Obligatory Disclaimers: I do not own any characters belonging to DC Comics and I am not getting paid for this.
A/N: This story began life as an Arkham Asylum universe fic about Mr. Freeze and his wife, but it morphed. The secondary plot with Yukie, Slade and Rose somehow took over. However, even though the first few chapters focus heavily on the Freeze situation, it will all become relevant and connect up in the end. ALSO: FOR LONG TERM READERS, THIS IS A NEW FIRST CHAPTER!
There are more tears shed over answered prayers than unanswered prayers.—St Teresa of Avila.
Rose looked down at the address on her phone and then up at the listing between the elevators. Dr. Angela Torchild, Suite 803, 4:15 PM, her phone said. Dr. A. Torchild, Suite 803, Family Therapist, said the listing. She didn't want to be there, but she'd promised Robin she'd get counseling, and he was the only one of the Titans who gave her a real chance.
Her phone also said it was 4:12 at the moment. There was no getting out of it now. Tucking her phone away again, she stabbed the up button. Two seconds later, she stabbed it again. There was no sign that the elevator was responding, let alone on its way.
Sixteen was not an age known for its patience. "Damn it," she swore, and made for the stairs. Wrenching the door open so hard it crashed into the wall and stuck there, she sprinted up all eight flights, taking the steps two at a time, and was barely breathing hard when she reached the eighth floor landing. Even then, she didn't bother to stop and push the bar to open the door to the hallway—she simply leapt, drawing both knees up, and kicked it open, transitioning the move into a smooth tuck-and-roll on the carpet. It was easier to move and just not think.
Back on her feet again, she oriented herself as to where suite 803 was located—and took a moment to smooth out her clothes before she intruded on the therapist's turf. The receptionist nodded and gave her a clipboard with a form to fill out before she saw the doctor.
Rose sat down on the waiting room sofa, checked boxes, and scribbled in the relevant information where she was supposed to, but there wasn't any box or space for the really important things. Like: Metagene. Active/Inactive? If active, how and when did it become active? List powers/abilities acquired in space provided.
Finally she handed it back. The receptionist looked it over, asked for her insurance, and disappeared into the next room for a moment. When she returned, she told Rose she could go in.
Rose did as instructed, glancing around. The therapist had opted to decorate her space in soft, gentle colors and livened it up with some house plants and an aquarium with fancy guppies. The woman herself was rather short, plump, and cheerful.
"Rose Wilson? I'm Doctor Torchild, but you can call me Angela. Please, have a seat. You can take off your coat if you want to, whatever makes you most comfortable."
Rose did, choosing a red leather chair as far from the desk as she could. "Did you read my file?" she asked the doctor as she undid the toggles on her duffle coat.
"No further than to note your name and date of birth. I prefer to learn about new patients first hand. What stunning hair you have! Is that your natural color?"
"Yes," Rose fingered a lock of her milk-white hair. "I don't have albinism. It's a mutation I inherited from my dad. Look—you're the third therapist I've been referred to, so this is getting a bit old. Do you have any experience treating metas?"
"Metas?" Dr. Torchild asked.
"Yeah. People with the metagene. Supers. Costumed adventurers with superpowers. People who are living the life. Because I am one, and I don't like having to prove I'm not delusional or lying over and over again. Doctor Kinkaid didn't believe me until I showed him, and Doctor Powell left the office and didn't come back while I was there after I told him. It should be in my file by now. Go ahead, I'll wait."
The therapist frowned, and consulted her computer. "Um…I see. Limited precognitive ability to see into the future while engaged in combat; possesses augmented strength, speed, stamina, agility and intelligence."
"Along with emotional and mental instability," Rose added. "I know I need help, but unless you know what life as a costumed adventurer is like, I don't know that you'll be able to help me any. We have a different baseline for normal."
"What is that baseline?" Dr. Torchild asked. "How is your normal different from anybody else's normal?"
"…I have no idea where to begin." Rose slid down in her chair.
"You could begin by telling me about your family," the doctor suggested.
"My family. Okay. Do me a favor and Google 'Deathstroke'."
"Because. Just do it, okay?" Rose snapped.
"Very well," The therapist did not lose her cheerful attitude until she began to read. "Oh. Killed an entire room full of high level figures in organized crime….with a handful of pocket change? Responsible for the assassination of…"
"He's my father." Rose cut into the recital of her dad's most recent and colorful deeds. "I didn't meet him until I was six years old, because Mom took my brother Joseph and went into hiding after they were attacked by North Koreans in retaliation for something he did. She was pregnant with me at the time. I think getting pregnant again was a last ditch attempt to save their marriage, but he didn't know about me yet. She faked her death and Joey's death and moved across the country to Washington state, where I was born."
"Your father," Torchild repeated. "It says here he was the subject of a military experiment which failed, but left him with the same powers that you have. Did you inherit those powers from him?"
"Not really. I inherited the potential to develop powers, but I didn't have them until after he injected me with the same serum the military used on him. Without my consent or knowledge, either."
"How do you feel about that?"
"Feel? How do you think I feel? I fucking hate it! I have psychotic episodes and impulse control problems, none of my teammates trust me and I can forget ever having a normal life!" She sat upright in her chair again, her nails digging into the chair arms and leaving tears behind.
"It's all right to be angry, Rose. Where was your mother when this was going on?"
"Dead—probably." Rose forced her hands to let go of the chair arms and moved them to her lap.
"'Probably?" the therapist asked.
"That's part of the whole different baseline normal thing. Among costumed adventurers, death is never that far away, but it's not always final. People come back all the time. Anyway, she might not have approved, but she was always, like, 'In this family, we're soldiers. It's what we do.' Her name was Lillian Kane and she was a captain in the Army when she and Dad met. She trained him, can you believe that? She fired sharpshooter and was an unarmed combat instructor. I think it always pissed her off that she couldn't serve in combat."
"You sound as though you approve of her and resent her at the same time," the doctor observed.
"That's about right. You see, she—I don't—She was always unhappy. I don't remember her ever being happy. She was always angry and afraid."
"Because of your father's profession, or were there other reasons?"
"Because of him—I think. I don't know for sure. I mean, the things you hear women in the military go through—but I don't know." Rose looked at her hands.
"What about your brother Joseph? Where is he now?"
"Also dead—probably. He was six years older than me. He had this power where he could go immaterial and possess people—he could put their bodies on just like he was wearing a coat, but the problem was, their minds kind of leaked. Into his. And after a while, they sort of possessed him, and he did some things that—. Dad…Dad had to kill him." Rose's mouth trembled, and she went into her purse for a tissue.
"I had another brother who was older than Joey, Grant. He's dead too. Probably."
"Is there anyone you know who is dead permanently?" the doctor joked.
Rose looked up, suddenly furious. "Yes. His name was Wintergreen, William Wintergreen. He was like Dad's right arm, and he was my friend. I used to wish he was my real dad, because he was just…just the best person I ever met. He used to take me out for afternoon tea sometimes, and, and, to museums or the park—things neither my mom nor my dad ever did. He even stood up to Dad when he thought something was really wrong, and Dad listened to him. I just loved him, and no, he was never inappropriate. He's dead now. Truly and forever dead. You want to know how I know? Because Joey took over Dad's body and made Dad cut his head off and then mount it on the wall like a hunting trophy!"
"Oh—Rose, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean—." The doctor tried to backtrack but Rose was crying now, and it took a while before she could speak again.
"How messed up can one life get?" Rose said when she could, her voice both hoarse and squeaky from the tears. "Really, how much more can it? But you know something? I still love my dad, and I miss him. Even though he's done evil things, even though he turned on me and tried to kill me. Even though his training was hell. He's all I've got left, and he remembers Wintergreen too. I wouldn't want to live with him again, not when it would be just the two of us, but if Wintergreen was still alive, I would. It would be okay, then.
"I just want a family. I want a home. I want to be happy."
"You know what they say," the doctor said, world-weary, "Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it."
The session continued, but at the end of it Rose Wilson left and never returned. Because Rose did get what she asked for, after a fashion, and after she had it, she didn't look back.