|What: Batman stops in to see his recovering son, with gifts-- and surprising timing. While Robin's fears are assuaged, Helena explores her own..|
It's been a few days since Huntress was last here at the Thompkins Clinic. In that time through some manner of luck she has yet to comprehend, she's got her costume back. Not her crossbow, and that still very much rankles, but things are on their way back to normal. Finally. Another step in that direction is to check in on AngryRobin again. The kid has GOT to be guano by now being stuck in this place, and she's hoping that a bit of company might help. She'll even be willing to put up with his angriness. For a little while anyway.
The Ducati safely hidden several blocks away, Huntress slips into clinic through that same back door again and this time approaches the correct door more confidently though no less warily than last time. And, after making sure no one would be approaching down the hallway in the next few moments, she actually reaches over to knock on the door softly.
"For the last time," comes Robin's voice from within the room, sounding exasperated, "I do not want jello, doctor. I find it revolting. Stop bothering me."
Inside, Robin sits upright (an improvement from before) with the borrowed mp3 player in his lap and one headphone in his left ear. He's currently cycling through the selection on the device, a broad mixture of classical music from Europe and the Middle East.
Damian's encounter with the assassin-- and that's just what it was, a precise, near-lethal blow executed by a precise and uniquely suspicious operative with no shortage of skill and instinct, in the Batman's book-- may not have left his father shaken and stricken in the traditional parental grief sense of the word. He brought his son straight to perhaps his most trusted ally, even staunchly endured the lectures that followed Damian's critical and expert care. Leslie Thompkins never has been able to abide the violence that ever echoes along the wake of the Dark Knight's crusade.
He's been in and out several times a night since then, often as not when Robin was sleeping, trading out textbooks and scientific journals for new selections-- some from the Wayne Manor's expansive, multi-levelled library.. others from Damian's own alcove. Bruce is relatively certain that Damian will need the diversion, particularly now, and his son's diligence is never in doubt. He's behind Huntress almost the moment she knocks, by all appearances, perhaps having shadowed her in.
The scent of seasoned beef and lime-hinted tomatoes may give him away subtly as she moves into the hall where the Dark Knight lurks, due to the food he carries along with the newest pair of textbooks. "Leslie stepped out." Batman intones evenly, sharing with Robin what Helena has already discerned; rather deeply and abruptly.
Huntress startles at the voice behind her, her hand going to ... an empty spot on her right hip before her brain fully registers and identifies Batman's voice and his presence behind her. It's clear that she had no idea anyone else was in the hall. Still too damned jumpy, she silently chastises herself, taking a breath and schooling her features back to calmness before opening the door and nodding to the Dark Knight. She'll let the Bat visit the kid undisturbed, it was stupid of her to think this angry younger Robin would want to speak with her again anyway.
"You're not by yourself," Robin says in a matter-of-fact voice from inside the room, keen senses now kicking in.
A brief silence is followed by a shuffling in the room. Robin swings his feet around off the edge of the bed, grunting a little in pain as he silently psyches himself up to stand up, cross the room and open the door.
"You came unarmed." The Dark Knight notes, amused. Or at least, it seems like he might be amused, there's little shift to his features but just the slightest undertone of curious bemusement to the observation-- both of her alertness or paranoia, and the lack of armament. Perhaps Huntress is making sure Robin -knows- she comes in peace! He enters the room deftly as the door is opened, moving to the side to place the books down on the table, as if they simply appeared from within his cape.
A similar trick produces a hefty brown paper satchel emitting the scent that comes from stuffed grape leaves and baked pasta expertly crafted by Alfred Pennyworth. "Here, you should be alright with real food by now. Get your strength back." There's a reassuring clasp to Damian's shoulder, and Batman moves to stand near his bed, turning back towards Helena, "You've been keeping him company?" That does catch the Dark Knight a bit off guard.
Huntress watches Batman step into the room and starts to close the door after him when the elder vigilante's question catches her by surprise. So she's stuck answering him while standing in a half-closed doorway. Awkward. "Oh, um, just once." Her eyes flick back and forth between Batman and the thankfully recovering Robin, and she takes a step back to finish closing the door. Yeah. This was a REALLY bad idea.
"Ah," Robin says at the sight of the food, actually smiling - no, beaming - and reaching out to eagerly accept the paper bag. When he looks back from it to Batman, he fires off a rapid string of Arabic at him.
He tilts his head, his mood buoyed enough for him to look at Huntress and add, in English, "Come in here and close the door."
It is more of a command than an offer. After all, he's still /him/.
There's a vague nod of assent to Helena's clarification, with Damian's utterances garnering a smooth reply in a mirroring dialect, even the accent is similar. The Dark Knight takes (quite literally) half an instant in an effort to tousle his protege's hair, as if striking him as part of a martial arts drill. Most likely to get past Damian's defenses in the first place. Then, Robin is left with his prize. "Is everything all right, Huntress?" He smoothly appends as he turns towards the woman. There's a subtle note of concern or intrigue-- after all, he only /thinks/ he rounded up all the agents hunting her.
Huntress stops with a surprised blink at Robin's words, but she's not one to deny the kid right now. Not while he's still recovering. She steps into the room finally and closes the door behind her, but stays by the wall instead of approaching. Crossing her arms as if cold, she shrugs slightly at Batman's question. "Yeah, I guess so." She looks down at the floor for a moment. "Just..." God, this is worse than being singled out by a teacher you detest for gossiping in class and having to tell everyone what the gossip was about.
Robin does attempt to lean away when his hair is tousled but he's not trying too hard, more focused on the meal brought for him. He undoes the brown wrapping paper carefully, glancing up at Batman long enough to nod at the Arabic words he replied with. Then, he's looking down at the food. A pasta dish prepared in an Egyptian fashion coupled with a vegetable side dish from a similar part of the world. He actually looks happy - not something the vast majority of people have seen be before - as he begins to eat. He remains silent, eyes flicking between Batman and Huntress as they speak.
".. Not really." Batman (rather drily indeed) finishes Huntress' aborted thought. Everything is fine, no, really.. except not. "I guess neither of us is what you'd call 'on the grid.'" With the somewhat less harsh amendment, the Dark Knight produces a small transmitter and micro-earpiece-- one that would be familiar to Helena-- from a pouch in his utility belt. "What?" The single-word inquiry nonetheless resounds with impatience with the tug-of-war.
The Caped Crusader may notice Huntress is uneasy, but he doesn't strive to make it the easiest thing, regardless. It's paradoxically spoken while he holds out that device. For the moment, Robin gets time to simply eat in peace; and observe whatever he chooses.
Huntress looks from one to the other again then when the items are offered she steps forward quickly to accept them. "Thanks. I just..." She looks at Robin for another moment before retreating back toward the door again. "I'm sorry, I feel like I'm interrupting something here. Maybe I should go."
Her hand reaches for a belt she isn't wearing and she grimaces briefly at forgetting AGAIN that the damned thing wasn't recovered with her costume. She closes her hand tightly around the tiny devices to make sure she doesn't lose them.
"Don't be ridiculous, Bertinelli," Robin says, finishing a mouthful of dolma before speaking, "You're interrupting nothing."
The Boy Wonder does his best to be hospitable but the fact remains that a leopard cannot change it's spots. These barbed comments are probably the close he will ever come to actually being nice. He continues to eat his meal, turning to the side to look at some of the books Batman bought. With one hand, he flicks open the Feynman Lectures to the page he has marked and begins to read.
"If you're missing your crossbow so much," Robin says, almost mockingly and without looking up, "I have one that you can use. I have little use for it."
"Our lives don't exactly run on a normal schedule." It's a matter-of-fact reply to Huntress, and perhaps also subtle explanation for Damian; whether the Dark Knight intends it or not. "If you have something for us..." In the 'business' sense, the weight of it carries in the resonant tones. Crime and insanity wait for no man.
There's no reproach or life lesson rebutting Robin's direct words and offer, which in Batmanland tends to pass for tacit approval. "If you need it, the Oracle can arrange an equipment drop." The Dark Knight does append.
Huntress blinks at Robin, honestly surprised by his offer of a crossbow but still nodding a bit. Anything is better than nothing. She turns her attention then at Batman. "No new intel, well, unless you find someone by the name of Fury interesting. He's the one that somehow found my costume." Her free hand plucks at a bit of her outfit. "And, um, I haven't been able to talk to Oracle since this whole mess started."
Robin simply nods at Batman, a wordless signal that he's perfectly okay with him taking the crossbow from his ledge back in the Cave and having it delivered to Huntress. After all, what use is one of their allies if she's not armed with her weapon of choice? In his head, he frames it as a practical matter and not being friendly.
He remains silent, flicking through the pages of a book that is probably several years beyond anyone else his age. Nevertheless, he looks to be taking it in. A pencil is taken from his nightstand and a note is made in the margin - in Arabic. Looks like that might be his first language.
"He's the Director of SHIELD." Batman just assumes she's heard of it. Clearly, he's heard of the veteran commander; maybe a few things, at that. "Did he have any new leads on the people behind it?" He doesn't bother reiterating the importance of justice and a clear mind-- every vigilante hears soon enough what the Bat thinks about heroes playing executioner. There's a vague irony in the arguments he and his son have already had over just that mandate.
SHIELD? Huntress has heard rumblings about some secret spy agency or something by that name, but it's clear by the way her brows draw together a bit that she knows far less than Batman must. "Director? Seriously?" Holy crap. Since when? Was his whole story about knowing her relatives in Italy a lie, then, to draw her in? She glances over at Robin, but he's busy eating something that smells really damned good and looking at a book. "Um, no. He didn't mention anything about that." Kind of wishing he had, now.
"I'm not surprised," Robin pipes in between mouthfuls of dolma and macaroni bechamel, "He's a spy. He's not going to tell you anything more than he wants you to know, Bertinelli."
The words are spoken as though he's teaching someone completely without guile exactly what a spy and a lie are. He's not looking up, though, apparently more interested in his meal and his book.
"He's probably not entirely convinced you're not a murderer." What with all the efforts to paint her in just that color. Batman doesn't bother sugar coating it for her. Truth be told there's an element of respect, perhaps understanding in the way he talks about the.. rather enduring war hero. Muscular arms cross over the Dark Knight's chest, and he cracks his neck lightly to one side.
There follows a nod of affirmation with Robin's own explanation, seconding the perspective once more. If not the precise, snarking -tone- it's delivered in. "Be careful. I'm not entirely sure I -want- to know how all of that crossed paths with Nick Fury."
Huntress tosses a brief glare at Robin, but there's no real heat behind it, almost like she's exasperated at a younger sibling. "Do you have to keep calling me that?" But then Batman speaks up again and her expression sobers again and her eyes sharpen in anger when he all but directly accuses her of murder. "How all of what crossed paths with Signore Fury?" She came here to try and be nice, and he throws the word murderer in her face? Crossing her arms as well but more in a defensive manner, she keeps her back to the wall by the door.
Robin glances up at Batman, murmuring something in Arabic and then actually laughing afterwards - and, for a change, the laugh isn't a malignant or mocking one. Something about this visit has put him in a very good mood. When Huntress asks her question of him, he grins wickedly and looks around the room.
"I don't think there's anybody here who doesn't know who you are."
"Calm down. You're already clear in my book, remember?" Batman notes simply in agreement-- how everything looks to outside interests, well. Even the Bat can't predict that wide a net often enough to make it more than a crapshoot. "The attempted frame-ups. Your abduction." All of -that-.
This time, Batman's even polite enough to leave out the part where she griped about being stuck with simple perimeter control, it's growth. The only sign Damian said anything interesting is a momentary half-smirk out one corner of the Caped Crusader's mouth.
"Bertinelli was my dad," is the only explanation Huntress offers to Robin, though there a hint of sharpness to her words that isn't aimed at the young man. And despite boy wonder's actually cheerful sounding laugh she doesn't lose her defensive posture, even after Batman's quasi-reassurance. She can't help but wonder if she's clear with him on ONLY that, and if he plans on continuing to treat her like a well-meaning but stupid child. "What clued you in on that?"
"As you wish," Robin simply shrugs his shoulders at Huntress, finishing off the last of his dolma and settling in on the main course which he's already been taking bites at. He lapses back into silence now so they can talk business.
It wouldn't be the first time Batman was accused of such an attitude problem-- he doesn't seem inclined to pause to talk about his perspective in detail, however, just now. "The fact that they found your equipment?" The answer, once more, remains steady and matter of fact. "I wonder what drew them in, how much they know." Even Oracle doesn't have bugs planted deep in SHIELD's command structure; those boys know their line of work. "About the operation against you; and you yourself."
Huntress shrugs tightly at Batman. "I have no idea either. Signore Fury told me he new my family in Italy, back in 1943. That was kind of difficult enough to swallow. And I didn't even know he'd found any of my gear. It was wrapped in a box like a gift, and he left just before I opened it." Sneaky bastard.
"Is he an old man?" Robin asks, his interest suddenly piqued by the idea of somebody living longer than a human is meant to. He knows somebody else who does that quite well and it actually raises a look of concern in his features. He stops eating, looking to Batman and muttering something quietly in Arabic. Nevertheless, the English word 'Lazarus' can be heard in what he says.
"You're certain it's the original equipment and not identical replacements?" There's a pause as cowlslits narrow, and the Dark Knight takes a moment to send scanner readings off to Oracle. "Ra's al Ghul isn't the first man to think of cheating death." Batman notes simply to Robin, "Nor will he be the last." The horrible secret of the Head of the Demon's method is the real killer, though, isn't it?
"If he did or didn't know your family, it's safe to assume he had contact with people who did. It's safe to assume he knows more than your identity." There's no rational reason Batman can see to lie about intelligence that would prove unavailable, in such a scenario. Whatever Huntress thinks of his terse demeanor, he's at least doing what he can to ease her mind; or perhaps just clear her plans.
Huntress answers Robin's question first. "Well, he looked way too young to be my grandfather's age." Then at Batman's question about her costume, she nods. "I only got the garments back, but yeah. They're mine." Her posture relaxes a bit, so perhaps Batman's attempts to put her at ease are working. Or maybe seeing Robin so much at ease is doing so. Either way, she doesn't explain how she knows the returned garments hers. They are, that's all the Bat needs to know. Not because she doesn't trust him, because that IS part of it, but she'd feel like a complete and utter GIRL admitting that she embroidered little Latin phrases into the seams of each piece.
Robin appears to be calmed for the moment by Batman's words. He nods his head, apparently accepting the explanation given in regards to preventing aging. Still, it doesn't sit well with him and he frowns a little. He stops reading his book, simply eating, watching and listening.