No Kill Policy
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. The story takes place some time after Love and Betrayal, so if you haven't read that particular fanfic, I suggest you do before reading this one. Warning: Parts of this fanfic may be highly graphic at times. Reader's discretion is advised. I hope you enjoy. The music excerpt playing in the bar in the background is from Coldplay's Clocks.
"I killed him."
"I killed Sylvestri!"
Barbara heard the words, but forced herself not to react. Instead she concentrated on cleaning and bandaging Helena's gunshot wound. Helena stared expectantly at Barbara, waiting for her to say something...anything. But Barbara stayed silent, acting as if she hadn't heard a thing Helena had said.
"Barbara! Did you hear what I said?! I said I killed him!"
Barbara glanced up quickly, then went back to work on the wound.
"I heard you," she said, without emotion.
Helena grabbed Barbara's hand as she taped gauze to affected area.
"Then say something!"
Barbara looked her in the eyes then, and Helena flinched at what she saw. The emerald eyes were smoldering with anger.
"What do you want me to say, Helena?! You want me to tell you that I condone your actions?! You want me to say that I'm happy you went out there - alone - and did the one thing that I've always warned you against?! The one thing that we never do?! You want me to tell you that you were right?! Well, I'm sorry - I can't do that!"
Helena shrank back from Barbara. Instinctively, she had known that this would be Barbara's response, but to actually witness it - she hadn't been prepared for that. She opened her mouth to defend herself, but never had the chance. Both women jumped at the sound of a scream from the bedroom.
"Dinah!" Helena bolted into the room. She hurried to Dinah's bedside and gathered the weeping teen in her arms. "Shh, Dinah...it's over. Shhh. He can't hurt you anymore. Do you hear me?" She broke the embrace and gently lifted Dinah's chin so that their eyes met. "It's over. He won't ever hurt you again."
Dinah stared into Helena's eyes, but she didn't actually see them. What she saw was flashes of Helena's memories. She saw Sylvestri, and though she couldn't hear his words, the sneer on his face told her all she needed to know. She saw him being attacked. Saw him lift the gun. Saw him laugh and say more. Then saw him beat to a bloody pulp. The final vision was of Sylvestri's neck being snapped and his body falling to the floor. Helena realized too late what Dinah had done. She tried to pull away, but Dinah held on firmly.
"You killed him..."
It was more of a statement than a question. Conscious of Barbara watching over her, Helena nodded. She wasn't prepared for Dinah's response - the word spoken so ominously it sent chills down her spine.
Helena walked into the now empty Dark Horse Bar and threw her jacket across a chair. She headed straight for the bar and grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniels, pouring herself a shot. Picking up the bottle and the glass, she walked over to a far table and sank into a chair. Helena tilted her head back and downed the shot. She leaned her head back against the wall and closed her eyes.
The memories of that night flashed unbidden. Nico Sylvestri's leering grin. The flash of the blade. Helena poured another drink and downed it. She poured another. Sylvestri's words replayed in her ears. She leaned forward and put her head in her hands.
That cold steel blade sliding down her neck, caressing her collarbone, slicing button after button... that blade knew every inch, every curve of that girl... the tears pouring from those baby blues. God! SO sexy? I'll pay that gal another visit...She tasted so sweet...so pure...Was I her first?
She banged her hand on the table.
We don't kill...ever!
She heard Sylvestri's neck snap, saw him fall.
We don't kill!
Then she saw Dinah, the look in her eyes when she knew Sylvestri was dead.
You killed him...Good.
"Fuck!" Helena hurled the bottle across the room. Grabbing her jacket she stormed out of the bar.
Barbara sat at her computer station. She was staring at the monitor in front of her, but she wasn't really seeing it. She was seeing Helena as she was when Barbara found her on the balcony. Cold. Empty. Her voice flat, without feeling. When Helena had told her that she killed Sylvestri, it had been the first time there had been feeling in her voice.
Barbara shook her head. Helena had known how Barbara would react. It was almost as if she had wanted Barbara to attack her - to punish her for what she had done. And Barbara had been more than willing to comply. She slammed her fist on the table, the force of the blow almost causing her now empty mug of tea to fall to the floor.
Damn! She was hurting - I could see that! But I just had to jump all over her!
Barbara was so absorbed in her thoughts that she didn't notice Dinah walk into the room.
"What are you doing up?" she asked.
"Sorry," Dinah flashed a sheepish grin. "You okay?"
"Yeah, I...I've just been thinking..."
"About Helena killing Sylvestri..."
"That...and some other things," Barbara answered. Her eyes softened. "What about you, Dinah? Are you okay?"
Dinah pulled up a stool and sat beside Barbara. She sat there for a few minutes, looking pensive.
"I guess so." She turned to face Barbara. "At first, I felt this huge sense of relief. But now...the idea that I was relieved...well...Relief - isn't that wrong? I mean, I...we're not supposed to kill, right? So why was I so relieved that Helena had killed him?"
Barbara placed a hand on Dinah's arm. "It was a normal reaction. Sylvestri's being dead means that he can't come back and hurt you, or anyone else. I can understand the way you felt." Barbara's eyes clouded over as she remembered her own attack. "Closure - I never had that when it came to the Joker. Sure, he's locked away, but he has been locked away before. He's always found a way out. He could always come back." Barbara shook the thought from her mind, not wanting to face the pain - the old fears.
Dinah nodded. "I guess you're right. I was worried about Helena going after him, but at the same time, I secretly hoped that she'd catch him." She was quiet for a moment. "You know, she left so quickly. I wonder if she's okay. It had to have been hard...what I saw..." Her voice trailed off as she struggled with the memories of the brief flashes she'd received from Helena earlier.
Helena stood in front of the door and wondered how she had ended up here. She'd wandered all over New Gotham, trying to lose herself, trying to forget. Her wanderings had brought her here - to the front door of Jesse Reese's apartment. She raised a hand to knock on the door, thought better of it, then knocked anyway.
Reese opened the door, a look of surprise on his face. He hadn't expected to see Helena tonight after what he'd found in the restaurant.
"Can I come in?" Her eyes pleaded with him to say yes.
He stepped aside motioning her to enter. He watched as she walked past, shoulders slumped, head down. He hadn't seen her like this in a long time. It scared him a little. Helena sank down onto his couch and rested her head in her hands. Jesse walked over and sat on the coffee table in front of her.
"Hey. You okay?" Receiving no answer, Reese knelt before Helena. Gently moving her hands from her face, he peered into tear-filled eyes.
"I killed him," Helena said in a voice so tiny, Reese had to strain to hear.
"He was a scumbag, Helena. Not someone to get teary over."
"You don't understand!" The tears spilled over, tracing their way down Helena's cheeks unchecked. "I killed! We don't kill! Barbara's said it so many times...but...he kept talking about what he did to her. I kept picturing how I found her. All I could think about was how much I wanted him to pay. I couldn't stop...I tried, but I...just...couldn't...stop!"
Reese gathered her in his arms as she cried. He held her tightly, whispering comforting words, his heart breaking with each sob. After a couple of moments, Reese pulled away slightly. Reaching out a hand to gently cup Helena's chin, he lifted her face so that their eyes met. Still whispering soothing words, he gently wiped away her tears. In her eyes he saw pain and despair. He wished he could wipe that away as well. He leaned forward and gently kissed her forehead. She leaned into the kiss, closing her eyes.
Reese trailed kisses slowly, ever-so-gently down her face - one eyelid, then the other, her nose, finally resting on her lips. They parted, inviting him in. Their kisses were passionate. Helena sank into his embrace, needing to feel his arms around her. She'd felt so alone until she’d come here, until she'd seen the caring in his eyes. She drank it in - the love she saw there - made it her own. She never wanted it to end. Their passion grew more intense, driven by Helena's desperate need for love and Jesse's desire to fulfill that very need. Helena knew that if she stayed, that intensity would grow. She had no desire to leave.
Barbara watched the sun rise over New Gotham from the balcony of the Clocktower. She was alone with her thoughts - Dinah was still sleeping. It was the first time she'd slept peacefully in a long time and Barbara had no intentions of waking her. Besides, she needed this time alone. She needed to think about the way she'd treated Helena, about the way she had reacted last night. Talking to Dinah had stirred up old feelings - feelings she had thought she'd dealt with long ago.
Barbara had always felt proud of the fact that Batman had held himself back during his last battle with the Joker. With all of the pain the Joker had subjected him to, Batman had refused to kill him. Barbara had admired the strength it must have taken for him to do that. She'd thought about that a lot. Had talked about it with Helena. Had drilled it into her - We don't kill...no matter how evil. She must have told Helena this a million times. So, Barbara's first instinctive response to Helena's admission was anger - pure, unadulterated fury.
But now, she'd had time to think about it. Now she'd had time to remember how she'd felt after the Joker had shot her; had raped her. How she still felt deep down. She'd wanted him to suffer for the pain, the anguish, the indignity of it all. She'd wanted him to pay. She'd wanted him dead - yes, dead - that was the simple truth and there was no denying it.
Watching Dinah go through the pain and suffering Barbara had endured all those years ago had been difficult for Barbara. She'd wanted to comfort Dinah, but more than that, Barbara had wanted to get her hands on Dinah's attacker.
And just what would I have done if I had?
That was the question that had plagued Barbara ever since her tirade last night. And after her talk with Dinah, Barbara realized that she already knew the answer. She had told Dinah that the relief she had felt at Sylvestri's death was normal, a direct result of the feeling of closure. Dinah knew that she was as safe from Sylvestri as she could ever hope to be. That the only demons left were in her mind. He couldn't come back for her - couldn't hurt her again. Barbara had realized in that moment that closure was something she'd never had. That the demons in her mind were actually real - the Joker could still come for her.
Barbara sighed. She had always praised Batman's strength for how he'd dealt with the Joker that night at the docks. She'd sympathized with his pain after what had happened to her and Selina. But as she sat here thinking, she realized that a part of her was angry with Batman. Angry because he hadn't stayed. Angry because she'd needed closure and he hadn't even tried to give that to her. Angry because he hadn't tracked Joker down and destroyed him.
As Barbara sat there, realization dawning on her like the new day, she got the distinct impression she was being watched. She turned to find Helena leaning in the doorway, a look of caution clouding her features. Barbara smiled and beckoned for Helena to join her. Helena hesitated at first, remembering last night and Barbara's angry words. But, looking at Barbara sitting there now, Helena could find no trace of yesterday's anger. She walked over to the balcony and leaned against the railing beside Barbara.
"You took off pretty quickly last night," Barbara said.
"I...I didn't think you wanted me around." The look on Helena's face was a mixture of regret, pain, and fear - an emotion Helena didn't display often. It hurt Barbara to see Helena this way - lost, alone.
She's afraid I won't want her back - that I'll tell her to leave. She needs to know that's not the case.
"Ya' know, I tried calling your apartment last night."
"Yeah? Um...well...I...uh...wasn't home." Helena looked away and Barbara arched an eyebrow.
"Aren't you gonna ask what time I called. Or did you stay out all night?"
"It was a long night."
Barbara was amused at the fact that Helena couldn't meet her gaze. Instinctively, she knew where Helena ended up last night just based upon her evasive behavior right now.
Well, at least someone had been there for her. I sure as hell wasn't!
Barbara sighed, drawing an inquisitive look from Helena. Barbara wanted to apologize to Helena, wanted the girl to know that she was still wanted - still loved. Barbara wanted Helena to know that her initial response had been a gut reaction and that she had judged Helena unfairly. She just didn't know where to begin.
Why is it always so damned difficult to admit when I'm wrong!
"Helena...last night...I...I said some things." Barbara could see the look in Helena's eyes - the pleading - Don't abandon me, too! - they screamed.
She ought to know by now that I would never do that.
"Helena, when you told me about Sylvestri - about what you had done - I...I reacted badly. I was...It was wrong of me to judge you that way. My first instinct was to be angry with you for violating the code - that unwritten code that Batman had lay down for me all those years ago. We don't kill. I was amazed at the strength of his convictions - that he could stick with his no kill policy that night in the dockyards, even after all that the Joker had done. I was in awe. And so I taught you the same rule - never kill, no matter the evil.
"But not everyone can live by that code all the time. After seeing you with Dinah - her relief at what you had done - I sat and thought about what I'd said to you. I'd said those things without placing myself in your position - without knowing exactly what I would have done. That was wrong of me, Helena.
"Because I thought about it after you left - what I would have done. I thought about what the Joker had done to me. I thought about Dinah and how it made me feel to watch her go through that same hell. And I realized something, Helena. I realized that if I had been able to get my hands on that Bastard..." She shook her head. "...If I had the opportunity, I think I may have done the same thing."
Helena stood stunned, speechless - she hadn't been prepared for Barbara's admission. She had always thought her mentor to be above such thoughts, such things. She couldn't picture Barbara ever doing what she had done. Helena shook her head, and when she could find her voice, told Barbara so, "You would never have killed him."
"Helena, Dinah told me what she had seen when she 'touched' you...and I can guess at the rest. He taunted and goaded you. That on top of your feelings of guilt at what had happened - the blame you placed on yourself - and the pain that you'd been watching Dinah go through...it all came to a head in that moment. And, as much as you may not want to believe it, the fact of the matter is, that if I was there - if I was in that situation - I wouldn't have stopped until I was certain that there was no way he could hurt Dinah or anyone else again."
Tears flowed from Helena's eyes as she absorbed the words of her mentor. She wasn't evil. She wasn't an abomination - a disgrace. Barbara reached out to Helena and she gladly sank into her mentor's arms, relishing in their warm comfort.
Helena found Dinah in the lab, catching up on her studies. It had been weeks since Sylvestri had sealed his fate. Dinah had been back to school and was seeing a counselor for the past couple of weeks. She still had some issues to resolve, but things were starting to return to some semblance of normalcy - as normal as it could get for a teenage crime fighter anyway.
"Hey there, kiddo? What're you studyin'?"
"The advanced stages of bio-molecular..."
"Never mind," Helena interrupted. "I really don't have the patience for techno-babble from you and Barbara."
They laughed - Helena thinking how good it was to hear Dinah laugh again.
"Listen, Dinah, there's been something I wanted to talk to you about." She hesitated, not sure where to begin. "Was...Was Sylvestri?...Had you ever..."
Dinah's eyes grew dark as she realized what question Helena was stumbling over. She looked down and shook her head.
"No...I never..." Her voice was barely a whisper.
Helena pulled up a chair and sat down next to the teen, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"Dinah, listen to me. What Sylvestri did...it was horrible. But...you need to know...sex...well...it doesn't have to be that way. It can be such a beautiful experience - with someone you love. You need to know that, Dinah. You can't let what he did to you keep you from knowing that - from experiencing that some day."
Dinah looked into Helena's earnest eyes and suddenly knew that she was speaking the truth - the truth as she had come to know it. Helena had been speaking from experience - she had been speaking from her heart.
Helena blushed, but her eyes never wavered from Dinah's.
"It can be beautiful, Dinah. Always remember."
Helena flashed her a grin that lit up the room.
"And by the way," she pulled away from the girl, "new rule - no using of powers to spy on my love life!"
Barbara smiled as she passed a room that suddenly burst with laughter.
The worst was behind them...for now...