Summary: A disagreement among the Bat-Family
Location: The Batcave
Rating: PG-13 for Mild Language
The hour for patrolling draws near, so Batman sits before the mighty Bat-Computer, completely suited up save for the final (and arguably most important) items of the costume, the cowl and cape. The cowl itself is set up on a modified hat rack, situated to sit on the head at the top of the rack, with the cape trailing down. On the screen are pictures of the woman who calls herself Huntress, dressed in her purple and black costume. She has been relatively absent from news, but ever since running into her, Batman has been hunting down as many surveillance videos as he can find. He's currently watching her clear a room of drugs dealers, showing efficient grace with a hint of violence that is just a step beyond what Batman would acceptable. The video ends, only for Batman to speak "Playback," starting over the whole loop again.
Cassandra enters the Cave, her own cape and cowl not yet fitted, though the rest of her costume is currently suited as well. She gravitates towards Batman and the all-knowing computer, watching the video replay itself with a keen alertness, and appreciation for the Huntress' methodology.
"Good," she declares. "Who?"
"She calls herself Huntress," Batman says, keeping his eyes on the video playback as it goes through the whole playback before turning to face his protege. "She's responsible for Don Mandragora, has set herself up for a one-woman battle against the mob in Gotham. She's...filled with anger, but very passionate. I get the impression she may have been inspired by me." He turns back to the screen, bringing up a few more videos. "I was thinking about getting you two to spar, test each others skills. Of course I would be there if things become...serious."
Looking at the footage, then looking to Batman, Cassandra merely shrugs. She understands anger, to some degree. A nod, "Okay." She agrees, without any amount of sulking, or even hesitation. One thing that she's not afraid of is combat, hand-to-hand, with another person. Even someone who honestly could defeat her.
She makes a gesture, tapping her wrist like a timepiece, to silently ask 'When?'
"Soon," Batman says as he swerves back around to face Cassandra. "Though we're busy are the moment. I actually have another, more pressing matter." He pauses for a moment, frowning deeply before pointing in one direction towards a glass display. The costume of the fallen Robin. "Do you remember...him?" he asks, his brow deeply furrowed. "Or I mean, remember me telling you about what happened to him?"
There is a brief, sharp nod, to indicate the affirmative. Cassandra never was one big on words. She moves to take a seat upon a table, nearby, folding up her legs beneath her, leaving the cape and cowl off, setting them to the side. Blinking, clearly, she simply waits with what could be coined eternal patience to listen to the rest.
Batman frowns, feeling like he's talking to the wind slightly, but he continues. "Babs...Oracle met someone. Who...looked like him. Walked and talked like him. Since then, we've been looking for video footage." He turns, holding up a note scribbled on a piece of college notebook paper. "He left her a note, with handwriting nearly identical to mine. It has traces of Joker's chemical X on it." He sums up all of this. "Someone is posing as Jason Todd, the second Robin. Why is that a problem, Batgirl?"
"Dead." Answers Batgirl, simply, and without any emotional attachment to the matter, whatsoever. She considers, points to the monitor. "Watch?" She asks, perhaps indicating if there is footage of this would-be poser who left the X on file, the way the footage with Huntress is there.
Batman nods his head. "Dead, right. Good girl." He turns in his chair and types a few things before another video pops up, showing a man in a red hoodie from a street servellance camera. His face is completely out of the shot; to an expert eye of a Batperson, it appears intentional, to say nothing of wearing a hoodie in the hottest days of summer. Superimposed next to it is a large, but fuzzy, cell phone quality picture of a man in biker gear with a red mask, jumping between buildings.
"This is our target," Batman says cooly. "He's been terrorizing the city for a few weeks now, including an incident in Crime Alley." He bristles slightly. "Between his choice of costume, and choice of targets, I believe he's trying to get my attention." He turns again, facing Cassandra as he stands from his chair, stalking towards his cowl. "We need to confront him, but we're spread thin right now. I need to bring Nightwing into this, but even then, I will have to recruit. Which is why I want to bring Huntress in..." He pauses for a moment, realizing he's rounding the corner to the real item of discussion as he dons his cape and cowl in one smooth motion.
Watching the footage, Cassandra indeed listens to Batman, but her eyes are fully on the video footage of the jumper. She considers, then, "Watch." She frowns, her mouth twisting, uncomfortably. She gestures, because - well, in this, it's the easier way out. She's trying to suggest Jason Todd's footage. She ends up pointing to a defunct Robin costume in the Bat Hall Of Fame. Or something. "Watch," she says again. She lays one hand over the other, as if trying to get Batman to see what she wants to do. Compare the two.
Batman frowns a bit, unable to think that Cass is getting distracted. Still, he turns his head towards the screens, furiously typing in some commands until the fuzzy footage of the Red Hood is played on one side of the screen. The other side? A video of Jason Todd, still in training, practicing jumping across roof to roof, using balance beams instead. The two videos are synced to play at the same time time, in sync.
The similarity is uncanny.
Cassandra nods, after only a few moments, easily correlating the two movements. "Yes," she says. Pausing, she struggles for the other word that she is thinking of. "Same. Is." She nods again, her face emotionless. She points at Robin, then at Red Hood. "Is."
Batman sighs. He realizes that the comparison is easy, tempting even. But..."Jason Todd is dead, Batgirl," he says, looking at her with a scrunched brow, accentuated by his cowl. "He died in my arms. The other footage is from this week. That," he says, pointing to Jason Todd before switching to Red Hood, "cannot be that. Do you understand?"
"Yes." She understands, at least, that Batman says he's dead. She unfurls from the table, however, where she was sitting. "Same." She, at least, seems confident. She points at Red Hood. "Same." She points at Robin. "Same." She shrugs, then. "Trick?" Because, she certainly knows how one can slow the heart down. Or, stop it, and then start it again with at least one, if not several, martial arts techniques.
Batman is clearly growing frustrated, rubbing the side of his head and furrowing his brow as Batgirl insists the connection. Finally, she says the word he's waiting to hear, as he nods his head. "Trick, yes. Someone is trying to convince me that Jason Todd is alive. It may be a ploy by the Joker...but he was still in Arkham last I knew." He shakes his head. "Either way, we need to find that man," he says, pointing to Red Hood, "and determine is identity."
Guess who -else- is growing frustrated? It's Cassandra. "No." She slams her hand into the table, to get Batman's attention. "-Is-." She points back to Robin's costume. Sometimes, it sucks being a half-mute who never learned to speak, and now is trying to catch up, eighteen years too late. What's worse, is she can completely sense Batman's own frustration. And it just adds onto her own. Why won't he believe her? She knows she's right!
She stalks past Batman, and points a gloved fingertip right into the computer monitor. Pointing right at the video of Jason Todd. "Alive." Then she points to Red Hood. Then, she points to her eyes. "Yes."
The frustrations seem to be building upon each other, as Batman curls his fists into tight balls. "Enough!" he shouts, flicking a few buttons and causing both videos to disappear. "Jason Todd. Is. Dead. He died in my arms, Cassandra. Don't you think I know what the evidence suggests? What it all points to you? I've turned it over a hundred god damn times in my head, and there's only one answer." He shakes his head. "Only its not possible, it can't be, so please, PLEASE trust me when I saw that Jason Todd is NOT the Red Hood. Have I made myself absolutely clear?" He's yelling and not as Batman. Not with the controlled bursts of righteous anger.
He's wearing the mask, but Bruce Wayne is yelling in fury at Cassandra Cain. This is the first time that has happened.
Very few times in her life, has anyone ever yelled at Cassandra. And, usually when it was - it was one of the criminals she was mercilessly taking down, under Batman's watchful eye and instruction. Her eyes go wide, for a moment, and briefly, she looks utterly confused. Maybe - just maybe, even a little scared. If it were, perhaps, anyone other than Oracle or Batman who'd yelled at her thus, they'd likely be getting their ass whooped, right now. But they're the closest things she'll ever have to a -real- mom, and dad.
The anger, humiliation, hurt, all come swelling up in a rush that causes her cheeks to flush. She does not look Batman in the eye. Instead, she pushes past him, while wiping at her cheeks, eyes stinging.
The cowl and cape are grabbed, and she's making her way out of the Batcave in the next instant, with every intention on getting as far away as she can, as fast as she can. And, not being followed.
And right now, Batman is willing to let her go. He's angry. Very angry. And he knows that she will take care of herself, probably under up doing her patrol, and eventually get back home. There are several bikes she can take, blow off some steam. But right now, she clearly needs distance. And Batman has every intention to give it to her.
After she's well gone, Batman turns and brings up the two videos again. Side by side, perfectly in sync. "Impossible," he reminds himself, before closing it. "People don't come back from death." With that, he turns. Cassandra has had plenty of time to get away, as he talks towards the Car for his own patrol for the night.