End of Summer
 
Girltalk Erik Merk Troia and Oracle

The internet was streaming with rumors that night on all the superheroes:

"How about the new Batgirl?? Hubba-Hubba" read one (My God, do people actually still talk like that?). "Is Superman God??" was another popular discussion thread of the night.

The one that caught me was "When are Nightwing and Troia getting married?" It always amazes me when people who have never met anyone involved in a situation instantly assume they know what's best for everyone, why would anyone.

Knock, Knock.

Knocking on my balcony? Without any alarms going off? I'm going to kill Dick when I get my hands on hi.

"Oh, Hi Troia"

"Oracle, how are you?"

"Fine (wow that sounded cold) considering you just decided to land on my balcony unannounced and nearly scared me out of my life! What can I do for you?"

"I was looking for Nightwing, I mean Di, I mean."

"Don't worry, Donna, I know who you mean."

"I'm sorry about the window, but Night.I mean Dick, told me a direct way to get through your security for emergencies."

Note to self: A) Kill Dick, B) Change security settings once Donna leaves. "Well sorry, Donna, but Dick isn't here. You try his Titans communicator? That would be my first course of action." (Barbara, what has gotten into you?)

She sounded almost lost. "His Titans Communicator, no response. Flew by his apartment, he wasn't there. Checked with Alfred, he hadn't spoken to him in a couple of days."

"Relax Donna, he's fine, he's trying to take care of something in Blüdhaven tonight that required his complete attention. He didn't take any of his com equipment because he didn't want to be traced. He's due to check in with me by 8 AM tomorrow. If not, I send in the cavalry."

"Oh. Well as long as he's all right, then. Sorry to bother you, Oracle. And sorry about the window thing again."

"It wasn't a Titans Emergency? Someone Hurt?"

"No, I just needed to talk to Dick. Thanks anyway. Let him know I was looking for him when he checks in?"

"Sure, Donna" As she was about to leave, I looked at Donna and tried to figure out where my reaction was coming from. She and Dick never were an item, they were just friends. The best of friends, sure, but never anything more. Then I noticed something. Was Donna crying? Not that external type of crying that's blatantly obvious, but that internal thing you just can feel where if the right question was asked someone would just breakdown right in front of you. "Donna, are you all right?" (Hey, I finally didn't sound like ice!)

"I guess, why?"

Why am I doing this? WHY, WHY, WHY? You know why, because of HIM! Grayson one day I'll. "Donna, it's a pretty slow night. Would you like to stay and at least have some coffee?"

"I'm actually more of an herbal tea woman."

"I think I have that too."

After a quick check of the monitor boards to confirm that truly nothing was going on I made some tea and proceeded to bring it out to my living room and noticed Donna sitting there on the couch. She was trying to maintain her dignity. Even though she is a member of the Amazons (or so I was recently told*) she hasn't quite got that Amazonian grace that you see in Wonder Woman. She seems very uncomfortable with herself. Almost like she's not sure she belongs with herself. "This is all I had. It may be a little old, but it should do the trick!"

"I'm sure it's fine, thanks."

We sat there and sipped our tea, not saying a word for about 5 minutes. I've held court with all the big boys: Superman, Wonder Woman, Bruce, the original Green Lantern, but this may have been the most uncomfortable 5 minutes I've ever spent in my life. Donna looked like some Goddess who had lost her wings and didn't know what to do with herself. The black Cosmos costume certainly helped with that cosmic feel. "So, why were you looking for him?"

"Looking for him?"

"Dick. You know, the guy you broke in here trying to find so panic-strickenly about 10 minutes ago."

"Oh right. I just wanted to talk to him about a few things, be sure he remembers me and who I wa.. who I am."

"Donna, of course Dick remembers you. You're one of his closest friends. I can't remember how many times he told me stories of your days in the Titans, or how proud he was to walk you down the aisle at your wedding."

"Oracle (Dammit, tell her to call me Barbara) what do you know about me?"

"You're Donna Troy, nee Wonder Girl, Troia, Darkstar, I think Troia again? (Donna nods) Glad my info is up-to-date. You've been doing this superheroing stuff almost as long as anyone, you were a founding member of the Teen Titans. You've been married. Last I heard you broke off your relationship with the current GL, who I think is now dating Jade."

"Wondered when that would start."

Wow, the Donna I've heard about and met was never quite that catty. ".you recently found out you were a mirror image of Wonder Woman who endured some rough stuff by something named Dark Angel. Through the help of Wonder Woman and Flash, you were restored to full health. And now here you are, trying to figure out how exactly does the wheel-chaired redhead get all her information! That about sum it up?" Now I was being the showoff, what is it about her?

"Actually, Oracle, I didn't mean what did you know about my career. I meant what do you know about me?"

At that moment I felt about an inch tall. Here was this person crying out for help, and what was I doing? Playing a game of one-upswomanship with someone trying to figure out who she was. "Well Donna, we were never really that close. We hardly worked together when I was working in the field, and since then we've hardly spoken. I think I was about the only superhero not invited to your wedding."

"I'm sorry, I don't remember that."

"Thanks for the kind thoughts!"

"No I mean I don't remember not inviting you!" Donna jumped up and when she stood, she seemed like a contradiction in terms. Here was this obviously beautiful woman who had everything the world could have given her and she had it all taken away from her as well. She looked like she might just fall apart. "I'm not the person who you remember. When Hippolyta and Wally saved me, they did it by essentially reconstructing me out of Wally's memory. What I am now is what Wally always thought of me."

"Wally's a good person, I'm sure he did."

"He did fine, Oracle. I can now remember every event that happened in my life. I remember my parents, the Titans of Myth, the Titans, Kyle, Terry, Jenny, Robert."

The last one struck a nerve that I wouldn't even know how to begin to talk about.

"But I don't remember me! All the little things that made me the person I was. I know I like Lilacs, but I don't know why. I know I dated Kyle, but I don't remember what I bought him for his birthday. I remember Robert, but I don't feel."

There it was, right on a silver platter, what I should have known since she asked to see Dick. I knew why she was here, but I don't think she'll like the answers she'll get. "Donna, no one can give you the answer you want. Not Wally, not Dick, not even Terry if he was …" I was really rolling now. "When my.incident . happened, I had all the support I could want. My dad was there. Dick was there around the clock when he first found out."

"I remember, Kory didn't understand."

Good. "But no one could help me with what I wanted. No one was giving me my old life back. No matter how hard they tried. I had a choice to make. The same choice you have now, Donna. Either create something new that makes you happy, or let yourself fall apart. And as much as you want to cry on Dick's shoulder, and he'll do everything he can to help you, it still comes back to that decision."

I don't think she expected that answer.

"Oracle, I."

"Barbara, my name's Barbara."

"Barbara, you're right. I have to move on with my life. I know that. You knew that too. I want to do that, but it's tough because I don't want to repeat myself."

"You already are Donna. How many years have you been running to Dick, now, expecting him to take away your pain? It's life, Donna, you either live it or you don't." She looked at me for about 10 or 15 seconds with one of those looks that stops time for both parties. Almost like she was trying to process everything and come to a conclusion all at once, but realizing it can't happen like that. Then she smiled.

"Thanks, Barbara. I think."

From there we talked for hours, about very little and a lot at the same time. It was like one of those talks you would have with one of your old college buddies who you haven't seen in a few years. All sorts of things. Donna even told me about the one time Dick and her tried to kiss. It was apparently between Titans groups when he dropped out of college and she didn't. He came to visit, they tried to get romantic, but it just always felt wrong for them (THANK GOD!).


I turned around and it was almost dawn. Neither of us realized Donna had been here for almost 8 hours. Donna got dressed back in her costume and got ready to leave.

As Donna got up to go, there was one question I wanted to ask her since she came in. I finally worked up the nerve. "Donna?"

"Yes Barbara."

"I have to know, did Dick really love Koriand'R?" Her pause before responding spoke volumes.

"Yes. I think they truly loved each other. They are two of my closest friends in the world. Nothing would have thrilled me more than seeing them live happily ever after. I think they taught each other how to love, especially Dick. But from Day 1, everything was so hard for the two of them. No part of their relationship was simple. From background to beliefs, the conflicts were gigantic and I don't think Dick truly understood how anyone couldn't be the way he is. He's still like that, now, though he's matured well."

"Kory's other marriage didn't help."

"No, that didn't help either (she even sighed as she said it). But even without that, they didn't have the fairy tale in them. Kory needs someone who can let himself go. Be wild with her, let her emotions run full steam ahead, all the cliches. That's not Dick."

"And Dick? What does he need?"

"That one you'll have to find out for yourself, Barbara!" She gave me a smile and she laughed, for the first time since she got here.

"Donna, before you go, I have something for you"

"But you didn't know I was coming."

"And I didn't know I was giving it to you until about 30 seconds ago." I handed her the two chips. "These are communicators. Put one near your left ear, the other close to your mouth. Just tap on the earpiece twice to activate them. Call me anytime you need information, or if you just want to talk."

"Barbara, I don't know what to say. Thank you. For everything." And she smiled .

She put the chips in a small compartment in her necklace and flew away. Not five seconds passed before my communication equipment kicked in. Dick finally checking in (a whole 45 minutes early, no less!)

"So how'd the stakeout go?"

"Thrill a minute, most restful night I've had in weeks. The entire thing got wrapped up a little while ago."

"Good, well I've got to go, then, I got no sleep last night."

"Partying? Good for you!"

"Not quite, Boy Wonder." He hated it when I called him that. "D.an old friend stopped by last night. We were catching up."

"Old Friend? Should I be jealous?"

At least he was! "We'll see. Get some sleep. I'll talk to you tomorrow."

From the journal of Barbara Gordon.

Notes:
If you follow the character of Donna Troy, than it's pretty clear that this story takes place between the end of the John Byrne Wonder Woman run and the JLA/Titans miniseries. Also makes it pre-No Man's Land. I always wondered why two characters who are so central to the character of Dick Grayson had barely even met before. Law of averages would state that they would have spent some time together.

 
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