* * *
"So, the world is saved, the lamb sleeps, this shirt looks fabulous with these pants, what's say you and me grab a bite to eat landside?" Oliver slung his arm around Dinah's shoulders. He was strolling with his lady through the streets of Gotham, and the night felt good.
Dinah shrugged him off. "It's Thursday."
His foundation upon the pleasant night started to waver, but he pushed through his anxiety and said, "Don't worry, I Tivoed Survivor." He leaned in again.
She eluded him. "It's Thursday."
"I know." He quickly scanned significant Thursdays in his life. Not their anniversary, not her birthday...
Dinah frowned at him over her shoulder. "Did you really forget?"
Apparently. He smiled charmingly at her. "Forget what?"
"We agreed to a double date with Huntress and the Question."
"We did not!" Oliver's eyes widened. "After the last one?"
"That technically wasn't a date, it was a fight. It'll be good for them. Downtime. Team-building."
"But the Huntress? I just... I don't like her."
Dinah shrugged. "Well, I don't either."
Oliver threw up his hands. "Then why--?"
"Because. It's the right thing to do."
"What about what's right for us?" Oliver paused in the hallway.
Dinah turned, placing her hand on his chest. "What's good for the canary is good for the bull."
"The bull, eh?" Oliver puffed out his chest.
Dinah patted his chest. "That's right. Let's go."
* * *
Vic linked his fingers behind his head and stretched out his feet, languishing in the booth. "What time are they meeting us?"
Helena fished an ice cube out of her water glass. "Five minutes ago."
"Hm. Say... Didn't you get kicked out of the League?"
"Yeah." Helena scowled.
"So why are we teambuilding with a canary and a leprechaun?"
"Batman thought it would be a good idea."
"And you do everything he says."
"Fine, fine. Teambuilding." Vic shook his head and sighed. "They're like sheep, you know. Wool all over their eyes."
Helena counted to ten before she relented and asked, "Why?"
"The newest corporate buzzword is a ruse by the L.A. Lakers to promote propagation. Touchy-feely leads to hormones. Hormones lead to..." Vic gestured.
Helena counted to ten again. "The L.A. Lakers?"
"Don't you follow Paula Abdul's career?"
Vic looked at her pointedly.
"She doesn't have any children," Helena said.
"Exactly! That's how they get you to procreate!" Vic hit the table. "Just like Oprah."
"Because she doesn't have any children either?" Helena put her head in her hand. "Why can I follow this?"
"Because...you love me." Vic smiled.
"That's why I agreed to this stupid..."
The door of the restaurant swung open and Black Canary and Green Arrow entered.
"...date. Hi, folks."
Taken aback by Vic's enthusiasm, Dinah and Oliver shrank at the doorway. Helena glanced at her partner and then offered them a weak smile. Oliver took a cautious step forward. Dinah clung to his side.
"So!" Oliver said by the time he reached the booth, "Who picked the best pizza joint in town?"
"That'd be Vic. He knows everything," Helena said. She moved around the table in order to slide into the seat with Vic, leaving the other side for Dinah and Oliver.
Oliver nodded and folded his arms. "You're like an Oracle with man parts."
"Please. The Oracle controls information. I seek to... Uncontrol it. I am Oracle's archnemesis."
Helena, Dinah, and Oliver glanced at each other, and then back at Vic. Dinah cleared her throat. "So, what's good here?"
"The Vegan Feta."
Oliver wrinkled his nose. Dinah leaned against his arm and smiled. Helena blanched.
"Don't worry, baby," Vic said as he wrapped his arm around Helena's shoulders. "We can get it with ground beef."
Oliver cocked his head. "You don't have any objections to ground beef?"
"Why would I? Don't you know much about the U.S. beef industry?" Vic frowned.
Oliver squinted. "No, I don't...know much..."
"I think I'm getting a migraine," Dinah muttered, as she sank lower in the booth, her chest slipping below the level of the table.
"What about mad cow?" Oliver countered.
"Please. An advertising ruse." Vic waved the objection away.
"So, we agreed on a pizza," Helena said. She drummed her fingers on the table. "Do we get points?"
Dinah grinned. "Extra points if we agree on dessert."
Helena leaned forward. "Double-chocolate brownie with ice cream."
"You're on." Helena offered her pinkie. Dinah shook it.
Oliver and Vic looked at them askance. "So, how about them Dodgers?"
"Did you know..." Vic stopped when Helena elbowed him in the ribs. His face colored slightly, but he was rescued by the waitress coming to take their orders. Another awkward silence prefaced an agreement on beer, and then Helena began shredding her napkin while Oliver craned his neck to look at the room, hoping for external inspiration.
Dinah took a sip of her water. "Did you know about the time Helena crashed through the flower shop windows?"
"Head first," Oliver offered.
Vic raised an eyebrow.
Helena patted his thigh. "You were in the wilderness, honey."
"Okay," Vic said, nodding.
Dinah folded her hands on the table. "I was doing part-time in a flowershop planetside to gather intelligence in Gotham. When one day, crash! Some crazy woman flies through the glass window of the flowershop, lands, remarkably not bleeding fatally, and I hear the sound of thugs behind her."
Helena had covered her head with her hands, and grunted when Dinah gestured that she finish the rest of the story. "Okay, so, I knew it was a Justice League drop point. I led the criminals straight there. Green Arrow here comes out of the back room, where he'd been stocking the delivery truck, punches one thug out, Canary smacks the other one, and I'm just sort of sitting on the floor."
"The rest of the story is boring. Jail, interrogation, blah blah. No secret treasure." Oliver gestured, and grinned at Helena. "But that entrance will always be...memorable."
"And I've been causing trouble ever since," Helena said.
"You're hardly the only one." Dinah turned and kissed Oliver lightly, chuckling at the way his mustache tickled her cheeks.
Vic let his hand drop to Helena's shoulder. "Sometimes I think you're the only sane one around." He glanced at Oliver. "No offense."
Oliver lifted his hands in surrender. "None taken. I don't know what sanity is."
Oliver frowned. "Hey, that's what you thought all along, isn't it?"
The pizza arrived on a steaming clay stone, and the four were silent while they ate. Dessert was ordered, one for Helena and Dinah to split, and another for Oliver, despite his protests that he wouldn't want more than a bite. Vic ordered cappuccino, but he was still waiting for it, and nursing his beer, and looking suspiciously around the restaurant.
Oliver followed Vic's gaze, and frowned slightly. "I can't remember the last time I was out on the town. With anyone."
Dinah nudged him, but said, "It's true."
Vic nodded, slowly, as if he were drawing some conclusion. Helena braced herself for an implication that the yakuza might be poisoning a pizza, but when he spoke, he had a faint smile on his face. "It's a fantasy, isn't it?" Vic's voice was deeper and softer than usual, taking on the persona of the Question, rather than hard-ball Vic Sage. "Caped crusaders are out on the streets. Planetwide. In space. And a crime is happening every few seconds. I can tell you for a fact, boys and girls, that the end is coming. We don't have time for dinners and drinks... or love." He glanced at Helena.
Dinah leaned forward, resting her chin on her hand. Oliver listened silently.
"Even if, in some alternate universe, inside a vast conspiracy, I had time to toast my friends.... fellow heroes... I'm not sure I would have picked the present company. But, maybe I should have." Vic raised his glass.
Dinah smiled and lifted her own to clink his. "Ditto."
"That's right." Oliver toasted with Vic, and then kissed Dinah's temple.
Helena raised her beer, and said, softly enough that the clink of the glass drowned out her words, "To friendship."
Oliver crossed his arms. "To teambuilding."
He found himself dodging bullets of soggy feta from three directions.