|What: Doug finds out that Barbara is in the hospital, and drops everything to drive to Gotham and visit her.|
Barbara Gordon missed her cyber date to blow the heads off Reapers with Doug last night. She didn't call. She didn't answer his texts or emails or IMs. In fact he heard not a word until about an hour ago, when she called his phone and apologized profusely for missing their scheduled time. She explained she's in Gotham Mercy Hospital after an incident the night before, without giving too many details. She let him know the room number so he could call her there, not expecting him to drive all this way to see her.
Babs is hooked up to a few machines but nothing overly serious. Mostly a saline IV and a morphine drip for post-surgical pain. She looks pale, her hair in a short pony tail, no makeup, glasses on, and wearing Wonder Woman PJs instead of a hospital gown. Her team came through for her there. She's currently watching tv. One arm is in a sling and clearly has the bulk of bandages under the shoulder of the PJs.
Doug has a very understanding supervisor -- which is good for him, because he was halfway to Gotham City before he even thought to tell them what was going on. He was brief and apologetic, but firm about going, and he still had his job. At least, so far.
When he knocks on the door to Babs' room, he's at least polite enough to wait for a response before he opens the door and pokes his head inside. He looks... well, about as worried as one would expect, and as harried as a guy who dove into a car and sped all the way to a hospital in another state without bothering to change out of his suit.
"Come in," Barbara calls. She is expecting it to be one of the Bats or the Birds, but in case it's Jason Todd, she has one hand on a taser under her pillow. Doug was not expected. She blinks when she seems him, propped back on her pillows, one hand stretched under it. "Doug?" she asks, as if she might be hallucinating from the pain killers.
"Hi," Doug says a bit lamely. Now that he's /here/, he realizes it was probably a bit silly... but, hell, he's commited, at this point. He slips inside and closes the door behind him, trying not to look /too/ sheepish and mostly succeeding. "Next time I come to town, it'll be for coffee, I promise."
Babs can't help the girlish smile and blush that touches her face. "I look a mess, I know. God we haven't even had an official date and you get to see me at my worst. If you want to run screaming, I understand." She grins. He didn't run at the chair or her dad being a cop, she's pretty sure this won't phase him. "Come sit down and keep me from going crazy. It's horribly trying to type with on hand so I'm sort of offline for a bit." She gestures at her shoulder.
"All things considered, Babs, you look amazing," Doug notes with a relieved smile. He doesn't need to be told twice; he crosses the room to claim himself one of the chairs at her bedside, reaching over to give the hand /not/ temporarily out of commission a light pat. "I should have brought you a big book of sudoku puzzles or something. More useful than flowers and you're less likely to be allergic."
"You being here is the best gift, Doug, really." Babs means it too. In more ways than just enjoying his company. If Jason is watching her hospital room, he just saw a SHIELD suit go in, and that might deter him from trying to finish the job. She squeezes his hand. "But yeah, a book of Sudoku would rock. I'm catching up on some TV though. America's Next Top Model is a good way to make me weep for humanity."
"I've never seen it," Doug admits, and he seems quite willing to let Babs keep his hand as long as she'd like. "I'll grab a book of puzzles for you before I go find somewhere to crash, so the show doesn't make your brain dribble out your ears. You'll need it if you're going to appreciate that trip to the Met," he notes wisely.
"It's a reality show where Tyra Banks subtly tries to kill model-wannabees in their photoshoots while losing more of her sanity ep by ep. I suspect in a few years she'll have a cell neighboring the Joker's in Arkham." Babs sagenods. "You drove all the way here with nowhere to stay Doug?" She blinks, surprised, and touched.
At the question, Doug's eyes dart left, then right, before returning to Babs. "No! No, no, of course not... maybe. Yes. Yes, I did." He hangs his head, laughing at himself. "I'm usually much better at thinking ahead."
That makes Babs tug on his hand to get him in range to kiss his forehead, without having to move her shoulder. "That is the sweetest thing, ever," she admits. You can crash at my apartment if you need a place. They aren't letting me out of here until tomorrow, so it's empty at the moment." It's empty most of the time, except when she needs to appear to be living there for the sake of her job, her father, or her uninformed friends.
Doug blinks but lets himself be tugged, and the kiss is enough to finally get him to blush. He's been too preoccupied with worry until now. "I really don't mind finding a hotel room," he notes, looking up and cracking a grin. "But if you insist. I can even water houseplants and be vaguely useful in the process."
"I insist, since you came all this way for me. Was your boss ok with it? Are you playing hooky, Mister Ramsey?" Babs asks with a crooked little grin and a twinkle in her eyes.
"I may not have thought to ask until I was most of the way here," Doug admits, rubbing the back of his head. "But it seems to be okay so far. I'll probably get teased horribly once I get back, but that's... kind of normal."
That gets her blushing some more. Babs doesn't let go of his hand though. He's like the single bit of normalcy in her life right now. Being as he's a mutant SHIELD agent, that says a lot about her life. "I'm really glad you're here though," she admits with a groggy smile. "I thought maybe the morphine was making me hallucinate you." She chuckles. He hasn't asked what happened yet, and she doesn't seem to be offering.
Doug can't help but laugh. "Sorry. I should have said I was coming first so you didn't think they gave you the /good/ drugs," he says, bringing his other hand over to cover hers. "I'm flattered to know that I'd qualify as a good trip, though, thank you."
The drugs stop clouding her thought process enough for Barbara to realize Doug might be in danger too. She frowns and grips his hand tighter. "Maybe you should stay somewhere else tonight. Somewhere with people. The guy who hurt me, he might try to hurt my friends. If he saw you come in here, you might become a target, Doug."
That gets Doug's eyebrows to go up. "Okay. I can do that," he says gently, giving her hand a reassuring squeeze. "I'll be careful while I'm in town. Why do you think he might go after your friends?" he asks, frowning in concern. That would suggest something personal, but that's ridiculous. Who has a vendetta against a /librarian/?
"It was a personal grudge from a long time ago. He's not right in the head. He needs help, badly," Babs explains, without explaining. "I couldn't take it if you got hurt because of me Doug. You're SHIELD, they have to have a safehouse in Gotham for you."
"I'll find out," Doug promises. And he means it. Not just for himself, but so that she might have a place to lay low once she's out of the hospital. The police are probably on it, especially given who her father is, but still. If he can be helpful... "I'm sorry you're going through all of this. Do the police have backup on this one? I know Gotham has its own fair share of capes," he notes with a small smile. "And whoever did this to you, if he's that dangerous, they'd probably know, right?"
"I have a lot of protection, mundane and otherwise. My dad is on good terms with the Batman or something," Babs says softly. She doesn't mention the Bat is out of the country chasing down the guy who made Jason a lunatic bent on destroying everyone he ever loved. "I'm more worried for you."
"I'll be okay. All mutants know each other," Doug replies lightly. "We have a secret handshake and everything." He pauses a moment, then coughs sheepishly. "...actually, a guy I used to know actually is on the Justice League these days. I used to help babysit his little sister," he admits. "And even linguists at SHIELD learn how to defend themselves. We just don't get capes and cowls."
"Just be careful. He's insane, and there's no way to predict what someone with a broken mind will do, Doug." Babs takes in a slow breath, then lets it out. "I know that better than anyone. The Joker put me in the wheelchair."
"I know." Doug's smile is actually /very/ apologetic, and he squeezes her hand. "After we had coffee, I may or may not have Googled you. Nothing creepy, I'm just socially awkward," he says with a sheepish, slightly nervous laugh. "I trust you. I promise I'm not taking the risk lightly."
It's not like Babs expected any less. She's careful about her online presence, but news is news and she has no way to control that. She nods. "It's ok, I figured you would look me up being SHIELD and all." She smiles but it fades at a knock on the door. A nurse sticks her head in. "Visiting hours are over Miss Gordon. Your guest needs to go, you need your rest if you want to be discharged tomorrow morning."
Babs sighs and looks back to Doug. "If you want to pick me up tomorrow maybe we can have breakfast, so it's not a wasted trip for you?"
"It wasn't a wasted trip," Doug smiles, rising to his feet. Now it's her turn to have him lean over to plant a light peck on her forehead. Fair is fair, after all. "But breakfast sounds great. I'll get here first thing," he promises, already making a mental note to ask the nurse very very nicely to please bring her a sudoku book if he can find one in the chintzy little shop off the lobby. Why do hospitals have gift shops? It's weird.