1713: Love & Bullets – Chapter Six, Part OnePosted: March 19, 2017
Title: Love & Bullets
URL: Chapter 6
Critiqued by BatJamags (BadJamags and GoodJamags)
What do you need us for? count: 9
Dick is a dick count: 5
Hello once again, patrons! I’m your guest host, BadJamags…
GoodJamags: … And I’m your guest guest host, GoodJamags…
… And we’re back with more of Love & Bullets, the fic that can take an obscene amount of time to say absolutely nothing. I haven’t been snarking the chapter titles so far, since they’ve been fairly bland, but this one is called “The White Rose.”
GoodJamags: That was the Yorks, right? *Looks up* I was right! Aw, yeah, who’s the smartest history genius ever?
Probably someone who’s actually graduated college. What my counterpart is referring to is the Wars of the Roses, one of Britain’s civil wars. It was a conflict between the houses of Lancaster (the symbol of which was a red rose) and York (the symbol of which was a white rose). Ultimately, it was actually the Tudors who came out on top. Probably because their rose was both red and white.
GoodJamags: Fancy. And to be fair, the Lancasters were only assigned the red rose in retrospect after Henry Tudor came up with the combo-rose, and the Yorks had only recently started using the white one.
Oh, and it’s also the name of a popular ship in the RWBY fandom.
GoodJamags: Perhaps most relevantly, Carmine Falcone, a major crime boss in several versions of the Batman canon, uses a white rose as his calling card.
Anyway, let’s not drag this boring piece of shit out longer than it already is. At this point, I’m just going to skip the canned author’s note. You’ve seen it before.
As soon as Alfred heads back up into the Manor, I turn back to the Batcomputer. Only, researching what our moronic Mayor is about with this Arkham project isn’t what I have been doing for the last sixteen hours. No, what I have been doing is something that would totally earn me mockery outta Damian (our baby bird is nothing if not brutally honest), snickers and jokes outta Tim
Dick: I’ve got to confess: I was napping on the job.
(and Wally, Conner and any of my other so-called “friends”),
GoodJamags: Uh. They are your friends. Why the scare quotes?
and silent looks outta Bruce that would suggest he’s considering having me committed for a seventy-two hour psych evaluation.
Three-day non-stop psychiatric examination: if you’re not crazy now, you will be when you’re done! Brought to you by the Metaphor and Exaggeration Enforcement Patrol!
Blame Crunchy. I managed to wrangle that one out of him after nixing F.A.R.T.S., P.I.N.E.A.P.P.L.E., and S.O.B.
The only one who would get why I am doing what I am doing is Alfred.
GoodJamags: Because he has Alfred-powers. Batman may have the (admittedly awesome) power of being Batman, but Alfred’s power is being Alfred, and that’s, like, 50 times better.
‘Cause he knows I am doing everything in my power to make up for my blundertastic move in Chicago.
Still waiting to find out what the hell you were doing in Chicago.
I’ve said already how Raya deserves the whole fairytale and roses and me down on one knee thing.
Yes. Repeatedly. And at length. In fact, you’ve probably already said whatever it is you’re about to say.
Well, I can’t exactly give that to her considering how she’s avoiding me (she’s scampered off to Tim’s) and with my tweaked knee (and Alfred) barely allowing me out of bed.
GoodJamags: Let’s be fair, here: you could always get down on the other knee.
I have had to resort to bedside warfare because of these complications. So Alfie has been my secret agent (he is not taking either mine or Raya’s side just so you know). He knows I always leave the little minx notes either on her pillow or stuck to her bathroom vanity.
He’s just helping out by delivering my notes for me.
So… that’s what you’ve been doing the last sixteen hours? But Alfred acted like he didn’t know you were down there!
Before my notes were meant to either convey words of encouragement (especially during the more difficult cases she tends to get assigned), small reminders about things we had planned to do that evening (either on patrol or not), about something I might have asked her to do (like pick my tux up from the cleaners), or just little quips meant to make her smile as she got ready for work (for her day job for the record). Now I am leaving those same notes with a single white rose beside them (and yes, there’s a reason for why they are always white roses, but I’ll get to that in a minute).
Because fuck those Lancaster assholes, with their fancy Shakespeare plays and their kings. Pft.
GoodJamags: That or Dick has an OTP.
Look, if we reference all three things every time that comes up, it’s going to get really repetitive. So, do you have the RWBY jokes out of your system?
GoodJamags: I can suppress them.
Good enough. And I’m not even sure what kind of Falcone joke we’d make, so that should cover things.
I also tend to text her while she’s at work (I know, real professional of us…)
GoodJamags: Except she’s a doctor. Her work is kind of important. You really shouldn’t be interrupting a medical professional, though it does depend on exactly where she works. If she’s an oncologist or a surgeon (and given that she’s a Mary Sue, you know she is one of those), interrupting her is a bad, bad idea (though if she’s smart, she won’t have her phone with her to respond anyway). If she’s a more pedestrian go-in-for-a-check-up kind of doctor, it’s still immature and unprofessional, but you’re a little less likely to cause something catastrophic.
Usually I am just checking in to make sure everything is okay, asking if she needs mine (or Nightwing’s) help with anything, passing along information relevant to a case we’re either working together (or separately) or finding out if she wants to do something when she gets home.
You do realize that the phone company will have complete records of every call and text made on their service, right? And that they’re completely within their rights to sell those records? Which means that, if he had the patience to sift through all those calls and texts, someone like, say, Lex Luthor could discover your, and therefore Batman’s, secret identity!
Now I include lines written by some of her favorite poets (she’s a sucker for anything from Byron, Browning or Frost),
GoodJamags: I honestly haven’t read much from Byron and have no idea who Browning is (I know, I know, no class – I’m much more familiar with classic film than classic literature), but you leave Robert Frost out of this!
or send her snippets of her favorite love song (Across the Stars).
GoodJamags: I’d look it up and drop it here, but I don’t actually care. Also, has he been texting her for the last sixteen hours?! I mean, I get annoyed when I get a stream of texts for thirty seconds! If I had to listen to my text tone for sixteen hours, I would throw my phone in the river! And I don’t even live near a river!
This is the only way I have to romance Raya. I can’t chase her down like normal. I can’t sweep her off her feet (literally). That’s why I’ve been killing myself for the last sixteen hours to finish writing a non-fictional piece that Raya started writing a few years ago, but never finished (for some reason).
Wait, so you’re not texting her. Then why were you rambling about the notes and texts?
It’s a piece that doesn’t just explain the reason why I only leave her white roses, but reminds her of who we are and how far our relationship has come. There is a memory in this piece, a statement I made to her that is still true twelve years (and a million traumas) later: That she’s my girl.
GoodJamags: *Pulls up YouTube and looks at BadJamags hopefully*
Go for it.
She’s always been my girl.
GoodJamags: I’ve got sunshine, on a cloudy day.
When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May.
GoodJamags: I guess…
GoodJamags: What can make me feel this way?
She always will be my girl.
GoodJamags: My girl!
Talkin’ ‘bout my, my, girl!
I tap a few commands into the computer and bring the document up on the screen. I know you’re wondering why I’m working on something this personal on the Batcomputer. Well, one reason is because I safe coded the document by using the latest encryption software Bruce has installed. Nobody is accessing this file but me (and Bruce if he really wants access to it, which I doubt).
Maybe he wants to know what you were doing on his computer instead of working on the delicate and important project he assigned to you.
My other reason for staying down here and working on this? It’s because I can’t stand another moment in our bedroom. Being in our bedroom and seeing her things everywhere, smelling that hypnotic scent that is hers and hers only on everything, is killing me.
GoodJamags: Wait, I thought it was because- oh, forget it. The author can’t bother trying to keep her character motivations consistent, why should we?
Because we’re not hacks?
GoodJamags: Well, there is that.
I want her to meet me face-to-face so that we can discuss this seperation (and bring an end to it).
Maybe you can talk about the separation while you’re at it.
I’m hoping this story will convince her to meet me.
GoodJamags: I still have no idea why she’s avoiding Dick. Is she really just that thin-skinned?
Quickly, I scan the document, looking for any errors and flaws that might garner the mighty Nightwing a ball or strike in his first time at bat…
That’s what we call a metamoron. First of all, balls are good (I mean, they’re not really my thing, but you certainly can’t complain about them – but I’m talking about a different kind of balls) in baseball. If you get four balls, you’re a Krogan you get on base for free. Sure, sometimes it’s better if you can hit the ball, but if the other team’s pitcher is throwing pitches you can’t hit, it’s because they don’t want to risk giving you something you can swing at, so they’re conceding a base to you instead.
Second, hitting three-in-ten balls that come your way means you’re a damned good hitter. You could strike out the first time at bat, and no one would really bat an eye.
GoodJamags: I see what you did there with the “bat” an eye. See, because it’s baseball, and the story’s about Batm-
Shut the fuck up. Finally, you say it’s your first time at bat, yet you don’t say what it is you’re doing for the first time.
GoodJamags: Alright! That’s enough baseball lecturing! Here, have a line break:
You realize that those don’t actually do anything to pacify me, right?
GoodJamags: LINE BREAK!
Home of Jim Gordon.
GoodJamags: Ooh, does this mean we’re going to get another scene with Barbara?
We can only hope that it’s as good as the last one.
Twelve years ago.
TWELVE YEARS BEFORE WHAT?!
She heard the rat-tata-tat on her window at half past two.
GoodJamags: Looks like someone’s shooting at the Sue with a machine gun.
She glanced up from the book she’d been reading (Romeo & Juliet),
GoodJamags: I would’ve expected Richard III, given all the roses going around.
IT’S A PLAY, NOT A BOOK, DIPSHIT!
GoodJamags: There’s really no need for the vitriol.
a smile ghosting her lips
GoodJamags: Who you gonna call?
as she glanced over at the window. She knew who her nocturnal visitor was. Only one other person in all of Gotham would dare to come to her window in the middle of the night: Dick.
Uh… Lady? This is Gotham. Someone sneaking through your window in the middle of the night should be an everyday occurrence. If it’s not some vigilante sneaking around, it’s a thief trying to steal your valuables, or a serial killer looking to kill your serial.
GoodJamags: Or worse yet, your cereal!
She went over and unlocked the glass, and then slid it open. The night was bracing; soothing. She drew in a deep breath, felt the cold go deep down to where stress had coiled her insides into fiery little balls and slowly start easing them.
GoodJamags: Gah! Purple attack!
“Are you going to invite me in or stand there while I become a Robincicle?” she heard Dick drawl in a sardonic tone.
“Robincicle?” Really, Dick? That’s the best you’ve got?
“Not cold are ya, caped blunder?”
“Just a bit.”
GoodJamags: That’s what happens when you don’t wear pants.
Her lips trembled as she looked over at him. Richard Grayson, dark and handsome and a bit beyond nuts considering he was sitting in the tree outside her bedroom window
Not sure where I got this impression, but I’d thought Gordon lived in an apartment in the middle of the city. Must’ve been something silly like “commute times” or “cost of living,” or other such drivel.
in nothing but a pair of thin gray cotton shorts and ankle socks.
GoodJamags: Or if you’re only wearing pants (and socks).
Her pulse kicked (as it always did) at the sight of him and she had to swallow before she could speak.
Her pulse needs to learn to control its temper.
“Where is your Robin gear?” she asked (her voice huskier than she’d have liked) as she slid back to grant him entrance into her bedroom. “And why for the love of all that is holy are you only wearing a pair of shorts and socks? Have you lost all sense here, bird boy?”
GoodJamags: I hate to say it, but I’m agreeing with the Sue again. Most of the story’s issues come from Dick being a moron and the repetitiveness. When she actually appears rather than just being talked about for pages, Raya Sue is not that annoying.
“I hid some of my stuff in the trunk of your car,” he retorted cheekily. “But for some strange reason the only clothes of mine that I could find were these shorts.”
“That’s because the only clothes of yours in that trunk were those shorts.”
And… why does he have a random pair of shorts in her car trunk?
GoodJamags: Uh… Look, a line break!
Seriously, just saying that does nothing. Author neglects to tell us where we are now, by the way, but it seems to be just a POV shift.
Dick eyed the black t-shirt she was wearing. She knew it was one of his favorites. It featured the name of a local band he’d been introduced to by his best friend, Wally.
GoodJamags: I can almost picture it. It’s black and has the name of a band.
GoodJamags: Y’know, the band.
And Wally (West, I assume) is from the Midwest (I want to say Missouri, but I don’t know for certain*). Gotham is in New Jersey. So why does someone from a completely different city know this “local” band?
*In the comics, Barry Allen (the second Flash and the first one who still “counts” for modern continuity) lives in Central City, Kansas. Wally West (The first Kid Flash and third Flash) lives in Keystone City, Missouri. Eventually it was decided that the two cities were on the border between the two states, and were right next to each other, separated only by a bridge. In the Justice League cartoon, things are simplified by having Wally be the only Flash, and having him just be in Central, and in general stealing all of Barry’s setting, backstory, and supporting cast. So, depending on the version of Wally and what point in his life we’re talking about, he could be from either Missouri or Kansas.
He could feel his palms itch with a desire to skim up those shapely legs and find out what she was, or was not wearing underneath that t-shirt.
Well, that escalated quickly.
He pushed his heated thoughts to the back of his mind (before he’d need to throw himself in a snowbank in order to cool off) and asked her, “Is that what you wear to bed when I’m not around?”
“Yes,” she stated impishly, “it is.”
GoodJamags: I’m scandalized by the fact that she wears a t-shirt for a band that Dick also likes. This is… worthy of… some kind of reaction?
Images flashed through his head, each and every one of them causing his body temperature to rise to a dangerous degree. Dick was almost positive that he could see steam lazily floating off his skin. That pile of snow below her window was starting to look more and more inviting with each second that passed. To distract himself from his rampaging thoughts he asked her, “Where are the rest of the clothes that I stashed in your car on Thursday?”
And why would she take them out?
“I have them in my closet.” Then one eyebrow lifted.
GoodJamags: Whose eyebrow doesn’t matter. Just know that there was, in fact, one eyebrow that lifted.
“Wait a second, are you saying that you broke into my car despite the fact that you actually have keys to it?”
I have no idea what’s going on here. He stashed clothes in the car, she took them out, he found out that she took them out, and she assumes he broke into the car even though he has keys to it, even though there’s no indication that he didn’t just use the keys?
Dick gave her a lopsided grin before nimbly climbing in through the window. “Uh-huh.”
“More fun this way.”
She rolled her eyes at that bit of cheeky logic before asking, “Why are you here? I thought Bruce needed your help in rousting Ivy from her hothouse?” Concern for their dark mentor crept into her heart; turned her eyes to onyx.
GoodJamags: You might want to get that checked out.
“Is everything all right? Did Bruce…”
Dick: Eat a corndog while tapdancing on top of City Hall? How’d you guess?
“One,” he quickly cut in before she could work herself into one of her fretful states. “I didn’t think it a good idea for Robin to be discovered breaking into the Police Commissioner’s house.” He gave her an engaging grin while shaking out some of the bits of snow sprinkling his hair. “Figured that explaining why Dick Grayson was climbing in through his girlfriend’s bedroom window at two in the morning would make for a much more believable story than why Robin was doing it. So I changed in your car and hid my gear in the trunk.
GoodJamags: Fair enough.
Two,” he continued as he slowly prowled towards her in his stocking feet, “Bruce did need my help in weeding Ivy out of her rooftop garden. And everything went fine,” he assured her soon as he saw the worry spring to her eyes. “Nobody got hurt and Ivy is being transferred back to Arkham even as we speak.
Which is logical, because he’d have more important places to be if something had happened to Bruce.
GoodJamags: But the Sue is super speshul and extra important to both of them!
As for question three?” He held out something he’d kept hidden behind his back. “I wanted to give you this.”
Dick: Now, there’s a very good reason why I have your wallet with me, and it’s because ohlookatthatBatmanneedsmegottagokthxbai.
GoodJamags: And here’s another line break:
This turned out to be one long-stem rose, white as the snow blanketing the entire city save for the palest shade of pink she’d ever seen staining the very tips of its fragile petals.
One: The rose looks more purple to me.
Two: That color on the tips better not be lightish red! We don’t want those damned Lancasters on our flowers!
GoodJamags: Oh, that makes it a Tudor rose!
It was absolutely the most beautiful rose she’d ever seen.
GoodJamags: She lives in Gotham. I’d be surprised if flowers even could grow in a place that messed up. What I’m saying is, I don’t think she’s seen that many roses.
Raya looked first at the flower he held in his hand and then at him. Uncertainty and pleasure intermingled upon her face as she slowly reached out to trace one finger over the silky petals. Even as her heart went soft as jelly, her stomach jumped, pitched violently. In her mind’s eye she saw her mother falling, collapsing upon the small table in the marbled entry hall, upsetting the vase of roses her father bought her, that he always bought her after an… episode. Red roses would forever remind Raya of blood-her mother’s blood as it poured out onto that white marble floor. She hated them for that reason.
Not that she’d ever tell Dick that.
Oh, you poor dear. How very twajek that must be for you. And if it’s red roses that make you think of that, then why is this white rose bothering you so much?
She wasn’t ever going to tell him about what happened the night Matthew Berkeley shot and killed her mother.
She wouldn’t taint the beauty of his memories with the stain that were hers.
Nope, still not how logic works.
Ah, but he didn’t bring you a red rose, a voice (that sounded suspiciously like Barb’s) whispered in the back of her mind.
GoodJamags: Wow. Even when she’s not in the scene, Barbara is still trying to slap some sense into these characters!
What do you need us for? count: 10
Nor is he apologizing for having physically and emotionally hurt you in some form or fashion. His is a gift from the heart, meant to convey his love and affection for you, and to illustrate how he’d been thinking about you even while he was supposed to be paying attention to his mission.
Head-Barbara is almost as awesome as real-Barbara.
GoodJamags: Just a bit more long-winded about it.
She knew the voice had a point. This rose was a simple and wondrous gesture from an amazingly beautiful boy-man
Did she just call Dick a man-child?
that the fates and one tortured hero had given her to cherish. Tears misted her eyes, spilled down her cheeks, and poured out from the holes her father had carved in her heart.
GoodJamags: Her father carved holes in her heart? You really might want to get that checked out.
*Sigh* This is a bad place to stop, but we’re about halfway through the chapter, so I’m going to have to cut it short. See you next time, folks.
What do you need us for? count: 10
Dick is a dick count: 5