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.
Darkness…muffled voices…dull, thudding pain…
“Wakey, wakey,” said a female voice, in a sickeningly sweet cadence, as Dinah struggled to regain consciousness. Vague memories assaulted her as she swam in and out of consciousness – a clown face, a woman’s scream, arms grabbing her.
Suddenly, Dinah was jolted awake by the stinging cold blast of a bucket-full of ice cold water. Gasping and sputtering, Dinah came fully awake, and everything came back to her. She had been abducted; her captors clown-faced goons that had knocked her out with chloroform and taken her God-knows-where. She couldn’t see – her eyes were blindfolded and she realized that she was bound to a chair of some kind.
“Rise and shine, Blondie!”
A shiver ran down Dinah’s spine that had nothing to do with the water she’d been hit with. Dinah recognized that voice, one minute so cloyingly sweet and the next, dripping with evil. Harley Quinn. Dinah forced herself to remain calm as she felt the woman’s warm breath caress her ear.
“Remember me, Sweetheart?” she whispered. Harley trailed a finger down Dinah’s cheek. “Did you think you and your friends could get rid of me so easily?” Dinah’s head snapped back as Harley yanked a handful of her hair. “Fat chance, Bitch! Harley’s back! And here to stay!”
Harley shoved Dinah’s head forward, letting go of her hair. Dinah slowly lifted her head and listened as Harley circled her chair, taunting her. She willed herself not to react – to keep her face a mask, devoid of all emotion. Harley stopped directly in front of her and leaned in close, so close that Dinah could detect the scent of cherry-flavored blowpops on her breath.
“There’s someone I’d like you to meet, Sweet Cheeks. Someone special to me. My reason for being! My green-haired Adonis! Dear, sweet, Dinah…meet The Joker.”
Dinah’s blood ran cold as The Joker laughed. It was the same laughter she heard in her dreams. She saw it as clearly as she had all those years ago…Barbara rushing to the door, opening it to reveal a green-haired clown-faced man holding a gun. The gun fires.
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Batgirl…past tense.
The Joker’s maniacal laughter chilled her to the bone. Dinah struggled to suppress the involuntary shudder brought on by that evil laughter, tried to force away the memories of the dreams, tried to forget the things Barbara had told her about that night. She knew she needed to stay focused – that her very survival depended on it.
* * *
“Dammit, how many times does she have to tell you the story?” Helena slammed her fist on the desk, causing Gabby to jump. Helena looked at Gabby’s tear-streaked face and her anger immediately abated. She rested a hand on Gabby’s back. “Sorry, kid.”
“Really, Detective,” Barbara interceded, “she’s right. How many more times does Gabby have to repeat the story? What are you doing to find Dinah?”
Detective Jaworski put down his pencil and gave Barbara a withering stare. “Ma’am, we’re doing everything possible to find Diana. All patrol units have a description of the van and the car that followed it. It’s just a matter of waiting and gathering as much details about the abduction as possible. I’m sure they’ll find Diana fairly quickly and will bring her back safe and sound."
Helena jumped up and leaned across the desk, bringing herself within inches of Jaworski’s face. “Her-name-is-Dinah! Got that? D-i-n-a-h…Dinah!”
“Helena!” The sound of Detective Jesse Reese’s voice returned Helena to the here and now. As she pulled away from Detective Jaworski and turned to greet Reese, Jaworski loosened his collar a bit and wiped sweat from his brow. For an instant, he thought he’d seen the brunette’s eyes change color…He quickly dismissed the idea and made a mental note not to make a mistake on the missing girl’s name again.
Barbara turned her chair to face Reese. “Dinah’s been kidnapped.”
“And we think she was taken by the Joker,” Helena added, low enough so only Reese could hear.
Reese’s eyebrows rose.
Jaworski cleared his throat. “I suppose you know these ladies?”
When Reese could find his voice, he answered, “Yes, Red, they are friends of mine.” Moving past Helena, Reese became the consummate professional as he came around Jaworski’s desk to peer at his notes. “So, what have we got?”
* * *
“Sooo, you’re her latest protégé, hmmm? What is it with these bat-freaks recruiting children? Should be some law against turning the under-aged, moldable types into do-gooders! Or does she just need you to push the chair around?” The Joker circled around Dinah, taunting her.
“Go to Hell!” Dinah spat.
“Hey, didn’t anyone tell you to respect your elders?” He rapped the back of Dinah’s head painfully. “Knock, Knock!” Again the Joker’s maniacal laughter rang out, from directly in front of Dinah, causing her to flinch instinctively. “Harley tells me that you know something I don’t know. Care to share?”
“You need a breath mint,” she said, a smug smile crossing her features.
“I need a…ha..hahahaha…” The Joker dealt Dinah a blow to the side of the head that sent her senses reeling. “Not funny! Incredibly stupid even!” Joker tuned to Harley. “She must be a natural blonde like yourself, Honey!”
Harley began to laugh, then realized she was being mocked and hurriedly turned and nodded to one of the Joker’s henchmen. The clown-faced goon approached Dinah, syringe in hand.
“You’ll tell me, Dinah-baby. And you’ll come to understand that I am not someone you want to cross…just ask Babs!”
Dinah felt the stab of the syringe and fear grasped at her heart as the liquid entered her blood stream.
“Now, Blondie,” Harley sneered. “What are the new security codes for the Clocktower?”
“Hey! Harley! Who’s in charge here?! Hmmm?!” Joker peered at Harley, menacingly.
“Sorry, Mr. J. Guess I just got caught up in the moment.” In spite of the fear the Joker’s glare inspired, Harley had to smile.
Damn but he’s sexy when he’s pissed!
“Now, where was I? Oh yeah….What are the new security codes for the Clocktower?”
* * *
“Huntress to Oracle…” Huntress crouched at the edge of the rooftop, looking out over a night-shrouded New Gotham, as she awaited Oracle’s response.
“I’m here,” a dejected Oracle replied.
Oracle sighed. “Harley would know enough to remove the transceivers. She knew how we communicated.”
Huntress winced as she realized she was to blame for all the knowledge Harley Quinn was now using against them.
Dammit! If I hadn’t told her…if I hadn’t let her see who I was…
“I take it by the silence that you are blaming yourself for that. Stop it…it won’t help matters.”
“Right! Like you’re not sitting, there staring at the monitor, blaming yourself for recruiting Dinah in the first place!”
Silence greeted Huntress and she could almost see Oracle biting her lower lip to keep the tears from coming. She was worried about the girl – she knew all to well what the Joker was capable of. Huntress sighed. She couldn’t blame Oracle for being worried – the Joker had ordered her mother executed, had viciously attacked Barbara. Huntress was just as worried about what he might do to Dinah.
She tried to put some confidence into her voice as she said, “Don’t worry, Oracle. We’ll find her.” To herself she added, “I know we will…I won’t stop ‘til we do.”
* * *
The plan began without a hitch. The Joker’s thugs were no match for her – a few well-placed blows and the goons guarding the entrance to the old dockyards shipping office. It was one of the few buildings the New Gotham reconstruction committee hadn’t torn down yet. She had one shot at getting Dinah out. She had to count on the Joker’s survival instincts and his utter lack of unconcern for anyone else’s life.
She searched one of the goons pockets and found a lighter, then reached in her trench coat for the bottle she’d concealed in one of the deep interior pockets. A Malotov cocktail fashioned from a Snapple bottle, an old shirt and some gasoline she siphoned from the getaway van. She lit the fuse and, with only a moment’s hesitation, threw the bottle through the front door.
Her toss yielded results far better than she had ever imagined – the bottle burst as it hit the opposite wall, the old, rotting wood proving to be an excellent source for the flames. The opposite wall erupted like so much tinder wood, the blaze moving quickly.
Upstairs, Harley spun around as she heard the sound of broken glass, then smelled burning wood. She headed toward the doorway to the stairs, not wishing to disturb her precious Mr. J, while he was making so much progress. Her eyes grew huge with terror at what she saw. One whole wall of the old structure was engulfed in flames.
She turned and screamed, “FIRE!”
The Joker, turned toward her, unamused, remarking about the repercussions of crying out “FIRE” in a crowded theater. Then he saw the smoke and his words were cut off. He turned to Dinah and planted a huge kiss on her forehead.
“Thanks for all your help! You’ve been a dear! Gotta go now! Enjoy the party – I understand the entertainment is smoking!” With that, he darted through the door, Harley hot on his heels.
The lithe brunette wasted no time. As soon as the Joker and Harley left the building, she ran in. The searing flames licked at her heels as she climbed the steps two at a time. The searing heat evoked harrowing memories…memories she struggled against as she hurried to Dinah’s rescue. There wasn’t time enough to deal with the phantoms of the past. They could be tackled later. Right now, the only thing that mattered was Dinah’s safety.
She spotted Dinah tied to a chair in the center of the room. The fire was fully involved now – the flames licking the floor beneath them as the woman struggled to free Dinah from her binds. The smoke was so thick, she could barely see as she pulled the blindfold off of the teen and directed her across the room to a window. It wouldn’t open. Cursing, she ran back and retrieved the chair Dinah had been tied to, and hurled it with all her might at the window. Choking, she shoved Dinah through, knowing that the two-story drop would be less painful than the flames that threatened to take them.
She prepared to drop through the window herself when she heard a distinct noise from below – a noise she remembered all too well. She hurled herself through the window as flames exploded into the room. She hit the ground hard, a combination of her forceful escape and the gust from the explosion. She lost consciousness for only a moment, but when she came to and looked around for Dinah, she was gone.
“Dinah, no!” she croaked.