#16 – Running In The Dark, Part 2

The sounds of cursing filled a suburban street as Detective Williamson stood outside the former home of a young girl they knew only as Cassandra. They had returned to the burned-out shell of a building to seek evidence…a specific kind of evidence.

He came, with his partner, to try and decide whether the window of the girl’s bedroom had been blown out by fire, or if it had been shattered – either by the girl herself, or by someone on the outside. Williamson’s theory was the latter on both counts.

But by the time they had arrived, they almost immediately realized that the crime scene had been tampered with since their last visit. The cursing only started after he realized that the car which just drove past them with the brights on most likely contained those who did the tampering.

“Fred, are you sure you didn’t get anything on the car?”

Detective Callahan shook his head as he held a cell phone next to his head. His current task was to call a supervisor and re-secure the crime scene. He and his partner would have to wait for a uniformed officer to arrive to guard the scene.

Williamson sighed and kicked some debris on the sidewalk outside the house. “Someone’s playing games with us, dammit.”


Tim knocked on the half-open door to Cassandra’s room, peeking inside when he heard no answer. He immediately discovered why – she was wearing a set of expensive earphones taken from Bruce’s study, using them to play a console video game without making any noise. He approached her slowly, tapping her on the shoulder once he was right behind.

Cassandra turned around abruptly, tapping ‘pause’ on the joystick in her hand before sliding the earphones around her neck. She didn’t say a word -she simply stared at Tim, waiting for him to explain his interruption.

“Bruce wants to talk to you, Cassandra. He sent me to find you.”

She sighed and rose to her feet slowly, carefully placing the joystick and earphones on the floor, almost turning toward the door before realizing that she was wearing only socks on her feet. She glanced around looking for her black sneakers – Tim was holding them, dangling them by their laces as if to taunt her with them.

As she took the sneakers by the laces, she smiled at Tim, thanking him silently as she quickly put the shoes on and headed toward the Bat Cave. Her detective skills were improving – she figured that the surprise Tim registered at seeing her with Bruce’s expensive earphones meant that Bruce wasn’t in his office. He would have noticed them missing.

Doing her best to move silently, she entered the Bat Cave via a back stairway, to make sure she wouldn’t have to open any doors. She snuck up behind Bruce as he worked on his computer and took notes. He didn’t even flinch or react as she approached and sat in a rotating office chair next to him – yet she was sure that he had already noticed her enter as soon as she stepped off of the staircase.

“You’re planning to go out alone again tonight, aren’t you?”

“Maybe,” she replied in a calm voice. Cassandra leaned back in her chair, sliding her feet underneath her. She didn’t feel the least bit intimidated by Bruce, especially since his question had been posed without any implication of superiority. It seemed to be just…a question.

Bruce looked up from his work for a moment and looked at Cassandra before reaching for a piece of paper he had left on one corner of the counter in front of him. He handed it to Cassandra, and leaned back in his chair as well. “That’s everything the cops know about you. Lucky for us, they have a habit of storing everything in reports.”

Cassandra looked at the piece of paper for a moment, reading through the dry information on it quickly. The one thing she immediately realized was that Bruce had been over-reacting. The entire report consisted of knowing her first name, and the address of her childhood home, as well as a couple of accounts from neighbors.

“That’s not all there is,” Bruce interjected as Cassandra tossed the paper back onto the counter, “They suspect that Batman rescued you from the fire. After that, they have no idea where you’ve gone. Problem is…they also have pictures of you. Sooner or later, they’ll spot you, and then trace you here.”

“So what?” Cassandra shrugged and looked down.

“If they do that,” Bruce said patiently, “I’d become the target of the investigation. Yes, I could say I adopted you, but they’ll want to know how and where.”

Bruce paused for a moment, waiting for some kind of response from Cassadra…but got none. “You’re wondering why I’m trying to help…aren’t you?”

She shrugged again.

“Would you believe that Alfred asked me to?” Bruce smiled and leaned back in his chair as he watched Cassandra look up, satisfied that he got her attention. “I’ve always trusted his opinion, Cassandra. And so far, he’s never been wrong.”

“You’re afraid.” Cassandra pushed against the counter, closing her eyes as the chair began spinning slowly. “Afraid of the spotlight, because of the secrets you keep.”

Bruce chuckled a little and smiled. “Maybe you understand me better than I thought. I try to keep a low profile, just in case. I want to seem as boring as possible, so no one will–”

“I have secrets, too.”

He stared as the chair holding Cassandra spun around twice more, her eyes closed, unsure of what to say at first. His mind filled with dozens of questions, as images of he and Robin rescuing Cassandra…and that fire…and the deaths of her parents…filled his head.

It seemed to him that she wanted to say something – but he didn’t want to push her, for fear that she would shy away. Bruce knew he would have to be patient…and let the answers come in their own time.

“Want to know what happened?”

Her eyes were open again, and she was smiling. Bruce’s mouth hung open as, for the second time now, he found himself unable to form any words.

Cassandra seemed amused by Bruce’s sudden silence. She smiled as she stopped the spinning chair and slid to her feet. Without a hint of dizziness, she headed back toward the stairway. “One day, Bruce.”


Batgirl knelt on the edge of the roof atop a familiar building, watching people walk by. It was only midnight, and a weekend – people hadn’t yet returned to their homes to sleep. Usually she wouldn’t go out until hours later…but this time, she had to catch someone who would have been gone by then – Catwoman.

Almost like clockwork, she could hear the almost imperceptible squeak of the door to the roof opening, and Catwoman’s thick-soled boots just barely crunching along the gravel covering the roof’s surface. It sounded louder than the last time – Batgirl was almost sure it was because Catwoman wanted her to know she was there.

“I found the info you asked for.” Catwoman knelt beside Batgirl, looking over the edge to see what was so hypnotizing down there. “The poor kid wasn’t in any gang. He was the target of an initiation. He was murdered so new members could prove how tough they are.”

Batgirl sighed quietly, never taking her eyes off of the streets below. She could hear the sadness in Catwoman’s voice, knowing that there was more…and that she wouldn’t like it.

“The parents didn’t answer the door, Batgirl. They didn’t on purpose.”

Her heart suddenly beating quickly, Batgirl’s eyes widened as she turned to face Catwoman. “Why?” she whispered.

Catwoman sat down on the edge of the roof, holding on to its edge with her hands. “Because in that neighborhood, Batgirl, you’re either in a gang or killed by one. The parents were in a gang…but the kid wasn’t. They simply thought he was being ‘jumped in’. Boy, were they surprised–”

She suddenly stopped as she noticed the cold stare from Batgirl. But it only lasted a few seconds before Batgirl returned to staring down at the street.

“Don’t take it personally, kid. If you do, you might as well hang up your leather and belt, and become a cop or something.” Catwoman rose to her feet quickly, and took a deep breath, holding her arms skyward. “Personally, I’d rather do this. The fresh, cool air, the excitement…and I really do look good in black.

Batgirl finally smiled for a moment as she slowly rose to her feet as well. She looked down at the street once more before turning toward Catwoman – who stood in front of her, leaning against a discarded storm window.

“Go ahead, toss it,” Catwoman invited, “It’ll make you feel better. Breaking things always makes me feel better.”

Still smiling, Batgirl walked past Catwoman and headed toward the stairway. She heard a loud crash as she entered the stairway, screaming people on the street, and Catwoman laughing. Batgirl knew that Batman, at that point, would have returned to the roof to debate public safety…but she was no Batman.


It only took an instant for anyone passing through the neighborhood to spot the point where a kid was killed by a gang, right in front of his home. While the crime scene tape was long gone – Gotham City Police didn’t like to stay in that neighborhood any longer than they had to – neighbors and relatives had left an array of now dried-up flowers on the doorstep.

Batgirl watched from the second floor of a small abandoned apartment building across the street. She hated having to hide there – it smelled sickening, and she could hear rats and bugs running rampant in the place – but hiding atop the angled roof on a two-story building would have been too obvious.

She stared for the longest time at the door across the street, her mind drawing images of a teenager frantically trying to open the door as others crowded around him, and began hitting him with baseball bats and sticks. What her imagination saw sickened her, and made her angry.

Suddenly torn away from her thoughts, Batgirl sensed movement in the room with her. She froze, and slowly turned, backing up against the window which was now behind her. She saw glint of steel for a moment, and some fabric – but she thought only that it made a good reference point to keep an eye on the other person.

Everything after that happened in a flash. A glint of steel swept past Batgirl’s head – she ducked barely out of the way. She swung wildly with her arm, hoping to hit someone…and did. She could hear a knife being drawn, and she swung a foot at random trying to hit someone – this time she missed. It was time to bail…she turned and tried to dive out the window…

…but she was too late. Her head slammed into the window frame, and she could feel the cold steel blade against her neck. She closed her eyes, expecting to feel the blade slide through her costume and skin. Batgirl waited for the moment pain, the drained feeling…and then the darkness.

“Don’t know, do you?”

Batgirl opened her eyes slowly, turning to face her assailant as she felt the knife move away from her neck. It was a woman with short, dark hair, only slightly taller than herself, wearing a red robe which resembled something out of a martial arts movie over what seemed like a simple black jump suit. She vaguely recognized her.

“You don’t know why I’m here.”

The woman stepped closer to the window, finally allowing the light from the street outside to illuminate her. She seemed to smile as Batgirl’s stared at her – she remembered the woman from Batman’s files. No…her picture wasn’t in her files. It was a wanted poster Bruce had hung next to his desk, which he gave a wary glance every time he approached his desk. The one person who, if he knew was in Gotham, would upset him greatly just on principle – Shiva.

Shiva slipped the knife back into a sheath on her belt, and walked closer to Batgirl, grabbing her chin tightly as she gripped the top of the mask with her other hand, yanking it off with one smooth motion.

Seeming satisfied with herself, she took a step back, enjoying the look of shock on Batgirl’s face. “That’s different. I didn’t expect you to look so…warm. So…innocent. I expected something cold, heartless…like Batman.”

Batgirl reached for her mask with one hand, snatching it just as she spun around quickly and slammed the back of her left leg against the side of Shiva’s head. But just as she finished her spin kick, she found her leg held fast under Shiva’s surprisingly strong arm. Her back slammed onto the floor as Shiva pushed her down with very little effort, holding on to her leg for leverage.

“What’s your name? Your real name?”

Cassandra stared up from the floor for what seemed like an eternity, trying her best to be uncooperative. But Shiva seemed infinitely patient – she just stared back, holding that leg with little effort, pinning Cassandra to the floor. Cassandra was at a disadvantage, being in such a painful position.

“Cassandra,” she whispered softly.

“Good. Now, Cassandra…Are you going to be a good girl if I let you go?”

A quick but painful nod from Cassandra led to her leg being let go slowly. She sat up and began massaging the twisted muscles and tendons in her leg and knee as she watched Shiva kneel down beside her.

“I will be honest with you,” Shiva said as she leaned close to Cassandra and tapped her knife, “I was hired to kill you. But…I don’t like to kill innocents. I want my target to know exactly what is happening and why. I don’t believe you know.”

Cassandra paused for a minute and stared at the smiling Shiva. This woman, a seasoned assassin, wanted to spare her? “Who wants to–”

“–kill you?” Shiva laughed. “I’m sure you know I can’t tell you that. But I can tell you that it is someone I do not trust. Someone who’s motives I question.”

With a painful sigh, Cassandra propped her back against a wooden box left on the floor and continued massaging her leg. She didn’t respond even as Shiva stared at her again – but she began to get the impression that Shiva found her to be pitiful somehow.

“However, Cassandra, I also cannot just let you walk away. So I’m going to give you a chance to prove yourself worthy of being spared. Would you accept such a challenge?”

After a moment’s hesitation, Cassandra nodded slowly.

“You must spare the life of someone who you consider evil beyond redemption. You must control your anger. When you are able to show that restraint…you will earn my respect. Then I will protect you.”

Cassandra stood frozen, feeling confused, as she watched Shiva walk toward the stairway and disappear into the darkness. She emptied her lungs in a sigh as soon as she heard the soft footsteps disappear.

She quickly glanced out the window, across the street at the collection of flowers on the doorstep of that home again. Trying to focus on the task of watching the neighborhood proved more difficult now – her mind was swimming with questions about Shiva, and what she meant by ‘someone you consider evil beyond redemption’. Gotham City was a strange place…and Cassandra was sure that she had encountered one of its strangest inhabitants.

It was time to go home and call it a night. By this point, even the most predictable sounds of Gotham were starting to make Cassandra feel uneasy. She didn’t fear Shiva’s return…rather she dreaded it as yet another interruption in her evening. Unfortunately, it seemed that just one visit was already enough to ruin Cassandra’s night watch.


Batgirl walked into the Bat Cave, in search of silence. It was dark in the large high-ceiling room carved into solid rock – and it was still early enough in the evening that she was convinced that Batman was still out patrolling Gotham City. It felt good not to be tied to him, to make her own schedule.

She pulled her mask off and headed silently to Bruce’s computer. That’s when she froze suddenly. The screen was glowing faintly, spreading a blue-green glow across the room. That meant someone was using it.

“You’ve met Shiva.”

Cassandra frowned, but didn’t bother to turn around at the sound of Bruce’s voice. Instead, she grabbed a rolling chair and sat down quickly, folding her legs beneath her. She felt a little annoyed that Bruce was still playing stealth games with her – by this point, it happened so often that he wouldn’t even give her the usual commentary about being ‘too loud’ or ‘too obvious’. She already had guessed it by that point.

Bruce walked around her slowly, sitting down in the chair across from her. He looked at the computer screen for a moment. “That’s how you knew I was here, wasn’t it?”

She nodded and smiled. “She was hired to kill me.”

“I know. I also know what else you’ve been up to.” Bruce didn’t seem the least bit surprised. He didn’t even blink at the news. Taking advantage of the lull in the conversation, Bruce stood quickly and headed to a table across the room. He grabbed an envelope and handed it to Cassandra. “Don’t open it. Give it to Catwoman next time you see her.”

“What is it?” Cassandra looked up at Bruce as he approached again and sat down. She took the envelope, folded it in half, and placed it behind the collar of her costume.

“Legal papers. She made me a promise, and kept it. This is what I promised her in return.”

Cassandra nodded and slid out of the chair, heading toward the stairway quickly. She paused after ascending partway up, and turned to look at Bruce. He had resumed working at his terminal, no doubt doing more research that he would use tomorrow night.

As she walked down the hallway toward her room, she noticed light peering out from under her door. She slowed down, moving silently – she didn’t remember leaving the light on. After her last encounter with Shiva, she was feeling a little paranoid.

Opening the door slowly, silently, revealed that it was just Tim, sitting at the table in her room, waiting for her to return. He didn’t look up even as she entered and threw her mask onto the bed and stood over to him, arms folded.

“Wonder why Bruce is working so hard to be nice to you?”

Cassandra leaned closer to Tim, looking down at him. She did want to know…but she was so grateful for Bruce’s sudden, unexplained cooperative attitude that she didn’t want to sour it by asking too many questions. Besides, she had to learn to trust him at some point.

“It’s because he’s afraid of losing you.” Tim leaned back and turned his head around to face her. “Barbara and I had a talk with him that night you left on your own. He was afraid you weren’t coming back. He’s afraid that if you do, he may end up having to fight you one day.”

“Don’t worry,” she said as she smiled at Tim. She sat down across from him at the table, noting the worried look in his eyes.

“I was afraid you’d left, too.”

Cassandra took Tim’s hand in her still gloved one, and squeezed it gently as she looked directly at him. “I can’t leave. Who’d look after you?”

Tim laughed quietly. “I believe that’s the longest sentence I’ve heard from you all week.”

Cassandra smiled again and placed her index finger across her lips. She stood quickly and grabbed some clothing left in a pile atop a dresser and headed toward the bathroom.

“Hey–” Tim interrupted as he stood and headed toward the doorway, “Are you letting your hair grow longer? Bruce won’t like that.”

She could hear Tim leaving the room as she shook her head, and closed the bathroom door. She had to change quickly and get some sleep…something she’d been lacking much too long. There was a certain peace she felt now, an overwhelming calm which came from the satisfaction of finally holding her own.


“We got it!” Detective Williamson slammed a crumpled piece of paper on his partner’s desk. “We know where the girl is now.”

Detective Callahan raised an eyebrow and looked at the piece of paper carefully before frowning, and looking at his partner as if her were insane. “Wayne manor? Are you kidding me? Where did you get this?”

“One of our officers spotted a girl with her description in a shop in one of Gotham’s suburbs this morning. He followed her to her car – it was registered to Bruce Wayne at this address.”

“And?” Callahan shrugged and leaned back in his chair. “Maybe he’s looking after her. Maybe he adopted her. He’s done it before, you know.”

“I talked to the butler of one of Mr. Wayne’s neighbors,” Williamson added, “He said he’s seen the girl around off and on, exploring the grounds.”

“So what do we do? Knock on the door and ask for the teenage girl of the house?” Callahan paused for a second, before he stood quickly and grabbed his jacket, motioning for Williamson to follow as he headed toward the exit. “On second thought, that’s not a bad idea.”

“Wait…Fred!” Williamson raced ahead of him, blocking his way. “What are we gonna do, arrest her?”

“Only if we don’t shoot her first,” Callahan joked. “What was her name again?”



Hearing her name faintly through the earphones she wore – expensive ones she had stolen the day before from Bruce’s office – Cassandra turned quickly to face the door, unconsciously tapping the ‘pause’ button on her video game system. Tim was standing in the doorway with Alfred behind him.

She looked at the window quickly, worried that she’d been playing so long that it was already dark outside. But the sun streamed in – it wasn’t even dusk yet.

“Alfred says two police detectives were here earlier,” Tim said, looking dead serious as he sat down on the carpeted floor next to Cassandra. “Callahan and Williamson. They were asking about you.”

“Me?” Cassandra looked at Alfred. He seemed serious, as well as a little nervous – yet he kept up an almost blank expression at all times.

“They asked for you by name, Cassandra,” Alfred added.

“We need to talk.” Tim gently took the earphones off of Cassandra’s head and gently put them on the carpet in front of her. She bowed her head slightly as he did. She was starting to feel afraid…that everything she’d known over the last year or so would soon vanish from around her.

Cassandra watched Alfred left the room quickly, leaving the door open as he went. Tim was still staring at her…waiting for her to say something? “I…don’t understand.”

“Bruce doesn’t know yet…but he will,” Tim said, “I asked Alfred not to tell him right away, but he will find out eventually. He always does. And then–”

“What?” Cassandra sat up suddenly when she noticed Tim biting his lip firmly. “What will he do?”

“Think, Cassandra. Nothing means more to him than protecting his secret identity. If it even has a hint of being compromised…”

She suddenly stood and straightened her jeans and black shirt quickly, heading out into the hallway without a moment’s hesitation. She didn’t care that Tim had followed. “I’ll talk to them.”

“What if they want to arrest you?”

Cassandra shrugged. She knew that she had nothing to lose. There was no saving herself – it was simply a matter of whether she would become a victim or a willing participant. At least with the latter, she had a fighting chance, and might come out of this without a scratch.


She stopped walking for a moment to turn and face Tim, giving him a questioning look.

“I’d like to come too. I wouldn’t miss this for the world.”

At first, Cassandra just stared at Tim, making it clear that he was completely nuts. But after a few seconds, his eager smile finally made her chuckle…and she waved him to follow her.

It took her a half hour to drive into town and find the Gotham Police Department. It was much more difficult to find downtown buildings from ground level during the daytime, considering that most of the time she would be looking for night time landmark cues such as lighting – which didn’t exist during the day.

She parked right in front of the police station and stepped out of the car, heading quickly to the door. Tim raced in behind her, only catching up after she had reached the front desk.

“Detective Callahan?” Cassandra asked the man behind the desk. He pointed toward a glass door on the left labeled ‘Arson/Homicide’. She walked through it quickly, practically throwing the door open as she headed toward a cluster of desks in the center of the room.

At first, Tim didn’t understand how she knew which Detectives were Callahan and Williamson. But a second or two of thought, and he realized that it was obviously the only two people to look up, and then stare, as they recognized Cassandra and watched her approach.

“Looking for me?” she said, confidently. Williamson and Callahan looked at each other for a moment before staring at Cassandra again.

Callahan seemed the more confident of the two. He finally leaned back in his chair and smiled, before asking, “And you are?”

“Cassandra.” she folded her arms and started across the desk at Detective Callahan, just daring him or his partner to move. But the two of them just stared.

“How about your last name, kid?” Callahan asked, his voice becoming slightly more ominous.

Cassandra closed her eyes for a moment. She knew what her last name was…but it was a part of her life that she wanted to leave behind her forever. It represented the part of her life where was a victim, cowering in darkness. Since that fateful fiery night, she knew she was stronger, strong enough to stand up for herself any anyone else who needed her help. She knew that she would have to leave that name behind her forever.

But she had to tell the two detectives something. They wouldn’t believe that she had abandoned her last name. Cassandra began searching her memory, deciding ultimately to say the first name which came to mind. She almost laughed at the first image…Dick Grayson leaning over the kitchen table, yelling at her about his motorcycle. Grayson…why not? She already stole his bike, why not his name as well?

“Grayson,” she said out loud as she opened her eyes. It was spoken – too late to change her mind now. The two Detectives looked at each other, confused – Cassandra decided to take advantage of that, turning around and heading toward the door.

She could peripherally see the two standing and heading toward her as she passed through the doorway, closing the door behind her. She motioned for Tim to follow once she reached the lobby…and slipped out of the front door in an instant with Tim close behind.

“Classic misdirection. Bruce would be proud,” Tim said as he climbed quickly into the passenger seat. Cassandra didn’t answer as she started the car and drove away quickly, nearly skidding out of the exit across the damp pavement.

In the rear view mirror, Cassandra saw exactly what she expected. The two detectives raced out of the police station, and tore out of the parking lot after them, followed by two police cars.

“Uh-oh. Cassandra, we got cops–”

“I know, I know!” she impatiently barked at Tim as she took another hard turn, the engine of the car roaring as the front wheels spun wildly, seeking tracking on the slippery surface.

Tim began screaming as the car began a high-speed run down a concrete ramp, out of view of the police, and blasted into a tunnel. She zipped past a sign that said something about ‘no entry’, and ‘under construction’.

“Slow down! You’re gonna get us both killed!”

Cassandra ignored him as she sped down the empty concrete tunnel. She was concentrating on a light she spotted just ahead on the left side – she knew that it could be an exit much like the one she had just entered through.

Unfortunately, the exit wasn’t nearly as wide as the entrance. Tim buried his head and began screaming again as the car clipped a small bulldozer blocking part of the exit, causing the passenger side mirror to shatter and tear away. The car then crashed through a wooden barrier…and more screaming as all four tires left the ground, sending the car through the air…

…and landed hard. Cassandra turned hard again, missing cars parked along the street by only inches, and accelerated. She almost laughed as Tim mumbled an ‘ow’ as his head hit the dashboard.

He began to sit up slowly as the car left the city limits, still tearing down the streets at deadly speeds. At that rate, it was only a matter of minutes before they had returned to Wayne Manor.

Tim didn’t go directly inside after crawling out of the passenger side of the car. He stared at the torn passenger side and front corner of the car. “Oh, God…Bruce is going to kill both of us.”

Cassandra laughed and took his hand gently, leading him into the house. He almost stumbled – he was still shaking from his terrifying ordeal in the car.

“Where did you learn to drive like that, Cassandra?” Tim finally asked, once he calmed down enough to speak clearly.

She shrugged as she headed into the kitchen and dig in the refrigerator for some kind of snack. It was obvious that Tim was annoyed with her lack of response…but she didn’t really have a good answer to give him. Her driving was zero skill, all instinct. Keeping herself and Tim alive and away from the cops was the only thing she had in mind.

“Hey, Cassandra?”

Cassandra closed the refrigerator and turned around to lean against it, holding two green apples in her hand. Tim was smiling now – he didn’t seem as upset as she though he was. That was good – it meant that he was getting used to her tendency to handle stressful situations so calmly.

“As I was saying earlier…Bruce may not like that you’ve grown your hair longer,” he said, “But I do. It looks nice.”

She laughed and tossed Tim an apple as she headed back toward her room. “Thanks. I like it too.”


In the dim evening light just past sunset, Cassandra walked through the grounds of Wayne Manor, the dry grass crunching softly beneath her sneakers. She was headed to a spot where she visited late at night a short time ago.

Once she reached a point where she could see the wall surrounding the Manor, she looked up at the grove of trees next to her and switched on a small flashlight she had carried outside with her. Right in front of her was a small patch of earth that had been turned over…and beneath it lied a most valuable treasure.

She kneeled down and examined the surface of the ground carefully. Two small green buds poked through the dark ground, desperately reaching toward the sky. She smiled to herself…it was alive.

Cassandra looked skyward as a flash of light from all around attracted her attention. A cool, refreshing wind blew through her hair, and rustled through the trees. She could smell moisture in the air…a storm was coming. It would bring life-giving water and nutrients to her roses, and wash the city clean. And it would make her outing that night just a little more calm – criminals didn’t like going out in the rain.

As the first raindrops began to fall few and far between, she took a deep breath. It was nature’s renewal…just as she was trying to do for herself. She only hoped that it was all a sign. That some day, just like the roses she had planted, she would grow into something that could be appreciated.

She headed back toward the house slowly, allowing the sudden downpour of rain to douse her until she was soaked through. She had to get used to it – after all, a little later she would be going out in her leather costume and boots. It gave considerably more protection from rain than the cotton jeans and shirt she wore at the moment – but she could still feel the cool rain pounding against her skin, even with leather protecting her from being soaked.

As Batgirl, rain wasn’t something to be feared, or to hide from. It was refreshing and hypnotic. It was something to enjoy, because it cleansed all kinds of filth from the streets. It restored a different kind of life to a dying city…a kind called peace and quiet, where for a few moments, people didn’t have to be afraid of what was outside their doors.

It was nature’s version of what she and Batman tried to do each night. Only nature was a lot better at it – much more widespread and persistent. If only it could rain every night.