Of Birds and Messages

November 10, 2014: Robin takes a beating and is told to deliver another message to Batman… Oracle and Nightwing try to talk sense into him.

Red Hook - Gotham City

Between residential and the Gotham River's warehouse activity Red Hook is a squalid smear of homes, low brick-like structures and storage facilities. The location is surprisingly stable despite the rundown, crime ready look of the landscape. With a steady influx of harbor work, the Warehouse District is predominately controlled by the Irish Mob of Gotham, this whole area is sometimes referred to as "The Cauldron" almost every business and residential complexes in the Cauldron are owned by some criminal element or another that has ties directly to the Irish crimelords of Gotham. The Warehouse district stays busy, productive and secure keeping work in and out of Gotham's western shores very active.

Renfield Heights is a giant tenement complex here that sprawls out along the short stacked buildings, warehouses and structures. The Gotham Central Terminal is also situated here. If you want to get to any location in Gotham along the monorail the bes starting point is Red Hook.



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Mood Music:

Night fell on Gotham many many hours ago, and daylight should be on the horizon in the near-future. Robin has already had a very productive night. Finally feeling like himself again, the Boy Wonder has already stopped three would-be muggings, a drug deal, and grand theft auto. All-in-all today has been gratifying.

Robin sits on the ledge of a particularly old warehouse in the Red Hook district. His body is responsive again, keen and lithe, and his mind feels sharp. Sharp enough, anyways. On the plus side, Tim got an A on his calculus midterm. Nothing to snark about there.

"I think I might call it a night," he calls over his comlink. "Things seem to be settling down around here, and, to be honest, I think even the crooks are heading to bed — "

That's when a large metal fist suddenly comes flying from seemingly nowhere. As if the source had been standing right beside him this whole time. There's no windup no warning just that sudden kablam pow of the impact. The source slowly flickering for a moment from just air to a slightly rusted looking metal fist. "Hej! kolego!"

The impact from the metal fist against Tim's cheek sends Robin off the roof of the warehouse. The cape, the glider designed to catch the air, struggles to catch the wind, causing Robin to free fall longer than ideal. It catches at the last minute, but it doesn't stop the imminent THUD of Robin vs. pavement.

Oracle stirs slightly in her wheelchair at Robins message and checks the screens. She can see the feed from the camera in Robins mask and the rest of the city looks just as quiet as The Boy Wonder says "Sure thing Robin. Start heading ba……" the sentence isn't finished. Robin seems to be hurtling off the building and then hits the pavement "Robin, what happened?" Oracle frowns, and starts moving video feeds of the area into position…

There's no visual or audio clues to say where this thing is, or even what this thing is, until after it's jumped off the building and landed beside Tim. A pair of what could be metal boots flickering into existence for a moment as the invisibility shielding on them tries to compensate. Once it's recalibrated itself the only thing left to show where it was is the pair of food marks in the ground itself.

Tim curses as he peels himself off the pavement. His body throbs with the impact, especially in light of his pummelling only a few weeks prior. He groans and brings himself to his feet, relying on nothing but adrenaline to keep him moving. "I'm fine, thanks for asking," he mutters as his hands move to the cylinder at his hip.

He tugs it away from the belt and shakes the bo staff to its full length. He twists around and swings it blindly. "Do you see anything?" he asks quickly while spinning with the staff.

"Temper, Robin. Are you ok?" The redhead, as much as she loves this bratling, will not stand for such behaviour. Watching her video feeds, something flickers near Tim and then it's gone. "To your left, something was there and then gone. It seems to be cloaked from the cameras."

From the darkness a voice with a rather understandably thick Russian Accent calls out. "You've made a lot of Enemies boy blunder," as if the voice where calling out for him to try and lunge at the darkness. There's no noise of this thing walking, no real telltale flicker, the only clue to where the operator might be being that voice. "You want to keep your arms, or your legs?"

"Been worse," he murmurs back to the comlink. "Been better." His lips twist to the side and his eyes flit about the area. "I've made some friends too," Robin counters back towards the night. "And who might you be?" With Oracle's thoughts of going left, the bo staff swings quickly to the left, in an effort to buy a little space for the young man. "I intend to keep both," he replies to the question.

It's all so fast, a cold laugh, a rush of wind, one fists impact and then another as this thing just suddenly starts to pummel the boy wonder. As it slings one punch after the next the stealth systems falter for a moment showing off the rather old looking robotic design, as it does it's best to by the looks try to kill Tim. It's just a rush of punches and throws before he adds "Tell the bat we're coming for him next,"

Blow after blow against the nothing in front of him has Robin losing his balance, and collapsing under the attack. His arms instinctively move upwards to protect his face without any means to go on the offensive or the wherewithal to do so. He struggles to breathe as the robot manages to wind the Boy Wonder and sends him into a piling heap of very damaged human on the pavement once again.

The robot's words have Tim spitting blood back at the large metallic baddie, even as he struggles to get up. "I'm.. not.. " he spits again "…a message boy." It's an easy retreat for the metal being, as Robin, under the weight of defeat, remains where he is not quite able to move. His fingers twitch. He remains where he is a few moments before speaking back to the comlink. "I'm fine." In the camera, Oracle can see a gloved hand wipe across Tim's mouth, causing a red smear to streak across his face. Tim Drake, and Robin, have both seen better days.

All Oracle see is the Boy Wonder taking a beating. Sitting in mute frustration in the Clocktower her eyes narrow at the voices message. Then Tim is moving, and lying - she knows this by the smear of blood she see's on his glove. "Robin, come to the Clocktower, I'll have tea waiting. We need to speak about this threat." No question about -I'm fine-, no arguments.

There's an eternal dichotomy about working with a voice over a comlink. Sometimes it's easy to forget the voice can see you. Today is one of those days. And, if Oracle is looking for it, she might see the hesitation written over Tim's expression. But none of it leeches into his voice when he responds, "Alright. I'm about fifteen minutes out," more like five. "I'll be there shortly. Please make mine a coffee." Apparently he's no longer calling it a night.

Robin for all intents and purposes, reaches the Batbike and goes to work on his face, making it all the more presentable before even trying to head to the clock tower. Using the mirrors on the bike, supplies from the first aid kit in his utility belt, and the water stored he'd stored in the bike's seat, he doesn't do a half-bad job of cleaning himself up. Granted, there was little he could do about the bruising that has already begun to form over not-quite-healed bruises that were there. "It's officially," he mutters to himself. "I'll have to tell my friends I joined fight club and I can't talk about it."

With his own sarcasm in check, he boards the Batbike and rides to the Clocktower. He arrives when he'd said — fifteen minutes later.

The code is punched into the tower and he limps up the stairs to reach the monitor room.

Babs has prepared Tim a coffee, herself a cup of tea and the mugs are sitting, steaming on the table. However, as Tim enters, Babs ushers him into her medbay, "Sit down, I'll take a quick look and then we'll talk. And you know that it's not worth arguing with me on it."

What Babs hasn't mentioned here, is that in the time it's taken for Tim to get to the Clocktower, she's contacted Nightwing and he's expected anytime soon.

Oracle's summon caught him right at the tail end of some petty larceny and drug-dealing that he managed to foil. A mention of needing just a few more moments and the sound of someone's breath being kicked out of them is heard over the comm before he turns off the mic.

It really is just a few more moments after Robin that he arrives from the roof access. "Should I call Alfred?" is asked as he pulls off his mask and moves over to the Medbay to join the other two.

Still masked, and bleeding from his lip, Tim's head turns to see Nightwing. He squints at the question and then back at Oracle. "As I said on the comlink, I'm fine. We don't all need to sit around and fret over my face. I'll still be pretty later, I'm sure." He forces a nearly boyish grin, but it looks ridiculous with the red that has washed against his usually white teeth.

He hasn't even settled into the medbay. In fact, right now he's lingering awfully close to the entrance.

"Just humour me please, it won't take long and you're right, it doesn't look bad at all." Babs is lying but The Boy Wonder is almost as stubborn as she it. As Nightwing arrives, she casts him a smile "I don't think bringing Alfred in will be very productive at the moment… see if you can get Tim to let me take a look."

Nightwing looks between Oracle and Tim a moment before he puts on his best Batman glower, "You let her look at you or I will knock you out myself and you'll have no more say in the matter." After the talk he and Oracle had and now Tim insisting he's fine once again despite being covered in blood…he's had it.

Robin's turns between the pair twice over. His fingers ball into fists and he finally treads to the medbay in utter silence. He says nothing as he sits on the bed, and his arms cross over his chest rather defiantly as he waits to be checked over. "I've had worse," he states evenly.

Casting a grateful glance to Nightwing, Babs sighs again, removes Robins mask and looks at the damage inflicted. As she moves around the medbay getting the supplies she needs, she says quietly "Worse had you in hospital. This is becoming a real worry, Tim." and returning to him, cleans up the cut on his lip and the other abrasions around his eyes and cheekbones. "It will do, you'll heal. Coffee's on the table." And moving back to the table, leaving no room for argument she passes Nightwing "Tea or Coffee, Dick?"

"Great…words don't get through but threats of violence do," is murmured to Oracle. Nightwing moves in a little closer but remains far enough away so as to not get in Oracle's way as she checks Tim out.

At the question, he answers, "Coffee is fine for me, thanks," and even gives Oracle a bit of a smile before he turns a scowl to Tim. "Is this some sort of penance thing? Are you pulling a Fight Club on us? Getting yourself beat up for some sort of punishment?"

Bab's reminder of the hospital has Robin sighing. His demeanour softens and he offers gently: "One night. It was just one night." Because one night is not that long over the course of years of nights. His fingers trail up to his eyes and they brush lightly over his damaged skin.

But Nightwing's demeanour banishes all of that softness away. His own expression turns to a scowl. "You weren't there." First point. "Look. I couldn't see the damned thing. At all. It was invisible. Pretty hard not to get pummelled by something that quite literally comes out of nowhere." Second point.

His eyebrows draw together, "You feel like berating me? I'm out. I'm not in the mood. I've been putting up with that enough for the last four(?) years from everyone." He finally slips off the bed. "And what on earth would I be punishing myself for, Doctor Freud?"

Grabbing a sip of her tea, Babs goes to make the coffee and listens to the two men speak and Tims tirade. Returning to the table, placing Dicks coffee down, she then looks at Tim "Your coffee's getting cold. Sit down, let's talk."

Nightwing moves to block Tim from the nearest exit, "You're the one berating yourself. We're just really concerned about you. You're going to get yourself killed at the rate you're going. Will you actually -listen- instead of getting your teenage, 'I know everything' hackles up and tuning us out for a change because we're not saying what you want to hear?"

Tim runs a gloved hand through his hair and watches Nightwing block the exit. His head turns to watch Babs for a moment and then he turns back towards Babs. "Is this an intervention? Because. I'm not on drugs." His eyes turn upwards, "Except the Joker's hallucinogen last month." His throat clears. "I'm getting good grades. I'm getting my work done. I'm showing up at night. What else could anyone remotely want from me?"

Shaking her head, Babs looks at Tim cooly. "No, not an intervention. Dick, come drink your coffee. You too Tim." Taking a sip of her tea, she tilts her head "We're concerned about you Tim. I thought maybe Dick could help me tonight, I wasn't sure how bad you really were. Sit, please. If you'd rather leave, the doors there and we won't stop you."

Nightwing mutters something about an Intervention being a good idea, but he does move to sit, focusing on his coffee. He'll let Oracle handle this part while he cools down…channeling Batman is never fun.

The door is cast a longing glance, and for several beats it seems like Tim is going to take the road more travelled. Avoidance is a normal thing for the bats. Avoidance is a particularly normal thing for Tim. He inhales a sharp breath and slides back to the chair to sit in front of his coffee. Which he pointedly does not reach for. "I'm fine," he reiterates again while his blue eyes blink owlishly.

Babs has no need to channel Batman, she has own style. "No.You.Are.Not.Fine" she states firmly "It's time to face it Tim. That's the second time you've been /given a message for Batman/, the third time might kill you. I'm worried… really, really worried." There's concern in Babs green eyes as she regards The Boy Wonder.

The coffee still isn't touched. And Tim's eyes deaden. "I'm Robin. I'm always given messages for Batman. My life's fate is to be one giant message for the Batman. Everyone wants a piece of the Dark Knight and I just happen to be the easiest way to it. And," his eyebrows arch higher on his forehead, "I wasn't about to abandon the kids in the warehouse last time. I didn't make some grave miscalculation tonight. I wasn't overtired or unaware. I couldn't see him or hear him. And until I manage to use sonar — " he shrugs. "Don't worry about me. It's not worth the effort."

"Did I, in anyway, imply that you had done anything wrong young man?" Babs is a redhead, it might take a bit to push her but when you do, watch out. "Quite frankly Tim, I'm getting fed up with this whole /I'm not worth it/ thing you've got going. I tell you repeatedly how much you matter to me and I'm sure Dick does too." Babs glances at Nightwing whose chosen to remain silent "You're smart, you're clever and you're exceptionally skilled at the hero gig… but look at you… you're a mess right now, through no fault of your own. You.Are.Not.Fine, it's time to admit it." setting her mug firmly on the table, Babs sits back in her chair, folds her arms and her green eyes spark angrily.

"Look. Dad worried about me when he found out about all of this. Steph," Tim doesn't bother calling her Spoiler, "worried. People who worry disappear or die." Ergo. "Don't worry." He inhales a sharp breath and slides off his chair. "I am fine. I have to be fine. He trained us to be fine. It's my job to be fine." His lips press together tightly and he slinks back towards the door.

"I worry, that's all there is too it. You're not fine and it's not your job to /be a message/ for Batman. When you walk out that door, what are you going to do?" Babs is angry, her tone is cold. "Go find someone else who wants to send a message to him?" She's not moved, her tea is cooling on the table, her jaw sets in a very hard line.

"Hasn't that always been Robin's job?" Tim's back is already turned towards the pair seated at the table. There's a cold emotionless air that backs give, especially for folks so trained to keep their voices even. Masks can hide eyes. Voices can't hide emotions. "I don't go looking for this," his voice takes on that gravelly edge more attributed to Batman than his sidekick. "It finds me. I've trained for it. I can handle it." And then, despite the rhetoric in the question he answers: "Go home. I'm going to go home," he replies lowly. "Because that's what I do. Same routine. Day in day out."

Babs is too angry to respond at the moment and takes several long minutes where just glares at Tim, her eyes flashing. "IT IS NOT ROBINS job to BE THE MESSAGE. What on earth are you thinking? Your /job/, is to help Batman… not be his whipping boy. And that is what you are right now."

There's a lot of silence between the angry that permeates the room. Tim doesn't move, he does walk towards the door, he doesn't twist around. Tim remains firmly in place. The words are still uttered to his back. His face is left unseen for both Babs and Dick. They can, however, see the gasp for air that causes his shoulders to move upwards. Even with that tell, he doesn't turn around. With his mask left on the medbay bed, he finally moves, mumbling, "I gotta go," before slipping through the door.

Babs is furious with Tim, so furious she's shaking. Taking her time and using meditative breathing, she calms down enough to think more clearly "Damn boy, will get himself killed" she mutters to Nightwing. "I might have an idea…." Moving to the monitoring room she brings up her comms and activates the App she's installed on Keiths phone. "Keith, it's Oracle. We've got a problem with Robin and I need your assistance."

The sound that comes through the speakers? Olivia Newton John's "Physical." And Keith's voice "Holdonholdon!"

The music disappears, and then Keith appears, looking sweaty. "Sorry… was doing my workout. Ahem… what can I do for you and Bird, Oracle? What's the problem?"

Of course the video on the phone has activated and Oracle's anger dissipates as she see's Keith in his workout gear. "Keith, Robins going off the rails. I'm really concerned. He took another beating today, a bad one, to deliver a message to Batman. He just won't see reason and he's going to end up dead if we're not careful. I was hoping that you might have a word with him? He seems to trust you… He trusts me, but in a different way… a physical intervention, rather than digital, may be more appropriate."

Keith frowns, concern coming over his face. "I see… I was afraid something like this would happen." The stress. That night when Robin went completely nuts with anger.

"Bird is my friend, and it sounds like it's time the Titans spoke to him." He pauses to brush a bead of sweat off his face, "Don't worry, Oracle, you can count on me. We're not going to let him go cuckoo." Pause. "I didn't mean the bird pun. It just came out."

The redhead in the Clocktower visibly relaxes, her face softening. "Completely understandable though, Keith. Please, do what you can, I'm extremely concerned." Who would have thought that the Digital Oracle could emote such human concern? "Please keep in touch, if you want, I'll listen in…"

Keith nods, "You can listen in if you want to, though it's better if he doesn't know it, since he seems to be bristling." It is impressive, that the avatar can convey the concern. He doesn't know who Oracle is, or even whether they are female as the rumors reported (who listens to stupid rumor mongers) or not.

But it was clear that they cared for Robin. "Have I ever let you down?" He pauses "I may be unorthodox, but I always get to the goal. Eventually." The young man smiles.

"I need to go take a shower now and prepare the intervention. I'll let you know when it starts going down, okay? Keef out."

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