Failed Intervention

June 21, 2016:

Nightwing drops in just as Oracle returns home … the discussion doesn't start well.

Hamiltons Gym - Gotham

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Early morning, rays of sunlight are not quite starting to hits the streets of Gotham, it's that awkward time between dark and light - when it often seems darkest. It's the time that most of the Batfamily are just getting 'home' and it's no different for this one Bat. Entering through the secret tunnel, Babs pulls the mask from her head and reaches back to let her hair out of the tight braid, running her fingers through it before shaking it out.

For a moment, she stands watching the screens … green eyes assessing. All is quiet for now, on the streets and in the Gym, though she's expecting visitors soon. One of them, at least will be The Fox - she had offered him breakfast after all. As to others? Who can say?


"Babs," a quiet, male voice says into the silence. Dick Grayson, wearing his Nightwing costume minus the domino mask, steps out from behind the bank of monitors, dark brows knitted with concern and stare slightly accusing. Seems like he got here before she expected him. "What the actual hell are you doing?"

There's no anger to the question; Dick seems genuinely perplexed. His blue eyes flick away from hers to take in her costume and the mask. "You weren't — please tell me you were just trying it on, or something." One gloved hand comes up, fingers burying themselves in his hair as he stares at her in disbelief. "You can't have been patrolling."


The costume is Babs old one, but she's clearly made some mods - it still needs work, but it's functional. Turning at the voice, the redhead smiles faintly "I'm needed on the streets and with Batgirl gone, it was time for me to return. I've been in rehab long enough." she says equally as quietly "I went out for a test run and met up with The Fox. Helped him finish up his patrol."

Cass had disappeared just after returning from Steel City. She and The Fox had been there when the disaster went down - and the Bat Family are aware that The Fox was injured.

So she wasn't exactly on her own - not that she needed help.

"Do you want tea?" she asks heading to the kitchen. Whether Dick wants tea or not, Babs does.


Stunned, Dick flops into the computer command chair. Well, as much as a Grayson can ever be said to 'flop' — it's an elegant move by anyone else's standards. "Babs, you can't be serious," he says, ignoring her offer of tea. "You didn't 'just' anything. Are you really willing to put all that time in rehab at risk?" He leans forward and rubs at his eyes. "I thought we had been through this. You're not trapped here, you're a gift. Oracle is the biggest breakthrough we've ever had as a team. You know this."

He sighs and taps at a communicator. "Text Red. Needed at the Clocktower to talk some sense into Batgirl." That should draw Tim out of the woodwork before too long.


That causes Babs to pause and look back at Dick. There were only a few she had spoken to about the 'why'. "The rehab was all for that, Richard. Babs Gordon will never walk, she will forever be consigned to that chair." Taking a deep breath in, the redhead gestures vaguely "Bruce organised the treatment so that I could return to the streets. We're spread thin and we're all needed. I hadn't intended on patrolling, but with Steel City and what we're seeing here in Gotham, The Fox needs backup and I intend to give it to him."

As she speaks she pulls up the images that they've been able to get of Steel City. It's all fairly horrific. The city is destroyed, buildings collapsed and throughout the streets, statues the shape of people - made of salt "We failed in Steel City. We can't fail Gotham." she murmurs "Besides, I've got OracleNet set up for remote control and we'll be recruiting someone to help with that."


"Oh my God, I've been Richarded. Now I know I'm in trouble," Dick says dryly, levering himself back up out of the chair in a single smooth motion. He places one hand over Barbara's, watching her eyes closely. "Listen — maybe that's what Bruce wants. Maybe you think you owe him that. But I want to see Barbara walk again a hell of a lot more than I want to see Batgirl putting herself back in the line of fire."

After a second of lingering eye contact, he breaks away and takes over the tea preparations without even discussing it. "And you're admitting it's premature. You're letting this crisis rush you, but Babs, there's always a crisis. You know that better than anyone. You're the one with the long view."


Having been back awhile, Red Robin finally accepts that he can't beat the security system (at least today, anyways), and has opted for a less grand entrance — choosing permissibility rather than rogue-ish-ness. Of course, thanks to the building being what it is, the computers announce Tim's presence before his chirpy whistle interrupts the intense conversation.

Casual seems to be the approach for today, or Tim entirely missed the memo of what it means to 'talk sense into' someone. Yet the song silences when Red Robin glances between the pair before, rather haphazardly, shuffling at his cowl, causing it to rumple as he draws it away from his head — exposing a mop of dishevelled hair in its path.

"Hey." His eyes linger a few moments on Batgirl. "You have any tea?"


"Crises… Dick. It's getting worse out there and we're lesser in number." Babs give the man a flat look, meeting his eyes as his hand covers hers "You weren't around, when I went through the process of making this decision. It wasn't made lightly and I didn't have to do it, but I wanted to."

"Babs might walk at some point in the future, but for now this is all my decision." Letting him take over the tea preparation she shakes her head "It's not like I intend patrolling regularly, but Kane needs someone to watch his back now Cass is gone and … I feel so helpless watching and not being to do anything. I've thought about this, Dick. For a terribly long time."


"Pretty sure we fought the Redcoats specifically so we could drink something stronger," Dick grumbles, reaching up to nab a third mug just as the boiling kettle clicks its readiness. He returns from the kitchenette moments later, balancing a tray perfectly on one hand. "You'll have to be patient while it steeps," he says, glaring pointedly at Barbara for several seconds before turning to Tim and pointing at her with his free hand. "Did you know about this?" he asks. "That she's been planning to Batgirl again? Because if you knew and you didn't tell me, I swear…"


"Patience is one of the few things I have in spades these days," Tim mutters to himself rather than Dick. The pointed motion has the younger of the two men arching an eyebrow. "I assumed you knew — " Tim cants his head as he eyes Dick and then Babs in turn. " — or does no one talk anymore?" Both of his eyebrows raise higher on his forehead in a mock surprised expression, "And here I thought secrets were only secrets within the family…" Like Tim Drake should be one to talk about secrets.


Babs gives Dick a mild look in return for the glare "Thank you, Dick." she might be slightly amused at his annoyance. As Red Robin enters, the redhead moves to hug the younger man. "Of course there's tea, you know that. I have several blends …" of course she does.

"How many times do I have to say it? We're spread thin." Dick hadn't been a regular visitor for quite some time "And this isn't the sort of thing we discuss 'over the radio'."

"The fact of the matter is that I'm doing this." There's something resolute about her manner "Now, how are you two?"


"So it's a conspiracy," Dick says darkly as he sets the tray down. "You haven't been talking to me, so why would you listen? Fine. Drink your tea. The tea of deceit." He steps away, leaving his own mug behind, and turns to lean against the far wall, arms crossed over the blue markings on his chest. He's slightly exaggerating his pouting, to be sure — no one can dramatize their feelings like the BatFam — but it's also clear from his posture that this still bothers him. He's just setting that aside in view of this united front.


"Green tea, please?" Red Robin requests with a half-smile as he returns the hug. Tim squints at the notion of being spread thin, but rolls his eyes at the consideration of conspiracy. "Don't be such a drama queen. It's nothing that heavy." Pause. "I don't think." Because how would he know? He's been away. His teeth play at his bottom lip and he finally shuffles over to nab a mug. "I get that worry comes easy, but Babs has been training hard and she was always talented. Chair or no chair."


"If you were a more regular visitor, you might have known." Babs notes mildly to Dick and then sighs "It's not a conspiracy and I know you're worried, but in case you haven't noticed, I'm a woman grown. I can do things you know. Like make decisions for myself." There's no heat to the statement, she's teasing slightly, but both Dick and Tim should also remember how much it grates at her to be 'coddled'.

They both might need to consider too that it hadn't been a secret from Kane.

"Are you done lecturing me? Shall we move on?" Turning to Tim first "Have you decided on Met U? Isn't Summer break nearly over?" Taking up her own mug, turning green eyes on Dick "Would you like to know what we're seeing in the City?"


"I never said she wasn't tough or talented," Dick answers Tim, still sulking at the wall. And, in fact, still not quite done lecturing. "But she's also really lucky to get this second chance. And maybe that chance is better spent on herself, instead of…" He trails off, then indicates his own Nightwing outfit by sweeping his hand from sternum to thigh. "Well, this." He frowns, takes a deep breath, then looks directly at Batgirl. "It's not that I don't believe in what we do, or that I think you're not capable. Maybe I just feel like you've sacrificed more than enough to this mission."

After several seconds to let that sink in, his lip twists and he throws his hands upward. "But whatever. Don't mind Old Man Grayson. What do I know?" He crosses his arms again. "Go ahead — hit me with the briefing."


With the lecturing not finished Tim's cheeks puff out with exhalation and he leans against the nearest wall. There's a few beats as his arms hug himself and his expression turns stoic. Finally, he offers back towards Dick, "That's the point, isn't it?" His eyebrows lift and his tone quiets, "We give up everything else for this. The other life is just a mirage for this one. And God forbid the two ever collide…" He tugs the cowl over his face again.

His throat clears and he refocuses, "I got into Met U and Columbia, but checking on credits and what will transfer. And Gotham U is being evasive in giving information. The admissions counsellor at Met U thinks it's some ploy to keep me. I dunno." Pause. "Maybe I'll end up staying here. Someone," cough cough, "suggested that one of my motivators drawing me to Metropolis might not be a wise one. Plus Metropolis likes their heroes in the light…"

Tim smooths the mask now covering his head, tucking and moving his hair with gloved fingers for greater comfort underneath.


"Old Man?" Babs eyebrow lifts as she looks over to Dick "Says you who is three years younger…" Trying to tease him out of his sulk, the redhead sighs "And just how could I take this chance and walk away, when I see the seedier side of things?" As to her two worlds colliding, she just shakes her head. "This is my life now. Helping people as I can. And you all need the support in the field." Maybe it's a little easier for the woman. Babs Gordon is a recluse, after all. What better way to avoid all that entanglement? Even if it does get lonely.

"Someone did, huh?" those green eye land on Tims face for a moment as he mentions his reasons for wanting Met U. "Well, it's up to you and whatever you decide will be the right thing. But congrats on Columbia and Met U, that's awesome."

"As you're aware, The Fox and I have been investigating the fact that the supernatural community has been getting organised. We were sure it was a group doing that and have been tracing them, following that trail right to Steel City." This is how Babs copes, diving into her work - letting the focus claim her "A few weeks ago we found reference to a ritual, that might have been used on Gomorrah and discovered that this group was going to use it. We simply weren't quick enough in putting the pieces together. What we aren't sure of is what that means for Gotham. We don't know if Steel City was the end or the beginning. What we do know, is that the supernatural community here is still being organised and it's starting to spill over to the mundane gangs."

There's more, there always is. "The Fox and Batgirl were caught in Steel City when the ritual went off. It took me nearly a week to find and retrieve them. When they got back, Cass left. She blames herself, just as The Fox blames himself, but she's taken it rather badly and I can't find her."


Aside from a few grumbly noises, Dick seems to have said all he cares to about the return of Batgirl, at least for the moment. Everyone else seems to be on board — maybe he'll adjust to the idea in time.

Finally allowing a grudging smile, he instead says, "Old man is a state of mind, Babs, not a number." He grows more serious as she moves on to the briefing, tapping his fingers against one bicep. "'Supernatural community' is pretty clinical," he says. "What exactly are we talking about, here? I have a feeling that kickflips aren't going to cut it — not even mine. But it would be good to know more. And if we need someone to talk to Batgirl…" He glances at the others, raising one eyebrow, then just says it: "No offense, but we know who's the people person."

He smirks slightly when Tim alludes to his commentary on the Metropolis move, but only adds, "Just like we all know who's the smart Robin. Like he'd have trouble getting in anywhere he wanted."


A boyish half-smile creeps across Tim's features at the congratulatory notes. "Thanks. I'm debating with myself the pros and cons of each. And I'm trying to keep my worlds from colliding. If I can." He shrugs lightly. The idea of being the smart Robin is met with a smirk, "Not my favourite moniker. But thanks. I think." Pause. "Unless you're talking about Damian. Then I'll disagree with you." His nose wrinkles. "Did I ever tell you about the time he spat on me?"

The update on Steel City causes Tim's shoulders to slump some. "It's bad," he affirms quietly. "I can't pretend to understand that side of the world," magic and the supernatural continue to be things he simply won't get, "but what happened… it's like nuclear disaster."

He pinches the bridge of his nose at Cass being gone and emits a soft sigh. "I get it, but.. man."


"She took it pretty hard." Babs just shakes her head. Cass was her little sister, nearly a daughter and her leaving has hit Babs hard. Not that she shows it overtly, any crying or grieving is done in private - the redhead has to remain focussed.

Removing the kevlar reinforced leather jacket, revealing a dark tank top beneath, Babs stretches. There's the purpling of a bruise from a hit she took the previous night on one of her shoulders.

"That reminds me." She disappears for a moment to one of her storage rooms, returning with a flatish sort of box, that she hands to Dick. "Kane asked me to give this to you. It will help, out in the field." Turning to Tim, she smiles faintly "You were away when he made these and you'll get something as well."

In the box are a pair of Tonfa Batons, inscribed with Bat Symbology and celtic symbols. Whatever the wood is, Dick can be sure it has mystical qualities and he can ask The Fox about that when they catch up.

"Anything, Dick. Werewolves, although the Silver Syndicate pack are allies of The Fox, Vampires, Hobgoblins, Giants, Fae, Ghouls … you name it, they're all out there. Even a Medusa. I've taken to carrying Holy Water for some of them, blessed woods and iron. Each of them have a different weakness." Looking between the two men, she shrugs "Now, do you see why I say we're spread thin? The only one of us equipped to deal with that is The Fox, although he welcomes what assistance when we can give."

Time to take a deep breath "Right now, what we can do to help this is keep the mundane crime in order as much as we can. Part of the Steel City ritual relied on the energy that disorder and discontent bought to the place - if they try similar here … "


Dick's mouth thins to a ruler-straight line when he sees the bruises on Barbara's shoulder. Still, he doesn't say anything. He just hefts the tonfas, flipping them through a few lightning-fast rotations to get a feel for their weight and balance — and check for sparkles or glow trails or anything, while he's at it.

"Very nice," he says, sounding satisfied with their feel. "So, these are for hitting anything that looks too witchy for a good tasing? Simple enough." He slides them into empty clips next to his customary escrima sticks. "I guess I'll also get the anti-magic utility belt out of the cave and make sure it's stocked. Hope I can remember what matches what." His expression darkens for a moment and he adds, "If not, I'm sure Bruce will be happy to quiz me on it for a few hours."

He glances over at Tim. "In what alternate universe would I ever give Damian the satisfaction of describing him as the best at anything? You are going to have to tell me this spitting story, though."


"It's Gotham, isn't it always somewhat disordered?" Tim asks. "And the incident at the mall — I swear I had a handprint on my cheek from getting slapped." Instinctively, his gloved hand rubs against his mostly covered cheek.

"Bruce will probably lecture you first about not studying enough and forgetting the ins a and outs of your duty," his tongue clucks once. "And then he'd quiz you. Or have Alfred do it." His lips twist to the side.

Dick's thoughts about Damian are met with a broad grin. "Well I'm glad to know not everything's changed since I found myself or whatever." Regarding the spitting story, he notes: "I'll give you details sometime, but long story short, he really doesn't like me. He even convinced my girlfriend at the time that I had a thing for Harley Quinn. It was real. It happened." Tim shudders.

Back towards Babs, he nods. "It'd be good to have something more equipped to deal with what's out there, especially if Gotham's mayhem attracts the mystical."


Babs has heard the spitting story before and she shakes her head. She's little fondness for Damian. "Damians gone again, anyway." she notes to Tim "and Dicks' right." Seeing Dicks face, she looks at her shoulder and winces "Yeah, Kane said he'll help me with better armour."

"Normal levels of disordered, Tim. But from what we saw last night, they're raising the city to fever pitch." she squints in Tims direction "Yeah, that blonde had an arm on her, that's for sure." Their comments on Bruce gets a slight shake of her head, the man … simply doesn't lecture her. Maybe he knows a little better.

"That's all I've got on that side of things. Apart from that, it seems that David Cain has gone to ground after blowing up the Bat Cave." Alfred had been badly injured during that and she's relieved that he's back in action. "And I've seen Ra's al Ghul in an airport in the middle east several weeks back. He was much, much older and if it wasn't for my biometric programs, I wouldn't have picked him. I believe he was travelling to the States, but again … he's disappeared. It wouldn't surprise me if the League were to try and take advantage of what's happening here, though. Maybe I'm just paranoid."


"No, wait, back up, Babs," Dick says, holding one hand up. "I want to hear that first bit again. Damian's gone, Dick's right, and you're getting better armor." He swivels his head, peering into the corners of the room. "Do we have surveillance in here? Could we play that on a loop, and skip all the bad news? I know from experience that you know how." With a quick sigh, he settles back to his spot on the wall. "I'll keep an eye out for any capital-A Assassins while I'm dodging werewolves and Dracula, then."

Glancing at Tim, Dick adds in a woeful tone, "Alfred would be fine. He doesn't do that disappointed thing with his eyes when you mess up." Then, with a raised eyebrow and an askance look, he asks the younger man dubiously, "Wait — you let Damian talk to your girlfriend? I take back everything I said about you being smart." A quick shake of his head, then: "I'm a little offended that you didn't think of me when you needed a wingman." He slides the fingertips of one hand back and forth across the blue insignia on his chest. "C'mon, Red. It's right there in the name."


Tim emits a soft sigh. "I didn't let Damian do anything. It was Steph. Spoiler. Whatever. And it… was complicated." The mess that was Tim/Robin's lives continues to baffle Tim two years later. Because. "And they met, and — ugh. He was purporting to be me at the time, well, Robin me, not me-me. And then I had to clarify that we were not the same person." Pause. "It was a mess. He was not my wingman." Tim's throat clears, "And believe it or not, I really don't need a wingman. Truly. I have a girlfriend. Maybe." This seems like the kind of thing Tim should know definitively.

Talk of the League, however, has Tim walking his now empty mug to the sink. He draws off both his gloves and begins filling the sink with soapy water. "I…" he sucks on the inside of his cheek. "…think you're right to be concerned about them, Babs. The League is opportunistic and, if they're paying attention, will use things to their advantage." He rinses his mug and reaches for a towel to dry the cup. "They've shown us they take advantage of," he polishes the glass so it shines, "whoever and whatever they can."


"You want the bit where I said Kanes helping me with my armour?" Babs teases Dick a little more. "Sure, I can do that." She knows which bit he wants to loop and she's not going to give him the pleasure.

"Wait, you maybe have a girlfriend? You … don't know?" the redhead just shakes her head. "Have you spoken to the young woman, in question?" another tease. At least it's taking the focus off her. "And I thought you were otherwise taken, Dick."

"Well, I'm not borrowing trouble yet" she notes in relation to the League "and I don't want you two to do so either. Keep your eyes open, do what we normally do and keep working together. We've enough on our plates at the moment." They both know that she'll have her systems configured to watch for Ra's and anything League related.

Finishing her own tea, she follows Tim example and rinses her mug. "I need to do a work out and shower. Kane should be arriving for breakfast soon … and then I've got a lot of work ahead of me today."


"The whole thing, Oracle," Dick corrects the hacker. "Damian's gone, Dick's right, Babs is getting better protection. It'll be my own personal 'peace of mind' mixtape." He glances over at Tim, raises an eyebrow at the 'maybe,' and adds, "Maybe for the remix we can add, 'Tim's love life is going great.'" He reaches out to ruffle Red Robin's hood and, by extention, muss the hair underneath. "And hey, wingman doesn't mean I'm taking anyone home. I just have to run interference with her friends and talk him up to the lady in question. Simple."


Tim's cheeks flush bright crimson under his hood at Babs's assessment, "I don't know! I figure I'll find out when I introduce her as my girlfriend and gauge the reaction." He issues Babs a one shouldered shrug, "I come by this honestly. Dad wasn't any good at this stuff either." The ruffling of his hood has Tim's arms raising, "Hey hey hey! Watch it! It's all static!" He attempts to smooth it after and notes, "No wingmen necessary. Believe me." His throat clears.

"And right. Sun will be up soon. I should jet. Gotta decide ons chool today, I think."


"Getting better protection?" Babs snickers as she places her cup on the side and looks over to Dick. Tim just gets chuckle and hug "You might want to try talking to the young lady, first." Of course Babs is likely the worst person to take romance advice from.

"Take care, Tim. I'll be around if you need me." Which leaves her looking at Nightwing "You know, we don't see enough of you. Drop by more often…" He's also welcome to stay for a while.

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