Chapter 1

The girl in the alley wasn't moving. Her body was too heavy, her back ached, her head throbbed, and her mouth was as dry as the Grand Canyon. She was clad in nothing but a dark blue oversized T-shirt that had seen many years and was worn down to almost nothing. She lay next to a few beat up trash cans and some old boxes hidden from anyone who wasn't looking.

Maybe that was the reason Huntress didn't see her, not at first. She had chased a burglar to the alley after thwarting his plans of petty thieving, knocking him back he crashed into the pile of nasty old boxes, ready to tie him up. She had had a long day and was thankful he stopped fighting back. When she pulled the knot tight and heaved him to his feet was when she notices the girl lying unconscious on her side, curled up in a tight ball.

Oh, God she's just a child. Don't let her be dead. She thought as she knocked the thief unconscious and set him down so she could approach the body.

Kneeling, she gently nudged the girl, for a split second she stopped to admire the girl's fiery red hair noticing how similar it was to a certain someone she knew. The girl didn't stir causing Huntress to gently flip her on her back and check her pulse. A second passed and she felt it, however slight it was.

"Oracle, we got a problem here." Huntress declared as she checked the girl's breathing. Looking closer now she could see an assortment of bruises and scrapes decorating pale skin. Huntress hissed, she could see the clear signs of a beating. What looked like finger marks were wrapped around the girl's neck and a split lip had scabbed over.

"What is it Huntress? Are you hurt?"

"No, there's a girl I find in an alley while chasing the thief. Oracle, she's been beaten. She's unconscious right now." Huntress checked to make sure her catch had stayed unconscious and tied up to see him right where she left him.

"Okay, calling for medical help righ-"

"No, don't!" Her instincts were yelling at her to not let someone take her away. There was something about her… she felt like she needed to stay with her.

"Huntress, what am I suppose to do? From what you say, she needs medical attention as soon as possible."

"I'm bringing her back to the Clock tower. Get your medical kit ready. I'll drop Mr. Sticky-fingers off at the police station on my way. Be ready."

"Huntres-" Huntress promptly switched off her comm. set. She didn't need Barbara lecturing her right now. She had work to do.

As gentle as possible she wrapped the girl's arms around her neck as if to give her a piggy back ride. Next, she picked up the thief. This was going to be difficult but she was going to have to make it work somehow. Making sure her hold was strong on the both of them she set off through the shadows, unseen as always.

Having deposited the thief at the station she was headed back to the Clock tower. Her cargo, now in her arms, stirred slightly but remained in her unconscious state. Huntress looked down in time to see a tear run down the girl's grimy streaked face.

"Huntress!" Barbara cried out in vain as she realized the younger girl had turned off her comm. She took in a deep breath and sighed. What is that girl doing? She knows no one is allowed in the Clock tower. What's come over her? Barbara started putting together the lecture she would give Helena when she gets back as she rolled away from the Delphi. Alfred stood there holding a silver platter littered with medical equipment.

"Geez! Alfred, you startled me." Barbara calmed down and motioned for Alfred to set the platter on the table. "You must be learning that from Helena. I never heard you arrive."

Alfred just smirked slightly and gave a small nod then hurried to busy himself with dinner. As he was leaving Dinah walked in to stand by Barbara. She had a science test tomorrow and had spent the evening studying instead of going on a sweep with Helena. From the looks of it, she had missed something.

"What's going on Barbara? The med kit is out. Is Helena ok…?"

"Yes, well she is at the moment. She's on her way back and she's bringing company."

"Company? But no one's allowed up here. Anyone I know?"

At that moment the elevator opened up to reveal Helena and the redheaded girl. Helena rushed in and placed the girl on the table. Turning to Barbara she opened her mouth to say something.

"Eh, no. Later. First I need to tend to this girl. You and Dinah can go eat dinner. Tell Alfred to com assist me. I'll come talk to you when I'm done." Barbara interrupted firmly. Time to get to work.

After hours of waiting and Helena explaining the situation to Dinah, Barbara finally came to talk to them. She explained that the girl was fine. She has some bumps and bruises but nothing too serious and was unconscious due to exhaustion. Turning to Helena she gave an inquiring look.

"I don't know why I did it, Barb. I don't know. I felt something, like she needed protection, needed us. Don't look at me like that, kid." Dinah's jaw had dropped as she heard Helena talk. She had never heard the young woman sound so… mushy and protective. It was almost funny.

"Well, it was probably for the best. I ran some tests while I was at it. She's Meta. You must have sensed that Helena. Dinah, you should be getting to bed. We have to be at school early tomorrow, I have a meeting. Helena…"

"I'm staying here tonight. In case the kid wakes up after you guys leave." Barbara nodded and rolled to her room, ready for a long nights rest. The nameless girl's body flashed in her brain and she flinched. That poor girl. There had been sighs of years of beatings. She was so small too though her tests said that she was at least 15, probably 16. Malnutrition was most likely the cause. Just who is she?