Chapter 35

Bruce Wayne leaned into the luxurious support of the leather plane seat and sighed. He, the Titans, and Robin were all in his private jet; heading towards Gotham City. Robin was in his own seat with the Titans gathered around him, and they were all talking about a million miles an hour. He wondered how they could understand one another.

"I never would have believed you to be a rich kid," Cyborg said, clapping Robin on the shoulder. "Who'd have thought that you and Bruce Wayne—"

Bruce sat up and gave Cyborg a look. "You are going to keep this a secret, right?"

"Of course we are," Raven assured him. "We're not about to blab it all over as long as Cyborg and Beast Boy keep their mouths shut."

Everyone cracked up, and Beast Boy and Cyborg glared at her.

"We'll keep it a secret," Beast Boy said, grinning. "As long as Raven plays me in Gamestation!"

Raven glared at him.

"What is the matter, Robin?" Starfire asked, noticing his worried look.

"I was thinking about Randall. I can't believe he's. . ." He was unable to say anything else.

"Randall's a survivor," Raven said, laying her hand on his. "I don't think he's dead."

"Then why didn't he come out of the water?" Robin asked.

Raven didn't have an answer for that.

Bruce's cell phone went off, and everyone jumped. He answered it, listened to the other person, thanked him or her, and hung up.

"Well, that was my contact," he told them. "The Callais' school has been closed, and since there are no official records as to who those kids belonged to, they have all been transferred to the Wayne Children's Home in Gotham."

"What Wayne Children's Home?" Robin asked, but then it dawned on him. "Oh."

Bruce grinned. "I think they'll like it much better than the Callais' place."

"What about his cover companies? His houses?" Beast Boy asked. "Stuff like that?"

"It's being taken care of by another company," Bruce said, smiling. "It's called Memorial Enterprises, and the company's bigwigs wish to expand into foreign markets."

Everyone grinned at that. "Memorial" was fitting, since it was the death of Slade's little side ventures.

"What about Karlton?" Robin asked.

"According to Haven, he's on the run, but they're following him very closely," Bruce told him. "It's only a matter of time before they catch him."

Robin nodded, sinking back into the padding of his chair and sighing. The boy finally looked like his old self.

Space

Robin didn't wake up as Bruce carried him upstairs to the boy's bedroom. Alfred had welcomed them all with open arms and smiles and a hot meal. Knowing the Titans' appetites, he literally had a buffet waiting for them, and he had a special dish of pheasant and mushrooms waiting for Bruce. When everyone had eaten far too much and had helped with the dishes, they ended up in the den, playing video games and talking. When Cyborg and Beast Boy went up against one another in "Mega Racers 3" they all chose sides and started cheering them on. Robin fell asleep during the final level and Bruce decided that it was time for the boy to be in bed.

Alfred showed the other Titans to their rooms and began to look for Master Bruce: he hadn't come back down after putting Robin to bed, and he wondered what was keeping him.

He found him in Robin's room; standing by the boy's bed and staring down at him.

"What's the matter, Master Bruce?" he asked, going to his side.

"I'm just afraid to look away from him," Bruce whispered. "I'm scared he'll disappear."

Alfred smiled. "I know how you feel, but he'll be all right."

"I'll stay just a little longer, Alfred. Just a little bit longer."

Alfred nodded and left, taking a post outside the door. He knew that Bruce would stay where he was for most of the night, and he wanted to be nearby in case something happened or he was needed.

Space

Paris

Slade stood by the young man's bed and stared down at him; trying to place him. He knew he knew him, it was just a matter of figuring out how he knew him.

The boy turned in his sleep and sighed; possibly dreaming. Slade smiled as he remembered how he had managed to pull himself and the boy out of the Seine: they had both been very close to drowning, but Slade, getting rid of most of his armor and his metal mask to make swimming easier, had gotten himself to the side, held onto the wall lining the river, and grabbed the boy as he drifted past. After that, it was short work to call a taxi. He'd told the driver that his friend was drunk and had fallen into the water, but he'd gotten him out and now they were on their way home to dry off. The driver had laughed and taken them home free of charge.

When they had arrived at the house; it was apparent that someone had been there. Karlton had left part of his work undone, the lock was broken on the door, and the car was missing. Apparently, Karlton had had to run. No matter, they would meet up at one of the rendezvous points later. Since the house had already been checked, it was unlikely that whomever had broken in to return, so Slade decided to stay there for the time being. After all, they wouldn't check the place a second time, and he was counting on that to keep him safe.

The boy suddenly stretched and opened his eyes, stared for a moment at the ceiling, and then furrowed his brow in confusion when he didn't recognize it. He looked around, and then his eyes landed on Slade.

"Good morning, son," Slade said affably. "Do you know who I am?"

The young man nodded.

"Good. Now, I want some answers from you, and I want them now. Answer my questions, and you'll see how considerate I am. Don't answer them, and you'll learn just how persuasive I can be."

The boy just looked at him as if he were afraid to speak.