No Easy Way Out
Cutscene: No Easy Way Out
Author
IC Details
Synopsis:

What costs more, action or inaction?

IC Date: December 01, 2018
IC Location: Wayne Enterprises, Gotham; an alley, NYC
OOC Notes & Details
Posted: 02 Dec 2018 07:22
Rating & Warnings: Mild violence, and A Swear
Associated Plots

It was raining.

It often was in Gotham, as though whatever spiritual malaise that seemed to saturate every brick and pebble of the city turned the weather along with it; the late fall sky was cold and dark grey, nearly black though it was only the afternoon. The rain pattered against the window, the glass this high up on the Wayne Enterprises building thick enough that the sound hardly carried at all.

It didn't matter.

The office's occupant wasn't really paying attention.

"With everything going on in New York the past few months," the young woman seated across from him was saying; she was in her mid-20s, dark skinned with her tightly curled hair worn up. "I'm not sure it's a great idea to go ahead with expanding the Neon Knights to Manhattan. It's hard enough getting the kids in some of these neighbourhoods to go to a brand new community center without them having to wonder if some crazy is going to blow it up, or if it's going to turn into Gremlins 3 in there." Tiffany Fox was like her father: Just about too sharp for her own good, and entirely too used to dealing with a Wayne turning up out of nowhere with outlandish requests. Like meetings in the middle of a Saturday afternoon.

He wasn't really paying attention to what she was saying, either.

"What?" Timothy Wayne - it was always Wayne when he was about this kind of business, the surname and the tailored suit as much of a costume as Red Robin, as any cape and cowl - looked up from the file he was reading, an old set of blueprints. "Um…" He balks a little at the irritated look he earns, settling his own expression into an apologetic smile. "Sorry, long night. Look, Tiffany, I understand your concerns, but that just makes it more important, right? Even if it doesn't affect us directly… If we can do something to help those kids, we should. Just… You know, make sure the plot wasn't a native burial ground or something." He smiles helpfully - Tiffany Fox rolls her eyes - while he stands up and closes the folder he was looking at.

"I've got—" he starts to say, but the woman finishes the thought for him.

"—Another appointment. Yeah, I know. Dad said putting me in charge of your youth outreach project was gonna teach me patience, and boy he wasn't kidding. Must be something in the water up at that spooky manor you guys grow up in." She smiles to take the sting out of the words, but: "Don't be a stranger, Mr. Wayne." A short, ominous pause. "I mean it, you leave me holding the bag at another one of those meetings and your next 'extreme sports injury' is gonna be the doctors extracting one of my shoes from your ass."

Her next smile is more worrying.

~ * ~

"You guys can't do this anymore!" the man insists, dangling upside down by his ankle. It was New York, and at least it wasn't raining. Just cold. The staff is a blur as it deals with his friends, a gang of directionless, angry youths who'd cornered a girl, a metahuman who could do little more than make tiny motes of light, in an alleyway.

The world was big and terrifying, moreso than they could deal with: Feeling small and powerless, they'd sought to make themselves feel big and strong by 'teaching a lesson' to one of those scary metas. And then a guy in red and black dropped out of the sky and started beating the crap out of them.

"Seen you on the news!" the dangling man continued, his bravado untempered by the fact that most of his friends were currently unconscious. He knew the way the world was supposed to work, now. "You and the rest of them Teen Titans! You meta scum can't push us real people around anymore! Take that mutie and get out of our city!"

Timothy Wayne had been put away, along with Tim Drake; after a meeting in the city, Red Robin had gone on patrol, and, well, here he was. He could correct the man, tell him that the Red Knight was as human as they were, but what good would it do? After alien invasions, after bombings and swarms of demons, there was plenty of fear and anger to go around, and from their perspective what was the difference between what he could do and shooting eye lasers?

Part of him, an answering, frustrated anger, wondered why he didn't do just that. Didn't he have enough to deal with in Gotham? Why not just leave these people to their short-sightedness?

"Hey," he says to the girl, ignoring the continued invective. "Sorry, those guys were dicks. You're safe, now." For the moment at least. He was aware, painfully aware, that it was a short-term solution to a larger problem. But even so…

"C'mon, let's get you back home. You ever flown before?"

Her answering smile, at least, wasn't worrying at all.

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