There are many firsts in life.
A first word, a first step.
The first time you walk up the stairs of a school bus or into a classroom.
A first dance. A first date.
There are many 'normal' firsts in life – firsts nearly everyone experiences… but there are other types of firsts.
Firsts no one in any of the meetings her father had forced her to go to – though she only went to appease him – could ever understand.
They were meant to help her. To give her a helping hand – an ear, someone who knew what she was going through by losing the use of her legs. But no one in the meetings would ever understand her loss.
She'd tasted the wind.
The first time she pulled a cowl over her face. The first time she'd bagged a criminal.
The first time she'd saved a life.
The first time she'd called herself Batgirl… the first time she knew Batman trusted her at his side. Not as a partner – as an equal.
No, not another wheelchair-bound person could understand what it was like to lose the wind. The rush. The thrill.
No one had lost being Batgirl.
Barbara Gordon's hands slid quickly over the wheels of her chair, propelling her through the halls of the Gotham Police Station with ease. She'd gotten used to it – it had been six months now.
Various greetings and concerned faces met the daughter of the infamous Commisioner Gordon as she made her way through the headquarters she'd spent years in, whether doing side work for the police station, as Batgirl, or simply to bring her father the lunch he'd been to busy to pack.
She knew their names, their faces – the cards or flowers they'd sent.
She had no use for them, not right now.
Barbara Gordon was on a mission.
It was the first time she'd been there since it had happened. Since The Joker believed he'd gotten the last laugh. Barbara had barely been anywhere.
She wasn't ashamed – just tired of hearing 'I'm so sorry' or '…how are you?' Those cards, those flowers… those had been more than enough.
God, the first time she saw Bruce…
Focus, Barbara thought to herself, turning the last corner. Moments later she found herself at the end of the small hallway, pulling her wheels backward as she grabbed at the knob of the door in front of her.
The space was small – and such an easy task became harder than she'd like to admit. But she did it.
Her eyes met her challenge – the reason she'd come.
Fourteen… fifteen… sixteen… sevente—eighteen stairs.
Barbara took a breath, unbuckling the small fastening device that sat limply across her lap. She locked each brake, took a deep breath and threw herself forward.
She landed with a sick thud on the stairs, her glasses falling from her face. "Four stairs up," she said to herself. "Not … nng… bad, Babs."
Her palms lay flat against the fourth stair, her left hand moving behind her to the third stair for the glasses she'd lost. After a moment she grabbed at the fifth, then the sixth – pulling herself up one by one.
Her legs followed behind her lifelessly – she could hear them dragging but did her best to never look back. It didn't matter.
Each stair was one of his sickening, twisted laughs. She would beat him.
She was Barbara Gordon – the woman who'd fought hard to be more than a Commissioner's daughter. The woman who'd fought hard to make her father proud. To make Bruce proud.
To make herself proud.
She was Batgirl.
She grabbed at the eleventh.
She could hear his laughter – she could hear her legs. She winced as the toe of her left foot wedged itself between the eighth and ninth stairs. It wouldn't budge.
Her face fell limp to the next stair. The laughter.
"No," she said aloud, pushing away from the eleventh stair – her legs falling back as well. Sweat dripped from her forehead, clouding her lenses.
Twelfth, she lunged herself forward once more – grabbing, gripping, pulling from one stair to the next.
Her feet got caught again – she fell back, lunged forward.
Fell back, lunged forward.
Fell back, lunged forward.
Forward, forward. Forward.
Barbara let out a scream as she collapsed on the final stair. She'd made it – looking back only now, down the staircase to her chair. It looked so small, the stairs so massive.
She threw her arms into the air, grabbing at the doorknob of the upper door. Her sweaty fingers grazed it but fell back to the ground. There wasn't much room between the top stair and the doorway – and Barbara Gordon lay, her eyes fixated on the silver doorknob.
She had to reach it.
She leapt again – missing entirely.
Barbara couldn't fight it anymore – she'd come so far… the laughter was gone, at least for the moment…
But she'd tasted the skies.
Tears began to fall from her face, though not for long. She was stronger than this – she had no choice.
She wouldn't let him win.
A deep breath and the strongest push she had. She wouldn't fall short again.
Her hands wrapped around the door knob, most of her body hanging limp between her grasp and the floor not far below her. She twisted to the right and the door swung outward – and then she saw it.
Barbara used her arms to pull herself forward onto the cold cement – the wind whipping all around her. She continued to drag her legs behind her – forward. Forward. He wouldn't win.
She rested moments later, flipping to her back as she looked at the Bat Signal.
A quiet, tear-filled laughter escaped her lips.
She was Batgirl – but that was just it.
And as Batman lowered his goggles from a nearby rooftop, smiling for the first time in months, he knew as well as she did –
She was Oracle.