Thanks For All the Fish

July 31, 2016:

Jason and Tim don't know each other, but almost do.

Chinatown Restaurant

Characters

NPCs: Seating Hostess

Mentions: batman, nightwing

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The hole in the wall restaurant does a decent business - it seems to operate fairly well in addition to being a supposed 'front'. If there is any sort of raid, there won't be any illicit information found — just a delicious menu and some really pissed off regulars. It's rare that they get 'tourists' coming into the restaurant which is why the recent visit garnered attention.

The hostess has been warned, however, to keep an eye out for some others who might be arriving and take them to the VIP room.

It might be odd that a place like this even -has- a VIP room.

Armed with cookies in a very prettily decorated tin (that Alfred insisted Tim take despite long objections about the appearance of Robin Red or otherwise carrying around a tin emblazoned with pink daisies), Red Robin walks into the restaurant. It's an unusual sight to be sure; Tim isn't even sure the last time he walked anywhere openly in costume.

A sidelong glance is given to the hostess. "Hi," there's no question that Tim feels awkward at this moment. "I'm here for steamed fish. Raw around the bones. I've been told it's the best."

At first, the hostess' eyes widen as the costumed vigilante enters the little restaurant. Then, at the request, she narrows her eyes and gives an exasperated sigh. "Are you really here to eat," her eyes go to the decorative tin the other is holding, "Or are you here to present that?"

So much for this being a meeting place. It won't be anymore now that the location has been comprimised. Hopefully the restaurant will be able to stay.

Tim's lips hitch up on one side into a boyish side-grin. "You got me," he offers as he lifts a single hand from said tin. "If it's helpful though, I could eat." Probably. If the fish is any good.

His cheeks puff out with an iota of exasperation and his neck cranes to peer around the restaurant.

There's another sigh from the hostess before she calls one of the servers over to lead the vigilante to the VIP room. Maybe an order is placed, maybe not. He'll have to wait and see.

The VIP room is fairly small…a table seating up to six is there and the decor is sparse, but in theme with the rest of the restaurant. The server gestures for the vigilante to wait here. Alone.

It's actually a couple of minutes before Red Hood appears, "Seriously? You thought it was a good idea to come in costume? This isn't Halloween." He's wearing his own 'uniform' of his leather jacket, armored suit beneath, and his shiny, expressionless red helmet.

And sit Red Robin does. His gloved hands fold together atop his cookie tin, and he waits.

"We don't know each other. You may know a lot of secrets, but I'd like to keep some semblance of distance," Tim answers flatly. After the whole mess of the last year, he's not taking risks. Not the same way, anyways. "You're decked in your helmet, I come with my own security blanket." He shrugs.

"Besides," his throat clears, "because we've never met, it seemed prudent to meet this way. I've met most of the crew in this capacity." His lips press together and he points to the cookies, "Alfred sends a gift. And his regards. Don't know if anyone told you, but he wasn't okay for awhile. Back on his feet now though."

Red Hood was going to ask which one he was, but the other beats him to it. Red Hood crosses his arms at his chest and watches the other, "I'm not going to ask your name. I'm not stupid. What do they call you though? You the next 'Robin'?" He looks the other up and down, "They didn't make you wear the booty shorts, huh?"

The gesture to the cookie tin pulls Red Hood's attantion and he uncrosses his arms and steps just a little closer to the table. "Alfred wasn't? Is he ok? Maybe he should retire in luxury." How -old- is Alfred now?

"Red Robin," Tim answers dryly. "And I'm not even Robin-proper anymore," he exhales with some measure of exasperation. "The latest model," because that's what they are, isn't it, "is a bit prickly, but I was between you and the new guy." His lips purse at the thought of the booty shorts, "I objected. Loudly. So, it never happened."

Discussion of Alfred instinctively softens Tim's features. "The batcave suffered an explosion…?" it's almost a question. "I wasn't around," he attempts not to glower, "but Alfred was quite hurt. I'm not sure he's at his best yet, but he's definitely on the mend. And agreed. I don't think he's likely to retire until he sees Bruce give up the mask." Pause. "And even then."

Red Hood pulls off his gloves and reaches to open the tin to look at the cookies inside for a moment. His head tilts to Red Robin, "So you were the replacement." There's another masked stare, "At least he let you live."

The talk of Alfred also softens him some and the fact that this more recent 'Robin' used Bruce's name, Red Hood reaches up to press a panel on the helmet, loosening it enough so that he can remove it. Beneath, he's still wearing a domino mask but now he can actually take a cookie to eat. It's looked at a moment before he takes a bite, his eyes closing in a moment of sheer, nostalgic bliss.

A couple breaths are taken before his eyes open and he looks at Red Robin, "So you're just the delivery boy?"

"Yeah, just a poor man's Dick as it turns out," Tim answers with a smirk as he eyes Red Hood. "But then, I think all of us were. That guy has been the golden boy since day one. He manages another twitch of a smile. "He's pretty unaware of it too."

His lips twist to the side, "They told me you died — " and then his hands raise into the air. " — I only heard one side. I thought it was Joker." His jaw tightens.

"And I'm basically a glorified delivery boy today. Dick didn't even want me doing that," Tim shrugs. "He wants to talk. Everyone tells me they want to talk." He smirks again, "Gives me the heebie jeebies. I thought the bat way was to take everything you feel, bury it, and ignore it for decades. Shows what I know."

"He's aware," Red Hood offers around the cookie and takes another. "And I did and it was." Talk of Nightwing has him tensing and talk of his death isn't helping. "They really mourned, didn't they." His voice is flat at that non-question. "How long did they wait before picking you up? A week? Two?"

At the mention of Dick wanting to talk, he gives a grunt. "Of course he does. Because he doesn't get it. Like you said, he's the 'golden boy'. His shit doesn't stink."

"To be honest, if it's any comfort, Batman didn't want to take on another Robin," Tim says earnestly. "He was taking risks." He presses his lips together tightly. "I'd put it together. I was a kid, and I'd figured out that Bruce was Batman and that Dick was once Robin and became Nightwing. So, as a kid, I went to Dick and asked him to go be Robin again… he wasn't really into that."

Tim sucks on the inside of his cheek. "Yeah. He is the golden boy. He frequently feels the need to explain that Bruce was hard on him too. Which I can believe. But it's not the same as being compared to a predecessor. He doesn't know what it is to be told he won't match up to the Robin that came before him." Pause. "Either of them."

"It's not a comfort," Red Hood states bluntly. He sits then, putting a booted foot up on the table and leaning back in his chair…but not before he takes another cookie. The younger protege is considered for a long moment, "Why did they send you, really? You know he said that you wanted to talk to me and I called him on that bluff since you didn't know me and I didn't know you. I was dead." Sort of prevents socializing.

"So…why are you really here? Obviously you were told about the cookies…"

"To ask where you've been," Tim offers with a small raise of his eyebrows. "I've known of people coming back from the dead, and it's never turned out well." He swallows hard, "I recently spent some time in the company of people who — " his head tilts to the side " — see final solutions to problems."

His throat clears, "Look, I want to check in for a few reasons. I don't know why you're back, but I want to keep the family safe. Oddly, despite not knowing you, it includes you. I admired you before you died. I hero-worshipped you, Dick, and Bruce." A smirk punctuates the last, the irony not lost on Tim.

Red Hood chews on the cookie as he listens to Red Robin, his eyes behind the domino staring at the other. "You hero-worshipped -me-? Didn't they tell you that I was a screw up? A psycopath? Way too violent for Batman's M.O.?" There's a smirk then before he pushes the tin out of the way and leans forward on the table. "I'm probably more safe than you. Unlike you lot, I'm not afraid of permanently ending my enemies so they can't keep on coming after me."

"Yeah. I did. Look, you may have been labelled all of those things by people around me, but you still kept Gotham safe," Tim clarifies as he leans back in his seat. "And fair enough. You might be safer in a way, but maybe you aren't. It all depends on who your enemies are." There's a long pause. "Whoa re your enemies?"

"Except Gotham didn't return the favor." Red Hood pushes back from the table and stands. He moves to one of the doors and takes the to-go bag from the server and brings it back to the table. "Your fish. On the house. This time." It's set before the other former-Robin. He then grins, but it's not actually due to amusement, "Everyone's my enemy, kid. You and the other Bats included. You stay out of my way, I'll stay out of your's. Got it?"

The comment actually has Robin softening further. "It doesn't have to be this way. They didn't get over it; they're still not over it. At least, I don't think they are." His lips press together tightly, "You don't have enemies if you don't want them. You can have a family if you want it. A place to belong. Maybe you don't think you want that, but having stepped out of it for awhile — " he hmms quietly " — I know its value more than I used to."

He scrubs his face. "And thanks. For all the fish."

"Please," Red Hood scoffs, "They didn't care. Dick talks big, but he didn't care then and he doesn't care now…it's just something so that he won't feel guilty." As if he knows their minds. Maybe he thinks he does. "And Bruce never cared. I was a poor replacement and everyone knew it." He returns back to the tin and covers it back up — the cookies are going to come with him. No sharing.

"I'm one of the ones you try to put in jail…or Arkham," although the latter is notoriously easy to break out of. "Don't try to pretend that any of that will be overlooked." He grabs the tin and tucks it under his arm, "I highly suggest you don't come here again unless you actually want to dine."

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