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Chapter 2

Nobody likes admitting they screwed up.  Nobody likes admitting they need help.  And nobody liked it less than Dick Grayson.  But some screwups were too conspicuous to ignore. 

His couch was puce.

He had bought a puce-colored couch.  He remembered a little square of maroon fabric with bits of yellow, but this was more of a brownish purple with streaks of yellowish green.  It looked like a bruise.  A bruise with throw pillows. 

Tim had politely neglected to mention it.  Either that or he’d been struck with hysterical blindness on seeing it.  Dick offered him a soda and they talked briefly about Tim’s returning to school and recent happenings in the Gotham underworld.  Finally Dick got around to what he wanted to ask:

Tim’s seemingly malicious prank the night of Jack Drake’s birthday party brought Bruce and Selina together at a time when that was all they needed to reconcile after their first fight.  Did he have that in mind the whole time?  Or was it just dumb luck?

Tim admitted that he hadn’t really intended to play matchmaker; he only wanted to unnerve Bruce a little. 

“Oh.”

“Not looking for a matchmaker, are ya Bro?”  

“Nah, not really.  Well.  You know Babs and I have been dicey since the Helena thing.”  

Tim roared.  “You are!  You’re looking for a matchmaker to patch up you and Barbara.”

Dick and Barbara’s on-again/off-again wasn’t the stuff of legend like Bruce and Selina, but they were a cute couple and those that knew them knew, since the days when he was Robin and she was Batgirl, they complimented and completed each other.  

“Dr. Tim Drake, practicing yentaAdvice to the lovelorn, broken hearts mended, hamburgers and quick lube.  The doctor is in.”

“Give me a break, will ya.  I’m in trouble.  Can we, y’know, ‘be men?’”

“Dick, wasn’t it you that told Bruce, ‘you fight and you make it up?’”

“Yes, and doesn’t it occur to anybody that I said that ‘cause that’s, y’know, what I need to believe is going to happen for me?”

“Well I’m just spitballing here, but all Bruce and Selina needed was an excuse to come together.  Can’t you, I dunno, concoct some reason to spend some time with Barbara?”

“Like a case?”

“No, not a case.  Jeez, you’re worse than Bruce.  Nothing remotely connected to bats or belfries or crime and punishment.  A real life reason to get together.

Dick stared into space. 

“You could ask her to help you pick a new couch,” Tim suggested.

“You don’t like my couch?”

“It’s the most butt-ugly piece of furniture I’ve ever seen in my life—and that includes the lime green futon in the Riddler’s lair that’s covered in question marks.”

“You think if I tell her I screwed up she’d help me… repair the damage.”

“I think if you word it just that way, you’ve got a good shot.”

 

OraCom:  Channel 1Nightwing
..:: ’Wing, there are five subway platforms on that route, our boy could’ve stashed the goods at any one of them.  Anyway, if you buy furniture in Gotham, you’re going to pay twice as much in delivery charges as you pay for the sofa itself. ::..  

::But this way, I get your help.  You have good taste.  Give me the platforms in order of least-populated areas.::

OraCom:  Channel 3Robin
::Give the poor guy a break, O.  You should see the couch he got.  It’s hideous.::

..:: What happened with the shots fired at the docks?  Was it Scarecrow?  How hideous? ::..

:: Was a driveby.  Cops had it locked down by the time I got there.  It’s hideous, an ugly brown.::

OraCom:  Channel 1Nightwing
..:: Start with the 11th Street Lot, it’s nearest the river.  Why brown ? ::..     

:: 11th Street, check.  Salesgirl said it wouldn’t stain. ::

..:: But it’s brown ::..

:: It’s more like puce.  I said least populated first.  There are apartments here got a clear view of the trains.  He wouldn’t risk being seen stashing the stuff. ::

..:: In that neighborhood, if they see anything, they keep quiet.  PUCE? ::..

:: I thought it’d look good with the carpet.  Hey there’s something here, tied underneath—PAYDIRT!  Good idea starting near the river. ::

..:: Told ya. What color is your carpet that you thought PUCE would be—oh never mind, pick me up Friday noon.  I’ll expect a nice lunch before, a good dinner after, and a declaration of your eternal gratitude… ::..

OraCom:  Channel  2—Batman
:: Make it Saturday.  Alfred’s opening night.  You WILL ALL be attending::

To be continued...

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