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.
Time ticked by...the seconds into minutes...the minutes into hours...all of which seemed an eternity to Barbara as she watched and waited. Helena's temperature had stabilized in the past hour, but it was still in the dangerous range. Dinah sat in the corner of the room, eating one of the sandwiches Alfred had thoughtfully brought to the infirmary. Barbara just drank coffee.
Bruce had been in and out of the room, checking on the progress of Helena's condition with barely a word to anyone. He would stand over Helena, checking her vitals with business-like precision, then pause and look at her thoughtfully. On one such occasion, he had looked almost sad, shaking his head slowly from side to side. Having just checked Helena's vitals, Barbara knew that his actions had nothing to with Helena's condition, but with some conflict within Bruce himself. She had no idea what was going through his mind, but Barbara hoped that Bruce would come to grips with it soon. His silence was killing her.
Dinah watched Bruce from the corner of the room and frowned. After Barbara's breakdown earlier, it seemed impossible to her that Bruce Wayne could act so cold and clinical around Helena. After all, he was Helena's father - her very own flesh and blood. Barbara didn't give birth to Helena, but she displayed more caring and more emotion toward the girl than her own father. True, Bruce Wayne had never known he had a daughter until after Selina's death, while Barbara had known Helena for years. Barbara and Helena had become attached over those years. Bruce Wayne barely knew the girl. Given those facts, Dinah supposed she shouldn't be judgmental.
Besides, if he didn't care, why show up to help her? she thought.
Dinah wished she could get a glimpse of what was going on in his mind, but after the accidental transference of emotion from Barbara, she knew she wouldn't be up to the task. Dinah turned her attention to her mentor, seated in her wheelchair, guarding Helena as a lioness would guard her cub. Barbara looked so tired, but she refused to relinquish her position beside Helena's bed. After Barbara's emotional outpouring earlier, Dinah tried to convince her to get some rest - to let her take over some of the duties regarding Helena, but Barbara had flatly refused. She wasn't going to leave her bedside until she was certain that Helena was going to be fine.
"Barbara," Bruce Wayne's voice shook Dinah out of her thoughts. "I need to speak with you," he turned toward Dinah, "alone."
Barbara looked into Bruce's eyes. What she saw there bothered her. She had the feeling she was not going to like what he had to say.
"Right," Dinah said, more than slightly annoyed at being shooed out of the room like some child while the adults talked about important things. She rose from her chair, deliberately taking her time as she crossed the room and made her exit.
"What the HELL do you mean you're leaving?!"
Fire burned in Barbara's eyes. Gone was the pale, haggard look. What had replaced it was one of pure unadulterated anger.
"Barbara, try to understand. I can't stay," Bruce said, flatly.
"You can't stay?! How can you leave, Bruce?! Helena is your daughter! She needs you!"
"Her temperature is stabilized. Her condition hasn't deteriorated any further," he reasoned.
Barbara couldn't believe what she was hearing. Who was this man? she thought. What had happened to the man who she had idolized all these years - her mentor?
"Her condition hasn't improved any either! She isn't out of the woods yet!" she shouted.
"I've stayed as long as I could, Barbara. Now I have to go. There's nothing more to say, except goodbye," Bruce said, in that flat, placating tone that angered Barbara all the more. He turned to walk toward the door.
Suddenly, all of the fury, all of the rage, boiling inside Barbara erupted.
Bruce stopped then, but he didn't turn to face Barbara. She was shocked at her outburst, but even more shocked at what Bruce was doing. Fury unleashed, Barbara was a force to be reckoned with. She wouldn't stop until she let him know exactly how she felt. Gone was the reverence she once felt for this man, replaced by anger and disappointment.
"You're going to leave again! Leave Gotham! Leave your daughter! You have no idea how much she has needed you to be here - still needs you! You're clueless! You can't keep running from it all! You can't hide from what happened to Selina! To me! When are you going to face that fact? What has happened to you?! What have you become?! Who the HELL are you?! 'Cause you sure as HELL aren't the man I used to know?! Go! Leave! Run out on her again! Helena deserves better!"
Bruce Wayne never turned around. He simply said, "You're right," and walked out the door.
Barbara sank back in her chair as Dinah rushed into the room. She couldn't believe that she had said all of those things to Bruce. She supposed the anger had been building inside her since he'd left.
Nonetheless, the tirade had left her emotionally and physically drained.
"Are you okay?"
The concern on the young girl's features was touching, but Barbara found that she couldn't look into Dinah's eyes as nodded in assent. After all of the times she'd spoken so highly of her mentor, for him to act this way...she was embarrassed. Dinah seemed to know what Barbara was thinking and didn't push the issue. They both returned to their respective positions in the infirmary in silence.
Dinah checked Helena's forehead and found that her fever had abated a bit. She turned to Barbara, who had nodded off in her wheelchair.
She's so exhausted, she thought. She needs to rest.
Determined not to take no for an answer, Dinah kneeled beside Barbara and gently nudged her awake. Barbara's eyes opened wide and she was instantly alert.
"What? What's wrong?" she asked, worried.
"Nothing, Barbara," Dinah said in a soothing tone. "I just wanted to tell you that Helena's fever has gone down. She's breathing a bit easier, too."
Barbara moved to check Helena's vitals herself. As she did, a wave of dizziness gripped her and she came close to toppling out of the wheelchair. Dinah moved quickly to steady her.
"Barbara, listen to me. You have to get some rest. I'll stay with Helena."
"No. I have to be here. What if something happens and her condition deteriorates again?"
Dinah moved in front of the chair, positioning herself between Barbara and Helena. "Then, I'll send Alfred to wake you." Before Barbara could open her mouth to protest, Dinah continued, "If something does happen, you're not going to be any good to her like this. You have to get some sleep. It'll be okay. I promise, you'll know the moment her condition changes."
Barbara couldn't deny the fact that she was weary to the bone. The girl was right, she wouldn't be any help to Helena in her present state. She backed the wheelchair away form the bed, admonishing, "The minute something changes?"
"I promise," Dinah said with sincerity.
Hating to leave, but knowing it was for the best, Barbara headed out of the infirmary.
Oh my God, Barbara, come quick!
She silently urged the wheelchair to move faster as she responded to Dinah's cry. The chair's wheels moved as if traveling through quicksand. When she had finally made it inside the infirmary, the sight made Barbara's stomach lurch. Helena was convulsing, Dinah desperately trying to hold onto her flailing limbs. Just as Barbara crossed the expanse of the room to the bed, the convulsing stopped. To her horror, so did Helena's breathing. She reached out to feel the pulse in Helena's neck, and as she stared into the girl's opened, vacant eyes, she found there was none.
"NO!" Barbara jerked awake. It took her a moment to realize she had been caught in the grip of a nightmare. It had seemed so real. She looked at the clock beside the bed. She had only been asleep four hours. Hardly the rest Dinah had been talking about, but Barbara had no desire to try to fall back asleep and revisit the painful nightmare once more. She used her arms to slide her body across to the edge of the couch and into a sitting position. Gripping the armrests of the wheelchair beside the couch, she neatly made the transfer from bed to chair in one fluid motion.
She had been so tired, she had simply deposited herself on the couch in the Clocktower lair rather than adjourning to her apartment. She hadn't thought she could make the journey. As she prepared to return to the infirmary, a steady blinking caught her eye. The Delphi Monitor was signaling an important message. She would have ignored the alert, but she knew that returning to the infirmary after only four hours asleep was liable to earn a lecture from Dinah. She was in no mood to be scolded by a girl half her age.
As she keyed in the access code, the view on the screen changed from an amber alert to a view of a police report. Quickly scanning the report, she realized that it was a homicide investigation. The location of the alleged homicide was the alley near the corner of Adams and Madison, the location of the fight between Huntress and their still-unnamed murderer. She clicked upon the attached photo. As the picture came into view, her eyes widened and she gasped in shock.
Dinah jumped as Helena stirred in the bed and groaned.
Helena's eyes fluttered, opened, and slowly focused on the blonde teenager at the side of the bed. She found her voice, and was surprised at how weak and thin it sounded.
"You get the license of the truck that hit me?" she said.
Dinah couldn't help but laugh, tears of joy coming to her eyes.
"You scared the hell out of us, you know," Dinah said.
"Scared myself a bit actually," Helena said. She gazed around the room. "Barbara?" she asked.
"I sent her off to bed. She was exhausted."
"Good." Helena could feel her strength slowly returning. "How'd you do it? Knock her over the head?" she joked.
"Almost had to," Dinah joked back.
Helena's mood turned serious. "Does she know?"
Dinah shook her head. "No, she feels guilty enough about what happened. I couldn't bring myself to tell her who had done it."
"Had done what?" The voice startled both girls as Barbara entered the room. Barbara never gave them time to answer. "I thought you were going to wake me at the slightest change in her condition," Barbara chided.
Looking guilty, Dinah tried to plead her case. "I was just about to come get you."
"Right," Barbara said, a hint of annoyance on her face as she moved closer to the bed. Her features softened as she gazed upon Helena. "How are you feeling?"
"Been better. What the hell happened?"
"Long technological explanation," she said with a smile. "The short version is whatever our friend shot you with wreaked havoc on your system and damn near killed you." There was a look in Barbara's eye as she said the word friend. A slight catch in her voice. Helena gazed at Barbara as she checked her vitals, wondering if she had somehow figured it out.
No, Helena thought, she couldn't know.
"Well, seems you're making a pretty speedy recovery," Barbara said.
"Good. Things were really weird for a while there," Helena said. "I dreamt that...well...that he was here."
"Your father was here, Helena. He helped save your life."
Helena's eyes opened wide in disbelief. "Is he still..."
"No," Barbara looked away. "He had to leave."
Helena's eyes narrowed. "Figures." She was surprised when Barbara didn't say anything to defend him. Something wasn't right with her, but she couldn't put her finger on it. And she was starting to feel tired again.
Barbara, noting the fatigue starting to creep into Helena's features, leaned forward in her chair and brushed a stray strand of hair from Helena's face. "We can talk more later. Right now, I want you to get some rest."
Helena didn't need much persuasion. She was soon fast asleep.
When Helena awoke, Dinah was once again seated on a stool beside the bed. Barbara was nowhere to be found, but Helena knew she couldn't be far. Dinah looked up as Helena stirred.
"Morning, sleepy-head," she sang. "How do you feel?"
"Better." Helena looked pensive for a moment. "So, you met my old man? What do you think?"
Dinah considered this. Should she tell her the truth? She decided she owed her as much. "I wasn't impressed."
"Hmm," Helena nodded. "From the way Barbara acted earlier, I take it she's become disenchanted with the great Bruce Wayne?"
"Maybe, but I think something else is wrong." Concern flooded Dinah's features. "She's been sitting on the balcony for an hour now. She looks...well...she's not herself."
"She knows, doesn't she?" Helena was dreading this moment.
"I think maybe she does," Dinah agreed, "but she won't admit it to me. I tried to ask her what was wrong, but she wouldn't say."
Helena thought for a moment.
"Dinah, give me a hand okay?"
Barbara looked out over New Gotham with new eyes. Everything she knew, believed in, trusted...it had all been taken from her in a matter of days. She heard movement from behind her, but didn't turn around.
"Dinah, I told you, I'm fine."
"It's not just Dinah." Barbara spun the chair around as Dinah wheeled Helena out onto the balcony in one of Barbara's older-model wheelchairs. "And, no, you're not fine," Helena continued. "So c'mon - out with it." Dinah brought the chair to a halt just in front of Barbara, and the two stood staring at her, waiting for an explanation.
When none was forthcoming, Helena spoke again, "Dinah says you blame yourself for what happened out there in the alley. You can't. You had no way of knowing that would happen."
Before she could continue, Barbara raised a hand to stop her. "I should have known," she began, her voice shaking. "I should have seen...something..."
"Barbara, he never gave any indication of who he was. When did he ever give you any sign that he was a homicidal lunatic? How can you blame yourself?" Helena asked, incredulously.
Barbara shook her head, tears coming to her eyes. "I should have known," she repeated. "I'm Oracle...all-seeing, all-knowing..." Her voice dripped sarcasm. "I use my vast knowledge of the cyber-realm to solve crime, while I bring evil in through the back door!" She closed her eyes and she could see Wade, smiling at her. All at once the grin turned lopsided and evil. "I brought him here! I thought I loved him and I never really knew who he was. But he knew who I was - who you were. He used you to get to me. To get revenge on the Gordon name. He planned and plotted right under my nose and I was too blind to see it!"
Helena reached out and took Barbara's hand in hers. "I know this much: you would never do anything to hurt me. You would have done everything you could to stop it from happening. You've shown me this time and time again. Hell, you saved me all those years ago?"
Barbara interrupted her. "I saved you?" her laughter bordered on hysteria. "You have no idea. You once said to me that I would never try to kill myself - that it just wasn't something I would do. You'll never know how wrong you were - how close I came...All that Joker had done repeating over and over in my head. Everything taken away from me in one moment. I was ready to give up - to throw in the towel. But for you. You saved me, Helena!"
Tears now coursed down both of their faces. Dinah's as well, from her silent position in the doorway.
"Barbara, we saved each other," Helena said.
"No! I put you in danger, day after day. You never wanted any of this, but I kept pushing it on you - kept sending you out there into danger. And by bringing Wade into our lives, I put you in even more jeopardy. You could have died, Helena. You would have, if it weren't for Bruce..." her voice trailed off.
"And where is he now?" Helena asked angrily.
"Helena..." Barbara began, but Helena cut her off.
"No, Barbara, don't. Don't defend him. I know why he was here. You begged Alfred to call him. YOU did that. YOU stayed with me the whole time. You and Dinah. All he did was help you find a cure that you would have probably found on your own if you hadn't been so worried about me. The truth of it all is that he has never been there for me. YOU have. Whenever I needed someone after Mom died, it was always you that was there. You stayed with me no matter how hard I lashed out. No matter how hard I tried to push you away."
Helena stepped out of the wheelchair and knelt before Barbara, reaching out a hand to brush the tears from Barbara's face. She continued, "It was always you. I could always count on you to be there. And I know that if you could have, you would have been in that alley. If you could have had your way, you would have died to save me. I know that. I know it because of who you are - because of all that you've done for me. I won't let you destroy yourself over something that wasn't your fault - that you couldn't have prevented. I need you, Barbara. Do you understand?"
She laid a hand on Barbara's cheek. "I need you in my life. Bruce Wayne may be my father by blood, Barbara, but you're my family. You, Dinah, Alfred - you're the only family I have left. The only family I have any use for. And I'm not gonna let this tear our family apart. Got it?"
Barbara just stared at Helena for a few seconds. Dinah walked toward them, tears streaming unchecked down her cheeks.
"You got that?" Helena asked again. Then, suddenly, through the tears, Barbara smiled.
"Yeah...I got it," she said.
Helena grinned and the two women embraced. They both reached out a hand and snaring Dinah's arms, pulled her into the embrace.
When they parted, Helena smiled. Looking up at Dinah, she joked, "Ya wanna help an old lady back to her chair."
Dinah laughed. Barbara watched as Dinah assisted Helena in getting back into the wheelchair. She wasn't completely healed yet, but Barbara wagered she'd be doing back-flips by tomorrow.
I should have realized that nothing could keep her down for long, she thought.
"So," Helena said, interrupting Barbara's thoughts. "What's there to eat around here? I'm starving!" Barbara and Dinah looked at each other incredulously and began to laugh.
Barbara led the way back inside the Clocktower. "Let's see what Alfred can whip up. Then, we can figure out a way to explain what happened in that alley to Detective Reese."
As they entered the Clocktower, the sounds of their laughter followed.