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.
Huntress reached the Clocktower first, but waited for Dinah to arrive before going inside. It made their partnership seem more complete if they came in from sweeps together. After years of going it alone, Huntress had finally come to grips with having a partner out in the field. She had always relied on Oracle to have her back, but she had to admit that Dinah was a great help in sweeps. Having her around made sweeps much faster and two could cover much more ground than one.
As Dinah rolled up in the Hummer, Huntress smiled. She always teased the girl about her driving and tonight would be no exception. Huntress thought it a shame that with all of the cool powers Dinah had, she would never experience the joy of leaping from roof to roof, wind whipping your hair. It was very much like flying and it was when Huntress felt most free.
“About time you showed up,” Helena teased.
“Thought I’d try getting here without getting stopped for speeding and with the Hummer still intact,” Dinah responded, a twinkle of mischief in her eye.
“One time! It was one time!” Huntress said as she hopped into the passenger seat.
“You hit a fire hydrant!” Dinah pointed out, laughing as she put the Hummer in drive and entered the garage.
“I was in a hurry! Oracle said it was urgent! Lives to save and all that!”
“Mhm. Whatever.” Dinah looked over at Huntress who realized that her daily teasing ritual had just been turned around on her. Dinah winked and parked the Hummer, a grin spreading across her face from ear to ear.
* * *
Barbara turned her chair away from the Delphi Monitor as Helena and Dinah exited the elevator, laughing. She smiled, thinking of a time when Helena had been adamantly opposed to Dinah coming out with her on sweeps. In fact, Helena hadn’t really liked the idea of Barbara taking Dinah in as a ward in the first place. But she had warmed up to the idea, and now the two were like sisters.
“What’s up, Barbara?” Dinah said as she watched Helena head straight for the kitchen.
“You are,” Barbara answered. “That’s why I called you back in. It’s pretty quiet out there and it is a school night after all.”
“Thaf fwight,” Helena said around a mouthful of apple Pop-Tart.
Barbara glared at Helena’s lack of manners. “Eating already I see.”
“Hey,” Helena said, a tad offended. “All this hard work makes a gal hungry, ya know?”
Barbara was just about to tease Helena about her girlish figure when the Delphi Monitor sent out an alert message, tone sounding and screen turning bright amber. Barbara turned to face the screen and accepted the message. Her face blanched as she read the police report that appeared in front of her. A strangled sounding “No!” was the only sound that could escape her lips as she reread the information in disbelief.
Helena and Dinah exchanged a glance and hastened to Barbara’s side, Helena’s Pop-Tart all but forgotten on the kitchen counter in her rush to see what had Barbara so upset. The girls stood behind Barbara and read the police report detailing the escape of two well-known criminals from Arkham Prison – the Joker and his girlfriend, Harley Quinn. Dinah placed a bracing hand on Barbara’s shoulder and glanced over at Helena, who had suddenly grown very pale. Another alert sounded on the Delphi Monitor, but it took a full minute before any of them realized it.
“It’s Reese,” Dinah said, acknowledging the alert. “He’s at Arkham.”
Helena dragged her eyes away from the police report. A look of determination replacing the one of shock, she headed toward the elevator.
Barbara shook herself out of her trance and spun her chair around.
But she was already gone.
* * *
“How the hell did they get out?!” They were the first words out of her mouth as she dropped in behind Detective Jesse Reese from the rooftop above.
“Dammit, Huntress, I wish you’d stop doing that to me!”
“I wanna know how they got out!” Huntress’ eyes flared and Jesse took a step back.
“Hey! I didn’t let them out! Take it easy.” Jesse reached out his hand to touch Huntress’ arm, but she shook him off.
“Don’t tell me to take it easy, dammit! How could they let them escape?! The biggest criminals in Arkham!” She turned and slammed a fist down on the trunk of his car. Jesse cringed at the dent she’d made. He stepped closer and cautiously laid his left hand on her back.
“Huntress…” Jesse tried to find words as Huntress stared out into the street, remembering a rainy night long ago. When she spoke again, her voice was low, with a slight tremble as the anger built.
“He had my mother murdered…and Barbara…what he did to Barbara…And Harley! That Bitch!” She spun to face Jesse. “And now they’re out there, roaming New Gotham! Free!”
* * *
“Dinah, go to bed,” Barbara said, anger creeping into her voice.
“But Helena…” Dinah knew her protests would fall on deaf ears, but she was worried – about both of them. Both Harley Quinn and the Joker had caused them so much pain. She didn’t want to go to bed; she wanted to be here for her mentor, her friend – her family.
“Helena, what?” Dinah and Barbara both turned to find Helena stepping out of the elevator. Dinah noted that her eyes hadn’t yet changed back to their natural shade of blue.
“Um…I was…” Dinah stammered. She was unsure of what Helena’s reaction would be if she said that she was worried about how angry Helena had seemed when she left, especially since the anger hadn’t dissipated much.
“She was just about to go to bed,” Barbara interrupted, throwing Dinah a pointed look. “Right, Dinah?”
“Yeah,” Dinah sighed in resignation. “I guess I was.” She left the room glancing back at Barbara and Helena before exiting. She hoped they wouldn’t fight – they needed each other to help make it through this.
Barbara waited until Dinah was out of earshot.
“What the hell were you thinking – running out of here like that? With those maniacs on the loose?!” Barbara’s emerald eyes were smoldering with anger, but shimmering beneath that anger, Helena recognized the fear. It wasn’t the Joker or Harley that Barbara was afraid of – it was what might happen to Helena if they were to get the drop on her. Helena understood this, and so she decided to apologize instead of arguing with her.
“I know. I’m sorry. I was just so pissed! I needed to know how they got out…who dropped the ball.” Helena’s eyes slowly began to revert back to blue as she placed a hand on Barbara’s tensed shoulder. “It won’t happen again.” She could feel some of the tension start to drain away. “I did remember to leave the comms on,” she said with a wink.
“Yes, for once,” Barbara smiled then, but the smile didn’t quite reach her eyes. “Helena, I want…” Her voice caught as the anger ebbed away and the fear took over. “Please..don’t…”
“You want me to stay here tonight, don’t you?” Helena asked, her eyes softening even further as she realized just how concerned Barbara was for her welfare.
Barbara nodded, knowing that this was asking Helena for a lot. She loved the freedom her apartment at the Dark Horse afforded her, but Barbara was terrified that the Joker would find Helena. Barbara knew that Harley would waste no time in telling the Joker that Helena was Batman’s daughter. He would hunt Helena down and…Barbara didn’t want to think of what he might do to her.
Helena saw the pleading look in Barbara’s eyes and it touched her heart.
“Okay. For tonight. Then we track down these bastards and send them back to Arkham!”
* * *
A flash of light, like that of a strobe, encompasses her vision. The sound of shattering glass fills her ears. She watches in horror as a body crashes through the glass, hundreds of glistening, jagged shards raining down, falling with the battered body…falling…
Dinah jolted upright, not fully awake, vivid images from the nightmare just beginning to fade. She raised a trembling hand to brush a sweat-dampened strand of hair from her face. Dinah had suffered from nightmares much of her young life, a fact that both dismayed and annoyed the Redmonds. Had they been normal run-of-the-mill nightmares, the Redmonds would have had no reason to fear, but Dinah’s nightmares were anything but ordinary.
The most vivid nightmares had the nasty habit of becoming reality where Dinah was concerned. This power was something the Redmonds couldn’t understand and therefore feared, making Dinah feel like there was something wrong with her – like she was some kind of freak. Dinah hid her abilities from the world, feeling alone and afraid, until she came to New Gotham. Until she met two women she had dreamed about as a child. She had seen the teenage Helena cradling her mother in her arms, begging her not to leave her. She had seen the shock on Barbara’s face as the Joker fired the shot that would leave her paralyzed from the waist down. She had seen them in her childhood nightmares – nightmares that had come true.
Meeting Helena and Barbara had made Dinah realize that she wasn’t crazy. And Barbara and Helena encouraged her to use her powers – to not be afraid of them. They accepted her as part of their misfit family – proving to her that she wasn’t alone. It made dealing with the nightmares a little easier to handle, now that she had someone to talk to about them – someone who wouldn’t scoff at them or make her feel like she was abnormal for having them.
But this time…this nightmare…
Something about this all-too-vivid vision was disconcerting in that it felt too close somehow. It felt as if she knew the person crashing through the glass, though she could see no details through the flash of light. Something about the shattering of the glass sounded all too familiar in her ears, though she couldn’t explain why. For the first time since she’d moved in with Barbara, she was actually afraid of this power she possessed.