Disclaimer: I do not own Batman, DC Comics, or BuffyAuthor notes:
Ok, this takes place after Hidden Joke and a week before Winter’s child. The scene started as simple short cute scene and morphed into this. This has not been over look by a Beta so please forgive the mistakes I missed. Now that this scene is out of my system I should be able to focus back on chapter five. :) Enjoy!Color me Red, Color me Green
“Sorry, Liz, I can’t make it tonight.” Tim told Elizabeth through the speaker-phone as he typed several commands into the computer in his secret lair and pulled up the details coming through the different police scanners. “Did your parents handle your suspension well?”
“I nearly got grounded.” She answered stonily. Tim winced. She was still angry at him. Moments later he could hear a door opening. What was she doing? “They relented once they allowed me to explain that I only hit the other students to prevent them from beating you.”
Tim sighed. “I really am sorry, Liz.” He scanned through the police reports and frowned. It was a fairly quiet night. It made his stomach twist in guilt, especially when he was responsible for her three day suspension from school. But a new group had showed up in Gotham a week ago and nearly succeeded in killing him when he denied the accusation of protecting a girl from them. The ironic thing was he had been telling the truth. “It just…” Tim paused for a few seconds before continuing, “Back in my previous high school I had a friend that was killed by bullies. I was there before the bullies had taken him, if I had just stepped in…” But Tim Drake was not supposed to have the skills as Robin and the bullies hadn’t killed or serious harmed before so he allowed Ives to drag him back into school. He should have known better. He did know better. It wasn’t a mistake he was making again.
“Oh god!” Elizabeth exclaimed in shock and sympathy. “Tim, I’m sorry about your friend. “
The confrontation with the new group had brought up a new question. If this group couldn’t find this girl, then where was she? Who was she and did someone else have her? “It happened a couple years back.” He admitted as he typed another command into the computer and pulled up the search of missing teens. He had been shifting the parameters of the search all week, narrowing the range of possibilities. “Bullies had always pushed my buttons, but I’ll confess that it had become worse since then.”
“Understandable.” Elizabeth agreed. “But you do realize that I can defend myself?”
“Of course.” Tim leaned forward in his chair as he studied the results. The group had called the one they search for, Chosen. The word alone wasn’t enough to pinpoint the person they desired. Was it her name or was she chosen for something? Chosen for what? Power? Sacrifice? “I remembered that once you had saved me from the beating coming towards me. Thanks for that.” He had crossed several searches out already, but one looked hopeful. In the past twenty-six days, five teenagers with Meta powers had been gone missing with the same MO signature. Each of the girls came from different locations but it seemed to be mainly contained to America with Britain and Japan being the home of two of the victims. The countries were treating them as singular events, unaware of the connection, but they didn’t have his contacts.
“You’re welcome, Wonder Boy.” Elizabeth retorted back. Tim smiled in amusement. Elizabeth had given him the nickname during the fight at the school. He would have been worried that it was a play at his alter ego if he wasn’t positive that Elizabeth didn’t know that he was Red Robin.
He frowned as he heard a rustling sound over the phone. “What are you doing?”
“Changing.” She answered, before she teased, “Not going to come peek, now, are you?”
Tim raised an eyebrow. “No…” Then there were times like this that made him wonder if she did know. “Want me to?” He teased back. He punched in a couple more commands and flipped through several different sources of information. Lailah Bell had gained her Meta power of super-strength late September and had gone missing on September 30th. Abigail Smith had gone missing on October 6th, shortly after her friends had blabbed about her recently gained power of enhance healing and increase strength. Eileen Haris’s disappearance had shortly followed on October 10th after she had begun bragging about her powers.
“Sure. Give me another reason to punch you.” Elizabeth replied, amusement coloring her voice. “Not like treating me like a damsel wasn’t enough, but to creep onto boyfriend only privileges...” She made a few tsk noises, “You should be ashamed of yourself.”
Tim suppressed his chuckles. “Sorry! Am I allowed to know what you’re changing for?” He flipped to the next screen of information. Safia Morgan had possessed visions and had gone missing on October 14th after she proved to the cops in her area that her visions were real by helping them solve a murder case before the next victim could die. The latest victim was Naomi Torres. She disappeared twelve days ago on October 17th whose enhance healing saved her life after receiving a near fatal wound from a car accident a week before that.
Elizabeth paused on the other end. He could imagine that she was biting her bottom lip, unconsciously, like she often did when she was thinking. “I’m meeting Alex at the new dance club down town. I was about to call you when you called me. He asked and I figured since my suspension prevents me from attending the Halloween dance
…” Tim winced as a note of annoyed anger slipped into her voice. Elizabeth had been looking forward to the dance even with the harassment going on. She had dragged him shopping two weeks ago for the event. He learned the valuable lesson of avoiding shopping with Elizabeth on future basis. It was more exhausting then some of training exercises—which on how Bruce plans them shouldn’t be possible! Tim smiled thinking back to the memory. Then again, the impromptu fashion show was incredible. Elizabeth was gorgeous, especially in the black sleeveless mini dress. Ok, so maybe avoiding shopping with Elizabeth wasn’t the answer. “I might as well take advantage of the social call and show off my fancier outfits.”
Elizabeth paused for a few seconds and he heard more rustling sounds. “Hunting for shoes?” Tim guessed.
“Yep.” She answered, popping the p. “I have the perfect pair in mind. I got them when we went shopping together.”
Tim chuckled. “Liz, you bought at least four pairs that day.”
“All very necessary.” She replied. “And I wasn’t about to pass up the weekend only sale. It was a steal really.”
“Are you sure you don’t need a closet for just your shoes?” He teased as he typed in a command into the computer, reorganizing the information into a timeline of the rough estimate of when the teens had started to come into their powers
“Would be nice.” Elizabeth stated, ignoring his teasing. “Sure you don’t want to come?”
“Wish I could, but I have an urgent business meeting that I have to attend.” Tim lied as he studied the information in front of him, a forbidding feeling filling his gut. All of the five teens seemed to have come into their power roughly towards the end of September. Tim frowned. Elizabeth had gained hers roughly at the same time. Would she be a target to?
“This late?” Elizabeth questioned “They certainly like working you hard.”
“All part of the job.” He answered as he stood from his chair and walked over to the small indentation in the left wall where his his Red Robin uniform hanged. “Some of my time should free up once the transferring back the CEO and major shareholder status to Bruce is complete. Until then I have to attend meetings to ensure everything goes smoothly or at least keep the others on the board quiet. Take your pick. I swear the only true ally I have is Lucius.” Tim paused as he began to slip into his suit. “Of course, he’s the one that put me in the position in the first place. But I’ll admit it was a necessary move.”
Elizabeth remained silent for several seconds. “Why was that?”
Tim paused in putting on his boots in shock before shaking his head. Elizabeth had still been in the mental clinic at that point. “I forgot. You’re still catching up on current events. Thomas Elliot otherwise known as Hush, had been posing as Bruce, highly successfully.” But Hush had failed to fool Bruce’s family and other superheroes. “And several of his actions were putting the company at risk. Bruce luckily had it in place where Lucius could transfer everything to me if in an event he ever felt there was a need. He did.” Tim sighed as he finished putting on his boots and reached for his gloves. “Everything should be over in a couple days.” He paused again for a brief moment before asking, “Liz, how well do you know Alex?”
“He’s been a friend since elementary. One of the few that didn’t abandoned me when I went into the mental clinic.” She answered. “Why?”
Tim frowned. If Alex was a friend from school, why wasn’t he still there? Graduated? Transferred? Was he still the friend Elizabeth thought him as? “Did he transfer?”
“He graduated a few years ago.” She countered. “He’s attending Gotham University now. And you are ignoring my question.”
He remained silent for a several seconds. “Just be careful, ok? I don’t want you to be hurt.”
“Are you implying I’m a damsel?” Elizabeth questioned a dangerous note in her voice.
Tim shook his head in amusement. He was still very solidly in the dog house. It would take some thought to get out of this one. “I wouldn’t dare.” And he didn’t as Tim Drake. Red Robin was whole different story. Her eyes were memorizing when she was angry. Tim slipped the cowl over his head and switched the conversation to his earpiece. “Will you at least think about pressing a suit against the school? You don’t need to put up with the harassment. I’ll back your claim, Liz.”
“Would you stop worrying about it? I’m fine and it will blow over. Eventually... No point in put more grease over the fire.” Elizabeth sighed. “Anyways, I got to go before I’m late for the date.”
He paused by the exit, his hand bypassing the pouch the stored his grappling gun in surprise as Elizabeth hanged up. Date? It was a friend get together date, right? Not a romance one. Not that it mattered, they were just friends. Right?
Red Robin ignored Nightwing’s stare at the back of his head as they swung across the rooftops of Gotham. The night had been very quiet so far. A few attempted murders, a bank robbery, and couple muggings. No attack from the new group lurking around Gotham despite being very visible. He turned down Elizabeth invitation for this, why? He hadn’t been able to get any new information. A bit frustrating, but he normally enjoyed the challenge. Usually. Was Elizabeth invitation as a friend or did she like him? But if she liked him then why go on a date with someone else?
He frowned and spotted Nightwing speed up out of the corner of his eye. “So…” Nightwing stated as he kept an easy pace next to him. “Want to talk about it?”
“There’s nothing to talk about?” Red Robin replied. He was being ridiculous. Elizabeth and him were just friends, even though he found her attractive and the thought of her dating someone else was making him clench his teeth.
“You’re brooding worse than Bruce.” Nightwing said flatly. “Talk to Dr. Nightwing.”
He leaped to the next rooftop. “I’m not brooding!” He paused a moment before he relented. “At least not worse than Bruce.”
“Right…Not worse than Bruce.” Nightwing agreed slowly before he continued sarcastically “You haven’t begun military talk yet. Should I wait another five minutes for that?”
Red Robin snorted. Several minutes later he stopped at the ledge and peer down into the street. Across the street was the new night club, Rising Star, that Elizabeth had met Alex at an hour ago. Ok, so maybe Dick had a point. He sighed. “Elizabeth has a date.”
Nightwing winced. “Someone beat you to the punch, huh?”
“It’s not like that. Liz and I are just friends.” He denied. “She is free to date any one she wants.”
“But you wanted it to be you.” Nightwing stated as he glanced down at the night club.
“No.” Red Robin shook his head. “Liz has been receiving a lot of harassment lately and I just don’t want her hurt.” Sighing, he sat down on the ledge. “She said that he has been a friend for years, but a lot people had change their tune since her parentage came out. If this is a set-up, she going to be really hurt.”
Nightwing glanced at him briefly before joining him on the ledge. “You’re jealous.”
Red Robin glared at him. “No, I’m not.”
“So your stomach isn’t sick at the thought of them kissing, making out, or having sex?” Nightwing countered as he crossed his arms.
Red Robin opened his mouth to reply before he paused and looked away as he clenched his right hand. He hated the thought. “Maybe, a little jealous.” He admitted quietly. “But it not like a relationship would work. The lies are bound to get in the way, turn our friendship ugly. This secret has nearly done that a couple of times in past relationships. And it’s not like I can tell her I’m Red Robin.”
“Why not?” Nightwing questioned.
Red Robin stared at him. Was Dick out of his mind? “Are you kidding? It’s not just my secret that would be revealed!”
Nightwing raise his hands in surrender. “I’m not saying to tell her now
.” He shook his head. “But it doesn’t mean you can’t tell her when you know that she is the one or believe that she can be trusted. Our secret shouldn’t prevent you from finding the love of your life and starting your own family.”
“Don’t you think you’re getting ahead of yourself?” He paused before questioning, “Or… Are you and Barbara not telling us something?”
“Brat.” Nightwing chuckled. “We use protection, thank you. There is no little Grayson’s on the way. But you might remember that for your first time. I think Bruce would have a heart attack if little Drakes start running around, particularly if Elizabeth was the mother. It’s best to let him warm up to the idea.”
“Nightwing!” Red Robin exclaimed. He could feel the blush claiming his cheeks. Who needed enemies with brothers around? “We’re not even dating! That step is a long way off.”
“Right.” He nodded. “Third date rule.” Nightwing paused and looked back at him. “You do know the third date rule, right?”
“I hate you.” Red Robin replied flatly.
“Love you too, little brother.” Nightwing laughed. “Now seriously, how did you discovered that Elizabeth was dating?”
He leaned back. “She let me know when I called and canceled our study date.”
“Ouch.” Nightwing gestured him to continue.
He frowned. “She invited me to come first.”
“Then maybe she didn’t want to go on the date in the first place.” Nightwing replied. “Go down there and talk to her.”
“But I said I was attending a business meeting…” Red Robin argued.
Nightwing shrugged. “So I kicked you out and ended the meeting when I caught you pouting.”
“I don’t pout.” He glared at him. “It could come off as stalker like and I already been accused of that.”
“Really?” Nightwing questioned and waited for his nod before stating. “I’ll get that story later.”
Red Robin crossed his arms. “No you won’t.”
“Don’t bet on that.” Nightwing smirked. “She could have mentioned the date to see if you were interested by your reaction.”
He shook his head. “Liz is not that devious.”
Nightwing snorted. “How good did she get at evading you during her hunt for the Joker?”
Crap. Which ones did Dick know about? Ok, so maybe she did have a devious bone or two in her. “Bruce won’t approve.”
“He doesn’t need to.” Nightwing shook his head. “Don’t let Bruce’s hang ups stop from exploring the possibilities. He doesn’t exactly have room to talk.”
Tim sighed as he stopped inside the entrance of the club, leaning slightly on his left crutch. He scanned the crowd, stopping to stare once he had spotted Elizabeth. She was leaning back in her seat in a corner booth, swirly a straw around in her drink. She was watching the dance floor with a small, pleased smile on her face.
His mouth went dry as he took in her appearance. Elizabeth was wearing the black dress she had displayed for him during their shopping trip. She hadn’t bought it then, but must have gone back for it later. Why? Was there any significance to her wearing it now?
It didn’t matter, Tim decided as he started to walk towards her. She looked even lovelier in it now with her hair cascading over her right shoulder. His fingers inched to slide through it. Elizabeth didn’t play fair. He stopped in front of her table. “Is the invitation still open?”
She looked up at him and smirked. “It is, but didn’t you have a meeting?”
“It ended early.” He slid in next to her. “Where’s Alex?”
There was a sparkle of laughter in her hazel eyes when she answered him. “Dancing with his fiancée.”
“You knew this when you agree to the date.” Tim accused.
Elizabeth nodded. “Alex wanted me here as support when he asked her tonight. He was nervous and wanted someone he could trust not to give him alcohol to calm the nerves. He knew I would slap him if he tried to touch the stuff.” She bumped his arm with her own. “He got into a bit of trouble with it when he was younger, but managed to get some help to overcome it.”
Tim smiled amused “Somehow I have a feeling you were behind him getting that help.”
“I might have had a hand in it.” She confessed with a smile. “I’m a bit stubborn when it comes to friends, always was. Even when they are the ones responsible for getting me in trouble…”
Tim chuckled as he stood and offered her his hand. “Would ice cream and chocolate get me out of the dog house?”
“It’s a good start.” Elizabeth answered as she took his hand and rose to her feet. She glanced back at the dancing floor. “He should be fine now.”
Tim started to guide her towards the exit. “Any reason why you wanted me here?”
“Wanted someone to celebrate with when the happy couple started to make goggling eyes at each other.” She shrugged. “Any reason why the meeting ended early?”
He pulled her slightly closer, “Maybe. It’s a bit complex, but I’m starting to figure it out, I think.” He leaned towards her and whispered into her ear, “You looked gorgeous, Liz” Maybe Dick was right. There were still questions he needed answers to. There were bounds to be problems and complications. But maybe, just maybe, he should give a relationship with Elizabeth a chance. But he didn’t need to decide tonight. Tonight he would settle on getting out of the dog house.
She blushed. “Thanks.”