Helena Bertinelli peered through binoculars at the scene across the roof from her. Batman and Batgirl had taken down a group of hoodlums. Batgirl even received a grudging nod from Batman, something he'd never do with her. He'd just scowl and ask why she was sticking her nose where it wasn't wanted. Helena had worn the Batgirl costume during No Man's Land, but was there any gratitude? Not that she'd done it to win his approval – she'd done it because Gotham needed a Bat out there. But the message was clear – she wasn't welcome. Her methods made her categorically not One of Them.
Why the hell did Helena care anyway? She should just focus on what really mattered. She'd fight crime and corruption her way and let Batman take care of his own, the way he always did. Fortunately Batman and Batgirl were too busy mopping up their handiwork to notice her. All the better as far as she was concerned. She could pretend she was never there.
"Huntress?" Her earpiece buzzed. "You on the scene?"
Helena gritted her teeth, "Right where you said they'd be, Oracle." Helena was wondering when her little Bat in her ear would call. She still wasn't sure whether Barbara Gordon was angel or demon. "Batman and Batgirl have things pretty well covered."
"Any trouble?" Oracle asked.
"Other than Catwoman is going to be pissed at the property damage to her old stomping grounds, not really," Helena shot back. "They took the long way along the East End rooftops." But something was nagging her about those thugs they'd nabbed. They hadn't looked like Gotham's usual criminals. Even the non-costumed ones had a type. "I know that face. Where do I know him from?" She was searching through her memory. "I know I recognize him from somewhere... "
"Recognize who?" Oracle interrupted her line of thought. "I need a visual, Huntress."
Helena upped the zoom on her binoculars on the last man huddling in the corner. He wasn't even trying to fight back. He almost looked scared. "Do you see him?"
"Short dude with a bad comb-over," Oracle replied. "Who is he?"
"Kanina," Helena finally placed the connection. "That was the name he went by."
"Counterfeiter?" Oracle asked hopefully.
"Money launderer," Helena finished. Something was not adding up with this tableau. If he was working with the others, why did he look more scared of them than Batman? "He wasn't Gotham based, unless he's moved his operations."
"The only Kanina that pops up in my database disappeared nearly ten years ago." Helena could almost hear the tick-tack of Oracle's fingers on the keyboard. "Whoa, I think I found our Gotham connection. Kanina tried to rip off one of the Five Families. Sound vaguely familiar?"
"I remember now," Helena nodded. "Kanina welshed on a money deal with Cassamentos. The money disappeared when he was presumed dead." She swore aloud. "When you called me in, you said it was a straight up bank robbery. Do we have IDs on the guys with him? Somehow I don't think they were just stealing from First Gotham."
"You think they're stealing the money he was paid to hide," Oracle finished. "Okay, I have confirmation on their IDs – oh fuck."
"I don't like the sound of that." Oracle cursed so rarely, this could only be bad news. Helena continued to train her binoculars on the scene across the rooftop. Batman and Batgirl were so focused on breaking up the heist, they weren't noticing other things. "He's the only one that isn't armed. We need to alert Batman. They could try to... "
Before Helena could finish that sentence, all hell broke loose on the rooftop. The hoodlum broke loose from his bindings and went for his firearm. Instead of aiming for Batman, he had turned it on the money launderer. Whatever he had learned, he had wanted to make sure no one else learned it either.
But Batgirl was faster, completely disarming the crook before he could fire his weapon. Helena would have broken a few bones for good measure, but this girl was all finesse. Batman made sure his friend didn't get any similar ideas. The money launderer backed into the corner away from the action. The little man looked grateful for the assistance.
All Helena heard over the earpiece was Batman's clipped response.
"Good intel, Oracle. Thanks for the tip."
Then the line went dead.
"Glad I could help," Helena couldn't disguise the bitterness in her response.
Oracle cut in, "This is the fourth takedown tonight, he... "
"I stopped trying to make him care a long time ago, Oracle," Helena said. "You and Batgirl, you're the ones he trusts. You're the golden girls, remember?"
"Someday, he'll... "
"You keep thinking that." Helena turned away from the scene on the rooftop. "It'd be nice if you would go to bat for me once in awhile." That was unfair, but she was in a foul mood. Oracle had defended her on occasion, just not this time. "Do you need me for anything else?" She'd done what she could tonight. She'd let Batman take care of the rest.
"No, go on home, Oracle out."
Helena was so tempted to rip her earpiece out in frustration. Instead, she pocketed her binoculars and headed for home. The East End architecture had seen better days, but that was par for the course. There was very little in Gotham that wasn't damaged in some fashion, including her. No point in dwelling on that any more than needed. She wasn't needed, not by them anyway.