I Hate That Laugh

Robin stood perched a top the roof of the Bank of Gotham. It was cold and wet and late and Timothy Drake still had homework to do. But not even homework would keep Robin from patrolling the city, especially since The Joker was on the loose. He had broken free from Arkham a little over a week ago and was undoubtedly resetting up his establishments.

"A lot of crooks manage to break out of Arkham." Robin thought. "You'd think they'd get better security." This was one of many odd thoughts that passed through Robin's head as he loomed over the city streets. He had been on the roof for nearly two hours and was beginning to feel quite cramped and bored. Batman had assigned him to patrol all areas that The Joker might hit and he felt this was one of the more likely spots. But so far nothing had happened.

"Must have guessed wrong." Tim thought to himself as he pulled out a grappling hook and took aim for a nearby building. That's when he noticed a car pull up to the bank. It was a nice car, brand new with shiny wheels and an overwaxed exterior. The car was painted white with a bright green roof and red headlights. If you really looked the headlights almost smiled at you. "That's about as close to a normal car as The Joker could have without getting noticed." Robin pulled out his high tech binoculars and cast an eye over the men in the car.

The car was full with five occupants. All male, all wearing green suits covering head to toe. They didn't look happy to be there. Robin was about to make his move and dive down when another car pulled up, identical to the first. This car also held five men, these ones wearing white suits.

"This is bad. Why's Joker hitting a bank." Robin said to himself, he was now positive this was The Joker even though he hadn't seen the man himself. He remembered what Batman had told him before he went on patrol.

"If you do find him call me right away. I don't want you facing The Joker by yourself." Robin knew he had better report.
"Batman come in...come in this is Robin."
The com link crackled a moment before the low voice that could only be Batman's came on. "Batman here. What's going on?"
"I'm on the roof of the Bank of Gotham. Two cars just pulled up and if you saw these cars you'd be thinking the same thing I am. Each car's got five guys in it. Half in white and half in green. It's gotta be The Jok......."

Before Robin could finish shots fired from below and people began to scream and scatter. Robin ran to the ledge of the building and looked down. The cars were still there and no one had emerged from the bank. They must have been taking hostages while they looted the bank.

"Robin! Were those shots? What's going on?" Batman's voice crackled over the com once more.
"Batman, I have shots fired. I'm going down, people may be in danger. Get here as soon as you can. Robin out." Before Batman got so much as a "wait" out of his mouth Robin had turned off the radio. He wasn't sure how far away Batman may be and prepared to try to get the jump on the robbers. He ran to the skylight and looked down into the bank. He would need to know how many hostages and men there were for sure. When he reached the window he couldn't believe his eyes.

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Batman had been stopping a mugging. Nothing big had happened all night so he took to the streets to help the individual instead of the masses. He had been looking for The Joker. So far nothing had turned up, Robin was working too but had found nothing according to his last report. With no leads Batman watched the streets of the city, his city. He had come across a man walking down the street by himself late at night.
"Not a good idea." Batman thought watching the man. As if on cue a gang of at least a half dozen guys emerged from the shadows and stopped the old man.

"Okay Gramps. Wallet, watch, whatever you got we want it." Said the gang leader as the old man cowered in fear.
He was just about to knock the poor old man out when he got hit with a sharp object flying through the air which knocked him out cold.

The other gang members turned and found themselves practically face to face with The Batman. They all began to run away but Batman would not let these men just run off like cowards. He threw two more Batarangs, both hitting their targets and ran after the other three on foot. With a few quick punches and jabs it was over and Batman stood alone on the street. The old man had fled and the gangsters were unconscious.Batman had just finished tying up the thugs when his com link buzzed in his ear. He turned it on expecting Robin's check in report. He got more than he bargained for.

"Batman come in...come in this is Robin." The small voice on the other line called. Bruce always felt a twinge of relief upon hearing his voice and knowing he was safe, but tonight he could tell Robin had found something.

"Batman here. What's going on?"
"I'm on the roof of the bank of Gotham. Two cars just pulled up and if you saw these cars you'd be thinking the same thing I am. Each car's got five guys in it. Half in white and half in green. It's gotta be The Jok......" Robin was cut short by two piercing sounds that Batman could barely make out, but he had been around enough to know what gun shots were.

"Robin! Were those shots? What's going on?" Batman asked. He hated being left in the dark.

"Batman, I have shots fired. I'm going down people may be in danger. Get here as soon as you can. Robin out." Batman started to say something but Robin's communicator clicked off.
"Damn." Batman exclaimed under his breath. He had wanted to catch The Joker but had not wanted Robin to find him first, or alone. He had to get to him quickly. But first he needed to make another call.

Batman raced back to the Batmobile. He was across town from Robin's location and knew someone who may be closer. He re-clicked on his com-link.
"This is Batman. I need your help."

A few seconds later a voice came on over the link.

"Nightwing here."

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Robin looked into the bank for a few more seconds realizing what he was actually seeing. What he thought at first to be a room of Joker's was actually just Joker's henchmen wearing Joker masks.

Robin took out a batarang and prepared to enter. There were at least ten guys, Robin knew this but he only had seven in his sights, he would have to watch for the other three. The goons had four large cannisters with them.

"Great they brought enough Joker gas to make the whole block laugh their heads off til they die and I bet those masks have gas filters built in. I better get down there." Robin first took out a gas mask of his own just in case.

Glass flew everywhere as Robin jumped into the scene through the skylight. The crooks were momentarily shocked to see the Boy Wonder but felt a large sigh of relief escape their lips when they realized that he was alone and The Bat was nowhere to be seen.

"That's just The Bat's sidekick. Take care of him quick before the Bat shows up." The apparent leader ordered. The other six goons headed for Robin. Tim still didn't see the other three guys but he kept his eyes open for them.

Robin made the first move. This wasn't his style but he wanted to finish this quickly if he could. He roundhouse kicked the first goon as hard as he could, needless to say he was pretty much out of the rest of the fight. Robin pulled out his bo staff and stood ready for the next wave of attacks. The next few moments were a flurry of kicks and punches and shortly Robin was the last man standing. He made a quick sweep of the room and noticed the other man was now gone as well. All the bank's occupants were scared to death but knew Robin was a good guy.

"All of you get out of here and get as far away as possible. Tell anyone you see to do the same." Robin didn't want anyone around if those cannisters went off or leaked. As the people ran from the scene Robin took a teller aside.
"Where did the other men go?" The teller pointed towards the vault room and continued to run from the building.

Robin ran to the vault room and stopped in his tracks.

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Batman was still racing across town while talking to Nightwing.

"What's your location Dick?" Batman was racing through red lights.
"I'm around The Courthouse. What's going on?"
"Good you're close. I need you at the Bank of Gotham. Tim's all ready there, he's trying to stop a burglary by the Joker."
Nightwing stopped swinging and changed the direction he had been heading. "I can be there in about eight minutes."

Batman didn't like that but there was nothing he could do. "All right. Make it fast I'm still at least twenty minutes away."
"Got it. I'm on my way. Nightwing out."
"Hurry Dick. I don't know how long Robin will hold out." Nightwing didn't reply. But he hurried his pace as both men turned off their radios.
"Don't worry Tim, I'm coming. Just don't get yourself killed." Dick whispered to himself.

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Robin was doing his best but there was no assurance he wasn't going to get himself killed. He was now dodging bullet after bullet as they flew through the air and he desperately searched for some cover. He had entered the vault room to find the other four burglars removing their masks. He entered to find one of the thieves remove his Joker mask to only show he was the real Joker. Robin's eyes bulged wide at the sight, he had thought Joker did not accompany his henchmen and was shocked at the sight of him.

"Well if it isn't Brat-Boy trying to spoil my plans again. Well not this time, especially not without your big bad friend. Boys show our young friend what happens when you interfere in my plans." Joker laughed and began to shoot at Robin as did his crew.

Robin flew for cover and soon saw a filing cabinet to give him some temporary cover and ran behind it. He clicked on his radio.
"This is Robin I am under heavy fire! The Joker's here, I need some help!" Robin was trying to fit himself safely behind the cabinet for protection. He longed for someone to answer.
"Hold on little bro. I'm almost there."
Robin's face lit up when he heard Nightwing's voice. "Thanks Wing." A bullet whizzed by his head barely missing him. He had to find another spot to hide. "I hope you aren't very far."
"I'm about five minutes away. Can you hold up?" Dick asked. He hoped hewould be all right.
"I guess I'll have to. I gotta go I need to find some better cover. Get here quick."
"I'm hurrying. Just don't mo..." Nightwing heard Robin's com turn off. He tried to run harder.

Robin was running out of places to hide. It seemed Joker had an unlimited supply of bullets to shoot at him. He knew he would have to go without Nightwing or he would soon be used for target practice with no cover. He really wished Joker would shut up though.

"Ha. You might as well come out Bird Boy. If you do I'll make it quick and shoot you in the head. Really. Ha ha ha. If you don't I'll blow you up like I did the last one of you Bat Brats." Joker continued firing.

Tim snapped. He had never met Jason but knew he did not like his memory being disrespected. He jumped out from behind his cabinet and began to charge the crooks. He avoided bullets and took out the three goons quickly using his staff and martial arts skills. The goons hadn't had a chance. It was just him and Joker. Joker had reloaded during the short fight and took aim at the Boy Wonder. Robin threw a batarang that landed right on its mark causing Joker to drop his gun. Robin headed toward the now unsmiling maniac.

"You've done enough Joker. I'm sick of this. You going around killing people and never giving it a second thought, never thinking of their families, never considering they're real people who have just as much a right to live as you. A lot more in my eyes. But you don't care it's all a big game to you, they're not people they're pawns in your game, but not anymore." Robin had reached the insane criminal and picked him up by the collar. The look in Robin's eyes even through his mask was clear. He had never looked scarier. He launched Joker across the room and approached him once more. "Not anymore." He repeated, Joker was desperate.

"Look kid. I...I was just.......just.......joking." Joker pleaded.
Robin did not stop his approach. He got right into Joker's face and looked him in the eye. "I'm NOT!"

Robin was about to throw Joker across the room once more when he finally noticed the movement behind him. He flew in the air and dodged a bullet. One of Joker's men had woken up and found a gun. Robin flew in the air even higher and landed on a counter top to avoid more shots. He jumped off but didn't see the other man who fired his own shot which hit it's mark almost right on.

Robin felt the bullet pass across his face. He managed to swerve slightly but not enough. The bullet cut across the left side of his head. It did not go deep but it did knock Robin off balance enough for him to hit his head on the counter as he was jumping down.

He saw Joker looming over him, that maniacal smile back on his face. He was laughing. Robin hated that laugh but that's the last thing he saw. Then it was just black.