Rebuilding Gotham City: Day 167
Gordon was ecstatic to arrest Edward Nigma, but less happy about how the former FBI agent had kidnapped Jen Kyle before his capture, so Nightwing had to tell him that Selina had gone into labor so he didn't go to the Manor right then to get Jen's statement. That kicked in the Commissioner's fatherhood memories and he said statement time could wait. Nightwing delivered the forensic evidence to Montoya before finally parking the Tumbler in the bunker, changing into street clothes, and Blake driving the MV Agusta F4 motorcycle into the city. He stopped at an open fast food restaurant and bought a dozen breakfast sandwiches as rosy streaks filled the sky above the buildings. He tucked the bagged food inside the zipped leather jacket as he drove to the East Eighteenth Street Clinic.
Stephanie was wrapped in a quilt and stretched out on the loveseat couch in the waiting room lobby. Jen sat in a plastic chair with metal legs next to the little girl's head. A stack of Styrofoam coffee cups next to her foot reached her mid-calf. She looked at him when he rustled the food bag. "The Lucky Charms guy's locked up?"
"The Riddler's locked up." He sat next to her and handed her a biscuit sandwich. "The Commissioner needs a statement on your kidnapping, but said it could wait until after the baby."
"Commissioner Gordon is an understanding man." Jen chewed her bite and swallowed before adding. "Alfred went looking for a store. He wanted to cook, but there wasn't anything in the staff kitchen."
Blake raised his eyebrows. "I'm surprised he didn't go back there to supervise."
"Doc Leslie wouldn't let him, though he didn't argue about it too much after Selina's bitchin' at Bruce that he had to be pregnant for the next kid." Jen grinned impishly as she finished her biscuit.
"I'm glad I missed that." The wax paper around his sandwich crackled. "The name you gave Nigma?"
"Was a character in a porno Maggie made."
"Maggie? Who's Maggie?" He knew he was tired, but that name rang no bells for him.
"They didn't tell you? Selina or Bruce, 'cause I'm pretty sure Bruce knows; he's Batman after all." Blake shook his head. "It's a long story," she started. The clinic's outer door opened and she pressed her lips together.
Blake stood to help Alfred with the door and grocery bags the older man was laden with. "As long as you didn't set someone up, we're good."
"Nope, he's fictional. I wouldn't do that, well, not to someone who didn't deserve it."
Alfred relinquished a plastic bag to Blake. "Commissioner Gordon has the Riddle-man?"
"And clear footage of him leaving the last clue package at the Batsignal. Between his kidnapping Selina and Jen and murdering Harriet Allnut, Nigma won't get out for a long time."
"Nigma? That's the wacko's name?" Jen asked.
"Yeah, Edward Nigma," Blake pushed opened the swinging door to the back with his shoulder. Alfred chuckled with a head shake as he passed the younger man. Blake was too tired to guess what Alfred found funny, so he didn't question it as he yawned and put the groceries on the break room's counter.
Jen and Alfred both left him alone after they ate. He sat on the loveseat beyond Stephanie's feet since it was the only furniture in the waiting room with cushions and leaned his head against the wall when he dozed off. He jerked awake when a small hand pressed against his chest. He blinked at Stephanie who pushed her quilt over his lap. "Thank you," he said.
"Welcome." She leaned back. "This is where Doc Leslie works."
"Are you hurt?"
"No, Selina." Stephanie's blue eyes widened and Blake shook his head. "Not hurt. Doc Leslie's helping the baby come out."
"Oh. Daddy's with them?"
"Yeah." He yawned widely and squinted at the sunlight streaming in through the waiting room's windows. His room back at the Manor had blackout shades for this time of the day that he didn't want to know the number of.
Jen left the rest room. "You would wake up while I was peeing. Go back to sleep, John. Come on, sweetie, let's get you dressed." Stephanie slid off the loveseat.
Blake pulled the quilt to his chin when he leaned back again. The next thing he knew after that was the swinging door crashing into the wall. He jumped up and the quilt pooled at his feet. "Selina's fine, they're both fine, come see our daughter," Bruce shouted. He scooped Stephanie up in his blue-gowned arms. "Come meet your new baby sister."
"Okay." Stephanie giggled and tugged on the medical gown draped over his suit.
They trooped behind Bruce down the hall to one of the overnight rooms. Selina lay back on the propped-up hospital bed looking exhausted but happy. Leslie Thompkins held the baby wrapped in a soft, pink blanket. "Sorry we screwed up having her in the Regency Room, Alfred." Selina smiled as Bruce set Stephanie down in a chair next to the bed.
"That never mattered, Missus Selina." Alfred took the infant with practiced ease. "And what is this beautiful young lady's name?"
Bruce blinked at the swaying older man. Leslie snorted. "How long have you known she was coming and that you had to put a name on the birth certificate?"
"I've been trying. Selina kept taking the baby name books away from me." He stripped off the medical gown.
"You wanted to make a pro and con list for every name starting with the A's," Selina smirked.
Blake leaned on the wall next to the door. "That's enough to thank the Riddler for providing something else to focus on."
"I know. I need to send him a fruit basket."
"Meanwhile, you don't have any names to put on the birth certificate." Leslie shook her head.
"They have been busy," Blake said.
"Don't give them an excuse for not naming my niece." Jen's frown shifted to a coo when Alfred put the infant in her arms.
"Her name is Helena," Selina said.
Bruce picked up Stephanie and set her on his lap after he sat in the chair. "After my great-great-great-aunt?"
"Her necklace started this whole thing, but I wanted to see her first." Selina smiled, "She's a Helena, all right."
Jen passed Helena to Stephanie and Bruce supported them both. "Hi Helena, I'm your big sister, Stephanie."
"Helena Magdalene," Bruce added as he glanced from Jen to Selina.
Jen's mouth fell open. "Bruce, are you sure? That's a name with a ton of baggage."
"She's a Wayne; baggage is a given." Bruce's eyes crinkled as he smiled at Jen.
"And if anyone questions us about it, we'll explain that we named her after the two baddest women we know of," Selina said. "It's perfect."
Jen's eyes watered as she sniffled through her beaming smile.
"How come she gets two names?" Stephanie looked up at Bruce. "I don't have two names."
"The second one is a middle name, so she doesn't get mixed up with all the other Helena's out there." Blake stifled his yawn.
"So what's my middle name?" Stephanie asked as Alfred took the baby from her lap.
"We were waiting to see if you wanted one," Selina said.
"I want one." Stephanie wrapped her arms around Bruce's neck. "Want one about Batman, Daddy."
"We have to think on that," Bruce answered.
Blake grinned, but it dropped away when Alfred turned the newborn to him. "I don't think--"
"She doesn't have cooties, John," Jen huffed.
"It's not that." Blake locked his arms as Alfred rested Helena in them and stepped back. "Kids at St. Swithin's were bigger than this when they got there." He looked down at Helena's small face under the white stocking cap. She wrinkled her nose and yawned, showing her gums. "Yeah, it's been a long night for everyone, kid."
"Indeed," Leslie said as she took Helena from him. "Out you lot and let this family rest. You can pick them up tomorrow."
"Hug Mommy." Stephanie reached for Selina, so Bruce stood and leaned her over the bed.
Selina hugged her. "Be good for Alfred, Aunt Jen, and Uncle John okay? We'll be home tomorrow." Stephanie nodded and Bruce passed her to Jen.
Blake was the last one out and Bruce stopped him. "Nigma's locked up?"
"You don't have to worry about him any more. Get some rest before Helena decides to show off her lungs." Blake patted the hand squeezing his shoulder as Bruce nodded and let him go.
Rebuilding Gotham City: Day 168
Bruce looked over the hospital room one more time. Everything that had been brought to them was packed. Helena wore a lilac dress and surveyed the room from her car seat. He was unsure of the range of her eyesight, but she turned her head when she saw movement. He took out his phone and double checked his search. Nothing new had come up. "So what's your verdict on Bruna, Brucie, or Brucette?"
Selina glanced at him through the open bathroom door while she twisted her long, brown hair into a bun. "No and you knew it was a no before you asked me. Why don't you stop stalling and ask me the question you've been avoiding all morning looking for other options?"
He closed the browser window and tucked his phone into his jacket pocket. "I can't decide and I don't want to upset you."
"Why would I be upset?" She secured the bun against her head. "You told me before I had no reason to be jealous."
"You're the one who got me to the church, but you're the one who found Stephanie."
She closed her cosmetic bag. "But she didn't trust me or Nightwing until she saw the Bat-vehicles. Suck it up, take the compliment, and let her choose knowing I will intervene if the choice is Brucette." She handed him the bag and pulled him down for a kiss while his hands were occupied.
There was a knock on the door and she called them in while he recovered his breath. Blake entered. "Ready to go?"
"Almost." Selina swiped the lipstick off Bruce's lips.
"I thought Alfred was coming to get us," Bruce said as he packed Selina's cosmetic bag into the overnight suitcase.
"That was before." Blake held up his hand as they both straightened. "Before he called to cancel your meetings and other fun stuff. The word is out and people have been dropping by the Manor to see Helena."
"No one better be ill," Selina said. "She just made a whole day old an hour ago." She tucked a baby blanket around Helena.
"I didn't witness any coughing or sneezing, but otherwise they all seemed pretty intent on camping at the Manor until they see her. Jen and Stephanie made a tea party around it." Blake grabbed the luggage. "I had to switch cars at Wayne Enterprises to lose the paparazzi. Now I understand why the Brits do that balcony waving stuff."
Bruce picked up the baby carrier car seat with all eight pounds of Helena strapped in. "Let's get this over with before that seems like a good idea."
The Wayne Enterprises company car didn't draw any attention on the street or at Wayne Manor's gate. Considering how many cars were parked in the drive, small wonder the photographers wrote the sedan off as another set of visitors. Alfred met them in the kitchen. "Your guests are waiting in the east wing parlor. It's not as far from the master suite or the nursery as the first floor."
"Works for me," Selina said as she helped Bruce undo the straps around Helena. "I think I can give them an hour at the most."
"Give them what you can." Bruce cradled Helena against his shoulder and chest. "You and Helena's needs come first." Helena's fist curled against his throat.
"Do try to be polite to your guests, Master Wayne."
He wasn't feeling polite, but Selina was already heading up the back stairs, so he followed her without complaining. He didn't remember ever seeing this many people in the white and beige parlor beyond the drawing room. Jarvis Lorry and Commissioner Gordon stood next the window talking to each other. Douglas Fredericks and his wife Patricia sat on a sofa with Lucius Fox. An empty couch had been repositioned next to a circular marble-topped table that held the Nuna Leaf Curv baby bouncer. Babs Gordon and Anita Cruncher sat on the sofa with Jen next to the tea tray. Jerry Cruncher kept Stephanie balanced on top of a life-sized stuffed lion that shared the space before the fireplace with a teddy bear as tall as Bruce.
Selina stopped short when she saw the giant toys. "I don't remember those."
Jen giggled. "The Fredericks found out FAO Schwarz has reopened."
"And then we remembered we hadn't gotten Stephanie anything." Patricia Fredericks stood and approached Bruce and Helena.
"The lion is mine." Stephanie tugged on its mane. "Uncle John named him Aslan."
"Of course he did." Bruce set Helena in Mrs. Fredericks' arm and sat next to Selina on the empty sofa.
Mrs. Fredericks cooed at the baby. "Oh you precious little girl, oh yes you are. She has your eyes, Bruce."
"Better than my nose."
Anita leaned over the sofas' arms to address Selina. "We brought you diapers. You can never have too many diapers."
"You didn't have to," Selina said. Jen poured her a cup of tea and gave it to her.
"You don't want someone searching for an open store when the baby is screaming for a diaper change."
Mr. Fredericks chuckled. "That is the voice of never again experience."
"Don't let her chew on her fingers," Gordon offered. "A toddler is good at reaching their gag reflex."
Babs looked horrified as her father waved his fingers near Helena's face. "I made myself throw up?"
"No, that was your brother. You were our climber. You even got on top of the fridge." Helena grabbed Gordon's finger.
"Why?" Stephanie asked.
"I don't remember," Babs admitted.
"I got Ms. Kyle's statement and the Riddler won't be bothering you again. Your baby is beautiful. What's her name?"
"Helena Magdalene," Bruce answered.
"Unusual choice," Mr. Fredericks said.
"It suits her," Gordon said as he gently freed his finger from her grip. "Are you ready to go, Babs?"
"Yeah." She pulled an envelope from her purse and passed it to Selina. "The research you asked me for."
"Oh." Selina's eyebrows rose as she took the envelope. "Thank you."
"I'll walk you out," Jen offered.
Selina set the envelope next to her empty tea cup, but before Bruce could ask what research she had been doing, Mrs. Fredericks laughed airily. "I've been hogging this good girl all to myself. Lucius, do you want to hold her?"
"Certainly." Lucius grinned once he had Helena in his arms. "You are heavier than you look, Miss Helena."
"Mr. Fox!" Anita exclaimed.
"Now we know why you're still single," Selina smirked.
"In my defense, this is the only time in a woman's life it is safe to make that comment. How big is she?"
"Eight pounds," Selina answered, "and twenty-one inches long."
"Young Jerry was ten pounds. That all came from Jerry's family."
Jarvis Lorry moved to the tea tray and took a small sandwich. "Speaking of family, you need to update your will, Bruce. You have children to leave the Manor to now."
Selina looked at him. "Who did you leave it to before?"
"The city to turn it into an orphanage. See me next week and don't avoid it, please."
"Next week," Bruce said. Helena squirmed violently and cried. He jumped up and took her. "I think it's feeding time."
"That's my cue." Selina took Helena to her chest, pressing the envelope against the newborn's back. "It was lovely to see all of you and now we have to go."
Their company said good-bye, but took their time with Bruce and Stephanie before actually leaving. Alfred served the family lunch in the smaller breakfast room. "If anyone else shows up, we have all left the country. I don't care who it is," Bruce said.
"And the media outlets get the same story when they call for details about Miss Helena?" Alfred asked.
"Find out from Selina which charity needs the most cash and start a bidding war with the proceeds going to it. They want access to my family; they'll pay for it."
Jen scooted her chair closer to the table. "At least the camera nuts are staying off the doorbell."
"The guests came because they care, Miss Jen." Alfred set the plate of pasta in front of Bruce.
"They all think Selina and I wouldn't issue invitations in a week or two after Selina has rested."
"And whose fault is that because he never wants to entertain?" Alfred swept out of the room before Bruce answered.
"Nobody dissed Helena." Stephanie speared her ravioli.
"Someone was mean to you? When?" Bruce asked.
"A lady called me a charity case at the wedding party. Emma said she was jealous."
"Alfred got a list of people not to invite back for anything," Jen said.
"That's fine, but you let me or Mommy know too. No matter what's going on."
"Okay." Stephanie seemed unconcerned about the incident so Bruce dropped the subject. Hopefully, people would get over their snobbery and not treat his daughters differently.
They finished lunch and Bruce took Stephanie into the study. "We need to talk about your middle name." He sat her on top of the desk before he sat in the office chair. "There are no pretty girl names close to Bruce."
Her lower lip jutted out. "And I can't be Stephanie Batman."
He shook his head and reached for the picture shelf. "So I thought maybe you'd like to be named after someone important to me becoming Batman." He handed her the burnt photograph of his parents. "My mother's name was Martha."
"That's close to Helena's."
"You have a second choice." He helped her set the photography on the desk before reaching for the next frame.
"Her name was Rachel. Her mother worked here as the housekeeper, and she and Rachel moved in when Rachel and I were about your age. We were best friends from then on. She taught me the difference between revenge and justice, and that what you do defines who you are."
"How come she never visits?"
"A bad man killed her and made sure I couldn't save her. It made me sad for a long time, until I met Mommy and then you."
"We make you happy?"
"Very much, even when I'm grumpy and don't show it." He grinned at her.
She matched it. "Stephanie Rachel Wayne. Is it a secret name?"
"No, you can tell people you're named after my best friend." He set Rachel's photograph next to the framed image of Harvey Dent before replacing his parents' photograph next to Selina and Stephanie's picture on the shelf. "Let's go see if Mommy's awake so we can tell her."