Kat Lee (katleept) wrote,
Kat Lee

Ahead of the Pain

Title: Ahead of the Pain
Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Batman
Character/Pairing: Dick/Barbara
Rating: PG-13/T
Challenge/Prompt: comment_fic: Batman (any version), Jim Gordon + Barbara Gordon, he's known all along that she's Batgirl requested by ami_ven
Warning(s): Future Fic, Character Deaths
Word Count: 1,072
Date Written: 20 March 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to DC Comics, not the author, and are used without permission.

She stares, unseeing, out across her city and into the night. She swears some nights, like tonight when a storm is brewing, that she can still smell her father’s cologne and cigars. He’d be out there tonight, out there on the rooftop, waiting for him, but she doesn’t have to climb to the top to wait for anybody. They come for her, not the other way around.

But then they’ve always came for her. The Joker came for when he thought he could put an end to her for good and maybe even to her heroes through stopping her. He could have killed. He should have killed her. It would have probably been kinder. But as it was, she learned to adjust to her new life as a cripple. She learned to become a hero and keep fighting despite being crippled, and eventually, she even learned how to walk again and make her muscles do what she demanded of them.

It still hurts some nights. The coming rain has her arthritis failed badly, but it doesn’t mean she’ll give in. She never gives in. She didn’t give in when her father told her to leave the police work to the men. She didn’t give in when the Batman refused to take on another sidekick. She didn’t give in when he and Robin made their precious Batteam look like a boys’ only club. She grips her chair, remembering how she hadn’t even given in when her father had been killed.

They should have seen it coming. They should have known that the Joker would realize that he could get to them all through her beloved father. He’d tried and succeeded to hurt everybody through crippling her, but he hadn’t stopped them. Killing her father didn’t do it either. It had only served to make her mad, and if there was one thing that she had made crystal clear over the years to everyone who knew her, friend and enemy, it was that when she pissed, she was going to make happen what she desired. What she desired had been the Joker’s death in realiation, and she’d finally gotten it.

It had happened much on a night like what’s coming tonight, but then bad things always happen during storms. Her mother was killed during a storm. She was crippled during one, and her father had been gunned down right here in his own office during a storm that had had most of the Caped Crusaders fighting a losing battle on the other end of the city. Most of them. But her gut instinct had propelled her this way, had urged her to run for her father the moment she’d realized Joker hadn’t been among his clowns.

She’d gotten here too late. She’d called for the ambulance, but they had both known it wouldn’t get here in time. She had sat, sobbing, on this floor and holding her father while he died. She raises fingers to a face that no longer wears a mask though it does wear the lines of many, hard years. She had debated so hard in taking off her mask, not wanting to disappoint him but wanting to understand that she was there with him in his dying hour.

He had finally touched the fingers that were toying with her mask and brought them down to his lips. Her fingers tingle with the memory of his chaste kiss. Tears fill her blue eyes as she remembers how he had told her that he was proud of her and that he’d always known, since the very beginning, that she was the Batgirl. She’d been so careful but had slipped at times and had always wondered how he could know her so well and yet have no idea that she laid her life on the line every night.

She would have given her life a thousand times over to save his, but life doesn’t work that way. You don’t often get to pick who leaves this world, much less when they do. He had begged her not to kill the Joker, not to become like him, and had made her promise him that she wouldn’t. But then opportunity had given her a chance for her heart’s desire, and while everyone present had thought that her Bathook had simply failed to support the both of them when it had broken, there were two who knew the truth. Two who always knew the truth, about her, about her father, about everything.

“Penny for your thoughts.” The deep, sensual voice whispering with the night breaks into her reverie.

The Commissioner stands and wipes away her tears. “They’re worth more than that,” she teases, smirking up at him.

He grins. “They always have been.” Somehow, the Batman’s mask brings out the rich, deep blue of Dick Grayson’s eyes. It makes him look both mysterious and so damn sexy Barbara’s found it hard to breathe sometimes in the past when he’s been wearing that costume, but now that he wears it every night, it’s easier to face him. It’s easier to face both their pasts and their future, knowing they’re together.

He reaches out; tonight, she doesn’t hesitate to take his hand. “Big one’s brewing.”

“I know,” she says, looking out at their city.

“You ready for it?”

“Always.” She smirks again. “What about you, Batman?”

“Don’t call me that,” he whispers. “Not here. Not when we’re alone together.”

“But you are. He’d be proud of you, you know.”

“So would your father,” he returns, kissing the top of her red head.

Barbara closes her eyes for a moment as grief somehow made fresh still after all these years washes over her. “I know,” she breathes, and although she’s ready to face her dear, old dad again, hear how proud he is of her, and get railed at for failing to save the Joker’s sorry, murderous ass, she’s not ready to let that night be tonight. They still have innocents to protect, still have a city of folks who need them.

She shakes off her own sorrow, lifts her head, and opens her eyes. “Let’s do it.” They head out together, and she knows that’s how they’re going to end: always together, always walking in their fathers’ footsteps, always working to complete the work they began, always looking to make everything they can better, and always striving to keep at least a foot in front of the pain.

The End
Tags: batman: barbara, batman: robin/batgirl
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