Author: Alli Snow (me!)
Fandom: Batman: Gotham Knights
Episode(s): Post-Over the Edge
Rated: PG13, for the s-e-x word
Stuff: Vignettey pointless fluff. And a little Dick/Babs, 'cause they make me happy.
Blurb: Geesh. Men.
So... Batfic. I've officially "crossed a line man was not meant to cross".
She works out how to tell him during the drive across town. In her mind the words are straightforward; it's not like she hasn't contemplated this before. But never before has she had such fear driving her home.
You've seen Batgirl, right Dad? Did you ever think she looked a little familiar? Did you ever wonder how I spent so many nights at school? At a friend's, or studying at the library? No, I was on patrol. I was breathing the night air of Gotham, looking down into parts of the city you don't think I even know about, rappelling down buildings with the wind in my face and my heart in my throat. I was dressed in a mask and a cape. I was being Batgirl. It's me, Dad. It's me.
"It's me," she tells her father.
He beams at her over the threshold. "Barbara, come in! Why didn't you tell me you were coming over? I would have made something special for dinner."
She forces a smile, trusting in the shadows on the porch to make the expression look believable. "I thought I'd surprise you." She nods to the grocery bag held in her arms. "And I have dinner taken care of."
He looks down at her with pride - his little girl, so thoughtful, so resourceful. She comes inside, takes off her coat and makes spaghetti. They talk about little things like television shows and the new strip mall that will be built if Hill signs on the dotted line and other safe subjects. The closest they come to the danger zone is when he asks if she's seen "that nice Dick Grayson" recently. He seems disappointed that they haven't resumed dating since his return to Gotham.
Actually, Dad, I saw him just last week. He was dressed in spandex and was driving a motorcycle. Then he jumped off the roof of the parking garage and kind of swooped down on top of one of Two Face's thugs. Oh, he looked FINE, Dad.
"I've seen him around."
She knows full well that she's stalling, waiting for the right moment, but no moment is really right for something like this. Exactly what is a good lead-in for telling the police commissioner that you're a vigilante? Especially when the commissioner is your father, the kind of dad who wants to protect his little girl from everything that goes bump in the night?
For good or ill, she's one of those things.
The images from the Scarecrow's dream seem as real as true memories.
She's trying not to take them as prophecy. They aren't, of course; what she saw in her mind was based on her own fears, those nagging doubts that surface during the quiet times of patrol, when it's just her and a quiet rooftop lookout, when she can't help staring down at the street and thinking morbid thoughts. But the first thing she did when she got home was double-encrypt everything on her computer even remotely related to Bruce Wayne. She'll be damned if she makes it that easy for him.
And it doesn't hurt to be safe.
It hurts to tell you dad that you've been lying to him all this time, even more than it hurts to keep on lying. So she settles for that bit of stupidity about a 'new job' she's taken on, like she's going to play one of Santa's elves at the mall and she's worried he'll be embarrassed for her.
Pointy green shoes? Please. I have MUCH more style then that.
In the end he's much too accepting, far too confident in her decision-making abilities. Maybe he's been replaced by a robot again. Or maybe he's just relieved that the big important thing she had to tell him didn't include the p-word: pregnancy.
Like I have the time to meet a guy, determine he's attracted to me, and get comfortable enough with him to even have sex. Most of the guys I spend time with would rather take off my head than my clothes.
Costumed crime fighting. The ultimate abstinence strategy.
* * *
Approximately ten seconds after she gets home, the phone rings. Dick. She doesn't wonder how he knows. "Hey."
"Hey. How are you feeling?"
"Lousy." She drops her purse and reaches for the light.
She can hear the wince in his voice. "Really? That bad?"
"Yeah. I put too much sausage in the sauce. Now I have terrible heartburn."
He's silent, utterly without sound - not to mention humor - and she sighs. No matter how he feels about it or what he has to say on the matter, he really is Bruce's son in every way that counts. "I'm fine, Dick. No side effects. Just a bad dream."
"You know, if he'd told me you guys were going after Scarecrow-"
There's a petulance in his voice that she recognizes and resents. "We didn't exactly know ahead of time," she points out, kicking off her heels. "And it really wasn't close... I got hit with the gas just as we were finishing up. The boys were able to take care of themselves."
"I could have been backup."
She resists the urge to blow a raspberry over the phone. "Come on. We all know the risks. You can't exactly protect me from everything out there, Dick... and if you tried, I'd have to hurt you."
He's still not happy, but thankfully he lets it go. He's better about that then he used to be, and it makes things easier. After all, he's really the only person in the world she can talk to about these things. Tim means well, but he's young. Alfred means well too, but he's old, and he's not out on the streets night in, night out like they are. Bruce understands, but he's never been Mr. Open Communication, and even less so lately.
Dick gets it.
"Dad asked about you tonight," she mentions, feeling the need to lighten the mood.
"Asked about me, or... me?"
She smirks. "Depends. What are you wearing right now?"
There was a time when that would have tied Boy Wonder's tongue into a knot any scout would be proud of. Nightwing's a little faster on his feet. He chuckles. "I'm just about to head out, actually." He pauses. "I know you've already had a long night, but... care to join me?"
Not the kind of dating Dad probably has in mind. "Gee, it's tempting, but I already took off my shoes and everything..."
There's some reluctance in his voice, but he knows better than to be offended. "Ah, well, by all means, stay in for the night."
"That's the plan." She pauses in her bedroom doorway and leans against the molding, smiling at a face she can't see. "Of course, if you need backup, you know where to find me."