DISCLAIMER: These characters and situations do not belong to me in any way shape or form. I have borrowed them as part of my sanity maintenance.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: As always, to darandkerry for the beta work. Written with Father's Day in mind.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Loud shouts and scuffles reverberated around Barbara's head; she hated the way her headphones always made things echo unnaturally. But, without them, and without the grainy video feeds she used to track her operatives at work, she wouldn't be able to do what she did
send her lover out on dangerous jobs like this one.
She watched anxiously as Helena fought hand-to-hand with a group of the Mad Hatter's henchmen, alert to anything untoward happening, intent on being an asset to the fight.
The Mad Hatter: Mark Two was the new kid on the block; a guy with a shock of orange hair, who was trying to rule Gotham City in the same way The Joker had done in Batgirl's prime. Lately, Helena had been inundated with minor, niggling jobs, trying to help the local police force keep order as the Mad Hatter tried to instil chaos.
Barbara grimaced as Helena took a thump to her temple, worried when her partner immediately appeared disoriented. As Oracle's eyes scanned the screens in front of her, she heard her lover's voice murmuring her name in distress.
There was nothing Barbara could do, other than watch and pray Helena regained her bearings before her confusion was noted. Too late, Barbara spotted, of all things, a cross-bolt hurtling towards Helena's face. She called out.
Barbara caressed the hand of her unconscious partner.
Luckily, if luck had anything to do with it, Oracle's call had registered enough for Helena to turn her head slightly, miraculously allowing the cross-bolt to snick her jugular vein, while barely missing her carotid artery. Millimetres either way and Barbara would be touching a much colder hand.
She lifted Helena's hand and held it to her cheek, gently feeling the slow, steady pulse that thrummed under her fingertips. Helena's life was a precious thing, and Barbara had nearly witnessed its loss. A sob wrought its way from deep inside. Barbara didn't cry, and yet, over this woman she did.
Suddenly, her mind filled with the sickening vision of orange hair bobbing up and down in excitement as Huntress lay at his feet, bleeding out. It was only the sound of the ambulance and police back-up, hastily called by Oracle, arriving at the scene that stopped the Hatter's gloating.
Barbara sat up straighter; he had to be punished, he had to die. Barbara leaned over and kissed Helena's lips, she knew what she had to do.
"Dad? Dad, I need you to come to the hospital, quickly. No, no I'm fine, Dad. It's Helena." Barbara heard the catch in her own voice and knew her father had caught it, too. "She's been injured, badly. Will you come and sit with her while I run an errand? It's important, Dad. Please?"
Within minutes, James Gordon was running up the stairs of the hospital. He gasped for breath, as a nurse pointed his way to Helena's room. Reaching the doorway, he stood still and took a moment to watch his daughter and the dark haired woman he'd met a few times more since the New Year's Eve party when he'd come to realize she was his daughter's girlfriend.
Until now he hadn't understood the extent of their relationship. As he watched Barbara caress the dark-haired woman tenderly and saw such an intense gaze in her eyes, the green hues flashing bright, it hit him.
"You love her?"
Barbara turned at her father's voice and fell into his open arms. His solid hold comforted her more than she thought possible; she looked up and smiled as she nodded her answer to his question.
"I do love her, Dad, and that bastard nearly took her away."
Jim pulled back a little more; shocked at the anger in her voice, he wanted to know more. "Can you tell me what happened?"
Barbara looked at her hands and made the easy decision to tell her father the truth; if Helena was to be her future, her dad needed to know everything.
She pointed across the room to Helena's costume draped across a chair, and to the mask resting on its seat, and then brought her eyes back to rest on the still unconscious woman.
"Dad, meet Helena Bertinelli, also known as Huntress, one of my operatives."
Jim smiled and reached for Barbara's face, tilting it upwards. "I should've known; there's no way you'd fall for just anybody, but a loving teacher and a strong fighter in one, that's my girl's girl."
He winked, but Barbara didn't return the gentle humour.
"Oh Dad, she was fighting for me. I nearly got her killed. It was my fault."
Before Jim could offer the useless platitudes of it being nobody's fault, she turned away, quickly wheeling towards the door, "Stay with her, Dad; don't let her wake up alone. I've got something I need to do."
With those words, she was gone.
Jim sighed and pulled up a chair, sinking down to take his daughter's place at Helena's side.
James Gordon looked down at the small hand cradled in his larger one and rubbed his thumb gently across the knuckles, just like he'd done over and over again for the last few hours. As he'd listened to the soft, steady rhythm of Helena's unconscious breath sounds, he'd had plenty of time to think. And, despite trying very hard not to, he'd been unable to stop the memories of the last night he'd sat sentinel in this very hospital.
Even now, he glanced at his watch, three hours later, he couldn't stop the mantra he'd voiced that night repeating over and over in his head. That night, he'd wished with all his heart never to have to go through this again. And yet, here he was, nearly ten years later, once again watching over someone's fight for life; this time his daughter's lover, injured in the same fight for justice his daughter had resolutely continued despite her paralysis.
He smiled inwardly at his plight, having to love a daughter intent on putting herself at risk to fight for everything he himself had taught her as she grew in his loving company, and now having to care for her partner, apparently also intent on living a life of danger for the greater good.
He'd heard many tales of Huntress and her daring stunts during his days as the police commissioner; she was one tough nut to crack, and more than a match for his daughter.
Caressing the hand a little more, he spoke softly.
"I don't care what you are, Helena, a teacher of grace and gentleness or a fighter of strength and brawn, as long as you and my daughter have it all. As long as you love her, you have my support."
Helena stirred at the softly spoken words drifting into her thoughts, somehow knowing the words were of love. Yet, the hand cradling hers felt wrong; it was large and calloused in different places. Slowly, the faint hint of tobacco smoke drifted across her senses and the gruff voice of a man she recognized as Barbara's father filtered through.
"Do you love her, Helena?"
Before she could wake fully, she heard the question he was asking of her 'unconscious' body and knew she had to answer.
"Yes Sir, with all that I am."
He jumped at her whispered words, immediately offering small sips of the nearby ice-chips and then smiled as Helena croaked out the question he'd hoped she'd ask first. "Barbara? Where's Babs?"
"She's just popped out; she won't be long."
Helena looked up at Barbara's father, seeing an earnest look on his face.
"All I ask of you is that you always, always come home."
"I'll try, Sir." Helena squeezed his strong hand, still holding tightly onto hers. "Now tell me, where's Babs?"
The look on Jim's face told Helena what she needed to know. She tried to sit up, gasping at the pain and the dizziness. Jim pushed her down gently as her words tumbled out.
"Please don't let her do this, Sir. Please, Mr. Gordon, Jim, please go after her, she'll hurt them. It'll kill her, please." Helena babbled on, her eyes darting around the room, her body jerking in distress.
Jim grabbed her hand again and calmly just held on until she brought her attention back to him. His words were firm and confident.
"She won't kill anybody. She loves us. She loves me. She loves you. She won't."
He watched as Helena's eyes accepted the truth of his words and smiled as she settled back onto the pillows.
"And please, Helena, call me Dad."
Barbara rolled up to the doorway just as her father murmured his request. As her father had known, she'd been unable to kill anybody, but she had found and caught the Hatter, and she had rigged up an elaborate electric shock system. A system that was now buzzing its way through his nervous system at regular intervals as the police tried to follow Barbara's conveniently convoluted directions to his captivity.
At her father's words, she locked eyes with Helena and smiled.
Return to Bird of Prey Fiction
Return to Main Page