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fic: I walk Alone

Title: I Walk Alone
Pairing: Vague hints at Kate/Renee, Kate/Helena
Rating: PG
Summery: Three women over three winters
Written for Batfam xmas Exchange fo rijsg

Kate: Year 1.

The night had been a bitingly cold one, but even after entering the warmth of her apartment Kate still felt frozen. People had needlessly died tonight. Tomorrow her anger would warm her, but this evening, as she stepped into the shower, she was just too damn tired to feel much more than distant misery.

She washed herself quickly, warming her skin if not her whole self, and watched the blood and dirt disappear down the drain. After, she looked at her reflection in the bathroom mirror - her face was pale, the horror of the night clearly written across her drawn features.

She slipped on a T-shirt and moved silently through the hall. It was close to dawn and the thought of her empty bed was depressing. So it was a shock to see the form of a sleeping body illuminated in the dim light as she opened her door. She was sure yesterday’s fight would mean she was spending tonight alone.

Her fingers shook from fatigue as she pulled back the sheets and slid into the bed. It was only when a warm arm slipped around her that she truly started to thaw. The comforting smell of perfume, whisky and home chased away the demons of the last few hours.

Kate: Year 2.

“Goddamn it, Renee!” Kate said, “I don’t have time for this! And by the way, Chanukah started in November this year, but nice try.” She squeezed her eyes shut against the pain in her chest. There was a muttered apology on the end of the line, and Kate resisted throwing the phone.

“Merry Christmas,” she sighed. She felt stretched between anger and longing, but this was not the time for either. “Look, I’m busy, it’s been a rough night.”

“It always is,” Renee said, her voice thick with drink.

“Yeah,” Kate said, casting her eyes towards the woman sprawled elegantly on her couch.

Apart from the livid bruise and jagged cut running down the side of her face Helena looked the picture of relaxation. But under the surface her rage over the evening’s events was almost palpable. It made her almost glow with passion.

Kate shared the same anger. The holiday season in Gotham was always bad, and she just wanted something simple and good to chase away the evil out on the streets.

“Kate,” Renee said.

“I’m sorry,” Kate said. “I have to go. I hope you have a good Christmas.” She paused - the silence was deafening. “Take care, Renee.”

She hung up. She couldn’t decide if that made her feel better or worse.

“Problem?” Helena asked.


Kate: Year 3

The church bells were ringing and people were cheering, braving the snow to celebrate another year of surviving Gotham.

Kate, naked save for the steam that curled around her, was concentrating on extracting all the slithers and fragments of glass from her body. Her right side had taken most of the blast and her skin stung as she methodically removed each splinter, washing it clean with disinfectant and applying gauze where necessary.

She was tired, she ached, and the wounds from the shrapnel were like dozens of pinpricks biting at her flesh.

When she was done she cleaned the blood from the bathroom floor and walked gingerly to kitchen cupboard. From behind the sugar and boxes of crackers she pulled out a half drunk bottle of whisky.

This night had been a disaster, she had been seconds too late, and the devastated expression on Helena’s face as she dug out the blood soaked body of her friend had hurt more than the explosion. But she didn’t have time to dwell on it, what was left of the restaurant was still blazing, and the cries of the survivors had become her number one priority.

She hadn’t been able to tell who the woman Helena had rescued was, with the smoke and the blood, but she was relieved to find out she had been alive when pulled from the rubble; one thread of hope for the new year.

She looked at the bottle in her hand. She needed this tonight, needed the spice and the burn, needed it to drive away memory. Kate poured a glass and looked at the amber liquid. She slumped onto her sofa and held the glass out before her, feeling the warmth of the ghosts of her past.


She knocked it back. She hurt, but it wasn’t going to stop her going out there again tomorrow, and the next day.

“Happy new year.” She poured another shot.

Helena: Year 1

Helena watched Kate stride across the room, speaking into her phone with hushed angry tones. She was wearing an expression that just screamed 'talking to my ex' - from the sharp lines of her face, to the irritated flick of her hair. As she watched, Kate gave a final terse good bye and hung up.

Helena offered her a smile. She was a pragmatic woman and she wasn’t threatened by Kate’s past encroaching on her present. She would sacrifice a lot for this one moment of warmth, something to take her mind off the earlier events of the night.

“Problem?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.

“No,” Kate answered, her expression losing some of its tension. “Coffee?”


Kate brought their drinks and sunk onto the couch beside her. She reached out cool, pale fingers towards the bruise beginning to darken on her face. Helena allowed the touch, and Kate traced the torn edges where the skin had been broken.

“I’m sorry for what happed tonight,” she paused, “this might need stitches, I’ll get the kit.” She slid to her feet, her movements effortless despite the evening’s violence and exertion.

Helena reached up and caught her wrist “I’m just glad you were there – or I might be spending the evening with the fish in the river.”

Kate gave her a genuine smile, the first of the night. “What are friends for?” she said, her voice warm with promise lurking beneath the surface.

Helena: Year 2.

She had blood under her fingernails, dark crescents obvious in the stark hospital light. There was a buzzing in the back of her skull, but she didn’t know if it was from the explosion or the machines in the ward. She should be out there, hunting the man that did this, but instead she was just sitting.

It took an effort to shake herself free of her paralysis, but she jerked to her feet, startling Dinah who blinked at her with red rimmed eyes. “ I have to wash my hands,” she muttered, and made for the toilets without waiting for a response.

She almost felt like she was going to have a Lady Macbeth moment, even after she had scrubbed her hands thoroughly she felt unclean, guilty. It was the wrong blood on her hands, and she couldn’t help but feel impotent rage and shame. If she had killed Iversen, like she would have don before, then Barbara wouldn’t be in the other room fighting for her life. Helena had made a choice to play by the rules, and now someone she cared for was paying the price. She couldn’t decide who she was most angry at, herself, Iversen, or Batman.

Perhaps a little of each.

Batman would be here soon, to watch Babs struggle to breathe, to find Iversen and to bring him to justice.

Sometimes she felt Bat Justice didn’t amount t shit.

Still dazed, she walked out of the ladies and back to the waiting room. Dinah was pacing, making the small room feel even more claustrophobic - by contrast Cassandra was sitting as still as stone, her gaze unwavering.

“I need to get some air,” Helena blurted into the silence. She needed out before the rest arrived, she couldn’t face Batman’s condemnation or Dick’s wounded fear. She needed to get out, away from the harsh lights and the incessant buzzing.

Dinah nodded at her, “Keep your phone on.” She barely paused in her pacing.

Helena was half way down the stairs when she realized she wasn’t alone, Cassandra’s silent form was shadowing her. She didn’t stop, not until she was out the building sucking in a lungful of frigid air.

Cassandra laid a hand on her arm, reassuring in its strength. Helena didn’t know for sure, but she liked to think that Cassandra understood how conflicted she felt, how angry with the world she was.

She was surprised to find the idea was comforting.

Helena: Year 3

The Huntress crouched above London, a very different city to Gotham in terms of architecture, but a city was a city. Instead of the snow of home, there was a freezing dampness in the air and the buildings were traitorous and icy.

From her spot above the bustle of Knightsbridge, she waited. Iversen emerged from an unobtrusive office and headed towards the park. It had taken her a long time to track the bastard down, and she was going to make him pay. Her body was almost shaking with the need to end him.

Later, after a night spent in an exclusive bar, Iversen headed back to his suite in a prestigious hotel. Huntress was waiting for him.

In the end he pleaded for his life, but she knew what she had to do this time, she wasn’t going to make the same mistake again.

She felt no guilt.

She felt absolved.

Cassandra: Year 1.

Bruce Wayne’s family Christmas party usually missed Christmas by a couple of days. The holiday itself was spent in a countless round of rescue missions and fighting as Gotham’s criminal element hit the city in force. Barbara had told her every year was the same, but in the lull between the chaos of Christmas and the madness of New Year, those members of the family that could would get together to eat and drink - most of the time only a few of them made it.

This year there was almost a full house; even Bruce had taken a few hours before heading out. The warmth and friendly camaraderie was nice, but Cassandra felt outside of it, distant. Despite being among people she knew, some of whom she loved, she felt claustrophobic and inexplicably sad.

As soon as she could, she slipped away. Being up high always made her feel more secure, so she headed to the grand, gnarled rooftops of the manor. From there she watched the stars and wondered about family and traditions that she didn’t quite get.

“I wondered where you’d got to.” Steph’s soft voice didn’t startle her, and she listened for the rustle of cloth as her friend climbed up to her perch. “We missed you down there.”

Cassandra nodded, acknowledging that they might have.

“So, what’cha doing up here all alone?” Steph asked. “You feeling okay?”

“I am fine, Stephanie, thank you. I enjoyed the party, but I felt strange, like it was something I was watching, rather than participating in.”

Stephanie slipped an arm around her shoulders and Cassandra allowed herself to lean into the warmth. “I get that too, sometimes, that and all the tension! There is always someone mad at someone else during these things!” Steph chuckled, “But I guess that’s what it’s like having a big makeshift family. You'll get used to it, and even learn to love it!”

“I am glad you are here,” Cassandra said, and Stephanie hugged her a little tighter.

“You’ll love me even more when I show you what I’ve got for you!” Steph said, as she unwrapped a sweet smelling package. “Alfred’s mince pies – unbeatable!”

Cassandra had to agree, and she smiled as she chewed, listening to Steph chatter and gossip.

Tonight was a good night.

Cassandra: Year 2.

This year was a stark contrast to the family celebrations of the last, her fear for Barbara was a constant boiling in her belly. It warred with the certainty of her friend’s strength and ability to fight through her injuries. It was an unpleasant feeling and she well understood Dinah’s need to move while they waited. Helena looked shell shocked, staring at her hands with wide eyes.

Time was moving slowly as they waited, but Cassandra knew there was nothing she could do to help Barbara. However, she knew Huntress was in need, so when she left, Cassandra followed.

Helena was standing in the cold air, breathing fast. She was radiating anger and shame. Cassandra wasn’t sure what the feeling stemmed from, they were all upset they had been too late, too slow, but Helena was the one who had brought Iversen in. It had not been her fault he had escaped, nor had anyone been at fault for his decision to hurt Barbara – he had targeted her as a civilian, Commissioner Gordon’s daughter.

But even though she was confused at Helena’s reasoning, she knew she needed comfort, and she rested her hand on her friend’s arm. They didn’t speak, and for a moment she thought the Huntress was going to cry.

Instead Helena covered Cassandra’s hand with her own. “I’m going after him. Will you come?” she asked, and Cassandra could only nod.

Cassandra: Year 3

The essence of this city was different. It was vibrant and bright, although it had a dirty underbelly like they all did. Cassandra liked Hong Kong, but she felt like she had gone back in time – she was a different person in many ways, but the situation was the same; she was alone in a new place she didn’t fully fit into.

After the confusion and upheaval of the last year, being alone had seemed like a good idea, something that would give her some perspective. Instead she found herself longing for the closeness she had found in Gotham.

Her computer beeped, and she crossed her apartment to read the message.

It’s done.”

Instantly she knew who it was from, and what it referred to. She felt a mix of emotions, glad Iversen had been stopped, anger and failure at the manner it had bee done. She had stopped Helena killing him last year, it had hurt her to do so, but it was the right thing to do – he needed justice not murder. On the other hand she had taken away the vengeance of her friend, and in so doing had allowed an evil man to escape, a man who had deeply wounded their family.

She didn’t know what she felt, she wished her friends were with her to talk of such things, to give her advice or distract her.

But she was here for a reason and she wasn’t going to forget that, she wasn’t going to leave, no matter how lonely she felt.

Notes: L'chaim – ‘To Life’