THE THIN LINE BETWEEN LOVE & HATE
Author: Jaguarin with the colaboration and edition of mighty Nightstorm
Summary: This story is developed in alternative universe where Barbara can walk.
Nothing was easy, everything was blurred.
She couldn't deal with this. One moment, she was laughing with her mother and the next one, her mother was gone. She let out a shuddering gasp.
She had kneeled next to her at the beginning, thinking she had fainted, but when she felt warmth between her fingers and noticed they were stained with blood, her mom's blood, that was when she realized she was in a nightmare.
She yelled at the people and asked them to stop the criminal standing a few meters from her, his eyes fixed on them.
He dropped the knife and ran away.
No one saw him, no one tried to stop him.
Afterwards, everything was so confusing and jumbled.
She couldn't remember well what had happened, only that, suddenly, she was inside a small room, waiting. Waiting for what, she didn't know exactly. She was in shock.
That was when he appeared.
The day she buried her mother, a tall, handsome man stood in front of her. She recognized him as the eccentric, millionaire friend of her mother, Bruce Wayne. He stood there for long seconds and, suddenly, he said that he was her father and that he would take care of her.
It was awkward.
Bruce Wayne was a wealthy businessman who lived in New Gotham. Her mom told her that he was often seen as an irresponsible, superficial playboy who lived off his family's personal fortune, but that he was a good man, and that she must not believe all the things that people said. She told her that he was known for his contributions to charity, through his Wayne Foundation.
Her mom said that he helped a lot of people, but he didn't want that people to know about him.
She had seen him dating her mom a few times. They seemed to be good friends, but she never gave her the slightest hint that he was her father.
She was stunned by the news. Afterwards, Bruce had explained to her that Selina's lawyer had looked for him immediately after finding about Selina's death. She had kept the name of her father a secret, but had left orders for her lawyer to reveal her secret to Bruce if something happened to her.
He, too, was surprised by the news, as much as her, but moved his lawyers quickly to keep her at his side and prevent her from ending up in an orphanage.
She was so numb and shocked that she couldn't react or understand what was happening
She discovered, in those painful days, secrets that her mother had kept from her. Alfred, the loyal butler of Mr. Wayne and a friend of her mother, too, knew so much about their lives.
She was Helena Kyle.
Her name was Helena Kyle, not Helena Wayne.
She would never accept his name.
She wanted to keep her mother's name forever. She had been the most wonderful, loving, sweet person she would ever know. She had taught her everything she knew, she had made her everything she was now.
She was not sure whether or not she could survive without her.
It was so difficult.
She still couldn't understand why she agreed to go with him, maybe it was because she didn't have anywhere else to go, maybe it was because she was shocked and all she wanted was to die and not feel, to die to be with her mom.
Being with him was hell. She couldn't talk with a man that she didn't know and now claimed be her father. Why hadn't her mother told her anything? It was so hard to understand.
What was she doing here?
And Barbara was hurt-- a crazy man had shot her in her apartment. She was in intensive care and she couldn't visit her. She had been the closest friend of her mother, and she had always been nice with her.
She felt defeated.
She ran away from the manor a few nights to go to see her and had broken down inside her room. It broke her heart to see Barbara covered in tubes and that breather. She just sat at her side, holding her hand, praying that she would open her eyes. The smell of the hospital was nasty. It reminded her of the day her mom died. She couldn't stand it.
She couldn't sit there and watch Barbara die.
She was lost and so alone.
Helena lifted her eyes and looked around the foyer of the manor. The place was incredibly big and dark. So dark. She looked up at the high walls decorated with elegant paintings. She felt like she was inside a museum.
The furniture and decorations were probably really expensive, but the place still felt cold, as cold as the incredible solitude in her soul.
How many people would love to live in a place like this? So luxurious, so comfortable, so incredible.
She still didn't know how many rooms it had, or how big the gardens were.
The first time she had dinner with 'her father,' it had been a disaster, he had barely opened his mouth. They didn't have anything in common.
It was not her place, it was not her home.
She just wanted go out and run-- run until her lungs exploded, run until she couldn't run anymore and just stopped thinking and feeling.
She was so tired of feeling.
"Are you hungry, Miss Helena?"
She turned her head and found the smile of Bruce Wayne's gentle butler, Alfred Pennyworth. He was the only person that had been warm and kind with her since she had arrived there.
"Is there something with which I may help you?"
He walked toward her with his hands behind his back, looking around. "Impressive place."
"Yes." The girl nodded.
"Do you want to see Miss Barbara?"
The girl shook her head; she already had seen her, and it hurt her too much to see her lying in the hospital surrounded by tubes and medical stuff. "I can't…"
"She was your friend. Why not?"
"You don't understand…" Helena bit her lips. "She will die… I can't watch her die."
"The doctors are optimistic." Alfred understood she was afraid to lose the redhead, too. "They say she is doing fine. She will be fine; don't lose your faith."
"But she has been unconscious for almost fifteen days…" Helena mumbled, lowering her head.
"She is a strong woman." He smiled gently at her. "Keep your hopes up."
"I'm trying, but it's so hard."
"I know, it was a hard blow for all of us, your mother was a great human being."
The girl was silent a few seconds before asking, shyly, "Did you know about my mother and my father?"
"And… did you know I was…. his daughter?"
"Well, your mother kept the secret, but… I realized it when I saw you. You are so much like him."
The girl didn't say a word, she just stared at a painting in front of her. She couldn't hide her sadness. He noticed it and tried to distract her.
"Have you been in the gardens?" Alfred asked.
"I don't like flowers."
"Do you want me to show you the manor? Since you arrived three weeks ago, you have been locked in your room almost all the time."
The brunette didn't answer.
"Let me ask you another way. Would you be so kind as to join me in checking the rooms of the house? I'm a bit old and I sometimes I have to climb on a chair to lock the upper windows."
"Old?" she looked at him.
"Yes, pretty old."
"I saw you yesterday doing pretty well on a ladder and cleaning the chandelier."
"Well," he explained, gently rubbing his knee, "today I don't know why, but my leg hurts."
"Your leg hurts," Helena repeated skeptically.
"Yes, quite a bit…. and it would be much easier for you with your skills."
She smiled, Alfred knew she was half-meta. She'd known him since she was a kid. "All right."
They began to walk inside the manor, it was bigger that she expected. She didn't know there were so many rooms inside.
"Why would a single man live alone in this big place?'" she asked.
"It's special. His parents lived here. This has always been his home."
"Yeah. I wish I could stay at my home too," the brunette said, climbing up a window to close it.
"This is your home, too, Miss Helena," Alfred said.
"I don't think so."
"All the things you see around are yours, as are all the things that belong to Master Bruce."
She jumped down and landed in front of him. "This is his stuff, not mine."
"But you are his daughter."
"Just in name," the young woman responded, walking to the next room. "We are nothing. We don't feel anything for each other. I don't know him. It's hard to call a stranger 'dad'."
"Just give it some time," he said, following her.
"I don't like this place very much."
"You will love it. It's nice."
"How long did my parents date, Alfred?"
"Many years," the butler answered, holding his hands behind his back, while they walked down the long corridor toward the main hall. "It was the first time in his life that I saw him smile and laugh."
"And why didn't they marry?"
"I think they had different interests, but they remained very good friends."
"I know," Helena said, stopping in front of a big room. "I saw him dating Mom sometimes. Wow, what is this?"
"A gym, Master Bruce loves to train."
"I mean," the young woman walked inside, "this place is huge."
"Do you like gymnastics?"
"Mom made me take classes, it was easy for me."
"She said she wanted me to learn to handle my skills." The girl removed her jean jacket and her shoes before walking toward the rings.
"And do you like it?"
"I love it." She jumped toward the rings.
He watched her in amazement. She was graceful, fast, and incredibly agile. So much like her mother, so much like her father. She had too much of her parents, the stubbornness of Selina, her elegance, her beauty, and, like Bruce, she didn't show her feelings, she was hard to read, but had a determination as strong as steel.
She just needed time.
It was difficult for father and daughter. Helena spent almost all her time locked away in her room. Bruce also spent so much time locked inside his own room.
Why had Selina never mentioned Helena was his daughter before? He never could understand it. Maybe their life could have been different. There were so many "if's", so many questions with no answer.
He was used to being alone and closed his heart to his feelings. He had opened it to Selina, but many things had separated them in the end.
Now she was gone and he had discovered they had a daughter. Helena looked so much like her mother - - her expressions, she reminded him of her at every movement.
Now he knew why Selina had gone to Paris, where she raised her child, their daughter. Selina was an independent woman; she didn't want to tie him to her just because of a baby.
Maybe his life would be different if she had told him about her. But she kept Helena a secret, maybe afraid that some of his enemies or her enemies would hurt the girl… and she was right, but, maybe, if they had talked, they could have found a way to work it out and live as a family.
He had lost his family as a child. He had forgotten what having a family was like and, now, Helena was his family. But what could he say to her? The girl was very affected by her mother's loss. All the tragic events had happened just three weeks ago.
He could handle the most important company in the country and deal with the most dangerous criminals, but he didn't have a clue about how to take care of a teenager.
He knocked on her door. It was weird that he felt nervous. He knocked on the door again and heard her saying he could come in.
The room was dark. He stepped inside and noticed she was sitting on the bed, looking at her hands.
He rubbed his hands nervously and looked at her. "How are you?"
He didn't know what to say. What should he say to a girl that he had just met a few weeks ago and that he just realized was his daughter?
"Barbara is doing fine…" he finally offered, after a long silence "She woke this morning."
"Really?" Helena's heart jumped in happiness and she lifted her head to see him.
He could see her eyes; they were blue, as blue as Selina's.
"Yes," he paused, "but they keep her drugged to help with the pain. It will take her several months to recover. The bullet damaged her spine… we were afraid she wouldn't walk again, but… the doctor says she can recover."
Helena felt a punch in her stomach. "Will she walk again?"
"Yes, but she will need intense therapy. I'm preparing to send her to England."
"England?" Barbara was leaving? That sounded really bad. "Why England?"
"There is a new clinic that just opened. It's run by a friend of mine. He developed a new technology that will heal the damage in her spine, but it will take months…"
Helena's face couldn't hide her sadness. She didn't expect that Barbara would go so far. She couldn't see her. The redhead had always been supportive of her.
"She is alive, Helena," Bruce said. "That's the important thing and, with help, she will walk again… Otherwise, she could be stuck in wheelchair the rest of her life."
"I don't want that!" Helena said in a hurry.
"I know, no one wants it. We are doing our best to help her. Maybe we can go visit her this weekend. The doctor has restricted her visits, but I can talk with them."
"Good…" Bruce didn't know what else to say. "Do you need anything?"
"No." How could she say she felt her heart still bleeding, that she wanted her mom back, that she wanted to be hugged. The only good thing was that Barbara is alive. She wanted to cry.
"I see… I'll be here if you need anything. Call me or Alfred, all right?"
"So, you are fine?" he asked again.
"Yes." She looked at him, wanting him to see that she felt so alone, but it seemed he didn't understand her message. He mother would have understood. Barbara would have understood.
"Okay, see you then." He stepped back and exited the room.
She watched him go, feeling her heart shatter into thousands of pieces. Barbara was leaving, she would be alone. She missed her mom, she wanted her mother. She felt terribly empty.
A tear rolled down her cheek.
Helena stood at the main door of the hospital. The floor was white, blindingly white. The doors opened automatically. She stared inside, visitors walked inside, as did doctors; she could see easily through the glass doors.
The place was elegant. It almost looked like a hotel, but she hated it. The smell disgusted her. She could smell that scent so easily, that scent that had filled all her senses the night her mother had died.
The smell of alcohol and antiseptic.
The smell of pain and death.
She wanted to flee, to forget it existed. But Barbara was there and this was her last chance to see her. She would be traveling to Europe early the next day. She didn't know for how long, and the thought of it crushed her heart.
Barbara was her only family now.
Bruce Wayne might be her biological father, but she didn't know him. He was a perfect stranger. This was so crazy, so surreal.
"Are you going to come in, Miss Helena?" Alfred asked, standing at her side.
She didn't answer, she kept her gaze fixed inside the lobby.
"Master Bruce got you a pass to see Miss Barbara. We can go inside."
The brunette looked at him in silence.
"I don't want to go in there."
"Miss Helena, she will leave today to go to England. You might not see her for a long time."
"I know, but… I don't like the hospital."
"She will be happy if you visit her, if you wish her luck. She will be gone a long time."
Her blue eyes locked on him with infinite sadness. "I don't want her to leave."
He rested his hand on her shoulder. He never touched people, out of respect, but, this time, he knew she needed to feel support.
"She needs to go," he said softly. "If we want her to recover, she needs to go."
"I know… it's just that…" Helena bit her lips, trying to not cry. "It hurts… it hurts, Alfred, you know? I already lost my mom…."
"She will come back, you must look at it in a positive way. You want to see her healthy again.."
"Come on." He smiled at her "She asked for you."
"Yes, she told her father she wanted to see you. He told me."
The girl sighed and nodded. "All right…."
She walked inside the building, feeling that hated smell fill her nostrils. It was so awful. She felt butterflies in her stomach and all her muscles stiffen.
"Are you all right, Miss Helena?" Alfred asked when they were inside the elevator.
"I'm fine," she lied. She felt so nervous to see Barbara again.
The young girl walked inside the room alone. Alfred and Barbara's dad, Commissioner Gordon were in the lobby.
The room was small, all white with heavy curtains blocking the sun. A flower arrangement was on a small table.
And the smell, that hated smell, was inescapable.
Helena's eyes fixed on Barbara. She was lying on the bed with her eyes closed, covered with tubes and machines, immobilized to the bed. An annoying beep showed her heart rhythm. She looked so lifeless, pale, fragile.
She had been shot in her abdomen and one of the bullets had damaged her spine.
The girl felt a knot in her throat and tears filling her eyes. It hurt see her like that. She wanted to hug her, kiss her, say she missed her and that she needed her now, more than ever. That she felt so alone and desperate, that she was all she had in the world.
She wanted to feel Barbara hugging her.
Tears flowed from her eyes.
Helena walked toward Barbara and stood next to her. She let her hand caress the redhead's arm until she reached her hand and laced her fingers with hers.
Barbara squeezed her hand back.
She felt a sudden jolt of joy in her heart and lifted her head to her.
The redhead half opened her eyes. She was drugged, but she recognized the girl immediately, smiling at her.
Helena smiled back. "Hi."
"I'm sorry…" Barbara whispered, dazed "I heard about your mom…"
The brunette squeezed Barbara's hand harder when she heard the mention of her mother. It still hurt, and she knew it would hurt forever. She didn't want to let Barbara go. She wanted her to stay with her.
"I wanted to be there," Barbara said with a low voice. She felt drowsy and sleepy. "I heard about your mom on the TV, but… it was when…"
"Don't worry, don't think about that," Helena interrupted, leaning to look at her "You must recover now. Bruce said you are moving to England, that you will be fine."
"Yeah, they say that." The redhead closed her eyes for brief seconds. She wanted to talk with Helena but she felt so tired, so numb. It was so hard to think straight. She hated being drugged.
The girl smiled lightly. "You will be fine…"
Barbara mumbled something inaudible.
Helena looked at her, tears filling her eyes. She couldn't bear to be alone, to have someone else ripped from her life. "Take me with you," she begged quietly.
"Uh?" the redhead asked, half opening her eyes.
"I... I'll miss you," the girl said, unable to find to courage to voice her pain and loneliness a second time.
"I'll miss you, too," the woman said, feeling her eyes closing, they were so heavy.
A doctor walked inside the room at that moment.
"Good afternoon, excuse me. We need to take her for some medical exams before her transport."
Helena nodded and leaned down to kiss her cheek. "I'll see you soon. Good luck."
"Take care," the redhead said in a barely audible voice, closing her eyes.
Helena stepped back, watching how the doctors moved the bed out of the room. Her eyes followed the redhead until she disappeared behind the door. She felt her heart breaking and a deep sadness, knowing the person closest to her would be so far away for so long.
She fell into a chair in the room and cried.