The Bat Legacy

August 25, 2016:

Batman and Red Robin spar, but Tim's heart isn't in it. He gets called out.



NPCs: None.

Mentions: supergirl darce red_hood nightwing


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Batman and Tim are squared off on the training mats. There are days to work on technique, and days to work on tactics, and today is technique— so Batman's wearing an old martial gi that's so ancient the black has faded to frosty grey, and the durable stictching is finally wearing through in places. The sole ornament is a black belt tied around his hips, the stiff cotton long since rendered about as sturdy as a piece of rope.

He circles with Tim with his hands bladed out in front of him— forcing Tim to adapt and switch styles. Moments earlier— kung-fu. Now— shotokon karate. Few people in the world have the breadth of skill Batman does in martial styles, and he switches from one to the other as effortlessly as breathing.

He steps into Tim's range with a peculiar creeping of toes and knees, almost gliding forward, then lunges with a four-strike attack— punch, punch, slashing chop, elbow strike. He throws a powerful roundhouse kick from his rear leg, the /actual/ attack, and steps back into a fighting stance, face calm and utterly inscrutable.

"You're slipping," he tells Tim, quite correctly— the younger man's not quite on his game as usual. A merciless opening that gets exploited on tactics day, but technique time— that's reserved for improvement, not application.

The kick throws Tim off his balance, causing him to meet the mat with the kind of reverence usually reserved for places of worship. Prostrate he falls, chest against the mat, and he lingers there longer than he ought. Technique is definitely not up to par. His hands press against the mat with a vague groan, and the younger man presses himself to his knees before moving back to the floor for just a moment's reprieve. Nearly positive Batman won't grant such a desire, causes him to press back to his feet moments later, hands lifted to protect his face.

His arms are up, ready to block, and he recalls a different voice that would tell him he'd just died every time she got a hit in. His head shakes. "Distracted," he counters wryly. The word has no real humour to it, no boyish charm, just open honesty. He stares at Batman a few beats, and comes back with his own assault, punch, kick, punch, elbow strike. But there's no heart in the movements, just the machinations of someone knowing this is what they're supposed to do.

"I saw Jason. Took him Alfred's cookies. He really hates you and Dick." While it's a statement more than a conversation starter, it's pretty obvious Tim intends it to be the latter. "And us. All of us."

Batman's deflections are textbook perfect, but Tim uses the proper response to a shotokonate style, and the elbow strike smacks into Bruce's collarbone. Done properly on an unready target, it'd cripple them and remove them from the fight instantly.

"I know how he feels. Feeling betrayed. Unwanted. It hurts and you want to share that hurt with everyone." He slaps aside a whipping punch, falling back, and curls into a Southern Style panther stance, claws facing claws, toe touching the mat for balance.

"Looks like you didn't get shot, so you're ahead of my expectations."

"Thanks?" it's more a question than a word of appreciation. "It's more than that," Tim offers quickly. "I think he feels cast aside." Pause. "Like I did when Damian turned up." The memory is something of an oddity, especially as Tim has found himself distancing from it. "But it doesn't matter, does it?"

There's a pause and Drake shakes his head, "You died and everyone moved on?" There's skepticism at Batman being able to know how anyone feels. "I think he's taking it too personally. None of this is personal. We do what we can. We pass on the mantle to someone else. It's necessity. I expect it to happen to you after you're gone, and to me after I'm gone."

He doesn't go on the assault, merely waiting at the edge of the mat with his hands still high.

Batman steps forward, shifting to Wing Chun for the improved movement it offers, and snaps his wrists out in short, oddly birdlike circular strikes, attempting to bat away Tim's hands and make an opening. His steps are short and almost mincing, but he's so firmly rooted to the the ground that when he leaps into a high kick at Tim's head, it's almost enough to take someone by surprise.

"I've been beaten," he reminds Tim. "Lost. Humiliated. That's hard to get over. I did— Jason didn't. Maybe he's not as strong as I thought he was. Anger clouds justice, turns it into vengeance." He steps back a half pace, inviting Tim's assault.

"But this isn't about Jason, today, is it," he says, with that peerless ability to read people.

And it does (kind of) take Tim by surprise. Collapsing back to the mat, Tim groans lightly. It's not irrecoverable. He pushes himself back up to a stand and steps back from Batman. The invitation isn't missed, or ignored. There's a quick succession punch, punch, kick. And then Tim's weight shifts to his front leg while his back leg sweeps across the floor. He's not an acrobat, but the move is easy enough — although it would be made easier if he had his bo staff.

Tim nods lightly. Right. Even Batman has been defeated. "No, it's not," he states blandly. "It's about me."

And with that he's on the assault again, this time leading with a kick and following with a chop towards Batman's neck. He backs up. "Kara came to see me yesterday to apologize for — " he lifts his hand, no, this is not girl trouble. "I responded… coolly." His lips purse. "I think I'm turning into you." And that does bother Tim.

Batman deflects the kick with a high knee and turns his shoulder into the chop, taking it on the point of densest muscle and bone. He steps back and shifts again, feet moving fast, arms loose— Jeet Kune Do?

He's quiet for a bit, almost to the point Tim might tihnk he's not responding. "You're seeing that Lewis woman," Batman observes. "Kara's been out of the picture. Kara wanted something more serious, and you realized this life—" he exchanges a series of counterstrikes with Tim, taking two blows to his ribs but the sacrifice earns him a chance to hit Tim with a push-trip combo.

"-doesn't allow for real relationships." He slams a knee into the mat, barely missing Tim as the man evades the followup, and handsprings away to make space.

"Kara didn't take it well, did she."

The trip sees Tim fall into the mat. His hands extends and he rolls back onto his back. "Not… quite," Tim offers quietly. "We had a bit of a falling out a few months back." He swallows hard. "Kara got busy, and I focused on all of this. She came to apologize for hurting me." He swallows hard. "I told her she didn't." Pause. "And I almost believed it."

"She purported some crap about how I deserve better," he squints back at Batman. "And I disagreed. The rest of the world has all of these brilliant notions of relationships, but this world that we're in, I don't have time. I couldn't have time." He purses his lips, "Her busy life did us both a favour."

"And yeah, I am seeing Darcy. It's definitely not serious," and that's the truth of the matter, he actually smirks following the words.

He winces at the last. "No, she didn't take it well."

Batman steps into a low tai-chi stance and advances slowly on Tim. He's a brilliant martial artist but this is, possibly, Batman's most deceptive and most dangerous martial form, his mind focused on the totality of zen and redirecting effort. If there was every anything truly mystical about Batman, he skirted the edges of it in tai-chi.

"Most people only know how to live their lives. Few others can live for others. A very small number of us have the drive, and ability, to serve."

He eyes Tim, eyes lidded. "This is a hard lesson, Robin," he says, arms moving in curving passes to bypass Tim's strikes. "You have to decide what you'll live your life for. You can live it for vengeance, for… justice, for fame, for glory. You can live it for others. Or live for yourself." He swings a hammerfist at Tim's temple, stopping it a half-inch before it'd be a deadly strike.

He steps back, clasps his hand in fist in a martial salute, and /bows/ to Tim, slightly. "I can only say this: enlightnment can never be found in self-service." He stands, resting his thumbs on his gi's belt.

The deception is effective. Even after years of training under and working with Batman, this particular combative form will always work on Tim. Its logic, while sound, does not rely on something linear. Meditation slips outside the realm of the logical. He freezes as Batman almost strikes him with his fist.

Tim bows, following his mentor's posture. "Then I must becoming damned enlightened by now." His jaw tightens, "But it's more than that." He takes a step back, seemingly preparing for the rest of his evening — destined to go Robin somewhere else. "Idealism is a luxury we can't have. None of us. But it's also something worth preserving in others." His eyes lid lightly. "I've been working with you for years and I think I finally understand you." He turns on his heel, leaving Batman to admire the coolness of his back, "We're poison for others because we have to be. Because having them close, caring too much about them, letting them know we care about them only puts them in more jeopardy. You're cold because you have to be." He swallows. "And now I am." His cheeks put out with breath and he treads to the exit, "That's the true Bat legacy."

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