Title: more blackbirds than cherries

Author: Slipstream

Summery: "I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs." –Joseph Addison

Notes: My Tim-love does not need to be defined, having been established several times before, but I do believe this is the first time I have shown the Pamela-love. Ivy is just such a wonderful character, especially after her role in NML, and I love the little tidbits of interaction we get to see between her and Boy Wonder. This is inspired by the "Fruit of the Earth" storyline in NML and Gotham Knights #15, which along with having the infamous "Tim washes Dana's bras" scene, has a lovely, sexually dark cover and some of the best Tim characterization work outside of his own book. This was inspired specifically by the scene where Robin threatens to detonate an explosive that would kill the Ivy-controlled grass (and him, probably) unless Ivy turns over an antidote to her latest toxin. She traps him with her vines, but gives it to him anyway and lets him go. When Tim asks her if she spared him because of his youth, she replies, "No. I'm sparing you because in many ways, you're more of an adult than those you serve."

The first thing that Tim notices is that Ivy's naked, lounging on a flat stretch of grass, her hair splayed red on green on green across the curve of her breasts, the blanket of vegetation, the hidden secrets of her smile. He isn't surprised, nor is he disturbed. This is, after all, her domain. He would hate to see her as anything but herself, here.

"Ivy," he says, because it's always polite to announce his presence during social calls.

She rolls over to look at him, laughing as her body twines easily with the environment around her. A batch of sunflowers turns to follow the sounds of her laughter. "Hello, little sparrow. Did you like the bonsai trees you passed on your way in? I am letting them grow to their own accord, to see what they will do."

Tim nods slightly. "They are very free, Pamela."

He's barefoot. Tim is always careful to remove his boots on the roof before entering her domain. He treads lightly, all the same, picking the path of least destruction through Pamela's garden.

She smiles at him, and then turns her attention to a posy that sprouts near her left elbow. "That is what I always liked about you. You understand that things are not always meant to be pretty, or ugly, or whatever mankind wants to bend them to. They are meant to just

be. It is a mark of the Green. Your master does not understand this. Where you are wild and youth and growing things, he is order and angles and machinery. This is why he sends you to me as his messenger."

Tim allows himself to sit Indian-style on the grass. It is pleasant in Ivy's greenhouse, and the ground is cool and soft beneath his tights. He takes a moment to breathe the intoxicating smell of the wildflowers. In this building is the only fresh, sweet air in all of Gotham. "He is not my master," he says.

She eyes him, like a cat would a small mouse, and he remembers again the danger behind her full lips. "Your teacher, then. Or, better yet, your elder."

She frowns, and flips onto her stomach, kicking her feet in the air the way a school-girl would. "No, that is not right, either. For it implies that he has yet some wisdom that he can impart upon you."

If Tim closes his eyes and relaxes, he could drift away forever on the whispering of the plants around him, the heady scent of Ivy's perfume, the gentle warmth of the sun-lamps, and never, ever have to come back. "You truly think that I am beyond his teaching?"

Pamela grins and tosses her hair behind her shoulder. "It is you sitting here, listening to me blather, and not he. There is wisdom in your non-violence, robin red-breast."

Tim reaches into one of his larger pockets and pulls out a small packet of papers bound with string. "A Miami subsidiary of DellCorp has been hired to fluoridate Gotham's water supply. They won't be pumping fluorine into the drinking reserves, however. We hacked into their chemical compound files last night and found a whole slew of chemical jig-saw puzzles ready to be dumped into the harbor. We believe that they're a front organization set to dispose of out-of-state factories' toxic by-products. We're going to take them down as soon as possible, but it may take time to get all of the paper-trail lined up so that the charges will stick. Maybe a week. They haven't scheduled a dump in that time, but that doesn't mean that they won't. I've given you copies of their "distribution" schedule, dump points, public relations info, and the chemical make-up of what they'll be dumping. You might want to find another water source for irrigation until this all clears up."

Pamela takes the packet from him and flips through the files. She frowns briefly as she speed-reads, then closes it carefully. She taps it against her chin in thought and idly traces the green triangular mark printed on the back of the top-most folder. "Recycled paper. You are so thoughtful." A nearby willow bends low to shade them, and caresses her bare back in question with a shy branch. Ivy hands it the packet, and the willow tucks it somewhere unseen. "Thank you for the warning. Should they harm my plants, invariably or no, I will deal with them personally."

Robin nods. "If their punishment is too…light…I will give you their personal mailing and home addresses. I trust you to impart to them the error of their ways in the most efficient and least deadly manner possible."

Ivy's eyes are the green of moist earth, flecked with golden sunlight and aqua oceans. They stare at him and through him for a long while. Tim doesn't move.

"You are a strange one," she says, but doesn't release him from her gaze.

"It is a strange city," he replies.

"Saplings have an advantage over their older forefathers," she says. "They are young and green, and therefore flexible, able to bend and sway in the harshest of winds without breaking. True, they may be stripped of their greenery in the storm, made ugly and bare, but in the spring they will sprout again and continue the cycle of life. The elder trees, so tall and stiff and unyielding, may have deeper roots and firmer branches, but when the wind blows too strong they topple and fall. There is no bending for them, no compromises, no regrowth. They can only be kings or kindling."

He stands. It is time for him to go. Even with his slight frame, he towers over Ivy's sprawled figure, but he feels no particular dominance over her. Without the additional height of his boots, his cape drags along the ground, and he takes a moment to wiggle his toes one last time in the sweet soil that is an extension of her skin. He can feel half a dozen pairs of eyes trained on them curiously.

"How are they?" he asks. He doesn't have to clarify who 'they' are. Ivy only suffers perhaps a dozen people on the planet to walk through her gardens undisturbed.

In the azalea bushes to his left, a young girl giggles suddenly and is shushed.

Pamela smiles. Every curve of her body displays contentment. "They are well. They are happy. They respect the Green. When I am gone, they will take care of my seedlings for me, and I am teaching them so that though they shun the outward world, if the time comes where they must take the battle for the Green to the cities and the courts, they will be ready." She sits up and tosses her hair back defiantly, exposing the long pale green line of her neck.

"It is not too late, you know." She murmurs. "It is not too late to join them."

Robin turns, and does not let himself look at the flora around him. He is quiet for a long moment.

"Maybe someday…" he whispers, and walks away.

As he passes the bonsai trees, a stray flowered vine hanging suspended from the ceiling brushes against his cheek in the gentlest of kisses.