Finally, the last chapter of Conversations. I am still planning on making a series out of this premise, and I will be getting the next installment up in a couple of weeks. Thank you to everyone who had reviewed and feel free to comment on this story, the series, or even what you think I should do with Tim in the future. Enjoy… -krtshadow
Chapter 7: Threats
The look of smug satisfaction slipped away and my father leaned forward in shock. "What?" He obviously couldn't figure out why the threat of his revealing my identity wasn't worrying me. I realized in that moment, that he had very likely been preparing for this meeting, in his own way, for as long as I had. That threat must have been the foundation of his entire argument.
I leaned forward a little myself. "I said, wrong." He started to sputter and I coldly interrupted. "The are two reasons why it won't work. First, if you go spill what you know about me, you're going have a real hard time proving it. Nobody but you ever saw me in costume, and if you suddenly start accusing me of something as ridiculous as being a vigilante…" I gave him a sarcastic smile. "…the common gossip will be that you are either losing your mind or trying to set me up so that you can disinherit me in favor of your new son or daughter. Basically, no one would ever believe it." My father looked like he had been hit between the eyes with an axe. I continued to press my advantage. "Second, even if you get anyone to believe you, it still won't work." I let a bitter smile cross my face. "If your big mouth threatens me…"
Jack sat straight up in his chair. "Don't you DARE threaten me!"
"So, it's ok for you to threaten me, but not vice versa, huh? You didn't let me finish. If your big mouth threatens me and what I choose to do with my life, Timothy Drake will have an unfortunate accident, no body discovered of course, and you'll never see me again." His jaw dropped. I was dead serious, though. If he rendered the identity of Tim Drake, heir to millions and all around wild child, unusable, I'd just have to come up with something else. "So, if that's what you want, there's the phone, I'm sure that you can find some news rag to buy the story, 'My Son Was The Boy Wonder.' Go ahead."
I actually did care if he spilled the story since somebody smarter than he was might be able to figure out the rest of the clan's identities if they had one of them. Not to mention the fact that the Drake family would be in danger from those many people that had a grudge against Robin. However, I was gambling that Dad wouldn't want to risk even the chance of becoming a laughingstock over the whole matter.
My deduction seemed to be holding water as I watched my father lean back into his wheelchair, a shocked look on his face as he stared at me. He was obviously getting the picture now that I was not going to be trampled on any more. Well, it was about time.
He managed a glare even from his punctured state. "You… you… Dang you." He tossed back the rest of his glass of alcohol. My nose automatically categorized the type. Brandy, and expensive, too.
I reined in my temper. Barely. The temptation to swat the glass out of his hand was great, but I knew that getting physical wouldn't help the situation at all, no matter how satisfying it would be. I crossed my arms and waited for my father to calm down a little so that we could finish this farce of a conversation. By now all I really wanted to do was get away and punch something. Preferably something that would 'try' to fight back. See why losing your temper is dangerous?
My father didn't seem to realize that pertinent fact. "You're no son of mine!" He threw the heavy, ornate shot glass straight at my face.
My right hand moved without conscious thought, plucking it out of the air about a half of an inch in front of my nose. I flipped it around in my hand and set it gently on the desk again. "Fine." My voice was so cold, even I was amazed at how emotionless it sounded. "That's your choice." I turned and headed for the door. As I reached it I turned and stared at my father for a long minute. He wasn't able to meet my gaze. I reached into my coat pocket and pulled out the purchase that I had made in the store earlier. "If you ever change your mind, it's speed dial one." I tossed the cell phone in his general direction and walked out of the study, closing the door firmly behind me.
I passed Mrs. Mac in the hall, but I didn't stop to say anything. I reached the door and had to jump back as it swung open right as I reached for the knob. A tall, pregnant woman backed into the house, doing her best to juggle an armload of packages. A small box on the top began to teeter and I stepped forward and grabbed it before it fell. "Oh, thanks, Mrs. M… Oh!" I had to make a rather spectacular dive to catch the rest of the packages before they hit the floor. "Timothy!?!"
"Yeah." I stacked the packages neatly on a small table that was right inside the door. "Hello, Dana."
She was staring at me. "Tim? What on earth? What… Did you talk to Ja…" She was cut off by a crash and the sound of muffled swearing from the study. I winced. She gave me a sympathetic look. "I guess you did, huh?"
"Yes. I hope that I haven't caused any problems for you."
Dana rolled her eyes. "He'll be a bear for a while, but I'm used to it. How are you, Tim? Is everything ok with you?"
I was touched that she cared enough to ask. I'd never actually gotten that close to her, mostly because I hadn't been with her much. She was a nice person, though and although I could never really picture her as my mom, I had always had the feeling that I could trust her if I had too. I ran a hand through my hair. "This particular day has been pretty bad, but on the whole I'm doing ok. Thank you for asking."
"I was worried about you, Tim. Nobody should have to be sent away from home like you were. I tried to tell him that, " she motioned towards the study in frustration, "but he wouldn't listen."
I gave a humorless laugh. "Yes, he's very good at that."
Dana stepped closer to me and placed a hand on my arm. "Tim, I know he's hard to deal with, and I wouldn't really blame you if you totally wrote him off, but please be patient. Maybe if you give him a little time… I presume that you're planning on staying in town and that's what set him off?"
"I told him that, yes. I'm not really sure what I'm going to be doing yet." I wondered if she knew about the mask issue. I really didn't know if Dad would have told her or not.
Dana smiled at me. "Well, whatever your plans are, good luck. I hope things work out for you."
I handed her the other cell phone that I'd bought. "I was planning on getting this to you somehow. I gave one to him," I jerked my head backwards at the still grumbling noise made by my father, "but at this rate it may not survive the afternoon. I'm speed dial one." It had been relatively easy to program the phones to reveal the name and not the number, and I knew enough about it to make sure that there was no way that anyone could trace the number without calling it, which would alert me immediately.
Dana looked pleased. "Thanks, Tim. I appreciate this. Is it ok if I call you when the baby's born?"
I managed a genuine smile at that. "Please do. And congratulations, by the way. About a month, isn't it?"
"Closer to two, actually."
"Well, I'd better get out of here. Goodbye, Dana." I headed for the door.
"Goodbye." I was already outside when the door opened again, and Dana stuck her head out. "Timothy Drake, you keep your head down, ok? Be careful." I waved to her as I pulled out of the driveway. That last comment of hers made me think that she probably did know about my vigilante past. It was actually kind of nice to have someone tell me to be careful. My father certainly hadn't.
Dad. I tried my best to keep my anger under control as I thought about the way that he had treated me now and in the past. Even now his words came back to me. 'You are not my son.' That hurt, deep down inside, where I knew I still had had the hope that he'd welcome me back with open arms, accepting who I was and what I chose to do with my life. But no, he was so positive that his was the only way and that I walked a different road out of pure spite, that he wasn't even able to consider a compromise situation.
I continued to stew over the matter all the way back to the back cave entrance and by the time I had parked the bike and walked into the inner cave, I was shaking with anger. No one was around and the deserted, half-lit cave suited my mood just fine. I wandered around in circles for a couple of minutes, trying, and failing, to calm myself down.
I found my self back in the area where I had had the friendly matches with Dick and Cass last night. The place was very well set up, and I walked over to one of the several hanging punching bags. I let a punch start from the back of my heels and sent one to the center of the bag. Since it was attached to the floor by a chain, it hardly even moved. The thump that echoed in the room was music to my ears. I took out my anger on that bag, ripping punches and kicks into the stiff leather of the bag.
I must have been at it at least a half of an hour when I heard Dick's voice behind me. "I think it's dead now."
I whirled, finding myself moving into a defensive stand automatically. Dang, I'd never even heard him come up. I also needed to work on my reactions. I'd been on my own for too long, forced to treat everyone who snuck up on me as a potential enemy. If I stayed in Gotham, I was going to get surprised by a lot of people, and unless I relearned a little trust in the other members in the clan, I was probably going to take someone's head off one of these days. Oh well, something to work on.
I straightened and turned to look at the punching bag. It was lopsided, and the stuffing had been deformed by the force of my blows. I looked back at Dick, just now realizing that my hands were slightly swollen and throbbing from the punishment that I'd just given them. Stupid of me not to use gloves, but at the time, rationality hadn't been high on my list of constructive thoughts. "Yeah, I guess it is at that."
"Anything you want to talk about?" Dick stepped forward, a concerned look on his face. "You were really giving that bag a beating. Your meeting with Bruce that bad?"
"No, that was ok. I went to talk to my dad afterwards." I was in control of my anger now. It wasn't totally gone, but I knew from experience that I'd get over it. I was not going to allow myself to stew about this. I didn't need that kind of stress. I needed to plan a life of my own.
"Oh." Dick didn't say anything more, leaving it up to me if I wanted to share with him. I did want to talk to him soon and do a little catching up, but right now was really not a very good time. My anger and workout had drained all of my energy, and all I really wanted to do was grab something to eat and hit the sack. I told Dick as much and headed for the stairs.
Dick called after me. "Hey, Tim."
I turned from the foot of the stairs. "Yeah?"
"Two things. First, Alfred said to tell you that if you tried to sneak out of the house and back to that motel that he would never feed you again." My eyes widened. Now there was an effective threat. Plus, I was too tired to sneak anywhere at the moment. "Second, I thought that you might want to know that your Young Justice friends should all be in the Titan's Tower area tomorrow." He shrugged. "In case you're interested."
A chance to see them again would be nice. It would also give me a little more time to actually make the decision about my future, since it would be an all day trip on my motorcycle. "Thanks, Dick, I think I'll head over there tomorrow."
"I'll let Bruce know so he doesn't send out a search party for you. Goodnight, bro."
"Goodnight." Bro. I think I could get used to that again. I headed upstairs. I'd want to leave early in the morning, so that I could get to New York by late morning.
End of Conversations
TBC… in Exile 3: Reunion… coming soon.