The Sidekick Strike
DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Nothing. None of it. Happy now? Good, cuz I'm not. :(
WARNING: Parts of this fic—especially the beginning—may sound a bit 60's-ish, so if you don't like that version, don't bother me about it, because I've already warned you! So there!
INSPIRATION: I'll try to make this short. We were watching A Pup Named Scooby-Doo (and I ain't ashamed to admit it!) one day, when Shaggy and Scooby were daydreaming about being their favorite superheroes, Commander Cool and Mellow Mutt (don't ask). Anyway, every time Shaggy would start saying 'I', Scooby would kinda go 'ah-hem!', thus forcing Shaggy to give him credit as well. I commented how Robin should have done that on the 60s Batman show once in a while and my sister suggested that he oughtta go on strike about it. I threw in Wally because it sounded like a Wally-ish thing to do, and there you have it. But I'll just start the story now, since you're probably not reading this anymore anyway…
"Well, Caped Crusader, you've done it again! Congratulations!"
"Thank you, Commissioner."
Thirteen-year-old Robin felt his eyes roll at the sound of these oft-repeated words. Whenever he and Batman would run into the Commissioner at the end of a case, Batman would always receive a hearty congratulations from Gotham City's chief of police. And Batman would always thank him politely before dashing off again, with the Boy Wonder by his side.
But does he ever give ME any credit! NO! Robin thought irritably. Who's the one who figured out all of the Riddler's riddles? ME! Who's the one who stopped the Riddler from getting away and got socked in the eye in the process? ME! Who's the one who's gonna have to explain to everyone else about the black eye? ME! Holy forgetfulness! Talk about being underappreciated!
But, as usual, Robin said nothing about this particularly annoying pet peeve. He said nothing as he and Batman headed back to the Batmobile. He said nothing on the drive back to the Batcave, and he said nothing as they changed into more conventional clothes. And he only bid his mentor a quiet good-night before retiring to his own room for a few hours' rest.
At least it's summer vacation, so I don't have to worry about school…
"Stick 'em up, Wonder Boy!" a deep voice cried out.
"Hello, Wally," Dick Grayson sighed without even turning around.
"Aww, how'd ya guess?" a much higher voice moaned.
For the second time in one night, Dick rolled his eyes. Wally West—perhaps better known as Flash's sidekick, Kid Flash—had been Dick's best friend for several years now. A bit to Bruce's chagrin, Dick had invited Wally to stay over at Wayne Manor for a couple of weeks while Batman and Flash worked on an important JLA case concerning the Joker (It had actually started out as a simple case of the Joker causing trouble again, although it had later been turned over to the Justice League, which was why Robin and Kid Flash were being allowed to help out.)
"Well it wasn't exactly brain surgery," answered Dick, turning around.
"Yikes! Rob! What happened!" Wally exclaimed, pointing at Dick's left eye, which now had pretty shades of red all around it.
"Don't ask. All I know is that I'll have one heckuva shiner there in the morning."
"Too bad they didn't getcha in both eyes. Then we could say that we were playing around as raccoons and that you mistook the permanent markers for the face paint."
"Oh, shut up. Hey, when did you and Barry get in, anyway?"
Wally's usually cheerful face immediately clouded over, and the next words that came out of his mouth were so harsh that even Bruce would have expressed surprise:
"If you ever mention the name Barry again, I'll fix it so we can use the raccoon excuse!"
Dick stood there, shocked, as Wally stalked over to the small balcony and gazed out over the moonlit grounds of Wayne Manor.
After a short pause, Dick finally regained his senses and followed Wally out to the balcony to see what was bothering him.
"Yeah, well, while you and Bats were off chasing that hyper green guy, Uncle Barry and I found out where Joker was hiding and went to investigate. Sadly, we happened to run into the creep himself, and while Uncle Barry gets to sneak into the backroom to find out exactly what it is the Joker's been working on, guess who gets to be the live bait?"
"Boy, do I know how that feels," Dick sympathized. "Did Barry find anything?"
Wally watched as Dick sat down next to him on the railing of the balcony, and then continued to vent, "No, and that's not the worst of it! Do you realize that I spent at least twenty minutes zipping around, trying to keep that guy's attention and risking my neck in the process, and Uncle Barry didn't even have the courtesy to thank me for it?"
"Tell me about it."
"I mean, how many times do we sidekicks go out on a limb just to crack a case? How many times do we get kicked, clobbered, kidnapped, and very nearly killed, just so that our senior partners can take all the credit?"
"Yeah, you said it!" agreed Dick, feeling the anger returning. "We work every bit as hard as Batman and Flash, but do we ever get any attention?"
"No way, José!"
The two teens sat in silence for a moment, thinking about the wrongness of it all. For a couple of guys who spent their entire lives fighting for justice, Bruce Wayne and Barry Allen were surprisingly unfair to those closest to them.
"Ya know something, Wally?" Dick said at last.
"We need a union."
"Yeah," Wally conceded with a nod. "Boy, do we ever need a union. That would—what's a union?"
Dick blinked, somewhat taken aback.
"Um… well… I don't know, exactly… but I have heard about unions on the evening news a lot lately. Seems that whenever a union doesn't like something, they draw attention to themselves by staging some strike until their boss meets their demands or something…"
If they had been cartoons, the viewers would have seen two little light bulbs go off simultaneously over Dick and Wally's heads.
And then, turning to face each other with triumphant grins…
"We'll go on strike!" they yelled.
"You're going to what!" Barbara yelled incredulously into the phone, sounding like she thought the two boys had lost their minds. Which they very well might have, all things considered.
"We're going to go on strike," Dick repeated. "Wally and I figure we deserve a little more than we've been getting lately."
"I should have known that Wally was involved in this somehow," she grumbled. Barbara Gordon had only met Barry's nephew once, but that was one meeting she would never forget.
"Look, Babs, the reason we called you is because we thought you might like to join us," Dick explained. "You're sorta like a sidekick, and Bruce doesn't treat you any better than he does me."
"No way, buster! If you and that bonehead Wally want to strike, go right ahead. Me, I'm perfectly happy with all my appendages the way they are."
"He's not a bonehead. And what's that supposed to mean, anyway?"
"It means that, as soon as Bruce and Barry find out about this strike thing, they're going to tear you both limb from limb!"
"Ha, ha. Very funny, Babs."
"I mean it, Circus Boy," Barbara said seriously. "You and Wally are playing a dangerous game here. You have no idea what the consequences could be…"
"Don't worry—we know what we're doing!" replied Dick with a laugh. "'The squeaky wheel gets the oil', right? See you later, Babs."
Barbara sighed as Dick hung up. Would those boys never learn?
"Good luck, Circus Boy," she whispered nonetheless.
Me: Yeah, yeah, I came back. And I'd like to apologize in advance for any continuity errors I've made. I don't know much about Flash, but now I madeWally the same age as Dick! And he's Kid Flash! See, I'm improving!
Dick: What are you DOING here? I thought you had left!
Me: Only temporarily, my fine feathered friend. (to readers) Oh, how I've missed you! I know it's been a long wait, but I promise I'll never desert you again...!
Dick: Uh, Panamint...
Me: You see, this is my life! It always will be! Nothing else! Just us, the laptop, and those wonderful people out there in the dark! Alright, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up...
Dick: Oh, brother... and yes, those really were lines from Sunset Boulevard. She just changed 'cameras' to 'laptop'. Really, really strange...