Public District No. 4
Disclaimer: I do not own Batman or Christian Bale, or anything related to either them or DC comics! I am not making any money off of this! It's merely for my own entertainment, and hopefully to entertain others in the process! Thank you!
...||October 26, 1981. Gotham City Orphanage, Public District No. 4||...
Two years had passed and they still talked about that tragic day at the Abbey; about Barbara's miraculous survival. Gone were the private Christian School lessons, however, along with the welcoming, loving, and proud faces of the Sisters who'd helped raise her. Here, Barbara only knew sadness, and torment. Not just from the children, but from the recesses of her own mind.
No matter what she did or how she tried, she could not stop dreaming of fire. Every time she closed her eyes it was everywhere; licking at the edge of her reach but never touching her. Making her temperature rise and her blood boil, but never actually burn her. There were few nights that went by that she didn't wake from some nightmare or dream, with her sheets soaked from perspiration, and a more shameful side effect of her fear.
Not only did the children pick on her viciously, but many of her teachers looked down upon her in similar loathing as well. Barbara couldn't help if she had the knowledge and intelligence to point out a flaw or two in a teacher's instruction. It wasn't her fault that she could see the broader scope of Galileo's and Einstein's theory of relativity and space; that she could define just how small and minuscule their lives really were in the grand scheme of things, the universe, everything. Barbara only wanted to learn, to help, to grow. But she seemed squandered at every turn. All because of that stupid fire.
Despite her new personal hell, Barbara still prayed every night, and even occasionally visited the old Abbey; which was still in a reconstruction phase. There she was welcomed with hugs, and tea and cookies. In those small moments she wasn't a freak, just a young girl. A blessing from God like any child brought into this world. In those moments she remembered women greater than her who had faced trials much worse than hers, and survived, all for a greater cause; to change the world. Putting a fine point on it however, a lot of her hope she only maintained to make the Sisters happy. They had taken her in, raised her, taught her. She didn't want to let them down. She owed them that much.
Barbara also found respite during her monthly visits with Drs. Thomas and Martha Wayne. Thomas had been the one to oversee her care after the fire two years ago, and since then she had grown to look forward to his visits to the orphanage to oversee the children's healthcare and to make certain the local nurses were well informed and taking equally good care of them. Thomas could aptly see the intelligence in the young Miss Barbara and couldn't help but feel she were being squandered in such an environment. Not only that, but he did not like the reports the nurses gave him. Apparently Barbara was no stranger to the infirmary, and was seen on many occasions; scrapes, bruises, black eyes, on one occasion a broken wrist. It was almost uncanny, though, that never once had Barbara been treated for something as simple as a common cold. No spot of flu or fever. No sniffles, or ear infections. Every time little Barb had been seen was only for wounds of some sort or another. The nurse had obviously taken pity on her and tried to take care of Barbara as much as she could from her position of little power in the west wing, but she knew there was little else she could do; especially considering Barbara never blamed anyone, or accused anyone of giving her the bruises and things.
Thomas knew there was something he had to do that would have to go beyond mere financial donations. He also knew that Martha would not object because they'd been poking around the idea for some time now; ever since Bruce was able to walk. It was only a question of whether Barbara would agree or not.
The girl in question entered the small office and Thomas turned to her with a huge smile on his face. "Good morning, Barbara!"
Despite her mood, Barbara couldn't help but smile big at the kind doctor's face. "Good morning, Dr. Wayne!"
"How are you feeling today?" Thomas asked. He could tell she was trying to hide a bruised eye behind the fall of her bangs.
Barbara shrugged. "Fine, I guess. No better or worse than normal." Her smile diminished to a polite upturn of her lips.
Thomas set down the folder he was looking at. "I suppose you are probably wondering why I asked to see you today?"
Another shrug. "Check-up as usual, I'd assumed? I'm fine, though, so you don't have anything to check."
"Really, now?" He moved to brush her bangs away and she turned away from him. "How'd you get the black eye, Barbara?" Thomas asked.
Barbara only shrugged and sank in on herself a little more. "I fell."
Thomas sighed heavily and removed his glasses. He then turned towards the younge girl and reached out for her hand, which she let him take. "Barbara, listen to me. We've known each other for almost three years now, yes?" Barbara nodded. "And in that time, Martha and I have gotten to know the bright and gifted young girl you are and we've really come to care for you beyond that of a simple doctor and patient. Do you understand what I am saying?"
Barbara nodded and worried her bottom lip. "I-I think so?"
"Barbara, I want to ask you something and I need you to really listen, alright?" Another simple nod. "Mrs. Wayne and I have been discussing this for quite some time so I want you to know that we are in no way trying to take pity on you, or anything of the sort." He gently took her chin and lifted her face to look at him. "The truth, Barbara, is that we've fallen in love with you. Your intelligence, your inner strength, your wit, your spirit." Barbara's eyes began to water and her heart swelled. Thomas was fighting his own set of waterworks as he continued. "We would feel honoured and blessed if you would consider becoming a part of our family."
Barbara's eyes closed, tears falling down her face. "But I'm a freak. You don't want me."
Thomas got to his knees in front of her and he took her face in his hands, wiping at her tears. "Listen to me, Babs." Her heart fluttered slightly at the spontaneous nickname. "You are not
a freak. You are a beautiful, wonderful gift. A light in this dark world that I fear will only be extinguished in a place like this."
There were other children here, not just Barbara herself, who were on the abused side of the spectrum. Others who didn't possess Barbara's stubbornness and inner strength. Others who could not so easily stand up for themselves. Could she just leave them to their fate with no one to stand up for them?
Thomas could tell she was inwardly conflicted. "You do not need to answer right now, Barbara." An idea then struck him, which he was sure Martha would approve. "But, in an attempt to help you make up your mind, how would you like to spend a weekend in our home. You can meet our son, Bruce, whom should you accept, would in essence be your new little brother. It would perhaps give you a better idea of what it would be like living with us, and help you make up your mind?"
Barbara sniffled and swiped at her nose with her sleeve. She worried on her bottom lip as she thought long and hard about Thomas Wayne's offer. It was only a weekend. She didn't have to decide anything right now. After taking a deep breath, Barbara let it out on a sigh and gave a curt nod. "Alright. It would just be for the weekend? I don't have to decide anything right now?"
Thomas nodded. "Of course, just for the weekend. Then after that you may take all the time you need to come to a decision. As much as we would love to have you in our family, we would never force you to do anything you didn't want to."
"Very well, then. I accept." Barbara smiled and extended her hand. Thomas returned her smile and gave her hand a firm shake.
"Everything will be arranged, sweetheart. You just take care of yourself and make sur eyou are packed and ready to go come Friday afternoon." Barbara hopped down off her chair and Thomas held the door open for her. He watched with a smile no his face as she literally skipped down the hallway towards her room. Thomas hung his coat on the rack by the door before he gathered some papers and left the office, locking it behind him. He had much to do, papers to file and people to see to make sure the arrangements really were in order for Barbara's visit this weekend. Martha will be so excited. (A/N: Alright big changes here! Hope you're not too bummed. Sorry for changing Barbara's background, I was just not feeling the French thing as much as I used to! Hope you like! More changes/fixes coming soon! *kiss noise*)