Damien: Damien Wayne.

The son of Bruce Wayne, The Batman. Heir to the cowl.

Damien stands in front of the glass display cases that holds his old outfit in the Bat Cave, along with his fathers. Looking into the glass at his father’s uniform, he stares at it for a long time. Seeing himself in the uniform in the reflection. Was this how it was supposed to be? Was this Bruce’s plan all along? Surely his father had someone worthier to become the Batman. Richard, in his mind, is the best candidate. But, would he take it?

He knew that the path he was treading was not one set by his father. But someone murdered his father. Someone was able to do something nobody else could have done.

Kill Batman.

Would his father condone his actions? More than likely, his father would be ashamed. Didn’t he understand? Sometimes you had to take the law in your own hands. To make sure that the next Joker can’t be born. To send such a deep chill down the spines of organized crime…that they rather go elsewhere, than to stay in Gotham. Damien had been raised by the League of Assassins. They’re very belief is to purge the world and to provide order to the chaos.

“Why, Father?” asking the uniform, putting his hand on the glass.

“I am your flesh and blood, it is my duty as your son to find who did this to you. My methods may not be what you wished for, but it is all I know.” glancing down for a moment, Damien squeezes his fists as he looks back up staring back at the reflection, seeing himself in the cape and cowl. “I will find who did this to you, father. And I will make them suffer for their egregious crimes.”

Dinah: I’ve been to the Bat Cave many times. Far less times since my return to Gotham City than all the years before that. The first time when I was in High School myself, still hellbent on revenge more than justice and making things right. The state of the police department now doesn’t exactly tell me that I was wrong at the time in thinking it wasn’t good for anything but tearing to the ground. Not that there isn’t good cops still, like Barbara’s father. I’d been brought around to seeing things in a better light though. During that time I’d become a regular here, and I’d done as much training with Bruce as I did training the others. In a way it’d become the home to replace all the other parts that make up a home I had lost.

And out of all of that, all that time spent, would you believe this is probably the fourth time I’ve come in through the front door?

I’d wanted to ride my bike, only to find an enterprising ‘friend’ had demolished it. Oh, I’m sorry, he’s improving it. Either way, it had led to a lot of colorful and ungrateful expletives. I coped with the improvements to my suit. The bike was proving to be another matter entirely. I wasn’t really all that much more excited to be chauffeured up to the Wayne Estate in a limo, either. It’s only Alfred Pennyworth’s charm and the fact that he fed me a better meal than I’ve had in at least two months that has me in my currently sunny disposition.

Given what we’re actually here for, however, I don’t know that it’s going to last.

“You do know there’s much better ways of making people suffer than just killing them, right? Oh, and hello Damien.”

No Hood tonight? God. I had so many great things prepared to say to him. Tim mellowed me out a little on the entire subject the other night though or he’d be getting a lot more sharply pointed barbs.

Tim: For the second time since Bruce’s death, I’m coming home. I’d been here for the official funeral, stayed long enough to talk with Alfred and make some arrangements. Then I’d set off. Dick and I didn’t exactly see eye to eye on the future. Damien and I have rarely seen eye to eye on anything. It made things difficult. Especially once the two of them found out that I was more interested in inheriting the Foundation, than the Bat Cave. I think all they care about is the Mantle. Maybe I’m wrong, but I couldn’t take the chance that I was. Someone needed to protect Bruce’s legacy, while all of us struggle to cope with the loss and worry about Batman’s legacy.

This second trip home? A little less gloomy than the last. Alfred was clearly thrilled to have guests. Even more thrilled to cook. I think he was absolutely Game to turn the Canary’s frown upside down. Especially once he intuited that I wasn’t the real reason for her displeasure. Bike dismantling aside, given that she knows that she’ll be getting it back new and improved. Okay, in the case of the bike maybe that doesn’t help mute her displeasure, but a good home cooked meal and some world-famous crepes have done enough to put the color in Dinah’s cheeks.

For the record? Damien owes me one. If we’d come in on the bikes, I’m half-way certain he’d have been getting a billy club to the head. I’d ruled out the possibility of her Canary’ing him, on account of him not being able to hear the lecture that is about to commence. Waiting for my opinion, I step in off the hidden elevator behind Dinah, with two hands in my pants pockets. Doing my best to ‘back Dinah up’ while being as non-threatening as humanly possible.

“Damien,” giving the other Wayne-son a nod of acknowledgement, before Dinah starts off the festivities. “How is the new helmet working? Does the Heads up Display keep your 360 degree line of sight going, despite the constricting Hood….?”

Oh. Right. That’s not at all why we’re here. Is it? Yikes. I should have taken this a different way. Flashing Dinah a moderately apologetic look, I try to correct course, “I miss him too.”

Damien: Damien doesn’t turn around as Dinah starts. Instead, he keeps staring at the outfit. “Dinah. Timothy.” greeting them the best he can at the moment. Slowly, he turns around, keeping his hands in his pockets. He’s not looking for a fight tonight, well, at least a physical fight. “The Hood is doing great. Thank you again, Timothy. It has been an excellent tool in my dealings with the underworld of Gotham.” explaining as he takes a deep breath, turning his level gaze from Tim to Dinah.

“You are correct, Dinah. I am sure there are other ways.” his tone is level, absolutely level. There’s no expression of regret, pain or anything. But, this was how he always was. When he was younger, he was full of anger and rage. Wanting to take the world and burn it. While, the anger and rage is still there. It’s much more channeled into his dealings with the mobs. “But. I do not subscribe to those ways.” offering as he moves closer to them, but staying out of arms reach of Dinah.

“I know my actions do not sit well with you. It is the best method of getting the information we need, and to keep the mobs, gangsters and other riff raff of this city under control. If you have no noticed, the city is slowly becoming worse. Even while Bruce would do as much he can, even he, saw the inevitable. I am doing what needs to be done. In the mean time, I am attempting to find who killed my father.” glancing to the two of them, but more to Dinah. Keeping his gaze level and emotionless.

“Please. Enlighten me of the information you have found using your methods. I am curious to see what you have uncovered, Dinah.” gesturing slightly as he pulls one hand out of his pocket before sliding it back in casually. Damien had accepted Tim has his brother, even if it may be a strained relationship. “I am glad you are here, Timothy. Our father would be proud of the steps you have taken to continue his legacy.” Damien knew that what he was doing wasn’t the Bat-Family way of doing things, but it had been a very long time since he considered himself part of the Bat-Family.

Dinah: I don’t think I need to actually say anything in response to Tim’s curiosity. The way my lips purse and pull to the side is an expression that he can surely read by now. Besides. I’ve heard that sometimes I’m much more frightening when I’m not being mouthy. It means I’m probably about to express physical displeasure instead of verbal. We have also already had a discussion about the subject, one that he actually more or less managed to bring me around to his way of thinking on. Okay. I wouldn’t go that far, but I understood his reasoning. It’s also why I’ve suddenly found myself back in the role of combat instructor, with two pupils. One of which is significantly better than the other. For now at least.

Believe it or not, I’m actually rather quiet as a whole once I get past my opening jab. Any great ‘discussion’ functions rather like a fist fight, though. You test the mood of your opponent, their reaction, how likely they are to waver or overreact when provoked.

“I have. I also noticed a general state of criminal hibernation while they jointly shoved their heads in the sand hoping that no one would think they were just ballsy enough to have actually been the one that took out the Batman.”

Like a pack of unruly kids sitting in class and wanting desperately for the teacher not to call on them because they didn’t have the answer to the test, and they didn’t want detention. Only the kids are the mob, Joker’s the professor and it’s death instead of detention.

“Up until they realized they were going to have to start defending themselves. And that behaving wasn’t actually doing any good.”

There it is. The inevitable. Trying to turn this back in order to prove that his method works better than hours, because we are lacking results. Which isn’t even untrue, and it frustrates the hell out of me. I know it does Tim, as well. No matter what leads we’ve chased down what alleys, they don’t seem to amount to much. We’d started with the plan of tailing the Joker through Gotham not long after I’d gotten here, and it’s what I’d been doing. It’s why I’d caught onto Damien’s actions, though maybe I should have expected.

“I’m wagering exactly as much as you and your new playmate have, kiddo.”

Tim: There’s no real denying the body language of my being pleased with his new gear working well. I mean, it doesn’t behoove me to make something that is going to fail does it? I realize we’re here to discuss his methods. I know that Dinah is actually right. Hell, I wouldn’t condone his methods myself any other time. But my point still remains the same as it did before and it seems like Damien is seeing it the same way. Doing things his way has at least had a result. My way hasn’t turned up a single clue. Dick’s? Seem to only be benefiting Dick and Babs. If I can assist him, even if only through keeping our Father’s name out of the muck when someone finds out that it’s Damien doing it? Well…

“Thanks, Damien,” shockingly enough I’m a little surprised by the praise. “I’m not ready to be the Bat, but Bruce put a lot of time and money in to making sure that I was ready to step in and keep Wayne Corp moving forward.”

For the most part Lucius Fox is doing all of the heavy lifting. Just like he did for Bruce. I’ve just stepped in to be a figurehead. To give people someone to look to that still has the Wayne name attached to it. Well, that and it allows me to control the R&D division. Which the entire family needs to continue it’s work. But again, I know that’s very much not why we’re here. I also know Damien paid me that compliment for a tactical reason. He does nothing without a measure of tactics involved. It’s what I like most and least about him at the same time.

“Actually, the ‘new playmate’ is one of the reasons that I’m here, Damien,” following up on what Dinah has said, I take a step closer. “When the Joker first showed back up, I asked Dinah if she would be willing to tale him. I didn’t ask her to bring him down. I didn’t send out the red alerts, so that we could all get together and kick his teeth in. I knew what he would do and all I asked was for Dinah to watch him. To tell me, in her own judgment, when Joker was branching out and going ‘too far’.”

“Sounds like I had the same thought as you then too, but… you know we can’t actually work with him right?”

Damien: Looking between them, he simply lifts a brow then narrows his eyes at the two of them. “The Joker is a psychotic lunatic that my father should have killed long ago. I do not consider him a ‘playmate’. At the moment, He lives only because I believe he can be useful. It seems, Joker is mourning. Letting him work the underworld in his own way can be for our benefit. This does not mean I trust him. This does not make him a friend. At the moment, our paths align and I intend on using him as a tool. Once he has outlived his usefulness.” shaking his head.

“Do you two have so little faith in me that you think I would consider Joker a friend? Or, as you put it, Dinah. A ‘playmate’?” asking. Though, the inflection in his voice didn’t change. Pulling his hands out of his pockets, he turns around and gazes at the costume his father once more. “Sometimes you must work your enemy to get to the end result.” licking his lips, he takes a breath. “When I was with father as Robin. There were times we had to work with the enemy. Not out of trust, or friendship. Because it was a means to an end.”

Turning around, he faces Tim.

“I do not think any of us want the mantle. But, I believe Richard should be the one who takes it. Though, I do not believe he will. If you do not want it. Then, I believe it falls onto me.” a shrug. Something he didn’t consider when coming back to Gotham, and to the life.

Dinah: God’s Honest Truth was Tim’s original mission for me, which had been as much my idea as it was his, had been proving so much harder than the one I’ve just gotten back from Metropolis on. I might actually choose picking repeated fights with Superman, even though the trick I used the first time will certainly not work again, over how I’ve been spending a lot of my nights here in Gotham. I hadn’t thought it would be so difficult. Following the maniac around and not engaging. Just watching who he’s crossing off his list, so that we could cross it off ours without getting our hands dirty. There comes a point though, where watching the bloodshed is too much. I know that most, if not all, of his so called victims are the scum of Gotham. But we don’t murder people.

Nor have I ever made a habit out of watching as someone else did it.

“Keeping your friends close, and your enemies closer? There’s a few other sayings that come to mine here as well. Like guilty by association.”

I’m trying to be nice. Well. Not nice. Civil. To at least listen to his side before I decide that yes, my side is right, his is wrong, and he needs his ass beat. It might be cathartic. Damien might give me a run for my money, even. Judgmental or not, with my arms crossed across my chest and my lips pursed, I’m also oddly understanding. He’s hurting. They all are. I am, too. Rage is one thing. Impotent rage has a way of chewing out your soul and then what is it replaced with?

“What if that’s what the Joker wants, Damien?”

Tim: Damien’s question is legitimate. Do any of us really think that he would become ‘friends’ with the Joker? No. Categorically ‘No’ is the only answer that I can come up with. However it’s not the easy. Dinah’s alluding to it herself, but she’s playing a game that Damien is going to win. Keeping this a discussion of ‘What if?’ instead of ‘What is?’ There’s no discussing the might be, could be, probably with Damien Wayne. Even when he was younger there a certain amount of unwillingness to entertain the notions of things being out of his control. What we need to deal with here, I think, is the literal situation as it is.

“Let’s set Sun Tzu aside for just a moment, I’ll discuss that with you later if you want. For now let’s pose this as a different sort of question.”

For that purpose I step in further. Making my way to the encased costumes and closer to Damien. I know that the two of us haven’t always (or even ever really) seen eye to eye in the past. We’ve had differences in ideology. What we’ve always had in common though? Is the family we’re associated with. The ones we’re loyal too. Even more important than the one we’ve lost, are perhaps the ones we still have here and now. I think that’s going to have better traction with him. So that’s where I start.

Putting my hand up on the case with Jason Todd’s costume, for the first time I’m going to tell these two what is on -my- mind, “The truth is, Damien. I want it. When I first came here, it was after your Father brought me here. I figured out who Batman was and I’d tried to force him to let me take Jason Todd’s place” Your Father refused me time and time again. He didn’t want another Robin at the time. He didn’t want to take a risk with attachments. He didn’t want to have a Robin because of the weakness it created in him. He also didn’t think I would live up to the Legacy, because I hadn’t lost my family at that point. He didn’t think I had the drive to be his equal.”

“It took my whole family almost being killed, because I wouldn’t stop investigating crimes. Without the tools to do it safely. Safely for them, not so much myself. He recognized then that I wouldn’t give up just because he told me no. So he offered to let me be his partner, on his terms. To train me, give me the tools that I was missing that would compliment the ones I already had. I wasn’t allowed to leave this cave until I was ready.”

This is when I turn from the case containing Jason Todd’s costume and take the few steps toward Bruce’s. The Batsuit which Damien is nearest dominates the Cave’s museum, as it should. “I want to take this suit and put it on. I want to make him proud. I want to preserve his legacy. It’s what I want with my whole being, Damien.”

“Everything I just said, applies to you a hundred times more than it does me,” there is this small, almost sad, shake of the head. “Can you do it? Yes. You could put this on and go out there as Batman, but would you be Batman? Would you preserve the Legacy that is Batman?”

Reaching out to lightly tap Damien’s nearest hand before continuing with a slightly lowered voice, “You have blood on your hands. Not old blood. Not blood you’re atoning for. You’re getting more blood on your hands every time you put on the Red Hood. There’s only so much blood you can get on them before it won’t wash off. Once you cross that line, Damien, you can’t ever put that suit on. Because you’ll destroy the one thing I know you want to preserve.”

“So. I’m going to make you an offer. Probably the offer I should have made you, instead of giving you the Hood. Help me. I’ll put the suit on, if I must or Dick will, but only until you’re ready. Only until you wash this blood of your hands and you’re ready to inherit the Legacy your father wanted you to take.”

Damien: Looking to Tim, and to Dinah, then finally back to Tim. There was a lot to process. “I do not believe I will ever be worth of the mantle, Timothy.” admitting. “I did not come back home to take the mantle. I may be his biological son. And that would make me the natural heir. But, He did not know of my existence until I was older. By the time I had arrived, I was already trained very well by the League of Assassins. As you, and Dinah knows.” gesturing.

“I came home to see what happened with my father, and to avenge his death. To find whoever did this and make them feel pain that they will never know.” that’s the honest word. “I am unsure if I feel worth of the mantle, due to the blood that I have on my hands, and the continuing blood. I believe he would wish for you, or Richard to take the mantle. You are his pupils more than I ever was. You were brought up with his ideals and his ways. I was raised by the most lethal assassins in the world. My grandfather is one of my father’s greatest enemies. Ra’s al Ghul. The demons head. My mother is Talia al Ghul. His daughter. Together, My education started in blood.

I was seven years old when I first stained my hands with blood.”

Looking down. “I was never meant to inherit the crown, so to speak. If I am to inherent anything, it would be to become the next Ra’s al Ghul.” lifting his head, he looks at Tim. “I wish for you, Timothy, or Richard to become the next Batman.” it was something he never aspired to. “As for the Joker. I have been keeping tabs on him as well. Though, apparently, not as well as you have, Dinah. The Joker is not a force to be reckon with. I propose while he does what he does, we send out tips on how to steer his chaotic nature.

Also, Dinah. I believe you and Helena need to have a chat. She has a contact that may know something, but she is unwilling to tell me. Afraid that I will… scare her away.” like Damien would scare anybody away.

“For the memory and legacy of our father, Timothy. And to our mentor, Dinah. I … will not commit as much bloodshed, as it seems you are wholly against it. But, I do not promise that some may not perish through my interaction.” turning around, he takes a deep breath, turning to look at the costume that makes the Batcave… what it is.

“After we figure out who murdered our father, Timothy. I am unsure if I will stay. But, we will come to that road when we come to it.”

Dinah: “And I was six the first time I shrieked down an entire roomful of people. Just because we started too early in this life doesn’t mean we haven’t, and can’t, learn to control it and aim ourselves better.”

There comes a point, even though I do love to talk, that my love of the sound of my own voice doesn’t trump sense and understanding. I would have made a great detective, if I could have stomached working within the law and the system that I don’t actually have all that much faith in. If it worked? We wouldn’t have needed Batman and the rest of us in the first place, would we? Not because I’m good at chasing down clues, matching them up into threads of an investigation. I am good at those things, but I’m an even betterreader of people. Some of them are easier than others. Our new Superman had more or less been an open book.

I would say that ordinarily Damien Wayne would be more difficult, but pain, loss and the need for vengeance have made him a bit more of an open book. I can rant, and lecture, and scold but the truth of the matter is? I’m an Exile. We have a great deal in common, all of us do, and while we did share a mentor as he says, I’m not one of the Bats. Gotham is my home, it’s where I was born, but I can’t belong here without bringing a whole lot worse on everyone’s heads if I stick around. Which is why tailing duty ‘only’ had been a good call. No reason or excuse to actually loose the Canary Cry on anyone.

Enter Timothy Drake-Wayne. I hang back while he moves in closer, letting the Once and Future Brothers talk without my interruption. A novelty that I hope they will savor and appreciate for its rarity, and how unlikely that is ever to happen again. But it’s the right angle to approach this with. There’s a sharply raised eyebrow at the back of Tim’s head when he offers to put the suit on though. That was maybe the last thing I expected to hear, because I know he doesn’t really want it. That’s not the role he seems himself in, and he’s pretty upfront about that much. Frankly I’d have expected me to have to put it on before he would. And that’s not happening. Far too covering. And I don’t think a cowl would go well with the fishnets anyway.

I’m an entirely good girl, and manage to keep my snark about him scaring people off to myself. And my doubt that someone like him wouldn’t know the line before you’re going to kill someone.

“Thanks for the tip, Damien. I’ll talk to her. And let you know what I find out. I’m not, by the way, opposed to you kicking the shit out of mobsters that have it coming. I’m actually a little jealous. But. As the wise one here said.”

Jerking my thumb at Tim.

“There is a line. And believe me. I know how hard it is not to want to cross it. But your Father pulled me up short of that, once upon a time Damien. I owe it to him to pay that forward a little if I can.”

Tim: “Hold on, I’m not done.”

That’s me calling him off once he gets a head of steam, because I know what he’s saying. Hell, I deal with this all the time. Admittedly I’m coming at this self-depreciation from a different direction, but I’m still feeling the same things and the same way. In a lot of ways it’s surprising to hear him voice the same things I’ve said. I’ve said some of those things recently too. Maybe because of that I’ve got a lot more to say than normal.

“You’re right, in a lot of ways. I didn’t think you were worthy of being Robin when you first came here. For all of the same reasons you just laid out. I was against it, you were against me. So I’m pretty sure this is where I’m going to surprise you, Damien. -I- think everything you listed, everything that had me against you becoming Robin, are the exact reasons that you should inherit the mantle. When you’re ready. The same reasons that I argued against you taking my place as Robin? Are the same things that make me think you’re the one to carry the Cowl eventually.”

“Because I was wrong. I mean. You’re a terrible narcissistic jerk, with a self-aggrandizing penchant for violence and murder. But. You were able to conquer those things. You were able to overcome them for a time. You can again. You need time, I get it. We all do. When the time comes though Damien? Who is going to be better than you? Who is going to be more driven to overcome those challenges? You can’t look me in the eyes and tell me that you’re going to let your genetics dominate you. You can’t tell me that your ‘teachings’ are going to define you.”

It’s this small snort that sounds a bit like a half-laugh that emphasizes my argument to all of this. “Seriously, Damien. Look me in the eyes and tell me that you are still your grandfather’s bitch. You can’t. Your ego won’t let you. It won’t let your mother’s teachings rule you either. They’ll temper you, but you’re too stubborn to let them control you. If anything? You’re going to rail against them so hard that once you get control of yourself you’re going to be the Best of us.”

Taking my cue then from Dinah, I let myself go quiet for a moment. As much looking up at the suit, the cowl, as I am listening to the two of them for a moment. Filing away the information. The Huntress? By all accounts she’d disappeared shortly after asking Dinah to return. Curious that she would have some sort of lead but need to be contacted. Why bring Dinah back to leave her in the dark? That speaks of something a little more nefarious than I’d have wanted to ascribe to Helena. She’s been one of us a long time. Like Damien she’s got skeletons in her closet, but I thought she’d locked the door and thrown away the key.

As Dinah finds her footing and makes her point, I chip back in. Though this time I do it with a studious look at the Man next to me. “You’re actually wrong about a couple things, but one of them is actually important enough for me to argue with you about it. You actually were meant wear the Cowl. No, seriously. When we first met, I went to Bruce and told him I didn’t think you’d be a good Robin. He told me that I wasn’t looking at it clearly. That I was letting my emotions blind me to your actual talents.”

“That discussion with Bruce is when he told me about his plans. He sent me off to school, you became Robin. Dick went off to be Nightwing. He had me travelling the world. Learning the ins and outs of the Business, Technology and Science side of his world. He wanted -me- to be armed with the tools to inherit the Business. He wanted you to inherit the cowl. Because you have those tools. Bruce wanted his sons to work together, Damien. To work together to be better than he was.”

“We have a chance here, to not just protect our Father’s legacy, but to build on it. To further the work he started, not just continue it. So, like I said. I’ll take the cape and the cowl, but only if you promise me that you’re going to be ready to come take it from me.” Pausing for barely a heart-beat, before turning to him more directly. The next bit may sound like a question, but it’s not. “Do we have a deal?”

Damien: Honestly, Damien never really had friends. Often driving the ones he did have, or starting conflicts with them. It was hard to listen to both Dinah and Tim. Showing him that he could change. And at one point, he had changed. Damien never wanted the mantle, but Tim was right. He was groomed to become the next Batman, even if he had initially ran away from his father. To forge his own path. But, the fact that Tim wanted to take the mantle, and then give it over to Damien? That made him wildly uncomfortable, it was a legacy that he wasn’t sure he could uphold. If he was worthy of it. The skeletons in his closet were much more visible.

If he were to become the Batman. The League, his Grandfather and even his Mother could be very deadly enemies. For once, Damien’s level gaze broke slightly as the thought of him honoring his father in such a fashion took hold in his mind. That Tim, approved of the idea. Would Dick? He didn’t know, and he wasn’t sure where this faith from Tim was coming from. For the longest time, they clashed, fought. Sometimes with words, sometimes with fists. Maybe it was because they both have grown and become more mature? Going silent, for once. Damien didn’t have anything to say, he didn’t know what to say. It felt like an eternity before Damien found his voice again.

Instead of going in for a hand shake, Damien instead reaches up to slide his hand along Tim’s jawline. His large hand palming his brothers face as he tilted his head up so that the two were looking into each other’s eyes. To study Tim’s eyes, to determine if the young man was telling the truth. “We are brothers, Timothy. Now, and forever. If you wish for this to happen, then so be it. Father would be proud. I will… work on my habits. To curb them once more. To become someone worthy of the mantle. We have a deal, my brother.”

Then with a hint of a smile as he pulls his hand from Tim’s head.

“But, You are the one to tell Richard of your idea.”

Turning to Dinah, he offers his hand out to her.

“I… realize we have not always seen eye to eye. I wish for us to communicate better. To .. share information.” it was difficult for Tim to admit this, to want to work together with other people. For so long, he’d been on his own. Now, here was this branch being extended to him. “I know you will.. what is the phrasing… ‘Keep me in check?’…And I wish for you to help me with this, Dinah.”

Dinah: This really isn’t how I thought this was going to go. With how good I am at reading people and situations, that’s a little shocking. Sometimes you have to adapt on the fly with what’s in front of you, roll with any punches, and then comes up swinging regardless though. I think we may have just ended up doing the Good Cop/Bad Cop routine, and I didn’t even get to punch the guy in the face or rough him up in the slightest. That’s a shame. I guess I’ve already gotten to yell at someone this week, and that’s as full as my quota is likely to get. Damien’s actually going to try. Which is further than I thought we’d get in one outing. And apparently Tim’s going to put on the Cowl. Which is even less believable than a compromising Damien Wayne.

And yet here we are. Having an actually touching moment. In the Bat Cave. Night of firsts, isn’t it?

I’m actually laughing when I take Damien’s hand, a musical chortle over Tim having to be the one to break the news to Dick. Smooth. Or maybe it’s that I’m mentally hearing a phone call, complete with my roommate using the Batman gravely voice to just reveal it that way. I’m Batman, Dick.

“Oh, you bet I will kiddo. And I’d like that. The information sharing. I’ll try not to yell at you. Too much.”

There’s actually barely any age difference between us. It doesn’t stop me from the mothering nicknames though. Never has. My other hand comes up, no not to punch him while using our clasped hands to yank him into the blow. That would be completely unjustified right now. But to lay over the top of our hands, a show of sentiment if you will. I really dofeel his pain and frustration. Having gotten to deal with and bury mine doesn’t mean I don’t still remember what it was like. Letting go, I take a step back, stretching my arms over head as if I’ve just finished a trying workout, before pointing back the way we’d came.

“Now. If you’ll excuse me for a minute I think I heard Alfred saying the words creme and brulee in rougly the same breath.”

Tim: “This has to happen,” because I think this discussion is the only way to save your soul Damien, I just can’t say that out loud, “A wise man once said ‘Do or do not, there is no try.’ I know you can do this Damien. I know we can do this.”

Maybe it’s this moment of bonding. Maybe it’s the fact that this is the right thing to do. Whatever the case may be? I don’t want the Cowl and I’m only willing to even touch it, if Damien’s giving his word to come take it from me. Soon. In which case I’m nothing more than a placeholder, for the main event. That’s something I can deal with. I’m fairly sure, pretty, maybe sure, that the Cowl won’t crush me in the time it takes Damien to find himself. After all we’ve both grown up at least this much. Here we are having this conversation. Talking to one another without beating one or the other of us half to death.

While he didn’t shake my hand, he did the next best thing. For a weirdo. “It’s all settled then. Sure, I’ll call Richa… wait… I’m not calling Dick. Hold on. Where the hell are you two going?!”



The two of them are what? Leaving me here. One of them is going for creme brulee. The other is leaving me to talk to Dick? We came here to save Damien’s soul. That mission seems accomplished, but at what cost? A sideways glance at the Cape and Cowl hanging in the case, before I make a decision. I’m not going down this path without a drink. Creme Brulee my ass. I’m going to need something with a little kick before I do what Damien just said.

Sure enough. There the two of them go. Leaving me here. In the Bat Cave. With one task and one task only. “You guys are dicks.”