I have no introduction to this beyond: a couple of scenes I've been carrying around, visually, for a while now. The trouble is, is that now I have no idea where to go from here! I mean, I know some of the places I want to visit on this epic, but I don't know the best way of getting there from where I am.
And I'm resisting RPing these characters until I have more history written!
After a few hours sleep I was woken up by a shift in the weight on the bed beside me. Rolling over, I saw Bruce climbing out of bed, and beyond him his massive bedroom window looking out on a beautiful view of the Gotham City skyline. And on the cloudscape above the city, the familiar yellow oval with the shadowy bat in the centre.
Hearing my grunt of wakefulness, he glanced back at me. "How are your ribs?"
"Passable," I said, sitting up to prove it - it hurt, but I could still push if I needed to.
He gave the faintest of faint smiles, and said, "it's not a Justice League signal, it's for me. I'll use your signal device if I need to."
After all, it would have been a bad idea to let our intertwined personal lives cross over into that part of our lives. I already operated in Gotham without answering the Signal; we had different areas of operation. And anyway, he already had a partner.
Seeing me accept the excuse, he still didn't leave without kissing me goodbye.
He was still gone when I woke up at a far more godly hour and rolled out of bed. Painfully aware that there was a butler who'd do it again at some point in the morning I nevertheless made the bed before I realised that I had no clothes to wear; my costume has been ripped and cut away, and that left me with a wig and fishnets. One glance in Bruce's closet revealed what was likely the worth of my entire flower shop in shirts and suits, so I grabbed the comfiest looking shirt for myself. It was still made of silk, but after a night between those sheets I'd decided I could get used to the feel. And I needed to don something on my quest for coffee; who knew what I would find on my explorations of a Manor this size?
It took long enough to find something resembling a kitchen; the one I found was bigger than the one Mom and I used to warm up the TV dinners and throw out our pizza boxes, and it still had a 'rarely used' feel. There was fresh milk in the fridge, though, and a coffee machine, though the filters were stacked in a cupboard clearly designed for a man taller than me, leaving me to climb onto the sideboard in order to get one down.
And it was while I was in this position, scaling up the furniture wearing nothing but the silk shirt of the man who had disappeared into the night leaving me alone in a four poster bed, that a teenage boy in pajamas and a thick robe walked in. To his credit, he barely batted an eyelid.
"You know, we have a butler," he pointed out, even though that fact didn't stop him from taking a bowl out of a more convenient cupboard and pouring out his own cereal.
"I know," I said, retrieving my prize and scrambling down again. "But the day I need help to make my own coffee is the day I really will need an ambulance." I continued making the coffee and grinned at him. "You must be Dick. I'm Dinah."
It wasn't a hard deduction. A teenage boy having breakfast in Wayne Manor. Bruce famously having a teenage ward by the name of Dick Grayson. Also, Batman having a teenage partner of around the same age. I might not have inherited my parents' brilliant detective skills, but even I could manage that.
He grinned back in return. It wasn't hard to like this boy on sight, he had a charming smile and an insatiable light in his eyes that seemed to find amusement in everything. It was obvious, even then, he was going to grow up into quite the charmer, and as history has told, he really did.
"I guess I must. Hi, Dinah. Bruce had to leave early this morning for a meeting."
"I know," I said. "I saw the signal."
The boy nodded, yawned, poured milk on his chocolate rings and carried the bowl out of the kitchen. It was only as my coffee stopped percolating that he reappeared, having literally back stepped a few steps from where he'd come to a realisation.
"How d'you know Bruce?" he asked.
"I work with him."
"But he doesn't..." He blinked, and blue eyes stared wide at me. "Are you a Justice Leaguer?"
I extended a hand, shaking it out of its shirt sleeve. "Black Canary. Pleased to meet you, Robin."
As I said, it wasn't a stretch of deduction. And although his usually open brow lined in disapproval at being caught out, he was soon grinning again and shook the proffered hand.
"Oh wow. So you and Bruce are...?"
"Yeah. I mean, that's the plan. We'll see how it goes."
"Black Canary," he repeated, and when Alfred the butler appeared in the door, he somersaulted back - literally. That's just the sort of kid he was - to greet him. "Alfie! This is the Black Canary!"
"So I would hope," the Englishman replied, and I fancied I could detect some fondness in his dry tone. "Else we have a regrettable hole in the Manor Security that's letting in young ladies in search of coffee. Can I offer you a breakfast, Miss Canary?"
"Make her some of your legendary waffles, Alfie."
"Dinah, please," I replied, and would have declined the breakfast, except I was hungry, and Dick was nodding enthusiastically at me.
"I would rather not, if it's all the same to you," Alfred said, cutting off my half-hearted attempt to decline breakfast with a reference to my spoken request. "I assume you have a surname?"
"If you're going to use that instead of my first," I said firmly. "I don't."
"Then I suppose we'll have to remain dreadfully informal," he replied, and continued without hesitation. "Master Bruce is in his cave. Maybe Master Dick could show you the way down while I prepare your breakfast? I find I operate better without an audience."
"Sure thing, Alfie," Dick said, grabbing my hand before I could wonder out loud about a change in clothes, and I was being tugged down to the secret door that marked the transition between Wayne Manor and the Batcave.
Bruce was sitting at the computer, overshadowed completely by the giant glowing screen, his cowl discarded to the side and he cape splayed out behind him. He didn't turn around as I approached, but certainly didn't resist as I ducked under his cape to sit on the arm of his chair. After a second, he even pushed me into his lap, apparently because it gave him easier access to his keyboard over my lap.
"How are your ribs?" he asked, giving me a brief glance before going back to the computer.
"Better," I said. They still hurt, but in this business you quickly learn to ignore pain that's not urgent.
"What happened to your ribs?" That was Dick, whom I'd almost forgotten was there - only almost, and I hadn't thought to be embarrassed by public displays of affection to his father figure while scantily clad. It's the fishnets - they eroded all sense of modesty very early on.
"Catman," I explained, while Bruce did something I'd never be able to follow on the computer to bring up a file on that particular. "He's got claws."
"Catman?" Dick repeated, incredulous. "Catman's a joke."
"That joke," Bruce cut in, "drew first blood in a melee combat with the greatest living judoka in the world. However inane his schemes and gimmicks are, Robin, we should never forget that. Our challenge from now on, will be to make sure that Thomas Blake continues to think of himself as a third rate gimmick villain."
I could feel Dick staring at me, then.
That's the thing; compliments from Batman are more than mere compliments; they're simple opinions presented as statements of fact. If he says something like that, you can't shy away and be flattered, you have to accept that he thinks that highly, and try not to let it go to your head. I tried, but at the time I think I failed somewhat; at least I had an idea now what he saw in me.
Alfred proved to have impeccable timing in breaking up potentially awkward moments, right then, when he appeared from upstairs with a plate of what turned out to be the best waffles I had ever tasted. I don't want to admit to falling a little harder for Bruce on the strength of these waffles, but if you can judge a man's worth on the quality of the friends he keeps, then I think it's fair to say that I - among other things - had a favourable judgement of my man on the quality of his friend's waffles. With Dick's understated idol worship and Alfred's amused tolerance, I was grateful that everything felt so natural and so accepting so quickly. Especially when Alfred found me some actual clothes and didn't even mention my making the bed.
Later that week, Bruce and I had sex on the stairs between the manor and the cave. It just felt right.
Oh Bob, I think I killed myself with cute. Anyone wishing to draw some of those scenes would have my undying gratitude - and the promise of an LJ/blog/website design/coding.