Title: Trapped Within
Feedback address: email@example.com
Date in Calendar: 24 June 2007
Fandom: DC Comics
Pairing: Black Canary/Oracle
Word Count: 984
Summary: When Oracle's world crumbles…
Continuity: Comics, Post reformation of the League, follows The Hostage Without, events through issue 101 of Birds of Prey
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DD07
Disclaimer: Belongs to DC Comics
She found her thoughts dwelling all too often on the woman who had left her. At first, there had been resignation. Slowly, a sad acceptance had taken shape in Barbara's mind. Anger had even snuck in, when the woman who left her "to raise a girl as something approaching normal" had jumped onto the Justice League bandwagon.
She would never admit to anyone the pride she felt when Dinah was announced as the Chairperson of the current League. It was not as if she, Oracle, could take credit for the way Black Canary had matured, finally, into a solid hero.
Although, late at night, trying to see her way out of Katarina's manipulations, Barbara did just that. She looked at Black Canary as a testimony to what she could do when she did something right.
As opposed to her current fiasco. Since losing Dinah…things just had not been right. Having seen what she could do, and having watched her current team fall apart, under sway of that manipulative woman…
She pushed it away, dwelling instead on Dinah in a moment of self-indulgence. The words came back to her once more, the sound of her lover's voice hinting to more. "Always willing to help," the vigilante had said.
Barbara closed her eyes, and tried one more time to focus on the mission going south, not that last meeting.
Bringing Katarina to heel had taken far longer than Barbara cared to admit at times. Helena and Zinda both tried to tell her it wasn't her fault, that she salvaged it in the end.
Barbara saw it as one more sign of the things she had done wrong in her life. She reached out, touching the plushie collection in the basket they had taken residence in. Her finger rested longest on the newest one, a small homage to the missing bird that had helped her make the team a real threat to villainy.
"Dinah," she whispered, before making herself turn back to the computer, to her vast data searches, looking for ways to make a difference.
The call came out of the blue, and Barbara could not help the rush of guilt and anger that mingle. She felt the guilt for how much she had been thinking of Dinah lately, and the anger for the separation in the first place. If the redhead were perfectly honest with herself, she might admit that the separation came from both sides, as they decided to move in different paths.
Barbara had listened to Dinah tell her about the League, and about how she missed Babs and Helena and Zinda…and how was Cindy doing? Barbara wasn't fooled for a moment, and finally cut to the chase.
"Dinah. Why did you call?" She hoped her voice sounded encouraging, even as she knew that she had probably hit the 'waspish' tone instead.
"I'd like to see you, to talk to you." Dinah could talk at Oracle all day long, and had several times in handling the League business. But this was not about business, Babs sensed.
"Have you tried Roberto's yet?"
"Tried it? I'm practically living there between meetings," Dinah laughed, having fallen for the little eatery Helena had told her about in DC's area. She had suspected Babs had passed it on to her, through Helena, as it was Babs with the history in the capitol.
"Two o'clock, tomorrow," Barbara said.
The first thought on seeing her was that the news cameras really had not been lying. Dinah had always been a beautiful woman, but now…Barbara's heart ached as she realized that what Dinah was doing now was what she had needed. It made the blonde glow, looking more alive than ever.
"Barbara!" Dinah joined her at the table, bending down to kiss her cheek before taking the other chair.
"Dinah." Any other two women might have fallen into an awkward silence, but Dinah could not be resisted. She started chattering, and Barbara fell into old patterns quickly, sharing gossip and rumors and honest news as the drinks and appetizers came. It took awhile, but slowly the redhead started to see a layer under the one Dinah was showing, a layer that looked far too much like one Babs had seen before.
"You're staring at me." Dinah's abrupt departure from conversation shook Barbara out of her revelation and into confrontation.
"You're seeing Oliver again."
The look of consternation and embarrassment was no more reassuring than the knowledge her suspicion was true.
"We're getting a little serious," Dinah admitted.
It was too much. Barbara had been enjoying the lunch, had started to glimpse that the friendship that had come before the bedroom was still there, still strong and just waiting for them to fall back to it. Jealousy, however, decreed this was not to be.
"Why call me then? Why try now to get all friendly again, to make it look like you and I…" Her words faltered. //I want you back. I still don't understand why you left. You didn't give us a chance.// All these thoughts and more cascaded through her mind, but she clenched her jaw shut.
"I think I made a mistake."
"I'd say so! Calling me up, when you're…sleeping with …"
"No, Babs. About us."
Two sets of blue eyes met over a table, and Barbara felt the air go still.
"Making another one…and I've never been great at getting out of these kind."
Dinah reached out and took the hand Barbara had been clenching and unclenching around a napkin. That single touch, the look of love in her eyes, and Barbara almost…
"No, Dinah. You want to rectify the mistake with me…you figure out how to fix the one you're making for the third time first." She drew her hand away, and left, knowing Dinah would not follow.
They never did, as Dick had taught her several years prior.