Subtitle: Meaningful and Red.
Pairing: Barbara Gordon/Kathy Kane … I guess Gypsy/Lady Blackhawk is a suggestion…
Summary: Change is a many splendoured thing to the casual observer. It also has a tendency to suck, big time, for those experiencing it. Barbara repeats it, because she’s not ready to let go. Whatever way she has to hold on.
Author's Note: Inspired by teh_no’s Ten Conversations About One Thing, I decided to deal with ten ficlets on a chosen issue in a less humorous manner. Some Spoilers for OYL (rather vague.) and IC.
This is the first of the fics to have dialogue. It’ll probably be the last of them too as well.
Last Part (Tim Drake Centric): http://community.livejournal.com/ba
Next Part (Jason Todd Centric): http://community.livejournal.com/ba
When Barbara was Batgirl, things had been different.
Cassandra had made things… complicated, but Barbara had understood that. The clinging to the past. It had been easier, because Cassandra Cain hid her Asian beauty behind an eyeless, mouthless cowl. No face to be seen. Nothing but the outlined bat on the chest to suggest that this Batgirl and the old batgirl (when did Barbara start calling herself “the old batgirl”, anyway?) had ever been one and the same.
Batgirl and Barbara. Batgirl and Oracle. Oracle and Barbara. Cassandra and Barbara. They were all different. Nothing to get too worked up about. Not after a while, when Barbara had gotten used to the idea.
Better Cass than Huntress (who Barbara loves to death, now, but hated in the same way she hated shotguns, back then.)
She missed Cassandra so damn much it hurts. She misses Robin –Tim, she reminds herself. Its just Tim, now, patient number #200555 at Central City General’s Psychiatric Unit, recently transferred from a low ranking wing of Arkham– even more. She misses Dick.
But Barbara can cope. Because that’s what Barbara does.
But Batwoman. Beautiful, elegant, can-fight-in-heels, redheaded Batwoman. She makes things… difficult. A hard-to-draw-breath-and-look-at-her-at-t
Oracle frowns internally as she considers ringing in her new –temporary– agent and letting him know that she needs him to send a Scout or three down to the docks. Should be a nice bit of nostalgia for him, she thinks. That or an uncomfortable reminder, but either way, she doesn’t have much choice. she has no other agents available. Dinah is in space working on the repairing of the new Watchtower. Gypsy is with Lady Blackhawk somewhere off the gulf of France, and they’re sure as hell not scoping out a far-flung suspect. There’s noone else.
None except for her that is.
But she is not one of Oracle’s agents.
Barbara leans back in her chair. Studies the footage of the harbour and the potential smuggling ring. It’s been too long since her selected agent was able to say that he’d be there in a flash, and mean it literally. The last time he could say that, he wasn’t her agent. But really, there’s no logical reason to send Bart.
She could ask… her.
She won’t do that.
She calls in Avatar, and is answered by a groan down the phone line and him asking whether or not it’s time to sleep, yet. He spends a few seconds (they used to be hours, for him, but not anymore) either working out what to say, or yawning.
‘Oracle, dude, late nights suck. They really suck. I dunno how you Bats do this stuff. I’m so not doing this anymore. I’ll stick to daylight. Daylight’s my thing, look, I was brought up in bright colours, sunny colours. Red, yellow, white… I think I even had a pink hat once.’
Another silence. She’s sure it’s a yawn, this time.
‘Think you can get there before you pass out?’
‘Calling a Scout back from midtown. Sure. I’ll be there in a flash.’
There’s a slightly sad tinge in his voice there. It’s not a literal statement anymore.
‘Okay. Oracle out.’
She feels the light shifting of pressure at the back of her chair and almost feels a hand where there should be no feeling at all.
Barbara is not Batwoman, because she never had the chance to become it. she wonders, now, if she ever would have. They’re entirely unconnected by everything but a shared name, a fickle past and a daunting, high heeled present.
Batwoman’s red hair brushes the nape of her neck.
* * *
For a few brief seconds, Barbara remembers waking up, once (the first of several times), after a dose of knockout gas that had worn off faster than she’d anticipated and left the whole world feeling brighter and more vivid than before. She feels the same way then as she does now, only she’s waking up to a smiling redhead, rather than being the redhead herself. And there’s no Batman or Robin or freaky-ass cave to scare the living hell out of her.
Just a bed, and sheets, and wild red hair.
Dick would say that Kathy wasn’t as beautiful as Barbara (or at least, he would have done, once over, but Barbara’s not going to let herself think about all of the “once overs” anymore.) He might be wrong. Kathy could never pull off the spectacles and Oracle look that she does. Which isn’t… much of a comfort.
She could pull off her other look, though. too attractively to be comfortable.
Again, that’s more detail than Barbara wants, right now.
It’s like a strange, distorted attachment to her past and a figure of what her future could have been, had she had the chance to find it, something she can’t –quite– let go of.
She’s not ready to let go of it. Whatever way she has to hold on.
Batwoman smiles at her. Confident, meaningful and red.
‘Kathy,’ Barbara says, and smiles back. Batwoman.
What with the painful ache inside of her heart, she’s surprised to realise that she means it.