This fic is a great What-If story about what could have happened if Selina had decided not to make a pact with Bane to turn Batman over to him. It’s gotten off to a wonderful start, and the voices of everyone is spot on. Plus, i know from some of the author’s other work that they do plot very, very well.
You should be reading this!
Her alarm buzzes at six o’clock in the morning, but Selina is already wide awake. She reaches over to the nightstand without even glancing in its direction, silencing the noise and climbing out of bed within a few heartbeats. By the time her roommate Holly has started moving around in the other room, Selina has already been exercising for a full hour, moving through an increasingly rigorous workout regimen that ends in a series of sit ups and pulls ups with sweat pouring off her.
Holly isn’t a bad roommate, but Selina likes living alone better. She’s used to living alone, but there’s rent to pay. She doesn’t remember much of her parents. Her mother was sixteen when Selina was born, and her father was never in the picture. By the time she was twelve, it was regular for Selina to come home and take care of a drunken mother and, on more than a few occasions, a woman so high she didn’t even recognize her own daughter. Selina became self-reliant before she even hit puberty, but at some point the social services were notified; then it was foster homes and group homes, strangers who kept her for the monthly check in the mail, and when she’d split from one place, where the guy was a particular brand of asshole, no one ever reported it. She lived on the streets after that, but she still went to school everyday. Stole, for her clothes and her food. Slept in abandoned buildings and run-down hotels, and when she found them, foreclosed properties that had all the windows boarded up and a for-sale sign in the yard. She thought about prostitution, but she never quite went there. Besides, her skills with breaking and entering never made her that desperate.
Years passed, and not many people bothered to notice the slight young girl with pretty brunette hair and a sweet, innocent smile. It was a look she practiced a lot in the mirror. Selina was used to slipping into oblivion, only garnering attention when she sought it out.
Now, at age nineteen, she goes to UC Gotham on an academic scholarship supplemented by Wayne Enterprises. She majors in Art History – not Art, like people always assume, like she’s a painter or something. They tell her she’ll never find a post-grad job with that type of major, but she always shrugs it off and smiles, like she knows something they don’t. (She knows plenty they don’t.)
“You coming to the party tonight?” Holly asks her, from the doorway. “It’s going to be epic.”
Selina rolls her eyes. “I’ll think about it.”
“Oh, c’mon. It’s at the old mansion in the Palisades. That Wayne kid is throwing it.”
She lifts an eyebrow. “Bruce Wayne?”
“Yeah. He transferred to Gotham when he got kicked out of, like, every other university on the east coast. He’s having a kegger to kick off the semester.”
“Pass,” Selina says. “If I want the king of tabloids throwing up all over me after hitting on me half the night, I’ll use my vivid imagination.”
“He’s really cute,” Holly offers. “Please, Selina? Y’know how I hate to go to these things alone.”
She pauses, because it isn’t so much a preference as it is a matter of safety. Holly doesn’t have the best sort of judgment when it comes to parties and booze, and Selina’s had to knock out of a few overzealous fraternity boys and drag Holly out of some messy situations.
Selina sighs. “Fine. But if I want to leave early, we leave early. No arguments or complaints.”
Holly squeals. “Deal! Oh, we’re going to have so much fun!”
By the time the day passes and they arrive at the manor, greeted at the door by a (shit-you-not) butler, Selina has a headache. She spent the last hour fighting traffic and trying to find adequate parking, which, given the sheer size of the Wayne Estate, shouldn’t have been that difficult – and yet. It’s closer to ten before they even make it inside. The place is just as glamorous and obnoxiously opulent as she suspected, and Selina resigns herself to standing stiffly at the sides while Holly flirts with any guy within a ten foot radius. A few guys make the mistake of trying to strike up a conversation with Selina, but she quickly disabuses them of that idea, one time rather pointedly, when a guy with no sense of personal boundaries got a little too physical with her and she had to use a serrated utensil near his groin in order to demonstrate her frustration with his lack of consideration.
She eventually escapes into one of the quiet rooms upstairs, just for a breather. It hadn’t been her intention to snoop, honestly. She was just tired of the noise and the crowd, and despite her revulsion with the rich, she likes pretty things. There’s a Rembrandt in the Regency Room, and a grand vase from the Han dynasty, circa 200 BC. What’s more enticing, of course, is the safe in the back wall behind the painting. It’s… tempting. A little too much, for Selina’s tastes. It hadn’t been her intention to rob the place, but some chances are just too fortuitous to ignore.
A few minutes later, just for shits and giggles, she tries her hand at the combination. A few minutes after that, she’s staring at a pretty little diamond tennis bracelet, no less than 20 carats.
A noise alerts her to some company, and she has just enough time to close the safe and move to the other end of the room before a voice calls out, “You’re not supposed to be here.”
Selina flinches, rather dramatically. She whirls around with her hand over her heart, gasping, and finds a familiar face; it’s the same one plastered on every tabloid this side of the Atlantic. Bruce Wayne is as handsome as expected, and maybe even a little taller, but Selina doesn’t find petty rich boys to be anything other than self-aggrandizing idiots.
“Sorry!” she exclaims, doe-eyed, breathless and jumpy. “Got lost. Was looking for the little girl’s room.”
He glances around the place pointedly, the long, clean room full of esoteric trinkets and priceless art. “I could see how you’d get confused.”
“I’ll be on my way,” she says, smiling bashfully.
She’s halfway to the door before he stops her. “That’s a pretty bracelet that you have,” he says.
And she thinks, busted, in the same breath as she turns around to find a curiously amused smirk on his face.