5302/Two Bats with One Stone

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Two Bats with One Stone
Date of Scene: 22 February 2021
Location: Hall of Justice - New Troy
Synopsis: Batman, Robin and Troia discuss strained relationships, Kryptonian dangers, and a lack of sharing.
Cast of Characters: Donna Troy, Damian Wayne, Bruce Wayne

Donna Troy has posed:
    It couldn't last. Robin's absence from the Titans Tower the last few weeks has left a deficit of scowling that was bound to be noticed. If the three weeks it has taken to chase him up seems awkwardly long, he should have picked a quieter time, but it was always going to happen.

    With Robin being off the standard Titans channels at this time, Donna Troy had followed the obvious alternative channel of contacting his father. The message had indicated that she wasn't /just/ looking for the wayward Robin, but had things to discuss with the Senior Bat as well. Perhaps sensitive to the bat proclivity for not drawing attention to Wayne Manor, she had suggested a meeting between the three at the Halls of Justice. It's Batman's stamping grounds, after all - and hardly inconvenient for herself, either. She has been spending a fair amount of time here herself, since the injured Diana was moved here. Her sister remains in a coma in the basement medical facilities, and the Halls of Justice have been host to a strange assortment of Amazons sent over by Queen Hippolyta to guard the comatose Themysciran princess.

    Shortly before the appointed meeting time, Donna had finally managed to persuade one of this assorted group of Amazons that this Man-of-Bats is /fine/ and she should go back downstairs to guard Diana instead of bothering Donna, and everything is set in one of the Halls of Justice meeting rooms. Seated looking slightly harrassed and more than slightly tired, Donna Troy awaits the appearance of Bats senior and junior.

Damian Wayne has posed:
     It's a rare thing for the dynamic duo to suit up while the sun is still out. Even more of a rare thing for a Robin to step into the Hall of Justice. For young heroes, it was sacred ground, for this particular Robin, it was another facade to show the public. A tourist trap that made people feel warm and fuzzy around capes. Robin was obviously one to prefer stealth and fear, rather than photo opportunities and children's costumes. He kept quiet for most of the ride, but he did manage something as they walked to the meeting room, his hood was definitely up, to avoid any stray phone picture. "Three weeks, two days, sixteen hours, and eleven minutes." That had been the last time he set foot in Titans Tower. It was the amount of time it took one of his teammates to mention it.

  He steeled himself for the eventual confrontation inside, but it was something he couldn't evade longer.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
It is always begrudging, it seems, whenever Gotham's Dark Knight is pulled away from his natural stomping grounds. Oh, he will answer a League call of course, and crime does not always respect that boundaries of city limits so it's hardly unknown for cases that begin in Gotham to ultimately take him elsewhere. But all those little meetings and get-togethers that otherwise seem to happen? Batman doesn't seem to have a lot of patience for them. Still, after being called out often enough about that by his 'Family' he has tried to be a little more accessible and a little less glowery.

He is aware of Damian's... difficulties with the Titans. They've discussed it. And he offered his advice. As far as he is concerned, that is the end of it for him. His son is old enough to make his own decision on where his time is best spent. And if the requesting meeting was just for that he probably would have made his apologies and insisted that he couldn't spare the time. But all indications are that this is about League business as well. And so he is here. And so he has asked Damian to make time as well. When his son makes his murmured comment he only glances at him, acknowledging it but offering nothing else. He's said his bit.

If the Dark Knight is put off by the Amazon's reluctance to leave Donna alone with him he gives no sign of it. His expression -- what can be seen of it -- is as inscrutable as ever and he walks into the main meeting chamber, striding over to stand only a short distance from his usual seat as he fixes that cowled gaze on the Amazon Princess wordlessly.

Donna Troy has posed:
    Donna stands to greet the dynamic duo with a smile as they arrive, though the smile is a little forced. Meeting the Batman is always a little nerve-wracking even for people capable of punching holes in walls and who will face a gorgon without fear. How does he do it? She doesn't know, yet there's always that feeling that if he just glowered a little harder he probably could turn people into stone.

    "Thank you both for coming," she says before resuming her seat. "Robin, it's good to see you. It has been a while since you've been at the tower. I'm a little surprised you haven't come to talk to me about your absence. Also I do miss our little sparring sessions. There are so few people around worth crossing swords with. As I'm sure you are aware by now Garfield is back with us and his doppelganger dealt with. I'm sure he would be glad to see you again too. However..."

    She leans back, arms crossed, frowning slightly. "The Kryptonians are departing on a voyage to visit the remains of their homeworld. They intend to be away only a week or two, but we all know that could easily stretch longer. With Diana out of action too, we're going to be down a lot of heavy hitters for a while. We in the Titans are probably less affected than the League or the Avengers are. Batman, if you find the League is in need of additional support in this time, you have only to ask. Either on an individual basis or a secondment."

Damian Wayne has posed:
     Robin had wanted to dismiss off whomever the Titans' ambassador would be to the Bat Delegation, he wanted to throw that T-Comm on his belt across the table and tell whomever it was where to shove it. But this, this was one of three people in the group that he actually respected, and would go to battle with, or for; and has for that matter. "Troia." He said, light and measured, it was all he could do to remove his emotion from it. "If Vorpal had not attempted to take that one on himself, the situation would have been taken care of a month ago." He was still bitter about that, that makes two assassinations he had failed, two blots of shame on his record.

  "I left for a reason." He says, taking a seat, and drawing back his hood. "Hawkeye and I, we worked to keep the team from falling while you and the rest were off in space. We did the job, and all of you return and pretend like everything is the way it was. You all shoved us off, but the dynamic has changed. You do not get to push us aside that easily." Robin's skin tone had started to redden a bit as he made his next thoughts. "It was obvious to me that Pym and Cassie were first on your priority list than the two who kept the group from crumbling again. You and those two get to call the shots. And we are the afterthoughts."

  Damian had already worked himself up, so word of the Kryptonians making some sort of pilgrimage to Krypton just has him giving a scoff.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
It is a gift, clearly. But then the whole Gotham crowd occupies such a strange space in relation to most of the heavy hitters of the superhero set. They are regular humans. No amazing powers true, just trained to the peak of human ability. And yet that walk amongst alien gods, and Amazons, amongst space cops and undersea kings as equals. It's their unique gift. Naturally they need to have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Even if it is unnerving said Amazons every now and then.

As promised, when it comes to the issue of Robin and the Titans it might as well be as if the Dark Knight is not even here. It's always difficult to read him, and at the best of times he never seems to show any surprise, but his general demeanor certainly seems to suggest that he is aware of what is keeping Damian away from Titan's Tower and firmly anchored in Gotham. But that is as far as it goes. Let them work it out. It's their team.

The issue of the League however is something else. That is his concern. And it is a fair point that Donna is making. With a number of Leaguers going off world for a time, with Diana downed, comatosed and being cared for in the levels below they are not exactly operating with their peak strength. Of course, it's still the Justice League. Strength is something that they have plenty to spare. And as Batman knows better then most, not everything comes down to raw power.

Still, it's better to have it then not.

"I know that if there is trouble that we cannot handle the Titans, or Avengers will be there. We survived without Kryptonians for a long time, I'm sure we will be fine until they return," he says quietly, inclining his head slightly towards Donna in recognition to the part she plays in that. "That said, if you had a suggestion for a secondment or two, it is something I am willing to take to the rest of the League. Now would be a good time for it," he says simply.

Donna Troy has posed:
    Donna raises an eyebrow at Damian, but listens quietly during his bitter objections. "I have told you before that the Titans does not have a formal leadership structure, Robin. Leaderships comes from those who lead and is followed by those who accept their leadership. Neither Waspette nor Cassie are by any stretch leaders, and neither has tried to be. It is not in their nature. You can be - but it's hard to provide leadership when you are not present. If you wish to discuss that further, or air any grievences, all you had to do was talk to me. I will always listen to you."

    "As for Vorpal..." She sighs softly and shakes her head. "He is inexperienced, but he learns. He has conceded that his approach was entirely wrong. Rather than taking it on himself he finally agreed it was a team issue, as it should have been from the start. The team is far stronger than any individual member, and we resolved the issue very quickly - and without bloodshed - once he was finally persuaded to stop and think like a member of a team rather than an individual." She holds Damian's gaze for a few moments after finishing before turning to Batman.

    "I'll leave the question of secondment to you. Hopefully you feel you do not need it, but I would suggest Cyborg or Doctor Fairchild if you feel a little extra firepower immediately at hand would be useful. Hopefully none of this will be necessary. We are taking steps to make it less obvious the Kryptonians have left, in case some troublemakers think it would be a good time to cause trouble. If we're lucky they will all be back before anyone notices."

    " As you say, there have not always been Kryptonians around. Or for that matter, Amazons. We will have to hope we can go a few weeks without another Doomsday. There's another aspect to this that concerns me though." She leans forwards, arms crossed on the table. "Supergirl's doppelganger in that other universe was never sent to Earth - she stayed at home. Her home city, known as Argo, survived the destruction of Krypton in that universe. There is a significant chance that may be true in our universe too, and that's part of the reason they are making this pilgrimage."

    "We are used to thinking of Kryptonians as the good guys, but we should remember that not all of them are. We know of two other survivors, General Zod and Ursa, who have made themselves our enemies. When we recovered that other Kryptonian city, Kandor, from Brainiac - Superman was eager to speak to his compatriots. Supergirl harbored doubts. She was worried he would find that Kryptonian culture does not live up to his ideals. If the Kryptonians discover Argo City has indeed survived, those surviving Kryptonians will also become aware of the existence of Earth. We need to be prepared for the possibility that isn't a good thing."

Damian Wayne has posed:
     "You say that, but to those who served and led, it is a shitty fucking position to have to act as if you were not gone for months." Then to Vorpal and bloodshed: "What is wrong with bloodshed? Just because it wears the face of Garfield does not make it Beast Boy. Vorpal could not accept that, and it is what broke him. He fought against me, fucked up the plan, and injured Goliath in the aftermath of it all. No. There are some people that do not need to be in this line of work, and he is one of them. He is going to get himself and/or someone else killed. Him and a number of others on the team. Lack of experience, a lack of listening to those who have experience -when it was imperative that they do-." Yeah, Damian was on a roll. His frown doubled by the end of it all.

  It was getting Goliath hurt that made him the angriest, that was an unforgivable transgression in his eyes, Goliath being the first friend he ever had.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
See? And some people wonder why he never has the Flash over for dinner. Or why he doesn't catch an afternoon matinee with Green Lantern. Sometimes it is just a whole lot easier to keep a certain distance between one's work and one's life.

Of course it would also be pretty fair to argue that in the case of the Dark Knight, his life is his work. Still, he would hold that the point is valid, at least as far as he's concerned.

Still, the Dark Knight listens quietly to her recommendation on the issue of the secondment, seeming considering her two names for just an instant before inclining his head in apparent agreement. "As you say. Hopefully it is unnecessary but I would agree those would be two likely candidates if the need arises for some reinforcement of the ranks," he says. In the end it is not entirely up to him of course. But clearly he is willing to raise the matter up and one suspects that his opinion is held in suitably high regard by the rest of the Leaguers. Most of them at any rate.

Ahhh, preparedness. It is kind of his hallmark, isn't it? It is one of the reasons that he manages to function amongst those who dwarf him in power. Because he knows them better. Sometimes better then they know themselves. And he prepares himself for just about every conceivable situation. Even the supposed impossible. "I understand your concerns. You're right. It is something that we need to be prepared for," he says quietly.

Of course, he doesn't just prepare for hostile Kryptonians to meance them, does he? He prepares for the day, the unthinkable circumstances that could lead one of their friends to become a threat too. It is an ugly thing. But he faces those on a regular basis.

"We'll be ready."

Donna Troy has posed:
    "Nobody told you or anyone else to act in any way in particular, Robin," Donna says mildly. "But you can't expect things to change without proposing changes and persuading people that you're right. And you can't do that if you're absent. Even present, you will have trouble persuading people of anything if you do not make the effort to understand them. You don't understand Vorpal. He is raw and inexperienced, but he's very capable, and if you gave him the time to let him, he would surprise you. What he needs is guidance. You could be providing that guidance, but he's not inclined to listen to someone who dismisses him as 'that crazy cat thing.' There was a time when you didn't thing a great deal of Beast Boy either. If you gave Vorpal the chance you gave Beast Boy, you might be surprised."

    The talk of bloodshed? That's a discussion for another time, and perhaps one for father and son rather than for her to bring up. Donna's not averse to bloodshed when necessary - the Amazons are not as strict about these things as Batman is, for example. That doesn't mean she favors killing when there are alternatives, though.

    She turns to give a nod to Batman. "We /all/ need to be ready, and most aren't. We are, as a planet, not very efficient. The League, the Titans, the Avengers, the X-Men -- we have been poor at communication. We have tended to keep our own counsel. I don't imagine that will change quickly, and hopefully it won't have to. The important thing right now is that we are not surprised by what may be going to happen. I felt it was important to apprise you of the situation with Argo City. Much as I hope for Supergirl that she might find her family alive, it is our job to consider the ramifications, and think the thoughts others might not wish to think.

    Thank you for coming, Batman. If I learn anything more, I will share it with you. Robin, I hope to see you at the Tower soon, but if that's not on your agenda than I hope you will at least give me the chance to discuss that situation with you properly."

Damian Wayne has posed:
     "And I am not inclined to teach someone who goes into -my- turf and thinks I am not watching. I was there that night with Red Robin." He continues on, but in Terry's voice. "Oh, don't make fun of his height. I'm afraid he never -rises- to the task." Back to Damian. "He deserved that batarang to the head and I hope he still has the fucking bruise." It was obvious that he wasn't moving from his opinion any time soon.

  "I will converse with you, Troia. But for now, I will be staying in Gotham." Robin does see her as capable. But it's obvious he's got an issue with the Titans. Maybe things can be mended after all.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
Clearly there are still a great number of raw emotions for Damian when it comes to the Titans. But then that too is part of growing up, even when the circumstances of one's life are rather... unique. How he comes to terms with it -- or fails to do so -- is something only he can decide. The consequences -- for good or ill -- are on him afterall. In this, Bruce is committed to being nothing more then a sounding board. Emotions are not his strongest subject admittedly, but he's hard a few kicks at the can by now and he has finally learned a few things with Dick and Jason and even Tim.

It's a fair point. The super hero community does sometimes have a tendancy to put themselves in silos until they have no other alternative but to reach out to one another. And, in all honesty, he is something of a contributor to that. He doesn't exactly warmly welcome outside vigilantes to Gotham, now does he? And there are valid reasons for that of course, but it definitely contributes to the problem Donna raises, even if on a smaller scale.

But what is the alternative? Trying to bring all the superhero community together under one tent and all the challenges that would entail? All the differing viewpoints and sometimes outright suspicions. To invest some outside agency, like SHIELD or otherwise, with a degree of coversite over them all and the responsibility to properly coordinate? Equally difficult and potentially unpaltable.

Still, the Dark Knight dips his head her way in acknowledgement of the point. "I will do the same," he agrees quietly. He might even do it. Provided he doesn't believe that sharing would do more harm then good. He's still Batman.

Turning, he starts for the exit, pausing only for a moment by Robin, laying a hand on his shoulder. "I'll be waiting when you're ready," he says. And then he is gone.