Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Selina, Bruce/Selina, Ivy
Challenge/Prompt: fffc September 2017 Special: Day 28: That's what people do who love you. They put their arms around you and love you when you're not so lovable. -- Deb Caletti
Word Count: 1535
Timeline: Immediately after Look Into My Eyes
Date Written: 30 September 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to DC Comics, not the author, and are used without permission.
She runs. She runs until she can run no more, until her chest heaves and aches for lack of air, until she almost sprawls face first onto the roof of the tallest building of those nearest. Bruce Wayne won’t dare to climb up here, she thinks, looking around through the tears filling her eyes. She dabs at them angrily. She’s not the crying type, but she’s been doing way too much of that lately. She’s also not the weak and caring type, but she’s been doing too much of that too.
She sinks down onto the concrete roof, wraps her arms around her legs, and just huddles there, trying to make herself as small as possible. She doesn’t want to be seen now so more than ever before. She doesn’t want anybody to see her -- not Ivy, should she still be around by some miracle, not Gordon, and most certainly not Bruce Wayne . . . or whoever that boy is.
He isn’t the Bruce Wayne she knows, that’s for sure. She should have known that from the moment he broke in there coming to her rescue. Bruce Wayne doesn’t waste his time saving kids who are less fortunate than himself, not unless it makes him look and feel good. He wouldn’t have risked his life for her, not again, not when he didn’t feel like he had to, and he certainly couldn’t fight like that.
What had she expected, Selina scolds herself, furious with the world but even more furious at her foolishness? What had she expected to happen when she had gone to him?! Had she really been stupid enough to think he would care? He didn’t owe her anything; they’d both made that clear before. He had not bothered to tell her he was leaving Gotham, so of course, he couldn’t be bothered to tool her around looking for her best friend, her only friend.
Selina’s chin wobbles. Her bottom lip quivers. She shoves a fist against her mouth to keep herself from bawling. There’s the truth of it all, she thinks: The reason she’s missing Ivy so desperately, the reason she’s so upset by her death, isn’t simply because she was all the girl had. Ivy was also all she had had, because she certainly didn’t have Bruce. He was just a spoiled, rich kid who had helped her to further his own goals along and to make him feel better about himself.
Ivy was the only person in this world who might care if Selina lives or dies, and not just purely out of selfish reasons. She genuinely cared about her, just like she genuinely cared about the plants and the stupid pigeons that Selina now feeds because of her. She actually cared for her, and she got her killed. Maybe that’s the reason why her mother’s not coming after all this time. Maybe someone went and got her killed too.
How had she thought going to Bruce would make things better? Had she really believed he’d be bothered to help her? And how could she have been so stupid to have fallen for whoever this other boy is, thinking he was sweeping in there to rescue her like some modern day Prince Charming? Princes didn’t exist, and even if they did, Selina was certainly no Princess. No one was going to come rescue her, not her mother, not Bruce Wayne, no one.
That was why she had fallen in with Fish in the first place. Now there was a woman who needed rescuing from absolutely nobody! She was her own woman, her own one-woman army. She could take anything the enemy could dish out and keep on going. She had lost her eye and almost been killed so very many times, but she still kept going. She’s the strongest woman Selina has ever known.
But she killed Ivy. She can’t go back there. Fish is no one’s friend. Just as she needs no one to rescue her, she needs no one to be her friend. She needs no one, period. Selina wants to be like that. She’s always yearned to be like that, and yet . . . Yet she has never succeeded -- at least not yet, any way.
She let Bruce in. She believed him when he told her he cared about her. She believed what she thought she felt in that hug they shared. She trusted him when he saved her life before. She . . . Okay, so perhaps she had dreamed about him. She had imagined him sweeping in and rescuing her like a Prince. She had imagined him whispering to her when he hugged her, telling her so many things, sharing so many secrets. In one of her favorite fantasies, when he hugged her and held her close, he’d told her, “That's what people do who love you. They put their arms around you and love you when you're not so lovable. I love you.”
Selina shakes her head, bitter tears rolling down her cheeks. She was a fool, an idiot! She was still dreaming the dreams of the child who had first been abandoned out here on these hard streets! She was still dreaming someone would come along and care for her, genuinely care for her! She’d had one person who had, and now that person was dead because Selina had chosen to involve herself with the wrong people. She’d admired Fish -- worse yet, she still does to a certain extent --, and it had gotten Ivy killed.
She doesn’t deserve to have anybody care about her. Maybe Bruce is smarter than she gave him credit for being. Maybe he’s already seen the truth. Maybe he knows that caring about her will just get him killed. Maybe he doesn’t want to make the same naive mistake Ivy had made.
And that boy from before, the one who did come to her rescue, the one who looks just like Bruce, the one who tries to emulate him? He doesn’t know her that well yet, but if he is anything at all like the real Bruce Wayne, he’ll soon realize that he doesn’t need her and the best thing he can do for himself where she’s concerned is to stay away from her. He certainly doesn’t need to be risking his life saving hers.
Selina steals as she hears a sound. Then she smacks her own mouth as she releases another sob. She is a fool! She is an idiot! She doesn’t deserve this life! She deserves to be the one dead, not Ivy!
Selina stills again as she feels something slide up her pants leg. She looks down and frowns at the vines wrapping around her legs. They spread quickly further up her body in tendrils that almost feel like they’re trying to embrace her instead of trap her. She’s fished out a knife and is about to cut them when she hears footsteps before her.
She looks up, and her heart thuds hollowly in her aching chest. She frowns, rubs at her tear-filled eyes, and looks again, but the woman is still before her. “I-Ivy?” she whispers, not daring to believe what she’s seeing.
“You were trying to help,” the woman says to her, and it is Ivy’s voice with which she speaks. “I get that now. You really were trying to keep me safe. You screwed up -- “
“Yeah. I did. Very badly.” Selina’s face screws up as she peers up at the girl who is now so much older. “What happened to you?”
“You know what happened. I fell, and that water . . . It did something, somehow. But I’m smarter now, Selina. I’m stronger. And they’re going to pay. All of them, they’re going to pay with their lives.” Her vines lift Selina and carry her to her. As she wraps her arms and vines around her in a hugging embrace, she whispers into her ear, “And neither of us are ever going to have to be alone again.”
Selina gulps but forces down the ball in her throat. She didn’t want to be alone. She wanted to have someone she could trust. She may very well have both things right here in Ivy. She certainly has a strong woman who doesn’t seem to need rescuing from anybody.
“I promise,” Ivy adds in a whisper, crushing Selina to her in a tighter hug. Dread crawls across Selina’s skin. She’s not so sure she can trust this person either. In fact, right now, the one thought racing through her mind is a very simple warning: Out of the fire and into the kitty litter.
She hugs Ivy back, her tears subsiding, but she knows. She’s more alone now than ever before, and only one person can save her this time. That one person is, as she always has been, herself. She hugs Ivy, knowing this woman is not her friend, and hopes she’s up for the challenge. Only time will tell, but Bruce Wayne was never the answer. He never was; he never will be. She has to be that woman she’s always dreamed of being, that strong woman who needs rescuing from or by no one, and she will be -- or she’ll die trying to become her own heroine.