by Erin Griffin
Pairing: None really, but there is a kiss, so a tint of Dinah/other.
Summary: Dinah thinks about her fallen family as she fights to keep their memories alive.
Disclaimer: Oh how I wish I owned them. I would be very good to them, unlike some company that I won't mention...
Author's Note: There is major character death, as I wanted to write a story that asked 'What if they didn't survive the attack on the Clocktower?'. I don't think I saw a story like that so I thought I would write one. So in this story, they got outnumbered, and Dinah just barely survived.
My heart isn't supposed to feel like it is in a cage. I'm supposed to be happy, naive, carefree. I'm not supposed to know heartache or pain at such a young age. I am not supposed to feel as if the world can go to hell and I don't care. No. I feel that the world is Hell and that we've been banished here from a place so much more beautiful than this, though I do not remember the sin I had committed to bring me here. At one time I did think that the world is a beautiful place, that there was something worth fighting for, something worth smiling about. How wrong I had been. How stupid I was, but hell, I was only 9.
I truly believed that I was meant to find those two women I saw in my dreams, dreams that haunted me for almost 7 years. I ran to these women and truly understood what love was. They cared for me in their own dark and mysterious ways. But they... They were home. Now that home is gone, and there is no shelter for me. I know the saying 'it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all', but apperantly whomever had thought that up hasn't known love, or if they had, they had never lost. The Clocktower echoed to the point madness with every step I took alone; with each dying beep of the Delphi (heartsick for its commander, the keeper of the keys that practically controlled the city), I switched direction and paced another length of the floor, still covered in glass and echoes of the night my life went to shit.
I don't understand how one as weak as I had to survive that night with just barely an ounce of sanity, while the strongest of us all died with a single name on their lips before they left this world entirely. How can I, one only trained for 9 months, survive something that they trained many years for? How the hell is that fair? Mr. Redmond always told me (as I cried in a closet mind you) that life is hardly fair. Unfortunately for me, that son of a bitch was right. It's amazing how many insults and words of anger lie within your head for years while all the compliments and the words of love... it is all forgotten.
It feels weak to admit that I feel scared. I don't know where I am to go now, with everyone I love gone, eyes no longer seeing, voice no longer heard. I guess I am doing okay as far as money goes. A 'mysterious' package had come in the mail with pictures of my family (including my mother) and money to pay for funeral services. Plus that, I have somewhat of a way to make money. Okay, so it isn't the conventional 9-5 job, more like the midnight to 4 AM sweeps that I do, stealing from the theives before I turn them in. Reese would have frowned upon that, being the good detective that he is, but one's gotta do what they've gotta do. He had also survived, but just barely. We were all outnumbered in this fight for the Clocktower, my home. Harley Quinn's doofuses were after Reece and me. Reese had gotten hurt, and I did what I could to keep us alive, but I tired out so quickly, and I couldn't help my friends and family when it all mattered. Barbara was intent on killing Harley Quinn, and Helena was deturmined to keep to our code. Heroes don't kill. That doesn't mean the villians don't. Harley stabbed Helena in the back litterally as well as figuritively while Barbara was helpless when her spinal machine had gotten damaged in the fight. I couldn't hold off the rest of them for very long, and Reese was hurt so badly. The last thing I remember doing before everything blacked out was creating a large energy blast that had gone around the whole of the Clocktower. When I awoke who knows how long later, Harley Quinn was gone, bodies were everywhere, Gibson was dead because of me, and Reese was just barely breathing. I did what I could to get him to the hospital, where we both spent a few days. Reese was in there longer, and I went to see him everyday. He skipped town after he got out, and I hadn't the heart to tell him that Helena wouldn't have wanted him to do that, that I didn't want him to. Without him here, I would be alone, and I knew that, but it was a selfish reason to keep him here when he hardly knew me. He had to get out of here, and I let him go. I couldn't blame him, either. This city seemed to do nobody any good. No one would ever know what was lost to try to save this city, and I am beginning to think it requires a lot more than we ever had to save this place.
Like clockwok, I hear the click that my watch emitts, signalling the time being midnight. I take the elevators (which somehow still work, but not too well), and am instantly irritated by the sound of silence. Absolute silence. In my line of work, you'd think that is a good thing, but those that know better are sure that something bad is to come. After being alone for nearly a month, I don't have much to lose. Well, perhaps my life, but like I said, I don't have much. I strain my ears for any sound out of the New Gotham norm, but the truth is, the silence is out of the norm for this place, and that really worries me. There isn't even shouts of impatience from the drivers going to and from gravyard shifts.
Finally, a plea is heard at around 1:30 in the morning, and from the sound of it, someone is late for their curfew. I run with what little energy my food and sleep deprived body could muster and round the corner, almost smacking into a man holding a girl's wrist in a tight and painfull grasp. The girl hit at him, and it is a good one, but it doesn't seem to phase the man too much. It only seems to anger him. Without much thought, I grab the wrist that is raised to hit the girl, who must not be more than 5 years older than me. The man turns to see what is happening, and sneers, "What, you this dyke's girlfriend?" I glare at him, thinking of my best friend when he'd used the term 'dyke', and I fight the urge to beat him to a bloody pulp. I haven't seen Gabby since before Helena had seen Clayface again. I miss her so much. I know she knows by now about Barbara and Helena's death, and I would not be surprised if she tried to find me after that, but of course, the address that had been on my school records were false. "What's the matter honey?" he asks a moment later when I don't respond to him, "Afraid I'll show her how much better a man is for her?" I punch the average build man just to shut him up, then shove him into the ally closest to us and against the wall. I look around quickly to see that the girl seems too stunned to move, and she watches as I roughly deal with her arrogant attacker.
"Are you okay?" I ask over my shoulder, moving against the man's struggles and using my mind as extra strength to hold him to the wall. She nods. "Good. Go call the police. We're on 42nd and Talc. Tell them to get the commisioner. Hurry." There was a slight silence, but the girl didn't do anything. "I'll take care of him. MOVE!" I add in somewhat roughly when she hesitates. Then she runs inside a building called Oxygen. I knew it was a nonalcoholic gay club that Gabby talked about way back when. This must be how the man knew the girl was homosexual. He must have seen her coming out of the building and started to harrass her. I shove into him a little bit, and he grunts in pain. I try not to laugh. He's nothing more than the rest of them. "If you're such a manly motherfucker then how come you haven't been able to break free from a teen girl's hold and beat the crap out of me?" I taunt, twisting his wrist only to hear him cry out. He says nothing other than that, but his pain filled cry is enough for me. "And what would you have done to show her that you had more than any girl to offer? Throw her against the wall and fuck her right here and now?" My blood is almost boiling now as Gabby's face seems to replace that of the girl's in my head as the one I am saving, and I want to rip his heart (what little there might be) from his chest.
"Uh-" I turn quickly to see that the girl is back. "They are on their way."
"The commisioner?" I ask. She only nods. There is a pregnant silence and I feel stupid just standing there holding this man to the wall, but I felt too angry to do much else that won't end up killing the man. They wouldn't have wanted it, not after I killed all those men in my home. Not after my energy blast had killed Harly Quinn. Moments pass and I feel relief when I see the commisioner out of the corner of my eye.
"Out again?" he asks when he sees the scene. I catch the girl's eyes quickly before I look down. I can tell she isn't sure why I wanted him there, but I knew I would be in deep shit if I was arrested again. The last time I was, I was lucky. The commisioner had to pick up some paper work at the police office where I was being hauled in. I didn't have much energy left after the fight with the bank robbers that I had tried to bring in, and so to my horror, the police officers took one look at the gun in my hand and took me in. Supposedly, I was either an accomplice, or I was a minor in possesion of a fire arm. Either way, I was going down. The commisioner saw me there and got me out of trouble. Other than that night, I had only met him once at Helena and Barbara's funeral. I give Barbara's uncle a small smile, then hand over the man in my possesion.
"Yeah. It's... almost habit now." I finally reply, almost as if I feel guilty for not saying anything before. I owe him something at least for being there. For raising Barbara to be the type to care for me the way she had.
"I understand. Thanks for this one, Dinah," he says in a low voice. I nod, but say nothing after that as I watch the girl talk to two officers that had come with Comissioner Gordon. As if to feel my concern, he says, "She'll be okay."
"I know." I tell him after a minute or two of watching her. They always are after we're through. Maybe a little shaky for a bit, but nothing other than that. The girl nods at something the taller of the two officers ask her, and then they nod. She turns and looks at me. They seem to have said she was free to go.
"Look, uh... You can probably head off now, or if you want you can come over for a few days and get some food in you. You look like you haven't been eating much-"
"Thanks, but no thanks." I say, feeling odd that he seems to feel obligated to care for me now that Barbara is gone. I don't want him to think of me as a lost soul, no matter how close to the truth he may be.
"Alright then. You know to call if you need anything." I nod slowly.
"Thanks." He'd given me his number the first time we had met at the funeral and said the same thing. It was almost deja vu, as I had also said the same thing as last time. I look back at the girl and slowly make my way to her. Unlike Helena, I like to walk the victom home sometimes to make sure they are fully out of harm's way. It's not like I have anything else to do at the moment. I finally reach her and find I am not sure what to say. Helena and Barbara would have known. Barbara would have told me what to say, or Helena would have said it for me. "Would you like me to walk you home?" I ask slowly, unsure. She nods.
"I don't live very far from here. My apartment is about 6 blocks from here." I only nod, copying her motion. We walk down the street for a while, and I can tell that the girl is uncomfortable with my silence. I can feel her look at me from time to time until finally she says, "I wanted to say back there that that was a really great thing you did. And I thank you for saving me from something... horrible."
"Do you know the Comissioner?"
"Something like that. Related to a friend." I say, trying to hold back tears as I think of Barbara. Why I wait until now to choke up, I don't understand. I was so strong in front of the comissioner.
"Why did you ask for him?"
"A teen girl beating the crap out of a man like that and handing him to the police? That would would raise some suspition, don't you think?" I tell her. She nods, and the silence continues. Unlike her, I am used to it. It has been my only friend and foe the last couple of weeks. Besides that, I had been used to Helena's silent treatment when I was around her. She seemed to like silence, and if it didn't get to you, then to her you were good company.
"Look, I think I am like you." This statement makes me look into this girl's brown eyes, and I can tell she wants to sort of cower. My gaze softens before I speak.
"You are nothing like me, and trust me Kid, you don't want to be." Another flash of deja vu, it seems, as Helena had once said that to me during training. It seems I remember everything these women ever did. I loved them that much... I loved them so much that I carved every sound or movement they made, every word they said into my mind so that I will never forget it... So that someday I could be like them. Now it appears I am more like them than ever, taking on the people that go bump in the night... the freaks just like me.
"You're different like I am," she continues, picking up pace and stepping in front of me. I am forced to stop. "I saw you hold onto him like that, but at times it was as if you weren't even holding him. It was like you could walk across the street and he'd still be pinned against the wall." The girl studies me, and I am almost uncomfortable.
"You're metahuman?" I ask more to myself than the other girl as we study eachother. She looks puzzled.
"Nothing. Come on. Let's keep moving." I say to her in a murmur. She smiles a small smile, then gestures towards the direction we were walking before.
"So..." She wants to ask me something, and I know the question already, but I will not answer her until she spits it out. She is hesitant. "Do you have mind powers or something?"
"Or something." I say. She looks taken aback. I'm sure she thought I wouldn't tell her. I don't give her anything else, and I am surprised she doesn't ask anything else. There is a small silence with the exception of a small whistle of a breeze that tickles my hair. "What- uh- power do you have?" I ask her when curiosity gets the better of me.
"It doesn't happen often, but sometimes I melt things if I touch them, which is why I always wear gloves. Somehow they don't melt in my hands." I look down at her hands which are covered in black gloves you'd see on a biker... something perhaps Batgirl would have worn. "It makes me feel like Rogue sometimes." She murmurs. I give her a look of slight sympathy. It must be tough to fear touching someone.
Two or three blocks later, she turns and looks at the apartment building, where all of the lights are off with the exception of 2. "Shit, she's gonna freak." She turns to me. "Thanks again for saving me." She leans in to kiss me, a peck on the lips that sends an odd message through my body: 'nice, but not quite her'. In my mind and in my heart I know who I wished the kiss was from, but it was nothing but a chaste way of saying thank you, not the kiss filled with passion that I long for from someone else. I fight the small blush anyway, though I am sure she can not see it in the dark. "Good night."
"Night." I say softly as I watch her go inside. I walk in a random direction, though something tells me that it was never random as I find myself nearing the ruins of No Man's Land. I want to say a silent goodbye to Gibson, to tell him how sorry I am that I couldn't control the last energy blast. He was an odd one, especially in his last moments, but he was kind to me when we first met, one of the few who didn't judge me when he first saw me. The night is still as I approach a farmilliar place with the unfarmiliar sound of silence. The building is too dark, and my heart is filled with anger. I look at my watch as it goes from 2:19 to 2:20. "You've got to be kidding me." I mutter hotly, checking to see if my mind is playing tricks on me. It seems so much later than it says. If I had dropped out, I would have used a school night as an excuse to call it a night, but I wouldn't have much to do in the Clocktower other than slip back into my own created black hole. I walk through the streets lost in thought until I see a farmiliar gate.
Beyond this boudary is my heart. It seemed to die with them. I look in each direction, knowing that no one will see me, then climb the gate, using my mind as a boost when I start to slip. If I can hold a larger man to a wall with my mind, then certainly I can use my mind to help me climb one. I let my feet thud softly to the ground and move by memory towards the place my family now lie. I do nothing more than sit in between them, looking from one name to the next. I let one tear escape me, but I catch the next one. Soon there are too many to keep track of, and I wet the grass beneath me with my tears while drowning the silence with my sobs. "Why did you have to leave me? I am not strong enough to carry on alone." The wind picks up a bit as if to respond. For a moment I feel as if it is telling me that I am not alone. That I am never alone, and they are always there with me. Part of me believes it, but it doesn't make the darkness go away. My mind gets lost within itself for many moments, an hour even. I don't keep track. A thought enters my mind- 'what if they are happier this way?' Helena's finally with her mother, and Barbara doesn't have to worry about juggling a normal life and a night life, and she can be with Wade like I'm sure she wanted.
With that thought in mind, I stand up and brush off my pants. 'I just hope you are okay, wherever you ended up." I murmur to them, standing where I am and wiping my face of tears that slowly fell. With a heart of lead, I find the strength to walk away. I climb the gate once again and walk back the way I came, slower this time, as if I don't care to be here or there. Somewhere along my way back to the Clocktower, I see in the lightening sky a bird fly overhead. I look around my city and remember that it is oddly beautiful in the daylight. I see to my left a 'Help Wanted' sign in the window of a small store that sells jokes and various gags. I decide right then that I need that job, any job. I have to try to move on. I cannot live like this much longer, if what you call the last 2 to 3 weeks living. I have to leave this behind without leaving the only good memories I have of my life so far. I miss them, and I know they miss me wherever they are, but they wouldn't want me to be like this. I know this now. I look up as I see a slight hint of pink in the sky, then a sound distracts me. A car speeds by, and somehow that was a good sign for me. I guess step number one to moving on would be to call Gabby. From there... Who knows?
|Erin Griffin||Birds Of Prey||Main Index|