AN: A couple years back, I tried my hand at some TT fanfiction, but I was far too obsessed with another fandom to grant it the attention it deserved.
Ages: Richard- 26, Kori- 25
Warnings: Mild swearing and suggestive themes.
As always, enjoy and review!
Kori Anders was painfully aware of the danger she was placing herself in, being mere seconds away from facing her enemy. Jesus Christ, what if he walked in with one of his floosies tied around his arm? Or if he asked her to dinner to 'rekindle the flame'? Pushing away the feeling of dread and swallowing thickly, the button pressed and the thick metal doors pulled apart. However, they revealed nothing more than an empty elevator.
Kori stepped into the enclosure, pressing the level seventeen button and leaning back against the dark cherry-wood paneling. Safe and secure now, she closed her eyes and wished to be somewhere, anywhere else besides Wayne Enterprises headquarters. Her deepest, darkest desire was to punch her boss in the face, hard and repetitively. Although there were plenty of interns, it seemed Kori was the only one available to meet Bruce Wayne's assistant for an advertising discussion. After working for the Prince modeling agency for three years, Kori figured that Diana could cut her some slack and let her not spend the day fearing for her sanity and increasing blood pressure. Apparently, today was not one of those days.
A sudden lurch during the elevator's assent caused Kori's stomach to lurch, as well. Her emerald eyes snapped open to view the double doors sliding apart.
"Kori?" The voice she hadn't spoken to in the last four months and hadn't seen in the last six barricaded her to the far corner of the elevator. He stood there, standing in all of his gorgeous glory: clean-cut dark hair, muscular frame, and stunning sea-glass eyes.
"Hello, Dick," Kori replied icily, gripping her purse tightly as he stepped inside and pressed his desired floor before taking a stance beside her rigid form. She tried not to inhale the masculine scent of his cologne, for fear she might visibly swoon in front of him.
"What are you doing here?" She turned to her ex-boyfriend, not surprised in the least at his lack of manners and straight-forward question. Same old Dick.
"I'm here for work. You?"
"It just so happens that I work here," He smirked, "But of course, you already knew that." Kori said nothing back and continued visualizing herself anywhere but in a confined location with Dick Grayson. "I tried calling you."
"I am aware of this, yes." He scowled lightly at her aloof tone but said nothing further. For the first time, Kori was aware of the light jazz music playing in the background. She focused her attention on the tunes, the soft swells of the piano and saxophone. Another lurch of the elevator slammed both riders hard against the wall.
"What in the hell is-" Without any warning, the machine let out a deafening grinding sound as Kori and Richard shared a worried glance. Suddenly, the floor seemed to disappear from underneath them as the elevator dropped several feet, before the grinding noise returned. Kori grabbed onto the handrails, struggling to stay erect. Richard turned to her, already dialing the lobby's front desk, and opened his mouth to tell her it was going to be all right, when the elevator careened again.
Unfortunately, Kori didn't experience any monumental flashbacks of her life as television and books often talked about, so she was entirely conscious of all that was happening. After begging all of the holy deities she knew of, she laughed at the fact she would probably die with the man she'd wanted to murder these past few months. Karma was indeed a bitch.
Richard watched his ex-girlfriend in confusion as the lights flickered above them and finally, the machine came to a screeching halt. By then, he assumed they had dropped at least sixty feet or more.
"Kori… are you okay?" She didn't reply and continued her laughter, sinking to the sparkling tiled floors. "Hey, Lindsay, this is Dick. I was wondering if you knew anything about the elevator malfunction," He finally reached the front desk after gaining control of his fingers again after gripping the rail so tightly, "Well, it feels like we just dropped out of the sky or something. I'm guessing that one of the cables snapped." Kori's laughter was fading now as she cleared her mind and listened to Richard's deep voice. Even with her hatred for him, the knowledge that he was there calmed her nerves slightly. However, the knowledge that the elevator could plummet again without any warning weighed heavily on her mind, as well. "All right, then. Have Bruce call the engineer and the fire department and see what they can do." He ended his call and brought his attention back to the girl beside him, who was now staring at the floor, a blank expression on her face. "Kor? Kori?"
"Yes?" Her voice croaked, eyes still glazed in shock. Richard carefully slid down to the floor next to her and placed a hand on the soft skin of her shoulder.
"Look at me." She made no move to obey. "Korine, please. I need to know you're all right." The deep green irises of her eyes pierced his when she lifted her face up to his.
"I'm stuck in a broken elevator with Dick Grayson, heir to the Wayne throne, and I might die at any second either from my nerves being shot or from said broken elevator blowing to smithereens," She narrowed her eyes until they resembled tiny green slits, "Other than that, I'm perfect. How about you?" He brushed off her attitude as if she'd simply complimented him on his attire. After dating her for over a year, he knew her every emotion like the back of his hand.
"I called it in so the police should be here shortly to fix the problem."
"And if it's a broken cable, then what? They're going to magically fix it?" He shrugged nonchalantly- Kori guessed his father had taught him that, too- and settled down, his jacketed-shoulder brushing her bare one. He noticed then that she was wearing a completely different outfit than he'd seen her in before- an ivory chiffon-style tank top with a black belted pencil skirt and, surprisingly enough, black four-inch heels which he didn't even know she owned. He supposed they were extra perks from her job as a model and hoped she hadn't bought them to go out on a date, as selfish as the objection was.
"I don't know, Kor. I'm sorry, but I have no idea what they're going to do." Honesty is always the best policy, he knew, even though for most of his life he hadn't followed the golden rule. Right now, though, she deserved nothing but honesty from him, he presumed.
The First Hour
"Bruce wants me to take over the company." He spoke aloud after some time of silence between himself and her. Finally, she acknowledged his presence and smirked.
"Why are you surprised? He's always been assuming you would."
"I'm not and I've always known, but now that he's preparing me for it, I realize that I don't want anything to do with Wayne Enterprises," His tone softened as he admitted what he hadn't to anyone else. Kori always had the power to seek out what he never dared to tell anyone else. "I mean, I love Bruce and I will always be thankful for everything he's done for me, but I don't believe I am capable of being CEO."
"Why don't you tell him that, then?" He snorted and shook his shaggy ebony locks.
"And sign my own death warrant? No thank you." The jazz music returned to Kori's ears again and she closed her eyes, letting her mind drift away into meditation like Rachel had taught her. She was on the tropical island of Tamaran, swimming beneath a waterfall. Diving down into the rushing water, she could feel the current slide through her body. Her eyes darted down below her, where she could see a pair of dark eyes gazing up at her. Even among the swift current of the water, the elevator music played on.
The Second Hour
Unfortunately, the smooth current in Kori's dream became extremely rough. The silence now was not merely quiet, it was stone silent, much like an abandoned graveyard of angered spirits. This silence spread to the interior of the elevator, where they'd been trapped for over two and a half hours. Being this close to Dick in this allotted time was beginning to chip away all of her defenses, Kori realized, as the question she'd been begging to have an answer to spilled out of her mouth.
"Why did you break up with me?" Normally, she would begin back-tracking and making excuses for being so forth-coming, but this wasn't by any means normal circumstances. This was just her and him; one pissed-off woman and one confusing man.
"I don't know," He replied and his tone didn't go unnoticed by Kori. She could have cooled a hot drink down with his icy tone. She scoffed and he shrugged. She turned towards him and he turned away from her.
"I'm so fucking sick of doing this little dance with you, Dick," Kori hissed, crossing her slender arms across her chest, "All I want is one straight answer. Give me the reason."
"Which one?" Richard growled and pulled out his Blackberry to avoid conversing with her any longer. Just as he dialed the front desk, a tanned hand came down and swept the phone away. Utter shock plastered itself onto his face as he watched Kori drop the phone down into her top. "What are you doing?" She narrowed her eyes, moving so she sat directly in front of him, even as the elevator shifted uncertainly, arguing against this change.
"I want answers, Dick. You never gave me one good reason. That's all I ask of you and I'm not sure what is so hard about coming up with something. I certainly have plenty for you." He debated on whether or not pulling open the doors and climbing out of the compartment. Sure, he might die, but then he would be able to escape from those harsh daggers she was sending him through her wide, expressive eyes. Damn, he'd told himself not to get caught up in those orbs. Now his emergency brake was on, bringing him to a full stand-still.
A shrill ringing caused both of them to leap back from each other. After gazing curiously around the elevator, Kori embarrassingly realized that it was his cell phone, which currently resided in the padding of her bra. Her eyes swept down to her chest, to his face, back down to her chest, and then once more to his face, now revealing an impish smirk.
"Come on, Kor, it's not like I haven't seen 'em before." She rolled her eyes unconsciously and dipped a hand down, unearthing the phone from its hold. Before the owner swiped the phone away, though, she caught the caller I.D.
"Hey, Katharine," He answered the phone; his voice slipping into the sultry tone Kori knew he used on his… acquaintances. From the phone's speaker came a long, whiny feline sound, as if someone was stepping on the tail of a cat. Kori raised an eyebrow at her ex, but said nothing more and pulled out her own phone to busy herself. "Yeah, I know. You've told me before. Listen, I- I know," He rubbed his face tiredly, "Fine. Kitten. Happy?" The sound erupted again, louder this time, enough to cause Kori to back away several inches. Was he even talking to a human? "Sorry, I'm going to be late. I'm… stuck at work." Kori winced as the screeching intensified. Dick quickly bid his goodbyes and hung up the phone, staring at the screen menacingly before glancing up at Kori.
"Relationship troubles?" She presumed and hoped the aloof tone in her voice matched her facial expression.
"Far from it. Trust me." His own tone said not to interfere, but his body language clearly screamed out for help. She wondered what could make the all-mighty Dick Grayson look so crest-fallen. While it was obvious that his problem with his father made up about sixty-five percent, she assumed that the other thirty-five was the dying cat he'd just had a conversation with.
Little did she know that Bruce Wayne merely owned twenty percent inside of Dick's mind. The other eighty belonged to the only woman he ever truly loved. The woman that sat right across from him.
The Third Hour
"Om namah Shivai, om namah Shivai," She chanted under her breath, bringing back the crystal waters of-
"Kori, what are you doing?" His voice broke her out of her reverie. She blinked, opening her eyes to the interior of the elevator, and sighed irritably.
"I am practicing the meditation technique Rachel taught me." A whisper of pink brushed across his cheekbones and she opened her mouth to ask him what he was embarrassed about, but thought against it. If he wasn't going to talk to her and give her any answers, she might as well do something with her time.
"Oh. That's cool." Kori slid open one eye again, roving it over his slumped form. His hands were clutching his Blackberry, his black hair hung in front of his eyes. "Can I join you?" Their gazes met, connecting and locking them both in the moment. If she said no, she felt like she would never receive any answer to any question ever again. If she said no, he felt like every sliver of hope he'd been building up would burn to the pit of his stomach, settle dejectedly there and never rise again.
"Yes, you may," Kori nodded and, unbeknownst to either party, both hearts rejoiced, "Now, cross your legs and straighten your back." She watched as he obeyed, his blue eyes sparkling. "Maintain this position for the session. Place your hands, palms facing upward, on your knees. Bend your elbows slightly."
"You will say, 'om namah Shivaya' since you are a male. Now, begin-"
"Hey, how do I know that I'm not summoning any dark spirits?" When her eyes opened again, she found the familiar smirk settled on his face.
"Do you honestly think that the naïve, level-headed person I am would summon the paranormal?"
"You learned this from Rachel."
"Point taken," Kori laughed heartily, trying to imagine what her friend's reaction would be when she found out that she'd been stuck in an elevator with Dick for over two hours, "The words simply mean, 'I bow to Shiva,' the inner soul. Trust me, it is not a dark spirit."
"I trust you." His blue eyes gleamed once more.
"Good. Close your eyes and imagine an aquatic destination."
"Waterfall, pool, ocean, bathtub. Anything with water will suffice."
"Now, quit interrupting me and let us meditate. Imagine that you are sinking, drifting peacefully to the bottom. The blood in your veins is now water, flowing through your fingertips, but you do not feel drained. You are tranquil, a soul existing upon nothing but itself. Floating but sinking in unison. Breathe the water in deeply and let it replenish your soul. Repeat your mantra. Om namah Shivai. Om namah Shivai.
"Release the troubles of your mind into the surrounding waters. Watch as the words and images, the troubled feelings and emotions drift away with the current, no longer a part of you. Om namah Shivai. Breathe in again." The clear water rushed into her mind, bringing her back to the tropics. This time, though, the dark eyes were above her, as if they'd dived into the water, searching for her. She swam toward them, wishing to see who her mystery guest was, but they quickly blinked away.
"Om namah Shivaya. Om namah Shivaya." Kori peered around her, trying to locate the voice in a panic. With another surge of the current, though, she'd forgotten about the voice and was continuing on downstream. The mysterious figure with the dark eyes suddenly darted past her, emitting what sounded like Billie Holiday from its lips. She turned her head, feeling her hair follow her like a mermaid's mane to locate the figure. But in another flash, her back slammed into the hard edge of a rock, a crippling ribbon of pain seeping from her skin. In the darkness, the eyes returned, wide in terror and she heard Billie's voice fizzle.
"Kori!" She wheezed for air, her fingers coming to grasp the nape of her neck as a warm, solid object grasped at her other hand. "Kori, are you all right?" She gently pushed away Dick's hand, using both of her own to massage the sore area.
"The elevator dropped again and you went flying into the panel," He motioned to the sharp corner that jutted out, "Are you sure you're all right?"
"I'm fine, Dick. Just a little… bump." Kori swallowed thickly, trying to blink back the tears. Damn it, why couldn't she tell the truth and admit it hurt like hell? She blamed it on her stubborn nature, her overly-defensive system she always engaged when around him. It hurt to think that she hadn't always been like this; she hadn't always lied to him about what was hurting her. She'd only started once he'd hurt her, when he'd left her standing in shock at his doorstep. When he'd told her to get lost, that she wasn't enough for him anymore.
He gradually blinked and moved away, back to his side of the elevator. She knew he didn't believe her. "Did you call the front desk and see when the paramedics are getting here?"
"No, Bruce texted me and told me that they were having trouble getting a hold of the engineer. He's calling in someone else right now. The firefighters are downstairs, but without the engineer, they don't know the correct way to get us out without possibly breaking the other cable- if that's even what's wrong." He ran a hand through his black hair once again and she grinned at his anxiety.
"Richard," Her cool voice broke the tense daze he'd locked himself into with the floor, "Everything's going to be all right." He nodded swiftly, his mouth dropping open once, twice, before he locked his gaze with hers.
"That's the first time you've called me Richard in six months." Her hand wrapped around his.
"It's the first time you've deserved it." They sat in silence for another moment, his hand gently squeezing hers, until he spoke again.
"Do you wanna play some cards?" She looked at him incredulously until he pulled out a single deck of cards from his briefcase.
"Is this what you do during your meetings?" He ignored her question with a roll of his eyes.
"What'll it be, Miss Anders?"
The Fourth Hour
"Do you have any sevens?"
"Nope. Go Fish." Dick sighed as he pulled another card out from the deck and eyed his cards.
"Got any kings?" She glowered at him, only her eyes visible from behind her own cards. Tossing two kings at him, her eyes flickered down to see what he had in his hand, before the empty holder came flying at her. "I'm not going to play with a cheater!"
"I wasn't cheating, I was just…."
"…looking at my cards." He finished for her and she stuck her tongue out at him. His only answer was a swift raise of his eyebrow, his blue eyes shining playfully.
"Whatever," She flipped her hair away and glued her eyes on her own deck, only to hear his voice pierce her concentration.
"Why did I let you go?" She didn't know whether he was asking himself or her, but she felt inclined to answer anyway.
"You told me that you didn't have enough time for a 'serious relationship'. That we were both going in opposite directions and sooner or later, we wouldn't have time for each other at all."
"Why did you believe me?"
"I didn't, Richard. I never believed a single word you said. I always knew you were lying to my face, as much as it hurts to admit. I… I never figured out why, though." Their bodies were close; her fingers itching to wrap themselves in his hair like she used to do after a round of love-making or when they would simply cuddle together on the couch.
"Bruce told me that you were holding me back," He finally admitted, his voice strained with irritation at his father, at himself, "That if I broke up with you, it would be easier for me in the long run."
"And was it?" He shook his head, leaning into her touch as she placed her cards down and caressed his cheek.
"No. Once I shut that door in your face, I felt myself… crumble. It was like pieces of me started breaking off. I stopped hanging out with our friends; I stopped leaving those messages on your answering machine."
"I missed those messages, as annoying as they were," She chuckled and he glanced over in amusement, "Because even though I tried to hate you with every fiber of my being, those messages still meant you were thinking about me. And I know I sound pathetic, but it's the truth. I still cared for you, Richard, even after you slammed that door in my face." He winced underneath her touch. Carefully, he brought his arms around her, leaning his forehead against hers.
"I'm sorry, Kori. For everything that I did to you that you didn't deserve. You were the best thing that ever happened to me and when I slammed that door in your face, I knew I'd screwed up big time. But I also knew that you'd never want to be with me if you couldn't trust me."
"I do trust you." Her voice broke the quiet as Richard turned, curiosity evident on his amused face.
"Why? After everything that's happened-" She shut him up with a simple kiss, pressing her lips firmly against his.
Kori spoke after they broke apart, "He already knows, Richard."
"Huh?" She grinned at him, glad she could still emit such blunt remarks from Bruce Wayne's prodigy.
"Bruce, he knows that you don't want to take over the business."
"What? How do you know?"
"Richard," She rolled her green eyes heaven-ward, "He's Bruce Wayne for God's sake. You really think he's in the dark about your intentions?"
"I think you have too much faith in him."
"He's not the one I have faith in."
"Thanks." Dick whispered.
"You're welcome." Kori replied.
As if their emotions were precisely attuned to one another, they both leaned in, breath hitching and eyes drifting shut. Their lips crashed against each other again, this time like ocean swells driving up rocky shorelines. A passionate frenzy colliding with a hunger for what was and still wanted to be. The rest of the world faded away, bringing them both back to the crystal waters. The dark eyes were coming closer, now, the figure's hand caressing her skin, running its thumb along her eyes. Open your eyes, Kori. The voice murmured and she obeyed.
Dick grinned momentously as she giggled, his hand coming up to cup her chin.
"I guess this would explain why we couldn't get you to answer your cell phone, son, huh?" The burly fireman winked and brought out some type of crowbar to pry the doors apart completely. Dick moved first, grabbing Kori's hand that wasn't collecting their things, and tugged her out with him. The firefighters around them tipped their hats as the couple thanked them exceedingly. As Dick broke apart from her, confused on what to do next- would she still want him, even after they kissed and did the miss mean anything to her like it did him?- Kori turned to him, producing his pack of cards from the pocket in her skirt.
"I demand a rematch, Mr. Grayson." She spoke as she led them out into the evening sunset of Gotham City, her arm firmly enveloped around his.
"I would gladly oblige if you would agree to go out to dinner this evening with me, Miss Anders. And if you promise not to cheat anymore when playing Go Fish."
"Listen here, Grayson," She poked his chest, "What if I cheated on purpose so you would kiss me?"
"Then all you had to do was ask." She laughed as he brought his lips down to hers again, before leaning her head on his shoulder and heading off into the fading sunlight. Kori decided that the next morning, she would litter her boss's office with flowers and a thousand "IOU" cards.
AN: Whew! Thank goodness I'm all hyped up on medication from having my wisdom teeth dug out (ouch); otherwise I never would have finished this. I don't believe I meant for it to be eight pages long, but I suppose that's what happens when you rant. Which I need to stop doing.
Extra info: In the DC comics, Killer Moth's real name is Drury Walker, explaining why Kitten's last name is the same.
I know that Kori didn't model for Diana Prince, but I'm a big Wonder Woman fan, and I decided to drop her name in the story.
The meditation technique I described is what I use when clearing my mind (helps with writing!) because water is an element that calms me. The mantra is a phrase used in Hindi mediation, so I do not use it, but I thought it was an interesting idea.
Again, thanks for reading and look out for my new story, "The Princess and the Detective," which you can check out my profile to read the summary.