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!
Huntress groaned at the loudness of the voice that called to her. "Dammit, Barbara! Pipe it down, huh?!" Gingerly, she touched the spot where head met concrete and winced in pain.
Huntress covered her ears against the harsh noise. Suddenly, realization dawned on her. It couldn't be Barbara calling to her - she had turned off her comms. As quickly as she could manage, Helena scrambled from her garbage-laden bed to face the person behind the tormenting voice. But, as she exited the dumpster, struggling to maintain her footing, she realized that the alley was empty.
The voice boomed from behind her. Huntress spun around and promptly fell to one knee, dizzy from the concussion she had given herself tumbling from the roof. Piercing light flooded the alley and Huntress had to shade her eyes from its sting. The light diminished slightly and Huntress was able to make out a single figure, bathed in white light, walking toward her. She crouched as if to spring, but when the figure spoke again, she realized that she knew the voice.
An elderly man approached Huntress, a sad look on his face as Huntress stared incredulously. Huntress' eyes began to soften and turned back to their vulnerable blue as she gazed upon the man she had loved from infancy to adult. Guy stood somewhat stooped before her, shaking his head. He reached out a hand. Hesitatingly, Helena took it, then hurriedly pulled it back as the icy coldness of it chilled her to the bone.
"How?" It was all she could manage to say.
"So sad," was Guy's reply. Guy reached out again and grasped Helena by the shoulders, eliciting a shock-filled gasp as he raised Helena to a standing position. "I'm here to help you."
Dumbfounded, Helena barely stammered, "To help me?"
Guy nodded. "I'm here to help you remember." He grasped her hand and pulled her down the alley. Every step brought waves of nausea as Helena struggled against the grip.
"Where are you taking me?" she yelled, then winced at the effort of raising her voice. She stumbled, falling again to her knees. This time, a much younger Guy knelt beside her.
"Here," he cried in the youthful voice she remembered so well. "Look," he said, pointing off into the distance.
Helena's gaze followed his direction and she found herself looking through an apartment window. Glancing around her, she found she was no longer in the alley beside the New Gotham Luxury Hotel, but on the ledge of a building, gazing into the living room window of an apartment. A young child ran into the room, laughing. The sound of the child's mirth-filled chuckle filled the air as she sprang into a pile of presents stacked neatly beneath a Christmas tree, nestled in a corner of the room. A woman's voice called out from another room, just beyond Helena's line of sight. The woman entered the room and Helena sucked in a shocked breath. The vision standing before her was an impossibility.
"M-M-Mom?" she stammered. "No! This isn't real - it's a dream!" She reached out and touched the window pane and withdrew her hand in shock as she connected with the cool glass. She spun to face Guy.
"You know where you are," said a teenage Guy. "You remember what it used to be like?"
He returned his gaze to the window. Following his gaze, Helena was surprised to see a teenager, flowing black hair tied in a ribbon, dressed in a robe and seated beside a strikingly beautiful blonde. As Helena watched, the blonde tipped back her head and laughed heartily at something the young girl said. The youth handed the blonde a box, neatly wrapped in festive paper and swathed in red and green ribbon. The blonde carefully lifted the lid of the box. Suddenly, the woman pulled the teenager into a tight embrace. A single tear rolled down Helena's cheek as she remembered the gift that she had scraped and saved every penny to give her mother that year. She turned away from the window.
An elderly hand was placed upon her shoulder and she gazed up into the sympathetic features of a much older Guy once more. "You used to love Christmas. You used to be so happy this time of year. Used to look forward to it with eager expectation."
Helena swiped at the lone tear with annoyance. "That was before...before...It was her favorite - Christmas. Mom used to prepare for it months in advance. She just loved to open presents...loved surprises. I loved to watch her - the Christmas spirit in her was infectious. I couldn't help but be enveloped in it. She glowed with it. But now...Christmas just..."
Tears fell rapidly now as Helena remembered all of the Christmases she had spent with Selina in her youth. She clenched her fists in anger at having been robbed of her mother at such a young age.
"I HATE IT!" she raged, spinning on Guy and fixing him with a harsh glare. "I HATE EVERYTHING IT STANDS FOR! GO AWAY! LEAVE ME ALONE! STOP SHOWING ME THIS! I DON'T WANT TO SEE ANY MORE!"
* * *
Helena woke to find herself curled in a ball inside the dumpster. She sprang to a seated position, only to fall backward once more with the pain the sudden movement induced. She touched a shaky hand to her forehead. She was about to chalk up her strange encounter with the apparition of Guy to a concussion. That is, until the alleyway filled with light, and a young man sprang into the dumpster beside her.
"Get up, Helena! Times-a-wasting!" The young man yanked Helena to her feet.
Helena couldn't believe her eyes. Standing before her was Frosty, the one time bartender of No Man's Land. Helena shook her head in disbelief. Frosty had been dead for months now.
"C'mon, we gotta go!" Frosty grabbed Helena's hand. In his excitement, he lost control of his meta-human powers. Ice formed where his hand met Helena's. She closed her eyes to the pain. When she opened her eyes, she found herself in the Clocktower.
"Do you think Helena will stay out all night?" Dinah asked Barbara as the two stared at the banks of computer monitors.
Barbara sighed and leaned her head in her hands. "I hope not, Dinah," was the muffled response. She lifted her head. "The snow is really starting to pick up. This is not exactly the sort of weather to be conducting sweeps...especially when part of that entails soaring from one snow-laden, slippery rooftop to another."
Helena felt a pang of guilt at the look of sincere worry she noted on Barbara's face. She walked toward her and knelt beside her wheelchair.
"I'm back. Don't worry. I got banged up some, but I'm okay. No harm, no foul. I'll stay in now." Helena reached for Barbara's hand.
Barbara suddenly shifted her wheelchair to face the balcony and steered toward it. Dinah followed closely behind. She lay a sympathetic hand on Barbara's tense shoulder.
"I'm sure she's okay. You know Helena. She's just pissed and blowing off some steam. As soon as she's kicked some ass, she'll come back to bite our heads off some more." Dinah tried to lighten the mood, but her attempt failed as Barbara sadly scanned the city below.
"Hey! Yo! I'm right here! I'm back! See!" Helena positioned herself directly in front of Barbara and Dinah, but both seemed to stare at a point just past her.
"They can't see you," Frosty said.
"Barbara!" Helena reached out for her mentor, but once again, Barbara eluded her grasp, returning to the warmth inside the Clocktower. "What the hell?!"
She hastened after Barbara, but Frosty blocked her path.
"Outta my way!" she hissed, menacingly.
"They can't see or hear you," Frosty explained. "Look, I'm here to help..."
"Where have I heard that before," Helena drawled, sarcastically.
"Listen! You need to see this! This is what Christmas is like right now. This is what you're missing out on!" Frosty's voice was deep, resonant and commanding. Helena stared at him in wonder at this new side her old friend was revealing.
"Look!" Helena turned to look into the Clocktower from her position on the balcony.
Dinah, in an effort to cheer Barbara up, had brought out the Christmas present she had bought that evening. "I...I hope you like it. I...I wanted to get you more, but...well...open it!"
Barbara carefully removed the lid from the box Dinah had handed her and peeled away layer after layer of tissue paper. What she revealed caused Barbara to beam with happiness. Barbara gently lifted her gift out of the box and held it up to the light. Dangling from a silver bracelet was a silver charm in the shape of a bat.
"I know it isn't much, but..."
Barbara pulled Dinah into a tight embrace, effectively cutting off the teenager's apology. "Dinah!" She pushed Dinah back and looked her square in the eye as she gushed, "I love it! Thank you!"
Dinah's smile lit up the room. Barbara steered away from the teenager and toward the Christmas tree. Reaching down, she deftly plucked a present from the stack and steered back toward Dinah.
"Here. You get to open one, too!"
Dinah tore at the wrapping paper and squealed with delight as she held up a leather outfit identical to one in Helena's closet.
"Now you don't have to brave Helena's wrath by rummaging through her things," Barbara laughed. Helena laughed as well, as Dinah jumped up and down and rushed to give Barbara a bear-hug.
"I'm gonna go try this on," Dinah yelled, running off toward her room.
As soon as Dinah was out of the room, Barbara's smile faded. She gazed once more toward the balcony, watching the snow fall, worry once again wrinkling her brow.
Helena spun around to face Frosty, prepared to throttle him within an inch of his afterlife if he didn't allow her to let Barbara know she was alright.
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