thoughtofyou
Dinah Lance blondecanary
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Room 312, Saturday night
Post-luau, Dinah was playing with Camille in her room, music on and thinking of everything that had happened over the last two weeks, including vampires, demons, boys-who-were-girls, and presents and the party and everyone else there.

Loooots to think about.

[for one blonde witch]

Dinah hugged her, feeling terrible now, wondering how young she'd been when she'd realized some people were really, really poor. Eight? Six? When did she first see those commercials on TV, with kids dying in foreign countries, or sick and dying in hospitals? However young it was, Karla's response was just as intense and horrified, and she wished she'd eased her into it. Gotten her a book. Something.

"They try, Karla. You saw. The women's shelter in the Narrows is just full, all the time. During the day, they have a soup kitchen open so people don't starve. The police can patrol better in daylight. But at night..." She sighed. "It's better than it was. That guy offering protection? He's in jail now. There's probably someone else starting the same racket, but at least that one's gone. So's the pimp. Helena beat him up later that night." She hugged the other girl. "Maybe your magic is the way it is so it never gets that bad. I hope. I hope it is."

Dinah wasn't the only one who thought Karla acted like a six-year old sometimes, but that's for another time.

Karla curled up next to Dinah, mirroring Dinah's own position from a few moments ago. She was silent for a few moments, pushing her own emotions away as she'd been taught and analyzing the scene. What could she learn from it? How could it be used? How could she be better for having seen it.

"I think that of everything I have or will learn in Fandom, this will rank among the most important," she whispered. "Now I know what could happen without Queens. It makes my job so much more important. It's easy to say that I am the heart of my people, of my land, but seeing what I stand against...I won't be lured into complaceny. Into wondering what the worse that could happen."

Resolved, she sat up and gave Dinah a tight squeeze. "What can I do to help New Gotham?"

Dinah blinked, surprised, then feeling dumb that she was surprised. Of course Karla would take it to heart like that; of course she'd want to help. She reached out to push some of Karla's hair back, thinking. Nothing wouldn't be accurate, but something was so hard to think of.

"I don't know, right off the top of my head," Dinah said slowly. "There's a lot of problems, I don't know where to start. Helena's trustees put as much money as they can into charities like the shelters, but that's just a symptom. We're working on the crime angle, and that's improved a lot, the last couple years." Partly because of her mom, and the deal that Al Hawke made; partly because of their more active crimefighting style since Dinah came on board, and became Helena's partner in the field. "The main thing, I guess, is people need work. And hiring them isn't so easy. But after that...." She frowned. "You were talking about medicines. About Healing. You couldn't heal everyone. But maybe, maybe..." If she got information from Barbara, on the worst of what was there, maybe there was something Karla could do. She smiled at Karla, loving her for wanting to help. "That you want to, that means a lot. So much."

Karla smiled. "Of course I would help. Even if I could pretend that these people don't matter because they aren't my people, well..everything you say about Barbara makes me feel like she's New Gotham's Queen. You are one of my Sisters, and if I can't help out a fellow Queen, your Queen, then what kind of person am I?"

That would possibly make sense to someone from Kaeleer. Maybe.

"Call it the opening of diplomatic ties between Glacia and New Gotham if you like," Karla said, trying to joke.

Then, more subdued, she added, *Don't think too highly of me. I have my share of selfish motives, too. By helping your people, I feel less as if I've abandoned my own.*

Dinah grinned, highly amused. Helena would laugh so much if they called Barbara a queen, half because it was true. Bossy worried SuperBarbara looking out for everyone, on monitors and computers and phone lines.

"Okay, I will. I don't know if magic works there," Dinah cautioned her. "Or at least yours. But hey. Can't hurt, can it?"

And underneath, she added: You didn't. Not in your head. Not inside. They're still yours. You're just away for a while. Then, more softly, And you're helping me. You're still a Healer, no matter what.

Karla shook her head. "Trying never has," she said. "And I have plenty of non-magical brews I can give to people that should work properly. That might help...somehow."

Though the more she thought about it, the more she realized what little effect even a hundred vials of calming teas or soothing lotions would have. And started to understand Dinah's explanations some more.

*Thank you. You have no idea what that means to me.*

"Maybe if I get them to Barbara and she analyzes them," Dinah thought aloud. Hunh. "Maybe if they're new enough, and work well enough, Helena's company can make more of them, if the ingredients are similar enough. Jobs, plus medicine... That could help, you know? Especially anything good for the mentally ill."

It would take years, and effort, but still. Every little bit helped.

Dinah hugged her back, hard, then smiled. "Hey, I brought you souvenirs. Silly ones." She got up, and dragged two presents out of her closet, and handed them over. "Go on! Open them!"

Karla reached for them eagerly. "Here is where I'm supposed to say, 'Oh no, you shouldn't have!' or something, but I'm not gonna," she said, sounding like a smug six year old. "I'm as greedy as a child for presents. So, while you didn't have to, I'm awfully glad you did."

She opened them up, aww'd at the moose, and squeezed him tight. "He's adorable!" she said. "He's got a little stuffed creature, too! No moose in Glacia is as snuggly. What should I call him? Maybe...'Vancouver?' Where he's from? Vann, for short."

Shut up. Karla does not have a secret fondness for stuffed creatures.

The maple syrup provoked more curiosity than squealing. At least until she opened it and dipped her finger in. "This is tasty!" she said. "Now I want pancakes!"

Dinah snickered. "Vann he is. And yeah, I got him at the gift shop at the airport there. Baby moose!" She grinned. "Pancakes this weekend, maybe? Since you're not allowed to cook and all." In the major irony of the week. She hugged Karla again. "And it's what you get friends when you're away."

She gave Karla a more sober look. "You're okay? I didn't wear you out too bad, with all my stuff, and New Gotham too? It's a lot to process."

"This weekend will be great!" Karla said, thrilled once again to get tasty food without her having to actually cook anything. Non-Karla interference was a key ingredient in tasty, anyway. "I don't have any plans."

Someone was going to be a very sad Arcerian kitty come Sunday. Or a very messy one.

Karla's first instinct was to deny everythingand insist she was fine. But Dinah wasn't an idiot. "It was a lot to take in," she admitted quietly. "I'm pretty tired and I'm going to have to think about stuff for awhile. But I'm glad you told me." She rested her hand on Dinah's so Dinah could feel how sincere (and touched by Dinah's trust) she was. "And it's good to have things to think about. It's hard learning that my ways aren't the only--or even the best--but it's useful."

Messy was much, much more fun.

"Yeah. I keep learning that here too. Or trying to." Dinah smiled, eyes sad, and turned her hand over to squeeze Karla's. "But I'm so glad you listened. My brain is a lot less overwhelmed than it was before we talked." She shrugged. "Not that it makes everything okay. But it feels like a start."

Truer words may have never been typed.

"I hate to say it, but only time is really going to make things okay," Karla said, giving Dinah's hand a sympathetic squeeze. "Time and work. But, as you said, it's a start. And the burden will be lightened by friends who provide alcohol, chocolates, and stupid jokes," she teased.

"My friends are the best," Dinah said decisively, and grinned. "Thanks."

"You're welcome," Karla said. "Think about what that says about you, though, that all your friends are so wonderful."


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