Love and Betrayal
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 and was written during the one and only season of Birds of Prey. I began writing BOP fan fiction after some annoyance at one of the characters created for the show. The whole idea of writing a fan fiction is to take a show, movie, etc. that you enjoy and put your own spin on it and that is what I have done. This particular story takes place some time after the episode entitled Three Birds and a Baby. I have used a little liberty here with events. I thought this idea up a while back before the episodes that followed Three Birds, so keep in mind that none of the episodes that followed come into play here. This was my first foray into online fanfic and first appeared on a little website known as Birds of Prey Online. I hope you enjoy.
Barbara rubbed her sore eyes. Hours had passed since she had begged Alfred to call him. But would he come? Barbara just didn't know for sure. Since her impassioned plea, Barbara had parked herself in front of the lab analysis equipment, hoping for a miracle. She turned to look at Helena. Dinah had entered the infirmary about an hour ago. She looked tired, but from the look on her face, Barbara knew there was no way she could convince her to go back to bed. As Barbara watched, the young girl wiped Helena's feverish brow with a cool cloth. She was about to turn back to the analysis equipment when Alfred stepped into the room.
"You have a visitor, Miss Barbara."
From the look on his face, Barbara knew instantly who that visitor was. And then Alfred stepped out of the doorway, and he walked in - her mentor, Gotham's Dark Knight, Helena's father, Bruce Wayne, AKA: Batman. He was still as handsome and dashing-looking as the last time she had seen him, but something about him had changed. It wasn't the random flecks of gray in his hair. It wasn't the beginnings of crow's feet around his eyes. It was what was in those eyes that had changed. Gone was the fire that burned bright in those eyes at the prospect of bringing a villain to justice. Gone was the pride. It had been replaced by pain. Pain that was acutely evident as Bruce Wayne looked at Barbara in her wheelchair and then at the figure lying unconscious on the bed. It was a pain that had festered and grown over the years, a pain that had consumed him and forced him to leave this place long ago.
He turned toward the bed. Dinah rose from the stool beside Helena, her eyes glued to the man that had once trained her mentor, sizing him up. Barbara moved her chair along side him as he made his way toward the bed. As he stood there gazing upon his daughter for the first time, Barbara wondered what was going through his mind. He reached out a hand and gently ran the back of one finger down the side of Helena's cheek.
"She looks so much like her," he muttered. Then drew his hand away as if stung when Helena suddenly opened her eyes. Their eyes locked for several heartbeats before Helena's eyes slowly closed again. Barbara watched as Bruce Wayne struggled to regain his composure. She hadn't missed the softening of his eyes moments ago. Now, however, Bruce Wayne's features had become business-like as he turned to face Barbara.
"Alfred said that the chemical she was injected with is attacking her meta-human cell structure?"
Yep, she thought, all business again. "Yes, I've tried everything, but there has to be something I'm missing."
"Let's take a look," he said and turned toward the lab equipment.
Just then, Helena let out a moan, crying out, "No!" Barbara hurried to the bedside.
"Mom! Mom..." Helena opened her eyes and struggled to focus on the image before her. It looked like her mother, but she was dead wasn't she? Or was it Barbara? Her vision swam as the faces of the two people she cared most about shimmered and swirled into one another.
Barbara looked up at Bruce as his features blanched. Looking back toward Helena, she reached out a hand to caress the delirious girl's cheek. "Shhh. It's alright, Helena."
"Mom..." she moaned.
Barbara continued to caress Helena's cheek with one hand, while taking her hand with the other. "I'm here, Helena. It's okay," she said gently. "Everything's going to be fine. Shhh."
Bruce Wayne stared at the interaction between his daughter and his protégé. And in the corner of the room, both Dinah and Alfred watched him. He said nothing until Helena had once again sunk back into unconsciousness.
Clearing his throat, he said, "Well, let's get to work."
Dinah sat at Helena's bedside and watched as Barbara and Bruce Wayne worked side by side to find a way to save Helena. It was a race against time, but Wayne seemed as calm as the moment he had stepped into the infirmary.
So this is Batman, she thought. This is Gotham's legendary hero. Barbara's mentor. Helena's father.
As Dinah watched, she thought back to all of the things Barbara had told her about the man who had trained her. When Barbara had told those stories, there had always been pride in her voice at having been trained by Gotham's best. It was a pride mixed with sorrow at having lost her mentor to his own demons. Now, as she watched, it was hard to read Barbara's emotions at having been reunited with the man she had always held in such high regard. When he had walked into the room, it hadn't been happiness on Barbara's face, but shock, as if she had not expected him to answer Alfred's call.
Why wouldn't he? Dinah had thought. Helena IS his daughter, after all.
Then, the shock was replaced by something else - a sort of sadness had crept over Barbara's features. From what Dinah could see, the man that had entered the infirmary was a shell of the man Barbara had once known. To Dinah, Bruce Wayne fell somewhat short of the hero-figure Barbara had painted. Perhaps it was as a result of the pain and guilt he felt at the revenge Joker had taken on Selina Kyle and Barbara Gordon. Or maybe he'd been out of the life for too long. Dinah wasn't sure. But she could tell by the look on Barbara's face that Bruce Wayne had changed.
What had gotten to Dinah was his reaction upon first setting eyes on Helena - or lack thereof. Dinah knew that Alfred had told Bruce about Helena. It was just something that Alfred wouldn't keep hidden from Bruce Wayne, who was at once his employer and the closest thing that Alfred had to a son. She'd expected something more from him than the brief comment on how much Helena looked like her mother.
Then again, what kind of expert am I on family relationships, she thought.
Helena moaned, dragging Dinah's attention away from her thoughts for the moment. She gently wiped the sweat from Helena's brow. Her bouts of consciousness were few and far between now, and when she did open her eyes, they were clouded with fever-induced delirium. Dinah was worried. She knew that Barbara had all the faith in the world in Bruce Wayne's abilities, but what if he'd changed too much in the past several years? What if he was incapable of helping Barbara in her search for a cure to this thing?
Barbara was amazed at how quickly things started to fall into place once she had Bruce to assist her. She had known that he could solve this puzzle better than she could. Although she could hold her own in the lab, Bruce had always been better at the scientific side of crime fighting. She was more into the gadgets, the electronics, computers. He could outdo her anytime in the lab. And that was what she had been counting on.
From the moment he had sat down at the equipment, he was all business. It was only a matter of moments before he discovered what Barbara had missed. Barbara supposed she would have taken exception to this at any other time, but with Helena's life hanging in the balance, she was extremely relieved. Had she not been so worried about Helena, she might have enjoyed the ease with which they had slipped back into the mentor/protégé relationship they had shared long ago as Batman and Batgirl. But, time was of the essence, and her attention was completely focused on the matter at hand - synthesizing an anti-toxin for Helena.
The anti-toxin should be ready soon, she thought, risking a glance in Helena's direction. One look at Helena's pale, fevered features was enough to bring Barbara down off her cloud. They had made incredible progress and were almost done with the anti-toxin, but was it too late?
No! She forced the thought from her mind. They would save Helena. And Bruce would finally get to know his daughter. Barbara turned her attention back to the lab equipment.
Dinah blinked her eyes in confusion. One minute she had been watching Barbara and Bruce work on the anti-toxin, and the next she found herself being shaken awake by Barbara.
"It's ready," Barbara said, looking over at Bruce. He was holding a syringe filled with a green-hued liquid. As he reached for Helena's arm, her eyes opened and, once again, locked on his. Without a word, Bruce swabbed Helena's arm, found the vein, and injected the anti-toxin. Helena's eyes slid closed.
"How long will it take to work?" Dinah asked.
"Not sure," was Bruce's clipped reply as he gently swabbed the point of injection. He stood there for a moment, looking down at Helena, his face an unreadable mask. Then, as he turned to leave the infirmary, he said the words none of them wanted to hear.
"It may not work at all."
Bruce Wayne sat at the Delphi computer station, staring at the monitors. He was staring at them, but he didn't see them. Instead, he saw Helena. She looked so much like Selina. Oh, how he had loved her. He would have done almost anything for her. Except give up crime fighting. And in the end, that was what had driven her away. She hadn't wanted to drag Helena into all of that. Selina had even given up her other life as Gotham's notorious Catwoman for Helena.
He'd lost her. She'd been killed because of him - an act of revenge. And Helena had been there and had witnessed it all. She had held her mother as she died, her life ebbing out of her with each pulse of blood. And where had he been? At Wayne Manor celebrating Joker's defeat. What his daughter must think of him. He shook his head at the thought.
And then there was Barbara. How she had suffered at the hands of Joker because of him.
Bruce Wayne looked up at his butler, his friend, his surrogate father.
"A penny for your thoughts."
"Ah, Alfred...I don't know what to think. I can't help but think that all of this would have been different if I hadn't been so obsessed with stopping Joker."
Alfred gave Bruce a stern look. "You had no choice in the matter. Joker had to be stopped. I wish you would stop blaming yourself for all that has happened. You need to move on. It would be nice if you would take this opportunity to get to know your daughter."
If she survives, he thought, but left the words unspoken.
"I hardly think she wants anything to do with me, Alfred. Besides, Barbara's more of a parent to her than I can ever be. I wouldn't know what to do." He thought back to when Helena had moaned and Barbara had rushed to her side. How she had called out for her mother and Barbara had answered her without hesitation. "No, Alfred, I could never be that girl's father. I'm not built for it and she definitely wouldn't want it." Or deserve it, he thought.
Barbara was once again parked beside Helena's bedside. She'd sent Dinah back to bed, despite protests that she was not tired. Dinah tried to argue that it was Barbara who was exhausted and needed rest, but in the end, she knew she wasn't going to win that argument. Barbara was determined to stay with Helena now that the anti-toxin had been injected. She told Dinah that she wanted to be there in case the anti-toxin had an adverse effect on Helena. But there was more to it than that.
It may not work at all.
Bruce's words kept echoing in her head. Bruce had left the infirmary and headed for another part of the Clocktower. Barbara assumed that Alfred, always so protective of Bruce, was with him. Bruce had changed so much. After all of the years she had known him, she found she didn't know anything at all. He'd put up an impenetrable wall, hiding his emotions from her and the rest of the world. She knew how he should be feeling at seeing his daughter for the first time, but he was going out of his way to keep those feelings bottled up. At least she hoped that was the case. She couldn't bring herself to believe that he'd grown that cold over the years.
It may not work at all.
Barbara closed her eyes as the words ran through her mind. Damn him for that! She had known that the anti-toxin might not work, but his saying it out loud somehow drove the point home. Helena's chances at survival were slim to none. That was why she had been so adamant about staying with Helena at this point. She needed to be here, in case...
She shoved the thought from her mind. No, Helena's too strong to go without a fight. But a look at Helena told her that this was one fight in which Huntress might not come out the victor.
What made it worse was that Barbara knew she was to blame. Helena had been so lost, so angry, so out of control, when she had com e to her. Barbara gave her guidance in the best way she knew how - by providing her an outlet for that anger. She had sensed her potential, had seen her budding powers. It was what was done when you were in the life. If you found others with the potential to become crime fighters, you trained them. But with Helena, it was more than that. The two shared a bond - a mutual pain. A sense of loss so profound that it threatened to destroy them. For Helena, it was her mother. For Barbara, it was her legs.
The road had been rocky, but in the end, the benefits were mutual. Helena had needed guidance. She had needed a reason to believe that life was worth something. And, Barbara begrudgingly admitted to herself, so had I. Helena had given her that sense of worth. No, she would never be Batgirl again, would never race across rooftops to save the innocent from the criminals. But she could help save this one girl from the evil that Joker had done. She could help save Helena from herself, and in doing so, Barbara herself was saved.
And in the process, I may have sent her to her death. The thought sent fresh tears coursing down Barbara's cheeks. Helena had always said that she hadn't wanted to become a crime fighter. Barbara knew that there was some truth to what she said. Helena wanted to smash things up. Barbara had convinced her that fighting crime was a better way. She could do something constructive with all that angry energy. Still, Helena had always balked at the idea of wearing her father's mantle. Barbara knew very well that part of Helena still hated the life and would get out of it were it not for Barbara.
Dinah silently entered the room. She couldn't sleep and she knew that she wasn't going to be able to persuade Barbara to rest, but she could at least keep her company in her vigil by Helena's bedside. Seeing Barbara so distraught brought tears to Dinah's eyes.
"Barbara, she's gonna be okay. She's too much of a fighter to let this thing beat her." She knelt beside the wheelchair and looked into Barbara's eyes. "She's gonna make it, Barbara."
"And if she doesn't?!" Barbara's words were harsh and filled with anger, but Dinah knew she wasn't the target. "If she dies, whose fault will that be?! I did this! I sent her out there! And she knew him! I could hear it! He said the name Gordon. The revenge he missed taking out on me, he took out on her! And I was here," she shouted, slamming the armrests of the wheelchair. "I was here, listening to all of it and..."
She completely broke down then and Dinah held her as Barbara cried, gut-wrenching sobs. And in that moment of contact, Dinah could see flashes of moments in Barbara's life. In those few seconds, she was made aware of the painful loss Barbara suffered, the sense of hopelessness, and the mixture of happiness and frustration that Helena had brought into her life. In that moment, Dinah knew that losing Helena would do more damage to Barbara than the bullet Joker had fired that fateful night. It would destroy her.