uh, think maybe you wanna...I don't know...get back to work?>>
"Work?...Riiight...work. Cuz I'm the guardian of the city...the supreme ass kicker and I do it...sexily!"
The groan she heard was worth more than she would pay for ten outfits like the one she currently wore. She loved this part of the job more than the actual fighting. It was just the two of them. Having Oracle in her ear always made her feel safe. Not just because of the back up, but more so the knowledge of having someone there who cared that she came back in one piece.
"I was only kidding."
"Business it is. Speaking of which, whatcha got for me? A girl can get tired just hanging around on a roof top with nothing to do."
<<As a matter of fact, there's a break in at the warehouse on the waterfront as we speak.>>
"On it. And by the way, "sexily" is a word. Look it up. Going off comm....now."
And with that, the woman known as Huntress streaks across the roof top, flying through the frigid air. While, miles away the woman known as Oracle sits and waits.
"I'll be damned, it is a word." The redhead couldn't help but laugh.
"And what word might that be Miss Barbara?" Alfred Pennyworth asked, announcing his presence in the clocktower.
"'Sexily'," she answered.
His eye brows knitted themselves together.
"Doesn't quite roll off the tongue easily, does it?" He said.
"No...it doesn't. Honestly, where does Helena pick up her verbiage?"
"Ah, I must say our Miss Helena does have a unique way with words."
"That she does Alfred...that she does." She smiled.
He noticed the far off look in her eyes and realized it was the first time he's ever seen that exact expression grace her countenance. It was the same look that all people who have finally discovered what it truly means to be happy, have. And he could not think of any two people who deserved it more than Miss Barbara and Miss Helena. He saw the tall tale signs long before they did, but with matters of the heart, it was best that they arrived to that conclusion in their own time.
And just as that thought crossed his mind, he noticed the expression on face had changed into something far more darker. Almost foreboding. And he couldn't help but murmur a "tsk, tsk."...
"Yes, Miss Barbara?"
"How long have you known?"
"Pardon Miss, known what, exactly?"
"That Bruce is back?"
"Oh dear," he sighed.
"He dropped in a week ago and had some rather...choice words for me."
"Does Miss Hel.."
"No...he made me promise not to tell her. He wants to meet her on his terms, he said. And I'm not sure I can do that. You know how she feels about him and if she finds out that I knew about this..."
"Master Bruce has always had...unorthodox methods, but ask such thing of you...I am at a loss. And no Miss Barbara...I didn't know Master Bruce had returned to New Gotham." he said somewhat plaintively.
"I'm sorry Alfred. I just assumed..."
"No, no...It's quite all right Miss Barbara. As for your plight, I should think that you would do what you must."
She placed her hand on his elbow.
"Thank you Alfred. And I'm gonna tell Helena when she gets back from her sweep. And hopefully, she won't be as pissed as I think she will be."
"Whatever the outcome Miss, keeping secrets, doth not a good relationship make."
"Sure doesn't Alfred...sure doesn't. Well, she should be at the warehouse by now, let me check the gps...Hmm...that's odd."
"Somthing wrong Miss Barbara?"
"I can't pick up anything from Helena. There's nothing but static."
"Uh, Miss Barbara...look." He pointed to a message on one of the Delphi screen.
"Hmm..." she turned around.
"SHE'S WITH ME...DON'T GET INVOLVED."
"Alfred...I'm going to kill him."
As she ran across, from rooftop to rooftop, she could feel the brisk night air caressing every inch of her. And she could feel the adrenaline start to push up and out every part of her body. For her it was like...foreplay. Her rooftop dance was merely a motion she had to go through just so she could get to the nitty-gritty of it. It held all of the anticipation, all the promise, of release.
When she flew into the New Gotham night, she often wondered about her parents escapades. Barbara and Alfred shared various anecdotes about her parents, but it wasn't the same as knowing or seeing for herself. And it made her wonder which of the two she favored in terms of style. Which of the two was she the most like? Or was she like some crazy combination of them both? It pained her that she never had the opportunity to see this side of either of them. This side that was so much apart of who she was. Or to be more exact, it was the side that made her who she was, what she was. There was a sense of freedom she felt in the night time air that she couldn't find anywhere else and she couldn't imagine life without it.
Helena wondered if she had the same grace and deliberate movement that her mother possessed and demonstrated even in the most mundane of activities? Whether or not they shared the same sense of recklessness and freedom? Or did she get her aptitude and need for the controlled and precise and the feeling of great responsibility, from him?
Him. She could never bring herself to fully acknowledge her father. To the world at large, he was Bruce Wayne, multibillionaire, corporate golden boy, philanthropist, and all around humanitarian. To those "in the life," he was the legendary Batman. A hero's hero. The Dark Knight, the great detective, the boogie man to the criminal underworld. But to her, he would be just another deadbeat father and all around failure. And yet, he was always at the back of her head. Mainly because there was so much that she didn't know about herself. Parts of her that she didn't understand and couldn't explain. And she reckoned that it must be the part of her that is him. She was well aware of the parts of her that was her mother. And to some extent, Helena knew the parts of her that were solely her. But those unknown parts were definitely him. And those were the parts that scared her the most. She forced herself to put aside her thoughts as she came upon the warehouse. Needing to focus on the task at hand. And when she did, that familiar heat returned and somehow became more pronounced, almost...feverish. Again...the adrenaline pumped.
He had been tracking her movements since she left the clocktower and waited on the roof of the water refinery, preparing himself for her arrival. And the moment he saw her on the ledge of the warehouse window, he immediately scrambled the signal to the Delphi. He needed to know what she could do. He needed to know what it was he would have to teacher her when the time came. And if he reached down deep enough, he'd admit to himself that he just needed know his daughter.
Despite himself, he was instantly struck by how much she moved like Selina. Yet, there was something else that he couldn't quite put his finger on. Bruce Wayne allowed himself to momentarily look upon his daughter with a father's eyes. She was undeniably beautiful like her mother and grandmother. Her movements were graceful and elegant like Selina's. And every stride was a tease, a distraction, full of arrogance. A youthful arrogance, but arrogance nonetheless.Yet, there was also a darkness in her too, and that wasn't Selina. There was brooding and an air of foreboding, and pain and he mentally cursed himself, knowing that she had inherited all of that from him. But unlike his darkness, hers was unbridled, barely contained, and very volatile. And that made her an extremely dangerous adversary.
Bruce Wayne wasn't one to think about what might have been. It was always about the mission and because of the importance of the mission, he had to make sacrifices and as he looked upon his adult daughter, in that split second, he wondered if it was all worth it. He suddenly realized that he missed every significant moment in her life. He thought of birthdays, first words, first steps, dances, and talks about how boys would end up in hospitals. He had missed so much of her life even before her mother died. And It caused a pain deeper than he believed ever possible, even deeper than the one caused by the knowledge that she hated him. Which he had to set aside for now, in order for him to do what he had set out to do. He waited until he saw her enter the warehouse before he left his perch. The time had come for him to find out for himself, just how good the Huntress truly was.
While inside of the warehouse, an unsuspecting Huntress muttered to herself having just discovered that her comm link was not functioning.
"Jesus, for the amount of money Barbara spends on this crap, you'd think it would work better."
"Damnit. Now what am I supposed to do?" she growled.
Then she felt it, a subtle shift in the air and then suddenly all of her meta senses kicked into high gear.
"Whoever you are I might as well tell you that I am not in a good mood, so do us both a favor and just turn yourself in. Cuz if you don't, well, then things are gonna get pre-tty ugly. At least for you, they are."
Still nothing. Whoever her new friend was, he wasn't tucked out of sight out of fear. He was watching her, studying her movements and that made her feel both uneasy and somewhat offended, for the irony of the scenario didn't exactly escape her.
"Ah, so ya wanna dance is that it? Well, if it's a dance you cam for, then it's a dance you're gonna get."
Steely, blue eyes transform themselves into golden slits as she crouched down, black leather caressing concrete, she surveyed her surroundings, and searched the shadows for her assailant. Call it instinct, intuition, or just plain common sense, but something told her that this was no ordinary break-in. Someone has been stalking her lately. And she figured that same someone lured here. But why? Whoever it was knew her well enough to know that she didn't work alone and was clever enough to disable her comm link.
"I get it now. You're my little friend, the voyeur. C'mon, you went through all this trouble just to get me alone. Why so shy now? I promise I won't bite...hard."
The surrounding silence played havoc with her feral instincts. Patients never was one of Huntress' strong points. And when she was in animal mode, it made it that much more difficult to reign in the inclination to pounce first and ask questions later.
For Bruce's part, he continued to maintain his position on the catwalk and observed her. Barbara did a good job with her, taught her well. A small smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. He had been watching her for weeks and there was no doubt in his mind about her abilities, but she was still too wild, too unpolished to reach her full potential. And there was that torrent of darkness within her that made her actions too unpredictable and made her susceptible to the lure of that kind of power. Then suddenly, he felt a slight shift in the air and knew it had begun.
Huntress leapt up onto the catwalk, in a singular, fluid motion, landing on the steel girder with impossible ease.
"Ya know, I've heard of playing hard ta get, but this is ridiculous. C'mon just turn yourself in and we can call it a night. Whadda ya say?"
He didn't say a word, but did answer in the form of an attempted foot sweep. He was amazed by how quickly she was able to react. It was one thing to watch her, but it was quite another thing to engage her in combat.
"So it's gonna be the hard way huh, Sparky? Fine. It's your funeral."
He managed to evade the first two punches she threw to his face and sternum. When she followed up with an elbow to the side of the head, he was able to maneuver himself into a semi crouched position and grabbed her forearm and used her momentum to toss her over his shoulder. He could tell that she was surprised by the speed at which he was able to perform the countermove, as she went sailing through the air.
She made the adjustment to her trajectory and landed solidly on her feet. He wanted to use her anger and confusion against her. It was his advantage over her. As was his experience. The first phase of his plan had begun and he thought it was time to move on to the next phase, which was to draw Huntress out into the open air.
He removed a smoke pellet from the black belt he wore and snapped it in half, and escaped through the same window from where he had entered. Bruce estimated that the smoke screen would have given him a good two to three minutes to get on the roof before Huntress would be able catch up to him. And he'd be there waiting for her.
As for Huntress, she was able to wade through the smoke with minimum difficulty. But the anger she felt had since escalated from slight annoyance to full blown rage. She didn't like the idea of being toyed with and she was dead set on conveying just that to her new "friend."
She made it up to the rooftop just in time enough to see a streak of black flying across to the water refinery on a cable wire. She went to the edge of the roof and calculated how much room she needed to make the jump over to the next building. She got a descent running start and bounded into the air with her leather long jacked billowing in the wind behind her.
He waited for her to follow him onto the refinery roof and just as soon as one foot landed on the hard tarp, he went behind her and placed her into a tight choke hold. As she gasped for air, Huntress bent forward, leaned down to the nerve in his inner thigh and pinched, causing him to loosen his ho and gave herself enough time deliver an elbow into his rib cage. Yes, Barbara had taught her very well indeed, he thought to himself.
She delivered yet another blow to his solar plexus that sent him reeling into a metal vent on the eastside of the roof, knocking the wind out of him. What followed was twenty minutes of a steady stream of kicks, punches, throws and blocks. And in that time, Bruce had determined that he had all the information he needed to know about his daughter's abilities as a fighter. So now it was time to move on to phase three of his plan. He then reached into his black belt to retrieve yet another item. This time he slammed the object into the tarp floor and a huge burst of light emanated from it's confines and then he was gone.
Huntress was baffled by the evening's events and was none too pleased to discover that her "dance" partner had made a clean getaway. It only intensified her anger and frustration. She hated being left with so many questions unanswered and whoever her stalker was, he made her feel like a rank amateur, and that did not sit well with her at all.
She finally made her way back to the Clocktower, tired and confused and just wanting to be with the one person who made everything make sense. And there she was on the balcony waiting.
"You're not gonna belie..." she began, only to be interrupted.
She met sad, sullen, green eyes.
"Helena...there's something I need to tell you..."
Numb. If she had to choose a word to describe what she was feeling at that very moment, that was the one Helena would have chosen. She spent the past twenty-four hours trying to wrap her brain around the recent events that have occurred. She could not decide which revelation was the most disturbing, the fact that her cowardly father had returned to New Gotham, or the fact that the woman she loved and trusted more than anyone, kept that bit of information from her.
As her mind replayed the scene in the clocktower over and over again on a continuous loop, the gravity of everything that had happened, began to sink in.
<"Yeah...well so am I, Barbara.">
All she could remember was the look in Barbara's eyes, deeply pained and apologetic to the point of inward self-flagellation. It hurt Helena to see that look, but her transgression hurt even more. But it didn't stop her from asking herself why she left things the way she left them. Why did she let her silly pride drive her away from the one person who made everything worthwhile? And no matter how hard she tried not to, every road to those answers went through him.
It wasn't so much that Barbara kept things from her. That, in some way, she could accept, something she could actually understand. It was the fact that Barbara chose to keep his secret that cut Helena deeply. In Helena's mind, Barbara chose Bruce over her. It was that simple. No matter how much they loved each other, when push came to shove, Barbara's loyalties would always lie with him.
<"Why didn't you tell me Barbara?">
<"Because he asked me not to.">
It was as simple as that...he asked her not to. She wanted to laugh. Not because there was anything amusing about the situation but because it was better than the alternative. Once again, her dear old "dad" left her feeling bereft. Once again he had taken away her feeling of security. Once again, he had take away what truly matter to her.
<"Hel, I couldn't betray his confidence.">
<"So you betray mine?">
<That isn't fair. It's totally different. There were mitigating circumstance that came into play here Helena.">
<"Mitigating my ass, Barbara. You chose to keep your mouth shut about his being here because he asked you to. And you did it. It's that simple.">
<"He wanted to see you on his own terms Hel. I couldn't deny him that. I just...">
<Do you call attacking me in the dead of night, a fatherly way of 'seeing' me? Especially after he tore outta here seven years like a bat outta hell, without so much as a 'so long' or anything! Please Barbara, spare me.>
<Don't...just...don't. I-I've gotta get outta here.">
Helena didn't even remember dropping off of the ledge of the balcony. Everything had been a blur after that. Everything had become muted and static. She just needed to get away. Needed to be alone. Then she thought about how that is how it had always been, her being alone. Even though she had Barbara and her mom and Alfred, there was always this inexplicable and profound loneliness that she had always felt, one that she had never really been able to escape. And she feared that she was doomed to carry it with her for the rest of her life.
For what seemed like the thousandth time in these few months, he followed his daughter from the clocktower, out into the waiting New Gotham night. He realized that it had become their routine over the past weeks. Of course it was completely dysfunctional, but it did give him an odd sense of comfort spending this unobstructed time with his daughter. How could he have been so foolish? None of his accomplishments as a hero could make up for the pain and grief he brought into her life. Nothing could make up for all that she’s suffered. All the good he had done seemed to fade in light of all she had lost.
He tried to picture what she looked like as little girl full of youthful exuberance instead of the rage and anger that seemed to ooze from each and every one of her pores. He envisioned what it would have been like if circumstances had been different, had he given up his guardianship of this city and became a father to her and possibly a husband to Selina. It was all within his grasp. Everything he could have possibly ever want was his, if only he had given up the Bat. In the end, none of it really mattered. What was done was done and no amount of wishing, hoping, or praying was going to change the outcome. The here and now was the only thing that truly mattered at the moment. And this was the place where he was going to either sink or swim.
Helena felt him long before he emerged from the shadows to reveal himself before her. She realized it was the first time she had ever seen him up close and in person. She was somewhat taken aback by his overall presence. Bruce Wayne was definitely physically impressive. He was particularly fit for a man inching his way toward his fifties. His age was well concealed despite the streaks of gray at his temples, making his jet-black crown that more pronounced. She could see how a lifetime of scowling had creased both his brow and the edges of his eyes, her eyes. She wanted to laugh at the thought, but caught herself when it had set in just who it was that was standing before her.
"It wasn't her fault."
"Loyal to the end huh Bruce?" she sneered.
“She only did what I had asked her to do.” “It wasn’t my intention to make excuses for anyone. I was merely stating a fact.”
“Hate to tell ya this Bruce, but facts, like most things, are a matter of perception. So you can take your facts and all the other bullshit you’re selling and get the hell out of my city.”
“Barbara’s a grown woman. She knew exact what she was doing, so don’t make any excuses for her.”
Her every move read defensive, as she stood in front of him, arms folded across her chest, eyes glaring. He laughed inwardly at the dichotomy she represented, warrior exterior, and fragile little girl interior. He was overwhelmed by feelings of affection he had for this virtual stranger and felt a desperate need to gather her up into his arms and take away all her pain.
The statement caught him by surprise. He wasn’t accustomed to being spoken to in the manner she had spoken to him. Nor was he accustomed to anyone laying claim to the city he’s protected for so many years, the city he had sacrificed so much for.
“Yes, my city. What Bruce, did you think you could just waltz back here and pick up back where you left off seven years ago?”
“I’ve kept abreast of the on goings here through the years. And that’s why I choice to come back.”
“And what did you expect to happen when you got here, huh Bruce? That we’d be one big happy crime fighting family? That all would be forgiven. That I’d forget that you’re responsible for my mother’s murder!”
"You spoiled brat! Do you think you're the only one who knows about loss? I've lost practically everyone I've ever loved! Don't you dare be arrogant enough to presume you're the only one who knows the pain of that burden! Don’t you think I’d given my own life if there was even the slightest chance Selina would have been spared?”
"Look, you don’t know me. You don’t know anything about my life or what I’ve been through!"
"I know more than you think. We're more alike than you want to see." he said defeated.
"Bullshit. I'm nothing like you. I hate you and I always will." her voice venomous.
"You don't think I don't wish that weren't true Helena? Don't you think I wish like hell that you didn't have to go through the same exact thing I went through. How do you think I became this way?" his voice even.
"What do you want, huh Bruce? Some kind of medal? Some kind of father/daughter shared pain, sympathy moment? I don't owe you a thing. Not one goddamn thing. So you can take all of this 'I know your pain' shit and shove it!"
She was shaken by the rage that was bubbling within her. And she wanted nothing more than to allow it to wash over her, to take complete control of her. All she wanted was to beat the man before her into a bloody pulp. To pulverize him and his stupid, stony face into bits of nothingness.
"Whether you like it or not Helena, I am your father. And nothing you or I can do can change that."
"Shut up!" She snarled.
"I loved your mother Helena..."
"I said shut up!" head now throbbing.
"She's the only woman I ever truly lov.."
She lunged foward, an inhuman sound pushing past her lips.
"SHUT UP YOU, FUCKIN' BASTARD!!"
To her astonishment, Bruce Wayne was able to side step her attack with relative ease.
"Hm...is this what you really want?" he questioned her.
"I thought you'd never ask." she sneered.
A surprisingly pleased expression crossed a usually stoic countenance.
"Then what are you waiting for?"
"Ooh 'daddy,' I'm so gonna kick your bat-ass." she spat out.
She stalked her way across the roof in a maddening pace, without thought of any proper combative strategy. She was all rage and years of repressed anger unleashed. And tonight, Helena Kyle was going to get the chance to take out all those years of anger and frustration on the one person she despised the most.
He could feel her anger ripple through the night air. He saw how her eyes had transformed themselves into deadly, golden slits and for the first time since he came into contact with his daughter, he was afraid. He didn't fear for his life so much as he feared for her humanity. If he let her, she would kill him. And although he would do anything for his daughter, he was not willing to lie down and take the kind of punishment she wanted to dish out.
The first blow was euphoric, as her right fist connected to his left jaw. It was almost orgasmic. She felt that familiar heat rise up through her body and just let it take hold of her. She was tired of it all, so very tired of holding back, of fighting the good fight only to have another scum sucking crook rise up and take the place of the last one she put away. Tired of the filth and violence that saturated the city she called home. And more than anything, she was tired of all the sanctimonious bullshit that was her father's legacy. All she wanted right now was to let go of all it. To just let go of the pain, the fear and the guilt. All Helena wanted, was to destroy him just as he had destroyed her.
From the sound of the cracking, he surmised that she had broken it. He silently cursed himself for making such an amateur mistake. He was too distracted by his own thoughts and it caused him to be careless. Bruce barely managed to evade her second strike, a shot to the solar plexus. He had gathered from their previous encounter that she favored this particular blow. It was quite effective at incapacitating an opponent if there was just the right amount of force behind the blow, and could prove deadly if she decided she wanted to do…more.
She managed to grab a hand full of his shirt and jerked him forward, bringing them eye-to-eye.
"You killed my mother!" Her voice, desperate and almost childlike.
"I…did…not…kill…your…mother!" He grounded out, his own anger finally giving way, as he accompanied his declaration with a head butt. It was pure instinct on his part, and the regret was immediate as he watched his daughter stagger backward.
"Don't do this Helena. Please, I beg of you. Don't make me hurt you."
"Well hate to tell you this Bruce, but…too little…too late." And she lunged at him again.
He moved with a speed that belied his age, again managing to evade yet another attack, wanting to avoid anymore physical confrontation with Helena. Sparring was one thing, but out and out combat was entirely something else. Especially since there was too much raw emotion involved. He knew he had to find a way to reason with Helena quickly because if he didn't the enviable was bound to happen. And that wasn't an option he was willing to explore. It struck him, the strangeness of knowing his daughter, yet not knowing her. All the pain and anger he knew so well, but it was the other things that he didn't know. The important things, like her favorite color, when she cut her first tooth, when did she get her driver's license, all the seemingly unimportant mundane things that when you added them up, made up your life. Those were all the things that made you who you were. She was both familiar and alien to him. The thoughts running through his mind brought everything to a halt. He felt his calves touch the ledge of the building. "It would be so easy." He thought.
Bits and pieces of the past flashed before his eyes, his parents in Crime Alley; the bat that came through the window that fateful night; the first time he saw Selina; the Joker; Barbara; Jason; Dick. All of the images ran together and the pain that accompanied them hurt far more than any blow he has ever felt.
Helena barely noticed the sudden shift in his stance, her eyes flashed a deadly yellow as she inched her way toward the ledge. She was fully prepared to unleash another brutally, savage blow to his head. However, she was not prepared for the site that met her. Bruce had suddenly dropped to his knees and dullness clouded his light gray eyes. Her heightened meta senses picked up the faintest hint of salt in the air. It jarred her momentarily, surely he wasn't crying, she thought to herself. And in the beat it took her to process the thought, she became even more incensed.
"Get up damnit!" She roared, a slight froth edging her mouth.
"TAKE IT LIKE A MAN YOU MISERIBLE BASTARD!!"
She raged against him, hammering him about the shoulders w/ her balled up fists. Helena looked more like a child in the midst of tantrum instead of a woman hell bent to beat the man before her, to a bloody pulp.
Her arms suddenly got very heavy and she gradually sank to her knees, all the while, sporadically pounding on his chest and murmuring incoherent obscenities.
"Where were you?" Her voice cracked.
"Where were you? Why didn't you come back for me? Why…" She whimpered.
Tears stung her eyes and she inwardly cursed herself for showing weakness, especially in front of him. She wanted to run, but her legs felt like lead and every ounce of her strength felt like it had drained from her body. The exhaustion from the events of the last 48 hours finally took hold of her, as she went limp and fell forward into Bruce's shoulder. Helena felt her father enveloped her, and to her surprise, she let him.
He felt her shaking in his arms, a product of her sobbing. Bruce whispered long over due apologies and other words of comfort to his daughter as he ran his hand along the expanse of her back. He felt an odd sense of contentment, kneeling there with is daughter. It somehow seemed proper for father and daughter to finally grieve together for their loss, bonded for so many years by the same pain. How ironic, that though they were practically strangers, they both knew, more than anyone else in their respective life, just how the other felt. Helena's heaving subsided and she withdrew from Bruce. He gave her a moment to compose herself before he spoke. Before he realized what he was doing, he extended his hand outward to swipe away a tear along her cheek. The impulse to take her into his arms again was strong, but he didn't want to press any farther than he already had done. She had a strange look in her eyes as his gaze fell upon her face. It was a cross between fear, anger, and timid ness. He hoped that his gentle stroking of her cheek conveyed his need to make her feel…safe. Bruce Wayne was not a man whom wore his heart on his sleeve. His entire life was a culmination of logic and pragmatism. Every decision he has ever made was cold and calculated and yet at this very moment, the only thing he wanted was for Helena to understand that he loves her, that he had always loved her.
He began to speak. "I know there isn't anything I can do or say that could change what has happened in the last seven years…"
"Don't…just…don't. It's over let's just leave it here and go back to our respective lives." She voice was barely above a whisper as she rose to her feet, turning her back to him, wrapping her arms around her to beat back the chill in the air.
He shook his head from side to side. "I…can't.
Bruce was still kneeling on the tarmac; he let out a mirthless laugh as he continued.
"You know, Alfred was the last person to ever see me cry." He admitted.
"Gee Pops, I feel honoured."
He laughed again, though this time there was a hint of amusement.
"Most people have sense enough to be afraid of me, young lady. But you…always at the ready with some smart assed comment."
"Guess that uptight, stick up the ass gene skipped a generation huh?"
"Perhaps. Doesn't really matter now does it?"
"Not much of anything does these days I suppose."
"I've learned that you take what you get in this life, Helena. However, fortunately for you, you don't have to."
She rolled her eyes in disgust trying to figure out where this line of bullshit he was handing her was going to lead.
"Oh, really? And tell me Bruce just why exactly is that?"
"Because there are people in your life willing to give you what you need. Don't let what happened to me, happen to you."
"I don't have any intentions of going out like a punk the way you did Bruce."
"Do you really think I'm a coward?"
The edge of her lip curled up. "Nah, I don't think…I know."
He merely sighed as he eased himself up. He silently walked over to the side of the roof over looking Gotham River. So much had changed since he left. And yet, at the same time, stayed very much the same. If finally dawned on him that he had been wrong. This wasn't "his" city anymore, and it had not been his in a very long time. He was an outsider now, and as such, he had to honour the codes set forth by the city's new guardians. And in that moment he knew that the changing of the guard was now official.
After what seemed like hours, he finally spoke.
"You've had a very long time to hone your hatred of me and I can't say that I blame you, because I have had a very long time to hone my hatred for myself. Don't you think I live with what I did every minute of every waking day? I shut down the day your mother was butchered. I shut down and I shut everyone, who cared about me, out. What happened to Barbara was just the final straw."
"And you tucked your tail between your legs and ran like a little bitch!" She screamed out.
"Not before I killed the Joker."
She pursed her lips as if to speak, but no words came out. He had to be lying she thought to herself. The Joker was locked away in Arkham Asylum, wasn't he?
"It's a robot."
"B-b-but…he's…" She sputtered.
"Robot." Bruce repeated, as if the one word would explain everything.
"Look Helena, go back home. Be with the people who love you. Be with your family. Celebrate your victories and commiserate your defeats. Just be with them. Let them be with you. Accept what they give you and give them what is in you to give in return. Every moment is precious Helena." And with those final words he leapt off the ledge.
She wanted to follow him, but her mind was still reeling from the bomb he just dropped on her. Given what she knew of her father, it was a revelation she could not wrap her brain around. But she was far too tired to ponder the ramifications of what he just confessed to her. Suddenly the world had become more confusing and for the first time in a very long while, she had no idea as to what she should do. And yet, she did. She went to the one person she knew would make everything right again.