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New Gotham City International, Tuesday night
Dinah walked through the gate from the Wayne Enterprises runway, and grinned, arms going out as soon as she cleared the door. "Helenaaaa!"

"Dinaaah!" Helena mocked, then laughed and pulled her in for a too-hard hug, then grabbed Dinah's bag. "Missed you, kid. This all you've got?"

"Yeah, let's--"

FLASH "Dinah, are you back from juvenile detention?"
FLASH! "Miss Kyle, are you planning on installing your sister at Wayne Manor?"
FLASH FLASH FLASH "Smile, girls! And tell New Gotham who you're beating up next?"

"You, if you don't move it," Helena said, shoving one photographer aside.



"What she said," Dinah echoed, pushing another one away as they sped up, aiming for the airport exit.

The automatic doors opened, and Helena ran to a motorcycle parked at the curb, tossing Dinah a helmet. "New toy! Get on!"

"Awesome!" Dinah put on the helmet and hopped on the back, and Helena gunned the engine, leaving most of the photographers in the dust. The rest they finally lost on the Trigate Bridge.

At a light, Dinah said, "So, the press. Not really slacking off, are they?"

Helena threw a grimace over her shoulder. "Not so much." She gunned the engine, then yelled back, "Barbara will explain!"

Oh, that couldn't be good.



"Barbara! I'm home!" Dinah yelled as soon as the elevator doors opened in the Clocktower.

"In here!"

Dinah grinned, dumping her bag on the floor and running down the steps to Barbara's computer lab. The Delphi circuit was fired up and the computers were cycling, a facial recognition pattern running on one, a bank transaction trace on another, and a forensic reconstruction on a third-- and Barbara in the middle of all of it like a conductor, or an insane pianist, playing four keyboards at once, until she abandoned all of them to smile at Dinah. "You're early!"



Dinah swooped in for a hug, and said, "We got a tailwind. And I think someone souped up the Wayne jets since January."

Barbara hugged her back, but Dinah could tell she was tense, muscles held too careful and tight. Something was definitely up. More than Wade's death, or Dinah being away.

"Miss Dinah," said a pleased voice behind her. "Welcome back."

"Alfred!" Ally! Person on my side! Dinah turned to give him a hug too, whispering, "We have to talk," as she tried to squeeze the life out of him.

"So I expected," he murmured back. "Later, I think." He raised his voice, and said, "Dinner is served. And for once this week it will not be Li Fong's Express."



It was after dinner that Barbara explained what had been happening and a few of the things that had been left out of e-mails.

"You know that the board of Wayne Enterprises was trying to get Bruce Wayne declared legally dead." She steered her chair over to the nearest workstation, and entered a few commands, then looked back at Dinah.

Helena was making a face behind her. "Stupid suits."

Dinah grinned back. "Right. That happened before I left. And then the news broke about Helena being Bruce Wayne's daughter."

"Well, they were trying to break up the company about a week after you were gone. That's why the declaration of death was so important. They couldn't sell off the assets until the estate was settled." Barbara rolled her eyes at Helena. "So. Helena finally sucked it up and talked to them."

"They hate me." Helena seemed kind of brutally cheerful about that.

"They don't all hate you. Lucius Fox thinks you're quite something," Alfred said, idly organizing some of Barbara's papers.

"They all hate me except Lucius, and he's the only one with a brain."

"Whatever they think of Helena, they can't break up the company and sell advanced technology to LuthorCorp while there's an heir with voting stock blocking them, which there now is." Barbara rubbed the bridge of her nose, looking rueful. "It put us back in the same position as when Bruce Wayne was in control of the company. Since crimefighting and being incredibly rich and semi-famous are not exactly compatible. And Helena refused to run the company."

"I'm not an exec, they know it, I know it, the whole world knows it, and I'm not a socialite either. I am not going to do what he did, and pretend to be an airhead for the rest of my life so I can do my real job." Helena poked at one of Barbara's simulations, and got her fingers brushed back out of the way for her trouble. "Lucius is doing the money stuff. He just calls me in to scare them. It's fun."

Dinah hooted, suddenly getting the image of Helena stalking into a board room in her Doc Martens and leather pants and baby-tee, and telling the Board of Directors of Wayne Enterprises exactly where they could go. "Did you hurt anybody?"

"No!" Helena paused. "Although I think the head of Marketing might have wet his pants. And the PR guy looked like he might cry."

Barbara tolerantly waited until Dinah had quit giggling to say, "Anyway. It's public knowledge whose daughter she is, it's not going away, but financially, it's settled. Wayne Enterprises and the Wayne Trust will run as they always did. And Helena had to take the money." She slid Helena glance. "Finally."

"It was either that, or never work again."

"Hunh?" Dinah pulled up her legs to sit on one of the workstations, and looked from a disgruntled Helena to Barbara. "I know you didn't want to, but I don't get why you had to."

"I was going to lose my job at the Dark Horse. Too many photographers and reporters hanging around, and they weren't buying drinks, either. I don't want to just be some rich ditz spending money. I hate those people." Helena folded her arms. "So I bought out half the bar from Gary, and now I can work whatever hours I want, and the security at my apartment there was upgraded thanks to Wayne Tech, and if I catch a reporter in my bar, I can throw them out without getting sued." She shrugged. "And okay, I like the new bike. Can't argue with that part of the money."

"Coooool." Dinah relaxed, relieved that the money messiness was resolved. "So are you wearing a mask now? Since you're all famous and everything," she teased.

"God, no." Helena snorted. "So someone sees me beat up a mugger? So what. Helena Kyle has an alibi, she was working. Plus Barbara's gotten even better at faking surveillance footage of me somewhere else."

Barbara looked resigned. "I think we have the disbelief factor going for you, but someday...."

"Yeah, yeah."

"So." Barbara took off her glasses, and gave Dinah her full attention. "That brings to the trials."

"How are they going? I can't really follow them well from school. The press coverage is spotty." She clenched one hand into a fist, watching Barbara's eyes, but aware that Helena had gone ultra-still behind her. So it wasn't going to be good news. "And you haven't told me anything new as of two weeks ago."

"It's almost entirely good," Barbara said, starting off. "All of Harley's accomplices were convicted of mid-level felonies. Some of them will probably get reduced sentences by claiming to be under the influence of mind control, but it's not going to get them off entirely." She took a breath. "And Al Hawke's men have all had to take deals, either with New Gotham or the F.B.I. Fifty-two members of his crime family are now behind bars, and they're going to be there at least a decade."

Dinah looked at Helena, who wasn't looking at either her or Barbara. Then back to Barbara, so tense. Worried. "And Al Hawke?"

Barbara sighed, and looked down at her hands. "The Feds approached him with a deal. In exchange for his testimony, they offered him witness protection. He took it."

Dinah crossed her arms over her stomach, feeling sick. "Does he do any jail time at all? For any of it?"

"Time served," Helena said, her voice hard, still not looking at her. "And house arrest for five years. They'll have a tracking anklet on him the whole time."

"Five years." Dinah shook her head, jaw clenching. Not crying. Not going to cry. "Five years, and it's over for him. He gets away with it all."

"He gave up the names of over forty high-level criminals and their associates, Dinah. The Feds can take down the Martinelli family as well as the Hawke organization, thanks to him. New Jersey, not just New Gotham, is going to be completely different once they move on the rest of these racketeering rings." Barbara was quiet a minute, then said, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. We tried to get the State's Attorney to make his sentence more stringent, but Hawke wouldn't talk for anything less than no jail time."

"Reese wanted to be here tonight to welcome you back, but... he didn't think you'd want to see him," Helena said quietly. "He felt like he let you down. He was the one arguing for incarceration, and they wouldn't listen to him."

"It's not Reese's fault." Dinah could hear her voice tighten up, and looked down, hugging herself. "Or yours. Either of you."

Helena's arms went around her, and she gratefully leaned into her sister. "I'm sorry, Dinah. Hawke's out of the business, but I know that's not enough."

Barbara's face was sad as she watched them. "I wish he could get life for killing your mother. And for all the other people he hurt or killed. My dad was arguing with the OCB for a week about this, but they wouldn't budge." She shook her head. "And that's where it stands now."

Dinah took a breath, still hanging onto Helena. "Thanks for teling me."

"I just wish it were better news." Barbara picked up her glasses, and the Delphi circuit sounded a small blipping alarm. "Uh-oh. Helena? Duty calls. Jewelry store robbery, Garnet and 18th."

"I could help!" Dinah said quickly. "I want to go along."

Barbara gave her an assessing look, then quirked an eyebrow at Helena. "Okay. Comms are in the case, same as usual." She gave her a quiet smile. "Welcome back to the job. Just for tonight."




[NFB; establishy, TBC]

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