Disclaimer: I do not own Gotham or its characters.

Author's note: This story is set in an alternate universe in which James Gordon never found out what the Ogre looked like or where he lived, because, well, nobody can track down anybody with a drawing like that. "It's kind of a crappy drawing." - Selina Kyle

This prologue introduces the dynamics between Jason and Barbara and provides a basic back story of what happened in Mr. & Mrs. Kean's house. You will find the first half of it familiar looking if you have read my other Gotham story "Murdering Passions". Enjoy!

Prologue

Jason covered her mother's mouth with one hand, his other hand pressed a knife against her father's neck, effectively silencing him. The blade gleamed dangerously against human skin. "Barbara, tell them what they did to you," he told her.

Barbara stared at them blankly as her parents stared back in horror, their expressions pleading. "What?"

"Tell them what they did to you," Jason repeated.

What they did to her? She opened her mouth, but no words came out.

They'd treated her as if she was nothing but a pretty vase in their house. They'd disregarded her feelings, her interests, and her dreams. They'd deprived her of their time, praises, and attention. They'd dismissed every one of her relationships as unworthy of their concerns. They'd shut her out, like she did not belong.

But they had raised her. They had fed her, provided her with clothing, education, shelter…

"Barbara," Jason spoke again, a hint of warning underlying his tone. Yet his voice was smooth like silk, drawing her deeper and further into unknown darkness. "Tell them what they did to you. What did they do that made you hate yourself so much? What did they do that made you hide? What did they do that turned you into a shell?"

Barbara sucked in a breath. His words were like an arrow to her heart.

"We did no such thing!" Mr. Kean exclaimed.

Barbara's entire body shook as she stepped forward and forced the words out, "That is it. You did nothing. You did nothing."

At her parents' horrified looks, the truth hit home. She whispered, "You. Never. Loved. Me."

X X X

Jason clamped his hands firmly over the couple's mouths as she stabbed them repeatedly, one after another. Adrenaline ran through her as the blade met flesh, and blood spattered everywhere, staining her snow white dress.

In the end, all she could see was his brown eyes, wild and intent.

He was proud of her.

Barbara awakes with a sharp intake of breath, her skin cold and damp with perspiration. She pants as her eyes sweep around the room, the images of her dead parents still etched into her mind.

Her heart races at her unfamiliar surroundings. This is not her apartment—

"Nightmare?"

Barbara jumps, not aware of someone else in the dark room. Her darting eyes finally settle on the man lying in bed beside her.

Then it all comes back to her: how Jason held her captive, how he made her confront her parents, how he set her free.

Barbara shudders, feeling a chill creep up her spine. She has no recollection of leaving her parents' house and coming back to his apartment. It was a blur.

"Come here," Jason holds out his arm to her, his voice deep and raspy from sleep.

She swallows hard and doesn't move.

He makes an impatient noise. "Barbara, come here."

Barbara gingerly slips into his arms, and despite herself exhales in relief at his touch.

It is as comforting as it is scary.

"Sleep. Everything's fine," Jason murmurs and presses a kiss on her forehead.

And she listens to him.