I'm Here

August 27, 2016:

Kara sends Tim a text. They meet. Each step forward comes with a step backwards

McIlhenny Towers Hotel, Gotham City

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Superman, Batman, Caitlyn Fairchild

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

While spending a day sequestered in Gotham U's library, Tim Drake had received a text from one his few ex-girlfriends. While he is, by no means, some kind of lothario, over the last week, he's had far more interactions with all of his romantic interests in recent memory than he'd had for years.

While the text had come yesterday, it'd taken Tim nearly twenty four hours to pay real attention to the text; Batman's words continue to roll over his mind, beckoning less rather than more connections with any of these women. The text had been an address to a hotel room in Downtown Gotham. He'd investigated before going, realizing that Kara Kent had reserved said room for two weeks, begging questions about what she's doing in Gotham.

He'd debated staying away — taking time to lick his wounds and disappear back into his books. But then, he does care. It's easy enough to pretend he doesn't, but he does, and as such, he's come to the room at McIlhenny Towers. There's a gentle rap of knuckles on the door when he arrives — nearly hesitant as the former Robin shifts his weight from one foot to the other. "Kara?" he calls lightly. "You okay?"

The first day went without any word from Tim, and Kara began wondering if this was really the best course of action. But there's no room for doubts here; Kara made her choices and has to live with the consequences, whatever they may be. She's watching TV, GNN, when Tim arrives and knocks on the door. "Hang on," she calls out and then turns off the TV with the remote. A few seconds later, and she opens the door. Kara's in her civvies, of course, and she's wearing her glasses, so full disguise mode for her, it seems. She smiles at Tim, and for a moment she moves as if to hug him, but she catches herself. "Hi," she says with a smile. She opts to instead do a 'lean-in' arm around the shoulders kind of hug. "I wasn't sure if you…if you wanted to come. But I'm glad you did. Really gal. Ummm….come on in…" And she lets him inside the room.

Inside, Kara has a pair of upright suitcases in a corner, various sundries on the dresser, and a few boxes next to the room's table. On the bed, there's a large art paper pad on a sketching board, and an art portfolio laying on the table. Looks like in addition to watching the news, she was doing some sketch work.

The friendly hug turns a bit awkward as Tim takes just a little too long to return it. That piece of his brain designed to reciprocate such things is slow on the uptake, but eventually a single arm does respond. Lifting around Kara's midsection before dropping moments later.

He walks into the room and issues her a tight smile. "It's not — " his hand rakes through his mop of hair and he manages a more genuine, nearly bashful smile. "Things are just.. busy." A rather vague word to land on, but the one he does just the same. That same hand then tucks into the pocket of his jeans and he peeks around the room. "So. Gotham." His eyebrows draw together, "Staying awhile?"

And, Kara feels guilty for making things awkward…but trying to *not* make things awkward. She closes the door behind them and walks to the kitchenette. "Can I get you anything? The coffee and tea packets are pretty good. There's also a vending machine area with sodas and snacks." There's a bit of a hopeful tone in her voice as she asks, "Maybe I can order something for delivery? If you don't have anything more pressing and would like to…hang?"

The question Tim asks gets a not. "In a way, yes." She takes a deep breath, getting ready for what's coming next. "I'm moving to Gotham for a while. At least, a couple months." She nods to her artwork on the bed. "I've got about two dozen interviews next week; I'm looking for something in graphic design or other art jobs. But, I guess I can do the waitress thing too, if I have to," She shrugs a bit, smiling slightly. "After I know what job I can get and what I can afford, I'll get an apartment here." Kara takes another breath, not sure what Tim is going to think about all this, but she wants to get the obvious question out of the way. "I needed a change," she explains.

There's a tilt of Tim's head, a curious cant that can't make heads or tails of what he's being told. He leans against the frame of the doorway when she treads to the kitchenette, still feeling a bit awkward as he shifts his weight between one foot and then the other. "I can hang…" he offers lowly before adding, "but not too long. I have - " What does he have? "a test. To study for." Way to be specific, Tim. "In human anatomy II." He manages a toothy grin that never touches his eyes. "Doing well in the class though, so, shouldn't be too hard."

"Just… needed a change?" he repeats as a question with just a note of scepticism. "Gotham isn't where people go for a change, Kara. Most people run away screaming." There's another flicker of a smile that follows that. "So. You're… moving," there's a level of caution in the statement. "For a change." Pause. "To Gotham." He squints. He's not sure how he's supposed to respond. He runs his hand through his hair again. "A change I can understand. Gotham? Why Gotham?"

"I'm glad your classes are going well," Kara says with a smile. "Although, I never had any doubts that you would do well." And then, there's the awkwardness of trying to explain things. Kara moves to the table, taking a seat. "There's lots of reasons," she says. "Some of them make more sense than others when I explain them." There's a long pause as Kara tries to figure out how to word things without making the situation with Tim worse. "And yes, some of those reasons do involve what happened between us. But not in the way you think."

"Tim…I let things between us wither because I tried being Supergirl more than I should have. I let my life become unbalanced because I took advantage of the fact that I knew you, of all people, would understand. And you did, but I took it past the point things could be sustained. And…" She sighs, looking far less powerful than a locomotive right now. She's just a human woman, dealing with a lot of internal demons. "You know that I'm sorry and I blame myself for what happened. What happened between us is all on me. It happened because I let it happen. Because I couldn't imagine Supergirl not being needed anytime someone called for help. Like, there weren't other heroes or institutions that could do the job. That every person I helped was one less person for Kal to be worried about. I let Supergirl become more important than anything else, and that's not sustainable, either."

She looks to Tim, hoping that he's following and understanding what she's saying. "So. I need to learn how *not* to be Supergirl for every little thing. I need to learn how to let others help, be the heroes that they are and can be. I chose Gotham because I needed a place where there's structure. Where there's heroes that can protect the city, but things in place where I *can't* be Supergirl. It needed to be a place with people I trust in charge who don't need me. I need to learn how to just be Kara Kent, so that she and Supergirl can co-exist without one dominating the other." Kara looks back at TIm, her eyes full of hope. "Does that make sense to you?"

Tim doesn't know how he's supposed to react, and stands outside himself to think about the most Tim thing to say in response. And he manages, "It's good you're finding your priorities," because that is a think Tim Drake would normally say. "And it's good that you're taking the time to think about them." His eyebrows draw together lightly as he shuffles a bit further into the room. "But things in Gotham aren't ideal right now. There's — " his eyes widen slightly " — a lot of mysticism. The Bats aren't all prepared to deal with it. Our people aren't exactly ready — " He pauses. "The Bats aren't exactly ready." He's not one of them.

"I… am not Robin anymore. I made a choice," he lifts a hand, no he doesn't want to talk about it. "I need to put things together, not take them apart… so yes. I do kind of understand what you mean. Time away from the other side means not losing everything to the other side. I think."

And Kara just wants to go and hug Tim. She can see the pain, and the admission that Tim isn't Robin anymore, just kills her inside. Because she knows how much it means to him. But she knows *exactly* what he's feeling and going through. "That's…that's how I'm feeling. And, to tell the truth, I'm taking a full break from Supergirl. I took myself off the justice League roster. I didn't even bring the costume with me, it's still at the Metropolis apartment." Suddenly, Kara smiles wide. "You know, I really hope Caitlyn doesn't stretch it out too much from trying it on while she stays there."

Meanwhile, back in Metropolis….

The red-headed Amazonian woman strikes an imposing figure, fists on her hips, and she stands proudly in front of the full length mirror, her frame testing the limits of the Kryptonian fabric of the costume worn by someone a foot and a half shorter than her. "Look! Up in the sky! It's a birld, it's a plane! It's SuperCaitlyn!" And Caitlyn Fairchild goes running around the living room, arms outstretched and grinning like a maniac as she makes *woooosh* noises.

Back to Planet Reality….

Kara's smile fades, but but is still there as she continues. "Tim…I don't have the right to have any hope about…us. I screwed that up, and…" She holds up her hands and shakes her head. "Okay, moving on from the broken recording now. The point is, no matter what, I still care about you. Even if it's just as a friend, I'm here for you if you ever want to talk. We've both made mistakes, it sounds like, and we're both trying to find our ways forward as best we can. What else can anyone really do?"

Blinking hard, Tim struggles to process this information. His mind tries to come to some understanding of the world as it is rather than as he felt it was. "Kara, you know that you can't just do this, right? Come here to — " he swallows around the lump in his throat, acknowledging his status as poison in the lives of those he cares about. "Unbelievable. This is unbelievable! Four months. You had four months! Four months to change your mind. Four months to come back here, and work things out. Four months to make this decision. And now? Now you're here? I was moving to Metropolis — I'd found an apartment, I'd applied for school, I was moving." His eyebrows draw together. "I need — I need — " he reaches out for the doorframe to support him. He takes a sharp breath. "I need to go." There. That's better. He turns on his heel back towards the door.

The words hit Kara like blows from the Hulk. But she takes them; she deserves it. Tim moves to the door, and Kara is right thre with him, not using Super-speed but a normal pace. "Tim, I understand. Really, I do. You have every right to hate me. I made a terrible mistake and ended up abandoning you. That'll haunt me for the rest of my life. But I'm here. Now. With Batman's permission and following all his rules. I'm not going to abandon you again. Ever." But, she doesn't want to make Tim feel trapped, so she steps aside, sighing. "Tim…I'd do whatever it takes to fix things. If I could make everything better…make us better…by giving up my powers, I'd do it. In a heartbeat and with no regrets." She puts a hand on Tim's shoulder, trying to convey her affection for him. "I won't push you," she says as she sits on the bet, looking at Tim. "I'll let you know where I am. It's up to you if you ever want to see me again. I…I hope that you do. I won't abandon you, but I'll understand if you abandon me."

The hand on his shoulder causes Tim to pinch the bridge of his nose and clamp his eyes shut. "I need.. I need to go. I'm sorry, Kara," he faces her more pointedly, "I just need to go." And with that, he slips out the door, the confusion weighing on his mind with the kind of force he can't process.

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