|Better Late Than Never|
|What: Nightwing and Arsenal finally chat some about the Titans|
Oh, sure, -now- Nightwing calls. Not like he couldn't just pick up the phone, and call Arsenal easily, but at least -now- Arsenal could find out what was up with the new team. Still... when Nightwing tells him where to meet, Arsenal can't help but ask, "What the hell... am I banned from meeting you at the Tower now? It's not even in the same -city- I live in!"
And so this is how Arsenal ends up standing on a Gotham rooftop, hair matted down with rain, grumbling to himself about how the Bats were probably enjoying hanging themselves upside down in a NICE dry cave...
This particular Bat isn't hanging in any cave, upside-down or right-side up. Instead, Nightwing's also up on that rooftop, soaked by the rain as well but he's pretending that it doesn't bother him at all. Slipping into view from a shadowed gargoyle, he faces the other, his arms crossed at his chest. "It didn't stop you from coming into the Tower before. You're lucky we didn't sic the Army on you for trespassing."
"Hey, I had clearance, you know I work for the CBI. Well, worked. Now I'm S.H.I.E.L.D... so I probably can still get in. Unless you're gonna program it to lock me out? C'mon, buddy, pal..." Now Arsenal walks up to Nightwing, throwing an arm around his old friend's shoulders comradely. "You wouldn't do that to your old buddy, would you, Wingster?"
"That doesn't mean you have carte blance to walk into -my- Tower." Nightwing's eyes narrow behind his domino mask, "What does the CBI or S.H.I.E.L.D want with the Titans then? Isn't it bad enough that we have the Army breathing down our necks?" He looks at the arm around his shoulders, "What do you want, Speedy."
"Well, now that you mention it..." Arsenal shrugs. "They're not -into- it, but they're curious enough. Me, I figured I'd keep an eye out for an old pal... and see if there was something I could do. You want the Army off your necks, is that it?"
"Of course they're curious about it," Nightwing points out, stepping away from the arm around his shoulders. "It's Government Sanctioned which means that they can either be used with or against them...as the Government tells us. In theory. We aren't robots." He tilts his head some, "How do you mean, 'Something you could do'?" Wake up!
"Oh c'mon, Wingster. Your brains, my connections, we could probably get something hammered out. Wouldn't hurt to have friends in other places." There was a brief pause, as Arsenal considers things in that way where Nightwing would know from long experience that he hasn't thought of -every- angle quite the way that Robin would have.
Nightwing's arms cross back at his chest, "I'm already babysitting a handfull of wanna-be heroes, some of whom who could toss a building at me if they wanted to -- and I think some of them might want to do just that. I don't need more complications in making deals with specialized branches of the Government. You know how I feel about that." Just the fact that he's working with a government-sanctioned group might be odd unto itself.
"Yeah, I do..." Arsenal sighs. "... which is why I'm wondering why you even -did- this one. Or agreed to it. That girl Magik...?" A shrug. "You're outnumbered, man. You need someone to watch your back?"
"Sometimes I wonder myself," Nightwing admits. To prove himself? That's probably a good deal of it. "I'm outnumbered in many ways..." he starts before he peers at Arsenal. "What about Magik? Good lord, Arsenal, were you flirting with those kids? Most of them aren't even 18!"
"No! What do you take me for?" Arsenal retorts, already trying to pull Nightwing into a necklock for a noogie. "... besides, Magik's legal. Or so she says."
Nightwing twists away from the necklock, "I take you for who you are. Just because she says she's legal...Supergirl tried telling her boyfriend that 16 is legal in some states. Is that why you want in the Tower? So you can continue flirting with her?"
"Uh, dude, I never even met her before I got in. Don't be silly, you know better," Arsenal retorts. "I just wanted to see if you needed a hand dealing with the kids." There was an eyeroll, and a shrug. "Oh... you've never seen me work with a team, right? Hell... we'd be in better shape if we had a team like that when we were younger, wouldn't we?"
"But you want back in because of her? Partially?" Nightwing's raised eyebrow isn't seen behind the domino, "The team is mostly underage girls, Arsenal. They don't need lessons in flirting." He considers him again, "You're right. I've never seen you work with a team. The problem is, most of these kids haven't worked with a team either so I'm having to teach them how to do it."
"... no, you idiot," Arsenal sighs. "I don't even want -in-. If it makes you feel better, I don't -want- to be a Titan. I just want to make sure my pal was doing all right and see if he wanted any help." And suddenly, there was a large gibbs-smack attempt coming up the back of Nightwing's head. "
The smack connects and Nightwing whirls around to block any more assaults, "Yes, I want help! But I can't ask for it! These kids barely trust me as I am at the moment and for me to admit that I can't handle it...there goes any trust that they may have for me now."
"Jeez, Nightwing..." Now Arsenal lowers his hands, jerking a thumb towards the alley. "Look, let's get out of this rain and figure out something. "Trust me on this, I'm not even -interested- in underage girls, which means your team's safe. Although that Magik girl... she's gonna be a tough one, man. She's there basically because she wants to do good, not because she trusts anyone or anything, from what I got. That other one, Lucy... she's a good kid."
"She was recommended by Colossus. Of the Justice League. He's a big, metal guy. I don't know what that deal is, but I wouldn't want to cross him," Nightwing points out in regards to Magik. At the mention of moving, he offers, "We're safe enough up here for now. No one's listening," that he's been able to tell. "They're all good kids who want to do good, Arsenal. Most of them want to do it all themselves...or don't understand how not to smash someone to a pulp while trying to rescue them...or control. Of them all, I'm the only one who has worked with a team, but it was still pretty unorthodox."
"And your team was basically, my way or the highway Bat," sighs Arsenal. "Not the best way to get teenagers to listen. God, were we ever that young?" Funny thing to say for a man of 24, but...
Nightwing nods once, "I know and I'm learning that it's not going to work for these kids. I don't really blame them, but the circumstances are different." He flicks some water from his face, a hand moving to push back his wet hair from his eyes, "We were that young, but we weren't like that. Well, I wasn't. Much."
"Yeah, well I was... I mean, you know the story about me and... well, so I ended up doing my thing for a while. It took getting into the drug enforcement agency and then into the CBI before things changed. I just don't wanna see the kids messed up the same way I did, y'know?" Arsenal crouches down, prodding at a rain puddle. "Say, how does the Bat-daddy avoid catching colds in weather like this?"
"It's not cold out, Arsenal...and these costumes are warm. Also, it's been proven that weather can't cause someone to catch colds," Nightwing points out almost smugly. "I don't want these kids ending up like that either, which is why I'm trying my damndest to get them to work together. We did a training thing the other day that worked. Mostly. The one before ended up being a disaster. I just...don't think they all take it seriously and then we have people like Supergirl who could probably do everything the entire team can on her own."
"Which means it's hard to preach teamwork when someone's bound to do better. Shouldn't you just... I don't know, have guest lecturers? Get Superman in, have a talk about how the JLA does teammwork? Better yet, call in Captain America." Arsenal snappoints. "Yeah, definitely call in the Captain. Why not? It's not something to be ashamed of if you're gonna have guest trainers."
Nightwing just gives a sigh, "Arsenal. When you were a teenager, did you listen to any lectures? Ever? God knows I didn't. I still don't sometimes..." depending on who is doing the lecturing. "I'm thinking about getting them to either observe or work with some of the JLA to see what teamwork really is. I don't know if I should team them up with 'mentors'..." He shakes his head, "Every single one of these kids has powers. I'm surprised they even listen to me when I can't shoot fireworks out of my toes or something."
"Man... you got a point." There was a look upwards towards the ceiling. "Though I listened to you," he observes. "Whenever we were doing team-ups. Because you're the one who -thinks-. You always were." Dismissing the whole 'hit on teenage girls' thing as Nightwing just being frustrated with the team, Arsenal nods. "Wouldn't hurt, though. You know, when you're not there, it sounds like Magik's bossing the kids around."
"These kids don't see that. They see me as a forced authority figure...and since when did we ever like that as teenagers?" Nightwing moves to crouch on the ledge of the building, balancing on his toes, "If I'm too distant, they won't trust or listen to me. If I'm too casual, they won't see me as authorative when things necessitate it." At the mention of Magik bossing the kids around, he nods, "It wouldn't surprise me. She's seen a lot and doesn't seem to put up with immaturity well."
"Yeah. Look... maybe it's too early, but why not just go take them out to, I dunno, an amusement park? Hang out, let them see you as something other than an authority figure?" Arsenal says, moving over to the ledge, and peering down. Lifting his mouth to the sky, he fills it with water, and then perches down and spouts out water, after lifting his fingers to his head in imitation of a Bat.
"That's disgusting," Nightwing points out as Arsenal spits over the ledge of the building...but he can't help a twist of a smile. "I've stressed secrecy. There have already been...issues with folks divulging their identities. I don't think they understand how important it is...and since they're so young, I'm afraid that they could spill information. So...a bunch of teen superheroes at an amusement park? Probably won't work." He looks out at the Gotham skyline for a moment, "The circus is coming to town. I thought about getting them in to see it...and possibly just sort of playing around on the equipment some."
"C'mon, Nightwing... why so serious? When did you lose that sense of humor?" Now Arsenal laughs. "If you're trying the Bat on these kids, I wouldn't. They can probably sniff out a phony a mile away. Just... I dunno, be yourself."
Tilting his head, Arsenal considers that. "Why not just have a movie night at the Tower? Let them organize a party and go from there?"
Nightwing turns to look at Arsenal, "Because this isn't Summer Camp. It's not a Slumber Party. They need to understand that they have to be serious when we're on missions and can't go horsing around. If all they do is horse around in the Tower, that's what they'll think this group is."
"Oh c'mon, you know as well as I do that summer camp wasn't -just- having fun, there was the team-building exercises. Just don't do -all- horsing around, you know. Make weekends the fun weekend, like they did," Arsenal retorts. "You don't want to be a martinet, but you don't want to be big brother all the time either."
"I never went to summer camp," Nightwing points out. When he had his parents, he was traveling with the circus. After they were killed, he was with Batman. By the time he was Nightwing, he was far too old for summer camp. "I don't know if some of them know the difference yet. One threw a tantrum because the training exercise wasn't 'fun'."
Arsenal -did- go to summer camp, at least until his father died in a forest fire, so he just blinks owlishly at Nightwing, not knowing. "Well yeah. I would be bored to tears too. They're teenagers. You might as well start getting to know them as people before you start trying to form teams out of them. You sorted out their strengths and what they need to work on yet?"
"They all need to work on teamwork," Nightwing reiterates, turning on the ledge to look at Arsenal. "The team was formed -for- me...I was just brought in to lead them. They're young, they're green, and most of them have egos when it comes to their powers. They think they're untouchable." Nightwing adds, "I know some of their emotional weaknesses...but I'd feel like a schmuck exploiting those. But part of me knows that they need to figure out how to work through it." That's the 'Bat' talking.
"So... use someone else to exploit the weaknesses, then teach them how to work through it. I mean, like... hell, let ME exploit them while you're trying to coach them through. If they don't listen, well then they'll learn to listen to you," Arsenal flashes a crooked half-grin.
There's a bit of a grunt, "Well, Robin and I have some ideas for some of them. You...could be useful, especially for those who are wary about working with the military." He grins suddenly, "Or being hit on."
"Pffft. I don't hit on anyone under the legal limit. From what I gather, that means just Magik," Arsenal grins. "And we already toussled, so she'll be watching out for me next time."
"I don't think that's her weakness, honestly. Although she did seem to leave you alive," Nightwing points out. "I wasn't thinking of her, but you do have a point. Wouldn't want to get you arrested." He mentally adds Arsenal to the list of who to get help from for the test he's been working out, "You could be useful though...with the whole Military thing. There are a few who really aren't happy that we're sanctioned by the Government."
"I'm not even going to ask who else's nervous about being hit on," Arsenal snorts. "You think they're nervous about Big Brother watching them?"
Nightwingis quiet a moment, "I don't know about 'Big Brother', per se. I think they're worried about becoming part of the Army or being ordered about by them. To be honest, I was half tempted to throw some of them into Basic Training for humility."
"Nooo, not Basic Training." Making ooo-spooky wiggly fingers, Arsenal snorts. "... How about this...? You and me, vs them? Show the kids how it -should- work?"
"Arsenal," Nightwing looks directly at him, "They would kick our asses. We're good. We're really good. Maybe some of the best. But against 8 super-powered teenagers, no matter how untrained...when they can fly, at the speed of sound, and cast spells at us? We're screwed." Wake up!
"Doesn't seem to stop the Batman, does it?" Arsenal replies flippantly. "Plus, I bet I can get a few... surprises." Leaning over towards Nightwing, Arsenal starts whispering.
"Although, you, me, Robin, Oracle...against them. But I wouldn't be leading them...not sure if it would work against what we'd want..." although if they decided to boot him out, then Nightwing would be able to focus on Gotham more. He listens to the whispers, "They used some of that in the exercise last night. From what I heard, it was pretty effective. I also wouldn't want your stuff to get smashed. These kids are good at destruction."
"Then we'll just have to keep it that way." Rubbing his nose, Arsenal muses. "Maybe I can get some people from SHIELD too..." Let's see what happens, then?
Nightwing nods, "It could work. Give them a 'You think you work as a team without a leader? Let's find out,' sort of exercise." He sighs then, pushing more wet hair out of his face, "I think that it's something we can continue to discuss. They liked the paintball aspect, I was wondering if we should do just an all-out paintbal fight. You can be super strong, but if you get hit by a pellet, you're still out."
"Lemme get back to S.H.I.E.L.D... oh, yeah, that's news. I just got my transfer through. We'll see what we can come up with over there." Laughing, Arsenal nudges Nightwing. "Think they'll feel better if I brought Lian?"
Nightwing's eyes widen, "Do -not- bring the baby!" Even if she's no longer a baby. "Seriously. Unless you want her limbs torn off of her." Not the best idea. "I sure hope you're joking. And why S.H.I.E.L.D? Don't they already have an archer guy?"
"They're -that- bad?" Shaking his head, Arsenal makes a noise of disgust. "I'll see what I can find out, give you a call, and we can plan out something." There's a brief grin. "They do. But I want to do more than just drug busts, man. And besides, I do a lot more than just arrows these days."
"Some of them, yeah. They're all power and no subtlety. But...I kind of like the paintball thing too. Now, -that- could be you and me against them." Nightwing almost grins then, "Since they don't tend to have much in terms of stealth. As long as we stay out of sight..."
"Sure thing." Now Arsenal reaches out to clasp Nightwing's shoulder. "So, subtlety's not my strong suit, but... surprises are." There's a brief moment of pause as Arsenal feels nothing but air. "... great. Of all the things he learned from the Batman, this one's the worst."