FIC: Imagine Us (DCU) Kate/Renee

Jun. 2nd, 2009 | 05:06 pm
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Title: Imagine Us
Author: rysler
Date: June 2, 2009
Fandom: DC Comics/Batverse/52
Pairing: Batwoman/Question II (Kate Kane/Renee Montoya)
Rating: PG-13 for crime/violence
Summary: 2000 words. Just another crack at a first date/origin story.

Imagine Us:

"Come to dinner with me," Kate said, leaning on the bar and gracing Renee with a friendly smile.

"Dinner? Like a date? I think you're missing the point of this place," Renee said.

"Have I? Does one not pick up girls in a girly bar? I just came because of the Designing Women marathon."

"So you don't come here often."

Kate ran her fingers through her hair. "Not without Annie Potts."

"I'm no Annie Potts," Renee said.

"But you bought me a drink," Kate pointed out.

"You looked thirsty."

"And now I'm hungry."

Renee gestured at the bartender, who poured her another shot, and considered Kate.

Kate's smile got brighter.

"All right. But you're paying."

"Why am I paying?"

"Because no matter how many times your maid washed those jeans, they cost more than my car, and you can wear your hair in a ponytail because that's what your personal trainer does, but it's still going to smell like rose petals. I don't want the trials of trying to take you to a place I can't afford when you've been everywhere that could impress already, and going dutch would just embarrass both of us."

"I'm paying," Kate said.

Renee nodded. She drank her shot down and then nodded at the bartender. "Let's see how drunk we can get before they show the next episode. Makes the jokes funnier."

"I'm not sure anything could make the jokes funnier. So, you saw right through me. You a detective, Renee?"

"Just a cop," Renee said. "Nothing special."

"I doubt that."

* * *

Kate signed the credit card receipt with a flourish. She leaned closer to Renee. "Have I told you that you look amazing in that dress?"

"Not as such," Renee said. "But your eyes nearly bulged out of your head when we met on the sidewalk, so I figured I was acceptable for Deveraux."

"I think you outclassed the place."

"Aren't you going to ask how a beat cop paid for a dress like this?"

Kate shook her head. "I assume every girl went to prom."

"And the policeman's ball."

The dress had appeared in her bedroom a week before the ball, along with an engraved invitation--prowlies didn't usually get tickets--and everything had fit perfectly, and the blue had so well set off her skin and her eyes that her mother had cried.

"Mi amor," her mother had said. "You have an admirer."

Renee had prayed to God she didn't, and had tracked the dress as far as Wayne Industries. She'd worn it to the ball, danced with Bruce, and had stuffed it back in her closet. Bruce didn't call her the next day.

Kate seemed to appreciate it more than he had.

Maybe not as much as her mother.

Renee asked, "And that? Just a little something you threw on?"

"It's actually the only one I own. I just bought seven of them and wear one each day."

Renee grinned.

"Coffee?" Kate asked.

"No, I have a better idea."

"What could be better than this?"

* * *

They walked along the brick pathway that cut through Hirl Park, laughing at themselves in evening gowns. Renee had taken off her heels. The brick was cool under her feet. The roughness tore holes in her stockings.

Kate dangled her purse from her fingertips. Her hair was askew in the wind, its hairsprayed bits freed from her head.

"We look like a couple of tramps," Kate said.

"Speak for yourself."

Kate smiled. "Fine. You look like an undercover cop."

"Yeah, I always get made. That's fine. I'm not cut out for vice."

"You're too beautiful."

Renee set her jaw.

Kate stopped walking and put her fingertips against Renee's cheek. "See?"

Renee smiled. But Kate was wrong. All the beautiful girls went to vice. When they burned out from whoring, drugs, and gambling, when they developed a distaste for it that they wore on their skin, only then were they ready to be cops.

Kate leaned closer.

"One thing first," Renee said, lifting her finger between their lips.

Kate narrowed her eyes.

"Ice cream."

Kate straightened.

Renee took her elbow and they wandered out of the park and back into the city, where Baskin Robbins was waiting for them.

"32 flavors, how will I choose?" Kate asked.

"Let me choose."

"Okay. I let you choose."

"Then go outside."

Kate frowned.

Renee folded her arms.

"Fine. God. No arguing, officer."

The man leaned over the counter and peered at Renee.

Renee scowled.

Kate fled.

"What flavors would you like, um, ma'am? Officer?"

Renee told him and paid him and then turned to watch Kate, who stood in front of the window, lit by the pink and white sign above her. She had her back turned. Renee studied her body and swallowed.

"That your girlfriend?" the man asked.

"We're on our first date."

He handed her two ice cream cones and said, "No one's crying yet. Probably a good sign."

"Probably." She leaned against the door to push it open. "Close your eyes."

Kate closed her eyes.

Renee went outside and pressed an ice cream cone into Kate's hand. Kate took a tentative lick. Her tongue, pink and delicate, flicking made Renee lose her breath.

Kate smiled. "Sherbet."

Renee switched cones, just to see Kate taste again.

"Caramel?" Kate asked.

"Two for two."

Kate opened her eyes.

Renee passed the sherbet back. They went into Hirl again and settled onto a park bench, not talking, just eating ice cream and stealing glances at each other, and then finally looking up at the sky, a pale, cloudy night green, devoid of starlight.

"The night is young," Renee said. "But it's not that kind of date, is it?"

"It's nearly midnight. It's not that kind of date."


Kate faced Renee, resting her arm on the back of the bench. "Tell me about it."

"It could be that kind of date," Renee said.

"Maybe." Kate leaned closer.

Renee met her halfway. Their mouths touched. Kate closed her eyes. Renee leaned in, kissing her fully, but only briefly. She pulled away and Kate straightened, meeting her gaze.

"It's not," Kate said. "Because I want another date with you."


"Fine? Not even call me in three days?"

"Call me tomorrow. Unless the flu takes out half the department, I'll be free on Saturday night."


Kate leaned in and they kissed, slowly this time, with nothing to interrupt them. The city of ten million people went about its business until they parted, smiling at each other.

"Go back to your mansion," Renee said.

"Go back to your project."

"My one bedroom apartment in the second worst neighborhood in Gotham, I think you mean."

"Oh, second worst. I think the cops are getting paid too much."

"Tell that to my roommate. He smells like boy."

Kate wrinkled her nose. She touched Renee's jaw, and then her neck, and then slipped an earring out of Renee's ear.

Renee raised her eyebrows.

"When I see you on Saturday, I'll return this."

"You'd better. They're the only real emeralds I own."

Kate winked.

Renee kissed Kate's cheek, and then slipped off the park bench, and slipped away.

* * *

"So I says to him, 'Mickey, I bet on horse number four fair and square. If horse number four got shot and the fifth horse ran the race, I still won!' Honestly, there ain't an honest bookie in the city."

Renee covered her face and groaned. "Bullock, I haven't had enough coffee for this."

"Hot date last night? This afternoon? Your shift didn't start until 6 PM, Montoya. "

"Yeah, yeah. I had to help Papi at the store, all right? Mom's sick again."

"She all right?"

"Yeah. Trust me, you don't want to know."

"I don't want to know. That's for sure. We'll stop at your dad's for coffee, all right?"

Renee grunted.

"God, I hate this damned assignment. Like I know anything about sports."

"Yeah, for starters, refer to the horse by name and not by number."

"They have names?"

Renee rubbed her temples.

Harvey pulled a hard left turn. She barely moved. She'd gotten used to his driving. No one walked a beat in Gotham City. Too dangerous. Too many damn vigilantes. Cops needed their own speed. But her first two months with Harvey, she would have preferred getting shot at every day to his driving.

Now she had an iron stomach. She could eat as much ice cream as she wanted. She grinned to herself.

"I know that smile. You did have a good date. Who is it?"

"Oh, some poor little rich thing. You wouldn't know."


"Well--kind of." Renee smiled to herself.

"Some punk I've arrested?"

"I pulled the jacket. Clean."

Harvey whistled. "And how's the sack?"


"Oh, come on, I know you won't tell me, but I had to ask. I'm a man."

Renee smiled.

"D.B. on 4th and Tex," came over the radio.

"That's two blocks away," Harvey said. He picked up the radio and said, "Bullock and Montoya responding. E.T.A. two minutes."

Renee reached across him and flipped on the siren.

"It's a D.B., Montoya."

"We've gotta look good for the citizens. Like we care."

"Like we care," Harvey said.

* * *

The body was a girl, wearing a tank top and jeans, her sequined purse still at her side. Wallet empty. Her hair was as orange as fire and the line of her back took Renee's breath away.

She stood stock still, taking in the scene while the dog-walker who'd discovered the body clung to her arm. The dog whined softly, wanting to go home. Probably wanting to be anywhere but here.

"Prostitute," Harvey said. He straightened, the wallet in his hand, and then glanced at the witness. He cleared his throat. "Working girl, I mean."

Renee rubbed her cheek. "Maybe she was out for a walk. Maybe she stopped and got ice cream."

"Montoya, stop living in a fantasy land."

She got the sheet from the car and covered up the girl. She wanted to brush the locks of red hair away from her face. She wanted to pull down her shirt. She wanted to make the sign of the cross. But she just hid the girl away from the world and ignored the sag of relief from the dog-walker.

Harvey spoke quietly to him and took notes, told him to stay.

Renee stood, thinking about the one gown she owned and the policeman's ball.

The invitation had come in return for a commendation, after she'd run into a burning building. Three in the afternoon and a kid home after school had dropped his match accidentally, trying to light a bong, half a block from her father's store.

The shouts of "Policia" had scared the residents away more than the smell of smoke. Not everyone could run so fast, so she'd had a cat in one arm a two year old clinging to her back, his arms around her neck, holding her breath so she wouldn't know how compromised the air was, keeping her eyes closed so she wouldn't know she was blind.

"This way."

The voice was like gravel, like tar, like Hell itself. She followed it.

"Stairs," it said.

She stepped down.

"Any more?"

"Three more rooms to clear, and then the second and first floor." Her throat hurt. Each word brought her closer to suffocation. "I had to--" she tried to explain.

The cat screamed.

"You had to make a choice. Ten steps down. Turn. Ten steps down. Open your eyes then. You'll see the light."

She counted.

Behind her, and then above her, the sound of wood splintering, of shouts, of furniture being moved.

On the twentieth step she opened her eyes.

Light filled the doorway. The smoke was thinner. She breathed, and coughed, and stumbled.

A fireman came through the open doorway. He dragged her outside.

"Who's in there?" he asked, shaking the glassy-eyed kid, until the kid bit him.

"He's clearing the bottom floors," Renee said.



The sky turned gray above the alleyway. Renee glanced at the girl, but only saw the sheet. She wished it was the Joker, or some mobster's girlfriend, or someone important. She wished for the case to be something more than a girl with $40 at the end of the night getting hit a little too hard by a guy who wanted it.

People were so breakable.

Harvey took the leash from the trembling dog-walker.

They waited for the coroner and the detectives and the parents and the friends and the murderer, standing guard as best they could.

* * *

"Kate, it's almost dinnertime, you haven't even dressed."

Kate turned away from the window. "I'm dressed, for crying out loud."


"Who is he this time? Doctor, or lawyer?"

"He's a very nice man--"

Kate folded her arms.


Kate rolled her eyes.

"He's a good man."

"Yeah, of course he is. He's probably doing this as a favor to his grandmother."

"Katie. There's no reason not to be nice."

"No reason." Kate turned back to the window.

"See you in five minutes," her mother said. Then the door closed.

Kate pressed her forehead against the glass. Gotham lay before her, glittering. Clean. Alive. She ached for her city.

She turned away from the window and unzipped her jeans. A skirt, she could wear. But not the dress--not for him. She sprayed perfume. Maybe the scent would repel him.

She did not look back at the city again before slipping through the door. But its ghost followed her, whispering in her ear, telling her where she belonged.


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Comments {17}

(no subject)

From: anonymous
Date: Jun. 2nd, 2009 - 11:17 pm

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From: rysler
Date: Jun. 2nd, 2009 - 11:32 pm

Thank you!

And, of course. The Harvey and Renee stuff is the most important part of the story. It's the core.

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From: anonymous
Date: Jun. 2nd, 2009 - 11:34 pm

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From: joran
Date: Jun. 2nd, 2009 - 11:39 pm

you bring a...real world, for lack of better description, feel to them. You don't ignore the gulf of class or the history, etc.

Thank you. That means a lot. I try to incorporate the span of Renee's appearances, but they can be frustratingly contradictory. And Kate has the opposite problem. I'm glad I'm getting something reasonable down in a story.

But I really needed a perk up, and the Harvey exchange made me laugh out loud.

Good! :)

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From: anonymous
Date: Jun. 3rd, 2009 - 12:28 am

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From: rysler
Date: Jun. 3rd, 2009 - 07:36 pm

Yup. This is one of the reasons why I like your writing so very much. Very clever.

Thank you. I think that twist came to me in the shower. Though of course the correlation was key.

If I could figure out how to get you to write Renee, Kate, Dinah, Shiva, and the rest of the terrific DC ladies you write about, full-time, every day, in between sleep and meals, I WOULD SO DO IT. :)

Um, barring kidnapping?

I don't think I could write them full-time, but I'm sure you could bribe me. ;)

Plots always help! I tend not to write when I'm out of ideas. I'm frequently out of ideas.

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winstonta's user pictures

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From: winstonta
Date: Jun. 3rd, 2009 - 04:51 am

So much love for this pairing, and basically dc comics overall. You captured both Kate and Renee so well, it's like having my mind wrapped in the pages of an issue we will unfortunately never see in print. I've always been intrigued by the story of how these two met and how their relationship was (or wasn't) prior to 52. Keep up the great work and I look forward to any future fic from you :)

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From: rysler
Date: Jun. 3rd, 2009 - 07:43 pm

Thank you! I've really enjoyed writing them so far. My fingers are crossed that we'll get amazing stuff from Rucka et al this summer. We'll see. I'd love more stories to work with.

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From: anonymous
Date: Jun. 3rd, 2009 - 08:02 am

Sadly that there only a few Renee/Kate stories ...
This one is very good, but there is just one mistake. Renee was outed (by Two-Face, see "Gotham Central - Half a Life") years after she broke up with Kate, so Bullock would not know that Renee is gay, but he already suspects that she is (he told her that he thought that all he male dates were just beards).

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From: rysler
Date: Jun. 3rd, 2009 - 09:01 pm

Aha, thank you. I should have re-read Half a Life, it's sitting right by my desk.

I've made the correction, though it pained me to edit something someone complimented. But we have so little canon, we might as well use it. :)

The Kate/Renee story log is growing! There are at least, like, 10, now. I wonder what critical mass would be.

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From: anonymous
Date: Jun. 4th, 2009 - 01:22 pm

Bullock telling Renee that he knew happened after "Half a Life". He told her in "Unresolved", that he knew that all her male dates were 'beards'. Renee herself believed until then that Bullock is a homophobe.
BTW I really like to see a story based on Renee meeting Starfire for the first time (see "Dead Robin").

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From: morningafter2
Date: Jun. 11th, 2009 - 01:50 am

Okay, so, your Kate/Renee is pretty much my favorite ever.

Just thought you should know that.

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From: rysler
Date: Jun. 11th, 2009 - 08:24 pm

Awww, thank you. I love them. I'm so happy to get to write them.

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From: tellitslant
Date: Sep. 1st, 2009 - 07:53 am

Ummmm, so I came over here to re-read one of your older stories and found this, which I somehow missed when it was posted, omg.

As always, epic love for the way you write these two. I love how you play with differences and similarities throughout, especially with the final sections looking at how completely different the challenges and stresses in their lives are and yet how valid each set of troubles is.

Your Renee is particularly awesome here, soft in a way we don't get to see enough of in the comics. I like that - it's especially poignant since we know how things end.

Also, lovely to see a bit of the good times with Harvey.

I am sad that I missed this originally, but glad that I found it now! :D

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From: rysler
Date: Sep. 1st, 2009 - 03:54 pm


As I recall, you were super busy when this came around. Too busy to pester! I'm glad you found it. What was the other story you were re-reading?

::feedback whore::

Anyway, THANK YOU. :D

I love softer Renee. The Renee of No Man's Land is my favorite, and I'm totally nostalgic for that. And for the idea that it could have happened--she could have protected and helped the world with her heart, not her muscle. I'm wistful.

Not that she can afford to be wistful.

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From: tellitslant
Date: Sep. 1st, 2009 - 04:45 pm

Busy is NO EXCUSE! *g*

I came back to re-read A Day of Easy Wind, which I do on occasion because I love it so. ;) Write morrrrrre.

I love Renee in NML, just before it all started going completely wrong. (My personal canon is that she met Dee during NML. Not that I've ever gotten around to writing that.) She's such a big softy. And she still wants to be, but just can't let herself. <3

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rysler's user pictures

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From: rysler
Date: Sep. 1st, 2009 - 09:26 pm

I forgot to say in my thank you comment...HARVEY BULLOCK IS THE MAN!

I came back to re-read A Day of Easy Wind, which I do on occasion because I love it so. ;) Write morrrrrre.

Aww. I thought it might be that one, and I will tryyyy. Wicked and soccer own my soul too! But only those three things.

My personal canon is that she met Dee during NML. Not that I've ever gotten around to writing that.

THAT IS BRILLIANT. You must write that. I want to see that.

She's such a big softy. And she still wants to be, but just can't let herself. <3

I like that. Renee, our secret woobie.

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tellitslant's user pictures

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From: tellitslant
Date: Sep. 2nd, 2009 - 06:06 am

Harv is TOTALLY the man, haha! :D

Having to share your soul is hard, I understand. I just want more awesome fic in the world, is all. *looks cute* ;)

You must write that. I want to see that.
Hee, as soon as I can figure out what the hell a pastry chef would have stayed behind in NML for, I totally will! It's a big of a stumbling block, though. ;)

And Renee is such a woobie! I've been re-reading some of the pre-NML storylines and, dang. Such an idealist. Gotta love it.

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mammothluv's user pictures

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From: mammothluv
Date: May. 6th, 2010 - 05:55 pm

This is fantastic. You do an amazing job getting inside Renee's head and I love this glimpse into her relationship with Kate.

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From: rysler
Date: May. 7th, 2010 - 02:41 pm

Thank you! I love Renee so much. I have GOT to catch up.

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