Dinah : It’s a good thing I haven’t been one of those huddle in Gotham all your life sort of folks, or I might almost find Metropolis astounding. Logically, I know it’s not perfect of course. Nowhere really is. Some places just happen to hide their flaws with a lot more skill and sparkle than the rest, and the City of Tomorrow is definitely that. Sparkly. Kind of gives me the willies, to be honest, and definitely makes me more than a little bit suspicious. No one, and nothing, is that clean and if they are it’s only because they’re going to a whole lot of effort to make it look that way.
Or maybe it’s just telling of where I’ve come from and how I’ve been spending my life lately. Either way, I’m not here for the siteseeing, at least not really. I’m here because Tim asked me for a favor. It should probably be balanced the other way currently, he has been crashing at my place and eating my bar’s food. But then there’s the very salient point that he saved my ass. I could have wiggled out of it were I really opposed but I won’t lie, there was something more than a little exciting sounding about the whole affair. Potentially dangerous? Oh, sure you bet. But if there’s anything I’m good at, it’s the sleight of hand that only a really attractive woman who knows what she’s working with can accomplish.
There’s none of the usual Black Canary getup. Well, no, that’s not true. I’ve definitely still got the leather jacket, and the fishnets I might be accused of using as a bit of a safety blanket but they work for me. Combat boots, and a denim mini skirt, and a tank top that had a slogan on it at one point but by now it’s so faded (along with the material it was printed on) to be nearly translucent. This isn’t the Canary suit. This is much more suitable for my other job, and the only one that Dinah Lance officially and publicly has. Well. Other than semi-present bar/coffee shop owner. Getting a gig and an excuse to come out here probably wasn’t necessary but I’d done it anyway. Just in case.
This city has its heroes, much like all the darker ones I’ve lived in before. The ones here I have more in common with, in truth, than those in Gotham. At least in the notable fact that I’ve got a super power. Maybe that’s what makes the people here different. Metropolis’ heroes do it because they want to make the world better, or in the case of a certain one of them, because their girlfriend wants to. But I happen to know that one of the city’s heroes isn’t in town tonight, and it’s a matter of waiting to see the other one. And see him you do, even though he’s capable of moving fast enough that you won’t. What fun would that be, right
Swinging my legs over the fire escape that scales the outside of the nightclub (Jesus, even their escape measures are nicer here…), I get on a little more solid footing before putting a pair of fingers between my lips and letting out a piercing whistle, and then cupping both hands around my lips to call to the night like some kind of loon. Not as loudly as I could, obviously. He’s going to hear me anyway, even if I were to whisper.
“Ey! Is that a sidekick in your spandex, or are you happy to see me?”
Conner : Metropolis is just that. The City of Tomorrow. It is the center of the World for all intent and purpose. Commerce and Trade run through it by necessity. Surprisingly, it was already the central point of the World before Superman’s first appearance. His arrival certainly enhanced it’s presence and profile though. Even the battles with nefarious creeps and cretins did nothing but good in the long run, for the tourist market if nothing else. Far more than any short term damage from the battles themselves. Until the end. When too many battles built to a point where those hurt by them nearly out numbered those who stayed safe. Untold billions were saved by the Superman, but it was the voice of the told masses that got heard. Those who got the sympathy soon overtook the fans. Leaving the Man of Tomorrow, without a City to Protect.
Of course the voice of the voiceless, Lex Luthor, had more than a little to do with that. His arrival as their Champion inflamed them. Brought them to the crux of outrage. His money soothing them and their pain, while emboldening him as their Hero. Truly becoming their champion eventually, as the President of the United States.
It had been years since Superman ‘left.’ Years with a City that had no defender. Left to the defense of Lex Luthor, the city had prospered. Cleaned and Cleaned up from years of fighting escalating villains. But was it actually the Haven it seems to be? Absolutely not. The voice of the voiceless merely set aside the dirt. Swept it beneath the rug. Those same battles happened, but they were contained. Sometimes threats were eliminated before they begin, through hard work and intelligence gather. Some were contained. Others recruited. Trained. Made in to the Heroes that the world would be able to count on. Take pride in.
Other times. Well. Other times threats to the world were eliminated. In their cribs.
Now is the time of the next Generation. Though my girlfriend doesn’t know it, wouldn’t understand it. We are the next generation not in spite of my father, but because he desires it. We stepped from the Shadows, without the feared repercussions of his wrath. Not because he hated us doing it, but because it worked for him. We represent a new breed. A breed that may not be lead by a Luthor as he wanted, but close enough. ‘Wonder Woman’ hasn’t embraced her heritage. She wasn’t trained by the Gods, unless that’s what I take to calling myself these days. Who could really argue?
My musings are not often interrupted. Those rare times it happens, I’ve not been pleased. This time? It starts off as annoyance. Someone interrupts my spyin-…er… keeping a protective watch over my girlfriend. With a… dog whistle … great, very godly. Being summoned like Krypto. Very dignified. Which is likely why my arrival is not heralded by trumpets, but the ‘familiar’ Whooooosh air that gives ample warning of the arrival from the skies.
I may not be -the- Superman, but you’d be hard pressed to know the difference at first glance. Younger, for sure. Though Supes himself wasn’t that old when he was last on the Daily Planet’s front page, it’s hard to mistake me as anything but younger. Oddly though, I don’t normally have to put up with much guff about age. Not once people see the Cape, the shield, the crossed arms. Mind you, I’m not normally leering at the people Cassie and I are normally putting down.
“I don’t normally keep her in my pants, but if I did she would be very unhappy with someone calling her a sidekick,” the words have barely left my lips when I’m realizing, inwardly, that Cassie would almost surely hit -me- for being the one insinuating that -she- is the sidekick. “Wow. So. Um. Are you… um.. you know. Erm. Like. A super-powered.. uh… working girl… or…? I mean.. uh, just y’know the cat call, the outfit… the voice.”
“Not that there’s anything wrong with being a working girl. I mean. Unless you’re a cop. In which case. It’s very wrong and you should totally be ashamed of yourself. You totally have to tell me if you are a cop, now, by the way. Otherwise this is entrapment when I ask what your rates are…”
Dinah : There were any number of ways that I could have gone about this. Damsel in distress? Risky, but also really not my cup of tea. Not ever. I’d have to be getting a whole lot more out of this than I am to ever willingly act like a girl that can’t fight her own fights, or needs anyone to step in for her. Red Robin’s timely save not withstanding… that situation hadn’t been my choosing and this is. That’s the whole point. I’m the actor, in this instance. Not someone hoping that someone else will react. Like there was any question of this kid not responding to either being hailed like a taxi. Or a dog. Or to being cat-called. Hell, it if weren’t for the former he’d probably be a whole lot more immediately pleased by it than he was.
Cocking blonde head to the side, I am not the least bit shy about checking the spandex. Though, from here I can tell it’s not actually spandex. There’s a whole lot more to it than that. Tech? Why does an invulnerable superman need techy backup? My guess, and not so much a guess, from what I’ve learned in Tim’s little Hidey Hole is that it’s not a matter of need. Convenience. Contact. Orders and reports.
“Are you honestly trying to tell me that no one vocalizes their appreciation even when they don’t think you’ll hear it? Honestly. What is it that they feed you Supermen?”
And still checking out the not spandex, hands on hips, like it’s my right as a citizen of the United States of America to openly oogle any Caped Crusader that happens to be in front of me. After my thrice over, I lift an eyebrow and then actually bring blue eyes up to his. Even knowing there was some facial alteration going on, it’s still strange to not see the face of my ‘roommate’s’ best friend in front of me. I guess that’s a more advanced way of keeping a secret identity. Also makes me wonder how long it’s actually going to be a secret, and whose idea that was. Profile says this kid would gladly let the city worship him, so I’d guess it’s either he’s protecting the Wonder Woman, or Luthor. But clearly, I find him amusing. And fun to look at, as a short trill of laughter escapes my throat.
“Oh, sweetheart, that’s cute. The only part of me I’m selling tonight is my voice, and the rest, well. Even you couldn’t afford the rest.”
Teasing, still laughing, though it’s questionable if it’s at him, or myself, or maybe even the entire situation before I hike a thumb over my shoulder at the roof entrance behind me.
“Law and order doesn’t agree with me. I’m gracing the club with my vocals for the night. Never been to Metropolis before, so I wanted to make sure and see the most important sight before I left.”
Conner : “It was a nutrient supplement, but I’ve found it to taste a lot like corndogs.”
Hovering there now I’m quite at ease. Why shouldn’t I be? Aside from her ear piercing way she summoned me, which still has me wondering what the heck she did to reach that tone, I have no reason to do anything else. She’s obviously not a threat. Vocal acumen aside, I can tell by looking at her that her bone and muscle mass isn’t sufficient enough to pose a physical threat to me. Which immediate eliminates her from being a threat to me at all. So that means she might actually be giving me a morsel of truth about the cat call. It’s not all that strange, you should hear the girls hoot and holler during our school basketball games. But to answer her question, honestly…
“No. Not so much. I mean, at press conferences sometimes,” although Cassie has grounded me from those for the time being, I don’t have to tell this woman that. “But generally speaking, when I’m wearing the uniform most of the people who see me are the ones who I’m saving. Burning buildings, bullets, laser hands, taserfaces… it kind of sucks the joy out of checking me out for most people.”
Superman always used his own power and control to distort his features. Vibrating slightly. Flexing his jaw. Gnashing his teeth. Whatever it was. It worked. My creators took care of it by simply adapting my genetics. The tactile version of the human side of my gifts allow my face to appear subtly different. More mature and a little more gaunt. If I were literally standing next to myself, you wouldn’t think I’m even from the same family as my alter-ego. Score one for DNA manipulations.
Let’s forget the fact that she just said I couldn’t afford her. People say things like that all the time, but one of my first lessons in life? Everyone. Quite literally everyone has a price. It might not be a monetary one. It might mean that I had to find some other currency. But in the end, there is a price point for everyone. That is like a skeleton key to their life. Find it and you own them. It might just be the only lesson my father has taught me that is wholly true.
“Interesting,” a total truth, because I have no idea who or what she is yet, but I can buy that she’s here for her voice -and- that she wanted to check out the sights. “So. You’re in ‘town’ tonight for a show and just thought you’d wolf-whistle for Superman and he’d appear? I can’t decide if that’s more impressive or flattering, but I am sure you’re meaning it as both.”
The landing is casual. She’s not the only one who’s able to show off her powerset so willy-nilly. One might call it graceful, the way that my boots don’t even make a noise as it touches down upon the ledge of the building. Though I’m clearly a person of considerable musculature and therefor weight, not only is there no sound as I land but none as I take a step off the ledge in order to approach upon the roof itself. No fear at all, if anything there’s a calculated amount of bravado to the approach. This is about giving her a measure of the sight she professes to want and strutting to make sure it’s worth it. But. It’s also about closing the gap, while scoping her out just the same as she’s done to me. Only… she probably knows I’m getting a much more thorough once over than she is anyway.
“Law and Order doesn’t agree with many things, Miss…?” Clearing my throat to signify that she’s not introduced herself yet. “But then. I’m fairly sure you know about that. With that voice of your’s. I don’t recognize you from the database.”
Dinah : “Really oughta market that stuff, they’d make a killing and be doing a great public service for all the women of the world. Well. And some of the men. Something tells me that’s a lot less important to you though, huh?”
The cluck of my tongue and the rueful shake of my head says that I must think all the people deprived of some Superpreciation time are really at a very terrible loss. Though, I’d assume they were probably fairly grateful for his help, especially if their lives were in mortal danger. I’m actually doing a great deal more thinking about the damage he could do than I am how capable he’d be at saving my life. Frankly, I think it’s what I have a lot more reason to be worried about even though I didn’t strictly come here in order to pick a fight with him. It could happen. It’s not just him I’d have to worry about though.
“Well. I’m sure they probably dream about what they thought you looked like later. Probably with some rose colored glasses glow on it and… whoo. Really. Not like you need the help in that department. In… well…”
My hand’s vaguely gesturing at which ‘department’ he doesn’t need help in, and that mostly involves just indicating all of him before I tilt my head curiously to the side and take another step in closer to him. He’s touched down, and clearly isn’t going to think I’m anymore threat from closer than he did from over here. His mistake, but he moves faster than anyone else, certainly faster than he thinks he’d need to in order to deal with me.
“..that is all you under there, yeah? And not just some artful shading on the suit?”
The key is not lying. When you want to be really convincing, you find your half truths and the key facts that you can be honest about. Even more important when the other person can probably hear your heartbeat shift and accelerate if you get nervous. And I”m not that, not at all. Not even, apparently, even a little bit excited that he actually turned up when I called. I came into this pretty well informed, and pretty sure of what could and couldn’t happen. Excitement and nerves? Won’t do jack for me now.
“How else was I supposed to get your attention? Flail my arms and cry wolf? Seems to me like you’d be a lot less understanding if I’d done that.”
I’ve stopped pointing out various appealing Super-parts to spread my hands in a helpless sort of shrug. No one ever liked the boy who cried wolf. Not even when he was finally telling the truth, and this fella has eye lasers to demonstrate his displeasure with. I have to imagine no one would ever really dream of sending up a false alarm, not as semi-reverently as they look at their airborn heroes. Which is a pretty big turnaround from how I remember this going before. There’s a reason I’m not exactly public about my power and i’ts not just an element of surprise.
“We don’t exactly have heroes like you where I come from. I was curious. Oh, I’m so sorry how rude of me…”
As if wolf-whistling him out of the air like a dog wasn’t rude, but not giving my name was. I plant my hands on my hips, tilting my shoulders back in a gesture of pride as well as one that gives an even better bit of a show. Not that he needs help looking from what I’ve read. He probably knows better than I do what brand my bra is.
“Dinah. Database? I’m no criminal if that’s what you’re asking.”
Conner : “Eh. I’d rather they not. Here’s your nutrient drink… for while you’re being fed intravenously through tubes on account of your being suspended in a vat of…. too much information.”
One might think I was talking too much, but there’s not just a small amount of ‘don’t care’ ringing in to my tone. I don’t. Care one ounce what people in authority think about my displeasure in how I was ‘raised.’ I’ve told them. Dr. Fairchild lost a lab, a facility and enough staff members to never forget my displeasure. I hated it. I hate them. My first and only warning to NOWHERE was not to let me find another facility like that one. Doing what they did to me. And the only reason I even stop my venting, is because I think a girl like her wouldn’t want to know. More over that people shouldn’t know how their Superman was raised, most likely.
Another moment later has me tilting my head at her in nearly the same way she did at me moments before. Hey. I dream about me all the time. So I’m sure anyone with good sense would do the same. Kinda strange, actually, to have someone verifying that others do it too. Cassie normally needles me whenever I’m on about myself like that. Which in turn has me curious and wondering what this particular woman is doing. Is this ‘Flirting’, in a far different way than I’ve ever encountered. Or is she doing what I do when I want something.
“Are you buttering me up, ma’am? Because I assure you. It’s working.”
Between the look of curiosity that is affixed to Dinah and the lifting of one eyebrow in genuine insult over even the hint of suggestion that anything under the suit is not real? I probably happen to be giving her one of the weirdest looks ever, but I mean. C’mon. Really? If anything, I’m more than a little smug about not needing enhancement in that area. Not only are my genetics perfect, but they were meant to be that way. Like a new, expensive, car? I have no trouble showing off the wares. Flexing for attention when it’s warranted and when it’s not. Mostly when it’s not, with my girlfriend, for the purpose of making her friends swoon. But this? This is different. My first super-groupie.
Except. One thing is still bothering me, as I’m pointing her eyes to the S-shield, “Yeah. Database. My suit is connected to a database of known Meta-Humans. You don’t seem to appear in that database. You’re young, but not young enough to not be in the database. Which means either you’re one of the luckiest women with super powers in the whole world.”
“Or. You’re very good at hiding. Hiding while learning to Master the use of your powers.” Now there’s a definitive cocking of my head in a different way. A very different way. The sort that says I’m tuning in with other powers, getting a deeper read on her. “Neither of which is a skillset for a … singer.”
Nor a groupie. Damnit. I wanted a groupie and bonus points for one that looks like this. Have I mentioned that she looks like a million bucks? Yeah. I almost wish that she had done the Cry Wolf thing. At least then, I wouldn’t be forced to look past the best set of fishnet stockinged legs I’ve ever seen. To focus instead on the same tools that introduced me to Cassie in the first place. Cataloging people like Dinah.
“I want you to know, Miss Dinah, I really truly wish you hadn’t used your voice to call me. I’m sure you’ve got all the answers, but what I really want to know is why you actually called for me. Because you don’t know how much I wish it was because you wanted to ‘see the sights’ like you said.”
Dinah : Oh, I know exactly what he’s starting to spout on about. At least before he cuts himself off. Know where he was probably going with that as well, but it wouldn’t do me any favors to make that known. Instead, as he starts I just tilt my head more and more to the side like a puppy that’s heard a noise it doesn’t know what to make of. Confusion, or maybe bemusement over what seems like a very un-Supermanlike conversation. But then, he doesn’t exactly hang around and converse with the ‘citizens’ like this I don’t think. The last one didn’t exactly have a reputation for it either, from what I’d gathered. I’d say that I can’t help but wonder if he knows exactly how much about him Tim Drake knows, and by association how much I know now, but I can intuit the answer to that. Mostly in the fact that both of us are still breathing. Or at least, Tim was when I left Gotham. Who the Hell knows, in a place like that, afterwards…
My laugh gets an uncertain edge to it, at least until he redirects us back to the subject of my flattery. Then the smile that’s much more predator smirk than pleasant, friendly expression returns.
“Oooh, is it now? Well, then the night’s going even better than I thought it might.”
Folding my arms under my chest does two very important things. Maybe not equally important but… it conveys a little bit of defensiveness, which I ought to be experiencing when being questioned by Superman like a naughty school girl, and it also makes my chest that much more obvious. Like it needed help. Distractions, to go along with my shoulders drooping a hair in what might be the first bit of insecurity I’ve shown in weeks… or… well. Since I was six years old, probably.
“Or. No one thought it was real important to write down a meta whose super power is louder than average whistling. Heh. What a joke, right? I mean. Look at me. Body and a face like this and I land a not even noteworthy superpower? I must have done something a little naughty in a past life at least.”
My whistle had been loud. Louder than a normal person can do. It needed to be in order to be sure to get his attention. It was not, however, alarmingly loud to anyone but him. And maybe a couple neighborhood dogs. With a sigh that’s more huff at the unfairness of the universe than a sigh of resignation, I drop my arms and shrug once again.
“You caught me, Mr. Superman. I’m a bad, bad girl. That’s super great at whistling. Is this where you really interrogate me? Whisk me off and make me tell you all about exactly how bad I’ve been?”
I get less dejected and more of a demeanor that says this actually sounds like a …really great idea and a wonderful way to spend my night here in Metropolis. Which is not the sort of reaction I’m sure most Metas who have any kind of clue about what that database might mean exactly would show. Another step in, though this one’s more obviously tentative (and starts with my eyes lowered though not out of shame or embarassment but because I’m openly checking him out all over again) because he’s doubting my motives.
“Wait. Seriously. It’s really that hard to believe that someone would want to get up close and personal with Superman if they thought they even had half a chance? Baby, you have clearly been stupendously underappreciated by Metropolis up until this point… you come out to Star sometime? I bet they’d fall all over themselves.”
Biting the corner of my mouth, there’s an almost subtle upwards waggle of my eyebrows before I step back before I start fondling his cloak, though it looks like I’m really considering it.
“Look. My set’s about to start. Why don’t you come watch? Then I’d love to be subjected to your special sort of… vetting.”
Conner: Suspicion comes in many forms. Right now it’s taking the shape of a boy well beyond his years growing awfully curious about how someone with her powers made it past NOWHERE’s radar. Not just being on it, but not worthy of training. Nor is she on it, but managed to elude cataloging. Dinah is simply not on it. At all. Though I’m clearly not the oldest agent in the project, once again I was gifted with superior engineering. I’m smart enough, with training, to know that Dinah is therefor an anomaly. Her offered excuse? Isn’t even plausible because cataloging Meta-Humans isn’t limited to those with spectacular powers.
It’s just powers, period. Even those the Project doesn’t consider to be of immediate value. Especially those they don’t fully understand. Her proffered idea would be easier to digest, honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that she isn’t coming up in the database at all. Someone with her any amount of skill in their ability would have to practice. Which leaves one like me to wonder, quite openly, how this is even possible. Not so openly, I’ve now got to consider doing just that. Cataloging this woman.
“Hey, what can I say. Buttering me up is the way to go. I warn you though, I’m frequently told that my Ego is it’s own entity. Feeding it after dark is a sure fire way to see it morph in to an Ego-Beast…”
Banter is easy. Not only do I do this all the time, but I like doing it with someone who gives it back to me. It’s distracting too. Which I’m okay with, because it makes the decision process a little better. How do I handle this? I know what Doctor Fairchild would want, but I also know what Cassie would want. The Project would want to know about this woman. They would want a genetic sample, so that they could take what Dinah has an amplify it. Fairchild would say that she wanted to understand it. Cassie would say they intended to weaponize it. How can I argue with either side of that equation. I’m living proof of Cassie being right. But I’m equally proof of the good that could come of understanding…
My word she nice breasts. Which I’m equally mortified to be thinking in the middle of ‘Business’ and concerned that it’s taken me so long to notice. Oh, I’d seen them. Then I ‘saw’ them. I just hadn’t paid as much attention, until they’re a little more offered up. The ringing in my ears was enough to have kept me a little unbalanced, but now that I’m trying to avoid disappointing two important people in my life, I’m kind of happy to have something that lets my mind wander.
I’m still, openly, staring at the exact point that she no doubt wanted to draw focus too when she carries her tune a little further. Now, mind you, Dinah probably thinks I’m leering for all the obvious reasons. I’ve got my doubts as to whether she realizes that I’m deciding her fate. So it doesn’t exactly occur to me that she is working the angle. Playing cards in a game that I’m mostly unaware we’re playing. Building upon her makeshift identity to sell me on seeing her act. With the prospect of then having some ‘fun’ with her. I can’t miss the lewdness of what she intimates might be my intentions. I also couldn’t normally disagree with having them.
“…and do you? Think you have half a chance?”
She is right about that underappreciated bit though. My audible sigh confirms it. More importantly there’s a shift in the tension of my shoulders, as a decision is made. “Ugh. I don’t think you even know how right you are, Miss Dinah. I’m out there day after day, ‘risking my life’ for people. You’d think there would be some appreciation, right? I mean. I don’t even get a cut of the merchandising. The girls at the conventions, some of the guys too honestly, are very attentive, but Wonder Woman won’t let me indulge them.”
If this were any other person, talking about something else? You might actually buy that the guy was mistreated a little. Except that this is Superman and I’m talking about not being allowed to abuse it. That’s anything but a trait of the former Man of Steel, what’s worse is that I know it too. Not just from my own virtual education, but because Cassie has shown me. Tried to re-educated me about how the first Superman did things for no other reason than the gratification of doing good things. All I can think is, ‘What’s the point in that?’ Super dudes gotta get paid and laid too!
Which is why it also pains me to say, “As much as vetting you sounds like fun, Miss Dinah, I’m afraid I’ve got very important things to do. Burning Buildings. Cats in trees. Jaywalkers. There’s got to be at least one airplane plummeting to it’s doom somewhere. Do you mind if I ask you a question before I go though?”
Clearly that’s a rhetorical bit there, because I don’t wait for permission to ask, “Why are you doing this? I don’t mean the singing career at dingy places like this. I don’t mean getting a Superman’s attention. I mean. Why are you using your assets. Of which each should be labeled their own super-power. To semi-seduce a guy? I mean. Seriously. Consider my eyes well and truly seduced. I was half-way there before I landed. Then the story? Geezes, I’ve had blow jobs that stroked my ego less.”
“So, Dinah. Why are you’re running the world? Or at least making a zillion dollars selling records.” That’s right. Despite everything else. Everything she’s read. Everything I’ve already said. All the things, inappropriate each and every one. Somehow I’ve brought this around to a very heroic, ‘You should be something better than this.’ Instead of cataloging her, capturing her, or making an concerted effort to initiate that vetting process she spoke of.
Dinah : “Tch! You’re Superman. No one is your equal. Anyone who honestly thinks an ego to go with that is a flaw is an idiot. Or at the very least crazy. I mean, if I had even half the powers you do? I’d be showing them off at least almost as much as what I’ve already got to flaunt.”
As if there were any doubt of what I’m talking about. I could be referring to my voice, which is pretty great thanks to my intense vocal chord training, but he hasn’t actually gotten to hear that. I’ve also got no shame about showing off what I am referring to, and so there’s an indicative pointing finger to go along with the hint of a returning smirk. This guy doesn’t need any help with his confidence, ego not withstanding. Hell, he’s exactly the kind of guy that I took fiendish delight in absolutely humiliating in High School… and college. And. Well. Now. Like my lifetime priorities went avenging my Father, taking creeps off the street, and taking assholes down three pegs. In that order. I had made that assessment of him before I even got here. It’s only been cemented in mind through contact. I also know how to deal with that personality type. You build them up for the inevitable fall, normally. In this case, however, yanking his EgoRug out from under him may result in my getting pasted. Or getting carted off to be a NOWHERE experiment. The worst I could really expect from my normal ‘prey’ was they might get a little aggressive and then I’d give them a personal lesson in what I learned from an old Israeli friend of mine a long time ago.
That’s how I’m keeping him here though. All that power, and he’s got people telling him how to use it. His girlfriend, Wonder Woman, trying to angle him to using it for good and clearly not letting him exist like the Rockstar to the World that he thinks he is. And really, probably technically is. Luthor and NOWHERE wanting him to act for their agenda… and here I am. Sexy blonde, about three steps away from flashing him, and cooing over what he can do and telling him it’s totes okay to be a …well. What he tends to be on his own. But. Really. Honestly. I’m kind of shocked if I am actually the first. As for his question of whether I think I’ve got half a chance? My smirk goes from threatening to come back, to fully in place and suggesting everything all over again.
“Well. You’re here. Aren’t you?”
I look suitably sympathetic for his plight though, pursing my lips. Shaking my head at how abused and put upon he is. By his girlfriend no less, though I’m not supposed to know that bit. Not for certain anyway, I suppose their always appearing together (well, almost always) has led to some assumptions. That and when you’re essentially Gods Among Men (literally in her case…hah.. I wonder if that ever rankles on him?), who else is going to be able to keep up with you?
“If not appreciation then what? It’s really naive to expect you to do all that without something in it for you.”
I’d think I was actually laying it on a little thick, but my fawning and flirting hasn’t exactly changed pace or intensity since the moment he got down here on my level. My elevation level, that is. This is how band groupies behave, the entourages of actors. They want to bask in the glow and they’ll do anything, say anything, to get to stay there for as long as they can have it. I’d know. I’ve met a lot of them, and what do they honestly have on Superman? There’s thousands upon thousands of musicians and artists. There’s only one of him. Well. There would have been two but…
I actually can’t believe, with everything I know about him, and everything I’ve seen firsthand that he’s actually begging off to go and do something good with his evening. Either he’s lying, or that girl’s got him by the balls even more than Tim thinks she does. Good for you, Wondy. I don’t get a chance to really plead more for him to stay, and I really do have the gig that was my entire excuse to be here to get to. I skip that? And he gets to really wonder what else I was making up here, and what else might have been a lie and I don’t really want that. I just settle for a full lipped pout, and a slump of my shoulders, like I just cannot believe he’s turning me down even for kittens and fires. And an airplane or two.
“Um. Because you’re Superman?” The tone of my voice shifts for that, for the first time, like I’m actually questioning how spectacular he is if he didn’t understand that. Call it hurt feelings over being rejected. Except then I perk back up and carry on. To talk about me. “Because I was trying to do the whole…college education thing. To make someone else happy. Didn’t work for me. And I don’t do that Top 40 Pop garbage. Anyone with a computer and half a lung can do that. I mean. Maybe if I get boredI’ll make it happen with my tits. But. Not bored yet… you sure I can’t convince you stay? For a little at least?”
Dinah: No one is your equal. I like the sound of that. Honestly. No qualms about it. That phrase is worth more than everything she’s said up to that point put together. Almost as much as the positioning of her arms. Almost, but not quite. They are pretty much wonderful assets to use against a guy. Weapons in their own right. I’m quite taken with that phrase though. It’s true. Really. At least with the small caveat of ‘on Earth.’ There’s been some questions as to whether I could actually go toe to toe with my other ‘Father.’ Of course, that’s also why it pays off so well when she says that.
She’s also got a very good point. I am here. So it stands to reason that she’s actually ‘got a shot.’ I should probably not have allowed that to happen. Cassie would tell me that it’s a mistake. She might even take it as my taking something ‘too far,’ when I was thinking it simple flirting. But what Cassie thinks actually matters to me. If she’s the only person that does. Leaving me to pause, if only momentarily, to consider whether what I’m doing here has already crossed a line that Cassie would be hurt about. Now if we’re being honest, I don’t consider it too long. Let’s be real. What Cassie doesn’t know can’t hurt her, which means it can’t hurt me.
“See? That’s what I thought. I should get something out of it. It’s a lot of work. I mean, it’s not to terribly difficult but everyone gets paid for their time. Why not Superman?” At the exact moment when I couldn’t sound more selfish, more like the total opposite of my nick-namesake? “But. The truth is? I am getting something out of it. The effect my work has on people is satisfaction enough.”
That’s the most selfless thing I’ve ever said. I’m pretty sure Cass would be very proud of me if she could hear me. That’s why I also decide not to complete the thought. It’s not a lie. I do get a good deal of satisfaction at how my work displeases my Dad. I love how it pleases Cassie. I’m extremely pleased to stick it to my ‘Bosses’ with bringing Cassie out in to the open with me. Not only does it keep her ‘safe’, because they can’t hit her without hitting me, but it also gives her purpose to a life that she’s been feeling lost within for a while. Everything about being Superman? Has kind of paid off in ways that are fulfilling.
And when you’re a Luthor, who needs more money?
Yes, I am, but that’s not really an answer. I might be Superman, but maybe you’re a Superwoman?” For the first time there’s contact, with me initiating it by putting my hand upon her shoulder. “Look. You might not be able to leap small buildings, race speeding bullets or be stronger than an amtrack, but look in a mirror, Dinah. I mean. For the love of God, look in the mirror. You’re a Rockstar. Do you even know what your powers can do fully? What if you could harness them to turn your songs in to something that transcends music? What if you could sing a song that made soldiers put down their arms? It might not even be something so grand as that, but what if you inspire just one other young girl with a power to do the right thing?”
“Just one. One girl. If you changed just one girl’s life, you’re as much a hero as Wonder Woman or I.”
“Oh. Wow. Gosh, I’m sorry. Whoa. Here you are flirting me up. I’ve got to tell you. My first instinct is to bend you over this fire-escape. But. Instead I’m standing here lecturing you about life-choices and talking to you like I’m some shining beacon of Hope. Heh, it’s the costume you know? Just sort of brings it out of you sometimes. I’d love to hear you sing, Dinah, but I don’t need to come inside to do it. Plus, if I do people are going to start asking questions. Why is -the- Superman here to hear some rube sing? Once people start questioning, they don’t stop till they find answers. Even if they have to manufacture them. If you’re not ready to step out of the shadows with your power, then you definitely don’t need me going inside with you.”
There’s a point in all of this that I’ve gone from gloating, bragging and being the guy I normally am? To recognizing that I’ve begun to sound an awful lot like Her. So I’ve no sooner finished this whole selfless, heroic, uplifting and winding spiel than my hand traverses from her shoulder, up to her jawline to bring her eyes to mine. “When you’re done with your set, if you’d like, I can introduce you to someone that knows how to help people like us with our powers. Alternatively…. well, that fire-escape isn’t going anywhere. Either way. You do know how to get my attention.”
Dinah : You know what? I don’t even have to play pretend to get that look of surprise, confusion and a little bit of shock on my features. I mean. All of this is kind of shocking. No, not the ‘Aspiring Singer in Skimpy Outfit Propositions Superman on Roof’ part. The only thing shocking about that to me is that I’m apparently the first. It’s the fact that I think he’s actually turning me down. I mean, usually that’s my line. I’m not hurt or anything by it, it’s just…weird. Especially put up against a character like what Tim had prepped me for, and what life experience has taught me. All signs pointed to my being able to rather successfully string him along a whole lot longer. I’m also a little surprised I didn’t turn up even slightly in that database, because while it’s not my go to? The Black Canary’s a known entity in Star City, and Gotham, with the power that goes with the name.
Tim must have done something. Tim also either underestimated his friend, or something’s got Conner Luthor on best behavior. Maybe she really does have him by the balls.
But once I’m past the shock of being turned down, there’s the surprise that he apparently is getting fulfillment out of his heroing. And not just from getting to show off. But then, he didn’t say what effect satisfies him, and on whom so he could mean anything. Jealousy from the masses. Adoration that he gets sometimes. However his girl looks at him. Blue eyes flick to the hand on my shoulder, before I’m looking back up at his face again. A soft scoff of laughter when he says maybe I’m a Superwoman. I mean. I am, but not quite that as in the female counterpart of what he’s got going on there. Then I realize he’s doing some sort of heroic, inspirational monologue that sounds much more in line with the last Superman and it’s all I can do to not narrow my eyes at him.
I mean. It’s a great speech. It’s just not at all what I was expecting to hear. So I let him make it, wide eyed and in ‘awe’ like anyone else probably would be. Up until he changes tacks with his apology, and then lewd comment. There we go. Back where I expected to be again… and I laugh, reaching up and giving his cheek an almost tender little pat.
“Aww, well glad to know I haven’t lost it entirely already. I appreciate the vote of confidence, really do. When you’re Superman, Symbol of Hope and VIrile Manliness I’m sure using your powers for good works out really well. I think using whistle powers, even for fun all the time, is probably just going to get me the wrong kind of attention. Unless it’s going to get you to turn up again I mean…”
He’s going to need to work on his pitch. Probably not start with discussions about the meta human database. Especially not with someone who’s very aware from relatives who were involved, and experience with other metas, what happens to meta humans of any real salt. If I really just did have louder than average whistle powers? Eh, I might be okay if I didn’t use them all the time. But maybe things are changing. He’s out in the open. So’s his Wonder Woman. However you slice it though, I don’t actually need any help with my powers. I’ve been honing them longer than this guy’s actually been alive. Maybe even longer than he’s even been a glimmer of a nefarious thought in Lex Luthor’s mind. I have to assume that he’s going to be listening, at least. Which means he’ll be at least partly distracted, and that’s the best I can really do for now.
Short of actually demonstrating what I might be able to do with my powers when I’m really trying. That’d probably be a shorter, more deadly game than this one though. And it’s more like Plan C.
“That I do, big boy. Maybe I’ll be in some distress later that only you can fix.”
Lifting a hand in a jaunty little sloppy salute, I purse my lips to blow a kiss at him, and with a wink make my way towards the roof door. It’s a saunter that might as well have it’s own theme music piped in, trilling ‘thiiiis is whaaaat you’re miiiiisssssiiiinggg….”