I would like ShalaDakiri for the recommendation. I also like to thank everyone who had review. You’re all great! I promise chapter seven of Winter's Child should be out soon.This short story takes place after The Scare but before Color Me Red, Color Me Green. Enjoy!In the Name: The Promise
What was she doing? Red Robin wondered as he spotted Elizabeth darting into the alley below him while he swung onto the next rooftop. He glanced over the edge, frowning. Where did she go? There weren’t many places that could be used as cover—only three by his calculation. He scanned the alley again. An old, beat-up garbage can next to a slightly newer dumpster was tipped over on the north side of the alley. Two of the garbage bags inside the can had spilled their contents onto the floor—the logo on the cardboard boxes suggested that the bags came from the Chinese fast food joint around the corner. Between the wall and the dumpster was a gap large enough for Elizabeth to hide in. Red Robin smirked lightly. It was also the least likely spot that Elizabeth would choose to hide in.
That left two other possibilities—the doorway gap and the shadows underneath the fire escape. He turned his attention towards his left, shifting his weight in order to get a better glance over the rooftop. Halfway into the alley was a side entrance into the rundown building. The door had been shattered to pieces during it involvement with a gang argument last month. The angle was horrible, but a quick glimpse proved that Elizabeth hadn’t chosen that location either. Red Robin’s lips twitched. Elizabeth had improved her speed if she managed to make it into the shadows underneath the fire escape before he had notice.
Why was she stalking him, he briefly wondered, pulling himself deeper into the roof’s shadows. He leaned against the door’s entrance to the roof and crossed his arms waiting for Elizabeth to appear. This was the fifth time he had spotted her on his patrols since she had managed to nearly throw him off his game with the Red Robin letter at the beginning of October. Did punching him for faking her parent’s death matter that much to her? Elizabeth was certainly relentless enough. Thankfully she never tried to interfere in his fights and always retreated once he noticed her. But why? Elizabeth wasn’t someone who would back down easily.
Red Robin frowned when Elizabeth failed to climb the fire escape after several minutes. He leaned over the edge, scanning the alley below. His suspicion was correct, she was gone. What game was Elizabeth playing? He doubted this had anything to do with faking her parents’ death anymore otherwise she would have confronted him already. Patience wasn’t one of Elizabeth’s strengths.
He checked the adjacent ledge and spotted Elizabeth walking on the sidewalk in the direction of the subway. He could follow her to ensure that she went home, but he doubted it was necessary. The last three times he had trailed Elizabeth, she had gone straight home. Red Robin sighed. He would confront her after patrol. Elizabeth’s newly acquired habit of shadowing him would get her killed if it wasn’t stop soon especially with this new assassin group that had hit town.
It was three in the morning, Red Robin thought as he swung onto Elizabeth’s balcony. She was probably asleep. The confrontation could wait. It wouldn’t be right to scare her and he had no desire to discover firsthand how hard Elizabeth could hit with her powers active. Red Robin frowned as he spotted a lamp light shining through the crack between the curtains. Why was Elizabeth still up?
Quietly he slipped into her bedroom and studied the room as he walked around. He paused by her desk and picked up a newspaper clipping from the Gotham Inquisitor. It was about Batman possible involvement in the takedown of a serial killer that had hit Gotham early October. He flipped through a handful of other articles. The majority of the articles focused on the serial killer’s case, but others hinted at other possibilities. Elizabeth was likely trying to figure out the Bat Clan identities or trying to track their motions. How close was she, Red Robin wondered, reaching for the closed notebook.
Red Robin turned his face towards the door as it creaked open and blinked as a piece of clothing slammed into his face. “What are you doing here?” Elizabeth demanded.
“We need to talk.” He replied calmly as he released the notebook in order to remove the clothing. Red Robin raised an eyebrow underneath his cowl as he stretched the article of clothing out to reveal a bra. He blinked again. He dodged bullets and various other weapons on a nightly basis but got creamed by a bra. How embarrassing. This was not a story he was telling the others. Why was it that since meeting Elizabeth the list of embarrassing situations suddenly got longer at a steady rate?
Red Robin shook his head barely preventing himself from smiling in amusement. “A bra for defense? Really?” He glance up to continued teasing her and his mouth went dry as he spotted a freshly shower Elizabeth dressed in only a towel with her arms crossed over her chest. She had a light blush across her cheek that traveled down her neck. Damn, she was hot. He was thankful for his new cowl; it prevented her from seeing his own blush. He really shouldn’t be this heavily attracted to a friend. It wasn’t healthy. Right? And who took a shower at three in the morning?
“Be glad it wasn’t a fist.” Elizabeth stated flatly before smirking. “Are you trying to get busted in the art of peeping tom?”
He turned away from her while turning off the omni-directional camera woven in his suit. He was a gentleman when the situation allowed him to be. “That’s not why I’m here.” However, this was the second time he practically walked in on a naked or nearly naked woman—Alfred wouldn’t be pleased. He held the bra out to her by its straps. “Am I meant to keep this?” He shouldn’t tease her, but he enjoyed seeing the fire in her eyes and hearing the low tone growl she made when deeply frustrated, like now. It was going to get him punched one day—possibly tonight.
“You forgot the chocolates.” Elizabeth informed. Red Robin snorted. It wasn’t about the chocolates. Elizabeth was up to something. Was she trying to get his attention or trying to prove something? Whatever it was, it was likely to get her killed.
He heard a drawer open and something being pulled out. “You didn’t stay home. That was part of the arrangement.” Slowly he counted to thirty in his head to give her enough time to slip something on before turning around. He wasn’t sure to sigh in relief or disappointment as he spotted Elizabeth in a long, dark night shirt that ended slightly above her knees. Briefly, he wondered if Elizabeth would be willing to play strip poker with him when he wasn’t in uniform. It was harmless fun and ground rules could be set to prevent the removal of undergarments. It would keep the game well within the boundary of friendship and then he wouldn’t feel guilty in admiring Elizabeth in her partial undress state.
“I can’t punch you if I can’t catch you.” Elizabeth countered with a shrug.
“Well here I am.” Red Robin spread his arms out. “Feel free to punch me so you can’t stop trying to follow me around and most likely get yourself killed by getting tangled up in a situation way over your head.”
Elizabeth narrowed her eyes at him, annoyed. “I can take care of myself.”
“My sandbox is a dangerous one, my damsel.” Red Robin contradicted, leaning against the desk as he fingered the news articles. “Looking into our identities is going to put you and your family at greater risk. You need to stop.”
Elizabeth briefly bit her lip nervously before she snorted and walked to her desk. “You flatter yourself too much, Boy Mascot.” She grabbed the blue folder underneath the notebook and held it out for him. “The news articles are for the end of term paper for my writing class as well as two of the extra credit papers. I just finished the rough drafts tonight.” Elizabeth smirked. “But thanks for confirming Batman Inc. involvement in the previous investigations.”
How did Elizabeth keep doing this to him, Red Robin wondered, barely preventing himself from groaning. Twice now Elizabeth had made him wondered if she knew their identities or was trying to find out, but if finding out wasn’t her intention why was she nervous? He opened the folder and glanced through the papers. He had forgotten Elizabeth mentioning the extra credit writing challenge of using a handful of current or past newspaper articles as possible clues and to create a mock up version of police portfolio of the case. The portfolio had to coincide with the criminal crime story Elizabeth was to write for class in order to gain the extra credit. She had been bouncing ideas off David and him for the past week.
“The shadowing has got to stop Elizabeth.” Red Robin informed her as he closed the folder. “I spotted you all five times. It’s dangerous and can get you killed.”
Elizabeth studied him for a few minutes. “I’ll make you a promise.” She crossed her arms. “I won’t trail after any member of Batman Inc. any longer if you tell me the ten times I had followed you this month.”
“Ten times?” Red Robin blinked in surprise. “You had followed me around ten times?” He sounded like a broken record, but how did he not notice her five times?
“I did.” Elizabeth answered him with a smirk.
He narrowed his eyes at her while taking a step toward her. “You realize, my damsel, that I am a very excellent detective.”
“Who failed to spot me five times,” Elizabeth stated, raising an eyebrow.
Did she have to rub salt in the wound? “It won’t take me long to figure it out.” He reminded her as he tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear.
“You only get one chance.” Elizabeth smiled. “So make it count.”
Red Robin stared at her. One chance? “How long do I have to figure it out?” It was conceivable to determine the likely possibilities of where Elizabeth had followed him by reviewing his past patrols. He could eliminate several nights where Elizabeth lack of training or equipment would prevent her from following or the times he had to work with a partner. That left a possibility of seventeen nights and he already knew about five nights she had managed to trail him.
“This time tomorrow.” Elizabeth answered with a smirk.
“Twenty-four hours, that’s it?” Twelve nights to analyze for five encounters with only one shot at getting it correct. The odds were less than forty percent. Red Robin shook his head. He had worse odds. If he got this correct Elizabeth would willingly stop this game, but if he didn’t it would become nearly impossible to convince Elizabeth to stay home.
“You’re the one who claim to be an excellent detective.”
Red Robin nodded, conceding to her point. He was likely screwed. Why did that seem alluring? It had to be the challenge.