Birds Of A Feather

September 19,2014: Vorpal finds out there are two Robins. He states his preference.




*Reluctant Gothamite

Mood Music:
Robin Song

Gotham is one of the things Vorpal can't leave alone. Ever since his encounter with the Joker, he has developed a morbid curiosity with the city… not to mention that this is the only place where he can live on his current income. Rent in some areas of Gotham is rather reasonable. Unfortunately, its villains aren't.

The Cheshire cat is running through rooftops, but sticking to the shadows. It's a recon run as much as it is a patrol- he knows that the city belongs to the Bats… but he is also going to live here. He can't turn his back on whatever happens to people near him, so while he is not actively trying to defy the Dark Knight's domain, he is a cat, and he is ekeing out a little bit of that territory as his own, its people under his protection as well. Batman can't be everywhere all the time, after all.

Of course, he still hasn't been introduced to Oracle, so he has no idea just how much of am omnipresence the Bat-family can have in Gotham. No idea at all.

Lingering in one of the shadows, crouched on a rooftop, Robin watches the streets below. A pair of binoculars is drawn to his mask to examine the world at night. Gotham is his territory. There's no question there. The wind catches his cape, causing it to ripple in the night air, and Tim to think to himself, may as well wear a flag. With a wry arch of his eyebrows he stands next to the chimney he's been using to conceal himself. It's all for nought now thanks to cape of flagging proportions.

Binoculared eyes scan the horizon and seem to catch something. Maybe. Or not. So many tricks of the light have their influence.

But a noise below catches Robin's attention, he steps to the edge of the roof and sees a blonde. Precariously holding her purse. With a heavy sigh, Robin scans the rest of the alley, the memory of his patrol with Nightwing, and an incident with a similar looking blonde stands out.

For a moment he hesitates. And then, he shakes his head and picks his way down the building. "Look Lady," he begins as he holds his hands out in surrender, "I just wanted to say that — "

"Not you again!" she objects loudly. "I told you and your psycho masked friend that you encourage crime in these parts! Just leave me alone." The purse is swung towards him, and instinctively Tim steps backwards to avoid getting smacked. Again.

"Right. Look. I think you should call a cab. That's all I was going to say — "

A purple ear twitches, and the Cheshire stops for a second. Readjusting his trajectory, he is at the edge of the building in just a few seconds to spot—

Robin. Getting pursed by a woman.

Well, the young man's voice sounds different from last night, and there was no accent. But there was a woman willing to smack the crap out of him, which to Vorpal's mind definitely indicates the Robin he encountered last night.

Unless all Robins were behaving like asses nowadays. That could be a possibility as well.

He leaps from the edge of the building and lands gracefully on a street lamp.

"Is there a problem over here? Ma'am, why are you trying to take down the Boy Wonder? Did he get fresh or something?" The Cheshire gives her a big, friendly grin. It's one of the things he's good at.

The woman shrieks as the Cheshire enters the scene. She slides backwards, her purse being used as some kind of deterrent as she moves. "There's more of you?!" she shoots an accusing look back towards The Boy Wonder. "I told you yesterday," she clucks her tongue, "I don't want your help. You vigilante types are the very reason crime is so out of hand here — !"

The purple cat is given a nod by the Bird boy, seeing masked vigilantes isn't new to him. Although, ones he doesn't know are regarded a little more warily than those in the Batfamily. Robin holds up his hands again. "Look Lady, I just — "

"Shhh!" she interrupts. "No more." She turns back towards Vorpal, "He wanted to put me into a cab!" Her arms flail in the air, "Can you imagine?! I should be able to walk out here! There's nothing wrong with walking — "

Robin's hand rakes through his hair, "Except this is Gotham… and riddled with crime… look I'll even pay for the cab — "

She tuts, interrupting Robin again. "I don't want your charity!"

"And you're a very good walker, I imagine." Vorpal says, nodding. "You've probably taken part in several walk-a-thons and have performed quite well. Nobody should infringe upon your right to walk wherever you want to."

Wait, whose side is he on?

"However—" the Cheshire holds up a finger and he slides down, so he's hanging upside-down from the street light, "Our very well intentioned friend here is simply worried that a Joker or a Harley Quinn might decide you look like you could match their Walkers Of Gotham collection. It is a genuine concern… however, since nothing has actually happened to you at this moment, you are entirely in your right to refuse assistance."

A purple hand goes into his jacket and takes something out, then flicks it towards the woman. It's a card. It flutters rather beautifully in the air. "So… this is what we can do. If you find yourself ambushed by the Joker, or Poison Ivy, or a gigantic alligator is trying to eat you, or some crazed scarecrow-looking man is trying to tie you down to make you relive your worst nightmares… just dial that number, which will ring me up immediately and the two of us will do our best to come to you as soon as geographically possible." It's a bit of a psychological tactic, really. Enumerating all of the possible horrors that can await her at the turning of the corner, and then telling her that the choice is hers.

If anything, the horrors seem to irritate rather than terrify the blonde. The woman accepts the card and glances between the pair. For a moment she hesitates, her resolve melting slightly at the notion of Harley Quinn, the Joker, or Poison Ivy, but she shakes her head, steeling herself further. "Don't follow me," she hisses emphatically towards them before muttering to herself and turning on her heel. "Stupid vigilantes… I'd call the police…"

And with that, the woman turns the corner, engaging in her path once more.

"Thanks," Tim shoots Vorpal an crooked smile. But once the woman is wholly out of earshot, he sighs and presses the palms of his hands to his eyes, effectively pushing his mask further into his face. He's definitely going to have mask ridges when he takes it off later. "We saved her yesterday from a band of thugs." His eyes scrunch shut. "When I returned her purse to her, she saw fit to hit me with it. Several times. I swear she carries rocks in it."

"Some people are like that, they just can't be helped until they need to be helped." His legs let go of the lamppost and he flips in mid-air, landing on a crouch on the ground and then standing up. Hands in his jacket pockets, he walks over to Tim and gives him a good look. "Huh, you're a different Robin than the one I encountered last night. You seem to be nice and not at total douchewaffle… pardon my Francais." The cat says, putting a hand to his muzzle. "He really made an impression."

"Yeah," there's another flicker of a smile as Robin agrees, "fair enough." His hands trace down to his utility belt. "It's just like a train accident. A person can see it coming, but no one will let them change the tracks before it hits." He shrugs. "I tried." And at least he did try. His hand rubs his jawline while he remembers the night before and her purse beating. The notion of the other Robin has Tim's hands dropping to his sides. "Did he now" He clears his throat irritably and looks down at his own costume noting, "Maybe it's time for a costume change." He shakes his head again, managing another good humoured smile, and notes, "What exactly did he tell you?"

"Well, what on earth did the Bat expect, churning two of you out? Honestly, I would have kept you. The other one is clearly a defective model." The cheshire Smirks and leans back against a purple glowing post that just happens to materialize in the air for that specific purpose. "As to what he said? Well, he said he was the 'only Robin that mattered', and that he was joining the Titans and that he will come to our headquarters in three days time so that we need to make all the required preparations. And that he's a vegetarian, so the cook needs to account for that."

He nearly has a laughing fit. "I don't know what got into his head. He thinks he's just going to come in and that we are all going to kowtow to him and obey him blindly. Seriously. He tries that crap, Wonder Girl is going to punt him in the jollies and send him flying over the moon—"

Where are your manners, Keith O'Neil. "I'm Vorpal. Or Keith. I'm with the Titans, but you guessed that already from the diatribe."

"Huh," comes Tim's very eloquent response as his head shakes again. "Well," he manages a grin, "maybe one of us should get returned to the factory where they churn out boy wonders." With another flicker of a smile, this one dimpled, he takes a few very languid steps towards Vorpal. "Evidently we're a dime a dozen." He whistles sharply and then shrugs his shoulders.

But the notion of preparations has Robin chuckling. "What kind of preparations? He does know you're not a hotel, right?" There's another flash of his teeth as Tim shakes his head. "I'm Robin." And then comically, with a grin, he tags on, "Evidently the one that doesn't matter." His head shakes and he clucks his tongue. "Good to know my alter ego ingratiates himself to others. Seriously. I may need a costume change."

"Ah, I didn't say it that way, Boy Wonder," Vorpal smirks, "I don't think yer a dime a dozen. He might be, though. For once, you've been actually nice to me. That earns a lot of cheshire points. You know, my boyfriend was in the old team with your predecessor. The Nightwingy one. He's nice, too. Obviously there's something wrong with that one's hardware. I'd make him change his costume. Get a new name… like, I don't know, Asswing. Something more fitting."

But then the smile fades a little, looking at Robin without as much mirth. "This bothers you, though, doesn't it? Him going around claiming he's the Robin and all?"

"Your boyfriend must be pretty great," Robin states with another shrug. "Nightwing is good people and tends to spend his time with good people." Tim Drake was a fan of Dick Grayson long before they really talked. But as far as renaming Damian as Asswing is concerned, Robin can't help the grin that creeps over his features. His chin drops again and he shakes his head. "I respect Batman and his decisions," but the words don't come out as convincing as he intends. "I don't understand them all, but I respect them."

Robin scratches his head and shrugs. "I'm bothered by a lot of things," his smile takes on a self-deprecating quality. "But most that this uniform," not as much a costume, "has a long history. It means something to people. And I respect that. It's more than me, or the Robins before me, it's what it means to be Batman's protege." He offers a one shouldered shrug. "When a person puts it on, it's not about them anymore. It's not about their talents compared to those before them. It's about protecting this city. Helping these people. And honouring what's come before." Pause. "Or something," he grins. "I'm still working it out in my head."

"Changeling. Used to go by Beast Boy when Nightwing was wearing the speedos." Vorpal smirks. "That man had courage, to wear that."

But he listens to Tim intently. He was right, in a way- legacies tended to swallow up people. Nobody talked about Robin as if he were an individual, it was a title, something that became your identity.

Sure, it was a noble one. Or at least it was until that other one took over, but what does that do to a personality in the long term? Wouldn't you want to make your own name, somewhere?

And maybe that was why there was a Nightwing now?

"Looks like you've got a lot of stuff to think about. While the uniform may be more than you, Robin," He reaches out to pat the Boy Wonder on the shoulder, "There's still flesh and blood under it. To quote the Red Queen: Speak in French when you cant think of the English for a thing— turn your toes out when you walk—- And remember who you are."

He pauses. "Okay, you can do away with the first two bits of advice, but the third one is very important. Don't let the uniform absorb you and consume you. You're not any of the other Robins, you're your own Robin, and that can only come out if you hold on to that core."

"Oh, Nightwing is a man of great courage. I haven't that measure of bravery." He grins.

"But if there's two of us," there's a cheekiness to Robin's tone, "and one of us has no respect for the legacy of the costume," he tugs on his ear and stares at the ground, "then maybe it changes what the entire things means." With another chuckle, he shakes his head, "Sorry. Philosophy seems to be eating my brain these days." The advice warrants another crooked smile, "I dunno. Seems useful to turn my toes out when I walk. Pretty sure that'd be a huge distraction for people." But the last sees the Boy Wonder soften a little, "Yeah, I've heard such remembrances are important."

He sucks on the inside of his cheek thoughtfully and observes, "So, to really belatedly answer your question, yeah, I'm bothered he wants to be the Robin. While there is one Robin, one legacy, that legacy is very different than the one the other Robin seems to be projecting."

"My dear Boy Wonder, do not get too carried away by Derrida." Vorpal leans over and puts an arm over Robin's shoulder, and taptaptaps him lightly on the brainpain. "Me? I'm a simple man, and I'll stick with Aristotle's law of identity. Everything is what it is, regardless of how people perceive them. And you are Best Robin, so if that other guy screws things up… you'll just have to do better than him." Flip. He holds a card in front of Tim's mask.

"He didn't get this one. You do. If you ever need to talk or ponder… or just want to hang out with us, you give me a call. Heck, if you want to join the Titans, you can always ask. If he decides to join, I would prefer to have a Good Robin to keep watch over the bad one. Maybe…" Vorpal speaks as if this could be a hypothetical, or a theoretical possibility contemplated only in thought experiments, "Maybe he'll learn how to be an actual human being by seeing you interact in our context. Who knows? Anyways, I like you, so you get my card."

Gloved fingers accept the card, and Tim shoots Vorpal a smaller smile, tight, but appreciative. "Thank you. I suppose it's always a question of doing more. The solution always seems to be better. Work harder." The thought of joining the Titans warrants an easier grin, "I've always liked teaming up with people — never really understood the solo game. I think teamwork keeps us honest. It definitely keeps me honest." The sincerity in Robin's tone reflects in his eyes, even if his face is concealed by his mask.

"It'd be an honour to join you folks. Anyone wanting to keep this world a little safer… they're good in my books." He grins again. The notion of the other Robin joining the Titans merits a small shake of this Robin's head, "He needs some social skills. And, from the sounds of it, a lesson in teamwork."

"Not doing more. Just smarter. Heck, if you ever need help with that, I can help, too." For a moment, Vorpal is the exact replica of this Robin, right down to the smile. The illusion vanishes in a moment, though, dismissed. "I'm moving into the Gotham Arms apartment building soon along with a friend, so Gotham is going to have to be part of my 'beat', since the club I work as a bouncer for is in the area, too."

"I like that. That's one of the reasons why we Titans don't have an elected leader. We're trying to work as a team first and foremost. In a way, I guess we're trying to foster an environment where leadership is contextual and not absolute. Sounds crazy, doesn't it?" He grins.

"Wait. Woah," Robin stares at the illusion, his own eyes blinking hard, "Trippy." With a few more rapid blinks, he annunciates, "Very cool. And, quite possibly necessary." With another toothy grin, Robin stifles a chuckle at the mention of moving to Gotham, "I bet some people in your life don't get the move. I've lived here my whole life and I can't imagine anything else." His grin extends. "But the crime. It's pretty bad."

"Makes sense to me." He inhales a long deep breath, "Leadership depends on situations as much as people. But it's a crazy idea. Very Utopian-esque. I like it. So I just call?"

"I'm a cheshire cat, Boy Wonder. I'm full of tricks. Maybe I'll show them to you in a sparring session? I'd love to get some training from you. There's no training like Bat-training, I always say." He pats Robin's shoulder when he inhales.

"I moved here mostly because the rent? I can afford it. Gar wasn't too happy about it because he thinks the Joker will finish the job from our last encounter… I can't blame him for worrying. But yes… just call anytime you want to come down and I'll introduce you to the bunch." A pause. "Except for 'Oracle'. I haven't met them yet, but apparently they're some sort of recluse. I need to find a way to get in touch with them since Flash was the contact, and he had to go to Keystone City."

"Yeaaaaah," Robin runs his hand through his hair, "The Joker has a tendency to try to finish what he starts. But if you have a team, that should at least help." His eyes scan the alley they're standing in, "Try not to deal with him alone — sounds like you've got a solid enough crew not to need to. He's two eggs shy of a dozen, but he's also brilliant in a twisted kind of way."

The mention of Oracle draws Tim's attention again. But he doesn't bring up the Oracle recluse, instead nodding at the thought of an introduction, "That'd be great. Lots of folks worth meeting, I'm sure. And, like I said, I'm always looking for more people to work with. Facing some of Gotham's seedier criminals isn't exactly a thing someone should do alone." His lips hitch up on one side into a lopsided grin, "It's like walking home alone in the dark on Gotham's streets. I wouldn't even do it."

"I've got my phone on. In case she calls." Vorpal grins, and then looks down at his phone. "Actually… I'll head in her general direction. Just in case. It's a pleasure to meet you, though. I'll wait for your call." The cheshire grins again and steps back. "Be careful, alright? I look forward to seeing you 'gain."

And with that, his tail begins to disappear, as do his feet— finally, everything ends up disappearing. Except his grin. His grin stays in the air for a few seconds.

"And remember, you're the good one. Don't stress too much."

And with that, the grin is gone, and the cheshire runs into the night, up on the rooftops to make sure a certain Gothamite is not too proud to ask for help.

"I don't think she's likely to call," Robin observes with a shrug, "but I guess stranger things have happened." The disappearing cheshire cat causes the Boy Wonder's eyebrows to draw together. "Pretty talented," he observes with another grin.

The thought of being the good one, however, causes the smile to lose some of its lustre. "There shouldn't be a good one," he mutters to himself rather than the now-disappeared cat. His eyes turn back towards the sky and he mumbles, "Robin should always be good. And if he can't be, he needs to stop being Robin."

With a sharp inhalation of breath, he turns down the alleyway, back towards the darkness, to continue his nightly patrol, all while wondering if the other Robin has such diligence.

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