|damian calls the shots (forthecowl) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2012-07-04 12:42:00
|Entry tags:||catwoman, damian wayne, door: dc comics|
Who: Selina and Damian
Where: Wonder City
When: Shortly after they both spoke to Freeze
What: Ending the short lived silent treatment
Warnings: Nothing crazy. A little violence against monsters.
The Cat's little hunt for a Talon was slowed down by her need to find somewhere new to call home. She left the greenhouse with duffle over her shoulder and a kitty carrier in her paw, and she didn't look back as Gotham's freezing night embraced her. She was mad, oh, was she ever, but it felt like a relief too, leaving Ivy and Harley behind. She knew that living arrangement had always been on borrowed time, but she'd been hoping this Ivy and this Harley would be more like her, someone the kitty cat could relate to. But she knew better now. Selina was a thief, a very good thief, but she didn't kill anyone (not intentionally), and she wasn't going to hand over the Batfamily for them to play with. And that's where all of it was going. It was better to cut ties now, before she could care about either of them. Because Selina, Selina refused to admit that maybe she already did care.
It was just like the baby bird, who'd she left alone for his own good. The Bat had been right that she would just drag him into trouble. That's what the kitty cat did, trouble. But now look? She'd left Damian alone, and he'd gone and gotten into more trouble than the Cat would have ever allowed. The Bat thought he knew so much, but he didn't understand little broken things like she did; she shouldn't have listened, and now she felt responsibility clawing along her spine. That Freeze had a pit sample was likely, that Damian had just made himself very, very public was a given, and Selina couldn't do anything about any of it; she hated that.
She found a run-down old thing in Wonder City to temporarily call home. A nice little shopping spree in the Wayne Family jewelry box would get her something nicer once she was done with this little annoyance.
She'd never come face-to-face with a Talon, but she wasn't particularly worried as she set out to bait one. Maybe she was underestimating her own compassion, because it never occurred to her that she would see them as anything more than monsters. And so she made her way into their little world, on the outskirts, and she prowled carefully along the rooftops. Oh, she drew attention to herself, but that was the idea. These Talons, they were her creatures, which meant they would send someone to say hello if she lingered long enough. After all, they'd lost their Bat, and everyone in her world knew that wherever the Bat was? Well, the Cat wasn't far behind - even if it wasn't true in this Gotham.
Damian knew he was living on borrowed time, too. His relationship with his father was becoming more and more strained as the days passed and for once it wasn’t for lack of trying. He was building the man a plane, after all, but their communication felt forced. As if Bruce was only taking care of him out of obligation. And, if there was one thing Damian couldn’t stand, it was the feeling of being tolerated. That’s what hurt the most about his last conversation with Selina. She claimed to be looking out for his best interests or whatever, but Damian knew she simply was growing tired of him. Maybe she was getting too close to Batman. Maybe she had been feeding him all the information about Damian like a school teacher.
It made him sneak off to Wonder City. His blood sparked when he was down there as if it could feel the Lazarus Pit and Damian decided that he’d make the thing his. Eventually the Talons would be eradicated and he could have the whole city to himself just like his grandfather did before in a different Gotham. But, the dead city was lonely and dangerous now. This time he was on his own to learn and if he messed up, there wouldn’t be a Hood or a Cat to save him from an unknown mistake.
Unlike Selina, Damian was making himself a shadow beneath the rooftops. He was still looking for a secure passageway into the main chamber where the pit lay and the last thing he needed was for a Talon to waste his time in a fight. They were doing a remarkable job at ignoring him (most likely because he dressed in the same colors) until a certain nosy cat started pawing around the rooftops. Looking up from the abandoned store he was rifling through, Damian climbed his way up to see Selina stomping around like she wanted something.
With a huff, he planned to ignore her until he noticed another shadow crawling towards her. Damian knew Selina could take a Talon by herself, but he didn’t want to risk it. They rarely hunted alone and he’d never be able to forgive himself if something happened to her. No matter how angry she made him. The enemy Talon made a sound that no living man could ever utter before sending three throwing knives at the Cat. In seconds, Damian was on his feet and running across the ancient rooftop, swinging his grappling hook in hand before throwing it around the Talon’s feet and jumping on top of it like the feathered predator he was.
“What are you doing down here?” Damian yelled as he wrestled with the Talon and tried to snap its neck.
Selina had already seen the Talon that was crawling at her, caught it out of the corner of her eye, and she was looking forward to the adrenaline of the fight. She was dangerously keyed up, and her claws were out as the thing neared. The colors were disconcerting, because she associated them with the baby bird now, but she reminded herself that this thing wasn't Damian, and it wasn't an innocent little thing crawling at her with purpose in every muscle. No, this was death, and the kitty cat loved tangoing with death. It was one of her favorite things, given the deathwish that was perpetually perched on her shoulder.
The inhuman sound the Talon made registered from the very first hiss of noise, and Selina was in a crouch by the time the knives hissed overhead, one leg bent and the other straight to the side, and no danger from the flying blades. "Is that the best you've got? The Cat's disappointed," she managed before she heard the grappling hook singing behind the Talon. She thought it was the Bat come to crash her party and ruin her fun, and she was back upright on her feet in an instant, hands on her hips and her concern for the Talon completely eclipsed by her annoyance. And, anyway, the kitty cat knew the Bat could take a Talon without her help. She wasn't particularly worried.
"I'm getting a sample, like I told you I-" All that anger changed when she saw the bulk of the attacker - or the lack of bulk. The colors of the suit registered next, and she had her whip in her hand as soon as it all coalesced into the presence of a tiny, feathered defender. The fact that the Talon was concentrating on the immediate threat of the baby bird made it painfully easy to slide her whip around its throat, approaching silently from behind and twisting the whip viciously. But then she saw the thing's eyes, and the death choke loosened. That wasn't death looking back at her. There was a moment's hesitation as she moved back, and that was just enough time to hear the Talon's friend approaching on feet that clearly had no idea of how to be stealthy. "That thing isn't dead," she managed, just in time to turn and roundhouse kick the one that thought it was sneaking up behind her.
“Obviously.” Damian retorted, holding his half-circle knife with both hands to the Talon’s neck and pushed down like an executioner’s blade. It should have bothered him how easy it was to just end this pathetic monster’s life, but that was the last thing on Damian’s mind. The severed Talon head rolled away as Damian got to his feet, untangling the grappling line off the dead body. “After you get the sample you need to leave. You’re kicking the nest.” Damian didn’t like it when people crawled into his treehouse and lit ants on fire. He had work to do after all and the Cat had this way of serving as the worst distraction.
With another invisible hiss of the grappling hook line, Damian dove off the roof and swung back around so he was on the other side of the remaining Talon. When it stumbled from her kick, he slid forward and sliced the wrist clean off.
Selina reached out a paw, claws extended, to stop him from severing the Talon's head, because there had been something that was too familiar, too alive in those eyes for the kitty cat to feel comfortable playing executioner - or letting him play executioner. It took her a second longer than it should have for her to realize the head had rolled away, and she didn't manage the swift kick that followed to Damian's midrift until he'd already severed the other Talon's wrist. "No," she hissed. "You don't torture monsters." And that wasn't just about the Talons; she lived in the world of monsters, she understood them and, in many ways, she was one of them. She elbowed the Talon off the building, watching him fall and grabbing a decent sample from the severed wrist before he plummeted, and then she looked at Damian, the intensity in her eyes unmistakable, even behind the goggles.
Another kick to Damian's stomach, and she was counting on the blow being enough to make him chase her. She snapped her whip to the opposite building and pulled herself across to that roof, drawing him away from the maze and the fallen Talon. The fact that he was in Wonder City was bad news, and she wondered just how the Bat had managed to screw everything up so badly in a mere matter of days. "Here, birdie, birdie, birdie," she purred, landing on the corner of the adjacent roof, ready to snap her whip out around his waist in order to grab him, if she needed to.
The notion of torturing the thing didn’t even cross his mind. The slice was to get her a sample (because he was all about being helpful), but suddenly it wasn’t even about that. It was about her trying to tell him what to do. “Stop it!” Anger, the kind that made him clench his fists and scream. “You don’t know me! You don’t know anything about me!” It was an immature fit, but to him it was a personal struggle against who he was and what people expected out of him. His skin crawled at the thought that once he believed Selina saw him as an equal instead of just another stupid kid. It didn’t matter if that’s what the whole city- the whole universe thought. It only hurt that she felt the same way, too.
Roger’s voice told him to let her go, but he was getting weak. All his time was spent over here because he didn’t know what to do with himself. He was a hypocrite. All this talk about family and he couldn’t even wrap his head around how to help out any of them. Damian pushed him aside and ran after Catwoman, his line snapping in the air as he soared after her and slid across the rooftop to knock her off balance.
His words, heard as she zagged onto the other building's roof, surprised the kitty cat, and she was less than careful when she turned to confront him about them. "I know you, and you know me. What's wrong with the baby bird?" she demanded, following the zip of his line with her green gaze in the darkness. She wasn't guarding against him like she would an opponent, and therefore his attempt to knock her off balance worked without a hitch. Opponent or not, when he barrelled into her she clutched onto him, tucked and rolled with him until he was beneath her with the upper part of his body hanging off the rooftop. Her weight was a tangible thing against his thighs, her knees there keeping him from tipping down into the Gotham night, and there was no hint of a smile on her red lips as she looked down at him.
Selina rarely did serious, but this was serious. "What's going on with you, Damian?" she asked, voice softening with concerned, despite her anger that he'd give Freeze a sample of the Pit, or that he'd be out here alone, wearing those colors. "What have I missed?" she asked, and she pushed her goggles up off her face, as if she wasn't hanging him off the edge of a building and sitting atop him to keep him from escaping her. "Chirp, baby bird."
His body arched forward to try and fight her off, but he caught that look on her face and his anger simmered. “Don’t act like you care.” He hissed like a trapped snake, still trying to push her away with his words even if his body couldn’t follow through. Even if Damian was mad at her, even if he was convinced her concern was based in looking out for the Bat instead of him, he couldn’t pretend that she didn’t care. His eyes rolled away from her face to look for an escape, face betraying exactly what he just said like salt dissolving into hot water.
“You think I need to be protected, don’t you? That I need to be a good little birdie even if I’m way past that point.” He could never be like Grayson. None of them could. Tim Drake only made it so close because he followed orders like a dog. Damian saw the world differently, saw Gotham as more than a city of crime. And, if all this dabbling in the grey area got him stuck there, then so be it. And, when it came to Catwoman, it was as simple as who she prefered. And, she’d always pick his father over him. What was the point of emulating something he could never be?
She ground her knees harder into his thighs when his body arched. "Has the kitty cat ever done anything to make the baby bird think she didn't care?" she asked, leaning down when she asked the question to ensure he didn't squirm away. Selina didn't like heart-to-hearts; Selina didn't like anyone realizing she had a heart in the first place. Despite the Bat's contradiction, she knew caring was the biggest weakness someone like her could have. But she was also impulsive - so impulsive - and just then caring seemed like less of a risk than whatever was going on with the baby bird. She would regret it in the morning, but she didn't think twice about the confession now.
"Like I told your father, you're the only person in this city I trust, and the only person in this city who trusts me," she hissed, close and quiet, as if the admission was painful. She sat back then, her weight still intentionally unforgiving on his thighs, despite her slight weight and small stature. "I think you might be more impulsive than I am, and that's saying something. What are you doing out here?" The question was lazy, despite the fact that the kitty cat was hyperaware of every little sound around them in the frigid Gotham night, and despite the fact that his answer was very, very important.
Damian nearly spat out something jealous (just the thought that she’d confide something like that to the Bat bothered him), but he couldn’t get past the root of it. He had to admit that trust, especially the exclusive kind, was enough to keep from bickering with her. “This place was built by my grandfather.” He struggled under her, pulling his upper body up like he was doing a sit up and used the small amount of force in an attempt to push her off him. “I want to claim it before he can and make it my home.”
It sounded crazy, he knew that, but living with his father couldn’t work any longer. Damian was always ahead of his age and moving out just felt natural. “I know you think I belong at the mansion, kitty cat. But, every day I spend there the more I feel like an Al Ghul than a Wayne.” He had never admitted it out loud, but the signs were obvious. The belief in the Lazarus Pit, the willingness to work around and against Batman and a warped idea of what was human and truly a monster.
She looked past him at the skyline of Wonder City when he said it had been built by his grandfather, and she rocked back into a crouch, all smooth and catlike movements as she fisted a hand in the front of his suit to haul him back from the edge with her. He was free of her pinioning knees now, and she gave him a look that was all wide-blinking green and too much wisdom on her young face. "Damian, even I don't want to live here," she said, because in her estimation he was better than her, and he didn't belong in this place, in the shadow of his grandfather. "I thought we discussed the baby bird making his own way. Claiming Wonder City is just switching teams. It's not making your own." She stood as she punctuated the words.
"This isn't your Wayne Manor, and this isn't your father, so maybe Wayne Manor isn't home, but neither is this," she added. "It's like the kitty cat trying to live at the greenhouse. It doesn't do any good to try to fit into molds that don't exist anymore, Damian." She wound around him, too close and too feline as she rounded his shoulder. "And you're not one of the villains. Trust me on that. So don't go giving Lazarus Pit samples to men who are." And there was anger in that meow, the lingering hiss of betrayal. "My father wasn't any better than your mother, but that doesn't mean I'm going to be him, just in order to thwart the Bat."
“It’s not like that. I’m not trying to hurt anyone.” Damian got to his feet slowly, eyes on Selina with a look that proved she was right about some of it. He was trying to find something comfortable, something in Gotham that felt right. The manor didn’t fit, Wonder City was a dump and beyond that he had nothing. For all the perks of being a teenager, it would have been a lot easier if he was ten again. None of these problems with Catwoman, no serious disobedience with his father and certainly no Lazarus Pit.
The angry hiss nearly startled him. “Freeze told you I gave him a sample?” That seemed unlikely, but Catwoman was good at teasing out things she wanted, even with snowmen. “Don’t- don’t. I told you he was different. The sample isn’t enough for him to do anything with- not even cure his wife. Not yet. Freeze isn’t the Joker or Scarecrow. He doesn’t want to admit he has a conscience, but it’s there. If I could save his wife the right way this time, he can stop being Freeze. It’s the only way to help him.”
"You aren't trying to hurt anyone, but that slope is slippery, baby bird, and we both know it," she said, watching him stand and quirking a perfectly arched brow at that look he gave her, the one that was all guilty feathers. "Try to prove you aren't the Bat long enough, and you'll forget to prove you are yourself." She nodded toward the city below, the forgotten mess that was Wonder City. "That isn't a place either of us belong, Damian," she admitted, because she was only planning on staying there long enough to get one good heist under her whip. "Gotham is home, even if it isn't our Gotham, and we care about that dirty ruined city. Don't forget that." Because she might not care for Gotham's rich and shimmering, but she did care about the lost things that wandered Gotham's streets, that fell prey to all of the city's villains. "Even the Talons are victims. They were people once. Like me. Like you."
The question about Freeze drew the kitty cat's attention away from the city below, and she turned to look at him. "Freeze told me Bruce Wayne's son came to bargain with him, that he gave him something to agree to stop the cold. I know it was the Lazarus Pit. Don't insult my intelligence," because she might play dumb vixen when it suited, but he knew better. "If I thought Freeze was dangerous enough, I wouldn't have left without that sample, but you don't understand, Damian. What's going to keep him from giving it to someone else? To Joker or Scarecrow?" She shook her head, fingers moving to the stitches hidden beneath her cowl with a hiss. "If they promise to save his wife, he'll put that sample right into their paws."
“He’s not that stupid. Freeze is slow, deliberate and doesn’t play well with others. He’ll analyze the sample, decide if he wants to work with me and that’ll be it. He can’t duplicate the chemical and even if he did give it to the Joker, it would just save his life once.” Damian crossed his arms and shrugged. “My father doesn’t like me working with you and it’s not that different from working with Freeze. It’s safer than trying to reason with Harley or Ivy. You have to trust me.”
He sighed, part of him was happy he had someone to talk to that didn’t shout orders or assume he was wrong about everything. “Speaking of which. What happened with them? I know Harley took the hyenas from the zoo, but beyond that they’ve done practically nothing dangerous.”
"And if he wants to work with you?" she asked, and Freeze was a hard one for her. Her Bat had ensured Freeze was safe, when it was all said and done, and Selina liked to think that meant there was something there worth salvaging. But this wasn't her Freeze. He'd been in Arkham, and she had absolutely no idea how badly he'd clawed people to end up there. She huffed, her breath foggy in the bitter cold. "Your father thinks I'm going to get you killed, and he might be right." She wasn't looking at him anymore, because that was one of the harder admissions for her to make. "You're going to be like him one day, baby bird, not like me. The only thing that kept me alive was the Bat's intervention, and he's not inclined to intervene here."
Harley and Ivy were a fresh hurt, and the kitty cat just wanted to go lick her wounds when it came to the two women. But Damian was talking to her , and Selina knew you had to give to receive sometimes. "I told the Bat that Harley shot the Joker, and her went after her for it. It marked me for a traitor." She stepped closer to the ledge, yearning for the zip of a warm Gotham night, for the thrill of a heist. "Ivy went after that warehouse the other night, tried to lure Hood there to kill some dealers. I don't know if he did it. Harley's dancing with the Joker, and she's bored. It's a dangerous combination, and they both want at the Bat. The kitty cat isn't going to serve as Batbait."
“Everything in this city could kill me. Or you.” Damian watched her walk to the edge of the building and imagined her slipping into the night and never talking to him again. He shouldn’t have pushed her away like he had before because it was useless to assume that he could go more than a couple weeks without talking to her. She was his only ally in Gotham right now. There wasn’t a point in throwing that away. He stepped next to her, eyes scanning across the underground city’s horizon towards where he believed the Lazarus Pit was. He’d have to give that up, though. “Don’t assume you know what our future looks like, Selina. I’ve had everyone who’s ever been close to me do that and they’ve all been wrong.”
He turned to look at Selina, hand on her arm to get her to look back. “Don’t let the Bat make choices for you. Leaving those two was a good call, but I’ll never understand if you stop talking to me.” Damian tried in vain to reach for a voice that wasn’t his. Something logical and removed. Instead the hurt in his voice cracked around the edges. He didn’t lie to her and it wasn’t a good time to make a habit out of it. “Maybe I can’t intervene the way Batman does, but working with you and looking out for each other makes sense. You can’t tell me it doesn’t.”
"Kitty cats always look before they leap, baby bird." Which was true, even if she was too impulsive to do it herself half of the time. Selina looked over at him while he came up to stand at her shoulder. "And everything here could kill us, that's true, but there's no point in meowing at trouble. I can't keep either of us as safe as the Bat could, and neither can you." It wasn't an insult, just the truth. "And before you hiss, that has nothing to do with how young we are. It's his name that terrifies people. We don't have that going for us. I'm safe enough around criminals, because I'm one of them. I've been on these streets since I was twelve, and people still whisper my father's name when they don't think I'm listening. But you're not a criminal. You're a part of the Batfamily, and that means the kitty cat's friends would love to use you as bait."
The hand on her arm drew her attention back from the underground city, but she didn't pull free of the grip like she might otherwise have done. "I didn't stop meowing at you. You're the one who told me to stay away," she reminded him. She considered telling him no, considered just how much the Bat would disapprove, considered how many times she'd sworn she wouldn't work with anyone. But if the option was this, him following in his grandfather's footsteps because no one understood him, well, there wasn't any choice. "You realize I'm a thief. You're talking about partnering up with someone who's itching to hit every art gallery in Gotham to make up for weeks of good behavior?" It wasn't a no.
Damian smirked. “That’s the problem. I don’t care if you rob this city blind.” And, he didn’t. Catwoman didn’t break pennies out of a homeless man’s fingers. She took from places that were already rich enough to afford ten more bowls of cream. His father was obsessed with keeping Gotham orderly and wanted everyone to follow the same codes he wrote for himself. Damian didn’t have that written into him, the code that his mother tried to force on him was long gone now and all he had was himself to make judgement.
That wasn’t to say he’d let her get away with everything. The second she tried to take advantage of someone that had nothing, he’d fight her for it. But, the itch she needed to scratch didn’t work that way. He let her go and walked along the edge of the building. “Once you’re done being a bad kitty cat, let me know. Freeze will want a second visit from the both of us.”
She knew he was telling the truth. The only people in this Gotham that wanted to declaw her was the police, which she was used to. No, the threat here came from being associated with the Batfamily, not with being associated with Gotham's criminal underbelly. She tugged her goggles down, and she looked back at him. "How about finding us somewhere to perch that isn't here, isn't the greenhouse, and isn't Wayne Manor?" she asked, sealing that deal and hoping she wouldn't regret it. "We can go see Freeze once things are settled." And sympathetic or not, the kitty cat was perfectly willing to shove her claws into him until he gave back that Lazarus Pit sample.
She didn't wait for an answer before zipping her whip to the opposite roof and using it to propel herself over. The number of art houses and jewelry stores that were about to get a visit from their neighborhood cat burglar had just increased tenfold. There was nothing like breaking and entering to make the kitty cat feel better. And unlike her Gotham, no one was going to show up with inky black wings to stop her.
Damian watched her go, the stillness of Wonder City suddenly falling all over him. There wasn’t so much as a breeze miles under the surface of Gotham. He could feel his feathers smoothing, his need to escape this place palpable. Chasing down the ghost of his grandfather was a misstep, she was right about that. The pit that lay in this forgotten ghetto would always call to him, but for once he’d have to ignore it.
Working with Selina was the only thing that felt right. They’d never be able to change each other’s spots, but Damian knew they could keep Gotham from falling in on itself. His father might even approve, in his own way. Selina wasn’t the ideal partner in the old man’s eyes, but Damian had proven time and time again that alone he could single handedly destroy whatever legacy the name Robin had left.