A girl was roaming around the dark alleys of Gotham city. She looked to be around 17 years old. She was wearing a blue sweatshirt, the hood up and obscuring her face. She walked at a fast pace, eyes darting around her, and finally settling on the window of a bakery across the street. The sign read "closed", which was really no surprise since it was 1 A.M. But she wasn't interested in the sign, she was more interested in the cold bread and pastries that hadn't been sold that day, and were still in display.
Her stomach grumbled, and with one last look around her, the girl sighed and slowly extended her hand towards the window. It was then that she heard a stern voice behind her.
"Hadn't we talked about this already?"
Startled, the girl pulled her hand back and turned around, just to find herself face to face with none other than Batgirl, one of the city's fierce caped protectors.
"Come on, I thought we had agreed that you wouldn't steal anymore. I told you if you were hungry you could just look for me. You know my usual haunts."
Lowering her head, the girl said, "I know, and thanks for the offer, but I already told you I'd rather figure my way around on my own. I'm looking for a job, so I won't have to steal anymore. And you know I only ever take leftovers anyways"
"It's still wrong. You know you could get food at the homeless shelter."
"I'm still underage. And even if I weren't, I have no papers. I really don't want to get into their records. Right now, I don't even exist. That's fine by me."
"Do you even have a place to stay? This city can be dangerous even to you. Actually, it can be dangerous especially to someone like you."
"I can take care of myself. And I have been sleeping in empty hotel rooms. I sneak in, sleep there, sometimes take a shower, and sneak out without anyone ever finding out. There's nothing wrong with that. Now if you excuse me, I have to go find something to eat." She said, rather curtly.
"Still, you should get some identity papers. You won't be underage forever. Maybe I can help you get them. I'm guessing if you could get them you wouldn't use your real name?"
"No, I would only keep my first name, but change my last name. It makes it too easy to recognize me. I was thinking something like Wolfe, or Frost. Maybe Drake. Actually, I think I like 'Drake'"
"Maybe." Batgirl said, but quickly discarded the name when her thoughts wandered to Tim Drake. She'd rather not create connections where there weren't any. "And if you had papers you could get a job. Perhaps as a waitress or store clerk."
"…Well, that could help, but if I have identity papers, I might be able to get something better. I'm actually pretty good with computers and mechanics"
"Computers? Hmm, I think I know just the right place. What do you say we meet again tomorrow, same time, same place?"
"Wait, what?" asked the girl, incredulous.
"It would be a huge step towards getting your life going the way you want it to go" answered Batgirl matter-of-factly.
"You really are serious about wanting to help me, aren't you? I think this is the first time anyone cares about me in quite some time. You know what? I'm not about to turn down this opportunity. It might indeed be just what I need to turn my life around. I'll be here tomorrow. Thank you SO much. Serioze" she said, turning to leave.
"What?" Batgirl asked, puzzled at the word.
"It means 'really' in Esperanto"
"You speak Esperanto, the language of Hope?"
"Yeah, I picked it up from a friend. Why?"
"Oh, no reason. See you here tomorrow?"
"You bet" and with that, the mystery girl suddenly vanished. Unfazed, Batgirl turned to leave, deep in thought.
That afternoon, Batman entered the Batcave to find Batgirl already there, cowl down, waiting for him with a determined look on her face.
"I need a favor", she said, going straight to the point. Batman merely lifted an eyebrow, silently asking her to continue.
"You know how, since CADMUS started really becoming a problem, metas have been popping up left and right either running from them, trying to join them, created by them, or trying to join the league? Well, a few days ago I met this metahuman girl who could really use some help. She has no papers, so officially she doesn't exist. She has no money and she's been forced to steal in order to survive, which she hates to do. She told me she tried to get a job, but without papers no one would give her one. I was thinking maybe you could pull some strings with Fox and get her a job at Wayne Enterprises tech manufacturing division or the assembly line. She told me she's rather good with machines. That way we can get her out of the streets, keep an eye on her, keep er out of CADMUS' radar, and give her a way of taking control of her life. I already made her some I.D. papers earlier, and I'm going to give them to her tonight." She nervously waited for him to answer. After what felt like an eternity, he finally said "Does this mystery girl have a name?"
"Dani. Dani with an 'i'"
That night, at exactly 1 am, Batgirl jumped down from the roof of the bakery and looked around her to the empty street. To her credit, the young vigilante didn't bat an eyelash when Dani suddenly appeared out of nowhere, standing right in front of her.
"You came", stated Batgirl. "I told you", started Dani "I'm not about to lose what could be my only chance of ever getting a normal life. Or semi-normal, at least". It was then that Dani noticed a black envelope in Batgirl's hand.
"This is an envelope with all your new documents."
"Really? So fast? It's only been a day! How did you get them so quickly?" She asked, dumbfounded.
This answer seemed to break the spell and earned her an 'are-you-kidding-me' look from Dani."Why don't you take a look", she offered as she handed over the envelope. Dani took out the birth certificate, school records, passport, and medical records and started looking them over, her eyes stopping at the name. "Danielle Hope?"
"Well, you did say you were thinking of changing your last name, and since you speak Esperanto, I thought Hope would be a nice one".
"Where did you get these medical records?" She asked, knowing very well that even her vital signs were way different than a human's.
"I hacked into the databases of Metropolis, Gotham and Central City until I found the records of an average girl about your age and height. The pictures on the documents I got from some traffic cameras and a little time on the Bat equivalent to photoshop."
"Cool" said Dani, as she kept looking through the documents. Then she froze as she saw the last one. "What is this?" she asked, holding up a plastic card with her name, picture, and the Wayne Tech logo.
"It´s your new worker's pass. Starting Monday you´ll be working at the Wayne Tech assembly line. It's Mondays to Fridays. It's a safe, paid job where you get to be around machines all day. You'll get the same medical insurance every WT employee gets, and I even managed to get you temporarily into one of the apartments WT provides for its foreign workers. That way you can save all you earn and do whatever you want with it sooner…" she was abruptly cut out of her rambling when Dani hugged her fiercely.
"Thank you Batgirl. Thank you SO much" Dani said, with a stifled voice "this is the greatest thing anyone has ever done for me".
Surprised, Batgirl awkwardly patted Dani's back until she pulled back, her eyes shiny. "Don't worry about it Dani, it's my job to help people"
"Maybe, but you didn't have to help me this much. I promise I'll turn my life around with this"
"I know you will"
"Oh, and Batgirl? You know what I said about changing my name so it wouldn't be so much like my cousin's? Well, I've decided to change my OTHER name too."
"Really? And what is the other one going to be now?" Batgirl asked curiously. The other girl looked at her with amusement showing in her neon green eyes.
"Ella. Ella Phantom"
I don't own anything. Special thanks to my BETA Miss Singing in the Rain