Deception in Motion
DCU fic by Scriviner
Post-Wargames, Post-reintroduction of Supergirl, Pre-Infinite Crisis
Batman and Batgirl discuss Supergirl, and what people's bodies say.
Rather short, please read. Much thanks to Petra for helping clean it up.
He watched the footage again. The amount of power in that compact, slender frame was unmistakeable. If it were purely a matter of physiology, then by all rights, her cousin should have been stronger than she was, being larger and having had more exposure to solar radiation. Yet all indications pointed towards her being the more powerful. By proportion, the amount was miniscule, but at the scales that they operated on, that tiny bit of difference was tremendous.
Clark was always far too trusting, he thought for the thousandth time.
There was little he could do but be prepared. It did seem so simple to just... trust her. There was something about the girl that made people tend to like her. Clark had that too, but that could be chalked up to the man's simple, unfailing humanity and good nature. Even when he found Clark's attitude to be annoying, he still liked and respected the man.
The girl though. It would be so simple, but it was too neat. Power Girl was believed to be Superman's cousin when she first appeared as well. Matrix, later Supergirl, likewise claimed to be related to him when she first arrived. That last Supergirl in the black leotard who showed up briefly claimed to be his daughter from the future. There was even that blonde who showed up for a few days when Clark went to Apokalips who also claimed to Kara Zor-El. So many permutations on the theme made it even more difficult for him to really believe in this new Supergirl.
He stopped the film and steepled his fingers before him to think. Behind his cowl, his eyes narrowed as he caught the flicker of movement reflected on the screen before him. He paused his breathing for a moment, filtering out the sounds of the shuffling bats, the hum from the computer and focused on a faint tell-tale sound just at the edge of hearing.
He felt his lip twitch slightly. Only one person liked to try to sneak up on him in the cave. She had an odd sense of fun. "Batgirl." He graveled without turning around, "Aren't you supposed to be in Bludhaven?"
"Why aren't you there now?"
"Quiet night. Tim can handle. Needed cookies."
Batman puzzled that one out. A moment's thought recalled that since Alfred's last visit to them, the supply of cookies that he dropped off must have already been consumed. Tim tended to hoard his supply, but Cassandra went through hers quite quickly. In all likelihood, she must've gone through Tim's supply as well if she had to come here for her chocolate-chip fix.
He looked over his shoulder at her. "I'm sure Alfred will be happy to--"
"Who is that?" She interupted, staring at the frozen image on the monitor. He noticed that she still had her cowl on, the featureless mask hiding her expression, but he was certain he could detect a slight frown there. "She wears the 'S'."
"The latest Supergirl," he replied, wondering what to make of her interest.
"I was watching a little before you noticed me. Can you play again?" she asked him, taking a moment to pull her cowl off. There was an odd puzzled expression on her face that he'd recognized. The one she habitually wore when she tried to read something that didn't make sense.
He frowned slightly, but obliged her. Rewinding the surveilance footage of Supergirl's rescue of the plane. "What is it?" He asked, keeping the bulk of his attention on her responses to the tape.
Silence reigned for a few minutes before the tape played out and Cass finally spoke again.
"I don't like her."
Intrigued, Bruce looked back to the stopped image then at her. "Why not?"
"She lies. Movements. All off. All lies."
"What do you mean?"
"Every movement is... pretend. Makes all sorts of..." she made vague gestures with her hands, finally settling them folded over her chest, "She says, 'Sweet. Innocent. Nice. Like me' over and over. Trying too hard. Feels untrue."
Batman raised an eyebrow under his cowl. That was part of what bothered him about her. Possibly not consciously, but it was there. He nodded. "Go on."
"That's it. Her body makes... lies. Can't be that nice." She made a few more vague hand motions as though trying out and discarding words.
"Could it be that she's alien?"
"Kryptonian. Pure Kryptonian and raised on another planet. Perhaps her natural body language is different from what you're used to reading."
She shook her head. "No, no. Read other 'S' before. Not like that." She pointed to the screen. "Superman is very... sincere. No lies. Always 'This is me. I am me. I help.' Always help. Even Kon moves like him. Very... um... straight. Forward. Straightforward. His body always say what it mean, 'Like me. I want to impress you. I lonely. Make me not lonely.'"
He gave a small grunt and somehow managed to convey a raised eyebrow through the cowl.
She nodded then realized what she'd said with a faint blush.
He gestured dismissively and said, "But they're both from here. Both of them learned how to move from other humans." He inclined his head towards the screen, "She didn't."
She shook her head more empathically this time. "No. Seen others. Starfire not raised here, right?"
"No, she's an alien too."
"I can read her. She's... aggressive. Her moves are 'I can beat you. You want me. You are afraid I will beat you. Do not be afraid. Let me beat you.' Like that. No lying. Confusing, but no lying."
"Really?" He leaned back in his seat and considered this for a moment. He'd never asked Batgirl if she could read alien body language. It had never seemed necessary. "What about J'onn?"
"Manhunter? He is lonely. Every move. Lonely. He wants to help because it makes him not-alone."
"So you're saying the you don't like Supergirl because unlike all the other aliens you've encountered--"
"Because she lies."
"I'll have to think about that," he replied, shutting the screen off.
She nodded. "Cookies?"
"Good," she replied as she dashed for the stairs, taking them two at a time.
"Yes?" She paused and turned in midstep, having already detached her cape.
"You?" She thought for a moment before starting back up the stairs, calling to him over her shoulder. "Very controlled. Very in-charge. Your body says 'I am boss. Fear me. I better than you.' but your body lies too. Lots."
"Is that so? Then why don't you dislike me?"
"Because when you slip, your body always says same thing. 'Scared. Don't leave me. I need you.' So I stay."