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.
“…what if we get there and…and…Barbara’s already…dead?”
The words continued to assail Huntress as she headed down the corridor at full speed. If her father was right, she should be getting close to where the Joker and Harley Quinn were holding Barbara. But, for all she knew, Huntress could be running into a dead end. After all, Batman had made his decision based on details from Dinah’s vision and the blueprints of the warehouse.
“what if we get there and…and…Barbara’s already…dead?”
She shook her head and silently berated herself for thinking that way. As Barbara would say, a defeatist attitude would get her nowhere. But, if the words she uttered earlier – words that continued to echo in her ears – were proven true, woe to all those responsible.
Huntress heard footsteps approaching but had no intentions of stopping. As she rounded the corner, she discovered the source of the noise. Three of the Joker’s henchmen were headed in her direction.
“Hey, what the…” was all that one henchman could say before Huntress barreled into him, knocking him to the floor, where he remained, unconscious. The other two exchanged a shocked look before realizing that the intruder was still on the move.
Huntress made it halfway down the corridor before she realized she was being tailed. She jumped straight up, flipping backwards in midair, and landed behind the two thugs. As they spun around, looks of astonishment on their faces, Huntress frowned.
“Ya know, I really don’t have time for this,” she said, before launching into a dizzying series of punches and kicks. In seconds, the two thugs were lying in broken heaps on the floor. Huntress continued on down the corridor as if nothing happened.
* * *
Harley was nervously pacing the room. Something had gone horribly wrong with her lover’s plan – she was certain of it. The sounds of a struggle reached her from the corridor directly outside the door. She quickly covered the distance between herself and her prisoner. Grabbing a handful of fiery red hair, Harley yanked Barbara’s head backward. Barbara moaned as she struggled to regain consciousness.
“I think I’ve waited long enough. Time to die!”
Harley’s head whipped around at the sound of the door crashing inward. Her eyes widened and her jaw dropped at the vision in the doorway.
“Let go of her, Bitch!” Huntress cried as she strode purposefully across the room.
Harley’s released Barbara’s hair and she began backing away from Huntress, shaking her head in an effort to clear her vision. There was just no way the vision before her could be real. Huntress was…
“You…you…you’re dead,” Harley stammered, as she struggled to maintain distance between herself and the steadily approaching nemesis.
“I think you have things confused,” Huntress replied as she continued to back Harley into a corner of the room. “You left me for dead, but guess what - I didn’t die!”
“B-b-but the newspaper…?” Harley’s back hit the wall and she flattened herself against it as if seeking to somehow melt into it.
Huntress came to a halt and cocked a questioning eyebrow at her cornered prey.
“Do you always believe every thing you read?”
The smile on Huntress’ face sent chills up Harley’s spine. There was no mirth in that smile. It was a smile of satisfaction. The predator had cornered its prey and was ready to pounce. Harley knew she had to act quickly. Adopting her most sensitive Dr. Harleen Quinn voice and raising her hands placatingly, Harley attempted to buy herself some time by using what she knew best – the art of persuasion.
“Helena, you have to understand. All of this – this whole elaborate scheme – it was all part of a plan to capture your father. From everything you’ve ever told me, you hate your father. This was only meant to be a final confrontation between the Joker and Batman.”
As she spoke, Harley slid along the wall cautiously, keeping eye contact with Huntress the entire time.
“What happened at the Clocktower was purely coincidental. You weren’t supposed to be there. It all would have gone smoothly had you not shown up. This was never meant to be a war between me and you,” Harley concluded, smiling sweetly.
“You should have thought about that before you messed with my family,” Huntress growled.
Realizing that she could no longer talk her way out of the situation, Harley resorted to the other thing she knew best – fighting dirty. After all, she still had a couple of tricks left up her sleeves and her back was quite literally against the wall.
“Have it your way”, she said, exhibiting a slight shrug before throwing her arms straight back and against the wall, activating the triggers for the Stinger knives concealed beneath her sleeves.
Summoning all the hate and anger she had stored up in the time she had been locked away at Arkham, Harley unleashed her attack, furiously slashing and stabbing at Huntress. Huntress exhibited amazing agility as she avoided each attack, frustrating Harley at each turn. She began to laugh, taunting Harley each time she missed.
With a scream of rage, Harley threw more effort into the attack, forcing Huntress to abandon the taunting and focus on evasive action. Harley slashed her knives across Huntress’ midsection in pincer fashion. Huntress bent backwards until her hands touched the floor, the blades passing over her with bare inches to spare. She could feel the stitches in her back begin to give with the effort, but she ignored the pain in favor of survival.
Placing all of her weight on her hands, Huntress brought her legs straight up, catching Harley in the jaw with her booted feet, effectively stunning her. As Harley staggered backwards with the force of the blow, Huntress continued the summersault, landing on her feet to face Harley once again. Harley recovered quickly and the two began to circle each other, looking for a sign of weakness - a chance to attack.
Harley’s chance came in the form of a moan coming from the center of the room. Huntress chanced a glance in Barbara’s direction and Harley attacked. But Huntress was ready for her. Dropping to the ground, Huntress swept Harley’s legs out from under her. Harley fell to the ground rather inelegantly, her precious blades wrenched from her hands on impact, skittering in different directions across the floor.
Moments later, Huntress was upon her, dragging her to her feet. She unleashed a blinding attack of savage proportions. Blow after blow struck Harley with such force as to cause her teeth to chatter. She sagged to the floor beneath the ferocity of the blows, but there was no escape. The torture refused to end as Huntress continued to rain blow after blow upon Harley’s already pain-wracked body.
We don’t kill!
Huntress ignored the admonishing voice as she rained vengeance down upon her enemy. She didn’t notice that Harley had stopped trying to ward off the blows. She didn’t notice that her body lay limp – that she had lost consciousness several painful blows before.
We don’t kill!
All Huntress could see was Harley attacking chained, defenseless Barbara Gordon with as much ferocity as she was now unleashing upon her. All she could hear was the sound of Harley’s laughter as she struck Barbara again and again.
No matter what…no matter how evil…we don’t kill!
Huntress’ assault began to falter with the persistence of the voice in her head…the voice of her mentor…the voice of her friend…the voice of her family…until finally, she stopped the assault altogether. She stared at the unconscious body before her; at her bloodied hands. And then slowly, she turned her head, setting her sights on the unconscious woman dangling from chains in the center of the room. Barbara needed her.
She turned her attention back to the matter at hand – rescuing Barbara. Slowly, painfully, she rose and stumbled toward Barbara Gordon. Finding the lock pick concealed in her outfit, Huntress made quick work of the first manacle. Supporting Barbara’s inert form as best as she could, Huntress unlocked the second manacle, catching Barbara as she slid out of the restraint. Huntress slid to the floor with fatigue. She cradled Barbara in her arms, brushing the loose strands of red hair from her face.
Barbara’s eyes fluttered open. She struggled to focus on the face before her. Uncertainty at the blurry features caused her to flinch, uttering a moan at the pain it inspired. Huntress, her eyes slowly returning to their original blue shade, spoke soothingly to Barbara.
“It’s okay. I’ve got you. We’re gonna get you out of here. It’s okay.”
Barbara gasped as her vision somewhat cleared, revealing Helena’s features swimming before her. Tears filled her eyes.
“Helena,” she whispered in disbelief.
Helena smiled encouragingly. “Yeah, it’s me. It’s gonna be okay, Barbara. We’re gonna get you outta here.”
Barbara slowly reached out a shaky hand to touch Helena’s cheek, seeking to prove that the vision before her was real. Helena took Barbara’s hand in her own and held it lovingly to her cheek. It was the last thing Barbara saw before darkness reclaimed her.
“Barbara?” Concern clouded Helena’s features as Barbara once again lost consciousness. Gently kissing Barbara’s forehead, she repeated her promise. “I’m gonna get you outta here.” She touched a hand to her comm.
“Kid, where are you?”
“Back where you left me, playing my little decoy game.” The sounds of struggle filtered back to Helena’s comm. set. As did the hopefulness in Dinah’s voice.
“I have her. She’s in bad shape. I’ll be coming on fast and I need you to clear a path.”
“I’m on it!”
Summoning the last of her strength, Helena rose to her feet, Barbara limp body cradled in her arms. Immediately, Helena was immersed in pain. It sliced along her back as effectively as a sharpened knife blade. She stumbled, but refused to fall while carrying such precious cargo. Steadying herself, she took a deep breath. Her face set with grim determination, she started walking toward the door. By the time she was through the door, her pace had quickened to a trot.
“Hang on, Barbara,” she said, through gritted teeth. “I’ll get you out…if it kills me…I’ll get you out of here.”