|What: bgordon and cypher meet face to face, finally, in a little internet cafe in Gotham. Those might be sparks. Maybe.|
Barbara Gordon is somewhere in the middle of the scale between nervous and terrified. No, she's not facing down the Joker or some sort of bad guy. No her father hasn't found out she's Oracle. It's worse. She's meeting an online friend face-to-face for the first time. She's been playing Mass Effect Multiplayer with "cypher" for weeks now, and their conversations have been a great deal of fun. When he mentioned coming to Gotham on Friday, she blurted out an invitation to meet him at her favorite little Internet Caf. 300 Baud is one of her favorite places to hang on the rare occasion she leaves her tower. It has free wifi, and cool Internet-meme-themed coffee drinks, like the Lolcat and the ORLY?
She wouldn't be nervous except that she left out the fact she was in a wheelchair when she described herself to her new friend. She had red hair, and she'd be wearing a butterfly barrette in it, and an N7 t-shirt, black, short sleeved, with the N7 logo and red and white stripes on the shoulder down one arm. She's sitting uneasily at a table in her wheelchair, sipping a coffee.
One benefit to meeting in Gotham as opposed to New York: Doug could /plan ahead/ and not be stuck showing up in his stuffy, horrible work suit. It's a nice suit, he knows, but it feels like the kind of thing you bury a guy in, and... well.
Doug is, to his credit, not even late. His phone's trusty GPS had given him directions that didn't dump him in a ditch or anything, and so he slips into the cafe with a brief pause to politely hold the door open for a couple of people on their way out. He has likewise taken steps to make himself easy for BGordon to find; in addition to the Normandy crew t-shirt, he stopped on the way to buy a 'HI MY NAME IS ______' sticker, and scrawled 'CYPHER' onto the line in black Sharpie.
Babs isn't too tough to spot, since she's the only other one wearing a nerdtastic Mass Effect shirt, or a butterfly barrette. She's carefully not watching the door though. It's almost like she wants to give Cypher an 'out' if he sees the chair and runs for the hills. A no show is far less disappointing than seeing someone's face twist when they realize she's paralyzed. She has a tablet computer on the table and is checking up on the Mass Effect datapad app too.
Nope. After a quick stop at the counter (there is no resisting a NYANCAT-themed drink, it's just impossible), Doug makes his way towards Babs' table and flashes her a friendly smile without even the slightest hint of discomfort to be found. "Hi. If you're not BGordon, I'm about to feel... very, very silly."
Barbara looks up and flashes an uneasy smile. Oh God he's CUTE. That's what she's thinking as she offers him a hand. "I am, but you can call me Babs." She chuckles at the nametag and nervously pushes her glasses up on her nose with her other hand. "I'm sorry I left out the chair in my description. I was afraid if you knew you'd never show."
"And I'm Doug. Though I do respond to Cypher aloud, anyway," Doug admits with a laugh, reaching out to give her hand a warm shake. Not too firm, not too enthusiastic. Just a friendly grasp, shake, and then he's settling into a chair across from her. "Ah, don't worry about it. I can understand being a little nervous, especially with Internet Dudes." He makes a bit of a face. "Some of us are dicks about the weirdest stuff."
Relief floods over Barbara's expression and her posture goes to something more relaxed. "You didn't tell me you were cute either," she teases with an arched brow. "But I'm glad you came. I've had a lot of fun playing ME3 with you, Doug." She is still blushing a little bit, because Babs has been off the "have coffee with cute strangers" wagon for a few years.
Doug mercifully avoids a spit-take, though given the way he hurriedly ducks his head over his drink, it is a somewhat close call. He's also turned beet red. Sue him. He's never really had much luck with the ~* ladies *~ before, and is completely unused to such a strange thing. At least he laughs. "Neither did you," he counters innocently, grabbing for a napkin. Dignity. Dignity, Ramsey. "So I guess we're even. Though maybe I owe you a little extra rope since you've been so patient with me in multiplayer," he snickers, shaking his head.
"Hey you've learned really fast. And like I said the first night we played, you play the way the game should be played. Like a military team op. Not like a bunch of twelve year olds vying for high score," Babs ripostes with a grin. She's getting her feet under her, figuratively, now. "Do you come to Gotham a lot?" she asks curiously, sipping her "Rebecca Black" Friday Special Latte. It's very very sweet, with little substance.
"Ah, g'wan. I enjoy praise." Doug may still be blushing bright red, but he's at least making an admirable go at recovering. "This is actually my first time out here. I've been all over the place -- my dad was in the army -- but we never wound up in Gotham. I kind of like it, though, it has... I don't know." He gestures awkwardly with a hand. "...personality, I guess? A lot of big cities just feel really cookiecutter."
"If by personality you mean like one possessed by a rabid grizzly bear, then sure, Doug," Babs quips with a chuckle. "It's a bit dark and gritty for most people's tastes, but it's home for me." She stirs her coffee with a little swizzle stick. "Military family? I can relate a little bit. My dad is a cop." Oh yeah, that's the second thing that usually sends them running.
"That's cool. Rough on the family sometimes," Doug allows with a wry, sympathetic smile. "But still cool. And I maintain that a rabid grizzly bear is still more of a personality than you'll find in, say, Denver." He finally decides it's safe enough to chance another drink from his drink. He seems to be recovering okay.
"I concede the point," Babs says with a warm smile. "Should I ask what you do for a living or is that too weird straight off the bat?" She props her chin in her hand and watches him curiously. The fact he's taken both her chair and her dad in stride has impressed her.
Doug waves his hand dismissively. "Weird to ask about the guy you're having coffee with? Naw, I think you're still safe," he notes with a grin. "I just started working at SHIELD a few weeks ago, mainly as a linguist. Thus the, ah..." He taps the nametag stuck to his t-shirt.
"Cypher, that makes complete sense," Babs admits with a grin. "I think we'll get along famously then, Doug. I'm a librarian at Gotham University." They are nerds united by more than just video games. That's special!
It is! And yeah, how many guys that Babs meets /perk/ upon being told she works at a /library/? Because Doug did. "I've always thought that would be a fun job. But I'm really just looking for excuses to be surrounded by Book Smell all day, I admit."
"Nothing like it, is there?" Babs muses right along with him. "Don't get me wrong, I love my various eReaders, but they're not the same. So I get the best of both worlds: real books at work, and electronic ones at home." She cocks her head to one side as she regards him. "How many languages do you know?" she asks.
There is a brief moment of hesitation, where Doug glances around at the tables nearby. He is only /slightly/ worried about her reaction; he likes to think the best of people he's actually spoken with at any length of time. It's strangers that are scary in the current climate. He's got a good feeling about her, though, and if all else fails, he can run pretty fast. "Um." Eloquent. He leans forward so that he can lower his voice, looking rather embarassed. "Kind of... all of them."
Babs' brow creases as she tries to parse what he just said. "All of them? Is that even possible?" she asks, with just a little skepticism. Oracle works with superheroes after all, but Barbara has to appear to be normal, without chasing him off. "I'd accuse you of being a robot, but you'd be way better on the Firebase Reactor map if that was the case," she jokes.
"I'm good with languages, not directions," Doug notes with a slightly nerve-tinged laugh, shaking his head. He /does/ get turned around on that map, oh, constantly. He settles back in his seat and fidgets a bit with his drink, keeping his voice low to try and avoid being overheard. "It isn't the coolest mutation in the world or anything, but it's helping pay rent, so that's... it has that going for it. And I can order food anywhere."
"So you're a mutant?" Babs asks in a quiet whisper, so as not to out him to the rest of the patrons. "That's pretty awesome. And I can see where that would be a really handy skill for someone working for a United Nations group." She doesn't seem freaked out at all.
Now it's Doug's turn to let his shoulders practically sag in relief. "Thank you so much for not freaking out," he whispers back, having no luck fighting back a downright radiant smile. "It's kind of cool. I mean, I'm not Superman, but he can't speak Latin." He pauses. "...can he?"
"He might," Babs replies. "Who knows? I'm fluent in Latin though." Well DUH. Librarian. "And Spanish, German, French, Italian, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese." She gestures to the chair. "I don't get out a whole lot, so languages became a secondary study because they help immensely with my work." Both jobs, really.
"I feel this, like, moral imperative to try and flirt with you in Latin now," Doug says with an amused, thoughtful tilt of his head. "...I'm really awful at it, though. Lack of practice. This is in no way discouraging you to make fun of me, is it?"
"I'm more curious how we've never run into each other in cyberspace before. Two geeks of this caliber should have stood out to one another online," Babs notes with a wink. She's actually enjoying herself, relaxing, feeling comfortable with someone who isn't in on her ginormous secret. She needs to mark it on her calendar.
"Stranger things have happened, right? I haven't done much multiplayer stuff in ages, though. That might be why." Which... is true. Doug just won't bring up /those/ sordid details over a first coffee. Maybe, like... the third coffee. Yeah. Don't hit her with too much weird stuff all at once. "Or I'm just oblivious and kept overlooking you somehow. That's even more plausible."
"Same, and I was finishing my bachelor's degree for a while there and not playing as much. And then getting used to this," Babs explains, again, the chair. So clearly she has not always been wheelchair bound. "But regardless, I'm glad we did meet, and could meet face to face. I really enjoy talking to you Doug."
"You're pretty fun to talk to yourself," Doug notes with an odd smile. If Sam were here, he'd be getting elbowed encouragingly in the ribs, he just knows it. The chair still doesn't bother him; there's a little flicker of curiosity in his eyes, but he's not about to ask. Rude, and potentially awkward coffee talk, to boot. "Maybe I can coax you up to New York next time. We have very big libraries," he notes innocently.
"I get over to New York quite a bit. We do a lot of Librarian conferences there. I'd love to just spend a few days going to the museums and stuff though," Babs admits.
Doug smiles brightly. "Then let's plan for that. Just let me know if you're coming up and aren't feeling sick of my company, and we can go to the Met." Hopefully, Hydra wouldn't pick that afternoon to be dastardly again. That would just be the worst.
"That sounds wonderful, Doug." Babs smiles and then tilts her head towards the door. "How about a burger. There's a great little place just around the corner." She doesn't want their meeting to end, clearly.
"Do they do milkshakes?" Doug asks, though he's already shifting to rise from his seat. Yes, he will follow the pretty girl to a burger place. "A burger joint that doesn't do milkshakes just always feels like somebody missed the point."
"And malts, and root beer floats," Babs answers as she sets her empty coffee cup down and releases the brake on her chair to roll back from the table. She tugs on a pair of fingerless gloves which keep her hands from getting sore. "I really think you'll like it. They have dishes named after science fiction characters." Geekery squared.
Doug's just going to go ahead, clasp a hand to his chest and /swoon/. "It's like you /know/ me, Babs. This'll be fun," he muses approvingly. The gloves answer the only question he'd had on his mind so, once she's ready, he leads the way so that he can hold the door open for her. "Is there a TARDIS? There has to be, right?"
"Of course there is. And an R2-D2. Wouldn't be right without those things," Babs quips, and she heads out the door. It's a pleasant evening, and she seems well practiced at maneuvering in her chair around the streets of Gotham, both independent and confident. "So, I have to ask, before I feel like an idiot," she offers. "I don't see a ring but...wife? Girlfriend? Boyfriend?"
Doug falls into step alongside the chair, and seems just as adept at occasionally sliding behind it in order to let people pass without it interrupting the flow of conversation. He /is/ back in view in time for the question, though, and he can't help but blush. Again. "Ah, no. Free agent. I've never had much luck with the whole dating thing," he notes sheepishly. "I'm the nerdy kid, and my friends are all... well, one is a volunteer fireman," he mumbles. "Another played soccer. Girls only ever seem to notice me if they have computer problems." Such is life. ...and yet, one is asking. "What about you? I'm not gonna have a jealous boyfriend trying to clean my clock if he sees us splitting an Artoo, am I?"
"No, no boyfriend. Still friends with an ex, but I don't forsee that ever being rekindled. I've moved on from it," Babs admits. She wasn't lying about the burger joint either. It's even called "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe" as a Douglas Adams homage. The sign on the inside of the doors for people leaving has dolphins waving their flippers and squeaking out "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish!"
"No punches to the face. This is good," Doug muses thoughtfully, and once he sees where they're going -- it's a bit obvious -- he stiffles a bit of a laugh as he moves ahead to catch the door for her again. "In that case, I promise not to panic."