Fandom: DC Comics
Characters: Mari McCabe (Vixen), Amanda Waller, Black Orchid, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy
Warnings: Description of super-powered character recovering from burns.
Prompt: A nomad I will remain for life, in love with distant and uncharted places. .-- Isabelle Eberhardt (1877-1904), Swiss-born explorer of North Africa and author.
Author's Notes: Thanks to the lovely and helpful merfilly for beta reading.
Summary: Mari McCabe should know better than to pick up the phone when Amanda Waller calls, but Black Orchid is in trouble and needs Vixen's help.
"I don't work for you anymore, Waller." Mari should have ended the call right then.
"I'm not asking you to work for me. I'm asking you to help an old friend of yours."
Mari sighed loudly. "You always say something like that, and the next thing I know, I'm up to my neck in drug dealers or spies or telepathic supervillain gorillas. Is it Ben who's in trouble?"
"No. Black Orchid."
That was a surprise. Mari hadn't heard from Black Orchid in years, though she knew that other members of the Justice League had worked with her, and so had the Birds of Prey.
"We're hardly close, Waller. Why are you asking me?"
"Because she asked for you. 2:00 pm at the White Rhino coffee shop on Broad Street, south of Goodwin St." Waller hung up, having had the final word, as usual.
Mari didn't waste time wondering how Waller knew she was in Gotham. She just got herself ready to leave. Tonight she was meant to be a guest at a retrospective of African women in fashion hosted by Iman, something that she'd been happily anticipating for months. It was no shock that Amanda Waller would not only know that she was in the city for that, but precisely when to interrupt her. Of course, it would be for something apparently desperate and worthy – Waller knew how to pull Mari's strings – and there probably really would be someone in need of her help. But, with Amanda Waller, there would always be some undercurrent of politics or favours or blackmail that would inevitably catch her off guard. She applied her lipstick and blotted it with more force than necessary: this time, she would be ready for Waller's tricks. At least, as much as anybody could be, she promised herself.
The White Rhino wasn't the slick, impersonal corporate place that Mari had expected, but a raggedy, crowded coffee shop with a homespun air. Most of the clientele looked like artists or earnest hipsters who wanted to look like artists, only in $500 shirts, and the walls were adorned with pictures of the Kenyan farmers who grew their Fair Trade coffee. Waller was squashed uncomfortably into a corner booth that was sized for a skinny hipster, and rather than her usual neatly groomed professional self, she looked quite dishevelled. Her shirt had a small tear at the shoulder and was badly rumpled, and she had a swelling at the corner of her lip and another on her jaw. She'd covered the marks well, but Mari knew make-up on dark skin and spotted the minor injuries in a moment. Tucked into the booth next to her was a woman who looked more suited to the White Rhino: she was a small white woman in her mid-20s, with pink streaks in her dark hair, wrapped in a big woollen shawl. She looked like she was hurt, or at least in shock – she was trembling, and Waller had to help her keep her grip on her hot drink as she sipped at it.
Mari slipped into the booth on the bench seat opposite them, taking off her big sunglasses and placing them firmly in the centre of the table, like a challenge.
"Thank you, Mari," the woman with the hot drink – spicy hot chocolate, it smelled like – said, her voice as shaky as her hands.
"Black Orchid?" Mari leaned forward, but this skinny little thing looked nothing like the tall, muscular, confident woman who had fought beside her while taking down a drug cartel.
"The Black Orchid you knew was my mother, Susan. I'm Suzy."
Mari blinked again. Susan could be no older than, say, 30 now, and Suzy looked only a few years younger than that. Then again, maybe she was adopted, or from an alternate dimension, or a time traveller. Stranger things had happened to people Mari knew. "Suzy, how can I help you?"
Amanda Waller had been watching the two of them closely. "Suzy came home from work to find her house on fire and her baby inside. She ran in, and she's been badly injured, but the baby wasn't there, and neither was the babysitter."
"So what happened to you, Waller?" Mari saw no need to be polite to the woman who had manipulated her and her then-boyfriend so horribly.
"Suzy's babysitter and girlfriend is Pamela Isley, AKA Poison Ivy."
Mari stared at Suzy in surprise. "I'm sorry to question you, Suzy, but she doesn't sound like a very reliable babysitter."
Suzy took another sip of her drink. "Oh, I'm sorry. Mrs Waller hasn't explained it very well. I'm a plant. My baby is a bud in a pot."
"Well, that makes more sense." Sometimes Mari wondered at how far her life had come, from growing up in a perfectly normal village to thinking the revelation that someone was a plant was actually a relief. "But doesn't Poison Ivy date Harley Quinn?"
Suzy nodded. "Yes, she dates both of us. Harley knows all about it."
"Enough of the explanations." Waller cut her off. "Suzy dates Poison Ivy, Poison Ivy lives with Harley Quinn. Got it? Suzy's phone was in her car and hadn't been damaged, so she called me because I know where Harley Quinn lives."
"You know where everyone lives," Mari added, sourly.
"Yes, I do. Suzy needed some time in the ground to heal, so I went over to Harley and Ivy's home. And, well, I didn't get in. Hallucinogenic plants everywhere. I don't like hallucinogens." Waller's face showed quite clearly what she'd like to do to the person who made her hallucinate, and Mari leaned back in her seat a little.
"You need me to check the place out? You called me because I can deal with most hallucinogens, didn't you?" At Waller's nod, Mari continued. "Do you think Poison Ivy's got the baby in the pot – uh, is that the right word?"
Suzy nodded, though she was still trembling. "My baby is fine, and she's a girl. I reproduce through budding – she's a tiny version of me. I don't think Pamela has her, though. She could have taken her any time, or she could have just asked. I think someone has both of them."
"Maybe Harley Quinn? She's not the most stable of people."
"That's my theory," Waller snapped. "And look where that got me." She cleared her throat. "Ready for a trip out to the suburbs?"
Mari was about to refuse, just because Waller had asked her, but Suzy leaned forward to touch her hand in thanks and Mari saw what the blanket had been hiding: Suzy's right arm was completely burned away, and much of her right side was blackened and dead, her polyester-blend shirt melted to her body.
Suzy caught Mari's glance. "Don't worry. I'll be as good as new in time, once this all drops off and new cells form. It's already better, but I feel so useless at the moment. I can't shapeshift at all."
Going out of the White Rhino, they all got into Waller's nondescript car, Suzy curling up on the back seat. Mari was a little amazed, even knowing the woman, that Waller had managed to get a parking space in downtown Gotham, right where she needed to be. Waller manoeuvred through traffic just as viciously as she manoeuvred through politics, and Mari hung on for dear life.
"Don't worry," Waller grinned. "My late husband drove a taxi in Chicago and we'd split shifts sometimes. This traffic is nothing. Hardly anyone's even armed, these days."
This was not comforting to Mari, but she just straightened her spine and remembered the traffic in Angola. She didn't need to be giving any ground, and, as Waller said, this traffic was nothing. Instead, she poked at the shakiest part of Waller's story.
"So, what kind of hallucinogens are you talking about? And where, exactly, did that 'get you'?"
Waller pressed her lips together. "Plant toxins, as you might expect. I wore a mask, considering it's Poison Ivy's place, but they were contact poisons, and the plants were moving around by themselves."
"Okay, I can use the powers of a caiman or a catfish. Then what?"
Waller was definitely avoiding something.
"Then I realised I was outmatched and called you." Waller crossed onto the wrong side of the road, swerved around an oncoming taxi and back into her lane.
"After taking time to put on concealer and pin your blouse."
Waller scowled. "I don't like losing fights, especially not to a damn rosebush. And especially not while hallucinating it's Batman."
Mari giggled at Waller's discomfiture. "That's, uh, really tragic. I'll make sure to be careful."
By the time they pulled up outside Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn's suburban love nest, Suzy was looking considerably better, and was carefully peeling pieces of dead, black vegetation from her withered arm and placing them in one of a roll of large, extra-strong trash bags Waller kept on the back seat. Mari decided she didn't want to know why those bags were there.
The house had a high steel fence, but apart from that and the lush garden, looked like any other house on the street: Mari was a little disappointed.
Waller gave Mari a keycard. "I've got the gate code, but all the plants are agitated now – they'll be after you from the moment you go in."
Mari took the card and shucked off the outer layers of her clothing in the car, leaving her with just a skin-tight cami, leggings and her ballet flats. She didn't need to wear the Tantu totem these days, and she certainly didn't need an excess of clothing hampering her movements when she was taking on animal powers.
She slid the keycard into the security panel and leapt forward as the gate opened. Like a catfish, she relied on the strong, smooth forward motion of her body, slipping through the grasping vines and lashing nettles with ease. A few struck her, but a bottom-feeder like a catfish could deal with most toxins, and the poisons gave her only brief shivers over her skin and flickers at the corners of her vision. Waller had been right to wear a mask – there were spores and pollen clouds released, too, but they didn't launch fast enough for her to breathe in much, and what she did inhale, she could handle.
Mari made it to the door, prepared for more defences, but the door was wide open. She paused and someone yelled out from inside.
"Hell-ooo-ooo! That better be you, Ivy, because if I'm stuck here much longer I'm getting out the flamethrower you got me for Hannukah, I swear! And your blue poinsettias are the first against the wall!"
"Harley Quinn?" Mari called back. "This is Vixen – we're trying to find Poison Ivy. She's not here?"
Harley peered cautiously around the doorframe, holding a giant purple inflated squeaky hammer. "Vixen…from the Justice League?"
"I'm not working for them right now. I'm trying to find a friend's baby."
Harley screwed up her face, "Oh, you don't mean Black Orchid's baby? Ivy's just crazy about that little girl – and believe me, I know crazy."
"Yes, Black Orchid came home to find the baby and Ivy missing, and her house on fire. Since this house was in defence mode…"
"Oh!" Harley's expressions were just as exaggerated without the clown makeup. "You think I got jealous or something! No, we do the poly thing, you know? Not enough time in the world to just be with one person." She looked around at the plants waving threateningly behind Mari. "So if Ivy's not locking me in, that means the plants know she's in trouble." She nodded firmly and hefted her inflatable hammer. "Let's go rescue her! And the plant baby!"
Mari frowned. "Do you have a way of getting past the plants? I can only protect myself, not you. You said you had a flamethrower?"
Harley's face fell. "No, no flamethrower. I mean, I have one, and it's got little flaming hearts on it and it's adorable, but I wouldn't really use it on Ivy's garden. It'd be no snuggles for a year! Maybe longer if I killed the really rare ones!"
Mari sighed. At least she could be fairly sure that Ivy would protect the baby, if she felt that way about rare plants. "Sorry, you're just going to have to stay here. I'll give you my number…"
"Nope! Plants ate my phone the first time I tried to get out! And they ate the power cables to the house. Once you rescue Ivy, I'm really going to have to have words with her about putting together a useful defence system that still lets me heat up some pizza for lunch."
"Maybe you could use the flamethrower?" Mari suggested, and immediately regretted it as Harley's eyes lit up and she raced back into the house.
She yelled over her shoulder, "Great idea, Vixen! Maybe you Justice Leaguers aren't so bad!"
Mari turned around and got out of there much, much faster than she'd got in.
Climbing into the back seat next to Black Orchid, Mari shook her head. "It's not Harley Quinn – she didn't know anything."
Waller agreed. "She can't keep her mouth shut. If she knew something, she'd either tell you or taunt you."
"All right, then we need to focus on what actually happened. It could be someone targeting Poison Ivy outside her comfort zone, or they could be targeting you, Suzy. Does anyone else know about the baby?"
"No, nobody." Suzy was completely missing an arm now, but she looked to be coming out of shock, and smooth, hot pink skin was showing where she had picked off pieces of the melted shirt. "I don't have an obstetrician or anything. And my baby doesn't look like a human baby yet, just a bud in a pot."
"Rule out the baby as a motive then," Waller muttered.
A column of flame shot up from Harley Quinn's house and, while Mari and Suzy ducked instinctively, Waller calmly put the car into gear and drove away.
"Were you doing anything that could lead someone back to your home?" Mari kept expecting the smell of burning flesh as Suzy continued to worry at burnt pieces around her shoulder and breast, but there was only the scent of charcoal.
"I was undercover at a small research company – they had a saboteur who kept damaging their research and computer files. Definitely an inside job, but they couldn't work out who. They've just been listed on the stock market, so it was a big problem for them."
"Okay, so could the saboteur have gone after you?"
"No – I was hired by the company's major shareholder under a fake identity with a fake address, and no-one's followed me." She brightened. "I know who the saboteur is, though, so we could go see if he's not at work today."
"Tell me where it is," Waller said, swinging them back into traffic. "We'll be there in no time."
Mari put on her seatbelt.
The research company was Alwyn Ophthalmic, and they were located in one of the anonymous industrial estates that were dotted around among the older, bigger factories. There were twelve small companies in this estate, according to the sign at the open gate, and Alwyn looked like the biggest, with a staff parking lot containing twenty cars.
"Just go and ask at the desk for Michael Doulish," Suzy told Mari.
"And if he's there?"
Waller leaned around the seat. "Take him out into the parking lot for a chat. He'll come with you."
Mari sighed and readjusted her blouse and skirt. Waller was right, but it reminded her of the first work she and Black Orchid had ever done for Waller: not dressing as superheros, but as socialites attending a drug lord's party. She'd killed the drug lord that night, and she had never forgotten her loss of control. Going to chat up some scientist felt uncomfortably similar to the start of that mission. Still, neither Waller nor Suzy would have the same effect as Mari would, so it had to be her.
Michael Doulish was at work, it turned out, and it was just as easy as Waller had said to lure him outside. He was a tall, plump white man wearing a Terminator t-shirt and jeans under his lab coat, and had no hesitation following Mari outside, coffee mug in his hand, to "discuss business". When Suzy got out of the car, wrapped in her blanket, he waved.
"Oh, hey, Jennifer, how you doing?"
"I know it's you messing up the experiments, Michael. What I want to know is if you burned down my house, too."
Michael's mouth fell open and he dropped his coffee mug. Mari caught it without spilling a drop and set it down by the kerb.
"No, Jennifer, it's not, I mean, I wouldn't…"
"Shut up," Mari told him. "Did you burn down her house?"
He looked around, as if to find somewhere to run, but Mari took a step closer, as did Suzy, and his shoulders slumped.
"No, I wouldn't hurt anyone or burn down anyone's house, I promise."
"But you would sabotage data?"
"Look, it's not like that! I'm on contract here – when the final round of tests are finished, so am I. I'm just slowing things up."
"Really?" Suzy asked, her eyebrow raised. "That's not all you were doing. You wiped completed data and corrupted tests."
Michael seemed oddly relieved to be able to tell someone. "A woman paid me to do it. She said the company as on the wrong track and we should be working on the retinal cell replacement experiments, not the choroidal dystrophy."
Suzy frowned. "But the company's gone public: you have to show something commercially viable ASAP. The retinal work is promising, but the choroidal project is much further along."
Michael shrugged. "Am I going to lose my job?"
"Tell me about the woman who hired you and I'll make sure that that's all that happens. You should be going to jail."
Michael went a terrible grey colour, his dark stubble standing out like pinpricks. "I…jail? No, I'll tell you everything. I only met her once. She's been paying me in cash in my mailbox. She's short, long dark hair, really pale, big sunglasses, pretty hot."
"You have to do better than that," Mari said in his ear, irritated. "Or it's jail for you."
"No, um, she has superpowers! I put a webcam on my mailbox one time and she, like, teleported in and out."
Mari was incredulous."You taped her? Why didn't you say that in the first place? Where's the footage?"
Michael went to put his hand in his labcoat pocket, but stopped at Mari's growl. "No, no, I'm getting my phone. It's on my phone."
Mari gestured for him to continue and he got out his iPhone and pulled up the footage. Just as he described, a dark-haired woman stepped out from the shadows of the low fence beside the mailbox, put an envelope into the box and vanished into the shadow again.
"Nightshade," Mari and Suzy said simultaneously.
Suzy turned back to Michael. "Go inside. Resign. Go home. If you do what I tell you, I'll make sure you get a good reference. If not, I'll have the director call the police. Got it?"
"Yes, ma'am," Michael whispered, his head bowed, and shuffled off inside, forgetting his coffee cup on the kerb.
Mari and Suzy piled back into the car, and Waller put it into gear and drove.
"Nightshade teleports through her own dimension." Mari told Suzy. "Waller, do you have a way to find her?"
"Of course I do," she replied, "I'm used to teleporters, dimensional or otherwise. Now that we know somewhere that she used her powers, we can track her down."
"But why would she do this?" Suzy frowned. "Has she gone evil since I last met her? She was always a good person, to my knowledge."
"Beats me," Waller replied. "She was working for me not long ago, in the Black Lantern crisis. Nothing seemed to have changed with her, except that her powers were a little more refined. No idea why she'd go after Poison Ivy, or Suzy's baby."
"She was mind-controlled by Gorilla Grodd a while ago," Mari added, "But she got free of that and the League took him down."
Waller pressed a few buttons on her phone and glanced at the screen. "No, Grodd's out of commission right now. We'll just have to ask Nightshade ourselves."
Waller drove them straight to Michael Doulish's suburban home and parked in front of the mailbox. "Suzy, are you well enough to come along? Teleporting can be stressful on the body."
Suzy shook her head. "No, I have to go with you. I have to find my baby, and it's probably my fault that Ivy is involved at all."
"It's no good bringing you if you're just going to pass out," Waller snapped.
"No, please, I'm a lot better than I was. I can't shape-shift yet, but I can defend myself."
Waller gave her an appraising look. "All right. Mari will keep an eye on you."
Mari glared at Waller for volunteering her, but she was right. Mari was already helping Suzy from the car. Shucking off her skirt and blouse again, she followed Waller over to the low fence where the webcam footage had shown Nightshade appearing and vanishing. Waller rummaged in her capacious handbag. First she pulled out a sleek little pistol, which she put in her jacket pocket, then she pulled out a tube about the size of a roll-on deodorant.
Mari peered closer. "Is that a Boom Tube? I thought they were bigger."
"It's a Luther Corp knockoff, yes." Waller fiddled with it for a moment, and it started to hum. "Hang on to me, both of you."
Mari and Suzy immediately obeyed, not wanting to be left behind. There was a strange roaring sound, then a high pitched whining at deafening volume, then with a loud pop, they were gone.
There was the moment of blackness that Mari associated with most teleports, but it didn't lift. It was absolute darkness, and when Mari called on the power of an angler fish, to gently glow, the glow was tiny and revealed nothing beyond the three of them.
"Waller?" Mari asked, still holding onto both her shoulder and Suzy's hand. "This is Nightshade's dimension – if she's here, there's nothing we can do about it."
"She's not here," Waller sounded entirely confident. "This dimension is pretty much dead without her family to bring it to life. She won't want to spend time here." Mari had made just enough light to see that Waller was fiddling with the tube again. "The boom tube will find the path out, as soon as I get it recalibrated – there. Close your eyes: it could be bright wherever we arrive."
The roaring sounded started up again, and with a rush, they were somewhere else. Mari opened her eyes carefully to see they were in a spacious L-shaped apartment – judging by the faint sunlight through the polluted haze outside, they must be back in Gotham. Before Mari had time to orient herself, black tentacles made of shadow leapt from the corners of the room and wrapped themselves around Mari's arms and legs. Suzy was immobilised in the same way, and Waller was thrown clear across the room, the brunt of the attack aimed at her.
"Eve! Stop it! We want to help!" Mari yelled, and Nightshade walked around the corner into their part of the apartment. She wore civilian clothes, but wasn't wearing her trademark big dark glasses that protected her night-adjusted eyes from the sun. Instead, she was wearing regular spectacles that magnified her eyes and distorted the lines of her face.
"Eve, what's wrong?" Mari was very confused – the Eve Eden that she had known was not the type of person to attack her, let alone bribe someone to sabotage a company or kidnap anyone. And yet here she was, her teeth bared in rage.
"I don't want to hurt you, Vixen. Or you, Black Orchid."
"Hey!" yelled another woman's voice. "Hey, someone there! This crazy woman burned down my friend's house and kidnapped me! Hey!"
"Shut up!" Eve yelled back, and sent a shadow back around the corner. A sudden silence fell.
Mari could hardly believe this of her old friend. "Is that Poison Ivy? Did you burn down Suzy's house?"
"There was a plant there – " Suzy interrupted, her voice tense.
"The plant is fine. It's in the bathroom. Ivy was so determined to protect it that I thought it must be valuable," Eve replied. "Looks like I was right."
"Oh, thank you!" Suzy couldn't keep the relief off her face. "Thank you! She's very valuable, yes."
Eve got closer to Suzy. "It was your help that I wanted. If I return the plant to you, will you help me?"
"Yes, of course!"
"Let us go, first," Mari added. "I know you're not a bad person – we all want to help you."
"I don't," came Waller's voice, and a tremendous beam of light shone from behind Mari and Suzy, directly on Eve. She shrieked and recoiled, and the shadows broke into tiny shreds, then nothing.
Mari and Suzy both moved quickly, getting out of Waller's way and running around the corner. Mari went for Poison Ivy, who was tied to a plastic chair with nylon rope, and Suzy ran into the bathroom to find her daughter.
"I can't believe I'm rescuing you, of all people, from a friend of mine," Mari muttered, but cut the ropes with a quick swipe of a lioness' claws.
"Thanks anyway," Ivy chirped, immediately looking brighter. "That crazy bitch attacked me at Suzy's house, then burnt the place down, teleported all over the place and ever since then she's been nagging me to fix her eyes."
"There's something wrong with her eyes? Did you help her?"
Ivy pouted. "Of course not! She kidnapped a baby and broke the heel on my shoe! Besides, I don't even know what's wrong with her." She flexed her hands to get circulation back and hurried into the bathroom with Suzy. "Is the baby okay? Are you okay, sweetie?"
Mari hurried back around the corner of the L-shaped apartment to see what Waller was doing to Nightshade. Eve was on the ground, hands to her eyes, as Mari expected, but Waller was pinned to the far wall by a curling vine made of light that emanated from Eve's body. That was not something that Eve had ever done before – her powers came from the darkness of her home dimension.
"Eve!" Mari grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her. "What's wrong with you? Tell me how to help!"
"I'm changing," Eve sobbed, "And I can't stop it. I'm going night-blind, and you know I can't see well in bright light. Soon I won't be able to see at all. And it hurts so much, Mari, the shadows hurt me, the light hurts me, and I can't live like this."
The light shrivelled up and Waller slid to the floor. The hearing of a lion told Mari that Waller was still breathing, but unconscious.
"Eve, why were you sabotaging Alwyn Ophthalmic's experiments? Surely they could have helped you?"
Eve kept her eyes covered, her hands over the dark glasses. "I bought shares in the company when they were researching retinal regeneration. But another project was doing better, so they diverted their researchers into that, and the work I needed was going undone. I'm not a scientist – I can't do that myself."
"So you thought Poison Ivy could help you?"
"No, I thought Black Orchid could help me. The company director must have hired her to catch my saboteur, but I spotted her."
"Your power can see through her shapeshifting."
"Yeah. But she wasn't at home, so I thought Poison Ivy would do as well. Regular medicine can't fix me, but they might."
"Ha! You've worked with Poison Ivy on the Suicide Squad – you should know better than to try to work with her!" Mari put her arm around Eve, now, no longer restraining her. Eve relaxed a little.
"Yeah. And my powers are malfunctioning. You just saw that. I didn't mean to set the house on fire."
Suzy approached them slowly. In her arms was her daughter – a bright pink bud with soft white leaves. It was about the size of a baby's head, safely ensconced in a terracotta pot.
"I can help you, Nightshade, but it might not be what you want."
Eve pulled away from Mari's comforting arm to look up at Suzy. "Why would you help me now?"
"Because you saved my baby from the fire, and because you can pay to have my home rebuilt." Suzy was smiling, and Mari could see which of those was the real reason. Mari stepped back to allow Suzy closer to Eve.
Eve took off her glasses, wincing in pain, and Suzy shook her head. "Put them back on. I'm not treating your eyes. Open your mouth." When Eve did, Suzy touched one finger to Eve's tongue. Eve gasped and collapsed in a heap. Mari could hear her heartbeat slowing.
"What the hell did you do to her?" Mari shouted at Suzy. "Is this your idea of revenge?"
Suzy remained calm, gently stroking one of her daughter's leaves. "No, of course not. I've given her a psychoactive compound that will relax her mind and leave her body to do what it's trying to do."
"What's that?" Waller snapped, sitting up and holding her head. "Turning into Dayshade?" Mari went over to her, but Waller waved her away and got up on her own.
Suzy nodded, unperturbed. "Yes, I suppose so. She could see how my power worked, and I can see hers – she's poisoning herself with shadows trying to hold back the changeover to light powers. She's so attached to the familiar way that her powers work that she is hurting herself. Now she can let it happen. I'll stay with her."
Poison Ivy was in her stocking feet, carrying her damaged shoes. "No offense, Suze, but I won't. Nice magic mushroom adaption, there. One of mine, is it?"
Suzy nodded. "You're the best. Thanks."
It was a relief to hear Waller bark, "Enough of the love fest, ladies. I'm calling a taxi and we're getting out of here."
"You teleported! How do you know where we are?" Ivy asked, and Waller gave her one of her patented Looks. "Oh. Yeah. Of course. You're omniscient. Sorry I asked."
"Thank you for your help," Suzy said, still carefully stroking her baby's leaves. "I owe you a favour."
"Damn right you do," Waller snapped.
"Don't listen to her," Mari interrupted. "It's fine. We were teammates. We always will be."
Suzy smiled. "I'll call you when my baby blossoms. I think she'd like to know you."
"I would love to meet her." Mari gave Suzy a gentle hug, then escorted the complaining Poison Ivy and the fuming Waller right out the door. Waller owed her a favour now, and if they hurried, she still might make the fashion retrospective tonight, with Waller in tow. She couldn't wait to introduce Waller to Iman. She had a feeling that – like the rest of her old friends – they'd get along just fine.