I don't own them, etc etc. I just like to play with them and mess with their heads.

Adolescence Revisited

Have you ever been caught in a chasm between two worlds? Looking back at what you were, and what you may become, wondering what you are and where you're going? I do that every Saturday morning at approximately eleven-thirty AM. It's never pretty.

"Don't make me go to Gotham today, Babs. I don't care if it is Saturday. It's just the most… God, Babs, I can't stand it any more. I can't stand listening to him. The more he talks, the more I want to just kill myself." I rested my elbows on my computer table and ran both hands through my ears. She was beautiful as always, even with her hair up in a towel. My flat-screen monitor didn't do her justice.

"Then tell him to shut up."

"Then I WILL kill myself, when I see that hurt look in his eyes, because he only talks to me because I'm the only one who listens."

She made a face. "Dick… what about Alfred. He can talk to Alfred, right? He spends all his free time with Alfred. You don't need to be his only support."

I let out a laugh. "Oh. No. Alfred thinks I'm his life-line to the outside world. That I'm what's keeping him sane. Pizza with Dick on Saturday afternoons is saving him from… I don't know. But God. It just reminds me of my own childhood, the horrors of my adolescence, which I'd rather just block, thank you very much, and every horrible thing that happened to me out of costume between the ages of sixteen and twenty. I'm going to take my service revolver, put it to my head and pull the trigger."

"Woah. Hold it, short pants. No killing yourself. Look, do you want me to talk to him? I can talk to him. I can do that."

"He wont listen to you. You're a girl. And I quote 'chicks are the bane of my existence.' End quote." I rubbed my eyes. Too bad it was too early in the day to get drunk.

"Tim's a teenager, Dick. They're like that."

"And you see why I want to just kill myself? Not only am I reliving my own harrowing youth, but I have to sit here and feel bad for that guy. You've never listened to him talk. He's convinced his dad thinks he's a terrible person, he's convinced Bruce is replacing him with Spoiler… and I can't even say anything to the contrary because it looks pretty bad. He says Bruce doesn't trust him—which you can't combat because Bruce doesn't act like he trusts anyone. He's going out of his mind at Brentwood, he has no wheels, no freedom, no NOTHING, and he hasn't even put on the suit in a week. His step mom likes him more than his dad does, he's treading grounds for expulsion, in which case he won't have to worry about killing himself, his dad will do him the honors. I'm suicidal FOR him."

She shook her head. Why didn't chicks understand this? "You both need a big dose of Prozac. First of all. You survived your teenage years, Robin will survive his. True you did spend time in therapy, but you're a better person for it. Second of all, you're NOT going to kill yourself because of him. I won't let you do that. Do you understand me?"

I nodded. Ok. No killing myself over Tim. I could do this. "So. What do I do?"

"Hold on a second."

Hell of a time for one of her other operatives to see action. I needed to talk to her NOW. "Ok. Now I can talk. Tim popped on. I brought him on this line."

"Don't have anything to say," I muttered.

"You ok, Dick? We're still going out today, right? Nothing's come up, right?"

It was so pathetic. HE was so pathetic. "Sure, bro."

I got a text message from Oracle. "Sissy!" it read.

I was so pathetic.

"So what's up. I just popped on to check my mail, and Oracle's like… you gotta talk to me and Dick, and then…"

With a sigh, I began. "Nothing, Tim. We were just talking. I… I wouldn't miss our pizza date for the whole world. How's Alfred?"

And then it began the horrible diatribe about how mean Alfred was for commenting on how he had stained up his clothes, how horrible it was that he was confined to campus, how cruel Bruce was for telling Stephanie, how hard his last math test was…

I typed a message to Babs. "See?"

"Kid's got it rough," she returned a few seconds later. "Let him blow off steam."

I sent one more message back. "YOU listen to him for two hours straight and see if you don't want to kill yourself."

"Tim… I hate to break this up," I said wearily. "But… I got an errand to run before lunch."

"Oh? Anything we can do together?"

"Naw. It's kinda… personal. But I'll meetcha there. And don't order without me. Because you always order something wrong and evil."

"I'll wait," he promised, then dropped off.

"Babs… I can't do it. I can't go through with it. I can't listen to him and continue having a will to live. Come with us."

"Ri-ight," she started.

"Babs, I'm serious. I need moral support."

"Grayson, you're a cop. You're Nightwing. You see worse stuff than this every day."

I rubbed my eyes. "Babs… it's adolescence. There is NOTHING worse than that."



More silence.

"You have me there, former Boy Wonder."

I crumpled in my chair. There was no way out. "I gotta go," I said, declaring my own death sentence. "If I don't come back, call out the Justice League." I cut the line.

I stared at the phone for a full ten minutes before picking it up and dialing. "Hello?" came a voice on the other end.

"Bruce, I'm really sorry for every horrible thing I ever did between the ages of thirteen and nineteen and I'm sorry for all the mean stuff I said and I pray every night that I won't have a kid like me when I grow up."

Silence. Silence. More silence.

"Arsenal," The Voice said. "I told you the voice synthesizing software wasn't for making prank calls. How did you get my cell number?"

"Bruce! It's Dick, and I just said I'm really sorry--"

"Roy, I know where you live." He hung up.

Groaning, I buried my head in my hands. God, take me now.