A Return to Hell
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 No Kill Policy, so if you haven't read that particular fanfic, I suggest you do before reading this one. Warning: Parts of this fanfic may be graphic at times. Reader's discretion is advised. I hope you enjoy.
Dinah pulled the Hummer to a stop at a red light on the corner of Astor Place and John Street. Wiping her sweaty palms on her pants for the fifth time since she left Wayne Manor, Dinah glanced over at Helena who was resting her head against the passenger seat, eyes closed. Dinah had no idea how Helena felt about the plan formulated by her father. Dinah herself harbored some foreboding qualms about the plan; although she couldn’t quite put her finger on just what it was that was bothering her about it.
There were no obvious flaws in the plan – Batman, like Oracle, was very thorough. She supposed that she would have felt a little better if she and Helena had actually been given the opportunity to offer ideas, rather than being handed their assignments. That was the difference between Batman and Oracle. For the most part, Oracle formulated plans with input from all resources. Batman collected information from resources and then issued orders.
Dinah wasn’t used to his way of doing things and that made her uneasy. In fact, she was a bit surprised that Helena was taking direction so well – especially from Batman, of all people. The only part of the entire rescue mission that appealed to Dinah was the fact that she got to be behind the wheel of a familiar vehicle. She’d selected this Hummer from Bruce Wayne’s fleet because it reminded her of Barbara’s Hummer. Although Dinah knew it was absurd, she had an intense feeling that this vehicle would bring luck to the mission.
And we need every ounce of luck we can get!
The light turned green and Dinah steered the Hummer toward their fate – be it victory or doom.
Helena continued to lean back against the headrest of the passenger seat, seemingly relaxing despite the seriousness of the situation. But behind those closed eyes, Helena’s mind was a flurry of activity. In fact, Helena was keeping her eyes closed so Dinah could not see that they had changed. Helena’s eyes always changed when she was in battle mode, but changing this soon before a fight meant something more. It meant that Helena was feeling emotional in the extreme, and she would rather not have to explain the reasons behind the change.
Dinah cursed as they hit a pothole and then slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting a pedestrian. Helena snuck a peak at the young girl and watched as she yet again wiped the sweat from her palms. She sighed.
“Nervous?” she asked.
Dinah threw Helena an incredulous look before rapid-firing her response. “Nervous? Me? Nervous? Why should I be nervous? I mean, your dad just appears out of nowhere with this plan of attack. He has no idea how strong the Joker’s crew is, what kind of tricks Joker and Harley have up their sleeves, he has no idea what’s in store for us, but he’s got a plan and we’re following it! For all we know, he could be leading us like lambs to a slaughter! But, why should I be nervous! I mean, you seem to be perfectly calm!”
Helena chuckled as she turned to face Dinah, revealing the cat’s eyes she’d been trying so hard to hide. “Calm? Heh! Yeah. Right. I guess I do seem calm. At least I’m trying pretty hard to. But deep down, I’m just as nervous as you are….maybe more so…but not for the same reasons.” Helena sighed and faced forward again. “I’m not worried so much about the plan. The Joker was Batman’s obsession, remember? He would know everything about the man – his strengths, his weaknesses, who he can count on, who’ll let him down. The Joker only surprised him once…and even that was not much of a surprise – Batman knew there would be retribution for taking down the Joker. He just hadn’t counted on it happening so quickly…hadn’t counted on the police losing him so soon. No, I’m not so worried about the plan. I’m more concerned about Barbara. I mean…what if…?”
Helena swallowed hard, carefully choosing her words, as if by voicing her fears, she could make them become reality.
“What if...See…The Joker doesn’t really need Barbara now. He knows Batman well enough to know that he’ll show. So why should he hold on to her, right? But we both know he has no intention of letting her go. And then, there’s Harley…God, how she must be loving this! So what if we get there and…and…Barbara’s already…dead?”
Outside, the roar of an engine pressed to its fullest potential turned the heads of pedestrians as the Hummer tore a path down the streets of New Gotham. But inside the Hummer, all was eerily silent as the two young protégés contemplated the possibility that their mentor was already dead. Dinah reached out and grasped Helena’s hand. Helena returned the grip as she stared out the window, absently watching the scenery of New Gotham flit by while a single tear wove a path down her cheek.