Title: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How
Author: DC Luder
Rating: T for mild language and violence.
Summary: On one particular night, Cassandra's inability to verbally communicate is frustrating to many and hilarious to Dick Grayson.
Infringements: All recognizable characters belong to DC Comics, not DC Luder.
Author's Note: Little adventure during No Man's Land…
"He may have hair upon his chest, but sister, so has Lassie."
Nightwing and I had been making our way up from the Gotham Harbor after doing battle with a small band of young men intending to revive the Rasta gang.
With our combined efforts, we had been able to persuade them otherwise.
As we traversed the shattered remains of Gotham, I watched as Nightwing vaulted, swung and leapt from barely stable structures with a smile on his face. I had yet to become that well adjusted to the new terrain, and had hopes that I never would. Then again, Dick always saw the glass as half-full while I saw it as half-empty… and stagnate.
A few yards ahead of me, I spotted Nightwing motionless, standing on the hood of a long-since stalled public transit bus. As I leapt down from a surprisingly stable fire escape to the street below, I realized why he had paused. Approaching us at a fairly quick speed. was Batgirl, her black cape billowing behind her. As she came to a halt before me, Nightwing leapt down to the street as well.
Batgirl paused to bow with her fist engulfed in her open palm, utilizing the respectful fighting gesture as a greeting. I nodded before asking gruffly, "What is it?"
She sighed in frustration as she looked over her shoulder in the direction she had just ran from. Having less than a handful of words in her vocabulary, despite Barbara's tutelage, the young girl often used drawings and gestures in order to try and communicate her thoughts. The glance back said that was where the problem was, now she needed the who, what, when and why.
"How many miles?" I asked.
She raised up two fingers.
She pointed to Nightwing but when I asked, "He needs to go with you?"
"N-N-no," she replied before drawing an R on her left breast.
"Robin… something's happened to him?"
She nodded, a shadow of a smile showing under her mask.
"Is he hurt?" Nightwing asked.
Shaking her head, Batgirl began to pantomime walking and then suddenly fell to the ground. When I offered that he had fallen somewhere, she nodded excitedly, looked over her shoulder and then raised two fingers.
"We better go, two miles…" Nightwing said as he went to start off.
Batgirl stepped in front of him., blocking his path.
"If Robin's in trouble, he needs us," Nightwing growled defensively, the concern for his "little bro" beginning to show on his face.
As she drew the R on her chest again, she used her other hand to point to her lips while shaking her head.
Looking to me, Nightwing asked, "Care to translate?"
"I think… Robin said he doesn't want you to come."
Batgirl, nodding fast enough to cause her cape to ripple, pointed to me, the smile showing brightly beneath the black material.
"Forget what he said, he probably fell on his head," Nightwing offered before taking off, gaining momentum on the pavement before using a VW bug as a vault, sending himself into the air.
"Damnit," I growled as he disappeared out of view. Looking back to Batgirl, I nodded curtly, "Let's go."
From the general lack of uninhibited concern and anxiety in Batgirl's body language, it was safe to assume that Robin wasn't in mortal danger. Most likely, he simply required a being strong enough to help him out of wherever he had fallen. Keeping up with her fast pace, we made good time on the two miles, especially since there were abundant obstacles in the streets, both animate and inanimate.
Unfortunately, Nightwing had beat us there.
Standing on a slab of concrete that had once been the roof of an auto repair shop, Nightwing was looking down at the ground, laughing hysterically. As we approached, I heard Robin's voice echoing somewhere, "I swear, Dick, if you don't stop it, I'm going to kill you."
"With what," Nightwing asked, "A nickle from your wishing well?"
"What is going on? I growled.
Catching his breath, Nightwing gestured for us to join him on the concrete, pointing to the pavement that was on the other side.
Given that it was after dusk, I retrieved a small flashlight from my utility belt, aiming it at the dark hole in the ground. Robin stood at the bottom of a waste oil well, approximately fifteen feet deep. Arms crossed over his chest, he appeared no worse for the wear, aside from the oil and sludge dripping from every square inch of his suit.
Robin explained, "I tried to get out with a line but everything on me is covered in oil, won't catch to anything. Batgirl wanted to pull me out but I figured I would end up pulling her in with my weight…"
"Well thought out, Robin," I commented, only to find Nightwing's laughs grow louder at my use of the word well.
As Nightwing resumed laughing, Batgirl pointed to him and then looked to me and shrugged.
"Why is he laughing?"
I had a hunch as to why but Nightwing was quick to clarify it for all of us, "See, there used to be this TV show in the fifties called Lassie about a dog and the little boy who owned her. It was on for years and years but every episode, the same thing happened. The little boy would get into trouble, the dog would run home the parents and bark at them to try and tell them what was wrong…"
He took a deep breath of air to keep himself from chuckling, "And they would always guess ridiculous things like if the barn was on fire or if the badger had eaten the chickens or…"
Robin called up from below, "Don't you say it."
"What is it, Lassie," Dick grinned, "Is Timmy trapped in the well?"
A ball of sludge flew up from the well, hitting Nightwing in the chest. As they resumed arguing, Batgirl looked to me and then turned to Nightwing, kicking him hard in the back, sending him off balance and tumbling into the well.
After the grumbles and slaps subsided from down below, Nightwing called up, "What was that for?"
Batgirl looked to me and drew an R on her chest and pointed to the well.
She then indicated herself before looking in the direction we come.
Finally, a let a smirk befall my lips, if only for a second.
"You compared Robin to Timmy. You compared Batgirl as Lassie."
"What? No, I didn't mean… the not talking thing… That doesn't mean she's a dog," as I turned to leave, he called out, "Hey, you have to get us out of here!"
I paused for a second, looking to Batgirl once more. She stepped back into their view, fists clenched and posture rigid. In case they were unable to read her message, I gave it verbally, "It would be in your best interest to stay down there until you can come up with a suitable apology."
Robin disclaimed, "I told her not to bring you for a reason…"
Batgirl shook her head, about faced and walked off. As I joined her to patrol the immediate area, the last thing I heard was a smack followed by Robin's growl, "I hate you so hard right now."