Rating: PG-13 for now.
Pairings: Jim/Bruce, Babs/Steve, Babs/Dick, Jimmy/Davika
Warnings: My attempts at writing a Nolanverse Dick Grayson. Possibly shmoop. Attempts at plot. Ramblings.
A/N: prologue to be found here, it's the fifth story in the groundverse, a kidfic that spun out of control. Sorry for slow updates, I'm preparing for the entrance exam for my
Barbara Gordon has, obviously, an excellent working knowledge of Bruce Wayne’s habits and idiosyncrasies, much better knowledge in fact, that most of the general public, even that part of the general public who trace all Bruce’s exploits on the pages of glossy magazines. Even disregarding the Bat business, she knows a lot.
And disregarding the Bat business is surprisingly easy, easier than she thought it would be, partly because both Bruce and Dad have this obsession with keeping the crime fighting clearly separate from the family, and partly because Bruce is nothing like Batman. Obviously. He’s also nothing like his public persona, but it’s not the point here.
The point here is, she knows a lot about Bruce, and she knows that he doesn’t get up early in the morning; in fact, he’s perfectly comfortable with letting the morning become the afternoon before he drags himself out of the bed. It’s actually a widely known fact; everyone knows you don’t schedule a meeting with Bruce Wayne before lunch, at least.
Everyone assumes that it’s because when Bruce Wayne sees a sunset, it’s because he’s been partying till dawn, though they also seem to think that changed once he entered a serious relationship with the city’s police commissioner. That would be Babs’ father, and is also only partially true.
No partying takes place, sure enough, but Bruce still stays up late, busy with all the things Babs is not supposed to know, according to Bruce and Dad, but which she finds out anyway, one way or another, because all that crime stuff has an annoying way on never staying where Dad and Bruce want it to be, and also, Babs has a very good knowledge of security systems and also, Dad’s computer password is ridiculously easy to guess.
But, point. She knows Bruce, Bruce doesn’t get up before noon, and certainly does not call people at seven in the morning, while he knows pretty well said people had been working on their MSc thesis till quite late, or quite early, depending on your view. Calling her at such a time does not lead to sunny demeanor and/or coherency.
“What?” she mutters, blindly feeling for her glasses on the night table.
“Need your help,” Bruce says quickly, probably to bypass the entire part where she yells at him for not even having the insight to supply her with coffee if he was going to wake her up. Sure, he might be calling from Beijing, but damn it, he’s Bruce Wayne, he would have a way to get her coffee.
She sighs instead, because this is the serious voice, and you don’t say no to that. “What did you do?” she asks, putting on her glasses and blinking, brushing her hair away from her face and smoothing it down. It’s going to be a bad hair day, she can tell.
“I resent your assumption that whatever I need help with must be of my own doing,” he tells her, but there’s no feeling in that, and that tells her it’s really serious. Which is exactly why she asked, but she didn’t want the answer all that much. “Just, if you could come over to the mansion.”
“How much of an emergency?” she stands and walks up to her closet, picking up the clothes and chancing a look into the mirror. Yup, bad hair day.
“Get here fast but don’t break the speed limits or drive dangerously or your father will have my head of an emergency.”
“Oh, that kind,” she mutters and assures him she’s going to hurry before disconnecting.
The streets aren’t all that crowded yet, and she gets through the city pretty fast even while staying well below the limits. Being pulled over, she had learned few weeks after getting a car, is both hilarious, when the officer recognizes her, and really, really not fun when it gets back to her father.
The fact that she doesn’t have to concentrate on the traffic gives her some time to pay attention to the news on the radio, and she acquires a pretty good idea of what Bruce’s emergency is.
“Shit,” she says, after the first mention of Graysons’ murder, and then changes the stations to catch all the other newscasts. She speeds up, just a little.
“Do you know who did it?” she asks Bruce the moments she crosses the doorstep and he shrugs, hands in his pockets. He doesn’t look that well, and she figures that’s both the exhaustion and the cumulated weight of too many issues to count, and some of them she gets all too well, and some of them she can’t even begin to comprehend.
“I’m trying to find out,” he mutters, and it’s obviously not going all that well. What is probably not helping at all is that Dad is in Metropolis, doing guest lecture on, she’s not sure, maybe how to cooperate well with your friendly neighbor superhero, or something. When he mentioned it for the first time (and okay, the subject is, in fact, something about utilizing all available resources, but still), Jimmy pointed out that his techniques would be slightly difficult to implement in other cases, and Babs laughed long and hard, mostly at Dad’s annoyed face and Bruce’s satisfied one.
“There’s someone I need to talk to,” he says finally, and she nods. Of course there is, and of course he’s not telling her who that is, per the unspoken agreement on keeping things separate. She’d make a comment on asking her for this favour constituting dragging her into the Bat business anyway, but it’s not the right moment.
Or rather, it’s the perfect moment that she won’t use just because it’s such a moment.
“Yeah, you go,” she waves him away and heads for the living room. She’s pretty sure what Bruce’s way of occupying Dick Grayson would be, and indeed, he’s there, not paying that much attention to the movie on the screen.
Better a movie than the news though, she supposes.
“Hey,” she says, plopping herself onto the couch. He doesn’t look up, but she didn’t expect him to, and for a very long moment the only sounds are the ones of the stuff blowing up on the screen.
“One, I don’t need a baby sitter,” he tells her exactly five minutes later, she can tell by the timer flashing on the dvd, and she wonders idly if he had waited exactly that much on purpose. “Two, I don’t need a baby sitter who’s my age.”
She snorts. “Two years older,” she corrects. “I checked you out online before the show,” she adds as an explanation, and he smirks, just slightly, but she can see that. She has a rather good standing record of recognizing smirks, after all, she knows the experts.
“Good thing, online research,” he agrees. “Your Wikipedia entry says that you’re majoring in computer science, like caramel popcorn, and that your mother was shot in front of you when you were thirteen. That’s why Bruce chose you to mind me while he’s gone?”
“No, he chose me because of my low babysitting rates,” she shoots back. “You’re entitled to three more smart ass remarks, and then you’re done, it’s a fair warning,” she tells him and stands up, turning the movie off. They’re not watching it anyway. “Did my Wikipedia entry tell you that I have high skills in Guitar Hero and can surely beat you at it?”
“There’s no way you can beat me at any video game,” he says calmly, and yes, she did read him right. She’s good. “It’s kind of cute, that you think you can match my hand and eye coordination.”
Oh, that’s it. “Bring it, Grayson,” she says. It’s not the best therapy in the world, but it’s a start. She remembers her mother’s funeral, and how Renee distracted her and Jimmy. It didn’t work then either, but it helped to put up an act of dealing with it all. Small steps.
“Gordon?” he asks over the first chords, and she tosses him a quick glance before concentrating back on the screen. “Is Bruce the Batman?”
She pretty much loses this round, damn him.