Author name: Basingstoke -- author email, author website
Recipient name: Derry
Requested character(s): Anissa Pierce / Thunder, Barbara Gordon / Batgirl I
Story title: No Game
Summary: Anissa and Grace are in a tight spot.
Grace woke up in a blank room.
She held still for a second, making sure she was alone, then jumpedup and started looking for the exit. But fuck, it was *blank*. Four walls,a ceiling, a floor, all in gray. "So where's the john?" she muttered toherself.
"You will not require facilities." The voice came from behind her; shewhirled and oh, fuck, Uncle Sz standing there, looking cool as a cucumber."Tell me about your friends," he said.
Grace leaped at him and punched him square in the face--but he blitzedout as she touched him, he was a hologram, crap, and her punch carriedher stumbling into the wall. The wall bounced her back like rubber; itwas soft and thick. She punched it furiously--she could *make* a door,dammit--but it absorbed her blows before she hit anything solid.
"Grace. Did you think I forgot you?"
"I thought you were DEAD!" she shouted.
He laughed. Grace hit the floor, looking for some kind of purchase,anything she could break. "He is dead," she said to herself.
Polished leather shoes stepped into her field of vision. She swipedout at his legs and her hand passed through the empty air. "The past neverdies," said Uncle Sz.
Grace slid a hand up her shoulder, feeling the contours of the whitetiger still roughening her skin after all these years. Her Triad tattoo.God, she'd been twelve when she got it--tall, tough, passing herself assixteen, but just a little kid under that--and she'd needed the money sobad. They'd pay her just to show up once her powers came in, just to appearas one of their troops at a face-off.
It was that or hooking. No choice there. She straightened up and stareddown at Uncle Sz; he snapped his fingers and showed her a hundred-dollarbill, just like the old days. "We took care of you," he said.
"No. I sold what I could do; you bought it. That's where it ends."
He tilted his head and looked at her sidelong. "Are you so sure?"
"I'm so sure."
"All we want is information, Grace. Tell us about your friends."
Grace crossed her arms. "Blow me," she said.
"How unfortunate," he said.
The hologram blinked out. Grace stared at the walls.
She wasn't sure how long she stared before she flipped out and startedpounding the walls again.
Anissa woke up in a blank room.
There was light, but she couldn't find a source. The walls were grayish-white,featureless, and covered with something rubbery.
She rolled to her feet and felt the wall for some kind of door. Shemade herself as heavy as she could, and the material dimpled under herfeet but didn't tear; the subflooring didn't buckle.
Crap. Anissa threw a punch at the wall, but it just sucked it up likeshe was punching pudding. Useless.
She sat down and waited for something to happen, and pretty soon, somethingdid.
"Dad!" She jumped up. "Dad, what--?" She leaned forward and touchedhis arm and her hand went right through.
"No, I couldn't be here in body. I can't explain, but I need you totrust me. I need to know what you and your friends are doing."
"I--" She swallowed. "What did I wear at my ninth birthday party?"
He didn't even blink. "Your pink princess dress. Anissa, I need to know.They're in danger."
It was him, standing there in his favorite suit--God--she wanted totell him everything, spill it all, but she couldn't. She didn't know whatwas going on. They'd gotten training on this--at least, Roy had told themto stonewall in an interrogation while the others came in to rescue them."I can't tell you that."
Her dad's face sank and she could see the hurt in his eyes. "Then I'msorry. We have to go in with guns."
She bit her lip and tried to stand up straight. It might not be him.Luthor might be controlling him. Brainiac might be controlling him. Anythingcould be happening.
"I thought you could trust me," he said.
He blinked out and she doubled over, covering her face with her hands,not crying.
When Uncle Sz came back, she punched through him.
At least the rubber walls meant she wasn't hurting herself. And Christ,she had to pee. This was cruel and unusual punishment.
When her father showed up again, she looked at the opposite corner.When he crossed into her field of vision, she closed her eyes.
When he said her name, she covered her ears. She was right. She knewshe was right. They'd come and get her out soon.
"I don't owe you ANYTHING!" Grace shouted. The rubber ate up the echoesand made the room seem even smaller.
Anissa jumped up and down and tried not to think about the fact thatthere was no door and no vents and no obvious air supply and holy crap--
Deep breaths. She punched the walls a few times and nothing happened.
She faced away from the image of her father, no matter where he paced.
Grace was just about to give up and pee in the corner when the rubberwall gave way and rolled up into the ceiling. "About frigging TIME," shedeclared, and she pulled her arm back and punched the metal underneathas hard as she could.
The rubber wall rolled up, exposing a metal surface. Anissa gave herself maximumdensity, doubled her fists, and swung at the wall just as a door openedin its blank face. She fell out into a hallway.
"Anissa! Holy shit, I thought they were going to kill me in there--"Anissa rolled over and Grace grabbed her hand and hauled her to her feet.
"Where are we?" Anissa squeezed Grace's hand and they looked up anddown the hall. There was a dent poking outward near one doorway, but noother distinguishing marks.
"I have no idea."
Light broke at one end of the hall--presumably an exit. Anissa startedtoward it. "Let's get out of here--"
"No." Grace tightened her hand. "I want to know WHO has us and WHO knewthat shit about me..."
Anissa stopped and looked up into Grace's face. She looked transcendentlypissed off, but under that, she was pale and her eyes looked kind of bruised.Grace tugged her in the opposite direction, where the hall dead-ended ina flat wall.
"I'm thinking--" Grace studied the wall. "Double deuce?"
"Yeah." Code. Anissa gave Grace her wrists and quick as lightning, Gracepicked her up and whipped her around at shoulder level. Just before herfeet touched the wall, Anissa gave herself maximum density as Grace letgo.
It worked. Well, it wasn't complicated. They bust through the wall witha terrific scream of metal. Anissa tumbled head over heels for a minute--whew,that would hurt if she weren't a superhero--and then there was a flashand the air smelled like ozone. Anissa rolled into a wall, losing densityand controlling her tumble, and bounced back to her feet. Her wig was halfpeeled away from her head, tangled up into what felt like one big dread.
And there was a red-haired woman in a wheelchair pointing a big gunat Grace. The woman pulled the trigger and nothing happened. Her eyes widenedas Grace charged across the room at her.
She looked familiar, weirdly familiar, but it wasn't her face--it wassomething else, just something about her... Anissa shook her head and circledaround the computer.
Grace grabbed the woman by her neck and hauled her out of her wheelchair;she hung limply as Grace pulled back her fist.
No, it was the hair, her bright red hair. Really bright, striking redhair flying around--and then she got it. "No, wait, I know who this is!"Anissa cried. And as she said it, she took a better look at the computer,and that confirmed it.
Grace glanced over at her. "Batgirl," Anissa said. "She was Batgirl."
Grace looked from Anissa to the girl, breathing heavily. "Are you sure?Are you POSITIVE?"
"Yes, I am--I saw her in my dad's pictures once and I remember the hair.I--" She half laughed. "I wanted that hair. And look!" Anissa plucked atiny in-ear communicator from the desktop. She knew Grace would recognizeit; it was the same kind they had, the ones Nightwing had supplied. Batman'stechnology.
Grace snarled and dropped the woman. She dropped back into her wheelchairand gasped for breath, rubbing her throat. "Fucking explain. Fucking makeit good. Or I'm going to fucking kill you anyway," Grace growled.
The woman--Anissa didn't know what to call her, since obviously shecouldn't be Batgirl any more--picked her legs up and dropped them backinto the footrests of her wheelchair one by one. She coughed and put ahand to her throat again. "I was Batgirl," she said roughly. "I fuckedup and I'm not Batgirl any more. Sometimes saying you're a hero isn't enough.Sometimes you have to be tested."
"I've been tested, you bitch," Grace growled. "Over and over--"
"And sometimes you made the wrong decisions!" Her eyes flickered toone side and Grace clapped her hand to the tattoo on her shoulder. Thathad to mean something, Anissa guessed. She'd thought it was all just art."And you, Anissa, you haven't been tested at all. You're a kid. A newbie.You have less experience than the new Speedy," she said.
Anissa lifted her chin, but--yeah, she was right.
"My god, you Bats are fucked up," Grace said. Her voice was strainedwith emotion. "You did that to me as *training*?"
"You should see Robin's training," the woman said.
Anissa looked at Grace and shrugged--they couldn't beat her up; shewas technically on their side, and what kind of assholes beat up a womanin a wheelchair anyway? Grace frowned in agreement. "I," Grace said slowly,"am filing a complaint."
"If you think about it, it's for the best," the woman said.
"Shut up before I punch you in the brain." Grace took a step backward,tensing, wavering visibly, and then Anissa grabbed her shirt and pulledher out.
"We can complain to her boss," Anissa muttered as they stormed out."Talk to Nightwing, get his 411..."
"Screw that. I'm going to the big boss. I'm going to Superman!"
"You think Batman listens to Superman?"
"If he doesn't want his Bat-belt melted." Grace punched her fist intoher palm as they emerged onto to an ordinary street. They both looked around."Where are we?"
"Gotham," Anissa said. "See Wayne Tower?" She pointed.
"Figures. Great. We're going to get our asses beat by Batdaddy." Gracefidgeted and looked around. "Shit. Hang on." She bolted for an alley.
"What?" Anissa ran after her.
"Just stay there!"
It wasn't until she heard the sounds of water hitting pavement thatAnissa got it. She blushed, crossed her arms, and waited in the mouth ofthe alley.
Gotham buildings looked like teeth chewing up the sky. She'd never beenin this part of Gotham before, just the shiny parts with her mom: The NaturalHistory Museum, the giant sloths, the dinosaurs. She'd gotten a littletrowel and cleaned off part of a fossil; she'd been eight and it was awesome.Later, the art museum to see the Indian canoes and the diamonds.
No Batman. No *fear.* Not that she was afraid now, but--
"That was about to become an explosive situation," Grace said, and Anissajumped. "I'm thinking we catch the train back to New York ASAP, becauseI really don't want to be here any more."
"Neither do I," Anissa said. Her voice broke down to a whisper on thelast syllable.
"Are you okay?"
Anissa opened her mouth to say yes and sobbed instead. She clapped herhands to her mouth and Grace pulled her into a hug. "What did that bitchshow you?"
"My dad," Anissa managed, and she sobbed hard--once, twice, three times--andthen she fought it down and felt like a damn SUPERHERO again. "She usedmy dad to try to get information from me. I mean--it wasn't him. I knewit wasn't." She rubbed her wrist across her eyes. "How did she know I woremy pink princess dress to my ninth birthday?" she asked.
Grace stroked her head. "You had a pink princess dress?"
Anissa looked up. "Yeah."
"That's adorable," Grace said. She leaned down and kissed Anissa.
It just *happened,* tongue and all. And it was nothing Anissa had expected,not in an alley, not in Gotham, not really with Grace, but she sure ashell didn't want to stop. She slid a hand up Grace's naked ribs and Gracetensed and broke the kiss.
"Shit, I'm sorry, I'm such a fucking mess right now," Grace said, pullingback, but Anissa grabbed Grace's hand and put it on her breast.
"It's cool. I'm cool. Don't let go," Anissa said. She reached up andhooked an arm around Grace's neck and kissed her, hard, up on her toes,her wig tugging at her hair. She yanked it free with her free hand anddropped it into the gutter.
Grace touched her shoulder, then cupped her head and kissed her again.Anissa slid her other arm around Grace's neck--Jesus, she was tall--andGrace let go, grabbed her ass and picked her up bodily.
A shiver ran from her shoulders to her *toes* and she wrapped her legsaround Grace's waist. "Come on," Anissa said. She gasped when Grace shiftedher grip under her ass and hooked her fingers into the deep V of her uniform.She was primed by the time Grace slid her whole hand inside.
She was light as a feather, so light she felt like she was floating,caged in Grace's arms. Grace kissed her and stroked her and she took adeep breath and came, just like that.
A weird night.
She relaxed her grip and Grace let her down. "I think we'd better gohome. There's a train from Gotham to New York," Grace said. She stuck herfingers in her mouth and sucked them clean and yeah, sexy. Grace was reallysomething.
Anissa took a shaky breath and smoothed her uniform. "I think, yeah...and we can go to my place, yeah?"
Grace leaned down and kissed her lightly. They walked out of the alleyarm in arm.
She couldn't stop thinking about her dad. The hologram. Everything.Not giving in, and what if that had been for real? "There was a pictureof me in my dress," Anissa said, "that my dad took. He didn't always cometo my birthdays, but he came to that one. She must have found it--somewhere."She shook her head, creeped out to the core. She squeezed Grace's hand."What did she show you?"
Grace chewed on her lip. "Nothing I want to talk about," she said.
They walked on. Gotham bustled around them like rats in the walls.
"My past," Grace said.
"The stuff that's happened to me because of this job is a whole lotless crappy than the stuff that happened before the job. I like gettingpaid through the nose to do the stuff I was doing anyway, you know?" Gracestraightened her shoulders and looked up. "And if Batman's got a problemwith that, he can come and take it up with me in person, where I can hithim! Got that?" she yelled to the rooftops.
When the echoes died out, there was silence.
"I think maybe he did," Anissa said, creeped out.
Grace jerked her chin at the distant buildings and they walked a littlefaster toward the train.
Reference images from the cover of OUTSIDERS #1 and page 20 of OUTSIDERS #8.
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