Fandom: DC Comics
Characters: Cassandra, Harvey
Prompt: #28, Free Association
Word Count: About six hundred
Disclaimer: Don't own.
A/N: Set during the OYL hiatus, but otherwise AU. Not a very serious reading of the prompt. Made from two ficlets I already posted at my journal.
From Wikipedia: The intermezzo, in the 18th century, was a comic operatic interlude inserted between acts or scenes of an opera seria. These intermezzi could be substantial and complete works themselves, though they were shorter than the opera seria which enclosed them; typically they provided comic relief and dramatic contrast to the tone of the bigger opera around them, and often they used one or more of the stock characters from the opera or from the commedia dell'arte. Often they were of a burlesque nature, and characterized by slapstick comedy, disguises, dialect, and ribaldry.
The girl had knocked out the band, and the bald man they had been threatening took his chance and tried to run out of the alley.
A punch from nowhere sent him sprawling back, and then somebody in a leather jacket pushed him against a wall.
"You," said the girl. "You are alone."
The man smiled. "Perceptive, aren't you? And you are" - he gestured to his chest with his free hand- "out of uniform."
The girl nodded toward the bald man he was holding. "Why?"
The man in the leather jacket looked at her, seemingly weighting something in his mind. "When somebody pays ransom - what do the kidnappers do with the money?"
The girl frowned. "Spend?"
"Well, yes, my concise friend. But you cannot buy a house, or a yacht, with unmarked hundred dollar bills... although I think your experience with buying things for yourself might be somewhat limited."
She shrugged silently, and pointed again to the bald man. "He helps?"
"Yes. He is a particularly corrupt bank officer in a well-known bank with offices in Gotham, New York and the Channel; he complements his ill-earned salary providing financial services to the wrongdoing community of Gotham. If somebody was leaning on him, I'd bet you my last silver dollar that there is a kidnapping going on that he knows about."
The bald man gulped. "How... how do you know that?" The man holding him against the wall just moved his head slightly, until a shadow fell on half of his face.
The bald man found himself too terrified to scream. The girl approached them.
"Those things, " she said. "Teach me."
"I'm not a teacher," the man answered. "And I'm not him."
The girl just looked at him.
"Alright," he relented. "I could use an intern. Can you type?," he joked.
"Can't read." She felt it was appropriate to add to that statement. "Killed Shiva once."
The bald man fainted.
"Works for me," said the man in the leather jacket.
* * *
Sometimes, when the marks on the paper refuse to make sense at all, she gets angry at herself. He doesn't seem to mind. "It's difficult, working with an injured brain," he says gently to her. He doesn't attempt to hide his own pain and frustration, so she follows his advice and keeps trying.
One morning she tells him about the man she killed. He tells her about being a 'minor', 'parental pressure', and many other things of the law, the kind of things she knows people like Gordon care about. He gets very passionate about that, and before long she has to hide an smile while he walks around his (their) apartment, arguing with people that isn't there, sometimes saying things in a language she has never heard before. He catches himself doing it and laughs at himself. It's a nice laugh.
When she asks him if she would be also forgiven by the Bat, he shakes his head and smiles sadly.
"He is a good man; even when I was crazy, he was always there for me. But that doesn't mean that everything he does is sane. You understand?... I guess you don't. You are both cut from the same cloth." He smiles fondly when he says it, and she swells with pride.
When she finishes reading her first story (so difficult, like trying to understand somebody in the dark), he takes her out to dinner. It's not a cover thing, like she thought at first; they are just eating and talking.
It's strange, but fun. He knows the name of every waiter, and orders food she didn't knew existed, and people look at him with fear and curiosity and -after looking at her- something that might be envy. He laughs quietly but sincerely when she jokes with a gesture, and tells her stories about Bruce Wayne. She smiles a lot and nods as if she understands.
Perhaps she does.