"What do you mean you have no quirk?"
"Well," Red Robin says, a little confused by the question. "I mean that I have no quirk. None of us do."
"Damn straight," Red Hood says. "You superpowered bitches ain't got nothing on me."
"Do excuse my brother," Red Robin sighs regretfully. "He was adopted."
"We are all adopted."
"But," Conner says, sounding lost. "Nightwing — "
"Ah. A common misconception."
"His quirk is staying friends with his exes," Red Hood, whom is lounging in his chair, says. He has both his legs on the table, and he is munching on Red Robin's fries shamelessly. He looks out of place, in the middle of the meticulous, all white cafeteria, with his antics and leather jacket and boots. And his red hood. Which looks pretty ridiculous, as Conner had pointed out earlier, and Red Hood had replied, 'I know. It drives Batman crazy, LOL' Red Hood had said LOL out loud.
Nightwing has stated in interviews — many interviews, due to his booming popularity despite the fact that he is not yet a pro, and will not be graduating UA for another school year — that he is quirkless. Unabashedly so. But this claim has been met, often, by disbelief, due to his show of great prowess.
"But," Conner says, frowning.
"Listen, man," Red Hood says, inbetween chews. "When you have guns —"
"Nuh-uh," Red Robin tells him disapprovally. "Gun violence, Hood."
"Right. When you have these fists," Red Hood holds his fists out — Conner can see the scars webbed all over his knuckles. "It's enough. It's all in your heart, man. You just gotta have courage. You just have to believe. Believe it."
"Was that Naruto?" Red Robin glances at his — his brother, apparently — behind the domino mask.
"Yes. Believe it."
"But," Conner says, still trying to process things. "How did you — how did you pass the entrance exam?" Red Robin had scored first place. Conner second.
"Hm," Red Robin says.
Conner blinks. Realization dawns on him. "You hacked the Villain Bots, didn't you?"
"There is technically no rules against it," Red Robin says, and Red Hood snorts.
"You mean," Conner frowns. "You surpassed UA's cyber security system?" distantly he feels that he should be alarmed by the fact that a fourteen year old has accomplished such a feat against the biggest and most elite hero institute in the world.
"That's enough, boys."
Red Robin and Red Hood and Superboy jump in their seats. Nightwing smiles sweetly at them. "Spoiling family secrets?" and to Superbooy, he says, almost off-handedly, "don't believe everything they told you."
"B's pretty pissed you hacked Red Hood inside, he wants to talk to you guys," Nightwing says, boredom in his voice. Red Robin shrugs flippantly in response, and Red Hood scoffs derisively. "I don't appreciate being utilized as your messenger nanny. Good job on manipulating the camera feeds, though."
"It's pretty easy," Red Robin says, though he sounds far too pleased as he visibly preens under Nightwing's compliment. Nightwing smirks almost proudly for a split second before slipping back to his unimpressed facade.
"You shouldn't have done that," he chides. Though he doesn't sound like he cares that much of the fact that his brother has smuggled an illegal vigilante, whom is also his brother, to supposedly one of the most guarded location in the country. "Now off you go — yes, you too, Hood, If you want a security pass to enter UA, you can always ask, you know that, right? — now," Nightwing turns to Conner as the two Reds walk away in silence, one of whom flipping Nightwing a middle finger. Other students watch them, half because the Bats are always garnering attention to themselves no matter where they go, and partly because Red Hood is an illegal vigilante who has no jurisdictions whatsoever of being here. And is probably, potentially dangerous. Not that Conner really cares — being invulnerable aside, he has decided that he has an inordinate amount of trust towards Red Robin. If Red Robin declares Red Hood harmless, then he is so.
"What have my cute little brothers told you, Superboy?" Nightwing has his hands on his hips. The mask clashes strangely with his UA uniform. Like Red Robin, he has this air of being incongruously proper. He looks strangely formal, like a masquerade ball's attendant stumbling into the cafeteria.
"All of you are quirkless."
It shouldn't surprise Conner as much as it does. After all, the Bat is quirkless — like Nightwing, he has stated so himself — only once — and had also been met with utter disbelief. The Batman, one of the top three heroes in the world? The Batman, the hero who has sparked numerous debates of vigilantism, who has asserted himself implicitly of being completely outside the Law — and has only recently been accepted by governing institutes, albeit with an amount of suspicion and fear, only after he became a member of the Justice League — the Bat, who has explicitly stated that he has no shit to give about the press? The Batman, who is borderline a non-human, a mythos, a legend?
And who, quite literally, has stopped the end of the world a dozen times — quirkless?
The very definition of unbelievable.
There is no rules in UA that prohibits a quirkless child to apply as its student— but even so, the amount of quirkless applicants to succeed is down to zero. And the first quirkless student to pass the entrance exam for the first time — former alias Robin, now Nightwing — had managed to do so for the first time in two decades, three years ago. And while at it, he had managed to score first place.
It had been considered — nearly scandalously — a miracle.
And only this year, Red Robin, another quirkless member of the Bat's, had been the first one to pass in three years after his predecessor. And had also — unanticipatedly, what with his skinny, wiry figure, and pale I-never-see-the-sun pallor — scored first place.
It's a little hard to believe that the Bats are quirkless. Conner thinks it's pretty justified.
"Everyone knows that," Nightwing dismisses with a wave of a gloved hand. "What else?"
"You are brothers. Adopted," Nightwing face remains blank. If it troubles him in any way, it doesn't show. "Is Batman your adoptive father?" Conner asks, seriously and clearly, completely out of curiosity.
"Classified," Nightwing declares, though Conner suspects behind those stoic mask, his eyes are twinkling in humor, if the twitch of his lips is anything to go by. Red Robin and Nightwing are two of the small percentage of UA's resident who dons a mask — who, like Batman, hides their identity. Conner supposes the two correlates. If there is ever a key to reveal Batman's secrets, it's them.
Conner finds the length they go to hide their identities, to a certain degree, incomprehensible. Most heroes nowadays do not care for such things — secret identities are essentially retro. Although, considering his upbringing as a genetically modified clone, he wouldn't have the knowledge and sympathy — Red Robin has mentioned that sympathy is needed to understand certain things — to comprehend that. He should inquire Red Robin more of this matter. He has find Red Robin more than satisfactory in laying out explanations. Other people usually just looks at him with a strange expression and says that 'it's just the way it is', a statement which Conner finds frustratingly inadequate.
Though Conner is half sure that the answer would be — and this is because most of Conner's questions in the past year has been answered with this particular remark — that the Bat is paranoid.
Nightwing watches him, head tilting to the side. "Keep in mind what I said earlier," he says, "and do excuse me, for I have to make sure that my brothers are still alive!" he adds cheerfully, and leaves with an elegant flourish. Eyes follow Nightwing's figure as he strides along the hall. But unlike Red Robin and the Bat, Nightwing receives a different kind of attention. Especially from girls. Conner finds that he himself often receives such attention of the same kind. He doesn't understand the meaning of that either.
He should also inquire Red Robin of this matter later.