Standard disclaimers apply.
Holiday Drinks, Holiday Cheer
The snow fell silently outside. Pink and green and yellow Christmas lights
blinked outside Barbara Gordon's windows. Their warm glow spread through
the frost and fog on the panes, giving everything a holiday glow.
Opening her last can of diet soda, she chugged quickly, keeping her eyes on
the screen. A green dot blipped twice, then went out.
"NIGHTWING?" She both swallowed and spit at the same time, and ended up
"Too cold!" A teeth-chattering reply came. "Making electronics. Go bye-
Barbara shook her head. "Look, just take 'em out and go home. They don't
have any information we haven't already surmised." Did she just say
surmised? "And then get on your machine at home and start talking dirty to
me, cause I'm beginning to sound like Bruce."
There were some sounds of bone crunching, gun fire, metal being slammed
every which way. It didn't last long, then there was a great silence.
"Too. cold.to. breathe," Nightwing said with false panting. "I sweated,
then it froze, and I'm stuck to my costume."
"You offering a strip-tease when you get home too, Short Pants?" Barbara
rolled her eyes. He was so melodramatic. Reaching for the can of soda, she
realized it was empty. For a moment, she stared out the glowing windows,
thinking that this was a poor way to spend any Christmas Eve-with a can of
diet Soder, a package of saltines and a Former Boy Wonder who wasn't
generating enough body heat to keep his equipment from freezing.
She wouldn't have even had the lights up if Dick hadn't gotten insistant
that she celebrate the season in SOME fashion-Or Else. The Or Else probably
involved a plastic fiber optic tree. Compared to Dick's tacky taste in
decorations, the lights were. permissible.
After Dick decided to pack it up, the evening was quiet. The Justice League
didn't need her sage advice, though Kyle did bug her twice just because he
was on monitor duty and obviously bored. The Bat-folk were quiet. It didn't
mean that Batman and Batgirl weren't out there somewhere, they were just
keeping to themselves. This meant that Barbara had plenty of time to think
about just how much this holiday sucked.
Kyle lost at hangman AGAIN, and Barbara cut the connection. She dialed her
dad. This holiday was hard for him too-probably harder. "Hey, old guy," she
said before he could even say hello. "I'm spreading late-night cheer."
Jim yawned, and she hoped she hadn't awakened him. "Shouldn't you be
asleep? How can Santa come."
Barbara made a face."Ha. Ha."
"Merry Christmas, honey." He sounded cheerful, and still. there was a
sadness there. It hadn't been so long ago that he'd lost his wife at this
time of the year.
Barbara was glad she'd called. They both needed this, even if they'd
already talked this afternoon. "You know. maybe you should bring pumpkin
pie instead of sweet potato." Still. it was weird.
"I have pumpkin. I bought it after I talked to you."
Barbara bit her lips-the way she used to when she was a teenager, and he
was questioning her about what had put her into her most recent angst-
ridden mood. "Mmm. nothing," she said finally. "Just wanted to make sure
you were ok."
She gave a tired laugh. "I'm fine, dad, really. Just. the holidays, the
lights. wish tomorrow would get here already so we could have dinner."
"Oh." There was a bit of silence. "Tomorrow'll come quicker if you go to
Barbara had to chuckled. "All right, I can take a hint. 'Night, daddy.
"Merry Christmas," he replied, then hung up.
Sighing, Barbara went to the fridge for another soda. Her dad was right, it
was time to pack it up and lay in bed staring at the ceiling till dawn came
and they could go to morning services. There was no more soda, she
realized. There was no more anything. There was the ham for tomorrow, a can
of pineapple, yams, jelled cranberry sauce, and that was IT.
Barbara always supposed she could eat a stick of butter, if worst came to
worst. Sighing, she closed the refrigerator door and opted for a glass of
water. Purge the system and all that.
Holidays were good for nothing. She still had to work, even though the
caseload was cut down to only the most boring or idiotic of tasks-take
tonight for instance. Surveillance for Dummies. Then there was exchanging
gifts with people you didn't really like. Thank GOD the Justice League had
refrained from the childish "Secret Santa" thing they'd done last year. She
wasn't sure HOW, but it had to be Kyle and Wally's doing-somehow.
"Hey, Babe!" a voice came in over her system. "Turn off the Bat-fryers on
Sighing, she rolled over to her computer. "Don't feel like facing my wrath
tonight, Grayson?" usually Bat-people saw it as a challenge to get past her
"Carrying stuff!" he said.
"Batman could manage it," she retorted as she shut down the security
systems to let him pass.
A few minutes later, a huffing Nightwing appeared in her living room.
"Nope, because Batman couldn't cope with bringing a bag of cheer ANYWHERE."
He set the paper bag down on the coffee table, taking out a thermos of
apple cider (spike of course), two mugs, and a can of whipped cream.
Barbara didn't even pretend to be peeved.
"Figured I'd warm BOTH of us up." He sat down on her sofa and started
"I thought you were going to go home and talk dirty to me."
Tearing off his mask, Dick grinned. "Why have phone sex when you can have
the real thing."
Barbara rolled her eyes. "You're a piece of work, Dick."
"I try." He made a production out of squirting the whipped topping, then
handed the mug to her. "I gotta tell you this because I'm so excited-ALL my
Christmas presents are wrapped and ready to distribute. Including your
present." He winked, letting her know HE was her present. Barbara wouldn't
mind unwrapping him.
"Oh yeah? Good job." She remembered years prior when he'd rush home from
patrol, wrap, then appear unshaven and unkempt at her door to present a
gift. "There's hope for you yet." He pulled his best girl onto the couch
with him and kept his arm wrapped around her.
She took in the smell of apples and rum, then sipped at the cream and
cider. This was more Christmas than a tacky tree or anything else she'd had
going this season. It was good. LIFE was good. "Good stuff."
"It pays to have friends who work in a bar. It's all about being
connected." He dared reach out and kiss her cheek. It was his lot in life
to be around people who didn't take holidays seriously. "The goal is to get
you seriously plastered, then take advantage of you."
Barbara twisted her hands in his. "Oh yeah? Well, you can't do that,
Munchkin, if I slip you the Mickey, then have my way with YOU!"
"Yeah, well, you can't do that if I abduct you and tie you to a chair and--
" his boasting was cut short by the door bell ringing, followed by a voice
coming loud and clear over the intercom.
"Barbara. I know you're still up. Feel like letting your old man in?"
Across the room, she could see her father's image on the security monitor.
What's Christmas without family?
Dick slapped his forehead. "This is part of the conspiracy against me."
Barbara looked around the room, then to the items on the table. Handing
Dick his mug, she pointed to the opposite end of the room. "The closet!"
She couldn't put him out on the ledge, it was too cold, and her father
WOULD look out the window at her Christmas lights-he'd been doing it every
time he'd come over this season. And if he went up on the roof, he'd
probably just leave, and there'd go her Christmas present..
"Just go! And be quiet!" She pushed him towards it, and kept watching him
until the door closed.
Barbara buzzed her father up. It took a few minutes for the elevator to
creep it's way upwards, then her father came in. He was a little wet from
his time outside in the snow. "Just figured I'd stop in and spread some
YIKES. That's what DICK had said.
Just as she grabbed Dick's mask off the coffee table and shoved it in the
cushion of the couch, he handed her a gift bag. Pulling back the tissue
paper, she found a small bottle of wine. Dick was going to kill her and
kill her until she was dead for not letting him go outside.
"I figured you wouldn't go to bed. SO I brought something to help you
Barbara smiled patiently at her father. He was really thoughtful. Too
He took off his coat and began walking towards the closet on the other side
of the room.
She almost let out a cry of anguish. "Daddy! Don't put it in there. You'll
get all my stuff wet. Hang it over that chair," she said, pointing to a
hard backed wooden chair next to the table she threw the mail on. "There's
a heat register over there. It'll dry really fast."
"What do you have in the closet," Jim asked in good humor. "My Christmas
Barbara laughed. "Yup. So don't go in there. It's not wrapped."
"You said you'd wrapped everything."
Her stomach knotted. Was there a reason her father was a detective? Besides
to torment her? "Well, I found ya something else, so I traded you up. Just
came in the mail yesterday, and I didn't have a chance to wrap it. You
know. last minute cataloging and stuff like that."
Happily, Jim hung up his coat and sat down. He looked at her mug of cider.
"Looks like you've started the party without me." Picking up the whipped
cream container, he gave it one shake, then set it back down. "I brought
some glasses. But you know what? I forgot my pocket knife. Can you get your
Barbara didn't move for a moment. She just stared at her father vacantly.
"Uh, sure, daddy," she finally responded. "No peeking." Ever so slowly, she
wheeled herself to the kitchen. Once she was past the threshold, she moved
as quickly as possible to the third drawer to the left of the sink, tore it
opened, dug for the cork screw and.
And heard the creaking of the hall closet.
"I'M ARMED!" she heard her father cry out.
There was a reason why Barbara Gordon hated holidays.
"Daddy!" She called out, forgetting the cork screw, and rushing as fast as
her arms would take her. "Daddy, don't hurt him!"
The closet door was fully opened, and Jim Gordon had pulled his weapon, and
was aiming it at a very naked Dick Grayson.
"Uhh. Merry Christmas?" Dick asked cautiously, lifting his mug of cider.
"Get the hell out of my daughter's apartment," Gordon said stonily, never
lifting the gun from the young man's heart.
Dick looked to Barbara for some help. "Uh. Daddy. Dick was just."
"Leaving," Jim finished for her.
"Umm." Dick couldn't believe he had found the nerve to speak. With his
hands and mug lifted in the air, he took one step out of the closet. "I was
just. doing my impression of Baby New Year's for Babs. Sir. You know."
That was bad, Barbara thought to herself. She needed to think of something-
some reason why she had a naked man in her closet. Then, to make matters
worse, a shadow landed on her window sill outside.
"Grayson, I'm going to count to ten. You're going to walk out of that
closet, and keep going straight for the front door."
"But I'm naked!" Dick was horrified.
"Daddy! It's cold outside!"
Jim scowled, never taking his eyes, or his gun, off the young man. "He
should of thought of that before he became a-a FLASHER."
Dick and Barbara exchanged glares. Finally, Dick had no choice but to mosey
on out of the closet-into full view of the shadow on the window sill-
because Gordon had just started counting.
"Eight." Dick paused behind the sofa. "And don't think I won't shoot you,
boy," he ground out with all of a father's indignation. So much for
grabbing the blanket off the back of the sofa, Dick thought.
"Daddy. did it ever occur to you that I. approve of Dick's nudity?" Barbara
was going to kill herself when this was all over with.
"No, Barbara, no you don't," Jim informed her.
Finally, Barbara realized what Dick wanted, and wheeled herself to the
couch, pulling off the knitted cover. "Daddy. you're being a brute."
When they both looked back to Gordon, the gun was no longer drawn. He was
pulling something out of a gym bag on the bottom of the closet floor. "Oh,"
Jim said sarcastically, throwing the black and midnight blue bundle towards
the naked young man. "You forgot something. NIGHTWING. Now get the hell out
of here." He lifted the gun again, not willing to let the young man dress.
Outside, there was a crack and a lurch, and the big black shadow slipped
and fell off the window sill.