Gone to the Dogs

June 05, 2017:

Tim Drake and Conner Kent reunite, and the former Boy Wonder recruits the Clone of Steel for a nefarious (not very nefarious) scheme.

Batburger

Yes, somebody really made a Batman-themed fast food restaurant. Would you like to Jokerize your fries?

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Wonder Girl, Impulse, Spider-Man, Zatanna Zatara, Miss Martian

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Wherever Tim Drake is, whatever he is doing, his phone will buzz with several text messages sent in quick succession. The number has a familiar Kansas area code.

hey bird bro
hows it hanging, this is CK. the cool one
finally got off the farm, back in town, lets catch up
meet you at your fave place to eat later today, peace out!

"Hello, and welcome to Batburger!" Said the young, teenaged waitress with her customer service smile emblazoned upon her face, "Can I take your order?"

"For sure." Conner Kent snapped a finger gun and a wink at the young woman, "I'll take one 'Rad Robin' combo meal. Extra bacon."

"Sure thing!" The woman exclaimed, typing up the order on the register and printing up a number for the kryptonian clone to take. Conner stood off to the side and waited, his jacket half-zipped up to at least hide the 'S' underneath it, as if this were the totally obvious thing that would make people realize he was a superhero and it wasn't just that no one really knew who Superboy was.

"Alright Tim, funny.." He glanced at his watch, "But if you keep me waiting i'm gonna put all this on your tab."

It's not his favourite place to eat.

Even with the vagueness of the messages, it wasn't hard to find where Conner had decided to go (cellular phones are distressingly easy to trace, especially when Wayne Communications controls such a large chunk of the telecommunications infrastructure) but when Tim gets there, he finds himself frowning up at franchise's signage. Of course.

Of course, there would be someone out there who decided to capitalise on the whole iconography of the quasi-mythical Batman and his associates and villains. If someone dug deep enough, they'd probably find connections to LexCorp or something. And of course, Conner would think it was hilarious to go eat someplace like this.

"I'm a Wayne, these days," says Tim's voice from behind Conner. "Showing up fashionably late is part of the job."

In contrast to Superboy, who under the circumstances could perhaps be mistaken for an overzealous Superman fan, Tim is wearing normal people clothes, jeans and a fitted red dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up to just below his elbows. He looks like pretty much any other college student in the western world, and definitely not like a crime-fighting genius ninja billionaire.

With a put-upon sigh, he goes up to the counter and orders the Night-wings combo.

"Gah!" Conner reined in his alarm enough to at least not jump into the air and stay there-he was a /little/ used to Tim doing this routine. "Of course." He muttered, turning around and fitting the other young superhero with a knowing smirk, "It really makes no sense how you can do that with my hearing."

Well, whatever. He got Tim Drake to come to Batburger. Mission accomplished.

With nary an eye turned towards Tim's street clothes, Superboy watches him saunter up to the counter and chortles a bit when he places his order. It's only a few minutes until they're both served and seated.

"/So/. Gimme the scoop. You look like you've got something on your mind." Conner started, unwrapping his burger and taking a sizable bite. "What's going on these days? News has been pretty low-key in Smallville, felt like I was trapped in a time loop or something." Tilling fields, pulling plows, husking corn…ugh, the days had blended together. "Ghost trains? Alien hypermodel assassins? Zombie pirates?! "

He watched Tim's face as he went through this list, snapping his fingers to another point, "Got it. Interdimensional basketball hustlers."

There's no effort on Tim's part to explain exactly how he 'does that'. It's a trade secret, after all.

Besides, it's funnier that way.

"It's pretty much the furthest place in the world from anything actually happening," Tim agrees on the subject of Smallville. Which sounds nice enough, but he knows that he'd go completely stir-crazy inside of three days. Tim Drake wasn't made for peace and quiet, and his years of training with the Dark Knight hasn't helped that natural tendency at all.

"Well… I was just in Germany helping to foil the schemes of an evil Nazi wizard, and a whole magical cult… Now there's some kind of social media app that communicates with demons, and the General is back in Gotham, except he's dressing up as Red Robin again and trying to kill me."

The food is, at least, not bad as fast food goes; Tim chews pensively on some chicken as he tries to remember if there's anything else of interest.

"Oh, and my ex girlfriend is dating Bart's grandfather."

You know, the burger was also pretty good. Needed mustard, though.

"You know the phrase 'watching paint dry on the walls?'. It's not a phrase. I actually /did/ that." The junior kryptonian pointed with a plastic fork to emphasize his point, suppressing a shudder, "It's so nice to be somewhere with actual WiFi again."

Tim next produces a long laundry list of threats he's faced in the intervening time, during which Conner's face falls further and further into his hands. "Oh -man-!" He exclaims, muffled enough into hi hands not to cause a scene, "I missed evil nazi wizard dude?! That would've been awesome!" Still, social media demon apps and beating up The General again sounded promising. It's that last point, however, that nearly made Conner choke on his next bite, coughing and hacking until he had some of his cola to wash it down.

"Whoa, dude." He said, wiping his mouth, "Now /that/ is messed up. Sounds like you've got problems."

Conner sits the for a moment, as if quietly glad he lacks a grandfather entirely and thus can't fully grip how weird and creepy that must feel. "Well, you gotta get me in." He declares, then quickly waves a hand, "Not on the ex thing, good luck with that. But demon apps? The general? I'm game for all of that. Let's knock this stuff on its ass."

Admittedly, he's not quite sure where to start with beating up an app.

"You should've used it as inspiration for a new costume," Tim suggests. "Like a flannel shirt, and then denim overalls with the S shield on the front. Superfarmboy."

Just like with Cassie, there's an exuberance that life hadn't beaten out of Conner, the way it had Tim: He can't match it himself, really, but it reminds him of those comparatively simpler days, when he was just Robin, and they could be a merry little band of sidekicks (though of course they'd insist that they were anything but) while trusting that Superman and Batman and the rest of the Justice League would handle anything really bad.

These days, though, they know better. Or Tim knows better, at least. They can't depend on 'grown ups' to fix things for them. They have to do it themselves.

"I was thinking about getting the band back together… I was talking to Cassie about it, too, and I know some other people who'd be a good fit. Not Young Justice though, that was a kids' game. Now, the Titans…"

Har har, superfarmboy. Conner had totally missed this.

In truth, he knows there's /something/ up with Tim. Sure, the Boy Wonder was always that more somber, pragmatic one of the bunch, but that wasn't all that was going. After all, he had like the world's scariest superhero for a mentor figure, and the fact that he's barely cracked a laugh this entire time is evidence enough that some serious stuff has happened.

But that was okay, Conner would figure it out in time. Better for now to just relive the good ol' days like that's what they actually were, if only for a little bit.

"Oh man, you've got Cass?! Now we're talking." Conner slammed his fist into an open palm, eyes already alighting with ideas, "And /Titans/? I'm liking it. Young Justice was cool and all, but it was kind of kiddy. We need to rebrand. Fresh faces for a new era, rising to the challenge. Yeah, yeah, we got this."

His eyes fluttered for a second as it catches his ear that Tim had mentioned other people as well. "Yeah, new prospects? Interesting." He said, leaning forward conspiratorially, "Anyone I know?"

The other reason Tim doesn't want to use the old name, the reason he doesn't entirely want to admit out loud, is that he doesn't like the connotations that go with it: That they were the kids' table version of the Justice League, working as an adjunct to that more established, world-famous group of heroes.

The Titans are a team with a history behind them. The Titans are something that can stand on their own.

"So far, you, me and Cassie. She was looking for you, by the way," Tim adds casually, as though he didn't know exactly how fixated the demigoddess was on the clone. "Bart, if he ever turns up - last I heard he was down in Alabama with Max Mercury still. But beyond us, a few potentials, yeah."

His smartphone - his civilian model, not his considerably more advanced 'work' phone - is placed on the table, as he brings up some relevant images.

"Spider-Man," he says, at a photograph of the wall-crawler. "I've worked with him a little, he's strong and fast and smart." He flips over a few images, to a young woman in dark clothes, all pale with black hair and ice blue eyes. "Zatanna. She's a magician. The real deal, and also an illusionist on top of that. There are some other younger faces in the community that might work out, too. Miss Martian helped me and Cassie out with something a few weeks ago, she might be a good fit."

"Okay, that's a solid founding core. Good continuity." Conner nodded his agreement, tilting his head in regards to Cassie, "Yeah, I need to catch up with her too. Tekken 7 like, just came out. I have a record to defend!"

For the prospects, he looks over each photo with astute powers of observation, "So we've got lean, mean, and green. Excellent." Sorry Zatanna, Conner has sacrificed you for the sake of a joke, "Well, sound the horn of Gondor whenever you want, and i'll be there!" He laughed, "This is gonna be great, Tim. Oh, and I've even got our ace-in-the-hole: Our official team mascot!"

At that /exact/ moment, there is the sound of something very heavy and very metal breaking outside. "Hey!" Exclaims a man looking out the window, "That dog is….doing something really weird to my car!"

Conner coughed, "I uh, brought Krypto."

"Now he's flying off with it!!!" The man shouted, tearing off from his table and running outside.

"Yeah, I uh…better go take care of that." Conner peeked over his shoulder, then made the phone gesture with his gloved right hand, "Catch ya later?"

Because Tim Drake has an incredible poker face, a necessary survival skill when you spend most of your teenaged years working alongside and occasionally lying to the Dark Knight, he does not give Conner a dubious look at the idea that he and Cassie are just going to play Tekken. Also he's pretty sure that she lets him win.

"Man, if she hears you call her mean," Tim settles on instead when the Clone of Steel summarises their current potential new roster additions, "I am not going to be the one to keep her from turning you into a frog." He does appreciate a good Lord of the Rings reference at least, his mouth tugging into the faintest shadow of a familiar, boyish grin, that falters slightly when Conner brings up an 'official team mascot'.

Who is doing something to a hapless civilian's car.

"You brought Krypto the Superdog," Tim says, flatly. A superdog which is, apparently, now flying off with that poor man's car.

"Oh wow, we're off to a great start," the vigilante notes, too amazed to be mad. "You know it," he adds to Conner's assertion that he'll catch him later. "But you'd better catch that guy's car, first."

In the meantime, since he can't fly, or lift cars, well… He'll just finish his food. And probably Conner's fries.

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