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The Oracle

Chapter Text

Alfred ends up telling her. Barbara sits in her wheelchair at the kitchen table, feeling more useless than she ever had in her life, more than the when she gave up Batgirl, more than when she got shot, more than when the doctors told her she would never walk again.

Barbara doesn't move after he hangs up. She sits, and she doesn't cry, and when Sarah, her stepmother, comes home from work, Barbara ignores her. She sits there until her father finally comes home, hours later than he should have, and she sits as they talk in the hall in hushed, worried voices she isn't supposed to hear.

Barbara sits and thinks about Jason, his brilliant smile and his larger-than-life energy, his stupid puns and his passion, and how he was the little brother she always wanted, even though she would never tell him that. She lets the part of her that was supposed to stay strong die.



"Are you sure about this, Barbara?" Dad asks.

She turns to smile at him. It's a smile that could melt ice, the fake one she used to give him when she came home after a bad night as Batgirl, when she had to explain away the cuts and bruises, the one he always falls for because he loves her so much, and Barbara reflects that she should be worried she doesn't feel bad. At all. "I'm really sure, Dad. I've already bought the ticket and everything. It'll be good for me, you know it will be."

"I know. I just worry about you since… you know." He rubs the back of his head awkwardly.

She takes a deep breath and wheels over to him so she can take his hand. "I need to do this. Get out of Gotham for a while. If I don't do this now, Dad, I never will. I can't live my entire life in fear."

He smiles back at her. "Okay. I'm proud of you, Babs."

"Thanks, Dad."



"Thanks again for this, Talia."

Talia al Ghul's lips curl up, ever so slightly. "It was the least my father and I could do for you, darling, after all the trouble we put everyone through."

"And our other deal still stands?"

"Yes. We are ready at any time, after I receive my payment."

"I'll get on it as soon as I get back. It shouldn't give me much trouble."

The man hanging from the chains begins to stir. Barbara feels an ugly grin cross her face. Talia sees it and laughs lightly, like springtime. "I will leave you two alone. It has been a pleasure working with you, Miss Gordon."

Barbara nods. The door clicks closed. She wheels over to where the Joker is hanging.

"Hey," she says brightly, slamming the butt of her gun into his stomach. "Asshole. Wake up."

He jerks up, struggling wildly. His eyes brighten when he recognizes her. "Fatgirl! What a surprise! Are we having a party?"

"Oh, yeah. Great big party."

He cackles. "I'd say you should invite birdboy, but he's a bit busy right now."

"Oh, don't worry. You'll be seeing him soon. So will I, for that matter." Her smile widens. "Do you remember what you told my dad a few months ago? That whole thing about how one bad day can make even the sanest person go crazy."

"It ring a bell." She fucking hates his voice.

"You were right." His face goes still. His eyes widen ever so slightly. "You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?"

Barbara pulls the trigger.



"Bruce." He doesn't look startled, but Barbara knows him. She's surprised him.

She's sitting on the edge of his bed. Her chair is just next to her, shining in the moonlight from the window.

"Barbara. Your back."

"Yeah. Sorry I left. I just… I couldn't stay." She looks him in the eyes. He's out of the suit, into boxers and a night shirt that clings to his muscles. His hair is tussled, and he is gorgeous, and Barbara realizes she will never, ever truly find him attractive. "Bruce. I'm so sorry."

He crossed the room in two steps and nearly falls into her outstretched arms. She holds him, running circles on his back, and he runs his hand through her hair gently, trying to comfort her even though she doesn't need it.

She feels a bit bad when she leans back, letting his weight press down on her. She pulls her face back from where it's pressed against his shoulder and slots their lips together.




She sends the semen sample- payment for bringing Jason back- to Talia with a note that reads, "Damian for a boy, Melania for a girl. Good luck."

She starts preparing for the fallout now. She shudders to think what would happen to Jason if she wasn't ready to help him when he came back from the Lazarus Pit.

Chapter Text

Barbara stares at Alfred out of the corner of her eye. She's been pretending to read for several minutes, and he's been pretending to make dinner. Finally, she sighs and closes her book. "How long have you known?"

"How long have I known what, Miss Gordon?"

"Alfred." She turns to face him. He turns to face her. "Don't play games with me. I'm fucking tired of people playing games with me."

He nods. "My apologies. I began suspecting something was wrong after you and Master Bruce began your liaisons."

"But when did you know?" She pushes.

"Two weeks ago. I heard the tail end of one of your phone calls."

"I thought so. Wasn't sure."

"Have you been wondering why I haven't told Master Bruce of your activities?"


"Because it would crush him. He cares for you a great deal, more than I think you realize. If he were to learn how far you've fallen I doubt his heart would ever mend." He hesitates before setting down his meat cleaver and coming over to take her hands. Barbara looks away. "And because I care for you as well. I don't want to see the two of you tear one another apart."

She swallows thickly. Regret bubbles up inside her, and it's stupid that it's only happening now, not any of the times she's pulled the trigger or made the call or slept with Bruce even though Dick and her are still technically together. "I don't care. He's wrong. None of you can see it, that I'm doing the right thing."

He lets go of her hand. "Your father would be very disappointed in you."

Barbara feels her head get fuzzy with anger. "Alfred. Could you head down to the cave and get Bruce, please? I don't think I'll be staying for dinner after all and I'd like him to drive me home." Her voice sounds dead. Alfred has the good grace to look slightly frightened.

"I think that would be an excellent idea, Miss Gordon."