Notes: This is the final chapter. Have some wrap-up.
Part 9 - Meetings
After the next mission, Kaldur went up to Robin and asked him questions and to analyse Aqualad's performance and decisions as leader. They got into such an enjoyable and theoretical discussion that Batman took one look at them and then decided to leave the debrief for later.
"Please don't tell me you're going to try and deduce the identities of the future Robins," Black Canary sighed as Batman appeared in the Watchtower.
"Why wouldn't he? He's Batman," Flash said, using his superspeed to wrap his arm around Batman and leave before Gotham's Dark Knight could react.
"You should let the future happen as it happens," Wonder Woman said with a slight touch of disapproval.
"Actually, I would rather talk to Flash."
"What?" Wonder Woman and Black Canary were surprised.
"About what?" Flash said with a caught expression on his face.
"All the data pertaining to the incident has been erased or corrupted," Batman informed them, "and no, Flash didn't have anything to do with that." Actually, he suspected that the second Robin's Nightwing had done it. But, without the data, he would never know. "I need to speak to Flash regarding some ideas Kid Flash seems to have about those who work with me."
The Flash's shoulders sunk. Kid Flash did like to talk without thinking about the consequences. Hopefully whatever it was, wasn't too bad.
"Come on. Surely it's just kids being kids?"
"Kid Flash needs to understand that he should try talking to people when he thinks something is bothering them," Batman stated, "regardless of whether or not he believes they'll talk. His reluctance to do so may be the main cause behind 'the incident'."
"Oh. I guess I could do that," Flash commented.
Zatanna told herself that she wasn't avoiding the Team. She had been busy. But Robin had managed to get her back in the mountain by inviting her of all things. He had said things about how he missed her and how the team missed her and that they were having a get together, no missions, and would she, please, please come?
"It'll be asterous!" he had said.
This is what she gets for giving him her contact details. She was currently sandwiched between Kid Flash and Artemis as Robin paced before them. M'gann was sitting on the arm of the couch, next to Superboy and Kaldur had started off standing next to Robin before Robin started pacing.
"Okay, so Black Canary says I should talk to you guys about how I'm feeling, before another 'incident' occurs."
Zatanna's head dropped. She hadn't meant to mess up. She had received more than a few calls and lectures about playing with time. Apparently, she should have expected her spell to mess up as time doesn't work the way one wants it too.
Plus, she had told Black Canary about the note her future self sent to her. Black Canary had been the one to tell her to give him a way to contact her and even offered to purchase her a burner phone if she didn't want to give out her real one.
Robin paused and looked over at her. He took in the slump of her shoulders and the downwards tug of her mouth. The rest of the Team were also awkwardly fidgeting.
Kaldur decided to intervene.
"Robin and I have been talking and we're addressing his worries. Now all that's left is for 'team bonding time' which Black Canary has ordered."
"You're saying Black Canary ordered this?" Kid Flash questioned, immediately perking up.
"We haven't really had time for each other," M'gann mused. Except for when missions were scheduled, the team had rarely hung out as a team after the Failsafe mission. They met in small groups but hadn't had a team outing since.
"The last time we got did something not-a-mission together was with the other Robins," Kid Flash mused. He smirked as he recalled the game. "That was fun."
"Yeah, and Black Canary ordered no laser tag for the foreseeable future," Robin pouted.
"So, forced hang-out time with no laser tag?" Artemis said sceptically. "They really expect us to go for this?"
"It's not compulsory," Kaldur said, "however-"
"We have the whole mountain to ourselves, curtsey of a League meeting," Robin interrupted. "And I have the perfect activity!" He cackled.
"Oh! Oh! Is it spying on the League meeting?" Kid Flash asked, playing along.
Robin's face dramatically fell.
"No. Batman increased the security, again."
"What is it then?" M'gann asked.
"Robin has arranged for us to have our own meeting. And first on the agenda is things to do outside of mission times."
"We also have some money to spend on things for this place," Robin added.
"Can we get a Batcar?" Kid Flash asked.
"Batmobile and no."
"No," Kaldur agreed.
As the Team made their way to the new and secure meeting room, Zatanna pulled Robin aside.
"Everything's fine," he said to her before she could open her mouth. "Besides, a friend of mine made us something to celebrate the restoration of the meeting room."
He tugged her along until they entered the room and a warm, sweet, savoury and mouthwatering scent hit her nose. There was the tang of chocolate and the crinkling of chips.
"Kid Flash!" Robin scolded.
"What?" Kid Flash said between mouthfuls of chips. He had grabbed a packet from the kitchen. "This is so I didn't start on the food without you."
Zatanna laughed and Robin picked up a cupcake, ready to throw it at the speedster.
"This is a meeting Robin," Kaldur reminded him right before he tossed it.
Robin paused and thought about it.
"I guess I can leave it until after," he said, taking a seat and pulling Zatanna into the seat next to him. He was going to enjoy this moment.
Patrol was over and Nightwing and Robin were going to retire for another night. The red seemed to glow in the light of the Batcave.
"Wow, it's true," Tim mused looking Dick up and down. With a sigh, Dick pulled off the domino mask.
"Yeah," he confirmed. He was still adjusting since he didn't have to modify his fighting for the cape and cowl. He needed to get back in the swing of aerial moves.
"Damian's not taking it well?"
Dick just gave a smile in response and let Tim draw his own conclusions. Damian had walked right past Tim without even an acknowledgement. Dick thought back to the little adventure they had gone on almost a month ago. Stephanie had been warned to keep quiet about it and even Zatanna hadn't brought it up.
"Hey, what's up with Damian?" Jason asked as he walked down into the cave with Alfred behind him.
"He's probably mad that Dick's Nightwing again and Bruce won't let him out to patrol by himself," Tim shrugged.
"If that was true, he'd be trying to attack us, not moping."
Tim and Dick both gave him their full attention.
"Kid's planted himself in the kitchen with a cup of coffee. Why is the kid drinking coffee anyway?"
Dick sighed and told them how Damian seemed to be having a few nightmares lately. Whatever they were about, it was enough to keep him from going to sleep.
"I do not believe it is nightmares which are bothering Master Damian," Alfred commented with a pointed look at Dick.
The other ex-Robin's caught it.
"What happened?" Jason asked with an 'I should have guessed' sigh.
Dick considered for a moment whether to just tell them. All those years ago, he had been confronted with his future as accidental, roundabout and just crazy as it had been. It had only taken a few days to realise that the other Robins didn't hate him, they liked him and looked up to him.
Although it was hard to remember that when Jason came back from the dead hating him, Tim seemed to grow distant and more like Bruce as time passed and Damian was arguing with him and belittling him.
"While I was still Batman, Damian had his 'time in the past' or whatever you guys call it."
Jason and Tim shared a look.
"I don't call it anything," Jason lied with a shrug.
"Obviously it happened while you were still Batman," Tim said in a deadpan. "When else could it have happened?"
"Point," Dick conceded. "But ever since, Damian's been off."
Jason shrugged as if he didn't care. Tim sighed.
"It was probably a bit of an adjustment for him," Tim said, "actually seeing that he wasn't the only Robin."
"I remember being awesome," Jason agreed.
"Maybe it's my memory fading with age but I remember, many years ago, that Master Damian seemed to enjoy the company of his compatriots and behaved in a mature and respectful manner," Alfred commented.
"Could of warned me about dying though." Jason crossed his arms and glared at Tim and Dick.
"And coming back?" Dick goaded, because they all knew that messing with time was a bad idea.
Jason shrugged then left with the excuse of seeing how Damian's doing. Tim and Dick only spared a moment before deciding to follow.
Batman returned home from his trip to Metropolis to find the cave deserted. He changed into Bruce's clothes and left the cave.
The boys' rooms were empty too. He finally found them in the media room. Dick was sprawled out on the couch with Damian resting on his stomach, his head tucked into Dick's chest. Jason was sleeping on the recliner with a bowl of popcorn on his lap and Tim was curled up on the carpet, pressed to the bottom of the couch and a pillow wedged under his head.
"So, Damian came to you about my worries as Robin?" Dick whispered, one blue eye cracking open as Bruce came closer.
"He's my son. And he was worried."
"He's my Robin, my partner," Dick muttered, "regardless of whether I'm Batman or Nightwing."
Bruce made a non-committal noise. If it had been anyone but Dick, he would have been angry at the implication of taking his son from him. But, he knew Dick didn't mean it like that. He and Damian were partners but Damian was still Bruce's son.
Dick nodded as Bruce's body language, a smoothing out of the tension around his eyes and mouth, showed that he made the decision to partner Nightwing and Robin up more often.
"But, since you're Batman again, you'll be getting to know him as father and son as Bruce and Damian. Send someone else on those business meetings of yours."
"Like Tim?" Bruce suggested.
"No," Tim moaned, half-asleep but still listening. "Send Jason."
"Over my dead body," Jason grunted. "I'm still gonna scram after breakfast."
"Alfred promised him his favourites," Dick explained in a hushed, conspiratorial whisper. "As long as he stays for breakfast."
Bruce nodded his approval and decided to go find the absent butler. It was rare for the manor to be so quiet with all four boys in the same room.
They needed me to be Batman;
Batman needs someone to slow him down and make him wonder what can happen.
An Extra fic!
This came about due to a comment TheAsterousAuthor made in a PM.
TheAsterousAuthor said: And that Damian line? Priceless. I can just imagine Grayson!Batman telling Dami-Robin "oh yeah, villains use these... animations all the time when doing villain-y stuff, nah this totally isn't so you'll lighten up and have some semblance of a normal-ish childhood"
And I responded with: And after a while Damian would sit and watch because he's invested in the storyline. Now I'm reminded of a web comic where there's a character who's not good at interacting with people so he watches 'My Little Pony: Friendship is magic' to learn about friendship. He takes notes.
Second, disclaimer: This was not the result of a prompt, I felt like writing this and sharing it. I am not taking prompts for Young Justice or the greater DC universe.
Dick had picked the show because it was colourful and fun. This was the second night they were watching it and he expected Damian to be frustrating because 'are those seriously talking ponies? Are you a child, Grayson?'
Damian vanished while they were changing out of their suits and into their PJs and Dick was surprised when Alfred told him that he was already in the room, waiting for him.
Indeed, Damian was curled up on the recliner, knees to his chest with his sketchbook in his lap and a pencil in his hand. Dick gave him a curious look but started the cartoon. He expected Damian to start drawing and completely ignore the show.
The opening animation ended, the show began and Damian pressed the pencil to paper. But, the pencil didn't move like he was drawing. Damian's eyes were mostly on the screen, darting to the paper now and then while he scribbled something on the page.
Dick shifted closer and closer, until he could see what was on the page.
"Are you... are you taking notes?" he questioned in an incredulous voice, upon seeing the instructions on friendship scrawled out on the page.
Damian jolted and pressed the book to his chest, hiding the words from Dick's view.
"Despite its childish aesthetics, this show gives examples and instructions on what is expected from 'friendship'. I wish to record this information for later."
Dick wisely decided not to comment. He settled back into the show, although he couldn't help glancing over to Damian every now and then. His little brother had a serious, focused expression as he watched the colourful ponies on the screen, taking notes on their messages of friendship.