Last Date

November 27, 2015:

Harper and Richard have a 'date night' before her undercover mission in Arkham Asylum.

Richard's Apartment


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Dick pulls up in his usual car that's a bit too posh for her neighborhood. He knows her plan now, to go undercover in Arkham, so this is apparently her last night out before she begins playing the dangerous game. Of course, he's not supposed to know any of that, because she told Nightwing, not Dick Grayson, and doesn't know the two are one and the same. Which is difficult, given that they are on the verge of becoming…something more than partners in crime.

He comes up to the door, his hair tucked behind his ear, bouncing a bit on his feet. He's dressed pretty casually - black jeans, t-shirt, leather jacket. He'd texted ahead to let her know he was on his way, but he still feels strangely nervous knocking on her door. He's ore comfortable hunting muggers.

Great, she had the place to herself but she wouldn't dare let someone rich like Richard Grayson see it. Nope. Even though it was relatively clean, she was basically living in squalor. So, she hung out by the window, waiting.. waiting until the well known car of him pulled up. It was then she ran for her jacket, snatching it and tossing it on as she immediately went for the door so that he didn't have to do the knocking.

Cause Harper is the one who knocks.


"Man, talk about meeting a girl at the door for a date." Harper doles out, reaching out to press her hand against his chest to back him out of the way so she could close the rickety, barely closing door behind her with a harsh slam. Cullen was out with.. at least a friend or two and probably wouldn't be home tonight. Less worry for her, that just meant he was safe. "So, I know that -I- was the one to ask you out on the date and I could have picked you up on my bike, but no need to emasculate you. Either way, I got a flash drive of movies in my pocket and a couple of dollars for some take-out. What do you say we keep it inside?"

Dick Grayson smiles, "Works just fine for me. I'd rather not try to wrangle a seat anyplace anyway - this time of year, Gotham restaurants get crowded. Everyone wants to get off the street and out of the cold," he says. "We can go to my place and keep it simple. You want Chinese, pizza, what? I can order on my phone and we can snag it on the way…" he says. He slides onto his bike, scooting forward enough to let her slip onto the bike behind him.

He's going to just try and focus on having a good time tonight, and not worry about the Pyg or about her going undercover. They'll get that sorted out…in fact, he was already making a few plans on keeping an eye on her while she goes inside…

Thankfully, Harper had her own hat. The helmet was soon slapped upon her head as she goes through the motions of thinking, waiting for him to sit upon the bike so that she could climb on after. "Chinese, a lot of it. Rice. Tso's, beef steak, whatever. Order the whole damn menu and lets make a night of it." Beat. "Oh, I'll put in half." Obviously, since her hand shifted from her pocket to slip into his, putting at least forty bucks inside. Thankfully, she had gotten paid this week, more than enough to make sure her bills were okay and Cullen had enough money to get something to eat if he didn't feel like heating what was prepared.

She presses her chin against his shoulder blade, waiting for him to take off. She didn't want to think about what she was going to do soon, but she was going to ask that Cullen be looked after. He was still getting messed with at school, but it wasn't too bad for her to make a visit.

Dick Grayson wants to tell her to keep her money, since it wasn't like he needed her to help cover, but he also knew she'd be irritated and annoyed at his presumption and probably want to punch him in the back of the head for patronizing her. So he took the money and kept his mouth shut. He takes off quickly, showing his skill as a rider as he zips along the rough Gotham streets. He send ahead a pretty extensive order so that by the time they get to Big Time Chow's, their bags are waiting and steaming for them in the cold autumn air.

His apartment doesn't take long after that, as he finds a place in the parking garage and takes over carrying the bags as they make their way to the elevator and he inputs his key-code to get in the building.

Goodness, he was fast. She had to press her cheek against his back and hold on for dear life, even lacing her fingers around his middle to make sure that she didn't fall off or ruin the balance. She didn't know if he was showing off or just plain hungry, but he definitely had skills that even she couldn't touch as a brand new rider of two wheels. Each place gave her a time to rest and not be rattled, the ride again drawing her to press against him until the darkness of the garage was enough for her to pull herself back.

As he does the manly thing to carry the bags, Harper looks all around her, making sure that they weren't followed into the complex. She didn't know how far Pyg's reach had went.. or anyones for that matter. But.. up they went and into his apartment, where she takes the initiative to lock the door behind her. And chain it. And lock it again.

Dick Grayson had access to the security system, if it came down to it, but he'd added some extras even beyond what came in the building. It was one of Bruce's holdings, anyway, so there were more than a few secrets in the architecture to begin with, including in Dick's own apartment. He carefully sets the bags down on the coffee table, then shrugs off his jacket, hanging it up by the door. He sees the lock and raises an eyebrow, but doesn't say anything.

"So, what kind of movies do you have in store? What's been going on with you lately, I know you've been busy."

"Hmm?" Harper was distracted for but a moment, her lips pursing as she stares at the door, backing up as her jacket slowly is pulled away and placed right next to Dick's. "Well, I was thinking we can watch a few old black and whites." Surely, she was too young to even know about them, but when you're jury rigging your television, that was sometimes the only thing you could get. "Mean streets."

Thankfully, within those bags came paper plates, which two were soon retrieved as she kneels upon the floor so she could unload, keeping her eyes away from him as she tries to shut out everything and focus on the now. "Oh.. yeah. Real busy. They're doing some upgrades to the grid and all, so we've been in talks about how to best go about that." Lies. "With that said, I'm leaving town for a few days. Maybe a week or two. Training." She doesn't look at him as she says this, scooping food onto their plates as she gestures to her coat with the fork. "Flash drives in my pocket."

Dick Grayson nods, "Training, huh?" he says. She's getting to be a better liar, he'll have to give her that, although not that much better. Her cheeks are flushed, she's obviously nervous. He might attribute that to his presence, of course, if he had more of an ego, but he figures it's mostly that she doesn't like lying to him. He didn't like lying to her either, it was mutual. Damn Bruce and his code of secrecy - even if he understood the need for it, Dick could resent it greatly at times like this.

He fishes in her pocket and gets out the flash drive, bringing it over to plug in. "Black and white old movies work for me. Bruce used to watch them incessantly - the TV in that house more or less lived on Turner Classic Movies."

"Yeah, mostly for city and state certifications. I mean.. it's one of those necessities of course." She laughs a little nervously, finishing with the plates and the drinks.. which were canned sodas. Cola flavored and for her? Grape.

"We lived off that stuff." Harper murmurs, grabbing up her fork to immediately dig in. Movie or no? The food smelled too good for her to wait for the picture to start playing on his smart tv. She even remained upon the floor, eyes peeled towards the screen, just waiting. "Hey. I need a favor. I mean I didn't want to come over to ask you for a favor but.. since I don't know when I'll see you next.." If at all.. no. Harper, don't think that. "..just wanted you to keep an eye on my place and my brother. Just to make sure they're safe."

Dick Grayson moves to settle down next to her, opening his own soda. He looks over at her for a moment and then reaches out to stroke a hand over her back, "Of course. I would've done that anyway, whether you asked or not," he says. "I can even make sure patrol runs your block a bit more often. I'm working on getting back on patrol sometime soon, probably after the new year," he says.

He watches as the opening credits of "Public Enemy" start up, leaning back and taking his first bites of Tso's chicken, expertly wielding his chopsticks. "And, of course, if you need me for anything…to come get you a ride or just to visit and keep you company…well, I've got nothing but free time…"

She turns her head sharply towards him as he begins to rub her back, immediately turning away as she digs further into her plate of Tso's.. "Thank you.." She murmurs quietly, her head nodding rather quickly. "I think that'll be good, if they can. None of the police like to come to the narrows, the people there.." She reaches out to take her soda, taking a few sips. ".. they like to mess up the cops of they're not partnered or anything. But.. someones been keeping an eye on that."

Bluebird! Duh duh duhhhh!

Her faces scrunches as he begins to offer his other services, her gaze slowly falling towards him as she stops eating, allowing her plate to rest upon her lap as her head tilts. "I.. have a bike too, you know. I mean.." Her cheeks flush a little, her head shaking. "I'm not your damsel in distress anymore, Dick. Just ask me out on a date when I get back home and call it a day." She turns away from him, giggling just a touch, instead of chopsticks, she uses a fork. Though.. what type of relationship would they have if he always saw her getting beat on.. and broken. Shot even. Hell, she may not even make it out of Arkham alive.. no no.. don't think about that..

"These old movies.. they're cool.." She deflects, her hand shaking.

Dick Grayson raises an eyebrow, "You now, offering to come visit you isn't exactly white knighting too hard. It's kind of normal - and mostly just means I'd like to see you sooner than the indeterminate time when you get back from your training," he says, although his words definitely have more good humor to them and aren't intended as a chastisement. He didn't think she needed rescuing so much as she needed mentoring, honestly - he had been fairly impulsive early in his own superheroic career and he'd gotten into a lot of tight spots as a result of it. With the scars to prove it.

And she was about to stick her head in the lion's den. Some of those scars were put on him by peope locked up in there. She surely thought she understood the risks, but he wasn't so sure she did. He wasn't sure anyone could until they dealt with some of those psychos face to face. "I always like them. You know, the accent a lot of them use was actually taught in schools - it was meant to be high class but not specific to a region, so that everyone could relate to it."

"You mean, you want to come and visit me out of town while I'm on training?" She was fishing now, but she remained focused upon the movie, her plate lifted so that she wouldn't spill anything upon the floor, or her pants. "Really?"

"It kind of sounds like something from Boston or Chicago, but I can actually see how that is. It's like.. universal and everywhere.. then no where." She shrugs her shoulders faintly, then finally leans forward to place her plate upon the table. She was done eating, for now anyways.

Dick Grayson nods, "Sure, unless you're sequestered or something. You have to eat sometime, right? They're not locking you up at night to keep trade secrets?" He was, admittedly, making things a little difficult for her, but it was part of his cover, after all. She was going to have to learn to lie effectively if she intended to keep up this line of work - at least with him, she was safe if she stumbled and it didn't cost her anything that he saw right through it.

"They called it the Transatantic Accent, because it was halfway between American and English. Yeah, it was meant to sort of have the uppercrust feel to it, like Boston and Philadelphia. Katherine Hepburn was always the sort of prime example."

"Uh.." Shit. Shit shit shit! She didn't know how to deflect this one. She couldn't say that she didn't know where she was going or that phones were not allowed. That would have been too far fetched and unbelievable. "I don't know, Dick. I mean.. we're not even boyfriend and girlfriend yet and you're already talking about midnight visits to bring me food and to share a.. what do they call that? A snog or whatever?" Deflect! Skill up!

Huh. Harper does nod at the information given, she had never heard of something like that before in her life and to hear it now? Well, she learned something new. It made her all the more focused in the movie, her knees soon drawn up which were hugged against her as she stares into the screen. Yep. Her player never knew that.

Dick Grayson turns a bit more to face her, "Well, I admit, that does bring us to the crux of the matter, a little bit. I mean…not to be too serious, but, like…I like you. A lot, if it wasn't obvious by the phone calls and the occasional visits and the dinner and…other things," he says. "And I"m not asking you to make a commitment or anything like that. I just…wanted to make sure you knew. That I liked you," he says. He was normally very smooth, but genuine feelings were not exactly his strong suit.

"Ooh, look, James Cagney!" he says, pointing at the screen as the broad-faced little actor strides his way on screen, his presence making him far more intimidating than his little body should be able to convey.

Okay, Harper didn't expect that. She liked him as well.. else, she wouldn't have called, or at least considered him her last call before she went in. Usually that would have been reserved for someone like Cullen or.. well, she didn't have any last calls. Last people she wanted to see. She was going to the point of no return and there really wasn't any guarantees on if she'd make it back or not. So she.. just stared at him, her mouth slightly pursed, her eyes watching him as he points out James Cagney..

And then she reaches out, both palms smacking against his cheeks to turn him to face her. Okay, the smack wasn't that hard but it was a little bit dramatic, and a touch childish, but she did lean in with her best intentions to place a really, really quick kiss upon his lips. Coupled with a letting go and a stare into the screen, in which she curls up into herself yet again.

Dick doesn't let her pull right away, momentarily cupping his fingers at the back of her neck, showing quick reflexes. He holds her into the kiss for a moment, just the barest lingering, before he lets her draw back. He lets her settle back then and smiles softly, "Glad we got that cleared up," he says.

He moves onto the couch properly and, with that encouragement, slides his arm around her shoulders, pulling her a bit against his chest if she doesn't resist, getting ready for the big scene where Cagney gets busted by his childhood friend. So much angst for a gangster movie, but it was a serious classic.

The quick get away wasn't so quick after all. The kiss was lingering and wanted, cheeks soon burning hot with a blush that soon became too much to where the kiss had to be broken and the film focused on. "Uh huh.." She manages to murmur out, following his movements onto the couch, her shoes soon fallen and thumped onto the floor as she comfortably leans against the chest of Dick as she continues to watch, half laying upon her side.

Her bare feet soon grace the softness of the couch, her arms curling just a touch as she focuses upon the movie once again. For.. such a bold move they both had given each other.. why was his heart a steady beat and her own? It was fast.. Maybe.. well, it was clear that he's confidence in this entire thing. But, at least she was glad that it happened. And sad.. he was probably going to be her first and only kiss. Ever.

"I wonder what makes friends turn on each other.. or, people."

Dick Grayson keeps her close to him, focusing on the movie and not the warm woman under his arm, because that is a whole loaded can of beans. Dick didn't really like beans. He liked the woman, though. A lot.

Look, James Cagney!

"Well, in this, it's that one of them grew up to be a murderer and the other a cop. In real life, of course, it's a lot more complicated…friendships can be messy. People don't always fit into easy categories of good and bad, friends and enemies…"

"..lovers.." Harper finishes. Though, that word. It felt almost foreign upon her lips. Her hand reaches up to lightly rub at her face, her eyes closing just for those few seconds until a hail of bullets cry across the screen. Her eyes snap open and she slightly shifts, her shoulder rolling to draw his hand away so that she could sit up and lean shoulder to shoulder against him, almost alert.

"Everything is messy in this life.." Who was she fooling, really? "I.. I think we should turn this off and talk. I have something important to say.."

Dick Grayson turns a bit to face her. He's not sure what's up - he has his suspicions, but doesn't want to jump the gun - and he reaches out and takes her hand in his. Their fingers lace as he looks her more directly in the eyes. "I'm listening, then," he says, giving her a chance and the freedom to get it out without trying to push her. She wants to speak, she can speak and then he'll see what he has to say.

She doesn't move her hand, instead.. she grasps his a little bit more tighter. Her mind wasn't racing in the slightest, but she was full of thought for the moment as she tries to figure out the right thing to say without giving off the wrong impression. Anything could happen but.. was she really ready for where they stood?

"I.. didn't want to leave you hanging with what you said." She starts, then takes a deep breath. "Look. I like you too, and.. its not a bad thing. But, I think .. maybe when I get back we should have a real conversation about.. everything. Where we stand, what we should do, how.. we should approach all of this. I just hate not knowing, I mean.. I don't know." She was flustered, clearly. But she obviously wanted to keep him away from her while she was away. She didn't want him to know what she was up to. "I mean.. we've been through a lot. And, I do want to see where further would take us. If, that's what you want too.. if not.. its okay.." No it wouldn't be, but she was taking a chance.

Dick Grayson smiles and squeezes her fingers, "I absolutely want to see where further takes us. Further would be good. I think we would do well with further. Especiallly if it continues to have kissees and Chinese food and old time movies, because I like all of those things," he says.

He lifts her hands and kisses her knuckles softly, "Just be careful while you're gone. You've gotta come back for us to go further, so don't go…getting electrocuted or anything," he says.

Harper lets out a little laugh, but it was more relief than anything. Her cheeks were full of that same ol' blush again, something that drew color to her paleness and actually made her look a little bit more lively than she would. "Good." She finally says, watching as he kisses her knuckles.

"I'll be careful. I promise. I'm going to come back in one piece and.. I'm just going to come back in one piece." She said it twice, moreso for herself than anything, leaning forward to draw arms around Dick to lay against him. She was scared. She wanted to tell him why she shook, why she locked his door extra tight and why she wanted to see him for the night. And why she didn't want to go home until this was finished..

Dick Grayson knew, of course. He knew it all, even if he couldn't tell her he knew. Maybe, after she came out, he could find a way. Keeping her in the dark wasn't going to make her or her brother any safer. He understood the importance of the web of secrets - once he revealed his identity, the identities of others, especially Batman, came down like dominoes to the watchful eye.

But Harper could be trusted, he knew. She already had won his and Oracle's respect. Bruce was going to have to recognize that not everyone had to be Robin - or Batgirl - first. Just 'cause she didn't start when she was thirteen didn't make Bluebird a late bloomer - it meant that the rest of them started way early.

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