I Hurt Myself Today To See If I'd Still Feel Who: Cass, Talia and Tim Where: The Narrows When: Night What: Cassandra stalks her former boss and has her first encounter with a Robin
Cass only needed a pallet to sleep on; the abandoned apartment almost felt extravagant even with its boarded windows and peeling wallpaper. There were a lot of buildings like that here, though not all of them were empty; some were only made to look as if they were, to avoid attention. She stole from them, only necessary things, like food. Occasionally, she took clothing; she didn't need anything fancy, she had her linen tunic and her leggings, but it was what she was making that required the bits and pieces she required to make the costume. Her stitches were crude, patchwork, but she was satisfied enough that it covered her, all of her, save for her eyes. She'd seen his picture in a discarded newspaper; she couldn't read it, of course, but she saw how the image struck fear into the criminals, the undesirables. The Bat.
She was surprised at first at how well it hid her. She'd never needed anything so theatrical before. But the shadows seemed to swallow her when she wore it, and she'd taken a liking to being entirely anonymous. It let her get close to Al Ghul and the boy. The woman had no bodyguard for herself, and on the rare occasions she left the boy, the man whose care she left him in was slow and unobservant. Not that she could talk to him when he was alone, but she kept watch over him. And it wasn't as if the Al Ghul woman wasn't aware of her presence; Cass wanted her to be, to know she was being observed.
She sat on the ledge as Talia moved to the window, her voice soft, dangerous. "Who are you?" she murmured. "You're following me. So far, you've made no move against the boy, which is why you're still alive." Cass cocked her head. She was learning English, slowly, but language always seemed crude and grating; it was the language of the body she spoke. She made no response. She couldn't if she had wanted to. She didn't. She understood that Talia was hiding, and that was good. For now.
The others weren't as subtle. They had guns. Guns! Unskilled, cowardly. She could take a gunman out without breaking a sweat. She tried not to kill, unless they aimed to kill themselves, her or others. And they liked to hurt others, especially the women. When and where she could, Cassandra would not let them. When she had left Talia, she prowled the streets. She was drawn to a dead end alley, a group of thugs that had cornered three teenage girls. She was just about to take out the last one when a boy knocked her sideways; even in his mask, as he finished off that final thug, he looked surprised.
He was one of the good guys, she thought; he was trying to help. She ushered the girls out of the alley and turned back to him, crouching in a defensive posture. Tim put his hands up. "Whoa, wait! I just didn't know... Who are you?" He didn't really think the black figure would answer, given the fact that her own mask had no mouth. The costume was androgynous, the figure small, hunched, lithe. "We're on the same side... I think? I don't know if you've seen... another guy like me, maybe?" He'd made good on his un-promise to absolutely not try to follow Jason, and he took care not to be seen; he wasn't trying to start fights, just to make sure Jason wasn't up to anything questionable. But he hadn't been able to find even a suggestion of him as of yet. Maybe he'd just been blowing hot air.
"No, wait!" he called out when Cass took off suddenly. "Please! At least tell me your name!" He could only tell Dick about this, the Black Bat; Bruce would scold him for going into the Narrows on his own, and would brood over this new addition--their nature still in question.
When she returned to her apartment, she stripped, setting everything neatly aside so she could meditate and wash in the sink. There was a mirror and she could see the marks that marred her body; she examined them impassively. Years of punishment, chastisement, made flesh in the scars that covered her flesh. She went to bed and dreamed, an uncomfortable habit that had only arisen when she had started thinking for herself.