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."

Oh.

Oh.

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?'"

"Ted."

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."

"What?"

"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?"

"Yeah?"

"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?"

"Yeah?"

"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 blonde] justice)
Some nights, the world isn't in danger.
Some nights, no one calls your home or activates your signal device to ask for your help.
Some nights you don't have monitor duty: this is all nights these days thanks to the Joker blowing up Mount Justice.
Some nights, you still just need to hit something, and go for a patrol looking for trouble.

These are the nights Dinah is most likely to find herself running along rooftops.

Honestly, what is it about Gotham City criminals and rooftops? They're high up, it requires an unhealthy amount of jumping over breaks between buildings and sometimes even trying to make the width of an entire street. This is bad for the knees, no matter how softly Dinah makes her landing.

And unlike some people around here, she doesn't carry a small arsenal in her designed-for-movement costume, so she really is just relying on sprinting across flat roofs. Thank goodness that the woman she's tailing is also low on the grappling hooks and swinging cable.

Uh, spoke too soon.

Dinah fully intends to attempt the leap right up until she's five feet from the edge, then she realizes that would be stupid and she skids to a halt, only just managing to keep herself from falling. The thief she was chasing turns around to wave in triumph.

It comes from behind Dinah and to her left, a projectile whizzing past her ear and knocking the statue out of Tigress' hands. At first, she assumes that the true master of Gotham's rooftops has finally shown up, except the blur is green, and the thing that hit her... a boxing glove arrow.

She turns her head. “Green Arrow?!”

“Nice to see you too, Pretty Bird,” Oliver says cheerfully. He's running to close the gap between them, nocking a second arrow as he does so. This one, she sees, has a wire attached, and as he grabs the opposite end, he folds away his bow and grabs Dinah around the waist as he swings past. “Shall we?”

Dinah, as ever, is torn.

She's torn between gratitude that he turned up, and annoyance that he's muscling in on her collar.
She's torn between indignation at the assumption that he can just sweep her off the rooftop like that and the feeling that she actually quite likes feeling his arm around her waist as for a second they're airborne.
She's torn between being flattered at the fact he has a sweet nickname for her, and being angry that it's such a condescending moniker.
She's torn between hating his stupid new facial hair and thinking it actually kind of suits him.
In short, as always, Dinah is torn between wanting to punch Oliver Queen in his smug little face, and wanting to grab his amazing ass and kiss him until he faints.

With feelings like these pent up inside her looking for an outlet, Tigress doesn't stand a chance.

“What are you doing in Gotham, Arrow?”

“What kind of question is that, Pretty Bird. I came to see you,” he says with a wide grin, prompting Dinah's internal needle to swing over to 'punch him'.

She folds her arms and waits for the real answer, which comes quickly enough.

“Just kidding. I just came to show you the new HQ.”

You?”

She knows that Superman and Green Lantern, and other more technical minded members were looking into new headquarters, but why send Green Arrow, who is relatively new to the League she founded, to tell her?

Unless, of course, it was Hal's bright idea. It was probably Hal's idea.

“So where is it?”

It is in an alleyway, not three blocks from them, and disguised as a phone box.

“A phone box? Arrow, I wouldn't change costumes in a phone box.”

“Just relax, Pretty Bird... No really, relax, it'll make the process easier.”

No sooner have they squeezed into the box (and later she'll discover they could have gone one at a time), but Dinah is hit by a wave of disorientation that is nothing like going through the door to Milliways, and she finds herself staggering out of a booth into a large, painted grey room.

Around her stand other members of the League – Green Lantern, who from his face, obviously encouraged Oliver to come fetch her. Superman, who is smiling apologetically and probably was coerced into it. Batman, who she hasn't really talked to since the Music Meister incident, and Dinah has complicated feelings about him, too.

And she needs to talk to him.

It's hard to tell, but she thinks he wasn't expecting her and Oliver to arrive together. And it's hard to tell, but is he unhappy about that fact?

Complicated feelings.

Diana's there, too. And Dinah would like to talk to her about complicated feelings, but they're so silly and stupid and they make Dinah painfully aware that she's the youngest one here, among immortals and goddesses.

Behind them all, though...

“Are we...?”

Dinah rushes forward past J'Onn and Ray... “Are we in space?”

“Welcome to the new Head Quarters, Black Canary,” says Green Arrow, giving her a clap on the shoulder. “The beam is Thanagarian. I don't understand the science, but it scans retina and brainwaves before letting you up. The Satellite is the one we rescued with Aquaman last year. The U.N. suddenly found they couldn't afford to maintain it. And that's where the Justice League's benefactor stepped in...”

“We're in space.”

She takes a glove off and presses it to the glass.

Dinah's been in space before. Before she could walk, Ted would take her for a ride on his Star-Rod when she couldn't sleep. She's fought people in space. Her Dad died in space. And of course, there's the view at Milliways which is like her second home.

But Earth is turning gently under an enormous window beneath her hands and she's never seen anything so beautiful.

She pulls her glove back on and turns back to the League.

“Right,” she says. “Someone tell me we've got a lead on the Monsanians."

Nov. 2nd, 2010 09:05 pm
raptorcanaria: ([young] um...)
Wayne Manor is, it turns out, surprisingly easy to approach on a lone motorcycle. Dinah expected more intense security and maybe one of those gates you have to speak your name into before you're even allowed on the approaching road.

Instead she rides right up to the building and rings the front doorbell.

"Flowers for Mr. Wayne."

The door is answered by a tall, well spoken, honest-to-God gentleman's butler, who holds his hand out for the bouquet. "I'll make sure he gets them."

...and he's actually British, as well! Dinah immediately thinks that's adorable. But that doesn't mean she's going to let him take the flowers. Despite herself, she holds on to the stems and inserts her foot into the door, smiling.

"We at Dinah Lance Flowers like to put the flowers into the recipient's hand. It's our quality guarantee."

"I'm afraid Master Bruce is out right now, Miss. I'll assure you, if you gave them to me, no one will." He glances down at the foot over the threshold and up to Dinah's innocent face. "You're not a photographer, are you?"

She doesn't get the reference, obviously, and shakes her head. "Why don't you tell him I'm here?"

"I'm afraid He'll be quite some time..."

"I'll wait."

The butler takes a momet in which he appears to be assessing the situation, and he gives her an second, apprasiing look. "Hwy do I get the feeling that this ishn't about flowers?"

"Because you're remarkably asute and there's no keeping secrets from you?" Dinah suggests.

She looks at him. He looks at her.

"I'm going to need to shut the door while I see if he's returned," Jeeves says after a moment. She raises an eyebrow, and aquiesces.

It's less than a minute before the door re-opens.

"Mister Wayne will be with you in a few moments, Miss Lance. Do come in."

Gaining entrance to the manor, Dinah relinuishes the flowers to the butler's care hiwl she's shown into a parlour the size of her whole apartment. There, she flops down into a large leather armchair. While she waits for Bruce to show up, she removes the portfolio of papers from inside her leather jacket.

Before Bruce Wayne turns up, Dinah's aware of someone else in the room, watching her. Twisting around, she spies a boy who looks about fourteen, bbut she knows him to be older, standing in the door and watching her.

"You're Dinah?"

"Right," she says, "and you're..." wait, what was the kid's name? "Dick, right?"

"That's me," and he flips backwards into a handstand as naturally as someone would shift their weight from foot to foot. "Are you goin go ask Bruce to join the League?"

Dinah is shocked into a silent second before replying. "That's not up to me, you know."

Dick frowns, clearly unhappy with thisidea while he continues bending his feet back until he's in an arch on all fours. He looks about to says soemthing else when he's interupted.

"Dick," Bruce – who Dinah thinks now only looks a little bit like Bruce from the bar, is tying up a robe as he enters. He looks like he's between changes, and she's willing to lay money that he had to get out of her cotume to see her. "If they wanted Batman, they hae ways of contacting Batman. This is about Bruce Wayne, am I right?"

Dinah nods, and Dick looks sullen, for like a second. It doesn't suit his face anyway. Then he flips over and over, into another handstand, interested, but not enough to sit down. Bruce, however, takes a seat opposite Dinah.

"I'm not the anonymous funder of your League," he tells her, without preamble. "And I don't know who is."

As much as Dinah suspects he's lying on the second, she grins and shakes her head. "That's not it either, Bruce.

"I need to warn you about the earthquake."

...

"Earthquake?"

She opens the folder and spills out the contents, the maps from the USGs, the tectonic data and the graphs she's still not sure she understands. "Gotham's on a faultline."

"Gotham's on limestone."

She shrugs. "Yes, but it's on a faultline. Look."

He does, and he's silent for a few minutes. Eventually, even Dick has made his way over, peering over Bruce's shoulder.

"You think there might be an earthquake?"

"I know there will be," Dinah says. "In about ten years time."

Bruce barely moves his head to look up at her. "How do you know this?"

"Time travel."

It's hard to tell if he approves or not, but he does accept it. "What do you want me to do about it?"

"You own a good portion of the buildings in the city, right?" says Dinah. "You can make sure they're reinforced."

"For an earthquake? In Gotham?"

"Bruce..." She's sure she doesn't need to tell him how devastating an earthquake would be if it hit the island city, with the buildings as they are.

He nods. "I already have."

"You have?"

"Dinah," it's the first time he's used her first name. "I have geological surveys carried out every time Wayne Enterprises builds a new building. I know about the faultline. Knowing that the quake is an inevitability just means I will redouble my efforts to secure the city. Thank you."

And with that, the biggest burden is taken off her shoulders.

Aug. 13th, 2008 09:38 am
raptorcanaria: ([young blonde] bombshell)
"What do you think you're doing?"

She's been tracing them for days: shadowing both in and out of costume, breaking into her Dad's now-empty office, rifling through her Mom's notes, She planned this, knew how it was going to go down, had a system, wanted to grill that one for more information after taking down all his buddies. She knew what she was doing.

Then the stupid stupid Bat showed up, gave them one look, and they spilled everything and ran away.

"I think I'm saving you a fight," he says, watching them run. Dinah scowls and forces her hand down from an itch on her scalp. She's been staking out this hideout for hours, and is sweating like crazy under her wig.

"I could have taken them," Dinah objects.

"I know." he turns and faced her, showing a face almost entirely covered by a cowl, not even the eyes showing under white lensed panels. "You're an outstanding hand-to-hand combatant. I've been watching you."

"Watching me?" She feels fists forming at her hips. Watching her? Watching her? "I'm not a criminal."

"But I had to be sure about that," he said, his voice as ever infuriatingly steady. "Just as I had to be sure that your methods weren't going to cause me trouble or get in my way. Your mother's friends taught you well, Dinah."

The punch hits home again, but this time Dinah's on the same level at him, staring him straight in the face, having just been denied the satisfaction of a good fight. She wants to scream at him- and right now, she could scream loud enough to throw him against a wall - but instead she throws a punch.

Which he blocks.

He blocks.

And in the same instant, punches her back.

She's so shocked she doesn't even blink until after he's swept away.

Aug. 4th, 2008 11:13 am
raptorcanaria: (Default)
"This is my town."

It's a voice designed to instill fear into the heart of man. To make it clear that the speaker tolerates no argument; that he expects to be obeyed - no scratch that: it's a voice designed to force abeyance, with expectations not actually a factor in the equation.

It needs work.

Dinah looks up from where she was binding the wrists and ankles of the gang of armed muggers she's just taken down with her bare hands. Above her, on the railing of a fire escape, crouches a human figure shrouded in black and shadow. She can't make out a face, and even the shape is hard to make out, thanks to a long cape that hangs down from the sillouhette. It is scary, at first. She's heard the stories; it's hard not to, everyone's talking about it. Not just the Justice Society, not just her Dad's cop friends, but customers in the flower store, and the papers. And - people in the bar. He's the reason Gotham's famous even there.

Her fingers stumble in the knot-work, but she sets her jaw and finishes. She's the Black Canary now, and shes not going to let herself be intimidated like some dumb teenager being caught doing something she shouldn't.

She is a dumb teenager, and she has been caught doing something she shouldn't, but she'll be blowed if she's going to let herself be intimidated by anyone outside the Justice Society.

She stands up, her hands on her hips. She's since put away her Mom's outfit and replaced it with one of her own, with help form the Bar in supplying the raw materials. It is, in fact the exact same costume, but this one fits, and she can put her hands on her hips and adopt a confident stance, without fear that her impractical neckline will let her down.

"It's not just your town," she insists, and with satisfied relief, decides that she can't detect any nervousness in her own voice. "Other people live here too."

"You're in the way," the man  - Batman - says. "I don't need an amateur ruining my work."

"Excuse me?" Dinah returns, irritated. "Amateur? The Black Canary was cleaning up the streets of Gotham before you were even born!" OK, that's a guess, but it's probably true, unless he's really old or something.

"But have you been?" the figure straightens, his cape billowing out behind him in an unnecessary show of dramatics. (Which Dinah, against her better nature, thinks really cool.) "Does your mother know you're out after dark, Miss Lance?"

It's like a punch to the stomach.

Not the threat, nor the information, but the unbelievable breach of superhero etiquette.

"Not while we're in costume!" Dinah snaps at him. But he's already disappeared into the rooftops above.
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