12064/One Step Closer to Death

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One Step Closer to Death
Date of Scene: 27 July 2022
Location: Gotham
Synopsis: It's my party and I'll be kidnapped by a group of incompetent, bumbling wannabe criminals if I want to.
Cast of Characters: Tim Drake, Lonnie Machin, Phoebe Beacon, Emiko Queen, Bart Allen, Zatanna Zatara, Gabby Kinney

Tim Drake has posed:
    Gotham has its drawbacks, sure. Crime's the big one, of course. But commuting when your city is made up of a cluster of islands is, as one might imagine, absolute nonsense. And it's in Jersey, so that's another strike against it.

    Low cost of living for a city of millions, though. Amazing architecture, of course. And the food scene, just to die for.

    Glasshouse is one such place, in the sense that you definitely have to kill someone to get a reservation (or have Wayne as a last name). It's not exclusive, just crazy popular right now, thanks to a combination of a head chef that has recently reached celebrity status and a bunch of TikToks featuring the restaurant's insane views.

    Three-hundred and sixty degrees of Founders Island skyline, to be precise. It's all in the name: every wall in the place is made of glass, an art-deco greenhouse built atop one of downtown Gotham's skyscrapers.

    Yes, even the bathrooms. Though they at least frost over when the door locks.

    A couple of tables in the back have been pushed together to accommodate the exclusive guest-list for what is ostensibly Tim's birthday dinner. Even if this restaurant is just the newest internet trend they make a killer pizza, and if Tim's breaking his usual vegetarianism for his ritual birthday pizza (ham, onion, and artichoke hearts) it better be a damn good pizza.

    Shame he's not here though! Mr. Punctual sent out a series of texts about five minutes ago about a non-emergency with the Wayne Foundation that unfortunately, despite his best efforts, still for some reason requires his immediate attention.

    And then there was another series of follow-up texts begging for someone to keep Bart from eating all of Tim's Special Birthday Pizza. Bribery may or may not have been involved.

    Time for awkward small talk. Let's be honest though, even if Tim were here, it'd probably still be awkward small talk. They don't teach that in Batschool.

Lonnie Machin has posed:
    Lonnie showed up - not in the recommended dress code. Apparently there was an encounter with a polo shirt and then his Joisey accent came right out when he said "Yeah, I ain't wearin' that."
    He's settled for jeans with no rips and a black t-shirt that isn't advertising any punk bands or violent overthrow of the fascists or the system, though he still has his rivited leather jacket on.
    Since he's scarring the hell out of the Maitre d'hotel, he's standing outside of the restaurant, leaning against the wall and noodling on his phone.

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    After being unsure she would get an invitation, Phoebe had researched the hotel, the area, the dresscode, and referenced one of the two people in Wayne Manor who can tie a windsor knot, aad come in wearing a nude colored top under a light jacket of gray with orange filigree on it, a gray pleated knee-length skirt and orange heels, and a pair of plain gold hoop earings in the first holes and little orange-gem studs in the second holes, along with her orange sunglasses, and a purse large enough for a three-ring binder, because it felt SO WEIRD NOT HAVING POCKETS. And then the text from Tim comes, and she gives a tight-lipped frown, tip-tapping and almost passing Lonnie.

    She texts Lonnie:

    <On your left.>


    Totally one of Phoebe's specialities, right? Except for the gray eri-silk collar that hides two and a half inches of her neck, with lace helping to hide the upper and lower edges of gauze.

Emiko Queen has posed:
A very sleek black motorcycle pulls up in front of the restaurant, no badges or tags on it to give make or model, just all sleek black with red alloys taking the place of steel and chrome. A pair of riders hop off the bike as keys are tossed to a valet, the driver very much shorter than the passenger, even in the wedge-heeled boots worn. The red helment is removed and Emiko Queen gives her short hair a quick brush through. She's in a tailored black leather pantsuit with a crimson red silk vest underneath acting as shirt, and those pointed-toe wedge-heeled boots with a crimson sole visible with each step. She tucks a few bills into the valet tip jar as she collects her ticket and smiles up at Bart.

"So. No eating Tim's pizza. I'll make it worth your while later tonight." There's a wink and a smile for him, tucking one arm into his as she stretches up to kiss his cheek. Loonie's given a wave as they approach.

Bart Allen has posed:
Bart Allen smirks a bit and says "I would not eat Tim's specialty pizza on his birthday, ok maybe once, but I did not know it was special for his birthday. Since then though I make sure I at the max take one piece of it." Bart is in black dress pants and shirts, with a crimson button up matching Emiko's look. He looks around and seeing people, he waves to those he knows "Hey guys,"

Tim Drake has posed:
    The maitre d' is fully having a conniption about six feet to Lonnie's left, but in his defense it has more to do with the endless string of guests asking for their meals to be comped in exchange for a post on their socials, the bachelorette party who just showed up three and a half hours late for their reservation, and the bar being out of simple syrup at 6PM on a Saturday.

    Seriously. It's sugar water heated on the stove! Why is this so complicated?!

    Which is why the owner-slash-newly-celebrity-chef herself pops out of the kitchen to assess the situation and then zero in on the most pressing matter: the Wayne party not being seated yet.

    Look, it's Gotham. That's just how it is.

    Her deeply apologetic demeanor is primarily directed at Lonnie for some reason, and she escorts the group through the restaurant towards the back where the tables are assembled near the far wall, which means they have a fantastic view of the bay and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. The chef waves them in towards their seats, and with a quick glint of recognition in her eyes, says "Welcome to Gotham, Ms. Queen," to Emiko as she passes by.

    From the hostess stand, the bride-to-be from the previously mentioned bachelorette party screeches about how those are her tables. Then the maitre d' closes the front doors and the sound is immediately muffled.

    "Please, have a seat. Would anyone like a drink? On the house, of course, I'm so sorry again for the wait." Though she glances at Phoebe, and with a polite smile, adds, "We have a great selection of non-alcoholic mocktails."

    Still no Tim.

    For now, at least, Bart's speedster-metabolism can be meagerly satisfied by the overflowing baskets of focaccia and roasted red pepper sauce that a trio of wait-staff bring out, along with waters for the table.

    CUT TO: Gotham, north-side

    Tim's head tips back against the chair, the top of the thin cushion cutting into the back of his skull. He sighs, forcefully, all the air rushing out of his lungs as he stares up at the ceiling.

    "This is so dumb," he mutters. "I had somewhere to be."

Zatanna Zatara has posed:
The magician makes a discreet entrance outside the building and rides the elevator like a common mortal to the top. Head high, she walks through the crowded room behind the maitre d'hotel, ushering her to the exclusive little party at the back of the house. Her eyes rove, searching for the birthday boy and Phoebe, who she sights with a small inward sigh of relief, a smiling nod of her head, and a wave of her fingers. Zee would eat pizza with pineapple on it (anathema to her Italian heritage) to see Tim and Phoebe seated at the same table together.

No stage clothes for Zee. However, she wears a suit from Chanel that looks like the designer house has channeled her signature black and white - a thigh-length jacket in a tattersall plaid over a black silk dress spangled with white stars. Her high heels in black and white patent leather make her perilously tall.

Nodding and smiling to the people she knows, Zee has herself seated with a minimum of fuss near Phoebe. Leaning over to her once seated, she asks in a low voice, "Where is the guest of honor?"

Lonnie Machin has posed:
    Lonnie looks up at the celebrity chef, and raises his eyebrows. "Well Ma'am, if you want to make it up to him, cook food Tim Drake really likes. Cause as much as he likes the whole gastronomic science thing, he's hated Foie Gras ever since he was a kid and his mom made him eat it." He looks around until he finds something to write on, and then he jots down a number. "This is the number for 'Send Noodles' down on Park Row, call the cook there and have him come help you."
    He looks around at the others, and at Phoebe, and says "It's not like him to be late." He furrows his brows, and then he says, "He'll be here. It's cool."

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    Phoebe gives a kind-hearted smile to the Matre'd, giving a wave and identifying herself as 'Phoebe Wayne' (via her black Wayne credit card, she typed a message on her phone of apology that the reserver was running late, and she gives a small smile to Lonnie, though her expression betrays her worry.

    Though at the mention of foie gras her nose wrinkles and she feels her stomach turn.

    <Tim I think already ordered for himself.> she texts Lonnie, greeting Emiko and Bart with a cheery smile in spite of her silence.

    She sits herself down, unusually a little farther from Tim's presumed seat, but looks up when Zee steps in. She smiles a tthe older magician, and signs to her <Running Late.>

    She then texts Tim:

    <Need an Evac?>

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Another seems to be late as well. Or perhaps not? When the group is ushered into the room meant for the Wayne party she's suddenly scooting in just behind the rest ensuring she, too, is in the room once those doors close.

Gabby is actually in dress code for the place: A nice black mini-dress, tasteful, no cleavage. Just a straight cut across the shoulders with a little V dip to show off her collarbone and the necklace there. A simple yellow Swarovski teardrop on a basic chain. Her shoes were even nice. A bit of a heel but nothing racy. If it weren't for her hair being swept aside from her face by some plastic pink barettes, she could almost be mistaken for a responsible, classy adult.

"Sorry I'm... sort of late-ish. I got caught up in the restroom." Her hand jerks a thumb over her shoulder toward the glass bathrooms which leave her looking just a little unsettled. "I know they frost over but I didn't want to leave it messy. I mean. Not that it WAS, just... it's... it's glass. Everyone could *see* if it was." And boy did she have to resist leaving handprints on the wall just to mess with people.

"I think work ate him. He'll be here soon as he can," she offers cheerily to the chef. "You're doing a great job though, everything smells a-maz-ing." With her own two cents added she moves over to give Phoebe a little hug from behind while greeting the others, "Hey Emiko, Bart. Good to see you again Zatanna. You too, Lonnie."

Emiko Queen has posed:
Emiko follows the celebrity chef with a bemused expression at the poor woman having to seat the party herself. Still, her smile is warm and genuine as she returns the nod of recognition, "Thank you. I'm looking forward to an incredible gastonomic experience." Then she's turning to the others gathered and giving a smile and nod as she claims a pair of seats for herself and Bart.

Phoebe gets a smile and a nod, "Miss Wayne, a pleasure to see you again." She looks for the menu of the mocktails and holds it between herself and Bart to see what they might want to drink. Looking up at Gabby's entrance, she offers a light smile and wave, "Hello Miss Kinney, very nice to see you again." THen her head drops back down to confer with Bart over drinks.

Zatanna gets a curious once-over, but she doesn't intrude, merely offering a polite smile before looking towards Lonnie, "How are you doing?"

Bart Allen has posed:
Bart Allen hmms and does raise a brow at Phoebe not sitting next to Tim, he expected it to be a bit of a toss up who would get to sit beside Tim, other than Lonnie. Conner, Bart or Phoebe." He is going to have to catch her and get fully filled in on what he is missing. He looks over to the drinks and says "Well if they aint got Jolt, something fruity maybe with one of those little umbrellas " He adds "You can also try the onion maiden, but remember not all of us are vegetarians." He offers with a smile and then back to the others "Should I go get him?"

Tim Drake has posed:
    The arrival of another famous persona earns some looks from the influencers trying to get free food up at the front, but before any of them manage to rush Zatanna with their phones out, the maitre d' manages to cut them off at the door and reestablish some control. There's some finality to the shutting of the door, beause while the enraged bride-to-be and her drunken bridesmaids are still visible, and visibly still arguing, hidden speakers that pipe in natural sounds like the rush of water and distant rumble of thunder seem to drown it all out just fine.

    The menu's not traditional Italian, which probably isn't surprising given the surroundings. Fusion dishes like biryani-style risotto and curry pizza. Those with discerning palates might have detected garam masala in the red sauce served with the focaccia (or maybe it was on the bread itself?). Needless to say, the place smells fantastic as Gabby says, especially given the open concept kitchen to one side where the brick pizza oven is on full display. "We have a curated three-course dinner with wine pairings if you're interested in gastronomy," the chef explains to Emiko on the walk over. Her frazzled expression seems to have abated somewhat in the face of the compliments she's been given, standing taller as she observes the party seating themselves.

    "It does, doesn't it?" the chef says to Gabby. "One of the perks of the job."

    It's probably no surprise that she can only spare a few moments at the table, and a waiter seemlessly steps in to take the various beverage orders as she pockets the number Lonnie provided and heads back into the kitchen, smiling at Gabby as she goes.

    Her quiet, puzzled "Thank you," doesn't let on whether or not she actually intends to use the resource offered to her, but who knows. Stranger things have happened.

    Said waiter that has taken her place waves off Phoebe's typed explanation. "Please don't worry about it," he signs, then switches to spoken voice for the benefit of the rest of the table to say, "Mr. Wayne has everything taken care of already. The entire menu is available to you all. Let me know if you have any questions."

    And then just as seemlessly as he inserted himself for the chef, he does the exact same thing with the conversation between Bart and Emiko. "The lychee bellini is our most popular sweet drink. We can swap out the prosecco for sparkling juice."

    CUT TO: the bottom of the Kane river.

    Adequately waterproofing delicate electronics is an ongoing race on the tech market. The Bats, of course, are ahead of the game in that regard, so Tim Drake's phone beeps with a notification, its screen briefly lighting up the river muck surrounding it.

    Phoebe's text goes unanswered.

Lonnie Machin has posed:
    Lonnie raises his eyebrows. "Well maybe *I* would like some five-alarm ramen." He waits for the chef to leave.
    After a moment, he takes his phone out, and opens an app. "If Tim knew I'd hacked into the GPS on his phone I'd never hear the end of it." He says, sotto voce, "...Which is why I didn't tell him. Everyone in relationships keep secrets from one another." He zooms in on the map, and then says, "...Huh. Well OK then. Use the resources you got - hey Zatanna. Where's Tim right now, because his phone is currently on its way to Miller Harbor by way of the Kane River."

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    Phoebe actually looks releived as the waiter uses sign language. Oh, this is going to make things much easier. She turns to face him, giving a bright smile as she signs that she would love one of those Bellinis, switched for the sparkling juice.

    It makes sense that Tim had already taken care of the bill -- for his own party. Drat. She looked at her phone, at the lack of return message and is somewhat unsurprised, but has a slightly hurt expression -- she had pat Gabby on the shoulder at the from-behind hug, the girl giving a slight smile to Gabby before Lonnie pipes up -- and then her expression turns from mild hurt to intense worry. Phoebe goes to stand up so quickly that her chair tilts back dangerously, near to the point of being knocked over, hands going to the table wa sshe mouths *WHAT*.

Emiko Queen has posed:
"Oh, that sounds excellent, thank you. I'll be trying that!" Emiko responds to the chef with a bright smile at the suggestion of the three course meal with paired wines. She turns back to the menu to peruse it further, going over possible appetizers with Bart.

When Lonnie starts trying to locate Tim and Phoebe leaps to her feet, Emiko turns to the waiter with a smile, "My apologies, could you please come back in a few minutes? We're not quite ready to order yet." And she'll hold that polite but firm smile until the waiter does indeed exit the area. Then she'll turn back to the table, "Is there any immediate reason to presume that he's in trouble and not simply being held up by normal duties?"

Bart Allen has posed:
Bart Allen shrugs a bit and says "Well his phone going down the river does sound a bit odd, but seriously I can do a quick circuit, I need to grab his present anyways, not really able to carry it on the bike." He admits. He will, looks to the others waiting for a start point.

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney steps away from Phoebe after the initial hug, and she continues grinning even as the chef leaves. That was nice. The drink suggestion gets a soft 'Ooh' from her as well. "I'll try that too, please! That sounds so good." It's all done smoothly as she starts for a chair only to pause when Lonnie checks the GPS.

Emiko's quick remark to the waiter is taken in stride. A light sigh comes, "Because it's Tim, and he's a workaholic, just like you-know-who. He did say it was related to the foundation though not..." her hand lifts to gesture vaguely. "Extra-curricular."

Even so she glances over to Bart considering asking him to check. He'd be there and back with no one the wiser other than a stiff breeze. "... Maybe we should at least check that he's not stuffed on a cargo boat somewhere."

Zatanna Zatara has posed:
Zatanna turns her head at the sound of her name to smile at Lonnie. The smile fades somewhat as her fine black eyebrows rise in question.

"I thought you were the King of phone hacking, Lonnie!" she quickly responds, the smile returning. "What has he out hacked you? I can try."

Leaning to touch shoulders with Phoebe, she asks quietly, "Did he text back yet? I could scry but I don't want to make a stage show of it."

Slipping her phone out of her pocket, Zee thumbs google maps on and zooms out for a map of Gotham then places it on the table. After a sideways glance at Phoebe, the magician mutters under her breath, staring at the screen.

"Hmmmph," said with a frown and a tap to the screen.

Still keeping her voice pitched for Phoebe's ears. "Hold my hand. It's like he doesn't want to be found."

In a normal speaking voice, she casts, .miT dniF

The map, Ouiji board slow, begins to resolve to a point on Miagani Island. She pushes the phone toward Lonnie. "Looks like there."

Tim Drake has posed:
    Most of the table orders the same drink, which certainly makes the waiter's job easier. He nods along and confirms both audibly and via sign with each person as needed, though when he senses a shift in the focus of the party at the table, he hesitates.

    It doesn't take more than a second or two before the waiter nods to Emiko, excuses himself, and goes to tend to his other tables.

    The zoom-in on the map goes glacially slow, as if several dozen storeys up wouldn't get you immaculate cell service. But it's more like there's lag, as something -- not the operating system of Zatanna's phone, to clarify -- fights against her attempts to locate Tim. Even once she's managed to cast the locating spell, Zatanna's phone still shows a fairly large area in the northeastern part of Miagani.

    Kingston, famously (or maybe infamously) home to much of the organized crime in Gotham, is smack dab in the center.

    CUT TO somewhere in Kingston

    "This is not how I wanted my day to go," Tim laments. Off to the side someone makes a sympathetic noise, followed quickly by a short hiss of pain as the speaker gets kicked in the shin by another figure obscured in shadows. Neither of the two, nor the other person Tim can only hear shuffling about, say anything.

    He sighs again, lower lip pushed out to blow the hair off of his forehead. Then he shifts, handcuff chain jangling against the back of the chair he's tied to. It'd be easy to work himself free. Escapology is one of the first things any Robin learns.

    But he's not Robin. He's Timothy Jackson Drake-Wayne, and he's stuck here until someone else figures out where he is. Or these three idiots leave the room long enough for him to bail, which doesn't seem likely.


    He really wanted that pizza.

Lonnie Machin has posed:
"It's a little game we play. I hack his tech, he patches it, he hides trackers on me, I find them." Lonnie shrugs. "We both hate being bored."

He considers what Zatanna has to say, and he says, "That could mean a couple of things." He jots down a note on a napkin, before crumpling it up. 'One - something sudden came up and us finding him could blow his cover. Or two, it's a trap for one or more of us.' He crumples the napkin up and stuffs it into his coat, before he gets up. He takes the waiter by the arm as they pass by. "Tell the chef that Mr. Drake-Wayne's business meeting is running long, and he's not sure when he'll be available. If she keeps his table open, he'd really appreciate it." Since there's a reason Tim picked this place.

He gets up, and walks out. "...I'm gonna go pick up my boyfriend. I'll see the rest of you there."

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    Phoebe had shaken her head, settling back down at Zatanna's far more calm approach to Tim's being missing, and had reached out, to hold Zatanna's hand, her other coming up to hover near the phone as it drew closer to Tim's position. She felt her fingers tremble. She hoped it didn't telegraph to Zee.

    But they located him. She breathes out a sign of releif, and with Gabby hanging behind to provide cover, she looks to Zee and Lonnie, to Bart and Emiko, and as Lonnie goes to pick up Tim from what was *obviously* a work function, she looks down at her clothes, kicks off her heels, and thinks to Zatanna <I don't know if I'm good enough to get us close.>

Emiko Queen has posed:
Emiko watches Zatanna and Phoebe's location magic do it's thing, then gives a nod. Pushing up from her seat, she looks to Bart, "Want to head out and do some scouting together? That way we don't go in blind." Looking to Phoebe, she offers, "If you can get onto the island, I'm certain that Bart can take both of you the rest of the way."

Now that Bart's been volunteered, she turns to him with a smile, "Well. Not the party we'd hoped for, but crashing one is always fun, too. Shall we?"

Bart Allen has posed:
Bart Allen nods, a bit and says "If you need a pick up I can grab the Impulse Shaw." He offers tot he magic ladies. He scoops up Emiko in his arms, and says "Send me a message where ya need a pick up if you do." And he is off, making a quick stop at the apartment to grab gear, trying something, to see how well it works, after changing he holds his hand out towards Emiko as she is changing trying to lend her a bit of speed.

Zatanna Zatara has posed:
The magician's gaze follows Lonnie's departure. She taps her lips as though trying to remember something. Then with a dry glance out of the corner of her eye at Phoebe, <You may not but I do. This doesn't feel right. Are you staying to eat?>

Aloud, she says to the table in general. "I know Tim does pizza on his birthday and the 3-course gastronomic meal sounds wonderful. But, I think another time. Phoebe and I...ah, might not stay."

Zatanna stands and scans the others at the table, "Call it paranoia but I think something is off. Anyone not afraid of portals is welcome to come."

Tim Drake has posed:
    There's a good deal of confusion as the entire table vacates, but... well... Tim's already paid for everything. So maybe they'll still have dinner waiting when they get back from their impromptu rescue mission.

    Besides, Gabby can eat for an entire group. If you don't count Bart and his appetite, at least.

    Whether by magical portal or superspeed, soon enough the party has relocated to Kingston. It's not outwardly as dangerous as the neighboring few blocks containing the Narrows, not with so much of the area held in the iron grip of one crime family or the other, but those streets where one power cedes to another are treacherous lands.

    Fortunately, the combined magical orienteering of Zatanna and Phoebe point them in the right direction. Outwardly it seems to be an entirely ordinary apartment building, if a bit run-down, possibly abandoned. The sun has sunk down in the horizon far enough that the street lights are beginning to flicker on.

    Three storeys up, a single window is illuminated with light filtering through threadbare curtains, the evening breeze catching them on occasion.

    Distantly, a familiar voice trickles out through the window:

    "...-iously, do we have to do this n--"

    Another voice sighs, and speaks too loudly. "Look, man, it's really not personal."

Lonnie Machin has posed:
    When you become a vigilante in Gotham City, you do some insane shit. Like building your own road-chewing motorcycle from the frame up and then using it to do some insane tricks. It rolls out of Zatanna's portal onto a nearby rooftop. "All right." Lonnie says, as he pulls a hood up to shadow his face, "...Make your play you guys, I'll back it."
    First, he guns the engine. VRRRRRRRRRRRRRM!
    Then, the piercing beam of the headlight appears in a warehouse window. And it gets brighter. And brighter.

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    And is backlit by brilliance as someone pulls off a magic-girl transformation, and Phoebe's clothes change from business casual to serious business, black hood and all -- though she's going to miss her domino this time. Skirt to pants, bare feet to boots, and an extending staff as she breathes out, looking to Lonnie, then to Emiko and Bart, and she motions Bart to the stairs -- cover the back. Emiko with him. She's going to go in the window, apparently, because she focuses her energies, and a pair of rose-gold wings form behind her, her eyes aglow as she takes a running start, and leaps, looking to get in that window as dramatically back-lit as possible.

Zatanna Zatara has posed:
Nothing like coming in quietly. Lonnie vrooms out of the stealth portal and Zatanna taps a high-heeled foot after walking out behind him. "One moment."

Like Phoebe, party clothes are exchanged for something more suitable for finding missing Tims in a bad neighborhood. They both favor black. Zatanna in sleek black leather and boots with steel toes.

As Phoebe launches herself, she throws a shield around her, then joins the party heading for the stairs.

Emiko Queen has posed:
Emiko appreciates the time saved with Bart's speed-lend, meeting the others at the apartment building and glancing across the way. The lit window is open and that's all she needs. A grim smile playing across her lips, she selects an arrowhead and nocks it back on her bow, sending it neatly through the open window to thunk into the opposite wall.

The small canister on the shaft of the arrow immediately starts spewing forth obscuring smoke that will give the kidnappers a bad time. And Tim some cover to do what he needs to do. Glancing to Bart, she smiles, "Want to go clear out the lower levels so we have an open exit route?" THe bow is holstered and she slips an arm around his waist in anticipation of being zipped off again!

Bart Allen has posed:
Bart Allen nods, and is off, checking the lower floors, and making sure no one tries to go out the back. The golden wings did get a brow raised, Phoebe has come a long way since they first met her. He will deposit Emiko at the stairs "You keep an eye out if they come from above hon." And Bart does the speed search of the lower levels.

Tim Drake has posed:
    The smoke cannister is launched via arrow on a perfect arc up through the open window, its clattering entrance against the interior floor met with a shocked exclamation and, faintly, a "Oh thank god, finally."

    As smoke hisses out and light from Lonnie's motorcycle streams in through the open window, three figures begin to scramble towards the door. "I told you this would happen!" one of them cries, while another tries and fails to find the doorknob. The third, sensing his doom approaching, just stands there.

    Phoebe alights upon the windowsill just as the thunk of metal against the floorboards signals that Tim's freed himself of his handcuffs under the cover of smoke. "Oh look," he announces, voice somewhere between 'bored teenager called on in math class despite not having had their hand up' and 'overmedicated housewife glumly surveying the chaos her children have wrought upon her previously cleaned living room'. "The vigilantes have arrived to rescue me. It's been nice but I really did have plans."

    And, okay, technically no one unties Tim, but he's upright and moving within moments. It's not like his would-be captors would know.

    "Black Mask's men," he announces sotto voce to Phoebe, "Though they don't actually know who's paying them."

    There is no one except a very confused vagrant trying to take a nap in the unused lobby of the building down on the first floor. Aside for a boarded up doorway between them and the stairwell, Bart and Emiko won't encounter any reinforcements. It's honestly kind of embarrassing. How in the hell did Tim manage to get kidnapped by these guys?

Lonnie Machin has posed:
    As they're scrambling, the motorcycle bursts through the window in a shower of scintillating glass and blinding, flashing lights, in the glare of which vigilantes or sorcerers or rich boys you'd swear you had cuffed could do anything. Man, it's a good thing these warehouse floors are reinforced with steel. The bike hits the floor and does a half-moon turn as it skids out, and Lonnie keeps his head turned to maintain that aura of secrecy.
    "You're all right?" Lonnie says, before he says, "I have some stuff in the bag on the bike."
    Then he reaches out and grabs Tim, and then pulls him in and kisses him hard on the mouth amidst the blinding lights and the smoke. "And you thought you'd be bored on your birthday."

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    Phoebe stands amid the smoke, the light from her glowing, see-through wings casting a pallor around the room, her darker skin allowing her face to be completely hidden beneath the hood she was wearing, the smoke adding to the absolute drama of her entrance, to find that Tim's already up. Well.

    She looks around through the smoke at the men in the room, giving a small nod of her head to the captive.

    That had to be embarrassing to have to let yourself be kidnapped that way, she considers, and she brings her hands together, she spreads them out in an arcane pattern, and then the whole group, everyone within fifteen feet of her, could hear her voice:

    <Honestly, was this your first kidnapping or something? What a terrible job.>

Zatanna Zatara has posed:
Oddly enough, Zatanna goes for a more conventional entry, exploding the door in with an upward twist of her wrist. She strides in and without consulting anyone, impatiently commands, "".meht eiT"

Emiko Queen has posed:
Once the lower floors are deemed clear, Emiko breaks down the boarded up doorway and makes her way up to the room with the view. "This was... decidedly ill-planned. Three men, minimal firepower, no traps, no backup... suspiciously easy."

Looking to the three men, she asks, "Could they be teleported into a jail cell and Mr. Wayne can stop by the precinct to file his report?" Then she's moving to collect her arrow, no use in leaving things behind!

Bart Allen has posed:
Bart Allen comes up and sees everything is handled, and he is off and back a moment later. He has a plate with 3slices of Tim's pizza on it, and one of them has a lit candle in the middle of it, with a little plastic holder around it so no wax gets on the pizza. He waits till after the kiss, and then offers the plate to Tim.

Tim Drake has posed:
    The bad guys, which really only qualify for the moniker of 'just kind of not great' guys, are thoroughly confounded by the magical ropes that suddenly ensnare them. Which does leave the question of why Tim himself was so hard to magically track as something of a mystery still, but for now at least he's been found.

    Of course it all happened while a motorcycle was distractingly bursting through the window, so they aren't even aware that the ropes were mystical. Look, they're not that sharp, okay? They don't even have masks on.

    "Is what you have in the bag a slice of--." Tim's cut off, and he blinks a couple of times at Lonnie after they separate, before Bart reappears with the--


    One slice is immediately folded in half and shoved into Tim's mouth, right there in the middle of the smoke and the light and the shattered glass. "Better now. I skipped lunch." And then he waves his half-eaten slice of pizza towards the robbers, nodding along with Emiko's explanation. "They're not even wearing masks! I could have totally identified them in a lineup!"

    One of the would-be kidnappers (okay, technically they do qualify for THAT moniker...) looks down. "Aww, yeah, I forgot. I was gonna buy us some of those, uh... whaddaya call 'em... baklavas?"

    Tim rolls his eyes, and then looks around at his rescue party with a lopsided smile. "Well... happy birthday to me, I guess."

Lonnie Machin has posed:
    Lonnie raises an eyebrow. "I mean, if I'd known you would've reacted that enthusiastically, I would've put pizza in the bag." He rests his forearms on the handlebars of the bike, and then says, casually, "...We kept the table open at the restaurant. It's a little fancy for me, but if it makes you happy, Tim--"
    "...Need a ride?"

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    Phoeebs gives a small smile, noting the disappearance and re-appearance of Bart, the pizza and candle, Tim and Lonnie, Emiko and Bart, and Zee's handling of the quote-unquote 'bad guys'. They're tied up and largely harmless now, so she just folds down her extending staff, looks over the assembled group and gives a nod at Tim's 'Happy Brithday to Me'.

    <Police should be on their way shortly to collect them> she signs. <Glad you are safe.> she signs specifically at Tim, enjoying his pizza, and then turns to go out the window, see-through wings folding as she hops out the same way she came.

Emiko Queen has posed:
Emiko has to level a stare at the kidnapper that can't even properly pronounce the name of the mask he /intended/ to buy but didn't. She blinks. Then she turns and looks at Tim, blinks. "Yes, Mr. Wayne. Perhaps it would be best if you went on to your birthday party. I'm sure your friends and family are still waiting for you to show up."

She's clearly trying to bite back the urge to ask Tim HOW in the HELL he managed to kidnapped by these DOOFUSES. It's mind-boggling! Then she's turning to Bart and smiling up at him, "Shall we? I believe we have some plans of our own to return to."

Zatanna Zatara has posed:
"Happy Birthday, Tim!" Zatanna, smiling, crosses the room to stand before Tim, ignoring the maskless wannabe baddies trussed up on the floor.

"Meet you back at the restaurant? I hope you don't mind if I don't stay for the police? I'm a bit peckish." Hang with an Englishman long enough and you pick up some of his turns of phrases.

Bart Allen has posed:
Bart Allen nods, and lives Tim with his pizza and his tied up kidnappers, and picks Emiko up in his arms, and waves with his one hand and off they go to change and head back to the diner.

Tim Drake has posed:
    Phoebe's well-wishes get a thumbs up, and then apparently sensing Emiko's silent judgment, Tim hikes up his shoulders in a grimacing shrug towards her before he manages a "Thank you for rescuing me."

    Because he definitely doesn't know any of these costumed vigilantes, nope. "Yeah, guess I do have a party to get back to." And then with little preamble (except to polish off another slice of pizza in what amounts to two bites) Tim hops up onto the bike behind Lonnie. "Maybe next time just... get a hobby," he tells the trio on the ground.

    They're still trussed up by the time GCPD arrives. Is anyone surprised?