|What: Damian makes a delivery for Babs and the two sit down and have a heart to heart.|
The way up the Clock Tower is long. It's longer when you had to ride a bike here from Bristol. Especially after last night's training session with his father, Damian's body is screaming for rest and hydration. You'd never know it by looking at him, however. He wears a longsleeved black tunic and dark jeans, along with a pair of workman's boots. Over his shoulder is a satchel. He approaches the Clock Tower, looks up, and assumes this to be the right place. He knocks three times.
Oracle has cameras trained on that door. Mind you, she's got cameras most everywhere, so the door buzzes and clicks unlocked a moment before the third knock comes. When the boy is inside it clunks shut with a secure sound behind him. Speakers set in the hall have Oracle's voice emerge from them. "End of the hall, push on the left side of the empty shelf." That of course has a click sound and the shelf swings outward, to reveal the elevator behind it.
Damian readjusts the satchel and then looks up, as everyone seems to in an elevator. Apparently it's natural, even for kids who've been trained as assassins and sheltered from the rest of the natural world. "This is a nice place you have here, Barbara Gordon," he says, imagining she can hear him. His voice is calm but a bit robotic.
The elevator is silent and swift, funded by the monies hacked out of various bad people's illicit accounts. "Thanks, I like it," Babs quips. She still doesn't entirely trust Damian, thanks to who birthed him and his momma's daddy, but she's doing her best to be a good influence on the kid for Bruce's sake.
The elevator stops and opens at the level of the actual clock face, whose opalesque face lets in the glow of light from outside. Barbara is sitting on the couch, as it's early for her, with her systems running in auto mode to scan for things of notice. She has a bowl of fruity pebbles in her hands as she watches the news. "There's more cereal in the kitchen if you're hungry," she calls over her shoulder.
Damian, however, trusts Barbara implicitly. For a boy with no social skills, people like Dick and Babs who grew up doing this for a living are something to be admired, respected...and be jealous over. "Thank you," he says as he enters quietly and swiftly. He removes the satchel from his shoulder and brings it to her. Inside is a black metal box. "He gave it to me to give to you. He did not tell me what was in it. I did not look." His eyes stare at her face a bit uncomfortably long until he proptly walks over and begins to fix himself the offered cereal.
Babs takes the box and she chucks it casually on the coffee table. Her chair is parked at the end of the couch where she can get back into it easily enough, but she'll do Batman's work when she's done having her 2PM breakfast. "How are things going back in the cave?" she calls. She knows Bruce and Dick had a tiff, but she's not sure how things are for the other boys.
Damian eats silently but quickly, keeping his head low. As she speaks to him he answers. "I feel things are going fine. I can't speak on behalf of the others. My father even allowed me to go out last night." Pause. "I've chosen the name Darkwing. In honor of your boyfriend. He is your boyfriend, right?"
Babs nearly splutters a mouthful of colorful cereal all over the places. She manages to get it down though. "Dick? Um, no, not really. We're good friends and we work well together." And flirt. But there's been distance between them since the Joker took away the use of her legs. "Darkwing. I like it. Very Gotham," she admits.
"I read everything about you." Damian's words blurt out very promptly. "I think you're very brave. You are a great warrior." The bowl is finished. The boy breaks eye contact, stands and begins washing it out in the sink.
Barbara blinks at the boy. That's pretty high praise coming from Ra's al Ghul's grandson. "Thank you. I don't think of it as bravery. I just think of it as living. You don't stop fighting the good fight because you've taken a couple of hard knocks." She watches him curiously.
"I have heard that If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." Damian just sort of stands there awkwardly. "I imagine after your perseverence, you know that you no longer have limits."
Well, that's not entirely the case, but it's close. "I do my best to think that way, Damian. But some days are harder than others. The real courage is to keep moving forward when all you want to do is give up because you've suffered enough," Babs says quietly. "And I'm stubborn. Giving up means the Joker wins. I won't give him that satisfaction." She pats the couch beside her and flips the tv to...cartoons? Bugs Bunny nonetheless.
Damian eyes the couch warily, but walks over and sits down in a controlled drop. His father gave him no further instructions. He is not misbehaving. "Miss Gordon...can I ask you a question?"
"I love this one," Babs quips. It's the Viking opera spear and magic helmet Bugs vs. Fudd one. She glances over at Damian and nods her head. "Go ahead."
"When..." Damian's voice has hints of an arabic accent. Especially when he's not simply responding. "When you were new to this fight, this liberation of Gotham from the evil contagion that sickens it...Were you accepted right away?"
That gets a chuckle from Babs. "Hardly. First, Batman tried to make me stop about 400 times. Then Nightwing, who was Robin at the time, and I, kept trying to tackle the same bad guys and got in each other's way all the time. And most of the villains didn't take me too seriously at first. But they all eventually realized I wasn't going to stop, wasn't going to give up, and was good at what I do." She looks at him askance. "Someone giving you a hard time?"
"No," Damian shakes his head looking down at his hands. "It's just that I've noticed that Robin and you and Nightwing...You all seem to have friends who do this work. My father, he doesn't. I'm wondering why some are accepted and accepting, and others are not accepted...and do not accept."
"He's the Batman." That seems to say it all for Babs, but she looks at the boy for a while. "Your father has to keep his distance, because if he doesn't, he starts becoming a human being, and stops being more than that. He cares, inside, he just can't show it. Any crack in his facade would be an opening for someone like the Joker to take advantage of." She grimaces. "It sucks for him, really, Damian. But in time, you learn to read him, and you know when he's proud or worried or happy. It takes time to learn him."
"I'm comfortable with my father. I like him just the way he is, to be honest," Damian says, tilting his head as if trying to pose the question. "I mean the others. Timothy Drake. Richard Grayson. Yourself. You're different and seem to value the outside world in ways that my father and I do not. I've never had a friend."
"I'm not Batman," Babs replies with a small smile. "I can't keep that all inside or I'll burst. I need people I can talk to, because when I talk to someone, it helps me sort out my own feelings about a situation. And it helps keep you going, the camaraderie." She reaches over to ruffle his hair under the hood. "And you'll make friends. I'll be your friend. Don't think your father doesn't have friends either. Alfred is his friend, among others."
"I like Alfred very much. He has taken to seasoning my meat the same way I'm used to from back home. The way my mother made it." Damian says as he smiles faintly. "I find him to be very kind."
"He is the best of us, Damian. I strive to be more like him as a person every day. If you use him as someone to model yourself after, you could do no better," Barbara says sincerely. "I need to go get showered and start my day. Why don't you stay and watch some cartoons?
"No, I would love to, but I need to get back to the cave and plan. My father has given me nightly rounds in the Bowery. It is a very prestigious gift and a large responsibility. I must prepare adequately." Damian pops up like a cat and nods to her. "Thank you very much Barbara Gordon," he says back to the robotic.
"I'm always a comm away if you need backup, Damian," Babs calls after him. Then she prepares to begin her day.