baptizemyself: (Helena: Gotham City Girl)
"What am I doing? What am I doing? What. The. Hell. Am I doing?" Helena asks herself as she throws a pile of clothes on to her bed.

Agreeing to a date with Renee had seemed like such a good idea at the time; she'd wanted it, Renee had asked her - which she'd never dreamed in a million years would happen - and she'd a agreed. Now, though, clad only in a towel and with a pile of disregarded outfits strewn across her bed, she isn't so sure.

The very few dates she has been on always end badly - or in bed, which is, in Helena's experience, the same thing.

"There's no way this doesn't end badly," she says sifting through the remaining contents of her wardrobe.



(Too casual; too fomal; .... too ugly. Did I really buy that?)



(Too school teacher; too 'secret identity'.)

She puts the costume down and flops back on to the bed.

Okay, she tells herself. This is Renee. Not some pimply barely out of his teens sleezebag who'll spend the night feeling you up and trying to use you make his ex-girlfriend jealous. You want things to be different? To go right? MAKE them go right.

She sits up and surveys the damage she's inflicted on her clothes.

First things first: find an outfit.

And remember to breathe.


baptizemyself: (Huntress: Fighting: Aiming Crossbow)
They all think they know me.

None of them knows a damn thing.

They think they know what I want. Why I do what I do.

But they don't. They never have, They've never even tried to find out.

He's
made it abundantly clear ... I don't belong. He made up his mind a long time ago. He sees what he wants to see.

They all do.


It doesn't matter. What I do, I do alone. That's the Sicilian way. That's Omerta.


Omerta isn't a Mafia oath of silence, like so many people believe. It has nothing to do with Cosa Nostra. It's something else, related but different.

To under stand Omerta, you must understand Sicily. You must understand that Sicily has suffered through invasions and occupations for 2000 years.

That teaches a hard lesson - that the state is the enemy.

For a Sicilian to look to the state for justice or revenge is to a fool, to be called infame... a renegade rat.

You want justice served? You want vengeance taken? You Want honour restored?

The you do it yourself.

That is Omerta.

When blood calls for blood, you answer the call.

And you answer it alone.











baptizemyself: (Default)
They walk down the street towards the headquarters of the Blue Boys, the ex-GCPD cops who where still working together under Gordon. Petit leads, as he always does, Huntress and the rest of the boys just behind. Today's mission is to capture Two Face, currently in the 'custody' of Gordon's Blue Boys. It's the latest in a string of increasingly odd orders from Petit and Helena is starting to question the mans authority and his sanity.

When they reach the steps up to the building, the door opens and a woman emerges. Helena's breath catches as she recognises who it is. Intellectually Helena knew Renee had to be here in the city somewhere, but after so long without a sight of her she'd almost stopped expecting to see her on the street. Renee's expression is hard and determined as she warns Petit's men to back down. Helena has never seen anyone stand up to Petit like that but she knows that he won't take kindly to it.

When he pulls out the gun and threatens to shoot Renee, Helena takes a step forward - Petit be damned, Renee is her friend and Helena won't let a mad man hurt her - but she doesn't move quick enough.

Batman gets there first.

In the commotion caused by Batman suddenly dropping into the street, no one even notices Helena's attempt to intervene.

baptizemyself: (Batgirl: Dramatic posing with cross)
Dooley Square. Midnight. Anyone out this late at night in the No Man’s Land is almost certainly looking for trouble.

The unfortunate man who has just had his ass handed to him was certainly asking for trouble when he started trying to break into homes to steal supplies. By trying to steal from homes in Batgirl’s territory he got more trouble than he was expecting.

The man shrinks away from the leather clad figure towering above him.

“Go,” she commands as he crawls backwards away from her.

“Don’t ever come back here, or face the wrath of the Bat.” As intimidation goes it’s a bit inelegant for Helena’s liking, but it does the job.

“I -- I -- I’m gone!” he stutters, finally getting back to his feet and running off into the night.

Helena watches him go.

‘Face the wrath of the Bat’? Even HE doesn't talk like that. Nice one, Helena, next time maybe you can add 'I AM THE GODDAMN BATGIRL' in case they don't get the point...

“Nice costume,” a familiar voice growls from the shadows behind her, shaking out of her reverie.

“I didn’t think you’d approve,” she says dryly.

“I don’t.”

“You haven’t been around. And Gotham needed a Bat.” Her tone is sharp and accusatory.

“My previous whereabouts and my reasons are my own.”

“Whatever. You’re gonna need help.”

“No.”

“Yes!” she insists. “You just Don’t know it yet.”

“I sent my other partners away,” he says patiently. “It’s too dangerous. I didn’t want the responsibility for what might happen. What they might become.”

And here Helena has a rare understanding of the man with whom she has spent so much time at odds with.

“Of course. A city without law offers certain ‘behavioural temptations’. But I’ve already been doing this for weeks in your absence and I intend to keep doing it. You have no issue of responsibility with me.”

“And the costume?”

“I don’t have to wear it,” she says, looking down at the costume she made for herself; at the bat on her chest. “ But it’s a powerful image. Primal. Mythical. It works very well. Still, if you tell me to take it off, I will.”

She looks back up at him, daring him to tell her to stop wearing the costume. Despite her words it’ll be hard for her to stop wearing the bat now. Batman however has turned his attention to the yellow bat spray-painted on the wall.

“The tagging... it’s a good idea. I intend to use it.”

“...Thanks,” she says, surprised to hear something akin to praise coming out of his mouth.

“You’re right about one thing... The city does need a Bat.”

“Maybe more than one.”

“Just don’t disgrace the symbol.”

“Then... I’m approved?”

“No,” he says walking away. “But you’re not disapproved.”

“That’s good enough...

For now.”
baptizemyself: (Huntress: JLA membership - Not a Team Pl)
Weapons in Gotham have gone through some changes since the No Man’s Land. Where once the gang-bangers would have come at her with guns, the group now bearing down on Huntress is equipped with an array of of metal piping, chains and baseball bats with nails hammered through them. Gotham has become low-tech central.

In her mind the voice of Superman continues filling her in on what’s been going on in the outside world. Thank you J’Onn, she thinks, for the JLA telepathic link.

<... believe what you read in the papers. Polls indicated that, after it’s plagues and it’s earthquake, most Americans were willing to write Gotham City off. I choose to believe that they felt so with deep regret...>

Typical Superman, she thinks vaguely, disarming a guy coming at her with a plank of wood. Always looking for the best in people.

<... but it doesn’t change the consequences,> he continued. <Federal aid denied, utilities shut down... the city actually sealed off... and so many refusing to evacuate before the national guard closed all exits.

Those who left and those who stayed - all denied shelter and left homeless. I wish there were more I could do to help.>

<Which is why you’re standing at the edge of the ionosphere,> she says over the link, more coldly than perhaps she should to the leader of the JLA.

<Believe me, Huntress... I know my role. The JLA is doing everything it can for the people of Gotham.>

<Great,> she mutters sarcastically, <I feel much less vulnerable.

By the way, if I drop the link in a second don’t take it personally,> she tells Superman as she takes out another gang member with a flying kick, <I’m a little busy. You do know I’m in Gotham, right? Listen not to sound ungrateful about my membership... and I know I’ve been a little too busy for the meetings lately... but once again I have the feeling I’m on a team I’m not part of.>

<I’m not sure I follow. Huntress, we all have our roles...>

As Helena keeps fighting the gang - Black Maskers she thinks, trying to spread their territory into the Faith sector - Superman recounts to her how two weeks previous, Green Lantern and Orion uncovered an outside plot to infiltrate Gotham, possible proof that the NML legislation had been pushed through by crooked senators.

By the time Superman has finished telling her of the JLA’s efforts to either prove or disprove their theory, Helena has finished with the gang and has taken to the rooftops - what’s left of them anyway.

<Since then,> Superman concludes, <we’ve declared all-out war but made little headway.>

<Said Nero while Rome burned,> she responds, her bitterness seeping through the link.

<You’re not looking at the big picture, Huntress.>

<Big picture?!> she demands angrily. <I’m looking at a devastated city that needs protection!>

<As well we know.>

<Then the JLA should come in!>

<You’re forgetting our presence is illegal.>

<ILLEGAL?!> she shouts at him him down the link. <You’re in a position to really DO something! If I had even half your powers I wouldn’t feel accountable to ANY laws, let alone stupid, dangerous ones!>

<Those powers would only multiply your responsibilities,> he says patiently. <Sometimes being responsible means not doing everything you’re capable of of doing. I learned that lesson harshly recently when I took the law into my own hands and - > he stops abruptly mid sentence. Someting else has caught his attention. <Wait.

Huntress, breaking contact.>

She feels the telepathic link go dead as Superman severs the connection. She doesn’t have tome to dwell on it though as she spots a young boy down on the street below and she jumps down, landing in a crouch next to him.

Like most people left in Gotham, the boy is filthy - you couldn’t tell what color the shirt he is  wearing was before; now it’s covered with the filth and grime of a dead city. His face is a mess of dirt streaked with tears.

‘You shouldn’t be out alone,’ she says, firm but gentle, using the same voice she does with her pupils.

The boy, tears still running down his face, looks her over and his eyes wide with recognition.

“Oh! You’re in the JLA right?” You’ve gotta come help!’ he grabs at her hand and starts pulling her down the street. “It’s my dad! This gang showed up to take away our food and my dad’s trying to stop them! There’s like twenty of ‘em!”

“Great. This looks like a job for Superman,” she grumbles, but follows along anyway. What else can she do?

They turn the corner to see a gang beating on one lone man while a woman - presumably the boys’ mother, the mans wife - is being held back by another gang member while she screams at them to leave him alone. Once again the child implores her to stop the gang - the Wreckers this time - from hurting his dad.

“Do you have super-strength?” he asks tearfully, tugging on her cape as she walks towards the gang.

“No.”

“Are you invulnerable?”

“I’m afraid not.”

“Then how are you gonna save him? What are you gonna do?”

She stops walking and turns around to gently remove the boys hand from her cape.

“I’m going to do everything I’m capable of doing,” she tells him, before turning back to the gang and striding  towards them.

The first the gang know of Huntress’s presence is a crossbow bolt in the arm of the lead tormentor just seconds before she enters the fray from above, positioning herself between the man and the gang.

In their confusion the gang back off, reforming in a ring around Huntress and their original prey. The screaming woman, sobbing now, and her son break through the ranks and go to the aid of the man. Helena can see he’s already taken a beating and needs needs medical attention for several cuts and what looks like a broken arm.

One of the gang members - the leader it seems as he’s the only one with a gun - seems to recognise her.

“You know you can’t take us all, lady,” he says, examining his gun.

“You gonna fight or are you just gonna talk?”

Her tone is firm and direct, and the gang leader takes it as an affront to his authority. He glares at her as he moves towards the center of the circle and presses the gun against her chin. Huntress doesn’t even flinch.

“You’re sure a confident one, ain’tcha, sweetheart?”

The gang cackles like he’s made the funniest joke they’ve ever heard. It’s all a power play, she realises, making others feel and look small. It reinforces his position as the gang leader. If he looks like he’s loosing control, someone will challenge him. A wild animal mentality.

“I just know what I know,” she says, looking him direct in the eye. He stands at least four inches taller than her and he tries to use his added height to intimidate her. It’s his bad luck that far greater men than he have tried to do the same and failed. After today, this guys won’t be leading any gang ever again.

“For example I know that if you’ve actually managed to barter for a precious bullet or two” - she pushes the gun aside and quickly brings her elbow up to collide with his jaw, sending him flying back - “you probably wouldn’t want to waste them on me.”

The rest of the gang rush her, an unorganised rabble that does half her work for her by getting in each others way.

“I know how many bones I can break without killing you.”

She shoots one man in the arm with a cross bow while using another mans face as spring board to mount a flying kick at a third.

“But most importantly,” she says, taking down the stragglers, those who haven’t yet been knocked down or run away, “I finally know my role.”
-

Later that evening as the sun begins to set, Huntress climbs up to the top of the Clocktower. It’s one of the few standing buildings left in all of Gotham City and as such gives her a view of quite a bit of the islands.

<Superman, are you there?>  she asks, opening JLA telepathic link once more.

<For the moment,> comes the reply. <Right now J’Onn and I are following a Locus trail to Istanbul. It probably won’t pay out any better than the one Steel followed to Nevada, but we have to try... These secret sieges aren’t going to stop anytime soon, meaning we have our work cut out if we’re going to protect your city from outside conquest.>

<Understood. That’s what you meant isn’t it? About each of us having a role in all this?>

<Well when you asked why we didn’t have any JLAers in Gotham I just assumed you realised...

We already do.>
baptizemyself: (Batgirl: Dramatic posing with cross)
Helena looks around her half destroyed apartment and marvels that it is exactly the same as it was over a year ago when she was bound to bar. Not an hour, not even a second has passed here since she found herself in that strange place.

She’d think she was going crazy if it wasn’t for the large box of supplies she’s carrying. She puts the box on the bed and leaves it there while she checks that the few supplies she left are still hidden where she left them: of course they are. They aren’t even dusty. Time hasn’t touched them while she’s been away.

She doesn’t dwell on the strangeness of this for long: this is Gotham, after all, and there is work to be done.

The first job is to sort the supplies from the box. Food. Medicine. She takes the barest of supplies for herself - enough food for a week, if she rations it heavily, and a few bandages and some antiseptic wipes. 

Another weeks worth of rations - more generous then those she allowed herself - is siphoned off for Mrs Steinberg down the block. As an after thought she adds a few more tins because the old woman is bound to end up sharing her supplies with those two crack-addicted prostitutes in her building.

The rest is split into three boxes: one for the Blue Boys, one for those do-gooders at the Church - the faith sector they’re calling it - and the last box, with a bulk of the medical supplies, for Leslie Thompkins clinic.

Split down that far it really doesn’t look like a lot so she puts the food she had kept for herself back and splits that amongst the three boxes as well. She figures the Gothamites need it more than she does: she had three proper meals yesterday, at the bar. No one in Gotham had the same luxury.

She makes her deliveries as the sun comes up, leaving the boxes where they will be found by the right people and watching until they have been taken.

It’s not enough, she knows, as she watches Leslie retrieve the last box from a distant rooftop. But for now it’ll have to do.
baptizemyself: (Helena: in robe with mask)
When Helena goes to get dressed today, instead of finding her Huntress costume hanging neatly in the back of the wardrobe she finds it has been replaced with the black leather of the Batgirl costume she was wearing when she first entered the bar finally returned to her with a dry cleaning receipt pinned to the chest just over the Bat symbol. She frowns at the receipt as she removes it - took them long enough to get it back to her.

Seeing the costume again after all this time is almost surreal, like she'd forgotten she'd ever put the Batgirl costume on at all. But of course she did: she made the costume herself and she wore it at night to remind the city that it hadn't been completely abandoned. She reaches out a hand and traces her fingers over the soft leather of the Bat. She looks at it for a long time before she finally gets dressed.
baptizemyself: (Default)
Helena made her way down the corridor towards her room. So. There's another Batgirl floating around the bar. Helena'll have to keep an eye on her. Find out who she is maybe, and what her motives are. But she'll play nice for now, if only because the Canary asked her to.

She unlocks the door and looks around the room, checking for bugs or spies or something else unexpected. Only once she's satisfied that the room is clean does lock the door behind her and take of her mask before flopping down on the bed. It's soft and comfortable and the room is warn - a far cry from her damp, dusty and cold room that awaits her back in Gotham - and it's not long before Helena falls asleep, fully clothed.

For the first time in weeks Helena sleeps well, and doesn't dream.

---

15 hours later, Helena wakes with a start. It takes her a moment or two to get her bearings and remember where she is. MIlliways. Bar at the End of the Universe. She rubs the sleep out of her eyes and runs her fingers through her hair to detangle it. It's greasy - she hasn't had a proper wash in about a month - there's no running water in No Man's Land.

There's a second door leading from the bedroom into a bathroom - strange, she thinks. She's almost certain it wasn't there last night. She must have been so tired she didn't look properly, she concludes.

Helena slips out of her filthy costume. She'll have to find some way to get it cleaned properly, she decides as she drops it onto the floor and steps into the shower. She turns the water on to full and turns the heat up so it almost scalds her. It feels like heaven after having to wash from a bowl of cold water for the last month, and she stands under the spray for more than an hour, soaping herself and letting the water wash away the dirt and grime of Gotham.

She keeps expecting the water to run cold but it never does and eventually, once her skin has puckered and turned red, she turns off the spray and gropes outside for one of the large fluffy white towels hanging up outside. Another towel is used to dry her long dark hair. She putters around in the towels for a while not eager to put the smelly costume back on just yet. Only when her stomach starts complaining does she go back into the bathroom to pick up her costume.

Except, it isn't there. She goes back into the bedroom but it's not there either.

"What the hell?" she asks herself and starts looking around the room: under the bed, under the cusions on the chair in the corner, in the closet-

Hanging up in the closet is a black and purple outfit, one that she's very familiar with. A note is pinned to the front:

Batgirl costume taken for dry cleaning

- The Loompas
baptizemyself: (Batgirl: red on my face)
Blasted gangs and their tagging...

... another night, another face full of paint.

Dawn soon. Time for the Huntress.

Never mind how stupid I'll look in the mask with my jaw shellacked with paint...

What if someone makes a connection?

What if he makes the connection?

I won't give it up.

He'll have to accept me...

He'll have to...
Text from No Man's Land: Ground Zero
baptizemyself: (Batgirl: Dramatic posing with cross)
Xhosa marking territory...

It's not working. They're not running away.

They outnumber me and know it.

I should put this spike in his throat... he'd do it to me... he'd kill me and not blink...

- kill him and not blink...

Why not?

In No Man's Land why -

- not?
 
Text from No Man's Land: Ground Zero
baptizemyself: (Batgirl: I like it)
Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable.

I didn't need to raise a fist. I didn't need to say a word.

They took one look at me - one look at my shadow - and they ran.

No.

Not my shadow.

Now I get it...

... and I like it.
Text from No Man's Land: Ground Zero
baptizemyself: (Helena: in robe with mask)
What this city needs is a symbol.

Something to show the people that they aren't completely alone.

The Huntress can't be that symbol. She's a killer, almost as hated as those she works so hard against.

The old symbol is gone. He abandoned Gotham like the rest of them. He left us to rot.

But I'm still here. I'll become that Bat. Be the symbol that this city needs. Fight the good fight. And I'll save this city from itself.
baptizemyself: (Huntress: Game face)
I hate losing. I hate running away. I don't know what else to do.

They don't fear me. Not like they fear him.

Where is the Batman?

He's all over me when I screw up - when I don't play by his rules - "My city!" he says...

... Never lets me forget it.

So why isn't he here putting the fear of -

Are they roasting a bat?

Text from No Man's Land: Ground Zero

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