My classes for the next few days passed by in a grayish blur. They were horribly boring, and as I went through the days themselves, they seemed to never end. But, before I knew it, Friday night had come and gone and I was waking to Saturday—moving day. I got up at once and began to look around the room excitedly. Bette was practically passed out in her bed and I quietly got most of my things ready. I would ask Dick what I needed to bring for my new apartment—as far as a bed, dresser, or television. I glanced at the clock and saw that it was eight-thirty; I rolled my eyes. I knew that Dick wouldn't even come near the dorm until Bette was gone. To pass the time, I lied back on my bed and pulled out a book I hadn't already devoured.
Before I knew it, Bette was up and around, getting ready for, what I guessed what a day out. She offered me a quick, "See ya," and was gone. At once, I jumped out of the bed and made it quickly. I opened the window in anticipation of Dick's entrance, and was not disappointed when not five minutes later he was sitting on the window frame.
"You ready?" he asked. I smiled.
"About. What all should I bring?"
He rubbed his chin in mock thought. I rolled my eyes and put my hands on my hips. "Just your personal stuff—toiletries, clothes, books. All the furniture will already be there; courtesy of Wayne Enterprises Scholarships." He winked and hopped onto the floor. We finished packing up all my stuff and we carried it all out to the parking lot.
"Wait," I said, suddenly thinking straight, and he halted. "How are we going to take all of this stuff—and my motorcycle—in your sports car?"
Dick shook his head and smiled. "I'm smarter than you think." He kept leading the way and took me to a bright red pickup truck. Dick put all my stuff in the back while I ran and drove my bike over. We managed to heft it into the back and I got in the truck next to him. "Let's go see your new home." Dick started the truck and drove on the side road that lead about three miles away from campus to the rich homes. Within five minutes of winding through quiet streets finely trimmed with green lawns, even in December, he pulled into the parking lot of the wealthiest looking apartment complex. My eyes widened.
"This can't be where it is," I breathed. Dick just laughed. We took everything up to my room—which was on the top floor—and Dick handed me the keys. I opened the pure whitewashed door and gasped.
The apartment was massive. All of the flooring in the entrance was bamboo, shined to a glossy perfection. The walls were a pale, but friendly yellow and I walked to the bathroom; it, too, was huge. The floor was a white linoleum tile, with random grooves that gave my feet extra traction. There was a shower with frosted glass door and a large Jacuzzi tub. The counter-top was a sandy brown granite color, matching the walls' tan complexion. I left the bathroom and headed to the kitchen and dining room area.
The bamboo flooring continued in both areas. The counter-tops in the kitchen were dark black granite, going with the ebony cabinets. There was no island, but more counter space I could have hoped for. I next went to the makeshift dining room—it was connected to the kitchen and wasn't its own room. There was a dark wooden table with four corresponding chairs. The walls here were a pale lilac instead of the yellow of the entrance. I marveled at the entire space, open and welcome and friendly. Dick took my hand and pulled me out to the living room.
This was small, comparatively. I didn't mind, though; it was bigger than anything I had had at the dorm. There was simply a black leather loveseat sitting in front of a large sixty inch flat screen. I gaped at the whole room—accented with a few paintings and houseplants. "We'll come back here, later," Dick whispered, causing my ears to flame. He once again reached for my hand and pulled me into what I assumed was my bedroom.
The room was…. Plush. A thick, fluffy carpet dominated my feet and I stared in awe of what was now my room. The walls were a deep blue. A chest of drawers was pushed up against the wall, a deep ebony. The thing that was demanding of attention, though, was the bed. It was a king-size four poster, with posh looking blue sheets. I immediately went over to it and lied down, allowing the cushiness of it to comfort me. He came and lied next to me, sighing. "Well…" He trailed off expectantly.
"Well what?" I asked playfully. I knew what he wanted… It was just a question of whether or not I would comply.
"You know what." I could hear the smile in his voice, although I couldn't see it.
"I need to get at least a little unpacked. Let me put all my clothes and toiletries away. Clothes first; as I'm putting away the other stuff you can stay here and… get ready." I ran out to the hallway and grabbed my suitcase, quickly returning to my bedroom. I unpacked as hastily as I could and finished; I then ran to the bathroom and Dick entered the room. I practically threw my things in the bathroom, knowing I would be exasperated later with the task of putting everything in the proper place—but that would be when my boyfriend wasn't here and currently waiting for me. I finished and walked to my door and stood, waiting. I took a deep breath and entered.
The lights were dimmed, instantly creating a sensual ambiance. My eyes went to the bed and I saw him, lying there shirtless. My ears flared up at once and I quietly approached him. He sat up when I got closer and I took a seat next to him. He looked at me and smiled softly. "We're not going too far."
"Whatever you say," I breathed and melted into him.
Our lips had just met when a buzzing came from the living room. Dick groaned and he told me to go check the television. I curiously walked out of my room and looked at the television—and was not entirely surprised to see Batman on the screen. "Hello, Barbara," he said, totally in monotone. "I hope I'm interrupting. I wanted to make sure this was working. Please respond."
"Uh… Hey?" I was totally caught off guard; he was moving so fast, I didn't know what to say.
"Good. Now, please come to the Cave. I assume Dick is there with you and can drive you. We will train until ten o'clock. See you soon." The television clicked off. I sighed and saw Dick peek around the corner of my bedroom door.
"Well, we should get going," he said and pulled his shirt over his head. We headed for the door of my new home and went out to the parking lot and drove to the Cave.
This time Dick stayed, much to Batman's dissent. I got changed and we did basic training until six. Then, suddenly, Batman stopped and ordered Dick to change to his Robin suit. He did and then spoke to us. "Batgirl, you're going to go out on the street today. You will be attempting to find Robin and capture him, as if he were a villain. He is going to be much tougher than any of the other random thugs, but that will be good practice. Robin, go. Do not make this easy." Robin nodded and got on his cycle, speeding out of the cave. "I will be observing you from afar; this is much like a test, but I will help you if you need a clue of where to look or how to defeat him. But that will cause there to be a 'bad mark' on your 'grade'." We stood in silence and Batman just looked at me. "Go." My chest instantly filled with butterflies and I got on my own cycle.
I zoomed out of the Cave at an alarming rate. The wind pulled at my helmet, and I was grateful for the protection it gave my eyes. I had no idea where to even begin looking. I pushed the com button of the side of my helmet, contacting Batman. "What am I supposed to do, exactly?"
"Look for clues Robin left behind. Once you find him, you'll have to fight him. Think of it like a game of hide and seek." He buzzed off and I focused on the road. I knew that it could be anything, anywhere. Batman didn't mention any sort of bounds, and he had told Robin to make sure it wasn't easy for me. I sighed and drove into Gotham City.
I found an abandoned building to stash my bike in and did so. I grappled onto the roof of that same building with much difficulty and clumsily heaved myself up. Surveying the city, I gave a small, sad smile as I saw the billows of smoke coming from factories and heard the occasional scream. As I looked at the building across from the rooftop I was standing on, I saw a small, red 'R' painted on the window. I managed to grapple of to this building and got inside the room with the correct window.
I walked closer to it and found a small note stuck under the window. I pulled it out and read: "This is a little bit different from my usual notes, huh? Anyway, I'm supposed to give you a clue so you can come find me. He only told me to give you one, though, so it's got to be pretty hard. Sorry! " I smiled subconsciously. "When we first met, we stood under a certain type of tree. That tree can also be found in one other place in Gotham. Come find me." He didn't close the letter, which left me a little upset, but I knew he was just being formal.
I shook my head and focused on the letter. The tree we were standing under when we first met? I searched my mind, trying to remember that day…
The January morning bit at my skin. I pulled my thick coat closer around my body and shivered. It sucked being a freshman, here at GSU. I was an easy target for anyone who cared to bully me, but my dad's status as commissioner helped cut that back. But still; people found ways to indirectly persecute me. So, when a suave looking boy came towards me and my ears began to burn, I instantly put my guard up.
"Hey." I stared at him. I had no idea who this guy was, but he was gazing smugly at me. Suddenly he looped his arm around my shoulders and said, "Would you mind joining me for dinner this evening?" I glanced at him cynically.
"Look, I don't even know who the hell you are. Why would I want to go out with you?" I replied. This didn't seem to break his stride. He just kept looking at me, flooded with overconfidence.
"I'm only Dick Grayson, the hottest, richest, and most available guy at GSU." My ears flushed and I instantly became upset. I had heard about this guy—he was only interested in women until they had slept with him. Then, he ditched them and never saw them ever again. I glared fiercely at him.
"Personally, I'd rather rot in hell then date a pompous player like you, Mister Grayson." I turned with a huff and went to my class, looking up at the bare Purpleleaf Plum tree, found exclusively on the GSU Campus, brought here by the botany department.
My eyes flew open and the memory faded as I was wrenched back to reality. A Purpleleaf Plum tree, that was what I was looking for; but I had a slight problem. As far as I could remember, those trees were still exclusive to the university campus. I decided to go back to my computer and attempt to look it up. However, when I went to bike to get my miniature laptop—one that Batman had procured for me—I found it was gone. All that was there was a note that said, "No cheating. ~R" I rolled my eyes and got on the bike.
I decided to just drive around the city until I found the tree. I knew that there wouldn't be any trees in the downtown area, so I took to driving around the suburbs and parks.
I had been driving for about two hours and it was nearing eight thirty. I sighed blearily and wished desperately to just be home in my newly furnished and extravagant apartment. I was driving through the last neighborhood, and had made a promise with myself that, if it wasn't here, I would ask Batman for a hint. Sure enough, I came to the edge of the community and I pushed the com on my helmet. "I can't find the tree."
"There's most likely more than one meaning in the note; or maybe the location is glaring you in the face, it's so obvious. Read it again." He buzzed out. Pulling over, I grabbed the note from my utility belt's storage compartment. I reread it again and again, trying to find some other meaning. I racked my brain, thinking of any other place there was a Purpleleaf Plum. There are two at the campus…. I thought; and then it hit me. There were two at GSU. One was on the south side of campus, the other on the north. We had met under the tree by the north entrance. There wasn't another tree off the campus; but there was only one other place that had that specific tree. I slapped my hand to my forehead and sped back to the campus.
I got to the south entrance in a matter of minutes and sprinted to where the tree was. I skidded to a halt, chest heaving and looked around for him. "C'mon. Come out! I know you're here!" I heard a chuckle and Robin landed with a soft thud from the tree.
"Took you long enough," he said and got into a fighting stance.
I jumped at him, attempting to punch his face. "Sorry," I huffed. "I searched all of Gotham before I realized that there are only two trees in the entire city." He neatly dodged my fist and kicked me in the stomach, causing me to reel backward. I turned it into a back handspring, but he was ready and took my feet out from under me as soon as I landed, dropping me on my back. The wind was totally knocked out of me, but I got up as fast as I could. "Want to go a little easy on me?" I teased, but secretly wishing he would give me a break.
"Can't," he said, whirling around me in a flurry of red, yellow, and black. "Batman ordered me to try to take you down. I plan on doing what he says; it'll help you become a better fighter." Robin went to punch my shoulder and I ducked, just in time. I returned with a kick to the side and he flopped to the ground—if only for a second. He rebounded out of the fall and winked at me as I stared at him, mouth agape. "Trying to catch flies?" he asked cheekily, running at me again.
I snapped my mouth closed and leaped out of the way and kicked him in the back. We kept fighting, no one really getting anywhere, until, suddenly, I heard Batman in my ear. "Robin. You're going easy. Take her out." I got goose-bumps and my breath came faster as I saw the noticeable change in Robin's demeanor. He became more direct and forceful, hitting my side and stomach strategically. It was all I could do to stay vertical. I tried to land a few more punches before he landed a solid kick to my stomach that sent me flying backwards. I landed, hard, on the ground and groaned, trying to get up. That plan failed miserably. "Good. Batgirl, you now know what we will be working on. Hand-to-hand combat; Robin start coming to her training sessions. I want her to have a sparring partner so I can watch and correct her. You are both dismissed, but I suggest you come and put your outfits back before starting… other things. Good night." The com clicked off and I gazed confusedly up at Robin. I was still a little dizzy from out fight.
"Let's go," Robin said, helping me up. We went back to the Cave, changed, and then Dick took me home. After a brief kiss good-night, Dick left and I was alone. I pondered the fight and knew how I would take him next time.