Disclaimer: There must be fifty ways to write a disclaimer, and, yes, I have been listening to the radio again. No matter which way you put it, we still don't own them.
Credits: Brought to you by Lihau and The Almighty Panamint.
"Happy Halloween!" Speedy whooped, throwing a handful of mini Hershey bars over to the Boy Wonder. Robin, however, was not particularly amused by Speedy's exuberance. He simply glared at the archer and returned to the book he had been unsuccessfully trying to read for the past half hour.
"Aw, c'mon, Bird Boy," whined Speedy. "Get into the spirit! Don't you like Halloween? I mean, Batman is so creepy I thought for sure you—"
"Oooooh!" Speedy jeered. He grinned and threw more candy at Robin. "Bat Breath is going all spooky on us!"
"One more word and I'll—"
"We've got a case!"
Speedy and Robin looked up as Wonder Girl entered the meeting room of the Titans' Lair. Robin grumbled, "Thank goodness! What is it? And where are KF and Aqualad?"
Kid Flash zipped up beside Wonder Girl all of a sudden and beamed, "Right here! Can't you see me?"
Aqualad walked in after him.
"So, what's new in the world of supervillainery?" Speedy asked.
Wonder Girl announced, "We have gotten an anonymous tip that someone at a costume party is going to be kidnapped. Details: The party will be held at the yellow house on the corner of Kane and Robinson in Gotham City at seven-thirty tomorrow night. At about three minutes past eight, the lights will go out and the victim will be gone by the time they are turned back on."
"Hey, I love costume parties!" Kid Flash exclaimed. Everyone glared at him. "What?"
Aqualad looked at Wonder Girl and asked, "Does the letter say who is going to be kidnapped?"
Wonder Girl shook her head. "All it says is 'someone'."
"Oh, that's helpful," Speedy rolled his eyes.
"In any case," Robin said, standing up and walking over to the others, "it looks like we're going to crash a party."
"If we're going to a costume party, shouldn't we go in costume?" Kid Flash wondered.
"That's actually a good point," Robin agreed, sounding somewhat surprised. "Keep it up."
"I've got another great idea now, too!" Kid Flash hollered, waving his hand around in the air excitedly. "Why don't we go dressed as each other?"
"I ain't going as Wonder Doll!" Speedy yelled back, folding his arms over his chest and scowling at the Fastest Boy Alive. The other male Titans mumbled or nodded their agreement.
"Let's make this fair, then," suggested Wonder Girl, suppressing a giggle. "Why don't we draw names out of a hat? Whoever you pick, you have to dress up as."
Robin smiled. "In that case, I hope I pick my own name. Speedy, since yours is the only hat around here, take it off. I'll write the names."
Once the slips of paper had been prepared, Robin put them into the hat and jumbled them up.
"Okay," he said. "Who's first?"
"May I?" asked Wonder Girl.
"Ladies first," Robin conceded.
And so she reached her hand into the red and yellow cap and pulled out one of the papers.
"So?" Kid Flash demanded. "Who'd you get?"
"You!" she exclaimed. Looking over his costume, Wonder Girl decided, "I guess I could've done worse… I guess…"
"Hey! What's wrong with my costume?!"
"It looks like you raided the Barnum and Bailey prop room, that's what," Speedy sneered.
"You got a problem with the circus, Bodkinhead?" Robin glared.
"Wha—will someone else just pick from the stupid hat already?! Wait… that's my hat!"
Seeing that he was just not going to win this argument, Speedy slumped down into a chair and glowered at the room in general.
Robin, laughing a bit, said, "Gill Head, pick a name from Speedy's stupid hat."
Speedy growled at him.
Aqualad reached into the hat, read his name, and blinked.
"I don't suppose re-doing this is an option," he commented. "Now Speedy's… ah, 'stupid hat' is my… 'stupid hat'."
"WHAT?!" roared Speedy. Grabbing at Aqualad's paper he yelled, "You are not wearing this costume! Especially not underwater!"
Kid Flash giggled madly as he picked a name out of the hat. As soon as he saw the name on the paper, he suddenly stopped laughing.
"What's the matter?" Wonder Girl asked.
"NO!" shouted Kid Flash. "I am NOT doing it!"
"Who'd you get?" Robin queried.
"Her?" Speedy echoed. He burst into laughter. "You… Wonder Girl? HA-HA!"
Kid Flash turned as red as the, well, red parts of his costume as the other Titans began laughing mercilessly at him. Except Wonder Girl, who was saying something that sounded suspiciously like, "This… could get very strange."
She turned to Kid Flash and added with a slight smile, "I hope you have a nice time at the costume party in my outfit… Sister."
The others laughed louder and Kid Flash's face turned redder.
"Let's just get the rest of this name-picking thing overwith," grumped Kid Flash.
"Fine," Robin managed to get out. "Speedy, you go next."
Speedy, barely able to grasp the paper through his uncontrollable laughter, read the name he'd chosen.
His uncontrollable laughter was now all too controllable as his good mood turned sour.
"I got Bird Boy!" he groaned, letting the cruel paper flutter to the ground.
Kid Flash smirked evilly. At least there was some justice in the world.
Flinging an arm around Speedy's shoulder, Kid Flash said, "Look on the bright side—now you can stop traffic wherever you go!"
Neither Speedy nor Robin were quite as amused.
"Temporarily ignoring that last statement, I guess that means I have to go as Aqualad. Not too bad," Robin shrugged.
"Then it is all settled," Wonder Girl said with a nod.
"Oh, no, it's not!" chorused Speedy and Kid Flash loudly.
"Oh, yes, it is!" Robin countered. "Now I suggest we all go home and get to work on our costumes."
Aqualad handed Kid Flash and Robin a couple of simple black masks to wear with their new costumes in order to preserve their secret identities, since his and Wonder Girl's costumes didn't have masks, and they left to prepare the outfits.
Poison Ivy sat in the greenhouse in the backyard of the yellow house at the corner of Kane and Robinson. She looked out the greenhouse's door and, squinting through a pair of binoculars, watched the party preparations going on in the house. The supervillain gasped as she saw a teenaged boy carving a pumpkin.
"How dare he!" she fumed. Resisting the urge to send a rhododendron after him, she sat down in a chair and tried to concentrate on congratulating herself on the brilliance of her evil plan.
This job would be a cinch—the Titans would show up to save the day, and then all she'd have to do would be to snatch Robin. Penguin had been right for once: using anonymous tips to lure those disgusting do-gooding teenagers to the kidnap trap (er, party) worked like a dream (or nightmare).
Now all she had to do was sit back and wait…
Several hours later, the Titans regrouped at the Lair as planned. Everyone was there except for Kid Flash, who seemed to be running late for some not-so-mysterious reason.
"I wish that chicken would just show up already!" Speedy commented with an evil grin, preparing a video camera to tape the entrance of their tardy companion. To Robin he glared, "And stop laughing at me!"
Robin grinned and shrugged, pulling up the gloves on his 'Aqualad' costume.
Before anyone could blink, a red-white-and-blue blur zipped past the meeting room and locked himself in the utility closet.
"You just go and I'll follow after!" Kid Flash called.
"Fat chance, Wonder Geek," Speedy laughed.
"C'mon, let's go," Robin said. "We're going to be late."
"I hope so!" yelled Kid Flash, still refusing to leave the safety of the closet.
So they simply got the real Wonder Girl to pull the door off its hinges. Aqualad and Robin walked into the closet and pulled Kid Flash (yes, kicking and screaming) out.
Speedy began rolling his film, but it was promptly destroyed when he fell to the ground, laughing hysterically. Wonder Girl pretended to be pleased.
She giggled, "You look wonderful, Sister!"
Robin smiled cheekily, saying, "You do look kind of pretty…"
"AGH!" Kid Flash howled, trying to worm out of Robin and Aqualad's grasp.
Wonder Girl stopped giggling and stared at his feet. She grabbed something from the meeting table and thrust it at him, sniffing, "I do not wear men's work boots."
"And I don't wear ballet shoes! Lemme go!" yowled Kid Flash.
Speedy, by the way, was still on the floor, shaking with laughter. The wig Kid Flash had forced himself to wear had taken its toll, and then some.
"You agreed to this," Robin reminded him. "Put on your slippers and let's go to the ball!"
Well, they somehow managed to get the ballet shoes on him and were off to the costume party. Speedy had yet to stop laughing. Kid Flash had yet to stop crying. The others somewhat sympathetically tried to keep straight faces.
Once they were finally at the house of the party, Robin was the first to get up the guts to ring the doorbell.
A boy about their age opened the door. The first thing he did was laugh at Kid Flash, who groaned and tried to leave.
"Seriously, though," their host snickered as he let them in. "Great costumes. I coulda sworn they were the real ones."
"Thanks," Robin said quickly. "Come on, Titans."
"Oh, that's good," the host laughed. "But maybe 'Robin' should say that!"
Speedy grinned diabolically, a light bulb going off in his head, and said, "Yeah, step down, Gill Head! Let's go, Titans!"
Robin tried not to growl as they entered the main party room.
Wonder Girl commented to Kid Flash as they hung around the punch bowl, "Your pants feel funny."
"They do? Oh… I hope that's not the pair I dropped that itching powder in…"
Her eyes widened for a moment before they narrowed in a death glare.
"When we get back to the Lair," she told him, "you are, as they say, burnt toast."
Kid Flash smiled nervously and side-stepped away from the angry Amazon. Robin checked his watch. It was one minute past eight. Only two minutes left until the kidnapping.
"Stay on your toes guys," Robin whispered.
"Hey, I'm Robin," Speedy protested angrily. "Shouldn't I give the orders?"
"No. And shut up."
Getting further into his role, Speedy glowered, "You're gonna owe me major push-ups for that, Fish Face."
Aqualad looked at him curiously.
"Not you, Speedy," clarified the real Speedy. "I've always kinda liked you."
Robin rolled his eyes. He scanned the room, looking for both the soon-to-be kidnapping victim and the kidnapper. As far as he could tell, it was just a bunch of teenagers and a couple of adult chaperons.
Checking his watch again, Robin saw that it was now three past eight. Any second now, the lights would go out and…
The lights went out. Several of the other guests screamed and some laughed, thinking that this was just part of the celebration. Robin, who had been smart enough to insert a tiny 'night vision' device into his mask, looked around for anybody who didn't seem to belong there.
Poison Ivy! he thought as he spotted the plant-obsessed villain walking around the room silently. But who—?
He stepped forward to catch her in the act, but slipped on some punch that some saphead (probably Kid Flash) had spilled. Unable to find anything to steady himself with, Robin fell to the floor, blacking himself out instantly. Just his luck.
He didn't hear Speedy yelling as Poison Ivy yanked him out of the room.
The lights flickered back on a moment later and everyone gasped when they saw poor Robin (a.k.a. 'Aqualad') lying unconscious on the floor.
"Robbie!" Wonder Girl screamed as Kid Flash and Aqualad knelt or squatted down to examine their leader.
Observing the punch on the floor, Aqualad said nervously, "I-I guess he slipped and hit his head. I think he'll be alright once he comes around."
Kid Flash, panicking slightly, exclaimed, "What if he doesn't?! Then-we'll-be-doomed-oh-this-is-horrible-and-Speedy—where's-Speedy-is-he-blacked-out-behind-the-sofa?"
Robin moaned and, rubbing his head painfully, sat up slowly.
"Are you alright?" Wonder Girl and Aqualad chorused.
Robin stood up and looked around.
"She kidnapped Speedy!" Robin shouted. "Poison Ivy kidnapped Speedy!"
"Who?" asked Wonder Girl.
"Local villain; you wouldn't know her. We can't just stand here—let's find them!"
And so the Titans left, leaving behind a very befuddled group of party guests.
Meanwhile, in Poison Ivy's evil lair two miles out of Gotham City, Speedy was being tied to—you guessed it—a chair!
"You won't get away with this!" Speedy proclaimed.
Looking exasperated, Poison Ivy demanded, "Why do you guys always have to say that?"
"It's part of the job requirement," shrugged Speedy. "I feel obligated. Hey, does that have to be so tight? You're cutting off my circulation."
Poison Ivy tightened the ropes.
"Ye-OW! Heh… okay, I withdraw the question."
"You won't be so cocky when I get through with you," Poison Ivy said. "Just wait'll your senior partner gets here. I'll tell him what a bad hostage you were. Then we'll have some fun, Wonder Boy!"
"Wo—WHAT?! I'm not Robin! Do I look like Robin to you?"
Poison Ivy nodded, "Yes."
"Oh. Right. But I'm not him! Why would I wanna be that geek?"
"Nice try," Poison Ivy sneered. "But it's not gonna work!"
"But… I'm… HEEEELP!!!"
At the Titans' Lair, our friends were busily trying to find a way to track down Speedy when the phone began ringing.
Robin picked it up and roared, "Yeah, what?! Can you make it snappy, here, we're tryin' to find Speedy and talking to you ain't helping any!"
"Watch your grammar," the person on the other end of the line said dryly.
"Oh. Batman. Heh-heh. …Hi?"
"Now I know why Wonder Girl handles public relations," muttered the Dark Knight. "And what was that about finding Speedy? Did he get lost following some 'cute' girl?"
"No, an evil girl kidnapped him," Robin explained, rubbing his temple. He was so grounded for this. "Poison Ivy."
"He didn't happen to be dressed like you, did he?"
"He was. How'd you—? Scratch that. I don't think I want to know."
"I'll tell you anyway. I just received a note from Poison Ivy, saying that she's holding you hostage until I have a little talk with her."
"When, where, why?" Robin asked quickly.
"I'm not going to tell you."
"You're not? Why not?"
"I don't want her to see you and get any bright ideas about taking another hostage."
"But—I'm—that's not fair, Batman, Speedy's my friend and I want to help. We all want to help."
The line went dead.
"He hung up," Robin murmured.
He slammed the phone down.
"You aren't getting rid of us that easily," Robin told the silent phone. "Wonder Girl! Twinkletoes! Gill Head! We're going on a little trip. I think I have an idea…"
A short while later, Batman was approaching the abandoned warehouse that Poison Ivy was currently using as her hideout. Unbeknownst to him, however, he had four very young stalkers.
"Are you sure this is going to work?" Wonder Girl hissed to Robin.
"At least I'm out of Wonder Chick's costume," Kid Flash said, grinning slightly in relief.
"Trust me, it'll work," Robin insisted, ignoring Kid Flash's comment. "Now hurry up! We're losing sight of the Batmobile. Good thing he isn't going too fast."
"…I'm not Robin… I'm not Robin… I'm not Robin…" Speedy chanted. Maybe if he said it enough, she'd start believing it. So far the only thing it was accomplishing, however, was annoying her. And that wasn't good.
"Will you shut up?" Poison Ivy snapped.
"…I'm not Robin… No… I'm not Robin…"
She slammed her fist on the desk and demanded, "Do you want to be eaten by a Venus Fly Trap?"
"…No… I'm still not Robin… I'm—"
"Dead meat! At least you would be if I didn't need you! And where's Batman?"
Reassured by his immunity, Speedy continued, "…I don't know… I'm not Robin… I'm not Robin…"
She suddenly smiled. Grabbing a cloth from the table, she walked up behind him.
"…I'm not Robin—mph!"
Speedy fumed silently as she gagged him.
"That oughtta keep you quiet, you little—oh, Batman! So nice of you to show up! At last…"
"Mm mm mmm mm!" Speedy mumbled frantically.
"He must be a real joy around the Batcave. Now, down to business. I suppose you're wondering why I called you here today."
"Get to the point, Poison Ivy," Batman said coldly.
"I just want to make an exchange, that's all. Your labor for his life."
"MMMM!" Speedy tried to yell. "Mm! Mm mm mmmmmmmmm!"
"Shut up, brat! Now, here's what I was planning," Poison Ivy smiled at Batman. "I've been noticing for a long time now that Halloween is not a safe day for my plants to be around. My pumpkins, to be specific. Jack-O-Lanterns… pies… yech! If you help me put an end to this disgraceful slaughter, then I'll let Robin go flying, unharmed, back to his nest. If not… let's just say that his goose will be cooked. Any questions? Comments?"
Robin jumped out of the shadows, landing a few feet in front of Poison Ivy.
"Yeah!" he shouted. "And you've got the wrong bird!"
"Robin," Batman said through gritted teeth. "Go back home now."
"What?!" exclaimed Poison Ivy. "What—how—?"
"Hey, over here!"
Everyone turned to look at another Robin, who grinned, a little like Kid Flash.
Poison Ivy spun around as someone tapped her on the shoulder. Another Robin!
"That makes—four?" she wondered dazedly.
Still another Robin walked through the warehouse door.
"One, two, three—FIVE?!"
"You skipped four!" one of the Robins, speaking in an unusually girlish voice, said. This Robin took out a lasso and quickly tied up Poison Ivy.
Batman, meanwhile, could do nothing but stare and try to puzzle out which one was the real Robin. Not the one with the lasso, apparently. Not the one in the chair, either.
Deciding to put a quick end to his confusion, Batman called, "Robin!"
Smiling at one another, three other Robins asked, "Yes?"
"You are in it deep, young man, when we get home!"
The one who gulped was the real Robin.
"GROUNDED?! But I saved Speedy and stopped Poison Ivy! Why am I grounded?!"
"Disobeying orders and inspiring mutiny among the Titans," Batman growled, turning the Batmobile into the Batcave. "Out. Straight to bed."
Robin changed quickly and stormed upstairs.
"Grounded?" Dick grumbled to himself. "After all I put up with, I oughtta get a medal! No, make that a dozen medals! Who does he think he is, anyway? He's just a nut who dresses up like a bat every night and runs around beating people up in his underwear!"
He yanked down the covers and climbed into bed.
"I'll show him… somehow! He can't push me around!" Slumping down, he sighed, "Oh, yes, he can."
The next morning, Dick found a mysterious package sitting in front of his bedroom door. It was labeled simply 'Leader-man'.
Picking up the box, which was obviously from the Titans, Dick sat down on his bed and opened it. Inside was a bunch of candy, a couple of deflated balloons with pumpkin motifs, and a note which read:
"HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Spooky wishes from your evil cohorts,
Kid Flash Wonder Girl Aqualad Speedy
P.S. Thanks… for nothing or everything, I don't know – Speedy"
Dick smiled. Maybe this wouldn't be such a miserable Halloween, after all.