Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters mentioned in this non-profit work of fanfiction; they all belong to DC.
A/N: Timeline is iffy, but just think of it as a nice time in the world of DC where anything could happen. Please review, I'd love to hear your feedback.
Dancing in the Quiet
Cassandra Cain wasn't quite sure why she'd been invited to Dinah Lance's wedding reception to Oliver Queen. Sure, Barbara Gordon was Dinah's best friend and Cassandra was the former's protégé but did that mean she fit in with the other guests? She could see plenty of Justice Society and Justice League members, known to both bride and groom. The original Justice Society members had known Dinah since she was a baby and Cassandra? She'd only worked with Dinah a few times. She felt rather out of place in the party.
Barbara had insisted she dress in an actual gown instead of wearing her costume. She wasn't quite comfortable in it, her uniform expressed herself more. She was able to move freely and she never gave thought about what others thought of her whilst she wore her uniform. If the clothes made the person, as Alfred had once said, then her uniform made her.
She was fierce, strong, fearless, confident and a force to be reckoned with…she was not the girl she could see in the nearby mirror's reflection. She didn't feel like the delicate and frail girl in a far too exposing and eye catching gown that was reflected. She instilled terror into the heart of criminals without a single word; how could her reflection show someone who didn't show how she really was on the inside?
Laughing, Stargirl gracefully twirled by, spun by Robin. Tim was happy to dance with Courtney, as was she, both perfectly at ease with the other. They were in sync with each other wordlessly, yet she couldn't understand it. Neither had her skill in reading others' body language but they could move perfectly with each other without words? How was that possible?
Surely she couldn't be the only one at the party who was feeling awkward? She kept getting looks and people whispered to each other whilst looking at her. People wondered who she was, admiring her for the girl she appeared to be but wasn't. She blamed Barbara – she hadn't wanted to be mask less and looking so girly. Even her nails hadn't escaped attention; they were painted to match her gown but even she'd admit that they looked good. Not many people had seen her without her mask on, with the looks she was getting she might as well have been naked as she was so uncomfortable. No, scratch that, she was more comfortable naked than in her current alien outfit.
Dick was chatting with his best friends, Roy Harper and Wally West. She half smiled to herself – he'd never admit to it but he did seem to have a fatal weakness to redheads. There were his two best friends, Starfire and of course, Barbara. Stephanie had once told her in passing that Tim mentioned that Jason Todd was a natural redhead too. Fatal weakness to redheads aside, Dick was the most sociable person she knew. He had friends, he was charismatic, he could command others (even his friends) with ease and people actually liked him. He could be serious and focused, yet he'd crack jokes or poke fun at things working alongside Batman. No one else quite dared to do that.
Dick looked over at her briefly and smiled at her. She hesitantly smiled back at him. Then Batman walked by in front of her, listening to Wildcat talk. He gave her a questioning look for her smile and she instantly wiped the smile off her face. He wasn't there to enjoy himself, neither should she be. She looked down at her lap and tried to be as sombre as Batman expected.
A while later, a shadow fell across her and she looked up. Dick was in front of her. "Come on, I want you to meet someone," he said, holding his hand out to her. She took his hand and let him lead her through the guests. Both had to rapidly sidestep Big Barda as she wildly led her shorter husband, Scott Free, across their path. Scott was practically being dragged along but he was smiling happily and looking up at his wife in pure adoration, not minding at all. Dick whistled, "That's not something you see every day."
She tapped Dick on his shoulder and at his look, she gestured at Tim and Courtney. They were now dancing with the current Speedy, Mia Dearden, and Cassie Sandsmark. She didn't understand how the four of them were able to wordlessly move in sync with each other in exact unison.
Dick said, "That's a popular dance routine, it's called the Macarena. Even if you've never danced with someone before, you can always dance that as it's guaranteed you'll both know the moves." She watched the four dancing, the girls giddy from laughing and Tim slightly embarrassed as Roy took pictures. "I never said it's a cool popular dance."
A point in Dick's favour was that he was able to hear her talk without her having to say a word.
Dick led her to a quiet corner of the party. "Cassandra, I have a mission for you," whispered Dick.
A mission? She'd been right to be suspicious – this party was liable to get attacked. She really should have put her foot down and worn her uniform. Wait, he'd wanted her to meet someone?
A smile tugged at his lips. "Yes, I wanted you to meet someone. Your mission, should you choose to accept it…is him." She followed Dick's discreet point and saw Oliver Queen's son, Connor Hawke. He looked even more awkward and uncomfortable than she had felt before Dick came over to her. She found herself able to wholly sympathize with him.
She left Dick behind her, walking towards the suited blond. Connor had been partially brought up in a monastery, with exceptional martial art skills. He was one of the best hand to hand fighters in the world – he'd been a worthy foe against Lady Shiva. He was unsure how to deal with the attention he got from females around him. Even though it was his father's wedding, he felt out of place. She saw that he was joyful of the new matrimonial union, glad that others were enjoying themselves but he wasn't finding it easy to join in the festivities. She could understand why Dick had asked her to help out Connor. They both weren't that great with being at the party. Whilst she had Barbabra, Dick, Tim and even Bruce (the only one dressed in uniform at the party and therefore was in Batman mode) to provide her support at the party, Connor didn't seem to have anyone. Mia was busy with the younger guests, Roy was too busy chatting up female guests or with his daughter Lian and the newlyweds were having fun.
Reaching him, she held her hand out to him as Dick had held his out to her earlier. Slightly surprised, he put his hand in hers, smiling shyly and hesitantly. She didn't know how to dance any dance routines, popular or otherwise. That was okay, she got the feeling that Connor didn't know any dances either. It was easier to not fit in a crowd if you had someone with you to do the same. She could support him socially in the only way she knew how and unlike others, it would work with him as they were similar in a manner.
She swung a punch at him. Eyebrow up questioningly, he easily dodged it. They started on a kata and she admired how fluidly and surely he moved. It didn't matter that neither of them were dressed as they felt comfortable and themselves in, they'd found a way to still show each other who they really were.
Connor smiled widely up at her as she pinned him down to the floor. In his eyes, she saw that he found her beautiful for being who she truly was and not for how she was currently dressed and made up. Feeling rather unexpectedly shy from his sincere admiration of her, she pulled him back to his feet.
Coughing pointedly, Dick got her attention from behind the gathered party onlookers around them. He grabbed Roy and the two silently held each other, miming dance movements. Connor smiled, his hand held out to hers. Flushing slightly, she easily took up position with him, copying Roy's pose with Dick. A delighted looking Roy held up two thumbs in Connor's direction, winking.
As Connor twirled her around, she saw Superman stand behind Dick and Roy, arms crossed and amused. The two guys didn't notice him or Wally shaking with silent mirth as he taped them. Dick dipped Roy low, the latter kicking a leg up, toe pointed. Connor dipped her low, following Dick's lead. Not before she saw the two dancing friends spring apart hastily as a glaring Batman went over to them, closely followed by Oliver Queen. Roy dropped to the floor and as he cursed, Dick started to casually move away, at speed. Dinah and Barbara were seated together, avidly watching them, flutes of champagne forgotten. Arms around each other's shoulders, they were getting emotional and misty eyed.
No longer given a dance guide, it didn't matter. Connor and she danced perfectly with each other, without words or a routine to guide them. Coming to the party, she hadn't thought she'd meet someone who could read her just as well as she read the world around her. Cassandra thought back to how she'd pinned down Connor and she smiled to herself. Well, he could almost read her in full.