September 15, 2018:

Dinah and Babs talk about dysfunctional romances during their Saturday trip to McGilly's.

McGilly's Pub

It's a pub. In Gotham.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

For Dinah and Barbara Gordon, drinks at McGilly's on Saturday was a precious tradition. It almost goes back to when the two young women couldn't legally do anything more than sit at the pub and order finger food and try to cage a drink from someone of majority. But it's been a Saturday Night tradition through thick and thin, up to and including abducting Dinah from the Critical Care ward at Gotham Hospital in a wheelchair so she could snare a pint.

"Mmm, okay, lemme ask you something," Dinah says to Barbara. The two women share a corner of a pub table, one towards the back. Both backs to the wall, able to see both entrance and exit. It never really turns off, the awareness.

Dinah's dressed casually. Jeans, cute boots, and an Aerosmith t-shirt make for an informal outfit; her leather jacket and helmet are tucked on the empty chair at the table. She sits with one foot under her, shifting, and chews on a delicious pub french fry. "So I want to have my phone with me while I'm out on patrol. But I don't want anyone to hack it or something if I drop it. Can you get it set up so I don't out like, half the capes in Gotham if it falls outta my pocket?"

A good routine does a body good — and a routine of pub grub and beer is definitely high up there. Though, tonight, the Gordon daughter has gone for something her father would approve of — whiskey on the rocks. McGilly's does that fancy spherical ice, and the globe of frozen water spins in her tumbler with each little tilt of the glass.

When Dinah prompts her attention, Babs looks up without missing a beat. "Alright," she invites — not that Dinah needs the invitation. She plucks up a fry, dunking it in that special sauce that is just ketchup and mayo, and something Barbara has never sussed out.

She munches through the fry before she nods. "That all? Di, I can set up a dummy operating system that activates if you don't use the correct combination of voice and touch-ID. Can also have it set up a failsafe that it triggers GPS locator if it's activated by someone other than you."

Barbara stuffs another fry in her mouth before she washes it down with the whiskey. Jim Gordon's daughter doesn't even make a grimacing face when the burn hits her throat, just swallowing it down. It's been a long month, and it is far more needed than beer.

"That would be /awesome/, thank you," Dinah tells Barbara with sincere gratitude. It's all fried, fatty carbs, but sometimes that is indeed what the body needs! For Dinah, it's a margarita: a little more decadent than the straight shots she usually goes for, but that's what Saturday night calls for.

She glances at Barbara, a grin dancing at the corner of her mouth. "And don't give me that 'well duh' look, either, missy," she tells Barbara with a feigned tartness. "It took me a month just to get that stupid card reader app working for the flower shop. I don't do tech, that's why I have friends. Like you!"

She munches through a chicken wing. "But if you ever need a landscaped touched up, you can always call me y'know."

She glances at the pub; it's loud, rangy, full of people and motion. Mostly they're shooting pool or throwing darts. A few are on the arcade. It's a strange mishmash of old hardcore alcoholics, pool hustlers, college students, and blue-collar stiffs. Barbara and Dinah blend in nicely with the furniture, in their own way. "How hard would it be to set that cell phone thingy up?"

The accusation of the look that all tech marvels give those who refer to all web search engines as 'The Google' has Barbara looking sheepish instead. "Sorry. I apparently have been giving people that look a lot. Dad just grumbled at me for doing the same thing yesterday." Then she offers a warm, thankful smile.

"Considering I just killed the plant you gave me for my birthday, I think we should try a puppy next." She takes another bite of fry, thriving on the fatty carbs and avoiding the chicken wings. The question prompts a wry smile from Barbara once she's eaten a couple more fries, and then she wipes her fingers off on a napkin. "If you leave your phone with me tonight, I'll have it setup by morning and drop it off on my way to the library."

A librarian and a flower shop owner: Gotham's finest vigilantes.

She continues to rub at her napkin between her fingers for a few seconds, and then she breathes out a slow exhale. "Can I ask you something and you promise to just answer it and not try to parse out the reason behind the question?"

Dinah's already got her phone out and shows Babs how to unlock it. It's not likely Babs would have been stumped by something as simple as a swipe password, but still— an expression of unreserved trust for her redheaded friend.

She pauses at the question, hanging onto the phone, and lifts a honey-blonde brow at Barbara. "Only if you promise not to look at my browser history?" Dinah says, wryly. She releases the phone to her friend and sits back in the chair, resting her lower back against the chair's support. Her other leg rises and she hugs her knee loosely to her chest, clearly trying to help put Barbara at ease by making her body language as relaxed as possible.

"I'm not going to look at your browser history." Beat pause, and then Barbara looks suspicious. "Why, what have you been doing?" It's a pretty good distraction from the awkward groundwork she had just done moments before. She takes the phone, holding it gingerly.

Only distracted for a moment, she takes a breath before she asks the question: "Do you think that it is possible to not be totally dysfunctional romantically with someone given our chosen, um, hobbies?"

"No. Why do you think I said 'don't look at my browser history?'" Dinah quips, flashing a smile at Barbara. "I mean, Tindr is a thing for a reason, y'know?" She snaps her fingers, and wags an index finger at Barbara. "There's your million-dollar idea, Tindr for capes. Set fields for things like 'vigilante', 'long walks on the bench', 'please no super-strength'."

She sips her margarita, killing it, and waves at the waitress making the rounds. Dinah turns her baby blues back to Barbara, a bit pointedly.

"Are you gonna make me ask, or are you gonna spill the saucy deets? Leave nothing out, my social life is as dead as your peace lily," she remarks. Dinah leans forward and props her elbows on the table, balancing her chin on her fists and blinks at Barbara theatrically.

"My browser history would just get me on the no-fly list if I didn't use dummy misdirection." It perfectly captures the too-pure-for-this-world and vigilantes-need-info-on-homemade-bombs-too that smushes together to make Barbara Gordon. She probably doesn't even read trashy articles on The mention of Tindr does have the redhead looking exasperated. "What would we call it? Maskr? Your One Place Dating Place For Masked Crime-Fighters?"

Babs grimaces at Dinah's sudden and extremely vested interest. She chews slightly at the edge of her lip, looking a combination of apprehension and self-directed loathing. Her fingers grace along the edge of Dinah's phone.

"I wish I had juicy details to share, Di… I'm just trying to figure out if there's a reason most vigilantes have no love lives to speak of. The last date I was on was dead before it even started: the guy showed up to pick me up, and I had to pretend I wasn't home because I got a call about that hostage situation at the multiplex, and was half way into my suit when he rang the doorbell."

"Lame," Dinah sighs, sagging back in her chair. The waitress arrives— Dinah flashes a plastic smile and orders a pint of pale ale, handing over cash pre-emptively. Never hurts to tip your waitress early and often, and the woman vanishes into the crowd. The noise of the crowd is better than any dome of silence; it'd take Power Girl's ears to pick up their conversation.

"I think you've kinda hit it, sweetie," Dinah says. She's not unsympathetic. "It's hard to have a normal life with our extracurriculars /and/ the aliases. That doesn't leave a lot of options. You can ditch the lifestyle, find someone who doesn't care about it, or ditch the alias."

She considers the unfocused distance for a moment. "Or get used to doing it with the masks on…" she says, trailing off and leaving that thought somewhat unexpressed.

Dinah doesn't need to express it. Barbara's mind goes right to that unspoken place, and she blushes faintly at the height of her cheeks. She breathes out a slow exhale, combing both hands back through her hair in a smooth gather of crimson hair. When she releases her locks, then slip back into place with a slight crimp where she tugged. "It's all stupid anyway…"

Babs looks across at her friend before she takes a sip of the whiskey. When she speaks next, her voice has a forced lightness to it to cover up the tired thinness. "The guy who I have been investing the majority of my time in is a widower on a revenge kick." Her voice has a slight hitch to it that suggests she's been investing a lot more than time. "That is when I'm not getting stabbed by someone with a psychotic focus on other Gotham vigilantes."

She frowns, looking at Dinah with a furrow of her brows. "That reminds me… you see a big guy with a red hood covering his face, you don't mess around with him. Slow him down and get out… I don't know if he's only focusing on Bats, or Birds, too."

Dinah refrains from making a smart remark, but the serious motion of Barbara's brows checks her. It's not hard to get a read on Gordon's twitches after being her friend the better part of a decade. Dinah doesn't push. She just nods.

"A red mask, gotcha," she murmurs. "I'll stay clear of him."

She exhales, dropping her hands to fold her elbows on the table, and lolls her head back to look at the ceiling. She transfers that look to Barbara, trying to summon a sense of perspective.

"This is kind of the blind leading the blind," Dinah says, wryly. "I've had a string of exes who were revenge-obsessed, paranoid tightasses, and just plain adrenaline junkies. The junkies aren't any better than the rest of them, because it's always about the next high. You start talking about toothbrushes or a shelf in the closet, they suddenly trot out a tragic backstory and next thing you know, you're at home naming your plants."

She frowns, sitting more upright. "Where the hell is my beer?" she mutters, realizing she's said perhaps too much.

"Josh was a really good plant, too," Barbara says with a deep sigh, speaking of course about the lovely devil's ivy that Dinah had got her. She smiles a bit tightly up at Dinah now, and she nods vaguely.

"I know, Di. Just been feeling that twang of loneliness… give me a few months, and I'm going to be closer to thirty than twenty, and Dad has already been wondering if I'm a lost cause."

Jim Gordon has no idea about his daughter's extracurriculars, so all he knows is she's a klutz who works too many hours at the library — stories that she is sure he's going to start questioning soon enough.

When the Black Canary mutters about her beer, Babs gives an apologetic smile. "It's alright, Dinah… I think it's good that we're both chronically dysfunctional in love." Beat pause. "OK, maybe not good, but at least not world-ending."

"Nope, nope, nope," Dinah says, cutting off the last few words of Barbara's remarks. She covers her ears and screws her eyes shut, palms flat against the side of her head. "I do not want to hear about the three-zero," she remarks, a little over-loudly for being muffed. "Nope. It's not happening. I stopped keeping track at 23."

She eases her theatrics and sits back, just in time for her beer to show up. With a silent 'yay!' she accepts the drink, and throws back two swift gulps. "I think you should, also, ignore it. Find some fancy counting system that stops at 23. Delete your birth certificate also. Kill anyone who says otherwise. I'll swear up and down on a stack of Bibles that you and I graduated from high school in 2013. You back me, I'll back you. I bet we can keep that going into our forties."

She sips more beer. "Who knows? By then, maybe we'll both be dead and the robot overlords will be in charge. That'll simplify things."

"Dinah," Barbara begins, almost sounding exasperated at her friend's antics. "You know, aging happens to everyone and everything. Even rocks age." There's something amused in the depths of her words before she finishes off her own whiskey.

"But, if asked… I will say you are my younger, more attractive friend." She smiles ruefully at Dinah before she rattles about the sphere of ice in the tumbler. The mention of robot overlords has her laugh, but it's a bit hollow.

"Don't jinx us, Di. I'm still waiting for the planet-killers from Independence Day to show up, because… nothing's off the table at this point."

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