And forward

May. 6th, 2013 09:48 pm
raptorcanaria: (Dinah snr)
Dinah Lance snr is sitting in a rocking chair surrounded by flowers, one hand full of deli sandwich, the other looking through mail from a pile by the cash register. Her daughter is up a ladder, sorting out the ribbon supplies. They've done a pretty good job so for today - since the surgery, in fact - at not fighting at all.


"Yes, Mom?"

"Why does the hospital say all my bills are cleared?"

"Because they have. My insurance covered it."

"All of it?"

"All of it."

"What kind of insurance do you have?"

"Justice League insurance."

"Oh." Mrs Lance is quiet for a second, then gives a small smile. "Which one is it?"

"Does it matter?"

"No." She looks up at her daughter. "You’re lucky to have such generous friends."

"We both are, Mom. We always have been."

"Don’t I know it."

Dinah’s return to the satellite is met with grins so wide they only just stop short of audible cheers. There’s a lot of shoulder patting and ‘how are ya?’s and she finds herself suddenly buoyed up, realized how much she'd been bearing with the two weeks spent on leave, alone with her Mom.

Shes not back to monitor shifts yet, but she’s welcomed back to all League meetings, and confirms that her communicator will be back online, and she is to respond to all emergencies as normal.

The only problem is Green Arrow. Somehow the kind man from the hospital is missing, and instead the loud, brash patronizing jerk is louder, brasher, more patronizing and more of a jerk than he’s ever been.

And he’s saved her a seat at the table right next to him.

And it really annoys her that she finds this flattering.

After closing the store, Dinah jumps onto her Thunderbird and runs to her favorite Chinese place, taking some time out while they’re making her order to drop into the local video rental store. She returns to their apartment with one bag full of pork dumplings, and another full of Richard Gere, finding her mother sitting on the couch, glaring at a tangle of yarn.

Dinah stares at it.


"Ted thinks I should take up a sitting down hobby," her Mom says curtly. "Knitting isn’t it."

"Are romantic comedies a sitting down hobby?" Dinah asks. "Because that’s what I’ve got."

She exchanges the yarn for a pre-made blanket, puts a tray of Chinese food on top of it, and once the tape is in the VCR, curls herself under the other side.

"Aren’t you going to Milliways tonight?"

The hidden bitterness behind the word surprises Dinah, but she pretends to ignore it.

"Not tonight."

And maybe not for a while. She has other priorities.

She’s being very careful not to fight with her Mom, and trying to focus her stress and frustration into fighting the bad guys. Sometimes this comes out sideways into snapping at her teammates. When it’s directed at Ray or Barry, she can see it upsets them, and instantly feels bad. Diana and Clark are infinitely patient with her, which makes her feel worse. Bruce and Hal both take it, and she feels safe. Oliver, she’s sure, takes pleasure in encouraging it.

He infuriates her. He teases her. He will not stop making reference to her looks. He provokes her, and he annoys her.

And she can’t help thinking that’s what she needs right now.

Maybe it’s what she wants.

Eventually she realizes she needs advice about this. And immediately rules out both her Mom and any of her uncles.

"Batman, do you have a minute?"

This is the worst plan ever. And immediately it gets Arrow’s head raised, his eyes on them. "What do you have to be talking about on your own?"

The entitled tone in his voice, the accusation even, provokes Dinah into snapping. "It is none of your business whom I talk to about what, Green Arrow!"

He practically storms off, and leaves her alone with the man who, she suddenly realizes, should be the last person she talks to about this kind of thing.

But he was the first person to approach her when she first got the news. And he hasn’t been as obvious about it as some people, but he’s been there for her as much as anyone, in his own way. She gets that, and she appreciates it, is grateful for his friendship.

Bruce is waiting for her to says something. She takes a breath.

"I need advice. About Oliver."

"Hey, Mom?" Dinah asks one evening.

"Yes, love?"

"You didn’t mind that whole hospital billing thing, did you?"

She smiles. "No. No, I thought your friend was very generous, and I make a rule never to resent gifts."

"Oh." Dinah smiles. "Good. Because another friend," (or maybe the same one, but at least she knows who this friend is) "got us seats at Katakana on Carmine street tonight."

Dinah snr stares at her. "Dinah, we can’t afford to breathe in Katakana."

"Well, he’s covered that, too."

Her mother shakes her head, but she’s smiling.

It’s Oliver’s turn to chair, and it results in him being the first to stand after the meeting, but Dinah stays sitting at the meeting table, watching him. He takes the hint, and hangs back as everyone files out to teleport home (well, except Hal, who has monitor duty). Then he comes over to her chair.

"Canary?" His tone sounds concerned, unsure. Dinah smiles quickly to reassure him.

"I wanted to thank you," she says.

"You think I paid...? No, we all...."

Dinah shakes her head and stands. He takes a step back to give her space, and she reaches for his arm, catching his wrist.

"Not for that. For everything. For being there for me during all of this."

He seems to break through confusion and offers a smile, his cockiness still failing him.

"Well, we’re a team. We stick together."


Dinah smiles. And then smiles wider, feeling the blood rush to her face. Under his mask, Oliver’s forehead crinkles.

It gives her the opportunity to reach up and pull his mask away.

"We’re a team," she says. "And I’d like... I think we’d make a good team."

She counts the seconds as she watches realization dawn. Then he grins, and bodily picks her up, sitting her on the meeting table.

His mustache doesn’t scratch nearly as much as she thought it would.

Alan and Molly come over for whist, and leave as soon as Dinah snr looks tired, which is a little before she says she wanted them to. Dinah jnr suspected it was a little later than was really good for her.

As mother changes for bed, daughter cleans up and makes them both some hot cocoa. It’s waiting when Dinah snr comes back into the living room in robe and slippers.

"Tonight was nice."

"Yes. It was..."


Her Mom just shakes her head. "I’m sorry. I’m being a silly old lady. I’ve really appreciated having you around these last few weeks, Dinah."


"But I know you’re putting up with a lot. You shouldn’t have to look after an old woman on top of everything else in your life."

Dinah sits down on the couch, hard.

"What is it?" her mother asks.

She takes a breath.

"About that..." she says. "I’ve been thinking of selling the store."


"Well, to you, if you want it back. But... um."

"You’re moving out, aren’t you?"

Her voice is so steady, so calm, that Dinah looks up to check her countenance is the same.

Her mother smiles at her. "You should. You need to. Sell it and move. I’ll find a new place, small enough for one. Maybe close to Ted, try out proper retirement. It’s about time we lived apart."

"I’ll be a teleporter ride away..."

"I know. Have you thought about where?"

Dinah sighs heavily and looks away again, steeling herself for the next part.

"I was thinking, maybe Star City."

"Green Arrow?"

"Yes. Green Arrow."

Dinah Drake-Lance smiles at her daughter. "Don’t take any of his crap."

Dinah Laurel smiles at her mother. "I never would."
raptorcanaria: ([young] reflective)
Dinah watches the door to the surgery close and is shown to some less than comfortable chairs on which she can wait.

And wait.

She slumps against her seat back, where she can do nothing but listen to the voice in her head tell her all the different things that could go wrong on the next few hours. All the things she should have done and said before the anaesthetic. Before the diagnosis. Before. The things it might be too late to say now. The knot in her throat tightens and it feels like all the screaming she's doing inside has finally turned sonic, and her power is causing her to  implode.

Breathe. Wait.

She fixes her gaze on the floor a few yards away and stares. Hours, they said, it would take. But she daren't move from here in case something happens. She just stares and breathes and tries not to think.

She is nowhere close to success when a pair of expensive sneakers step into her field of view.

Dinah raises her eyes past a pair of jeans and a tailored shirt, to an enormous fruit basket, behind which she is surprised to see a familiar blonde beard and friendly grin. She stares in disbelief.


“How's it going, Pretty Bird? I figured you'd have enough flowers, but no one can have enough vitamin C, right?”

He places the basket on the floor, and pulls out an apple, which he hands to her as he sits down next to her. She stares at the apple, then at the basket, then at him.

“What are you doing here?”

“I got Hal to cover my monitor shift. Left my communicator at home. I thought you might like some company.”


Staring stupidly at him, Dinah realizes how tired she is, and when she yawns, she feels the strain in her jaw.

“I'm sorry, I'm not really up for conversation right now.”

Or coherent thought, she realizes.

Oliver smiles.

“Didn't think you would be. But hey, if you want to nap: I'll wake you when there's news.”



She doesn't know what else to do. She leans on him, her head first on his shoulder, then his arm, then on his knee as she lies down.

The voices, for a while are quiet.

Dinah is woken by Oliver's hand on her shoulder, and the realization that someone said her name. She pulls herself out of sleep to face a smiling surgeon behind his clipboard shield.

“Ms Lance,” he repeats himself. “Just to let you know that everything went swimmingly. We think we got the entire tumor, but we need to run some tests to be sure. Your mother is sleeping on her own under observation. Would you like to wait in her room?”

Oliver leaves before her mother wakes, leaving mother and daughter alone.
raptorcanaria: ([young] crying)
It's almost a relief that monitor duty has been reinstated now they have the satellite. Dinah had forgotten how much she had relied on those hours sitting at the bank of computers, watching news channels for things of Justice League interest, tracking the movements of the members, keeping an eye out for anything that would require their attention. For the most part, it's a relaxing job, and they share the shifts equally between members. Even Ralph's wife Sue has volunteered to take a few shifts.

(Dinah, remembering her father, isn't sure how she feels about non-League family members participating in League activities. But she reminds herself that it's not like Sue is coming with them on missions as Larry Lance did. The satellite is safe, right? Safer than the Earth headquarters were, in any case.)

On monitor duty there are no bad guys to fight, no flowers to arrange, and above all, no mothers to fight with. Funny how finding out the cause of all the fights hasn't actually made them go away. If anything, now Dinah knows her mother was lying to her for two years, she wants to be around her even less.

Which is why, when Batman appears on the satellite to take over from her at the monitors, Dinah is so reluctant to leave. There are a whole host of problems on Earth she doesn't want to face right now.

"Mind if I stay?"

"If you want to."

He sounds – okay, he sounds like Batman, which means he's deliberately being hard to read, but she never lets that scare her off. Instead, when Dinah relinquishes the chair to him, she leans against the computer bank, watching him. It occurs to her that they haven't been alone together since the whole music singing-her-love-for-him incident, and that could well be awkward.

But it's not like things are awkward with Yugo, and that was actual bona-fide makeouts. They just need to small talk to prove everything's okay.

How do you start small talk with Batman?

He starts.

"I've been meaning to talk to you," he says. "About the fight with Jest-Master the other day."

"What about it?"

"Your form was off."

"My form was perfect, Batman."

He shakes his head. "It was adequate. It got the job done. But you were unusually reckless: you went for damage rather than a safe ending. If anyone else had tried some of those tactics, they would have ended up dead."

"But it wasn't anyone else. It was me. You know, Bats, if you have a problem with my performance on the team..."

He pushes the chair back, and looks at her. "If I thought you were a danger to the team, I would have you removed."

"Are you threatening me?"

His mouth hardens below the cowl. "I'm not trying to insult you, Canary. I'm just sharing an observation. You have been below form in your fighting. Distracted, maybe even reckless. That's not a danger to the team, yet. But it could be a danger to you."

Dinah stands up from where she was leaning against the computer bank, takes a step towards him.

"If you're not trying to insult me, you're failing."

He is silent for a second, and she wonders why. When he does speak, she can hear the regulation in his voice. He was looking for the words.

"Is there something going on, Dinah? Something that's distracting you."



She turns away from him, looking out over the Earth turning below them.

"My Mom," she says quietly. "She has cancer."

It's the first time she's said it out loud. First time, she realizes, she's even let the word settle into her mind.

She's aware of the movement behind her, and when she turns around, she's faced by the cape and the body armor, and has to look up to see the cowl looking down on her.

There's nothing hard about his mouth, now.

"I'm sorry," he says. "If you need to take a leave of absence..."

Dinah shakes her head. "I need the League right now, Bruce. I need you guys. You're the only thing keeping me sane."

Well, them and Milliways. But she wouldn't give up the League for all the perfectly-normal florists in the bar.

She leans her head against his chest and after a moment she feels his glove on her shoulder, realizes that shoulder is shaking and that there are tears in her eyes.

Why didn't she tell anyone? If anyone in the world can understand, it would be the people of the Justice League. And it's now - she hadn't realized how much was building up behind the floodgates.

Bruce holds her for a while longer, until the sobs pass, and then Dinah looks back up at him, wondering what expression he's wearing right now. All she can see of him in costume is his jawline and mouth, and when he's not saying anything she has only them to read.

For a few more seconds all she can see is that mouth, and all she can feel is his breath on her face.

Her ears fill with the tune of the Music Meister.

Suddenly, it seems inevitable.

Dinah pulls away.

"I have to go," she says. "I'm sorry, Batman."

She. Is such. An idiot.

When the door to Grant's Gym slams, the only people who don't turn around to see are Ted himself, and the two men he's coaching in the ring – teenagers she's seen around. One of them, a tall black boy, has recently started his professional career; has a middle weight championship coming up.

She was willing to wait for them to finish, but something in her face prompted the rest of the trainees to suddenly find business elsewhere, and the way the gym empties, causes Ted to turn around to see her.

"Alright, Chris," he says, "take a break. Junior, come here and put Rob through his paces."

Rob, the one-day champion, freezes in place. "Aw, coach," he says, with a whine that makes Dinah smile.

"Aw nothing, kid," Ted says. "You scared of fighting a woman."

"I'm scared of fighting her, Coach. I ain't stupid."

Dinah smiles, ducking her head to catch the laugh that rises, and leaps up into the ring. "Call it practice taking hits. You'll need them."

She's grateful, right then, to Rob for the way he accepts the fight without further argument, and for Ted for being able to read her so well that he knows exactly what she needs. A nice, quiet fight with rules and structure and the chance to punch someone she won't break her fists on.

In a straight up boxing fight, she has the advantage, but Rob gives her a good fight, and after a few rounds she can feel the tension moving out. Ted starts by spotting his champ, yelling instructions, correcting strategy, until he turns his attention to his niece.

"Alright, Junior," he says. "Talk."

She doesn't avoid the subject.

"She lied to me, Ted. She lied."

"She thought it was for the best."

"That's not - no, Ted, she doesn't get to do that."

"You weren't in the country, Junior, remember? You dropped out of college, married, divorced, and dropped everything else in your life to go to Okinawa. She didn't have you to talk to."

"No," Rob is a saint for taking that punch as well as he does. "I wasn't on Mars, Ted. I had a phone."

"And what was she going to say? 'Come home, Junior, there's nothing you can do?'"


He shakes his head, wipes non-existent sweat from his forehead.

"She was wrong, Junior. That's what you want me to say? She was stubborn and stupid and thought she could deal with it all on her own, rather than call you away from the first thing you were doing for yourself rather than just following in her footsteps."


"Shit, Junior. You know how proud she is. She was proud of you, not for choosing the same path of her, but for going out and making it your own. Okinawa was a big part of that. She was terrified you'd abandon that for her."

"I would."

"And that's why she didn't tell you. Look, Junior, she was stupid and stubborn and crazy, but that's your Mom. She's always been stubborn. Like someone else I know."

"I should have been there. I could have faced it with her."

"Like the last time someone she loved faced something scary with her?"

Dinah is so shocked, she very nearly lets Rob land a hit.

"Oh my god. Mom."

When the fight is over, Ted brings her a sports drink and wraps a towel around her shoulders.

"Look, Junior," he says. "You've got to be prepared. This is going to hurt. I mean, hurt bad." She leans into his arm, and doesn't tell him she knows that, because he continues: "worse than your Dad, I mean."

She remembers coming downstairs to see the Society gathered in the kitchen, her Mom's face streaked with tears. Dinah hadn't really considered that anything could hurt that bad again.

"That was a sprint," Ted continues gruffly. "This is going to be a marathon. And when the pain gets unbearable, you're still going to have to finish the race."

Dinah buries her face in his shoulder.

"I'm so scared, Ted."

"I know, Junior."

Oliver is looking at her again. He's got his beard propped in the green-gloved heel of his hand, and he's watching her with an expression which could be appreciative, could be pensive.

The meeting room is clearing out, but he doesn't seem to be showing any inclination to leave the table, so she takes the hint, indicates to Hal that she'll be right there, and drops back so it's just the two of them.

"What is it, Arrow?"

"Nothing, Pretty Bird," he says, and it sounds reflexive, so he quickly backtracks. "Well, no, not nothing. I just wanted to know if you were okay."

She pauses, unsure if this is just another tactic to get 'close' to her. Decides that she's not giving him nearly enough credit. Realizes that the way he's looking at her – he knows.

She sinks into the chair nearest him. "Why is Batman so bad at keeping a secret?"

"I think he thought it was best to let me know," Oliver says. "The rest of us are your friends, too."

It's true, and she's been bad at reaching out to her friends. Hopefully, Bruce won't have told Oliver about the nearly-almost-sort of kiss.

"I'm okay," she says, after a moment to make sure she means it. "I think. It's more than just the cancer, though. She had it before – two years ago, and she kept it a secret from me. She wouldn't have told me at all if it hadn't come back."

"Keeping secrets from your nearest and dearest in the name of protecting them," Oliver muses. "I can't imagine why she thought that was a good idea."

She smirks at him. "Shut up."

It's a good point though. Dinah never really got the hang of it, but it's probably second nature to her mother.

"The prognosis is good," she tells him. "That's what the doctor says. She's got a great chance."

"That's good, right?"

Dinah nods. "But if she beats it this time, there's a greater chance it'll come back. It's just so unfair, Arrow. She's a goddamn superhero, this isn't supposed to happen."

"Hey," he says. "The thing about most of us superheroes, is under the masks we're just people, too."

"Except Superman."

He returns her smile. "Except Superman," and shifts his chair closer so he can nudge his elbow gently into her arm. "But enough about Canary One, Pretty Bird. How are you?"

She breathes in deeply, and lets a long slow sigh come out.

"We can't stop fighting," she says. "All the time. Over the slightest thing. Because she thinks she saw me punch badly on the TV. Because she didn't order enough take out for me when she didn't know what time I'd be coming home. Because – god, yesterday she yelled at me for picking up and washing her plate. Said I was trying to nurse her! And I'm just as bad with her. It's like everything she does is calculated to annoy me."

"She was a florist, too, right?"

People always pick on that! "Yeah," Dinah says, looking up at him. "So?"

"And she watches the store while you're away?"


"Well, it sounds to me like she's hip deep in every part of your life. There's no escape from her even if you're not in the room. That's got to be annoying."

Dinah bites her lip. "Maybe. But I like being a florist. I don't want to quit."

"I don't think you should quit if you don't want to," he says quickly. "But – aw, hell, I'm the last person to talk, I'm still running my Dad's old company. But you know what I did as soon as I came of age and took over? I made it my own. I just think maybe space is what you need right now."

Dinah finds herself staring at him. "When did you get so insightful?"

He grins. "I'm not just a handsome face and a quiver, Pretty Bird."

She considers the option again. "I can't afford to move out. And I can't leave her."

"The thing about these wonderful gadgets your Uncle Hawkman left us, no matter where you move to, you're still only two beam tubes away from her. And don't worry about the money. That'll work out."

Spoken like someone who has never worried about money in his life.

"And I'm not going anywhere until after her surgery at the very least."

"Of course not," he says. "And hey, Canary?"


"You're the bravest, and strongest superhero I know. You'll get through this."

"Thanks, Arrow."

Hurt worse than anything she's ever had before, Ted said.

Well, she's a superhero. And what do superheroes do when they know something is about to hurt?

They make a strong stance. They wrap their hands, and then they take all the pain the universe wants to throw at them.

With their friends at their back.
raptorcanaria: ([young] shock)
"Is there something you want to share?"

Dinah has an invoice from a supplier in one hand, and a Pop-Tart in the other when her mother drops that on her. She glances up, confused, and shakes her head.

"I don't think so?"

Her Mom has a copy of The Gotham Gazette in one hand. Folded open to the fourth or fifth page. Dinah can't see the headline from here.

"Nothing about your teammates?"


She's still coming up blank, until Dinah snr drops the paper on the kitchen counter and she can see the headline:


There's a blurry picture of herself and Oliver taking down Tigress, and Dinah raises an eyebrow at it.

"They've captioned it wrong. She goes by Tigress, not Huntress. That was her mother."


Dinah shrugs at her mother's impatient tone. "No, Mom. I'm not seeing Green Arrow. And believe me, if I was, you would be the last person I would want to talk to about it."

"Then you might want to tone down the flirting in front of reporters."


"I'm serious, Dinah. This job is eighty percent image, and..."

"My job," Dinah says shortly, and her Mom goes pink with anger at being interrupted. "And I don't care who the tabloids think I'm sleeping with!"

"Don't snap at me, young lady!"

If Dinah's Justice League communicator hadn't gone off at that moment, it probably would have escalated to sonic screaming.

And anyway, she thinks as she races to the relativity beam, her mother knows as well as she does that the job is sixty percent trusting your teammates, thirty five percent knowing how to punch above your weight class without breaking a knuckle, and maybe five percent image.

"Dinah Lance Flowers."

"Hey, Junior. Is Senior there?"

"Charlie! You're out of luck, I'm afraid, she's having her hair done. Can I take a message?"

"No, no. Just tell her to call me back as soon as she gets home, okay?"

"Sure thing."

"So I listened to your League's exploits on the TV last night. Sounds like your team is really shaping into something."

Dinah laughs, and takes advantage of a quiet afternoon to chat with her uncle.

The conversation started with a simple inquiry into the whereabouts of Dinah's newest packet of fishnets, and five minutes later she has absolutely no idea how it became a tense argument about picking up after oneself and the general state of the apartment and the responsibility of housework. She's not even sure the state of the apartment is worth the all out shouting match this is about to escalate into, but she's not sure how to stop it.

Until the phone rings, and she answers it, only a little more cheerfully than is really necessary.

"Dinah Lance Flowers?"

"Hey, Junior. Senior there?"

"Oh hi, Charlie. Yes, she's..."

Dinah looks at her mother, who is shaking her head furiously and making 'cut it' motions with her hands. "... she's just stepped out, I'm sorry, Charlie. I'll make sure she calls you back."

"Put her on, Junior."

Dinah holds the phone to her mother, who turns on a dime and storms out of the apartment.

"...Sorry, Charlie. What is this about?"

"Just tell her to phone me, Di."

"Why are you ignoring Uncle Charlie?"

"Have you done your laundry, yet?"

"Don't change the subject. Did you have a fight?"

"We did not have a fight, Dinah. Laundry?"

"Mom. Is it Justice Society related?"

"That is none of your business, Dinah!"

The ferocity takes Dinah back, and before she knows it they're in another shouting match.

And still she doesn't find out why her mother is avoiding Uncle Charlie.

Three days after the first phone call, Dinah gets home to find Charlie sitting on the couch. She blinks at him a couple of times, wondering what it took to get him to actually show up here. He's on the couch, and Dinah snr is sitting stiffly on the armchair. Dinah jnr can tell at once she walked into something, just from the tension.

"And that," says Charlie, getting to his feet when he hears her walk in, "is my cue to leave. Hi, Junior."

He kisses Dinah on the cheek, and waves his cane in the direction of the chair. "Tell her, Senior. Doctor's orders."

Dinah sees him out, and turns back to her Mom.


The conversation is long. Voices are never raised.

The word "remission" gets used a lot.

The thing about remission, apparently, is that it doesn't last forever.

The other thing about remission is that Dinah Drake-Lance was in it.

Which, obviously, means that there was a point before being in remission.

And now there's a point after.

Dinah misses when they used to lie to each other about magic bars and men.
raptorcanaria: ([young] blegh)
Meanwhile, in Gotham:

“So what did he have to say to you?”

“Not a lot. Which is good news. He says it's officially 'in remission' and he doesn't want to see me again until a check up next year.”

“So that's it? No more drugs, no more exams, no more docs?”

“That's it. And if I ever see a doctor again, it'll be too soon.”

“I can hear Charlie's heart breaking from here. So does this mean you're going to write the kid?”

“...No, Ted. And if I hear you've breathed a word to my daughter about this, you can say goodbye to another of your nine lives.”

Jul. 14th, 2008 02:26 pm
raptorcanaria: (intense)
There aren't many people Dinah recognises at her father's funeral; the rest of the family died a long time ago and most of the Society took serious the widow's request that they not attend - for fear of any association in light of the way Larry died. Two of Dinah's uncles ignored these wishes; Johnny sits with her mother, and Ted Grant sits on her own other side, his strong arm curled around her shoulders for most of the service.

It's short, and controlled, and some of what's said is vague. Dinah's mother tries to say something but it's lost in tears. Dinah herself thought she'd want to sing, but she backs out at the last minute. A stream of clients and ex-colleagues from the GCPD say platitudes but don't give any indication that they actually knew the man who gave his life for the woman he loved.

Squirming in her chair, Dinah spies a young girl sitting with the group of cops who turned up. Demure in a pretty black dress, she's sitting by a man with a huge moustache who Dinah takes to be her dad.

Their eyes meet briefly and the girl offers a tiny, sympathetic smile. In that moment, Dinah hates her more than anything.

Don't smile at me. You still have your dad and you have no idea how much this hurts.

She leans away from Ted and wraps an arm around her mother's waist.

Jul. 13th, 2008 11:55 pm
raptorcanaria: ([young] worried)
Dinah remembers when Uncle Jay went away: when they finally told her that he wasn't coming back. She'd been sad then. She thought for a while that they'd been being needlessly patronising to her; that Uncle Jay had died and they'd been trying to ease the news. As it slowly occurred to her that he was, in fact simply missing, it hadn't become any easier. He was missing, but no one had any idea if he'd ever return; as far as it mattered, he might as well have died.

She never cried. She just lost the energy for Judo and boxing and for the flowers and spent more and more time in her room, drawn in on herself. It had taken time to recover, but she never cried.

Sometimes now, she finds her vision swimming and tears splash down her face, hot and painful where the salt reacts with her skin, but it doesn't feel like crying ought to feel. The tears are distant, detached from her, as if they're being produced by someone else and she's just observing. She doesn't feel like crying: she doesn't feel like anything. It's always a surprise to find herself weeping, but then, sometimes it's a surprise to find herself breathing. Just like with Jay, it's like the entire world has lost everything that makes it interesting, and the air has been sucked out of the room.

She doesn't go back to the bar. There's too much to do - well, too much for her mother to do. Dinah instead becomes the maker of lots and lots of coffees, the opener of lots and lots of cards and the receiver of lots and lots of bouquets ordered with other florists.

("Great," her mother says, voice hoarse for reasons not quite to do with her years smoking, "they express their sympathies by putting us out of business.")

There's always someone in the house as well. One of the Society - usually Uncle Johnny - is there to talk to her Mom in hushed tones, to hug either of them, and... just to be there. With all the people that Dinah's never heard of calling and sending things, she feels the comforting presence of an uncle as a constant source of security, the one rock she can cling to in this storm of badness that always seems about to drown her. But always, it feels like they're there for her Mom more than her.

She's not sure she recognises her Mom. Dinah Drake Lance was always so confident and assured, always confident. Now she suddenly looks old and unwell: sleeping far too late, moving with none of the grace and composure Dinah had come to expect from the world class Judo expert. The morning before the funeral, she drops a cupful of coffee on the kitchen floor. Never could either of them be called clumsy, and breakages just don't happen. Dinah jr jumps, Dinah Sr screams and covers her mouth.

"Oh for God's sake, Mom!" Dinah snaps, "I just mopped that floor!"

"I'm sorry," her Mom replies, staring at the floor in shock. "I didn't... I'm sorry."

Dinah glares at her and crouches down with paper towel in hand. It's a Mickey Mouse mug - a souvenir from Disneyland when Dinah was eight, just the three of them; a normal family.

"It's OK, Mom," she says reluctantly, because nothing's OK and they know it. "It's just coffee."

"But it's your favourite mug.." Dinah has never seen her mother so upset before, and it scares her more than she's ever been scared by a theoretical supervillain threat.

"It's not," Dinah returns, trashing the mug. "It hasn't been my favourite mug for years, Mom."

"I didn't..." her Mom manages. "I didn't know that..." And then, without warning, the Black Canary is crying in her own kitchen. "I'm sorry."

Dinah stops short, then rushes forward, hands around her Mom's shoulders. "Mom," she says quietly, and can't find any other words. For a while, there's no need for them, and mother clings to daughter like she never has before, completely helpless for the first time Dinah can remember.

"I'm going to leave the Justice Society," she says quietly, and it's no surprise.

"OK," Dinah says, her arms still around her Mom. "Take all the time you need."

"No." Her Mom pulls back in the chair, holding her daughter's shoulders at arm's length. "Forever. I'm not going to make you an orphan, Dinah, I promise."

"But the Justice Society is your life..."

"You're my life, Darling. You and your father were always the most important thing, and now I've lost him..." There's another wave of tears and all Dinah can do is hold her, shocked into silence.

When her tears come back, they're not for the loss of her dead parent.

Jul. 11th, 2008 07:34 am
raptorcanaria: ([young] worried)
Something weird but not too weird happens with time when Dinah's in Milliways. It doesn't stop, but it might well do. She's beginning to suspect that maybe there's some greater force at work about the timing that means she can spend hours at the bar at a time without her parents ever worrying about why she's spending so much time alone in her room.

Not that they ever have.

Dinah. Is not. Resentful.

She shuts the closet door just as there's a the faint sound of magic downstairs and she hears voices: a few voices, but the first one she really recognises is Carter. So instead of staying up in her room and reading, Junior puts on her standard I-love-my-uncles smile and bounces down to see them.

"If I'd know you were all coming back I'd've put the coffee on," she says cheerfully when she's halfway down. It's easy to be mad at her mother for perceived neglect, but all that is thrown out for her uncles.

"Hi, Junior," Ted - Wildcat- says, as his large arms enfold around her. But it's not a hug of I'm-glad-to-see-my-niece. It's tight, possessive, and at the same time ridiculously gentle for a large man who knows exactly what his student can take. Dinah pulls back out of the hug and peers up into his face. For a fleeting moment, she sees a fond but sad smile, and then it's gone, and all that remains is sadness.

"What's wro..."

She turns around. They're all there: Carter, Alan, Wesley, Rex, Kent, Charles, even the other Ted, who doesn't come over often. Johnny has his arm around her mother's shoulders, and her head is turned away and down, the wig obscuring her face. All in costume, all the men with their masks off. And all (except Charles) looking at Dinah Jr with the same mixed expression: regret, sadness, and above all of that, pity. Pity for her.

Dinah actually physically feels the warmth drain out of her body.

"Where's Daddy?"

Jul. 10th, 2008 08:05 pm
raptorcanaria: ([young] blegh)
Dinah's after-school routine isn't so much a routine of things done, as seeing if things can or need to be done. Item one on the list is to check if her Mom's in the shop. If she isn't, then that usually means that she's out on an emergency and Dinah herself has to let the assistant go, cover the shop for two hours and close up herself. This is what happens today.

When she finally makes it home, the answerphone light is flashing. It's her Dad; her mother never has bothered to let people know where she was. Only the JSA need to know, and they have ways to find her that are better than answerphones.

Not that Dinah's resentful.

"Hi, sweetie. Your Mom and I were at Uncle Ted's observatory when something came up. You'll have to get your own dinner tonight: there's lasagna in the fridge. Finish your homework and don't stay up too late. Love you."

He's tagged along before, and he'll do it again, it's no big deal: just that she's alone in the house again. The lasagna is right where he said it would be; all she has to do is heat it up.

She burns it.
raptorcanaria: (Default)
Dinah Laurel Lance

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Dinah Laurel Lance is from the Post-Crisis, Pre-Flashpoint DC Universe and is © DC Comics.
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Milliways Bar