Elseworlds: Saving James
By Christopher W. Blaine
DISCLAIMER: All characters and situations used within this story are ©2003 by DC Comics Inc. and are used without permission for fan-related entertainment purposes only. No profit is made from this story. This original work of fiction is ©2003 by Christopher W. Blaine and may not be reproduced in part or as a whole without the express permission of the author.
An infinite amount of answers for a finite amount of questions is how one could describe the relationship between reality and fantasy. For every action, there are all feasible reactions. Every mirror has a reflection, but that reflection is not exact. It is reversed, inverted and possibly tainted.
So it is with time. One action has infinite results. One result determines the truth and all of the others are simply fanciful thoughts. Daydreams. Fantasies.
Take any single event, be it a blessing or a tragedy, and look far enough into the reflection and you will see another result. All lives are related, all souls connect even if they don't share the exact same history. A broken arm here is a broken leg there. A hero in one world is the villain of another. Bearing children on one side of the page, bearing shame on the other.
In a world where the truth is a spine shattered with a single bullet and a life is destroyed, the reflection may well show a reality where something else entirely occurs.
Her world had become one of confusion, blood, pain and laughter. The laughter was the worst because it wasn't a humorous, joyous sound. It was the empty high-pitched cackle of one whose soul was damned. It was the merriment of someone who saw reality as an option.
Too many times she had heard that sound and every time she had, someone died.
Her mind was still trying to comprehend the horror that her eyes were telling her had befallen them, she and her father. Nerve endings throughout her body screamed. She tried to call out, but it all that she could muster was nothing more than a choking cough. She tried to pray, but every time she started with a "Dear God", another sharp pain shot through her.
Behind her, his hips thrusting wildly in a sexual rhythm, the Joker giggled like a devil. He slapped her bare buttocks. "That's it, baby-doll, take it like the slut you are!" He immediately turned and grinned his trademark wide smile as one of his henchmen took a picture. Like a paparazzi catching a famous celebrity snorting drugs, the henchmen moved about, selecting different angles and lighting so that he could capture the full depravity of the rape of Barbara Gordon.
The flashbulb seemed to her to be a drum, keeping the beat of her nightmare going constant. Again and again she tried to resist, to summon forth that hidden strength so many others demonstrated in similar situations, but it would not come. Her spirit was broken and her courage was failing. It was hard to believe that only a month before, she had been the Batgirl, a super-hero that was considered an ally of the Batman.
Her father screamed curses and pleas all at once, his speech becoming broken as tears readily flowed down his face. She managed to turn her head just in time to see another henchman punch her father, police commissioner James Gordon, in the gut. Her father tried to stand, tried to continue to fight, but he was drained as well. He was too old, too out of shape to battle the young toughs the Joker had brought with him.
Fifteen minutes before the Clown Prince of Crime had simply rang the doorbell and shot Barbara through the stomach as she opened the front door. Before her body had hit the floor, the madman was directing his men to take her father and hold him fast. He had stood over her, waving the pistol in a circle, trying to decide which part to shoot next. She had watched the sudden change come over him, the way his green eyes had flashed with evil. It was as if Satan himself had walked into the Joker's mind and turned on the lights.
A hardening male member soon replaced the pistol.
Rudely, he had taken her, entering her with all of the subtlety of a hurricane, forcing himself into her physically, assaulting her spiritually, and humiliating her publicly. Her faith taught her that everything happened for a reason, that there was good in everyone. The Joker's sexual attack was robbing her of that certainty. Her eyes drifted towards the windows and through tears she saw the curtains had been pulled shut.
At any moment she expected him to come crashing through, the shards of glass a rain of retribution and salvation. Like a pilgrim dying of thirst, she awaited her messiah.
He wasn't just her hero or her father's best friend; he was the antiseptic that was used to wipe up the germs that Gotham City's underworld spawned. He always got to the scene just in time. The dark hero that had to save the day.
Where was he? She asked herself over and over again as the Joker made a game out of abusing her. He never invited his henchmen to join in. Only someone like the Joker, a man who had left reality and sanity far behind, would consider having sex with a dying woman and he was not about to share. "You must work out," the Joker sneered. "Feel these knockers, boys, hard as rocks! Oh! What's this? Somebody is enjoying themselves!"
Her shame was only magnified as he pulled on her nipples, made erect by the shock and adrenaline; her body was reacting, trying to reassert its control. The Joker instead turned it into the stuff of cheap porn films. He pulled again, eliciting a painful moan. "She loves it boys!"
Two of the thugs tore her shirt off, exposing her to all of them including her father. They manhandled her and one even got brave enough to try and sodomize her. The Joker stopped his gyrations long enough to give the man a cold look and Barbara took a little satisfaction in realizing that the Joker would most likely kill the man later.
Jim Gordon's whimpers were cut short with a quick blow to the back of the head with a pistol grip. The two men who had been joining in Barbara's assault quickly moved, in an effort to make up for their trespass, to take Jim out the back way. Barbara reached out a hand in a futile gesture to try and stop them, her lessons under the Batman kicking in over the pain.
"Never give up," he always said.
She began to pull in the courage she knew was deep inside of her and cold logic began to overcome fear. The body was wounded, but it was not defeated. She thought about the stories she had heard of police officers and firemen who, wounded, still managed not only to save themselves, but others as well. Pain was only a state of mind. He guts were perforated, perhaps major organ damage, but she was the product of God's wonderful plan. She was the perfect machine. She would rise above this!
Then the Joker finished and the disgust and sickness she felt chained her to a rock of emotional despair.
Barbara was no virgin; she was a divorced woman and had been around the block a few times. She had only a few lovers, some good and some bad. Regardless of their technique or how they were equipped, the sex ended the same way. A man finished by giving up a piece of him, surrendering the warmth and fire of his passion to put deep inside someone whom he, hopefully, cared about. It was not just a deposit of bodily fluids, it was a release of hot emotion, a climax, if you will, of sweet emotion. It was the sacrament of tenderness, something only two people in love could truly cherish.
Not so with the Joker. His finish was cold, almost freezing. The feeling of numbness began to slowly makes it's way through her pelvis and she vomited. It was unnatural and inhuman what she felt her body already absorbing. All she could think of was how now a piece of the Joker would forever be hers.
The Clown Prince got up, wiping himself on her torn shirt. Then he put a foot on her exposed buttocks and forced her flat onto her stomach. "You stay there, sweetheart," he said as he zipped his shorts.
"You want us to look around the place, boss?" one of the thugs asked.
The Joker considered it for a moment. Maybe if the little woman on the floor weren't so lively, he'd be willing to make a quick exit. It wasn't like she was paralyzed or anything!
Yet, could he afford to tarry? He had plans, after all, for Jim Gordon and, hopefully, the Batman.
He looked down at the blood-splattered Barbara and his eyes drifted to her posterior. She was a looker, that was for sure, and like any red-blooded, green-haired American male, the Joker loved to get a piece of ass every now and then. As long as she didn't croak, he'd give her another round. "Somebody get her a band-aid or something while I go see if she has anything sexy to slip into!"
One of the henchmen immediately ran into the kitchen and came out with some towels while another went to boil some water. The Joker made his way upstairs, smacking this and that with the wide-brimmed Bermuda hat he was carrying. One room was obviously Jim's because it was bland, full of tasteless furniture and painted a neutral color. Further on down the hallway he came to Barbara's room.
He stepped inside and sniffed the air. "Smells like teen spirit," he remarked. Of course, Barbara Gordon was not a teen; built like one perhaps but chronologically she had passed that mark a few years back.
The walls were adorned with the memories of an entire childhood and the Joker took great delight in urinating on everything he could. He started with stuffed animals and when he dried out, he began to pile pictures and nick-knacks in the center of the room for a future endeavor.
Eventually, he would generate the proper amount of fluids needed to douse the pile in his foulness. It was sort of his parting gift to his new lover. Some men left roses. Some men wrote poems. The Joker pissed on your belongings.
The Joker opened up a sliding closet door to find several articles of clothing. Her tastes ranged form conservative to ultra-conservative. He dug farther, opening shoes boxes and even finding an old prom dress. He thought about making her wear that for their next session; after all, he didn't get laid at his prom.
His hand brushed against the back of the closet and he heard a hollow sound. It wasn't the typical kind of noise you got from an non-insulated wall; it sounded more like an empty space…a big empty space. He felt around the area, tossing clothes out in his hurry to discover this hidden treasure. He hoped it was a secret gun locker. It would bring him such pleasure to go out and commit several murders using Jim Gordon's gun collection.
It would make perfect sense to hide it in his daughter's room because the typical burglar would think such a safe would be in Jim's room.
He heard a scream from downstairs. The boys were getting restless and he was sure that even his threats would work for only so long against several horny men. There was a helpless babe downstairs with her legs open; the temptation was probably too great for the simple-minded dolts he chose to surround himself with.
The Joker was about to give up and go kill someone when he found the latch. A door popped open. It was not a large door, but it revealed three shelves hidden inside the closet. There was something folded on the shelves, something made of leather. He wondered if old Barbara was into sadomasochism? "Whip me teenage babe," he murmured, recalling the title to an old song he used to love.
He grabbed one of the leather outfits and unfolded it.
There was no smile on his face as he realized what he was holding, but there was a grin of satisfaction. The large yellow bat emblem on the chest told him everything he needed to know.
Quickly, he folded the uniform back and put everything the way it was supposed to be, making it appear that he had never found the hidden door. He even took the time to wipe down the surfaces and got down on his hands and knees to look for his own hairs.
Twenty minutes later he came downstairs to find Barbara spitting something onto the floor, her faces was puffy and red from the tears and it look like someone had slapped her hard across the face. The rest of her body was taking on a pale color and the Joker realized that she was awake by pure force of will. It made sense though and he secretly admired the Batman for the effort and time he had put into her.
"Who?" he asked, his voice deep. It was obvious that someone had decided to have their way with his prize.
One of the henchmen pointed to a larger man who was puffing his chest up. He wanted to fight, but the Joker didn't have the time. He ordered his other men to kill him. Four pistols rang out in unison and the fifth man fell.
The Joker went over to the telephone and dialed. "Hello, 9-1-1? I have an emergency. Yes. Well, I just shot and raped a woman and I think she's dying. Yes, I'm serious. Really. My name? I'm Batman."
He laughed into the phone, his high-pitched cackling and Barbara managed to get out a final word before her ordeal claimed her. "Bastard…"
The Joker bent down and gave her a kiss on the forehead and then gathered his men. Together, they ran off into the night.
* * * * *
Her eyes opened slowly, the light painfully boring into her brain, turning on her other senses. She smelled baby powder and antiseptic ointment. She heard footfalls on hard tiles and an intercom paging someone in the distance. He felt the various tubes stuck into her body. She also felt a dull pain in her back.
Her vision took a few seconds to focus, her eyes apparently having grown lazy since she last opened them. For the briefest of moments, she hoped that all of it had been an awful dream, but then when she saw the face staring back at her, the eyes red from tears, she knew the truth.
"Hi," Dick Grayson said, his voice soft with a slight tremble. In the bright light of the hospital room, she noted that he had a face without flaws; he was perfect in almost every way. He had the physique of a Greek god, the heart of a poet and the bravery of Superman.
In his secret life, he was the former Robin, once sidekick to the Batman. Now he was operating with the Titans as Nightwing and had since left Gotham City for New York. He was a few years younger than her and had been her first real crush. Yes, he was almost perfect she thought.
"He has been by your side almost non-stop," a sultry voice said. It had an odd accent to it and Barbara recognized it immediately as belonging to Kory Anders, the alien super-model, super-hero and girlfriend of the man with the doe eyes. "His devotion to your friendship would not allow him to even eat."
The Tamarran princess was tall, well over six feet tall with flowing brown hair that only accented her bronze skin. She was a perfect specimen of female and Barbara suddenly felt ugly and small. She silently cursed herself as she realized that feelings of loathing often were part of the post-rape experience.
"My father," she said, her voice raspy. Dick immediately reached for a glass and handed it to her. The water was cool and refreshing.
"He's out of the hospital now; Batman saved him," Dick said quietly. They were in a private room but you never knew when someone might walk in. A careless word in front of an orderly or nurse could end the career of the Batman. Even though Nightwing and Batman did not work together or even speak to each other, they still respected the code of secrecy.
"The Joker?" she asked. Dick told her he had been captured and put back in Arkham Asylum. He then explained that the district attorney was still looking into whether or not any charges would be filed against the madman for his crimes.
"Some members of the city council are saying it would be a waste of time," he said without any further detail. She was still too weak to deal with the all of the details of the corruption that had been seen regarding the case. "Kory, would you call Bruce and let him know what's going on? He can contact her father."
Kory smiled, her alien pupiless eyes glistening and she bent down to give Dick a kiss. Barbara was reminded of the Joker's parting affection.
When she had gone, Dick sighed. "You've been out of it for three weeks. The bullet narrowly missed your spine. We thought you were going to lose a kidney, too, but the doctors were able to patch you up pretty good. They say it looked a lot worse than what it was."
"I feel like someone kicked me in the stomach with the Batmobile," she joked. She noticed that he hadn't smiled. Dick had always been so jovial around her, his smile contagious. Certainly they had not spoken to each other for awhile, not since he started dating other women and she had went ahead and gotten married for no good reason, but she couldn't believe he had gone and grown up all of a sudden.
He was a big kid at heart, a man too old for his age and too young for his destiny. "What is it?" she asked, again her throat burned. He reached for the glass and she put a hand on top of his.
"I don't think I should be the one to tell you," he said, looking away.
Her first thought was that the rape had damaged her so much that a hysterectomy had been performed. She would never have children and a feeling of emptiness engulfed her. Since she had been a young girl she had dreamed of having a baby, of being a mother. "Tell me," she said, putting her head back against the pillow. She closed her eyes.
Another sigh and he began to speak in guarded tones. "The doctors have been running all kinds of tests on you, checking your blood and everything to make sure that the Joker didn't give you anything."
She began to pray to God, trying to reestablish the link that had somehow been severed during the attack. "Please don't let it be AIDS," she prayed.
"Barbara, you're pregnant."
A dark hand seemed to reach up from out of her mind and before she knew it, her world went black.