Disclaimer: Batman belongs to DC Comics.

A/N: Written for the "Symbol" theme at http://batfic-contest(dot)livejournal(dot)com.


She remembers what it felt like to prowl the streets of Gotham bearing that symbol across her chest. A symbol of a legend, a myth greater and more powerful than she alone as a girl in a mask could ever be. A symbol that rendered the most intimidating scum of Gotham paralyzed with fear.

But now Barbara's days of wielding that symbol are long over.

Rolling her way home through the dark alley streets, she knows how her dad would reprimand her like she was still his little girl. She shouldn't be out this late, alone, in one of the most crime-ridden cities in the States.

The mugger waiting behind the next corner would agree. He thinks she's a fool, a ready victim. He thinks he's hit the jackpot. Nothing but a bespectacled cripple woman in a wheelchair heading straight into his trap, and no one around to help her.

When she passes within arm's reach, he jumps out and thrusts the blade in front of her face, jerking his head toward her purse. She looks him in the eyes.

Within one second, the eskrima sticks are out of their armrest compartment, in her hands, knocking the knife away and bashing the creep over the head. One second—long enough to see the fear in his eyes before he passes out.

She gets out the rope, binds the thug's hands and feet, and leaves an anonymous tip for the authorities on her cell. By the time they arrive, their benefactor is already gone.

When she reaches home safely, she allows herself the smallest of smirks.

Barbara can no longer rely on a symbol to strike fear into the hearts of criminals.

But the results are the same anyway.