Far Away, Not Long Ago
Roleplaying Log: Far Away, Not Long Ago
IC Details

With Red Robin on the scene, Raven picks up another untimely telepathic pulse.

Other Characters Referenced: Zatanna Zatara, Batman, The Titans
IC Date: July 16, 2019
IC Location: New York
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 17 Jul 2019 02:28
Rating & Warnings:
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

| OOC: originally happened 06/19/19 |

Nighttime cover and a brief takedown of a few criminals with its now-normalized set of law-related complications somehow manages to work itself out into a loosely-framed routine. Not every night follows specific steps, but the changes in both the players and their environments help keep Raven on her toes when she isn't dabbling into the magical side of the reality scale.

In fact, she should be grateful there hasn't been many magical mishaps of late. It means there is less to immediately tend to and take care of — less to fret about. Despite the granted benefits, her thoughts have been preoccupied, continuing to play underneath as she watches two police vehicles pull up to the alley she last visited.

Red and blue lights flash, outside of a tuneless rhythm that washes over the surfaces of nearby buildings and cars — a cue Raven takes to slink back into the shadows of the rooftop opposite of the scene unfolding on the street.

She knows there's still a huge risk involved, being outside and using abilities Registration is striving to suppress. She isn't one to run rampant without thinking ahead, nor has she gone off to make a public spectacle of herself. That just isn't her.

Still, being outside gives her a different setting to work with. It lets her feel the pulse of a city that doesn't seem to sleep, its emotional discord erratic yet as normal as breathing. Each individual feeling prick at her, letting her hone in on the strongest out of the handful she picks up.

"I was able to talk to her."

She speaks the non-sequitur to the air, her voice a whisper amidst the nightly ambiance of the city below. She may even be talking to herself to see how she can piece everything together. "I tried to ease her mind, but there was a lot to go through."

It's New York, there's always something.

That's the way of it in any major city, really… Especially in those three crown jewels of the East Coast, though the character of that something is bound to fit the city in question. In Gotham, it would be something horrible most likely. In Metropolis, surely something strange, like a giant robot or an extradimensional imp. In New York, though, it could go either way. It could be almost anything.

It wasn't as though the Titans were the only ones keeping an eye out. There were the Avengers, of course, and the less high-profile group of individuals who'd been so instrumental in keeping the devastation in Hell's Kitchen the year before from being worse than it already had been. But the group of young, defiantly unregistered heroes had both the wide-ranging resources of the former and the closer to the ground outlook of the latter, as well as a good motivation to be out there, fighting the good fight. Making sure people knew that someone was.

The risks, well, there were always risks doing what they did. Maybe you get caught by the police, maybe a lunatic bashes your head in with a crowbar.

Facing the risks was a big part of what made them 'heroes'.

Red Robin's presence was a controlled one, as always. He needed to be calm, level-headed, to do what he did, where the others could afford to be more openly emotional. It wasn't just the leader thing - though the leader thing was for sure a part of it - but more, well, the Batman thing. It was probably hard to sneak up on an empath anyway, but superhuman senses hadn't always stopped him before.

"'Her' who?" he asks, from those same shadows, his voice just as quiet. Of course, the vigilante is hooked into the police and emergency services communications: It was routed through the computers at the Titans' mall hideout, but naturally he had remote access to that through his suit. In red and black and yellow, the Red Knight crouches not far away from Raven, his eyes hidden as always behind those featureless white lenses. Though Raven has never seemed particularly concerned about who was behind the mask in the first place.

The thread of practiced calm is distinct against the cacophonic atmosphere, one Raven finds comforting when all else is out of her control. That stillness is also where she and Red Robin share the burden of dealing with the emotions of their teammates while reining their own emotions in.

"A telepath," she replies, not turning to face Red just yet. "I wasn't able to get a name, but I'm assuming she may be one of several teenagers who went missing in the passing weeks."

A few beats pass before she lifts her violet gaze, glancing over at the Titans' leader and his masked features. She's used to seeing the mask. She isn't surprised, but she also knows that it's reasonable protocol while outside of the abandoned mall on vigilante duty.

Although her tone is evenly paced, she sounds a little exhausted. With a slight tinge of concern. "And if I'm remembering it correctly, there were similar reports made about them…"

Though several of the other Titans are already well aware of his 'real' identity, enough of the team still knows him as just Red Robin that the young man holds to it strictly, even around the mall that's become the Titans' headquarters in exile; even during the holiday party, his civilian clothes had been matched with a domino mask.

Maybe it was silly - it was certain that, for example, Raven would be able to recognise him immediately if she met Tim Drake, thanks to her powers - but it was also something important. It wasn't like those secrets were his alone.

And it wasn't like he was the only one on the team with secrets.

"Those 'bursts of fear' you were talking about?" the Red Knight asks, though really he's pretty sure he already knows the answer. It was obvious that it was troubling Raven, which was a bad sign all on its own; the rather stoic young woman wasn't exactly known for letting it show when something was troubling her. So, he watches the Daughter of Darkness, his hidden dark blue eyes studying her carefully.

"It's definitely something we should be looking into," he says, because it was the simple truth: They were supposed to be heroes, after all… And if young metahumans were being targeted, that put it all the more in the Titans' wheelhouse. "But before that, are you okay, Raven?"

For what it's worth, she only thinks it's a little silly. Just a little bit. (Then again, everyone on the team was a little bit silly in their own way.) But she respects his choices.

More importantly, Red is usually on top of the information swirling about each major city. That is how Raven and the other Titans have known Red Robin to be.

Raven also knows he cares. She can tell, even if he doesn't always show it. It's the main reason why she's able to open up to him with the personal details of her particular background.

She nods, the movement barely noticeable under the deep hood. "Yes." Her message from a while back, back to when it all first started. (It hasn't been that long ago, but it's beginning to feel that way.) "Us and whoever else may be delving into this. I wonder if anyone else has a better lead."

A pause takes place, either out of thought for the case at hand or because Red is asking her if she is okay. The slightest tilt of her chin suggests averting her line of sight, her lips pressing together for less than a second before answering.

"…Maybe. Maybe not." One shoulder half-heartedly shrugs. "My sleep schedule has been more or less wrecked within the past month due to how frequently the bursts of activity used to occur."

Silly he can live with, as long as it works.

He was at least partially raised by a guy who dresses up like a bat and has a long history of punching clowns, after all.

"I can't imagine we're the only ones who noticed, yeah," Red Robin agrees, with a slow nod. Just because there were younger telepaths being targeted didn't mean that was the extent of it. Surely, there were other groups and individuals with an interest in psychic abilities - or who knew people who had such abilities - that would be paying close attention.

The question then was who, and where? And how could they safely make contact with people who would probably be pretty agitated about getting random attention?

The use of the deep hood answers a lot of the Red Knight's questions about Raven's wellbeing, without her even having to say a word - it's all in her body language too, clear as day for someone who knows how to read the signs. Perhaps it's because he's known her for the past year, or that he's such a keen observer of other people, or a mix of both, that the otherwise stoic sorceress gives away more than she might be anticipating.

"You could try talking to Zatanna," he says, on the topic of her wrecked sleep schedule. "Maybe she's got some kind of magic potion that'll help you sleep better. Or, maybe you just need to work this case until you get some closure. Loose ends always keep me up at night."

Actually, lots of things keep him up at night. It's fine, though, four hours of sleep is plenty!

These questions, along with the loss of sleep, have been a repetitive tune in Raven's head. To be able to bring it up within a trusted circle is a step forward, but it also left her standing still.

Even after a year, she has yet to open up even further not only among those she calls friends, but to anyone else she comes across. Basic social foundations, anyway — that was better than hiding away forever.

Speaking of which, the Empath thinks about the suggestion. "Tempting."

The brevity of her response comes with some padding only after she shows the young man a ghost of a smirk. Really now, she isn't the only one who needs the rest, but Red Robin does have the added benefit of lacking empathetic powers that lock onto the strongest emotional vibes.

"Although I hate to admit it, you're probably right." Probably. (They both know he hit the nail on the head.) "I do want to see this through. Talking to Zatanna will be the backup plan— "

The sentence is then left hanging. A hand lifts up from under the Daughter of Darkness' cloak, slipping into the shadow of her hood, her clawed fingertips barely grazing her temple as she shuts her eyes tight.

Indeed, Red Robin is a perfectly normal human being… For certain definitions of 'perfectly normal', anyway.

He isn't one to push too far on other people's willingness to open up, either; far better, he reasons, to give someone like Raven the room to feel safe, to let her hopefully come around to opening up to her new friends on her own. At the very least, now she knows that Zatanna isn't likely to try to kill her because of her demonic heritage, right?

Though that knowledge, of who the Daughter of Darkness was and what it meant, had left something of a pall over things that hadn't wholly retreated even now, even after the Titans' witches had found a new understanding after the invasion of New York.

Red Robin had, of course, tried to help. He even got them cool matching jackets!

Although I hate to admit it, you're probably right.

"Usually am," the vigilante replies, with a rueful slash of a grin. Most people might find the contrast with the unchanging white lenses over his eyes disconcerting; Raven, at least, could tell that he means it. But that amusement fades quickly, when the empathic girl is suddenly wracked by something. A pain only she's aware of, that probably isn't even her own.

One of the Red Knight's gauntleted hands reaches for Raven's shoulder, a deeply human gesture of comfort rendered only slightly surreal by the costumes.

"Something happen?" he asks, though honestly it's more rhetorical than anything else. "You're okay, I'm here."

The real trick is how he makes that not sound like a boast.

Red Robin does help in his own way. Strangely endearing ways, but it's fine. She still needs to find the time to wear the jacket…

If not for the sudden emergence of a headache, Raven would have been fine to continue with the casual joking for a while longer. But to relax and forget she even has empathetic powers is beyond what she can hope for.

Again, it's fear. A dull, throbbing pulse that offers many different interpretations of the same feelings, low and wavering, threatening to spike without making any noticeable change in its pacing.

Her breathing is steady, yet her chest feels tight. The lightheadedness that comes with it could have easily set her off-balance, leaving her a pile of black cloth on a lonely rooftop. Instead, something grounds her — someone, thanks to Red being present and attentive and literally grounding her as she goes through this experience.

You're okay, I'm here.

She can take comfort in the words that lean on the border of boasting, in the way he holds onto her shoulder to keep her upright. Drawing in another breath, she holds onto it, expelling it slowly as she finds the words to tell him.

"The same feeling…but it's coming from another person," Raven rasps, keeping the same hand near her temple as her other arm wraps around her middle. "They're afraid. Except…the pain is even greater.

"And there's another difference," she adds, suddenly lifting her head to look at the young vigilante. Or perhaps she's looking through him, into the distance. "It feels like they're far away."

One of the core lessons Red Robin was taught, from the very first day he started training with Batman, was this: Never let them see you sweat.

Even if you don't really feel confident, act like you do. Act with complete certainty, even if you're making it up as you go along. When it comes to the dangerous life of a costumed crimefighter, 'fake it 'til you make it' is an unfortunate necessity.

So, he projects that confidence, that absolute certainty that yes, Raven is okay because he's there. He provides support both in a literal physical sense, using that hand on the Daughter of Darkness' cloaked shoulder to keep her from collapsing like a marionette with her strings cut, and in a more esoteric sense as he keeps whatever doubts or uncertainty he might have locked up safely in a tiny box in the deepest recesses of his mind, where even an empath might have trouble finding them.

And then he waits. Patience was another important part of what he did, which is sort of funny since so many of his friends are very deeply impatient, in one way or another.

But they have superpowers and he doesn't. It makes quite the difference.

He waits, rather than pressing Raven for more answers. Lets her find her words on her own, instead. His head tilts slightly to one side - the expression might even be called 'birdlike', if you were feeling cheeky - as Raven looks at him, through him, towards something only she can sense.

"Could you find them?" Red Robin asks, simply. The offer that goes with the question is unspoken, but pretty obvious: They could go round up the rest of the Titans and get to work.

"For as long as I can hold onto their distress."

This is Raven's answer, delayed between the pauses used to actively seek out the source. Not exactly a 'yes,' but not a hard 'no.' Her eyes flicker at the headtilt, offering a quick glance at Red Robin despite their renewed absence of color.

The hand she previously held over her middle now finds Red's arm, hovering for a moment before she grasps onto the gauntlet, shifting her stance in a nonverbal way. Although grateful for the vigilante's help (and his intent to seal off any internal emotional turmoil he deals with on a regular basis so that it doesn't interfere with Titan and non-Titan-related work), she's recomposed enough to stand on her own.

"…It's weakening."

Which means their chance to find this person is slipping away. They both know the longer they stay where they are, the more time they waste.

The Daughter of Darkness' brow creases while the lower half of her face continues to express nothing, but the subtle urgency in her tone clearly agrees to calling the rest of the Titans. "We better hurry," she adds, stepping back while letting go of Red Robin so that she can at least take the lead to where they are supposed to go. "There isn't any telling when the broadcast will cease to exist."

Because she isn't sure when it will just shut off. Every pulse at every hour prior was one thing, but this is a different strain, an exception to previous experiences concerning the missing telepaths.

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