A Christmas Carol...BOP Style
by Melissa Minners
Disclaimer and Other Information: It should be noted that all of the characters and many of the locales in this fan fiction are not mine. They are owned by The WB. This fan fiction is somewhat of an homage to the series, though I have used a little liberty here with events. At the time, I hadn't noticed a BOP fanfic with A Christmas Carol or It's a Wonderful Life twist and thought it might be a fun distraction from my writer's block. Enjoy!
The wind whipped through Dinah's hair as she leisurely strolled along the streets of New Gotham, pausing now and then to gaze into a shop window. All around her, New Gotham was lit in spectacular color - reds, greens, blues, golds, silvers - New Gotham was a beautiful sight this time of year. Dinah smiled as she spied a snowflake lightly dance past her nose.
Looks like we're in for a white Christmas! she thought to herself.
She began to hum the tune White Christmas as she quickened her pace toward the Dark Horse Bar. Helena was due to get off work soon and Dinah didn't want to miss her. Helena had promised to help Dinah pick out a nice gift for Barbara. Dinah didn't have much money to spend on the gift and was hoping that Helena would chip in for one. After all Barbara had done for her, Dinah really wanted to get her something special.
This Christmas would be a special one for Dinah. It would be the first Christmas in her memory that she would celebrate with a real family. She had celebrated Christmases with her foster parents, but those were always disastrous and somehow ended with her foster parents getting highly upset with her. Which of course meant that Dinah spent most of Christmas huddled in a corner in her room. Dinah shook the memory from her mind. This Christmas would be different. This time, she would spend Christmas with people who truly cared about her and about each other. She was looking forward to it with child-like glee.
Lost in her thoughts about the holiday, she almost passed the bar. Laughing at herself, Dinah entered the Dark Horse amidst a flurry of snowflakes. She glanced around the crowded room, looking for Helena, and spied her in the far corner of the bar, serving a drink to a very merry, albeit slightly disheveled, Santa Claus. She called out to Helena, but Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas was blaring loudly and fairly drowned out even the loudest of voices.
As she approached the bar, she could tell something was wrong. Helena had been sullen of late, but Dinah was used to her friend and her sudden mood swings. However, lately, it seemed Helena was a tad more broody than she ever had been.
"Kyle! Would you at least pretend you like serving the customers?! Smile, dammit! You're supposed to be spreading Christmas cheer, for crying out loud!" Leonard glared at Helena beneath the brow of his Santa hat. Had Helena's boss not been berating her, Dinah would have laughed at the comical sight of Leonard and his half Santa-half elf costume. He was even wearing a necklace of blinking Christmas lights.
Dinah braced herself for what would come next. Helena wasn't one to allow anyone to speak to her that way, much less her boss. From the look on Helena's face, Christmas Eve was no exception.
"What the hell, Leonard?! These people are so stewed, they wouldn't care if I smiled or gave them the finger, so long as I keep serving the drinks! Christmas cheer! Ha!" Helena pointed at the inebriated Santa Claus in the corner. "If that guy gets any more Christmas cheer from me, they’re gonna cart him outta here in an ambulance with alcohol poisoning. And I swear, if one more jerk pulls me under the mistletoe and tries to grab a kiss, I'm gonna rip their lungs out through their nostrils. Christmas cheer! What's so great about Christmas, huh?!" She ripped her Santa hat off her head and flung it at Leonard. "I'm through with spreading Christmas cheer to a bunch of drunks!"
Leonard gaped at Helena as she stalked past him, yanked open the door and slammed it behind her. Dinah, similarly shocked, realized that Helena had left the bar and hurried out the door after her. The wind had picked up and the snow was starting to fall harder now.
"Helena, wait up!" Dinah was soon out of breath, struggling to keep pace with Helena as she stalked up the street.
"This sucks!" Helena yelled to no one in particular.
"Working in a bar during Christmas must be pretty depressing," Dinah said.
Helena stopped and turned to face Dinah, looking for all the world as if she had just noticed the young girl that had been keeping pace with her for the last four blocks.
"I wasn't talking about the bar," she snapped. "I was talking about the weather!"
"Oh, c'mon Helena! Who doesn't enjoy a white Christmas?" Dinah chirped.
"Oh please! How the hell am I supposed to do sweeps tonight with all this slippery white crap all over the roofs?" With that, Helena quickened her pace, leaving Dinah standing on the corner staring at her back.
"So much for helping me pick out Barbara's gift," she muttered. Then, determined not to let Helena's sour mood spoil her own, Dinah once again began humming White Christmas. She headed off in the opposite direction in search of a gift for Barbara.
* * *
"Jingle Bells, jingle bells..."
Helena frowned as she stepped out of the Clocktower elevator and right into the middle of a Christmas nightmare. Alfred was merrily singing Christmas carols while adding finishing touches to the festively decorated headquarters. Barbara wheeled to a halt beside Helena.
"Jeeze, Barbara! Did one of Santa's reindeer throw up in here or something?!"
Barbara laughed. "Oh c'mon Helena, don't be such a Scrooge! Alfred is having fun decorating the Clocktower."
Helena smirked. "Yeah? And who's gonna have the fun of cleaning all this crap up?"
It was Barbara's turn to smirk. "As if you've ever lifted a finger to clean up around here!" Barbara peered into the empty elevator behind Helena. "I thought Dinah said she was going to meet you at the bar."
Helena walked toward the kitchen. "She did, but we got separated. What's for dinner?" she asked, gingerly lifting the lid of a pot that was simmering on the stove.
Alfred, seemingly appearing out of nowhere entwined in silver garland, slapped Helena's hand. Helena yanked her hand away, dropping the lid back in place, as she glared at Alfred.
"Christmas Eve dinner will be served when Miss Dinah arrives and not a moment sooner," he said, and then hurried off, garland in tow.
Barbara laughed until tears poured from her eyes. "I just love the way Alfred gets around the holidays!"
"Oh please! What is the big deal?! Besides, I want something to eat before I head out on sweeps."
Barbara stared at Helena, surprise etching her features. "Helena, it's Christmas Eve," she said plaintively.
Anger flooded Helena's features. "I wish everyone would stop saying that! I know very well what day it is! It's just a day...just like any other. It means nothing to me!"
A knowing look passed over Barbara's face as she listened to Helena's rant. Tears of sympathy filled Barbara's eyes as she reached for Helena. Anger flared in Helena as she noted the look on Barbara's face. Her eyes changed color as she twisted away from Barbara's grasp.
"Look, I'm going! Christmas Eve or not! Crime doesn't just stop because of a silly holiday. If anything, crime increases this time of year. You want to go and get all sappy on me instead of being my back-up, fine! I don't need you! I don't need anyone!"
Helena spun on her heel and nearly collided with Dinah as she made a bee-line for the elevator. "Outta my way, kid! I've got work to do!"
Barbara and Dinah watched as Helena smacked the door close button and the elevator began its descent. Barbara smacked the arm of her wheelchair.
Dinah turned to face Barbara. "What's gotten into her? I mean, yeah, Helena's usually moody, but this goes waaay beyond moodiness."
Barbara's shoulders slumped and she sighed. "I had hoped that things would change for her this year. Had hoped that having you here for Christmas might lighten her mood. But she's just as surly as ever. It's been the same every year since she came to stay with me. Every year, I try to make Christmas more enjoyable for her, and every year, she scoffs at my attempts and hurls barbs, eventually stalking out to spend Christmas alone. I just wish I knew what to do for her. I hate seeing her like this. I'm sorry, Dinah. I wanted this, your first Christmas with us, to be a special one. I should have known Helena's annual tirade might spoil that."
Dinah knelt before Barbara and grasped her hand. "This is a special Christmas for me, Barbara. For once, I have a real family to celebrate Christmas with. People who care about me. Nothing can spoil that. So Helena's in a mood. Doesn't mean we have to let her spread Christmas funk throughout the Clocktower."
"Excuse me," came a call from across the room. Barbara and Dinah turned to find Alfred tangled from head to foot in Christmas lights. "Would one of you be so kind as to assist me with these lights?" The two women turned to each other and burst out in gales of laughter, Helena's angry outburst forgotten for the moment as they hurried to Alfred's aide.
* * *
Huntress angrily brooded on the wintry scene below her as she crouched on the New Gotham Luxury Hotel's roof. The city was blanketed in white and the snow continued to fall. Huntress hated snow. It was cold, wet, slippery - in short, it made doing sweeps a chore rather than a game. She cursed the holiday season once more as she shifted position on the roof. Then, she spotted him, a dark figure hiding in the shadows of the alley below preparing to spring on an unsuspecting woman, arms laden with packages.
As the thug made his move, Huntress prepared to leap from the roof to the street below, planning on landing between the mugger and his mark. However, sometimes, things fail to go as planned. Slipping on the snow-covered ledge, she lost her balance and tumbled over the side of the building, slamming the back of her head on the ledge as she fell. Darkness nipped at the edges of her vision and finally encompassed all as she landed in a heap in the dumpster below.
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