|Five Times Superboy Led Robin's Squad
Author: Animegoil PM
As the title says. Slight Tim/Kon eventually. Set in season two.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship - Conner K./Superboy - Chapters: 2 - Words: 3,001 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 26 - Follows: 37 - Updated: 05-10-12 - Published: 05-06-12 - id: 8091606
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I feel like I always have to bring up all the sad times of Timmy's childhood.
Five Times Superboy Led Robin's Squad
Jungles are sticky, treacherous, alien worlds, and Conner loves them. A shrub of small ferns curls in on itself when his leg brushes against it, while a green iridescent beetle waddles up his forearm. The heat doesn't bother him, but the heavy air clings to his clothing, which clings to skin like plastic wrap. Jungles remind him of Wolf, who is sniffing out the clearest path ahead of them, and of the plants and animals that the genomes instilled pictures of in his brain.
"I'm gonna be a mighty king—"
"—So enemies beware!"
Jungles apparently remind the rest of Gamma Squad of the Lion King. Bumblebee began the chorus, and then Wonder Girl and Blue Beetle joined in, and they've been at it for at least ten minutes. Their voices are cheerful and vibrant, belting out the lyrics at the top of their lungs, uncaring of the myriad birds and chattering monkeys that scurry away from the ruckus. As if they're on an adventure instead of a mission. Conner wonders if this is what they looked like to the Justice League back five years ago.
"No one saying 'do this'—" Jaime.
"No one saying 'be there'—" Karen.
"No one saying 'stop that'—" Cassie, who then turns to Robin and says, "C'mon, Robin, sing the next line!"
Conner glances back and sees Robin glance up from the hologram map on his wrist-computer as he carefully steps around an ant pile. His lips twitch, "Sorry, don't know what the next line is."
"No one saying 'see here'," Karen supplies helpfully, ducking under a vine.
Robin's head cocks to the side with a slight grimace, "No one saying 'see here'?"
The other three laugh, and Jaime elbows Robin hard enough to make him stumble into some tree roots. Jaime tends to underestimate his armor's strength, and Conner makes a note to train with him when they get back. "C'mon, hermano, that's the wrong melody, sing it right. Everyone knows that song!"
It's meant to be a joke, but Conner sees the way Robin's laugh stutters out of his mouth like an old man on crutches, and he knows that feeling all too well. He knows the frustration that comes along with having to explain why you don't get this joke or that reference.
"Hey, Gamma." All four heads swivel towards him, and Bumblebee hovers a few feet in the air to get a better view of Conner with all the wide palm leaves and blooming bromeliads between them. "We're approaching the one-mile radius mark from our target, so from this point on, keep conversation at a minimum."
They all nod, and the conversation drops to a few hushed confirmations of procedure. They have a rogue 'medical' facility in the jungles of Cameroon. Beta Squad investigated it a few weeks back, determined they were indeed using stolen Star Lab technology for less-than-humane purposes, and now it's Gamma's turn to destroy it. Robin's shoulders fall back to their usual state of mission-tension, and Conner turns back to following Wolf's trail.
The dust is thick on their skin and noses, and it's already starting to itch and run down their arms and faces along with their sweat. Conner shoves a fallen support beam out of the way and surveys the mess. The personnel had been evacuated, though not before Robin ensured that all data was backed up in the League's database, and then destroyed via virus. Flumes of hot steam rise into the air from ruptured pipes and dissolve under the equatorial sun. Conner wipes his brow and comms the rest of the squad.
"Facility destroyed, Gamma Squad reconvene at point CP3."
"Bublebee and I copy that, Superboy," Cassie responds, and he hears Karen swatting at something and mutter about mosquitoes.
"That's the gate, right?" Jaime asks. "Where we saw that sloth?"
"Yeah. Everything okay on your end, kid?"
"Si, dude, I didn't realize when you said 'destroy', you meant obliterate! So cool!"
Besides him, Robin snickers and shakes his head to loosen bits of debris and dust from his hair. The kid's smiles are rare, oftentimes seemingly more for show than because he truly feels them, but Conner might be reading too much into it.
The two of them make their way through the rubble, testing each step before settling their full weight on it, and it pays off when chunks of concrete crumble or topple sideways at the merest touch. It's not as much of a hazard for Conner, of course– if even bullets have a hard time piercing his skin, gravel and rocks don't stand a chance.
"Thanks," Robin says of all sudden, weaving through some metal beams and lifting the edge of his cape to keep it from getting caught on the nails and shards sticking out.
Conner quirks an eyebrow. "For what?"
Ah. The kid is smart. He'd known as much within the first few minutes of talking to him, but social smarts isn't the same as book smarts. As a socially inept (half)human encyclopedia, Conner would know. He debates whether he should feign ignorance or not, but then he realizes this is an opportunity to connect with the younger members. Especially because he likes Robin's calm and humble demeanor. It reminds him of Kaldur sometimes, as deep and unshakeable as the ocean, and oftentimes taken for granted just as much.
He rolls his shoulders in an easy, offhand gesture. "I don't know the songs either." Robin looks up, domino mask stretched high above his forehead in surprise, and Conner elaborates. "Not really considered educational by Cadmus."
Robin wobbles a bit on a few loose rocks, but he finds his balance before Conner can reach out and steady him. "Cadmus… right, the institution that created you."
He's not surprised at the factualness of Robin's voice. If he's anything like Dick was, he's known all about Conner's background since before he was even on the team.
"Yeah. There's a lot of pop culture stuff I don't know still." But he's learned a lot. There were countless movie nights at Mount Justice, with piping hot popcorn, soft drinks, and more types of candy than he was even able to comprehend at first – he remembers a few stomachaches in the beginning. Dick and Wally were adamant about teaching the rest of the team about the joys of Disney classics, among other movies, and took their job seriously. The Lion King always unsettled Conner though—something about the close bond between Simba and his father, and the way Simba replaced him eventually. Something about the way he was manipulated by the other male figure in his life. He hasn't watched it recently, and he's not planning to.
So, he may not know the lyrics, but at least he's watched the movies. He would assume the same is true for Robin—from what Dick has told him, Robin is 100% human, with a regular childhood. But something about the way he stands to the side on most of the group interactions at Mount Justice and the gratitude he's just shown Conner for deflecting the conversation earlier makes a sudden jolt of suspicion run through him. He thinks of Artemis, whom Conner had always assumed was a perfectly normal human, able to fit in so well in comparison to him, and the shock on Wally and Dick's faces when they'd realized that she didn't even know her nursery rhymes, much less Disney.
He pauses and throws a side-glance at Robin. "Have you watched them?"
Robin shrugs, and says all too nonchalantly, "Not really considered educational by my parents either, you know?"
Conner frowns. He feels like Robin should be just a tad more chalant about that fact. From his experience, from what he saw with Artemis, he knows that parental education is often a pretty cover for darker, uglier truths. Indoctrination begins young and has odd repercussions, funny ways of showing up in your day-to-day. He looks at Robin, barely taller and older than Dick had been, but already twice as serious and determined not to fail. Conner wonders what rattles around in his brain, what things he's seen and heard, what kind of eyes gaze at him behind the mask. Because now that he thinks about it, a regular kid with a regular childhood has no business being Batman's protégé, being in the jungles of Cameroon destroying laboratory facilities, and Conner feels stupid for not having seen that. Wally was the closest thing to normalcy any of them got, and Conner sometimes suspected it was a direct product of Central City's very nature. The same could never happen in Gotham.
Robin continues, completely unaware of the sudden queasiness Conner is watching him with, "I'm pretty sure we're not missing anything anyway. They're just movies."
Conner winces at the 'we', because that was probably the only reason Robin was so forthcoming. No, he thinks, you are missing something. It's more than just a movie. It's fitting in. It's the emotional anchors children apparently grow up with in America. It what that lack signifies about his upbringing.
Ahead of them, they can make out the muddle of voices from the rest of Gamma squad, and Conner puts his hand on Robin's arm to stop the straightening of his shoulders and hardening of his face, armor Robin seems to deem necessary for interaction. His face jerks towards Conner, lenses flitting between him and the heavy hand on his arm.
"Yeah, they're just movies. But tell you what, kid, how about we have a Disney marathon after training next week?"
Robin's mouth falls slightly open, and Conner imagines him blinking repeatedly under the lenses.
"Uh, what? I mean, I guess— sure."
Conner nods and decides it's in his best interests to just move ahead to the rest of the squad before he embarrasses himself more. He isn't quite used to—this? Gestures of kindness?
He's not more than a few feet away when he hears a quiet, "That'd be nice, actually." It's not clear whether he was meant to hear that or not— Robin may know about Cadmus, but does he know the range of Conner's superhearing? Either way, he smiles a little and reminds himself to ask Dick what he thinks might be Robin's favorite movie.
You know, if anything, this Conner and Tim might be more similar than comics!Kon and Tim.