To Catch a Bird

October 13, 2014: Sometimes a weak spot is just too obvious for potential predators. Talia sees Tim's from a mile away.

The Trutina Building — Miranda Tate's Office

<Location Description>



  • Talia's assistant

Mood Music:

It's 1 PM Monday afternoon at the Trutina Building and Tim Drake is waiting in the waiting room like a good waiter should. Well, the kind of waiter who doesn't wait on people but who is waiting for people. Which is what he's doing.

He'd called ahead for Miranda Tate's assistant, had booked the appointment around his class schedule, and is now literally waiting to speak to the woman of the hour.

But he doesn't look much like his usual self. Dressed in dress pants, a blazer, and even a dress shirt and tie, Tim feels like he teeters on the ridiculous. He did, however, catch multiple ladies looking at him on his walk here, which only prompted blushing and embarrassment followed by the explanation I have a girlfriend.

And so he sits in the chair waiting for Miranda Tate to have time, wondering whether Dick is right and he should just ask for a job at Wayne Enterprises instead…

Miranda Tate is prim and proper in the office. She doesn't make Time wait long. She is not under the business of falsely intimidating people when it's not necessary. When it's time for his appointment, he is briskly shown in by a competent assistant. Miranda, this time dressed impeccably in a skirted business suit smiles at Tim as he enters.

"Why, Mr. Drake. I had thought you'd given up on Trutina Enterprises. Please, have a seat." While she was seated behind a lovely wooden desk, she stands politely as her guest enters. "Can I get you anything to drink? Water? Soda? Wine or beer?" It doesn't matter if he is of legal drinking age or not. She'll assume he is. "I hope you've had some time to research my business and have come to expand your horizons?"

Her gestures are very poised and she pulls up her seat again, expecting Tim to do the same at one of the comfortable business chairs opposite her. An attendant is handily nearby to take care of whatever it is Tim may ask or require.

Talia would assume wrong. Tim is definitely not of legal drinking age. Nineteen and counting. But it's also not in his character to run with such things and so he answers, "Water would be great, thanks." Pause. "Or coffee." Because the night job means he's often running on fumes or caffeine. Today would be good if it's the latter.

There's a quirk of Tim's lips followed by a nod as he assumes the offered seat. "Absolutely. You're quite renowned, Ms. Tate. To be honest, it seems like you're ever-expanding." He manages a rather boyish grin as he leans back in his seat. He reaches into the messenger bag that's situated across his shoulder and extracts a notebook and pen. "So," there's a pause as he tries to collect his thoughts, "In our last conversation you suggested coming to chat about my goals. And to be honest Ms. Tate, I haven't thought much beyond the next two years. I don't even know what to declare as my major — "

The attendant brings both a glass of water and a small mug of coffee with a personalized tray of milk and sugar to be placed on the far side of Talia's desk and within easy reach of Tim. He lives to serve. Or to serve Talia, at least.

"I do not believe in stagnation," she smiles at Tim's observation. "Business is like evolution, should you cling to old ideals you will be overtaking and eclipsed. I did not start a business to be bought out. I am here to buy others." She smiles, leaning back in her chair as if this were not taking place in one of the most expensive offices in North America and she can discuss one man's future with all the time in the world.

Perhaps it is because she can make an exception right now. "Yes, goals are important, Mr. Drake. Perhaps you do not know what you wish for in two years specifically, but every man and woman has a vision of themselves as an older person. What does that vision entail? A cabin in the woods? A loving family? A pile of money? Think of the generalities and the specifics wil come."

The coffee is accepted, "Thank you," and, as is Tim's tradition, it's drank black. Bold and black. He brings it to his lips and actually leans forward in his seat while the notebook and pen are left on the edge of the desk.

The question is met with a smile that never touches Tim's eyes. "Please call me Tim." He'd make a joke about it reminding him of his father, but his father is dead, and jokes shouldn't be made about the dead. Then, with a smile that never touches his eyes, he considers the thought. If Tim is honest, he's never much considered a future. In fact, he envisioned himself dead by now thanks to Jason Todd's shining example as Robin. And all he can think about is his role as the Boy Wonder. He can't even stay that forever. He's less boy with each passing day.

It's then he realizes that he still hasn't answered her question, and while it's a complicated question, most would have some vision for their future. Yet Robin can't even bring that into focus. So he starts "I think — " he starts only to let his gaze shift away from the woman across from him " — I'd like a family, I guess?" It's not wholly convincing.

There's a pause. "Honestly, money isn't," he shakes his head. He already has that thanks to his own wealthy father kicking the bucket and his adopted father's growing industry. "Yeah. Probably a family," because right now his family is the bat-family. They are synonymous.

"Tim then." Talia gives a reassuring smile, she does not make jokes about the dead, either. She's quite a serious woman most of the time. As she listens and watches the other man's face, she frowns and nods her head as if understanding.

"I understand this want," she tells him. "However, we are a business and not quite a family." She puts a hand out immediately to both keep him from talking and so that she may explain herself. "While we pride ourselves on our employees and our workmanship, for the most part we are simply a business. People work, they make their check and they go home."

She smiles. "However, I like to consider those closest to me and those who help me create the Trutina atmosphere as if they are all part of one large group. I may not call it a family, but we are certainly all intertwined." As for the family part of family she raises an eyebrow. "It is impossible to make a family for yourself when you are in the shadow of others and always playing to someone else's fiddle, Tim. If you would like a family, you must make one. One of your own."

There are occasions when Tim Drake wishes he wore a mask all of the time. A real mask; not a figurative one. And this is one of those times. His lips part and his eyes stare at her. In a way her words make perfect sense with what they're discussing. In another? It feels like she's reading his thoughts.

His tongue rolls over his lips and he shoots her a flicker of a grin, not quite convincing while his hands curl around his coffee cup. "Are you suggesting a person has to carve out rather than inherit their life?" Because everything Tim has he's inherited; including Robin. In fact, Robin is beyond secondhand. Robin is used twice over and now a third time.

He takes a sip of his coffee and swallows around the lump in his throat before clearing it and looking up at her again. "So… basically, it's all choices?" His eyebrows arch a little higher on his forehead as he considers this. For a long time, he hasn't felt much choice in his actions. But lately…

"Ms. Tate, what would I even be able to do for you here? I'm not halfway done my college education. I assume any internship," like he has time for that, "would be pretty involved — "

"It is entirely possible to inherit a life." Talia speaks from experience. "You can inherit money, a name, a life, a house. It is what you do with what you are given that matters. The more you are given, the more you must make of yourself. To merely do as has always been done is to be overtaken." At least, that is what she has believed, being the Daughter of the Demon. "But, yes, just because you are given things in life does not mean you are free. You must decide. And you must do. That, yes, is all in your choices."

The business woman studies Tim and stands up from her chair, attempting to make this informal. She moves to the seat opposite him and crosses her legs, smiling familiarly. "Were you to work for me, I would make you my personal assistant. It would not be all fetching coffee, I promise you. I have Arnold for that. I have a few assistants and they all research and help me on different subjects." Her hand waves as if she has barely thought of it.

"I would never dream of letting you drop out of school or stop your classes. We will work around your schedule. I just would need it laid out in a few days' advance. With a curriculum, that shouldn't be such a problem, would it?"

There's a vague nod at the last. "Good. Because school is important." Probably. Tim does get to see Steph there so that makes it a little more important. "What kind of research would you require? I just want to make sure that if I work for you that I'm actually capable of what you're looking for — " Perhaps even uniquely capable. "I'm not awful at piecing together puzzles, and I have some pretty good computer skills. Including programming. But, Ms. Tate, I've never been a personal assistant and don't know that I know what that would entail."

Tim shoots her a crooked grin as he queries, "Would hours primarily be daylight or after dark?" He should be doing less, not more. He should be committing to sleep when he's not on patrol or in class; as it stands he's lucky if he gets four hours of sleep in a row.

"A lot of people have suggested breaking off on my own lately. Redefining myself… good idea?"

"There's nothing to it," Talia waves a hand at that. "Honestly. It's mostly just shadowing and learning as you go. Typically, it's done by a young man or woman in or just out of college who is smart, out-going, proactive and thoughtful. It's a job that changes every day. I may ask you to summarize a lengthy research document into two pages, to come with me to gala openings, to remember names and address. You will meet quite a few important people - to both Gotham and internationally - and I will require you to be presentable and polite."

As she rattles off some of the duties he may find himself in charge of, she crosses her ankles and leans back, while still angling herself toward Tim. This is a more relaxed pose than he's seen her in since arriving at the office, but there is still an underlying power structure of which she is at the top. "Mostly daylight, but as I said, a few galas here and there. You won't have to attend them all, no worries. I have a few personal assistants and attempt to ensure each of you get a balanced view and work load."

Talia gives Tim a warm smile. "I am always in favor of redefining oneself and of diversifying. But, of course, only you can decide what is best for yourself."

"Good," Tim nods. "I. Think I can do that." There's this little voice in the back of his head that keeps telling him he should talk to Bruce first, that it's a bad idea. But Tim, quite consciously tells the voice to shut up. Striking out on his own is exactly what he's been aiming to do and longing for. Maybe this is the inspiration he needs. Admittedly, knowing that he doesn't actually have time for everything leaves him a little wary. But he could always drop one class right? To see. Just to see. He'd still be taking four. His lips purse as the cogs in his brain work through this and then he nods, reaffirming, "I think I can do that."

He runs a hand over his chin and then he asks, "When would you need me to start, Ms. Tate?" He sets the now-empty coffee cup on the desk and looks up at her. "And what would you want me to do?"

The meticulous assistant comes by and picks up the empty coffee cup practically the minute Tim takes his hand away from it. Away it goes to be cleaned. No dirty dishes to clutter Miranda Tate's office. It all happens so automatically that Talia barely acknowledges the man who does it. "We can work with your schedule. This can be a part-time position. When do you think you are free to start? Next week? Next month? Tomorrow? I can have my lawyers bring up a contract."

As a woman with her fingers in many pies - not all of them legal - she has a long string of lawyers for various different parts of the law. She does not yet shift back to sitting behind the desk. This is the delicate part of the deal: closing. "To start? Mostly shadow, I believe, so that you can get your feet on the ground. That will be a few days when you're here. Then, we will just have to find what it is that makes you shine and start building you toward doing that."

The word contract gives Tim just a hint of apprehension. "What kind of contract?" he manages to ask. "Non-compete clause? Employment tenure? Duties?" His face scrunches up some. "I have to warn you, as a Wayne I do have some stock in Wayne Enterprises." On the plus side, as the middle Wayne brother (Jason doesn't count because he died), he doesn't have any assumed responsibility. That'll probably go to Dick.

The notion of finding what makes him shine, however, does refocus his energies, and he hmmms. "That, sounds good. Do I need to do anything to start? I mean besides reading the contract," and getting a lawyer to look at it. Because he definitely needs a lawyer to look at that.

"A standard working contract." Talia gives Tim a warm smile at his apprehension. It may be only a hint, but she's attuned to that sort of thing from him right now. "It outlines your pay, your duties, non-disclosure…the normal sort of thing. There may have to be a few tweaks to it, considering your family." The smile does not grow nor fade - it remains there, a comforting, continued presence. "And you may have to put your Wayne Stock in a structured and untouchable account during your time here. I wouldn't wish to be accused to attempting to rig the stock market or anything of the like - nor would I wish you to be accused of the same."

Idly, she crosses one ankle over the other and rests on of her hands on her armrest closest to Tim. "A good suit," she replies, her teeth finally showing in her grin. "And, if you would like, I can send the contract to you first thing in the morning. Or evening later this evening." And while she does not mention showing it to a lawyer, she must just assume that he will do so. Anyone who doesn't look at a contract before signing it is a fool. "That is, if we are agreed that you are interested in taking the offer?"

"Right," Tim says about his stock and then nods. "I wouldn't want that either." Even the thought of being accused is enough to give him pause on this. "Please send it as soon as possible. I'd like to have a lawyer look at it." Because that's what you do with contracts. Tim wonders whether he has a lawyer. Or knows a lawyer. Maybe he'll venture to the phone book to find one. Or he could ask Bruce — who he REALLY should talk to about all of this before signing the dotted line.

He clears his throat, "I'm interested. So please draw up the contract. I will begin to peruse it." The notion of the suit has him nodding, "Right." He may already own one, he'll just need to see if it fits.

"Excellent." Finally, Talia stands in a smooth motion. "I will be sure to send the contract to you shortly to make sure your lawyer has enough time to go through it. It's not very long or complicated, but you know how lawyers can be. Reading through and between every line." She smiles, offering a well manicured hand to Tim. Either it is to help him to his feet or to shake his hand. Perhaps it's both.

"I'm so glad that you are. I think you would enjoy working here." Though she doesn't say as much, it's clear that the meeting is nearing a close.

And she doesn't have to tell Tim twice. He stands to his feet and then shakes her hand; evidently he is trying for once: to stand on his own two feet. He shoots her a boyish grin and nods at her. "Thank you, Ms. Tate. For both the meeting and the opportunity. I'm glad to have a chance." At a future, a life, and perhaps, something of his own.

"I hope I don't disappoint." He releases her hand and treads for the door, feeling just a little taller than when he'd come in.

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