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by Te

[Story Headers]

by Te
May 2, 2004

Disclaimers: If they were mine, the title would have a Mature Readers stamp.

Spoilers: Vague ones up through Outsiders #10 or so. Nothing major.

Summary: Anissa does some thinking about Grace.

Ratings Note: PG-13.

Author's Note: Just dipping a toe into Outsiders, feeling my way around.

Acknowledgments: To Jack for audiencing and encouragement.


It's Wednesday, which means that Roy is either off being a mystery about where he gets their intel or playing with his daughter. Hopefully not both at the same time. Metamorpho and Indigo are off doing their thing, Jade's giving an interview, Nightwing is hurting people out in Bludhaven, and Anissa...

Well, she doesn't, actually have watch duty, but she also doesn't have anything special to do tonight, and anyway Nightwing always looks slightly less likely to spontaneously combust with worry and thinly-veiled rage when there's at least two of them around.

Which means that she's theoretically spelling Grace while Grace bounces a basketball off the wall about two inches from the monitors that she is, actually, paying attention to. It shouldn't be as much of a shock as it is that Grace is a professional about this stuff, but... Grace walks around the world like she thinks she's an alien, something unique and strange and shocking. The first part of that is, of course, correct -- everyone is unique -- but Anissa used to think that, for Grace, it was more.

Bigger than that, deeper.

Grace isn't, actually, all that difficult to get along with, but for quite some time she'd rubbed Anissa just a little bit wrong. It's a college thing. Anissa had spent her first two years at school much like any halfway thoughtful person would -- trying to find a place for herself within the small, highly specialized society her parents had spent a phenomenal amount of money to make her a part of.

She'd frankly been prepared for most of the assorted social difficulties. She'd been enrolled in various private schools even before her parents could really afford it, because they were one of those Black families, where 'those' wasn't really a pejorative so much as...

Well. As a child, she'd looked around at the other two or three -- four, if she was really lucky -- Black students in her classes and seen the same thing in every pair of eyes. "My parents believe in education as means to social advancement, ergo I will get straight As or give myself a bleeding ulcer. Please don't ask me how I feel about rap music."

It was one of those things, after all, and she'd been looking forward to more of the same when she went off to college -- and had, of course, gotten it. It was the other things that threw her off her game a bit.

Not necessarily the GBLT communities -- Anissa is also from one of those families where there was no sin greater than bigotry, period -- but the way so many of the people were within those communities. The anger, the righteousness. And, of course, the chips on all of the fashionably-clad shoulders.

All of those people, just waiting to be discriminated against. As if it was something both expected and true, as opposed to one of those things they'd all gone to college to get away from. And it isn't that she's not sympathetic. One of the benefits to her father being a part of the Luthor White House was the fact that she could suddenly go shopping wherever she wished and not have to
stare down security guards -- often.

It's just... it's hard to put into words.

She's spent a great deal of time, lately, learning as much as she can about the other superhero teams out there, and how they do and don't work. It often looks more like television than anything else, with that superhero being the funny one, and that one being the serious one, and that one being the ladies' man, etc., etc. Within that context -- and largely within fact -- she knows the others look at her as the prim one, the conservative one, the one most likely to Disapprove.

She still hasn't decided whether it's better or worse than being thought of as The Rookie. Probably better, and yet. Rookie would, at least, be deserved.

Because she had spent a great deal of time in the early days disapproving of Grace, but it didn't have a damned thing to do with her tattoos or her hairstyle or the fact that Anissa honestly isn't sure why the woman bothers to wear underwear -- and she does,
sometimes. Anissa checked. What it did have to do with is the fact that Grace honestly came off as one of those people.

'Professional rebels,' her father had called them once. People who are so busy being counter-culture -- whatever that means -- that they don't seem to notice that the actual culture they're living in really had long since caught up.

It isn't the fifties anymore, or the sixties, or even the nineties. What it is is now, and New York City, and no one with half a brain gives a crap how many tattoos you have or where you have them, and it's long past time to knock the chip off your shoulder and relax.

Save the static and shock-tactics for the places where they'll matter, for the people with whom they'll matter, and take a breath.

People like that.


She'd thought she'd known a lot of women -- too many -- just like Grace in school, but the fact is... there's a huge difference between a twenty year old with a nose ring and a few philosophy classes under her belt and... Grace.

Grace isn't playing a role, and Grace has, apparently, grown out of the phase where people play roles. Grace is just Grace, and that seems to mean that she's an
impatient, slutty, violent, intolerant bitch who also happens to be a hero. And insightful. And brave, and...

A lot of other things, too.

It puts things into perspective, in kind of a frightening way. Anissa still thinks that most of those professional rebels are worth about as much of her time as a daytime talk show or a bible-thumper, but... maybe some of them would grow into people, too.

People who showed off their tattoos because they liked them and because they meant something to them.

People who had sex with everything willing because they just kind of liked having sex.

The scariest thing about it isn't that people like Grace exist.

The scariest thing is that...

Well, the Outsiders are a good team. Nightwing and Arsenal were doing this stuff when she was still taping pictures of Superman up in her locker. Jade has seen more alien worlds than Anissa owns shoes. Rex -- or whatever they're supposed to call him now -- sort of, kind of, worked with her father, and who knows what Indigo had done -- will do -- two thousand years from now. They're a good team made up of brave, intelligent adults.

And maybe, just maybe, the fact that they look at her as the Prude has less to do with the fact that she doesn't feel the need to curse in every other breath as it does with the fact that she really is a rookie in more ways than just the way she doesn't always remember to watch her own back.

Maybe 'rookie' doesn't mean what she thought it meant at all.

And, well, there's still a little joy in the fact that she knows full well Grace had misjudged her, too, but it's kind of a cold comfort.

This isn't a game for little girls.

This isn't a game, at all.

And, in the end, the fact that she has a degree and a driver's license that says she can drink doesn't mean anything. Doesn't mean shit if she can't, as a wise woman once said, suck it up and deal.

The basketball stops thudding against the wall.

"What are you smiling about?"

A month ago, maybe even two weeks ago, Anissa would've taken that amused,
confrontational tone in Grace's voice as an excuse to get her back up, and think a few thoughts about what super-density might mean against super-strength, as opposed to with. But...

The truth is, Grace is probably just bored. Anissa grins a little wider.

"You," she says, and raises her hands to catch the basketball Grace pegs at her head.

"Oh really, princess?" Grace's expression is a narrow-eyed smirk waiting to happen.

I'm a queen, Anissa doesn't say, mainly because Grace would just point out that her Daddy had told her that too many times, and be absolutely correct. "Yep," she says instead, and pegs the basketball right back.

Grace spins the chair around until she's facing Anissa and rests the ball on one long, broad thigh. The smirk on her face is right on time, but it's coupled with a look that could only be considered... speculative.

Anissa takes a moment to be glad she's dark enough that she has to really blush before it shows up on her skin, because it's not as if she'd be surprised if Grace decided to hit on her one day the way she's hit on each and every last one of the others. Really, it's probably one of those things that should go in the eventual Outsiders handbook,
somewhere between "never ask Indigo
rhetorical questions" and "no, Valium in Nightwing's coffee doesn't make a
difference; Arsenal tried."

Grace cocks her head at Anissa, and drums her fingers on the console. And holds the look for a long, long moment before snorting and tossing her head a little, like she'd forgotten it isn't long enough for that, yet. And then she spins back to look at the monitors again. "I'm bored. Entertain me."

"I only lap-dance for tips."

Grace snickers and starts tossing the basketball at the wall again. "And me without my roll of quarters."

Anissa grins, mostly to herself, and settles herself more comfortably in her chair. They say -- each and every one of them -- that kids grow up fast in this business.

She can't wait.


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Fandom:  Other (Outsiders)
Title:  Rookie
Author:  Te   [email]   [website]
Details:  Standalone  |  PG-13  |  gen  |  9k  |  05/02/04
Characters:  Grace, Anissa
Summary:  Anissa does some thinking about Grace.

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