The Prodigal Son?

March 28, 2016:

Damian comes back to Titans Tower. Whoaboy. This should be good. Gar and Vorpal are there to welcome him.

Titans Castle

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Raven Hawkeye_ii

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's raining. Of course it's raining at a time like this.

It's as if God himself is crying. Tears of joy. The prodigal s—. Well, a prodigal son has returned. In as much as any prodigal son returns, hence the name prodigal, Damian has come to the Titans Castle in hopes of re-admittance and forgiveness for his sins.

His mind drifts towards Henry IV and his walk to Canossa; having to sit outside for three days to get the Pope's forgiveness. Damian snickers a bit to himself. Comparing his plight with that of the former Holy Roman Emperor is probably exactly what Vorpal always used to hate about him. But like Henry he comes with a broken heart (literally) and a contrite spirit (figuratively) and if it takes three days well then so be it.

He slams upon the large handle to the door way three times and steps back. New Damian, yes, but old shaggy hairdo as he looks up from under his black hoodie at the entrance.

Keith groans, the sound of the knocker slamming on the door resounding in his head. The celebrations after the wedding had been… spirited. And he could swear someone must've slipped catnip into his drink at the reception, because he doesn't know how to dance the Mezinke Tanz. He's not even Jewish, for crying out loud!

And, for that matter, he wouldn't dance it on tables. Oh boy. "… You get it," he calls out to Gar, pillow coming back to cover his face as he rolls over on the couch. The 'nip-hangover feels less in his human form, but it's still there.

"Lightweight!" Gar taunts, suppressing the pain with a momentary transition to Honey Badger as he pads down the hallway stairs to the entrance. He stands up as himself in the red and white uniform, peering through the peeping charlie to look at the door. Huh. It's the Angry Bird. Well, he's knocking, rather than infiltrating, so that's different.

Gar opens the door. "Hey, Robin. You're in time for breakfast. Got any favorites?"

"Uhm, anything, really," Damian says quietly as he closes the door behind himself. That was unexpected. "I suppose I owe you and Vorpal congratulations Gar. I am very happy for you both." The voice comes in his Arabic sounding cadence, even deeper than his normal accent.

One bleary eye perks out from under the pillow, and the redhead slowly sits up. "That voice … is that. .." the room decides to do a Rhumba and he has to steady himself by reaching for the couch. "Am I having an auditory hallucination? "

Ah, the benefits of shapeshifter metabolism and regeneration. Gar shouts up over the edge of the landing, "Get down here if you want breakfast, because I'm not getting crumbs in the bed!"

Romance? No, really, what IS that?

The green Titan leads the way along the curved hall to the dining area and kitchen. There's already hot water in the electric kettle, because he was making a bit of a cure for the over-indulgent, and some steel-cut oats simmering in a pot, not quite done.

"You would've enjoyed being at the wedding … even though we did everything we could to make it a non-interesting event, some of my old sparring partners showed up."

"All is well that ends well, I hope. I heard about the wedding, but I thought that it would be in poor taste for me to crash. Especially under the circumstances." Damian follows Gar dutifully. "Was it serious trouble?"

As he arrives in the kitchen, he stands there, hands in the drab olive overcoat he wears over the black hoodie. "How have things been in the course of time since I have been away?" Chit chat is not something he does well. There was not much time for it when he was trained to be an assassin, but he's trying.

If Damian's walk was one of shame and redemption, Keith's is one of pain and suffering, which is still a mite better than Fear and Loathing. When the redhead finally shows up, he's dressed haphazardly in jeans and T-shirt, not even bothering to comb his hair which, due to static electricity, seems to be in the process of trying to escape away from his head.

"Well as I live and breathe…" Keith mutters, squinting due to the headache. "I wasn't hallucinating… " he peers at Damian, trying to decide in what spirit the Angry Bird has come. Gar doesn't seem to be ready to strike, so it's not hostile. But he would admit that he had never thought Damian would come back. He's puzzled, ad when he's puzzled, Keith uses food as a distraction. "… pancakes?"

"Maybe a few. But first you need some oatmeal to help your body purge the toxins," Gar says, although really who ever heard of oatmeal purging toxins. Then again, it's in Haggis and nobody dies from eating that when they really should because it's disgusting looking.

He starts water going for poached eggs. There are some eggs that are a week or so in the fridge so they're just at the right point for that. Also, toast.

"Rob, you want coffee or tea? Keef, you settle because your herbal tea is brewing. Ginger and willow bark."

Damian gives Keith a, is that… a nervous nod. "Good morning, Vorpal."

"Coffee would be wonderful, thank you," he says towards Gar after the offer of a drink."

"I suppose I should get right to it. I understand that each of you have had a very busy night and are most likely in no mood to hash up the past. I don't expect any response whatsoever, so if you do not feel like it or do not feel like it now I understand."

He pauses, trying to be very deliberate with what he's about to say. "I have had a difficult past few months. Stemming from when I first came here to America, until this moment right now, has been extremely tumultuous. I don't expect you to feel sorry for me, I certainly don't deserve that. Let me just begin by saying that it is clear to me now that I had some growing up to do. It took my death and resurrection to understand that. I've come to apologize and ask for my place back upon the team. Over the course of the past few months, as I came out of the mental control of my grandfather and after seeing what he had me become, I came to realize the mistake I made. And I needed to admit that to the both of you, as well as the team, as well as to Kate (which I have already done, and Batman (which I have already done."

Keith blinks a couple of times, "… good morning Damian." He was expecting some snark thrown his way, and then perhaps a quip about hairballs.

He isn't entirely sure he knows how to deal with… this. He looks at Gar with a certain UNcertain glance, and then back to Damian.

"… I'll have to warn you, Gar's coffee isn't as strong as the stuff you're probably used to." Because he has had Arabic coffee. He was awake for three days and, for a brief time, thought he was the reincarnation of Emily Dickinson.

Note to self: make sure Gar actually destroyed those notebooks like he promised.

"… being dead can bring a lot of things into perspective," Keith agrees as he leans on the counter. Hey, what do you know? Now they actually have something in common, too- membership in the club of the Revenants. "We could talk to the team…" he looks at Gar, again, for guidance.

Gar nods, pouring an inch of black liquid from a bottle labeled "BBotE" into a mug. Boiling water goes on top of it, and the smell of coffee explodes outward. Gar puts it on the table next to the creamer and sugar. "Probably won't need either of those but the hot ice-cream effect is still a good one," he says.

Oatmeal, 1/3 cup, goes into three bowls, and a pat of butter. And a spoon. Because Gar grew up with a butler with impossible standards who insisted on serving Stone-Cut Scottish Oats the right way.

"Pancakes or waffles," he says, stirring the boiling pan of water until it's spinning, and cracking in an egg, then repeating it a second time with another pan. He says not one thing about the notebooks. And the Black Blood of the Earth is in some ways even superior to Arabic coffee, as it is the holy distillation by science and alchemy of the true essence of coffee. And not burned. Sorry, Starbucks.

Normally Damian does not have anything with his coffee, but at the recommendation he pours a smidge of each almost as a showing of doing what he's told. It's a new phenomena he's going through, but he's going through it all the way. He takes a sip and nods, "It's very good."

"I'm fine with either," he says regarding the pancakes or waffles. "I'm sure both will be excellent, thank you."

But back to Vorpal, Damian nods. "The entire time I was with my grandfather I wanted to come home. I came to regret all of my past actions. The other Robin, he is the one I will need to apologize most to. Needless to say, I was an awful teammate. And I will not blame you if that factors into your decision. Or when it factors into your decision because it clearly should."

There was the rub- was Damian sincere? Keith had never been very good at reading some people- and Damian was one of those, to the point that he gave up even trying a while ago. This was dangerous territory- would the Titans allow a prodigal back, without proof that he was reformed?

What game could he be playing, Keith muses as he takes in the smell of the earth-shattering coffee. If it's a matter of assassinating them, he could have done it aready- that was his training. Was it a long con? Something to gain their confidence?

It could be a possibility. But he could also be earnest. There was no way of knowing… and in case he wasn't earnest, wouldn't the wisest decision be that of 'Keep your friends close and your enemies closer?'

"… well, the Titans are sort of familiar with the whole older mentor turning young charges down a torrid path," his green eyes look at Gar for a second. Ok, not exactly true… Dirt Girl was rotten to the core from the start, but it's still a good example.

He then looks back to Damian and frowns a little, as if thinking. Inside him, three voices argue the possible pros, cons and motivations in three voice counterpoint.

"If you really mean it, I can put it to the team for voting. If nobody object… well, you do realize that the bylaws do have a probationary period, etcetera? Just to make sure you remember. It's for you just as much as for us, if you feel that we're still not the place for you after a couple of months."

There, that was cautious but fair, and it was in the bylaws. It would be a game of watching without being noticed- if Damian was actually contrite, it would mean some very good things for the Titans, because of his skills and training. If he wasn't sincere… it could be a potential disaster.

But nobody won anything without venturing, right?

Fishing the eggs out of their hot baths with a chinese skimmer, Gar drops one egg in one of the bowls of oatmeal, then two in another, then one in the third. He puts them on the breakfast bar.

"Take whichever one you want. I'll start waffles," Gar says. And tosses some strips of bacon into a frying pan, then pulls some homemade-then-frozen whole-grain waffles out of a freezer, and lays three of them onto a toaster rack in the oven.

"None of MY mentors led me down the garden path. I found it all on my own," Gar says with a wink aimed at Keef. "Also, yeah, we have the probationary time, which is for everyone. Nobody's allowed to make insulting toys or use you in Anime until after that's well past, either."

That last bit came from the most recent negotiations in Japan.

"I will follow any guidelines, stipulations, or bylaws that are put in place. It is not my place to disagree: either with the bylaws or extra rules placed upon me. I haven't earned that. The last time I was here, I came in…if you pardon the term…like a wrecking ball. And that was a mistake. That is not how this will go this time around, no matter your decision. In truth, I always wanted to be part of the Titans to show that I could do something good in a team atmosphere. Batman agreed and felt being around young people my age would be good for me. I never really developed good social skills, nor have I fit in well anywhere. Really, Hawkeye is the only person I've met that I feel at home with. But I realize now that it's not good for me. Not only just as a normal person, but because that attitude, that flagrant disregard for others, led to me losing my life. I suppose that sounds selfish, but I feel like you both and the rest of the team, deserve the whole truth and not some partial version in order to put me in a good light."

A short pause later, he adds, " A person does not ask for forgiveness with stipulation. If he or she does, then they are not truly sorry for what they claim to be."

Damian raises a hand as Gar puts out the bacon, "I certainly do not mean to be rude, but please understand that I am a vegetarian and will be unable to accept any offering of the bacon. I do apologize."

He takes the oatmeal, however.

"I'll take the bacon," Keith says. Was there ever any doubt? He will devour it greedily, as his body welcomes something other than the 'nip. "Well…" he says, taking a sip of water. "I understand all about second chances." Yet another thing that they had in common, bizarrely enough. For a moment he is confused about which Hawkeye he is talking about, until he remembers it is Kate. He would've regretted breaking the news that he was basically feeling at home with a robot-

Eyes widen. Wait. Had Kate told him? Note to self- don't tell the Angry Bird that he sort of lost… to a robot.

He gives Gar a quick, guilty look just in case he's doing that reading thing he does with Keith, and looks at Damian. "Alright. I'll contact the team today and put the proposal forth. You can stay in your old room here in the meantime- nobody's used it. Nobody wanted to because it was next to Raven's."

Now the question was… would Raven ever return from Azarath?

More importantly… would it be a good thing?

"Sounds good?"

"I can make a bowl without egg if you prefer," Gar says. "And it's fine. We do vegetarian dishes at every group meal along with the non-veggie. Ovo-lacto vegetarian, anyway. We'll adjust if you're strict. We did that for Raven. Also I did the vegan thing for a while when I was eleven. Freaked me out to be eating things that I'd been … but then I got stuck as a tiger for a month, and it seemed like I should just eat what worked for who I am at any time. And I don't eat when I'm a spider."

He starts on his own oatmeal. For detox. And hands Keef his special hangover tea.

"I think rooming near Raven is probably the best choice from a social standpoint anyhow," Damian says with a bit of a smile. Was that a joke? That was a joke, I think.

Damian shakes his head, "No, that's alright. Where I came from I ate eggs quite a bit. I realize the hypocrisy, but the vegetarian thing is a recent ideology for me, I guess. I haven't worked out the details in my own head. In the meantime, I'll enjoy the egg."

Ginger and bark. Keith makes a face at the tea, but sips it down anyways, "Might as well suck on a twig," he comments, followed by another sip.

Damian turning vegetarian was another one of those things. He deliberately takes a very hot sip of the tea to make sure this isn't some sort of feverish dream, suffered in bed a throes of catnip. "Well… then it all seems settled," he comments and looks at Gar.

"Right?"

"Seems good to me. I knew it was going to be OK when I looked at him at the door," Gar says. Animal instincts. Pretty good at telling when someone's actually contrite. Although, he's long since learned not to be completely off his guard about anything, because, well, there are other kinds of shapeshifter and he has been fooled once or twice in the past.

"So, we'll check with the other Titans, but as far as I'm concerned, welcome back, D."

"Thank you. We will see what the others say; their opinions may not match yours, but what will be will be. If neither of you mind, I should really take a shower and change my clothing. It was good to see both of you." Damian's already done with his oatmeal. Ra's al Ghul is not known for his elaborate meals, and Damian's thinness might show that. "You both have been very gracious. Perhaps not well deserved, but for certain unsurprising."

"Blame the catnip. Or the opium. " Keith says, and sips his tea. Was that a joke? hard to tell, "welcome back, too." He was unusually hungry. Gar might be forced to cook again. …

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