The Doctor Is In

September 27, 2014: Robin comes to Vorpal for advice. When Gar joins in, it's group therapy time!

Miguel and Keith's apartment

The apartment is not spacious, but it is adequare for what it is: a place for

two young upcoming heroes. The most noticeable thing is that, aside from two

futons, a book case and some personal effects and essential pieces of

furniture such as clothing storage, the apartment itself is rather Spartan in

its furnishings. It makes sense, in a way, since the owners can create any

piece of furniture they want or need and then simply dismiss it.



Mood Music:
Do Not Leave Me- Regina Spektor

The jaunty tune is playing out of a StarkPad set upon a small platform on the kitchen counter as Keith works on his food, cracking a few eggs, setting the pan on the grill.

He's dancing along to the song, wearing a tank top and some cargo shorts that have clearly seen better days, summerwear that is clearly being used as often as possible before the cold chill of winter takes all the sun away. And winter always came early in Gotham.

Still, he was in incredibly high spirits that not even the early onset of Gotham winter could damper. When your favorite guy tells you that you can stay over any time you want because he sleeps better when you're around? Yeaah.

~Ne me Quitte pas mon cher, ne me quitte pas,

Ooh ooh ooh

Ne me quitte pas mon cher, ne me quitte pas!~

He had left the window open to let in some fresh air. And, you know, just in case Bunker had to come in through the window instead of Miguel through the door. Superheroes have to be considerate.

The curtains move just a little as the breeze blows into the space through that sixth storey window. There's no other indication that something is amiss aside from the fact that, perhaps, the window is opened wider than it had been a few moments ago.

But as the curtain flaps, it might give attention to a figure standing next to it, distinctly Robin, doing his best Batman impersonation (which, let's be honest, isn't very good, because… Tim). With his arms over his chest, his face smoothed into a stern expression, and his eyes levelled at Keith, the bird doesn't look impressed. "So," when he speaks, he tries to do that gravelly thing that Bruce has managed with his voice, "Drug dealers," but even with a few uttered words, Robin becomes painfully aware that talking like that hurts his throat and is probably not healthy. So his tone changes to its normal pitch and cadence, "In greenhouses." Despite himself, there's just a touch of amusement in the words.

Not having cat ears can really throw you off your game when people sneak up on you all of the time. Keith turns around quickly, which means the egg lands somewhere on the counter. Crack. Goo. It takes him a second to get off his fight-or-flight response and relax, but not too much since Robin looks UnAmused(tm).

"What? You didn't find them? I could swear I overheard them talking about getting their 'prime cut' that night. So, was there anything at all?" Playing completely innocent (something he does not have much practice with, to be painfully honest), he swipes the counter with a paper towel.

Robin just hmmms, his arms drop to his sides and he slides further into the room until he's standing just outside the kitchen. With a small sigh he shakes his head. He groans, a sign that it may not have gone as well as anyone would've liked, and then he shrugs his shoulders. "Just. Don't do it again, okay?" He runs a hand through his hair, fluffing the nearly matted mop that it's becoming further around his face and his mask. "I just… need to figure this thing out."

Echoing Robin's 'hmm', Keith crosses his arms and leans on the kitchen counter, giving the Boy Wonder an appraising look, paying attention to his body language. He grabs the pan and puts it out of the grill, then turns the stove off. "I won't do it again, I was hoping you'd have a setting where you could have some clear lines of communication." He reaches out to tap Robin's arm, "Hey, you want to talk?" He gestures towards the futon, which is in its couch configuration. "I've got coffee."

The Boy Wonder shifts his weight from one foot to the other at the touch. There's a strange pull at the notion of talking and he nods, albeit somewhat vaguely. "There's no clear lines of communication with her," he reiterates blandly, and more detached than he means, prompting him to lift a hand in apology as he treads towards the futon. "Coffee would be good. Thanks." With another sigh and a somewhat forced crooked smile, Robin lowers himself onto the couch and turns his head to watch his friend in the kitchen. "I wasn't going to date this year, I was going to — " he can't fight the smirk that draws over his lips. "Robin makes it hard to talk to anyone like this. I mean, really talk to them."

"I have learned to see and hear everybody loud and clear, but the truth comes out in riddles that are safe enough to share. That's how it works for cats, you see." The redhead gives Robin a smile. He fills his own cup of coffe and sits down next to him. "I know, it's like you've got a muzzle on."

Keith crosses his legs and sips slowly from his cup. "Still, cats know how to keep secrets. I'm not telling you to strip off your mask, but there's stuff bugging you and you're one of us, the Titans. That makes you part of my family, and it looks for all the world that you need someone to talk to. Preferably someone who spends less time in the shadows and has a perspective that doesn't involve shuttering your emotions away." Nightwing must have gotten better since his time as Robin, but the way Gar put it, it seemed that a lot of the job of being Robin or tethered to the Bat involved storing your emotions away. Which was just as bad as overly indulging in them all the time.

"So this year you were planning not to date, you were planning to Robin it out and…" he looks at Robin. He must be… what, twenty? Nineteen? "Going to college, learning a trade?" He's fishing, of course. He never managed to go on to college because he was too poor to afford it and an orphan to boot, but it seemed everybody was going to college. Sometimes, when Gar was asleep, he'd flip through his books and feel a pang of regret.

There's a comical pull of Tim's lips at the comment, and Robin sits back on the couch while his arms cross over his chest. "I don't talk about things. Really. Except," his eyebrows raise a little higher, "sometimes with Nightwing." With a flicker of a smile, he reflects on that fact. "But even then," with a sharp inhalation of breath, his hands run through his hair. "I." His tongue clucks. "I've been doing this," the Robin thing, "long enough that when I'm in this costume, I think of myself as Robin. Not… the other guy. I think about things that are good for him. Things that are good for Robin. Reasons why to do something for each of them."

His fingers press his forehead, "But if I'm honest, I don't want to date this girl as Robin. I like her. I like her a lot," his cheeks begin to flush that familiar red once again, "but the other guy deserves the life. Robin gets… criminals, training, and mounds of secrets."

With a sigh, he presses forward, "Let's just call it my day job. These things, the way I am, the secrets, it's not about protecting me. I'm not actually that worried about myself. It's everyone else."

"I know. There's a lot of things tied to that costume. A lot of lives." Keith's mused it over since that argument on the rooftop. If he knew who Robin was, how difficult would it be to figure out who Nightwing was? Or Batman? They worked together and were a very close-knit group, so anyone armed with the information would need to look for similar relationships between civilians of the same age.

A daunting, nearly impossible task in the millions of people in the tri-city area. So what was the problem? Why was the entire Bat-family so hermetic?

Because, the conclusion comes, it may not be that difficult, with the proper information at hand. Like a face. A name. So the secrets had to remain tight, controlled, and all under the purview of Batman. Even if you trusted someone, it was most likely Batman didn't, because it was something he had to do to keep everybody under him safe.

Thinking it out, it made sense why the urban-legendary Batman came across as a control freak. Who wouldn't?

The redhead puts an arm around Robin's shoulder in a one-armed hug. This is why he didn't muck about with secret identities- they could drive you positively schizo. "You know… you are not Robin. You're… I'll call you Billy, for the sake of this example, you are Billy, acting as Robin. Robin's been around for a long time, yeah, but you know something? He doesn't really exist. Not without you. You take the red and green off, and that's all there is- a uniform on the floor that can't do anything by itself. For there to be a Robin, there has to be a Billy. Ideally a healthy, happy Billy. Gar told me what Nightwing was like as Robin when he was leading the other team- all emotionally shut off, obsessed with leadership. Don't get yourself all broken like that, Billy." Keith gives him a lopsided grin. "This is a conundrum, of course. You want to date her as yourself. But you're Robin, one of two Robins, and you can't reveal yourself without the Dark Knight's permission."

"When I put on this costume, I am Robin. I think of these two people as inherently different. Maybe the same mind, but they need different things. Sometimes they want different things." It's all very confusing. "And, even if it seems complicated, it's never been a problem. I can handle… Billy's life. He's an awful boyfriend who misses and cancels dates at the last minute, a terrible son," when he had parents, "because he spends his time sneaking out or trying to sneak back into the house. And… just Billy. He's ordinary. Few hobbies. Few interests. Decent grades. Billy."

He then tilts his head, "And then there's Robin. Legend. Batman's protege. Martial arts expert. Detective. Tactician. These are the things that separate the two. One is ordinary and gets to have a life. One is not and gets to follow Batman."

"And…" his expression falters further. "…Batman doesn't approve of what she's doing. They met. It wasn't awesome. And then she got hurt and — " his eyes flit downwards. "I took her to the hospital." He doesn't finish that thought. "It's a mess. It's a total mess. She's going to hate me. All she does is lecture me that I don't have a right to tell her she can't do what she's doing. Which is fine, except she's going to get herself killed. She refuses to work with anyone else. She's absolutely and utterly maddening! All conflict and contradiction!" There's a pause. "And yet, I can't get her out of my head.'

Holy. Cow. "… see, this is why I date boys," Keith mutters. And then he realizes that wasn't a kind thing to say, so he re-does the hug. "Sorry, sorry. Girls scare me, when it comes to the whole relationship thing. I don't have a lot of practice… it's not that they think differently, it's just that they approach things from one angle and I'm… okay, my relationship with Gar is pretty much based on asking and getting an answer, and saying what's on your mind. So all of this… Awkward Turtle Cellblock Tango that you guys are doing is giving me headaches." He rubs his forehead with his free hand.

"She is a grown young woman, Billy. She's, what, early twenties? She's totally got the right to do what she's doing. You may think it's a bad idea, and it may probably be a bad idea the way she's going about it… but you've got to respect the fact that it is her choice. All you have to do is… try to persuade. Gently, though."

He hmms. "I could give you an example of something that happened to me… if it will help?"

There's a smirk at Vorpal's comment about dating boys. "Is that why?" and he actually stifles a chuckle while his eyes turn up towards the ceiling. "I don't really get answers. And, to be fair, I don't really give them." It's a strange moment of honesty for the Boy Wonder.

But when Vorpal says that Spoiler is an adult, Tim's eyes narrow behind his mask. "She got shot," Robin deadpans. "Batman said she's out of her league, and he's not wrong. I've been shot, but I wear kevlar. I have tools to deal with that." He shakes his head, "She would've bled out if I hadn't gotten her to the hospital." But that's probably not what she's going to be mad about.

He waves his hand flippantly and then states, "Example away."

"Nah. I date boys 'cause I like boys. But girls do scare me a little," Keith admits.

"Well… Titans tower, boom, all that mess, you've heard about it. For a time, Garfield was actually thinking of going over to Waller and offer himself to her as a 'tool' for her to use, in exchange of her leaving the Titans alone."

He lets that sink in. "So, naturally, when he told me my insides turned to water. But I knew Gar wouldn't react well if I tried to convince him against it entirely, especially forcefully. So…" a sip from his coffee. "… this may have been considered manipulative if it hadn't been genuine, but it was. I allowed myself to drop That Thing We Do. You know, the thing we do as guys of 'I've got this under control, I'm not scared, HUNGH!' The thing we don't like to drop because it makes us completely vulnerable?"

"It's not pleasant. Being openly vulnerable. But it forces the other person to drop it too, and suddenly you're talking on the same level as two scared people who care for each other. So, in that space, I told him I couldn't demand that he not do it… but that at least he let me come along and be by his side, if Waller allowed for it. And he conceded to that. If you want Spoiler to listen to you, Billy…" the redhead turns to look at him, green eyes flashing. "Robin may have to not Do The Thing and actually show himself to be vulnerable, for a change. Because right now, both of you are Doing The Thing: I'm tough and can handle this and you can't—Oh No You Didn't! *snap snap* I am just as tough as you and can handle it!" Keith smirks.

"You don't think I worry when Gar goes out to do the hero thing? Heck, I worry when it's both of us doing the hero thing. He's not invulnerable. He could get shot and killed right before me, and that would destroy me…" A deep breath. "But he's my boyfriend, he's an adult, and he does what he does out of choice and free will. And I'm determined to be by his side both to support him… and to make sure, as best as I can, that he has someone to fall back on if things get really bad. Makes sense?"

Robin stares at Vorpal. Literally stares. In fact, if they were strangers, this expression would probably be downright awkward. The good news is, they're not, and so instead, the Boy Wonder gets to just process the idea of letting his guard down. "But that's problem. Billy can let his guard down. Billy doesn't have secrets. Billy knows what his limits are, and just gets to be himself." Sort of. He has that whole secret vigilante hobby, but Tim manages to keep them separate.

"Robin can't. If I let my guard down in this uniform," not costume, "I risk… " he shakes his head. "Everything could fall apart. I can't do that. I already told her my concerns. I already explained that it's dangerous and that I wasn't actually trying to stop her," or he thinks he did, which is almost the same thing right? "I'm not sure what else to do here. Relationships need some semblance of honesty and now… now? Thanks to the hospital and checking her in while she was unconscious from blood loss that could've been prevented if she actually accepted help once in awhile, I know who she is."

He sighs heavily. "She's going to be mad."

"I figured that was an issue, with the hospital involved and all," Keith muses, and looks at Robin.

"And now you are basically stuck on the conundrum of whether or not Robin means more than Spoiler, eh? It's not that you're even asking it yourself, but the situation is forcing that question down your throat."

"I couldn't divulge anything, even if I wanted to. The decision isn't mine." Robin sighs quietly. "Basically, I have no recourse here. I'm stuck in these circumstances and I can't change them. For the first time in…" his eyes shift towards the window, clearly remembering something, "…a long time, I feel powerless."

"And maybe I should just end it. Stop it entirely. Step out." His eyes clamp shut and he sighs. "I'm not supposed to feel like this. Not as Robin. Never as Robin"

Keith frowns. And then something comes to him. It's not his own thought, it's an echo from The Other One. He puts a hand on Tim's and gives it a squeeze. "Maybe, Billy, you feel trapped because you've outgrown Robin and he is too small for you to fit in there anymore?"

The squeeze is returned and Tim, distinctly Tim, shoots Robin a smile. "Maybe." His head turns to the side and he lets this idea roll over his thoughts. "Maybe it's about more than the costume though. I dunno. This woman. She disarms me. It's dangerous."

"Yeah, welcome to love, Boy Wonder," Keith quips back, standing up and letting go of Tim's hand. He leans against the open window and crosses his arms. "Disarming you is what it does best. Suddenly someone creeps into your life and you go 'My god, what the hell am I going to do if they walk out of it?'- you've got the thunderbolt. It's different for everybody, I certainly didn't get the 'they irritate me, they anger me, they frustrate me, I can't get enough of them' thing, but I did get some of the other stuff. Missing Gar when he was gone, wanting to see him again, finding any excuse for contact, that sort of thing. You're in love, and Robin can't be in love. But there you have it- you've got it bad for a pair of intense eyes and a temper like a whip."

Keith grins. "I like her, though. She's independent, feisty, stubborn. Very much like a cat. But what are you going to do, Boy Wonder? What are you going to do?"

There's a bit of noise coming from the bathroom: a shower starting up, a bit of splashing. A minute later, the door opens, and Gar Logan in his green altogether, peeks out the door, hair dripping and water running off his body. Fortunately he's angled a bit so he's not flashing the Boy Wonder.

"You have company! Hey, toss me a towel, could you? My costume's all gunked up," he asks.

"Not go meet her as myself because now I know who she is," Robin replies. "Nightwing said that counts as stalking. And that's creepy." Because it is creepy. "Plus if some random ordinary co-correspondent," Tim what were you even trying to say there, "showed up at her doorstep or in her life trying to date her after she knows I know who she is, I have the same problem." His eyes clamp shut. "I guess… I guess I'll try to talk to Batman about it. He'll say no. It'll be a thing."

"But she does irritate me. Not an iota of logic or simple in that fire that just — " he stops himself while his cheeks flush again. With a sigh he shakes his head, "I'm not in love. Robin can't be in love. You said that. It's true. Robin is Robin."

And then the bathroom door opens. "Uh… I… er…" his cheeks redden further. Evidently Tim has two modes: confused and embarrassed. "…am I.. interrupting something…?"

"Yeah, but you're not just Robin, boy." Keith smirks as the bathroom door opens. "I was wondering if you had fallen asleep in there or something." They had just moved in this week, so things weren't always in their rightful place, like the towels. He grabs a towel from the dresser (why was it in the dresser?) and walks over to Gar, holding the red towel out to him with a grin. "He came in after you went into the shower. Robins have a way of flying through the window these days," he says with a wink, and then turns around to face Robin while Gar works on making himself decent.

"Robin, you're red again. Are you sure your blood pressure is fine?" he pauses, and tilts his head. "And really. Are you really going to be ok with a 'no' from Batman, when you feel about her this way?"

A few moments later, a randomly-touseled-haired, dry but still shirtless, Gar Logan with a red towel wrapped around his waist emerges from the shower, sitting next to Keith.

"I left my uniform in the sink with some detergent to soak for a bit," Gar says. "Hey, Robin. I ran into several someones calling themselves the Condiments Gang. I managed to take 'em down, but my outfit was all ketchup and mustard and nasty … What is it with Gotham City and weirdo theme villain acts anyway?"

"They're a dime a dozen," Robin replies towards Gar. "Honestly. Very little crime in Gotham happens by ordinary thugs. Although the ordinary thugs still manage to work for the stranger folks." He shoots Changeling a lopsided grin followed by a shrug of his shoulders.

"I'm perfectly fine," he states towards Vorpal as to his red face. "I." He looks away, down towards the floor and literally shakes off the thought of having high blood pressure. "I only do this around her. Or. When I talk about her. Or when I interrupt… business time," (Important REFERENCE: He clears his throat. "Uh. Even if I managed to separate myself from Batman and do whatever I feel like right now… I'm not sure… she'd still be able to piece it together if I told her who I am."

"Yes, but you know who she is now, too. That creates a certain bond of trust, doesn't it?" Keith puts an arm around Gar as he sits nex to him, and exhales. He looks at his boyfriend and decides to give him the very condensed low-down. "Bird over here likes Spoiler. She frustrates him, aggravates him, and makes him turn red as a beet. In other words, classic Pride and Prejudice thing here. The issue is that Robins Don't Love because Daddy Doesn't Approve. So our friend is in a conundrum wrapped in a mess of hairballs. The Bat doesn't really approve of her, and she's even more stubborn than I am. So…" he looks at Robin, and then back at Gar, "He's thinking of following what he knows will be Bat's 'no'. But you've seen firsthand what an emotionally castrated Robin looks like from your past experience… so… any advice, oh green one?"

"Advice. To Robin about Spoiler. Uhm. You should realize that my last real girlfriend was a total psychopath infiltrating our group, and all my friends knew it and I wouldn't listen to them, so when she finally tried to murder all of us, and then killed herself, well, it was a couple years of therapy. With that in mind, I say go for it, but if she ever tells you that she's evil, believe her," Gar answers. Deadpan. Gosh, that's probably helpful advice.

"…" Robin stares at Gar. Outright stares. This isn't a polite stare. This is a what kind of stare. The stare that can't seem to get his face or thoughts restarted again. The stare that signals Robin's brain may be imploding. "I. So. Don't do it?"

Trust Gar to tilt things. Keith chuckles and gives Gar a gentle bop on the nose. "Yeah, which is why a boyfriend was clearly the next choice. My kind of insanity is harmless." He does squeeze Gar's hand, though, and looks at Robin. "Congratulations, though, hon. You broke Robin. I think you've shorted out his logic circuits."

"Billy," Keith says, using his pet name for 'Boy Whose Real Name I Don't Know', "That's a real risk, when you open yourself up to someone. The risk that they'll hurt you, or worse." He leans against Gar a little, looking thoughtful, "Thing is… you can't spend your entirely life running and hiding from it because something might go wrong. Heck, by that logic alone neither you nor Batman should ever go out onto the streets because you might get injured, shot, killed. So… I understand why the Dark Knight does it, why he wants to keep identities under control and everything. But if he really followed the logic of that argument, you wouldn't be Robin int he first place. There wouldn't be a Robin in the first place and it'd just be Batman by himself. Closing down possibilities because you might get hurt…" he looks at Gar out of the corner of his eye and smiles a little, "Is going to rob you out of a lot of things. Maybe out of the best thing, you know? And then you'll be a bitter Robin and you'll be just like the little pile of shit that is going around as Robin, too. DO you want that? Do you want to be part of a matched set of bile?"

Trust Gar to tilt things. Keith chuckles and gives Gar a gentle bop on the nose. "Yeah, which is why a boyfriend was clearly the next choice. My kind of insanity is harmless." He does squeeze Gar's hand, though, and looks at Robin. "Congratulations, though, hon. You broke Robin. I think you've shorted out his logic circuits."

"Billy," Keith says, using his pet name for 'Boy Whose Real Name I Don't Know', "That's a real risk, when you open yourself up to someone. The risk that they'll hurt you, or worse."

He leans against Gar a little, looking thoughtful, "Thing is… you can't spend your entirely life running and hiding from it because something might go wrong. Heck, by that logic alone neither you nor Batman should ever go out onto the streets because you might get injured, shot, killed. So… I understand why the Dark Knight does it, why he wants to keep identities under control and everything. But if he really followed the logic of that argument, you wouldn't be Robin int he first place. There wouldn't be a Robin in the first place and it'd just be Batman by himself. Closing down possibilities because you might get hurt…" he looks at Gar out of the corner of his eye and smiles a little, "Is going to rob you out of a lot of things. Maybe out of the best thing, you know? And then you'll be a bitter Robin and you'll be just like the little pile of shit that is going around as Robin, too. DO you want that? Do you want to be part of a matched set of bile?"

Gar grins wide at that revelation. "Now for my real advice. So. I know the Bat's got the original one-track mind. He won't want you being distracted. He also lives in his own monochrome black and white world a lot of the time. If you let anything distract you from the stuff he's got you doing it will be very likely you'll get hurt or killed. You can either do what he allegedly does, and have a smouldering but suppressed obsessive relationship until she gets sick of it and leaves, or alternately she goes criminal and you get to visit her in prison or Arkham, OR you can figure out something actually healthy and do that. But in the mean time, you don't know enough about her to trust her unconditionally, and she doesn't know anything about you, and that means there is NO safe way for you to have a relationship that doesn't endanger all the other Bats, or turn one or the other of you into the nutcase that wrecks the relationship. So keep it light. Let the Bat figure out who she is - he probably has already - and then let him decide if he's OK with you springing whatever secrets he has."

Becoming matching bile with Damian has no appeal. That much Robin knows for sure. His lips part and he tries to come up with a retort. But he can't. "But Batman doesn't have connections to others, not really," except one that gave him BAT-SPAWN Damian in the first place, a thought that causes Tim's face to scrunch into a scowl. He manages, "I'm not going to be Robin forever. I know I'm not. I made that decision when," he chose to go to college, but he shakes his head. Nope. Not talking bout Billy's life. "But in the meantime, I can lay low and keep doing what I'm doing. I don't have any aspirations to become The Batman, and I'd rather not see Spoiler dead or… insane because of me."

"Light or non-existent? I need to nip this in the bud." His eyebrows draw together tightly and he looks back towards Gar, "I… know her real identity now. I… it's not fair. But she was shot so I took her to the hospital…"

"Shit happens." Keith nods, agreeing. "Sometimes, though, catastrophes are opportunities in disguise. Even a twisted ankle can prove to benefit you in the end." The young man sits back on the futon, and looks at Gar. Yeah, that sprained ankle had turned to be the best thing ever.

"Maybe it would help if they were in a controlled location… or in the same team." A look at Robin, "But she doesn't like the team idea, does she? Bit of a lone wolf, Raaaaar at other people?"

"So she has to trust you," Gar says, "and pardon me if I bring in my shrink's terms here. Your relationship, such as it is, has an imbalanced power ratio, with her at your mercy. Women have to put up with that already and it sucks, and she probably won't like it. You can't legitimately balance it out, where you are, and you can't safely tell her your secret identity. That was Nightwing's issue back in the day."

He pauses to think about this. So much easier to worry about stuff like getting mustard out of costumes. Or keeping sea-slugs alive.

"OK. The real question comes down to this one: What are you going to do with YOUR life. I've heard that there's another Robin. Will you do the Nightwing trick, pick out a new identity and stay in the Bat Club? Will you move to a safer place for college or whatever? Will you drop the crimefighter thing altogether? Why do you do it in the first place? These are the questions you have to answer for yourself, man."

"Understatement of the year," Robin replies towards Vorpal. "The woman doesn't take advice or orders. Not that a person needs to be the boss," unless he's Batman, "But. When it's for everyone's safety. Sometimes someone just needs to run point. Ideally someone experienced."

"She has no choice but to trust me. Right now I could declare it over the rooftops, but I haven't uttered a word. I haven't told a soul. I haven't written it down, googled it, or tried to find her on some social media thing. Or hacked info about her," because Robin is a computer nerd at his core.

The question about his life causes Robin to sigh. "I dunno. Not this. I won't be doing this forever. I'll do something normal. Nightwing is Nightwing. I do this because… " he hasn't thought about it for a long time. And thinking about it again has him leaning back further against the futon while his eyes clamp shut. "Because I have to. I have to protect the people I care about. Gotham needs people who can redeem it for what it is. And Batman needs someone to centre him and keep him human." There's a pointedness to the tone at the last. "But maybe… maybe I have outgrown this mantle. Maybe it's time to consider a next step."

"Whatever it is, that next step," Keith says, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees, "We'll be behind you. We Titans, we've got to stick together, you know? That's what friends do." He readjusts himself so he is sitting cross-legged, Indian-style, on the futon next to Gar.

"Well, you've been a great Robin for… what, four years? Five years? But maybe the Boy Wonder isn't for you anymore because… well, you're not a boy anymore. And you're dealing with issues boys don't have." He puts a hand on Gar's thigh and pats. "Just ask ex Beast-Boy over here."

"I… well, I plan to do this for the rest of my life. It's a choice, and a compulsion. My life will never be normal, it just doesn't happen." After all, the chaos magic inside him made sure that he was always at one intersection of coincidences or another. Even knowing that, Gar had still decided to stay with him. That required balls. "That, and not having any marketable skills sort of puts a damper on my ability to have a career outside of the tights and capes world." He grins.

"Yeah, and you COULD go to college, if you want," Gar says to Keith. "But in any case, I'm kind of in the same situation. People know who I am."

He gets up and disappears into the bathroom for a minute, and there are splashing and wringing-out noises, and a muttering in some Italianate dialect that isn't polite at all, and Gar comes back out again still wearing the towel.

"Yeah. Like four and a half," Robin says quietly. "And thanks guys. I do appreciate the support." With another deep breath, his weight shifts forward, moving to his feet as he does so. "I should," he points towards the window (never the door). "And that's cool if it's what you want to do forever. I just… I took it up because someone needed to." Even thirteen year old Timothy Drake knew that Batman needed someone else in his life.

"Thanks for the advice." Pause. "And the coffee." He treads to the window and within seconds, he's gone.

"And what do you mean I could go to college if I wanted to? College costs cartloads of arms and legs nowadays." The redhead grins and wraps an arm around Gar's waist, hooking his thumbs on the edges of the towel, teasingly.

"I would have zero problem with paying for you to go to school. Seriously," Gar says, quietly, but this time without that abstracted sense he had the night before. "Even if we weren't together. This is the kind of thing that I feel like it's not in any way a charity thing. It's justice. Everyone should be able to get the education they need. So if I can help someone I know who needs it, then it's gratis."

Keith looks at Gar, and then takes a moment to collect himself, blinking back something. Finally, he reaches up to touch Gar's cheek. "Well… I appreciate the offer. And I will think about it. But I'm not going to jump that gun. I want to do research and think about it, visit the campus some more, talk to some students in different disciplines. I'm not going in as an undeclared and wasting your money. If I go to college, it's because I've got an idea about what to do. No O'Neil has ever wasted the money of a loved one, and no O'Neil is going to start."

He looks at the green man and puts his arms firmly around his waist. Maybe Gar's noticed Keith flipping through some of his books when he thought he was asleep, and the look he has when doing that- half regret, half yearning. "And I know you'd do it even if we weren't together. I'm glad we are, though…" he leans over to place a light kiss on Gar's lips. "I don't know how you put up with me and the Robins coming through the window and the March Hares trying to stop our dinner, but I'm glad that you do."

"I need a little insanity in my life," Gar says, blandly. "You're only a little bit insane."

He flops face down onto the futon. "I need a nap. Giving advice to Robins is exhausting. Want me to take up less room?"

"Nah, I told you… the futon is meant for two. But you're on Miguel's right now." Keith laughs and goes to convert the other couch into the futon. It is, indeed, far more spacious. "Don't get me wrong, though, he'd be thrilled to find a half-naked green hot guy on his bed when he comes back from his iHop shift… but I might not be too happy about it." Keith winks, taking off his shirt and staying in his jeans. He grabs the StarkPad that had been playing Regina Spektor songs until Robin came in and opens it on the e-reader app as he lays down on the futon, one arm outstretched. "I've got some reading queued up. Want me to hold you while I fail at reading and fall asleep with you?" He says.

"Sure," Gar says, turning into a green cougar, since there's room for one on that other futon. Once again, sleeping as a cat, one of life's great pleasures.

"Read out loud if you want to, or put it on voice?"

"Voice it is," Keith says as he holds the cougar. He secretly hates the way his speaking voice sounds, so he didn't feel like subjecting Gar to it. The app's voice begins to read:

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife…"

And Keith bites his tongue and tries not to laugh while paying attention. Truthfully, he's not going to make it past the third page before falling asleep. But it's a valiant effort.

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