Various timeline notes: This is a crossover between the current DC-Universe continuality and the "Teen Titans Go!" animated TV series. I know that the Robin in TTG has never actually revealed his "secret identity" or even been referred to as such, but most sources point to him being an alternate version Dick Grayson, the first Robin, and this plays a big point in the story. I'm going to be explaining both Dick and Tim's origins, so if you're not familiar with either one, no worries.
Takes place mid-series for TTG, sometime after the defeat of Trigon. For the DCU, it occurs directly after the "Identity Crisis" incident.
There is no slash. Just kinda sweet brotherly stuff. In the DCU, they are legally brothers.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. DC owns everything. They may be abusing their Death Stick privileges recently, but they still own it all.
Chapter 1: Ripples in the Water
As a general rule, Robin did not keep many personal items in his room at Titans Tower.
Sure, he had all of the comforts one would expect of your average teenage superhero, such as nice bed and an up-to-date computer and a closet for his clothes and costumes. Most of the walls were hidden behind large bookcases, laden down with the heavy hard-backed tomes that he liked to study. There were a few small things here and there that openly announced whose room it was – most in the form of R-shaped bookends and basic decorations on lampshades – but there was nothing in that room that was of any real value to him or to anyone else. His trophies of victory were displayed with all of the others' in their hall of fame downstairs, and he had always made it a policy to deny himself the personal "creature comforts" that his teammates – especially Beast Boy – tended to crave.
At least, that's what he liked for them to think.
There were times, like tonight, when Robin would chose to retire early and retreat back into his room. Generally, they occurred after long periods of inactivity, as tonight had, periods when Robin would feel a need to reconnect with something that the others weren't familiar with.
On these nights, he would follow a specific routine of security, just as he chose to do now. First, with a twist of his wrist, he would lock the door very securely behind him, then he would pause and scan the room for anything that seemed to be even remotely out of place. Then, he would move across the room and close the blinds of each window one by one, sealing them as tightly as he could until he had shut out all light. To most, the absence of light would seem stifling, almost frightening, but after all his years of covering himself in shadow, the darkness held, for him, a sense of comfort.
Once the room was dark, he would turn on a single light – the small lamp on his desk – and, with carefully focused steps, slowly make his way to the smallest of his bookcases, the one in the corner of the room farthest from the door.
Just as he had on all of those other nights, Robin scanned his eyes over the spines of each book until he finally found the one that he was looking for – an old, well out-of-date field guide for bird watchers. Seizing it firmly by the top of the spine, he pivoted it forward on its bottom corner and triggered the switch that was hidden there.
The bottom shelf of the case popped open to reveal a small, shallow drawer. Robin leaned over it, careful not to block the lamplight so that he could use it to gaze into the depths of the drawer and examine its contents, piece by piece.
Yellowed, fragile circus play-bills were scattered unceremoniously across the bottom of the smoothly-carved drawer, each one promising yet another dazzling performance from their staring acrobatic family. A small baton, only one of out of a set of three that had been meant for juggling, rolled from the back and thumped against the front wall with a little plastic click. On the way down, it bounced harmlessly over a tarnished silver powder box, a worn, decorative belt buckle and a small, thin, leather-bound photo album.
Robin reached in and pulled the album into his lap. He flipped through the pages idly, letting the memories guide his hand as his mind drifted back to another time, another place…
None of his teammates knew about it, not really. Raven had seen into his mind on occasion, and the others all had little snippets that they could put together if they wanted to, but no one really did. They all knew how rough the past could be, how unpleasant hidden memories really were – they'd all experienced it. They all knew
Within their friendship, it was almost like an unwritten rule: No one talked about the accident that made Cyborg how he was, no one asked how Beast Boy became the green-skinned wonder, and no one mentioned anything about Robin's family.
There were times when he wondered if it would be easier for everyone concerned to just tell them of his past, the way that Raven had. To tell them about the Flying Graysons and their acrobatic prestige, about the 'accident' that took their lives and left their only son an orphan, about the man who had come, a shadow wrapped in shadows, and given him a new place in the world, a place where he did and did not belong all at the same time…
But just thinking about such things brought back memories that made his stomach lurch and his head swim with long-buried emotions. These feelings, the ones that he had buried so deep inside of him for so long, they were the reason he always decided that such memories were better off where they were, hidden away…
Tonight, a sudden loud boom shook him out of his thoughts with an almost violent jerk, accompanied by a more soothing, familiar voice. "Robin?"
The Boy Wonder composed himself, quickly stowing away his secrets before going to crack open the door. He stuck his head out with an awkward little grunt. "Nrgh…Starfire? What is it?"
"I am sorry to have awakened you," the alien girl bowed apologetically, mistaking his masked annoyance for grogginess. "But Cyborg has discovered something…most unusual."
Robin frowned 'unusual' never seemed to turn out well for them. "How unusual?"
"It is…most troubling."
"All right, then," Robin ran a hand through his hair as he stepped out, his voice taking on the slightly authoritative tone that it needed to help him keep the team together. "Let's go check it out."
He took off down the hall at a light job. Starfire hovered just behind him, her Tamaranian powers keeping her vertical a full four feet off the floor.
"Robin…" she said, in the slow, careful way she always did. "You appear to be agitated. I hope that I have done nothing to upset you."
Robin shook himself. His nonchalant expression has slipped out of place…he slipped it back on and gave her a little grin. "I'm fine. You didn't do anything. We better hurry, though. I've got a feeling this is going to be important."
( - ) ( - ) ( - )
Cyborg simply crossed his arms, looking up at the briefing screen and the source of Beast Boy's oh-so-eloquent question. It currently showed a bird's-eye view of the city, laid out across a grid. Just above one of the shorter sky scrapers, a digitally emphasized electric-red ripple had appeared, flashing in and out every few seconds, with its pace increasing every minute.
"It's a disruption in the temporal mechanics of the time-space continuum surrounding the city."
Beast Boy looked up at their largest member with a black expression. "An'…Whazzat mean?"
With a labored sigh, Raven offered her own translation. "It's a hole in space. The begins of a portal to another world…or another time."
"Oh, like a wormhole! Gotcha." Beast Boy grinned and nodded, happy with his little tidbit of science fiction info.
Cyborg frowned, giving his green-skinned friend a short 'I just said that' kind of look, before turning his attention to the rest of their group. "Raven and I rigged up this temporal scanner last month. With all the trouble we've had with this kind of stuff in the past, we thought it might be a good investment."
"Looks like it paid off," Robin agreed. The screen zoomed in a little, focusing on the center of the ripple, and the image of the city came into a bit sharper focus. "Can you tell who it is, where it came from?"
"Negative," Cyborg shook his head. "That tech's way out of our league. This thing could be some experiment from Star Labs or an alien invasion from the other side of the galaxy for all we know."
Starfire turned her emerald eyes up to the screen with a concerned expression. "It is better, though, to be safe than it is to be sorry."
"Agreed," Robin nodded and turned to the group. "Cyborg, stay here and get us a visual of whatever comes out of there, so we'll know what we're getting into. The rest of us will be the welcoming committee."
"Gotcha," Cyborg gave a single curt nod. "You guys be careful out there."
Robin gave his old friend a grin and a 'no-worries' wave, then turned to the front of the room and order, with all the gentle force of a good leader: "Titans…Go!"
( - ) ( - ) ( - )
Five minutes later, Cyborg was crouched over his control panel, well-trained fingers flying over the keys without his eyes having to watch them. Instead, his gaze moved regularly between the two images on the screens – the gradually forming portal on one, and the security camera feeds of the rest of the group's rooftop route on the other.
"The disruption rate's starting to pick up," he reported calmly. "We should have an appearance any second now."
There was a bit of a crackle as Robin's communicator chimed in, the rushing wind of his run causing static in the receiver. "Good. Just keep your eye on it."
"Roger that, Rob," Cyborg's fingers ran over the screen, their satellite's camera zooming in until it was focused on only the roof where the signal seemed to be concentrating. The strength of the warp was not so well-defined that the air itself seemed to ripple like water when a rock was skipped over it.
"It's gonna be close, though," Cyborg muttered, speaking more to himself than to Robin. "We've never actually watched one open before. I don't know what kind of power might be…"
At that moment, a loud POP echoed through his head-set, followed by a blast of static, and the portal's screen filled with a blinding blue light before dissolving into a snowy white on black. "Woah!"
"Cyborg?" Robin's voice broke though the static, sounding concerned. "Cyborg, what happened?"
The half-robotic former athlete swore under his breath, leaning over his work again. "The portal's energy was too much, it overloaded our system…No worries, though, I'll have back on-line in a sec."
The screen flickered a few times, went to black, then came back to life and returned to the darkened rooftop, where two figures now stood. Cyborg zoomed in on the first one, the one closes to where the portal's center had been, and managed a decent profile shot. The Titan's computer mainframe connected instantly and was searching through the criminal files for a match within seconds.
"I got a positive ID on our time-hopper," Cyborg reported the moment the info was available. "Guy calls himself Chronos. Took over for a real super villain from the Ivy Town area a couple of years back. Tries to use time travel as a way to pull off heists and kill people for cash, but he's got a reputation for bumbling things up, more often than not."
"Looks like he actually got it right this time," Beast Boy noted. "First time for everything."
Cyborg grinned a bit before getting back to business.
"Looks like somebody's up there with him…" the second figure, much smaller than Chronos, lunged forward suddenly. "They're fighting. I think the kid's trying to take him down."
Cyborg fiddled with the camera controls as Chronos and the smaller figure met with blows. He increased the sharpness on the picture and zoomed in as the would-be assassin distracted his opponent for a split second, finally giving him a good look.
Cyborg frowned at the image, finding that it didn't quite make sense to him. "Robin? How'd you get there so fast?"
"What are you talking about?" Robin's voice asked, and he appeared on the other screen for a brief moment as he and Starfire darted past one of the cameras. "We're still three blocks away."
Cuborg stared at the two screens a moment longer, making sure that his eyes weren't playing ticks on him. They weren't.
There was Robin, running through the city, and there was another Robin on that roof, facing Chronos head-on.
"Guys…I think we have a problem."