A Spa(r) Date With Oracle

Summary:
October 21, 2014: Robins had a bad day and now has to face Oracle. A unique suggestion to relieve the tension and two talk again.

Clocktower - Gotham City

A locally famous landmark, the Gotham Clock Tower is located in the Central Business District. Tours haven't run in years, though, since the building was bought out by a group of bird-lovers known as the Nightingale Society. Still, it's a well-known part of the Downtown skyline. From the outside it looks unused, but the clock is clearly maintained as it still runs on time, and now and again people can be seen coming and going. The bottom floor looks mostly disused, with a long hallway ending in a bookshelf full of coffee table books about birds. To either side of the hall are sparsely furnished rooms. The walls show illustrations of local Gotham feathery sorts, and charts on bird migrations. Cabinets store various bits of bird-watching equipment.

The doors to the stairs require a key card to access, probably to deter vandalism. The upper floors are only accessible by a secret elevator. The doorways to access it them the stairs have been bricked over and drywalled. On the living quarters floor, each door requires a keycard and voice recognition, except for the door to the training facility at the end of the hall, which requires palm, optical, and voice recognition. The top floor, however, is the most secure of all.

The pale glow of the four massive translucent clock-faces dominate the four compass points of the lair, casting everything in a warm light by night, and cool light by day. the natural brick walls of the buildings exterior are left visible on one wall while the others are painted a pristine white. The ceilings have recessed and track lighting, and the floors are smooth pale wood. There is a lounge area and even a kitchen, as well as other facilities here. The insulation around the top floor is meant to keep scanners and eavesdropping equipment from being able to image what's inside.

Mainframes and back-up generators line most of the walls in rooms of clear glass kept from overheating with with high-tech coolant systems. In front of one clock face is an enormous computer system laid out on a long, custom desk, lower than average, just the right height for Oracle's wheelchair. There is a command chair for use when needed, which slides on rails along the length of the desk. A huge bank of monitors are arrayed in a horseshoe shape around the desk, with the ability to form one large picture or individual smaller ones.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:


Early evening and Oracle stirs restlessly in the Clocktower. The look on her face is grim as she sits and watches the video feeds and data streams on the screens in the monitoring room. One particular window has most of her attention, the one that shows her where Robin is. Since he was bought into the Clocktower under the influence of hallucinogens, Oracle hasn't been easy and she had only grudgingly agreed to let Tim out after 24 hours - on the proviso that he would return immediately when he had finished in New York for more tests.

Admittedly, the events in New York took longer than expected but then Tim, did a Tim. Since returning from New York, he's been to Vorpals apartment, class and then to Wayne Manor to see Batman. Oracle isn't concerned WHERE Tim is, but she needs to make sure he's clear of the effects of the drugs.

Watching him on the video feed, she sees he is now heading to the Clocktower and she plans to be ready. Pulling her tablet from the arm of her chair, Oracle dims her monitors and manoeuvres the her chair out the door into the main living area of the tower. Moving quietly to the kitchen, Oracle prepares a cup of tea and is now waiting in full sight of the door that Tim will enter through. Her tablet, sits on her lap and her eyes flick to it occassionally. Watching for anything that may need her attention… she hopes it doesn't, because she has some things to discuss with Tim.

***

A surefire sign that something is amiss this time of night, and may actually set off alarms is that Tim is very distinctly Tim. There's no costume, no hint of his second life, and nothing besides his messenger back flung over his shoulder. For someone so determined to be out and about on the streets of Gotham, he's distinctly himself today. His own expression is as neutral as Tim can make it — a poker face earned and learned through years of training with Batman, but it lacks its usual boyish mirth and merriment.

His jaw tightens as he walks up the stairs and is already rolling up his sleeve, ready for whatever tests Oracle has in mind. Compliance is equally strange. There's no complaining, no comment, and no objection, and perhaps, weirder still, no sheepishness or apology for not coming earlier. Tim is not himself. In fact, there's no greeting, just Tim Drake's lips pressed into a thin line as he drops the bag to the floor and assumes one of the chairs in the room as his shirt sleeve is rolled up, ready to be subjected to testing as needed. There's no impatience or clear evidence of I have someplace to be, but there is something and it boils silently under the surface.

Finally, remembering someone he's distinctly not mad at, and Alfred's place in his own mind, he manages a very even, very Batman, "Hey," maybe he's finally learning to be intimidating.

***

Oracle sits silently as Tim comes in, watching his movements and behaviour. Silently, she sips the tea she's made herself. Anyone who knows her will know that hard look in her green eyes means she's angry. Those that know her really well will also know that hurt is also there, hidden under a thin veneer of anger, but there non the less.

At his "Hey", she levels a look at him. "I see…" calmly and evenly "Would you like something to drink? Tea, Coffee…."

***

If the anger and hurt are noted, Tim doesn't say anything about them, his jaw tightening as he shakes his head, just a stitch. No. No tea. No coffee. His eyes blink owlishly and he inhales a deep breath. For a moment, a novice observer might think he's going to relent on something, but nothing budges. Not even an inch.

His fingers tap against the surface of the table and he watches her, eyes not moving away, but also not aggressively staring. Finally his blue eyes lid, shielding away from everything else. His chin drops to his chest, and his fingers pinch the bridge of his nose.

***

"Alright." Oracle sips her tea and waits. Her jaw is clenched and there is a periodic tic, a sign she is really working to keep things in control.

As Tim drops his chin and pinches his nose, she sighs softly "Your saw Bruce, what happened?"

***

"I wasn't avoiding you," Tim says softly, "if that's what you're asking." It's not, and he's smart enough to know that. He sighs and allows his eyes to open once more. Both of his blue peepers are a little on the bloodshot scale of things, and Tim can feel their pastiness, prompting him to quip, "It's not drugs." Because it's not.

Finally, rather rather lazily, his head lulls to catch her gaze. His palm rubs his chin, feeling the stubble of several days growth along his jaw's edges. "Sorry I didn't come by. I would've sooner, but," he was livid. His head just shakes.

***

Sipping her tea, it's cooling now so there's a small grimace as she does, Oracle keeps watching Tim. The anger and hurt in her eyes are fading, compassion taking their place. "I know, on all accounts. Angry?"

***

Tim watches her, his eyes fixed on the woman in front of him at her words. His eyes close again and he emits a sound somewhere between a groan and a sigh, wholly exasperated. His eyes open, and he nods. Just a little while his jaw tightens. The bat-family isn't known for their keen communication techniques, and so he just allows his eyebrows to draw together sharply. "I'll always be just a kid to him. Obviously." He rubs his eyes and then adds, "I may have quit." This is probably something he should be sure of.

***

"Thought so." If Tim can be succinct, so can she. "It's hard, watching your kids grow up. Doesn't make it right though" she shrugs, she's more to say but doesn't. "Did you train today?" The quitting comment has, for the time being, been ignored.

***

Tim's fingers twitch at the thoughts. He presses his palms to his eyes and heaves a sigh. "He threatened to fire me and let Damian take over. Literally a breath after he said Damian isn't Robin, that I am." He's ridiculously unimpressed. "It's fine. I know where I stand now." His cheeks puff out and he nods at the question. "Like clockwork. Obsessive behaviour instilled in me at a young age."

***

"Damian." Oracle sighs and shakes her head. "I thought I might offer a sparring session, let you let off some steam. I could do with the practice." another sip of the tea, her eyes never leaving him.

***

"I overheard Bruce and Alfred discussing restricting Damian's access to all of 'Daddy's Toys'," Tim clasps his hands. He presses up to his feet and turns towards his messenger bag. "What I can't understand… he gets all that leeway. I can't even… I could spar — " he manages a small flicker of a smile before strolling back to his messenger back. A vey small cylinder is pulled out and he gives it a quick shake, extending the bo staff to its full length. He shoots backs an easier smile.

***

A small delighted smile appears on Oracles face as Tim relaxes. Putting her tea down, she strips down to her singlet top. For a disabled woman, her body is really quite toned. Moving her chair out into the open space, she pulls her escrima sticks and takes a stance. "Let's go…"

She's noting everything he says, and the time to discuss them will come soon. First, some stress relief.

***

Some might think to 'take it easy' on the disabled woman. Tim knows better. He's been Robin for a long while, and he knows that Oracle is a formidable fighter. He sheds his jacket and gives the bo staff a spin in his grip.

He treads forward, entering the open space of the mission room. He lunges forward, and the staff is used in a sweeping motion towards the woman's head.

***

As the staff comes in, Oracles sticks fly, blocking his attack and pressing her own. "Taking it easy on me?" A good natured jibe… "Bring it, Robin."

Oracle is an accomplished Escrima fighter and has adapted many of the Judo techniques she's learned to work from the chair, she doesn't intend to make this easy for Robin…

***

There's a smirk at the comment and Tim draws his eyebrows together at the name Robin. It's not exactly accurate. Maybe. He really doesn't know either way. He spins back though at the block, his staff spinning once more this time cutting through the air quickly in response. He lunges forward and the metal staff jabs int air and then back towards Oracle again, fully expecting to be blocked. Which is why he spins, turning the staff the opposite direction. Fake-outs are for fun~

***

Oracle blocks the expected jab, and realising his intent just in time, blocks the second attack. The smile hasn't left her face "That the best you got? I've not broken a sweat yet" another jibe and she delivers a series of strikes designed to push him back.

***

The hits towards him, pushing him back do their work, which is push him back. His staff blocks each of the hits.

CRACK

CRACK

CRACK

Yet the goal is made, she carves forward, meriting a small quirk of his lips. Knowing full well he's on his way to the wall, Robin, not quite Tim for a moment, kicks the wheel of Babs' chair in an effort to push her back. With the kick delivered, he twists, shifting his weight away from the wall and back towards the open space. He's not as agile as Dick, but he has some abilities.

His staff cuts through the air back towards her with one end at then the other.

***

Tims foot achieves the intent and move Babs back slightly into the open area, but it doesn't phase her. This is her command chair, and it's designed to allow her to operate hands free - the backward momentum is stopped and she smiles more broadly "That's more like it. But still not enough to make me work hard" She doesn't relent though, blocking his attacks and still forcing her own, watching as he twists trying to gain the open space behind her.

***

CRACK

CRACK

The first two are blocked and Tim shoots Babs a smirk. "Well it's good to know you're not going easy on me," he quips back, but he means every word, and Babs will be able to tell. He twists on his legs, weight shifting to one to deliver another kick to the chair, and the staff used as a counterbalance as its end is pressed to the floor.

***

Seeing the kick coming, Babs tries to spin out of the way. She gets some distance, but the kick connects with the corner of the chair making it tilt. Babs immediately leans against the tilt in counterbalance, bringing her sticks down towards Tims shins.

The counterbalance fails, and the chair goes over, spilling Babs to the floor. Without thinking, she hauls herself into a sitting position with just her upper body strength and holding the sticks in one hand, grabs her legs with the other to tuck them close to her body. Separating the sticks, she sits waiting for Tims attack…. as the chair rights itself.

***

There's a sharp groan with the hit and Tim is more than pleased that he managed to use the bo staff for balance, otherwise he'd have collapsed to the floor underneath the force. There's certainly ability there. The escrima stick to the shin does NOT feel nice. But adrenaline and fighting through the pain are things the bat-family knows well.

He spins again, this time using his weight to corkscrew back towards her, the staff little more than an extension of himself as it cuts through the air. He fully expects Babs to block it, and didn't exactly use subtlety here, yet doesn't even try the fake-out this time.

***

Babs is on the floor as Tim sends that hit towards her. She brings the sticks up to block, but there's a weakness and the block slows the hit but doesn't stop it. The hit strikes across her temple, bring a grunt of pain. Babs rolls with the blow, her momentum taking her closer to her chair.

Throwing the sticks on the chair, she heaves herself back into the seat grabs the sticks and prepares for the next offensive.

***

There's a smirk and Tim lowers the staff, well aware that Babs might be the one on the offensive now. The staff is given a small tug and its retracted back into the small cylinder it usually is. He casts her a small grin as the cylinder is then turned over in his hands.

His hands lower and he turns the cylinder over in it and he shrugs once. He's not an incapable fighter, but then neither is she. He shrugs again and notes: "I'd rather not get beats if I'm going out tonight." And there's that word if.

***

"Thank you for that." It's a genuine statement, delivered with a big smile. Babs hair is a mess, she hadn't bound it before starting the fight, so she tidies it as well as possible with her fingers as she continues "How's the shin and do you feel a bit better?" Babs is grinning although that crack to the temple is going to bruise. Returning her escrima sticks to their location on the chair, she moves to where her hoodie is. Raising her arms, she does some rudimentary stretches and then pulls her sweatshirt on.

Picking up her cup of now cold tea, she moves back to the kitchen, to boil the jug and prepare another drink.

***

Tim casts her a lopsided grin, a bit more himself than he'd walked in. "Getting there," he replies though as his hands retreat to the pockets of his pants. "Shin will be okay," swollen and, likely, purple later. He strolls after the Babs to the kitchen, "You drink a lot of tea." With a small sigh he tucks the cylinder back into his pocket.

"Thanks. I. I needed that." He inhales another breath and lets it go as a sigh. And then finally he says straight up, "I'm mad at Bruce."

***

"I drink a lot of tea and coffee, Tim. Tea, I find calming. Help yourself to whatever you would like, including ice for that shin and food for you" Babs smiles as she remembers Tims appetite.

"I thought it might help. Anger is one of those things that oftens requires physical expression, sparring often helps it. I have personal experience of that." Shrugging, she makes a cup of tea and returns to the table. Placing the cup down, she actually sits forward and leans on her elbows. "Mad at Bruce… I kinda gathered that. Damian, threats… but what else?" She pins Tim with a clear, green gaze.

***

"Distrust. Steph. Guilt," Tim begins to list off the key points. "Never going to treat me like an adult. Never acknowledges my contributions. Doesn't think that I have value…" he strolls to the fridge and looks inside. He finds the peanut butter again and plucks it from the fridge. "Does this disgust you too much? I'll find something else if so…" he cringes just a little and then sighs.

"Whatever. I don't need his approval. I wasn't really expecting it, anyways." Although he also hadn't anticipated the anger. Not in that moment. "He may as well know about Steph now." There's a pause, "And he put that on me, by the way. Her heroic-wannabe tendencies. All my fault, apparently. And now? All my responsibility." Pause. "No pressure."

He strolls back to the table, peanut butter in tow with a spoon, and slides onto a chair. "I went to talk to him about the job, and there wasn't even opportunity. It's fine." He shovels a spoonful of peanut butter into his mouth.

***

Babs cringes at the sight of the Peanut Butter but waves it through "I'm not eating it… so it doesn't matter." Sipping her tea, she looks at Tim thoughtfully "There's a lot in what you've just said. How can I help best, just listen or do you want me to talk? I do want to run some tests though, so maybe I could that while we talk… or would you prefer not?"

"I don't even know," Tim replies with a small curve of his lips, but it's an unconvincing smile. He tugs his sleeve a little more and rests his elbow on the table, offering his arm, "Please run the tests. At least I can have some peace of mind there." He heaves another sigh. "Between everything I need *something* to be okay for once."

He manages a tight-lipped smile, the anger having dissipated some. "It's not like he's being protective or something. I know him well enough to know that much." He leans forward. "I think I'm taking the job. I need some place where people treat me like an adult. Even a little." His head shakes.

***

Leaving her tea on the table, Babs moves to the Med area and gathers what she needs and returns. Collecting blood, labelling vials and putting them in zip lock bags, Babs says nothing. Just lets Tim talk. When she finishes that work, she taps her comms unit "It's me. Collection please, ready now." and taps the unit off.

Smiling at Tim, she puts the ziplock bag to the side "Someone will be hear to collect that shortly, it will take a few hours but I'll know more then."

"So, Steph, heroic-wannabe, your resposibility… want to discuss that first?" as she returns to the table to collect her cup.

***

Today Tim is an amiable patient. He complies with the blood taking without comment or complaint. When all is said and done, he rolls down his sleeve.

Tim's expression turns grin with the discussion point and he feels his shoulders sink. He clicks his tongue and then shakes his head once over. "Like I could stop her. You've met Steph! She'd do it anyways. She won't listen to me, so I'm training her because otherwise she will get herself killed." His eyes lid. "And then he talks about it like it's all my fault. She's got her reasons for doing what she does — which you'd think is something he would understand. But no." He sighs. "I can't make her stop. And I definitely would rather she not do it, but…" he shrugs.

***

Babs maintains her gaze on Tim as he talks about Spoiler "It's certainly not up to you to stop her… she does have her reasons and if she can be trained, she should. Unfortunately, he can be rather stubborn, not unlike a young man I know" and Babs smiles slightly "and it colours his judgement."

Running a hand through her hair, she sighs. "You can only do what you think is best and weather the rest." Babs looks a little sad, resigned even. "You and Bruce may never see eye to eye on this. Bruce and I don't see eye to eye on everything either."

***

"Except — " Tim starts and then stops. "Whatever. It's fine, right? I mean, it's done. He seemed to think it'd ruin my focus or something. If he wants to fire me over, he can bloody well do whatever her wants. Or I quit." His blue eyes shift between Babs and her tea, "I actually don't know. I think it was a threat to fire me. I was the one that pushed its limits. Damian is already claiming Robin anyways." He taps his fingers on the table. "But for him, after he made all of that stink about basically cutting Damian out of the toys, to even say that?! Do you know how incredibly insulting that is?"

***

"I don't think it's 'right' Tim, look at you." Babs puts her tea down and concentrates her entire attention on him. "I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it better for you. But that's not what you want, so I won't even try. Yes, I can imagine how insulting it is. I wouldn't be impressed either."

"So you're taking the job?"

***

Tim rakes a hand through his hair and takes a long deep breath. "Right. But." He doesn't finish the thought, instead letting it fall silent. "He always does this," he hisses. "ALWAYS. Like I'm incompetent. Meanwhile, I can handle things. I'm dealing with things. He didn't even get updated on any of the mission stuff going on, which, for the record, is a lot of stuff. Between metahuman trafficking going on in Gotham," he holds out a finger, "a Cait demon thing running around, rescuing a Harley lookalike from the Joker, and generally dealing with the scourge of humanity, I feel like i'm holding my end of the bargain here."

The question merits a little more silence, followed by the one word, very definitive answer: "Yes."

***

"Then I'm pleased for you." Babs says, genuinely. "You do more than hold up your end of the bargain. I like working with you. What do you think you want to do about Robin?" The teacup is picked up again and Babs concentrates on its contents.

***

Babs' response garners a very genuine smile and then a flush of his cheeks. "I like working with you too, Babs. I know I'm not as good as Dick," he rolls his eyes, being compared to BOTH of his predecessors is a thing, "but I do try." The question has him in consideration, "I think I may need to go the way of NIghtwing. I'm not quitting the streets. Gotham needs me. There aren't many trained to do what we do. And I'm GOOD at what I do. Not the best, but GOOD."

***

Babs rolls her eyes "I haven't heard anyone but you say you aren't as good as Dick. I certainly haven't said it."

Nodding, contemplating her cup, Babs nods "So you'll evolve? Sounds like a reasonable thing to me. And you are GOOD at what you do… Tim."

***

There's another flush of Tim's cheeks, "Bruce has definitely said it." And that's enough for Tim to believe. "And it's not untrue. That guy was literally born into the circus. I can deal with not being as agile." The thought that he might not be as gifted as Jason though is not something Tim is able or willing to hear.

"Yeah. Evolving seems smart. I'm not leaving what I'm doing and I'm not leaving Bruce." He holds up a hand and then notes, "I'm not ungrateful. Really. I'm really thankful for everything he's done for me, I just… I'm nineteen. NINETEEN. Damian takes every breath to remind me I'm not a Wayne, even though I am a Wayne, I don't know whether I'm a protege or a partner, I just… ugh." He manages a strained smile that he shoots towards Barbara.

***

"Parents and Kids" Babs says. "It's hard to see them as grown up. So evolve. Leave that baggage behind and just become more, if that's what you want. Break the mould." a small smile accompanies that statment.

"And whilst nineteen seems old to you, it isn't really. You're at the start of your life… enjoy being young for a bit." Babs lifts one shoulder. "As for Damian, that young man has his own issues. Try to ignore him, he just does for the response, I'm sure."

***

"He infuriates me," Tim states blandly. "And that's the one thing. You know, leaving Robin would be easier if I felt like… if I felt like whoever was taking it over was worthy of it. But by default, it'll be Damian. And I don't even know if Bruce — " he sighs. "I guess I shouldn't think about bruce in this, should I? But how can I be so incredibly selfish?"

***

Babs laughs. "And now you see the dilemma I often find myself in. You want to be allowed to make your own mistakes, to learn. I want to protect you from them. You think Bruce is making a mistake with Damian and you want to protect him, but…. it's something he's going to have to learn. And while your there, cleaning up the mess and providing the distraction, the other issues don't seem as bad."

Looking at her tea, Babs grimaces again. Cold! "Welcome to being an adult, Tim."

***

There's a small smile that Babs earns and Tim nods. "Alright then. I guess… I guess it's time. Any ideas on a new name? Robin is taken, it would seem. Something that recognizes my roots would be good. And costume changes… that can't be easy. Maybe I should ask Nightwing about it too? We can sit around a table and have a meeting of the minds…"

***

"I know you've been thinking about this for some time, Tim but why don't you start your new job first? Keep the changes coming, but keep them small. I definitely think Nightwing could be good to ask… a round table will work." Babs eyes are dancing, as Tim makes his plans.

"But right now Tim, I would like to go and shower and ease my muscles after our bout. You patrolling tonight?"

***

"Alright. Yeah. I'll think on it," Tim agrees as he slides off the chair. He sighs and then issues Babs an easier grin. "Thanks for the chat and the spar." He finally nods and treads to his bag which is cast over his shoulder before he moves to the door. "Yeah. I'll patrol tonight. I'm not speaking to Bruce though. I need a cooling off period." With a sigh, he moves to the door. "And Babs, let me know if I can repay the wise council someday…'


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