Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Bruce/Dick, Barbara Gordon, Jim Gordon, Clark, Ollie Queen/Dinah Lance, Roy Harper, Clark, The Joker, Donna Troy, Victor Stone
Series Notes: When Gotham falls to an epidemic, Batman and Robin need help to protect the city. All chapters can be found here.
Categories: Drama, Angst
Rating: (this chapter): PG-13
Summary: Barbara and Roy remember...
Date Of Completion: April 21, 2007
Date Of Posting: May 6, 2007
Disclaimer: I don’t own 'em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1454
Author’s Note: Once in awhile an original character will slip into the group up there on the Characters/Pairing line, so if you don’t recognize the name, that’s probably why. :)
PIXIE BOOTS AND SHORT PANTS
“Dad, you should get some rest.”
“Can’t, dear. Everyone’s working around-the-clock.”
“I know.” Barbara came around the desk and hugged her father. “But it won’t do anyone any good for you to collapse. The force needs you!”
Jim smiled at his daughter. He felt so tired! “I have my couch here.”
“Who do you think I am, Catwoman?”
She laughed, but the worry was clear in her eyes. “Please, Dad, promise me you’ll try and get some rest before you wind up in the hospital.”
He took her hand and kissed it. “Don’t worry, Princess. I’ll be smart about this.”
She looked unconvinced but said, “All right. See that you do.” She leaned down and kissed him. “I’ll see you later.”
She left the office and knew that she was going to continue to worry about her father in addition to worrying about Dick.
Damn this epidemic!
& & & & & &
“Oh, please, don’t go all girly on me.”
Barbara sniffed. “Sez you, Short Pants.”
Dick grinned. “I mean it, Red. Don’t tell me you’re going to start carrying a powder puff around with you!”
She snorted. “Not likely, Pixie Boots. C’mon, let’s go meet the grim Bat before he fires us.”
Dick’s laughter followed her as she leaped off the roof to the next one, smiling as she felt the wind in her hair and the presence of her trusted friend right behind her.
& & & & & &
Barbara took a deep breath and entered the small ICU unit. Bruce was there, speaking on the phone to Alfred. Dinah was kissing Dick’s hair and straightened up, and Roy was sadness itself as he gazed at Dick. Ollie and Clark were out in the hall.
Barbara looked at Dinah, who despite the white lenses read her question. “No change.” Disappointment burned inside her.
“Hey, Pixie Boots,” she said softly. “Don’t worry, we’ve got it all covered.” She leaned down and whispered, “And we’re taking care of Bruce, too.”
Dinah smiled and nodded, Roy joining her. The two Arrows left, and Barbara watched as Bruce continued his call. He had shaved and didn’t look quite so haggard, but his restless movements bespoke a caged panther.
Barbara slipped her gloved hand into Dick’s.
& & & & & &
“You love him.”
Dick smiled. “Yes.” A touch of anxiety entered his voice, his eyes hidden by the mask. “I know that you might be uncomfortable…”
Barbara laughed. “Why? I think it’s great!”
“Yes! God, Short Pants, I was just waiting for you to wake up to the fact!”
“You were?” Dick looked at her in amusement, the wind blowing his bright cape out behind him as his hair was ruffled. “And just when did this revelation come upon you?”
She flipped her long, red hair. “I’ve known since two years ago.”
He frowned. “Bruce and I weren’t together then. I was only sixteen.”
“And being sixteen means you couldn’t be in love?”
He blushed. “Yeah, but…”
“No buts! Though yours isn’t bad,” she said with a little tap on the green shorts. “I knew you loved him, Robbie. I knew that you were waiting so Bruce wouldn’t get all freaked out about your age, and I knew that you’d chosen a difficult path, but it would be worth it in the end.”
His smile was a touch rueful. “I didn’t choose loving Bruce. Love chose me.”
“How poetic,” Barbara teased gently, then said, “Well, love’s like that. He’s certainly special, but he’s…”
“…closed off, I know.” Dick took a deep breath. “He’s never quite recovered from that night in the alley when his world came crashing down. He’s amazing, Barb, but it’s as if he’s afraid to love again.” His smile returned. “He’s learning, though.”
“Good.” Barbara touched her friend’s arm. “Because in the end, you two are perfect for each other.”
He grasped her hand, removed the glove, and kissed warm flesh. She smiled and curled her hand around his gloved one, then slipped away.
“If he gives you a hard time, just warble over a robinsong. I’ll set him straight. No, wait, set him back on the not-so-straight path…”
Dick’s laughter was music to her ears as they plunged off the roof, sailing under the stars…
& & & & & &
He looked over at her, putting his cellphone away. “Yes?”
“He’ll come back to you.”
An emotion, bone-deep and passionate, flickered across his face and then was gone.
She nodded and was gone, but not before she thought she heard a whisper, “Don’t leave me.”
& & & & & &
The city was an eerie landscape of empty streets and darkened buildings. The few people who did roam the alleys and byways wore surgical masks or other improvised coverings.
It’s like some old biblical pestilence is seeping through the city, Speedy thought uneasily.
He and Green Arrow and Black Canary were patrolling close to the arts district. Superman and Batgirl had the waterfront. He flexed his hand on his bow, almost wishing for an attempted crime as the silence unnerved him.
Green Arrow’s finger directed Speedy to the alley below them. A shadowy figure was slithering along the narrow space, the collar turned up on a purple trenchcoat. A glint of green showed from underneath the fedora pulled down low.
Green Arrow and Speedy exchanged nods, and the Canary quietly slipped over the side of the building. They tracked the figure for a few blocks, then Speedy placed an arrow in his bow and drew back. He let loose just as a scream startled him.
The arrow with its tranquilizer dart missed its target by mere inches, the quarry immediately disappearing into the darkness.
“I’ll follow him,” Speedy said as Green Arrow nodded, joining Black Canary to locate the source of the terrified scream.
Speedy knew that the man in the trenchcoat had been the Joker. He was determined not to let the man get away.
Unfortunately, the Joker knew Gotham far better than Speedy did. He listened and watched but couldn’t pick up the villain’s trail. Cursing, he turned back to rejoin Arrow and Canary.
& & & & & &
“Speedy, with me.”
Speedy nodded as he readied his bow, Robin ordering Wonder Girl and Cyborg to approach the rink from the north while he and Speedy came in from the south. The rest of the Titans were on another mission, so it was up to them to foil the robbers who had fled from Tiffany’s to the rink at Rockefeller Plaza.
The giant Christmas tree glittered as skaters glided along the rink, snow beginning to fall. The robbers had blended into the crowd, removing their masks because they hadn’t seen the Titans arrive on the scene.
Robin muttered, “We have to go in carefully. If those guys see us…” He quietly spoke into his wrist communicator. “Wonder Girl, can you infiltrate?”
“Roger. I’ve got my long coat and I can put a hat on. I’ll get close to them, don’t worry.”
The Amazon quickly rented skates and was out on the ice, her dark hair streaming out behind her as she skated over to the tree. The robbers were arguing close by it, and just as Wonder Girl got close, one of them looked up, recognized her, and shouted to his companions.
What followed was a scene that swirled like a shaken snowglobe: shouts, Titans emerging, people skating away and screaming, the robbers pulling out guns, the gold winged statue watching impassively over the chaos…
Speedy fired, his arrow knocking the gun out of one robber while Wonder Girl lassoed another. Cyborg herded people behind stone walls and Robin raced across the ice, somehow able to keep his balance on the slippery surface, flipping in the air to avoid a hail of bullets while Speedy’s heart dropped into his stomach. Robin came out of the flip and barreled into the shooter feet first, and as the world shook again, the robbers fell, one-by-one, to the Titans, Robin smiling as he looked at Speedy while they tied the miscreants up, his hair and costume glittering with snow…
& & & & & &
Sadness filled Speedy’s heart. He rejoined Green Arrow and Black Canary, who had rescued a woman from assault. He ashamedly admitted losing the Joker.
“It’s okay, kid. We’ll get him next time. Now we know he’s still in Gotham. He probably figures since Batman is standing vigil at Robin’s bedside, he’s free to do his thing.” Green Arrow’s teeth gleamed in the darkness. “He’s got another think comin’.”
He was determined to get the Joker next time.