I've returned with another one-shot introspective on Robin. Is anyone else starting to notice a theme within my writing? This one is a little different though. Batman is making a nice little cameo appearance. I was tired of reading stories where he just randomly showed up for no reason what so ever. So this brain child was thought up and given life. W00t! Still written in Robin's point of view; that's nothing new.
Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Titans and I don't own Batman either.
Another night spent above the city, the somber moon attempting in vain to peak from behind the clouds. Despite their urgency, the stars would not catch a glimpse of me tonight. A long forgotten shadow would soon be approaching, bringing bitter remembrance along for the ride. It was quiet. Too quiet for my liking. Sharp winds blew past, engulfing my form in the black fabric of my cape. I made no move to brush it away. Eyes narrowed in suspicion, I scanned the street below for any sudden disruptions.
"You're starting to look like me."
His darkened figure came to stand beside me. Even with growing skills it was still impossible to sense his presence.
"Is that a compliment?"
"Still an enthralling conversationalist, I see."
"And you're still a smart ass."
I ignored the snide remark from my one time mentor, eyes still on the ground below. For a moment we stood there, and it suddenly felt as if nothing had ever changed. Time seemed to have turned back...for the both of us. I was locked in a reflection of the life I had once led. A life I had left in Gotham.
Ironically. . .
"Any particular reason why you called me here tonight?"
. . . I had been the one to drag up old memories.
And now that the legendary Batman was here, at my request none the less, I couldn't find the words I needed to explain my situation. Thinking on it now, my sudden need for his company seemed nothing more than pathetic. Barely letting a sigh of frustration leave my body, I seated myself on the side of the building.
"Jump's a lot different from home, isn't it?" I'd have to remember to thank him later on for breaking the silence for me.
"This is home to me, Bruce." I turned in time to catch him smiling down at me; it was rare to see him smile.
"It's good to hear you say that." The smile was replaced by routine indifference as his eyes returned to the street below. Mine lingered a moment longer on the man I had grown to see as my father. Nothing had changed. I'm sure the moment he took off that mask the signs of life would make themselves known. The stress of a double life no doubt took a lot out on the aging man. But that infamous mask hid everything. If only life could be so easily hidden behind black cloth.
"I remember a point in time when you thought my leaving to be the stupidest choice I ever made."
"I still do, Dick."
Ouch. Why did he always have to be so blunt?
"Now you've lost me," I confessed cheekily. He didn't attempt to clear the confusion away, but I hadn't been expecting him to. I had always been left to figure things out for myself. Tonight wouldn't be any different. Another silence settled between us, and I quickly grew agitated. Now that the conversation had begun I didn't want it to end.
"Things haven't been easy for us," I commented softly, my eyes drifting up to the clouds.
"or for yourself?" The accusing question hung in the air, and as much as I wanted to, I couldn't avoid it.
"What goes on with me isn't important. My team will always come first."
And that was the truth. I knew when I became the leader of the Titans that certain sacrifices would have to be made. Of course, at first I had been reluctant. But five minutes with those four and you'd be ready to give your life for them too.
"I guess I can admire that, but you didn't bring me out here to brag about how great of a leader you are."
I couldn't help but grin.
"You think I'm a great leader?"
"Stay on topic, Dick."
"Sorry," I shrugged sheepishly. I hated to break the easy going turn our conversation had taken, but Bruce was obviously growing impatient. I turned my eyes back to the sky. "A rain cloud seems to be following me as of late."
"You mean Slade?" I shot a questioning glance his way, but a dismissive wave to continue on with my thoughts was, again, the only explanation I received. I shifted slightly.
"Yeah, him...among other things. At least, he's where it all started."
Here's where I had to stop and calm myself. It seemed like so long ago that I had fallen into the tangled web of that evil master mind, and yet the memories could be recalled so easily. Why was that?
"Slade was-is," I quickly corrected myself, knowing full well that he's still out there somewhere, "he is the biggest threat to this city. It's more than just money to him. It's all about control...power." I shook my head ruefully. "He had to be stopped."
"And you thought it was your responsibility alone?"
"You know me too well," I tossed out bitterly. He let out a semblance of a laugh.
"I did raise you, Richard."
"What's with the sudden formality? Should I start referring to you as 'Father'?"
"Not unless you want to be thrown from this roof top. You were saying?"
I frowned as my mind tried to catch thoughts that had suddenly taken to the wind. The words seemed to dance just away from my lips, making it increasingly difficult to form coherent sentences.
"I've done a lot of stupid things lately, Bruce. But I was just trying to stop him...everything was so mixed up. The line had completely disappeared for me."
The line between right and wrong, black and white, good and evil. Bruce had taught me that. But he had never gotten around to explaining what happens when the line begins to blur.
"I thought that maybe I could stop him alone, but Slade...he got the better of me. He hit me where it hurts the most..."
"Is that the reason you were stealing from my company?"
I shot glare at his looming form. Is that all he was concerned with? His precious inventions?
"Is was that or watch my friends die...what would you have done?" He raised an eyebrow at my question, as if to say, 'you do know who you're talking to, right?'
I shook my head impatiently. I was talking to a brick. Really, I was.
"Right, my bad. The Batman doesn't have any friends. You know, it's amazing you have a social life at all."
"Having friends is just another liability to yourself. Your situation proves it. They were used against you, and trust me when I tell you, it will happen again."
His words hit home, and it was near impossible to hide from their truth.
"But...we got through it ok." I had to at least try to defend my team.
"Well," I fumbled for the words, "We'll get through whatever comes our way. That's what it means to be friends." Holy shit! When did I start talking like a greeting card?
"You never used to be so optimistic."
"A lot of things about me have changed, Bruce," I confessed softly, letting the wind carry my words away. A queer silence had barely settled before he spoke, his smooth voice remaining low.
"The important thing is you got away from him."
"But I didn't stop him, did I?" I stood and crossed away from the ledge, not wanting to be near him at the moment. "He got away, and managed to trick an innocent girl into doing his dirty work for her. And because of it..." I let out a shuddering breath, "she lost her life."
I jumped as Bruce placed a hand on my shoulder, his attempt at comforting me.
"I had let her stay in our home, let her live with us....let her steal our weakness. I should have seen it coming, I should have known."
"It wasn't your fault, Dick."
I pulled away from his hand, my fists clenched at my side.
"I've grown soft, haven't I, Bruce?"
He never answered me.
I smiled indignantly to myself. I had changed so much.
"There's more, isn't there?" I couldn't tell if he was upset that our midnight talk was taking so long. He always seemed so indifferent to the important things in life.
"You've taught me a lot Bruce," I said, turning to face him. He nodded in agreement. "But there's one thing I don't think I'll ever understand."
"And what's that?" My masked eyes met his own, and before the word left my mouth, he knew the answer.
"And this is a problem?"
"Yes, oh almighty Batman, it is a problem. Unlike you, I'd like to have someone to come home to when I'm not fighting crime." Again, I turned away from my mentor, wishing he would just leave. I could've gotten more accomplished if I had talked to myself.
"If your enemies knew you had someone you cared about the outcome would be worse than your previous experiences."
"I know it would be...." My thoughts automatically turned to the Tamaranian girl who had frequently been entering my mind as of late. Whether or not I loved her had never been a question in my mind. I knew right from the start that she was the only girl for me. But when you grow up with the most stoic person on the planet raising you, emotions are usually not your forte.
"Are you speaking from experience?" The doubt laced in his voice was painfully evident.
"It is possible to be in love at 17, Bruce. Saying it out loud is the problem I seem to have." I watched his eyes narrow from the corner of my eye. He was probably preparing another witty remark. Maybe I should beat him to the punch. "You seem to be having a similar problem with Diana, am I right?" I could literally feel him tensing from behind me. I tried not to laugh at the sound of his teeth grinding in frustration.
"And this girl...she's enough to risk your life for?" I straightened immediately at the question, turning to face him once again.
"Starfire is the most beautiful person I have ever met, inside and out. Because of her, I am a far better person than I was before hand. I owe her so much, the least I can offer is my life. Besides, she can take care of herself," I stated proudly, a picture of the alien princess dancing through my mind once again.
"Dating within the team is never a good idea," Bruce stated. I rolled my eyes.
"What does Diana see in you?"
"I came here to talk about you, Dick."
"Right, sorry." I slowly made my way back to the edge of the roof. "I know it's love, Bruce. I've watched her fall from cliffs, fight battles to near death with her own sister, hell I even watched her walk down the aisle! Every time I come within even an inch of losing, my heart seems to rip from my chest. What else could it possibly be?"
"What? You can joke and I can't." Another ghostly smile was pointed in my direction. My eyes traveled back to the ground below. The streets were still empty; another quiet night.
"Yeah?" He was next to me again, his hand squeezing my shoulder, a little more tenderly this time.
"Don't make the same mistakes I did." We held each other's gaze a moment longer, before he turned, preparing to leave for the night.
"I thought Batman didn't make mistakes?" I called out.
"And I thought you said you didn't need my advice anymore?"
And with that he was gone, leaving behind nothing but the chill of the night. I was left alone, silently wondering if our talk had helped me see life in a clearer view. As with most of my memories of the caped crusader, I left the scene with more questions than answers. I had left Gotham to start a new life, my own life. Perhaps I had been asking for too much. It seemed my past was always going to be with me, no matter how much I claimed not need it.
But does that mean I regret the things I've done?
Of course not.
A/N: Just to make things clear, the Robin from Teen Titans is not necessarily Dick Grayson. Despite the fact that I think it's painfully obvious that he is Dick, it is only speculation on my part. So, Tim Drake fans, please don't send me flames. I'm a Tim Drake fan too, but I also love Dick. I'm just a Robin fan in general. Yay Robin!
Also, I have a proposition for any AMV makers out there. It's in my profile, so if you have time, hop on over and check it out.
Nuff said there. Please Review.