"Morning and I should add my congratulations for finally turning seventeen!" I heard a shrill voice trill before curtains were thrust open blinding me to the world.
"No! Why isn't it still night time?" I moaned back into my pillows to receive a laugh in return.
I turned while rapidly blinking my slowly adjusting eyes to see the comical sight of my adoptive father, Bruce Wayne, and my psychotic aunt, Bellatrix Lestrange, and I couldn't help my internal cringe. Bellatrix had taken me for quite a turn by pitching up in the beginning of the month demanding my return to Britain so that I could fulfil her plans by becoming the first next generation Death Eater. I had been entirely shocked by her proud proclamations that I would be the perfect surrogate daughter with an already flourishing desire to study the Dark Arts that I had smacked myself across my face to ensure that I wasn't stuck in another nightmare. Once I was quite certain of reality I had explained to her that I couldn't return to Britain until I had dealt with my "Joker problem" and while she seemed enraged at the fact that I was stuck in Gotham she had decided to help me speed the process up by offering her assistance. At first I had protested, but after she had pointed out to me that I had no proper plans laid out in order to eliminate my problem I had conceded defeat and she had stayed on at the famous Wayne Manor under the rouse of being my mother's distant relative who had found out about my plight by fluke and wanted to lend a hand in comforting me. I had set a ground rule that while she was in Gotham City she was not to harm any of the people who I was desperately trying to protect even going so far as to kill for. She was stunned by my love for the city's people and was quite concerned that they were all very depraved themselves in one way or another. She was equally impressed by Wayne Manor and Bruce's occupation with Wayne Enterprises and actually spent an evening or two asking him about the schematics behind his family's business while I artfully observed the wheels in her head turning. In the beginning I was frightfully afraid and freaked out by the situation, but during the thirteen days that she had been in Gotham sticking to her word Bellatrix had kind of grown on me. I was still dreading the time when she would come true to her word and whisk me away to Britain and allow for me to become something which I morally did not want to do, indeed. In the meantime though, she had been perfectly amiable with Bruce and Alfred even going so far as to teach me a few things that she knew about the Dark Arts and spell application and intent. She helped me get somewhat ahead in the syllabus for school which I was still in two minds about and while I learned about a bit of history on the Black family tree she also listened intently to the in depth tale of my abduction by my arch nemesis.
She told me an interesting interpretation of how her part of the family had perceived my mother's disappearance. The family had learned about her departure to Gotham through the one liner left by her and naturally they had read up on the city to find that it was a place which was built on a darker form of magic than they were capable of. I was surprised by that fact and the family had assumed that my mother was under an enchantment by the city in all of its madness thus the result of my birth explaining why they were too scared to come and take the enchantment off not fully understanding the darker form of magic themselves. That gave me some material to ponder about in the recess of my mind and decided that if I returned to the Wizarding World I had to read up on the supposed darker form of magic. Bellatrix was impressed by my cunning when I had explained my successful plan of isolating my enemy to take him down while Bruce was at a board meeting. It was my first day back in Gotham and the press was already going off their rocker and at a certain question I had let the signature scarf drop from my face revealing the horrid scars to their collective intake of breath. I had proudly proclaimed sending a message through the famed media that I would be spending my time at the docks watching the sun go down and about a week later his reply had come that he would be making a killing of docking men on July the thirteenth. Our discreet conversation had made it clear that we understood our time and location and that it would be our ultimate show down.
"Good morning and happy birthday," Bruce had said bringing me out of my thoughts. "Did you sleep alright?"
"Yeah," I answered honestly and it really was the truth. Ever since the evening at the Ministry my nightmares of my abduction and psychosis had been subsiding to an impressive non existence which I found curious and relieving at the same time. "Are you excited for your flight to France later on?"
"Me excited for boring jet lagged flights across the world to meet with equally boring investors? Never, but I am truly sorry that it had to fall on your birthday." He was looking at me with an expression of sorrow while I pulled myself into a sitting position.
"Don't worry about it besides there are tons of other birthdays to be around for and to me it's just a number anyway, another mark on the getting older calendar." I lightly told him while Bellatrix perched herself on the edge of my bed.
"Already counting the crease marks, my dear?" She joked lightly. "We still have the morning to have a lovely birthday breakfast."
"Yeah!" I said cheerily. "But before we do that can I get ready for the day?"
"Of course," Bruce said and motioned towards my aunt. "Let's wait down in the dining hall, shall we?"
I waited for a few seconds after they had left before gently climbing out of bed to prepare myself for the day taking care to properly shower and avoid the mirrors in the rooms pinching myself at the reality of one phobia which I hadn't let go of yet. Despite my fading psychosis a single glance at my reflection would have me crumbling to the floor with the laughing and screaming voices rushing back rendering me unable to discern my location the images were so vivid. I had really tried to cure myself of that horrible Achilles tendon, but after the first ten failed attempts I had given up and resorted to covering all the reflective objects as I had become used to. After selecting and dressing into the most practical attire to be seen in I attached the newest concealment holster I had come to design for my wand which was placed along my wand arm and with a simple flick of my wrist my wand would appear in my hand. I wasn't too sure about how I should have felt about coming of age where the Trace would be removed, but also wondered about why it was that I was in the wrong year at Hogwarts, Bellatrix had mentioned something about that mysterious Gotham magic again which piqued my curiosity even further. I took the long walk down to the dining hall and placed my invested expression back onto my face before entering to the chorus of "Happy birthday to you" which had me smiling and thanking Bruce and Bellatrix profusely over their gifts. I had told them that I really wasn't interested in receiving anything, but they had relented with books, one labelled The City Built on Terror from Bellatrix and several science ones from Bruce. The morning after that had proceeded gently and by lunch time when it came to the time of Bruce's departure we had all driven with him to the airport to see him off. The early hours of the afternoon was spent preparing for the evening ahead with Bellatrix and going over spells which may come in handy in case any trouble arose with me persistently reminding her of the Statue of Secrecy even if the Trace had been removed.
The sun had almost reached the horizon which was our cue and after telling Alfred that we fancied seeing a movie and were going to be taking a very long time Bellatrix had taken my arm and I felt the squeezing sensation of a side along Apparition. We landed in a small puddle of what seemed to be gasoline which was the omen of a very testing evening and stepped towards the locked front gates to the private sector of the docks. Spread across the gates was a poster from my father's old election days with graffiti on his face giving him the trademark Glasgow Smile and instead of his name on the slogan the words read as I believe in Emily Dent. Bellatrix made a disgusted sound as we approached the gate for me to unlock them normally seeing as I had the code for them negating the need for any magic.
"Remember this guy would most likely have us on surveillance at all times so keep the secret weapon thing to a minimum and also he will try to kill me several times before I see him most likely in the most psychologically damaging ways possible." I said as we pushed our way through the gates closing them quietly behind us.
"This freak is worse than the Dark Lord who at least has the decency to kill someone outright, what is with him and breaking down the minds of these people?" my aunt's voice echoed eerily around the empty yard.
"His main objective is complete chaos, he doesn't like order very much and he also does not appreciate people calling him a freak so if we want this to go smoothly I would refrain from using that term," the sun had touched the horizon and with it the two buildings besides us had exploded knocking us around on our feet as hot air rushed over us.
"What was that?!" I heard through the roaring flames.
"Emily!" An awful voice was heard booming through some sound system. "I see you've made it just on time! What I don't like though, is that you bought a friend along. I thought that this was going to be a "you and I" reunion with no adult supervision. Pity, I thought you were better than that."
At those words I flung myself into Bellatrix knocking us several feet away from where a speeding bullet had imbedded itself on the tarmac.
"Oh so you have that same old heroic streak that had you running back home," the nasally voice spoke out again. "Well, there is a lovely sniper man dead for you."
A shot was heard echoing across from the bay and Bellatrix turned to the sound having never heard it before with a curious expression on her face.
"Okay, seeing as you are still under-aged one adult is allowed, but here is the catch I was going to give you three hours to get to your new daddy's ship before it and all of Gotham goes sky high, now you only have one," the voice madly cackled for a few seconds and recovered enough to laugh out a last line. "Oh and do be careful, some of the things you will encounter are a little, uh, volatile."
There was a bit of static as the line cut off and Bellatrix and I looked to each other, me in abject terror and her with a wide eyed expression not fully comprehending the situation as the buildings around us burned.
"I know where to go and we need to hurry," I said in determination and gesturing to her I took to the burning buildings.
"Are you seriously going to walk into a bunch of burning death traps?" she called after me following on shortly.
"Yes. This is the fastest route and if we run through the buildings fast enough we should beat their collapse which is due any minute now." I sucked in a breath of fresh air before plunging into the smoking danger zone.
"And you aren't going to cast any protective spells?" she climbed in behind me.
"Nope, lessens the urgency if you ask me," I looked to her before running through the dropping flames and smoke.
"Lessens the urgency?" she scoffed before running after me and it took a few minutes of my lungs burning up before I managed to kick open a door which was on fire and collapsed to have a small coughing fit while she caught up.
After she had regained her breath and discretely cleared my lungs with a non-verbal spell I stood up and shook my head clear of the tears which had formed and the foggy sensation in my mind.
"Thanks," my voice was rather gravelly from the smoke which had burned out my trachea.
"Don't mention it and the urgency?" she asked and we were sprinting through a large section which devoted to cranes and shipping containers.
In our run to Bruce's ship we had encountered several people with guns who I had taken down with my own one which I was glad I kept on me at all times for "nostalgia's sake". My companion in the run had taken a rather curious glance in my direction at my seemingly callous murders, but I was far too set to bother with any words only going forwards. After the cranes and containers there was only a building and an otherwise short run before the boarding section which would have the ship docked neatly and waiting. The building was a viable shortcut to run through, but when we got there I found the door covered in wires which had me stopping and my aunt crashing into me.
"What is it now?" she asked peering at the door in confusion.
"The building is rigged; we need to go through a window." I found a window which would be easy enough to climb through and smashed it with a rock which was conveniently lying around.
She wordlessly followed me through the window and I found another barrier to this hurried hour; barrels of gasoline all rigged like the night that Rachel died and I swallowed the memories letting my frustration overtake everything else. I kicked over a barrel and my anger refocused into determination as we took off to the end of the room and found the exit similarly rigged only no windows were present to climb out of this time. I inspected the rigging and found that the entrance's wires would have to be the ones to be cut so I flicked my wand out taking aim and fired a cutting spell at the wires. They cut successfully and we were out of the building to the final gates with a broken padlock lying on the ground before the boarding section where I saw a familiar figure standing and I stopped to turn to my aunt.
"It is the intent behind the spell that makes it work right?" I asked in uncertainty with my breath catching up to me.
"Always," she looked at me curiously.
"Wait here for me, will you? This will only take a few minutes," she nodded and I pushed open the gates.
I strode forward with a brisk pace the moment stretching out with the sky a deep shade of purple and the city's lights already notifying the world that it was coming to life. I remarked on the city's dark beauty while holding on to my wand tightly and trying not waver in my resolve and far beyond any reason. I looked ahead and the figure's features had morphed into the purple painted monster which was loosely holding onto a detonation device while grinning madly at my approach.
"Oh how wonderful that you made it! I told you that you could-" he started with his insane screaming laugh before I cut him off.
"Avada Kedavra!" I coldly cast in his direction.
I watched as the green light which lit us up struck his chest, his expression bemused as it slowly slipped off to the one of death; I did not avert my gaze as the detonation device slipped from his cold grasp nor did I flinch when the sound of his falling body hit the ground in a fleshy slump. I stood for a few more seconds before banishing the detonation device and looked to the corpse of the purple painted monster which had taken residence in my mind. I turned and left the creature behind to walk back to Bellatrix who stood frozen to the spot with her mouth hanging open as if she had expected something completely different than that.
"The police are due to show up in several minutes," I spoke coolly in response to the sirens that were blaring in the distance no doubt alerted by the explosions. "I would rather not face them and I want to go home to shower the filth off of me."
She looked as if she had been slapped so in a dumb trance had taken my proffered arm and Apparated us back to the entrance of Wayne Manor where I let myself in and without another word I briskly made my way up the stairs leaving my flabbergasted aunt gaping at my retreating form. That evening after scrubbing myself raw I holed myself up in the living room with my eyes glued to the television screen, the cables and remote had long ago been returned, which was set on GCN. Alfred had come rushing into the room followed by a still stunned Bellatrix when the news reporter had received the news of the police discovering my nemesis's body, but I stayed still that entire evening watching the channel continuously updating itself on the situation. She had stayed with me for some time that evening watching the changing television screen with mild interest before heading off to bed when the reporters started rambling on about back stories. At dawn when they had started refreshing the day's news feeds I rose from my stiff position and turned the television off before letting myself fall into my bed's embraces and accepted the sleep which came.