Helena Narrative Who: Helena What: Saying goodbye Where: Batcave When: Immediately following delivery of Damian Warnings/Rating: Uh feels? Caring for the recently departed?
Damian was dead.
She didn't need to hear the quiet words from Stephanie, the pronouncement of his death as an IV catheter and tubing fell from fingers that could no longer hold on. The mangled mess of his legs was bad enough, but the open, gaping wound that was his chest - there was no coming back from that. If he'd been alive, if he'd lived through that, Helena hoped it hadn't been long, that he didn't have to feel any more pain than he'd already been in. But she didn't, couldn't, wouldn't ask. There was only buzzing in her ears, the sharp tang of blood and guts, the drag of air into her lungs. That knowledge would only hurt her - wherever Damian was, he wasn't hurting anymore.
It was a burden left to the living.
She stumbled out of the cave, breathing too hard, Silent Hill having taught her to get away from dead things. She couldn't stay for Stephanie's confirmation, for Bruce's denial, for what came immediately after. There were always more coming. Always. She fell to her knees, rocks and soft grass, debris churned up to the surface and vomited there by the entrance. Gagged as she threw up a second time and pressed a hand to her lips. She should get away, leave behind this city that wanted to kill them all, and one hand covered the other over her mouth as she screamed rage and agony into the cup of her palms.
Damian wasn't supposed to be dead. He was supposed to be stopped, Bruce was supposed to bring back a living, breathing baby bird who still loved his family, who had a family that still loved him enough to find him and bring him home. Who might face an uphill battle on being forgiven, but they loved him enough to try. She rocked forward, head landing a little too hard on mushy ground and soft grass as she dry heaved, gurgling in the back of her throat with nothing left to give.
That's why she'd betrayed him, so that he could have a chance at being found before things went too far for him to be forgiven, so he wouldn't have to share her fate at being a outcast, apathy and hate spelled out in crystal clear, bold letters. But she'd failed, too far had happened and there was no coming back.
Her body arched, a little wheeze of breath leaving her as she went through all the motions of crying, but the tears remained stubbornly in their ducts, not to be seen again. Or maybe they'd been burned out by the heat of Silent Hill, evaporated into nothing.
She couldn't say for how long she was out there in the almost mud, caught between all the motions of being and the reality of not.
But staying there, fleeing from the sight of what they'd done - what they had all done, none of them were clean from their parts played in Damian's demise - that was weakness.
She forced her back straight. Forced herself up and out of the soft loam and back inside to the cave, abandoned except for the body of her brother.
Her movements were disjointed at first, a half step, a dragged step, slow, slow, slow until she got to the sink and washed her hands. Some stains would never come out, but the dirt and mud would, and it was all washed away down the drain. She sighed, rolled her hands together underneath the lukewarm spray of water.
She didn't dry them off, not wanting that additional step after she turned off the water to delay the inevitable. Shoulders back, spine straight, she turned toward his broken body. Still the same Damian. She pulled up a chair and sat, her damp fingers seeking out his cooling ones.
He shouldn't be alone - and wasn't that an odd thought? It wasn't as though he was alive enough to care, but she did - and she who had seen so much death already, seen bodies piled high and her world ravaged, who had done nothing but kill and kill and kill in Silent Hill, well, she was probably the one most comfortable with it.
Her fingers worked off his gloves until she could press her forehead to the back of his hand. "It wasn't supposed to happen this way, baby bird," she whispered across his knuckles. "It wasn't. I wanted you to make up with them. I wanted that to happen for you." Because it was never going to happen for her. Those walls were too high and the history between her and the rest too muddled to ever become clean again.
"Cause I know you loved them. It wouldn't have hurt so bad if you didn't love them. I know that. And I know they love you. We all do. You would have made up eventually. It would have taken a lot of work, but you would have." And there would be screaming and fights in between, but being forgiven could have happened.
But he couldn't hear. Maybe his spirit lingered here, but maybe it didn't. She didn't know. These words were as much for him as they were for her.
"I tried to warn Bruce. Did you know? Cause I did the same thing. All the fighting, all the anger - I knew how that felt to love people so intensely but to feel like they didn't care. But I never thought you'd do this. And I didn't think you'd try to kill yourself like I did, but even I can be wrong."
She sighed, ran her fingers along his palm before she stood up. He was filthy and while there were plenty of things she couldn't fix, maybe she could fix that. He shouldn't be left bloody and broken in the cave. She went to get a few sponges, a few washcloths, and a basin full of warm water.
Rock dust and sewer dirt came away easier than the blood, but she kept going until water ran clean off his skin. Back and forth she went to refill the basin again and again. Should she leave the suit on? Take it off? He was going to have to go to a funeral home and it was probably better not to have Damian Wayne attached to the fake Bat in public.
If someone else wanted to do it - if someone else wanted it, they were going to be mad at her anyway. What did it matter now?
He deserved better than to be buried in a broken suit. She removed the pieces slowly, methodically, cleaning him as she went. There was nothing she could do about the hole in his chest, nor about his broken legs - those would have to be taken care of by someone other than her, someone who could put all those bones back into place, reconstruct it enough to last through his burial.
And when she was done, she went to get a new cape for him in Batman black. He was one of theirs (all flappy bird and angry bat), and she tucked it up beneath his chin and under his arms, his broken legs as if it was keeping him warm. And maybe it was pointless, maybe it was the least worthwhile thing she could do, but he deserved better.
Grisly work done, she sat down to pen a letter to Alfred and once she could say no more, she folded it neatly and wrote his name on the outside, sat it up between the keys on one of the keyboards. He'd get it.
With Damian gone, so was her reason for staying in Gotham. She returned to him, eyes clear, and bent to kiss his forehead. "I love you, Dami. Always will. Always. And I hope, wherever you are, you'll forgive me and remember that."
But she couldn't stay. She couldn't go back upstairs and get her things, those few things she had brought with her, clothes and toiletries that were all replaceable. No, she didn't need them (and all the other things, things that were hers from before, she'd taken those with her when she had packed up everything else). She ran her fingers lightly through his hair one more time, then went to get her suit.
It was hers and not hers. A remnant of the girl that had been, that she could no longer be. She grabbed it, folded it over her forearm and after a moments hesitation grabbed a blowtorch as well. It'd make it burn faster. Her goodbyes said, she headed out of the cave and away from the Manor. She had burned her suit and her identities before, change out one for another when they were no longer useful, she could do it again.
What was left of Helena Wayne that was worth holding on to?