Title: Love and (un)Death (1/1)
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Summary: A story by request for the DCAU Valentine's Day Ficathon. Black Canary/Green Arrow, first date, mayhem ensues.
"I'm a little surprised," Dinah admitted. "But not totally surprised."
"Oh?" Ollie asked.
"Well, a steakhouse - it seems to fit you. But I don't know, with your money I just pictured you somewhere more upscale."
"Ah," he said. "Yeah, well, I'm on a tight budget ever since you cleaned me out at Roulette's arena last month."
Dinah sighed. "I think we can stop bringing that up by now."
"I never refuse a lady on a first date," Ollie replied.
First date it was. They could have gone out earlier, but the beating Wildcat had inflicted upon him had precluded all his nighttime activities - be they taking a pretty lady out for dinner, or patrolling Opal City with a bow and a green hat - for a few weeks. It was only when Oliver Queen had put five arrows in the center of a single bulls-eye that he pronounced himself fit for action.
And Ollie was definitely hoping for action that night, as he took in Dinah's bountiful charms, hugged by a tight black sheath that was cut almost indecently along her thighs. Not that this was the only attraction. Women with her body frequently threw themselves at a man with his looks - and net worth.
Dinah, however, could fight, she could banter, and most of all he respected her.
"Can I ask you a question?" she said as they waited for their dinners in the moderately expensive New York steakhouse.
"Part of the reason we're here," he answered. "Find out more about each other."
She sipped at her water. "Why do you wear a mask?"
"That's an odd question coming from someone who works with masked individuals on a daily basis," Ollie said after a moment.
Dinah played at her upper lip with one finger. "Only one of whom has such a distinctive beard and moustache," she replied. "I mean, no offense, but if I saw you in action after seeing your picture on the TV, I don't think the mask would keep me in the dark for long."
"Well, to be honest, I thought it goes with the outfit," Ollie told her. "And despite what you say, it doesn't appear to be common knowledge that I have an - unusual nightlife."
"Oh, the things I hear, it's a different facet of your nightlife that IS common knowledge in your city."
Ollie leaned back in his chair. It was a question he had to expect from a woman of substance, much as someone like Bruce Wayne would expect the same. Not that Wayne seemed to date three-dimensional women. "It's a reputation I have," he admitted, "and it's not an unfair one. I like women. But I don't cheat on them. I just break up with them."
"And should I expect a sudden breakup if we pursue things?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.
"I can't speak for certain," he said honestly, "but right now I'd say it's pretty unlikely. Not many women out there who could be considered your superior. Damn few of them, I'd say."
She flushed slightly at the compliment.
"Certainly not many who'd whale the tar out of me for breaking up with you," he added, grinning.
"Oh, THERE'S the scoundrel I've glimpsed once or twice," Dinah said.
Ollie felt with some justification that a scoundrel, even an occasional one such as he, would not leap from his chair at the first sound of gunfire and tackle Dinah to the floor behind their table. And a gentleman would let a scurrilous comment from a lady slide. So he did.
"Get off me!" Dinah growled, shoving him aside.
A gentleman, he let her.
"Where's it coming from?" she wondered out loud.
"Someone just shot up the front window," Ollie said grimly. "I think at least one person just got vaporized. Did you - "
"In my motorcycle, of course," she said.
"It's not something I could fit in a motorcycle, you know, but yes, in the trunk of my car," he replied.
"On a date," Dinah muttered. "Wait until I tell Babs."
"Well, that was unexpected," Dinah said afterwards.
"The drive-by shooting at the restaurant we were eating at, or the fact that it was zombies doing the shooting?" Ollie asked.
"Both, I guess, but I was thinking mainly the second part," Dinah replied. "At least they couldn't pull the triggers of their Thompson guns very well."
"Having finger bones and not much else will do that," Ollie agreed.
Four suspected mobsters had been sitting near the front window. Three of them had enough holes in them that, should THEY in turn be brought back from the dead some day, they wouldn't be able to accomplish much. The fourth was clinging to life with a bullet in his throat, but he probably wasn't going to make it. A fifth victim, a waiter, was already on the way to the morgue.
The hero put a finger to his ear, where his JL communicator lay. "Wonder Woman?"
"J'onn tells me you handled a situation involving the living dead tonight?"
"Well, if you ignore the fact that they're no longer the moving dead, yeah."
"I'm at a hospital about thirty minutes from your location."
"Long way from Washington, D.C., Diana," he observed.
"About as long a way from New York as Opal City."
"Point. Are you injured?"
"Not yet, but I've got about forty reanimated corpses here. They go down easily, but they refuse to stay down."
"Black Canary and I can be right - "
"No," she said quickly. "You can't do much here. J'onn has confirmed that one of the patients here is Jimmy Marlini, head of the Five Families. He's being treated for stomach cancer. We're assuming he's the target, considering there doesn't appear to be anyone else here who merits this kind of attack, and - "
"And four Mafia boys just got aerated here tonight," Ollie finished for her.
"Precisely. According to NYPD's Organized Crime unit, the mob tends to bury their bodies at the same cemetery."
"Funny," Dinah said, indicating she was listening in. "I thought they just dumped their bodies into the river."
"Only the victims, Black Canary. These zombies must be coming from there. Could you get down there ASAP and determine if that's the source of this unholy magic?"
"Will do, Wonder Woman," Green Arrow said. "But let us know if you need help over there."
"GL and Red Tornado will be here soon. A magic-user would be better, but they're all unavailable right now. But thanks."
Green Arrow looked at Black Canary when Diana cut communications. "I haven't taken a girl to a cemetery on a first date since high school, you know."
"You should have quit with the steakhouse, Arrow."
"Super-powered cage match wrestlers, zombified gangsters - you sure do know how to give a guy a great time," Ollie grumbled. "I don't suppose you could just 'scream' their souls back to Hell?"
"I even THINK about my canary cry and this entire mausoleum comes down on our heads," Dinah retorted. "No anti-ghoul arrows in your quiver?"
"I left those at home."
All jokes aside, the situation wasn't entirely positive. They were surrounded by a minimum of thirty walking corpses. Some were armed. Some weren't. The latter were still capable of biting their victims, something Ollie could attest to, his right shoulder still bleeding.
The best part was, they still weren't sure what was going on. They'd discovered a white middle-aged male in dark robes in the middle of the cemetery who had fled into this mausoleum. When they followed him in, the only reward for their troubles was being ambushed by these moldy oldies.
"Sorry about this," Ollie said. "Try to show a girl a good time, and this crap happens."
"It's okay," she replied. "I think the living dead is a special case. Besides, for what it's worth, I'm glad we did this. I was getting damn sick of waiting for you to recuperate."
"Well, I was itching for this date as much as my arrows were itching for me to restring my bow," he admitted.
"So I guess this is true love we're talking about here," Dinah said.
"And true love - like mobsters, apparently - never dies," Oliver said.
With those words, the corpses around them slumped to the ground and went to pieces.
Arrow and Canary stared at each other for a moment. "If I was superstitious," Dinah finally said, "I'd think your words made them do that."
"If you're right, I'd start fearing for true love's future."
"Somehow I don't think you're THAT much of a heartbreaker." She activated her communicator. "Wonder Woman? Lantern? Somebody?"
"This is GL," John Stewart responded. "Crisis over, Canary. You and Green Arrow all right?"
"We're fine," Ollie said. "Things were looking a little dicey for a minute there, but then they just keeled over."
"Diana and I took care of it," GL explained. "Apparently the heads of two Mafia families were resurrected after thirty years by the son of one of them. Somehow their spirits were used as a conduit that enabled the son to raise an undead host on a large scale. Something about vengeance on Marlini for their deaths, but since the son is a capo in his own right, he may not have been acting solely out of filial love."
"A Mafia necromancer," Dinah mused. "What's this world coming to?"
"Eye of newt and a dash of oregano," Green Arrow replied. "You need us for anything else?"
"I think we'll let the city figure out what to do with all these corpses," GL said dryly. "Lantern out."
"Which means us living people can get on with our lives," Dinah said.
"I don't know, this cemetery is a pretty lively place tonight," Ollie answered. "They're dead and loving it here."
Dinah smiled. "If you're expecting any loving to happen tonight, Ollie, it's not happening here."
"Now who's the necromancer? You just raised MY spirits."
"I'm thinking you should leave the punning to Flash."
Ollie just smiled back. This was a good date.