Mantle

When the Batman is brutally beaten by Bane, Detective Ellen Yin contacts Robin with Batman's request: Take up his mentor's Mantle. Enraged, the Boy Wonder returns to Gotham. How will Starfire react to Robin's donning his mentor's brooding persona?

Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Titans, The Batman, or Batman Begins the movie or the videogame. I don't own the part of Bruce and Dick's hospital conversation that comes from Robin # 13. (That's Robin III as in Tim Drake not Dick Grayson). Robin in my fic is always Dick Grayson, as a side note.


Chapter One

The video screen flashed on as a woman's face filled its image. Robin immediately turned around, facing it. The rest of the Titans were not around. They had never seen her before.

Robin had, he knew who she was. She usually didn't call on him. She was with the Gotham Police Department. He felt an immediate sense of dread come over him. Something was wrong, very wrong, but he didn't know what it was.

"Robin, it's Detective Yin of the G.C.P.D. We need your help."

"My help?"

"Yes, we need your help."

"Why call me at midnight?" The rest of his friends were asleep. Robin wasn't, he was usually a night owl. He was up long after his friends went to bed.

"I have some bad news…it's about your mentor, the Batman."

"What happened?" Robin demanded. If his mentor was in trouble, they would need his help. Batman was Gotham's Dark Knight who was their vigilante safeguard against psychotic villains that roamed the streets continually. He had once been his sidekick, but circumstances caused him to leave his mentor and form the Teen Titans.

They hadn't been on speaking terms in awhile. He only received financial support and a constant supply of his equipment via Alfred Pennyworth; they hadn't seen each other in months. Robin stared at the screen, keeping his cool, though inside he was anxious.

"An assassin named Bane discovered the secret identity of the Batman and he attacked him…in his own home…I'm the one who found him there. He managed to call me right before he passed out."

Robin was nervous. Yin noticed on her end the way Robin stared at the screen, she was startled by it. She saw him clench his hands into fists and his whole body shook with furious rage. Yin was sure he would help her now. She had never seen him so upset. It astonished her greatly.

"Is that room secure? Does anyone know you've contacted me?" Yin nodded. "So he knows the truth…?"

Yin lowered her voice down to a barely audible whisper, "…about Bruce Wayne? Yes, Bruce Wayne was the act, the Batman was the personality."

"Go on Detective. What happened—" Robin fought for words. "What happened to Bruce?"

"I can't exactly say. I wasn't there. However, Alfred was awake when I arrived and Bruce was unconscious. The security cameras at Wayne Manor were either destroyed or damaged. I did retrieve most of the tapes. They were in pretty bad shape too. I managed to put them all onto one tape. I have it here if you want to see it." She held up the tape.

"Please, I need to know what happened."

"I warn you Robin, it's really bad."

"Can't be worse than anything I've seen," Robin said half to himself. "And I've seen a lot of things…"

"Very well, Robin. I'm playing the tape." Detective Yin hit the PLAY button, and the somewhat blurry images came into view.

He saw Bruce Wayne walking down the hallway of his house, Wayne Manor; everything was fine, all was normal. A huge explosion rattled the camera installed in the wall and the giant robotic figure of Bane stepped into view.

"Huh?" came Bruce's startled voice. Bane picked him up and slammed him into a wall, smashing through another wall and into another room.

Robin watched helplessly as his mentor was beaten ruthlessly, mercilessly, in his own home. Bruce put up a valiant effort, leaping to his feet; he leapt high, smashing his fists into Bane with reckless abandon. Never before had Robin seen his mentor lose control of himself, not like this.

Bruce whirled, flipped back, and kicked out with fury. Bane grabbed his foot and hurled him across the room. His body smashed into a bookshelf. He picked him up by his collar and smashed his face. "How's it feel Bats? You're not so tough without your equipment are you?" Blood was leaking out of Bruce's mouth and nose. He was thrown through another room and Bane quickly followed.

"You're going to pay, Bane!" Bruce Wayne roared and attacked him with fury.

The fight was only minutes but to Robin it seemed like an age. Through Wayne Manor they fought until Bane forced Bruce down into the basement, into the Batcave. Bane smashed his mentor into the wall, knocking the breath out of him.

"Beg for mercy," Bane hissed. "SCREAM MY NAME!"

"NEVER!" Bruce retorted.

Bane picked up Bruce Wayne and held him up over his head.

"I WILL BREAK YOU!" Bane said triumphantly, then he broke Bruce's back, snapping it like a twig.

A strangled cry of horror escaped Robin's throat followed by Bruce's scream of agony. Robin couldn't believe it, his mentor was the best, invincible, untouchable, and now he was broken. Robin smashed his fist into the gigantic screen, beating it mercilessly, as if he were grappling with Bane himself.

The tape stopped after Robin saw Bruce pass out. Yin again appeared on the screen. "Robin?"she looked concerned, "You alright?"

He was breathing hard. He did his best to regain his shattered composure. "I'll be fine." He looked at her.

"Bruce wants to see you. You're the only one he can depend on now."

"What happened to Alfred?"

"He's been hurt bad. Bane showed no remorse in beating him just as he beat Bruce. Will you come back? We need you again. Bruce said…you'd do anything for him."

Robin's face became red with fury. "I'm coming back. Bane. Will. Pay."

The next day Robin informed his friends he had to go to Gotham City to take care of some business. The Titans seemed surprised. This was very unexpected for him to just up and leave without them.

"I'll only be gone a few days, Cyborg; you're in charge while I'm away." Robin grabbed a suitcase. Cyborg noticed that he wasn't in his Robin uniform.

"You're kidding right, Robin?" Cyborg asked in shock.

"Why do you need to leave so suddenly?" Starfire asked. It wasn't like Robin to up and leave without any explanation. He was the thinker, the planner. He wasn't very spontaneous, and it seemed very unlike him to do so.

"An emergency, someone needs me to come back to Gotham, so I have to go. I won 't be gone long." Unexpectedly, the phone began to ring.

"I'll get it!" He picked up the phone and answered it. "Hello? Detective Yin? Yes, I'm coming right away; I just have to settle some things with my friends first. I should be there by this afternoon."

Starfire wondered who this Detective Yin was. She decided against her better judgment to pick up the phone and listen in.

"Robin, you have to come quick. Without the Batman, Gotham's police department is shot."

"I know, it's just I have to get things in order before I leave."

Starfire gasped. She had heard stories of the Batman before. What kind of connection did Robin have to the Dark Knight? He never talked about his past before he started the Teen Titans and Starfire had never felt obliged to ask him. But now she was wondering what was going on with him, and why he felt the sudden need to go to Gotham. She quietly placed the phone back on the receiver.

Robin heard a distinct click during his conversation. He frowned.

"What was that?"

"I'm not sure. But I'll be there as soon as I can."

"Thanks, and Robin," Detective Yin paused.

"Yes, Detective?"

"Bruce would be proud of you."

"Thank you Detective, I will come as soon as I can." He hung up the phone and went back to his room. He stared at the drawers that were filled with his Robin uniform. He was thoughtful for a moment. He would take a uniform with him, just as a safeguard, just in case he needed to use it.

Walking over to his closet, he opened the door. He pried up one of the floorboards to reveal a hidden compartment. In it were some of his normal civilian clothes. He hadn't worn them in a long time, considering the fact that he had no need for a secret identity here. Now he would take up the life of one who had been dead for a long time. He would be Richard Grayson again.

He smiled. It seemed ironic to him. Sometimes he wished he had a normal life. But his life was far from normal. After this moment of reflection, he finished packing his things. It was time to head home.

Meanwhile, Raven and Beast Boy were as equally startled as Cyborg was when Robin informed them that he was leaving. "Dude, why do you need to go to Gotham all of a sudden? We need you here!"

"Don't worry Beast Boy, I'll only be gone for a little while, then I'll be back. Cyborg's in charge and you'll all do just fine without me."

"I still don't understand why you need to leave so soon. When did you find out they needed you there?" Raven asked.

"Last night, Detective Yin from the Police Department said it was urgent that I come." Robin picked up his suitcase. "I won't be gone long." He shut the door behind him.

"Dude, I don't understand. He just up and leaves us with no explanation at all!" Beast Boy said. "I mean, at least he can tell us what this 'emergency' is, right?"

"Whatever it is, it must have been pretty important for him to leave first thing in the morning," Raven commented.

"But what could be more important to Robin than protecting this city?" Starfire asked.

"I have no idea, Star," Cyborg frowned. It doesn't make any sense."

"I did hear something about, what did that Detective Yin call him, the Man of Bats?" Starfire frowned.

"Do you mean the Batman?" Cyborg corrected her.

"Yes, that was the name I heard, yes, she called the man the Batman."

"What did she say about Batman?" Raven asked.

"She said, 'Without the Batman, Gotham's police department is shot,' will they be hurt without this Man of Bats, yes?"

"Not in that way, but it will get pretty ugly without him. Did she say what happened to him?"

"No, I do not know," Starfire said quietly. "We must go to this Gotham City to find friend Robin."

"We can't just up and leave just because Robin does! We have a city to protect! That's why he left me in charge." Cyborg protested.

"Whether you stay here or not friend Cyborg is your decision. I want to find Robin and ask him why he had left us."

"But Star, we can't just—"

"Can you not call the Titans East to come and watch the City?"

"I could but I don't think—"

"Come on dude, Star's worried sick about Robin and I wanna know what his deal is that he just takes off like that," Beast Boy interrupted. Raven looked thoughtful.

"Robin is our leader, and if it's important for him to be in Gotham City, then it should be important enough for us to get involved," Raven said.

"Alright you win, let me get a hold of Aqualad."

Within a matter of hours, Aqualad, Bumblebee and Speedy were at Titans Tower in Jump City. "Don't worry Cyborg; we'll keep this place safe for ya." Speedy reassured him.

"I'm sorry for the short notice guys, but we have an unexpected road trip."

"No problem, Cy, don't worry about a thing." The Titans East waved them off as Beast Boy, Starfire and Raven, along with Cyborg, drove off in the T Car.

"Well ya'll I guess we'll figure out what's going on." Cyborg stared out the window as they headed out towards Gotham City. He had to wonder what Robin's business was there, and why he was so urgently needed.


Robin got out of the train and stepped out onto the platform. Looking out over the gloomy visage that was Gotham City, he sighed. Home sweet home, he was back again.

He knew that Bruce was at the Gotham hospital; at least that was his impression. He had to contact Detective Yin immediately. He headed towards the Gotham Police Department; he figured she would be there.

Arriving at the police station, he walked in. "Hello," he said to the officer at the front desk, "I've come to see Detective Yin, is she here?"

"Yes she is," the man replied. "You're in luck; she's in her office right now." Robin walked in, he wasn't in uniform and he knew she was the only one on the police department who knew his secret identity.

Detective Ellen Yin looked up at him with a broad smile on her face. "Dick you made it! Thank goodness, I was beginning to worry."

"I wouldn't let you down, Detective. You know that," Robin replied.

"Come on, we gotta be going," Yin stood up and beckoned Robin to follow her.

"Where are we going?" Robin asked, he had a feeling of where they were going.

"Where else? To see Bruce and Alfred." They drove to the hospital in complete silence. Robin was trying to prepare himself for the worst.

Walking into the hospital, the receptionist looked at him. "We're here to see Bruce Wayne," Robin said simply.

"What's your relationship to him?" the lady asked.

"I'm his ward," he replied.

"Room 815, top floor. I warn you kid, it's pretty bad." Robin and Yin said nothing as they took the elevator up to the top floor. They found room 815, and walked inside. What Robin saw would haunt his darkest nightmares for a long time afterward.

Bruce lay on the bed, still, unmoving and inert. Various tubes and wires were attached to his body, hooked up to machines that monitored his body's vital signs. Robin couldn't believe it, it was like a dream; only this time it was harsh reality staring him in the face.

"Bruce…" he couldn't bring himself to say anymore. For a moment, he wondered if his mentor was even breathing.

"Richard…" the voice was barely audible. Just a whisper to his ears, he stepped closer, leaning in so he could hear better, "You came…"

"Why didn't you tell me what was happening, I would have been here in a heartbeat, you know that!" Robin replied, he had responded to the name he had not been called in ages, but still, he didn't care.

"I thought we weren't on speaking terms anymore," he said softly. "I suppose, my pride got in the way. I thought I could handle it myself."

"I'd do anything for you Bruce, you know that," Robin fought for words.

"I assumed you wanted to get out from under my shadow. Make a name for yourself. You've done that. Created a life. Fought your own fights. I didn't have the right to call you back."

"The right!" Dick exclaimed. "I'd die for you, Bruce!"

"Let's hope your loyalty won't have to be tested to that extent." Bruce smiled. "I'll admit it; I've missed you."

"Bruce…you missed me? Why didn't you tell me?" He didn't know this when he left. If he'd had known that he was actually missed by a man who seemed to show no emotion behind his mask…he had no idea what he would have done if he had known that.

"Bruce has a request of you Robin," Detective Yin said quietly.

"What is it?"

"Take up…" Bruce whispered, "Take up my mantle…become the Batman until I can recover."

"I'm honored…" Robin couldn't find words to say. "But I always thought you were invincible."

"I'm only human, Robin. I think I forgot that for awhile."

"Will you do it?" Yin asked. The entire City trusted Batman to protect them. Now Robin would take up the mantle, and protect them once more, if he agreed to it. She hoped he would say yes.

Robin nodded. "I'd do anything for him."

"It could be weeks, months before he fully recovers. He'll have to relearn everything."

"I know. But I will stay until he recovers, or someone takes his place. I'd die for him. This is the least I can do."