Staff meeting

July 29, 2016:

Roy reports back to Dick and Tim with what he gained from his meeting with Jason.

Rooftop

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Red Hood, Starfire, Batman

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

This -could- have been handled by a simple phone call. Something along the lines of "Hey, Dick, we found Jase." Followed by a line of details.

However, -because- of the Jason negotiations, Roy had a simple condition.

So there Roy was, waiting for Dick Grayson. And apparently, Dick was bringing a companion, mostly because the former Robin was having a -little- problem with this request.

"Dick, bring me a couple tins of Alfred's cookies."


Dick takes pride in gently insinuating himself into situations until it's time to strike. Even among the bat-clan, he's understood to be a particular expert on the stealthy approach.

You know what's not conducive to stealth? Tins full of rattling cookies.

So instead of a hushed, unexpected whisper in his ear, Roy is going to hear a clatter of baked goods on metal, then a whispered oath, about thirty feet distant. If he peers into the shadows, he'll even see a glint of light on metal. A second later, Dick is fully in view, looking mournful and holding out the festively decorated tin he brought. "I swear, if you just had the munchies, Arsenal…" he mutters. "This is really cramping my style."


Roy -could- have sworn there wasn't just a glint of light on metal. That Dick had -help- getting some of this over here, since the clatter had sounded like it was coming from a couple locations -before- coming together into one and then coming. Probably bringing a Robin or some sidekick along who needed the stealth practice with -rattling tins-.

Still, if the hidden companion wasn't saying anything, well, Roy would just go with it. Perhaps Dick's friend would show themselves, perhaps not.

Taking the tins happily, Roy puts a beacon on the cookie tins, and then taps his earpiece.

"Hey, K'tten, on my mark, beam 'em up."

The cookies de-razzes.

"Ok, great thanks," Roy says, rubbing his hands. "So the news. We found Jase. He's, uh… not happy with you. Or the Bat, for that matter. So like, it might not be esay to approach him."


Nightwing watches as Roy beams away the cookies, folding his arms over the streamlined blue bird on his chest. At least the archer didn't open and inspect the goods. Dick may have gotten a little hungry on the way over and decided to extract a finder's fee percentage from the haul. The allure of Alfred's cooking is not to be denied.

Once the cookies are gone, Roy finally starts dishing out details. Nightwing lets the silence linger for a second after Harper finishes. Then: "Jason not being happy with someone?" he asks, incredulous. "That's your news?" He reaches up to press the back of his thumb against his forehead. "I was hoping you could give me a little more than that, Arse," he says with slow patience. "Grass, perhaps. I hear it's a specific color. Any wisdom to impart on the relative wetness of water?"


"Well, yeah, Dick. He -is- willing to listen, at least, though. Though probably not to you or Bat-daddy. But he -did- seem interested in Alfred's cookies," Roy replies, waving a hand. "So I figure, you get Alfred's cookies to him, he might be a lot more willing to work with us and stuff. So, um… I figure, maybe if you send one of the Robins who hasn't met him yet, with Alfred's cookies, he'll listen to what you guys want to do."


The crossed arms tighten. "You want me to send one of the younger guys into a totally bonkers assassin's headquarters armed with cookies?" Dick asks, eyes narrowing. "A bonkers assassin who had what they had until it was all ripped away from him? Really? Connect these dots for me, Roy." After a short sigh, he adds, "I mean, don't get me wrong: it'd be pretty funny to have Damian try it. But it's supposed to be a peace offering."

The aerialist turns around and starts to pace. "No. I don't need him to like me. I need him to talk to me. I need to know what happened, and why he didn't contact us, and what the hell he thinks he's accomplishing," he muses, half to Roy and half to himself. "He's my brother. I'm not going to let his jealousy dictate our relationship."


It’s only then that Dick’s friend feels the need to interject. “I’ve been worse places.” Tim slips out of the shadow and offers a two fingered wave. While it might seem like an exaggeration, the honesty behind the statement is rather apparent. His arms cross over his chest, “Besides, Jason and I are effectively strangers. I know of him, and he really doesn’t know me. No baggage besides that which all of us share.”

His tongue clucks, “And you’re the golden boy.” Pause. “You know that right? At least he didn’t have to aspire to fill my or Damian’s,” he cringes, “shoes.” It’s something that Tim has been keenly aware of for years. “So, I’m not sure you’re the best to have that conversation… if you want to open the lines of communication.”


"That -is- a peace offering," Roy replies, with a shrug. "Right now there's a lot of history between the two of you. I don't think he's so far gone that he's gonna shoot a kid. At least give the guy some credit for not shooting -me-. I was testing his patience, you know, the way I can."

Of course, it -was- easier to do with Kori around. The princess was much more empathic about these things in getting ruffled feathers soothed.

"Besides, I think, he really does miss -some- things. Like Alfred. Can't you just, well… get Alfred out of the mansion and sort things out with him listening…?"

And then Tim speaks.

"AAAGH!"

Taking a deep breath, Roy covers his chest. "Damn it, I KNEW you were there and I still forgot about you!" He glances at Dick. "You've got him trained pretty well… and you know, he's right. You were always the golden boy."


Snorting with amusement at Roy's shock, Dick gives Tim an approving grin. Nice one. "I can't help it if I'm good, okay?" he says with an exaggerated shrug and a roll of his eyes. "It's not like Batman plays favorites. He can be just as much of a pain with me as he is with everyone else." He turns to Tim and holds out a hand, asking, "Do you know he did the mid-sentence disappearing thing with me the other day? Me! Unbelievable. You'd think I was the police commissioner."

He shakes his head, drops his arm to his side, and continues, "I'm not saying he's going to come out guns blazing at the first girl scout to drop by selling Thin Mints. I'm saying that Jason is Jason. Just because he doesn't know you doesn't mean he won't be an asshole to you." He looks over at Tim. "Batman said this was on me. I'm not putting you in there alone — it's just not going to happen on my watch. It's too risky."


"Eh, so what if Jason's an asshole? So long as he's not spitting out poo at this Robin here… we've met, have we? I'm not sure… anyway, just let them two talk trash about you, and see how it goes. If you don't want to let -him- go alone, then let -me- go with him," Roy responds. "Or Kori. Just… you gotta know when to hold off, and right now, I'm telling you, this is not a situation where Jason wants you involved."

Pause. And then Roy turns to Robin.

"Although, you know, I'm not sure if this is one of those things where he has repressed needs for Dick."


"Jason has never been great at repressing his needs," Nightwing answers dryly. "As you may have noticed by this insistence that I not show up. I guess having someone there is better than no one. But I'm not sitting it out. Jason has always thought it was his right to tell people what to do, and he's wrong."

After a smirk and a shrug, Dick adds, "This is the Red Robin. Apparently we're color coded, now." Whether Roy has met Tim under another name or not, he couldn't say. But Drake has made it clear what his preferred callsign is now.


"Well then -go- with… Red Robin, if you must…" Roy responds, eyeing Tim, before squinting. "Does this make you Cock Robin now, Dick?"


Nightwing raises an eyebrow. "'Now'?" he echoes. "What makes you think it's a new development?" If Kori has been telling tales to boost Roy's ego, he might have to have words with her…


Tilting his head, Roy throws his hands up. "Man, we're not doing this locker room measuring thing, are we? See, this is the kinda thing that makes Jason feel… inadequate."


"Yeah, I really didn't want to be confused for the other Robin," because no one wants to be confused for Damian. No one. "Costume change wasn't optional." A sidelong stare is cast towards Nightwing. "Nor was the name change." Because really.

"And I can go. I'm not exactly concerned about dealing with an asshole would-be assassin. Sort of feels like old hat now." His gaze is cast downward and his throat clears, "I mean," he clarifies, "assassins are a dime a dozen. We live in Gotham."


"Everything makes Jason feel inadequate," Nightwing answers Roy with a shake of his head. "I'm not going to make the obvious joke about hand-me-down briefs, though." He pauses. "Well, okay, I sort of just made it. But I'm serious — the guy's jealousy has a cutting edge. If you do meet with him, Red? It's safest to play to his ego. If he starts to feel threatened or inferior, he gets mean fast."

He gives Tim a hesitant half-smile. "I know you can handle it. It's just… this guy's not just some asshole or some assassin. He's family. He knows us inside and out."


"Wait, correct me if I'm wrong, Dick, but Red Robin here… isn't he like, after Jason's time?" Roy interjects. "He doesn't actually -know- him, does he?"

Frowning as he looks Tim up and down, Ro waves a hand. "Plus, he probably doesn't know about all the new gadgets Batman has come up with since then. So… arm him with a bunch of those and go." Pause. "And Alfred's cookies. Don't forget those."


"Yeah, he is, but I'm not talking gadgets. I'm talking mindset," Nightwing explains. "Our strategies, our scruples, our approaches to the problems we face." He crosses his arms and shrugs. "At the end of the day, that stuff can mean a lot more than what kinds of preparations you tucked into your belt before you left for the night."


"Are you saying Red Robin here is an exact clone of you -or- Batman," Roy protests. "I mean, just look at him. He's calling himself -Red Robin- to make a point of being different from you and the other RObins."

Frowning, Roy glances back at Tim. "For example, he's got a staff. That's got a longer reach than your two sticks."


"I'm not saying anything," Nightwing says, putting on his most infuriatingly cryptic smile and leaning toward Roy. (Which, when you're dealing with the BatFam, is saying something.) "You just have to ask yourself, would Batman do that? Would he clone his sidekicks to ensure that Gotham would be guarded perpetually by a horde of identical, perfectly trained crimefighters?"

Leaving that in the air for a second, Nightwing draws both of his stun batons, whirls them together end to end, and twists. The two lock together, then extend several more feet into a bo staff with electrical prods at either tip. "You were saying?"


There’s a quiet hrm, “You know how many folks around here are at least a little familiar with our strategies?” Tim’s lips press together into a tight solid line. “AND I’m more than just what Batman made me. I’m more than not being as good an acrobat as you or as aggressive as him – “ the thoughts cause his lips to edge slightly downwards, memories of his own training as Robin are a constant contrast and comparison of those that came before him; his own comparisons didn’t come from nowhere, after all.

”But I have my own strengths. And he doesn’t know them. That has to count for something?” He offers another shrug. “And I’ve learned more strategies anyways. Thinking is kind of my forte, y’know.”

He smirks at Roy’s mention of his staff, “My staff does have good reach.” Pause. “AND I know how to use it.”


"Yes," Roy responds without any hesitation. "Yes he would."

"But…" Roy goes on. "He can't. Unless he's gotten ahold of a cloning vat, it's not happening. I'm betting he may have taught you general strategy, but you each have your own style, and I'd bet on -that-."

Roy pauses at Red Robin's line, before waving a hand at him. "There you go. Let him have a go at Jason already. There's only so much Dick he can take before he needs to try something else."


Nightwing frowns just a bit and makes a skeptical hum, eying Tim critically. When he speaks, though, his resigned tone of voice immediately makes it clear that he hasn't found any flaws in the argument. "You have a point," he admits reluctantly. "Not about your staff — although that's certainly hard to deny. Jason's tough, but you're smarter. Use that to your advantage and you should be okay."

He puts his hands to his hips and casts a mock-resentful glance at Roy. "Listen to you, playing peacemaker, getting the Robins to listen to each other. You angling for my job, Harper?"


"Don't want your job, Nightwing," Roy grins, giving Red Robin a thumbs up. "So, there ya go. If it makes you feel better, we can keep tabs on him and go back in if he needs any help. Anyway, last time we saw Jase, he was getting in deep in Chinatown, so go to this restaurant here…" Roy reaches into his pocket, pokes at his smartphone a bit, and then holds up the screen for Dick and Tim to look at. "Ask for the steamed fish. Be sure to make sure it's still raw around the bones… those are -the best-."


"Good. As we were just discussing, I'm a hard act to follow," Dick says with a smirk. He pays close attention to the instructions for finding Jason, although he's willing to let the others take the lead for now. Doesn't mean he won't be keeping a close eye on the situation. Honestly, he's still considering shadowing Tim to the meeting as surprise backup, just in case. One way or the other, he'll keep his plans to himself until he has to reveal them.

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