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i was born in a thunderstorm, grew up overnight (i survived)

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Jovana had loved the rain for as long as she could remember. She adored the thunder, stared in awe at the lightning, and had to be constantly told to stay inside during a storm. Catherine had hated thunderstorms, cowering into the couch as she tried to lure Jovana away from where she would be pressed up against the window, eyes wide. Willis had laughed the first time he saw it and took her to the roof, ignoring Catherine’s pleas.

Willis held her in his arms as she stared around in fascination. The wind was whipping her hair everywhere, tangling her curls to the point that it took Catherine several hours to undo, and the rain was coming down so hard that it hurt.

She loved it.

Standing on the roof in the rain became their thing. Willis never encouraged her to stay inside as Catherine did, only wrapping her in his old leather jacket that dwarfed her, falling to her knees and waiting while she pulled on her little red rain boots. Catherine would sigh, zipping the coat up, and send them off with a ‘be careful’ and a boop on Jovana’s nose. Every time Jovana would scrunch her nose up at her and take Willis’ callused hand to skip up to the roof.

Later, she would wonder if Willis knew about her powers, if maybe he had them too. It would be too late to ever find out.

Now, though, she was content to curl in her dad’s warm arms as the rain came in torrents around them, listening to the deep timbre of his voice explain the weather.

Jovana would have been content to continue living just like that but as Catherine’s debt grew, Maroni’s men came sniffing around. Willis began picking up more dangerous jobs to make ends meet. ‘Higher stakes, more money’ He would always say when Catherine thought it wasn’t worth the risk. Neither of her parents said it but their relationship soured. Willis blamed Catherine’s heroin usage for the added stress but most times, Catherine was too high to care.

With Willis working all the time, and Catherine being too scared, there was no one to watch the rain with her anymore. Jovana mourned in silence, making sure Catherine ate and turning her on her side when she slept so she wouldn’t choke on her own vomit.

And then Willis got caught by the Bat. Catherine anxiously stayed clean through the court trial, before breaking down and crying when he got twenty years. She had left the house in a daze as Jovana stared moodily out the window.

She came back high.

She came back high clinging to a man that Jovana recognized as one of Willis’ buddies. Catherine’s giggles were high-pitched and grating to her ears as she led the man into the other room their apartment had. Jovana scowled, grabbing her shoes and an old coat—Not Willis’, he was wearing it when the Bat busted him and they hadn’t gotten it back—and left to go to the roof.

Both Willis and Catherine had warned her multiple times to not go outside by herself, always casting nervous glances to whatever kid was missing now that was shown on T.V. She didn’t care at the moment, only wanted to get away from the present and go back to simpler times. It was as sunny as Gotham got when she pushed the roof access door open and that only made her angrier.

She stomped over to the edge of the roof, scowling down at some dumb pigeon scavenging in the alleyway below. Jovana didn’t know how much time had passed but when the door creaked open again, it was darker and her cheeks had dried tear stains. She watched with wary eyes as a man drunkenly stumbled out of the stairway, hiccuping. He perked up when he saw her, swaying towards where Jovana was sitting and she tensed. He sat down heavily with a loud oomph.

“Whatcha crying for, girlie? I ain’t even done nothing.” He slurred, placing a heavy hand on her shoulders. She hadn’t noticed until he pointed it out but tears were slipping from her eyes, tiny shoulders quaking underneath the suffocating weight of his hand. The hand squeezed and began making its way down her arm and Jovana began crying in earnest.

Catherine, lost in a haze, had once told her not to struggle, that it wouldn’t hurt as much. When Jovana asked Willis what she meant, he scowled and told her in no uncertain terms that she was to keep fighting until hope was lost and not even stop then. The next day he returned with a switchblade for her to keep in her pockets and demonstrated how to properly use it. Jovana slid a hand into her coat pocket and realized with horror that it wasn’t there.

She had left it by the window and hadn’t bothered to grab it when she left.

When the man reached down to touch her there, she decided that, with as shitty as her day had been, this was not going to be the icing on the cake. She screamed, knocked his hand away with as much force as she could muster, and tried to escape. When his hand knotted itself in her hair and pulled her back, she was crying too much to see.

She couldn’t see but she could hear the sudden all-encompassing ba-boom of thunder, felt it echoing around her. Light flashed, hot and bright and familiar, behind her eyes a split second before the thunder hit. Energy was running through her veins, lighting her up from the inside and making her feel powerful.

The man fell backward, hitting the dirty trash-ridden alleyway with a splat!, organs and blood alike bursting out. Jovana opened her eyes, lightning flashing in them, and smiled. The sky ripped open and rain gushed out in torrents, unstoppable in its advance to the streets. Jovana climbed on the edge of the roof, hair plastered against her cheeks, and watched as the rain washed away any evidence of the man.

The storm would be the worst in decades, wouldn’t stop for almost two weeks, and flooded several families out of their homes. Jovana felt bad for the last one but couldn’t stop the rain if she wanted to, didn’t even know how or where to begin. She might have caused it, she knew that much, but she didn’t know how to end it. The fantasy books she began pursuing only helped in the manner that Jovana could ignore the men Catherine kept bringing home, how she would be high all the time now.

After a few weeks of relentlessly reading through the fantasy section of her local library, she gave up. Jovana stopped out of necessity, Catherine had gotten to the point where her mind was only worried about the next high, not caring for anything else. It was during this period that Jovana discovered it was tied to her emotions. Whenever she felt too strongly, the storms would arrive. Small drizzly sunshowers for positive, dark thunderclouds for rage or desperation, and pouring rain for the mourning of her life.

It was a mix of the last two the day that Jovana found Catherine lying on the floor.

Having powers made living on the streets harder, especially when she didn’t know how to control it still and would shiver through the night as rain came down around her. She was determined to never end up like she had that night on the rooftop so she became useful in other ways, small hands slipping unseen into pockets or running drugs for some low-level thug. Jacking cars brought in money but were unhelpful when Jovana could only move a single tire at one time.

That didn’t stop her when she saw the fucking batmobile, sitting in all its jaw-dropping beauty. It was a tiring process but no one interrupted her. Probably because only Jovana was stupid enough to still the tires off of the Bat’s car. She pettily called it revenge for sending her father to jail and ruining her life with his actions. She told the Bat as much, slamming her tire iron into his gut and taking off.

He caught her of course, grabbing her by the back of her neck and swinging her up to face him. She lashed out with her switchblade, but it only glanced off the black kevlar and she growled. She glared up at Batman with all the fierceness she could muster.

Batman’s shoulders were moving.

Slightly concerned but determined not to show it, she scowled, “What the fuck are you doing? Having a seizure? Put me down before you fall over and crush me!” The shaking increased, accompanied this time by a deep rumble. It took a few seconds of looking around wildly to determine that it wasn’t a car engine or something. Jovana peered suspiciously at Batman, recoiling when she realized the noise was coming from him.

With her heightened emotions and lack of training, it was easy to lose control of her powers. When the world lit up in a familiar flash of hot blue-white, Jovana wasn’t surprised. She only hoped that she didn’t accidentally kill Batman. He was still standing, still holding her up but now he was staring over his shoulder.

Jovana peeked towards what he was looking at, wincing when she saw the smoldering ruins of the batmobile. Whoops. “I guess you don’t need those tires anymore, huh?” She offered weakly.

When Batman—sorry, when drunken playboy Brucie Wayne—took her in, Jovana hid her powers. Everyone knew how Batman felt about metas and the last thing she needed was to be chased out of her birth city and sold to some shifty government lab. In her years living as Jovana Petra Todd-Wayne, Gotham’s Rags to Riches Princess, or as the girl Robin, only three people ever found out.

The first was Alfred and that was simply because nothing could happen in the manor without him knowing about it. He could have also connected all the storms that happened whenever Jovana was overwhelmed. He didn’t bring it up but she began to find books on metas and breathing exercises on her desk.

The second was Poison Ivy during a bad case that brought up memories she didn’t want to think about. All Ivy did was offer her home as a sanctuary and retreat, abandoning her mission of terrorizing Gotham for the moment. When Jovana sought her out a few weeks later, Ivy opened the door with a smile, requested that Jovana call her Pamela, and began to train her. Pamela would sit her in front of her plants and Jovana was to water them with her powers.

It took a few weeks but the first time she did, Jovana couldn’t hold in her excitement and almost burned the building down with a lightning strike. Embarrassed, she furiously apologized to Pam but all the villain did was throw her head back and laugh.

Jovana cherished those moments of peace, sitting with her Aunt Pam surrounded by plants and learning control.

The last person to find out was Wonder Woman. Jovana didn’t interact with the Justice League. Most of them adored Dick and followed his lead in how Jovana was treated. The first time that Jovana accompanied Bruce to a meeting, she was met by cold shoulders and muttered complaints. She didn’t go back.

Wonder Woman showed up to the manor during another Justice League meeting. Bruce had left through the zeta tube earlier, ruffling Jovana’s hair as a farewell. Jovana was practicing her flips in the cave when Wonder Woman came down the steps. She straightened up and held her head down, mumbling that Bruce wasn’t here.

“Oh, I know,” She had laughed, a melodious sound that had Jovana staring in awe,”I wanted to meet my niece and talk to her without anyone else’s opinions coloring my view.”

By the end of the afternoon, Jovana was in love and Wonder Woman—” Call me Aunt Diana, sweetling”—had become her favorite League member, surpassing even Bruce. The two sparred for a bit, Diana showing her some moves more suited to Jovana’s brawl-like style of fighting and had some of Alfred’s cookies in the library, discussing books.

Bruce came back a few hours later, surprised to see Diana and asking why she had skipped the meeting. Diana only laughed, shooting a conspiring wink at Jovana and swept her up in a hug when she left. Jovana began to look forward to Aunt Diana’s visits, vibrating by the door while waiting for the doorbell to ring.

One time Diana brought her on a hiking trip. Jovana was out of the breath by the time that they made it to the top of the mountain. Diana kneeled down in front of her, tucking a wayward curl behind Jovana’s ear, “Sweetling, I want you to show me your power.”

Jovana jerked in surprise and stared at Diana with wide eyes. She only chuckled, “I can sense the storm in you. Like Zeus.” Jovana scowled, “Not like Zeus” She corrected,” That guy was a dick. I’m better.” With that said, she stomped over to the edge of the mountain and let go.

Lightning arched off of her, cracking the sky and the unrelenting boom of thunder hit their ears. Jovana breathed out and focused. Rain began to fall around her and Diana and with a sudden jerk, the ground underneath her moved. Diana rushed forward and wrapped her in her arms as she almost stumbled off the mountain. Jovana stared at the ground, at the unquestionable earthquake that was happening around them. “Huh,” Jovana breathed out,” I didn’t know I could do that.”

Diana laughed delightedly, squeezing Jovana tighter, “You are right! You are better than Zeus.” Jovana flushed, warmth spreading through her body despite that cold rain pelting her and Diana.

 

When Jovana died, it was pouring and Bruce could barely keep on his feet as he crashed into the building. The mud was sucking at his feet, and he lost several seconds pulling free.

Jovana’s cracked flesh and burns were more akin to someone who got struck by lightning than a bomb. Leslie placed her time of death a few minutes before the bomb exploded but she couldn’t figure out where the injuries came from. It didn’t matter in the end. Bruce’s baby was dead.

It rained while she died but it was one of the sunniest days of the year when they placed her in the ground. Bruce couldn’t help but think it wasn’t fair. The lack of rain the next few months puzzled meteorologists but Bruce couldn’t be bothered to care. He only took notice when the worst storm in decades swept through Gotham, beating out the terrible flooding a few years ago like it was nothing.

(Bruce didn’t realize, wouldn’t for a long time, but this was the night Jovana crawled out of her grave. When he did, Bruce cracked open the tequila that he shelved after Tim came into his life.)

The Red Hood came crashing into Gotham like a hurricane. It didn’t take long for the Bats to realize she was a meta, not after she electrocuted a room of prolific gangsters to death. Not to mention that she used lightning to carry her through the city, shooting it out of her hands to push her. Her accuracy was unparalleled and she had all of Crime Alley under her control within months.

Alfred gasped when he heard of her, dropping the tray he was carrying to press a hand against his mouth. Dick was quick to reassure him that the Red Hood wouldn’t harm any of them but he only shook his head, refusing to say anything.

Poison Ivy and Red Hood began to team up, confusing them all. Ivy was notorious for either working alone or with Harley Quinn.

It all came to a head when Batman cornered Red Hood on a rooftop. She held the Joker with rough disdain, hatred pouring out of every inch of her body. The Joker’s jaw was dislocated and all he could manage was muffled grunts, drool everywhere.

“It’s your choice. Me or him.” Batman didn’t let anything show but his mind was racing in confusion. Red Hood scoffed, an ugly dark sound. “You kill him or you kill me.” With that, she reached up to unlatch her helmet, tossing it carelessly to the side.

Jovana stared at him, older and with a wild glint in eyes that were too green. Her curls cascaded around her, inky black with a shock of white that Bruce didn’t remember. Even with all the changes, it was unmistakably his daughter and Bruce crashed to his knees.

“What?” He choked out, not understanding. Jovana stared at him with distaste twisting her face and her free hand gripped the Joker’s jaw. He made an agonized noise as his dislocated jaw was jerked but Jovana didn’t notice or care. Bruce’s eyes were drawn to the sparks that began crackling around her fingers and he furrowed his brows, remembering with a jolt that the Red Hood was a meta.

“I’m not going to live in a world where it does.” She spat out in disgust, lip curling as she was forced to acknowledge the Joker.”So c’mon, daddy, pick which one of us survives.”

“I-I can’t.” Bruce blabbed, ignoring the sudden influx of voices through his com,” Baby, you know I can’t”

Jovana stared unfeeling at him before shrugging carelessly. “Not good enough for me” Her hand began to light up further, the sharp scent of ozone permeating the rooftop, and Bruce flinched.

He couldn’t let this continue.

He threw a batarang without thinking, without aiming and he could only stare at what happened next. A vine knocked it away without it ever getting close to Jovana. Poison Ivy ascended to the roof with a sneer, wrapping thorny vines around Bruce when he began to struggle. They pierced his suit with ease and Bruce choked on the sudden pain, feeling blood drip down.

Ivy wasn’t alone. She was accompanied by Diana and Talia al Ghul. Jovana flinched across the roof, uttering a single confused, “Mama?”

“Oh, habibi,” Talia sighed, “I would never let you do this alone.” She exchanged a glance with Diana, nodding towards the Joker. “Shall you or shall I?” Diana regarded the Joker with a cold eye. For a second Bruce didn’t understand what they were talking about but he began struggling anew when he realized. Ivy tightened her vines without a word, leaving Bruce choking at the sudden tightness.

“If her father will not, then it makes sense for her mother to complete the task.” Talia nodded, drawing a sword and stepping towards the Joker. “Very well.” Ivy extracted the Joker from Jovana’s side with some of her vines, both her and Diana drawing the shaking woman into their arms.

Jovana watched with wide eyes as Talia observed the Joker with a critical eye. Sensing his demise, he began to struggle in the vines, only causing more pain to himself. Talia swung her sword. Bruce closed his eyes.

Jovana broke out in sobs, curling in the arms of the women who always had her back, forcing out relieved ‘thank you, thank you, thankyous’ through the cries that wracked her body. Diana smiled, tucking a curl behind Jovana’s ear in a familiar motion. “Always, sweetling, always.”

Talia sheathed her sword, ignoring the blood coating the blade as she made her way to comfort her daughter. She carefully drew Jovana into her arms. “It is done, habibi. Your business in Gotham is finished, come return to Nanda Parbat with me” Jovana nodded, hiccuping. “O-okay.” She whispered, tucking her head into Talia’s neck. Talia caressed her hair with a soft smile.

Diana and Ivy watched with their own smiles and extracted promises to visit from the mother and daughter. Ivy left with them, her vines extracting and sliding into nothing as she left the rooftop. Diana stayed, watching them until she couldn’t see them anymore and turned to Bruce with a heaving sigh.

She lifted Bruce’s frozen body with ease. “I will return you to the cave,” She informed him, “I will leave you to contact the authorities about that,” the jerk of her head indicated what she was talking about, “and go spend several days with my niece.”

When Diana returned Bruce to the cave, she deposited him in a chair carelessly, ignoring the shocked faces of Tim, Stephanie, and Dick. Alfred came forward with a box in his arms that he passed to Diana.

“Please give that to Miss Jovana. It holds several of her favorite books and her favorite quilt. Let her know that I will always be grateful to accept a call.” With that, Alfred turned and began tending to Bruce’s injuries. Diana accepted the book with a nod and left the cave.

She spent the next two weeks in a small French villa with her niece, Poison Ivy, Talia and Talia’s son, Damian. Diana was delighted to have a nephew to shower affection on, not once caring that he was obviously Bruce’s.

And slowly, surrounded by family that loved her and the occanisly call to her grandfather, Jovana began to heal.