The Girl From Ipanema
I don't know what his deal is with this sudden secret ID casualness. When Babs called me to say he had approved of Cassandra's decision to NOT have a secret ID, I was shocked. When he called to ask me to tail her for a while - well, that made a little more sense. I tried to argue him out of it - tried to argue with him about the Tim thing, too - but he just closed his channel as cool as you please and refused to pick up again. Because he knew I'd do what he told me to do. I hate that.
So I'm back in Gotham for two days, getting in some good practice in the arts of disguise and rooftop tailing. And since Bruce didn't insist that I stay at the Manor, I've found some more pleasant company for my off hours. Not a total waste of a couple days off, although I'd feel better if I weren't spying for the Bat.
My subject usually confines her activity to the night, but even night owls miss the sun. And Cassandra is not a total night owl - I can tell she loves the day. Despite her nocturnal activities, she sports a summer tan, and she holds her own as one of the young and lovely ladies who move through the downtown crowds of Gotham. You'd never suspect the power in that little form as she goes walking, and I watch as the businessmen she passes look after her, each one with an expression that seems to say "ahhh" - as if treated to fresh breeze.
Heh. It's not that different at night - although the bad guys feel a different kind of awe at her. Even when she's just walking, crossing distances to reach her targets, it's like a dance. An elaborate samba, with cool swings that leave her "partners" swaying before they drop.
Sometimes it looks like she just walks through them, and each mook she passes slumps down with an "ooh."
I talk with Babs about it over a meal that should by all rights be dinner except we're eating at 4 am. "It just makes me sad watching her," I remark as I fetch another half gallon of milk from the fridge. Babs complains that I go through in a day what she eats in a week. She's probably right.
"Yeah. I dunno. It's like - who's she going to hang out with now? When she's not being Batgirl, I mean."
Babs accepts another half glass of milk and nods thoughtfully as I heap more lasagna on my plate. How can you not love a girl who makes such good lasagna?
"Harper manages without a secret ID," she observes.
I snort. "Yeah, that's it. We'll let Cassandra hang out with Bowhead for pointers on that one. Batman will love that."
The conversation degenerates from there, and we are both laughing by the time we head for bed. I still feel sad for Cassandra, though. I think it's 'cuz I know she knows I'm watching her. I don't know what Bruce said to her, but I'd been there in her path as she walked down to the seaport and back in the afternoon, and she just looked straight ahead, not at me. And that seems wrong, that she couldn't even acknowledge a friend on the street for risk of compromising his identity. I'm going to have to talk to him. Or to her.
'Cuz I plan to tell Batman that she's handling herself perfectly if he's thinking in tactical terms. But otherwise? On the afternoon of day two, I decide to give up secrecy. I'm still disguised, but when she goes out for her jaunt around downtown, I make sure she'll pass me. And when she passes, I smile - but she doesn't see me. Or rather, she doesn't acknowledge. I've been Batfamily too long to take it as a snub.
I take to the rooftops that evening, but by that time I have my whole speech for Bruce planned out. In fact, I'm in a pretty good mood as I swing around Gotham, scouting out the changed facades of the city of my youth. I start humming to myself mostly unconsciously, the way you kinda do when you're in a good mood - except I forgot I had my comlink to Babs open. I'm just touching down on Wayne Towers when her voice growls, "Don't make me come out on those rooftops and kill you."
"Now you've got it stuck in my head, Former Boy Wonder."
I grin and dive - the discovery that this fall is survivable makes it an irresistable stunt everytime I am back in Gotham. "What do you mean, Babs?" I ask over the roar of the wind in my ears.
As my jump line catches and I begin my swing, she answers by singing the first bars: "Tall and tan and young and lovely/The girl from Ipanema goes walking... Grr. I hate you, Grayson."
And all I can do is smile.
My work here is done. *evil grin* But in case you need lyrics to go with the tune bouncing around in your skull now...
Tall and tan and young and lovely
When she walks, she's like a samba
(Ooh) But I watch her so sadly
Tall, (and) tan, (and) young, (and) lovely