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Give and Take

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"This," Batman said, "is ridiculous."

It was a damned good thing that Catwoman always worked alone. She could be very exasperating. Not great for his reputation.

She was sitting on the floor, her arms bound around her torso with slender rope. Her wrists were trapped in front of her sternum. The blonde curls of her wig looked out of place against her skin. "I'm glad we agree," she said. Catwoman was referring to the art. Batman was referring to what she'd done to it. It was a deliberate misunderstanding.

"This may be the pettiest thing I've ever seen." Every canvas was ruined, in tatters, long clawmarks running through them. A cat ruining the curtains.

"I was performing a public service," she said loftily.

"According to whom?"

"According to good taste."

Somehow this always seemed to end up happening with her. Discussing it as if she could be reasoned with.

"Where's the statue?" he asked, knowing she'd never tell him.

"On its way to where it belongs," she answered.

She was baiting him into saying 'it belongs in a museum'. He wouldn't, so the joke would lie in wait without a punchline to disarm it.

"The police are on their way," he said instead, a warning and an ultimatum.

She started to say something, then bent her legs and buried her face in her knees to sneeze. It was, as before, a very dainty little sound.

"Next time don't jump in the harbor," he added.

"Next time don't chase me into the harbor," she countered. The stubborn set to her jaw was belied by a brief shudder.

He would not be guilted.

She sneezed again.

He resisted the temptation to sigh. Separating his cape from the rest of his costume, he draped it over her shoulders. An expensive and glorified blanket. She was wary when he knelt beside her to wrap it tighter around her, since she couldn't do it herself. "Don't break and enter with a cold," he said.

"Do you take a break every time you get a cold?"

"I don't get colds." They could hear the sirens now, getting closer.

"How'd you pull that off?" she asked, though she clearly didn't believe him.

"Sheer force of will," he said as he stood. Catwoman laughed, bundled up in his cape on the floor. The sirens came to a stop outside the museum. "I believe that's your ride," he said.

"Be seeing you," she called as Batman headed for the roof.

He gave it about a block before she made it out of the car. He suspected her of letting herself get caught, in the same way that she suspected him of letting her go.

He wasn't, necessarily. The only alternative was that he carry her to the police station himself. That wasn't happening.

Not after last time.

If there was one thing he was good at, it was learning from his mistakes.




"I thought you uninstalled Snapchat right after you claimed your username."

Bruce took his phone back out of Dick's hand, set it back on the desk where he'd left it before. "I did," he said, not looking up from his paperwork.

"So why are you getting Snapchat notifications?"

"I reinstalled it," Bruce said shortly.

"When?"

"When I kept getting yelled at for never checking Snapchat."

Dick laughed, because of course he'd find that hilarious. "Nickie or Adia?"

"Both."

Dick laughed again, fell backward into the couch in Bruce's office. His legs dangled off the armrest, not quite upside-down. "Who's the notification from?"

"None of your business," Bruce said, though he set his pen down, picked his phone up to check. He didn't think his face had given anything away when he'd seen the name and tapped to see the picture, but Dick shot up immediately.

"That was almost a smile!" Dick accused, nearly leapfrogging over the desk in his quest to look at the phone's screen. Bruce didn't bother trying to hide it from him, since the username wasn't visible. Dick frowned. "It's just trees," he complained, having apparently expected something more salacious.

"It's Guayabo de Turrialba," Bruce corrected, setting his phone back down.

"Did Diana send it to you or something?"

"No. If I ask you to show me your homework right now, how well is that going to end for you?" He picked his pen back up, turned his attention back toward work.

"Great," Dick said, clearly lying. "But I guess I can go double-check that I have everything in order, first."

"You do that," Bruce said, even as Dick darted out back into the hallway.

He picked his phone back up once he was alone, turned up the volume and tapped again to start a video. Trees again, no sound but bird calls and the chirping of crickets. But it moved forward, until he could make out an Agalychnis callidryas trying to hide on a leaf. She didn't get very close before it jumped away. Overlaid was an emoji of a frog. It didn't seem to suit the scene.

He wasn't going to reply. She never seemed to mind. Read receipts didn't count as encouraging her.

At least he'd have plenty of warning before she came back to Gotham.