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Gotham city: Sunday, 11 pm
You would think patrolling Gotham city would get old pretty fast, but you know what, it didn't. Sure it was the same old crap, polluted city air, seedy alleyways smelling of dead dog and piss, even seedier people committing the most horrible and sometimes weirdest crimes. But swinging through the air, well there wasn't many things better in life. As I land gracefully on top of another building my thoughts are drawn back to work. Last night the police found a bunch of dead guys by the bay. Some had clearly been killed by Datura. Others were strangled by vines; only one had been lucky enough to escape. Batman tracked him down and got some intel. Turns out they were smuggling a shipment of 20 plus girls for their prostitution ring. Datura must have found out, brought a team of Ivy clones and took down the men, then taking the girls for herself. Those girls didn't have much of a chance either way. It was an unexpected move from her, but I guess it is not surprising. She seems to have the same motive, taking girls while disposing of Gotham's low-lives.
That is not all though; the guy over-heard her having a conversation with one of the other Ivy clones saying that now they had enough recruits to continue with their plan for a "new-world-order", whatever that meant. They just needed one more ingredient. We have increased surveillance in every city they have been spotted, but we all know that whatever goes down, it will go down in Gotham. It was clear with each day that passed, that it had become more about stopping Datura than about rescuing Barbara. She was becoming a bigger threat with each girl she took as Ivy's army grew, and we all knew they were able to stay hidden thanks to Batgirl's experience.
Robin stops beside me studying the building in front of us. We knew it well as it was one of Wayne Enterprise's bio-chemical labs. Artemis and Miss Martian were also in Gotham checking out another storage facility. It was unlikely that Datura and Ivy's clones would be there but we weren't going to take any chances. The rest of the team were outside of Gotham checking out other possible leads for where they could get any other chemicals Ivy could possible want.
Batman was already here. He had been watching the place for at least an hour now. It was the most logical place Ivy would attack next, however, it was also the most secure. I am guessing that is why they left it for last, if they really just needed one more thing that is. Of course we weren't 100% sure we knew exactly what it was that they needed, but guessing by the chemicals they had already taken so far, we had a feeling they were making some kind of bio-chemical-boom, and if that was the case then they would need substance D, which this facility stored.
Gotham was Batman's turf, it was the bat-family's responsibility, so was Batgirl, therefore we took point on this mission. But the others weren't far if we needed them. The main objective was to stop them from taking the chemical, than rescuing, well capturing, as many of the clones we could; mainly Datura as once she was out of the picture it would only be a matter of time before we figure out where the others were hidden.
We get into position and wait patiently. Batman has hocked up to the Wayne computer systems so he can keep an eye on the video footage. 20 painful minutes pass and there is still no sign of anything unusual. My whole body is buzzing; I am more than ready for a good fight and for this to just be over with.
"What-the-? Someone has hacked into the security system. It has gone dark." Batman alerts us.
Robin studies the device over Batman, "can you get it back up?"
"No. Not from here. There aren't a lot of people who could get through those systems. That means we were right."
"Datura." I say needing to say it out loud. I needed to make myself hear it, to believe it. I needed my head to be clear, to be detached if I had any chance of completing this mission.
"Not for long, that changes tonight. You both know the plan. I shouldn't have to tell you again, she is deadly, don't hesitate." Batman gives us a stern look before pulling out a grappling hook and jumping off the side of the building. Robin and I followed, landing in an alleyway close to Wayne Lab.
We watch from the shadows as five of Ivy clones glide down from the far end of the building to land further down via vines. Two of the clones move to the side door of the Wayne building and began to pick the locks. The other three spread out, they appear to be keeping an eye out.
"Where's Datura? Shouldn't we wait for her?" One brunette clone asks another blond haired clone, who I recognise as was one of the original missing women, Annabell.
"No. She told us to go ahead so that is what we are going to do. It will be fine, just in and out like she said."
The two clones picking the lock managed to get it opened, signalling to the others that they were ready to proceed. On that note, Batman nodded. He indicates for me to go after the clones that entered the building, while he and Robin took care of the rest.
I throw a few smoke bombs for cover, startling the women. I hear one hit the ground as Robin side-kicks her before they even know they have been blustered.
Running to the far-side of the wall I make a direct path towards the door. As I am about to reach out for the door handle, I notice a shadow blocking out what little light that was coming from the moon. I barely have a chance to step backwards as a dark figure lands in front of me sending me further back with a front kick. I manage to keep my balance, gaining back my composure and readying myself for a fight.
"Oh you're the blue one, Nightwing wasn't it? I see the cure worked. If you don't mind, my seedlings are in the middle of something at the moment. You might want to back-off through, before I put you down for good." Barbara-I mean Datura, I remind myself, says as she stares at me with her green eyes; I need to stay detached. Seedlings? She must be talking about the Ivy clones.
"Yeah I don't think so. I don't suppose you will tell your seedlings to back down and surrender?"
Her black lips shift into a sly smile, "no. I don't suppose you all will let us leave without a fight?"
"No." I will myself to attack but finding my body still. It was the first time I had seen her since that night, and I was finding it a little more difficult to stay detached than I had hoped. She may be green with tainted lips and limited clothing, but her features were still the same. Her hair still the same distinctive red that I had watched flowing freely as I chased her down the halls of the manor when we were kids; the same red I had watched the first time I saw Batgirl running across the rooftops of Gotham. Of course then I hadn't know it was the same girl but still, it was a colour I had come to associate with everything good and honest in this world that now I couldn't bear to see it tainted with this imposter, with someone who could kiss away a person's life.
She lets out a sigh and I barely had a chance to brace myself as a massive branch sends me flying to my left into Robin. "I had a feeling you boys would want to do this the hard way."
Fuck. That hurt. Looking up, I hardly notice another branch streaming down towards us. There is no time to move so I brace myself, trying to block as much of the impact from Robin. A yell escapes my lips as the force squeezes me into my young partner. The force of the blow seemed to have stolen the breath right from me causing my world to appear in slow motion. Robin's eyes widen as he grabs either side of my shoulders and rolls us to the side, narrowly missing another branch slamming into the ground besides us.
Without much comprehension I watch as the branch freezes in mid-air as Batman throws freeze-pebbles at it. He then proceeds to jump over it and lands a kick to Datura.
Robin yells at me while pushing me off him, grabbing my arm and forcing me to my feet. Blood rushers to my head and I grab tight onto his shoulder. I can hardly processe the words coming from his month but force myself out of my daze as a vine races towards us. Pushing Robin out of the way, I throw a batarang, cutting the vine chasing us in half. Robin charges after the seedling, and I take in my surroundings. So far there is one 'seedling' knocked out and tied up seedling to the far wall. Another knocked out by Robin beforehand, still yet to be tied up. He currently fought with one. Two went into the building while Batman was fighting off Datura. That's all of them. Shit I better get those two before they get away with the chemicals.
Just as I race towards the entrance the two seedlings appeared in the alley, one clutching a bag tight to her chest. Readying my escrima sticks I attack. The one without the bag goes for a protection stance in front of the other. I throw a combination of kicks and punches, most landing sending her backwards. I block their attacks, they might be powerful but they had no idea how to use any of it.
"Dammit! Don't wait around Bella get out of here! Complete the mission!" I hear Datura order the girl.
I punch the other seedling sending her to the ground but not quite knocking her out; I had no time to worry about her, I had to get to the chemicals before she gets away. I race towards the fleeing seedling, blocking the poor attempt of vine-attacks coming from the semi-conscious seedling I sent to the ground a moment ago. Almost reaching her, I feel hands lightly push off my shoulders and fly over me, landing perfectly in my path. I halt before running into the green woman.
"Datura!" The seedling calls out in distress; she seemed hesitant to leave without her leader.
"So help me if you don't leave right now Bella, I WILL kill you." She growls, never looking away from me. She never misses a beat, she strikes again and again, sending vines and branches my way, but I dodge all of them. I manage to get close enough to kick her in the gut, pausing her attacks for a moment. Allowing me enough time to see that I was too late to catch the runaway seedling: Bella. She had managed to find enough exposed ground to create a travel-flower and make her escape.
I notice Batman and Robin's presence next to me which means everyone else was taken care of and they were here to help bring Datura in.
"Give it up Datura, you are surrounded, we don't want to hurt you." Batman states, as we close in around her.
She looks up towards us, giving one of the dirtiest, darkest looks I have ever seen. She looks about ready to take on an army. I get a feeling she doesn't want to do this the easy way.
"Yeah but I want to hurt you. Now who wants the first kiss."
I pull out a syringe from my utility belt, it won't cure her but studying the physiology of Steph, the seedling we caught in the first fight we had with Ivy, we are pretty sure this should put her to sleep for at least half an hour. We had one each and from the looks of it Robin and Batman had the same idea. Her jaw tightens as her eyes darts from all of us; she clearly noticed what we are doing.
Seven minutes and a whole lot of buries and fresh cuts later, we had finally got the upper hand, allowing Batman to get close enough to sedate Datura in the neck. It was hard to watch her fall to the ground. I felt like I was watching her fall in the cell hallway back in Ivy's old hideout all over again, expect this time she fell quietly. She might not be screaming now but the echoes of Barbara's screams were haunting me with every move I made. Watching the unconscious world steal her away, those screams seemed just a bit louder.
Arkham Asylum: Monday, 1 am
Arkham Asylum. The home to Gotham's most sadistic, murderess villains. It seems to have a permanent chill that I doubt even a fire could suffocate. Walking down the halls now I still can't believe we are actually walking one of our own down to a specially made cell. Never in a million years would I have thought we would be doing this.
Although for some reason I thought this moment would be a happier one. That somehow I would find some sort of solace with the notion that at least she was now in captivity where we could keep an eye on her. But that's just the thing, she wasn't really here if she had to be put in a cell, to be forced into recovery. She was far from being saved. And here of all places. It wasn't a place for her. I am having a hard time with the idea of leaving her here with these freaks. I know Nightwing does too, you can tell by the way he grips her arm, as if she might disappear if he loosens his grip just a bit.
She put away half these villains in here and now she was going to take a place right beside them. It was wrong. A knot tightens inside my gut as we pass each cell, noticing too many familiar faces; too many of them would do anything to get their grabby hands on any one of us. If they still believed that Barbara was Batgirl, what would they do now that Datura was sitting in a cell down the hall from them? Not to mention some of the grudges most had against her dad, THE commissioner. Batman has put strict orders for her not to be allowed out of her cell, to be kept separate from the rest of them, so I know I am over reacting. It still just doesn't feel right.
A deranged laugh comes from one of the cells to our right. The all too familiar chuckles are followed by an attention seeking remark from none other than the Joker himself.
"This is priceless, quick someone get a camera! The whole family is here!" Laughter fills the hallways. I keep my eyes focused in front of us; he would not get a reaction out of us, not tonight.
The guard leading us to her cell stops a few doors down. This has to be a mistake; there is no way that we are leaving her only a few doors down from the Joker! This whole cell is full of the worst villain we have faced! This has to be a mistake!
"Wait, you are joking right. Surely there are other cells more suitable?" Nightwing pipes up.
"This is all we have left that will hold someone with her abilities." The guard opens up the door to the cell. Batman nods while he un-cuffs Datura and waits for her to walk into the cell, allowing her to keep some dignity. She complies as she is too smart to think she could take us on again in this place.
Laughter stains our ears as the Joker cheers over the news, "Oh it seems we are practically neighbours! Let me know if you need a cup of sugar or anything else."
"Who the fuck is this clown? You better shut him up before I do it myself." Datura coldly voices.
"Ooh feisty, I think we will get along just fine! Now tell me boys, how did her father take the news of his little girl transition from the Bat Brat to this colourful creature?" He grins, soaking in the moment. Rumours of the Gotham's fallen princess, the Commissioner's kid possibly being the Batgirl did not fail to spread like wildfire around here.
Before anyone of us has a chance Datura was spitting back words, "Who the fuck are you calling a Bat Brat drag doll?!"
"Enough. The both of you. Just so we are clear, if you are referring to Batgirl she has never been Barbara Gordon, so you are wasting your breath."
"Oh please Batys you don't have to lie to me, we-"
"For the last FUCKING TIME, I am NOT Barbara Gordon or whoever the fuck you keep referring to. I am Datura, and even if this body used to be someone else, don't get your hopes up boys, I am here to stay."
A part of me fades at those words. Her voice is the same voice telling me to lighten up after training. The one making me promise to look after each other, to be careful; it is the same voice that promised she would be there for me, as a partner and as a friend. And now it was the voice telling us that that woman was now gone and she wasn't coming back.
"Hey get some manners, I was talking! Gee Batman that one has a month on her" laughter hangs in the air like the pollution over Gotham.
"Let's go." Batman ignores them and heads down the hall, turning his back on the cells and expecting us to follow. I see Nightwing hesitate, taking one last look at the pissed off girl in the cell who is giving him a death stare in return. I observe for a second and decide to push the image out of my head as it was a pointless one.
We walk out in silence, all caught up in the surreal experience that has fallen upon us.
And just like that, Batgirl would spend her first night in Arkham.
Mount Justice: Monday, 9 am
I sit anxiously waiting for everyone to gather for the team meeting. Last night was a success, well semi-success, one of Ivy's "seedlings" got away with substance D; which isn't good. And the overall threat of Ivy and her gang were still at large. But we got the most important person back; which eliminates the threat of Datura. That name still leaves an awful taste in my mouth; even if I was just thinking it. It felt like a dagger went straight though me when she didn't recognise her name, when she said "Call me Datura". Every time I heard that name it felt like someone was just twisting that dragger and pushing it just a bit deeper into me.
But all that doesn't matter now because she is home, well not exactly home, not yet. A blood test has already been sent off, and Steph (one of the original missing/ seedling) was now in full recovery, so surely they would be able to concoct a cure in no time for Barbara. Then we can finally bring her home and, hell, she will probably start making incredibly inappropriate jokes about this all to cheer us up, and I will let her because right now all I want is for her to already be here. I am so ready for this story to end, and I know I'm not the only one.
The whole team has been a wreak. It seems that no matter how many days, weeks and now almost a month, that passes the tension in the cave won't lighten, not even a bit, just for a few hours would be nice. I mean it is harsh I know, but it wasn't like we hadn't faced times like this before, we had. We had way too many times; we had lost teammates, friends, people we loved. But the only logical reason for this tension that I could think of was that Barbara was still alive, she was just… turned. How could we mourn for someone who was still alive but not really here? I guess having to face the fact that we might have to take her down doesn't help. Also I guess because we were carrying already so many losses that this one acted as a reminder of all of them, as if we are mourning them all over again.
The fact that our Leader was cold, distant, clearly broken without her but pretending that everything was okay, that it was just another mission, that most certainly did not show the team how to healthily deal with this. I have seen him like this before, back when Jason passed. But the team didn't see him much then. The bats took some time off, and back then he had her to look after him. Wally has been trying his best to reach him, but I know it is killing him that he can't do more.
I watch Wally from afar; no one knew yet that we were an item. It didn't seem right to share our news just yet and I guess I can be a bit awkward when it comes to these things. I was tempted to mention it to Megan earlier but decided against it, although I have a feeling she knows.
I watched the way he interacts with the team; he is so friendly, still so positive in a time like this. He is a shining light in the darkness and a small part of me warms up at the thought of him. The fact that someone like that could want someone like me, well I am not sure how to articulate just how that makes me feel.
Sensing that I was thinking of him he looks towards me giving me a warm smile, as if supporting me and understanding me from a distance.
Finally. Now we could get this meeting over with, fix Babs, stop Ivy and get back to relatively-normal criminals.
Both boys walk into the room, bringing the small chatter in the room to silence. Everyone was anxious to figure out how last night went.
They both wore sun glasses and jeans; Robin black ones with a dark green long-sleeved fitted top, Nightwing dark blue ones with a black t-shirt. They both had small cuts and buries on their exposed skin which means the fight last night was a little rougher than they let on via communicator; now why doesn't that surprise me?
Nightwing starts to debrief, letting us know where they were holding Datura, and how the other four girls were already in recovery today. We already had a cure for the basic transformation after reversing the effects on Steph, but Barbara would be more difficult, after all she went through a whole lot worse.
Some of the members spoke up about her being locked in Arkham. They all knew it was saved for the most craziest and dangerous villains of Gotham but they couldn't understand why she wasn't brought here to be dealt with. After all, we do have cells here.
"Trust me, I am not happy about it either, but as I said before it is the most secure place for her. She is still dangerous and not to mention if anyone found out we took her to a secret location it might look like we were covering up who she really is. Miss Martian has already done a lot to get the media off the trail of who BG is but bring her here, it might just undo all that. It is too big of a risk."
Nightwing had a good point, but it was still hard to think of her locked up in that place. But if they felt it was the best thing to do then I will support their decision.
"Who is this Datura you speak of? Why does it matter where she is locked up?"
The team went quiet at the sudden remark from the newest member of the team. She had only been here a few days and with everything going on no one had really been able to get her up to date. And she had a lot of catching up to do. Not only was she new to this team but she was new to this world. Her name is Koriand'r, a princess from a planet called Tamara, we call her Kori. She recently escaped imprisonment from another alien race, I don't know specifics but I heard it wasn't pretty, so I believe she will be staying with us for some time. Her code name is Starfire. I am not sure how I feel about her yet, but from what I have seen, she is very powerful and could prove to be a valuable member of the team.
"She is…well it is a long story. The short version is that she is a member of this team. Her name is Batgirl and she is another one of Batman's protégés. Poison Ivy has done something to her and now she goes by the name of Daturan. Her mind and body are… controlled somehow, changed. Now she does all of Ivy's dirty work. But she is still one of us. So yeah, it matters where she goes."
Nightwing almost spat the last words out as he spoke, as if each word was poison itself. The room became awkward once again as we all seem to retreat into ourselves.
"Well I believe that is everything. Batman, Robin and I are working on where the other women are and investigating what Ivy has planned. Miss Martian hang back, everyone else is dismissed."
I watch as most of the team clear the room. Connor, Wally, Kaldur, Tim, Megan and I hang back, we know he just wanted to speak to Megan, but unless he said specifically to leave, we were going to see what this was all about. I can see Kori hesitates to leave; she looks as if she wants to say more but then thinks better of it and decides to leave the room.
Dick moves to one of the main computers, bringing up the case as if none of us were still around. He groans as he sits down in the chair. Megan is quick to respond to the sound,
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, it's nothing."
"Pff fine, sure. You should see his back. You should be resting." Tim pipes up; Nightwing glares at the boy for betraying that information. That-glare, seriously where does one learn that? It was like a poisonous arrow, most people would tremble in their shoes after receiving it but Tim seems to just brush it off. Which is really just typical-bat-sibling-attitude right there, when Batman gives it I am sure he would take it more seriously. Personally, and I think it is safe to speak for most of the team here, receiving that glare from any member of the bat-family was not fun, trust me I've been there.
I move closer to Dick to see what Tim was talking about, "what happened? Let's see." I push Dick forward a little bit and then pull up the back of his top before he could brush it off. He grabs the bottom of the shirt pulling it down as quickly as he could, but it was too late. We all saw it. His whole back was one big blue and purple punching bag.
"What the hell happened?" Connor stepped forward.
"It doesn't matter. I'm fine."
We look to Tim; clearly we weren't going to get a proper answer from Dick.
He rolls his eyes at his brother's response and replies sounding a bit irritated, "Datura slammed him with a tree branch, twice. It wasn't nothing, it was a close call. Which is why you should be resting."
"Is that true?" Wally asks; Dick avoids eye contact deciding to focus on his notes instead.
"Like I said, I'm fine. Megan I need you to come with us to Gotham. We were hoping you could try another mental link with her, are you up for it?"
"Of course." She replies softy.
"Okay that is it. You need to stop. I can't take it anymore, I have tried to be patient, to give you space but this has gone too far. Dick I know you're in pain, we all are. She is our friend too! But you need to look after yourself. That is the second close call you have had against Datura now, third if you count her kidnapping you! You need rest before something happens to YOU! Hell, if not for us or yourself then for Barbara! How do you think she will feel knowing that something happened to you, because you didn't rest because you were worrying about her?" Wally almost screamed, he was clearly frustrated and I don't blame him. Everything he said was right and I was a little shocked and proud that he said what no one else was brave enough to say.
No one spoke; they all waited for his response. Hell, I felt like a fly on the wall myself, as if it was only them in the room and I was just watching from afar.
Dick finally looked up at Wally; he had finally stopped ignoring him.
"I know… you are right. I just can't rest until I know for sure she will be fine. We are so close… but I still feel like I can't breathe you know?" He looks to the ground awkwardly. I can't blame him, I can't say I'm the best when it comes to expressing myself, and hey who was when it came to these things?
Wally puts his arm out to him. Dick takes it allowing him to be pulled up into a hug.
Aww a man-hug…damn Barbara was right these things are emotional to watch.
A friend pointed out in the new 52 Joker knows who the bat-family is, which I know, but in this story he doesn't... I hope that hasn't confused anyone! I know a few facts are off but hey it's fan fiction! haha
And idk if anyone picked up in my first story but I am pretty sure Wally can't get drunk but I did make him seem that way at least... I am sorry... I am annoyed at myself too! haha I can't believe I forgot! haha
Even if it this story is really old by the time you read it and now there are more chapters... I am happy to know your thoughts as you read each chapter:)