- It's easy to say that I left as Kate and came back as Batwoman. The truth, though, is that I left as your lost little girl and came back knowing exactly who I am. I came back as Kate Kane.
- -- Batwoman
Appearing in "Interlude"
Synopsis for "Interlude"
For a long time, Kate Kane would leave a goodbye message on her computer for her father every time she went on a mission as Batwoman. She had recorded a new message every time, up until the night that she had watched her sister Beth fall to her death. On that night, she had begun to hate her father.
When they were children, Jacob had always told his twin daughters to stay out of trouble, and to watch over one another. Kate had always thought that he meant for her to look after Beth, but could never have known all of the ways in which Beth had looked after her. Whenever Beth had been bullied, Kate had sprung to her defence with a vengeance, but it was always Beth who pulled her back; who showed her when she had taken it too far. Even long after Beth was gone, Kate still thought of her when she needed to know that she had to pull back from the edge.
Jacob had been a good father after Kate's mother and sister were killed in a terrorist kidnapping. On the day of the funeral, he had found her hiding in the closet, surrounding herself with the smells and memories of Beth's clothes. While another kind of man might have thought she was refusing to accept what had happened, and might have tried to distance himself from it, Jacob knew better. Kate had been struggling to think of something to wear, as her sister had always helped her pick something out. Jake held her, and then helped her pick out something her mother would have liked. He held her hand during the burial. After everything she had lost, Kate still had one person who knew just how much she had lost. She could continue, because he was there for her.
He had never dealt with his grief destructively, no matter how destructively Kate chose to deal with hers. His calm inspired her to be as he was, to keep it together in the face of her loss. She put herself completely into being the best in all respects, until finally she got into West Point. When she got in, though, she was filled with anxiety, as this would be the first time she would have to keep it together by herself. Fortunately, she had found a similar strength in Sophie, her new girlfriend.
Unfortunately, it would be that relationship that lead to her being drummed out of West Point under Don't Ask Don't Tell. Sophie would stay behind, while Kate ended up throwing herself into a life of reckless thrill seeking and casual sex. She knows now that those were just ways to avoid being alone, to avoid thinking about what she lost. Unlike Jake, who remarried, Kate could not replace those things she had lost with new people and experiences, so she had replaced it with alcohol. She drank too much, over and over, knowing that it would give her father a reason to take care of her again - something she selfishly relished.
Jacob had once asked Kate when she decided fully to become the Batwoman. It hadn't been when her mother and sister were kidnapped and murdered. It hadn't been when she was discharged from the military, or when her girlfriend Renee had left her. It hadn't been when she beat a would-be mugger into submission, impressing the Batman, whom she realized was merely a man in a costume.
In the first few months that Kate began crime-fighting, she had been sloppy about hiding it. To some extent, she had wanted her father to discover it. She knew that he would not let her do it alone, and he knew too well that she would not give it up. So he had helped. He had sent her off with a gang of specially selected men, to train her by experience. For two years, she had enjoyed learning new skills. The last twelve months, however, had been extremely difficult, both in terms of physical exertion and the emotional cost. She was tortured, she was forced to undergo harrowing scenarios in which her life was put in danger. She was made to endure hardship while handicapped by the pains and injuries of her last training exercise. She was made to desensitize herself to the sight of murder scenes, and the sounds of suffering and violence.
Near the end of that year, Kate was given a reprieve, working in Africa to feed starving children and administer vaccines. Just one month after arriving there, Kate had come to think that it was more important to hunt down the war lords perpetuating the strife and pain she was fighting to alleviate. When her companions had suggested that she was doing more good in her current efforts, she began to realize that the last year had been a test of will. It was her father's last ditch attempt at talking her out of becoming the Batwoman. She became so angry at this that she had gone after some of these warlords by herself, and crippled them for life.
The next day, she got a call from her father with one last mission. A family was being held hostage in the ruins of Prypiat, a ghost-city near Chernobyl. He had said that if she could save that family from the Russians who had kidnapped them, she could finally return to Gotham City. The mission had gone well, with each of the obstacles in her way predictably traversed. That was until she found the family in an abandoned schoolhouse, with their throats already cut.
Kate had been filled with rage. Without thinking, she fought the man who had murdered them, wrestling away his knife, and putting it to his own throat. Still, as she stood there, ready to kill him, she hesitated. Frustrated, she threw aside her knife, and demanded to know why he had done it. The man unmasked, revealing himself as her own father. It was a set-up; a test to be sure that she would never cross the line. Thinking back on it, the signs that it was a fake were obvious. It had all been designed to push her so close to the edge that she might have killed someone. Fortunately, she had not fallen over it - and never would.
While she was gone, however, Gotham fell to its dark underground and the Religion of Crime. It was easy for her to see in returning that the city needed more than just Batman. Still, she hadn't returned as Batwoman. She had left a lost girl, and returned as Kate Kane - fully aware of who she was. It was something else that spurred her transformation into Batwoman, even if she had already adopted the costume.
Even though she had learned who she was, there was one thing she didn't know. When she realized that Beth had survived - when she saw what Beth had become - she knew that her father had betrayed her. That was when Kate learned that she had to complete her mission alone. That was when she became Batwoman, finally.
These facts and remembrances Kate records in one last goodbye message before facing Medusa, hoping that her father will never have to read it.
- This story makes several references to the events of Batwoman: Elegy.
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