The Defintion of Death
The Definition of Death.
How does it feel to die? My name is Stephanie Brown and this is how I died.
Everything she had hurt. Pain was such a constant that she began to go numb. The twisted face of a man seeking to end her was etched in her memory. Roman Sionis, the Black Mask, wanted to end her life. Stephanie Brown, the latest Batgirl was just at the edge of death's door.
It appeared that the passage of time ground to a screeching halt. Stephanie was losing the battle. The smell of copper burnt her nostrils. It was blood. It was her blood. She struggled to breathe and just couldn't. Broken ribs made deep breaths impossible. It wouldn't be long now.
"She's in here!" Stephanie knew that voice. It was her mentor, Bruce Wayne, the Batman. He was already too late. Her breathing was faint. He kicked the rubble out of the way, peeling it back with fear in each movement. It was like he knew what he would find. The light intensified around her when the debris was cleared away. She moaned slightly when he lifted her out of the rubble.
Passing time continued to march on without her. Her next cognizant thought was in the clinic of Dr. Leslie Thompkins. She knew Dr. Thompkins well. "Stephanie. Can you hear me honey? You're going to make it okay? You just have to trust me on this."
Stephanie's battered cheek was turning as purple as her costume. Her bottom lip was split and bleeding. She managed to slowly sneak out her tongue to moisten those lips. "It…it hurts. Make it…stop." The girl's pleas reached through to the older woman who gave her an injection in her IV. Stephanie's body began to relax. Death was coming.
"Stephanie?" It was the voice of Batman. He'd already seen Jason like this. Now seeing Stephanie like this was breaking through to the heart of the man beneath the gruff exterior. "Can you hear me?" His voice was a soft plea desperately hoping for the answer from the girl who had become one of his child soldiers.
Her eyelashes fluttered. She tried to focus on the shape of the Batman standing over her. Batman's opinion meant everything to her. "...When you let me become Robin, it wasn't just a trick to get Tim to come back or your way to show me I wasn't cut out for the job?" It was a struggle to get each word to come out of her lips.
He was cracking and she could see it. "Stephanie…I.." He couldn't manage to speak without choking on the words. He wanted to see her walk out of here and into complete wholeness again.
"Was any of it real?" The tiniest hint of a tear formed in her right eye soon racing down her cheek. She had to know. It would give her the peace she needed to die as a hero.
"Of course you were." He told her. It wasn't a lie. She had earned the right all on her own. Now she was paying for all of it, with her own blood. The last thing she remembered was the glistening cheeks under the Dark Knight's cowl.
Stephanie Brown's lithe body fell completely at rest after these words that gave her the validation she needed to achieve that lasting peace. The machine monitoring her vitals all went flat. The steady beep meant that Stephanie Brown was gone.
Blonde eyelashes fluttered again. She was taking in the sights around her slowly. She was no longer in Dr. Thompkins' clinic. Sitting beside Stephanie was a woman she didn't recognize. "Shh! Just relax sweetheart. You're safe." The older woman gently caressed the girl's arm protectively.
"Where am I?" She asked with a stronger voice. She didn't even try to sit up because it was a lost cause. She was definitely still profoundly injured.
"Safe. Black Mask can't find you. Neither can Batman. Just focus on getting better for now." The woman had a kind face that Stephanie trusted, letting her own eyes close again.
My name is Stephanie Brown, and I'm not dead after all.