For disclaimers, please see chapter 1.


I had to admit the music was beautiful.

I stopped for a minute to listen as we waited to enter the church. The Waynes had been attending St. Michael's for close to two hundred years. I smiled, and juggled Helena and my purse as I shook hands with the priest. Edward Nigma stood behind us, dressed very conservatively, the only concession to his criminal persona was the dark tie with bright green question marks. As Edward shook hands and chatted with Bruce, the three of us found a pew toward the front.

"Hello, Bruce, Selina. Good morning, Mr. Nigma. Is that Helena? May I?"

"Certainly, Commissioner." Bruce passed her over, then added, "Hello, Dick, Barbara. You know Mr. Edward Nigma?"

Barbara parked her wheelchair at the end of the next pew, then said, "I believe I've heard of you, Mr. Nigma. An inventor, aren't you?"

Edward positively beamed with pleasure. "Why, yes, I've invented a few gizmos and gewgaws here and there." Helena sneezed from the tobacco odor on Jim's clothes, and Edward stood, whipping out a handkerchief with green question marks, with an "Allow me!" Jim nodded in thanks, and helped Helena blow her nose.

Another couple came up, and Bruce said, "Commissioner, I'd like to introduce Lois Lane and her husband, Clark Kent of Metropolis." He added, "They're Helena's godparents." Hands were shaken, and another couple joined us.

"Harley! Sly, how good of you to join us!" I said. "Harley, I didn't expect to see you."

"Sheila arranged a furlough for me," she said. She smoothed her dress and sat down. "Sly was nice enough to escort me. How'ya doin', Ca..." I shook my head. "... Err, Selina?"

"Good, I'm glad I was able to help you." A gray haired lady had taken a seat before the organ, turning off the recording. Dr. Phillips and Sheila scurried in, and claimed the end of the pew next to Lois and Clark. There was a murmur as people got settled, and Helena was passed back to me.

I heard a burst of automatic weapons fire, and the Joker's trademark laugh, followed by cursing as his gun jammed. Harvey spilled out of a confessional, and approached the maddened Joker.

"Jack. How did you get out?" Harvey snarled, yanking the automatic rifle out of Joker's grip, and clearing the stovepiped round. Flipping the safety, he absently handed it to Detective Montoya, then grabbed Joker by the collar. "We gave our word to Selina we would be on our best behavior. We will not see it disavowed by you. We are getting very tired of you, and are of two minds to take care of you ourselves. Permanently." Harvey shook the Joker with his left hand, pulling out his coin with the right. I watched with the others as the coin made lazy spirals in the air.

"Scarred side up, Jack. At least you're in the right place to meet your maker," Harvey sneered, stowing his coin and pulling out a revolver, which he shoved up Joker's nose.

"My son, wait. Do you wish to commit murder in the house of the Lord?" an elderly priest asked.

"What do you propose, Father? You know Joker's history." Joker was trying to pull something from his jacket. Herr Kittlemeyer stepped up, and extracted a rubber chicken from the clown's jacket, then stepped back. Harvey pulled the hammer back to full cock.

"Perhaps if we were to take this matter outside? The state of this man's soul is not yours to judge."

"Blood is so difficult to get out of hardwood floors, too. Let's go, Jack. You've got a meeting with a Higher Authority." Harvey decocked the revolver and holstered it, then flipped again. He grunted, then said, "After you, Father." Montoya, Bullock, and Gordon followed them outside.

I turned back to the front of the church as Father Tim tapped on the microphone. "We apologize for the interruption. If everyone will please turn to page 33 in their hymnals, 'A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.'"


We chatted in the parlor while the men congregated in the drawing room. Sheila asked, "Selina, do you remember Mrs. Harris? I'm representing her."

"I'll give a referral if ya want!" Harley piped up.

Sheila smiled, and said, "Since you're here, Harley, if you don't mind, I'd like to get a statement from you. She mentioned you, and is claiming she was only doing it to protect her daughter, who's in prison on a possession charge."

"Oh, I fergot about that! I set that up for Puddin', and I ... Sure, I'll talk to you! What's the charge?"

"Grand theft and forgery. I've got a tape recorder in my purse. Excuse us, everyone!" Sheila called.

Lois rolled her eyes, and asked, "Is Harley always that much of a ditz, or is it an act?"

I raised my eyebrow, and said, "She's extremely bright. Why she acts that way, I don't know. Why don't we see what the menfolk are doing?"


Epilog: Ten years later:

"Mattie! Mattie, are you here?" I called.

"Out here, Mom!"

I sighed, and opened the wrought iron gate to the family cemetery. J'onn had, for his own, unknown reasons, refused to switch us back into our proper bodies. We had overcome our reluctance and distaste of magic, and asked Zantanna if there was a spell that would change us. The only one she knew of was a temporary one.

I walked down the stone path to the central mausoleum. Why my daughter spent so much time out here, I didn't know. I walked up the steps, and found her sitting cross-legged on a marble sarcophagus. There were ... flickers ... in the air around her. I asked, "Mattie, what are you doing? You know we've got to leave shortly for the service."

"Just talking to Alfred, and Gramma, and Grampa, and great-aunt Sophie," she said, smiling. "They always give me good advice, and they'll keep an eye out for Uncle Jim. He hasn't arrived yet."

"Um, honey? We've got to go to Uncle Jim's service, you know." Lung cancer had finally taken Jim Gordon. The two heart attacks hadn't helped either.

"I know." She flipped off the sarcophagus, spinning and landing in a combat crouch. "When will you let me go out with you at night?"

"You shouldn't do that in a dress," I said. I looked her over, and brushed her off. She returned the favor, and extracted a couple of brambles from my skirt.

"Mom! I'm wearing tights! And like, who's gonna see? Everyone here's related!" She crossed her arms and glared at me, then ruined it by giggling. "You didn't answer my question."

I sighed. My daughter definitely had her tomboy side. "We've decided that you can go out with us when you can defeat one of the four of us in Zogger. It's your choice of Dad or me, Uncle Dick or Aunt Sheila. When you can defeat all four of us, you can solo." I took her hand, and we left the crypt. She turned and waved, calling "Later!"

"So, Mom? What about that letter I got from Massachusetts?"

"It came without stamps or postmarks, or a return address. It just ... appeared, which was suspicious, and we wanted to check it for hazards. You can look at it when we get back from the service. It's an invitation to a boarding school in Boston." I took her hand, and continued, "Aunt Barbara is still checking the school out. However, Aunt Zee knows of it, and she recommends it, or another school in Scotland." I glanced at her, and asked, "Any more ... funny stuff ... happen?"

"Aside from my talking to ghosts? Nope."

She looked a little too innocent, in my opinion. "You can't lie very well. We'll have to work on that." She groaned, and I said, "C'mon. Spill it. What's one more gray hair?"

"You don't HAVE any gray hair, Mom!" I looked at her, and she wilted. "Okay, okay. I hate Cresswell Academy for stuck-up junior snots anyway. Annalisa Ford was going on about how she had finally started, and she had a boyfriend that she was letting get, well, you know, CLOSE." She kicked a rock. "Why couldn't I go to public school?"

"Education and security. You're a Wayne, kid. You know that." I kicked a rock toward her with the side of my pump, and she kicked it back to me. "Look, today's June third. Let's give Aunt Barbara another week or so, all right? After all, she's just lost her Dad, and that's rough." Mattie nodded, and I continued, "Based on what she and Aunt Zee say, we'll sit down together and decide if you should continue at Cresswell, go to Massachusetts, or even Scotland. Fair enough?" She nodded, and I asked, "So, what did you do to Annalisa?"

"Turned her hair red. Blood red," she giggled.

I hugged her, and asked, "You get caught?"

My daughter snorted, and hugged me back. "'Course not! I did it with, y'know..." She wiggled her fingers, and I ruffled her hair.

I heard a cough, and Bruce asked, "May I join you?" I held out an arm, and he folded us in his strong arms. I sighed. Even if I couldn't have my own body back, I at least had a loving family. I thought, Damn you, J'onn!

Mattie coughed, then said, "Okay, too mushy." She wiggled out of the hug, and asked, "Dad?" Bruce took her other hand, and cocked an eyebrow at her. "Would you be terribly offended if I used Mattie Kyle when I go off to Massachusetts or Scotland?"

"What's wrong with Helena Martha Wayne?" he asked.

"Well ... Now, when I'm introduced as Wayne, people think I'm some sort of snobby rich bitch. It's really hard to make friends. I'd rather be more ... common, y'know." She found a rock, and kicked it toward me, and I kicked it toward Bruce. He returned it to Mattie, who kicked it back at him. "Y'know, like the people you guys help at night. Everyday people."

Bruce and I shared a look. He stopped, and turned, crouching down in front of Mattie. "Helena Martha Wayne. You can call yourself anything you and the school agree on, as long as you remember that you'll always be our daughter, and you'll always be a Wayne."


The parking lot was jammed. Bruce parked the Rolls, and a battered Ford station wagon took the next slot. The family piled out, dressed in their Sunday best, and Bruce offered, "Can I help?"

"Thank you kindly, Mister ..." the older man said.

"Wayne. Looks like you've got a handful with your kids. Can we help you with something?"

I finished inspecting Mattie, then turned to smile at the wife, and held out my hand. "I'm Selina, and this is our daughter Helena. Need a hand?"

She shook it, then said, "Susan and Henry Stewart." She tisked, then continued to her kids, "I swear, Joseph, child, I don't know where you get the dirt. You were clean when we left the house!" She swiped at him with a handkerchief.

He rolled his eyes, then said, "Mom!" Mattie grabbed his elbow, and said, "It's genetic. They're mothers. C'mon, let's get some good seats. I'm Mattie. I hate Helena. Mom and Dad only call me that when they're ticked off." He smiled, then said, "I'm Joe. I know what you mean." They moved off toward the church.

I shared a look with Susan, then helped her with her brood, while Bruce was helping Henry with a large flower arrangement. We waited to cross the street, and I took the hands of two of her children. The light changed, and we crossed, then got in line to enter the church.


The church was packed. Every off-duty member of the force was there, in his or her dress blues. Current and former city council members, mayors, and politicians of every stripe were there. The coffin was open, allowing people to pay their last respects. Dick and Barbara waited in the vestibule, accepting condolences. We waited patiently in line, Barbara barely holding herself together. Bruce and Henry added the arrangement to the collection of flowers, dusted themselves off, and joined us.


"You know, I thought you'd be ... different, you know. Stuck up. But you're just regular folks." Susan offered tentatively.

"I know the type you mean. People with more money than sense. If you can't trace your blood back to Plymouth Rock, you're not worth talking to." I snorted, and added, "I put my shoes on one at a time, just like every one else, thank you very much. The only reason we go to the social events is to pry money out of them for charity. I could care less about some rich idiot's polo game. The horse would be a better conversationalist."

Susan frowned, then asked, "But then, why do you send your daughter off to a private school? What's wrong with public schools?"

"Nothing, but Mattie doesn't know she's been the target of four kidnapping attempts. She doesn't like Cresswell Academy, but the academics and the security are excellent. That's one reason Bruce and I do full scholarships there for the daughters of officers killed in the line, and at Morrison for the sons. One less thing for an officer's family to worry about is their children's education." I smiled at Susan, and said, "I wasn't born into a wealthy family. My sister is a nun, and we grew up in an orphanage. I know what it's like to squeeze a penny until it bleeds." I shrugged, and added, "Now that I've got a couple of extra zeros in the checking account, it's my turn to help people out."


# Chapter 36: Of Endings and Beginnings