Ulcers For Birds

Summary:
October 20, 2014: Things aren't too hot for Tim right now. He goes into a Bat-induced rage loop, and Keith tries to break him out of it.

Keith and Miguel's Apartment


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
Pressure


Yesterday had plain sucked, and there were no two ways about it. Being abducted by a staff-swinging crazy-bird-woman and then failing to secure her Nth-metal accoutrements was particularly bittersweet, but then John Constantine's visit did not give Keith any desires to hop on tables and sing.

Today, he had spent most of the day on the futon, recouping energies. That infusion from the Cait had givem him a brief spike, but now it was clearly plummeting once more. Even to non-magical eyes, Keith would occasionally look transluscent for a moment or two, though the redhead himself didn't seem to notice.

The Starkpad was next to his futon, playing some mellow tune or another (http://miriambast.deviantart.com/art/Gabriel-The-snow-leopard-367457257).

There's a knock at Keith's door. It's late afternoon, and so sneaking in the window seemed like a terrible idea. As did putting on the entire Robin outfit. Which is why, for the first time ever, Keith is going to be introduce to Robim — the place where Robin and Tim shall meet. The bird wears a very large pair of sunglasses over his eyes and extremely nondescript clothes.

While some might wait for an answer to the door, Robim doesn't. While he's never used it, he's never seen the door locked. He treads into the room, his blue jeans and black jacket matching so many others on the streets below. "Hey…" there's a pause and then he states, "Uh. I'm Robin." Because he is. "Just couldn't — " there's a flush of his cheeks, yeah he's distinctly Robin. "Don't tell anyone you saw me like this, okay?" Even though he is still very concealed.

In his grasp he carries a white paper bag which he remembers almost instantly. Underneath the sunglasses, his eyebrows draw together, "Uh. I brought tacos." Pause. "Do you like tacos?"

Keith props himself up on his elbows, arching his eyebrows as Robin enters the room.

"Bird…" he asks quietly, and hops out of his futon to pull the blinds down. "… you couldn't…"

Despite feeling miserable about his own situation, there's clearly something going on. Heck, Robin not wear his outfit, coming in like this? "I like tacos. C'mere," he pats the space next to him on the futon.

"Your feathers are all out of place, bird. What's wrong?"

There's a flicker of a smile, but it's unconvincing, even without the ability to see his eyes. Tim-Robin sighs as he strolls over to the futon and sits beside his friend. "No feathers today," he admits honestly.

His jaw is tighter set and he plops the takeout bag on the coffee table in front of them. His head leans back against the futon and he stares upwards at the ceiling. "Just. Life, I guess," he mutters quietly while his eyes train on the ceiling above. There's nothing distinctive about Tim Drake at this moment aside from the spirit of dejection he carries with him.

There's a pause, "I couldn't change. Not twice over. I've got — " he shakes his head.. "Ugh." He sighs and then shakes his head. "Just things. And. Life. And." His teeth clench. "Sorry."

The redhead sighs. Yeah, he knows exactly how life goes. He slips an arm around Tim's shoulder and pulls him into a hug. "Let me guess, ninety percent of shit showers, with increased chance of poo flurries throughout the evening? I'm here, you know, if you need to get something off your chest. These are trying times for us all, and Titans stick together no matter what."

"Yeaaaah," Tim isn't skeptical as much as already-questioning himself thanks to outsiders. "Maybe I don't know anything," he finally offers with a shrug. "Kind of got… sort of berated about Spoiler today. Apparently I've blurred the lines." He sighs. "I knew I was playing with fire. But - " he inhales a sharp breath. "Whatever. It's fine. I'm just a kid, right? I'll always be just a kid."

oooh boy. This. Keith knows that at one point, the old Robin became Nightwing. What exactly was that process, he's never asked Gar, but his boyfriend has mentioned the previous Robin chafing at the tight leash.

"You're not a kid, Robin. You'll never be a kid again," Keith says, turning to look at him. "I wouldn't trust my life to a kid, now, would I?" a slight smirk. "Blurring the lines. Yeah, because you actually have a part of your life that isn't dedicated to being antisocial?"

"Right," Tim says in response to never being a kid again. "Maybe." But he doesn't change his tone. Not wholly. He's still undecided on this entire thing. "I." His cheeks flush. "A lot of people have trusted their lives to a kid." His jaw tightens. "I'm just a solider to — " his forehead creases and he sighs. "And nothing can get in the way of the night job. That's clear." His arms cross over his chest and then he mutters, "You should eat the tacos. I'm not actually hungry."

"To hell with the tacos," Keith says quietly, "I'm worried about you." He leans over to look at Tim in the ey—sunglasses, hands on his shoulders. "Look, Robs, I'mnot exactly stupid, I just play one on TV. You're my friend and there's obviously something bouncing around in your sternum and playing macramme with your insides. I know you came to check up on me, but I wouldn't be a friend if I also didn't check up on you. What's this 'soldier' thing?"

"They're only good hot," Tim states towards the bag rather than Keith. He shakes his head just a little and then murmurs, "I'm fine." Because that's how Tim has learned to be: fine. All the time. His hands grasp each other tightly and he emits a sigh. "I'm a soldier of the night. I've been told that's what I am. And that's all there is. Because. Reasons." He sucks on the inside of his cheek. "What if I can't be who they need me to? Who I need to be to do all of it?" He squints. "I'm now personally responsible for Spoiler's safety. I. Can't. Even." He runs a hand through his hair. "And all the while evidently I'm… horrible. Or something." It's not definitely or clear what he's working through. But it's something. That much is clear.

"Yeah, you're fine and I'm perfectly healthy," Keith retorts and reaches to grab Tim by the chin. Not firmly, just a focusing gesture.

"Don't pull that 'fine' crap. Gar doesn't let me get away with it, and I'm not letting you either. The first thing to solving an issue is to acknowledge it exists. Soldier of the night my foot."

Green eyes narrow, "Robin, I need you to snap out of this little ball of anger you're curling up into so we can talk, or else I'm afraid I'm going to have to startle you in some way to get you to do so."

There's a huff of breath that follows the focus and Tim hesitates. Having just been accused of blurring the lines, and essentially not having enough walls, doesn't inspire him to let any down that easily. "Uh. It's fine. Honestly. I'm… fine." His eyes squeeze shut behind the sunglasses and he tries to think of a way to explain what eats him. "It's like. Identity. And what that is. And what anyone can expect that to be." He hisses out a quiet breath.

"I expect you to be nothing more than who you are, Robin." Keith frowns. "What others expect from you… isn't important. It's what is good for you that's important. Look, I don't even know your name, but that in itself isn't important to me. I know your character. If other people are far too blind to that… fuck them."

He reaches over and grabs Tim's hand, giving it a squeeze. "Playing around for identity is all well and good for theater majors who like to pretend. But what's important is who you are beneath the costume, beneath the mask. And that's not a name, or a driver's license, or marital status. It's something far more basic, far more powerful. I know you, even if I don't know the names under which you go, and you're clearly disturbed because the sense of who you are is in conflict with the sense of who others think you should be."

A pause. "We can't have everybody approve of us, Rob. I know my mother would disapprove of me… in many ways, right now. Because I'm with a man. Because I go and risk my life. Because I never went to college. Oh well…" he shakes his head. "Parents have to live with disappointment. They're big boys. So do mentors. As long as you're a good person and do good… who you should be is entirely up to you."

"Except these are the people that really know me," Robin counters quietly. Tim emits a sigh and shakes his head. "I need…" his gaze turns downwards and his eyebrows draw together. "Whatever. It doesn't even matter. I'm less man than machine. That's what I was trained to be." He shrugs. "And this is so far beyond disappointment. It's purpose… and… stuff." He heaves another sigh. "Whatever." He srhgus, trying to leave the attitude behind.

"I've spent years with these people and they still think I'm that fourteen year old kid." Pause. "I haven't been a kid for awhile — "

Anger. Frustration. Keith sees what Robin is doing to himself- anger feedback loop. He's been there- it's like your brain comes under attack by its own hand, and unless something is done, the pit of anger and resentment gets deeper and deeper-

Keith reaches out and grabs Robin by the shoulders and pulls him in. And yes, the Boy Wonder gets a kiss.

It really is a rather cruel tactic, but Keith has a point to make, and it was either do this or slap Robin. And he's pretty sure that Robin's instincts would take that slap as an attack and go into instant defense.

Frozen. Completely frozen.

And red. Very. Very. Red.

Keith can't see Tim's eyes behind the mask, but he's frozen in both time and space with that action.

When he comes back to, he's pretty sure his brain has imploded and he just sits there staring ahead behind his dark sunglasses.

Finally Robin twitches, and presses up to a stand, finally stating, "I have to go." Fight or flight. And evidently FLIGHT is the key when exposed to kisses. Badguys he can deal with. Smooching? Evidently not.

Keith grabs Robin's wrist. "No, you don't." Khe says, holding fast.
"Dude, I only kissed you to break you out of that Bat-induced anger feedback loop. Because it was either that or slap you, and you would have kicked my ass if I had slapped you." A smirk. "A kiss seemed a little safer. And also? Machines don't react to kisses." Keith sighs, still holding Robin fast.

"Look, I am worried about you. You're competent, you're a great guy and you do a lot. But it's clear that you need someone to unburden yourself to. Someone outside of that Bat-circle which is clearly pissing you off. I'd love to help you… but I also respect your secrets." He stands up, his hand still around Robin's wrist. "Since I can't be your confidant, all I can be is your friend. But you need to open up to me at least in what you can… and not get trapped in a loop that forces me to shock you to break. Because I'm going to run out of ways to shock you, you know?"

"I love Steph," he says, probably for the first time to someone else, as if needing to establish that boundary even with the explanation given. Because STEPH. Tim stares at Keith a few moments longer.

But with that said, he sighs, "I'm between a rock and a hard place. I told Batman about Spoiler. And her other self. And that she's my girlfriend. And evidently it makes me less than what I am. Less than Robin. Less than me. Less." He swallows hard. "None of them trust me. None of them think I'm worthy of the mantle I've been given, that much is becoming clearer. But I have a responsibility. That comes with the mask." He shrugs. "And I still need to work with Batman. At least a little."

"Well, I trust you. I know I'm nowhere near as important as Batman, but I don't think you are less than Robin. And if Batman thinks that-" his rather pale skin turns a bright scarlet "He can go fuck himself. I'd rather trust you than someone who clearly can't behave like a human like him."

"You are the best Robin, Robs, and the Titans are honored to have you among their ranks as a team-mate… and I am extremely lucky to have you as my friend." He squeezes Tim's wrist.

"Don't let anyone tell you you are less than what you are. You, Oracle and Steph are here trying to save my life, I don't see His Royal Bat-Ass moving a finger to help me. And I don't see that Other Robin either, even though Gar is his friend. SO yes, you are already doing more than he is, because it's not just about me but also about a threat to Gotham as well."

Keith smirks. "Do you want to argue 'bout this, boy wonder? 'cause I'll totally fight you over it. You're great, and perhaps the only thing that needs improvement is that you need to… you know, actually sleep at one point before you drop."

While Tim had been blushing before, it hasn't eased with the compliments. While he could argue, and it certainly doesn't look like he -believes- Keith, he concedes enough, almost too defeated to fight further. The exhaustion is enough to keep him from continuing his argumentation. And so he responds to one piece: "I don't need much sleep."

His smile strains, almost painfully, as the defeat continues to wear on him, but he doesn't make any further remarks or scoffs. "I don't even know. I don't feel appreciated." He sighs softly. "And it's not like I expected Batman to react differently. Honestly. It's how he is. He's Batman. He trusts no one." There's a pause. "But it's my heart. I tried to ignore it… How can I not blur lines when something so… important as my heart is in the balance?"

While Tim had been blushing before, it hasn't eased with the compliments. While he could argue, and it certainly doesn't look like he -believes- Keith, he concedes enough, almost too defeated to fight further. The exhaustion is enough to keep him from continuing his argumentation. And so he responds to one piece: "I don't need much sleep."

His smile strains, almost painfully, as the defeat continues to wear on him, but he doesn't make any further remarks or scoffs. "I don't even know. I don't feel appreciated." He sighs softly. "And it's not like I expected Batman to react differently. Honestly. It's how he is. He's Batman. He trusts no one." There's a pause. "But it's my heart. I tried to ignore it… How can I not blur lines when something so… important as my heart is in the balance?"

Keith pulls Tim into a tight hug and sighs. "For what is worth, bird, we appreciate you. You're not Batman, and you should never try to be him. And he has to realize that you can't be him. There's only one Barman, and every Robin is different. "

A pause. "I wish you could believe me. Being like this does you no good…" r

"Thanks friend," Robin states as he returns the hug. "And no, I'm not Batman. But I… I need to be ready in the event that something happens and I need to take up the mantle," he sighs and then shakes his head. "Because. Someday." He sighs lightly. "And I'll be fine Keith. I will. I can handle it. Maybe."

"If that day ever comes, you can count on me to be your Bat Cat, and Gar can be an actual bat, too. You need help? we're a bat - zoo signal away." The mischievous smile grows gentle. "And if you can't handle it, that's what your friends are for. It's OK, not being able to handle. You've been here for me when I couldn't handle. I'm here whenever you need me to return the favor, bird. " Keith hugs tight, "Just… don't be Atlas. There's more than one Titan in this team. Ok?"

"Thanks Keith. Really," Robin says with another flicker of a smile. But the smile doesn't get much prominence. He sighs and then glances towards the door, "I gotta go. I have this… thing." Because Robin doesn't have classes. Tim does. He nods at the notion of not being Atlas, "I'll try not to be Atlas." He nods a little, "I trust you guys, but my secrets aren't my own… thanks though. And. Uh. Eat the tacos."

"I don't need your secrets, Rob. Just need you to be well. " One of us had to, he thinks. "I'll eat the tacos. promise. " Keith accompanies him to the door and closes it after him, sighing. "Dear god, bird…"


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