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World's Finest Writer's Corner Torch [T] (Comics-verse, pre-DCnU One-Shot)

Discussion in 'The Story Board' started by The_NewCatwoman, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. The_NewCatwoman

    The_NewCatwoman Oh you've got to be kidding me

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    **Disclaimer: I don’t adhere to the DCnU. It seems to suck. So I’ve kept the old ‘verse in mind, with Loeb, Sale, Darwyn Cooke and Dustin Nguyen to remember. This is just a thought, after rewatching Claudette Colbert in the Pre-Code film “Torch Singer” (nevermind that goofy ending) and considering Helena’s adoption. I'm mushing the timeline (including Heart of Hush) & taking it for granted that B. assumes he's the father. That’s all for now**

    *Noon*

    He stood and patiently waited as Alfred handed and assisted him with each article of clothing. They were in the small anteroom connected to his bedroom and bath.

    Socks, garters, pressed shirt, pants, vest and jacket. Gray. He’d begged off rather rudely when Vale Kelley had asked him to join her for doubles. He’d claimed tennis wasn’t really his strong suit, not necessarily untrue but he could certainly get along well enough.

    This just wasn’t the right…timing.

    Alfred handed him the long, gold watch and chain. Solomon’s before his father’s. It’d been one of the things they’d recovered from his father’s body intact after…

    He checked to make sure the watch was wound, as expected, and it was.

    Downstairs, in the foyer, Alfred offered him his light summer coat, gray gloves and his hat. He took the coat and hat but declined the gloves. He’d received a call from Dick.

    He’d grimaced, letting the phone down without response, but…he knew she would resent being watched. But Dick could meld more easily into those…places, without total disguise. Diners and bars in the East End.

    He’d half-worried that Slam Bradley might show his face but he’d thanked God when that wasn’t the case…so far.

    Only to himself, he admitted that it seemed he—along with Slam—were always tugging at the version of Selina they loved best. The slum girl or the sophisticated woman.

    But that didn’t matter much now. He was going to meet her in a place a deceased associate of hers once owned. Her tab was always good there, and God knows, on days or even nights like this, they didn’t cut her off.

    He checked the watch. Twelve-thirty-seven. He’d find her, and take her home, let her…

    Rest, for once…

    --#--

    Selina sat next door to Swifty’s old joint. The gin was sour and the air was stale but…

    Today was August 23[SUP]rd[/SUP].

    He of all people sat across from her. He was stoic and silent. Dressed in a grey three piece suit. Handsome as the devil as always and well…she hated the look on his face. Sorrow or somesuch.

    She hated his silence, the way he bit his lip and waited and didn’t say a word. And most of all, he was, well, beautiful, in his own way. She’d never met anyone like him, and she’d accepted that she never would again.

    Alcoholism ran in his family. His uncle was afflicted, even his father had had faint brushes with flagrant impropriety. She’d heard enough of that for one lifetime.

    Once upon a time, Thomas Wayne and Roger Elliot had been drinking buddies.

    But lo, how it’d run in her family as well. Not her biological family. She’d since come to accept that Brian and Maria Kyle were well-intentioned enough. Poorly performing and ultimately failing but…

    Finding her in the Catholic Sisters’ Foundling Home somewhere in New England didn’t constitute a home. Especially one such as theirs.But that was neither here nor there. And Bruce never drank, even though the doctor had prescribed wine for his heart. Such as it was.

    He sat across from her. Furtively clutching his hat in his hands, turning and misshaping the brim. He wanted her to stop but this was the one day when he didn’t dare make any demands.

    She thought of her little baby. The milestones that came with motherhood. Rolling over, sitting up. Eating, teething, toddling, walking…

    Talking.

    The first word she’d ever said was ‘Dada.’ The last words Selina’d heard were ‘Mama.’

    She felt like cursing him and his infernal nervousness. This was Helena’s third birthday.

    By now she was walking smoothly, thriving and hopefully over the shock of it all.

    That night. After she’d asked to be alone, Bruce had come to her apartment, unasked but still welcome. He’d stripped of cape and togs and glovery. Of every heavy armored thing and climbed into her bed in his undergarments.

    He’d let her cry, on and on and on. And he’d caressed and stroked her skin. Even that place where the long scar reminded them of Hush’s grudges. But he hadn’t said a word.

    Later, she was reassured that he was grateful overall that she alone was safe. And their daughter was too, ultimately. He’d orchestrated the adoption. Placed her with the perfect home, perfect parents, perfect place.

    People who weren’t plagued with…

    She’d shut her eyes and saw the so-called little things, and the not-so-little too. That business in Keystone City with being blown out of the sewer system for lack of a better term, but before that…That wretched business with the Black Mask.

    With eyes shut, she tried to remind herself that any daughter of Bruce Wayne shouldn’t be mixed up with so much…brutal idiocy and nonsense.

    Bruce, in his own way, didn’t care about that. He’d tried to, with some inborn subtlety, persuade her otherwise. He’d had a less than orthodox childhood of his own. Not that that meant anything now but, compared to his own father, his stay at Andover had been less than honorable.

    He’d been discharged at fifteen for sending a basketball straight into the gymnasium trophy case in a rage. That was just the final straw. His raw anger at his circumstances at that age had been more than he could handle. But compared to her at the same age he’d been a practical saint.

    Alfred had contracted a tutor and he went abroad.

    But, well. Even his uncle Phillip, knowing little else but that Bruce liked her, had apparently encouraged his nephew to settle down. That had been before the climax of the Holiday murders, and Phillip had died before the Hangman saga.

    But that was so long ago. So early in both their lives.

    Later on, Bruce had been honest, that first morning, when she proposed the adoption. He would’ve scraped together a decent life for the girl. Easily. Sent her to the right Kindergarten, Girls’ parochial school, probably Catholic for his mother, but, well…

    Then, afterward, she’d curved against him and squeezed his hands until she was sure his palms were left deeply indented, maybe bleeding. How could he have claimed her really, without a tabloid affair?

    They no longer had official relations beyond vigilantism, and no amount of public chivalrous decency could’ve cleaned it up for Gotham’s society circles. Not lest they renounced Selina’s role altogether.

    Bruce, with his transgressions, was one thing, but Selina with her reputation as a known thief—and less so, as a former call-girl…even a high-class girl…

    She peered at him now through fogged eyes. It was surprisingly cool for this time of year. Only sixty-three degrees today.

    She leaned back in the booth and pulled a long box wrapped with ribbons and a bow but no paper, from under the table. He didn’t seem surprised and she didn’t waste time with explanation, “I…know you know where she is. I’m not saying you ought to send this, it may…confuse her, but…I’d just like her to have something from me…I just…she’s never left my mind. Not even one day.”

    Bruce nodded in that damned way of his. He took the box without question.

    She was sure he’d give that gift, a doll, to some girl who’d benefited through his family’s foundation.

    But he surprised her when he took both of her hands in his, “Don’t worry, she’ll get this, I’ll be sure of it.”

    She screwed up her face in an effort not to be too, too emotional.

    He gathered the box in his hands and got up. Hesitating, nervous in his own way, he paused, and then he leant down and kissed her on the cheek. Long, lingeringly. He whispered, “I’m…sorry, again. Forgive me.”

    And he was off. But he did call a cab for her. He didn’t want her to try to get to her apartment alone. She ordered again but pushed the last little shot glass away. Not trying to sound too sentimental. She just listened to the radio overhead and thought of her girl without speaking too loud really.

    “Helena.”
     

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