Karma (David Cain)
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. This is going to be a two-shot with the next one being Cass. R/R if you like the Cain family.
His motions are almost robotic as he starts the film projector. He does this task so often that he knows the motions by heart. He sits in his chair and watches. As the grainy images play before his eyes once more, he recalls today's date and wonders just where she is now. He knows she knows the significance of today's date. It haunts her, he imagines. It's so ingrained into her memory that it will stay with her until the day she dies. Today is August 8th. Today is the day that David Cain painfully realizes his daughter has grown up.
He does not do this out of spite. Cain knows that is what Batman thinks. He does this to somehow torture her. He does this to derive malicious glee from watching the corruption of an innocent girl and her transformation into a killing machine. Cain knows that's what the Batman thinks. But the Bat doesn't know anything, not a damn thing, when it comes to him or his little girl. Cain smiles in satisfaction when he thinks of this. The Bat will never know anything. The scenes scrawl before his eyes. He sent her the best he could find and she took them apart. It was child's play. He laughs inwardly at the phrase. He idly wonders, not for the first time, what life was really like for his little girl. Some part of him wishes that he had never sired her at all. He didn't mind having children nor did he mind teaching them the family business. But David Cain always enjoyed doing everything on his own terms. He would've trained his child but he would've done it without selling the child's soul to Ra's al Ghul. That part would be left out of the family photo album if Cain had his way.
He sighs deeply as he remembers those early days with a certain fondness. David Cain loved his daughter despite what everyone thinks. He still loves her, not because of her perfection but because she is his and she is his perfection. All parents are proud when their children succeed. So, no, he does not watch these tapes day in and day out because he derives some sick pleasure from them. He is not the Joker or the Scarecrow or Two-Face. If anything, reliving his daughter's childhood only serves to amplify his sadness. She wasn't ready. Why did he have to push her when she wasn't ready? Why didn't he know what would happen? He tries to answer these questions as the recording of that fateful moment begins to play. She wasn't ready and he pushed her. He had thought that after watching him do it enough times, she would become numb to the sight of death. Cain realizes he should've learned from network television that watching murder always has less impact than actually committing murder. He realizes that all those idiot politicians were wrong. Watching violence doesn't desensitize your kids. Cain watches the kill again. How can something so perfect turn out to be a disaster? Like all his other questions, he can't answer this one no matter how many times he watches the film.
David Cain believes in very few things aside from always keeping one's gun handy at all times and the notion that a shot of Vodka can cure any ailment known to man. However, Cain believes in something called "karma". He knows that the laws of karma will catch up to him in the end. He wonders if his failure with Cassandra is a form of punishment for all the deaths he has caused. He wonders if he is doomed to watch that failure, that oh so perfect and beautiful disaster, over and over again as some sort of penance for his own crimes. People make a big deal about the law and how it does or doesn't punish those who break it. Cain knows the power of guilt, knows that everyone forgot just how much worse it is to punish yourself for your mistakes. He knows that Cassandra feels that guilt too.
The tape rolls to a close as the scene reaches its blood-stained climax. On August 8th, Cassandra Cain committed her first murder and David Cain lost the daughter that he loved more than anyone could understand. Neither of them have been the same since the date. He knows that both of them lost something that day. He refuses to call it innocence because he lost that so long ago. But every parent loses something when they look at their child and realize that he or she isn't a child anymore. The tape draws to a close as David Cain watches his little girl lose her innocence once more. He sits alone in the darkness of his home and quietly opens the bottle of Vodka at his side. He raises the bottle in a toast to the blank screen. He knows she's out there somewhere, his little girl who is no longer his little girl. He knows that karma will catch up to them all one day if it hasn't already. David Cain takes a swig from his bottle, intent on drinking himself to sleep this evening. And even in his alcohol-soaked dreams, David Cain will continue replaying those images in his mind and will never answer any of his questions. He doesn't have to wait for karma to catch up to him. It already has.
(Author's Note): Part two will be up soon.