Bats At The Zoo

October 14, 2014:

Tim tells Babs and Dick about his job offer and doesn't get the response he expected.

Gotham Zoo

The Gotham Zoo is an urbanized jungle surrounded by high vaulted Belmont style fencing. Before the Cataclysm the Zoo was undermanned, few animals were kept within and most of it was off limits. It acted as more of a reserve for specialized animals (large cats, snakes and wolves). After the 09' quake the Zoo has undergone serious reconstruction, for almost two years the area was sealed away and forgotten which let it overgrow and nature reclaimed much of it.

Now, in the year 2014 the Zoo is thriving. The areas nature tookover have been built up around by habitat specialists to make for new homes for animals, along the Eastern seaboard Gotham leads and nationally it contends with Cincinnati for it's big cats diversity and numbers. Not surprisingly it is the leader in bat exhibits and has a great wolf enclave.

The zoo is open every workday (and saturdays) at 6 AM and closes at 10 PM.
The zoo is not open on sundays.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It's a beautiful fall day in Gotham. Which is to say it's light out and sunnier than usual through the grim grey sky that seems to brew overhead. Which means people are out and about enjoying the last remaining days of fall.

The zoo may not be the usual place for any of the bat-family to hang out; not in the early evening (pre-dark, post-class) — maybe if someone was trying to break in during the night, but not typically during daylight.

Messenger bag flung over his shoulder, and hanging across his midsection, Tim looks all college student today in his blue jeans and Gotham University hoodie — both a far-cry from the suit he'd worn yesterday. Meet here, he'd suggested. Well, more specifically, at the bat exhibit because Tim Drake has a rather adept sense of humour.

He sits on a bench in front of the enclosure as he stares at the large dark beats ahead of him. A cup tray, complete with three coffees rests on the bench beside him, and he drums his fingers on his leg thoughtfully.

A little girl shrieks and cries as she looks at the bats prompting Tim to shrug at her mother and offer, "They're not that scary. I mean. When they're behind glass anyways…"

"They aren't scary at all really….just misunderstood for the most part." a red haired, green eyed woman in a wheelchair offers as she approaches Tim. Smiling at the younger man, eyes twinkling, she says "This is a nice change, thank you for suggesting it." Babs has decided to wear plain blue jeans, a simple TShirt and hoodie, there's nothing to suggest that she is anything more than she seems - a disabled woman in a wheelchair meeting a younger… brother?

Dick Grayson isn't too far behind Babs, wearing jeans as well as his leather biking jacket. His hands are in his pockets as he strolls, noting the chosen spot for their meeting. "Dramatic. I'll give you that." Peering close to the glass, he watches the bats for a moment before looking over at the coffee, "Are those for us or are you pulling an all-nighter?"

The mother and her child look between the trio before disappearing towards the big cats exhibits. Arching both of his eyebrows, Tim glances at the coffee and then back to Dick, "Like I need that much coffee." Although, admittedly, these days he shoots coffee like some shoot liquor. "Yeah. Have a coffee." He grasps one from the tray and shifts off the bench. "Hey Babs," he grins, "no problem. Just seemed wise to enjoy the last of the fall days."

"Well if one of those is for me, I'll take it" Babs reaches and snags a coffee from the tray. There's a small smile playing around her lips. Directing her attention to Dick "Hello Dick, how are you doing? It's good to see you… " and then turning her face to the waning sunlight (what there is of it) Babs lets out a contented sigh "That was a good idea, Tim."

The sun worshipped appropriately, Babs turns her attention to her two companions and quietly sips her coffee, watching the two of them.

Dick Grayson takes the coffee and salutes the two with it, "Very considerate of you. Thanks for bringing it." He looks over at the mother and child for a moment before he looks back at the two. "You're in college. I remember what that was like…" and he wasn't even working nights then! He grins at Babs, "I'm doing all right, thanks. It's a nice way to enjoy an afternoon off." There's another smile, "I'm glad to see you out and about."

"Yeaaaah," Tim agrees with the insinuation that college is busy as his lips hitch up to one side almost sheepishly. "Been thinking about dropping a class. Cutting to four instead of five. So I have more time." He treads to the enclosure and gently puts his finger against the glass.

Babs watches Tims reaction critically, her green eyes assessing his facial expression and body language. "Oh really?" she says softly "Give you more time for what, exactly? Your night job…." she pauses slightly before adding "If that's the case, I'd recommend you rethink that." It's said mildly, but theres a degree of reproof as well. Focussing on Dick, Babs casts him a small smile "I told you I get out every so often." The coffee gets her attention and she relaxes, enjoying the surroundings.

"I think it's more time for him to have a social life," Dick grins, also taking a sip of his coffee. "I think that's a good idea. We all need a sense of perspective, I think. Otherwise…" he looks over at the bat house. He takes a moment before glancing over to Tim, "Is that why you invited us here? Not that I'm complaining…"

"Uh — " Tim begins and then shrugs. " — not really the night job. I'm managing that well enough. And not just social life stuff," which has Tim blushing even at the thought. His eyebrows draw together, "I got offered a job." He holds up his hand, "Only part-time. I'm not leaving school," he shrugs. "Just. Carving out something."

Blinking at that revelation, Babs just looks at Tim and sips her coffee for a minute or two. "I think," she says quietly "you need to start from the beginning. Don't leave anything out." Glancing at Dick she asks dryly "Is that the type of perspective you had in mind?"

Dick Grayson frowns at the revelation and turns, "Tim…is that the one that you mentioned to me earlier? I…don't think that this is a good idea. If they want you so badly, they'll wait until you're out of school…or the summer, at the very least. If it's a money thing, I'm sure that something can be arranged…" even if Bruce won't help out, he could.

Babs gets a shake of his head, "I knew about the offer, but I didn't think he'd take it."

"…Yes?" comes as a question more than a response to Dick's question. "I wasn't going to, it's just really rude not to go to a meeting. And she already had my name — " Tim shoots them both a shrug. Back towards Babs, he finally catches her up, "A week ago or two(?) I met a woman who was jogging in the park. I was doing calculus homework and she struck up a conversation… somehow my future came up," his eyebrows draw together, "and she sort of offered me a job. Kind of. Well a meeting." He shrugs. "So yesterday I took he meeting. Her name is Miranda Tate and she's the CEO of the Trutina Group. Said she'd work around school — "

Babs considers Tims explanation and then rests her right elbow on the arm of her chair, Babs drops her face to her fingers sho she can rub her forehead, almost like she is getting a headache. "Let's get this done first and then we'll take about the rest. Why, didn't you bring this to me BEFORE you took the meeting, Tim?"

A slow, deep breathe, Babs continues with a little frost in her tone "Let me lay this out for you: you were doing homework, an older woman stops jogging to talk to you, then talks about your future and she offers you a job. In the park. Someone you've never met before." taking another slow breath, Babs raises her head and fixes Tim with a flat stare before drinking down a mouthful of coffee. "Maybe I'm just paranoid but…. it seems awfully convenient, don't you think? If you had asked, I could have run background checks before you went." Looking at Dick, Babs raises her eyebrows "You knew about this … didn't it seem a little 'too good to be true'?"

Dick Grayson shakes his head, "Tim…it's not rude to decline a meeting when you're a -college student-." He pauses to let Babs talk before nodding, "Yes, I thought it sounded fishy and I said as much then. Background checks aside, there is no reason why you need to accept any sort of job while you're in school. Like I said, if it's a money thing, we can help out. If it's an ego thing," he reaches out to Gibbs-smack the other.

"Because there was a heck of a lot of stuff to bring up to you, Babs," Tim replies. "Between — " his eyes shift across their general vicinity and he lowers his voice " — metahuman trafficking, magical creatures in Gotham, vigilante murderers, iceboy, and girl problems, I've had a lot on my mind lately." And now a job offer.

"I don't know," he asks towards Babs, "is it? Honestly. We had a chat, she offered a meeting. Is that so implausible?" there's just a touch of self-deprecation in Tim's tone for those looking for it. "And that was before she had my name." He shrugs.

The smack to the back of his head has him leaning forward and then grasping the back of his head while his eyes lid tightly. "It's not a money thing! Gosh. Honest. And it's not…e go. It's. Direction. Life. Having something to work towards." Something that's his. "Stuff." He shrugs as if this explains everything.

Sighing Babs looks at Tim and says quietly "Tim, I worry about you. No, it's not entirely implausible but you're a bat, and that means that everything is more ….. complicated, you…" and she pauses and indicates the three of them "we, need to be more vigilant."

Babs pauses, sips her coffee and then tilts her head, her tone hardening slightly "And, young man, it is my choice whether I help you or not. Don't go making decisions on what you bring to me because you think you're imposing. If you don't want the help, that's one thing and I'll deal with it. But don't be making excuses you don't want to be a nuisance or you bring too much to me, that's for me to decide." Letting that thought sink in, Babs settles and sips her coffee. After a small period of time, her tone softer Babs says "Tell me about the actual job offer, the woman and the company. Everything you know."

"Don't make me smack you again, Tim. You're 18! You're not supposed to have direction! That's what college…or even after college is for!" Dick gives a sigh, "Yeah, it's weird. Very, very weird. Older women don't come up to guys doing calculus in the park and offer them a job interview. It's weird. It's fishy. I'd be incredibly wary and if I wanted direction, I'd tell her that I'd be happy to take an internship in the summer. Not while you're in school." Dick shakes his head and moves to lean against the wall near the glass window to the bat enclosure. "You're very smart, Tim. Don't be stupid now."

There's a flush of Tim's cheeks and his head turns back towards the bat enclosure because it's easier to stare at bats than get berated by either of his older siblings. "Well," he starts, while his eyebrows draw together, "it's something that's mine. If I want it." He cants his head to look at the pair of them and then runs his hand through his hair, "It's not that big a deal. Just a personal assistant." There's a pause. "But not just getting coffee, she already has someone for that."

His eyebrows knit go ether. "It's basically helping with research. Which to be honest isn't such a bad idea. There's like other duties as required. Galas. Probably running dry-cleaning… but research, right? I've always been good at that." He offers a one shouldered shrug. "She sent a contract," he squints. "I don't understand contracts, so… I'm going to get a lawyer to look at it — " he shrugs again and actually takes a step away from Dick, half-expecting to be slapped again.

"Dicks correct too, Tim. You're young, don't be in such a hurry to grow up. Direction can be…" Babs pauses and her lips quirk slightly "overrated." Looking at Dick, she nods slightly.

Looking back to Tim she says firmly "If you have a contract, I want you to have someone look over it. There is no question on this, Tim, contracts can be tricky. Have you spoken to Bruce about this? I would think one of his lawyers would be ideal."

"Personal assistant," Dick repeats. "That's another word for 'owning you'. You'll be at her beck and call. She'll dig into your personal life. You won't have a chance to go out at night much less date…much less go to school." He looks over at Babs, nodding, before he turns back to Tim, "By all means, have a lawyer go over it, but…seriously, can't we find something else that is your's besides this fishy scheme?"

"N-n-no," Tim replies towards Dick. "…does it? I honestly just want to carve out something I haven't inherited for once." He shrugs and then notes, "My folks' stuff," he doesn't talk about his parents often so he just glazes over it, "the night gig… TWICE over." He holds out his hands in front of him with another shrug. "I dunno. This is just there. And I want to not be in someone else's shadow for the rest of my life," Miranda's words. Not Tim's.

He nods at Babs, "Right. I haven't. But I will. Before I sign anything. Because I know not to do that without having a someone who knows what they're doing read it…"

Babs looks at Dick thoughtfully. His last words seeming to trigger her thoughts and she looks back to Tim. "Come and work with me. If you like research and it's not about the money, come and work for me. There's always research and, quite frankly, the company is often welcomed." she shrugs. "If however, you want to continue on this path, I want to do my own research and make sure you, and we, are safe. I'd ask to meet this Ms Tate but you're an adult, and that wouldn't be appropriate." there's a small grin as she adds the last.

"So going along with some stranger who offers you a Personal Assistant job…without even knowing you…is carving out something of your own?" He looks to Babs, "It smacks of suspicion. That this Miranda Tate knows something…or thinks she does…and is using Tim to get through." Blue eyes look back to Tim, "I trust you. I don't trust her. I appreciate that you want to find something of your own but is this really the way to go about it?"

At Babs' offer he tilts his head, looking between the two as if waiting to see a reaction.

There's a long pause as Tim considers the thoughts. In fact for a long moment, it almost looks like he's going to concede. He's thinking through things. He tilts his head at Babs, considering the offer. "That's not — " he pauses and then just lets the thought fall. Another second fiddle. Always the sidekick.

"So," Tim looks between the pair and talks really slowly, "the only reason anyone would be remotely interested in talking to me or hiring me is because someone is using me?" Tim squints as he tries to summarize what he thinks he's just heard. "Thanks for the vote of confidence guys. I really appreciate it. I'm glad that everyone sees my life as one of hand-me-downs and second fiddles. I don't want to play someone else's fiddle." He holds up a hand.

"I should… get going. I have homework." Despite not really having seen the zoo. He shifts his weight from one foot to the other to read away from the pair.

Babs sighs again "That is NOT what we are saying but, you are a bat and it is something you need to consider." Babs tone is hard then "This is something all of us have to consider, Tim, everytime we make a decision. We have to weigh and measure everything. I'm sorry you feel that's how we treat you, it's not meant that way."

Finishing her coffee, Babs looks hard at Tim "Sounds like you've made your mind up. Just remember, your decisions can affect us as well." and she turns her chair and focusses her attention on the Bat enclosure.

Dick Grayson isn't about to let Tim go just yet. "That's not what we're saying at all. We're saying the only reason some older woman would approach an 18 year old college student in the park is if they have alterior motives. It's not you. Believe me, it's not you. I have every bit of faith in you, as I said. But this is walking into something that could potentially be very, very dangerous…not just to you, but to all of us."

There's a heavy sigh, "Focus on school. Focus on getting through school. In the summers, you can start on your career. This just doesn't feel right, Tim. Call it a gut feeling."

He looks between the two and shakes his head, "You're an adult. Just…think about this with your head, please. Not with your ego…not with your hormones. Please think through this."

With a heavy sigh, Tim stops on his path for a moment. "Do you have faith in me?" he asks, somewhat unconvinced by his brother's thoughts. "I tell you some news and you both just assume the worst. Doesn't exactly inspire confidence." He turns over his shoulder and shakes his head, "And I am careful. I'm painfully careful. I've been dating a girl who doesn't even know my real name. Do you know how incredibly careful I have to be to keep THAT secret?" Skeptically he glances between them and then shakes his head.

"I always think about all of you. It weighs on me all of the time. Just…" frustrated, he shakes his head. "Look into what you want. I've got to — " he points towards the entrance. "Homework," he mutters, skulking back to the exit.

Not turning to watch Tim go, Babs look is grim. Raising a hand her rubs her forehead again. "I don't know what get's into him. I suppose we were both that age once." shaking her head, she's already making notes about things she needs to find out. "Walk out with me, Dick?"

"He's chafing," Dick offers, letting Tim go. "I know how he feels…but I guess I avoided some of that by quitting my night-job when I was in college." He took those four years mostly off. He turns to walk with Babs at her request, "Of course."

There's another pause, "I hope that this job is really legit. I'd hate for him to realize that we were right. He won't be happy about that."

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