Author's Note: This story is dedicated to A.j. because I heard a
rumor that cuteness is her lifeblood, and because reading the stories
at her archive made me want to write Bat-fiction. This story is a
product of too many viewings of Toy Story (best movie on earth!) and
altogether too much knowledge about the X-Babies.
Disclaimer: I own none of the characters used herein. They belong to DC Comics/Time Warner and I am using them without permission. I promise not to hurt them and to have them back in time for bed.
"Babs, if you'd just listen..." Dick Grayson pleaded from the computer screen.
"You're the one who's not listening!" she snapped in return. "Oracle out." She broke the connection and stared sadly at the blank screen. Then, with a deep sigh, she rolled herself around, and out of the room, killing the lights on the way.
In the shadows, a pair of button eyes tracked to the door. A long moment passed, then the silence was broken by a small voice asking, "Is she gone, yet?"
"I think so," answered another, even smaller voice, cautiously.
Another long moment passed as they made sure.
"We're clear!" the first voice finally cheered. A soft whump could be heard, then the desk lamp clicked on. The little stuffed Nightwing doll, who Barbara had left sitting on a nearby CPU, swung around the gooseneck of the lamp and dropped lightly to the worktable where the Batgirl doll was already pacing.
"What's wrong with them?" she demanded, sounding just about as annoyed as a very small, stuffed doll can sound. "Things were going WELL!"
Li'l Nightwing raised his hands helplessly.
Li'l Batgirl threw herself against the nearest piece of computer equipment and crossed her arms in a huff.
"Maybe we can do something to help," Li'l Nightwing offered. "C'mon, let's come up with an idea."
He sat down next to Li'l Batgirl, and together, the two tiny crimefighters thought and thought, but couldn't come up with a single idea.
"Ooh!" exclaimed Li'l Batgirl, kicking the nearest computer with her little stuffed foot. "This makes me so mad!"
"Me, too," replied Li'l Nightwing. "There must be something we can do, though. Maybe, if we write her a love letter from Batman, Nightwing will see it and get jealous!"
"How's he going to see it?" Li'l Batgirl asked. "Besides, he wants to make up!" "Oh, right." Li'l Nightwing sighed dejectedly. "Maybe if we got her flowers, and pretended they were from him?"
"Ooh, flowers!" squealed Li'l Batgirl. "And a love letter!" she added happily.
"Yea!" Li'l Nightwing cried, jumping up. "You order the flowers, and I'll write the letter," he offered, trying to pick up a pen nearly as tall as he was.
Li'l Batgirl struggled to push the cover of the big phone book open, while Li'l Nightwing tried to maneuver the pen over a sheet of looseleaf. Once she managed to get the cover open, the pages were easy to turn. She quickly skipped over to the yellow pages and found the numbers for several Gotham florists.
"Help me get the phone off the hook," she requested.
Li'l Nightwing was more than happy to abandon the cumbersome pen and lifted the other end of the phone. Together, they flipped the handset onto the table. Li'l Batgirl climbed up on the phone and hopped from number to number, until they could both hear the sound of a ringing phone.
"Hello, you have reached Gotham Flower Central," an electronic voice told them. "We are open from 8am to 5pm Monday through Saturday. Please call us back during this time and we would be happy to fulfill your flower needs."
"Flower needs?" Li'l Nightwing echoed. "But we have flower needs, NOW!"
"Maybe the internet," Li'l Batgirl suggested, as they replaced the phone and closed the phone book. Li'l Nightwing reached up to the monitor button and pushed it in. Li'l Batgirl jumped on the mouse to clear away the screen saver.
"Use a search engine," Li'l Nightwing suggested.
"Ok." Li'l Batgirl found a search page and carefully typed in 'flours.' "Here," she said, "this one says 'Recipes for Love.'"
"I don't know," Li'l Nightwing replied doubtfully. "I think you spelled 'flowers' wrong." But he rode the mouse over to that link and jumped on the left mouse button.
"Lookit all the chocolate!" Li'l Batgirl squealed, staring wide-eyed at the vividly colored pictures of desserts on the screen. "Maybe we should make her something to eat, instead of flowers!"
"I don't think this is a very good page," Li'l Nightwing disagreed. "Look at that one. It's supposed to be a chocolate mousse, and I don't see any antlers. Besides, we shouldn't use the oven. It gets very hot."
"I guess you're right," Li'l Batgirl sighed. "So how do we spell flowers again?"
"It was in the phone book," Li'l Nightwing reminded her. "With a W."
"Ok." This search produced the web ordering pages of several local florists.
"Get her roses," Li'l Nightwing suggested. "They're romantic. And they smell good."
"Ok," Li'l Batgirl agreed. "How many?"
"No, but ask for baby's butt."
"That's baby's breath, Boy Blunder."
"We need a credit card number."
"I'll go get Babs'."
"No! You can't make her pay for her own flowers!" Li'l Nightwing reminded her.
"Oh, right. Darn." The two dolls stared helplessly at the screen. "What if we just made one up?"
"That's not very nice."
With sighs executed in unison, they shut down the browser and turned off the monitor.
"How's that love letter going?"
"'Dear Babs,'" Li'l Batgirl read. "I think the s goes the other way. 'I love u. I don't wa' You don't wa?"
"I don't want to fight. But then you needed help with the phone."
"Oh." Li'l Batgirl regarded the sloppy note for a minute.
"It's not very neat."
"We're not doing a very good job, are we?"
"No, not really."
They sighed in unison.
"Well," Li'l Batgirl pronounced. "If we can't do anything in here, then we need to go somewhere else."
"Uh, Li'l Batgirl," Li'l Nightwing said, cautiously. "I don't know if that's a good idea."
"Of course it is!" Li'l Batgirl told him, her eyes lighting up as she got more and more excited about her plan. "We'll go to Stately Wayne Manor! They have bee-yoo-ti-ful rose bushes there!"
"How are we going to get there?" Li'l Nightwing asked worriedly. "It's not very close."
"We'll find a way," Li'l Batgirl proclaimed gaily, already unlocking the nearest window. "C'mon."
Together, they turned the latch and opened the window, just enough to get out. Then, they tied an extra modem cord to the goose-neck lamp and tossed the other end out the window.
"Are you sure it's long enough?" Li'l Nightwing asked, peering out the window.
"We'll take an extra," Li'l Batgirl decided, slinging one over her shoulder. "Then, if we need one, we'll have it."
"Ok," Li'l Nightwing agreed. "I'll go first." He swung out the window and moved slowly down the building on the cord, Li'l Batgirl right above him. "Um…we're out of cord," he said, reaching the clear plastic plug, still several feet above the ground.
"Here's the extra," Li'l Batgirl offered.
Turning himself upside down, so he was facing headfirst down the building, Li'l Nightwing crawled to the very end of the cord and expertly lashed the two cords together. "Um, it's right over left, then left over right…right?"
"I think so."
"Ok…got it. Let's keep going."
They inched down, a little faster now, anxious to get to the bottom.
"Um, we're out of cord, again."
Li'l Batgirl followed Li'l Nightwing's gaze.
"I have an idea." Li'l Nightwing pushed his little round feet against the wall of the Clock Tower and let the rope swing outward. Short legs and stuffed feet don't have much pushing power, and they were soon back at the wall. This time, Li'l Batgirl pushed, too, and they swung out in a wider arc. Half a dozen pushes later, Li'l Nightwing yelled "Release!" at the apex of their swing. They flew off the cord, into the cool night air.
"Wheee!" Li'l Batgirl cheered. "I'm flying!"
"Aim for that car!" Li'l Nightwing instructed, pointing to a red vehicle parked in the entrance of the ally.
Turning in the air the tiny superheros directed their descent toward the car.
"That's the Redbird!" Li'l Batgirl realized happily.
"Yup! Robin always parks it here when he's on the rooftops. We just have to get inside and we're on our way to Stately Wayne Manor!" Li'l Nightwing explained. "Oooh! What a wonderful plan!" The terminal velocity of fiberfill is rather low, and fortunately, low enough for Li'l Batgirl to squeeze Li'l Nightwing in a tight hug before they had to concentrate on landing on the Redbird.
Tim Drake had a long night behind him, and he still had to wake up early and go fishing with his dad. He landed gently in the alley next to Gotham's Clock Tower and reeled in his decel line. He glanced up at the darkened apartment above him. Oracle and Nightwing had gotten in an argument tonight. Nightwing had patrolled with him for a while, then gone off on his own to sulk. Tim hoped Dick would be a better mood by the time they both got back to the cave. Two dark, sulky guys was just too much for that place. He placed his palm on the sensor panel of the Redbird. The car's electronic security system recognized his print and the door swung open. He started the engine and put the car in first gear.
Li'l Batgirl and Li'l Nightwing had seen Tim get in his car. They landed on the trunk, just before he took off.
"Whoa!" Li'l Batgirl lost her balance as Tim took off.
"I got you!" Li'l Nightwing shouted as he grabbed her ankle.
The Redbird quickly accelerated to the Gotham speed limit.
Then, it went a little faster, but we won't tell if you won't.
Li'l Batgirl and Li'l Nightwing clung desperately to the Redbird's spoilers, their legs flying out behind them.
"Swing up!" Li'l Nightwing yelled to Li'l Batgirl. "Get your legs over the top!"
"Easy for you to say," Li'l Batgirl grunted, trying to pull her legs toward the car. The velocity of the car was creating a strong wind that kept pulling her back.
"Here." Li'l Nightwing swung a leg over to her and kicked her in the butt. Li'l Batgirl bounced forward, finding herself sitting on the back of the car, riding comfortably braced against the other side of the spoiler.
"You're lucky I have enough padding, there!" she shouted back at him.
"Give me a hand up!" he shouted back.
Wedging her foot in the crack made by the door of the Redbird's right-side missile-launcher, Li'l Batgirl leaned to the left and stretched her hand to Li'l Nightwing. He reached up, caught her hand, and allowed himself to be pulled to safety.
"Whew," he said, leaning against the left-side spoiler.
"Just sit back and enjoy the ride," Li'l Batgirl said contentedly, tucking her arms behind her head.
It hadn't been hard to find Alfred's rose bushes. They'd jumped off the Redbird before it entered the Batcave, and had trekked around the perimeter of Stately Wayne Manor until they found what seemed like dozens of massive plants, abloom with giant roses.
"Mmmm!" Li'l Batgirl exclaimed, burying her face in one. "They smell yummy!"
Li'l Nightwing, in the meantime, was sitting on the ground, messing with his left boot.
"Whatcha doing?" Li'l Batgirl wanted to know.
In reply, Li'l Nightwing pulled a flat-head pin from his foot and held it up for her to admire.
"Where did you get that?" she asked in awe.
"Alfred left it in me by accident, the time Babs threw me across the room and I tore. I figured it might come in handy."
"You were such a wuss about that," Li'l Batgirl remembered.
"Was too…will it cut the stem?"
"I think so. Here, hold it for a minute."
Li'l Batgirl balanced the pin on its tip while Li'l Nightwing jumped onto the nearest branch and made himself comfortable.
"Ok, I'm ready."
Li'l Batgirl passed the pin up, and he started hacking away at the stem.
"Is it working?" Li'l Batgirl asked worriedly.
"Gimme a minute," he replied through clenched teeth.
Li'l Batgirl waited for what seemed like an interminably long time for Li'l Nightwing to make some progress. Then, she bit her lip and waited some more. Then, she wrapped her arms around herself and rocked from side to side. Then, well, then, she just couldn't help herself.
"Is it working?" she blurted out.
"Yeah…I--OOF!" The stem snapped and the rose and Li'l Nightwing came tumbling to the ground. Well, the rose tumbled to the ground. Li'l Nightwing only made it halfway down. "HELP! I'M STUCK!!!"
"Shh!" Li'l Batgirl scolded. "Do you want everyone to hear us?"
"No," admitted Li'l Nightwing grumpily. "But I don't wanna rip again, either!"
"You're such a wuss about that."
"You would be, too, if it happened to you!"
"It DID happen to me! When Tim and Dinah were playing with me and you had to wear that stupid Hawaiian shirt until Babs came home!"
"Oh…right." Li'l Nightwing contemplated that for a moment.
"But at least you just ripped! I'm ripped and stuck!"
"Oh, ok, ok…geez." Li'l Batgirl rolled her eyes as she picked her way carefully up the bush. "Look, you're just caught on a thorn…you didn't rip or anything."
"Good," Li'l Nightwing replied as she pushed him off the thorn, onto the ground. "OW!"
"Served you right," Li'l Batgirl sniffed. "Going around like a crybaby."
"I was not being a crybaby!"
"You were, too."
"Were too," Li'l Batgirl insisted, picking up one end of the rose and starting to drag it off.
"At least I GOT the flower," Li'l Nightwing reminded her. "And I thought you wanted a dozen?"
"A hand-picked one is even MORE romantic," Li'l Batgirl informed him. "Besides, I thought you were afraid of getting ripped?"
"Oh…yeah." Li'l Nightwing fell silent and picked up the other end of the flower. "Where are we taking this?"
"To the Batcave, silly. We have to get back to Babs' apartment, somehow."
Alfred Pennyworth sighed dramatically. No one noticed.
Looking down his nose in distaste, he deliberately walked across the Batcave, between the massive Cray computers and the disgruntled vigilantes who had failed at extracting information from them, and commenced attack on the nearest trophy with his feather duster. This failed to dissipate the angry expressions, so he attempted another long-suffering sigh. No luck.
"Just call her up and ask her," Batman demanded, his voice gravelly. But then, when isn't it?
"She's asleep," Nightwing grumbled. "And I'm not waking her up."
Tim sighed, this time, and exchanged a pitying glance with Alfred.
"This is important," Batman rasped. "And we're running out of time."
"It's only important to you," Nightwing shot back. "And I don't know why…you've got millions."
"And how do you think I got them?"
"Well, aside from the obvious 'you inherited them' I'd have to say that you're desperately cheap."
"Exactly!" Batman smiled triumphantly. "So call up Barbara and ask her if she wants some Moo Goo Gai Pan or Fortune Cookies, or something, so we can get free Crab Rangoon."
"Why don't you call her?" Nightwing asked sourly.
"Whew! We made it!" Li'l Batgirl leaned dramatically against the wall of the Batcave.
"That dog was asleep," Li'l Nightwing reminded her.
"It was still a daring escape," she proclaimed, pushing away from the wall. "Now, how do we get back to Babs?"
"I think Tim's in for the night," Li'l Nightwing said thoughtfully. "He'll just go next door. I don't know about Nightwing. He might go back to Blüdhaven, but he might just stay here."
"If he knows about the Cooper's dog, he'll go back," Li'l Batgirl muttered darkly.
"The dog was asleep!"
Li'l Nightwing sputtered for a moment, then shook his head.
"So are we going to Nightwing's car?" he finally asked.
"Yeah, I guess," Li'l Batgirl agreed moodily.
"Ok, then, let's…uh-oh!"
"What?" Li'l Batgirl turned her head to see the same thing that alarmed Li'l Nightwing.
"My word." Alfred muttered as he crossed the floor of the cave. "Where did you two come from?" Two small, stuffed dolls lay against the wall of the cave. Alfred scooped them up gently in his worn hands and smiled at them. "You two do seem familiar. Didn't I stitch one of you up not long ago?" The two dolls smiled blankly at him. "As I thought. Master Dick?" Alfred started to turn toward the young man, when something else caught his eye. "MASTER RICHARD!"
The cave froze.
Tim wanted, more than anything else in the world, to elbow Dick and say, "Whooo…Master Richard…you're in trouble, now."
But he didn't. You see, Tim knew that whatever Dick had done to earn Alfred's wrath was probably so bad, Tim had something to do with it, too. He wasn't about to test the theory.
Bruce slunk backward and became even more a part of the shadows. He, too, knew what 'Master Richard' meant, and he didn't want to have any part of it.
"Master Richard," Alfred continued, "what is the meaning of this?" He presented the purloined rose to the visibly shaken Nightwing.
"You have decapitated one of my prize beauties! You have slaughtered the fruit of my hard work and dedication!"
Oh, no, not the rose bushes, Tim thought with a mental groan.
I can't believe Dick was stupid enough to touch the rose bushes, Batman sighed mentally.
"I-I-it's for Barbara!" Dick blurted out, forgetting that he had no prior knowledge whatsoever of the errant flower.
"Oh." Alfred considered this for a moment. "Very well. I always have had a soft spot for Miss Gordon. Carry on." He handed Dick the rose, oblivious to the awed expressions of Bruce and Tim. "Oh, and I do believe these go back to Miss Gordon, also." Alfred deposited the stuffed Batgirl and Nightwing in Dick's waiting hands.
"Um, thanks, Alfred," Nightwing managed, finally finding his voice.
"Quite welcome, young sir."
Dick turned the toys over in his hands. How had they gotten in the Batcave?
"Lemme see that," Tim demanded, taking the Nightwing doll out of his hand. "Hey, these belong to Babs. Dinah and I had this one dressed in a little Hawaiian shirt. What are you doing with them?"
"A Hawaiian shirt?" Dick stared at Tim in abject horror.
"You dressed him in a little Hawaiian shirt?"
"Um…" Tim backpedaled frantically. "Well, it was really more of a…muu-muu."
"Muu-muu?" Batman growled softly. "You and Dinah dressed up Barbara's doll in a muu-muu?"
"Well, maybe not a muu-muu…" Tim tried again.
"Actually, it's MY doll," Dick interrupted. "A doll of ME."
"Did Dinah…say anything about me?"
"I can't believe Alfred almost caught us," Li'l Nightwing complained, climbing out of Dick's backpack.
"Correction," Li'l Batgirl said from inside the bag. "Alfred DID catch us. We just got lucky." She watched with satisfaction as Li'l Nightwing clambered out of the bag, then began her own ascent. "How lucky was it that Nightwing left his bag down here?"
"I know," Li'l Nightwing agreed. "Let's just hope that we can get into his email."
"No problem." Li'l Batgirl turned on the Cray's monitors. "Flying Toasters? Batman has a Flying Toaster screensaver?"
Li'l Nightwing just shrugged.
"Let's get to work," she suggested. She jumped around the keyboard for a few minutes, pressing different buttons, then turned to look at Li'l Nightwing. "What's his password?" she asked curiously.
"Elinore," Li'l Nightwing told her.
"Elinore? Who's Elinore?" Li'l Batgirl asked sharply, sitting up and turning around.
"She was the bestest elephant in Haly's Circus," Li'l Nightwing told her, resting his chin on his hands. "Pop Haly used to let me ride her around the ring in the big parades."
That's so cute!" she exclaimed, typing it in. "Now…Dear Babs…"
"I hadn't gotten that far."
The little superheroes sat deep in thought, again.
"I think they have leftover fortune cookies."
They scampered across the counter to find the small pile of leftover desserts.
"Tug of War!" Li'l Batgirl cried, as she and Li'l Nightwing worked together to break apart one of the cookies. It broke with a crisp snap and the paper fortune fluttered out.
"What's the fortune say?" Li'l Nightwing asked, taking one end and flipping it over.
"It says…'True love is like good ice cream. Sometimes Rocky Road is better than plain Vanilla.'"
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"C'mon," Li'l Batgirl demanded. "I have an idea."
Barbara Gordon always woke up early. Well, as early as one who spends all night helping masked vigilantes fight crime is wont to wake up.
She dumped a scoop of coffee in the coffeemaker and sat there, breathing in the aroma of percolating caffeine. Upon obtaining a cup of Wonderbrew, she rolled to her computer and logged on.
"You have New Mail," the program cheerfully informed her.
"Thanks," she told it, although it wasn't listening, and activated her email account. She glanced around her workstation. Where were her little dolls? She thought she'd left them here last night. Oh, well. Maybe after the coffee. She blinked at the sender's ID and took another slurp of coffee. She would need it to wade through Dick's obtuse groveling. She reached for the mouse and clicked on the message.
Barbara forgot all about her coffee. She forgot all about her missing dolls. She forgot all about being annoyed with Dick. All she could think about was ice cream.
"You two ready to go home?" Dick Grayson asked the next day, glancing at the two still forms in his bag. He pulled his car up to the curb in front of Barbara's apartment and turned off the engine. "Hope she goes for the flower," he muttered to himself, remembering her harsh words the night before. Getting out of the car, he slung his backpack over his shoulder and rang the doorbell. Barbara buzzed him up, immediately. He skipped the elevator and took the stairs two at a time. Babs was already waiting with the door open, and immediately caught him in a huge hug.
Wow, Dick Grayson thought as his bag hit the ground. I wonder what I did to deserve this.
"You're wonderful, Twenty-Something Wonder," Babs said sweetly, giving him a quick kiss on the lips.
Still not sure what he did, but not about to argue with her, Dick held out the rose.
"Awww…" Barbara melted and threw her arms around him again.
Two feet below them, two tiny pairs of stuffed boots hit the floor and took off for the computer workstation.
"We did it!" Li'l Batgirl whispered happily as she settled back in her place on the worktable.
"Yup." Li'l Nighwing smiled at her as he settled back on the CPU. "C'mere."
Li'l Batgirl leaned closer to him, in order to hear him better.
"Hurry," she demanded, as the voices in the hall grew louder. "They're coming."
Li'l Nightwing leaned forward and kissed Li'l Batgirl on the cheek.
Li'l Batgirl's mouth opened in a wide "O."
"So, have you seen…" Barbara was asking as she rolled into the room. "Oh…here they are." She picked up the little Nightwing doll flopped over on the CPU and bounced him a little. "I don't know why I thought they were missing before."
Dick just scratched his head and squinted at the little replicas.
"Oh…I am missing one other thing…have you seen my extra modem cables?"