I don't own them, etc etc.

Ok, these dentist stories are getting out of hand. But it's not my fault. People keep asking for them. I am the pawn of fortune. Not as detailed, etc as my first two, but mm… I dunno.

The Torture Chair III

The dentist put me on more antibiotics, that was about all he could do. He promised to schedule me in for the end of the week I was still miserable and feverish when my dad returned me home and told me to hang in there, a few more days and everything'd be just fine. I ran a hand through my hair. I felt absolutely gross. There wasn't anything to do but nod and drag myself up to my room.

I didn't feel like sleeping. If I went to bed, I'd just be hot and miserable there, and I wasn't tired. I logged on to my computer, using secure connections, and hailed Oracle.

"Hey kid," she said. Good old Babs. She really knew how to make you feel like a mature grownup.

"Hey." I replied, putting my feet up on the desk. Maybe if I like… took all my clothes off, I'd be a little less… sticky and yucky. "So… like… how did things fall out last night? Bruce still psycho-pissed?"

She chuckled. "Actually, he hasn't said a word about it to Nightwing or me. I heard from Alfred. You probably want to talk to him about possible fall-out."

I sighed in frustration. "You don't think the fact that I had a fever of 102 will mean anything to him, do you?"

"Depends. I mean… my dad really isn't mad about it or anything. He felt bad, if nothing else."

"Unfortunately, Bruce's perceptions of what's acceptable or not are never influenced by the outside world. But… well, thanks. I appreciated that he didn't like… get all weird."

"Next time the subject comes up, I'll tell him that," she chuckled.

"Oh. Yeah. Right. Never mind then. Maybe, if Batman un-grounds me, I can tell him myself."

"He hasn't officially grounded you yet. So… thank him first. Before you get put twice through the grinder."

"Hey. Thanks. And like… if you talk to Batman, tell him I'm sorry I'm such a goof."

I closed the connection. Like yeah. Before I was completely destroyed, I should at least thank Babs' father for not getting all weird.

Somehow, I'd managed to fall back to sleep, through being hot, through the pain in my jaw, through worrying about how dead I'd be when I finally came around again. When I woke, I wasn't quite as on fire. Wouldn't Kon be happy to see me now, laying here quite pathetic. I looked out the window. The sky was a warm golden orange, signifying the day was drawing near an end… and Batman's day was about to start. If I was gonna do this, I had to do it quick.

* * *
I got myself into the office and stayed in one of the long shadows provided by the setting sun. "Sir?" I asked, trying not to startle him too badly. Usually that was half the fun, but right now I was pretty miserable… and I did want to thank him. "Uh… hi." Robin, you dork.

"Feeling any better, kid?" he didn't even bother looking up from his paperwork.

"Um… that's what I wanted to talk to you about." NO! I wanted to say. NO NO NO NO NO. Robin is NOT feeling better. Down, Tim. Down. "I wanted to thank you. For… being so cool about it. The last few days."

"We've all had our troubles. Just means you're human."

Yeah right. I was sure Batman never had a cavity, much less needed a root canal.

"Well, uh. Thanks. That's all. And… um… don't tell Batman I'm here." I clenched my jaw shut. I was running out of time before it was dark, and then I'd be a sitting duck. WHY had this been so important again?

"Not a problem. Go home and get some rest. Or I WILL tell him."

I nodded. Suddenly there was a sharp snap in my mouth. He DID look up at that. Raising a gloved hand to my mouth, I spit the piece of tooth into it. I just sighed in frustration.

"Good thing you have the night off, huh?" he asked.

I stared at the stupid piece of tooth. "Yeah. Geeze. I'm ready to rip this thing out myself."

"Just don't get blood all over my office. They just replaced the carpets on this floor."

Damnit, why was he being so nice? Then again, I'd never exactly had a lot of conversations with him. "Well… umm… I'm gonna go. Before the 'night shift' starts. Thanks, sir." I slipped the piece of tooth into my belt. I didn't know what I'd do with it. Make a necklace out of it or something equally lame. It wasn't even like… a trophy of war or anything. It was just a stupid tooth. I got up to the roof and took it out again, thinking of what a stupid dork I was.

"I thought I told you to stay put."

I groaned. I'd been so engrossed in looking at the jagged piece of tooth, I hadn't even heard him come. "Aren't you up and about early tonight?" I looked at the sky. No. it was twilight. Batman wasn't in danger of turning into dust or anything.

"Robin, go home. You're a liability in your current state. This is the last time I'll tell you."

My shoulders sagged in defeat. But his words burned in my mind. I was a liability. Basically, I was incompetent, and I should've never taken this stupid mask up.

I went home, wondering if it could possibly get any worse.

"Timothy Drake, where did you go!" Yeah, it could get worse. I could have Batman AND my dad pissed at me.

"I went for a walk."

"Sick people don't go for walks."

"It was cooler outside than in my room. I thought the air would help."

"You should have told me where you were going. You're grounded."

Great. Now I wasn't Robin because I was a complete and total mess up, but I wasn't Tim Drake either. I was just Grounded.

"Look, dad, fine. I'm going to my room. I'm sick, I'm tired, and I'm going to puke. You wanna hold that against a guy, that's your business. It's your fault anyways. You're the one who said 'lets do the stupid root canal'. Did anyone ask Tim what he wanted?"

"Tim, you'd better get up in your room, and you'd better stay there until you're thinking straight," my dad told me evenly. "I WONT tell you again."

I folded my arms over my chest. "Little late to start trying to be parent of the year, isn't it?"

"Young man--"

I threw my arms up in the air. "Don't take me there. I don't want to go." And I walked back out the front door.

* * *
Tim came knocking on my door just as I was getting ready to go out for the night. I hadn't gotten home from work too much before, so I was a little late getting into the suit for the Nightwing gig.

"Hey, you ever heard of using the window?" I asked.

"I… um.. Robin's grounded. Tim's grounded too. But, um. Tim, sort of ran away."

Ok. Busting bad guys had to wait. Little bro needed me to beat the living crap out of him. "Oracle told me about the tooth escapade. Get over it. Go home."

He threw himself on the sofa and started crying. Good move, Grayson. Ok. Busting heads could wait because little bro needed a shoulder to cry on. "I'm kidding. It isn't that bad. I mean, Bruce is a pain in the ass. We all know that. And your dad'll get over it."

"I am the world's biggest screw up."

The kid was burning up, he couldn't really be held responsible, right?

"He said I'm a liability." There was only one person who'd say that-Bruce.

I got him some water, a few aspirin and a wet rag and told him I'd be back with a lighter t-shirt. As soon as I got into my bedroom and dug around in the masses of clothes enough to find the phone, I gave a ring to my favorite guy.

"Uh, what the hell did you say to Tim?" I asked.

"I told that kid to go home."

"He's sitting in my living room crying."

There was silence. What, Bruce, no gruff come-backs?

"The kid's sick. You could have been… like.. NICE."

"I was. I told him to go home."

"You told him he was a liability."

"He IS a liability."

I sighed. "I always knew we could rely on you for necessary esteem boosts." I heard not too pleasant sounds behind me. How freaking sick could one tooth make someone? "I gotta go. He's puking all over the upholstery. Think of something NICE to say when he gets back to Gotham. He just screwed things up with his dad, and it'd be nice if he could still talk to SOMEONE there." I hung up without waiting for a response. I knew I wouldn't get one, and if I did, it wouldn't be pleasant.

By the time I got out there, there was a mess on the floor, and Tim was asleep with his head on the arm of the sofa. Man. You had to feel bad for that. First thing I did was change. I liked the little brat, but he wasn't worth getting the suit stinky over. And it didn't look like I'd be going out tonight… not right now anyway. I cleaned up the nasty mess and shoved a pillow under his head. The sofa was second-hand, and the arms were a little hard, not to mention thread-bare. Then I called Tim's dad and let him know that Tim was alright, and tried to smooth things over in their relationship. I knew how Bruce and I were, and if I could prevent some other kid from going through that, I would. Maybe things would look up for him, once he started feeling better. Pigs could also sprout wings and fly.

About two hours after passing out on my sofa, I got some pills into him. Nothing special, just the stuff that had been in his pocket, pain killers and antibiotics. I'd even pulled his cheek back to look at his tooth, and he didn't stir. The gum was red and enflamed, and the tooth itself was broken. It had actually broken down into the gum. That HAD to hurt. There were really only two things I dreaded… getting hit 'down there' and having something REALLY PAINFUL happen to my teeth. You don't appreciate Alfred's harping to brush, until you get that first tooth drilled.

"Hey Babs?" I asked when I finally broke down and call her. "I'm really worried about Robin. He's like… seriously sick. His temp's really up there. I told his dad not to worry about him tonight, that he could sleep it off here… but… well, I'm getting kinda worried." In other words… got some advice for a yucky tooth, babe?

"Maybe you SHOULD take him in somewhere. I mean… its legit right. It's not a 'Robin' injury. It's a casualty of not brushing injury."

"I just hate to screw things up with his dad. You know, even worse than they are. He's already threatening boarding school. That'd really mess up the night life… being stuck in Alaska. Or worse, Metropolis. Now THAT'D be no fun." Hey, I loved Supes, worshiped him as a kid, but he was murder on the vigilante gig.

"Quit talking about me like I'm not here," Tim mumbled. '

"Go back to sleep… Robin."

"I'm not Robin any more. I'm just some dumb kid." But he put his head back down and closed his eyes. He even sounded like hell.

"Ok, former Boy Wonder," Barbara told me in her best 'mom knows best' voice. "Time to be the responsible grownup. Call his dad and tell him he's gotten worse."

"So Robin can kill me, and his dad can kill me?" But I knew she was right. Hopefully I could play the Tim's friend who just so happens to be a concerned adult thing just right.
* * *
I hung out in Gotham to smooth things over with Tim's dad, and to make Bruce as miserable as I possibly could. The kid spent two days in the hospital. Even the dentist had felt bad for that. He'd been dehydrated, battling off a viral infection (which they didn't find out until they realized the IV antibiotics weren't working), and near complete physical exhaustion. I was actually kind of happy Tim was as sick as he was, that sort of settled things with his dad. As for Bruce… at least we knew why Tim had been acting like such a nutbar. You really couldn't blame someone for being infected, as much as Bruce would like to try. He even implied the kid should brush more. I asked if we should have Alfred go over morning noon and night to make sure he did it right. Sometimes… you just needed a root canal. Then again, Bruce just plain sucked. All those blows to the face, and those were still all his original teeth. He didn't even have so much as a filling or a crown.

Babs even suckered me into taking the day off work to take Tim back to the dentist. I'd been saving those sick days too. For when I crack ribs and get shot and stuff. Unfortunately, Tim was still too humiliated to really stay in the presence of his father long. I kept telling him to just get over it, regaling him with stories of every dumb thing I'd ever done in front of Bruce, Alfred, Babs, the commissioner, my fourth grade gym teacher… He wasn't buying it.

Finally, after sitting in the waiting room for almost twenty minutes, his name was called. The lady smiled sweetly and compassionately at him, and I nudged him to go. "Play the sympathy card," I whispered. "Chicks go for that." He got up, looked from her back to me and then froze. "What?"

"Don't make me go in there," he whispered in horror. "They're going to do bad things to me."

I stood up and pushed him towards the door. "Come on, you sissy," I whispered.

Of course, he was right. They were going to do bad things to him. Maybe I could like… go get a cup of coffee. So I wouldn't have to sit in the waiting room, listening to his screams.

THE END

One more sequel, I swear. It'll be a quadillogy. Like Highlander. Maybe there'll be swords or stuff in the next one. Maybe just Tim's complete agony and horror. That's cool too.