Title: The Boy Wonder and the Power of Wishing
Summery: Using one of his alter identities Robin takes an illegal job that brings him deeper into the world that Slade had almost enslaved him to. It also brings him closer to a world he left when he was four years old, that he now needs to return to.
Disclaimer: I so don't own Harry Potter nor do I have dibs on Teen Titans, Batman, or anything from DC Comics. I do wish I did though.
(Chapter One- Slipping Into Shadows)
He laughed as he saw he was going to win yet another round of the martial arts game that Cyborg had just picked up from the video rental place next to the pizza place in the strip mall that was closest to the giant T' he and the rest of the Teen Titans' inhabited now. The little colony of superpowered high school aged people was the collective brain child of Superman and Batman when the Kryptonian kept taking in abandoned alien children and Bruce Wayne stumbled upon the psychically gifted girl in a school that Wayne Enterprises helped to fund. They weren't abandoned per say, more like it was a growth opportunity. Batman and whoever he teamed up with this month had Gothem, Superman and Supergirl had the Metropolis area to patrol. Jump City had no hero with in a two hour flight range and so it was to the sandy, sunny, beach side T' the three brightly cheerful students of the Superman School of Crime Stopping came and it was to this home to tourism Batman sent his daredevil ward and his student in moodiness (even if Raven had only been with them for a week before the Titans were founded.)
The boy now known as Robin (who secretly hated the way his superhero name sounded like a girl's) actually enjoyed Jump City much more than he ever liked the dark and depressing Gothem. It was vibrant and full of life that sometimes the red and green clad youth mused that if Bruce would be a heck of a lot more fun to hang around if he would take a month off and visit the T'. Of course that would be nipped in the bud when Robin recalled that Bruce never ever smiled and if he did his face might crack and crumble into dust. But what was best about Jump City was that it helped him forget. And as it was he had three lives to forget.
One life was Robin, the sidekick of the Dark Knight of Gothem. Life as the only one Batman ever really trusted in the field was painful, sickening, heartbreaking, and yet it was better than most had it. He would know, every night he saw suffering up close and having to turn his back on good people in rough spots was hard. However, he understood why his mentor and caretaker couldn't help everyone. It was hard to have to keep up with Batman, to harden his heart, to become something of a monster to keep everyone else safe.
The only reason he was the one to be taken in and made the sole heir of Bruce's was because Batman had felt responsible for his family's deaths and the knowledge that Richard Grayson was in fact far too intelligent and clever as well as very versed in acrobatics and gymnastics. Bruce could see as soon as their eyes met, the child's mind speeding along and catching details that many missed. Indeed, it only took three nights in Wayne Manor for the precocious child to find the secret entrance and the secret nighttime activities of his benefactor. It took another week to start helping out actively as Robin (he was sure Bruce picked out the feminine sounding name in a last ditch effort to deter him.) However, it was a better life than the first two.
Before life as Robin of the Batcave, was his life of Richard Dick' Grayson, the adopted child of the Flying Graysons. He was four when they had found him nestled in a semi-truck that was full of equipment battered and flinching out of every touch. No one in the circus knew of a missing child from the last city and they even went back to the town and found out that the child didn't even resemble anyone living there. So, being the only married couple without children, the Grayson's took the boy in and started to raise him as their own and they adored him and out of the spotlight treated him as if he was made of glass.
Now it wasn't his parents that made him miserable. It was the looks, stares, and tones of whispering. It only took him three years and he was performing with his parents and did so flawlessly. The other children grew distant from him and jealous of him being able to be in the main ring and stealing the limelight from their moms and dads. A number of the other performers treated him as if he wasn't even human at times, or as if he was a spoiled child. But the people in the towns were the worse. Taunts, shunning, and outright beatings were the norm after he reached seven years. The only one who ever treated him like he was normal was the circus' manager, who gave him private math and history lessons when they both had spare time.
And before all that, he was Harry Potter, the unloved and unwanted ward of his Aunt and Uncle Dursley after his parents had died in a car accident when he was a year old. He had no idea how he escaped to wherever the circus had been, but he knew that the day before he had fallen asleep crying after a very bad punishment from his uncle for popping his cousin's bike tires, which he had seen Dudley do then blame him for when his aunt saw the damage. It wasn't the first time something like it had happened, but unlike the other toys Dudley broke in and used Harry as the scapegoat the bike tires had been top of the line and thus very expensive. It didn't take long for his aunt to shove him into the dark cupboard and shriek that his uncle would deal with the troublemaker that he really wasn't. That night his uncle smacked him about the head and locked him away.
It went on in this manner for three weeks, he was awoken by his uncle, cooked breakfast, then stood in a corner while he watched his family eat the meal he had worked hard on. After breakfast was demolished his aunt watched him like a hawk as he cleaned the kitchen and washed and dried the dishes, staking them on the counter as he was not trusted to put anything away. He then had to lay across his aunt's lap with his trousers down as she punished him with a large steel ladle or spoon then thrust him into his cupboard with a bit of the leftover scraps to chew on. During the day he was surrounded by the sounds of the house, his senses enhanced by being isolated and in the dark for a little less than twenty hours a day. When his uncle came home he knew that in an hour he'd be pulled out into the light again and he started to listen even more intently to the sounds of dinner being eaten.
As the last complements to his aunt's skill in the kitchen died, the door to his sanctuary was yanked open and his uncle manhandled him to the kitchen where he soundlessly started in on the dinner and lunch dishes that needed to be cleaned. After his job was done, his uncle did his daily beating of him with the paddle he had gotten from a novelty shop. It did it's job fairly well, but as the days went on the sessions got longer and longer. The last day his uncle had not been himself, and Harry ended up a shaking mess of bruises, welts, and bleeding cuts. Only his face and hands were ever spared in his bimonthly uncle's rages, and that day was no different. Harry fell asleep that night again entertaining the idea that maybe one day he would just run off to the circus, after all his uncle and cousin already referred to him a freak.
When he woke that morning in a bed of all things, surrounded by people with kind faces he promptly adopted the amnesia' persona like those people would sometimes do on his aunt's daytime shows that he heard from the cupboard. It was then Harry Potter died and the soon to be Richard Grayson was born. Just like as soon as Bruce Wayne walked into the morgue that day and offered him a new home after the young acrobat had just identified the bodies of his parents Richard Grayson started his way into death and Robin was slowly being born. Just like as soon as he and Raven stepped into the T' shaped tower he was no longer Batman's sidekick, but a crime fighter in his own right. He was still called Robin, but now he was the de facto leader of the motley crew of superpowered do-gooders. He also could step into several other personas, personas that his fellow Titans did not know about, personas that he never wanted them to find out about.
Under the pseudonym Red X he was better able to get closer to Slade than being Robin had allowed, he also let a bit of his darker side, the side that Batman had used before to profile perpetrators, out. It wasn't the first pseudonym he used to break laws and foster ties with the underworld. In fact even as Richard Grayson he had a hobby of hacking and used the name Jack Shadow aka Nightflight to do still uncalculated damage and gained the respect of many internet crime barons. He still used Nightflight when he needed information and still did random damage when he was bored. It was the identity that Bruce and Alfred had found out about when they were trying to track this internet vandal down. He had gotten a stern talking to, but in the end the Dark Knight admitted that he too had masks like his and he used them to manipulate and get information from criminals and darker individuals. He also grudgingly admitted that Robin was a very talented hand with a computer, which outwardly hurt him because he used to be one of the best. But even Robin could tell he was proud of his protégé.
When he and Raven were about to leave Bruce had pulled him aside and gave him several CD's and a suitcase. This is for when Robin and Jack Shadow aren't enough. I don't want you to ever be caught without a mask to hide who you are. said Bruce. Robin accepted them after giving into his more childish side and gave the man who was almost a father to him a hug. It was from this stash Red X was born and he still had many more faces to use. One of the CD's was software to create ne identification and pass codes to several government servers that Wayne Enterprises helped to fund and build. But the suitcase held more precious treasures, illicit weaponry, body suits of varying properties, and tools that any master thief would kill for. He smiled as he realized that he knew how to use every bit of equipment that day. Bruce had been cultivating him to be the one who could do the hard things to bring about the destruction of his enemies, a shadowy knight for Jump City.
Robin pulled Beast Boy over and had the green skinned prankster take his place fighting Cyborg. He then when to the training hall and pulled out a mini-notebook computer and inserted a disk he always carried with him, the OS and files from the Batcave's computer system. The OS itself was a blend of the operating systems used by Wayne Enterprises, the OS plundered from the Riddler's computers, and something of Alfred's own secretly paranoid mind. It was adaptable and was suited for Batman's style of crime stopping as well as Robin's habitual hacking. Starfire was in the main room, practicing against the holograms and robots, getting better at controlling her powers and finding new ways to apply them. Watching her made him half wish he wasn't a non-superpowered human. He wasn't really a Titan like the rest were but he worked hard and had the brains to back him up when it came down to a fight. Even Cyborg had trouble keeping up with him at times because of the way his mind was rigged. But the two girls, they were something else.
Robin smirked as he realized he was already looking for someone to take his role so he could have greater freedom to work. Unfortunately, only Raven was really quick on the uptake and she was the newest of all to this area of quasi-employment. It was her and Starfire he saw as having the potential to lead anyone. Starfire's heartwarming understanding and being a flagship of extraterrestrial powers made her suited for a figurehead, but Raven was more astute and could very well be the one with the ability to make hard choices without the tears and fears of Starfire. One day maybe Starfire wouldn't be so naive, but Robin really didn't want her to loose that part of her like he had been.
Raven needed to be alone to focus her powers and would one day leave the T' tower, Robin could see that with ease. It would be pure folly to set her up for leadership of the tower because of the fact that she could never be there for the team first. It wasn't to say she didn't care and she wasn't sympathetic, it was that for her to care was to give up part of her control. She had lost control once before and no one ever wanted to have to pull her back from the brink again. He trusted her with all his heart and head, but he had no right to put her in a place where she would lose her cool and blow Beast Boy to kingdom come after a bad mission. He even had felt like throttling the changeling more than once, but due to his being pure human, he couldn't carry through. It was an advantage when dealing with the rest of the Titans, he had to think before attacking anyone. It was one luxury that neither Raven or Starfire could claim, but it was something he knew everyone needed to learn.
Not thinking had gotten them all into trouble. It was one of their greatest weaknesses as a team, and more importantly one of Robin's greatest failings. He really did try, but total trust was something that was far too hard for him to give, and he just could not let things go. Slade was his Achilles heel, the man pushed all the right buttons, said all the right things, and when through all the motions to get under Robin's skin and made the Boy Wonder lose his cool head. Even now the memories of the Chronoton Detonator and almost becoming Slade's slave ate at him and fueled the nightmares that he had always had. Green light, red eyes, screams of terror and pain, cold laughter that morphed into all who hurt him, and seeing the faces of those who had died before him. The nightmares were the balance beam, he could either collapse and breakdown, or he could fight for the dead and for revenge.
He always knew deep down it was all about revenge. It was revenge against his aunt, uncle, and cousin, who made him feel worthless and who only caused him pain. It was revenge against the hundreds who let him know just how despised he was for being young, talented, and an outsider. It was revenge against every foul person he wasn't able to stop in Gothem and now here in Jump City. It probably wasn't healthy, but it was what would keep him going when the nights seemed endless and the villains seemed unbeatable. None of the others fought for revenge, he knew that with just one look in their eyes. Superman did, despite how he could go on and on with his righteous speeches. He knew Bruce did, and Bruce readily admitted that it was also because of guilt (well, as readily as Wayne ever was.)
Robin didn't have guilt, he had self-hatred to work through. At times Starfire came close to figuring it out, but so far he kept his inner demons hidden and locked to his dreams. Raven just knew he wasn't as lighthearted as he acted, and Cyborg and Beast Boy knew he could be rather scary and touchy when he was having a bad day. It was Cyborg who had repaired the robots with him a week after he had been duped by Slade, each one damaged in Robin's need to take out his anger at himself on something other than his friends. Beast Boy had made a minor quip that day about Slade and Robin's mask had slipped and the changeling saw raw rage and hate in his eyes. Beast Boy understood rage from his changing into predators and protective pack animals, but not the hate.
Hate was a very human innovation to the universal emotions, and it was something only Batman had ever understood but not tolerated. When ever either one of them had felt the least bit of hate, Bruce dragged him into the training room for physical therapy, as they called it. Here, he had no one but the robots to take out his rage upon, no one to tell him how stupid he was being. He was the veteran and he hated it.
He signed in as Nightflight, he wanted to do some serious damage to someone. At least as Nightflight he could without causing anyone to watch him for signs of going too angry during a mission. Slipping around the Titan's network, Robin quickly started to reroute his link, circling and planting detours and finally connecting to Jack Shadow's e-mail account. There were several messages from a courier service, someone wanted him to work.
Signing in, getting the message downloaded, checked, and decoded took the better part of two hours. It was from a middle man, he was being requested for a hacking job of corporate espionage against Lexcorp. Robin crossrefenced the middle man, Yuki789. Yuki was known among Nightflight's contacts for working under Lex Luthor, directly under in many operations against the Man of Steel. Robin smirked, letting his thoughts drift to a nice little plot to cripple Lexcorp. He started a secondary program and signed in as Robin directly to the Titan network. Smiling, he downloaded everything he had on the Metropolitan business man and sent a coded version to one of his newest accounts to be accessed by Nightflight. Signing off as Robin, Jack Shadow started his research and questioning around the contacts he had made and maintained. Then he found it, P.I. Killington Micheals aka Mirror had photos of Luthor with Slade and contacts that told him that Luthor had hired Slade but then became business partners and allies. Mirror only gave out information he was sure was ninety percent on the level and so Robin knew he had to take the job which was just a test.
He responded and after fifteen minutes a reply came, coinciding with Cyborg and Raven coming to fetch Starfire and he for dinner. Signing off after transferring a few files to his Richard Grayson I.D., followed his friends to the T-car and they took off for the nearest Chinese food buffet.
(End Chapter One- Slipping Into Shadows)