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Hey, Little Songbird (You'd Shine Like a Diamond)

Chapter Text

"I know where the diamond is," Zsasz breathed, his voice low and triumphant as he eyed the bottle of prune juice left on the basin.

Hastily, Dinah slashed away the last of the duct tape, hauled Cassandra off of the toilet, and pushed her into the back of the lavatory, farther away from Zsasz. There was a glint at the bottom edge of Dinah's vision; she had never been so happy to see something sparkle in a crapper. "So do I," she said, as dryly as she could manage, and she plucked the jewel out of the latrine. Any other day, reaching into a used toilet would be the worst part, but she was far from out of the woods, if the malevolently vindicated look in Zsasz's eyes was any indication. Her mind raced to account for everything that could possibly have tipped him off. His behavior had noticeably shifted on the drive over; it had to have been the phone. Had she left the screen facing up? There was no way...right? "Leave the kid; let's get this to Roman."

"I have a better idea," Zsasz snarled, pressing the nozzle of his gun to her forehead.

He knew. It didn't matter how; what mattered was time. There was little she could do to protect herself, at point blank range when his gun was already out- Zsasz wasn't incompetent (except where pickpockets were concerned). Oh, he almost definitely wouldn't kill her now, if she remained passive. No, he would want to drag her to his beloved master, first, to get the satisfaction of being told to take her out. He would want to relish in her destruction, with Roman. Both of them were lethal, both of them unforgiving. Roman would destroy his own wounded emotions with violence, like men liked to do, and Zsasz would be all too happy to be Roman's vengeance, and then his balm. To "soothe" him, like she reportedly used to.

"You should let me wash it off for him first," she pointed out hoarsely. "He won't be happy if I hand it to him like this."

"Wash it then," he said. "Shine it up for him. Then give it to me."

Always wanting to be the one to hand the prize in to the boss. Wasn't that what had put them in this situation to begin with?

Dinah ran the faucet over the diamond and her own fingers. Zsasz's gaze and his gun remained steady. (And the kid remained pressed against the back wall of the bathroom, still and silent.) When she handed over the cleaned jewel, he took it roughly. Still the gun didn't waver. Pity; had it shifted just a little, she might have been willing to try to take out one of his legs and then go for a weapon of her own.

He took her arm in a vice-like grip and brought her closer, the gun at her head never straying. He marched her through the room where Harley Quinn was still struggling with the effects of the stupid dart. (The kid was left behind, possibly safe, although Dinah had kind of been hoping not to have to sacrifice herself entirely for that. Where was that cop, anyway?! She was just like her mother, doomed over some idiotic, self-sacrificial...)

Dinah kept her mind running through the possibilities of her coming encounter with Roman. Admitting to everything would be a fool's move. Not that she could exactly play loyal at this point; all he had to do was ask to see her phone. Partial truths? She couldn't try to make a deal, like Quinn had; there was nothing that he wanted, anymore.

When Roman arrived, black-masked, with his army, Zsasz and Dinah were already out front- Zsasz holding both the diamond, in hand, and Dinah, at gunpoint. "The kid's inside, but the diamond's here," he said, pretty unnecessarily.

Roman's whole posture slackened; he was silent for a moment, and the world was silent in anticipation. The mask was effective at one thing; obscuring his expression really let the tension build. Then he let out an audibly disingenuous laugh and brightly said, "Well! It looks like I over-prepared, doesn't it?" He kept laughing, oblivious to the confused and disappointed looks being exchanged by the various assassins and mercenaries he had accumulated.

At the moment, he only saw the most pressing of his possessions. The diamond, obviously. Zsasz, his most loyal. And...

She had said that she would never betray him. But Zsasz had said that he was certain. A world without Zsasz's upmost devotion and honesty was unfathomable, but a world without Dinah's voice was...unappealing.

He remembered pulling her flush against him, at the club, feeling her heartbeat against his chest. So fast, like a bird. His bird.

She was beautiful. She was his. Her voice was his, her presence was his, even her treachery, even that, was his.

"What do you want me to do with her?" Zsasz asked, clearly relishing in the question.

Dinah stood silent, her lovely brown eyes (always so tumultuous with feeling, especially when she sang) wide and locked on him. Even she waited for his answer.

Roman didn't want her dead. But could he forgive her?

No. He could not. He had trusted her, and she had betrayed him. After having promised that she wouldn't. He didn't know the details yet, but Zsasz would provide them. But even in the meantime, she was a traitor. What could be done with a possession that couldn't be trusted but oughtn't be discarded?

"Let's bring her home, to deal with later," Roman said, watching the movement of his bird's chest as her breathing picked up. What was visible of her breasts, above the black bra she was wearing (under a gold shirt that was essentially a second bra) looked to him like two dinner rolls, fresh and warm and gleaming. With Zsasz's gun to her head, she was so vulnerable. He thought about ordering Zsasz to rip off the ridiculous fabric that stood between him and that soft flesh, before he finally remembered the miscellany of villains he had called to his aid. Exposing Erika at the club had been the right kind of exercise of power, but allowing every low-life in Gotham to look at the nude form of the woman he inexplicably still wanted after her horrendous betrayal did not work for him. "Get her in the car. And bring me my diamond."

...

The ride back to Roman's place was a long one, as Dinah had to sit with her hands cuffed behind her back and her ankles tied tightly together while Zsasz leered at her, clearly hoping to receive the signal to kill her right here in the car, and Roman read through the whole of her text history right next to her.

"Wow," Roman sighed, his voice strained as he finally lowered the phone. "So, wh-wh-wh-who is this person, that you betrayed me for, huh?" His words were falling out of him like they always did when a tantrum was on the horizon.

Dinah made her expression as guileless and frightened as she could. "She said that she had the same arrangement with your previous driver," she told him, which was true. "I didn't think I was betraying you. I told you that I wouldn't betray you."

"She's lying," Zsasz said with alacrity. "It was the same cop who's trying to build a case against you now."

"Was the other driver a traitor?" Roman asked, his voice high and whiny as he stuck on that detail. "Can we bring him in? Where is he now?"

"He's dead," Zsasz said flatly. "Harley Quinn threw a truck at him when he tried to get back at her for breaking his legs."

"I got the diamond for you," Dinah wheedled. She literally hated this doe act she was putting on, but Roman was pretty stupid about women, and if exploiting that was a way out, then it was better than trying out her shouting power and hoping it didn't leave her passed out and ripe for the taking as soon as one of Roman's henchmen came to. She was not going to make Harley Quinn’s mistake and eliminate her own protection in a loud, obvious way.

"I gave it to him," Zsasz said. "You just washed it off."

Roman seemed not to have heard their exchange. His gaze was trailing from Dinah's eyes slowly down to her lips. Thick, bitter dread was only just beginning to form in her stomach when he suddenly leaned his face in close to hers, causing her to back into the car door, her bare shoulder pressed against the cool glass of the window, her wrists reflexively straining against the handcuffs. Roman, undeterred, only moved with her. He was breathing her air, one hand on the headrest closest to her and one on her upper arm, caging her with his body and the door. "If I tell Zsasz to kill you," he whispered coldly, "he will do it."

Dinah didn't respond, didn't move.

Roman leaned in the remaining half-inch, and his lips pressed to hers. He made a loud, contented sound in his chest, then leaned closer so that he could slip his tongue into her mouth. She was breathing his air, and she felt like it was suffocating her, and again her wrists jerked ineffectually as though to break the bonds. She thought about shouting; this close, a shout from her might kill him, and killing him was all she wanted at this moment, never mind the consequences.

Zsasz must have seen the hardness settling in her eyes, because suddenly she heard the warning sound of a switchblade flicking open.

If she killed Roman...if she killed him and wasn't well enough to run afterwards, to drive, to catch a plane if possible, then she would be tortured and killed sooner rather than later.

Roman pulled back. She hated the sound it made, when his lips parted from hers. The awful, wet little smack sound, and the humiliating string of saliva, between their mouths, that took a second too long to break because his face didn't retreat far enough. He ran his knuckles lightly over her cheek. "My little bird. If I tell him to cut your face off, he will do it." And then he was back to kissing her, this time on the neck, and the hand that had been on her arm moved up to her shoulder, hot against the skin that had been cooled by the window. Dinah pulled at the handcuffs, this time just to give herself a different feeling to focus on. She fixed her eyes on the city lights outside the opposite window, to avoid Zsasz's sadistic look.

A bit of mental inventory confirmed that this was still technically preferable to just killing him and accepting the fallout, but if it went much further or for much longer...

Finally, Roman withdrew again. The skin of her neck stung in places where he had evidently bitten her.

"You don't get to decide to stop belonging to me," he said, his voice quiet and smooth on every word but "decide", which came out scathing. His pupils were dilated so widely, it was a wonder he could see her at all. "My bird." The hand that was on her shoulder slid over to lightly grip her throat, his wrist resting along her cleavage. "Sing for me."

Now, as much as he was practically inviting her to scream his brain into mush, he was in a position to crush her windpipe if her power didn't affect him fast enough. And again, there was Zsasz. It would not go in her favor if she did anything to him; she had to keep reminding herself.

She sang, softly.

Roman's eyes fluttered shut, his wrist sinking a bit more heavily against her breasts, and his thumb stroked up and down the side of her neck (not in time to the music) seemingly to make sure that she wouldn't forget for even a second where his hand was placed. Or maybe he legitimately thought he was being affectionate. Sometimes it was hard to tell.

This was not a good situation. The fact that Roman was the only thing keeping Zsasz from killing her, and the fact that Roman's current reason for not killing her seemed to be this.

Dinah's voice faltered. Her song was not over, but Roman had been steadily easing closer again, and now his face was again too close to hers, his hand still at her throat, his other hand tightly clutching the headrest. It was like he was high on the minute vibrations of her voice against his skull. It took him a little over a second to react to the fact that she had stopped; slowly, he opened his eyes. Slate blue eyes. Blatantly unstable eyes. Why were rich people like this? Did Bruce Wayne have this kind of chip on his shoulder? "My Zsasz will do anything for me," he breathed, and Zsasz preened in her peripheral vision. "He'll do whatever I say."

"Let me kill her for you," Zsasz purred. It was the first time Dinah had heard him blatantly ask, practically beg, a thing like that. Roman's fondness for her must have killed him.

"No," Roman said. "She's mine, she's still mine. You're going to make sure that she behaves."

"Behave as what?" Dinah asked, forgetting her meek act as her words came out with all of her natural wariness. She doubted she would be his driver anymore, unless he had some way of making sure she couldn't contact other people.

"Well, it's clear that trusting you with a real job was a mistake," he said, in a tone that was clearly meant to sound sharp and accusatory but mostly sounded wounded. But maybe instead you will be...my wife."

Dinah blinked hard, and wished, as his words sunk in, that she had anywhere to look but his face; he was too close. "What?" she queried flatly.

"Yes," Roman whispered. "You'll dress how I want, sing when I want, you'll live with me, eat with me, sleep with me, and Zsasz will make sure that you behave as you should." His nose was brushing against hers now, and he was tilting his head as though preparing for another kiss on the lips.

Dinah could taste bile. "But that-"

His lips pinioned hers before she could try to construct an argument, his tongue greedily sojourning between her lips. She fought the urge to bite him as his tongue became all she could taste, the sound of his ridiculous moaning and her handcuffs jingling became all she could hear, his exhaled air became all she could smell...he was everywhere, just like he wanted.

When he pulled back, it again wasn't far enough. She was already pressed against the door, maximizing the distance, and she only had about two inches.

"Mr. Zsasz, you'll take care of that, right?" Roman continued, as though he hadn't just interrupted the flow of conversation in the slightest. "You'll stay with us, to keep her in line? Make sure she's a good little bird?"

"She'll be good," Zsasz confirmed menacingly. "She'll be a good girl if I have to sleep on her other side."

Dinah was now applying her full strength against the handcuffs, to no avail.

"Then let's have her cleaned up, and dressed in something appropriate. I'll make a few calls to see how soon we can put a veil over that pretty, pretty face..."

"I hate you," Dinah said lowly. She was so certain of the words, and they came out so smoothly, that she could have been singing. She was going to pay for this, but it wasn't like she wasn't already paying for something else, and if what he was describing ended up coming to fruition, she knew that she would hate herself if she didn't say this while she still could. (And if he said 'You know what, just cut her face off,' then that would alter the 'shout/don't shout' decision-making process considerably.) "So much. And if he makes me say that I love you, or threatens me to pretend that I'm happy to see you, just know that I hate you." She would have gone on, really laid into him, but his hand tightened around her neck before she could.

Roman's lip trembled a bit, but mostly he just looked entranced, like he did when she was onstage. Her opinion now was of little consequence to him; it didn't matter, after all, if the clay didn't want to be a vase. He couldn't say whether his mother had ever genuinely loved his father; just that she was his wife and performed her role. And that role happened to be loving him.

She would love him.

"Well, Victor, it looks like you have your work cut out for you," he said.

He wanted to hold his bird again, to feel the too-quick patter of her little heartbeat. He removed his hand from her neck and swept her roughly up into his lap. She tensed as he held her. Yes, there was that racing pulse. She was afraid. He was in control. Her hair smelled of shampoo- the cheap kind, but not a bad smell. She would have only the best products, now. He could practically spoil her, once she behaved.

She was beautiful, the most beautiful, all for him.

Zsasz climbed nimbly into the seat that Dinah had vacated, close enough to dissuade any more rebellious words.

Roman's most loyal, and his loveliest, and his diamond, all in his possession. Where they belonged.

They sat that way until they arrived home.

Chapter Text

Dinah was (or had been, at any rate) a singer at a club, and she had been a singer at a club for a relatively long time; she had worn her fair share of evening gowns. Yet being forced to wear one as a part of her "wifely duties" (well, not yet a wife) was a more insidious beast entirely, and she detested it with every cell in her body.

They had chosen one that could be put on her without removing her handcuffs (meaning it was sleeveless and strapless, with an A-line skirt cut just above the knees), and kept Zsasz in the room to watch her, for good measure. Other than that, it was just her and a pair of maids; Roman had gone to his dining room table and loudly announced, "This calls for a late supper!"

Dinah pursed her lips as they slipped her still-bound feet into ballerina flats. Preferable to heels, but at least with heels the thought of kicking Roman or Zsasz in their smug faces carried with it the enjoyable image of either or both taking a stiletto to the eye. She wondered if that was the motivation for giving her these shoes; to keep the threat of being blinded by one of her kicks to a minimum, if she somehow managed to break the bindings on her ankles. Or maybe it was because it would be impossible for her to walk, in bindings and heels.

Nah. They probably didn't care about her ease of mobility, or they would have given her a bit more slack on the ankle bindings.

"Can't you do something about her hair?" Zsasz asked, while one maid was giving her chandelier earrings and the other was giving her a glittering necklace. "It's hideous."

"Yes, sir."

They gave her a fishtail braid down the back, the better to see her face and the earrings.

Dinah felt, as they touched up her makeup and added a sultry and wet-looking red to her lips, quite sickeningly like a doll being repaired. They had foundation and blush that actually worked for her complexion, which surprised her, since most of her own relatives didn't own makeup that worked for her complexion; even allowing for the fact that Roman Sionis for some reason had some quantity of evening gowns and women's cosmetics stored in this place, she hadn't seen anyone here who looked like her. All of the maids in residence, whom she had met anyway, were much lighter-skinned, to the point that a case could probably be made for workplace discrimination if the law could manage to persecute Sionis for anything. She unwittingly considered, and then forcefully discarded, the idea that he had been keeping it for her.

On one hand, she wouldn't put it past him to order new makeup for his female driver so that she could doll up to his tastes. He would probably have told her to smile more, while he was at it.

But on the other hand, having things on hand to beautify her at the drop of a hat suggested that there had been more of a slippery slope between "driver" and "wife/sexy lamp" than she had been aware of at the time. And while the idea that this change had always been in the works in some form did quieten her ongoing stream of self-lambasting for having left her phone screen facing up (something she never did!), it also brought up a quiet, churning dread:

If this had been planned ahead at all, and hadn't been a snap decision while she was at gunpoint, then what other kinds of preparations might have been made?

No, he had only planned for her to be his driver. This was a coincidence. It was more likely that there was some maid of her skin tone whom she just hadn't come across, or even that they kept a stock of different foundation colors just to have, than that Roman had been sitting on some long plan to make her his...domestic plaything.

Her train of thought sickened her, so she searched for another.

...

She entered the same dining room where Roman had gleefully shown her all of his conquests just recently. This time, though, she was bound, and Zsasz was ushering her to her seat with a proprietary hand on the small of her back. From his proud posture, it seemed he had decided that it wasted too much energy to regard her as loathsome competition when he could just consider her yet another prize he had procured for Roman.

(He had threatened her, before they'd left the room with the maids, to "Be a good bird, or I'll cut those pretty wings off." She had resigned herself to the three unfortunate facts that this was what passed for a creative threat, she wasn't getting a new epithet anytime soon, and it would be unnecessarily dangerous for her to snarkily ask him what exactly her wings were in this metaphor.)

The man himself sat in his usual seat, already eating, watching them enter. His eyes roamed over her slowly, inch by inch, like one of those old computers loading an image, and he licked his lips. Quite out of character, he didn't say a word until Zsasz had fastened her to her chair. (The chair next to Roman; even Zsasz didn't sit right next to him. But here she was, sandwiched between the two of them when there was a whole other side of the table being neglected. For a merciful moment, the handcuffs were gone, only to be promptly replaced by rope.) Then he spoke up:

"There's my bird." Too much affection in his voice. Too soft and adoring, while she was here tied up and...

She kept silent, so Zsasz pulled her hair and sweetly reminded her, "Say good evening."

Dinah managed not to roll her eyes. She really was in a dollhouse here, wasn't she? "Good evening, Roman." She hated the lipstick, she hated it, the wet feeling and the way that it had been forced upon her and the way that Roman's gaze oscillated between her lips and her chest.

Zsasz sat down in his seat, and he watched Roman watch her.

"She looks stunning, Zsasz," Roman praised. "And you got her into the necklace; that should help."

Dinah disliked his phrasing, especially when Zsasz flashed his terrifying rictus of metal that passed for a smile. She wished that she could rip the necklace off of herself, but her hands were still tied behind her; her wrist twisted ineffectually against the rope. The centermost jewel of the positively jewel-encrusted necklace, which had seemed so innocuous, if annoyingly gaudy, before, now felt like some ominous specter, haunting her lower larynx.

Zsasz's fork scraped at the plate that had been waiting for him in his spot. Dinah had been offered no such provisions, not that she could move to feed herself, anyway. She didn't care to ask about it, but Roman filled her in, unprompted:

"I'll have one of the maids feed you breakfast in the morning, but I think going to bed without dinner should be part of your punishment."

Dinah was reminded, vaguely, of a scene from The Sound of Music (one of her mother's favorite movies). Was she really being treated like a Von Trapp child?

She startled as one of Roman's hands began to stroke her knee under the table. He was creeping dangerously close to the threshold for how far she was willing to allow him to go before she didn't care what the consequences would be for shouting him a concussion. She hated that her legs were shaved, that he got to revel in her smoothness.

"My sweet canary," Roman sighed, his moist breath hot on the skin of her bare shoulder, and her stomach turned at his choice of species. "My bird. I had that necklace made just in case you inherited your mother's...skills at projection."

Zsasz chuckled at his master's euphemism, and Roman flashed him a fond look before continuing:

"It uses magnetic fields to keep you from modulating your voice beyond what is normal for humans. I don't know the full science of it, but some very smart, very boring people promised up and down that it'll work, and let's just say they have incentive to deliver on their promises."

The dread that had been lingering within her now curdled into outright terror; Dinah's eyes blew wide, and her heart skipped a fearful beat. She hadn't planned on using her power except in extreme circumstances, but having it as a backup plan, assuring her that she had some modicum of control over what happened here, assuring her that Roman would only do what it benefitted her to let him do...that had been what kept her situation bearable. That had been what allowed her to keep her dry snark about everything. Now...

Entirely by accident, she glanced at Zsasz and saw his horrendous grin at how cornered she was.

When she didn't have a power, when she was just a lady tied up to entertain a psychopathic rich guy and his sadistic man servant...

No, no, she still wasn't that. She didn't use her power enough to rely on it, anyway. She was Dinah Lance, not Black Canary. She had the mind to safely navigate Roman Sionis; she had proven that. It was her heart that had gotten her into trouble, and there weren't a lot of little girls with prices on their heads to pull at her heartstrings, now.

She moderated her own reaction and looked at Roman again. Beyond the cold satisfaction in his eyes, what was there? What there always was: need. Sionis was easy because Sionis was needy.

Dinah cleared her throat (She couldn't feel anything different about her voice, but clearing one's throat wasn't beyond what was normal for humans. Still, maybe she should test that the necklace even worked the way he said it did.) and said, "Very smart plan. Most people wouldn't think of that."

Roman smiled. Easy. "Well, when I find such a pretty bird, I can't leave the cage unlocked, can I?"

"Guess not."

She glanced at Zsasz again. He knew what she was doing, but he would allow it; pandering to Roman's baser needs was kind of his thing. It was part of why he had confirmed that Erika was laughing at him when he knew that she wasn't. Dinah took a deep breath. If Zsasz kept pandering to Roman's wrath and she kept pandering to his pride, what did that mean for Gotham?

There it was again; it was like she couldn't help herself. Forget Gotham! You are trapped here, you can't do your stupid power, and he likes to cut people's faces off! Do what you have to do. If Zsasz catered to Roman's wrath and she to his pride, then they both had their roles; Zsasz's animosity would be lessened if they each had their own well-defined areas of contribution, and it made her safer to provide something that would be addictive to Roman. He was addicted to Zsasz's carnage; he could be addicted to her praise, if she played her cards right.

You soothe me, my bird. She almost shuddered.

...

Helena stood outside the building where her final target lived, with Roman Sionis. She had narrowly missed Victor Zsasz, when she'd arrived at the fun house a minute too late, and now it would be near-impossible to get to him.

He was the last one.

She brooded in the shadows and mulled over her next course of action.