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Chapter 4: Cookies

 

It was nearly dawn.  The Gotham subways ran all night, so Azrael was confident he could get to any point in the city as he had done when he acted as Batman.  By attaching himself to the rear exterior of the trains, he could reach any destination in the city with the speed of the Batmobile—but in a manner far more incomprehensible, and therefore more terrifying, to his criminal prey. 

That was the theory, anyway. 

The difficulty was: he had nowhere to go. 

His regular bases in Gotham were Oracle’s—now off-limits as there was a better than even chance Grayson/Nightwing would be there.  And the Batcave—now off-limits as there was a good possibility Selina/Catwoman would be there. 

And yet, after this night of hell, he needed to retreat to a safehouse and regroup. 

The thought struck him then:  THE Batcave, the one under Wayne Manor, was impossible.  But there was another.  A satellite cave, little used, beneath the Wayne Tower in the heart of Gotham City.  A Sanctuary.  Praise be. 

As he neared the entrance, Azrael reassured himself:  Bruce Wayne’s Batman seldom used this subterranean base.  So it was unlikely he would have reset the security failsafes since Jean Paul’s stint as AzBat.  And if he had, Jean Paul was a computer whiz, there would be little difficulty obtaining access. 

Jean Paul wasn’t so sure.  Having the utmost respect for Bruce, he doubted he could circumvent any system the other had set up. 

Azrael was about to berate him for being a sniveling coward, when he was distracted by a smell and a sound.  Not only was he able to access the secondary cave with the old codes, the cave appeared ready to welcome him home…  The smell, as he approached, became more distinct:  it was hot coffee.  And the noise:  was television…pouring forth from the giant projection screen that served as this cave’s sole monitor.   

Next to the coffee was a message board, tacked with notes:

Who’s turn to bring food? 
–BC

I did last night.  
It’s BG’s turn, but she doesn’t know what kind of stuff to get.  
She cleans up every night tho, so why don’t you and I agree to 
take care of the food between us, switch off every other night. 
-S

Sound’s like Robin’s had enough.  
Should we bring him into the circle?

NO! Telling him is as good as telling NW. 

Jean Paul puzzled over these mysterious conversations, until a voice explained:

“That’s Spoiler asking to tell Robin about this place, and Black Canary saying no.”

Azrael spun, flaming sword drawn to fight the unknown threat, when he saw:  Azrael, flaming sword drawn to fight the unknown threat. 

“Do put that down,” said his mirror image before it morphed into an imposing green figure that still brandished the sword of an Azrael. 

“What manner of Azrael are you?” the original asked warily, leaning in and scrutinizing the tip of the stranger's sword, which produced an odd, green flame that emitted no heat. 

“He’s a Martian,” said a third man, who aimed a fire extinguisher arrow at the tip of Azrael’s sword.  “And he told you to put that down.”

Azrael was conditioned to respond aggressively to any challenge, but fortunately the Jean Paul part of his mind screamed that these were heroes, Batman’s allies in the Justice League, and not to be trifled with. 

While Azrael ached for combat with such worthy foes, he accepted that these were allies and therefore not to be barbecued.  He retreated into the back of Jean Paul’s mind and sulked while the other sat with Green Arrow and Martian Manhunter and learned the strange history of this cave. 

“The girls” (meaning Spoiler, Black Canary and Batgirl) were in hiding here, pretending to have left town and so avoid getting pulled into the Batman-Nightwing mess.  They were using this cave as a clubhouse, and invited such members of the JLA that had to come into Gotham to do likewise.  Tonight’s special guests were Green Arrow and Martian Manhunter.  “Ollie” was officially here to interrogate a suspect as a favor to Kyle, who was reluctant to come into Gotham even when times were good.  Unofficially, of course, he was here because Dinah was…

Jean Paul blinked.  His hosts, “Ollie and J’onn,” shared these snippets as if he would know what it all meant.  Dinah was Black Canary, he knew that much.  But why should it be a foregone conclusion that this Ollie/Green Arrow would show up wherever she was? Jean Paul didn’t understand. 

“J’onn, on the other hand,” Ollie resumed the narrative as Spoiler and Batgirl arrived with a small bag of groceries, “is officially on a fact-finding mission.  Batty has been ‘testier than usual’…  Was that the phrase?”

He looked to J’onn, but his companion was busy searching the bag Spoiler had brought.  Ollie could guess the reason: Oreos. 

“Right, then.  Bats is ‘testier than usual’ at the JLA meetings, and they sent J’onn to ‘find out why.’”

“I already knew,” J’onn admitted, examining a package like a connoisseur approaching a new vintage, “I knew why all along, it’s the fight with Nightwing.  But it’s an excuse to get out of the Watchtower for a while.… These Oreos are one of the new fillings?”

“Fudge mint,” Stephanie informed him. 

“Of course, without J’onn’s help, I never would have been able to rig this baby up,” Ollie concluded, pointing to the projection screen with pride.  “One hundred and thirty cable channels, including HBO.  Mustn’t miss Sex and the City.”

Jean Paul blinked again:  “Sex and the City?”

“Season five premiere tonight,” Ollie answered as if knowledge of this series was as universal as the history between him and Black Canary. 

The nightmare in which Nightwing’s ankles became entangled in quick-drying goo and his surroundings faded like a hologram to reveal some villain’s deathtrap was one he’d had since childhood.  The deathtraps changed over the years; the villains changed over the years.  But this was the first time he’d ever experienced a mismatch:  for the trap was certainly Ivyesque: vinelike tendrils seeping up through the goo to wind round his limbs and tear him to pieces.  But the villain was Joker - or at least Joker’s laughter, echoing, echoing as the vines coiled around his legs… Laughing… Laughing…. 

Dick awoke.  The “vines” around his legs were the bedsheets.  And there was laughter, strident energetic laughter.  He got out of bed and traced the excited gasps of mirth to the living room, to Barbara’s workstation. 

“Morning, Sweetie,” his wife chirped before slapping the desk with another merry snort.

Nightwing had had a rough night, and Dick was not pleased to see it wasn’t yet nine o’clock.  He’d had only a few hours sleep before being wakened by this…

“Ohmygod, ohgod, ohgod”  Barbara exclaimed, punctuating each outburst with more gleeful desk-slapping. 

With the unfathomable deadpan of a vigilante low on sleep, Dick remarked that only he, as her lawfully wedded husband, was allowed to make her make those sounds. 

“Don’t be a poop,” was Barbara’s response.  “Coffee’s made.  Bring me some when you get yours and I’ll tell you what you missed.”

A half cup of Columbian blend later, Dick judged that he was coherent enough to be told. 

“OK, tell me what I missed.  What could I have missed?  It’s barely light out.”

“Not today.  Last night.  When you were out flinging testosterone—”

Flinging testosterone?  That’s it.  You are officially cut off from talking to Selina.” 

“…while you were flinging testosterone around with Az and Bats, YOU MISSED IT ALL.”

“Missed what?”

“The scene at the Iceberg.  It was going on right under your noses.”

Dick looked down at his coffee mug.  In the manner of a medieval knight anointing himself with protective charms before going into battle, he took a determined sip.  Took another.  Then another.  Then he looked back at his wife.

“The scene at the Iceberg?” he asked. 

“They’re all talking about it!”

They are?”

“The rogues!  I hacked their IMs.  They’ve been gassing about it for hours.”

Dick finished his coffee in a swallow. 

“You HACKED their IMs?”

“Their instant messaging network, yes, and it’s been quite a ride.  I’ve got sixty pages of material here.  It’s unbelievable.  Your suspects, by the way, are called Nocturna and Thief of the Night.”  She pronounced this last triumphantly, for it had taken her half an hour to work out who “ToN” was. 

Dick gaped.  But it did make sense that the rogues would know who these newcomers were—and possibly more. 

“They have any allies?” he asked with the serious, single-minded focus of a crimefighter with a job to do.  He didn’t understand why Barbara looked at him with such pity.  But it was a look he’d seen Selina give Bruce. 

“Uh, no dear,” she answered, and that too had the ring of Catwoman explaining something obvious to a thickheaded bat.  “I think it’s safe to say that Nocturna and ToN have NO allies in the Gotham underworld.” Then she began cackling again as she added: “But Riddler thinks they could ‘make big twubble for moose and squirrel.’”  

In the Wayne Manor kitchen, Alfred set a plate on the counter in front of Selina.  She looked at the plate heaped with sinful looking cookies, then up at him. 

“These are the famous ‘double chocolate dipped double chocolate chip’…  Oh, I think I gained a pound just saying that,” she moaned. 

“The young gentlemen tell me they have given uniform satisfaction, Miss.”

Selina sighed, picked up a cookie, and nibbled it. 

“That might just be the best cookie I’ve ever tasted in my life,” she admitted, “but Alfred… what am I going to do?”  She took another bite.  “I’m getting it from both sides.  There were sixteen voicemails on my phone this morning.  By the time I listened to them all, another three came in.  Barbara wants to know what ‘the boys’ aren’t telling her about the rooftop.  Jervis wants to know what nobody’s telling him about the Iceberg.  The Iceberg crowd wants to know what went on at the party where Nocturna debuted.  Bruce wants to know the Natasha-Anton history.  Renee Montoya’s political opponent wants to know if she endangered the party guests by trying to apprehend the armed robber.  Kittlemeier wants EVERYBODY to know these new people are not his customers and he has nothing to do with those costumes.”

She stopped only long enough to take a sip of tea, then popped the rest of the cookie into her mouth.  “If I have to listen to one more go-round from any of them, I’m going to, to, hack up a furball.”

Alfred exhibited the model for the disapproving bat-glare. 

“Miss Selina,” the butler began firmly, “I have observed that when persons in this household come into this kitchen, eat these cookies, and resort to the particular expressions of their nighttime selves, what is really troubling them is rarely what they state it to be.”

Selina made no comment but examined her fingernails, so Alfred made up a smaller plate of cookies and handed them to her. 

“I believe Master Bruce is downstairs, Miss; he is very fond of these.”

 

J’onn’s passion for Oreos was well-known throughout the hero community, but the effect they had on him was less widely-known.  Hence, when Spoiler learned Martian Manhunter was to be among the guests in the clubhouse cave, she made the very hospitable gesture of picking up several packages of his favorite food.  She couldn’t know that Oreos—to use Ollie’s words—made the Martian “go bonkers.”   And even Ollie couldn’t know—nor, for that matter, could J’onn himself - what effect the new varieties with flavored centers might produce. 

The fudge mint brought about a mellow high, during which Ollie unpacked the DVDs of the first three seasons of Sex and the City as a pre-show treat.  His less-cultured brethren, namely J’onn and Jean Paul, that didn’t follow the acclaimed HBO series, might thereby get caught up on the erotic misadventures of Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha.  In a philosophical mood, J’onn speculated that the real reason human men watched these shows was the same reason they read Cosmo: to learn how the females of the species think, and in so doing, learn how to score.  This piqued Jean Paul’s attention, as did Ollie’s impassioned rebuttal.  He watched the show because it was sexy, smart, funny, and of course, for the T & A.  He DID NOT need lessons in woman-wooing.  Indeed, he was an accomplished “horndog” and could teach the show a thing or two. 

By the end of season two and Carrie’s tumultuous breakup from Mr. Big, Jean Paul was calling Ollie “Sensei” and Ollie was calling Jean Paul “Grasshopper” - and J’onn moved on to a new package of Oreos.  Divided centers.  Half chocolate cream, half peanut-butter… A new mood descended on the party. 

By the time Black Canary learned there were JLA guests in the cave, the buzzed shape-shifter, over-stimulated by peanut butter Oreos and marathon exposure to the sexual exploits of Carrie Bradshaw, was—for Ollie’s amusement and Jean Paul’s edification - juxtaposing the costumes and bodies of the various heroines and supervillainesses. 

Canary arrived just in time to see Diana in Azrael’s armor. 

Ollie insisted it was a strategic exercise.  They were conditioning the Azrael personality to move beyond his Dumasian programming and look on women as warriors equal to himself. 

It was a ludicrous story.  Exactly the sort of thing, Dinah knew, that Oliver would pull out of his ass to explain away… the kind of thing that was happening right now! Diana/Azreal morphing into Zatanna/Superman.  Oh, PLEASE!

But Azrael was nodding confirmation. 

Dinah sighed.  He was a mess with women.  She’d seen it firsthand.  Not much more capable with her or Huntress than he was with Catwoman. 

“Okay, then,” Dinah relented, “benefit of the doubt - THIS TIME.  But only on the condition your pupil tells what went on on that rooftop with Robin, Nightwing, and Batman.”

Bruce was engaged in his post-workout meditation at the stalactite.  He pretended not to hear the click of Selina’s heels as she approached, nor the clink of a glass plate set delicately on the outcropping behind him.  But he couldn’t ignore the smell:  Alfred’s double chocolate dipped double chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven.  He might be Batman, but even Batman was human.   He took a cookie. 

“I want to make up,” Selina said without preamble. 

“Were we fighting?” Bruce asked. 

“Technically no, but I’m mad at you and Dick for being such fatheads, and now I want to make up.”

“O--kay,” Bruce hazarded, feeling rather like he was entering a hideout that was bound to be booby trapped.  “Have a cookie.”

“I had one.  Enjoy.”

ONE?  Selina, if Alfred’s boast is to believed, this recipe is 170 years old, and no one has ever had just one.”

“Too rich.  I put on five pounds when Alfred went on that baking spree when he broke up with the director from the playhouse.”

Bruce chuckled and reached out for her, “If you’re counting calories in Alfred’s cookies, things can’t be that bad.”

“But they are,” Selina answered, letting him pull her gently into his arms, “I’m feeling shitty a dozen different ways lately.”

“I’ve noticed,” he answered, then when she looked surprised, he explained, “It shows.  Selina, the problems with Dick, they have nothing to do with you, nothing to do with us.”

“It feels like they do,” she whispered.  “I didn’t know why until something Barbara said the other night.  She said the infighting was the norm for you and Dick and that the few months of getting along was the anomaly, a fluke, exception to the rule.”

“Ah,” Bruce nodded, “I see.  So now you’re thinking we might, what, fall apart the same way?  That things will suddenly ‘go back to normal’ the way they were before?”

“We were fighting a long time; we’ve only been together for—”

“We loved each other a long time too,” he interrupted.  “It’s not like this came out of nowhere.”

“No.”

“Selina… Kitten… I’m not saying it’ll always be easy, but no matter what happens, we’re different people now.  We could never go back to that, even if we wanted to.  Whatever happens, we’ll have to work through it as we are now, who we are now, and… oh my god.”  Bruce stopped, an expression of shocked horror frozen on his features. 

“What?”

He took a deep breath, the full implication of his last words pressing inside him with an almost physical force. 

“Maybe it ISN’T that different with Dick.”

The elevator on the 21st floor of the Pigot building sounded a musical ping before the doors opened.   A shapely woman stepped out with a wiggle that left the remaining occupant feeling he’d made the right decision riding six floors past his stop. 

Pamela Isley consulted a scrap of paper once, then double-checked the sign on the door which read “For Rent.  GRAYSON ASSOCIATES now on 8th Floor.”

She returned to the elevators, pushed the down button, and waited.  The same car she had ridden up in soon returned, with the same sole occupant now riding down.  He looked elated. 

The occupants of the clubhouse Batcave made a curious tableau as Jean Paul Valley attempted, for the third time, to tell what had happened on that fateful rooftop the night before.  He stood in the center of the group, before two seated figures:  Black Canary and Spoiler.  Behind Canary stood Green Arrow, his hand placed loosely over her mouth should she attempt to interrupt yet again.  Batgirl took a similar position behind Spoiler. 

“Let him get through it at least once,” J’onn pleaded, for each previous attempt had been interrupted either by Canary, fully-briefed on Nightwing’s version through Oracle, or by Spoiler, armed with Robin’s version of events. 

“I saw two suspicious characters in the vicinity of the Iceberg Lounge,” Azrael began the tale yet again.  “They were strangely dressed.  They were heading for a known-criminal hangout.  They were having a clearly audible conversation about, I assumed, a crime they had committed at Wayne Manor.  I followed them.  They went into the club.  I took a position from which I would be sure to observe their departure.  God’s gift to vigilante justice approached me…”

Here Black Canary tried to speak and Green Arrow clamped down his hand. 

“Work with me, Grasshopper, if you mean Nightwing, just say Nightwing,” he urged. 

“Nightwing and Robin came barging up to me, in blatant disregard for the fact that stakeouts require stealth… Certainly that is what Batman taught ME.  Nightwing made an insulting slur on the ways of St.  Dumas, implying that he didn’t know I was on a stakeout but figured I was having ‘a rooftop chat’ with one of my ‘apparitions.’”

Here Spoiler snorted.  Batgirl decided this was not an intentional interruption and so let it pass.

“The upstart… er, Nightwing then demanded a status report as if the mighty Azrael is some field agent.  But Azrael was polite enough to tell them about the two suspects, and Nightwing criticized him.”

This time, it was J’onn that interrupted.  

“Do you have to refer to yourself in the third person that way?  Batman does it.  It’s irksome.

Jean Paul winced.  It was difficult for him to think of Azrael as “I,” but he had enough hostile listeners already.  He couldn’t afford to antagonize another. 

I was polite enough to tell about the suspects,” he resumed, “and Nightwing demanded to know why I hadn’t gone in to apprehend them—into a den of an unknown number of criminals alone, without backup, without anyone else even knowing I was there.  Now an Azrael is not accustomed to having his methods challenged - and for that matter, he, er, I thought Nightwing’s fief was Bludhaven.  It is supposed to be Batman partnered with Robin in Gotham City, is it not?  So rather than giving an account of why I did this instead of that with regards to the suspects, I asked—”

Black Canary bit Green Arrow’s hand and took over the narrative. 

“You asked what ‘Wing was doing in YOUR CITY!  Selina is right, you don’t have the brains god gave lettuce, do you?”

This was it, the acid test.  Confronted with a woman criticizing him to his face, Azrael left his mortal half on his own.  But this time, Jean Paul Valley, computer geek, was a recent graduate of the Oliver Queen School of Handling the Fair Sex.  He looked Dinah in the eye and held his ground. 

“I did not say ‘my city’; I said ‘this city.’  A car backfired just then, I suppose the hothead misheard me.  I said ‘this city.’  What followed could best be described as violent jazz.  I heard ‘unstable’ and ‘fascist’ and the rest was a kind of freeform stream of pummeling and obscenities.”

“You said ‘this city?’” Dinah repeated skeptically. 

“Yes.  A movie let out on the corner, there were people laughing and talking in the street, there was a car backfiring and a distant siren.  They misheard.   I said ‘this city.’”  He looked at Oliver, assumed a look of self-deprecating charm, and added, “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”

J’onn smirked, and Dinah spun on Oliver.  

“You taught him that, you son of a bitch.”

Feeling a euphoria he’d not experienced since completing the final trials in the Temple of St.  Dumas, Jean Paul sunk gratefully into the nearest chair… a chair which, unfortunately, was the largest, centered in front of the main monitor.  It was, clearly, Batman’s chair. 

An awkward silence fell over the cave, eventually broken—not by speech—but by Batgirl’s sign-language.  Spoiler translated:

“She wants to know if, in all the brouhaha, did anybody bother to apprehend the suspects.”

The euphoric feeling evaporated and Jean Paul hung his head, sinking a little further into the chair. 

“That was the first thing Batman asked when he arrived.  And of course, we hadn’t.  ‘Bickering like children,’ he said, and of course, he was right.  But that set Nightwing off again, and that is when Robin left.”

“Which Oracle’s totally pissed about, by the way,” Canary told Spoiler. 

“So, doesn’t anybody know what happened to the two criminals who started this mess?”

Anton and Natasha deNuit sat in Rumplemeyer’s, wondering why all the waiters in the famous tearoom seemed to be so bad-tempered. 

“Something more thematic next time, my love,” Natasha cooed, biting into a buttered scone.  “That’s why the great Batman did not come forth to challenge us.  Your crime was too generic.”

Anton glowered but said nothing. 

“No matter.  We have time for one more crime wave before we depart, and this one will be rich in symbolism and pageantry.  A veritable siren song for any creature of the night to rise up and meet us in single combat.”

Anton threw his napkin on the table. 

“My precious one,” he began, “We have but a few days left here, and I intend to spend them as a visitor to Gotham should.  I am going to the observation deck over Gotham Plaza, place a dime into the telescopic viewer, and behold the panorama of a great cityscape.  I am going to walk in that magnificent park, rent a model boat, and sail it round and round for my own amusement.  I am going to see the Grand Central Train Station, the public library, and the Radio City Music Hall.  I shall buy a pretzel with mustard and eat it on the sidewalk.  I will shop for luxuries on Fifth Avenue and eclectic chic in TriBeCa.  I am going to dine at the Oak Room, see a Broadway show, then find a jazz club.  I shall take the tour at NBC, go to a museum, buy an ‘I heart Gotham City’ T-shirt and send your brother a postcard.  Then, I shall return to my room and complain that my feet hurt.  You, my beloved Natasha, may do whatever you please, dressed as whatever you please, but rest assured, my Queen of the Night, you will do it ALONE.  The Thief of the Night has left the building!”

Selina entered the new Grayson Associates office and set a plate of Alfred’s double chocolate dipped double chocolate chip cookies next to Dick without a word.  His reaction was identical to Bruce’s, almost to the second in the time it took to feign indifference to the arrival of the cookies, sniff, sniff again, think about it, then reach for the largest cookie without appearing to look at the plate.

They were an adorable pair, Selina thought, and it was a pity they’d both growl if told how similar they really were. 

“New office is nice,” Selina offered, by way of breaking the ice. 

“It’s smaller and it’s cheaper than the one on the 21st Floor.  I have to cut corners, now that we’re not going to see any fat corporate contracts any time soon.”

“The agency is still a good idea, Dick; you’ll make a go of it.  Besides, just because Everwood isn’t going to pull strings for you, it doesn’t mean you won’t get corporate accounts.  Now, enough shop talk.  On to the dirt.  What happened with Pheromones?”

Dick munched another cookie and started telling the story, when the door opened and Poison Ivy entered without ceremony. 

“This’d make a great hideout.  It’s real hard to find.  Catty, you know all the listings for this place have you on the 21st Floor?”

Dick groaned. 

“Anyway,” Ivy continued, sitting herself down and continuing to address Selina as if they were the sole occupants of the room, “you’re never on the IM anymore, and not answering your phone, and I wanted to nail down the plans for Girls’ Night, and then I remembered you were doing some B&E for this place and - Ooh, cookies!”

While the intruder helped herself to his cookies, Dick sat stunned for a moment.  She seemed totally oblivious to the intrinsic awkwardness of the situation: the last time he’d seen her was when she invaded his bachelor party.  He’d overpowered and arrested her—not as Nightwing—as himself, Officer Grayson, the guy sitting here.  Sitting RIGHT HERE in front of her.  What was wrong with the silly woman?  Did she not realize whose cookies she was eating?

Maybe Bruce had a taste for these Twilight Zone scenes with the Rogues Gallery, but he didn’t.  Besides, plans for “Girls’ Night” did not sound like a conversation anybody with a Y-chromosome should be a party to. 

“Ah, Selina, I’ll be in my private office.  Take your time with your, er, friend,” he managed, disappearing into the “inner office,” otherwise known as the supply closet. 

And there he stayed until the patronizing, feline voice that used to taunt him as Boy Wonder assured him that it was safe to come out. 

He opened the door.  His eyes flickered, confirming the coast was indeed clear.  He saw an empty chair, an empty plate previously heaped with Alfred’s delectable cookies - and Selina.  Her expression was most eloquent.  It said:  that was one of the most magnificent demonstrations of cowardice ever seen without the assistance of Scarecrow’s fear toxin. 

“Give me a break, will ya,” Dick whined, sounding young even to his own ears.  “Everybody always has to analyze every little thing I do around her.  ‘Red hair—Lemon Pledge—ha, ha!’  Look, okay, when I was younger, I had a little thing for her.  Sue me.  I was seventeen.  She’s a knockout.  Even before you add in the pheromones and the bad girl thing, that is a hot woman! I noticed!  So sue me!  But you know, Selina, that was then.  I’m not that guy anymore.  So can we please put that past baggage aside and move on?  Do we have to take everything I say and do and run it through the filter of what happened when I was Robin all those years ago… oh god.”

Dick stopped exactly as Bruce had done, mid-sentence, clearly gripped by the same sudden awareness that his words meant more in relation to his fight with his father. 

He ran everything Bruce said through that filter.  Every utterance of Bruce or Batman’s was weighed, syllable-by-syllable.  Analyzed and reanalyzed.  Examined for some sign Dick was still viewed as the teen sidekick. 

It wasn’t fair to Bruce, to Batman, and it was certainly no fun for Dick himself.  But if they were ever to move past it, they’d need a new baseline.  When they had been partners, Dick was the junior sidekick.  They needed to work as partners again, if only for a short while, but this time as true equals. 

Dick didn’t have a Nightwing voice, per se, but his manner changed.  His tone deepened and a markedly non-batlike smile overtook his features as he said, “Selina, tell me about ‘Girls’ Night Out.’”

To be continued...

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