Birds of Prey Chapter 12: Life Mar 15, 2015 22:03:25 GMT -5
Post by adrini on Mar 15, 2015 22:03:25 GMT -5
Birds of Prey Chapter 12: Life
“Lean forward.” Renee said, as her better half moved somewhat then melted into pillow with a relieved sigh. “Better?”
Curling into the blankets Kate smiled before trying to fade back into sleep. Renee sat her the end of the sofa and opened her police files, working with the soft light. The exhausted red head looked at her mate once more before drifting off. The morning sickness was supposed to end at the beginning of the second trimester, Renee only hoped that was the case. Watching Kate try to cope like this was harder then she thought it would be.
Renee had waited for Kate to fall asleep for a reason. While the birds were active she could “loose” files for Kate and Di to find and work for her, now that the team was over she had been forced to try to work the crooked cases with the cops of ‘haven watching. More than a few had caught on, but if she didn't work them more innocents got hurt.
Not that there weren't innocents here. The fight had always been there, but it was so much heavier now. The childish game nights and movie marathons had seemed like diversions to keep Mrs. Lance happy, then as ways to cheer Di up after the loss of her mother. Now Renee knew better, as silly as they might have been they gave the team air to breath. Something they needed more than ever now, but didn't have.
An almost violently hard banging on the door started, startling both of the women on the sofa. Without thinking Renee walked in front of her girlfriend to see who is was.
“Of course, the woman.” Mr. Kane said as the door opened slightly. Pushing the door fully open he elbowed Renee firmly in the gut, and the officer hit the floor with a cry of pain. “Enough with playing house, my daughter. Time for a real one.”
Kate’s eyes narrowed and she tried to rush to Renee who was trying to get up, but having trouble as she held her ribs and winced. At least a couple were broken. She was stopped by two goons her father had brought with him.
“One more step and they do worse.” He said calmly. “It’s time to leave. Pack your things.”
Watching Renee finally stand Kate couldn't miss the pain, that her father would try something like this was always possible. He had real power in the city.
The goons saw that Renee was on her feet and slowly walked over, both pulling out brass knuckles and smiling. Seeing them Renee swallowed before looking at her beloved. She wasn't afraid, if it took a beating to get them to leave she was willing. Kate, and their unborn daughter however, needed to stay unharmed.
“It’s for the best, Kate. You’ll understand someday.” Mr. Kane said, motioning to the two to back off as she wasn't complaining. The moment grew tense. Renee needed medical attention, Kate couldn't afford to fight.
A short whistle gave them warning and Kate dove to the corner as Renee let herself fall in the same direction. Two taser wires flew out and the goons fell, Mr. Kane was suddenly very unhappy.
Each holding a weapon Zatana and Barbra were holding the ‘haven magnate at gun point. They were out of breath.
“Not a word.” Barbra said to the man. “Kate, how is she?”
Kate had pulled up her better half, Renee was starting to fade. There had to be internal damage, it looked bad.
“She needs help.” She said as Renee tried to breath and moaned a little.
“Not good.” Zatana said as she walked over, careful to keep the now angry man in her cross hairs. “Babs?”
“I got it. Have the confirmation?” The Gothamite asked.
“All clear.” Zatana nodded.
“Glad to hear it. Now to the best part.” Normally the kind one in the group Barbra was obviously done with this man. Considering the near constant harassment that he had been sending Kate’s way she was proud her patience had lasted as long as it had. “You are not the only person with connections here, I can make this stick. Kidnapping is a federal crime, not a local one. So this ball is in my court. Get out.”
“This isn't over.” The owner of Kane industries said as he carefully moved out. “Kate, pack your things.”
He left, his men following closely behind, and left the four behind. Door closed Zatana hurried to heal the cop.
“How bad?” Renee asked as Kate took her turn to worry.
“He’s hired a hit to take you out, to be fair you’re not exactly popular in the first place.” Barbra said. “And the only way he got in here is if he bought his way in. I thought you bought this place.”
“Ya, for all the good it did.” Kate sat down, now feeling truly sick.
“Are you alright?” Zatana asked as Kate fought tears, normally tough she was dealing with way too much just then. They didn't need this. “He didn't know, did he?”
“Ya, no.” The woman laughed dryly. “I’d be the one with a gut punch if he had any idea about Gage. Thank you for coming when you did. ”
“Just in time. You need to get out, he’s going to find out.” Barbra locked the door. “I found a location for you, till something better shows up. He was right about the packing.”
“How is she?” Zatana asked as the two hurried to the back to the rooms to throw bags together.
“Beth is alright, can’t complain.” Barbra said. “More glad to be away from her father, I gave her the old safe house. Said it was all she needed.”
“This city-“ The magician sighed, too many bad things happening. And so many targeted at them, it couldn't be chance.
“We all need out.” Babs agreed. Zatana was starting to get a sick feeling, one she would need to look into.
He was real. The eyes she had seen for so long in her dreams. The presence she had longed for, almost felt, not only existed but now insisted on sending her packages. Many and various packages.
It had started out with a new phone, one of the new smart ones that did everything, and only went on from there. A month after that miraculous morning she had returned to her spartan room to find the cement floor covered with a soft cream carpet and the unpainted drywall now sage green. To be fair he had ordered the same for all the rooms, but she hadn't missed that hers had been done first.
Now the futon was a hard wood bed and firm mattress, covered in cotton sheets. There was a full matching set, and the old plastic boxes that she had been using to store her things had been found already used to store potatoes in the kitchens. He had already made sure she’d have to use the new dresser. Then sent her plenty of things to put in said dresser. It gave them plenty more to talk about in the hours long conversations they had whenever they could.
It was off hours for her, meaning that Ollie was either in meetings or conference. Leaning on her bed pillows and reading she couldn't help but the glance at the phone as it went off, notifying her that her shifts had been updated. She also had a text message waiting.
Smiling into her pillow for a moment, after she read over the message twice, she put the book down. An invitation to stay in Star City, not the first. The first had been offered after a week, and they both realized too soon. So he was offering for her to move in when it was safe on a weekly basis now, so that he wouldn't miss the window that it would work. It was getting very tempting, but it was a big jump.
The phone went off and Adrien’s face popped up on the screen. Reading the message Di jumped out of bed and hurried to the front hall. If she had come all the way out here it couldn't be good.
Adrien was directing a few bags when Di saw her, and waved in greeting.
“Has there been a leak?” Di asked. “Do I need to run again?”
“What?” She asked before rushing to assure her. “No, nothing like that. That will be clear soon. Someone wanted to meet you.”
Relieved Di followed, only glad she was still safe. Also she was almost clear. Once she was she could finally tell her friends she was alive and might try Star City again. Would it really be a good idea to go back to ‘haven after what happened before, would be able to force herself to even go? Adrien led her to the cafeteria.
“Adrien!” A teen was rushing over, tucking a few sodas into her bag. “Did you see the market? They have everything!”
“Would you mind taking her around Miss Lance?” Adrien asked and looked over. “I’m sure you know the area better than I do.”
“Wait, this is her?” The girl asked, excited. Adrien gave the barest of nods. “You’re better!”
“Young Miss Thea here found the medical files in my office.” Adrien explained. “While snooping.”
“Spying.” The teen corrected. “Ollie wanted to know how finding you was going.”
“But she agreed not to tell him anything until you got back on your feet.” Thea nodded.
“If I had shown Ollie those pictures it would have been bad. He was in no condition.” The dark haired teen shook her head. “I’m really glad to see you like this instead. Thea Queen.”
“Dinah Lance.” Di said, taking the offered hand. She didn't know how to respond, she didn't talk about that time. “It was, um.”
“Something that will never happen again.” Thea filled in promptly, leaving it at that. “I had to meet you. Take me to the market and we’ll hang out. Ollie says you have the really awesome painted masks and I want one for my room, like you. ”
“Well, you have a number of options. But I can certainly help.” Di nodded to Adrien, who was smirking, and followed.
Thea happily linked their arms. Did Ollie tell her everything? “Anything other than a mask today?”
“Yes.” Thea said, in a matter of fact tone. “You come out of hiding in three weeks, Adrien told me. Ollie wants to pick you up that day, we got his room ready weeks ago and the kitchen is pretty well stocked with your favorite foods to. I’m here to talk you into it since he can’t get out of meetings and we’re trying to punk Digs for getting in the way so much. Plus an article in major newspapers would let your friends know where you are, so it’s perfect. We’re getting rooms ready for them to, but you need to tell us what they like. Adrien says you aren't going to agree if they aren't welcome, but we would have welcomed them anyway so it wasn't an issue. So you have to say yes now, right?”
Di had to admit it, they were good. If it also meant offering her sisters a way out, she really did.
Dinah had been protected, she had seen her Godfather perform the spell himself. Far and away from the hells she had suffered she should never have even been held for more than a week. The magic of her locket wasn't some cheap trick, it was powered by Fate itself. A power that had somehow been blocked.
It wasn't the only case. While she had made fun of her friend for looking for her “green eyes” a spell had been cast, several times, for that dream to actually happen. A cute fairy tale to the others, it was a real effort to a goal that had been blocked. Fate had been blocked. This wasn't good. She didn't know the full story but if the Book of the Canary was a sizable title the Book of the Birds was notable. It had to be multigenerational. Yet this was actively under attack.
Opening the door to the small two room apartment that Jade called home she stood at the closet door and watched, and for once thought to see what the hell was going on.
“Ees, ees gnihtyveve.” She said softy, and focused on the house. The walls were dripping with something, it was dark, poisonous and time stamped. Some kind of blockage. Following the lines, carefully so she wouldn't be caught, she felt her stomach sink. Whoever was behind this was holding back Jade. Holding her here. There was somewhere else she needed to be, fate would know.
But she wasn't the one paying for it. Zatana kicked herself for not seeing it before. Tommy wasn't meant to be here, his health issues made that clear to anyone with wit to see it. He needed a place to get well, and the upper slums of ‘haven was never going to be that place.
He wasn't doing well. Once again not able to keep food down that day he was crying, weak from hunger, but she knew that if Jade tried to feed him it would only come back up. The little boy wasn't the only one in tears, his mother would do anything to help but Jade was at a loss. They both needed out.
Watching as Jade hurried and carried the little boy to the clinic again, they could usually treat the worst of it, Zatana could see her friend was in tears. She was afraid. She had cause to be.
None of the Birds were safe. The same dark lines had been in Kate and Renee’s apartment, the first time she had noticed them. If the main three were being targeted, Bab’s place had been clean, then she had one more place to look.
The loft was empty now, even if the tapestry and simple furniture was still there. Stepping out of the coat closet Zatana looked again, but found that the lines were faint, fading. They had been here during Dinah’s stay. With her gone they had been allowed to fade. This couldn't be chance. With whoever was behind this none of them were safe. But Di, she had gotten out. The question was out to where.
She took the closet back to the House of Fate and shook her head, thinking. There was no door in a porch, and she hadn'tseen any mirrors. Maybe something close by, like a restroom door.
Holding the place in her mind she opened a passage way and found herself walking out of a room marked “Ladies”. Perfect, it was even believable.
The compound was dark and close by she saw the weathered seti from the page, this was the place. That meant that Di was close. She searched again, looking for the dark lines like before. The lines here were gold, the pale and pure gold of the powers that Hector used. Someone had set up this place as a safe haven, someone who worked for Fate.
Casting a simple find spell she saw the gold line of dust weave alone the path ways – dorms, market, offices- then finally fade away on the air strip. The trace was strong, Di had been here only a brief time ago. After getting so close she couldn't help but to slam her fist into the nearby wall. Her friend had been safe here, but fate only knew if she still was now.
“Be calm, Little Rabbit.” She heard Hector say behind her. “I must thank you, the darkness did slip past me. I can see it now.”
“Hector, whoever this was broke the locket, you said-“ She ran over.
“Sadly I do know who is capable of that. It is a matter I must see to.” Sighing, his face looking tired for a moment, he then led to an opening of his own making, it was a skill she didn't have. “As for your matter, however, this might help.”
A light flaring she found herself standing in a fairly ornate dining room with Hector standing close by. He nodded and motioned to the door way.
It was a dark living room, moonlight filtering onto the rich cream and sage. Hector waved and she saw the same gold lines everywhere, this place was safe. It had to be under protection of a guardian. Soft footsteps came close and the real, living form of Dinah walked into the room. Wearing a silk nightgown and sleepily reaching for a bottle of water she was beautifully alive.
“DI!” She managed to gasp, the blonde turned at the sound and took a moment to realize who it was.
Not able to speak she rushed to her friend and clung tightly. The two didn’t say anything for a time, but Di saw the elderly man behind them and figured it out.
“I thought you might be.” She said as hector nodded and smiled. “Now quickly, before the others wake up. Tell me everything.”
-BOP-Barbra was still getting used the chair, but it wasn't as bad as it had been. The surgical healing was mostly done, leaving the tenseness she could sense but somehow not feel. Or maybe that was a memory of what she used to feel. I was hard to know for sure.
She wheeled over to the desk, where she got to work looking over information. It was normal work as she looked though data bases and checked e-mails. Updates from her father, Bruce, a few from Alfred and a small note from Di, likely some joke or pun or-
Opening the e-mail at once Babs knew it had to be her, the voice was perfect, the tone was classic and the information was fitting. Momentarily weak she leaned over the desk and caught her breathe as she reread the e-mail. It could be a forgery, there was no guarantee it was real. Hackers stole writing styles all the time. In reality there was really only one way to find out if this were an actual miracle or some jackass who needed to be shot.
Using the number provided she waited for the ringing to start and then for someone to pick up. It took a few moments, which was when Babs noticed she was holding her breath, but someone did answer.
“Queen residence.” Said an unknown voice. “Thea speaking.”
“Yes, I’m calling for Dinah Lance.” Babs said slowly, the words still new. “If she’s there.”
“Of course she is, it’s terrible out there.” The speaker said. “None of us would be caught dead in that snow drift. Who can I say is calling?”
“Tell her it’s Babs. She’ll know me.” It seemed the speaker already did, she laughed.
“You’re Babs!” This Thea said. “You’re famous! She’s been telling us all about you, and the others of course. I’ll go grab her, just hold on a sec.”
The phone must have been placed on a table, allowing Babs to hear the muffled conversation as she waited. There were a few people there, all of whom were curious about her. A new speaker showed up, this time a man.
“Barbara Gordon?” He asked.
“Yes, is Di there?” She asked again. As nice as these people seemed she was still waiting.
“In a moment, she was just in the restroom.” He explained. “She’s going to love hearing from you. She wasn't sure if she should wait or call first – here she is.”
“Give me that! My friend. Dibs!” Babs heard the old voice muffled at first, as the others laughed. “Babs! I didn't know if I should call, or if that would be too much of a shock, or maybe I should have-“
“Don’t you ever do that do us again!” Barbra yelled before she could stop herself. “Just dropping off the face of the earth like that! Do you have any idea what that did to us?! We thought we lost you, you were gone, just-“
She lost control for a moment, crying , grief released at the now fact that her friend was safe. She could hear Di breathing from the line but she wasn't saying anything.
“I can’t lose you.” Babs managed to get out, finally. “Please, I can’t.”
“I’m sorry.” Di said simply. “I know it was hard.”
“For everyone. Alright, from the top.” Babs said, catching her breath. “Tell me everything, starting with what the hell you’re doing in Star City of all places.”
The large apartment was seized from some drug lord and held as property of the police. For a hideout it was more than a little nice. Staying there as her girlfriend got increasingly more inclined to waddle Renee was mainly glad they had a place to hide, Gage had a safe place to come home to when that time came.
But that time wasn't for some months. In the meantime Renee was active with the police again and Kate was obsessing over the already perfect nursery. They had somehow fallen into a normal life, even Renee knew it had to be some kind of accident. But for the moment they were away from her father and the danger he stood for. She was going to savor this.
“Mail is here.” Kate said as she walked over, there were several more packages. Who knew what Kate had decided to add. They got the boxes into the room, where Kate opened them and started putting them away, as Renee looked at the normal mail. Nothing really out of the ordinary.
Except for one, one very odd letter. Looking to make sure Kate wasn't nearby Renee carefully opened the wax seal, odd in itself, and found a message inside. As though in some dream she saw a photograph and did a double take. What she was seeing wasn't possible.
Reading the letter she couldn't stop a few tears as she nodded at the information, it made sense. As much as she hated to admit it, it made sense. She also loved the offer, though she didn't know if they would be taking the writer up on it right away.
“Kate!” Renee stood up and ran to the bright room of all things pastel. Kate had ordered more blankets and cloth booties and was getting them ready to be washed when she ran in. “You won’t believe it, look!”
“Who the hell is the ‘Spider’?” Kate asked, but read the letter. As she did her eyes went wide and she sank into the nearby chair, taking a long moment to speak. “All this time, she was alive all this time.”
“She was in witness protection. Proof of life.” Her mate knelt down and handed her the picture. “My god, what has she been though?”
“Near death, even with her healing gift that bitch got her to near death, that means that if she had been there when we arrived-“ Kate didn't finish the thought.
“It would have been too late, she really would have been gone. She got out when she needed to.” Kate was looking at the snap shot, eyes memorizing the image.
“We can’t go.” Kate said, looking at the message again, it had included an offer to visit or resettle in Di’s new home town. “My father has to have people looking for us, and packing everything we’ve built here would give us away.”
“No more packages.” Renee said as she felt a strong kick and smiled. “We hide here till Gage is here and you’re able to move better. Then we get out. If anyone can protect us from a magnate-“
“It’s an even richer one.” Kate said, nodding. “Yes, we’ll be done with my father for good, bastard can rage all he wants. Where are you going?”
Renee had jumped up to made a mad dash for her phone, and came back quickly.
“Screw a photograph. I want to hear her voice.” The cop said. “What’s the number?”
The shot from the clinic was still working, something she could only be thankful for. Tommy, now just over a year old was chowing down on his lunch of drive though chicken nuggets. As young as he was he already knew to eat when he could, to make up for when it wouldn't be impossible.
She looked over the mail, grabbed in the middle of the mornings errands and sorted out the paperwork. It was the normal stuff except for one wax sealed posting, on thicker paper then the common items she normally saw. She played with her necklace, the few remains of Di’s locket floating in a glass heart, as she opened the envelopes and put the items in their regular piles. Then she got to the odd one.
It had the impression of a spider in the wax, and it looked like one of the seals that missives to her mother tended to have. Tommy saw the letter and looked at it curiously, scooting over to see it more closely.
“Si-der.” He pointed to the seal, excited and started making one of the nuggets sneak on top of the table.
“Eat.” She said and broke the seal. Tommy nibbled on his lunch and looked at the writing as his mother read. Though he did catch the small snapshot that fell out.
Jade had missed the picture entirely, instead barely believing the words she was reading.
I am writing to inform you of news that your close friend and sister Dinah Lance still lives. The dated photograph sent with this will serve as proof of life until a date and time for a visit can be arranged. While what follows in the following pages will be a more exact record of the occurrence of the events leading to the present day I will briefly explain the circumstances here.
It has been no mistake that your team, The Birds of Prey, has been targeted. Forces unknown to any of you sought to destroy the team from the beginning. This took various forms for each member, as you can personally attest to. For Miss Lance it took the form of the kidnapping and disappearance you are already aware of, made possible by the breaking of her locket which had been acting as a deterrent. I do not know where the remains of this locket are now but showing it to any magically inclined person will verify my words.
Injured to the point of near death by this experience, Miss Lance was swiftly taken away to secluded location after a lengthy hospital stay so as to be able to travel safely. There she was given time and space to heal and recover, while at home I personally saw that those who continued to hunt her were discretely removed from the picture. For issues of security no others were informed. As of late last week the last of these persons were dealt with and word of her existence could once again be spread safely.
It will be some comfort to you that in this time she has been asking for her “sisters” continuously, afraid that the unfortunate time apart would be a cause of resentment. If this is the case please place the blame entirely on me, I did what I thought must be done to see to her safety over her frequent protests. Should you desire it, your presence and the presence of your son, would be entirely welcome at her new residence. Address written below.
I would like to express my sincere apologies for any hardship experienced at this time, and extend an open welcome should you select to honor us with your presence.
Jade could feel her hands shake, something not lost to Tommy who was next to her. His eyes wide he reached to hug his mother and she saw the small photograph he was holding. Carefully she looked at the image, and in public or not, bent over in tears as she grabbed the glass locket. She lived.
It was Di, she looked a little more tired even as she smiled, but it was her. She was holding a newspaper in one hand, dated to three days ago. Some off camera person was holding a sign over her head stating “She won’t stop talking about you, get out here already.” Chuckling a little Jade gathered her things and rushed to the car, a confused Tommy in tow.
Pulling onto the spine she looked at her son as he finished his lunch. Di was in Star City, with a wealthy family. It was the escape she had been looking for, that they both needed so badly. Tommy wouldn't go to the clinic anymore for some stop gap, he would go to a real doctor with real medicine and actually get better. He wouldn't have to live with being sick anymore, he would be taken care of and well. They would both be safe.
She had to have enough for the gas to get there, it only had to be a one way trip. They could eat cheaply on the way there, once they arrived she already knew Di would make sure they wouldn't want again. It was how her sister worked, how the birds worked.
They arrived at the house and she went into auto pilot, pulling bags from the storage room. Just enough to get out there, no more. Her own bags were quickly packed and she was in the middle of packing Tommy’s main things when the door opened and she heard Thomas’s voice behind her.
“Go if you want, but you are not taking my son.”