FIC: Backwoods (Birds of Prey)

Aug. 10th, 2008 | 06:46 pm
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Title: Backwoods
Author: rysler
Date: August 10, 2008
Sources: Birds of Prey, Green Lantern.
Pairing: Dinah/Shiva
Rating: NC-17 - Graphic sex and graphic violence.
Notes: For paxm. As Pre-Crisis as possible, but not quite as Silver Age-y as I was hoping. Inspired by Green Lantern v2 78 (uploaded for your pleasure!), the story of Black Canary being kidnapped by a cult in the woods after her bike is stolen. Well, instead of a cult...

* * * Backwoods * * *

Dinah heard the motorcycle long before she saw it. She left the road, where she'd been walking for an hour, and hid within the treeline. Her feet hurt. Knee-length motorcycle boots were for riding, not walking. The aches were starting to fade from her knuckles and face, which, really, was no trade-off.

She couldn't hope that the bruises were fading. The bikers had put up a good fight for her motorcycle. At least they hadn't hit her over the head. No, one good blow to the back of the shoulder, and she went down, stumbling face-first into the muddy trench at the side of the road. They found the bike prettier than her and took off. Professionals.

She wasn't going to let that affect her self-esteem.

The motorcycle came into view over a ridge, its rider all in black, the helmet reflecting only the scenery. Dinah held her breath until the motorcycle passed. Then, from behind, she recognized the Illinois plates, the modifications on the Honda, and the particular set of the rider's shoulders. She stepped out into the middle of the road.

"Hey, Sandy!"

The motorcycle slid into a stop. The rider yanked off her helmet. "Is that you, Black Canary?"

Dinah walked toward the motorcycle. "And you, Lady Shiva."

Shiva snorted, and asked, "Why are you in costume in the middle of Washington State?"

"I'm not in costume." Dinah looked down at herself. "These are my bike leathers. My wig is in the saddle bag. On the bike. With my fishnets." Dinah felt sad.

Shiva rolled her eyes. "Oh." She frowned, studied Dinah, and said, "I like you better as a brunette anyway."

"Oh, you do not."

"Yes, all right. Blondes are more fun."

Dinah chuckled, and then winced as she took a wrong step on a pebble the motorcycle had kicked up. She must have twisted her ankle in the fight. When she was a few feet from Shiva, Shiva scowled.

"What the hell happened to you?" Shiva asked.

"Jumped... by big, scary men. Wielding chainsaws! And with superpowers! Lucky to escape with my life." Dinah said as looked away from Shiva, at the treeline, but she couldn't help smiling.

"How many men?"


"You got jumped by four guys?"

"And they stole my bike."

Shiva threw back her head and laughed. "Are you really Black Canary of the Justice League, or did someone steal her costume?"

"Hey, bite me. Everybody has a bad day."

"Sure, Little Bird. Want a ride to town?"

"I want vengeance." Dinah crossed her arms.

Shiva put her helmet back on and lifted the visor. "I really wish you weren't kidding."

Dinah chuckled. "So, why are you here?"

Shiva considered her, wondering whether or not tell her the truth, Dinah supposed. Finally Shiva answered, "My father retired here. After... After Carolyn. He just fishes and hunts and watches the snow fall. Family visit. You might as well come along."

Dinah grinned. "Oh, am I family?"

Shiva grunted as Dinah settled behind her on the motorcycle. "You're all I've got."

"Silver-tongued devil."

Shiva gunned the bike.

* * *

The bike stopped in front of a small cabin--part hunting lodge, part hut. Smoke came from the chimney. A rusted pick-up truck was outside. Beyond the house was a large pond with a dock extending nearly a third of the way to the center. Beyond that, farmland.

Shiva kicked down the stand and helped Dinah off.

"I'm nervous about meeting your dad," Dinah said.

"Me too," Shiva said. She went toward the house.

Dinah limped after her.

The door opened and a man came out, a head shorter than Shiva, and embraced her. He said something low and quiet into Shiva's ear.

Shiva whispered back and then said, "She speaks Mandarin, Dad. Be careful."

"Well, I speak Mandarin badly." Dinah wiped her hand on her pants and offered it to him.

He clasped it in both of his and said, "Sandra tells me she found you on the side of the road, but I remember you from Gotham."

"We met in Gotham?" Dinah asked.

"No," he said, and smiled. "I just remember you."

Dinah glanced at Shiva. "Mysterious family."

"See? Genetics."

Shiva's father gestured them inside. Dinah limped across the threshhold.

"What do I call you?" she asked.

Shiva answered, "You call him 'Father.'"

* * *

Dinner was farm-raised trout, fruits and vegetables taken from the closest farms, and bad, manufactured pastries from the supermarket.

"Sandra's favorite," he said. "I cannot believe she eats it."

"It reminds me of home," Shiva said.

Dinah took a scone, took a bite, and grimaced. "Me too."

"And you grew up in Gotham?" Shiva's father asked.


"You're a long way away."

"I followed someone," Dinah said.

"For love?"

"For love."

He nodded. "Better reasons than Sandra's, to follow someone."

"Hardly," Shiva said. "Look at her."

Dinah ran her fingers through her hair and grinned.

Shiva rolled her eyes. She cleared the table and yanked up Dinah's knee. Dinah extended her leg onto another chair, propped up on a pillow. Shiva's father removed her boot. Shiva made an icepack from the freezer and plopped it onto Dinah's ankle.

"Ow," Dinah said.

"Ow," Shiva mimicked.

Dinah stuck out her tongue.

Shiva pushed her forehead.

Shiva's father, from the sink, not looking around, said, "Almost like having Carolyn back again."

"Not even Dinah could be that obnoxious," Shiva said.

Dinah fidgeted, watching them banter at the sink. The kitchen table was made of solid pine, and the mustard and avocado trappings reminded her of her parents' apartment. Homey. Not what she would have pictured for the remnants of Shiva's shattered life. Not that she ever expected to be allowed to see.

Shiva got beers from the fridge and nudged Dinah's bad ankle. "Come on, let's sit on the dock and watch the stars come out."


"You can't see them when you're hiding in the trees, you know."

"Or in the city."

Shiva gestured expansively with a bottle, but it was her father who said, "Go. Feel small again."

* * *

Dinah stretched out on her back on the wooden dock. She let her hair dangle over the edge, so that the tips of her hair nearly brushed the muddy water. The sunlight felt warm on her skin. They'd spent the last night indoors, Dinah in the guest room and Shiva on the floor of the living room, but rose with the sun to go into town with Shiva's father. After an hour drive each way, it was time for lunch, and then Shiva's father took a siesta inside, and Dinah decided to take hers outside.

No bike, no fighting ability, and an easily-annoyed assassin as her only company in the middle of East Nowhere, Washington State. She should really go on vacation more often.

"Fabulous," she breathed.

"You're going to get a splinter."

Dinah smiled and kept her eyes closed. "I'm going to get a tan."


Scuffling, and then a grunt, and then Shiva was settling next to her.

Dinah said, "This is a nice place, your dad has."


Dinah lifted her shoulders and looked down at Shiva. Shiva was lying on her back, wearing a black bikini that revealed most of her pale skin. Her eyes were closed.

"It occurs to me," Dinah said, reaching for the bottle of suntan lotion that sat at the edge of the dock, "That I don't know much about your childhood. Like, the real stuff. Family dinners and sibling rivalry."

Shiva smirked and asked, "Does it occur to you that super villains have to be mysterious?"

"Just like heroes." Dinah squirted a glob of lotion onto Shiva's shoulder.

"Hey!" Shiva opened one eye. "I've killed men for less."

"I don't want you to burn."

"I started burning a long time ago."

"Oh, really."

Shiva narrowed her eyes.

Dinah rubbed the lotion into Shiva's shoulder. "Tell me, and I'll do your back."

Shiva closed her eyes, and said, "All right. All right. I was born on the rice paddy--" Dinah poked her. "Ow. Fine. My dad went to Detroit to get a job at a car factory. He was fleeing the occupation during the war. He was like, the only Chinaman in all of Detroit for a while. Good aim, daddy."

She went on, "When Carolyn and I were kids, he put us in martial arts. It was the thing to do, you know? Girl scouts, dance classes, judo. My father wanted us to be able to defend ourselves, without using guns. He hated guns, and they were everywhere. Detroit." Shiva sighed.

"I know."

"So by 10 years old, I was winning city competitions. My sensei was so proud."

"Your first sensei?"

"More lotion."

Dinah straddled Shiva's hips, and squirted a dot of lotion onto Shiva's other shoulder. She rubbed it in with slow circles, letting her thumb trail down Shiva's arm.

"My first sensei was a Japanese-American who enlisted during World War II, while his sister and parents were put into camps. His grandparents had settled in San Francisco long before he was even born. He was one angry motherfucker. So he pushed us. Pretty soon I could beat up anyone in class. I got bored, so I went--"

Shiva drew in her breath as Dinah settled her hips.

Dinah stilled her hands on Shiva's forearms. "Looking for trouble?" she asked.

"I learned I could fight for money. I liked money. Carolyn and I would fight each other--We knew each other so well, every move, every feint--That we could invent stuff that no one else could ever do. People would pay to see me win with my fists." She balled her fists, but did not move against Dinah's weight on top of her. "It's the same. Now, people just pay me more."

"Charming story, you thug."

Shiva opened her eyes. "That's all you're getting."

"That's all I'm getting?"

"That, and a tan."

"If I'm lucky." Dinah knelt, sliding off of Shiva so that Shiva could roll over. "Those look like rain clouds."

Shiva rested her cheek on the dock. Then Dinah's hands were on her skin, pushing with warm, steady pressure. Shiva sighed. "Going to tell me about your spoiled little childhood now?" She rolled onto her stomach and closed her eyes.

"Is that really what you want? Boring stories of daddy the cop?" Dinah's words came right against her ear. Her breath came hot against Shiva's neck. Her hand touched Shiva's back.

Shiva remained silent.

Dinah pressed her mouth, open and hot, against the back of Shiva's neck. "Maybe you want to burn," Dinah said.

"It's not always a choice," Shiva said. Dinah was working down her body, stroking her back, squeezing her sides, and then her ass, and then between her thighs--Shiva lifted herself into a crouch and moved away from Dinah's hands.

Dinah sat on her knees.

Shiva looked over her shoulder and then slowly turned around. She matched Dinah's pose, sitting in front of her, hands folded at her lap. Serene. She said, "I'm good with my hands."

Dinah tilted her head.

Shiva raised her hand and touched Dinah's cheek with one fingertip. She said, "Precise. Delicate. Do you believe me?" Her finger traveled across Dinah's jaw and down her throat.

Dinah swallowed. She didn't say anything.

Shiva leaned closer, so that her breath touched the corner of Dinah's mouth. Her hand touched Dinah's breast and then moved lower, to her wrist. "Do you believe me now?"

Dinah turned her head. Her lips touched Shiva's. She said, letting the words push against Shiva's skin, "Sure."

Shiva kissed her. Dinah rose on her knees and intensified the kiss. Heat from the sun and from Shiva's mouth made her feel heady. Sweat rolled down her back. Shiva's delicate, tickling fingers touched her waist and then danced to the clasp of Dinah's bikini top, making Dinah tingle wherever she was touched. She parted her lips. Shiva's tongue invaded.

"What about your father?" Dinah asked, dropping her head to Shiva's shoulder, kissing her collarbone, touching Shiva's breasts the same way Shiva had touched hers.

"Asleep. For at least one more half hour. I am always aware of my surroundings, Little Bird."

"Then you're stronger than me," Dinah said. "I'm not aware of anything but you."

Shiva smiled. She sat back and reached behind herself, twisted, and then removed her own bikini, tossing it at Dinah's head. Dinah caught it. She said, "Let's do this all the way."

"Is there another way to do it?" Shiva asked.

Dinah got to her feet. She extended her hand and Shiva took it, letting herself be pulled upright. Dinah lowered her bikini bottom. Shiva mirrored her. They stood together in the sunlight. The light touched all the places that were usually shadowed. And then Dinah lunged forward, tackling Shiva and pushing her off the dock, into the water.

Shiva went deep into the water and emerged ten feet from Dinah, glaring, her hair plastered to her face. She looked undignified.

Dinah waved.

Shiva dove under the water. Everything on the surface was calm. Dinah floated alone in the pond, the water cooling her, the sun beating on her face. Fish nibbled at her toes. And then the water swirled between her legs. Something touched her inner thigh, and then slid up, slippery and as cool as the water, and touched her.

Dinah gasped.

Shiva did not appear, though fingers--Dinah hoped they were fingers--caressed her. She shivered. The fingers stroked harder. She reached down, pressing--good, a hand--against herself. "There," she said to the pond and the sky. "Right there."

The hand left her. Dinah squeaked. Shiva came up from the water in front of her, sputtering and spraying droplets into Dinah's face. Dinah grabbed her, hugging her torso, and began to sink. She valiantly fought to tread water, press against Shiva, and not drown.

"This was a bad idea," Dinah said, toppling forward. She kissed Shiva's chin, and tasted murky pond water. "Ew."

"Impulsiveness is your worst trait," Shiva said. "You need to learn to be more still."

"What?" Dinah grabbed Shiva's breast, which floated into her palm, the nipple hard. If she reached lower, she'd find heat. That would be nice--

"Be still!" Shiva commanded.

Dinah stilled, spreading out her arms, and bobbed in the water.

Shiva nodded and swam closer.

"This is boring," Dinah said.

Shiva disappeared. Something pliant touched her stomach, and then, just as Dinah figured out it was lips, lips touched her center, and then a tongue. A hot tongue, pressing right against her, in the cool water. She jolted. "Jesus, Shiva."

Conscious of the limited amount of time Shiva could hold her breath, especially while using her mouth, Dinah gave herself over to the exquisite, contrasting pressures and touches and temperatures, and when Shiva's hand moved to join her fingers, she jolted again, and let out a yelp, and then bit her lips closed.

"Sandy," she moaned. And then wished Shiva could hear it. She reached into the water, but Shiva was already gone. Splashing came from the dock, and Dinah turned around just as Shiva pulled herself back onto the platform.

"Hey," Dinah said.

Shiva smirked. "This is a great view," she said, looking Dinah up and down. Dinah looked down at herself. She felt twitchy and a little light-headed and her shoulders were turning pink. She swam toward the dock and let Shiva haul her out of the water.

"How'd you learn to do that?" Dinah asked.

"I figured it out," Shiva said.

"Oh yeah? Figure this out," Dinah said. She pushed Shiva onto the dock--Shiva let her, of course, otherwise her arms would be broken--and Dinah knelt over her, putting one hand between Shiva's legs. Shiva bent her knees, giving Dinah space to settle. Dinah kissed her.

She curled her fingers. Shiva moaned into her mouth.

There was something to be said for doing it the old-fashioned way.

* * *

They went into town that night on Shiva's bike and stopped at the first roadhouse bar they reached.

"Hey," Dinah said, when her eyes had adjusted to the light in the bar. "Those are the guys that took my bike."

"Let's get it back," Shiva said.

"Hey. Wait." Dinah grabbed her arm.

"You said you wanted vengeance."

"And you knew I was kidding," Dinah said.

"Let's go," Shiva said. She shook of Dinah's grip and walked toward the table where two men sat. "Two?" she mouthed at Dinah.

Dinah blushed. She followed Shiva, and tapped the table. "Hey guys?"

"You looking for a good tim--Oh," said the big one. He recognized Dinah.

She leaned on the table, looked into his eyes, and said, "I want my bike back."

He laughed.

Shiva slammed his head into the table. The sound of the impact sickened Dinah.


Someone screamed.

The smaller one lunged at Shiva. Dinah grabbed his arm before he could swing at her. The big one recovered, shaking his head, looking at Dinah with blood all over his face.

The bartender came toward Shiva, who snarled at him. The big one hit her in the back. She stumbled forward, and the bartender swung at her.

Dinah punched the smaller one. The brawl was on.

When it was over, blood was everywhere. The smell revolted Dinah. She shook the smaller one, limp on the floor, and asked, "Where's my bike?" He was unconcious.

Shiva crouched by the door, searching for her next victim. She looked disappointed that the patrons had all fled.

The bartender, hiding behind the bar, called out, "Did you check the parking lot?"

Dinah frowned and straightened. Shiva was out the door before she was, and Dinah got out onto the pavement just in time to see Shiva pull off a canvas from a bike.

"See?" Dinah grabbed Shiva's arms and whirled her around. "We didn't have to hurt anyone."

"That wasn't for you." Shiva stepped back. "That was for the next kid, someone more defenseless than a costumed hero."

"Oh, sure it was. You liked the fight."

"Didn't you?"

"They didn't rob a bank, Shiva. I don't even think they were going to sell it."

"They took something from you."

"And you took something from them. Congratulations." Dinah brushed past her, searched for the keys, went inside to get them from the prone, moaning figure of the big man--Shiva had broken his nose, but she'd broken his arm. Someone more defenseless than a costumed hero. Full of loathing, she went back to the parking lot.

Shiva leaned against her own bike, wearing all black, looking like Death. "This is what I am," she said.

"This is not what you have to be," Dinah said. "Or I have to be." She got on her bike and put the key in the ignition.

Shiva shook her head, and said, "In Detroit, people weren't paying just for my fighting skills. They wanted to see girls doing it. They wanted to see Chinese doing it. We were like a freak show. People used me--used my body--to make money. Cain showed me I could use them right back. He made me something better than a circus act."

"These people didn't do anything to you."

"What about what they did to you?" Shiva asked.

"I don't need your protection any more than I need Green Arrow's."

Shiva stood still and clenched her fist.

Dinah turned her back to Shiva. She wiped dirt off her odometer.

Shiva said, "I wonder what it will be like when we meet again."

"Probably just the same."

Dinah sat on her bike and listened until Shiva rode off, without a kiss, without a goodbye. Then she started her bike, eased out to face the road, and headed north.


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Comments {9}

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From: anonymous
Date: Aug. 10th, 2008 - 11:09 pm

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From: rysler
Date: Aug. 11th, 2008 - 12:33 am

Thank you! Good timing on my part, then. :) O'Neill was a major inspiration.

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From: scarimor
Date: Aug. 11th, 2008 - 11:52 am

I don't know who the hell these characters are, but you write really well. As usual :)

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From: rysler
Date: Aug. 14th, 2008 - 06:26 pm

::beam::Thank you! I'm glad you gave it a go.

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From: anonymous
Date: Aug. 11th, 2008 - 12:17 pm

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rysler's user pictures

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From: rysler
Date: Jan. 2nd, 2010 - 04:15 am

I didn't seem to reply to this. I don't know what happened there. I loved your comment, thank you very much. I agree they are very compelling girls to write. It's not simple at all. They are too much alike. They should hate each other more. ;)

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sammeex's user pictures

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From: sammeex
Date: Dec. 27th, 2009 - 06:36 am

A-all of these fics make me want to read the comics and watch the cartoons. You've done wonderfully with all of these characters, as far as I'm concerned, but this one stuck out for the most. (A-and it totally wasn't the hot sex and bad ass fight scenes!)

I really enjoy the way you write Dinah. She's very very believable and amazing. I also like that at the end of the day Sandy was still Shiva.


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From: rysler
Date: Dec. 30th, 2009 - 06:37 pm

Thank you! The comics and cartoons are totally worth the time. I love them. I mean, this was inspiration from the 70s! It's a rich history out there.

A-and it totally wasn't the hot sex and bad ass fight scenes!

Heehee. Is there any other reason to write?

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From: sammeex
Date: Dec. 30th, 2009 - 07:01 pm

*nods* It gives me a new perspective on American comics and writing since I've really been in to the manga and anime for a good while. So I look forward to tapping into that history. Do you have any suggestions? I really want to read something Black Canary centric, but it seems like she doesn't get much of the spotlight.

Aha, sorry. And, well, uh...next question? :B

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From: rysler
Date: Jan. 2nd, 2010 - 04:12 am

Aha! I've been dabbling in manga because it's everywhere at work and I love wounded angst, but I'm picky and lazy. Sigh. I'm not reading as many American comics as I should, either.

The core of my Black Canary is her role in the Grell run of Green Arrow in the 80s. I've only read about 35 issues (got them cheap off eBay, but the whole run is available in certain digital realms as well). It's a stark contrast to her Birds of Prey days, and I like to play with that.

Even though it's been ret-conned, it influenced Gail Simone's BOP run considerably, and I think it's awesome.

For the Birds era, Sensei and Student is the place to start. Great TPB. And then the Chuck Dixon run.

But anything with Dinah in it is going to be valuable. I love her in the cartoons, and have even ficced that. Road to the Altar was entertaining.

You might have already found my own recs post, where I mention Sensei and Mike Grell and so I'm being entirely redundant.


Really, all of Dinah's storyline in Birds of Prey is appealing. There are a lot of different moments and developments to point to. Definitely not a one hit wonder.

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From: sammeex
Date: Jan. 2nd, 2010 - 04:21 am

Waah, all right! Sounds awesome! Thanks a ton. I've also heard that Frank Miller may have done a storyline for her, though I'm not sure. Allen Grant and Grant Morrison too.

But anyway, thank you. I'll check these out. :>

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