DISCLAIMER: Birds of Prey and its characters are the property of Miller/Tobin Productions, Warner Brothers and DC comics. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Set in the TV verse of Birds of Prey with a tip of the hat to Smallville. Special thanks to ryoshu for the quick beta! Thanks to my evil twin for prompting me into finally writing within this universe. geekgrrllurking's prompt: Oracle, wish I could fly. As always, dedicated to my girl quiethearted.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To dhamphir[at]ymail.com
Barbara turned off the monitor and pushed her chair back from the desk. With a soft sigh she removed her glasses and pinched the bridge of her nose. It had been a long night. The Delphi alerts seemed to sound off one right after another for the last several hours. Sometimes two or more went off simultaneously.
With the mass breakout from Arkham three months earlier, there were several criminals loose and busily creating the current massive crime wave. Even with Helena and Dinah splitting up to cover more ground, they didn't stand a chance of covering everything. So a call for assistance had gone out.
There had been quite a few responses from the meta-human community. Unsurprisingly, all but a handful were just not up to the task of crime fighting. For the ones that showed promise, training took place under the tutelage and watchful eye of Nightwing, with the assistance of Huntress and Canary. As a result, there were five new crime fighters helping out, and Oracle was the one coordinating all of their efforts.
Barbara rubbed her eyes before replacing her glasses. The first rays of the sunrise were just starting to shine through the clock tower windows. As she directed her wheelchair to her bedroom, she was infinitely grateful it was finally summer and she didn't have to tackle teaching high schoolers after such a long and hectic night.
It had been Dinah's idea for the party a way to celebrate the capture of the last Arkham escapee. Despite how worn out Barbara was, she agreed to hold the party at the clock tower after Dinah and Helena promised to "take care of everything." Of course, she relied on Albert to keep an eye on things, and to let her know if she needed to step in.
Barbara had to admit that despite the too loud music, that the party had been a good idea. She enjoyed seeing the young men and women having a good time.
quot;Kind of makes you feel old, doesn't it?"
She turned at the familiar voice. "We're not that much older, Dick."
"I suppose you're right, but I've got to tell you, I can empathize with Batman more than ever after having to train these new guys." He took a sip of his drink. "I have to admit, though, they've done well considering how little time we had to train them especially Ravenhawk.
Barbara nodded in agreement. "Agreed," she replied as her gaze settled on the woman in question, sitting quietly on couch and sipping her drink. Ravenhawk was an apt appellation the woman had black hair; eyes so dark brown it was hard to distinguish her pupils; her eyesight was many times better than a human's; and she could sprout beautiful, feathered wings at will so she could fly.
"It's obvious she's had some kind of training before."
Barbara again nodded.
Ravenhawk was a meta-human with a mysterious past. Barbara had been unable to dig up much on the woman despite her considerable cyber skills. She didn't even know Ravenhawk's real name. Most of what Barbara did know about her, which wasn't much, came from mysterious woman herself. She was an enigma, and nothing intrigued Barbara more than mystery.
According to Ravenhawk, she grew up in foster care, bouncing from one home to another every few months. She kept on the move constantly once she aged out of the system, never staying anywhere long enough to set down roots, or to call any place home. She hadn't been in New Gotham City but a couple of months when Oracle had put out the call for help with worst crime wave the city had seen in over two decades.
The only problem well, not a problem exactly was that Barbara couldn't verify any of what Ravenhawk had told her because the women didn't have any fingerprints. That in itself was enough to pique Barbara's curiosity about the woman. Though, as when Dinah came to live with her, she sensed she'd learn more about Ravenhawk when she was ready to reveal more of herself to Barbara.
Dick's voice brought Barbara out of her musings. "So have you heard from Metropolis?"
"Yes. Eric, Sarah, and Robert will be continuing their training there."
"And I'm taking Greg with me to Blüdhaven."
"He'll do well under your wing."
"That leaves Ravenhawk. Any idea what she's going to do?" When Barbara didn't answer right away, Dick gave her a questioning look. "Barbara?"
"I don't know," she answered distractedly as she directed her chair forward. She rolled up to the couch and looked Ravenhawk in the eye. "Let's talk." She then continued past the couch and headed out the door to the clock tower's balcony, finally coming to a stop a couple of feet from the parapet.
"What do you want to talk about?" Ravenhawk asked.
Barbara heard some tension in the woman's voice. "Have a seat and relax." She suppressed a smile as Ravenhawk sat down on the balustrade, but clearly wasn't all that relaxed. "I just wanted to talk to you about what your plans are."
"Yeah. Like what do you want to do now that we've finished rounding up the Arkham escapees?" She paused for half a beat. "The others have all decided to continue their training in Metropolis with Green Arrow and Aquaman. Except Trapper Greg will be going to Blüdhaven to work with Nightwing."
Ravenhawk nodded. "They told me.
"So what about you? What do you want to do?"
She turned her head and gazed out over the city. "I've been here over six months. That's about as long I've ever stayed in one place."
Barbara heard something in the other woman's tone, something like sad longing. "There's a place for you here."
Ravenhawk turned to look at Barbara with an expression of confusion. "What?"
"There's a place for you here, in New Gotham, with us. We may have finally rounded up all of the Arkham escapees, but that doesn't mean crime will stop. We still have a job to do. Stay here, and help us. Join Huntress and Canary and me."
The silence seemed to last minutes as Ravenhawk again stared out over the city, and Barbara waited for her to come to a decision. Finally, Ravenhawk spoke.
"Because you can make a difference. Because you know innocents are worth protecting and fighting for." Barbara paused. "Because everyone deserves to a place to belong, people they belong with. I think you belong with us."
"You don't even know me."
"I know enough. I know that I want to get to know you better."
She took a deep breath and slowly let it out as she looked Barbara in the eye, seeming to take her measure. "I'll give it try," she finally replied.
Barbara smiled widely. "Good! Welcome to the team, Ravenhawk."
"If I'm going to a part of the team, I suppose you can call me Skylar."
Barbara again smiled. "I'm glad you're staying, Skylar." She glanced over her shoulder, looking through the glass clock face. "We should rejoin the party."
Ravenhawk stood up on the balustrade. "You go on. It's getting late; I'm going to go."
"Okay. Come by tomorrow, and we'll work out some of the details."
"See you tomorrow." With that, Ravenhawk dove off the parapet, extending her wings.
Barbara felt as if something exciting was about to begin as Ravenhawk took flight. She watched the graceful beauty of Ravenhawk gliding through the night sky, and smiled. Makes me wish I could fly, she thought to herself.
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