Disclaimers: These guys aren't mine, they don't belong to me, worst luck, so don't bother me.
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"Look, son, I know who you are—we all do, but I need parental permission before I can do anything. If you give me the number I'll call and then we'll take care of you, get you something for the pain." Dr. James Jensen, Jim to his friends, was an ER doctor and he loved his work, loved the challenge, the idea that every shift was different, that he could save lives and all of that but med school didn't even begin to prepare him for this. Robin—frigging Robin was sitting in cubicle, arguing that he could be treated without written permission or an insurance card. Fat chance. The kid was well enough to argue, he wasn't hurt that badly. Period. He could wait until someone could give real permission or Jim's ass would be in a sling with the powers that be.
"But no one's home." The boy's face was white, his mouth pinched with pain. He knew the law and the regs the doctors were going by, but c'mon…it's not like he was some kid who was hurt on the playground. Not really, anyway.
"If you were at death's door I could assume permission but this isn't a life or limb threatening situation so it's not easy. I'll do it if I have to, but…"
"…You'd rather not. I get it. Look," Robin paused for a second, getting his breath back, he was alone in the pediatric ER of some local hospital with just the doctor and a nurse. He pitched his voice so it wouldn't carry beyond the examining room, "My parents are dead and my guardian is out of the country for a few days. I don't know where he is right now and my communicator isn't working so he's either turned it off because he's in the middle of something major or my battery is dead again. You sure you can't…?" The boy had been filling in on a stakeout Batman had started about a week ago but then had to abandon when Bruce Wayne was called to an emergency business meeting with his German Board of Directors. Joker was suspected of planning something, maybe testing a new weapon he'd developed and they wanted to make sure to keep an eye on it. After a long night of nothing happening at the surveillance site, Robin headed back to the manor alone, but then his motorcycle skidded on a graveled spot on the road, sending the boy head over heels and handlebars. He'd landed in a roadside swamp with a dislocated shoulder, a possible concussion and unknown other injuries. Normally Alfred would have been there to take any calls or tend to any problems, but the man had gotten a call from Leslie inviting him to a new art exhibit in Gotham yesterday and it seemed like the date was running through breakfast, as sometimes happened. Robin wouldn't call to disturb him if he had a gun to his head. There were limits, after all. With any luck Alf would get lucky and no one would see him before Monday morning, if then. It wasn't like he hadn't earned some fun, right?
"I can assume permission and treat you, yes, but then I'm opening the hospital—and myself up for a lawsuit. You're not a Jehovah's Witness or Christian Scientist or anything along those lines, are you?"
"No. Lapsed Catholic. And no one is going to sue you, I promise. I'll sign anything you want about that…"
"How old are you, son? Exactly."
"Fifteen." Please don't ask me why I was driving a motorcycle when I'm underage. Pleasepleaseplease. Bruce would kill him.
"You're a minor, Robin. I'm sorry but it wouldn't mean anything, it would never stand up in court." The doctor wasn't convinced. "You want me to call in a priest?"
"No, that's okay." Robin looked like he'd just made a decision. "Look, is there a phone I could use? I think I may be able to get hold of someone who can give you permission to treat me and then…" He stopped, going white, as another pain spasm went through him with his movement off the table. He knew his shoulder was bad, maybe needing surgery. It had been relocated, snapped back into position but it wasn't quite right and was hurting like a bitch.
The doctor handed Robin his own cell phone but the boy hesitated. "The number is a secure line and it's top secret. I can't use this."
The doctor sighed in some exasperation—didn't this kid care that he was in a hospital, in pain? What the hell kind of training—or brainwashing had he been subjected to? "I'll delete the number as soon as you're done, okay? Make the call." If word got out that the boy were kept waiting because of protocol or legalities, in pain, injured, there would be hell to pay in the press. Aside from the simple facts, Robin was world famous, beloved, the fantasy heartthrob of countless teenagers and the poor waif every mother and grandmother in the world wanted to take care of. It would be a royal mess. But if, on the other hand, they went ahead with treatment and something went wrong or his guardian—Batman? Probably—didn't approve, there'd be hell to pay anyway. The lawsuit could close the place down and shut off his career at the same time.
Looking pale and exhausted, the boy punched in a series of numbers, waiting a short moment while it was answered on the other end. "Hi, it's me. Hey, I'm really sorry to bother you, and I'm okay, but could you maybe come here and sign a release for me?…In a hospital…No, I'm okay, I just need some basic treatment…No. He's in Europe…He's busy and I can't …Please? It won't take long…I'm not sure, hang on." He looked over at the doctor. "Excuse me, what's the name of this hospital? Thanks. I'm in St. Joseph's in…okay, great. Thanks." Robin ended the call and handed the phone back to the doctor, watching as he deleted the number from the memory and ignoring the nurses who were peeking through the privacy curtains at the celebrity patient. If things ran true to form, he'd be asked to sign a few autographs before he was allowed to leave. "He'll be here in a minute."
"A friend who can sign a permission form." The startled, excited voices on the other side of the curtain were a dead giveaway. "He's here." Less than thirty seconds had passed since Robin had ended the call.
The doctor looked up as a hand pulled the curtain opened enough for a large man to come in. "I'm sorry to interrupt, doctor, but I think I can sign any permission forms you may need."
"S-s-s-superman. Of course! Right away. I-I-I'll get them for you."
"Thanks for coming, Kal."
"You had a run in with the road, did you?" He gave the boy a small smile, reassuring him while he stared intently at his shoulder and head. He scrawled his signature across the bottom of a permission form a nurse handed him then almost frowning and clearly annoyed he looked at the now cowed doctor. "Why wasn't he treated as soon as he was brought I here?"
"The legalities…we couldn't assume…"
"He has a dislocated shoulder, a fractured clavicle and a depression concussion which, so far, isn't bleeding into his brain. I believe that the law would have allowed you to assume permission in a case like this. Now, will you treat him or would you prefer I do it myself? I am, I assure you, medically qualified."
"Kal? Could you do it? I mean, would you mind?" The boy looked like he was about to pass out, dead white and suddenly clammy and clearly wasn't thrilled about being treated by this hospital's staff—or at least not the parts he'd met so far. Superman gently eased him down to lie on the gurney.
"Of course, and you're going to be just fine. Doctor? Is that a problem? My credentials can be verified with the AMA."
Like the doctor was about to take responsibility for this—not in this lifetime. "I'll, I'll, I mean I'll have to make a call about this."
"Do it quickly, if you don't mind. I'd like to get Robin comfortable and stabilized as soon as possible." He didn't have to add, 'you idiot', but it was hanging in the air. With Superman, all six feet and four inches of muscles standing there, cape gently waving as people walked back and forth, the call was made to the head of the hospital in record time. Robin was given a sedative and wheeled into the operating room to correctly reset his shoulder and tape his collarbone. They could probably have been attended to in the ER, but, under the circumstances, erring on the side of overkill seemed like a good idea.
Superman was as skilled a doctor as anyone in the hospital had even seen, which surprised no one. Of course he was, he was Superman. During the twenty minutes Robin was in the OR the ER received eleven calls from members of both the JLA and the Teen Titans, every single caller offering to do anything they could to help Robin. They offered to donate blood, cover any expenses, bring him food, books, flowers, run interference with the media as soon as the story got out—and they all knew it would get out. All of the calls were logged, messages taken and given to Superman as soon as Robin was taken to Recovery. The young candy striper drawing the short straw was visibly shaking as she touched his elbow to get his attention.
"Sir? Superman? Um, sir? These came in for you. I've no idea how anyone found out, but you've been getting calls and so has Robin. Lots of calls…"
He glanced at the pink 'while you were out' slips of paper. Of course everyone called and of course everyone would know about this. Rob may not like it, but whenever Batman was otherwise engaged, the entire JLA made a point of looking after him and it wasn't just out of any sense of duty. The boy was genuinely well liked, respected and a member of the club, even if he was young enough to be the son of almost each of the Leaguers. And most of the Titans had mentors in the JLA so they knew almost as soon as the adults did.
"Thank you, but if anyone else calls, please just tell them that I have the situation under control and will take care of Robin. Now, if it's all right, I expect that he will be ready to discharge later today, so long as he's taken to a facility where he can be nursed adequately." The original doctor nodded mutely; he was out ranked and he knew it. "If you'll excuse me for a few minutes, I have to make sure everything is ready for him but I'll be back to check on him. If you need me…"
"If we need you—what?"
"Never mind. I'll know."
Note: In some ancient canon story Superman was granted his MD for some reason. I forget why, but he was.
"Jim, for the love of God, how you be so bone-headed about this? The kid was in costume, he had a Titan ID card, he was clearly who he said he was and you still let him sit there—lay there—on a damn gurney, in pain no less, while you spouted rules and regs. Jesus! You have any idea how this is going to play if the press get a hold of it? If? Hell, when they get a hold of it!"
"Bill…c'mon, he's a minor f'Chrissakes…"
"Who happens to be world famous and—if nothing else and age notwithstanding—is a fully qualified police officer and, as such—as you well know—gets priority treatment. Christ, Jim!"
"But if we make exceptions just because he's…"
"We've been fielding calls since he arrived from the whole damn Justice League, the Teen Titans, Interpol, the Gotham PD. Name it and they've called. It seems that 'minor' is a major player and you let him twiddle his thumbs in the ER until he—he!—had to call in Superman, no less to give permission to treat him. Christ!"
"Bill, be reasonable. He's fifteen years old and…"
"You have your review coming up next month, don't you?"
"Um, yeah, but…"
A couple hours later Robin was out of recovery and had been moved to a private room in the back of the hospital to try to keep him from the press who had somehow heard about his being a patient and were camped in front of the place. The nurses were impressed by his good manners despite everything he'd been through. The candy stripers were hanging around the fourth floor, hoping they might be able to get him a magazine or a bowl of ice cream or something, giggling about how cute he was and how hot his bod was. Plus there was the added thrill of answering the phone and maybe getting Flash or Aquaman or Wonder Woman or Speedy on the other end, asking for a progress update. This was, hands down, the most exciting thing that had ever happened here.
"Excuse me, I don't want to bother anyone, but is there any way to find out what happened to my bike?"
"It's an old Harley I've been fixing up; I was hoping someone might have towed it somewhere or something. I mean, I hope it's not still lying in the mud."
"Just let me check, okay?" The volunteer, a girl about Robin's age was back in about ten minutes. "The cops said that it's been taken to the local fire station to make sure nothing more happens to it or it doesn't get stripped or stolen or something. It's in the back of the bays next to one of the engines."
"Thanks, they didn't happen to mention how badly banged up it was, did they?" The bike had belonged to his father and was one the few tangible things he had left. Robin had been working on getting it back in pristine condition for about two years now and it was almost done—and now this. In all truth, Rob was more upset about the bike than about being hurt himself. He knew he'd be okay soon enough, but the bike; there was no way to replace it as far as he was concerned. Damnit. "Has anyone said anything about how long I have to stay here?"
"Not officially but I think Superman said something about you being moved later today if you're okay enough. I don't know how bad your motorcycle is, but I could maybe call my brother—he's a volunteer fireman and maybe ask him if you want." A thought obviously struck her. "Oh man—he's supposed to be visiting his girlfriend today—sorry. I can ask him when he gets back, if you want." He looked upset at that. "Um, my name is Amy. You're really Robin?" Lame, Aim, really, really lame and she wanted to fall through the floor, but he didn't laugh or anything.
He nodded. "That's not my real name, it's just what I go by to protect my…"
"Secret identity. I know. I read that big article that came out in People about you a few weeks ago. " Robin looked a bit pained at that. "…I guess you didn't like it, huh? They were really complimentary to you, though. I mean they said really nice things about you—not like Speedy. They said he's a druggie." She took a breath, gathering her nerve. "Is he?"
Robin looked a little pissed and gave her a hard look. "I don't talk about my friends, but nothing in that article was authorized by any of us and none of us, I mean none of the Titans were interviewed or anything. Most of it was made up."
"Oh…I guess that must happen a lot, huh?" He nodded. "That sucks." Robin gave a small smile at that—yes, it did.
There was a quiet knock. "Am I interrupting?" Superman was standing in the doorway.
"Kal! No, I mean, come in. Please." Save me. The Amy looked like she was about to melt through the floor—Robin and now Superman in the same day? Whoa…
"If you're ready to go, you've been released to my care; I was going to fly you to where you'll be recovering, if that's okay with you." Robin looked like he was ready to jump out the window if it would get him away from this place a nanosecond faster. His arm was in a sling to immobilize his shoulder, he still had a killer headache and he was still unsteady on his feet, but he'd have shot off a jump line if it would have done the trick. "Come on. I've got you" Kal picked him up, flying him carefully through the opened window.
"I can't believe the Bat did this again...f'Chrissakes, he's the boy's legal guardian—isn't he supposed to have some level of responsibility to the kid? I mean, Jesus!"
"Ollie, lighten up—you the pot or the kettle this morning? Besides, you know Clark is taking care of Robin, the kid is fine."
Despite the conversation, both Green Lantern and Green Arrow were taken aback that Dick was on his own again. Okay, he was fifteen and as old and mature a teenager as you'd ever find, but still…This wouldn't have happened if Alfred was around and what was that about, come to think of it? Alf was more protective of Robbie than he was of his damn rose garden or the Wayne family silver and that was going some. The kid got a splinter and Alfred was quietly and calmly doing whatever was needed to make sure the young master was as right as rain in two shakes of a lamb's tail and all of that. And here he was on his own on some kind of stakeout or patrol, with his guardians out of the country, he gets hurt and is left to manage his own treatment in some podunk ER till finally Supes had to step in? The phrase 'hell to pay' came to both their minds, but was left unspoken. For once. This wasn't over, though and you could feel the resentment in the JLA headquarters festering against Mr. Dark and Mysterious. Everyone liked Robin, credited him with humanizing the Bat and would be extremely put out if anything serious happened to the kid. This wasn't over and Bruce would have some major explanations to make—and they'd better be damn good ones. Just then Wonder came in, looking furious and seizing on the men; "Well, what do you two know about this? If that man left that child alone again I'm personally going to let him know what I think of his parenting skills and it's not going to be pretty."
"Now you're sure that you don't mind? I can take care of him at my place, I just thought he'd have a better time here with Kara…"
Edna Danvers smiled, "Of course I don't mind and neither will Fred and, gracious! Linda will be thrilled when she gets home. You know those get along like a house on fire. Now you just scoot and don't worry about a thing, all right?"
"If you're absolutely sure…"
"Really, Kal. I just said he's welcomed here and I'm sure you have things you should be doing. If you're so worried, stop back to check on him. Right, Robin?"
The boy was settled in the guestroom, comfortable and warm. "I'll be fine, Clark, c'mon, you know I will. But could you…" He hesitated.
"Could I what?" Kal would do anything for him and they all knew it.
"My Dad's bike. Could you maybe take it back home so it's safe? And I know it's a pain, but could you maybe get me some clean clothes from my room? The ones I was wearing are pretty messed up." Dick felt sort of guilty asking Superman to be his errand boy, but there wasn't anyone else to do it.
"Do you have any idea when Alfred will be back?" Kal was probably trying to find out how long Dick would be his responsibility, much as he really could let it go.
"Late Sunday? Early Monday? Something like that and I think Batman will be home like maybe Wednesday. I spoke to him last night and he said something about the talks getting bogged down."
Kal nodded. "Edna? I'll bring back his clothes, but if there's anything you need or any problems, you know how to contact me." And he was gone through the window too fast for anyone to see the blur. She made a quick call to her husband to let him now they had a houseguest again. She didn't think he'd mind and she was right. They were both fond of the boy and he was always welcome.
"Now, Robin, sweetie, is there anything you need? Are you hungry? Would you like a nap?"
"Food? And I'll come down—honest, I'm not sick or anything, just a little sore. I'm fine and I have some pain killers the doctor gave me if it's a problem." He gave her that sweet smile she secretly thought made him look like a much more innocent version of himself. "Not like last time. This go around I'm conscious, just a little stiff." When he teased like that she could imagine that he was younger than he really was—not chronologically, but in terms of what he'd seen and done, like he was a Cub Scout or a normal teenager. He wasn't, but she could pretend that his gymnastics weren't used to dodge bullets when he looked like that.
( Robin visited the Danvers in Houseguest)
Half an hour later he'd finished the sandwich Edna gave him, swallowed his milk—all of it one-handed— and called Roy Harper to tell him what happened and where he was in case anyone needed him for anything. Just as Robin—as the Danvers always called him, even years later after he'd abandoned the name—was about to go out back to sit in the afternoon sun he heard voices from the living room. Fred Danvers was home, obviously called by Edna and she sounded pissed. Okay, Edna wouldn't be pissed, but she was seriously annoyed.
"I swear, if I ever get my hands on that man I'll wring his neck! Leaving that child alone again after what happened last year and that helper, that retainer or uncle or whatever he is, that Alfred is out Tomcatting while the child is supposed to be under his care. I don't know why the authorities haven't removed that boy from wherever it is he's living, I really don't. Good Lord—the example that's being set! It sets my teeth on edge, it absolutely does."
"Edna, you know he seems happy and Kal wouldn't let him stay there—none of the Justice League would if he was in any real danger or being neglected or abused in any way." Before she could get on a real roll, here was a knock at the front. A teenaged boy, red haired and almost as well built as Robin, was standing there wearing standard jeans and a tee shirt. He could have been anyone, but they knew better.
"Mr. Danvers? I'm sorry to bother you, but I'm a friend of Robin's and I just wanted to make sure he's okay. May I see him?" They had some idea whom he might be.
"How on earth did you know…?"
"He called me and another friend sort of gave me a lift. Is it all right if I see him? Oh, sorry, most people call me Speedy when I'm in costume." He wasn't, but he was another one with a secret identity. The Danver's were getting used to the concept.
"…Of course, come in—Speedy. Would you like anything?" Just then Robin came out from the kitchen doorway, arm in a sling, smiling at his friend.
Speedy dismissed his hosts with a reasonably polite, "I'm good, thanks." The moment he saw Robin he started laughing. "Dude, you're so totally lame. Leave you alone for three minutes and you end up in a damn ER. Pathetic!"
"Shut up. Mr. Danvers, ignore him, we all do." Fred was about to chastise them on their language but Robin was smiling and happy. It looked like even Edna was going to let it go just this once, but that wouldn't hold. They'd have to watch it soon if they were going to be in the house. The boys settled into the study with the door ajar, Fred went back to work and Edna decided to finish the laundry she'd started and begin dinner while everything seemed quiet, aside from the laughter she could hear. She could hear the talk as she peeled the potatoes.
"Oh, Kal picked up your bike and took it back to the Manor. I asked, he said it wasn't that badly messed up, just some paint and I think he said something about one of the turn signals being smashed when it went over."
"That's not too bad. Did anyone else say anything?"
Speedy seemed t pause for a second. "Anyone else? Like who?"
"The JLA. You know they're already mad at the Bat because of the last time and then when he…you know."
"When he told the all to stuff it at the last meeting? Yeah, Arrow was on a tear about that one—hey, you okay? Rob?" The answer, if there was one, was too low to hear. Edna went back to see what happened and found Robin white as a sheet, sprawled in the easy chair he'd been sitting in. Speedy was holding him and was the only reason the boy wasn't on the floor.
Speedy, busy taking Robin's pulse and checking his breathing and checking his pupils didn't even bother to look up. "We were talking and he went limp on me. It's probably light shock from the accident and then the surgery. Can you help me lay him out on the couch?" They did so.
"Should I call Kal?" Edna stopped and wondered why she was asking a kid—maybe because he was a Titan? Maybe because he was one of Robin's friends? Whatever the reason, this was ridiculous and she took the communicator out of her apron pocket.
Robin was coming to again, trying to sit up as Speedy held him down gently but firmly. "I think he'll be okay if he just rests. He's had a busy day." That last was said with some humor. "Robbie? You feeling any better?"
"…Yeah…just give me a minute."
"You stay here, I'm going to get you a blanket. Stay—okay?" Speedy got up, gesturing for Edna to come with him into the hallway, closing the door gently behind him. "He's all right, he's just overdoing, I think. He told me he had surgery today and he's sitting around talking? He should be in bed." It was a small reprimand and Edna knew it, just as he knew the boy was right. She pulled a blanket and pillow out of the closet and handed them over. She heard quiet talking for a moment before he came back out, again closing the door behind him. "He's going to sleep." The boy looked around the house, unsure if he should stay or go. Probably having other things to do, but clearly not wanting to leave his friend.
"Speedy? Would you stay, please? I think Robin would feel better if you were here when he wakes up—I mean if you don't have something you should be doing."
"It doesn't mater, I owe him."
"I know you're friends, but I'm sure he'd understand if you have to…"
"I owe him." Period. "Is Linda supposed to be home anytime soon? We sort of know each other, I mean we've met a couple of times, but it's not like we're best buds or anything. She might not be thrilled to see me." Edna wondered what he'd done to annoy her daughter but decided that she'd probably find out sooner or later.
"She had a field trip today but I expect her for dinner. Is that going to be a problem, Speedy? Because if it is maybe you should…"
"Nah, it's cool." He gave her a grin that would have melted wax, good-natured and with a small leer in it as well. Well, Linda could handle the likes of this one easily enough.
"Are you sure that Robin will be all right alone in there? I could call a doctor to check on him if you think…"
"Robbie's cool. Besides, Kal is going to stop by; I got a call from Green Arrow and as soon as they finish up the JLA meeting he's going to head on over."
Edna was still getting used to this sort of thing but it was getting easier for her. Slowly. "Well, leave the study door ajar so we can hear if he wakes up and then come on into the kitchen and keep me company while I finish getting dinner ready. A minute later she'd handed him the makings for a salad and told him to have at it while she dealt with the meatloaf. "So, if you don't mind my asking you about this—this is the second time that child has been stranded her while no one was home. Is this considered acceptable for you youngsters? I know you're all accomplished but you're still children and I know I'd be sick with worry if a child of mine were…and I'd never leave a young boy like Robin to fend for himself wile I was out gallivanting around the …well, I just wouldn't, that's all."
Speedy managed not to laugh out loud at Robin being called a child and youngster and he knew Robbie wouldn't be all that thrilled, either. "I guess you probably know who his guardian is?" She nodded. "Well, he's not exactly warm and fuzzy, y'know? Rob's used to it and he does fine by himself. I mean…" He paused, reluctant to go on but he wanted her to understand that Robin could cope with more than most of the adults on the planet. "Look, Rob isn't a normal kid, he never has been. He started working when he was like three or four years old and he kept that up until his parents were killed."
"His parents were killed? How awful! But he seems so happy when I see him." She had her hand up to her mouth to cover her horror at discovering Robin had no parents, that poor child. But then it seemed like broken homes were common among the crowd he seemed to travel with, the poor dear.
"He usually is happy but yeah, his parents are dead—why else would he have a guardian, y'know? They were murdered in front of him when he was like eight and then the Bat took him in. He's been doing the Batman and Robin thing since he was like nine or something and then he founded and leads the Titans. Then a few months ago he…" Speedy stopped talking for a second before going on quickly, his eyes focused on the tomatoes he was chopping. "Then he found out I was an addict and he made me get straight. He stayed with me, cleaned up after me, didn't leave until I was clean and then he went with me to the shrinks and the doctors to make sure I stayed clean. He makes me take drug tests to make sure I stay off the junk, he still does that when he thinks I may be backsliding—he did this when he was fifteen years old and he saved my frigging life because no one else gave a rat's ass." He looked up at her. "There's a lot more he's dealt with but you get the idea. He's my best friend, probably the best friend I'll ever have and I owe him."
Edna stared at the boy. She'd known that Robin's life hadn't been easy but she'd had no idea that he'd been through…well, she simply didn't know. No wonder Kal and the others kept an eye on him and looked after him the way they did. But to now have this boy, Speedy, standing in her kitchen admitting to having a drug problem and saying how that sweet child sleeping in the next room saved him, well…
"But how can you all let him stay with"—she almost stumbled over the name—"with Batman when he's obviously neglected and ignored there?"
"Yeah, well that's the thing. Rob doesn't see it that way and neither does the Bat. I couldn't do it, but it works for them, God knows how but it does. Besides, Rob can take care of himself; don't mistake that. He's a nice guy and all that but he's the toughest person I know. I guess maybe he's had to be."
Edna was starting to believe that, he'd have to be to thrive the way he managed with his life the way it was.
"What are you doing here?" Linda was home from school, the field trip over and not thrilled to have one of the people she liked least on several planets in front of her.
"Always good to see you, too, darlin'"
Edna wasn't in the mood for teenaged tantrums. "Linda, behave please and be polite. Robin was hurt last night and he's sleeping in the study right now, Kal brought him over. Speedy came by to make sure he's all right."
Linda looked immediately upset. "Rob's hurt? How badly?" She was looking intently at the kitchen wall, looking through it to the boy asleep on the couch. He seemed to just be sleeping normally but Robin taking a nap in the middle of the day? Never if he wasn't too hurt or sick to stand. She knew him better than that. "What happened?"
"He dumped his bike, dislocated his shoulder and picked up some road rash. He'll be okay—he's sore, but he'll be fine in a week or two." Speedy finished with the tomatoes and started on the cukes. "The hospital didn't want to treat him because the Bat wasn't around to approve treatment so Kal stepped in and did the surgery to fix his shoulder himself then brought him here. Anything else you want to know?" His attitude was thick, even for him.
Linda looked at her mother. "He's not staying, is he?"
"I said behave, both of you. Now right now my concern is that Robin gets the care and the quiet that he needs, do you both understand me? Linda—why don't you make up the guestroom for Robin and Speedy? If you're staying you'll have to be on a couch if that's all right with you. I'm afraid that it's all we have."
Speedy knew when he wasn't wanted, not that it usually bothered him. "I'll be going home; some of us take our responsibilities seriously." That was accompanied by a pointed look at Linda who retorted with a look of annoyed disdain.
Green Arrow would be expecting him to patrol tonight and Speedy didn't want to give him any ore ammunition to snark at the Bat with. If he knew what had gone down today there'd be no living with him and the Bat would probably take his head off at the first snarky remark—and he just knew Ollie would be making them every chance he got. It wouldn't be pretty so for Rob's sake he'd try to diffuse the mess before it could start.
With a hug for Edna, a goodbye to Fred and an 'always a pleasure, Superbabe' he left.'
You could have been a little nicer to him, sweetheart."
This was the first indication Edna—or probably any outsider—had of superheroes not getting along, of having personality clashed and it was something of a revelation. They always seemed to present such a united front whenever you saw them working together or talking to the press. She wondered if there were more clashes or people who simply refused to work together. In fact, now that she thought of it…
They both heard the loud thud and groan at the same time. Rushing into the study the Danvers saw Robin on the floor, probably the result of simply rolling over in his sleep. His face was white as a sheet and he was in obvious agony.
"Fred, get that bottle of pain killer Kal left. Linda, look and see if his shoulder is reinjured."
"That won't be necessary." The three family members all looked behind them at the same time. Batman was standing there, impassive with Robin staring at him. "Thank you for your help, but I'll take him from here." His eyes shifted to the boy as Linda helped him back up to sit on the edge of the couch. He seemed to be close to passing out, likely from pain and leaned, slumped heavily against the high armrest.
If Edna and Fred thought that dealing with Kal, with Superman was intimidating, this man brought the idea to an entirely new level. No one, however, considered that Edna was fed up with Batman's version of parental concern.
"You're going to take him from here? Over my dead body, you're going to take him! You go jaunting off on whatever your priority was this time, you leave this child alone to fend for himself, to be forced to call in Kal to rescue him from some idiot ER doctor when he's injured and alone. You don't even notice that his friends are scrambling to look after him or that the Titans were worried to death and sent a member to make sure he was being taken care of properly. You don't answer your phone or respond to messages, no one knows when on earth you're going to deign to acknowledge that this poor thing is hurt and in pain and then you waltz in here like a school principal and inform us—inform us in our own home! That you'll take it from here? I really don't think that's a good idea, young man!"
She finally wound down, everyone staring at her and Edna having the feeling that she now knew how Joan of Arc felt on occasion. Batman was completely silent, his breathing a bit heightened—in and of itself a revelation as to how hard she'd hit him with her tirade.
"Um, Mrs. Danvers? I think I can go home now. Honest." Robin looked at Batman. "Is Alfred back yet?" There was an almost imperceptible nod. "It'll be okay." He made an effort to stand, failing, still out of breath and recovering from the fall onto his injured shoulder. He caught his breath for a couple of minutes with everyone watching him. He turned to Edna. "Maybe, if it's all right with you, maybe I could stay here for a day or two?"
"Of course you may, you know you're always welcome here, sweetheart."
He looked up at Batman who gave a curt nod and disappeared. Robin's face was a combination of relief, pain and something close to wistfullness.
"Robin, honey, do you think you could manage some food if you tried? Perhaps you could eat upstairs if you'd like, I could bring you up a tray."
"I'd rather eat with all of you, if that's all right."
Half an hour later they were around the kitchen table, Robin's food precut for him, his arm in a sling to immobilize it and him picking at his dinner. "Will Batman be angry that you didn't go back with him?" Fred was concerned that there could be repercussions from this.
"He'll get over it. Besides, he's busy and I'd just be a drag to him now. If I'm hurt I'm dead weight." He coughed, recovering quickly. "And Kara? Speedy isn't that bad if you give him a chance."
"If I may voice an opinion Sir, I'm surprised that you permitted the young Master to remain in the care of the Danvers. I realize that he enjoys their company but if he's injured I would think you'd want him where he can be carefully looked after for his full recovery."
"I think that staying with them right now is exactly what he may need for is full recovery, Alfred." He put the cowl on and headed over to the Batmobile; it seemed that he'd be patrolling alone for a week or so.
As the car left Alfred started up the stairs to the Manor, pausing to say aloud "Thank you, Master Superman. I believe the talk you had with Master Batman this afternoon may have done the trick in allowing him to see things in the proper perspective. Master Robin should heal well where he is."