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THE CITY IS MY CHURCH
rachel dawes; collab with my faithful @spacelava

Past

Turning the corner of a quiet dark alley just few blocks from the east park side, i fastened the pace trying to reach harvey's house, my house, as fast as i could. the wind blew mildly through my losoe hair as i tightened the grip on my bag, the sound of my steps echoind behind me. "hey gorgeous" a raspy voice reached me, from behind a dirty stack of smelly garbages "where are you going?" he added as i seemed deaf to his words. i ignored him, staggering swiftly on my heels and nearly jumping as i heard him walking behind me. "let me see your pretty face, come on" he yelled, eventually reaching me and grabbing my wrist in a strong grip. "leave me alone" i spelled harshly, trying to shake his wrist away, "now". he laughed at me, with a scary toothless smile, tightening his long fingers around mine, "you are adorable" he grinned as i had just said something really funny. i barely had the time to notice the drawled drunken note in his voice as he pulled a pocket knife out of the back of his worn jeans. "what-" i replied, shocked, seeing as i could feel his heavy breath on me. "give me your bag and everything will be okay" he stated, moving his knife on the hem of my top, just on the soft flesh on the base of my neck. i blinked, still pulling without success in the poor attempt of freeing myself and running away. with regret i thought of the pepper spry that lied uselessly on the bottom of the bag i had decided to leave at home this morning. "put your hand down, you old perv" a clear feminine voice yelled just few meters away from us. said man turned to face the tiny figure barely visible in the dark, addressing a creepy smile to her. "another pretty face. this must be my lucky day" he said, moving the knife in front of him, in a silent threat. the girl walked forward in a elegant move, tip toeing on a pair of sky high black leather boots. "YOUR. HANDS. OFF"she barked, tossing her blond head back and pursuing her lips together. i felt my eyes watery and my body trembling in fear, even thought i was living that very moment like my body didn't belong to me. "why don't you come closer, sweetie?" he asked, moving his armed hand vaguely as he was welcoming her. she smiled coldly, moving confidently closer and i noticed her pretty figure in a leather super snag suit that fitted her perfectly. wow, that surely was a cool outfit, i managed to think absentmindedly, though my position could be defined precarious to a clinical eye. she even had a cloak on her, without mentioning the batman-ish hat-mask she was wearing.

“Why don’t you come closer sweetie?” The old man said and a smirk tugged on the corners of her lip as she did what he told her. The moment she stepped under the street light though, I saw his smug grin slowly disappearing. “You..” was all he managed to say in that very moment. “Me..” she nodded her head, confidently as she was expecting him to react as he was. “You’re one of those stupid bat-kids, aren’t you?” he spat, his grip tightening around my wrist making me moan in pain. “I wouldn’t call myself stupid... nor a bat-kid.” She slowly started to walk closer and closer towards him. I bit down on my bottom lip as i didn't now who i was more scared about: the creepy man who was holding me as a hostage or the weird girl in a leather suit. “I’m more of a.. unwanted child..” She made a pause, to look over at me, scanning me from my head to toes and stopping to stare at my shoes with an interested face. Was she really staring at my new shoes? “Daddy Bats doesn’t want ya?” he eyed her becoming even creepier than before, “His loss..” “Yeah...” she nodded slowly. “Tell me, Jeff.. is it alright if I call you Jeff? Oh, never mind I’m still gonna call you Jeff. Are you hungry?” I felt like i was watching at the scene from a place kilometers from here; i was at the same time inside and outside my own body. in the while the bastard licked his dry lips in a disgusting manner, making my insides (and the other girl's, as i could see) tie in a knot. “What are you suggesting?” “A knuckle sandwich..” She replied, punching him in the face the moment she exclaimed those three words. The man shouted in pain, as his hands were covering his now bleeding nose. As his tight grip was no longer holding my wirst i turned to look at the girl with my eyes open wide, staring at her with what a mix of gratitude and something else o couldn't really figure. She simply shot me a smile, and returned to punch the living daylight from the bleeding man. I didn't know what to do, barely able to stand on my own feet. “Don’t you think that’s enough?” We heard a voice echo behind us. She dropped the old man on the ground turning to see a young man in a domino mask. i couldn't see him clearly but sure they knew each other. The girl glared back at him, his lips pursing into a pout. She eventually kicked the man in the stomach one last time and turned to me. “Hi..” She cheerfully greeted me, startling me. “Are you alright? Are you hurt?” It took a few seconds to get a response out of me, as i was still still pretty shaken up. “Y-yeah..” I nodded. “Thank you..” I found myself saying “Don’t mention it..” She grinned, blushing as she was really flattered. “Do you want me to make you company until you get home?” She asked me politely. “That’s very generous of you, but I think you’ve done enough..” I glanced over at the man who was now picked up by the other vigilante. “I’m gonna drop him off by the police.. can I get your name ma’am?” The black-suited guy’s gaze turned towards me. “Ahm, yes, of course.. Rachel.. Rachel Dawes..” I answered in a hurry, still a bit confused about the whole situation. Was i really engaged in a conversation with two vigilantes? I was the district attorney, for god's sake. “Alright then. Ms. Dawes, get home safe.. you’re in good hands..” he glanced over at her partner and disappeared along with the creepier in the darkness. “So? How bout a ride home? Well, not exactly a ride home, ride home, since I don’t own a car.. to be honest I can barely ride my bike..” She started blabbering. I smiled politely, trying to sound as nice as i could “As I said previously there’s no need for your company. My house is just a few blocks away..” “Alright then. But make sure you avoid dark alleys.” She turned on her heels and started walking away. “Hey!” I exclaimed and she turned in an instant to look at me, “I didn’t catch your name..!” “It’s Batgirl!”

Present

"short or long?" charlotte asked with a thoughtful look on her pretty face, moving her hand swiftly from a dress to another. i shrugged, smiling as positively as i could at her, even though we had been in the shop for an hour already, without finding a dress,"i don't care". she stuck her tongue at me before gesturing dramatically, "what about this?" she took a long yellow gown from an hanger and putting it near her figure. "you aren't going to wear that at my wedding. i hate yellow" i said, taking it away from her and putting it back in its place. she pouted, twirling a wisp of her blond hair in her hand, "what then?". i giggled seeing how distress she was for such a silly thing like a dress, "it's not silly" she replied like she was actually reading my thoughts. my eyes widened, "how-" i raised a brow and now she was the one laughing, "i know you well, rachie". i turned back to the clothes and grimaced seeing as her hands were moving on the light fabric of a bright pink dress now, "you won't wear pink, either". she shot me a bad glance, putting both hands on her hips, "you are acting bossy" i nodded with a tiny smile, realizing that i was being a big nuisance for one that 'didn't care'. "i like this" i handed her an adorable grey cocktail dress but istantly regretting since her smile turned into a grimace, "that's simple" she stated as if i was to punish just for purposing it to her.

I let out a frustrated sigh and returned the dress. “Then I have no idea.” I shrugged and threw myself on one of the leather sofas. i was done with this whole shopping thing. i hated shopping and i had too much to do to care about a stupid dres....she frowned when she saw my face. “Well, judging from the.. dress you picked out..” She tried to say the word ‘dress’ without choking. “You like pastel colors and simple designs..” I raised my head and stared at her with a cheerful expression, already regretting my harsh thoughts. “But..” She raised her finger, “It can’t be white in any case..” “Why not white?” I raised a brow quizzically “Because you can’t wear white to a wedding! The bride is the one with the white dress!” She stated, with a slight frustration in my voice. She eventually calmed down when a purple dress caught her eye. She quickly ran up to it and snagged it from the rack, bringing it to me as fast as she could. “What do you think?” She danced around with the dress placed close to her body. “Isn’t this too.. /simple/?” I said, teasingly. “So it doesn’t have any patterns and the color is a little boring...” She looked at the dress once more, “..but it a beautiful dress. Plus, it has a bow! A bow, Rache! You know how much I love bows!” She cooed, jumping around like a two year old, looking totally crazy and adorable. “Yeah, you do love bows... and the color is gorgeous..” I took the dress in my hands, inspecting the fabric. “What are you waiting for? Go, try it out!” I shoved the dress towards her direction and started pushing her towards the dressing rooms. “Hey!” she shouted from inside the dressing room. “Will you at least zip the dress for me?” she asked me. “Sure thing..” I suddenly barged inside, my mouth half opened in shock as my gaze dropped to her body. "Rachel? Don’t you think you’re a little bit too early? Kinda caught me off guard here..” she gestured toward herself, wearing only a bra. “What is that?” I asked her, my voice shaking. She noticed that i was pointing my finger towards her stomach. She looked down, spotting her cut. “Charlotte...” My voice was shakier and shakier “I just realized something..” she quickly changed the subject, putting her shirt back on. “I have this meeting. Bruce will kill me if I’m late..” “What about the dress? And an explanation?” I yelled after her, still standing in the dressing room. “Buy the dress now. Explanation later. Come over my place around seven?” She yelled back and exited the store in a flash.

I entered charlotte's place not even bothering to look around myself. Fastening my pace i slip into the elevator feeling my own brane still thinking furiously about this afternoon. I clearly spotted a good dozen of bruises in her body, i hadn't imagined that but still i couldn't make myself believe what i had seen. The doors opened and i made my way to my friend's apartment, knocking hard on the wooden door. I heard the soft pace of her footsteps and as charlotte opened i walked in. "Hey" she welcomed me with a tiny smile, scanning my face as i dropped heavily on the sofa still in my coat. I glared at her, "tell me everything now" i spelled the last word meaningfully. She shrugged, opening her arms eloquently as she was trying to find the right words, "it's not a big deal". I widened my eyes in disbelief, placing my hands on my knees and assuming my bad cop glare, "are you serious? This looks like a HUGE deal to me". She shifted her weight awkwardly from one feet to another staring down on me as she moved around the room with an intense frown on her pretty face. "Is it dick's fault?" I asked after thinking about it for a second even if the only thought made me sick. She widened her eyes in surprise, sending me a confused look, "what?". I bit my lip down, concerned as i was about eventually discovering that he had caused her those bruised. "Did he make those?" I pointed my finger to her ribs as i could xray her as she blinked twice. "You mean....no. no. Of course no!" She waved her hands in front of me, bursting out in a nervous laugh. She shook her head, waving her ruffled ponytale left and right, "he would never-" she added as it was the most ridiculous thing on earth. 

“Then I would really appreciate you telling me why is your rib section all black and blue!” I exclaimed loudly, clearly upset. “And, that... cut! It’s fresh!” she sighed heavily and she sat cross legged on the carpet, facing my panicked gaze. “Charlotte, in what kind of mess just are you?” She swallowed and raised her head coming eye to eye with Mr. “I... have a side job..” “What kind of job? Are you dealing drugs or something? Are you a part of a fight club?” I started screaming at her hysterically. “I am... somewhat of a superhero..” she paused, “.. well, actually more of a vigilante.” She smiled slightly.my expression unchanged: really? A super hero? Was she really that stupid to think i could really believe it? “You’re not going to tell me that you’re Batman, are you?” I laughed ironically. She kept staring at me with a straight face. “Oh my God! You /are/ Batman!” “Not exactly. I’m the Bat/girl/.” she waited for my reaction, but there wasn’t any. My brain wasn't really working and i couldn't really think of something intelligent to say “Those bruises are from various scumbags I fought over the months, and that cut... it’s actually a stab wound. I got stabbed not too long ago.” She paused, shifting her gaze towards the carpet. “If it weren’t for Alfred.. I would’ve probably died..” shesaid quietly. “Did you really brake your arm because you slipped?” I asked me, my voice harsh. “No..” She shook her head. Of course not.. “.. I got pushed from a balcony..” “Pushed from a balcony!?” I widened my eyes, raising to clear my mind and stomp around her living room. “Charlotte, are you trying to get yourself killed?!” “I’m actually trying to do something right...” She answered calmly. "Don't tell me, you're angry with me?" she looked up at me. 

"I hate to tell you but i can't-" i paused trying to figure out my own thoughts, unsucessfully, "you should stop doing that" i sighed heavily passing a hand in distress through my hair, barely able to mention what she had just told me; a vigilante? Really? How was i supposed to accept such a news.... "Now i know why you didn't tell me" i muttered under my breath, sideglancing at her thoughtfull grimace, "i work for the district attorney, you know that" i added dropping my head to the palm of my hand. "Your fiancé, you mean" she replied, eventually showing regret on her face. "I represent the law, i work to free this town from everything that is not legal and guess what? my best friend and maid of honour happens to be a vigilante" i stated more to myself than to her, shrugging dramatically. I suddenly realized that for all those months i hadn't once suspected of her part-time 'job', nor did i question her sudden disappareances. I was the worst friend on earth- "i'm sorry" she replied quietly, turning to look at me and meeting my strained eyes. I shook my head, "i don't know what to say, really." I raised from the sofa, pacing slowly around the room like a bull in a cafe, massaging my temples softly trying to reduce the sudden headache. I could feel charlotte's gaze on me as i walked to the kitchen and i started to open random doors and drawers nervously."are you looking for something?" She asked after a minute, nearing me when i burst out in an uncontrollable loud laugh. She stared at me in disbelief as i folded in two, holding my stomach with my hands. I raised my head to look at her, my laugh more similar to weeping, "bat gir, really......." I sobbed, taking her hand and tightening it, still giggling nervously "i need something to drink, 'lotte. Something strong, now".
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