Not A Natural Blonde

by Lara Wilson

Slade had never known her as a brunette. She'd started dyeing her hair shortly before their first encounter, and if, on the island where their relationship had taken an unexpected turn, he'd been surprised to see she wasn't a natural blonde, he'd never said anything.

Everyone had their secrets.

That she'd been dying of ovarian cancer for nearly a year was just one of hers.

Once he heard, it took Slade nearly two months to track her down, finally finding her living in an assisted living facility in the mountains of Virginia under an assumed name. One of the 'out' heroes, she'd never truly had much privacy. That she wanted to die as any normal person, didn't surprise him either.

Slipping into her room, he found her sleeping, an almost peaceful look on her face. There were a few lines there, a few liver spots on the hands loosely resting atop the blankets, but she didn't look the eighty years he knew her to be.

Except for her hair. Wispy and thin and as white as his own.

Silently taking a seat next to the bed, Slade waited to see if her senses were too dull to awaken at his presence. A few minutes later he smiled when she opened her eyes and narrowed them at him.

"Wilson." Her voice was dry, cracked and low, but there was no pain and he knew it was due to the drugs pumping through the tubes into the back of her hand.

"Little Bird."

She snickered at the old nickname, then coughed harshly and, for a moment, he saw the pain and the fear, but then it was gone and she smiled. "Come to see an old foe die?"

"Not foe." He found himself brushing her hair from her forehead and placing kiss there.

"You are a strange man."

"Complex."

"That, too." His fingers slipped back through her hair down the side of her head, and she lifted into the touch. "You used to enjoy petting me like that...before you started trying to kill me."

"I remember your fingers in my hair as well, Dinah, holding on as you rode me to oblivion." His voice was low, seductive, and to his surprise, she blushed like a girl.

"That was a long time ago."

"Do you have regrets?"

"Not about that. How did you find me?"

"I may not be Oracle but I have my own skills and resources. Why are you alone?"

"There aren't many of us left," she admitted sadly. "And they don't need to see me die like this."

"Like what? A beautiful, strong woman?"

This time she managed to snort, then sigh as his fingers stroked through her hair again. "I've said my goodbyes. I don't want them grieving. And now...I have a chance to say goodbye to you, too. I didn't expect that."

"I don't like leaving anything unfinished."

"I saw you at Dick's grave two years ago."

Slade nodded slowly and brushed his fingers down her cheek, twining a curl around them, smiling slightly as she nearly purred. "I didn't say goodbye to him, didn't have time. Wasn't going to lose you like that, too."

"You made it just in time. The doctors say a day or two. Will you stay?"

At the hesitation in her voice, he immediately nodded.

"And do one thing for me?"

"Anything," he promised, meaning it.

Dinah managed a true smile and rolled her head into the palm of his caressing hand. "Make sure they bury me in the blonde wig. Black Canary can't go out looking like an old woman with no hair."

Slade chuckled and promised.

When they buried her five days later, he made sure her trademark fishnet stockings were on her legs beneath the sedate navy dress, as well as the blonde wig on her head.

End

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