Fandom: Batman Begins/The Dark Knight
Characters: Selina Kyle
Word count: just over 1000
Summary: Reflections during Gotham's occupation. Selina-centric with just a hint of Batcat
Being on the winning side wasn’t supposed to ring this hollow.
Not that she was protesting the unexpected “parole.” The stink of Blackgate- urinals and predators locked in close quarters- made the stark quarters at Women’s Corrections seem like a luxury hotel. She was adaptable; a survivor who’d grown up in the worst part of town, but there was nothing like the taste of freedom even if it was just a bigger cage in reality. She could sleep knowing Jen was in the next room, without the restless unease of praying the protection she’d bartered and threatened for would hold. Having to keep her guard up constantly was exhausting- she’d slunk back to their place, curled up and slept like the dead for days after they’d burst out of Blackgate like steam from a cracked boiler. She’d missed most of the initial riots, but there had been plenty of “justice” in the following weeks that she’d witnessed first hand.
And it had not felt like the vicious satisfaction she had expected. Sure, there had been a redistribution of wealth, but it wasn’t the poor that benefited- merely mobs bearing grudges, guns and baseball bats. Jen still had the designer duds she’d grabbed, but they were sitting in a heap on the laundry room floor. Their top loader had ruined the fabrics when she’d tried to wash the stains out- Selina had checked the labels after and rolled her eyes. Two sizes too big and dry-clean only. The vibrant silks had just ended up as detritus, like the frozen bodies and shattered antiques that had littered the streets. At least somebody had organized a crew to pick up the dead. The last thing the city needed was a new storm of rats and plague. Their bodies were consigned to bonfires by the waterfront, and nobody knew whether the ashes blowing through the city were those of the rich, the aggressors or the ninety percent.
Death was the greatest equalizer after all.
At least it seemed that Bane had forgotten her, a fact that kept her lurking out of the blazing path of revolution. She knew where she stood on that food chain now, and even though she could hold her own against a few of his thugs, she avoided the “court” that dispensed “justice” while he sat smugly on the side. She preferred to go into looted houses after the dust had settled and sniff out the hidden wall safes; sift through piles of broken furnishings and mementos to see if there was anything she could barter with, any canned or dry goods undiscovered by other scavengers.
It had become clear that this revolution was not meant to right economic disparities despite the grand promises. Infrastructure was necessary to feed people in cities: Gotham was going hungry. The only food coming in was rations tasting bitterly of charity from the rest of the nation, and Bane’s men had first pick off the trucks. After all, the new elite were those with the guns. Reading about past revolutions made her feel the fool- why had she thought Bane’s men would be any different than the Khmer Rouge or the Committee of Public Safety? She couldn’t help those that were “exiled”, but she could do her part to make sure their little community got most of their rations unmolested. Still, people all over the city were coming down with scurvy- actual arctic expedition scurvy- from the lack of fresh produce.
She was no vegetarian, but the memory of crisp lettuce and acidic tang of tomato figured heavily in her fantasies nowadays. Fresh milk instead of powdered rations. Juicy sausages and hot french fries instead of the occasional strip of beef jerky and stale potato chips.
Maybe this is what they meant by just desserts- she couldn’t shake how so much of the suffering and ashes spiralled from a single set of pilfered fingerprints.
Her thoughts always came back to him these days, like treading a well-worn path. How had she missed the bigger picture when she’d had so many of the pieces? But that reactor had been a company secret, the stock market mess obvious fraud. Surely there should have been some kind of safeguard. And she’d done her homework, cased the joint, prepped escape routes and covered her tracks. After all she was a pro: seasoned by experience, cautious yet audacious in her planning. And she’d figured a life of excess had been what had crippled him, had relished knocking that spoiled wreck to the ground. His pearls had been the icing on the cake.
And then he’d thrown her off balance when he showed up looking debonair, with all his smug worldliness and unexpected insights and taken them back. Even the satisfaction of giving as good as she got was tainted by confusion- she’d expected him to taste of alcohol or some oily pastry, not deliciously dark and male.
But what bothered her most was being blindsided again by that final revelation. A trust fund playboy risking his life night after night to do what the cops couldn’t- the trail was years old, but she’d found the evidence online once she knew where to start digging. Gotham’s own dark knight.
She’d always been able to justify her actions. Those with more could weep over a few stolen baubles so that those who had less could eat, pay their heat and water bills. And if it added a sum to her stash, that was her due for exacting justice. She’d always had an incredible sense of balance, and fairness transcended laws. But she’d been too focused on the prize to walk that fine line.
And somehow, she’d helped take everything of his to help the one who’d broken him and then the city.
She wasn't used to being wrong footed, to being haunted by regrets. She’d heralded this storm, relished its oncoming fury.
His wings had been too weak- they couldn't have shielded Gotham anyway. She would keep redistributing what little remained to try to find some balance again.
But hindsight was a bitch.
A/N: I know I’m supposed to be working on Revelations (and I am!) but I had to get this worked out in my mind first. Would love to know your thoughts~