Summary: Rachel (Raven) Roth is a young girl in Gothem City. School days suck for her, and home has never been safe. Dick (Robin) Wayne is the ward of Bruce Wayne of Wayne Industries and has all the luxuries he can afford. What happens when people with two different life styles meet?
Ridgewell St. sat looking almost ruined and desolate. The once well cared for neighborhood stood in shambles; shingles were falling off the roof, windows were boarded up, and the cause could be as minor as a baseball or as major as a robbery. The conditions caused a decrease in the home value making less of the owners wary of selling.
The home in the corner of Ridgewell St. was probably one of the worst off. Inside they had even lost the luxury of private rooms, for the doors had been ripped clean off their hinges. The front door was angled in a funny way and made it awkward to lock it up every night, or just leave the house.
A pale face peeked out and quickly glanced out at the driveway. The beat up ford was there and she silently cursed. She grabbed her backpack and tied up her hair before slipping out the door with a stale muffin in hand.
The girl struggled with the door trying both to be quiet and quick. When the door finally closed she quickly listened inside the home to see if any residence had been disturbed. Happy that it was quiet she moved on with her bag pack slung over her shoulder.
Rachel Roth was a plain girl. She had her black hair cut in a simple boyish bob. It looked like she had done it herself with a spare pair of scissors and a mirror. Despite the humid weather outside she wore long sleeves and long jeans. A small scab on her lip bobbed up and down whenever she spoke and her violet eyes stood out the most about her.
Her cloths were ragged, and seemed like hand-me-downs from some family or another. They hung loose on her, for her frame was very thin compared to whoever had owned the cloths once upon a time.
School…there was a matter all to itself. She had been subjected to teasing and bullying all her life as long as she could remember. It was about her hair or her cloths or where she lived. Peers thought everything about her was funny. Even the cheap black nail polish she wore. But school was a ton better than home.
Her father was currently out of work again. He had a way of losing jobs just because he managed to piss off the one in charge. So now they were back to eating off of food stamps, not that they were ever off them.
The rare money he received went to alcohol. Mix that with his attitude and he would have anger fits that became so unbearable. The bruises would remain on her body for weeks on end making her resort to wearing long sleeves, but as long as he didn't touch Will she wouldn't have a problem.
Will was the youngest in the family, and, as their father put it, the cause of her mother's death. She had died giving birth to him.
Probably the worst time to run into him was in the morning, (which was why she had been so cautious), because he had nasty hangovers that only churned the pot some more.
Her violet eyes closed and she suddenly thought of better times with her mother still alive. Father had loved her so much. Suddenly he became a lot angrier, and he couldn't hold jobs for more than a week. He became a mess, and so did she.
Now out of the street she sighed. Now she only had six more blocks to walk until she reached school…
He sat up groggily groping the bedside table for the alarm clock. "I'm up!" He moaned to the alarm clock. It didn't seem to hear him for it kept its shrill scream. Finally he found it and slammed down on the snooze button. It stopped its constant wailing.
He headed downstairs yawning and rubbing his eyes. He looked down and wasn't too surprised to see Alfred setting a table for one. He glanced around to see if Bruce was around, although he already knew the answer. No!
Bruce Wayne was the owner of Wayne Industries. He was single too making him Gothem's most eligible bachelor. He had taken pity on a baby boy much like himself alone and parentless and had adopted him, though with him being gone most of the time he wasn't much of a fatherly figure.
"Master Dick, how are you doing this morning?" Alfred clear voice asked.
"Fine, just tired." Rob responded. He sat down at the table and glanced down at the eggs and toast. "Where's Wayne?" He asked coolly digging his fork into the wonderful eggs.
"He has a meeting, oh! And he told me that he wouldn't be home after school so you two can't go out together." Alfred told the boy putting a small glass next to his plate.
"When does he ever come home?" Rob asked gloomily.
Alfred didn't answer; he just frowned and silently shook his head. He retired to the kitchen leaving the boy to finish his meal alone.
After a shower, gelling his hair, getting dressed, and packing everything he needed he got into the limo and was taken to school, as he got out the whole school nearly turned its head.
Dick had the choice to go to the best private school money could buy. He hadn't wanted to though. He wanted a normal high school experience. Normal was anything but what he received. Not that he didn't mind being watched by the cutest girls or being on the good side of the teachers and principals. But life seemed too easy for him there. Girls hung all over him, and teachers gave him easy A's. He wanted a challenge in school, yes even to get girls.
By the steps the Roth girl passed by being jeered by a group of girls not too far away. Rob actually felt sorry for the girl. She always seemed distracted, and didn't look very healthy. Her arms seemed more like sticks than anything else.
She seemed out of breath like she ran most of the way to school. Dick shook his head. He shouldn't be concerned with her. He had his own life to worry about.
The school bell rang and people filed in. Dick walked calmly in. No teacher would dare write him up. As long as he had the rights he should use them.
Ms. Cunningham was first. She taught English and spoke with a southern twang. Kids would tease her behind her back without her knowing. The giggles would go unnoticed by her, while she was too busy trying to teach the class the wonderful fantastic things about Shakespeare, and Homer.
Dick reached the class and slipped in. Ms. Cunningham glanced his way and turned back to her teaching. White hair sprung out of the clamp that was in her hair and she looked sharply at him.
"Dick I honestly thought you meant it when you said you'd try to be on time!"
"I'm sorry!" Dick said not putting much emotion in his voice.
Ms. Cunningham couldn't do anything so she told him to sit down and went back to the board. "In the 1930's what natural disaster occurred?"
"You were born." Came a nasty snicker.
She ignored it and looked at the blank faces. "Ms. Roth, do you know?"
Rachel cringed in the corner. She tucked her hands in her lap as all eyes turned on her. She gently shook her head no.
"You're a smart girl, I see you reading all the time. Come on what happened in the 1930's?" Ms. Cunningham asked again.
The girl remained quiet this time and only glanced on the floor.
"Very well, it was the great depression. All stocks crashed and banks nation wide closed." She clapped her hands together. "And we will be reading the book To Kill a Mockingbird."
Groans were spread wide the classroom. They had heard nothing but bad news about this book from the class before.
She started to hand out the copies. "It's a wonderful story about a young girl in the Great Depression. She has a very innocent view on racism and everything that goes on in her life. We will be reading these books at home and I expect notes written. Cliff notes will do no good for you will not get the full experience if you cheat." Her beady eyes scanned the classroom.
Dick sighed and slouched in his chair. It was going to be a long day…
After a long day of school Rob stumbled down the steps of the school with Victor and Gary by his side. Victor was the football star in the school and pretty large with all his muscles. His nickname thought was Cy, for he was into technology and very good at it too.
Gary or Garfield as his parents had named him was a tall skinny guy with no more muscle than a squirrel. He refused to eat meat as a way to respect nature and the animals that lived on it. Ah yes, in Gary's mind Tofu was the only way to go.
"So tonight were going to have the best time in the world!" Cy said aloud. "Gaming and movies!!!"
Gary smiled. "Don't forget the tofu snacks."
Robin and Cy remained quiet.
"For me I mean." Gary said quietly. He wrung at his hands silently.
"I'm glad it's only for you cuz I'm going to be sitting on that circular couch with the remote and the new Wii eating a steak! Right Robin?" Cy said pumping his hands in the air.
"Sure," Robin said distractedly.
"Dude what's wrong?" Gary came up beside him.
Robin pointed, at a small circle of Kitten's groupie around the quiet girl…that Roth girl. "Their circling her…
She stepped off the stairs and started heading for the sidewalk. A foot jutted out and she found herself falling. Her bag spilled open scattering everything that had been inside of it.
"Oops! Sorry emo girl!" Came the remark.
Rachel just climbed to her knees and began grabbing for the items. Apparently whoever it was didn't like to be ignored so she placed a foot roughly on her hands.
"I said sorry!" She demanded sharply. "The proper response is to say I forgive you."
Rachel looked up and found the sneering face close to hers. "I forgive you." She commented quietly.
"I can't quite hear you!" The girl bent down and hissed in her ear. "A little louder?"
"I forgive you…" Rachel said trying to push off the foot. It really was beginning to hurt.
"I still can't hear y-'' the girl stopped when a hand clamped down on her shoulder. She blushed crimson and leapt off of Rachel's hand. "G-Grayson?"
"She said it…" Rob told the girl. "You don't have to press her any further."
She nodded and ran off. He sighed and looked down at Rachel Roth. "Are you ok?"
She sat quietly avoiding eye contact. Then she began the task of picking up items.
"Guess you're not a real big talker. Here let me help." He helped her to pick up her items and watched her place them back in her bag.
She feverishly nodded and walked briskly away. What the hell was he helping for? Rachel asked herself ignoring the snickers she received. The girl who tripped her snarled in her direction and Rachel just cringed.
Everyone knew Rob Grayson in the school. He was the ward of the richest man in Gothem. Why would he stoop down low enough to help her?
Once she passed the school campus she breathed a sigh of relief. She slumped back against a fence along the side and took plenty of deep breaths. Her hand was bruised. Her arms hurt. Her side ached. What more could happen that would make the day worse?
She started heading toward Mason Elementary where little Will and his teacher would be waiting for her to arrive. All the teacher knew was that her father worked late and didn't have the time to pick him up. So she waited with her brightest student after school until his big sister came.
As Rachel came up Will wrapped his arms around Rachel's legs. "Raven!" He murmured her nickname that she had had for years. He jumped up and down excited to show her a new project that he had done in class. The teacher stood up and told Rachel what he learned just in case he would need help with it later, and told her once again that she had the brightest brother in the world possibly.
Rachel smiled and nodded. She shook hands with the teacher thanking her for the millionth time for waiting.
She took her brothers hand and they started walking. "Today we learned about Vikings and that they were the first to land on the content of North America not Columbus."
"Very good Will," Rachel said using her voice much more around her brother. He was the only one she felt comfortable talking around.
Will looked down. "Will daddy have food for us to eat for dinner tonight?"
Rachel shook her head. "No, but I have enough money to buy something like Burger King, and Mc Donald's. How do they sound?"
"I don't want a happy Meal. MY friend today was talking about how his mom can make mas- smashed potatoes! He said they're really, really good, and that they are the best food in the entire whole world!" Will said expanding his arms at 'entire whole world' to try to emphasize how big.
"Mashed potatoes are really good; I remember having them when mom was around." Rachel said smiling to herself more than anything.
Will looked up, "When daddy was nicer?"
"Yeah when dad was nicer…" Rachel's mind went back to a time when going home wasn't a hell, and she was somewhat excited for school. Then they had lived in a middle class home with mom and dad. Mom had told Rachel that she was pregnant and every night Rachel was allowed to touch the kicking belly. Then her father didn't drink, he would always ruffle her hair before bed saying. "Don't forget to pray." Something she hadn't heard in years, for after the death of his wife he had lost all faith and put them in bottles.
She squeezed Will's hand and walked out into traffic. She avoided the cars until the last aisle came. A fancy car came speeding up and Rachel shoved Will hard onto the grass in front of him. She herself jumped too nearly getting hit by the car. As she landed she could feel a rock hit her side hard and it sent a jarring pain down her side. The fall knocked the air from her lungs and she tried to suck in a breath.
She propped herself up in time to see the car was parking on the side. A man with a moustache raced out looking worried.
Will sat at her side the whole while, watching the man come forward his small hands shaking. Rachel told him that the man didn't seem bad and that he shouldn't have to worry about anything at all.
"Oh dear! I hope you're not injured." The man said coming up to Rachel and extending a hand to lift her up. He eyed her side and frowned.
Rachel shook her head. She took the help from the man. When she didn't say anything the man poked up an eyebrow. She gripped her side and was surprised to find that it came sticky and wet with blood.
The door on the end opened and her breath stopped. Crap! It's him! Three guys came out. One she recognized as Rob Grayson, the guy who had helped her not too long ago. Victor the football star, and Gary…the loser.
"Twice in one day!" Rob chuckled as he neared her. He swung his arm to slap her gently on the back. When Rachel saw this motion she flinched throwing her arms over her head. Will hid behind her like she always ordered for him to do at home at any time.
Alfred gave him a sharp look and Rob stopped.
Now standing she blushed from the previous motion she had done before. Alfred looked her over. He clicked his tongue at the thinness of her wrist.
"You know her Master Dick?" He asked.
Rachel seemed to shrink in size.
"Yes! Saved her once, now unfortunately I was the cause of damage." He chuckled again.
"Would your friend care to join us for dinner?" Alfred asked.
"Oh! I couldn't!" Rachel blurted before she could think. When Dick looked amazed she bent her head down again.
"Finally got you to speak huh?" Dick smiled.
Victor and Gary watched this conversation go in amusement going back and forth watching everyone's expressions.
Alfred looked at a watch on his wrist. "Why couldn't you join us?"
Rachel remained quiet. She bent down and whispered something in the little boy's ear. He nodded grimly, his eyes scanning the blood on her side. She tried to walk off, Alfred held on to her shoulders.
Victor jumped into the conversation. "Come on we'd love for you too join us. Were having steak." He grinned.
There was an angry shout. "No way are we going to eat some poor innocent cow!" Gary yelled. The two began to bicker at each other, something about contents of meat.
Will tugged at Rachel's shirt. "Will there be smashed potatoes. He looked up at Alfred. "Cuz I haven't had any, and my friend said that they're the bestest food in the entire whole world." Once again he used his arms to exaggerate the amount.
"Our dad wouldn't like it." She told him in a low voice.
"Call your dad and get his permission…"
Rachel blanched. "I couldn't do that either, he would get mad and-'' she cut off.
Alfred frowned. "Here give your father a call. I'm sure he won't mind if you're gone for a short while…please I'd like to make up for almost running into you."
Rachel took the phone and dialed her father's cell. She got his voice message and sighed. "Dad, I've got an offer to eat over at a-'' she glanced over at Dick. "Friend's house. I won't be home until later. Cups are in the cabinet on the left, plates are on the right, and leftovers are in the frig. Please try to remember and don't break any of them, I just got them last week with some money I saved up. Bye." She hung up and handed the phone back. "You don't have to do this…" She said.
Alfred smiled. "It's no bother."
She walked between Dick and Alfred to the car. Once in she was taken back by the inside. Lights lay on the ceiling and the seats weren't torn or ripped in any form. They were quite comfortable too. Will proceeded to bounce on them and squealed when he found that he would actually go up an inch or two.
"So, what do you like to eat?" Dick asked wondering if she ever had eaten anything.
"I don't know." Rachel said her voice quiet.
"I like smashed potatoes…well I think I do." Will put in instantly, "And I like meat too!"
Victor grinned. "Alright little man," they both shared a high five. Gary sat in the corner sulking.
Rachel stared out the window a few minutes, the lights shining on her thin face. Finally she muttered. "I like…" She closed her eyes as if trying to remember something. "…homemade ice cream, like the kind you made in the bag. When I was little my mom and I would make ice cream at home if it was on a hot sunny day, and we would make enough to share with dad when he came home."
"You mom sounds nice." Robin said. "Does she still do that with him?" He nodded toward Will.
"My mom's dead, and has been for about seven years." She turned back to the window watching the scenery flash by.
Will plopped down on the seat and stared at her. "Was mommy pretty?"
Rachel smiled, which took back the three boys, and patted his head. "Must I tell you a million times? Yes, she was very pretty."
She looks nice whenever she smiles. Robin thought as the ride continued.