Title: Firsts

Author: A.j.

Spoilers: General knowledge of Batgirl's origin and the fact that Leslie Thompson knew Bruce Wayne's parents. This can fit into nearly any DC canon, but was written as a "Potatoverse" backstory. Other "Potatoverse" stories can be found at

Rating: PG

Summary: Shortly after becoming Batgirl, Barbara Gordon meets her new doctor.

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Firsts

By A.j.

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"Hello, mademoiselle, my name is Deiter and I will be your server tonight. Is there anything I can get you from the bar while you await your companion?"

Barbara Gordon had absolutely no idea what she was doing. It was becoming something of habit.

For example, at the moment she was sitting at one of the choicest tables Chez Joel could offer. This wasn't entirely foreign as her father had brought her here once or twice. Jim Gordon, being Gotham's newest commissioner and one of the city's most eligible bachelors, often found himself invited to important parties. And being a bachelor with absolutely no time to date due to his new position, Barbara - as escort - often found herself at this or that party hob-nobbing with Gotham's brainless elite. Just the previous month, she'd knocked a flute of champagne down the sweater vest of one Richard Grayson. In this very room.

But today... Today was very different. Her father was in his office, far, far away from Chez Joel's lush upholstery. And Barbara? Barbara was waiting for a mystery guest. One who, apparently, knew quite a bit more than she cared them knowing.

The note had come with the previous day's post. A plain, white envelope, the writing inside precise and almost clinical with its exactness. It had been blunt and to the point.

"Batgirl - Come to Chez Joel's at 2pm on the 12th. Reservations for Thompson. Be there, or be square. Bat-Doctor"

So here she was. Sitting at a table for two, waiting for her mysterious note writer to appear. Scared stupid. Batman had told her that keeping her identity completely secret was one of the requirements of her remaining on his team rather than splattered across the heartland. It was Vital to the Safety of Yourself and Others. He should really hand out a handbook with all this cloak and dagger stuff. But someone knew. Someone who was apparently a doctor.

Someone who wanted to eat lunch at Chez Joel. Someone who could probably read the menu. Admittedly, she should be a little more worried about the identity of the person she was meeting, but Barbara's brain had a tendency to latch onto odd things when she was nervous. And cursing herself for not taking French seemed a little less frightening than planning her possible funeral.

The quiet clearing of a very high class throat to her left reminded her that there was someone else still in this equation. "Um, no. Water's fine for now."

Damn, stupid secret identity. Damn it. And waiters. They sucked too.

"Very, good miss," Deiter smiled in a way that it clearly *wasn't* very good.

Barbara resisted the urge to chuck her now full water glass at the back of his head. Focus, Babs. Breathe. And fromage means cheese. And WHY was she being so cranky? Oh, right. Batgirl.

Not for the first time that week, Barbara questioned her intelligence. Why *was* she doing this? To help people? She poked her linen napkin for lack of something better to do. Well, sure. Helping people was good. Muggers were bad. And bank robbers. And stuff. But she also helped lots of people when she found them books in the stacks. Plus, in her nice shiny library, she wasn't breaking the law. And threatening her father's job. Or risking her life learning how to jump off build-

"Hello, dear. You must be Barbara." Startled green eyes landed on the short woman who'd suddenly appeared in the chair across from her. Hair that was a light honey, graying slightly at the temples, was drawn up and away from sharp, patrician features only minorly softened with age. The older woman was dressed in a professional-looking blue pantsuit that emphasized her small stature in a rather advantageous way. Overall, she presented the picture of a successful, rather well-off, professional. A FAMILIAR successful, rather well-off, professional.

"Thompson!" It came out as a gasp. "You're Leslie Thompson!"

"Quite right, young lady." A grin stretched across the woman's features. It gave her a rather more approachable feel. "And you are Barbara Gordon."

"Um, yes. How did you-"

"Know about your new job?"

"Right."

"A lady must have her secrets. You'd do well to remember that. Deiter!"

"Yes, ma'am?" Deiter was suddenly at her elbow. Barbara started, nearly knocking her water glass off the table and all over the waiter. Only the certain knowledge that people didn't scream in Chez Joel closed her throat and stopped her screaming bloody murder. Plus the woman across from her knew she was Batgirl. Sure she hadn't been doing it long, but the Bat title demanded something like dignity, and shrieking your head off in one of the most expensive restaurants in Gotham didn't really inspire that impression. Right. That was it.

If Doctor Thompson noticed the choked squeak, she was polite enough not to mention it. "Water, lots of it. Ms. Gordon and I are going to chat a bit before lunch. And if I see you within ten feet of our table until we're good and ready to order, you're getting pennies in the water pitcher again."

"Shall I bring the bell?"

"Good man." Leslie grinned unrepentantly at the man's retreating back. "I always request Deiter when I come here. Puts up with a lot, but won't spit in your food for it. Gotta appreciate that in waitstaff."

Rather unsure, Barbara nodded.

"So, young lady, let me be the first to welcome you to the rather anemic branch of this knotty little Joshua tree."

"Excuse me?"

Leslie smiled before taking a long sip of water. The cut crystal glass caught the shine of the recessed lighting and sparkled expensively before it was set precisely at the tip of Leslie's knife. "We're the girls in a rather exclusive testosterone-driven boys club. It's worse than the Masons but with better toys. And you, my dear, are in a rather worse position than I. My role is rather specific, but you're the one that's going to be out in the glare of the world, as much as you-know-who allows that. Females in your new profession are rather short in the brush, and even more so here in Gotham."

"I noticed that." Barbara couldn't keep the exasperation out of her voice. Yes, Black Canary, Wonder Woman, and a few precious others were fighting the good fight, but it wasn't like she'd been invited to bounce off to JLA meetings. "Is that why did you invite me here?"

"Not entirely. As you well know, my chosen profession is that of a physician. I just thought you'd like to meet your new HMO." Leslie smiled and took another sip of water. It was a sad smile. Almost wistful. But it vanished almost as quickly as it appeared. "After all, with the line of work you've just entered, medical help is something of a must."

Barbara had the grace to blush. "Yeah... about that."

"How exactly did I end up in a position to know as much as I do?" The older woman settled back in her chair when Barbara nodded. She then picked up one of the salad forks - there were three - and started to shift it back and forth between her index fingers. "Let's just say that the night crew and I had some mutual acquaintances a long, long time ago. Saying anything else would put certain information in your hands that some people don't think you're ready for."

Barbara nodded and reached for her own water. "Understandable. He must have a lot on the line to do what he's doing."

The sad smile returned. Barbara got the feeling that it was a rather common reaction to the subject matter. The whole thing drew the doctor's face down, dimming some of the woman's natural vitality. It wasn't a surprise when Leslie reached for the small server's bell and rang it for all it was worth. Deiter nearly sprained something on the home stretch.

After the water glasses had been refilled, the lunch orders taken, and Deiter's silent departure, Leslie turned her attention back to the young woman across from her. "He does what he thinks is best, Barbara. Don't ever convince yourself that he's always right. He can be, but he's not. The sooner you learn that lesson, the sooner you'll find your own stride."

Her eyes large, Barbara nodded. She seemed to be doing a lot of that lately too.

"Okay then." Leslie's smile grew. "Let's talk shop. Where did you get those shoes?"

-fin-