DISCLAIMER: These characters and situations do not belong to me in any way shape or form. I have borrowed them as part of my sanity maintenance.
SEQUEL/SERIES: This story is a sequel to Here's the Rub, Surely, Tomorrow Will Be Better, Slowly, But Surely, As Sure As Sure Can Be, Surely a Fail-Safe Plan and Tomorrow Surely Comes And So Does Helena.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Surety of a Mother's Love
"Dad, are you in here?"
Barbara wheeled carefully into her father's den, expecting to see him reading the newspaper with his pipe billowing a steady stream of smoke, instead she saw him standing over by the large window staring into space.
"Dad, have you got a minute?"
Jim Gordon spun around, pleasantly surprised to see his visitor. Just lately, Barbara had seemed too busy to visit her old dad. If he didn't know better, he'd assume she had a new beau, but he'd gathered after the death of that quiet guy - Wade, he recalled, the one he'd always known stood no chance with his daughter, the one that just wasn't strong enough - that she'd given up on the dating game.
He smiled at Barbara as his thoughts meandered to the hinted words Dinah had told him over the phone one night, his daughter was out with a woman. His immediate thought had been that she'd finally seen Helena's light, only to hear the voice of said young woman in the background. Whoever Barbara had been with that night, she certainly seemed happier of late; he'd just have to wait until his daughter felt the time was right to let him in on her secrets.
"For you, hon, anytime." He indicated the sofa. "Come and sit by me."
Barbara wheeled across to sit by the man she'd lovingly called dad for as long as she now cared to remember. He may not be her father in blood, but he was to all intents and purposes her 'real' father, and she loved him.
Today, however, she needed a mom. It was that day when Americans gave thanks and worship to that wonderful being, the mother, and Barbara had never had that pleasure, not for a long time. Today, she needed it; today, she needed to talk to her mother.
"Dad, this might sound stupid, and I know I really should know this, but I don't can you tell me one of my mom's favourite places to sit and think?"
"Why would I know one of your mother's places? Your mom and dad never really related to me, until, well, until "
"I know that, but I'm not blind, I can see some of the similarities between us two." She dropped her eyes and whispered her next words. "I don't want to know the details, but I think you do know where my mom might have gone to get some solitude."
Jim Gordon looked as if he had been shot. His face visibly drained of colour as he stared hard at Barbara. She looked up and caught his eyes with her own, the love and respect still shining clear, even with his failing eyesight. He smiled; if Barbara was asking such deep questions, she must have a special reason for needing to know.
"Say, I do know such a place, why do you need to know, after all this time?"
"Oh Dad, please don't ask me that, just know I do."
Jim chuckled throatily at his daughter and her stubborn pride and almost missed her whispered words.
"I need to talk with her."
He reached across and grabbed her hand, stroking the calloused palms from years of wheeling her chair. "You can always talk to me; you do know that, don't you?"
Barbara smiled. "Yeah, Dad, I do know, but this needs a mom/daughter chat, and I've never had one of those before, so this year, today of all days " her rambled words trailed off.
Squeezing her hand again, her father finally answered, "You could always try the old bandstand down by Miller Harbour; you know, that place where the 'Old' and the 'Lost' converge."
"Yeah, I know it, it's perfect, thank you." Barbara leaned over to kiss her dad's cheek and whispered in his ear, "I love you, and I promise you'll be the next one I come running to."
Her words were all Jim Gordon needed to hear.
Barbara looked out over the convergence of two Gotham rivers, colloquially called 'Old' and 'Lost', and sighed. This morning, she'd desperately needed to 'talk' with her mother, but now, now that she was sitting in one of her mother's favourite places, the words just clouded her mind, intermingling with long forgotten visions of her childhood. Just as the waters of the two rivers came together as one, so her memories converged to confuse.
"We never got the chance to sit here and have mother/daughter talks. He took that away from us before we'd even started. Sometimes, I try and remember what you looked like, and I can't. Even me, with this eidetic memory, can't always put a picture to your face."
Almost without bidding, a memory surfaced of her mother sitting, looking over a section of newspaper, a big smile on her face.
"There's one thing I do remember about you though, you were always good with words; I can see you sitting at night with some word puzzle or other " Barbara looked around her as if afraid someone would hear her sappy words. "I'm sure you'd know if there was a word for the feeling of relief when you find something you never knew was missing. Because that's how it feels right now, as if everything has finally come to where it should be."
She visibly flinched as a horrible memory fought to blunt her happier thoughts; one night when her mother had returned home later than expected, she'd clearly heard the sound that now echoed through the silence, the sound of her father slapping her mother's face.
"I think I've finally found the one, and all I can see is dad's face when he'd had too much to drink. If you were his love, how could he do that to you? I can't help thinking, could I do it to her? Could I physically hurt her?"
Barbara knew, in some ways, she was like her blood father. Over the years, she'd learned much of Jim Gordon's ethics in life, and if conscious reasoning were always present, she was sure she'd always come down on the side of right. But, in her life as Oracle and previously as Batgirl, there had been many times when conscious reasoning had been usurped by adrenaline, and, she could freely admit it now, anger. These times, she could lash out with the best, and she could hurt, that she knew.
"But, could I ever hurt her deliberately? Oh Mom, I think this is the first time I've needed you here with me, self reliant Babs, that's me, always have been, but, today, I just need reassurance. I need to believe that I can love."
She continued to stare out over the fast flowing rivers; she marveled at how she could still see the 'Old' water as it converged into the 'Lost'. Gradually, she realized that some good memories lingered, running alongside the bad. She could almost feel herself being lifted onto her father's shoulders as a young girl, and how he and her mother had sung joyously and freely as he'd spun her round and round. A shiver ran through her.
"He does love me, Barbara, and he loves you very much. Always remember that."
But she hadn't, her mother's words just a few nights before the fatal crash that had took her mom and her aunt's lives, words that came back to haunt the teenaged Barbara Gordon, had been forgotten as her love for Jim Gordon grew.
Suddenly, she could see it.
"He did love you, mom. After the crash, he was a broken man; the drink just consumed him, and before I knew it, he was gone, too. For the best, I think; Uncle Jim has been both mom and dad to me as I've grown. He's been my rock. Maybe that's it, maybe that's my answer, you and father loved each other enough to make sure you gave me my 'Dad'."
Barbara smiled for the first time that night. She'd never been one for negative thoughts and, yet, her life with Helena was going so well, for the first time in years she was scared, scared that things were too good. Now, now, she could feel her answer, nothing was perfect, ever. Why worry about what was to come?
If she could find love in her parents' abusive relationship, she could damn well find it in hers and Helena's caring relationship. She watched the rivers flowing, at once separate, and then together; onwards, apart, together, apart, never stopping.
That was it; all she could do was go with the flow. What would be would be.
She chuckled, recalling one of those irritating songs of years before, one that Jim Gordon had driven her crazy with playing over and over in his special time with Sara Essen. Barbara began to sing softly, barely loud enough to be heard above the roar of the rivers.
"Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be. The future's not ours to see, que sera, sera. What will be, will be."
"What the hell is that noise, Babs? Surely, you're not happy?"
Suddenly, another voice filled the night air, and Barbara couldn't stop the laugh that bubbled up from her chest. Pulling Helena down for a gentle kiss of greeting, she whispered the only words she could after tonight.
"I am now."
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