“…for we think we know, only when we have ascertained the causes, that but that which is infinite by addition cannot be gone through in a finite time.”
- Aristotle, Metaphysics
The winter wind seems harsher here on the bridge. At the edge of Gotham, separated from the rest of the world, it is so very cold.
The engine of the bus is no longer running. There is a yawning gap between them and freedom, courtesy of the U.S. military.
From behind her, Barbara thinks she can hear the prayers of the priest, muffled as he sits with his head in his hands in the driver’s seat. She can hear the boys shift inside, but they do not speak. They barely say anything when there is an explosion in the distance, when John yells “Here it comes!”
It is too late for all of them.
The clouds shift, the scene shifts, and out of the flames bursts an aircraft – dragging the bomb. Seeing the one thing they all feared soaring through the air feels surreal. It occurs to her, slowly, that Bruce is the one flying, and he is taking the bomb far away from them.
It doesn’t hit her until she sees the mushroom cloud that he may die for them.
She feels the way she felt over eight years ago, standing in the basement with Harvey Dent’s body at her feet and the only thing keeping her from breaking down was him, with his conviction and his impending martyrdom, and she feels weak in her knees. She thinks about him afterwards, something she tries not to think about but does, sometimes, in the darkest hour of the night. She thinks about everything she’s never said to him and everything he never was and could have been and everything that he was, that he did. She thinks about everything she’s become because of him.
Like a floodgate, the emotions that she’s buried deep down inside her for years come out in a strangled yelp, a sudden surge of feeling threatening to carry her away.
She doesn’t remember when John slipped his hand into hers, or when his arms became a source of solace, but she’s too lost to remember these things.
“May I please speak to Barbara Gordon?”
“Speaking.” Barbara shifts the phone onto her shoulder as she logs in to her email account.
“Barbara, this is Detective John Blake with the GCPD – I’m calling about your uncle, Jim Gordon.”
She almost drops the phone as she moves, suddenly, in surprise. She’s always expected some sort of call to come, though she’s always expected it from her aunt.
“Have you spoken with my aunt already?” She asks without preamble.
“Yeah, someone called her…but I wasn’t sure if they were going to call you. He’s been shot and he’s in the critical condition at Gotham General Hospital.”
“Okay.” What is she supposed to say? When she left Gotham 3 years ago, she cut ties. Phone calls to her uncle became few and far between, especially after her aunt moved to Cleveland. He’d forgotten her birthday this year, the first time he’d ever done that.
“What happened – how did he get shot?” she asks.
“There was a situation in the sewer system.” The answer, though vague, sets her on edge. Maybe because people don’t get shot in sewers. Maybe because Jim Gordon doesn’t get shot in sewers.
“I’m in Star City now,” she tells the detective. “I should be able to get into Gotham by tomorrow evening.”
“You don’t – “
“I highly doubt my aunt will. Just – if he’s alert, tell him I’m coming.”
“Will do, ma’am.”
She thanks the detective and puts her phone down. She thinks about asking someone to water her plants, and about her mail, and then she realizes the truth: if she returns to Gotham, she won’t just be visiting. Any return she makes to Gotham will likely be permanent. One can only keep running for so long.