Hello, Again

May 05, 2016:

Kara is setting up for a relaxing evening at home when a stray bird lands on her balcony

Kara's Apartment

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Thursday night in Metropolis, and the sky is almost fully dark now. Some citizens are out on the town, getting an early start on the weekend. But Kara Kent is staying in, with her cousin on patrol tonight leaving her time alone. Which suits Kara just fine; after her encounter with Robin last night, she's not in the brightest of moods. Or feeling like going out and being a hero. So, a night of Giordana's pizza and Netflix it is, then. The blonde Kryptonian is just settling in, the opening strains of the Star Wars theme pouring out of her tv speakers. She needs to escape for a while, and the galaxy Far Far Away that Caitlin introduced her to seems like the best place for now.

Along the balcony of the apartment, someone lingers in the shadows. Tim Drake only recently came back to the continent. His time away, while mysterious, and thus far unexplained, has done little to break old habits.

Save one: his personal narrative about his base tendencies.

Red Robin mentally chastises himself for three things. First, for being creepy enough to and bright enough to deduce where Kara lives. Second, for heading to said habitat without call, text, e-mail, or e-message. Third, for thinking it appropriate to come up the balcony. Seriously Tim, why didn't the door seem like a viable option?

In a nearly self-deprecating way, he slides further into the shadows, and in doing so, without his usual crime-fighting care, and his general semi-confident attitude, there's a quiet clang outside. If ever Kara were to think a prowler is on her balcony it could be now.

With a clang like that, super-hearing isn't really needed. Kara bolts up from her couch and moves swiftly, but still at a human pace, to the balcony door. The curtains are flung open for her to see…

Someone she *really* wasn't expecting to see tonight.

There's shock on kara's face as she sees Tim in costume there, separated by a glass door. Then, her expression melts to relief, and a bit of wistfulness. And then, Kara's cheeks redden as she realizes that Tim can also see her. And into her apartment. Beyond the fact that she's currently dressed in a Metropolis Meteors jersey, sweatpants decorated with 'S' shield logos, and pink fuzzy bunny slippers, the inside of her apartment looks rather messy, with papers scattered all over the coffee table and a collection of dishes still in the sink. Not exactly Ma Kent approved.

"Tim," she says as she slides the door open. "Hi. Ummm…." she looks back at her apartment nervously. "Ahhhh…."

Blink. Blink. Blink.

Tim, behind the Red Robin mask feels like he just caught with his hand in the cookie jar. While it's been a long stretch since he's felt truly bashful, coming back to a life he left has its effect, and, much like Kara, his face flushes pale crimson.

His throat clears and he takes a small step forward. With a slight shake of his head, he's drawn back to reality and the present moment that he essentially orchestrated. There will be a much longer more complex personal narrative about this later.

With ease, and adept balance, he climbs along the side of the fire escape and to the door, slipping into the room with cat-like stealth. If anything, time away has grown him more. His shoulders have broadened, his jaw has squared, and, while not actually any taller, he carries himself differently.

Once safely inside, Kara earns a flicker of a smile, fleeting, and comical, "Probably best to call me Red Robin when dressed like this, on the balcony…" with a pause his eyes shift downward "… with the door open."

Kara is just as stunned, not even protesting as Tim walks in. But then, as he gives her a spiel about calling him by his name, Kara gets an amused smirk. "Really? How about showing up on the balcony of Kara *Kent* in full costume?" She's not really upset at him, just teasing him a bit. The door is quickly closed and the curtains drawn again. "Ummm…sorry about the mess…" She inhales a bit, still embarrassed. "Hang on…." With a burst of super-speed, she cleans up the school papers from the coffee table, gets the dishes from the sink to the dishwasher, and generally tidies up in a matter of seconds. "There," she says with a quick pant. "Better now." Her hair's a bit disheveled, and kara brushes it back into place. "So…" She smiles, gestures to Tim, smiles, and gives a half-laugh. "You look good…"

"Point, Kara Kent," Tim tallies in jest. "Score is now Kent 1, Drake …" he mutters indiscernibly to anyone without super hearing, "minus five." He smirks and issues her a small shrug.

When the room is cleaned at super speed, he just shakes his head. "Seriously, folks like you make folks like me seem obsolete." She earns another smile, this one easier than the others as he tugs at the mask around his eyes, drawing it away altogether. The comment about him looking good earns a chuckle and shake of his head, "You don't know the half of it." He swallows hard and notes with a small shrug of his shoulders, "Just was.. patrolling and thought I should stop in." Because Red Robin is always in Metropolis patrolling for no reason. Clearly.

While Kara has been speaking with confidence, her posture and body language say otherwise. She's managing to hold it all together, but her heart is beating so fast and loud, she's surprised Tim can't hear it. "You'll never be obsolete," she says reassuringly. With the sound of a laser blast coming from the TV speakers, Kara fumbles for the remote and turns off Threepio and Artoo's escape from Princess Leia's ship. "Ummm…Patrolling, huh? Looking to move to Metropolis?" Kara gives a nervous laugh and then sits down on the couch. She gestures for Tim to take a seat anywhere; on the couch with her or the loveseat. Secretly hoping for the couch.

For the first time in a long time, Tim feels out of place in the Red Robin outfit, and it shows. He shifts somewhat uncomfortably before his inner monologue is interrupted by the sound of STAR WARS lasers on the screen, prompting a wide grin. "I haven't seen this in an age." The question, however, merits a soft chuckle. "Not exactly. Just… haven't patrolled for awhile. Got sidetracked I guess." He shoots her a boyish grin. While he's consistently becoming more Man than Boy, he still has moments.

"I…" his eyebrows draw together as she treads back to the couch. He pauses and then follows suit, taking a seat next to her. "I wanted to apologize?" it's more a question than a statement. "I mean. I wanted to apologize," it's more definitive now. "I should've…" he frowns. For a few beats he mulls over where he's been, what he can say, what he should say. Instead, he lands on: "I couldn't." Pause. "I'm sorry."

Kara closes her eyes as Tim apologizes. She nods a bit, opening her eyes back and smiling a bit. "I'm sorry, too," she says. "I'm just as responsible for losing touch. When I went off to Themyscira for months, I…I just assumed that everyone I knew would be here when I got back. And I'm sorry that I took you for granted like that." Kara takes a deep breath, feeling her spirits lift. "So, let's just forgive each other. Rao knows that we both could spend days apologizing to each other for everything under the sun if we don't."

With that all out of the way, Kara still seems a bit uncomfortable, shifting on the couch and drawing her legs up under her. "I missed you," she says quietly, not quite meeting Tim's eyes. "I didn't know where you went and I thought…you just wanted to be alone." Now, she manages to look up and make eye contact. "Where did you go? What happened?"

Wistfully, Tim sighs. "Yeah," he answers with a vague nod. His cheeks flush again at the apology for being taken for granted. His lips part and then close and his feet become the single most interesting thing in the room. Staring at his toes, his eyebrows draw together, "It was okay, you know." He swallows hard. "It's… part of the superhero thing. Just goes with the territory."

He sucks in a quick breath, "Right. All is forgiven. And forgotten." He issues her a tight smile. "I appreciate it. It was a whirlwind."

The question about where he's been has him shifting in his seat. His pulse quickens. He feels as if his heart will leap from his chest. Yet he answers vaguely, "Training." His shoulders relax and he chuckles softly, "It's hard to explain. I guess I needed to get away — " his teeth toy at his bottom lip. "I needed… to step out." He swallows hard. "From the shadow I cast on myself." He smirks. "Is that possible? To be stuck in your own shadow? I'm pretty sure that's impossible."

"No, it's not impossible," Kara says with a gentle shake of her head. "That's kind of why I left for Themyscira." Kara breaks eye contact, head turned away and eyes downcast in shame. "What I did last year. What I became for that moment…I had to get away from that. I thought time and training in Themyscira would help let me move past it. And I thought I had. Things were going well. I was back with the League. I was making friends. I started going back to school to get my life back in order." As Kara speaks, she slowly withdraws, curling up and hugging herself.

"I was wrong," she says after a long pause. "That shadow's never going to leave me. No matter how hard I try, no matter what I do in the future, it's never going to be enough. I ran into your successor last night, and he made that pretty clear." Kara can't help it now, she's starting to sniffle and tears are welling up in the corner of her eyes. "That stain is going to last forever."

Gently, Tim reaches out to squeeze Kara's shoulder. His chin drops, and he allows the silence to wash over them. Slowly, he extends his arm, silently offering his shoulder to Kara should she want it. He swallows hard.

His jaw tightens, his eyes hone in on one spot, and he sucks in a sharp breath. "You're not the sum of one event. No one is." His cheeks puff out as he blows out a quick breath. "There's more to you. There's more to me. There's more — " he sighs quietly. "You don't have to make it up to everyone else. This is all you. Robin," he says evenly, "has his own opinions. But you don't have to measure up to him or his expectations. You only have to measure up to one person's. Yours."

At the touch, Kara looks back up at Tim. She wipes her eyes with the sleeve of her jersey (really dignified, there), and she slowly starts to smile. "I know," she says, sighing. Her smile twists a bit and she adds, "I guess I'm just really upset that I don't have any moral high ground over him." She reaches up and gives Tim's hand on her shoulder a squeeze. "Thank you." She pauses for a long time, looking like she wants to hug Tim, but isn't quite sure. In the end, she just resettles herself on the couch. Although her new position leaves her closer to Tim.

"So, what's the plan now?" Kara props up her arm on the couch and lays her head on it. "Back to Gotham? Back with the Titans? I'm sure Gar and Vorp will be happy to have you back. Or are you still pondering it out?"

Tim shifts a bit so his arm rests against Kara. She can feel him tense at the touch almost like he's about to move, but he relaxes again, leaning into the couch and issuing her a tight smile. "You're gonna be okay. And if Robin," the name is stated venomously, "has a problem with it, well, that's on him."

Red Robin studies her a few moments, his blue eyes tracking hers as best he can. He leans towards her, considering enveloping her in a hug, but freezes, issuing her an awkward smile as he shakes his head. "I'm sorry. I want — " He swallows hard again. "I want to hug you. Can I…" his cheeks flush. He can't imagine a scenario where Dick or Bruce would ask a woman if they could hug her before trying.

His eyes turn downwards at the notion of the plan. "I need to work on some things in Gotham. Gotham needs me," he offers quietly. "But — " his lips flicker " — a lot has happened. I found my wings." He shoots her a smile.

As Tim asks if it's okay to hug her, Kara wonders for a moment if he'd developed telepathy while away. But in reply, she just leans into Tim and silently embraces him. All her fears, her doubts, her concerns…they all melt away as she lays her head on his shoulder. Kara closes her eyes and just immerses herself in the warmth of the contact. "You're the only Robin that matters," she says quietly.

After about a minute, Kara sits back up, practically glowing and looking more like what she should look like. "Gotham isn't so bad," she says. "It's just a quick hop over the river." And for a Kryptonian, it really *is* a quick hop over the river. "And I'm glad you found yourself. And I'll help you spread your wings and fly; you know that, right?" Of course, Kara thinks they're talking in metaphors here.

The hug also seems to right some things about Tim's appearance. Not quite as glowy as Kara, but certainly less awkward than he was before. He issues her a lopsided smile, but it loses its sheen as he thinks about his plans more. "Yeah," there's a distracted quality in Tim's agreement about Gotham, but it's not openly acknowledged.

"I need to be home," he finally observes. "There are good folks defending the city, but — " his head shakes " — I've been gone too long. Need to… " his lips twitch and he shakes his head lightly, allowing the thought to flee. "I spent years trying to live up to everyone else. I think I'm finally done with that. Wings~" he virtually sings.

Kara nods. "You need to be you," she says. "Batman and…" she sighs, "Robin. They need you to be you as well. They need your heart and your outlook, even if Robin would never admit that." Kara gets a stern smirk and adds, "They need someone not afraid to call them out on their crap. Keep them honest."

Kara's posture shifts, becoming more stiff and more sure. "I know that you're going to have your hands full for a while. But…you know if you ever need anything…if you ever want to talk…" She takes a deep breath. "I'm here for you."

"Robin isn't one my fans," Tim agrees comically. "Did I ever tell you that once he spat on me? Legitimately spat on me?" He squints and leans back against the couch. "But thank you." He sighs lightly. "I do my best."

He issues her an easier smile at the offer and nods. "Thanks. I — " his lips twitch again almost like he wants to say more, but instead manages, "I need it. I appreciate it." He sighs softly. "Here's the thing, I know the Bat folks are… I just need more, I guess."

"I did have a request for you," he says somewhat cautiously. "I'm not sure if you're at all interested. Or.. eat food often… but…" his eyebrows draw together again, "could I meet you, like Kara-you, not Supergirl-you, for food or something sometime? And when I say me, I mean… Tim. Just Tim. Not Tim on the balcony in red spandex, but Tim who just wears normal clothes and goes to classes… and nerds out in statistics class…"

The invitation to dinner stuns Kara like a punch from the Hulk. She blinks for a bit, trying to wrap her head around the question, but then smiles and nods. "That would be awesome," she says. "Whenever you want, I'll be set." She's happier than she's been in a year. Kara starts looking around the apartment, then back to Tim. "You know…I ordered an extra-large combo pizza so I'd have some left overs. But if you don't have to run…." A bright smile lights up Kara's face. "You could hang out here, fill up on pizza, and we could watch a movie. Whatever you feel like."

There's a moment where Tim legitimately considers not staying because he said he was patrolling, and if he really was patrolling he wouldn't stay, but then, he's entirely certain Kara didn't believe that excuse anyways. "Alright, I like pizza." He shoots her another boyish grin. "I could hang. But, we still have to watch STAR WARS. We could make a thing of it. Watch them all. Even the bad ones…" And with that, things start feeling a little more normal again.

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