super long collab with the always amazing @oedipus
I sighed in frustration as I sat on the edge of the building. Dangling my legs from the ledge like a two year old I glanced from one alley to another looking for a gig.
Slow night, I noted myself frowning. Guess I will catch the Girls marathon on HBO after all.
Slowly picking myself up from the ledge and jumping onto the fire escape I started to slowly accept the fact that I am no Batman after all. Maybe that a.sshole Nightwing was right. I am /not/ worth it.
‘You’re probably some stuck up rich girl who has nothing smarter to do with her life! ‘ his harsh tone echoes in my head and stabs million daggers in my stomach. ‘You’re probably doing this for the sake of karma or whatever!’
I’ll show you karma, you d.ick!
“Give me your bag and everything will be okay..” I quickly shrugged off the thoughts about Nightwing and his big mouth and concentrated on the ‘conversation’ that was leading a few feet away from me. I jumped off the fire escape and confidently positioned myself on the pavement.
Well, what do you know? This might not be a slow night after all. Although, I am kinda bugged that I’m gonna miss the Girls marathon. Maybe if I take care of this quickly I’ll still make it in time.
“Put your hand down you old perv!” I yelled at him, my voice stern and frustrated.
“Another pretty face..” really, you can barely see my figure in the darkness. “This must be my lucky day.” As I got closer to the two of them, I noticed the creepy grin slurring all over the drunk’s face.
“YOUR. HANDS. OFF.” I exclaimed each words separately, whilst my hands were slowly curling into fists.
“Why don’t you come closer sweetie?” oh, this guy was definitely asking for trouble. A smirk tugged on the corners of my lip as I did what he told me. The moment I stepped under the street light, I saw his smug grin slowly disappearing. “You..” was all he managed to say in that very moment.
“Me..” I nodded my head, already knowing where this conversation was heading.
“You’re one of those stupid bat-kids, aren’t you?” he spat, his grip tightening around the innocent woman.
“I wouldn’t call myself stupid... nor a bat-kid.” I slowly started to walk closer and closer towards him. “I’m more of a.. unwanted child..” I made a pause, to look over at the person I needed to save. The poor woman looked frightened. From the looks of it, she was probably in her late twenties, brunette, with gorgeous shoes. I wonder where she got them from?
Alright, focus Charlotte, focus!
I mean Batgirl! You’re Batgirl!
Charlotte’s at home, doing Bruce’s stupid paperwork, remember?
“Daddy Bats doesn’t want ya?” he eyed me from head to toe, “His loss..”
“Yeah...” I nodded slowly. “Tell me, Jeff.. is it alright if I call you Jeff? Oh, never mind I’m still gonna call you Jeff. Are you hungry?”
The bastard licked his dry lips in a disgusting manner, making my insides tie in a knot. “What are you suggesting?”
“A knuckle sandwich..” I punched him in the face the moment I exclaimed those three words. The bastard shouted in pain, as his hands were covering his now bleeding nose. His tight grip was no longer holding one of the woman’s arms, and she was free. Her eyes were open wide, staring at me with what looked like gratitude. I simply shot her a smile, and returned to punch the living daylight from ‘Jeff’.
“Don’t you think that’s enough?” I heard a voice echo behind me. I dropped Jeff on the ground turning to see Nightwing standing behind me. I couldn’t see his eye because of his stupid domino mask, but I could sure feel his eyes glaring at me with judgment.
I glared back at him, my lips pursing into a pout. I kicked Jeff in the stomach one last time and turned to the woman who was still standing on the same exact spot.
“Hi..” I cheerfully greeted her. “Are you alright? Are you hurt?”
It took a few seconds to get a response out of her, as she was still pretty shaken up. “Y-yeah..” she nodded. “Thank you..”
“Don’t mention it..” I grinned, flattered. “Do you want me to make you company until you get home?” I asked her politely.
“That’s very generous of you, but I think you’ve done enough..” she glanced over at Jeff who was now picked up by Nightwing.
“I’m gonna drop him off by the police.. can I get your name ma’am?” Nightwing’s gaze turned towards the woman.
“Ahm, yes, of course.. Rachel.. Rachel Dawes..” she answered in a hurry.
“Alright then. Ms. Dawes, get home safe.. you’re in good hands..” he glanced over at me and disappeared along with Jeff in the darkness.
Did he...? Did he just praise me? No...
“So? How bout a ride home? Well, not exactly a ride home, ride home, since I don’t own a car.. to be honest I can barely ride my bike..” I started blabbering.
The woman whose name was Rachel, smiled politely. “As I said previously there’s no need for your company. My house is just a few blocks away..”
“Alright then. But make sure you avoid dark alleys.” I turned on my heel and started walking away.
“Hey!” I heard someone exclaim and I turned in an instant, “I didn’t catch your name..!”
"short or long?" charlotte asked with a thoughtful look on her pretty face, moving her hand swiftly from a dress to another. i shrugged, smiling as positively as i could at her, even though we had been in the shop for an hour already, without finding a dress,"i don't care". she stuck her tongue at me before gesturing dramatically, "what about this?" she took a long yellow gown from an hanger and putting it near her figure. "you aren't going to wear that at my wedding. i hate yellow" i said, taking it away from her and putting it back in its place. she pouted, twirling a wisp of her blond hair in her hand, "what then?". i giggled seeing how distress she was for such a silly thing like a dress, "it's not silly" she replied like she was actually reading my thoughts. my eyes widened, "how-" i raised a brow and now she was the one laughing, "i know you well, rachie". i turned back to the clothes and grimaced seeing as her hands were moving on the light fabric of a bright pink dress now, "you won't wear pink, either". she shot me a bad glance, putting both hands on her hips, "you are acting bossy" i nodded with a tiny smile, realizing that i was being a big nuisance for one that 'didn't care'. "i like this" i handed her an adorable grey cocktail dress but istantly regretting since her smile turned into a grimace, "that's simple" she stated as if i was to punish just for purposing it to her.
“Short or long?” I asked Rachel as I felt up the fabric on every single dress in front of me.
“I don’t care.” She answered with a simple nod.
How can she /not/ care? Is she serious? It’s her wedding we’re shopping about after all! I stuck my tongue at her, when a certain yellow dress caught my eye. I smiled happily at the thought that I found /the/ dress. Now if she only approves..
“What about this?” I placed the dress near my body, showing it to Rachel.
“You aren’t going to wear that at my wedding.” She pointed at the dress with disgust. “I hate yellow.” She added and took it away from me.
“What then?” I asked her, pursuing my lips into a pout. Rachel didn’t answer, but it was obvious what she was thinking. She thought that this entire thing is silly. More likely she thought that /I/ was being silly! Me of all people!? “It’s not silly.”
Rachel’s eyes widened in surprise. “How-?”
“I know you Rachie..” I laughed, amused with her face expression, before I turned my attention to the dresses. Only this time, it was a pink dress that caught my eye.
“You won’t wear pink either.”
I glared at her, letting go of the dress’ fabric. “You’re acting bossy.” And for a person that ‘didn’t care’ she sure seemed to care what color was the dress was going to be.
“I like this.” She handed me a grey cocktail dress after a couple of minutes of searching. I tried to stay subtle, but somehow my face seemed to give me away.
The dress was awful. And too.. business lady like. ‘But Charlotte aren’t you a business lady?’ the little voice in my head, that seems to appear just now, asks me. Yes, but I am a business /woman/ who is twenty three years old! Not to mention that she has the personality of a sixteen year old air head.
“That’s simple.” I finally said, after the long choice of words that weren’t going to hurt her feelings.
Rachel let out a frustrated sigh and returned the dress. “Then I have no idea.” She shrugged and threw herself on one of the leather sofas.
I frowned when I saw how much I’ve been a pain in the a.ss. I’ve put my interests before hers, completely forgetting how stressful this entire thing has been to her. “Well, judging from the.. dress you picked out..” I tried to say the word ‘dress’ without choking. “You like pastel colors and simple designs..”
Rachel raised her head and stare at me with a seemingly cheerful expression. That means I got at least something right.
“But..” I raised my finger, “It can’t be white in any case..”
“Why not white?” Rachel asked innocently. Is she for real? I stare at her with a shocked expression. Come on, Rachel!
“Because you can’t wear white to a wedding! The bride is the one with the white dress!” I stated, with a slight frustration in my voice.
I calmed down when a purple dress caught my eye. I quickly ran up to it and snagged it from the rack, bringing it to Rachel as fast as I could. “What do you think?” I danced around with the dress placed close to my body.
“Isn’t this too.. /simple/?” Rachel said, her voice teasing me.
“So it doesn’t have any patterns and the color is a little boring...” I looked at the dress once more, “..but it a beautiful dress. Plus, it has a bow! A bow, Rache! You know how much I love bows!” I cooed, jumping around like a two year old.
“Yeah, you do love bows... and the color is gorgeous..” the dress was now in her hands as she inspected the fabric. “What are you waiting for? Go, try it out!” she shoved the dress towards my direction and started pushing me towards the dressing rooms.
“Hey!” I shouted from inside the dressing room, that I was violently shoved into. “Will you at least zip the dress for me?” I asked her as I was getting out from my shirt.
“Sure thing..” Rachel suddenly barged inside, but she looked distraught. No, this was more of a shock.
“Rachel? Don’t you think you’re a little bit too early? Kinda caught me off guard here..” I gestured toward myself, wearing only a bra.
“What is that?” she asked me, her voice shaking. I noticed that she was pointing her finger towards my stomach. I looked down, spotting my cut. Oh, that... I sighed mentally, thinking of a way to explain the situation.
Telling her that I got stabbed in the ribs section while patrolling wasn’t exactly the right answer.
“Charlotte...” her voice was shakier and shakier
“I just realized something..” I quickly changed the subject, putting my shirt back on. “I have this meeting. Bruce will kill me if I’m late..”
“What about the dress? And an explanation?” she yelled after me, still standing in the dressing room.
“Buy the dress now. Explanation later. Come over my place around seven?” I yelled back and exited the store in a flash.
“Alfred..” I managed to say as I bursted in the Wayne’s Manor’s kitchen. There Alfred greeted me with a puzzled look. His face expression pale as if he’s seen a ghost. Well, having a girl bleeding to death, dressed in leather calling out your name appearing in front of you, is somewhere close.
“How.. who are you?” he stuttered, slowly drawing the kitchen knife closer to him. Great, that’s the last thing I need. More stabbing.
“It’s me..” I barely spoke, my hand slowly reaching the corners of my mask. “.. Charlotte..” I removed the mask from my face and smiled weakly.
“Don’t you think it’s a little too late for Halloween Ms. Charlotte?”
Was he trying to be funny? Cause I know something even funnier.. ME F.UCKING BLEEDING TO DEATH!!!
“Not the right time to show your British humor, Alfred...” I placed my hand over my wound. “..I’d really appreciate if you’d..-“
Turn the lights on please.
Am I dead? Is this what after life looks like? Or am I dreaming?
No. I am definitely dead. There’s even a light. I wonder what happens if I don’t go towards it? Will I go to hell? Or will I be an Earth bound spirit? That’s it, no more Ghost Whisperer for you, Charlie. I wonder if there’s TV in the after life.
No. I wonder if I’ll finally see mom.
“Charlotte..” a voice is heard from the distance.
“She’s alright..” there’s that voice again.
“Mom, when did your voice become so... manly?” I finally open my eyes, only to find Alfred and... Bruce? Alfred and Bruce are staring at me.
“She’s going to be alright..” Bruce looks over at Alfred with a grim expression. I manage to pick myself up and support myself on my elbows. Bruce is now a few feet away with his back turned. But he isn’t wearing his usual work suit. Nor one of his robes that he likes so much. He’s wearing...
“..a bat suit..” I said out loud. My sudden exclamation draws Bruce’s attention and he is staring at me. Face to face. “You’re Batman.” I said in an awe. “You’re Batman! You’re Batman!”
I try to get the thought out of my head so I can finally face reality. All those clues! All those facts! They all lead towards Bruce! And I never saw it coming. Even now, when he is in my face, wearing the freakin’ bat suit I can’t see it coming.
“You should lay low for a while.. stay out of the radar. Rest.” He finally said something after a long pause. His voice, gentle, almost fatherly like. There’s guilt plastered all over his face, as it was his fault that I got stabbed.
There’s nothing much I could do except to nod and obey. I probably should, cause this thing hurts like a mother..
“Hey Bruce..” I called out his name, a smug grin spreading across my face. “Did you know it was me?”
“Honestly? I had no idea..”
That’s what I wanted to hear.
Alright. I can do this. I can give her a logical explanation about the stab wound and numerous bruises around my body. I can. I know I can. I am Charlotte Conrad. I am so sneaky that not even Bat- Bruce Wayne couldn’t guess that /I/ was the one behind the Batgirl mask. Ha!
My confidence slowly drifted away the moment I heard the sound of knocking on my door. My heart started beating super fast and I forgot each and one of the explanations that were roaming my head for the past hours. I slowly walked over to the door and opened it widely.
My expectation’s of how Rachel’s face would look like were correct. She had fury and anger written all over it, with a pinch of sympathy and fear. “Hey..” I smiled slightly, but she didn’t smile back. Instead she walked pass me and threw herself on my sofa. Her gaze quickly turned into a deadly glare.
“Tell me everything. Now.” She spat.
Alright, I never thought I’ll say this before, but I am genuinely scared of Rachel now. Do you know that sweet, caring smile of hers? Well, it’s gone now!
“It’s not a big deal.” I shrugged. It looks like those explanations I was thinking about didn’t have plans of coming back inside my head.
“Are you serious?” Rachel widened her eyes in disbelief, “This looks like a HUGE deal to me.”
I bit my lip sheepishly as I started walking circles in my living room. Come on... good explanation. Good explanation...
“Is it Dick’s fault?” I stopped. Her words pierced through me like daggers.”Did he make those?” she pointed her finger at my ribs.
I blinked at her, drowned in confusion. “You mean?..” He hurt me? How can she think of such thing? “...no, no.. Of course no!” I started waving my hands at her in defense, whilst unintentionally I started laughing like an idiot. “He would never-“ Dick would never hurt a fly! Well, except for those several bad guys he fought when he was Robin. But hey, those must’ve been some really bad guys! And in his defense, he was only serving justice! Or something like that...
“Then I would really appreciate you telling me why is your rib section all black and blue!” Rachel exclaimed loudly, clearly upset. “And, that... cut! It’s fresh!”
I sighed heavily, feeling my legs slowly giving up. Not being able to keep standing, I sat cross legged on the carpet, facing Rachel’s panicked gaze. I guess there was no escaping it. She will like me to tell her the truth. And I want to tell her everything, but...
“Charlotte, in what kind of mess just are you?”
I swallowed the lump in my throat, and raised my head coming eye to eye with Rachel. “I... have a side job..”
“What kind of job? Are you dealing drugs or something? Are you a part of a fight club?” she started screaming at me hysterically.
“I am... somewhat of a superhero..” I paused, “.. well, actually more of a vigilante.” I smiled slightly. Rachel’s expression was unchanged. Well, instead of furious and angry, she now looked furious, angry and confused.
“You’re not going to tell me that you’re Batman, are you?” Rachel laughed ironically. I kept staring at her with a straight face. “Oh my God! You /are/ Batman!”
“Not exactly. I’m the Bat/girl/.” I waited for Rachel’s reaction, but there wasn’t any. “Those bruises are from various scumbags I fought over the months, and that cut... it’s actually a stab wound. I got stabbed not too long ago.” I paused, shifting my gaze towards the carpet. “If it weren’t for Alfred.. I would’ve probably died..” I said quietly.
“Did you really brake your arm because you slipped?” she asked me, her voice harsh.
“No..” I shook my head. Why was I feeling guilty? Was it because I was hiding it from her? “.. I got pushed from a balcony..”
“Pushed from a balcony!?” Rachel was now on her feet pacing, no stomping around my living room. “Charlotte, are you trying to get yourself killed?!”
“I’m actually trying to do something right...” I answered calmly. "Don't tell me, you're angry with me?" I looked up at her, with a harsh glare. I hated when people judged me, and it seemed that this was exactly what she was doing.. my best friend, judging me. That hurt like mother..-
“I hate to tell you, but I can’t-“ Rachel started to say something, but paused immediately. “You should stop doing that.” She sighed heavily. I kept staring at the carpet, my fingers slowly scraping the material. “Now I know why you didn’t tell me... I work for the district attorney, you know that.”
“Your fiancé you mean...” I finally said something, which sounded more like a snarky comment than a reply.
“I represent the law, I work to free this town from everything that is not legal and guess what? My best friend and maid of honor happens to be a vigilante!” she stated, shrugging her shoulders as if a ton of weight is on them. Weight that I put. Damn it Charlotte! I finally told my best friend something that’s been bugging me for a long time and instead of relief, I feel a big slap of regret.
“I’m sorry..” I said quietly, meeting her eyes for what seemed like an eternity.
Rachel shook her head. “I don’t know what to say, really..” she got up from the sofa once again and walked over to the kitchen. The room got really quiet, until sounds of drawers and doors opening and closing reached my ears. I got up quickly from the carpet and walked over to where Rachel was.
“Are you looking for something?” I asked her after a whole minute of watching her opening and closing the kitchen drawers. Is this something she does to reduce stress?
Rachel turned to look at me, but didn’t say anything. She just started to laugh uncontrollably, holding her stomach with her hands. “Batgirl, really....?” what was supposed to sound like laughter, sounded more like a cry for help or a silent sob. I just stood there, staring her in cheer confusion. “I need something to drink, ‘Lotte.” She grabbed my hand, as if her life depend on it. “Something strong, now!”