Studies in Normal Human Socialisation

June 21, 2017:

Tim Drake tries to be a regular young person by inviting over a group of his closest friends: A cloned space alien, a demigoddess, a witch, and his ex. He is not very good at being a regular young person.

Tim Drake's Townhouse

A stylish and modern residence built out of a renovated theatre. Alfred made snacks.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Alfred Pennyworth, Caitlin Fairchild

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Not far from Gotham University, in what would generally be considered a nicer part of Gotham - which is to say you aren't likely to get mugged in broad daylight, but you should still probably be careful about wandering down any alleyways after dark - is the townhouse belonging to one Timothy Jackson Drake.

The name on the lease says Timothy Wayne, sure, but it's hard to stop thinking of yourself by the name you've used your whole life.

The townhouse used to be an old-style theatre, before it was bought and completely renovated by that very rich teenager, who wanted someplace suitable to live in the city rather than commuting in from Wayne Manor to go to class. A normal person would've gotten an apartment, or maybe a nice condo. Tim is not a normal person.

The townhouse, though seldom messy under normal circumstances, has been extensively cleaned to make it suitable for guests (thanks to Alfred Pennyworth's intervention), and when you have guests over for a get-together, you have to have food and stuff: The dining room table is awash in what could only be considered a 'killer spread' of snacks and finger foods (again, thanks to Alfred) despite Tim's own, much less ambitious, original plans.

Having only recently arrived back from New York, taking a shower and changing into civilian clothes - jeans and a red dress shirt, left untucked and with its sleeves rolled up - in the Nest, Tim slips out from the secret entrance that leads back into his townhouse, and gets his first look at what Alfred's left behind, having probably gone all out because it's rare for 'young Master Tim' to socialise, these days.

He sighs, ruefully. He'll have to thank the butler later.

Which left nothing to do but wait for the others to show up. He wasn't really worried about them being late: Two of them could fly, after all, and one of them could just magic herself over.

It's been a rough few hours for Cassandra Sandsmark as it's only in incredibly rare circumstances that she has to very carefully consider what she's going to be wearing today. Something that makes a good first impression. Something not too nerdy, but not too unlike herself. Something that shows she's a girl of culture, but not so far off that she'd alienate the unfamiliar. But most importantly it had to show that she's cool!

Cassie shows up, adorn in shorts, an unbuttoned long-sleeves shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a slightly too-big t-shirt which reads in ridiculously large font all along the front: 'O.D. of Bourgeoisie Milk Boy Milk.', with several packs of sodas in her arms. "TIMMY! The TIM-MEISTER! Throwing par-ties! Check it out; I found a place that still sells SURGE!"

The first thing anyone would notice when Zatanna Zatara arrives is the smell.

The door opens; Tim had given her a key to the place months ago, and she arrives clad in her usual gothwear, though given the oppressive heat of the burgeoning summer, she is far from her typical layered self. A black sundress slashed with violet and silver and a pair of high-heeled sandals don her today, and in her hands are a few pizza boxes with Di Fara Pizza's logo emblazoned on the top and different kinds. The raven-haired magician appears to have arrived with the best pizza New York City has to offer.

"Tim?" she calls out as she wanders inside. "I'm not late, am I? I brought pizza." One with meat, one a plain cheese, and one inspired by fra diavolo. Considering her dietary preferences, she has managed to find the delicate compromise between meat and vegetarian.

Spying the blonde in the shorts, she flashes Cassie a friendly smile. "Hi, I'm Zee," she tells her, peering with ice-blue eyes from around the boxes. With that, she'll attempt to find a place to set the pizzas.

Conner had been busy in the weeks since he'd first discussed with Tim the idea of getting the gang back together. It had largely been local, small deal stuff-busting petty thieves, cats out of trees, carrying flat cars to safety. It wasn't /glamorous/, but grassroots heroics like that were important for building your brand, getting the name out!

He'd probably gotten a text from Tim like five times about this little shindig and had forgotten reply. Yeesh, it was like he had a reputation for being flaky or something! He definitely hadn't been busy hustling until his google calendar rang with the five minute warning, sending him into a minor panic about what the hell to bring. Fortunately, the Kryptonian clone always had a plan for these situations.

Precipitously, there's a rapping at the nearest window for a few moments before Conner enters, though he'll let himself in if it wasn't locked.

"Haha, nick of time!" He said, totally not sweating from his brow, "Sup Tim, killer spread! Well, I got us covered for the drinks."

By this, he must mean the 50-pack bag red solo cups he'd pulled along with him through the window. The clone hero had dressed neutral for the occasion, wearing his usual ensemble of jeans, leather jacket, and S-branded shirt. "C-Money!" He shoots the finger gun at Cass when he sees her, clearly feeling the vibe of the OG trio in the air, "Like the shirt, good to see you, and holy crap!" He leans forward, lifting lifting his goggles on his forehead, "Is that /surge/?! It's like you read my mind."

Zatanna is the only person he doesn't have a canned greeting for, but Conner thinks he's got an idea from the last time he talked with Tim. "Heya!" He said, raising a hand and smirk, "I don't think we've met, but anyone who shows up with pizza is welcome at casa del Titan!"

There he went, already throwing down ground rules.

"Was it in the same time warp you got that reference from?" Tim asks Cassie, only tangentally aware of Saturday Night Live bits that are older than he is.

He ribs, but he ribs with affection.

The young man is showing Cassie in and around his very nice digs - sure, his townhouse isn't a patch on Wayne Manor, but it's also way less spooky than Wayne Manor - when the scent of pizza and the sound of the door opening announces the arrival of Zatanna Zatara, even more fresh from the Big Apple than he is judging by the warmth of the food she's brought.

"Nope, you're right on time," he assures the witch, who's already introducing herself in her typically affable manner. And then, well, Conner climbs in through a window.

That part doesn't weird Tim out very much - he's climbed through a lot of windows - but the bag of solo cups is more of a puzzler.

"Last minute buy, huh?" the detective posits. "Did you leave the dog in Smallville, or something? Anyway… Thanks for coming, guys. I invited somebody else, but I'm sure she'll show up before too long. In the meantime… Conner Kent," he indicates the clone. "Cassandra Sandsmark," the blonde. "Zatanna Zatara," the gothic witch. "As you've probably guessed from Conner's flying and his lack of subtlety," he says to Zatanna, "they know about the whole Red Robin thing. And we're all going to be teammates from now on."

He pauses, looking over to Superboy.

"But if you let just anybody into Titans Tower because they've got pizza, man, we're gonna be up to our eyeballs in pizza-toting villains…"

And Tim's ribbing gets a frown in return from Cassie. She really shouldn't be surprised, though, but she's most certainly unprepared. So much so that she can't even think of a witty comeback and instead replies with slightly hot cheeks, "No it was *not*."

Yeah. That'll teach him.

Zatanna's arrival is a very welcome distraction from that point, and her pout quickly becomes a bright and welcoming smile. "Oh my gosh, wow, hi Zatanna it's so great to finally meet you! Wooow.." she looks her up and down, having somehow not have seen a goth up close before. It's fascinating! ".. How are you not dead?" Beat. "I mean, from the heat. The hot.. Uh-" her voice trails off a moment as she looks to Conner whom she can't help but grin a bit sheepishly in his direction. "Y- Yeah, it is. And yeah I did read your mind!" Another pause. ".. Ok, I didn't really."

"You must be Conner," Zatanna tells Superboy when he brings up the pizzas. "Your appetite is infamous. It's nice to meet you all. I always wondered when Tim was going to introduce me to the rest of his posse, and he took his sweet, sweet time on that." She gives Tim a look. "I was about to suspect that he made the two of you up. He can be very imaginative when he wants to be."

When Cassie looks her up and down, she flashes Wonder Girl a pose; hand on hip, the other at the back of her head. She even gives her a wink at the once over. "What, you mean the black? I'm used to it, and I'm fine with the heat. It's the cold I can't stand. I bundle up like a penguin when it gets below fifty."

With Tim's handy explanation that they're going to be a team from now on, she can't help but smile. "What, you didn't invite Spidey?" she wonders. "Then again, it's not like he can take the train to Gotham in his get up." And he can't fly. "I'll have to stuff him full of pizza next time. For some reason, he really loves hot dogs."

And speaking of. Curious eyes turn to Conner. "You have a dog? Awww, I never had time for pets, Daddy and I moved around too much. What kind is he?"

All of that said as she maneuvers her way to help herself to a can of soda, and a slice of pizza. Because she, too, has the appetite of a horse - she just has to work harder to keep in shape though she's is a far cry from the superhero body that Tim and perhaps the rest espouse.

"Krypto's good for a while." Conner answered Tim with a relaxed smile, "I called in a favor."

MEANWHILE, IN ATLANTIS

"The land-beast has befouled the statue of our king!" Cried one indignant senator.
"He /ate/ a thousand-year old tome!" Bemoaned an irate scholar.
"My cabbages!" Exclaimed one merchant of exotic surface foods.

Garth of Atlantis heard all these complains with a slowly building dread on his shoulders, fingers massaging his temple. "Superboy." He promised, "I will not forget this."

BACK AT TITAN TOWN

"He's uh…a purebred." Conner answers Zatanna, scratching the back of his head, "Tim tells me you're great with magic. Which is good because uh, magic is definitely not my thing. Kryptonians aren't known for wizardry." Their team had always lacked a dedicated magic person in the old days come to think of it, so closing that gap definitely made sense. He'll also take his ample supply of pizza slices surge. Don't worry Alfred-he'd have plenty of room for later.

"Hey, if pizza-toting villains show up we'll just beat them up and eat the pizza. Win-win!" Conner declared, smiling, "But yeah, Tim and I were talking when I came back into town recently, and here we are now! I sure didn't hear about you until a couple of weeks ago either." He said to Zee, smiling mischievously, "You need to be careful with these Gothamites, Zee. They love secrets like I love pizza."

He's curious who the last person might be, but figures he'd best wait for the surprise. Boxes are open, slices are served, and the smells is great. Superboy will go ahead and swoop over by Cass to catch up, being that he's not seen her in a while, "So how's the whole Amazon thing been going?" He wonders, sipping from a meticulously acquired cup of surge, "Are you like, in the ama/zone/ these days?"

When aspersions are cast as to the openness and transparency of his nature, Tim looks extremely put-upon.

"I thought it would be awkward anyway, since I don't really know who Spider-Man is out of costume," he says to Zatanna. Which, given his facility at figuring out the secret identities of other costumed individuals, often without even really trying, means he's probably been actively trying to not delve into that little mystery. "Besides, there's gonna be proper Titans things soon enough, at the Tower and everything… I just wanted to have a get-together with my close friends. I dunno where Stephanie is," admits; hopefully, she's just busy. "And I tried to get in touch with Bart, but I guess Max Mercury is dragging him around on speedster training, or he's on the run from the Time Police, or something."

It's difficult to say, with Impulse. Knowing him, he could've just forgotten his phone even existed and was currently bored half to death in the middle of Alabama.

"Anyway, I feel like I should get points for introducing you to my other friends eventually," Tim says to Zatanna, before closing his eyes and shaking his head when 'are you like, in the amazone' filters towards him from the table.

Following Zatanna's pose, Cassandra stands there with a stunned expression, then claps her hands. ".. You're *amazing*." she eventually blurts since, that's definitely stage presence going on, right? To Cassie it is, who can barely pull off a sentai pose naturally. So this is *really* happening! Not that Cassie actually doubted Tim but this is *really* happening! She can feel it in her heart that this group is going to be even more awesome! ".. Hot dogs.." she mumbles to herself, though eventually a grin forms as she comes up with a horrible idea. Poor Spider-Man.

The name Stephanie doesn't really ring a bell, but before she can question it she's approached by Conner- and his joke gets genuine laughter in response, but then it becomes more forced until she finally admits with slumped shoulders. "I.. I'm not one yet. But.. But!" she raises a pointer finger. "I met an *honorary* amazon! Have you ever heard of Caitlin Fairchild? She's like ninteen feet tall, she totally looks the part! I go to the gym with her, you know.. Pumping iron. We're totally cool. So.. It's, like, I'm technically sort of kind of one. What have you been doing?"

"He must be expensive if he's a purebred," Zatanna tells Connor, not knowing the wiser that the dog is alien, which of course will cause no end of shenanigans later when she finally meets Krypto. "As for the magic….family business, though….I hear you know how that goes way too well." It can't be an easy thing, to be related to a titan like Superman. "I've got a long way to go, but I've a few people in my life who are constantly around to show me the ropes. So uh…. meat or cheese?" She gestures to both boxes at Connor, though at the pun he gives Cassie, she can't help but grin and give a glance at Tim.

"So in this bunch, you're the overachiever, huh?" she wonders to him. "Why am I not surprised? Still, I'm glad to have met them at last, they're pretty cool…so far." The last said to Conner and Cassie with a wink. "I hope everybody can eat though because I think I might jump off a building if I have to eat all this pizza by myself."

To Cassie's remarks, she can't help but laugh, and waves both hands up. "Oh no, it's just…I perform on stage so I can't help but ham it up a little." But the mention of a familiar name has her blinking. "….Caitlin….Fairchild?" she wonders. "Red hair, over six feet tall? Wow, yeah I know her! I haven't seen her in a while but I helped her out with something in New York when I first came back stateside. How's she been? I had no idea she was an honorary Amazon." She didn't know they had those titles. "Last I heard she was working for Reed Richards, albeit that was months ago."

"Spider-man sounds pretty cool." Conner offers, "I mean, as a hero name. Nice and retro, not enough people go that way anymore. It's all about nouns or adjectives or something these days."

He nods his head at Zatanna on the matter of family names and legacies, "Yeah, well you know. Wearing the S comes with a lot of responsibilities, but the big guy carries a lot of it for the rest of us. Enough that we can run around and have some fun once in a while." He winks, "But you know, every day I learn to carry a little more. A little."

Cassie proceeds to describe this 'honorary amazon', which puts Conner to scratching his chin, "Huh….that definitely /sounds/ like someone I ought to know about, but uh.." Zatanna fills in the rest of the blanks, and Superboy shakes his head, "Gym partners, huh? Maybe I should start going."

It was an easy thing to forget about, when you had Kryptonian physiology.

"So anything else been on the radar, Tim?" He perks over to boy wonder, "I mean, I know we're not official /yet/, but it's probably a good idea to get an idea of what's coming for us. Or who."

Maybe Mighty Endowed would break out of jail, he quietly thought.

The get-together of Tim Drake's younger friends has been going on for a little bit, less one of its invitees: Though Stephanie might be late, Tim hasn't started really worrying or thinking about rallying the troops to go look for her in case she's getting thrown around a sewer by Killer Croc or something. She's a busy young lady, after all, with a full life of her own. Plus an Avenger. She's probably just busy, Tim reasons to himself.

"She's really not a fan of jumping off of buildings," Tim notes off of Zatanna's joke about what she'd be forced to do if nobody else ate the pizza she brought, and that on top of all the snacks and finger foods Alfred had arranged while the young man himself was in New York for a 'work meeting'. "Even with a grapple line to swing on, she gets really upset." Especially if you do it without asking her.

Or warning her.

So Tim, too, gravitates towards the food - he hadn't eaten since breakfast - and he's halfway through a slice of pizza when he mutters something incomprehensible because his mouth is full of food.

"Fairchild's joining too," he corrects himself, once he's remembered to chew and swallow. "She showed up at the Tower in the Invisible Jet of all things. And I talked to Starfire today, figured I should get one of the original Titans to sign off on the whole… Moving into their building and using their name thing. She was okay with it."

She hugged him. It was awkward.

Still, he does know what Dick saw in her now.

"As for bad guys, there's still whatever the General is doing, and how it relates to the drug the Odessa Mob are smuggling into Gotham and New York… And Zee here is really popular with the evil crowd," he adds, casually and offhandedly, as though he'd only just thought of it.

Stephanie told him she would go. He cheated when he 'forced' the agreement out of her by using BOYISH GRIN. It was SUPER EFFECTIVE, and he knew it. She just got delayed. …Traffic. Okay. For this group, it was a lame excuse, but she was going to use it anyway.

It wasn't the only thing Stephanie was going to use.

The door opened. No door bell. No knock. Stephanie just lets herself in. Either she picked the lock and hacked Tim's security system, he left it all unlocked, or she has the key. Whichever it is, the blonde closes and locks the door behind herself before moving in, toward the sound of voices.

Once, she would have been the bright one in the room, comfortable with moving into the crowd with a smile and a wave and talking to everyone. Now? Now she moves in as quietly as one can, walking delicately on ballet flats and blue jeans under a silky bouse that match her eyes. She sets her purse down softly on a side table as she studies the small gathering, drawing a breath and her nerves, before calling out.

"Hi, everyone?" Stephanie looks over at Tim. Meep.

"You should!" Cassie quickly agrees to Conners out loud pondering- Naturally she doesn't think she really needs to hit the gym herself, but she wanted to learn her way around the gym to impress Superboy with her ever expanding knowledge. As for the unspoken sentence at the end, she could hear it loud and clear- so of course she shakes her head. But then back to Zatanna, "Right, that's what I meant, it's like.. You're totally legit! I mean, not that I had my doubts, it's just.. Well, it's like.. Uh, what am I trying to say?" Beat. "Uh anyway yes, she's the one! Isn't she *so* cool? From what I can tell she's like a PR lady for Miss Danvers or something? And.. Now that you mention it, I'm not sure the title is official. It's like, you know.. Anyway everone stand back; this looks like a job for- Me!"

And so she proceeds to take two slices, combines them together like a sandwich, then takes a massive bite of it. Which is about when Tim confirms Fairchild is joining, and she sputters with puffed cheeks, but with a free hand over her mouth to keep anyone from seeing inside. "No *WAY*! Gak's greak!"

But there's one small detail that is the most important of all. It's one that strikes her so hard, that the resulting yell, were she Superman, would have caused a sonic boom.

"SHE FEW GA INFIFIBLE GET?! A YOU FERIOUS?!!" Finally she looks to Steph. Oh. Hey, when did she get here? "… Hi."

"I could only imagine," Zatanna tells Conner with a small smile. "But hey, no pressure, yeah? None from me anyway, it's bad enough being in college. I think I'd have no hope catching up if it wasn't for Tim." Who mentions her current spate of troubles with the evil crowd, as well as the General. There's a glance at his direction. "Well it hasn't been all that bad lately," she says. "Last thing I did, I was in this Lovecraftian underwater chapel to some undead revenant that used to be this Scottish lady except….well. It's a long story. It has hamster balls and seventeenth century pirates, look, you already know life can get a little weird around me."

A little??

There's a glance at Cassie, a small laugh escaping her. "I'm not too legit yet," she continues. "It's just— " But her exclamation drowns out the rest and she nearly drops her own pizza. But the girl could eat, and that only encourages her to well….eat some more. Look it's awkward if you're the only one eating.

When Stephanie arrives, she waves from where she's standing, armed with Surge soda and a couple of slices of Fra Diavolo pizza. "Hi, I'm Zee," she tells her. "I don't think we've met."

The expression that grows on Conner's face as Zatanna lists off each item is one that could only be described as 'hyped'. "Oh /yeah/!" He cried, curling a fist for emphasis, "That kind of crazy mischief is /exactly/ what i'm talking about. That's the prime hero real estate, right there."

Then Tim had to go and mention Caitlyn flying the invisible jet, and Superboy's expression immediately dropped several octaves down to 'oh /no/' as he slowly turned over his shoulder to look at Cassie. Yeah, okay, this needed to be managed. "Whoa Cass, hold up. Maybe it was a, uh, another invisible jet? Beside, why even /have/ an invisible jet? It's like, you can already fly!"

Really, you'd think Conner would know by now not question the jet. He takes Stephanie's timely arrival as queue to transition and get away, looking quickly between her, Tim, Zee, and back more than a few times.

At this, he gives Tim a raised eyebrow, then raises a hand towards Stephanie, "Hey, what's up?"

Fortunately, Conner points out the fact that Cassie can straight up fly under her own power, so Tim doesn't have to be the one to become the lightning rod.

"My life is pretty weird to start with, but it's true that I haven't been in any underwater chapels in, like, months." It's a joke, but one that he immediately follows up with a thoughtful expression, trying to remember if he actually has been in one, and if it was recently. Definitely not more recently than last year.

Stephanie's arrival is quiet, but not unnoticed, given that this is Tim Drake we're talking about. He looks towards the slightly late blonde with a faint smile, and then he turns to look right at Conner. 'What?' his expression asks.

"Guys, this is Stephanie Brown, we went to highschool together, and were… Close." He doesn't want to say ex-girlfriend, but it hangs there in the air. "Steph, this is Conner Kent, Cassandra Sandsmark, and Zatanna Zatara," Tim introduces each in turn. "And again, everybody here knows about me dressing up in a costume and punching crime. It was kind of hard to hide from her," he adds to Conner, as though this explained everything.

It does not.

Oh the conversation. Invisible jets and flying and weird things. Stephanie has to remind herself that Tim said these were good people and that they weren't going to ask. She finds her brave smile, her competition smile, the one that took Gotham's cheer team to Nationals when she had a cracked rub from a street fight a few nights before.

There is absolutely no blame on Tim for that thug's punch getting through. Nope. Not a bit. She'll just… call it payback… for the masonry… to his face.

We're still not even for the handcuffs.

As everyone turns to say hello and Tim introduces her, Stephanie steps foward waving.

Oh. Tim. Why? Just went there, huh? The smile tenses slightly, ever so, before she goes to offer each a hand in turn. Because that's polite and Scouts would demand it.

"Hello. Nice to meet all of you; Conner, Cassie, Zatanna."

At Conner's enthusiasm, Zatanna deflates a little bit - somewhat comically. "I was on vacation…you don't understand, it always happens!" But she can't help but grin afterwards regardless at the other young man's excitement about the idea, though now that she looks back on it, it would make for a pretty cool story, one day. She imagines this is half the reason why John does what he does - the things he brings back, provided he survives whatever it is that assailed him then.

There's a furrowed glance when Superboy looks in between the three of them, and she glances down at her sundress, wondering if she spilled any soda on her, or something similar. But with the formal introduction, she grins towards Stephanie. "It's nice to meet you too, I brought pizza, and Alfred I think made all the other appetizers. And Cassie brought some soda. Please eat some, I don't want to be the only one pigging out."

There's a glance towards Tim, the question in her eyes - was Stephanie joining the Titans as well? But she says nothing, in case the answer is no, and she knows he is trying to keep the formation of the group in a downlow.


"…" It's true that she can fly on her own. "That *isn't* the point!" she then protests after finally swallowing the big bite. "*I* want to fly in the invisible jet; why didn't she invite me?" Tim introduces her to Stephanie, whom she looks to once more. The smile Steph gives her, for some reason, puts her off just a bit. Or maybe it's just because she's already in a sour mood. "Hi again." then back to Conner. "I thought we were *friends*. We were *gym buddies*! She said she goes to my 'We Wuv Wendy' website! And she went and did that?" It would seem her jealousy and anger are blurring together juuust a smidge. She reaches into her pocket, pulls out her phone. "I… Have to take this call." She twirls, then heads right on outside. Total drama, am I right?

Of course it wasn't the point. It was never the point with that freaking jet. "Well, you know…" Conner tries to offer the beginning of some half-baked excuse, but Cass is having none of it.

The boy of steel indulges in an awkward laugh after when the door closes after his blondest of buds. "Same ol' Cass." He comments to Tim, then immediately turns to Steph and Zee for damage control.

"She'll be fine." He asserts confidently, "She just gets worked about that jet. I guarantee that tomorrow she won't even remember being mad."

Look on the bright side time: Conner didn't just say 'Girls, right?' in front of two prospective lady titans. Maybe he /did/ learn something out in Smallville after all.

"So, Stephanie? I think Tim has mentioned you to me once or twice." He offers the remaining blonde girl a smile, "Welcome to the most exclusive of clubs-the people who know what Tim gets up to when he's not busy being a mild-mannered college student."

Conner didn't do college. He learned everything he needed from his pod, like how to to be saved by the bell.

Tim honestly can't say anything about things like that 'always happening' to Zatanna. He can't go anywhere without there being a secret criminal conspiracy or an army of ninjas or something.

Some people just couldn't have a normal life if they tried.

And he doesn't even have any superpowers to make up for it!

He does give the subtlest of shakes of his head at Zatanna's silent question, because he's honouring Stephanie's decision to pretend she is a perfectly normal civilian who does get to live a normal life, or as close to that as you can in Gotham City. He used to try to convince her to actually do that, but of course it never did work.

"She's a big fan of Wonder Woman," he adds to Conner's damage control attempt. "So she's envious that somebody else would get to fly the jet. I don't really get why, it just… It's invisible." Not even shaped like a bat or anything, so what's even the point?

"But yeah, c'mon, Steph, make yourself at home. We're all friends here. Conner was going to regale us with his latest adventures in growing corn."

"Thanks," Stephanie says to Zee's offer, stepping over to take a slice of.. ooh. Alfred hor douvers? A slice of pizza AND an Alfred something. She takes a rather dainty (for this group!) bite of the pizza, holding the other morsel and saving it for after pizza. Of course, that's when Cassie-plosion happens and Stephanie's eyes widen. She watches the girl use a phone call to escape to the balcony, and Stephanie blinks.

The number of times she and Tim have both used that one…

Conner and Tim both looking to explain the outburst has Stephanie nodding and the smile returning.

"Yeah. I can imagine how someone could get jealous about someone else having a flying anything at their disposal.. invisible or not," Stephanie comments, eyes trailing toward Tim. Yes. I know you are jelly of my flying motorcycle. You need to be more jealous that Dad let me look into the cave's show floor of flying vehicles. Her smile turns to a faint smirk and with another nod, Stephanie moves over to find a place to sit near the food so she could get more if she wanted.

"Growing… corn?" Stephanie asks, looking over at Conner in confusion. They are really going to transition from flying Wonder Woman's jet to agricultural?

Tim. Your friends are nerdier then you are!

"So how long does it take you to fly from Metropolis to Gotham, Conner?" Zatanna wonders. "That's actually a skillset I haven't mastered yet." She has the ability to learn flight, eventually, but so far, she has not done so. She finally manages to find a seat for herself, a glance at Cassie's wake as she takes a phone call, before Tim ribs the Boy of Steel about his corn-growing ways. There's an inquisiive glance at his direction. "Wow, no wonder you thought my under the sea trip was exciting," she teases him, a grin curling up the corners of her moouth. "Unless these were monster corn. Mutant corn? Rising up from the depths of the earth to lay to waste, uh…." Where do they grow corn the most. "Idaho? Kansas?"

Stephanie infers that she can relate, and there's a curious incline of her head towards Tim. At the moment, she has absolutely no awareness of the blonde's own crime-fighting persona. "Are we talking about his ferrari?" she wonders. "Because I think Tim might have a minor conniption if I even tried to breathe in the general direction of those keys."

She tries to hide a smile, and manages to be relatively successful at it by taking a sip of her Surge.

"So anyway, Conner. Corn. Explain."

Tim may have put Superboy on the spot, but Zatanna's never letting him escape this, now.

Conner quietly nodded to all of Tim's points about the invisible jet and why it made no sense. Yes, /exactly/, thank you. What he didn't say, of course, is the shaping a plane like a bat didn't make any more sense, but hey-he'd already slaughtered one sacred lamb today.

"Give or take about 45 minutes if i'm feeling leisurely, but I can be faster." Conner answers Zatanna, being pretty used to the Metro-Gotham skyway at this point in the game. He then shoots Tim a narrow-eyed glance that more or less says 'You /monster/' when the other throws him under a corn-stuffed bus. He thinks he's safe for a moment or two when Zatanna defers to the topic of Tim's Ferrari, but there's no escaping the reaper when she inevitably turns the conversation back on him.

"Kansas." He sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose, "Most corn comes from Kansas. My uh…grandparents own a farm down in Smallville. I've been helping them out for a while, what with gramps getting older and all." His eyes wandered off to the left and everything about his voice conveys how boring it is, "It's…well, it's almost amazing how much /nothing/ happens there. Villains would never bother showing their face there, the shame alone would cause them to go straight. Barely any wi-fi to speak of too, it's like going into an enclave or something."

Conner sighed. Man, of all the cool things they could be talking about, why this?! "Not much else to say really. Get up a 5 AM, haul a plow, plant seeds, lift farm equipment around. Listen the gramps say a bunch of one-liners and old sayings about life." His tongue stuck out and made a lewd noise.

"So yeah, after like a year of all that i'm definitely ready to get back into business with the Titans."

Tim Drake has faced down some of the worst, most vile individuals the human race - and things beyond it - has on offer. At the age of fourteen, he had a life or death battle with King Snake on the edge of a skyscraper in Hong Kong, with his only backup the murderous Lady Shiva. He's faced off with the Joker, tangled with Two-Face. There is a possibly unkillable serial killer with strange eldritch powers and an obsessive hatred of him. He's been poisoned with Scarecrow's fear toxin. He's been to Literal Hell.

When Zatanna mentions getting her hands on the keys to his Ferrari, his precious F12 Berlinetta, there is a brief moment in which the former Boy Wonder shows reflexive, existential terror. But it passes quickly, and he's back to normal.

"Maybe if you let me teach you how to actually drive," Tim tells the witch. "But we'd start with something slower. And tougher. Maybe bumper cars."

He furrows his brows at Stephanie, though. He has no idea what she's getting at with her subtle dig. He could have a flying car if he wanted!

"If there were villains, it'd be like… An invasion of corn soldiers, or something," Tim says, picking up another slice of pizza. "They'd never get anything done though. No chain of command."

He pauses, for a long, slow moment. He doesn't look at the others.

"'cause they're all kernels."

Stephanie listens to Conner talk about the corn and how boring it is as she nibbles on the pizza. Wow. Yeah. No, thank you. Of course, hearing that he can make it from Metro to Gotham in 45 lesuirely is given a little nod. Ooh, that's impressive. Really. Driving it SUCKS. Her eyes flick to Zee and Tim, and Steph has to turn the slice from her face as the two start in on his car.

"Oh, Zatanna. Tim loves his car," Stephanie says, giggling at that flicker of HORROR on Bird Brain's face. In his defense, it is SUCH a nice car. Yes yes. The bike is better. But the car is so nice.

She's about to take another bite when Tim goes for it. No chain of command. Stephnie looks over, pulling the slice away from her mouth, waitng for it.

Kernels.

Stephanie bursts out laughing. Cuz, colonels! Kernels. She drops back against the sofa, laughing so hard. She had, for a moment imaged what he was talking about. Corn soldiers! Animated corn on the cobs with conbat boots and hemlets and…. rifles taht shot.. butter or something. So when he said chain of command her brain floundered. Because he's right! That many soldiers, who would lead them?

Kernels!

"That sounds super peaceful," Zatanna tells Conner. "And a lot of work, but probably easy peasy with your cosmos-given talents, yeah?" Something about her gentles then, when he describes his grandfather and how he is helping due to the onset of age. She thinks it's very sweet, though she couldn't even remotely relate - her nonna had been fierce in life, and even in the days prior to her demise.

As Tim falls in on the joke, and offers that terrible pun, the raven-haired magician gives him a very long look.

"We're no longer friends," she tells him, though by the amusement in her stare, she is obviously just joking.

Still, she offers Tim another slice of pizza on a plate, if just to prevent him from saying any more puns.

"Ditto." Conner adds in tandem with Zee, "That was a war crime, man."

This pizza, however? Totally /not/ a war crime. "Man, this stuff is amazing." He says, taking another hefty bite, "I'm gonna have to this this place every time I visit or something."

Corn soldiers, geezy petes. The boy of steel does not mention that he actually dreamed something like that up once. That's how boring it was in Smallville.

"Anyways, this official Titan thing is gonna happen soon, right? It'll be good to meet the rest of the crew as well."

What a sad state of affairs that the only person who appreciates Tim's terrible joke is his ex-girlfriend.

"Nah," he retorts to Zatanna's joking assertion that they're no longer friends, and Conner's agreement, further claiming that he'd committed a terrible crime with that joke. He grins when he says it; it's faint, but genuine. "You guys are stuck with me. Forever."

But what of Conner's question about 'official' Titans things? Briefly, Tim glances towards Stephanie, but it was her choice to keep her secret identity a secret, here. It's not like he can blame her, given the lengths he's gone to in concealing his own identity from people outside this, his most inner of inner circles. It does make the conversation a bit of a minefield, though.

"Soon. The Tower's pretty much ready to go, we should all go check it out next week. Suit up, meet everybody. But for now, we have food, we have friends, and I have a 4K television with movies, and games, and did you know Zee's never even tried Dark Souls?"

Work will, inevitably, come later. But for now, Tim Drake - of all people - just wants to have some fun with his friends.

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