Well that could have went better

Summary:
September 18, 2014 <Insert brief 1-2 sentence summary of the scene here>

Gotham Rooftops

Rooftops above Gotham City


Characters

NPCs

  • <Name of NPC or "None">
  • <Use same pattern for all npcs>

Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


Wandering helps the wondering mind, or so a cheesy song once claimed. Pacing around when faced with a conundrum is a time-honored tradition, and not in vain was Aristotle the founder of the so-called peripatetic school of philosophers. There was some weird connection somewhere between the feet and the brain.

Vorpal has been running for a good half hour already, jumping across rooftops in the deepening gloom after the sunset, moving like someone who is on a mission, or a person possessed. Metropolis wasn't a good spot for this, but Gotham's architecture was perfect.

His feet pounded away evenly at the uneven surfaces, gaining air time in the gap between buildings, landing and rolling and back to running again. He was in excellent physical condition and could keep at it for a while. His brain, though, was busy.

Running. Waller. The Tower. Garfield telling him that he planned to approach Waller to make a 'deal'… services rendered on an assignment in exchange for Waller leaving the Titans alone.

A growl. He vaults over a building.

He didn't really have an objection to the idea, per se. From a tactical standpoint, it was sound- put one person in a risky position to save the rest from the lion's den.

A snarl, he runs alongside a clothesline stretched between two buildings- an acrobatic feat that would be impossible for most people, and incredibly difficult for some of the most highly-trained, but to his nature it simply came naturally. Yes, tactically sound.

But not emotionally. In his mind, the thought of what Waller might have Garfield do, how she might end up twisting him brought a knot to his throat.

Slowing down. A little hard to breath, but not because of the running. The Titans don't come to Gotham— Gar doesn't come to Gotham. There's nobody here he knows who would spot him and ask what was wrong, which is how he wants it. Panting and brushing the sweat from his red hair and purple fur, he sits down on a ledge to take a breather and think, looking at the dull red sky of Gotham slowly give way to the darkness.

And still no answers and no ideas. Perhaps his feet couldn't make his brain go fast enough.

"… goddamn that woman to the ninth circle of hell." He hisses and takes out a water bottle from his jacket, drinking it after removing the cap.

"By giving her that power over you, she makes you weak," comes a voice from the shadows. Emerging shortly later, Ibn al Xu'ffasch wears a cowl over his head, but the white lenses of his mask glow in the shadow-area underneath.

"You are Vorpal, from the Titans," comes the voice with a thick accent probably from the middle east somewhere. "You do not venture here often."

Upon further inspection, he wears a very, very familiar outfit. He looks like Robin, just like all the other Robins, but something seems off.

"Jesusjosephandmary!"

Sneak up on a cat who is extremely focused on something and see what happens.

Well, in this case, what happens is that two purple hands are all that's left peeking over the edge, because Ibn al Xu'ffasch scared the bejeezus out of him and so the cat did what all startled cats do- he jumped.

He recovers quickly, though, and pulls himself up into a handstand, and then into a drop onto the rooftop.

"Scare a man to death, why don't you?" he says. It is annoying to be caught off-guard like that, and embarrassing. "You made me drop my water bottle…" he mutters in a forlorn manner, looking over the edge of the building. Perhaps…

Nope. It landed in a dumpster. Sigh. He looks at the young man.

"You must be Robin," the cheshire says quietly. "… a new one?" He doesn't quite look like the pictures of the Boy Wonder (latest incarnation) that he has seen in the papers. Where the hell did Batman keep getting these kids? There was something screwed up there. "… I am surprised you know who I am. You must like digging up nobodies," he smirks.

"There's not much that escapes my purview," Ibn al Xu'ffasch responds solemnly, but defiantly. "I am the only Robin who matters." He steps further into full view, looking shorter than might have been expected. "You are Vorpal, from the Titans. You speak of Amanda Waller, whom you had transgressions with not long ago regarding your Tower. You should have been better prepared."

A direct attack. There are many ways that he could react to that, most of which would be a bad idea. A few of them would be very bad ideas, so in his mind the three observers steer themselves towards the less idiotic replies. "Hindsight is 20/20, as they say." A step to the left, but one that sidesteps the need to argue or defend- when it comes to past events, everybody is a prophet.

"So you know of Waller, then."

"Naturally. You blabbed her name all over the media," Damian retorts. "Your team is in need of discipline. In short, you need someone like me. I'll drop by wherever your new headquarters is in a few days. Prepare for my arrival. Fat will need to be trimmed," he says matter of factly as he shifts his weight and the katana at his back slides a little upon his back.

"Whoa. Whoa there, Silver," Vorpal holds up a hand, annoyed. "Care to run that by me again?" the cheshire frowns. This was getting far too personal far too quickly.

"You will prepare a place for my arrival. Two days should prove sufficient. I require to know your new meeting place. I would also like detailed dossiers on each of your members to best prepare them for glorious battle. Also, I am a vegetarian. It is important to consider that when whoever you have makes the culinary choices. I trust all things are in order?" Damian, apparently, can't break it down any better than that.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathe in.

The Universe Is Expanding.

Breathe i—

No. #$*&@ this.

"… Robin, I need to ask you a question." The cheshire says quietly. "That over your head." He points at the cowl. "What is it?"

"My hair, you fool," Damian responds.

"Oh, good," Vorpal replies, "Because for a moment I thought it was a goddamned tiara, princess!" green eyes narrow.

"I do not know who the heck do you think you are to inform me-not ask, not request, but bloody inform me that your royal hiney is taking up a seat in the team. I don't care if you are a Robin and if Batman suckled you himself from his stalactite-like teat when you were but a wee babe. We already had one arrogant ass in the team and that was enough- if you want us to even consider you, you're going to have to change your song and dance, kid. Because when the goddamned cat tells you you're being too arrogant, there's something wrong with you."

Damian takes a step back and begins to laugh. Softly at first, before it turning into a belly laugh. "You cannot even see it, can you? Your need for me. Very well, kitty cat. Someday soon you will realize that you can use a man of my talents. You'll then return, realize that bygones should be bygones or whatever social niecety you manage to come up with, and then we shall progress. It is only a matter of time."

Ibn al Xu'ffasch just shakes his head and chuckles, "Very well. You speak of a man who doesn't want to be part of your team, and a young lady who has only a fraction of my skills." He shrugs his shoulders, "When things begin to spoil, please do not forget it was me you mocked."

"Alright." Vorpal holds up a hand. It wasn't good to let tempers get away. He had to come to Gotham at some point, anyways. "Let's rewind here for a moment." Because now that the annoyance has peaked, he's noticed some of the strange phrasing the young man has been using, and perhaps the hint of an accent. "… do you understand how it is that you are coming accross here?"

"I make no pretenses and no apologies, Vorpal. I am impatient because wasted time is wasted efficiency. I have no empathy for feelings. I aim only for precision and perfection. These are the facts: You have no one with my stealth. With my resources. Or with my experience in hand to hand combat. You have no one with my detective skills." Damian forgets to mention that this is basically because his dad things he needs to learn some social skills. Forgets to mention that entirely.

"And your facts would be innacurate. We do have someone capable of your stealth. As far as your resources…" he tilts his head "What are they? You cannot expect me to take you on faith and your word alone. Besides…" Vorpal takes a good look at Robin.

"We are not machines. If you want efficiency, then you're going to have to deal with us as people. As team-mates and colleagues, not servants you can push around and instruct expecting nothing but blind obedience. That attitude will bring nothing but resistance because we are free agents with free will. And that, my dear Robin… is inefficient and a waste of time. Which is contrary to the things for which you have claimed to stand."

He lets that sink in. "If you want to be heard, then you first must learn to listen. It is the way of the world. We are not looking for despots, but for partners and equals. If you can't be that, Robin, then you can't be a Titan. Unprepared, we may be. Green, wet behind the ears— we may be. Except for Garfield," he would have added Flash, but of course he was on hiatus and thus he couldn't claim the other veteran as part of the team for now. "But at the same time we have our own strengths, one of which is our willingness to stand on the same level."

His father was very wrong, in Damian's mind. He had thought he'd told him that they'd be happy to have him. Or something like that. This was not at all like he thought it might happen. "I've not been made to listen, Vorpal. I've only told you what would happen. If your Titans do not immediately realize my appeal, well, once it's shown you'll see why you were wrong. Your team does not seem to be doing well. Your headquarters is gone. At least one of your members is gone, and I've not seen others in the news recently. It appears this team of great reknown that you trumpet has fallen on hard times. We can talk, or we can act. It's not about different levels. It's about efficacy."

"You've not been made to listen?" Vorpal snaps his fingers. "Robin, I'm a fucking cat okay? I think if there's one species in the entire universe that has been made not to listen, that's me. Right here, in living color, right in front of you. And I've learned to play ball. So can you."

The cat crosses his arms. "We're not here to get on the news, Robin, we're here to do what's right, and that doesn't always get covered. I never spoke of 'great reknown', you're the one who has been going on about glory, fame and reknown. It seems to me," Vorpal says, zipping up his jacket now that his body had cooled and the sweat made him shiver in the cold Gotham night, "that you might have too much of a fixation on trying to prove yourself. To whom? Daddy?" The choice of words is unfortunate. He heard Gar refer to Batman as 'Daddy' in the context of Nightwing, because of course Batman was the Mentor Figure. Never in a million years would Keith even begin to suspect the ties between this Robin and Batman— because the concept of Batman engaging in procreation with anyone was at once unsettling and deeply terrifying. "Look, I respect the skillset you claim to have. But you've got it all wrong. You don't know how to approach people efficiently, much less get them willing to work with you. When you learn that, I'll be more than happy to hear you out. Seriously." The cat reaches into his jacket and pulls out a pair of gloves, which he puts on his hands as he slowly begins to make his way to the edge of the building. "But right now I'm too busy trying to figure out how to prevent someone I love from striking a deal with the devil, and you're not helping." He stops, and looks at Damian over his shoulder. "Also, the Joker's been stealing from hardware stores. I'd look into that before something explosive goes off around here."

If the white lenses could show bubbling rage, they would. Damian says nothing but grinds his teeth in great anger as the cat brings his 'father' into it. There are a thousand thoughts of murder and carnage that flood into his brain. If he took a step inside to the left, he's pretty sure his right hand would be quick enough to swing the katana out from its scabbard and to bring it across the cat's throat with one blow. With enough pressure, it could be decapitation. Quick enough, he could settle for the tongue. The tongue which he could hand back to the cat as a trophy and as a warning.

But no. That was the old Damian. He's "not supposed to do that kind of thing anymore." This world. These rules. Damn them all to hell.

Gloves secured, the cheshire looks over at Robin, frowning a little at the young man's silence.

"Cat got your tongue?"

"I'll have yours in a swipe, should you push me farther, cat. You are as dumb as the television reports suggest. But you are correct about one thing. This was certainly a waste of time." Damian's hand loosens on his katana; he didn't even realize he'd grabbed it, and begins to slink back into the shadows.

"And if you're dumb enough to believe that, good riddance." Vorpal mutters. He liked it when someone underestimated him.

"What a bunch of neurotic weirdos," He mutters and shakes his head. He looks at the path back home. He takes out his rather ancient phone and looks at it. He still didn't know who this 'Oracle' person was, nor how he was supposed to contact them. He'd forgotten to ask Flash that.

He flips it open to look at texts. No news from Garfield. No news from anyone.

His night-seeing eyes look around and, when he's satisfied that there seems to be nobody in the vicinity, he sits down in the shadows against an old air conditioning unit and curls his knees up to his chest, arms around them.

"… apiraling down to the hole in the ground where I hide," he mutters, half-spoken, half-sung. Somewhere, there had to be a good idea. Somewhere. How do you help someone signing a deal with the devil? How did you stop Faust from going to hell?

"If you negotiate the minefield in the drive…"

Faust. Faust…

"Dial the combination."

And the answer comes to him: You can stop Faust… by being Manfred.

He stands up. "Loki."

He remembers the god at Montree Manor. And Constantine.

Loki. The god of mischief and deceit, the god of tricks and wagers.

He has heard he has an apprentice, somewhere.

He looks around at Gotham as it sprawls before him. It was the city, phantasmagoric as it was, and this Robin's haunted appearance, with the yellow and green and the cowl, that eventually brought that image to mind.

Loki it would have to be. And Robin would probably launch into another diatribe about what a fool he was.


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