2019-12-23 - We Have Secrets


Bruce visits Babs to *not* give her the identity speech.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Dec 23 00:16:07 2019
Location: Clocktower

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The Clocktower is Babs' bastion. The place where she feels most safe. It's been home for six years, if not slightly longer and where she was Oracle for all that time. The top floor of the building has been tranformed into an Operations Centre, on that she's not seen much need to modify with her return to the streets, and it's here that she's found just on dawn, returning from patrol.

It's been a long night.

Pulling the hood from her head and resting it on the console with the displays above it, Babs loosens her braid and lets her hair fall free. "Oracle, turn the kettle on." She's adapted the 'smart tech' that on smart devices to interact with her own VI, and this is one of the luxuries she allows herself.

"You're not alone." whether that came from the figure that steps from the shadows or from Oracle doesn't matter.

"Barbara." Batman says simply in greeting, his expression unreadable beneath the cowl as he rests his arms to his sides. It's still in that pre-dawn darkness that will give him just enough time to get home without having to change or leave in the morning's light.

"You have been busy."

"I know I'm not. You didn't think you'd get in here and I wouldn't know, did you?" Barbara gives the Older Bat a look and a smile before moving to the Kitchenette to lay two mugs. "I'm always busy, Bruce. You know that. Even when I was in the chair."

It's mild.

"Have you come to try and intimidate me or did you want to talk?" There's an ease about her when in the mans presence. Not one that many exhibit at all.

Reaching up to remove his mask, Bruce apparently is not here to intimidate. "More here in concern, Barbara. I have seen you spending more and more time with the Silver Samurai, and I'm trying to gauge your thoughts on it." he responds. Without the cowl on, there's still that frown, but the blue eyes give him more the expression of a concerned parent more than the angry vigilante.

"Besides. I know there is no point in intimidation with you. You are going to do as you want, and it is better for me just to listen sometimes." After all, he tried very hard to talk her out of returning to the cowl after her injury.

She'd been needed on the streets. The Bats were stretched thin and sitting in her 'ivory tower' when she could do more, was grating. "I have?" Babs casts a glance over her shoulder before putting tea in the cups and pouring the boiling water. "I've spent nearly as much with Agent Grey as I have the Samurai, really. I work with who is available, you know that."

"At least you listen to someone when you do." It's cheeky, a familiarity born of many years. "You were the one who taught me not to be intimidated, you can't fault me if I learned the lessons well."

There's a hitch to her movements as she prepares the tea. Bruce knows that her suit is reinforced to support her back and that sometimes she hurts more than she should.

"I spend time with Kenuichio-san. Sometimes I work with the Samurai. More often than not, he's doing something that I feel should be checked out."

Not … mitigate … as she was about to say.

Handing a mug to the man, the redhead turns to face him. "What thoughts did you want to guage, particularly?"

"Hnh." Bruce saw that movement and he shakes his head. "I could have my technicians look at that, Barbara. You know my man at Wayne won't share anything." He's had a loyal follower that helps him with tech and updates for years. And while he appreciated what Barbara's done on her own…

"You do realize that while I may be billionaire playboy philanthropist to the rest of the world, I can tell when someone's getting close." he points out finally. "But unlike Helena, I know I do not need to share the identity talk with you." Even if he just did in a roundabout way.

"I'm not a fan of these recent incursions by SHIELD and WAND. It was one of the reasons I was against Helena heading to the Academy, even if it gives us someone on the inside. They tend to pry. And while there are a select few that know of me and Helena, I would rather keep you free from identity."

"Maybe, Bruce. I … am working on improving my strength so it doesn't happen. I just overdid it out there at the cemetary." Babs might take him up on that, but they were told it would take time when she underwent the procedure. "I'm not worried about your people sharing anything, without them, I wouldn't where I am."

"I realise you play at billionaire playboy, yes. I know your real secrets though, don't forget." Those green eyes of hers meet his blue ones and she smiles "Getting close. Speak plainly, Bruce, we've known each other too long to mess around with word games. Are you concerned that I will be dazzled by the attention and spill all my secrets? The lonely spinster from the Clocktower, that I am?"

She'll get to the rest in a moment.

"It has nothing about clutching pearls, Barbara. But I know that working together breeds trust, and trust begots secrets." Bruce responds, a hint of amusement in his tone that's undercut with his own concerns.

"If it's some things I do know, you're not a spinster." That part is offered in a moment of encouragement. "You're vibrant when you want to be. And I'm sure that Ken realizes that."

"I wouldn't class that as clutching at pearls, Bruce. I'm rarely offended by anything you or he says." Babs answers, a small smile touching her lips as she lowers herself into a chair. "I'm experienced with managing my personal life and hero life. I've been doing this for a while now."

She sighs, admitting the truth of his words. "You're not saying anything I haven't said to myself. Trust does beget secrets, eventually, and it's line that I have to tread carefully. Once my secret is out, the other bats are at risk."

"I hadn't meant … to find I *liked* the man when I starting investigating him." She shrugs. Does Ken realise that? Maybe.

"I am too. It's been years since I had interest in anyone." Babs points out, gesturing to a chair. "I'll be careful, Bruce. As careful as I can. Batgirl, Oracle, Barbara are all seperate identities and people as far as Ken is concerned. As far as the rest of the world is concerned."

"Is that enough for you?" She'd expected the lecture sooner or later.

"As to SHIELD and WAND, what do you expect? They've known of Oracle for years. She has been working with them on and off, has contacts and what have you. Is it really so different that Batgirl becomes known?"

Sighing, Bruce lowers himself into the chair. "Having a relationship is a delicate balance. Especially when it involves someone else that dons a costume. Even more so when that person used to be a villain." If anyone has experience with that, it's Bruce. Closing his eyes in a moment of thought, the man shows through more than the Bat.

"I know you'll be careful. Out of all of them, you are most likely to do so." he admits quietly. "So yes, that's enough for me."

"And yes, I'm sure WAND and SHIELD have come calling enough. Part of that is on me, with the contacts I have. Some of that is on this recent activity we've had."

"It always is, Bruce and not a spring chicken." Babs answers. "Used to. Still is. To hear Ken speak, he's not put it behind him. I think it will be with him forever." beat "And I'm glad it is enough, because I would hate to have tell you to 'butt out of my business', you're too much a friend for that to be comfortable."

"Honestly, Bruce. The 'relationship' between the Bats and SHIELD is useful. At least we have somewhere to send those that Police can't contain. Most SHIELD agents seem willing to … turn a blind eye to our activities in return for the assistance we give. It's not an ideal situation but both parties are making the best of it."

And then he mentions the recent activity. "Recently, we've struggled. Having Agent Grey appear was an answer I had been seeking. What do you make of what we're seeing, anyway?"

"I know that it is mutually beneficial, otherwise I'd never made the initial contact with them." Bruce sighs, letting out his breath as he slumps slightly in the chair. "Though there are times that I wonder why I decided to take on the Avengers mantle. Things need to be handled here in Staten, and they were never going to focus on the individual. Always the big picture, the greater good." he gives a grunt at that. "It was much easier when it was me."

Then he pauses as he considers Barbara. "I do not regret the events that brought you into my life, however." comes his words quietly, honestly, before he returns his attention back to the subject at hand before he gets too deep into it all.

"I try not to bear too much into the realm of magic. There are things I don't know or can explain. In this case, I would like to bring in someone to look into it. While Agent Gray may be an agent of SHIELD, I am not sure his intentions are entirely on the up and up."

"If I recall rightly, you weren't given much choice in the matter." Barbara teases. "It was me who put on the suit and went out. You could have left me alone or do what you did. You trained me and gave me a Family to work with."

Family. That's important to her Babs. Her Father and the Bats.

"I wasn't going to go away though. Still, it's good you don't regret it."

"Magic is beyond any of our capalities, even if we could explain it." the redhead agrees. "We can deal with the Gangs and the physical threats but the rest?" A shrug accompanies that. "I can do the research on the Mythology till I'm blue in the face. Work out what is supposed to harm these creatures and hope that the lore is right. Beyond that?" It's trouble.

"You want to bring in Zatanna or someone else?"

"We need to find out what the connection is to here. What they are searching for. Or what has them tethered here. Agent Grey is only gathering the crystals. And not providing any background or what may be causing it. My trust is not very high with him. I may speak with Zatanna on it, if you're fine with it." Bruce responds. And he's asking her permission because he's trusting her in leading the investigation.

"And yes, family." Bruce agrees easily. Reaching to his utility belt, taking out a small wrapped package. "Merry Christmas, Barbara."

"I don't think they're 'searching' for anything, Bruce. They've found it and mean to take it for their own. If what they are saying is true." Babs answers quietly. "Agent Grey is doing more than that, but there *are* only two of us and I note, that he hasn't claimed WAND jurisdiction and had WAND swarming the island like ants."

Of course, WAND is just as stretched as the Bats at the moment and what's happening here is 'small fry'.

"Call her in. If you can find her. I'm not one to refuse assistance, if we can get it, Bruce. And heavens know we need all the help that we can get." Green eyes meet his again when he takes out the package "What is this?"

She takes it and stares at it for a moment, before unwrapping it. Carefully. So very Barbara like.

"It's called a present, Barbara. Family tends to exchange them with each other at the holidays." Bruce's tone is slightly teasing, apparently showing just a bit of a sense of humor. Inside of the wrapped box is a hybrid smartwatch, with a leather band. The watchface is set to look like a standard watch that can be changed to a smartwatch setup. "I had it set to open source so you can put Oracle's OS into it." he explains.

"I'll see about finding Zatanna to see if she can assist. Perhaps put her in touch with Agent Grey as well." Rising to his feet, Bruce starts to stretch. Apparently he's getting ready to head out.

"Merry Christmas, Bruce." Babs smiles and looks at the watch, opening the case and running her fingers over it. "Thank you. You're gift … isn't ready … yet." There's still a few days "I'm hoping we'll see you when we deliver presents."

We. Ken and herself. And Helena.

"I'll do that and I'll get an update out to the others."

Standing as he does, the redhead gives the man a hug. "It's nice to have you visit, you know."

"I'll try to come by more often." Bruce returns the hug, holding onto Barbara for several moments before letting her go. "You don't have to get me anything." There's a smile. "I just try to give everyone their own chance to spread their wings. But I will keep it in mind to visit you more often, Barbara."

With that, Bruce pulls the cowl back down into place, and as if pulling down a shade, the rest of his demeanor changes to match the costume as he gives a soft grunt. "Let me know if I need to contact someone to help with your exo-skeleton."

With that, he moves to exit through the clock, and back into the night.

"Good. And I'll try to get by the Mansion more often." She's been just as lax in that regards. "I know I don't but I *want* to" She adds about the gist.

As Bruce departs, he can hear Babs talking to Oracle. "Show me all the pertinent news from evening, Oracle." He can be sure it will be a few more hours before she sleeps.

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