1737: Love & Bullets – Chapter Seven, Part TwoPosted: April 18, 2017
Title: Love & Bullets
URL: Chapter 7
Critiqued by BatJamags (BadJamags and GoodJamags)
What do you need us for? count: 10
Dick is a dick count: 5
Bullet count: 0
Hello, once again, patrons! I’m your guest host, BadJamags…
GoodJamags: … And I’m your guest guest host, GoodJamags…
… And we’re back for more of Love & Bullets, the fic that never gets to the damned point.
Last time, we met Damian Wayne, the ever-obnoxious son of Batman. He bitched about some stuff, and had another pointless flashback. Let’s just get started.
Damian had found he liked having her around. Whenever Raya was in residence at the Manor it became a place suddenly sparkling with hope and happiness, whose mortar seams were near to bursting with love and laughter.
Author, let me make something perfectly clear
WE. GET. IT.
We really do not need to hear about this subject for this long. Shut up and move on.
And it became something more than just the haunted domicile in which he resided.
GoodJamags: Who you gonna call?
It’s like the author wants us to make these jokes.
It became home.
Is the author still talking about this? Shut up and move on.
Yup, he thought, resting his cheek against the cool railing while he listened to her sing the song he so loved. She made the Manor home.
GoodJamags: You just said this. Shut up and move on.
But the only way to keep her home (where she belonged) was to convince her that she needed to move back into the Manor. He found himself now asking himself one important question, how?
And I find myself giving one important answer: I don’t fucking care. Shut up and move on.
He didn’t have a clue.
GoodJamags: This isn’t exactly news to us, either.
A piece of paper waving in front of his face drew him out of his pensive reverie.
*Points Benny the Imaginary Handgun* Put the thesaurus down and nobody gets hurt.
He looked first at the paper, and then up at the man who was holding the paper between his fingertips.
“What is this, Grayson?”
GoodJamags: It’s a piece of paper, but that’s not important right now.
“The words to what Raya’s singing,” Dick Grayson said before settling himself on the stair next to him. “I figured you might like knowin’ just what it is she’s actually sayin’, given how much you love listening to her sing this particular song.”
I wouldn’t. Shut up and move on.
That Grayson had known he was curious about the lyrics of Raya’s song did not surprise Damian any. As he had come to know and understand Raya Kean, so had he come to know and understand Richard Grayson. And just like Raya, Dick just had a knack at getting him.
I don’t care. Shut up and move on.
He knew when he wanted to know something and was being too prideful and stubborn to simply ask for the information.
GoodJamags: The biggest reason Damian doesn’t ask for stuff is that he’s usually too busy demanding it.
He took the paper and quickly scanned it. He then looked at Dick with a slightly annoyed expression upon his face.
Damian: This is Margaritaville, not Cheeseburger in Paradise!
“This is in Gaelic, Grayson.”
Oh, the Sue speaks Gaelic. I’m surprised. Do you see this? This is my surprised face.
GoodJamags: I’m pretty sure they can’t see your face.
Oh. Well, rest assured, it’s extremely surprised.
Dick gave him a cheeky grin. “Ya didn’t drop me any hint about wanting it to be translated, Dami.”
GoodJamags: But he didn’t say he wanted the lyrics! Presumably, he wants to know what they mean, not to do a sing-along! He can hear them just fine!
And “Dami?” Fucking seriously? I was willing to let “Barb” slide because it’s a common way of shortening the name “Barbara,” but “Dami” just sounds stupid (my sincere apologies toward any patrons or riffers who actually go by Dami, both for insulting your name and for thinking you don’t exist).
Damian tapped his fingers in unrestrained impatience upon his knee.
Ooh, he’s tapping his fingers. I can tell how unrestrained his mild irritation is.
And silently contemplated the consequences involved for either kicking him in the shin or punching him in the side. He opted to do neither because of how it would displease the woman down below.
GoodJamags: Damian’s never heard of the words “responsibility” or “consequences.” If he felt someone needed punching, he’d go for it.
Also, I’m pretty sure that means his impatience is restrained.
He did cut him a look that eloquently said how he found him quite annoying at that moment.
Oh, Damian’s finding Dick quite annoying. Indeed, his feathers are most ruffled. Pretty soon, Dick’s behavior might even prove especially bothersome!
GoodJamags: And come on, Damian. A look? You couldn’t even manage a Look? What kind of son of Batman are you?
All Dick did was give him that goofy grin of his.
Realizing he would not get his answer otherwise, he sighed and asked in a grumpy voice, “What is it that she is saying, Grayson?”
Dick: I have no idea, actually. What, did you think I speak Gaelic?
Dick settled more comfortably upon the stair before replying.
“She’s saying, ‘to the Goddess, I do pray. To grant me power, and the strength to fight. Banish this curse, hold back the night. And with these words, fill this home with eternal light’.”
GoodJamags: Convenient, how it rhymes in English, too.
It’s like an off-brand Green Lantern oath. Admittedly, it’s translated, but that sounds like the most boring, un-haunting song ever.
Damian mulled the words over silently. He thought it interesting that she was singing a Wiccan incantation rather than an actual song. Why she was chanting a spell remained a mystery, though. One it interested him to solve.
Hmm… I wonder if it’s a mind control spell she’s using on Dick? I mean, the words don’t match, but we may have a Sue who exerts Suefluence publicly. We might need to bring her in for… scientific examination later.
GoodJamags: You mean you’re going to feed her to Kane’s eldritch horrors?
Nah. I’m going to feed her to Kane.
Kane: *Teleporting in* You called?
Not really, but while you’re here, check this out. *Hands him a copy of the chapter*
Kane: If I require bedtime reading material, I may look into it. Good day. *Teleports out*
GoodJamags: Dude’s creepy.
Raya, much like the rest of the family, did not openly practice any type of religious affiliation. Her choosing something so spiritual in nature was…bizarre.
GoodJamags: Maybe she just likes the way it sounds?
One of my favorite songs is American Pie, which has a lot of religious lyrics, and I love Christmas music in general (and might celebrate Christmas just a tiny little bit with only the flimsy excuse that my family celebrates Christmas), but I’m agnostic.
Interesting, he had to admit. But bizarre. He angled his head to look down first at Raya, and then over at Dick, an unspoken question in his eyes.
You might want to get that checked out.
“She’s always been intrigued by mysticism, shamanism and magic,” came the automatic and amused reply. “She spent hours researching the subject when we were kids.”
Dick: To become more of a Sue, naturally.
“You’ll have to ask her that. I don’t actually know what intrigued Raya about magic and shamanism and mysticism.
GoodJamags: Those are three different things which are all separate from Wiccan… ism? Wiccanness? Wiccanity? What’s the “ism” form of that?
However,” he added when Damian heaved a sigh, “If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say some of it is about feminine empowerment.”
Uh, what? “Magic/shamanism/mysticism/Wiccanityismness = feminine empowerment?” How? Explain things!
There were lots of things Damian wanted to ask Raya. There were a multitude of things that he wanted to say to her, that he wanted to do with her, in fact.
The problem was that he didn’t know how to go about saying or asking any of those things. How am I supposed to ask if she will take me to the Museum when I can’t even ask her for a glass of water without insulting her?
GoodJamags: I’m not even sure how you’d go about insulting someone by asking for a glass of water.
Could you get me a glass of water, you dumbshit?
GoodJamags: Well, that’s rather blunt, isn’t it?
Oh, but he wanted to learn. Desperately in fact. But to do that… he tilted his head against Dick’s shoulder and sighed softly.
“I want her to come live at the Manor again, Grayson.”
GoodJamags: We’ve established that. At length. So shut up and move on.
If Dick was surprised by the admission he didn’t show it. No, he just draped an arm around his shoulders and said softly, “I know, Dami. Me too.”
Damn, the mind control song has already taken effect!
GoodJamags: But the lyrics have nothing to do with mind control!
That’s what they want you to think!
GoodJamags: Who is “they?”
The ones I hired to steal this joke from SC.
GoodJamags: And who are they?
Raya chose that moment to cross to the stairs and slowly wave a mug back and forth in front of Dick.
“Coffee, bird boy?”
GoodJamags: And she just… had a full mug of coffee with her while she was singing? Was she singing while making the coffee? Where did this come from?!
Actually, I think she was mopping. So, she was mopping, making coffee just in case Dick happened to show up, and singing. And this is not just shower-singing, either, the description makes it sound like she’s exercising a set of professional-quality pipes. That’s a fuckload of multitasking.
Damian felt more than saw Dick’s eyes shift, landing on her and then on the cup she held in her hands. Without hesitation he took the mug, drank to clear away the sleep fog still thick in his voice.
GoodJamags: Maybe they’re actually in Silent Hill. Would help explain why Dick’s eyeballs are flying out of their sockets.
“Babe, have I told you how much I love you lately?”
GoodJamags: I don’t know, but you’ve been telling us for the last six and a half chapters. You can shut up and move on now.
“Yes, you told me how much you love me yesterday morning,” she replied dryly. “Right after I brought you coffee and breakfast in bed.”
Is this supposed to be a clever retort?
“That’s not why I was saying I love you, Rae,” Dick said with a waggle of his eyebrows.
GoodJamags: … What are you waiting for?
The last two times I said this, you interrupted me.
GoodJamags: Yeah, but there’s no minor involved this time.
Oh, alright then. Bow chicka bow w-
GoodJamags: But it’s fun to interrupt you anyway.
“Little ears, ya ass.”
Says the woman swearing in front of those same little ears.
“What?” He grinned down at Damian. “Dami knows about my obsession with your waffles.”
GoodJamags: You know what would be fun? If the Sue were actually bad at something for a change.
“And we all know you’d spill state secrets for my waffles.”
Ugh. I hate spilling state secrets. They’re so sticky and messy, and they take so long to mop up!
GoodJamags: Hey, maybe that’s what she was mopping earlier!
“Nah-uh,” he stated right before he grabbed hold of her t-shirt and tugged her down on the stair in front of him. “And that’s final.”
GoodJamags: My god. I think the author’s trying to write witty banter here.
Oh, it’s alright. They’re behaving like five-year-olds, but they’re doing it ironically.
GoodJamags: Yeah, and I ironically like puppets.
Wait, but we actually don’t like puppets.
GoodJamags: *Headdesk* Did you seriously not catch what was what the reference?
She settled back against him before saying, “Whatever ya say, buzzard beak.” Her lips twitched then. “Fact is you tell everyone who brings ya coffee that ya love them.”
I am so tired of this conversation.
“I love you most of all, Rae.”
“Ya better,” she retorted saucily. “I’d take away your coffee if’n ya didn’t.” Then her face softened and she leaned up to place a kiss to Dick’s lips. “And I love you, too… jerk.”
GoodJamags: I still don’t get what’s with all the “ya”s and “if’n”s. No one actually talks like that (well, maybe the “ya”s sometimes, but I’ve never heard a real person say “if’n,” so the author’s insistence on sprinkling the dialogue with them just makes it sound like a ‘50s B-movie trying to represent the way kids talk.
“See that, Dami?” Dick complained. “Woman tells me she loves me while insulting me.”
“I’m allowed to insult you.”
“Oh?” Dick drawled. “And why is that?”
Raya Sue: Because I’m a Sue!
“Because I’ve had to put up with you for all these years.”
Damian watched their interplay in silence. He liked watching them when they were together. Their playful banter and physical displays of affection were not things his mother would have allowed. There were lots of things he’d learned from them that he hadn’t during his time with the tutors his mother had hired. Like the complicated nature of male and female relationships. By simply observing the two of them he’d come to understood there was more to relationships than business associates or partnerships.
GoodJamags: Alright, kids! It’s time for a guessing game! Can you guess what we don’t care about?
*Points at random part of fic without looking* That! Right there!
GoodJamags: Why yes, little BJ, that’s exactly what we don’t care about! Now, can you guess what we wish the fic would do?
Shut up and move on?
GoodJamags: That’s right! You’re so smart that I’m going to speak to you in a ridiculously patronizing tone of voice!
Seriously, though. Stop that before I feed you your own eyeballs.
There was a genuine affection between them, and a kind of friendship that allowed for them to say, or do anything without fear that it would cause their relationship irreparable harm. Raya frequently called Dick out when he was being thoughtlessly cruel or hardheaded. Same as Dick did whenever she was being extremely foolish and unnecessarily reckless.
SHUT UP AND MOVE THE FUCK ON!
He’d often wondered why, considering the genuine feelings between them, that they were still only calling each other friends. They were a couple to his way of thinking. But he didn’t ask them why, figured that it was another of those questions that would receive the patented “when you’re older” response. So deep was he in his thoughts that it took him a full minute to realize that Raya had spoken to him.
GoodJamags: We get the point. Shut up and move on.
“What?” he only barely remembered to sneer. “Did you decide to finally include me in this little conversation you were having with Grayson?”
Uh, no, she didn’t.
“I asked if there is anything that you would like me to make for dinner tonight.”
GoodJamags: I didn’t hear you ask that. Look, author. If I have to sit through the entirety of your story, you should have to do the same.
It was not a question that he found he could simply shrug off or coat in his usual wall of disdain. It was a question that carried hundreds (if not thousands) of yummy possibilities. His reaction was ridiculous, he knew. Pennyworth made him anything that he desired to eat. But there were things, wonderfully sinful and delectably mouth-watering things, that Raya knew how to cook that the butler did not. Like…
Oh, of course she’s a better cook than Alfred. This chapter is Suing it up so much that we’re gonna have to hire a lawyer to get through it.
“Pad Thai,” he announced with a nod. Then he added, his voice silky smooth, “With green tea ice cream for dessert.”
GoodJamags: Green tea ice cream?
Ew. Why the hell would you make ice cream out of tea?
Dick ruffled his hair. “Way to think on your feet.”
Raya made a soft sound, between a snicker and a hmm before she snagged Dick’s mug and took a small sip of the slightly bitter brew. Dick growled playfully and snatched his mug back from her.
“Mine,” he said sternly. “Don’t touch.”
GoodJamags: He is an Orange Lantern! I wonder if Raya Sue is still a cat.
SHE’S NOT A DAMNED CAT!
One brow arched.
GoodJamags: Somewhere in the world, exactly one brow arched. Whose brow is irrelevant.
“Did Bruce somehow forget to teach you the age old lesson about sharing with others?” she asked dryly.
But sharing means caring, which means that Dick doesn’t care! He’s just like us!
“Considering how Bruce doesn’t share well with others,” he replied as he set the mug far out of her reach. “Least of all when it comes to his first cup of morning coffee, no.”
GoodJamags: Ah, that’s very interesting. Now, fic, can you tell us why we should care in one paragraph or less?
“Anyway,” she said with a roll of her eyes. “I can handle making both Pad Thai and a batch of homemade green tea ice cream,” she slanted a look at Damian and smiled. “But we’ll have to run to the store for a few of the things that we’ll need. And you know the rule about if I have to go to the store…”
GoodJamags: Guess not.
Outwardly, Damian responded by rolling his eyes and snapping, “Yes, I know the rule, Kean,” before he got to his feet and stomped up the stairs.
Inwardly though, it was taking every ounce of his willpower to not scream and shout as he raced down the hall. That he was excited to do something as lame and boring as grocery shopping horrified him. However, just the chance to have a few hours alone with Raya more than made up for the embarrassment that going grocery shopping with her might cause him.
GoodJamags: Aw, poor baby has to go grocery shopping. I feel so bad for the SHEER EMBARASSMENT. Here, have a line break to make up for it:
*Monotone* Why, look, it’s that thing I’m not.
None of them were happy right now.
GoodJamags: I’m happy.
GoodJamags: This is fun!
No, it’s really not.
And out of all of them, he knew that the two people who meant the most to him outside of Father and Pennyworth were the unhappiest about their separation. Well, he’d fix that. He’d bring the Fenix home this time.
See, I was actually kind of hoping this chapter was just a pointlessly meandering break from the plot. Then we’d have Damian’s token appearance out of the way and we wouldn’t have to deal with him again.
And then he’d lock her and Grayson in their bedroom until they got all this marriage nonsense worked out.
GoodJamags: Well, that took a disturbing turn.
Fired by his purpose, Damian strode out of his bedroom, down the hall, moving with the rush of youthful impetuousness. He heard voices as he passed his father’s study and realized Grayson was likely briefing his father on what information he had uncovered about this new prison project. I don’t have much time, he thought as he headed down the stairs. If he was quick, he could get to Drake’s, retrieve Kean and be back before anybody knew he was even gone. He moved through the house, into the kitchen where something baked in the oven that had his mouth watering, and out the front door, followed only by his loyal companion, a big black dog named Titus.
Well, shit. We have to put up with this shitstain for at least another chapter (as if the plot would ever actually move that fast).
GoodJamags: And are we trying to capture Damian’s thoughts or aren’t we? Because Damian insists that his pets are just property.
I don’t care. Let’s just get out of here.
What do you need us for? count: 10
Dick is a dick count: 5
Bullet count: 0